Monday, October 19, 2009


The last 16 months of my life have brought to light for me a lot of new things about myself, maybe not all new, but things I'd at the very least forgotten. I've had some moments that I'm not so proud of and others that I'm quite proud of. I'm a strong person and I think I always have been, but along the way I lost some of that. In some areas of my life I never had it to begin with. I'm realizing that in so many situations I will stand up for others and for what I believe in, but when it comes to going to bat for myself and taking control of my life, I often avoid it. I worry too much about who it might effect and how it might effect them, putting aside what it's doing to me in favor of not hurting the other person.

Part of learning these things about myself is I've done a much better job of establishing personal boundaries. This is a first for me, I've always lived kind of fast and loose. I'm a more valuable person than what I've let myself think I was in the past. I've sold myself short thinking that people... men in particular... would only ever want something to do with me if that's who I was. It's been a hard road to travel and it's taken me about 32 years to discover that's not true. And if it is true, those people aren't worth it. This last year has been hard. But they say that which doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I'm stronger now than I was a year ago. Not any less scared of what's to come or where life is going, but I'm stronger and that's important to me. Knowing that I'm making positive strides forward and that I'm learning more about myself every day has been very empowering. If I could bottle it up and sell it, I'm pretty sure I'd be a millionaire. My hope is that some day I'll tell someone my stories, one of the teens I work with or even my own children, and they'll be able to learn from my mistakes and be able to make more positive choices for themselves. I don't know if it will happen, I don't expect that it will. But I believe I'm in the right kind of job, doing exactly the kind of work I should be doing and surely my life experiences will benefit me in the workplace at some point. Either through sharing my highs and lows or just being able to lend a sympathetic ear because I understand what the person talking to me is going through.

amor y paz,

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Adventures in gardening

So I decided this year I wanted to plant a vegetable garden. It's something I've been wanting to do for a while, but decided to go through with it. Yay! There's the background for the start of my story.

So the weather's been getting nicer and I've been so happy to open windows and let fresh air into the house. Yesterday was no different. I got home from work after running some errands and picking Aidan up from school. As I'd woken up insanely late in the morning and not been able to shower, I thought before going to pick up the girls, I'd hop in the shower. Before that I decided to open windows and doors to enjoy the weather. The windows in my bedroom were open wide! I happily jumped in the shower and relaxed in the heat and steam. I got out of the shower and walked into my room and thought something smelled kind of off, but didn't think much more than that.

I finished getting ready and Aidan and I were off to pick up the girls and go grab some supper. Good times. We eat, we get home, we're chilling out... and then it's bedtime. Aidan goes to brush his teeth and when he comes back out to the living room and tells me the girls want the windows closed. Sure no problem. I walk into the bedroom and it smells AWFUL! Like something has curled up and died in the walls. I closed the windows and made sure to tell Maggie that she probably didn't want to open her windows, because I'm quite positive that whatever that smell is, it's coming from outside our house. Maybe it's all of the leaves left over from last fall decomposing? I don't know, but I'm planning to plant the next day anyway, so I figure I can just rake some leaves while I'm working on my garden.

My mom had agreed to help with the gardening and called me first thing this morning to figure out our plan for the day. We both have some errands to run and decide we should just do them together. Errands completed we return to my house. It's stinking cold outside this morning and I was not dressed well for being outside, so I came inside to get a sweatshirt. While doing so, I happened to glance out my window and what did I see? A dead raccoon. So I wasn't wrong about something curling up and dying! I for sure want to move this dead thing away from my window, so that I can actually have my windows open again sometime this summer. I go outside and grab one of the shovels that my mom has brought over for us to use. A small garden shovel mind you. I walk over to the dead raccoon and as I'm walking over there, I can already smell the stench that is this dead, rotting animal, and it's pretty nasty!

I tried to get the raccoon onto the shovel and only accomplished flipping it over. I thought the smell was bad before, OMG! I had to step away from the raccoon and came incredibly close to vomiting all over right then and there. Meanwhile, my mom is standing over to the side, laughing so hard she can barely stand up, let alone be any help whatsoever! I tried again a couple of times with the small shovel, all the while trying to hold my breath and not throw up the lunch I'd just eaten. I then decided it was time to get a bigger shovel. I got a snow shovel and still had some difficulty getting the raccoon onto it, but eventually got it. I then proceeded to carry the thing to the back of the property and throw it into the woods. The wind was working with my on the walk back to the woods, I couldn't smell a thing. But after I'd thrown the raccoon into the woods, I turned around to head back toward the house and was just about bowled over by the stench that apparently left a trail behind me. At that point, my stomach decided it'd had enough and I lost my lunch. dead raccoon: 1 - Elise: zero...

Oh and in the process of planting the garden... Ainsley was squirted twice with grub guts. It was one interesting process. :)

amor y paz,


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Finding me

Come to me, all you who are troubled and weighted down with care, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and become like me, for I am gentle and without pride, and you will have rest for your souls; For my yoke is good, and the weight I take up is not hard. - Matthew 11: 28 - 30

I have no idea what I think about religion or God or spirituality or any of that. But it's funny that what often gives me comfort are often related to these aspects. This verse came to me the first time at a time in my life when I was really struggling with many aspects. Being a mom, being a wife, being a church youth sponsor, being a daughter... all of these things that I thought people had expectations for what it meant for me to be these things. But what does that even mean? Being worried about what I thought other people thought I should be was such a hard way to live. I was setting myself up to fail and to be continually stressed in a major way. And I was.

The first time I read this verse it was a such a light bulb moment for me. Regardless of what I thought about religion, regardless of what I thought about God, here was this verse reaching out to me, telling me that there was something out there willing to take on some of these burdens that I had taken on myself. It made me realize I was taking on burdens that weren't even really there. It was part of what started the realization that I am a legitimate person as I am. I am an amazing person, talented and smart, energetic and enthusiastic, passionate and caring, selfless and giving... but that it's also fine for me to have the moments when I am selfish and self-absorbed, bitchy and uncaring. It doesn't make me less of positive person that I am the majority of the time if I have the moments of self-doubt and bitchiness.

In some ways all of these things sound horribly conceited, but that's not my intent. Everyone should realize what their strengths are and what makes them the amazing people that they are. We all have different gifts and passions, it's what keeps life interesting. It'd be pretty boring if we were all the same and all liked the same things. I guess this is my way to encourage people to find who they are and love that person.

amor y paz,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So many changes

This has been a seriously crazy 7 months. Things are going really well, but I sort of feel like I can't catch my breath. I don't really enjoy the monotony of routine, or at least traditionally I haven't. But now I find myself kind of craving that exact monotony. At least when it comes to work. It's really scary not knowing from week to week if I'm going to be able to get enough work in to be able to pay my bills. Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy that I actually have a job, so many people don't even have that right now, but I don't know how much better the uncertainty of week to week is.

This month has been an interesting transition as well. I really like having a roommate, it's nice not to feel so lonely. It has been a bit more stressful getting used to a roommate again on top of having my children though. We're still getting used to each other and my kids, while they are generally good kids, are going through a lot of transition too, and it's been hard for them. They're excited about having a new person in their lives. They're scared about the changes that seem to keep happening. I would just kind of like things to normalize so we can all get used to being together again and enjoy that time. I don't feel like I've been a very good mom. I'm too short with them. They're just kids. They have so little control over what goes on around them. I can hardly blame them for feeling totally out of control right now.

And then there's just my life. I've figured a lot out for myself and am feeling really good, better than I have in years really. But it's definitely an adjustment, this whole being single thing. I know without a doubt that I am in no way interested in a committed relationship now, but I do want companionship. I've spent too much of my life validating who I am as a person through the relationships I've been in. Then I hit 27 and had no clue who I was. I want to be my own person. So I'm trying to be my own person and hang out with people who can allow me to do that and whom I can also allow to do so. Whether it's just friends or whatever.

It's rocky waters, trying to navigate the fine line between, hey I'd like to hang out and what is dating. I mean let's face it, I've never been a person who dates casually or just hangs out. I've always either been single or in a relationship, and really most of the time I've been in a relationship. And of course on top of all of that, I have my kids to consider. I don't want to just be hanging out with friends and I know that that's all it is, but my kids feel like it's something more. They are so easily attached to people. And in these past few months of constant changes, they're looking for stability. So many things to consider.

I'm looking forward to February and having the chance to express myself again through theater. It feeds my soul and I am a better person for doing it. Maybe I'll figure some more things out in the process. It's hard to change who I am after all of these years. But I do know that I'm a better person for having figured out more of who I am. And I will be better for my children and for any future friendships, relationships.... things in the future. For now, I guess that's good enough.

amor y paz,