Friday, January 28, 2011


There are a few household duties that I avoid and put off until they seem to loom so large in the corner of my eye that they become the hugest and most awful task in the entire world. Cleaning the cabinet under the kitchen sink is one of them. Our garbage can and our compost pail are under the sink and sometimes things don't quite end up in the proper spots, if you know what I mean?! Over time, all the things that miss the garbage can or the compost bucket really build up and it gets really disgusting under there. Cleaning under the sink never makes it on my to do list somehow and it gets worse and worse. Yesterday, the mess was conquered. I donned the rubber gloves and went at it! In all it took me about fifteen minutes and the job that I was dreading wasn't nearly as awful as I anticipated. Even washing out the garbage can, without gagging, went without a hitch.

I learned something yesterday. The things that my mind blows out of proportion and that I avoid, really aren't as big of a deal as I think they are. This lesson applies to more than just cleaning. There are other things that I avoid in life too; apologizing to someone that I have mistreated, being available to people and causes that could use my help, one-sided relationships with people where all the work is on my side, being totally honest with people when they ask my thoughts or opinions on things, exercising faithfully, and making the dreaded phone calls! Most of the things that I avoid are asking me to step up and grow up and be dedicated and committed to something great. I know that in doing the things that I avoid, I will become something better. My mind still makes the excuses and tells me to keep avoiding. It whispers, "It's too hard. You'll look like an idiot. Why me? Who cares? What difference does it make? Lisa, you're weird!". I think maybe the whispers want me to lose and to stay stuck where I'm at. The evidence goes back to my job of yesterday. Once, I got to work and did the task, it wasn't so bad, it even spurred me on to scrub the floor, clean the toilet and wash the windows! I have a cleaner house today because I started with one dreaded task.

If I faced my avoidance list head on and began to do the things that I truly put off, I would be better. There wouldn't be so much drama in my mind. I would likely sleep better at night. I wouldn't stress about things that really aren't stressful, if I'm honest. I would have better relationships. I'd be growing up...all these musings because I cleaned under my sink!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monkey Bars

Hanging upside down.
Blood rushing to my head.
Laughing and talking to my friend.
Recess spent swinging from bar to bar.
Looking up at the towering tangle of yellow, green and red metal inspired awe and a sense of danger.
The heights.
The cold sting of steel on warm hands.
I conquered my fears as I climbed and reached, seemingly, beyond my grasp.
Discovering that I could swing backwards into oblivion and that my legs, looped around the bar, would keep me from hitting the hard earth below was a wonder.
I learned the inevitability of "what goes up, must come down"...the hard way, as every child does, climbing on the monkey bars.
Gravity is rarely a friend.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Art of the Phone Call

Dear People of the World, (whom I have neglected to phone)
Does anyone out there hate phoning people as much as I do? As of today, I have a list of about five people that I have to phone for a meeting and I have been rehearsing in my mind what I'm going to say. So, I put it off and get more tense (I'm hoping that writing about my fear may give me courage). Just to be clear I don't dislike the people that I have to phone, I dislike the actual physical act of phoning. The phoning didn't start off well this evening either. Of course, I phoned the wrong number. (That seems to be the way it goes with me.) Am I the only idiot out there that feels like I get tongue tied and nervous before I even start dialing? If I could write people short notes and have them hand delivered by my own personal servant, I would do much better. I think I may have been born in the wrong century. Writing seems to be so natural to me, while talking about the details of things in a coherent and concise manner seems to escape my capabilities. Some of you out there may have noticed....I must say that I'm not sure I can be a grown-up about this.

Over the years Jeremy has tried to help me get over my fear of phoning people, by getting me to do some of his phoning. He has been very encouraging, but to no avail. It still is not something that I anticipate with any measure of excitement. Phone in hand, I always feel that my words come out wrong or I forget to say something that I was supposed to and have to phone all over again. Ah, the vicious cycle. I feel sometimes as though the "real" Lisa has been hand cuffed and my arch nemesis has ripped the phone from my hands. It's really too bad that my arch nemesis is also myself.

I'm not sure if there is reformation for my problem on the horizon. I don't know if I can be fixed or if my phone phobia will ever cease to be an anxiety to me, so until then, I'll call when you're out and leave a message on your voice mail.

P.S. I really do like you and if I have ever phoned you and you have been completely stupefied by something I've said, I apologize.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


This is the view outside my window as I write this morning.

The snow just keeps falling...
It hasn't really stopped for a long while.
It's hauntingly silent as it reshapes the landscape.
You would think that the transformation would be obnoxiously loud and forceful because of the effect, but it's not.
Tiny, intricate crystals float out of the sky and remake our world, softening lines, painting over the harsh browns and greys of fields and forests with infinite shades of white.
The beauty of this drama unfolds unobtrusively and without fanfare, beckoning us to watch and be taught in the mesmerizing stillness of falling snow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


A couple months ago, I started short track speed skating. In the short time that I've been doing it, I have learned a few things, and they're mostly about corners, since that is what you do, when you skate the short track. First, corners come quickly. Second, much skill is needed to manoeuvre around a corner smoothly and quickly. Third, it's all about the corners!

Last Sunday I was skating on an outdoor rink and on one of these corners, my skate caught an edge and I fell. Hard. Without any dignity or gracefulness. I wish that I could of seen the whole thing in slow motion, I think it would have made my heart stop. One moment, I was skating, crossing over around the corner, the next moment my legs were going in different directions and I was landing hard on my left knee, then I was flipping onto my I said, really graceful. The nasty bruise on my knee and half way down my shin is a testament to how unforgiving ice can be. I got up, and tried to skate a few more laps, but the fear of the infamous corner slowed me down as well as the throbbing in my knee.

I find it funny how falling can really mess you up in your mind. 'Cause really that's where fear starts. Brains are notorious for sending your body messages when you're afraid. Some people start shaking, others feel the need to scream, some people hyperventilate, some have the flight instinct and run in the opposite direction, still others wet their pants (I had to throw that one in there!). For me, fear shut me down. My body seemed so lethargic and useless after my tumble. I just couldn't get up the energy to skate that corner with confidence again.

In life, I have come to expect corners too. Corners are the turns that life takes, sometimes without any warning. It's interesting how I still think that corners are a distraction from life and I sometimes fear them, when really they are life. What I mean is that things like accidents, sickness, relational issues, financial struggles, job challenges, parenting crisis, and making choices that affect the future, are everyday things. They are corners, but they have significance because they take you somewhere. Corners are reality. They shape you and mold you. If I expect corners and know how to handle myself in them, they doesn't seem so scary. Even if you fall and mess up big time, you know that there is another one coming and you get to try again. Yeah, some corners are painful and you have the bruises to show for them, get up, take it slow and try again. There's something to learn in every least that's what my skates have been telling me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In a Yellow Cab - Part Four

Sam suddenly feels overwhelmed, by this day. This unexpected encounter. This hope that is being offered, when he feels so undeserving. As his thoughts steamroll through his mind, Allie breaks the silence. “Sam, I want you to come home. I want to figure out this whole thing called life with you. I am sorry too. I let my own grief overshadow yours, that was selfish. I let you down too. This isn’t just about you leaving. I had thought about it too, to be honest. I thought things would get better all by themselves. You know, with time. I have come to realize over the past few months that I couldn’t blame you for disappearing. It was what happened over time when we didn’t talk, when we didn’t share our ache with each other.” Allie pauses and lifts her other hand to Sam’s face, drying the wetness with her warm palm.

“Will you come home?” Do you think we can start over? This baby needs two parents.” To punctuate this statement, the baby kicks again against their hands. Allie’s face seems paralyzed in a grimace of pain all of the sudden. Sam watches as she leans forward slightly and breathes out slowly. She turns her face towards him and smiles weakly. “I think maybe we should make our way to the hospital. Our baby is about to make it’s appearance.” Sam, suddenly energized yells to the cab driver the change in plans, “My wife is having our baby!”

At the next intersection, the cab driver turns left and heads in the direction of the closest hospital. Sam reaches over and grabs hold of Allie’s hand. “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. We’re in this together.” Allie squeezes his hand as another vice-like grip clamps down on her stomach. They ride in silence, each lost in thoughts of what is about to happen.

As the hospital comes into view, Sam wonders at how his day has taken this turn. His plans were to go home and warm up a leftover supper alone followed by work that he had taken home from the office. Now, here he is with his estranged wife, who is about to give birth to their child. He can hardly contain the smile that spreads over his face. He never thought any of this was possible. He is not so naive to think that there are not hard things ahead, many unsaid things that still need to be talked through, but it feels like a new start, one that he doesn’t feel he deserves. The cab stops and he hands the driver a fist full of bills. He jumps out and runs around to Allie’s side to help her out of the back seat. They walk slowly into the hospital. He looks down as is his habit. He stares at his worn shoes and decides that the first thing he’s going to do tomorrow is get a new pair for a new start. His heart feels light and buoyant as he again is hit with this second chance. A second chance with his wife. A second chance to be a dad.


As he walks into the hospital the next day, his feet are on air. His new shoes are already old friends. He does not look down this day. There are more important things than his shoes, like his brand new son. Aric Samuel was born at 8:34 last night. His wife glowed, their baby in her arms. It is picture that will forever be engraved on his memory. He smiles to himself at the feel of the tiny shoes that he holds in his hand. He never thought he would be able to hold them in his hands and feel joy, but today it just seems right. The brown suede feels so soft and comforting as he rubs his finger back and forth over the top of the small shoe, something he has done many times. He wishes that Claire was walking beside him right now, holding his hand going to meet her little brother for the first time. But as he holds the tiny shoes that were once on her feet, he feels like somehow she is watching this scene, wishing that she was there too.