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The peeps phenomenon

ShowerThis morning in the shower I was thinking about something (as I usually do). Standing under the hot water and relaxing often brings me to some interesting revelations!

I was thinking about how I’m moving to a new place with the love of my life. Not only am I moving because I want to share a space with this fantastic girl, but I’m also moving because my landlord is a bit of a douche bag. Honestly, I don’t think he’s that bad as a person. As a landlord, the story was a little different. He would come into the apartment when I was gone to do laundry (without asking), was overly stringent on the rules of just how clean the driveway should be, not to mention that the laundry room (that is in MY SPACE!) was locked and I had to call him to open it when I wanted to do laundry. But overall, he’s not such a bad guy. He’s just doing what seems right for him. Continue reading “The peeps phenomenon”

Work out the muscles you don’t even know you have

In my day-to-day life, I’m constantly supported. Friends tell me a joke to cheer me up. My mom sends me an email to tell me she’s thinking about me. I get a text message that reminds me I’m loved. I make plans with the love of my life and go out. When things go right, the people in my life always seem to be there for me. When things go wrong, they are there along side me too. It’s a wonderful thing.

Image: westfieldcomics.com

All our lives, we come to rely on the support of others. This isn’t a bad thing. What becomes a bad thing is those few times when you’re left to your own devices, and start feeling a little lost. It’s almost like your self-reliant muscle gets weak from having such a strong support system. Like a day when you’re feeling particularly sad, and there’s no one around to distract you. Or perhaps an afternoon where you really want to do something, but no one’s available. It leaves you feeling lost, alone, and often pretty crappy. Because that self-reliant muscle is feeling too weak to carry you. That’s because we’re so used to our loved ones being there for us.

When moments or days like that happen, it’s not easy to remember that you’re not alone. There are so so so many loved ones in your life that may just be thinking of you the EXACT moment you’re feeling down – they might just be out of reach! Don’t forget that they will be within reach before you know it. If you’re unsure – reach out to them. Send out a text when you’re thinking of someone. Fire off an email to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. Or just say I love you for no reason. (I’ve found that all of these things are contagious!)

Failing all that, I’ve come to realize that there is absolutely no one I can ever rely on, like I can rely on myself. I am always going to be there for me. I am all I’ll ever always have. And that’s not a bad thing either. It’s not easy to rely on yourself when you find the unbelievably amazing support system that you rely on to be absent for a few hours, a day, or longer. No matter what, the only person that I’ll always be able to fall back on is ME.

Flex that self-reliant muscle: enjoy spending time alone! Don’t worry if you find yourself feeling a little disconnected – it’s a good thing, sometimes! You can always make the choice to reconnect. And be confident that when you need someone, if they’re not already there for you, that you can reach out your hand.

And life goes on…

Sometimes it feels like a cruel joke.

One week you’re literally saving someone’s life, and are a large part of a true miracle… It seems overwhelming, but also wonderful that you can positively affect so many people simply by taking action.

People are having babies – new lives being brought into the world. You visit a friend in the hospital to see a newborn that you had a hand in naming. The world is a wonderful place.

What seems like only a few weeks later, you find yourself listening to a surreal phone call, in which one brother tells you that you have just lost your other brother. The world seems to collapse.

But this is life.

And somehow we get through it. I couldn’t do any of these things without the support of so many friends, family, and also complete strangers!

We often think we are alone in this world, fighting and struggling to stay afloat – often enacting the “every man for them-self” creedo. All I’ve got to say is that if we are living and thinking that way, we’re wrong. And it shouldn’t take a tragic accident for us to realize that we can reach out any time to just about anyone… yes, even perfect strangers.

And life goes on…

Miracles, everyday goings-on, tragedies, struggles, fights, love, laughter… so much more.

Random thoughts:
It’s ok to have a bad day or two.
Grief does not vanish completely. Memory will bring back some sadness from time to time and we learn to live with it.
We can’t change the past… We have to live in the present.
Try to remember or recall the good things, the fond memories… rather than wallowing in sadness.
Keep talking to people. About anything.
Know that you are going to get through this.
Sit in the sun, enjoy the breeze, smell the air, and feel yourself living.

 

Dream

I had a disturbing dream. They happen… Here’s the bits:

I was on vacation with my family (not altogether weird, as we recently came back from a week together in Aruba) and we were on our last day there. We had our things all packed up and knew when the bus was taking us to the airport, and were spending a few more minutes at the front of the resort enjoying the place. It wasn’t the same as Aruba – it was weird and different (as Dreams sometimes are). Instead of the resort ending up on the beach, it was built up on a huge wall to protect it from the water… we soon understood why.

Not how my dream looked

The sky had gone dark and a storm was rolling in. The waves were increasing and washing over the first and second tiers of the wall – where there had been people sitting at tables. People from the resort began *battening the hatches* to protect the lower levels of the resort. Rain was beginning to fall and we still stood outside – watching the storm unfold around us. The waves kept getting higher and higher, and the resort kept closing more and more doors and windows against the incoming water. We were standing on the top-most level. It was like looking at a painting I once saw:

The water rose and rose. Then – you know how weird things happen in dreams that seem perfectly normal?..  Well, a mini-van pulls up with some of my friends in it (who knew they were vacationing with us? And how did their mini-van get there?!) and offered us a ride. We declined (we being my brother Peter and I, and one of my bestest friends, Leila). We said no, as we’d like to travel to the airport together with the rest of the family. Just as they pulled away, waves began lapping over the top of the wall. I remember saying “The waves have reached all the way to us,” and looked at Pete and Leila.

All of a sudden, the waves began to recede, so we decided to walk down to the lowest level and assess the damage. We walked down a huge cement ramp at the bottom that led directly to the beach and the ocean. Then Leila looked up and said “Oh no… Guys?” As we looked up, we saw the HUGEST tsunami wave. It had to be at least 10 stories high, and it was headed straight for us. I remember in the dream imagining what would happen to me when it hit. I knew I had to hold on to something, but was afraid that the force of the water would rip my arms out. Peter and Leila found something to hold on to, and were yelling at me to grab on. I found a metal bar to wrap myself around (the wave was taking forever to crash down on us) and kept looking up and anticipating the moment when I’d take a deep breath and hold it.

With a force that felt like a thousand mack trucks hitting me, the wave crashed down…

And then I woke up.

It was so vivid. I remember the feeling of the raindrops on my skin, the smell of the salt-water in the air. My dream had so many details – textures, sights, sounds, tastes, smells. The brain is an amazing machine… It never ceases to amaze me how dreams are so much like movies that we are the players in. We experience everything as if it were first hand – not only the physical feelings and sensory input, but also the emotional stuff that comes along with it.  I often wonder if dreams are just our brain’s way of entertaining ourselves while we sleep. If so – why do we have such turbulent and disturbing nightmares sometimes?! Next week – I’ll share a childhood dream that haunts me to this day!

Can home and paradise be the same place?

I just got home from a week-long vacation in the paradise known as Aruba. Aruba is tiny little Dutch island in the Carribean that is approximately 30km long from one end to another. The temperature remains virtually the same all year round, and the weather is usually hot and dry (but very windy). After our plane landed and our bus dropped us at the hotel, I stood on my balcony admiring the view of the beach and basking in the hot sun, and uttered the words “That’s it, I’m moving here.”

The beaches of paradise in Aruba
The beaches of paradise in Aruba - Photo by Leila Paugh

Maybe part of the allure was that I was coming from Ontario, in the middle of a typically -16 or so weather stretch, which had been preceded by several dumpings of snow. Maybe it was that this was my first real trip to a tropical island (with the exception of Australia, which is a GIANT island) on an all inclusive ticket. Maybe it was the beauty and friendliness of the Aruban people. Maybe it was the lush fruits and rich foods. Maybe it was a combination of all of these.

At the beginning of the week, I was in awe of the island, the people, the food, the adventure, and the free drinks from the bar. Everything was beautiful. I was relaxed. All of our adventures were fun. There was something new and amazing to see everywhere we went. I found myself considering the possibility of island life and wondering about how to become a citizen.

Along the heels of this thought came the inevitable wonder of if I could do it. Could I leave my country (which I realize, I love very much)? Would I miss relatives, friends, family… winter? What my heart told me was that anything is possible, and that home is where you lay your head. While change is scary and often overwhelming, no matter where you end up – it can become a home to you. Maybe not that “home” that you always hold in your heart… but still ‘a home.’

This conversation in my head was reinforced by the latter-half of my week in Aruba. By the 4th of 5th day, I was quite at home. I knew where to go, who to talk to, what bus to take. I was unhindered by the unknown. It’s so much easier to be less afraid when the island is so small! Much like in elementary school and high school – it doesn’t take long before you feel like you own the place. The same happens at work places and in groups of friends. My mom even made a funny statement on the 6th day when a new tour group arrived. “Oh, the new people are here – they don’t know how things work yet.” It was so true, but also so apparent that my mom felt quite at home too. We all felt more experienced in the ways of the island, even though we had only been there a handful of days.

So to answer to the question “Can home and paradise be the same place?” YES! You need to make your home a paradise! If it’s not the paradise you wanted, you have a couple of choices – either work harder to make your environment the paradise you want, move to paradise, or compromise and visit paradise once or twice a year 🙂

I had an amazing time in the paradise of Aruba. My week away felt like a month. I feel refreshed and rested. But as my good friend pointed out: by Friday, it will feel like my trip to paradise was a year ago. It’s all too true. But what an amazing feeling to dip my feet in to the pool of paradise!

Being sick sucks… but life must go on!

Ahh *stretch* good to be back! I’ve been battling with strep throat and copious amounts of thick, green, and sometimes chunky, infected phlegm. Most of it gets disposed of, but occasionally some slips down my throat and makes my tummy uber angry with me. Needless to say, I have conquered the germs (almost) and life must go on!

The holidays are upon us. People are hustling and bustling, shopping and wrapping… even me! This year I have decided to try and put some personal effort into my gifts. I have made my own cards (which will be posted on here in the new year), and created a few presents from scratch. Sure, I have gone to the store and fulfilled some Christmas wishes by purchasing things on people’s lists – but I think putting in a little effort and making something adds a little meaning to the gift-giving.

My family is heavily dispersed this year – one brother and my sister are in Australia, the other brother is travelling to Brazil over Christmas. Growing up I was used to my entire family getting together to open mountains of presents. I think it’s going to be a really great holiday, actually – just hanging out with mom and her man! It will be quiet, and I’ll be spending time with those I love – just like it’s meant to be… not the race from one family house to another, wrapping thousands of gifts, unwrapping thousands of gifts, trying to fit all the gifts into the car, exchanging the gifts you don’t like, recycling all that paper… it just seems so *FraZzLing* sometimes. I really look forward to a quiet few days at mom’s place, playing games together and enjoying each others’ company.

I guess as you get older, the hustle and bustle of the holiday seems less *necessary* and it’s no longer about the gifts. Don’t get me wrong, I still kind of like the gifts… but I treasure most the time I get to spend with my loved ones.

What are you doing this holiday season?

My little sprouts

I like plants. I like taking care of them. I like seeing new shoots and leaves unfurling in the sunlight. And I definitely talk to them. Maybe it’s some kind of maternal instinct?

I currently have 14 different plants, as well as one pot with new seeds trying to grow, and a cutting from a friend’s plant that I’m trying to root. Most of these are in my room, packed onto a metal shelf. I have an amazing window that keeps them all happy and in the sun. They get turned periodically so they don’t grow lopsided. In the morning I like to check on them and see if anything new has sprouted.

This morning I checked on my Christmas cactus – it has 46 buds and 3 flowers. Thrilling news! My spider plant has three new shoots growing from it. The Jabanero pepper seeds I planted two weeks ago are sprouting. I keep checking on my orchids. One has 7 new buds getting ready to BURST into flower. The other has just recovered from a serious case of “floppy leaf.” I found that talking to it every morning and telling the little orchid that it could do it helped a great deal 🙂

My plants make me smile. It makes me happy to see them healthy and growing steadily. The cool thing about plants is that they never talk back. They don’t have temper tantrums. They don’t need baths. Plants just require a little bit of love and care (and patience)  – not to mention water and sun 🙂 And you don’t have to send them to university!

There are so many cool things about plants. You can split them and share them with friends. You can watch them grow and flower. Sometimes they get sick and you are challenged with nursing them back to health! I LOVE PLANTS! They are so versatile and interesting. They are so beautiful! I think caring for them is therapeutic too. I just love checking on things to make sure everything is growing properly. I like to prune the dead leaves and make sure the soil is even. It’s like having a little green family with me always!

Disjointed

My brain hurts. My face is hot. But I feel happy. Tired, but happy.  *knuckle cracks* [I gotta quit that…]

Yes, hot cheeks. They get all red, like I’m embarrassed – but really I’m as cool as a cucumber. I have weird reactions sometimes.

I had lots of smiles and laughs today – but also some serious frustration. I have some great people who help me keep an even keel – or just REALLY distract me well so I forget about my frustration. I’m not into religion, but I think I’m blessed to have all the friends I do have. They put me up in their houses, they listen to me when I’m sad or grouchy, they hang out with me, they give me smiles and laughs. I’m one lucky kid.

I wish I was lying on grass in the sun next to the ocean with a cool breeze blowing across me. I’d go swimming, floating, gliding, kicking, pulling, breathing, bobbing. I feel so free when I’m swimming – like I could swim forever.

Thanks universe, thanks life, thanks friends, thanks family – you’re the best!

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