Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Other Forever

Wildest Dreams - Tom Cochrane

"I want you when you're bad 

I want you when you're good 

I want you when you won't 

And when you think you should 

I want you when you're angry 

And when you come back down 

I'll hold you above water 

When you think that you might drown"

My hopes and wildest dreams for my own life

An evening of love
A night of cuddles and warmth
A morning of bliss
An afternoon of delight
To be followed by a lifetime together to do it all again

I want someone:
To be my eternal sunshine in grayest of days
To be the sparkle in my eye when I see you 
To be the irregular beat in my heart
To be the breath that I hold until I kiss you again

Looking for someone
...to compliment me not define me. I am happy in my own skin and can comfortably look in the mirror and know I am a good person in my own right (just want to see another face in that image, beside me) :)
...to believe in, to look into my eyes, to make me feel alive
...to hold me up (only because we are laughing so hard)
...with strength of mind and body but delicacy of both
...who can be a best friend and with time, more

...who has ambition and drive to always learn and experience new things
...(perhaps most importantly) takes the time to laugh and smile and truly enjoy life. Joie de vivre!

Things that I like: 
A drive to somewhere or nowhere
A stroll at the waters edge - yes Lake Ontario is fine :)
A bike ride through town
A hike on the Bruce Trail
A live band, well-known or up and coming
A comedy festival, movie or just the sound of laughter (yours and mine)
A chat about the day or the future
A bbq for the family and/or friends or a quiet dinner for two
A sharing of interests, your hobbies or mine
A time to hold hands, kiss and... ;)
A friend to share all that life has to offer...to create dreams and memories

And laughter...lots of laughter and smiles

Is that too much to ask? ;)

It wasn't supposed to be like this!

Sinking Like a Sunset - Tom Cochrane

I'm standing on the edge of sanity fighting with everything in me to hold on. I am so damn afraid that one day I won't be able to come back. How many times can you stretch a rubber band before it just snaps? Age itself is an enemy. 

I'm an avoider. Right now it is the only way I know how to cope. In the past week, 80% of the mail and 90% of the phone calls that have reached me have pushed me that much closer to wanting to give up. And I ask myself how stupid am I that I continue to pick up the phone and retrieve the mail. And the funny thing is, there is mail I have shoved away unopened and phone calls that I let ring on. I just can't deal sometimes. 

I am hitting a milestone in my life and of course these times encourage us to reflect. What have I become? Am I satisfied? Well when I take stock I am discouraged. IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THIS! I had a plan. It was achievable - until I was beaten down and discarded. Now, at a time when I expected to be able to enjoy the fruits of my labour - I am not working, I live life in fear, I don't like what I see in the mirror, I am more alone than I have ever been before, I don't laugh like I used to and I always seem to be fighting back tears.

For years I worked damn hard to ensure that I alone could provide a good, if not extravagant life for my two children. Nobody had to help us, nobody did help us. Not the government, not social service agencies, not their father. All we had was each other for moral, psychological and financial support. They both went on to post-secondary education and got good jobs upon graduation. And now that the only person I have to support is me....I am on the verge of losing my home and the car isn't too far behind.

But as I reach out, swallow any pride I have left and ask for help. It's not there. I foolishly allow myself to have some hope and in the end I am left feeling abandoned. 

How is it that some people can sail through life with very few clouds while others struggle to stay afloat in a leaky boat, in the middle of a gale-force storm with no supplies and broken paddles?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dare to be Different!

World Sick - Broken Social Scene

Thankfully some of us have the courage to stand up for our beliefs and not be 

bullied by the narrow-minded minority...I support the right of the Occupation 

to  stand their ground as I support Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and everyone    

else who dares to be different!!!!!!!

So the folks holding the Occupy Toronto protest in St. James park for the past month have been officially and legally evicted. I am not going to shoot my mouth off and profess to know all the ins and outs about the purpose or intent of the Occupation in Toronto, Wall Street, Oakland or anywhere else. What I feel strongly about is their courage and right to protest. It seems to me that with the exception of some inconvenience in the physical occupation of parks and traffic disruption from marches along city streets, it is very peaceful. Peaceful until they are bullied by "superiors". 

So that's it! I feel a connection because I know what it feels like. Well not the protest and speaking up for my rights part. I can only wish I had the courage to stop people from walking all over me and using me. People ask me for favours and I bend over backwards to accommodate - even at the expense of my preferences. If I say I will be there for you, You can bet that I will be! But stand up and protect myself, no I don't do that. I hide behind my wall and if you hurt me, I bury the pain. No one has known my pain, no one will every really understand it. And I will never understand the true nature of your trials either. 

The Occupation has gotten together as a united front - with strength in numbers  - to speak their mind and cry out against injustice. It doesn't really matter if you or I agree with them, for there is a good chance we don't understand what motivates them. We don't know of the pain they carry. 

If they must leave St. James park as the judge has decreed, then I hope that they leave peacefully. Not because I am unsympathetic to their cause but I don't want to see anyone harmed. No one should have their personal safety endangered simply because they chose to stand up and speak where others were afraid to. For it is those narrow-minded morons who sit in their glass houses and throw stones at the very people who made sure they were safe and free. 

Consider this quote that I found on facebook commenting on the Occupation Toronto movement...name intentionally omitted to save from further embarrassment "like get a life people...you had your protest...move on". Thankfully previous generations didn't have the same callous attitude towards the African Americans protesting against slavery, the woman fighting for equality, the Jewish population fighting for their lives...

Get a life indeed!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clicking my heels and spinning my wheels

Home - Chris Daughtry

Where is home and how do you know when you are there? Traditionally I would think that home is the place where I grew up. That would be Clarkson Street in Thunder Bay, Ontario. But I can't go back there, the people who live there would have me committed when I knocked on the door with my suitcase in hand. Was it my parent's home? Well neither one of them grew up on Clarkson Street. So maybe my home is where they grew up in Italy. His house? Her house? I don't know where to go?

Maybe home is just the place where you find love? Well, in that case, the place where I live is not home. There was love once - between a mother and her children. But the children are gone and the mother is just a figure head today. That love must be flexible and transient to continue. 

I used to think that there was a difference between a house and a home. A house was a building containing a collection of objects designed to be eye-appealing, a show piece ready for the magazine photographer to come in and capture the beauty. A home was a building that when you entered it you could almost feel the life emitting from the walls. You could sense the personality of the occupants and the love they felt. But when they go...it isn't home anymore. 

So where is my home and how do I get there? I want to go to the place where they know and love me, where I am accepted and wanted. I have driven thousands of miles and lived in many different places and I still don't know where I belong. So I pack up and get ready for another journey...but I don't know which direction to go so I sit and spin my wheels and get nowhere. 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could click our heels and be magically transported home? No questions asked or answered, just that spectacular warm fuzzy feeling that lets you know in your heart that you are where you belong with people who can't live without you nor you them. 

If there was a bridge to heaven....that is the road I would travel. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Raining Again

Into the Ocean - Blue October

I want the rain to come down and wash it away. I don't know how to put the umbrella up and I've been locked out and can't find shelter. 

I can't change my past and what I lived through with the tragedy of my family. I didn't make any of that happen and it wasn't my fault. I didn't ask to survive and I didn't want to be left alone. But I made a decision to live, to carry on. 

But it has become too easy for people to look at those events and use it as an excuse for today. 30 years later. Good God...if I was gonna crack up over those events I think I would have done it a long time ago. I am tired of fighting and thinking that I'll throw in the towel and let you win...I'll just go...quietly...

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 It's not a day or a moment...it's a lifetime of sacrifices that were made and a lifetime that I shall be thankful and remember

Highway of Heroes - The Trews

I don't think that this day can pass without considering the significance of the date. Some see luck in days like this. I spent a life time hearing about Remembrance Day being recognized on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. Today everything lined up and at 11:11 this morning the radio stopped their regular programming and I stopped to reflect. 

I am not going to jump over the fence and suggest that Remembrance Day should become a National holiday again like it was when I was growing up. Having grandparents and other relatives who served in a World War it was expected that while you didn't attend school, you most definitely attended services at the Cenotaph and more than likely a church service as well. It was not regarded as a day off to sleep in or hang with your chums...at least not in the morning. My fear is that today with fewer families having heard first hand the experiences of war that Remembrance Day would lose even more of its' significance as students given a day to attend community services would find other ways to occupy their time off. I would rather schools themselves put more effort into the education students in all grades and of all ages about the significance of Remembrance Day, the Poppy (and how to wear it properly) and the Poppy donation boxes. Even if only for one day...surely we can make that effort!

But in reality, it is not a day or a moment that we should pause, but rather a lifetime that we should remember to be grateful for the freedom that we have at the expense of people we do not know. Today we hear an individual name on the news of someone who has paid the ultimate price in our peacekeeping missions in countries far from our own. We see the motorcades making their way along the Highway of Heroes. Are we becoming desensitized to it all...to death?

I never heard a lot of stories about my grandparents experiences during the war. But an experience in my youth affected me deeply when it comes to Remembrance Day. I don't know what that was however. A veteran speaking at a service I attended perhaps. What I do know is that I cannot make it dry-eyed through a commemoration. In fact I was escorted out of a church by an usher because I got so emotional one year. It has been said that I am overly-sensitive period and this is just another manifestation of it. Perhaps. But today, I am even more saddened by what I see as apathy toward the significance of the day. Shoppers continue to shop, fewer people wear the Poppy, and the theft of Poppy donation boxes is happening with increased frequency. 

I am opposed to war, killing and conflict. To my minds eye it happens all to often with a murky line declaring a winner. Reality is we all lose. Particularly today when some countries go to war not because they are threatened but rather putting innocent lives in the line of fire for a cause that no one really understands. 

Why is it okay to bear arms and head for a country on the other side of the world to fight because your government doesn't agree with their government. On a smaller scale is this not similar to turf wars engaged in by gangs in our own communities. Where did they learn that fighting and weaponry is the way to get what you want? Is this the example we want to lead by? If you agree, I can almost guarantee that you will be as moved as I by many of the songs composed by Chris de Burgh on the subject. The following is just one example. 

Borderline - Chris de Burgh
"These are only boys and I will never know how men can see the wisdom in a war"

Ironically with the immigration that Canada has experienced from people fleeing political persecution and seeking personal freedom, you would think that these immigrants would want to pause and thank the veterans who made that freedom they have come to Canada to enjoy. 

Saturday, November 05, 2011

It May be Stormy Out Now But It Can't Rain Forever

Hold On - Good Charlotte

While there may be some personal interpretation and thoughts in this post, I will not speak to my personal experience with suicide. I do believe that it is a subject that we seem to be afraid to talk about and that does need to change. We need to be aware of what to look for. In my layman, unscientific opinion most thoughts of suicide come from loneliness and hopelessness. If we didn't feel alone, would we want to go away? As children, when we are in pain, we want our mothers near. I think that this carries on throughout life. When we feel pained we want someone near to understand, to hear, to show us hope or just to be.

This song by Good Charlotte is a perfect example of this and through the words we can feel and find hope. There is only one line that bothers me and that is: "We all have the same things to go through". Very generically speaking we may have to go through similar experiences as rights of passage. But no one can really experience it in the same way or with the same results. Nature vs Nurture and looking at things from my perspective with my soul and thoughts. 

But there are a couple of very specific reasons for the timing of this blog besides just opening a dialogue on a sensitive subject. Recently, a local boy with whom my son played baseball back in the day committed suicide. Word got out very quickly and spread like wildfire on facebook. Just as quickly a "RIP page" was set up and people were invited to share there fond memories and sorrows. The things is, they had him dead and buried and although his prognosis was not good, he was very much alive. By the end of the day the numbers of that group reminiscing grew to 500 strong. I want to know where these people were in his life? There are always signs...we need to pull our heads out of the sand and know what to look for. If this boy felt the love and strength displayed on-line would he have reconsidered his actions? We will never know. The unfortunate post-script here is that although he hung on for a time, he did pass on to the land of the angels.

Additionally, I came across a round table discussion on suicide on TV the other day. While I thought the premise of open dialogue was great, I believe that there were some parts that were a mistake to air. There was one guy (a celebrity I did not recognize) that was speaking on his personal experience with suicide. He went into very explicit detail about his feelings and thoughts before making the decision, where he was, how he did it, how it felt. He talked about feeling peace and pain free. That is precisely what suicidal people are looking for! In his words this "role model" told everyone how to get what they were looking for. If I was sitting on the fence and considering this would have pushed me over! This was not necessary to the focus of the conversation and if it needed to be there it should have been balanced with equally poignant thoughts on how it was a mistake to have tried and that the same feelings were achieved in other ways. Don't tell me how great it is going to feel while I am dying...tell me how great it is going to be if I keep breathing.   

One last thought...Is it possible that if we didn't think there was a better place to go to, maybe we would stay here? If you need a better place to be, call me I'd like to be there for you and you can be there for me! 

Thursday, November 03, 2011


Carry Me (Like a Fire In Your Heart) - Chris de Burgh

Not a song that is in the style of something the boy typically listens to but I like the message behind it. Even if I am gone I will be with you in your heart. Of course I would like to believe that I was there for both my children when they needed me...and even when they didn't :) 

When I think of the kids growing up, two specific things come to mind. One is having a day all planned out on what I wanted to accomplish and sensing the enthusiasm and innocence in one or both of their tiny faces...dropping it all to go sledding or to play a game. Coming home from work, exhausted and having to get supper started and they have the Monopoly board all ready for me! How can you not scrap all of the other "chores" and oblige them? Those spontaneous activities were some of the best times we shared! The other is talking! There wasn't a subject that was off limits. If it came to mind, we discussed it. And they learned very quickly that there was almost an anonymity when you brought up sensitive subjects in the car, because my eyes had to remain on the road. And the miles that we drove together...long distance and short. I feel very sorry for the families that drive around with movies playing for the kids - effectively detaching them from the family unit. I just can't imagine having missed out on all those intriguing, interesting and sometimes very deep and philosophical conversations with my children. 

So you're wondering when I'll get to the HIM V?

HIM V is something I tried to teach my children and I want to remind them of again today in their early adult years. It was never known by that acronym, but the message was there. In all those car conversations, in the supper routine chats, in the modeling that I displayed in my own actions. 

H - Honesty
Practice honesty always! Not everyone is honest, in fact there are those that are incapable of being truthful. With honesty there needs to be some tact, so if you are going to tell someone your opinion, make sure they are prepared to hear it. Lies have a funny way of coming back and biting you in the butt and it can be very difficult to keep your lies straight. The stress of keeping up appearances can kill you and in the end you have gained nothing. 

I - Integrity
Live your life with Integrity. Regardless of what the "Jones" may be doing around you, always be sure that you can wake up each morning and look at yourself in the mirror and like what you see. People have not been put on the earth for you to use as stepping stones to get where you want - unless you can pick them up and take them with you. Anything we gain at the expense of another is worthless in the long run. 

M - Morality
Understand what is right and wrong - and make decisions that you can live with. I'm not going to tell you what is right and what is wrong for sometimes there is no cut and dry answer and you must decide for yourself. I will also go out on a limb here and say that morality is not necessarily religion based. The church, the state and the people as a whole agree that murder is wrong. But what of abortion? Euthanasia? Think carefully...there was a time when Rosa Parks was chastised for sitting in the wrong seat. What is wrong today could be considered right tomorrow...and vice versa.

V - Values
Decide what is important to you. Set a goal. Go out and achieve it! Not having a clear understanding of what we hold of utmost importance in our life can lead us to spending a considerable amount of our life stuck in neutral and spinning our wheels. Review your values often for what we deem high priority today may not be valid 5 years hence. 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Better than Christmas?

Monster Mash - Bobby Pickett

Hallowe'en 2011
Heard on the news that Hallowe'en is second only to Christmas on the amount of money that Canadians spend on "gifts" and decorations. As a kid, back in the early 1970's we would go out for hours. There wasn't a house we didn't go to we came back with pillow cases full of goodies. Some years we would dump and go back out. I remember four mounds of sugary treats spilled onto the living room floor. We all went to the same houses but what fun it was to sit there at the end of the night holding up a special treat and excitedly shouting "Hey I got a ...!" And everyone else would dig through their mounds to see if they got one too. And Mom would stand just to the outskirts of the ring and smile. Waiting for the clamour to die down so she could hustle us off to bed.

In some ways, maybe it is better than Christmas. Everyone can get the same treats and amount of treats with no favourtism to family finances or status. Homemade costumes, costumes created from bits and pieces of items found at home or store-bought...it doesn't matter. They can all get the same reaction. In fact sometime the bought ones are not near as "cool" as the homemade ones. Plastic masks are shoved on top of the head while home done make up is proudly displayed. I don't know what the cost of store bought costumes was back in my day, but I do know that we never had them. Either Mom made our costumes or we made them from what we had or a mixture of both. Having to dress the four of us was a chore and quite often the younger ones wore what the older one had previous years. But it didn't matter...because you wouldn't even think about going out without a costume. And we started pestering and considering what those costumes would be in mid-September.

But in the early 1970's, the celebrations became tainted when news broke that some people were putting razor blades in apples. All of a sudden all candy and treats became suspect and dangerous. It was no longer safe to eat what you collected and with theft of the entire loot by older groups of kids, it wasn't safe to even collect. Hallowe'en parties became the new norm. Maybe we didn't get as much candy but at least we didn't get any of those Hallowe'en Kisses. Nobody in the house liked them and they were the only thing to still be at the bottom of the candy bag when the new year changed.

And yes it often took us till almost Christmas to eat all the loot! Gotta feel sorry for the kids today...a bag of chips today might contain 8-10 (often broken) pieces. We used to get a bag similar to what we pay $1+ for at the corner store. And don't get me started on the chocolate "bars". I've seen Smarties bigger than some of the Fun Sized bars lol! And the cost for shelling out these teasers is astronomical! Rockets and lollipops - they seem to be the same size. More and more people are heading to places like Costco and handing out full-sized chocolate bars. And it doesn't take long for the kids to find out what houses are doing that and they all head there, sometimes multiple times. Kids have gotten very critical. I have had kids complain, blatantly ask for more or just turn their nose up. But most are grateful and appreciative and are really enjoying themselves. And with a good attitude if not a well thought out costume, I enjoy the teenagers coming by later in the night so I can get rid of all the leftovers...

Although these days the whole family seems to get involved in Hallowe'en festivities, something is missing. The preparation for weeks in advance, the creativity, the innocence, the joy of running across the lawns while you kicked up the leaves arm in arm with your bestest. A parent would only be seen if they were accompanying a pre-schooler that they couldn't pawn off on an older sibling. Last night, not a child came to the door without a parent keeping a watchful eye from the sidewalk. All except for those two teenagers with bandanas across their mouth and nose, dark clothing, no treat bag...I think I would have been less intimidated if they weren't in "costume".