Turning the Page

"To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together"
~The Byrds

Falling asleep the other night I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude even though I had a 102 fever and some of the worse chills I have ever experienced. This was flu #2 of the season and the latest one started just this past weekend…Thanksgiving weekend no less.  

My relaxing long weekend plans turned into devouring cold meds, staying hydrated and mummifying myself in 16 layers of blankets. 

Still, even though I was sick as a dog I was also incredibly happy and content.  My cat was snuggled up in bed with me, my senior doggie asleep on the pillows on the floor. My kids were sound asleep and our new puppy was snuggled up snoring away in my daughter’s arms too.  All was right with the world. The house was that blissful quiet that usually only comes in the middle of the night.

I am not sure where we come from, if there is a god or not, but I am was thankful that night to my Creator for this life I have, for these glorious children, the furry critters, my job, my home…even my chills because it meant I was alive.

I have found a deep and resounding peace in my life of late.  Let me back up a bit.  In mid-August of this year I separated from my partner.  People were oddly sympathetic when they found out, wishing me a speedy recovery (huh? I am not sick or sad) and even offering to drop off a casserole.  Ummm isn’t that what one offers during a time of grief? 

So I started reading about divorce and lo and behold, the common phases of grief are said to occur as a result of a divorce and the body and mind can relate to it the same way as one relates to the death of a loved one; regardless if you are the “dumper or dumpee”.

We are all different.  I say that from personal experience because I have not felt grief over this latest life change and trust me, I know grief.  Sure at the beginning I was a mixture of emotions but that faded quickly.  Now I am content, happy and excited about what the future holds for me.  

I have reconnected with my extended family, established new friendships, adopted an adorable puppy (which has me exercising like crazy) and I have a developed a sense of independence I have never had in my life before. I have always been that type of person that needed to be in a relationship.  No idea why..fear of being alone maybe or self-doubt that I couldn't handle the single life..who knows. But I grew out of that fear as I matured and learned to trust myself.  I knew it was time to move out of this current relationship and into a new and unexplored phase of life. I was ready. I am ready. No regrets.

Tonight , as I do every night, I was fall asleep to the sound of the quiet hum of the house and be thankful that I was granted another day on this beautiful earth, my home.


The Dilemma of Online Shopping and MORE !

Ever find yourself in a situation where you think “ok, life has finally settled down” and then boom, more drama?

Well here I sit trying to absorb even more changes.  Not wanting to get into too much detail, some life changes have taken place that we are adapting too (in addition to the latest downsizing) plus my son is off for day surgery soon at the local Children’s Hospital. Nothing too drastic I guess some would say:  bye bye 4 wisdom teeth.  But when you put son + surgery into a sentence you get “panicked mother”.  He has had dental surgery before under total sedation and was up and about post-surgery within hours.  So as far as he is concerned, I am sure he will sail through this like he did last time.  Myself, on the other hand, will require sedatives and a week of post-op rest!

On a different and less intense note, I recently did some online shopping.  I was so eager for the package of clothing to arrive that I nearly sliced through a gorgeous striped tunic in my haste to rip open the box.  And that is when the joy started to subside.  Never have I had a bra ride up my back so high that I could I could almost see it through my shirt collar (and yes I know my size and this was in my size!),  or have a pair of capris that both tweedle dee and tweedle dum could easily fit into at THE SAME TIME!  Last but not least, the oh so trendy tunic vest, I thought would go great with a dress I purchased last year.  Yikes.  I need to start toning my biceps or accept that sleeveless simply is no longer an option.  So I packaged up the returns and off they went.   Note to self: go into stores and try things on!  That said, I did score a few lovely new pieces from this last online jaunt so it wasn’t all bad.

The thing is, I hate shopping in stores.   Easily overwhelmed and crisping under fluorescent lights, I particularly dread the “trying on” phase or the salesperson guessing what size I am. It could end in tears or homicide. Rarely does it end well.   I think in the last year I have had one major in store shopping success. The rest have been duds.  I usually just end up in Bath and Body Works buying soaps I don’t need and candles that I never light.  No clothing purchases in sight.

Maybe a personal challenge is a good idea – the next time I see something online I like, I will check store inventory and go and try that specific piece on IN PERSON.  Then let’s see where the excursion takes me!


Triggering the Memories

I spent the weekend doing what has become the norm lately – unpacking !  I swear, will I ever see the end to these boxes? 

I found so many things I didn’t even know I still had – U2 CDs, and old pair of clip on earrings (still painful, still ugly), some sketches my dad did so many, many years ago, photos of days gone by, an old birthday card from my parents which had me sobbing and then boom, there it was:  a half used bottle of my mom’s Lancome Tresor perfume.  

I told myself “Don’t spray it. Don’t spray it” !  So what did I do? I sprayed it.  It obviously wasn’t as fresh as it was nearly 20 yrs ago and had some odd undernotes of let’s say, “gone bad”, but it was still Tresor.  And as I inhaled the scent, the tears welled up again and she was there with me.  Her scent was all around me.  Oh how I have missed that smell.

Ever since her death I have stayed clear of the Lancome perfume section everywhere I have went.  I couldn’t face it.  That smell = my mom.  It was a trigger that ignited such a deep ache I was afraid I would be lost in it forever.   Easier to stay away.

But something compelled me to spray it the other day. I have no idea why. I hate crying.  In fact, it makes me feel sick and the next day I have such a smashing headache I can barely function.  I guess I was willing to take the plunge.

I miss her but as they say, time heals old wounds. To be more specific, it makes one forget the tiny details of another’s existence.

So after I mopped up my sobbing face, I moved on to organizing my office and slowly it has developed into my little zen area.  Just a few pics to hang, my diffuser to set up and we are good to go.

Speaking of diffusers, I live for that stuff.  I have always been a sucker for essential oils.  A few drops of tea tree in my bath with a cup of Epsom salts and watch the detox begin!  A spritz of lavender spray on my pillow and nighty night.  I picked up this headache blend the other day and if I could bathe in it I would. Think peppermint and eucalyptus. Serious goodness.

If you ever get a chance, stop in at a Saje store or visit their shop online. Addictive ! You will leave with more than you came in with (ie. My first trip I was $200 down and no regrets).

Well my coffee awaits as does my day job so I off I go.  Enjoy your week, dear readers, and we shall chat very soon  J


Downsizing at 45 ?!

I decided to take a break from the crazy life I have been living lately and sit down to write this blog post.

I am looking around my cluttered office filled with boxes (and more boxes) and I am eager to unpack and set everything up !  Our lives for the past several weeks have been nothing but packing and unpacking as we moved out of our rental home we have lived in since selling our larger home last year.  Yes folks, I have become a statistic. The mid-life downsizer. 

After loads of consideration on where to move (east or west coast) we ended up staying pretty much right where we are for the sake of the children.  They love their school and right now that’s pretty important.  So we purchased a 3-bedroom new build townhome in a new subdivision.   

At no time in my life did I think I would say “Yaaay, a townhome!” because the thought never appealed to me. Connected to a neighbor on one side, our home faces a large expanse of green space (ignore the hydro towers).

To be honest, I am happier than in a pig in shit. 

The town home is expansive at around 2500 sq ft, modern, sleek and even has a home office on the main floor.  I am in love.   Once fully set up it will, dare I say it, rock ;)

But the reality of getting older (I turned 45 yesterday) and downsizing already is somewhat of a hard swallow.  Alas, it is what it is.

I have oddly enough started a bucket list – ranging from everything to learning a web design code to buying spices at a Moroccan souk!  As usual, I am all over the map. It’s how I roll. I have also decided to start planning for my retirement already.  Sure I have 20 yrs til then but never to early to start figuring it out. Thank heavens for a healthy pension but I seriously want to take some courses and dive into social media.  I think telecommuting after retirement and handling the PR for a company would be fantastic.  So best to hone up on those skills now and build a portfolio.  

So there, dear readers, is my life in a nutshell.  I sit here now preparing for a busy day at work and waiting for Mike to arrive with my aquarium and fish; the LAST thing to move into our home from the old house.  Yes, I have a thing for fish. They float around in cool waters and are pretty weightless and graceful.  GOALS ;)


Moving On - Goodbye To The Skinny Jeans

Time for vulnerability post of the week ;) And it’s about our least fave topic – weight.  I think it is my biggest pet peeve and was one of my most significant battles.

I have this very clear memory of being in my early 20s, fitting nicely into a size 4 GAP jean and saying to my mom “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and in hindsight that is true. At least for me.  I loved the way I felt when I was thin, energetic and had that feeling of weightlessness about me.  I adored clothes shopping because everything looked good.  I was in love with my form.

Fast forward 20 yrs and lord knows how many pounds heavier.  After my daughter was born I hovered around a size 10 for a long time and that was ok with me.  Then my illness decided to flare up with a bit of an attitude these past few years.  Exercise intolerance (ya, that’s a thing) is a huge factor in my everyday life. I am intolerant to working out (aren’t we all!) but this is actually a medical condition. When I exercise within about 1 hour I get extreme fatigue. A few hours later I feel as if I have the flu and by the next day I am bed ridden.  The most I can accomplish is a few minutes on my rebounder.  Plain and simple, it sucks.

In my 20s, exercise was the thing that kept me in shape all those years ago.  I was dedicated to my routine. Plus I had a good metabolism and eating plan.  I am now limited to stretching and a few yoga poses.  If I don’t do that then I can get really stiff and immobile.  My metabolism has essentially tanked. I don’t overeat but it seems anything that goes into my mouth heads straight for my hips.

I hover now anywhere from a size 14-16.  Oh but here’s the kicker.  I can’t wear anything tight on my body (I get rashes from anything that clings to me) so I always have to go a size up to feel comfy. Wide leg pants and loose flowy tops are now momma’s best friends.  Some days I feel dumpy but other days I feel pretty good in my own skin.  Weight isn’t as big of a deal to me as it used to be. I am who I am. And so it is.

If I could go back though to my old self would I tell her to not be so vain and focused on looks? Honestly, probably not.  I would tell her to really enjoy those days of looking and feeling fine cause wow, they are fleeting !

What keeps me smiling though are far more things now that I had in my younger years.  I have my wonderful family, a great income, a home, a paid off vehicle (yaaaay). Plus I take care of myself a lot more than I used to.  I baby myself and get plenty of rest. So though nothing may taste as good as skinny feels, a soft warm bed with clean sheets trumps a size 4 for me now any day!


The Curse of the Chronic Migraine

There is no joy that comes with chronic headaches or to be even more specific, chronic migraines.

I used to get a nasty “knock you off your feet” migraine every few months.  Now I get them a few times a MONTH!  They come on suddenly and most times without warning. Other days, I know they are on their way when I start to yawn and cannot stop.

They are, without a doubt, debilitating. I end up vomiting, crying or both. I have to hide away from sunlight and loud noises for hours.  Sometimes Advil works, sometimes not.

Today was one of those days. I woke up and could feel the beginning of one over my right eye. Within 10 minutes the nausea hit and I was downing 3 Advil faster than you can say Bob’s Your Uncle!  Thankfully the Advil started to work almost immediately and the pain dissipated but the follow up was worse; crippling fatigue. What sucks is when you have no choice but to push through it because of commitments you have made. It's like forcing yourself to wade through cement.  Do you ever get that? Where you have no idea how you can even take one more step?  I do, a lot.   It’s totally different from just feeling tired.  For me its as if someone poured an entire bucket of exhaustion over me and it has seeped into every cell of my body.  The pain of migraines is one thing, the aftermath is another.

I remember growing up and my dad telling me about his brother who suffered from chronic migraines. He had tried everything under the sun but then ventured into the great unknown and consulted with a Chinese Acupuncturist. That must have taken a lot of courage (or he hit rock bottom and had nowhere left to turn) because Chinese medicine was quite a taboo thing “back in the day”. From what I heard, the treatments completed cured his migraines. 

I am not a needle fan. Not many of us are but I absolutely hate them.  Then again, are migraines any better?  If the only treatment that works are mini needles inserted into my body, well I just don’t know. Maybe Advil and I will stay besties for quite a while longer.  Signing off now to go and hide in the dark and pray this head splitter doesn’t come back for another visit today.


A Saddened Heart

I have been hiding a saddened heart for a few days now. I am pretty good at hiding emotions and trust me, that is not said with any ounce of pride.  In fact, it is the primary reason I decided to launch this blog.  

First let me tell you a story.  A gorgeous, bright and sunny Sunday morning. My daughter and I were up bright and early to head out to get some french pastries for breakfast and a quick stop off at our local drugstore to pick up a few essentials. I was in a fantastic mood then boom, goodbye happy and hello sad.

As we were about to enter the shop, I noted a homeless man, I am guessing in his 60s, standing near the entranceway, eating a can of beans with his hands.  I won't go into his appearance, his belongings he had with him, etc, because I think the description given is enough.  In fact, it is pretty much all I can remember now - his dirty and worn hands digging into the open can of beans. 

My first thought was to help him then and there but then for some reason, I had a hard time making eye contact. My throat started to swell up, my eyes began to fill with tears... I just kept walking.

Once inside the shop, I took a moment to compose myself and thought, "Ok, on your way out see if there was anything you can do to help".  Didn’t happen.  By the time I left he was already gone. 

This was 3 days ago and I am still thinking about him. I went to bed last night feeling gutted and hoping he was somewhere safe and warm.  

Why am I writing about this I ask myself. Well it brings me back to the reason I started this blog in the first place:  to get stuff out of my head and onto the paper (granted, virtual paper) instead of letting it eat a hole in my brain (and my heart).

See here’s the deal. Every time I see an elderly man or woman who is in need of support I am immediately looking at them through my orphan eyes.  I long to take care of their broken hearts and spirits, to get them the help they deserve and when I fail to do so I get bitter with myself.  And so lies the unresolved – my belief that I failed as a child; I was unable to save my own parents from their suffering. 

I have walked this earth for 18 years now with a heavy weight; the loss of two beautiful souls who loved me unconditionally.  Over time, I have adapted and the memories have faded but it is a moment like this, when something triggers a heartache, that they come back to swallow me up. My eyes still look for my mother and father in the crowd.  18 long years. Do we ever stop searching for those who are gone?


The Beauty of a Paper Clip

I woke up this morning, made my coffee, and settled in to enjoy the quiet of a slumbering household.  Seriously, mornings when everyone is still asleep are the best mornings of all for me. I have this deep, loving and committed relationship with solitude and quiet.  I get the people who go and live in a hut in the mountains…but I digress.

Sitting there, enjoying my coffee (I will never break this addiction nor do I want to) I started looking at my surroundings.  Not just a passing glance at the d├ęcor, or wondering if I should hang a wreath over there, if the flowers need water, “oh my god is that a spot on the floor”? No, none of that. I actually, for the first time in forever noted the texture on the sofa, the green hue of the carpet and the swish of color in the paintings on the wall.  And like some kind of awakening moment, my little mind said, “You are surrounded by the fruits of someone’s creative mind. People designed these things; they chose the colors, the fabrics, and the styles. Everything around you is a result of creativity. Drink it in.”  Perhaps these pieces of art, which I now see them to be, deserve a bit more respect than just a toss into the basket at Home Sense with the sole intent of filling a vacant space in my house.

In this day and age, it is easy to get lost in consumerism. I mean isn’t that the goal of life; to buy, to own, to amass? Isn’t that what makes you worthy? I used to think so. I grew up poor; borderline dirt poor. Safe to say, we didn’t have squat.  Fast forward to my adult life and my need to show the world and myself that I am not the result of my childhood. Ain’t that a hoot?  I am so intrinsically connected to my childhood that inside it probably resembles a big ball of Christmas lights. Good luck unraveling that mess. 

Happily I can say that hitting my mid-40s didn’t just come with saddlebags, more cellulite and wickedly gray hair but also this newfound sense of self-worth. I have moved past the goal of impressing others; I am warmly tucked into the bed of “I don’t give a damn what you think of me.” Sure, I still have a self-rewarding mentality as in “buy it, I deserve it, YOLO” but I do it for my own pleasure, not to impress or keep up with the Joneses.

But today was a little epiphany for me.  Something deep inside of me is saying that its ok to slow down, to breath, to connect with my world in a different way and see the beauty in something as simple as a paper clip.  I can finally see these “things” as more than just acquisitions but almost as living beings – filled with the energy of the people that created them.  And that, dear reader, is kind of cool J


Welcome to the blog (and my life)

I don’t have a defining event or light-bulb moment that led me to writing this blog. I think, in fact, it has always been a creative idea endlessly gnawing at my soul.

Life passes us by so quickly. I am in my mid-40s now and I am always shocked when I look in the mirror. Who are you? When did “this” happen? Ah yes, “this” happened during the time I have been too busy being a mom, an employee, a caregiver, a griever (is that even a word?), a patient – the list is fairly endless. “This” happened right under my nose but my head was too buried in my life to see it.

When I was younger (with that I mean my 20s) I remember dreaming of writing a novel. I had no idea about what but I just wanted to express myself creatively. Heck, I had loads of dreams.  Then, as we all tend to experience, life took over.  My life, for as long as I can remember, has been hectic and riddled with trauma.  My strange little brain loves to hold onto the tragic moments and wipe clean any good ones. I am still trying to remember pleasant times in my childhood and early twenties but I think, dear reader, they may have been flushed from my mental filing cabinet. You never know, this blog may open up a door to those locked memories. We shall see.

You might be asking – what is this blog about exactly? As you can see by its title, it is about the creative mind: MY creative mind. I will use this space as an outlet for digging deeper into life:  past, present and future.  Will it be a joyful and fun read? Some days yes, some days no. It’s here to help me live life more fully, to nurture courage and to explore creativity. It is here for reflection, for connection and for hope.

A Curious Mind is my mental melting pot – filled with all sorts of different ideas, memories and insights; the odd, the quirky, the amusing, the fascinating and the downright sad events of my life. For the first time in my existence, I am not afraid to share with the world. There is no need for a Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak or wearing a Martha Stewart mask.  I am here to be me; to feel and write about my life. Welcome to my journey.