And then love happened.

Hand on mouse, fingers hovering over a keyboard. Ready. Waiting. Ideas tumble out of my brain. Vortices of possibility twirl towards the 4am sky. 80 words to go. Will that be enough? This morning my thoughts have tuned to love and in my core, at the very base of me, I know that not any amount of words or finely tweaked sentences will be enough to bring these thoughts to fruition.

Devotion is an enigma wrapped neatly in decorative papers of blue and gold.  We tie bows around love like it is a package that once passed along will provide some predestined shroud of unending happiness. The very idea of falling in love encapsulates us. It is somehow protective simply in its impression. Let us fall. Fall from where? Fall from one intended to another? Fall from a tall building and have hope that the recipient of our ultimate adoration feels that same way we do. Heroically coming to save us from our plummet.

Some of us do get lucky. Some of us, somehow, in the cosmic wilderness of modern day romance find the love we had sought out for. It begins with shyness. Everything does. The coy wariness of perfect strangers meant for something more. Lightly fingering our way through the idle and awkward moments of the first few years of the togetherness. We will whisper wants to one another. Furtively, with a nonchalant air about our words because God forbid our new and shiny dearest thinks us odd.

We silently chant mantras of normalcy and routine ourselves. We are super-human people with no foibles or flaws because that could be undesirable and if even one of these idiosyncrasies flops to the surface, this tentative thing, this love thing, will surely wither and die. It is a wonder any of us survive the initial staging process. However, after an undetermined amount of days, weeks, years, millennia moves past we become easier, more ourselves. The weirdness leaks out onto the floor whether we like it or not. And the floor hasn’t been mopped up in days. The cautious stroking of yesteryear has evolved into a weighty hand on familiar skin. A comforting presence among the constant chaos of the everyday.

This love will manifest itself in the tiny places we never think about. It is the intense light between the bulb and the shade, only those inside the lamp’s protective cover can understand its brilliance. It is brown leaves pressed delicately between the softened pages of an ageing book. It is a blanket placed over chilled shoulders, a promise of warmth when the room seems subzero.

Love is not grand and glorious. It does not lift us up out of the depths of depression or carry us over the puddles of sadness which accumulate over a lifetime. It is not like the songs say. It does not fix our worries but usually causes us more worries to worry about. It is not magical or almighty.

Love is small and sacred. It is to be nourished. Grown from nothing over a lifetime of trial and error and strife and hardness. Love makes the difficult certainties of life a bit easier to live with. Love gives us the courage to try the new things. Love holds us tight when the new things do not work out as we had planned. Love comforts. Love soothes. Love does not define who we are but grows alongside us as we determine our unique paths in life.

Love is not our life preserver but the warm cup of coffee after we’ve fought off the flood. And if you should be lucky enough to find this sort of love, do not take your fortune lightly. Know that it is delicate and rare and beautiful. Hold it carefully and cherish it always. And in turn, it will have you too.

 

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Another post on writing and junk, you’d think we were all writers or something around here…weird.

 

The power in our small bi-level home surges as I hit the SUBMIT button. Wait, was that a sign? A message sent from the great beyond? My skin turns to gooseflesh. I think of Grampa Bert, my all-time favourite storyteller. Maybe? Bah! Hogwash. It’s an old house and the electrical in this bitch sucks. I guess it is more likely that my brain, the soft part that need constant reassurance, is really just teeming with anxiety over the new flood of rejection messages I will be receiving in two to eight weeks. Prepare yourself, rejection is coming.

Side note: there is a fly in this room right now. A FLY IN DECEMBER! Its buzzing is infuriating not only for the distraction but for the sheer perplexity of its existence.

I’ve begun sending out stories, essays, blurbs and whatever else a publisher may want to take a look at. I’m like a teeny-bopper clad in fluorescent pink and the personality to match—look at me, pay the attention to this gal over here!

A few days ago my sister-in-law asked me why I write online. Well she didn’t come out and literally ask me. We were talking about writing and I naturally assumed she wanted to know every possible detail of my writing career so I willingly divulged my secrets…that are no more secret than my dirty erotica writing forays.

I told her that I write to obviously become rich and famous because, you know, that’s what all art is about. Duh. But as a secondary motive I write to simply tell the stories that are buzzing around (like this damn December fly) in my brain. It seems as soon as I drag one out and place it to word processing document another one begins to unfold into reality.  The more I write, the more stories are waiting to be written.

I think about reading stories that stick with me for days, weeks, hell years afterwards. I will remember images or a plot twist or the simple construction of the first sentence, the hook, and I realise how essential the written word can be. Stories entangle our imaginary lives with reality giving us the perfect amount of unrealistic expectations to keep us moving forward and striving on. They feed our waning imaginations. The older we grow the more fiction we must consume to keep our brains hale and hearty.

Great literature from the past, blogs posts, short stories, online magazines, a funny Facebook post; we read and write to connect with one another.

The idea that something I’ve written could affect someone like this intoxicates me. I could be like an imagination doctor! To think one story, one sentence even will stop the reader and make him say, “Hey, I never thought of it that way.” It is a mesmerising goal to reach for. If I can write one blog post that someone reads and thinks, “That is exactly how I feel too sometimes, at least I’m not alone.” I’ve scored the big one.

I’m a peopley person. What can I say, I love them humans. And I’ve obsessed over writing since the beginning of time, my beginning at least. Writing and the human condition fit hand in hand. Or existential crisis in existential crisis. I guess it depends on how you’re looking at it, where you’re positivity meter stands at the moment.

So I’m going to keep on writing, keep on submitting my work and rejection messages be dammed! I’ll wear them down eventually…or I’ll get better I suppose. Whichever comes first.

I’ll show ‘em, I’ll show ‘em all! One day you’re gunna see my name in lights!

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I’m just a rambling (wo)man.

 

I grab my phone and punch the Facebook icon for the twentieth time this morning. What am I looking for? I have recently come to learn that I am addicted to Facebook. I use it as a substitute for food and cigarettes (my last two addictions) when I am in need of some sort of security blanket consoling. A melancholy gloom hangs precariously above my head. At least the coffee is strong this chilly December morning.

The hymn of the worry wort has sprung forth in my brain and it rages methodically for a tune to harmonize with.  I have learnt over the years how to calm this beast with writing and visualization techniques. I visualize myself stomping, setting aflame then doing the Salsa upon the grave of my worrying tendencies.

What I really find works though, is the innate knowledge that I am smart, resourceful and confident enough to get through whatever it is which is causing me concern. This works fine, when it is controlled variables that are directly affected by my actions. Making money and career advancement for example. My theory does not work as well when it comes to human beings. We are a fickle bunch you know.

I find my uncertainties blossom into thousands of rampant eddies of thought and anxiety when people pleasing comes to mind. People Pleasing: my kryptonite. I’ve gotten better over the years at saying no to those I love. I have come to understand as I grow older that the happiness of others does not solely rest in my hands. Even if I wanted to, it would be impossible to make everyone happy. It simply cannot be done leading me to believe, in some twisted way, that I am a failure. This is the vicious circle of People Pleasing.

Yet even as I type these words there is a minute inkling in the deep of my soul that says this is an untruth. Beyond all of my better judgement, the hundreds of self-help books I’ve scoured and the confidence building courses I’ve endured, I still feel the innate urge to fall down flat so those I love can walk over me towards their happiness.

What a convoluted thing to write, I know.

Look guys, I know it seems like I have it all figured out here on this blog where I write slick sentences and pretty poetries but I’m just trying to unravel the mysteries of life too. I suspect that this is pretty much what every other messed up human onboard this ship is driving for as well.

We all have our foibles that make us “not perfect” and I would like to believe that most of us work tirelessly towards a healthy future. But until then, I think it is important that we give ourselves a millisecond to sit back and enjoy the journey.

Sometimes life can feel like a rambling blog post (much like this one I’m constructing right now) it keeps moving erratically and is impossible to organise. It will feel like you are running out of time to wrap things up into the neat and tidy bow you’ve imagined for it. I think it is important to remember that not everything can be tied up tidy every single time. Not every problem has a straightforward answer. Often when we sit back and leave it lay how it has fallen, these are the moments we can truly appreciate the truth in what we’ve created.

 

I nearly broke my perfect streak!

I tried to cheat this morning. *Sigh* I tried to cheat and hide it from you guys. I tried to hide it from myself – mumbling under my breath that it would be okay if I did it just this once. I had justification. Ugh I disgust myself.

Moments ago I found myself surfing through my Google Docs. I was looking for something that hadn’t been published that I could pass off as my daily post. I was literally about the CHEAT! I’m having a bit of a panic attack here. Well not really, it’s actually more of an attention attack so you’ll just have to excuse me while I let this pass.

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Okay, so why did I almost do it?

Well like I said I had justification. Since starting this writing project I’ve mustered up the wherewithal to take a look at some of my unfinished projects. And some of them (not all of them, let’s not go crazy here) are actually pretty good. They need some spit shining and a few rewrites but I want to try submitting to a few publishers. Again. This is actually a big deal because the mental and emotional trauma a writer endures while submitting their work to hundreds of publishers only to get rejected over and over again is pretty heavy stuff to say the least man.

So my plan was to sluff off my daily post and work on more pressing matters. But isn’t that sort of defeating the purpose Lindsay? *She types to herself in a borderline psychotic break sort of way.

The entire point of this thing is to warm up my writing skills. Isn’t getting this inspiration/guts to delve into the publishing world again only proving that my new writing habit is working. Why would I stop now?

Plus, 100 words a day isn’t difficult. Look, I’ve just got down over 300 in the few minutes I’ve been mulling this over!

Thanks writing friends, you guys are sure swell to talk to.

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Do you ever feel the pressure of waiting projects and overlook the process? Tell me what helps keep you on track and maybe I can adopt some new methods so I don’t try to cheat again!

 

 

It is Sunday and I’m Writing Stuff Down

A steaming cup of coffee sits to my left and just like that I am rejuvenated. A bit of this has to do with the coffee (well, maybe more than a bit. Coffee is life.) But more so it is a feeling of reemergence that is warming my heart this early Sunday morning. It has been exactly six days of writing at least 100 words a day and despite my misgivings about this project in the beginning I can already feel the difference in this once-weary writer’s soul.

Ideas are springing up seemingly out of nowhere. A newfound verve for unfinished projects has encapsulated me. Any spare moment I have I find myself meandering through writing projects I haven’t glanced at for years.

I no longer have that hardening feeling of it all being much too much. That overwhelming pressure when looking at all of the unfinished projects on my computer. The desperate feeling of inadequacy which ultimately stopped me dead in my tracks and inhibited me from pressing forward at all.

By writing every day and having the knowledge that I will continue to write every day I am reminded about how much I purely love to write. It is not about the end result yet. It is about the forming of sentences, the formulating of stories. It is about writing my truth down and knowing that I am doing this simply to improve and strengthen my craft. It is about growth as a writer and the growth of becoming my own human being.

What comes from that is yet to be determined and I’ve decided that that is alright by me. I have learnt that looking too far into the future is detrimental to my own creative process. So for now I will not take this writing time for granted but instead celebrate in the muse I have been so fortunate to once again find.

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Turns out, we all just have to communicate like there is no tomorrow.

Being a human is pretty damn lonely sometimes.

There are moments when I become so introverted in my thoughts and feelings that for a while I wonder if I will ever be able find my way out to civilisation again. Because let’s face it, sometimes it’s just easier to withdraw. It is simpler to go inwards and stew over that weird thing you said at that party ten years ago rather than face our concerns head on. That would involve confrontation, and if you are anything like me, confrontation is the root of all things uncomfortable in life.

I just finished reading, “The Last Tribe” by Brad Manuel. This book you guys. It. Is. Amazing. Read it now, my recommendation is strong with this one. Look I can’t even form a proper sentence because I am so obsessed with this book. One of the great qualities of The Last Tribe is how developed the characters are. Not only the main group of characters but ALL OF THEM. They all have little quirks and flaws but as a whole possess a purpose to survive in a dead world after a terrible pandemic catastrophe wipes out of the world.

With this attribute comes a similar communication technique which I wholly agree would be crucial in surviving a post-apocalyptic world. They are all exceptionally straight forward and candid. There is no skirting around issues or tippy-toeing around others because, I suspect in that type of a situation, coyness would likely get you killed.

These characters live in a new world where community is key to their survival. If one member of the group doesn’t like an idea they actually voice their concern (crazy concept right?!) There is no malice in their objection. They are simply pointing out the flaws where they see them. And on that token there are very rarely hurt feeling from these rebuttals. If someone’s idea is shot down due to serious design faults, they have the wherewithal to step back from themselves, look at it from a non-ego wielding point of view and acknowledge that it likely was not the best move for the group.

I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this happen in my everyday life. In this reality we are not in dire straits. We do not need to worry about survival. Teamwork and communication between peers is far less relevant. At least, this is what we’d like to believe.

The human race (at least most of us) has evolved to this point where we all just think we are the smartest smarty-pants whom have ever walked the earth. We can do it all. We don’t need no stinking input from others. It has actually become rude to rebut someone’s idea. I don’t actually know how we have progressed as far as we have. And when we don’t know the way, when we are feeling at a loss instead of asking for help we hide away. We retreat into our caves of concealment because some part of our brain has begun to think that needing help is a sign of weakness.

The reality is, we all need help sometimes. We may not be living on a post-pandemic world of fleeting technological resources but we do still need to work together for our survival. Maybe in our case it is more of an emotional survival but it is survival nonetheless.

I have decided as a personal goal that I am going to try much harder to be straightforward with the people I love. Not mean or hurtful but to tell those I live with how I am feeling about certain situations and voice my opinions on how to make things better. With that said I am going to put great effort forward to toss away the ego exerting mindset which causes me to get offended when someone suggests something be done differently than “my way”.

We all have areas of expertise and different ways of thinking around a problem, doesn’t it make sense to listen to all of the thoughts on the table? When they say, “Two heads are better than one” I don’t think they are talking about mythical monsters.

This idea had begun slowing creeping into my brain and now has taken on a fully formed shape which I cannot remove. I think that to begin living a happy and healthy life we must begin to communicate with one another like we are all just trying to survive a post-apocalyptic world. It is time to start speaking with truth and communicating effectively again.

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Just get the hell on with it why don’t you!

 

I look at the day ahead. I am reeling with anxiety. Timelines and schedules disco-hop through my mind’s eye in a fashion that leads me to believe that my brain has an evil ulterior motive. My hands quiver as I type and I have to wonder if I should even be taking this time to type at all because, damn, I just have so much to do today.

I am the sort of person who gets overwhelmed easily. Can you tell? I have a very difficult time dealing with too many responsibilities over one 24 hour time period. For example, raising children isn’t a stress factor (well it is, but not in the same way) because this endeavour spans an entire lifetime. If I want to feed them popcorn for dinner or skip homework one night  it’s going to be okay because I have a plethora of child-rearing days to make up for the misstep. Having three business meetings, a large quantity order going out during the lunch rush and having to do it all before 3pm when I pick the kids up from school…that gives me the spine chills.  These are the days I am an anxious ball of pent up stress that is undoubtedly radiating a gross amount of sweat and negative energy. An absolute treat to be around I’m sure.

And yes, oh yes, I’ve tried about every possible remedy for this fretful behaviour. From calming teas to lavender oil…to actually attempting to will away the busy onset of events—nothing seems to work.

Except there is actually one thing.

And that is, simply getting on with it. Just doing the shitty, stressful, wholly unwanted thing with a smile on your face and a can-do attitude in your heart. Yeah, yeah, lamest thing I’ve ever written. I know guys, but the truth of it is this is life man.

Sometimes we must simply get into the car and drive to the place we’ve never been. Despite the worry about getting lost and the stress of not knowing anybody there. Sometimes there is no simpler solution than to just do.

I find when managing my time efficiently and using up the leisure time I do have with productive ventures such as reading and writing I am more willing to participate in the tougher stuff with a positive attitude. As a general rule, a can-do ‘tude is one of the best qualities one can have…even if you are feeling the shit storm of obligation encompassing you like that mighty claws of a great griffon, sometimes you just gotta smack that griffon on the talon and say, “let’s fuckin’ do this!”

We humans are resilient and we typically thrive in high pressure situations, revealing to ourselves and others how remarkable we truly are. As we continue to “just get on with it” each time this feeling of conquering the beast becomes easier and easier to overcome.

We do not have the ability to learn or live well without experiencing a little trepidation in our lives. Anything worth doing is going to cause stress because it is new and unknown. In most instances, we must just get on with it or else life will get on without us.

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I Want To Write Poetry…Sometimes.

 

I wanted to write poetry this morning.

Mourning how many months, years, millennia

It has been since verse has scrawled across this screen.

I wanted to write beautifully

Words that scratch some surface

Suitably.

I wanted to write about appetite:

Strange passions.

Outrageous actions.

Famous fashions.

These moments-

They sometimes consume me.

Entangling me in yet-to-be-made memories.

Seeds for tomorrow days

Unmade ways

Ablaze with stories running with haste

In my brain.

I wanted to write something truthful

It seems.

I wanted to explain the emotions

Which reign.

I wanted to share pain,

Releasing and freeing. I wanted to freeze

This feeling of wellbeing

And peace.

To paper, to screen

To forever be seen.

I wanted to write poetry this morning.

Not only to mourn over time mislaid and misplaced

But to celebrate what life and writing has

Forever encased.

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Feeding the ego – one of the best ways to self sabotage.

 

Yesterday I mentioned ego and how we often tend to use technology to feed that ego in today’s society. I have several friends on my Facebook who use the motto “there is no such thing as bad press” to a fault. They air their dirty laundry as though it had been sitting in a pile of cow shit for days. Breakups, makeups, gripes and grimaces everything goes published in the land of Facebook statuses.

Random Facebook Status: ugh I love it when people stick their noses into my life without even knowing what is going on.

Comment 1: Don’t worry about those losers, you’re awesome!

Comment 2: *hugs*

Comment 3: People are so just jealous of you. You keep doing you babe!

This randomly generated Facebook status is a prime example of how easy it is to feed the ego in today’s tech driven world. The ability to boost ourselves up with a false sense-of-self from a list of randos who we have not seen or spoke to “IRL” in YEARS is literally at our fingertips. We are connected by this amazing technology that has the ability to do so much good in our lives and yet we squander its wonders with worrying relentlessly over how many “likes” we’ve received on our last profile pic update.

 

For so long I wrote for not myself nor those wanting to read my writing. I wrote for the likes. I wrote for the shares and the “wow you’re a really good writer” and the “oh my gosh you’re so funny!”

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I wrote for the sheer high it gave me to hit the publish button and watch the ego feeding frenzy come rolling in. I didn’t care about the content. It did not matter to me if I was writing true or not. I was simply looking for anyone to tell me I was good enough.

The problem was, eventually the “likes” and the shares stopped coming. The posts I was producing had become rushed and sloppy. The content was, in all honesty, shit. Running loops around pointless subjects that in the end, nobody cared to read about.

And this my friends is where the problem lies when seeking out self-aggrandizing methods upon social media platforms. Eventually, people catch on to your sly ways. They begin to see through the bullshit and your audience gets bored.

I no longer cared about the writing itself or who was reading it. I only cared about the number of views I received and how far my writing had travelled. The stories meant nothing to me, in all honesty the stories had all been done before. I wasn’t even trying anymore. It was the numbers that had somehow moved into the priority spot in my brain.

And as a writer, when the numbers takes precedence over the words…you know there is a bit of a problem.

So like all mentally healthy individuals, I threw my hands up in the air and said, “fuck it! I’m done with writing. I’m not getting the views and feedback I want so that equates to me not being good enough to carry on. Obvs.”

It took about six months of me subconsciously stewing over my writing to realise what had been happening. Yeah I know, that’s a long time to take to comprehend something so obvious.

So now I am back. No Facebook, no more feeding the ego. Just writing. It is time to get back to the words. To sling sentences and once again fall in love with the wholeness of writing something well. It is time to starve a little for my craft.

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I’m back, and it might be a little awkward because I said that I was leaving forever but we are just going to have to persevere through this together until the weirdness abates.

 

My reflection hangs in the protective glass of a topographical map of Middle Earth. My husband has made it recently and it is an amazing piece of work. A stab of jealousy, or is this envy? Courses through my chest. It is not jealousy over his time nor envy for his talent. It is something else that I cannot quite name. Perhaps his resolve? His willingness to put his own hobbies before the meaningless hubbub, the monotonous pretexts of life. He loves creating these maps, therefore he just does it.

It seems to me any time I have an inkling about “doing” something for myself a flood of excuses washes over me and stops the notion in its tracks. I can’t write that book because I’m not smart enough. I can’t work on my short stories because I don’t have the time to put in the heavy editing that needs doing on them. I couldn’t possibly start up the spoken word poetry again because nobody listened to it in the first place.

My heart hurts when I think that these are the reasons I’ve held myself back from engaging in the thing that I love. Yes time is a factor, I am busy. We all are busy. But life is also flexible. It is an unending corridor of possibility an unrelenting miasma of options if only you learn how to wrangle it for your own.

If we do not allow ourselves to make the time for the purists which make us happy, what are we doing here? I suppose work and making money and being financially accountable are the “responsible” things to do at this point in our lives, but there must be something else. We must be able to mark and create the designs that live in our souls doing what makes us feel whole in order to live a rewarded life.

Ray Bradbury said, “Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.”

Somewhere between all of the worldly concerns of growing older I had forgotten his advice. I swept all fervour away and practicality became my main driving force. Admittedly, at the time this is what I needed. Sometimes to get on track with our professional goals we must batten down the hatches of our own whimsy and get down to business at hand. But I think I’ve come to a point where I have room for a little whimsy to creep back in. To be truthful, I believe it is exactly what I need.

So here we are, same blog, different name, new content. I would like to tell you what this thing is going to be about but, hell if I know man. I think it is just going to be the place where I come, every day, to write one hundred words…and maybe a little more if the muse decides to take me.

 

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Post Expo Post

You guys! I’ve managed to somehow, someway, wrangle a whole 40 minutes of spare time to write a quick blurb about, well, life I suppose. Sure I may have skipped wearing make-up today and merely tossed a bowl, the milk jug and a handful of cheerios at the small humans but you know what? I’m writing and I’m friggen stoked about it.

So I’m sure you’ve all been on the edge of your seats wondering how the infamous food and beverage expo went for us. Well, to put it short and sweet—it was fucking fantastical! Like a dream come true folks. The perfect portrait of grace and elegance all wrapped up into one drunken food fest. Absolutely superb.

We had such a surplus of helpers there so our food went out fast and efficiently.

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People were coming back for seconds despite a plethora of other food vendors in the vicinity. It was a blast! I don’t think Jamie and I have had that much fun since we started up The Hot Wire!

Not that slinging sandwiches isn’t, like, the best time ever, but getting to mingle with a throng of fun and fabulous foodies was pretty freakin’ great too!

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The best part is, it’s paying off already. We are on day three now of post expo extravaganza and we’ve already had a bunch of people coming in asking for “The Roma” or “the panini we had at the food show”. There has been folks walking through our doors sayings, “yeah we tried you out at the show and couldn’t wait to come try another panini.”

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So needless to say, I think we will do it again next year.

Mom and Ashley came down to hang with the kids over the weekend while we were busy busting our butts and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. They took the kids to a hotel where they slid down waterslides and ate pizza for dinner. I’m pretty sure the kids had, literally the best time of their lives. And definitely a monumentally more marvelous time than they would have stashed away under one of the prep tables at the expo…which was the alterative if Mom wasn’t able to make it down here.

My eyes keep wandering over to the bottom right hand corner of the screen where the time is displayed. Only twenty minutes left before I have to pull myself away from this computer and get the children to school. Still, that’s enough time to finish up…that’s what she said. Clearly I’ve been hanging out with Jamie too much lately.

For days now I’ve been mentally compiling a blog post to tell you guys how great this past weekend was. How fulfilling it has been to see the happiness spread across strangers faces moments after we shove our paninis down their throats. I’ve been wanting to tell you how excited I am for the future and all of the ideas that are now fighting for attention in my wandering mind.

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But here I sit, in front of my computer and all that occupies my brain is that gleaming fact that I am in desperate need of a refill on my coffee.

I’m sure as soon as I, say, strap myself into the car and am driving to the school some beautifully prophetic prose will come to mind about existence and friendship and fulfilment and whatnot but right here, right now, my brain only processes one thing: STRONG COFFEE=LIFE.

This is probably because in the deep recesses of my mind I know that today is yet another hectic adventure in the demanding life of a panini posse. Maybe it will be so busy we’re run off our feet. Perhaps we will invent the newest fad in sandwich attire. Or possibly some other amazing and newfangled opportunity that I cannot even fathom will present itself, once again turning our entire world upside down. And that my friends, is the best part of it all.

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The Expo

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I haven’t told you guys about the expo yet. The expo. THE EXPO. This thing is what our life is revolving around right now. It’s official name is the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo and The Hot Wire Panini Café is in it. This is not an event to enter into lightly my friends. They are estimating around 6000 people to be in attendance and an average of 600 patrons to visit each booth. Don’t quote me on these numbers, they are just what my frazzled mind picked up when we were going over the details with Chris. He’s the mastermind of this beautiful thing.

Four months ago when Jamie and I were approached about buying a booth we were thrilled! The Hot Wire Panini’s name had travelled far enough for an actual real live food expo to seek us out and ask if we wanted to join. It was flattering and gave us just a big enough boost of confidence to believe that we could pull this off. No problem-o, was probably my naive reaction at the time. However presently, as the expo draws nearer we have begun to feel the pressure.

Here we are, just the two of us running this entire place by ourselves. We eat, sleep, and breathe The Hot Wire Panini and that definitely cuts in to our socialising time. When we told Chris that it would probably just be the two of us working the expo he actually LOL’d. “Sorry guys, there is no way just two of you will be able to do it alone. You’ve got to get some help.” He said after the awkward realisation that we weren’t in fact pulling his leg came to pass.

So this is our first quandary. We need help for this expo that is taking place in two weeks from now and are not 100% sure that we will be able to get it. We’ve lined up a few of Jamie’s chef friends from back home but that is a four hour drive away and we all know how quickly Alberta roads can turn on a person in the mid-January weather. So who knows if they will even be able to make it? We can’t afford to hire anyone, that thought is actually laughable. And we aren’t close enough to anyone here who would be willing to work for the prestigious payment of beers at our place afterwards. So it comes down to one thing, hoping to the good baby Jeebus that the weather is on our side.

Second issue, the small humans. Oh how (hashtag)adorbs it would be to have the wee panini pipsqueaks running around selling paninis to all of the people at the expo, alas, NO MINORS ALLOWED. So now I have the pleasure of attempting to find a babysitter for a 12 hour timespan. No problem-o my ass.

Then comes the prep work of feeding 5-6 hundred bitesize panini samples to prospective customers. Finding all of the necessary decor to make our booth look inviting—alluring if you will. All the while running the shop during its regular hours.

Wowza, by this point you must be thinking that Jamie and I are gluttons for punishment. We’re not, we swear. We just really get off on the onset of regular anxiety attacks.

They say that owning your own business takes everything you have in you. That’s a lie. It takes more than everything. It takes resourcefulness. So much resourcefulness in fact that you must reserve your resourcefulness to uncover more resourcefulness. It takes having the nerve to try new things and pick yourself up off the floor when they fall flat.  It takes so much risk that sometimes you just crave a boring, dreary kind of day. It takes patients. Patients with yourself because everything you do is a trail run and 50% of it isn’t going to work out the way you intended. It takes the ability to make a botched attempt into a new opportunity. And enough confidence to know that all of this pressure and fear and failure and heaviness in your heart will eventually be worth it. It takes the optimism to glance contently into the future. Many of these qualities I didn’t know I possessed until we started really getting into the nitty gritty of entrepreneurship. Perhaps they were born out of necessity.

This expo is a fantastic way to get The Hot Wire’s name out there. We know our product is good. The reviews speak for themselves. Now it is time to showcase our panini perfection in one convenient location for all to enjoy. It isn’t that the shop is doing poorly. Our numbers are good. But we do have our slow days, sometimes even slow weeks. These are the days when it is a struggle to find a positive outlook on things. These are the moments when the fear creeps in and we have to will it away with thoughts of what tomorrow might bring.

It is a terrifying business to be in, but a thrilling and challenging one too. And the only way to achieve our goals is to work hard, takes chances and get the word out. The panini word. The Alberta Food and Beverage Expo is our golden ticket and there is no way we are about to squander that.

With a bit of planning, a little luck and a lot of culinary craftiness I’m confident we will get through it. We’ll make our impression on this city of Lethbridge and they will be talking about that one time The Hot Wire Panini rocked the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo for years to come!

And that, my friends, is what this whole shebang is all about.

Embrace the good things…They only come once in a while.

From the time the kids were wee babes Jamie and I have drove older vehicles. Some may refer to them as beaters, beasts, or even pieces of crap (whilst booting the wheel well over and over again because the damn thing broke down for the fifth time that month).

But who’s keeping track right?

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful and I’m not. For the most part these ‘beaters’ have continued to get us to our intended location…

Well except for that time we were driving down the highway and the power steering went due to the serpentine belt busting. Or that other time that I never did make it to work because the car mysteriously forgot how to start its engine.

And then there was all of the minor problems we just simply learned to live with. Like only having one headlight. No the answer was not a simple headlight swap, of course it couldn’t be that easy! It was an error in the control module, this is what I was told at least, and the problem would cost us well over what the van in question was worth. Ever since, we have opted to limit our driving to the daylight hours.

We have learnt to live without passenger side mirrors, windows that roll down and a working radio. The latter is probably the worst since I have nothing to drown out the children’s incessant whining with.

And in turn we have learned to live with funky smells wafting in through the heat vents. Odd and eerie noises when turning the wheel too sharp or slamming on the brakes. We have also come to terms with the unnerving reality that at any moment that two ton piece of metal and iron we are hurling down the road could easily fall to pieces.

But we do what we have to to get from A to B.

It was just recently that husband and I were looking at our financials and came to the invigorating conclusion that we were indeed in the market for a new vehicle. Well, a newer vehicle at least.

So we began our hunt where else? Yes you guessed it, Kijiji. Unfortunately James and I are not big car people and looking at vehicles did not prove easy over a computer screen. I don’t remember the last time we had argued so vehemently with each other. It only made matters worse that we were bickering about what the nicer color between orange and blue is for a car. Or how tall the actual SUV must be in real life. In all honesty the kids probably were thinking their folks had finally gone off the deep end into wacky-land.

So we decided for the sake of our marriage to go into the dealership and look around in person.

And boy howdy I’m glad we did! For two people who were bound and determined to buy privately we had the best experience at the dealership. Our salesman Kevin was spectacular! We were initially looking at a more expensive vehicle but he directed us to a Chevy Equinox that was considerably cheaper and it fit our needs as a family better.

Once we decided to take the plunge and buy the beaut I got to ring the bell that was located in the middle of the store. Everybody looked and clapped and smiled and I was in my absolute glory being the center of attention with all those strangers- even if it was only for a few seconds.

And the aftermath of purchasing my Equinox has been pretty glorious too! Yes this is our first time buying a vehicle and yes we are currently thousands of dollars in debt with car payments…But you know what? Totally worth it.

As I am driving down the road listening to my tunes that are cranked to the max, rolling up and down the windows as I please and smelling nothing but new car smell I think about how fortunate our family is. We are fortunate for our health and happiness foremost but also for how much we as a family unit have evolved in our 6 years together.

We have worked hard to receive the good things in life. The things we can enjoy together. And that I guess is what life is all about.

So next time you see a family cruising around in a Chevy Equinox looking insanely overjoyed to be driving safely down the road, give them a wave.

It may just be my family and we may just be busting out to some Journey…Just because we can.

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