Let’s Pretend Reality is Really Real

As I get older, I find it harder to keep up. Keep up with the ‘kids’, keep up with the work around the house, keep up with the bills, keep up with exercising, keep up with the ever moving ever changing world we live in. I suppose that’s normal and something everybody has to deal with, but that’s not the image people play out on social media.
If one was to believe everything according to Facebook, everybody is living a perfect well-balanced, harmonious life void of any pressures of keeping up, or staying fit or feeling great or being successful. Life According to Facebook is a veritable wonderland of rainbows and unicorns. The happiness meter is on bust and the world is one great big giant playground where all the kids are having fun and playing nice and laughing hysterically…not maniacally. That would be creepy and Facebook doesn’t do creepy. Does it? 

 Well, kinda when you think about it. That’s the premise of Facebook. We gander and peruse others’ lives. We look at the pictures. We see the posts. “I had a great time eating my lunch today.” REALLY?! How is eating lunch equal to having a good time? UNLESS, there was alcohol and a lot of friends thrown in there where you didn’t have to go back to work and the food was free and the sun was shining and….see, there are parameters about how having fun eating lunch can actually occur. Who am I to judge whether someone had fun simply by eating his/her lunch? I’m not. But if somebody puts it out there for the world to see, the world will invariably judge because, duh, that’s what human beings do.  

We judge.

We compare.

We analyse.

We decide what is good, what is bad, what is tasteful, what isn’t. It’s in our nature to simply make decisions on first impressions, be all judgey about it then move on.  

Or, like me, make fun. It’s how I roll, but then I expect the same in return.  

The perfectionist in all of us wants to post the BEST of us on Facebook for the world to dissect and analyse and examine in some sort of twisted voyeuristic play, but that’s not real life.

Nothing on there is real. Really. Not EXACTLY reality, sort of a mixed-up “let’s pretend” kind of thing.  

Image is what is being projected. Someone’s likeness to the real human underneath the pouty smile or the posed stance next to the car. No one’s life is a perfect sequence of magical events all coming together in one symphonic interlude.  

But we sure as hell like to think it does. “Hey, I got a smile from my dog. Post that!” I have done that. I do that all of the damned time and then think, “Why the fuck did I just post a picture of my snarly growly tyrannical dog who actually looks like she’s smiling for once and not ready to tear the head off some random kid walking by our house?” WELL, BECAUSE MY SNARLY GROWLY TYRANNICAL DOG ACUTALLY LOOKED LIKE SHE’S SMILING FOR ONCE AND NOT READY TO TEAR THE HEAD OFF SOME RANDOM KID WALKING BY OUR HOUSE! That’s why. Because it made me happy to think she was actually happy and I wanted the world to think my dog was happy and in turn, I was happy.

Because happy is good.

AND WHO DOESN’T WANT TO BE HAPPY?!

So post happy!

As long as everyone is under the general anesthetic knowledge that NOTHING ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS REALLY REAL, only kinda sorta real then we’re all good.

So, Truman on folks.*  

Fake is the new reality. Not to be confused with the ever-nauseating phrase ‘fake news’. Pleeeeeeaaasssse. No.

Here is a picture of my snarly growly tyrannical dog who actually looks like she’s smiling for once.


I hope it makes you happy.

*[For those of you old enough, this is a movie reference to the Truman Show. Jim Carrey. Ring a bell? No? Ugh. Nevermind….]

Running Through A Meadow is Overrated

The Universe can be an asshole.  Here you are happily running along the meadow, gaily skipping through the flowers, birds singing, skies blue with not a cloud to be seen, the sun beaming down upon you with the warmest glow when BAM! the Universe sticks out his foot and you pull off the biggest face plant ever with buttercups and meadow flying in your wake.  There you are, face down in the mud and dirt, your nose bleeding from the epic wallop, laying on the cold earthen floor, your hair left in knots and wayward birds pecking at you bringing twigs and branches to make a nice new nest in there for their offspring.  Your arms ache like shit from trying to break your fall on the way down.   The ultimate insult, the birds crap on your head as you shoo them away.  You never saw it coming.

Thanks, Universe.

YOU SUCK.

That’s how life works.  It’s all a big game and you get knocked down a time or twenty.  It’s not how you get knocked down, although the face plant is painful and embarrassing and epically awful with the nest and crap all over your head, but getting up again is just as hard.  It’s a matter of scraping off that blood and dirt, climbing up to your feet and taking a good look around.  The sun will still shine.  The sky will still be blue.  Those goddamned birds will still be looking for a place to nest and crap, but you can rise above all of that.  You can take a breath and clean yourself up.  The embarrassment will fade.  The blood will be cleaned off (although the nose may be a Marcia Brady nose for a while)

giphy

and you will trudge on once more.  One step at a time at first.  Running gaily may have to wait for you to recover.  But it will happen.  You don’t want to run through a meadow, anyways.  The bugs are awful.  You are allergic to all of that grass and shit.  The birds, seemingly sweet and innocent, will beat you down with their wings and beaks.  They are not nice.  AND THEY INCESSANTLY CRAP ALL OVER THE PLACE.  Seriously.  Avoid the birds.

Instead, take stock, get a breath and beat the Universe at its own game.

You. Are. Better.

l-amazing-photo-pug-and-tulips

I’m Drivin’ Here!! 

Summer has finally hit the rock with warmer winds and the penchant to sit out in the sun void of any common sense and sunblock. Everyone returns to work on Tuesday after a long weekend with red skin and a hangover. Ahhhh, summer.With that, drivers seemed to be imminently scarred from the rays of the sun with forgetfulness and ignorance, aka, signal lights have gone mysteriously missing and cutting others off then driving like grandma-without-a-license is the new fad. Apparently, my daughter says I have road rage and I should take anger management classes, just because I swore a bit today while trying to turn into Tim’s and people had the nerve to DRIVE WITHOUT LETTING ME TURN!! COME ON I NEED COFFEE HERE!!! Gawd….

I think people should be reminded how to drive with a bit of grace, dignity and an air of panache. Like driving with the windows down whilst listening to a classic Manilow tune! Or driving that convertible that can only be taken out a few times a year and whip around the city with hair flying and eyes closed! AND, of course turn down any street and park on the wrong side of the road while one figures out that dang cell-phone thingy the daughter left! Please! Just don’t cut me off then look at me in shock and horror that I am presenting you with an offer to go in another direction. At least I’m smiling sweetly while I do that. AND, DON’T DRIVE BY THE COFFEE SHOP WHEN I’M TRYING TO TURN!  
Aside from the brutal driving, I am content with the sun, tolerating the wind and am unhappy with the clouds that seem to descend once I get home from work. I long for a full day of sun in multiple succession, not just a day here and there.

ALSO, who thought up the bright idea to have graduations, convocations and proms all in the span of one month?! Those of us geniuses with multiple childadults who are about-to-be-employed-and-eat-all-of-my-food-without-replacing-it-including-my-FAVOURITE-COFFEE-THAT-I-NEED-TO-EXIST-ON-THIS-CLIMATE-CHANGING-TRUMP-VOMIT-INDUCING-PLANET, DO NOT THANK YOU FOR THAT.  

Just saying.

Despite all of the above whining, I am content. I go to Bootcamp that has me dizzy with new exercises that are combined with other exercises that have me doing multiple things all at once. The bicep-tricep-dip-with-a-downward-dog-push-up-frogjump is my favourite so far. I’m gonna wait while you try that sucker out…

See?

Awesome. I’m often glad I can’t see EXACTLY what exercises Coach has printed on the whiteboards at each station. I’m tempted to rewrite what’s there when it’s my turn and watch the ladies who follow me figure that shit out.  

IF you see me with a marker anywhere near those whiteboards, consider yourself warned.

Also, I am hanging out with Hubby who is doing very well and the childadults-who–eat- all-of-the-food and whine about working.  

Awwww…SUCK IT UP KIDS.

Enjoy the sun, warmth and the impending rain that will happen because Newfoundland.

I’ll be over here drinking wine and watching another door blow off my house. Cheers! 

 

Turkey Talk

Convocations have occurred with some fanfare and very little drama (thank Gawwwwd) and now, the final epic graduation of son will take place to end the graduation year ceremoniously, thus. Or something traditional and ceremonial like that….

His grad date and Mommy spontaneously dropped by to shake my hand and meet the mother of the young man who will accompany her first born on her graduation. I’m hoping I made a good impression what with the clean laundry littering the floor, Mags barking madly, Hubby chillin’ on the couch eating his snack and watching hockey news and me still in my stinky running clothes. WHO DOESN’T WANT TO MEET SOMEBODY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THAT SWEET MESS?! She was sweet and then the turkey talk happened. Literal, turkey talk. Son and grad date will have pics taken at someone’s cabin or farm or something naturalistic like that. I went into a semi-conscious state when the question of ‘so what are your plans for that day’ was asked. I wasn’t aware I was to have PLANS. Like, real PLANS?!! Then on to the discussion, well really more of a statement than discussion, of having pictures taken where there was a wharf and water and oh yeah, could be turkeys wandering about. BECAUSE GRAD PICTURES AREN’T GRAD PICTURES WITHOUT A RANDOM TURKEY IN THE BACKGROUND. That’s how it’s done, people.  

If I get trampled on by a rafter of turkeys (I looked it up…a group of turkeys is a ‘rafter’. Now you can amaze your friends with your trivia and expert knowledge of turkeys. I DO RESEARCH! You. Are. Welcome) I want that escapade into awesomeness documented for future generations to peruse and envy. “Oh, yeah look at Grandma run from that wacked out turkey! HE LOOKS PISSED!”


It will be framed and hung in the most auspicious place in the house. The bathroom.

I’m still waiting for warm weather to appear, but the gods of Spring/Summer refuse to cooperate, so here we are freezing in our capris and sandals hoping for some temps above freezing to save our tulips and budding trees. Plants are defiant and trying to come to life despite the cold air and billowing winds. It’s dismal. All this while I sit in front of the fire and see that other parts of Southern Ontario are under a heat wave and have HEAT warnings. ACTUAL HEAT WARNINGS. “I’m just dying from this heat” said one lady on the news. “I have to jump in a pool to cool off” OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE, SHUT UP! And I think I may have hurled my wine glass at her. The dog looked scared and ran off. I may have frightened Hubby who suggested we go for a walk. THEN WE LOOKED AT REAL ESTATE IN MY HOME TOWN…which was so eye-opening. What’s with all the dark-stained moldings?

I don’t understand.

Also, EVERYBODY HAS A POOL!! WHY CAN’T I HAVE A POOL?!

Because I live in Newfoundland and have the fire going in the middle of June. That’s why.  

But, I still want a pool in my backyard and a cornfield in the park around the corner. 

 I CAN DREAM…. 

Targets and Pawns

 
Amidst the horror of the latest terror attack on concert goers in Manchester, the media’s frenzy on covering the ‘next big event’ has caught them drooling and gnashing their teeth for ratings. It also has a President stammering over a speech using the inarticulate ‘evil losers’ phrase that middle schoolers still utter under their breath after their lunch money is stolen. The reaction of the world over yet another horrific attack, leaves devastated families with nothing, really. They’ve lost daughters and sons. Their lives are forever changed. One overly simplistic phrase of an insolent and removed President isn’t going to change anything for these families. It isn’t going to make everything all better and bring back those deceased children out for a fun evening of music and friends. It does bring out, however, the crass and insensitive phrasing of people who have little to no concept of the brevity and revulsion of this terror attack. It does bring out the mindset of a terror organization set on using children as targets. But that’s not new.  

They have been used as pawns in war before. Children are the scope and the targets for the majority of the terrorists groups in war torn countries around the world. Remember the girls kidnapped in Nigeria? They were taken TWO YEARS AGO by Boko Haram. Did anyone remember that until some were just released last October? Hmmm. In Syria, Iran, and Iraq children are taken from families and trained as soldiers. Six year olds are wielding machine guns instead of worrying about math and reading for grade one. They are dying amidst gun battles in the streets and bombs exploding in their apartments. We’ve heard this.

It’s hard for us in our own worlds of car pools and soccer practices to comprehend.

Children are targets because they are vulnerable. Small and innocent.  

Cull the runts of the herds.

Now that they have been targeted and killed on soil closer to home, the spotlight has shifted to our own backyards. Our children have been killed. Not children in countries to which we can’t relate or of which we have little understanding. We should be horrified. We should be repulsed and our fists should be raised in rage and righteous indignation, yet all I see are hunger-crazed reporters out to score a media award for interviewing a bereaved mother, and an ill-prepared aloof President making a speech with such insincerity it is insulting.

We should be outraged yes, but where was our outrage for the past five years? Decade?

The global mistreatment of children has been an ongoing ‘situation’, yet continually falls on the agendas and lists of atrocities yet to be dealt with. It’s easier to look away, than to have to admit the plight of children is in our hands.  

As the world digests this latest attack in Manchester and the death toll of children caught in a battle that has nothing to do with them, lets also include the children of the world where the exact same can be said. Battles that have nothing to do with them, become their death sentence. The atrocities against girls in India. The African children starving and dying of Ebola. The child laborers in China and the Philippines, the street children living in Brazil. The North American children who are beaten, tortured and starved by their own parents, shot down on the school yards and classrooms. Yes, it does happen here.   

As parents, we take care that our children are well looked after, have good food to eat and clothes on their backs and an education upon which to rely. Who looks after the world’s children whose parents can’t/won’t do those things? The children who are taken and beaten and raped and tortured? Who?

It’s a question I struggle with and pains me to bear witness.

This attack demonstrates the little humanity these terrorists possess. They will kill children to further their own illusive agendas and will continue to do so.  

I am bereft of an answer to the question of what are we to do?

It’s too overwhelming to even fathom a definitive answer. Volunteer? Donate to a cause? Sponsor a child? I don’t know.

Hug your kids tonight a little tighter.  

Let’s be better parents and be determined to make our children the leaders we need to bring about a healthier world for their children. A generation of better people and better parents moving toward a common goal of ending greedy terrorists and the organizations that fund them. A generation well prepared to defend their children and the children in countries in which they had the unfortunate happenstance to be born. Intelligent, present leaders who have the foresight to end atrocities and defend the weak.

That’s all I have. I hope it’s enough… 

 

 

A Graduation Gift

Someone asked me the other day, what graduation gifts I would be giving my two daughters who are graduating university in a couple of weeks. I answered, “a life”. The person giggled and said, “Yeah, you gave them life and gave birth to them, but specifically what gift are you giving them?”   I answered, “I already told you. I gave them the gift of having a life.” We gave them a safe place to grow up. Unconditional love upon which to thrive. A secure upbringing in an environment free of pain and torment. Food to eat. A warm place to sleep. Clothes to wear and the freedom to choose the education they wanted. Limits to understand there are rules in the world one must abide by. Guidance to be healthy and strong and remain that way. The freedom to work and become intelligent independent strong young women in a world that remains unpredictable and flawed. What else could I possibly give them that would compare?

Parents lament over the right path for their children. Did we do the right things along the way? Are we being too strict or too permissive? What is the right balance?

Parenting, for the most part, is the toughest gig there is. Balance between being a disciplinarian and loving mom is a guilt trip worth my weight in wine. It’s a torrential down pour of constant self-doubt and questioning whether the decisions we make when the 3yr old won’t speak, will hamper him when he is graduating high school 15 years later. The answer here: no. No it won’t…and it didn’t. He’s fine. There will always be big decisions to make and questioning whether those decisions will be the right ones. As parents, we trusted our guts. If it didn’t feel right, then it wasn’t right. If it felt like an opportunity for the person to grow, then we jumped and allowed it to happen. We were there when it fell apart, or when it culminated in a win. Either way, we were there.

We were always told by our kids that we are, and were, too strict. We had the attitude that it’s a tough world out there kiddos, better get used to it. The tougher we were the happier we were. To us, it meant they were learning something, maybe a tough life lesson or just to clean their rooms, but learning was always the ultimate goal. They didn’t have to like it and sometimes they were downright miserable about it, but they did it. Not because we were tyrants, but because it was good for them in the end. It may have been painful for us to watch, or to endure, but we stuck it out. We are their parents. Not their friends. We made that clear from the start.

Even now, the kids are adults, we still have high expectations and those same expectations carried them through. Through high school math, through tough regattas, through awful hockey coaches, and through university.

Learning ain’t easy, kids.

Neither is life.

To answer the question specifically, being a parent was the biggest gift I gave my young graduates.

And I can’t wait to see what they do!

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing and Other Stuff I Admit to The Dog

The poor dog. She hears stuff that normally, no one would ever say. Like bad jokes. Or random rants. Or cooking tips, because my children who are no longer children refuse to participate in anything that takes place in the kitchen besides eating or drinking so the dog hears all the valuable potentially life-saving tips the wise woman wielding the spatula has learned over the past 50+ years. Sigh. And that. She hears stuff like that. Those random mini-rants that makes one look visibly shaken or in need of heavy doses of medication. Anyone who needs a sounding board should seriously consider getting a dog. Or a cat…no really, a dog.  

Cats are temperamental and have superiority complexes that make them leave the room when they sense things are getting a little boring or heavy hearted. They can’t stand needy people, so they turn and walk away. Unless you are holding a can of tuna, then they MAY stick around long enough for you to say a couple of words. Then they will interrupt with one of their self-involved mews or leg scratching and demand you lay that can down so they can eat while you drone on endlessly about your human needs and emotionally challenged offspring. Ugh.  

Dogs will at least stand there and look at you. Stare at you until you cave and give them a treat for being so kind-hearted and loyal. They’ll sit for an hour and listen endlessly hoping you will at least drop a piece of chicken their way or a bread crumb. And then wag their tails in endless joy that you even had the time to say ‘hey’ at them. Dogs. So sweet. So loyal. So not cats.

Not that I hate cats. I do like them. I had one of my own. They just are a lot of emotional work. They like you only when it suits them and even then, it’s tenuous at best. Fickle animals. They’ll lay on your head and wait for you to pet them one minute and the next, if they sense you need a cuddle, they suddenly have a million things to do like wash their paws, or watch the birds outside or chase that string on the pillow. They are busy!  

Dogs are listeners. Perfect for crazy evening drunken tirades or silly arguments about politics. They don’t talk back or disagree. They don’t even have an opinion, unless you ask them to lay down or roll over. Apparently, tricks are tricky and can only be completed followed by a treat. No treat and no trick. Hmmm….I know people like that, too.

Mags has heard it all. Parenting woes, swear-filled outbursts, overjoyed proclamations and teary worries. She still just stares up at you and lets you get it all out…then fetches a toy so you can play, because everybody likes a good toy to throw.   


Admitting to the dog that life is a roller coaster and sucks sometimes, is different than having to admit that to a real living person. People seriously have the gall to disagree or say you’re being dramatic or have an actual opinion and then give advice and expect you to follow through! What the hell?!  

I don’t want that! Just sit there like the dog and listen to what I have to yell at you. WHY CAN’T PEOPLE DO THAT?!  

Because people are not dogs.

Too bad. There would have been a treat in there somewhere…AND I WILL ALWAYS THROW A TOY TO CHASE.