“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.



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



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…


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


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?


That joy of tidying up thing: underwear edition

15 02 2019

too-many-clothesToday I decided it was time to unwedge my dresser drawers and get rid of all the clothing that wasn’t “bringing me joy”. I dug out all the shirts that had lost their joie de vivre – the ones from cheap shops that were light and woven by factories where toxic chemicals are regularly present. I pulled out the wool sweaters I’d washed in hot. Actually, ALL the wool sweaters had to go, as my allergy to wool increases.

I sacrificed the pants I’ve been wearing for years with the turned up hem that refuses to stay in place. (I’d wear them and say to myself, “A turned-up hem means you’ll travel!” I did travel. Still living on peanut butter on toast paying for it.) I let go of socks that had done yeoman’s service for ten years or more. I didn’t thank them for their service, but we did share a moment. I tossed the dressy shirts of scratchy polyester. We didn’t have a moment but my 100% cotton sweatshirts could be heard snickering.


It was all going swimmingly until I got to my underwear drawer…

Those delicates desperately in need of bleach were an easy heave. The bras with the underwire teeth already bared I discarded with extreme prejudice.


But what about the sexy undies I’d bought in hope and thrill, thinking about what might happen when they were on? They slipped liquidly around in my hands, still in almost brand new condition

They made me laugh, made me wistful, tossed me into a meadow of memories. I couldn’t believe I actually had bought some of the things I found crumpled in the back of the drawer.


Some were too uncomfortable to even wear, bought in a naughty mood and tucked away – those ones that ride into uncomfortable places and make you walk funny. Some had lace so scratchy I’d have needed band-aids after wearing. (I thought that maybe it would soften after washing. It didn’t.)

The thing is, lingerie really is for the person wearing it. In me, it somehow creates confidence, a jaunty walk, a feeling of being sexy, even in an unfit self. There is something so pretty, so feminine, about those threads of undies.

I can slip on something light and lacy and maybe some pull-up stockings, and feel like I could be that woman who gets the bacon and fries it up in a pan…

… until the elastic attacks something it shouldn’t and I limp unattractively to the nearest washroom to detach myself. Heaven forbid I should try to tuck a tiny panty liner into them as the liner will immediately glue my buttocks together and make walking exquisitely painful. And awkward.

Ridiculous, really, given my body, rounded by chocolate, split by three huge pregnancies, tired and partially bionic. Kind of like putting those little ruffled hats on turkey legs…


But I just can’t let all of them go!! Dreams die hard. The urge to feel sexy dies even harder. (Ask any 70-year-old man) And the gym opens soon. I can be buff again. Can’t I?

Laughing, I tuck a few of the least painful ones back into my drawer. If nothing else, I can wear them and walk about with a knowing twinkle in my eye. And that brings me joy…bb9dc47145b341c55dcd0f0a5be22cb9--vintage-lingerie-nice-things


The 4 AM moths

21 01 2019



Wakey, Wakey!

Sleeping has never been difficult for me – more it’s waking up that seems the challenge – but I find that as I get older, waking up at 4 in the morning is becoming a regular thing. I’ve even seen more than a few dawns lately, something I thought I’d left behind. More of a night owl, me.


And then it starts. There’s something about this time of the morning that makes me wander through my entire life, highlighting mistakes I’ve made, things I wish I’d done differently, things that were foolish (and not in a good way). I hold imaginary conversations in my head, rewriting them so I don’t sound a complete fool. I turn decisions around, looking for an option. I tell myself off. I tell others off. I revise my life to not make those mistakes I made, waste the time I’ve wasted, spend the money I’ve spent.

dysfunctiondemotivatorAnd I wonder about myself – how have I messed up so badly as to end up here alone and a mite lonely, with a cat who helps keep me awake by checking up on me as I toss and turn?. Little moths of doubt flutter about the room, batting their wings at me and leaving the dust of my misspent adulthood all over the place. Maybe it IS true that “The only consistent factor in all my dissatisfying relationships is you.”  Or me, in this case.



I think about times when I’ve accepted bad behaviour from friends, where I’ve let my boundaries fall, where I have let myself down. I think about the shoulda dones – the wishes I’d spent more time with friends, less time being busy, the friends I’ve let down or sent away. Then I think about all the things I should have accomplished by now if only I’d applied myself.


I plan desperate new diet and exercise regimes, I contemplate moving to a new place, a place where I haven’t made so many mistakes yet. I writhe at the thought of bad intimacies, poor judgment, improper financing. I vow to attend church more often. I promise to do better, to make something of my life, to be kinder and more thoughtful and just stop being misled. I remind myself that I never make good decisions after two beer.



I can’t help but wonder why, when I wake up, I review all the miseries of my life, instead of the fun stuff. There has been fun – laughs with friends, creative outpourings, more affection than I probably deserve, the opportunity to contribute…



But still the night moths flutter, each one laden with a failure here, an embarrassment there, a poor judgment, a heartbreak.

I’ve always hated moths. Way back when I was small,  I read a story about a boy named 01288582Denny who collected moths and stuck them to the wall of his bedroom with pins. At the end of the story, a giant moth comes to his window and he can hear its wings battering the walls. Then Denny is no more.

The story creeped me right out. I haven’t liked moths ever since and struggle to look at butterflies, though I adore their beauty.

Some terrors acquired early sink deep.

Some acquired late also pester. Usually at 4 AM.



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