Lighten up Your Life ...


Initially this post was going to be focused on Spring cleaning ... Forget that!!

I feel that after this long Winter we need to lighten up more than our windows!

I woke up at 3am, as I do, and just lay there thinking about what I was going to write, how to do some Spring purging, carpet cleaning, dusting, windows, drawers, cupboards etc. and then my mind drifted, as it does, to what this Winter meant to me, what I accomplished, what I didn't, who affected my life (in either a good or bad way), how I would move forward and what feelings or emotions Spring initiates in me. WTF! This was a game changer!

I really wanted to jump up and start writing but, full disclosure, my bed was so toasty warm and cozy I just lay there hoping that in the morning I could recapture the insightful thoughts that where swirling around my head. So here goes, in order of importance ...

1- FAMILY

Family takes up a big chunk of my time. Our kids are grown but Tom and I are now and have been for the last 5 years caring for his Mother. With the focus on mental health issues I thought it fair enough to share her (and our) struggle with Dementia/Alzheimers. When she first moved in with us it was a mutual benefit, she was relatively independent (or so we thought) but lonely as her husband had recently died. We live in a 1950's bungalow in the country, with easy access to bathroom and kitchen for her and amazing community services that accommodate senior activities and social experiences. However, the following years proved to be an accelerated spiral into dementia . Fast forward to year 5, she is on 'The List' for a bed in an assisted living facility but that may take at least another year if not more. She cries all day, for no reason and can't stop herself and cannot be consoled. She has been rejected by respite facilities as she is too high maintenance (she needs one on one attention close to 24 hrs) which leaves Tom and I with limited resources for any type of break. Most everyone else in her immediate family have made it clear that they aren't in a position to help (short of lots of arms length advise) and are uncomfortable staying with her.

We deal with this everyday and work on patience and understanding, it is like having another child however, this one will never comprehend or hear what you are saying, her world has totally collapsed, we can only maintain. Our children have been great and in the past have been able to help care for her but with their own families growing that is getting harder to expect that of them. We would like to spend more time with our own grandchildren but caring for Doreen has made that difficult and consumes any free time we have.

This experience reminds me everyday of our own possible fates and with a higher demographic of seniors in the near future we need to help put in place policies and facilities that allow us to control the way we want to move into that phase of our lives.

This Spring I will lighten my breath... take in the fresh air, sunshine and blooms to put our present into perspective and our future into focus.

2- WORK

AH, work, the glue that holds it all together. Tom and I have been lucky enough to build our own businesses that allow us to work within a balanced schedule. Tom and our younger son are partners in a successful Landscape Design/Build Company and I work on developing and growing my Interior Decor/Design Co. We trade off seasonally and daily, checking with each other to make sure someone is home for his Mother's handoff from local care services. Meals, housework, office space and time off are shared and scheduled. We love what we do and we are great at what we do, so we make it happen for everyone. This winter has been spent organizing our businesses, crunching numbers, marketing campaigns and educational development. We enjoy the challenge of learning, networking and sourceing new product and trades that can benefit ourselves and our clients.

So, what have I brought away from this winter to lighten my life... OUT SOURCE! Don't try to do it all yourself. We can work better, provide better and be more successful if we spend more time doing what we are good at then trying to keep all the balls in the air ourselves. Being a martyr isn't going to be good for anyone. Ask for help and be willing to take it when offered. Search out talented and creative people to work with that inspire you and help your business grow while giving it credibility and authenticity.

OMG... it's going to be an awesome year!

Stellar Landscapes

Anne Cavan Design

3- HEALTH, FITNESS & FOOD

Well I am happy to report our health is VERY good, besides my wounded foot after walking into a bedpost ( it's dangerous in Florida you know ). I am not one for New Years Resolutions so it was not a matter of changing my lifestyle or working on specific problems. We eat well, no processed food, we make homemade soups, we have a well rounded weekly menu of carnivore and vegetarian dishes (we don't show favorites :). We grow our own meat chickens that fill the freezer, we buy eggs at the local farm down the street, we shop local at the Guelph market, and local farm fresh veggies when in season. We keep beehives so we have a store of fresh honey, we buy fresh bread baked in the old world European style with organic seeds and grains, this is my weekend treat, I'm Italian, bread is my life and if I am going to indulge in those calories it better be damned good!

YUM YUM Thank- you, Polestar Hearth

I am an advocate of healthy eating and lifestyle gurus such as Sarah Britton and her fabulous website My New Roots (here is her Life Changing Bread this is my weekly bread intake) and my other go to is Food 52 with input from numerous chefs and cooks who share their skills, tips, tricks and heritage on a global scale. Love & Lemons is another well rounded recipe blog that blows my mind!

Workouts... hmmm, I mean well but don't seem to make the time, or have the time (sad face). I do belong to a gym that isn't fancy, or over priced ( $10/month works for me) and is not a meat market however, it has an adequate selection of equipment, access to trainers if required, a separate ladies workout section if you are shy, and is open 24 hrs. I would like to work on my strength and core, maintaining joints and muscles is important at any age. Oh, and I did join a local pool and participated in some aquatic aerobics this winter that was a good low impact workout.

This Spring will certainly be a push towards a more regular workout, whether it be at home

(you can always find an empty spot on the floor to throw down a mat and do some stretches and crunches) or the gym and with good weather around the corner longer dog walks and bike rides.

Oh and yes... I will get my foot back in shape in time to wear the really cute shoes I bought for this new season!

Full Disclosure...this is not me :) But this is certainly a goal, getting off my butt now!

4- HOME

OK... This is where I originally started SPRING CLEANING! Windows, check. We all know as soon as the weather warms up, get out that bucket and sponge and give them a good wash (or call a local service, hence my second point, out sourcing). Letting that sunshine in through fresh clean windows will definitely amp up those endorphins.

Now that you have done those windows you will see all that dust that has collected over the winter. With the windows closed and furnaces and fireplaces running non stop this winter a fine film has landed in every nook and cranny, grab that duster and get to it!

With new Spring colours, shapes and products arriving daily in our fav home stores now would be a good time to empty your kitchen cupboards and throw out or donate broken and mismatched items, pieces that you have not used in years or know you will never use but keep saving... LET IT GO!

Now to your bedroom, purge your closet of styles you no longer wear or fit you ( call a good friend if you need an opinion or a professional stylist to help you make the right choices). Create 2 piles, one for donate and one for consignment (my go to consignment store The WildRose ), you can make some good coin on your gently used items and that in turn will translate into a new wardrobe for you.

I will lighten my cupboards, wardrobe and shelves... feeling lighter already!

I donated 3 boxes of mismatched china, glasses, coffee mugs, platters, unused waterbottles, wineglasses and knickknacks from my recent spring clean. They will certainly be well appreciated by cottagers, renters or young homeowners and I am sure I won't miss them one bit!

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