And now for something completely different…

I appreciate that I began this blog as a photography blog, but somehow, life is getting in the way. For more than a week, it’s been a nasty cold, but the thing that really is messing me up these days is something that people don’t really talk about too much, though I am baffled as to why.

It’s menopause. Yup, I said it. It’s out there.

Holy mackeral – this puppy has thrown me for a loop.

I think that people don’t talk about it because it signifies something else people don’t want to talk about – getting older. Not me. I’m like a teenager who can’t wait to be old enough to drive – I want to be old enough to go back to sleeping through the night without waking up in a HOT sweat. Or just to sleep. There are nights that I am awake for HOURS. I’m finally in a place where I have LESS to worry about – the kids are grown, healthy, happy – and I just can’t sleep. Curse you hormones.

I have to dress differently – layers cause I’m hot. Then I’m cold. Then I’m boiling hot. The worst is when I was driving last night and I had to roll down the windows and literally stick my head out like I was an exhuberant puppy – I couldn’t throw off my coat while still staying on the road. The freezing rain was a relief, frankly.

And then, there’s the loss of what I feel is one of life’s simplest pleasure – taking a nice, long, hot bath. Not happening. Well, it happens but only for about 10 minutes (if I’m really, really lucky) and then – poof – the average hot flash sends your body temperature about 9 degrees warmer which is not a barrel of laughs when you are in a tub that is a zillion degrees already.

Oh yes and then there’s the mood swings. (Although in my case, they’d be hard to notice as that’s not something new.)Moving on…

Red wine is now out which is no big loss as I prefer white anyway. Yet the one night Ichoose red, while eating with people from work, I found out the menopausal reaction to red wine:  I was suddenly beet red and hotter than a desert.

Upside, well, I don’t know if it’s actually menopause or something else, but I’m not having any cravings. This is not like me at all. I have had a long love affair with chocolate but most days I’m not hungry for anything in particular.

The only thing I crave is sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.

Wherever you go…

“Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

As the craziest week in a long time comes to an end, I realize I have not had my camera out once all week. My “weather” has been cloudy with meetings and now a nasty cold keeping me away from something I really enjoy. So, I am posting a photo from a year ago to remind me what I’ve been missing!

The upside

The earth laughs in flowers – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Laughter is one of the tools that helps me in my day to day reality. I have worked in situations with students who are medically fragile or aggressive or otherwise challenging. We often say, you can laugh or you can cry.

I have worked with other staff who are so focussed on themselves they forget why we do what we do, or they have to belittle me to feel better about themselves. 

There are parents who can appear to be the greatest obstacle to their child’s success but who are convinced YOU are the problem. You have to laugh about it.

It’s not about laughing AT someone – it’s about finding that moment that makes you say, it’s okay, here’s the upside. Walking by kindergarten and hearing kids talking about their parents (“My dad LOVES beer”). You laugh. Or when you are frustrated by a student, and someone else steps in to help, you can look over the heads of the children and smile together about those frustrations.

Or after an “event” when everyone gathers and debriefs, you can chuckle at your ability to read each other, the realization of how you had each other’s back  or simply to say, “What the heck was that?” You need trust to do this work and sharing a smile can signify you’re there.  

It’s that shared experience, that laughter, that lightens the load. That is what makes it possible to come to work with a fresh perspective, not feel alone in the journey. Without that it would feel like a “job” not something more, something meaningful.

My funny valentine

My funny Valentine, sweet comic Valentine, you make me smile with my heart – Rodgers & Hart

Without question, I have the greatest sweetheart in the world. His specialty is not romantic gifts per se.

No, my hubby’s specialty is the caring and thoughtful things he does for me. Every day, he makes me a smoothie for breakfast, packs my lunch for work (sometimes with little love notes) and makes dinner every night. If I’m cold, he turns up the heat and brings me a blanket. Scouts out the best shots for me when taking walks with my camera. Passes me the remote when we sit down to watch tv. Tells me that he loves me. A lot.

I’m not spoiled once a year. I’m spoiled every single day.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I’d like to send much love and appreciation to my sweetie who makes me feel special every day.

Looking back

“To be able to look back upon one’s life in satisfaction is to live twice.” Kahlil Gibran

Every once in a while, I go back a year to see what photos I was taking on that date. Today, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a year ago today I took one of my very favourite shots.

All the great memories of that day came back as well. We had met up with my husband’s best friends from his childhood.  It had been years since they had all been together and much had happened in their lives. 

Later on, after everyone left, I headed down to the university to pick up my daughter. She was not quite ready so I took out my camera and took a few shots. My favourite one was actually from inside the car as I had taken shelter due to high winds and cold. I looked out the windshield to the most amazing sky. In fear that the clouds would move on before I could get out of the car, I took the shot. When I got out of the car, sure enough, the winds had begun to move and the sky began to clear.

This is still a cool shot, but the impact of the darker clouds made the difference I thought.

I moved the car closer to where my daughter’s residence was and took another shot out the car window. I love it as it caught her in her natural state – happy and full of energy.

Kreativ Blogger Award

I opened my blog this morning to discover that I have been nominated by Leanne Cole for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Firstly, thank you to Leanne. She commented that she nominated me because she enjoys my view of the world, which is similar to hers. What I find most interesting is that sometimes I hesitate to post because I think my view of the world is, well, uniquely mine.

The Kreative Blogger Award has responsibilities including nominating 6 other blogs. So, below I will nominate 6 blogs you may have already met here on my blog!

The 6 blogs I would like to nominate are:

 Sara Heinonen is a writer whose short stories have been published in a variety of forums. She shares her deeply intelligent writing and her views on fiction in her engaging blog.

Denzil Jennings presents his photography on his blog and there is no one way to describe his style other than versatile and creative. I look forward to his daily posts.

Mary Schwartz, in her blog, Shell River Experience, takes photos that remind me of that moment in yoga that you are quiet and serene. Relaxation Pose in a blog…

Sheila Creighton‘s blog, Imagery of Light, is delightful and her subjects are varied and beautifully composed.

Burnt Embers shares photos and thoughts on her surroundings. The photos are incredibly rich and the compositions are wonderful.

The Lantern Room is another photography blog that again takes simple subjects and composes them in captivating ways.

The other requirement of the Kreativ Blogger Award is that I have to tell you 10 things about myself. 

1. I have been married for almost 29 years.

2. I am mom to two amazing people, Kyle and Laura.

3. I work in education as a teaching assistant, working with students with behaviour and special needs.

4. My favourite tv shows are The Big Bang Theory and The Good Wife.

5.  My favourite colour is purple.

6. I love writing, photography, scrapbooking and reading as hobbies.

7. I really don’t like being cold.

8. My favourite form of exercise is yoga.

9. I’m spending a lot of time these days trying to figure out what my future work life should look like.

10. My favourite thing in the world: spending time as a family.

Thank you again to Leanne for the nomination.