Golly Gee Wilikers, Is That You Superman?

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I love fun. I adore Halloween. I’m a teeny bit disappointed my Hubby and I didn’t dress up and attend the local Halloween bash this year. However, Rick’s been working long days, his sixty-hour week drags him down, so he was too taxed to Tango, literally. He’s been wondering if all his hard work is worth it, when half his wages go to paying taxes.

I know, here I go again. I keep telling myself I’m done, I will not write about Justin Trudeau anymore. I will not destroy my peaceful existence with another rant. But… Did you see the latest? And this comment is not because I am a stick in the Halloween goo, because I love it when people wear costumes at work on the spooktacular day.  However, when I saw Trudeau dressed up as Clark Kent, A.K.A Superman, I couldn’t help but do a tremendous eye-roll. I’m talking freaky pupils gone eye-roll, I actually lost vision in both eyes for a few seconds, and I admit to being grateful for it, because then I didn’t have to see Justin’s self-satisfied smirk any longer.

So now our egomaniacal Prime Minister thinks he’s slugging it out in the trenches and defeating evil at every turn like Superman. The audacity of him, you know, he could have reached for the joke. He could have disarmed his critics and haters with something fun. He could have dressed up like a beaver, or a polar bear, or a pair of socks? But no, he chose Superman. Once again he demonstrates his ego on a large scale. He see’s himself as the most powerful being on planet Earth. He chooses a Superhero created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, high school students living in Cleveland Ohio. Why didn’t he choose a Canadian Superhero like Wolverine, created in Cold Lake, Alberta, or Captain Canuck, created by Richard Comely, out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Or is that all too domestic, and too Canadian for our worldly Prime Minister?

I am not a fan of a counterfeit smile.

I am a fan of an honest demeanour. I believe in humanitarian efforts, I believe in legalizing marijuana, and yes I would even champion a carbon tax if all that money were going directly towards supporting clean energy options. I believe Quebec, and any other province which dumps sewage into our waterways should be held accountable.  I believe Canada should manufacture more products at home. I believe we should be actively recruiting and developing inventive minds. I believe in creating positive trading relations with countries who have the same fundamental beliefs as our own country, freedom of expression, freedom to protest, freedom of religion unless it causes harm to others, (no devil worship please, sacrifices are generally not voluntary ) freedom of sexual orientation, and strong child protection laws.

What I am not a fan of however, is a hypocrite. On that note, I do not agree with all of Trudeau’s renovations, expensive holidays, and costly meals when he is away from the country, which seems to be a great deal of the time. I do not agree with the whopping deficit his government is incurring for the Canadian people. I especially do not agree with Trudeau’s deal with China. If the Trudeau government is so concerned about the welfare and rights of people, why is he striking trade agreements with countries like China? Do you want to  support an authoritarian regime by doing business with them? Have a look at these articles. This is Trudeau’s choice of trade partner—  the Amnesty report on China for 2016/2017China’s deadly secret, and last, but not least Trudeau urges Canadian companies to do business with China.

This is why I’m not sailing along on the Trudeaumania love boat. Justin can’t possibly represent Superman, because Superman would never deal with a country which denies their people creative freedoms, and silences outspoken human rights activists through harassment, imprisonment, and torture.

Looking forward to next Halloween. God? Is that you?

The Haunting

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Uncle Alexander Antoniuk, fought with the Canadian Armed forces, his unit was the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards. He was killed in action in Ortona, Italy on Dec 31, 1944. he was twenty years old. 

This strikes me as being a perfect day to share with you, a lucid tale of an actual haunting. It took place many years ago, at time just after the world had overcome the Nazi regime. It occurred in a house touched by the war yet far away from the fight. It happened in my Great grandmothers house, at the place my Dad spent many summers as a child.

The first time it transpires, my Dad is staying in a bedroom on the second floor of the family home. He tosses and turns, flips and flops in the bed attempting to find rest. He vaguely hears the grow-ups talking downstairs. Like any other normal eight year old he wishes he could have stayed up, he’s not even tired yet. The moonlight lays a wide swath of luminosity across the floor and up onto the wall beside the bed. He hears footsteps climb the worn wooden stair treads. He expects to see his Grandmother, or his Uncle poke their head in the doorway. No one comes.

Dad stares at the ceiling and listens hard for any other noise.

It comes.

He hears footsteps in his room clomping across the floor towards his bed— but there is no one in the room.

Dad’s eyes are wide as he pulls his blankets to his chin, he grasps the fabric tight. He’s clenching so tightly blood leaves his fingers. He strains to see with clarity in the moonlit room. Maybe he missed someone? But how could he? The floorboards creak softly as the sound of a footstep stops at the edge of the bed. The huff of someone else’s breathing is unmistakable.

Dad holds his own breath. “This is not real, this is not real,” he mutters aloud.

He cringes staring into the empty space. Dad’s heart pounds like a farrier’s hammer on the red-hot curve of a horseshoe coming to life.

The mattress depresses as the invisible force sits on the edge of the bed.

Dad bolts upright, “Grandma! Grandma!” he screams.

He wraps his arms around himself and presses his back firmly against the wall. He can scarcely draw breath.

He hears the sound of footsteps scrambling up the stairs. Dad is panting with fear.

The door bursts open, his grandmothers face holds creases of worry. Her eyes are underlined with dark circles of unrest. “What Alvin? What’s the matter?” she crows.

He suddenly feels small and silly as though his mind has imagined it all. He gazes at his grandmother, he sees all her weariness. If he adds to her burden, he’s sure to get a scolding from Uncle George, a well-placed whipping from a willow tree switch across a bare butt. He reconsiders his story, “I had a bad dream Grandma, I’m sorry to bother you,” he said in a quavering tone.  Maybe I imagined it? No sense worrying Grandma, he thinks. She’s been through enough, what with her being a widower, and then her boys went off to war, one went and got killed and the other one wounded. I can’t be spooking her, he thinks. Be a man Alvin, for gosh sakes be a man.

She bends down and gives Dad’s hair a loving tousle, “Ack, it’s okay Boyo, but remember bad dreams can’t hurt you, “ she reassures him with a serious face. “Go back to sleep.”

She turns and leaves the room.

The invisible presence never left.

As the sound of her fading away, the depression in the mattress lengthens.

Dad yanks the covers up over his head. Someone— something has laid beside him in the bed. Dad slides further away, over to the brim of the bed next to the wall. The hair on the back of his neck prickles. The entity takes up more space in bed and pushes Dad firmly against the wall. The feeling is undeniable.

Dad closes his eyes tight. His body lies as rigid as an icicle hanging off the roof on a cold winters day. Sometime during the night the presence disappears, and Dad falls asleep.

Later in life Dad figures it was Uncle Alec, his grandmother’s youngest son. It would make sense, he had died traumatically, and far from home. He’d gone to fight for freedom, and against tyranny, gone overseas to help the break the fingers of the grasping hand of the Nazi’s. His body never made it back to his family. He never got to feel the welcoming embrace of his kinfolk upon his return. It was only his longing spirit which came home to the comfort of his room and his bed.

This haunting didn’t happen every night, but with enough consistency that Dad learned to sleep with a ghost. And although this entity was frightening in it’s strangeness, it never offered violence of any kind.

So as far as hauntings go, I suppose this haunting was as lovely as a haunting could be. I say lovely, because the spirit simply made it’s way home to where it felt peace. All of its loneliness found refuge in a familiar space, and in a familiar bed, to rest it’s so called head.

As for the authenticity of this story, well, I can tell you this, other people within the family confirmed what Dad experienced. They had experienced it for themselves.

As far as Dad goes— I can honestly say, the only time he told the tale of the impossible haunting, was when he’d had a few glasses of liquid courage. I remember listening to him mesmerized by his words and feeling the unmistakable chill of fear dance across my skin. I recall being wide eyed with both horror and disbelief. I still recall being swept into the tale as his hands gestures to the imaginary door, to the narrow passageway where the ghostly footsteps sounded. I remember watching his eyes as he travelled back in time, and the way they grew distant when he reached for the memories. I eventually came to understand there was still a part of him who resisted the account. My Dad was not one to dabble in foolish stories, and even in the telling you could see him holding a handful of reluctance, and sense of disbelief that it had actually happened to him. And that my dear friends, is how I know, this is a tale of truth.

Becoming A Wisengeezer

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If I were in the twilight years of life.

So the other day I asked my step-mom, Gil to give me a topic for my blog. “Anything,” I said. “It can be anything at all.”

She suggested I let my imagination zip into the future and write a profile of myself as a senior. At first I though, Ack! Kill me now! I don’t want to think about sagging body bits, bowel dysfunctions or misfires, failing eyesight, hearing loss, thinning hair, or extra pounds sneaking onto my meat suit. It’s not funny. I’m too close, it’s a freakin horror show. However, frightening or not, it’s a fact of life. It’s one most of us will have to face— if we’re lucky enough to make it to the coons age.

I trampled my resistance to the topic of aging, and after allowing the idea to ruminate in my mind. I came to the conclusion writing this would be more fun than putting Capri’s on a camel.

I believe old age is a state of mind, you’re only old and defunct, if you believe you are old and defunct. Bing bang boom, I arrive in my mid sixties with a face more like a prune than a raisin, but a sassy looking prune with a smile. My eyes droop at the corners, and my eyelids hang like a Bassett hounds. My super duper elastic reinforced bra keeps my boobies in line, as I never believed in letting them hang down and swing to and fro. My hair is far too thin for a lady, I’ve taken to wearing a wig with dreadlocks, I always wanted dreads. The skin on my body has the appearance of crepe paper but underneath my muscles are toned by exercising to rap music, every time I hear an explicit lyric I lift weights, or do an abdominal hold, or complete a series of leg raises.

In an effort to avoid a hum drum existence I would most likely take a few classes, a scrapbooking class, using pictures and phrases to capture the dastardly deeds I had done, or wished I had done in my life, scratch and sniff stickers included but not advised. In keeping with my creative side, I give birth to my own You Tube Channel featuring shows with local talent like Batwing Granny, Nightmare on Forgetful Street, Grandpas Gone Wild, Gummy Gummy Grandma, and Dr. Who?

Maybe I’ll finally learn to play an instrument with expertise, cello, piano, or fellatio? If my Hubby is still with me we could go out to political rallies and take turns heckling the politicians.

I could take up home brewing tequila, and have a ring around the rosie party with shots. Ring around the rosie, glasses full of boozy, cheers, cheers, we all fall down.

If my hubby is no longer with me I could go fishing on the weekend. I would catch and release. I know all the good ones are already dead or taken.

In the summer I’d plan a holiday in a recreational vehicle as a stowaway.

I’ll become an active participant in organizations similar to The Red Hat Society, but with more grit. I could join The Association of Gravestone Studies for future reference? Or maybe I would sit on the board of The National Association for Self-Esteem, but only if I’m good enough.

If my kids are sick of me and send me to a seniors living residence I’d become the local bookie, I’d take bets on the date of death for the oldest residents, no cheating allowed. The odds would go up or down according to physical ailments. In that atmosphere I could see myself enjoying some of the handicraft courses they might offer, instead of Build-A- Bear, it would be Build-A-Dildo, satisfaction guaranteed. Or I could take a pottery class. I would get my fingers in the clay and design my own urn.

If I needed some extra pocket money I’d get a phone sales job, where my husky voice, clear phone connection, and thorough knowledge of Fifty Shades Of Grey will really pay off. On a slow evening I could sell some irrelevant things on line, like the neighbours stuff. Or, I could hang out on the fringes of someone else’s busy garage sale and collect the money. Nothing says honest like saggy skin, silver hair, and age spots.

If I’m fortunate enough to live in my home as a senior I might get a pet, maybe a bird, a macaw, Id teach it an altered idea from Shakespeare, “To be or not to be? Soon it will no longer be a question.”

Seriously though, when I really do become a senior— I hope the attention I have given to eating healthy, being physically active, mentally exercised, and being emotionally aware will bring me into old age with a positive attitude. If not? Well then, roll me a giddy stick of the devil’s cabbage kiddo’s, with the new medicinal marijuana laws coming into play, there is no way life is gonna bring me down. That’s deaths job.

I dedicate this spontaneous blogarrhea to my most wonderful step-mom, Gil. She’s a good step-mom, her demons were exorcized long ago.

I’m Done For

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The other day a screw fell out of the stool I was sitting on at home. It just plinked onto the floor with no encouragement at all. I picked it up. I studied it, and thought, well that’s weird.

A little later on that same day as I was vacuuming the front rug, a silver thingy popped up catching my eye. I bent over and picked it up. It was another screw. Very strange indeed, we hadn’t been building anything recently. I put it on the counter for someone to claim later in the day.

A couple hours later I was making a dessert which required me to use a hand held pastry blender, as I worked the butter into the flour a screw flew out of the wooden handle onto the counter.

Now I am scared to leave home, with those three events happening on the same day I do believe the Universe is sending me a message. It’s either telling me I have a screw loose— Or it’s telling me I‘m screwed.

Just Me and My Ego

 

fullsizeoutput_884.jpeg“Feed me!” growls the beast. It has wielded its way into my being, and taken possession of my soul. Saliva drips from the corner of my mouth and splats upon the ground. The relentless hunger is a gaping hole. It is my appetite for praise and kudos. My Ego has come forth to seek sustenance.

At the height of my feelings of unworthiness, my Ego silently stalks the lives of others with the intent of ripping them apart. It picks at the sore spots and feeds with ravenous vigour on their juicy dramas. The taste of spicy words sits on the edge of my tongue ready to add flavour to the attack. It feels orgasmic to lash out and whip another with snide comments and pointed jabs. Having fully gorged on others supposed delicious failings I suddenly find the monster inside has abated. I realize a self-reset is needed before others are sacrificed on the bloody alter of my ego. Where’s the damn easy button now?

My ego’s massive head whips around in discomfort sensing my lucid thoughts. We are bound together. I am gagged and tied to its bulk. It stomps off with heavy-footed steps foraging ahead in search of people and things to complain about in order revel in their inequities.

The stench of judgement is overwhelming to me. I summon my sharp inner wisdom and manage to wiggle free. I leap in front of my demon-like Ego barring its path of destruction. I stand toe to toe with the creature staring up at this beast of my own making. “Wait!” I scream, and spittle flies from my lips.

Its dreadful gaze full of self-loathing focuses on me. Its low growling tone vibrates inside my chest, “Shut up, you weak snivelling mass of flesh.” It reaches out and snatches me by the throat. It holds me high, and my feet dangle like a clapper in a bell. Its claw tipped fingers squeeze, and I cannot breathe. I stare into the hostile eyes and manage to gasp, “I love you.”

With those words the fingers relax and shame falls away like a shimmering silver shower from the sky. The hideous being shrivels down to the size of me. It blinks with sadness and confusion.

I rub my throat, “It’s okay,” I croak. “ You’ve been infected by others needing you to be this, and needing you to be that. You’ve been listening to the voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough, and you’ll never amount to anything. You need to forget about what anyone else says, or implies, and you most certainly need to stop looking around for others approval. Just be you. Who cares what anyone else thinks.”

My Ego steps away creating a space between us, “Easy for you to say, the only reason I get out of control is because I’m starving. If you would just feed me a little TLC, that’s all I would need to stay satisfied. But no, you ignore my needs. Well, that’s when I fend for myself, I look around to see what’s tasty today.” My Ego said giving a slight shiver. A glassy eyed grin crosses her face. “It’s feels delicious when someone tells me I’m doing a good job.”

I raise my eyebrows, “Yeah? Well that’s the slow start of it.”

My Ego chuckles, “ Mwahahaha, at least it’s not like last time. The last time I went searching for gratification you almost had to buy shelving for everything I bought to fill the hole.”

I scrunch up my face and wipe my brow, “I know, I still have adds in the local Buy and Sell trying to get rid of the stuff. Maybe we could work together next time, and try to get a handle on your feelings before you turn into the Hulk.” I rub my neck feeling the residual tightness in my throat, “ You almost killed me this time.”

My Ego scoffs, “You’re overreacting. If you die, then I die.”

“Well, I feel like I almost died,” I grumble.

My Ego shrugs, “Well then, get a hold of yourself. Any imagined feelings of unworthiness are because of our thought patterns.”

“Yeah, I know,” I answer, “It’s just so easy to forget that long ago when we were born caterwauling to the sky we had everything we needed to succeed within ourselves— we still do.”

“La de da, Miss. Positive pants, get rid of the camel toe and tell me something I don’t know,” My Ego quips twirling like a ballerina on steroids.

I put my hand out against the wall trying to steady the swirling world “I wish you wouldn’t do that. You do realize—” I sigh, squeezing my eyes shut, “this whole talking to my Ego thing could put us in a straight jacket?”

“Does it come in blue?” asks my Ego. “I hope so. It would match my eyes.”

Blade Runner 2049

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A good movie provides entertainment; a great movie inspires internal consideration. My hubby and I went to the movie Blade Runner 2049 last Saturday. We choose to watch it in 3D, and although the glasses are annoying as hell, my eyes eventually adjusted and I was transported into a world of apocalyptic conditions. It is a time of humans and replicants. The replicants are bioengineered humans birthed by technology for the sole purpose to obey and serve. The main character K is a replicant, a Blade Runner for the LAPD who is instructed to hunt down and dispose of older model rogue replicants. As we are swept along into the story it becomes clear that the storyline is more about creation and the rights of self-aware beings. In the midst of the movie we discover life has been created within a replicant through a loving relationship. A baby had been born, and the bioengineered human died in childbirth. The character K is sent to hunt the now grown baby.

The cinematography is nothing short of stunning. The visual effects sweep me into the adventure as though I were in a waking dream, and although I sense the length of the movie I didn’t want it to end. There are a few drawn out scenes with little action, and although I am tethered in an otherworldly state, my hubby begins to snore in the seat beside me. The increasing volume of the chainsaw noise yanks me back into my reality.

Here I sit in an expansive room crowded with rows of tilting chairs filled by strangers wearing unattractive glasses in the dark. A ginormous screen occupies the front wall playing images and there are numerous speakers surrounding the uppermost parts of the room emitting intense sounds. I lift my obnoxious spectacles. I lean over and stare at my hubby entering the thralls of deep snoredom. I poke my chosen mate in the ribs, initially with no response, or so it would seem in the darkened room. I prod him again with my rigid finger for which I receive a glassy glare.

Take my hubbies snore as no reflection on the movie. I myself was in wide-eyed full appreciation of the drama threaded through with wicked stimulation. I thought the cinematographer Rodger Deakins created a work of art as he brought the imaginary world destroyed by war and famine to life. If you care to enhance the experience, please do wear the magical but ugly 3D eyewear and be catapulted into the year 2049.

After we left the movie and acclimated our senses to the present moment we headed downtown to attend an Oilers hockey game. It was a once a year, big night in the city for us. We are confessed Oilers fans but rarely go to a live game. We were looking forward to being part of the crowd and making some noise. We did in the beginning, but it soon became obvious our team had not shown up for the game. It was a snoozer. This time I fell asleep through the show and Rick poked me in the ribs. The final score was the Senators 6 and Oilers 1, it’s no wonder I lost my battle of the yawns.

After our evening out I can honestly say the Canadian, Denis Villeneuve who directed Blade Runner 2049, scored big. The movie was the significant winner of the evening for us despite my partners brief snore. Blade Runner 2049 gets a standing ovation from me, along with the wave, which isn’t very impressive with only one person. It just looks like I’m doing a set of squats. Now go be inspired by an amazing cinematic experience.

Two Years of Trudeau

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My happy go lucky side has been kidnapped. I am held hostage by pissy thoughts and rampaging inner tirades. I started seven different topics to write about this morning, and now I’ve settled on doing something different.

Oh how much do I love the Trudeau government? Let me count the ways. It’s snowing today so I decided to rant in a festive way, a Christmas Carol with a political twist. It’s written to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Feel free to sing along, and bang on your pots and pans while you still have them.

The Two Years of Trudeau

On the first month of Trudeau,

My P.M sent to me

A ridiculous amount of selfies.

 

On the second month of Trudeau

My P.M sent to me

Crazy looking socks

And a ridiculous amount of selfies

 

Pause/time out. You get the idea. I’ll just go straight into the final verse because nobody needs to sing Trudeau’s name that often.

 

On the umpteenth month of Trudeau,

My P.M sent to me,

An unbalanced budget,

An overwhelming deficit,

A small business tax hike,

Cancelled Eastern pipeline,

Mismanaged carbon tax,

Cash for access fee,

Overpriced security,

Five billion in foreign aid,

Increased CPP,

Pushy elbow gate,

Crazy looking socks,

And a ridiculous amount of selfies.

Welcome to winter, and kiss my plain ordinary black socks Justin. :*

Boundaries

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“I don’t like this hat on. Take it off,” Baby girl asks.                                                                                   

We are not born into this world with our boundaries installed. We develop them along the way. Have you ever been the victim? Would you agree that we’ve all let ourselves feel unworthy through other people’s actions towards us at one time or another? I would go on to say that although it’s difficult to experience, I think it’s enlightening to be pushed into the state of feeling uncomfortable. It forces you to acknowledge where your line of self-respect begins.

I was in Grade four when I began to develop bumps on my chest, the first girl in my class to start to show.At that time I despised being first at anything, unless it was in a buffet line-up. Not only that, but I was a tomboy trying to live up to my Dad’s expectations for never having a boy. Why, oh why, did it have to be me that was the early developer? Wasn’t it enough I was the early riser? Curse you hormones of puberty.

I took up wearing sweaters, the bigger and the baggier, the better. Oh the hell with it, just give me a few sheep to hang off my body.

By grade five it was impossible to hide my femaleness. Lets just say I became a little hefty in the chesty. I hated it. I should have grown modest boobs to match my low-key personality.

Halfway through grade five my bountiful boobs caught the attention of a budding pervert who rode the school bus. He sat kitty corner to me. Most of my friends rode the other bus, so I spent my time reading, or watching the scenery whiz past. I would be disengaged to the other kids around me. Thats when the unrestrained molester would reach across the aisle and snatch a handful of my boobs to squeeze. I’d slap him away. He would laugh. I’d give him a poisoned look and pull my coat tightly around me. Then he’d leave me alone for a few days, and just when I was feeling safe— he’d do it again.

I thought maybe the school bus driver would take notice and save me. I began to check the rear view mirror after the snatch and grab. Sure enough the bus driver was watching. My eyes would meet his, and he’d quickly look away like he hadn’t seen. There would be no hero to the rescue coming from his direction. Eventually I came to realize he wasn’t only watching— he was leering.

Now, you might be wondering, why I didn’t tell my parents? Well, in my mind Dad had an explosive temper, and Mom just seemed tired and irritated all the time. I really didn’t want to bother them. Plus, I was mortified. I was red faced and tongue-tied embarrassed. How do you tell your parents a boy keeps grabbing your freshly grown boobs on the bus?

This was one of those moments where I should have acted first and explained later. I should have brought Dad’s cattle prod for show and tell. I could have given the little slimeball a few jolts. It might have sizzled his ardour. I may have even achieved a little respect, my own at least. Then while I was on a roll I could have given the school bus driver a few zaps. Regretfully, I didn’t do anything. I was too afraid to get into trouble.

As I look back, I clearly remembered feeling vulnerable, and unsure. I felt like a victim. Why didn’t he just keep his hands to himself? Why didn’t someone else intervene? But I know now, that solving my issue was up to me. I didn’t have to be a victim. No one has to be a victim. It is one moment in time I wish I could live over again. The first time that kid touched me I should have boxed him bloody. Well, maybe not bloody, but at least one solid right hook. Looking back, I think my parents would have supported me one hundred percent. And really, so what if my DNA providers didn’t approve of my decision to join the fight club? At least I would have stood up for myself.

In the end I solved my own problem. I simply switched seats. I carried out the peace loving pacifist move.

However, the dark side of me is still thoroughly unsatisfied. Can I have a volunteer from the audience to be a surrogate pervert?

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“I didn’t need your help after all. I did it myself,” she claims triumphantly. 

Dreams Come True

 

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The thudding rhythmic beat of the hooves is music to my ears. The momentary pause as man and beast soar over the jump is grace in action. The competitors make it look simple. They just gallop around the course in a collected manner and then spring up over the jump. I’m not sure the audience can fully appreciate the hours of practice and training that goes into the presented teamwork of horse and rider. This is a dream come true, it is the riders dream come true.

I attended the Nations Cup At Spruce Meadows held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on September 9, 2017. It wasn’t only an outing to enjoy the beauty of the equestrian sport but it was a small reunion between a few Equine Studies college friends, and myself. We hadn’t been together in over ten years. So what better way to reconnect than to horse around at Spruce Meadows? Yeah, it’s a groaner.

The horse is an instinctual animal that has survived for hundreds of years by living according to it’s fight or flight instincts. I reluctantly add that horses by nature’s choosing are creatures of prey. In the wild they are hoofed grass eaters subject to the laws of the hunt. The weak and slow of the herd are meals for packs of roving wolves, nature’s henchman of the bush. Most horses choose flight over fight, unless they are cornered, and then watch the kicking, striking, and biting commence. This fact alone should add to your admiration for all who sit astride a horse in hopes of controlling the outcome.

I’ve had the pleasure of horses in my life since I was a naive little pea pod on the vine of life. (Such a bad metaphor, no comments from the peanut gallery.) In my days of being tossed, trampled, struck, bowled over, bit and kicked by horses I know painfully and personally, horses are not just instinctual beings, but are emotional creatures as well. They form strong bonds of companionship between other horses, and given time and trust, between people as well. Horses are sensitive to emotion. They can sense fear or hostility in a person by simply being close to them. They don’t need the demonstration of trembling hands or a baseball bat to the fence, to know a person can’t be trusted in that state of mind. This means, for a rider to be successful, they must be calm and confident, even in the face of their own personal fears. The trust between horse and rider must be like the trust between a flying trapeze performer and their partner who catches them. There can be no hesitation, or doubt, timing is everything. Welcome to the Spock Academy for hopeful equestrians.

Now lets add to the mix, the fact that horses actually do have ideas and desires of their own. Sometimes a stallion would rather be mounting a mare than leaping a fence. It takes a strong hand to guide a stallion to a rider’s whims. Sometimes horses are having a bad day. Maybe they miss a stable-mate, or are feeling lazy, like they would rather just lie around the pasture. It’s a whole different ball game when a sport includes a non-verbal teammate.

 

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Ultimately show jumping is communication between man and beast, for the jumper to be successful the horse must want to jump. Somewhere inside them there is the desire to soar. And as I watched the jumping events it is clear to see the horse trusts it’s rider, and the rider trusts his horse. The horses accepts the encouragement and challenge from their director to jump fences they wouldn’t consider jumping on their own.

It’s bloody amazing. The professionals in any sport can make the task look easy. The teamwork in show jumping seems effortless, and therein lays the magic. It is the slippery fricken magic of appearance. We don’t see the in behind scenes of hard work, or countless hours of practice and failure. We haven’t seen the riders struggle to maintain a positive outlook through their feelings of frustration, doubt and fear. If these show jumpers can trust their horse, who by nature is a creature of fight or flight, to go over jumps for them time and time again— then I think you can trust yourself to accomplish whatever dreams you can conjure up in your limitless mind.

You got this. Oh yes. Damn right you do.

Sometimes The Piglet Lives

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Little Garth, the 10-day old piglets some milk. Photo credit-Vancouver Sun/Lora Grindlay

I can hear the unsettled whimpering sounds coming from the box at the end of my bed. I’m sleeping on the edge of worry anyways so it doesn’t take much to alert me. I kick off the covers and scurry down to check on the piglet. He feels cool despite the fact he’s covered with my little sisters flannel doll sheet. He seems uncomfortable. I’m not sure what to do. Mom and dad are asleep, but it doesn’t matter anyways because the piglet is my responsibility.

Earlier in the day, my older sister Cheryl, and younger sister Shannon, and I, had gone down to the barn after school to meet the newborn piglets.

Dad meets us outside the barn. I wonder if it’s going to be like a birthday party with balloons and cake. We never had piglets before

Before he opens the door he gives us a stern look, “Keep the noise level down inside. This is a new mama pig and we don’t want to upset her.”

I guess there won’t be any dancing then. I feel disappointed. I like to celebrate special events with dancing. Way to dampen my creative spirit pops.

We follow dad inside. There is no balloons or cake. We bounce silently on our toes and lean in on the fence to get a better view of the new arrivals.

I crowd Shannon out of the way so I can see better.

“Stop pushing Debby,” Shannon complains.

“Oh sorry,” I say, not the least bit sorry, and squeeze next to the wall so she can see too.

Cheryl is tall, and she can look over the top of our heads. She wrinkles up her nose, “It’s pretty smelly in here.”

Dad chuckles, “Yeah, pigs don’t have the best smell when they are penned up.”

We never had pigs on the farm until a few months ago and baby pigs are all new to us. Their tiny pink snouts are flawlessly formed, sparkling clean, and unblemished from life. They snuggle up in a long line sucking milk from mama pigs multiple teats. One extraordinarily small piglet keeps trying to find a way into the line up to suck. It is continually pushed out. He is getting nothing to eat.

Dad leans over the fence beside me casting a long shadow across the floor. I poke him in the thigh with my finger, “What’s going on dad? Why won’t the big piglets let the little piglet have any milk?” I ask.

Dad straightens up and places his hands on his hips shaking his head. “That’s the runt of the litter. It means he’s the smallest and weakest. They don’t usually survive. It looks like he’s having trouble fighting his way into the food line up.” Dad’s face is hard but his eyes look soft.

Those big piglets are assholes. I think to myself. I knit my brows together and shake my head wildly, “But that’s not fair!” I argue.

Dad sighs, “I know, but it’s natures way of weaning out the weak ones.”

I watch the tiny piglet try to feed again only to be cast aside by the strong. The little creature lies quietly and closes his eyes. It looks to me like he’s giving up.

I feel a dull ache creep into my heart. “Can I look after him?” I suddenly ask feeling hope rise up.

Dad purses his lips and stares into the pen.

I glare at dad with pleading eyes.

He scratches his head underneath his cap, and then meets my gaze with reluctance. “Alright. You can try,” he relents, and then cautions, “but don’t expect too much. He probably won’t make it. Don’t get too attached.”

I bob my head with enthusiasm like I’m agreeing. But I’m not. I can save this little pig. I just know it.

Dad retrieves the piglet and places the puny being in my arms. I look at his teeny ears and perfectly round nose. He’s wiggling. There’s nothing wrong with him. Of course he’s going to live. I tuck his warm little body inside my coat.

Dad watches me with doubtful eyes.

My sisters and I take turns carrying him to the house. When we arrive we put him in a box lined with a thick old towel. Mom rounds up a tiny bottle filled with milk. He drinks a little bit but lots leaks out of his mouth.

My younger sister Shannon puts her dolls flannel blanket over him.

At nine years old, I still quietly believed in the magic of life. I’m certain if I try hard enough I can save the little guy.

It’s the middle of the night and the piglet is whimpering. I read somewhere that babies like to eat in the middle of the night. Maybe he’s hungry. I scoop up the precious little package and bring him out to the kitchen to offer him milk.

I flick on the bathroom light and the brightness floods the kitchen floor.

The piglet’s breath is harsh and laboured.

I warm the tiny bottle of milk in a pot of water on the stove and cradle the pig in my arm. I check the temperature of the milk on my wrist the way mom showed me.

I sit down on the cold floor in the middle of the kitchen and admire our newest addition. I marvel at every inch of him, from the little downy hairs that covered his pink head right down to his delicate little tail. I can feel the adoration in my heart grow. How could he die? He is flawless. I watch his chest rise and fall with rough breaths.

I sit with my blue flowered nightie pulled over my crossed legs. I stroke his head with my finger. I didn’t know much about God but I had heard he helped some people. “Please God,” I pray. “Please help me save this little pig.” The tears well up in my eyes as I realize that he really might die.

I hear footsteps coming towards me from mom and dads room. I wipe my eyes with my nightie sleeve.

My mom peers around the corner, “Debby?” she says with a frown. “What are you doing up?”

I look at her, and then look down to the small bundle on my lap. “The runt was making noises so I brought him out to see if he was hungry.” I answer in a wobbly voice.

She moves toward me with her housecoat pulled tight. “You know he’s very sick, don’t you?”

I steel my voice, “Yeah.”

She purses her lips and lines furrow her brow. “You should put him back in his box and go to sleep,” she suggests.

I look up into her eyes and hold her serious gaze with my own, “I will mom. I promise. I just want to see if he’ll eat.”

Mom presses her lips together and then sighs. “Alright, “she says relenting, “but get to bed soon. You need your sleep too.”

Alone again with the runt I offer him some milk, his mouth doesn’t move but his chest still rises. I force the nipple of the milk bottle in and milk dribbles out the side. I put the bottle down and hold him close. My eyes liquefy and tears spill over. My bottom lip trembles. He needs all the help he can get. “Please, please God,” I beg, “if you save him I’ll put my allowances on the collection plate at church.”

The piglet’s breath is raspy.

I sob. “All of them,” I said, “I’ll give you all of my allowances.”

I set the little creature on my lap. His struggle for breath becomes quieter. I wonder if my prayers are being answered.

The piglet’s body convulses. I realize God has not agreed to my bargaining.

The tears come faster. I am helpless to save this most perfect little being. “I promise I whisper with passion. “I’ll give you everything! My Barbie’s, everything. Please save him.”

The runts shuddering stops and the tiny pig relaxes into death.

I cry a lot. I cry so much I run out of snot.

It was my first experience with death. I remember the bargaining with clarity, the hope that some being would shine some kind of special light down on me, on him, and give the runt a second chance. I never blamed God for rejecting my offer. As a matter of fact, for a long time I thought it was that I was unworthy of having my prayers answered. But as I aged and lost many more beloved people and pets I’ve come to believe in the ridiculously overused saying everything happens for a reason. I believe that the randomness in life is not simply a scattered mess of happenings, but an intricate weaving of lives that are brought together and apart to create specific opportunities to fine tune our life. Even the worst in life offers us hope. We see it often as we watch times of the greatest troubles be soothed by acts of great love and compassion. I think we are given situations to prepare us, or clarify us, for the following days of our lives.

I’m not one hundred percent sure why that little piglet died in my arms when I was young; maybe it was the first stepping-stone of strength I needed for all the future dying in my life.

But I bet for others— sometimes the piglet lives.