The Gift of a Step-Mom

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Once upon a time, I met a woman named Gil. She was an unexpected addition to my life, an add-on to a cherished relationship. I was polite during our first meeting. I behaved as graciously as I could, considering I didn’t trust that she would stick around. She was my Dad’s new girlfriend, and while my Dad was a handsome and charming fellow most times, he also hosted a dark, brooding side. When he slid into that state of dispiritedness, the demons that haunted his past eventually escaped into the present, and he would become a miserable man. I knew from experience it would take a strong woman to put up with this type of episodic behaviour. So, when Dad brought Gil into my life as an unexpected gift, she was a gift I didn’t ask for, and one I thought was fleeting at best. Boy, was I wrong.

My mom died twenty years ago, and in her absence, she has missed watching my kids grow up and graduating, she has missed chiding me over my tattoo’s, she has missed encouraging my pursuit of writing, and she has missed meeting her great-grandchildren. My mom missed so much by dying too young. Yet, despite the absence of my mom, I was fortunate  enough to share all of my family’s milestones with a wonderful woman named Gil.

This once upon a time stranger, became a treasured friend enriching my life with her never-ending wisened words and exuberant laughter. Our relationship deepened even further when my Dad became housebound with cancer. After his treatments were done, and all hope for recovery was gone, the only wish he had left in his heart was to die at home. Gil made that final dream come true, and while I often went to help, it was Gil that bore most of the burden. She never complained, and her empathy for him was inspiring. It is only in the most difficult of circumstances that we finally come to understand the true nature of people in our lives. During this terrible time, Gil was a stone of strength.

So, it is with great sadness that in the midst of this chaotic world today, the best gift my Dad ever gave me became tattered and worn, a thin shadow of her former self. She was diagnosed with cancer, and in only a matter of months, it had extensively invaded her body, and quite soon after, death rapidly spirited her away. 

Gifts, as I have learned, come in all shapes and sizes, in all styles and wrappings, in all colours and patterns, and the best ones are people. In honour of my step-mom, Gil, I hope that you become one who steps forward to offer themselves as a friendly soul in difficult times. 

It changes lives. God bless you, Gil.

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 permitting 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. I will include  scratch and sniff stickers but do not advise their use. In keeping with my creative side, I will 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.

Eventually, I might 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. Of course I’d have to invite the paramedics.

If my hubby is first to die I’ll take up fishing on the weekend. I would catch and release. I already know all the good ones are dead or taken.

In the summer I’d craft a plan for a holiday in a recreational vehicle as a stowaway. Maybe while I’m there I could convince some gullible children I’m a figment of their imaginations, and if they want me to leave they should bring me mommy’s wine.

I’ll become an active member of 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.

When my kids kick me out I’ll move into a seniors living residence I’ll become the local bookie, and take bets on the date of death for the oldest residents. No cheating allowed. The odds would go up or down according to the 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 to 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 even better with less investment, I could haunt the fringes of someone else’s garage sale and collect the money. Nothing says honest like saggy skin, silver hair, and age spots.

Seriously though, when I really do become a senior,  I hope the care and attention I have given towards my own health 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, 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.

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 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 by nature’s choosing, horses 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, the 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.) I have been tossed, trampled, struck, bowled over, bit and kicked by horses. I know through painful and personal experience that 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 sense fear or hostility in a person by simply being close to them. They don’t need the demonstration of trembling hands or a rough brush, 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 responds to the encouragement and challenge from their director to jump fences they wouldn’t jump 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 are a creature of fight or flight, to go over jumps for them time and time again. then I do 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.

Paddleboard For Peace

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I’ve been contemplating the world from my secluded slice of heaven for a while now. Our lake invites a reflective state as you can see from the photo above. My daughter’s dog, Mica enjoys a good paddle on the water, and I am happy to oblige. My hubby occupies the other board and he struggles to keep up. I revel in the fact that I am faster than he. On land, he is the fleetest of foot, his legs compare to the stilts of a caribou running in front of a wildfire. If he strapped on skis, he’d be akin to a bunny on steroids. If you give him a pedal bike, his legs spin in a blur 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 as he wobbles in my wake. He blames it on his weight and the length of his paddle. I, however, patiently tell him, “Your paddle is fine. It’s the way that 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 oddly 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 believes  I will do my level best to keep us afloat, and so far we’ve done well. We are two different species cooperating for a successful experience.

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 be 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 all leaders 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, the voice of the wind speaks gently to the trees, and the willowing cry of the loons echoes in the dusky evening light. We see the fish leap and land with a splash causing circles to ripple outwards. The dragon flies glimmer and sparkle in the fading glow, 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.  Our particular section of the world is shaded in splendiferous colors and glows offers abundant hope for tomorrow.

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