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The One in Which My Husband Proves his Love for Me…With a Spider

Yeah…you read that right. Weird, I know.

When my girls were little I was a stay at home mom with a dream of homeschooling my kids. Though I did educate them until my oldest daughter started Grade 1, unfortunately life (namely my divorce) prevented me from continuing with this. We used to spend our days together reading books, going for walks, baking, doing arts and crafts…all of the lovely things you’d expect from a stay at home mom homeschooling her two young daughters.

(Of course, there were lots of hellish parts about it, too, don’t get me wrong, but this is my story and this time I’m focusing only on the good parts).

My girls were particularly fascinated by insects and spiders. Because they were only around other children in small numbers, and because creepy-crawly things never bothered me, they never learned to be grossed out or squeamish by creatures with many legs. We spent lots of “nature walks” observing ants on the sidewalks, digging up worms, or watching spiders spin webs. After all, it’s educational, right?

Now that my girls are older, they’re a bit more hesitant around bugs, but still hold an interest in spiders. They *are* pretty fascinating, after all…spinning their webs and catching bugs and just generally doing their thing.

About a month ago we noticed that a smallish, striped spider had built a web in the window, directly beside our front door entrance (inside the house, I might add). It had built a big, beautiful web and positioned itself directly in the middle of it, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to come along. We spied our new friend and took an immediate interest in him.

CBG, however….was not nearly as impressed.

Y’see, my husband is arachnophobic. To the point where **I** am normally the person to usher out spiders that happen to get into the house, provided the cats don’t murder them first. CBG is creeped out by anything creepy-crawly, but spiders, in particular, are the worst for him.

As soon as he noticed the spider by the front door, he indicated that he would be making short work of our new friend…or better yet, that I should do it. The girls and I protested – loudly – and CBG relented. Reluctantly.

Very reluctantly.

Over the past month or so, the girls and I have continued to watch this spider with great interest. His web-building habits, the intricate patterns he creates. We have even noticed that he’s growing. Over this time he has also acquired a name —  “Stubby Longlegs” — as chosen by Lil’ Mo. Yeah…we’re a little weird like that. It’s part of our charm, right?

Every time we leave the house, we make note of Stubby Longlegs, while CBG makes disapproving sounds. But he has never, ever laid a hand on Stubby. Maybe CBG is too afraid of him at this point. Maybe he’s worried that if he does kill him, Stubby’s friends will find their way into our house in great numbers and get revenge. Personally, I think that this not-so-little-anymore spider is just one more way that CBG shows his love for me and our girls — that he is willing to knowingly co-exist with a spider, probably for the first time in his entire life.

And every day, as that spider gets a little bit bigger, so does CBG’s love.

*Not actually Stubby Longlegs.

*Not actually Stubby Longlegs.


The Danger of Whining

cryingI have a confession to make. I’ve been a bit of a whiny pants lately.

Thankfully, I’ve spared those of you that are reading this blog from any whine-fuelled, rambly blog posts where I wax poetic about how life kind of stinks right now and that I’m really stressed out about everything and how I’m really impatient with waiting for things to get better and why is it that it seems like as soon as things start getting better then something happens and things revert back to the same old turd pile they always were.

You’re welcome.

Fortunately for those in my immediate environment, I’ve been doing my best to keep my whining at a minimum for them, too. No one likes being around a whiney baby. Also, CBG in particular has been working really hard lately to be positive and optimistic. And while I know that part of what he signed up for with this whole marriage thing was supporting me when times are tough, quite frankly I just don’t want to bring him down.

There’s nothing worse than having to deal with someone else’s negativity when you’re working hard to keep your own head above water in that department. Been there, done that.

So. Mainly I’ve just been whining in my own head. My inner dialogue has been a battle of good-and-evil, positive-and-negative. Occasionally negativity slips out and gets dumped on the people around me.

Sorry about that.

Now, I know that at least some of you are thinking that there’s nothing wrong with a little whine-fest now and then. We all do it, right? Of course we do. But for me, this has been increasing in frequency lately. The last several months have been a challenge for me in a lot of ways – professionally, personally, and relationship-wise. There are a lot of things that I’m feeling negative about. The problem with whining isn’t when we have a bad day and need to let off a little steam, the problem is when it turns into a way of life.

Quite frankly, I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the kind of person that focuses on the negative stuff, to the point that it becomes more important than the positive things. Because negative brain noise has a way of drowning out everything else and just adding this certain stench to life.

And well…I don’t like that story.

This is my reminder to myself that though I may not choose many of the circumstances of my life, the one thing that I do choose is my attitude. Sure, a lot of things kind of suck right now. I’ve been through worse and came out stronger, better and happier on the other side. Things certainly could be a lot worse than this. I have many positives in my life for which I am grateful. Positives that I need to remind myself of.

I may not be able to kick this negativity to the curb for good but for right now, I’m done with it. It’s not enough that I’m not whining to others — I need to also stop whining to myself.

negative mind


The Gap: Why I Love Running

I’m happy to report that in the last few weeks it would seem that my iron levels are improving. I haven’t had anything officially checked at this point, but I can tell by the way that I’m feeling. Getting up in the morning isn’t a struggle anymore. I am no longer cranky and irritable during the day. My running distances have been gradually getting longer. Make no mistake: I’m not operating at 100% yet, I certainly won’t be training for a marathon anytime soon. But I am making progress and progress is good.

The thing that makes me most happy about getting back into the groove with running longer distances is that this is my main form of stress relief. I’ve been dabbling in a few other things this summer — namely, colouring. And while sure, colouring is great and relaxing and all that, it’s just not the same as making my muscles work and getting my sweat on. Long running distances = a happier, more relaxed Sunshine.

I was thinking the other day about long distance running and why I love it so much. I’ve been doing it consistently for years now – close to 15, I’d say, with some breaks in there when I was pregnant and dealing with babies and such. Still, a pretty long time.

For me, there’s just nothing else as good for my mental and emotional health as a nice long distance run. There’s a magic that happens there, where my body goes on autopilot and my brain is free to roam where it likes. It’s as though as I rack up the physical distance, a mental and emotional distance is created as well. Running allows for a gap between my thoughts and emotions and the events of my life. I am able to look at things a more objectively, without the same kind of emotional attachment that is normally there.

So I run and I think and I process. Running gives me opportunity to assess life, to dream about the future, to make peace with the past. To plan and remember and analyze. All with my emotions checked at the door. There’s nothing else out there that allows me this same gap. Because in this gap — in this space between thoughts and emotions – is where joy is found.


Would’ve Been

September 1st marks a ‘sort of’ anniversary for me. Actually, it’s more of a “would’ve been” anniversary. Had my ex and I stayed together, today would have been our 14th wedding anniversary.

It’s weird to think about.

It’s a date that I always remember, because honestly? It reminds me to be grateful for how far I’ve come in my life. It’s like a little nudge for me to stop and appreciate this life that I have worked so hard to build with CBG, with all of its perfect imperfections.

My life used to be vastly different. *I* used to be vastly different. In the last fourteen years my life has taken many unexpected turns, leading me to this place, and to this person that I am right now. And today, instead of celebrating an anniversary, I stop and smile in recognition of something different. My “Thank God it’s not my anniversary”.



On This Day

This morning Facebook showed me an “On This Day” memory that I wasn’t expecting and particularly didn’t want to see. A couple of wall posts from eight years ago, from a person who hasn’t been in my life for quite some time. A person that, for a number of reasons, I would prefer to not be reminded of.

And yet, I am. Every now and then a reminder pops up in one place or another. A reminder of my less-than-awesome self, from a less-than-awesome time of my life; a woman that I barely recognize anymore. A woman who wandered off into sad, lonely territory, who lost her way, and herself. I usually try to push those reminders away; after all, nobody enjoys a spotlight being put on our lesser selves.

It took me a long time to put the woman that I once was behind me. I still see her lurking in the shadows some days. I’m not perfect. I don’t always make perfect choices. I’m not always easy to love. Some days I am weak and selfish and downright broken.

But we all have those days. Now that I am more close to being the person I always wanted to be, the more I am able to forgive those less-than-awesome days, and the more I am able to forgive myself for that particular time in my life when a string of less-than-awesome days slid into a less-than-awesome year.

This morning I realized that those reminders are actually a good thing. They allow me to see how far I’ve come, and more importantly, they remind me of where I never want to go again. Because even though that “old Sunshine” might lurk in the shadows now and again, I’m not that person anymore. We all need those little nudges from time to time to keep us heading in the right direction…and to help us be grateful for where we are.

On this day eight years ago, I was a shadow of a woman, desperately looking for something in all the wrong places.

But on this day – today – I hit the ‘delete’ button with a smile…thankful for the reminder, but realizing that having it hanging around wasn’t going to do me any good. I need to keep moving forward. I’ve found my ‘something’. And the beauty of it is that it was in me all along.

Thanks for the reminder.


Remembering the Good Stuff

I started a photo album on my Facebook page this summer where I’ve been making an effort to post lots of pictures from the summer. I’m sure that some of my friends are getting kind of sick of these photos, like I’m in a constant state of bragging about how lovely my life is. We all know those people on the Facebook. The braggers. <insert eyeroll here>

The truth is that these past several months have been a struggle on a number of different levels. An ADHD diagnosis for my CBG. Job stuff. Financial struggles and setbacks. Health issues for me.

And so so so much stress.

Ah, stress, the one common glittery golden thread sewing all of these things together.

Some of these things I can’t change. Others are being worked on, but the exact timeline is out of my control. What I’m doing my best to focus on right now are the things I can control.

The greatest of these is my own attitude. It’s a challenge, I won’t lie. But one thing I always tell my girls is that the things we pay the most attention to in our lives are the things that seem most important. When we focus on the negative/stressful things in our lives, they seem to eclipse everything else.

Well guess what? Same goes with the positives. This is why I’m working so hard on just enjoying life as it is right now. Hence, the Facebook photo album of the silly moments and fun adventures I’m having with my family this summer. Some day, in the not-too-distant future, I will be able to look back at all of this remember that sure, it was a rotten summer for many reasons but guess what else? It was a whole lot of fun, too. And as time goes on, things will get better. And those rotten, stressful memories will become just a hazy blur and we’ll be left with all the good stuff that I made a point of recording…because they’re things we paid attention to the most through all of this.

So, dear Facebook friends, about all those photos: sorry NOT sorry.


Enjoying Life as it Is

So some things are happening with CBG and I (no worries, kids, the marriage is fine), and we’re basically at a point where we’re waiting on some big important changes. Good changes. Life-direction-altering-changes. We’ve started moving in that general directly already, thankfully, but it will be a while before it happens. Though hopefully not *that* long.

Sorry for being so cryptic. Some things just have to remain private for the time being.

I think we’ve all been in a similar place in our lives before…a sort of “holding pattern” while we wait for something else to happen or come along. I know I’ve been there before myself plenty of times. In the past, it’s been tempting to focus on the “end result” to the point that it eclipses all else. When that happens what you’ve got is a situation where you’re thinking about something down the road so hard that you kind of forget to look around and enjoy where you’re currently at.

And you know what? That kind of sucks. The harsh truth of life is that we’re not guaranteed anything in the future. We have no idea what life has in store for us. The only thing that we ever have is the present moment that we’re in. A life spent constantly anticipating the future is a life wasted. I’ve wasted way too much of mine already.

I’ve been trying really hard lately to just enjoy the here and now. Sure, I’ve got my eyes on the prize, thinking about what is down the road for us, but I’m determined to not waste life in the meantime. What this has meant for me is that I’m just trying to stop and look around a little more. I’ve been spending more time getting out with my family — having fun, making memories. Mostly importantly, I’ve been documenting these memories…so that down the road when I think back about the challenges 2015 has presented our family, I will be able to say that despite all that, we some really fun times, too.

Memories like these:

tree climbing rollerblading lake fam meeeeeeeee 1st night

There’s no point to all of this if we can’t enjoy life as it is, right this moment, despite the stress, the challenges, and the uncertainty of the future. I plan on squeezing out every last drop of joy, no matter what.  No matter how bad things may sometimes seem, there is always good to be found in there in there, too. I promise.


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