Are you OK being with yourself?

I am always with myself by necessity, but I am learning that I can also choose to be with myself.

In the same way that I can be, physically present, with my family, and at other times I can choose to be present emotionally and cognitively.

A family member once told me they were in between jobs and had been asked by a friend to care for their friend’s home over several weeks one winter. This home was a small mansion that sat on a lake in Minnesota, and my family member’s responsibility would be watching over the home and taking the family Golden Retriever out for regular exercise, and they would be paid to boot. I was starstruck at the thought of that. What a glorious winter that would be. No deadlines. No expecations. Just the chance to be present, in a luxury home, in the glorious Minnesota winter.

I pictured lots of hot tea and cider, beautiful snow all the time, a warm fire and good books. Oh what a dream. My family member said they didn’t know if they would take the opportunity because “I don’t know if I like myself enough to be with alone with myself that long”. He went on to say that he didn’t think it would be as much of an issue for me, but that it was a real struggle for him. That comment made me think deeply.

It’s been a decade since that conversation, and as each day passes, I am learning more about present with myself and being OK about that. I am not the same man I was yesterday, and tomorrow will be a new day again, but the beautiful gift and the only place I can ever be, is right here, today.

You are not a mistake. You are loved more than you’ll ever know. It’s only life, enjoy the ride.

Sauna

I took a sauna (sow-nuh) today, in memory of my grandma Elaine, and I smiled at the old familiar burn within my nostrils. There were other gentleman sweating it out at the same time, one fellow was Latino and another Portuguese.

They seemed to experience the sauna differently. You see, grandma used to tell me about the sauna being my heritage, and we learned about the traditions, and the community, those old Finn’s had in regards to the sauna. For me it is always a memory of family and fun times. A place of joy.

For these fellows it seemed more a place of labor. I was disappointed that they seemed to endure it rather than relish it in the way I was trained too. I felt some mild offence that they would wear their full exercise gear into the sauna, and listen to their rap music through headphones.

After reflection, I think I was foolish to look at it that way. The sauna experience is ritualized for me and loaded with subtext and a story I’ve been told since I was a young boy.

These fellows have different stories and childhoods.

Why should I be offended by their tradition?

Showing Love

I just returned from a long day at work. I left my home just before six this morning, and now it is nearly nine in the evening. Katarina was asleep when I left for work, and she is asleep now. I feel bad because I missed an entire day of her life.

But I don’t want to dwell on the sad parts right now.

My lovely wife had prepared delicious food for me, had the kettle simmering gently, and a mug with my favorite herbal tea ready to be filled with boiling water.

It may not seem like much to you, but she was showing me love by doing this.

That means a lot to me.

Bathroom Tap Pt. 1

We left Sandalwood Ave, and moved to Auburn St, this past April. We had rented an older, but clean, house through a management company for the 12 months previous to that.

When we did the initial walk-through of the house, before we signed the lease to rent it, we discussed many things that still needed repair or replacement.

One of the issues in the home was the master bathroom sink. It had no hot water flowing to it, and it had poor pressure from the cold water tap. The handyman told me he would fix it soon after we moved it. We contacted the company nearly every month and the response was always the same, “we will tell our man to fix it soon”.

He never fixed it. We lived there for an entire year without hot water in our bathroom sink.

Our home on Auburn also had a shoddy bathroom tap. When the faucet was opened up wide, the water came out from the tap much too slowly. Fully on, it could be better described as leaking rather than flowing.

Today I finally had the gumption to tackle it. It took several hours, but it was successful in the end. I’ll write more about the techniques soon.

Just Like Momma

I am continually amazed at how much Katarina wants to be like her mother.

I heard a neurologist say, on an interview, that the three ways children learn from their parents are; example, example, and example.

Many times I have seen Katarina enthralled by what her momma is doing, and this is just another example. Katarina watches every move Tiffany makes, and is very excited to imitate her mother.

It is sobering how much the little human is watching and learning.

In The Neighbourhood

We traveled from Bladensburg to Gallipolis Ohio today. I have made that trek dozens of times before, but I went a different way today.

On one of our windy country roads, we saw signs for Ravenwood Castle only a few miles away. It brought back memories for my wife and I.

Four years ago we visited this charming location.

Just before proposing to my girlfriend, we stopped in at the castle and I tried to subtly inquire about Ravenwood as a venue for “events”. My thinly veiled attempt was thoroughly pierced by the receptionist, who quickly asked “Like a wedding? Are you two getting married? Congratulations!”…. I am still trying to play it cool, when she says “oh we are having a wedding reception right now, try some of the cake!”.

Today we laughed about that trip, and about how awkward Tiffany felt at that time as we were not yet betrothed. We decided to visit again and look around.

Coming here with our daughter is unbelievably different, and we want to bring her here when she is a little older, when she can all dress up like royalty, and Katarina can feel like a Princess in her castle.