Saturday, February 28

"One Can Begin To Reshape The Landscape With A Single Flower" -Spock

I was checking my twitter yesterday while I was out and about and I saw a tweet that, unexpectedly, made my chest hurt and made my throat tight. 

I saw, in a simple 140 characters...Leonard Nimoy had died at the age of 83. 

I felt so heavy and sad. 

I am not a fan of Star Trek, and to be honest, I don't know of anything else Mr. Nimoy did in his career, aside from his finger thing to greet people. 

But I still felt a sadness and still do today because my dad was/is a Treky. 

When my mom started dating Steve I was 10-ish. My mom introduced us to this million feet tall red head who rode a motorcycle and had a mustache.

When Steve would have dinner with us, he use to tell my brother Dawson and I that he was from the planet Bor-der-rig-me and when he would say the name of his home planet (while burping) he would do the Spock hand greeting, suggesting it was his planets greeting. We didn't know any better...and these two stupidly sheltered children ATE IT UP!!! I remember sitting in amazement that we had an alien as a stepfather. No one else I knew at school has as cool a dad as we did.   

Two of the biggest changes I remember with the addition of Steve to our family was 1- Music. Steve was a HUGE vinyl fan and we listened to all kinds of music! 
And 2- TV. we watched EVERYTHING.  Steve watched all the space shows and by default I would watch them too. I even remember one holiday he got a phaser. We kept it on top of the TV for years, and if I am being honest, I had, on occasion picked it up and pretended to fight off a creature from a new planet I was exploring with the Captain and, in a panic, send a distress call to Scotty to get be back as soon as possible. 

I remember driving through Vulcan once on a family trip and stopping and looking at the USS
Enterprise, and I can even recite the intro to the show..

To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before.... I guess, maybe I too am a bit of a Trecky.  

I think the passing of Spock makes me sad because he reminds me of my dad. Even writing this makes my eyes water.  I feel like that was, in the oddest of ways, my grandfather and my dad will miss him, so I will miss him. 

Weird the things we hold on to from our youth.


I am grateful for exciting new things that are en route for this little blog of mine!

I am grateful for Steve and the universe he opened up to us as children. For the magic of his addition and for the relationship I have with him now as an adult.

I am grateful for family.


Monday, February 23

Feelings Demand To Be Felt.

My darling hair stylist, Sam,  welcomed me into the salon with a warm and inviting smile like she always does!
"Hi Joelle, how is it going?'

I smiled back, it was a forced smile but I did it.
"I am fine",  I replied.

Sam, knowing me better than I think, sits me down and says, "go on, tell me all about it."

That's when my hour long rage rant began.

For years when I was asked "How are you?" I felt a need to put on a facade. I thought "a good woman can hold it together" whatever the hell that meant. I almost never told people what was really bothering me, I NEVER asked for help and I would rather get hit by a car before I would let anyone think I couldn't juggle the 10 billion things I had to do on top of parenting, keeping an orderly home, making dinner, running errands and doing that charity work assignment that I agreed to, all while planning that dinner for 40 women.

It was all exhausting and to deal with my feeling and stress, I would eat.

I hate feeling things. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's true. Feelings scare me. Good, bad or otherwise, I am not overly comfortable when emotion is involved. I especially hate feeling vulnerable.

For years I have just collected my emotions and stored them in my proverbial shelf. I sort the feelings and emotions and place them in neat and tidy little boxes and store them on this emotional shelf. Continuing the illusion that I have my shit together. These imaginary boxes stay on this pretend shelf with the real food I eat.

Back then, I wouldn't deal with my problems, talk to the person who upset me or confront the no, don't be silly.... I would pretend things were fine, and stuff my face with anything and everything I could get my hands on and continue the facade.

It was going wonderfully! I was easily 40 pounds over weight and everyone though things were great.  *eyeroll*

Until one day all these boxes came a tumbling down.

It's been a few years now, but I am figuring this stuff out bit by bit.
I see now that when I am upset, stressed or hurt I am ALLOWED to feel that way. It's okay. I started giving myself permission to feel what I am feeling, and when I allow myself that, I don't shove the feelings down with food anymore.

The other HUGE, and I mean MASSIVELY HUGE realization I have come to over the years is, no one expects me to be fine or perfect when I am going through stressful things! So why on earth would It expect that of myself??

*imaginary cartoon light bulb by my head turns on....BING!!!*

When I am learning to blend two families and it's hard, it's okay to be hard! When I am  endeavouring to mesh these families together and trying to sell a house...IT"S ALLOWED TO BE HARD!! No one expects it to be easy, and I see now what a total disservice I did for years pretending things were fine when they weren't. I only hurt myself (I really could have used the help) and how awful I must have made others who were honest with how hard life can be feel when they couldn't hide their stress and actually asked for help. If I could say sorry to those women, I would like to now.

Right now, I am pretty tightly wound. I hate selling/showing a house. I hate the idea of strangers walking through my house when I am not home. I hate having to keep this house cleaner than it's ever been in all my years living here. But it won't be forever. It will end one day, and it will be worth it.

I am easily angered right now, but that's because when you do stressful things, you are going to be stressed....and guess what my loving friends like Che reminded me today....IT'S OKAY!!

Want to know what else I was reminded this week while having dinner with my dearest Rachel? When my friends ask how I am doing, they are asking because they actually care and want to know. Probably because they (being my close friends) can tell somethings not right. So they are giving me permission to talk to them about it, cause they care. That is why they asked in the first place.

*The light bulb just went off again..that's what that binging sound was again*

I see now that bad feelings, if you allow yourself to feel them when they come up, don't last forever. They are like the tide, they wash in and out. Feelings demand to be felt, you can put it off for a while, but, in the end, they will have their time. No matter how hard you try to convince yourself otherwise.

I am going to be 37 this year and I feel like I am just now starting to see and understand who I really am. I am only now seeing the power in saying no, and allowing myself the freedom to choose. To really choose, without the external pressure and influence of others who have no business in my decision making.

I no longer feel sad that it's taken me this long to get here. I am just so fucking happy that I am finally here!

To celebrate, I will have a danish! (just kidding)


I am grateful for the sunshine, melting snow and light jackets.

I am grateful for friends.

I am grateful for secret deodorant. The non scented stuff. I have used it for years and man that is good stuff, and it never stains my clothes!


Sunday, February 8

I Recognize That I Am Obsessed!

I love whales. I know this is not the first time you have heard me say this...I REALLY REALLY love whales. To date, I have spent almost a full months mortgage payment to see whales. On this trip I went 3 different times so try and see them. Everyone I spoke to before this trip told me stories of how when they were in Mexico they could see them breech from the shore, or how my parents went on a boat ride and saw 5 breech with their babies. So clearly I expected to see them by the hundreds too and I even pick the time of year that would best facilitate seeing them (migration). I even allowed my imagination to wonder and I would day dream about a whale coming so close to my boat that i could reach out and touch one.

Funny thing was though...I didn't see them the way and as often as everyone else did. I had to really work at it. Which I am okay with, I have always said, I am very ok with being inconvenienced to see these beauties.

I accept that I am dancing on obsessed, and I embrace the title of crazed.. and probably need help regarding my obsession with these majestic creatures.

With the help of a young boat driver on my last whale day (whale Wednesday), who was a crazy S.O.B like me,  Seth and I did see a few, and the last one we saw was GIGANTIC!!

Worth every single penny, bruised limb from being tossed around a tiny boat and sun burned face.

One of the days we were in Mexico, was the day our Radio station finally changed over ownership. It happened to also be the eve of my anniversary with Rawlco Radio.
And the day this was all happening also happened to be the day my family all went out whale watching together.

The evening of my 3rd anniversary and thinking about how things were going at home with all my work family, I couldn't help but reflect on all the things that this radio station and company had done in the last 3 years to change my life. I couldn't help but feel tender and grateful for everything they had given me and the life they have given my kids and I and ...sailing on the  pacific ocean searching for far we have come.

It seemed poetic that on the last day Rawlco radio owned NOW radio, would be the afternoon we saw this all together.

It only made sense that after all the gifts you have given us this would be your send off. Thank you for everything you have done for us Gord and Doug Rawlinson. Thank you for allowing my babies to see a whale with me. It was a perfect day. 

Some of the other animals we saw on our trip.

This sting ray would jump out of the water beside where we would play.

Sea lions. They smell awful, but sound cool.

Annnd...we saw a Manta Ray  on our first whale search. No whales, but Gabe saw the fin and thought it was a shark. Poor guy. Scared him senseless.

The other thing that happened on this trip was another swipe off my Bucket List.

Take my children on a vacation where they will need their passports. Let them swim with Dolphins while we are there.
We got to go swim and play with the dolphins one afternoon. It was AMAZING!
I don't want to talk about the massive moral dilemma I had with them being captured animals and tried not to think about it. I just wanted to love them and show them that they are loved.
I could have spent days with these beautiful and unbelievably powerful creatures. They played with us, pushed and swam with us all. We raced with them in kayaks (I paddled my face off and still didn't stand a chance).
Ethan's picture is where the 2 Dolphins (named Cleopatra and Poseidon) pushed him so hard they lift you out of the water. They did this to all of us, it was unreal! The hour we spent there went by in a blink. Hands down every ones favourite thing on the trip!


I am grateful for Bucket Lists.

I am grateful for imaginations. I allow mine to dream and believe that one day I will get to swim with my whales and play with them. I love to day dream!

I am grateful I was able to do these fun things with my babies while they were still interested in hanging out with me.


Saturday, February 7

Day 2-ish In Mexico. The Discovery Of Nonstop Food, The Ocean, and That I Have A Lot To Learn.

The morning after we arrived was glorious! I was rested and when I woke up I actually forgot where I was for a moment. I opened up my sliding door to our room (which we shared with children) and this was our view. It was humid and our clothes felt a little damp. It was strange but wonderful. 

The birds were singing and I loved seeing all the beautiful shades of green everywhere. We got dressed and headed to breakfast. 

The first morning we ate at the buffet was overwhelming in almost every way possible. One of the reasons I picked the resort that was all inclusive was so I wouldn't have to cook, although the idea was to be easier for me, allowing me more of a "true" vacation I can't even begin to tell you how dangerous an "all you can eat" can be for children.

Even though we had a long talk about healthy food choices, I am sure its no surprise that the plates my kids made were more junk than anything of substance. The amount of waste at the tables was horrifying and I couldn't help but wonder what the staff must think of it all.  

 The children's chocolate intake the first morning would shock even Willy Wonka.
There was so much food it reminded me of old church potlucks. Lots and lots but when you get closer much of it is unrecognizable and not very nice. There were some good and smart food choices but they were not always out front and didn't catch the kids eye.

When breakfast was over and we finished practicing our Spanish (my bilingual children picked up Spanish super easy and I loved listing to them talk with the women who were restaurant staff and were so kind to the kids) we headed down to the beach.

To get down to the ocean you walk down a ramp beside an infinity pool with a swim up bar filled with drunk and loud people. The pool was lined with recliner chairs and there was an astounding amount of tie dyed clothing on almost every body moving and or passed out on said chairs. The other thing that caught my attention was the rows and rows of women holding copies of 50 Shades Of Grey. When we finally got to the sand the line of separation between grotesque over consumption and heart breaking poverty and hardship was quite literally a thin rope about 5 meters in.

Walking past the lines of people offering brackets and necklaces, was a challenge but once I said "no thank you" roughly 100 times,  we finally got to the water.

I was so excited to see the Ocean and get my feet in. I wanted to experience the Ocean through the kids eyes and capture this moment. It was sensational listening to them squeal when the waves would come up.  The sand was soft,  beautiful and the kind you dream about!

When we had been down at the water for a few minutes I saw how bothersome Nora's hair was going to be for me in and out of the water this much. So when Josephine came over and offered to put her hair in braids I jumped on the offer.

It took her less than 10 minutes to do this. AMAZING!!!

While she braided I asked her how far away she lived, and she told me that she takes a bus every morning to work for an hour and a half (one way) for $1.50. She said the taxi is only 15 minutes but it costs $10.

I struggled to barter when I was there. Although I wanted my kids to learn how and see why it was important, I myself spent a healthy amount on tips and over paying for these braided for the bargain price of 30$. Don't lecture me...I know I know.

It was around this time that the realization of how hard blending 2 families can be and is. I mean, I knew it wasn't going to be easy... but I say this without hesitation...blending is the hardest GD thing I have EVER done.
When I was younger I had a step mother. I wasn't very close with her or my Bio father, they had 2 kids of their own and Dawson and  I would only see them for a few weeks every summer.  That was not much time to try and develop any sort of lasting relationships which is one of the many reasons I wanted to go on this trip together.

But trying to blend and figure out how to be a step mother all at the same time is challenging. I fear the Evil Step Mother persona as much as I fear heights. I am still trying to figure out the kids I personally brought into this world..I sure as hell have no idea about other peoples kids. I suck at this and...if I am being honest, found myself crying in the bathroom more than once. It was also during this time I found not having wifi exceptionally difficult because I had no way to contact my friends to ask how to handle situations.

Hats off to all you step parents. Please teach me your ways. You are a grossly under-appreciated group of people.

After the ocean, we returned to non stop food and found ourselves collapsed in bed and unconscious by 9 pm.


I am grateful for the special little touches that we would get daily. One was the towel animals we found on our beds every morning after breakfast when the ladies would clean our rooms. The children loved them (especially Seth). The last night we were there this table was set up displaying all of them. I was taking a picture and I over heard a woman say, "I haven't gotten a single one on my bed" I respond by saying, "leave a tip and then you'll get one" She snorted and said "I have better things to do with my money".

Nice lady, real nice.

I am grateful for how well I slept while away. Every day was started right and I felt refreshed. 

I am grateful for R. (My ex husbands partner) You are a wonderful step mother to my children and I am sorry I didn't realize how hard you have worked to develop a great relationship with the kids. They speak very fondly of you and I want you to know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed. I hope to one day be as good at this as you are. 
Also, I am grateful for Jason who seems so good at this too.