Friday, 30 December 2016

there will be time

Oh, 2016. I'm not sure how you felt about this year but I'm glad that it was a blur. I am thankful that when I turn and look back on it, it was a mere blink.

It was one of those years. You know those years, we've all had them. The ones where the lessons were long and so apparent that they might as well have had flashing signs above them. YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A LESSON SEASON (and you may not get out of it for what feels like a very, very long time).

And guess which lesson I got to relearn for the gazillionth time? Patience.

I wonder if you could feel my eyes roll as I read that out loud to you in your head. Or, if like me, you've had to learn and relearn, and learn again that lovely little life skill of patience. I know I've written this before, a friend would admonish me, "Patience is a virtue" and I would reply, "that I don't have time for". Well, I guess I do because I'm going around the patience mountain yet again. Why is it that the go-getters of the world have to learn patience, why can't we learn that when we push really hard we get our way? (Because life isn't like that).

I really felt like I had to just figure it out. Just take some time and figure it out. I felt like it was a year of solitary confinement of just figuring things out. And man, does this brain like to figure. And it figures things one way, then the other way, and back to the next. And I'm a verbal processor, so figuring things out alone doesn't really work, yet I had to figure. Spinning the good old wheels for fun, for a full turn around the sun. Figuring out how to get out of this lesson, figuring out how to speed up the process, figuring out how to get the check mark and the A+ and move on... it doesn't work like that, surprisingly.

The hubster and I were driving home from a weekend away in November. I asked him what kind of music he'd like to hear. He always says Mumford and Sons. I think it's because it's one of those "meet in the middle" bands. He likes country and I like indie-pop so Mumford and Sons is a good compromise. They have such great driving music. The kind that you can sing along to, keep you awake and have fun all at the same time.

I found their latest album I think it came out in June or July, which is surprising that I missed that quiet release. Or I was so busy figuring that I didn't have my finger on the pulse of indie-pop releases. Whichever it was, I was happy to find a new EP.

The song There Will Be Time came on. And with it, the tears. This year I worked so hard to figure it all out. To find the next step. To find the solution. To find the thing. To learn the lesson so I could add it to my list of accomplishments and be done with it. And it didn't come.

I listened to the words of the Sons of Mumford:
And in the cold light I live to love and adore you
It's all that I am, it's all that I have
In the cold light I live, I'll only live for you
It's all that I am, it's all that I have
Why do I keep falling?
Why do I keep falling?

And a week later put it together. The tears, the frustration, the hurt came from losing my perspective. No matter what kind of figuring I do, no matter what kind of tinkering I do, it all comes down to learning patience in the process. I don't have to do or be anything to get it. I have to learn to wait my turn, or never have a turn and be ok with both. *grits teeth*

There is the subtle line in the song, where Mumford is explaining his issues and he almost speaks it, and indeed there will be time. It's as though he is reminding himself that there will be time, there isn't really much he can do at this point but be patient. I've forgotten that there will be time. I have worked so hard planning every little thing, including my response to every little thing, figuring it all out instead of just taking a deep breath and knowing that there will be time.

There is a time, a time to love
A time to sing, a time to shine
A time to leave, a time to stay
There is a time, a time to cry
A time to love, a time to live
There is a time, a time to sing

Happy New Year. You can hear the song on spotify or youtube if you haven't yet.

There will be time.

That's all.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

to try a new tradition

It's Christmas time. Many peoples' favourite time of year. I enjoy it. I always have, I love presents. I enjoy a good sparkly gift. I like thinking about it, wrapping it, and presenting it.

It's been a bit tricky though. I expect people to set off fireworks when they open my presents. The two leading men in my life, my brother and my husband, can be absolutely ecstatic over a gift and they will say, "thank you, that was very considerate" with a straight face.

I want them to exclaim and jump up and down saying things like, "how did you know!?" "this is EXACTLY what I wanted!" "you are the BEST gift giver in the world!" "no one knows me like you do!"

Yeah, I know, I needed to curb my expectations a bit having introverts for gift-receivers.

My mom comes close to the aforementioned exclamations. The volume, length, and roundness of her WOW tells you where on the WOW scale you fall. If there is a pause before a WOW it's not a WOW it's a "wow, what the heck am I going to do with that". But if you've hit the mark it has multiple syllables, "Wooooo-Oooo-oow", and if it's really good, followed with multiple little "wows". ""Wooooo-Oooo-oow, wow wow wow".

That's the problem with us extroverts, we can't help it, we don't have a poker face. The introverts know this, if they graciously accept every gift you will never think you ever screwed up.

Anyway, this year is a bit different. The hubster and I are trying something a little different. We are working at living a bit more minimally (yes, we are millennials, how ever did you know??) and as part of that we are also working hard at living within a budget.

I hate budgets. I don't like being told what to do. Even if it's me telling me what to do. I'm a wee bit rebellious. I will do it begrudgingly, but the funny flip side of it is that I am a stickler for the limit. When there is an established limit on the present I stick to it, no matter what. Even if the perfect present is $10 over the projected limit I just can't bring myself to do it. It's unfair to the people in the gift-giving. You can judge me all you want, that's just how I feel.

So, the hubster and I, within a budget and living minimally, chose to only do stockings this year for each other. The limit was $100 (not including taxes, because c'mon, it's Canada and that's a tenth of the stinking budget!).

Photo Courtesy of Louis at Unsplash

I made my list, checked it twice, used a gift card I got for my birthday for an item. When I was packing it all in the other night I counted up the costs, and I got a bit giddy. I was so impressed with myself, like I'd solved the world's hardest math problem. I set it all out and totalled it, and just for fun I totalled it again as I put it back in. It was a high! I came in right on budget. The perfectionist in me was joyful and triumphant. I was so excited that without even experiencing it this year I asked if this could be our new tradition.

I also expect him to be as over the moon that I stuck to the budget as he is with his stocking stuffers. I'll probably hear "thank you, that was very considerate"... is it too much to request a marching band that makes a song that says: these trinkets are everything I've ever wanted and you were on budget! I think it would catch on, a bigger hit than "All I Want for Christmas is You". Look out Mariah Carey, here comes my marching band singing about my stocking stuffer abilities.

Merry Christmas.

That's all.

Friday, 18 November 2016


It's like a throwback wave lately. Everything 90s is on its way back. I kid you not I recently saw a young woman wearing black jean overall shorts with a tie up shoulder shirt and, to my absolute horror, a scrunchie! A scrunchie!? I almost wanted to ask her if it was ironic. I don't think it was, as irony is on its way out. Even irony is so 90s.

My brother and I were chatting on the phone about movies we want to see and he sheepishly admitted that he is excited for the Trolls movie. I exclaimed in return, "I am so excited!"

I was talking with a girlfriend who is 10 years my junior, so she has no idea what the phenomenon of Trolls was. At the height of our collection, my brother and I had close to 30 trolls in various sizes. I had teeny ones that went on the end of your pencils, and I had one the size of a cabbage patch doll, she was pink and stuffy in form with a ballerina outfit. She was an outcast, she was too pretty for all the moulded plastic trolls with their arms jutting out from their sides, their bulbous bellies, and the way they were perfectly balanced to stand on their flat feet.

You weren't cool unless you had a troll on your desk, and you were in the upper echelon of troll collectors if you changed it out on the daily. Trolls hung from my ears, I had a Hallowe'en pair, a Christmas pair, and an every day pair. They were stored in our pencil cases or greeting us as we opened our lift-top desks. And what would we do with them? Not much really, except move their heads to the beat of music to see their fluffy stick-straight hair bop gracefully to the beat.

You didn't really play with trolls, so much as just collect them. We amassed quite the collection, we would arrange them in rainbow order, from smallest to largest, from favourite to least favourite, from ugly-cute to just ugly (you could argue that they were all ugly but the bigger the eyes, the cuter they were).

One Christmas we decided that we needed to do something with the trolls. Growing up Catholic meant that nativity scenes marked our house. We had a ginormous oversized silhouette of the nativity scene on our large house, lit up with flood lights so that every semi and train that rattled by would know that Baby Jesus resides here. Oh, and in case it wasn't clear that Jesus was the reason for the season, my dad made a giant cross out of red Christmas lights to put above the oversized nativity silhouettes. A bit of overkill, but we all loved it.

It is with no surprise with this strong influence that we had to make our own nativity scene. What would we use? Trolls.

We had wise men trolls, they were the ones that came in a three pack, they were all the same level of ugly. Mary of course was the blue-haired troll, and I think I wrapped a sash over her so you'd know she was a she (trolls didn't really have genders). Joseph was a green haired one. Above it all flew my larger red haired troll that had a white polyester princess dress with frills, and if you peeked under she had a red jewel for a belly button.

The piece de resistance was, because we are white and raised Catholic, a blond petite troll for Jesus that appeared on Christmas night. We followed the Advent calendar of when to put out which figure in the cardboard troll nativity. Our mom didn't know if she should be horrified at a sacrilegious troll-nativity, or proud that her children were adopting this ritual with such fervour and personal relevance.

I think we giggled often at the ridiculousness of having a troll nativity scene. And their popularity faded as quickly as it rose. They all fell into a box destined for a garbage bin or donation bin, whichever was more convenient. The pink ballerina troll ended up in my niece's care, I found it one day while babysitting and immediately instagrammed it. It's bulging eyes and silly grin made me laugh and I couldn't help but share it.

I was back at my parents sorting through a box at one point and had a flashback when I came across Baby-Jesus-Troll complete with diaper. It was a visceral memory, transporting me back to the early nineties at Christmas time.

My brother and I will have to make a movie date of the Trolls movie and see if they do our childhood justice. We shall see if the plastic moulds with wispy technicolor hair make a comeback.

That's all.