overeducated & understimulated

"if you're going through hell, keep going …" -winston churchill

Whatever happens, I need a new work-life balance March 9, 2012

Filed under: Gifted — Aerin Rainey @ 6:01 pm

I am busy getting ready for a job interview.  It’s an interview for a real, bonafide full-time job with benefits and everything.  A Communication Specialist reporting to the Director of Internal Communications for a humongous hotel chain.  Two weeks ago, I had no idea that I would be spending hundreds of dollars on a new suit, mining my memories for reasons why I am a great prospective employee, or buttering up past colleagues for a reference.

Now that I am applying for this job, of course I am determined to get it, to succeed at this job application, to be the best, to be the one to get the offer.  I wish I could be this driven in my personal life.  I would have finished all those painting projects and photo albums by now…

I have been thinking about going back to work for a while, though.  For a few reasons:

  1. If I wait longer or am forced to re-enter the working world farther down the road, it will be even more difficult to convince employers of my continued qualification.
  2. My children don’t seem to look at me as someone other than a hug-giver, chauffeur, laundry-folder, cook and cleaner-upper.  None of which count for anything.  I have heard them tons of times talking about how I don’t have a job.  Guess that means I’ll still be doing all that stuff and working full-time for $$ if I get hired.
  3. I’m bored.  Nothing is interesting or urgent in my life, so I don’t do any of it until I absolutely have to.  I have no discipline to keep my days structured and productive, and so with kids in school, I just end up spending time heedlessly.  I couldn’t even say what I do with all the time they are at school.
  4. I like working with language and communication tools.  I like them because they are designed to have a purpose.  Unlike this blog.  I relish the chance to sink my teeth into something and really take it as far as I can and achieve something with it.
  5. I want to work with intelligent, driven people who are experts in their field.  I’m tired of dumbing it down.  I want to be considered an expert.

Helping my sister-in-law with her university and college applications, or designing party invitations or forms for a fundraiser, or even producing a marketing brochure for my children’s school is all well and good.  But every time I do something like that, I realize I could do so much more!  And people say, “Oh, you should be an event planner!  You’re so good at that,” or “You should have a business helping people with resume-writing!” or whatever it is … so I guess I am not the only one who thinks so.

I hope the people who interview me on Monday will agree that I can do the job and would be so good at it!  As my husband said when I was in anguish over some aspect of this process, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  I jokingly answered, “They might actually offer me the job.”  I guess we’ll see …

 

 

Working out sucks March 8, 2012

Filed under: Fitness & health — Aerin Rainey @ 6:59 pm

No wonder I am 40 pounds overweight.  I have recently discovered that I really don’t enjoy working out.  I mean, I thought I was just unmotivated.  Lazy.  Intimidated, maybe?  No, I just really don’t like it.  My least disliked activity is the treadmill, but even then, there is nothing fun about making your legs hurt while you watch ridiculous shows on the Women’s Network.  It’s boring.  I tried reading, but I can’t focus too well on the words unless I go quite slowly, which doesn’t really get the heart rate up to the target level.  All those machines that work your muscles — I think they all look the same, are too hard to adjust, and who knows what weight or number of reps you should do.

So I got a trainer.  Now he adjusts all the machines and tells me what to do every time I go to the gym.  I have to go, because I am paying the guy.  I admit, we do have a few laughs together, but it is still not fun!  Worst of all, after almost three weeks, I have no change in my weight, shape, or size.  I am feeling frustrated and pretty much still hating working out.

The other thing I am doing is watching my food intake.  I haven’t changed my eating habits; I just record everything I ingest now.  I am using the website eatracker.ca  and it’s very informative.  But according to eatracker.ca, I consume only a fraction of my allowable calories every day.  So I’m not sure why the pounds aren’t melting off me.  Would be great to head out in some pants that fit me besides the one pair of jeans and one pair of black pants I had to purchase because I needed some that don’t cut off my circulation below the waist.

At what point do you start losing weight, seeing results and feeling like you enjoy working out?  And feeling that it is all worth it?  Does such a point even exist?  Who are these people I see at the gym who are so thin and toned?  How did they get that way?  I feel like I wrecked my body and now I am stuck with it.  Good thing I have a contract with the trainer or I would be so outta there.

I absolutely hate being so overweight.  I keep wondering how to turn this feeling into some sane-sounding plan for change.

 

Free to a good home October 6, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 11:09 pm

This week, I made almost $100 selling stuff on kijiji.  I just took photos of kids my stuff have outgrown, posted ads on the website and soon, I was in business!  I am getting rid of stuff, gaining empty, clutter-free space in my house, and making some money.

At first, I figured I’d give the stuff away.  In fact, I donated a lot of it to a pre-school.  But in the spring of 2010, I had my first and only garage sale, and made enough money for five of us to go whale watching on the Bay of Fundy for a day.  I realized, Hey, I have a lot of good stuff.

The stuff I have now fits into two categories: (1) Stuff that I think members of my family or circle of friends may want one day; and (2) Stuff that has been so carefully chosen and obsessively cared for that I just can’t bear to release it to the whimsies of the universe.  I mean, after keeping track of all those Little People farm characters for so long, and never losing a single one, keeping the cash register in working order, pristine, clean and shiny, with all its play money and basket of groceries intact … how could I now take the risk that in their next stages of existence, these precious belongings would be scattered to diverse locations, no longer a complete set?  Or the sandals purchased with love on a trip to Montreal, an agonizing choice between pink beads or blue sparkles — how to just let them go without ceremony or anyone to recognize the significance of these particular sandals?

No doubt, some people will think this is crazy — who cares, it’s just stuff, right?  Ahhhh.  I care.  I know I shouldn’t worry about material possessions and that the memories and people supported by these possessions are really what is important in life.  But.

Then kijiji.  Users are combing through the listings, hoping to find that perfect item that will be a great bargain and the envy of all their neighbours.  I love selling stuff on kijiji … I know my stuff is going to a good home.  People who will appreciate it and who are willing to drive, sometimes, across the province to get it!  I would give the stuff away free, but the number of takers would simply be too much for me (and my inbox) to handle!

 

Made-up stuff October 3, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life,Writing — Aerin Rainey @ 10:43 pm

I love our new art room.  All the arts & crafts supplies can be found there.  My kids can splatter paint and spread chalk dust around to their hearts’ content.  There is even a plasma car to ride around on when you feel the need for inspiration.  Finley, the betta, has taken up permanent residence on the table and the iPod is plugged into a speaker and set on a continuous loop of the Tangled soundtrack.

I would have loved a space like this when I was a kid.  Chock full of glue, paper, pom poms, glitter, paint, markers and possibility.

Don’t get me wrong — when I think about the basement at our house when I was a kid, it was all about imagination.  Made-up games, as my girls call them now.  And listening to them play pretend is bringing it all back to me.  In that unfinished space of my childhood, full of carpet remnants and mismatched furniture, my sister and I and our neighbourhood friends spent hours not just playing our made-up games, but setting the scene for our dramas.

First the cast of characters, complete down to their middle names.  An involved family tree and background story had to be conceived and fleshed out for each person and, if the game was a continuation from yesterday at supper time, we had to recap the entire pretend history. This was really the best part.

Next, we had to build the forts.  After all, even made-up people need somewhere to live.  The pool table, a cast off from my grandparents’ house was coveted for its cozy interior and rooftop garden.  Behind the bookcase was also a fab pad, as it came furnished with bean bag chairs.  Last and definitely least, the couch/coffee table combo.  My poor younger sister often got stuck with its sagging afghan roof and skull-and-coaster-jarring low ceiling.

And then we played.  “Say I’m …  in a car accident and you find me unconscious!” “Say I … get fired from my job, but on the way home I buy a lottery ticket and win!”  “Say … we all go to the beach and we get chased by sharks!” “Say … ”

“Say I’m a world-famous author … “

 

Cross-border geocaching adventure October 2, 2011

Filed under: Geocaching,Travel,Writing — Aerin Rainey @ 3:00 pm

“Good morning, sir,”  I say to the U.S. customs official, as I hand over passports for our carload of eager geocachers.

“Would you take off the sunglasses, please?” he answers.

“Oh, sorry, of course.” I am still smiling.

“Where do you live?”

“Quispamsis, New Brunswick,” I answer brightly.

“What is your purpose for visiting the U.S.?”

“Oh, just some hiking, I guess,” I hedge, not wanting to use the word geocaching in case he’s a Muggler.

“Will you be leaving anything in the U.S., ma’am?” he asks.

“Ummm … no,” I start, but honesty get the better of me.  “Well, I mean, yes, but it’s just a little trackable device, well, not a device, actually more of an …. item …,”  I trail off, wondering why I didn’t just say  No.

“What sort of trackable device?” his eyes narrow suspiciously.

“It’s nothing, really, just …,” I backpedal, somehow without stammering.

“Would you please step out of the vehicle, ma’am?”

No geocachers were strip-searched in the imagining of this scenario!

 

Welcome to The World October 1, 2011

Filed under: Life with kids,The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 12:25 pm

In three weeks, we’re leaving for Disney.  I am planning like crazy.  I have all the dining reservations booked, lists of attractions in the order we will visit them, and the kids have been working hard to earn “Disney Dollars” for months already.  Am I going overboard? Maybe.  Probably.  Okay, yes.  But I can’t just throw some bathing suits and sandals in a suitcase and wing it … I mean, that would be asking for disaster.

I didn’t know anything about Disney World when we decided to take the kids there.  But most people seem to have extensive knowledge and advice about Disney.  I wanted to learn, so I did what I always do when I want to learn about something:  I read a book about it.  The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.  854 pages.  Cover to cover.

Anxiety set in.  Questions were everywhere.  Should we spend two days at the Magic Kingdom, or one day each there and at Epcot?  If we do go to Epcot, whether to eat lunch at Coral Reef Restaurant or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall?  And should we pass on the overpriced Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or would it be the highlight of the trip?

Well, these are very nice problems to have.  But problems nonetheless, and I still felt like I didn’t know enough.  The biggest problem was how to move past all these questions and make some decisions.   I turned to the web.

There are so many websites dedicated to Disney.  It’s like the Bible: if you look hard enough you find evidence to support anything.  Soon I realized that recommendations are only as good as the person making them.  How do you know whether you even have anything in common with these recommenders?

Well, I figured it out.  It doesn’t matter what we do because it is all good — it has to be, after all, it is all Disney.

I am still taking my lists.

 

Last Monday May 19, 2011

Filed under: The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 9:35 am

I was supposed to call my mom last Monday to talk about her week in Myrtle Beach with my aunt.  They were shopping and enjoying the “historic” sites of Myrtle Beach.  I was looking forward to chatting with her and hearing about her week.  She probably had some news from my aunt about my cousin.  We could have made plans for the summer and she could have listed all the great bargains she found.  I missed calling her because I was too busy with my own stuff and with the kids and our neighbours.

This Monday, she called me because she knew I would want to know that my aunt and uncle were evacuated from their home in Canyon Creek, Alberta because of wildfires and that she really didn’t know where they were but that they were okay as of Saturday night.  We were both anxious and the conversation was almost in code as we telegraphed questions and responses to each other, despite not having talked in more than two weeks.

“Any news?”

“David got them last night.”

“They’re okay?  Where?”

So on the one hand, I feel silly reflecting that one week ago we would have had a completely frivolous conversation, dishing about shopping.  And this week, the retail offerings of Myrtle Beach are a distant memory as I fill my head with wishes for my aunt and uncle’s safety and  the safety of their home and community.

But on a less tragic level, I am also sad that I will never have that conversation with my mom.  Because life is changing every moment and you can’t go back — and it makes me think, why should I even gab about stuff like that when somebody’s house could be burning down?

It is all very serious.  This is the challenge: to enjoy frivolous activities yet constantly maintain the perspective that it could all be over any moment.  Maybe the whole point is that every undertaking is so important — doing the dishes, planning a Disney vacation, helping with homework, rescuing wildlife on the Gulf Coast, feeding starving children, or inventing a new renewable energy source — because, regardless of the consequences of the action, the action itself  it is so inherently fraught with the danger of ending.

So I am grateful for the moments I get to chat about seemingly meaningless things — those moments are already vital and imbued with meaning because I am living them.

 

Sally made me do it May 15, 2011

Filed under: The meaning of life — Aerin Rainey @ 9:22 pm

People keep telling me I should write a blog.  It can’t be coincidence that, in one week, three different people who don’t know each other all thought it would be a great idea.

Do they really want to read what I have to say that much?  I don’t think so.

Am I especially insightful and entertaining?  Not really.

Are they after my stunning expert advice in multiple subject areas?  Doubtful.

No, I think they all just kind of thought I would enjoy writing a blog.  I guess I’ll find out.