Thursday, December 30, 2010

Neck Pain or Pain in the Neck

The glass grains of the 2010 hourglass have almost completely drained and I look back at the year as everyone does. Watching the television, news shows have been broadcasting many different top events of the year. Weather, sports, news, etc. The most prominent event in my life over the past year has been the damn sore neck and upper back that o have had, it seems, forever.

Yesterday I woke up with pain again. I immediately sighed and rolled my eyes, wondering when this will end. I have been going to the chiropractor and massage therapy religiously and after my last visit I thought I was ready to lengthen my visits to monthly. Regardless, these problems occur once and awhile and generally heal themselves with time.

My only understanding of the situation, using my previous knowledge of sports medicine, is that my neck muscles are not strong enough and when the pain finally subsides, I need to do light exercises to build strength.

Now, I question, if I have had this head for my whole life, why is it that the weight of my skull has managed to increase, thus causing inflammation and pain? I refuse to admit age to be the ultimate culprit although I know I am no longer a young pup. I have also thought that pain is half psychological and half physical. Athletes work through pain all the time, similar to my working while I am sore but then realizing my pain is gone after my shift. Could the increased weight of my head be from trying to force my life to work?

Once I think I have figured out the cause o my neck pain, it returns. Everything from cell phones, bad posture, purse straps, shoes, counter height, stress and looking up shooting eagle photography have been on the list. To no avail the knife jammed in my cervical vertebrae is twisted again in time for New Year's Eve and Day.

Regardless, my neck hurts. Happy New Years.
Jen McIntyre | Create your badge

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To You...

It is Christmas Eve...

I have spent the day keeping busy with my usual routines to avoid any lonely feelings. I woke with a bit of a headache from the libations last night. This ritual of seeing friends the day before Christmas has shifted a day to avoid any pain on the actual holiday. It seems everyone has decided on this, not just me. Last night was quite festive, karaoke Christmas carols, friends gathered around the wood laughing, smiling, hugging and generally passing out the Christmas cheer. I was pretty happy too, feeling the energy of great friends around me. There are always eyes looking regardless of what is happening in your life, and the effect they have on you after a stumble in your life is priceless.

Some of my friends off to other parts of the country, and others yet travelling to warm beaches of the tropics,  the party continued on very late. I have dropped a few walls in the last week and opened up a bit, resulting in possibly putting my foot in my mouth. It always works out in the end but I am hoping this interesting late night interlude on line continues to grow. I love to laugh, it makes me whole, and if yesterday and early this morning is a sign of the return of "laughing Jen", there will be more of that to come. Thank you - YOU.

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy, eat, drink, be merry and laugh - laugh, laugh, laugh. :)
Jen McIntyre | Create your badge

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Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Time....

Today was a completely relaxing day. The only day off in my work week, I had one appointment today - lunch with my Dad. We went to The Boathouse in Kitsilano, enjoying our conversation of family and Christmas plans, enjoying the view and the food. The topic of my current relationship development came up and I simply told him everything. He was happy I made the right decision in letting it all go; "then it wasn't meant to be." I did notice the glances at my finger. I figured he would mention the fimo beaded necklace from Spain, which was my mother's.  He did not but his distraction to the ring I was wearing on my right ring finger was enough for me to rethink wearing this nostalgic piece of jewelery.

The piece of jewelery is a ring I have had since my previous relationship with an ex-boyfriend of six years. The ring was a representation of our future plans to be married and move to Vancouver Island. My mother, still alive although in her second bout with breast cancer, which would ultimately take her, seemed happy and at ease that we had future plans. Unfortunately, after her passing, we parted ways. I still wear the ring, which I purchased, but on the right hand, and have now begun to think I need a new personal ring.

Part of my relaxation today after my visit with my father, consisted of looking casually for a design I would like. I thought what I would like on my hand, definite that it should represent me in some way. I have always wanted to get a tattoo but never decided on what I would want until recently. I still am not sure of whether I want it as a permanent part of my physical self. The main symbolisms of the dragonfly are renewal, positive force and power of life in general with a sense of self that comes with maturity. I wanted a dragonfly on the back of my neck. Not ready to get this permanent ink on my body, I began to think that perhaps a nice simple silver or white gold ring of a dragonfly would be an idea. Then I went to town on my online browsing skills. 

I found a simple silver Tiffany and Co. ring and made the quick, inexpensive purchase. I also may think about looking at the jewels in my possession from my mother and grand mother. Wearing the necklace today reminded me of the times at the age of six, trying to find two matching beads on the string of colourful handmade glass beads. There are some pieces I would like to resize to fit my larger digits. In addition, I have a intricate silver charm bracelet filled with my travel history which I should share with the world.

It's time for baby steps in the direction of my metamorphosis.

Jen McIntyre | Create your badge

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

And the Clouds Broke Open and....

Rain is inevitable in the Fall in Vancouver. If Google took a picture from above the city, it would appear that the streets were canopied with multicolored octagon patches, umbrellas everywhere, creating a colorful quilt. The streets have small rivers down them with tributaries running down sidewalks. Unusually warm today, double digits, even the local mountains, formerly blanketed with meters of snow, have closed after opening prematurely with a November snowfall.

The soggy weather combined with the shortest daylight hours of the year, have put a heavy feeling over the city. The streets have no life to them, pedestrians hiding under their umbrellas, looking down the sidewalk. There is an obvious state of mourning in Vancouver, predicted by the news and media one year ago. This year had a full dance card all year long, and now that the twinkle of her tiara is dulled, she is being taken for granted again. It's like Vancouver was all dressed up and now her gown is faded and her mascara is gone.

There have been many passings in our city this year, the most obvious lately is Summer. Vitamin D should be flying off the shelves, in an attempt to replace the missing sunshine. Without those extra hours of daylight, and rays of sunshine, we as humans become down and depressed. Our summer this year was phenomenal, hot and sunny for weeks. Everyone longs for those days again, hence the mass exodus out of the city for the 'snowbirds' - the baby boomers and yuppies hitting palm springs, Florida, Mexico or anywhere where the sun is shining. In the meanwhile, Vancouver sits and waits for it's inhabitants to return, joining the umbrella protected population.

Another loss and the tiara of the city, the Winter Olympics. During February this year,the city played host to the world, showing each and every country that Canada was the most hospitable nation. We invited the world, showed them a great time and kissed them on their cheeks goodbye when they flew from our home. Vancouver was for a moment in time, the jewel of the country, a diamond glittering in the sunshine for the world to see. The post Olympic hangover was predicted by the media and proponents. The previous hosting cities also experienced equivalent recessions. The physical landmarks and buildings remain, but the sheen is gone. The athletes village is empty, a political snafu of empty suites waiting to be filled with Vancouverites. It seems like a dream, all of the crazy crowds, red and white clothing and flags, the singing of Oh Canada, the 24hr buzz of the city.

Another past memory of this year was the World Cup festivities, the sport of soccer filling our Olympic void. North America was enveloped with 'footy' fans everywhere, and Vancouver had its equal excitement. There were jerseys of every color, cavalcades of honking cars decked out in the flag of the winning team. The vesuvela was heard everywhere, the noisy bee-swarm sounding horn heard over each match played. Again, the excitement rose in Vancouver in the afterglow of the spectacular representation of Canada in the Olympics. The bars were packed again and Vancouver was alive.

The Canucks aren't considered so much as a passing, but the playoff run was definitely an added addition to keep the city alive. The hope and loyalty of Canuck fans is one of the eclectic aspects of Vancouver. Blue and green jerseys lined the sidewalks downtown, with the patriotic Olympic red and white garments left over from the gold medal winning Winter  Games. Unfortunately, the run was short and a sad let down, no Stanley Cup in our back pocket.

Now Vancouver is in hangover mode, asses firmly planted on the couch, large bag of chips and a 2 liter bottle of coke at her side, Advil popped into her system, waiting for the heavy blanket to lift. The occupants of this oasis are burdened with the bill of all of these parties, the invoice in the form of the HST. We all know that if we overspend we have to save to repay the debt. It's unfortunate that the world economy crashed the year before our party. Vancouver not only was hit by the recession but then we are footing the bill of hosting the Olympics. Yes, it was an event that will increase tourism but not immediately. We must now wait for the seed we planted to grow.

In the meantime we sit here in our soggy city, hiding under our umbrellas, trudging through puddles and small rivers in hopes to see a glimmer of our diamond when the sun peaks out of the heavy dark clouds. From above the city our patchwork quilt is bustling along waiting for the rain to stop.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Have I Compromised Myself Into A Corner?

"To compromise is to make a deal where one person gives up part of his or her demand. In arguments, compromise is a concept of finding agreement through communication, through a mutual acceptance of terms—often involving variations from an original goal or desire. Extremism is often considered as antonym to compromise, which, depending on context, may be associated with concepts of balance, tolerance. In the negative connotation, compromise may be referred to as capitulation, referring to a "surrender" of objectives, principles, or material, in the process of negotiating an agreement. In human relationships "compromise" is frequently said to be an agreement that no party is happy with, this is because the parties involved often feel that they either gave away too much or that they received too little"  - Wikipedia.

Everyone compromises. Life is all about compromises; in work, in relationships, in friendships, in commuting, in cooking. I can continue on forever. When we allow any person into our comfort circle, we allow ourselves to back off on our "life rules" if we want to add this person into the circle. We learn from these deals daily, whether these new snippets of knowledge compliment or hinder our lives. 

I have spent over 42 years of life compromising, like each and every one of you. I had 2 older brothers and learned early that making little exchanges would get me more attention or less teasing. Sometimes in school, to avoid a bully, I would agree with the bad kid just to duck out of the way of any unwanted attention. This action, although subconscious initially, slowly can take pieces of your character, adding up each and every compromise made.

Today I feel like a cookie with a huge bite taken out of it, each little minuscule crumb nipped away throughout my life. I realize that I portray myself as a strong, independent woman, but even steel falters eventually. I look at myself and see this castle I have built around myself, my moat widening daily. I have become a very private person, past negative experiences simply placed behind me, covered with a tarp so I can see the mound and peek under the cover once in a while, reminding me of my past compromises. 

I have had writers block the past few weeks, and recognize the obstruction as the immense culmination of all of the compromises. I remember my self-confidence, bright and shiny, everyone around me squinting at the sheen off my strength. I now have traded in that self-confidence and express it in a less overt direction. A side effect of my dulled confidence is shopping for clothing that attract attention. Unfortunately, I have never been one to feel comfortable in the spotlight. The bright reds and buttery smooth textiles through which I express my personality, is my tragic attempt at regaining my upper hand after making far to many compromises. No one will notice my defeated character flaw if I wear a red leather jacket. 

Perhaps the character flaw began with never feeling as if I were beautiful. I realize now that beauty is on the inside not what you wear, how much make-up is worn or what colour your hair is dyed. I understand that beauty comes from inner strength and no matter what you see in the mirror can fully define ones beauty. Even in my younger years, I still gauged my beauty with male attention. If men were attracted to me, I was beautiful. Of course, every woman goes through this belief at some point in their lives, and some women older than me have yet to realize that men do not make the rating system of beauty. The only real measurement of my beauty is me. 

Now, physical beauty aside, I was ahead of the pack when it came to humour. I have always embraced my ability to make people laugh regardless of the situation. If people are laughing because of my quick wit, I am happy, which makes me feel beautiful. Creating a belly laugh from just a look gives me a sunny feeling in my gut, even if I look like I have been through a tornado. I have attracted more people, men especially, with my sense of humour than with my physical prowess. In my world, an Uber-beautiful person is probably empty, spending more time daily in preparing themselves physically for the world than I do in a week. Humour is key in life, and yes, I have stepped over the line too many times, trading a laugh for attention.

I am most confident when I am funny, and right now, missing my bite-size piece of cookie, I am dying in front of my audience. But damn it I look good! I haven't got the energy to be funny when I am lacking confidence. I am reminded of the circles that are my pathways, with no side street. A Catch 22 situation where when I am confident, I am funny, which then feeds my positive look at myself, filling my desire to be beautiful. That damn pile of compromises from my past seems to be hiding my confidence, the essential key to my happiness. I need to accept my exchanges and the pathway I have carved with those deals, and push them aside along with my stubborn pride, and get back in the game.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Did I Take Wrong Turn Back There?"

Life can feel like a prairie road. Those roads lined with rows and rows of wheat, with no cross-roads, direction signs, street lights, or other cars. "Fields of Gold" as Sting wrote. The blazing sun beating down, blinding your eyes through your sunglasses. A breeze nowhere to be found, the crows sitting on the fences with their mouths agape, attempting to cool off as their bluish black feathers take on every degree of unbearable heat. The monotony can be dulling at times, like the sound of a metronome, the ticking of a clock, the dripping water from a leaky faucet.

The thought of summer heat and golden sunshine, sounds warm and attractive, while Autumn is in full force, maple leaves lining the streets. The damp cool air is shocking, sneaking its way to my bones. The early nights arrive and the city becomes quiet, every apartment glowing with light as West Enders create their den for the winter months. The aroma of home cooking is on every floor; burning wood drifting in the air from the lucky ones with fireplaces.

As I move on down the road of my life, I look at my relationships, achievements and acquisitions on either shoulder and wonder if I took a wrong turn way back there on the highway of my past. For the amount of years I've been traveling, I would think I would have fit into the mold that we all aspire to as children, watching Disney movies. I am in my early 40s and am living like I am in my early 30s still. I haven't noticed that I was going around in circles but the view out the windshield seems familiar. It's strange as I see people moving on ahead on the road as I am still moving at the same speed, not veering off course. Friends have moved on, turning off the road, being out of touch until I hit a thoroughfare in the street, their car filled with a new family continuing on an opposing route.

Spending my young years in Europe, busy circles of traffic surrounding a work of art invade my mind. How similar this image is in comparison to my life. The events of my history being the Arc De Triomphe, for example, while the people in my past, present and future are all driving around these events, weaving in and out of my route. Some stay in the same lane ahead or behind me, while others veer off to a side street, and yet others turn on to the roundabout, driving up beside me, nodding hello.

How did I get to this particular roundabout? Why am I stuck in the innermost lane, unable to move to the outer lane in hopes to veer off onto a side street of new and challenging life experiences? Why am I only able to drive a two seater? How do I trade in my car for a station wagon, sedan or SUV? And do it want any of these cars, or would I rather continue on my path in a Mini Cooper? 

It's strange to me how my friends with families admire my choices. Little do they know is that I never chose to not be married, have children, own a house, or generally live the life of the cookie-cutter 40 year old. Of course, one can say that I am where I am today because of my past choices. I agree, but when I have to choose between a rock and a hard place, it's no wonder I don't live deep in a cave. Let's just say the hands dealt to me haven't been winners. I have no choice in this poker game to fold, so I do my best with what I get from the dealer. I have a pretty good hand right now. No aces but definitely not a hand to replace. I choose, that's right, CHOOSE, which cards to toss as the dealer replaces those bad cards. It seems, my problem in the past is that those cards I discarded had potential and resulted in a weaker hand. Now, I am holding a strong hand yet I think I may have discarded a key card by mistake. I can't take it back and that mistake has made my hand weaker.

I hope I'm not forced to discard, but if I am, I will move to another table with my mini and my fields of gold to my innermost lane on my  roundabout. Hopefully I will recognize the pulse of the traffic to change lanes and make the right exit. In the meantime, I will peer over my hand at the dealer and the poker masters waiting for the next card.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Addictions Never Go Away

Everyone has an addiction. There is not one person in this world without some kind of repetitive action that gives them some kind of lift. There are limitless addictions from obvious bad habits, like smoking, to dangerous addictions, like heroine. There are harmless addictions, like washing your hands, and there are strange addictions, like hoarding. Lives can be limited by addiction, unable to break free of the jail they have created. 

I have addictions and have quit a nasty unhealthy smoking addiction almost four years ago. In those addicted personalities will always be a little pinch in your brain reminding you of your past dependency. Since quiting smoking I discovered a new habit which turned into an addiction: shopping. Buying clothing, shoes and purses seems to have replaced my need to allow nicotine to float through my blood vessels. Quitting smoking finally made me me feel healthier, resulting in me actually losing weight and looking better. I decided to purchase some better clothes resulting in a weekly shopping therapy routine. I have replaced my smoking with shopping. I am especially addicted to jackets. I gave away some of my old jackets, some of which I had never worn. I have made a decision that my last purchase, a leather jacket, set off a switch in my head, to stop. If I need to shop it will be for others. Christmas is coming, so gifts are on my list.

I have another addiction. Walking around Stanley Park on the seawall. I have tried other routes but for some reason they aren't the same. I either bring a camera or I don't, listen to music, or not, but regardless, once a week I love walking the seawall. The seawall is part of my personal world where, if I see a person violating the bike path or littering, it drive me crazy. Winter always depresses me when the wet and cold weather keeps me from walking in the park. When the weather becomes warm in the spring, the first walk around the seawall is incredible. Regardless, this addiction is a harmless habit and good for my health.

On the other hand, I have another addiction which is not healthy and this involves technology. My dependency on my ipod and cell phone has created an interesting backward evolutionary jump, causing back and neck pain to make me hunched over in pain, similar to a greater ape. Additionally, the position of the computers I work on are definitely not ergonomically correct making me homo unerectus. Looking down at my tech toys has caused a back problem which I am spending time and money in a chiropractic office. I'm surprised I haven't started growing another digit on my hands to text faster.

Other people I know have traded addictions; nicotine for exercise, cocaine for caffeine, alcohol for caffeine, work for sympathetic attention. The trades are happening all around us. Love for money, money for power, food for dieting; people barter for a better euphoria, a better high. I quit smoking because it did nothing for me. I was addicted but never used it as a crutch or a security blanket. It was more social, where I had to give up friendships due to neglect, as I didn't hang out in the smoke pit, where relationships were formed with people who all had he same addiction. Whether the replacement addiction has already begun before the old addiction is abandoned, I am unsure. 

Everywhere I look I see people with addictions; whether they call them habits or routines, they are still addictions. Some do not need to be terminated, others require immediate removal. The addict, when removed from the activity that gives that person the positive feeling, becomes anxious and irritated, regardless of the irrationality of the addiction. Even people addicted to Apple products, become extremely bothered by Microsoft and its PC -related products. Smokers cannot think rationally when experiencing a nic-fit. People, knowing that fast food is bad for their health, eat McDonalds and KFC, putting rationality on the back burner. Workaholics disregard their mental health by not balancing work with play.
I guess the key is to control these addictions by trading off the bad ones for good ones. I believe everyone can't have all good addictions or they would no doubt be pretty boring. I am trying my best to trade off the bad ones. If I kick this damn shopping habit, a whole bunch of people are gonna be getting some pretty sweet gifts. Additionally, bad habits can be controlled to a minimum if necessary. Go ahead and eat your BigMac but just don't do it everyday. Have a drink or two, just don't go on a bender, blacking out. Once the addiction is out of control, it's time for some assistance.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In The Clouds

October is in full force as the last rays of sunshine warmed Vancouver yesterday in a final attempt of escape before the cool damp air socks us in. The traffic in the West End has settled and the pedestrians are all carrying out their grocery shopping routines. There are few tourists populating the sidewalks, leaving room to see the local shops slow down, and frozen yogurt stores close for the cold months. The sound of a jack hammer fills the air as a business renovates into new condominiums. Watching Denman Street now, one would never imagine the hustle and bustle during the key summer months.

I worked an enormous amount of hours over the summer, and previously, during the months of the Olympics in the winter. The city, is in a type of mourning, with everyone back to work or school, the leaves dying on the trees, falling gingerly to the pavement. There seems to be more life on my balcony, with the finches, sparrows and chickadees fattening up for the winter. The nightlife is desolate, the seawall is in demolition, being repaired for the next years tourists. At night when I peer out into the darkness, everyone has their lights on as if no one wants to leave their winter den.

My brain, usually working up a storm, gears ticking away, has slowly come to a halt. The uneventful days make for a heavy inefficient thinking process. When the human slows down it's hard to get that human up and going at a decent pace again. This is the same for the human brain. The hectic days filled with endless cooking, strategic ordering, impossible scheduling and little sleep have ended followed with the continuous ticking of the second hand as the days last for an eternity. Trying to explain to my staff that their hours will be cut unless they are willing to change their availability is frustrating. This is probably the only thing keeping my brain active as I have found myself drifting off, unable to focus on the minor task at hand.

My body is firmly planted on the ground, going through the routines of life and work, but my head is floating in the clouds of October. This is when I should be most energized, ready to take on challenges and problem solve at work. Without enough recovery time, holiday pushed to the side again as more work difficulties affect my life, I am like old skin, pinched and then unable to shrink back to the shape it was in before the pinch.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tick Tock Tick Tock

I hear the ticking of my inherited cockoo clock counting down the time, the seconds of the evening, as I lay in bed waiting to fall into a deep sleep. Inubriated passersby sing, while stumbling home after a night of drinks, possibly at my workplace. A faint belly laugh from a woman tickles the air while cars lumber by looking for a lucky chance of a close parking spot. The click clack of a pair of high heels rises through my bedroom window and a soft murmur of a conversation drifts in and out of my hearing. These are the familiar sounds of my neighbourhood. City life, full of people, sirens, barking dogs, and loud parties surround me, rocking me to sleep.
Time is on my mind as I try to sleep. Time in relation to age. I have had the pull of the maternal clock and it has almost past as I start a new beginning in my physical life; the twilight of my young days of verility is at hand, soon to be in the rear view mirror as I wipe the steam from my reading glasses. I realize that my 42 year old body is beginning to feel 60 on some days, and that I should treat it with a little more respect, like an elder in my presence. Neck pain, back pain, tooth issues, numbness, forgetfulness...all signs of getting older. I'm like a rubber band that is old and a bit frayed. Over stretching it will cause it to snap, but it will work if it's treated with care. My hormones are also causing me to shed a few more foreign tears at unusual times. This is a bit uncomfortable for witnesses and more for me, a woman of strength and perserverence. I don't cry, especially in front of anyone. It makes me feel weak and and I am anything but weak.
Tick tock tick tock.
Age is impossible to stop as is time. I am always one to embrace my aging, especially givin the genes with which I have been blessed. I am mistaken for someone younger mostly. On the outside I portray a person who is stable and fit, not affected by wrinkles and gray hair, but I have been burdened with neck and back problems for awhile now and am in pain on and off on a weekly basis. I need to find the perfect pillow height for sleeping and I bet I'd wake up feeling younger.
Well, this excerpt of my writing is going in no real direction. I will drift off to the surrounding sounds of my world. Good night and wish me luck.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Mothering Soul

I am not a Mother, technically. I have not given birth or raised an adopted child. I have not chosen to not have kids, I have just not felt I am capable to financially support a child. Considering I am still learning how to financially support my own lifestyle, I always wonder how other people do it with a significantly smaller income. Regardless of the chances I have had to accidentally become a parent but luckily did not succeed, I have been told that I have a mothering soul.

I have been working in the hospitality industry for over twenty years, and have trained hundreds of new employees. Training and raising are not the same but when all of my trainees look up to me like a mother, I begin to wonder if I am getting my fill of motherhood everyday at work. My 'kids' come to me with ailments, financial advice, relationship issues, personal problems and numerous other issues only a parent would experience. The days at work are little tidbits of parenthood that I learn with every interaction I have with my staff. Each personality needs different attention, some need a loving hand while others are independent enough to just give a little pat once and a while.

I have been called 'Mom' by many staff members. Sometimes it bothers me to no end. I understand that I am their boss, and being an older woman with all those snippets of advice from past experience, is a wealth of information for young people learning about how to get through the tough years in their twenties. Why they come to me and tell me things I do not need to know, as an employer is another question. I never really return the information or problems of my life, making me seem like a professional councilor rather than an employer. I hope my advise is worth something as I look at my experiences and wish I took different pathways at certain times of my life.

I had to discipline an employee that is quite capable of understanding his plight. He has been spoken to many times, but my mothering soul looks at him in a light different from other employees. He is always the positivity any kitchen needs, always happy and cheery, ready to smile in the face of chaos rather than the opposite. He is my alter ego, and I love the positive attitude he brings to the kitchen.

I decided to give him a new outlook on his behavior. I had him write himself up. I let him bring home his project, to allow him to think about his answers. He was to return to work on time with his envelope in hand, a better employee. I wasn't sure how he would accept this request, but I know he is an intelligent person and will thrive to impress.

On his return, he was early, and chipper, always willing to please. After a few hours of work I asked him for his 'homework'. He was eager to give it to me and answered all the questions to my approval, including his choice of discipline.

Another example of a different personality, responding positively to a specific route of teaching. I, in this experience, learn to exercise my Motherly Soul. Whether I am a natural mother or an easy soul, always getting along with all types of characters, I am looked upon as a friendly person. Has it advanced me in my life here on Earth? I believe it has. Do good people finish last? It depends on how one looks at the question? I have already fulfilled the Mother in my life, seeing some of my 'kids' succeed and some fail. In the end, I am happy and satisfied, learning about life one day at a time.