Wanna be Startin Somethin

Me and the little assholes. Miss those little shits!

It was February 1984, the 29th to be exact. It was a leap year so there were 306 days left in that year. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney were sitting pretty at the top of the Billboard Charts with their hit Say Say Say and Van Halen was waiting in the wings ready to JUMP.

I think fashion could easily be described as “anything goes” highlighted by mismatched colors and textures, cheap jewelry and lots of it, billowy, flowing, cropped and carefree. Hair was big and about to get bigger.

When you are ten Pop Culture is important and you look up to and emulate your role models. 1984 was a big year. Cyndi Lauper made the bold statement that “Girls just wanna have fun” Madonna burst onto the scene telling us it was sexy to be “Like A Virgin” Frankie goes to Hollywood and tells the world to “Relax” George Michaels Wham wants you to “Wake me Up Before you Go Go”, Prince had “Purple Rain” falling out of the sky and the big haired super couple of the year was Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez, I guess today they would be called De-milio. Michael Jackson starred in the Classic Pepsi commercial making Cream Soda so yesterday.

That morning I rose early and went down to our little work-out room. Aerobics was also big and I was donned in pink tights, a black leotard and leg warmers. I had a cotton head band, not really holding my hair back but it looked super cool. I looked very Olivia Newton-Johnish. I was excited because my Michael Jackson cassette was already loaded in my little black tape player and my blue puffy mats were arranged perfectly and I was all set to do my ten year old version of a Heavenly Bodies work out set to the tune of Wanna be Startin Something. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the work-out room to find all my MJ posters torn and hanging off the walls. I was devastated and I held back tears. My brothers were hiding around the corner stifling their childish giggles.

Little fuckers!! Had I been able to talk through my tears I would have told them to go jerk off in some socks or something!

So here I was in my ridiculous pink outfit, crying like a damn baby and my brothers were laughing at me. It was the worst day of my young life so far. I stomped up the stairs making sure that each step landed harder then the last and when I got to my bedroom I slammed the door and then I opened it and slammed it again, just in case everyone didn’t get it the first time.

I changed into my school clothes and dreaded spending a morning on math problems that at 39 I have never had cause to refer to. At some point during the day I passed both my brothers in the school hallway. The younger one was quiet and hung his head, not feeling like such a big man on his own. The older one was still incredibly smug and looked and me with a sneer.

My mother tried to make it better but in those days I liked to hold onto my surly anger. She must have spoken to my Dad because he came home with the medicine to bring my smile back. He brought a framed picture of Michael Jackson, better then all those torn posters put together, some silver sparkly MJ socks and an imitation of his famous silver glove. I was elated. How cool was I?

The little brats didn’t get anything. Na na na na

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Photo courtesy of bestappsforkids.com

The day was easy, it must have been Sunday morning or at least it felt like it. Easy Like Sunday Morning. I was around ten at the time and a gregarious and likeable child. I bounded out of my Holly Hobby room in my fuzzy slippers and the tantalizing smell of smoked bacon led me to our small kitchen. I remember that the kitchen appliances were an earthy green color. I remember simply because I like green and this is not relevant to my story whatsoever.

Moving along….
My mother was at the stove turning the bacon while my Dad waited anxiously to steal a cooked piece and excitably told my mother about his wild dream. It seemed silly but what did I know. He turned to me and smiled and said “ooOh Child, things are going to get easier!” I giggled. I thought things were already pretty easy. Besides brushing my teeth and remembering to pick up my dirty socks I didn’t have it so hard. What he said though reminded me of a song my Mom would sing to me. One time I had a horrible ear infection and the pain had me in tears. After giving me my banana flavored penicillin before bed she softly sang that song. My mother was tone deaf and had as much rhythm as our pasty white local librarian singing Abba in the talent competition during spring fling. Being ten though and loving my mother the way I did I felt like every time she opened her mouth it was like angels flew out!

So when my Dad excitably said that to me I knew immediately that something good was about to happen and I was Bustin Out at the seams hoping to get in on the secret before my brothers got up. My youngest brother slept like the dead and the other was at the stage where he spent a lot of time alone in his room with his Bo Derek Poster. My Mother said he was discovering himself, or exploring himself or some shit. I am not sure but his voice was beginning to sound weird and he never seemed to have any clean socks!

“Didn’t I blow your mind this time?” my Dad asked, slapping my Mom lovingly on her ass. It was times like these that I wondered if my mother ever got annoyed by my Dad’s never-ending, gigantic, best one yet plans. She continued to flip bacon and she smiled back at me and winked.

So it was over crisp bacon and scrambled eggs that I learned of our new fate. No more just Stayin Alive my Dad said, it was about time that we started living out our dreams. We were on a Love Rollercoaster and we were Born to run. So here we were, the five of us sitting around that laminate dining table on harvest gold vinyl chairs Reelin In the years.

“Mercy, mercy me!” my Mom exclaimed as my brother squeaked out his approval in a high pitched girly voice.

No more Workin for the man and wondering how you were going to rob Peter to pay Paul when Paul was flat broke. The news was like a Bridge over troubled water.

We were joining the CIRCUS!!

That very day we packed up our favorite things into our Ford Galaxy including my younger brothers sooky blanket, my older brothers Bo Derek Poster and a laundry basket full of dirty socks and of course my way too short draw-string corduroy pants and my most prized possession my glowing personality that would keep us happy for the long ride to the circus, wherever that was.

My Dad had the windows rolled down and he happily sang John Denver tunes as we put miles between us and responsibilities. Occasionally I would take a little break from amusing my family with my cute and wondrous chatter to daydream about what I was going to be in the circus. A Black Magic woman sounded like fun or maybe a Lion Tamer, an Acrobat or a Juggler. I was so excited I near peed my pants.

As we drove Into the Mystic I thought is it “Just My Imagination” because I said it before “Won’t get fooled again” but here we were driving that Ford Galaxy up my grandparents lane as my father sang along with Olivia Newton John on 8 track cassette.

So much for my dreams of being the worlds greatest illusionist, working with some of the most talented but undervalued humans ever. So much for dancing under the harvest moon in my bare feet with all the circus freaks and geeks. Alas though I was happy to hang out with my cousins and hover over the vent in my grandmothers room and spy on the adult conversation in the dining room below and stifle giggles every time my Aunt exclaimed “Good God what did you eat?” as my uncles famous farts escaped him and vibrated off the wood chair. Good times, perhaps it’s own type of circus.

Makes me miss those crazy farting buggers, every one of them.

Here’s looking at you kid

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This is a bit of a braggart post. My nine year old daughter Haley opened up her school zone last night on my laptop and was tweaking her “Soup”write up she said. I was reading it and I was instantly blown away!

She is so imaginative and descriptive.  BTW she doesn’t even like carrots (cooked) and she considers Campbells  original chicken noodle soup to be gourmet.

Needless to say I am impressed. I think she is a beautiful young writer. She sings, dances, is learning piano, plays roller derby. She is definitely well rounded.

Very little of it comes from me but this one…..maybe!

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If You think you can you’re right, If you think you can’t you’re right too!!

image courtesy of http://www.oprah.com

I used to work with a woman who used every single thing that happened in her life, directly related to her or not as an excuse to be miserable. She had been divorced for several years, so she used being single as a reason for her extreme unhappiness. She was a single mom to a daughter and she held onto her so tight that she sucked the life out of that relationship. Her daughter decided to start a new life in another Canadian city with her boyfriend and her Mother threw an absolute fit, even going as far as trying to guilt her daughter into staying. I silently cheered for the daughter as she told her Mom that it was her life and she was ready to spread her wings. Her mother called her several times a day and complained to her about her pathetic existence. It was sad really. One day I gently told her that she should take this as an opportunity to make changes to make herself happy. Get a hobby, meet people, better herself. She had a reason (very valid to herself) as to why all of those things were impossible. I find that a lot of people who are unhappy make excuses so they can stay that way. I have been guilty in the past of doing it myself.

My friend (you know who you are) told me a story tonight about how she felt bad because everyone in her peer group was getting married and because she was still single it made her feel very down on herself. We have had similar discussions in the past and I have given her some advice, not all ill received but there is always a “But”

I am not single so who am I to say but I am without my spouse a great deal of the time. My husband’s job keeps him away for weeks at a time so I know what it is like to not be a part of a couple all of the time. Our children keep me extremely busy and I dedicate a fair bit of time to ensuring they will be well-rounded, confident individuals. I also try to teach them a lot about independence because I believe very strongly that another person cannot make you happy. Happiness is an inside job. If you are not happy (and it’s not due to medical reasons) then you are the only one who can change it. There are a great deal of people who bring joy to my life, my husband and children included (most days) but none of them are responsible for my happiness. There was a time that I relied heavily on my husband for my happiness and believed that I was responsible for his. A relationship should definitely enhance you, make you better in ways but you do not become half of a person when you become half of a couple so therefore you are not half of a person when you are single. Nobody can make you feel small or insignificant without your permission.

I have a very wise friend whose favorite saying was “You are the architect of your own life, if you are not happy it is time to draw up new plans!” She did so in a very big way. She left a marriage that even though she would probably always hold a little love in her heart for him it wasn’t a relationship that brought her joy. She became a single Mom and a very important role model for her impressionable daughter. She went to school, worked long hours and sacrificed. She had a goal and she knew excuses were not going to pave a golden bridge for her. A job that she once loved took its toll on her. Though it was advantageous to her employer to have her take on the workload of three people for the price of one it was a situation that was not great for her physical or mental health but as a Mom it was easier for her to stay then rock the boat. It was EASIER but she didn’t stay, she researched and she sought out opportunities and now she wakes up everyday to oceans and palm trees and a job that has personal and professional rewards. She broke down barriers, fought stereotypes and became the exception not the rule. She is furthering her education and broadening her horizons. She is still single and it certainly doesn’t make her less of a person, she realizes that her happiness and her life are her own and that is a great thing! She just sent her baby girl off to University, in another country. She had the same initial meltdown and late night tears as I am sure every mother experiences when their nest is emptied but she also got to experience a great deal of pride because she raised a wonderfully bright young woman who loves and respects her mother and because of that she is unafraid to face the world and have her own experiences and seek her own happiness. She has raised a daughter that will not measure her self-worth by physical beauty or whether she is in a relationship or not. She will struggle and make mistakes but they won’t define her, they will present opportunities for her to learn from.

So when I hear someone who is single with no children tell me all the reasons they can’t I want shake them. You can. You are your biggest obstacle!!

There are non-single, parents every where that would LOVE to have your problems. You have the freedom to think of yourself, put your own needs first, have hobbies, explore interesting things! Opportunities don’t always fall out of the sky, sometimes we need to make them. Anything that requires effort has the potential for a great reward!

I think we need to stop short-changing ourselves, we need to believe that we are worthy of everything life has to offer. See the beauty in every day, see the bright side of things and take a couple of big steps outside of our comfort zone (often) and realize that life happens outside of the walls we have built around ourselves. See opportunities, see potential. Say yes more. Stomp on negativity and eliminate negative influences. Choose happiness. Seek reasons to feel good about yourself.

You do not need anyone to save you, but maybe you will find someone to laugh and share with while you are saving yourself!

BE FABULOUS!!!

“Your life is the fruit of your own doing, you have nobody to blame but yourself!” Joseph Carter”

P.S. No excuses Edmonton singles (cough cough)

http://singles.meetup.com/cities/ca/ab/edmonton/

Simple Things

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My grandmother Bernice was born January 5 of 1925. It’s easy to describe her but I am not sure that a description could quite do her justice. She was very simple, but not in the way that you would describe someone who was “not the sharpest knife in the drawer”, more like  ” She was two dimes short of a quarter! ” and when I say that I mean that money and material things didn’t mean anything to my grandmother. She was sensible and practical and she absolutely wanted to be surrounded by nice things, nice things to her were her family and friends. Her name, Bernice means shining star and she most definitely was the bright light that lit up our world. I can’t describe any grand gestures that made this so, I can only say that she was simply herself and in that we all felt comfortable in being ourselves. She never wanted for more, she wanted to have enough. She was a remarkable woman and I will love and treasure her memory always. The best compliment my husband ever gave to me was to say that my grandmother was one of the best people he ever met. I agree. I also like to think that there is a part of her in me that keeps shining.

We strive for all sorts of things in our lives that we think we will make us happy but my grandmother taught me that happiness is a lot simpler then we think.

Things we think will make us happy

1. Being Wealthy
2. Being thin
3. Being loved
4. Pretty things
5. A nice home

Things that will actually make us happy

1. Measuring wealth by the people you have in your life
2.Being healthy
3. Loving yourself
4. Things that can’t be seen, only felt
5. A home filled with love and laughter

Sometimes the things we stress about have simple answers. I find myself often looking up to the heavens and wondering what my grandmother would do.

♥♥

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Let it Rain

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I am sitting in my quiet living room, the soft tap tap of rain on the rooftop the only accompaniment to my wandering thoughts.

I am trying to pinpoint why I love the rain. Nobody appreciates a cloudless blue sky with the sun warm on my face any more then I do but the truth is I love the rain too. It’s a little cool in here with the windows open but I just grabbed my favorite soft fleece blanket and curled up on the coach.  There is plenty I should be doing and could be doing but I have chosen to take a break and enjoy the soft sounds of mother nature bathing the earth.

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I even like thunder and lightning.  When I was kid we used to have to sit in the hallway during storms as my mother was terrified of thunder and lightning,  as was her mother. I don’t know how that despite their fears I developed such a facination for booming thunder or electric bolts lighting up the sky but I did.

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Nature can be a thing of immeasurable beauty or at times what we think to be cruel and punishing but it should always be respected.

“Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous – indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.”

Richard Dawkins ~ River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls” Mother Teresa

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So no matter what you believe in Nature can teach us all something about life because although nature may not be in a hurry everything gets accomplished. For those of you hurrying through your life today please take an extra minute  to smell the roses, smile at a stranger, hold a door, lend a hand, share a laugh or simply take a moment to appreciate the quiet beauty around you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmVn6b7DdpA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Let’s sit and talk about shit!

I don’t see my neighbors very often or know most of them but the neighbors to the left of me I have a friendly relationship with. They have been in Edmonton for years but their homeland is Turkey and they have maintained their very thick accents. They still own property there and visit frequently so last summer when they were away I was asked to pick up their mail. They own a business and daily there were checks in the mailbox. Summer is prime time for break-ins and a full mailbox is a sure sign that your house is sitting empty. I took it upon myself  to also take care of their front yard because I thought if it was neglected it would be another sign that the occupants were away.  I mowed, watered and cut myself fresh blooms of peonies and poppies daily. It was a win win for everyone.

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This year the neighbor popped over when I was planting a rose path along the side of my house. We shared niceties and it became clear that she was interested in talking gardening. Two minutes into the conversation I was lost. The thick turkish accent made it difficult to follow along but somehow we ended up in her yard and I remarked how well her peonies and poppies were doing. I felt I had taken care of them the previous summer but they appeared healthier then ever and double in size. I was a little in awe and the neighbor was excited to share with me her secret but was having a hard time finding the words.

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She struggled the way a child would and looked to me for help. I was no help at all. It was like a riddle I couldn’t solve. The moment had the potential to quickly turn awkward because I could not follow along with the promps she was giving me except that it started with an M and my neighbor was getting slightly frustrated that she couldn’t properly convey the message she was attempting. The language barrier was quickly erecting a wall between us. All of the sudden she had that aha moment. She squatted with her backside facing her flowers like she was a dog doing her business. She smiled at me and said excitably “SHIT POOPY, SHIT POOPY” and I got it. She manured her garden. I had won charades with the neighbor!

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I want to manure my perennials and have big, beautiful blooms next year. My thought is to cut everything back in the fall, cover with a manure (or compost mixture) work into the top layer of the soil and cover with burlap. Is this the correct way to do it? I would love to ask the neighbors for advice but I am not very confident that I will get the directions correct.

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Gardeners your advice would be appreciated.

 

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