Posted in Books, Family, Fibromyalgia, Movies, Parenting, Uncategorized

Don’t You Forget About Me

1alice18We all forget things.

  • We’ve all forgotten where we put our car or house keys.

  • Who hasn’t walked into a room and forgotten why?

  • Been speaking when the word you want goes missing, you know it’s there, you grope around in your mind, finding other words that might work in it’s place, but the word you wanted is gone.

  • I’m forever putting things ‘where I know they’ll be’ then fairies spirit them away, only to be found later in a totally illogical spot. Those fairies.

Forgetting is normal. Our minds are full. Overfull. We’re stressed or tired.

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What if it isn’t just that?
1alice8What if forgetting is a symptom?
I made the mistake/best choice to watch Still Alice, based on the stunning novel by Lisa Genova about a 50-year-old Linguistics professor who learns she has early onset Alzheimer’s. I hadn’t been quite prepared for the visceral punch of watching a woman close to my age lose her mind and herself.
How can your thoughts, memories, love, dreams, the essence of who you are all be ripped from you, not by some invading army, some natural disaster, but by your own brain?

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How could we lose: Our Dad’s laugh. Mom’s wisdom. Joking with siblings. Husbands. Wives. Friends. The smell of our children as babies. The feel of loved ones in our arms. Our first date, first kiss, first job. Or our best date, best kiss, best job? I can’t even begin to imagine staring at pictures of family and friends and not knowing who they are.
Our knowledge and memories so greedily gathered over the years, erased as though they never happened.
Losing who we are, even before we’re gone.

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In the movie, Alice (played the exquisitely talented Julianne Moore) quotes Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, One Art, sad and famous words,
“The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.”
As a person with Fibromyalgia I’ve long appreciated and hated those words. For those who live with illness every day the art of losing isn’t hard to master, it becomes more of a science. You learn to manage, modify, accommodate, cope, compromise, let things go, adjust, re-adjust and always adjust your expectations – there’s a trick to life, except you’re not always sure it isn’t being played on you.

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At times we all want to forget. Forget pain. Forget sorrow. Forget humiliation. Forget betrayal. Forget loss. The seductive lure of forgetting makes us forget that remembering is a gift, one that should never be wished away.

I won’t recommend this film. Not because it wasn’t wonderful, it was.

I won’t urge you to watch this film. Instead watch the news, so full of ISIS, FIFA, elections that are months or even years away, what celebrities are wearing, eating, doing, it’s all sooooo important, we really should be paying close attention.

Don’t worry about Alzheimer’s, cancer, MS, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, asthma, and all the other illness that take our loved ones.

Don’t watch this movie, there wasn’t any sex, violence, special effects, car chases, CGI, superheroes. It’s only about change, dignity, character, and highlights that things we too often think matter, you know, little things, petty things, stupid things, don’t matter at all.

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Posted in Books, Cats, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

Here We Are Now Entertain Us

1bull18People have many different ideas about what is ‘entertaining’. At times, entertainment can go over-the-top, get over-inflated, and well, confused. Let me help.
Rape is not entertaining.
Not sexy, not hot, not romantic, not cool.
It shouldn’t just be used as a plot device, trope, or to increase ratings.
Rape should never, ever be used to sell T-shirts.

It’s simple, rape, like any other kind of abuse is about control, forcing someone to do something against their wishes, it’s about taking away choices, and having power over someone. It’s not something to be trivialized, used, excused, ignored, rationalized, or worse, not talked about because it’s uncomfortable or awkward.

Strangely, the internet is agog about a TV rape instead of real rapes.
Battle cries roar, you must boycott Game of Thrones and HBO!
If you watch this show you’re supporting rape culture and misogyny!
I won’t stop watching a show because I’m told I have to, anymore than I will start watching a show because I’m told I have to; it’s my choice.

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Rape is about a choice being taken away.
We sometimes forget we have choices. We can turn the channel or not stream it. We can buy a different brand. Read something else. Watch something else. Listen to something else. Go to different restaurant. Cancel a subscription. Choose not buy at all…not because we’re told not to, but because we choose to.

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I love TV, I make no apologies.
Like most people, I have varied reasons I start watching programs and varied reasons I stop:
I grow bored, I forget it’s on which clearly implies I wasn’t that interested, cancellation, moving to a network or streaming service I don’t have, or they do something that strikes me as bizarre, annoying, disgusting, doesn’t fit with the show, etc.
I feel the same with all forms of entertainment.
In this case my choice was to keep watching a series I’d enjoyed or to do something else.
I had to ask myself, was I supporting rape culture so HBO can sell more:
Stark hockey jerseys, All Men Must Die baseball caps,
Winter Is Coming mugs, replica weapons, Pop! toys,
I Will Take What Is Mine With Fire and Blood T-shirts,
jewelery, games, action figures, and collectible dragon’s eggs?

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TV is an evolving entertainment medium, so it’s not surprising sometimes it loses its way. Fangirls, fanboys, tweets, memes, podcasts, conventions, cosplay, posts, and on and on. All that attention must be overwhelming. Imagine the pressure of having all those ratings, revenues, adulation, actual worship thrown at you? Wouldn’t it be tempting to try to get more and more and more?
I understand the need for: ads, commercials, publicity, product placement, merchandise, etc., but where will it end?

1blog44History and the world today certainly aren’t all sugar and spice and everything nice, nothing sells faster or gets tongues wagging more than sex and violence, it’s been that way for a long time, but I wonder, for Game of Thrones and their viewers, could their gratuitous Jump the Stark moment turn out to be their Jump the Shark moment?

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 20:  HAPPY DAYS - "Fonzie Goes to Hollywood, Part III" - Season Five - 9/20/77, Fonzie (Henry Winkler) accepted a challenge to jump over a shark tank while water skiing.,  (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)Perhaps I need to revisit some of my entertainment choices.

As for the entertainment industry, remember, those with the most power should also show the most grace.

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Posted in Books, Cats, Chocolate, Movies, Music, Televison, Uncategorized

Stranger Things Have Happened

1funny340A red convertible whizzed by me as I was walking, Bob Marley’s Redemption Song weeping from high-end speakers.

If my son had been with me, he would have said it was an exception to his theory that people who feel the need to ‘share’ their music, loudly, usually play bad music.

I couldn’t help shaking my head at the irony of this symbol of rampant consumerism wailing a song about freeing ourselves from mental slavery.

Maybe red car guy just likes the beat and doesn’t understand the words, or he thinks Bob Marley is ‘in’, or he’s got a Bob Marley T-shirt from Old Navy, or likes the ganja, who knows?

But the words of Marley’s visionary song danced in my head long after the car raced through the Stop sign without stopping, making me wonder, does our incessant need for redemption come from our incessant need to do the wrong thing?

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Life is complicated.
We make mistakes.
Bad choices.
Use poor judgment.
Act before we think out the consequences.
Hurt others, whether deliberately or by accident.
We need redemption, or at least to believe in redemption.
Forgiveness.
A second chance, or third, fourth, or seventy-fourth.
We need to believe there’s a way back from anywhere.

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Which got me thinking of pirates, do they care about redemption, I know they don’t care about personal hygiene. No matter how suave and swashbuckling Johnny Depp, Errol Flynn, Tyronne Power, Cary Elwes, Douglas Fairbanks appear, the lack of soap in their lifestyle cannot be readily overlooked. Likewise, with modern-day corporate pirates, no amount of body wash and expensive cologne slapped on can mask that stench.1funny307
I saw many ant homes as I walked, and I thought, that’s us, scurrying around looking for crumbs of …what? Hope, love, peace, redemption? What tracks are we leaving as we scurry? Then my mind jumped to Tracks, starring Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp, see above pirate reference) and Adam Driver (Girls, This Is Where I Leave You, and the upcoming Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens) that chronicled Robyn Davidson’s famous 1700 mile journey across the remorseless Australian desert.

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As a child, Rick Smolan’s pictures of Ms. Davidson in National Geographic did nothing to diminish my obsession with Australia, also, I wanted to own a camel – I was unconvinced they would spit at me, I believed they weren’t being afforded enough respect. Sigh, no camel, just one of the many things my parents put the kibosh on. I also couldn’t be a turtle (Happy World Turtle Day), swim in chocolate, jump off mountains – I tentatively tested this theory with a high snow bank in the schoolyard, have to say, they were right about that one. In addition, unlike kittens, camels don’t tend to follow you home.

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This majestic movie recreated Davidson’s surreal, perilous, and still head-scratching trek gloriously, but still left me with more questions. Why would anyone leave civilization and all it’s comforts to be alone, in harsh conditions? Looking for something or running away?

I suppose it’s what we all do, in a way, as we leave our world, venturing into others via books, TV, movies, blogs…All manner of adventures await, the most elusive may still be redemption. Stranger things have happened.

Then my mind went back to Johnny Depp…it was a good walk.

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Posted in Canada, Environment, Family, Food, Internet, Movies, Uncategorized

The Internet Has Spoken

1funny301I feel like I’m drifting away.

Connection is such a tenuous thing, physically or emotionally. You want to connect, to trust, but how do you know when the connection is toxic, or failing, or broken?

Each day, I try to tiptoe around the world for as long as I can, but the internet has made this challenging.

It’s a Catch-22, if I don’t connect to the internet I drift apart from the world, but if I connect to the internet, I’m bombarded with stuff : news, ads, studies, misery and success, and just, well, stuff.

Page after page, link after link of:

  • People with diseases and those pretending to have diseases, really? Pretending to have a disease? Stuns me every time.

  • Finding life on other planets – shouldn’t we concentrate on keeping what little intelligent life we have on Earth first?

  • What’s getting deflated? Definitely not the egos of athletes!

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  • Governments lying to us again…still?

  • Bragging, boasting, whining, complaining, rudeness, trolls and trouble.

  • Turtles and snakes in toilets, transformed food, books, social media, movies, cats, TV, music, royalty, and endless things going viral we won’t remember next week.

  • Riots, wars, conflicts, comets, poverty, abuse, slavery, rape, murder, mutant ants, fires, biker wars, shootings, floods, terrorism, volcanic eruptions, killer bees, public shaming, teachers having sex with students (in the wise words of Pink Floyd, Hey! teachers! leave the kids alone!)…1funny304

  • Hoaxes, scams, and stunts, aarrgghhh, my head is spinning!

  • NSA, CIA, IRS, CSIS, OMG, ISIS, UFO, LOL, NASA, it might be fun to stay at the YMCA, if we weren’t drowning in abbreviations.

  • Studies explaining things they think I should know, like: food, drinking, sleeping, the environment, politics, parenting. I figured out parenting, at first you’re disoriented, exhausted, scared to say or do the wrong thing, a bit like being abducted by aliens, then you realize, they’re adorable aliens, like ET and then, they have you, you have X-Files Stockholm Syndrome and you can’t get enough…or wait, is that politics, not parenting?

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  • Ads and commercials for things we don’t need, but apparently should want more than breathing.

  • And remember when we only knew a little about celebrities and their lives? I miss that.1funny283

Remember in Poltergeist, where the eldest daughter is standing in the street screaming, “What’s happening?!?”sometimes, that’s me, inside my head.1funny331

Don’t get me wrong, despite my woes, I’m happy to wake up alive every morning, as opposed to waking up dead, which is most inconvenient and usually alters your plans, not only for the day, but the foreseeable future. Yet I’m struggling, dear readers, to find a balance between using technology and being consumed by it. I suppose it’s the same with any relationship, you need boundaries, compromise and…

1. Mutual respect. If you’re feeling bad when using the internet, take some time away, explore other interests.

2. Independence. If you depend on it for everything, it’s likely to let you down one way or another.

3. Dreams. Does it inspire you to write that novel you’ve always talked about writing, talk to an old friend, travel, try new things, explore, take a chance…dream?

Perhaps sometimes you have to drift to make connections; strong connections, not overpowering ones.

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Posted in Awards, Blogs, Books, Canada, Cats, Chocolate, Internet, Uncategorized

I Can’t Make You Love Me

1blog70It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a woman in possession of a blog, must be in want of readers.

For some, blogs take off faster than a Nascar driver chasing after sponsorship, for most others, like me, it’s a slow ride…

I know some of the reasons it’s been a slow ride, I’ve broken the first rule of The Blog Club, don’t talk about The Blog Club, no, that’s not it, oh yes, find a niche. Never have, probably never will. I figure if I get bored, you will too.

To me, giving blogging advice is like trying to explain to someone how to: dance, paint, drive, or make love in a canoe. Sometimes you just have to do it and make the mistakes, have the close calls, possibly tip over at the most inopportune moment.

When asked my blogging advice I offered https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/04/10/im-hooked-on-a-feeling/

 …but with a rebel yell you cried more, more, more…so here goes:

1. Choose a name for your blog. I didn’t know this was important when I choose mine. Live and learn.

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2. Size matters, but it’s more about how you use it, mind out of the gutter, I’m taking about post size. Remember, it doesn’t matter how much they love your posts, your readers have lives.

3. Try to use images that work with your post. Adding a random picture of an adorable kitten just to suck up to the cats who run the internet might be smart, but come on, who does that?

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4. Don’t get too stressed about the numbers, like right now, most numbers seem down on WordPress, who knows why? First, I blamed the Royal baby, but Princess Charlie is just too awfully cute. Then Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, Mother’s Day, elections, weather, labour unrest, but in the end I had to admit the truth – it’s WordPress. They probably changed their algorithms, come on, they’re always changing something, so statistically (and they love stats), it has to be them.

5. Poofread, er, proofread or get someone else to (and you can always correct it afterwards). We all make mistakes.

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6. I can’t make you love me, well, actually, my posts, but one of the best parts about blogging is connecting with your readers and other bloggers, without all of you, what’s the point? Like everything else, sometimes you have to take someone’s hand and other times, offer yours.

7.  It’s not a race or a contest. Don’t worry if  a post is going to go viral, or get Freshly Pressed https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/03/26/why-i-will-never-be-freshly-pressed/ or be nominated for awards, or making you rich and famous. Take a deep breath. Right now is about right now.

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8. Blogging advice can be confusing, here’s the problem, what I think is terribly catchy and clever might not be to others. Obviously I think I’m writing something good, otherwise why would I publish it? Do what you want to do.

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9. To be a shameless self-promoting bloghussy like me or not to be, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous rejection while promoting on social media….aye, there’s the rub. I like Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, but Facebook just lays there like a mouldy, old ad-filled sock. 

10. Don’t worry about if you’re going to offend someone, it’s the internet, someone is always, and I mean always, offended. Always.

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Who am I kidding? I have no idea what works. I’ve poured my heart out and had the post sit there, alone, shivering like the last leaf on a tree before winter. Just do what you feel is right, in the famous words of those sage philosophers, Cheap Trick, “Surrender, Surrender, but don’t give yourself away”.

What about you, dear readers, what would be your best blogging advice?

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Posted in Autism, Canada, Chocolate, Family, Movies, Televison

Happy Mother’s Day – I Just Ate Your Gift

1moms3Someone asked me the things I would have done differently as a Mom. I could lie and say nothing, I was perfect, but it’s not true.

I would have cared  a lot less about what people said.

I would have cleaned less and listened more.

I would have ignored the heartburn, swelling, and other difficulties of my pregnancy because my son was growing under my heart even as he took over my heart.

I would have gazed even more at my son’s amazing face because it took me too long to realize it changed often, and permanently.

I would have listened less to what people told me was ‘right’ or what I ‘should do’ and listened to my heart more.1moms5

I would have figured out earlier that I didn’t have to be Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Martha Stewart combined; I was fine as just me.

I would have spent more time there, in that moment because in that moment, everyone was there and now they aren’t.

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I’m glad I sat on the floor and played Thomas the Tank Engine.

I’m glad I rolled in the grass, built sandcastles, and almost threw up on rides.

I’m glad we ate popcorn in a couch fort.

I’m glad we made snow angels and laid in the grass finding shapes in the clouds.

I’m glad we laughed as we waded through muddy fields to get the best pumpkin ever.

I’m glad we ate ice cream and talked about all the ‘sharks’ in the river and giggled as we tried to name them.

I’m glad I never turned down a sticky kiss or told my son to wash his grubby hand instead of holding it.

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Moms kiss boo-boos to make them better, go to appointments, love unconditionally, make sandwiches that may or may not be traded to other kids, laugh, cry, help with schoolwork, brush teeth, change diapers, read and cuddle, dance in bare feet to Elvis, nag repeatedly about cleaning rooms, and teach how to be in the world.

Enjoy the moment of being a daughter or son, of being a Mom, Dad, brother, sister, grandparent, friend, aunt, uncle, cousin – life is too quick and too complicated not too enjoy.

Hopefully this  Mother’s Day you don’t have to:1moms6

  • Save the future of the entire human race by allowing your son to hang out with a Terminator (then again, you can’t pick their friends).

  • Break into ABBA songs while trying to remember who your child’s father is.

  • Send your supernatural darling to the prom.

  • Nag your son, even from beyond the grave to maintain the family motel business and to shower his guests with attention.

  • Date your son when he travels back in time to your high school.

  • 1moms1Worry if your little girl is the best and most stylish vampire slayer she can be.

  • Expose secrets about corporations using toxic substances while in heels.

  • Stop selling Avon long enough to rescue an orphan with a cutting issue.

  • Raise little dragons to be upstanding members of the community – take that villager out of your mouth, honey, you don’t know where he’s been!

  • Keep a royal dynasty going by providing heirs…and spares.

  • Have enough children to make a baseball league.

  • Or keep the hills alive with the Sound of Music while escaping the Nazis.

Life is like a box of chocolates…Happy Mother’s Day, I just ate your gift.

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Posted in Books, Chocolate, Family, Fibromyalgia, Holidays, Movies, Music, Political, Televison, Uncategorized

Come To The Dark Side, We Have Cookies

14th4“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally they became heroes.”
Princess Leia Organa of Aldaraan, Senator

This is one of my favourite quotes from Star Wars, though it was never used in the movies. I don’t know how many times in my life I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time, or if one believes in fate, perhaps I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Each day is filled with choices, decisions, some huge, life-changing and others little, although who knows, they might be life changing as well.

Today is May the 4th, some may know it as Intergalactic Star Wars Day. For some, that’s everyday.
Nerds greet each other with, May the 4th Be With You. Posts, memes, parties, hash tags, sales, and news stories converge, in greater numbers.
Although this May 4th, the news is more about Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana than Princess Leia.14th21
Tomorrow, to a lesser degree with Revenge of the Fifth, although I think Revenge of the Sixth makes more sense. Is that a thing?

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An old nemesis has descended upon me this May the 4th – my Darth Vader, my Boba Fett, Jabba the Hut (probably rather have Pizza the Hut), Rancor (although it smells better), Greedo, or Count Dooku –  I’ve loosely titled it, Stars Wars VIII: Return of the Back Pain. Luckily it doesn’t hurt as much when I sit…and if I go over to The Dark Side, I hear they have cookies.
I think I know what brought it on, an unusual activity (not nearly as exciting as it sounds).

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It also brings back horrible memories of the car accident where the pain originated and I’m left to watch my back, like the aptly titled book, Watch Your Back! by Richard A. Deyo MD (Cornell University Press). I read this last time my back pain flared, hoping for some answers. It left me with more questions as it’s straightforward information shone a light on The Dark Side of the medical profession which offers people less and less, for more and more.

We don’t like to think that our pain is a business, but it’s big business.
This book won’t be popular, it points out that the medical profession, like politics and other systems, to paraphrase George Lucas, is like a great tree, able to withstand any external force, but rots from within. The lure of money, power, and prestige can overcome common sense and decency.
I understand the temptation of the magic fix, but realistically I know I have to do most of the figurative heavy lifting.
As patients we should be pushing for more treatments that are sensible, empowering, and give effective, long-term results for moderate costs.14th20

I’m used to being in constant pain with Fibromyalgia, it waxes and wanes, but never actually ceases, but in a strange way pain can also be freeing. You see past the Jedi mind tricks or I guess more like Sith mind tricks…you see the truth.1starwars15

What about you, dear readers, do you ever see The Dark Side of people when they think they can’t get anything from you?

Do you also see the power of The Force of goodness when some people like you just the way you are?
The latter is what I choose to believe in.

May the Fourth be with you.