Mommy Days

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 fridge. 

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.

She’ll.  Be.  Great. 

Shit That Happens in Bootcamp Should Stay at Bootcamp. Until Now.

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. 

10) Wayward 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 mostly….

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 t-shirt.  

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…

2) Apparatus 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.  Ugh. 

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 workouts. 

At least, that’s my goal…

Listening To Your Intuition

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 wrong. 

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….

A Letter From Julien

Hello Out there,

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.

Always,

Julien

A Dance in The Hurricane

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.

KJ

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 true. 

 Maybe, that could be one little dance in the hurricane.