March 2011

I couldn’t sleept this a.m., i was awake thinking of a bunch of things that have been stressing me out lately.  So i got up and did some yoga.  Tried to get some kinks out of my back and shoulders.  Tried to get some feeling back into my hips.  And i settled into Childs Pose and thought about how it’s such a great pose for surrender.

Childs Pose doesn’t have to be surrendering TO anyone or thing, it can just be surrendering.  I’ve been noticing lately that I need to do that more often. 

You know, the time when you just can’t ram the square peg into the round hole any longer?  When you just have to stop stressing and striving and fighting and trying to make the whole world into the image that’s in your head? 

It’s the time when you say, you know what?  I give.  Uncle.  I’m going to let go of this and this.  I can’t fix it all or change it all. 

I will continue to do my stuff, but let go of how it all turns out.  Because I simply can’t control it all.

And that can be tough for a control freak.  But when i finally get there?  i feel my shoulders drop 3 inches from my ears.  And my body seems to sigh all on its own.  And I instantly feel a bit more peaceful. 

It turns out it was all in my head.  I had made the decision that i needed to take responsibility for fixing all this stuff and it turns out i can just as easily unmake it.   And if i can turn the ” HAVE TO” noise in my head down, I’ll notice that the peace and calm are hiding inside too.  

One of my favourite kid’s books is Who Will Tuck Me In Tonight.  Because I get to do a lot of different voices for one, but also because I just love Whooly the little lamb.  He’s a tough little dude who knows what he needs. 

When the story opens it’s time for bed and his Mom’s not around.  So the other farm animals take turns trying to do the bedtime ritual and fail miserably.   The pig tries to feed him yucky pig snacks, the horse tucks him in too tight and so on.

Whooly gets pretty cheesed off by all this and isn’t afraid to tell them.  Finally he says, “Enough!”.  And you know, that’s when his Mom comes in.  She does the bedtime ritual perfectly and life is good for Whooly as he snuggles in for the night. 

I’ve noticed that for me too, if I can get to the “Enough!” part i get the support I need.  Probably because i’m too busy stressing, striving and fighting to ask for what i need.  

Sometimes my stiff upper lip is *so* stiff that i can’t utter the words, “Enough!  This really stinks and i need to do it differently!”  But if I can get to the “enough” part then i find out I have enough and i am enough to get through it.

Some days I think my kids are eating too much processed food and that’s when i need to get baking.  There’s something about colorful food packaging, it just lures them in like the lights of Time Square.  

The other thing I’ve found is that if you’re a Baking Mom your kids take it for granded.  Fresh baked things from the oven?  Yeah whatever.  Then when a kid visits who doesn’t have a Baking Mom, they clean the place out.  

Saturday afternoon I made a coffee cake with cherries in it.  Who can turn down warm coffee cake on a chilly day?   My son. He wanted popcorn instead.  The kid of my friend who’s a Non-Baking Mom meanwhile had three helpings. 

So you gotta make the right things for the jaded children who have consumed baked goods since they were tiny.  And Feisty Chef’s Carrot Muffins fit the bill.  Gussie had three for lunch.

I didn’t include the grated apple because I felt like there was already a ridiculous amount of good things in it and i was tired of grating.  Also a tip – finely grate the carrots.  Once I made carrot muffins and I used coursely grated carrot and it was like hot carrot coleslaw.  Anyhoo, enjoy Feisty’s recipe which also worked for her child:

Terrible Two’s Carrot Muffins

  • 1 1/2C sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1C oil
  • 2tsp vanilla
  • 2C flour
  • 2tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2tsp cinnamon
  • 2C  grated carrots
  • ½ C  raisins
  • ½ C chopped walnuts
  • ½ C coconut
  • 1 apple; grated

Cream together sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and fruit. Mix and spoon into greased muffin tins and bake at 400°F for 18 – 20 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Consume with your kids!

I’m back working downtown after a long hiatus of being in the ‘burbs.  It’s weird, I have to get used to jay walking again.  In the ‘burbs you can get yourself killed doing that.  Downtown, it’s the only way to get somewhere fast.  And you can pretend you’re a Montrealer.

 I also have to get used to the wind tunnels in downtown Halifax.  The one today just about knocked me down.  At least it didn’t knock me up.

I’m also getting used to the panhandlers again.  After the first lunch-time walk i dumped a bunch of change in my pocket so I’d be ready.  I of course removed the loonies and toonies first (one and two dollar coins to you non-Canadians), I mean c’mon, I gotta feed my kids too. 

I gave change to the first couple of panhandlers and then I saw Him.  He’s my favourite of them all and I haven’t seen him in years.  He’s a slight bald man with a beard.  He’s got some challenges, you can’t really tell what he says.  He just had his hat out, but at other times he busks. 

His busking performance is unique.  He strums a guitar with three strings that’s completely out of tune.  And he sings.  Nothing really melodic per se, and not really anything with lyrics, but he belts it out.  I used to give him money every time I saw him because he’s my hero.  And now it looks like I’ve have that chance again.

You know how they say, dance like no ones watching?  He sings like no one’s listening.  And he makes me think.  I think of all the stoopid things I get self conscious about.  I think of how hard I am on myself.  And he’s just doing his thing.  At the highest volume possible, for nickels.  Maybe I’ll put some toonies in my other pocket just for Him.

Volume 1 of my detox cookbook has been selling regularly and I’m thrilled about that.  The idea that I might be helping people eat well on the detox so they don’t “fall off the wagon” makes me feel really good.  Good enough to keep working on recipes for a second volume! 

I figured out a way to make detox-friendly granola, which is exciting.  You may not think that one can get excited about granola but if you’re like me and enjoy an a.m. bowl of cereal (anytime really) you really miss it during the detox. 

And this granola is yummy.  I just miss the dried fruit, but I’ll live.  I also figured out a nutty salmon recipe that I plan to make all the time,  not just when I’m detoxing. 

I’ve been thinking about how to keep track of the 80% and 20% restrictions of the Wild Rose Detox.  I want to include more “eat as much of this as you want” recipes so we can spend less time figuring out how much 20% food can be squeezed into our daily diet. 

That’s one thing I love about the Wild Rose detox, i don’t have to quit coffee and there *are* foods i can eat as often as i like.

I’m also realizing that spring is upon us and it’s time to plan my own bi-annual detox.  I’m thinking of doing more juicing this time.  I’ll keep you posted.

Like most North Americans I am completely uncomfortable with Death.  When I lived in Vancouver a co-worker had a death in the family.  It was treated as a Personal Matter and a Family Matter and we all avoided the topic and the person was told to take the time off work that they needed.

It was a surprise when I moved to Nova Scotia and found that things were different.  When a person at work had a death, her co-workers went to the funeral to support them.  I was surprised at this – you’re going to a funeral when you don’t even know the person who died??  I only said that once when I saw the look people gave me.  Yup, here when Death happens, they support the living.  Even when the Living is just a co-worker.

It made sense when I thought about it. People feel support in numbers.  Some people take a lot of good from seeing a memorial hall full of people.  It helps them feel that the person who passed will be missed.  As much as they’ll miss them.

Our 70 year old neighbours lost their only son.  He’d had a bunch of undiagnosed health issues for a year or so and then suddenly organs started giving out and over the course of a couple of days, he died.

Needless to say they’re devastated.

We talked about what we could take them.  Honeybunny started making red sauce with meatballs from his Mom’s recipe.  We didn’t take it over the first day because we wanted to give them some time.  Also we saw food being delivered that day, even as the snow was coming down.

The next day we took over a big container of sauce and a box of spaghetti so that they could have it anytime they wanted.  Not the most elegant of meals, but exactly what I would want to eat if I was in their shoes, HB’s sauce is awesome.

I don’t think I’ve ever visited anyone who’s had an recent death like that.  I’m not sure Honeybunny has either but he comes from Cape Breton, a large island north of here.  Our neighbours are from there too. They’re a real community and it seemed like he just knew what to do.  Like it was in his bones.

I assumed we were going to deliver the food and take off.  He knew we weren’t.  They invited us in and we hugged them and we were all in tears.  She made mochacino’s and we chatted.  They talked about all kinds of stuff.  They also talked about their son, that he’d miss his upcoming birthday party, that he loved making food and having friends in. 

They also talked about what it was like when he died.  And they started crying again.  And I didn’t feel any need to fill the silence.  I sure as heck wasn’t going to say anything like “he’s in a better place”   And then they’d  start talking about something else.  Not in a “quick let’s change the subject” way, but just being ready to move on.

When we got up to go we told them to call if they needed anything.  They thanked us for coming to visit.  They are so amazingly strong. 

I swear I’d be curled up in a fetal position in bed.  I sure wouldn’t be making mochacinos for anyone and sharing my grief as comfortably as they did.  But it felt so good to share it.  As HB said, “there’s nothing we can give them but our time.”  We could sit and listen and be with them while they grieved.  That’s all.

When I started my job hunt in the fall, my career coach extrordinaire, April,  said that I should spend the bulk of my time networking.  Less time scouring the job boards and even less time getting in with recruiters because I’m a marketer in a small city, it’s a pretty specialized area.

So I coffee’d and lunched with people i havene’t seen in ages.  I met with people i know who are doing all kinds of stuff.  I told April that I’m looking for my “next fun marketing gig” and she said I needed to refine my elevator pitch.  Those coffees and lunches helped me do that.  i thought a fun marketing gig was pretty explanatory but maybe that’s just me.   

As fun as it was getting caught up with old co-worker buddies, I wasn’t really seeing it going anywhere.  People could tell me about companies they’d heard about that *might* be doing something, some of them even knew people there i could connect with, but no one was saying, “boy do i have the fun marketing gig for you”. 

One of my lunches (sushi for me, sandwich for him) was with a guy I’ve worked with twice who’s now a recruiter.  The problem is that he only recruits technical folks and not marketers so while it was great to see him and he knew of some companies, there was nothing solid there.

The second step in the networking game is that you say the person, ‘who else do you know that i should be talking  to?’.  Not necessarily someone who will give you a job (although one can always hope), but someone else how may have suggestions of other people to talk to.  Ways to help you broaden your network.  People to try out your elevator pitch on.

I was not ready to meet with strangers.  I decided in the fall that after Christmas if I was still jobless I would start meeting with people I don’t know.  But Xmas came and went and i still didn’t find myself quite that desperate.

At the same time i was applying for jobs i saw posted online and it just seemed like that was a better route.  These companies are looking for someone potentially like me now, and they’ve taken the trouble to post something.  Shouldn’t that be a clearer fit than someone’s friend’s cousin’s brother might looking for a marketing person?

I kept applying and coffee’ing and lunching.

One day my recruiter buddy called, he’d gotten his first marketing job to fill.  I had seen the job posted on the company’s site but the title was for another kind of marketing,  not the kind I’ve spent most of my time doing.  In other words, a less fun marketing gig in my mind.  So i hadn’t applied.  But my buddy said that i had the right background and wanted to put me forward.  So because i trust him (and because it’s so much easier going thru the application process with someone you trust on your side) i said, ok let’s do it.

At the same time I sent an email with a question to someone else I used to work with.  As we did the “so what’s been up with you” chat he told me the name of the agency he’s been working for, from home.  I’d never heard of them, so i went to their site and low and behond they had a job posting that looked interesting.  The whole company is virtual, everyone works from home and most people are on contract so that they can write off household expenses.  They do pretty cool work so i applied.

So as I interviewed with the company on my recruiter buddy side, I realized that the job title in my mind didn’t actually fit the job.  At least based on the places I’ve worked, these guys organize things differently. It turns out the job was perfectly related to my background and was absolutely a ‘fun marketing gig’.  I got excited about it.

Back at the agency, I went in to talk to them and it was clear that they were extra positive about me because I had a buddy who worked there.  I was more senior than they were looking for, but because I was so incredibly awesome they were going to figure out how they could make it work.  (Yes i’m paraphrasing here).

I got both offers in the same week. 

I took the recruiter buddy job and I start on Monday.  I’m thrilled.  But I also shake my head about how the job i didn’t apply for came around to be the perfectly fun marketing gig.  And it was because of my recruiting buddy connection.

I’ve also had interest from three other companies since I signed the offer.  One of them I applied to in early November.  It’s crazy.

I also shake my head that the other offer I got came from a company I’d never heard of until my other buddy mentioned it.  You just never know.  And that’s why you’ve gotta talk to everyone you know.  And maybe even people you don’t know.  I wouldn’t know.