The Decade I Broke the Code: My FORTIES

My fourth decade began in 1994. If you read my previous blog; The Decade I Balanced in Three Inch Heels:  My THIRTIES, you know that I became an accidental entrepreneur in 1989.

Without forethought, experience, or any specific plan, I started a chemical business from my dining room table, with the belief that it was just a temporary thing to support my family.

Fast forward, five years passed and those were tough, grueling years which forced me to grow by leaps and bounds, in skills, confidence, resilience and stick-to-itiveness.

What was I thinking? I chose a business in an industry dominated by a closed club of men, tenured career professionals and science types. They were a hard drinking, tough talking, deal making on the golf course clique.

The initial years were like drinking from the proverbial firehose. Often, I simply got soaked, knocked down and left dripping on the outside of their fire circle.

I stuck out like a manicured thumb with glitter polish.

Fortunately, I came...

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The Decade I Balanced in Three Inch Heels: My THIRTIES

My third decade began in 1984 while I was employed in the executive and corporate aviation world. The culture and personalities of this micro industry taught me a great deal about what to do and what not to do to advance my career and dodge trouble.

I learned many skills including how to recite the aviation alphabet and hold my liquor like one of the boys. We worked hard and we played hard and for sure, today, many of the then accepted practices and behaviors would be forbidden. Let me just say the #MeToo club had lots of members.

My thirties were a very pivotal time in my identity development. This decade included my second divorce and my third marriage. I expand on this in the chapter  "Serial Wife". in my book.

This decade was also the beginning of my education in the chemical industry, and a discovery I had an affinity to sales and marketing because of my fascination with the uniqueness and motivations of people.

Initially, I was terrified at the prospect of convincing...

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Expat Life in the Middle East with Amanda Sheldon - Part 3


Introducing the Number 3 in a series of interviews and true stories:

Womanhood Wonderland – Feminine Explorers and Trailblazers!

Canadian Amanda Sheldon joined the less than 1% club of young female expats and shared her experiences of living in the Middle East for ten years.

An expat’s life is an adventure and adapting to change is a required superpower!

As you can imagine, there are many differences between living and working in another part of the world versus Home Sweet Home.

However, some universal themes are constant, no matter where you roam.

In this interview with Amanda, we talk about how shopping malls maximize the use of real estate and are community hubs with up-levelled parking, multi-tasking, socializing, skiing, and sky diving built-in!

We discuss the pros and cons of vacation time and a six-day workweek and why TGIF has more significance.

Hospitality, customer service, and customer engagement are core behaviours and fundamental to recruiting, hiring, and...

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Expat Life in the Middle East with Amanda Sheldon - Part 2


Introducing the second in a series of interviews and true stories:

Womanhood Wonderland – Feminine Explorers and Trailblazers!

For the past ten years, Canadian Amanda Sheldon, has lived and worked in the Middle East. 

We accompany Amanda on her journey to uncover misconceptions and misinformation, and how she learned firsthand about life in the Middle East, its people, and cultural practices. This informative and upbeat conversation will give you a peek inside the world of expat life, and perhaps, will inspire you to learn more about the diversity of opportunities around the world.

From the mundane to the mysterious, and peppered with questions only a mother might ask, listen in to this interview as we discussed the reality of safety, driving, dining, potholes and more.

Unfiltered and fresh, this a perspective on living, working and travelling in and around the many, unique and distinct countries and cultures with the Persian Gulf Region.

Hear first-hand how Amanda...

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Expat Life in the Middle East with Amanda Sheldon - Part 1


Introducing the first in a series of interviews and true stories:

Womanhood Wonderland – Feminine Explorers and Trailblazers!


My guest today is undeniably a Feminine Explorer and Trailblazer!

For the past ten years, Canadian Amanda Sheldon has lived and worked in the Middle East.

As mother and daughter, via Zoom video, we talk candidly about expat life and living overseas.

In 2010, Amanda Sheldon joined five other Brand Ambassadors for Williams-Sonoma Inc. to expand this iconic retailer’s footprint to the Middle East.

Based in Kuwait, Amanda’s role was to hire staff, establish brand practices, and open locations across the region.

The initial contract was for two years and required Amanda to pack up her life in Canada and move to a new and unfamiliar region without the comfort of friends or family.

Traveling more than 10,000 kilometres as a single female, Amanda challenged herself to embrace a quantum learning curve.

After the two-year term was complete,...

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Decades without a #WOMANUAL: My TWENTIES

My twenties included my first divorce, a second husband, a second baby and the purchase of two houses.

Our homes were revolving doors for younger siblings, friends, and well-intentioned in-laws, and often the social hub of our community.

I always worked full-time, pausing only for three months post-natal leave. As exhausted as I often was, I loved the challenge of learning new skills and adding to my QBE credentials. As it happened in my teens, I would again become the primary breadwinner of my family in my twenties. I had plenty of motivation to up-level my income.

Our first home, a new build, three-bedroom town house, cost $38,000.00. The mortgage terrified me, but it was a wonderful education on investing wisely in real estate. I regret that most young couples do not have this starting advantage today.

The mid 1970s to mid-1980s were a wonderful time to cultivate friendships with other young families, share resources for childcare, power tools and entertainment on a budget. We...

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Can't Sleep - It's 2:22 AM

Uncategorized Aug 05, 2020

Many people have been forced to work from home and adapt lifestyle and work style to these ‘new normal/anything but normal’ conditions known as Pandemic 2020.

Tragically, lots of others have lost their jobs to the economic fallout of Covid-19 and the job market is bleak.

Business owners are ‘pivoting’ until their toes bleed.

Parents are frantically trying to educate and entertain confined children.

‘Shelter-in-place’ sounds like an invitation to a cozy afternoon nap but, in reality, for many, it’s double or triple duty with little or disturbed sleep.

If you have a job, you’re Zooming half or more of the day and playing catch up the rest of the day. You may be picking up the slack for colleagues that are ill or lost their jobs. You are starting work earlier and finishing later.

If you own your business, you are jumping through hoops to keep customers and staff happy and serve everyone in new ways.

Social media posts suggest that we now...

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Decades - Organic Growth of a TEEN

I matured physically faster than most other girls in school. Maybe it was my genes, and maybe it was the hard work on the farm, abundant fresh air and sunshine, and the home-grown vegetables, but I developed into a full-blown woman years ahead of most of my peers. 

I crashed through puberty’s door at the age of nine and needed a full-size bra when other girls were still wearing undershirts and training bras.

Physically, I appeared to be many years older than my chronological age. I also had maturity and poise earned from the responsibility of being the oldest sibling, working on the farm and in my parents’ business and spending most of my time with adults.

Unfortunately, this physical maturity and competence did not assure me of emotional maturity. No one taught me how to handle the attention I received from men well beyond appropriate dating age for me.

I was a naive young girl trapped inside a woman's body and I became pregnant at the age of 16.

I left home before...

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Women Who Change the World

Uncategorized Aug 02, 2020


There are women who make things better . . .  simply by showing up.

There are women who make things happen.

There are women who make their way.

There are women who make a difference.

And women who make us smile.

There are women of wit and wisdom who ~ through strength and courage ~ make it through.

There are women who change the world every day . . . women like you.


~ Ashley Rice


This feminine wisdom is shared from a small plaque that sits on my bookshelf.

On days when I feel overwhelmed with the changes going on around me and the changes I need to make, I pause a moment and read this to remind myself that I am not alone.


Who’s in your tribe?


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To Wear or Not To Wear a Mask

#Anxiety #MentalHealth #WorkingMom  

I am sharing a social media post made by my niece who lives in Canada. She lives in the province of Québec but drives one hour each way, five days a week to work in the neighboring province of Ontario.


Like most young working-parents, she and her husband struggle to balance full time jobs and the education and social life of their children. Additionally, they have adult family support roles and actively contribute to the communities they live in.


I am incredibly proud of my niece for everything that she does and for selflessly sharing insight into the complexity of being an essential worker and a severe anxiety warrior.


I have not disclosed her identity to protect the privacy of her family.



For all of you who are hiding behind the mask of judgement, please pause a moment to consider this true story.



As shared, edited only for clarity:



“I have written this post about...

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