Fighting cynicism

29 05 2013

I’m a bit of a Pollyanna. I like to see the good in the world, be cheery, believe that people are generally not evil as a first choice.

But it’s getting harder and harder to keep my upper lip stiff. It seems every time I turn on the radio or see the news, it’s more and more stories about man’s inhumanity to man. Small and large atrocities, seemingly most often committed by soft white men against, well, everyone else.

It’s enough to make me a raving frothing feminist. Not that we women are often any better when in charge. It’d just maybe make a change, like shifting political leadership – one party is much like the other – and often it’s worth changing them around just to sever the lines of corruption that form over time and gradual erosion of ideals through the everyday squashing of bureaucracy.

Maybe more women in charge would change the old patterns of white male supremacy, force a different world view. Hard to know. Maggie Thatcher didn’t seem to help things…

I have a friend who reminds me often that men are as abused as women, often more abused. True, but it’s still men who are doing the abusing, for the most part. So though men do suffer, in wars and prisons and even in marriages, the situation is still being caused by men.

Why?
Why do people in positions of power and government feel they can act without regard for those they control? Why does our current government feel that, in a democracy, they have the right to squash all debate or intelligent discussion?

And most importantly, why do we let them get away with it, these soft/hard white men? Why don’t we say no, loudly, and stop them?

Perhaps it’s the loss of hope, the soaking cynicism, that pollutes us, makes us feel too toxic to revolt. The people in power know this, and crush and belittle hope. They mock protests, refuse to answer questions, treat the rest of the world as ever so slightly mentally incompetent.

I probably wouldn’t mind so much if they did it with wit, as in Yes, Minister. Or with joy, like those dictators who surround their palaces with wild triple size photos of themselves. But they are dull, dull, dull, these grey people. Despite the power they attach to like overfull leeches.

And perhaps that is the most discouraging thing of all.

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Oxytocin and love, or why don’t you just touch me already?

15 02 2013
oxytocin-nasal-health-060812

This can be yours. Just sniff.

I love the luxury I have as a retired person to lie in bed and listen to the radio on the morning.
Sometimes, though, what I hear sends me rocketing into my day, filled with rage or wonderment.
Yesterday, in time for Valentine’s Day, there was a report on the Current about using oxytocin spray to improve failing relationships.
Prairie voles, normally the type of mammal you meet at bars on a Saturday night, don’t have long term relationships with their females. Shoot them some oxytocin and they cleave to their main woman (though they still cheat), heading back to her at the end of a night of partying.
Why this is seen as a benefit, I’m not sure (if you cheat, I would rather you just stay away, thanks).
Some folks are thinking of creating nasal spray oxytocin to help people in failing marriages feel bonded to one another and stick it out for longer.
Oxytocin is the “touch” hormone. We create it naturally with babies when we hold them, nurse them, smell them. We do the same with other adults – building up the hormone as we touch and cuddle and stroke and hold. We create it when we pat cats and play with dogs, when we sit on the couch with our surly teenagers and touch shoulders, when we hug our friends. All of these things make us want to spend more time with the object of our affection.
Maybe the marriage is failing because there hasn’t been enough loving touch. I hardly feel a snort of oxytocin will repair that loss of contact.
Why not just arrange to spend some time together?
I always fell more in love with my husband when we’d hang out together, talking and bumping shoulders and laughing. Unfortunately for our marriage, those times were so few that by the time the kids grew up, I’d fallen out of love. The fault was with both of us- busy, tired, distracted.
Another long time sweetie of mine would request cuddles for oxytocin – it never failed to make me feel more warmly toward him, even if I was grumpy or tired or wanting to be distant.
So hey, all of you, clinging to a sinking ship of a relationship, try the hug now and again. Don’t make it sexual – that implies you are only doing it for your own reward. Just hug. Sit side by side. Touch.
Don’t hope that a magic potion will keep things magic. You might actually have to DO something.





Doin’ Drugs… Part 1

14 09 2012

There’s something about making a home pumpkin latte that makes me feel ever so slightly illegal.

First, you gotta get the stuff. And it has to be good stuff, Fair Trade Certified, Organic – in this case, Annapolis Valley Pumpkin Spice.

Then you need to grind it, fresh, until it screams for mercy and releases all the wonderful coffee/pumpkin/spice smell. When the grind is just right, you get out your specialized equipment, a good quality but not excessively so, as you are not THAT kind of person, given to obnoxiousness in personal belongings, happy to settle for the Honda over the Maserati, function over form and all that.

You take your ground up stuff, and carefully put it into the holder, tamping it down just so. Then it’s time to let the water bubble through it, while you inhale the atmosphere, getting faintly buzzed on the caffeine flowing around your nostrils, straight to your brain. Time for bubbling the milk – held at the perfect angle to first warm, then push air through it until it forms a perfect head. Pour it on top of the black liquor, and sip.

I do mine a double shot, no sugar, just milk. By accident, I bought 1% milk instead of skim and I tell you, it makes a difference that is almost sinful. The foam is creamy and thick, the bubbles behave, and the taste is better. The pumpkin flavour is subtle and not sweet, spicy enough without being overwhelming.

I find myself thinking about it all day, as fall creeps in around the edges. The taste is best now, in apple and pumpkin time, when the chill of first frost hovers. When I run out, I feel a nervous need to get more. Soon. Mornings simply aren’t the same.

I think I’m addicted.





Thanks awfully, but…

12 07 2012

Way back, when I started this writing gig, I felt totally inadequate. All the best writers, I felt, had a disastrous childhood, a set of parents who beat or ignored or hurt them in some way, a problem with addiction, run-ins with the church or with the police or school.

Image

heading into my writing lair…

They had handicaps, couldn’t write because they had to work double jobs even at the age of 12, lived in grinding poverty and stole moments to write on scraps of the Sears catalog when they were shivering in the outdoor privy.They were unloved, outsiders, alone, had made up friends. You know, the poor pitiful writer thing.

That was back when I wrote comedy. Life, I thought, was a huge cosmic joke, and besides, I didn’t have any deep substantial trauma to write out of myself.  I tried to become an alcoholic, but just became depressed when the addictive part passed me by. I tried smoking cigars a la Hemingway but they tasted awful.

Well, the gods, I have to say, have listened to me. Though I rather with they hadn’t. Over the past few years, tragedy seems to be stalking me. I’ve developed the unpredictable disease, MS. I had to stop working and now see my life in a series of downward spirals of increasing disability. Well, okay, only on my bad days.

My parents both died in untold agonies. My marriage also. My family disintegrated. My relatives started perishing, also well before their time. My favourite uncle vanished one day, leaving me wishing for a goodbye, but too late. My favourite aunt withered away, her spirit unquenched until the last horrible days. My mother in law developed and died of ALS, a cruel destiny for anyone, but most especially for her, a strong New Zealand lass who took all of life in stride.

Then other bad things happened, stupid things that served to mess with my head – sexual assaults, terrible male friends with horrible pasts, financial disasters. Depression sauntered into my life and turned it grey. My daughter stopped speaking to me, and broke my heart.

Then, this past week, a lightning bolt that will change my life forever. It’s nasty enough to make me call back those gods and say, hey, enough already!

Suffice to say I have things to write out of me now. And it’s fortunate I like to kill people in my stories cos I have a few I’d like to really do away with but can’t as prison life isn’t healthy. And I couldn’t hurt someone deliberately, really. Sortof.

So listen, ye gods of old, unless you give me my own lightning bolt to fire, maybe you could lay off my life for a bit. I’m sure there’s some other wanna be writer who needs a bit of inspiration. I’m full up now. I’m good. Really.








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