Family Ties


Tomorrow I am attending a weekend-long family reunion. We have not gathered for a reunion in ten years (unless you count weddings, funerals and anniversary parties). At this gathering one of our cousins is going to share some of the information she has dug up about our ancestry. It should be interesting. I’ve always loved hearing old stories about family members. It makes me feel connected to them somehow. I don’t know why that is important to some people and not to others but I’m one of those people who are fascinated by family history.

In preparation for our reunion, I’ve typed out some memories from my aunt about her grandparents. I learned some interesting tidbits while typing. One thing that made me snicker a little was our Scottish ties. I have always thought we were mostly Irish and English but it turns out we have quite a line of Scots in our blood. It made me giggle a little because John and I have recently gone to see the Pixar movie, Brave (which we really enjoyed) but now I picture my Scottish ancestors as characters from that animated film.

My great grandfather told my aunt the story of how his grandmothers cousin, Rory McLellan was a well known athlete who competed in the Highland Games. The story goes that while competing (in either the kyber toss or hammer toss) his throw went farther than the watching crowd had anticipated and accidentally hit and killed a spectator. He would never compete again.  A sad story for all involved and yet I can’t help but visualize the man as an animation. This is how I envision Rory to look (only with two legs):

Someone named Bonnie Kathleen really shouldn’t be surprised by her Scottish ancestry I suppose. Just like someone named John Johnson (pronounced Yawn Yawnson in Norway) shouldn’t be surprised by his Norwegian ancestry. And this also struck me as funny because the Scots and the Norsmen have had their battles and yet here we are happily united.  It all begins to make sense to me now…John (who likes everyone usually) has mentioned over the years that he doesn’t care for this actor or for that actor and one day I realized that all of these actors had one thing in common. They all had red hair! I think it’s the Norwegian warrior coming out in him. He has a deep seeded desire to defend his land from those red headed Scots. He can’t help himself, it runs deep. And yet here he has blindly gone and married one! I will have to keep my eye on him this weekend to be sure he doesn’t go and kick a ginger when he thinks no one is watching. 😉

I will update you next week if I learn of any interesting family secrets. Who knows, maybe my favourite singer Sarah McLachlan and I share some DNA.

 

 

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Navigating the Minefields of Dating!

I didn’t know it would be so difficult to date when I became eligible. It’s much more complicated than I remember when I was younger. No wonder there is a relationship status on Facebook that states ‘It’s complicated’ because it is! I haven’t met anyone who has not been complicated! There are schedules to consider, kids, parenting styles, deal makers and breakers, dogs, jobs, sports, compatibility, life style differences, distance and timing has to be just right…or does it? It doesn’t help when your best friend is your last partner. Try to explain that one to a potential date. They can’t help but have suspicions about the two of you getting back together at any given moment! Everyone seems to despise their ‘X’, which is hard when you really like yours! It’s hard to get to know someone when you barely have time for yourself. It honestly amazes me that there are second marriages let alone relationships between singles who are either separated or divorced.

You have to trust someone with your heart! Not everyone has good intention so it’s hard not to get discouraged! Are you getting the picture, it’s not that easy to date! It truly is a minefield that’s hard to navigate. I am so thankful to have girlfriends to talk with, be advised by and to have a male perspective that knows me better than any man out there! Which hasn’t been yet, but could also be something hard to maneuver with someone who doesn’t know me very well!

On the bright side of dating, there are lots of intelligent handsome great guys out there, who understand kid schedules and appreciate truth and honesty and who are eager to experience life in the moment. I’ve learned you just have to stop looking. If you go about your day they will come into your life when the time is right. Dating in your 40’s is all about acceptance and going with the flow, baggage included because we all have at least a carry on, some have truck loads!

At the end of the day, it’s really just all about enjoying everyone for who they are and exploring those personalities that intrigue you. Honesty is crucial and necessary even if the other person needs time to chew on it for a while. It’s a gamble like everything else in life, but I think worth the risks involved. Not everyone is honest, honourable or interested in the same things. Sometimes he’s just not that into you, or you into him and that’s okay! Timing is so important, it can turn a potential hot love affair into forever.

I am not trying to paint a negative picture of what its like being single. The experience is as unique as each of us. I truly love being on my own…most of the time. I’ve said before that I don’t need a man in my life, but would definitely love the right one. Everything takes time and the most important part of being set free in the world is enjoying the journey along the way. Trust your instincts, follow your heart, explore the possibilities of what if…you might be surprised at what you find!

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Red Flags…Why do we ignore them?

Red flags are a warning sign that something’s just not quite right. It’s more obvious than intuition. Intuition keeps us safe (if we listen to it), red flags warn us of a situation that is about to lead us astray. Intuition we feel, red flags we see…but not always! When we do get a glimpse of that little red unsuspecting piece of cloth waving ever so delicately, we tend to turn a blind eye and forget what it stands for. Lets face it, we don’t want to see red flags because they pop our bubble, sending us spinning back to reality! We see them when we don’t listen to our intuition. We are in complete denial at that point. We’ve all seen and ignored a few red flags in our existence, I know I have.

That ominous red flag waves right behind his head but we get mesmerized by his charming smile and seductive eyes, like a dog does when it sees a squirrel, or a child by something shiny! It takes all of a minute to forget about what it stands for. Why do we do this? I’m an intelligent woman but I too have ignored a few red flags in my time! I think sometimes we are enticed by the challenge or blinded by the possibilities. I see the good in people and give them the benefit of the doubt more often than not. Gullible? I’d like to think of myself as trusting, and honest. My motto “Be honest…and hope for the best”, so far it’s working for me. You can’t be faulted for speaking the truth, think of it as character building. Or that it just feels right! (not that I haven’t told a few outright blatant lies in my time, or done a few things I am not particularly proud of (Bonnie shhhhh), I am no angel (cough *wink) but I like to think I am evolving with each life experience!) See “Be honest and hope for the best” it’s liberating really!

When you don’t know someone’s history, you’re playing Russian Roulette when it comes to red flags. I think most women need to see a few red flags in order to pay-attention to them, seeing one just doesn’t seem cut it for most of us! I apparently need to see a few! 🙂

Another reason I think women ignore red flags is because we allow our ego to get in the way of common sense. Ego is a hard thing to keep in check, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. A flash of those pearly whites over the shoulder of another woman...red flag! But he’s sooooo handsome in his uniform! Chances are it’s NOT his sister! Texting you only while he’s at work…red flag! How come it’s not as obvious in the moment, but when you look back it’s so blatant. It sucks when you come to the realization that your first impression isn’t what you thought it was because you ignored the now obvious red flags.

What you have to keep in mind is, we are only in control of our own behaviour and actions, we learn from every situation we enter (hopefully), we should never judge the path that someone else is walking, the truth will set you free (most times lol), try to find humour in everyday happenings, and timing in life is crucial!

I happened upon a site called Heartless Bitches International that has a slew of red flags under their RANTS page if anyone’s interested!

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Who Are You?

Are you one to trust the intention of others right away or do you take it slow? I trust until someone disproves that trust. I might be let down now and then but important long term relationships are based on complete honesty, so I can’t imagine it any other way. If you have nothing to hide, there is no reason to lie.

We reflect who we are daily, but I think we need to assess and reassess who we are more often. Life continues to change and we change right along side of it as we enter into new situations. When we spend time talking to someone new, it also makes us more aware of who we are. Its like filling out a personality questionnaire.

It’s definitely easier when you know someone because of history from years of personal experience, but on the other hand its like unwrapping a gift when you meet someone you don’t know. Sense of security vs the unknown? Both have their perks, keep in mind, people change!

I had a ‘who are you’ conversation the other night and it reminded me how much fun it can be to go through this process. Spontaneity at its best, complete unpredictability. When you meet someone ‘different’ 🙂 (private joke) you become reacquainted with who you’ve become as well. You are representing the person, you believe to be. I think generally speaking our core values remain the same, we evolve and unfold over the years and hopefully become a better version of ourselves.

Every now and then, someone comes along that intrigues you and makes you ask “Who Are You?” and we naturally take that chance or risk of finding out, in turn they find out who we are. You have to enter with no expectations, it can go either way. In my conversation I was at a loss for words because I struggled with being too honest. (grin) At times I wanted to say exactly what was on my mind, but because I haven’t been in this situation for a while I opted to kept my inner voice duct taped shut. A few times a hmmm replaced my real thought, words even sat on the tip of my tongue but thankfully it was a phone conversation. There was no doubt in my mind that I was a high risk candidate for a persuasive smile!

When I thought about my conversation later I couldn’t get the grin off my face because I was in uncharted territory, not knowing. My only clue to who this person is, is what they do for a living, but having said that, does what we do have anything to do with who we are, or what we are capable of… not necessarily.

If you enter into uncharted territory with a carefree attitude of not expecting anything out of it in the end, just being in the moment, it’s incredibly stimulating. Is it timing or do we all unfold and evolve at times we need to, in order to fulfil our purpose?

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Family History & Breaking the Cycle ~

If you follow Tara Cronica regularly you know this month Jacquie created our header in which she chose ‘Finding Lyrical Beauty in History’. Great job Jake, I love that each month we get a fresh new look which reflects Lyrical beauty and our unique personalities.

Family history makes me think of my family tree branching off in different directions with lots of similar character traits and connections of generations past. There is family history in our names dating back decades, our behaviours, and our genetics.

When you have history with someone it changes everything. There is an element of trust that goes along with it, which takes years to build but has to start somewhere, right? When you first meet someone new it’s fresh and exciting but it can be a little unsettling that you don’t know their history. You are unaware of their family traits that have been passed down from generation to generation. Is your potential mother in-law a control freak, brother in-law a narcissist or soon to be sister in-law a manic depressive? How many of these traits will present themselves in your potential partner over the years because of genetics or simply because it’s what they know. It’s a gamble really. No matter what our genetic history or family traits are, we all have a choice of who we want to be.

Who hasn’t been told at some point in their lives “you’re just like your mother/father” or “your grandfather used to do the same thing.” (that’s not always a good thing) As human beings we find comfort in belonging. If you’re adopted you have a completely different understanding of family history because it starts with you. Nobody in your family looks like you and you’re not sure which traits you’ve picked up through osmosis or genetics.

I don’t think there is anyone out there who hasn’t at least once in their lifetime cringed at just the thought of being just like your _____. (I will let you fill in that blank) That is when one of those traits passed down is not one we want to be associated with. It’s when this trait is staring back at you in the mirror that you need to do something about it. It will lead you around and around instead of moving forward to break the cycle.

Some negative family traits would be families who don’t communicate or speak for years out of stubbornness, families who don’t show affection because they didn’t get any while growing up, even though they crave it themselves. Abuse is a cycle among some families. There are two ways you can go, you can repeat the cycle or break it. It’s not right to think that because you didn’t get something that you shouldn’t give it freely yourself, or that you did get treated poorly so you justify doing it. If you can identify the behaviours or traits you don’t want, whether they started with your parents or grandparents, or maybe they started with you, you’re on the right path. Being aware is the first step, making that connection is the hard part, and then taking steps to avoid history from repeating itself is success!  It means growth in a positive direction is happening. You take the good and remove the bad, what you take with you is a choice, it’s not bound to you. You choose each day who you want to be.

I think when history does repeat itself it can mean the lesson was not learned or there was a lack of growth along that chosen path. History within a family is a wonderful feeling, knowing every single thing about someone, having followed their growth throughout the years is comfort, plain and simple. We all love comfort. But sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and stand on our own two feet. We need to welcome others into our circle and embrace their history, even the parts unknown to us. History is out there waiting to be found, we just need to explore a little further.

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Dating Etiquette

datingI’ve been thinking of dating and came across some tips online for those of us who have been out of it for awhile.  Scott and I have been giving each other pointers on what is acceptable and what might not be when you start to date someone ‘new’.  I use the term ‘new’ loosely because I visualize the person I want to date as being anything but ‘new’.  New is shiny and clean and something you don’t want to touch because you might leave finger prints.  I am thinking more along the lines of disheveled, (not dirty) someone who looks like they’ve had some life experience, needs a challenge, has been around the block before and knows all the good places for fun and adventure.

When Scott and I are hanging out which is pretty much all the time because we are best friends, we comment on what the other person has just done that might be frowned upon by someone else.  We all know that after being with someone for 17 odd years your comfort levels start to slide just a tad!  At some point we either ignore the obvious or we just don’t care anymore and have become accepting or relaxed about our partners habits or questionable behavior.  A few examples are flatulence, personal hygiene and wardrobe selection.  Guilty, guilty, guilty!

When you put yourself out there again for the first time isn’t it just better to start out the way you mean to end?  I think it’s going to be hard to adjust my attitude and become aware that my date isn’t going to ‘get me’ or understand me right off the bat.  It takes time to really get to know someone ‘new’ and there are tons of bumps in the road throughout that process.  History with someone has comfort.  But that magical feeling of not knowing what is swirling around in the mind of ‘new’ and what comes next is the flip side of the coin.  If you could keep some of the unknown in a relationship with history, well now you’ve got something !

Now, if we are talking about Scott, he has no filter and is who he is, so I am not sure he is even going to try to adjust any kind of attitude.  I am starting to get on board with his thinking, it might be the only way to go.  Take me or leave me, it makes no difference to me.  Now that might be misconstrued as an attitude of not caring when in fact it’s just being real.

Online Dating tips: (I’ve added my own comments at the end.)

1) Promptness ~ don’t leave your date waiting, nobody likes to wait for anyone, it’s rude!

2) Smoking ~  Don’t, if you don’t care if your here in 10 years why should anyone else?

3) Make an effort to be clean and smell good ~ Scott just read over my shoulder and gave me a pointer “Tracy you stink” it came with ‘the look’, you know the one, the ‘you stink’ look.  In my defense we just got back from a 10K run, point taken, I should go shower and then resume my writing.  Horry (that’s sorry in Spanish lol) take me or leave me, I’m writing and don’t like to be interrupted when I am on a roll. (Comfort level slide example)

4) Truth ~ flip side, if you don’t want to hear it, don’t ask.

5) Never pretend to be single when you’re not. ~ come on, who hasn’t played ‘pretend I’m single‘ just once?

Here are my Dating tips:Kissing Date

1) Show up with a good attitude ready for anything.

2) Be prepared for kissing, that means floss the steak out of your teeth from the night before, gargle,brush your tongue, there is nothing worse than bad breath!

3) Who cares if he is not ‘the one’ maybe he’s fun, so get that thought out of your pretty little head that your looking for a husband and you will be guaranteed a better time!

4) If you want to sleep with him, your choice! Be safe!  But be prepared NOT to meet his mom!

5) Have absolutely no expectations, enjoy him for who he is.  It might only last two weeks but it could be two of the best two weeks of your life, so expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed!

6) Flirt!  Otherwise known as a compliment (if you mean it) Enjoy the flirty sexual chemistry.   It rarely lasts!

7) Leave something for next time, or there won’t need to be one!

8) Be yourself!  And let him be himself!  The all time biggest mistake women make in my opinion is to try to change the man they start out with.

Dating should be a blast!  Who really cares if your not the perfect match.  Nobody is so stop trying to find perfect.  And if it doesn’t work out maybe you found a good friend, a Best friend even!  To hang out with your best friend at the end of the day, isn’t that what we are all looking for?  Just go with it  and have fun!Tracy

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History of the Tattoo… Polynesian ~

Tracy

I love Tattoos!  Always have, always will.  I remember the first time I was attracted to a man with tattoos.  I was sweet sixteen.  He wasn’t your usual guy with a tattoo, we nicknamed him ‘tattoo man’ because his entire upper body was inked.  He used to hang out at the Canyon in the summer and cliff dive, shirtless of course.  I think he was my first real crush, the kind that makes you feel weird inside.  I had never met anyone who had a tattoo let alone a body full of them.  I am intrigued by tattoos and the reasons men and women get them.  The stories and meanings behind them can be so moving and inspiring or just plain quirky and odd.

I have decided to do a history of the tattoo for a post once a month until we cover the many styles and types of tattoos.

‘A really good friend of mine’ Scott has his upper body inked with what I think is the most incredible tattoo I have ever seen.  The process from start to finish took months of preparation because the entire tattoo was created  from his vision.  He went through the creative process with the artist  Cristoffer Fulton.  Cristoffer passed just days after the vision was complete.  His memory will forever live on in the art he has created. There is a unique story here that I hope to share with you one day.

The word tattoo is said to have two major derivations,  from the Polynesian word ‘ta’ which means striking something and a Tahitian word ‘tatau’ which means ‘to mark something’.  The history of tattoo began over 5000 years ago and is as diverse as the people who wear them.

The Rock Polynesian tattoo

Polynesian~ In pacific cultures tattooing has a huge historic significance.  Polynesian tattooing is considered the most intricate and skillful tattooing of the ancient world.  Polynesian peoples, believe that a person’s mana, their spiritual power or life force, is displayed through their tattoo.  The vast majority of what we know today about these ancient arts has been passed down through legends, songs, and ritual ceremonies. Elaborate geometrical designs which were often added to, renewed, and embellished throughout the life of the individual until they covered the entire body.

In Samoa, the tradition of applying tattoo, or ‘tatau’, by hand, has long been defined by rank and title, with chiefs and their assistants, descending from notable families in the proper birth order.  The tattooing ceremonies for young chiefs, typically conducted at the onset of puberty, were elaborate affairs and were a key part of their ascendance to a leadership role.  The permanent marks left by the tattoo artists would forever celebrate their endurance and dedication to cultural traditions.

The Hawaiian people had their traditional tattoo art, known as ‘kakau’. It served them not only for ornamentation and distinction, but to guard their health and spiritual well-being.  Intricate patterns, mimicking woven reeds or other natural forms, graced men’s arms, legs, torso and face.
Women were generally tattooed on the hand, fingers, wrists and sometimes on their tongue.  I will be inking my body at some point this year but it won’t be on my tongue!  To be continued…

Tracy

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