Life in the fast lane, for now…

I don’t recall what I thought my life would be like when I grew up but I never imagined this. Not that it’s bad and I am not complaining, just observing my life from a little distance.

Even for a big city, my life was slow paced as a kid. Sure I had to wake up at a torturous hour to head to school but it was easy going. My parents didn’t force me to get good grades nor did they instill competitiveness or pining for wealth in my psyche.  No, they allowed me to float, as long as I stayed out of trouble and didn’t fail anything, they were ok with it.  I remember coming home in the afternoons and laying on the stone floor to beat the heat.  I’d spread my arms out, lay spreadeagle, face cheek down on the cold stone floor so the maximum surface area of my body could absorb the coolness from the ground.  When I felt cool enough, I’d run outside and shout out for my best friend who was also my next door neighbour. I would call up to her rented first floor house next door till she came out to talk to me. We would make plans to hang out (sometimes our plans were dashed by her mom who wanted her to study hard) but most times, we would hang out, talk silly kiddish stories until it was dinner time, then we’d each head home, eat dinner, and go to bed.

There was no google in your back pocket, no snapchat conversations being had while you hung out with your best friend, no one was snapping pictures and there was no pressure to look good for selfies that your 2000 followers could see and instantly comment on. Life was easy, uncomplicated, with no microchips attached.  I remember asking my dad if I could get a job when I was in high school and he said you don’t need a job, just volunteer your time. So I volunteered to teach tuitions to kids slightly younger than me. It felt good and since I wasn’t getting paid, no expectations and therefore no stress.  The kids I taught, did well anyway but it was most likely due to their own motivation to do well.

Then at 19, I moved across the globe. I got a part time job in a child care centre and for the first time, saw the real world. One where people could be petty and childish ( I’m talking about the adults😯). I was astounded. I didn’t quite know what to make of it.

The kids were awesome. I enjoyed every minute of my time with them. I was usually with the toddlers. Oh my goodness! What an amazing time I had playing and singing with them, watching them be lulled to sleep at nap time as soon as the lullabies were played on the old tape recorder ( I know, remember those? Nostalgia…) and of course all the while getting an education in the real world.  That wasn’t my favourite part but it was necessary.  Life was still fairly sane.  Then I decided I was ready to finish my education. I started nursing school and after a while when the day care became difficult to juggle with the assignments and exams, I finally said a tearful goodbye to the toddlers. They clung to me and gave me special cards and momentos to hang on to.  The affection they left me with, is palpable even now. It was a beautiful time in my life. I didn’t have much to call my own, except love and affection. I felt rich in love and affection, poor in wealth, but still sane.

Then 3 years later, I was lucky enough to call myself a nurse.  I got a job as a nurse and started a new life. It was righteous, sincere, honest, and I felt extreme responsibility descend on me every time I took report.  I was literally taking on the duty to nurture and protect some of the most vulnerable people and a misstep could cause them their life. I worked hard. When I slept I had nightmares about forgetting to give a patient his medication or sleeping through the entire shift. Of course none of those things ever happened and I learnt that other nurses suffered similar side effects.  It eased my mind a bit.

In those days a degree was not required to become a nurse in the province.  So after my diploma and certification exams were done, I was able to start practicing but my heart yearned for more. I am academically inclined and I thought I should finish my degree, maybe even apply to med school. My husband was supportive, so while working at the hospital, I enrolled at university and started the road to my BScN. I was excited. Shortly into my first semester, I learnt I was expecting. I was thrilled.  It also meant that some decisions had to be made. I couldn’t very well work, finish a degree and have a child all at the same time. There are people, superhumans, who are capable of such feats but there was nothing super about me. I needed to focus on this important guest who was soon going to dictate every breathing moment of my life. I decided to put my degree on hold while I tended to the most precious little bundle who was only going to be a newborn once.  It was an important decision, a good one at that. Instead of the six month leave allowed back then, I took nine months, to really soak in the pleasures of being a mom, of having a child with a heart of gold. Her every smile put me over the moon.  I was enamoured with this little creature who could set my heart aflutter with a little giggle.

Six months into this new journey, I learnt my dad had terminal cancer. I took My baby and headed across the globe to see my parents. It was a difficult trip. Coming to terms with your parents’ illness and mortality is hard. Especially if all your life you thought your dad was superhuman and immortal.  Six months later my dad passed away. The feelings I endured on the flight home were some of my deepest, most painful and despairing ones. I wonder when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly if she endures the same feelings. It is, it was a metamorphosis. I don’t remember ever before that time, being so deeply sad that I thought I would never smile again, nor did I feel life could ever be the same again. A part of me was numb, yet another was feeling so deeply, I thought I would break in half; like immersing a freezing cold glass into boiling hot water. It was torture.  I did emerge out of those feelings eventually but it was a heavy heart that I tagged along.

As they say, time is an incredible healer (funny that it should also cause us to age and succumb to our vulnerabilities, on the other hand). Time did dull the pain of my wounded heart. I emerged on the other side, still believing that everything happens for a good reason and we just have to believe. Just believe. I believe. I have faith in a higher power. It saved me, allowed me to go on.

My mom accompanied me back to my home here. It was wonderful to have her here so my daughter could stay at home in the loving comfort of her arms. I went back to work but my heart wasn’t still. The changes that took place on the floor I worked on, were strange. The unit went from being an interesting mix of acute cardiology and general medicine, to part day surgery and part general medicine. My heart wasn’t in it. I told my best friend and she immediately asked me to consider a move to the oncology unit she was working on. She said I would love it. I agreed to interview and before I could say goodbye, I was working at an oncology hospital, looking after complex patients afflicted with cancer. I will forever be grateful to my best friend and for fate to get me over there. It changed my life, quite literally. I found my passion.  The gratification it brought me remains indescribable. While I spent myself in each twelve hour shift so fully, that by the time I got on the subway to head home, I could barely keep my eyes open, I was at peace.  On the commute home, I absorbed all that happened that day and my insides glowed with a strange satisfaction. I was happy,

Two years later, I had my second daughter, a little bundle of peaceful joy. As much a joy as the first time around, I decided to throw myself into caring for her full time. I stayed home with her for a full year, loving the days of pure joy, a second opportunity to love so wholly and deeply that your heart feels full to the brim. I never imagined how one could love someone so much, yet have so much more to give, to your other child and your partner. It’s one of life’s great mysteries.  What a pleasure that year was, focusing on this little miracle and then having the unique pleasure of watching the two interact. I felt I had won the lottery.

At the end of that year after my second daughter was born, I did go back to work but it was a difficult transition. Daily, I tore myself away,from the girls to go work at the hospital, cried half the way to work. Though I was fully composed most of the time, any signs,of a child (a car seat, a soother, a stroller) would send me into a tearful meltdown on my drives to and from work for a while.  That too eventually passed.

I was working in outpatient clinical trials by that time. I did spend a lot of time at work and slowly got pulled into a part time position on top of it at the hospital next door to help out an oncologist in a rare, and difficult position. It was a great opportunity and one that I learned from immensely but the full time day job and the part time evenings and weekends job, coupled with responsibilities of raising a family may have started to put strain on my otherwise easygoing style.

In time, I decided the commute and the emotional strain from my involvement in my primary job were too much to allow me to continue.  I took a pay cut and a job in the industry, into what I thought would be more manageable work. Boy, was I wrong. My chronicles as a CRA could easily fill the pages of a memoir but we don’t have that kind of space here🙃

I continued in that job and allowed it to get the better of me, till I could not deny that it was harming my physical health. I resigned from the position and soon discovered I had rheumatoid arthritis.

I attempted to get a hold of life, right my sailboat and focused on my family and health. For a while things were difficult but eventually with my health steadily improving, my confidence was restored and I felt I had prevented a bad downturn. Soon opportunity came knocking and I went back to work for a major pharmaceutical company. It was a busy but good time with fair balance. Managing my health, work, and home was a challenge but one I thought I was managing well. Then a change in the company’s business model coincided with an offer from another company. I moved to the other company and while for the most part I worked from home, I literally never left work.

Striking a work/life balance is tough but never tougher when you’re trying to balance it from your ‘work from home job’!!

…….

Life was clearly getting ahead of me, stress was getting a hold of me, in more ways than one for a long time  now and I’ve just ignored the signs too long.

I started to write this post in February this year but never had a chance to finish it. I started having odd symptoms at the end of February, which have culminated into a cancer diagnosis. I wish I stopped a little sooner to truly take notice of how much stress my body and mind have been under, over a sustained period of time. I have not loved myself enough and it’s time to take the next exit and even take the path less traveled.

I’ll see you on my journey through Part II of my life.❤

A new opportunity

It is debateable which part of my life can be called insane; the one where I was travelling at warp speed, not able to appreciate the view or the one where it has come to a complete and sudden halt with a shudder!
On June 5th, I was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma.
As soon as the words left the doctor’s mouth, they embossed themselves harshly on the reality of my life and that of my family and close friends.
As harsh as the reality is, there are countless blessings I’m grateful for. I’m grateful for a great team of clinicians and diagnosticians who can break down the complexity of this disease and make it beatable. I’m grateful for my employer and colleagues, who have allowed me to step away and focus on regaining health. I’m supremely grateful for my husband, my girls, my friends, and family, without whom,this would be undoable, the journey untenable. Aside from all these, there are countless other blessings for which I cannot help but be thankful. The higher power has a ‘grand scheme’ for us all, I always say and now more than ever, I believe that to be the case.

I hear life is all about balance, so I need to keep in mind all the sweetness with the sour reality that’s come to visit me for a while 🙂
Frequently when I finished cleaning the kitchen after dinner and was finally rewarded with a satisfyingly shiny kitchen, fit for a morning coffee, I’d raise my arms up in a winning pose and shout, ‘ and she does it again!’. The kids always smile at my silliness.  Now I cannot wait to be able to say that at the end of treatment when they tell me it’s    been successfully beat!

I don’t imagine it will be possible to be 100% positive, 100% of the time, so I will leave room for some moping in my life and the occasional pity party but I do hope I can face this with strength and courage so that others around me who gaze deeply at me each morning to see what the days’ forecast looks like for me, can feel hopeful and strengthened by my own resolve.

It’s a great opportunity for me to practice my faith in the higher power,  spend meaningful time with those nearest and dearest to me, learn more about my own strengths and weaknesses, indulge in lost hobbies and generally ‘live’ rather than ‘get through’ each day.

The last many years have been full of busyness, the daily run around, with its forgetful reality, where you forget…forget why you are doing what you are doing, forget why you started what you started, forget what’s important, who’s important, forget all the important meaningful pieces of you that make your life, make sense. I’m looking forward to understanding what makes me tick, what makes me dance with joy and having the time to dance with joy. Hopefully, I will be so fortunate to see it through; ‘the dancing with joy’, part.

Hopeful and grateful.❤

Small talk

imageCan you remember all the summers you’ve had? How about all the hurtful moments or all the happy moments? Even with a good memory, only a few of us remember our lives like a storybook. The sequence, the details of every moment are just too hard to store in our limited memories.  I bet though, most of us can remember the ‘defining moments’….like the ones where you were embarrassed, you secretly wished you didn’t exist or that it was a dream?  You’ll remember the regrets too, most likely. The ones that make us wish we could turn back time, just so we could go back and re- do it.  Then there are the moments of deep and sustained joy or sadness. Funny how, being the polar opposites they can sit side by side in that statement.  Deep joys and deep sadnesses have just that kind of impact.  That’s why I think tears are like the unifying symbol. When you are sad you cry, when you are deeply happy- you cry. How does it happen? Something touches us to our core so deeply, that though the emotion may be different, it produces the same result…tears. It’s brilliant actually. I don’t think it’s about the ‘type’ of emotion actually. I think it’s about the depth of emotion.

Those are the things we remember.

That is why I think a lot of us are averse to creating moments that create neither; nor lasting sadness that touches us to our core, nor sustained happiness that puts the fear of God in us, lest it be taken away.  We avoid small talk. Oh we can manage it well enough but each time we indulge in it, we are distinctly aware of the time we are losing. It frustrates us but if you are a congenial person, which I think I am, you just go along with it, all the while, wondering WHY can’t we just move on, end the conversation, be rude, avoid further discourse….

Small talk is unappealing to me at best but those who know me probably think I’m pretty good at it because I do go on. I can entertain and smile even when I feel like life is ending and I’ll never be happy again. Weird, isn’t it? I think it’s just the way I thought I was supposed to behave, so often I am caught up in between feeling like I should just be myself and that feeling that makes me just go along with the way of the world, well because there is no need to propecize how you’re feeling. Besides everyone is so busy in their own lives, who wants to start a deep discussion about how I am ‘ truly’ feeling on a given day.

Years of rearing rituals have ensured most people answer the same way when asked, ‘how are you?’. Most people say, ‘great’, ‘good’, ‘fantastic!’, when in reality most of us are farthest from that feeling. How do we break this bubble we’ve created around us that cannot be broken? I mean, if the dry cleaner asks you ‘how are you?’ He’s not really asking for the story of your life, he’s just being polite, using this question as a way to greet you. We really should consider if this is the most appropriate greeting. Do we ‘really’ have time to hear how everyone we meet in a given day is doing? So imagine this day for a second.  For the purpose of this exercise I’ll remind you that the family we live with asks us how we are doing, fully expecting and prepared for an honest answer. With them we do express (usually) our honest feelings, unless you are in a fight, then all expressions and their ‘true’ meaning goes out the window! Ever heard of the discourse between a husband and wife, who are thawing out from a disagreement and the husband says ,’how are you?’ And the wife says, ‘fine’. We are not going to go into those types of conversations.  For the purpose of the philosophical discussion at hand we will stick to scenarios that skirt this kind of expression(for obvious reasons! That would be a different post entirely!)

Ok,,so to go back to pretending…you start your day, everyone has gone off to their respective stations (work, school, etc. things that can’t be avoided).  You get a knock at the door. The Fed Ex delivery guy is at your door. You say ‘hello’ and the guy says ”hello’. You say ‘how are you?’. Remember now, this is the cursory greeting we use, like an extension to a file name.  It is in no way an invitation to spill your guts.  Now imagine that the Fed Ex guy is not well versed in social mores and starts taking your question at face value! Next thing you know, it’s 2 hours later, you’re growing roots into the spot near your door and the Fed Ex guy is still telling you what an unsuccessful day it’s been so far because he woke up to an apartment full of cat poop because his cat has gone senile and in controlling the situation he was late to work, his boss yelled at him despite his perfect record of being prompt on the job and how he was late starting and… Well you get the idea. If you are me, you’re just standing there being polite and trying to figure out a sure fire way of getting this guy back to his truck! Now imagine that you had this exchange with everyone you saw that day. I think you’re starting to get the picture 🙂

In short, it is a ridiculous way to greet people. If you don’t want to hear the true answer to, ‘how are you?’, please don’t ask the question?  I’m tempted sometimes to throw people off, think I got the idea from my husband, to say something like ‘oh I feel like crap’ and get off onto a rant about why, just to mess with the dry cleaner or the Shoppers’ clerk or whoever.  I think it would be quite funny actually.

So going back to my original train of thought, why involve ourselves in all these moments of small talk and non essential banter if we’re bound to forget about it just as soon as the door shuts on the Fed Ex guy and we rip into the contents of the package? What is the point of wasting ALL that precious time just to be one with our societal mores?

I guess the pleasantries and small talk can have its place as long as we play by the rules; say, ‘fine, thank you’ to the Fed Ex guy and move on to the bigger fish that’s waiting to be fried.

Afterall, more than likely, that moment isn’t going to have the lasting effect that makes it part of your permanent etched memory.

Go on, have your small talk  and forget it too, like you are bound to. The good stuff will come in its own good time. Until then, we’ll let the small talk bridge the gap between ‘how are you’ and the real answer one of your family members gives you.

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The matter of age

I still remember being little and wondering how old I had to be, to be older than my siblings, or at least match them in age. Seems like a silly thought but when you are the youngest of four and constantly feel too small, not so much in stature but more in status, the thought crosses your mind.  Probably sounds strange? Well, when I was growing up, I was the gofer, the sacrificial lamb ( for jokes), and too young to be taken seriously.  I actually decided to run away from home one time.

imageI packed up a couple of items of clothing, some money I had and a snack I think, all wrapped in a small bundle wrapped in cloth, hid it under the settee near the dining room door, which had a door to the outside, and resolved to escape forever from the life that was making me miserable.  At night, I waited till there were no sounds, just a hum of the fan. I remember laying awake resolutely, waiting to execute my plan. When I was sure that no one was awake in the house, I snuck quietly into the dining room in the dark, pulled out my secret bundle of clothes from under the settee and just sat with it on my lap, in the dark, contemplating what I was about to do. I hadn’t thought out very clearly what I would do after I left the house or where I would go after the coast was clear. So I sat there a while longer in wide-eyed wonder about how I would actually make it into the real world, where I would live, how I would make money to find food and about the unknown dangers that could be out there in the dark. I think I must have been 9 or 10 yrs. old but even at that age, I was practical enough. As my fear grew, my resolve weakened. I silently dropped the bundle next to my side, got up off the sette and walked back to my room, unpacked what represented my life, stuffed it into the closet and went to bed. I can’t remember if I cried but I do remember feeling defeated.

From then on while I may not have felt that much different than I did before my failed escape attempt, I did become less concerned with the jabs at me. I accepted my fate and became far more relaxed than I was before. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade….while I didn’t know this saying then, I pretty much practised it. I allowed life to ‘take’ me where it chose.  I didn’t give up as much as I gave in, giving life permission to take me where it would. Not consciously of course, I think these things just happen and when you look back you realize what was happening, what your rationale might have been, the fog starts to clear…

I’m not much of a thinker. You’d never see me sitting somewhere all glazey-eyed, detached from the world, gazing into the distance, thinking about things, analyzing them forwards and backwards. I can do that for maybe 30 seconds, 60-tops; then other thoughts crowd around me, unrelated to the matter I was going to dwell on and take me on a ride. It’s not that I don’t want to, in fact sometimes I’ve tried really hard to focus on a thought but I’m just not capable.

I practise something I am going to call spontaneous thinking. I think as I write or speak, 90% of the time; in the moment and that’s it. Once it’s passed through my fingers, I’m not going back. What for? I thought about it as much as my limited capacity allowed me and now I’m movin on. What’s the point of wasting energy and time.  Sorry, did I mention I tend to be tangential?

So, life went on, I floated through it as soundlessly as is possible, met my now husband and got married in short order. I mean S-H-O-R-T order. I am quite spontaneous and as I already told you I don’t like to dwell much on my thoughts. The way my mind works, if something draws me to it and my mind decides I’m going to go for it, I’m not going to um and ahh about it, I’m just going to do it.  After all life’s short! I met my husband on September 8, 1992. I discovered I could talk to him like I could talk to nobody else. As for him, in the last 23 years that’s the only decision he’s made in a matter of minutes; everything else he analyzes no end before embarking upon (thank goodness one of us has that capability)! So, the Stars aligned to make sure we did not part, and we got married on September 27, 1992. That’s right, we knew each other just 19days before we decided to be cell mates 🙂 his family and my family have old ties but I had never met him before this time. like I said, the stars were aligned….

My husband is 8 years older than me. He IS the better half and every day I try to be more like him. I want to embody his maturity, his fairness, his purity, his single-minded courage to stand up for what’s right, even if it’s awkward or difficult or different. Since I spent all my young life trying to be accepted just like everyone else who was older than me, more quick witted than me, and smarter than me, among my siblings, I do find it difficult to do anything that might cause me to not be accepted. I think I need anothe blog post to go on about it….lets just say, in my mind I felt like I needed to be more his age to be more like him. I can’t explain why, except that I was young when we got married ( about 19) and I felt a little like a kid around his friends who were more his age than mine. At that time, in our first years together, I felt like a kid in whatever I did and wherever I accompanied him. Naturally, I wanted to match him in age, as much to be accepted as his wife, as to be seen as an equal. I had moments of doubt, on his behalf, that he had made a mistake marrying me, someone so much younger and less mature than him. I am still trying to come up to par with him. I keep thinking I’ll catch up to him in years, well we all know that’s not really possible. The distance that separates us in years is like the two sides of a road, and how can they converge…nevertheless I keep hoping I’ll be as old as him.

I’m 42 now, have some silver hair of my own, I feel closer to his age, his friends don’t seem ‘older’ anymore. In fact, I even feel like I can sit among my siblings and be their equal. Now and again  a passing comment still returns me to the age of 9 (or at least the feelings of age 9), but it’s a fleeting moment. For the most part I feel like I’ve grown up. In past years I’ve even shared some things I’ve learnt, with my siblings and recognized in their looks or words, a glimmer of pride in their younger sister, or maybe acceptance? In those moments I felt like I had crossed the barrier of age, like the two sides of the road have converged over a shared understanding a bit of learnt knowledge. It’s almost enough to make me feel like I’ve won a trophy, like getting to the top of the hill huffing and puffing and being rewarded with a breathtaking view of the valley.

So unlike my sister, who would always say to my mom, “I’m not turning 19, no way. I’m going to stay 18′, I say, I love my silver, when can I be 50 like my husband?!

I know most women are mysterious about their age but for me, I look forward to the next milestone I can surpass.

That’s not to say that the ravages of age have not bothered me. I do wish my bones acted like they did when I was 18 but that’s not realistic, is it? I wish I had more years ‘available’ to make sure I am there when my girls need me to babysit their kids or help them choose curtains for their dream homes but we get what we get and it’s up to us to try to live it out with amazing grace and sincerity.

imageI’m working on figuring it out a bit at a time.  I feel small, faced with the magnanimity of life but oh how wonderful to be given the chance. The chance to live here, to see it all, experience it all. What does age matter, it is after all, just a number representing how long we’ve been here, how long we’ve been trying (to perfect the art of living) not how much we’ve lived. Some live a lifetime in a moment and others, just a moment in a lifetime. If you focus on age too much the years will whiz by and you’ll find yourself wondering where they went. So let’s give it up, this obsession with age, me included, and make every moment count.♥️

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Love-joy

You might be wondering about the strange name I gave this blog…Love-joy?

I can explain.

I am so overwhelmed lately from the joy that love is bringing me ( or maybe I’ve just opened myself up to it more) that I feel compelled to write about it.  I am fortunate to experience love every day, in one form or another; from my husband, my children, my mom, a neighbour, an old friend and of course the love expressed by the universe ( like when I wake up and sunshine is streaming through my windows). In each of it’s many forms it brings great joy. Joy that I do not experience when I buy a coveted shoe or get a new hair cut.

I remember when my girls were little, I was so wrapped up in all the busy work and life was whizzing by, but in the quiet moments of the night during a 2 am feeding or a bedtime story, or a library craft class everything seemed to stop for just a little while, long enough for me to feel love to the core of my heart and warm me up all the way to the tips of my toes.  Then I remember the very moment I knew I loved my husband irrevocably. We were honeymooning in a hillside resort in India and the bellboy came to our room to tell us there was a phone call for him in the main lobby ( the far off, out of the way resort had no room phones but oh what a view!). My husband ran out of the room and down some wooden stairs, across the courtyard and I remembered it had been raining and the steps would probably be slippery, what if he fell and hurt himself badly. The dread from that thought ran a chill down my spine and I ran out of the room to tell him to slow down, my heart racing faster than an indie race car. As the relief of seeing him safely step into the lobby washed over me, I said a silent prayer and in that moment realized that my heart was his forever.  Funny how that moment 23 years ago, still makes me emotional.  What can I say, I’m a softy!

Just the other day my husband and I went to wish our old neighbours Merry Christmas. We lived next to them for 10 years and in that space of time, they’ve watched our kids grow from little kindergarteners to pretty young ladies and we’ve watched as their grandkids grew from pre-teens to working adults.  We’ve been around for each other’s ups and downs in life, they’ve been there to watch my girls when we needed their help and we in turn helped them throught their health roller coasters.  It never felt like I did enough to reciprocate for all the love and care they showed us but somehow they seem ever grateful. I guess it’s love.  Every time I see my neighbour, she closes me in a tight hug, takes my chin in her hand and tells me how much she loves me.  The same warm feeling passes through me that love tends to impart…pure joy!

My mom is now overseas and while she does not feel that comfortable typing up long messages on what’s app, almost without fail, a good morning message shows up on my phone every morning. She is amazingly patient, like that saying, “love is patient” and pure to a fault.  What a fantastic honour to be able to call her mom! We talk regularly and while we did not learn to say ” I love you” to each other until well after I was married, each time she says that to me, before we hang up the phone, it puts a smile on my face and the days’ outlook becomes a little bit brighter.

Now that my girls are close to adulthood and express their love in all sorts of ways, I’ve learnt to hang on to their each endearment, every hug, every kiss as if it were worth everything in the world. I savour their hugs and hold them for a little longer, draw joy from their loving words, it makes my chest swell with pride and finally, I feel so very grateful to the powers that be, that gave me this special privilege to be their mom and my husband’s wife.  Just writing the words fills me with joy.  How can that ever come from buying shoes and writing to tell your friend about it? It can’t.

There is no joy greater than that which love brings in its wake, no pleasure quite equal to the pleasure that comes from knowing you are loved and loving so wholly that there is room for no other feeling.  It’s Love-joy❤️

Another year? Really?

Ok, this is really very annoying! Yet another year got behind me and I have no idea how. Mostly, I spent plenty of time working – at work, at home, and sparing very little time for fun.  I started the year with a general reminder to self that went something like this…”I’m going to take time to enjoy myself between work and more work. I’ll take breaks, keep it in perspective, not let stress get to me, and not let myself get carried away with too much work.” It was a good, well meaning note to self.  It worked….for the first couple weeks. I kept my work day in check, stopped at a decent time, did not let stress of too much work on my plate overwhelm me.  Then I fell back into my old habits, working too many hours, running mself down, forgetting all about my ‘reminder to self’.  This is why I don’t make resolutions any more.  I can see you nodding with that knowing smile;)

Resolutions are hard to keep. I’m not sure why they are called ‘resolutions’. I think they should be called ‘potential resolutions’ since most of us know that under that resolve lies self doubt and very little self-control. I wonder what the stats are on resolutions that are actually ‘kept’.  I digress…

As as the end of the year was approaching, I had this sneaky feeling that I had let life take over and not made any attempts to regain control. It’s not the best feeling. It really is up to us how we chose to live, who we allow in, and how much control we decide to relinquish.

It was not all loss and failure though. I did push back my work to make time with the kids ( sure, more of this would have been better, but I’m taking baby steps), allowed myself to be lured away on two trips with no email, no phone, no work.  I know; you’re probably rolling your eyes, but my husband had to fight me to get me to agree. It was sad actually that I did not feel comfortable enough to take time off from work, but I am so glad that I did!  I got a much needed rest and desperately needed time with my husband and kids. I have 2 girls- Kaiya(13) and Zoe (16). They are awesome kids and I am forever hoping I can do them justice. My husband, Kesh…I have so much to learn from him, especially his particular brand of patience with my work and sleep habits. I am always wondering how he puts up with me. I also managed to take almost 2 weeks off over Christmas to stay home, bake, spin some Christmas memories, spend time with family, and recuperate from the year. It was THE BEST time I have ever spent – not working and not being away.  Turns out the ‘stay-cation’ is not a myth!  It was so nice to bum around in pyjamas all day, bake, watch movies, stay up late, indulge in yummy wine and eat leftovers or just chocolates :-p. You should try it some time.

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So along the lines of achievements, I sent my Christmas cards on time this year! In my books, that counts as an achievement.  I also managed to make a very positive change by changing where I work. I have been working from home for ages but I’ve always been sequestered in my home office, away from everyone and everything, not allowing myself to be disturbed by anything or anyone while I worked long hours. My husband has been asking me on a regular basis to try switching up where I set up so I can be more a part of the family life happening all around me, since all I have to do is move to a different room with my laptop.  I finally decided to take his advice and brought my laptop down to the main floor library, which is right next to our main entrance and has a rounded area in the corner with Windows all around. Small space but precious.  This small change has improved the quality of my life many fold.  You wouldn’t think that one small change can have such an impact but my happiness quotient is living proof!  Now I see my kids as they leave for school and as they return home. It’s like having a few extra stolen moments that are like a gift to myself.  Most mornings I also get to spend a few precious minutes over a morning coffee with my husband, reconnecting, hearing his plans, sharing my own, and then life takes over the day.

So like I was saying, it’s not been all failures, despite losing track of my ‘reminder to self’.  Another year has dawned and while I am not making any resolutions, I am reminding myself to be good to myself and everyone around me, especially those who are directly affected by my presence or absence…my family.

Cheers!

Smashed griddle potatoes

Who doesn’t like potatoes? Wait, don’t tell me. I guess there are bound to be people who do not like these delicious spuds, although I suspect they are in the minority. If those in this minority are converted after reading or experimenting with what’s to follow, I’ll take the blame for it :-p.

Here’s your inspiration:

Smashed griddle potatoes

 

This is is likely THE easiest thing you’ve ever made, right up there with toast!

Ingredients: For 4 servings

Mini potatoes – let’s say 12 (but depends on your appetite & severity of potato obsession)

Coconut oil – 4 tbsp

Fresh thyme – 3-4 sprigs

Sea salt – to taste

Fresh cracked pepper- to taste ( hint- you can never have enough, really)

Preparation:

1. Wash & boil the potatoes with skin, till fork tender

2. Drain the potatoes & place on a cloth or paper towel so they are not drippy wet

3. Add a tbsp of oil to non stick griddle or pan on medium high heat

4. Place mini potatoes on the griddle (about 6-7 on medium sized pan)  and with the back of a flat bottomed bowl or other dish, gently press towards the pan bottom – you’ve got smashed potatoes

5. Sprinkle sea salt, cracked black pepper & thyme leaves over the potatoes. Let the potatoes catch some heat and get crispy golden brown, then flip

6. Drizzle some oil on the pan if it’s starting to dry out, sprinkle sea salt & cracked black pepper and allow potatoes to get golden brown

7. Transfer to serving platter and repeat with the remaining potatoes

Hint: when I make these only a fraction of them make it to the table; my family devours them as they hit the platter, so you may consider increasing the portion size or making another side :-p

Smashed griddle potatoes

Happy New Year !!

So here it is whether we were ready or not…a New Year!  Were you ready? Strangely, this happens every year…I see it coming and I try to prepare for it; I think a bit about the Days that led me to the end of the year and any important, noteworthy moments, any contentious moments, anything done well ( hopefully there are a few things in this category 😉 ), etc. Then I ultimately get called out of my memories via a cry for help preparing lunch or finding something and there, the fleeting memories are all but gone and next thing I know, I’m chilling the bubbly and waiting for the ball to drop. When the clock shows one minute past midnight, it always feels the same…anti-climactic! It’s just another day with the same ‘life’, the same people, things, weather, life’s baggage. Nothing really changes other than the date.  So strange…what are we actually celebrating when we ring in the new year? I’m not so sure actually.  I think I’ve lost track over the years. I don’t even make New Years resolutions any more or at least not any I intend to keep.  It seems I’m drifting on an iceberg ( I imagine it would be cold, since I’ve never actually drifted on an iceberg) watching the days, weeks,  months, years go by but not actually getting off the iceberg to take in the sites, enjoy a moment, etch any in my memory…I guess maybe sometimes I’ve done that but for the most part, I’ve just been drifting.

Maybe this year I ought to stop, consider what I need out of life (the rest of it anyway) or what it needs out of me. I think each of us are meant to serve a purpose, similar to how bees serve a purpose (without them we would have no trees, no food), so I need to figure out what my purpose was to be. For the last 30 odd years (well the first decade or so really doesn’t count so I did not include it) I’ve thought about it fleetingly but I’m afraid my iceberg has held me captive.

I’ll try this year to find a way off my iceberg and look for that purpose, whatever it may be. Wish me luck!

Good luck and good wishes to everyone out there…those who have found their purpose in life and those of us still searching⭐️

Moments

imageThe carols have been sung, turkey has been eaten, and anticipation put to rest. Now time for some relaxation with nearest and dearest and more memory making time. The year went by so fast; it seems in a flash. Seemed like just yesterday, we we were wishing each other a happy new year…

Life is lived in its moments…one here watching a special ornament twinkling on the tree, the peace and calm of the night coming together like a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift; another, taking pleasure in seeing the delight on your child’s face as they unwrap the presents from their wish-list ❄️

As I approach the end of the year I’m reminded to immerse myself in each moment and maybe, just maybe the year will go by j.u.s.t a little bit slower.