Haze, Heat and Memories

I miss the heat waves of summertime on the East coast, the land of collard greens and barbecues and summers so hot you’d melt.

 

I live in the West now, where summer has only just woken up and rubbed its eyes in, realizing that it overslept and it’s time to get the heat on. Don’t get me wrong, I love living here but it’s summer that has me nostalgic. It’s ironic, in that bittersweet way – I was so keen to get away from those hot, hot summers and now I miss them so much I can close my eyes and think of them with no small amount of gratitude.

 

I remember the heat rising off the pavement in waves you could almost touch. I remember the screen doors slamming shut. I remember the sound they made closing, a kind of metallic clash that reverberated when the door wouldn’t shut properly because they never did. The feel of feet brushing along on the hot pavement, where you’d step with the top of your feet and then rub your feet along in the grass, the cool to the heat.

 

If you had to go somewhere you edged carefully onto the seat as it was so hot. If you were unlucky and had no air conditioning then chances are you’d left the windows open “to let the heat out”, you’d say, as though it had option for escaping. You’d make sure you’d park under a tree when you got to where you were going, just so you could get some shade on the steering wheel, the dash, the seat.

 

I remember sun tea jars on porches, the Lipton squares dangling from the top like a veil. Later in the day it would be lemonade in a glass with sweat droplets that you’d hold to your face, your neck, your chin and would simultaneously shiver from and love any errant drops that fell onto your chest. Crickets would be singing the evening away, their legs possibly the only motion that anyone could bear. The air would be full of bits and pieces of dandelion, dust, and sunlight that you couldn’t shake off. Walk inside and the house would be so dark, your eyes too adjusted to the sun. The day felt like the inside of a Van Morrison song and sometimes you were aware of every single pore of your body opened up in the light.

 

Children would be outside with various stages of dried Popsicle and sticky Kool-Aid. If you had a porch swing you’d sit back into it, using your toes to move the swing backwards and forwards. I remember lazy blades from the ceiling fan, the smell of a barbecue or – if you were lucky – a good corn boil all afternoon and into the evening. The evenings were made for lightning bugs if you could still find them, dozily making their way around the yard. There would be baseball on someone’s TV, the sounds of a Molsen commercial on else’s. At night you’d sleep with just a sheet covering you because if you were like me, you couldn’t sleep without some kind of cover, and you’d lie still under the blanket of heat and enjoy the movement the fans made in the air.

 

These were the summers I remember. The younger summers held Slip ‘N Slides and sticky bomb pops. The older summers had wine coolers and picnics in the parks. But they all held heat and memories and haze and that beautiful, magical slam of the screen door that I will never forget as long as I live.
 

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Inspiration

A real man is a woman’s best friend. He will never stand her up and never let her down. He will reassure her when she feels insecure and comfort her after a bad day. He will inspire her to do things she never thought she could do, to live without fear and forget regret. He will enable her to express her deepest emotions and give in to her most intimate desires. He will make sure she always feels as though she’s the most beautiful woman in the room and will enable her to be confident, sexy, seductive, and invincible.

 

No wait … sorry … I’m thinking of wine. Never mind.

 

Regret Nothing

Regret nothing, for it was what you wanted at the time”.

 

They say that you should never regret what once made you happy.

 

Questions: Do you have any regrets? What would you change about your life if you could? Do you believe life is mapped out or are you the captain of your own ship?

 

I used to say I had no regrets, but I think that was in my younger, kiss my ass, selfish days. Who’s above regret, after all? Even Buddhists must have regrets (largely involving the colour orange, I would wager). My regrets run from the small (I shouldn’t cut my hair. Remind me of this the next time I debate it. I’m really a longhaired girl.) to much larger things like getting married at age twenty.

 

Even though I once spent countless nights trying to imagine an alternative outcome, I can honestly say, that I’m glad it turned out the way it did. Months ago, I would lose myself in insidiously wishing, that for once, I could turn back time and change all that happened but every step I’ve taken to get to where I am today is not necessarily a choice, some of my actions were accidental, sometimes I tripped and fell. And yet here is where I am. What comes next, I have no idea, I know I only get a partial say in it. I’m ok with that. After all, how fun is a roller coaster ride you know every curve of?

 

The Best Compliment

A friend recently gave me the best compliment I have received in a while. It is lingering with me so I thought I’d share it. They said:

 

"You are refreshing to be around, someone such as yourself who very rarely or never

can’t get over her problems/inner strife, who can always put the interaction above

the self. It’s as if you have some preternatural understanding of how being with

someone in a good way can be all you need."

 

What a beautifully stated expression to sum up a friend. I’m lucky.

 

Believe

I am not a fan of organised religion. It’s been ages since I went to church. (I have a hard time being stationary in an hour long spiritual celebration).

 

It’s not that I don’t believe in a Supreme Being (because I DO), it’s that being religious and being churchly don’t sum up our righteousness. I have spent the first half of my life being told what to do: to act morally right; to abide by the teachings of old. In an age where I have a freedom to choose, I have committed to myself that I shouldn’t be restricted to rules that tell me how to live  my life. It is but fundamental to be given the right to decide for myself; to learn by mistakes in order to experience the craziness of life. This knowledge, this acceptance to be imperfect and flawed, does not concede to a religious culture. But it’s rewarding in the sense that through all these life-changing processes, I untangle the knots the make me question life and why I am what I am now and what person I want to be.

 

But I will continue to pray as I have always have. I will always believe in prayers.

 

Believe

I am not a fan of organised religion. It’s been ages since I went to church. (I have a hard time being stationary in an hour long spiritual celebration).

 

It’s not that I don’t believe in a Supreme Being (because I DO), it’s that being religious and being churchly don’t sum up our righteousness. I have spent the first half of my life being told what to do: to act morally right; to abide by the teachings of old. In an age where I have a freedom to choose, I have committed to myself that I shouldn’t be restricted to rules that tell me how to live  my life. It is but fundamental to be given the right to decide for myself; to learn by mistakes in order to experience the craziness of life. This knowledge, this acceptance to be imperfect and flawed, does not concede to a religious culture. But it’s rewarding in the sense that through all these life-changing processes, I untangle the knots the make me question life and why I am what I am now and what person I want to be.

 

But I will continue to pray as I have always have. I will always believe in prayers.

 

Focus

I am utterly, incessantly (and occasionally obnoxiously) positive. Just to be clear, I can take virtually any situation and pull something positive out of it.

 

 

I came across this quote and instantly said to myself, “how great is this”. Because the anonymous quote-sayer (and myself) are right: life is way too short to be anything less than happy. And when you surround yourself with people, books, movies, food and other things that make you undeniably happy, it is much harder to focus on the bad in your life. If there is one thing that I have learned in life, it’s that laughter truly is the best medicine. And knowing someone with whom you can regularly share a gut-busting, tear-inducing, whole-hearted laugh is priceless.

Endings

I’ve spent my life feeling like someone who was on the move. An itch would get under my skin and inflame the hairs up and down my arms, tingling through the back of my neck. Little imperfections in my environment would become huge gaping holes propelling me to go, to move, to change for the sake of change.


I always – always – saw an ending for me that was somewhere alone. It’s cheesy but true – my ending in my mind was always me, living alone, with a couple of cats. Love to me was always something you left before it left you. The story ends there.


But my story has changed now. Life has changed that for me. Love has changed that for me.

 

Life is an open question now, one that I stare at a great deal – surprised that I get to have a life I never thought I would, never thought I could. Every single day is a surprise because nothing is the way I once suspected it would be.

 

I suppose I can just be who I am. It’s not about trying to entertain; it’s never been about that. Right now it’s about determining how to let go of how I always saw the end, and allowing life to take me where I’m meant to be. With who I’m meant to be with.

 

Today

For fresh starts and new beginnings,for first-times and good days, for vacations, quietness, and self-reflect, for high spirits, forgetting and forgiving, for admitting your losses and and still enjoying your battles, for faith, for wisdom, for reorganizing your papers, and resetting your priorities, for positive vibes, for throwing old baggage and buying new bags, for having fun in the middle of nowhere…

 

… I think it is time for a new me. And the change starts today.

 

One Step a Time

I don’t ask for things, I just don’t.

 

I call it pride; I call it self-preservation; why go through the process of sharing a part of myself with someone who might simply deny me what I ask.

 

I also call it cowardice. Why? Because I have come to realise it’s more honourable to admit a want and/or need and have it denied, than suppressing it until I am no longer able to recognize it, let alone admit it. I weaken myself that way and rob myself of my rights, and I allow others to do the same to me without even knowing.

 

Why don’t I communicate my dismay to people who say/do things I don’t like? It’s like I am afraid to speak my mind.

 

This realisation sort of caught me by surprise. At some point, I crossed the line between practicing tolerance and not expressing or communicating my discontentment. I need to change this, even if it’s one step at a time.

 

Better Days Ahead

Some mornings you wake up and the sheets are tangled around your legs like a vine. You struggle, not just in putting your Ready-to-Meet-the-World Face on, but struggle with the little things like breathing and moving and trying to open your eyes. The day comes up and takes in your personal space. Real life makes things harder than they need to be.


You make it out of the bedroom and into what lies beyond and you gather your courage. Your day is like your coffee – you take it a sip at a time, you get it into the bloodstream. You sigh and own up to all that you need to do today, all that people expect of you. You sit by the computer and wonder what it holds. Maybe you open your emails and they make you laugh. Perhaps it’s the other way around, and they make you cry. You wonder if you need to do the laundry today or tomorrow.


The sun is hiding and the coffee has injected the day into you. There is nothing stopping you from getting through the day except yourself, and there is too much riding on you to let yourself down.

You tell yourself that tomorrow will be better, it has to be better, it can’t be anything but better. And it maybe will be. And if it isn’t, maybe the day after that will be.
 
Have a better day, You.
 

Negativity Slayer

My family is kind of weird. Most of us all live within about 5 minutes of each other, yet we barely see each other. Some families are close. Some families adhere to the saying “blood is thicker than water”. Some families dread being together. Some families are flippant with one another. And some families find comfort in being invisible to one another.

 

But my family…. to them I am invisible. I am not the oldest, therefore not the responsible and over-achieving child; I am not the son to carry on the family name; I am not the clever-rebel middle child. I am the youngest – always seen as “the baby”. I am the Lost Child who feels like an outsider in my own family, a mistake who should have been a boy.

 

So what’s a negativity slayer to do? Build a bridge when one finds that the ground one stands on is hostile. And, I will cross my bridge and walk into a new land and into the open arms of my husband. In this new land, my voice will be heard and I will be seen as an adult, not a baby who only babbles nonsense.

 

There is a saying, “you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends”. My husband chose to be with me. To him I am far from invisible, I am the most important person in his life. He will be my family. And I will feel loved and wanted and I will be happy.

 

Clouds

Some people are optimists and some are pessimists, and interestingly there are people who are optimists in the morning and pessimists at night.

As Levinson said:

 "A pessimist sees only the dark sides of the clouds, and mopes;

a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs;

and an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he is walking on them."

 

 

The Natural Look

The thing about having a teenage daughter around is it reminds you of when you were a kid.

 

(Remind me next week – upcoming post will be: Tranquilizers: How they can help you survive parenting.)

 

Chicklet is 14. She’s easygoing, moody, fun, and annoying. She makes me remember what it was like to be 14.

 

She likes to wear her ratty, horrible, awful clothes in public. And not just ratty clothes, but a pair of old pajama bottoms.

 

She’s also reminded me about makeup. And as a teen, she wears a lot of it. Well, a lot on her eyes.

 

She’s not alone, of course. When I was a teen my first makeup palette was a tray of sparkly eye shadows. Since it was the 80’s, I joined the crowd and wore the eye shadows. All of them. Together. At the same time.

 

Keyword from the 80’s was “blend”.

 

I remember my mother recoiling in horror when she saw me.

 

“You’re going to go out like that?” she asked.

 

“Yeah, why?” I replied. I thought I looked beautiful. I was masterful in my blending of purple, pink, silver and blue eye shadow! It had taken ages! You couldn’t even see the lines; it was a seamless transition of an iridescent Maybelline rainbow!

 

“You look like a hooker,” my mother countered.

 

No mom. Hookers do not look like this. Hookers cannot blend like I can.

 

I watch Chicklet, dipping into pots and paints, trying this and that and yes, wearing too much makeup. I wonder if maybe it’s time to freshen up my palette. I then remember the 80’s.

 

And I rejoice in the fact that the natural look will never go out of style.

 

In The Name of Fashion

All the countless advertisements for padded bras seem to tell women that our breasts are never good enough unless they are somehow perky, perfectly shaped, and just the “right” size (not too small, not too large). 

 

Read below for a new twist…

 

 

“Women are showing off their breasts with pride!” says the site. Maybe they should change that to “Women are showing off their plastic-manufactured-false-nippled breasts with pride!” I always thought of going bra-less as a sort of rebellion against the impossible body standards in the media and society. But this ad clearly tell women that bra-less is not really freeing, it’s a fashion statement. 

 

“Give the Nipple Bra a try – You’ll be amazed at the reaction,” claims the site. The ad implies that women should look sexually aroused all the time and be viewd as objects of sexual desire. The aroused look of hard nipples is being marketed as a style, while women are still encouraged to keep their breasts supported, not saggy.

 

A man would love the "sensual cold-weather look” until he got a peek at what‘s under the shirt. It would be quite hilarious to be a fly on the wall and watch a man’s reaction to the bra as the shirt came off. I can only guess the thoughts that would be running through a man’s head but I can tell you this – it wouldn’t be good.
 
Definitely not worth two grand plus shipping.
 

Ten

The notion that everyday life should be easy is such a crock. Getting past the everyday is the challenge.

As I was driving my son to school yesterday I thought about the people living on a particular street I’ll call "Anywhere City, Canada."

You might live on this street, or you may know someone who lives on this street.

It’s not particularly fancy, but most of the houses on this tree-lined drive are well maintained and the yards are wide and lush.

Homeowners include retirees and single women, families with young children and families with teens and families whose children have recently flown the coop. Most people know their neighbours by sight, if not by name.

There’s a family with an incessantly barky dog in the middle of the block and one with the roaming cat a few houses down. There’s the house on the end where the lawn is unlikely to be mowed and is therefore slowly being swallowed up by the overgrowth.

I blindly stare out of my car window at the stop sign at the end of the block, wondering how they do it.

Most mornings I manage to get the kids breakfast, bribe my son into getting dressed in fresh clothes, brushing hair, washing faces, lunches packed, homework ready. But there’s always something missing: a smudge of cheese whiz, a snarl where the pillow rests.

The spring plantings – mostly flowers – have already bloomed. The trappings of life with youngsters — sports equipment, bikes, brightly coloured toys — piles up in the yard.

Everything in life accumulates in increments.

Some you keep on top of, some topple you.

 

This morning, when Kidlet got dressed for the Letter of the Day – "N" for number – he was sad. He wouldn’t participate today. He has no clothes with numbers on them.

 

I handed him a T-shirt with a number crudely cut from scrap fabric and awkwardly stitched to the front.

Of course, Kidlet wanted to know why he wasn’t consulted on the number selected. Ten may have been him, but did it really need to define him?

I set him straight.

"One day you’ll look back on this and you’ll see how awesome 10 really was."

 

Sock Monster

Have you ever wondered why your matching socks disappear and leave you with only one sock with purple hearts on? The story below (found http://andthemonsters.wordpress.com/) about this freaky creature is a huge part of the mystery. We give out a reward if you catch any of these monsters. And we want them alive!

 

*****

 

Captain Alfredø Søximus, just Søximus to his friends (if he had any) peers out from his dark home under the dresser and sees his prey slowly drop to the ground, one then the other, as the human climbs into bed. The lights go out, but that won’t stop a true animalistic predator like Søximus. His diminutive beady eyes peer left, then right, his skinny tail swishing back and forth in excitement, his red pointy claws retract as he crawls out a little, then more, bit by bit until his whole miniscule body fully emerges from his lair.

 

Tonight is his night. He will finish off the pair and achieve his greatest goal in life.

A noise! He lurches behind a pair of jeans, his eyes peering up at the bed from his new hiding place, but no, the human is not waking up, just snoring. He takes a closer look at his meal, sees the machine knitting and sighs a little, remembering back to those delicious hand-made meals he had when he was a young pup (Søximus considers himself a true connoisseur). He continues towards his prey, his enemy, his meal.

 

Closer…


Closer…

 

He can smell them now, their fear, their anticipation at being his dinner. He’s within jumping distance. He pounces! Using all of the tiny muscles in his little legs, he lands directly on top of the pair and starts ravaging, attacking, tearing away at the soft wool, starting with the yellow stripes at the top, refusing to stop as the middle reaches his mouth, his meal chewed and masticated into nothing but minute clusters of what used to be wool, he nears the softer middle of his silent enemy, until he gets to the heel, where a hole makes it a bit easier to get down, but now he’s slowing, trying to finish the arch, stuffing his gut all the way to the toe and finally finishing, then sucking down the small threads stuck in his claws. His monster instincts tell him he cannot possibly eat anymore, he picks up his meal’s twin, its best friend and comrade, the two yellow stripes teasing him, the mouth wide as if laughing at his failure, and he realizes that it has won, he just can’t do it. He hasn’t room for another bite. He looks down at his bloated stomach, knowing he has once again failed.

 

BLAST!!!

 

He slinks back towards his lair, leaving the solitary sock behind, alone, discarded on the floor. His tail, now limp, drags behind him, sharing in his failure. If only they were ankle length, he might have succeeded.

 

Søximus thinks about tomorrow night and the possibility of success and his tail twitches a little as he scurries back under the dresser and into his bed.

 

Confession

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more;

Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”

Swedish Proverb

 

Apparently it turns out there are more things I am afraid of than I’d like to admit. Over the past few weeks I have had an opportunity to dig deeper into my soul and think about lots of things. I’ve done lots of soul searching while I’ve been packing for my move West and realized that I had lots of fears that were holding me back from doing stuff I wanted to do.

 

– I am afraid people might not like me.

– I am afraid of being a bad mother. Unfortunately bad sometimes means too tough and sometimes means too soft. Contradictory I know.

– I am afraid of making phone calls. I have no idea why, but I hate having to call people other than my close friends or family members.

– I am afraid of letting go of things sometimes. As I went through my clothes in the move purge session I found a jacket that I remember buying a little more than 8 years ago. Every time I’ve tried to give it away in the past I’d get all sentimental. After a lot of thinking I realized it was more than just a jacket that doesn’t fit me anymore.

– I am afraid of hurting the people I love so I end up in a state of guilt, stress or unhappiness and sometimes all three together.

 

It is not that I am crazy or need therapy, not that I’d mind finding someone I could complain to without feeling bad about making them feel bad.

 

I just think that I could be a much more balanced and happier individual if I dealt with them. Realizing that fear was the underlying motivator in so many of my actions was an eye opener. It feels liberating that now I know why, and that I can deal with each one of these fears. It seems weird that I had never realized it before.

 

Words Hurt

I wish people would pause – at least for a fraction of a second – and think before they open their mouths. If they still find those hurtful words worth saying or if they really mean them, then they can go ahead and say them.

I wish people would do that because it’s what I do. I have a lot of hurtful things on my mind I could just say, but I keep them to myself, not because they are untrue for they are, but basically because no good would come out of hurting those I would like to say those words to.

All I want is the same consideration.