Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I am afraid

It's 2015! Happy New Year!  Remember when we thought we'd be flying around in cars by now?  I wish.

My goals from last year:
Blog more than last year - COMPLETED!
Finish the TARDIS cross-stitch - Nope
Keep up on the dishes and house - Sorta
Read scriptures and pray more - Sorta
Exercise as much as my body allows - COMPLETED!
Lose 10lbs - Nope.

Pretty good overall. =)

My goals this year.
Continue blogging.
Finish TARDIS cross-stitch
Keep up on dishes and house
Read scriptures daily and pray at least twice daily
Lose somewhere around 13lbs.

Yes, they look the same.  Which means I am consistent, persistent, and awesome.

But that's not what this blog post is about.  Noooo.  That was just the preliminary, "Hey, how are you? Wonderful weather we're having" beginning.

THIS is what the post is really all about:

I am afraid.

My calling took a long time coming, but when I was finally called I was absolutely totally and completely delighted.  I was Sunday School teacher to the 16-17 year olds.  Most of them were boys...there was one girl.  I enjoy teaching, and I immediately and completely totally loved all the youth in that class.  Loved them like I've never loved a bunch of youth before.  I worked hard to make sure the lessons were really what the Lord wanted me to say - including one week, the day before class, working for ages to try to sort out the lesson and not getting it and finally leaving it alone for a while, then later in the day coming back and writing a lesson that had nothing to do with the lesson plan.  It was the right lesson, though, and it felt *so* good to give it.

Every week I hand-wrote a little card to all the students who didn't come.  There were about ten a week.  It took a long time, but it felt good to do it.

I LOVED that calling.

Then the Bishop called me into his office, asked me how my calling was going, asked how my Spirituality was, then called me to be Young Women President.

I would like to be quite unequivocal here.  I am not a leader. I am not natural at it.  What I'm natural at doing is staying in my home and trying to talk to as few people as possible, the interwebs notwithstanding.  I am extremely introverted and going out and doing things takes rather a lot of mental preparation prior and quite a bit of alone time after.  I like teaching.  It's just me, the Lord, the manual, and the youth.  It's regular, routine, and somewhat predictable.  Perfect.

However, as I am being unequivocal here, I would also like to say that as soon as I was called I *knew* that this calling was for me.  I immediately knew who I would call as one of my counselors - so much so that I started bawling right there in the office.  I have a sure, strong testimony that I am meant to be Young Women President.

But that does not make the calling easy for me.  Quite frankly, I am terrified.  I have regular moments at home where I cry and eat chocolate.  I am overwhelmed.  I feel deeply, deeply inadequate.  Did I mention I am terrified?

I am terrified of doing a terrible job.
I am terrified that I won't get to know the girls.
I am terrified that I won't reach them or touch them or help them feel the Spirit.
I am terrified that they don't want to be there.
I am terrified because I have absolutely no earthly idea what I'm doing.
I'm terrified because I have anxiety attacks thinking about each Sunday and Tuesday.
I am terrified because New Beginnings is coming up and I'm just sitting here with a glazed look in my eyes with No. Idea. At. All. how to run it.
I am terrified because I'm meant to be planning things and I don't even know what they are yet.
I'm terrified because I'm meant to know how to organize and all I want to do is run and hide.
I'm terrified of failing the girls, their parents, the ward, and myself.

Every time an email comes in from a Stake or Ward leader my heart rate skyrockets and I want to run away and hide.

The weight of expectations is killing me.

The thought keeps wandering through my head, "I am not a leader".  Lately, however,  it's been replaced lately by a voice that says, "Yes you are. You're a really good one. You just don't know it yet.  Growth hurts. Keep doing your best with calmness and faith.  It will all work out."  And we all know where *that* voice comes from, right?

I woke up this morning, and while lying in bed was pondering how this is really not such a big deal, you know?  People do this kind of thing *every day*.  So what was my problem?  It's no biggie.

So here is how it feels in a way that might help you understand.

You are a normal, modest person. You are somewhat introverted.  You like going to work, sitting behind a desk, and quietly getting your job done.

Then your boss tells you that your job has changed.  You must now host a meeting of many people, stand on the table in the middle of them, seductively remove all your clothing and pole dance in front of them.

You must do this twice a week.
You must look competent and confident while doing it.
You must look like you enjoy it.
Furthermore, you must recruit people to come watch you.

You imagine the comments.
"Why do you have a problem with this?  Tons of people do it every day. It's easy! Most really enjoy it.  Think of the rewards!"
"Wow, she's not doing a good job removing her clothes.  Look how she fumbles.  It's quite embarrassing to watch, actually."
"Does she even know how to pole dance?"
"Ew, cellulite."
"When she took off her top it landed IN. My. Lap! Can you believe that?  Does she even know what she's doing?"
"There aren't many people here today.  She's not doing a good job of enticing people here is she?"
"This meeting started late!  I wonder if she's even planned how she's going to dance for the rest of the year? Does she even have it organized on her calendar?"
"I wonder how she'll cope at the end of the year when she has to put on a huge production and dance for the entire company?"

I know.  I'll get used to taking off my clothes.  It will become easy.  I will eventually get the hang of it.  And eventually I won't want to hide in my room, cry, and eat all the chocolate. And the sun will come out and the angels will sing Hallelujah.

But right now, I'm afraid.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Homicidal, dentist, doughnuts, earbuds, and cupcakes. Supernatural, baby! =)

A pretty delightful day that started out as a kind of bummer.  First of all, I was awoken by my beloved playing, "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" at full blast.

"I thought it would help you to wake up happy, " he said.  "Instead you woke up homicidal." Which, of course, made me laugh so I suppose it worked after all.  We then spent the morning belting out various lyrics from the song until it was time to take Andrew to school.

After dropping him off I dashed home so I could get at least a little time on the bike.  45 mins of sweatfest was kinda fun.  Then it was off to...


the dentist.

A couple of days ago a maple toffee pulled out a crown I loathe and despise so I went to a local dentist to get it put back in.

(Cut rant about a quack dentist and a terrible crown and the local dentist perplexed at how bad it was.)

It was lunchtime after the appt. and I was hungry and nowhere near home.  And here is where the bummer ends and the happy begins.

I found....


I squealed in delight when I saw it.  And guess what?  The HOT sign was on!!

I got six doughnuts - Halloween ones, of course, and one hot one to shove in my gob immediately.  I must have impressed the lady behind the counter with my excitement or something, as she gave me another hot one for free.  SCORE!!  I ate that immediately too.

Halloween/Ghostbusters doughnuts plus a "caramel crunch" one and minus the two hot ones which I'd already consumed.


I went to Future Shop - which is like the Canadian Best Buy.  I have been looking for yurbuds with volume control for stinkin' WEEKS to no avail.  And guess what?  This particular Future Shop had 'em.  Well alright!!  I grabbed two pairs as they are excessively difficult to find.  I think they're discontinuing the style or something, which blows.  One of the pairs (the red one) was on sale.  SCORE!  I would have bought two red pairs but it appears, after much research by the Future Shop employees, that my red pair were the last ones available in the entire province.


(I know! The excitement never ends.)

I turned on Hurontario to go home...and ended up going the wrong way.  I was driving along happily listening to The History of Rome podcast ...again...  (Hadrian has just died, thank goodness, and Antoninus Pius just became Emperor.  Which means it won't be long before my beloved Marcus Aurelius is on the throne.) vaguely thinking, "Huh.  I didn't think Burnhamthorpe was this far away" when all of a sudden I hit Brampton. Whooops.

You'd think this was a bad thing, and at first I was all, "Oh bugger".  But then I recognized where I was and thought, "Hold up, isn't that cupcake store around here?"

Yes.  Yes it was.

I had heard about Cristina's Tortina Shop when we very first found out we were moving to Canada.  I determined to hunt it down...which I did, several times.  Unfortunately they were always either closed or sold out.  This time, however, they were OPEN!  And they had...


Awwww yeah, baby, get in ma belleh.

Nutella cupcakes.

What with the cupcakes and the doughnuts I'm going to be on a sugar high tonight.  It's a good job I got on the bike, eh?

Here is Mary with Taylor.

Pretty much the sweetest ladies ever.  See what I did there?

So anyway, what a fun day, eh?  I rode the bike, got the stupid awful crown back in my mouth, bought a Krispy Kreme or seven, found the headphones I've been searching for forever, and bought the cupcakes I've been after for 8 months.  Life's pretty good.

All I need now is to find drymax socks.  I simply cannot find them in Canada and all my old ones have holes in and I miss them so much.

Random ending.

Party on, Garth!!  =)

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Andrew went to school


Andrew went to school.

My child is nine years old.  Today was his first day of school ever.

Well.  School outside of home and tutorial anyway.

He was reeeaaaally nervous, poor kid, and was only just holding it together when we left.  I noticed that his teacher, Ms. Mckenzie, was very sweet and welcoming.  She sought to put him at his ease.  She had called last week to welcome him.  =)  She had also put him between two other boys, and made a point of introducing Andrew to the boys, letting them know he was new, and asking them to show him the ropes.  They had no problem with that and seemed like really nice boys.

We also noticed that the children, even on the first day of school, came in to class, put their things away, and immediately sat down, picked up a pencil, and quietly started working on the crossword that had been placed on their desk.  There was no running around screaming, there were no shenanigans.  Now, admittedly, we were a few minutes early so the rush hadn't begun, but even so there was a sense of calmness that was different to other schools.

I really hope this school will be a good one for him.  It was a very difficult decision to make, sending him to school.  Both he and I love homeschooling so much.  However, at this time in our lives, it felt *right*.  I feel really good about it, and I'm happy we decided to send him.  Being on foreign assignment the company gave us the option of paying for all our homeschooling books or paying for tuition at a private school.  We felt we should go with the latter as it's an opportunity we may not have again.  And right now, I'm glad we did.

Now talk to me just after 3pm when I pick Andrew up....if he's had a rotten day I might feel differently. =D

Looking good!

Yep, that's about right.

They grow so fast.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

You know you haven't blogged in a while when you start typing your blog's address into the address bar and it doesn't recognize it and you have to type the *entire* address.  Woah!

Uhhhm sooo it's been three months since I last blogged.  Ooops!  I seem to remember having a blogging goal for this year.  Let me see if I can find it...

Ah ha!!  Here we go!  On this post I had a goal of blogging more than last year - ie, more than 14 times.  Alright!!!  I can do that!  Let's see how much I've blogged thus far in 2014....

Including this one - 13!!!  WHOOT!  Only two more posts and I will have reached my blogging goal. Well alright.  (You have to say that like Uncle Rico)

So what have we been up to?

Well, first things first, we're enjoying a fabulous summer here in sunny Canada.

Ok, it's not that bad *all* the time.  It has rained a little bit almost every day though.  Last week we went on a bike ride and I had to wear arm warmers.

Well.  I say "arm warmers".  I don't actually own any arm warmers.  However, my calves didn't need any support so...Zensah to the rescue!  =)  They worked fabulously.

In TN we had to get up super early to make sure our bike rides were done before the afternoon heat hit.  Here, we dilly dally and don't go out until the afternoon.  When the DH rides in the morning he wears at least two layers and a jacket.  It's a tad chilly compared to TN.

Winter's going to be a b......  ...  bit difficult to deal with.

Speaking of goals, let's see how I'm doing as the year's more than half over.

Here's what I wrote at the beginning of the year:

Goals this year: 
Blog more than last year.  Shouldn't be hard as I blogged a total of 14 times last year....
Finish the TARDIS cross-stitch. 
Keep up on the dishes and house. 
Read scriptures and pray more
Exercise as much as my body allows but don't go nuts and injure myself.  Getting older blows.  Just sayin'.
Lose the 10lbs.  Again.  By exercising as indicated in the previous sentence, and eating healthier whole foods.  And by not eating brownies and ice cream several times a week.

Blogging - well on track to finishing that.
TARDIS cross stitch - Haven't touched it this year
Keep up on dishes and house - Actually, I've been doing a lot better on that since homeschooling ceased. =D
Read scriptures and pray more - Ok.  I straight up have to admit I've been having a leeeetle crisis of faith.  Clearly I need to do more of this.
Exercise - Not as much as I'd like, but more than I did during the move.  It's going ok.
Lose 10lbs - I've lost 3lbs.  Soooo.  Not so well.

The year's not over yet!  =)

Lots more to blog about, but I don't want this to be an overwhelming post.  Some of those long ones are torture to get through.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

I'm a bit dumb and blind, but eventually the Lord whacks me around the head hard enough and I get it.

We moved into the new house blah blah blah la la la more on that later.

Let's get to the important stuff, shall we?

Today the entire Relief Society lesson was given to practicing the hymn the RS are going to sing in church next Sunday.  "As Sisters In Zion".

The entire Relief Society lesson.

The sister who leads the music in Sacrament meeting, and who sings like an angel, and whose name I have not yet learned - maybe it's Catherine?  Probably not - anyway, she had found a beautiful arrangement.

And we struggled with it.  Oh my good gravy did we struggle.  Many of the sisters didn't understand the terms "alto" and "soprano" and sang the melody even when they weren't meant to.  One or two sisters could reach the high notes.  Most of them couldn't.

In the end the lovely arrangement was given up and instead it was decided that we would just sing the song as it was in the hymnbook.  It was less complicated and it sounded better.

Coming from my previous ward populated with ridiculously talented musical people, it was a reminder that I wasn't in Nashville anymore.  There Bro Kartchner could pull out a different arrangement on the fly.  Difficult musical arrangements would be handed out and would be sung perfectly almost immediately.

Here's what's important.  Pay attention now.

The sister next to me singing out of tune was singing with her heart full, as loud as she could, with as much feeling as she could.  She followed the words in the hymnbook closely with her finger.  At one point she turned to me and, pointing to a word, with broken heavily accented English said, "Seester, what is thees?"

And that's what it's all about.  It was wonderful listening to the astonishing musicians and singers in Franklin.  The sister next to me singing with all her heart to the Lord touched me deeply.  She sang with the Spirit.

From the first she has befriended me.  She has asked to come over to help me unpack.  She called to apologize that she didn't make it on the previous Friday because she had to work.  She has bought a plant to welcome us to our new home.  She has been giving and friendly and welcoming and kind.  And just a few days ago I found out that she was doing all this while dealing with her own struggles in life.  She wasn't able to sort out her visa and by summer will need to go back to her home country - something she is deeply sad and worried about.

She is an example to me, and I hope I can follow that example.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Oh Canada

This morning we woke up to this:

Spring in Canada.  I wonder why pictures never show snowflakes?  It's actually snowing quite heavily in the above picture, but you'd never know it.

Which was a delightful surprise.  I know everyone here's all "GAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" but we've just come from Tennessee so it's still exciting.  Plus, we're in a warm house and have no intention of going outside.  Plus, we're in a high rise and have zero snow shoveling duties.  Plus, it is actually trending warmer these days so the snow isn't going to hang about for long.  For all these reasons we think it's kind of cool.  Want to see more pictures?

Yes, they're all from the same vantage point on our balcony.  I stepped two steps outside, snapped the pictures, then hurried back inside again.  Not much interested in going outside any time soon.

....which is a pity as the kidlet wants to go to the library (The round building in the above pictures.  Yes, I know it's only across the road but still...)  Mmrrgrrfffhhhngnn.  Well fine.  Maybe we'll go.  Or not.  Maybe I'll plead illness.  I have a horrid cough and some weird thing going on in my lungs that kept me up some of the night (the rest of the night I was kept up by the rave going on upstairs....).  I've been drinking chamomile tea and honey all day and it's worked wonders.  But maybe I can still play the sick is, admittedly, 2pm, and I'm still in my nightdress.  Clearly I'm not feeling up to being human today.

Are you interested in this fabulous apartment?  =)  I know I told you last time that it was 800 sq ft.  Apparently it's 900.  So I guesstimated 100 off.  Not bad.  Here are the pictures.  Prepare yourselves for awesomeness.

Here's the view from the front door.  To your immediate left there is a little closet where the vacuum cleaner is stored.  Just past that on the left is the office.  Then just past that is the master bedroom.  You can see the doorway in the picture opposite the dining room table.

To the right from the front door is the kitchen with the laundry closet, the dining table (which you can see in the picture).  Just past the dining table to the right (you can *just about* see it in the pic) is another bedroom and bathroom, which Ben uses. 

Straight ahead is, clearly, the living room and the balcony.  That's it.

The kitchen.  Note the closet at the end opposite the cooker.

Here's the laundry closet.  I love it. It's in the kitchen where it's meant to be. 

The dining room table.  From this vantage point you can see the "hallway" that leads to Ben's bedroom (you can see into his bedroom from here) and bathroom.

Ben's bedroom.  This is pretty good for him.

Ben's bathroom.  Yeah, it's pretty awesome isn't it? =)

Now to the opposite side of the house.  I have no pictures of the office.  Why?  I took the pictures.  I remember taking them.  So why isn't it on my phone?  Clearly the phone gremlins have been at work.  Anyway, it's a room with a desk and a mirror.  That's it.  No closet, no window.

Then we have....

The master bedroom

And the master bathroom

And that's it.  Apart from the photo of the closet which has also inexplicably disappeared.  Isn't it perfect?  What else could we possibly need?  Nothing.  This place has it all.  I love it. =)

At some point I will post pictures of the Jays/Yankees game and the pics I took whilst walking along the lakeshore in Port Credit.  Maybe tomorrow. =)

Party on, dudes!

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Wheel Turns....

A lot has happened since my last post.

Did I mention that Bert and Andrew had been crazy sick?  Well they had been.  Andrew was so sick he burst blood vessels in his eyes.

We tried to get over the stuff that was crazy about the house which included:

- Broken handle on dishwasher
- broken drawer in kitchen
- amenities in kitchen clearly someone's cast-offs; certain items missing (I had to go buy measuring spoons and cups etc)
- burner on stove not functioning
- washer not working correctly; only uses excessively hot water, no cold
- Light missing to basement.  I don't mean the light bulb was out, I mean the fixture was missing with wires hanging down
- Bedroom furniture clearly someone's cast-offs.  For example, one bed didn't have a frame, it was just the box spring and mattress on the floor
- Handle missing on nightstand in Andrew's bedroom
- Drawer broken in dresser in Andrew's room
- No door on linen closet
- Door painted shut in other hall closet
- Towel rack in bathroom broken
- closet door in master bedroom broken
- cracked tile in master bathroom
- mold and stains in shower
- Shelf in closet coming out of the wall in master bedroom closet
- No dresser in master bedroom
- Towel rack in Master bathroom broken
- handle broken on chest of drawers in Ben's room
- Both handles broken on nightstand in Ben's other room (more on that later)
- The only furniture in that room was the nightstand and bed...that bed is the one that just sat on the floor
- There was an air hockey table in one room downstairs that was about to fall over.  We just never went near it
- Glass on floor in laundry room
- Main staircase was uneven and very rickety...I had my heart in my throat several times coming down it
- The flooring was weird.  There were large gaps between some of the boards and you could see the subfloor.
- There were numerous patches, unfinished areas, and marks on the walls
- The TV in the living room was on the wall...and the wires were dangling down with the heavy plug suspended from them. It looks really unsafe...I kept imagining that the weight hanging from the tv would pull it down at some point
- When you opened the recliners on the couch the smell of cigarettes was rather disconcerting

Ben was originally in the room opposite the master bedroom.  However, after we'd been there a couple of days he came to me and said he had bites on him.  I looked, and they were in the "breakfast-lunch-dinner" pattern of bed bugs.  This *totally* freaked me out.  Ben moved into the other bedroom and thereafter had no problems.

We were suffering along with new problems popping up every day...I know there's some I've forgotten in the above list.  There were so many.

Oh yes!  One of them was we could only take about a 3 minute shower.  The warm water ran out extremely fast.  So we had to take "camp" showers, and then wait at least half an hour between showers so the water could warm up a bit for the next person.  Quite inconvenient on a Sunday morning...

The property manager came to look around and was quite horrified.  Someone came to fix the minor things, and eventually they replaced the water heater which made showers much more comfortable.

The day after the water heater was replaced I decided to wash the sheets on the bed.  When I pulled the sheets off I found this:

That dark spot in the upper right corner is blood that had never been washed out.  It's not our blood.

I washed the sheets absolutely *dreading* putting them on the bed and getting back in the bed that night.

 Out of the blue Bert calls and says there was *FINALLY* another place available and we could go see it.

This was about 4pm.  It took 20 minutes for Bert to pick us up, and another 20 to get to the place, a high rise condo in downtown Mississauga.

Mississauga is a city about the same size as Detroit, next to Toronto which is the largest city in Canada.  With a population of over 5 million Toronto falls somewhere between New York and Los Angeles in size.

We needed to make a decision on the new place by 5pm. We were eventually able to get inside at 4.55pm.

It was on the 19th floor of the Grand Ovation building.  The selling point for me was it was right next to Square One, one of the main malls in Mississauga - this would provide Ben with something to do.

Picture taken our first night.

It was also directly opposite the main Mississauga library.  I mean...directly opposite.  Right across the road.  Andrew was absolutely delighted. =)

The other selling point was the size.  The house we were currently in was 3400 square feet - huge.  The condo, at a guess, is maybe 800 square feet.  There is a little kitchen, an apartment sized washer/dryer in a closet in the kitchen, a dining table, a living room, a small office, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms.  That's it.  Absolutely completely perfect.  Everything worked.  Nothing was broken.  It was a fully stocked kitchen with everything we needed - even scissors and a colander which were completely missing in the other house.  Within 5 minutes we'd decided.

We called the relocation company and said we'd take it and when could we move in?  He said immediately.  WHOOT!!!  We wouldn't have to sleep in that disgusting bed after all! =)

The crescent moon looked bigger in real life...

So we packed (AGAIN!), moved, and unpacked (again).  Hopefully we're settled now until our belongings arrive (where *are* they, by the way?  They were meant to be here two weeks ago...worrying...) and we can finally move into our permanent dwelling.

And by "permanent" I mean "for the next 2-3 years".

The question now becomes how on earth can I face moving out of this perfect apartment?  I love it so much and am so happy here.  I don't *want* to move into that bigger house.  This apartment is what I wanted when we moved here.  Small.  No stairs.  Clean.  Perfect.

Sigh.  Oh well.  Might as well enjoy it while we have it.  And we are enjoying it, oh yes we are.  We have been so very happy the past couple of days. I feel so at home and comfortable.

Today it has been rainy and misty.  The mist gradually descended throughout the afternoon.  We are now living in the clouds. =)

I found this picture on my phone.  I took it when we came to Canada to look for a place to live.  We needed to get out of the hotel so went to Erin Mills Mall just for fun. In the food court I found a sushi place which made just about the best sushi I've ever had.  Look at that!  It tasted as delicious as it looks...and this was from a podunk place in the mall!  What the heck?  Hmmm...going to have to go there next week...  =) =)

Tomorrow we're heading in to Toronto for the first time.  Bert scored free tickets to the Blue Jays/New York Yankees game.  Never been to a baseball game before.  Should be fun! =)