Whoa, Nelly!

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
Henry David Thoreau

I feel like I've been on a runaway horse for the past 8 or so weeks. Preparing to go back to work for the first time in 7 years, going back to work, chasing around after kids, summer holidays... I'm exhausted! But honestly, I'm exhilarated at the same time! What a fun whirlwind this has been.

Mid-June I started working for the Federal Government in a data entry role. Due to the flailing economy, Service Canada needed more help, and lucky me - I was hired along with 12 others. In just 8 weeks, I have been trained, cross trained and just last week received a "small" promotion. I don't know if you can see the gleam from my smile where you are, but trust me - I'm beaming. What a great job.

Sometimes I feel like I should have gone back to work a long time ago. But I would never, ever trade my years at home with my kids. To be able to watch them grow and see all their firsts was a blessing that can't ever be taken away or replaced. But being back to work, using my smarts, interacting with adults..... Let's just say, it was time.

I feel re-energized. At last.

We've had an amazingly busy summer. I can't believe it is August already! We went camping at McGregor Point and Rondeau and had a blast, despite the rain. And what about that rain, huh? I don't know about where you are, but here we've had steady rain fall all throughout July. I'm expecting a very dry and humid August, and possibly a steamy September. I hope Mother Nature gets it out of her system now though, and our winter isn't quite as wet.

Life is busy and is getting in the way of my computer time it seems, but I will try to get on here more often and post. It will be easier in the fall and winter to write. Earlier nights and less time lounging outside will provide me with more opportunities on the computer. And now that I'm working, I'm dreaming of a laptop...

Peace and love, all!

I got a job!

After 7 years at home raising my kids, I am once again returning to the land of the gainfully employed!

And I'm crapping myself.

Two weeks is all I have to get my mindset changed from "Mom" to "Federal Employee". Two weeks is all I have to find childcare for my kids (which is not going so well, but I haven't totally given up yet), get my house in order, get some meals made for the freezer (because the transition is going to be tough enough!) and buy a new work wardrobe. Ack!!!

Most women would probably look forward to the shopping part and be quite excited about it. Not me. I hate shopping - with a passion! But I will soldier on and head out with debit card in hand, ready to do some damage next week. If I can do it sans kids, it will make it at least partly enjoyable. I'll make capri pants my focus and dive headlong into the racks. I.can.do.it....

I'm sure I will feel like a kid on the first day of school, walking into that big old intimidating building on my first day of work. I'll worry, "What if they don't like me?" or, "What if I make a fool of myself?". I'll check my hair and outfit 15 times before I make it out the door, and adjust my makeup in the car. Not too much, but not too little.

Back to the brown bag for me. No more lounging in the yard, soaking up the sun all summer. No more day trips on a whim with the kids. No more freedom to drop everything and go.....

On the other hand, no more wondering how to budget out the single paycheque, and worrying that we can't afford to go camping or on special weekend trips. No more wondering how much to put on that bill this week so they won't harass me for payment next week.

Yes, for everything I am giving up, there is much I am gaining. And if I don't like it, I can always quit! ;)

Wish me luck!

Twits on Twitter

I did it. I joined Twitter.

(Bah, that's old news! I've been on it for a month or so now).

Yeah, I know. As if I needed something else on the internet to get hooked on. Facebook, parenting forums, Blogger... What's one more, right? As long as one's life does not revolve around the internet, everything in moderation is fine. (Repeat it til you believe it!)

When I first signed up for Twitter and looked around I thought, "How ooky. How stalkerish! I don't think I like this..." (Look back at my first Tweets if you can. I really said those words!)

At that time, Ashton Kutcher (aka @aplusk) was having a little friendly competition with CNN. Who could reach a million followers faster. I decided I would help his cause, but couldn't help but wonder, "Does he really want me to follow him?" It felt so voyeuristic to click on that little "follow" button and read his updates sent out to the world at large. But hey, he had the option of closing off his profile and allowing only those he wished to read his "Tweets", and he was asking us publicly to follow him, so I thought what the heck. Follow.

I found out quickly that it was kind of fun! Oh my goodness, Ashton Kutcher a bonafide human being with thoughts, a sense of humour (like we didn't already know that), a heart and a sense of community towards his followers. Wow! And it wasn't coming from the rag mags or paparazzi. It was coming from HIM. Amazing! From there it snowballed. I found any person of celebrity status that I admired and began to follow.

Demi Moore, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Smith, Ethan Suplee, Trent Reznor, Rob Luketic, Malcolm Ingram .... all of them, real human beings - and stars - using Twitter to keep in touch with their fans. Unreal. But so real! So human! So interesting. More interesting than I could have imagined.

It's funny the picture you paint in your mind of what these people are like, perhaps based on a role they played in a film, a movie they directed, an interview you saw or a story the tabloid ran. And it's funny to see that the picture was maybe nothing like what you had painted in your imagination, or maybe it was, only better! Brighter! More vivid!

I decided early on not to be one of those ass kissing, "OMG, I LOVE YOU!" kinds of fans. That's so not me. I don't "do" ego strokes because in all honesty, I don't "love" these stars like some of these fans proclaim it. I admire them, definitely. (Read on and you may too!) But "love" - how does someone know from movies, tv and rags that they "love" someone. In the general sense of 'love your fellow man' (which I do), then yes. I love these various celebs. But I can't imagine sending them a Twitter message telling them so.

And I also can't imagine sending them a Twitter message telling them "ur stupid", or "I think you're probably an a$hole", or "Hey man, can you put me in one of your films?". Really. People do say these things. And some of these stars appear to take a lot of abuse. Trent Reznor, front man for the band "Nine Inch Nails", being one of them.

This is a guy who I have always been a huge fan of. His music, anyway. Very formative in my late high school days, "Head Like a Hole", "Get Down Make Love" and "Down In It" were heard daily, blaring from the stereo in my room much to my parent's chagrin. I still pull out my NIN albums (amazing cleaning and driving tunes!) when the kids aren't around. :)

It shocked me one day when Mr. Reznor decided to start giving away concert tickets for his current tour to his fans on Twitter. Posts would pop up saying, "Be the first 5 people to enter at this link, and you will get tickets to any show in the US". And he held true to his word! I lost count how many tickets he gave away, asking nothing in return.

But it seems after a little shit and abuse from some *cough cough* fans, I think he had enough of being so generous and not knowing or feeling it was appreciated. Instead of quashing the idea all together, he took up a cause and asked his followers for their help. Donate to help save "#Eric", a CNN personality's brother who is gravely ill. For a monetary donation of $1000 or more he would give a pair of tickets to any show in the US. His fans heeded the call, and to date - in just over a week - Trent has raised shy of $1,000,000 for the cause. Can you imagine?! Yeah, such an a$hole as some on Twitter would like to tell him. And he calls his fans the heroes. Trent, you are the leader of the pack.

Ashton and Demi started a campaign to purchase bug nets to combat Malaria and urged fellow celebs and fans alike to take up the cause. Rob Luketic does streams from his iPhone to his fans, allowing them to see a major motion picture in the making. How many times in your life will you see that? Kevin Smith is a huge supporter of the Walter Gretzky Road Hockey tournament and has entered 4 teams to play in Brantford, Ontario next month. And Ethan Suplee gave away a pair of pink crocs his wife was disposing of to a fan! (lol) Yet these folks are abused, cursed at, accused of being egotistical, ignorant and "stupid". How is that for a fine howdy-do? Sickening.

Maybe they do have some a$holish tendencies. Don't we all? Maybe sometimes they can have a bit of an ego. Can't we all? Wouldn't you if thousands of people were telling you "I LOVE YOU!!!" on a daily basis, without having ever met you? Maybe they can be ignorant at times. I know sometimes I forget to excuse myself after a bodily function slips. So sue me! So sue them!

Oh...my...God. They're human. *gasp*

And that is the point of this blog post today. Folks, these people - despite their star status - are h-u-m-a-n b-e-i-n-g-s. First and foremost. It's like Shylock says in the Merchant of Venice (oh no, you weren't getting away without a quote from me!):

...If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us

do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you

wrong us shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest,

we will resemble you in that.

Remember as you go through your day to day, that regardless of a person's job or social status, the people you encounter are human beings. They have hearts, minds and souls. They have feelings that can be hurt. They have esteem that can be damaged. They have heads that just might explode from hearing too much praise or too much negativity day after day after day. They are humans, folks. I know. It's shocking. I'll give you a moment to digest.

...fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer...

I hope you took it all in, and I hope some of you from the Twitterverse have read this blog and will take it to heart. Every religion or ideology in this world (other than neo-Nazis or supremacists, I'm sure) share the same "golden rule". Do unto others as you would have done to you. If we all took this to heart and practiced it every single moment of every single day, we could wipe out hatred. Calm the anger inside so many souls. We would all get along!!! Do you think you can do it? Will you follow the calling? Stop being so unkind to strangers, stars, Joe-Blows and everyone in between. It's just so unnecessary, and so uncool. Be cool.

Quit adoring these stars on an unhealthy level. It will make you bitter and angry when you realize that they just can't be your friend. Your lives are too vastly different, and you likely live too far away. Don't get mad if they don't respond to your messages or give you a shout out. Imagine how many messages they have to tread through daily when they have hundreds, thousands or millions of followers! Give them some space, and give them the respect they deserve as human beings. Can you do it, Twitterverse? Yeah, I know you can.... I have faith in you.

To the stars I follow, I'll finally say it - I love you! Just not in "that" way. I love you for being generous of spirit, mind, body and soul. I love you for sharing your thoughts and Tweets with us and for using your status for good and not evil. And I love you for holding your cool when you probably would love nothing more than to throw some good choice words back at the dumbasses pestering and harassing you. Major kudos to you, and thanks for showing us your human, "touchable" side.

Touch with gentle hands, folks. Stars have feelings too.

That's all I have to say about that. ~ Forrest Gump

Butterfly update

A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam
And for a brief moment its glory and beauty
belong to our world
But then it flies again
And though we wish it could have stayed...
We feel lucky to have seen it.

~~Author Unknown

An update to yesterday's blog post about the butterflies, and our little butterfly friend with the crumpled wings.

Sadly, he has passed. I calculated his days, and he lived most of his 30 day lifespan, so that's okay. We treated him well, gave him a home and food and daily love. Gone, but never forgotten. Rest in peace dear butterfly friend. Thank you the joy you gave to us in your short life.

Burial will follow this afternoon, under our little crab apple tree in the front yard. "Mariposa Libre" performed (via CD) by Sting will be the musical selection. Feel free to send your messages of condolences to Alice who was upset for all of 2 minutes, and quickly found more caterpillars in the yard to bring inside and watch (although, I think they are the yucky moths).


We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. ~Maya Angelou

This spring the kids and I tried a little experiment. We ordered butterfly larvae and watched as these teeny tiny caterpillars ate, grew, pupated and morphed into beautiful painted lady butterflies. Here is a little photo blog of our quite successful experiment.

Week one, the larvae arrive!
This was after 3-4 days growth. I'm disappointed I didn't get pictures of them sooner, because these little guys grew fast! At this point the 6 little caterpillars were eating like crazy and practicing making silk for their pupas.

Week 2, the larvae have grown!
At about 8 days old, the larvae have eaten most of their food, doubled in size and are starting to head to the top of the container where they will hang upside down and get ready to form their chrysalis'.

.... and the next day....
the larvae have attached themselves to the top of the container and are ready for their big transformation. I wonder if they "knew" what was about to happen to them, or if something inside them just said that this was the right thing to do, and they trusted that instinct. Oh, to be in the mind of a caterpillar....

We went away for a few days, and came home to this:
Our 6 little larvae had pupated and were beginning to make the transformation of their lives.

We watched and waited for about 10 days, until finally:
Our first butterfly emerged...

One after another they came out of their chrysalis' over the day, and we watched in awe as they hung to dry their wings, occasionally exercising and unwinding their probiscus'. Sadly, 2 of the 6 butterflies did not fare so well. One became trapped in his chrysalis and did not emerge on his own.

After a few days we helped him out, but he only survived for a few days. My daughter showed him such compassion and took the best care she could of him.

Another fell from the chrysalis before he could hang to dry his wings, so they didn't have a chance to unfold properly. He is still alive and with us 2 weeks later, but I'm sure he won't be around much longer. My daughter takes him out every day to say hello and give him some love (including kisses). I hope his short life has been a fairly happy one.

The other four emerged and transformed with no difficulties, and one by one we set them free to explore our glorious earth before their short lives came to an end.

All in all, it was a very successful, educational and FUN experiment. If you ever have the chance to witness the miraculous transformation, I highly recommend it.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
~Rabindranath Tagore

Once again, it's been a while...

Yes, I took a little hiatus from blogging. Boredom? Perhaps. Nothing of interest to say? I think so. Busy life? Definitely. And I probably still don't have much to say that will be of interest to my readers (if any should still exist), but a wise woman advised me some time ago, "Write for yourself, nobody else". So once again, I am going to attempt it. We'll see how it goes this time.

Life hasn't got any less busy. In fact, I am much busier these days. Chasing my kids, managing/promoting a dear friend's comedy career, training to become a Birth Doula and living life on this gorgeous planet of ours has been keeping me very busy. The difference is, I am wasting less of my spare time than I was 6+ months ago. The departure of cable from our household has made a huge difference in our lives, and a welcome difference to be sure. Perhaps not from my kids' perspectives, but definitely from mine.

I've taken up all sorts of hobbies again, reading being the one I missed the most. Like many of my friends, I succumbed to the hype that is "Twilight". I couldn't understand why all my 30-something friends were so ga-ga over these books, and this teen aged vampire named "Edward". So one day while grocery shopping, I spotted the book with a big sticker that said "25% off" and thought, "Why not?". I opened the book that night after the kids were in bed, and settled into the couch with the CBC playing gently in the background. I read until 2 am that night, unable to put it down, and finished it the next afternoon. I went stir crazy trying to find the next 3 to read, and wouldn't begin the last chapter of each until I had the following book in my hands. They each sucked me in as easily as the first, and within a week I had read the four books in the series and was satisfied.

Team Edward, all the way. ;)

That was 2 months ago now. Since then, I have read 6 more books by various authors. I pat myself on the back because save for parenting and self help books, I have not read for pleasure in the past 6 years. I'm back, and I love it! (And book suggestions are always welcome!)

I think the return to reading is what has inspired me to return to writing. I was being fed with too many pictures for a time there, and not enough words. I love words. Of course, I love pictures too which is why I love photography. But I want to see pictures I choose, not those that are fed to me by corporate sponsors trying to influence my decisions and take my money.

With the summer soon to arrive, the blog will be filled with photos and stories of our many summer adventures. I hope you will enjoy it and keep reading. Please, say hello once in a while and give me your thoughts, feedback, thoughtful debate... anything!

For now, peace and love.