rawr, dinosaur love

On the Up and Up

The tension is here
between who you are and who you could be
between how it is and how it should be

So many things have been happening at such a speed that I haven't been able to keep up with posting blog posts. Truthfully I've been adding one-line reminders to my draft of this post almost every day, and they are many and varied. It's unfortunate that it will take me a long time to communicate them all, and due to the fact that many of these things were over a week ago already, I'm sure I can't do them justice. Nevertheless...

I am finding that as my life improves, I am swaying from my usual struggle with clinical depression into the territory of it's spectrum opposite, the manic. My mind races at night, and I am really struggling with sleeping. In a particualarly appropriate example, I was extremely tired the other day and woke up just after midnight when I had gone to bed at 9:30pm - a completely reasonable hour for a change. By the time I had been awake for two minutes, I had sat up in bed and was mentally composing a value statement for CPC, one of the tasks I had set for later this week. I ended up getting up for a few hours, trying to get back to sleep, and eventually getting up and just running on 3 hours. And when I say running, I mean running, when I am in that state I am a fearless predator of my tasks and I tear them to shreds quite efficiently. Upon realizing this was happening, I made therapy and doctor appointments for myself and began making a list of the things that help. Things like saying rote prayers as a meditation, going to the gym, and hugging the sleeping puppy.

I don't know if you've ever tried cuddling with a sleepy dog but when you do it's practically impossible not to get sleepy yourself.

When I can't receive Your love,
Afraid I'll never be enough,
Remind me who I am
If I'm Your beloved, can You help me believe it?

If I had to pick one, the manic state is definitely more useful, but I actually would prefer normal highs and lows in my life, thanks. Especially considering I've now figured out what's happening with me. I have only ever had very short periods of manic through, these last few months as life has improved and new developments that make life better are a weekly if not daily occurence, I am finding my stability challenged in a direction I am not usually going in.

All that to say that the realization itself was of immense value, and I was able to communicate it to Paul with some tact and ask for his clinical help, since mental health is now one of his areas of expertise. It's a bit of a sore area for him because of some issues in his past, so I wanted to be gentle about it and I think I succeeded. You may have no idea how hard it is to be gentle when feeling manic. I set us up with a sleeping dog between us and two steaming hot cups of tea and slowed down my brain as much as I could to listen and be present. It's a skill I'm less familiar with and I'm learning as I go.

The first thing I wanted to talk about here was a new community in Edmonton. I had the privelege of attending the very first meeting of The Chopping Block, which is a local Shark Tank/Dragon's Den idea where local accredited investors provide ideas and possibly capital to startups. We discovered METAL, an adult laser tag (more like indoor paintball without the colours or bruising and with a lot more strategy) which takes its heritage from police and army training. We are very excited to get a group together to set and disarm their awesome fake bomb... We also met a lady who had developed a new kind of foot jewelery and someone from Taiwan who was trying to develop a magnetic product to keep stable temperatures in transport trucks. All three were interesting to both Paul and I and I had a chance to connect with others and both give and recieve advice. It was definitely a great day, but that was just the beginning of a string of amazing moments.

I had an incredibly good day last Thursday, which is where my big fat story effectively begins.

First off, I tried a new hairstyle on the advice of my stylist and despite being half asleep when I did it, it turned out looking fabulous. I only hope I can recreate it - I've tried now twice and neither was as good... So I started off the day with a good hair day - nay, a perfect hair day. Those are rare.

I met with a lady who manages the office side of a law firm about working with them as Last Resort, and the presentation and meeting went off better than I could have ever expected. At the end of it, I felt confident and happy. I headed off to Burrito Libre for lunch, and bought the student's lunch who was next to me in line. When I posted it to Facebook and tagged the business, they asked if they could give me a gift certificate! So that made my day even more amazing.

I had some problems with one of my lenses, so I had sent it in for service. When I picked up my gear at Vistek, all five of the usual store employees greeted me, remembered me, and I felt like a real VIP there.

When I lose my way and I forget my name,
Remind me who I am.
In the mirror all I see is who I don't wanna be,
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places, when I can't remember what grace is
Tell me once again who I am to You,
Who I am to You, that I belong to You

That evening, we had an appointment with the Mother-of-the-bride of one of my brides last summer, who happens to be a very experienced short term foster parent. Talking with an experienced foster parent about adoption was one of the most strengthening moments I've had. Setting aside all the great and practical advice she gave for a moment, it came as an absolute surprise to have such a warm person who is literally a professional parent tell us that she felt we were going to make great parents, that we had complimentary skills and would be able to offer a stable home. Having her on our side is making us both feel much more prepared for all this. Paul and I spoke late into the night after we met her. Paul talked about the call to holiness, and what it means to parent someone in faith and love. I talked about the immense confidence boost, and how much I was looking forward to all of this. We'll be sending in our application in May after we move - the earliest we are allowed to what with the stress and hubbub of moving.

Friday was just as crazy. I couldn't sleep again, so I stayed up reading Value Based Pricing, a book which contains many notable ideas about how to show your clients your value. I had been working on a new idea for CPC, and it truly blossomed.  I slept on the idea for a couple of hours, and then was able to work on it right before my meeting with Jasser. I should note that in this process, Jasser has become a rather close friend. We share quite deeply with one another now about our lives and struggles, and also about business, which is our true passion.

Upon arrival I ordered myself a Mojito (one of my favourite party drinks, and a tribute to Jasser's beloved dog of the same name) and then proceeded to get a steak dinner, and I told Jasser, "I took the liberty of having you buy me a steak dinner and a drink, because you'll want to buy me both after you hear what I have to say today." He laughed really, really hard and started getting excited. I had done a lot of thinking about my place in the conference, and as they say on Dragon's Den/Shark Tank, whether I was "in or out?" I told him I was in for the long haul if he was okay with my ideas and place going forward, that I saw a huge potential for revenue in the conference and believed in everything it stood for and had to offer. I then pitched my vision for the sponsor side, and I swear to you it made him tear up. Boy, that felt good. The best part was that I came ready to convince him of just how big a powerhouse he'd created, and he came primed with some realizations he'd had before he arrived. He loved my ideas, he was okay with the pitfalls, and he wants to go ahead with my new vision for what the tradeshow floor is going to look like. So after years of contributing as a volunteer and last year as Jasser gave me the token black shirt as a co-organizer, I felt really blessed to be a part of this and moving forward with it.

From the ruins, from the ashes, beauty will rise
From the wreckage, from the darkness, glory will shine

After that excellent afternoon - it was pretty much four hours going over Jasser's new workshop tour, my recent success in Last Resort, and CPC - I headed out to supper with my new and awesome friend Erin. Let me just say how blessed I have been to connect with such a lovely individual, someone who sees the world through much the same lens as I do, gives out hugs and high fives liberally, and loves the same restaurant haunts that I do. I met Erin at TEDxEdmonton and we connected after talking about one of the speakers who presented about the crossroads between science and religion. She's a lovely soul, and after meeting some of her friends and her boyfriend I am convinced that we have a long and fantastic friendship ahead of us. Not to mention that our new home is much closer to where she is living now - actually I'm closer to more than half of my Edmonton friends with this move.

In this conversation, we spoke at length about my theory on why we as feminists can defend the stance of women from a point of humanism - what's best for us all. We talked about the struggle of those with mental illnesses, especially those like pedophilia which have extreme stigma attached. We spoke about not having it all figured out, about my desire to start up a care group in Edmonton to fill a hole we both feel after our previous communities collapsed. We talked about our past and what it means to who we are today. It was an amazing time of connection - and Paul arrived partway through after a hard day of work to share in our sharing. I shared one of my life theme songs with Erin and she said it was hers, too:

Honesty is a hard attribute to find
When we all want to seem like
We've got it all figured out
Well let me be the first to say that I don't have a clue
I don't have all the answers
Ain't gonna pretend like I do

Speaking of not knowing much or anything about a subject, the following morning after yet another sleepless night (seeing a pattern here?) I woke up after about an hour and a half of sleep and had to go shoot at an Archery club. I knew they'd prepped a lot of things and that it would be really tough to reschedule everything, so I pumped the music, focused as hard as I could and made it out there - and I'm very proud of how the photos turned out! Not only that, but I ended up chatting about the history and culture of archery, how recent movies have affected their turnout - particularly of women since Hunger Games came out. Everyone was very kind and inviting and I had great conversations with three of the many nerd dudes. Definitely makes me want to make it a place to hang out on Saturday mornings. I'm planning to take the Paul to one of their drop in sessions.

That afternoon was the momentous signing of the new lease with our new landlords at our new house. I took a few photos this time, so I have a much better idea of how it looks. These photos are not going to see the light of day because they have the normal flotsam of family life in them, and out of respect for their lovely family, I'm keeping them to myself with the exception of the kitchen shots, which I will share privately with some family and close friends. That kitchen is going to make me the happiest woman. Moving there will cut Paul's daily commute by 10-15 minutes each way - which is the equivalent of over a hundred and fifty hours a year to get some perspective on that change. It moves us closer to most of our friends, and into a main floor.

I bragged about it at book club that evening - book club has become a source of a never-ending stream of interesting books, which is exactly the sort of thing it should be. The last time I was in a book club I was a young teen, and that club, called SPLAT, has left an indelible mark on my memory - now I'm finding that my current book club reminds me of it often, and that kind of nostalgia is a very good thing.

I am stuntin' and flossin' and
Savin' my money
Speaking of amazing kitchens, yesterday after my two meetings of the day I went to Value Village to drop off a bag of donations and pick up a dog blanket, and I ended up with several amazing finds, the greatest of which was a set of six Ikea kitchen chairs priced at $13 each. From donating I had a coupon for 30% off my entire purchase, which made the chairs $9 each, so for less than $10 a chair, we ended up with a full kitchen set. We haven't had proper kitchen chairs since Paul's condo set that we sold when we got married. As I said to Paul, the mark of a good kitchen chair is that you can sit in it and forget you're sitting in a chair - and these chairs passed that test with flying colors, not to mention being rather nice looking:


Not to mention I found two pairs of very nice jeans that fit perfectly, including being long enough and not sitting too low in the back which most jean-makers clearly believe is a fringe benefit of the rarest kind, a food vaccum sealer just like the one my parents used to have, a 1950's citrus juicer which is clearly indestructible unlike it's modern plastic counterparts and will also work perfectly well for garlic and is easily cleaned, and a few other things, like a small book bag, a new makeup bag for myself, and an extremely cute set of Kermit and Miss Piggy pillows (with secret pockets) which are going to live in our guest room and take the place of the frilly pillowshams classy people use. All in all, it was an enormously successful thrift shopping trip where I saved $43.37 off of thrift shop prices, and more like $300 off retail if I'm being conservative.

No matter how rich I may one day become, I suspect that the thrill of finding a great deal at a thrift shop won't leave me.

Finally, I think that I've forgotten to post here some of our biggest and best news, which is that as of last week, Paul has officially been hired on full time at his job, where he was working a temporary mat leave that was set to expire in June. The news came at the perfect time, we'll be able to present a full time permanent job when we apply for adoption.

And speaking of kids - the vast majority of my best friends are now expecting, including two of my wedding party and my good friend Michael and his wife. It's a very exciting time as so many of the people I know are growing their families.