Category: Uncategorized

Drama on the TTC…

I’m going to try and tell this as best I can. It’s a true story and emotions were charged, there was adrenaline flowing so while some parts are in high-definition, brilliant technicolour, and slow motion, there are some parts that are a hazy blur. Bear with me, I’ll do my best. Here goes:

My son and I had spent a lovely day at Taylor Creek Park in Toronto and we were on our way home. I had also picked up some super-bulky yarn for blankets or possibly snuggie’s so in addition to my large purse loaded with snacks, water, first aid kit, and all the usual accoutrements of shlepping a child around, I had a huge bag with ten very large balls of yarn in it.

We’d had a blast at Taylor Creek Park, if you call me almost having a heart attack every time my son got closer to the creek than I was comfortable with a blast. Oh, and him dropping his mitt in the creek in the process of tossing sticks in there and me having to dangle from a tree-limb like a damned spider monkey and use a large stick to fish it out for him – those mitts are handmade by moi, and so not easily sacrificed to the whims of the creek. And him fooling around and stepping out of his boot in the mud then landing back in the mud in his sock, so that I had to peel his sock off, roll up his pant cuff, and he basically went the rest of the day with one naked foot in his boot – where was I going with this? Oh yeah, aside from a few minor incidences, we had a blast. I’m grateful that my adventurous and hard-headed little monster didn’t go headlong into the creek or, worse, into the sharp rocks that line the bottom of the creek, just below the surface. I call that a win no matter what else may have gone sideways.

So we have two buses to take to get home. First the 23 Dawes to Main Station, which we ride without incident. Then the 64 Main south to Queen. The drama begins to unfold in the station.

I’m sitting on a bench at Main Station with my son and the first bus that arrives is marked ‘Not in Service.’ A bit of a letdown, but no big deal. I see a young man running for the bus. When he sees that it’s out of service he stops with a dejected sigh but no embarrassment at all which I find unusual, but nothing suspect. Maybe he’s just that confident.

Soon after an older woman catches up to him. The young man is slender and attractive, save for his rap-star getup. He’s really gone all out with the gold grill in his teeth, the super-baggy pants, the hat, the shoes. He looks like an extra for a Little Wayne music video.

I’m sitting on the bench with my son. Some time passes, and he asks me for a seat. I actually stand up because there was a woman behind me with her groceries so I’m not sure if there’s room for both of us, but there is because she has moved, and a few seconds later he pinches me, sort of like to get my attention. I think he was intending to say that we could both sit down and that he didn’t mean for me to give up my seat, but the bus is there and I’m so shocked about the pinch that I just drop it and so does he.

Now, he does something unusual getting on the bus, but I can’t remember exactly what. What I do remember is that it caused me and another woman to make eye contact.

“What is he on?” I ask.

She gives me that universal expression for ‘it sure beats me’ in response, and we board the bus.

My son, whom I shall call ‘Bob’, sits in his favourite seat, the very back corner, window, of course. I sit beside him. The young man sits in the very back on the other side of the bus along with his mature female companion, who was dressed in frumpy black clothing. The lady I had made eye contact with is sitting in the back, a seat or two in front of Bob and I.

A large Asian man boards the bus. As he is walking towards us, he makes the mistake of making eye contact with Little Wayne Junior.

“What the fuck you lookin’ at?” Shouts Junior. “If you ain’t got no money for me then sit your bitch ass down!”

The Asian takes a seat a few rows up with his back to us.

“Yeah, that’s right, punk.” Continues Junior. “You don’t know me, I’ll fuck your shit up!”

If my first clues weren’t obvious, then that one sure was. I was on high alert that trouble may be brewing. More clues were forthcoming. The next one came as we were pulling out of Main Station where he began mean-mugging a parked Police Cruiser through the bus-window, and throwing up what I can only assume are gang-signs. To this day I have no idea if there was an actual officer in the car, or if it was simply the car itself which caused this aggressive display of vitriol, what I do know is that if this guy is in a gang, he is a very small fry. First off, he’s riding the bus. Second, anybody with any type of clout at all is very low key. Only an idiot glares at the Police and throws up gang signs. The real big guys wear seat belts and drive no more than fifteen clicks over the speed limit.

So, I’ve already learned a lot about this guy. Namely that he’s probably on drugs, may be in a gang, and is definitely looking for trouble. What I was curious about was whether he already knew the Asian dude, or if he’d just randomly picked on him.

Our usual bus-ride on the 64 Main usually lasts about ten minutes, if that. I don’t even think we’ve made it to the first light when he pinches me again.

“Hey, you’re beautiful.” He slurs.

“Please don’t touch me.” I snap. He continues talking and I stare straight ahead, hitting him with an icy Dikembe Motumbo finger wag. Oh, no you don’t, is what I’m exuding. I’m really not too keen on being sexually harassed in front of my son.

I think this might have been when he mentions that he’s Colombian and that the woman with him is his mother. I don’t care. The answer is still no, but he’s still talking. The woman I’d made eye contact with takes this as her cue to move to the front of the bus. I consider moving, but this is Bob’s favourite seat, he won’t understand why I’m moving him and he may cause trouble, besides why should we move? For this punk? No. If anything does go down, I don’t want to be fettered by a very strong and frenzied little boy, angry about losing his seat for no reason discernible to him, so one goal is to keep my son as docile and cooperative as possible. Plus, in the seats we are in, I can completely block access to Bob with my body so he’s safest in the back corner with me beside him and able to quickly move in front. All of this I’m calculating in summing up my course of action, weighing options and considering all the variables. My hope is to be left alone to enjoy the rest of the ride without incident, but I’m not counting on anything but my own wits and strength. I believe the lady who has fled her seat for the front is informing the driver of the potential issue, but I can’t count on that either.

Our Colombian drug lord turns his attentions back to the Asian, all the while his mother sits in stony silence. I don’t remember what he’s saying, but he stands up, walks towards him, and begins swatting at the back of the man’s head. I assume this is the posturing men do when they want to fight, but the Asian is not responding. He wants to be left alone. He is standing just behind and to the right of the Asian man, with his left hand he is holding the railing, and I see him begin to ball up his right fist. He is about to sucker-punch the Asian, and the man has no way of seeing it coming. The other lady has moved, leaving only the mother, myself, and Bob as witnesses to what’s about to go down. My heart is pounding and this is so wrong.

I see a gaggle of young children have boarded the bus, I see elderly people, tired people, I think of my son, all in the twinkling of an eye.

The balled up fist gets tighter, then tighter, then begins to twitch.

“YOU WILL SIT DOWN AND BEHAVE YOURSELF ON THIS BUS!” I boom in a voice I rarely use and hardly recognize. There it is. The mommy-means-business voice and accompanying glare that my son laughs at and doesn’t take seriously. There’s only one difference; no matter what my son does, I’m not going to knock him the fuck out. This guy? I’ll lay him out like a… well, like a random stranger who is threatening people on the bus. No qualms. As a matter of fact, I’ll lay every beating on him that my ungrateful, hard-headed, heart-attack and grey hair inducing son should have gotten. Did you read about the snowsuit?!?

Every eye on the bus is on me. Colombia is so shocked that he obediently slinks down into the nearest seat, deflated. I’d like to think the matter settled, but it’s not.

“Mommy, you scared Bob.” My son accuses.

“I’m sorry, honey, don’t you worry. Everything is okay.” I say, in my normal, soothing tone.

Colombia stares at me with a blank expression of shock, then saunters over.

“You wanna start something?” He asks, towering over me. So now he’s posturing with me. I want to de-escalate the situation, but another part of me wants to kick his misbehaving ass. He has no right to be harassing and threatening people in the presence of children and ladies.

I’m sizing him up and deciding how to respond so he repeats the question, my son is still weakly whining about me scaring him.

“No,” I finally reply. “I’d like for you to sit in your seat and behave yourself. You are NOT going to fight in front of my son.” He continues to defiantly tower over me. “Sit down.” I say, firmly, but not unkindly. His eyes go from me to my son. I’m a little worried he’ll go for Bob but, finally, he sits. Then the bus driver shows up.

“Am I going to have to put you off the bus?” The driver asks.
Colombia stands up and mutters something about wanting his money back if he’s kicked off. The bus driver tells him he needs to behave and Colombia slinks back down and dismissively agrees to cool it. The driver returns to his post and we are on our way, once again.

It’s still not over. Colombia begins to apologize profusely, almost in tears. Apparently he just broke up with his girlfriend of four years. I do my best to sympathize without engaging too much. I really don’t want him to get the wrong idea, but I’m not made of stone and I’m a pretty understanding person when my only child and I are not being menaced. He’s laying across the seats and moaning about his difficulties, I know about hard times and I don’t hate the guy. I say something about him needing to go home and just sleep it off, and that everyone on the bus is going through their own issues. Then his eyes roll up and he slides onto the floor. I’m still not sure if something was wrong or if he was just being dramatic, but he laid there, cold, till I asked if he was okay and called out for the driver, saying I think he may need medical attention. I was concerned that he might be overdosing.

Finally his mother gets up and leans over him, liquid falls from her, and I’m not sure if she’s urinating or vomiting. It turned out that she was spilling her beer. She’s trying to wake him, the driver has stopped and is on the phone when he begins to come to. I’m thinking he’s going to wait for an ambulance, but he stands up and begins falling all over the other passengers. He’s fast approaching the gaggle of terrified children.

“Stay here, and don’t move.” I call to Bob as I rush forward, his mother is beside me.

“All right, that’s enough. Are you with him?” I say to his mother, “because it’s time for you to go.” I direct them both off the bus, keeping my arms out to make sure he doesn’t flop on anyone else. An elderly woman cries out in fear as he passes.

“Relax ma’am,” I say in my most soothing tone. “It’s alright.”

He’s off the bus and I quickly return to my seat. I feel bad for not comforting the elderly woman, but Bob is scared and alone and I need to get back to him, besides, what the hell is everybody else doing on the bus? It can’t possibly fall to me to do everything.

“Thank you,” says the Asian man, sheepishly. He’s a big guy with glasses. A gentle giant, probably accustomed to being picked on by tiny tough-guys. He doesn’t look like a fighter, but neither do I.

“No problem,” I say.

The woman sitting beside him turns around. “Are you okay?” She asks.

“I’m fine.” I say. “My adrenaline is pumping a bit. For a second I thought he was going to fight me.” All eyes on the bus are still on me. I feel a little embarrassed. I notice the men on the bus, the ones who did absolutely nothing to help, and I wonder if they would have just sat there, staring, if I’d gotten my ass whooped. They probably would have. Pussies.

My adrenaline was pumping for a while after that. I was pretty stoked up. Once I calmed down a bit I began to realize what a sad man I had dealt with and wonder if maybe I’d been a bit too harsh. He wants to be a gangster, but he’s riding the bus. He wants to be tough, but he just got put off the bus by a lady. Regardless of how he behaved he is still a human being and obviously one with problems. I know what it’s like to be sad, hurt, and painfully lonely. I know what it’s like to pretend to be something you’re not because fake friends and fake confidence are better than no friends and no confidence. My prayer is that he can make it through to the other side or at least find a happy balance and some wisdom on his journey. I wish him well.

As for the smattering of pussy men on the bus who failed to defend my honour, it’s just as well. I had everything under control and they’d likely have only made things worse. All’s well that ends well, although, I wonder how Colombia is doing and I have to admit it’s a bit of a stretch believing that he will be okay.

The Snowsuit

My son doesn’t even realize how fortunate he is to have the luxury of being ungrateful for his snowsuit. He hates it. You know why? It’s too warm, he says. Can you believe it?!? I mean, you might as well call water too wet, or the sky too blue. It’s a quality snowsuit that I scrimped and saved to buy him because I wanted him to be warm… and maybe a bit stylish too, but that’s not the point!  Yeah sure, son, why don’t I just write the company and tell them that my son’s snowsuit is too warm so I can go down in history as a nutty crank! You know what I got to wear to school in the dead of winter? An ugly brown snowsuit. I remember it to this day, it was a hideous one-piece that made me look like a giant turd! It was so ugly that Robert Munsch wrote a book about it. He made millions of dollars and I still had to wear that stinking ugly snowsuit because he technically wrote the book before I got the suit and it wasn’t actually based on me, but I know how that kid felt. I bet it’s the same suit. It was second-hand so that’s totally possible. I would have been so grateful for anything other than that damned hideous snowsuit, but I was stuck with it because that was the best my grandma could do. I’m sure any kid stuck in a brown ugly poop-suit would crawl across broken glass to have a trendy blue one-piece with matching mitts. I know I sure would have. Dammit! -End Rant

Edited to add: I had to pick up my son early from school today for an appointment and coincidentally found out that he’s been wearing the classroom charity snow pants behind my back. The ones reserved for kids who’s parents can’t afford to buy proper winter gear. Guess what colour they are. That’s right. Brown. *sigh*

Menstrual Cup 2…

Guys, go grab some tissues and hit up Pornhub. This one is for the ladies. Have fun!

So, the menstrual cup is a win. It hasn’t spilled so much as a drop, as yet. You’ll want to wear a pantyliner as there may be a minor amount of collateral leakage during the ‘freshening up’ process. It’s weird to know what to call that. You aren’t changing it, like you change a pad or a tampon, so I guess freshening up is a nice, lady-like term that doesn’t allude to the sheer gruesomeness of it.

I’ll go into detail. It kind of vacuum seals up in there and you have to reach in and wiggle it a bit to break the seal and get it out. There is a little pouk sound as it pops free and you tilt it up and, admit it, you’re going to examine the contents. No need, I’ll describe!

The blood settles at the bottom, and the clear vaginal fluid floats on the top. So it basically looks like one of those fancy layered shots they serve at the bar, but you really don’t want to drink this, and if you do, um, that’s really none of my business.

Moving right along, you dump it out in the toilet, carefully, you don’t want to drop your cup in there, and it will be a bit slippery with vaginal fluid. I fully wash the cup with soap & water, rinse well, I like to dry mine with tissue, then blow off any tissue fibres, then re-insert. I’m lucky because I have a small bathroom and can reach the sink without moving too much. If you have a bigger bathroom than me, which is everybody, then I suppose you would stuff a bit of tissue between your thighs and waddle on over to the sink. Or I suppose you could squat in front of the sink, but make sure there’s no carpet underneath you, floors cleanup easier, if there’s a problem.

Now, this is something you are not really going to want to do in a public bathroom, especially the communal type with stalls, and probably especially the co-ed bathrooms that are… yeah, I hate those. Just because we’re equal doesn’t mean we want to share a bathroom with dudes. Gross.

If you have a bathroom of the type where it’s one at a time and you can lock the door, think Starbucks, then you might be able to go for it, but still, I’d try to wait, if I could. You never know how sanitary anything is in a public bathroom. For all you know they keep their bathroom tissue loose and stacked on a dirty floor with mouse turds, and a disgruntled employee might’ve jizzed in the soap. No thanks. But in a pinch, I guess I’d trust the water.

Thankfully, you can leave it in for up to twelve hours. So hopefully that works for you.

I’d recommend changing it sooner than twelve hours. While I was awake, I changed mine every four hours, and then it was about ten hours between the time I changed it for bed, actually fell asleep, then woke up and changed it in the morning. I was a bit panicked when I woke up and I was sure I felt moisture between my legs and that the thing had sprung at least a minor leak, but my panty liner was as white as a fresh paper napkin when I checked so it must’ve been a psychosomatic sensation induced by the PTSD associated with my previous menstrual-cup-trauma.

In summation, I have to say that I’m glad I tried this and I’m going to stick with it. It works well. It’s as sanitary as you choose to make it, oh, and it can be sterilized by boiling for extra cleanliness! It’s economical and eco-friendly, which is a big sell for some, but for me, I really love that I don’t feel like I’m on my period when I’m wearing it. PMS sucks, and the whole dirtiness of the pad thing just makes me extra crabby. I hate being dirty, I hate sitting in my blood, I hate the bulky, diaper feel of it, the Always infinity memory foam ones are okay, but still. When I can’t take it anymore, I usually put in a tampon, but they leak for me a lot of the time, plus they seem to slow my flow and make the whole thing just take longer to be over with. I’m not sure if there’s some science behind that, or if it’s just me, but I’d rather just get it all out, quickly and unobstructed. Oh, and the price was good for me as well. Under $40, and it may last up to a year, longer if you choose, but I’ll go with the suggested expiry date of a year. I can definitely get my money’s worth in that timeframe. It actually works out to less than three dollars a month. Woohoo!

So my period, and experiment, is over for this month. Next month I will use it from start to finish, but I did cut out of using it a day early. When I woke up to only a few little rust-coloured drops in the bottom of the cup, I switched it out and finished up with a pad, just to let the last icky bit flow out naturally. Up to each to decide if that’s the call for them.

My only contention, if I can call it that, is that my size two seems a little big. I’m over thirty and have had a child, but he was only six pounds and I’m not really into massively hung dudes, seriously, the spot I’m looking to hit with them isn’t ten inches inside of me so I don’t need all that and it kinda hurts me. So getting the size two in there caused me some minor discomfort. Once it’s in I don’t feel it, but if I’m not moist or aroused, which, yeah, shoving a menstrual cup in there didn’t really do it for me, so maybe I should have tried the size one first. But I don’t have the size one to compare so I can’t say for sure that it would have worked for me. Maybe I just need some lube, or to think sexy thoughts.

I had this crazy dream that I got arrested and strip-searched by a cop. I won’t go into detail but that’s a good one. There were… handcuffs involved… and he spanked me. Meow!

In closing, I solemnly swear that this will be the last blog post about my menstrual cup… unless something goes horribly wrong. Or if something interesting happens and the menstrual cup is involved somehow. Stay tuned!

Menstrual Cup

So, I’m sitting here wearing a menstrual cup.

Guys, you might want to grab some nachos and go watch the game or whatever it is you do, this one isn’t for you.

I only tried a menstrual cup once in my life and it was not a good experience. In fact, it was downright traumatizing. I got the disposable kind, now, this was a long time ago so I’m hoping I get all the details straight, I think I saw the bastards that burned me in the drugstore beside the Diva Cup I wound up choosing. Ooh, I just coughed… nothing. The cup didn’t move or try to shoot out or anything. We’re good.

Anyways, I followed the directions for the cup, this is the one I tried many moons ago, and then carried on living my life, as one usually does when one is menstruating. There was a lot I loved about it, or rather, the idea of it. Not spending days on end sitting in a blood-soaked pad was the most exciting prospect of the experience. I mean, honestly, they can put a man on the moon, but us womenfolk have to spend a week out of every month, stewing in our own blood! Not that stewing in somebody else’s would make it any better, but still. It just seems so archaic. Aren’t we beyond this? We have satellites for pity sake! Google maps! 3D Printing!

Things went well for a few hours with what I will dub, the disposable cup of horror, and then I did something. I don’t remember exactly what I did because it was so prosaic. I changed positions. It might have been from sitting to standing, or standing to laying down, something like that. What I do remember is the aftermath. The entire contents of the cup dumped out in one fell swoosh, not a typo, it was a monstrous swoosh. I’ve blocked out much of the memory, and thank God this was during the infancy of camera phones, but I can recall my mortified dash for the bathroom, the resulting mess everywhere, and me, angrily hurling the rest of the cups in the trash.

I had followed the directions. Everyone who knows me knows I always follow the directions. Whether I’ve just bought a new car or a toaster my first priority is always to read the directions, cover to cover, then examine my purchase, instructions in hand, to ensure I’m familiar with the operation of my new acquisition. It might legitimately be some form of OCD I have, but that never changes. Besides, if that’s the learning curve or the price you pay for failure, then count me out. I’m usually a pretty quick-study, but I sure left my share of blood on the floor that day.

For a long time I forgot about that bloody awful experience (Pun intended, with prejudice). But I’ve been hearing more and more about these cups, more women are trying them, and many are swearing by them. I, for the reasons described above, have been wary. Every time I hear about the cup, I am reminded of my traumatic experience on that fateful day, and I cringe, ever so slightly. Yet, here I am, with my cup. So far, so good.

I got the Diva Cup, size two since I’m over thirty and have a child, and it was on sale for three dollars off. If you are under thirty and you have no kids, then you go with size one. Getting it in was a little weird – I will spare the gory details of that, but afterwards I did clean myself up around the outer area and I’m wearing a pantyliner, which of course will be useless in the face of a tsunami like the one I suffered the last time, but will suffice in the event that this works out.

I unbox the Cup, and before I even remove it, I take out, of course, my directions, and examine the little cotton storage pouch that is included. It is patterned in pink flowers with red centres. Yes, I’m on my period. I get it. Cute. Back to the directions. The Diva Cup is sold beside it’s own special wash, which is also a face and body wash? Something like that. I didn’t buy it because it seemed like a gimmicky add-on, but the directions say it’s best to wash it with unscented, non oil-based soap. Hmm, I make soap. Isn’t all soap oil-based? The very term ‘soap’ denotes the process by which oils, in conjunction with sodium hydroxide, are saponified in order to form the sudsy substance. But I digress. Long story short, maybe I should have gotten the special wash. Next time I’m in the drugstore I will take a closer look at it. But for now, I’m stuck with my regular hand wash, which happens to be antibacterial, which is instructed against. Oh well. If using the wrong kind of soap causes the elevator scene in The Shining to happen between my legs, then just damn it all to hell.

I need to wash my hands before I wash the cup so where does the cup go while I’m doing this? Not on the counter, smeared with my son’s toothpaste stains and lord knows what else he does to the surfaces when he locks himself in there, I mean, he’s four, not fourteen, but still. Boys are boys at any age. Messy. So I hold the cup gently between my lips. The ones on my face, you sicko! Already this is kind of awkward, but I manage to wash my hands and then the cup and next time I go to remove it, my hands will be washed while the cup is still safely tucked away, yes, between my other lips, enjoy the visual. Savour it. I don’t mind.

It’s too soon to tell whether I am going to come to sorely regret this decision. What I can say is that it feels a little different this time. This cup is sturdy, built to last, replace annually, the directions suggest, and it’s shaped differently. The other one was shaped like a flimsy diaphragm, and only slightly thicker than a condom, it was meant to be used for a day, I think, then tossed out. This one can be worn for twelve hours and holds half the contents of an entire average period. That sounds promising. I don’t intend to keep it in for twelve hours unless I’m sleeping, but it’s good to know. The other ‘cup’ needed to be fished out and dumped as often as you would change an ordinary tampon, if I remember correctly. I only had it in for a few hours before my ‘accident’ so I never got to really give it a fair go. Maybe it does work for others. I just don’t think it’s worth the humiliation of finding out the hard way that it doesn’t.

It’s the weekend and I’ll be home for the rest of today and most of tommorrow. Not sure if I’m going to risk wearing this thing out of the house yet, but if all is going well and I don’t wake up in the morning looking like I went on a killing spree in my sleep, then maybe I will take the chance. Wish me luck!

Two Old Men…

They leaned against a cold brick wall, years of hard living written in the lines on both their faces. Inside was the off-track wagering den where they’d place their bets and take their losses. Right now they smoked cheap cigarettes in the biting cold, closer to the entrance than they should be but who the hell cared? Long ago, or not long ago, depending on who you ask, there was an actual racetrack where these two men stood. Now they were surrounded by boutique storefronts, condos, and townhouses. Starter homes for young yuppie families.

These two derelict men used to visit that racetrack. There was a time when they belonged in this neighbourhood, when times were good, before layoffs happened, before wives left, before they sold their spot in the housing bubble but moments too soon, before they found solace in the bottom of a bottle, or pinned all their hopes on A Fleeting Chance, who came in dead last, by the way. Nowadays they were being given the bum’s rush. The Greenwood Teletheatre had become the Greenwood hole in the wall and not in a charming way. Seedy-looking hobos scared away most would-be customers, and many of the new and old homeowners in the area considered it a blight. The land had been bought out from under these unfortunates, and many others, and this was the last backyard where they were being politely tolerated until something could be done. Something that wouldn’t shine too much light on that glittering Liberal facade that many put on with their morning makeup or their shaving cologne.

Sal watched a sparse smattering of people passing him by. Toby studied his racing forms until Sal nudged him.

“You see that?” He said. Toby followed his gaze to a young mother. Her child, who looked to be a boy of about four years old, had been unsteadily hitching up his warm winter coat so he could adjust his clothing. When Toby looked up the mother had stopped and knelt down. She was reaching under the child’s coat to make adjustments to his clothing. His whole body jerked as she brusquely tugged and jerked around under the coat.

“Huh,” was all Toby said then tried to return to his forms, but Sal had a point to make.

“A woman can do that,” he said. “But if I tried to do that people would look at me funny.”

“That’s because that’s not your kid,” said Toby. “You trying to get yourself arrested?” Sal only glared at him. Toby looked back down at his racing forms and for a brief, glorious moment thought that Sal was actually going to let this go. No such luck.

“Don’t be a smartass,” said Sal, “you know I’m not talking about diddling someone else’s kid. I’m not a pervert. I’m talking about how women can get away with everything while us men have to live under a microscope. Every little move we make just gets blown all out of proportion.”

Toby knew better than to engage when Sal got into one of his tirades. Sal was already half in the bottle and Toby was headed in the same direction but, tipsy or not, he was still well aware that the ice had grown precariously thin and best to watch his step.

The woman straightened up and carried on with her son, oblivious that she was the topic of their conversation.

“I hear ya,” Toby replied.

“Yeah, but unless you’ve been married, you just don’t get it. Women are evil creatures, all of them.” Toby tried hard not to roll his eyes, and mostly succeeded. Luckily, Sal missed the slight gesture.

The men tossed their cigarettes and went back inside.

Sal’s wife had left him and took the children when Sal got laid off in the early nineties. It wasn’t because he got laid off that she left, it was actually about eight months later when he cracked two of her ribs and about three months after he graduated, with honours, to the level of full-blown alcoholic.

Toby had been a drifter for the last twenty years. He drank everyday and, yeah, sometimes things got out of hand, but he was functional, for the most part. He held jobs when he could, he relied on assistance when he couldn’t, and as long as he had a roof over his head and food in his tummy, with a few knocks of whiskey to warm it up, he was a happy camper. Of course he aspired to bigger and better things – what gambler doesn’t? – But for the most part he was content to just float along with the wind happily, drunkenly, accepting whatever lot life handed him.

Inside the parlour Toby followed Sal to their usual corner. A grape shaped waitress with curly hair was making her rounds.

“You boys need anything?” She asked.

“Coffee, tea, or you!” quipped Sal, offering a salacious wink.

“Okay, well let me know when you’re ready.” She said, unperturbed.

“Wait!” Called Toby. “Two Bud’s please.”

“You got it.” The waitress called back over her shoulder as she rolled on over to the bar.

“That fucking bitch,” Sal muttered.

“Did you really expect that to work?”

“Nothing works on these uptight bitches.” Sal snapped. “They act like they got pussies made of solid gold. Like we’re supposed to beg for it like dogs!”

“I hear ya,” lamented Toby.

“No, I don’t think you do. You think I’m crazy, or maybe just foolish, but you haven’t seen what I’ve seen. Julie was the reason why I drank so much. She didn’t do anything clear, like, that I could put a finger on, but it’s just the way she was. It was all the little things and sometimes just the stupid look on her face. She would practically force me to lay into her, then act like it was me who was the bad guy. I’m telling you, these cunts like to act like they’re angels but they’re really all the devils in disguise.”

The waitress was approaching and was well within earshot when Sal made this last remark.

“That’ll be seven dollars,” she said, dryly, still quite unfazed. Toby handed her a ten.

“Keep eight.”

“Thank you, sir.” She handed him his change.

Toby tried to remember why he hung out with Sal in the first place. He was actually an okay guy when he wasn’t ruminating on his ex-wife, or life in general, or a myriad of other things, but once his tongue got flapping, his fists usually weren’t far behind. Toby could sense that this was going to be a bad night for Sal. A lot of nights were bad nights for Sal.

Toby had no idea how they’d met, probably because they were both fall-down drunk, but he knew that if he went to the Greenwood off-track and Sal was there, they were going to hang out together. They knew each other, somehow, and they were in the same bar – one of the only off-tracks that Toby was still welcome at in the city, so it was just par for the course.

Both men slugged their beers.

“She used to say little things to me, on purpose, just to get under my skin.” Sal said after he’d clunked his beer back down on the table.

“Like what?” Toby said.

“Just stupid stuff,” Sal replied. “Like, she’d bring up bills at the worst possible time, and she’d play with her hair in a way, like, trying to be cute about it. One time she even said she wouldn’t be interested in sex until I got interested in looking for a job. That’s exactly what the bitch said! Like, how was I supposed to take that?”

“Do you think maybe she was just stressed out?”

She was stressed out?! I’m the one that lost my goddamn job! During a recession! Then she was gonna try to use the only thing I had left to try and motivate me? You can’t motivate me with what’s already mine, bitch.”

She’s not yours anymore, thought Toby. They slugged their beers in silence.

“Another time she woke up early, brought me breakfast in bed, two eggs, bacon, toast, all the trimmings. I should have known it was a setup. She watches me eat, then takes the tray and says to me, smiling, ‘I wanted you to have a nice full tummy so maybe you can go look for a job today?’ Something like that. I forget how she worded it, but it was the constant nagging that did me in. Always pestering me about the job thing. Money. It’s like that’s all women want these days. Greedy fucking cows, they are.” Sal took a quick nip and set in again with a mimicry of Julie. His mouth turned into a caricature of a duckface and out chirped a psuedo-lady voice. “The kids need shoes… We have no food… Get a job… We’re going to lose the house… It was like I never heard the fucking end of it.”

Toby finally lost it. Sal’s rendition of his ex-wife’s nagging sent Toby into a maniacal eruption of laughter. The more he tried to stop, the more he just kept right on laughing, keenly aware of Sal’s growing rage. Toby imagined Sal with steam shooting out of the top of his head and his ears and laughed even harder. He laughed right up until he felt Sal’s fist explode into his belly. He was still hitching with giggles but, with all the oxygen forced out of his lungs, the only sound was wheezy huffing.

As he caught his breath his laughter melted away exposing a furious rage hidden beneath the surface. A few guys were still watching the screens and their racing forms, but most we’re nervously surveying the fighting couple. Management whispered among themselves, probably hoping that the fight would peter out without any intervention on their part, and a few of the scruffy-looking men in the parlour yelled, some egging them on, some telling them to take their shite elsewhere.

Toby struggled to his feet, squaring with the raging Sal, who looked about ready to go on for a round.

“You know what, fuck you.”

“Oh, fuck me, right? Look at you, pussy, siding with the women. I bet you never had a pussy in your life because you are one, that’s why.”

“I wouldn’t tell you about it because you’re a piece of shit who doesn’t deserve to know what I had!” Toby’s voice had grown to a thunderous roar by the last part of his sentence. Sal was momentarily dumbfounded. He’d heard Toby yell a few times, but not like this. Toby lowered his voice and continued. “But I’ll tell you. I had a mother, used to lock me in a cage and beat me and my brother with an extension cord for no good reason. My brother died, and she said it was an accident, but I know it wasn’t because I was there. I had a woman, not a bitch, and not a pussy or a cunt or whatever you call them, but a beautiful woman, she was beautiful to me. The only woman in the world who ever really loved me, and who ever really knew me, and man, I just loved her with all my life.” Toby paused. Most of the eyes in the establishment were on him and he wished he’d just walked away, but it was too late now. “She died,” his voice cracked and he glanced down at the racing form, which he was wringing ragged in his hands. “She died and I-“ He didn’t know how to go on.

“Hey, look man, I’m sorry. Maybe your lady was… maybe she was-“

Different is what Sal was going to say, but Toby wasn’t finished yet.

“You’re an idiot, Sal. I’m done hanging around with you because you’re an idiot and I just can’t take it anymore. Neither could your wife and that’s why she’s gone. It’s not because of the devil, or because of money, or because all women are bad, it’s because you’re bad. You drove her away. You had it all, and you fucking blew it, and you blame everybody else because you just can’t accept that it’s all your own fucking fault!

Sal’s fists balled up, but something in Toby’s face deflated him like a slashed tire. He plumped down into his chair, looking quite slapped.

“Fuck you,” he said, weakly.

“No, fuck you,” Toby shot back, “You had a wife, who’s still alive, you fucking broke her ribs, and her heart, instead of being a man and here you are, drinking with the sots like you got problems! You asshole! The only problem you got is you! You’re going to either fix that problem, or you’re going to live with it till the day you die, asshole, because all the people you are blaming for your shit are too busy moving on with their own lives to toss you even a hint of a thought.”

The next moment Toby was flinging open the glass door and stepping out into the frosty air. Then he was running.

He finally dropped, panting, on a park bench near the Martin Goodman Trail at the beach. He searched his pockets for his little mickey of whiskey that he’d snuck into the off-track, but he couldn’t find it.

Must have lost it in the scuffle, he thought.

Then he put his face into his hands and cried.

It was a long walk to the nearest liquor store that wasn’t right across the street from the off-track. Toby made the walk because he didn’t want to run into Sal, but also because he needed to think.

His mother, left alone to raise two boys and a girl by herself had become a lot like Sal. She hated men, and she hated the world. She hurt people.

His own Sophia, gone forever. How unfair life could be and how cruel. His long-awaited chance at happiness, snuffed out in the blink of an eye because someone just happened to have a brain aneurysm while behind the wheel and the chain-reaction created a short list of casualties and a long list of ripples in a tragic pond.

Why build a castle when the tide can turn at any time and just wash it all out?

He thought that maybe he needed to take his own advice. What angers us in others is what we often sense but fail to see in ourselves.

He saw the glowing lights of the LCBO in the distance.

I’m going to give AA another go, he thought, as a flutter of anticipation whispered through his belly. His pace quickened, although not to his knowledge.

Tomorrow.

The End

Author’s Note:

This story was inspired by true events – one true event, I should say. I was walking my son home through the brisk cold and I did stop to adjust his clothing close to the off-track wagering place. There are always men smoking outside, and I imagined the beginning of the dialogue as something two of these men might say to each other.

Then I wondered what would happen next and the rest is history, but that really makes it seem so simple, doesn’t it? No, it really wasn’t that simple. I’ve started a lot of these stories, but I’ve finished very few. Usually I get stuck on some point and, being unable to think through it, I decide to give it a rest and maybe it’ll come to me, or maybe I don’t have time to think through it because life is happening and I have stuff I need to do, and a lot of the times nothing comes to me, or I forget about it, or I get another idea and decide to start working on that instead. There’s always an excuse not to finish things, but with the short-story section of my blog still sitting empty two weeks after its inception, I was determined to finish something.

I was actually in bed knitting when I thought back to that particular moment of the day and I realized that idea would be perfect and simple enough to sculpt into a tidy little story for my blog. I tossed my knitting aside and spent a few hours on it before I reached that inevitable point. I’m stuck. I don’t know where to go next and there are too many options. I really needed to go to bed. I have to get my son ready and get him to school in the morning.

So it’s the next day, and my son is at school, and I head straight to my story. I read through it with a fresh head and the direction seemed to be pretty clear. I’ll keep my own personal experiences to myself, but I used my knowledge to build my imaginary characters and then it was just a matter of how they would behave, being who they are. I wanted them to be authentic and natural and I hope I achieved that. As it unfolded Toby emerged as my favourite, Sal as my not-so favourite, but Sal’s story doesn’t really get told. We are left to wonder what shaped Sal’s personality, and whether or not he can overcome it. I say ‘we’ because I wonder and I hope you do too.

I didn’t write this story to condemn anyone, or to glorify anyone. I suppose my beliefs can’t help but bleed through into my writing, but when I read over this story I sense the recurring theme that there is more depth to people than what’s on the surface. For my part, I simply tried to be authentic. Everyone is free to form their own take on it, though. It’s art, after all.

Thank you for taking the time to read my little story. If you are reading this now, know that it means a lot to me and that I’m grateful for you. It’s a lot more motivating to write knowing that someone, other than me, will be enjoying my work. Feel free to share, by linking directly to my site, if you think that others would enjoy also!

Female Sexuality…

What is the sex-life of someone who shames females for their sexuality like? It really must be so dull and boring. I once had a guy tell me that he wouldn’t respect a woman who wanted to have a threesome. Seriously, what in the actual fuck?! Little did he know he’d just talked himself out of an invite to my next threesome. What a tool.

I can just imagine him, married, ten years down the line:

“Honey, I was thinking maybe we could try something a little different tonight.”

“Me too, princess, I’m in the mood to live dangerously. Tell you what, instead of mild, lets have our wings with hot sauce!”

“Last time we did that you started crying like a little girl.”

“Yeah, I did, didn’t I. Okay, maybe we’ll ease our way in with some medium, it’s still pretty spicy.”

“Actually, I was thinking about doing something a little different… sexually.”

“Oh God, not the thing with the lights again! What kind of WHORE does it with the lights on?! Honestly, it’s like you’re not even the woman that I married anymore. You’ve become some raging slut that wants to try all these new things! Doggystyle??? Lights on??? Who ARE you?!”

“Honey, we’ve been married a long time. I just wanted-”

“Look, I let you get on top that one time? REMEMBER!? What, did that mean NOTHING to you?!”

“I’m sorry I-”

“Well you can forget about doing that again anytime soon. I thought it meant something to you but since nothing satisfies you, maybe we should just stop doing it altogether!”

“I’m really sorry, honey, let’s just enjoy our spicy wings.”

“Forget it. I’m not in the mood anymore. We are having mild.”

Yup, tool. Guys like that don’t even realize that sex is actually supposed to be fun… and maybe even a little weird. That same girl who settles for missionary with the lights off time and time again for all eternity probably isn’t doing it because she’s a prude who hates sex. She’s settling for crappy sex because she loves Mr. Mildwings and sex isn’t everything. But it is something. And it can be a very nice something too!

Maybe Mr. Mildwings worries that a girl who is sexually adventurous won’t be easily satisfied and maybe he’s right, but when she is, it’ll be so worth it to know that you earned it by stepping out of your little box and abandoning your comfort zone for the great vast beyonds of sexual bliss. And, honestly, a woman who is in tune with her sexuality can get off using just about anything. I once got myself off using two refrigerator magnets and some dental floss. I was like the MacGyver of sex! (Ladies, don’t try that one at home… unless you have no qualms about explaining yourself to a paramedic.)

Sex is so much more than just missionary with the lights off. It’s missionary with the lights on. It’s doggy-style in the kitchen, it’s threesomes, it’s leather, it’s ropes and spankings, it’s getting buck-naked in the great outdoors during the crisp refreshing month of October and ravaging each other like rabid wolves amid a cascade of falling autumn leaves, panting, moaning, and howling under the full moon in the conservation area just five miles north of- sorry, I got carried away for a minute.

What was I saying? Oh, right…

My point is that sex is about so much more than just fitting certain pieces together and monotonously grinding away till you get gravy.  For some it’s about having that spiritual connection that transcends space and time and commits two people together for life, come what may. Meh, that’s not really my thing, but to each their own. As for me, I will quote my all-time favourite author, Mr. Stephen King:

“There’s something to be said for a shorter, more intense experience.”

He wasn’t talking about sex, mind you, he was referring to his collection of short stories, but still. Tomato, tomato.

Just because a woman comes into your life only for fun, with no intention of becoming a permanent fixture, doesn’t mean she isn’t worthy of any respect. To me, a woman who knows what she wants and makes no apologies for who she is, is better off than miserable old Mrs. Mildwings. Now, obviously if you hurt someone, you should apologize, but a woman who is honest with herself, will generally be pretty honest with others so there shouldn’t be any hurt feelings.

Let me paraphrase: if you are leaving a trail of broken hearts in your wake, then you are doing something very wrong.

So, I’m certainly not the one you want to take relationship advice from, but what I can tell you, is how to have great sex. It’s actually really simple and there are only three tips you need to follow in order to have the best sex of your life. Listen up, men, because this part is for dudes too.

  1. Listen
    1. Not just with your ears, listen with your whole body. Be open to the vibes and sensations your partner (or partners) is putting out.
    2. Be more focused on listening and picking up your partner’s cues, than you are about your own pleasure, for as long as you can before things get carried away and it’s every ‘participant’ for themselves.
  2. Let Go
    1. Forget about your hair, or the cellulite on your butt, don’t think about how tiny your penis is, or how disappointed she will be when it inevitably ends in two seconds. Just enjoy the moment… or seconds. Whatever you have (in yourself and your partner), make the most of it and focus only on the beauty of it and the pleasurable sensations that you are both giving and receiving. Lose yourself in these sensations and all self-consciousness will melt away, leaving only ecstasy and fulfillment.
    2. Let go of any rigidness or set ideas about how this will go down. Be open and willing to be flexible with your partner – anal should usually be discussed and agreed on beforehand, don’t expect a lady to be that flexible.
  3. Don’t be a judgemental prick
    1. Nothing kills the mood faster than knowing you are being judged. Don’t be a dick. Lose yourself in the moment and remember, nobody is perfect, but everybody is beautiful.
    2. It can be hard to let go when you feel you are being judged. Sometimes these feelings can come from a partner, or sometimes they can be all in your head. If it’s the partner, ditch them and find someone new… unless you married them in which case there will need to be long, boring (and possibly awkward) talks about it and even enduring those might not help. Good luck. If it’s all in your head, then just remember, they might be feeling the same way and by taking the lead and focusing more on them, asking them what they want to do, doing more of what they respond to, they might be encouraged to do the same, leading to good times for you both. All you can do is your best and if that’s not good enough, then just worry about getting yourself off and then ditching them for someone who makes you feel more comfortable and at ease.

So, I hope some of you found my thoughts insightful and maybe even helpful. Don’t forget to be safe, clean, and use birth control!

 

xoxox

Miss WILDwings (Oh yeah, I totally did that.)

Make Fear Your Bitch…

Earlier this month, I turned thirty-four years old. Yesterday, I got on an airplane for the first time ever. It didn’t take me this long because I was afraid to fly. It’s just that the money, spare time, and opportunity has never presented itself or been a priority.

I have a four year old son who did not accompany me, and being a mother has made me a bit more vulnerable than I’m used to. I’ll admit it, I was scared. Sure, you’re remembering the colloquial statistic that we are safer in airplanes than we are in cars, probably because there are a lot more people driving cars than flying in planes. If we all flew as much as we drove, I’m sure plane crashes would be a bit more common, but I digress. I was afraid.

I was afraid my plane would be the one-off and that I’d never see my son again. I was afraid that I was marching towards a death-sentence. I thought about all the things that could go wrong; massive earthquake grounding all flights and possibly ending life as we know it, all while I’m stranded across the country and unable to protect my son; terrorist attack; obviously a plane crash into icy, tumultuous water, slowly freezing to death as I desperately cling to an ice floe in a violently churning body of water miles away from any civilization or possible rescue; my house burning down while I’m away, just my lucky day, my space heater started smoking about a half hour before my car was to arrive and whisk me off to the airport, and I had to unplug it and watch it until I left to make sure no embers remained smouldering away in secrecy within, ready to burst into flames after my departure and consume our happy home.

I’ve never left my son for this amount of time before. I’ve never been this far away from him before. I also felt guilty for leaving him so soon after Christmas and making him leave many of his new toys behind to spend a week with his auntie and cousins. It’s a very hard thing for most mothers to do. It was a hard thing for me to do.

My legs felt wobbly and my tummy ached as I made my way through the airport. Anyone who passed a glance over me could easily tell I was brand new. I sucked it up and asked myself this question: Who are you? Are you a lion, or a frightened little gazelle?

I still felt scared, but I was going to eat my meal, fear or no.

I’ve faced a lot of things in my life that terrified me. I’m a girl, alone in this cold hard world with no protection other than my own wits and strength. I’m a warrior. I’ve paid my dues to be who I am and to know what I know.

As I sat in the terminal, waiting to board, I thought that just maybe I’d seen my son for the last time. I thought about him and what my final message to him would be, if I ever got the chance. This is what I came up with:

 

Listen.

Be brave. Make fear your bitch, and make wisdom your master. Never get these twisted.

Always seek to understand; the world, circumstances, others, and more importantly, yourself.

Be honest; with others, but more importantly, with yourself.

Do what is right, regardless of what everyone else is doing; don’t jump into the mud with the pigs.

Never make the mistake of thinking you are perfect; be humble, or be humbled.

Be quick to admit your mistakes and correct them.

Find your own purpose and live for it, not for the approval of others.

There is good to be found in everything. Look for it. Beauty is everywhere. Be observant.

You are always right where you are meant to be. Embrace and master every circumstance you find yourself in. Learn to live in the balance between clinging and pushing away. Live with intention and detachment.

Believe in God. He is real. Do not believe what other people tell you about what God wants of you. Seek Him for yourself and don’t be afraid of what you might find. Be brave and listen. There is a Holy Spirit and if you can tap into it, you can march through the fires of hell and not be destroyed. Listen. Your body may be harmed, but your spirit will be unbreakable, and every trap set out to harm you will only work to make you stronger.

Trust in God.

Get to know God.

Seek God.

Listen.

I love you. With all my heart and with all my soul I love you. I always have, and I always will. There is nothing that can ever change or diminish my love for you; absolutely nothing.

I’m writing this now so indeed I survived my first plane-ride. I’m hoping to live long enough to teach my son all these things myself. I want to live long enough to be certain he fully understands.

Flying in an airplane turned out to be pretty interesting. I especially loved the takeoff and the landing. The middle was actually quite boring and cramped. At least in a car you can pull over and stretch your legs. Hours of clouds gets pretty monotonous and you really can’t make out anything on the ground. What I thought were cars might have actually been buildings, or maybe even city blocks. I have no idea. It didn’t even feel like we were moving, even though the little flight navigator said we were going five hundred miles per hour. It felt like we were in a big ship, in a slow-motion crawl along a calm sea of foamy clouds. Some turbulence might have actually livened things up a bit.

I sat in a window seat. The plane was a lot smaller than I expected and my row mates were practically in my lap. More than one person farted during the flight and various human odours constantly permeated the stale pressurized air. It was pretty neat watching the truck with the robotic arm spraying the wing with de-icing solution. I kept thinking the plane was about to lift off as it taxied towards the runway, when it finally fired up it was unmistakable. No turning back. As it lifted, I imagined it swiftly plummeting back into the earth in a fiery crash and for some reason, it made me giggle. I’d made my choice, this was my meal and I was going to enjoy it; every last minute of it. Another random thought sent me into gales of laughter as I watched the ground fall away and we were air bound. If we were going down, I was apparently going with a grin.

I’m grateful for the experience and I’m still having a wonderful time. My fear is in pocket, and as for the flight home, well, bring it on, come what may.

Merry Knitting Christmas!

For the last week I have been knitting like a mad woman. This happens every year. I say I’m not going to knit anything and low and behold, I end up frantically knitting gifts at the last minute. The piece I’m working on right now is actually for myself.

It all started with a simple compliment. One of my son’s teachers complimented his hand-made mittens. They are his favourite because they are fingerless. They are designed for lighter weather, but he’d wear them in a blizzard if I’d let him. They are warm enough, but they aren’t as warm as those puffy ones that make your hands about as dextrous as giant snowballs.

I had been on the fence about what to get his teachers for Christmas, my best chance at buttering them up and pushing my little cherub into their good graces for the upcoming year, when I decided that those mitts would be perfect. They are made with super wash wool, making them washable and super-warm, they are fingerless, meaning that the teachers won’t have to take them off every time a child needs help with a zipper or a runny nose, or to take pictures for the class blog. As well, the wool is also very hearty and long-lasting – my son is on his second (or third?) year with his and he will likely outgrow, or lose, them before he destroys them. He is a very rough and tumble boy who cannot keep anything nice. The fact that his mitts have survived really says a lot about the quality of the wool.

So for my son I had made mitts and a full toque, but for myself and his teachers, I went with ear warmers instead. Ladies tend to wear their hair in different styles and toques are rarely forgiving to those styles so an ear warmer is generally better suited to do the job without too much collateral damage.

I wish I’d had some time to come up with an interesting pattern or some colour work, but I figure spending about six hours per teacher on a straight up ribbing and stockinette set seemed reasonable. If you count time plus materials, it’s a seventy dollar set, and that’s being as fair and generous as possible. He has three teachers, whom he adores, so they each got a mitt and ear warmer set in their own colour which I personally chose based on their skin tones and eye colours. I had to do one size fits all, which is pretty safe when it comes to mitts and hats because, if I’d tried to measure them the jig would have been up.

But I haven’t done much reading, and I haven’t done any writing. And now I have more sets to make.

I am visiting my birth-mother after Christmas – long story, not for right now. And I decided that instead of giving her some of my hand-made soap – or in addition to, I haven’t decided yet, I’m going to make her the same set that I made for my son’s teachers. And of course I can’t forget my sister, who is my best friend and well worth a handmade gift. If I make for her, I would also love to make a matching set for her daughter, which means altering the size slightly, no biggie, and less materials. But the rub with that is that I’ve now made a few things for my sister and her little girl, and I’ve made nothing for her son or her husband and I really don’t want to overlook them again. So I’m trying to come up with a complimentary colour to use for them, I’m liking navy and I have it on hand so that solves that, but for the boys, I have only two skeins of navy and I will need to make full toques for them, so I’m likely to run out of navy before I can get them all done. Meaning I will likely have to work another colour in there and spare the navy wool using some clever colour work.

I’m halfway finished my own set, making four total, and I still have five sets left to make. That will be nine sets total. That is fifty four hours of tireless labour. Even if you exclude the six hours I spend on my own, it’s still 48 hours of knitting, and there are less than four days till Christmas. I may be a bit of a masochist.

I’m guessing that there is no way my sister and her family’s will be done in time for Christmas, but she is my sister and she loves me so she will forgive a belated gift. Especially one of my gifts. I don’t half-ass things. If you’ve made it onto my ‘nice’ list, I can gauran-got-damn-tee that you are going to get a gift that will knock your socks off. Or maybe they will be socks. Beautiful, hand-made ones, the luxury of which you have never felt in your life.

The point is, a lot of love and time goes into hand-made gifts. Those teachers put a lot of love and time into my son who, admittedly, is a handful, and they deserve every hour spent on their gift, I only wish I had time to make gifts for the gym/music teacher and the librarian, who I overlooked, and the crossing guard, who I almost overlooked and winded up getting a Timmies gift card, and everyone else who makes my son’s time at school a safe and educational experience. Really, they are my heroes. Knitting them winter warmies is the best way I know how to say Merry Christmas and thank you… I mean, show it with actions. Obviously I could easily just say the words, which I did, but showing gratitude with thoughtful gifts made with love and quality materials is my way of expressing my feelings for them, which are warm and fuzzy feelings.

So I guess in closing, Christmas is not about material things, but also, it is. I really hate when cheapskates prattle on about how commercial Christmas is. As if there’s no reason for it. When you love or appreciate someone, you show them by doing something for them or giving them something thoughtful and special. Actions speak louder than words and while thanks are always appreciated, giving back is generally more appropriate and better appreciated than simple lip service. I could tell my son I love him till I’m blue in the face, I could smother him in a million kisses, and I’m probably closer to two million by now – I like to get him while he’s sleeping, muahahahaha! But those words and kisses don’t put food in his belly and I show my love for him by feeding and clothing him. So, go out there, think about the person you love and appreciate the most; what they’d love to have but would never buy for themselves, and get them that thing. If you can make beautiful things, then invest the time and do it, if not, then buy, and if you can’t do that, then do them a service that you can offer.

Don’t be that grinch who just uselessly complains about everything as an excuse to be stingy and selfish. Or be that grinch but just know that that attitude will not get you on my nice list and will not get you any cozy winter warmies from me! To everyone else: Merry Christmas!!!

Magnify the Good…

T’is the season… *sigh* the season for perpetual hope, miracles, positivity. Why am I not seeing it?

I think I need to take a little break from social media. As a matter of fact, anytime anything horrific happens in the news, it’s a good time to take a break from social media because everyone and their uncle Bob is going to be posting about it; gruesome pictures of dead children, horrible stories, and even worse opinions. It’s enough to drive a black cloud over even the most sunny and optimistic soul. I’m admittedly not the most sunny and optimistic soul. I like to fancy myself happily balanced between optimistic and realistic, but I know that it’s a delicate balance and one that I must maintain; too much negativity and it’s back to crippling depression-ville, population: me. So I have to watch what I take in and what I allow to infiltrate my being.

It never seems to end. Syrian refugees, then an attack in Paris, and just as soon as the chatter is starting to peter out about that and my feeds are starting to brighten again, there’s another massacre in America.

It’s just never going to stop and people are never going to stop sharing the poison and passing the kool-aid. It’s like the devil’s flu and it just never stops making the rounds. So, if I take a break anytime anything horrific happens, I will basically be taking a permanent vacation from social media, because it’s one thing after another, with maybe a brief smattering of cute or funny cats hiding out amongst the carnage. Now that we are so connected, we have to hear about every single crisis going on the world. There is always disaster happening somewhere in the world and it’s been this way since the dawn of time, we all take our turn at the whipping post, but it is only now that, unless we live under a rock, we are bombarded with the horrific details of one after another, after another. This can’t be good for our spirits. This can’t be good for our minds.

Bad things are happening in the world. They shouldn’t be ignored. But they also shouldn’t be magnified and exploited. Imagine, for a second, that someone goes into labour, or gets into a fender bender, what does everyone do? They stop and look. In the case of the fender bender, they might only slow down to look, but just about everyone does it. What does that do? It causes more people to slow down and look. Pretty soon we’re all crawling, everyone is stagnant and staring at this interesting thing that has happened. Out of all of those looky-loos, how many are actually qualified, willing, and able to do something about it? How many are needed to do something about it? But yet we all have to get our eyeful, even though it’s really only entertainment for us if we’re not there to help, able to help, or needed to help. Just like entertainment, it riles our senses, makes us feel, and makes us think. Some of us are nudging each other and sharing our thoughts, feelings, and opinions among friends, or even with whichever random stranger happens to be beside us or within earshot.

Every tragedy doesn’t need to be exploited and turned into a soapbox and a spectacle.

If you can help then help. If you aren’t qualified, willing, or able, then maybe move along and try to brighten someone’s day with some cute or funny cats or something.

As much as I try to ignore the bad, yes, I know it’s happening, no, there’s nothing I can do about it that I’m not already doing, and no, being sad about it doesn’t help anyone and just makes the world a sadder place so I’m not going to cry and be miserable, it sometimes pops up in the least expected places. A simple post, explaining that the food bank doesn’t have enough adequate food to feed people, especially with the influx of refugees, and asking people to please dig extra deep and give what they can this holiday season is a nice, reasonable post, which should have some pretty positive and uplifting feedback, no? Most of it was positive. Most of it was positive. That is worth repeating. But there always has to be the few who just cloud it up with their negativity, “why don’t they get educations and jobs?” “Dads need to step up and feed their own kids.” “Poor people are just lazy.” “It’s all the government’s fault.” “We can’t afford these Syrians.” “People steal the donations.” Like, geez, the lady asked people to give donations, not sermons and excuses. You either have and are willing to give, or you can’t or won’t give. Your choice.

My journal, my blog, is not the space for that. My space is for harmony, and hopefully fun and interesting topics. I guess when the world gets to be too much, I want to be able to come here, read the good things I’ve written, and feel happy and sparked up again. I want other people to be able to come here to get away from all the tragic and negative news in the world too. Take a break and get your head right. That’s the idea, but it’s fluid and anything can happen. I’m into freedom and flowing into the natural, not really frigid rules and censorship. So, whatever happens naturally is going to be allowed to take it’s course, alter it’s course, choose a new path, or start over again. It’s whatever.

Harmony happens when things come together and balance out to create something beautiful and magical. Believe it or not, bad things do have a place in all that. Without evil in the world, we wouldn’t understand the relevance of good. We wouldn’t be able to fathom the magnitude, the importance, of it all. Yin yang, right? Harmony happens when we learn to let go and let flow. To agree to disagree, to yearn for deeper understanding, no matter how ugly or painful the truth may be. I’ve been through some tough things, and it’s true that there is beauty to be found in even the most ugly places. All survivors know this. Okay, well maybe not if they only survived, then they might just be existing in a very hurt, bitter, and angry place; just walled off and still breathing. But people who overcome the bad, and thrive to the best of their ability despite it, do understand that there is beauty in everything, even tragedy. The ugliest things have a sliver of something beautiful in them like a golden vein running through a cold hard stone. That is the only piece worth holding onto and magnifying.

I suppose one discord with social media is the lack of balance. Sometimes it seems as if the darkness is just pummelling the crap out of the light and people are complacently just drinking and sharing the toxic kool-aid, treating it like it’s some sort of medicine when it’s really just a cleverly disguised poison. The more darkness I see, the more light I must shine. That’s my new motto. Probably for a few days until I think of something even more clever, gotta let go and let flow – ooh, that’s another good one! I’m on a roll!

The other discord is usually found in the comments sections. People always have to feel right. Even when they’re wrong. I’m not innocent, here. I won’t pretend to be perfect. I’m not even close. But I find that no matter how horrible, wrong, and bad we find someone’s opinions or beliefs to be, it’s always better to sincerely seek to understand why they feel and think the way they do, rather than trying to shame or coerce them into our way of thinking, or to just flat out deride them with memes and jokes. So many people tend to take this futile tactic, which just doesn’t work, although, it is easier and prettier. I’ll give it that. Haha, it’s the slutty way out. (I don’t advocate calling women sluts, no matter how open they are with their sexuality, but that’s another topic. The term just seemed germane here, so I took the liberty.)

When I was learning how to train my dogs, two tiny little things, a chihuahua named Beanie, my boy, and a Papillon named Daisy, my girl, I learned how to get them to cooperate on the leash and the instructions always stood out to me and I never forgot them.
If you pull on the leash with constant pressure, the pups nature will be to pull back with equal pressure.
The pup won’t go willingly, but will have to be dragged along. This is kinda mean and not exactly the desired outcome.
The key is to pulse the leash. For my tiny little dogs it is a light flick of the wrist, that gives and takes. Gives pressure, yields to pressure, then gives pressure again. In order to be understood, you must give some understanding. I sometimes see interrogative questioning which is used only as a condescending way to gather information to be used to win the argument, and that isn’t at all what I’m talking about. Seeking to understand and gathering ammunition are two totally different things, and people know, can sense, the difference.

It’s counterintuitive to ignore negativity, to try to understand people we see as bad, rather than shame and condemn them. But I feel that is the way to bring about balance. If the sensationalism died down then I think the tragedies would follow suit. If open communication and understanding without condemnation was encouraged, angry, hurt people would post hurtful and angry manifestos and be met with love, would be compelled with the power of love. When suicides became less publicized, the suicide rates dropped. We need to focus on what we want and magnify that. We need to magnify good, and diminish bad. That’s what I try to do, and I hope others can do the same. It’s really all some of us can do.

I suppose I will sign off by quoting Mother Theresa:

“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

Oh, and commenters, assuming that there are any, please don’t pipe up to inform me that Mother Theresa isn’t quite the saint that everyone thinks she is, or that she’s done this terrible thing or that. I don’t care. It’s not my business, or my focus. Whatever bad she’s done doesn’t take away from the wisdom and aptness of the quote, or the good that she’s done which has, wisely, been the focus until the internet know-it-alls had to come along and start digging for dirt and ruining everything for everyone. If that’s you, feel free to give it a rest.

 

She Choked on a Bag of Dicks…

Imagine a woman died, and the only surviving relative really hated her and so had the headstone engraved with “She Choked on a Bag of Dicks.”

I bet that’s happened before – maybe not exactly with the phrase “bag of dicks,” but still (you have to pay by the letter, I think, so it’d be more cost-effective to be terse with the insults). I’m sure someone somewhere has had their headstone purposely engraved with something they wouldn’t have liked. It happened to Frank “Grimey” Grimes on The Simpsons… It could happen to you!

I remember reading about a young lady who suffered from depression and had committed suicide. I won’t mention her name for two reasons; the first is that I don’t remember it. The second is that in her suicide note, her dying wish was that her mother not tell anyone what happened.

Her mother respected her daughter’s final wish by posting her face, details about her mental state, and exactly what had happened, including the suicide note, begging her mother not to blab, all over Facebook.

What really shocked me is that not one person pointed out this betrayal in the comments. Everyone was all like, “you’re so brave to share your daughter’s story,” I mean sure, the commenters didn’t benefit directly from it, they were just there for the entertainment value, like people slowing down to view the carnage of a car wreck, but still. Not one comment was even close to being along the lines of, “I was just about to kill myself when I read this and now I think I’m saved. I can feel my depression lifting. Thanks for posting this, my life has been saved here.” I didn’t comment at the time, because I was, frankly, too baffled to even know what to say. I can see why the kid was depressed. Mother probably didn’t respect or listen to the kid too much when she was alive either.

The mother’s post went viral, she got many kudos and likes, so that was probably some consolation for her. I mean, I would hope so now that she has to live with herself, knowing that she sold out her kid for them. There are about a million ways she could have brought awareness to the issue of depression without disrespecting her daughter’s final wish. A Facebook post is unoriginal and almost exactly what the daughter asked her oversharing mother NOT to do. I’m pretty open about my life, to the point of TMI sometimes, but if I’m asked to keep something in confidence, it’s something that goes to the grave with me. If I could bag of dicks that mother’s headstone, I would. But she’s the only one I can think of who I’d do that to and since we’re not related and I don’t care enough about her to find out who she is, I guess the bag of dicks thing will probably never happen… Unless someone does it to me, that is.