Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I did it. I am DONE. I have, perhaps for the first time ever, rode the train directly to the station.

Well, I do have a few little odds and ends – pictures, some furniture, pillows, a few accessories – but that doesn’t count -  that’s ‘hunting’.  
The bones are done for my three January Rooms.

My mission for 2012 is to go through every single room in my house and clear the excess. Purge and edit. Let go.  WHOA!  Back up. Rewind. Completely unreasonable, unattainable. That would be a full twelve month job - I need to do other stuff this year too.  I only play ‘HOUSE’ until the end of March, if it’s not done by then it has to wait until the following January.  I’m going to have to break it up over a few years. There are 15 rooms in this house; I will do one third a year, which makes it a three year project. Considering my tiny little problem of staying on task, that makes it much more realistic.

That’s what I have to get better at – pacing myself while maintaining my focus.  Slow & steady.  As Keith Kochner said at a seminar I attended recently: “Little step. Little step. Little step. Watch for the opportunity.” 

So, that has become my WORD for 2012. FOCUS.  It’s been riding around with me for a while now and it feels like the time is right.
 I will focus on focusing on FOCUS.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Old Business

 I may as well admit it. Brian drives me nuts at times. Having been with him for over 40 years, I suppose that’s bound to happen. Who am I kidding – there were times he drove me nuts after six months.

It’s actually a little miracle that our marriage has lasted so long. We are polar opposites for the most part.  If someone asks him for a 7/16th wrench, he goes to his toolbox and there it is – in the same spot it has for over three decades. Same wrench.  If someone asked me for a pair of scissors, I say … ‘Okay – give me a minute.’, while I root through drawers and eventually come up with one of three dozen pairs of scissors I have strategically placed throughout the house.   

Once I was rushing with something on a deadline and somehow lost my good fabric scissors, mid-stream – I had been using them all morning.  I searched for an hour & finally had to have one of the girls go to the fabric store in town to get me another pair.  They were sold out. A fabric store out of scissors – what’s the chances? I was forced to institute St. Anthony. As I was standing there, giving him a few minutes to work his magic, the UPS truck drove in.  It was delivering a huge box of stuff that I had won at the Creative Needlework Show in Toronto - $800 worth.  Sure enough – there were scissors in there – three pair.  True story. Thanks Saint Anthony. I found the scissors a year later, in between layers of fabric

But I digress.  The issue is not that I get pulled through by some miracle, but that Brian never has to rely on that. He can put his hands on every single thing he owns at any given moment.  It bugs me.  When I need to borrow something from him, he makes me turn my back so I don’t see where he keeps it. That bugs me too.

And yet another thing that irritates me is his unswaying focus.  When he determines a task, he keeps his eye on it and does not waiver. He basically becomes obsessed with seeing it to completion. Me … one task is just a little blip on the road to another one.  I like to kind of think about my tasks – have a cup of tea, mull it over awhile in my head, see if anything better comes up.  Him … full steam ahead til he gets to the station.  Me … oh well, another train will come along. Or I may I decide to take the bus – there might be new and different scenery.

Take his project of stripping the hardwood floors in the kitchen. The plan was to take everything out, then do the outside by hand on one day, use the orbital sander the next and then get on to the three coats of finish.  On Day 1, the girls and I were out until 11 pm. The comment was “Knowing Dad, he’ll have started the floor today.’ My response was “Knowing your Dad he will have FINISHED sanding the floor today.” I won.  Not only totally done sanding, but there he was, finishing up the first coat of varnish at eleven o'clock at night. Who works at eleven o'clock at night on something like that.

I have been on my own mission in our January project of reviving the kitchen.  He did the floor, ceiling, trim, cupboards and table. I did the walls and the thinking.  I have one tiny little bit to do and the whole thing will be completely finished – every square inch. It’s the backsplash above the counter.  The colour is so close that no one would even notice it wasn’t done. But then it would not be ‘every square inch’.

I have the paint. I have the tape.  I have 2 days left in January to make my goal.  But, my focus is shifting. Some other stuff is calling.

Brian left for Toronto early this morning. Not that he knows or cares that I have left one little piece of my personal goal undone. It's MY goal.  I started heading towards my new project when his voice started seeping into my head … the same message I have heard time and time again over the years. His mantra:  “No new business before old business.”  I tried to quell it. It got louder.  ‘No new business! No new business!!’ Oh man. He's burrowed right into my conscience. It should bug me, but it doesn't - I know he's right.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

More About Letters

Okay, I’m done the technology bashing.  Actually, it’s really not bashing – it’s just observing. I LOVE technology.  I can’t keep up with it, but I LOVE it. It excites me and challenges me and amazes me.  I intend to be the old broad at the nursing home with the hand crocheted afghan AND a laptop on my knees.  But enough of technology … on to a different stories, albeit one still about ‘letters’.

On the weekend we had a camp out here with all five Grands. It’s the first time that the twins stayed without their parents.  Their four parents, which confirms that they are technically NOT exactly Twins.  They were born three months apart to different mothers, but small matter – in my mind they are the closest thing to twins that I’ll ever have in my life. It’s what I imagine it to be, looking after/having twins – such fun to watch them interact and amazing to observe such different personalities. 

And busy.  Very, VERY busy.

Breakfast with toddlers is … breakfast with toddlers.  More on the floor than in the belly.  I am the Nana so I can buy crap cereal because it’s a treat.  Nana = Treat, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  But I still like to be semi-alittle-bit responsible, so I chose EDUCATIONAL cereal.  Alpha-bits; known more for their entertainment value than nutritional value.

Of course, the floor was the winner, which is kind of a waste now that we don’t have Abby. She used to love when the kids came to visit. She'd lay there with one eye open, patiently waiting for the rain of miscellaneous substances; never disappointed with the abundance. With no four-legged Hoover, the fallout is now manual labour rather than dogual labour.

I hit on a idea. At nineteen months, Spencer is a happy, active little fellow and is surprisingly adept at fine motor skills. And he’s busy. Very, VERY busy.  Killing two birds with one stone, I gave him the vacuum and told him to ‘suck up the letters’.  He loved it. He focused intently on the task and did not give up until every single letter had sped down the hose.  And then he turned his attention to trying to suck anything and everything else up … the phone, socks, blankets, Georgia.

After he left, I noticed that we missed a crop of bits in the living room. Gibson was still there so I thought I’d try the same game with him. Three and a half year olds do not fall for the old ‘Huckleberry Finn’ trick quite as easily.  I had to be a little more creative to get the task done. It wasn’t just because I was lazy or wanted them gone before they were crushed into the carpet – I really did think he’d have a great feeling of power and accomplishment and it had the possibility of being fun for him.

Hey, Gibby – look how I can make the letters jump into this tube … they’re going on an ADVENTURE!!  Listen to them!  Where do you think they’re going? Look how fast they want to follow their friends!”  It worked …  he enthusiastically went about sending all the letters scampering into the magic opening, off into the unknown, while I went about righting the rest of the war zone.

I noticed him go into the kitchen to the cereal cupboard and reach his arm into the box. I thought to myself ‘It’s so nice when they’re big enough to help themselves when they’re hungry’, and went about my work.  A little while later, after about his tenth trip to the cereal cupboard, I noticed that he was placing the Alpha-bits in little piles on the floor, then sucking them up.  ‘Gibby – what are you doing? Aren’t you eating those?’ I asked. ‘Nope,’ he said …still focused and intent on his mission ‘these yetters want to go on a ‘benture with their friends too.’

Yep … always one step ahead of me.  Or maybe a mile.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Obsession with our Hands

And being on a roll, I may as well finish my ‘new fangled gadget’ rant. I’ve got another bone to pick.

The relationship that people are developing with their own hand is somewhat disturbing.

Look around any public place … or even the street. An amazing number of people, certainly the ones under 40, are staring at their hands.  I’m sure you’ve seen this – a half dozen people sitting in a row at an airport, every single one of them intent on connecting with anyone but the person sitting beside them. It’s bizarre. And frankly, it’s a little bit sad.

A surprising number of people have become so tied – or so addicted – that they cannot go a few hours without checking to see …… what, I’m not sure.  I guess that someone is sending them earth shattering news that can’t wait until they’re alone.  Whatever did we do before every person with a cell phone had access to each other at every single moment.  Whatever did we do when we actually had to be with the people we were with?

It is the ‘not being present’ that gets my goat.  I see it happening more and more. The rudeness is becoming the norm.  I have had people sit at my own dinner table with their eyes glued to their hands, searching for a conversation that is apparently more interesting that what the in the flesh people are offering. You would never think of going and turning your computer on in the midst of a conversation.

I have been at meetings where people are engaged with their devices rather than focusing on the business at hand, when it’s only going to be an hour and their precious message will be safely and patiently waiting for them anyway.  It is not a matter of multi-tasking. It’s a matter of priorities, of blatantly saying "these other people - my OWN world and concerns are far more important than being with you right now."

I was at a conference last year with an excellent International keynote speaker who had an incredible amount of wisdom and knowledge to share. It would have cost a fortune to bring him half way around the world.  It was such a great opportunity that high school students were bussed in to hear him.  The teacher sat in front of me. She spent the entire time of the presentation on her Blackberry – checking her email, texting people. It was rude to the speaker and distracting to people around her. Besides being a poor example for her students, I wondered how she would lead a discussion back in the classroom.

I really, really hope that we soon get over the novelty of it all and settle down to being where we are, when we and treasuring the time with who we’re with in real time/real life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I don’t know if this is true. I need to do some research on it before I get myself officially worked up or push the panick button.  I heard, and how sad if it’s true, that they are no longer teaching cursive writing in school.

I’ll sound like some ancient curmudgeon who wants to stand firmly rooted in the past; but honestly, what are they thinking?

Sure, they believe, and are accurate, that the next generation will use computers and devices for everything they do. That’s already the case.  But how in heaven’s name do they come up with the concept of highly educated people with fingertip access to everything in the whole world, who will not be able to read what thousands of people have written for a couple hundred years before this.  They will come upon books and letters and it will look like a foreign language.

I wrote my 10 year old grandson’s birthday card this year.  He’s a very smart cookie. He said “I don’t know what this says.” We will have a nation of Printers.

What happens to hand writing analysis?  What about signatures? How will people sign their names?  What about autographs? They're going to print their signatures on cheques? Oh forget that ... there is pretty well no such thing as cheques already. They're going to print their name on the back of their Visa?  Surely my information is inaccurate.

I can identify the hand writing of every person who is close to me. I see my mother when I come across her beautiful, flowing script even though she’s been gone for 31 years. She was artistic – it showed in her writing.  I would know my Dad’s writing anywhere – it was very legible and basic.  I  recognized my grandmother’s writing when I came across an old letter at the bottom of a box.  At the rare occurrence when I receive snail mail, I immediately know which friend it is from without checking the return address. They are their writing.  Surely my information is inaccurate.

 I’m thinking that I must be totally wrong.  It can’t happen.  There are dozens of beautiful script fonts that can be downloaded. They wouldn’t develop those if no one could read them. That has me feeling a little better. Perhaps people will be able to read script, they may just not be able to produce it without a computer.  That doesn't really make me feel better.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Speaking of the pleasure that I get by sitting with my journals – holding in my hands my “time” … I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on that.

There is such a difference between a typed document or the written page. The words are there. The story is there – the feeling, the emotion, the lesson, the intent – it’s all there, for sure.  But there is something innately different about holding something in your hands that someone has written.  It’s something that will be lost when the day comes that every single thing we do is on the computer. 

We’re almost there already. Certainly the young ones are.  E-books are already threatening publishing companies and traditional book stores. Newspapers may go the way of the dinosaur.  The ease of access to every single thing at every single moment is nothing short of miraculous and awesome. I love it. It has opened the world to us. There is not a single day that I don’t ‘Google’ something, learn something that I hadn’t planned or met/connected with someone I would otherwise not had the opportunity to. When I think back to the Pre-Internet days, I wonder how we ever managed to run groups and organizations effectively, to promote and market our businesses and goods and what we were doing with all our hours that are taken up now engaging and connecting with our friends – old, new and virtual.

Indeed, I love the whole technology thing. But you know, it’s not the same as the written word. Not the same as a real book, a real letter, a journal – a tactile object that someone has held in their hands, has run their hand over line after line. There is a feel to it … the cover – the more worn the better; the paper itself … ink smudged by a teardrop, a coffee stain, dog eared pages, underlined words … telltale signs of humanity left for the next reader. The book holds its own energy, its own history. A computer screen does not do that.

You cannot run your finger over the screen, like I do the paper that my mother has written on … touching it and contemplating the fact that SHE touched that same paper – her thoughts placed upon it by her hand. I picture her doing it and I am moved by the fact that it has travelled through time; that a little piece of her spirit survives as I hold her actual words in my hands.

We have reams of the written word on the internet … literally reams.  But how much will survive?  I can’t relocate an interesting antedote that I read a week ago, let alone five years ago.  Really … how much do we think to print?  Me … not a thing. Even stuff that really interests me – I just assume that I will be able to find it again. But in reality, I just have too much to keep track of now.

Yes, we gain a lot with in our computer world; but we lose something too.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Journal Junkie

Back to the ‘journals’.  I’ve documented a great deal of my life, as if anybody will care. I’ve done it for me, and I must say, I do enjoy reading back over the entries – one sentence will bring an entire day back.

For over 20 years I have written pretty well every day – in a diary - ‘details’ rather than journal.  It’s very strange to see a big chunk of your life lined up in a bookcase.

I have other journals too … quotes, and thoughts, ideas sprouting and random memories. My first ‘beautiful’ journal that I bought was in 1983 – a red leather look, Kahlil Gibran one. I was writing in when I got confirmation that I was pregnant with Ashley. The entry says: "The rabbit died.”  And no, I did not cut off its feet or tail.

With three young children, a demanding job and an ailing father, I couldn’t keep up with even a few lines of daily writing.  But rather than desert my beautiful book when it was empty from March on, I ignored the dates and just wrote about our life in general.  I would stick it away and not come across it for four or five years at a time.  I was 29 years old when I started it and 46 when it was filled.

It was the new millennium when I got to buy my next journal. I found one that was similar in size and feel. The store clerk said to me: “oh, I don’t think you want THAT one … it’s $25 – we have some that are much cheaper.” “I’m worth it.” I replied. I didn’t mention that it would do me for the next twenty years.

I don’t work in it regularly. Just like the previous one, I re-discover its existence every few years.  Yesterday, when I found myself having time and being drawn to writing, I remembered it. I was not overly surprised to find that it had been 4 years ... a wedding  and two grandchildren since I last wrote.

 It’s a shame that I don’t do it more often – I wish I did. It’s amazing to sit and read one’s entire life sandwiched between the pages of a couple small books.  Children and grandchildren born, parents and siblings lost, kids growing up and me growing old.  It’s a humbling experience to sit with a book in your hands that contains your life … to touch the actual paper that you wrote on, to see the actual words from your own hand. And more so, from your own heart.  Reading it on the computer just wouldn't be the same.

Instead of writing, I spent the afternoon re-visiting my life.  It confirmed for me that I have indeed made the right decision to get back to writing. To writing.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I found myself with a free hour yesterday afternoon. I’m in the midst of another task on my RESET mission and felt I deserved a break. I did not go to the computer even though it was well past twelve. Now that I have set the intention to get back to writing, and have started doing it, it was a natural draw.

Nope, I didn't go to the computer. Instead I went to my big Journal Box and decided to update one of those.  I am a confirmed Journal Junkie. There’s that Collector in me.  I stand before them in places like Chapters and fondle them.  I tell myself that I don’t need yet another one. But invariably my self does not listen and it rides home with me, where I diligently figure out what I could dedicate it to.

I got my first diary in 1965 – the 5 year kind – black with gold trim and a little lock and key.  I started every entry with Dear Diary because I somehow thought that was the proper thing to do, even if it did take up valuable space in the 5 allotted lines.  I didn’t lock it. Obviously I didn’t hide it either. Apparently I should have done both.  I was 12; my brother who was 10 called me at my friend’s house, screaming into the telephone: “How could you?!! You’re SICK!!!”  My reply to him of course was “YOU READ MY DIARY!!! How could you???!!! YOU’RE sick!!!”  He had read my entry about how I had cut my cat’s tail off.  It didn’t hurt her, she was dead.  I loved that cat – she was a big Persian with a gorgeous fat tail.  Her name was Tammy and she wasn’t a family cat – she was all mine. I had every right to her tail. Even back then I recognized that I was a 'memento collector’… I was the Keeper of Memories and I wanted to remember her.  Rabbit’s feet were big in those days – pretty well everyone had one on a keychain. I used to feel his little toenails and wonder if it truly WAS a Real rabbit – and if it REALLY was, that it was kind of gross, and sad. If I had some dead rabbit’s foot that I didn’t know, surely it would be more meaningful to have my beloved Tammy’s tail. It was also back in the 'Tony the Tiger' days where people attached tiger tails to their antenna or even had them coming out of their gas tank.

I was very brave about it considering I was quite attached to that cat. I apologized to her before I cut it off with the tin snips.  I laid the tail up on the barn window sill to ‘cure’, and had a funeral for my sweet friend. The tail disappeared. It could have been raccoons or rodents, it could have been my Dad thinking that some animal had done it and tossed it out, or it could have been my nosey little brother had marched right down to the barn and threw it away himself. I could hardly ask.  With both of us carrying the guilt of our inappropriate behaviour, we never spoke it.

I never did lock that diary up or hide it, or any other diary/journal for that matter.  I figure if someone is so inclined to get into my thoughts, then it serves them right if they find out something that wasn’t meant for their eyes. I also never did cut off anyone else’s appendages. And I disposed of the rabbit foot too. It really was kind of gross and sick.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Write Thing to Do

There’s a little bit of an ironic twist to my pact to SAFTC (Stay Away From The Computer) and spend the time greasing my creative wheel by writing. 

Awhile back, if I was to have a pen in hand, I could write faster than the words would come out of my head.  It was like there was a direct line – a hose filled with ink from my heart more often than my brain – directly on to the paper. 

With plans for a family history, I have a lot of writing to do.  About 10 years ago I admitted to myself that I was never, ever going to go back and type up the pages that I had written.  They’re hard to read for one thing as the words spew forth at warp speed at times, and also – that was going to make it double the time and at the rate I’m going I’ll be 113 before I get to Chapter 4.

"I need me one of those ‘laptop’ things I professed; and then I can write!”  So I invested in one back when desktops were still generally the computer of choice. I found that my thoughts were so trained to come through a pen that I couldn’t co-ordinate them and my fingers and a keyboard. There was no flow. It was awkward. I was forever back spacing to correct the spelling. I’d lose my thought – it was like I was continually putting the brakes on. I didn’t write.  I wore it out, but I didn’t write. I got another laptop – a little sleeker this time. Again … no writing magically happened.

Then along came those tiny little netbooks. “I need me one of those netbooks”, I determined: “and then I can write”.  Because really, that five inches smaller made it SO much handier than that big wieldy laptop. I’d be much better with this cute little thing – it’s almost like a book itself, surely we would become good friends and we’d write together. Didn’t happen. I jumped the gun on that one. It is sluggish and the keyboard was hard to get used to. Haven’t written a page on it. Now, I’m on to my third laptop and I still haven’t written a single page of the proposed Family History.

I was very excited with my New Found Focus and writing time.  “That’s what I’ll do!” I proclaimed: “I will seriously focus on that task – an hour every day.”

And then it hit me. I cannot turn the computer on during that time.  I have two issues with that. #1 I’m back to having to transcribe what I have written.  #2 Now I have retrained myself to write with keystrokes. I am finding the pen now to be an awkward tool and I basically have to re-train myself. 

I am officially in a quanundrum. I've got to do some thinking on it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Take My Advice

Probably one of the most accurate quotes that my life is centered around is: “Take my advice, I’m not using it.”  I have always been ready, willing and able to give anyone advice on their business plan, marketing, decorating, life strategy … whatever … but I appear to leave myself out of the when it comes right down to it.  Most likely because I talk to myself so much that if I actually listened, I’d be even more confused and befuddled than I already am.

I once heard that if you ‘hear the same message 3 times from different sources in a short period of time, then God or the Universe is trying to send you a very strong directive.’  Listen and Act.

The funny thing about the signal that I am getting is that one of the sources was actually ME. 

I was one of the speakers at our January W.I.N.G.S. meeting where the topic was ‘Strategies for a Fresh Start’.  I heard myself saying to the room full of women, “When I am at my very best creatively, I start my day with Morning Pages. My biggest obstacle,” I said, “and worst habit, is the computer. When I start the day with my own thoughts and I get things sorted out and lined up, I feel more grounded, more focused, more in control.  What I have been doing for a long time instead is turning on the computer first thing. Fifteen minutes turns into an hour and a half as I’m led in this direction and that. I find that I am spending my time with everyone’s thoughts BUT my own.

At that point, I was just talking about it - acknowledging it without a strong intention of changing it, even though I had identified writing as an excellent tool for getting yourself together. Afterwards, one of the members told me that what I had said really resonated with her.  We got to talking about our ‘best hours’ and both identified them as ‘the morning’. It was like a lightbulb was switched on when we realized that we were giving the computer the very best of our time. We made a pact then and there not to allow that to happen ANYMORE, and that if we saw each other on line, we’d call each other on it.

A few days later I was at a two day workshop, where the facilitator, Keith Kochner of Mentorfish said that thing that he protected as fiercely as a ‘glass case with a million dollars in it’ is his FOCUS.  He actively and zealously PROTECTS it. He said he could get more money, but he couldn’t get that time back.  Lightbulb again!  The computer is a thief after my glass case that contains all my Focus!  I didn’t have to wait around for the third sign … I got the message loud and clear.

For one full week, I have kept my Focus.  I have not touched the computer once until after twelve. Granted, the first few days I was watching the clock and had my finger poised and ready for 12:01. What bolstered me and kept me on track was something one of the other speakers shared at WINGS. She said that breaking a habit is only 'uncomfortable' for a little while. When you work your way through that, it will become your new habit.
Indeed, I am finding my creativity is coming back. I am slowly starting to enjoy sifting through my thoughts in the quiet hour with my coffee.  In fact, I am now looking forward to it and savouring it. I am honing my Focus Skills.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


At my age and with my pack-rat disposition, I have accumulated Too Much Stuff. I have. Truth be told, I could be in qualification for the Hoarders show.

I am a bonafide Born Collector.  First it was Car Coins and  Airplane Coins from Jello. Yes, I AM that old.  Then it was the little ceramic figurines that came in Red Rose Tea.  And then Stamps, of course. In the late 60’s, Salt and Pepper shakers were on the top of my list … 99 cents a set.  In the 70’s … the macramé and crewel work days,  it was Owls that spoke to me.  Of course, over the years I have HAD to collect Donkeys. How could I not?  And then the momentum started the train to Clutter & Chaos going faster & faster as we sped regularly through auction sales and antique shops and my passions kept growing with every cool thing that I ever imagined… crocks and clocks, oil lamps, old dolls, antique toys, classic books, teapots and teddy bears. And Christmas Stuff – big time.

I am a Keeper.  A keeper of not only my memories, mementos  and stories, but of those I love who can no longer keep their own.  My mother, my father, my sisters and brother, my grandparents, Brian’s parents and grandparents.  And throw in the odd Aunt and Uncle.  That’s a lot of people, and a lot of responsibility.

I was also born with a sentimental heart – a deadly combination for a Collector and a Keeper. 

A few years ago my girls had an intervention with me. “Mom,” they said “seriously - you have GOT to STOP attaching stories to EVERYTHING.  And stop TELLING us. You’re making us as bad as you. We can’t get rid of stuff because we hear you saying… “that was my great aunt’s sister’s cousin’s neighbour’s husband’s”  They weren’t joking.  It’s a chain that they want release from.  I can’t help it, I’m all about Stories. It comes with the heart.

A couple years ago Jae was redoing her house – going from country décor to more funky and modern.  A big, beautiful Robert Duncan print that I had given her no longer suited and she needed to let it go. She made the move and  took it down and then called me in exasperation. ‘THANKS A LOT, Mom.” She growled. “I finally came to terms with letting it go, then I turned it over and you’ve WRITTEN the story on the back. So now, not only do I have The Story, but I have it in YOUR handwriting. And you’ve SIGNED and DATED it!  Now what am I supposed to do??”

So … what did ‘we’ do?  I took it back. And since I have no place for it either, I took this big honkin’ picture all the way to Newfoundland and hung it above the couch. It is far from ‘Newfoundlandish’.  Someone commented: ”Why do you have a winter picture of farm animals in a summer sea-side home? It’s kind of out of place.”  I answered: “It’s a long story.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I have pressed ‘RESET’ on my life. It feels good.

Last year was such a different year for me. I let my own business not only take a backseat but actually not leave the parking lot.  It was so different than the previous twenty years when every single day I relied on my own imagination and self-motivation to earn my daily bread. Hard to keep the bakery open and goods fresh though. This concept of just showing up, doing a task that someone else has put the thinking power behind and then being given money for it ...regularly no less ... was such a novel and exciting concept to me.  After not having had that little bonus which most people don’t think twice about since 1989, I got a fair bit of pleasure out of it.

That job is over for me and now I find myself having to try and remember exactly how it was that I was able to create my own income for the past two decades.

Running your own business seems to me to be very much like exercising. You can do it regularly for years and years but then when you stop, you lose ground far faster than it took to build it up.

I’ve been trying to remember exactly what it was that I used to do and how I went about it.  And then the thought hit me. I shouldn’t concern myself as much with what I USED to do, as to what I WANT to do NOW

I have given myself this month to sift through my thoughts and get into position to move forward. 

I am in ‘strategic planning’ mode. I have a lifetime of knowledge and experience to organize in my head.  I have tools to do it.  The very first and most important question is front and center and I have to tackle it head on before I move on to Step 2.  “ WHAT is it that I WANT to do?”   Thinking … thinking … thinking….

Actually, I need to set that aside for the moment. There’s a step for me that I MUST do even before that.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Now I Get It!

I finally know what happened to 2011. And it’s my own fault. 

It got away on me.  Slipped through my fingers like a greased pig. No – not a pig. That would indicate that I was chasing it.  It was more like I was just standing still with my hand out and it slipped through my fingers like ... sand. Sand from an hour glass.

I blamed the fact that I was working at a Real Job.  That’s just a handy excuse. I didn’t work every day, and in fact – I didn’t work for months at a time.  I know people who have Real Jobs and they still create and produce.  I did neither.

Now granted, for the very first time in the history of Me, I got to enjoy Christmas like a normal person. I was not up to my ears with fabric & fur & packing boxes.  I didn’t have little heads staring up at me, waiting impatiently for a body.  I was able to shop leisurely. I was able to decorate early and enjoy the evenings basking in the Christmas lights instead of having my mind running like hamster wheel, trying to sort all the things that I HAD to do before I got to play Christmas myself.

But I missed it. I missed those little vignettes – the children, the toys, the Santas. I missed the faces that come through my hands. I missed the little twinge of excitement I get when it comes together and I’m happy with it. I missed the whole creative process that starts with the ideas popping around in my head like Bingo Balls.  And I especially missed the connection with all the wonderful people that I have met over the years because of my creations, and the wonderful people that I WOULD have met.  Now that it's over, I have come to the realization that a calm and chaos-free Christmas wasn’t much worth it. A big piece of me was missing.

BUT … it is my own fault.  I just discovered that today.

Every year for at least the past twenty, on New Year’s Day I get all cozied up and get out my daily journals – the one from the year just past and the new one.  I write down my top 12 or so Goals for the coming year, and I go over the previous one to see how I did on them.

Today, I searched the pages of my 2011 journal for that list and came up with Nothing.  It’s always the very first page – not hard to miss.  The page is blank. I searched in places that it wouldn’t be, thinking I may have had a momentary brain freeze last year and wrote it on some random page.  I even did what I do with my computer when I can’t open a file or it’s not behaving like I need it to. I shut it totally and opened it again, hoping that a RE-BOOT would solve the problem.  Nope.  No list of Goals. Nothing. Nadda. No darn wonder that my whole year was flapping in the breeze.

Now... I have to admit, that after I write out those goals each year, I actually never go back and look at them until the following January 1st. And I might as well admit that 90% of the goals have been the exact same ones for the past two decades. But, that’s insignificant really – I KNOW they’re there, I don’t have to see them, I don’t have to act on them … I get a sense of control knowing that for the very briefest second, I have put some thought into what I could/should/would do with the 365 days that lies ahead.

I really was shocked today when I discovered that I had totally neglected that exercise.  I remember now, why that happened. My book was late. It got delayed in the mail and I didn’t have it for my New Year’s Day ritual. It arrived the following week, but by then I was working at that Job – all day, five days a week. And considering that the last time I had done that in my life was 1976, I do believe that I just got blown totally off course.  I’m sure I meant to catch up one day, but apparently it never happened.

Well, I’m done with just blowing in the wind. It was fun and freeing while it lasted, but I’m taking a hold of the reins a little tighter this year.  I am going to get my balance. I have done due diligence today, sorted my thoughts and made my plan. I am recapturing my Creative Soul and putting that little sucker to work.