When?

When is it time to let go?
Of a time? Or a place? Or a person? Or a dream?

When do you decide if holding on is more painful than letting go?
When is it time to stop putting in the effort?
When do you accept that goodbye is inevitable?
When is it okay to be angry? Or to blame? Or to mourn? Or to cry?

How do you know when it’s time?

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Autumn’s Reminder


The brilliant colours are attractive
The cool air, soothing.
Autumn speaks to me in a way that no other season does.
I only wish it was here for longer.
The beauty is ephemeral and will be gone in mere days.
Bright leaves will blanket the ground leaving bare, shivering branches.
The colours on the ground will fade to a dry and crispy brown.
Then the winter will come.

But in the meantime,
there is a richness that reveals raw splendour and serenity
and I can’t let it pass me by.
I have to believe that it all exists, even for such a short time
to remind me that life bleeds passion,
and pours out its innermost mystery
in preparation for the coldest and darkest hours of life.

Disappointment

When someone disappoints you, do you tell them, or do you keep it to yourself?

I usually keep it to myself.  I’ve learned, however, that by not expressing my feelings, the disappointment grows and festers and breeds resentment.  That’s why this time I did it differently.

This coming weekend I was supposed to meet K out of town (half way between our cities) for a 10K run.  We had been planning this “run date” for months – since before I moved.  She told me a month ago that there was a potential conflict that came up and she wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to come – she wasn’t going to know for sure until the weekend before.  I tried to remain cautiously optimistic.  It was difficult, however; I was using this running date as a goal or endpoint to try and survive the first three months of my new life.  I was also looking forward to it because I needed some time to spend with a friend – in real life.  Unfortunately, the conflict persisted and K had to cancel our run.  For a while I was thinking of going by myself – but I’ve since decided against it.  I’ll just run 10K in my own city to get the exercise.

When she first mentioned it to me a month ago, I felt hurt, unimportant, and disposable – almost like the commitments made to me were less important than anything else.  I knew at the time that those feelings were selfish and based on insecurities.  It was clear that she faced a difficult decision about the commitments she had and she was forced to make a decision that would let someone down.  So, I didn’t say anything about how I felt.

When this week came and she cancelled on my for sure, I still just kept it to myself.  But I felt bad – I still felt disposable.  And as the days passed, I realized how much I had invested in the trip to meet up with K.  On Wednesday I had an appointment with my new counsellor and we talked about it briefly.  I told her how I was feeling and that I didn’t want to tell K because I didn’t want to make her feel bad (or worse) – and how not telling her was making me feel worse about myself.  She suggested I find a middle ground: I don’t have to tell her all the (probably selfish and unreasonable) insecure feelings, but I also don’t need to dispose of my feelings like they don’t matter.

“She disappointed you.  There is nothing wrong with expressing that.”

After thinking about it for a day, I decided that I needed to say something.  Last night I was having a hard time sleeping and I realized I was ruminating about it, so I wrote a very simple email:

Dear K,
I am disappointed that [the run] isn’t happening. It was very important to me; I think even more than I realized myself.
I didn’t say anything earlier because I didn’t want to make you feel bad – I already know that you feel bad. I’m not telling you with the intention of making you feel bad or guilty, but I think that not telling you makes me feel worse.  I just want to be open with you about it.
You had a hard decision to make, and your [...] needs you. I don’t think you are a crappy friend*.
-G
*She had previously commented hat cancelling on me makes her a crappy friend

I felt good about sending it, but I worried all night about how it would make her feel and I wondered how she would respond.  This morning she sent me a reply, and of course, it was okay.

How do you deal with these kinds of situations?  Would you have done the same thing?

Nanny Woes

We are on day #3 of Nanny. I think it is going pretty good from a “new person living in our house and taking care of our kids and learning our preferences” point of view. As for husband – he thinks it is going horrible and that is stressing me out. I think he is being unrealistic and unfair.

Day 1 – Husband was home from work. Husband is 6’2″ with a shaved head. He hardly ever smiles and he is very introverted: Therefore, he hardly ever talks. I can’t imagine being a little Philipina woman on my first day of work feeling like everything I do and say is being criticized by a tall, serious, scary new boss. Throw in two tyrant little kids… and I don’t care who you are, but trying to be stern and discipline someone else’s kids right in front of them is always uncomfortable. All day, husband texted me about how horrible things were going. I told him he had to try and look at it from her perspective.

Day 2 – I didn’t have to go to work very early so in the morning I talked to Nanny about how she needs to be stern and that she is the boss. She seemed to take this role very seriously. I also left her a small shopping list and instructions to change the sheets on all the beds. I left the sheets out for her. When I got home, the shopping was done, the kids were napping, she was washing the dishes from lunch, and the bed sheets were changed, duvet covers were being washed (which she later put back on the beds), and house was tidied. I helped her make dinner and we went for a little walk together. She seems comfortable talking to me and asking questions. However, I went out for dinner last night and when I came home, Husband was frustrated because he thinks she doesn’t understand any english (apparently she just nods and kind of laughs whenever he talks to her). I reminded him that she is probably intimidated by him, that it is her second day, and that it will take some time for a good routine to be followed

Day 3 – This morning the boys woke up earlier that usual and they were eating breakfast when I was getting ready to leave. Husband was still upstairs in bed because he started work late today. Nanny came running up the stairs when she heard us and I’m sure she probably thought she was late (even though we were the early ones) and I felt bad that she was rushed to get ready. The boys were running around the house with fruit snacks that they got out of the pantry. I took them away and then told them they could have them after lunch if they ate all their food. I also told that to Nanny. I later got a grumpy, passive-aggressive text message from Husband saying that “apparently fruit snacks are appropriate for breakfast.” I told him to chill out – I explained to him what happened before I left (while he was still in bed), that we probably need to put the fruit snacks out of the boys’ reach, and it occurred to me that maybe Nanny was confused about what I meant by “lunch.” I sent some long, somewhat angry text messages to Husband saying that he needs to stop being so critical and be more constructive.

Here are the issues:

Language – English is not her first language. She has lived in Canada for 8 months and most of that time she worked for a Chinese family. Any foreign live-in nanny will have a language barrier. In my job, I have a lot of experience having complicated and difficult conversations with people who don’t speak english well. I understand the need to speak slower, use simpler words, rephrase a question if it wasn’t understood the first time, etc. Husband has never had to do this. I tried to tell him this. Regardless, he doesn’t believe me when I tell him that I have some pretty detailed and meaningful conversations with Nanny.

Food/Cooking – Husband thinks Nanny has never cooked a day in her life. This assumption comes from the fact that she doesn’t really know how to make our (crappy) Canadian/American foods that we usually prepare. I leave her instructions on what to make for lunches, but it’s clear that she’s never had to make some of these things before. Last night I helped her make tacos from a taco kit – and it was very obvious that she had never EVER heard of tacos before, let alone eat or cook them. I asked her what she used to cook for her other families and she said, “chinese food.” I asked her what she cooks for herself and she said, “philipino food.” I told her she could cook those foods for us and the kids and she was very excited about that – and also shocked that that was okay with me. I told her I would take her shopping to the asian market (which is walking distance from our house) so she can show me what she needs me to buy. I tried to explain to Husband how difficult it would be to cook with such a culture shock – send me into a chinese pantry and no matter how good of a cook I am, I’d have no idea what to make!

Routine/Discipline – I think this is pretty self explanatory. I feel like Husband thinks she is just supposed to know what kind of routine we want for the kids and how to discipline them and what to do when and how. I try to tell him that it will take time and that we need to take baby steps. I figure we can attack one thing at a time. For example, Husband was upset that boys were in their PJs until lunch time on Monday. So yesterday I told her that they should get dressed right after breakfast – and they did. I reminded her about that today. Yesterday the boys were doing crafts on the (hardwood) floor and that made Husband grumpy. So last night we brought in a little table from the deck and put it in the corner of the kitchen. This morning I suggested that boys do crafts at the table instead of on the floor. Simple.

Is staying in PJs until noon, or eating fruit snacks after breakfast, or doing crafts on the floor really going to harm our children? No. I don’t think so. For all Nanny knows, unless we tell her something, thats the way it is done. So all it means is that we have identified an area that we need to clarify. That’s why there is an adjustment period. I wish Husband would understand that. I guess I should just be thankful that I am taking a pidly research course this week and therefore have a fair amount of time to deal with this new life situation…

10 Posts in One

As you’ve all probably gathered, I’ve had less time to blog lately. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking of blogging. In fact, I think about blogging all time time. I plan out blog posts in my head throughout the day, but I never actually get time to sit down and write them. I also take lots of pictures with the hopes of sharing them on my blog. So I will give a quick, 10 blog posts in one to bring you all up to date on what’s been going on with my life!

1. Last weekend I had a pseudo-4-day weekend because I was post call on Friday and then I had Monday off in-lieu for working Labour day. Husband and I dropped the boys off at my mom’s house (since she now lives 3 hours away) and then drove an additional hour to the mountains for a night away. While we were there, we went on a wonderful mountain hike that was almost 20KM round trip and too us to the top of a mountain. It was beautiful, the weather was amazing, and I was super sore the next day (especially since I also ran a 10K the next day).

2. After a wonderful night of delicious Italian dining and a visit to the mountain hot springs, Husband and I ran a 10K run through the mountains. It was such a wonderful experience. I made my best 10K time of 50:45 – with a pace of 5’05” per Km. I was quite happy with myself – especially since I beat husband by like 30 seconds!

3. I am currently (well, have been for a while) obsessed with anything pumpkin spice. I love pumpkin anything in the fall… Needless to say, I was quite excited to find some pumpkin spice fudge at the fudgery as I was walking back to my car after my ridiculously long hike. I actually haven’t finished it yet, and while I sit in my boring research methodology course, I wish I had it here with me now!

4. Every night that I am home, we make it a priority to go on a family walk. This is especially important because the weather is starting to get cool and soon there will be snow on the ground and it will be too cold and dark to get the kids out every night. One of the favorite things the boys like to do is feed the ducks at the little lake close to our house. The last time we fed the ducks, they seemed to be much more confident (the ducks) and the came right out of the water to get some cheerios from the boys. They were having a great time (the boys)!

5. I have officially finished my rotation on CCU. I didn’t mind it too much – I started between 7:15 and 7:30 every day and was usually finished between 4:00-5:00. Pretty good hours compared to my obs rotations. The biggest downside to the rotation was all the rounding. Some days we would stand and round for 4 hours. This is one of the biggest reasons I hate “medicine” specialties. I am far more surgical minded – what’s the problem? Let’s fix it. One other thing I didn’t really like about CCU is running the codes. The residents on CCU are responsible for running the codes throughout the hospital. The CCU nurses attend the code with the crash cart. As such, there is a “code phone” on the CCU desk. It is an old school phone, with the old school ring. When it rings, everyone goes silent – one person jumps up to answer the phone, someone else grabs the crash cart, and we all line up at the door and wait for the instructions on where we are supposed to run to. I hate that phone. When that phone rings, it means someone is dying… right now… and we are supposed to go and try to save their life. I will not miss the code phone.

6. For some reason, I was feeling very sad and down last week. I think there were lots of reasons to feel that way and I wished I had time to blog more about it at the time. I was feeling lonely, isolated, stressed, like I had no options and nowhere to turn. I had no one to talk to and I was beginning to get a little angry at myself and other people in my life. On my post-call day I had an appointment with my new psychologist – and those appointments are always hard. I left the appointment and felt like I needed to have a good cry. When I got home, I was pleasantly surprised to find a small and unexpected package in my mailbox. It was a package from K. I eagerly opened it to find a few little goodies to serve as a “pick-me-up” for the month. I really needed it – especially on that day.

7. As most of you know, I committed to making a set of three owl cross-stitches as a good-bye gift for K. Before I moved, I finished two of them and I was hoping to get the third one done fairly quickly. Unfortunately, I haven’t even had a chance to start on it. I’ve been carrying the unopened package around in my call bag since residency started and up until this week, I haven’t even taken it out. One night on call, there wasn’t too much going on so I sat in my call room and opened the package and got everything organized. Sadly, that was as far as I got before my pager went off, but it’s a good start!

8. After my weekend of crazy hiking and running, every muscle in my lower body was aching. For that reason, I didn’t really get a change to go our and run. The weather was also cold and it is getting darker earlier these days. I am having a hard time feeling motivated to go running on my treadmill, so I didn’t run too much. This weekend, though, I broke out my new running socks from K and went for a quick 5K jaunt. It felt great. Hopefully this week’s research course gives me a little more time to run!

9. My kids love music… Unfortunately for me, they love “kid” music more than “real” music. In an attempt to stop listening to “Frozen” music, I downloaded a new kids album. At the request of A., we downloaded an Alvin and the Chipmunks album. He loves it and wants to listen to it constantly… Including in the car. I have quickly come to realize that Chipmunk music is just parent torture in audio form.

10. I’ve mentioned before that I love the fall. Although it gets colder and darker, I find the coolness refreshing. Sunsets are beautiful, and our nightly family walk have an added “je ne sais quoi…” There is nothing more beautiful than a cool, calm night, with the sun setting over the small pond near our house…