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Wednesday, January 31

New Blogskin

Yvonne has designed a new blogskin for me. I absolutely LOVE it!
It is representative of where I am in life right now.

It is so perfectly fitting at the moment!
Erica at 8:17 PM
12 comments

Tuesday, January 30

Sushi Night...

Last night many friends gathered to celebrate a friend's birthday. It was a lovely evening, even if I did not eat sushi. The teriaki chicken was delicious. During the fine meal, the women (and myself) chattered away because that's what women do best. During the conversation I had a bit of a revelation.

My friends were talking about being overwhelmed by life. The stress of trying to balance home, work, kids, business partners seemed to be taking its toll. They were exhausted. Done. Kaput.
Where do you go from Kaput?

Here is the epiphany part: its NOT just me!! It seems everybody felt this way. We are all normal, well-adjusted women having a normal reaction to abnormal expectations.

While I listened, I wanted to swoop in and save my friends. Perhaps I could come up with some brilliant advice that would change their lives and make it all better. I racked my brains and came up with nothing. Nothing helpful. No solutions. No easy answers.

How can swoop in and save my friends from the same lie that I am caught in?

When "they" tell you that you can have it all, "they" fail to mention that it comes at a price.

Work, parenting, and keeping up a home are three full time jobs.
This is an unrealistic expectation.
So why are we still chipping away at it? It is our dream? Is it the ideal? Is it what we really want?
Or do we simply believe a lie; if you just try harder, eventually you'll get it right.
Maybe its not us!
Maybe we aren't getting it right because its not possible.
Maybe we aren't meant to teach our children phonics while thinking about the financial projections for next years first quarter while simultaneously doing dishes.
Perhaps that is abnormal!
And I am just another normal working mom. (Yay! I'm normal!)

So like LarryBoy, we're caught by the fib from outer space (for the Veggie Tale fans) waiting for someone to speak the truth!
I have no answers but I love to search for truth and I hate to be caught in a lie. I will continue to look for places in my life where this lie has got me pinned, and fight back with the truth.
Here I go...

TRUTH # 1 - I do NOT have to do this all by myself! I can ask for help!
Erica at 9:24 AM
3 comments

Monday, January 29

Kid's Quotes

The other day while Isabella was eating her breakfast she said, "Mom! I asked you for some orange juice!" Besides the fact that it was a rude way to ask, it wasn't even true.
She had not asked me for orange juice so I pointed this out.
She replied, "Oh! I guess I just thought it so why didn't you just read my mind?"
I told her that I actually can't read minds, and she said, "Sure you can. You do it to me all the time."
I think this is a good thing. I will encourage this misconception for as long as possible, particularly when she is a teenager. This might come in handy!


The day that Rebecca's tooth came out, she was so excited she had teeth on her mind all day. This caused her to make a funny. D.J. was happily farting when she piped up, "Hey! I think daddy is the Toot Fairy!" Both girls thought this was hysterical. I must admit, I thought it was pretty funny too!
Erica at 9:17 AM
1 comments

Thursday, January 25

Hometime yet?

I don't wanna work
I just wanna bang on the drum all day!
I don't wanna play
I just wanna bang on the drum all day!
This is my theme song this week!
Erica at 9:36 AM
3 comments

Sunday, January 21

Lazy Sunday Morning

This morning I just sat at my computer and read through all the blogs that I read regularly.
I love reading about the joys, sorrows or just the thoughts of people that I care about. I love it when they post pictures so I feel like I have seen them, even though many of them are far away!

One thing I noticed as I was reading through all the blogs, which were all varied and beautiful is that MANY of them were created by Yvonne. They are all very different, they suit the personalities of their owners and they are lovely to look at while I read the content within.

So I wanted to say publicly to Yvonne. Thank you for creating so many beautiful blogs for your friends, so that we have a way of keeping in touch even though our lives are so busy. This link of community is a great way to prevent lonliness and keep in touch through the miles.

I know Yvonne put a lot of hours, thought and time into each blog, which she often did for free for her friends, and friends of friends. Her generosity has come back in two ways:

1. There is a circle of bloggers who can keep in touch with each other and maintain friendships.
2. Her work has been noticed and she has received a free trip (First Class) to get further training on website work.

I'm so glad that she was generous to me, and to many of my friends and that it came back around to her! Good on ya Yvonne! Enjoy your trip. It is well deserved.

So all you bloggers reading this...if Yvonne made your blog, please give her a big thanks, and let's wish her well on her trip!
ps Its also her birthday next week! She is REALLY old now! So you have to speak up to wish her a happy birthday!
Erica at 10:22 AM
8 comments

Friday, January 19

Weekend

Well, its almost the weekend again and I could not be more pleased! This has been another crazy week. I haven't had time to blog, which is probably good as my thoughts would most likely have been disjointed with all that I've had on my mind.

There is one thing that has stayed with me for the last couple of days that was said at a work meeting. I'd been wanting to post it, to see what the wise people in my life (you know who you are) have to say about it.

Now I expect all the people who read this post to comment because you may not think you are wise, but how do you know if I think you are wise or not? Perhaps I think you are wise, and am awaiting your input whilst you grapple with your insecurities! ha ha

Here it what was said in the meeting:

We were discussing variables in the stages of adolscense that make programming for youth difficult. Most of the topics centered around teens searching for independence, needing a sense of ownership to buy in, while still needing to feel secure in the staff so they felt safe enough to attend. A bit of a catch-22. The need to believe that adults are a source of safety/knowledge/guidance while attempting to find their own power/independence.

Then someone in the meeting said, "That is why I think fundamentalist Christians act like children. They have a need to see God as a father because they feel unsafe in the world without the idea of a big parent in the sky watching over them. That's why they love rules so much, because then they feel like there is something bigger than them so if they just do what the rules say, then everything will be okay. They never grow up or gain independence."

When she said it, I was stunned. I couldn't believe that someone would actually say that and yet she did, and I just sat there dumbfounded. It really struck something in me. Not my faith. That was unmoved because I there is a God because I know that I know that I know in my knower but something about what she said reaked of truth. That bothered me.

I spent every spare moment since Wednesday thinking about how much of that statement was true, and how much of it was just someone who was angry at the church and at God.

Alright wise ones...what do you think?
Erica at 8:39 AM
0 comments

Saturday, January 13

Toothfairy Time!!!

My baby is growing up WAY too fast!
She has a loose tooth! Scratch that, loose TEETH!

Her top two starting to wiggle last week and now her bottom two got the motion.
Yup! They be dancing caps, they be!
Erica at 6:17 PM
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Friday, January 12

Teenage Mentality

I have been working with teenagers since I was one myself. I have noticed some patterns of behavior in my travels. I don't know if the experts or books would back up my musings but none the less, I will share them with anyone who wants to read this post!

Everyone knows that the biggest challenge of adolescence is establishing independence. The idea of depending on adults for guidance seems childlike and is therefore deplorable (which is why junior high teachers should be paid $1,000,000 a year in my opinion!).

This desire to break away from dependence on adults is exciting and terrifying at the same time resulting in crazy behaviour. Youth can behave both childish, impulsive, controlling and WAY too mature for their age...all in the same hour! You can imagine how crazy this seems to the adults who have charge of these little schisms, not to mention how scary it is for the youth!

You take this volatile mindset and add hormones and what you get is a ticking time bomb! (This explains why "good kids" can do such stupid things.) So you add crazy and hormonal rage together and ask kids to start thinking about what they want to be when they grow up! That is an overwhelming task to think about and the conclusions to this query are often impulsive, unattainable, if they are forthcoming at all. This difficult decision about WHAT they want to be comes at a time when they are trying to figure out WHO they want to be.

The easiest substitute for self-discovery (which requires fore-thought, commitment, and energy) is to look at all the things they don't want to become. Its takes much less effort to state what you dislike compared with discovering what you do like. Have you ever noticed how negative adolscent children can be? Did you ever wonder why? Did you ever want to pummel them because of it? Me too.

Let's add together impulsivity, hormones, desire to break away from adult input with the ease of communicating what you don't want to do or be. Is it any wonder that people have always said teenagers are rebellious?

How is that so many people remember their teenage years fondling when they spent much of it entrenched in a sesspool of insecurity, confusion and hormonal rage?
I think the answer lies in freedom, hope and potential.

Freedom
While many teens seem to hate their parents and hope to be nothing like them when they grow up, they are still being fed, clothed, housed and entertained by said pathetic beasts of burden.
Freedom from the constraints of the reality in our demanding, stressful culture makes it easy to stand outside of an adult perspective and see all that is wrong with it. For example, "When I'm move out on my own I'm going to just order pizza every night and I won't complain about how much it cost like my dad!" This freedom which is mostly taken for granted due to lack of experience with the demands of reality allows for hope for better things.

Hope
Teens often look at all the things that are wrong with the world and explain how they will fix it as soon as they get the chance. How often have I heard youth say things like "just stop pollution, people don't need to make so much money" or "I'm just going to make people stop going to war, war is stupid". This simplistic view of the world is not fettered by the contraints of reality, which feeds such a hopeful view of the future. Many youth feel that the world is in a crappy state (clearly done by their parents, teachers and politicians) but they would do it all differently and we'd all be better off if we'd just listen to them! They have the potential to make a difference.

Potential
The truth is that teenagers (no matter what it looks like from the outside) are full of potential. I think many teachers, coaches, parents, youth leaders recognize this potential, which is why they are willing to pour time and energy into this often ungrateful and rebellious population. Teens really have lived so little of their lives, they still have incredible amounts of energy, their intellectual abilities are just on the upward swing towards full capability.
(Ever wonder why the entertainment industry invests so heavily into this population? Must be a pretty big pay-off!)

This is why I like working with youth.
They have energy that is not being tapped, looking for some place to invest themselves (provided it isn't boring). They live with freedom that allows them to do wild, silly and funny things. They have a great sense of humor. Because they are the center of their universe, they often have the confidence to lead their peers even if they are truly terrified that they are doing it wrong. They are full of hope for the future and they have potential to shape their world (and ours). Whether or not we adults like it, they are our future, and that future is not that far off.

I think that my investment is a good one. Even if I am often frustrated with impulsivity, rebellion and silliness that accompanies this group of people. Much like a teenager, I still have hope that I making a difference in the lives of adolescents who careen through each day full of hope, confusion, negativity, humor, hormones, freedom, despair and potential.
Erica at 8:07 AM
0 comments

Tuesday, January 9

"Coolest Marathon in the World"

My sister was telling me the other day about a marathon that is run at the north pole.
It is called the "Coolest Marathon in the World". Click here to see information on it.

Running a marathon on a warm, sunny day is painful enough but running one at the North Pole?
Frost bite, muscles seizing up, difficulty breathing, trying to run on feet that are frozen.
And here is the kicker, its costs 9,300 Euro which is $14, 249.86 in Canadian dollars.

This got me thinking, I think there is an untapped market out there.
People who have way too much money, who enjoy pain and are willing to pay to have pain inflicted on them. Let's called them WeMas. (short for Wealthy Masochists)

No problem. I can supply the demand of that market. And I won't charge nearly as much those other guys. I'll be like the Wal-Mart of pain infliction.

If you know anyone WeMas, send them my way or you can just provide them with a copy of my price list (found below).

I'll slap you upside the head for $20.
I'll punch you in the face for $35.
Wednesdays we have a combo special for $40 (a $55 value) I'll punch and slap your face.
A kick in the nads is $75.
A round house to the face, followed by multiple kidney punches is $120.
Taking a hammer to your feet is $150 (because of the time involved)

For those on your list who love the pain but can't afford all the classy packages, I will pull hair for $5.

I think I will develop some sort of points system, if you buy any three packages you get a free charlie horse or snake bite.
Erica at 5:28 PM
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Friday, January 5

All in a Day's Work

Here is the igloo the girls and I built in the front yard. In the dark? Actually it is 5:00pm!

Curled up, ready for a camp-out!

"I will make the tea."

(make note in the picture below, that is a chimney with smoke coming out)

"TA-DA!"

Erica at 9:27 AM
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Thursday, January 4

Denial

I am currently enjoying being on holidays from my job. I haven't checked my email in two weeks. I've been pretending that I don't have a job. In my little fantasy, I stay home with my kids all the time. I cook and bake like this all the time and I always have time to keep my house clean. In my make believe life I spend all my days like today...in my pajamas, reading books, doing my kids nails, and building igloos in the front yard.

The truth is I don't want to go back to work.
I don't want to think about it.
I don't want to face how much there is to do.
I want to go on pretending.

Sad.
So so sad.
Erica at 8:31 PM
0 comments

Crazy Dancer...

My mom said something to me when she was here that has me thinking. It was a quote from somewhere or other that said...

Those who don't heard the music think the dancer is mad.

I've been thinking alot about that.
I'm not a dancer but there have been times when I did things or said things that were controversial but they were right (for me) because I saw things differently.
I'm not saying I always see the whole picture, but I've learned at certain times that doing what I believe to be right has required going against popular opinion. That is hard, but maybe there is something to perspective that makes dancing right for the dancer even when everyone else doesn't understand what the heck they are doing.

So today I want to encourage all those crazy dancers out there who have the courage to dance when no one else can even hear the music. People who are brave enough (sometimes) to do what they believe is right when it seems everyone else thinks you are nuts.

I'll make a toast.
Raise your glass.
To Independence...To Courage...
Erica at 1:36 PM
0 comments

Wednesday, January 3

Reset Button...

Something about a New Year always feels like someone has pushed the Re-Set Button on my life. For some reason on January first I always feel very cheery. The new day and new year feel so full of potential.

People are full of hope (especially at the gym) ha ha ha. People challenge themselves to be better, to do better and make a change for the positive. I love that.

Many people think resolutions are bunk but I've always thought that intentions count for something. I want to give credit for the desire to be better even if they fail miserably on day two as I often do.

Perhaps intentions/resolutions go hand in hand with mercy. We find it hard to do what it is we want to do--if we could do it we would have been doing already in 2006, right? Yet there is something about a new beginning fills us with hope to try. That sense of potential, coupled with a new beginning can make intentions become reality.

Here is where mercy comes in. No new thing is easy. Dedication to a new way of living is challenging and human beings are imperfect. So when the resolution is broken, one must have mercy on oneself. All is not lost. I think that is when most resolutions get tossed aside.
People are not short on intentions, they are short on commitment, and afraid of failure.
(I know because I am a people!)

So my question is not what is your resolution this year...rather what is your plan for the first time you break the resolution? The second time? How will you show mercy to yourself, and try again?
How will you stay committed when you don't feel like doing it? Whatever it is?
(Of course this plan of action doesn't apply to my perfect friends...you know who you are!)

Don't be afraid of failure, count on it and have a plan in place. Nobody does it perfectly everytime. So my plan to keep my resolution this to try everyday, and when I mess it up to start again day after day until I get it right.

My resolution...
Wouldn't you like to know?


What a cheeky monkey!

Erica at 8:48 AM
0 comments

Tuesday, January 2

Weird Snow...

We've had another big dump of snow here in Winnipeg. That is not weird. In fact, its very normal for this time of year.
But there is something weird about the snow.

Normally we have big wet fluffy snow flakes, that sticks to your windshield. It forms great slabs of ice that cause people to slide and injure their backs. It makes roads into skating rinks and there are car crashes all over the place.

But this new snow is weird. It is like a dry powder. It shovels away with ease and doesn't stick to the side-walk or the shovel. I haven't used my windshield scraper yet this winter.

What could be my complaint about such polite snow?
Well, quite honestly, it worries me. Perhaps I'm being paranoid. However, with all the talk of global warming, and environmental changes I can't help but wonder if this is not a good thing. What if 'dry snow' isn't what our climate needs? Don't farmers need some moisture during the winter?

With all the changes in the whole earth, I understand that environmentally we're all in for some severe changes in the next years to come. But up until now, Canada has pretty much been exempt from such disasters as mudslides, earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis etc...this is the first time a weather change has hit this close to home for me. Things are different now, and I must adjust my thinking. Think more globally. Think more urgently. Live less extravently.

In other news, it is supposed to be minus four tomorrow. Also very abnormal for this time year.
Erica at 8:52 AM
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