Saturday, 21 December 2013

Shake, Rattle and Roll…

Ever get that queasy feeling in your stomach when something’s gnawing but you just can’t put your finger on it? The alarm seems to ring too early to make any sense, most mornings you just want to roll over and catch a few more ZZZ’s instead of arising with enthusiasm! Feeling off-balance – yet not discernibly unwell.
Everyday stressors can be managed by changing tasks/resetting priorities; compartmentalizing things if there are too many balls are in the air, and choosing to take positive steps to alleviate the strain.

Even an office can be toxic – creating so much negativity that it takes almost all our personal energy to breath in the atmosphere. Indecision is tiring – “What to do, what to do?”  Sometimes it’s a “Should I, or shouldn’t I?”.

Only when we’ve been able to identify the burr under our saddle that’s making us feel scratchy can we find respite. I recently had a redirect to a career change, which wasn’t a good fit. Something just wasn’t jiving – my brain was not in synch and while the light bulb was on, the voltage was low. I simply couldn’t put my finger on the problem – which in turn felt problematic!

On a snowy Winter’s day I find myself, for the first time in nearly forty years, at home. The shakiness seems steadier, the rattle of indecision has been disbursed.
The niggling thoughts I couldn’t quite capture have been snared – it seems simple enough now.

Predictably, I sleep better now too!

Sometimes a committed partner just has to do what is in the best interest of the other person – especially when ill-health is part of the big picture.

Shake, Rattle, then tuck and Roll with the punches! 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Doing my “Happy Dance”

When the alarm goes off with that very annoying notification that it’s time to arise, some mornings feel like g-r-r-r instead of flinging back the blankets in anticipation of a new day at the office, home or wherever! My clock is set for 5:45 – and now that daylight saving time is in effect, darkness is emphatic both when I get up and get down.

Recently I did hit the snooze button, still half-awake – but launched in a panic after just three or four more minutes. Running on too fine a timeline!
After getting my bearings and feet under me, so to speak, flicking the hall light on was just a preliminary to the glaring halogens in the bathroom.  Face wash and teeth in that order….face wash was uneventful – but without glasses I’m not too clear – so a surprise followed.

On one side of the vanity were two tubes, each with a golden hue label – what the print reads was an unknown. One of them did feel a bit more round when I picked it up, maybe more in it than I remembered? Squeezed the gel out on the toothbrush and started to brush….. Note to self:  Put your glasses on next time.

If there was a toothache in the offing this was instantly quelled – and the taste was only accentuated by using mouth rinse.

Talk about a wake-up call – the “happy dance” than ensued wasn’t in celebration!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Navigational Aids...

Several years ago while active in the real estate profession, I dreamed it would be great fun to be able to escape for an hour or two on rare occasions –  and the means of transport would be by boat.

Never having had a boat previously, it was important to take the Power Squadron Course and earn my Pleasure Craft License. Not only was the instruction interesting, I found the scope of it all enormous! Armed with all the essentials, including binoculars – it was with some trepidation that we set forth on a maiden voyage.

One of the first challenges was to be able to read the lake charts and steer at the same time – glasses on/glasses off seemed to be the exercise. Having a good sense of direction is simply not enough. A compass, a sharp-eyed spotter and knowing the ups and downs of currents were all significant.

Today, long after the boating experiment, I learned about other navigation aids previously unknown to me.
In discussion with a representative from the Falls Prevention Program, I learned that navigation aids also exist in one’s home!

We are all familiar with the terms “water walker”, “sky walker”, “moon walker”; to name a few, but my vocabulary was increased by a new expression – “furniture walker”. And it’s not dogs, cats, other pets or babies!
When moving around the home, to avoid a fall when unsteadiness may be a concern, many people choose not to use a cane or other assistive device – and cruise their route with a hand along the back of the couch or outstretched to make contact with the next chair or table… Hence, “furniture walkers”!

A sense of direction, good eyesight, awareness and destination are all navigation aids.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Feeling Settled…Oops!

Ever notice that, with the proverbial Ups and Downs of Life, that once in awhile we begin to feel almost settled? After diligent and long-time plodding toward the sought-after circumstance of contentment, we begin to feel as if we’re almost achieving what we’ve been striving for.

The word “happiness” is elusive – many people relate to this differently. What happiness is to one person may not nearly resemble what that word means to another. I feel for myself, that  “contentment” is more comprehensive. Before we start feeling to comfy cozy though, an unexpected bit of news which may be probable or not. Nonetheless, this strikes us to our very core with a sense of feeling undone – “how could this happen now?”.

Someone close recently e-mailed me with exciting news about a new job position – for which the invitation to complete an online competency test was extended.
The stuff of dreams for this woman, after a too-long/too hard slug for many years.
I was able to rationalize the pros and identify the wonderful opportunity immediately, then my personal self banged at the door of goodwill and insidiously muttered “but……what about me? What about the thoughts we’ve discussed for our future?”

The Real Me has composed myself and dried my snuffles – I truly wish the very best for this woman and am encouraging her to be the very best she can be. Reach for the stars, sister!  The possibility is fabulous and probability high.

Having one’s cage rattled now and then averts complacency. Just when we start feeling settled….oops!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Romancing the Stone….

It’s seldom that I watch television, and likely can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve seen daytime T-V unless ailing on the couch with the snuffles!

At present however, I’m seated in a dentist’s office awaiting my hubby. The big-screen television has a show airing called The Doctors, and material content is fascinating. There’s a warning about “explicitness” which might upset viewers.

So far in one episode I’ve learned about several life threatening afflictions and some conditions which affect a couples’ sex life! Such as hip inflammation caused by tissue tears or joint irritation and malfunction that is relieved with orthopedic surgery.

Sexual dysfunction between couples is more common than not – and glossy magazines with covers promising tidbits to improve the situation are eagerly snatched off the racks!

Some folks resort to a retreat – for counselling. I haven’t yet had a chance to view the 2012 movie entitled Hope Springs starring Meryl Streep. The trailer clips are hilarious – especially one scene in a restaurant where the server calls for a show of hands from anyone who’s not indulging any more. There’s a sea of upraised arms!

Even if you’re feeling hard and as chilled as granite, find some giggles everyday – romancing the stone can be heart warming!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Catching Some Z-z-z-z’s

In the “funnies” section of the newspaper, recently the Retail™ comic strip
Showed Marla the store manager fretting about her appearance. Her anguished comment to a co-worker was that “I work too hard to look my age!” It struck me that most of us do look our age because the travails of everyday life and living are too weighty to bear without some consequential looks of “aging”.

Anyone who acts as a full-time caregiver for a chronically unwell family member can identify with the parallels between new moms and their darling babies… Refreshing sleep, sufficient downtime and unending responsibilities all take their toll – which ultimately reflects in one’s appearance. Do you see a pair of raccoon eyes looking back at you from the unforgiving mirror?

Both women and men require recommended amounts of sleep to stay well, feel rested and aware, and maintain both mental and physical health. If employment comes into the equation there is increased responsibility to not take days off, keep your performance in the workplace sharp, and don’t whine about the inequalities of life and living. Co-workers may utter sympathetic murmurs and shake their heads sagely – nevertheless it can all feel overwhelming , relentless and solitary.

If you’re wondering whether that light at the end of the tunnel you see is relief in the future, think again – maybe it’s a train! Admonitions to “take care of you first” fall on our deaf ears – though we know that this truism makes perfect sense.
For someone else!

What fun to have a mini-holiday – run away to a remote cabin with no phone and just sleep, swim and paddle my own canoe!

This gauzy dream will be fulfilled this afternoon when I catch some zzzzz’s.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

According to the Straw Man……

(photo courtesy of Kenny Francis)

We’ve all heard stories of mid-life crises – both men and women have been known to self-inflict too many “what ifs” and “if only” thoughts that can feel anguishing. Stories number too many and impactful results are sometimes hard to overcome, including financial repercussions.

In the August 2, 2013 issue of the Toronto Star, columnist Carol Goar penned an article entitled Retirement choice is paramount for an aging population. She writes that “The notion of retiring at an arbitrary age – usually between 60 and 65 – is out of step with the needs and wishes of older Canadians” as stated by university economists Marcel Boyer and Sebastien Boyer. Hooray!!

The article also goes on to say that “to uphold living standards, forestall skill shortages and give older workers the flexibility they want, Canada will need policies that encourage people to upgrade their skills through their careers, take on new challenges in mid-life and curtail their hours of employment as their energy and mental acuity wanes”. Hooray!

Some of us feel that we don’t want to just put in time; we want to strive and live life to the fullest.

For me personally, the anticipation of future achievements counters the famous song lyrics from the Wizard of Oz -

          I would not be just a nuffin'
            My head all full of stuffin'
            My heart all full of pain
            I would dance and be merry
            Life would be a ding-a-derry
            If I only had a brain

…according to The Straw Man

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Stormy Weather…

Couples who have been together long enough to look back over a period of more than just a few years all have specific tales to tell. Sometimes the stories are humorous, or not.  A pursed-lips recount of travel plans gone awry or an unlovely vacation may feel scratchy, depending on the outcome.

Bouts of physical/mental illness or other challenging circumstances represent trying time for both parties, and I’ve heard it said that what appears to be a trivial incident long after is sometimes the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

When a marriage break-up occurs, it’s devastating – from observers’ points of view. A lot of tongues wagging about he said, she said… I knew it wouldn’t last… and sometimes astonishment - “they’re the last ones I ever thought this would happen to!”. Stories abound and surface from abundant sources; and opinions vary widely. Eventually the dust settles and the survivors each try to find their own way in a world they aren’t knowledgeable of. Resolution can be happy, sad or desperate.

A couple well-known to me seem to have weathered a lot of storms, a May-December marriage which presents age-related challenges for both. The wife chuckles about “grumpy old men” and he grumbles when things aren’t going his way. The restraints of longevity bring impatience – as it goes with many people there is a time when they just don’t want to bother or be bothered.

My own husband and I were recently chatting about well-meaning eulogies often heard at a funeral or alternatively, a celebration of life. Looping DVD collections of photographs are sometimes projected on a large-screen monitor, or easel-mounted collages displaying memories of happier times.

The task of composing and delivering an overview of the person’s life and accomplishments is not to be taken lightly – it can be daunting. Not only is there the challenge of maintaining one’s composure at a stressful time, the listeneners are attentive and hanging on every word! It feels important to speak kindly lest there be any inkling whatsoever of any less-than-loving remembrances.

I think that a celebration of life feels less somber and cloying.  Snuffles are less audible, feelings of shock or dismay may be less intense and there’s even a possibility of jovial laughter when “Remember the time….” starts a conversation.

Stormy weather is seemingly less memorable when the clouds have passed.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Promises, promises...


Collections of cosmetics are often accumulated when consumers are tantalized by the target-specific advertising promotions on T-V, magazine glossies, billboards and the like.

The rare and precious occasions that allow men or women to sit and leisurely browse are often coincident with feeling weary, overwhelmed and likely overcommitted.

The not-so-tight muscle tone, softer jawline and inevitable dark circles and puffy eyelids challenge our own perceptions of looking and feeling fresh and ready to take up the challenges of the day. Our “game face” is cleansed away before bedtime and re-applied in the unforgiving light of day, and we are eager to try out any recommended tricks and tips to alleviate and “improve”.

“Help! There’s a raccoon in my bathroom!” motivates us to make that conscious decision to try for a renewed, refreshed and more current look. In my own assortment I have at least four different eye-products to brighten and lighten the lids and dark circles. Great, so now they’re more noticeable because I’m obviously not applying the camouflage properly.

Let’s face it – both Barbie™ and Ken™ dolls have matured over the years – and collectors still love them with all the silly perceived faults.

Composer Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” lyrics don’t relate to physical appearance… anti-aging products are just promises, promises!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Fits ‘n Spurts…

The hilarity of inadvertent stumbles when in conversation sometimes go unnoticed by the participant who is speaking. The other party or parties included may chuckle silently, turn away in amusement or bite their own lip to avoid an outburst of laughter!

If the stumbler recognizes his/her own oops, their reaction may be not so amused – so it’s essential that we are thoughtful and considerate if the speaker has simply chosen a totally wrong word or massacred it!

While browsing through the newspaper flyers recently, a couple I know was discussing a newer plus-type protective underwear – and maybe it would be worth a try.  Subliminal advertising always tweaks one’s attention, and indeed the “new and improved, or plus” seems to imply that the product is better than before.

They decided that the next purchase of the necessary protection would be to give the featured item a try. Tongue in cheek, the wife related to me that her husband, in describing his circumstances, declared that incontinence was in fits ‘n spurts!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

“We’re in a new era, are you?”

This timely question was the subject of a recent e-mail from a real estate service provider. The question however can pertain to nearly everyone who’s in their third quarter of the employment or employable phase of their working life.

I recently had occasion to meet an inspiring young lady whose career is in the coaching field. Her zeal and determination to impart current skills to clients is so exciting! Social media, catch-phrases that we aren’t familiar with, and even the “how-tos” of cold-calling for new client opportunities can be overwhelming.

Whether we are business professionals, changing careers, or getting back into the work force we all have what are called “transferable skills”. In particular, I felt enthusiastic about new catch phrases – particularly in letter writing for business purposes, which are nouveau and of the new era.

Inter-generational marketing of ourselves clearly requires that we are in the know and current. Real estate professionals are encouraged to find a niche and focus on that aspect of their business – in some marketplaces however, such as Muskoka where I work, there are a wide variety of prospective buyers and sellers who have real estate needs.

Being familiar with and comfortable in the understanding of new lingo that is current gives us a sense of confidence and ability to integrate rather than being on the proverbial “outside looking in”.

Inspiration, for me, comes from the question “We’re in a new era, are you?” 

Friday, 19 July 2013

It’s The Secret…

I recently had occasion to overhear a woman commenting about a book that was assigned to Book Club – not a subject of her personal choosing but nonetheless to be discussed by attendees.
It was too much of a coincidence that I actually had an extra copy of the video – still unseen; and I had not read the book either.

Last week I was able to borrow this same book and sat down with intention to at least make some headway. Names of many contributors were familiar to me – I was surprised and delighted. Here are just a few who come to mind: Esther and Jerry Hicks (the Teachings of Abraham), Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup …series), Marie Diamond (Diamond Feng-Shui), and Norman Vincent Peale.
If you type in The Secret on Google™ there are refuting comments included from learned and effective people, well established in their own right.

Lest you feel derisive or disagreeable, the universal message is positivity in every way we can conjure it. We’ve all heard accounts close to home, and perhaps it’s happened to us, that a Random Act of Kindness has brightened someone’s day.
How “a smile is your umbrella…” or looking at life from the “sunny side of the street”.

Honeysweet smiley-face Emoticons in text or e-mail messages can be nettling (or not) – depending on who they are from or the subject matter! For me, the probabilities and pitfalls of feeling and looking downcast are far outbalanced by the promise of possibility.

 I have yet to finish reading Rhonda Byrne’s best selling 2006 book entitled The Secret, and will view the video afterward. The woman I overheard speaking somehow seems to have a brighter outlook…so who’s to say what?

The power of positive thinking, however mustered, manifests as a feel-good, do good emotional boost.

It’s The Secret.

Friday, 5 July 2013

A Double Take…

Television newscasters present a wide variety of subject matter to their viewers. The subject matter included in an hour-long program varies widely, and includes specific segments peppered in between with commercials.

Developing stories or follow-ups to yesterdays’ events keep people informed and in synch. Dinner table conversations following the early news can include the sharing of differing opinions, outright debates, or conservative deference to noisiness.

The world of Sports includes analyses, discussion and a lot of biliousness after the games are lost, players are traded, or free-agency is in place. All the what ifs, whens and whys is fodder for anyone who earns their living by encouraging dialogue and discussion.

The sputtering and exclaimed remarks might be thought of as philosophizing – last night I learned a new adjective however... A slip of an overly-excited tongue blurted out the word “fossilizing”; which indeed caused me to do a double take!

Friday, 28 June 2013

Hard-wired for problem-solving…

The June 24, 2013 issue of Woman’s World magazine offered tantalizing feel good/look good snippets. A paragraph on page 4 indicated that “men’s brains are not wired to pick up on the subtle facial clues that reveal how others are feeling”…This segued my brain to an oldie-goldie song that made #1 on the “Billboard charts” in 1954. Penned and published in 1953 by Edith Lindeman and Carl Stutz, it was made famous by songstress Kitty Kallen.

A part-time career many years ago found me playing easy-listening drums and singing pretty melodies, in harmony with my musician husband who was a professional pianist and composer in his own right. I still have a notebook of hand printed lyrics and several sheaves of Murray Graham’s arrangements and harmonies for duets! Among those is a wistful favourite which I think every woman would find inspiration in from time to time.

“Little Things Mean a Lot” is plaintiff and heart-wrenching…”Throw me a kiss from across the room, say I look nice when I’m not, Touch my hair as you pass my chair, Little Things Mean a Lot”.  The melody is easy to hum and the lyrics are as meaningful now as then.

In this day and age of hurry-hurry, 24/7, on-the-go incessantly and hardly a second to catch one’s breath, the Woman’s Day item concludes that all we have to do is “tell him how/what we’re feeling and what would make us feel better.” Sounds simple, but not consoling!

Who’dathunkit…..scientific studies indicate that men’s brains are wired to be problem solvers. 

Friday, 14 June 2013

It All Adds Up...

It all adds up…

There are more than 40 organized real estate boards in Ontario whose members provide ongoing support to the Realtors Care Foundation. The Foundation’s website Intro states that ”Bricks make a building solid, just as a house is built one brick at a time, our Foundation helps those in need.”

The REALTORS Care Foundation supports shelter-related charities in Ontario. Shelter is defined as a refuge, haven or protection that provides or improves quality of life from hunger, the elements, physical/psychological abuse, disabilities and illness.

Donations to the REALTORS Care Foundation make a real difference, supporting people and communities, changing the lives of those who rely on organizations that offer warmth, comfort and safety.

See for yourself the good works..

Also close to my heart is the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, which set a new fundraising records in support of women’s shelters across Canada. This is the largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to supporting women’s shelters and violence prevention and education.

Through salespeople’s commission donations and the fundraising activities of the Royal LePage network, over $14 Million had been raised.
Check out their website for details…

If you missed our Canada-wide Annual garage sale held in May, 2013, ask your local REALTOR® what events are scheduled in the coming months.

I am a proud supporter of both efforts all year, every year!

It all adds up!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Zip lining…

I was musing recently about the devil-may-care attitudes that some people profess - seeming to care naught a fig for the consequences of self-indulgent whims.

Para-sailing, scuba diving, spelunking or even hot-air balloon rides may be considered “dangerous” to one’s well being because of the possible risks; versus probabilities.  Young people and some not-so-young can readily being observed as either daring and fun or downright foolish! It all depends on one’s point of view.

Moving through the different stages of adulthood, sometimes our personal perspective alters. We may think from time to time – “who cares” if I do this or that. Responsibilities can lie heavy on one’s shoulders, and we observe an activity from afar but don’t participate in case something goes awry.

Designated beneficiaries of life insurance policies for example would be disappointed if their inheritance should fall through because the policyholder was stupid and negated the coverage by not adhering to the disciplines set out in small print. Choosing to take a chance could be costly, or not.

Travel photos of acquaintances who are “old enough to know better” are tangible memories of memorable holidays. Rainforest hikes, whitewater adventures, careening down a bobsled run or diving from high cliffs all prompt oohs and ahhs – it looks like such fun!

I have an uncle who, at the age of ninety-nine, was photographed gleefully propelling down a water slide. What of it – it was a blast – and impressive as well!
Selected and accomplished feats are indeed memorable – though a conservative interpretation could be that life is a ride anyway!

On my bucket list though, is to go zip lining!  

Friday, 31 May 2013

On The Run...

I recently saw a posting on™ of a woman who decided to take up running as a hobby within the past few years. This gal has made new friends and effectively has found her stride in a new lifestyle. Her post noted that she had signed up for her first marathon. 

I was thinking about how she has effectively set her sites on accomplishing a task that may not have been in the scheme of things just a few years ago. When raising a family, mothers are often the “go-to” person, especially if we were raised in a traditional 1950-60’s household where “Mom was the heart of the home and Dad was the head”. 

In a different season of adult life, there’s often a shift to thoughtfulness about making or taking more time for ourselves. An empty-nest seems to create a void that must be filled now that daily tasks and responsibilities may be reduced. 

It happens too often that ill health or other concerns come into one’s sphere, perhaps parents or spouse on one hand, and our children on the other. Any flicker of resentment is quelled then as we step again into the shoes of responsibility. Mine fit too comfortably – in fact I seldom take them off! 

If your shoes are run down at the heels, need to be buffed up, and sole savers applied, maybe it can be refreshing to take a different point of view. I realized with a wide smile that the now-single lady with a new lifestyle has just switched her footwear!  

When there seem to be still too few hours in the day and the list of Things to Do seems longer, I’m  now wearing imaginary spandex, layered tops under a sweatshirt, and sturdy shoes to both feel the part and perform the task of being “on the run”.


Friday, 24 May 2013

Unsung Heroes and Heroines…

Too frequently a family member, friend, neighbour or others we know are diagnosed with a serious ailment. That “news travels fast” is an understatement, and despite pleas for privacy - everyone is a-buzz.
Well-meaning offers of assistance, advice, carefully spoken encouragements or even probing questions can be nearly overwhelming!

After the proverbial dust settles and people are no longer so attentive, a routine may develop which involves a spouse or other caregiver from dawn to dusk, as well as interrupted sleep through the night to meet the needs of a loved one or patient who is unwell.

The prognosis may not be a guarded opinion or clearly terminal, there are many situations where caregivers toil courageously over long periods of time, the commitment seldom eases. Children may have any number of debilitating conditions and require ongoing attention and assistance; victims of accident might find their lives and lifestyle turned topsey-turvy; parents or partners may develop dementias; others may suffer the cruelty of incurable relentless conditions.

While television, print media and support-group efforts create an awareness not previously learned, until people walk in someone else’s moccasins as a selfless caregiver, there is only surmise, not knowing.

In-home caregiver family members can hardly participate in an exciting conversation about trivia or fun, the row they hoe is long, winding and fraught with challenges. A quick trip to the grocery store for food basics must be scheduled, time-frame predictable, and with backup in place!

Courageous men, women and children are all around us, seldom complaining – just doing what needs to be done. When we hear a radio account, view a television documentary or news clip, or read a magazine article about the intricacies of managing the task loads and keeping a steady hand on the tiller – let us be grateful for our own good fortunate and send good thoughts to the unsung heroes we may know of, haven’t yet met, or will never meet.

Friday, 17 May 2013

When The Going Gets Tough...

I think it’s probable that we have all found ourselves in the disconcerting situation where a friend or relative is faced with bereavement, job loss, divorce, or illness – to name just a few identified major life stressors.

We are usually quick to say “what can I do to help”, or, “if there’s anything you need, call me”. Even the most generous hearts and minds can feel stymied when it comes to stepping forward, perhaps with a hand up or a hand out. It’s sometimes awkward to find the right words, or worse – trepidation about saying something that will sit inappropriately.

If the response is stilted, it’s easier to back away rather than hold fast in our offer – probably the recipient of our goodwill is just as uncertain as we are! I love and treasure the sensitivity of this quote by Martin Luther King, Jr…
”The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Regardless of our personal opinions or convictions on disputable subjects, striving to retain our integrity and strength of character by not making unsolicited comments will always hold us in good stead. In this unrelenting world of work, busyness, socializing and family, it’s easy to get caught up in our own activities.
When you hear of someone who is struggling through mire, telephone or write a note and follow through.

Imagine how thrilled the recipient will feel when the going gets tough!

Friday, 10 May 2013

It's a crapshoot...

I had the pleasure yesterday of attending a matinee performance of the 1950 Broadway musical Guys and Dolls which was performed at the Algonquin theater in Huntsville. A wonderful production and many in the audience humming along to familiar melodies and lyrics!

Being of more recent vintage, I found myself recognizing crooned tunes such as “I’ll Know”, “If I Were a Bell”, “My Time of day”, and “I’ve Never Been in Love Before”. The freshness and wonder of new love likely touched everyone in the audience!

The ongoing ups and downs of Adelaide and her fiancĂ© Nathan Detroit hold true in today’s world – some things never change! A few quiet giggles and murmurings as people there related personally to the throes of romance.

Sinatra made “Luck be a Lady Tonight” his signature song! Whether we peer through rose-coloured glasses, swoon with anticipation or, conversely, are more matter-of-fact; love and loving can sometimes feel too fickle!

Whether the subject is gambling either with cards or your heart, “it’s a crapshoot”!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Magnetic Appeal...

Last night was one of those “tossing/turning, up and down” sleep interrupted nights for me!  And for this I blame my father…my brother does too! We all suffer(ed) often with those charley-horse leg cramps that make you roar out of slumber.
My grandmother (hmmm, maybe it’s her fault…) would stagger into the bathroom and put her knotted foot onto the surface of the cold floor. My brother’s relief is acquired by sitting on the toilet seat cover and applying his soles, with great athleticism, to the outer sides of the toilet bowl.
A colleague’s eyes opened wider when I was discussing my short sleep and how I invariably roll a cow magnet over my cramped tendon or leg muscle. It may not be scientific, but seems to bring relief for me.

If you aren’t familiar with a cow magnet, neither was she! These are readily available at a farm supply store – farmers use them to prevent cattle from digesting metallic objects the animals swallow while grazing. Google™ this for your own info and interest!

However convoluted the transition may feel, I reflect as always on the parallels to doing business as a professional REALTOR®. While foraging, it should be noted that I don’t habitually swallow nails, barbed wire or the like – though the “gut” feeling may be similar from time to time.  A tried and true remedy to “make the pathway pleasant and smooth for my clients” is extending magnetic appeal.

Friday, 26 April 2013

The Bear Went Over The Mountain...

This morning, when I noticed how the snow had shrunk quickly on a nearby ridge,
The chorus and melody of this group sing-along song came zooming to mind.
 My thoughts weren’t particularly of a bear visitor – but I did wonder how soon there would be meanderings with advisories in the still of the night by my muttering dog!

Childhood days for many of us included “campfire songs” sung in rounds – remember “Row, row, row your boat” and how we learned to pick up the lyrics at just the right moment so there were three or four voices in progression!  These memories from long ago are still clearly etched – and relate to the present as well!

The renditions were predictable and sometimes tedious, like everyday tasks that seem to go on and on; then begun anew! Even particular days of the week were sometimes allocated for washing, housework, baking, airing out the house or changing bed linens.
If we continue the traditions, maybe it would be fun to change things up and get out of the rut!

Too much time reminiscing about days of yore can render us foolish from others’ perspective if we are overheard humming about 100 bottles of beer, ants wearing rubber pants, and too many in the bed - “roll over!” .  Humming a cheery tune though  give us smiley faces and happy feet – a great way to get through any grey day.
What a fun experiment to see how many of our current friends or acquaintances would and could easily sing out!
It may be, as Spring comes, that  when people mingle  in social groups giggles will abound wherever “the bear went over the mountain”

Friday, 12 April 2013

Seeking Validation...

I recently viewed on TVO the classic 1987 movie “Moonstruck” which starred Cher and Olympia Dukakis, to name just a few. A favourite quote for me was when Rose (Olympia D.) spoke directly to her philandering husband, Cosmo -

“I just want you to know no matter what you do, you're gonna die, just like everybody else.”

Each different chapter of our life spans offers new experiences and opportunities for both growth of character and acquiring increased knowledge.I think that if we stall out it’s because we have chosen to, either subconsciously or consciously. Retiring from life and living is not age-dependent. Conversely, running from the inevitable is fruitless, and acting out or dressing inappropriately is attention seeking.

In the March 14, 2013 issue of the Toronto Star, columnist Bill Taylor has penned a great and truly appropriate read. Thanks for permission to include an excerpt.

            “I am officially an Old Person.
            It’s “official” because I have just turned 65 and qualify for Old Age Security — “the        cornerstone of Canada’s retirement income system ... provides you with a modest pension,” says Service Canada.
            But let’s just call it OAS, shall we? Let’s not rub my nose in the undisputed fact that I’m on a steadily steepening ski slope and I’ve lost my poles.
            That doesn’t mean I’ve lost my balance”.

When our hair colour is naturally silvered and our skin and/or body tone is not as firm or clear, we are not diminished, nor does it does not lessen the value we bring to others! 

Whoever we are, or wherever we may be, eliminate from your recommended list of daily “health supplements” the words Seeking Validation.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Smelling the Roses….

Attendees at a recent gathering of men and women who are members of a special interest group sparked an animated discussion surrounding a handout quiz measuring personal Stress Index. Some people preferred to complete the questionnaire at home while others scrambled for pen or pencil promptly.

Everyone knows somebody, possibly themselves, who is laboring under an intense pressure where relief or solution is neither immediate or within the foreseeable future. It may be illness and prescribed treatment, it may be financial, or any number of other possibilities.

Poet John Donne’s famous “No Man is an Island” excerpt from Meditation XVII applies to each and every one of us.  A too singular effort to resolve personal issues can render anyone to deep feelings of isolation or “aloneness” – yearning desperately to find a way to resolution.

Common expressions such as “thinking outside the box” are not easy to put into place when you’re boxed in to circumstances not of your own making – an example might be as caregiver of child or children, spouse, or parent. The journey is along and the road unforgiving. There is no visible “light at the end of the tunnel” and the burden is weighty. The options are few and the sense of obligation irrefutable. One woman I know doesn’t want to be crammed “into the box” – feeling apprehensive that she will be suffocated and lose her own identity – respite is, for this lady and most others, a dream.

Regardless of the source your stressors stem from, click on the link and find out what your Stress Index score is. If the light goes on for you a good move is to seek some participation that removes you to collaborating and benefitting from the fellowship others in similar situations can gift to you; and you to them!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

In a Jiffy…..

This is an expression that some may remember from several decades ago!
If you have sufficient years under your belt, like me, you’ll be part of the one of two generations - known as either Veterans (1922-1945) or Baby Boomers (1945-1965) !

The insights and expertise of cross-generational marketing experts advises that Veterans “value authority, loyalty, and expertise” and Baby Boomers are “results-driven, trendy and technologically adept”.

For each and every one who lives in or near the District of Muskoka, I’d like to recommend a local service provider that offers appeal and fulfillment of any customer-service needs you find ideal.

The parts warranty on my vehicle has expired, but I’ve been faithful to the brand and continued to have my scheduled service at the dealership. Last week, after a couple of appointment glitches on my own part, I decided to visit a local garage for a slightly overdue oil change.

As a REALTOR®, my motto of “making the pathway pleasant and smooth for my clients” is synonymous to a mission statement. As a consumer, I value the expertise of others, offer loyalty when it is earned, and anticipate results-driven client service.

So here’s the parallel – my first visit convinced me that I’m a customer for life. The service providers at the Jiffy Lube franchise on Taylor Road in Bracebridge wowed me with their integrity, personable manner and up-front, on the line quality of performance.  Plus, you’ll be in and out in a jiffy!

Friday, 22 March 2013

“Pitter-patter, let’s get at ‘er”…

In early spring when we’re either deluged with rain or buffeted by wind and snow, it still feels like the waiting time will be long for better weather! Even the old adage “April showers bring May flowers” isn’t much consolation when it’s grey!

My high school motto was “carpe diem” – otherwise understood as seize the day; it’s a perfect lead-in to sunshine and flower time! If you’ve been toying with thoughts of make some lifestyle changes it can be an excellent exercise to review, refresh and ratify your ideas.  

Hand print a single idea on an old-fashioned recipe card (if you have any) or on a piece of stiff paper. You’ll need one card for each idea, each cut to the same size. It’s unlikely you’ll have enough to shuffle together, nonetheless, arrange them face up on a surface where you won’t have to disturb them. Over the next few days, arrange and rearrange the cards until you have them in a step by step order or priority. Voila – your plan now has form and substance!

If you’re thinking of downsizing, for example, make up cards for:

1)  Clear bedroom closet

2)    Clear other closets

                                  Set aside what you don’t want, need or use anymore.

3)    Get some packing boxes from grocery store, liquor store,
 UPS or FedEx stores.

4)   Service club or churches

                     Is there a winter coats/boots or other clothing collection services?

5)  Workshop

                          Too many tools or equipment? Sort and set aside, give away

6)  Garage

7) China Cabinet

                    If you aren’t entertaining on a large scale keep only what you use

8) Good china/dishes

9)     Furniture & Linens

                   Consignment shops, new and used stores or Habitat for Humanity,Salvation Army,                   other family households, neighbours

These are just a few of many ideas you’ll come up with.

“Pitter-patter, let’s get at ‘er”…

Friday, 15 March 2013

Creating a Dream Catcher...

Throughout the ages, people everywhere have embraced the beliefs of many aboriginal nations whose imageries and rituals feel meaningful in this world where life at full-speed, can feel demanding and unrelenting.

It can feel difficult to make sense of the challenges we may encounter and how to continue on our way, whomever we are and wherever we may live. Symbolism can be seen swinging from the rear-view mirror often – in the form of medals, rosaries, furry dice, and dream catchers, to name just a few.

The true Native American tradition and authenticity of hand-crafted dream catchers evolved into popular modern day use over the past two decades as decorator items in one’s home – with the original interpretations skewed. Nonetheless, creating one’s own dream catcher with personal symbols can be a meaningful representation of one’s own dreams in real life. Still hanging at home is my personal version- which includes a baby tooth from my husband, a replica of a canoe depicting camping excursions, a shiny ore nugget from Sudbury, a family signet ring and a smoothed “medicine stone”

Several years ago when illness brought unwelcome events to my home, two unsolicited packages received by mail each contained a small dream catcher – the significance was appreciable!

Our hopes for the future, business intentions, and personal aspirations can all be visualized in the form of a dream catcher – see the good being retained and the undesired aspects filtering through the web ties and gone forever.

Instead of counting sheep or other symbols when sleep eludes, create your own dream catcher!