Monthly Archives: March 2011

Bad Habits

Do I have any bad habits that I’m trying to kick? Well, of course not, being perfect and all.

Not saying I didn’t ever have any of those nasty things, or that it wasn’t pure hell giving them up. I’ve just found that the longer I live, the more excruciating the process of behaviour change becomes, and the easier it is to simply accept myself exactly the way I am.

We are all creatures of habit, aren’t we? So if one habit is eliminated, it’s just a matter of time before it gets replaced with a new and different one. The trick here is to stop calling the ones you are stuck with ‘bad’.

I like my habits. I choose to believe they are all excellently good ones that do not require kicking of any kind.

One of the very best habits I have is being able to talk myself into believing any kind of nonsense at all as long as it will excuse me from putting forth an effort of any sort.

Effort tires you right out. Getting off ones ass and doing stuff is just so highly over-rated. So I’ve made it a habit to do that as seldom as humanly possible.

Why anyone would want to kick THAT habit, I do not know.

Powered by Plinky

Advertisements

An Early Epiphany

The best childhood lessons are the ones we figure out on our own. You know that kid you shake your head at while you roll your eyes and remark that he’s just going to have to learn everything the hard way? Sometimes the strongest people are the ones who start out that way.

It doesn’t really matter for a lot of us how cajoled and threatened and showered with advice we are while we’re growing up. There’s a stubborn streak that questions the rules and the reasons for them, and makes us stomp off in another direction to do whatever we want.

There are always consequences of course. And little ‘ah hah’ moments when we finally get it. Or gleeful moments of triumph when we prove, if only to ourselves, that the rule was stupid and useless in the first place.

My earliest memories revolve around being made to do things that were unpleasant but supposedly GOOD FOR ME. Eat your porridge. Take your vitamins. Wear a hat. Go to bed early. Respect your elders. Be polite. Wash your hands. This time with soap. Please be quiet.

I remember sighing a lot, and dutifully doing whatever I was told. Wondering why the fun things were bad for me, and the irksome disagreeable things were always for my own good. That must have been my four year old mind-set the day I decided to eat dirt.

The texture and the taste is something that has always stuck with me, never mind whatever ‘lesson’ I had dreamed up for myself at that particular moment. I do recall anticipating that the experience would no doubt be awful, but something I should just do so that I could get it over with and thus become a better person.

I also remember my brother being grossed out and telling on me. And how unfair life seemed if it was always going to be so hard to get things right.

Is that the day I began to nurture the tiny seed of rebellion? Maybe. It may not have been a coherent thought in my childish little head, but I’ve never forgotten figuring out that icky things were not necessarily good, so it had to follow that boisterous fun was not always bad. That black and white produced lovely shades of grey.

I still distrust being told what to do. I question advice, well-meant and otherwise. I know that doing something for my own good which is making me truly miserable should send me off immediately in another direction to find a different way of reaching the same goal. What is good for you may be wrong for me. If I believe that, it will be hard for you to change my mind.

Because since that epiphanous childhood day, I no longer eat dirt.

Powered by Plinky

Keepers

Impossible to share the best photograph I’ve ever taken, because I haven’t taken it yet.

But this one is definitely in the running. What makes the shot so great?

Well, it’s two of my grandchildren, so greatness is simply a degree.

They’re together and not together. In the middle of the room but oblivious to everything around them, concentrating with intensity on their respective games. Cousins first, great friends next. Two peas in two I-pods. When they get together it’s a beautiful thing – a sibling-like bond that I think will last a lifetime no matter what future directions they both may choose.

They are compatible and comfortable with each other and they have a lot of fun. Somehow this picture says all of that.

Powered by Plinky

A Letter to My Great-Great-Grandchildren

Dear Great Great Grandchildren:

Here’s the mystery solved as to why the cutlery set that has been handed down to you over these many generations is incomplete. Your great great grandfather never ate much dessert, but he sure as hell ate everything else he possibly could using nothing but the goddamn DESSERT FORKS, so I buried them all with him, he liked them so bloody much. He was just so incredibly freaking weird.

Lovingly yours,

grandmalin ❤

Powered by Plinky

Sunrise, Sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears

(Fiddler on the Roof)

Both can be extraordinarily beautiful. The only thing wrong with the sunrise is that you have to get up so damned early to see it. It’s lovely over the river from the deck at the cottage, but if it’s chilly and misty and the coffee isn’t ready yet it somehow loses a lot of its appeal.

I’ll take a gorgeous Lake Huron sunset any day. They’re breathtaking. There’s just something about that golden globe sinking into the water and out of sight leaving a kaleidoscope of pinks and yellows and oranges behind it that stirs the heart and soothes the soul.

Powered by Plinky

Teach What You Know

If you were a professor, what subject would you teach?

Dalliance 101: Mastering the Fine Art of Procrastination

This course is offered to all first year students and is once again open to all returning students who failed to complete it the first time around.

Please note that this is not yet an accredited course, due in part to the fact that no final marks have yet been issued, and indeed have not yet been determined for any of the previous participants.

Class materials will include any unfinished projects of any nature, but submission is not mandatory; last semester’s uncompleted works in progress are still available for study, and have proven themselves to be invaluable in the process of perfecting various techniques in such areas as dabbling, dawdling, indecisiveness and puttering. The great debate on the merits of shilly shallying vs. dilly dallying will continue, unless other random stalling topics should arise. If time permits – fumbling, faltering, lingering, loafing and time frittering will be touched upon, along with brief forays into the fascinating realms of hemming and hawing, and the almighty pursuit of serious down time.

Extra credit will be given to those students who demonstrate perpetual tardiness, and bonus marks are awarded to students who do not show up at all.

Textbooks for this course are optional and completely up to the discretion of the individual pupil as we truly believe that it is

(Editor’s Note: We regret that a full course description was not available at time of publication; class times, days, and locations will be announced at a future, as yet unspecified, date.)

Powered by Plinky

Extreme Bocce

Until this very morning I was completely unaware that I had already learned an extreme sport. It didn’t cost me a thing. Well, except maybe for some dignity, but that’s minor.

Wikipedia has lots of brilliant information on extreme sports – the kinds of asinine activities that involve high levels of danger; speed, height, physical exertion, wild stunts, uncontrolled variables (rocks, ice, waves, weather, terrain), and of course the huge adrenaline rush one gets because of the very real possibility of injury and even death.

I am not a big fan of any of those things. But I was rather intrigued to discover links to such things as ‘extreme ironing’ and ‘extreme croquet’. It seems that it is possible to make almost any activity “extreme” by doing it in some bizarre location and throwing out all the rules.

Been there and done that! We have a Bocce ball game at our summer cottage and no lovely flat regulation court on which to play it. So I really do believe our version of it could be classified as extreme. The dangerous terrain consists of rolling hills and rocks of all sizes and many many trees. Add a lot of bugs to that, depending on the time of day. Mix in some unpredictable small children, slippery moss, low hanging branches, the possibility of encountering wood tics, and smoke from the fire which could choke and blind you if the wind direction is right, and I think we have a SPORT going on here, and not just some wimpy game.

Before you dismiss this activity as highly unlikely to involve injury or death, consider the amount of alcohol that it is possible to consume during one of these events. I’ve never been hit in the head with a bocce ball, but the possibility of such a thing happening is definitely plausible. And who knows what perils could befall the idiot stumbling back to the house in the dark to get more ice. There are no doubt many more hidden hazards that I can’t even wrap my head around right now. Perhaps if the sport had some kind of rules about sobriety I could pay closer attention to all its lurking pitfalls.

So what the hell do we need sky diving for? Come on. Live dangerously. Break out those bocce balls and yes, if you dare, bring it on!

Powered by Plinky

I Haven’t Got Time For the Pain

Don’t you just hate it when old people go on and on about all their various aches and pains?  You just feel like interrupting their incessant damn whining and telling them to take a few pills for the love of God.  So if you’re one of those people who hates that, don’t read any further, because I’m about to become one of those people doing what you hate.   But just for this one blog, I absolutely promise, and then I’ll take a few pills and shut up about it.

My right shoulder has been driving me insane for over two months.  At its worst it was a pain that originated in my neck and spread down to my elbow and up the back of my head and into my right shoulder-blade.  When I lifted my arm above my head something would click and lock and it hurt like hell to bring the arm back down again.  My neck also makes strange clicking sounds.  No one warned me that when you get old various parts of your body would start to spontaneously dislocate themselves.

The MD wasn’t much help – something is sprained – rest it.  Diagnosis and cure in under five seconds.  The chiropractor has been a little more interesting and helpful.  He has pinpointed the source to a spot on the side of my neck where a muscle is torn, and that’s what’s causing all the rest of the discomfort.  Because pain likes to radiate.  Stupid little bugger.  It took only two little clicks to re-align things and a few test movements to determine that it wasn’t rotator cuff related, whatever that means.   One visit he did one of those mega vibrating massage things all over my back and up into the right shoulder until I saw stars.  I was wondering if one of those things could cause a retinal detachment when he finally stopped and I slowly regained the use of my optic nerves.  The last visit he used what sounded suspiciously like a staple gun, clicking away on various spots until he finally found the most painful one possible.  Then he stopped, because why push your luck.  I think he’s running out of things to do to charge me for, because for the last fifteen minutes of that visit we had a long detailed conversation about support pillows and how they’re a load of crap.  He said to roll up a towel and use that as neck support.  Perhaps his towels are softer than mine, because I tried it and it felt much like what I assume a rock would feel like if you tried to go to sleep with one of those between your neck and shoulder.

I know this story is much too long, but I don’t care.  My neck hurts and I NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT, GODAMMIT!  I purchased a piece of foam and rolled that up and secured it with rubber bands and that seems to be working a bit better.  I can sleep for several hours at a stretch now before I have to get up and grope around in the dark for the Advil 400’s.  Now there’s a pill that actually works.  Believe me when I say I have tried others that did not.  I am trying to do as much as I can with my left hand and rest my right, but there are some things, like blow drying one’s hair that just don’t come out the same.  I’m trying to remember to keep my thumb up when I raise my arm above my head.  Have you ever tried that?  Do you know how few things you can accomplish well with your right thumb up in the air??  Try putting away plates or optical trays and see how awkward it is.  I like my thumb DOWN, but that way hurts.

Okay, I’ve had my rant, and it IS getting better, so I guess that’s entirely enough on this fascinating subject for now.  I’ve had to give up Angry Birds for the time being, because that forward head posture and the tension in my right bird tossing arm turned out to be one of the many things I was doing to keep the pain and inflammation fresh and vibrant.  Thankfully typing and using a mouse haven’t shown any harmful side effects, except for that morning when I dropped the mouse into my coffee, but that’s a whole other story.  And they don’t seem to have any pills for that.

A Difficult Decision

Yesterday I talked to a man who had only one leg. He came rolling into the Vision Centre in his wheel chair with a beaming broad smile on his face. It was a smile so fiercely beautiful I had to smile back. I don’t know how anyone who looked at him could hope to do otherwise.

While his glasses were being adjusted, cleaned and repaired, (all the helpful mundane things we do all day), we had one of those little chats that strangers are prone to having. Is it getting any warmer out there as the day goes on? Do you ever remember a spring so late? He told me it was snowing again and he said it with such delight. You should come out to the parking lot and see it! All those gigantic flakes just floating down. You can catch them on your glove – they’re like tiny bits of lace. Fragile, but captivating and wonderful to look at. So perfect it’s amazing!

But in my head I could see our driveway, and the snow shovel, and the banks and the horrible roads. So I gave my head a shake to get rid of those pictures in it. I said we don’t think to look at the fascinating side of things often enough, do we? It’s so easy to focus on the negative instead. But you’re right, this kind of gentle snowfall has a certain charm if only we choose to see it.

I didn’t look at the place where his left leg should have been, although my eyes wanted to. I didn’t let them. I didn’t ask him how long he’d been without it, or how hard it might be to get himself dressed in the morning and in and out of a vehicle and across a snowy rutted parking lot. And what do you do with all those left boots and shoes and pant legs? How horrible has your life been and how hard was this to accept?

I said none of those things that were in my head, because we were just two ordinary people having an ordinary conversation, being pleasant and accepting of each other the way we happen to be at this moment, no deep introspections required. He got his glasses back and he was on his way.

All afternoon I kept thinking good thoughts about snowflakes. I thought about those airy little bits of lace, there for a moment on the back of his glove, and how they made his face so blissful. His mood was so intoxicating, I wanted to give him a hug and thank him for that.

But I didn’t. I wish I had.

Powered by Plinky