the best day in my life was the worst day in theirs…

I’ve always known that I’m addicted to my phone…but I actually laughed at myself a little while ago and thought jesus, this is an obsession…I was in the bathroom at the airport, waiting to board my flight…I was in a line up of anxious travellers trying to empty their bladders before heading to other parts of the world…I think the thought of using a airplane bathroom haunts a lot of us…as I was waiting for my turn, I felt my bag vibrate and I immediately reached in and pulled out the phone…sure enough, yup it was ringing – it was my sister…

so here’s where joey turns crae crae…my first thought was weird, why is she calling, we were just texting…my second thought was obvi something is wrong…but before the third thought came to my head, I was saying ‘hey sis’…her bubbly voice answers ‘hey just wanted to say have a great’ I cut her off and said ‘hang on a sec, I’m in the lineup in the bathroom’…my sentence was answered with laughing and a quick come back ‘you are truly committed to that phone’…I laughed back and said well it was ringing…she continued to laugh and then I chimed in laughing with her…the lil old ladies in the bathroom were not amused…I slowly walked away with phone to my ear…

the conversation went on as it usually does with her…we laughed, giggled and wished the flight was over already so we’d be together…but alas I hadn’t even boarded yet…as I hung up and boarded I started to think about what she said about my commitment to my phone and why is it that I can’t not answer when it comes to my family…

the best day in my life was the worst day in theirs…

as I boarded the plane, it struck me…my mind was immediately taken back to the 8th of June 2006…as I sat on a similar plane so many years before, I began to reflect back to the time that I didn’t answer my phone and it all came back to me…it was like it was yesterday but it wasn’t…for them it probably seems the same…

june 8th, 2006…that’s the night I sat in my friend’s apartment, chatting, catching up, drinking tea and my phone rang…I ignored…we chatted more and my phone rang…I ignored…we chatted more and my phone rang…I reached for it, in what seems like slow motion now and I saw my brother’s number and I thought, seriously dude, I’m obviously busy and laid the phone down…and the phone rang again…

something clicked at that moment and I thought, well first ‘what the fuck’ and second ‘what the fuck’…and I answered…

I remember his voice, I remember listening to him breathing and I remember him saying, where are you…pause – ‘I’m out’…are you with someone…pause – ‘what is wrong with you Stephen, yah I’m with a friend’…are you driving, are you sitting down…two questions in succession – he meant business…pause – I’m sitting down…now you gotta know my bro – we’re not phone peeps, so I chuckled and said “like oh my god, what’s up” – the next 4 words would change my world forever….i close my eyes any day of the week and I hear my brother say “dad got the call”…

‘we have an hour’, he said slowly….

looking back over time, I always knew I was a daddy’s girl…well to be quite honest I’m a mommy’s girl too…I’m basically a 43 year old sook…at that time I was a 35 year old sook…but a happy one with amazing parents…i find myself so fortunate to have had such an awesome upbringing…now we’re not perfect but honestly we were so fortunate…for 2 years previous to that phone call, our family was waiting…just waiting, waiting, waiting for this phone call…be prepared they said, have a bag packed they said, time will be short once the call comes they said…we waited – no bags, no discussion, no preparation plan – it’s the hogan way…I’m not sure what was going through my dads head at this minute, but mine was kinda clear, kinda muddled and overall fucked…

I don’t remember the drive home…

he packed his bag, mom threw stuff in hers, we made calls, we laughed at our disorganization and we made fun of ourselves and then the call came ‘you have 15minutes’…there was silence…we stopped…we hugged…we said our good byes…there were 5 going into this, we weren’t sure how many were coming out…mom, dad and our brother walked out the door and me and my sister sat down at the kitchen table – the table where we always ate together as a family growing up – then there were 2…serious denial set in…

praying for an organ is really praying for someone’s death…wrapping your mind around that takes a long time…

the next few days, weeks and months are basically a blur…my favorite moments are those that made us laugh…laughing at ourselves really – its what the hogans do…and we do it good…my sister saying how comfortable she was one morning walking to the hospital…she kept repeating ‘oh my god, I’m so comfortable, I’m so comfortable’, when we looked down at her feet she still had on pink bootie slippers…we nearly pissed ourselves laughing…the day my brother and sister were with dad and dad was glaring at the wall and saying ‘why is there a Zamboni washing the walls, why is there a fucking zamboni washing the fucking walls’…my siblings nearly lost it – well after they knew dad wasn’t losing his marbles…it was just the good drugs he was on…dad also got mad at my brother one day for shooting him with a water gun as he lay in the hospital bed…my brother was seriously thinking dad was crae crae…but again, good drugs…

when dad got out of surgery, we named the new organ…yup cause that’s what we do…we called it larry…see larry saved dad’s life and putting a name on it takes away the thoughts that run through your mind…the thoughts of where did larry come from…who did larry come from and where were larry’s family…if I think about it, I can’t comprehend it…organ donation – I always knew about it…I always knew the importance of it…I always signed my organ donation card – but I never really thought about it…until june 8th, 2006…

see larry’s owner signed his…and my dad is alive…

what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger right…

my dad is the strongest person I know and he is the strongest he has ever been…there’s a family out there that did the unthinkable – they granted their loved ones wishes and they donated…my dad and many more people got a second chance at life that day, the 8th of june…a lot of families got that phone call…I remember the ringing of the phone, the loudness of the volume and me ignoring it…what if I hadn’t answered…what if I had forgotten the phone in the car…what if…what if…what if that hour passed and I didn’t get home to watch him scramble around the house getting ready for the biggest day of his life….what if…what if…

I don’t have to worry about that anymore…larry was graciously given to us on that day…grateful, indebted, appreciative and forever, forever thankful to those who gave us the opportunity to get that phone call…I can’t remember sending out any messages…I can’t remember making any calls to friends…I can’t remember much about that time…but I remember feeling happy, content, and at ease…

the road was not an easy one following that date…there were a lot of ups and downs…peaks and valleys…but the good days slowly began to outweigh the bad days…and for me, the daddy’s girl, the worry decreased day by day…I was working in critical care shortly following my father’s surgery and I began to take notice of the sadness of illness, the impact of illness on families…I truly believe that when it’s our time to go, it’s time to go…it’s not easy to say good bye to a loved one but knowing we have the opportunity to pass on our loved ones legacy to a stranger is overwhelming…I’ve seen people sign, I’ve seen people torment over signing and I’ve heard families respond and I’ve watched families watch as their loved ones are rolled away, rolled away to fulfill one last wish – to save the lives of others…

organ donation is the single most selfless thing a person can ever do…in the time of grief, despair and heart ache – it is us the family that can be comforted to know that although our loved ones are no longer, parts of them can save the lives of many…there’s a family out there that has a guardian angel looking over them – I’m sorry for their loss but I’m thankful for their gift…

8years ago, our family was given the gift of life…larry gave us more time together…larry opened our minds and our hearts…through the years, there are days that I forget about that june 8th, 2006…but when I remember, I remember two families…I don’t know who you are, but I thank you…i’ve always appreciated life and my family – that time in my world changed me forever…I treasure what I have and I hold close to my heart that any day anything can happen…I treasure each passing moment with the hope that there’s a tomorrow…

it’s been over 8years since that day – the best day in my life…it’s been over 8years since that day – the worst day in theirs…wrapping your mind around that takes a long time…

at the end of the day if anything, i realize that i’m committed to my family…it’s the only one i got…

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“what if I fall…oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

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I love this quote…I found it a couple of months ago and have been holding on to it…it’s honestly something my mother would say, fuck she has said it to me many times in my life…sometimes the words are different…sometimes the tone is softer…sometimes the volume is louder…but always the same meaning…

I’ve made a few changes in my life that have made the world of difference for me…I’ve struggled with decisions…I’ve struggled with change…I’ve struggled with failure and I’ve struggled with success…but at the end of the day, when I lay my head on my pillow, I hear my mother’s words – sweetheart, what if you fly…

my parents raised me to fly…

I’ve been scared in my lifetime…scared of a lot of things – financial, professional, emotional and the list goes on…that scared feeling always dissipates with time…I was a late starter in terms of the career that I have today…it was the greatest achievement in my 43 years…it was a long road, one with many tears, fears and beers…but once I got the feeling of flying, I embraced it…you could say I soared to where I am today on a professional level…

I’ve experienced something recently that has been really weighing down my wings…and I’ve tried to shake it and I’ve tried to dispel it…but alas, sometimes evil tends to stick around in many forms…this form is like a weighted entity that has taken away my ability to fly…I feel like a baby bird trying to find my wings…but instead of wings, I’m in search for words…and instead of waiting for momma bird to bring me a worm, I’m constantly yearning for comfort in any form…the form of my choice has been silence and solitude…

my parents raised me to fly…and I’ve let silence and solitude break my stride…

fuck me…

it’s September – fall, my favorite season…I spent the last couple of days working around the island and I’ve had a lot of alone time…driving, staring at the road, staring at the clouds and wondering, if I never came back home, would I be missed…strange sentence hey…but alas, tell me you never thought that…if you haven’t…eeekkksss…stop reading my blog…if you have – you know exactly where I’m coming from so you can keep reading…

failure brings growth…I never believed this until I felt failure…I remember sitting on my bed many years ago and thinking ‘my life is over’…so dramatic…if I could go back in time, I’d smack the face of myself…like I would pile drive myself old school wrestling style…so silly, so young, so misguided…my mother listened to me when I’d talk and she let me go about my day when I wouldn’t talk…but the thing that resonated is the fact that she would say, ‘this too shall pass’ and ‘karma’s a bitch’…

“what if I fall…oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”

preparing for tomorrow always involves a well thought out plan…it’s like I create a daily decisional balance work sheet in my head of how to attack the day…I can’t imagine my world without my mother’s words…and my mother’s words have become my words…I find myself using her quotes, her philosophy and her overall optimism to approach each day…do I falter, oh sweet jesus yes…but like a baby bird attempting to take flight…I will trip, I will fall on my face but I have the strength to get myself back up again and take another leap…

life is not easy…if someone has taught you it is, they’re fucking liars…relationships are not easy…if someone has taught you they are, they’re fucking liars…sharing emotions is not easy…if someone has taught you they are, they’re fucking liars…sorry if you have liars in your life – I don’t…my folks never taught us life is fluffy…they taught us to fight…dad taught us to curse and mom taught us to rationalize…they will tell you that they both worked like dogs to get where they are today…when they fought, we heard them…when they laughed, we heard them…and when they cried, we heard them…they taught us to plan for the future but not at the expense of enjoying the present…

I’m my parent’s daughter…I’ve taken flight many times…I’ve fallen flat on my face a few times and I’ve fought like a dog to get back up…I think an evil entity has clipped my wing – but fuck I got 2 wings and my mom got a sewing kit for the clipped one…

if you’re anything like me, suck back your pride…know vulnerability does not equal weakness – that took me forever…and understand that strength is measured in one’s willingness to be open, vulnerable and exposed…not letting obstacles, a fall on your face or a clipped wing dictate who you are is key…

my parents raised me to fly…and I’ve let silence and solitude break my stride…my new comfort is writing…I haven’t found my voice yet to speak…my emotions impact my vocal chords…a wise treasured friend told me last week as she watched tears roll down my cheeks – “it’s good that you’re writing, but you need to say it out loud danilynn”…she went on to state that I can’t hide behind my words forever…soon I have to use my voice and share with the world…I will lassie, soon…

“sometimes, the person who’s been there for everyone else needs someone to be there for them”…

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we see what we want to see…

I watched a man today walking on a busy street…he held a cane…a white cane…what I noticed was a big smile on his face…

I saw a man today pushing himself in a wheelchair on a busy street…a child sat on his lap and a child walked alongside him…what I saw was a little family…

I saw a woman walking a dog today…the dog had 3 legs and was limping…what I noticed was a wagging tail…

I heard a song today…it was coming from an open window of a car…the people in the car were yelling at each other…what I heard was the sweet tune coming from the car speakers…

I saw a man today pushing a cart full of recyclables and carrying another 4bags of recyclables on his shoulders…he was sweating in the sun…what I was witnessing was sheer determination and hard work…

I’m a people watcher…I love observing and analyzing and trying to figure out people’s stories…I think it comes from my education, my work, and overall my curiosity…I’ve been accused of making too much eye contact in my life…it’s a funny story amongst my friends and family…if you wanna make a friend, just follow me…I seem to attract conversation…

I love making eye contact…I love embracing the thought of making someone smile or simply react…I love embracing the thought of making eye contact with a person who struggles with eye contact…its so personal and private engaging someone’s eyes…a person’s ability or inability to engage in eye contact tells a lot about a person…when you think about it, it’s really the beginning of any interaction, any relationship…our eyes house our emotions, our visions, our thoughts and our deepest secrets…

watching, observing, analyzing, peering, and seizing the moment for me all include using my eyes to see, sometimes my eyes see things I can’t fathom is happening…sometimes my eyes see things that I can’t verbally put into words…sometimes my eyes see things in a way that others do not…

do my eyes trick me…do your eyes trick you…

how does one see through the horror of abuse, the torture of violence, the terror of isolation, the plight of justice, the agony of suffering and the anguish of loss…how does one view the past, see the present and have a vision for the future without opening their eyes…

I joke at times and say that without my contacts, I’d see nothing…really…I wonder…I see so much in the run of a day…I try to share what I see, what I do, what I observe with friends and family but I feel sometimes I don’t know how to describe what my eyes witness…there is cruelty in this world, in many forms…I might live in la la land but I work in reality land…

I was driving today, reflecting on my morning, and a tear streamed down my cheek…something I’ve been witnessing just struck me as abnormal…unjustifiable…outside my comfort zone…and simply in the words my parents taught me, just wrong…I might make a lot of eye contact but sometimes I don’t spend enough time focusing…I’ve missed something in this situation…I’ve missed the opportunity to hone in on a moment in time…

I love my pvr cause I can fast forward and I can rewind…my tv watching has become so much more efficient with these options…how can I get a fast forward and a rewind button for my life…can you imagine if we could fast forward over the crappy parts of life and rewind to the good parts…hummmm great concept but hell’s no…as hard as crappy times are, I think I grow as a person each day that I exist…whether I’m using my smile muscles or my frown muscles…an experience is an experience…

so, getting back to the tear on cheek part…as I felt that wetness falling on my cheek I thought ‘are you fucking kidding me hormones, stop the emotion madness’…no really I felt weak…so stupid…I’m tearing up because something is extracting a raw emotion in my body…I blame it on my hormones, my pms’ing, my tiredness…but really it’s my eyes, its my willingness and openness to feel, simply feel…

lately, I’ve been experiencing, eyes wide open, mind sharp, senses heightened and body on guard…how could I have missed something…misinterpretation maybe…disbelief maybe…unwillingness to focus, probably…

why are we afraid to focus sometimes…we look passed things…I’ve seen you, you turn a cheek to certain situations…you pretend the bad stuff doesn’t happen…that stuff we see in the news happens in other people’s neighborhoods, in other provinces…that stuff we hear about happens in other people’s workplaces, in other people’s circle of friends…not mine…not here…

we see what we want to see…

you’re missing stuff…

I see you, engage with people…make eye contact…don’t look away…but also don’t look and not focus…

I’m learning today…I’m focusing on that tear on my cheek…I let it fall, I didn’t wipe it away…I wanted to feel the intensity of the wetness on my face…I’ve gone so long without feeling, wiping away emotion…its time to take out my magnifying glass and reteach myself what focusing feels like…focusing is allowing me to feel and my life lesson this year is that feeling is good…today i remove my mask…

I watched a man today walking on a busy street…he held a cane…a white cane…what I noticed was a big smile on his face…what would you have noticed…

I saw a man today pushing himself in a wheelchair on a busy street…a child sat on his lap and a child walked alongside him…what I saw was a little family…what would you have seen…

I saw a woman walking a dog today…the dog had 3 legs and was limping…what I noticed was a wagging tail…what would you have noticed…

I heard a song today…it was coming from an open window of a car…the people in the car were yelling at each other…what I heard was the sweet tune coming from the car speakers…what would you have heard…

I saw a man today pushing a cart full of recyclables and carrying another 4bags of recyclables on his shoulders…he was sweating in the sun…what I was witnessing was sheer determination and hard work…what would you have witnessed…

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I’m not afraid of dying…

when I fly, I’m a window seat girl…I love looking out at the runway, looking out at the guys working hard to get all the luggage into the plane…I sometimes bet with myself whether I’ll see my suitcase being put on the ramp…I find flying relaxing…I have friends who hate it, just get so anxiety ridden when they buckle that seat belt and hear the announcement ‘prepare for take off’…I think if there were a camera on me at that announcement, i’d be caught smirking…I think sometimes how lucky I am to be in the position to travel…i definitely work to travel and I love every second of it…

as the plane gains speed along the runway, I find myself staring – staring at the city that I adore, the city that holds everything close to my heart…I stare and then I giggle of the adventure that awaits me…I’ve always loved glaring into the clouds…they fascinate me, they somehow embrace me…I lose myself in them…I often dream of what the clouds would feel like, how’d they smell and whether they’d hold my weight if I chose to stand on them…

I’m not afraid of dying…if dying brings me to the clouds…

I went to catholic schools all my life, attended church, well was forced like every other kid in catholic school and still trust that there is a god, a higher being and a forever after…the fact that I’m not afraid of dying comes from my believe in the fact that there is a forever after…I’ve lost some close people in my life and I think of them daily…I feel sad that they have lost all of these years and I feel sad that they’re no longer here but I feel happy that they are at peace, no hurt, no pain and no heart ache…

I wouldn’t say I’m a religious person, but I’m definitely a spiritual being…the closest people I have lost I believe knew they were going…I think I was too young when I lost my grandma and my nan to remember the days, weeks and months before they left this earth…but I remember the night my grandfather passed…I was busy at school work, laying on the couch and something struck me…go see poppy I thought, put these books away and go show him your new car…I remember the drive in my purple neon, yup my first real car…I sang loudly to music the whole way…I parked in the front of the hospital so pop could look out the window and see my first grown up purchase…I loved him dearly, so dearly…I remember walking into the room that night, I remember his smell, I remember him sitting up with a white undershirt on – the ones he always wore, I remember sitting on the bed next to him and rubbing his arm, I remember describing my new car to him – he was unable to come to the window and I remember him calling me ‘child’…I remember leaving the room that night, kissing his forehead like I always did and he said ‘I love you child’…I whispered ‘I love you to poppy, see you tomorrow’…

there was no tomorrow…

being pop’s ‘child’ made me melt…just like being my best friend’s ‘bestest’ made me giggle…she was so young when she left this earth…back then we would write letters…the last letter I received came after she had passed…the words haunt me to this day…after about 10pages of talk about boys, jobs, school and adventures, she wrote ‘you’re the bestest friend in life and in death’ and attached a picture that read ‘put this on your nightstand so you can always know i’m watching you’…now creepy msccreepsters…if she were here today I’d be like ‘dude, you’re freakin me out’ but I think it was her way of letting me know that she’d always be with me…

I’m not afraid of dying…if dying brings me to the clouds and the clouds house the people i have loved and lost…but I know I’m not ready yet…

I believe in guardian angels…sometimes a slight touch, a split decision change of mind, a different route just for the hell of it – all signs that someone is watching over me…I fear things in life…I am afraid of things in life…things make me sad and things make me ponder…when I fear, when I am afraid, when I am sad and when I am in limbo, I find myself looking up, towards the clouds and sometimes looking for direction, sometimes negotiating and sometimes just thinking wtf am I going to do…

someone asked me a few weeks ago while at work if I believed in life after death…I quickly answered ‘hell yah’…I probably shouldn’t have used the word hell to describe my believe in life after death, but I did…then I chuckled…spirituality is a tough subject to talk about…some thrive in the thought of a higher being and some completely disregard the thought…it hit me on my last flight, as I became enthralled by the formation of the clouds below me – I think I’m becoming more spiritual as I get older…spirituality to me doesn’t mean the structure of the church or the rules of a religion…spirituality to me, is the time I get to spend alone, clearing my mind of all toxins and dreaming…it’s the time I get to spend with my family…it’s my parent’s dining room table and the food and the stories that we share…it’s my nephew’s little faces peeping in on me as I pretend to sleep…it’s the joy in their voices when they think they have woken me…it’s my father’s stories and it’s my mother’s touch…these make me whole…

I’m not afraid of dying but I’m terrified of losing the people I love most in my life…

this year has taught me a lot of things…one of the most important being, life is damn too short to get caught up in the negativities of the world…I think sometimes we’re always striving for better jobs, bigger homes, longer vacations, more fun, nicer clothes, and finer jewels…this year, I’m embracing what I do have…not losing sight that there may not be a tomorrow to enjoy the things that life has in my reach today…

just like life, clouds come and go, take all kinds of shapes, are sometimes dark and angry and are sometimes fluffy white and happy…I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of not living my life to the best of my ability…I’m afraid of letting life slip through my hands just like watching the wings of the plane slip through the swirling clouds…

if you see me in the window seat of a plane, look for my smile…do it fast before I lose myself in the tranquility of the view…

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I’m getting married…to myself…and I’m registered at Tiffany’s…

I’m getting married to myself…who else could I trust with my life…

babies, weddings, showers, new house, new job, birthdays, new puppy, new kitten, retirement, anniversaries, divorce, second marriage, get well, and the list goes on…such joyous occasions that we all love celebrating…in my 43 years, my weekends have been bombarded with planning, preparing, participating and cleaning up after celebrations…my wallet has been continuously open shelling out money for gifts for every little occasion…but when does a single girl catch a break…well we have our birthdays but as we get over that ripe age of ‘no one gives a fuck’, really the celebrations dwindle…trying to plan something for yourself is not the point of a celebration, trying to organize a date, time, week, or month that people can spare an hour, is trying and truly in my 43rd year, a waste of my energy…

we browse stores, registries and hunt for hints of what to buy each other…we strive to find the most unique, most memorable, most awesome gifts…we wrap, we sign, and now we give gift receipts…now to me the concept of a gift receipt is almost like, ‘hummmm, I’ll pick this up so I have something to wrap, but I’ll put the receipt in so they can return it and get something they really want’ – personal touch at it’s best right there…

to each of us, we have special occasions in our lives that mean more to us than others…don’t get me wrong I love celebrating with family and friends and I love shopping for others…but when can I register…when can I go to a store with a scanner and scan my little heart out…my invites are pretty, a tiffany blue with white accent ribbon…

it reads…I’m getting married to myself…and I’m registered at Tiffany’s…

my alter ego wants to write…I’m getting married to myself, pony up bitches…but that’s the alter ego talking…

celebrations are our way of sharing our feel good stories with those around us…in my line of work, we do celebrations on a biweekly basis…celebrations of our clients and their progress in life, in goal attainment and in taking a breath and getting out of bed that day…these celebrations are usually followed by a group ‘jazz hands’ or a loud woop woop depending on the day…these celebrations are small, not big…some would think even unimportant but yet a celebration…a celebration without a neatly wrapped gift but well deserved ‘jazz hands’…

why as a society have we associated celebrations and milestones with the 10 table diamond, bigger houses, rented halls, white gowns and rented tuxedos… why as a society have we associated celebrations and milestones with emptying our wallets…what happened to a simple handwritten note, a hug, a coffee date, a phone call or a simple ‘jazz hand’ dance and a woop woop when someone succeeds in their day to day accomplishments…society seems to have lost the concept of surprise and wanting to give and leaped into the concept of expectations and who gave the biggest, most expensive gift…

when I reference society, I too am talking to myself…I worked in a high end retail store for many years and have grown to love nice things…I remember as a child, thinking my aunt was just amazing…she was so stylish, had the most intricate things in her home and just wrapped things in the most beautiful way – it was a talent, it is a talent…she was my inspiration to strive to have the same things she had, to make things, no matter what they were – look amazing…I learned from her that presentation is key, the thought of a gift is key, the thought of embracing the celebration is key…it wasn’t what was in the box, it was the thought…she instilled in me the joy of finding that perfect thing for the perfect person in an effort to celebrate – celebrate whatever the occasion…

I’m getting married to myself…that’s a commitment I can uphold forever…

in recent years, I’ve slacked on my love of giving – it only struck me as I was putting this thought into print…I’ve slacked on my love of giving – I think I lost the passion to find that uniqueness in giving; I think I lost the giddiness of how I felt when I looked at something and thought OMG he/she would sooo love this…I think my world changed with gift cards…I truly feel they took the personal touch out of giving…I’ve gone from thinking – OMG he/she would sooo love this – to well they can bring it back if they don’t like it – holy that’s an awful thought in my head…

I’ve lost that personal touch feeling…I’m guilty…and this is not to sound mean or ungrateful – it’s just my thoughts on this day…I’ve turned into the sister that mails cards and gifts late…it’s a joke in the family and I get angry at myself every time…angry at me not the ones saying ‘seriously danielle, my birthday was 3 months ago”…cause that’s really sucky…my goal every Christmas is to send Christmas cards to everyone in my life…I get to Christmas and then my goal shifts to oh maybe I’ll send out Happy New Years cards to everyone, cause they won’t expect that…and then it’s March and I think “oh fuck”…and then it’s June and I think “sweet christ”…

jesus, I suck…it’s like my every year plan…but it’s September already…lol lol lol…and the cycle continues…

I used to have my life so organized until my world became disorganized…a disorganized mind is a lethal entity…it impacts a person’s soul, it impacts a person’s thoughts, it impacts a person’s believe system and it impacts a person’s passion for giving and sharing…sometimes I feel like I’m poisoned…how can one have so much and be so angry all the time…I think one of my greatest lessons this year was feeling disappointed…as a child I hated when my parents would say “no sweetie, we’re not mad at you, we’re just disappointed”….like knife in heart kinda feeling…this year I think I finally know what they mean…it’s such a weird feeling, this disappointment….i didn’t like it…I don’t like it…and as a result of my feeling it, I believe I have disappointed others in my unwillingness to sometimes just chill out and be there for others in times of celebrations…I am there for my clients 100% of the time…it’s so weird that I’m only there for myself 60%…

my disorganized mind has resulted in my not caring…and by not caring to be on time for things, my not caring about mailing by a certain date, my not caring to do just about anything is really a sign of rudeness and lack of respect for others…there’s a golden rule that I have omitted from my well raised life, “one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself’…damn my parents for being so god damn good…

I think sometimes when we find ourselves disappointed that a celebration, big or small is not acknowledged with a simple ‘jazz hands’, hand written note or text, we become disheartened…but that golden rule always applies…I think what’s happened is that we and really I mean I, have been treating others how I feel treated and that’s not cool…I wasn’t raised like that…maybe I’m not the only one feeling disorganized in my world and we’re just all clashing at this one time…

I feel like this blog requires a disclaimer – a statement to reiterate that it’s not about the gifts or the invites or the fact that no one is going to buy off my registry except for me, it’s about the golden rule…it’s about respecting each others celebrations, big or small…it’s about showing up when you’re wanting to stay down…it’s about making time for others in this busy world…it’s about making time for those single peeps in your life…we all get so caught up in our own lives, that we don’t realize that there are others around us that simply need a hug, a note, a text or a phone call…

those of us not registered, have busy schedules – don’t judge us for that…those of us not registered, may spend a little more on our shoes, purses or vacations – don’t judge us for that…those of us not registered may need a little one on one from time to time…you may think we’re all sipping martinis, eating sushi, and rubbing shoulders with well dressed peeps but some of us are just sitting on a patio dreaming of what’s next…

one of my favorite television personalities once said “The fact is. Sometimes it’s hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes. That’s why we need really special ones now and then to make the walk a little more fun”…

the bottom line is…i choose me…i choose the golden rule…i choose to rid my mind of disorganization…i choose to sit back and enjoy the simple, daily celebrations of those around me and most importantly i choose to celebrate myself for the choices i’ve made that have made me the person i am…i choose an open mind and i choose to rid myself of the disappointment that i have felt in the past…will i get those christmas cards out on time this year, hell’s i can’t commit to that yet, but i can commit to me…for that i do a silent ‘jazz hands’ for me…

I’m getting married…to myself…and I’m registered at Tiffany’s…no purchase required, but take your time and browse…it’s the least you can do…celebrate my marriage and my commitment to danielle…its the most wonderful relationship i can give myself…

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my personal medicine is called ‘vacate my life’…

it’s funny how we get so tangled up in our lives…eat, sleep, work…eat, sleep, work…is it Friday yet…when’s the next long weekend…I often think, how would I fit someone else into this life of mine, my god I don’t stop, my mind doesn’t stop and I’m clocking a lot of miles on my car, my body and my mind…a friend of mine used to always say, ‘when I go on vacation, I like to vacate my life’…I thought I understood this but I don’t think I did…until now…

I’ve travelled a lot over the past few years…I need a break, I would say…I just need to get away and I’ll feel fine, I would convince myself…I just need 3days to chill, that was my personal medicine…I would come back from trips more tired and exhausted than when I left…I’m not sure what I did this time, but it feels different…

I just vacated my life and it was great…

when I travel, I travel with my computer – it’s always with me…I travel with my computer, my agenda and a bunch of files…I’m never satisfied to leave my computer at home…what if someone calls me and needs me to answer a question about a client…what if I get an email about a report…what if I need to book in an assessment…how am I to survive without my computer…oh sweet jesus, I’d spend hours thinking, danielle, seriously it’s only three days, you don’t need to lug all that stuff with you and I’d agree with myself…I’d pack away all my work stuff and think, phew, this is gonna be a good break…fast forward to the flight and loser face here has her work bag with her…I realized how much I scramble on a daily basis to get things done for others…now sometimes procrastination definitely plays a part in this process but most times its just me…don’t get me wrong, I truly love the work I do and I have the flexibility to say no and I do sometimes, but most times, I say yes and love it…but it consumes me…

someone asked me the other day about my summer and I said I had gone on a awesome trip with my sister and brother in law to his family’s home…I spent a week basically in the woods, a setting of a Nicholas Sparkes movie kinda woods – a place where you could get lost…but that week I worked everyday…it was those days that I’d retreat to the bedroom or to a patio and get out my computer and type away…it was so relaxing doing work on vacation…I was like a child on crack as I completed each report…now how bloody stupid does that sound…but I truly felt that way and believed it…I know I’m a workaholic…and I’m fine with that as long as it doesn’t impact my health…but I finally think it has…my stress levels have definitely increased over the past year…the root of the stress doesn’t really matter but the effects of it definitely do…

what’s new danielle…nothing, just working away…work, work, work – my usual response…

what’s new danielle…I just vacated my life and it was great…my new response…

why do we do these things to ourselves…why do we over work, over eat and over drink yet under appreciate, under value and under estimate ourselves…I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the light bulb that went off in my head this year must have been huge…obviously not powered by my local power company as it would have caused rolling black outs in the city but huge…appreciating the small things in life, like the smell of newly cut grass, watching your dog catch grasshoppers or simply sitting on a patio staring off into space, is what we should be doing…valuing our family, our friends and our selves enough that the feeling is overwhelming is what we should be doing…knowing that our values define our person and impact our behaviors is a skill we need to sharpen and perfect and not selling ourselves short, is what we should be doing…

I talk the good talk, but this week, I walked the walk…I planned ahead for my week off, I did not cave and pack my computer, I did not over book myself and I did not underestimate my need to vacate my mind, body and soul…I think I now see myself and those around me in a different light…as I was in the midst of my vacating – i sat back daily and thought, fuck I’m so lucky…and I looked around me and I saw people with computers, phones attached to their ears, conversations about how much this drink cost, arguing poolside at what to do with leaky pipes at home, I watched a husband and wife interact – she went off for a swim and he laid on a chair, shuffling through a small clear bag next to his hip…I watched him lick his finger and place it in the bag, out came a finger full of a white substance as he proceeded to rub it on his gums…as his young wife reappeared, he quickly rolled the bag and placed it under his hip…unbeknownst to the young wife, she grabbed a towel, said the water is great and off she went again to the pool…he unwrapped the baggie and proceeded to cover his gums a little more…I watched college girls get swooped into a hip dj party at a private pool – hand picked by a bouncer – used as pawns to entice the dudes to drink their faces off…and I saw people spend their livelihoods at slots and tables grouped together, yelling and screaming as the winnings rolled in and quietly cursing as the winnings depleted…

what leads people to arguments, alcohol, drugs and lies…why do people feel empowered by sexual attention and pleasing others… stress, stress and more stress…

where am I going with this you may ask – well had I had my computer, I would have saw nothing…I would have been hands and eyes into a report…I surely would not have listened to my surroundings, I surely would not have witnessed a husband hide drug use from his wife and I surely wouldn’t have been able to play the game of what scantly dressed girls are gonna be pulled into the pool party next game…but more importantly, I would have missed the old couple in the corner sitting in the shade, cupping hands watching the world around them…I would have missed the opportunity to watch marathon episodes of svu with my bestie as we took naps daily…I surely would not have enjoyed the mist falling on my face as I lay in the heat and I would have missed out on reading my mom’s writing…I would have missed – just missed a lot…

the world around us never stops…i’m so guilty of not embracing the life that is in front of me and focusing on the life that is being texted to me, tweeted to the world or posted on social media…I may have taken 6pictures this week – 6pictures…unheard of in my world…I vacated my life and I didn’t capture every second in pictures…I consciously did that and I didn’t die…I ignored my phone and I didn’t die…I ignored social media (well a little) and I didn’t die…who knew…I wanted to test myself and I didn’t die…

I just vacated my life and it was great and I didn’t die…

the important things in our lives are right in front of me and you…I want to hold, touch and feel those most important to me…I am starting to crave human touch – not in a creepy way but in a way that grounds me…like the touch of that new born baby boy in my life, the grip my father puts on me when he hugs me, the feeling of my mother’s kisses on my cheek as I leave her home, the sound of my sister’s voice, the look in my nephew’s eyes when they face time, the excitement in my sister in laws face when my brother surprises her, the joy in my brother’s eyes when I see him interact with his kids and the sound of my puppsters as he snores his way into puppy dreamland laying horizontal across my queen sized bed…I think of those that I have lost in my life and I struggle to remember the sound of their voice, the color of their eyes, the touch of their hands, the harmony in their song and the sweet nicknames they called me…I think I’m yearning to enjoy now so I can remember later…

I just vacated my life and it was great and I didn’t die and it rejuvenated me…

focusing on the negatives in our lives robs us of the ability to celebrate fully the positives in our lives…I got a post card in the mail today…it said “remember the time I sent you flowers and you said they had the wrong address…will you accept a postcard”…sure I laughed my head off and it just fit into my ramblings tonight…I remember getting the call from the flower shop that day and saying, “no, you have the wrong danielle hogan, they aren’t my flowers”, the lady repeated my address and I said “ah yah, that’s the right one, but honestly, you’re mistaken, but I’ll come down and figure it out for you”…when I read the card, I busted a gut, they were for me…flowers from my sister…she thought I deserved them, why didn’t i…so fitting, so raw, so thankful that she has always seen the potential in me and has always loved me no matter if I were telling her that her “head was up her ass” – true story or spitting bagels in her face – true story…I guess when I first heard the saying ‘vacate my life’, I thought oh goodness no, I couldn’t do that…but now I’m thankful my friend taught me that phrase…it’s been a while for me to catch on, but I finally have my catcher’s mitt on and phrase in hand, I embraced it…

like the little bird in my post card, i deserve all the flowers and jewels in the world…like the little bird in my post card, my wings will spread and guide me wherever i need to go…

funny how timing is everything…vacate your life – it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done for you…

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