Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fixing the Problem

The cat peed in my purse on Monday.

I was trying to find a cleaver humorous way to ease into the story but there isn't one. It wasn't funny, I wasn't cleaver of him I did not laugh, to put it bluntly (and in pun form)... it pissed me off!

The cat was laughing, I could sense it. The animal faction of the house has been behaving like monkeys on crack lately. Hormones are to blame. Spring is in the air, Birds are tormenting both the dog and the cat from the free side of the glass. Bunnies are brazenly grazing in the backyard just beyond reach. We cannot take the dog to the dog park, walking him is like trying to control a projectile missile. The cat is tying to serenade everything insight with his ear piercing meow song. I am never surprised by what I might see or hear. If I were to come downstairs and see the dog sitting right in the middle of the kitchen table (and I am  not admitting or denying that this may or may not already have happened) I would not be surprised.

So when the cat peed in my purse on Monday I took it in stride with a generous amount of cursing and swearing. I emptied the contents, rescued what I could and threw everything else in the trash. Fortunately my purse is 85% useless papers and receipts, 10% pharmaceutical, and 5% credit. The entire time I was at task the cat was looking at me like a 5 year old watching his mother heave his best kindergarten artwork into the garbage bin. I washed and dried the purse, a great advantage to affording "only looks like leather" and reassembled my life.

The only explanation I can deduce is that he was attempting to get word out that he was available and virile, the only way to accomplish that was to mark his scent on something that actually leaves the house. Maybe he thought I would come home with a string of female cats in tow. Perhaps his plan was to use me as an unwitted mule.

The animal lunacy in the house should come to an end very soon, both were taken in for the surrender of their 'hormonal bits' on Thursday. With any luck once the cone comes off the dog will be civilized and the cat will have learned a very valuable lesson about personal property.

Gratitude should come from our cat Mortimer today that after much introspection I decided to spend the money on him after all, because, for a brief moment on Monday morning, I was fully considering performing the procedure myself and using the money saved to buy myself a really nice purse!

Happy Saturday! Gratitude, Hope and Smiles are meant to be shared...get busy!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'll Take New Math Any Day

Do you have a child in school? Have you heard that the 'new' math will make your head hurt, that even if you have a university math degree you will be challenged with the equations and theories of the looming math curriculum? I read an article in MacLean's recently that talked about parents attending 'tutoring' sessions to learn, understand and have a hope in hullabaloo of helping their third graders with numbers.
None of this scares me. I have a box of cheerios in the cupboard, worst comes to worst I can dump them on the table and we will get the answer the old fashioned way. Run out of cheerios, I'm not beyond having the entire family remove their socks to get the job done. Math doesn't make me sweat.

Technology does. I'm not daft when it comes to clicking a mouse, downloading files and uploading data, videos and photos. I'm pretty comfortable with it actually and if I run into an issue beyond my scope I call my brother, he's a programmer. If we are still up against a wall we put the question out to social media circles, someone out there always knows what to do. Even armed, technological homework is migraine inducing.

This week E has been creating something called a 'glogster' (yes, we don't know what that is either) The best description I can give you is an electronic poster. A screen shot. The basic work was well completed but E wanted to use the 'add a video' feature. He clicked the button and after take 64, was happy with his performance. He clicked the button to add the video. The little scrolly 'transferring data bar' began scrolling. It was taking a really long time, more than 15 minutes so we clicked stop and started from scratch. This time I clicked the buttons. The scrolly bar began and we let it go, 20 minutes, 30 minutes 45 minutes, I sent E to bed. The video was 2 minutes long after 2 hours I cancelled the transfer. In the morning we tried again this time we recorded the video on my phone and tried to upload it to the site. Fail. E decided to skip the video and replace it with a photo and some separate audio. Picture success, audio fail. Once, twice, three, four, nine, twelve times. Eventually we saved what there was. I wrote a note of extreme frustration to the teacher and I think he might have gotten to school on time.

If this had been a one time event I could cruise through, chalk it up and move on but this is reoccurring techno-frustration. We do this every month. A wiki, a voki, a glogster, a bitstrip. I can't do it anymore. I get that technology is in the classroom, I get that it is pertinent. I don't get how a family that might not have some savvy, a programming brother or the social webisphere is suppose to support the initiative. There is no box of something in the cupboard you can poor on the table to do things the old fashioned way there is only failure to understand and succeed.

For the record E can manipulate the computer and Internet better than a great many adults I know and even he is getting frustrated with the untested - uni-tried sites and spaces that are suppose to be delivering his technological learning.

Needless to say Gratitude today for the personal knowledge that my son will grow up to be a fine technical savvy young man despite failing to impress his fourth grade techno-teacher. Oh, and for my own creative efforts to express frustration in words that don't begin with 'F'.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Seeking Borrowed Gratitude - Want to Write with Us?

I knew this day was going to come and I am so glad it is here! We get to hear a lot of great inspiring stories as a result of sharing our journey with Gratitude in The Space Between Raindrops. I talk to so many amazing people, face to face, in emails and online about the power and affect gratitude is having on their lives.

You never get to hear these stories you only ever get to hear mine...that's not really fair is it?

I want you to hear those stories too! I want you to have the opportunity to share your stories so we are looking for guest contributors.

What you need to know...

  • email your story to
  • gratitude themed personal encounters please
  • pictures are nice but not mandatory
  • you don't have to be a writer you just have to have a story
  • this is a place of positivity
  • think post not paperback (something under 1000 words fits nicely)
  • include your blog, site or other contact information that we can pass along and a little info about who you are.
Don't be shy...

Get writing! Gratitude is meant to be shared - let's get started!


Friday, April 20, 2012


Raising teenagers is like sending a slinky down the stairs; you know it's going to run off course and get stuck. Guide and nudge that's your job. - Michelle

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There was never a more frustrating exercise for me as a kid than playing Slinkys. I loved them! I loved the metallic swoosh, swoosh, swoosh sound they made. I loved the way they seemingly 'floated' from one hand to the other under their own momentum. I loved racing Slinkys down the stairs. I loved it but really it was more frustration than pleasure. I would poise my Slinky strategically on the top step  and wait for the signal, then give it a nudge to send it on it's way.

Sometimes that dam Slinky would fly over the first three steps and bounce the rest of the way down. One time in six I would get lucky and the first push was precise and set the perpetual motion into effect, my Slinky would 'walk' down those stairs like a commercial champion, get 4 steps into the journey and coil itself back up into a stack and wait for all the other Slinkys to 'sproing' on by. As I write I an trying desperately to playback memory footage to a time when I executed a perfect Slinky run. I can't find one, I'm fairly confident in telling you that it never happened. It never happened but I loved that game anyway. I would spend hours setting my Slinky up to fail, redirecting it's path and restarting it time and again when it got stuck on the journey.

I never won a Slinky race but I always celebrated my Slinky landing at the bottom of the stairs. I celebrated because that was the triumph, not how elegantly your coil got to the bottom of the stairs but that it got there at all. I celebrated because of the one thing every Slinky player knew; every time you launched your spring you ran the risk of it getting tangled on itself. If that happened you were done. You can't untie a Slinky, just any Dad presented with a mass of wire by a sobbing 4 year old. You could probably avoid the whole mess by keeping your Slinky on a shelf and just saying "look, I have a Slinky." I knew kids who did that, but that is not what Slinkys are for.

Gratitude today to my teenagers Slinkys. The game is always fresh, frustrating and fun. Most of all you give me so many reasons to celebrate, no matter how many times I push you down the stairs and how much work it takes to get you to the bottom, you always get there 'untangled' in perfect form. Lucky for Dad...Moms are a lot easier to untie.

Have a fun weekend everyone!
Gratitude, Hope and Smiles are meant to be shared - get to work!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Weight of the World

Mike and I recently celebrated 20 years of marriage, we have come a very long way in those 20 years. Very few possessions have stayed with us from wedding gift to modern day. Sheets and towels have long ago been replaced. Last year we got new pots. A couple of prints remain along with some beautiful candle sticks and some table linens. There is one other item; my Grandmother's wedding gift to us... A bathroom scale.

ancient and battered & quite likely inaccurate
Yes, a bathroom scale! At the time I secretly thought to myself '"What the hell...who gets their granddaughter a bathroom scale for a wedding present?" Then I wondered if my Gran was okay, maybe she was like the crazy aunt in National Lampoon's Christmas who wrapped up her cat and her jello mold as Christmas presents. I cherished glimpses of my Gran laughing it up and partying the night away during our reception, just in case it were true. I wanted some sparkle to remember her by.

My Gran kept all of her wits about her until the very end almost. She celebrated many anniversaries with us and always had some quiet wisdom for me when life was challenging. I never ever had the courage to ask Gran why she thought a bathroom scale was a good wedding gift, why not a nice picture frame of a serving dish? I never asked but over the years I've figured it out.

I've been stepping on that scale daily for twenty years and never once has it measured the weight of my world. I weigh the same whether my problems are minor or seemingly insurmountable.

Knowing that, I use the scale as a check-up not just of my physical well-being but of my emotional well-being too. I step on and after I read my physical weight I ask myself - "What is the weight of my world today? What is weighing me down?" Then I get to work on losing that extra weight so that when I go out into the world I am not throwing my weight of the world around.

It seems like a funny exercise but then a bathroom scale was a funny wedding present. Gratitude today to my not so crazy Gran who even after all the years she has been gone reminds me everyday that under the weight of the world you are still the same as you were yesterday, and if you are going to lose some extra pounds the easiest ones to shed are the invisible ones weighing you down.

Thanks Gran.

Gratitude, Hope & Smiles are meant to be shared,


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Our Greatest Fear

Our Greatest Fear


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
—Marianne Williamson

Gratitude today that thoughts and words of another have the power to stir emotion, reflection, motivation and inspiration.

Gratitude that each of us has that power - In all things chose your words, use them to lift others up, to give them courage to overcome their 'Greatest Fear.'

Enjoy Sunday! - Gratitude, hope and smiles are meant to be shared - please share.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

What Have You Done for You Lately?

I going to give you a minute here because I know Janet Jackson is playing in your head right now, complete with uber choreographed moves and abs of steel.

Done singing? Feel free to hum along as you read, I'm humming as I write.

...And I am doing something for me. I've Challenged myself to some self improvement. I like self improvement, mostly because I can acknowledge that there is a lot of room for it and I like goals that carry a lot of interpretive room of success.

I began just around Christmas to seriously look at putting the brakes on a bad spiral. A spiral that began with the acceptance of a sedentary job. There was a time when my feet hit the floor at 5am and stayed there until 10pm, I was on the move, burning calories, keeping fit. Not through sport or exercise, but through constant activity. To be quite honest I have about as much love and competency for exercise and sport as I do for singing the national anthem buck naked at a hockey game. None the less I was fit, trim, full of energy. In the past 6 months however my activity level has dropped dramatically and the pounds are creeping in. My clothes are a little snugger, my mood is a little slugger and my feeling of "well" is not as healthy as it used to be. So I asked Mike to get me an elliptical, which he did (he even assembled it for me) and I began clocking time and distance in an effort to reverse the spiral. I began noticing slight improvements in my energy level but I was also noticing the old familiar "it's easier to" thoughts. Easier to get the dishes washed, easier to fold the laundry, easier to catch-up with friends. What I needed was a gentle push and motivation to help me focus on my goal.

So we have these friends who have been promoting something called "The 90 Day Challenge" and yes I will be the very first person to say that is not for me. I am the quintessential skeptic, I am a profound lover of food, I am a very strong proponent of farm to table living and real cooking. I also believe in research and understanding. So I or rather we have been watching our friends, and their friends and their friends and families for more than a year. We have professed all the way along that "this is not for me" or maybe it is. Familiarity and results breed understanding. In a matter of a year I have seen my friends transform not only their health but also their out look on life, and it's not just them, everyone who has committed themselves to the Challenge has improved some portion of their life - Call it personal development. Well, personal development was my goal remember, personal development is Michael's goal every morning when he wakes up. So let's give it a try...

I started my Challenge with this 90 day goal; lose 20lbs, engage in 20 minutes of cardio everyday, and drop 2 dress sizes. That is all my goal is or rather was. I thought if I could manage that in 90 days I would look better, feel better and walk a little taller. A little bigger issue was underlying that simple goal, an issue that I really was trying to glass over. My heart. I come from good stock with the exception of cardiovascular realm. Both sides of my lineage have heart reputations as steadfast as the Titanic. I won't go into the sordid details except to say that any person with my DNA past the age of 40 is the equivalent of a ticking time bomb. Over the past 6 months I have not only been watching the pounds creep on I have also been watching my blood pressure creep up; that makes me nervous. At last check I rang in at 147/85. So my Challenge to improve my health has gone from - This would be good for me to critical; There is no option but Do It!

Do it we are! In 14 days I have climbed on that elliptical for minimum 20 minutes, I have lost 6lbs, and I am feeling better. I am committed to tackling this climbing blood pressure to the ground and if a vitamin regiment and a healthy meal replacement can manage that I'm in. Pro athletes boost their nutrition with meal replacement shakes everyday, every pharmacy in the country has shelves full of nutritional beverages. The 'shake' was my hang up, it felt like I was taking the easy way out, like I was compromising my nutritional morals. But you know what I found out. The 90 Day Challenge is not so much about the meal replacement as it is about the goal setting, the exercise and health information and tools available to every person, it is about the community of people encouraging one another to get healthy, to reach for longevity, it is about challenging one another and making sure you reach better health together. It is about self improvement.

For me it is about being here 10 years from now and enjoying a vibrant life.

Huge Gratitude today to my Michael for taking on the Challenge of helping our family and so many other's get healthy, and thank you to our friends for loving us enough to not take our "not for me" as the answer and believing that a way of life can change a life.

So, What have you done for you lately?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sometimes a Card Says it Best

Today the Gratitude is short and sweet...

Kids make you laugh.

Remember when I got A Little Help From My Friends? The impact was farther reaching than I was aware...

E-man makes an Easter card at school.

Gratitude to KJ too, who took it all in stride and even cracked a little smile herself.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Never Too Late

In twenty years of married life, my Dad has never joined us for Easter and we have never ventured to join him. He lives a distance that poses some weekend travel challenges both in time and finance. To be quite honest when we do see my father he is the one who has made the trek.

So this year Easter has a special memory for me because yesterday my dad joined us around the table. It is the first time that our family has enjoyed a 'celebration' diner together with him. We have not celebrated a single holiday together before this weekend, it was nice. Who am I kidding it was wonderful. Wonderful and wrapped the spirit of Easter in gold foil.

There was a time when our relationship was not great, there was a time when I had no use for my father, no desire to engage him, no time for what he brought or didn't bring to my life. There was a time period of eleven years where I didn't speak to my father. I did not send him cards or call him on the phone, I did not share my life with him and I did not care to know what was happening in his. I did not invite him to my wedding, I did not tell him he was going to be a grandfather. We did not call or send pictures or send the message when that day arrived. I was a terrible daughter. In fairness, the equivalent on his side of the relationship was also true, he was not winning father of the year.

For those eleven years I felt no remorse, then our first child was born. We waded through sleepless nights and first words, we learned to be parents and she learned to walk and all I could think when I looked at her was that she deserved everything I could give her, and that included the grandfather she wasn't aware she had. So one day I picked up the phone, and made the scariest phone call I have ever made in my entire life. I called my Dad.

We started slow and tentative, we talked about our sins and our regrets, we talked about our fears and our hopes. There was not a single catastrophic event that damaged our relationship but a series of little knocks and a whole lot of bloodline stubborn pride. That kind of damage takes a long time to repair, but we did it. We did it with laughter, conversation, honesty and respect.

Hard work and hope that brought us all the way around to this Easter. Our relationship has been healed for a great many years now, many more than it was broken but the meal and time shared this weekend causes refection.

E-man and I were having a discussion about the significance of Easter, the meaning, the reasons why we celebrate and I wish there was some way I could portray to him the warmth in my heart this weekend celebrating with my Dad. The lessons of Easter lie right there in my memories of that healing.

It is never too late to forgive, it is never to late to ask for forgiveness. It is never to late to love or be loved. It is never too late for second chances.

I will always be Grateful to my Almighty Father that he saw fit to forgive the world, to love us through our sins and through the life of his very own son, offer us a second chance. I will also be forever Grateful to my earthly father that he carries forgiveness in his heart, love that always moves forward and that he never rests on second chances.

Happy Easter, In the spirit of celebration... give, forget, love and love on.


oh, and all that chocolate....a bonus to remind you that 'Life is Sweet'

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Put it Back

I have not been able to write for just about 10 days now. Not because I don't want to, not because I don't have things to write about but because I can't. I have the time I have the inspiration but I do not have the ability. I am what you might commonly refer to as blocked. Blocked by frustration, annoyance and fear over the following thought...

Is it possible for a family to support more than one person's dream at a time?

If a dream requires all out effort, time, attention and devotion to be realized, is it possible for you to devote yourself entirely to achieving it. If someone else's dream requires your support, guidance, and help is it possible to give those things away without jeopardizing your own desires?

In a family how  do you decide who gets to dream. I am the very first one to say "We all Do... Dreams for EVERYBODY!" but it's just not true is it? I mean we all get to have our dreams but we don't all get to live them do we? It would be a pretty crazy world if we all ended up using all of our minutes striving towards our goals, I for one would be over-joyed to wander in a sea of ridiculously happy people all living "the life" whatever that life might be to them.

As parents we work hard to make this a reality for our kids. If they want to play hockey we do the driving, tie the skates, sit in the stands and cheer. If they want to be artists we buy the paints and pastels, blocks of sketch paper and easels. The child who wants to be fashion forward or a model gets the clothes, the shoes, the attention to make that possible. We do this for our kids without a second thought or an ounce of bitterness because one of our dreams is to see all of there's come true.

Along the way however each of us providers carries our own very personal dreams. Dreams that are big, dreams that would require attention and time and effort, dreams that would require the support and help and guidance of others. Dreams that end up on shelves. Not because we don't want to nurture them but because doing so only halfway is painful, disappointing and emotional.

We have a saying in our home "All in or Nothing" it means for us that at any given time we are giving 120% to the moment and the events there in. Anything less that 'all in' achieves very little. You can't make cookies with half the ingredients, you can't achieve success in school by only doing half of your homework. Laundry that only gets washed might be clean but it's not wearable. To give less than your all produces disappointing results.

This is what prompts us to put things on the shelf to wait for their time.

So the kids get their dreams. Parents make sure of that or they make sure the kids are dreaming dreams that fit in with their own program. That would be the easy way, one main dreamer in the house charting the course for the rest of the family and toting them along for the ride.

I can't do that, I want to see everyone realise a dream born of their own passions. I am the supporter of dreams, that's my job and I love it.

Gratitude today that I can take my own big dreams down from time, that they get to see periods of sunshine. It keeps them fresh for the day when they can have all of  my attention. I just wish today that it was easier to put them back on the shelf.

Gratitude, Hope and Smiles are meant to be shared. That would help me achieve my dream if you would pass that thought around.


one last thought to share...

If you are the person with the freedom to indulge your big dream with 120% of your effort and does it with the support of great people around you... don't you dare sit back and do nothing with that privilege. Seize it, embrace it, make the very most of it. Chances are that a lot of other people are putting their dreams on simmer to make that possible.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In the Meantime

Last evening we took Cooper to the dog park. Usually we go, he runs like mad for twenty minutes and we latch on to him. I say latch because in a free for all field of 100 dogs there is no way in the world he is responding to the 'come' command. I have a hard enough time with that in the living room where the biggest distraction is the coffee table.

Spring is in the air, dogs of every description are in full on heat, that makes a 40lb lighting fast hormone raging puggle a little harder to catch. For 60 minutes Mike and I tried to latch on to that dog, he would not stop, he would not come, he could not even be lured into the outer paddock. We were completely at his mercy and the rest of life got sidelined. Dinner, homework, downtime, bedtime all suffered. That dog presented quite a challenge to my zen. What I really wanted to do was shoot him with a tranquilizer dart and drag him out by his tail.

I suppose I want to shoot more than my dog with a tranquilizer at the moment. There is a lot of life that is eluding me and I am not fairing too well with the challenge of it all. If you check the post date you will see that this is my first post in a week and to be quite honest my last two offerings were not nearly what I had envisioned in my head. I'm not even sure this one is turning into what I wanted it to be.

In fact I know it's not, but it is what I have time for today, it is what I can accomplish, it has to be enough to remind myself that I'm still working. My vision is the one running around in the park after 99 other dogs in heat. I don't have a hope in hell of latching on to it right now. So I'm just going to stand over here between the exit and the poop disposal and wait.

Happy Tuesday - Good luck with your puggle!