Monday, March 31, 2014

THE PLATE




In April of 1988, after a long hard winter, I moved to the city of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, to look for work.  I had been laid-off work just before the winter and had decided to spend the season with my mother who lived alone in the small community of St. Teresa’s, just two hours from Corner Brook.  It had taken me a few weeks to find a room in a boarding house that  was affordable and close to the town center but once I did it didn't take me long to get my affairs in order and make arrangements for transportation.  My mother was sad to see me go but knew that I had to move on to find work.  

Eddy’s Bus Service was operating on Saturdays so I took the evening bus.  I was a little excited, a little nervous, but mostly, I was hung over.  I slept all the way into Corner Brook and was awakened by the bus driver when we got there.  I searched my jacket pockets and found the paper with the directions for the boarding house.  The bus driver pointed me in the right direction and I started walking.  It was a very cold day; my breath clouded the air in front of my face and the snow cracked with every step I took.  All I could think about was snuggling in some warm blankets and going to sleep.

After what seemed like hours I finally reached the house.  It had blue vinyl siding, was three stories high, steep front steps, that had been generously salted, and a well maintained front yard.  I liked it immediately.  I ran up the stairs and knocked. 

 Footsteps came toward the door and a young lady let me in.  “No need to knock, this is the main entrance.  You must be Lisa. Please come in.”

“Yes, thank you,” I replied and shut the door behind me.  I was no longer cold.  I followed her into her apartment and we exchanged pleasantries, house rules, and details of my rental agreement after which she showed me the upstairs apartment where there were three other girls living.  A bathroom and kitchen were shared.  It was clean and tidy and my bedroom was warm and cozy.  I signed the rental agreement and gave her the first month’s rent.  She told me that if I had any problems to just knock on her door.  I smiled at her and noticing her belly asked, “So when are you due?”

“In a few months,” she said. The doctor told me the middle of June.”  There was so much excitement in her voice that it made me excited.  I congratulated her then she left me to unpack and get settled in.  I didn't unpack.  I tore off my jacket, got under the blankets, and went to sleep.

The next day I awoke refreshed.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  I wondered if anyone was up yet then I heard water running; someone was in the kitchen.  I dragged myself out of bed and rummaged through my luggage to find soap and such.  I was going to take a shower if it was free and sure enough, when I opened my room door I saw that it was empty.  After a quick shower, I got dressed then introduced myself to one of the girls.  We chatted for a while and I got the scoop on the other girls, the lowdown on the town, where to eat, where to grocery shop, and the best place for take-out.  She also suggested I go to a few of the restaurants in town to see if they were doing any hiring.  We talked for a while longer then she left to meet her boyfriend.  I decided that a walk around town would do me some good and a bite to eat would fix my stomach so I went out and walked about. 

 When I came back I met the other girls.  We talked and laughed at the kitchen table, drinking tea, as was the custom, and by the time I was ready for bed I knew a little about every one of them.  As I searched for pjs I wondered just how much money I was left with so I went through my bags and found forty dollars plus change.  “Tomorrow is going to be a busy day,” I said to myself, then changed into my pjs, snuggled in my blankets, and went to sleep.

I got a job within a couple of days at a take-out place called Mary Brown’s Fried Chicken.  I worked hard and was hired permanent full time.   My paycheque came around just in time as I was down to my last dollar. I paid my rent, bought some groceries, and continued to work as many hours as I could.  Summer was in the air and I needed some new clothes.  The weeks flew by, the weather was getting warmer, and the landlady had had a new baby boy.

One evening the girls and I were visiting with the landlady and cooing at the new baby.  The topic of conversation came around to weight management and I, being the thinnest, was appointed the designated babysitter while the others went for a quick walk. 

 “Don’t worry,” the new mom said, “I’ll put him to sleep before we leave and he should be good for an hour.”  

So, the baby went to sleep and they went for a walk.  I sat on the sofa reading a magazine and checked on the baby periodically.  The girls came back within the hour and the baby was still sleeping.  Anthony’s mom was so grateful to be able to get out of the house for a while that she gave me a token of her gratitude:  a small plate with blue trim and blue flowers in the center.  It was the first time in my life that anyone had ever given me something so thoughtful for such a small favor. 26 years later it remains a special part of my life that I will never forget.





Wednesday, March 26, 2014

YOU ARE MINE





YOU ARE MINE

You are the sunshine in every day 

When you’re around the sky is never gray

You are filled with fun, love, and joy

I’m so glad to call you my little boy

You are generous, sensitive, and kind

I always have you on my mind

People say that you have very good manners

But it’s not so when I try to get you in pajamas

Sometimes you watch too much tv

And sometimes you don't eat healthy

But in the morning when I see the sun shine

I look in your eyes and thank God that you’re mine


Love, Mom
Feb. 2010

Monday, March 24, 2014

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED


Photo by JC Photography, Fort Nelson, BC. Northern Gateway Pipeline.






     Just like the $6.5 billion Northern Gateway Pipeline connects Bruderheim, AB, to Kitimat, BC, so we too are all connected, and in more ways than one. 
     Did you know that there are over 6 billion people using cell phones to connect with other people from all parts of the earth? I was recently on my cell phone with my cable provider who connected me with a rep in India, then she connected me to a rep in Brazil, then he connected me to Canada, Montreal to be exact. It was less than 50 years ago, in 1973, when Martin Cooper of Motorola created the cell phone. It's incredible when we think about how something so small changed the world.
     Do you think that this is what our spiritual prophets of long ago meant when they said that we are all connected? Did they mean that we are all part of the whole and that we are all connected to that whole and this is just the beginning of what was said so long ago? Are we just balls of light compelled to get back to the source, or did our prophets actually see the future of the world, the things that connect us to one another on this earth, like highways, railways, the world wide web, and so on? Are these the kinds of things that will really connect people or will it be the end of our human connection?
     I have a phone, and I have family who live in other provinces, but I don't feel that connection. We can talk to one another by phone or internet, but do we really connect? I know people who live in the same house and don't connect, or on the same street, the same small community, they may even be brothers and sisters, but they don't even pick up the phone or even walk to the other's house to say, "Hello, how ya doin'?" Do you think these kinds of earthly connections will be of great importance to the future of mankind or will it be a sign of what's to come and the ruination of a species?











Saturday, March 22, 2014

HOW TO MAKE A LIFE CHANGE

Photo by LC Photography, St. Teresas, NL.






     No one I know likes change. As human beings we are habitual creatures, doing the same things every day, without thinking. For most people, it works. You may get up in the morning, shower, eat, and go off to work. Routine. You see the same people at work and eat the same food for lunch. You go home, eat dinner with/without family, watch TV, and go to bed. Weekends may be filled with friends or family outings, and running errands. You go on vacation once a year. You serve your community by volunteering at community events, or helping out at the nearest soup kitchen. And you may be happy living your life out in this fashion. 
     But what happens if and when you reach that point when you begin to think, "Same shit over and over and over again." It first starts as a random thought, then begins to take over rational thought until eventually it begins to be the only think you think about. What do you do? Grin and bear it, hope that it is just a fleeting thing that will eventually go away. Do you keep doing the same thing over expecting different results? Do you dive into your job, do you exercise at the gym until your muscles ache and finally feel like rubber? Do you try to run that 10k marathon, trying desperately to outrun that feeling?  What do you do?


     The following is what I have learned about making change.
  • The first thing you must do is figure out just how you feel and what you need to change. Are you bored, unhappy, or dissatisfied? Figure out what you are unhappy about or what you are dissatisfied with. It may be something small like losing weight and getting healthy or it may be something bigger like changing your career, or even bigger, leaving an impossible situation with a partner. Whatever the problem, you have to identify what you are feeling and decide just what it is that you need to change. Take your time, do not do anything drastic, and do not make hasty decisions.
     Let me tell you about the time I didn't identify my feelings, did something drastic, and made a hasty decision. It was years ago, I was living in a house that I had been renting. I had been in a car accident and was housebound. I had too many confusing feelings and emotions and I wasn't thinking straight. A lot of things were going on in my life that I had no control over and I didn't know how to cope. So one day while I was at the pet store buying some dog food I saw an ad for Newfoundland puppies. One look at that picture and I was immediately compelled to get one. My son, who was with me, agreed. We went home and convinced my partner to give us 400 dollars so we could go get one, which we did the following day. That puppy was the sweetest thing. He was big and dopey, furry and so playful, until he grew to the size of a horse in about four months. What was I thinking? I wasn't. I was just trying to fill a void. Needless to say, shortly after I found a good home for him. Lesson learned.


  • Now that you have figured out what you are feeling and have decided what you need to change, you have to consider the roadblocks, the things that are holding you back. Making a change is hard, but it may be easier to tackle once you have an understanding of what's holding you back.
     Let me tell you how it took me ten years to make a major life decision because I couldn't let go of what was holding me back. I got married at a young age and was very unhappy in the marriage due to things that I cannot bare to mention, but I had my own home, with a backyard on  a nice quiet street. The thought of losing material possessions kept me in a situation that was killing me. The relationship took its toll, but I held on because I didn't want to lose my house, my things, my status. Once I understood that these things were holding me back, I let go. The weight lifted and I realized that material possessions do not make you happy, they are just things. I left everything behind and got a divorce and it was the best decision I ever made in my life.



  • Once you understand what's holding you back make a plan. How do you get from point A, being miserable, to point B, being at peace and harmony with yourself, those around you, and the world? Get a pen and some paper, start a journal or keep some kind of logbook. Make a plan, write it down, then follow it. Work at it, don't give up on it. Keep the focus. Pretend you have tunnel vision and keep the eyes focused forward, always. There will be obstructions, this is life we are talking about, no one said it was easy. When obstructions take you aback, figure out how to solve it, don't talk about the problem, talk about the solution. Fix the problem then get on with your plan. Making change can be scary, but what's the alternative? It doesn't take long for unhappiness to develop into depression. Sometimes it feels like you don't have a choice, but you always have a choice.    
     I know that the above may sound like some psychobabble nonsense, but it really does help to keep a log book because it helps you stick with a plan and keeps things in perspective. It also helps you see mistakes you might have made along the way. In an earlier post entitled I AM GEMINI, I found my life purpose in old journals and logbooks I had kept. Keeping a journal helps you to see where you have been, and may help you decide where you want to go in your life, and what changes have to be made. 


  • Now that you know what you are feeling and why and understand what is holding you back, you may still feel like you are in a situation where a life change just cannot happen right now. If you feel as if you are in this kind of situation then I would suggest that you find happiness despite your situation. Fight to be happy. Fight against everything that tries to steal your joy. Fight against everyone who tries to bring you down. Do what makes you happy. Don't let your situation control you. Don't let anyone control how you feel. You are a good person. Keep writing in your journal. Take care of yourself and try to think positive things and concentrate on the good things in your life. Be thankful. Form positive habits that will help you and make you happy. Happiness is contagious. And when you do have a bad day acknowledge it, feel it, but don't spend time wallowing in it. For life is short, time is fleeting, and if you don't take responsibility for your happiness, who will?

     



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WINTER AT THE JUNCTION





Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter blues or winter depression is a type of depression that occurs during the winter months. It comes with the shortening of the days in late autumn and may last until spring. (It also occurs in the summer, summer blues/depression, although in this article I speak of winter.) It used to be considered a mood disorder, but it is now classified as a specifier called With seasonal depression for recurrent major depressive disorder that occurs at a specific time of year and fully remits otherwise. 

Some signs and symptoms of SAD include difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning, nausea, and tendency to oversleep and over-eat, especially carbohydrates which can lead to weight gain. Other symptoms include lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and social withdrawal.

It has been argued that SAD is an evolved adaptation in humans that is a hibernation response in our ancestors. Because food was scarce in winter months we adapted to reduce food intake.

Research shows a few forms of management which include light therapy, some anti-depressants, and increased dose of Vitamin D. Research further shows that increasing physical activity during the winter months significantly reduces symptoms of SAD. In other words, don't hibernate, prepare for winter and face it head on with gusto, knowing that in a few months spring will inevitably break.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

ABOUT FOOD


I did not produce the following article but it was in my old file box so I thought I would share it as I found it to be very interesting.



ABOUT FOOD




      A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye... And YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

      A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.
      Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.
      A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.
      Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.
      Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.
      Avocadoes, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).
       Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of sperm as well to overcome male sterility.
      Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.
      Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries 
      Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.
      Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I AM GEMINI

          When I was growing up I wasn't concerned about who I was or what it meant to be me, or why I did the things I did. I was a kid. I ate, slept, did chores, went to school, and played outdoors. I was a very physical person and the outdoors was my life. I did not spend too much time doing school work, and even though I had the intellect to excel in school, I couldn't put up with the rigor of school curriculum. I loved to read, with mystery and fiction being my favorites. My first book was Alice in Wonderland, given to me by my third grade teacher.
       My teenage years was a very confusing time, I acted a lot on emotion. I was raised to be a survivor and only thought about myself and what I had to do to survive. I was an awkward student with one or two friends in elementary school and high school was a nightmare; I was a ghost in the school hallways. I had to study hard to get half-decent grades and I didn't have any friends. I was not a confident person, I had low self-esteem, and I felt like I never fit in anywhere. I turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with my emotions and lack of social skills. That and loud music on my ghetto blaster was all that got me through those years.
          My young adult life was more of the same. After high school I didn't know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I was lost. I had no concept of who I was or who I wanted to be. I had no direction or guidance and was easily led. I lacked the skills to make proper decisions and it negatively affected my life. I went from one place to the next, from one job to the next. I was unemployed one year then working or going to school the next year, trying to figure out what to do with my life. I studied several subjects then worked in the chosen field, but always got bored. I would give each job all I had, and when there was no more to learn I moved on to more interesting pursuits. I couldn't stick with one job and I couldn't stay in one place too long.
          Thinking there was something wrong with me I tried to "fix" myself by attempting to settle down. I got married at a very young age thinking that those feelings of being lost and not fitting in anywhere would go away, but they became worse. As the marriage progressed I became emotionally and mentally abused and thought that it was my fault. I developed an eating disorder. I didn't want another failure looming over me, and was afraid to leave. But after years of abuse, I sought out therapy and was made to realize that what was happening in the relationship wasn't my fault and with help I got out as soon as I could.  But I still didn't know who I was, what I wanted or where I was going. I had no purpose in my life. I had no goals, no dreams. I was a restless soul adrift on an endless sea, and I felt like I was drowning.
         After the divorce, there was a period of reflection, a time of peace, a time of renewal, an awakening of the soul. I was thirty years old and I had nothing to show for it. I was starting over again. But this time felt different. I had made mistakes, I had paid for them, and now I had a clean slate. So I did what I had always done, got up off the dirt, brushed myself off, and went on. I spent a lot of time at the library doing research on career choices and what jobs were in demand and went back to school. When I thought I could face the world again, after a year of learning something new, I entered therein.
          A new relationship developed, a lasting job, a child was born. Nothing I had ever done in my life gave me such a sense of purpose than having a child. My child made me a better person and gave me a whole new outlook on my life. I forgot about the past, forgot about trying to figure out who I was, and forgot about what I wanted to do with my life. I was a mother and everything else came second. Those restless feelings I felt were replaced by the demands of being a mom. I had no time to think about anything else and for that I was grateful.
          As time went on, my child grew up and became more and more independent. In June 2014 he will be graduating from elementary school. As early as September 2013 students had already registered and chosen their fields of study at high school. My son is a mature, responsible, and well-rounded individual; he gets himself showered and ready for school on his own, packs his own lunch, and organizes his homework. He spends time at the mall with his friends, he orders his own take-out on Saturday nights, and he feeds his pets. I will worry, but I know that he will adjust well to high school.
          One day, when I was feeling rather blue about the prospect of losing my son to high school, those old feelings of restlessness began to resurface. I hadn't worked outside the home in years and now that my son could practically take care of himself, it was time for me to find a day job. So, I rummaged through the back of my closet and found my old file box of self-help books, career choices handbooks, and psychology books thinking that it would help me decide what kind of work I wanted to do. There were old diaries/journals, psychology quizzes I had taken, and other similar things I had done during those times when I was trying to find myself. There was even poetry and short stories I had written about those dark times in my life.
          I took everything out of the box and placed it all in a semi-circle around me. As I was glancing and perusing file folders and books I had collected over the years I came across an astrology book that I had forgotten I had. It was an old one from the local library. (I immediately tried to add the late fees, but gave up, remembering that I wasn't very good at math.) I sat on the floor and flipped its smelly mildewed pages.
          The book was like any other astrology book, with one difference being that each sign of the zodiac had its own section, so you could flip to whichever sign you were and see its description. I was born on June 9, I am a Gemini. In the section was a neat and clear description of my sign and characteristics. It listed everything from my color and number to my relationship and career. It even had a little section on my future!
          I started from the beginning and this was what I read: I am a born communicator, with an opinion on any subject. I am devilish and angelic. I have a good mind, strong curiosity, and quicksilver reactions to people and situations. As a Gemini I am a masculine sign, made of mutable air. Masculine referring to my active side (probably why I love the outdoors and being active), mutable means I am adaptable (I moved around a lot!), and air gives me a mental orientation. (My mind never shuts down.)
          I am Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde. (I used to think I was bipolar.) I can be in a good mood one moment and then the next be bad tempered, but not for long. I have a keen mind and a bright sense of humor. My life purpose is to learn all I can. (That's probably why I am always reading and learning new things.) I am a good storyteller, and am one of the zodiac's great thinkers with an open mind, and can easily relate.
          I have a childlike receptivity which keeps me active, responsive, and enthusiastic. I love to discover new past-times. I am restless and need meditation (I have been doing Yoga and using relaxation techniques for as long as I can remember-- I really did think I was bipolar.)
          Mercury, my planetary ruler, influences my looks, interests, personality, and love nature. Mercury affects me in these ways:
  • youthful looks (people do say that I look younger than my age)
  • mental alertness (my mind never shuts up)
  • enthusiasm for learning (I can't count how many subjects I have studied)
  • good with my hands (my cousin once told me there was "something" about my hands...)
  • loathe boring jobs (hey! that's why I can't seem to stay at one job too long)
  • impatience with slower minds (I do tend to finish others' sentences)
  • tendency to do two things at once (that is so me)
  • persuasive thinking ability (I thought I was a control-freak!)
             My admirable traits listed me as being: versatile, logical, communicative, Jill-of-all-trades, sociable, perceptive, resourceful, all of which I was, and more.
             My aggravating traits listed me as being: restless, impatient, devious, dualistic, and changeable. Restless!  Now I didn't see that one coming. Perhaps these were the reasons why I couldn't stay in one place too long, or stay at one job. And I have been accused of being two-faced, being good one time and evil the next.
          I continued reading until I was saturated in myself, in my nature, in my purpose. I learned about my good and bad sides, my outer self and inner self, and about my career. I learned about how and why I spent money (other than paying bills), I learned how I was with regard to family and friends, and what sign would be a good match. I learned about my domestic style, and things I needed to do to get rid of my restless energy. It was all there. Why I did the things I did and why I was the way I was.
          For instance, not everyone can appreciate my broad sense of humor, and it may come off as being callous sometimes, but then again, there are people who do appreciate my humor, because they are witty, just like me! And having an opinion on everything made me seem opinionated, like it was a bad thing. Being opinionated is just someone who doesn't stay quiet if they don't agree with something, and the only people who see it as a bad thing are those who don't like to hear opinionated people talk. Opinionated doesn't mean you are not polite.
          All of my life I had been thinking there was something wrong with me, I didn't like myself and I tried to be like other people, I tried to conform to what I thought was normal. I never fit in anywhere because I was, and still am, a non-conformist. I get bored with the status quo. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me. And instead of trying to hide my negative traits, I have to embrace them and accept them because they are a part of me.
          I read further and got to the section entitled Careers to Consider. When I saw the first career listed I felt like I was jolted by a bolt of lightning. I dropped the book and stood up. I was in the middle of a circle of stacks of papers, books, and journals, and it dawned on me, I had been inadvertently working at a career all along!  The first career listed was Writer. I was so dumbfounded at the epiphany that I just had I cried.
          Well, that day was a turning point in my life. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, contemplating my life, where I'd been, what I'd done, and how I'd been living. I realized that I hadn't been living my full potential, but now that I had some guide (nothing else worked), I was sure that I would get greater meaning and purpose in my life, other than being a mother and partner.  So, when I got up the next day I started a blog and posted the few little stories and articles that I had already written. I have plenty of ideas and hope that with every day my writing will improve and maybe, just maybe, I will have found an outlet for my restless nature and will settle down into a wonderful career of writing.
          I hope that my little story will encourage you to find your true self, if you haven't already, and help you to ponder your life and your direction. Thanks for reading.