Monthly Archives: August 2011

Last Post

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Last post for August, also makes me think of the Last Post bugle call they play at military funerals.  Today marks 11 years since my mum’s death.  It was a horrible day.  Honestly, I think about her at least once a day, still.  My kids, now 19 and 17, missed a lot of good years with her.

I have very intense and somewhat mixed feelings about my mother’s death.  Sadness, guilt, anger.  Mostly I just miss her.  I regret that my kids didn’t have a chance to know her better.  I grieve for my dad, who’s been alone ever since.  I don’t think he’s gotten over it yet, and I truly doubt he ever will.

She hadn’t felt well for a long time.  Ovarian cancer is a silent killer.  Treatment has a high success rate if it’s caught early, but it doesn’t show up on regular pap smears.

So what have we learned?

If you’re sick, please see a doctor.  Please? 

Dock

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I went down to the dock this morning, about quarter to seven.  It was just me and the birds.  I brought a cup of coffee and my knitting, and spent two blissful hours watching the mist rise.

If that was all the holiday I got, it would be enough.

I’m thinking about lots of things.  My brother turns 50 in a week;my dad turns 70 this winter.  My ex-husband is turning 60 shortly.  I wonder if I’ll have anyone to celebrate with in a couple of years when I turn 50, or if I’ll still be just me, looking in.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m doing fine, I like being me, and observing it all.  I think that’s my role.

Namaste, Jack

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I can’t promise this will be my last posting on this subject, because I find it fascinating, but I’m sure if you didn’t watch Jack Layton’s funeral yesterday, that you caught portions of it on the news.

There were so many wonderful things about it!  The inclusivity  was astounding – people from all walks of life were part of it – even Conservatives.  😉  The music was beautiful.  I must say my very favourite moment came when Stephen Lewis called Layton’s last letter “a manifesto for social democracy”, and the audience rose to its collective feet, applauding.  Mr. Harper, I believe, felt that it would look silly if he didn’t also stand.  I think that Mr. Layton would find it deeply satisfying and wildly funny that he made Mr. Harper stand up for social democracy.  I know I do.

I also like that the minister at the service was his own minister, from his own church, who knew him personally and truly cared for him.  I found his words extremely moving.  Secondary to that, though, was the fact that he was a member of the LGBT community.  Layton supported that community before it was socially acceptable to do so – he went to bat for them and stood up for them when they were vilified by mainstream society, before it was cool to do so – because it was the right thing to do. 

He was an all-weather friend to aboriginal people, women, gays and even musicians.  Maybe even drummers, who knows? 

I’ve never seen anything like this outpouring of feeling in Canada.  I hope it’s the beginning of a deep sea-change.  I hope his final words live on and touch all of our lives and our actions, and spur our youth to action to take the reins and create the world that they want.  I hope that our leaders, regardless of their political stripe, take those words to heart.  We have to start caring for each other and for the planet that contains us.

Namaste, Jack.

Mummy, There’s Giants In That Cottage

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Why is it so much work to go on holiday?

I know that this is far from being an original thought.  I also know that it could be worse, I could be going camping, and that the further you get from civilization, the more carefully you have to plan.

I’m going to Buckhorn, Catchacoma Lake, to catch a small coma in an adorable little lakefront cabin.  Although it’s not the end of the earth, it’s certainly right next door to it.  This involves:  cleaning and vacuuming the house, doing laundry, making sure the cats have food, water and clean litter, banking, transferring money and paying bills, grocery shopping and packing.  I have to make sure I have the directions, and phone numbers, and all that nonsense.

I have big plans.  Books to read, blankets to knit.  I have to make sure I keep on track with the fitness stuff, too, so I’m bringing my little stairstepper.  I figure, though, that paddleboating should be just as good as a bike, no?  And a little tiny glass of white wine?  Maybe a spritzer?

Connor, sadly, can’t join us, but the good news is, it’s because he landed a job.  Elliot and I will be The Giant People In The Tiny Cottage.  We will swim and lay about and have lovely times.

Apparently there is interwebz there, but I don’t know if it’s real internet or country internet.  I just hope my cel phone works.

And if I hear banjos, all bets are off.

Oh Captain! My Captain! *

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You knew that I was going to have to comment on the passing of Jack Layton, didn’t you?  Prime Minister Layton (for all of us proponents of proportional representation) understood that (and I’m quoting myself here, from my facebook page) “Justice isn’t just for wealthy, attractive, groomed people. It’s for disturbed people, poor people, people with horrible hygiene, loud people, and sick people too.  It’s for everyone, inclusive of – everyone.  I think he really got that.”  I know it’s pretty conceited to quote myself, but otherwise I’m just repeating myself, and I like the way it came out the first time.

Some politicians would like for the poor to be Deserving, to be Grateful.   Some of the poor are not photogenic, surprise surprise  Some of them are tired and bitter. There’s no romance to poverty, it’s squalid and unpleasant.  We’ve got plenty to go around in this country, we just don’t spread it evenly.  

I’ve been an NDP supporter for many, many years, since before I was old enough to vote.  I’ve had a few meanderings into the Green Party and once even *gasp* – Liberalism.  But I’ve always returned, because the NDP best stands for the values in which I believe, regardless of its leader.  We lacked charismatic leadership.  Our leaders have always been sincere and resolved, but somewhat rumpled and tired.  And then came Smilin’ Jack.  He wasn’t perfect, he was subject to a few scandals.  Politicians, though, are examined more closely than the common throng.  My life wouldn’t stand up very well to close scrutiny, that’s for sure.  I inhaled.  But he had conviction, and he had compassion.  He was handsome, and he was charismatic.  And he went to York U, so he’s okay in my book!

Jack Layton was heroic in his ability to give a voice to people who no voices.  We have nothing to gain personally from caring for the marginalized in our society.  It’s just the right thing to do.  It’s civilized.  Aren’t we a civilized society?  I’d like to think so. I think he symbolized a real turning point in this country, a real awakening.   Let’s stay awake.  Let’s not rest and grumble, let’s continue to go forward, to care for each other.


Namaste. 

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*Walt Whitman, on the assassination of Lincoln:

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck
You’ve fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead

Stuff I Learned Today

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Here’s some stuff I learned today:

Although I love all the colours, I think I love garnet red and camel the best.

I do not like catfish.

Roddy McDowell starred in a whole bunch of Planet of the Apes movies, but not always as the same character.

There’s some weird religious movement in the US called Exodus that wants to make gay people straight.  One of the founding members quit and apologized to everyone.

Pillow forms cost more than I thought.

I really do hope I fall in love again one day.  I wasn’t sure for a while there.  I’m not ready right now, but I will be again one day.  I don’t know if I can love with the same open abandon I did before, but I think I can explore new ways. Who knows? 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjcBx9xu3UE

I think that’s enough education for one day.

Oh, yeah, PS I changed the fish.  There’s still seven, but one of them is black, on a black background.  You can see him pass through the others like a ghost sometimes…  Ooooooo….

The OTHER "F" Word

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I want to talk about the “F” word for a minute.

No, not that one.  “FAT”.

My weight has fluctuated wildly all throughout my life.  Strangely, though, my thinnest times have been my most unhealthy times.  About 10 – 12 years ago, I fell within (or even below, at one point!) the “normal” range for my height.  I was also smoking heavily, severely depressed, sleep deprived, drinking heavily and not eating.

And you know what?

A coworker looked at me, with my cheekbones and elbows sticking out, shaking, hair falling out, dark circles under my eyes, stinking like cigarettes and told me “wow, you look fantastic, you’ve lost so much weight”.  Because that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

I was told by a love interest, when heavier, that he “wished I’d look after myself”.  So, I quit smoking.  I lost 15 pounds.  I got my cholesterol and blood pressure down.  Apparently, that’s not really what he meant.  He meant, I wish you weren’t so fat, but he disguised it as concern for my health.  I’ve been reading some fat activist blogs, and apparently this false concern is quite common.  People find fat objectionable; they take it very seriously.  Little girls would, apparently, according to a survey, rather lose a parent than be FAT.  Recently, I read an article which stated at something like 60% of men felt it was okay to end a relationship with a woman if she gained weight.  Apparently, though, it’s okay to be bald and have a pot belly and hair growing out of your ears if you’re a dude.

I have made up my mind, after nearly 50 years of kicking around, fat and thin, that the ONLY reason I will change my weight is for my health.  Fat is a feminist issue.  Thin, frail women look like they need looking after; they appeal to that macho, chest-thumping thang…  I don’t look fragile in the least. I don’t need looking after.  I look after myself, plus several other people.  Plus, I’m healthier as a slightly heavy non-smoker than I ever was as a smoker at ANY weight.  Ultimately, my goals are to be:  a non-smoker, with a repaired hernia, and carrying less weight so my arthritis in my legs and hips isn’t as troublesome.  It will be a bonus to be able to purchase more clothing at cheaper prices, although at my height, my options are still limited.

But I’m not going to lose height, either.

I’m a hell of a woman.  I’m gregarious, beautiful, engaging, creative, and intelligent.  I’m a kick-ass mom, and an outspoken advocate.  I have fantastic hair.  I’m a great conversationalist, I’m curious, I’m fierce, I’m loving and funny.  I’m tall and I’m strong.  I can make a pie that would make you weep.  I can draw, sing and I play several instruments. I’m a writer, a reader and a questioner. 

And right now, I’m fat.  And I’m still all those things, too.  Contrary to popular belief, I’m not fat because I’m lazy or stupid.  One day, I might be thinner.

But I have no interest in anyone who reserves judgment about their feelings for me until I am.  

PS – just adding a link to a blogger I like on this subject – she has some great insights and sparked a vibrant conversation on this topic – http://www.alreadypretty.com/2010/08/youve-lost-weight-you-look-great.html