The Unrelenting Echoes of Summer

The ‘hood battles are raging and the summer days are stretching onwards and upwards. No one is immune to the reaching fingertips of ire and impatience emanating from cranky neighbours who refuse to admit their age is getting the better of them. If one is to listen to them, the kids are running amok flailing wildly among heathens and hoodlums destined to dethrone the king of badness. Nothing good happens past nine- thirty peeps, and children left to pillage and plunder the village into the abyss of indifference and permissive dismissal are future adults destined for the Presidency of an American nation. Alas how are we to survive the madness?!Calm down, peeps.

The children are children playing in the backyards of responsible professional adults paying their taxes, abiding the laws of society and contributing to the well-being of community and ‘hood alike.

There is no crime here, only that of youth being restless and young on summer nights that have magically become windless and warm. The days where summer seems to last forever, where any kid of any age can dream of digging for buried treasure, swim in the depths of a backyard pool and savour the taste of s’mores and burnt marshmallows on a backyard campfire. Tents, giggles, sleeping bags, practical jokes, stolen garden gnomes (oh, my poor Norman where art thou?) all a big part of childhood and growing up in a safe environment surrounded by loving parents and committed neighbours to raising a generation of well-adjusted, educated, intelligent, compassionate and community minded young people.

That’s what my idea of a neighbourhood is.

Watching out for each other against the rallies of the occasional late-night thievery, lost dogs, wayward cats, and kids out past the boundaries of the park at the end of the street. Local spring clean-ups, bottle drives for hockey trips, Mummering Christmases, barbeques and the fence raising- shed building- deck erecting- construction that brings friends and neighbours together.

We connect to support each other in times of confusion and debt reduction, lost jobs, raised taxes, sky-high grocery bills and illness and heart attacks and even the death of someone’s parent or relative. It’s what they mean when a neighbourhood becomes a small village.

We become each other’s indirect relative.

A communal leaning post.

Friends. Allies. Fellow compatriots in a world where we embrace differences and stand up for the underdog. Where we denounce bullies, raise up kindness and understanding and assist at all costs.

It’s in the DNA of every Newfoundlander to have this innate sense of community; to feel responsible for each other because, hey, don’t I know yer father? At least, that’s what I was led to believe.

Let’s see more of that. Community. Fellowship. Understanding.

AND FUN.

Hey kids! Your loudness behooves me!

The kids running around playing spotlight after dark, the fires in the backyard pits, the barbeques, the late night dog walking, the chatting…

There is no room for fear of being loud or obnoxious. The sounds of laughter and squealing from children should be a sign of a healthy happy environment fraught with joy and the unending bounds of childhood activity.

It should be lauded as the epitome of strength of home and family; not sullied as unnecessary and appalling.

As the summer progresses, let the children play in the streets and wreak havoc in the backyards. Soon enough they will be grown and gone and our yards will echo with their lost squeals of fun-fueled delight from summers past. Youth is fleeting.

Let’s not wish it away.

 What?! I can’t hear you! Whispering sucks. 

 

 

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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… 

 

 

No Kicking Under the Dinner Table

The presidential election is happening today and many are quaking in their boots.  People are cowering in the corner, listening to the radio with bated breath, wondering if there is going to be a tomorrow.  It’s like Y2K all over again with proclamations of imminent disaster and chaos, water supplies are dwindling, stock markets are shaky and folks are gearing up for computer crashes and a zombie apocalypse.   It’s a presidential election to end all elections.  It’s great it’s finally over since it was the longest, dirtiest, most horrendous campaign in the history of American politics.  Mudslinging, scandals, accusations complete with a misogynistic bastard as a forerunner, and as unfathomable as that seems, there it is.  Right there.  People are scratching their heads in bewildered amazement thinking how did we let this happen?  Ask the residents of the states.  See the people at his rallies.  Watch the speeches.

The train wreck that is happening just south of our Canadian border is hard to watch, but also impossible not to.   It affects us too.  We are like a member of the family, the little brother with the cute haircut and the affable personality.  The kid that gets the shit flung his way, but still manages to smile.  He’s polite and nice to a fault, has enough room at his table for everyone, tolerant and respectful to others with differing backgrounds and has some gas in the tank if you need a ride to the rink on a cold day or a run to Timmy’s after a snowstorm or five.  Oh, sure he has his flaws, he has trouble with the bullies at school who continue to bring drugs and guns and he tries to talk some sense into the senior kids who want to riot about unfair treatment and long wait times at the ER, but that’s how it goes.  Not everybody is perfect.  At least he tries hard and wants to ‘do the right thing’ the majority of the time.

His big brother has more problems and more issues and more guns and more…just, more everything.  And with a bloated ego maniac waiting to take the reins, the affable little brother is trying hard to grin and bear it, but it’s getting increasingly difficult.  Fear is bubbling just below the surface along with trepidation and the knee-jerk reaction to shut it down.  Shut down the openness that would possibly allow the intolerant, self-centred misogynistic attitude seep into the psyche of the well-adjusted little brother.  Shut down any remote possibility that the ego maniac has any chance of negatively     influencing the little brother’s sensitive and altruistic being.  Just Shut. It. Down.

Good luck to our neighbours to the south.  I hope democracy wins and you all are happy with your decision.

Just, don’t kick us under the dinner table…

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Conquering Fear

As most of you are aware, my plight into the dark abyss of fear is not foreign to me. Unfortunately, it’s been like a weight on my back for several years, shortly following the demon ride of all time, Soarin’. Disney has a foul sense of humour. They installed a ride intended for families and small children to enjoy epic vistas, a flying naturalistic view of land and water…and golf.
At the same time, they subjected the masses to ‘hang gliding’. WHAT?! This ride, apparently, is to “Experience the Golden State like never before while “hang-gliding” over landscapes as varied as they are beautiful. Feel like you’re flying—and even smell what you’re seeing as you skim rolling waves, powdery ski slopes, majestic redwood forests, fragrant orange groves and familiar landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge.” Ahh, it sounds so innocent and lovely. THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE?! I don’t remember FLYING OVER THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE! AHHH. I probably had my eyes shut in a frightened panic thinking I would surely crash into one of the steel components. Because, when you’re me, that isn’t a movie in front of me…it’s fucking real. As for the orange groves, they spray orangey stuff at you intending for you to ‘have the full experience’ when really all it did to me, was make me sneeze and jolt me almost to my death. From 6 feet in the air. What? It could happen…Could have hurt my ankle or bruised my ego or something….
Really, it simply subjected me to a dangling terror-filled journey into scenic vistas of golf courses and orange groves at perceived heights of 30,000 feet, whilst suspending me randomly in mid-air with a wanton frail looking belt and my own warped sense of minimal security. *sigh* DAMN YOU DISNEY. I think I cried through the entire thing. It was at that moment, I realized I was having a major panic attack ON A KIDDIE DISNEY RIDE. So, simply put…I decided riding on anything that left my feet dangling in mid-air with no security belts, major shoulder straps or helmets made of steel, was beyond my realm of possible feats. The end.
Until, Epic Ladies’ Trip 2012 and Jamaica ski lift ride from the other side of hell….the Jamaican jungle. I can still hear one of the ride operators in an attempt to fill the ladies with epic joy while we were dangling haphazardly several hundred feet above any kind of terra firma, yelling “HEY LADIES! HOW’S THE RIDE?!” All the while, me swearing profusely under my breath and sobbing in quiet hysterics with white knuckles gripping the steel bar fearing my ultimate descent into the jungle with nothing to soften my landing but the large fern leaves of all those very tall trees…ugh. In defense of the ladies and the tour operators, I did not even THINK to research the ride to Magic Mountain to see HOW THE HELL WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GET UP A MOUNTAIN. DUH…IT’S A MOUNTAIN. So, totally my fault and I managed to live through the ride up…tear stained and partially broken, but alive…and the ride down. Pretty much the same thing, only we were headed downwards, so logically, we were falling anyways. That’s how my brain works, people.
It was this latest vacation with Hubby that I decided enough was enough. Two trips with panic attacks were two trips too many. I needed to conquer this fear of flight. At least, attempt to conquer it. So when the opportunity arose to book a trip on the Oasis of the Seas, we took it. And when Hubby declared he was going to ride the zip line on the boat… I volunteered to take pictures. That was going to be it. Then he suggested I try it. I laughed at him and MAY have said something like “you are fucking crazy. HELLO. SOARIN’. DANGLING IN MID AIR” Then I thought about it. I looked at videos. LITTLE KIDS WERE GOING ON THE ZIPLINE. Surely, parents weren’t subjecting their children to death defying antics like a Zipline without precautions? Right? RIGHT?! AND, they were wearing helmets, and most importantly SAFETY BELTS! Hmmm…
After a bit of soul searching and arguing, mostly with myself, I convinced the weak and terribly frightened Kayjai that conquering a fear born from an innocent Disney ride, surely cannot be that bad. AND, If I happened to plummet to my death, what better way to go than in the Caribbean on a huge cruise ship above a burger shop that sold burgers and deadly milkshakes? Really, I would probably die more from the milkshake, than from the zip line…maybe.
We both stood in line and I managed to cross the zipline in epic Kayjai fashion. No, I won’t show you the video, because, well, my reaction at the end of the ride was…special. The smile was plastered to my face, I was stunned into silence and I was wearing a helmet…it wasn’t a fashion forward moment. I’ll let you imagine it…
Here’s the shot before I got to the top.

See how excited I am?

See how excited I am?

The greatest trepidation I felt, was putting my feet at stage 3 on the steel bar with the operator telling me repeatedly to ‘let go.’ I’m sure he was about to pull me from the whole thing when I did just that. I let go. I let go, forced my eyes to stay open and slid down the ride. I didn’t fall. I didn’t panic. I let go. The fear was replaced with joy. I extended my legs laughed at myself and made it to the other side with a huge relief and accomplishment. And possible whiplash at missing the landing mat and hitting the spring…it wasn’t pretty, but it was done.
No tears were shed in the making of this moment. Well, maybe a few at the sheer joy of accomplishment.
Fear is a powerful emotion and if you let it, it can take over. Don’t let it. Conquer your fear and see how strong you really are.
I dare you….let go.

Fear and Paranoia Are Now My Besties

My blogging days have dwindled since the episode-that-shall-remain-nameless.  Fear has held me tightly within its grasp and I am struggling to be free.  It ain’t easy.  I’m constantly looking over my shoulder to see who’s watching, then I’m incessantly censoring my words to make sure they’re not offensive or distorted; twisted into being malicious.  It’s a slippery slope.  It’s an uphill climb.  It’s fucking craptastic.  I hate thinking someone is misinterpreting what I’m saying as a slight against anything.  I’m simply saying what’s in my gut, people.

Maybe I should have a disclaimer clause at the beginning of each post clearly stating my wanton disregard for other’s feelings on the subjects I tend to complain about.  Or maybe I should have one of those announcers at the beginning of each post, like certain television programs, warning people of the ‘mature subject matter’ and the ‘material some may find offensive’.  I could leave out the ‘contains nudity’ part…or maybe I should include that.  Maybe more people would read on…stuff to think about.

It’s nice to think that some people actually miss me…is that weird?  Hmm…I’ve thought about re-opening the past, but that would just lead to more shit to hit the fan, so I think I’ll leave well enough alone.  If people miss me that much, they could track me down.  Or I could tell them.  Gee, that’s a swell idea.  Invite people to this one..hmmm…I think I shall prepare my formal invitations.  They’ll think it’s a party…I suppose drinks could be served.  And snacks.  Marvelous idea.

I’ll get working on the list.  In the meantime, thanks for stopping by and reading.  I shall be in touch and see what roaming around the ‘sphere I can do without getting decapitated in the process….that’s rather painful…I’d rather steer clear of that, thanks.