The Evil Queen

Yes, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, and I’ll have an explanation for that in a few weeks…don’t want to jump the gun until I have definitive answers. But, I have to share the story of the evil queen.

All my life I’ve had what would likely be diagnosed as REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder – when I am dreaming, the shut-off valve between my muscles and my brain does not work, and I will actually act out my dreams. I have not been formally diagnosed, but perhaps just for the heck of it I’ll go get those diagnostics done while I’m spending tons of time in hospitals already…but, that’s another story.

Anyway, all my life I’ve acted out my dreams with relative frequency…at least weekly if not moreso. My poor husband has suffered years of these late night disturbances, the most memorable of which he will recount to me in the morning because I rarely recall either what I was dreaming or what I was doing. Recently, my pattern of dreaming has changed, though, in a chilling manner.

I am amassing an army and preparing to take over the world with my evil minions.

How do I know this? Because apparently I have repeatedly told my minions not only the fact that they were evil, but also in no uncertain terms identified to them that they must listen to me because I am their queen! And, this is a recurring theme, every time that I’ve had an episode in the past months, I have been in evil queen mode. I wish I could recall the dreams because there has to be a great book in there!

The first time the queen appeared, my husband said I was standing in our picture window in the bedroom, looking out over our lawn, and when he asked me what I was doing, dreaming me answered, “Checking out my army.” I did not identify myself to him at that point.

The next event had me opening our bedroom door and whispering to minions in the hallway telling them that I did not need them yet, that they were evil and did not belong here, and that they had to listen to me because I was their queen. Needless to say, my husband has gotten great mileage out of the evil queen concept. I expect he’s a little freaked out, actually!

Most recently, though, the evil queen was sorting minions…and apparently red-heads were a preferred commodity. I am usually very politically correct in my language, as a foil for my red-necked, foul-mouthed husband, and so would not normally refer to red-headed people as gingers, but when my husband asked the evil queen what she was doing, she said she was sorting out the gingers and sending the rest of the supplicants away. Hmmm. To have a recurring dream with these concepts of amassing armies and leading them…I’ll admit it’s even freaking me out a little!

On the lighter side, at least I’m not strangling my husband when I’m the evil queen…yet. During one sleep behaviour event, my husband tried to gently guide me back to bed by saying “Sweetheart, you’re dreaming, go back to sleep.” I jumped onto his chest, wrapped my hands around his throat, and said “Don’t call me sweetheart.” Then, later that night he tried to direct me to sleep again, a little less sweetly with “Go to sleep, bitch!” Somewhat awake, I replied in a hurt voice, “Why are you calling me names?”, to which he replied “Because apparently sweetheart didn’t work!”.

Sweet dreams, everyone!

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Spiralling…upward?

I like to think I’m a strong person, but sometimes things just pile up on you, often a reflection of how busy you are. And, the first things to be sacrificed are those things which are ‘frivolous’ or simple hobbies. Hence the lack of posts here, on Twitter, or Facebook. A bit of a spiral downward but now, hopefully things are looking up.

I’m not looking for sympathy but instead, catharsis! It all started in 2009…

First there was the decline of my in-laws. My husband and I met when I was 16, and so his parents have been a large part of my life for more than half of it. To have Harold retire, and then shortly after suffer a stroke, was heartbreaking because if there was one thing he enjoyed, it was spending time with his grandchildren. The stroke was not fatal, but did rob him of the ability to drive and slowed down his participation in the kids’ lives, our youngest only being 2 and 4 at the time.

Then a …disturbed woman… came along, sporadically driving past our house in 2009 but I guess those drive-bys planted the seeds for what would become an obsession with our family and property.

And I got audited. Not a problem, just stressful.

On the positive, 2009 is when Regression hit the bestseller list on Amazon, back when freebies and purchase books shared the same ranking list, and I hit #149 in the Kindle store. Little positives can go a long way.

But, then came 2010 with a vengeance. The stalker lady began not just driving past our home but stopping right in front, watching our family live our lives, upwards of seven times per day. She stole much of our summer from us, as having the kids outside was awkward with a spectator and even simple things like getting the van loaded to go out was uncomfortable. Then my  mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer.  My father-in-law suffered heart failure and required a pace-maker. Christmas 2010 was very hard as both in-laws were in the hospital and we had to take steps toward finding supported living for them while making appearances in court to redirect the advances of the woman who had begun calling our home in addition to her frequent stops outside our door. Had she been a man, the police would have taken it seriously, but apparently a woman is not considered a serious threat by our justice system. But, we did finally manage to free ourselves from her after our days in court. To this day, I cannot see a silver Toyota Matrix without getting squeamish, and whenever a car drives slowly past our home located on a quiet dead-end street, I have a sense of discomfort. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you would imagine, for a number of reasons…

Packing and moving a home full of memories is hard, and trying to sell that home in a flat real estate market is a challenge; sometimes creativity must be used but it did not ease the burden of responsibility for us, just for the in-laws. And then my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly right at the beginning of summer. Mourning and estate dealings consumed the summer of 2011. Anyone who knows teachers would understand that summer is battery recharge time, and I went into the fall semester already on empty.

I had become the target of a workplace bully in 2010, and tolerated it for over a year before speaking out. Christmas 2011 was spent preparing for a different kind of hearing than 2010. But as anyone who has ever been a victim of this type of violence knows, getting relief from it is virtually impossible…instead I found my teaching assignment changed, a form of punishment for having asked to be treated with respect and courtesy. Years of program development discounted and completely new programs having to be learned and developed. Normally I enjoy a challenge, but as the wellness of my in-laws declined, the ease of familiarity would have been helpful. But I am a workhorse, and pull whatever cart gets put behind me…no matter what type of crap may be piled on it. Even when the odds are stacking against me on all sides

Cancer is not a forgiving adversary, and my mother-in-law’s battle with the disease was lost in early July 2012. I hate the fact that in Regression I wrote about Adya’s mother-in-law dying of cancer…I know it has no bearing, but the synchronicity I’ve spoken about so lightly is distressful in this case, especially since I identify so strongly with Adya. In 2008, while writing Regression, I had no idea I would lose my own mother-in-law to cancer a short four years later.

Another summer of mourning, of wrapping up wounds still fresh from the summer before. I won’t even go into the compounding factors from three other directions which made coping that much harder, but suffice to say that our family seems to attract more than its fair share of malingerers (I’ve written a post about that, too). Then on into another semester…

To top it all off, I’ve been suffering weird swallowing problems which all made sense once my father explained he had surgical correction – twice – for achalasia. Of course. A rare disorder to be added to my list of stupid things which happen to me. Doing diagnostics now, but based upon symptoms I’m a textbook case just needing the barium swallow and manometry results to confirm that I’m going to need a balloon put down my throat to rupture my cardiac sphincter. Joy.

Time for a break. I called it, no rubsies. The fact I had not done anything I enjoyed, such as write a blog entry, or truly sit down and compose (I pushed the first two books of Synergy with the last of my energy), tweeted, or anything in a year meant it was time to make a change. So, I’m taking some time for myself. Getting the tests done. Spending a day doing absolutely nothing. And, although only a couple of weeks in, I think it’s working. Look at how many words I just wrote!

Of course, this semester of my absence appears to be heading for a record number of snow days when busses are cancelled. Can’t have the world stop playing its pranks on me just because I called for a time out.

Anyway, glad to be here once again, and looking forward to returning to the dialogues and monologues I so favoured back before the days of distress!

Eco-Guilt Extrapolated

As most readers of Regression have noticed, I’m not really on the environmentalist bandwagon. I reuse. I recycle. I conserve energy. I try to be a good citizen of the planet, but I also don’t buy into a lot of the hype in the media. I have no Eco-Guilt from speculating how my actions will affect the planet. Even though I speculate all of the time. “What if…” is one of my favourite thoughts! No wonder I like to write speculative fiction. Just for fun (and this is tongue in cheek!), I’ve speculated where Eco-Guilt could take us if we decided to let it. Eco-Guilt is the sense of self-loathing experienced by those who feel they are not doing enough to save the environment.

To minimize our ecological footprints (want to know how big yours is? Visit http://myfootprint.org/en/ ), here’s where the world could go…

Singles – would live together in dorms just like at University because that decreases the ecological footprint. Shared kitchens, bathrooms, etc. Shared vehicles or bus transport systems. Thus each person would consume a lot fewer resources in the construction of their residences.

Couples – those who have children, have ALL the children! Fewer resources are required for a family with six children compared to six families with one child.

Divorce is illegal – breaking one household and creating two households violates eco-law because then the country’s footprint gets increased. Unless they moved back into the singles residences, but if they had children they would have to stay together.

Eco-law would force you to live near your work – no, actually, you should live at it. Since the parents would all be busy raising the kids as their jobs, only singles would be performing other jobs and they would live in their dormitories on site. Because that makes the most sense from an environmental standpoint.

No pets. Since pets are a waste of resources from a global perspective, people won’t be allowed that indulgence to stop the diversion of resources.

All vehicles are the same models (I did go here in Evolussion), fuel efficient, small, and identical. This would minimize the need for parts production and storage, if all vehicles had the same batteries, wipers, seats, etc.

OK, I was being facetious up until this point. Although I could never see the things I describe above being enacted because it makes no sense from a human perspective, I actually do think it’s silly to not be able to use tires from car A on car B, nor to be able to interchange engine components. Same with cell phones and other electronic devices – would it not be a huge saving in ‘digital wastes’ if all of our cell phone models used the exact same charger, so when you replace your old phone, you don’t need to replace the charger? True, I am seeing more of that, but there is a long way to go.

If we really want to reduce our impact on the planet, we should be looking at ways to streamline our consumption. We will never successfully eliminate consumption (stopping cell phone use, computer use, automobile use, etc just is not going to happen), and so we should work to minimize the impact. All those non-interchangeable components for our phones, computers, etc…could we not just have one cable type that could plug into all devices? Yes, but then some companies would not make as much money off of their proprietary items. Think about yourself. How many useless chargers and connection cables are sitting in a drawer somewhere in your home? I spent an hour yesterday trying to find anything which would work with my portable DVD player for the car. If the actual plug was the right size, the voltage was off. If the voltage was right, the plug was too small or too large. I recognize that we have to have the right voltage for devices to work properly based upon their draw, but if one charger allowed multiple voltages and all devices used the same sized jack, then we would reduce a significant amount of waste. Think about what goes into each power supply – the plastic, wires, etc – and if they all were compatible we’d only need one or two (since your devices do not need to be charging all the time).

So, although the speculative world mentioned above is completely disagreeable on many levels, I do think if we really, truly wanted to reduce our consumption of resources, companies would be communicating with each other to create compatibility, rather than creating competing products (often at inflated prices) which give the impression they are making a dent in our human impact but are actually insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Entitlement

I am blessed with a significant amount of success. I use the word blessed, but much of the positives in my life have come about through sheer force of will and immense effort rather than luck. As such, I resent people thinking that because I have found success, I should feel obliged to share it with them.

I’m not talking about people in need. That is different. I’m speaking about people who are contracted to do specific services, or approach me for business, but think because I live in a big house, or because the business I’m contracting with them will make significant returns for me (with significant investment on my part), that they can – in a way – steal from me. A quoted price on the telephone always turns out double once the person arrives at our home. A friend in the business admits he does the same – when he sees a big house, he creates a big price. Price the job, not the person. If you would do work for $20/hour for the guy down the street, then do the same for me. Don’t think that because I look like I have money, that I am easily duped.  I have managed my resources wisely to bring me to where I am, and won’t cut slack for those who think I should give them extra because I appear to ‘have money to spare.’ 

A contractor completing a huge business installation for us keeps throwing out the future revenue figures when justifying his having overbilled us by tens of thousands above the agreed contractual amount. So, does my making money in the future really have to finance his vacation now? Because I built something which will make money for years, he thinks he should get a cut beyond the original installation price? You want a cut in something, then invest the money yourself and take the risk too.

If this were a one time event, I would not think so much of it. But repeatedly and consistently people feel entitled to share in our successes without having put in the time, effort, and yes, money. Because I have a lovely piece of property for sale which someone really, really loves, they think I should discount the price in half to let them live there because they want it so badly. Honestly… thinking I want to hand them tens of thousands of dollars because they want to make their dreams come true but their dreams are bigger than their actual circumstances? Because I breed dogs which are in demand, I should give them away to anyone who really, really loves them but can’t afford one. Honestly…thinking I want to hand over a dog to someone who cannot afford to purchase it just because they love the breed…love doesn’t pay the vet bills.  Because I live in a nice house I should be willing to pay twice as much for plumbers, electricians, and other contractors. Because I invested hundreds of thousands in a business which will makes millions over time, I should be willing to cut the contractor some slack when he cannot provide proof for overcharges and has not finished the work but wants his final payment anyway.

I am always willing to share with those in need and help those with legitimate claims. The fire department and community agency both given health equipment donations from our business. The families who’ve been given bulldogs to help them heal after horrible events. The charities supported with our time and resources. Even students and their families are helped out when in trouble, from my own personal resources. But, I cannot abide by the sense of entitlement so many people have, where they think that if you’ve had success, you deserve to be penalized for that success by paying through the nose. I have worked hard for what I have. They could have it too, if they put the time, effort, ingenuity, and guts into it. This is North America, the land of opportunity. Just because you live here does not mean you automatically qualify for success, though.

I guess this makes me one of the 55%, even though I do not reside in the USA…

Synchronicity…again

In an earlier posting, I had mentioned the number of recent coincidences. They continue…

In April, I had been dealing with a government refund for an overpayment on deductions, and had only gotten a partial refund. I called back in June, but still nothing last week. So, I tried to call on Tuesday but the office was closed. I phone the government office on Wednesday only to be told a refund check had been issued on the Monday!! Strange that after almost two months, when I randomly begin to re-initiate contact, they had also begun to work on the file. Granted, there was still a missing portion to the refund (no one can explain that mystery to me, but it is par for the course in my dealings with any financial institution, whether it be government accounting, banks, or payroll!) which is supposed to arrive in the next five days, but at least forward motion had begun.

On a more sombre note, as I’m reading Regression again for the first time in quite a while, I realized another eerie coincidence which does not have a happy ending. In trying to determine the veracity of her memories, Adya called her past/future in-law’s house, and recognizes the voice on the line as that of her deceased mother-in-law, who had died of cancer. My mother-in-law is fighting a losing battle with cancer after a 2010 diagnosis…two years after I wrote the passage in the novel. Again, to be shrugged off as a sad twist of chance but still, it makes you wonder at the alignment of many of the world’s occurrences. Jung’s concept of Synchronicity strikes a chord and makes for interesting reading.

Goodbye to the Rural Wave

Drive down almost any rural road, and you’ll will be greeted by the ubiquitus rural wave – that little flap done by the natives which serves two purposes. The first motive for the motion is to welcome strangers to the neighbourhood. The wave is normally initated by the resident, and returned by the stranger. The second purpose is to advise the interloper that ‘You’ve been seen’…and if something goes wrong, your presence has been duly noted.

Having grown up in, and always resided in, rural communities, the rural wave is instinctive for me. I find my hand raised before I even think about it. But recent events have forced me to stop the greeting for fear another person will misinterpret it the way an invasive individual has done.

I am attending court this Friday in an attempt to secure a peace bond (restraining order) against a woman who mistook my wave for an invitation to become part of my family’s daily life. It got so bad, we would see her sitting outside our house up to seven times a day. Watching the children get on the bus. There when they got off the bus. I’d drive home for lunch and there she’d be. When she approached me like an old friend at the grocery store, I’d finally had enough. You see, I had never met this person before, had not conversed with her other than asking her not to approach the children or beckon the kids toward her car (both of which she did while I was not nearby), and in no way had invited her attention. Or so I thought. Turns out, waving at someone can be interpreted as an invitation. Who knew. She expressed her surprise when I explained -standing in an aisle at the grocery store – that her presence was making me nervous. ‘But, you waved at me!’ I’ll admit, the wave had become facetious for me…’Oh, there she is again. And again.’ But now, I make a point of not waving at people, if I catch my arm in time, so that I won’t be opening a door for someone who obviously has some serious problems.

Where to Begin?

I must confess, I am an inherent recluse and would easily fall into the stereotyped author behaviour of withdrawing from the world and living on my farm, having my groceries delivered to the home, and just staying in. The hubby and kids keep me too busy for that happen. But, part of my reasoning is that so many ridiculous, absurd, and utterly unbelievable things happen to me and those around me on such a regular basis that it is perhaps safer to not do anything or go anywhere!

I would have assumed that normal people have stupid things happen to them regularly, but enough people have told me my ‘curse’ manifests too often compared to normal people, and they have of course urged me to write a book. I am going to. And entitle it ‘Accounts of the Absurd: My Ridiculous Life’. Some tales are amusingly absurd. Some are heartbreaking. Many are outrageously funny in that ‘did that really just happen’ sort of way.
So, when did this all begin? Thinking back over the years, I have to acknowledge that the trials with animals began when I was in elementary school. Living on a farm, you of course get used to the life, and death, of farm animals. But my earliest recollection of an idiotic incident was the day a panel of plywood fell down and squished two of the tiny kittens in the litter I was playing with. I think I was only about seven at the time. That is one of the sad scenarios. Unfortunately, not every tale has a happy ending although most work out okay after much effort and perseverence.

It’s funny. Over the years many a person has bemoaned ‘how easy everything is for [me]’, that I always get what I want in the end. What those people don’t seem to realize is just how many hurdles, many of which were ludicrous, it takes to reach that ‘easy’ end. Yes, I am fortunate to have the many blessings I have and am thankful for them every day. But, I have also had to move Heaven and Earth to get to this point.

Here are some tenative chapter titles
Banking Blunders – why is it every time I try to do a financial move, incompetence interferes? And, not my own, LOL!
Water Woes – No matter where I live, there is always too much water.
Ridiculous Real Estate Deals – The mantra try, try and try again applies here.
The Perversity of People – It might be just me, but it seems like there are a lot of screwed up people out there, and I am the magnet that draws them in. Stalkers, murderers, and just plain wierdos populate my world, and were not invited into it by me!
Animal Antics – Honestly, how many people lose their Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep to a friggin Porcupine? I mean, c’mon, why headbutt the prickly thing in your pen, buddy?
Tales from Teaching – OK, so this field is probably overpopulated with anecdotes. But, you must admit the kid who asked me if I, since he thought I was in my sexual prime at 30, would come to his 17th birthday party since he’d be entering his prime, was pretty creative. The one who sent me pornographic email greeting cards was too. Not that I appreciated either approach!
Vehicular Vexations – I am guaranteed that every vehicle I own will have one major, mysterious problem that haunts me for the life of the vehicle and will never be solved. Thankfully not completely life-threatening problems, but still worrisome. Having driven close to 1,000,000 kilometers in the 23 years I’ve been licenced to drive, there has been plenty of opportunity for roadside irregularities as well.
Humorous Happenstances – There are many little stories that are harmless and silly. But still work cumulatively to drive me toward insanity!

My Ridiculous Life

Most people have heard of Murphy’s Law. “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Murphy’s Law does not apply to me. You see, in my life I have ‘Bell’s Law’. “Whatever you could not possibly imagine happening in a million years can and will take place at the most inopportune moment when at least one other incredibly unbelievable event is also happening.”
Since I plan to someday write a book about these experiences involving stalkers, appraisers, bank managers, murderers, tow truck drivers, couriers, dentists, cable guys, and various other supporting characters, I would hate to spoil the surprise by telling too much right now. Suffice to say that although the absurd situations I face on a regular basis are not necessarily laughing matters, laughter is about the best way to remain sane! From window frames randomly falling out of walls and hitting me in the head to bank employees quitting on the day I filed my mortgage application and throwing said application in the shredder while deleting all electronic files, or from mistaken identities in restaurants to having my home phone number erroneously printed on a sales flyer which had a circulation of thousands in another country, the outrageously stupid happens to me frequently.
The regular occurrence of the completely ludicrous is such a part of my life that my co-workers pry me almost every week to find out the most recent entry in the curious chronicles of my life. I have heard the phrase “You need to write a book about that…” more times than I can count. All of these crazy events are always beyond my control and it makes me wonder if I am the subject of some reality show attempting to determine the breaking point for a relatively normal human being. How did they get the cameras inside my head? Can anyone say book idea? Guess my next project will be a thriller!
I will say, what allows me to keep my sanity in the face of my curse of the ridiculous is I am so incredibly blessed with the bright points in my life which seem to balance out the burden of the negative and utterly incredible. My four amazing children and husband, my wonderful farm, the serenity of our pastoral setting. To be relatively healthy and financially secure. To have written a book and see it not only in print, but on a bestseller list. To have bred the top bulldog in Canada two years running. The list of my happy places goes on and on. Thank goodness.
I have to think of a title for the Chronicles. Curse of the Ridiculous? Lamenting the Ludicrous? Anecdotes of the Absurd? Inking the Idiotic? There are already enough entries to fill a full-length novel…and I’m not even middle-aged! Here’s hoping that soon the curse of the absurd will ebb away and leave behind nothing but words on paper. Thanks for listening to my lament, and look for it on the shelves of a bookstore some day in the future.

And how busy are you?

I guess I’m in a bad mood, because I’m getting tired of being patronized…when I say I’m busy, usually it means I AM busier than the average person. But, being the polite woman I am, I just nod as the speaker tells me that they are just as busy as I am and so cannot necessarily understand why I’ve said I’m not doing this activity or helping with that cause. I’m not one to bother trying to argue. But, as mentioned, I’m getting a little tired of it so feel the need to vent. Whenever I have to argue something, I like to back my arguments up with facts. Next time someone says to me they’re as busy as I am, perhaps I’ll throw the following at them.

I have four children. According to Statistics Canada, only 2% of Canada’s families have three or more children. And of the 12,437,500 households in the country, 8,896,840 were considered families. Which means that my household is larger (read:busier) than 98.5 percent of Canadian households.

But even more important than that, all four of those children are under age 13. The youngest is 3. Only about 10% of Canada’s families have children under 6. So, if you factor those two numbers, only .2% of households in Canada would be expected to not only have four children, but children under 6 years of age. So my children make me have less free time than 99.2% of the country’s households.

I work full-time. 59% of Canadian women work outside the home, although 73% of mothers with children under 16 work. 26% work part-time. So, from the employment perspective, I have less available time than about 58% of women because I work full-time.

35% of households have dogs, but as a breeder I have eight. I’ll go with 25,000 breeders in Canada, based upon the Canadian Kennel Club’s membership numbers…yes, there will be plenty of breeders who are not CKC members, but there will also be many members who are not breeders. So, only .2% of households operate a kennel. That makes me busier than 99.8% of the population when it comes to my pets.

Few people have horses. I live with four. Approximately 90,000 farms have one or more horses. So, my horses make me busier than 99.3% of the average population. Or, if I just go with those who have farms, I’m still busier than 98.2% of the population.

And those are the things I’m responsible for, I haven’t even started listing the things I do for leisure. But, now I feel better anyway so will end my rant. And, I’m not resentful of the fact I am busy because I choose to have all these things in my life. I’m resentful of people assuming that I’m making an excuse when I say I am busy!

At least I’ve got links to pages of statistics which will come in handy for my parenting course.

Memories and Ironies

I was digging through boxes and found an old photo album, the one with all my school memories. I glanced at my report cards…whoops, looks like I almost failed a few classes in Grade 9! A fairly typical experience for many students since Grade Nine is a transitional year and the changes can be overwhelming.

What is ironic about the fact I had failing grades during the first term in Grade Nine Science and English is now I TEACH Grade Nine (and ten, eleven, and twelve) Science and write fiction. Just goes to show, you change a lot between grade nine and maturity. As I progressed through my high school career, my marks obviously improved; I did not fail any courses and had a number at honours level marks.

I was preparing to apply to university and made the obligatory guidance appointment. The counsellor advised me to apply only to college, that I would never be able to make it through a university program. Based on his recommendation, I didn’t apply except to one school which was going through the accreditation process to reach university status but was still considered a college at the time. I was accepted at that school, into the Bachelor of Nursing degree program, but during my first year fell sick with bronchitis and missed six weeks of the practicum nursing placement.  This put me behind, so I decided to transfer schools and programs.

After finishing university and teacher’s college, I ended up obtaining a teaching position in the science department of the high school I had graduated from. While attending the annual staff party, the guidance counsellor in question, a retiree by then, approached me and said, and I quote, “Who are you here with?” 

With a blank expression, I asked, “What do you mean?”

He replied, “Who did you marry who is on staff?”

I laughed and replied, “Actually, I’m on staff, in the science department.”

He was more than a little red-faced, spluttering about me having been in a nursing program last he knew. But, what an opening line…”Who are you here with?”. I’ve gotten mileage out of that story when I teach, because I tell the students those around them don’t always have them pegged right, and they can change the course of their life any time they wish. They just need to make it happen.

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