Monday Thoughts

I forgot my chocolate in the car. Is it wrong to get my daughter to drive it over to me?
Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I plan on taking more of them because I’m getting too lazy to write shit down

Huh?

Huh?

After forty-eight years of struggle and fear, I finally accomplished a real push-up. Not the wussy modified knee-pushup…the real ‘military’ style one. AND, not just one. I can do up to FIVE! IN A ROW. I was ecstatic about it until I started bragging to everybody I knew and they all gave me that look. You know the one…the ‘oh-that’s-cute-and-sad-at-the-same-time-cause-she-thinks-she’s-conquered-an-acutal-life-skill’ look and go ‘yeah. EVERYBODY can do those’. Fuck. I thought I was being awesome. Turns out I was just being average. So, now I’m asking everybody I see if they can do an actual pushup and not the wussy modified knee-pushup but an actual pushup, and they go ‘yeah’ and then I go ‘show me’ which they do, which makes me feel only slightly adequate and not at all as awesome as I did when I finally completed my FIVE IN A ROW. Ugh. I’ll have to up my game and brag about my expert crafting skills at building a tower out of Popsicle sticks and white glue. That’ll show’em…

This one...this.  I did this.

This one…this. I did this.

I must have driven to work like I was in the Indy 500 this morning, because by the time I arrived in the parking lot, my lunch had spilled all over the back seat of the car…I think half of it landed somewhere on the floor under a seat, but I was too lazy to look for it. It’s buried under there somewhere. Maybe D2 will find it…eventually. Then it will be like “Gawd. Something died in here. What’s that smell?” I’ll blame the dog…It’s good to have a plan.

What?!

What?!

I just tried to call D2 to bring me my chocolate. She’s not answering. She probably found it in the secret hiding space in the car where everybody looks first, and is not answering my calls because she knows that I’m going to ask her to deliver it. Dammit. I hate it when my kids know me too well. I’ll have to text her with the word ‘emergency’ and then she’ll call me and be all like ‘chocolate isn’t an emergency’, but I beg to differ. CHOCOLATE IS ALWAYS AN EMERGENCY. THAT’S LIKE SAYING BAMBI’S MOTHER’S DEATH WASN’T A TRAGEDY!! Have you no heart? Ugh.

TRUTH!!

TRUTH!!

We are planning the next all-ladies all-inclusive boozer vacay that hubby has decided he needs to be apprised of just in case he wants to go off somewhere warm alone and without his awesome lovely wife…whilst we ladies are contemplating sand, sun and visions of drinks and shirtless waiters, I may have to give a false not-so-sunny-and-hot location just to make him feel better. Like, instead of Jamaica or Cancun, guess what dear? We have decided to go to Bell Island or Greenland instead. Or, we’re foregoing any awesome vacay altogether, just so we can spend all of our saved cash on you guys…
Hahaha…I know, right? Good, one Kayjai.

Top Ten Things To Do This Spring That Won’t Involve Cleaning Anything, Making Anything or Exercising Anywhere. You. Are. Welcome.

It’s exhausting trying to keep up with all of the tips and advice from the ‘experts’ on what one should be doing with all of that extra time that we seem to have on our hands this coming Spring. What?!

We should be cleaning out our closets, our email, our garage and our colons… apparently that’s a thing. Cleaning out your colon. Eww…

And then there are others who insist we get in shape for summer, get exercising for that bikini, that bbq, than reunion, and lose weight for that somebody special we’ve been hanging around waiting our entire lives to meet and to fall helplessly in love with. Ugh. Enough already. Instead of working so hard at trying to be clean and skinny, let’s just relax and enjoy the coming of the warm weather…even if it’s taking its sweet ass time getting here.

So, here are my Top Ten Things to do This Spring:
10. Laugh at the neighbours who are insistent on getting rid of the frozen snow that still inhabits their front lawns by chopping, spraying and shoveling it onto the road. Our neighbor was at it twice yesterday and her snow pile is up over her front window. It must be driving her INSANE to see my side of the street with virtually no snow on our lawns…we are just better at taking it easy AND LETTING NATURE TAKE CARE OF THE MASSIVE FROZEN SNOW PILE. Instead of being a tad obsessive about frozen shit, she could harvest all that snow and make snow cones, sell them at 50cents a pop and then VOILA…instant cash to pay for that ice pick she’s going to rust out soon. Then she would have all the neighbourhood kids clamouring all over her place looking for snow cones…maybe I’ll post a sign at the corner to advertise for her. I’m all about community, peeps.
9. Wear spring colours. It makes you feel better and more alive to be wearing pink and purple and bright oranges and reds instead of blah-black and gruesome-grey…blah. IT’S SPRING DAMMIT…let’s get the colours out! Your mood will improve too…not that you’ve been crabby lately…or maybe you have. Sick of winter and cold and ice…yeah. You’re looking a little crotchety…get out that lovely yellow sweater and those pink capris…so what if it’s minus twenty… Wear that shit!
8. Do something outside….just not knocking down the snow. Take the dog for a walk, take down the elusive Christmas decorations, search the ground for growing buds, take photos of the neighbour’s cat pooping in the old guy’s garbage can…you know, get out there!
7. Invite friends over for drinks…that’s always a good idea.
6. I was going to write ‘plant bulbs’, but I think you have to do that in the fall…and it’s work, so this is not about work. It’s about relaxation….so go to the florist or the nearest store and buy a spring bouquet to put on your table. It will brighten your room…and you can admire it as you eat your frozen snow cone. AND, lace that snow cone with some liquor….make it a ‘grown up’ treat. What? It’s relaxing….
5. Revel in the longer days…it means longer naps.
4. Remember those long forgotten resolutions you made at midnight on that freezing December night when you were drunk and couldn’t even remember your first name, let alone something to resolve to do for the New Year?? Remember those? No? Me neither…carry on.
3. Be good to yourself. You’re the only one you’ve got.
2. Make a kid laugh by telling a stupid joke. They love those, even if they’re teens and they roll their eyes at you and say you’re lame…they really think you’re worse than lame…but that’s okay. You made them roll their eyes and probably smile when you weren’t looking. It still counts.
1. Be grateful for where you are, where you’re going and what you’ve done to get here.

There you go. Enjoy your Spring…

l-amazing-photo-pug-and-tulips

Conquering Fear

As most of you are aware, my plight into the dark abyss of fear is not foreign to me. Unfortunately, it’s been like a weight on my back for several years, shortly following the demon ride of all time, Soarin’. Disney has a foul sense of humour. They installed a ride intended for families and small children to enjoy epic vistas, a flying naturalistic view of land and water…and golf.
At the same time, they subjected the masses to ‘hang gliding’. WHAT?! This ride, apparently, is to “Experience the Golden State like never before while “hang-gliding” over landscapes as varied as they are beautiful. Feel like you’re flying—and even smell what you’re seeing as you skim rolling waves, powdery ski slopes, majestic redwood forests, fragrant orange groves and familiar landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge.” Ahh, it sounds so innocent and lovely. THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE?! I don’t remember FLYING OVER THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE! AHHH. I probably had my eyes shut in a frightened panic thinking I would surely crash into one of the steel components. Because, when you’re me, that isn’t a movie in front of me…it’s fucking real. As for the orange groves, they spray orangey stuff at you intending for you to ‘have the full experience’ when really all it did to me, was make me sneeze and jolt me almost to my death. From 6 feet in the air. What? It could happen…Could have hurt my ankle or bruised my ego or something….
Really, it simply subjected me to a dangling terror-filled journey into scenic vistas of golf courses and orange groves at perceived heights of 30,000 feet, whilst suspending me randomly in mid-air with a wanton frail looking belt and my own warped sense of minimal security. *sigh* DAMN YOU DISNEY. I think I cried through the entire thing. It was at that moment, I realized I was having a major panic attack ON A KIDDIE DISNEY RIDE. So, simply put…I decided riding on anything that left my feet dangling in mid-air with no security belts, major shoulder straps or helmets made of steel, was beyond my realm of possible feats. The end.
Until, Epic Ladies’ Trip 2012 and Jamaica ski lift ride from the other side of hell….the Jamaican jungle. I can still hear one of the ride operators in an attempt to fill the ladies with epic joy while we were dangling haphazardly several hundred feet above any kind of terra firma, yelling “HEY LADIES! HOW’S THE RIDE?!” All the while, me swearing profusely under my breath and sobbing in quiet hysterics with white knuckles gripping the steel bar fearing my ultimate descent into the jungle with nothing to soften my landing but the large fern leaves of all those very tall trees…ugh. In defense of the ladies and the tour operators, I did not even THINK to research the ride to Magic Mountain to see HOW THE HELL WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GET UP A MOUNTAIN. DUH…IT’S A MOUNTAIN. So, totally my fault and I managed to live through the ride up…tear stained and partially broken, but alive…and the ride down. Pretty much the same thing, only we were headed downwards, so logically, we were falling anyways. That’s how my brain works, people.
It was this latest vacation with Hubby that I decided enough was enough. Two trips with panic attacks were two trips too many. I needed to conquer this fear of flight. At least, attempt to conquer it. So when the opportunity arose to book a trip on the Oasis of the Seas, we took it. And when Hubby declared he was going to ride the zip line on the boat… I volunteered to take pictures. That was going to be it. Then he suggested I try it. I laughed at him and MAY have said something like “you are fucking crazy. HELLO. SOARIN’. DANGLING IN MID AIR” Then I thought about it. I looked at videos. LITTLE KIDS WERE GOING ON THE ZIPLINE. Surely, parents weren’t subjecting their children to death defying antics like a Zipline without precautions? Right? RIGHT?! AND, they were wearing helmets, and most importantly SAFETY BELTS! Hmmm…
After a bit of soul searching and arguing, mostly with myself, I convinced the weak and terribly frightened Kayjai that conquering a fear born from an innocent Disney ride, surely cannot be that bad. AND, If I happened to plummet to my death, what better way to go than in the Caribbean on a huge cruise ship above a burger shop that sold burgers and deadly milkshakes? Really, I would probably die more from the milkshake, than from the zip line…maybe.
We both stood in line and I managed to cross the zipline in epic Kayjai fashion. No, I won’t show you the video, because, well, my reaction at the end of the ride was…special. The smile was plastered to my face, I was stunned into silence and I was wearing a helmet…it wasn’t a fashion forward moment. I’ll let you imagine it…
Here’s the shot before I got to the top.

See how excited I am?

See how excited I am?

The greatest trepidation I felt, was putting my feet at stage 3 on the steel bar with the operator telling me repeatedly to ‘let go.’ I’m sure he was about to pull me from the whole thing when I did just that. I let go. I let go, forced my eyes to stay open and slid down the ride. I didn’t fall. I didn’t panic. I let go. The fear was replaced with joy. I extended my legs laughed at myself and made it to the other side with a huge relief and accomplishment. And possible whiplash at missing the landing mat and hitting the spring…it wasn’t pretty, but it was done.
No tears were shed in the making of this moment. Well, maybe a few at the sheer joy of accomplishment.
Fear is a powerful emotion and if you let it, it can take over. Don’t let it. Conquer your fear and see how strong you really are.
I dare you….let go.

Live, Drink and Be Merry…or Mary, if That’s Your Name

Last night, as I was finally able to sit in front of the fire with the dog on my lap and a glass of wine in my hand, Hubby made a remark that unsettled me. He commented on my glass of wine. Maybe I shouldn’t be drinking wine EVERY night, and since we’d be having wine on Friday, as our usual routine, I could skip a night. I think I froze in mid-drink and stared. The unthinkable statement made me blink in disbelief. SKIP A NIGHT?!
I don’t drink EVERY night…more like every OTHER night. I don’t drink to get drunk. IT’S A GLASS OF WINE FOR PETE’S SAKE.

wine and cookies

So, it got me thinking as to the conversations lately about enjoyment of one’s time while on this earth and taking care of your health so one can live a healthy and long life. If something happened to me, would I regret having a glass of wine last evening? HELL NO! I would have regretted NOT having that wine…that’s how I look at everything now.

If I skip something, will I regret it if anything happened? For example, if I chose to skip my work out on my scheduled day, would I regret it? Yes, probably, since I’m working ever so hard at keeping it up. If I skipped going to something I enjoy, would I regret it the next day? Yes. Absolutely…so no skipping stuff I enjoy simply because somebody else thinks it’s a bad idea, or somebody else isn’t really into it. I still do plenty for others. I hold down a full time job, take care of the house and make sure my adult and semi-adult children are eating and contributing to society. More or less. I try to make time for friends and family and enjoy others’ company. I try to dwell on the positive instead of the negative and keep things light. Don’t get me wrong, I have my days where nothing goes right and I seem to fall down at every turn, but that just reminds me I’m human and we all have our off days…it also makes a great post and gets people laughing.

We spend a lot of time working and being busy raising our kids and worrying about the future. I’d like to turn that around. Life is way too short to worry ourselves about something we cannot prevent, or something we cannot control. Take precautions, yes. Protect what you can, absolutely. Forfeit fun and enjoyment for the sake of being ‘safe’….no thanks. I’d rather have cocktail forks jammed in my eyeballs; or be forced to endure a lecture about the complexities of pencils than have a life void of enjoyment and fun.
So…did I have my glass of wine? You betcha. AND, I’ll have more tonight…and maybe tomorrow night. If I so choose.
Life is to live and enjoy. There is enough pain and suffering already in the world without adding to it. Yes, it is our duty as members of the human race to try to make things right by being positive lights in others’ lives, by inspiring our children to go out and do good in the world; make it better. Rise above our mistakes.
It is also our duty to enjoy our life, our friends and our family to the best of our abilities.
So, cheers friends! Enjoy….

The Pink Lady...yeah.

The Pink Lady…yeah.

There’s Calories in Air, I’m Sure Of It!

D2 suggested I try My Fitness Pal to help me with tracking my calories and hopefully shedding some pounds.  She set it up on my phone and set a goal for me.  The calorie counting at the top tells you how much you have to spend and how much you have used with every documented morsel you decide to tell it you have eaten.  I thought it was a great idea, since she has been using it for a week now and really is getting the hang of it.  I thought it would be a great mother-daughter bonding thing.

 So, I was using it today, the FIRST day, and already it’s yelling at me.  “I THOUGHT WE WERE WATCHING OUR CARBOHYDRATES?!”   “HEY, MORON, I THOUGHT WE WERE WATCHING OUR SUGAR INTAKE!”  “THERE’S SUGAR IN CHOCOLATE!”  “WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO OUR DAILY CALORIE INTAKE AND IT’S ONLY 10AM!”

I’m starting to think My Fitness Pal is really My Calorie Asshole Nazi and I’m not enjoying it.

I think I’ll put in that I ate three Big Macs and doubled down on a two litre of Coca-Cola and see if it goes into any spasms of outrage.  Maybe it will self-destruct.  Maybe it will automatically email everybody and set up a food intervention circle.

That would be great as long as somebody brings the wine…

The Middle in ‘Mid-Life’

It’s funny how our dialogue has changed from talking about what to do on the weekend or how the baby kept us up all night; to how we want to spend our retirement years and looking forward to not having to wake up to an alarm clock or a mundane drive to an office.
As we get older, it becomes more apparent that our priorities and responsibilities change. Our children are more independent and need us less. We have more time on our hands (most of us) that we once dedicated to our children, but now can dedicate to other perhaps lofty pursuits.
Our parents are now in their later years and require more attention and assistance. Considering retirement homes and long term care facilities for the people who raised us is both daunting and heartbreaking, however, a responsibility we all will eventually face. It’s the circle of life, people and we can’t escape it. (Cue Lion King music here) We will all go through it. We just don’t want to.
The struggle of having to take responsibility for yet another human on the long list of other humans we already look after seems exhausting. It really does. Depending on the medical and physical needs the person requires to get through a day, it can be an emotionally draining experience, for everyone. It’s frustrating and complicated and sometimes impossible to get the care in order. But it will come. And everybody will be settled. Until the next hurdle, when you get that call in the middle of the night that in the back of your mind you knew would happen only you were putting it away, hiding it and ignoring it’s nagging voice telling you to ‘grow up’ and put on your big girl pants because now she needs YOU, instead of the other way around. Dying is a part of growing old and a part of life. Saying ‘goodbye’ is the hardest thing about being alive.
The invite to my thirty-year high school reunion just went out a few days ago making me feel incredibly old. And like I want to hide behind someone’s skirt. I don’t recall the exact moment I got to this point; this time in my life where I have to take stock and see where I ‘ended up’. Wait. I haven’t ‘ended up’ yet. I’m still getting there…at least in my mind.
Going home is always bittersweet. It’s where I grew, up but not where I live. It haunts me and sometimes it’s like I walked in a dream. I think, did I really live there? Did I really have those people in my life? Did I really take a piece of old chewing gum that was stuck to the bottom of the table at the Fiesta Restaurant and chew it? I was like five, but really? Aside from the obvious ‘ewww’ you all just did, I didn’t always do gross stuff. I think. The stories from my childhood come in spits and spurts. From some of the stories, I take it I was a hoot to be around. I took out the old photo album the other day and took a walk with my family. I looked hard to see what was in the background; do I remember where the Christmas tree went? Do I remember the rocking chair I sat in every night and my mother would say I reminded her of Aunt Edith when I twisted my hair and chewed my finger? An aunt whom I never knew and I never met. I have a hard time remembering what my dad looked like. I have a picture of him I look at often. I study his face and try to picture what it was like sitting on his knee, or holding his hand as we walked down the sidewalk. I was looking at my son’s school picture and noticed his eyes have a downturned shape to them. So did my dad’s. My son looks like my dad. A realization I just came to not so long ago. When did that happen? The cottage in Rondeau  where we swam in a freezing Lake Erie and played games on an inflated inner tube bobbing beneath surface only to splash back up and try it again. The summer days my brother would go fishing on the Thames river and I would throw rocks under the bridge only to hear him say, ‘no, like this’ and proceed to throw a ‘skimmer’. I could never throw a ‘skimmer’.
I could spend a lot of time visiting the past. Looking at old photos, reading old letters…it’s all there. As I get older, I seem to want to visit there and try to walk in my parents shoes. See things from their perspective. Try to feel the heat from a 1970’s summer sun; remember the winter my dad had to get a ride on a snow mobile to get home from work; raising a family on a furniture salesman’s salary. I put the photos and cards away for another day and “put the past in my behind.” (Another Lion King reference, in case you missed it.)
The past is a great place to visit from time to time, and I admit to getting lost in the murky depths of memories. I eventually find my way back to the present and revel in how I got here. My ending isn’t written yet, but my middle is a pretty special place.
I think I’ll stay here awhile, if that’s okay with you….

My Dad and brothers Christmas 1972

My Dad and brothers Christmas 1972

The Power of Words

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore
I heard this quote a couple of weeks ago when I was re-watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I knew I loved it and had to use it. I just wasn’t sure when or in what context. I do now.
A lot has happened, not just in the world, but in my little world. Free speech has become a focal point of conversation and not just in the verbal sense, but more in the written form of expression. Opinions, good or bad, warranted or totally off-colour, have been splashed all over the place. It’s as if people have lost all sense of common sense and simply spew whatever the hell they want and hide behind the phrase ‘Je Suis Charlie’. It’s like if you spread that phrase, it covers you from any backlash that may come your way. I disagree. There remains a sense of responsibility when writing anything and publishing for the world to view. That responsibility lies solely on the shoulders of the creators and the publishers. There is a responsibility at its basic sense, to the intended audience of your diatribe. You are responsible for your words and expression and how to portray your opinion without slander, prejudice or discrimination. At least, that’s how I see it.
Je Suis Charlie’ has become a theme song, an anthem; almost a patriotic stance on free expression of ideas and creative thought without fear of persecution and violence. When the men and women in France were slaughtered in the name of terrorists seeking some kind of twisted ‘revenge’ for portraying caricatures of their prophet, the world stood up and raised hands in rage and ire. A horrible tragedy that only exacerbates an already tormented world. The global environment took to their pages, took to the streets and took to social media proclaiming the terrorists have crossed lines not only killing innocent people, but also in thwarting the freedoms we hold near and dear; they have killed in the name of their prophet over animated caricatures. Ones they found offensive and blasphemous. The freedom to print and write and draw our opinions and publicly display those opinions is a right to all persons in a democratic society, offensive or otherwise. The option to object to the offensive material, to demonstrate and disagree is an option these terrorists decided to ignore. Instead, they chose violence.
The world profusely declared Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to your opinions and views. Disagreement of those views is allowed, and welcomed. If we do not have differing opinions, we do not have valuable discussion and discourse on what is ethical and what isn’t, what is right and what is wrong and what is allowable in a civil society. Physically threatening the creators of the ideas, in the name of disagreement, is abhorrent and criminal. ‘Je Suis Charlie’ I will rant along with everyone else.
Just when I think freedom of expression has reached a valuable and justifiable position, I read an article like Pathetic in Pink. This article appeared in a local newspaper, The Northeast Avalon Times and has caused a backlash of epic proportions. Moms of little ‘white girls with blond hair and blue eyes’ everywhere, me being one of them, were appalled, disheartened and angered by the author’s words. They were spelled out paragraph after paragraph, denouncing the colour pink; the apparent ‘superiority complex’ that these little four year olds possess as they prance around in their convertible Barbie cars and princess tiaras. The author states, “I actually dislike little girls with princess wands and blonde hair. I react to them the same way I do when I turn over a log or a stone and find creepy albino bugs wriggling around underneath.” That’s right. She compared little girls to creepy albino bugs. She called the late Princess Diana a “suicidal, bulimic, pitiful, manipulative neurotic”. The late Princess publicly suffered from depression, a debilitating mental illness and the author’s description of a beloved Princess, while offensive, is ignorant as well. Princess Diana brought world-wide attention to the growing AIDS epidemic among children. Her charities continue to raise money and assist children in need in third-world countries and her memory is living on through her sons. I personally think Harry is a hoot. Not bad for a blond-haired blue eyed Princess.
After this article hit Facebook and the torrent of angered moms roared, the slightest of defenses arose, I believe from the author’s camp, saying this article was supposed to be ‘satirical’, and a column on modern parenting. I’m not laughing. Neither are a lot of other people.
Freedom of the press? This article was her opinion of how she views what she calls ‘princess girls’ and their ‘pinkness’ is repulsive to her. If she was trying to sway people to acknowledge that gender stereotyping is wrong and that children should not be compartmentalized into one single hollowed-out hole, but should be allowed to play and be who they are without prejudiced and judgment, then just say that. Why go on a journey of offensive language portraying CHILDREN as superior princess-wannabes who have ego issues and attitude problems?
I’m all for freedom to express your opinion in any form you like, but I’m also an advocate for objecting to those opinions and the freedom to disagree, peacefully. So I’m disagreeing. Strongly.
The author has refused to comment on her article and I find that disturbing. Were you aware the backlash that awaited you when you wrote this? Don’t hide behind a banner that was forged through bloodshed and say ‘Je Suis Charlie’…freedom to express my opinion. Where does the responsibility lie? Take some. When the opinion borders on language so offensive as to set off a firestorm of ire, I think that banner is waning a bit and there needs to be discussion. From both ends.
Je Suis Charlie lives on in all forms of expression and when we disagree, we are opening dialogue, inducing change and forging freedoms for all in the future, but it also comes with a responsibility. When you use the public forum to express your opinion, be prepared to justify and clarify. Take this opportunity to attempt to explain the intent of the article, instead of letting it stew in the collective conscience. Peaceful and constructive discourse is a cornerstone of democracy and just as the author has a right to her opinion, so do the public in responding and disagreeing if they so choose. I don’t hear anyone asking for a recanting of the article nor for an apology. I hear outrage, disappointment and a defense for pink-wearing, fairy-winged blond princesses, everywhere.
Words arecapable of inflicting injury, and remedying it….”