Sunday, October 14, 2012

Moving to Wordpress

Just a quick update to let you know that as a result of some thinking that has come out of my enrollment in Blogging from the Heart, I've decided that Wordpress better suits me for this blog going forward and have moved the blog over there. Please follow me!

Here's the new link: A Little Coffee with my Cream and Sugar.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dating Redux, Summer Edition

I've been dating a little over the last few months. I'm hesitant to discuss it sometimes because I feel like the perpetual single girl who only ever finds temporary Gentleman Friends, and I'm not quite sure how I ended up here! I would very much like to have a cuddle-buddy/assumed Saturday night date/person that I make soup & tea for when they're sick/emergency contact that isn't my dad. But I won't find them without some dating shenanigans. And I'm willing to share the good, bad, ugly & boring with all 5 of my readers! Without further ado, here's the installment of all the dates I can remember since May, gosh I hope this is all of them:
  1. Richy Rich the financial advisor: We met on POF and bonded over our mutual ability to spell circles around the other fish and geek out on insurance products. We met for coffee at 8pm on a Tuesday. He showed up in a suit & tie, having come directly from work. He was nice but talked nonstop about how successful he was. Half an hour in, he told me he had to go because he was scheduled for a 10k training run that evening for an upcoming marathon. Who works till 7:30, goes directly to a first date without adjusting your dress at all, then directly to a 10km run late at night?! He said I was nice but he didn't think I could keep up with him. Lucky for me, I had no interest in trying!
  2. The Bobblehead: We met on eHarmony and flew through the 4 stages of communication in one day, no messing around. He gave me his email right away and asked if I wanted to meet up. I did, and we had dinner at a local restaurant. He was really interesting, though I was disconcerted by a habit that he repeated several times throughout our date: I would answer a question of his with my opinion or a story, and when I'd finished speaking, he would pause for an awkwardly-long period of time in contemplation of what I'd said with an amused smirk on his face, before finally answering. Also, I could never get over how big his head was. You might think I meant his ego, but alas, I mean the actual circumference of his head.
  3. Bore McSnore: This one was from OKCupid. He was artsy and had written passionately about photography exhibits, music and films he loved. Had some great photos there too, as well as an admission I should've treated as the warning it really was that he is "a bit of an introvert." We met at a beer tasting room, and while getting ready I got that familiar pit in my stomach that feels like a bad omen. OMG, how does my gut always know if a date will be awful? He showed up 15 minutes late and didn't smile once. I have never worked so hard to keep a stilted conversation moving along... and he made no effort whatsoever. I left starving, realizing within the first 5 minutes that ordering food would have prolonged the date for far too long. Inexplicably, he seemed to want to order second drinks, but I made excuses about needing to head home, settled up, and headed directly to a nearby restaurant where I regaled the server with the tale of my Most Boring Date Ever. I ordered mini-corn dogs and apple pie to drown my sorrows, thinking things were looking up. But then the corn dogs were mediocre, I dropped one of them on the floor, and they forgot to put in my dessert order. Least satisfying date night in my entire relationship history.
  4. Cafe Owner: Oh, this guy. I'm still shaking my head. I met Mr. Cafe at the new coffee shop around the corner from my house about 3 months ago. He's adorable and always made a point to talk to me and my friends when we came in. After several visits, I had quite the raging crush on him that I enjoyed for what it was: a fun excuse to spend too much on coffee that would never amount to anything. Until I found his cafe's Facebook page and liked it, and then he friended me from his personal account, and we started talking and he asked me out to a movie. We had one super fun evening hanging out outside of his work, and then it quickly became obvious he wanted me to be his booty call girl. He threw a toddler-style temper tantrum over text message when I made it clear that he couldn't have his cake and eat it too. I miss the coffee & scones at his cafe.
  5. And drumroll please.... Firemedic! The only guy I have eyes for right now. He's a firefighter & paramedic, works crazy shifts, and lives an hour away from me... which is tough, because I would like to see him all the time if I could. We have some amazing chemistry. Our first date, we had dinner. God, he smelled so good, I remember that specifically. He talked nervously about himself a lot, and then caught himself and made a joke about it at the end, which I found totally adorable. We went out on his speedboat for hours with a couple of his friends on our second date. There were hotdogs cooked over an open campfire, and swimming in the lake. YOU GUYS, HE SAW ME IN A BIKINI ON OUR SECOND DATE. And I felt oddly comfortable with this! Third date: night market and fun street food. We couldn't say goodbye when we got to our cars, and stood there talking in the street for 45 minutes. He came over and watched movies with me at my house on our 4th date, and we finally kissed. Here's hoping date #5 is soon.
There you have it. I'm very hopeful that Firemedic will limit my need to come up with any monikers for other dates for the foreseeable future - I really like this one! He may put out fires, but he generates all sorts of sparks here :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For My Grandmother

My amazing maternal grandmother finally passed away about three weeks ago at the age of 101 - yes, she lived over a century and even got a card from the Queen on her 100th birthday (and champagne in her nursing home bed!) This is what I wrote to be read at her memorial service, which happened last Wednesday:
Growing up in Canada, thousands of miles away from my grandmother, I wasn’t able to get to know her well, as many here today will have. This is a sadness for me, but has also been an unexpected blessing in that the rare times I have spent with her have taken on a magical and very special quality. You appreciate with a certain awe the lovely things in your life that you know are rare and precious, and that became the way I treasured time and memories with my Granny.
I’ve sifted through the special memories I have of my Granny in preparation for today, thinking which I could share. There’s the memory of the warm closet where she kept her towels, so at age 5 when I was visiting at her house, she would always have a perfectly warm towel for me when I got out of the bath. I remember how much I loved that simple pleasure.
We don’t have clotted cream in Canada, where I live and grew up, so I remember her going out of her way to serve it with dessert whenever we were visiting, and the ensuing adventure of one particular container of clotted cream as my brother Andrew tried to smuggle it back home on the plane!
There was the time when I was 12 years old and had a crush on a boy for the first time, and I remember thinking that maybe I shouldn’t tell her about him because she might think it was inappropriate or I was too young (even though it was all very innocent!) But when Granny heard that I liked a boy she got quite a sparkle in her eye and wanted all the good gossip! We talked for what seemed like hours that day, sitting in lounge chairs in her back garden.
I saw my Granny for the last time when I came over to travel through Europe for a few months four years ago. She was 97 years old, but still a force to be reckoned with. My uncle and I had afternoon tea with her at her house, and I tried to help out with the food and some light cleaning, but she wouldn’t have any of it – she was still running her own house and very proud of it at that time! I have nothing but admiration for my amazing gran.
More than anything, I’ve always held up my Granny & Grandpa’s relationship as a shining example of what real love looks like. I didn’t get to witness much of it in person, but through stories and my Granny’s actions and words, I knew that what they had was something special. I know that she’s been without the love of her life for 22 years now and she’s been looking forward to seeing him again, and now I’m sure they are together again at last. I only hope to be as lucky as they have been.
I’m not sure I can convey how or why these memories mean so much to me... they are but small, everyday moments in my Granny’s life. But each one shows a snippet of the love, kindness, humour, and tenacious spirit that were all such defining parts of who she was, and that is the woman I hold in my heart as my grandmother. 
I lost my Grandpa on my mother's side when I was just 10 (the husband of my 101-year old granny who just passed) - he was actually born in 1899 if you would believe it! But I had the rest of my grandparents until last year, and all three of them seem to have gone in fairly quick succession. My Granddad on my father's side in January 2011 to lung cancer that progressed and took him very quickly, and then my Grandma (his wife)'s body just about collapsed a few months later... I reckon she died of a broken heart later last year. And now that my Granny is also gone, I no longer have any living grandparents. Last year I was still blessed with three. 

The realization hit me full force today for some reason, and by chance my aunt came into the office with a ring that had belonged to my Grandma. I already have one from my Granny. Now I have one from both of my grandmothers. I love it!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Moment the Light Went On

As anyone who's been reading this blog since its inception will have noticed, I have been a very sporadic blogger at best.

Blogging is something I am meant to be doing. Frequently, that little lightbulb goes off in my head that says "this would make a great blog post topic!" and though I want to blog, and sometimes even intend to write that post when I get home, I nearly always have shoved the idea away, consciously, and have been avoiding this blog at all costs.

I haven't been sure why until just recently.

A little backstory here to catch you up on my life at the moment: I'm currently on a working vacation in Hawaii. Vacation, because it's been four years since I've taken a real holiday. Hawaii, because I have never been to a tropical beach location and have been dreaming about it for ages, and it fits the bill for the type of activities that jive nicely with a work retreat. And why am I working on vacation, most of all? Because I needed to work on my business rather than in it. To do that, I needed to get away from work and away from all my regular life distractions, so I can strategize... and if I'm going away physically, I'm killing two birds with one stone and taking a holiday!

I needed to do business strategizing because I've been unhappy with the process and results of two specific parts of my business, and I needed to find a way to make them work for me instead of feeling like I'm fighting against them all the time.

It's become clear to me while working on this strategy that:
  1. I had resigned myself to mediocrity in my career due to my lack of solutions to these business processes that weren't working.
  2. I'm not actually okay with mediocrity, however.
  3. There are still avenues I haven't exhausted for new processes in the areas of my business I've been unhappy about, so I have no business throwing in the towel and pretending they're unfixable. And, interestingly:
  4. While my primary focus with this strategic planning session on my day job, I've been hearing this clear voice that keeps telling me that blogging needs to be a regular part of my life. It doesn't need to be part of my job strategy, but it needs to be a part of my life strategy.
 And in seeing all four of these insights together, I realized that the avoidance of this blog has been due to my resignation to mediocrity. I may have settled in some aspects of my life, but I am really passionate about blogging (I know! I don't actually even participate in my passion. The irony is not lost on me) and I was not okay with having a mediocre blog. And I think I had started to believe that I could do no better than mediocre, so it was easier to just not blog at all than to do it poorly. There's also some fear that this blog will not measure up to the one I wrote previously, before starting my business. If you don't try, you can't fail, right?

WRONG. So, so, so wrong. Not participating in your passion = GIANT FUCKING FAIL.

Another thing I do that is pretty dumb, when I have the presence of mind to actually think about it? Believing that past results determine future results. It's a sign that I'm a bit jaded and have been bashed about by life a little bit, but that doesn't make it true. It doesn't matter how many times I have failed or will continue to fail at things in the future, or how many times I don't live up to my own hopes. That doesn't mean I should lower the bar, and it doesn't mean I can't ever succeed at anything, though I'd say it's pretty likely that I won't if I stop trying.

In the words of Thomas Edison,

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Maybe You're Gonna Come Back

The lyrics from the song "Maybe" by Ingrid Michaelson are really hitting home for me today. This song says to me that you can't keep someone by refusing to let them go... so you let them go, and hope they might come back one day. In the meantime you get on with your life. I know that Mike is not coming back, and that I probably shouldn't want him to. But I am still sad and I still miss him every single day. Sometimes I just want him to show up on my doorstep unannounced, envelop me in a bear hug, and tell me he came to his senses and will never walk away again.

I don't wanna be the one to say goodbye
But I will, I will, I will
I don't wanna sit on the pavement while you fly
But I will, I will, oh yes I will

'Cause maybe in the future, you're gonna come back

You're gonna come back around
Maybe in the future you're gonna come back
You're gonna come back

Oh, the only way to really know is to really let it go

Maybe you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back
You're gonna come back to me

I don't wanna be the first to let it go

But I know, I know, I know
If you have the last hands that I want to hold
Then I know I've got to let them go

Oh, the only way to really know is to really let it go
Maybe you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back
You're gonna come back

I still feel you on the right side of the bed
And I still feel you in the blankets pulled over my head
But I'm gonna wash away, oh I'm gonna wash away
Everything till you come home to me

Oh, the only way to really know is to really let it go
Maybe you're gonna come back, you're gonna come back
You're gonna come back to me

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My "Balance" List

I've been thinking a lot about how to start addressing the parts of my life that need attention, to stop being so disappointed, to bring joy back into my life.

I am reminded of a Wheel of Life diagram where you rate on a scale of 1 to 10 your satisfaction in each of these areas of your life: Career, money, health/fitness, friends/family, significant other/romance/intimacy, personal growth/spirituality, fun/recreation, physical environment. At the moment, when I complete this exercise, I score the lowest in health/fitness, fun/recreation, and significant other/romance/intimacy. So I've thought about what I can do to improve how I feel about these aspects of my life.

Here is the list of things I've come up with to get things back on track:
  1. Create some systems around eating, cooking, and being healthy to make this easier to stick to.
  2. When I'm down or overwhelmed, I have a tendency toward the path of least resistance (i.e. cereal for dinner because it takes 30 seconds to make, letting laundry/cleaning/tidying/chores build up rather than addressing them as needed). So maybe I can jumpstart a mindset of things being back on track by putting in the time and simply acting like things are on track. Take the time to prep food for healthy meals. Do one chore per day. I'll be busy enough that I won't have so much time to dwell on the negative!
  3. Date for fun for the next couple of months. FUN ONLY. Nothing serious. And in that vein...
  4. Join a singles social club. (Not a dating service! Just fun activities planned for members, all of whom are single). 
  5. Take a culinary class with Dirty Apron Culinary School.
  6. Yoga, twice a week, every week. Exceptions only if my disc flares up and makes it impossible.
  7. Walks or moderate hikes. My goal is to do something active at least 4 times a week. Yoga above obviously counts towards this! Use my wall calendar at home to keep track of days when I've done this.
  8. Try some water sports in the summer. Go kayaking at Deep Cove. Take a paddleboarding or windsurfing lesson. See if you can get out on a boat.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Turning Negativity On Its Head

I'm not going to sugar-coat it; the last two weeks have been a hellish roller-coaster of emotions for me. I broke up with my boyfriend of 6 months, but not because I wanted to or for any particular reason that I can identify. I still don't fully understand what happened; it's just the way the cards seem to have fallen.

I am angry, I deserve better treatment than I got, I love him, I feel ignored, I regret my mistakes, I want to fix things, I miss him, I'm in denial, I am devastated, I want to make him feel guilty, I want to be heard & understood, I just want him to be happy, I want to be happy. I feel all these things at once, or in very quick succession from moment to moment. I'm surprised by the intensity of my feelings; I've only known him for six months, but I thought he was It. I fell so hard and fast for him, it seems I lost track of just how much distance I covered in that fall! Over the last two weeks I've felt confused... so VERY confused. I've had moments of happiness, inspiration, and motivation. But mostly I've cried oceans of tears. I've taken a day off work because I woke up last Friday with an emotional hangover, my eyes so red & puffy from crying all night that they were nearly swollen shut. I do not like this upheaval. I miss his physical closeness. I miss talking to him. I just miss him.

Beyond my romantic partnership falling apart, I have been unhappy in several aspects of my life compared to where I think they *should* be. Feeling so bereft because I miss Mike naturally makes me think about other ways I also feel disappointed... it's that downward spiral thinking we all do from time to time. Sometimes I get so trapped in it that climbing out of the negative spiral seems like too much effort. I climb out anyway, because being down there sucks out my soul, but then I'm so spent that I'm certainly not about to go fixing all the areas of my life that clearly need attention. Which, ironically, is exactly what I need to do to prevent that type of thinking again in the future.

All this emotion spilling out of me makes me hyper-aware of my thoughts, my surroundings, the consequences of my actions and decisions. I feel more alive than usual, because I'm feeling things so deeply right now.

I think I'm starting to accept that I'm single again, that this is my new reality, and the dust is beginning to settle. But before I go back to feeling neutral, I want to channel the alive-ness into action.  All those corners of my life that I've given up on fixing... I want to dust off the cobwebs there and do something good while I'm paying attention. I want the phrase "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" to actually MEAN SOMETHING to me. It hasn't before; what hasn't killed me thus far has definitely made me weaker.

I'm going to change that.