Draw Like Da Jesus!

My conversations with the ever-absent D2 are infrequent and fraught with awkward silences.   We no longer have that day-to-day mundane interaction to share or joke about, so we get lost in the abundance of stuff and so little time within to tell it.  She’s monstrously busy and I’m monstrously trying to fill her absence.  D1 and Son give me sideward glances when I beg them to talk to me or sit with me outside and tell me about their day, or come with me to Walmart JUST ONE MORE TIME.   I may have to borrow a neighbor kid with whom I could drive around and tell sarcastic bad-driver stories.

The questions that I invent for D2 are different than Hubby’s, but then again they should be.  He was in her exact spot a mere 29 years ago, so of course he wants to know what it looks like, have you done this course yet, who is your drill Corporal, blah, blah, blah.  My questions are far more important and revolve on actual survival skills that only moms understand: have you made any nice friends?  Are you eating enough?  How’s the food?  Are you getting enough rest?  How’s that cleaning, ironing and washing going?  Need another bed-making tutorial?  (Yes, I actually sent her a tutorial on hospital corners that she shared with her troop mates, since I clearly failed her as a mother and neglected to demonstrate this in person during her ENTIRE LIFE AS MY CHILD) Don’t get sick.  Wash your hands all of the time, STAY AWAY FROM THE WEAPONS FIRING AREA.  You know, SURVIVAL.  I’m thinking for Christmas, I’ll give her a throw pillow that reads: JUMP LIKE DA JESUS.   It’s a bit kitschy.  She won’t be able to have it on her bed at Depot, since obviously, EVERYONE WILL WANT ONE.  I needed a short and catchy phrase, since my embroidery skills are as lacking as my motherly teaching skills.  Ugh.

Hubby is entering a new decade today.  Fifty is the new I-made-it-this-far-so-may-as-well-get-shitfaced, so there’s that to look forward to.  Not that he’s going to drink himself to all out oblivion, but I may be tempted.  This new age of being older-than-dirt in the eyes of the youngsters, quite frankly, sucks.  I get eye-rolls and the ‘oh, mom’ when I ask about something Millennials with their hipster jeans and Birkenstocks can only decipher.  By the way, WHEN DID BIRKENSTOCKS COME BACK AS COOL?!  They’re ugly as shit and I don’t understand the appeal.  They’re like wearing hard rubberized sole-deforming casts on your feet and if you were TOLD you HAD to wear them as punishment, one would rail against the establishment as being cruel and unusual and anti-freedom-of-feet!  I see you shaking your head and holding up your rubberized-foot sling as something I should try and that I’d ‘surely love them as soon as I wear them awhile’  NO.  UGLY. AS. SHIT.

I’ve also decided that being over fifty is life’s way of getting back at you for all the crap you said about EVERY ADULT YOU KNEW when you were in your teens. All your eye-rolling, oh-mom comments, ripped jeans, non-sensical friends….STOP DRAWING THAT CIRCLE.  I see it.

Your body decides to play games, your now adult kids make fun of you and you finally understand everything your parents ever said to you throughout your entire life and feel the need to spout same to YOUR children/adults.  Their time will come when they will say the same thing.

WHO BROUGHT FUGLY

BIRKENSTOCKS BACK?!

See?   Okay, you can draw now.

Cue the Lion King theme song.  I’m done.

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Letting Go

The absence of D2 is strange.  I walk pass her room and see it empty and surprisingly, clean. There’s no coffee mugs on the desk, or clothes thrown onto the floor in a frenzied panic.   The car we shared is still filled with wanton coffee cups and rowing materials, tossed on the back floors reminding me of her once fluid presence.  In the trunk of said car, I found a cap, a sweater, a yoga mat and coloured tissue paper used for a friend’s gift, now forgotten and abandoned.  She’s still here, but isn’t.   I went through her drawers to find a top I could ‘borrow’ for work.  Instead, I ended up emptying the drawers, organizing pants and tops and putting some questionable things in the laundry.  I didn’t find anything to ‘borrow’, but she now has neat folded clothes organized in an efficient manner for when she returns.

But, if all goes according to plan, she won’t be returning.  She’ll be moving on.  On to another province and another life.

It is a good thing, of which I am reminded daily after everyone tells me she’s supposed to move on.  She’s supposed to get a life and have a career and not be in her room on the second floor.  The room that was once decorated with lilac walls and flowery wall paper; dolls lying everywhere and shelves with Beanie Babies strewn upon them.  Book shelves with Disney covers and old Dr. Seuss stories she should have given her younger brother ages ago.  The bunk beds she shared with her sister, a tv on the dresser, her stark white Tae Kwon Doe gee and colored belts strewn in the corner along with her guitar lying lazily on its side.

All of that is gone, except for the guitar.  It’s now in my room, hidden behind her grad dress and boxes of old photographs.

I am reminded that I shouldn’t be lamenting my loss, but delighted in her gain.  I should be happy for her, that she is doing something she wants to do and is securing a future for herself.  Yeah, yeah.  Easier on the other side when kids are still home and tucked in bed at a reasonable hour and you still make the rules and the meals and discuss how unfair math homework is.

It’s supposed to be easier when they get older, isn’t it?  Not so, dear friends.  Not so.  There’s university, then jobs, then careers, then…gasp, WEDDINGS, BABIES, HOUSES IN NEW TOWNS, NEW PROVINCES?!  WHEN WILL IT END?!

Aye, there’s the rub.  It doesn’t.  It’s the never-ending cycle of having babies and watching them grow up and move on and become the people we always hoped they would be.

And when they DO do it, you’re surprised and proud and sad all at the same time.  Surprised that you actually pulled it off.  You managed to raise a human being that contributes to society, is intelligent (although when she was 3 and proceeded to on the toilet backwards because “my friend Lucas pees this way” you kinda wondered…) has common sense, the ability to laugh and that ever-biting sarcasm.  Proud because she fought her way through school and work and negative old men who doubted her abilities.  Sad because she is gone.  How did that happen?  Hubby and I look at each other, full of wonder.  Wasn’t she just turning 4 yesterday?!

Then the worry of did you teach her enough, did you make her tough enough to fight back, did you give confidence to believe in herself and not to listen to the nay-sayers?  Did you fill her enough with knowledge of that big bad world, compassion enough to listen to the unfortunate, and creative enough to solve the problems she will face?  Did you?

Beats the fuck out of me.

I guess time will tell.  At some point, I have to say we’ve done all we can do.  It’s now up to her.  It’s all in her hands, not ours.  If she succeeds, it’s all because she wanted it bad enough to work her ass off to get it.  If she doesn’t, it’s all because she chose not to; she chose to walk another path and it’s ultimately her choice to make.  Not ours.

In the meantime, I’ll wait.  I’ll continue to walk passed that empty room, dust the furniture every once in a while, fold some more clothes that I won’t ‘borrow’, knowing we’ve done our best.

Soar on, little bird.  Soar on…

If I Could Read, I Wouldn’t Need Help. Also Wine

The winds are blowing heavy today; my brain seems to be melting in the heat and I’m having difficulty concentrating on anything longer than three words.  At least, that’s what I’m saying.  “It’s all of this heat.  I’m not used to it” when really, it’s all of this old age and peri-menopause crap that’s beginning to break down my will to exist with patience and some semblance of logic.  Intelligence has taken a back seat to convenience and I’m having a hard time concentrating.  It’s like I’m four years old all over again and if someone could constantly feed me and keep me entertained, I’m happy.  Piss me off and take away my favourite toy and watch out!

You better have a stick of chocolate in that other hand or I may punch you in the throat.

Coach put out a notice of how the new payment system is going down. I SWEAR TO GAWD I READ IT.  I really did.  I think.  Today, I spoke like I knew what I was talking about, because my erroneous brain decided I DID KNOW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT.  I knew shit.  I got it all wrong.  IF I HAD READ THE ENTIRE PASSAGE I PROBABLY WOULD BE ABLE TO DECIPHER THINGS BETTER.  She may need to post stuff in all caps.  Or be more sarcastic.  Or have a caption that read WINE, and then proceed to print things in clear concise point form without all of the flowery language of using proper grammar

and words like “the” and “and”.  Ugh

Today’s post of PLEASE READ was okay, but she really should have specified it to be PLEASE READ then below that heading, have “AND WINE”.  That would get peoples’ attention.  At least the fifty-somethings like me would have shit to look forward to and not aimlessly read without concentrating on the actual context of the message.  We would be reading to get to the good part about the wine…IS THERE WINE?  Oh, look I have to actually pay her…IN WINE?  THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.  EVERYBODY PAY IN WINE!!!  WHO WAS THE BRILLIANT PERSON WHO CAME UP WITH THAT?!

Nevermind.  That’s how I would decipher the entire message.  YOU HAVE TO PAY COACH AT THE END OF JULY IN WINE.  I READ IT.  ALL OF IT AND THAT’S WHAT IT SAID. NOW, DON’T BOTHER ME I NEED TO EAT MY CHOCOLATE.  DANCE, HEATHEN!   DANCE!

I also have issues with deciding if I should wear pants, so really, I should be excused from answering questions and deciphering texts.

Ps.  Dear Boss, if you want to pay me in wine, I’d be okay with that.  Thanks!  KJ

Riding Semis With Strangers

The wind is blowing, the sun is kinda shining and I’m not wearing a parka.  What a great Friday! The following tale is not for the faint of heart and one not wishing to lay witness to the winds of change.  An emotional upheaval of a woman fraught with anguish, ire and scant hormones that have left her (me) with little else but to rant and rave to the Gods of the Universe to bestow patience and lots of wine.  Here you go….

The inevitable is careening at me like a Denzel Washington train of disaster and I can’t move out of the way fast enough.  I’ve ranted and raved, threw my fist in the air to protest the injustices of errant hormones and still I’ve been relegated to bowing my head in disbelief and wanton despair.  Approaching 52 has never been so tumultuous.  I imagine.  I’ve never approached 52 before and never will again, for that matter.  Good thing.  I’ve had to reel in my tongue lest the innocent bystanders fall victim to my raging Norma Rae pontifications.  A little dramatic, I realize but that’s how it is these days. I’ve had to remind myself that someone being a little late is not an ‘idiot’ or a ‘fucking moron’ or anything other than just being late.  I’ve had to remind my body that I’M NOT THAT OLD, M*&^*F**&^CKER AND I CAN DO IT IF I WANT TO.  OR, maybe I should take a few days off and think about it.

I was forced to counsel Hubby on the upcoming personality disorder that will be defined as his former wife, due to the unfortunate incident of him answering my plea of being rescued from a place of employment with a curt ‘no’.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN NO?!  It started and thereto began the Great Conflict of Summer 2018 when Hubby had the audacity to suggest I keep my car and let D2 walk.  THE ABSOLUTE NERVE TO THINK I COULD KEEP MY OWN CAR.   With the windows open widely so the ‘hood could partake in the banter and loud yelling of I CAN NEVER BE ANGRY BECAUSE YOU JUST GET ANGRY THEN EVERYONE IS ANGRY. NO, YOU’RE OUT OF ORDER AND THIS WHOLE PLACE IS OUT OF ORDER AND WHY AM I QUOTING AN OLD 70’S MOVIE AND  JUST LET ME BE ME FOR ONCE!!!   GAWWWWDDDD.    Yes, a teenager-proud moment was never heard so well and as renowned as the plea for my emotional independence.  I Lost. My.  Shit.   What. The. Actual. Fuck was wrong with me?

I ranted on D2 about how she was driving too fast and if she doesn’t slow the fuck down, I’m getting out of the car and walking because I can’t take this shit.  I later drove the car to her employment place only to begin my long walk home.  Stalking along the street, I was determined that if a truck driver manning a semi with a lady tattoo and a penchant for beer stopped and offered me a ride home, I may agree. A true moment of being a statistic on a milk carton, only display that pic of me on a wine bottle so my friends could actually know I was missing.  WHO DRINKS MILK AFTER THE AGE OF 40?   A few minutes later, she stops aside the road pick me up along the way to say I was being ridiculous.  RIDICULOUS.  ME??

No, I was being emotionally independent of all the fuck that’s happening in the world and LETS GET COFFEE AND COOKIES, DAMMIT.

Because coffee and cookies are like the meth of menopause.  I use the ‘M’ word with bated breath and downcast eyes, lest I look directly at it and it blinds me.  I’m not entirely within its grasp, but rather on the outskirts, stealing fearful glances at its promise of further rages with opened windows and moments of hitchhiking with semis.  She carefully throws cookies at me like feeding a rabid dog and fearful of her hand being bitten.

I now know why divorce rates rise at this stage of life.  I HAVE LOST MY FUCKING MIND.

I have come to the ultimate conclusion that this is my life for now and I have to filter my reactions to people’s utter lack of understanding and their predominant ability to be stupid.  I have to ask Hubby if what I just replied to someone could be construed as ‘snippy’ or ‘sarcastic’??  Me???   Or if I’m in ‘that mood’ now and should just try to shut up and stop talking? Look the other way?  Turn the other cheek?   I have to ask a neutral party if I’m being nasty or logical.  It sounds perfectly okay to me…but, apparently, it isn’t.  I’m not.  So, distract me by turning my attention to the shiny things and appease me with glasses of wine or chocolate.  Pretty soon I’ll be locking myself in a bathroom so I can’t wield hurtful words or ‘snippy’ retorts (that I’ve come to know and love) at random people with seemingly good intentions and no idea that the nasty ‘M’ is wreaking havoc.

Pass the cookies and the coffee.  The vat of wine over there is keeping me from wielding an axe and jumping aboard a semi with strangers… If I go missing, put a nice picture of me on that bottle of red Merlot.  It’s the least you could do….

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.

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…