From the monthly archives:

January 2009

I’m not a brat

by lulujane on January 2, 2009

A few years ago my brother Greg was commenting on childhood things.  I remember the word ‘brat’ coming up and don’t have specific memory of  the brat reference; thinking that perhaps he, or someone else, perceived him as a brat when he was a kid.

A short while later I saw a reference in a local magazine promoting the book by a local author, former schoolteacher Arnie McCallum entitled “I’m not a brat”  http://www.notabrat.com. I made a mental note of this, thinking I might buy it for Greg as a Christmas stocking stuffer.  I cut the piece from the magazine and taped it on the ledge around my desk, beside my computer where it was in my line of vision every day, even if I didn’t look directly at it, for many months.

bratOne day I went to lunch with a friend at a Tim Horton coffee shop a short distance from where I worked.  A man sat at a table near us.  A brown manilla envelope sat in front of him.  A short while later he opened the envelope, removed papers from it, pushed back his chair, got up and walked around the room handing them out .  As I took the paper from his hand I noticed his name on the paper.  Arnie McCallum.  I also noticed a reference to “I’m not a brat”.

I approached him at his table questioning whether he had any of the books with him.  He said he had some in the trunk of his car and went out to get one for me.  We exchanged money for book. I walked back to my table, book in hand, a happy person.

I wanted to buy it.  I ceased looking at and seeing the clipping beside my desk. I took no action toward seeking the book out.  I think this was one of those cases – if Mohammed won’t go to the mountain, the mountain would come to him, and so this book came to me.

The best part of this – the magic of it all.

Update to original post – February 19, 2009

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On Monday this week I went to Belle River with my sister and her husband for a visit with our brother Greg and his wife Sue.  Greg has a welding business called Steel Wonders www.gardenroutes.com/members where he creates steel art for garden and home decor, so it is always interesting to visit and see if any new creations are on the bench, or complete and ready to go out for rustproof painting.  About an hour into our visit I was drawn to the lettering on his blue sweatshirt.  In our home town of Windsor, Ontario we have a Value Village resale store.  He often goes there to get ‘new’ clothes for welding, knowing that all of them end up wearing grease and sporting lots of holes.  The sweatshirt he was wearing, which I display here with a photograph was emblazoned with the words “notabrat.com’ .  I burst into laughter and reminded him of the book I bought for him a few years back.  When he bought the shirt he had no awareness of his connection with this phrase.

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The Nap

by lulujane on January 1, 2009

Having explored many promising solutions without much success, I have had sleep disorders for many years – yes, more than one. As a result my sleep is frequently broken, fragmented, disturbed. Rarely do I wake feeling rested and refreshed, like maybe once or twice a year. However, I am grateful for whatever in my body chemistry allows me to be enthusiastic, alert, energetic and productive in my daily life.

While growing up I have no memory of ever seeing my mother or father taking a nap. This had given me a skewed belief that anyone who naps during the day is lazy. I am grateful for the shift in perception I now have around this.

I have a friend whom I have occasionally caught napping. I might show up at her door unannounced and I observe her struggling to balance herself, as she staggers to greet me. I ask “I’m sorry, did I wake you?” Her most common response was “no, I was just resting my eyes”. Sure, sure, o.k. The same storyline goes for a drug induced sounding voice (without the drugs of course) answering the phone telling me I didn’t wake her, that she was just resting her eyes. My goodness, she wakes each day around 4:30 a.m. to go to work. A rest at the end of the work day seems like the natural thing to do. Give yourself a break here.

napping

We had a chuckle about this today when she asked me how I slept last night. Based on my response she suggested that I might want to set aside time to just lie down and rest my eyes each day, thinking that might restore my energy and alertness. I have attempted this in the past but due to lack of success at reaching a nap stage, haven’t embraced it as part of a routine. I am now thinking that if I do it as a daily ritual it may have some cumulative benefit. The more we talked about the nap thing we found humour about her denial response about whether she had been napping. Somewhere, somebody taught us that we should have shame about napping during the day and I humourosly challenged her usual response to my ‘did I wake you’ query.

I have another friend, one of my best friends in fact, who is 85 years young. She knows her limits and it is part of her routine to take a cat nap when she needs it. When driving in the car on holiday one year I wanted her to see Sanibel Island, and as we were driving over the bridge from the mainland she just zonked out – like really out of it. I didn’t wake her as I drove along Sanibel singly taking in the devastation from the powerful storms that ripped through the area a year before. She was awake for the return trip, so in the long run I don’t think she missed much. Initially it annoyed me a bit that she went away and left me to drive alone for a while. It didn’t seem polite.  But from her I have learned that it is a self respecting pursuit to ‘take a moment’ when you need it. She listens to what her body is telling her to do instead of just pushing through it like I have done for most of my life. I am in awe of my friend’s intelligence, sense of humour, energy and wisdom. I learn much from observing how she takes good care of herself.

In my earlier years working a full time job and raising an active family of five sons I could have used a good nap, but my preconceived thought that it was a lazy pursuit kept me from it. I now see great wisdom in the power of a nap – hence power napping. And even if I can’t fall asleep during the day, in 2009 I hope to make ‘resting my eyes’ for a few minutes  part of a daily healthy routine.

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Treasure Hunt

by lulujane on January 1, 2009

If only we could trust the unseen, unheard guidance that we have available in our lives ..

My friend’s daughter and her boyfriend were looking for a used washer and dryer for their new digs. Mom was looking through the Pennysaver ads and spotted an estate sale out in the country so they all piled into her car and headed out. Not really knowing where they were going, they meandered along countryside concession roads, finally arriving at the large farmhouse with about a six car garage sitting in the wide open spaces.

nancy-and-greg420Always up for an adventure they enthusiastically climbed out of the car and rushed into the garage. To quote my friend, “there was a ton of stuff set out in sections, and in the middle of the garage were boxes stacked with frames”. She and her daughter were browsing through things when they heard the boyfriend say several times…”You guys…hey you guys… look at this”. They looked up. In his hands was an old ratty frame with a picture of my friend and her husband on their wedding day, her in the long flowing white gown and him in his tux and long hair style. She shook her head doing triple takes just to take this in and to realize it was them. They felt in shock. They couldn’t believe it. They just started laughing. The timing of this was perfect/coincidental as they were soon to celebrate their 25th anniversary the following month.

There was such a mess of things in this large garage space – if someone was deliberately looking for something they likely would never have been able to find it. Yet here they found a twenty-five year old wedding photo among a pile of frames.  Their wedding photo. They got the giggles. The women running the sale, daughters of the woman who had passed away heard the laughter and raised voices of the excited conversation and asked “what’s so funny”. When they heard the information about their find, the sellers offered the picture as a gift. “Just take it” they said.

While rummaging through the boxes of about forty frames, trying to find some good ones, there were no other pictures attached to the frames. Except for their framed photo, everything else was an empty frame. My friend says “how weird is that?”

Obviously they were curious about how their wedding photo got to this country garage. The women running the sale shared the story. The photographers worked as couple…and split up…he took the business and she took all the fixtures. She moved out to the county and had recently passed away. That’s why there was an estate sale.

This kind of story tickles me – and oddly enough, not so much because of the surprise of it, but because I know these things happen.  And it kind of makes me curious if other people have similar synchronistic yard sale/flea market stories.

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