In the year twenty-five twenty-five…

10 05 2019

I was in my dentist’s office yesterday, having my broken tooth repaired and thinking about bits falling off, the inevitability of aging, how someone told me it was all downhill from 60, etc etc. Underneath is the constant current of Trump/Ford/reactionary right/fascism/etc like a monotone in a discordant note. You know, like most of us do these days. Oh, and never forget the high shrieking of the environment, trod upon and crushed.

And then this song came on. And I got to thinking – when did we stop dreaming about the future? I know, I’m an old bag with many dreams behind me, but I see it in younger people, too, a sort of shift from “the universe has infinite possibilities” to plodding along, solving one small problem after another. Not daring to see the forest for the trees. Leadership seems to have been felled in the interest of management – bad management.

Elon Musk is an exception, but then he has so much money he can play now and imagine. (And how does someone get such money?) There are probably some poets and scientists and dreamers out there that look into the future, but they seem a bit thin on the ground these days. At least here, in developed North America.

I’m old enough to remember the 60’s back when they turned into the ’70s and hippies had been and gone and left their optimism around somehow, despite the Vietnam war, starvation in Africa, the USSR. People actually felt they had the power to make change – they sang raw songs of courage and making a stand.

And they dreamed. And fought. Carried banners. Volunteered to feed people and provide medical care and support others.

So tell me – are there dreamers still out there? People who think about the possibilities of productive change? Of saving the earth? Of healing killer diseases? Of reallocating wealth so that we all can survive and thrive?

Or are we really at the end of the line?

I love the song, “I dreamed a dream” from Les Mis, but I can’t help thinking we need to wrest our dreams from those roaring tigers and find our will to take chances again, to battle the oligarchy, to take those roaring dictators to heel. Perhaps it’s time to move together and make a stand for those who can’t speak for themselves. Maybe its time for this song…

Only no weapons. Let’s use Gandhi’s approach.  Let’s do some BIG conscientious objecting.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

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PS: I do know Ghandi was mean to women, but I think we can take his message and use it for all genders.

 

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Oh,​ Fearful Age! Or, making a big deal about a dying tooth…

2 05 2019

"For god's sake Barry, pull yourself together!"Well.

They told me that it was all downhill after you turned 60.

So I’ve been into some heavy maintenance. Under eye cream to hide my ghastly fatigued look (which shines in a most unholy way against my Canadian pre-summer froglike skin). Wearing makeup semi-regularly. Whitening my teeth. Contemplating a manicure and pedicure.  I’ve been trying madly to exercise. I even have cultivated “guns” in my upper arms…

We won’t talk about those core muscles. I know they are there. They are just cozily tucked under a winter blanket.

But yesterday, after a delightful evening filled with popcorn and healthy salad, I noticed

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not my actual tooth

a chunk had fallen off my tooth. A CHUNK!. Not a wee little piece. I peered into my mouth anxiously only to be greeted by my poor half-tooth, 3/4 shiny metal, 1/4 of remaining bit the whitened dentin. It didn’t hurt, which means, ummm, we are probably looking at an ex-tooth.

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Not my actual teeth. Or face. Or hair. Whatever.

 

 

I’ve been expecting this. My childhood dentist was given to excessive tooth-filling and I am basically like JAWS with all the fillings in my head. But I am terribly attached to the little frames. Once when I was young (25 or so), I bashed an old-timey phone into my front tooth and killed it. I was in shock for almost a month at having a DEAD tooth in my head, though thankfully it is still there, root canal and all.

Then, when I’d just had to leave work for disability, and had zero money, my Jaguar-driving dentist told me I needed THREE caps. Or, he said, we could just PULL THE TEETH OUT. I, of course, couldn’t afford caps, let alone THREE of them.  I burst into tears and ran into the arms of a friend, weeping profusely, only to realize he had indeed lost many of his teeth. (oops) Amazingly, he is still a friend, odd in that before I stopped myself, I’d ranted on about how losing teeth was so terrible and would make me look degraded, etc.

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My feat. Not my actual face.

 

Sagittarian mouth. Cracked teeth and all. Moves of its own accord. Fortunately, my friends know this and are not quick to condemn. Bless them.

Yep, I’ve got several chronic conditions and such, but losing my teeth is the last straw.  I thought being reading-glasses dependent was the last straw. Before that, other horrid things happened to my body and I drew those lines in the sand. It’s just such a pity the tide keeps coming up and washing away those lines, placing the seaweed further and further up the shore…

My tongue is playing with the cavern in my tooth, despite my telling it not to. I’m afraid of undoing the other little jewels of amalgam holding the threads together, leading to A. no tooth at all! and B. probably mercury poisoning from the amount of it going down my throat…(Kidding of course – any mercury has by now leached out and poisoned me). In the back of my mind, I review the Domino theory used in the Vietnam War planning. No No No!

I have a lovely dentist now, thank heavens. He’s seeing me this afternoon and I know  hope like crazy he can find me a way to save the poor thing.

popeye-i-yam-what-i-yamIt’s a bit silly, given that the docs chopped off both of my knees to put titanium ones in a few years ago. That’s a lot of body mass to lose. But no one can see the gap there. I’m shuddering at the thought of having a hole to spit through, like Popeye. Or drool through, as I age more…

Floss people, floss. I think the thing about turning 60 is that all your bad habits start to creep up on you and demand retribution. I do wish I’d cultivated some more interesting bad habits – that would at least make the changes exciting instead of depressing!

Off to write some bad habits into my characters. It’s not fair they don’t get to degrade with their author. Perhaps they can become my “Picture of Dorian Grey”…

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“Life can’t just​ be about solving one miserable problem after another…”

30 03 2019

 

Image result for Elon Musk“There have to be reasons why you wake up in the morning and are excited to be alive.”

Bless you Elon Musk, and Space Ex. And to my friend Larry, who gave me the link to watch this – somehow Id missed it, streaming Netflix or watching TV and skipping the news (Because who isn’t, lately?)

I felt tears come to my eyes as I watched this Falcon Heavy huge rocket successfully launch a Tesla car (Musk’s), complete with an astronaut mannequin, an excerpt of StarMan by Bowie playing on the sound system, and a screen with DON’T PANIC written across it. The side boosters fell away and landed perfectly, in perfect coordination, on tiny landing spots. The beauty of it all was breathtaking. Musk’s sons, who also have launched their own (smaller) rockets watched, the youngest shaking a stuffie in excitement. The underlying sense of giddiness and fun.

Live feed of Rocket Man circling the earth…

I loved the whole thing – the people who were responsible for the success of each part of the launch standing, arms up in triumph, as each bit worked, perfectly. The cheering crowd of Space Ex employees, the humility of Musk whose first response to ‘How do you feel?” was something like “proud of the people who made this happen.”

We’ve spent a long time in a scarcity thinking mode. I know I have. We’ve been told over and over again about debts and losses and scary things and noise. I remember the 60’s when the first rockets rose, when humans touched space and loved it, how we all lived it and wore astronaut costumes and dreamt of the stars. I remember the first Mars landing and how I had a poster of the surface of Mars on my wall. All of life seemed so possible then.

We’ve been focusing on solving that one miserable problem. After another. After another. And they are legion.

Image result for walking looking at feetBut the problem with this scarcity mode is that we are walking, looking at our feet. It can be helpful when trying to keep from tripping, but the reason for ever plunging on somehow gets lost. We miss seeing the sky, dreaming with the clouds, breathing in the air.

(I’d say soaking up the sun, but I am reasonable. I live in Nova Scotia and have come to love our soft grays)

We’ve turned into managers. We’ve been working toward targets, without knowing why, we’ve lost the urge to dream the impossible – and that is, of course, the first step to making it so.

It’s self-defeating. I’m well familiar with the “Why should I try that – it’s already been images-2done” mentality I scorned as a younger me. Every time I pick up my book to edit I wonder what the point is – there are so many books. I have so many right here in my apartment! Do we need another?

I try to do art. Why? I ask myself. The floor really needs cleaning and you should by rights be doing something productive, as vs playing.

0*KP406SGHlyLDo4gaI’m lucky in two ways. First, I studied a practical subject. A problem-solving subject: nursing. It’s led to me looking at things as problems to be solved. Second, I have surrounded myself with a gaggle of creative people (you know who you all are!) from artists to crafters to gallery creators to political agitators to gamers to ukulele players to knitters to the leader of the only Mohawk-led surfer music band…Nova Scotia is awash in these people, people outside the box, people not given to saying “no, but”. They default to “Yes, and.” I am so lucky to have them about.

They play, they dream. They may lose sight of the joy of it, or have to do the boring miserable problem solving to pay the rent, but a part of their souls still flies high, grasps joy.

I seriously need to stop whining to myself and do the same. Abundance thinking. Because we do live in abundance, even if sometimes it feels like it is an abundance of problems. And I am not talking about money abundance. Me, I’m talking about dream abundance. There is beauty in vision.

I’m off to go breathe some in.

 

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PS: Do not try this at home. Professional abundance leaper

 

PS: Eton Musk takes on education in a TED talk below. I have to admit I agree with him. This is how I used to teach nursing, and it was a great way to learn.

 





The 3 AM re-evaluate your entire life tango

30 03 2019

 

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It’s the cat. I think.

It’s a gentle quiet night here. I pull off my various appliances of old age and creeping infirmity and toddle off for my “woke up so may as well pee because you know you will need to in a minute anyway”. My CPAP machine continues to hiss and disturbs the cat (who has taken this opportunity to slink into the warm spot I’ve left behind). My mouthguard, worn to keep me from clenching my jaw in MS muscle spasms, makes me slurp as I toddle. My sexiness is beyond compare.

 

Mission accomplished, I return to bed, wobbling the cat, and he nestles in to do his vaguely disturbing kneading and suckling at my shoulder (as Janeane Garofalo says, in MV5BNmJlYjgyNzUtZTY4Ny00MDBiLTg0MGItNmZiMGVhYjE5NTc4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzU1NzE3NTg@._V1_CR0,30,250,141_AL_UX477_CR0,0,477,268_AL_The Truth About Cats and Dogs, ‘you can love your pets, you just can’t LOVE your pets’). He purrs and it all seems quite cozy until I have to move him repeatedly away from the tenderer areas on my chest. I understand the confusion, as my front reminds even me of that of an old Moggie who remains stretched after giving birth. Eventually, he settles to sleep and I am left to do the same.

Except, of course, I can’t. In the very quiet, my brain reviews every conversation I’ve had in the past week, with every person, and I chuckle or wince through them – it’s like imagespersonal performance appraisal but my appraiser is forgetful and mean and cannot find any tasks at which I excelled and instead resorts to feedback from gossips. The sadistic ones who always talk about you, not to you, complain about how you bring smelly food to work and how you raised your voice when you were calling for something,.

I brush my legs against each other in agitation as I review my this’s and that’s and conclude that if I want to get ahead in life, I really must shave my legs more regularly. I think about my last package of OREO cookies (double stuff) and how of COURSE it was that and the otherwise interesting dietary habits that have tipped me into diabetes. I pause to blame myself a bit.1272x920design_01

I’ve read two sentences about diabetes that for some reason stuck in my head. One was: “Do you want that piece of chocolate cake, or would you like to be able to actually see your grandchild?” (Perfect for my catastrophizing performance appraiser who immediately says, ” Well, I know it’s not necessarily about any potential grandchildren – but would you like to read? Hmmm?”) – and the other, more recent, referred to Type 2 Diabetes as a “DIY” disease. My inner PA tells me that of course, I knew this but I just had to be lazy and eat sugar and foolishly not listen to myself. Or a pantheon of medical authorities. I whine to my appraiser that I have made many many clothing donations to the Canadian Diabetes Association, but she won’t listen. “Were those clothes that NO LONGER FIT YOU?” she asks, staring at my abdomen meaningfully.

But that’s not all my exacting PA has to discuss. I also have to get a good thrashing about finances, friendships, the way I dress, my laxity in cleaning out the cat’s litter box, the stories I am working on that lie incomplete, my pile of unfinished projects, unread books, my not worn out sneakers. And the fact that I am in bed with a cat, not a more interesting companion, to whom I could turn for a more appropriate kneading and licking. But I digress.

I employ my usual technique of turning on the CBC to shut the PA up. THAT isn’t working out so well lately, either. The news! My PA informs me that any thinking person should be rioting in the streets and why aren’t I and if I was a good human at least I’d be praying or dancing to fix everything…or maybe writing perfect and hostile letters to the press (ah, but then I worry about the demise of newspapers and the conglomeration of media – to be told by the PA that that would, of course, make my protests simpler – one letter for so many different organizations..).

BelovedLinearBrownbutterfly-max-1mbBack to the CBC radio, which overnight plays news and stories from around the world. When I flick it on, a thoughtful British voice is telling the interviewer that loss of a sense of smell is often an early sign of  Alzheimer’s disease. I whip off the aforesaid mask and try to smell something, anything. I feel like Otto in “A Fish Called Wanda”, smelling my armpits to encourage myself. Ah – I relax. I was making soup yesterday and I COULD, in fact, tell the various green herby things apart. Phew. One kind of mind rot is quite enough.

The story ends, having left another task in my mind – “Must test sense of smell”. Because, of course, that would change anything. I’m sure I am just nose-blind because of that litter box. Which I really should bleach out again…

The next interviewee talks in an almost indecipherable swinging tone about how we are treating cancer wrong, about how whacking it with the same chemo is essentially encouraging it to evolve and get stronger and eventually win. If that is indeed what she is saying. 3AM brain sets a mental reminder to think about this when I eventually get cancer, though I have hopes that I still have other options. One of my docs told me that I was at risk of a cardiac event in ten years. That was ten years ago. My assessor reminds me that a sensible person would have refreshed her will and personal directives before going to the gym.

political-news-watch_o_1778985And then the political news begins – Brexit (ugh), the Liberal scandal about politicizing things that shouldn’t be (double ugh, especially the creepy Conservatives rubbing their little hands with glee), the awful orange thing below the border (why can’t HE have a cardiac event?), yet another man abusing women or children (argh)….I shut the radio off.  With extreme prejudice.

“Well,” says my assessor. “I suppose we can at least say you haven’t done anything wrong in that realm. Lately.” She peers down her nose at me. It’s bloody hard to get her to give me that “A with an N for neatness” that my father used to joke about. At least I think it was a joke. I no longer expect an A. All I can be really certain of is that I am still searching for that N.

“About that,” my assessor starts…

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A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #8 – The Burger Car

19 03 2019

Jacke Wilson is my superhero. I’m addicted to his History of Literature podcast, and am ashamed to think that I have only now set out to find his blog, which is brilliant, as per below. Would love to have him over for dinner, or better still, set out on an explore of literary London with him and the thinky son. My darling children, who I hope think of me as at least a chocolate chip cookie if not a madeline, these parental thoughts match mine when raising you. Off to buy Wilson’s books, whoever he truly is…

Jacke Wilson

Home from traveling, I jump into the gray Corolla. I’ve been a Five Guys Dad lately, flying to Los Angeles for work and back home on weekends to take the boys to soccer and movies and the library and their favorite restaurant. It’s not an ideal way to parent, but what can you do? My job requires it, and my life requires my job.

As usual, I’m first. As I wait, the smell inside the car rises up and makes me shudder. Old burgers and fries. The smell of a grill, the smell of grease. I do not feel like I do when I’m on a sidewalk and the hot fumes coming out of a bar make me hungry and eager to go inside. This smell is stale and disgusting and I hate it.

I’ve never liked this car. I was forced to buy it in a hurry (two cars in two days) when…

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God Finally Releases OS Update Addressing Horrifying Depths Of Human Depravity

19 03 2019

via God Finally Releases OS Update Addressing Horrifying Depths Of Human Depravity





Relocating a purpose

25 02 2019

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I went to meet up with some of my most vibrant, involved women friends last week. They are getting older, easing into their late 80’s, but they are still so heavily involved in their communities, in politics and environmental conservation, teaching, and learning. They inspire me every time I see them.

I was surprised when one of my friends said that she was ready to die. She had just taken us around her town, meeting friends and people she’d helped and would continue to help everywhere we went. She was so integrated into the town, so many people demonstrated how much they loved her. But she added, “What would be the purpose in living on?”

It’s a question I think we all deal with as we grow older, or more infirm, or when we retire. Suddenly the parameters that used to bound our lives are gone and we shake our heads and try to re-define ourselves. Or at least I do, and my friends are also doing so.

images-8As for me, and my wobbly brain cells, I’m still all over the place. I am still overcommitting and not meeting my responsibilities. I do a slapdash job because I am scattered in my head and want to do so many things before I can no longer do them. Write, create art, sew, see friends and family, explore…(I suspect a pathological avoidance of housework is to blame..). I am still trying to figure out WHY I am here, what my purpose is. Every time I think I have it, my world jostles and options are shifted out of reach.

As I plunge into my activities, I think over my past choices, adventures, losses. I know I must take the things that have affected me, and dig deep to find my reason to be here. Otherwise, I seem to be merely supporting capitalism…craft supplies aren’t cheap…

images-7Something has happened recently that is making me rethink priorities. A lifetime friend of mine passed away suddenly. Another friend is struggling with cancer. I have spent so much time ‘being busy’ that somehow I’ve not spent enough time with them. I’ve learned things, I’ve completed things, I’ve written. I’ve been busy and tired enough I’ve neglected exercise. I’ve made myself ill.

But what strikes me most are the lack of moments I’ve spent with those I love.

MS gives me only so much energy per day. I’m feeling it is a good idea to focus on physical activity (for energy and health) and being with the people I treasure. Everything else is replaceable. Nothing else is truly necessary. And it is something only I can do.

Just have to finish my books first…and learn to paint…not because anyone needs another book or another painting, but because I am better for trying to create. And when I am “better”, I can give more to others, my friends, my family.  Which is maybe my true purpose after all?

Dr.-Nandi-Quote








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