Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Casey - His Wit and Wisdom...

Me: "Casey, can you run upstairs and make sure all the doors are closed except your brother's?"

Casey: "Sure!" (runs off to do it, then comes back)

Me: "Casey - can you take down the gate to the stairs?"

Casey: "I'm only five years old! You can't make me do all the work around here!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

Life and Love and Loss...

This morning while waiting in line at Starbucks, I noticed the black and white wedding photo of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward on the front cover of the Globe and Mail. I'd been away all weekend at the BC Crop For Kids event, and somehow, without being sequestered or stuck in a vacuum, I hadn't heard of Paul Newman's death. For me, it's fitting that the photo of Mr. Newman on the paper's front cover was his wedding photo because, as the accompanying article talks about, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward were married for fifty years. As far as I'm concerned, that's quite a feat for any couple - never mind with the added circumstances of acting, fame, and Hollywood. And even with Mr. Newman's lengthy and legendary acting career, and the huge success of his Newman's Own natural food line, at the top of my list of 'Things that come to mind when considering Paul Newman' is his lifelong love affair with his wife. It's heartening. My heart goes out to Ms. Woodward - the article says that she has been in seclusion since her husband's death on Friday. I can't even imagine. Losing your spouse after a lifetime together - what a huge void you would suddenly be faced with. I get a glimpse of that kind of loss on a fairly regular basis at work. Husbands and wives either losing their partners heartbreakingly slowly to dementia or other illnesses, or themselves declining into depression and illness having already been widowed. It really makes me thankful for each and every day I spend enjoying the life that I have. I do find myself letting go of a lot of petty irritations or minor annoyances because I appreciate the more important things and can see the bigger picture although I do NOT practice this 100% of the time and have a long way to go before I'm anywhere near being as enlightened as I'd like to be! But I do recognize the gifts that I have in my life and it's the unexpected reminders, like Mr. Newman's death, that make me pause and reflect on the goodness in my life. So now seems like a good time to refocus and recommit to making each day count because time waits for no one and things can change in the blink of an eye and for some things, of this I'm sure - no amount of time could ever seem like enough.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

If You Knew You Were Being Watched...

...how much would you censor yourself, or how would you find it influencing what you do or don't do? Would your behaviour change?

I started thinking about this a few days ago while walking home from work. I arrived at a very well marked crosswalk in my very residential neighbourhood. A black pickup truck was approaching (and going obviously faster than the speed limit, I might add!). The driver slowed to turn left, but didn't stop for me to cross. And it seemed to me that the driver 'pretended' not to notice me. Do you know that look that I mean? It's that look that people get when they are passing you in a crowded mall or grocery store and aren't going to yield any of 'their' space, or when you are both approaching a checkout and perhaps they don't want to have to go through the polite dance of 'who got here first - oh, you go ahead, no you...', or a store clerk or receptionist who is so absorbed in their business that they don't notice you standing right in front of them and don't look up to greet you or inquire as to whether or not you could use any help...Come on, you know the look...it's not just me being paranoid or delusional...is it?! ;) No, I trust you know what I mean. Anyway, I'm wandering off a bit here...

The point I'm driving at (no pun intended!) is that if that guy driving the truck knew that, say, his wife was watching, or his boss...would he then have been inclined to stop to let me cross? I mean, the man did not commit a mortal sin by not stopping, though my understanding of the law here in BC is that a pedestrian at a crosswalk (and certainly IN a crosswalk!) has the right of way. I personally view it as basic consideration, a courtesy, a good gesture.

What if the man driving the truck saw his wife or child waiting at a crosswalk while a driver blew by...what would his perspective be then?

I'll confess to 'getting caught' doing something that I felt embarrassed by...

Typical afternoon of driving home from work, always in a rush, always thinking ahead to the next thing that needs to be done...and I'm tailgating. I'm behind a driver who is dawdling along like a DOPE for gosh sakes, and it is so frickin' frustrating!! What is wrong with them?! I'm trying to get somewhere!! So I'm tailgating, and I'm really pushing it. I'm not pushing this person at all, they're not budging. FINALLY, I get to my turnoff, so glad to see that the slowpoke idiot is carrying on straight. A couple of days later, my neighbour, my friend, the woman whose son I was looking after two days a week, is walking by my house while I'm out on the balcony and so she stops to chat. "You were really in a hurry the other day" she says. "What? What do you mean?" I answer, a goofy, 'I-don't-get-it' look on my face. "You were tailgating me" she replied. Oh. My. God. I felt like SUCH an ass! I was embarrassed, ashamed, mortified!

So - how about those people who pick their noses while sitting in their car at the red light. WE CAN SEE YOU! You did not enter Invisible Land when you shut your car door and snapped on your seatbelt!

What about men who leer at or stare after girls, young girls, who walk by them at the mall or on the street? (YUCK!) Do you not realize that you are out in public and visible to all others out in public? We can see you!

And to the people who roll their eyes and shift impatiently from foot to foot and sigh loudly in exasperation when they are walking behind an elderly person moving along slowly with their walker, or in line behind a person who doesn't speak English who is trying to figure out how much change to count out to pay for their purchase, or at the coffee shop where a mom is trying to buy herself a coffee with a struggling and screaming toddler along in the stroller - what if you knew that somebody was observing you, your behaviour, your responses and attitude. Would you still be acting that way? Would it make a difference whether the person who was watching you was a stranger, or someone you knew - like your wife, your boss, your mom, your neighbour, your children?

I have my less-than-stellar moments. And thinking about getting 'caught' by somebody I know is one thing that crosses my mind but it's really not my main moral compass. I do like to think that I can recognize the good in me from the bad in me (or at least the lame/dumb/sloppy in me!) and police myself accordingly, the desire to be a decent person being my biggest motivation. So where am I going with all of this? I don't even know. It's one of those 'random' thought processes I've mentioned in previous posts. Just one of those things I think about when my mind gets to wandering a bit. And I've been trying to come up with a tidy little sentence or two to wrap this story up and bring it full circle...but I can't. That's all I got! So that's all from me for now - Jillian...OUT!

Thankful For...

No, it isn't Thanksgiving. But it's always a good time to pause and reflect on what you are thankful for, isn't it? And I can honestly say that I consciously take note of how thankful I am for my husband and for my children every day. There's not a day I take if for granted. So here are some things I am thankful for...

- My husband. He is truly my soul mate. My best friend.

- My children. There is no way to quantify what they mean to me. To have three children all born healthy, grow strong and rosy, cute as anything and smart as whips, is absolute felicity.

- My in-laws. Marrying Steve was enough in and of itself. Getting all the family that came with him was luck beyond measure. I love every single one of them. I can't imagine my life without them. One of the most meaningful things I've ever heard Steve say (and he comes up with good stuff on a pretty regular basis!) is that if you put us all in a room together and asked someone who didn't know us to pick which person was the one married into the family, there would be no way to differentiate. That chokes me up!

- Being born in Canada. Just the luck of the draw, but here I am - a Canadian. And as a Canadian, I gripe about politics, the weather, the economy, taxes, our medical system, etc. But please. I am damn grateful! The freedom we enjoy here, the quality of living - there are very few countries in the same league as Canada and SO many countries where people live and survive in the face of unimaginable oppression and disadvantage. I love my country! There is no where I'd rather be!

- My health. My goodness. I have had my share of issues - from an unexpected and life-threatening illness, a chronic and ungoing illness, frequent migraines since I was an adolescent,

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Top 5 Bad Habits!

(I could list more, but I'm modest by nature!)

Please note: These are in random order

1. Interrupting

2. Procrastination

3. Not being mindful or present mentally

4. Getting caught up in TV as a means of zoning out vs. spending time on things I enjoy much more and feel I don't get enough time to do!

5. Throwing my clothes on a chair in my room or on the end of the bed vs. hanging them up properly in the closet.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random Thoughts...

…Not the most original title for a blog posting - but appropriate in this case! In fact, most of what I think of writing about would fall into the ‘Random’ category…I seem to have a lot to say about nothing in particular. Nothing earth shattering, nothing purposeful…just bits and pieces of this and that. And I’m okay with that! I’m sure there are blogs out there with lofty aspirations, that are driven, on a righteous mission. Intellectually sound, well researched, and grammatically flawless . Alas, this is not one of them. Sometimes I feel like I have a lot to blog about and other times...I got nuthin'. And yet I always have an urge to write. So I do, and wherever it goes, so it goes. The purpose of this paragraph, I suppose, is not so much to serve as a warning, but more of a disclaimer. So here goes…

I’m walking home from work yesterday. Late afternoon, glorious sunshine - a brilliant Vancouver-in-early-September day. A lot of people are out walking with their dogs, children, etc. I’m powering along, making it count, and eager to get home for an evening out with my husband (thank you, Grandma and Grandpa L for taking all three children overnight!). I’m rapidly gaining on an older/elderly-looking woman who is making her way along the sidewalk slowly but surely (in alarmingly wobbly-looking wedgie slip-on sandals - yikes! I‘m praying that she doesn’t twist her ankle or fall down!). As I am close enough behind her that I’m beginning to move onto the grass strip between the sidewalk and the road so as not to bump into her and also to ensure that she doesn’t have to maneuver over to allow me to pass, the thought crosses my mind - should I give her some kind of warning that somebody is approaching behind her? Shout out a little ‘passing on your right!’, or ‘Oop! Pardon me, excuse me, coming round!’ but then I decide, nah, that might startle her more than anything else and now I’m close enough that even if I gave my keys a little jingle (which I can’t because they’re buried in my oversized and cluttered purse) or cleared my throat/gave a little cough/ahem, I’d already be past her, so I just pull out and start to pass. Well. That little old lady jumped and shrieked and clutched her hands and purse to her chest because apparently, I’d caught her quite unawares and gave her a dreadful fright! I slowed and looked at her - I think my eyes were as wide-open as they’d ever been because I was so surprised and horrified that I’d scared her so badly. Once she got a look at me and realized I was just a harmless, decent-appearing (and casually but chicly dressed as well, I might add!) fellow woman, she smiled somewhat shakily but sheepishly and apologized, all at the same time I was already offering forth my sincere apologies. We continued apologizing to each other for some time, both of us earnestly and adamantly excusing the other while claiming the responsibility of the little incident as our own, then we got to chatting briefly about oh, whereabouts in the neighbourhood do you live, I’m just walking down to the store for milk, it’s very nice to meet you, etc, etc. and then I said good-bye, big wave, and powered on again.
So now I’m thinking - why didn’t I just call out a little warning for her? I know what it’s like to have somebody come up from behind and startle me while I’m out walking or shopping or whatever…why didn’t I show her the consideration and sensitivity that I myself have a personal awareness of? And the reason why is really the reason why I don’t do a lot of seemingly ’little things’…I overthought it. I questioned myself. I didn’t go with my ’gut instinct’. And I regret that! And I am going to make a very real and conscious attempt to NOT do that anymore! Because this is not the first time that I’ve found myself thinking about something after the fact and wishing I’d done it differently. Done it the way I’d FIRST thought about doing it before I muddled my head up with numerous other questions and considerations. So, nice little lady out there in the ‘hood - my sincere apologies once again. And, my sincere pledge that I will do better than that next time. I will do what I feel to be the right thing to do as I would appreciate someone doing for me! And I hope to see you ‘round here again - most definitely under less alarming circumstances!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Haiku For You...

I'm a poet and didn't know it...:)

Drinking good red wine,

A glass is so relaxing!

Too bad I've had ten...

The End.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Keeping My Face To The Sunshine...

My daughter started Grade 8 this week. She’s been looking forward to high school since the beginning of Grade 7 so she’s finally arrived. And she’s taken to it like a little fish to water! I’m so pleased for her and so excited about all the possibilities that lie ahead for her. Do I sound sage and well adjusted? Well, let’s just say it’s been a process! And it ain't over yet! But I'm taking things in stride far better than I was several months ago when the end of Grade 7 was looming. And a lot of it is just me putting on my brave face. The image I have of myself on the inside is hands tightly clasped to my heart, standing up on my toes a little bit, leaving forward slightly, an expectant/hopeful/cringing expression on my face…smiling tightly and trying not to let on that, along with feeling hopeful and proud and confident in my daughter’s abilities…I am also terrified! There she goes – out there into the world. Without me. On the bus!! With teenagers! To the largest high school in all of Vancouver. The one that I left midway through Grade 10.

The fates have smiled upon me and I have been so fortunate to have three incredibly wonderful , healthy children – I marvel at my life every single day. My daughter, like me, was born first, thereby making her the one among her siblings to take all the steps, reach all the milestones, try everything out, well, first! Like I did. And as a girl. Like me. So, while I can remember and relate to all lot of these experiences she’s having and these adventures she’s starting out on, I am also now in the lovely position of being the Mom this time. And that puts a whole new spin on things! And although growing up in my household as a kid, as a teen, there was a completely different dynamic (I like to say we put the ‘fun’ in dysfunctional! NOT!), there have been many times along this parenting journey where I have found myself thinking about my parents and finding some common ground, some understanding of what they were going through and what might have been driving them. But I think I am getting sidetracked…

The point I think I might be trying to make is…this is big! Wish me luck! It is only the beginning!! And may whatever whispers of fortune that had to have been following me through my teenage years that allowed me to come through my adolescence ALIVE and somewhat intact, please, PLEASE be with my daughter in even greater force! I’m going to do my damndest as her parent, and I believe she is starting from a much better place, but there’s so much out there and so much ahead…I’m hopeful though. And with Chanel feeling so positive and so excited and so motivated – I’m going to concentrate on that and support her to keep it going. My experiences don’t have to be hers – this is a time in her life that could one day be looked back upon with fondness and good memories.

And now I’ve about used up all my positivity! We’ll just take it ‘one day at a time’ as the old adage goes!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

5 Alternative Titles For This Blog...

'More Questions than Answers'

'Confessions of a Former SuperMom'

'Don’t Read This, It’s Dumb'

'Bad Hair Life'

'A Dollar Short and a Day Late'

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Random Thoughts...

Every day on my way to work, I arrive at the busy, pedestrian-controlled crosswalk and I join the other people waiting for the light to change and inevitably, I end up wondering...has anybody actually pressed the signal button or has everybody just assumed that somebody else has and so we're all going to end up standing here indefinitely?

Inevitably, after suffering through several bad hair days in a row and deciding - f*ck it - I'm getting a haircut tomorrow, I wake up, shower, get ready - and my hair turns out perfectly! So then I think - maybe this is it, the turning point, and my hair has reached a great new stage...only to put off the haircut, wake up the NEXT morning - and have the worst hair day ever! That's not Murphy's Law - that's some entirely different kind of evil!

When I was a teenager, I was a real smart ass! Of course, at the time, I thought I was SO cool!So mature, so advanced...so evolved. My parents were clueless. They just didn't get it. And neither did some of my peers. Of course, looking back now, I realize how clueless I was! I was really quite an idiot! I was pondering this recently, and smiling to myself while shaking my head...I've come so far, grown so much...then an unsettling thought crept into my head...What if I'm actually a big idiot NOW?! What if, again - in fifteen years or so, I look back at myself where I am today and realize what a big ol' idiot I am RIGHT NOW - right now while I'm patting myself on the back for having grown so much as a human being?!

When dollar stores first sprang up (at least in their current manifestation vs. Ye Olde Five and Dime), I was dumbfounded! I mean, how can a business survive when selling everything for only a dollar?! Fifteen minutes later, walking out one bag heavier and forty bucks lighter, I had a better understanding of it all.

These are just some of the things that make me go 'hmmmm...'. ;)


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