Enough Already …

How much is enough?

An answer to this question is not easily found when you sit and actually think about the answer for more than a few seconds.

In North America, we live in a world of more = better.

Despite all that we have, we live with a mindset of scarcity.

Yet, when I look around there is more than enough of nearly everything in my life; probably you too. A couple years ago I started the journey toward living a simpler life. I started with the physical stuff I had and did practical things like get rid of half of my personal belongings and then I didn’t buy anything new for myself for a whole year unless something I had broke or was used up and I actually needed it. I think I bought a pack of pens,  two journals, some computer computer paper and a pair of jeans for myself that year.

I learned something interesting.

I still didn’t use or need everything I had; in fact most of it became a burden for me to keep. I had to store, organize, compile, dust, and trip over it day in and out – and I never used it. Guilt over paying money for things and then not using them as I had intended and hoped to was frustrating.

it does not matter 2

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It is easy to see how we have too much physical stuff but we also have too much of other things – social media, events, news, information and expectation. There is a pervading sense that if you haven’t ‘made it’ by now that you’re a failure and the more we cram our calendar full of events and meeting with people, the better off we will be … the more likely we will be to ‘arrive’.

NOW seems to be the only time our on clocks and the pressure to do everything, be an expert on at least 14 topics, have an adorable family, work at a C-Level position in a niche company, run an online business that sends you monthly cheques in the mail and also sit on the beach while sipping beverages with umbrellas in them can and does kill your soul.

Learning to say no.

The ability to say no comes from having a firm understanding of how much is enough.

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Everyone’s ‘enough‘ changes season to season but until you know and understand you have enough and need to do something with what you have, you will continually say yes to the detriment of your personal wellbeing, relationships, bank account and pace of life.

Six practical tips to help you figure out what your enough looks like.

  1. Make a standing shopping list clothes and personal items that you actually need. This can be done on your smartphone so it is always with you. While shopping if you love something and it is not on the list, leave it or put it on hold to take time to decide if you need the pair of shoes, cute dress, interesting crafting item, book, journal, picture for the house … the list goes on and on.
  2. Create a people matrix. Draw four concentric circles. Your name and your significant other or best friend go in the centre circle, the 2-3 people you want closest to you go in the next circle, friends and family you want to cultivate relationships with the next and in the fourth circle, people who you want in your life on a casual but consistent basis. Filter and make opportunities to spend time with people based on this visual. Adding in someone into the first three circles probably means someone already in your circle needs to move out of the circle. There are only so many people you can pour into and be in relationship with.
  3. Block your calendar. Open space in most people’s calendar is time to be filled up doing something else. At least that was true in my life. Create blocks of time for you to do things you love, be quiet and still, rest and slow down and . The response of, “So busy!” should not always be the answer when someone asks, “How are you?” And having an appointment with yourself is just as important as going to work – you matter too!
  4. Savour. On the days when I stop and smell the roses, everything seems to smell better. We can move so quickly through our days that we don’t take time to notice what is perfect, amazing, incredible or peaceful right now. Sipping a latte while letting the sun stream on my face, pulling over to watch the sunrise, picking up an autumn leaf and marvelling at the colours or snuggling under the covers for a 20 minute, mid afternoon nap are some of my favourite ways to press pause and soak it in. Deep, full breaths of wonder and gratitude accompany all of these activities and a satisfied smile is not far behind.
  5. Give it away. I love taking stuff I have that I know someone else would love and giving it to them. Making someone’s day by gifting them with my extra is a neat way to redeem having too much. It can as simple as giving someone a purse or as epic as giving away nearly all of your yarn stash to a 90 year old woman who knits blankets of many colours to bless people. The smile and joy you get from giving lingers in your heart and is an amazing trade up for stuff you didn’t need.
  6. Turn off social media. These past two weeks I have barely been on social media and guess what? Life has not ended and my brain is much more focussed on what is most important. Tweets, likes, instas, loves, pins and comments are all a lot of fun, but real life happens in the places and spaces you can touch, smell, feel and experience first hand. There is nothing to like, post or share that will give you a gold start in the striving to be enough race.

Once I started to realize I had more than enough in my life, I came to the realization that I was enough.

Maybe, just maybe, I don’t have to strive, push, scratch and claw my way forward. If I do what needs to be done every day, work to take care of myself and dream and plan for tomorrow life start to bloom like a summertime garden.

Today will you literally stop and smell the roses? Turn off the noise of social media? Look for places and spaces where you can rest? Find someone else to bless?

Want to know a secret?

Just as I am, right now and in this season of my life, I am enough. And you are too.

Hobbits and Hostages {52 Books}

Fear not!

I know everyone is so worried about me and my lack of reading. **insert eye roll here** I have not fallen off the reading bandwagon – just the blogging one.

There is only so much one woman can do while trying to keep up on life and whatnot. I have been feeling rundown lately and unable to keep up. Last Thursday I had a doctor appointment to get the results of my blood work, only to find out that indeed I have wonkiness in my hormones and this would be why I feel so crappy.

Stress kills.

  • Being a Hashimotarian has it’s many challenges.

And you are correct, I totally made that word up. I tend to add to the dictionary on a regular basis; other favourite Donloree word is ‘googleage‘. Making up words keeps life interesting.

In the last couple weeks I have read The Two Towers, A House in the Sky and The Return of the King.

Thats a lot of pages right there!

Thats a lot of pages right there!

Hobbits first.

The first book of The Lord of the Rings was definitely my favourite – the last two; not so much.

The remaining two books are actually just other sections of the massive book and overly full of traveling details, additional characters that mostly died quickly after meeting them and way too much description for my liking. In the Return of the King the ring gets destroyed and then there are nearly 100 pages left. Why you ask? To wrap up all the new characters that were introduced just pages before. Reading the last 50 or so pages of the book it felt a bit like packing up a massive board game with hundreds of small pieces; each with an exact place in the box.

Tedious.

And I love a well told story – details do not bother me when they add to the story. If I had photocopied the 20 page of maps from the back of the books, made little flags for each of the characters and moved them along and the story progressed it may have helped.

Unfortunately, I read while I wait; somehow pulling out maps on the bus in rush hour doesn’t seem feasible.

My opinion may have to do with the fact that I read them broken up, not in one long sitting or in a week. It really is just one, massive book full or crazy names and places that needs to be consumed in a slow burn of focussed reading.

Or perhaps I just have an aversion to hairy feet?

There were still quite a few gems in the books, quotes and thoughts woven into details that helped me to keep reading.

  • Don’t screw up at the end“When have I been hasty or unwary, who have waited and prepared for so many long years?” said Aragorn. “Never yet. Do not then stumble at the end of the road,” answered Gandalf.  Page 580
  • What you think about matters. “I mean a danger to yourself alone. … Already you are being twisted. … Do not let that thought grow in you! The desire of it may betray you to a bitter end.” Page 626
  • Finishing is important. “Folk seem to have been just landed in them usually – their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn’t. And if they had, we shouldn’t know, because thye’d have been forgotten.” Page 696

I would have some great quotes from the Return of the King, but I had to return it to the library so all my dog eared pages are in someone else’s hands.

Watching the movies was a good way to fully understand the story, but as I watched I also realized they are about 10 years old. Gollum and the Orc characters were rather unbelievable and I also found the length tenuous.

Watching after reading helped make sense of everything.

Watching after reading helped make sense of everything.

I suppose there is only so much killing of strange creatures one woman can handle within a few weeks.

The ‘hobbitses‘ get a 2.75 out of 5 star rating from me.

Hostages.

A House In The Sky is Amanda Lindhout’s memoir about being held hostage in Somalia for over a year. She is a Canadian from a small town ‘just around the corner’ from where I live – Sylvan Lake and later Calgary.

Crazy stuff happens in the world all the time and we fail to realize or recognize what is going on. Amanda shares in detail what it was like to be captured, tortured and reduced to nearly becoming non-human.

I read all over the place and candy bars in cups seems to help the reading go down!

I read all over the place and candy bars in cups seems to help the reading go down!

  • Resiliency.

After I finished reading her book and checked out what she is doing now, I was and still am amazing at her resiliency. Choosing forgiveness, taking what was and creating something new and not letting what happened to her become her identity.

Like a phoenix, she has chosen to rise out of the ashes even though it is not easy or a one time event.

For my own good, I strive toward forgiveness and compassion above all the other feelings – anger, hatred, confusions, self-pity – that surface in me. I understand that those boys and even the leaders of the group were products of their environment – a violent, seeming unending war that had orphaned thousands of children and reaches back over twenty years now.

I choose to forgive the people who took my freedom from me and abused me, despite the fact that what they were doing was absolutely wrong. I choose also to forgive myself for the impact that my decision to go to Somalia had on family and friends at home. Forgiving is not an easy thing to do. Some days it’s no more than a distant spot on the horizon. I look toward it. I point my feet inits direction. Some days I get there and other days I don’t. More than anything else, thought, it’s what has helped me move forward with my life.
~ Page 366

Well written, engaging and hard to read; an eye opening memoir about what happened and is still happening while we lie safe in our beds.

Forgiveness helps you find your voice.

Forgiveness helps you find your voice.

Forgiving yourself and others is a key that unlocks century old locks that have rusted shut.

Through her story, I wonder and think about my own resilience.

  • Who do I need to forgive and what do I need to forgive myself for?

What does resiliency look like for me? For you? For the world?

The ‘Have Dones”

It is hard to be misunderstood.

I am often misunderstood and am starting to learn how to be ok with it, not to force people to understand me or ‘get it‘. In my experience when I have pushed to be understood, rarely has it resulted in understanding.

  • I look ridiculous and they look more confused.

The other day someone made a comment about me while we were trying to make last minute plans. I wasn’t able to do a lot of the options presented; I had already scheduled out my week, blocked off time to rest and had made previous commitments.

You are just so… *insert hand motions of making a box shape*

It is true. I get up early to write, catch up on email, journal, pay bills, dream and plan for my future and workout before coaching my clients or going to the office. Yes, it is a bit extreme in most people’s opinions, yet if and when I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.

Evenings are full of volunteering, tasks that come with being an adult and some ‘nothing‘ events strategically booked with myself. If I don’t rest, things go wonky and downhill fast.

Question – when you make a commitment to yourself, why do people think you should break it for them?

Everyone wants a piece of you. A piece of me.

dreams and reality

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The older I get, the more I realize I am not living forever. This is quite the shock to my 34 year old brain some days. Today is only here today and I will never get it back. It matters and so do I. So you do.

Oftentimes the very best thing I can do is to say ‘No.‘ A well thought out no is just as good as a raving YES!

Perhaps I should write a ‘How to Say NO so you can ultimately say YES!’ manifesto.

Manifesto – when did our society stop writing books, guides and articles and start writing manifestos? It was probably around the same time when ‘small‘ turned into ‘tall‘.

As much as I love Starbucks, I blame them in part for our verbose ways of communicating.

But I digress…

If you don’t fill your time with what you want to fill your time and protect it, someone else will fill it and no one else will protect it.

Dreams, ambitions, goals and fulfilling your purpose don’t just happen. It takes small, focussed and disciplined actions and steps to be able to accomplish and achieve your dreams.

do what matters

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It takes years and years of hard work to become an overnight success.

Beyond the misunderstanding that I get about my need to not have something scheduled every night of the week and my steadfast adherence to early morning productivity is confusion about how I accomplish things.

The Have Dones.

Perspective is a powerful thing.

Every evening before I go to bed and oftentimes throughout the day, I ask myself a question that helps me make wise choices about how to spend my time.

Tomorrow, what will I wish I had done today?

Simple question. Powerful results.

Rarely in the moment do I want to…

  • clean anything
  • go to the gym
  • put the load of laundry in
  • stay calm
  • pay bills
  • clean the kitchen
  • make a grocery shopping list
  • fix things around the house
  • send emails
  • coordinate schedules
  • have the hard conversation
  • not eat the whole bag of chips
  • budget and review the investments
  • prep and pack food for the day
  • finish the book
  • work on my speech
  • not buy the cute shoes
  • make the phone call

Laziness lurks on my doorstep and feeling overwhelmed, tired, scared and unsure is the welcome mat. Looking into the future and experiencing the feelings of accomplishment, pride and joy from ‘having done‘ it give me what is needed to get off my arse and get to work; to be disciplined in my choices.

If you want to move from dreaming to production, start changing your perspective.

The more ‘have dones‘ you have under your belt, the easier they become.

In fact, even this blog is a ‘have done‘ for me. Tomorrow I am going to be satisfied with myself for writing and posting it.

And as I finish things, I find myself asking, “What’s next? What else do I want to accomplish for tomorrow?”

  • What do you want on your ‘have done’ list? Will you start changing your perspective in order to start producing your purpose?

With you in the trenches of dreaming, discipline and dedication,

~Donloree

If I Can-Can, You Can-Can

Every morning I wake up to loads of emails I have subscribed to get, yet most of them go into the trash without me even opening them. Email newsletters are hilarious, they are a bit like requesting people send you junk mail.

  • Then there are the rare ones that don’t get trashed.

We all have them – the mass email that comes to your inbox that you actually read and enjoy. Marie Forleo is one of the rare ones for me. She’s smart, hardworking, helpful and kind. This past week she featured an amazing woman named Maysoon Zayid.

Women with weird names rock.

I have no doubt she receives a lot of comments about her name too. I can hear it now…

  • Monsoon? Like the weather pattern?
  • May, what?
  • Mason? Like the man’s name but you’re a woman?

I am sure the list goes on and on.

While watching her interview yesterday, I was struck once again by the fact that we are all supposed to do something unique in this world. Limitations and obstacles exist – just ask Maysoon – but they don’t define you. In fact it is our job to redefine them and work through, around, over, under and with them.

She is a well known comedian, not a disabled comedian but a comedian, and has worked in Hollywood. She found her dream of acting and communicating while in University and never looked back.

maysoon

Cerebral palsy could define her, yet it is simply something about her; a footnote in her story.

I have a lot of footnotes that I tend to make my identity. It is time to give these items the place they deserve – a small mention in passing of the greater story of my life.

You also need to watch her Ted Talk.

She also wrote a screenplay called, “If I Can-Can, You Can-Can” about a small town dancer teacher with cerebral palsy and I would love to see it come to life because it guarantees her an oscar. Hah! As a writer who is starting to dabble in the world of fiction and screenplays this is one of the most intriguing things about her.

Makes sure to also check out Maysoon’s Kids. She gives hope and possibility to those who wouldn’t have it otherwise, which is what we are all called to do in some form and way through our lives.

What footnote is out of place in your life? Whatcha gonna do about about it?

The Fellowship Of The Ring {52 Books}

 Confession time.

I have yet to watch the Lord Of The Rings movies.

*gasp*

Nor have I watched Titanic, but that is a whole different story for another day.

Simply put, I like to read the book before I watch the movie. Honors Sophomore English required us to read The Hobbit which, at the age of 16, nearly killed me.  The thought of having to read more of the slow moving, detail orientated plot about small men with hairy feet which requires pages and pages of maps to be able to literally know where in the story you were had zero appeal.

*gulp*

*gulp*

So read, I didn’t.

One of my goals with my 52 Book Project is to read great books, epics, books that shape culture and tell great stories. I found myself being so bored with all the leadership, learning, and you-should-be-better books; I mean there is only so much one woman can implement in a month.

When the library let me know The Fellowship Of The Ring had arrived, I was not very excited.

The 4 pages of foreword nearly killed me and I wondered what the heck I was doing, but I dove in – desperate for a great story to immerse myself in.

Determined Donloree

Starting required some determination and a ‘look’. Glad I gave myself the ‘look’.

I found what I was looking for.

Well told story teaches you about yourself and the world. As I bumbled around the names of the characters and places and wrapped my mind around Saruman vs. Sauron, I found myself caught up in the great epic and was reminded of four important truths.

Truth #1 – Doing what only you can do doesn’t ensure safety.

“It is going to be very dangerous, Sam. It is already dangerous. Most likely neither of us will come back.”
~Frodo, page 87

  • Isn’t this true of nearly every hard task we are called to do with our lives?

We never come back to the place we were before, it doesn’t exist. Great journeys of daring and doing what only you must do changes the world, both for yourself and those around you.

CS lewis

Truth #2 – Who you journey with matters.

“It all depends on what you want,” put in Merry. “You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo. Anyway; there it is. We know most of what Gandalf has told you. We know a good deal about the Ring. We are horribly afraid – but we are coming with you; or following you like hounds.”
~ Page 105

  • A true friend is worth more than their weight in gold.

We need to go through life with other people who will fight the fight with us, who have the same purpose and heart to conquer that which needs conquering. As I read this story I was deeply grateful for my fellow sojourners who stick with me with a steadfast Sam Gamgee-esque quality.

Truth #3 - Judging others when you have not traveled their dark road negatively impacts your heart.

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,” said Gimli.
“Maybe,” said Elrond, “but let him not vow to walk in the dark who had not seen the nightfall.”
“Yet sworn word may strengthen quaking heart,” said Gimli.
“Or break it,” said Elrond. “Look not too far ahead! But go now with good hearts!
~ Page 281

  • Look not too far ahead.

Yes know where you are going, but don’t make all the decisions until you get to the decision point. Most times we have to travel farther, learn more, and become wiser before we can make the decision. Every single day living with a good heart is up to me and going with a good heart keeps me steadfast as I travel my journey.

Truth #4 – It is harder NOT to do the hard thing you’re supposed to do.

“Oh, Mr. Frodo, that’s hard!” said Sam shivering. “That’s hard, trying to go without me and all. If I hadn’t guessed right, where would you be now?”
“Safely on my way.”
“Safely!” said Sam. “All alone and without me to help you? I couldn’t have borne it, it’d have been the death of me.”
“It would be the death of you to come with me, Sam,” said Frodo, “and I could not have borne that.”
“Not as certain as being left behind,” said Sam.
“But I am going to Mordor.”
“I know that well enough, Mr. Frodo. Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.”
~ Page 406

  • May we not avoid the things we must do just because they are hard.

It is our job to go through the hard things and continue on, not avoid them. Many of us are on the path to Mordor and find ourselves sitting on the side of the road while adversity tries to kill us – and we let it.

Tell me I am not the only one who has not read these books.

The second book, Two Towers, is on hold at the library as is the BlueRay of The Fellowship Of The Ring. I’m looking forward to finally being able to watch this movie!

I leave you with the words of Sam, “Of course you are. And I’m coming with you.”

What is your journey about and who is traveling with you?

Minimum Effective Dose and Dominos {Feed The Human}

How much is enough?

I care a lot about fitness and being healthy, probably more than the average bear. My life is structured to include wellness, fitness, and healthy eating choices as much as possible. This is a big change from a few years ago. For a season in my life, it was all consuming and my complete and only focus.

My life didn’t include fitness, it was fitness:

To sum it up, I was extremely difficult to live with – both for myself and my husband.

Oh the HANGER was the worst! Poor Jon...let's all have a moment of silence in honour of his patience.

Oh the HANGER was the worst!

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If you’ve ever trained and dieted for a bodybuilding show, you are laughing right about now. The season of final prep is totally hilarious, weird, and OCD and it is supposed to be a short season. 12 weeks of complete and utter randomness that no one in your life understands other than your bodybuilding friends.

I turned a season into a lifestyle.

Our culture defines being ‘fit‘ at around 8% body fat, beautiful, and magazine cover ready.

When I was at my ‘fittest’, I felt my worst and hated my body – yet I received compliments galore, people raved about my ‘success’ and everyone wanted to know how to do it for themselves.

I had to get a new picture...

I had to create a new picture…

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I don’t get these kinds of compliments anymore and I am more than ok with it.

I was recently added to a weight loss accountability group on Facebook because I quipped in a comment on someone’s status about wanting to lose a couple more pounds in a moment of wanting to connect and commiserate. The women in the group are all beautiful, fit and fabulous and I would love to journey with them, but not on this journey. For me the destination of this journey is becoming an OCD, hard to live with woman who is never happy with herself.

I struggle enough with feeling insufficient without adding body image into the mix.

Minimum Effective Dose.

The Minimum Effective Dose (MED) is simply the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome and anything BEYOND the MED is wasteful. For example, water boils at 100°C at standard air pressure. Water is not “more boiled” if you add more heat. You would save money on your gas or electric bill if you didn’t continue to increase the temperature of the water – thereby conserving resources for something else more productive.
~ Tim Ferriss

These past few years, I have learned this mostly applies to my brain. How much thinking, planning, and obsessing is required to get the results I want?

Being a happy, healthy, and fit Donloree means not thinking nearly as much about fitness as one would think. I have woven exercise into my life, try to get as much sleep as I need, bought bigger clothes, gave away all the clothes that are way too big or small, and work on comparing me to me.

What you think about and focus on is what you become and if you aren’t made to be that thing or do that task, life gets wonky really fast.

be awesome

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It was and still is important to realize what I think about and focus on is up to me.

Worrying that I ate guacamole with my baked tortilla chips, freaking out that my workout got highjacked by having to be somewhere last minute, or checking my weight daily or hourly to ensure progress is being made is a surefire way to create utter chaos and a lack of ‘results’ in my life.

Donloree’s minimum effective dose.

  • Did I do something active today?
  • Did I eat healthy choices?
  • Am I hungry? Full?
  • Did I laugh? Have fun?
  • Do I need to not do something active today?
  • Am I taking care of my body and not caring about the size?

Size 6 or 8 and around a buck fifty-five or a buck sixty is an effective and healthy way for me to live my life and purpose out. It means I can coach amazing leaders, write books, work as a Human Resources Director, go out with friends, complete home renovations, and still set and go after audacious goals.

My body is not my identity.

Feed The Human interviewed me about life, my work, and how fitness is part of everyone’s journey – even though every journey is different.

Hey look! Its me!

Hey look! Its me!

We talked about how so many of us choose to make our bodies our identities and how quickly it becomes our identity without us even knowing it happened.

In the end, Donloree has a message for everyone who is seeking a healthier, fitter life – or any change in life for that matter. Change your first domino. Starting doing one thing differently and see where the dominos fall. Your life may just change in ways you can’t imagine.

Now you can listen to the voice that goes along with the crazy blog!

I would love to hear about your journey towards figuring out what your minimum effective dose is and what your first domino for it is.

  • My first domino was “I am enough as I am.”

What are your thoughts on fitness in our culture? What does ‘fit’ mean to you and look like in real life? Your life?

*Discuss*

The Rosie Project {52 Books}

Sometimes you need to read a book that makes you literally laugh out loud.

Yesterday I had grand intentions to work on my long list of house fixes, clean things, bake things, and be amazing. After the effects of not listening to my body screaming for rest all week and pushing through life until I literally required a five hour nap to recover from my week of stress and life ridiculousness, I threw out all my plans to be productive and dove into The Rosie Project.

  • I parked myself on a patio at Starbucks with an overpriced drink and got reading.
It's a candy bar in a cup and I could care less! Sometimes a girl just needs to let go and get reading.

It’s a candy bar in a cup and I could care less! Sometimes a girl just needs to let go and get reading.

Seventy-six pages in I was laughing out loud and other customers on the patio were giving me strange glances. I couldn’t stop the giggling or guffaws nor did I care that others cared. My attitude would have made Don, the main character, proud since he constantly makes social faux pas and just keeps going.

The Rosie Project.

The storyline of the book follows Don, a genetics professor and researcher who struggles with social interactions, on a journey of growth, self discovery, and surprising love.

A great way to spend an afternoon.

A great way to spend an afternoon. Please note – I don’t always colour coordinate my outfits with the books I am reading. hah!

Diving into the world and brain of someone who has Asperger’s is a window that many of us have never been able to look through. I found the insights and interactions extremely hilarious and telling as I used to manage and work with someone who has Aspergers. Graeme Simsion weaves together a delightful narrative in which laughter, compassion, and social anxiety are never on short supply.

No woman had ever casually, unthinkingly, automatically, written down her phone number, given it to me and said, ‘Call me.‘ I had temporarily been included in a culture that I considered closed to me although it was entirely logical that Rosie should provide me with a means of contacting her, I had an irrational feeling that, when I called, Rosie would realize that she had made some kind of error.

The most disappointing part of the book was the ending.

Already written at a fast clip, the ending leaves you wondering who put the book on fast forward. Pages 304-324 require a bit more storytelling and clarity on what the result of the ‘Father Project‘ was and how the ‘Wife Project‘ successfully transformed into the ‘Rosie Project‘.

If you want to escape into another world for an afternoon or need lighthearted reading for a trip, I highly recommend The Rosie Project. Just prepare yourself to laugh out loud, occasionally snort and roll your eyes, and experience feelings of social discomfort as you travel the world with Don.

  • I’m glad I spent yesterday afternoon with Don and Rosie – an afternoon well spent!

And don’t you know it? There is a sequel which means I am off to put The Rosie Effect on hold at the Edmonton Public Library.

Have you read The Rosie Project? What are your thoughts on Simsion’s storytelling and perspective?

Dear Angry Man In The Silver Impala

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to follow up on our interaction this evening on my commute home.

Your incessant honking and driving up my back wheel while I was safely cycling in the right lane of traffic scared me to death. But then I think that was the point since there was no one in the left lane.

In fact, we were the only two people on the road.

After nearly falling over and almost smashing into the curb due to complete surprise, I recovered and looked for an escape to ride illegally on the sidewalk. You didn’t leave me room to slow down and there was no opening in the curb for me to escape your harassment.  Adrenaline coursed through my veins and I pedalled as fast as womanly possible and geared down to gain as much momentum as possible all while praying for my safety.

I felt trapped and afraid.

Was that your goal? To scare and harrass a 34 year old woman who was on her 9th kilometre of a 10 kilometre commute home?

It must have been since you increased the tension by swerving towards me and nearly clipping me when you decided you had enough of my slow cycling and passed me. I appreciate that you rolled your passenger window down to scream obscenities at me, just in case I wasn’t clear about your feelings in regards to my cycling this evening.

What a contrast you are to the ETS bus driver who stopped next to me at a light to commend me on my cycling in traffic skills and ability to follow the rules of the road. We had a nice chit chat while waiting for our light to turn green and we amicably continued our leapfrogging through traffic, waving as we passed one another.

I have no idea what kind of person harasses a woman on bicycle like you did this evening.

You seem to be a very angry and hateful man.

Perhaps I got in your way enough tonight that you gave me what you were planning on giving your wife or children when you got home.  That my few moments of receiving your anger and hatred will ensure their safety tonight.

Hopefully our experience together is a once in a lifetime event for both of us and that it caught you by surprise. Perhaps you are wondering what caused you to act in such a hateful, violent, and aggressive manner and are searching for the root cause of your actions.

I highly doubt it, but a woman can hope.

You could have seriously injured or even killed me tonight with the way you chose to respond to the sight of me happily cycling along in my pink shirt and awesome biking shorts complete with rubber grip to ensure I get a stupid looking tan from my daily cycling.

Being angry doesn’t release you from the consequence of your action. If we meet again, you had better believe I will be memorizing your licence plate and calling the police.

Consider yourself warned.

Sincerely,

Bikeloree

Where and who are these people’s mothers?!

One ‘I quit!’, a ‘meh?’, and finally a ‘Hooray!’ {52 Books}

As is probably your experience as well, life is busy.

This past week and a bit after being home from my whirlwind business trip and vacation, I found some pockets of time to read. It has been freakishly hot in my condo so all the work I could be doing on my house – painting baseboards, resealing tiles, and hanging closet doors – has come to a screeching halt.

Instead, I have been reading.

The Goldfinch.

I rarely quit books 550 pages into them.

goldfinch

If I am going to quit a book, it is usually within the first 60 or so pages. I tend to be a bit of a snob when it comes to reading. If I don’t like it and it is boring, I just quit. Who has that much life to invest into a horrible book? This one is a 775 page beast with long descriptions, a rambling story line, and fits and spurts of excitement.

Problems and annoyances abound in this book.

  • It opens with a flashback and then present day doesn’t show up until about page 600. (I tried reading random pages to see what the heck happens.)
  • Character development is low – the main character starts at the age of 8 and doesn’t develop heart, courage, or many abilities throughout the narrative.
  • Mostly a vanilla storyline that has random seconds of excitement which quickly fizzle out.
  • She tells us what to think about people through description and doesn’t let us form our own opinions.
  • Hard to read and I am a good reader.

And many more. Nor am I the only one with this opinion – many share my thoughts on this book.

I think my commentary on social media the other day sums it up nicely.

Not loving this book - dark and twisty but not in the super awesome way and the plot moves like a blindfolded turtle who can't get past the paisley print on his blindfold.

Not loving this book – dark and twisty but not in the super awesome way and the plot moves like a blindfolded turtle who can’t get past the paisley print on his blindfold.

The confirmation that it is a bad book – I still don’t know what happens and surprisingly, I don’t care.

Pulitzer and I disagree and I am fine with it.

The Silkworm.

J.K. Rowlings has written two books under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. I enjoyed the first one, Cuckoo’s Calling, so when I received the library notice that the second one was waiting for me, I was happy to go pick it up. I dove in and started reading.

silkwormAbout 300 pages in, I realized the formula for the story was eerily similar to the first book in the series. The people, places, and storyline were different but how the crime was figured out and the way it was relayed to the reader came in the same way which unfortunately made me disengage from the book.

Suddenly, I was out of the storyline and sighed as I watched it unfold exactly as the first book did but with different characters and situations.

  • I can almost hear what you’re thinking, “Wow, she’s picky.

My experience with this book is similar to when you figure out that maple glazed donuts and chocolate glazed donuts aren’t very different at all – colour and nuance of flavour in the sugary topping is the only difference and after you’ve eaten them both you’re happy to just have one going forward.

A good Saturday read if you’re sweltering in your condo on a hot summer day and need a distraction from the heat.

The Fault In Our Stars.

I love young adult fiction – a woman can power through a decently sized YA book in just a few hours. I wasn’t too sure about this book due to the hype and buzz around it. I don’t like following trends and was actually repelled by this book since everyone loved it.

Then I started to read it …

fault in our stars

Within the first few pages I found myself literally laughing out loud. I was surprised by the humour, candour, and depth that showed up immediately in the story. It wasn’t the book I thought it was and I found myself encouraged and pushed to think about things I rarely think about.

I read the whole book in one afternoon – it begged to be finished.

  • The plot took twists and turns I didn’t expect and was delightful on many levels.

When I grow up, I want to write books like John Green – unassuming and powerful in their own quirky and humorous way.

It’s been a few weeks of basically no reading, but I am catching up. 1,466 pages in two weeks isn’t horrible – if I can say so myself.

What books are you loving these days? Hating? Could take or leave?

Think Before You Talk {A Skill Worth Learning}

Travel and I don’t always get along. In fact, if you want to have a travel adventure you should just fly with me. Usually it isn’t my fault, but then sometimes it is.

  • This time, I take full responsibility.

Half of July and some of August was filled with attending a leadership conference, visiting family, and recharging my batteries – a much needed refill and relax after one of the most intense, crazy, and hard seasons of my life. Looking back at July 2013 and knowing what I know now, I would have opted to call in sick for the last year if at all possible.

Hanging out with these two happy souls did wonders for my own.

Hanging out with these two happy souls did wonders for me.

Starting out and nearly finishing well.

I made it to San Francisco, Redding, Seattle, Puyallup, Gearhart, and back to Puyallup without any difficulty. Ok, there was the small fiasco during my mom and my’s trip to the Seattle Premium Outlets when I had to go to the bathroom and we were in gridlock on the I-5. By the time we made it to the Walgreens somewhere in Seattle and found the bathroom, I was in a near state of panic.

I was starting to feel claustrophobic and nearly ran down the street to knock on someone’s door and start with “I am from Canada and in Seattle for the day. I like to stay hydrated and this proves to create a problem on the I5 …”

Let’s just say the woman who unlocked the bathroom door for us in Walgreens when my mom declared “My daughter is going to pee her pants! This is an emergency!” was surprised when the girl responding to my mom yelling, “Donloree! Donloree! I found the bathroom!” was 34, not 4 years old.

Needless to say, I don’t fall far from the tree of ridiculousness.

The way home.

I was excited about my direct flight home from Seattle. I love direct flights – an amazing blessing for a woman who crammed all her belongings for two and a half weeks into a carry on and a laptop bag.

This is what I crammed together for two weeks. On the way home I had MORE stuff to put into it. Epic.

This is what I crammed together for two weeks. On the way home I had MORE stuff to put into it. Epic.

Hauling over 50 pounds of ‘carry on’ through multiple airports is quite the workout. Let’s just say I earn my latte on travel days!

There I was, early as heck for my 2:00 pm flight and everything crammed precariously into my bags. In order to zip my roller bag, I literally had to kneel on it and zip it up around myself and then pray the zipper would hold – there was no way I was opening that up for a book to read.

I found myself at one of those multiple gates at one gate location. Eight flights of people were milling about, waiting for their plane to arrive. I procured a piece of floor by a plugin so I could start to whittle away at the 350 emails I had received in the past few weeks.

The wall made a good office chair. I was ready to fight out the emails if only the wifi would work.

The wall made a good office chair. I was ready to fight out the emails if only the wifi would work…

  • As always, the invasive announcement happened without warning.

For those of you on Alaska going direct to Edmonton, we have an overly full plane. We are unable to leave the tarmac unless someone volunteers to take a later flight. Please come see me at the desk if you are interested in helping out.

The following announcements got more desperate and needy as time went on. Those of us going to Edmonton started to drift towards the desk, everyone with a good excuse for why they wouldn’t help with moving the plane from the tarmac to the sky. The group of boy scouts who needed to travel together huddled together nervously, the leader looking at us pleadingly to help.

Traveling alone and with no one waiting for me at the airport since my husband was in Ecuador, I took the plunge. Becoming a hero to a frazzled airport desk clerk and a group of middle school aged boys was my award. Grabbing my voucher, latte, 350 emails, and 50 pounds of carry on I ran for my new gate across the airport. My flight was leaving in 20 minutes and the domino effect of many ridiculous airport encounters was looming.

I hate Vancouver’s policy on international flights.

After going through customs you have to go out of security with all your luggage, check into your next flight, check luggage, go through security, and try to make it on time for your connecting flight. I have done this a few times in Vancouver and every time has been a high intensity workout. I also end up chugging my whole water bottle while in the security line up because I don’t have time to find a place to dump the water out and still make my connection.

  • This particular day I was annoyed about security.

Just four hours ago I had done this exact thing with tears streaming down my face.

Now the only thing on my face was a frown. After, yet again, taking off most of my clothes, finding my iPhone, laptop, and bag of liquids, and putting 5 trays of stuff through the X-ray machine I found myself under deep scrutiny.

Security Agent – What is the mass in your bag? (Holding my roller bag)
Donloree - Mass? What mass? I have no idea. Hmmm … (I thought honesty was the best policy, but if you don’t know what is in your bag suspicion rises quickly.)
Security Agent – You don’t know what is in your bag? Did you pack it?
Donloree – Yes, I packed it.
Security Agent – We are going to have to open it up and see. Come over here with me.
Donloree – Ok, but be careful. It may explode when you do.

No sooner than when the words left my mouth did I realize they weren’t the right words to choose. I merely meant a lot of clothes, underwear, and bras were about to spill out of the bag – not an actual explosion.

A semi-circle of security agents magically appeared.

Donloree – Not explode, explode. Just clothes explode. I had to kneel on it to get it shut. You know what I mean, right?
Supervisor Security Agent – Ma’am, please step over here.
Donloree – I am sorry, wrong words. I am tired. There is nothing in my bag. Well there is a lot of stuff in my bag, but nothing like what you think is in my bag!
Supervisor Security Agent - Please put out your palms and then lift your shirt, we are going to swab you. This is nothing to joke about.
Donloree – I am not joking. I am just tired. BEACH ROCKS! That’s right! I have rocks in there. Is that what you saw? (Looking over, Security Agent #1 was thoroughly looking over every single rock I found on the beach.) Yup, those are them. I went to the beach to visit my brother and his family – hence the rocks.
Supervisor Security Agent – Please stay calm, we are not finished.

Watching a strange man hold up your bra to ensure it is not a bomb is an interesting experience, to say the least. Once security was assured my rocks were rocks and I didn’t have ingredients from mixing up a bomb on my hands or waist, I was free to go.

Fabulous, harmless, and individually inspected by homeland security.

Fabulous, harmless, and individually inspected by homeland security.

Kneeling on my roller bag once again, this time in front of six security agents, I zipped it up and was off to the gate. Well, kind of. It is possible I tripped over my roller bag and dropped my water bottle first.

  • Quiet calm is not a skill I possess. 

Whenever there is some sort of crisis, I immediately move to action to solve it. Oftentimes this creates more crisis and then I take more action – a tornado of ridiculousness starts to form before anyone knows what happened. *sigh*

What can I say? Life is always interesting!