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New Site!

Hey guys, yes yes I know what I said.

But I’m not back for long, just wanted to swing by to give you a link to my new fiction blog, Tales From the Trunk.

Writers often call stories and books that never make it to the publishers, their “Trunk Stories” these are the ones that basically don’t make the cut. I’ve got a plethora of them hidden in the deep dark corners of my laptop which gave me the idea for my newest blog site. With a little shining and some heavy editing work I will whip those babies back into shape and put them out there for all to read!

Now Friends, I want to remind you that I’m strange and I really like strange stuff (it enthrals me) I like strange reading. So naturally my writing is going to be a little strange too. Okay it is a lot strange and dark and weirdly therapeutic. For the last few days as I’ve been spit-shining these tales up and I continue to wonder what section of my brain they are being birthed from and if I should be worried about such imagery that’s busts forth.

Of course I’m not worried, I’m embracing this new adventure of writing wizardry. And I couldn’t be more excited for what is to come.

So please, if you enjoy the odd short story pop by Tales From the Trunk and take a browse!

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To Whom it May Concern,

 

If my life were the water that fills a five gallon bucket I would currently be overflowing. Between my beautiful husband, kids and our family business I have about a 2 inch depth left for writing. And that’s okay; that is more than enough to work with…until I want to focus on growth.

A few days ago Sophie told me that she didn’t want me to write on the computer about her anymore. It came to me as a shock and at first I wanted to cry because that is what The Blogging Mama’s foundation has been built upon. It’s right there in the name for fuck sakes. What the hell am I going to do now? I thought.

I always told myself that as soon as the kids said that they wanted me to stop writing about them I would. No questions asked. But I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Well it is and now I have to come to terms with it.

However it’s a good thing someone up there is looking out for me and my compulsion to string sentences together or I’d be a bloody headcase right now. The entire point of writing is, A) because I couldn’t not write and B) because everyone needs something that reminds them of who they are.

A few months ago I really started going strong with some fictional short story writing. It is going well despite the fiction market being a tough barrier to breach-worlds more so than non-fiction platforms. After all anyone can write a funny blog about parenthood (well, mostly anyone) but it takes some special (Steve King) talent to transform an entire world into fictional lore over someone’s home computer screen. Ahem, challenge accepted I do say.

Which brings me back to the damn bucket. Yeah of course I could keep writing funny stories about me, Jamie and the shop. I could perhaps slip a few quips in regarding the small humans. I could keep doing what I’m doing and stay the same forevermore.

Or, I could try something different. Hone in on a new set of literary skills. Follow every urge in my body that is screaming at me to challenge myself to see what the results could bring. Maybe I am not made for fictional writing. Maybe I just won’t make the cut. But if so, at least I will have tried. At least I will know as I lay dying and decrepit on my hospital bed in 60 years from now (I’m very healthy) that I put myself out there and I did all I could do.

So with that my friends I bid you adieu, for now at least. I am going to take an indefinite hiatus from The Blogging Mama in hopes of finding the time, energy and creative well in which to pen a new kind of story.

Adios Amigos, I’m sure we will meet again (because I’m going to use most of you as fictional characters in my cool new stories. MWAH MWAH MWAH—evil laughing: going to have to work on that.)

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The Fundamentals of Making Future Friends

I’m not socially awkward in a wearing dark clothing and mumbling in tongues kind of way…actually, it is quite the opposite. Which may be worse. I don’t really know yet.

I’m okay at taking orders and playing it cool at work. You know, mention the weather and talk about the weekend festivities, boring monotonous small talk I can do—begrudgingly.

It’s when that special thing happens and I feel a click with a fellow human being that things tend to get a little strange.

Have you ever met someone and within minutes of talking with them you’re thinking, “I like you! Now Imma be your best friend.”

 

You start imagining the two of you on a bowling team rocking out in eighties style bowlers shirts with a wacky name like, “Lord of the Pins” or “Ball Burners.” High fiving and drinking beer. Oh how wonderfully odd it would all be since you don’t even like bowling!

No? This never happens to you? Huh, I see. I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry.

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Happens to me on the daily. I get super creepy about it too. I start making all kinds of deep and intimidating eye contact. Really just getting right in there because I feel like if I look at my target hard enough I will be able to tell if they want to be friends too. I’m not going to lie, hasn’t worked yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m close to perfecting the method. I’ll tell you about it when I do.

If staring at them wasn’t bad enough, I start babbling. Small talk doesn’t cut it when it comes to the friendships of Lindsay’s. I don’t want to know how your damn weekend was Best Friend. I want to know what your political views are; let’s fight about it for a while then agree to disagree and come out of our conversation both a little better for having expanded our brains and mindsets.

I want to hear about your views on all of the hot topics in the world today. What sparks passion ablaze in your soul? What gets you talking and doesn’t allow you to shut up? And more importantly than most anything else, do you watch Doctor Who? Are you a 10 or an 11? Me, personally I’m an 11 kind of gal. I just can’t get past the whole Doctor, Amy, Rory team—greatest trio in television history. Oh how my hearts (I wish) swell when I think of those three. And well, now that we’re on the subject, can we please talk about the fabulous River Song? I mean, if I could be one woman in all of the fictional world…Yep obviously it’d be her. Oh the adventures! But I shan’t say too much because, you know, spoilers.


 

Wow, okay so that paragraph sort of got away on me there. Ahem, I apologise especially if you have no idea who, in fact, the Doctor is. That was just a bunch of wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey stuff. Jesus, what am I doing here? I’m sorry I have a serious fandom problem—nothing a little fish sticks and cust…OKAY, I’m seeking help.


 

Back to the question at hand though, so what does one do when they are trying to drag out all of this intimate and vital information from their future friend of fantastical proportions? Well duh, you start talking about really really personal stuff that’s happening in your own life. Obviously, they will reciprocate the sentiment and the two of you will become the Bestie Bests while revealing your innermost secrets within the first few hours of meeting. It’s not brain science guys.

I do like to make a habit of taking my own advice whenever possible. So when attempting to befriend a person I fancy I will begin by staring at them in an intense manner. keeping in mind to smile, because people like smiles.

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This picture has not been distorted…That’s just my face.

I then proceed to ramble about what brought Jamie and me here to the city and what our goals and aspirations are in this great big universe. Often I will tell them my woes of living with psoriasis and how I forget things quite often. I will divulge my love for watching cats videos on You-Tube right off the bat because, who doesn’t love a good ol’ cat VS cucumber vid?! And I use words like universe, humans and fantastical a lot while engaging in said conversation.

So in conclusion you guys, if you ever happen to be in my midst and I start acting like this, I’m not having some sort of an episode or anything I simply want to be your friend.

I’m not saying that my friend finding technique works every time, but there are a group of select weirdos peppered throughout time and space who’ve succumbed to my peculiar bonding rituals. For that small wonder I will always be thankful.

We sail through this life with premeditated and superficial conversation at the tip of our tongues. It’s called common courtesy and I suppose it’s something we must all pander to sometimes.

But isn’t it a beautiful thing when, occasionally, life plops in front of you a fellow human who wants to chat about something a little more significant? Never take that for granted. It could be the beginnings of an exquisitely unusual friendship.

“I hate having to do small talk. I’d rather talk about deep subjects. I’d rather talk about meditation, or the world, or the trees or animals, than small, inane, you know, banter.”

-Ellen DeGeneres

 

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The Working Joe and The Human Condition

Something sad and not at all nice is going on guys. I’ve been noticing it more and more as I progress deeper into my role of Panini Provider for the People.

But before I get into that I want to tell you about a “study” I read a while ago—I put this in quotations because quite frankly I’m not sure if one can consider it a “study” when the suggested posts under it had titles like, ‘drinking copious amounts of beer now reveal health benefits’ and ‘scientists can now tell if someone is gay or straight by the dilation of their pupils’. If I was ever going to use the hashtag #facepalm it would most certainly be right now.

Anyhoo, regardless of what you want to call it, the thingy I read told me that it is no longer politically correct to ask someone what they do for a living…Like, are you fucking kidding me right now?

No no, it is now bad form to inquire as to what your new small talk buddy partakes in during the daily grind because their answer may or may not be “cooler” than your answer. THUS hurting their oh so fragile feel-bads.

There are reasons upon reasons why people choose the jobs they choose. Sometimes it’s for the passion it evokes in them. Sometimes it’s for the security it provides. Sometimes it’s because they just really really like working with small rodents or dynamite or whatever. Most of the time, if you ask someone what they do there is usually a pretty sweet/funny/semi-interesting story to go along with it. Humans are remarkable that way; we are forever selling mundane antidotes as interesting tales of adventure. Writer of this blog…prime example.

If you ask me, as long as you’re earning an honest living, then you’re doing pretty damn well in my books.

However *holds pointer finger up in exaggerated motion* not everyone feels this way.

Not everyone deems “The Working Joe” as a respectable way to earn a wage. I know this because I’ve seen it first hand and it makes me realise how innocent questions like, “What do you do?” can be made into a hurtful faux pas.

For the most part when a customer comes in, Jamie and I are able to talk with them, get a few laughs and all around have a glorious 5 to 10 minutes of chatter while we cook them up the greatest sandwich in the world. And sometimes the exact opposite thing happens.

A customer will stroll in and look the place up and down. They will see Jamie and me awaiting their arrival from behind the counter and begrudgingly address our cheerful, “HELLO!” with an uninterested, “Hey” of their own. They will look at the menu boards and choose a sandwich all the while trying their damnedest not to make eye contact with us because that could mean talking and stuff.

They will stare awkwardly out the window pretending not to acknowledge our presence. Even though both Jamie and I are undeniably loud at existing. Always have been, can’t help it. 

And that’s fine. Sometimes people just really don’t want to deal with the small talk of strangers. I get that. I can admire that even. Here I am HAVING to be the chipper chicken (where did I come up with that one, I astound myself sometimes) day in and day out! It’s exhausting.

But what I don’t get, what really burns me up, is when the people who come in acting this way completely and utterly change their attitude towards Jamie and me when they find out that the shop we are working in is actually ours. 

All too soon we’ve become exciting. Now we seem worthy of their conversation. And it makes me gasp, gasp I say, with shock. Why is business owner Lindsay more appealing than cashier Lindsay? Why is it now in their interest to be civil and kind to me when moments ago my reality bored, perhaps even annoyed them? How could the mere title of my job have changed their opinion of me so drastically?

So my end conclusion is that “studies” one finds on the internet are weird but sometimes can hold some weight when splattered onto the right framework. But mostly they are probably lame. But *again with the exaggerated finger* being the asshat that belittles a fellow human for working a job that in their stilted definition deems ‘dead end’ is by far a thousand times lamer.

So please, next time you find yourself out and about rubbing shoulders with society tell your stories, be weird, make the mundane look beautiful and most importantly show the asshats how spectacular the human condition truly is.

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The Art of Generosity

My parents are coming, my parents are coming!! This is the single most looping thought I’ve had all morning. They are coming to see me (I guess the kids and Jamie too) and I couldn’t be any more excited. Well, I could be but I have to save some energy for work today.

Colleen and Dan Sawyer are pretty much the greatest parents in the entire fucking universe! The proof is in the pudding (did I just actually use that phrase!?) when it comes to how unbelievably supportive they’ve been through our current year’s life changing events.

As you well know these last few months have been trying. There were times when we weren’t sure we would be able to pay the bills and moments where failure was a precipice we tottered on often.  I would call my sister-in-law and tell her my woes.  I would cry to my brother about how scary this thing we were doing was. I would straight up avoid talking to Mom and Dad because I didn’t want them to see how unsure I was about absolutely everything in our life.

However, like families do, when Dust and Ashley would be over at my parents for dinner the topic of Jamie and I and our panini problems would surely come up. Nothing malicious, just general concern about how we might be doing all the way down here in the thick of the Southern Alberta heat. Literally and metaphorically.

Except Dad, he would hold strong in his resolve that we will be just fine. Dad is and always will be the voice of reason when things start getting dramatic (something that can happen quite often with me and Moms active imaginations). He would say, all they need is to get the word out, it is going to happen for them. It’s all about word of mouth.

One thing about my dad is when he is not dreaming up some outlandish plan of action he can be impossibly logical. He’s wonderful like that.

So the day I phoned my parents to tell them we had to close early because we sold out of all of our food at the shop, the words did not come as a surprise to them.

As I told Daddio how busy we’ve been and how the people of this city seem to be falling in love with our sandwiches I could hear a smile on his face. This was quickly interrupted however with ideas and thoughts on how to keep up stock and prep so closing shop early doesn’t have to happen again. Better to be open and making green than closed because we were not prepared adequately. Oh how I adore that guy!

As usual Mom had a plethora of questions to ask about the shop. From how early I go in in the morning to what kind of characters we meet on a daily basis. My mom, like me, is a junkie for people. Who will they be? What quirks make them tick? She wants to know what fascinating history has brought them to where they are today. And she will indeed get this information out of them, in the most subtle of ways all the while making a person feel like they are undoubtedly the most important human on the face of the planet.

Her enthusiasm when it comes to me, Jamie, the kids and astounds me. She has this unbelievable way of making us feel like we are doing god’s work. Even if it is just pressing paninis for a living. We spoke for hours that morning on the phone. After I hung up I realised that I need to call them more. Talking with them brings me this extraordinary feeling of triumph. An overall sentiment that is better than it was before I heard their voices.

Besides the hundreds upon thousands of life lessons my parents have taught me, one that sticks out as I sit here today is the lesson of generosity. This, they have shown me time and time again. Generosity doesn’t have to come from a bank statement or a wallet. The kind of generosity my mom and dad have so aptly doled out to my brother and me over all of these years comes from a kind and steadfast spirit. That extra push saying that you can and in fact will do what you’ve set out to do. Their generosity has been as simple yet profound as building our confidence up (sometimes to, perhaps, obscene levels) when everyone else is rooting for us to flop.

Generosity is an art. If you give and then immediately feel you need something in return I’m sorry to break it to you but you’re doing it wrong. Generosity is about giving what you can without expectation. It is about being rewarded by the knowledge that you’ve done something good. And true generosity is a beautiful thing. It proves that there is still so much good in this world, in the human race.

Now, as I sit here and read over these words my heart is eager to see the two people who have selflessly had a hand in giving us the strength and confidence to make it to where we are today.

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Dream It

It was less than a year ago when The Hot Wire was just a silly idea drifting in and out of two dreamer’s brains. But when dreams become reality; this is the stuff of magic. My husband and I are dreamers you see, we always have been. We sit up late, sometimes drinking beer and eating popcorn, and always talking about the things that may be one day. It is some of my favourite moments with him.

Do you know that feeling that comes over you when you just know that you are on your (and I really mean your) right path? I don’t know about you but it will start out as the faintest tingling in the very deep of my gut. A flood of positivity becomes my brain—waylaying the creatures who say I cannot achieve what I am setting out to do. They are left where they stand, ignored and forgotten–just as they should be. It is a strength that resides firmly in my chest. Said strength moves me to reach further, do better and try harder in achieving my goals. It is a resolve that is impossible to ignore.

And it is one of the very greatest feelings a human being can have.

Some people will live their life telling you to, “get your head out of the clouds” or to, “stop dreaming your life away.” I say NO! Absolutely do not remove your head from that mass of condensed water vapour floating in the atmosphere! Dream and imagine, write it all down and back it up! BACK IT UP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! Then, once you’ve got your game plan, once there is nothing left to imagine, go out and do. Be the dream because as impossible as it may seem sometimes, “there is always a way out” (that was a Doctor Who reference for all the laypeople out there).

Anyways, what I’m really trying to say is please, I beg of you, follow those beautiful, impractical, adventurous, tentative dreams.

There will be shitty, I mean REAL shitty days along the way. There are points in which I worry that we might fail. Maybe we will fail. Maybe we will fail at achieving this dream in this particular way. Perhaps we will have to pack up and begin again. We will have to look for the alternatives and brainstorm and inspire to be better. But that is just part of the game. That is the process. 

Whether you attain what you are looking for the very first shot or you must try over and over again until you get it right—I promise you, it will be worth it. To know that you had only a glimmering of an idea in your mind and to bring that minuscule thing to fruition is a true marvel. It is a striking thing to know you’ve achieved.  

The other day Jamie and I got this little note in our comment jar.

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I can’t really explain to you how much significance this piece of orange paper with words on it holds for me. It WAS me only a few months ago. It was us. Unsure of how to move forward but hopeful that there was something to move forward to.

Now there are so many moments where I find myself silently thanking the forces that be in assisting Jamie, Lars, Sophie and I in what has been our most crazy, uplifting, insane adventure yet. And we will keep on doing what we do. Despite the pit stops and the delays. We will find a way to keep moving on.

And my hope is, that the writer of this note along with anyone else who has ever had a dream can find the grit and guts to do the same.

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Wednesday Rambles

 

The house has a muggy calm about it this morning. Today is supposed to be devastatingly hot and I’m not entirely sure I am ready for it. I’m not entirely sure I am ready for anything anymore. For someone who used to be chronically prepared for just about everything, I’ve sort of dropped the ball lately.

Maybe it’s the heat. Or maybe it’s my brain being overloaded with menial tasks. Perhaps it’s my brain being overloaded with all of the non-menial tasks that’s getting me down. The worries and what-ifs about the future. I find myself daydreaming all of the time about what’s to come.

Like, I wonder when that multi-billionaire is going to stroll through the doors of The Hot Wire and give us an offer right then and there that we can’t refuse. He will say something along the lines of, “Boy Howdy I do declare this is the best éclair I’ve ever eaten!” or “Well, I tell you what, I’ve never seen a more original and downright delightful sandwich shop in my whole dang life.” I am imagining this person to be from the Deep South with an accent reminiscent to Foghorn J. Leghorn.

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However right here and now I am reminded that none of this has actually happened yet. A wall of heat is currently pressing up against my back and I feel as though I may be slowly melting away into oblivion. I do hope it’s not so hot there.

Usually I don’t mind the heat. I like to bask or whatever. But working in a kitchen when it is 30 above, I’ve come to discover, is most likely the closest impression of Hell that any human being will ever know.

I literally just turned around to see if I could physically see what the “heat” looks like. I am assuming that because it is so god-damn hot in here (at 6 am) that surely I would be able to spot its wrath. I’m really considering stripping down to the buff and going to sit in the cool garage for a few before I head off to work.

Okay by now I’m sure you guys are asking yourselves where in the good and glorious name of Jeebus am I going with this blog post?

Well, to put it right out there; I’ve been a bit of an asshole lately. I’ve pretty much been the assholiest asshole in the history of assholes (but not the literal kind…because that would be shitty. Ha!)

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In these last few weeks I’ve pulled away. I’ve withdrawn because let’s face it, things got scary and things got hard. We were struggling to get the business where we needed it and doubt plus many misgivings were running rampant. I stopped calling my friends and family because I just didn’t have anything positive to say. I didn’t text, and when they texted me I shot back with insincere one word answers.

Assholery I tell you, pure assholery.

Now, it is time for an apology! I’m sorry dear loved ones…I love you all. Love, love, love, love and some more love. Yes, this is in fact my idea of an apology. They’ll get it.

The smouldering and fiery facts—that accompany my current state of sweltering alive—are that I was a little depressed for a brief moment there, and it scared the holy molies out of me.

But then one day not too long ago something happened and although it doesn’t solve all of our “starting a business stresses” it gave me that little bit of oomph I was in need of to get up and get on.

A dude sitting in the shop so very nonchalantly muttered to his Panini one random day, “I love you. I never want you to end.” And in that moment our suspicions about failure vanquished. We realized that we have something here, something good. It was about at that time when grandiose delusions of talking roosters paying us millions to franchise our panini palace came into play.

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Maybe that’s a little much, I don’t know.

What I do know is that I cannot allow the down days to affect the relationships in my life. Our humans, the ones who get us through the everyday, are our everything. There are going to be bad days. Days when the bread doesn’t rise and the cakes all fall. There will be days when the equipment brakes. When the kids act up and lash out. There will be days when we want to tell the whole entire world to just fuck right off.

And then, there will be days when we find a grown ass man telling his panini that he loves it. There will be days when we feel invincible. Some days we will find that we have the ability to do just about anything.

These are the days we must hold tightly to. The days that remind us that we are doing something wonderful and fulfilling.

Some may even go as far to say; these, are the days of our lives.

*mic drop.*

Lindsay Out.

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Life: Open For Business

So going back to work has been a bit of a learning curve.

You know, I really didn’t think it was going to be that difficult to get back into the swing of things. I imagined I would breeze in there all like, oh yeah I’m Queen Bee of working and moming and I am the master of both my domains!

**followed by exaggerated maniacal laugh. **

Except this is not at all how it has been going.

Every day I drag my tired screaming body out of bed and wonder what the fuck I’ve gotten myself into. I think about how easy my previous life was in comparison. I fondly reminisce about all of my worry-free days of stay-at-home mom-ery and I fawn over those memories with longing.

However after a cup of coffee, I punt myself back into reality while I slather on some mascara and get on with life-as does every other person on the planet.

I do the mornings at the shop while Jamie does the long afternoons. I can’t complain. Jamie typically bests my nine hour shifts by two or three hours more each day. He almost lives there. But I do complain, a lot. Not about the fact that I’m tired and I am having a difficult time getting into a routine—these things will come. I complain about the tiny, minuscule things I miss about the ‘before times’.

I miss Sophie’s haphazard and dazed look when she awakens and trudges her way upstairs in search of cereal. I miss the way Lars would hide around the corner of the kitchen only to yell, “GOOD MORNING MOM!” as loud as he possibly can in those wee hours as I myself would be trudging into the kitchen. I miss Jamie rolling over still half asleep, putting his arm around me and whispering that the kids can wait just five more minutes as he nuzzles his cold nose into my neck.

These are the little things that I complain about not getting enough of anymore. And although they are small, the price seems like a big one to pay.

Aside from the mom-things that have been effected, there are a few other aspects of this new life that are quite daunting.

Let’s begin with the fact that Jamie and I are business owners! Do you know how different that is than being an employee?! When I worked outside of the home I always considered myself a pretty star wage earner. I’d show up early and stay late if needed. I went the extra mile. I was always friendly and courteous. I was one hell of a trainer when necessary. And I felt like I treated my position with as much respect as I would if I owned the place.

Except I didn’t. Not. Even. Fucking. Close.

The truth of the matter is, one doesn’t know what it’s like to be a business owner until you are, in fact, a business owner. Before, I never understood exactly how much was on the line if something (anything) happened to screw up. You don’t realize what one bad review of your company could mean. You have no clue how completely and utterly accountable you are until it is only you, you have to answer to.

We’ve done well thus far but the sneaking knowledge that our entire future is riding on this venture is always weighing in the back of our busy minds. It’s a large burden to bear to say the least.

So there’s that.

And about a hundred other things that continue to make me look back on the days before The Hot Wire, before moving, before everything changed, with fond recollections.

How easily it would be to slip back into those days of carefree living.

That is, until I dredge up how ‘carefree’ it wasn’t. Perhaps before the Panini shop (which now feels somewhat like a lifetime ago) we may not have had such *pressing* (see what I did there) issues but we did have issues none the less. We felt like we were standing still and not progressing in the life we were living. We felt like we were teaching our kids to sit and complain about all of the woes in life rather than going out and doing something about it. We felt lost because we simply weren’t doing what we were meant to be doing. We didn’t feel in control of our own lives and there is actually nothing worse than that kind of a thing weighing you down.

Now, those feelings are but a mere story of how we started on this current journey.

I think anywhere we go in life there will always be the learning curve. There will forever be challenges and worries that we aren’t doing right for ourselves and our family. There will be doubt.

It doesn’t matter how far you move, what new challenges you face, there will sometimes be moments of suffocation. There will always be moments of victory. I don’t think any successful human being can have one without the other.

So whatever it is you are doing, keep doing it. Keep trying the new. Keep yourself on your toes. Be scared and excited and thrilled by anything. And do it every single day.

Life is weird and uncertain and totally terrifying at times. But at any given moment it can also be very very magnificent.

 

 

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2 Cent Saturday

 

Some days I can do three loads of laundry, make a pancake breakfast, and get a week’s worth of writing done all before nine a.m.

Some days I find myself huddled in the corner of the bathroom with a bucket of Nutella attempting to scarf it down as fast as I possibly can without the offspring locating my whereabouts.

It’s all about balance you see. It’s about having the ability to discover what kind of day you’re going to have before it has even started. Will it be an “I am Wonder-Mom” kind of day? Or, more likely, will it be a pajama pants because you can’t even bring yourself to squeeze into the yoga pants kind of day? It’s about accepting the plight that is parenthood and giving into it gracefully.

Because when it comes down to the nitty gritty we can’t do the Wonder-Mom thing every God-damn day. Well not without a vessel of Valium and about thirty-five martinis that is. And you know how the Granola Moms frown upon that these days. So we are left with having to accept that some days we just can’t do it all.

It is either one or the other—slobby do-nothing Mom or Wondrous Wonder-Mom. Black. White.

Or at least that’s what everyone’s been telling me.

There is this strange mentality that I’ve noticed popping up lately and that is that everything seems to have to be all or nothing. Perhaps it has always been like this and I’ve just been too wrapped up in myself or apathetic to notice. But I’m noticing now, and it’s weird and makes me feel uncomfortable.

As parents we seem to categorise ourselves into these sections. Like “hover moms” “free range parenting” “no preservatives” “McDonalds parents” and we hang on to these stereotypes like they were our first born child.

Let’s get real here people. I try my damnedest to feed the Lars and Soph clean healthy food, however when I’m pressed for time or simply having a PJ pants kind of day they are getting a big ole box of KD with extra ketchup. I let my kids play in the backyard unsupervised because I’ve smashed “stranger danger” into the farthest depths of their brains. However I still go and check up on them every single night before I turn in to assure they are breathing. I’ve been doing this for eight consecutive years now and in all honesty I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Picture this if you will: me, sneaking into Lars’ apartment when he is 25 years old and stealthily popping my head over his bedside to investigate whether or not he has breath sounds. It will be when I ever so gently place the small mirror I’ve brought (because I like to think ahead) over his mouth to see the breath in question that his girlfriend at the time awakens. Resulting in extreme awkwardness. For them.

Motherhood is weird and poor Lars will never be able to keep a steady relationship with my crazy shenanigans.

I think as a society we need to expel this notion that when it comes to parenting there is only wrong or right. In most cases at least. Obviously some things are just downright wrong and some things are gloriously right. Like Tacos.

Ain’t nobody gone tell me tacos on their wrong list.

Ahem, Oh look once again I’ve been sidetracked by the fabulous thought of tacos.

Anyway, it’s the ego’s downfall that we are constantly at war with each other over issues like which parenting methods are best and what colour a dress on the internet is-I don’t know why I’m still on that, it was like a million years ago.

If we could for one moment set aside those big pulsating ego’s we could see that in most cases there is a middle grounds that we can all come to reside in and be overall contented with. And if there isn’t? Then allow your self-image a few moments of humility and try to see something from another’s point of view. The stubbornness we exhibit does not progress us as a society. We stay stagnant at an impasse because none of us can agree on what’s best.

If we open ourselves up we may learn a thing or two, moving forward into new potentials.

Or, you know, just go sit in the bathroom and consume copious amounts chocolatey Nutella, whateves.

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Taking a Breather

Quickly I run the mouse over the red X in the right hand corner of the screen. If I am going to get anything done I have to pull myself away from the tantalizing grips of my Facebook world. As I watch the screen disappear I feel a momentary melancholy because all I really want to do right now is mindlessly scroll through a sea of Selfies and dumb political opinions. I don’t want to think, or read or have to conjure up anything from the foggy depths of my brain because I am just too damn tired for that.

It’s been about two weeks now since I’ve sat down at this computer and wrote anything at all. I force myself to put my fingers to the keyboard because whenever I happen to go this long without writing a sneaking fear begins to burrow its way into the better judgement section of my brain. What if I forget? What if I lose the ability to sling sentences? What if I lose interest in the art of wordsmithing altogether? What the hell then?!

As much as I don’t actually believe this will happen, there is a small part of me that will probably never let go of this completely irrational worry.

So here I am, writing. I don’t really know what to write about at this very moment but my hands seem to be clicking away at a good pace so I will just let them do the work I suppose.

Everything has been going pretty swell at the Panini factory. Our doors are open and every day we seem to be gaining more happy customers which is truly a beautiful thing. I think one of my favourite parts of this new adventure is meeting all of the people who walk through The Hot Wire’s doors.

A few have been back several times and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that our little shop is a place that people just like hanging out. This is what Jamie and I always envisioned when we talked about opening The Hot Wire. Now, it is coming to fruition and we couldn’t be happier.

Of course it hasn’t all been a pleasure cruise. For the first few days we were pretty dead. Like I mean NOBODY new about us at all. Here I was thinking I was such a marketing wizard with my awesome Facebooking skills. What I’ve learnt about Facebook advertising is that a whole lot of people can “like” your page and that does not mean jack when it comes to them coming into your shop.

On grand opening day we were packed to the roof with prep and bread from the hordes of people we imagined would be fighting each other (literally just destroying each other) to get a mere taste of our sandwiches. In reality we had about ten costumers. It was not very glorious at all. So in the days to follow Jamie and I would be mentally willing the people who walked past the front of our shop to pop their head in and take a whiff of the delicious treats we had on display.

Now, by “mentally willing” I actually mean awkwardly staring down anyone who came near our doors as we wore ridiculously large smiles and expectant expressions on our faces. We were probably scaring more people away than anything. I would have been scared.

However a few humans did brave the weird vibe we were giving off and ended up loving the food. This is exactly why you shouldn’t judge an oddball book by its cover people!!

And there it began, the infamous word-of-mouth advertising. Seriously it works like a charm!

Each day our numbers are growing. We are becoming more confident in this huge endeavour we’ve taken on. And damn does that ever feel good!

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Yet Another Post About the Infamous Sleepy Bear

 

As mothers we stress. I think it must be something in our chemical make-up. If I told you how many times a day I find myself getting all worked up in the feels about some random thought…Well, I just wouldn’t tell you because it’s embarrassing.

Jamie is a stress-case too, which you would think would make things super awful pretty much all of the time with us both riddled with anxiety. However that’s not the case. My husband is an entirely logical man. He looks at the world through rational and balanced eyes, which is one of the hundreds of reasons why he is so good for me.  So when Jamie stresses he stresses about issues that are right there in front of him and how to fix those things that need fixing.

I stress about different stuff. The stuff that has no real value in this day to day life because if it were to happen it may probably change the course of history as we know it. I stress endlessly about zombie apocalypses and how I would save my brood from an undead army. I stress about that time I said a snappy comment to that cashier and she looked like she was about to cry. I stress about make-believe conversations I might one day have with my arch-enemy. Then I stress about the fact that I actually have an arch-enemy.

I stress about what the hell would happen if we ever lost Sleepy Bear.

This last thought hits a nerve. That bear is Sophie’s world. Literally, her entire existence revolves around one grimy disgusting bear that wears a pink and white polka doted hat.

I’ve tried to teach her that we shouldn’t rely so much on physical things to make us feel happy and content. It is our loved ones and our inner happiness that truly keeps us satisfied. Whenever I say this she just looks at me with a blank look and squeezes the bear tighter as if I am about to yank him out of her little grasp right then and there.

Last night as I was tucking her in I asked her if she was enjoying her new after school program. She said she loved it but she wanted to bring Sleepy in her backpack tomorrow.

“I don’t know if they let you play with toys from home there sweetie.” I said to her thinking that a little time away from the bear may be good for the kid.

“That’s okay I will just have him in my backpack.” She paused but then realizing that I needed further explanation continued, “Mom, I just feel better when Sleepy is with me. Even if I can’t play with her I just like knowing that she is near me. She’s like my kid.” The frankness in her voice was beautiful for a child of five years old and in that moment I had two emotions punch me in the gut.

First, pride. Pride that my little girl could so eloquently explain her love for the small stuffed bear that she holds so dearly. How amazing it is that she can open up to me and effortlessly describe her feelings when it comes to her plaything.

Secondly anxiety. Which brings me back to the stress of losing the damn thing. She referred to it as her kid for the love of God!

And so there it is, just one more random thing to get pushed into my already crammed brain when it comes to things that keep me up at night.

I think life would be a lot easier if I was a normal stress-case and worried about typical things like money and the economy and whether or not Trump is going to one day take over the world.

Whatever type of stress you have it can be a really scary thing. But I think the answer to all of it remains the same. Confront it head on, let it know you won’t be scathed and move forward with confidence.

 

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and just like that, it was over…

My fingernails are filled to the brim with dirt from the earth. I’ve been gardening because it is the second best way for me to ease stress. My fail safe is usually writing but how could I, “write it out” as I like to say when I had just found out this particular news.

Ironically I received the email just after finishing up my latest column for next week’s Me Plus Three article. The email contained exactly two sentences explaining why Me Plus Three wasn’t a good fit for The Advocate anymore. They are downsizing. They are having to re-evaluate what columns work best with the newspaper. Can I fault them for this? No of course not, but it still burns like a bitch.

To date, creating Me Plus Three has been my most successful venture in this hard-pressed writing career. I was elated those years ago when I received that phone call saying that they’d like to publish my writings in a weekly column. It gave me a purpose in this sometimes hopeless hobby. Someone wanted my writing. Someone appreciated it. There were people out there who wanted to read it.

Each time I receive a rejection letter from one of my fiction submissions to the various online magazines I query it hurts but I always use Me Plus Three as some sort of consolation to their rebuff. Yes, this was the fiftieth rejection slip I’ve gotten but it doesn’t really matter because I’m a columnist. The word slips easily off the tongue. And although it has only been a few years I’ve worn this title, I feel different; changed without it.

What now?

The logical part of me, who is currently trying to sooth this shattered ego of mine is telling me that I will now have more time to focus on the panini shop. The advertising and running of what is now my family’s main money maker. This is what is important. This part of me is also saying that if I ever do have spare time I can focus more on the world of fiction writing because truthfully my brain is overflowing with untold tales of make-believe.

This oh so logical voice in my head is telling me to calm down and stop overreacting. There will be other opportunities. There will be other publications. I will still grow and evolve. It is telling me that this is not the end.

Jamie came home and I was crying into a pool of muddy dirt in the front flower bed. I had texted him earlier and told him about the email. He didn’t say anything but instead wrapped his arms around me and held me tight. Even as I type this the tears come along with a miserably heavy feeling of failure.

It reminds me of those precarious years of teendom when you’d peruse from boyfriend to boyfriend thinking all the while that it would be you who broke it off with them. Then BAM just like a blast right through the ticker they are giving you the ole, “you know, it’s not you it’s me.” And you are left wondering how you hadn’t seen it coming.

But now I guess it is time for me to pick myself up and brush off. There isn’t much else left to do but—you guessed it—move forward.

If you happen to be a reader of Me Plus Three fear not dear friends, I will keep on keeping on here at The Blogging Mama.

Within the things we love there will always be moments of heartache and strife. There will be times when we wonder what the point of continuing on is. There will be obstacles, rejection, and so much frustration. There will be doubt.

However with our dreams also comes hope. An undying passion for what we do and what we must keep on doing to feel fulfilled as human beings. And that will always lessen the blow.

I’m probably going to be sad for a while about this and that’s okay too. But then after I’ve made peace with what has been lost I will get up, get on and get writing. Because that’s the only thing left to do.

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Helping Our Small Humans

Change is great. Change is healthy. Change is good. These are the things I keep telling myself because if I don’t I will spiral into a pool of self-pity and sorrow. Okay perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, although, our writer-reader relationship has probably evolved to a point where that doesn’t surprise you.

The Brown household has been feeling the pressure of change in these last few weeks and despite my valiant attempts at embracing it all, I find myself withering fast.

Jamie and I are having to work double time at the shop hoping to have it ready for production by early May. However, even that seems to be a long shot now as there continues to be issues popping up left right and center. This in turn leaves the poor children dangling helplessly over the precipice of neglect and abandonment. Again, with the dramatics.

We’ve enrolled them in an afterschool program which I am positive they will love, however it hasn’t started yet. So we’ve been doing what so many Ma and Pop shops have done since the dawn of Ma and Pop shops. We haul our small humans to the Panini factory and they hang out there until we are done our work. Lars definitely has it better as he is in full days of class so it is rare that we need to bring him, but Soph is still in kindergarten which means only half days. Every morning Jamie and I load her and approximately 700 teddy bears into the car to make the journey across town to work.

We then toil away with whatever is on the chopping block that day while Sophie interrupts us every five minutes. She is very good about keeping us in the know when it comes to her hunger or her boredom or when something smells slightly strange in her general vicinity. Occasionally her left toe is bugging her and when it’s not any of that you can be sure that some other peculiar five year old woe has hammered down upon her.
It pains me to say it but we can see the agitation in her everyday life. She is ornery and short tempered. She continues to try haggling with me for mere sport.

“Mom, I will clean my room if you give Sleepy Bear a birthday party tonight. With cake. And presents.”

“Umm first of all that bear has had like ten birthdays already this year and secondly you will clean your room so it doesn’t develop an army of bug creatures from all of the filthy clothes that are peppered around the place.” This is just one example of our bartering conversations.

Oh and the tantrums. How could I forget the tantrums?

There we were in the parking lot of the school while she was screaming louder than I’ve ever heard any human being scream. Her little face was nearing purple while tears streamed down her cheeks.

She was perturbed that her brother had gotten into the car before her.

As the child stomped her feet on the pavement I reimagined the song Hello, by Adele.

 

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As the lyrics swept through my skull I started to think. I knew that these temper tantrums were stemming from somewhere. Sophie wasn’t inherently angry like this—no kid is.

Other Moms were walking past the spectacle side-eyeing my dilemma. In that moment I felt like the worst parent to have ever walked those school grounds. Although I’m sure that most of them just looked at me with a sad pitying kind of stare. Let`s face it, we’ve all been there.

It didn’t take much to realise what the problem was. My daughter was simply missing me. She has never had to share me with a full-time job and that is a big challenge for our little family. So instead of threatening her with no ice cream after dinner. Or pulling out that notorious whisper-demon voice and telling her to get into the car. I wrapped my arms around my little girl and I hugged her hard.

I did say something into her ear as I embraced her, and that was that I loved her. It took a few seconds but she relaxed, melted into my hug and eventually told me she loved me back.

Change is great and change is healthy and it is good too but we must remember that change can only be all of these things if we take the time to help escort the people we love most through the difficult times.

 

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Embrace It

I’ve always believed that happiness equated to success. If you are happy, you are successful. No if’s, no and’s, no but’s. Joyfulness, without a shadow of a doubt, means that you are rocking this thing called life. The theory fits pretty snugly into everyday life. When we are feeling cheerful, we sit on top of the world. Nothing shakes us. We are firm in our resolve that if we can keep up this feeling of euphoria then all will remain right on this big ole sphere.

However therein lies the problem—we cannot be happy all of the time. Well at least I for one can’t. It’s exhausting. I have hundreds of moments throughout the day where stress showers down on me. Periods of heartache and disappointment from the many unforeseen experiences of everyday life. There are times when a myriad of emotions will whitewash me and I will be left with this astounding feeling of nothingness.

It drives me to believe that any emotion other than happiness means we are not doing “it” right. Right? Where did that idea come from? Why do I feel like I am somehow failing when I am anxious? Why do I expect some foreboding disaster to appear when I’m sad? Why do I liken any emotion other than joy with negativity?

When did it stop being acceptable behaviour to feel?

Lately I’ve been “feeling” a lot. Let’s start with my inability to decipher a scam phone call when it is right in front of me (humiliation/anger). Or perhaps we should talk about the fact that I’ve been procrastinating getting the kids into another after-school activity (guilt). What about how I’ve somehow managed to gain five pounds despite my new workout routine (failure). We are very behind schedule at The Hot Wire and most definitely will not be opening on our sought out date of May 1st (angst).

All of these emotions resulting in a gaping feeling of despondency. If only I could remedy these woes or simply push them away, all would be right in the world once more.

However I don’t think life works that way. There will always be sadness and anger and guilt and humiliation. There will always be those uncomfortable moments. If there wasn’t, I don’t think happiness would feel so good.

It doesn’t matter how many scam artists I dodge, or after school programs I cram down my children’s throat or even if I lose 30 pounds—there will always be something else.

Now I can see that this post is taking a turn for the melodramatic so I will shift.

We’ve established that there is and always will be a reservoir of emotions at the stem of our life, but the question now is what to do with that. Clearly allowing it to steer us into even greater emotional disparity is unwise, so what’s left?

Dare I suggest that we allow oneself to validate those feelings.

When we feel the crippling anger of being misled for example, instead of trying to push that emotion away what if we honour it? What if we were to spread that feeling out thin enough to wrap ourselves up in it? Allowing every inch of our person to understand what it was feeling. To give ourselves time to grasp why the anger was there in the first place. What if we embraced the “bad” feelings as closely as we do the good ones? What if we granted ourselves the time to work through our emotions rather than condemning them?

Let’s look at how we teach our children for example. When our kids get good marks in school or draw a fine picture we celebrate them accordingly. There is no time limit on this celebration, only an unbridled happiness shared by all. However when they are angry or saddened by something, sure we may allow them an allotted period of time to “get over it” but subconsciously we are willing them to move on and just be done with that emotion. It is unpleasant therefore it is unwanted.

This afternoon Sophie was upset. She was crying and feeling sad and there seemed to be nothing I could do to “fix it”. So I gave her the only thing I could, time. Later, I asked her if there was something she wanted to talk about and she replied, “Mom, sometimes we all just need a big cry.”

And you know what, I think my five year old is onto something. This life can be so chaotic and complicated and scary and mystifying that there is no possible way we could move through it with only a handful of emotions to rely on. We are a complex species thus our emotions will be vast—infinite. We should celebrate these sentiments rather than feel indignity over them.

It means we are living and that is as prosperous as it gets.

 

 

 

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A Letter To My Scam Artist

Dear Scam Artist,

I was on the floor sobbing when I passed the phone to my husband. You had just informed me that I was being charged with tax evasion from an incident that occurred in 2012. In retrospect I can see that it was in that exact moment that you fully committed to taking advantage of my dramatic nature.

2012—the year I self-published a poetry book that would never gross sales of more than one hundred dollars (in which I had already payed taxes on).  Yet because of the publication of that dammed book and the grief it has caused me in the past years when filing, as well as all of the legal jargon you were spewing at me and, of course, the mention of jail time I admit to falling victim to your cheat.

There I was crouched over the couch violently gagging at the idea that right now there were police officers coming to my house to serve me with papers and “arrest me on site” as you so casually put it. I suppose I should have clued in that this is obviously not how the world works but I’ve been watching a load of Doctor Who lately (so it didn’t seem THAT out of the ordinary) and when one’s mind gets set on an idea it can begin to believe some pretty radical things.

I hear Jamie tell you that I will not be going to jail. It just isn’t happening, he says. He starts to raise his voice but then stops. You must have said something that really scares him because now he is telling you we have children and that this is surely just one big mistake. I wonder if you ever paused to think about us as an actual family. Actual human beings that you could have potentially ruined. We are not just a number on a long list of conceivable dupes.

Literally minutes before I answered your call my husband and I had just received some very troubling news. Something that will affect our future with palpable impact. However you couldn’t care less about that. In fact I’m sure it made your game that much easier as we both were not in the right head space to realize that we were being had.

You continue telling Jamie you are about to dispatch an officer to our home. He is frantic and asking what he can do to make things right.

How could this be happening? I thought. Over a stupid little poetry book that maybe ten people read. You are claiming that I owe 4000 dollars in back-taxes. Could the book have been making money and the independent publisher just weren’t telling me? Fraud? Maybe this was an inside job (whatever the hell that means). The possibilities of cons were endless.

By this point my mind is spinning. You are still bantering with Jamie who seems to be back and forth on whether this is actually happening or not. I then realize that you haven’t even asked me for my SIN number. Doesn’t the CRA need that to divulge any information about your account?

I grab the phone from my husband and start screaming at you. You tell me that I will go to jail if I continue to speak to you like this. By this point I am so infuriated that I don’t even care. Take me to jail if you must. I will spend my five years in the pen plotting against you dear phone agent.

Finally Jamie comes to his senses when you ask for my cell phone number. “Well if you are the CRA shouldn’t that information be on her account?” He says. Then we tell you that we are going down to our local government office to set this straight. You say that we have one hour before you send the police to our door. I’ve got to say, great job for committing to the bitter end.

So what I’d like to say to you, my scam artist, is thank you. Thank you for causing me to dry heave stringy saliva all over my living room carpet. Thank you for pushing me to the point of screaming bloody murder at you while my daughter sat in the next room listening. Thank you for increasing that already cynical outlook I have on this world-weary planet. And thank you for making my day just that much crappier than it already was.

I do hope that this letter finds you one day and reminds you that the targets you victimize are people with worries and ordeals who are merely trying to move on with the daily grind, just like you. Except not at all like you, we have chosen legitimate ways to make a living. It’s probably time to rethink your life choices Asshat.

Looking forward to never hearing from you again. 

Ruthlessly,

Lindsay Brown  

 

 

 

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Fan Mail

I’ve been writing my blog, The Blogging Mama, for close to four years. I’ve been writing my column, Me Plus Three, for two. In my history of publicly writing I’ve heard things like, “you are so funny, and descriptive!” and “I love that you are so in touch with your emotions.” This last one is a little questionable, they may just be getting my irrationally unhinged personality mixed up with being “in touch”.

I’ve also had complete strangers message me saying that writing such intimate stories about my children for anyone to read is immoral and just plain bad parenting.

It startled me I’m not going to lie. The day I opened that message on my Blogging Mama Facebook page my heart stopped for a moment and my breath was taken away. Did someone actually think that my writings were hurting my kids? Like, screw you lady…is what I wanted to write back.

For about a millisecond I thought about quitting. But then an uplifting Taylor Swift song came on and my confidence came dashing back upon the crown of my stalwart imaginary pony. I told my friend Scott about this message I had received. Scott’s in the movie biz and has had his fair share of awful to unusual fan mail so I figured he’d understand my dilemma.

He told me to ignore it, that’s always the best way to deal with these types of people. So I did, I ignored it. Not only because it was obviously the right thing to do but also because I keep hoping that sooner or later Scott will introduce me to some famous people and when he does I can talk about how I too have to disregard “all” of the wearisome mail that comes piling in sometimes. I envision the famed folk talking a lot about their fan mail, it seems like that would be a regular topic of convo in that circle of peeps.

**I am imagining my friend Scott reading this and shaking his head right now.

The thought of celebrities has gotten me so off track I can’t remember what the hell I was talking about.

Ah yes that’s right, me, being the worst mother alive because I have gained fame (well that’s stretching it) and fortune (now that’s just going way too far) off the innocent stories of my small humans.

I guess it comes down to a waiting game of sorts. Right now Lars and Sophie think my job is cool. Lars is always asking what my blog is about and Sophie is closely following her Mama’s footsteps as a descriptive storyteller. She is amazing!

Perhaps in years to come the novelty of my writings will wear thin for them. Maybe they won’t enjoy me spinning these tales about their life and times. Of course if and when that day comes I will revolutionize my subject matter to some further newfangled theme.

The greatest writers all say the same thing and that is to write what you know. Well I know my children. I know them better than I know anything else and I love etching down their everyday lives into permanence.

It’s been over a year since I received that message in my inbox. Maybe the woman was just having a bad day and needed to take it out on a perfect stranger. Maybe she actually read some of my stuff and realized how incredibly hilarious I am and immediately felt terrible for writing such things to me. Or maybe she went on with her day never thinking twice about her words and how they could affect their recipient.

I wish I was the kind of person who could easily breeze over these types of situations, but sadly I’m not and probably never will be. They sting. They eat away at the depths of the soul (too much?) and sometimes in the still of the night I wonder why people needlessly aim to hurt others. It is a sad state of affairs but one that we have little control over. So I think the best I can do is stand up, be kind to others and keep doing what I’m doing with glitzy jazz hands.

Faultfinders will follow you to the ends of the earth. I’ve decided that I am going to take it as a compliment. It means I’m doing something with my life worth talking about. If these people want to chat about my comings and goings like I’m some sort of…CELEBRITY! Then I thank them kindly.

That means I’m just one step closer to that exclusive circle of legendary humans whom tête-à-tête all day about fan-mail.

WINNING!

 

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Being Kind & Kicking Ass

It was painting day at the Panini shop. As of right now I seem to be bathing in a slew of Panini’s so you will have to deal with yet another sandwich-store related rambling. We had decided to scrimp a bit in the paint department since our bay has outlandishly high ceilings. We didn’t want to be spending a small fortune on paint, so we chose the cheapest orange (The Hot Wire’s logo colour) paint we could find.

I was pumped and I just knew it was going to be spectacular!

However after the fourth application of paint I began to get a little perturbed. By perturbed I mean sobbing hopelessly on the ground asking the thin air in front of me why I could still see every damn brush stroke and flaw that this stupid bastard of a wall had to offer.

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I kindly asked impatiently pressed Jamie to go down to the paint store to ask them what we could possibly be doing wrong. I would have gone myself but lately I’ve been trying this “kindness” thing on for size and let’s just say I wasn’t in a particularly kind mood at that moment.

It turns out orange is one of the most difficult paints to apply. Right from the beginning this detail in combination with our super insanely cheap paint was a cocktail for the perfect disaster. These were the “expert’s” exact words to Jamie when he explained our painting plight.

Would have been nice to know when we were in there yesterday buying all of this contemptible orange paint—but yeah, okay, thanks for the tip Tips.

Things started looking up however after applying the fifth and final coat to the walls.

I was feeling good until I looked at the time to find that I had about seven minutes to get to the kids’ school to pick them up. Now if you know me, you know that this would have sent my emotions reeling. I had to get across the city in seven minutes or else I was going to be late. Me? Late? NEVER!

As I spotted my car I contemplated doing the whole jump and slide over the hood spectacle but envisioned myself simply body slamming into the side of it as a feeble alternative. I’d probably dent it up pretty bad and end up smearing the still wet paint from my clothes all over its white exterior too. It would be a mess. So I just walked around to the driver’s side instead.

I was making good time until that sweet little elderly woman cut me off.

“Be calm Lindsay, it’s just a little further. Stay calm.” I was on one of the busier city streets and the ninety year old was topping her motor vehicle out at a whopping 30 kilometers an hour. I had what was adding up to be a damned convoy behind me of angry motorists some of who were even flipping me the bird.

I was about to throw down some pretty creative language myself when I remembered my “Quest for Kindness”. Earlier that day my friend Janelle and I were talking about how we wanted to actively bring more kindness into our lives and the lives of others. I’ve said that before, but I actually meant it this time—I swear. So I curled down my middle finger and gently put my hand back on the wheel.

Eventually I got to school. I wasn’t even late…by that much. It actually killed me a little inside.

On our way home the kids asked to stop at the park. As much as I just wanted to get home and wash the remnants of that dastardly orange paint off of my skin I agreed because I’d rather them blow off steam in the open fields of the park than in the small confines of our car.

Moments after I sat down I noticed a few of the surrounding parents staring at me. Some of them were having full out conversations and I seemed to be their subject matter. The anger was rising and if I were in a bad 90’s movie I would have said something catty like, “take a picture it lasts longer.”

I was worn down from a wretched day. Sodden in sweat stained clothes and shitty orange paint. My hair was whipping about wildly as I had lost my tie somewhere in the midst of it all. I probably looked homeless. No wonder these assholes wanted to style a few verbal jabs in my direction.

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I gave them a friendly/awkward smile and a wave. They looked shocked that I had acknowledged them and that made me feel a little warm and fuzzy inside.

Perhaps that’s why I then yelled in the grimiest of voices, “Come’n kids! Uncle Toenail gets out on parole today and it’s our turn to pick him up!”

And it occurred to me then that sometimes kindness can be as simple as giving the judgemental strangers on the next bench over something interesting to talk about.

The Birth of the Panini Shop

It started with a text message.

“What about a Panini shop?” My husband wrote. “We could bake fresh bread and make signature sandwiches and specialize in Panini’s.”

The idea sounded solid to me, but who am I to say? I’ve been known to think that an impulsive move to another province with nothing more than an oversized purse and a pack of cigarettes is a “solid” idea. The notion made me reflect on all of the amazing adventures I have had in my life. From finding friends and work in far-from-home cities to raising my babes with a man I can only describe as my best friend.

So when the thought of opening up a small sandwich shop was proposed, it took me about a millisecond to hop on board. How could I say no to an adventure I had yet to experience?

That evening Jamie and I hashed out some raw details of our plan. We talked about the fun stuff. Like menu ideas and themes for the place—all the while remembering that this is all hypothetical. It very well could be just another fruitless pipedream. The sad thing is as adults we’ve all had enough rampant fantasies to realize that no idea can be taken too seriously…Well, that is, until it can.

Months passed while the idea of the Panini shop sat idly in the backs of our brains. Of course we had everyday life to contend with so sometimes weeks would go by without us uttering a mention of the concept.

Sometimes in this life, in order to get our aspirations in motion a change is needed. Whether it is a shift in thought process or tangible movement to get the proverbial ball rolling.

One particular day I found myself thinking about mine and Jamie’s friend Scott and more so the location where he lived. He had gone to school in Lethbridge and now was living there quite comfortably. He was always talking about how charming the city was and when I thought about it almost everyone who I spoke to had lovely things to say about the Southern Albertan metropolis.

Now, I’m not a big believer in “signs from above” but this is weird guys, you’ve got to admit: that same day when Jamie got home from work the first words out of his mouth were, “You know I’ve been thinking and maybe we should check out Lethbridge to start up the shop.”

WHAT?!

Six months later I sit in our home in the city of Lethbridge typing fondly about how my family and I came to be in this place.

It was a miasma of real estate ventures, packing, planning and saying farewell in the months after. I still sometimes wonder how I made it out with all of my hair intact and a smile on my face. At the time it may have been the most stressful few months we’ve ever powered through—and I’m sure our nearest and dearest can attest to that claim. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, thank God for the good people in our life!

But all that is over and done with now. The new house has been made homey. Jamie is finally finished commuting back and forth between there and here and we’ve all settled into Lethbridge living quite perfectly.

Now it’s time for the scary part. The opening a business part. The taking the risk of our lives and laying it all out on the line part.

I didn’t realize I would have so many fears and worries when it came to my role in this endeavour of ours. It is a huge learning curve, something that will probably take some getting used to. Me going back to work: what does that mean for our family unit? How will the kids react to both Jamie and I working full time? Will we fall easily into our new-fangled roles of business owners? The idea is foreign and terrifying.

The reality of it all is quickly approaching. The bay has been leased, and renovations are in the midst. Soon The Hot Wire Panini’s grand opening will be upon us and life as we know it will change forevermore. It is almost as though the emotions of it all are too much for me to handle all at once. I have to think about it in pieces so not to overwhelm myself.

As I sit here and think in pieces about the beginning of our new life and how we got here my phone beeps telling me I have a text message.

As if he read my current thoughts, Jamie texts me, “Stop stressing, I love you and The Hot Wire is going to be amazing because it’s ours.” He’s right. I grab a beer and decide to join my husband in his man-cave garage for a celebratory toast.  Soon my fear is replaced by excitement and once again the Browns are onto the next thrilling chapter in this journey called life.

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A declaration of love: In regards to Facebook declarations of love

Ha! A good one from the archives…Moral of the story- post whatever the hell you like on social media!😉

Love your friendly neighborhood,
Blogging Mama

The Blogging Mama

A few weeks ago I came across something on Facebook. It was an odd something, and I shook my head a bit when I saw it, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what about it bothered me.

It was a Meme that said something along the lines of, ‘A relationship that is constantly bragged about on Facebook, probably isn’t a good relationship.’ I know it wasn’t those exact words, but I’ve been searching Google images like crazy and I can’t find the exact quote anywhere.

Maybe, that’s because the creator of this Meme realized it’s total bullshit and took it down- saving innocent lovers from the heartbreak of thinking they’re assholes for proclaiming their love on this SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK.

Case in point:

Facebook is a social media outlet, therefore be prepared for social media. Such as people exclaiming how much they love their significant others.

Maybe I…

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Pressing The Button

The trek to school is a lot longer since we have moved into the new house. Before it was quick jaunt down the back alley behind our home—a minute and a half tops. This was nice because if necessary we could leave two minutes before the bell was to ring and still make it there on time. Of course that very rarely happened due to my obsessive compulsive need to be early for every event I’ve ever been involved in throughout the history of my entire life. It’s sort of a problem.

Typically, even with the convenience of our close living accommodation, my children were the first to arrive at school almost every single day.

Now however, it takes us about ten minutes to walk to their new school and there are some obstacles we must overcome while doing so.

The first time we hiked it, we hadn’t yet discovered the short cut. The treacherous journey took us nearly twenty minutes. We had to walk beside an increasingly busy roadway which did not do well for my nerves as Sophie continued to absentmindedly wander annoyingly close to the racing by vehicles. I must admit that I have done an awful job so far in preparing my children for the “real world”. For example, when I go grocery shopping, instead of bringing them along and teaching them something about food costs and preparation, I do my best to ditch the babes at home with Jamie or wait until they are in school. This is probably why seemingly normal aspects of life tend to astonish them.

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Which brings me to my next point.

Once we found the shortcut to the school, life got a bit easier. I wasn’t as paranoid that they were going to fatefully walk out in front of one of those speeding city buses. Not to mention it cut down our walking time by half! Plus there is only one busy junction we must conquer on this route which makes things a lot simpler. Or that is what I originally thought.

Apparently, the crossing button, is officially the coolest thing in the entire universe. Ever since having to explain that we mustn’t ever step out on the street without pressing the button Lars and Sophie have become infatuated with it.

I believe my exact words were, “We cannot go on the road until we press the button and the sign tells us to walk.” They may have read a little too far into that.

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As we approached the dreaded button this morning, Lars began running full bore towards the thing. My heart stopped momentarily because I envisioned the kid not being able to stop in time and haplessly running out into oncoming traffic. Will that lurking paranoia ever end? You know, the imaginings of horrible and awful things. Maybe it’s just a parent’s lot in life.

Anyways he was able to stop and before I could tell him to let his sister share in the pressing of their beloved he had already made contact. The BEEP-BOOP sound pitched high above us and we moved to cross the street. Well, at least Lars and I did.

Sophie had plopped herself on the sidewalk and was crying to the Gods above asking why oh why she was never granted the gift of pressing that God forsaken button herself. (Even though she had pushed it not even twenty-four hours before).

“Sophie what are you doing?!” I said halfway across the street. Lars was already on the other side and the anxiety was beginning to build inside of me. Three cars were now lined up awaiting our crossing. One kid on either side of the street and me stuck in the middle. Sophie wasn’t moving and Lars wasn’t listening to me as I stridently screamed at him to come back to the other side. I had to make a decision where to go because I surely couldn’t stay in the middle of the street. The look of the motorists faces were that of pure loathing. They hated me and my current awkward predicament.

I ran back to grab the girl child as I figured she had the highest flight risk.

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“Okay there, you can press the button.” I say as I pull her off of the ground, all the while keeping a firm eye on my seven year old who was halfway down the block by this point.

Sophie immediately turned off the waterworks and gaily hopped towards the crossing switch. She pushed it with a dainty finger and waited for her queue to move across the street.

I was still quaking with nerves and I had to wonder if our morning exercise was worth the years I was losing in mere stress over the event. We caught up with Lars and he nonchalantly asked what had kept us so long. I didn’t answer but instead told them that from now on, I think I will do the button pressing when it comes to crossing the street.

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