I have been going through a lot of boxes in anticipation of a big move. My intention was to cull unnecessary junk. I have managed to recycle quite a bit of old books and papers. But what I found is a treasure trove of written material.
It was a time before emails. I have poems written on crinkled paper Hallmark bags, I have an orange envelope with my progress reports from Seven Oaks School Division No.10–apparently in 1973, I was “sometimes dreamy’ with a good imagination.
I found postcards from friends on trips to London or Hawaii. Words of love from faces I can no longer recall. Letters I sent to my baba from summer camp. I recall reading a book with her late on a Saturday night– Letters From Camp. We would laugh so hard that I wet myself and my baba fell onto the middle of the linoleum in her sparse kitchen.
I found Love letters that are as thick as a Russian novel—day-to-day happenings, written neatly with small drawings in pen— a kind of handwritten Instagram, but much slower. How can I get rid of these precious, precious items?
I can’t. So into a box they go. I encourage everyone to pull out a pen and write a letter to someone. Write words of love or just any silly thing. I know your friend will be overjoyed to receive it. Your words will be a welcome surprise from junk mail and bills.
Is Karma a real thing? Or is it just something we tell ourselves when other people’s misdeeds affect us? Will those unkind actions from someone who we once trusted go unpunished? For instance what will happen to the ex-lover who turns incredibly cruel, or when an old friend is unkind. While I like to think they will get theirs, in the end, I know it is the false hope of an empath that a narcissist will one day wake up and realize that they are an a-hole and then feel sorry about it. That is not the way the world works. So how can empaths and just regular folk, protect themselves from the wrongdoings of others? I really have no answers. And while I enjoy reading Buddhist teachings on Karma, it really doesn’t give me the hard timelines that I am looking for. Like exactly when does said a-hole get theirs? Next Tuesday or say 2019 late fall? The idea that karma is lurking about ready to pounce doesn’t seem like a tangible enough system. The only coping strategy that I know of is to surround yourself with good people and hope the bad ones go far far away, to somewhere like Prince George or Toronto.
According to Wikipedia, Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering.
I can eat. I can eat a lot. I am not one of those people who easily lose my appetite. I am not a picky eater. I was brought up to stuff my face when I felt bad. My Russian baba encouraged me to enter eating contests with my two hundred pound uncle when I was ten. Then in the next breath, she would call me fat.
And so— my relationship with food is conflicting and confusing. I read a lot about health and clean eating. I am well versed in how to feed myself and my family in a healthy way. But. I can’t stop eating the bad stuff. I am helpless. For me my food addiction is almost as bad as an addict’s drug addiction.
I have tried many different diets over the years, when I was that same perogie-eating ten-year -oid, I tried grapefruit pills to lose weight. Although looking back at some of my childhood eating problems, I realize a parent probably should have told me not to eat forty perogies at one sitting–or were they all in the background cheering me on? I am unclear about this memory. But I do still love perogies, and sometimes I eat grapefruit for breakfast.
Eating is such a basic need but our society has made it into a recreational sport. We cook to not only feed ourselves but somehow it fills a spiritual void. Food some say can feed our soul. We feed our children and we feed the birds. We can’t stop feeding each other. it is a natural instinct that has run amok. For me, eating and snacking is like having a pleasure switch that I can’t turn off.
I read somewhere that the best way for women to lose weight is to be accountable. To join a group and have back up. No perogy will get eaten without a sister there to talk you down. “Step away from that dumpling !”she will say in an encouraging voice. “It’s okay, you’re safe here with friends. Here,have an almond instead”.
I think I may have to look into this.
Signing off, from the Fat Lady.( besides I’m out of almonds.)
We just came back from a one night staycation in Calgary. The hotel was set in the barren colourless landscape that represents the NE of Calgary in the throws of winter. The hotel was on the first floor and had no views besides a highway and the airport in the background. But we both claimed, “who cares?” We can pretend we are on our way to a tropical paradise, or maybe we have already arrived in Iceland or Alaska. That giant black snow pile outside the window could be a crater of sorts.
The salt water pool was ours to enjoy and played pleasant 1960s music. It was clean and large and we giggled from enjoying a glass of Layer Cake Malbec that we just had earlier in our room. The hot tub was our own too and the bright green and orange chairs were cheery to the lunar landscape outside.
We enjoyed the free soup and salad and then shared a very expensive burger in the lounge, but by sharing a twenty dollar burger- the cost didn’t seem so bad . I went for a late-night forage for a slice of twelve-dollar cheesecake which was fun to eat in our underthings in bed.
And although this small holiday may seem expensive, really it was not. If you consider that we didn’t have to pay for a flight to a warm destination, or pay for more than one night of a hotel with food costs etc. One night in the bland cold world of the Hilton suites was fun and allowed us to escape from our life for a brief time. It was enough to rekindle our love. To listen to each other talk of what we dreamed the night before as we ate the bad free breakfast of fake scrambled eggs and triangles of deep fried potatoes with plastic bags of Louisiana hot sauce that we squeezed onto for flavour. Because spending one on one time with the one you love is what really matters. It was our Valentine’s getaway and his birthday mixed in to boot.
We marvelled that over the years our favourite holidays involved a tent and very little money. We often only traveled less than an hour or two away from our home to save on gas. But that didn’t matter. It never does. You can be happy wherever you go. It is who you go with. I have seen unhappy people on exotic vacations.
One year when our kids were both away for the weekend, we decided to pretend it was our anniversary/honeymoon. This was when we lived on a small Gulf Island. It was a heatwave and we joined the droves of tourists on the small strip of sand at Whalebone beach. We pretended that we were in Hawaii, cause why not? We had a lovely homemade meal of fresh fish tacos with homemade Pico de Gallo with tomatoes from our garden. We sipped good red wine and treated each other as you would if you had just met, with a sense of amazement that there is someone in the world that you love to talk to and swim with and eat with and be on “vacation” with in your very own house.
For us staycations are often the times that we remember the most. It is making the ordinary into something extraordinary.
I am a self-described slob. I care not for clothes. Although being a social being I realize I must look half way decent. I want to present myself in a reasonable manner to the public. I want people to think of me a certain way when they look at me, I want people to think–she is very interesting and creative, not to mention a wee bit bohemian!
And so I must force myself to go to a salon when I am looking a bit ratty. Although I find it boring as heck. I hate the chemicals of hair dyes but I admit I enjoy how my head looks plastered with tinfoil… I feel like if I could recreate the look at Halloween I may win an alien look-alike prize. Then my mind wanders and I recall my small part in my high school play Grease, where we danced to Beauty School Drop Out with toilet paper rolls wrapped in tin foil upon our heads.
After my long hair salon stint, I tried to shop for new clothes but soon grew bored. It is not as much fun as when you are young and all of your money is disposable income.I was glad to see that Doc Martens are back in style and I commented to an elderly lady next to me that I was grateful that styles come back eventually, so hoarders can actually pull out their 1980’s garb, but she replied, well yes but they probably wont’ fit anymore and they change the style just a wee bit so that you won’t really look in style anymore. Which I had to admit was true.
The sad truth about the clothes we find in the malls– I have learned from my late night documentary problem is that the fashion industry is a very environmentally and socially evil industry. There are heaps of material in the landfills (off gassing bad stuff)— even third world countries don’t want our old cheap t-shirts. Fashions change quickly so that we feel we must buy new items every change of season, we have a throw away culture that is not environmentally sustainable. I suggest the documentary title “The True Cost” which is on Canadian Netflix right now. But brace yourself, I warn you. It is an eye-opener.
Sorry to be on a rant, but here is the good news.
There are companies that are emerging that are environmentally sustainable and socially ethical! There are actually companies that insist on paying the women in third world countries a living wage with child care. There are companies that seek out the waste material and use it to create clothing. Material that would normally be cut and then thrown away. Do I still wear my old blue fuzzy bathrobe from many Christmases ago? Yes I do. Is my family sick of seeing me in it? Yes they are. But I refuse to throw it away until it is good and truly used up. Which may be a long time– family, a very long time. This is my small contribution to the environment. And also reading up on which companies are the good ones… I did notice Superstore had organic cotton balls as an option and I have met people who make only organic cotton baby clothes.
Live in or near Nanaimo, BC? Try out Fig clothing and jewelry– they carry great fair wage products by Om Grown, Nomad hempwear, Mahadevi Designs and Diane Kennedy. This tiny store is another great example of someone who uses mainly local designers- 90%! The clothing is high quality and the jewelry is made by some of the top artisans in the area such as Laura Handford’s exquisite pieces that you will want to wear with all your new outfits.
Here are a few other ideas for buying clothes that are not killing people with things like Chromium in their drinking water…
Sometimes the only place I want to be is in a yoga class on my mat. This is the only environment that I wish to be. I am surrounded by other women, I get to look outside as nature does its thing, i.e. watch the rain or the snow swirl around in traffic as I am safe and warm in the studio.
I love the props –the soft egg-shell coloured blankets that we wrap ourselves with during Savasana or relaxation pose. I love the little cork blocks and even those crazy sand bags that they sometimes throw on top of our legs for reasons that I can’t recall.
I love the eye pillows and that little bell that the instructor surprises us with its little TINGGGGGG….. which reminds me to not think about what to make for dinner that night. It is bringing me out of my rush of thoughts and forces me to rein them in as I continue to relax and breathe.
I am told to breathe in joy and breathe out peace. What a lovely idea. Or was it breathe in peace, breathe out joy? Oh well, that doesn’t matter. Either way is good. I have been taught pull air through one nostril and out the other, for reasons that I forget as well.
Sometimes if I am lucky I get an instructor that sings a little song during Savasana. The first time she sang in what language I am not certain, but my first thought was to snicker. But soon I settled in with my eyes closed and let myself enjoy it.
On the way home as I was singing along to that song Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots- I finally understood the meaning of the words that say, “I want to turn back time, to the good ol days, when the mama sang us to sleep- but now we’re stressed out!”
I believe that is why yoga is so popular now. We can turn back time if only for a moment. We feel safe and snug under our blankies like nap time in preschool, while someone sings us a lullaby… we are little, small and loved for a brief moment, before we have to get up again, find parking at the grocery store, pick up dinner and continue on with our adult lives. If I think that life sucks driving on my way to yoga, on the way back I feel hopeful that maybe life isn’t so bad. It may even be pretty good.
The day that computers take over the world will be a sad day indeed. Sometimes, while working at the public library I have strangers come up to me and say “aren’t you worried that your job will be replaced by computers?”
I think of this question when I am trying to use those self-check out machines at the grocery and hardware stores, and I have to hear that annoying voice that can’t figure out that you don’t need a grocery bag as it keeps repeating, after you have set down your bag of carrots, “place items in bag, place items in bag!” and I try to answer it, silly me and say,” Listen lady, I don’t want a bag!” as I have to figure out how to trick it.
I think of this question as my GPS takes me to a dead-end street and I have to go old school, roll down my electric car window, lean out and ask the next car that drives by if they know how to get to such and such a soccer field.
I think how computers are supposed to improve our lives, as I am about to sit on a self flushing toilet and it flushes before I have sat down and has splashed all over my backside. I think of this as I proceed to wash my hands and the self dryer doesn’t work and I have to use a piece of thin toilet paper to dry my hands.
I think of this as we have to be our own travel agents now and not only figure out which flights and connections work for us but we have to print out our tickets too.( If you don’t have a cell phone.)
I think of this as I watch the very interesting movie Snowden, which will make you all put band aids over your computer cameras and worry about the US taking down our power grid in one fell swoop.
Hmmn, I guess the computers can take over our world, and our travel agent jobs and our grocery clerk jobs and maybe our library jobs too, but it will be a poorly functioning world that will be not only inefficient, but annoying to boot.
Here is a young woman who creates very interesting robot arms to help ordinary people in their daily lives. I encourage you to follow her blog.