A Simple “Thank You”

It’s no secret, at least in my world, that I haven’t been terribly happy in my job for a while.  It’s not really the job itself or the people who I work closely with, but more the company I work for.  I’m not much of a ranter anymore and aside from my cell phone post, I don’t do a lot of ranting on here.  But, this is a rant with a happy ending so here it goes.

Like most companies, a few years ago when the recession hit, it hit hard and the company I work at starting laying people off.  I was one of the lucky ones who remained.  Although I was grateful to still have a job, that job now demanded more out of me and everyone else left.  When I was first hired at the company six years ago, there were six people in our division; then, there were two.  You do the math.  The final person in our division to be laid off was the accounting girl – those duties were then placed (read: thrown) in my lap.  Let me stop here to let you know that I have ab-so-lute-ly no accounting background.  So on top of the other jobs I was doing, I also then had to learn an entirely new job, one I wasn’t entirely excited about.  That was almost three years ago, and I am happy to say that I have since made that job my own.  We finally hired a third person after a year of the two of us struggling to get the work of six people done.  Thank goodness.

Now, the problem with the company, is that they have absolutely no idea how to treat their staff or motivate them.  Every single month my division is told that we are not making money, that in fact, we’re losing money.  Now, we’re not stupid, we know full well that if we were losing money month after month after month like they say we are, we would have been closed down a long time ago.  We know this isn’t true, that it’s management’s way of “motivating” us to do better, work harder, make more money.  What they don’t seem to realize, obviously, is that every time they tell us this, we want to pack up our stuff and go home.  I mean, we’ve been working our behinds off and what is our thanks?  Being told we’re not doing a good enough job – every month.  To say the morale in our office is low is an understatement.

Another thing that really doesn’t help matters is the fact there was a wage/salary freeze a few years ago.  I still remember opening that email.  I get that there was a recession, I understand that things were going to change and that raises were going to be out of the question, for a while.  I’m not completely ignorant of the facts.  What does irk me is seeing managers and VP’s and the President rolling into the parking lot in their Audies, Porsches and Bentley – yes, our President thought it would be a good idea to show up to the office in his Bentley.

Oh, we did eventually get a raise.  It was last year.  I remember going into the VP’s office to get some things signed and he had me shut the door.  He then handed me an envelope and told me to fill “it” out, and get it back to him the next week.  It was a review.  I had to fill in a three page questionnaire about my work to date.  Actually, it was about my work since my last review which was funny considering I had never had a formal review up to that point.  Well, I took it home, filled it out as best as I could (I think they Googled “Performance Reviews” and printed out the first one they found – most of the questions pertained to managers, which I am not) and on the day of my review, handed it in to the VP, who did my review.  I found out during said review that we would be getting a raise of three percent.  Now I’m not one to spit in the face of this sort of thing, however, it had been three years since my last raise and the only thing that didn’t go up during those three years was my salary.  I hate to sound incredibly ungrateful, but when I got my next pay stub I had to pull out my previous one to see if I had actually gotten a raise.  That’s not good.  Again, I hate to sound like a spoiled brat but… did I mention our President and his Bentley?  Yeah.

Okay, on to the nice part!

Fast forward a year.  Last week, Monday to be exact, there was a staff meeting – attendance not mandatory (weird, yes).  Well, I was off sick that day so I clearly didn’t go.  When I got into work the next day, I opened an email outlining what the meeting had been about – it had been to recognize people who had been with the company for milestone years i.e. five, ten, fifteen etc., you get the idea.  I’ve been there for six years so there was my name.  I thought “Oh, that’s nice I guess,” I mean, I got my name on a list, in an email.  Maybe I missed a pizza and wing lunch – our VP’s go-to for potluck lunches.  I went on with my day.

The next day, while I was counting petty cash in my boss’s office, there was a knock on the door and on the other side was the VP, holding an orange gift bag, with my name on it.  He came in, shook my hand and thanked me for all of my work over the years.  I don’t like attention and was a bit embarrassed, but smiled like a goof anyway.  I said, You’re Welcome, and thanked him for whatever was in the bag.  Turns out it was a plaque, a $50.00 gift card and a handwritten card thanking me for my hard work.  I’m not sure who signed it – I think it’s the President since I know the VP’s signature and it’s not his – but it doesn’t matter.  That little token of appreciation lifted my spirits, it made me smile and it put me in a very good mood.  It wasn’t a huge raise, it wasn’t an enormous and expensive gift; it was a Thank You, letting me know I was appreciated.  To any managers/owners etc. out there reading this – your staff deserves to be shown respect and to be told that they are doing a good job – I mean, if they’re still working for you, they’re obviously doing a good job.  They need to hear you say Thank You every once in a while.  Trust me, it will make them smile.

~Trisha~

Working for the Weekend?

Dr. Dyer, in his book, 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace, states that whatever your passion is, “you can make a living doing it.” I have my fingers crossed that this is true. I am one of those people who is always working for the weekend, eyeing that prize starting on about…Monday. We often plan something to do on Fridays just to give us something to look forward to in order to “get through” the week. My passion no longer lies in my current job, and it’s getting harder and harder to do it by the day. Unfortunately, in my place of employment, there is some discrepancy between my morals and ideals and those of my employers which does not help the situation. What has helped is distancing myself. For so long, I was very emotionally involved in my job – I wanted to fix everything, to be a miracle worker, and it was a very stressful way of working. My whole world revolved around this job, not just my time at work, but my own time at home as well.

As sad as this might be, I now look at my job as just that, a  job, a means to an end, that end being my own business centred around my passion. Sure, I could try to find another job, but that is easier said than done, and in my profession, jobs are few and far between with fierce competition. Not to mention the fact, that my dreams and passion now lie elsewhere.  Because of this, I’m in the process of following my passion, and trusting it will turn out the way it’s supposed to. It already feels better. To know that, very soon, I’m going to be doing what I want, how I want, and it’s going to benefit not only myself but others as well, is very empowering. I am Woman, Hear Me Roar is exactly how I feel!

This week was a bit rougher than usual, and a lot of that may have to do with my heart just not being in it anymore, but I figured I’d write this post (even though it’s not all that cheery) because I’m sure I’m not the only person experiencing these kinds of feelings regarding a job. In the past, I would have complained, and made no effort to do anything about it simply because “doing something,” seemed too hard and the fear of the unknown was frightening. Regardless of how bad it was, it was “easier” to just stay there and suck it up. Well, those days are over. It may be easier, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I can no longer let someone else dictate what my song is. Life is too short to do something that does not make you feel good inside, to go through the motions day after day like a robot, no feelings, no joy, no passion.

In the meantime, to get through my workdays until my business takes off, I do a few things to help me cope and keep the positive vibes flowing:

  1. Bring my business journal to work. Just bringing it to work (many times I don’t even have the time to jot ideas in it), makes me feel connected to my passion and my goal.
  2. Listen to a Zen relaxation CD as soon as I get to work, and during my lunch. The sounds of birds chirping, waterfalls, chimes, gentle music slows down my mind, and really does help me to relax. It’s like an little escape from the hustle and bustle of my workday.
  3. Read a particularly inspiring chapter from one of my favourite books (which is always in my purse). This chapter is the one that jump started everything regarding following my passion.
  4. I haven’t implemented this one yet, but I’m hoping to soon, especially with the fresh fall air just around the corner – going for a walk during my lunch hour. A little dose of Mother Nature is medicine for the soul.
  5. Remind myself why I’m still there using the mantra, “a means to an end.” My sister has actually texted me this phrase after a particularly difficult day. Believe it or not, it helps me to refocus.
  6. This one may same weird, but it works for me. I sometimes peruse baking/cooking websites while on my lunch. There’s something comforting and homey about looking at recipes, and these kinds of websites tend to be very visually appealing.

On a sidenote, on one particularly stressful day, I got an instant stress headache after a very taxing episode. When I got home, I immediately put a hot beanbag type thing on my eyes, laid down with one of my meditations, and within maybe half an hour, my headache began to ease up which for me, was a mini miracle. I am the type of person who gets headaches that last, on average, at least two days, and when I get one, I’m unable to function. So let this be a testimonial to the benefits of meditation!

Back on track, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who love their jobs, but for those of us with a less than amicable relationship with it, what do you do to help you get through your day?

~Carolyn

Lists, lists, lists, oh and more lists!

Hello, my name is Trisha, and I am a compulsive list maker.  I have been making lists for as long as I can remember.  I have notebooks filled with lists all over my apartment, on my coffee table, under my coffee table, on my desk, in my desk, in my handbag (I have 3 little memo books in there for lists).  My BlackBerry Memo section is filled with running lists: Blog Post Ideas, Books to Get, Gift Ideas, Good Restaurants, LCBO list, Movies to See, Shopping List, Songs to Download, Things to Check (i.e. Google) and Things to Look Up (not too sure why I have this last one since it’s clearly the same as the previous list!).  I’ve even been known to make a list of the lists that I need to make.  Out of control you say?  I agree, sort of.

It’s kind of become a bit of a joke, all of my list making. It’s like I have an innate need to make these lists and when I don’t, I just seem to flounder; my head is all over the place, and I really don’t get anything done.

Take this morning, for instance. I was sitting on my sofa thinking of all the things I need to get done and was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  There was really no reason to feel that way since it is Saturday, I have all day to do everything, and none of it is really that pressing.  But, I got the usual panicky, flustered feeling and went to my bag, grabbed my pen, pulled my big notebook out from under the coffee table, and started writing.  It was while I was in the middle of writing my Saturday To Do List “cleaning” entry that the idea for this post came to me.  You see, I didn’t just write “clean apt.” No, I wrote “clean apt.” and then continued to make a sub-list breaking down exactly what I need to do in order to clean my apartment because my apartment is so huge, and I clearly need direction on what needs to get done (heavy sarcasm here).

Although I’ve been making lists for a long time, it became really out of control back when I was in therapy (yes, I was in therapy, there I said it – but really, who hasn’t been?).  My therapist not only supported my list making, she encouraged me to take it to a new level by making a list of everything that I needed to do each and every day.  My lists changed from regular goal oriented and weekly lists to lists containing things like showering and eating breakfast.  It was slightly (or not so slightly) ridiculous, but I did it.  And, I still do, to an extent.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been, as I’ve mentioned before, reading a lot about the Tao, in particular Dr. Wayne Dyer books.  He encourages people to be less structured, to basically allow life to happen by not planning so much – to go with the flow so to speak.  To say that is not me is a huge understatement.  I’m most certainly not a fly by the seat of my pants type person; I like structure, I like plans, so just going with the flow is quite difficult for me.  Having a free day ahead of me without having a plan of some sort of how I’m going to use it, throws me.

I have tried, though, to curb my list making, I really have.  Oh, I still make lists, just not on a daily basis.  I have to say, I love having a long list of things to do and being able to cross them off as I go; it feels like I’ve accomplished something.  Now, however, I don’t go into a tailspin if I don’t finish everything on the list; I know that there will be another day to finish whatever is left, that the world won’t come to an end just because my storage room didn’t get cleared out that day.

One thing is for sure, I will never give up my list making and that is not a bad thing, it’s not.  In a perfect world, living on the fly and just letting life happen would be great.  I don’t happen to live in that world.  My world, my life, is busy, and at times, quite hectic; there’s nothing like a well laid out list to ground things, to put things into perspective for me, to show me what needs to be done now and what can wait for a little while –  even if it is on my list.

~Trisha~

Why I Meditate in the Kitchen

No, you read that right.  I meditate in the kitchen.  Not all the time, and not every day, but I do.  Sure, I do my “real” meditation in my living room, on the sofa, stereo off, lights off, sometimes guided, sometimes not.  But, I definitely consider my kitchen time as my favorite meditation time.  So what exactly do I do when I meditate in my kitchen?  I cook (and occasionally bake).

My first memory of being in the kitchen is when I was about six years old and baking a cake in order to earn my Baking Badge for Brownies (ah, remember Brownies?!).  My Mom still tells the story every once in a while.  I have a short attention span and I’m very easily distracted – I was standing on a chair at the counter sifting flour through one of those metal cups with a handle that you squeeze to sift the flour through it.  Well, my Mom called my name to tell me something, I turned to look at her, and continued sifting the flour right onto the floor.   (By the way, this is one of the reasons I don’t drive – I can’t seem to just turn my head, I put my whole body into it which is a little tiny bit unsafe when driving!)  Well, didn’t matter, I earned my badge and was a happy little camper.

Anyways, back to the cooking.  Anyone with a full-time job can attest to the fact that finding the time to cook dinner every night is difficult.  My job keeps me away from my home for almost 12 hours a day – I leave at 7:30 in the morning and get back home at roughly 7 at night.  Cooking dinner after work each day just doesn’t work for me and my schedule.

So what’s a girl to do?  I’ll tell you what this girl does – each Sunday, I gather all of the ingredients for the meals that I’m going to be eating for the week, both lunches and dinners, and I cook.  I cook like a demon.  Sometimes there’s music involved, and sometimes I just want peace and quiet.  Either way, it has turned into a relaxing, meditative, yet very productive, part of my weekend.

I own a lot of cookbooks – I have an entire book shelf dedicated to my growing collection.  Every Christmas I receive a new one and it’s something I look forward to.  I read these cookbooks like novels, from cover to cover, drooling over the recipes and photos; but here’s the thing – I can probably count on my two hands the number of times I’ve actually used/followed a recipe in one of those books.  I’m more of a do-my-own-thing kind of cook.  Granted, I have a tendency to cook the same things over and over but that’s okay, I like the routine.

One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is chopping fruit and vegetables which sounds boring, I know, but this exercise isn’t about excitement so it’s okay.  My breakfast consists of the same thing every day – chopped fresh fruit.  There is something so relaxing about cutting up produce – the repetition, the monotony, the rhythm.  It’s like, well, meditation.  I’ve cut up so much fruit over the years, I can chop up a pineapple, a couple of kiwis, mangos and a melon in roughly 10 minutes!  Onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, potatoes – well, once I get into the rhythm of slicing and dicing and chopping those, I could handle the entire produce section!

Baking is a completely different story altogether.  While I like baking, I know that if all the conditions aren’t perfect, or as close to perfect as I can make them, whatever I bake probably won’t turn out very well.  I read somewhere that your baking turns out the way you’re feeling – in other words if you’re stressed when you’re baking, whatever you’ve made will likely not come out very good, but if you’re relaxed and happy, you’ll have a good day in the kitchen.  That is so true.  I definitely noticed that at Christmas, in particular, over the years.  I used to wait until the last minute to do my Christmas baking and was always rushed and stressed; things just didn’t turn out very good.  Well, I shouldn’t say that, they turned out okay, but they were never as good as they could have been (I feel like I’m sounding like Martha Stewart here, but what can I say, I’m a bit of a perfectionist).  Now, I meditate before going into the kitchen; after that, I’m relaxed, centered, balanced, and ready to get my hands (and my kitchen) dirty.  I also don’t wait until the last minute at Christmas anymore!

I’m sure the main thing with baking is that unlike cooking it’s a science – and I was never any good at science.  Now, I only bake when I’m completely relaxed and in the mood to bake.  One of my favorite things to bake is bread.  Yep, bread.  Not in a bread machine but the old school, put your back into it, knead for 10 minutes, way.  Honestly, it’s beyond meditative and therapeutic.  I love it and I love giving away the bread, it makes me feel good.  Really, making something delicious and comforting out of a few inedible raw ingredients (flour, yeast) never ceases to amaze me!

My First Batch of Bread!!! (Sorry for the photo quality, I wasn’t expecting to ever post this!)

I’ve been told that I should do something with my cooking and baking, something professional.  But I always say the same thing, if I turned what I love as a relaxing hobby into something I did for a living, I don’t know if I would love it as much.  So, a hobby it will remain.  I will continue my Sunday ritual of cooking and relaxing and creating.

~Trisha~

The Many Branches of an Old Family Tree

The Mighty Oak!

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with my parents when the subject of our family history came up.  My father said he didn’t want to sound morbid or anything, but that documenting our family’s history before there is no one left to tell it would be a good idea.  Since my parents are fascinated with my ability to pull up information at the drop of a hat via Google (I am a master Googler), I opened up my laptop and thought I would delight them with my skills, and started searching for information and/or records of our family on an ancestry website.

Well, sadly, my skills fell flat because I wasn’t a paying customer and would need to register. I cut that exercise short and instead, started playing 20 Questions.  You see the thing about my family is that in its current state, it’s quite small.  Obviously, there are many, many family members from the past, but sadly I never met most of them.  Something as simple as my grandparents’ full names was not common knowledge in my head, I needed information.  A few names, birth dates and birth places turned out to be a good start.

Later that day, I registered on the family tree website, started my tree and began digging around.  It didn’t take very long before I got a couple of hits.  To say I was excited is an understatement.  The first document I found was the baptism registry for my maternal grandmother; the second document was the 1911 Census for my paternal grandfather (he was 2 ½ months old!).  I was so surprised and happy that I called my parents to tell them what I’d found.  I have to say, I think I was more excited than they were, but then again, these were their parents; they knew them and grew up with them, whereas I never knew them.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have come up with all sorts of information and documents such as my great-great-grandparents’ names which doesn’t sound like much, but I had no idea what they were until a week ago.  I even got to see the passenger registry from when my great-great-grandfather came over to Canada from Finland by way of England.  It was very surreal.

I never met most of these people that I’m researching and searching out.  I can’t put faces to the names, and I don’t have many, or any, stories to go with them, yet.  These names that are popping up on my computer screen are names of my family, family I never got the chance to meet.  They are my history.  I know that I’ve only just begun this project, but I’m happy with my progress so far and I don’t intend to stop.

My next step will be to start getting that history, the stories, from my parents and anyone else who is willing to share their memories with me.  It seems like the older I get, the more I want to know where and how our family began.  It’s a lot of work sifting through all the hints and documents, but it’s definitely worth it.

If you’re interested in starting your own family tree, I have few hints and tips that I’ve picked up from my, so-far, short stint as an amateur detective.

  1. First, write down all of the information that you already know such as your grandparents’ names, maiden names, dates of birth, etc.  It’ll give you an idea of what is missing and if you’re like me, you’ll see that a lot more information is still needed.
  2. Next, start asking questions, and write down everything that you’re told.  It might not seem important, but trust me on this, you will probably need it.  You’ll find when you’re searching through documents, that it’s the small details you’ve been told that will help you to determine whether the information you’ve found is about your family member or not.
  3. If you’re using a site dedicated to documenting your family history, put ALL the information that you have in the search engine because that’s how you get hints from them.  That’s not to say that all the hints or hits you get will be relevant.  In fact, 90 percent of the ones that I’ve received so far are duds, but following this tip helps to narrow the results from hundreds of results to maybe a page of results.
  4. Be patient.  Most of what you’re going to find, like I said in number 3, will not be relevant to your family.  Keep looking.  Patience will also be required when you do get hits on documents.  You see, by law most documents cannot be made public for a certain amount of time.  For instance, Censuses can’t be made public for 100 years.  Well, 100 years ago most everything was handwritten, and I’m telling you, it’s not easy to read!  Take your time, read and re-read the documents, and chances are, you’ll see what you’re hoping to see.
  5. My last tip is to go outside of the site to look for information.  I did just that and found out tons of details that were missing for a lot of the people on my tree so far, specifically dates of birth and dates of death.  After Googling a number of different things, namely obituaries, I came up with a great site listing all of the registered deaths of Finlanders in my hometown.  Bear in mind, I found this site on something like the fourth or fifth page – remember, Google always comes up with more than one page on a search!  So dig, dig, dig.

More than anything have fun with it, enjoy the process.  This isn’t going to be done in a day or a week or a month, this is going to take time.

What started out as a quick search has turned into a bit of a project for me, and I’m happy to do it.  I’m finding out about my family, my history, the story of how our family came to be our family.

~Trisha~

A Bridge of Inspiration

On December 30, 2011, while surfing the web, I came across a news article about a 16 year old boy, Jack Jablonski (a quick Google search will provide you with pages of stories on Jack), who was checked from behind while participating in a sport he loves, hockey.  The result of that check was devastating, paralysis. Jack was told he would never walk again, let alone skate, nor would he regain the use of his arms or hands. While reading about Jack that day, I imagined what it would feel like to hear such life changing news, how it would feel to be a parent and learn that your child, a child who was just beginning to blossom, was stopped cold in his tracks. Obviously, there are two ways to go with such devastating news, up or down. Jack and his family chose up.

I joined the Jack Jablonski Caring Bridge shortly after reading the story, and have been updated on his progress by his family (Mom does most of the updating) ever since. At times, I have cried out of sadness reading the journal entries. Other times, I have laughed. Mostly though, I have smiled from ear to ear reading of Jack’s progress, and yes, even with such a dire diagnosis, he has made progress, lots of it! His latest milestone? Rolling over. Other milestones have included moving his fingers, gaining some function in his arms (he can high five his friends!), and moving his left leg and ankle! Pretty freaking amazing. Some might say that some major miracles have been going on here, but not without the sheer determination and hard work of Jack himself.

The reason I am writing this post is to share with you someone who inspires me on a daily basis. A young man and his family who I have never met, but have managed to find a place in my heart. We all face what we think are massive obstacles in our daily lives, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re often not nearly as massive as we think they are. When I think of what Jack has gone through, and how he has remained so positive, so strong, so upbeat, so determined, I’m in complete awe. When I read of his progress, I cry tears of joy…for someone I have never met, but for someone who has touched my life.

Jack and his family have touched my life in a positive way since last December, and I’m attempting to share this wealth with others. They are a prime example that even when one might feel there is no way up, there always is. Jack’s leading the way (with a little help from his family, his friends, his hockey community, strangers), and he’s an inspiring person to follow…especially if, at this time in your life, you need a little support to help you along the way. Journal updates from Jack’s Caring Bridge  are sent directly to your inbox (generally, once every few weeks; just enter your email address, no fee to join), and if you like a dose of uplifting, powerful, inspiring news, that would be the place to get it. At the same time, you can add some words of support, share in Jack’s successes, and in some small way, provide inspiration to Jack his and family – full circle.

A few years ago, my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. While at times, it’s easy to fall into negative thinking, worry about the future, think the pitying thoughts of Why my Dad?, Jack’s story has offered me a way to put things into perspective, to be grateful for what I have, and for what my Dad still has.  The Jablonski family has helped smack me back into reality, into appreciating all the good I have in my life.

What inspires you?

~Carolyn

Is everyone really THAT excited to get to work?

My morning commute is tops, 10 minutes. I’d like to say they’re a relaxing 10 minutes that get my day started off on the right foot, but that hasn’t always been the case. I have managed to take better control of the situation though, and try to use my commute to my advantage. I listen to calming Zen music every morning which tends to declutter my mind; the sound of waterfalls and birds chirping do, for the most part, help drown out the maniacs on the road. When things were really out of control, I was cranking Jazz music like crazy. At one point, we used our commute to discuss books we were reading- our version of a mini book club.

Why are people in such a hurry to get to work or wherever it is they’re going? Do people just not have an off button anymore? I don’t know if this is just a trend in the city I live in, but I’ve noticed that the “in” thing to do is not stop. For example, if I’m about to turn into my workplace and begin to slow down, rather than the person behind me also slowing down, they’ll just cut someone off in the other lane, and switch lanes – no need to stop. I see this happen all the time. If you see a signal on a car, quick, cut someone else off so you don’t to have to waste so much of your precious time stopping for another person. Some of these people almost seem even mad that I’m turning. How dare I turn! You know who I’m talking about…the person who does that quick jerk-like move of their car into the other lane simply because you’ve forced them to slow down for a few seconds.  Are we really at a place in time where we get personally offended by someone who might slow us down for a mere few seconds?


Here’s proof that driving like an impatient maniac gets you nowhere faster. On the way home from my sister’s work, a man driving like he was on a mission, caught our attention. At the first red light, he was behind us. Then,  he abruptly did the switcharoo into the other lane, and took off like a bat out of hell. We continued to drive along until…we met the same car again at the next red light. Oh, it’s you. Hi! Green light – poof! He’s outta there. My sister and I were chatting, having a pleasant drive and conversation, but, we couldn’t help but notice the same guy speeding up ahead, changing lanes every three seconds, cutting people off left and right. Eventually, we lost sight of him until…the next red light. No way! It’s you?  Again? This happened at every light along the way, so much so, that my sister and I began laughing about it. We pictured him in his car, sweating up a storm, anxious and in a rush, mad at all of the drivers on the road, probably cursing up a storm while we were all relaxed and calm in ours, having a wonderful conversation and quite a few laughs….at his expense. Even when we lost sight of his car for a while, he would, eventually, turn up again. We met this car all the way up until we had to turn to get off that road.

I’m sure that man thought he was a real master of his domain, that his driving skills would allow him to get to his destination a whole lot faster than the rest of us. Did they? Nope. And I guarantee you, we had a much more pleasurable experience on the road in our car, than he did in his. So I ask, what’s the point? Why in such a hurry? Slow down. Enjoy the drive. Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy the company of the person who’s with you. Enjoy your own company. Use your commuting time as  your time. Listen to your favourite music or audio book. Maybe by doing so, we’ll inadvertently bring back a little common courtesy to our fellow drivers.

Happy travels!

~Carolyn

I Love Mondays?

Monday, Monday!

It’s 7:30 Monday morning, I’ve up been awake since 5:30 and up since ten to six.  When I got into bed last night, I decided that I would wake up extra early to do my full hour of exercise in the morning, hence the 5:30 wake up call.  Well…5:30 came, my alarm went off and I hit snooze, only to be awoken 5 minutes later (my phone which I use for an alarm only snoozes for 5 minutes).  I continued this little game a few more times before I finally hauled my behind out of bed.  Yes, it seems kind of pointless that game, but I did learn one thing from it – 5:30 a.m. doesn’t work, it is too early!

I wasn’t sure what the body of this post would be, but I had the idea: the weekend goes so fast and I really don’t like Mondays (who does?!).  Then, I had a better idea while I was getting my shoes on – try and make this the best Monday I’ve had in a long time and write about it!  Write what I did and if it worked for me.  I can’t promise that this day will be the best, but I am certainly going to try.  For obvious reasons, although I’m starting the writing now, in the morning, I won’t be able to post this until tonight.  So, here it goes!

As I mentioned, I woke up early to work out which I did, for 30 minutes.  I felt/feel great about it.  I’m not dwelling on the fact that I didn’t complete the full hour like I had planned but hey, I did something and I am happy and grateful that I not only did it, but that I am healthy enough to be able to do it.

I showered and got ready in record time – another in the plus column.  Luckily, my hair and makeup routine is pretty minimal so lingering in the bathroom is not something that I do.  I’ve meditated and I’m now eating a healthy breakfast, plus and plus.  So far, so good.  I’ll be logging off in a few minutes to get dressed and pack up for my 11 hours away from here and then, I will be off to work.  That, my friends, will be when the real test begins!  Ciao ciao until tonight.

Well, I’m back home.  To keep this post from being too long, I’ll give you a quick run-down of how the rest of my day went.

The bus ride to work was uneventful which is always good.  I enjoy taking the bus since it’s my quiet reading time.  I decided to read Dr. Dyer’s book The Power of Intention instead of the other book I brought with me, 50 Shades of Grey.  I’m about to start Chapter 13 of that book and so I know what to expect – this is definitely a book to read at home! It is hot, hot, hot!!

The morning was also good, lots of driver traffic in and out of the office (I work at a transportation company), and I had quite a few pleasant conversations with them – always nice.

The rest of the day went very good and very quickly.

I logged onto Word Press on my lunch and checked out the Freshly Pressed blogs and read A Midsummer Night’s Cream at A French Frye in ParisI’m not much of a traveler, but after reading that, I am inspired to save up and head to La Belle Paris!  It’s a wonderful blog with beautiful photos and great writing – check it out!

So, as I said, I am back home and feeling relaxed and happy.  It was a very nice Monday, full of good conversation, lots of work and some very nice and inspiring reading.  Sure I had a couple of frustrating moments, but at work, who doesn’t? The difference today is that instead of letting things upset me like they tend to on Mondays, I just smiled and moved on with the rest of my day.

It just goes to show that everything I read is true about positive energy attracting positive energy and negative energy attracting negative energy.  I started this Monday with a positive attitude and look what happened – I had a great day.  It’s all about the power of positive thinking!

~Trisha~

The Long Distance Friendship

Good friends are like stars.  You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there. – Anon

Growing up, I had friends; not a lot, but enough that I was happy.  I was never what you would call the/a popular girl although I was, at one point in my life, part of the “popular group” in school.  It lasted for about two years, during my 8th and 9th grades, until I realized that I wasn’t cut out for that kind of life – the gossiping, the backstabbing, the paranoia I felt every time I left a group of girls worrying that the minute my back was turned, they were talking about me (not that I was doing anything for them to talk about!).  I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I slowly gravitated back to the girls who had accepted me as is before my foray into the popular society, and was once again a happy camper.  We weren’t popular, no, and we didn’t get all the looks from all the boys in school, no one started food fights with us just to get our attention; we hung out in our own little group, talking, laughing, doing high school girl things, building friendships that saw us through the rest of our high school years .

We all finished high school at different times and as happens (although when you’re young, you never think it will ever happen), we all drifted away.  Growing up in a small town like we did, the options for life advancement are minimal and most people tend to leave and pursue their academic dreams elsewhere.  I was not one of those people, at least not right away.  I chose to go to hairdressing school much to the horror of my parents – they wanted me to go to university, or at least college, but I was never much of a student so a miracle would have had to occur for me to be admitted into college.  And, quite frankly, as I said, I wasn’t much of a student, and I didn’t want to go on to college.  Anyway, I’m digressing from the point here.

So a couple of years after I finished high school –  after hairdressing school, struggling to get work, a move to another city eight hours from home, more schooling – I wound up moving back to my hometown, and wound up back in touch with an old friend from high school.  We quickly picked up where we had left off and over the ensuing years we have become dear friends.  I consider her one of my best friends, a lifelong friend.

Now here’s the thing: we no longer live in the same city as each other and talk quite infrequently and yet, whenever I have needed a shoulder or a laugh or just a friend, she has been one of the few people I know I can count on, and I hope the same is true for her.  Often it will be (insert shame-faced look here) months between calls – we text and email but those just aren’t the same – but an actual phone call?  Sadly, they aren’t often enough.  I know it’s been too long when my Mom asks if I’ve spoken to her lately, and I have to admit that I haven’t; then I have to rack my brain trying to remember when I spoke with her last.

Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.

Friendships, especially long distance friendships, require effort and a little work, especially when we’re older; we all know this.  When we were younger, we had a lot more time at our disposal, and we spent considerable amounts of time with our friends. In our teens, let’s face it, our friends became like our families (because I mean, you know, our own families are just, like, so embarrassing).  But then we start getting older and we take on more responsibilities, and oh-so-sadly our friendships start moving down our lists of priorities on a day-to-day basis.  I am in no way saying that my friends aren’t important to me.  I would drop everything and anything for a friend.  What I’m saying is that, even with every good intention, life just rushes by leaving little time; before you know it, months have gone by when you realize that you haven’t spoken to the person you think of as a sister.

One of the issues with a long-distance friendship is that I have never gotten on the phone and had a brief, 20 minute phone call.  I literally schedule in phone calls with them, and they with me, because we know that once we get on the phone, we can count on being there for an hour, minimum.  And that’s a short call.

When I get off the phone with a long-distance friend, I feel happy and warm and fuzzy, you know, all those good things.  And every time I get off the phone, I make the promise to myself to make a greater effort to call them more often and to try to see them more.   But you know what, these friends of mine aren’t complaining about the way things are, and neither am I.  We are doing what works and that’s good enough.  We make sure to stay in touch, to catch up, to laugh and to build our friendships.  Sure, the guilt creeps in every once in a while, but no matter what, we’re there for each other and we know that.  And that is all that really matters.

~Trisha~

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