I just wanna be me

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“Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.” ~ Judy Garland

~~

I spent much of my youth trying to be the person everyone would like.  I was never ANY version of myself because I wasted too much time being concerned with who others thought I should be instead of becoming the person I was meant to be.   Eventually I was able to break the cycle of trying to please everyone.  I stopped feigning interest in things I had no real passion for and focused more on me.  I slowly distanced myself from the users and spent far less time crossing the Great Lakes for people who wouldn’t jump over a puddle for me.

In my wisdom and older age I have learned a few things that I really like about myself.   I speak three languages – English, sarcasm and profanity – and I am fluent in all three.  I love to write.  I don’t just do it because I enjoy it.  I write because words bleed from my brain and my head feels like it will explode if I don’t expel the stories trapped inside.  And I have learned to write without needing anyone else’s opinion or approval.  What flows from my brain to my fingertips is what I publish on this blog and I’m very proud of the words I have shared.

I enjoy my solitude and am happy with the company I keep, whether I am home alone or spending time with friends and family.  I love to cook and it doesn’t matter if it is a table for one, I will take the time to create a dining experience and not just ‘have some food’.

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(my dinner last night)

Music is a big part of my life and my playlist spans the recording alphabet from Abba to Zeppelin.  I could live without television but I could never have a life without movies.  I will still cross oceans for people but I am much more selective when it comes to deeming who is worthy of my epic journey before I captain the ship.

I am the person I am now because I fought to become this version of myself.  I stopped letting outside voices influence my decisions and started hearing the only voice that should matter – mine.  It took a while to get here but I have enjoyed the journey and am really liking the view.  Thanks Judy, I like your advice very much.

Thyme and time again…

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It is a painfully contradictory reality in my mind, but this is truly my favorite time of the year.  Sure, the leaves are gone and the landscape is a gloomy blend of brown and grey.  It’s depressing.  And sure, the clock has slipped backwards by sixty minutes and it gets dark at 5:00  pm.  That’s disheartening as well.  But I have to look at the bright light that now greets me in the morning when I wake up at 6:00 am and think of all of the good things that happen in my life this time of year.

When the doors of the lodge close for the season and the work clock slows to a turtle pace, my life clock has the freedom to pick up its momentum and I have much more spare time to spend doing things for others.

There is something inherently fulfilling about being able to give my time and my skills to causes that have taken up residence in my heart.  Last winter was the first of hopefully many that groups of locals gathered to make freezer crockpot meals for a family who lost their home to fire while in the hospital delivering twins.  We banded together, gave our Thyme and our time, and filled their freezer with a few months worth of meals.  So many of the group commented on how wonderful they felt being able to help.

And this year will be the fourth year I have organized a Toy Drive for the local children.  To say the response has been incredible would be an egregious understatement.  My heart swells so much when the time comes to pack up the toys for delivery that I am overwhelmed by emotion.

volunteer

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I had always looked at volunteers in silent awe.  I knew they must feel some reward to give their time, their generosity or even just their smile or a touch of their hand to help someone’s day become a little brighter, but I had no idea how truly euphoric the feeling was until I began giving my time.  And now that I have had a taste of that….I will always want more.  If you have never had the chance to do any volunteer work and the opportunity presents itself to put up your hand to help, in any way, I promise you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

The rain from my heart

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teardrop

A single drop,

a salty tear,

lingers in the corner of my eye,

tentative at first,

until the relief comes

from letting go of the emotion

I’ve held so close to my heart.

One drop follows the contour of my cheek,

marking the path for others to follow.

I feel solace in that line of emotion.

I trace it with my finger

as countless tears fall in succession,

trailing the first,

releasing my imprisoned worry.

Only the silence hears me cry,

and when my tears have all but gone,

the clouds over my heart are lifted,

and my rain has washed away my unease.

 

Waiting for the right train

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If you are a blogger, or an aspiring novelist, you may have seen the acronym NaNoWriMo, which is an abbreviated version of National Novel Writing Month.  The eleventh calendar month has been designated as the month when writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words, or more, in a time span of 30 days.

I thought this year I would board that speeding locomotive of creativity but, as the train neared the station, I stepped back and watched the silver bullet speed past my stop and continue on its journey without me.

As the caboose rattled down the tracks and the last of the smoke had cleared from the air, I realized I don’t want to put so much pressure on myself that I scare my characters away.  I want them to tell their story at their pace.  I have developed a relationship with these unique personalities over the last couple of years and I don’t want to be the bully in the school yard making these other kids make decisions based on any peer pressure I put on them.   I will push their swings as high as they want to go but let them slow down when they want to stop pumping their legs.  This is their journey and I am only here to tell it as they tell it to me.

swings

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I envy those who can focus so intently for thirty days, and perhaps if I were starting a new project I would be more eager to dive in and lose myself in the process.  But, for now, I have chosen to create my own acronym – NaNoWriWin……  National Novel Writing Winter.

My writing train will still stay on track, but a track that doesn’t have such a condensed schedule.  It will meander along its path, at a rate of speed that is conducive to its creativity and not just its deadline.  And I can only hope that by slowing down the velocity of my train, that my silver bullet with travel through beautiful, and sometimes scary, landscapes over the next few months.  I’m anticipating some bumps along the way, and perhaps a few derailments, but it is the journey that I am looking forward to and not just the moment I finally reach my destination.

 

Into the Mystic

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orbs-in-the-woods

Faint whispers.

Rustling leaves.

Movements in the bush.

As I strain to hear them,

I know they long to be seen,

if only for just a moment.

They are the ghosts of my past,

the purveyors of my future,

and the keepers of my secrets.

They linger in the spaces

between shadow and light.

Their consciousness

meets my curiosity,

and I strain to see their light

in my twilight vision.

Their dance

is my celebration.

 Their presence

is my comfort.

They seek my truth.

They are my warriors, my army,

and they will always

be the reason I smile in my sleep.

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When you just have to listen to show tunes…..

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“What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life, to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.”     George Elliott

~~~

Some moments sneak up on us, catching us completely off-guard while other moments just slap us in the face.  The hand print is still on my cheek from my experience this afternoon.

We were being bombarded by the first snowfall of the season.  It was in our forecast so it was no surprise.  What was a shock was my immediate thought to call my mother and tell her to stay indoors today.  I was driving home from work and, without hesitation, was reaching for my speed dial to call her number when I realized what I was doing…..and then the tears came.  My mother passed away in March of 2014.   Even though I was a mere 1/2 kilometre from my house, I had to pull over at the end of my road to collect myself.

I have felt my mom’s presence quite a bit lately, and so has my brother.  He actually admitted to me that he was listening to the Cabaret soundtrack at work (sorry, Jamie) and I know that was my mother’s doing.  Cabaret was one of her favorites, and although my brother didn’t spend the countless hours my mom and I did watching old musicals, the nostalgia of the music was not lost on him.

cabaret

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I never doubt that my mother will always be here when we need her.  As I took a break from writing this post, she prodded me once again in her subtle way.  A duet with Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb magically appeared on my news feed on Facebook and it was one of my mom’s favorite Barbra songs.  “What Kind of Fool” doesn’t believe that messages can be sent from those who have passed?

She is here….inserting herself into the moments that she feels she is needed.  Her mother-instinct is still alive and well and she knows, perhaps better than we do, that she can still help guide us through those moments when only a mom can say or do the right thing.  And, once again, she is correct.  I do need her now…..and maybe my brother does as well.  And even if my worries are not about me, her presence and her calming influence are making me feel like everything is going to be ‘real fine’.

 

 

 

 

Getting the green light

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The lodge where I am employed is closed for the season, our quaint little village resembles more of a ghost town with a few tumbleweeds rolling down the main street and the silence at night can be deafening.

But in these times of serenity, behind the doors of seemingly empty kitchens, a group of women and men are readying themselves to wield sharp knives and give even Gordon Ramsay a run for his money in the chopping department!

Our small group of devoted volunteers meet for a couple of hours over a couple of weekends to create crockpot freezer meals to help a few families who may be struggling, for whatever reason.  Last year, it was a young family who had lost their home in a fire just after delivering twins.  This year we are doing our best to spread the meals to a few families and not just one.

crockpot

There have been a few hurdles along the track to finding these families but the ribbon at the finish line is getting to be within striking distance.   Although the meals are being prepared in an inspected and certified kitchen, many of the choppers have not taken a food safety course, so there was a question as to whether the food bank was going to be allowed to accept our donations.

The joy of living in a small town is that you can literally ask your neighbors if they know of any families who could benefit from our knife skills and they will immediately give you a list of names.  And I have recently discovered that, as long as the meals are labelled with all ingredients (which they are), the food bank will give us that long awaited green light and accept the meals – so the only thing left to do is shop and chop!