The Curse of the Purse March 8, 2013Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Ponder This.
Tags: chickens, comparing with others, curse, making ends meet, materialism, money, society, wages
I love my dad. Although he doesn’t have my strong optimistic streak, he is generally pretty content. The last time we chatted, however, he was a little upset about something, and that something was money. He had recently found out what some oil rig workers made per hour, and was amazed, flabbergasted, and frankly, a little jealous that someone could make so much money. He is a farmer — mostly chickens, a few beef cows — and hasn’t made an hourly wage since he did a little work as a welder, repairing broken cargo carts that they use at the airport to load airplanes. He also worked for many years as a bulk milk truck driver (class 1 license, part-time work), and before buying the farm, he did road construction. He said he made $3.60/hour back in the day, which was a really good wage! These days, though, he sells eggs at the farmer’s market and hay at the auction mart (and privately) and both are prized for their excellent quality. He gets top dollar! But it ain’t no oil worker’s wage. Mind you, he is supposed to be getting ready to retire — it can be a multi-year process for farmers. In any case, he tends to get upset when he hears what some guys are making these days. Big numbers!
I have two friends that have been working 7 days a week, 12-hour days, and their employer is six weeks behind in their pay. Six weeks! That’s quite a while to go without any income; most of us couldn’t even do it. Needless to say, they are getting pretty grumpy about it, and are starting to catch the rarely-spoken-about Northern disease of greed. Okay, so it isn’t just a Northern disease, but it’s getting to the point where they aren’t going to do anything without being paid in advance. I can’t say I exactly blame them… but it does make me revisit the idea I occasionally entertain about how a moneyless society would work.
Money. Why does it matter so much? Why do we use it to define our worth? It absolutely shouldn’t be associated with our worth, but it often is. I see it as simply a more convenient way of exchanging resources than carrying around chickens to trade. So why not go back to chickens? If we did, my dad would be one of the richest guys around! Plus, he also has hay, grain, and all sorts of other very practical, tradeable (and edible) items. But most of us don’t have such things — we are stuck exchanging our talents, skills and/or time (abstract things) for numbers on a piece of paper (or computer screen).
It’s the curse of the purse: we need to work, but it doesn’t go smoothly and we don’t enjoy it. We do it all because we are too wrapped up in the numbers: the money we will make.
Work 18 hours straight? Sure, great overtime! Work 25 days in a row? Awesome, bring it on! Work a job we don’t believe in? Sure, if it pays well! We don’t agree to do these things because we actually want to do them — we do it because we have dollar signs in our eyes. We forget our principles, and what’s important to us. In my personal philosophy, money should enable us to do things we want to do — that’s why we work. But too often, we work to make bigger numbers, to pay off bills or debts for things that we don’t even enjoy. We live beyond our means, and then try to make the means bigger, and as a result, we get grumpy, angry and greedy. It’s the curse of the purse.
Can you believe how much money Bill made last year? It’s insane! Comparing ourselves with others — be they famous, coworkers or friends — is a surefire way to feel dissatisfied. We work harder than Bill. We work longer hours than Bill. We know the job better than he does and have better skills. We should be making more money than Bill! Thinking this way is so unproductive. It would be better if we never knew how much money others made, ’cause when we do, and it can frustrate us to no end. It’s curse of the purse again.
As much as we might like to, we can’t go back to trading chickens. So many of us are stuck in very sedentary, impractical jobs where immaterial things are traded for money. Clicks equal dollars. Information, cents. Trading our days for numbers. Wish we had more. We’re all trying to live with the curse of the purse hanging over us. All we can do is stop being driven by the numbers, and start living life again — doing things we enjoy, both as work and as play. Spending time with ones we love. Appreciating the little things. Spending time in nature. Reconnecting with ourselves.
Wherever or however you do it, if you stop paying so much attention to the numbers on the piece of paper, you won’t be the only one. I’ll be right there with ya.
What’s the Best Super Power?! October 18, 2012Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Ponder This.
Tags: abundance, exact change, inspired experiences, law of attraction, money, wealth
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Remember the last post about super powers? (Go read it now if you haven’t yet.) I didn’t tell you what Darren wanted — it’s awesome and totally original. He wanted the power to pull the exact change out of his pocket each and every time he needed to pay for something. We nick-named him “Exact Change Man” and although we laughed a bit at first, it didn’t take long for us to realize the REAL power in this super power.
First of all, no more picking through change or counting cash. You just reach into your pocket and pull out exactly the right amount. You probably got that right off the bat. Doesn’t sound too profound eh? We don’t count cash much anyway, because most of us use debit or credit most of the time. (The other day, I was glad I had cash though, because the interac machine at the gas station in Enterprise was broken. Enterprise is a key gas stop for me on my way to Fort Simpson, and without topping up the tank, I would not make it all the way.)
Okay, getting back to Exact Change Man. What about if you want to buy something really expensive? Reach for your credit card? Nope. Just put your hand in and voilà — you have every dollar you need. Want to buy something else a minute later? Reach in, and presto, instant money. It’s the BEST super power I’ve ever heard of! Over and over again, you can pull out the exact amount you need!
You know, when Law of Attraction enthusiasts go on and on about how you can manifest wealth, I don’t exactly jump up and down. I don’t have a fear of money or success, but money for the sake of money just doesn’t grab me. Reaching into your pocket infinitely to pay for whatever you need at any moment does! I guess for me, wealth is not about money or numbers in a bank account — it is about having the freedom to travel and have really neat experiences because you were at the right place at the right time. In our society, it takes money to travel and do things, so the more you have the more you can do. (I still dream of a money-less society, but more on that another time.)
So ya, I want to be Exact Change Woman. Maybe it’s a silly dream, but hey, don’t they say we should aim for the stars? We won’t exactly reach them but… it just means to dream big.
2011 in Review January 3, 2012Posted by Teresa in Adventures, Family, Friends, and Cat!.
Tags: canoeing, fire dept, mock accident, personal development, year-in-review, york boat
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Every year, I like to do a summary of how the year went, what was good, what was bad and what I’m looking forward to. So here goes!
The Fire Department
I have been really active on the fire department, particularly in the winter and fall (paddling off-season). I’ve literally lost count of how many calls I’ve been on, but it’s a lot! I’ve been to MVCs, building fires, a great mock-accident at the High School, a few fire alarms and medical assist calls. I spent nine hours on the roof of Extra Foods for a fundraiser, and yes, I can add that to the list of Weird and Unusual Places I Have Peed (that will have to be another post)! I’ve helped out with some fire hall tours — I always have fun with the little people. I’m not a newbie any more; we had eleven new recruits start in fall, so I have actually been giving some advice and help to them, both in the hall and on calls. I’m in that netherland between newbie and experienced firefighter. I’ve gone to lots of training, and I now know enough to be dangerous! Seriously, I have learned a lot, but there is still so much more to know. I started taking the Emergency Medical Responder course, but unfortunately had to drop out. It was a good course, and it covered a lot more than I expected. Even though I only did about a third of it, I’m glad I went — now on medical calls, I have a much better idea of what the EMRs and EMTs are doing, and I can help out more. I’m getting fairly good at a few simple tasks, but I am still challenged on virtually every call, which is why I joined the department in the first place! Never a dull moment — and that’s what’s life’s all about! | Fire Dept posts |
I’ve got to say, my personal life has been great this year. I’ve been surrounded by friends, and even when I was stressed about deadlines and completing the York boat on time (photos here), I still had people around me, notably my friend Michelle’s parents in Calgary, who gave me a place to stay for two weeks, fed me, and were so amazingly generous and kind. My relationship with my husband has been great, and we’ve been connecting better all the time. I enjoy our late-night pillow talk; we just chat about whatever has been on our minds. When I am stressed, I can tell him about it and we figure out something that will help. I am so loved by friends and family, sometimes it just amazes me… I am so full of gratitude and appreciation!
Flow North had a great year! After doing the Paddling the Peace River guide for GeoTourism Canada, I was hired to run the York boat project, and then I got to be the Captain of the boat on the big, 18-day expedition. It was fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a better crew, although at times, looking for a crew stressed me out the most. In the end, it worked out so incredibly well, one could only say I was blessed. I’ve got 5 more best friends than I had before the month of June. Beyond the York boat, I got to run a couple of canoe camps, several canoe parties, expeditions, and had lots of fun at our weekly “Family Canoe Nights” as well. What a *great* summer we had! It didn’t hurt that, as usual, we had the nicest summer weather of the province, and perhaps even in all of Canada! Not much rain, lots of sun!
A Few Struggles
That’s not to say it was all sunshine and roses. There were a few struggles in the fall, with some bills from the summer piling up and expenses from the York boat not being paid. Things got a bit slim, but that’s what happens some times when you’re in business for yourself. We have exchanged time freedom for money freedom — we have plenty of the first and less of the second, whereas most people have very little time freedom, but more money to work with. We created a few websites in the fall, which was great. I’m really quite proud of what we did: Northern Express, Fox Haven Golf and Country Club, Patrick Cameron
Even though we have time freedom, I still felt the crunch of not enough a few times. I am still volunteering as the secretary of the Northern Lights Forest Education Society, which is developing new trails and busy with various other activities. I am also a board member of the Mackenzie Frontier Tourist Association, which has taken up a bit of time on web development and other duties (I’m not ready to share that website yet — it still needs a lot of work)! On the other hand, I stood up for myself when the workload was getting too big and said “I can’t keep doing this for free. Normally, I charge for this work.” There is always good in the bad!
The Coming Year
There are lots of changes a-coming, which I won’t go into right now. But my vision for the year includes:
- being more consistent in exercising
- planning our meals better so I feel more organized
- continuing to learn more about fire fighting
- getting a part-time job doing radio work, either dispatching or in air traffic services again (woo hoo!)
- expanding my business and being amazed at my success, yet again!
- doing lots of fun things with my husband and friends!
- being more carefree and playful (and helping my friend publish a book all about play!)
So, most of the time, I am excited and eagerly anticipating the year to come. When I’m not? When I get caught up in the business of life and my to-do list. Nothing new there! Stay tuned for more adventures!
Morning People October 27, 2010Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Silly stuff.
Tags: alertness, attitude, graph, sleep
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My husband is a morning person. I am not. After careful observations of his strange habits and energy levels, I have made several conclusions.
He isn’t perky, alert and annoying first thing in the morning on purpose, it’s just the way he is. And, we make a great partnership because
1. We agree that 3 pm should be nap time, and
2. When going on road trips, he drives the first part and I take over later on (when I’m fully awake)!
So I’m trying to be kind to him in the evening when he’s sleepy, remembering how I feel when I’m a zombie in the morning.
Buffalo Sightings May 24, 2009Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Travels.
Tags: bison, buffalo, Hay Lake, parents, road trip
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My parents came up for a visit last weekend, and although it is great to sit, chat and catch up on things going on in our lives, before long, we all felt like getting up and doing something! I’d been wanting to explore some of the areas west of here, and thought my parents might enjoy that too. Friday was their driving day, so we went for a walk but kept it low key that evening.
Saturday, I made breakfast for us, we relaxed around the house for a little while, and then went to a local bookstore where a friend of mine volunteers. We chatted, knitted, and moaned about our next big knitting project — the shipwreck shawl, which as we struggled to start with the “simple” loop cast on, we nicknamed “the wreck.” We took my parents to the little coffee shop in town, where we got our fancy coffees, and had a light lunch. Then it was across the street to the Macleod’s hardware store, which my parents love to visit, because it’s a bit like a general store and has some of the strangest, oldest things around! My mom got quite excited because they had inoculant — a substance used to promote plant growth when seeding a garden — which is apparently quite hard to find.
The next day was cold and miserable, as May long weekends typically are, to spite everyone who’s been waiting all winter to go camping. Inevitably, the campgrounds are full and the people are shivering! We stayed around home and planned the big adventure for the next day.
You see, I thought it would be nice to show my dad some buffalo, in the wild. I figured he’d really get a kick out of it, and I’d been hearing about herds near Rainbow Lake and Assumption for a while and had not yet made the trip to either place. This is a Buffalo Protection Area, and they roam wild and are not contained in any way. They are doing so well, the government has recently issued tickets for them, for hunters to shoot them. We only wanted to shoot them digitally, so off we went, with our cameras, bags of snack food and backroads map book, to find the buffalo.
We went first to the Chateh/Assumption native reserve, where I’d heard the buffalo were often seen roaming in town. We didn’t see any, but there were a few horses unrestrained. The reserve was fairly typical of those in this area, with gravel roads, smallish run-down houses, and as we drove past the grocery store, we weren’t sure if it was closed just because of the holiday or permanently (it looked pretty sad). We drove by the blackened shell of a house, the remains of a house fire. I’m not usually surprised by the use of ATCO trailers around here — they serve as hotels, restaurants, offices, everything! — but was shocked to see the provincial courthouse made up of 4 or so put together. I just wasn’t expecting that. We drove completely through the town part of the reserve, until the road changed from packed gravel to loose gravel-dirt. As I felt the road get softer and softer, I was a little nervous about going on, in my 2-wheel drive car, until we came to the end of the road, marked with green surveyor’s tape.
Then I was really nervous about turning around without getting stuck! I did it though, and we backtracked to the town, joking about going to the end of the line. We drove around until we found the RCMP detachment, where a friend of mine works, but the member we talked to said she was off for the weekend. He gave us a tip about where the buffalo probably were, then received a call and drove away, lights flashing. He had said to drive out towards the road we were just on, but look for one that went off like a “Y.” We’d seen that trail, and opted to head back to the main road and drive up to the Hay-Zama Wildland Lakes Provincial Park where we finally saw the buffalo.
The country around there is different than most places; it’s flat, marshy, muskeg, with short, scrubby trees giving way to poplar and sloughs. There aren’t many signs of civilization, but it was near an overgrown cutline for a pipeline that I glimpsed the buffalo. Since being shot at, the buffalo are more shy, and in the time between me spotting them and turning the car around, they had retreated into the bush. My mom got only a picture of two large brown shadows in the brush (see below)! But we all got a glimpse and my dad was quite impressed by their size and healthy coats; they are much bigger than the domestic ones. It only took 2 and a half hours to find them!
We kept going to the Hay River and Hay Lake, enjoyed the sunshine and marvelled at the many hoof prints and shotgun shells near the shore. I doubt if that many buffalo were shot — people might have just been shooting off shotguns for fun. Fun is not the same in northern, remote places as it is in urban centres. After a little while, we drove back through the reserve to the highway and west to Rainbow Lake, a small oil-boom town near the end of the highway. Rainbow is on the side of a large hill, and has lots of tall pines and reminds me of rugged, foothills towns; the lake it’s named after is a widening of the Hay River, south of town. What a contrast to Assumption — white population, clean town, brand new hotel, golf course, new trucks, and large, rich, new houses with quads parked in front. I saw my first-ever quad speed limit sign! I guess they don’t want people going too fast, even if they’re wearing helmets. We saw quads on the reserve, too, as they seem to be an essential form of transportation and recreation.
So those were my recent adventures! Not everyone can say they have buffalo in the wild, almost in their neighbourhood, so I feel pretty lucky.
Wedding & Honeymoon December 28, 2008Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Ponder This.
Tags: change, freedom, personal development, wedding
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Let me share some pictures of the wedding and honeymoon! It was a great time… feels like longer, but it was only 3 weeks ago! Hard to believe!
So I’ve been thinking 2 things lately: Things usually happen gradually — everything from changes in the world, to the weather, to what kind of person I am becoming. So who am I becoming? Am I gradually becoming more loving, more kind, more understanding? Or am I becoming more judgmental, snappy or sarcastic? I do get snappy when I am hungry, but that is usually preventable, if I only make sure to take care of myself. In fact, if I take care of myself emotionally and spiritually, I am far less likely to be judgmental or sarcastic, too.
As for world changes, the “financial crisis” is pretty hot in the news (even though I never watch it). Well, it seems to me that when you play with pretend money too much, you are going to get in trouble. (“Pretend money” is loaned money, stocks and such.) In Jamaica, the majority of people live in small/half-finished houses, because the lending rate is so high, no one can afford a mortgage. So they save real money, and build on as they can (it is similar in Mazatlan, Mexico, where I visited in February). So although it may not be their dream house until they are old, it is all theirs, bought and paid for every step of the way.
The second thing I’ve been pondering — remembering from a class I took — is that when some new idea comes along, test it by saying “if that were true for me, would I be more free?” For example, if I hear that the real estate market is going downhill, I can think “if that is true for me, would I be more free?” The answer: nope! I might start to worry or mope, which is not adding to my freedom. So, I don’t focus on it, and in that way, it’s not true for me. I don’t think it is true, so it has no power over me then. Make sense?
The same phrase can be applied to a new thought like “so-and-so is a hag.” Does that make me more free? Nope! Because then I want to avoid that person (which is hard work in a small town!) or I have to work at biting my tongue… definitely not more free! So I can choose to have a new thought, one that is more understanding or less judgmental.
Anyways, that’ll give you something to think about! Have a great day!
Wedding Bliss December 25, 2008Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Ponder This.
Tags: love, marriage, podcast, wedding
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What to blog about the first time after the big day?! I decided that it would be nice to share with you the wedding vows that Darren and I wrote together and said to each other that fateful wintry day just over 2 weeks ago. Darren agreed with me, and so below are the vows that we said (me through tears about half way through!) as part of the ceremony.
I know that there is not two, but one. We are on the same journey, sharing the same love for each other. I share everything, hold nothing back, love completely and without reservation. I do now, and will always believe the best in you, speak the truth in love, and hold you in perfect prayer. I love you with the deepest love I know. I rest in this love, which is in you and me, and everything, and I am full of joy and gratitude.
Our journey of spiritual unfoldment continues from this day, originating from the same Source, fueled by the same Love, nurtured by the same unending commitment to our mutual growth in Spirit.
And so it is.
Such depth to those words… it is good to remind myself of them, even now! Every day!
There’s a really cool part to this – because we chose to do our wedding as part of a regular Sunday celebration, and because the Centre is now podcasting their weekly messages (which Darren is taking care of), you can listen to the whole thing by using this link. So, if you missed the big day due to the bad weather, or for any reason, you can have a listen and hopefully feel like you didn’t miss out! Look for December 7, 2008, and if it’s not there, check back in a week or so… it will be posted shortly!
So life is treating me very well and I am happy, content and feeling great. My mantra lately is Love… Gratitude… Joy… Contentment… Peace… Acceptance… (and then it repeats).
And it just so happens to be December 25th as I (finally) post this, so Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it! And to those of you who don’t, just enjoy the day where “Peace on Earth” is thought about!
The Traveler September 6, 2008Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Inspired by a book, Ponder This.
Tags: Buddha, love, wisdom
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A poem (not written by me) that struck a chord in me…
How joyful to look upon the awakened
And to keep company with the wise.
Follow then the shining ones,
The wise, the awakened, the loving,
For they know how to work and forbear.
But if you cannot find
Friend or master to go with you,
Travel on alone -
Like a king who has given away his kingdom,
Like an elephant in the forest.
If the traveler can find
A virtuous and wise companion
Let him go with him joyfully
Friend or master to go with you
And overcome the dangers of the way.
As the moon follows the path of the stars.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
That was me… I was the traveler, who, unable to find “a virtuous and wise companion” (or someone who thinks like I do) was forced to go through life alone. I wasn’t miserable, I wasn’t lonely, at least not most of the time, but I was alone. Now, I am so pleased/thrilled/joyful – there are no words for how I feel – to have found my love, Darren! He is wonderful, he is enlightened, he is awakened… and we are of one mind!
What a joy to walk with one who is of like mind! There is no explaining, no misunderstanding, no confusion! No justifying… I guess I never realized how much I do that! It’s totally unnecessary, yet I find myself doing it often, with people who have no need to know my reasons why!
I am so excited to start my life with him! Hmmm, that sounds like I haven’t been living all this time. Well, I have been, but somehow I feel like I am starting again. And to live every day one moment at a time, is to start life – to start each day with no baggage from the day before (even each moment!), with anticipation and excitement, peace and tranquility. No fear, anxiety, not even a trace of hate. With no expectations to be dashed, no agenda that must be attained. With true freedom, to just be who I am, and to be at peace. Seeking only clarity and wisdom, and to be filled with love… which happens naturally with my love, Darren, at my side!
You are so amazing, my wonderful one. I love you so much… can’t wait to see you!
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
The poem comes from a book “Teachings of the Buddha” edited by Jack Kornfield. This particular poem is from the Dhammapada, translated by Thomas Byrom
Boundless June 19, 2008Posted by Teresa in Family, Friends, and Cat!, Silly stuff.
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(In a majestic announcer’s voice): It is boundless, limitless, fenceless. It is inter-yardinal. An amazing, green expanse, interrupted only slightly by the white slivers of sidewalk crossing it. It is often wished for, and seldom set foot upon. But today, today, Eddie has been to The Front Yard. (cue adventure music, reminiscent of Indiana Jones theme music, but of course, uniquely enrapturing.)
Yes, he often desires to visit it, pines for it, meows by the Front Door of it, but rarely does the furry adventurer get to set foot paw on it. He sees it, through the massive, rectangular portal to all things west that is the living room window, and dreams of walking its grassy plains, rolling on its virgin sidewalk, eating its untasted delicacies. And today, all his dreams came true–actually, just the one (there was no sidewalk rolling, grass eating or strolling. He didn’t make it off the deck, actually, the tiny front deck that is at the front door. Alas, we continue the story…).
Today, the day at least part of one of his dreams came true, began simply enough. Quite a bit of sleeping, a bit of rolling over, a few pets from his esteemed, beautiful owner (why not?), and some urgent meowing at the back door to get a little fresh air and check the status of the neighbourhood from the safety of the fenced Back Yard. The owner, being lovely but slightly dense, did not understand his meowing, but then Eddie did not understand his owners verbal explanations about why he can’t go in the backyard because she was only home for a few minutes. But, little did he know that today is Thursday, known among all the people of the kingdom of High Level as the much-anticipated, weekly extravagance of… garbage day! (cue regal music)
Yes, as part of the well-regarded tradition of garbage day, Eddie’s owner, practical yet occasionally forgetful of what the hell day of the week it was, remembered to gather refuse from the various containers in the house, put them all in a bag and take out the trash. And today, for Eddie, the stars must have been aligned, because she actually decided to grant him his dream, to set foot paw on the unknown, breathe the fresh air of a truly free life! It was spectacular! So foreign, so alien in its fencelessness! Or course, as soon as a noisy truck went by, Eddie’s courage wavered, just for a second, and then completely collapsed. What monstrous behemoth would make such a noise and move at such frightening speeds? It could only be to his doom, so he bravely let his owner pick him up and carry him, most nobly, back into his prison that is the house. He should mention, however, that it is the nicest prison he’s ever known, where he doesn’t (hardly ever) go hungry, has water to drink, soft surfaces to sleep on (very important) and a box to poop in. So, it’s a very nice prison… but it doesn’t compare to (cue sweeping orchestral music) the freedom… excitement… joy… elation… of the Front Yard.
(I hope you enjoyed this piece of silliness. Sometimes, you just gotta…