Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Rest is as Good as a Change

What a glorious morning! For some unknown (but much appreciated) reason I found myself home this morning. No work, no errands, no appointments, no commitments. The best recollection of the last such event was E-man's H1N1 stint in the fall of '09, I had alot of time on my hands that week.

I was so excited I could hardly sleep last night. No worries, a morning off presents the lovely option of returning to bed for a nap. There is also the option of housework, which is perpetual and undeserving of my precious few hours of downtime. I did fold what laundry was cluttering my bedroom, I walked E-man and his infamous bridge to school. I made coffee, loaded the dishwasher and yakked with my father in-law. I answered the phone 2 or 3 times (answering machines deserve a holiday too) imagine my callers surprise to reach an actual person!

I also dedicated some time to my mental health. A change is as good as a rest they say...and well, since I was resting anyway I figured some change couldn't hurt either.

So I gave The Space Between Raindrops a makeover. What do you think? Go ahead be as honest as you like, I've had the morning off after all and I'm in pretty good humor (this may be your only shot.)

It goes without saying that today my gratitude lies with the scheduler at work, the coffee pot at home and the people who have kept my family occupied while I indulge my mental goodness.

Your Turn. What are you grateful for today?

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Did this post brighten your day? make you smile? If so I'd be ever so grateful if you shared it on Facebook or Twitter. Someone else might be in need of a smile - Thanks!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday's Example of Domestic Bliss

What did I do before I got a dryer with a "dewrinkle" setting?...If I couldn't get away with defining the wrinkles under the 'casual' category, I chose something else to wear. If my only option was wrinkled beyond wearable status I cried, then I ironed... but mostly I cried.

Today I am grateful for domestic technology that compensates for my lack of enthusiasm and aptitude.

Spend some moment everyday in reflection of gratitude and happiness. Even if the time found is standing in line for coffee...use is wisely.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Cross That Bridge When You Get to It.

If you were to walk into my kitchen right now and set your sights on the table you would be staring right into the very abyss that has swallowed my last nerve.

"My last nerve" I say that all the time in my parenting life. It flys from my lips as my children engage in vocal warfare "Knock it off...I'm down to my last nerve!" The child who incesantly pleads for the latest toy or begs merciously for a grounding reprieve hears "I've got one nerve left and you're standing on it!" (that's a warning shot). At some point during teenage PMS week I usually declare "That's it! my nerves are shot!" I'm not going to lie, there have been nights when I curl up in Michael's arms and cry "My nerves can't take any more."

There are a hundred events capable of bringing me to my knees and finding me resorting to the "Nervous" phrase. No single event however has greater power than

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pssst, Pass the Remote

Michael celebrated another birthday this week. I say 'another' like he's an old fart, he's not old exactly (that would make me old too and well, no.) He has reached an age however where he has everything and no one is really quite sure what to buy him. Which leads to gifts like this....

The "Man Remote" has some clever control options. Clearly designed by a man, as evidenced by the "nagging" more/less and "fetch" features.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Around the Table

I woke up this morning more tired than I went to bed. Exhaustion is highly unusual for me, a phenomenon I haven't suffered since my children were night creatures. I didn't handle it very well back then, I boiled pots dry and put milk away in the cupboard. In it's place I would place salt & pepper in the fridge. It's a wonder really that any of us actually survived those years without great physical harm, food poisoning or a permanent twitch. Survival in the face of adverse conditions is my grateful today.

Your turn at the table....what are you grateful for today?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Optimist in Me Wanted to Believe it Was Over.

The pessimist in me left the shovel out and the procrastinator didn't change the snow tires yet.

I suppose I can be grateful for that while I mourn the 2 days of beautiful weather Mother Nature teased us with.

Monday, March 21, 2011

World's Greatest Celebrates Another One

I love today. Yes it's the first day of spring, the air is fresh, hope is alive on the breeze. You can feel the anticipation of warmer days and the fresh spring scents of hyacinths, crocus and new grass.

It is no secret that winter is the least favourite of my seasons. The cold, bitter winds, the slogging through snow drifts and slush make me weep inside. By mid March I am ready to commit to permanent hibernation. It's easy to understand then, why, today would bring me such joy.

Joy that is doubled because today is also Michael's birthday. Gratitude abounds today as I welcome the end of seasonal discomfort and celebrate how my life has been blessed by a fabulous man born on the first day of spring.

Michael & E-man

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tomorrow's a Mystery

What's in the box? It's a mystery obviously, you can't see inside. The ominous question marks on the outside suggest that what is inside might not be entirely desirable. It's not a big box but then some great things come in very small packages. (think candy and spare change) Of course some equally crappy things would fit in such a small box (think lima beans or a credit card bill folded over and over again into a tiny square)

This box could hold anything. It used to hold candy. I've been staring at it for the better part of the morning because it has been refilled by one of my 'fun loving' nephews. I know there is something inside, even an empty box is full of nothing. The question is whether I'm going to be grateful for what's inside the box or not. 

I'm thinking about the week ahead and wondering what's in store. It's a mystery like what's inside the box. You can stare at it all you want but eventually you have to open the box. There might be crap in store or something great either way it demands attention ...the trick is going to be turning whatever it is into something to be grateful for.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The More the Merrier? You Better Believe It!

It's March Break in our neck of the woods. Kids are spending time enjoying the leisure life..sleeping in, watching cartoons all day, texting at the speed of light and updating their facebook status on the hour. I fully expect when I arrive home to be greeted with a counter full of dirty dishes, empty toilet paper rolls and fully scavenged cupboards.

On Monday the Pyjama precedent was set. PJ's will be worn until 4:23pm. On Tuesday bedtime was established. Under 12 set, lights out by 10...the over 13 set better have lights out before my alarm goes off for work in the morning.

I would love if a fraction of time was spent on homework and reading. I would be thrilled if someone suddenly developed a propensity for cleanliness. I would be over the moon with joy if a plan was hatched to spend an afternoon in the fresh air. But I refuse to sweat it. It's one week, an easy fraction of time of which the nagging is easily recouped, might as well let them soak up a week of zero responsibility. I know I would totally enjoy that kind of vacation!

That was the plan. Plans change at a moments notice in our world and plans changed to include our 3 nephews. When plans change...responsibilities change.

Sometimes the best way to handle those changes in responsibility is to add MORE kids to the mix
6 take over the living room and Lego land... wait count again...there should be 8 total. Lock the door we lost 2!!!!!
Today I am grateful for big kids who enjoy the games that little kids play. I am especially grateful to my girls for adapting their plans for March Break to include responsibility and more grateful than they know that I didn't need to ask.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Somethings You Stumble Upon

This quote is something that landed on my desk today...thought it was really great.

We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.
Marcel Proust

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Keeping The Space. Keeping The Faith

It's been quiet around here, hasn't it? You know what they say when the streets are empty..."there must be something going on at the playhouse." Ok, you've probably never heard that before. Some sayings are in my head, planted there by my Gran or a vision of what she would say in any given situation. I kind of like this one.

There have been no gratitude updates this week, no amateur snapshots of toilet paper rolls or kids camped in sheet forts. Posts that shine light on the fun side of everyday chaos are still locked inside my head, (if you need a grateful for today... go ahead use this if you like. I promise my feelings will not be hurt.) The blog has been neglected, abandoned, along with the laundry, in favour of handling family crisis. Actually one of us is in "crisis" the rest of us are in a state of emergency.

This morning I ran out of underwear. I should have thought while I was shuffling, updating, arranging, rearranging, scheduling and rescheduling, I should have thought to reassign laundry duty. I should have but I didn't and clean underwear is pretty important in my books. This morning I'm catching up. The washer is humming, I'm drinking coffee and checking in with my gratitude. I should have re-assigned someone to keep "The Space" updated. Keeping a grateful mindset is as emotionally significant to our family as clean boxers.

There have been great moments of gratitude this week... Michael's months of study concluded this week with his final exam on Saturday

Eman earned the last $10 he need to buy the Pokemon Black and White game. I understand that this is actually 2 separate games. He bought the Black, he'll need alot more snow to get the White version too. Lula has been spending time with friends and new shoes, KJ has been enjoying spontaneous pizza parties at school and new shoes.

I know there have been more gratefuls this week for my family. While I finish up the laundry this morning I'm going to hand over the laundry soap and the password and ask them to keep The Space Between Raindrops updated with our daily gratefuls. Now more than anytime before us this space is crucial.

As for my greatest Gratitude this week. It is the wee hours of Thursday morning that found me in the emergency department with my brother. He looked at me and said "Turn this into a Gratitude." He doesn't know it but I probably have never been more grateful than at that very moment. He also doesn't know yet but that exact moment will be the very one he will be most grateful for. For now, he works to get to that day, we work to support him and when he comes to me and wants to talk about those hours I think I'll lend him the password and ask him to share a Gratitude.

Until then there is only faith.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle.

The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.     

Ayn Rand
Russian-born American Author

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pass It On

Sometimes your feeling get hurt too. Today I am grateful that there are doctors who fix bones and tummy aches and fevers but I am really grateful for the ones who help fix feelings.

Did your socks match today? Please share a gratitude here or with the person next to you on the bus or behind you in line at the grocery store...they might need it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pancakes Save the Day!

Can there be a better day than one that ends with eating pancakes for supper? I think not!

When I was reminded by a friend this morning that today was Pancake Tuesday my mood immediately brightened. I savoured that tidbit like a buttery, syrup soaked, hot off the griddle delicacy. I decided to share my joy. I wished people in my path a "Happy Pancake Day" and each time you could see the spark light in their eyes.

Suddenly a regular Tuesday filled with dentist appointments, flashing gas tanks, and traffic jams took on a new light. The mood of those around me brightened too and I was surrounded by people in good humor. All of us united in the prospect of the humble pancake to get us through whatever challenges lay in our paths.

My kids were happy for Pancake Tuesday as well. After the ritual argument over flipping rights, we gathered at the table with a fresh bottle of syrup and smiles on our hearts. I watched with delight, as the kids drowned their stacks in copious amounts of syrup. The gratitudes tonight flowed like pancake syrup too.

Now everyone has been directed to brush twice and floss and rinse because it might be Pancake Tuesday but it was also Dentist day and we have a few too many cavities for my liking!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Harder List to Make

If you haven’t all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don’t have that you wouldn’t want. -- Author Unknown

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bring It On!

Being the parent of teens can be challenging, even with great kids. (yes I have great kids. Have I not mentioned that before?) There are worries about friendships and relationships, a word that makes a small patch of skin just below my breastbone break out in a rash. (I think it may be the ulcer burning to the surface.) Parents of teens (even really great ones) worry. People who have been entirely your responsibility for years are suddenly out in the world supervised only by a guilty conscious and their own moral compass.

They want more freedom, they crave it, plan it and fight for it, Of course they usually require a ride to and from their freedom and someone to finance it.

Teenagers never have clean clothes. I know that teens are smart, they continually remind me by proclaiming "I'm not stupid." Why, do they not know then, that clothes do not walk from the bedroom floor to the laundry room?

Only a teenager could stand in the middle of the kitchen while you unpack $200 worth of groceries and complain that there is nothing to eat. At that moment it takes every ounce of strength not to chuck a grapefruit at their head.

As the parent of a teen you are directly responsible for plan failure. How this happens I am not sure, all I am certain of is that if a BFF can't make it to the movie because her BF's parents said he couldn't leave the will pay. A simple "what movie are you seeing?" will be successfully twisted into a high pitched discussion about the number of ways you are single handedly destroying a life.

In a comedic irony we are directly responsible to authorities for the attendance, performance and success of scholastic life. Have you ever asked a teen to do their homework?

There are serious issues that rob us of sleep. The minefield of adolescent dangers is ever growing and the urban dictionary is usually a good six months behind. By the time information about the latest narcotic party games, conquest challenges and social network threats filter to your facebook, it's old news.

Yes, parenting teens, even really great ones (yes, I have great kids. I'm not so much reminding you as I am reminding myself.) is challenging. I have a long way still to go on this portion of our parenting journey. Our youngest has yet to enter adolescence. Lord help me, there are days when I wonder if I'll come out the other side. It takes a thick skin not to take it personally. It takes enormous emotional fortitude to weather the hormonal storms. It takes a ridiculous amount of resolve to stand your ground. It takes an infinate measure of faith to withstand the worry.

I'm not going to lie, there are days that end with me curled into to the fetal position with a box of kleenex. There are days when I think they are going to defeat me. There are days when I am sure I don't have what it takes to get them through this right of passage. Some days I don't know where I will find the strength.

Then I get a text like this...

KJ wants to be picked up from her sleepover at dinner not lunch.

...and instantly the batteries recharge!

I'm grateful that teenagers think they are so smart. They remind me that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Bring it on!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Gratitude Funny

Sometimes you're not grateful for a thing until you reach for it and it's not there.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Thursday Holds

Confession time...I am a Horoscope follower. I check my Gemini horoscope every morning on my facebook app. For good measure I then check it in the 3 different newspapers we have on hand each day at the restaurant. I compare all the predictions. Somedays I meld them together into a single forecast overview, somedays I pick the least of the worst and go with it as my 'official' prediction and cross my toes that the star readers are having an off day.

Then sometimes I get a forecast like this...

Even though the Moon transits into a sign that can enhance your popularity, Gemini, chances are that you'll find yourself having to deal with issues concerning letting go. There's something in your life that has outlived its usefulness, and this may be brought to your attention in a dramatic way today. This is not bad karma, or something you deserve, it's only a message from the stars asking you to get rid of what you don't need and make room for something new in your life.

and I can't wait to see what the day has in store! Today looks like it's going to be interesting, perhaps I will choke on a high-fat muffin thereby confirming that I should not be eating the darned things in the first place. I am filled with anticipation!

It's Thursday and not that an excuse is needed but I always ask ..."What's your gratitude?" it's your turn at the table, share a comment about what you are grateful for today.

As for me...I am grateful for innocent words of entertainment that start each morning for me with a chuckle!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A special thank you today to some friends and a few strangers who have sent me notes recently expressing their gratitude for The Space Between Raindrops.

"The more gratitude I find, the more I find." What a great feeling to give some away.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Drive Time

It takes 18 minutes for me to drive to work. In those minutes I am oblivious to the world beyond my comfort class seating. I crank the radio, I sing as if no one's watching, I belt out the hits like I can carry a tune. I talk back to the radio, I answer the DJ's rhetorical questions. I tap my fingers on the steering wheel with gusto and throw my head back for the high notes. I laugh from my belly. Occasionally I blurt obscenities at the top of my lungs at idiotic drivers and shout instructions to the vehicularily challenged.

Inside my sound proof booth on wheels I let it all out. No one can hear me, no one knows what I'm saying (unless they can lip read at 60km/hr)

Today I wondered what I must look like to those just beyond my factory tint windows. I know that I must look incredibly foolish. If there were in fact a camera recording my 18 minute mental health break it would be first class, grade 'A' YouTube viral material. I realize it, I just don't care. Those 18  minutes do more for me than hours of therapy ever could achieve and well, if in the process, I provide a stoplight's worth of humor and entertainment for some other frantic soul that's just a bonus.

I must express my gratitude for street level therapy. For the record, I also appreciate and am grateful beyond measure that there are no recording devices in my vehicle.