Burn…Baby Burn!

Meh…

The picture above was from the fortune cookie I had yesterday at lunch.  It kind of struck me when I read it…how enthusiastic am I – about life?  Lately it seems – not very.

I mean, I’m happy and everything.  I am content with the way things are going.  What have I got to complain about?  Not too much!  I just sometimes really feel like my get up and go – got up and left.

So here it is – past mid August.  Here’s my mid-August resolution: find the excitement again!  Grab life by the ba….uh…horns, and don’t let go!

Part of it might be that I need a vacation.  I have my much anticipated first week of vacation the last week of August.  I’m starting to feel a bit burnt out I guess, and need some time away from the day to day.  Hopefully that helps.

Hope everyone is having a good Friday, and a wonderful weekend ahead.

Peace. 🙂

Just like that…it’s over again.

I love the Olympics.  Summer Olympics, Winter Olympics, I love them.  Everything about them.  It’s amazing to me to see all the talent walking (or running) around on this planet.  I sat on my butt and watched as these athletes put years of training to work and compete at the highest level possible.  I think to myself as I watch all these perfectly toned bodies doing what they do best – I really have to give these people a lot of credit.  I can’t imagine what type of training program they must have, what type of eating program, and how dedicated they must be to it, especially in the weeks and months leading up to the Olympics.  I have to pep talk myself to get out the door to go for a walk after supper, let alone the hours these folks must spend in the gym, on the fields, courts, etc.  They pour their hearts and souls into their sport, and it shows, time and time again.

My favourite thing about the Olympics is how it connects people.  In many ways, but three in particular.

First, through social networking.  There were a lot of people calling London 2012 the “Twitter Olympics.”  The volume of tweets was unlike any before.  I created a special list on my Twitter account for the Olympics and checked it regularly.  The number of tweets throughout those two weeks showed exactly how many people were watching, were paying attention, were caught up in it.  Twitter wasn’t the only social networking platform that exploded over the last two weeks, but it was my go-to place for updates.  In this way, the Olympics connected millions of people around the world and allowed for not just people to all sit and watch it at the same time, but for them all to have a conversation about it.  From each corner of the planet.

Second, through the day to day with the people you hang with.  Our office was the hub for the Olympics in the building.  I had my iPad set up on my desk with my CTV app and would stream live coverage all day long.  People would come up when they had some time to check on the standings in the diving, or call up to check the score of the soccer game.  To find out what the medal count was.  It caused interaction, conversation.  Everyone was (mostly) on the same side.  Everyone cared about the outcome.  All part of the Olympic connection.

Lastly, and perhaps the most important to me, is how the Olympics connects countries around the world.  Yes, they are all there to compete.  Yes, they all want to win.  But the last two weeks has shown some wonderful moments of camaraderie that you are not always used to seeing between countries.  It can be sportsmanship at its best.  You often see athletes upset, crying, or angry after not winning.  For the most part though, the person that they are angry with is themselves.  They are upset that they didn’t meet up to the standards that they held themselves to.

One of my favourite moments from London 2012 was when Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang wiped out on the first hurdle in his qualifying round.   Not that he wiped out of course, but that when he was able to get up, he started to leave the stadium, then decided he was going to cross the finish line after all, so proceeded to hop his way through the rest of the race.  He stopped at the last hurdle, kissed it, and then proceeded across the finish line where he was met by fellow racers from other countries, who were there to congratulate him, and help him off the track to the medics waiting for him.  You can watch the coverage here.

Now, as a friend reminded me, the paralympics are starting in about 16 days.  All the wonderful things about the Olympics with an added dose of inspiration.  So we’ve got another week and a half to look forward to there.

Then we go into waiting mode.  I’m sure my four year old will be asking us why we’re not watching the Olympics, because that’s all that’s been on the last two weeks.  Now we wait until February 7-23, 2014 when the next Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia.  It’s not so far away…I guess.

The Next 10 Things About Me

Earlier I posted an entry called 10 Things About Me.  In it, I indulged myself in my love of lists, and my sheer self-centeredness, by posting 10 random facts about me – cause everyone must be interested in that…right?  No?  Oh.

Well, I was looking over that list and I realized that there were a lot of random facts about myself that I missed!  Heaven forbid!  How will you all sleep at night not knowing what they are?

So for the mental health of my readers, and to indulge myself even more….without further ado…all breathe a collective sigh of relief….here they are – The Next 10 Things About Me.

11. I love tennis.  I don’t play it so hot, but I love watching it.  I didn’t know a thing about the game until I met Joe.  Wouldn’t cross the street to watch a game.  Then I got into watching it with him and once I understood the scoring, got to know who the players were and understood the game on a whole, I love it!  I’m so glad I gave it a chance.  I particularly enjoy the mens tennis.  Nothing against the women, I love watching them play too.  I just slightly prefer the mens.

12. I am obsessed with personal hygiene/beauty products.  Soaps, body washes, bubble bath, lotions, creams, facial cleansing products, make up, polishes, scrubs, sprays, gels…on and on and on.  Get me in a store like Bath and Body Works or Sephora, and you have to drag me out.  Ask my husband.  It’s an addiction, but I smell nice.

13.  I seriously love giraffes.  Seriously.  They have to be the cutest animals ever!  Have you ever seriously looked at one?  What amazingly cute faces they have!

14.  It is my dream to one day volunteer to teach adults to read.  Reading is such a huge part of my life, it boggles my mind to think of the adults out there in the world that are making their way through life without knowing how to read.  To be able to give someone that gift, even late in life, would be a true gift to me as well.

15. Speaking about books, I’m really weird about mine.  If you’ve ever borrowed a book from me – which doesn’t happen very often – you’ll know.  I usually provide a ziplock bag and bookmark for the borrower to use.  When people break the spines on books and fold over pages to keep their place, or place a book open face down on a table – it drives me crazy.  Look after your books people!  I’m also pretty particular in that when I have 4 or 5 books in a series, I like them to be the same – either all hardcover, or all paperback, the same cover version on each as well.  Odd, I know.  Just me.

16. I really hate gardening.  One of the first things I would do if I won the lottery tomorrow would be to hire a gardener.  I love flowers, but hate the work that goes along with it.  I’m hoping that as I get older I acquire a love for it….

Moving on…

17.  While we’re on about what I hate, I really hate carrots.  I really REALLY hate cilantro.  Both of these things I have tried to eat, over and over.  I see other people enjoy them, and I want to enjoy them too.  I buy carrots, have carrot sticks, baby carrots, dip, the whole bit, and I just can’t stand them.  They’re even worse cooked.  Ugh.

Then there’s cilantro.  Even the slightest bit in something makes it almost inedible for me.  I can’t handle it, I can’t swallow it.  Ironically enough, I love salsa.  I have no explanation for this.

18.  One thing that really pisses me off – the bottled water isle at the grocery store.  WE HAVE PERFECTLY CLEAN DRINKING WATER RIGHT OUT OF OUR TAPS.  Yes, I get a water bill, so I pay for it, all the more reason to drink it!  I use a Brita filter and reusable glass or stainless steel water bottles.  Sometimes I will buy water from a service, mostly as a back up in case of a water main break (we have had 2 in the past couple of years) but only with returnable bottles.  You go to the store and buy a case of water for $2.50, that came out of somebody else’s tap, somewhere else, just for the sake of convenience, and you think you’re getting a deal?  What about the waste??  Those disposable plastic bottles pollute the air to make, and even if you do recycle them, there are so many that don’t.  Want the full story? Take 8 minutes and watch the video The Story of Bottled Water below and see if you still feel the same about buying your case or two of water from the supermarket each week.

19.  I NEVER carry cash.  So if you’re planning on mugging me, don’t.  It won’t get you anything, except perhaps a fabulous handbag.

And number 20, in case you didn’t know…..

20.  I’m hot stuff.

I’m always hot.  I don’t handle heat well.  If it is kind of hot or humid in a room, my body seems to absorb all of it and pour it out my sweat glands like crazy.  If someone in the room is going to feel the heat, it’s going to be me.  I love being cool.  My favourite thing is to walk out of a really warm building or room outside on a day when it’s like 14 degrees Celsius, with a t-shirt and jeans on.  The relief I feel is unparalleled.

So that’s it.  That’s 10 more things about me.  You must know everything, right?  There can’t be more….or can there?

Stay tuned. 😉

Sometimes I Just Wanna Hang Out With Me

Just my own tootsies in the sand

What I'm about to say might make me sound like a horrible person. It may, but it's the truth, so here goes….

Sometimes, I just wanna be alone.

I have a wonderful life. I'm fortunate to have an amazing husband, a healthy, smart, active 4 year old son, phenomenal parents and extended family, and some of the worlds best friends. I have a job that isn't exactly my dream, but I enjoy it, I know it well, and it's close to home, which allows me to spend more time with my family. My bosses have been good to me, and in return, I try to give everything I can.

I know that my life could be a million times worse. Just take any of the things that I mentioned above and reverse it. So what the hell have I got to complain about? In reality, nothing.

Except one little thing…and here is where I become a horrible, selfish person.

Sometimes, I just wish that I had a few hours all to myself, where I can do what I want, and not be responsible for anything. To sit and read my book without having to yell at my kid to leave the dog alone. To not hear: “Mommy, I need _________.” To not have to jump up to let the dog out because she's barking at the door to go out or come in. To sit and read my book, or blog on my iPad without my husband choosing that exact moment to tell me what happened in his day or ask me a million questions about mine. Don't get me wrong, I know how incredibly lucky I am to have these things. To have a wonderful child, and a husband who wants to share his day with me and hear about mine. I get that. I really do.

I just want a few hours. In bed, by a pool, on a beach, in a park, wherever. I have an active social life. I get out. I spend time with my friends, I have a book club meeting once a month. But during these times I'm with people. The thing I'm craving is ALONE time. Just to be me, be with me, do me things. Then, after those few hours are over, I want life to go back to exactly the way it is now. I'm cool with that. I'm more than cool with that. I want my life to stay as it is, I just need a little bit of solitude every so often.

That's it. Not bad, all things considered, if that's my biggest complaint. I think, talking to other women, that I'm not the only one who has these feelings. I imagine that there are men out there that feel the same way as well. I'm pretty sure that some time alone with me will make me a better me, a better Mommy, a better wife, a better friend.

I'll test that theory and get back to you. 🙂

 

Don’t Take Your Organs to Heaven…

So much truth in this statement

…Heaven knows we need them here.  Not sure if you’ve heard that slogan before.  About 16 or 17 years ago, I had t-shirts, sweatshirts, pillows, all kinds of stuff with these words written on them.  My Dad was on the waiting list for a liver transplant.

Organ donation is a very touchy subject for some people.  Many support it, many don’t believe in it at all.  It is a subject very near and dear to my heart, so I thought I would share my thoughts.  My opinion is very biased, and based on my own experience, but if it can help to change the mind of one naysayer, then it can save the lives of many.  So I’m happy to share it with you.

When we lose someone we love, especially in a situation of an accident, sometimes the shock and trauma overwhelm us and we are unable to think about anything except our loss and grief.  Quite understandably.  If a person dies and an organ donor card has been signed or a declaration has been made, it helps to take some of the guesswork out for the family.  At least if the family knows the wishes of the deceased, it is easier for them to be followed.  Often times, especially in the case of younger people, it is not known, not discussed.  So when the family is asked, their first reaction is to refuse as they are overcome by grief and can not imagine doing that to their loved one.

I was 17 or 18 years old when my Dad was diagnosed with a liver problem.  He had a condition that had resulted in a slow deterioration of the organ over what was probably several years, maybe several decades.  His behaviour started to get very sporadic.  He would get very confused and we started to really worry about him.  My Mom finally took him into emergency.  At first they thought it may have been a neurological problem due to his symptoms.  Several tests later, we found out that it was in fact his liver.  It was almost completely gone, and not removing the toxins from his body, therefore causing the confusion and erratic behaviour.  It was a relief to know what the problem was, but opened up a bunch of new scary realizations for us.  This was serious.

After a bunch more tests, and paperwork, and endless conversations with doctors, it was decided that he would be put on the organ transplant recipient waiting list.  And so the wait began.

He was on the list for about a year.  Twice we were called in as a back up.  Meaning someone else needed the liver more than Dad did, but if for some reason that person wasn’t a match, then Dad could be given it.  Both times it didn’t work out.  Those times were bittersweet.  We wanted him to have his new liver, but we also didn’t want it to be because someone else who needed it more couldn’t have it.  So back home we went.

One night in May, Dad and I were home alone.  He had been feeling a little off.  We were sitting in the family room when suddenly he started heaving like he was going to throw up.  I jumped up and ran from the room to get a pail or wastebasket for him.  Imagine my shock when I came back in the room to find he had already thrown up a huge amount of blood.  He sat there and looked at me, in shock I think.  I got his shirt off him and got on the phone to find Mom.  When I finally got a hold of her, she came right home and we picked up and headed into emerg with him.

They got him stabilized, and admitted into a room.  It was scary, but seemed like it was going to be okay again – for a while anyway.  I remember when my Mom and I went to the hospital, we figured we were going to take him home.  We got to his room and were unable to find him.  We waited, thinking they must have taken him down to do one of the many tests that they were doing on him all the time.

Finally we were able to find his doctor.  He took us into a waiting room and told us that Dad had been sent down for an Endoscopy, where they put a scope down your throat to look around.  The scope had triggered internal bleeding.  He was currently in ICU in critical condition.  He had moved from mid way up the waiting list to the very top.  If they did not find a liver for him in the next few hours, we would have no other options.  He would die.

I sat there and listened, but I was out of my body.  We went down to the ICU waiting room, but I felt like I was in a bad movie or something.  I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me.  We finally were able to go in and see him, and I will never forget the sight of him in ICU.  He was blown up, he had tubes and monitors coming everywhere out of him and attached to him.  His mouth was open and there was something sticking out of it, which they told us was a balloon that they had inserted down his esophagus to keep the bleeding at bay.

My mother went to pieces.  I just stood there.  I wanted to comfort her, I wanted to react.  I wanted to cry, or scream or something.  All I could do was stand there and stare at him.  The movie had just become a reality, and I had never felt so helpless in my life.

Later that night, they came to tell us that they had found a possible match in Saskatchewan.  A team was flying out to get it as we spoke, and if all went well, they would operate on him the next day.  It was again bittersweet – you are rejoicing as another family mourns.  You are sitting around, waiting for someone to die, so that your loved one can live.

After an 8 hour operation, and a very slow, but steady recovery, my Dad is literally healthy as a horse today.  His quality of life is good, he’s got a ton of doctors that keep an eye on him, which is awesome, and I feel like he will live to be a ripe old age.  We were so lucky that if he was going to get sick, that it happened when it did, where it did, and the circumstances were in his favour.  He literally got a second chance at life, and we are so grateful.

Because of the gift from someone who passed away, my Dad got to live.  I’m sure that the family of this person were devastated, and yet they allowed this to happen.  Because of this, my Dad was there to give me away at my wedding.  He was there when my son was born and has forged an amazing relationship with him.  If he had died that night, Nicholas never would have had the gift of his grandfather. He has 3 other grandchildren that would never have met him either.  He has been around to celebrate his 60th, 65th, 70th Birthdays, and hopefully will be around for many more.  All because one person, one family, said yes.  What a truly wonderful thing to come out of a tragedy.

I urge you to think about it.  I urge you to read about it and find out the wonderful things that can happen when you donate your organs. If you choose to donate, make it known.  Tell your family, register for donation.  Tell them why, and make it clear that these are your wishes, and they are to be followed.

If you’re on the fence, imagine yourself in the position where you have a loved one on the brink of death.  Imagine yourself in a near-death situation.  Your life or the life of your mother, father, sibling, or God forbid – child.  After neurological death, there are 6 organs that can be donated.  After cardiac death, 4.  Up to 6 lives could be saved by the generosity of one person.  One of those lives could be yours, or someone you love.

Once you’re gone, you’re gone.  We all want to do something so that we’ll be remembered after we die.  I don’t think that there is a greater gift that you can give to someone than the gift of life.  Take it from someone who knows.  That person will thank you for it, their children will thank you for it.  Their grandchildren will too.  I know when Nicholas is old enough to understand he will be grateful that someone took the time to sign their organ donor card and make it possible for his Grandpa to be in his life.