Are you hoarding it?

One of my happy places is being given the opportunity to read to a child / children.

For my daughter’s fifth birthday (eleven years ago, where has the time gone?!?), I really didn’t have a whole lot of money (not much has changed 😛 ), but wanted her to have a party. And so I decided to put my happy place to good use. I threw her a Cinderella party, and we played ‘pass the slipper’ (a plastic bling-ed up little girls high heel). But only after I had gathered the children around to read them the story of Cinderella.
(Yes, there were boys at the party, but I didn’t hear a single one of them complain 😉 There was, after all, cake 😛 )

Because of the age group, the parents stayed for the party. That was the day that I discovered that my happy place was not just a place – but a gifting of mine! That I definitely had a talent. Every single parent at the party approached me at some stage during the party to compliment me on my ‘story delivery’. The most surprising compliment came from a man! He said, ”Meg, I’ve always known you to be expressive – but oh man! You even had me mesmerised by the story. I know it well, because my daughter requests it often. I’ll never be able to read it like you can though!”

I’ve mentioned before, in a blog post from the past, that delightful movie called ”You’ve Got Mail”!
In the movie, Meg Ryan owns a bookstore called ‘The Shop Around the Corner’. And it’s the most exquisite little bookstore! Because she has a time set when the children can come, and she reads to them! She even dresses up to do so! I look nothing like that Meg, but this Meg would love to have that bookstore and do the exact same thing!

My daughter gave me the privilege of allowing me to read to her right up until she was eleven years old. People called me ridiculous, because no one could call me, visit me, or take me out between 6:30 and 7:30pm for many years. That was ‘my’ reading time – precious moments spent, reading to my daughter, sharing my love for books and, well, my love for reading.
It was very much the same thing with my son. And both my ‘children’ (now nearly 16 and 23) still spend hours reading.

Am I sharing this with you in order to brag? To ‘toot my own horn’? Nope. I am actually sharing it because it’s something I consider an ‘epic fail’ on my part… and although the ‘fail’ may not be the same, perhaps you find yourself in a similar predicament today.

I randomly came across these two images this morning, one directly after the other :

A talent is usually defined as a ‘natural aptitude or skill’. Aptitude? Well, that is the natural ability to excel in a certain area.

When I saw those two images, the first thing that sprang to mind was, ”When last did you read to a child, Meg?”
(Yes, apparently I am also talented when it comes to talking to myself 😛 )

And I instantly felt sad because this is the one thing I am fully confident in : I am an extremely expressive person who loves reading and takes great pleasure in sharing all of that with others by reading out loud to them. And I’m not doing it. (Quite possibly because I lack full confidence in other areas that may be hindering this one – to mention one : having someone video me and posting it online.)
I simply have to work on this! It’s important… and not just to me!

Because, for whoever is reading this and nodding their head :

Imagine how boring and awful this world would be if every person who had a talent kept it to themselves? We’d have no musicians, no books to read, no Netflix 😛 (the list goes on and on)

I am sure there are many things you can do well. But what is that one thing that you do the best? Are you sharing it with the world? Or is something holding you back?

I still don’t know how I am going to drown out the noise, conquer my fears, overcome the challenges in order to use this truly beautiful talent I have! (Suggestions are welcome 😉 They might not work because of where I live – but who knows where your suggestion might send my mind to thinking 😉 )

What I do know is this : We ALL need to find a way to use the talent we have been given.

In a world where we can be anything, the saying goes that we should be ‘kind’. And sometimes being kind to others is as simple as sharing our gift with them! ❤

Jail Bail?

Every now and then, I take a break from my usual blog posts and post something lighter and less inspiring, more unusual. This normally contains word definitions or idiom explanations – things of that nature. Today isn’t all that interesting, but I did find it kind of funny 😉
Today was inspired by none other than my 14 year old daughter.

We all know what teens are like. They have their very own language – in fact each generation seems to 😛

Each country too, as a matter of fact. It’s no surprise then that words and expressions used in different countries are, well, different. So I can’t claim what I am about to share next as a guide to ‘teen speak’.
(Interestingly enough, my son’s teen speak was similar to what I grew up with, carrying the same definitions. My, how times have changed in the last seven years!!! Enter my daughter. 😛 )

We got out the car at a local store, and she exclaimed, ”Oh my word, Mom! I need to bail!”

Entering the store, I asked, “Who you hiding from?”

I turned around and was greeted with a blank stare.

A little further into the store, I asked, “Why did you need to bail from the car so fast?”

The total look of confusion on her face told me we weren’t talking about the same thing!

In ‘my days’, bail was pretty much defined as I need to go; bounce; take off. 
My usual go to place when it comes to trying to find the more trendy meanings of words is the Urban Dictionary (although I find the language inappropriate a lot of the time). After checking it now, I see it wouldn’t have helped me this time though anyway since it seems to be in line with my definition. Therefore not cool. Not trendy. “Way back when you were a teen, Mom….”
(It really wasn’t that long ago 😛 )

Seeing her confusion, I naturally asked, “Okay. What does bail mean to you kids then?”

She shushed me, blushed (the cute guy nearby had turned to look our way) and pulled me to a quieter corner of the store. There she stammered out,
“Well…uh… it means to…um….you know? When your undies get…um…..and you need to…um….”

From that completely unhelpful explanation, I somehow got the drift of what she was saying. So I whispered back, “You mean when you get a wedgie and you need to pull your panties back where they belong?” She nodded, shrugged her shoulders, and replied with,

“Yeah, you know, bail.”

I think I am going to have a tough time understanding this new teen speak of our local kids! 😛 😉

Spring Cleaning

I’ve been missing in action. For me, it’s been a difficult time – but as usual, there is always some amusement to be had from difficult periods in our lives. My last blog post was very significant to my absence thereafter – which is rather funny (both funny ha ha, and funny weird) because I didn’t plan it that way at all.
Another thing that I found rather amusing is the fact that I have been ‘M.I.A’ for the entire season of Winter here where I live.
So perhaps this was made for me…….
hiber

The only problem is that I haven’t been asleep the entire time…..although then again, maybe I have. Sleep is more than just eyes closed and snoring….it sometimes applies to a dormant soul and a closed heart – just some food for thought.

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That One Teacher

 

We all have that one teacher. The one who, when we look back at our school career, made the most positive impact in our lives just because of the way he or she was. We’ll call her Miss L. She’s kind of alternative, arty for the most part, firm with the children and yet loads of fun. She has a no nonsense approach, and yet it raises no hackles. She has the respect and love of every pupil, every peer, and every parent.

She’s passionate, patient and persuasive. She somehow managed to talk my son into abseiling on their school outing, despite his fear of heights. When he now looks back on his primary school career (which over here is from Grade 1 – Grade 7), she is the one. She is that teacher. He shared his sisters disappointment when she discovered that this year she would not be in Miss L’s class – but while talking about the excursion coming up next month, he told his sister ‘all the cool stuff Miss L does with you when you’re there’.

Today was a bad day.

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Parenting 101 – not.

blog1

Yesterday I felt cornered. Sort of. I had coffee with a new acquaintance (she can achieve friendship status almost instantly because, well, coffee), and she asked to ‘hear my story’. I tried to keep it as brief as possible as I relayed situations and occurrences in my life that had not been pretty, and then revealed the beauty that resulted from the ugliness.

At the end of our rather lengthy conversation, which was initially a ‘quick cup of coffee’, she told me I was a really good mom.
My children have been known to tell me the same – and since I am also ‘dad’ all the time, I also have Father’s Day cards claiming that I couldn’t be a better father, even if I were a man.
I am deeply honored by all of this – that an acquaintance, and my children, could see me as such a successful parent.

But I am not. I don’t say that lightly, and I certainly don’t say it falsely – I do not secretly have this huge ego that says that I definitely am a good mom, and parent.

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One Lovely Blog Award

The rules are as follows :

# Each nominee must thank the person who nominated them and link their blog in the post.

# They must include the rules and add the blog award badge as an image. 

# Must add 7 facts about them.

# Then nominate 15 people! 

A big thank you to the lovely SFR for this nomination. I really do appreciate it, and hope that my 7 random facts below do justice to the award.

onelovelyblogaward

7 Random Facts About Me

  1. My first car was eight years older than me – I’m not joking. She was a beautiful gold Ford Cortina, named Goldilocks, of course! I also got my first, and only, speeding fine in her. The traffic cop commented to me that he didn’t know she could still make it to that speed. I, in my youthful innocence (19 years-old at the time), replied, “Oh, she can go much faster.” He laughed along with me when I clapped my hand over my mouth after realizing what I had just said, and I took my ticket, and went on my merry way.pic1
  2. I have never been afraid of heights – I still don’t think I am, since I absolutely love being in a ‘flying bird’ and staring out the window. But I recall immense fear, and the feeling that I was going to fall, when I walked along a very narrow path in the rock face of a cliff, to see the view pictured below. No hand rail, and the path was only about two feet wide. So yes, I was scared, as I leaned as close to the cliff as possible to reach the cave at the top.pic2
  3. I have a problem with feet – and not in a foot fetish kind of way. I just don’t like mine. I am still not really sure why, because they’re quite delicate and I have fairly pretty toes. But I prefer to keep them covered, and when I am wearing summer sandals and I notice someone looking at my feet, I feel like I am going to curl up into a ball and die right there. Most of the time, I am walking around in socks. And if I am in socks (or on the very rare occasion, barefoot) I have a tendency to walk on tip toes.pic3
  4. I love the rain, and sometimes when I am out in it, I’ll even do a little hop and skip across a parking lot, while singing, “I’m singing in the rain….what a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!” ….much to my children’s embarrassment.
    (Yes, you may not want to take me anywhere on a rainy day!)pic4
  5. My two drinks of choice? Coffee, and water. Yes, water. I drink too much of both. And yes, there is such a thing as too much water…water retention and all that stuff, you know. A normal water drinking day for me runs at about 0.79 gallons (3 liters). Add to that about 8 cups of coffee, and it’s no wonder my belly constantly sounds like the sea!pic5
  6. One of my favorite smells is vanilla. I love it! My kids get nervous when I bake – which I like to do quite often. If they have a friend over, they avoid the kitchen at all costs. They just know that in between batches and baking time, Mom will be sniffing that bottle of vanilla extract like there’s no tomorrow. I have vanilla room spray, vanilla body lotion, vanilla body wash, vanilla hand soap etc. I suppose it is safe to say that I smell a bit like vanilla too then.pic6
  7. I have never seen snow in ‘real life’ – so yes, I have never made a snowman, or had a snowball fight, or had the pleasure of making a snow angel. Neither have my children.
    I have also never tasted eggnog.
    Both of the above, for me, are ‘American things’ (I am aware they happen in other countries too though – but it’s a me/America thing)
    We DO get snow in my country, just not really near me – and when it is ‘near me’, it’s always at a time when work and school prevent a trip to see it. And it doesn’t cover the earth like a blanket. The US in winter is a big part of my bucket list.pic7

 

(I can’t take credit for any of the above pics, as they were all selected via Google Images)

I nominate the following people (but please, no pressure to participate, promise!) :

And please check out their blogs if you’re still reading this.

Saving Without Scrimping

Random Catastrophe

Bibliophile

Read Between the Lyme

Mother of Necessity

Just Call Me Elm or Something

A Thomas Point of View

t0bec0nsidered

The Scruffy Guy

SincerelyReine

The Bee Sneeze

mylifeinmywords

Yes…I know…there aren’t 15, and I apologize for that. I also apologize if I left you out. Exclusion is not a part of this, and I really didn’t mean to!

EDIT : If you read this post, and your name is not on the list, then please consider yourself nominated. Unfortunately, my brilliance only kicks in after a good few cups of Java – so now no one has to feel left out.

Happy blogging, everyone!

*Please don’t forget to head over to Endever Publishing Studios on Facebook and cast your vote in the short story competition. You can only vote once, for one story. My story (I’d appreciate your vote) is Contestant 1, “Shoebox Sanity” – if you scroll down the page there, you’ll see it. To vote for it, you need to ‘like’ that particular shared post.

While you are there, please also like the Endever page – there is another writing contest coming up that you may be interested in. You can also follow them here on WordPress and keep an eye on what they are up to – I am sure you won’t be disappointed. Thank you.*

The School of Life

My son returned home from school the other day (he’s in his final year), walked through the front door, and said,
“Mom, please will you make me something to eat, because the way my day has been going, I’d probably chop my finger off.”
So I obliged – mostly because I would like him to keep all ten digits, but also because I didn’t feel like cleaning up blood in the kitchen. I treated myself to yet another much needed cup of coffee, and then called him to join me at the table. He missed the chair entirely, and wound up on the floor. Of course, my hysterical laughter could be heard from miles (I am sure), but he just frowned at me. Seeing his expression, I managed to regain control, and helped him up off the floor, saying,
“Okay, tell me about your terrible day.”

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‘Wood’ you believe it?

“What are you eating this time?”

Yes, this is a question I regularly ask. And I ask it of my dog. If you have a dog, have ever owned a dog, or have ever been a regular visitor to a house where a dog resides, then you will understand my need to be continuously asking this question.

Unfortunately, for the most part, the answer comes in the form of a screeched,
“Drop that!” It’s usually issued in reference to the item in his mouth : a shoe, an eraser, a pen, underwear, kitchen towel – you get the picture.

Yesterday was interesting.

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Apron Strings and Daughter Things

I really don’t know why they make us go to these parent teacher meetings at the beginning of every new school year. They just repeat everything we were told the year before. This year, it was a combined thing so we were all together, and not in our individual teachers classrooms. At least last year it felt more personal, and the teacher was able to communicate to her parents her methods and what she wanted for that particular year. Last night we were one of 300 sheep, just being told the general rules and regulations that have been told to us for the past four years. It was annoying, and boring.

The only thing different came at the very end. They discussed the excursion for this year, and my brain stopped yawning.

This year, my soon-to-be eleven-year-old daughter will be flying the coop for two nights and three days as she joins the rest of her grade on an outing to the mountains. There, they will sleep in dormitories; go on hikes to nearby waterfalls and experience the icy cold of the waters beneath them; participate in abseiling and obstacle courses; and attempt climbing walls.

All of last year, my daughter kept saying that she didn’t want to go – which was surprising because she loves the outdoors and all those adventure activities are right up her alley. But the thing with her is this: she doesn’t like the dark (we sleep with the bathroom light on at night), she has been the victim of some bullying (and those kids will be going too), she doesn’t like being forced into doing something (and they pretty much make you take part) and she’s rather accident prone (if she hurts her leg/ankle, she can’t dance, and by her own admission, dancing is her life!).

Schools have been taking kids to this particular adventure camp for years. In fact, I went back in the day – except with us we did it as a Grade 7 excursion. My daughter is a lot like me – and my experience was only 70% great.

At night, I couldn’t sleep because some of the other girls in the dormitory were unsettling. I was also scared of the dark and there were NO lights on – and the teachers were sleeping in the room next door, not in the dormitory with us.
I was petrified of the climbing wall overhang for some strange reason (I loved abseiling) and wound up crying halfway through it, after being forced into participating…which meant I got teased by the other kids for the remainder of our time there.
I slipped on the rocks at one of the waterfalls on the last day, and twisted my ankle – which resulted in me having to be carried ALL the way back to ‘camp’, and more teasing.

In all of my daughter’s nervousness, I have been encouraging her, and keep telling her ‘it will all be fine, you must go’. (She knows nothing of my experiences, and I won’t tell her either!) The trip is compulsory, the school doesn’t give you a choice – in fact the only way they will allow that a pupil does not attend is in the case of the death of a family member. Upon returning from the meeting last night, I asked my daughter if her feelings had changed with regards to taking part in the excursion. Apparently, my little adventure queen now can’t wait and is ‘definitely going’.

Now I am the one with mixed feelings, leaning more towards locking her in her bedroom for the remainder of her life, let alone those three days.

It’s not just based on my experience years back, but also on my son’s experience when he went a few years ago – and came home to not sleep alone for six months, which is credited to all the ghost stories that were told, and some teasing and bullying that took place thereafter. My son has always been afraid of ghostly things – he’s improved as a teenager, although I think he knows each and every woven thread of the inside of his blanket from watching horror movies with his friends.

My daughter is tough though – so I am sure she’ll be fine. She’s a strange combination of Princess and Pirate. And I’ll have to lecture her beforehand because I am pretty sure SHE will be the one telling the ghost stories.
I think I’m more concerned for safety sake – because of where we live, and the fact that she is a girl. And deep down there is also that voice screaming, “And she’s my little girl!”

I just have to keep telling myself it will be okay. And somehow let go, just a little.
It’s difficult when she is with me all the time, and only sleeps out for a night maybe three times a year, and at a friends house down the road – not two hours drive away from me!

I can’t help wondering if she will in fact be all right.
But then again, I need to recognize in myself: this is mostly Mommy fear – more importantly, will I be okay?

I don’t think I should cut the apron strings just yet, but perhaps I’ll loosen the knot a little.

Hello World!

In the world of blogging, your first blog post could make or break you. (Or so I have read.)  The pressure is on! Of course, amidst this pressure, there were other important events taking place.

The dog has been stung by a bee, again. According to ‘legend’, a bee in your house indicates that you’ll be getting a visitor – oh hell, I hope there isn’t company coming. My dining room table is bending under all the clean, folded and ironed washing from yesterday – To-do list activated : put away the clean clothes ‘sometime’ this morning.

The glass jar of coffee in the cupboard has been attacked by the Coffee Critters and is now empty. When I have finished this cup, a trip to the store is in order – To-do list paused, shopping list in my head begins.

A quick glance down confirms that I have yet to get dressed – switch lists – priority on to-do list. I doubt the other shoppers will appreciate my fluffy purple pyjama’s as much as I do.

My preteen is hungry. Again. Breakfast was an hour ago. How much food can one little body consume? And how come the body is still so small after all that food?

Without further ado, I bid farewell to you – I need to beat the other human (teenager) to the bathroom if I’m going to shower and get out to refill my coffee jar!

Hello World, indeed!