Friday, October 28, 2011

Not long out of the Cave....that has to be it.

I was going to ignore it, but it has been a few days now and I just cannot.  I am compelled to talk about this.  This will not be one of my humourous blogs.  There is no room for humour here.  Not even a little bit. NONE. NADA.

By now, most of you are aware or have seen the video of the little 2 year old girl in China being struck by a panel van in the street.  The video shows her being hit, rolled over with both sets of tires, the truck moving off and not stopping.  Then it gets worse.  People pass by and glance at her and keep walking.  And worse again.  Another vehicle hits her a second time.  Still no one stays at the scene and people keep ignoring her plight.

Finally someone scoops her body off the side of the road and takes her away.  She is still alive, barely.  I have since learned that the driver was caught, thanks to the video that captured the entire thing happening.  Then I learned that he ran over her with his back tires on purpose to make sure she was "good and dead".  Apparently, dead is better than injured as he has to pay less compensation to her family.  Had she had medical bills, he would have been responsible to pay those for her family.

As I write these words, the shock of all of this is still processing in my brain.  I find the entire thing almost impossible to comprehend.  Such utter disregard for human life.  The driver was not even going very fast.  Surely he had time to stop, to brake before he struck her.  Even if it was an accident, the fact that he did not get out of his van to help her, again, strikes me as beyond inhumane.  A small innocent child treated in this manner is the most appalling of atrocities.  I know this is not the first time, nor will it be the last that someone of my own human race has acted in such a barbaric manner.  It does nothing to comfort me.

It makes me feel ashamed to be part of the collective.  As I try to understand how anyone could behave in this manner, I ask myself many questions.  Could this happen in my country?  Is it a race thing?  Is it a sex thing (girls having little worth in some cultures)?  Is it a complete nation lacking in any soul or conscience? Was this perhaps some sort of divine intervention for that poor child - will she be better off dead than live amongst such a heartless tribe?

If you do the math, the number of people that did not help her far outweigh the one person who finally did stop to come to her aid as she lay limp and bleeding at the side of the road, alone, vulnerable, in pain, helpless.  What brought them to this point in  their lives?  What atrocities have been wrought upon them to leave them in such an unfeeling zombie-like state?  And how does one begin to try and fix them?  Can they be healed? 

It makes me angry.  It stuns me.  It fills my heart with grief.  Yet, my life goes on.  I will wake up tomorrow and be grateful for the sunrise, for my daughter sleeping peacefully in her cozy cocoon of down and feathers, for food that is plentiful, for my surroundings and my shelter from any storm, for my good health.

What I will be especially grateful for though is this.  I will appreciate the fact that if I ever accidentally struck a small child on the road, I would stop my car and do everything in my  power to help her....or him....or even if it was a dog or a cat.  I would take responsibility and my heart would ache for what had happened.  I am thankful I would FEEL something.  For that, in my mind is what sets us apart from the animal kingdom.  Perhaps there are still people out there in this world that walk and talk like humans, but really are not quite that evolved yet.

Surely, the people involved in this incident are not long out of the cave. 

Perhaps that is it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What's the Point?

It has come to my attention that there may be some confusion as to the purpose of this blog.  Some see it as an on-line diary, others as an occasional commentary on current events, either in the world at large or just in my own life.  The purpose for me is to express myself, keep improving my writing by just writing regularly and to entertain the few who do read or care about what I have to say.

I have said it before and I will say it again - in an ideal world, I would be like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City and would actually get paid for my ramblings. I want to be a columnist. I am after all an experienced, educated woman, mother, design professional and sporty gal that feels I actually do have the odd thing to say or share or rant about.

Some women like to knit or paint or engage in some sort of hobby after a long day at the office.  I like to carve out a bit of time for this.  It is not always easy.  It is a little way down the priority list after working out, helping my daughter with her homework, cooking dinner, socializing and catching up on my reading......well the list goes on.  Like I said, I wish I had more time for blogging.  I find it creative, introspective and I can get lost in it so completely that it is also a good way to combat anxiety and stress which I rarely choose to "medicate" with alcohol.  My first choice for stress relief is exercise. It makes me feel awesome physically and mentally.  It is "hands down" the best "medication" for just about anything that ails you, particularly if you have a tendency toward depression.  Western medicine practitioners should be prescribing brisk walks in the fresh air before handing out prescriptions for antidepressants - give that a whirl before they automatically line the pockets of the drug companies and collect their kickbacks from them.....don't get me started.

  Exercise works way better and does not give me a hangover, just tighter abs and a firmer butt, which I think looks better on me than the bloodshot eyes and and other nasty side effects I see on some women.  There is a bar down the street from me that I walk by regularly and the smokers have to come out and stand on the street to get their nicotine fixes and I am generally shocked at the sad and sorry group of women my same age that are standing out there. Not only are they filling their lungs with toxins, they are dressed for prowling and most of them are waaaaay beyond looking good for this activity, but hey - maybe they are onto something - who knows?  I just know that is not for me.   

OK, so I just had to pause to help my daughter with her Philosophy studies.  She has a test on  Friday.  It has been quite awhile since I looked at all these definitions of various philosophical schools of thought.  I was most intrigued by Determinism.  I forgot that something I actually wonder about has actually got a name.  The definition is - "the theory that everything that occurs happens in accordance with some regular patterns or law; the view that human actions are completely determined by prior events."  Not to be confused with "fatalism" - the view that events are fixed and that humans can do nothing to alter them."

One could apply whichever philosophy suits them at any given time I suppose.  Currently, I think I may be falling into the "fatalist" category.  It helps me accept things.  It is flawed though much like anything.  It could be used as an excuse to stop trying.  To stop hoping.  To stop believing.  I recently read "Excuses Be Gone" by Wayne Dyer.  He made some really valid points.  We use excuses all the time.  "I don't have time, I can't afford it, it's the way I am, it will upset my family, and on and on.   All excuses.  We are all guilty of these in one way or another.  Check the book out if you find  you are finding excuses to not move forward in  your life - it is one of the best motivational books I have read in some time.  You have a lot more choices and control of your life than you realize - he will show you how to turn things around.  Highly recommend it.

OK, so where was I?  OK, yes, back to my blog's "purpose".  No, it is not "about" anything, it is about "everything".  It helps lead me to my "purpose".  The more "word vomit" I eject, the better I feel.  When someone responds to something I have written and finds it funny or informative or even just relateable, I am happy.  It gives me pleasure to know I have made someone think or laugh or cry or even get angry.  We are all human - we have feelings, we need to express ourselves.  I don't expect everyone to agree with me or even care about my words - I only care that by being able to express myself, I have revealed something of myself and by so doing, have opened my heart and my soul to make room for something new to enter.

That is what fulfills me.  (One thing, anyway.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Keeping it Simple......not so Stupid

I am sitting here, my morning off, watching the waves crashing onto the shore here in Port Credit, music playing, sipping a nice latte, putting a plan in place for the rest of my day and a few things have occurred to me.  Nothing earth shattering really, but curious enough that I feel like sharing some of my thoughts.
They have to do with simplicity.  My latte for example.  No one can deny that it is a simple drink.  Brewed espresso with hot steamed milk, all warm and foamy and delicious.  Now you may be thinking I slipped out to Starbucks or The Second Cup to order one up, but I did not.  I  made it here in my own kitchen.  That too is nothing unusual, except, here comes the simple bit.  I do not own a fancy coffee machine.  I used to at one point in my life, but I found it cumbersome on the counter and whenever people came by for dinner, I felt like I missed out on all the after dinner chat while I was stuck in the kitchen whipping up cappuccinos for my guests.  And the clean-up of said machine was a giant pain in the ass.

So, I sold it.  I bought a simpler version and kept it in the cupboard and did not offer fancy after dinner coffee drinks to my guests anymore.  But even that machine was a pain in the ass to clean.  So I got rid of it too.  Since then, for many years now in fact, I do this:  I make the coffee part in a single cup bodum.  Then, I put some milk in a glass measuring cup, pop it in the microwave, then I take this little $9.99 battery operated whipper and insert it into the hot milk and voila - luscious, foamy milk that I then add to the coffee and I have a great latte.

My point being, all these expensive machines and gizmos - are they really necessary sometimes?  I feel the same about food - the simpler the better in many cases.  Fresh natural ingredients, nothing processed, flavourful herbs and simple grilling.  I always feel better after eating food like this. 

The gym.  Another thing I think can be simplified.  The only piece of equipment I actually find entirely necessary is the treadmill. (and if I lived somewhere hot - would not need that either) The universal gym sits there,  unused for the most part, like a giant metal sculpture in the middle of the room.  I use the  hand weights, the mats, the balls and only occasionally get myself all twisted and turned about on that thing.  I don't seem to have trouble toning my body without it.  In fact, I wish it was out of there, I would have more room to do the rest of my routine.  I do use it as a surface for my towel, water bottle, keys and glasses, so I suppose you could say it has some reason to be there.  There is one guy I have seen really take advantage of it, but he is the body-builder type and unless I am overcome with an urge to look like a female Arnie, I doubt I will follow suit.

Don't get me wrong.  I have toyed with that idea.  I see those women in magazines all slick with oil and flexing their biceps and abs in teeny tiny bikinis and for a brief moment, I think, hmmm, I could do that.  Then the reality of the time investment it takes to look like that hits me and I leave that fantasy in the dark where it belongs.  I don't really want to look like that anyway.  Not that extreme.  Then, once you get there, you  have to keep it up, or you know what happens.  I have seen those supermarket tabloid shots of what Arnie looks like now that he isn't pumping iron anymore - that is scarier than the toned terminator - no thanks.

Where was I?  I was lost in my view for a minute.  OK, right, simplicity.  Here is another one.  Cable.  Basic cable vs umpteen channels.  I watch TV for about 2 hours a week - 4 if there is a good movie or something going on in the world that I feel compelled to follow.  I wondered when I was getting set up here in my new digs if I would miss the umpteen channel thing.  I think I did once when I just assumed one of the channels I used to get was available, but I survived the moment of deprivation and carried on to live another day, so no, I don't miss it.  It's easier to figure out the bill too.  Pretty straightforward.  Basic cable ............$whatever.  I did notice underneath in fine print the words: bloody cheap bastard, but my eyesight ain't what it used to be so I can easily ignore that part.

OK, I could go on and on with other simple changes I have made in my life, but I need to hit the gym after I go outside for a simple brisk walk/run in my simple work-out top with the built-in bra (whoever invented that was genius - no falling straps) and then eat a simple lunch before I head to tennis for my weekly doubles match with the girls which I play at a very basic winter club - no pool, or fancy clubhouse or luxurious change rooms.  You just show up, enter the bubble, go to your assigned court, play a simple game - costs about a tenth of some clubs with all the bells and whistles and I found I never used all that other stuff much anyway. 

OK, signing off here from my simple HP for me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Six more Weeks, eh?

Have you ever noticed how your life only seems "just right" for brief periods of time?  That is my experience anyway.  You know, when all the elements seem to be in sync and you are in a groove and then you wonder when the other shoe will drop. 
My life has pretty much resembled a roller coaster ride for the last couple of years and just when I thought one decision was going to slow that down a tad, now it seems I am faced with yet another disaster and frankly, I am getting a little tired of gathering up the energy and resolve to put another fucking piece of my life back together.  As a friend of mine likes to say "It's always something." 

I read a lot of spiritual, inspirational, philosophic stuff - I find it helps me get through the rough spots and a really good poet can really lift my spirits, but lately even these words of wisdom and encouragement are not really doing much to solve my current dilemma.  According to my astrologer, I am going through a Pluto transit and it will apparently be coming to an end once and for all around the end of November.  If this is in fact true, I only have to scratch and claw my way through another what?, 6 weeks or so? 

So, that's not so bad, I can be like the little engine that could.....I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.  I loved that book when I was a little kid.  I remember having it read to me and how I so rooted for that little engine to make it up over the hill.  It was hopeful.  It taught me a lesson, even though at the time I did not realize that was what it was all about.  Believe in yourself.  I do.  I do believe in myself.  I just wish I could figure out how to translate that belief in myself into more income.  I used to want to make gobs of money, but now I would just be happy with enough to cover my expenses and live a simple normal existence without worrying.  How did I end up in a job that pays straight commission?  I did not sign up for it, that's for sure.  When I first took my present job, it was a salary-plus commission deal, but about a year in, they changed the system on us and now it is straight commish baby.  Great when the economy is humming but sucks when it is not.

If I lived in NYC, I would be joining the throngs down on Wall Street - occupying it.  I am one of them now.  Who knew?  I really believe the world is on the verge of huge change, about to finally evolve into something better, but it won't happen overnight.  It is time in my view.  Long overdue.

A metaphor for my own life really.  Time for a huge change.  Long overdue. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ire, Ego, Darkness and Magic

I have so many things I feel like blogging/blabbing about that I can't really decide which topic to pick.  Over the last few days I have had my ire raised, my ego stroked, my dark side make an appearance and experienced a bit of magic.  I have had no time to document any of it, but it is all swirling around inside my heart and my cranium looking for a way out.

So, in the vein of "giving" this Thanksgiving weekend, I will give you a few snippets of them all - like a confession of sorts.  Growing up Roman Catholic, I got quite good at condensing my sinful behaviour for that bizarre ritual.  Mostly I did not know what to say when I got inside that little dark box, so I remember making up what I thought Father Whomever wanted to hear.  I did not get that I could have actually taken advantage of a little free therapy, but no one tells you that when you are 10.  So essentially I reported the same sins each time.  I was mean to my kid brother, I lied to my parents, and I took the name of God in vain.  That sounded like a reasonable list to me and it would warrant minimal penance.  I had not killed anyone, stolen anything, or committed adultery (whatever that meant - at the time I did not understand that term).

Old Padre Whatshisname would then make the sign of the cross, admonish me for lying and being mean to my family and tell me to recite a few Hail Marys and an Our Father and it was over for another quarter.  Then, I would live with the guilt of not having told him what I really had done that seemed sinful and wonder if I was going to burn in hell for that too.  Talk about brainwashing and fucking with a little kid's conscience - it's criminal when you think about it.  I think I was 16 before I really realized what a pile of crap it all was and I have never looked back.

However, that is not what I wanted to talk about today.  Today, I want to say a few other things that have been on my mind lately.  Let's start with Steve Jobs.  Not that I have anything new to add to the volumes that have been written since his death the other day, but I am glad I listened to his Stamford Commencement speech and even happier that I shared it with my 17 year old daughter.   It echoed what I have been telling her all along.....follow your heart.  If I have ever given her any worthwhile advice since the day she was born, I honestly think that is the one piece I cannot emphasize enough.  Hearing it from another source validated it for her and I loved that she heard it from someone like him, not just her mother.  I think she may have even "gotten" it.  She "got" the importance.  Thing is, now she has to live it.  That may not be as easy as it should be.  There is so much pressure to compete, to keep up, to impress.  So far she seems able to avoid those traps and I am proud of her for that. 

I actually think she might be able to pull it off.  And as we know, few really do.  I actually heard some women use the term "MRS degree" this week and it made me sad to think there are still women (and men) out there that think women can rely on finding a man to take care of them financially, so it does not matter what they study or do for a living, as long as they can land a second pay cheque, all will be well.  I have never suggested that to my daughter and I never will.  My own parents, despite their lack of education and knowing never said that to me either.  It never even occurred to me to take that path.  As it happened, I ended up married to a man who was able to provide financially, but it was not the reason I married him and now that I am no longer with him, I once again realize the importance of being self-reliant.  It should be compulsory.  Suggesting anything other than this is preposterous to me - it truly is.

That was what raised my ire. 

Now, on to the ego stroking.  I got singled out at work this week to be sent to the corporate headquarters to collect a "rising star" award.  This was based on the last fiscal year and ironically, ever since that fiscal year ended, I have been sliding down a slippery slope......a falling star it seems.  I wonder if I continue this slump if they will cancel my flight and take back my prize.  The jury is still out on this one, so I will keep you posted.  I am trying to figure out what the universe is trying to tell me.  I always look for the message in everything that happens to me.  But this one has me a little stumped.  Could just simply be that the economy sucks right now and people have tightened the purse strings, or I have lost my mojo, or a combination of both, but I am more inclined to think this is the universe pushing me to make a change again.  Even my daughter suggested I might need to look at tending bar for awhile if things got really bad.  I did that in my twenties and I actually liked it, so it would not be such a bad thing really other than the hours.  I don't do late night so well anymore.....we'll see.

The pirhana bitch made an appearance Friday night.  I lost my temper, said a few things I now regret and have since made her swim back down into the murky waters hoping she will stay put for a while.  I know she will never go away permanently, but as time goes on, I can only hope she makes fewer and fewer appearances.  I apologized, admitted my sin.  It's over.   Nuff said.

And now for the magic. Like pumpkin pie, I saved the best for last.  Josh, Jay and Matt.  Kind of like the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.  Not really, but I just felt like saying that.  No, just three awesome young men that I shared a story with last night that made me realize once again that all any of us really and truly want in life is to be loved for who we are, to feel truly connected to another human being and to know that there is someone out there for all of us. 

It's true Matt.  Just don't forget, it requires maintenance, not unlike a car needs oil changes, or a house needs a new roof every few years.  Don't be afraid of it.  Embrace it.  Throw every ounce of your being into it.  Let yourself be known.  Don't hold back. 

And in the wise words of the great poet Rumi - "Gamble everything for love.....or leave this gathering."

PS.  Burt's Bees Lip Balm RULES!