16 Candles….

17 07 2017

I was in a hurry Wednesday morning. We had to make sure all of our stuff was packed up: clothes, food, soccer gear, beach gear… and numerous other items needed for a coastal getaway for soccer provincials. It was a long drive to Whiterock, and we had to drop my car off at the garage and meet up with our friends to make the all-day trek.

In my haste to make sure we had everything, I noticed my daughter acting glum. “Good lord” I thought to myself. “There’s no fucking way I am putting up with teenage moods and angst this morning!” I urged her to get ready, feed the dog, pack her cleats. I rolled my eyes at her seeming unwillingness to extract any minuscule bit of human decency in getting her to help me.

Finally, we were all loaded up and ready to go. She remained quiet and uncommunicative. I took a deep breath and just drove in silence. I stared at the road ahead of me thinking of the expanse of time in front of us, knowing it would be hell to get through with this sort of energy. So I asked her, point blank.

“What is the matter, honey? You have to tell me.”

Her big blue eyes blinked back some tears, and in a quiet voice that recalled her younger years, that evoked a tenderness and delicate fatalism and acceptance that broke my goddamn heart, she whispered:

“It’s my birthday today.”

My heart dropped. I stepped on the brakes and there, in the middle of the highway, I put my car into park and burst into tears. I reached for her, pulling her close and holding her as her sobs issued forth. I clung her to me, my baby girl, my love and heart, my sweetness and strength. I held her as she cried, as I cried.

Oh my heart. It broke and shattered and in my dismal realization of such a huge oversight, I realized that there would never ever be true forgiveness of my self.

Yes, yes. I know I would have remembered. I KNOW I had planned the night before that Jill and I would stop at a bakery and get a yummy cake for dinner that night once we arrived. I know that her and I had discussed for weeks about her 16th birthday gift and spent hours online looking for the perfect one.

I know all that. And logically, I can apply that and tell myself that yes, I was busy and running around and it slipped my mind. An easy oversight.

But. That little piece of her heart that was crushed when I failed to greet her with a kiss and a hug and a loving “Happy Birthday”  when she woke that morning will stay with me forever. I still feel nauseated when I think of it, even now after days of joking about it, and everyone razzing me.

My forgiveness is slow to come on this one folks. I set the bar high on fuck-ups. And I am not entirely sure I will ever allow myself to let it go. Even now, as she lords it over me, EVERY CHANCE SHE GETS.

 

But if it’s ANY consolation to the mothers (and fathers) out there…. When you fuck up… and feel that guilt about your supposed shitty parenting faux pas, just remember “Hey, I’m not THAT bad….. Kris forgot her daughter’s 16th birthday!”

 

 





Here’s the thing…

3 07 2017

Wow are we ever a society divided. Not just in the USA, but here at home… my “loving, compassionate, non-discriminate, all-encompassing and empathetic”  Canada. I see the rhetoric and divide of “left and right”. Of Liberalism and Conservatism. Right/Left. Extremes on either sides, blindly faithful to their views only.

It makes me sad. Not because of right or wrong.

No. It makes me sad because of the lack of simple human compassion. The vitriolic hate and keyboard warrior opinions abound, regardless of stepping back and thinking for one honest moment of their point of view. Or of others.

I really felt this today, when I faced my own reactionary WTF.

A CBC article linked through my friend’s comment on Facebook of a non-binary, gender/free (pardon me if I fuck up the terminology, this is new to me) person who has succeeded in achieving an unknown gender designation on their child’s birth certificate. They want to raise their child, born of their body, free of a gender affiliation.

Holy fuck, this is a trip.

I read and dismissed 90% of the negative vitriolic comments because they came from such hate, that I knew compassion and understanding wasn’t on their horizon just yet. But there were a few honest opinions, stemming from simple questioning. I can appreciate that.

Dialogues can be created from this. And yes, perhaps points of view may or may not be swayed to any particular side and that is totally okay right now.

This is new. This is different. This is hard to navigate. You see, I have no issue with the gender I was designated with and I identify with my sex, my orientation and my gender as it generally fits in with the expected norm. I have never had any uphill battles to fight regarding my identification.

Lucky me.

So. To step back from my knee-jerk reaction to a non-binary parent claiming no identified gender of their child, I was all Wait, what??? I read the article…. my mind whirled about a bit… and then I saw a picture of the parent.

 

I KNEW THEM.

 

I knew who it was, I have had interaction with them and here’s the fucking kicker:

This human is super awesome. Kind. Thoughtful and aware and very very involved in making a difference. And active in their community.

And yes, their requests of no gender seems maybe a bit fucked up to many. It’s kind of weird, a bit strange, and makes us feel uncomfortable.

But you know what else did?

Women voting.

Civil rights.

Gay rights.

Indigenous rights.

Black Lives Matter.

White privilege.

LOTS of things have made us feel uncomfortable. I’m not innocent in this. That’s hard to admit.

But discomfort plays an integral part of change and ultimately: Acceptance.

We all need to step back a pace from our own reactionary position and take a deep breath. Step away from the keyboard and quit Internet yelling at people who don’t agree (this applies to me in many ways LOL).  I like to preface a new situation with three questions.

Does it hurt others?

Does it hurt society?

Does it hurt me?

And for the most part, with any  expression of human dignity and rights, the answers are NO, NO and NO.

It’s that simple then.

Let us move forward, with compassion and empathy and a whole lot of open-heart. The world will be a better place with it.

 

 





Take your time

5 05 2017

I awoke this morning to that soft sound of distant rolling thunder. That first spring storm. The rains that followed danced on the newly unfurled leaves and every bird seemed to take it as an invite to be especially raucous.

I took the opportunity to run after the rain stopped. Jed, excited as usual to be beside me, and I ran along the upper road. Breathing with exertion, taking in breath, not like sips but huge deep soul-quenching swigs of it. There’s something almost… nutritious about the freshness of spring air.

There’s a thicket of cottonwoods along that stretch. And the rains had enhanced that sticky sweet scent so that it enveloped me. And there I stopped. I came to a halt, under the cottonwoods, the damp leaves exuding that heady fragrance. Petrichor. It was like I couldn’t breathe deep enough. I can only hope to saturate my very skin with that smell. It’s the marker of spring for me. That perfume that cloaks our neck of the woods for a few weeks in May. I dream of it sometimes, in the dead of winter.

My heart rate slowed, I closed my eyes and took it in. I’m sure folks might wonder what I was doing, but I couldn’t help myself.

It’s like that old saying… “Take time to stop and smell the roses”…. For me, it’s cottonwoods. But it doesn’t matter, really.

Just take time to stop to smell/touch/see/love/dance/sing/laugh.

Just stop. And take your time.





Float

22 03 2017

I was offered to try out an isolation/deprivation/float tank recently. I’m not going to lie, my inner claustrophobic panicky self instantly created a horrific situation where I felt trapped and out of breath and completely closed in.

My friend gave me a tour of what I’d be experiencing. My heart pounded when I saw the coffin tank, but in keeping with my current mantra of trying new things undaunted, I agreed to his generous offer and booked a time for my float.

I readied myself, I showered and then opened the tank door and stepped inside.  The water itself felt silky and soft (likely from the large amounts of salts they put in) as I stepped in. I gently eased my body down and laid back, delighted to feel myself float instantly. I closed my eyes and started to breathe. I had given myself a 45 minute session and was wondering if I would have to leave the tank before my time was up, considering my impatience and difficulty in learning to just BE. After a couple minutes, the dim coloured lights went off and my float began.

I concentrated on some deep breathing at first, and tried a bit too hard to get into it. I recognized that I was waiting for some amazing experience to hit me, that I would soon be trippin’ balls and discovering some sort of transcendental enlightenment or figuring out the meaning of life, perhaps.

So instead, I just let myself go. I listened to a few thoughts rushing around in my head, not giving them too much energy. I ignored an itchy spot on my nose, I reminded myself that I needn’t write my grocery list right then and there. Instead, I breathed. I moved my arms so that they lay up around my head instead of alongside my body. And I breathed some more.

And I found myself so thoroughly and utterly relaxed. Completely supported but in a way that nothing is touching you. The temperature was perfect, there was no sound, and it was fully dark. I had some persnickety pains come up here and there, my throat felt constricted and my neck spasmed and my left temple had a few sharp jabs of pain. These are all areas of my body that I have issues with: physically, emotionally and mentally. Instead of getting involved in the pain, I found myself watching this from outside myself and slowly the different pains ebbed until there was nothing but my breath.

Amidst all this I vaguely wondered how much longer I had left, because it honestly felt like I had been in the tank for only a few minutes. But rather then fretting about the time left, I just kept on breathing (Ujjayi for my yogi friends).

I morphed into that state of somewhere between awareness and sleep, conscious and not. I could feel my heart beat and nothing else. I just was. That’s it. When the soft lights came on to bring me from my reverie, I was pleasantly surprised and maybe a little disappointed that it was already over.

Now, a few hours after my float, I feel deeply relaxed and sleepy. But also kind of extra aware of how I am feeling. I also feel like I’ve done yoga or had a nice relaxing massage. I was incredibly impressed and feeling slightly sheepish at my reticence and fear of this experience. It afforded me a much-needed insight to some inner dialogue I have been struggling with.

And I will definitely do it again.





Soon.

12 03 2017

I woke this morning to the dripping rhythm of the melting snow, running down the gutters to the downspouts. A myriad of birds excitedly chattered with one another, chickadees announcing spring to anyone who would listen. I stretched in the early dawn, a smile finding its way to my face.

We have suffered through a long arduous winter, haven’t we?  Apart from several cold snaps (that at least offered us brilliant blue skies and sun, coupled with breathtaking cold), it snowed a lot. Like a LOT. It seems as though every snowstorm that rudely hit us after the middle of February slowly whittled away at everyone’s resolve to bear through this. Half-hearted smiles with idle small talk about yet another snowy day here in the Koots. Will it ever end, we ponder? Yes yes, the skiing has indeed been amazing. But the grey dirty banks of snow and the muted browns and greens of winter have worn thin. Its ugliness grinds down on moods, making normally cheerful folks a bit churlish. It offers up tired jokes, repeated daily of how we’d like to punch snowmen in the face.

But today, that sun shone down, it gifted the air with a tinge of warmth. The gardens reveal brave nubs of green, those hardy daffodils and snowdrops willing to risk it all as if to remind us that spring will indeed come back to us. The sun will rise higher every day, casting a different angle of light into our homes. The snow will recede, offering patches of grass to thatch and rake.

It’s on its way, my friends. Those long walks after dinner with the sunlight guiding our way, hearing robins bossing each other around, racing to build nests in the apple tree. Windows flung wide open, airing out the stale sadness of such a seemingly endless winter. That snap and pop of bits of gravel under bike tires, the first haze of brilliant green sprinkled about on bare branches.

The awakening of what feels like an endless slumber. We shake out the cobwebs and stop making soup. Instead we crave salads and fruit and clean light dinners. Boots can be packed away and those toes that have hidden from us can make an appearance, bravely put in sandals and light shoes, regardless if it’s still a wee bit chilly outside.

Rebirth. Yawning and stretching, we stumble bleary-eyed into the sun, welcoming its warmth of return.

Soon. So very soon, spring will come back to us.





You go girl.

24 02 2017

We lapped the Summit side today, my friend and I. The snow was softened up by the sun enough so that it carved nicely on the groomers, and still we found mini patches of coveted powder here and there on Sleeper and Paydirt, amongst the trees.

Anyways, I digress. There was a cutie-patootie liftie working the Summit chair for our few runs. She was Aussie, young and super beautiful. There was a bit of a delay, the lift had stopped for a few moments. We overheard her conversation with another young Aussie gal, and it briefly afforded me a teasing glimpse into the lives of the “younguns”.

“How’s your season going?” one beauty asked the other.

“Sooooooeeeeewwwww good. I’m definitely coming back next wintah.”

“Oh, soooooeeeewwwww awesome.”

“Yeeeeaaaaahhhh, and I’m heading to the Eeeyyy-land this summah. I might get a job theyah.”

“Ohhhhh, that’s sooooooeeeeeewww amazing!! Enjoy! Hey, I’ll see you this weekend?”

“Yeeeahhhhh, should be soooooeeewwww fun!”

 

My friend and I got on the chair, bathed in the sunshine pouring down over Ymir peak. I giggled to my friend, mimicking that sweet young girl a bit.

“Ooooohhhhh, yyyeeeaaaahhhh, lookit at ma life, sooooeeeeww gooood. I don’t have any babies or even a husband! Not a mortgage or worry in sight! Lookit at me, with my high firm titties, lovin’ life, working heeeeaaahhh, working theeeeaaarrrr, with me smooth skin and no wrinkles.”

We laughed. And then we sighed. And remembered our own wild feet and youth. We recalled our own smooth skin and lives untethered. When we were wild women.

Listen, I only said what I said, I only mimicked her with the utmost of respect. The utmost of not so much jealousy, but rather with an older woman’s indulgent nostalgia. Those long ago days, when it was our turn to be wild and free.

What I thought was this:

Fuck girl: GO. Get that job on the Island. Party, make money, surf, make love, have fun, laugh and LIVE. Come back to Whitewater another season. Ski or board your ass off on your days off. Celebrate your youth. Get tattooed. Take those trips. Kiss that person you find attractive. Grab life and do what you want to do. All of those experiences you are about to dredge out for your life, they will be a guiding force in many of your decisions that you will eventually make. Let these days be the solid foundation of a life well-lived.

Take them. Run with them. That whim that whispers in your ear? Go with it. Don’t hesitate. You with the long brown braids and bright eyes. You have an epic future ahead.

Every time we lapped that side, we’d come back to the chair, and she’d ask us how our day was going. She’d ask with a bright smile and an authentic sweetness of someone who was loving life. It filled my heart with a subtle joy. That this young soul, this lovely human was living her life to her own accord, hopefully not succumbing to the dictates of others. Her life, her rules.

It settled in me, this thought and wonder of why this brief interaction touched me so deeply. And I realized it is only because it is what we should ALL do as humans. We should all live our own lives, dictated by no other person’s demands of what we should or shouldn’t do, guided only by our own happiness and joy.

It gave me hope.

It set a little tiny piece of my heart free.





In her (really really expensive) shoes

23 01 2017

You’ve seen those GIFs of Melania right? Of her at the inauguration, being left behind at the car while her lumpy rotten turnip of a husband marches up the stairs to greet the Obamas, leaving her behind. How she walks by herself, as gracefully as she can, carrying the gift for Michelle. We’ve seen that clip of Michelle’s expression… But I know, I just know in my heart that it wasn’t the fact that she was given a gift (because Michelle herself gave a gift to Laura Bush eight years ago).. No, Michelle’s expression reflects the disgust she felt seeing firsthand the blatant disregard that that piece of shit has for his wife. We’ve watched that first dance between Donald and Melania, her body language clearly expressing disgust. Those pursed lips, her barely-masked scowl. The perfunctory smile. How she smiles at him but when he turns away that smile fades quickly. Her empty eyes. Devoid of emotion. Masked.

He makes no measure to show respect. She pulls away from him in subtle ways.

Oh girllllllll….. I see you. I see your distaste and I sense your regret. I think there are many of us who can spot that a million miles away.

I am sure though, that many people would preface any sort of dialogue about her with arguments of her elitism and entitlement. But but but!!! She’s rich! She knew what he was like when she married him! It’s her own problem! If she doesn’t love him she should JUST LEAVE.

Really…. really? I wonder. I wonder how easy it is for her….

We have all seen the bully mentality he employs. With people that he refused to pay for work he hired them for. For calling people out on Twitter for ridiculous slights. His fragile ego and bottomless bank account makes him the worst kind of bully. A big fat giant baby of a bully with no compassion, empathy or regard for decency. It funnels down from the highest forms of government to his own home.

I’d wager good money that he lords that over her. That any sort of plea or effort on her behalf is met with threats of lawyers. What if she has wanted to leave? To take her son and make some sort of life for herself? I can only imagine the spittle-infused rages he can spur, ranting in their gold-encrusted bedroom while she silently holds back tears. Perhaps she has wanted to leave for some time. But now, she is the First Lady and is trapped more than ever. Who the hell knows what manner of pre-nup he devised when she married him. And yes, she signed, willingly, likely, but without any foresight (like everyone else) into what her marriage would evolve into. What he has evolved into. And let’s be honest, here. The power of holding a mother hostage is worth more than millions. Her son? His “trump” card.

Can you imagine how she felt when she first heard him say “Grab ’em by the pussy”? Can you even begin to imagine how that made HER feel? Knowing full well that she had to stand by her man, even though she may have wanted to slam him upside the head with a cast iron frying pan.

It’s sickening. It’s nauseating. It’s heartbreaking.

And it’s not her fault.

I can only wonder, I can only devise what I see by body language. I may be wrong. I’d never wish for unhappiness in her life. But what I do wish for is that IF she is unhappy, that perhaps she, as well as any unhappy woman out there, can find resolve within herself and gets that plucky courage up to make a difference to her own life and existence. It may not be tomorrow, or next week, or even next year… but it will happen. It will.