A Dance In The Hurricane

The other day I was cleaning out our closet.  It was time to do some much needed purging.   I decided to gut out everything and go from there.  I ended up finding some old cards from a few years ago when my mother passed away.  I opened each one and read them again, this time with five years behind me.  They were sweet and sympathetic.  My Aunt had sent one reminiscing about when she and my mother were teens and very close.  Some I kept and others I didn’t.  So much for the big purge.    In among the cards I found a letter that was written by a childhood friend of the family.  Her kids were friends with us when we lived in the old neighbourhood.  She and her husband were friends with my parents.  We used to visit them at their house after they moved away into a new house.  She wrote to say how dismayed she was of my mother’s passing and that she hadn’t realized my mother continued to reside in Chatham.  She assumed she had moved in either my brother or myself.  She was disappointed she had not made the effort to reconnect.  I think she was disappointed neither had my mother.  I don’t think it was anyone’s fault that they got disconnected.  It was just life.

Kids grow up, graduate, move on to university or not, tragic events unfold, weddings and new houses, new babies, new lives.  It’s everything that happens over a lifetime. We get disconnected. We get disjointed and enmeshed in the everyday we forget the connections that were made years ago on a summer’s day when the children were small, who later walked to the bus stop hand-in-hand on frosty fall mornings, caught “all things squirmy and squishy” (her words) and played basketball until nightfall.

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Those days get lost in band practices, packed lunches, hockey games and baseball tryouts.  People get older, move to other streets or to other towns.  They work, they make new friends, they move on to other hobbies, other occupations and other past times without the old acquaintances that have become a part of their past.  The present is different.  Its fluid and changes with the seasons and the ever-speeding passage of time.  We don’t notice the children becoming adults until they are there.  We don’t notice our hair changing colour until our hairstylist points it out (while saying loudly WHY ARE YOU NOT COMING HERE MORE OFTEN?!  )  we don’t notice the deeper cracks in the sidewalks outside the house,  how the maple tree has grown exponentially or how few little children are out playing street hockey these days, until all of that suddenly seeps into our consciousness and we take a look around us with open eyes.  And older eyes.  How did this happen?  When did we get HERE?

I understand her disappointment and dismay.  It seems like a sudden about-face of one minute she’s there, the next she’s gone, but really it wasn’t like that.  It was a lifetime of being, of living of surviving.  The disconnection of relationships is unfortunately, an everyday occurrence that can be prevented if we take the time.  Aye there’s the rub.  TIME.  We never have enough. It flies away so fleetingly.  If only we had more time to connect, to say ‘hey’, to reminisce, to support, to actually stop and watch everything grow and change without having to be awoken to its transformation.  It’s a difficult dance.  Maybe we don’t want to watch because if we do, then we’ll have to admit that we are getting older, life is flying by without us even moving or flinching in this hurricane.   Maybe we don’t really want to see the children getting older or the sidewalk cracking or the maple tree growing so big we can’t see across the street, anymore.  We’d rather hold on to today, to live in the present, just let me have one more day!

Connections are our lifelines.  We crave them, seek them out and some hold dear for a lifetime.  Our intentions are for connections to last as long as we take a breath, to be eternal and constant, but sometimes those bonds get weaker and grow more distant, then are suddenly lost in the gale force wind.  It’s not wrong.  It’s life.

I’m thinking after all of this time, to send her a letter of reply.  To let her know I did receive her letter and I did read it and I still have it.  That I remember everything she said was true.

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

Namaste, Bitches

Daughter and I have decided to give Yoga a try.  She signed us up last week and tonight is our second class.  It was a little disconcerting to be walking into someone’s private home as a Yoga studio, but we decided to keep an open mind and give it a go.

Our Yogi is a slightly-more-than-middle-aged woman who has cleared away the front room of her house to use as a space for practicing.  It was spacious and warm, a perfect spot, really.   There are only 8 people to a class, and to say Daughter is the youngest is akin to stating that an elephant is big.  EVERYONE is my age or older.  She seemed undaunted by this, but I was a bit concerned.  I mean, hey it’s all good for me sista, but she’s just a youngin’…not the class I think she had in mind when she went on Google to find a studio.  Yep.  Googled ‘Yoga Studios’ in our area and this is the one she chose…huh.

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Yeah, we don’t look quite like this

I was unfazed by the older man with the ZZ Top beard and the ragged faded jeans, but the dude who placed his mat beside me (I think his name was Brian) was a heavy breather.  Yep.  Like a bad Seinfeld episode, this guy sounded like he had just run a marathon in under four minutes.  Good thing he wasn’t a close-talker or I really would have had an issue…

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Close Talkers and Heavy Breathers back up and turn over, please

There were more men than I expected, but I think they were part of couples since the ladies they joined seemed to be very supportive and insightful in the ways of Yoga.   “Bob, YOU WON’T NEED THAT BIG CABLE KNIT SWEATER DURING CLASS.  UGH”.     “Jim YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG”    “Frank, for GOD’S SAKE JUST BREATHE!”

I did not hear any of that, but it would have been AWESOME if I had.

Couples Yoga should provide counselling services after class.

Hello, business idea for the psychiatrically inclined…

By the way, ‘psychiatrically’ is probably not a word and I’m not about to look it up.  I just spent waaaay too much time re-watching Seinfeld episodes looking for a Heavy Breather gag…

The class was a wee bit longer than I thought and when she pulled out the bolsters and dimmed the lights, I thought ‘couples yoga’ is about to get weeeirrrrrd, but it was more like nap time in Kindergarten.  Sorry, ‘relaxing time’…

Her voice suddenly dropped a few octaves as she went around the room to make sure we were ‘relaxed’…mkay.   I suppressed my urge to laugh and made it through relaxation time unscathed…. except for Heavy Breather Dude who I think almost went into cardiac arrest when it was time to come back to reality and this plane of existence…and stand up.

Poor Bob had to put on his sweater lest he got a chill….tonight is about to get awesome with Geriatric Couples Yoga….

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Lose the sweater, Bob.  It’s about to get real up in here…

I CAN’T WAIT!!

Namaste, Bitches.

 

 

Day Two of the 14 Day Challenge

I started my day with a workout, so blah coffee before said workout was a must.  Even if there was no sugar, I needed the caffeine to get me on the go.  Good thing too.  That workout was tough…

After the third cup of sugarless tasteless coffee, I can honestly say it still tastes shitty…maybe I need to switch coffee brands.  Or go to tea…HA!  Had you there for a minute, didn’t I?  TEA?!  That may send me over the edge, so I’ll stick to the duller-than-watching-grandma-knit-blankets coffee until I “get used to it”.  Which is going to happen any day now according to those ‘in the know’…ie, people who have given up sugar in the coffee like eons ago and say there’s nothing to it…the same people/person/daughter who then says ‘buy me a cookie at Tim’s okay?’

I did manage to eat some eggs with almonds for breakfast, so that was good.   I just read that sentence.  The almonds weren’t IN the eggs.  They were a side.  Like avocado is a side for some people…apparently, I’m supposed to like that.  I like guacamole, does that count?

I’m really not complaining about the whole ordeal, I just like verbally expressing my distaste for anything non-sweet, like celery and cold coffee and that lady who hates Christmas.  She probably hates babies and little puppies too….Maybe she had a bad week, or maybe she’s trying the ‘no sugar’ thing too, in which case, she should definitely eat that big ole chocolate bar and get over it.  WE NEED CHRISTMAS. AND BABIES. AND CUTE PUPPIES MAULING BABIES.

Can I have withdrawals from chocolate?  Because I think I’m going to need a similar thing to a methadone clinic for my chocolate addiction…”I’ll need an injection of the caramel centred Pot O’Gold, please”.

I’m faring better than I thought I would, although, it may not sound like it.   Some wonderful people are posting great recipes on Facebook that I can actually try out, like a one pot chicken breast with beans thing that looks good and easy to make.  Which is excellent for me.  They must know me well.  Or feel sorry for me after my post yesterday.  Either way, it’s awesome.   I’m not in the crowd of great ladies who cook up shit a week in advance and have all their veggies chopped and organized in the refrigerator by colour and size and crispness…I CAN’T DO THAT.  They cook up pots of stuff that I can’t pronounce and make food that rhymes with avocado…NOTHING RHYMES WITH AVOCADO.

I operate on a different plane.  It’s more like ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-and-hope-shit-works-out’.  Yeah.  That’s more me.  In saying that, I DID manage to prepare my lunches in advance (by this I mean an hour before I leave for work )  and have snacks at the ready so I don’t steal somebody’s cookies off their desk…or chocolate bar…Not that I’ve been scoping out people’s offices for snacks…STOP JUDGING.

All in all, day two has been…meh.  Not BAD, but doable.  If tomorrow goes like today and so forth, I got this.  Just gotta learn how to organize my veggies…so green goes before orange, then red, then yellow…I`m thinking alphabetical.  Are they chopped or sliced?  I’m going to have to get new containers…and labels.  AND SUPPORT STAFF TO HELP ME WITH THIS SHIT.

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My refrigerator does NOT look like this.  Where’s all the wine? 

Who knew organizing vegetables could be so complicated?  OBVIOUSLY THE PEOPLE WHO DO THIS ALL OF THE TIME.  They must have the global market on Tupperware.  It’s all in the lids.  Those damned things get lost and reappear in the strangest places…years later.  At least in my house. Do people still buy Tupperware?  Is that still a thing?  Huh.

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Maybe I’ll just get pre-cut veggies and store in Ziplocs…hey….see?  I got this.

At least until Friday…Friday is wine night.

WWWWIIIIINNNNNNEEEEEEE…..

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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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Thanks for Making Me A Better Smartass, Apple.

I should not be allowed to have any kind of ability to message memes or GIFs to other people on my contact list.  It can easily get out of hand and I will substitute actual words for a video clip.  It’s like Apple decided I shouldn’t speak, but allow others to do the talking for me, so they give me all of these options of random celebrities doing awesome facial expressions like rolling their eyes or sticking out their tongues or giving people the finger…you know, stuff I do all of the time, only now I can get Beyonce to do it for me!  HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!  I can be Beyonce without actually being Beyonce.

Conversation has taken a back seat to Justin Timberlake dancing or a random actor rolling their eyes or even Prince looking bored and uninterested.  If my kids ask me a question, they brace themselves waiting to see if I respond with actual words, or a short vid of Honey Boo Boo dancing like a maniac.

Apple has made it so easy for me to basically dumb down any communication to a glib video response instead of a long drawn out ‘okay’  or ‘Thanks for letting me know’ or the ever popular ‘WTF?!’ Now all I need is a search term and a little patience to scroll through all the video clips, then pick the best one and voila!  My answer to the question of ‘what’s for dinner?’  ‘Did you remember to pick up Son?’  or ‘I got an A on my paper!’ is as easy as typing ‘dinner’ and I get clips of food and people eating food and sarcastic memes about food, all at my fingertips waiting for me to push send.  The possibilities are as endless as the videos and when I run out of them, I simply type in another search term and BAM, more choices to be sarcastic without even typing a single word!  APPLE FINALLY GETS ME.

There is a downside to my laziness…the written/spoken word is diminishing before my eyes and I’m unwittingly supporting it.  I’m a major contributor to the degradation of society by allowing myself to fall victim to the temptation of random video responses!  WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!

I know what’s wrong with me.

It’s easy.  It’s fun.  It’s engaging.  It’s smartassiness at its finest and I FUCKING LOVE IT.

I enjoy the search for the videos and the reactions I get when I send them.  I like seeing the funny face or the OMG STOP IT, from my kids or my friends who I bother at work…or in the middle of the night.  You can even do it while you’re drunk, and people will just think you’re being a smartass.  Not that I’ve ever done that, before.   I think I should actually text words a little more often.  Everyone may be expecting a video response every time they message me, so they’ll stop messaging me and then they’ll stop speaking to me.  Pretty soon, they won’t even want to text or talk or anything!  I WILL LOSE ALL COMMUNICTATION WITH MY CHILDREN AND MY FRIENDS ALL BECAUSE TAYLOR SWIFT HAS A BETTER EYE ROLL THAN ME!    SOCIETY WILL COME TO SCREECHING HALT AND CONVERSATION WILL BE OBLITERATED IN THE FAVOUR OF A BEYONCE HAIR FLIP!  EVERYBODY WILL THINK I’M A WICKED SMARTASS BECAUSE OF THE FLIPPANT VIDEOS DRIPPING WITH SARCASM AND SASSINESS!

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Now, I’m not only the worst conversationalist ever, I’m the BEST smartass ever.

Way to go Apple.  YOU JUST MADE MY LIFE.

Backward is the New Forward

 

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I like being alone.  I crave time by myself.  Many of us introverted types usually do.  We don’t care if we have a houseful of people and we aren’t looking to be with a crowd.  We tend to want to be with ourselves.  We need time to think.  We need time to be…well, just be.  It’s not that I’m anti-social, I don’t think I’m anti-anything, it’s just I like being with me.  I have shit to think about.  Stuff to read.  Stuff to write.  Stuff to paint.  Just stuff to do that doesn’t include others.  I get in a crowd and it makes me uncomfortable.  I’m much better than I used to be, but still…it makes me edgy.  It’s better when I know everyone and they know me and aren’t expecting me to be witty, or engaging or a major conversationalist.  I suck at conversation.  I can be witty with a couple of glasses of wine and a good friend or two, but more than that and I shut down.  I get nervous.  I think they have more interesting things to say that I would like to listen to.  Not that I’m not intelligent enough to participate, on the contrary I can be a smart ass…just, I have to know that you can take it first.  I can talk about books and authors and movies and sentence structure and my dog and…other stuff.  You just have to show me that you’re interested in that stuff too.  We make you work for our time…you have to show us that you want to be in our company.  We don’t NEED somebody else to feel ‘complete’ or to feel like we matter.  We matter.  We know that.  We like our space.  Our time.

We introverts are around but we aren’t as noticeable as our extroverted counterparts.  We usually aren’t the life of the party.  We tend to watch the goings on.  Not that we don’t speak up, we just listen first.  We tend to be lurking in the shadows or watching from the sidelines.  We’re not ‘stuck up’ or think we are superior, we just wait until we feel we have something important to contribute.

I was always labelled ‘shy’…even ‘backward’.  I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean.  Backward.  Like, I walk backwards?  I talk backwards?  I don’t think I think backwards.  I behave backwards?  Who the hell made this up?  Somebody backwards…

I think we are a misunderstood species.  I think people make many assumptions about our personalities before they have the opportunity to get to know us better, but then again, that happens with anyone who is perceived as different…or even ‘backward’.  It’s assumed we don’t like people or parties or any type of social gathering, so don’t get invited.  It’s assumed we are stuck up, or have a superiority complex.  We’re just quiet.  It’s assumed we are ignorant or even stupid.  We’re just waiting for an intelligent conversation and don’t want to bore you with semantics.  It’s assumed we have nothing to contribute, but we just are waiting for the opportunity.  We don’t do small talk.  It’s uninteresting to talk about the weather and who really wants to know if it’s raining out…again.  We take our time and want to get to know someone before jumping in to anything.  Our time is valuable and so is yours.

I’m saying ‘we’ because this isn’t just a ‘me’ thing.  Introverts are nothing new and I’m not alone.  It’s like a movement of sorts, now.  There’s Quietrev   a website that has a newsletter I receive regularly in my email that talks about being an introvert and how being ‘quiet’ doesn’t mean that you are any less important, less intelligent or less anything.  It discusses how to make gains in professional circles where networking is a key component and how to maneuver in a world that tends to dismiss the quiet few and reward the noisy majority.  ‘Squeaky wheel gets the oil?’ is that the saying?  We think that’s wrong.  We can be heard, just in our own way and time.

Blogging gives me my voice.  Writing gives me the opportunity to say what I’m thinking and people get to know me who otherwise may have had the knee-jerk reaction to dismiss me as uninterested or ‘stuck-up’, or that I simply have nothing to say.  No part of that is true.

Give us our space and time and we will give you our thoughts…just don’t expect us to yell over anyone to be heard.

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Tattoo Studio…

Apparently, when you turn fifty something inexplicable happens to your brain.  Decisions are made based on what would be fun, or what could transform a little life into something exciting.  Looking down the tunnel towards old age, it gets necessary to move in a more forward thinking direction.  What have I not done in my life that I really should do?  Like, now.  Do now.   Take a plunge.  Leap. Dance.  Get a tattoo.

A tattoo?  Yes.   With Daughter.  She asked me and in an instant I said ‘yes’.  I didn’t even hesitate or flinch.  I just jumped in. No debating, no weighing the options, just jumped.  It’s only a little ink, right?

Let’s do it.  She was so excited.  I was too…until we walked into the tattoo studio for our consultation and then I realized it was actually happening. A permanent drawing on my body.  Ready?  Hmm….

Oh, sure there was a lot of checking with me to see if I was on board.  Was I sure?  Daughter and I looked over literally hundreds of designs.  What size?  Did we want colour?  How about the image itself?  There were many I nixed based on size.  There were more she declined based on simplicity. I was going for simple.  At my age, simple was imperative.  A few weeks later and we had our first appointment.

We made our way down to the studio.  A little red door on a downtown street.  Colourful art and sketches cover the wall of an old walk-up; aged wooden floorboards creaked beneath our feet; plaster ceilings and vintage crown moldings.  There was a park bench and an old tattoo chair adorning a tiny living room complete with sofa and coffee table. Directly across from the green micro-fibre sofa hung precariously from an old nail, a shrunken pirate head with ginger beard and eye patch.  Perfect.

We sat down with the artist in that room to go over our ideas for our tattoos.  She was a young woman, grey haired and sweet.  I saw no visible tattoos, however, just peeking out from under the hiked-up sleeve of her sweater I could see a black swirl like the wispy end of a tail.  Ah, there it is.

She asked questions.  Allayed our fears.  Calmed me down a bit.  We went through our ideas and she took the time to get to know exactly what we had in mind.

We chose daisies and asked the artist to do a sketch and send it to us just so we could imagine what it would look like permanently inked on our skin.

The day of the appointment arrived and Daughter picked me up.  She was so excited, how could I not be?  She went first.  Watching the tattoo artist was like watching somebody paint a picture while doing a bit of surgery at the same time.  There’s the whir of the instrument, the chatter of voices and the wincing of Daughter’s face.  She was so determined not to move, she made herself shake.  I asked Daughter what it felt like and she said it was like somebody scratching at your skin.  Nothing painful.  Huh.  That wincing face, though.

She was done in thirty minutes.  A quick change up for the room to be disinfected and cleaned up and it was my turn.  Ugh.  My brain started going into overdrive.  Was it too big, really?  Maybe she can scale it down to one daisy…then mine would be different than Daughter’s and that would defeat the purpose.  I was back in the room with the shrunken pirate head.  I think I heard him sneer at me, “Oh, whaddya ascared of a little tattoo?!  Pfft…sure if I had arms, I’d show ya all mine!  Dey were good’uns, they were.  All done by a sailor with a hook for a hand and a needle dipped in black ink.  Hehehe…good ol’ days, dey were.  A’course I may ‘ave been a wee bit over da limit wit da rum, if ya catch me drift….”  ‘Oh, my Gawd will ya shut it, pirate!  Can’t ya see I’m panicking here?!’    “Jasus, girl it’s only a bit o’ink.  Nuttin’ to git yer panties in a knot o’er.  An daisies at dat!  Pffft…wuss.  Well, if ye were on ma boat-“      ‘YOU DON’T HAVE A BODY LET ALONE A BOAT!   TOO BAD YOU STILL HAVE A MOUTH! KEEP TALKIN’ CAPTAIN JACK AND I’LL PITCH YOU OUT INTO THE HARBOUR! ’    “Take it easy, Missy!  Where’s me rum…”  ‘ NOW, you’re talkin’…..’

She came out to get me and we were off.

She attached the design to my lower leg first to make sure the placement was accurate and straight.  Then I hopped up on the table and she set to work.  I was on my side, so I was able to have a lovely view of the harbour while she worked.  I think she did that intentionally.  Smart girl.  Captain Jack was laughing it up out in the living room, I’m sure of it.   I asked her intelligent questions like “Has anyone passed out from this before?  Ever been accidently kicked or swatted while tattooing?  What’s the biggest tattoo you’ve ever done and how long did it take you?  Anybody ever vomit on your table?”

She answered my questions with a degree of concern making sure I wasn’t going to do any of those things to her.  Nope.  All good.  Except for that annoying scratching.  “That’s the tattoo.”  Oh.  Then I’m good.

It went well.  The tattoos look great.

I wonder what my next adventure will be…hmmm.

As for Captain Jack, I don’t think we’ll be seeing each other any time soon, although I thought I could hear a verse of  ‘Yo Ho Ho and A Bottle of Rum’ as we were walking out the door….

 

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