Friday, August 25, 2017
I often get asked what it's like to manage my life. The shop, the writing and marketing of books, the DJ/Karaoke, the hubby, the kids, the grandkids and all that each entails.
The fast answer? I have a great partner in crime, fantastic kids, an awesome extended family and wonderful friends. Oh......and coffee....a. lot. of. coffee. Oh.... and ...wine. Yeah.
The slow answer? Sometimes my life is the top photo. Serene, simple, nothing but big, clear skies and fresh air.
Then, sometimes it's the bottom photo. Complicated, overwhelming, stressful, cluttered, with no room to breathe.
Boohoo, right? Talk about privileged problems.
I asked for it. All of it. It's mine and I own it. Proudly.
At the shop, there is no office politics, no drama. Our job security falls squarely into our own hands, we are no longer at the mercy of corporate lay offs, or fickle bosses, with others dictating our schedules.
With the books? It can be overwhelming, as there is always so much more to learn. It can be daunting because I feel perpetually underqualified to do what I need to do next. And there is always a next.
As far as DJ/Karaoke? Over the past 18 years, since, kind of, accidentally forming this business, it has, at times, been the sole source of food for our table. It began as a "let's see what happens" when asked to do a show at a ladies curling bonspiel, quickly evolving into something that has allowed us countless glimpses into the lives of families during weddings, anniversaries and family reunions. We have had a blast meeting such a variety of different people, charity organizers, club owners, and their patrons. We have been the last to leave at more Christmas and grad parties than your average grandparents, that's for sure. We step into every gig with the sole intention of making sure everybody has a great time. Besides, it's still fun, why would we quit?!
The hubby, kids, and grandkids? Well, it's quite simple, they are everything. They are the reason I was put on this earth. I know that above all else.
It kind of boils down to this. Be open to every opportunity, fight for what and whom you love and Never Quit.
For those who have asked? I hope you feel you've been answered.
It's not magic, and, in no way, perfect. Each endeavor presents its own challenges and rewards. Each has their position on the scale of balance. For the most part, I'm figuring it out as I go along, just like you.
I know I've said it before, but one of the best things you will ever do for yourself is eliminate any thought as to the existence of "comfort zones." They're just prisons disguised as shelter.
So, this week has been another crazy one filled with long days, not a lot of sleep, but a lot got done!
My hubby is really a super hero in disguise.
This week alone, he saved a mobile clothing store for seniors, kept one man from having to suffer from constant cold showers, made a young couple safe once again, after their bearings caught fire, and saved another man who was starting to believe he couldn't trust anyone to fix his fridge.
And that was all by Wednesday afternoon!
I do what I can to assist, I guess I'm the Robin to his Batman!
I also booked a few more tradeshows for this fall.......
As for the upcoming week.....
Stretch my craft muscles.......
Time with a grandkid or four......
Thanks so much for taking the time to read these ramblings each week. I appreciate you more than you know.....
May you have serene, clear skies and fresh air.
May you see clearly your path from here to there.
May you stay open, for sometimes life hands you what you didn't know you wanted.
May you follow your instincts, fight for what and whom you love, undaunted.
May you throw aside everything you thought you couldn't do.
May you know that all you need, in any of it, is to simply. trust. you.
Until next time.....
Friday, August 18, 2017
Only an incredibly broken soul can put the value of one human being over another.
I was really hoping I could skip this latest taste of the worst of humanity, but, as the week progressed, it became obvious to me that it would be impossible to do so. To be silent is like saying it's okay. It's not.
Worse than the fact that those brandishing Nazi flags are parading around North America like it's nothing. Worse than the racist and anti-Semitic chants. Worse than the torch-bearing, gun-wielding hatred that permeates from them, carrying the stench of the millions exterminated nearly eighty years ago. Worse than this, worse, is somehow differentiating between a white supremacist barrelling a vehicle through a crowded street with the intent of doing as much harm as possible, and an Isis supremacist barrelling a vehicle through a crowded street with the intent of doing as much harm as possible.
They hide their hate behind different veils, but if you pull the curtain aside, the fear, put forth as anger, is the same. Broken souls.
Something happened to each and every one of these individuals somewhere along the way. They weren't born this way. Not one child is born with the capacity to hate.
Perhaps they watched adults judge each other, heard homophobic and racial slurs. They heard, they watched, they emulated, they amplified.
So, as the week went from bad to worse, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and powerless. What can I do?
I'm not sure that there is any one answer to that question. One thing I do know for sure? One of the very few instances wherein there are absolutely no shades of grey are those involving Nazis, Isis members and their allies.
Some seem to have trouble verbalizing the clarity of right and wrong in this situation, but when it comes to this level of evil, we can't afford to be ambiguous. Any of us. In doing so, we are whispering an invitation to repeat one of the darkest parts of human history.
What to do?
Remain hopeful. I refuse to let the hate make me cynical. I know those that rise to this level of hate are few.
Create joy as much and wherever I can. Make someone smile, give someone a giggle, share the funny.
Stand up. If I find myself in the presence of intolerance or racism, I will no longer bite my tongue to be polite, internalizing the gut twisting, sickening feeling that overtakes me when it happens. The trick will be addressing it with diplomacy, as it's never the goal to escalate an already tense situation.
Do the very best I can to NOT help create any more incredibly broken souls.
Yes, this past week brought with it a lot of darkness, but it also carried a ton of light.....
We had the honour of having a small part in a beautiful wedding...
We had some grandbaby snuggles....
We had another very busy week at the shop.....
We were booked for a Halloween Karaoke show.....
I was booked for two readings, one in September, one in October.......
Booked a few more trade shows for the Fall.....
As for the upcoming week......
Working the shop...........
Work on some booth bits for upcoming trade shows.....
Laundry, and other glamour-filled things.....
Well folks, that about does it for now......
May we allow the hatred to be screamed into the wind, with no one to listen, no one to hear.
May they march until their feet bleed, receiving no credence, left alone to steep in their fear.
May the broken souls find a way to heal, a way to once again feel the joy they knew before.
May they hear their words as they echo back, shards of the syllables cutting to their core.
May they come to understand that in attempting to diminish others, you only succeed in shriveling your own humanity.
May they see that trying to resurrect this evil leads to no good end, may they see it for its hollow import, its insanity.
Until next time............
Friday, August 11, 2017
When you fix RV's for the majority of your living, you tend to spend a fair amount of time at lakes. Not for the same purpose most people do, but you're at a lake, nonetheless.
As my role in these situations is generally a supportive one, for the most part, handing tools and such, I often have time to people watch and snap a few photos.
There is always a lot of playing, giggling, fighting, and melt downs. And that's just the parents.
It's fun to watch the different family dynamics. They all have their own rhythm, their own vibe.
Some are super organized, you can all but smell the Tupperware containers of organic snacks that, if I peeked, are most certainly lined up neatly in the cooler which is being hefted to the beach by Dad. The kids are shiny in their perfectly laundered bathing suits, carrying their individual towels neatly around their necks, marching so nicely, following Mom, like a line of baby ducks.
Some are slightly less organized, Kids wearing a bit of the 'keep you happy in the car' snacks, an oversized, overstuffed, beach bag hangs from Mom's arm, overflowing with what looks like an assortment of towels, wet wipes, bug spray and sunscreen. Dad is pulling a cooler on wheels and is most dramatically ignoring the stowaway toddler stealing a ride, as he frantically pretends to look for said toddler. Not exactly a neat march, but they get to the beach, all the same.
Some seem to be surprised to have made it to the beach at all. Adults juggling/carrying snacks, towels, pool noodles and other seemingly random paraphernalia without the aid of any bags as kids leap from the vehicle and take off, heading for the water at lightning speed. Mom yells, kids slow down, allowing the parents to catch up, eventually, helping to carry some stuff. They, too, make it to the beach.
Everybody makes it to the beach at their own pace, in their own way, carrying their own stuff in whatever way they can.
The past week has been another whirlwind.......
Last weekend was filled with hanging out with family, meeting some great new people, taking in a great play, going to a movie or two, ending with a bonfire at our daughter's house.
The rest of the week was spent working the shop, setting up a couple more trade shows for the fall, finding new homes for more copies of "Once Broken," getting a jump on a booth idea for said trade shows, and putting the finishing touches on the prep for the wedding we are playing for tomorrow.
As for the upcoming days....
Wedding tomorrow, working the shop, start prep for next wedding, prep for trade shows, laundry, and other stuff.
Sorry to write and run, but I better get some sleep, I have a feeling tomorrow could be a late night....
Until next time...
May you find your way to the beach with help to carry your stuff.
May you draw your line in the sand, own it, you define your 'enough'.
May you build the castle of your dreams, knowing if it falls, another can be built.
May you build as many as you wish, however you wish, without a tinge of guilt.
May you balance all that you need, release what you don't, and gather tools along the way.
May you find that others opinions echo into nothingness, yours is the only one with weight enough to stay.
Talk to you soon..............
Friday, August 4, 2017
Have you ever had one of those days?
You know, those days, the ones in which you find yourself asking.........really?!
Every day presents its own little challenges, issues, hurdles, and hiccups. With our shop, these presented themselves, this week, in the forms of wrong parts sent, delays in parts sent, incomplete parts sent, you know, the usual when it comes to retail/service.
One day, in particular, more than filled its quota of hiccups.
It should have been simple. Our car needed an update for Onstar, I needed to book a quick doctor appointment. Two birds, one stone, simple.
We all know, in Canadian, the word "summer" translates into "road construction". Well, "summer" is in super-full swing in good ol' Saskatchewan. There are a few different routes from where I live to where I needed to go, all of which are under various degrees of construction, I thought I picked the least of the evils. I was wrong.
You see, the plan was this:
1) Leave home by 9:15 (I live 90 min from car appointment)
2)Drop part forgotten by customer, in Outlook on my way to the city
3) drop car off for upgrade appointment 11:15am
4) take pre-arranged shuttle from dealership to doc appointment at 11:50
5) take same shuttle back to dealership, wait for car, go home.
You see, what actually happened was this:
1) Leave home at 9:15, as planned. ( I HATE being late)
2) get stopped for construction for about 15 minutes with about 40km to go.....still okay, had given myself extra time..not my first rodeo, I'm a local, I know the summer construction drill...
3) get led by pilot vehicle through 60km/hr zone (not a big deal, it'll be tight, but if we only do this for a few miles, I can still be on time)
4) Continue to follow pilot truck the entire rest of the way to the city.... (Only gonna be a few minutes late, not ideal, but not horrible)
5) The pilot truck pulls over, I can finally see past him... yay... a train.....(I'm screwed)
6) Call the dealership and get appointment changed to 12:30, head straight to doc appointment.
7) Get to doctor office early in hopes of making up a few minutes (don't laugh....it could happen......but, it didn't)
8) Get in to see the doc at 12:10 out by 12:15, can still make car appointment if traffic isn't too bad.
9) Get to the dealership at 12:36, where, after being led to the service department, I overhear a service writer saying "Well, she had an appointment for 11:15, she's like an hour and a half late...."
10) After explaining to the nice young man that I had called and changed the appointment and encouraging him to look at his bookings one more time, my car was successfully dropped off.
11) After being told my car wouldn't be ready until at least 4:00, I asked if the same shuttle that would have taken me to my doc appointment could give me a ride to the mall. I figured I would catch a movie to kill time.
12) Get to the mall, resigning myself to see whatever movie was playing at that given moment. (My hip still yells at me if I mall crawl too long).
13) The new Spiderman movie, sure, why not? 3D was my only option. 3D movies give me motion sickness. My hip was yelling. Yelling hip trumps motion sickness.
14) After paying for my $12 ticket, buying my $20 popcorn, which was doing double duty as lunch (hey I made it healthy by adding almond m&m's...don't judge), I settled in to watch Spiderman with the spattering of tweens, who also apparently had a Tuesday afternoon to kill.
15) 30 minutes into the movie, I feel my phone buzzing. I step out to answer, and it's the dealership. My car is done. See ya later Spiderman. It is now 1:45. I felt bad for the shuttle dude.
So, as I was waiting for my shuttle driver guy outside the mall, mourning my abandoned, partially eaten popcorn, I checked my email. There was one from McNally Robinson. It was from the events coordinator, thanking me for choosing them for my launch and to inform me that "Once Broken" had made #2 on their bestseller list for the week.
Funny how one little piece of good news can cure the hiccups.
On the way home, there was no pilot truck, but there was the same 40km in which the speed limit remained at 60km/hr. The sky was a bit stormy, the breeze fragrant with the promise of rain. As "summer" now forced me to stop chasing the clock, I allowed myself to let the news in the email sink in. If I told you that a few tears of overwhelming joy never fell, I'd be lying.
I cranked the radio, sang along, and cruised home.
As for the next few days........
Spending a bit of time with some family.............
Attend a play that has a writing friend's fingerprints all over it.........
Work the shop to ensure fishing trips aren't missed.....
Prep for a wedding we are DJing next weekend.......
Well folks, that about does it for now....
May every hiccup be counterbalanced by a bit of good news.
May you slow your speed, crank the radio, grant yourself permission to just cruise.
May you allow the good news to go deeper than the bad ever could.
May you spend your time on doing more of what you love and less on what you should.
May you breathe.......deeply.....it's okay, you've earned it.
Until next time.......