Best Road Ever

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Right or Left?

Fasten your seatbelts and take a moment to tumble into this line from Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’,

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—“

In the past I have finished this sentence by cavorting along the path of life tossing confetti into the air and watching it fall around me. I confess to chasing small forest creatures into the bush and losing my way. Today I realize I am at a fork in my road. And I really hope I don’t fork this up. This year I decided to forgo flitting down the trail and becoming distracted by things such as the light filtering through the trees. I decided I am picking my path with purpose. No more darting off into the trees to chase squirrels for me. I think I may have been a Canadian cur in a previous life.

How about you? Do you have insight as to why you choose the road you’re currently on? Do you stay focused on your route ahead? Do you believe the choices before you are vast and open? I hope you can recognize your potential and brilliance.

You are unlimited.

Continue moving forward, one foot in front of the other, pause to catch your breath, do a little cha cha cha, and keep going. A sure fire strategy to fulfilling your aspirations is to keep travelling. Maybe there will be more forks in your road? No worries take a break consider your options and go. Refuse to halt your progress, balk at becoming a stagnant pool of decomposing sludge. Sometimes fear will whisper in your ear, “Stop, you’re making a fool of yourself. The only thing ahead of you is ridicule and failure. Don’t listen, return your focus to your goals. Move! Dance along the road of existence with a smile on your face. You know where you are going. Simply wrap yourself in the clothing of possibility for the journey. As you continue forward, you will soon find the momentum of your decision will carry you into your future with ease.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—”

Dealing With Depression

September 2009 to March 2010-18

The heaviness is daunting; your body weighs more than it should, even if you’re the size of a twig. The effort to accomplish anything in your day is like wading through chest deep water to get it done. You pretend to be fine but your emotions range from sad to numb. Hope is far from your heart, you think it is a magical feeling at the end of someone else’s rainbow. You wonder why you can’t rise up out of this dark funk. There must be something seriously wrong with you. Some fatal flaw, and if anyone sees it— they will walk away, and you will be even more alone than you already feel.

I’ve been there, on the edge of actually living, in the deep depths of personal anguish. It’s not something easily shared. It can be hidden from everyone who loves you. It’s both frightening and amazing that even as you toy with the idea of ending it all— no one knows.

Addiction and mental illness runs strongly through my bloodlines on both sides. So I am a well-bred pony for running the distance with alcoholism, depression, and bi-polar. I experienced depression on and off in my life. Thankfully I am well now and throughout my years of struggle with this very private affliction I discovered essential practices that hastened my healing dramatically.

Step one is to seek professional help. If you are reluctant to do so because you fear the stigma or other reasons, then try the steps I have listed below, they can be effective for mild depression. However, if you commit to the following steps and they do not help please, please, seek professional guidance.

Step two is by far the most important self-help step; this is like making sure you put on a seatbelt before you go on a roller coaster ride. Practice appreciation; find the time to feel reverence for life each and everyday. I understand the walls you have built up inside yourself might not allow the feeling of appreciation to get through at first, so practice on small things. Maybe a dazzling butterfly that landed in your garden? Or the sunlight shining down through the grey clouds? Maybe observe the perfection of the tiny fingernails on a baby’s hand? Or become mesmerized by the soft curved eyelashes on a sleeping toddlers face? The point here, is to try and find love and appreciation for something that opens your heart. If you begin to feel the positive flow of love and appreciation extend it to yourself. Then expand it to include other people, moments, and things. It can be a two-minute practice a few times a day. Or a longer practice once a day. The trick is to get your mind moving out of the negative thought patterns that inundate you when you are depressed. I came across a video on you tube quite a few years ago and if you are having troubles opening your heart to appreciation it may bring aid. You might need a Kleenex box beside you when you watch it, A good day with Brother David Steindl-Rast. (click on A good day and Shazam you’re at the video)

Step three is to withdraw from the news, and any sort of TV shows encouraging judgement of others. When we are depressed all we hear is our own negative judgement on ourselves and on our lives. Hearing judgement of others and seeing it on TV just reinforces our dark side if you will.

Step four is to engage in some type of exercise. Again, I realize this isn’t an easy task because the last thing you feel like doing when you are walking through water chest deep everyday is to exercise. Trust me and do it anyway, maybe go swimming; you’re in the water anyway. It will help. I promise. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. Start slowly— ten minutes a day, five minutes? Whatever? Just do something and then increase the time you do it every few days.

Step five is to buy a herbal cleanse, of course check with your health care provider to ensure it is compatible with anything else you might be taking. They might pooh pooh the whole idea but poop, pooping can be very good for you. Think about it this way, our intestines are like long lines of curved pipes, over our life they accumulate sludge and chemicals from the food we eat. Just like the pipes in the house, depending on what you put in them, the sludge will build up to the point of affecting the septic system. It’s the same with your body. A cleanse will loosen up the sludge and clear it out. The chemicals in the sludge could be contributing to the way you feel. I have one word of caution for you if you begin a cleanse— toilet. Stay close to a toilet during the first few days.

Step six is to watch your diet. I know– now you’re thinking this blog sucks, not only does she want me to exercise, quit watching TV and destroy my bathroom with a ridiculous amounts of pooping, now she wants me to diet! What a bitch! Yes, I can accept that. I actually want you to call me every rotten stinking name you have stored away in your hostile little heart. Get it all out. You can even call me the C word, and I hate that word more than Donald Trump himself. I just want you to feel better. I want you to find that spark inside your heart and tend to it until you have a roaring blaze of life inside you. So back to diet, it’s pretty basic, eat vegetables, fruit, protein, whole grains, healthy oils and fats like avocado oil, olive oil, grape seed oil and butter, limit your sugars, use NON-GMO when possible, and go ahead and cheat occasionally. However, when you cheat be prepared for the addictive nature of sugar, once you have the chocolate bar your going to want more, same with salty snacks. Being forewarned is forearmed against food craving attacks.

Step seven is to limit your contact with people who push you into the spiralling dark hole of hopelessness. If you are in a close relationship with them they will notice your absence. That means you might have to take a couple puffs of a big gagger and give it to them straight. If you can do it without the puffs, all the better, but it doesn’t mean you get to be nasty and accusatory. Just be firm, this is your life. Tell them like it is, you are working on getting well and you need some distance. Anyone who truly cares for you will support your decision.

Step eight is to keep a journal and write whatever you want in it, and then burn the pages when you are done. It is an emotionally purifying exercise where you can vent and then release the emotions by turning them to ash.

Step nine is to meditate, or practice Reiki, or Qui Gong, these practices allow for a positive frame of mind. They all aid in letting go of damaging beliefs. Research each and see which one appeals to you. I practice Reiki myself because I can easily access love and acceptance for myself within the practice. Meditation and Qui Gong are excellent as well, and there are many free practices to be found on YouTube.

Step ten is to unplug from technology period. No social media, no checking status or messages. Who’s more important to your survival? Other people or you? Go for a walk without your phone, listen to music, have an epsom salt bath, whatever, just please, find out how good it feels to unplug. It’ll be difficult at first but I know you can do this. People had no technology for hundreds of years and they were much happier for it. An hour a day away from electronics will not kill you. That’s my mama talking.

So go ahead and kick depressions butt, it doesn’t have to rule your world. You can change your outcome. You can find joy again. The only thing you have control of in this entire world is you. So get hopeful, and practice the steps which make you strong. You’ve got this lovely person.

It’s Free! Or Is It ?

 

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Underwater can be a magical place.

Building a bucket list is a rip snorting way to remind you to step out of your comfort zone. It tears your focus away from what is and leads you into the possibilities of what could be. It can bring an energizing reflection of where you’d like your life to go. Creating my own bucket list proved an elusive creature on my radar. However, my hubby, Rick nailed one down a while back and he had scuba diving listed as one of his targets. So while it wasn’t a prominent idea in my thoughts, the idea of pretending to be a fish and swimming along the bottom of the Caribbean waters did hold some appeal for me.

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Pictures from snorkelling in the Riviera Maya, my camera is only good for shallow water. These are two different types of grunt fish.

Sometimes opportunities pop up that can’t be ignored, an occasion such as this happened to crop up on a weeklong holiday in the Dominican. There we were skipping along, well maybe not skipping because Rick tends to look quite silly when he skips along. We were strolling along the tiled pool area and noticed a sign for a free introductory scuba diving lesson. The key word here is Free. It’s like a magnet for my Scottish blood, Aye Laddie, I’m cheaper than a two bit taco on Tuesday. It was like a sign from God, maybe not God, but I think his name was Jesus. Anyway we trotted down to the scuba shack, well, maybe we didn’t trot because Rick looks silly doing that too, we ambled down to the beach area to sign up for our FREE lesson. At this point I’m still feeling excited about our underwater adventure. I still think I can be as graceful as a fish gliding about the coral. I was about to realize I was a fish afraid of drowning.

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An absolutely stunning parrotfish.

Upon our arrival at the scuba shack the sales pitch began, and before we knew it we had committed to a four-day Open Water scuba diving Padi course. This was far from Free. Our actions automatically kicked my Scottish blood into internalized dialogue, “What are you doing you couple of bawheeds, now you’ve gotten yourself into a scunner, and for quite a pretty penny ya pair of numpties.”

“Hush up you cheap bastard. It’s a bargain for a notch in the bucket list belt.”  I defend replying to my Scottish side.

Check! There goes one item off of Rick’s list. After all, life is full of opportunities and shouldn’t we jump in with both feet and give it a go whenever possible? Side note- If you’re jumping in with your scuba gear on make sure to hold your mask and regulator on your face.

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A bluehead wrasse, simply gorgeous.

It shouldn’t have been such a trial for me, I do love the ocean and I enjoy snorkelling. But it was a trial. The first thing I learned during our pool dive is that I was freaking terrified. I had no faintheartedness about seeing sharks, stingrays, or puffer fish, or any of the other amazing underwater creatures that could potentially kill. I was terrified of not being able to breathe when I wanted to breathe. The cause of my excessive trepidation originated from my childhood, where all good fears tend to spring forth. As a childhood survivor of chronic bronchitis and pillow smothering, I was quite concerned about not being able to get my air. I love to inhale and exhale at will. I enjoy breathing through my nose. I am not a mouth breather and I do consider that a good thing. On the other hand it is a necessity to scuba dive.

Rick breezed through the scuba course like he was a fish disguised as a human. As for me, it proved trying at the best of times and on my final dive before certification I had a meltdown. Throughout the course I had continually shoved my fears into a little corner of my mind. It had been no easy task to keep myself in the Zen state of mind while diving in the deep blue yonder where oxygen does not exist as air. And although I admit to enjoying the magnificent undersea, there was never a second when I didn’t feel like the petrified prude of the diving world. I was forever counting down the seconds left to surface and having the freedom to pull the regulator from my mouth and breathe like a human.

On our last dive the instructor and ourselves followed the tag line downwards towards the ocean floor. Rick quickly equalized and arrived at the bottom. He took a knee in the sand observing his dawdling wife and impatient instructor through the crystalline water.

I recall following the dive line downwards and suddenly noticing the water pressure on my body feeling uncomfortably constrictive. I pause on the rope. My breath becomes shallow and rapid. I know I need to slow down my breathing, but I can’t seem to relax. My Zen space is gone and I am tossed into my fears. I stare at my instructor with wide eyes and give him the signal I’m going to the surface.

He snatches my arm and glares at me, giving me the slow down motion with his hand.

I shake my head in a negative way. His grip on my arm increases as does my feeling of being trapped. Panic sets in and masses of bubbles are released from my increasingly rapid breath. I break free of his grasp and head up to the open air. No worries about equalizing, I wasn’t far down.

As I pop to the surface I keep my mask and regulator on trying to find the calm I had achieved on previous dives.

The instructor arrives at the top and gives me his death glare. It was the one I had gotten used to seeing because he wasn’t the most patient instructor in the world.

He gave me the thumbs down motion indicating I should follow him back towards the bottom.

I shake my head vigorously making the hand tilting motion to indicate something is wrong. My heart is still squeezing out terrified beats and they reverberate inside my chest. I inhale with focused breath wrestling with my alarm.

My instructor tugs on my jacket style BCD (buoyancy control device) insistently trying to bring me down beneath the surface of the water.

Panic absconds with my thoughts; they are a troop of monkeys leaping through the trees running wild with fear. I can’t do this. I hate the water pressure squeezing my body— I hate the thin dry air through my regulator— I hate breathing through my mouth. I’m a nose breather goddammit! I feel like I’m suffocating. I could die.

I smack his grappling hand off of my BCD jacket. I bob with the waves. I stare at him through my mask with immense eyes meeting his daunting gaze. I pull the regulator from my mouth, “No. I’m not going down. I can’t do this. I can’t breathe.” I gasp. I know it seems ridiculous to him. I’d already done three dives, four including the pool training. I was almost done my certification. He could see I was going to quit on him. He saw a skinnier wallet. All I saw was a potential watery grave, and yes I’m being dramatic, but fear tends to exacerbate emotions.

He pulls his regulator out and said, “But it’s so beautiful down there, you have to see it.” He grabs my arm again.

I growl, “Let go of me. Stop frickin grabbing me. Just give me one second, and I’ll try again. But don’t grab me again.”

He raises both hands to surrender.

It takes a couple minutes but I manage to recollect myself. We drop down to join Rick on the dive. It is a paradise below indeed.

We both got our certification, (mine questionably) and Rick checked an item off his bucket list. We’ve done more diving since, and I really have come to relax into it and enjoy it. But there are moments, times when it’s been too long since my last dive and my anxiety displays it’s dreadful grip. It’s one of those life choices where you just have to calm down and kick fear in the face.

I think it’s my turn to check something off my bucket list. What are you terrified of doing dear husband?

Swing Through

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Our Gramps made us a tire swing in the heart space between several old trees. The ancient poplars towered over us with white trunks and wrinkled limbs. They were a steadfast audience observing of our joy,  and the leaves applauded our play. These deeply rooted towers of living wood shadowed our eyes from the larger world. They enabled swings of limited height keeping us humble in our own right.

The trees, the swing, and our time within them brought us into the realms of peaceful delight. We held no worries other than the roughness of the rope causing calluses on our fingers and palms, and the odd bruises on our limbs at the occasional tumble to the ground.

It was years ago, and the memory still brings a smile to my lips. I fully appreciate those days with the trees, the swing, and the younger me. In those days of long ago we naturally stayed present in the moment, time had no meaning as we swiftly swung downwards feeling the wind lift the hair from the nape of our necks. We didn’t care what happened around us, our hands were fists around the rope when we hit the top of our swing, and we reveled in the blissful hang time right before we flew back down with our stomach in our throats. Those were the best of times, the times we lived in the moment.

As kids we could never swing the entire day, but those times of swinging stayed with us forever. If you’re older now and feeling overwhelmed, remember the simplicity of the swing, remember the freedom you felt. If you happen to be near a window or outside, look up at the sky, instead of your phone. Take a moment, a second, a minute and appreciate who you are, appreciate where you are. Simply rejoice in the lightness of being.

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.

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.

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. 

Paddleboard For Peace

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I’ve been contemplating the world from my secluded slice of heaven for a while now. It can be a reflective state as you can see from the photo. It’s a photo of myself and Mica on one paddleboard, and then my hubby on another paddleboard struggling to keep up. I revel in the fact I’m faster than he. He’s normally the fleetest of foot, his legs compare to the stilts of a caribou running in front of a wildfire. If he straps on skies, he’s akin to a bunny on steroids. If you give him a pedal bike, his legs spin around like the roadrunners in the Looney Toon’s cartoons, “Meep Meep, try to catch me.”

So I admit, I practically glow with satisfaction when I look back on him wobbling in my wake. He blames it on his weight and the length of his paddle. However, I patiently tell him, “Your paddle is fine. It’s the way you use it that counts.”

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Anyway, my grand dog Mica loves to go cruising on the lake with me. She is at ease, sometimes she stands up, and sometimes she sits down, and then there are times she lays across the bow like the July playmate in a Playdog magazine. She trusts me. She knows I will do my level best to keep us afloat, and so far we’ve done well.

The contemplative nature of steering across the lake has caused me to toss around the notion that the most troublesome of the world leaders should be required to paddleboard. It should happen on a remote lake in the middle of nowhere. They should be instructed to ride together and then switch up partners taking turns at being the paddler, and then being the passenger. It would be a good teambuilding experiment. It might instigate a sense of trust— no rocking the boat on purpose here.

It would an excellent time to remind them of the beauty of our planet, and how well an ecosystem survives when there is little to no manipulation from human kind. Maybe the leaders causing the most damage should heed the words of Mother Teresa, “ If you want to change the world, go home and love your families. (love your people)” Just imagine if everyone stopped throwing spitballs at each other, and went home to hug their family and pet the cat?

Out here on the lake I see no imaginary lines determining countries or property. It looks to be open access for all. On the water we hear the voice of the wind speaking gently to the trees, and the willowing cry of the loons. We see the fish leap and land with a splash causing circles to ripple outwards. The dragon flies glimmer and sparkle in the fading light as they dip and dive consuming mosquitos that would feed on our blood. Out here there is a sense of freedom, and a definite detachment from the over populated parts of the world. As we sweep along on the wrinkles of the lake there is no phone by our hand, and no call to be judged or judge. Our hearts are open and our minds are free as the sun begins to set. Our world is shaded in splendiferous colors and glows offering hope for tomorrow.

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