Snowmageddon 2020

The Blizzard of the Century.  The storm to end all storms.  We’ve never seen anything like this.  The mountains and walls of snow that enveloped the city are as tall as small houses.  The banks overflow into the streets.  Plows and snow-blowing machines are having a difficult time trying to keep up.  A state of emergency has been put in place and remains for seven straight days.  People are getting impatient and want out.  Grocery store lines are arduous and people have to endure long waits just to get inside.  No Tim Horton’s coffee?  What??  No restaurants nor bars are open.  Small businesses are suffering.  People are trapped in their homes.  The military arrives to shovel folks out and to give some reassurances that we will be okay.  Power outages were rampant at the onset of the storm, but have since been restored.  If people haven’t begun wondering why they live on an Island seemingly so destitute and removed from the rest of the world, this storm will certainly have them thinking, what are we doing here?  The downtown area was buried in a mass of snow but is seeing some restoration.  The narrow streets and hills were impassible, dangerous and overwhelmed with snow.  A snowboarder’s paradise that has now begun to look more pedestrian-friendly, dare I say?

Based on everything that has happened over the past week, one would think complaints would be widespread; that people would be sick and tired of the state of emergency to the point of protests and rioting; that there would be more looting of businesses and crime would be on the upswing.  Boredom breeds malevolence, bad-temperament, and unbridled nastiness; the urge to remain aloof and uncaring; the inclination for ego-centric acts of ‘every person for him/herself’.  I’ve not witnessed any of this. 

Downtown St. John’s, NL

The stories that have emerged over Facebook tell tales of acts of selflessness.  People helping to buy groceries for those who can’t.  Neighbours shoveling out neighbours and digging out buried vehicles.  Others creating tunneled paths to lead from a door to the street.  Food being bartered and shared.  Snow forts being erected and decorated with lights and bonfires being lit.  A drink here, a barbeque there.  Everyone making the best of an almost impossible situation.  And then, the sun arrived.

The end of our street

I strolled my neighbourhood a couple of days after the storm.  The sun came out for three straight days.  People were out walking their dogs, taking sleds and pulling their children along the streets, digging out the snowshoes and traversing the trails.  Having a laugh at the big bad storm that tried to break the spirit of a province that couldn’t be broken.  It’s been a rough week but we survived it all in Newfoundland style.  We made light of the monstrous snowbanks and decorated them with snarky phrases instead of cursing their existence.  We posted signs and made snow-people instead of complaining we would never see our lawns.  We assured the downtowners we would visit when they opened, that their pleas have not fallen on deaf ears.  Who doesn’t want a beer and a meal after all of that shoveling? 

In a country where winter defines us, we have set an example for other provinces and other cities that will no doubt be faced with its own version of Snowmageddon.  The world stood still and watched as people treated others with humanity and compassion.  People offered food, strained muscles, worked tireless hours without complaint, offered free rides, gave without the expectation of anything in return all in the name of helping each other endure an impossible circumstance.  Not only did we survive, but we also demonstrated what a lot of heart, an indelible sense of humour and a few helping hands from our military can do when faced with ‘a bit of snow’.   

There is a house out there…somewhere.

If another snowstorm the size and ferociousness of this blizzard happens to darken our doorway again, I imagine we would react much the same.  “Get out the shovels, b’ys she’s blowin’ a gale.  Youngsters, put your hoods up, we goes.” 

And we will.   

Son, after shoveling our front step. He’s 5’10”

The Sound A Clock Makes

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 Read After I’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 about Tik Tok.  I’m thinking Nanny’s noisy clock that is currently hanging in her kitchen and dings every BLESSED HOUR ON THE HOUR, but no.  Tik Tok is an app for lip-syncing and karaoke-gone-awry.   It’s a social media app that lets a person download a video of someone singing badly to N’Sync or the Backstreet Boys or maybe amore current musician like the Biebs.  I’m thinking of doing ‘Bye-Bye’ ala JT with the curls and the baggy jeans and the fancy-dancy moves. 

 

I could join Tik Tok and connect with the peeps who are jammin’ to NKOTB and IT’S BRITTANY, BITCH.  Maybe somebody singin’ some Alanis…Yeah.  “Isn’t it Ironic?  Don’t ya think?”  I could so NOT do that.  Well.  Not well.  At all.  

 Maybe I’ll do a video of Mags when she borks at the ‘hood dogs.  She could be 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 ‘Poo Yo’self’.    EPIC.  

I’ll keep brain-storming some ideas whilst desperately trying to stay on-trend.  Do we still say ‘whilst’?   Ugh.  

 

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…

The Hibernation of Summer

It’s mid-August and I can feel the imminence of Fall.  It’s in the back-to-school supplies that are crowding every shelf at Walmart.  It’s in the woods jackets and plaid flannel shirts that are hanging on racks.  It’s in the now-dark 5 am mornings that greet me and the cooler evenings that now descend before 9pm.  Summer hasn’t yet arrived and here we are readying for another season.  I’m lamenting a summer I never had.  I’m still waiting for that everlasting full day of sunshine and sultry heat that stretches into a dusky evening.  I’m waiting for days full of water-balloon tossing and garden hose spraying and evenings of open-windows and flies eating me alive.  Where was all of that?

Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland

We missed an entire season.  It was a summer of spring-like days at best.  Cool winds, rain and almost hot-enough-but-not-quite temperatures.  We will be back to wearing coats and boots before I even broke out my shorts.  I don’t mean to complain, but this is why most people in St. John’s need a break and head to the liquor store.  Or try to find solace and heat either more west on the island or head south to anywhere else.  We know that soon enough, it will be a full-frontal assault into cold and ice.  We desperately cling to those final few evenings of near-warm-enough temperatures to steal away on the back patio for a fire and a glass of wine before the gale-force wind of 100kms/hrbegin to blow through.   It’s hard to go to work on a nice day knowing that when we are on a treasured day off, the wind will howl and the rain will pelt our faces so hard we feel the sting for a week.  We flee the office building in the midst of theevaporating sunshine holding our faces skyward in hopes to feel the last of the rays beat upon our skin and feel some semblance of warmth.  We shed the office pallor for some fresh air and bright light, not the fluorescent kind.  

Sometimes, we get lucky.

Today, the wind is high but the air is warm.  I’m hoping to retreat to my back patio for a little sun before the clouds elbow their way through the sky, squeezing it behind their billowing puffs of air.  If the sun can manage to appear in our sky a few more times, I will be grateful for that.  

Right now, I’m grateful for the liquor store’s cache of wine…

 

I’m Going To Need a Shirt And My Lotion

The wind is blowing a gale today and I’m feeling a little disheveled.  My book is up and out and I’m now grappling with the idea that there are actual people out there in the great wide world who are reading my words.  In a book.  I wrote.  I shake my head and try not to gauge reactions and try not to have thoughts of, “I wonder what they thought when this happened.”  

Instead of obsessing on things I can’t control, I’m choosing to play with my dog and post random shit that I think will entertain the masses as much as it does me.  You. Are. Welcome.

I’ve also been given the opportunity to observe the strange and irksome occurrences around me on a daily basis that keeps my mind busy and cause me to walk into arbitrary walls.  On purpose.   Here are a few:

Old People Driving – I am NOT the old person I am referring to.  I was cut off on the highway merge ramp today, by an ‘old’ lady driving her Honda CRV at 60kms an hour who refused to go the obligatory 100kms an hour, almost causing an accident and causing me to swear profusely.  Fun, wha?

No Shirt Sheila – Unfortunately, I was not privy to the shirtless woman wandering aimlessly around the mall, yesterday in her bra with a sweater tied around her waist whilst yelling into her phone, “I NEED MY LOTION BACK!” however, my niece and her daughters, and my daughter were witnesses to this craziness.  Sad I missed it.  And Gaawwddd Debby, give her the lotion BACK!

Irate complainers who complain about complaining – It’s a thing!  I love it!  No, really tell me more about how I piss you off when I fucking swear all of the fucking time, Goddammit.  I love you, tho.

On a positive note, puppies are in the world so, there’s that. 

 

And This Little Piggy Went Wee-What-The-Actual-Fuck?

    A couple of months ago, I underwent a bunionectomy.  If you are unsure as to what that is exactly, its day surgery to remove a bunion from a foot.  In my case, it was a big bunion from my left foot.  It’s been an interesting few months of recovery. 

    My surgery was back in May and I won’t sugarcoat anything.  Ireferred to my surgeon as the MotherfuckigantiChrist more often than I care to admit. He warned me several times pre-surgery that it would be “painful and you are going to swear on me repeatedly.”  I smiled and said, “I’ve had three babies all natural, the last one ten pounds.  I got this.”  He smiled in response.  Now, I know why. 

    I remained in bed for four days following the surgery and had it not been for Hubby serving me food, coffee, and pain killers, it would have resulted in me rising from my bed and crawling to the window to throw myself to the mercy of rabid dogs.  Yeah, it was painful.

    I hobbled around and was finally able to descend stairs on a Tuesday.  I remember it well, since I was afraid of falling and scuttled down on my butt the entire time.  I used Hubby’s cane he had stowed away after his knee surgery.  It was going swimmingly, until my right knee decided it wanted some sympathy too, and erupted in bursitis.  Now, I was really down.  A bum left foot and a right knee that screamed every time I bent it.  

    I couldn’t walk up the stairs, I couldn’t stand for long periods and I could barely walk.  I needed crutches, a wheelchair, and a shirtless Spaniard named Marco feeding me grapes.  None of which, I had at my disposal.   

    My main mode of transportation was my ass.  Good thing it was large and squishy.  It made travelling a lot more comfortable.  Oh, yeah.  The entire time, I had a large pin jutting from my middle toe, which made for interesting conversation and people largely exclaiming ‘EWWW’ whenever I mentioned it.  

    By June, I was thankfully over the bursitis and off my ass, so I asked Coach if I could return to Bootcamp .  I still had a little sandle/boot on my foot and I still had the lovely pin protruding from my toe, but I thought I could modify my way through.  She gave me the nod and my first class was interesting.  She refused to look downward lest she gazed upon the ‘pin-ofevil’ and I hopped my way through every exercise.  I have to admit, I was doubtful I would manage, but I wanted to try.  I was so over the whole sitting–downand‘resting’ thing.  

    I muddled my way through everything she had planned and by the end of June I was hobbling on over to the MotherfuckingantiChrist himself to the have the ‘pinofevil’ removed from my toe.  

    Pin Removal Day, or as people tagged it, HolyFuckingMotherofGodThat’sGonnaHurt Day, was uneventful.  Everyone asked “Is he gonna sedate you for that?” or “Are you taking Ativan for that?” to which I had to answer a shaky “Noooo…why do you think I should?”  Their looks of disbelief and head-shaking told me I should probably pop a few pain relievers.  MotherfuckingantiChrist assured me that I indeed would “not feel it as much as you did when the stitches were removed.”   

    The stitch removal was a pain only reserved for those who have wronged the Saints in Heaven and have sided with Satan in a murderous plot to fling babies from rooftops.  That was some serious painful shit.  Hubby was there when I grabbed his leg in agony and swore relentlessly.  D1 the nurse, was horrified by my cry-babyness.  “Mom, EVEN THE CHILDREN I CARE FOR, DON’T CRY.”  Love you too, honey.  I digress.

    I entered the room to have MotherfuckingantiChrist prepare to pull the pin-of-evil from my toe with nothing more than a pair of tiny scissors and an expression of, “Hold still.”  I squeezed my eyes shut and muttered “For fuck’s sake,” recalling every word of caution and regretting the non-painkillerpopping.  I felt a little tug and the pin was out.  Done. 

    His retorts of, “I would never lie to you,” echoing the ever-popular “I told you so,” were still ringing in my head by the time I walked out of the room.  I sauntered out into the hospital corridor free of the pin-of-evil and feeling like I had just conquered Kim Jong-un in some sadistic tug-of-war.  

    Now, a month later the boot is off and I’m almost fully mobile.  I can do some cardio but still do the majority of bootcamp on one leg.  My middle toe is still tender.  Cut me some slack, will ‘ya?  

    My escapade into bunion surgery is almost to an end and thank Gawwwwddddd.  It’s been a long road and I’m almost fully healed.  

    In the meantime, there’s wine for that and to MotherfuckingantiChrist, thanks for telling me the truth.  I WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.  

Cheers!  

 

 

Top Ten List of Shit You Don’t Want to Know When Turning Fifty

A friend asked the other day for any useful tips for turning fifty.  I struggled with ‘tips’ as I was unsure as to what infinite wisdom I could bestow.  I’ve been fifty for a few years now and I have some advice, warnings and ‘ohmygawdwatchoutforthisshit’, but not exactly the ‘tips’ I think she was looking for.  In any case, in honour of all of those young ladies turning fifty, here is my Top Ten List of Shit You Don’t Want to Know When Turning Fifty. 

 You. Are. Welcome.

And Happy Birthday!

images

10.  You lose interest in everything except yoga pants, wine and food-  Okay, maybe that blanket statement goes too far.  You lose MOST of the interest you had in leaving the house.  I started wanting to spend more time drinking in my yoga pants than going out or doing something that required me to wear pants or an ‘outfit’.  I still enjoy going out, but I really have to want it.

9.  Impatience is the new virtue since you don’t have time for shit, don’t give a shit and basically you can’t put up with anyone’s shit. True.  My patience is waning for whiners and folks who like to complain simply to hear themselves talk.  NO. TIME.

8.  Crashing Fatigue is actually a ‘thing’ and when it hits, it’s difficult to snap out of it-  You feel exhausted every day all day and you just want to crawl into bed and stay there. It will pass, but you have to summon up some patience.  It usually lasts a few days and I get through it by telling Hubby I’m on strike of mother duties due to the polar vortex and incessant winter.  Even if it’s summer, I can say I’ll be tired for the next few days so just let me be the best version of Greta Garbo and I vant to be alone…. Trust that this is simply an ‘episode’ and it WILL pass.  It IS an actual part of the Big M, so take it day by day.

7.  Opposite of Crashing Fatigue, comes Insomnia AKA Your Brain On Menopausal Meth- Sleep is a distant thing and you stay awake with songs blaring in your brain, a to-do list of epic proportions, the mistakes you made on the Grade 6 Spelling Bee and how you’ve clearly failed as a parent because your child can’t boil and egg. You start to panic realizing you haven’t accomplished ANYTHING and your life has been one big waste of time. Up you get from your bed, start writing out a bucket list of stuff that you WILL NEVER DO because you don’t have boatloads of cash and your Fairy God Mother is on vacation.  Breathe.  This too shall pass…but still write the list because you’ll need something to make you laugh later that day when the Migraine Auras start.  Oh, I didn’t tell you about that, yet?

6.  Migraine Auras are fucktastic – No, you are not having a stroke. You don’t have a brain tumour.  You are having Auras.  Little bits of psychedelic lights dancing in your eyes like you’ve been staring at the sun too long.  They flash, they dance and are squiggly lines pulsing and moving.  It’s a part of having a Migraine.  I don’t actually get the blinding headache pain with migraines, just the auras, but some people get both.  After fifty, you can experience these auras a little bit more frequently.  Awesome.   They usually disappear within 30 minutes with my eyes closed and laying down.  That’s after having a few nights of no sleep thanks to #7.  See how this works?  Fun.  Times.  *having said that, make sure to get your blood work done regularly so you can keep your levels in check.  Your chances of stroke, heart disease and diabetes rise as you age. Know the signs of a stroke so you can differentiate between the two.  If you have any doubts, get thee to a doctor.   Stay healthy.

5.  Breakouts vs Wrinkles, the Epic Battle of your Skin – Around the time when my period used to occur, my body still thought I should endure the effects of one. My skin continues to break out like I’m seventeen, I get all that crampy-bloated-wonderfulness of a tween and I’m crankier more than usual.  AND, I’m over fifty so the fight against aging or simply looking older than I should, is an ongoing battle.  I’m not thinking I should look twenty, because I’m not.  I just don’t want to look ninety, either.  I went on this epic fact finding mission to discover the basic ingredients for fighting wrinkles.  I found a few things:  Serums – I like them and use them daily.  They go on first, then a moisturizer.  Vitamin C and E are your friends.  Vitamin C helps with brightening and tone, Vitamin E helps with repairing the wrinkles and I use that one at night.  Hyaluronic acid plumps up your skin.  Retinol fights wrinkles.  Glycolic Acid exfoliates.  Those are the basics.  I don’t buy anything expensive.  I use all-natural as much as possible.  You really don’t need to buy expensive creams to look good.  Use something that you like and stick with it.

4.  You need a hobby – seriously, you have dedicated your time, energy and talents to work and raising a family. Now, take some time and develop something else.  Do something out of your comfort zone or find your creativity.  Paint, write, run, walk, volunteer, sand-down the outside steps…it doesn’t have to be wowtastic, just something you enjoy.  You need time for you to develop your own interests and hidden talents so you don’t go batty.  It’s healthy for you to be busy and enjoy something other than work/kid/husband/partner related.

3.  Brain fog – I’ve noticed that I can’t remember as much as I used to. My short term memory decides to take periodic vacations.  I can’t keep the kids’ schedules straight in my head and I incessantly ask what they are doing every day.   I’ve decided to practice using my brain more.  Crossword puzzles, games with reasoning, reading something other than newspapers or online content and writing are all keeping my brain active and engaged.  Something TV does not do.  Turn off the tv and do something else for your brain.

2.  Exercise- Oh, come on you knew that was coming. Weight training and aerobic exercise are important to keeping you feeling and looking younger.  Weight training builds muscle, and helps your joints.  Aerobic exercise keeps that heart pumping.  Do both.  You’ll feel better.  It may help with #7 and #8 as well.  Kinda.

1. The Fashion Industry Sucks at dressing us – We either end up looking like a wannabe-twenty-something, or like Dorothy’s Auntie Em. It’s disgusting, really.  I don’t do elastic waist band pants and I don’t like being called ma’am.  I also can’t wear a dress up to my bum and a v-neck down to my naval.  Trust me NOBODY WANTS TO SEE THAT.   Finding age-appropriate comfortable clothing is challenging, but I always manage to find something.  I drag daughters with me and find some stuff at Winners on a good day.  Sometimes, online is the best bet, but you are taking a chance on sizing and fit.  It’s a trial and error thing, but know that you are not alone.  That’s why yoga pants will always be in style.

BONUS:  Key to staying young is a positive attitude and finding your tribe.  Having friends and a good support system is vital at any age, especially when journeying through a transition.   Getting through the hard days will be sweeter with some good friends and some hearty laughter.

Enjoy the journey!  xo