A Money Coach in Canada

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It sounded easy enough.
And the result was passable. But who wants passable? I wanted Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups in a jar! I wanted over-the-top indulgence! I wanted heavenly breakfasts! And frugal, too!

Any ideas what I need to do differently?

Here are the ingredients. I just used the oil from the organic peanut butter. I suspect the peanuts were too old (I’ve had them in a sealed bag for a couple years. That’s too old, right?)

The next thing that went wrong was that my food processor kept overheating. I was supposed to liquify the peanuts. This took 5 minutes of steady blending (or whatever it’s called). Is it possible I burned the peanuts as they were liquifying?

I ended up getting a jar of the stuff. It looks nice, for whatever that’s worth.

And the next morning on my eggos it sufficed, but only sufficed. As you can see, it’s kind of grainy. Not silky smooth like I was hoping for.

Royal Exchange Glasgow

Well I guess it’s not too surprising the Border’s is declaring bankruptcy. The way we read has changed as radically as the way we listen to music. Still, I’m sad to see the demise of anything to do with books.

And of course grim shenanigans in the Canadian Parliament. CIDA unexpectedly denies KAIROS, a respected, ecumenical social justice organisation, $7M in grant money. Except it turns out CIDA didn’t deny it. Bev Oda, our Minister of International Cooperation did. But said she didn’t, which is essentially lying to parliament. The Speaker caller her out. Harper defended her. Nobody’s buying it.

The Canadian Treasury Board and the Dep’t of Finance experienced a serious cyber-attack. Not to worry, the budget is safe.

Great quote from one of my top five money books (“The secret language of money” – not my fave title for it but what can you do?):

Money means less when true inner peace exists; it becomes a simple medium of exchange, free from complex meanings or hopes of enhanced self-worth.

Makes you think, eh?

Yeah, I’ve known some pain. Suffice it to say: You don’t get through your twenties and thirties, boyfriend after boyfriend (in my case) without your fair share of guilt (just not that into him), frustration (why won’t he commit?) and anguish (ohmygod,ohmygod,ohmygod,ohmygod,ican’tbelieveit,ohmygod).

After my second-last relationship, in my late 30s, I was romantically fatigued and had finally crossed the line into Jaded (are there no men left who aren’t gay or screwed up?).

And then almost imperceptibly I fell in love again. This time, with “The One”. He was right for me in every way that I needed and wanted someone to be right for me. He so fully eclipsed all my prior loves that I literally thanked God that the others hadn’t worked out. And imperceptibly doesn’t mean it wasn’t deep and true. Oh, it was. It was.

Some of you know how it ended. I wasn’t right for him.

For 3+ years now, I haven’t so much as dated.

And now on February 14, 2011, Valentine’s day falls on the day of the week I blog about the Art of Contentment.

Here’s the lovely thing. The truly lovely, nearly miraculous, counter-cultural thing: I am deeply contented as a single woman.

I don’t mean in a surface way. I don’t mean in the woman-without-a-man-is-like-a-fish-without-a-bicyle-way. I don’t mean in a it-might-still-happen-when-you-least-expect-it-yadayadayada way.

I mean it this way:

Somehow, after grey,grey days when I seriously could have cared less if a bus struck me and I died, somehow I emerged with an abiding and fierce love of life, its very self. I can’t imagine that will ever go away. If you need a taste of this, watch this film.

And somehow, after weeks and months of focusing entirely on keeping my own body and soul together, somehow I started to enter into the grander scheme of things: that there are really, really, really important things happening in the world – things that were so.very.much bigger than my heartbreaks. And that there are bodies and souls all over the place who could use a friend or a radical to help keep their own body and souls together (sometimes literally. eg. the Congo.)

Important stories like that of Aung San Suu Kyi, who opted to remain under house arrest, a confined, (nearly) silenced vigil of protest for democracy in her country even as her children grew up completely without her and even as her husband died of cancer without her.

Or that a HUGE, VERY HUGE IDEA exists called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

And last, I have had enough life experience and enough married friends close to me that I get this primary truth: we are all fundamentally alone. Not lonely, but alone.  Some people go through their alone-ness with a partner. Some of us go through our alone-ness with partner after partner. Some of us simply go through our alone-ness alone.
In all cases, we each have to come to terms with our fundamental aloneness, and learn to settle in to our own individual, unique skin, or risk taking ourselves and our partner(s) down with us.  Just ask anyone married more than 20 years, if you don’t believe me. This is not depressing; it is an acknowledgement of what it is to be human contrary to what most films purport. This is not to say we cannot commune deeply, meaningfully and rest-of-life, with another or with a community (and community is vastly underrated in my opinion).  But always, the fact remains we are our own person, and there will always be a large part of our Soul that stands apart.

About a year ago on a Sunday I was reading cozily in my chair with my two daschshunds snuggled up. All was quiet and yet the air seemed alive with wintery sunshine. It was a perfect, perfect moment. It was full and complete. I was full and complete. As a single woman.

Happy Valentine’s day everyone. Thanks for reading my little blog. Much love to those of you who I know in particular. And strange as sounds: heartbursting love and honour to you, Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela, and yes you, Bono and you Majora Carter and you, Franke James, and you Sandra Lockhart and you, Arlene Hache … you all, who while I was churning through boyfriends, you, you were and are challenging and changing the grander scheme of things.

30 years ago cars, banks and print media talked of SPAM (a brand of sandwich spread) for guest, cars for kids and banks to save the financial burdens of marriage. 1967 A culture we have left behind

As you can imagine, I’ve done a lot of work with couples who had differing views on money. There are plenty of approaches available to mitigate the tension although as we all know issues about money are rarely issues about Money! Usually it is issues about accountability to one another, or resistance to it; it was about comfort and discomfort around debt or risk; it was about security or insecurity.

The good news for couples with different ways of handling money is it usually means there are a distinct skill sets also being brought to the table. In fact, differing viewpoints, when combined, often led to a stronger economic unit than when two parties were, say, equally blind-eye to issues or both had a lop-sided approach. While similar approaches may have led to harmony, the bank book often suffered.

Here’s one easy exercise for couples with differing ways of handling money.

1. Each person should have a paper and pen (and perhaps a bottle of wine will help!) and sit down together.

2. Take ten minutes individually to write out your respective partner’s strengths. Not weaknesses! Genuine strengths. If your partner really angers you about money, you may need to dig deep here. Is it possible his spending brings more fun into your family life? Is it possible her control-freakiness is in fact keeping you out of peril? Is it possible her generosity is something you love in other facets of your life together? Is it possible his higher-risk investments have yielded, or might yield, a far better future for you?

3. After writing them out, read them aloud to one another. This could be the first time in a long time your partner has heard something positive about them re: money from you! Above all, do not blow it by injecting any subtle or not-subtle biting comments. Keep it 100% positive.

4. Then, take all the strengths and combine them in a list. Read and re-read that list. This is what you have to work with, as an Economic Unit.

5. Place that list somewhere visible. Don’t lose track of it. You ARE an economic unit. This list can become your play-book.