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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

‎I will remember…

Feet on the coffee table.

Pool towels hanging over the balcony, drying in the breeze.

Birds in the trees.

Sand on the floor.

Shoes piled by the door.

Splashing in the water.

Clapping from the deck.

A cold drink, warm sun and laughter.

Breathing deeply.

A clear mind.

Old friends and new memories.

Lazy days.

Peace.

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Tag, I’m it!

My friend at Bees on Skis has included me in this fun little game and I’m more than happy to play along.  And not just because my bestie told me that for a change, I need to write something that doesn’t make her cry!

My relationship with Bees is kind of a funny one.  I know her in “real life” which is to say we knew each other in the actual world before we met again in the blogging world.  I’ve never been to her house and she’s been to mine only a couple of times, we live thousands of miles away from each other and see each other next to never, and yet I would not hesitate in the least to say we’re friends.  We met through our hubbies because they grew up together and what a bonus it was to meet her and find out that I really liked her.  With or without the hubby connection I know we would be friends anyway and I’m just counting the days until we can spend an afternoon together in London, drinking tea, talking about books and laughing, laughing, laughing.  We’ll get there…one day!

In the meantime, I’m excited to take part in her tagging adventure.  The rules are simple, she came up with a few questions that I have to answer and then I have to tag a few other bloggers and come up with some questions for them.

And here we go!

1.  If you could take one song/album to a desert island with you, what would it be?

Living Under June by Jann Arden.  If you’ve read this blog for a little while you know of my absolute love and devotion to Jann Arden and her music.  This particular album came out when I was in high school (holy moly that’s a long time ago) and I remember listening to it everyday on the way home on my yellow Sony walkman.  Wow, now I’m making myself sound even older.  As soon as CDs came out I upgraded my cassette copy and it’s one of the few albums I can say I still listen to on a regular basis.  This album has essentially been the soundtrack of my life and I can’t imagine leaving it behind.

2.  What one piece of advice would you give your child as he/she goes into high school?

Find your flock.  Find a group of people who care about what you think and allow you to share with them who you really are.  High school can be a scary, scary place and it makes things infinitely easier to not have to go it alone.  It’s not about popularity; it’s not about having the most friends or the coolest friends or the prettiest friends, it’s about finding a group who think you’re pretty great, just the way you are.  It will make everything else so much easier.  

3.  What is the one piece of advice that you remember most from your own parents?

My dad always encouraged me to go away to attend university.  He had done the same when he was growing up and he said it was the best experience he could have had.  Of course I’m not sure they planned on me going so far away but to this day it’s one of the decisions I look back on and know, without a single doubt, was the right one and I’m so grateful that they could see past their fears and doubts to let me go through with it.  It allowed me the opportunity to find out who I was once I was free from all that I used to be.  It was a fresh start, a chance to carry with me all of the things I liked, and a chance to dump all of the baggage I had brought on my journey up to that point.  It’s not often that advice becomes life-changing, but in this case it really did.  

4.  What is your dream job?

I don’t know quite how to put it in words, but it would somehow involve helping women through the emotional preparations and transition to motherhood.  I think we’re doing a better job supporting mothers physically and giving them the supports they need but I think we still lack in the emotional support.  I think so many of us went into this thing with such skewed expectations and ended up feeling lonely and guilty and unhappy.  And because this wasn’t the way it was “supposed” to be, we just feel more lonely and more guilty and more unhappy.  I would love to do something to help those women who go through what I have gone through, and to help them realize their feelings, no matter what they are, are exactly what they are “supposed” to be. By no means do I have all of the answers, but sometimes it’s a comfort just knowing others have asked the same questions.

5.  Would you change anything about what you studied in college or university?

It’s funny for me now to think about how far I am from what I actually studied, technically, and yet it still shapes me on an almost daily basis.  I studied Journalism because I thought I was going to be a writer.  All these years later I don’t do any writing on a formal basis and yet the principles and structure of it are with me all the time.  It taught me all of the rules and processes that I needed to know, and it taught me that I much prefer writing outside of all of that.  I want to write what I want to write, when I want to write it.  Going to school to “learn” about it taught me that at least.

6.  Who would you call if you had only one phone call left to make?

My hubby.  No matter the ups and downs, it all still begins and ends with him.

7.  Where is your favourite place in all the world?

In Ottawa, along the canal, right next to the university I attended there are locks where you can cross over to the other side of the canal.  One particular lock, once you get to the other side, takes you to a path that eventually leads you to a small foot bride.  Over the foot bridge there is a large tree and when you sit under it, you have a perfect view of a little stream that trickles its way through the park.  I found this particular spot in my first days in Ottawa, when I felt alone and unsure and it gave me some peace.  Whenever the weather was warm I would take a book down there and sit, sometimes reading, sometimes just watching the world pass by.  My last day in Ottawa, before we moved away, I went down there again, to say goodbye and whenever I’m back in the city I think of it and try to pass by as a reminder of who I was then, and where I am now.

8.  If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

The forgotten children.  The fact that there are still kids, right in our own neighbourhoods, that don’t get breakfast to eat or books to read or dreams to dream.  There must be a way, there must be a way to get around all of the judgement and the rhetoric and just help.  Just help them get what they need so they can go on to be the people they are supposed to be.  There are unwanted kids in one house and down the block there are people who want nothing more than to pass their love down to a child.  It shouldn’t be as hard as it is to bring the kids together with the love they so desperately deserve.  It really should be easier and yet it’s not.  

9.  What did you like best about your childhood?

The sheer “regularness” of it.  I grew up in the suburbs of a big city with a mom and a dad and a brother and a cat.  I walked to school and had a best friend and went for ice cream and dreamed all of the dreams that a kid is supposed to dream.  I grew up believing that I could do anything I had the courage to try, and be anything I had to imagination to dream.  Being on the other side of it now, being the one who’s responsible for giving two little people a “childhood” it has become clear to me how amazing that is.  

10.  Why/How did you start your blog?

I was feeling lost, stuck, unhappy with where I was and unwilling or unable to see another way to be.  Writing had always been an outlet for me but the idea of sharing it had always been a huge barrier to doing anything with it.  Until I decided I was tired of being afraid, tired of not writing and sharing because I was afraid of what others might think.  One day I realized that it wasn’t about them, it was about me and if writing the words helped to lighten the load, then that’s what I should do.  And the Polka Dot Palace was born.  A silly little place with a silly little name where I write about all the things that float around in my head and put them down on paper, if only to clear up some space in my mind for more things to think about.  It has proven to be a wonderfully cathartic experience.

11.  What is your favourite day of the year?

That first day of spring when it’s finally warm enough to open the windows and feel the warm breeze on my face.  When I can grab a light jacket and go for a walk, marvelling in the world coming back to life after a long winter.  When the grey gives way to the green and the darkness gives way to the sunlight.  When all I want to do is slide my feet out of my shoes and feel the grass between my toes.  When all that was dead begins to grow again.  That’s my favourite day.

Okay, my turn to continue the fun!  I’d like the tag the following bloggers and ask them to answer the questions below.

Fahrin Kermally

Shoes on the Wrong Feet

PaperKeeper

It’s not often that you are asked to think about “you” and what you like and what you want and what you see.  I know you are all busy with the million things you have to do each day but if you find a spare minute, sit down and give this a try.  For me, it was a really wonderful break in an otherwise regular Sunday afternoon of doing laundry and making lunches!

And I’ll ask my friend Bees to answer them too, not to tag her again but because I’m interested to hear her answers to the questions!

1. Who is your favourite character from a book, movie or TV show?

2. What does writing do for you that nothing else can?

3. If you could spend a month living in a foreign city, which one would it be?

4. Which thoughts run through your head and keep you from sleeping at night?

5. What is your greatest fear?

6. No matter how down you may be feeling, what is the one thing that can always make you laugh?

7. If a stranger came up to you on the street and gave you $100, the only rule being that you had to spend it on yourself, what would you buy?

8. If you had an extra hour every day, what do you wish you would do with it?

9. If you had an extra hour every day, what would you actually do with it?

10. If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?

Tag…you’re it!

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“Do one thing a day that scares you.”  For some reason this quote has been following me around.  Every where I look I see those black and red lululemon bags and that one statement seems to catch my eye each and every time.

Then today, I finally took a few minutes to think about what it means.  I wondered when the last time was that I did something that scared me.

Then I realized I did something today that scares me, and yesterday, and the day before that.

On the surface, when I thought about doing something that scares me I would think of rock climbing or scuba diving or holding a snake.  Something big; something I would never normally consider doing.  And then when I thought about it for another minute, I realized that since becoming a parent, fear is a constant in my life, every day, every minute of every day.

Today I did something that scares me.  Today I kissed my kids goodbye and sent them out into the world; I sent them off to school and hoped that they wouldn’t be bullied or teased or hurt.  I put them in a car and said a small prayer that they would be safe, that the person driving on the road with them wouldn’t be texting or talking or falling asleep.

I yelled goodbye to my husband on my way out the door, trying not to think about what would happen if he didn’t come home that night.  Because if I did, if I actually thought about all of the things that I do everyday that scare me, I wouldn’t be able to function.  I would surround myself with my loved ones and forbid them from going outside, from answering the door, from doing anything.  And we all know that’s not any way to live.

Doing something that scares me is not the issue.  For me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, the difficulty is doing something each day that I enjoy, something that allows me to forget about the fear and the responsibilities and the “what-ifs” that are my near-constant companions.

As a parent, a wife, a daughter, a friend, I feel like some days I spend every minute of every day doing something for someone else; thinking about other people; doing things to make someone else happy.  Coupled with all of the time I spend trying to avoid the bad things, there is rarely any time left for the good things, even one little good thing just for me.

Enough.

Here and now I am making a promise to myself that I will do something each day that I enjoy.

I will sit and have a cup of tea and drink it all the way to the bottom before it gets cold.  I will curl up in a cozy chair and read 15 pages of my book, uninterrupted.  I will paint my nails.  I will paint them once and if I change my mind about the colour I will start over and paint them a different colour.  I will laugh out loud at a joke, even if it’s maybe a little bit inappropriate and probably a lot offensive.  I will go for a walk – not to the store to get milk because we’re running low – but just a walk, without any destination in mind.  I will talk on the phone with a friend, hear a kind voice and the miraculous sound of someone laughing at my ridiculous jokes.  I will write – not necessarily anything good – but words on a page that make me feel good.

Do one thing each day that you enjoy.

Now there’s a quote I’d put on a tote bag.

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A couple of weeks ago I hit a wall.  I started doubting why I was writing on this blog and berating myself for what I was writing.  “Who cares about this stuff anyway?”  “Aren’t there other things you should be doing with your time?”  “Why do you think your opinions matter?”

It wasn’t pretty.  It was a full-fledged pity-party with an attendance of one.

Then, in short order, three pretty amazing things happened.

First, I had an incredible evening with a good friend of mine.  The kind of friend who won’t just say the words you want to hear, she’ll also say the words you need to hear.  I lamented my situation and boo-hooed a bit on how I think my writing is crap and why am I doing this and blah, blah, blah.  She looked me in the eye and said “I like reading it” as though it was the most simple thing in the world.  And suddenly it was.  At the very least, if my putting some crazy little stories out there in the world make two people smile (i.e. me and her) then what more can I really ask for?  Shut up and keep writing.  I get it.

Second, a few days later I got an award.  Yep, a full-fledged, honest to goodness award.  A lovely award, to be exact.

The wonderful blogger over at “Shoes On the Wrong Feet” passed this award along and mentioned my little blog on hers and I was blown away.  I am a regular reader of her blog and was scrolling through her post last week only to be shocked by the sight of a link to The Polka Dot Palace.  I have to admit, it actually took me a few seconds to clue in that she was talking about me.  Wow.  People actually read this; and a few of them even like it enough to keep reading it.  Mind blowing and totally amazing.   I will pass the award on to five of my favourite bloggers in an upcoming post, to keep the ‘amazingness’ moving forward but for now I will simply say thank you.

And third, as proof that the stars were aligned last week or something, the day after I received my award, this post arrived in my inbox.  The title “You Are Amazing” jumped out at me and I felt like it was written just for me – it was exactly what I needed to hear, during that week of all weeks, when I was trying to drag my self-esteem out of the gutter and not doing a very good job of it on my own.

And that was it, the trifecta of amazing things that the universe sent my way when I needed them the most.  One from a person that knows me better than almost anyone and two others from people I’ve never met.  So a big thank-you to each of them, and to the universe for sending them my way.  There’s now a smile back on my face, inspiration back in my heart and my keys are back on the keyboard.

And I’ll shut up and keep writing.

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As I’ve written before, I often find my days repeating themselves, over and over on an endless loop, so when a day comes along that is so different from the norm, it’s usually a good thing.

Today is one of those days.  I get to spend the afternoon with two great ladies, chatting about anything and everything.  Then I get to go out to dinner (adults only) and I can predict that no one is going to ask me to cut their meat and, most likely, no one will spill anything on themselves.  A successful restaurant outing in my books!

And then, as if all of that wasn’t enough, I get to spend the rest of the evening in the company of Jann Arden, my all-time favourite singer, and just about everything else.  I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve seen her in concert now (I think I’m up around 10) and every time I spend the evening in tears, some as a result of her amazing music, and some because of her biting, witty, sense of humour.  Either way, the tears are a good thing.

Every so often you really need to spend a day doing wonderful things, re-charge the battery, and gain a new perspective.  If you’re looking for me today, that’s what I’ll be doing!

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‘Tis the season to make big plans for the coming year and all the things we hope to do to make this one even better than the last one.  I myself usually make a few fairly informal resolutions, things I’m looking to improve on, that kind of thing.  This year however, I’ve also decided it’s perhaps even more important for me, personally, to also come to some realizations about the things I cannot, or should not, try to change; things that will always just ‘be’ and the sooner I realize that truth and move on, the better.

And so, here we go, my New Year’s Realizations:

1) bad things happen.  I can’t predict or avoid them, bad things just are.  I spend a lot of my time worrying about these bad things and trying to figure out how I would deal with them if/when they ever do happen.  It’s a huge time-waster for me and it’s time to realize that worrying about things that may or may never happen is unproductive and ultimately futile.  I realize that now.

2) good things happen.  As mentioned above, I spend a lot of time worrying about bad things happening.  However, I spend very little time imagining good things happening.  In reality, these good things may never actually happen in ‘real life’ but heh, they’re a lot more fun to spend time thinking about than the bad things.  I realize that now.

3) it starts with me.  If I want to do something, I have to do it.  I can’t spend my life sitting around on my butt waiting for things to happen ‘to’ me.  If I have an idea, it’s my job to take the next step because if I don’t, who else will? I realize that now.

4) it ends with me.  I can’t love you forever.  I can’t hate you forever.  I can’t be angry forever.  I can’t wonder what might have been forever.  It has to end sometime and I’m the only one who can decide when the end is.  I realize that now.

5) it’s okay to have fun.  Life is hard; it’s sad and lonely and depressing and monotonous and heavy and disappointing and unexplainable and draining.  And I can choose to focus on all of that or I can choose to accept that the bad stuff exists and have fun anyway.  I can laugh out loud on the train when I read something funny in a book.  I can tell a belly-aching (and perhaps borderline inappropriate) joke at a party. I can have another glass of wine and kick off my uncomfortable shoes.  It’s okay to have fun, I realize that now.

6) being a mom is hard.  I actually realized that long ago, like 5 minutes after my first child was born, but the part that’s taken me longer to realize is that it’s okay to admit that it’s hard.  It’s okay to say the words out loud and/or write them down on the page.  It doesn’t make me any less of a mom, it just makes it a teeny tiny bit easier when I admit that most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing, and that’s okay.  I realize that now.

7) words are just words.  Words can hurt people.  Words can make people laugh and they can make people cry.  I am responsible for the words I say and the words I write down but at the end of the day, they’re just words.  They don’t have to be perfect.  What I write doesn’t have to be perfect and even if no one reads them, that doesn’t mean they weren’t worth writing. As long as they come from my heart, they mean something, even if it’s only to me.  I realize that now.

Well there you have it, a few new year’s realizations to put 2011 safely to bed and drag 2012 out onto the dance floor to see what damage we can do.  At the very least, it’s going to be an interesting one!

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