Just Breathe

I was in my bootcamp class today, mid-mountain climbers, and realized I was holding my breath.  “Oh, Gawd BREATHE”.

It’s not the first time during exercising I’ve had to remind myself to breathe.  I often find myself holding my breath doing whatever it is, then realize that turning blue in class is probably not a good idea.  Also, being passed out on the floor would likely be frowned upon…not to mention a tad embarrassing.  “HEY COACH, WHY IS SHE LYING DOWN?!  IS THIS A NEW BURPEE MOVE WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT?!”  Then, everyone would be pissed and trying to do the new move that’s really not new, I’m just PASSED OUT THANKS, BUT DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME.  Now, I’ve taken to telling myself to breathe before class starts and whenever I find myself getting too caught up in an exercise.  It’s also a good idea to remind oneself to BREATHE during the day, even when not doing Burpees x 100, or face down doing plank jacks.

It’s not something that one should forget easily, I mean, breathing is as natural as, well, breathing but today I did catch myself NOT breathing.  It got me wondering how many other times I neglect to breathe during simple things and should be more self-aware.  Like, do I forget to breathe when I’m driving?  When I’m sleeping?  When I’m working?  HOW DOES SOMEBODY FORGET TO BREATHE?!  It’s ridiculous, really.  It’s like saying “Oh, I forgot to eat today.”  THAT NEVER HAPPENS TO ME.  Or, I FORGOT TO BUY WINE.  If that happens, I’m sure to be headed for the home.  So how does something so basic, so part of BEING HUMAN, be forgotten?

I guess it’s in line with so many other basic nuances of being a person that gets shoved aside during a busy day or week or life.  We forget to appreciate a warm day, a smile from someone we haven’t seen in a while, or a hot cup of coffee.  We forget what being little is like or that being a teen is dramatic and exhausting, and being a young adult can be scary.  We forget that not so long ago, the internet was new and exciting technology and playing hide and seek outside was the ONLY thing we did that was fun.  We forget that the simple act of walking is a gift many of us cannot enjoy and that living and breathing every day, is our greatest joy. We forget the basic simplicity of being human; the basic everyday pleasure of being alive and breathing.

Trying to be mindful and self-aware takes practice; one that I am in need of, obviously.  I read that a simple deep breath can calm your system down and give you the much needed oxygen to your brain to enhance those thinking cells and good vibrations.  It releases bad toxins and gets some much needed space to feel rejuvenated and refreshed.  A simple deep breath can do all of that.  Huh.

So can a bottle of wine, but usually drinking at one’s place of employment is not looked upon favourably.  AND, side plank with a sip-dip, anyone?  Yeah.  New exercise.  BYOB…

I have to try to remember to just breathe through all of that negativity people throw around like, “You’re doing that wrong” or “You should really rethink that shirt” or “Giving people the finger through their office door is not the professional behaviour we expect of you.”

IT WAS ONLY ONE TIME AND I FORGOT I HADN’T HAD A BREATH IN A WHILE.

GAAAWWWWDDDDD.

I’m going to go take a few deep breaths, now and appreciate that I CAN.

And open that wine…

Sip and breathe, and sip and breathe….

Me. After wine.

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One Hundred Years

I’m not sure what a Feminist, by definition, is.   Is it wrong for me, a woman in 2018, to announce I’m unclear as to the classification of Feminism and the voice it should have?  Maybe. But I’m sure I’m not alone.

When I hear or read the word ‘Feminist’, the image of Gloria Steinman immediately pops into my head.  She standing at a podium with her shoulder length hair and aviator glasses, demanding equality for women; equal work, equal pay.  Sexual harassment is wrong and is abhorrent on all levels.  The fight for social programs, abortion rights, resources for women in domestic abuse situations.  Is that dating me?  Probably, but I’m not so old that I don’t understand this ‘new’ movement which really isn’t new, in so much as it is different, somehow.  Different in only that it was brightly lit by the glare of the Hollywood sign and the women who decided they’ve had enough hiding and not enough justice. We’ve had our champions the past one hundred years, or so.  Suffragettes, Frances Parker and Emmeline Pankhurst started it with protests for the right for women to vote only to be imprisoned where they were violently force fed with tubes shoved down their throats AND up their rectums when on hunger strikes for their cause. Held down by doctors and ‘wardens’ as the tubes were shoved into them to ‘sustain their life’.  More like, sustain their suffering.   The torment they were forced to withstand was not without lasting physical affects, later causing strokes and serious health issues. Men stood with them, also being imprisoned for helping women, be…well, women.  The right to vote, to have a voice in the future of their country.  To be heard.  To be accepted and valued.   Women suffering for their issues is nothing new.

And here we are, some 100 years later….

The fact that the issue of women’s rights is still an ‘issue’ is both appalling and horrific.  Sexual harassment in the workplace, in the classroom, in the doctor’s offices, in the PLAYGROUND…not to mention domestic abuse, workplace equality – being treated like a human being is, apparently, a difficult task these days.

Will this movement fade into the background like it has so many times before when the media gets tired of the same stories told repeatedly by different women?  When the male editors of the newspapers and the producers of the news outlets decide that ‘we’ve given them enough air time, on to something else’ and the collective consciousness takes a breath and it’s all whisked away into the foggy murky unknown. Again.

When do we stop blaming ourselves for the egregious actions of men, and start demanding they take responsibility for their actions and words and bad decisions? Probably around the same time we discard the notion that standing up for ourselves is ‘unlady-like’.  Or try to undo the brainwashing of pretty = perfect, or the million other ridiculous traditional insidiousness that was meant to ‘put women in their place’.  Whatever ‘place’ that was supposed to be.

We continually put ourselves in the background, in the category of “oh, it’s okay, I’m fine, thanks.” When really we aren’t.  Fine, that is.  At all.  None of this is ‘fine’.  When the old fashioned ‘traditional’ raising of ‘girls are sweet and quiet, boys are rough and ready’ should be abolished along with chastity belts and silence = permission.

I don’t proclaim to be a ‘feminist’ but in my mind, if you identify as a woman, you are by nature a feminist.  You stand for being a woman.  To be respected, valued and heard like Every. Other. Human. Being. On. The. Planet.

I support the women who have been abused by a man or men and have not received what they need to become a whole person again. It’s not something to ‘get passed’ or ‘to forget about’.  It’s a violation of trust.  Of human dignity.  If it’s as simple as an apology, THEN LETS HEAR IT, if that’s what she needs.  Justice if that’s what is necessary.  Jail time. Penile amputations.  You know…WHATEVERSHENEEDS.

Let’s remember this is an ongoing ‘issue’ (ugh.) social constant?  ONGOING BATTLE? Whatever you choose to name it #Timesup or #Metoo, it needs to disappear. A history of suffering is enough for any one species to endure.

Let’s make #Itendshere

I like that one better.

Is Drinking Considered a Complex Movement?

As I get older, I realize I’m not as adept as I once was.  Not that I was ever a ballerina with grace and balance, but at least I could coordinate walking and talking simultaneously.  Now, I can’t even lift my leg and opposite arm at the same time without falling, or worse, trying not to fall and instead, revert into a spastic-quazi-save-myself-from-further-humiliation-by-propelling-myself-forward kind of move.  Which, by the way, never works and looks a million times more awkward than it sounds.

Bootcamp has always been a challenging experience for me from my first day almost three years ago, right up to today.  Coach has decided the internet is fraught with ‘great interesting complex moves that we all should embrace into our repertoire!’  We think she should be banned from the internet.

‘Complex movements’ is just another phrase for lift-leg-while-standing-backwards-and-pushing-something-really-heavy.  I clearly have issues with ‘complex movements’.  If I could lift my leg whilst lifting a sandbag over my head and twirl around on my tippy toe, do you think I would be nervous about wearing heels and walking on a tile floor?  I CAN’T DO THAT SHIT.   I try.  I fall.  I try again.

Then we all laugh…well, I laugh.  I’m thinking people don’t notice because they’re trying just as hard as I am to stay balanced and semi-dignified looking.  Or maybe they’re actually well-balanced yoga-mamas who CAN stand on one foot and hold a 20pound weight over their heads while closing their eyes.  WE CAN’T BE FRIENDS.  Just so you know.

Until the next class when there’s yet another new move involving weights, the TRX and the Bielman spin thrown in for good measure.  

It’s this while spinning around at 100km an hour.  On skates.  It should come as no surprise, that I can’t stand upright on skates, either. Just sayin’.

I’m practicing the new scissor- kick-from-side-plank-position-then-plank-push-up move.  I’M NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP.  That was merely ONE of today’s new complex movements.

In my case, it totally didn’t happen.  I couldn’t lift my leg, hence the whole need to practice thing.  I did lift the sandbag over my head!  But there was no spinning nor lifting my leg over my head which was probably a good thing, or else I would have looked like Mr. Bean trying to Waltz.  I was just trying to make myself feel better by patting myself on the back for completing an exercise without smashing my face into the ground.

I’m holding my breath for Friday’s class.  If there is any utterance of ‘a new exciting complex movement’ I’m silently protesting by disconnecting her internet.  And hoping sitting against a wall while reciting the Ode to Newfoundland counts as a Complex Movement.

Maybe there’s a new and exciting exercise involving a wine glass balancing on a tray whilst you simultaneously pour the wine from the bottle with the other hand without spilling!

THAT’S A COMPLEX MOVEMENT I CAN GET BEHIND.

And one I’d probably have to practice because of the whole glass-balancing-on-a-tray thing….

It’s a struggle.

* Author’s note: Coach has corrected me in saying these movements are in fact termed Compound not Complex as I have repeatedly stated. Ma bad. THEY ARE COMPOUND COMPLEX MOVEMENTS now. We changed it. You. Are. Welcome.

The Fifty-One Year Old Teenager

The realization that I’m older than I feel I should be, is hitting me hard.  A ‘mature’ woman of 51, I’m still prone to bouts of pimples and the monthly bloat.  I simultaneously have wrinkles and acne.   It’s like I’m a twelve year old pubescent and a menopausal maniac at the same time. I’m considering shares in Clearisil.  Mood swings, crappy hair days and my bra size seems to shrink weekly.  My wine stash is dwindling at an alarming rate and I hate to hear that I need to wear pants after 6pm.  Jeopardy is gaining some admiration on my end and I have yet to attain the exact correct root cover-up hair colour that actually matches whatever the hell is growing out of my scalp at the moment.

Oh, yes it’s gray, but it should be a lovely copper colour, that despite my scouring of every drugstore in the city and the wonderful intentions of my bestie hair stylist, is impossible to match.  It’s not red.  It’s not blond.  It’s not brown.  It’s not golden brown nor golden blond. It’s not golden-reddish or golden-blondish-with-a-tint-of-auburn-yellow-shit. It’s not even an –ish of anything.    It’s in between effervescent- blondie- coppery- goldie and orange.  Try to find that on a shelf.   I WILL PAY YOU TO FIND THAT ON THE SHELF.  The other day, D1 was too embarrassed to leave the house with me until I ‘do something with that on your scalp.  It looks like you’re bleeding’.  Yeah.

That red cover-up was Halloween-ghoulish in the bloody scalp department.  I should have just stuck a meat cleaver up there and walked around like a bad-prank-gone-horribly-awry, or victim of a random Zombie attack.  Totally believable.

I think this is the direction it’s heading. I already have the bathrobe.

I obviously need interventions on how to age with dignity and grace, without looking like my scalp was partially removed, then reattached and left in a bloody mess.  Or someone changed his mind mid- lobotomy and simply threw my scalp back over my head like a floppy toupe, or the Donald’s comb over repair.  My pimples make me look like I just walked out of grade 10 gym class and need a shower.  Face mask?  Sure…do they make a mask that has both collagen wrinkle-disappearing-potion and benzo-peroxide zit zapper shit in it?  One that’s not going to make me feel like I’m in a constant wind tunnel where my face is stretched so tight I’m constantly smiling, or so greasy that it looks like I washed my face with a pork chop?  Let’s see that shit!

How did it come to this?  What did women do before us?  How did they manage the whole aging process without looking like a Stepford wife or a throwback from Throw Momma From the Train?

There should be lessons on how to age after fifty without losing your sanity and your wine cache all in one sitting.

Or at least the sympathy and acknowledgment that despite the whole ‘fifty is the new forty’ thing, there are still struggles with pimples, bloating, weight gain and the emotional turmoil of a pubescent girl including the awkwardness of actually trying to walk and see at the same time.

My head hurts.

Maybe some lovely young woman will invent a new treatment for us older ladies so all of this magically disappears.

I guess I’ll have to wait for that golden moment, but until then there’s always alcohol.

CHEERS!

Pass the Clearisil.

Of Weed And Wine

It’s almost mid-January and I’ve yet to write a full post.  I’m not sure if I should apologize or simply continue on reading sucky Donny tweets.  I have to say, if not for the race-spewing shit and the highly offensive ‘shit-hole country’ remarks, some are downright hilarious.  The one I thought I could actually plaster as a tagline on this here blog or bio somewhere, was absolute golden surfer-dude nonsense at its best.  Narcissistic inarticulate ignoramous gold.  “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.”  LIKE, TOTALLY GOLDEN, DUDE. I almost fell off my chair.  I texted the DH ladies to let them know my new bio line was epic in its, like totally wicked smart asshole-like way.  Like, Donald, are you like, really REALLY smart?  Or just the run of the mill, my-dad-only-gave-me-a-tiny-million-dollar-loan smart, whereby you compare yourself as enduring a life of absolute turmoil by having the word ‘no’ said to you, to the guy working two or three jobs day and night just to put food on the table and kids through school.   You understand that shit because, LIKE YOU TOTALLY HAVE BEEN THERE.  Dude. UGH.

Here is a picture of a cactus I took whilst on vacation to distract you from the utter ridiculous-ness of the world right now. You. Are. Welcome.

It’s enough to make your head hurt and your faith in humanity south of the border wane just a bit.  After Oprah’s epic Golden Globe speech, the rants about having her be the next president made me a bit nauseated.  Seriously?!  YOU CAN’T HAVE OPRAH BE PRESIDENT JUST BECAUSE SHE CAN TALK GOOD!  And she rocked those specs. Making her look like, REALLY REALLY SMART.  GET OUT THE SANITY METER AND SEE WHERE SHE ENDS UP?!

GAWD.

Is that all it takes to be the President of a country?  Desperate, much? Tommy will be bouncing up and down on her yellow couch to proclaim the virtues of Scientology and the second coming of the Devil, AKA Leah Remini, and she’ll be wielding the presidential proclamation like a flag, all the while preaching ‘Your Best Self’ and having a Super Soul Sunday retreat with the VP and the Head of the FBI. I wonder if she would include the Fire and Fury book on Oprah’s Book Club essential reading list.  Huh.

And we’ll be up here reeling from the second hand smoke and scouring for munchies wondering what the actual fuck is wrong with the U.S.?  Dude.  Chill.

Grab the Acetaminophen and the wine.  Wait…pain relievers and alcohol don’t mix, right?  Weed and wine?

I dunno.

What happened to simpler times when Clinton was screwing his secretary and Chretien was getting pie-faced?

WHAT?!

The Visitor. A Remembrance Day Story

Every year on this day, I post this story as a reminder of the sacrifice of so many for our freedoms.  I wrote this a few years ago hoping to pay homage to those brave men and women who continue to fight for us every day. 

Lest we forget. 

New-Poppy-Flowers-Free-HD-Wallpaper-03

The Visitor

I watched as the plane landed with a thunderous roar, the engines coming to an abrupt halt as if the pilot had simply turned the switch to the ‘off’ position.  I stood with my back hard against the biting wind, wondering if I should prepare a salute or simply stand at attention.  I waited for some direction from my superior officer, but none came.  I believe the shock of the arrival and the excitement of having such a prolific visitor come adrift upon our rocky shores had sent us all into a wave of silent awe.

It was November 1942.  The world was engulfed in the biggest conflict known to man, the classic battle between good and evil personified by the leaders of European nations struggling to define the world on their own terms, ignoring the plight and suffering of those they plundered into despair.  Leaders who were so enmeshed in their own agendas they took no notice of the people being tortured and beaten or of children being left to die on the streets with explosions and gunfire rattling their souls, shattering lives and dreams without a second thought.   Our little part of the world seemed so distant and removed from such gross atrocities against humanity, save the work our army was doing to assist our allies.  Our shores were vulnerable and England knew the possibility of oncoming attacks, sending reinforcements to protect our rocky cliffs by setting up battlements to keep constant watch over our ocean.  I say ‘our ocean’ as if we, the country of Newfoundland, could even suggest possessing such a thing.  This living, breathing entity entrusted to us by God to forever protect and nurture, and in return permission to fish her open blue waters.  She bestowed food in abundance to feed our families, nourish a growing country and sustain our people through long harsh winters, all the while, the stars beckoning fishermen to take to their boats and sail beneath their watchful gazes, enrapturing them in the ocean’s song of freedom and peace. The salty water blowing upon our land giving weight to the wet laundry strung out to dry on the tenuous lines, the gale force winds blowing it skyward.  Salt we could taste upon our lips, and feel the sting in our eyes after waiting and watching for our husbands, fathers, brothers and uncles to return home from months at sea.  Our lives hung in limbo, much like the laundry blowing haphazardly across the blue horizon. We were left to protect our waters, land and people with nothing more than a few strong men and the good sense God had granted us to outlast the evil dictators who were waging war against England.  We watched as our men and women departed for lands far out reaching our own, with the ever present knowledge that they may never return.  We applauded their bravery, mocked the suggestions of indignant retreats and prayed for their eventual safe return to Newfoundland’s humble embrace.

The wind blew out like a blast from God as I blindly stood, tears streaming down my face with my hands frozen by my side.  The Botwood air base was abuzz with excitement, people milling about in the cold waiting for the slightest chance of catching a glimpse of his surly expression, most likely with a lit cigar firmly planted between his teeth as ashes trailed his every step.  This was the man who held the fate of England in his hands although promising years of struggle and grief, he never wavered in his belief that we could withstand the loss of lives brought upon us by Hitler’s egocentric views that embraced the inane and contemptible.

The entire world watched as England waged war against the tyranny of this dictator. The population poured passionate and all-encompassing faith into a beloved and respected Prime Minister, believing he could lead the world to victory over the malevolent force spreading across Europe.   I was excited by the prospect of meeting the leader of almighty England, but nervous he may look upon me as subservient.  His stellar military career had ignited my own aspirations of service, however I knew that I was not his equal.  His brilliance was far beyond my capacities and I was quickly daunted by the challenges of such a life during this tumultuous time. It was as if people knew this was an era of change and historic will; nations rose together in allegiance to restore peace, hope and the conviction that all people should live without having to witness death and destruction in their backyards. It was a time where the future seemed uncertain, the constant news of battles and resulting casualties the topic of every radio broadcast, but when he took to the airwaves, we rose in unison to hope the end of such senseless slaughter would soon be upon us.  I recalled hearing the warnings from the Prime Minister years before this terrible outbreak regarding Hitler’s rampant greed for superiority and his assembling of armies in the name of ‘white supremacy’.  Although he was politely ignored, Churchill could see Europe’s demise propelling forward and he was prepared to rally a nation to stand tall and fight.  His inspiring words sprang intense patriotism that only war time mentality could comprehend, and years later as he took his seat as Prime Minister, he became England’s savior as well as our guide into the dark abyss of war.

I watched in wonder as the man of whom I had been inspired emerged from the plane, the propellers slowing as the engines died.  He stood, his long trench billowing about his ankles and lit his cigar surreptitiously beside the plane’s engines.  I smiled as I watched, seeing the horrified looks from my superiors at Churchill’s disregard for such trivialities as an impending explosion from a lighter in proximity to the plane’s fuselage.  They hurriedly escorted him away from the danger zone and into a path leading directly to where I was standing.  The smile must have still been securely glued upon my face as he approached and smiled back at me.  His hat had almost succumbed to a violent gust of wind and he forcefully replaced it upon his head.  He looked me up and down as if inspecting my presence in such a desolate and isolated place and said loudly, “Hello, Sergeant!  So, how do you like it up here in Newfoundland?”  I was momentarily stunned staring into his bright blue eyes and the energy and warmth behind them tempted a reply from my gaping frozen lips. “Fine, sir” I sputtered, “I like it fine.”

KJ

 

A Top Ten

I’ve been stuck in bed all day with back spasms.  Mags is happy to hang out with me as long as I remain still and unobtrusive…or have treats to make her experience lying around even more enjoyable.  Because, really…it’s all about her.    The damned laptop is obviously a hindrance to her attempts at sitting right on top of my chest, which obviously is the BEST possible place for her to lie down.  That laptop HAS GOT TO GO.  It’s presence is almost offensive.

IMG_3152

Uh, hi!  Whatcha doin? Move this.  It’s in ma way. 

In the spirit of boredom and any kind of movement causing massive amounts of pain, I’ve collected a list of the Top Ten Things To Do When You Encounter Back Pain, or Held Hostage By a Fanatical Maniac Who Is About to Chop Off Your Legs.  It’s An Either Or Situation.

A long title, I realize but I have nothing else to do, and really they both are kinda the same.  They involve solitary confinement and pain, although having someone take an axe to your legs could be construed as a tad more painful.  On the other hand,  if you’ve ever had back spasms, you would WISH someone would just saw you in half.  So…

  1.  Watch a movie – I spent the morning in bed watching Practical Magic which was an old Sandra Bullock/Nicole Kidman flick. Not bad for an early morning movie and it was pretty cute.  Who knew Aiden Quinn was such a handsome hero in those days?

9. Eat all of the leftover Halloween Candy – I haven’t eaten it all…yet. But since we had so many kids last night, we had to send son to get some more and are now left with more than we thought.  I’m sending recon missions downstairs for mini Kit Kat bars…

8. Nap – never overrated and the dog joins you.

7.  Send the kids to the store for shit you don’t need – THEY LOVE THAT.  You suddenly realize you are short on pencils or don’t have enough chalk paint for that project you will never get around to.  Send the kids on the hunt for the elusive colour of salmon chalk paint ( does not exist) or number 2 pencils that you have no use for and can’t even sharpen, BECAUSE WHO STILL OWNS AN OLD FASHIONED PENCIL SHARPENER?!  It’s entertaining.  Good. Times.

6.  Write down the cooking instructions for dinner – Make them complicated like lamb chops stuffed with asparagus and goat cheese…Yeah. They will give up right after reading ‘lamb’ in a fury of WHAT THE HELL! expressions and helpless abandon and order pizza.  You get the extra slice with whatever you want on it for allowing them to give up on dinner so quickly.  They will be ever so grateful for not having to burn the house down trying to make that lamb dish a reality.   YOU. ARE. AN. AWESOME. MOM

5.  Organize your Christmas list – JUST KIDDING. Who the hell wants to do that?!  It’s a day where you can lay around watching t.v. and taking naps, and have those people you call family wait on YOU for a change.  Why spoil that with something constructive and practical?  Gawwwdddd.  WORK WITH ME HERE.

4.  Read that book you have been meaning to read – you have all kinds of time and nowhere to be. Get into that novel that’s been sitting on your shelf. A great way to pass the time.  Immersing yourself in someone else’s world is just what you need.

3.  A long soak in a hot bath – good for the muscles, good for the soul.  Make sure a glass of wine is accompanying you.  Or the bottle.  Whatever works.  You ARE in pain.

2.  The awesomeness of pain medication should not be overlooked – It can make you a little sleepy, but also a little loopy. In essence, it’s the one opportunity you can act drunk and disorderly without actually being either of those things.   Feel free to insult the kids or throw a tantrum because your coffee is not 98 degrees Fahrenheit, because dammit you earned it.  Tell those kids to keep it down and when they complain, just say “REALLY?!  I SPENT 25 HOURS IN LABOUR WITH A TEN POUND BABY COMING OUT OF MY HOO-HA, WHICH  BY THE WAY, NOW LOOKS LIKE SOMEBODY RAN OVER A PIZZA WITH A SEMI- FOR YOU TO COMPLAIN ABOUT MY PAIN?!  OK.  WHATEVER.  YOU DO YOU.”  Then weep wildly.  They’ll feel bad and get you whatever you want.

  1.  Nothing – the number one thing to do, is to do nothing. Ice, heat, rest, eat, repeat.

The pain meds are now kicking in.  Hope you enjoy a lovely fall day and get those kids to pamper you whether you have back pain or are held hostage by a maniacal fan, or not.