Like anything worth doing,it’s worth doing well. And doing something ‘well’ is quite relative a term. And I hate starting sentences with ‘and’. Ugh.
As I’m feverishly writing my next entry into the anthology of ‘Books People Will ReadAfterI’m Dead’ I’ve been missing events and goings on to which I really should have been paying more attention. As I was downing my glass of wine the other night, someone mentioned something aboutTikTok. I’m thinking Nanny’s noisy clock that is currently hanging in her kitchen and dings every BLESSED HOUR ON THE HOUR, but no. TikTokis an app for lip-syncing and karaoke-gone-awry. It’s asocial media app that lets a person download a video of someone singingbadly toN’Syncor the Backstreet Boys or maybe amore currentmusicianlike theBiebs. I’m thinking of doing ‘Bye-Bye’ ala JT with the curls and the baggy jeans and the fancy-dancymoves.
I could joinTikTokand connect with the peeps who arejammin’ to NKOTB andIT’SBRITTANY, BITCH. Maybe somebodysingin’ some Alanis…Yeah. “Isn’t it Ironic? Don’tyathink?” I could so NOT do that. Well. Not well. At all.
Maybe I’ll doa video of Mags when sheborksat the ‘hood dogs. She couldbe the next big thing! Add some music and BAM she’s the four-legged Madonna of the doggo-world. Maybe she could do a whole rap-thing.Instead of ‘Lose Yourself’ she could do ‘PooYo’self’. EPIC.
I’ll keep brain-storming some ideas whilst desperately trying to stay on-trend. Do we still say ‘whilst’? Ugh.
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.
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.”
The other morning when leaving Bootcamp, I heard a woman exclaim how mundane her life had become with making lunches and gathering kids to the bus for school. I remember those days. Frankly, I’m glad they’re over. It’s challenging being a mom and working and shuffling after-school activities, homework, discipline and then you still have to feed these people. It’s exhausting. And then, it seems a few days later, they’re driving cars and shuffling themselves to after-school activities. They’re going to parties and getting part-time jobs. They buy their own lunches and get busy with friends. Pretty soon, she’s going to college or university and taking classes we’ve never heard of and dating people we don’t know. Who owns you?
Then you find yourself sitting at her convocation
and celebrating her achievement (which is really yours, as well) and then she’s
stressed because she has to find a job.
Then you turn around and she’s moved out into her own apartment because she
has actual employment, her own vehicle and a life. And here you are Mommy, with her lunch in
your hand saying, ‘but I made you peanut butter, your favourite.’ She shrugs and says she has her own food and
will see you later. Like next week. When she has the time and is not on
shift. And she needs food for her
The mundane is how you go from ‘Mommy,
I need you’ to ‘Mom, I’ll see you later.’
It’s all the crap you have to endure in order to see that snotty-nosed
kid become an adult. One capable of
making her own lunches and paying her own bills and taking care of somebody else’s
sick baby. But then she comes home and
opens the fridge to see what’s to eat and she wants to watch Arthur’s Perfect
Christmas with you and everything is right with the world, until she has to go
back to work and become an adult and someone else’s caregiver.
You did that, Mommy. Because you made her lunches and you got her
shuffled to the bus and you read her stories at night for the one-hundredth
millionth time and you did it because you knew, someday, it would all be worth
it. I know, right now it’s tiring and
challenging. I know you have no time for
yourself and you wish she would just be a bit more independent, but don’t rush
it. She’ll get there. In her own time.
Hang in there, Mommy. You are doing a great job. Make those damned lunches, take her to the
bus stop and read the bed-time stories. You’ll
blink and you’ll be hanging art in her new apartment and wondering if she has
enough toilet paper for next week.
The mundane stuff is what she
relies on. You are her safety net. Keep going.
I’ve been attending the same Bootcamp for close to four years, now. It’s been a great experience for me and I’ve learned quite a bit. I now have a new appreciation for exercise and the complexities that it contains. I appreciate good form and I am more self-aware. There is another side to class that no one talks about…
Let’s face it,
shit goes down when you start moving your body in ways that you never could
have imagined possible. Naturally, as a
woman of a certain age, bodily functions can go a little…astray….and, at the
least opportune time.
Here is a Top Ten
list of Shit that happened to me during Bootcamp class that should never happen
to anybody. Ever.
Assistance- This occurred in the first
year of class and I was a newbie in dressing in those tight pants. I erroneously went on-line and adhered to
advice given by a twenty-something about not wearing underwear under the
tights. That way no panty-lines! Yay! I thought. Also at this time, I was a bit…leaky. I’ve had three children. I was nearing fifty, please. I wore ‘assisted’ apparel for my lady bits so
if any ‘leaking’ happened, I was prepared.
So, I stuck one of those babies to my tights. No undies, remember? Fast forward to half-way through class and my
‘assisted’ gear had traveled. Holy
fucking God it had unstuck from my tights and traveled down my leg to the
inside of my knee! I distinctly remember
doing jumping lunges with that thing stuck to the inside of my leg and thinking
“well, at least it will absorb my knee sweat…”
I walked out of class with it still stuck to the inside of my leg and
wondered if anyone noticed that my right leg looked a little…thick.
9) Braille boards
are a good idea – I can’t see shit when I remove my glasses. I don’t wear my glasses in class and for four
years I haven’t been able to read the nice little whiteboards the Coach places
at each station. I’m getting better at
watching what others do before I get to that station…or I improvise until Coach
corrects me. I look like Mr. Magoo for
most of the class.
8) What’s that smell? – Good diets + ab workouts = explosions that inevitably happen. It’s a good thing the music is loud and it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘Explosive’ Stars… Ventilation. Good ventilation….
7) My hip doesn’t
do that. Ever. – I have arthritis in my
left hip and it just doesn’t want to move on some days. Sumo squats become semi-sumo with a little
squat for good measure. I fake it
6) Remember what?
– With new exercises comes new things to remember. I’m still trying to remember what day it is,
let alone an exercise that I’m going to get around to in fifteen minutes. Let’s be real. I’ll watch but then forget and then make
something up that kinda resembled what she showed us at 5:50 Goddamn AM when my
brain was still back in my bed and my coffee was calling my name. AND NOW WITH THE MICROPHONE, I CAN’T TELL
WHERE SHE IS IN THE fucking ROOM AND I CAN’T GET AWAY WITH IT AS MUCH. Just sayin’…
5) Sweat is normal – Come on, it’s the body’s
natural expression of “FOR FUCK’S SAKE LADY WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO
ME?! I’M LITERALLY CRYING NOW. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY PLEASE
STOP!” This is how I imagine my body reacts to me
working out. It’s crying and is begging
for me to stop. And then I look around
and some of the ‘younger’ ladies and somehow, they haven’t even broken a sweat,
yet. I KNOW IT’S ONLY BEEN TEN
MINUTES. BUT IT’S BEEN TEN MINUTES! How are you not sweating right now? Yes, that’s my butt mark on the floor. You. Are. Welcome.
4) That’s not
crotch sweat- I refer you to #1 and sometimes leakiness is a part of sweatiness
and we older ladies are keeping it classy by referring to it as ‘The Lady
Trickles.” Feel free to print that on a
3) Hair floor
catastrophes- What’s with all the spare-hair on the floor? I’ll tell you what- your hair falls out after
working out so much. It’s trying to
escape the pain. My hair is contained
most of the time, but some days it has a mind of its own and can’t control its
excitement for Burpees…
mysteries – I get tangled up in the TRX.
I call the exercises that are complex and compound “Half pike with an
explosive star extravaganza” because I can’t remember the appropriate name nor
how my arm is supposed to reach then stretch then do that bicep mid-air curl
with a half-twist…thing. Yeah.
1) I’ve fallen and
I can kinda get up but only because you shamed me into it. Bitch – I say that with the utmost affection
and gratitude. Maybe. Most days I would never get up off the floor
but I see everyone else doing Deadman Burpees from Hell and I think, “Dafuq are
you Queens doing? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
STAY DOWN! STAY DOWN!” But no….EVERYBODY gets
back up and they do it all over again.
That’s it. That’s the list. I hope it brought a smile and we can all get
real with our bad-selves and Lizzo our way through the rest of our
Clearly, I should have listened to my gut this morning. I was on my way to Tim’s for tea for Hubby and coffee for myself. A long line greeted me at the drive thru, however, it’s usually quick and I was in no hurry. I had left early enough to adjust for the line. I get to the drive thru window and a sign had been posted. No debit. Of course, there’s no debit at the drive thru this morning because I don’t have any cash! I get to the window and ask if I can place my order, park and come in to pick it up. Of course, I can’t do that because that would be too easy! I drive on past the window and look at the extensive line blocking the parking. My answer was “Fuck this,” and I drive out. I go to the OTHER Tim Horton shop that is only a walk-in. I refer here to, ‘listening to my gut,’ because at the sight of the line as I was initially driving up to the first coffee shop, my head was saying ‘fuck that and go to the other Tim’s.’ I didn’t listen and here I was fifteen minutes later, driving to the other Tim’s. I get there. Virtually no line. They also have no tea. Ugh. I wait. Half an hour later, I arrive home with tea for Hubby. My lesson for today was listen to your gut. (And…. I can hear the Starbucks fans yelling at me…)
We always have situations where
that little voice in our head is telling us something different than the
oftentimes, easiest route. It says to go
the other way, or something about this situation is wrong. We have the free will to choose. We can either listen to that little voice or
our ‘gut’, or we can choose to go the easy way.
Maybe the easier more convenient route seems logical or more practical
at the time, then it turns out costing more time or more energy in the long
run. If we stop and listen for just a
second more, we could have saved ourselves pain or time or money by listening
to our ‘gut’ or our intuition. It’s rarely
Listening to our intuition takes
practice. We have to be able to trust
that little voice to lead us in the right direction. Often times, we doubt what that voice is
saying because we doubt ourselves. We
don’t trust enough in our intellect or in our logic or in our understanding of
the situation to trust that inner voice.
It’s screaming to be heard and we
ignore it because we fear the outcome.
We fear its wrong and we’ve made the wrong choice. Making mistakes is an essential part of growth
and if we never make a mistake, if we never take a chance on something that
makes us challenge ourselves, we have allowed complacency to move in. That would be boring.
Today’s lesson for me was minor. It cost me time but I had time to spare. I try to impart the wisdom of listening to
your intuition to my daughters. Your intuition
or ‘Spidey-Sense’ tells you when someone is ‘off’ or maybe the situation feels
wrong to you. Then get out. If it feels wrong then it is wrong. For you.
You may think because you see others seemingly enjoying themselves and
they may well be, that you would be making the wrong choice by leaving or by
not participating. But maybe they feel
something about it is wrong too, but are not listening to their gut. Maybe they’re afraid they’ll miss something
or that people will ostracize them because they made another choice. You have to trust in yourself to listen to
your inner voice and make the choice that’s right for you. I’m
not saying to run away from things or situations that challenge you. I’m saying if a situation or person seems to
be going in a direction that’s immoral, illegal or unethical then you have the
obligation to decide what’s best for you.
And your true self, your true inner
voice already has your back and knows the answer.
You just have to listen to it.
Opening ourselves up to listening
to our voice and to trust in ourselves takes practice, but it is well-worth the
work. Fear and self-doubt should take a
backseat to listening and acting upon our instincts.
Obviously, I have some practicing to do myself. Or, I can send Hubby to get the coffee and tea next time. We’ll see if he listens to his inner voice along the way….
My name is Julien Hill. If you’ve read KJ’s book, False Hope, you would know who I am. KJ wanted me to write a little bit about myself to give you ‘insights’ into my behavior in the book. Frankly, I think it’s a big waste of time, but she can get a bit whiney and this was the only way I could shut her up.
Like I said, my name is Julien and before I went working undercover
at that sorry excuse for a law office of Upshall’s, I worked on the Vice squad
for about five years. Most of my
policing experience comes from dealing with drug dealers and low-lifes, so this
new gig was one I wasn’t looking forward to.
I regret the whole thing. The
only light in the entire operation was Ashley.
She’s an angel. It’s no secret I
had a thing for that girl, but she only had eyes for Jamie, or Jax, as you all
would know him. Trust me, that guy has
some secrets he wouldn’t like to get out.
But this is about me.
I grew up just outside of Toronto. I was an only child. My parents were teachers and are retired, now living in Hamilton. Linda and Brian were always worried about my tendencies to be alone instead of hanging with a bunch of kids from school, but I just never found my group. I stayed locked up in my room reading comic books. They suited me better. I was never good at sports and the geeks were too brainy for me, so I fell somewhere in the middle. I got my first good camera in grade 10 and taught myself how to take cool shots and develop them myself. I started spending a lot of time in my darkroom I had set up in the basement. Again, Linda and Brian weren’t too pleased with my ‘obsessive’ tendency to take ‘pictures’ and suggested I spend more time with my studies. This led to a lot of arguments with my parents and I ended up storming out a few times. I needed to get my own place, I knew that.
After high school, I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I knew a guy who had applied to the police department for kicks, so I thought I’d apply. I wrote on the application I was handy with a camera and they seemed interested by that. I showed them the portfolio I threw together along with the dark room I had and they sent me to the academy. I hated that too, but I made it through. They sent me directly to Vice and I was set up to do surveillance. Apparently, my eye for detail and awesome photography skills came in handy. I got great shots that handed guys some hefty sentences in Kingston. I was feeling useful in that gig. I got my own place and set up my darkroom off of my bedroom. And then, they sent me to Organized Crime with the pretty boys like Jamie. Adrian had strict rules about who I was to ‘associate’ with, so no buddies at Vice for me, anymore. I hated undercover. The only thing that suited me was the fact I got to be alone and take some shots. I guess you know by now, that I had some photos of Ashley and some women. It wasn’t a pervy thing. I just appreciate a beautiful form. Call it art. That’s all I’m going to say about it. The secret compartment under my desk was supposed to be private. The fact that Ashley found it and it wasn’t discovered by the guys in OC was more awesome than I could have ever imagined.
I know I’m dead, now.
You don’t have to pretend that I’m alive and kicking and will be
magically reappearing in another of KJ’s books.
I know it ain’t happenin’ but I couldn’t have imagined any better way of
dying. All for Ashley. Those idiots couldn’t save a raccoon from a
tree, let alone a beauty like Ashley.
That’s why I had to dive in. I
had to make sure she got away from the goons charging into the apartment and I
thought I had a good shot at getting her away from Jamie and his gang of merry
men, but that didn’t work out as well as I had planned. But, she did good in my opinion.
She was innocent in all of this. She wasn’t supposed to be in any of the
operation until Jamie got his hooks into her and made her a part of this
mess. It’s his fault she had to run from
murderous bastards and his fault she had to move away. I could see how hurt she was when her friend
was killed and I could see he left her in the middle of the whole ordeal. I didn’t bail on her like Jamie did. I was behind the scenes watching like always. And I was there when it counted, in the end. That’s what’s important.
I don’t know what they did with all of my stuff. My apartment is empty so I assume Linda and
Brian cleaned it up. I know Ashley asked
that my pictures be taken away. I only
hope she has a few to remember me by.
Her savior. Her hero. I loved her the most. You can tell her I said that.
The following is a reblog of a post I wrote two years ago. It reminds us to take a breath and appreciate our connections and relationships; to value each day and each person we encounter along the way. Stay connected, my friends.
The other day I was cleaning out our closet. It was time to do some much needed purging. I decided to gut out everything and go from there. I ended up finding some old cards from a few years ago when my mother passed away. I opened each one and read them again, this time with five years behind me. They were sweet and sympathetic. My Aunt had sent one reminiscing about when she and my mother were teens and very close. Some I kept and others I didn’t. So much for the big purge. In amongst the cards I found a letter that was written by a childhood friend of the family. Her kids were friends with us when we lived in the old neighbourhood. She and her husband were friends with my parents. We used to visit them after they moved away into a new house. She wrote to say how dismayed she was of my mother’s passing and that she hadn’t realized my mother continued to reside in Chatham. She assumed she had moved in either my brother or myself. She was disappointed she had not made the effort to reconnect. I think she was disappointed neither had my mother. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault that they got disconnected. It was just life.
Kids grow up, graduate, move on to university or not, tragic events unfold, weddings and new houses, new babies, new lives. It’s everything that happens over a lifetime. We get disconnected. We get disjointed and enmeshed in the everyday. We forget the connections that were made years ago on a summer’s day when the children were small, who later walked to the bus stop hand-in-hand on frosty fall mornings, caught “all things squirmy and squishy” (her words) and played basketball until nightfall.
Those days get lost in band practices,
packed lunches, hockey games and baseball tryouts. People get older, move to other streets or to
other towns. They work, they make new
friends, they move on to other hobbies, other occupations and other past times
without the old acquaintances that have become a part of their past. The present is different. Its fluid and changes with the seasons and
the ever-speeding passage of time. We
don’t notice the children becoming adults until they are there. We don’t notice our hair changing colour
until our hairstylist points it out (while saying loudly WHY ARE YOU NOT COMING
HERE MORE OFTEN?! ) we don’t notice the deeper cracks in the sidewalks
outside the house, how the maple tree
has grown exponentially or how few little children are out playing street
hockey these days, until all of that suddenly seeps into our consciousness and
we take a look around with clearer eyes.
And older eyes. How did this
happen? When did we get HERE?
I understand her disappointment and
dismay. It seems like a sudden
about-face of one minute she’s there, the next she’s gone, but really it wasn’t
like that. It was a lifetime of being,
of living and of surviving. The
disconnection of relationships is unfortunately, an everyday occurrence that
can be prevented if we take the time. Aye
there’s the rub. TIME. We never have enough. It flies away so
fleetingly. If only we had more time to
connect, to say ‘hey’, to reminisce, to support, to actually stop and watch
everything grow and change without having to be awoken to its
transformation. It’s a difficult
dance. Maybe we don’t want to watch
because if we do, then we’ll have to admit that we are getting older, life is
flying by without us even moving or flinching in this hurricane. Maybe
we don’t really want to see the children getting older or the sidewalk cracking
or the maple tree growing so big we can’t see across the street, anymore. We’d rather hold on to today, to live in the present,
just let me have one more day!
Connections are our lifelines. We crave them, we seek them out and some we
hold dear. Our intentions are for
connections to last as long as we take a breath, to be eternal and constant, but
sometimes those bonds get weaker and grow more distant, then they are suddenly
lost in the gale force wind. It’s not
wrong. It’s life.
I’m thinking after all of this time, to
send her a reply. To let her know I did
receive her letter and I did read it and I still have it. That I remember everything she said was
Maybe, that could be one little dance in the hurricane.