The Foundation – Three Things I’ve Learned about Trust

According to the Oxford Dictionary trust is defined as a “firm belief in the reliability, truth or strength etc. of a person or thing”. When teams struggle, very often there is a breakdown in trust. A breakdown in the reliability of each other, the confidence in each other.

When I was in high school, I had a social studies teacher that started off the year proclaiming to the entire class that everyone, at this very moment, has a “A” in this class. For someone who never really achieved high marks, I was pretty stoked to say the least. Until the teacher then went on to say that it was now my job to maintain that “A”.  He had given us the benefit of the doubt, he started off with trust and it was up to us to keep it.

What do you think? Is trust only earned and built over time, thereby we start off with little to no trust? Or can trust be given generously and then it is up to the involved parties to hold it vigilantly? It’s the chicken and egg debate. I believe there is no right or wrong answer here. Both work, both are right and in fact, most people likely find the middle point.

No matter if you are in an organization, a friendship, a relationship, or a community – trust is the foundation. Like a house, it has to be solid for anything to be built on it. When I work with teams, if I see there is little trust, that is my starting point for helping them.

While there are so many important elements to trust, here are three basic things I’ve learned about trust in all aspects of my life. I’m betting none of these are new to you, but hopefully a good reminder:

  • Be impeccable with your word – this is one of the Four Agreements written by Don Miguel Ruiz (read this book, it is so powerful and timeless). Speak with a positive intention. Don’t gossip. Hold people’s information with care – do not share people’s private information. One of the quickest ways to erode trust is to gossip, share information that is not yours and to speak unkindly of others. Additionally, it is okay to admit to mistakes – we are human after all and will all inevitably make mistakes along the way. I have a lot of admiration for people who stand up and say, “Yikes, I made that mistake and I am taking responsibility for it”.
  • Do what you said you would do – this one is simple, but quite often I’ve had my own experience of over-committing and then finding myself scrambling to finish what I promised. The trick here is to find the balance – the balance of committing to what you know you can follow through with and the balance of knowing when you might need to ask for help. A big part of this is consistency. Being consistent in your commitments and follow through is a key part of building trust.
  • Meet in the middle – while trust may be blindly given at the beginning, it takes work and effort to build on and maintain it – to maintain that proverbial “A”. It takes both or all parties to support trust. It cannot be one-sided and be truly trusting. I see this as a meeting in the middle – we are all committed to coming to the trust centre together. I can count on you. You can count on me.

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. ~ Stephen Covey

Thirst for Change – Three Things I’ve Learned about Change

I named my business Thirst for Change Coaching. I tossed around a lot of other names but kept coming back to Thirst for Change. I have a broad offering of services from HR projects to training to coaching and all of these have a common denominator of change.

According to the dictionary definition, change is to make or become different; alter or modify and/or to have a new experience and coaching supports this for people. Individuals want coaching because they are keen to shift something – to take steps forward, to get un-stuck, to make a move towards their goals or dreams, to make some type of change.

Similarly, facilitating and training is all about providing people with information, tools, tips and methods to do something different, to modify their behavior or action. And at the heart of any HR project I tackle is the desire to make a positive change in the organization I’m working with.

It makes sense. Thirst for Change. It’s a call to action. It’s a challenge, perhaps. It is an expectation that something will change.

And change is a business in and of itself. There are fantastic models, books and certified change guru’s helping companies lead big organization-wide changes. I’m grateful for these step-by-step approaches as large-scale, company-wide changes can be immensely difficult and challenging.

I can’t verify who said this, but it makes sense: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. Yes! The three big things I’ve learned about change aren’t about process or steps, they are about mindset and attitude:

Early Adopter – change is hard, I get it. I’ve lagged far behind with change many times and it is a bunch of hard work to catch up. While there will be times you initiate change, let’s face it, change is going to happen to you, like it or not. If you can muscle up the gumption, I recommend getting on board early. Yes, you will be worried, yes frustrated, likely a bit afraid, and perhaps lacking all the information. My experience is that is all quite normal and do your best to ask yourself questions to help shift your mindset:

  • What are the opportunities, the possibilities with this change?
  • What is one thing (even something small) I can do right now to get involved, to understand, to support?
  • What do I have control over?

Say Goodbye – one of the best books I’ve read on transition during change is “Managing Transitions” by William Bridges. He says it is important to honour “the old” as part of being open to embrace the new. I’ve heard great stories of teams having ceremonies to send off the old system/equipment/process/building etc. Not only is this a great way to bring a team together, it is important to have closure, to say good-bye.

Resistance is Futile – it is normal to go through a cycle when transitioning through change. Pay attention to where you might be at during a change and use the questions in the first learning point under Early Adopter to help move through each phase. Here is what I’ve seen play out most often:

  • Starting with denial: nope, this is not happening!
  • Followed by resistance: oh, this is happening, I’m not sure I’m cool with this change. I’m afraid. I like the old way better.
  • Then exploratory: I’m curious, I want to learn more, but I’m still a bit guarded.
  • And finally, commitment: onboard captain, let’s sail this ship!

And, I’m human. Recently I was in line at my favorite restaurant, with a good friend, having a look a newly redesigned menu. I started complaining that some of my favorite items were no longer on the menu. I became somewhat flustered, actually a bit angry and did not know what to order – my go-to’s were no longer there. I made several comments on how crazy the new menu was. My friend leaned over and whispered to me “Isn’t your company called Thirst for Change”? We both burst out laughing – yes, of course it was and yes, I was struggling with the changes. It dawned on me how normal our initial resistance is with change – even if it is good – like the new menu item I finally ordered and enjoyed – it is now my new favorite!

“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear… It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.” – Marilyn Ferguson

The Wise Owl – Three Things I Learned from My Grandpa

In this second part of a two-part series, I share the life lessons my Grandpa taught me. In reflecting and writing about both my Mom and Grandpa, I am filled with sadness as I miss them each and every day. And I am filled with such deep gratitude for having known them and even more so for their wisdom and lessons.

In describing my Mom as a Mama Bear, I thought a lot about how to describe my Grandpa. Born in the late 1920’s, my Grandpa was a determined (some in my family would say stubborn), stoic, hard-working man. I’d even say a self-made man – he had a grade 9 education and still worked his way up into management roles with Parks Canada – something I’m not sure would be available to a high school drop-out nowadays.

Reflecting on my Grandpa, while some would likely use a bull or an ox to describe his hard-working, tenacious manner, I feel the owl best illustrates his impact on my own life. It’s been said that an owl symbolizes wisdom and even prophecy. The wisdom coming from life’s experiences, mis-steps and adventures. Again, like my Mom, the lessons weren’t through him telling me what to do or not to do, rather through his actions and how he showed up in this world.

Over the past few years, with the stark realization that time was running out, I was able to really stop and listen to my Grandpa – to hear his stories, his regrets, his achievements, his adventures. My husband and I would prop him up in our backyard, with a Bud Light, sitting in the shadow of our mountain range and listen. The stories he shared were like meandering walks on a deserted beach, slow strolls through a vast farm field or a rain forest boardwalk wander (fittingly of which he had a hand in building in Pacific Rim National Park). So here I am, today, sharing three things I learned from my Grandpa, a wise old owl.

Keep It Simple – I can see my Grandpa rubbing his head in frustration when drama ignited. He was not one for making a scene or for engaging in life’s dramas. It was like he knew the secret of a happy life was to “keep it simple”. Not like your head in the sand, rather a focus on what was important. He probably did not even do this consciously, but he would shut out the noise, the distractions and stay focused on the simple things. He and I would ride our bikes on the Galloping Goose trail and he’d often stop to look at a small flock of quail, newly born baby sheep, a viewpoint overlooking the ocean or on one special occasion, two beautiful owls watching us ride by. He cared about these seemingly little things. These simple pleasures of life. In his later years, a pint and bowl of clam chowder at his favorite pub made him happy. Sitting in our backyard, staring at the majestic mountains filled him up with joy. But it wasn’t just the simple things, it was his fundamental approach to life. Keeping life simple. When I’d ask for advice from him, his response was about not over-complicating things, sticking to the root of what I wanted, what was truly important (so aligned to the coaching work I do now). And Grandpa was never excessive – even with his bike of which he put thousands of kilometers on and rightfully deserved a shiny new part – he’d find a simple way to jerry-rig said part instead of buying new.

Grand Adventures – While my Grandpa did not travel all over the world, he loved adventures. He was adventurous, even a bit of a dumb-dumb daredevil. His one and only overseas adventure was a working sailing trip from Gibraltar to South America. The stories he told of swimming in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean were awe-inspiring, if not terrifying. In his 70’s he did numerous biking trips all over BC including a memorable 7-day jaunt we did together on the Kettle Valley Railway. When Grandpa was 88, my partner and I were married. Grandpa decided to make an adventure out of it and fly on a float plane to our wedding. He did this on two more occasions after the wedding – loving the experience of taking a float plane and traveling on his own. On his last trip to our home, he had bladder cancer, limited mobility and was thrilled when we took him to Joffre Lakes. Imagine this 90-year-old, with a walker, storming down an uneven, undulating trail to the first lake. He sat on the bench at the lake and was like “Wow”. It still brings me to tears thinking about this day, this moment – that we were able to take my Grandpa on a little adventure, despite all the obstacles. While I am quite a bit more cautious, I try hard to tap into my Grandpa’s sense of adventure and get out of my tight little comfort zone (some days easier said than done).

Give It Your All – I can use Grandpa’s work life to describe this as he was so deeply committed and such a hard worker, but quite frankly that is not what stood out to me in terms of his dedication and commitment. It was how he took care of my Grandma. When my Grandma was in her 60’s she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I cannot remember all the timelines, but my memory is that she moved into advanced stages quite quickly. My Grandpa took care of her until he physically could not – around 10+ years. But not only did he take care of her (already heroic in my eyes), he made it amazing for her. He’d modify her wheelchair so they would go off road, over bumpy terrain, on grand adventures. He set up the van to ensure he could get her to the local pub – and work with the pub staff to ensure he could get her wheelchair in without issue. He’d figure out how to get her into a canoe and yep, take her canoeing. He committed to making this difficult and often terrible time a more bearable and perhaps even a happy time. He was completely dedicated to her care. When Grandma finally went to 24-7 care, Grandpa would ride his bike 30km’s one way, to see her – pretty much almost every single day. His dedication and commitment to my Grandma’s care has stuck with me so profoundly. While there is no way I could live up this same standard, I aspire to live my life with dedication and commitment to the people around me, to what I believe in, to the work I do.

My Grandpa was a few months shy of 91 when he passed away. One of the most amazing gifts he gave me in the end was the peace of mind in knowing he was ready. He had lived life full, fully, to its fullest. He was bruised, battered, used up, happy, content and at peace with the life he had lived. Wow. He had quite a ride!

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather a skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a ride!”  ~ Hunter S. Thompson

Mama Bear – Three Things I Learned From My Mom

This blog is the first of a two-part series in which I explore the lessons from two very important people in my life: My Mom and My Grandpa. Both of these amazing people passed away in the last few years. Naturally, as I move through the grief process, a lot of my time has been contemplating their lives and what I learned from their time on this planet.

My Mom and my Grandpa were the biggest influences in my life. Without being explicit about it, they had many life lessons to pass on – not necessarily through telling but absolutely through their actions, how they carried themselves in this world. All I had to do was pay attention, I mean really pay attention. But to pay attention is one thing – it’s what I choose to do with the lessons given me.

My Mom died two years ago. I’ve often referred to our collective “Mama’s” as Mama Bears and on the eve of Mom passing, in a town that does not typically see a lot of bears on the streets, my sister and I watched a beautiful, big black bear saunter down the road past our house. Flash forward to this very moment, I kid-you-not, as I am writing this blog, I look outside and see a Mama Bear with three new cubs walking near my backyard. I think I’m meant to write this story.

The Mama Bear of the actual bear family is a teacher, a protector, a provider. Her job is critical in those early days. The little cubs, like little humans are the most vulnerable in the early days of life. But then the Mama Bear teaches life skills, encourages a wider range for her cubs and eventually nudges the adolescents out on their own. But unlike a bear family once out on their own may never see their siblings or mama again, whereas us humans tend to stay connected with our families and if willing, continue to learn and seek counsel from our wise family members.

My Mom did not have an easy life. She battled (and I mean went to war with) mental health issues almost her entire life. It was often a bumpy road for all of us. And yet, she had amazing, and joyful times in her life. She raised a family, she furthered her education, she built a community of supportive people around her. And I don’t think I told her, really shared with her, the lessons she taught me along the way. So here, right now, with my hand over my heart, I share three things I learned from my Mom about life:

Dust Off and Keep Going: As I mentioned, her life was incredibly difficult a great deal of the time. Mental health issues as a teenager, diagnosed with seriously intense bipolar in adulthood, two divorces, raising four kids, a few years living in poverty, and returning to school in her late 30’s, and if that was not enough, a few other serious illnesses along the way – one of which eventually took her from us. There were definitely times when Mom got knocked to the ground – to the point we were not sure she’d come out the other side. And then she’d have to do fist-a-cuff battle to get back on her feet. Time and time again, she’d be down, and she’d claw back up, dust herself off and keep on going. The immense strength and determination to do this is, well, quite frankly, superhuman. She did this one minute at a time, one day at a time, one step at a time. This was probably the biggest lesson she taught me – to just keep going, to keep trying. Get up when you get knocked down. Dust yourself off. And get on with it. She was a fighter and definitely fighting above her weight category.

It Takes A Community: At one low point in her life, my Mom did not have a lot of friends or community around her. We talked a lot about how lonely and alone she felt and how important community and friendships were to our health and well-being. So of course, being the fighter she is, she decided to do something about this, one beautiful connection at a time. She took up golf and met two gals that became incredible friends. She started attending church and I can’t even begin to list the number of people that surrounded Mom with love here. She reconnected with a dear friend with whom she had a falling out with (an unfortunate misunderstanding) 20 years previous – this friend being someone Mom spoke every single night after they reconciled. She slowly, but surely built the loving and caring friendships around her – a community of people that made my Mom feel loved, like she belonged, that she mattered. I believe her community breathed life into her, without even knowing it, held her up. This has reinforced in me how critically important the people around me are to my own well-being. Each and every person I connect with, each person I help and that helps me, each person I get to laugh and play with are part of my community. Wow.

Advice-sometimes, Listen-always: Despite my Mom having challenging times, she always wanted to know how I was doing, what I was up to. It would have been easy to protect my Mom from my silly, small problems when she was struggling, but then I would have been robbing her of her earned right to be my Mom. So, every week and sometimes several times a week we’d chat about life stuff. She had a gift to just sit and listen to me. Occasionally she’d offer advice but more often she’d just listen and say to me “Honey, you’ll find the right solution, you’ll figure this out”. I tend to be an advice giver (heaven knows I gave her a ton of advice through the years), so this lesson has been an on-going gift to me in helping my coaching, in my relationships, in my work and life in general. I try to slow down, shut out my own noisy brain and do my best to listen first. It is an incredible gift when someone gives us their undivided time and attention. I want to keep this feeling front of mind when I am listening and connecting with others. I want to channel my Mom and her gift she gave to everyone – to be right there with them, holding space, listening deeply.

Before I close this off, I wanted to say thank-you for taking the time to read a bit longer blog and also one that is a bit more personal in nature. I do not profess to be perfect at the lessons my Mom taught me – not even close – but I try each day to channel her strength and gifts she gave me. It’s a journey. One day at a time. One step at a time.

“You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before and that, my love, is bravery.” ~ Unknown

All the Little Pieces – 3 Things I Learned About Completing My First Puzzle

My sister was the puzzle master when we were growing up. I recall her going through a time, a phase perhaps, of doing lots of puzzles. And she was good at them. She had patience and perseverance. And she seemed to have an eye or perhaps an intuitive sense of where the pieces were meant to go.

I did not seem to care much for puzzles when I was younger. Perhaps I found them too painstaking for my very limited patience. When I was a teenager, if something was too hard, I just didn’t do it or whined and whimpered “this is too hard” the entire time. I was always impressed, though, that my sister could find enjoyment in completing a puzzle (and not throwing a frustration tantrum in the process).

Over this past Christmas, I saw a few posts from families that were completing puzzles together and talking about how great that time was of the family gathering, working on something together, chatting about life stuff and of course, congratulating each other when placing that elusive piece. It piqued my interest and I thought, why not give it a try?

Hence, I went out and got me a puzzle. Now I had no idea if my first puzzle should be 250, 500 or 1000 (or heaven forbid, 2000) pieces. I knew I wanted to be somewhat challenged, but I did not want to revert back to my teenage “this is too hard, I give up” behavior, so I thought 750 pieces would be a good start. I brought it home, I scattered the 750 pieces onto the table, I looked at the picture and thought to myself “crap, this is going to be hard”. And it was. But I persevered and after two weeks, I finished my first puzzle.

All the while I reflected on how much a puzzle is like life and thought, this would make a fun blog post. So here we go, here are 3 things I learned (about life) from doing a puzzle:

Patience: I’m sure a few of you are saying “no-shit Sherlock!” This cannot be surprising to anyone. It was big pile of pieces. This was going to be a new level of patience. I had no idea where to start – of course you all know, you start with the border. But even the border felt like every other piece was the same. So, I just started, one piece at a time. I took my time and when I got it right, I hooted (see picture to understand the pun). And dontcha know – life sometimes really takes a lot of patience. I’ve experienced the negative impact of impatience in the workplace and it was a big lesson for me. I became uber impatient when an employee was not working as quickly as I’d like so, I took over the work. It was a tough lesson as the working relationship quickly soured and I had played a big part in that. Patience has been life-long learning for me and working on the puzzle was a good teacher!

Persistence: As I’ve said, this puzzle started out as a big bad pile of pieces, quite frankly, at first glance, it seemed like total chaos. I could have been overwhelmed and quit here, almost did, until I started to get myself as organized as I could with the border. And the overwhelm was ongoing, there were moments when I could feel myself getting frustrated. I kept telling myself “every piece fits someplace and you will eventually find its rightful home. Stick with it.” When it got too frustrating, I would walk away and come back at a later time. This is life. Sometimes it takes a great deal of persistence to achieve something, to complete something. We get knocked down or sidetracked, we get back up, dust off and get back to it. We persist.

Perspective: Okay, this is voodoo stuff. I’m serious. I’d be searching for that one elusive piece for what seemed like forever. I was like a dog with a bone – completely focused. But could not find the damn piece and could feel my impatience growing. So, I’d walk away and come back hours or even a day later. I’d come back to the table, sit down and look around for a few seconds, pick up a piece and place it in the EXACT place I’d been unsuccessful at before. Has this ever had that happen to you? Spooky, hey? Or sometimes I would get fixated on a certain color and then when I let go of the color and focused on the shape, I’d quickly see the piece I needed. My guess is that there was no witchcraft at play, rather this was about perspective, about seeing the pieces from a different angle, a different vantage point. One of my favorite tools in coaching is inviting clients to see a problem or situation from several different and opposing perspectives. Often when we get stuck in one perspective, well, we get stuck. Looking at things from different perspectives can open up more for us to access in terms of moving forward.

Wu Wei – Three Things I’ve Learned about Letting Go

What the Wu Wei?? Years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to Wu Wei while she was training for an Ironman. She referred me to a book called Thinking Body, Dancing Mind – TaoSports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business and Life by Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch.

Wu Wei is a Taoism and roughly translates into effortless action. In Thinking Body, Dancing Mind the authors describe it as “…nonforced, nonviolent flow. It implies action with a sense of yielding.”

The idea is not complete inaction or stopping, rather a letting go of forcing something and allowing the movement to be as it needs to be; more effortless, natural and energetic. The concept of Wu Wei resonated with me immediately.

For me it was like when I’m riding my mountain bike and I’m struggling to ride something technical or more challenging or just generally having a tougher day on the bike. I’d tighten my grip on the handlebars, get frustrated and try to force my riding. The result would be tense shoulders, white knuckles, unflattering grimace, inevitably getting bucked off the bike, followed by a slew of curse words. Hmm, fun.

So, I started using Wu Wei as a mantra in my life. I’ve used it in sports and activities, in serious injuries, in work and in relationships. I have to say, in many ways, it has been transformational for me. Why you ask? Well, here are 3 Things I’ve Learned about Wu Wei

  • Loosen the Grip. What I push against, pushes back. When I’m riding and find myself trying to force something or I’m getting frustrated, it just gets worse. My body seizes, I stop having fun, and the more I push, the harder it is. It is like when I push, my bike pushes back. Now, when this starts to happen, I will silently repeat Wu Wei and release my grip on the handlebars, allow my shoulders to relax and ease into the bike ride. I’m not stopping. There is still movement, however, the action is more easeful. I allow for whatever flow needs to happen. Some days that means I’m killing it like a rock star on the bike and others it’s just a slower, mindful, quieter ride.
  • Let that shit go. This was my biggest lesson with Wu Wei. I translated it to Let it Go. Stuff is going to happen, but I’m not going to force it or create a bunch of drama with it. When I find myself getting really worked up about something – especially if it is out of the scope of my control – I encourage myself to let it go. This has been an amazingly powerful strategy for me in life. I’m a fixer and a pleaser. Learning to let stuff go has helped me focus on the more important stuff, not get all wound up and to allow that shit to roll off my back.
  • I have found using Wu Wei as a mantra in all aspects of my life has helped me surrender. Not surrender as “arms-in-the-air-giving-up”, rather an acceptance as to what is. Life will happen. I will have control over a few things and absolutely no damn control over most other things. Surrendering to what is and doing my best to work through whatever life throws at me. I got this.

Effortless action. Letting go. Surrendering.

 

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. ~ Lao Tzu

It’s a Dog’s Life – Three Things I’ve Learned from My Dog

Full disclosure: I am one of those fur-baby mamas. I will put a pretty bandana on my dog for no reason. I talk to her like she is human. She sleeps on our bed and I will make room for her (not the other way around). At Christmas, she is spoiled with several delicious treats and cute toys under the tree. I worry about her at doggy daycare and will ask how her day was there when I pick her up. Did she get along with the other dogs? Did she have fun? I’ve been known to remark “She takes after me” when someone says she’s really cute.

She is a big part of our family and certain a big love of my life. It’s also been an amazing journey raising her. While I know I was “training” her to be an appropriate dog and not a total maniac of the neighbourhood, she has actually taught me so much. I could go on and on, but I am going to pick a few lessons that I learned from my sweet pooch.

3 things I’ve learned from my dog:

  • Reinforcement, it’s not just for the dogs. I grew up learning that punishment would get results. For real. I remember getting punished in school as early grade 2 by a whack with a ruler to the top of my hand for chewing gum. I learned at a young age, with which much shame I share now, that punishing your new pet would teach them not to do something. In the early days of my work life, no news was good news and you really only heard from management when you messed up. As soon as we got our new puppy, I signed up for puppy classes and 1:1 training. I knew in my heart punishment did not work and I did not want to approach raising our dog like that. And boy oh boy did I ever see how quickly and effectively positive reinforcement worked. She responded so well to kind and caring reinforcement of her good behavior. It made me think about the workplace differently and how important it is for people to feel appreciated, to be thanked for doing a good job and build on their strengths.
  • The here and now. This was a good lesson for me. I am a worrier by nature. I worry about all the things that might Hanging out with my pup taught me it’s all about the here and now. It helped me to just stop and be in the moment with her. It’s so simple for dogs. She is excited every single time we come in the door. Every. Single. Time. There is no one in my life that gets THAT excited to see me when I’ve just returned from the corner store. I don’t get that excited to see anyone! And even my walks outside changed from reaching a “destination” to enjoying the journey, to stopping to smell the roses. She’s taught me to try to be more in the moment.
  • Unconditional, profound love. I’ve never had kids, so I’ve never felt that heart-wrenching love that parents have with their kids. But when I got this puppy, I fell in deep love instantly. And felt an overwhelming deep responsibility for her care, wellness and happiness. I’ve never loved a creature like this before. She has made our lives so much better and we cannot imagine our family without her. And the gift we get back, is her unconditional love. She is not judging us. She is not asking for anything from us (well maybe a cookie, a walk and a belly rub). She is 100% pure love. What a gift!

Before you get a dog, you can’t quite imagine what living with one might be like; afterward, you can’t imagine living any other way. ~ Caroline Knapp