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Archive for the ‘Quick ones’ Category

I have seen an abundance of articles lately, that ask people to classify themselves as either cat people or dog people. It got me thinking, as I sit here surrounded by my very favourite furry friends who happen to be one cat and one dog, which one am I? How do I define myself?

The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got. In my opinion, these are two very different animals, who bring very different things to the table. Is this not like telling someone: “you can like either apples or bananas, but you CANNOT like both”.

Why not?

I love my cat for his quiet, wise companionship. He has an old soul; a wise soul. He sits with me, puring quietly and calmly, and doesn’t ask for anything in return except my company, near him. He just wants me, as I am, to be with him. It is very comforting, and very good to feel loved just for me, as me – no expectations or demands.

I love my dog for his unwavering, unconditional love and energy. He is a bundle of joy and laughter, at all hours of the day and night. He asks only that I love him, and in return, he loves me and shows me in a million and one ways that I am his whole world. It is an unbelievably fulfilling feeling of being not only wanted but truly needed by another living, breathing thing.

I love both of my animals, for who they are, and the joy they bring me in their own way. I would never expect my cat to run to the back door when I get home, to ask to go for a walk, or to act as though he hasn’t seen me in years when I step out of a five minute shower. I would never expect my dog to lie completely still, not needing any attention at all, just being present with me, in my moment, with a wise and calming sense of stillness, and of things being as they should in a singular place and time.

I would not give up even an ounce of either of their personalities, their needs, or what they bring to my life, for a second, just to be able to classify myself as a cat person ordog person. I am a love person; a pet person; a quadruped person… An animal person.

And that is just fine by me.

 

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What’s It Really Worth?

I was at the bottle depot today, and as I watched our collection of wine bottles, pop cans, milk jugs, and liquor bottles go into the bins it suddenly occurred to me: we had spent hundreds of dollars on all of the materials that I had brought back to be recycled, and I was only going to get about $20 dollars back out of the entire deal.

Wow. So what’s it all worth?

What else do we have in our lives that we spend hundreds of dollars on, or even thousands of hours on, only to realize that at the end of the day, it wasn’t worth what we put in?

At the end of our lives, we will not wish that our tombstones would read:

Here lies Adriana, who worked 60 hours a week and never missed a deadline, and had a beautiful collection of silk scarves!

Instead, we hope that our tombstones will read something more along the lines of:

Here lies Adriana, who always took time for her friends and family, and who never said no to anyone who needed her help.

So the next time you just have to have that oh-so expensive thing instead of spending your money on a donation that could really make a difference to someone less fortunate, or the next time you burn the midnight oil on something that won’t be remembered in five years from now while your friends and family gather and wish that you were there – ask yourself…

What’s it really worth?

And make sure whatever it is will be worth it, in the end.

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What’s Your Song?

As I was listening to some music the other day, I got to thinking. Many of us have special songs that remind us of events, or other people, in our lives. Songs with our spouses or partners. First dances in junior high school songs. Graduation songs. Wedding songs. But what about our own lives? What about a song that defines who we are? Who we aspire to be? Songs that just make us want to smile, sing along, or get up and dance like no one is watching? Do we have our own songs?

I wasn’t sure I did, and the more I thought about it, the more that troubled me. I love music – for me, it’s a release. It gives me a sense of peace; of happiness; of calm. It is my go-to when things are more turbulent than they should be. So as I sat down to write this post, I began to flip through my music and without realizing it, put on the same album that I usually go to when I’m feeling a bit unsettled. All of a sudden, I realized: I do have a song. The song is titled ‘Chasing the Sun’, by Sara Bareilles. For those of you who don’t know it, here is an excerpt:

You said, remember that life is
Not meant to be wasted
We can always be chasing the sun!
So fill up your lungs and just run
But always be chasing the sun!

All we can do is try
And live like we’re still alive

To me, this song has a very pure melody, with beautiful notes and lovely lyrics. And the way I choose to interpret the song gives it a big meaning. Chase the sun, literally and figuratively, each and every day. Never quit. Never stop. Remember that life is a gift. Always keep reaching for dreams, for the sun. Enjoy every minute – make every day count.

This song makes me smile no matter what is going on around me. I can be sitting on my couch having tea; I can be riding a crowded train car; I can be waiting for a delayed flight at an airport at the end of a long business trip. The song makes me feel warm and energized. It reminds me to be me.

Ask yourself – what is your song? If you don’t have one, I challenge you to find one and to keep it close by. Whenever you hear it, allow it to give you a little jolt, like warm socks on a cold day.

It’s your song!

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Maximum Capacity

Are you a busy bee? I am. I am one of those people who, self-admittedly, would rather be busy than bored. And typically, to me, bored means any time that I don’t have a to-do list a mile long. But here’s where things get interesting: I am slowly coming to terms with the idea that less is more, even to me, after a certain point.

Allow me to explain.

A typical week for me is spent working all day, playing ball at least twice, keeping a house and a yard inline, grocery shopping, doing laundry, blogging, working out when possible, cooking, and sometimes just for fun, I add in travel for work or teaching a technical writing course online at night. And let me be clear: I like it this way.

But here is the catch. I have a limit. And this limit isn’t one that I recognize easily, or even willingly. It usually takes me a crash of some magnitude to realize that it’s time to step back. I am in the middle of one of these crashes right now; so I thought putting my thoughts on ‘paper’ might help me recognize my state of being.

I am in the throes of my second brutal cold/flu of the year. Back to back I might add; I was only really well for about 5 days in between. And by my standards that is one sickness too many. I’m not immune, oh no. But usually I’m pretty resilient and can sometimes dodge the germs when I see ’em coming. Not this time. And I’ve been asking myself why. I think the answer may lie in what I’ve been up to lately; and it falls inline nicely with what I’m hoping to accomplish this month for my Harperness project. I am out of balance. Big time. And I’m ignoring what I need to do to get back on track because I don’t like to see it, or admit it – I’m overdone.

That’s right folks. The self-diagnosed superwoman has met her match. She’s done like dinner. Down for the count. Out like a light. (I could go on…) Whatever I want to call it, it’s time to admit that I’ve reached my maximum capacity and I need to step back.

So how do I get there? When I look at my todo list, I don’t see any obvious drops. I see things that I’ve got to do, said I’ll do, promised to do, should do, and want to do. So where do I let go? Here’s my latest pearl of enlightenment: it’s not the what that I need to let go of, it’s the when and the how.

Not everything needs to be done immediately and perfectly and by me alone. There are many things that can be done later, or dare I say it never (e.g. Wiping out the inside of every single one of my cabinets!) or if I can’t stand the idea of never, I can certainly space many todos out. There are more things I could ask for help with – I bet I’d be pleasantly surprised at how other people in my life do a lot of the things on my list. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if there is a lack of offers to help. But I need to stop turning down the offers for help. I need to stop needing to do and to control everything. And I need to stop caring so much about the how; the check mark next to the ‘done’ box needs to be enough.

Maximum capacity is usually a reminder to us, often an unpleasant one, that a shift is required. A shift towards balance. A shift towards our more human sides. And an understanding that we all have a maximum capacity that we’d all do well not to ignore.

So as a step in the right direction, I’m going to take off my Superwoman cape now, and go put my feet up. With my cat. And my orange juice. The dust bunnies can rule the world for one more day; and I’m sure the weeds will wait. That will be quite enough for today.

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My First Sprint

I bought this great book the other day titled “642 Things to Write About”. It is literally a book with a bunch of blank pages, except for a sentence or two at the top of each page with an idea of something to write about.

The book is a cool concept; especially for someone like me who often (self admittedly) spends too much time caught up in how or what to write and forgets that the important thing is the writing itself.

So I thought I’d use this book to write a sprint, every now and then, when I want to just put fingers to paper. Here is my first of (I hope) many in this series. It is not meant to have deep purpose or meaning. But perhaps it will inspire other tentative writers out there that sometimes it’s ok to just write.

Subject: Your favourite piece of playground equipment

This one is easy. I loved the swings! They always made me feel tall, free, and happy. How else can you feel like you’re flying without actually leaving the ground?

I also loved the swings because my feet didn’t touch the ground. As a tall girl, I used to long for chairs where my feet dangled – it made me feel wild and alive. The swings would give me that sensation; wind in my face, feet swinging back and forth, and the blue sky welcoming me upwards…upwards…upwards…

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