So…You Think You’re Beautiful?


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There have been a few stories as of late involving so called ‘beautiful women’ (i.e. those who are esthetically pleasing to the eye according to societal  trends and beliefs) that are behaving…now how shall I put this?  Well, quite frankly their behavior has been appalling.

Such was the case recently of one Britt McHenry who apparently works for ESPN who had her vehicle towed and launched a personal attack on the female employee who was collecting the fine that had been administered.

Oh, I know it’s aggravating to have your car towed.  Take a moment to consider your responsibility in this.  I had to run into the Safeway store last night.  Ten minutes tops I was gone.  I didn’t want to have to plug the meter $2.00 for one hour of parking.  I came back out and had a ticket.  I will fight it but still I’m not going to freak out at the clerk.  I made a choice.

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We see this happen far too often where a woman is put down because of her appearance.  I find it even sadder when another woman is doling out the insults.

I hope that someday Britt (a.k.a. Barbie) McHenry will find out what beauty really is, as all the cosmetic surgery in the world won’t enlighten her to its true meaning.

Over the last twenty years or so a rather odd and rather narrow definition of what a beautiful woman is, physically speaking, has in emerged in North America.

I still find the idea of size zero to be rather telling and it is my opinion that technology has certainly played a role in our demise.

An online article caught my attention recently.  A female artist created the ‘selfie arm’.  It was a direct jab at this sub-culture that has melted into this narcissistic mindset.  The ‘selfie arm’ looks like someone has their arm  around you and they are taking the photo of you.

Why then this obsession with what we look like at any given time the need to record it?

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Hell, I really don’t change all that much between bathroom breaks and there are far more interesting things that I would like to photograph. Sure, when I went to the Fleetwood Mac concert recently I took a photo of my daughter and I.  We were at an event though and seeing our happy faces is reminder of what an awesome concert it was.  The other thing too, is that I didn’t post this photograph.  It’s for my personal enjoyment.

And there really is much more to me than what I look like.

I am reminded of a writing workshop I took last year.  One of the attendees was older woman who looked like anyone’s dear grandmother.  She was a sweet dear.

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When she shared what she wrote that day I would never have guessed that back in the 1960’s she was one of two white women at the Apollo Theatre taking in a James Brown concert.  It was a beautiful heartfelt piece that reflected her love of music, particularly that genre.  I love chatting with people from all walks of life.  The more I do this, the more I see how it is that we are all connected.

I’ve been told I was pretty in my youth.  I never saw it, didn’t want it and considered it a liability.  I wanted to be swallowed by the walls that surrounded me and disappear.  But I had this body and these boobs and this blonde hair…and was for time I was very awkward with these accruements.  I curled up not letting anyone in.  I can assure you it was a lonely place to be.

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Still I was fortunate enough to meet people who encouraged me to change my way of thinking and it was with their love and friendship that I grew to be the woman I am today.

I love who I am becoming and I can assure that there is not a camera around that could capture the image of who I truly am.  So remember that the façade we see mirrored each day is only one aspect to who we truly are.

And while you might look good your true beauty is reflected on how you interact with everyone else on this planet.

Peace.

 

 

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The Body Temple


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As I drove in to work today at 6:00 AM to have my morning shower the radio station spoke of 12 senior students at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in Surrey who have been charged with ‘sexting’.

It is a new thing regarding youth who take pictures or have photos taken of them in sexually provocative and/or naked postures then post them on to the internet.

The 12 students were in fact circulating these images through online social media; some of the images from 13 year old students having just entered the 8th Grade.

What happened here? What did we forget to pass along to our youth in this insanity?

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We have men and women on shows such at The Bachelor & The Bachelorette who are becoming ‘celebrities’?  Am I missing something here?

These days I see toddlers with mini iPads in hand playing ‘games’?  Is this a good thing?

Apparently these games will make them smart? Can’t say that I can really comment on this but what I do know is that because of technology, because of computers they are no longer teaching cursive writing in schools.

And that is just wrong!  You have now idea how much this saddens me.

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Youth today are being robbed in oh so many ways. Flashed with images of what some obscene bastard thinks we all should look like.

They pile into a restaurant booth then pull out their iPhones and begin to ‘chat’ without uttering a word.

Lost in translation.

Kids these days seem to go from toddler to highly sexualized being in the blink of an eye.

What happened to the growing up part? The life unfolding part? The mystery part?

Now is seems youth are obsessed with appearance, with gadgets, with sex?

And where, pray tell, did the little darlings get these ideas from? Hmmm.

I also heard on the news today that a town in Montana wants to pass a law that any women wearing ‘leggings and/or Yoga pants’ in public 3 times in a row be confined to prison for 5 years.

This was a total ‘WTF’ moment for me.

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We have our babies taking selfies of their selfies and then some and posting on the internet for the world to digest never considering the consequence of their actions.

Let me ask parents this. Did you sit with your child and tell them how beautiful it is to discover their sexual self on their own terms?  To explore the body temple, revere in its mysteries and hold sacred to their sexuality as it is revealed to them.

I’m guessing that you didn’t.

Does an image of a vagina or a penis define your sexual self?  No.

And sex isn’t just about having an orgasm either.

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But if you are 13 years old and taking selfies of your ‘private’ parts…what may I ask are you actually trying to convey in your photographic essay?  Or weren’t you told to consider this aspect.

As females, we all have vaginas and a clitoris and we all have breasts.  How these parts of being operate really is determined by each of us and our individual preferences.

A little overwhelming, yes?  Not really.  Listen to the body temple.  It will guide you.

Boys all have penis’. They are expected to be quite proud of them.

The mystery of your body though is your own journey. It will define and carry you into adulthood and help shape who you are.

Respect not just the body but the unique aspects of it that make you…you.

Now ‘Game of Thrones’ may have us all believe that everyone shaved their nether regions and their chests, and their legs, and their pits….

It’s just a show people. A good one…but just a show.

The hairless phenomenon, the beauty debacle and of course the skinny business.

We’ve convinced our children that to get anywhere in this world they have to look good.

Then through the most fucked up ad campaigns, we’ve convinced them that if extreme measures are necessary…then do it.

Boob jobs, nips, tucks…

Bleached out hair, botox and collegen shots.

Size Zero.

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Diet supplements dominate the market; this obsession with appearance on one side of the coin and on the other side is the indulgence that youth today are being assured they deserve.

Just where do think this will take you?

Beauty fades. All the plastic/cosmetic surgery in the world will not change this fact.

But keep in mind that beauty is subjective. It’s mysterious, evocative and it really is in the eye of the beholder.

I’m 57 years of age, gorgeous and fat as hell at the moment.

Would I undergo a tummy tuck to rid myself of the pot belly I currently have?

HELL NO!

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Surgery is no laughing matter. I just want to get well enough to start kicking it at the gym again, to run again. These days the restrictions of my physical body as a result of the car accident and the accumulation of all the other shit I’ve endured over the last few years (i.e. cancer) has me feeling rather frail.  And I appreciate the

Ah but youth…it teases you into believing that you’ll always be just as you are.

Sorry kids.

And to the parents out there, teach your children…teach them well.

Some life lessons are tough but in my mind…no preschooler should be playing with a technology that has unfortunately been so corrupted.

If seeing boobs and cocks rocks your world…then I must say I have sympathy for you. Not empathy…just a pause of why you’re not looking past the 2 dimensional world you find yourself in.

And kiddies…if you think photos of boobies, vaginas and cocks and their hosts is the epitome of sexuality then you are sadly mistaken.  Respect yourself first and foremost.

Put down the iPhones and talk to one another.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Been a Week…


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I wrote a post on March 17, 2015, St. Patrick’s Day.  It is still in draft and will likely be disposed of as it sounded a little too much like a whine-fest!

Now like everyone on this planet…I confess that I bitch and complain about any number of things.  But at this moment I’m feeling determined.

A week ago the hot water kicked out in twelve units in our building, mine being among them.

The plumber was in my suite today and you guessed it, still no hot water.

I am fortunate that there are shower facilities at my workplace.  I can and usually do come up with a back-up plan when it’s necessary.  Hell, my hair actually looked half ways decent today considering I’ve been drying it without benefit of a mirror.

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All kidding aside, tonight as I stepped into my apartment and turned on the taps expectantly, my hopes were quickly dashed.  Still no hot water.

I spoke with Kathy the strata council president then called a plumbing company that had been recommended.

Next I drafted a letter to our property manager.

I want this corrected once and for all as I’m certain that everyone in the building does.  Re-piping a building will cost money and a lot of it.

Still, buying a condo is an investment like any other.  We knew this was an issue having had a depreciation report completed a few years back.  The purpose of the report was to begin to set up an adequate contingency fund to oversee the maintenance and repair of the major projects that should be done over the next few years.

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Last Saturday we ran out of time on the one most expensive project being the re-piping of the building.

I’m feeling rather agitated as the powers that be are dragging their heels.

Politics!

Our annual AGM is scheduled for April 27, 2015.  It was suggested that this problem of twelve suites without hot water could wait until such time as it could be discussed by everyone.

Seriously?!

Over a month?

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There are 47 units in my building so 35 are still blessed with hot water. I don’t understand the why’s or wherefores of such things. What I do know is that we need to remedy this, and we need to do this now.

Patch jobs end up being far more costly at the end of the day.

I’m not on council, though I’ve been invited.  I’ve so many other things on the go that committing time to this is just not feasible.  Still, when something requires my attention and assistance then yes, I’m in 100%.

Once the letter is sent, I wonder, will I be ignored?  This property management company hasn’t exactly been very responsive as of late.

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The pit bull in me is coming out. We need to have the building re-piped.  Let’s get on with it.  Let’s get quotes and references and of course do due diligence and check out those references.  Ask pertinent questions and make no apology.  Then go to the bank and with our finances in order and tell them this is what we need. .

At this point we go the rest of the  tenants and tell them. This is what we need to do and this is what it will cost us.

My suite is one of the biggest in the complex.  I’m having to pony up more than most. In my mind it is the cost of owning.  Sometimes shit happens.

We knew this was an issue, hence the special assessment.  We need to do the same $96,000 commitment that we did last year.  The bank will be encouraged by this.

It’s been a week though.

I’m a little numb.  Much to do and I am but one person.   I’m trying to focus on a several things. And I’ll get them all done.

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But tonight as I finished up my conversations and completed the rough draft of the letter I’m going send to the property manager, tears stung the back of my eyes.

I’m not someone who will bitch about falling out of bed at 5:45 AM to go to work to shower and prepare for the day,

In fact, I feel blessed that I have this option.

I switched phone services for my sister and myself last Sunday and it’s been a week of discovering what works and what doesn’t.

I’ve been hell bent at work to prepare an adequate budget.  This gets a check mark.

I finally got the all the journal entries put in to close the year.  Now I just have to close it.

I am looking forward to a year of bank reconciliations.

I’ve got an office to set up and a filing system to implement.

It’s in my head.

I know it will work.

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I finished up and headed over to by worked over by Physio John.

I’ve improved incredibly.

Then why I wondered did I just feel like a piece of shit?

I’ve written a book and all those that I know that have been kind enough to purchase a copy have said nothing.

Have they read it?  What was their opinion?

I’m interested.   And I know, more than anyone how tough it will be for those who do know me to read this.

Yet I’m feeling so incredibly emotional currently and it might well be attributed any number of events that have occurred as of late.

I’m not superhuman.  While my mind is buzzing along at light speed yet my physical self is crashing and screaming.  Then the optimist kicks in.

“You’ll be just fine.”

Who am I trying to convince?”

The physical inabilities are weighing heavy.  Now there’s a pun if I ever heard one.

I’ll manage.  I always do. Whatever these inconsistencies are, I get through.

Right now I’m pushing into warrior mode.  I’m tired of the politics.  They show up on every level.  It is this procrastination that has in fact cost us big time.

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For example, Translink wants more money.  In my mind they need to prove they can manage these funds.  To date, not so much.  The whole Compass program is a fiasco that still sits idle and the cost to taxpayers, well lets not go there as I’ll go for the juggler in a heart beat.

I guess what perturbs me more than anything is that residents will come to the meeting regarding the issues and insist that they shouldn’t have to pay that kind of money.

A friend of mine needs a new roof on her home.  She has been quoted that the cost will be in the $17,000 range.  Ouch!

If I have to pay $7,500 in costs for major projects over the next three years, then I can adjust my budget and do this.

And life goes on.

There are no guarantee’s, no promises.

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I can recall pulling into an Esso Gas Station some 15 odd years ago at Hastings St. & Cassiar.

A woman was standing beside her Maserati crying.

I was just finishing up my newspaper route all those years ago.

I asked her what was wrong.

She was going through a nasty divorce.  All her charge cards had been cancelled and she had no idea now how to put fuel in her car.

I smiled at her and showed her how to do this task.  At the end I told her “It will get better.  You’ll get stronger.”

Then I gave her a hug and left.

I don’t know what happened in her case but I do understand human frailty.

I’ve  been feeling this a bit too much as of late.

And I do know that life will continue on inevitably.

So I’ll wipe the tears the from eyes and get on with it.

Babies and Birth: The Birth of People, Ideas and a Book


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Last Saturday I attended Claire’s baby shower.  I am so very excited for her!  She is totally warming to the idea of motherhood now and getting rather giddy to boot.

I could see that there was a little fear in there too.  I wanted to tell her that this is a very normal response.

When the idea of a new life being born to this world hits a new mother, it can be a very powerful experience mixed with every emotion imaginable and a boatload of hormones to boot.

Claire will be just fine.

I then got to thinking of all the wonderful people I’ve met since I began writing in earnest, Claire being one of them.

She is one of the first people to have read any of my work.

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I had joined up with the New Westminster Writers Group in early February 2011 which was a critique group.  I hunted about now wanting to find another group that would provide additional information on the whole writing thing.  I found the Vancouver Writers Social Group and joined in March of 2011.  They would get together and discuss various topics.  I liked this and found it was the balance I was looking for.

While I had written all my life I can say in all honesty I really didn’t know anything about it.  When terms such as ‘steam punk, fan fiction’ and the like were bandied about I had no clue what these were.  So I listened.  Claire offered to give me some feed back on the memoir I had begun so I sent her the first chapter then met with her a week later at a coffee house near her home.

I was prepared to be critiqued.  After all this would provide additional guidance on this project I’d begun.  She looked at me rather resolutely and stated “I really like how you write.  You could possibly have a best seller here.”

I was absolutely stunned by her comments.

And it occurred to me then that perhaps I was good at this writing thing after all.

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The year of 2011 was a year of major breakthroughs on so many levels.

What I’d previously considered impossible now held merit and plausibility.  I needed to explore this further.

2011 was also a tough year emotionally.  I was stepping up to own those painful truths that I had denied for the better part of my adult life.  I was taking chances and stepping out of my comfort zone in a big way.  I discovered that my ‘comfort zone’ is simply what I’m used to, what I know and what I come to expect.  It can be a very stifling place to remain in.

Stepping outside of this mindset was the best thing I could have done to assist in my personal growth at that time.

I had to break down a few walls along the way though.

There were opportunities aplenty to change my mind and return the mediocrity of what I had known.  I teetered on this point several times.

But finally it was time to find out what was indeed on the other side of the mountain and my curiosity pushed me over the edge.

2011 was the ‘All or Nothing’ year.

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I just wanted to feel again.  I didn’t want to over analyze or question…I just wanted to experience this life fully and without inhibitions.

And I remember the night I started to write the book in true sincerity and with vision.

I’d chatted for years about penning a book.  There were many starts of fictional novels.  I started a journal back in 2004.  In a light blue duo tang folder I put a package of 200 line sheets in it.

On the over I wrote “Welcome to the Human Race:  With This In Mind”.

It took me seven years to write 100 pages of longhand.

On that January night in 2011 I reached a serious crossroad.   I’d been out with my friend Kathy and we’d had a conversation that would ultimately resonate so deeply that it propel me to change how I was living my life.  That evening I sat in the corner of my bedroom where the computer was originally set up and with a glass of red wine in had and pile of notebooks and such decided it was time.

By July 2012 I’d finished the first draft.

And it was meeting so many other writers, Keith, , John, Gareth, Amber, Jonanne, Perry, Peter, Sonya, Issac….just to name a few that propelled me forward wanting to improve my skill set.

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Claire’s initial affirmation was a major boost for my confidence and to continue on.

In the last five years I’ve finished and published my first book.  I’ve posted about 540 articles on this blog of mine and am developing six other writing projects.  A trilogy of the fantasy fiction variety exploring the evolution of the Written Word; an erotica fictional novel with the exploration of how we arrive at our sexual preferences at the core; a murder mystery and of course a romance.

This should keep me busy for a couple of years.  I also started my own publishing company and do hope to work with other writers as well.

Like all newborn’s there will be few slips and stumbles along the way.  That’s how we learn and grow.

I’m looking forward to meeting Claire and Denis’ little one.  Soon…

Peace.

 

The Responsible Writer…


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I got together with my writing group tonight.  The topic for tonight’s discussion was a provocative one.  It had in fact sparked a weird conversation on the Meet-up site. I had found the conversation rather amusing in that obscure and animated manner that we at times come across.

The topic for tonight’s discussion was the role of the ‘responsible’ writer.

An interesting notion regarding the ethics of what we write and how they impact the reading public.

Certain things were declared to keep us in the realm of respectability regarding our writing.

One was to not take a real person and fictionalize their life in a derogatory manner.

The second was not to be deceitful. Michael Moore’s ‘Bowling for Columbine’ was used as an excuse as apparently not all the things in that movie / documentary? were factual.

Still, sometimes you have to stand back and look at the message….yes?

Drive the point home by whatever means but some felt he’d been rather deceitful in the execution of telling the tale.

A lot of questions sprang to mind as I listened to the views expressed.  We all agreed that journalism is held to a very different standard than your run of mill book.

And it should be.

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The term ‘literal truth’ was a raised a few times and I sat considering what meaning this held.

It is a factual term that cannot be disputed. For example the Moon circles the Earth every twenty-eight days.  It is a literal truth that is a proven fact and cannot be altered.  Now that I had reconciled it’s meaning in my head then came the ’50 Shades of Truth.’

And I say this with tongue firmly planted in cheek.  This particular book was mentioned a time or two as well tonight.

While almost everyone and their dog that I have spoken with will tell you how poorly written it is, I ask you this?  What then was the appeal?

To say that a lot of bored housewives were out there smacks of a certain duplicity and insults women in general.

I read the first book.  Didn’t like it.  It was billed as erotica and in truth it was a poorly written romance.  Nothing more.

But I will take my hat off (if I wore one) to E.L James.  She sold this book through brilliant marketing.  Sex and controversy!  Hell, now that is combination that is irresistible.  Get the public curious and they will take note.  She also used social media much to her advantage as well.

I can recall when Michael Jackson wrote ‘Moonwalk’.  The lead up to the release was hyped to the max and ‘promised’ to give us the skinny on the ‘gloved one’ in his own words.

Personally it was a disappointment for me.

Michael was trying to sell a story he’d been parroting for years and in many ways it read as though he was trying to convince himself as well. I didn’t buy it.  And it made me sad.

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The responsible writer…provocative.

What if a woman writes about her love and adoration for her husband who happens to be extremely abusive and controlling to the outside world?  Does this set a poor example for our youth?

If a woman is raped in book and confesses to ‘liking it’ what message does this convey?

At the age of 12 or 13 I slipped beneath the covers with flashlight in hand and read my father’s copy of ‘The Happy Hooker” unbeknownst to him until I was caught.  Back in 1970 I wasn’t too certain what much of what I was reading meant, but I can assure you I was not inspired to go out and fuck a German Shepard.

We need to respect that our children are not mindless sheep who will believe everything that they read.  Also we must infuse a sense of kindness and love in them and teach them by example.

Mark Chapman read “Catcher in the Rye”  It triggered something in him and he killed John Lennon.

Is the book at fault?

No.

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Mark Chapman was mentally ill and unfortunately the object he fixated upon was a brilliant musician.  I love John Lennon’s music. His gift of song spoke to me on such a personal level.

There are many who condemn him for being and an abusive asshole.

I do not condone this type of behavior.  What  I saw was a man trying to change, wanting to be a different man, wanting to be better.

I have not always been the lovely woman I am today either.

John was not afforded certain opportunities as his life was cut short.

In high school we read two books back to back in social studies.

“Mein Kampf” and “The Diary of Ann Frank”

Quite simply the lesson was ’cause and effect’ intimately woven together and it was an incredibly powerful lesson.

One was the progression of an intelligent and extremely impotent and insecure man who was falling into the obscene and frightening belief of his own myth that he had created becoming the epitome of evil.

The other was the beautiful innocence of a girl hiding in an attic with her family experiencing the tender chutes and passions of youth only to be discovered and effectively killed.

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I have always been fascinated by the human condition and what we choose to accept or reject.  We can alter our memories particularly those that are extraordinarily painful. We can press them back and deny them simply because they are too raw and savage.

Human kind has a dark history in this regard.  Through the ages the manner by which we’ve killed our own is truly disturbing.

And it continues.  Atrocities still exist.  I see the intolerance that hate has blossomed into and the false bravado these  men try to wear.  Very sad.

Young people are taken at such a young age and fed a litany of propaganda that they later act upon.

Think about this.

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We tell our children there is a man named Santa that comes every year and flies about the world in a sleigh pulled by eight magical reindeer and delivers a gift to each and every child.  Mall Santas’ sit listening to each child’s wish list and Canada Post will even send a child a letter back if they’ve written to the North Pole.

This is of course isn’t harmful to them, is it?  There is a sweetness to it.  Oh they will eventually grow up and know that it’s not true and when they have children of their own they too will carry on the myth of Santa.

I am simply using a very base example of how myth can affect the mind of a child as I can well recall laying in bed on Christmas Eve wondering if Santa would come.  For a time I believed.

Now think of how they take young boys in the middle east and feed them fear, conditioning them to close their minds and only accept a ‘truth’ bound in darkness.  Because to raise a child up believing that by forfeiting their life serves their ‘god’ and a higher purpose is truly tragic.

What I took from the meeting this night was more in keeping with free thought, free speech and the responsibility to ensure we always have it.

 

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another One Comes to and End – A Look Back at 2014


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2014 has been a good year, a challenging year and one with many subtle and not so subtle transitions.

A year ago I was emerging from the cloud of chemo and recovering from the brutality of radiation.  My hair was like peach fuzz on me wee noggin’ and I think I stayed in for New Years last year.   My memory is still a bit spotty surrounding that time.

I can tell you what I did for New Year’s Eve two years ago in detail.  It’s just the later part of 2013 and the first few months of 2014 that have left some areas in the shade.

I was feeling rather defeated at the beginning of the year though.  This I do recall.  My feet were still a little numb and I was just a tad stuck in a job that gave me no joy.  I questioned my own intelligence at times and felt useless and insignificant.

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The shift came when I had the absolute joy of going on a cruise with a group of fabulous women that I went to school with.  It has been an absolute pleasure and delight getting to know these gals again.

Life can pull us in many directions.  Sometimes it pulls us apart.  Sometimes we find ourselves isolated and alone and wonder how it is we came to be in such a state.

I do know that at the end of every path taken that there was a starting point or perhaps it was a breaking point?

Choices are made.  Sometimes we desperately want to believe the dysfunction as it worms its way in.  It will dilute and fracture the ideas we first had though.  And they always begin with such sincerity and honest passion, don’t they?

Believing in a lie then recognizing this is a tough pill to swallow.

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When that nagging little whisper becomes a scream, best you listen to it else you’ll become deaf and indifferent to the common sense and reason that is desperately trying to intervene and prevail.

And no one likes to admit they’ve been had or taken.

God knows I shrank back from this world for a time, suspicious, hurt and wallowed in a pity pool.

I’ve met many people who’ve stayed in that state.

As I watched the ‘Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ for the millionth time, it actually made me tear up a wee bit this year.  The simplicity and beauty in the ending of the tale of how the Grinch’s heart grew ’10 times that day’.  That four letter word again…LOVE.

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Yup!  It’s a balm that will heal any and everything.

I could well have lounged once more in the pity pool considering some of the health issues that I’ve been faced with but you know, I am so over that.

There was a time when misery parties were my thing. Oh yes!  You think your life sucks?  Pull up a chair.  Let me tell you a tale of my time in hell….oooh and ahhh!

And then there was that moment of reflection when I saw the ugliness in my behavior and what it was doing to me.  That naked truth when I had to make a decision.  Either change or bury my head even further into the bed of lies I’d accepted as truth.

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Peeling off that mantle of delusion has taken some time.  Each lesson learned along the way I’ve appreciated more than you will know.  And yes, sometimes those lessons come packaged in sweet disguise.

And this year began coming out of a very dark place.  I had refused to consider Cancer’s taunt.  Yet still, for a time, the mantle of warrior was too much.  Fear crept in and the tendrils of depression stroked my ego as would a gentle lover.

Having experienced this a time or two I was able to cut it off at the pass with guns a blazing.

Oh come on!  We all love a good western, don’t we?

And now this year is coming to a close.  I’m feeling even stronger having reached a few new pinnacles.

And I’m on the cusp now.  The dreams and efforts  that I’ve been working on are about to come to fruition.

The book will be out soon.   I’ve got an idea of where I want to take this company that I’ve been forming just a few technicalities remain.

And it’s not about me.

This has and will always be about the written word and celebrating the freedom and expression that it provides.

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And as this brain of mine continues to formulate thoughts and ideas, I accept now that it never shuts down.  Sometimes I don’t like the thoughts and ideas that come to me.  But what I’ve learned is that I need to acknowledge those filaments of thought.  Sometimes they take hold and more often than not they sink back in amongst the vortex of neurons and protons that are firing away.  Those filaments will dance with ambitious delight in offering up an idea that I just may want to entertain and process further, even if it is dark in nature.

And with every night there comes a dawn and vice versa.  it is the way of the world.   Those erstwhile opposites that actually compliment each other and always have.

I was standing beside the river the other night spellbound by the beauty before me.  That moment when night kisses day good-bye.  I had that sensation wash through me of being so connected to this world that I inhabit.

I am coming to love these moments.  I feel small and yet so vital.  The mountains that stood before me have taken hundreds if not thousands of years to form.  They will remain long after my time on this earthly plain is done.

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For the moment, however, they are stuck with me.

For all of you that have followed my ramblings, I thank you and may the New Year bring your heart’s desire.

Many blessings.

 

Peace!

Good-bye 2014 and thank you!

Happy New Year to all!

 

 

 

Back in Training: Week Seven, The Christmas Week


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I’ve worked out a few times leading up to Christmas.  I worked out good and hard too!  On the 23rd I was at the gym getting my sweat on.

Time for the Christmas confessional.  I’ve imbibed a wee bit.  I’ve consumed some beer and wine over the past few days.

On the 24th at noon my boss tossed a couple of growlers up on the table and along with the rest of the staff I raised a pint to toast the season.

For the most part I’ve been quite good with not over indulging in the food area of the holidays as well.  Mind you a pizza recently visited my life as well.  I’ll man-up about this though.  I was simply too damn lazy to cook.

This occurred on the 26th.  I drove a great deal that day you see.

I visited with my sister who lives about a one hour drive away.

And as I left I went about my second task of the day which was to replace my T.V.

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I’ve had the current television for close to 15 years.  It is just the third T.V. I’ve owned in my life and still worked just fine, however, with the new technology my unit kept losing the signal.  The technicians, who were are very pleasant and based out of Guatemala did their best to assist.

The problem still persisted.  I pondered on the fact that perhaps my old tube T.V. just couldn’t translate the information adequately. I had been advised that if a technician was sent to my home and the problem was my ‘fault’ then the cost would fall to me.

Odd, yes?  I haven’t touched anything behind my T.V. other than to clean in the last 5 years.  In any case I considered what my response would be if I was informed that my T.V. was too old for the technology.

I decided that perhaps it was time to purchase a new T.V. rather than possibly causing bodily harm to a technician.

I did my homework on the Boxing Day offerings.  Had my budget set out and decided that Visions Electronics had the most lucrative deals.  Next was to find a location that would not be inundated by the masses.  In other words, I had to find a store location that was not attached to a godforsaken mall.

I decided upon the store location on Marine Drive and as I arrived it was as I suspected busy but not unreasonably so.

A young store clerk showed me my options and I asked a series of questions then I told him I would like consider my options and he left me alone. I read the fine print and half hour later waltzed out of the store with a 40″ Hisense LED Smart TV at a cost of $350.00.

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Yay!  I had met my objective.

I headed home with my purchase.  I passed the lineup on the Queensborough Bridge.  The outlet mall on Queensborough Landing was just insane as cars were lined up for miles trying to access the stores.

I was really hungry at this point so I dropped the T.V. off then headed out to grab a quick bite.  And as I consumed my meal it occurred to me that I have a ‘Smart’ phone that still confounds me on many fronts.

Now, admittedly, I really only require the basics of talking and texting from my phone.  There are a plethora of apps available to me of this I’m assured, but they hold no appeal to me personally.

They don’t really make phones with just basic functions any longer.  Still there are those moments when I’ll push something I ought not to have and the damn thing won’t do what I want.

Bloody hell!

And it is in these moments that I feel very foolish and not particularly intelligent.

For example shortly after I had purchased this smart technology, I was certain I’d found a ‘lemon’ as it was now frozen.  I went back to London Drugs and expressed my dismay to the clerk.

With a slide of his finger and an apologetic smile on his face the clerk handed the phone back to me.

I had inadvertently locked the phone.

I have this affliction though.  When it comes to directions I glance at them then launch into whatever it is I am trying to accomplish.

Why I have this idea in my head that I should know what I’m doing without the benefit of being guided by the directions that have been so thoughtfully included, well I wish I had an answer to this.

I paid the bill and headed back to my homestead to get this technological wonder up and running.

So let me ask you this.  Having just made the confession I did, do you think I read the directions prior to embarking on this task?

After all I only wanted to plug it in and ensure that it did in fact work.  How difficult could this be?

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Welcome to the episodic adventures of ‘The Dumb Blond Meets the Smart TV.’

First I had to unhook the old T.V. and this proved to be a challenge. I needed a wrench to loosen the cable that was screwed in tightly to the back of the set.  Then I pulled the cumbersome beast off onto a sheet I’d placed on the floor so that I could pull it out of the way without scraping up the floor.

Next I removed parts from the box.  The stand seemed to require screws and after a brief search that lasted a nanosecond I was convinced that his puppy snapped together like Lego as I could not find any screws.

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(Queue the music…the theme from Pyscho or Jaws will do)

Note to self:  It would have been very beneficial to have read the directions at this point.

They did in fact kinda sorta snap together.

So I crawled in behind the T.V. and began plugging in various coloured cables into various coloured plugins.

The flashlight was directed at the plugins and the batteries were fading fast. The object was so that I could see which colour I was inputing and damned if I could find a yellow plugin for the yellow cable. Briefly I wondered at their various designations.  It was at this point as I poked about the back that the T.V. that it fell forward onto the floor.

I gasped in horror as my mind immediately began trying to make excuses to trade this back to the store with no additional cost to me.  Now just how pathetic is that?

Gingerly I lifted it up and it appeared fine. My smart T.V. had just survived its first test of having me as the owner.  Laying the screen down gently I walked back over to the stuff strewn across my sofa.  There an image glared at me depicting screws going into the holes on the stand.  A few moments later said screws were located.

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I now had everything secured and hopefully plugged in correctly.

Several buttons ran down the side of the screen and I noted the power button and with baited breath pushed it.

A red light came on and I felt a small wave of triumph wash over me.  The word ‘HISENSE’ appeared on the screen in a lovely shade of light turquoise.

A tentative sense of relief slipped in.  I’d not broken it!

Now it asked me my language preference and where I lived.  It asked my provider and my password and that is as far as we got. It kept looping back.

Maybe I did damage it I thought in despair.  Would I not be able to watch a show?

I gazed down at the remote and pressed the button that said TV on it.  We had contact, baby!

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Brightly coloured people appeared on the screen unusually short and wide much to my delight.  I played with the settings and managed to get them looking fairly normal.

And the manual sat before me taunting me.  Yes, I will read it.  Just not at that moment.

My home once again resembled a war zone. I stared at my kitchen and loathed the idea of cooking.  I had tested my mental acuteness and the idea of cooking just seemed a rather exhausting task, hence, I invited a Pizza into my home.

As I nibbled on the cheesy goodness and watched ‘True Grit” on the Tele, I assured myself that I would go for a run in the morning.

At 7:00 AM I woke to the sound of rain falling outside.

People, I ran in my heart!  Truly I would have but hey, this induction back into running in the dark of morning just can’t begin with a torrential rainfall in the mix.

But yes, it is time to hit the gym and get back to training in earnest.

I had a lovely celebration with my daughter and her boyfriend.  My daughter cooked her first Turkey dinner.  She was insistent from the outset to do all of this on her own with no assistance from moi.

I smiled in pleasure as she swore like a banshee as she tried to extract the food she’d stuffed into her too small apartment oven.  In the end everything was delightfully delicious.

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This was a great Christmas.  The last few years I’ve felt the strains of battle.  The continuous fight with depression, issues with my heart and the battle with cancer.  The residue effect has been felt over the last few Christmas seasons but always I’ve been with those that I love dearly and for that I am so blessed!

This Christmas I felt as though we’d come through that darkness and a promise is beckoning.  I just have to stop and read the directions.

I am rebuilding and I’m back on track.

On the morrow I have my reading tasks set out.  Not too sure still why I feel I should know that which I do not.  Perhaps I’m simply human after all.

Cheers!

The Next Chapter


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Today marks the third anniversary of this blog.  I’ve stayed pretty much true to the purpose of its existence and over the course of time and I have written some pretty good stuff.  I have offered up some rather deep and profound insights on my posts. Some have been funny, others have expressed anger.  Poetry has been spewed forth and I have indeed babbled a lot on this forum. While some posts have been well written,  other posts have been a little on the mediocre side.  Errors abound throughout many of them. Oye!

I read my first post for example that does indeed have a number of grammatical errors in it.

I thought of going back and making corrections but decided against this.

Why?

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One of the reasons I started this blog was to exercise my chops as a wordsmith.  If I can go back now and see where a post could have potentially been great then I’ll leave the lesson in tack.

December 6th, 2011 I went in for my heart procedure.  The following day I began this blog and one year ago today I finished up cancer treatment.  At this time a year ago I was violently sick as a result of the radiation treatments.

As 2014 began, the idea that the memory loss which I had incurred as a result of chemotherapy could possibly be permanent, brought to life a fear like none I’ve ever known.  Would I be able to continue with all the plans that I’d had in place prior to this interruption in my life?

And no one knew this fear that I had.  I could not give it voice as then it would be much too real.

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I slipped into denial so easily refusing to accept what was happening to my physical body.  And of course, by doing this the rest of my being suffered the impact as well.  It really has just been in the last few months that I’ve actually come to terms with everything and thankfully my memory has returned full force as well.

It was strange emerging from the fog cancer patients affectionately call ‘chemo brain’.  Stranger yet, was reviewing some of the work I’d done in that state.  Things that normally don’t even require any thought at all, things that are so ingrained they are done habitually were challenged.  And somewhere in that fog I tried desperately to connect the dots of reason.

I’ve corrected the majority of the work but there are a couple of entries at the engineer’s office where I’ve just offered up a simple fix as I’ve no idea what my line of thinking was at that time.  It’s not a big deal. I am only $283.47 out.  I think I know what happened but at this point it’s not worth the time and effort to try to uncover this mystery and again I only think I know.  When the year wraps I’ll send a note to the accounting firm that provides the audit every year.

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Sometimes we need to look back to see how far we’ve come.  There is a benefit too in that if similar behaviours still exist how are they masking themselves?

I’ve a lot to do in the next month.  I’ve a book to release and a campaign to put together.

Christmas is fast approaching and I really need to buckle down and get this put together.  As we speak, the tree is up but the place is a mess. I’ve decorations littering the living room and kitchen.  My office has gift ideas spread throughout as they are in their infancy at this point.  Cards await my attention and I’ve got two events this weekend that are in the spirit of the season.

On Thursday evening some friends of mine met a restaurant known as the Libra Room on Commercial Drive.  Marco, who is my girlfriend’s son, bought the restaurant earlier in the year.  We had a great time.  The food was fabulous and the company even better!  Great way to kick off the Christmas season!

Yesterday we had out Christmas lunch at work.  Later I hit the gym on my way home from work.  The plan had been to tackle the Christmas cards in earnest but a gentle exhaustion enveloped me so I curled on the sofa to watch a few shows deciding to take a bit of break.

I’ve been having issues with the signal on my TV as it keeps cutting out.  So I made the call and an hour and a half later after having a lovely fellow in Guatemala trying to program my TV, I resolved that the cards would have to be done today.  Oh, and the TV is still losing the signal.  Probably needs a new modem.  I’ll have to call again but this will have to wait.

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I will be meeting with my trainer shortly. I’ve had a good week.  I’m really starting to feel tight again.  One of my co-workers mentioned yesterday that she definitely could see a difference.  So I shall endeavor.

Over the last five years I’ve changed how I live this life that I’ve been afforded.  Having lived the majority of my life in a manner that I thought I deserved, I challenged that notion and decided to go after the life I wanted.
We are conditioned from the cradle on what we should want from this life and I accepted that for a long time.

Now its time to move forward in a big way.

Enjoy your day!  Peace.

 

 

 

Feel It


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I’ve been ruminating on a few conversations as of late.  My daughter and I have discussed at length recently certain behavior patterns.  What is it that makes us revert to habits and mannerisms that are not good for us?

I had a great day yesterday.  Got out and shopped and fixed the car.  Had a stellar workout and focused on getting my home in order.  If I can get the space that I call home organized then this will reflect in my being.  I am certain of this.

Memories of an article that I read a few years back comes to mind.  It was about the psychology of clutter.  When we hang onto things that are of no apparent value or sentiment (i.e. magazines, newspapers, old bills and pay stubs, etc.) and these are just a few examples of what may be accumulated. It is actually a good indicator that you are suffering from an emotional or mental disorder.  In many cases you are holding and trying to stifle certain thoughts, emotions. There is an odd comfort in clutter it would seem.  Then of course, there are several more clues into your mental state with regard to how you manage your clutter.

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When I was going through this period of my life I can say that my clutter was very organized.  I would go through the stacks of magazines and organize each pile accordingly.  I got better with the old bills and would sit down every six months or so with a green garbage bag and tear them up if they were really old.  I’m now making it a point to get as many bills e-mailed to me as possible.

The day that I decided to get rid of the stacks of magazines was quite remarkable. The lightness of being that I experienced in that moment was truly surprising.

I had not read the article at that point as the purge of clutter began approximately ten years ago now.  Silly knick knacks covered bookshelves, coffee tables, etc. but always clean and placed just so.  In fact I had to have the coffee table placed a certain way as I found it incredibly annoying if the wood grain was running up down rather than left to right while sitting on the sofa.

Friends and family found this rather quirky behavior funny.

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These behavior patterns, however, spoke to how out of control I felt at times.  The thing about clutter though is that I could control the piles of magazine and the way the coffee table was centered.  My behavior was at times a little compulsive.

In 1994 I was engulfed in one of the darkest years of my life.  Repressed memories were surfacing in a heartbreaking manner and depression wound its tendrils tightly round me and in that year my home looked like a bomb fell on it most of the time.  Doing the simplest of tasks seemed to take a monumental amount of energy.  Clothes were washed when there were no clean ones available.  This applied to the dishes, the housework…pretty much everything.

I was lost.  During that year I read about two hundred romance novels. I found just attending to my own personal hygiene extraordinarily cumbersome.  Emerging from that year long hell, I was committed to finding a way to manage this condition.  And I’ve done very well at managing it.

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These days when I find myself wanting to partake in something that won’t be beneficial to my health, I often talk out loud to myself.

For example, last night at about 10 PM I felt like a snack.  I wasn’t hungry at all.  Yet I wanted to order a Pizza.  And if I did this, then I would likely eat way too much.

The conversation I had with self went down like this.

“I want Pizza.”

“Why do you want Pizza?”

“I just do.”

“Are you hungry?:

“No.”

“Then why do you want Pizza?”

“I deserve it.  I’ve been so good with my diet lately.”

And this was the statement that, as it slipped from lips, I jumped on. 

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“Deserve it? Why do you want to stuff your face with crap?  What type of reward is that?”

And it’s not a reward.  It is a conditioned response.

Growing up I was rewarded with food for completing chores or just behaving myself.  Cakes or cookies were the norm. I would imagine this may be the case for many children.  I did this with my child as well.  My daughter having been very good would be taken for ice cream or the like.

Unfortunately should things not be so great during the formative years rewarding oneself can morph into rather destructive behavior.  Eating can become a psychological manifestation of trying to comfort or fill an emotional void.  Furthermore it can become a punishment of sorts.

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And it can be learned behavior as well.

As I move through these moments I am always amazed at the intricacies of the brain.  What is it that keeps coming back to insist that I’m being too good and must ‘reward’ myself with things that are not good for me?

What I have come to understand is that I really need to be in the moment, experience it fully and release it.  And with this ideology comes the notion of dealing with what I’m feeling at any given time as it occurs.

Not as easy as it sounds but I shall persevere.

Thanks for stopping by.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

In Search Of….


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I took this in New Westminster in Queen’s Park

In a week I’ll be heading  back into training again and I will continue to share my journey with you.  It is my hope that I can improve my physical well being enough so that I will feel confident in training for the 1/2 Marathon that will take place in May 2015.  The 1/2 Marathon running clinic will begin in January.  I’ve got to shake off these shackles that smack of defeat.  I’m a hell of a lot tougher,  stronger and resilient than the ravages of cancer treatment.

I’ve been in an oddly reflective mood as of late. After discovering that one of my bosses’ is in fact my fourth cousin and I’ve been considering this thing we call family.

Family ties became damaged then non-existent at an early age for me. When I was a little girl I believe we interacted with family members on a regular basis.

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Cousin Mike & me at age 4

The violence in our home, however, and the acerbic attitude that my father often displayed resulted in a string of damaged relationships that unfortunately he never tried to mend.  The trickle down effect was that my sisters and I were estranged from extended family as well.

By the age of fourteen I had very little contact outside my immediate family.

I got into this thing of sending out Christmas cards, however. That became my way of letting extended family know that I was still on this planet and that I still thought of them and wished them well.

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Our dog Trixie, sister Norma & Me

I may not have seen you for twenty some odd years, but guaranteed you’d receive that seasonal greeting from me.

I’ve carried on with this tradition of mine for some 35 years or so.

I get that our family has known many tragedies. It’s tough to bond with people when they are in crisis. I know this all too well as the majority of my youth was spent in this mindset.

Hell, I didn’t even like spending time with me…

And how the fractures and traumas that occur within a family affect each of us can vary quite dramatically as well.

I pulled out all these photos that I’ve never really taken a particularly good look at. My dad’s girlfriend had inherited his estate, whatever that was, and upon her death her son Mike showed up and dumped broken bowling trophies, a moth eaten blanket my grandmother had made and grocery bags filled with old photographs that were in very bad shape along with my father’s ashes on my kitchen table.

I tucked everything away, including the ashes. I’d deal with it all in good time.

Nine years later and here I am peeking through these images and I think I appreciate them more now than I would have back when they first came into my possession.

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From left:  Gr. Grandfather James Pilling, John, little Arthur (my grandfather), Annie, Emma (Gr. Grandmother), Walter & Ellen

There was a framed image that had been haunting me. Today I discovered it was the Pilling family. In it, my great grandfather, great grandmother, my grandfather and his siblings. The photo was taken circa 1905-07 or thereabouts.

The Pilling clan dates back to the 1,700’s in the Yorkshire vicinity of England. I do know that we came over during the Battle of Hastings in 1066 from Normandy.

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Gr. Grandmother, Emma Pilling (Burrows)

As I researched these people, a part of me became incredibly curious about them. What were they like? What moved them?

My great grandfather was a carpenter. The photo of the family is so very proper. The oldest boy, John, died at 25. Another son, Albert, who was born in 1886 died the same year.

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Gr. Grandfather, James Pilling

There were tragedies just as today there still are, but then you have those moments when you just rise above it all. I found myself wondering about each individual and if they were happy. Had they been given the opportunity to garner an education? Were they pursuing their hearts desire?

Then I ventured off looking at my mother’s side of the family. I had thought my grandfather’s name was Andrew. It wasn’t. It was Andres Carl Erikson.

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My mother, Sylvia Pilling (Erikson)

Born in Iceland in 1888, he also was in World War l as was my Grandpa Pilling. On his paper work for entry into the War, they asked what his trade was. He wrote that he was musician.

My mother spoke fondly of how well he played the violin. There was a twenty plus age gap between my Grandma and Grandpa Erikson. He died just before my birth.

There was something very poignant about listing his ‘trade or calling’ as a musician.

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I took this in when I was in NY in 2011

There is not much information on this side of the family. My grandmother was Gudrun Jonasson. This was shortened to Runa. To her grandchildren she bore the Icelandic title of Uma (grandma).

She was a sweet and good woman.

The memories that I do have of my grandparents is often in shadow. Fleeting glimpses of our time together peek out at me.

I can recall making cinnamon rolls with my Grandma Pilling. She told me I would be a great cook because I didn’t rush.

I remember going to the horse races with my Grandma Erikson. She bet $2 on every horse and was so excited when she won. She was also a huge fan of $1.49 on Tuesday at Woodward’s Department store which no longer exists.

It is these little pockets of endearment that I hold so jealously close to my heart as there is a little bit of me in them.

My Grandfather Pilling took us out fishing on his boat from time to time. Once a squall was coming and he sent us below decks. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sick. The roiling waves turned my stomach into mush

At times he seems so strict, then he’d give you wink.

There were at times so many underlying messages filtering through. They were shaping me, directing who I would become.  Yet, sadly, I didn’t really know these people. Not really.

My time with them was surface time. Not a lot of depth. This was also true of the relationship I had with my parents.

When mom passed I sat with the reverend who would be officiating at her memorial. He asked me several simple questions  about her. Things that I should have known. Her favorite song, favorite colour, how my parent’s met, what her career desires were, etc., etc., etc.  In truth I didn’t know.

This woman who had birthed me was in many ways a stranger as was the man responsible for the other half of my DNA.

And with this awareness and admission came a very deep sadness.

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I took this just a few months back in August down at English Bay in Vancouver

Today as I stared at the people in the photographs it occurred that I should have known the connection. Were family stories told and embellished over the course of time?

The young boy whose arms are crossed defiantly across his chest was my grandfather…should I not have seen a bit of myself in his persona?

And I think that had I been told about them, had their stories passed along, had I felt that bond to these people a little more intimately that maybe, just maybe the search for self would have been a little easier.

Then again, that’s an awfully bold statement to put on those who’ve come before. Perhaps the honesty in this life is to really just appreciate who you are at any given time in your life and to accept and challenge to yourself to be the best person possible.

I know who I am now and I thank those who came before me.

In the human condition we can only offer our own experiences, yet what of the hopes and  dreams transferred to me through the code of genetics  and DNA and memory.

You are living your life influenced by those you’ve never known to satisfy what was unattainable to them.

Provocative thought.

And on that note I’ll say good-night.