The little things.

9 10 2017

I’ve been immersed in gratitude this weekend. Like most people I know, we have more than enough to be thankful for. And this weekend is ripe for expressing it, showing our deep thanks and recognizing the blessed lives we lead. For many, we were surrounded by family and friends and copious amounts of food. As the autumn sunlight streamed through windows, lighting up the tables set to celebrate our abundance, it made me think about the little things, the not-so-easy things to be thankful for.

I am thankful for this gentle appreciation I have for my aging. While I joke about the crinkles and eyebags and my deep fear of a neck wattle with my dearest of friends, fantasizing about Botox and mini-lifts, I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. While my skin folds in on itself, and the age that I am  is reflected in the face I present to the world, I find myself discovering a beauty I wouldn’t have dreamed of admiring a mere ten years ago. I breathe my age in and exhale my thanks out. For this only means that I am still fortunate enough to be here, to live and find joy and have arguments and walk my dog along a forest path.

I give thanks for my restless mind, who prowls about at 2 am. Who fosters self-doubt and worry and strife, but who also reigns in senseless fretting and whispers gentle realities to myself. Don’t worry so much I tell myself and I agree. I listen and it says: You are loved. You are loved.

I am deeply grateful for my decades of dealing with depression and chronic pain and the dark dance I shared with thoughts of suicide so many times. It was indeed as scary as it sounds but in a lovely way, it afforded me more self-knowledge that I could have ever imagined. My cognizance of my frailty has made me stronger. And letting go of my fear of talking about it has gifted me the strength of being there for others. Raw honesty is as healing as honey drizzled in a cup of tea. One sip and you feel it cascading into your body, spreading it’s warmth and love to every cell.

I am indebted to experiencing hate and jealousy. In allowing myself to mirror the beauty of love and kindness through contempt and resentment, I think that I’ve only become more appreciative of my own bounty. And learning how these two distasteful emotions can be used to guide me towards a better understanding and a deeper compassion is seeing that light turned onto me. How bitter I was and relieved my soul was when I found I could let it go. My life certainly isn’t perfect. And by no means will I be able to stop coveting entirely. But learning to step back and trying to see the foolishness of my insecurities is akin to peeling off layers of wet and uncomfortable clothing. Discarded on the floor, I stand bare and tender, more willing to let the negative dissipate.

I am thankful for so much. Today, though, my gratitude is for the little life lessons we are gifted every day, these hidden jewels around us, offering us ways to better our own true selves and walk a sweeter path.

Many blessings to you all, this Thanksgiving weekend.

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What I meant to say….

3 10 2017

So I saw a fat bear today, if you saw my facebook post.

I caught a glimpse of the rolliest-poliest black bear I ever saw. She was standing at the foot of someone’s driveway, just after the “thrill hill” at 9 Mile. (Nelson peeps, you know where I mean…) Just standing there, all podgy and chubby, with a complacent look on her face. A contented look, belly full of fish and apples, I’d suppose. Her legs ridiculously small in comparison to her girthy roundness.

Just the sight of that bear made me feel all good and shit. I just laughed and held that odd joy in my heart for a good portion of my drive home.

After dinner tonight, I caught an interview with the daughter and husband of one of the human lives lost in Vegas. Married between my tears and grief for their loss was my confusion, admiration and (admittedly) a wee bit of astonished revulsion that they were able, capable and brave enough to speak on world wide TV about their experience, their heart-stopping loss. I was left feeling obviously bereft. Silent. Just utterly stooped in my inability to absorb such a tragedy.

Then that fat old bear popped into my head.

I thought of her pale muzzle, so like any old bear I’ve seen. Sniffing the air, her eyes too dim to catch anything far away. Belly almost grazing the ground. Her rear end, comical with that odd tuft of a tail sticking out. Front paws slightly turned in.

That chubby ursus americanus didn’t care about guns and loss of life and mind-fucking rage of the horrific nature of humans. That fuzzy-wuzzy ball of GRRRRRRRR gave zero shits about Trump and his heart-aching lack of human compassion and even less shits about how much we all hate him.

And amidst our grief and sadness these last couple days, I realized why that damn bear made me so happy. That lucky shit is completely oblivious of the utter terrible-ness that is going on in the world. Why, that bear has a belly full of yummmmmm and is almost ready to sleep on and off for the next six months. That lucky asshole. So yes, I smiled when I thought of her. And I realized why… There’s a part of me that wishes I could just be that bear. To learn how to be. To only just be.

And to let others just be as well.

 

 





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.

 

 





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.





Crazy is as crazy does.

21 05 2016

After Tutter died, we found that our house and home was a bit too silent, a tad less full, a teense too clean, a smidge too empty of doggy love. So we decided to start “keeping our eyes open” for a new four-legged furball to welcome into our home.

Daily, I scoured sites looking for a canine that said “PICK ME”…. I encountered all kinds of dogs, many of whom might have been that perfect fit but were either a bajillion miles away or a bajillion dollars. My daughter especially seemed disheartened that getting a new dog would just never happen. I said to her to not worry, that the right dog will come to us and we just need to patient for the Universe to work it’s magic.

Last September I heard there were puppies at the local SPCA. I had resisted the idea of a puppy because, well PUPPY.  Chewing and barking and teething and digging and peeing and pooping and all that other stuff that comes along with raising a young pup. It’s a two year dedication to raise into a dog that is not an asshole. I know this because Tutter was an asshole for two long you-name-it-Tutter-did-it years. He was a little dick, but after some time, spent by me mostly swearing under my breath at him and fantasizing about him running away or playing in traffic (I kid FFS, don’t get your knickers in a knot), he grew into a righteous dog that kicked all other dog’s asses at being the most awesomest dog ever. So, yeah, puppies.. Definitely not my first choice.

So at lunch one day I walked into the SPCA to check the wee little fuzzy monsters out. A typical Kootenay mix, some Shepherd, Rottie and who the heck else knows what. They were cute, I guess. I went into the kennel, expecting my heart to rise up, little puppy angels to appear singing as I would be chosen by a four-legged fuzzy soul, as he or she toddled over to me to eagerly lick my out-stretched hand.  There would be a soul connection, I would pick the puppy up and lose my heart completely.

That didn’t happen. Not one of those little fuckers even acknowledged me. They just kept on doing their thing while I felt utterly disconnected.

I left the kennel, not really feeling much, as I knew the right dog would come along. As I was ready to leave, one of the volunteers came in with a dog on a leash.

I asked if this was her dog, and she said, oh no, he was just surrendered yesterday.

And there it was. The moment. I knelt down to see what he would do and he came up to me with a sweet eagerness and a goofy charm. I scratched him around his ears and he laid his head on my shoulder.

He was almost three and had been given up by owners who had adopted him after he was abandoned around the age of one. I brought him home, intending on a weekend trial run, but by Saturday I had this funny feeling he was ours, and so we adopted Jed. We chose to be his third and final home.

Little did I know how absolutely gong-show nutters he was.

He settled in okay, and we quickly learned he was shy and skittish. He has a slinky nervous mannerism if he is around people he doesn’t quite trust. He stretches and yawns constantly, and after some internet reading I learned it can be a sign of anxiety. He disappears sometimes to hide upstairs even though we are all downstairs hanging around. He loses his mind if we cheer at the tv when our team scores. He likes to target the odd person walking down the road by nipping their calf and running away, but he jumps our fence when in the back yard when we try to contain him. (Believe me, this was and is the main issue with my dog. Thankfully it has not happened in a very long time. Biting is no joke) Tying him up is NOT an option after speaking to a professional about this, as it will only exacerbate his issues. He paces and pants sometimes for no reason. He rolls his eyes and shows the whites when he’s in a full-blown “Sketchy Jed Episode”. Sprinklers and hoses are a source of utter terror for him.

We stay calm, we don’t give him too much attention at most of his behaviour, but we instead focus on praising him when he acts normal. When we see him doing something towards others, he is corrected immediately. A visit and concern by our vet prompted us to put our dog on anti-depressants for anxiety. LOL.

The medication has helped. He is less crazy, but still kind of nuts. I wonder what goes on in his little brain sometimes. He’s not the dog I wanted, but he is the dog we needed, mostly because he needed us.

He gets quad rides and trips to the farm, walks with the kids and lots and lots of bedtime snuggles. I take him for hard runs almost every morning and the mere mention of Do You Want A Bone has him heading towards the freezer where they are kept. He is smart as a whip, he is a sweet little guy with a penchant for pleasing us, especially with his “funny face” he makes at us when he’s excited about whatever we are doing. Leaving your door to your vehicle open is an open invitation for him to jump right on in, ready for a ride.

I feel for that little guy, and all I want for him is to know that he is in his “furever” home and that we will never ever give up on him… He’s an absolute crazy-pants but you know what? That’s ok.

Last night, as I was wondering where he was, I found him tucked up at the top of the stairs in complete darkness. He wagged his tail apologetically at me and I just said “It’s okay Jed. You do what you do, man. You’re a good boy.”

And he is. He’s a good boy. A little lot of crazy going on, but hey…. who isn’t a little cray-cray?

 





One Year Ago.

5 05 2016

I stood in the kitchen that day, numb and empty. My hands moved, wiping counters, prepping food, washing dishes. The silence of the house was marred only by the ticking of the clock and my son’s breathing as he sat, iPod buds in ears, listening to his music.

Was it only a few hours before that our sweet Tutter lived and breathed? I had shed no real cathartic tears when his life left his body, as his head drooped heavy into my hands and his eyes closed. I gently held him, knowing his body was all that was left.

I was so proud of my kids that day, how they fiercely and defiantly wanted to be there, to be present for their sweet dog’s last moments. So that Tutter would know he was not alone, that he was loved and adored beyond measure. My motherly instinct to protect them from hurt was honestly understandable. But…. Oh how proud I was….That my kids, regardless of how heart-breakingly devastating it would be, knew that they both needed to be there.

We had all returned home after, and buried our family pet. And we all went our somber, separate ways for a while, to assess and try to begin to mourn.

I stood, looking about my sparkling kitchen and felt the dam break. I cried and cried. Nick stood in front of me, simply there, all that I needed at that moment while I wailed and sobbed.

I remember saying “I didn’t know it would be this hard.” And Nick nodded and came to me, arms outstretched to offer me love and comfort.

None of us knew how hard it would be.

For days, weeks and months, we healed slowly. We heard Tutter from time to time, pawing at the door, walking down the hallway, or scratching himself. I smelled him too and one time, while sitting by his grave that is tucked up under our birds-nest bush by the fish pond, I swear I felt him lean against my thigh.

Ghost Tutter was there and we celebrated that. As the hurt lessened, we began to feel lighthearted about the idea that his kind spirit lingered in our home.

Tutter, you were a good goddamn dog. You were one of the best. Not a single day goes by that we don’t think of you, mention you or just have you in our hearts. Thank you for giving us unconditional love, idiotic goofiness, tender protection and the sweetness of your devotion.

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