Turn On The Light

It seems as though the world is turning on its head.  It’s imploding with people condemning each other to friendship hell if they vote the wrong way, and other people tormented by inner demons to the point of taking their own lives; a ‘c’ word broke up a country and caused a wide divide, and the rest of us are left clinging for dear life hoping the assholes of the universe will suddenly realize by some divine intervention that the real logical courses of action exist and will redeem themselves with unbelievable compassion.  And humanity.  We hope.

We are missing something.  We are missing the spark of human conscience that guides every person on the planet to do and be in the light.  The positive voices that were once abound with energy and forethought are being

drowned out by deaths and guns and hate.

We are missing thoughtfulness and

mindfulness.

The once thoughtful intelligent discourse that filled the air is being pushed aside by social media insta-posts denigrating anyone who disagrees, anyone who takes a side and anyone who says the sun will come out tomorrow.   Guess what?  The sun will come out, people will disagree, there will be sides and the positive voices will sing.

Humanity has taken a big punch in the gut.  Compassion has taken a backseat to shaming.  Truth is a lost art.  The gun debate rears up and then fades away as fast as it arose.  People’s attention spans are at the ultimate minimum since we repeatedly seem to forget our own history. Allies are not allies anymore.  We would rather be at each other’s throats than by each other’s sides.

It’s painful and exhausting trying to wade through the muck of negativity and shameless heartlessness that seems to be waiting around every corner.  My generation, those of us in the throes of our fifties, are looking around baffled and bewildered by utter lack of empathetic voices.  What happened?

We forgot.  With all of the technological advances at our fingertips, with self-driving cars and instant cooking pots and ultimate quick efficient non-thinking gadgets, life got easier.  We got lazier.  We forgot to take care of the little things that we once thought were insignificant, but really are the most important.  We forgot people’s feelings; we forgot that people wage war with themselves that we know nothing about; we forgot to take care of our relationships, our friends, our family; we forgot what if feels like to struggle, to extend a hand to someone, to be neighbourly; we forgot what it’s like to be scared, lost, and alone; we forgot that someone else’s thoughts and life are as just as important as our own.  We forgot that whatever personal battles we are enduring, there is always someone else battling their own shit just as hard.  We became a self-involved, altruistic society with a big ego and multiple platforms on which to perform and display that ego.

We’ve forgotten how to think.  We’ve forgotten how to care.

The screeching tires that you hear in the background is the future of humanity revving up and getting ready to careen carelessly onwards.  It will run over anyone who stands warily in the road, waving her arms pleading for a hand with a flat.   If everyone stands in the road together, maybe we can get it to slow down a bit.  And help out.  And care about the girl with the flat tire on the side of the road.  Maybe.

If you are battling something that’s too big

for you to handle, there is always a choice.

The suicide hotlines are listed here.  http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/canada-suicide-hotlines.html

Take care of each other.

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Because She Said So

Two years before she died she told me that she was proud of me.  That, after reading a report I had done on a child I was seeing, she thought I was an intelligent independent woman and I would always be a little bit hers.  She said that. It was twenty eight years ago.  More than a lifetime and I still hold that near and dear to me.  I still carry it. I hold it in my hands as if it was a fragile rose ready to lose its petals.   I wasn’t hers in the blood relative sense, but hers in connection.  She had watched me grow.  Held me in her arms as I sobbed for my father.  Laughed when I couldn’t walk barefoot on the gravel at the cottage.  Washed my clothes. Washed my hair.  Let me swim in Lake Erie even if the water was freezing.  Took me for rides in her two seater convertible with the top down and the wind whipping my hair.  Let us search under the beds for the miserable cat we loved but didn’t love us back.   Christmas dinners, backyard barbeques, birthday cakes and an appreciation for evening games.  Cross border trips that included border guards looking in the backseat with me sandwiched between my dark haired, dark eyed brothers the European lady in the passenger seat and the black man driving.  The questioning look on the border guard’s face as he said “These kids yours?” We laughing hysterically as we drove on.  Fishing in Lake Erie and getting my line stuck in the rocks; halfway through a road trip to Toronto then realizing we didn’t have the tickets to a much anticipated game; a speeding ticket once we got there; singing Jesus Loves Me in the car, then me throwing up on the floor of the Ponderosa restaurant while we were in line; games of Sjoelbak (we pronounced it shoola), rummy, and my first introduction to poker.  My first drink (rye) during the move after my mom moved, my first job at her law office, my first grown up piece of jewelry, a watch when I graduated highschool.  Me picking ABC gum from underneath the tables at the Fiesta restaurant when I was five and everyone telling that story over, and over and over…..

A lifetime of memories from a woman who died too soon and she gave them all to us for nothing but by simply being a ‘little bit hers’.  And I am.  Because she said so.

The Day I Thought I Broke my Ass or How Gravity Literally Knocked Me Down. Again.

 

Gravity is to be defined as follows: the force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass. For most purposes Newton’s laws of gravity apply, with minor modifications to take the general theory of relativity into account.

synonyms: attraction · attracting force · downward force · pull ·

Or in my case, a catastrophic free fall to the centre of the earth without having the ware-with-all to catch myself.  I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE.

It’s not surprising that should I chance upon the opportunity to become airborne at any time, the Universe aptly decides my fate by hurtling my fat ass downward where it belongs.  I’m not sure why I think I belong anywhere other than face down as close to eating dirt as humanly possible, but there are moments where I forget myself and think upwards is a direction I need to encounter.

Apparently, THAT IS ALL KINDS OF WRONG.

I have been, I’m going to say ‘practicing’ or working out in my basement to increase my strength.  One of my exercises I decided to try was a chin-up.  A never-before-seen-event in my life, the why-not-me approach ignited my fire.  Hence the need for a pull-up bar attachment that sits on the top of a doorway and of course, the ever-required pull-up-assistance band that the guy at the fitness store told me was ‘the way to go to learn to do a pull-up, chin-up or any other ‘up’ thing you can think of’.  Awesome. Still having the hauntings from the old  highschool Canadian Fitness tests, I figured the ripe young age of 51 was perfect to finally get it right.  Flashbacks of Mrs. Harrieta’s disappointed face as I hurled downwards off the chin up bar in what only can be explained as teenaged angst + embarrassment at my total lack of athleticism = FAILURE AS A TEENAGER.  I should have clued in that the Universe was giving me hints even back then that a chin up bar has no place in my existence.  Or random sidewalks.  AND DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TRYING TO CLIMB A TREE.   Pfffft.

So there it was.  The good old pull-up attachment bar and the assistance band all ready to go.  All I needed to do was, well pull.

I was practicing the chin-up with the assistance band for a few weeks.  I was getting better.  I could do three fairly good ones without much difficulty.  One morning, I set up for my usual practice. I placed the bar on the header and tested it out by pulling on it to make sure it was secure.  (Pro tip: DON’T MOVE THE BAR ONCE YOU TEST IT.  )   I put the band around one foot.  I position my hands on the bar.  I cross my legs, close my eyes and pull.  I am completely up in the chin up with my legs out in front of me, when suddenly I’m down on my ass.  CRACK!  WHAT A SMACK!

I open my eyes only to discover I’m sitting on the floor with the bar beside me, my ipod and headphones strewn around, and bits of the header from the door frame scattered on the floor.  I’m in pain.  I jump up.  “OH MY GAWD I THINK I JUST BROKE MY ASS!”  That was my first thought.  Not, oh Gawd I broke the door, or for fuck’s sake I suck at chin ups, but OH MY GAWD I BROKE MY ASS.

Logical thought was obviously missing from this whole thing.  If I had broken my ass, I wouldn’t have been able to jump up and then sit back down.  I wouldn’t have been able to walk.  I wouldn’t be able to tell you this story out of extreme embarrassment and humiliation.

Okay, yes I would because I LIVE FOR THAT SHIT.

I tried desperately to figure out how I ended up on the floor.  I looked up to see if the header was still intact.  It was.  The bar was completely down on the floor.  My ass hurt like someone had just booted me with a steel toed boot in my rear a few times.  My elbow had a scrape and a burgeoning bruise.  I landed on one side of my backside and my elbow.  I could stand but lifting my leg was painful.

D1 was sleeping a mere 20 feet away AND IS A NURSE SO I THOUGHT SOME ASSISTANCE OR AT LEAST A LITTLE SYMPATHY WOULD ENSUE.  Yeah.  I got nuthin.

Apparently, as a nurse, sleep takes precedence over possibly injured family members who try stupid stuff like chin-ups on doorways and think CLOSING ONE’S EYES MID WAY is a good idea.

My undoing was the legs-out-in-front maneuver that somehow translated to me jumping the bar over the header mid-move which came flying off and crashing everything down on my ass.

I ended up NOT breaking anything but nixed working out for a week and can just now get to running a bit and to getting up off the floor without looking like a 90 year old with a hip replacement.

There is a lesson here, I’m sure and the Universe had a good laugh at that one.

“Yeah, remember the time  in Florida when I made the torrential rain come down and you thought, like an idiot, you could run through it  IN SANDALS NO LESS without any consequence  and face planted into that cement barrier?!  I bet you saw stars that time!  AND as a result looked like a Zombie Jay Leno for WEEKS?!!  That was a good one!  One of my best.  And then the time you tried to do a chin up and the bar came flying off  that beautiful doorway and you landed with a God Awful smack on your ass?!  You had a hard time walkin’ after that!  Yeah.  Your Coach kept asking ‘how’s your ass today?’  LOVES IT.  Oh, man.  Good times….”

Fuck you, Universe.

As for Gravity, you can suck it too.  I’m done with the both of you…

 

I Need A More Stable Roller Coaster Partner

My middle-aged-ness has arrived and I’m reeling between bouts of euphoric elatedness and anxiety-ridden craptastic desperation. It’s like riding the Universe’ version of the roller coaster from Hell with the Joker as my side-kick. He’s laughing at me being totally HAPPY AS SHIT one minute, then PETRIFIED OF LOSING MY LUNCH MONEY TO THE BULLY AROUND THE CORNER, the next. This is what paranoid mania must feel like. I’m thinking Menopause on Crack is a better term. WELCOME TO THE FIFTIES, LADY.

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Ugh.

For instance, I have acne and wrinkles at the same time. The Universe is fucking with my face. I don’t like it.

I’m prone to fleeting outbursts of anxiousness at the slightest provocation. D2: Oh the engine light just came on. Me: WHAT?! OH MY GAWD STOP THE CAR! HOW CAN YOU BE CALM AT A TIME LIKE THIS! DO YOU SMELL SMOKE?! I THINK I SMELL SMOKE. PULL OVER! D2: This is why I drive…

I’m posting childhood pictures of my kids and they don’t like it…which leads to more pictures which leads to more protests…If I could figure out how to transform those VH baby tapes to video, it would be online FACEBOOK GOLD. “Yes, D1 you had red hair…and you still do. AWWWW, look! You’re playing in the toilet.”

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I’ve been incessantly exercising which has given me the unfortunate ability to be REALLY FUCKING HAPPY ALL OF THE DAMNED TIME. Seriously. Except for the times when people are being utterly stupid, I can be a bit overly…perky. It’s annoying even for me. REALLY?! WE’RE HAVING CAKE TODAY?! OH MY GAWD MY LIFE IS MADE!! WHAT?! WE’RE GOING TO HALIFAX FOR 3 DAYS??!! I’VE NEVER BEEN TO HALIFAX FOR A GOOD REASON, LIKE OTHER THAN THE STRESSFUL RN EXAM TAKING THAT WAS TOTALLY ALMOST DISTASTROUS AND DEVASTATINGLY PAINFUL! THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!! Right. I need to take it down a notch.

I’ve also been meal planning and experimenting with some new and ‘interesting’ recipes. Every time I come home and my kidadults see a sheet of printed paper in my hands and a smile on my face, they grow increasingly concerned. “Uh, oh. She’s been researching recipes again….MOM I’M WORKING I WON’T BE HOME FOR SUPPER. FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, BUT THANKS!” Yeah, I’m on to you, kid. MY RECIPES ROCK. Too bad you have bad tastebuds…that chicken soup was GREAT. Ok, maybe a little lacking in taste, but it was GOOD. Ok, maybe a bit brothy and the dumplings were just lumps of soggy flour, but it was at least EDIBLE. Ok, maybe THAT ONE, kinda sucked. BUT THIS NEXT ONE IS GONNA BE GREAT. Maybe. EAT IT ANYWAYS. YOUR MOTHER HAS LITTLE ELSE TO LIVE FOR BUT TO FEED YOU.

The guilt thing usually works.

Other than that, I’m fine. Really. PERFECTLY FINE, THANKS NOW PASS THE WINE BOTTLE AND NO ONE GETS HURT.

Happy Friday…

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.

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.