How To Get Away With Christmas
FOMO Christmas – ghosts of blogs past!
Christmas is a time of cheer…right?
Yet during the
with images of
Everything from: Family dinners, parties, drinks with friends, hugging, skating in pairs, walking together looking at lights, Secret Santa and gift exchanges, spontaneous snowballs fights, eating roasted chestnuts, and of course, people running into the arms of loved ones at airports…
But what if those things aren’t in your life?
The social media holiday barrage, Christmas FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), anticipointment (trademark?), Facebook, Instagram, TV, Google+, Twitter, MySpace (kidding, just wanted to see if you were paying attention) – all bursting with shiny images of happy people enjoying the holidays together. It can be overwhelming yet it’s only a day, like any other.
So if you find yourself less-than-surrounded by family and friends during the holidays,try to:
1. Marathon your way through the season, which apparently now begins…
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The Mother Of All Blogs
My best motherhood move? Making my son understand I’m flawed… seriously flawed. As is everyone. I wanted him to understand…
1. Not being perfect isn’t necessarily a bad thing.2. No good deed goes unpunished, but do good deeds anyway, it will feel good.
3. You can’t get rid of something or someone until you’ve learned what it or they need to teach you.4. Motherhood isn’t a club. We’re not all the same. We shouldn’t care or compare how someone else is being a Mom, do what’s best for your child or children.
5. We don’t really need a day, or a week, or a month, we need all people to be treated equally and respectfully. A woman isn’t instantly better because she has a child. We need just don’t one day where we get: flowers, diamonds, cards, ecards, buckets of chicken with recorded messages in the lid, spa treatments, edible arrangements… What we need a world where children are taught to treat others with dignity; who don’t see lying as a way of life and cheating as a lifestyle choice; and who think perception is more important than reality.6. I barely remember what I had for breakfast most days, but Jimmy Kimmel is right, that moment when doctors/nurses look concerned about your baby, that’s a moment frozen in time.
Despite reading What To Expect When You’re Expecting and other books on pregnancy and motherhood, I never expected to be in the ER when my son was a month old, never expected to see him quarantined, full of wires and tubes, having a machine breathe for him while he artificially slumbered.
Not being a doctor (although I play one at home), I didn’t know what was wrong. I’d never heard of RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus, while common, for infants it can be dangerous, even fatal). Approximately 11 days in hospital (5 on a respirator, isolated with 24-7 private nurse care). I lived there – slept, ate, read to my son: Dr. Seuss, E.B. White, Maurice Sendak, Star Wars, Star Trek (might explain a lot), and more while amazing nurses, doctors, and staff helped my beautiful, tiny, once-and-future-King-of-the-Wild-Things heal. These memories still bring tears, some of pain, some of joy.
Family and friends were there for us (I can never thank you enough).
People often say not much else matters if you don’t have your health, I say, not much else matters if you don’t have your healthcare.
7. The Handmaid’s Tale might represent motherhood best of all. Margaret Atwood wrote this (although I bet she never foresaw the SNL version) as a cautionary tale, but there’s a more subtle message often lost, having a baby shouldn’t be about power, also, a woman’s worth isn’t tied to her fertility, she shouldn’t be treated better or worse because of it. Women and men should be treated with compassion, empathy, dignity, and kindness no matter their gender, fertility, status, race, religion, marital status, wealth, etc. People shouldn’t be rewarded for bullying, lying, cheating, controlling, subjugating…This latest adaptation (Hulu or Bravo or CraveTV) is addictive, mesmerizing; the cast is stunning, the tale chilling, eerie…if this is how we save the human race, is it worth saving?
8. How could anyone have a child if they watched Twin Peaks (Dual Spires for Psych fans)…because, the world is just like this show: weird, wonderful, strange, stunning, fascinating, frightening, and full of moments that will haunt you, and full of moments as sweet as cherry pie or donuts https://yadadarcyyada.com/2017/04/28/well-cream-you-with-our-tim-hortons-donuts-you-hosers/We hear the nostalgic, evocative themes of the Twin Peaks… and The X-Files…
Hmmm, maybe James Comey could get a new job on these reunion FBI dramas, after all, he knows FBI drama. The truth is out there? Remember, life isn’t all about what’s under the plastic, it’s about what happens before, during, and after and it’s up to us to make it wonderful, not horrible (take note Trump).
So as I drop this,
Mother of all Blogs?
Happy Mother’s Day
not just mothers,
enjoy this day
I have millions of reasons why I love my son. Reason #82: he wakes up singing or humming every day. I was thinking, we should all be so lucky to wake up that way.
Thinking Out Loud
I was never particularly a girlie-girl, despite my mother’s valiant attempts.
You know the drill, cute, bright dresses and outfits (my Mom sewed), sometimes sleeping with curlers or rags in my long chestnut hair, and of course, hair decorations and thingamabobs (bows, ribbons, and remember that yarn in our pigtails?).
It didn’t take.
I wasn’t exactly a tomboy either.
Just a girl, who grew, slowly, into a woman.
My favourite colour now is black (yes, I’m aware it’s not actually a colour; black objects absorb all the colours of the visible spectrum and reflect none of them to the eyes, but humour me). My hair is a sexy (sure, ok) bob, though enduring the awkward process of growing out decades of hair dye. Not a ribbon or bow in sight.
My friends were an intriguing mixture of girlie and not-so-girlie, but we all had one thing in common, we were obsessed with one thing: numbers. Bra size. When we got our first period. How long each period was. How many days between periods. Weight. Height. Phone numbers. How many boys you’d kissed, or wanted to kiss, or who wanted to kiss you.
Oh yes, and occasionally grades in school slipped into that all important number cluster. It was all a numbers game.
From this angle, at this age, those numbers now seem adorable.
Reaching numbers in the 40s or 50s? You might as well have said I’d be driving a flying car, or getting my supper from a food replicator.
Those numbers were Sci-Fi.
Now they’re Non-Fiction.
For decades I’ve ridden the roller-coaster of confidence.
High up, I throw my hands in the air, tasting the ripe plum of thrills; believing I’d made the right choice…knowing I could do anything I put my mind to.
Then racing down, down, down to uncertain, overwhelmed, unsure.
My brain screaming, even if it never reaches my lips.
The sense that I could achieve being mercilessly pummeled by doubt.
Fear whipping cruelly at my hair.
Procrastination punching relentlessly at my gut.
The bar that should be protecting me from falling instead holds me in.
I chase challenges, but crash, tumble, fail to engage. The risks are too big. Too scary.
What if I disappoint?
What if I impress and can’t do it again?
Does everyone ride this roller-coaster, or do they ride the Ferris wheel, a perfect circle of confidence, around and around? Maybe they’re just better at faking it.
I don’t want to be the heroine or the victim in my story, just the writer. The writer who has snacks. Tasty snacks. Maybe a comfy chair or couch. And the ability to share her story.
The internet has helped spread that story. I love the internet, it connects people in ways never, ever imagined. And if you don’t have anyone to argue with, just express an opinion then…wait. And watch some cat videos.
A feeling of lassitude, tedium, ennui grips me. The usual stuff isn’t doing it for me. I have battled the demons of depression and anxiety, unashamed; their claws rake at me, their teeth snap at me, bloody, but not broken, I go on.
This seems like something else, could it be boredom? I hope not. Not my best state. It’s destructive. Causing zoning out, not caring, not engaging, or looking for routes to relieve that boredom, usually with negative consequences.
Boredom doesn’t have to always be bad. It can cause ignition. Spark. My boredom doesn’t feel like a visit from apathy, or its twin, indifference.
I’m not feeling particularly restrained or confined, no more than usual.
I feel thoughts wandering to ways to ease this blanket of boredom. So could this be the searching type of boredom? Looking for something. Open to new possibilities, positive changes? Could anticipation, expectation be masquerading as boredom?
My Grandma would’ve said I should pull up my bootstraps. But what if those straps are so worn, so frayed…just about to snap? She’d probably tell me to dig deeper and pull harder. I’m trying, Grandma.
Each person that crosses your path, friend or foe or otherwise, teaches you something. But what? That you should meet fewer people? Or the person that crossed your path, the person that taught you the most, should have been you. Maybe it was. Is. Should be.
Ex’s and Oh’s
Dear Readers, how are you today? Happy, I hope.
Lately I’ve been in a shall we say, reflective mood, thinking of the highs and lows, cons and pros of being human.
I know, like so many things, it’s complicated.
Let’s start with the Pros:
1. We’re amusing.
I never understand why people go to the zoo when they can watch people instead, such as, on public transit. In one ride I saw: a guy with a bag full of copper wires sucking down a giant blue slurpee who collected paper transfers from the bus floor, tore two apart, licked them, put them together then showed ‘it’ to the driver; another guy was reading a scientific magazine, upside down; a photoshopped woman talking loudly and graphically about her knotty/naughty love life via cellphone; an older gentleman wearing PJs, cool, I did that too, in high school, the top one day, bottoms another, but as I get older I just think, sure, that looks comfy, you could get off the bus and right into bed. Who needs The Oscars? Hop on a bus, be awarded.
2. We’re ingenious.
Really, we came up with all kinds of stuff, like: flying, fire, medicine, books, family, duct tape, technology, chocolate, the internet, music, blogging, swimming inside in the winter, batteries, politicians, money, cake, saunas, friendships, trains, Johnny Depp as a pirate, pool noodle under fitted sheet so a child doesn’t roll out of bed (wish I’d known this when my son was young), driving, driving with dogs on our laps, wait, someone needs to explain this one to me, does the dog think he’s driving, does he even comprehend what driving is, I doubt he passed a driving test, I mean, how did he fill out all the forms, reach the pedals with his paws, not bite the instructor?
3. We’re endlessly curious.
We ask questions such as, but not limited to: “How bad can it be?” (very bad); “Could it get any worse?” (yes); “How stupid can you be?” (have you heard some politicians?).
4. We’re brave.
We live on a planet where the earth shakes, volcanoes spew lava, mountains of snow grow, and storms make us remember there’s no place like home…and then invite tourists, cause it’s that awesome.
5. We fall in love and out of love.
Love can go from oh’s to ex’s…ex’s to oh’s or so I’ve heard…at least, in song. Our hearts can stay, stray, delay, relay, live to love another day. Don’t think my ex’s or oh’s haunt me, but I’d like to think someday my Prince Charming will ride in on his baggage cart and sweep me into his manly arms, yes, apparently in my flight of fancy I’m dainty and light as a feather, his bronzed flesh glowing, huh, glowing? Too much of the X-Files reboot? But I digress…he’ll have room on his baggage cart for my baggage too and we’ll be off, into the sunset (Risky Business-style sunglasses firmly in place), hopefully not ending up like Thelma and Louise, Romeo and Juliet, or Butch and Sundance…
6. We yearn.
For more, for other worlds and explore them through books, movies, TV…finally saw Star Wars The Force Awakens aka A-New-Hope-revisited when I took my son to a movie marathon for his birthday. It was great, but I have to wonder, what is it with people dropping children off on desert planets? Do they think it’s desert daycare? Do they think the children might go all Home Alone on the scum of these wretched hives of villainy? At what point should we just admit they’re bad parents?
7. We all want to be heroes or funny anti-heroes.
Yeah, I saw Deadpool and laughed so hard my sides hurt. I’m having a bit of a Ryan Reynolds week (how often can you say that?), saw Woman In Gold too, how does Helen Mirren do it? But we don’t have to wear a cape, or a mask, have mutant powers, or fancy gadgets…just be good to one another. But if you get a chance to be be Batman and drive the Batmobile, do that too. Kindness is true heroics.
The Cons? Maybe another time, or…all of the above? Anything you want to add?
There’s A Nap For That
As a writer I have to believe words have power. One of the words I dislike is hate (note I didn’t say I hated hate). It’s overused. People hate their life. Family. Weight. Home. Car. Cats (maybe they sense your hate). Government. Politicians. Job. Hair. Cake (you are so reading the wrong blog). Books. TV shows. Songs. Actors. Movies. Vegetables (how do you hate something plant-based?).
I’m tired of hearing people say they hate…I’m not sure they know what that word means. Hate should be reserved for really, really bad people and things, like: child abusers, rapists, murderers, Hitler, warlords, dictators, alien overlords, stuff like that.
1. Let’s review, do you really hate your life or just certain aspects? Your whole life is a big category with many moving parts, pick the right part to hate, let the rest roll on.
2. Standing in the middle of a room silently or loudly screaming, “I hate my life” or “no No NOOOO!” repeatedly will probably make you feel slightly better for about 30 seconds, but it’s not a long-term ‘fix’.
3. This is usually the point when advice-giver types tell you to change your life. That’s all well and good, but what if some things are beyond your ability to change? Should you just accept them, or rail against them, lay down and kick and scream until you feel better, or until someone offers you ice cream to stop, or threatens to call the authorities (and no ice cream)?
4. How much time do you spend each day ‘hating your life’, I suggest you cut that in half, help others with the other half, you’ll feel the hate drift away.
5. Take a deep breath. This probably won’t help you hate your life less, but hopefully you might get a nice breath of fresh air, or the smell of fresh-baked goods.
6. Do something, maybe something different, or something to help someone else, again, may not make your life full of singing and woodland creatures doing your housework, but it might remind you of the good things.
7. Take charge of your life, unless you wouldn’t feel comfortable having you in charge, after all, do you even remember where your keys, or the remote is right now?
8. Are you at least changing the things you hate about your life? You’d hate to get stuck in a rut of hating the same things for decades.
9. Check your birth certificate. Are you old enough to hate your life? There are some weird laws out there, you don’t want to be breaking any.
10. Write down what you hate, maybe there’s a great book, or movie or TV show, song, etc. in all that hate. As much as people say they love positivity, so many popular shows, movies, books, plays, songs, etc. are about dysfunction, hate, crime, death, destruction, apocalyptic worlds, and misery, including Misery.
Maybe the haters just need a nap. A nap always makes you feel better. I’ve been enjoying a tiny bit more sleep (even when awake) in the past week (new meds).
Fibromyalgia and sleep don’t get along, but as much as I can hate the pain it inflicts on me 24/7, the constant fatigue, feeling left out of life sometimes, there’s no point, it is what it is. I have a choice, I can choose hate and be all grumpypants, or I can choose love and keep enjoying what I have and hoping for better days ahead.
If I said anything wonky during my blog party https://yadadarcyyada.com/2016/01/29/always-on-my-mind-blog-party/ (still open by the way, drop by anytime and promote your blog, for free, yes, free – we hear that word often, but it’s rarely true, in this case, it is) – I’ll blame it on the drugs (totally legal ones). Thanks to all those who came out. Happily, my bed and I are back on speaking terms, for now, and we didn’t even need sleep counseling.
Haters gonna hate, so let’s bake them a cake…seriously, who can hate when eating cake?
Be brave. Be bold.
Choose love…and naps…and cake
(not necessarily in that order).
5 Ways I’m Not Under Pressure
Can your heart really be broken?
Apparently it can.
Broken Heart Syndrome is a thing.
Also known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (not to be confused with the Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek, totally different kind of heart-racing); this condition is most often stress-induced.
Wow, you really can die from a broken heart.
So, how can you mend a broken heart? I’m neither a doctor, nor a therapist, nor one of The BeeGees, but I wish I had the answer, because mine is Under Pressure.
David Bowie died.
As did Alan Rickman. And a bunch of other people.
We’ve all had family and friends who have died.
My point? Moments in time are just that. Big or small, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Life is for the living, even if you can now fulfill all your funeral needs (with drop dead prices) while buying vats of olive oil at Costco. They offer killer deals on multi-packs too. Check out their 6-foot deep discounts on dirt in the Home and Garden Section. Ok, I’m almost done. Prices to die for! Now I’m done. So instead of spending money on flowers, candles, and stuffed animals that rot in the streets, mourn and honour those we’ve lost by helping the living.
5 Ways I’m Not Under Pressure:
1. Bowie was a voice that told me to be me when I wondered if I should be someone else – I will forever adore and blame him for that, or at least blame him for being so persuasive. Goodnight, Mr. Bowie and thanks.
2. Alan Rickman made me Truly, Madly, Deeply – laugh (Galaxy Quest), cringe and cry (Harry Potter), shiver (Die Hard), and sigh (Sense and Sensibility). Goodbye.
3. I’ve lost many people in the last few years. I miss them. I wish I could see them again, but at least as time goes by my trips down memory lane, while frequent, are less bumpy, the ride is smoother around the edges.
4. When I was young, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, we used to train it to Toronto to see concerts – before train fares and concert tickets skyrocketed. I was a goth/punk girl who didn’t know anything, but I sure had fun learning. My friend (who passed away almost a year ago) and I would hang around places like The Eaton’s Centre, knitting, reading, listening to a giant silver boom box we’d lug around – no cellphones or MP3 players back then. We met loads of cool people, ie. The Ramones, David Bowie, etc. I’m sure the meetings weren’t memorable to them, but for us it was like those voices that made us happy, made us dance came to life. When Bowie walked by we broke into a spontaneous chorus of Rebel, Rebel. This earned us tickets to his show, even backstage (whispered instructions to one of his entourage, of course). If we’d worried about looking silly, we would’ve missed dancing and swaying to the sounds on the stage. We wouldn’t have met lots of fascinating people, famous and never-gonna-be-famous. We wouldn’t have started a music magazine, raised money for those in need, got tons of cool promo stuff…Again, life is not only for the living, it’s to be lived. Take a chance, be brave, be bold, be in the here and now. Memories are fun, but not fuel for life.
5. Speaking of living – The X-Files reboot is only days away. The Truth Is Out There once again, just a,er, tad older…like me. I watched the spooky premiere on September 10, 1993 and never looked back. The only time I remember missing it was the night my son was born (totally, totally worth it). I thought of calling him Fox, but also a major Buffy fan, so…Xander it is.
Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust, we know people we loved and lost are still with us…No Pressure.
Stand By Me
Hello, it’s good to be back!
Thanks to all of you for standing by me, supporting me, my blog, and my blogging break.
Against all odds, I’ve tried to keep up with your blogs too, but couldn’t seem to muster the energy or inspiration to write a post myself.
I’ve resolved not to make any resolutions this new year, but to keep exploring this uncharted life of mine.
But here’s what happened when I was gone, sort of….
1. I learned I’m never going to be a proper gym bunny. It seems to involve an excessive amount of hair-flipping, giggling, spandex, and a thong or two where they don’t belong or two.
2. Inconsiderate people keep using my public library to take out books I wish to read. On a brighter note, they’ve increased the hold limit to 60 items!
3. Another plane, another train, but no way to get those Beastie Boys outta of my brain. Every time I see or hear an ad for the movie, Brooklyn voices inside my head sing: “No sleep till Brooklyn!”.
4. If you don’t try you can’t fail, but you can’t succeed either.
5. I miss when stuff didn’t have so many names or labels, when you could just like what you liked. My lovely childhood crushes on Tom Baker, Kirk, and Bobby Darin, ok, that one ended badly when I found out he’d been dead for several years (somewhere beyond the sea, for sure), anyway, all that would now be called ‘fangirling’. Long before Mr. Darcy plunged into that lake and Daryl Dixon picked up a crossbow, I had labels I didn’t know about. Forget labels, just be you, that’s enough.
6. People who say, “I’m not going to say I told you so” are really saying, “I told you so”.
7. I missed blogging! I needed a break, to write my book, catch up on life, which is being dreadfully uncooperative, but I missed this and you, dear readers and I bet you missed all my, er, blogging advice.
8. Imagine, you win millions in the lottery, would you spend it on a vanity project? That’s what Alice (Kristen Wiig) does in Welcome To Me, a weird little film with a big, brilliant cast including: Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, James Marsden, Wes Bentley, Linda Cardellini, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Tudyk. Full of uncomfortable moments, it had me questioning quite a few things, especially blogging – is blogging just a vanity project, a sort of emotional exhibitionism?
9. While suffering from Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Haven, The Blacklist, Into The Badlands withdrawal, which wasn’t pretty and mostly consisted of me trying not to whine about it, since these are clearly First World Problems, to the extreme, I decided to read more (is that possible?). Why not get caught up on a few of the fascinating ‘And Philosophy…’ series from Open Court? I started with Doctor Who and Philosophy, then Downton Abbey, Homeland, and The Walking Dead. I noticed all these books toil to shatter the myth that TV is simply a vast cultural wasteland. Fighting zombies, taking tea, traveling through time and space, those are hooks to get us to watch and keep watching, it’s really about the interaction between the characters, the choices, the sacrifices, those moments when we see ourselves and feel or learn something. If it can happen in a book, why can’t it happen on TV or in movies? I love these books because like the TARDIS, they’re bigger on the inside, making me feel all esoteric, ideologicalish, and thinky, but without getting that time-consuming philosophy degree. Just the way I like it.
10. I sometimes forget (or wish to forget) what a tricky beast and ruthless, relentless taskmaster Fibromyalgia can be, but I’ll keep trying to keep on keeping on…easier said than done.
Tomorrow we could be alive or dead, but today, my friends, today we are alive, so go out there and live.
These Aren’t The Gifts You’re Looking For
Twas the week before Christmas
(almost two till my birthday)…
When all through the blogosphere…
not a blogger was stirring…
ok, some are stirring, but mostly cocktails…
Yet posts were still flying out with hopes that readers might give them a shout!
Christmas isn’t the most wonderful time of the year for bloggers, readers and many bloggers are off prepping for the big day, partying, waiting in line for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and of course, searching for perfect gifts.
Here are some, er, helpful last-minute gift ideas for those hard to buy for folks:
1. O Christmas tree! As a cautionary note, unlike in the movies, apparently it’s ‘frowned upon’, some might even say illegal, to just randomly cut trees down. Who knew?
2. Draw happy faces on all their socks/nylons so they’ll feel happy as they start each day. Or sneak into their house or room and draw a happy face on their wall, or mirror in red lipstick or paint. Wait, is that creepy? Nah, it’ll be a fun surprise.
3. Fix something for them: TV, car, fridge, cellphone, alarm system, computer, appliances, sewing machine, etc. Even if none were broken (but might be after), it’s the thought that counts.
4. Donate to a cause in their name or better yet, start a foundation in their name, I’m sure it won’t affect their taxes…much.
5. Sing them a song, but only if your voice doesn’t resemble fingernails on a chalkboard, mastodons dying in a tar pit, Bridget Jones singing, or my Mom singing (love you, please don’t sing).
6. Indie books. Mass-produced can be good, but a steady diet can leave you feeling flat. Best thing about indie, less cookie cutter, same goes for everything. Like indie author/blogger, A.H. Browne who kindly beamed aliens into my email. As they scurried around my brain, I was laughingly sucked into space to cavort (hey, I can cavort with the best of them) through the Saloon at the Edge of Everywhere. That sounds familiar, did I spend time there in my youth, next to CBGB, right? Book One of The Otherwhere Chronicles made me reluctant to return to Earth, like when you’re at a party, it’s past time to go home, but you think, just a few minutes more. If you’re feeling brave and in need of some fun, visit Arthur at http://pouringmyartout.com/ – don’t say I didn’t warn you! Any indie authors reading this, please add links in the comment box below where your work can be found (heck, it’s Christmas, anyone add links).
And here’s more indie talent (and keep checking the comments for indie author links):
7. Taco ties, socks, and hats. Also available in: lasagna, kung pao, pizza, chocolate, wine, beer, hamburger, and curry flavours. Hungry? Bored? Clothes never tasted so good!
8. Make a sculpture, coat, hat, scarf, or quilt out of your hair and nail clippings – natural, organic, and very, very personal.
9. Lint kittens and puppies. Easy to keep – no walks, no food, soft and cuddly, and simple to house train. Do not expose to water.
10. Honesty – they may not appreciate it at first, but it might be the best gift ever, someday.
So, these aren’t the gifts you’re looking for (except the indie books), in the end, the best gift of all is still…you!
Happy Holidays to you and yours!
All the best in 2016!
The Christmas Carol Awakens
I had too much to dream last night.
I feel like I have a dream hangover.
I woke from my confusing, at times,
A Christmas Carol-like dream
(unfortunately no Muppets), but
filled with revelations.
First, I was visited by Donald Trump who told me 3 others would visit that night. It was terrifying, he wore the chains of greed, intolerance, and suffering he’d forged link by link…it seemed like there was more of the hairspray than grave about him.
Then Colin Firth showed up as my Ghost of Christmas Past in the white shirt from Pride and Prejudice (you know the one ladies). This dream just got a whole lot better. He reminded me that all things past are actually always still with us…
1. Christmas songs are playing everywhere yet I rarely hear Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsman. It’s my all-time fav, it’s about peace on Earth, goodwill, and about how even the worst of enemies can put aside their differences, if only for a little while…we sure need more of that.
2. Dean Cain and many others we haven’t seen in a while do still have careers, kinda, hey, I like Christmas movies.
3. And even on a crummy morning a gingerbread man still makes his bed with cookie sheets.
Then Taylor Kinney (without fiancée, Lady Gaga…hey, it’s my dream) floated in as my Ghost of Christmas Present (subconscious you’re so good to me) dressed as Fireman and reminded me that despite the season, it’s getting hot in here. Whether it was just a hot flash or I’m watching too much Chicago Fire (is that possible?), I woke up in a sweat. Back to my dream, rescue me.
4. Christmas is about giving. Though I’m broke and obscure I still believe in giving to others and weirdly, sometimes you get stuff back. For example, by donating, I won a month gym membership and a few other goodies. So now I can be buff like Arnold, though I’m saying this in Schwarzeneggar accent, the buff part seems unlikely.
5. I’ve noticed my Mom (a senior) and my son (a teen with Autism) have a much fuller social life than I do, I need to work on that. And the only action I’m getting is from my latest mammogram.
6. I don’t have to wait in line for some guy in a red suit to make me promises, I’ll make some to myself.
My Ghost of Christmas Future was Norman Reedus, well, actually Daryl Dixon (my dream, so he’s holding a cat reminding us to Shop Cruelty Free https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/ – I’d like to add, that goes for people as well), who showed me that…
7. Christmas could be a little late this year, instead of making toys, Santa and the elves are already lined up to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
8. The Christmas feeling could be there, even without the gifts, the lights, the decorations, chocolate (this one is iffy), turkey and toys, even without the Christmas.
9. Ordinary rules of time and space don’t apply to Santa or The Doctor (Hello Sweetie, Doctor Who Christmas Special on almost Boxing Day – Christmas but late, can’t wait, but it’s times like these I miss David Tennant), but they do apply to us, we only have so much time in this world.
Can happiness or success be measured by what we have instead of the joy and comfort we bring to others? Do we really think in the end, we’ll care about how much we shopped, what car we drove, how big our home was, if we had the latest iPhone, or what we were wearing? Or will we remember the good times, the fun times, the laughter, the kindness, the little moments.
This season, remember a date on a calendar is just that, but life, life is for living, every day.
Oh yes, and if you don’t see me around here for a bit, I’ve checked myself into Clementine rehab.
I can quit anytime I want.
Hello It’s Me
if after all
To go over
Hello, can you hear me?
I’m in Canada dreaming about who I’ll one day be
Hello from the other side
Feels like I’ve blogged a thousand times
I sometimes forget, uphill can make you rest
And at least I can say I tried
Not as much tears me up anymore
So hello from the other side
Feels like I’ve blogged a thousand times
Thanks Adele, like ‘Hello’ is ever leaving my head.
Hello, I’m probably one of the most honest people ever – except I lie.
When I say I’m fine, sometimes, I lie.
Even if it’s mostly to myself.
I haven’t been well for a while now, even more so than usual, which is saying something. I’ve been pushing through with sheer force of will, but even that is wearing thin.
Apparently I need more ‘self-care’, which apparently, I’m very not ‘good’ at it.
So when an unlikely source, Groupon threw me a line – 50% off movies and popcorn (I brought the popcorn home for my son), I thought, why not? I wasn’t disappointed to watch The Hunger Games take its final bow on the big screen, except the title Mockingjay Part 2, really, that’s kind of boring, how about The Mockingjay Awakens, or Mockingjay Hurray! or an Australian version, Mockingjay G’day! I wasn’t thrilled by The Hunger Games books, but I did enjoy exploring our world, choices, freedoms and illusions of, through this world, onscreen more. When Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) keeps asking Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence), ‘Real or Not Real’, I understood. Too often the world can feel violent and even surreal, but what is real…or not real? I suppose the best we can do is try to stand for something, or we’ll fall for anything.
Christmas music jingled away as I waited for the movie to begin, and I realized, blogging and Christmas have a lot more in common than I thought, like…
1. It’s better to give than receive. Even if you feel you don’t have enough, try to help others in some way. In blogging you can give by: ‘liking’, ‘sharing’, and/or ‘commenting’. You may not agree with every word, but appreciate that blogger took the time to post (as you wish to be appreciated).
2. Connection – you never know who you’re going to virtually meet and how they’ll change your life, or you theirs.
3. Fruitcake and posts – love, hate, like bits of, or given time, both could be used to prop open a door to…
4. Lots of surprises, awkward moments, comfort, joy, regifting, and more than a few ugly sweaters (still, it’s all in the eye of the beholder).
5. Plenty of glitz and fancy bits, yet sometimes, the substance and what really matters still shines through.
6. Gingerbread, yes, delightful, but sometimes hard to handle, especially without breaking.
9. Posts hung like stockings by the internet chimney with care, with hopes that readers soon will be there.
8. Cookies, meals out, eggnog, and other holiday treats, all awesome, but too many and you start to feel sluggish, tired, irritable, and overwhelmed. Blogging can be the same – know yourself, know your readers.
9. We can all be Santa’s Elves filling Santa’s shelves – bringing posts, perhaps comfort and joy…
10. Cookies, carrots, comments, posts, shares, maybe some milk (or in some cases, more adult libations) – all left for those we hope will show up.
11. Visions of sugar plums. Hoping to inspire and please, but sometimes, as hard as we try, our posts, our holidays, our days fall flat. There’s no time limit on getting up, or starting over. Dust off and try again!
12. Christmas trees, all different, just as all blogs are different. Don’t worry if you have the right niche, enough followers, comments, likes, etc. Don’t overthink. Send your creativity into the world, who knows what will come of it…anything, everything.
With blogging and Christmas and everything else, be brave, do what you feel, even if it goes wrong, you tried and that can’t really be wrong. Slow down, take the time to really enjoy and take it all in (including chocolate).
10 Ways To Be Grateful Even On Bad Days
Life is full of good things and bad things.
Sometimes good things go bad.
Sometimes bad things go good.
Sometimes a bit of both.
The good stuff doesn’t always make the bad stuff easier to take, but the bad stuff doesn’t always ruin the good stuff either.
We should try to be grateful for the good stuff, especially when there’s bad stuff.
We Could Be Grateful For:
1. Family and friends. The memory of family and friends. The possibility of family and friends.
2. Knowledge, free will, and finding respectful ways to agree to disagree.
3. Enjoying what you have, instead of always thinking about what you want.
4. Remembering both the good times and the bad – and not living in either.
5. Enjoying the everyday things. Life isn’t about the big moments.
6. Finding happiness, peace, or contentment, especially by making others happy, peace-filled, or contented.
7. Life and knowing that most people know it’s worth.
8. Being you. Don’t compare yourself to others.
9. Bad times, so you can appreciate the good times.
10. Giving – stuff, time, comfort, inspiration, hope, information…you.
Terror, in many forms has wormed it’s way into our lives, not just with violence, but with weapons such as: fear, rudeness, abuse, inequality, neglect, distractions, complacency, disrespect, self-righteousness, ignorance, intolerance, lying, scandal, gossip, corruption, manipulation, dogma, bullying, blame, and all those ‘gotcha’ moments.
We can change. Some will say we can’t, or worse, that’s just the way it is. Expect change. Be that change.
People can disagree, debate, wrangle, bicker, even argue, hopefully respectfully.
There’s also no need to agree, you have the right to disagree, again, respectfully.
Attacking anyone, verbally or physically, for their beliefs is pointless.
We can’t overcome hate with hate.
We can’t win by fighting.
Even if you feel hate, choose love or at least, forgiveness.
Even if you feel indifference, choose compassion.
Especially if you feel despair, choose hope.
I worry being ‘shocked’ every time something terrible happens, posting platitudes, changing profile pictures, holding vigils, leaving tokens, decrying the monsters, and placing blame gives the illusion of doing something when really, it’s mostly shopping, social media, socializing, and symbolism.
Wouldn’t it be more comforting to help those in need? To donate food, clothing, money for shelter and medical care instead of making piles of flowers, candles, stuffed animals, and flags that will just become garbage? I don’t understand, if we want to show respect why not help those who are still alive and suffering?
We need to find out how to change what’s happening, or brace ourselves for more of the same, or worse. The first rule of holes, when you’re in one, stop digging, and try to find a way out.
What’s coming will come, so instead of focusing on those who do harm, who spread fear and hate, let’s be grateful for those who help, who protect – those who do good in this world. They deserve our focus, not just after a tragedy, or crisis, or disaster, but all the time.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones, death is tragic, no matter the circumstances…and to anyone suffering, everywhere.
Can You Feel The Blog Love Tonight?
Turns out, being an adult is hard work.
Adding blogging to that and anxiety, well, it could be the proverbial straw.
When it’s quiet here on my blog, I have time to think.
Why am I really doing this?
Should I be doing this?
I have so much else to do, is this a distraction?
Or is blogging just another version of chocolate, sappy movies, wanting to cry, desperately wishing a time machine would materialize in my living room to whisk me back to a time when the biggest decisions I had to make were: what to wear to school, who to hang out with, what to listen to…Probably shouldn’t go back, I might scream at myself to quit wishing to grow up and just enjoy growing up.
Some days I feel like blogging is more Hotline Blog (I’m assured Drake will drop this as a follow-up to his famous Hotline Bling)
You used to like me on my blog post
Late or early when I needed blog love
And I know when that hotline pinged
It could only mean one thing…
But these days, you’ve become a ghost
Wonder if you’re out there forgettin’ about my blog post
Doing other things, maybe making cinnamon toast
But blogging isn’t all about Likes, it’s about enjoying each other…
Learning. Teaching. Laughing. Crying. Smiling.
I try to imagine what my blog would have been if I blogged as a child, you know, before I knew:
1. I’d have a computer, in my home.
2. I’d use this computer to tell perfect strangers (well, maybe not perfect) stuff about my life.
3. My worst recurring nightmare wasn’t fear, it was the fear of fear.
4. Bacon would become both hero and villain.
5. Everyone lied to me about stuff, including but not limited to: Santa, this won’t hurt (it did), The Tooth Fairy, being “almost there” (we weren’t), there was no more chocolate (there was), and that I’d use math in real life…
6. Life is less Game of Life and more Monopoly.
7. Power is a commodity, not necessarily the one that lights up your home.
8. What skin tags are, let alone having them.
9. The world is crawling with serial killers, if TV is to be believed.
10. Some people will still be mean, even as adults.
11. I’d use numbers from a fortune cookie for lottery tickets.
12. My body would be my worst enemy.
13. I’d look more like Jessica Fletcher than Jessica Alba.
14. I’d still be watching Doctor Who, Monty Python, and so would my teen son.
15. I’d lose hours of my life to a mysterious world that delivers weird yet amusing things to me right at home (yes, including pizza and Amazon).
16. I’d ever tire of Christmas (well, the commercialism of Christmas).
17. I’d try figgy pudding…get out there – try, visit, read, comment, share, take part in something different.
18. I’d let zombies into my home at least once a week…and love it.
19. You can’t eat all the cake, you have to share it, same goes for blogging.
20. I’d have many families – the one I was born into, the ones I found and found me, the ones I’ve made, and this amazing blogging community.
So get out there, hakuna matata – visit some blogs, enjoy each other, and never forget, you’re not alone.
Monster Meet and Greet Mash
I was working
on my blog,
late one night
When my eyes
an eerie sight
For my post
from its slab,
began to rise
to my surprise
It did the mash,
it did the Monster Meet and Greet Mash!
A monster blogger mash, it was a graveyard smash!
It did the mash, it caught on in a flash…
It did the mash, it did the monster blog mash!
The zombies and bloggers were having fun,
The blog party had just begun…
The scene was rockin’, we were digging the shares,
Some were commenting, well, those who dared
So add your link and des-crypt-ion, girls and guys,
Then suddenly to your surprise…
You can mash, you can monster blogger mash!
While I often say the best part of blogging is ‘meeting’ other bloggers, readers, etc., it’s been too long since we hung together, so welcome to the party, please, feel free to leave your blog name, a link to your blog or favourite post(s), and a des-crypt-ion. And pass it on: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, Google+, LinkIn, or reblog, so others can dig it too…
For some special treats, drop by some of the other blogs and Suzie’s Blog Party on Halloween http://suzie81speaks.com (fabulous British blogger and creator of Twitter’s popular #SundayBlogShare). I’ll check back, enjoy the snacks, but I have some busy times ahead, including preparing something completely different…Hopefully I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew-ie and end up as blaster fodder. May The Force be with me.
Yes, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
People dressing as ghosts, goblins, and ghouls,
Celebrities, minions, villains, and fools
Filled with fun, food, and fear
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With trick or treat greetings and candy meetings
Friends and strangers coming to call
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
My happiness project is kinda sputtering, as it turns out, a year is a really, really loooong time. Here’s where it all began: https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/06/03/dont-worry-be-happy/
And more…Week 18
I don’t have to keep track of every little thing to be happy.
I finally fully understand more but better…maybe.
Too tired to decide if actually happy, or merely exhaustedly happy.
September gone? October started? I want a recount.
Internally screaming could become real screaming if I keep hearing about how many weeks until Christmas, before we’ve had Halloween and in Canada, Remembrance Day! Aaaarrrggh! https://yadadarcyyada.com/2013/11/02/christmas-comes-after-remembrance-day/ https://yadadarcyyada.com/2014/11/03/lest-we-forget-to-shop/
Annual library book sale! Books! My precious! They sold you to me!
You think the storm will never pass, but it does. Until then, enjoy the show.
1. Turns out, weight loss isn’t one size fits all.
2. Still waiting for my own epic-everytime-I-enter-a-room-music-a-la-John-Williams.
3. Rewatched Edward Scissorhands https://yadadarcyyada.com/2013/10/31/edward-scissorhands/ and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown https://yadadarcyyada.com/2013/10/29/stuff-i-learned-from-its-the-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown/
https://yadadarcyyada.com/2014/10/19/religion-politics-and-the-great-pumpkin/ Now that’s entertainment.
4. Black cat crossed my path. Way too adorable to be bad luck, um, right?
5. Since Christmas is bleeding into Halloween anyway, why not combine the music – Carol of the Hells?
6. Maybe I’ll dress up as an author for Halloween. Treat or trick, publish my book! 😉
7. Halloween over for another year, you know what that means…chocolate on sale!
Keep calm and blog on…
You Can’t Handle The Blogging Truth!
October conjures images of:
Fall leaves, crisp nights… pumpkins and pumpkin spice…Halloween, candy, black cats…sexy Hunger Games costumes, yeah, I’ve stopped asking why at this point…
Apparently, scary is definitely different for different people.
For some scary is:
The dark – where all the known and unknown creep.
Horror movies that make people hide their eyes, but have to peak.
The price of groceries or hydro (both terrifying).
Trying on bathing suits (could turn your hair white).
Dating, parenting, love…
Loss of those we love.
Christmas or any holidays with in-laws.
Elections, wars, politicians.
Loss of cellphone reception (The horror! The horror!).
Running out of chocolate (now that’s horror!).
Liars, vampires, aliens, monsters, sparkly vampires, zombies…
I started blogging to relax, reignite my love of writing, and to be rich/famous (not necessarily in that order) – 555 posts later, well, two out of three ain’t bad. No one warned it could be so scary!
Life doesn’t come with instructions, we have to grope our way through this at times terrifying funhouse – long strips of goodness, gooey badness, melty magnificence, and squishy horrors – blogging is pretty much the same.
It was a dark and stormy night…Start a blog they said. It’ll be fun they said.
1. You want the blog truth, you can’t handle the blog truth! By the flickering computer light and hum, something wicked this way comes…really, Shakespeare how would thou deal with: endless emails, trolls, glitches, and ghosts in the machine?
2. First, you find your way through the woods (aka the internet) to an old mansion (aka WordPress) where you start your blog. Soon, strange things start happening – stuff moves by itself, stuff disappears, and you find yourself alone, in the dark, and still, you hear the click, click, click of the keyboard…
3. Come up with a cunning plan, overly elaborate with, as a random example, a dog with a speech impediment; a drug-addled vegetarian with a groovy van; narcissistic metrosexual; frumpy geek girl who needs contacts; and constantly kidnapped drama queen.
4. Your loved ones look at you oddly as you repeatedly type: All work and no play makes Donna a dull girl…They complain you’re hunched over your shining computer, or using them for…inspiration.
5. Read aloud from online posts, only to realize, you’ve freed some ancient vengeful Babylonian deity…or worse, a telemarketer! Who you gonna call?
6. Invited to Bloggers Bash at a spooky mansion, you accept, bloggers are fun, right?
7. Pop over to Pinterest for a ‘minute’ to find an image or inspiration…later you’re found wandering through the desert and learn you’ve been missing for 7 years and still didn’t find the right meme.
8. Fall asleep at your computer and wake up in a dream where a serial killer is hunting you, or worse, you’ve lost all your followers!
9. You decide to take a break from writing and take a bath or shower, you know better, but it’s been a long day.
10. You ask for books to review, but then …One, two, writers are coming for you. Three, four, publishers knock at your door. Five, six, who do you pick? Seven, eight, accept your fate. Nine, ten, never sleep again.
11. You turn to run from the glowing ooze on your keyboard, but there’s a evil clown or worse, housework behind you…your furniture is moving on it’s own, but it’s not getting dusted…Why? Oh why?
12. Through a series of unfortunate events, you find out your blog is built on an old cemetery and an ancient burial ground where rituals were performed. You could run to another platform, but that’s a lot of work.
13. So I will think of blogging not as a horror movie, but more like a community garden. We all work together to grow something remarkable. There will be ups and downs, but in the end, we’ll all be part of something amazing…as long as nothing comes alive to eat us.
You May Say I’m A Dreamer
All that peace and love stuff, it’s just idealistic mumbo jumbo, right?
Or is it?
While I admit I don’t understand a lot of stuff, but as long as it’s not really hurting anyone, why would I care?
Too often, the commonly held view seems to be that if we don’t agree, we’re at odds.
Like somehow 7 billion of us are suddenly going to start agreeing, or we have to battle it out Star Trek style.
For example, I find the rise of pumpkin spice alarming – apparently pumpkin spice is a season now, so the pumpkin spice must flow.
Here’s a completely incomplete list of stuff people do that I don’t ‘get’, or want to (no particular order):
1. Touching wet paint or wet cement – yes, it’s wet, move on.
2. Running water after going to the bathroom instead of actually washing your hands.
3. Lying, lying, and what was that other thing, oh yeah, lying.
4. Judging a person based on their skin tone, religion, race, nationality, whom they choose to love, clothes, home, family, etc.
5. Walking into traffic looking at a cellphone.
6. Bad driving.
7. Hurting others, especially children.
8. Loving something just because it’s endorsed by or has the name of a celebrity.
9. Using racism as a political strategy.
10. Fat shaming, and also those who say fat shaming is wrong, because they’re also calling people fat.
11. Having fictional conversations in your head with others (ok, done this).
12. Not smiling back at a child or being impatient when an elderly person is slowly walking down the stairs in front of you.
13. Yelling at furniture that jumped out and stubbed your toe (ok, I’ve totally done that).
14. Wearing uncomfortable shoes (especially with stubbed toes).
15. People who pretend they don’t fart (you do, we all do, own it).
16. Reading the instructions after you’ve done something.
17. Saying “I’m sorry” when you’re not sorry.
18. Unenvironmentalists (you know that should be a word).
19. Buying non-orange pumpkins.
20. Pretending you don’t wish some cool movie-like thing would happen to you today instead of just the usual stuff…come on, you really haven’t done this?
I can’t understand how people find the time or energy to judge, fight, or generally care so much about everyone else’s business. Does this have to do with our fight or flight response? Not running from sabre-tooth tigers (mostly), our fear response is now triggered by shopping (prices are terrifying), finding info on the internet (bloodcurdling), and politicians (I’ll take the tiger). Obviously our fear of scarcity has survived, so maybe those who are different or disagree feed into that fear. I’m just guessing, frankly, I’m baffled.
The internet just seethes with fear and loathing which is why I’m happy when I find bloggers who make me smile. David Prosser, a wonderful, funny, and caring blogger from Wales offered the world his Buthidars philosophy https://lorddavidprosser1.wordpress.com/ – a hug, a good deed, a simple gesture, a smile…forging a path toward peace.
And he shares his life each week at: https://barsetshirediaries.wordpress.com/ and kindly shared one of his novels, The Queen’s Envoy, with the caveat, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Perhaps, but I emphatically enjoyed the fanciful flight of fictitious foibles. It reminded me of watching Bond movies with my Dad. As a child I didn’t understand what Pussy Galore, Holly Goodhead, and “Oh James!” really meant, but the spirit of adventure always made me feel like anything was possible. I like that feeling, wherever I can find it.
It’s Thanksgiving this weekend in Canada; I’m thankful we can all agree to disagree, eh. I don’t tell people they’re stupid for their beliefs and I don’t expect them to understand my complicated relationships with: chocolate, spiders, TV, sleep, housekeeping, kale, Jane Austen, gravity, technology, toenail clippers, Christmas, pools (you know, cause of sharks), clowns, Thanksgiving, meat, and life in general.
We don’t have to agree to have fun, be respectful, and add love and hope to the world.
All we are saying is give
peas peace a chance.
The Phantom of the Blogging Tips
If you are reading this blog there’s a good chance you’re not just a reader, you could also be a blogger yourself…or one of my family or friends (Hi family and friends!).
What I mean is, many people who read blogs are also bloggers who send their creativity out there, into the universe, in one form or another, through an intricate web.
Yet too often, The Phantom of the Blogging Tips (er, Blogera? No? That’s not a thing?) is inside your mind, telling you how to blog instead of letting you find your own voice.
So before you’re past the point of no return:
1. Don’t second-guess yourself, there are literally millions of others out there willing to do that for you. Go with your instincts.
2. Before you post you may stop and think: will my readers like this, hate this, be offended, not press ‘Like’, will Unfollow, or what if they send an army of robot ants to carry me off in my sleep? Let me help, the answers are: Hopefully. Possibly. It’s a distinct possibility. Maybe. Hopefully not. And it’s the internet, stranger things have happened.
3. You’ll do a post you think is amazing, you’ll press publish (very important step, many bloggers forget this one) and tumbleweeds will roll across your blog and you’ll wonder, what did I do wrong? Probably nothing, most likely it was WordPress..again.
4. Your posts could be awesome, but people are busy and there’s an infinite amount of information out there…or they just can’t find your posts. https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/08/27/message-in-a-bottle/ Get out there and be your own Number One Fan (but not in a creepy Stephen King way).
5. You may never be Freshly Pressed https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/03/26/why-i-will-never-be-freshly-pressed/ or gets tons of Likes, or receive awards, or become an overnight sensation…don’t compare yourself to others, it will suck the joy out of blogging (and life).
6. Don’t be afraid to try something new or different. Tell us about a movie, a book, something you cook, draw, paint, build, remember, did, crafted, give us advice (we might not take it, doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear it)…anything, but it’s your voice we want to hear, authentic, not copied, or some regurgitated whatchamathingies we’ve read everywhere else.
7. Even if aliens are stealing your likes, keep trying, they’ll give up at some point or move on to another planet.
8. Expect the unexpected, roll with it then work it into a post, like the other day I heard two guys whispering, ‘I’d tap that MILF’ – naturally I looked around to see who they were talking about, then realized it was me. The feminist side of me was appalled and outraged, but the feminine side of me was all-Southern-belle-I-do-declare-swoony. Then they ruined it by adding, ‘Or is she GILF?’. I so don’t look old enough to be a granny! OK, but maybe a cool one. https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/01/30/revenge-of-the-nouns/ https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/02/26/coulda-woulda-shoulda-2/
9. Keep a good sense of humour, balance, and if you can, relax, it’s just your diary you’re letting the whole world read, ok, when I say it like that it does sound kind of terrifying. But remember, when in doubt, chocolate out!
10. Find your own style, your own groove, your own path, your own magic. Cookie cutters are for Christmas, be yourself.
11. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This applies in blogging too.
12. So ignore all The Phantoms of the Blogging Tips, even me. You can do this.
If I Had A Million Dollars
So let me get this straight –
you take the good
you take the bad
you take the both
and there you have
The Facts of Life?
That can’t be right.
Am I getting this whole thing facts of life and happiness stuff all wrong?
Maybe chocolate was the answer all along.
Could it really be that easy?
Could that be what the universe is trying to tell me as my happiness project carries on?
Here are the first 14 weeks, then more, you decide:
1. My brain, which doubles as an MP3 player, awakes to music, a foggy playlist scampering to Jack Johnson crooning, Upside Down then Blind Melon, David Bowie, and Tears For Fears all melodically reminisced about Change…
2. The pages of The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig, came to life as I read, making me want more. Then I thought of Jennifer Aniston in Cake, amazing, but tissues at the ready. With cake, like life we gradually add one thing after another, hopefully in the right order, until there’s something delightful.
3. Luke Bryan wanted me to Kick the Dust Up (point me to a cornfield, cause, damn, that’s catchy).
4. I think my happy place may have vandals…maybe I didn’t lock up after the last time I left.
5. Never forget.
6. The basic insultiness of the TV adaptation of Pamela Redmond Satran’s Younger – all young people are flibbertigibbits/all older people are past their sell-by-date. Like Sex and the City you have to suspend belief, your hold on reality, even your dignity to buy what they’re selling. Begs the questions, could I pass for younger and if so, why? I would like the naturally elastic skin back.
7. Lisa Whelchel + Kim Fields + farm from Smallville, here’s a fact of life, yup, all in the same movie, For Better or Worse…ok, definitely worse.
1. Barenaked Ladies felt they needed to remind me of good times and that I don’t have a million dollars, but what I could do if I did.
2. Let’s Make A Deal is still on? What year is this?
3. Wilson Phillips begged me to Hold On (thanks, I got this).
4. Took a delicious and mind-etching bite of Wes Anderson’s droll, absurd The Grand Budapest Hotel. Can a movie be too amazing? If so, this is.
5. Tim McGraw told me to live like I was dyin’, well, duh.
6. Watched season première of Doctor Who…remembered why I love it. Let’s forget last season.
7. New series, Mr. Robot where Christian Slater seems to be reviving his Pump Up The Volume role, just older, but still angry. As a hacker, now instead of Talking Hard, he’s Typing Hard.
1. The clock ticks, my birthday looms, another season falls away…I guess even when you feel stuck, or trapped and there seems to be no escape, no way out (like in The Maze Runner, oh great, now I’m going to have Wild Boys by Duran Duran in my head), you can turn another corner and wow, you’re out…or maybe just borrow a ladder and climb out.
2. Really want to watch The Fault In Our Stars, not sure I’m ready for ugly crying, especially when I have a cold https://yadadarcyyada.com/2013/10/06/the-fault-in-our-stars/
3. Writing, like everything else doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes it’s perfect to just unfocus and be.
4. Should I read A Writer’s Guide to Persistence by Jordan Rosenfeld, or would I just gave up?
5. Does it weird anyone else out that if you remove an ‘s’, the French word for fish looks like poison?
6. I need to invent a way to eliminate dusting, perhaps by eliminating dust.
7. What if life is like a bowl of cherries and we’re the pits?
Maybe I just need some sleep…without The Cure burbling in on all 8 legs of Lullaby.
If they’re The Cure, what was the disease again?
If they’re The Cure, what was the disease again?
How To Be Good To One Another
One life but we’re not the same we get to carry each other,
carry each other.
How to be good to one another. We could start by spending less time arguing about: who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s what, who’s to blame.
The internet exploded last week, with rainbows, due to the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision.
Online profile pictures went rainbow. #LoveWins trended worldwide.
June is Gay Pride Month so this added to the parties, parades, pride.
I’m pretty sure if you checked, your poo might be rainbow too.
It’s a great step for equality, I only hope hype and hyperbole don’t bog down the message that it’s not so much about this issue, but about fighting for rights, not just new ones, but the ones we already enjoy.
It’s been 10 years of marriage equality in Canada (Happy Belated Birthday Canada! You don’t look a day over 147), joined by 17 other countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and now The United States of America. Come on, why aren’t there more? Who cares who you love, as long as you love?
Sadly, on the same day of this ruling, there were also:
terrorist attacks, natural disasters, murders, child abuse, rapes, corruption, and more.
This decision doesn’t stop bigotry, hatred, racism, or human rights abuses.
It doesn’t feed the world’s hungry, or stop conflicts,
but it does add some equality (can’t have enough of that),
it makes people happy (especially wedding planners and lawyers),
and it shows that justice is still out there, we just have to expand its reach.
I’m always amazed at how so many people have the time or energy for:
hate, prejudice, racism, hypocrisy, manipulation, machinations, lying, stealing, playing the ‘gotcha’ game, cheating, and judging – especially for people or groups of people they don’t even know.
That must be draining, or maybe invigorating? I can understand, everyone has felt or done that stuff at one time or another, but holding onto that just seems weird and in the end, you must hate yourself the most.
Week 5 of my year-long try-to-find-happiness challenge is on.
Here are the first 4 weeks if you want to catch up or need a refresher.
Week 5 (approximately 10% done!):
1. Accept that apology never given. This one is soooo difficult, but this is something I really want to do for myself, but more, something I want to teach my son.
2. Embrace my age gracefully, doing a fairly good job, but I’m still going to avoid full-length mirrors, come on, we’ve all seen funhouses, these have got to be the same mirrors, right?
July 1 Do something really Canadian for Canada Day. Maybe respectfully pour Canadian beer on maple syrup butter tarts, Nanaimo bars, and poutine while playing hockey, eh.
4. Drink one more glass of water per day.
5. Pack up a box of stuff and give it away.
July 4 Celebrate our American neighbours by watching that fascinating documentary about the time they saved the world from alien invasion, you know, Independence Day.
7. Clean out that closet. I thought I should tell someone where I’m going so if I’m not back in an hour, send help.
How to be good to one another? Be kind and accepting. Accept that people have different beliefs, opinions, cultures, politics, points of view, religions, lifestyles, life experiences, abilities, neurofunctions; different ways to love, to live, to grieve, to have fun, to be angry, to be sad. Just because someone isn’t the same as you doesn’t mean they’re: wrong, scary, defective, a sinner, a monster, or a loser. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, don’t worry about different.
Life’s way too short to be: feared or fearful, hating or hated; try to love and be loved.
If you really have to worry about something,
worry about being good to one another.
In My Life I Loved Them All
some are living…
In my life I loved them all.
Why do we love when it hurts so much to lose those we love?
How would you answer this question, dear readers?
My answer is as simple and as complex as love itself.
I don’t know for sure, but I think because it feels so amazing to love and be loved, also, we need each other and love connects in a way that nothing else can.
Love and loss haunt me these days.
I decided reading would offer it’s usual distraction.
As I read Love, Rosie aka Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern (Hachette Books), I felt like I was watching a long Friends episode.
Beyond wanting to swat the characters for being such annoying goofs, I was left with a nagging feeling about love and communication and their places in the modern world.
This book and movie adaptation wouldn’t have happened if the two main characters even once had a simple, honest conversation. There, end of book and they lived more or less happily ever after.
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? We can communicate each moment of every day in multiple ways, yet our communication skills seem to be deteriorating. Does non-stop communication help if we’re not telling each other what we really need to know?
Ahern also wrote P.S. I Love You, a funny and poignant book, with the beautiful lesson of going on when you’re ready to go on, how you’re ready to go on, after any kind of loss, but I still liked the movie better – I blame Harry Connick Jr.
I’m sorry, baby, I didn’t mean it. There’s also: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gerard Butler, and James Marsters. Oops, I’m sorry book, probably should have read you before I saw the movie. The characters didn’t give me what I wanted, I didn’t feel a sincerity or connection, or maybe I was expecting too much.
Love comes into our lives in many ways, family, friends, lovers, partners; to fill, enrich, challenge, sustain, nurture, embrace, excite, thrill, comfort, cherish, and support us.
It also leaves in many ways.
How can love continue to breathe when it’s viciously torn away, crushed, betrayed, taken for granted, withdrawn, or ignored?
Because it once was and in some way, somewhere, will always be.
I lost someone I love very much yesterday.
I really can’t imagine a world without…but I must.
Gone from this world, but forever in my heart.
Which weirdly leads me to Week 4 of my Changes/Happiness Project. I wanted to fall in love again with life, and despite the loss life has repeatedly pummeled me with, I want to keep loving. Here are the first 3 weeks of challenges, if you wish to follow along, or just read about it.
Week 4 (has it really been that long?):
1. Decide on 5 things I’d love to do today and just do them (within the limits of time, budget, circumstances, etc.)
2. New bedtime routine: think of 5 things that went well or I was grateful for today and 5 things to hope for, in days ahead.
3. Write down 10 things I want to change, but think I can’t…try to change them.
4. Avoid the cake stalking me. You give cake a bad name. It’s the power of cake. You’d think that people would have had enough of silly cake songs… Don’t know how much longer I can hold out.
5. Reduce stimuli (mental and physical).
6. Remove a 100 calories per day (chocolate, I still love you, but there’s going to be a shortage of you soon and we have to get used to being apart…ok, that’s long enough.)
7. Construction begins on our street. Allow some time each day to admire the
So why do we love when it hurts so much to lose people?
You don’t turn down the greatest gift in the world just because you can’t keep it forever.
How To Get Your Book Published
As a writer I’ve read literally (that might not be the correct use of that word) thousands of articles on ‘how to get your book published’.
Then I noticed something strange about all of those articles, something they all had in common – they’d all been written by published authors.
What? This is a complete travesty! There are so many more of us, unpublished writers, looking for work and those authors are hogging the spotlight. They get books published, then they get articles published about how to get published. What a scam!
I’ve read enough self-help books to know what had to be done, those books (ironically, also written by published authors) clearly tell us that if you want something bad enough, you just have to imagine it, wish for it, and you’ll get it. Or was that a book about fairy tales?
Anyway…here’s my version of imagining it, wishing for it, my 12 easy steps to get your book published, I mean, how hard could it be, there are whole buildings full of books.
How To Get Your Book Published:
1. Write a book.
2. Books or manuscripts (as they say in the biz) are generally typed on typing thingies. Some famous writers in history seemed to prefer typewriters, who knows, maybe they didn’t know about computers back then, I don’t have all the answers. I suggest going for a more personalized approach – handwriting your book. Publishers will appreciate your dedication and they’ll understand you really want this book deal.
3. Go on a book tour. Don’t wait for your book to be published, the public is hungry for your words, bring them to the masses. Go to a book store and start telling customers all about your book. Sign books they’re holding or books on the store shelves – someday when you’re famous they’ll thank you for it.
4. Get an agent. As exciting as it might be, not a secret or special agent.
5. You need a literary-sounding name. If your name isn’t already literary-sounding, change it to something like: J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown, Dr. Seuss, Jane Austen, Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer, George R.R. Martin, Shakespeare, E.L. James, Suzanne Collins, Agatha Christie – something really authory.
6. Writing for children is different from writing for adults. For example, don’t use the name Stephen King or anything he writes about…ever.
7. Have family and friends write glowing book blurbs and reviews. If possible, have them use a well-known authory name, see #5 for examples.
8. People love pictures. You should totally get some of those.
9. Have characters in your book. Characters is just a fancy literary term for people you write about, either made-up people or those you know (I doubt anyone will sue you).
10. People like when characters do stuff in books. Have your characters stay busy. I don’t want to tell you what to write, but supernatural, scary, science, and sex (or a combination thereof) fly off the shelves. Have fictitious people who don’t even slightly resemble your siblings, parents, children, boss, ex, celebrities, anyone, living or dead or undead, doing fictitious (nudge nudge, wink wink) stuff.
11. Have your publisher help you promote your book. Sorry, did I skip that part? Get a publisher, preferably one who showers you with money, then get them to help promote your book (see #1).
12. Be prepared. Get ready, not only for fame and fortune, but to discuss and possibly explain your book, at length, on or in: TV, radio, podcasts, blogs, forums, bathroom stalls, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, planes, trains, automobiles, restaurants, conventions, parties, family gatherings, fan sites, stalker fan sites, book signings (see #3 and don’t forget to bring a pen) – yes, everywhere and mostly to people who haven’t actually read your book.
Now you’ve done all the hard work. Take some ‘me time’, relax in a bubble bath, have some tea or wine.
Let those royalties roll in and remember, show some love to those who helped you out. You’re welcome.
People are People
“People are people so why should it be you and I should get along so awfully? So we’re different colours and we’re different creeds and different people have different needs. It’s obvious you hate me though I’ve done nothing wrong. I never even met you so what could I have done? I can’t understand what makes a man hate another man. Help me understand…” ~Depeche Mode
How can we assume that by birth, or race, or religion some people are somehow less? It’s easy. Just make sweeping generalizations.
Drunken Indians. Stupid blondes. Lazy fat people. Violent black people. Muslim terrorists. Nerds all grow up to be millionaires. People with Autism don’t have empathy. All rich people are greedy and unfeeling. All poor people are lazy and want a handout. If you’re depressed you just need to cheer up. Everyone can beat cancer if they fight hard enough. Fibromyalgia is just another word of lazy. People with anxiety just aren’t trying to get over it. And on and on.
I can’t understand why you could automatically like or dislike someone, love or hate someone just because of their: colour, height, weight, religion, bank balance, celebrity status, education, ancestry, culture, etc.
People are people. You should feel the way you do because each person has earned what you feel for them, as an individual.
We need less arguing and letting ourselves be distracted from real issues.
Tolerance isn’t over-rated, it’s just withering away from lack of use.
Imagine a school with no playground, but with a cemetery. It sounds like something out of a horror story. It is.
Schools are about: learning, growth, safety. Aboriginal Residential Schools were just named schools to hide an ugly truth, they wanted to kill the Indian in the child.
Children torn from their families and physically, emotionally, and even sexually abused. Not given proper medical care or nutrition. Used for research and experiments.
This cultural genocide was not only government sanctioned, but paid for by taxpayers.
Generations flayed at the altar of religious and government depravity, because they not only lived on coveted land, but they had the audacity to worship a different Creator, speak different languages, have different customs, and a different skin colour.
At least 6000 children never made it back to their families. Approximately twice the number that died on 9/11. The odds of dying in residential schools in Canada was about the same odds of a soldier dying in WWII.
Many who returned home felt those who died were lucky.
So damaged, they passed that damage along.
How do we reconcile this? Broken systems still abound, half of children in foster care in Canada are Aboriginal; over 40% of water for indigenous populations is high risk; suicide rates are skyrocketing; Aboriginal students get 30% less funding than non-Aboriginal students…yet there’s billions in lapsed funding, arguing, corruption, prejudice, and endless political games.
We like to think horrifying residential schools, workhouses, orphanages can only be found in the pages of a Dickens novel. I wish I could pretend everything has changed since the times of the horrifying details in The Truth and Reconciliation Report and Nicholas Nickleby (recently watched 2002 adaptation with Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Nathan Lane, Anne Hathaway, Christopher Plummer and a veritable who’s who of UK film, by the by, quite decent). Yet each day, children around the world are: abused, neglected, sold as slaves, used as child soldiers, tortured, and raped. If we close our eyes, can we pretend it’s all fixed? It’s not.
The world is looking more and more like Disney’s Fantasia where the Sorcerer’s Apprentice/Mickey Mouse tries to find a solution without doing the right things. Everything gets out of control, all the problems multiply, and get poured back in.
No matter the intentions, we need to face the truth, too many children and adults aren’t being treated well and don’t have enough.
They look to the future and see darkness instead of dreams. That needs to change.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Everyday in the media and social media I hear about happiness.
Gross National Happiness,
polls, songs, quotes…
what’s with all the happiness?
Is wretchedness and melancholy really that out of style?
Where are the memes celebrating the drudgery of everyday life?
Where are all the T-shirts promoting doom and gloom?
If happiness is sooooo easy why does everyone have to be constantly reminded to be happy?
When did we become so obsessed with measuring and quantifying happiness? When it became big business, that’s when. I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately so I was drawn to The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold us Well-Being by William Davies (Verso). I felt the book was overly academic, like I needed a degree in something to understand it, but it did have some fascinating, logical, brilliant, and disturbing points about how we’re being sold happiness and at what cost. Happiness is a new religion.
But what if we’re being sold a one-size-fits-all happiness coat? It seems to insulate us against heartache, but instead, it’s drafty, the seams are fraying, and oops, it’s not waterproof. I’ve been sales-pitched happiness for years, and I’m starting to feel consumer fatigue. I’m guessing a lot of people aren’t feeling ‘the happy’ the way they’re told they should be feeling it, especially if the amount of loneliness, antidepressants, and boredom are any indication.
I find people endlessly fascinating, though I could live to be a 1000 and still never grasp their full complexity. Maybe I don’t want to, there’s nothing more thrilling than a mystery. I’ve observed that people seem to think they have to add things and people to their life to be happier, but what if it’s quite the opposite, what if you have to remove things and people to be happier?
I decided to start my own Happiness Savings Plan – pool then diversify my assets and lose some liabilities. I want to make sure I keep falling in love, over and over again, with my son’s laughter, books, music, clouds, chocolate, TV, movies, loved ones, conversation, kittens, dreams, puppies, laughter, hope…I’m tired of hearing about: The Kardashians, FIFA, Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn (I don’t care about the choice, I’m just sick of endless publicity-seeking), spy pigeons, wrinkled selfies (pretty much all selfies at this point actually), drought shaming, fat shaming, age shaming, sex mad marsupials…sigh, I’m feeling less happy just thinking about it all.
So for the next 365 days my plan is to make changes, one per day, mostly removing things; perhaps it will make me happier, perhaps not, only time will tell.
I invite you, my dear readers to join, if you so wish, don’t feel like you need to, or do the same changes. And don’t worry, there won’t be endless posts about my C-C-Changes Plan, just an update here and there…
My first week is as follows:
1. Remove 15 minutes or more of internet time per day.
2. Remove 15 minutes or more of news/politics per day.
3. Remove 15 minutes or more of sitting per day.
4. Give up one TV show.
5. Change 15 minutes of screen time into reading or listening to a book time.
6. Take 15 minutes or more to organize .
7. Learn something new each day.
It might be challenging, but as G.K. Chesterton reminded us, “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.”
P.S. I’m going for less.
Don’t You Forget About Me
We 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.
What if it isn’t just that?
What 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?
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.
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.
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.
The Internet Has Spoken
I 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!
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!)…
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?
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.
Remember in Poltergeist, where the eldest daughter is standing in the street screaming, “What’s happening?!?”…sometimes, that’s me, inside my head.
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.
Happy Mother’s Day – I Just Ate Your Gift
Someone 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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Worry 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.
Come To The Dark Side, We Have Cookies
“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.
Tomorrow, to a lesser degree with Revenge of the Fifth, although I think Revenge of the Sixth makes more sense. Is that a thing?
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).
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.
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.
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.
50 Things to Get Busy Doing Before 50
1. Reach 49.
2. Forgive. Doesn’t matter if they deserve it, you do.
3. Some people will be negative and hate, so what, what’s that got to do with you?
4. Learn your parents, family, and friends’ stories.
5. Ignore people who tell you to try surfing or skydiving or extreme sports if you don’t want to do it, they’re not going to spend the time in hospital or rehab.
6. Help someone who needs help and don’t tell a single soul you did it.
7. Learn to compromise.
8. Conquer a fear. Doesn’t have to be a big one.
9. Take the time to write that email, make that call, write a letter, visit, send a card, it may not matter, but what if it does?
10. Ask for help. Accept it gratefully.
11. Smile. Laugh. Often. Quit thinking about why. Smile. Laugh.
12. Cry. Into someone’s shoulder, a pillow, a cat or dog, a tub of ice cream, a gooey chocolate bar, but cry.
13. Walk. Look around. Walk some more.
14. Quit measuring. Your food. Waist. Accomplishments. What others have. Still measure before cutting wood, fabric, and when you bake.
15. Nurture yourself so you can nurture others. The world works best when everyone cares for someone.
16. Say yes more often.
17. Say no more often.
18. Do something you didn’t think you could do. Maybe you still can’t, but isn’t it glorious that you tried?
19. Read. Doesn’t matter what.
20. Laugh so hard it hurts and you think someone might call in help because there’s something wrong.
21. Don’t be too serious, it causes wrinkles and it’s no fun.
22. Believe in something, stand behind it, no matter what.
23. Find some magic, whether it’s in a book, a sunset, a blog post, a smile, a party, a kiss, a moment…Find it and keep it.
24. Belt out a song at Karaoke, especially one you don’t know or with inappropriate lyrics.
25. Watch the stars…sleep under them if possible.
26. Roll down a grassy hill with your friend (make sure there’s nothing in the way first).
27. Change your hair, not to follow a style, or to cover gray hair, or because someone tells you that you should.
28. Let go of hate.
29. Lay and watch clouds for a minimum of one hour. You’re welcome.
30. Sit alone in a restaurant, don’t hide behind a book or your phone or pretend to be engrossed in your noodles (they’re not that fascinating). Look around, be in the moment.
31. Make an unrealistic wish on a shooting star.
32. Have a huge crush that can never be returned. It’s freeing.
33. Follow a dream, even if everyone tells you it’s ridiculous, especially if everyone tells you it’s ridiculous.
34. Move forward. You don’t have a time machine.
35. Compassion first. Compassion second. Compassion third. You get the idea.
36. Be so completely wrong you’ll never believe how wrong you were.
37. Be so completely right no one will ever believe how right you were.
38. Visit Niagara Falls, really, any enormous waterfall will do. You will walk away with a million and half questions about the universe.
39. Don’t follow trends or fads, do what you want, your time is limited.
40. Be like your parents.
41. Don’t be like your parents.
42. The answer to life, the universe and everything. Use it wisely and sparingly.
43. Stop saying, ‘Life isn’t fair’. It never was.
44. Be happy with what you have and what you are – at least it’s real.
45. Have goals. Fulfill some.
46. Stop using the word ‘impossible’. Substitute ‘improbable’ if you must.
47. Spend a whole day just listening.
48. Spend a whole day telling the truth.
49. There’s no scorecard, so be yourself, quit trying to get points.
50. Life is too short to do someone else’s bucket list. Be your best you….at any age.
We’ll Be Counting Scars
Doesn’t age have any advantages? I still don’t sleep well. Stars glistening, moon beaming, I think of bills, appointments, problems… I make lists, read, try to write (curse your inevitable betrayal writer’s block), and tried to simultaneously organize and turn off my thoughts.
It gives too much time for reflection. I ponder if my life would be easier if I had a hero. He can’t be just any hero; the term so loosely used nowadays. He’s gotta be strong…he’s gotta be sure… and he’s gotta be larger than life….my exhausted brain sighed, you’re just tossing and turning, with that Bonnie Tyler song in your head. I think of heroes as I slip into the arms of the sandman.
As a teen, I was a soap opera junkie. I couldn’t get enough of the endless tangled story lines, because like sands through the hourglass, so was that phase of my life.
I was breathless as Bo, a streetwise Hercules roared in on his motorcycle and saved Hope from a fate worst than death (really?). Her excessively cumbersome 80s wedding dress bunched up, arms around her hero, they rode off on his fiery steel steed, impossibly large 80s hair rarely moving in the wind.
Strangely, I didn’t find them nearly as amusing once I had some soap trials and tribulations myself.
We love superheroes because we are them. We may not have the capes or gadgets or tights (ok, some have tights), but who hasn’t felt like they’re from another planet? Been of two minds? Felt like we could do more? Wanted to save people? To help? To do good? Felt guilty because we could have done more? Tried to prove ourselves? Wanted things back the way they were before something horrible happened?
Life gives us chances to be heroes or villains.
Chances for joy and loss.
Chances for creation and destruction.
Sometimes, scars are born, on the surface and others deep inside. Too often seen as disfigurements, as imperfection when they’re actually signs of resilience. So much is written in the scars. Never the same, but no longer bleeding, no longer open. Healed.
We can heal. We may never be exactly the same as we were.
We may never get back to our ‘old self’.
Things may never get back to ‘normal’.
There’s no time limit for healing, it takes as long as it takes.
It doesn’t matter how many times we get knocked down and there’s no time limit on getting back up.
Hopefully, not destroying everything around us in the healing process.
So we rise again and again, getting and giving help along the way.
O-o-h Child Things Are Gonna Get Easier…
In the dusty sanctuaries of erudition (cooler word than knowledge, which is sooo five centuries ago)… black and white, truth and lies live comfortably, side by side, lined up…we, elbow to elbow, heads bent, allow worlds to cascade around us. ‘Take us home,’ they whisper seductively, promising to reveal all their secrets.
Within the walls of a bookstore or library it’s clear what’s fiction and what’s non-fiction.
In the real world, not so much.
Some of you, dear readers might be aware it’s Autism Awareness Month. You may have Autism; know those who live with it; love those who live with it who you can’t live without; or know those you don’t even know are on the Autism Spectrum. Still with me? Good. Reading Me Being Me Is Exactly As Insane As You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy (Simon Pulse) – we’ll get to the title in a minute – had me thinking of Autism’s infinite variety, as well as the still surprising amount of intolerance in the world.
12 things I thought about while reading this novel:
1. It’s all lists. I like lists.
2. The title is too long…oops, I’m one to talk.
3. The main character, a teen named Darren seems to be on the Autism Spectrum.
4. Part way through the book, I realized I had read other works by this author and felt a ‘doh’ moment. It passed.
5. The writing was accessible, appealing, and made me want to read more, yet around page 400 I found it was dragging and even I was growing tired of lists (is that even possible?).
6. Made me remember high school…Actually, I might be thinking of Glee, I don’t remember my high school having that much singing (luckily, this book doesn’t either).
7. Parents should care about themselves by caring for their children.
8. I wanted to buy Darren some ice cream and tell him, ‘O-o-h child things are gonna get easier. O-o-h child things’ll get brighter.’ I have this Five Stairsteps song in my head, I blame Guardians of the Galaxy.
9. You can’t escape the world, it follows you everywhere.
10. Different can be bad or good, so much depends on intention and perception.
11. It might be comforting to tell someone things will get easier, brighter, or better, but it’s not always true. One of the best things to say is, ‘things are ok right now’. If that’s not true either, then, yes, by all means, say things are going to get easier, brighter, or better.12. I love books. I love free books in a different way. Refer to #10 and in this case, different is good.
It’s Not The Years, Honey. It’s The Mileage
Our bodies might be temples, but mine is starting to look like it needs an archaeological dig.
I’m going to agree with Indiana Jones, “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.”
Sigh, it might also be the years.
Maybe it’s just that women need more upkeep…or we’re told we do.
Women spend an inordinate amount of time trying to remove hair from their bodies…and if we can’t remove it, then we need to curl it, cut it, dye it, straighten it, lengthen it, wax it, shave it, shape it, and give names to the shapes.
Men generally just want to hold onto every single hair they have, for as long as they can.
Women spend hours they’ll never get back trying to pick out just the right shade, tone, tint, texture that’s going to: smooth, cover, cleanse, conceal, reverse, resist, beautify, bronze, define, alter, prime, primp, plump – for the dry, normal, oily, sensitive, acne-prone, combination; all of which will then be removed.
Men leave the house, perhaps after brushing the precious hair they have left and hopefully their teeth.
Women will do everything short of selling their souls (and that might be up for consideration) to keep themselves looking young, including being injected, operated on, rituals, who knows?
Women worry about every bit of food that passes their lips, weigh ourselves obsessively, worry about body fat, calories, diets. They will fast, cleanse, purge and look too often into the abyss (aka the full-length mirror).
Obviously these are generalizations, but why are there such differences between the sexes? Is it our brains? Bodies? Society? History? It should be about acceptance. Men and women aren’t that much different, except women usually get paid less and their products and services cost more.
We’re all human (well, most of us, there are exceptions), we should accept each other and work together.
In Raiders of the Lost Ark they should have said, we have top people working on it. Why? Because we may just be passing through history, but it doesn’t mean we have to keep reliving it.
Old Habits Die Harder
Don’t you think this would be a perfect title of the next Die Hard movie? Call me Bruce, we’ll talk…
Oh, you know there’s going to more, this isn’t over yet.
I woke up in the night with my leg in a bear trap. The pain was excruciating. It was dark and there was no one around to help me. As I struggled to my feet, feeling at my ankle for blood I realized I’d been dreaming. My mind, trying to process the pain of the fist-sized charley horse in my leg had incorporated it into my dream.
I’d done a prolonged and unusual activity the day before, sadly, it wasn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds. I had broken a habit of procrastination and avoidance. OK, maybe I’d at least dented the habit.
The trouble with habits, these sometimes helpful, sometimes hurtful patterns of behaviour – they so can easily become addictive and breaking them is complicated.
Phase 1 – Some call it denial. You don’t have a problem, everybody else does. This habit isn’t hurting anyone. Phase 1 can last for years and years.
Phase 2 – You consider you might have a bad habit and contemplate whether to part ways with the habit. This phase can also last a long time.
Phase 3 – You start looking at the good, the bad, and addictive. I like the habits, no, I hate the habits. Pros and Cons lists are made. Arguments for and against are hotly debated in your head.
Phase 4 – The most public phase. Until now you fought the habit war in your head. With action, people will know. It’s all out there. You’ll get narrow-eyed looks, comments, praise, questions, and/or criticism. But your resolve is firm.
Phase 5 – Staying the course. You’ve done it, kicked that habit to the curb! It’s not going to run your life, you are in charge. This is when you have to maintain. They can take our habits, but they can never take our freedom!
Phase 6 – When the ugly stats that 9 out of 10 people relapse back into their habits within a year. And the older the habit, the harder is it to break. You get the bad news, you have Chronic Reversion Syndrome. The tests all show, the habit is back. Your family and friends fear the worst, but you know you’re going to fight it.
In your rush to recover, you should be careful, to change a habit, you need to move toward something new and better, not just away from the habit you’re trying to kick. Or try to replace a bad habit with a good habit.
How do you quit bad habits, dear readers?
Have you had success or like me, do you suffer from Chronic Reversion Syndrome?
Dreaming is Free
Are teens and young people at risk for dreaming anymore?
Dreaming has become very expensive…and I think you need an app for it.
Boomers and Gen X were well-intentioned, wanting to give our children everything. Somehow it backfired and we’re leaving them with: a broken system, crumbling infrastructure, crippling debt, dubious morals, attention issues, a yawning wealth gap, a dying planet, corrupt governments and business.
Now in our defence, we also gave them: kittens on the internet, tons of fast food, and technology that might be destroying them.
Yet I’m still hopeful. Why? Because they are.
Many young people still want to try. They want to change things.
The media gives us the impression that all young people care about is
their smart phones, that they don’t vote, they’re unmotivated, or joining terrorist groups.
But that’s because the news is pandering – sensationalism rules.
Saving the planet isn’t sexy.
Trillions in unfunded liabilities (governments are happy if you don’t pay attention to things like this) is boring and incomprehensible.
None of this has ratings potential. Rarely goes viral. But it should. We need to stop focusing on the negative and sensational.
Have we removed our children’s ability to dream? I hope not.
Maybe it would help if we stopped calling them things like, Generation Screwed. That’s uplifting.
Profusely unemployed or underemployed, many live at home longer or return home. Debt, especially from student loans, is weighing them down. They need to have hope.
This generation, Millennials, have been given so much.
Their expectations are high. A new smart phone in their hand, and often. Big TVs, little laptops and tablets, a car to drive, fast food, clothes, trips.
Yet when they get out into the world to earn enough to have those things themselves, they hit barriers – no jobs, part-time jobs, low-income jobs, outsourcing, and even their beloved technology is plotting to steal their jobs.
They’re told to: lower their expectations; accept the new normal; the low-hanging fruit has been picked; and society has reached a plateau. Wow, way to motivate.
That should be a Graduation Speech:
Knowing that society has reached a plateau and all the low-hanging fruit has been picked, we’re all going back home to live with our parents until we’re 40 or so.
This is the new normal, having lowered our expectations of ever getting a decent job or a home.
We accept this is the way things are.
And in conclusion, check out this viral video of a zebra that can paint its own toenails.
Take your time, hurry up
Last night, as I checked on my beautiful boy, now so grown up, I noted again that time has raced by yet he still looks like my baby when he’s asleep.
Having a child with Autism, those sleep times give you some much-needed downtime and perhaps, a curious understanding of time and dimension, hmm, or maybe that’s too many years of Doctor Who.
In this frenzied world, we need more compassion, appreciation, and hope; less rushing, lies, and bullying. Maybe we don’t have time to stop and smell the roses, but I hope we can at least notice the roses are there.
The best time to take a deep breath is when there’s no time. At the end of your life, I doubt you’ll look back and think, thank goodness I spent my life like a hamster on a wheel, that was sooo fulfilling.
Stop flogging yourself for mistakes. They happen. Learn from them. So you write or say the wrong thing. Fall in love with the wrong person. Press the wrong button and start a nuclear war, ok, that example is pretty much the worst mistake ever, try not to do that one. Time moves forward for a reason, so should you.
I think you can be happy with or without money. Money just makes life easier, not always better. Stop trying to buy your way to happiness or keep up with the Kardashians. If you’re coveting someone else’s stuff, you’re not focusing on you and those you love. You can’t be happy doing that.
Don’t get into friendships or relationships (or stay in them) for the wrong reasons. Do you really loathe your own company that much?
Don’t reject someone because you’ve had a bad experience either. That experience taught you something, it had a purpose.
Fall apart once in a while. You’re not always “fine”. Sometimes it’s fine not to be fine.
Worry is passive and self-indulgent; you’re not enjoying that moment and not letting others enjoy it either.
Trying to be someone you’re not is like trying to hide a dinosaur in your bedroom, it’s too big, smelly, messy, and extinct. Why be someone else, they’re already doing it.
Holding grudges or hating people is a toxic waste of time and energy. Forgiveness isn’t agreeing, you’re just not going to let it poison you or those around you. That includes forgiving yourself too!
If we have time to shop, play games, check the internet, go on vacation, go out to dinner, we can spare 5 minutes to vote. An hour to volunteer or help someone. We can’t make a difference if we don’t at least try.
Instead of thinking about what you don’t want to happen, think about what you do want to happen.
Those who love you don’t need you to explain yourself and pretenders, bullies, or enemies, they’ll believe what they want to believe.