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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Tango Tangle

Off to the Argentine Tango Ballet

Above pic is my girls and I just before we headed out to dine at the Bike Shop Cafe and then on the Ballet Kelowna's night of Grand Passion. Both were great. The restaurant was very accommodating to both our rushed time and my daughters' picky eating. The ballet was fabulous. I love to watch dance--very meditative for me. One particular dance, North Shore, reminded me of the modern dances by Pina (previous blogs). I did not straighten the pic as our shoes would have been cut off and the shoes always make the outfit!

A teeny tiny post as this week, this day, is crazy busy with appointments around the clock and not to mention I start my online Freelance Writing course at UBC today! Is the week nervous breakdown worthy? Perhaps! A month at a Buddhist retreat sounds perfect right now...

Peter is hosting a conference all week thus I am left to do all transporting of the children to their activities all evenings. Plus, I have so many appointments this week that I am rushing to. Meeting with an editor about my novel tomorrow--must have that ready for her too! And this week (and weekend) is the ZEN the entire house week: declutter and give away excess week. It is exhausting and overwhelming to declutter an entire home and yard, room by room, drawer by drawer. So this is where I am at this week. Much work, little play. A garage bursting before the excess is taken away. After this week is over, I hope to catch my breath and have some calm, mindfulness to share with you...

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Permission Granted to Be Happy

My girls and I in a tree.

OK, I promised my readers a little insight into my search to tidy a messy mind. Here it is. It is simple yet, far more complex than it appears. It involves only one thing.

#1 Mindfulness comes first (before all other pursuits). Another way to put it is this:

 Permission Granted to Always Be Happy No Matter What.

I had been foolishly believing that I could not allow myself the simple joy of constant happiness or "joy de vie" because I had not accomplished all of my big goals in my career and a few other personal goals. It stems from our Western philosophy all about the patriarchal puritan work ethic: happiness or "joy de vie" is a sign of weakness. In our culture, a successful person has a head-to-the-grind-stone seriousness about life. Happiness is only allowed after a serious day of unhappiness and then only with a beer in hand.

It came to my attention that I am naturally a happy "joy de vie" person. But I have been chastised for being so and thus have attempted to thwart my nature. Growing up I was chastised by parents, grandparents and teachers for my playfulness. My Driver's Ed. Teacher called it a "Don't care attitude" (hey, all I did was chuckle when I attempted a 3 point turn but ended up pulling into a drive only to pull out again and keep going the same direction). Even my own Nana (rest her soul) had a serious talk with me one day, "We were all worried you'd never grow up" (still no idea who the WE included).  My father once told me (when I was a teenager) that he and my mother were concerned as I seemed too immature, (finding happiness in exploring and inventing with my sisters on a terribly isolated acreage in the middle of the prairie. Instead, I suppose, of being a normal teenager who hides in her room and does drugs in rebellion). 

So yes, I am by nature a person with great "joy de vie." It is not a "don't care" or immature attitude it is a happy attitude that finds joy in silly mistakes, small ways to find happiness in difficult situations that would send others into depression or drug addiction perhaps.  I am blessed to say this is my nature. But years of being told I was not serious enough and too playful has had its impact. To prove myself I decided to adopt the head-to-grindstone attitude and suppress that "joy de vie" until I had some real successful results by our Patriarchal Western Culture Standards. Thus, I have driven myself to succeed in areas of my career path without allowing myself to be happy just yet (as I have not reached the great final goals). I have been denying myself the time to simply enjoy small pleasures if they don't directly feed the path to one of my goals.

But guess what? Thank the universe for kindred souls like His Holiness The Dalai Lama. I love The Dalai Lama. I see in him the youthful playfulness that I was chastised for my entire life. And he and Buddhist philosophy tell me it isn't wrong to be playful and happy at all. In fact, it is right to be happy. One doesn't have to be unhappy because they haven't reached all of their "Western Society Success Marker" goals in life. To many it would appear that I have reached these goals but my idea of success for myself is quite rigid and the bar is set high.

And so, I finally accept my true nature and allow myself "joy de vie," despite our Western Society trying to tell me: no time for celebration yet, girl! So much more work to do. Head-to-grind-stone Girl. Head-to-grind-stone! I have been very good at  putting my head to the grind stone. My passion allows me to focus on any task I set for myself. But where it has all gone wrong is denying my "joy de vie" nature, believing that it was a sign of weakness. Now I understand what other's once said was a weakness, is actually a very prized strength. 

I allow myself to reconnect with the girl I have always been by nature--a happy girl who can find joy in small things despite the difficulties that surround her in life. And the truth be told, my Nana was not a happy woman. It is sad how many souls have been crushed by our perverted sense of when one can be joyful and when one cannot.

I will be joyful despite the problems I may have in my career, relationships and else where. Joy is out there, it's rather easy to find, especially if you use your imagination. That is what kept me a happy, drug-free teenage girl. This is who I have allowed myself to be again. Thank-you to His Holiness for showing me how beautiful and strong youthful-joy can be at any age.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beacon Hill, Victoria, BC

Pip and Tabs. Peter walks with friends Alberta and Stan.

On Entering the Petting Zoo...

Tabs and Pip with the kids.

A very pregnant mother goat and Pip.

My girls and the kids

Peter being Peter--listening to his messages.

Pip and I and the goat.

The goats liked the chew on Pip's hair.

Mist with Bogart.

Home from Victoria, BC. The pics above are from the petting zoo at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. The best park. I loved it. Reminded me of San Francisco. A great place to walk and take little ones on the weekends.

A long drive and ferry ride home and then rushed out to pick up the dog boys from the dog spa. The boys were on their best behavior and the staff loved them. Pablo didn't try to attack any other dogs. Happy about this! He is only aggressive when new dogs come onto his territory. I am working with him to solve this aggression. Dogs are happy to be home but little Pablo caught a gastro bug while there. I am trying to keep him off of food for the next 12 hours to see if he gets over it. Fed him veggie broth this a.m. Working on repairing the backyard fence so he can't escape and he can't fight the dog next door.

I have a new neighbor. She lives in an apartment on my balcony. She is a secret agent. I invited her for supper last night but she declined saying, "No, thanks. I have my own food." Later however, she showed up in my kitchen to say, "My food burnt. I will be able to come over for supper after all."
She set up her apartment on the balcony by pushing together deck chairs and hauling out pillows and blankets. And yes, the secret agent's real name is Pippi. What was really hilarious, was that the secret agent asked me to keep my dogs out of her apartment. The agent is definitely an entirely new personality, as Pippi must be with the her dogs constantly :) This new neighbor likes to belt out Justin Beiber tunes from her apartment. I hear, "Oh, Baby, Baby!" belted out a lot. I think those are the only lyrics she knows as she's only heard his music at her friend's house.
She has begged me for a new Justin Beiber backpack. She is in kindergarten! I will cave because I like to support her interests. 

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Monday, April 23, 2012

China Town and Sea Wall, Victoria, BC

While in Victoria we visited with friends who used to live in the Okanagan (Alberta and Stan). They gave us some great tips on what to see and do around Victoria--I hope you enjoy the pics of a few of our discoveries: China Town down town and the Sea Break Wall on the coast.

My girls and I in China Town, Victoria, BC. It was a great little surprise to find a slice of Hong Kong in BC!

The narrow alley ways and old shops truly reminded me of the real Asia I have experienced in Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Peter and the girls in China Town--all of the trees in full blossom. A perfect day to explore.

Narrow alley ways of China Town Victoria, BC.

Tabs and Pip in China Town.

My girls and I in China Town, Victoria.

Me on the far edge of the breakwater in Victoria, BC.

Mist, Tabs and Pip on breakwater.

Peter, Pip and I on the water break in Victoria, BC.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Harbour Seals, Victoria B.C.

We drove to a restaurant on the ocean front and stopped to feed some wild seals that frequent the harbour. One can purchase frozen, chopped halibut to give to the beautiful spotted seals. They remind me so much of dogs. I want to jump in and swim with them. Pippi was especially thrilled to feed them. 

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Friday, April 20, 2012

April Flower Gardens of Victoria, BC

April Flowers

 I hope you enjoy the lovely Victoria flower gardens. I took these pictures this morning on a sunshine filled walk downtown. And now, my girls and I are having a private tea party in the hotel lounge and we are reading, writing in our journals (Pippi) and blogging. However, The Tabs it seems, has been up to no-good--just discovered she's been playing computer games this whole time! Mistaya is reading her latest manga books. Happy to report that this morning we found a second hand book store and Mistaya was thrilled to find many of her discontinued manga books for her collection. It appears that the chocolate we've enjoyed at the tea party has only sparked my girls appetites so now we must go forth and find lunch! The most difficult thing about traveling with the girls and staying in hotels is our diet. The children eat no fruit and veggies the entire trip and I am frantic about it. As much as I love the Fairmont Hotels I actually prefer renting a condo when the kids are with us because of the meals.

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Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia

Our Hotel

April flowers
Pip and I at the Empress Hotel in from escaping another down pour--(rain splashes on my tights!)
Mist texting as she waits for Tabs to let her in the room
Pip chatting with our bird  friend
Tabs catching up on a little homework.
We walked around down town Victoria yesterday despite the down pours. It was rather chilly. We had Fairmont umbrellas but the girls shoes became soaked. We have been to Victoria many times and have visited all of the tourist hot spots (legislature tour, mansion tours, museums, etc.) so we really are only taking it easy this trip. It was raining too hard to walk to Zumba last night (1/2 h walk each way). Perhaps another day--Peter has the vehicle at the conference.
The girls and I did attend an Imax film about Tornado Alley--Pip asks us constantly about tornado's in Saskatoon as she is visiting there this summer and is now paranoid (since the disturbing film).
We shopped a little and ate our meals downtown and found time for a hotel swim and an evening drive for ice cream. The sun is shining this morning so perhaps it will be easier to get around.
Today I shall take more photos of the flower gardens for my readers--they are really gorgeous and spring inspiring!

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