26 Aug 2014, 6:26pm

More Years Together

19th aniversary
Our world—It’s our 19th wedding anniversary.

Gish, gosh, we looked like babies in 1995.

Dec 1992
Our first studio portrait together in 1992.

We had a date afternoon, went for a walk, relaxing in the park, eating out,

chocolate tarte
at A Thing for Chocolate.

sleeping Holly
Hanging about like the dozy cat in this return of summer weather.

22 Aug 2014, 2:59pm
1 comment

Cycling in the City

It was sweet cycling on all those dedicated lanes in Montreal. A breeze to cycle in Amsterdam and surrounding towns. In a group ride in Ottawa it felt like being a sparrow finally safe by the numbers of the flock. Cycling along trails is fine except at intersections. And the potholes. Cycling along the river or the canal is easy but Preston and Gladstone seems reliably dodgy with cars crowding or bolting thru erratically.

We went somewhere over 20km one afternoon this week which googlemaps seems to think takes an hour. At any rate it was a good little jaunt and we home before the rain got serious again.

When I start out cycling it’s as if all my cardio is gone again. Within 2km it’s back.

It must be the tight chest of traffic. Random drivers. Knowing the average traffic light has 2 people driving through amber and 1 through red. I have to monitor in every direction.

Once out on the trails I wonder why don’t I do this every day. But first I have to get out to the trail. And past the driver who yelled at me that I should walk my bike across an intersection while I’m on the bike trail. Forget that two male cyclists had just gone through the green light I was also at while the driver was at a red light. Females are safe to yell at and to correct, apparently. Especially when it was just him and me within earshot.

The most cheerful moment have sourness in them. Paused in front of a restaurant kitchen three guys were cooking and laughing and having all appearance of a good workplace. Then a female cook cut across the scene to grab a pot from the upper shelf. The co-worker nearest worked around her by putting an arm around her waist and squeezing her stomach as he leaned his face into her neck. Her nostril curled distaste, her mouth opened as if to chastise and she flew away out of scene. He smirked and laughed to himself and in a fraction of a second the cheerful cooking scene resumed. Hubby was watching. He didn’t see it.

At the time both moments infuriated me but the motion eased it away until I was airy as souffle. Once we’re out among the crickets, cicadas, bird song, crow to the left, heron to the right, turtle on the log, beaver chewing its fresh chips, life becomes a song.

your heart is ahead
Follow your heart. It went that way.

But then there’s the trails through parkland where people still have to be told how to behave.
have to tell you everything?
Which is darkly comic. Who goes to a nature path and saws down firewood? I prefer the interpretation of circus act with the letter T.

Some paths are walking trails.

trail near Mud Lake
Some of the trails can be walking only although there were rutted tracks of dirt bikes.

The leaves are already turning by the pickerelweed.

sailboats coming to the marina
I tried to not gear-up for every eventually. No picnic, no selection of books and no “real camera” but still the little ipod thingee did pretty well at the marina by Andrew Hayden Park

The Monet shot
The Monet shot.

Andrew Hayden Park
There’s a grandstand. Wonder if a poetry event could find enough people for that stage?

But returning there’s a falling of the breath. There’s the low probability of being doored. Watching what’s happening left of drivers crowding me off and checking right for parked cars, turning wheels, cars with drivers that might swing into traffic when they see an opening in cars. It’s nerve wracking and makes it easy to hate humanity.

But then there’s cycling trails. Yet, still some humanity. Such as the woman who glanced back, saw me, but I dingled my bell anyway as I approached and after I passed she went off at me, telling me off, saying I should ring my bell. I said I did and she said, ring it further back! Some people are more detailed than any law is.

It’s easy to access the hot anger of people. The cool water and warm air and red squirrel chewing its pine comb back and forth like a scaled corn cob, that’s harder to bring back into definition.

19 Aug 2014, 2:54pm

The Body Politic

I feel my inner old fogie [she is inner, isn’t she?] when I see a bra strap.

Because certain women in my youth [but never men] would hiss something or give a nastily appraising eye on the morals of someone who wasn’t vigilant of keeping her bras strap hidden. It reminds me of the Muslim women who used to police each other for a stray hair slipping out of their hijab. Cover it and hair can be inferred. One props up the “happy fish” (as John Lavery put it) on cloth slings to make them more prominent and make arrowhead scoop necks and dangle jewelry to point the eye but somehow it’s the bra strap that is the fall guy of being too overt.

There was a hurried tuck and blush to correct. Maybe it was unkempt like a zipper down but I still occasionally hear “hussy” or “whore” come out of the ancient chorus in a back room of my head when I see a slipped strap or mismatched shirt so the bra shows on the outside.

It seems symptomatic of what we think the body is and what clothes do. Assuming it is not warm enough to exist naked, or that it is too sunny to not hide from cancer, why do we wrap ourselves in cloth?

Is it to display beauty, selectively show bits and celebrate color and be peahens or peacocks?

Or is it to hide shame of being born evil, but must ventilate without being too morally judged or tempting?

You may recall the Skirt length significance from a couple years ago from matronly on up. Funny, does this happen with men’s shirt cuffs? Or there’s other nonsense governing skewed ideas of mores there. Or do men police each other for being flashy and study at one shirt cuff length and chastised for a short-sleeve too long and loose?

To hit middle of the acceptable for time and place isn’t to get off the merry-go-round. To become the Suicide Girls and rewrite rules of engagement is still engaging the news cycle rather than overwriting the rules. I suppose any nudge changes the centre point.

Skin doesn’t equal sex and shape doesn’t. We know this and yet don’t any more than we can distinguish our truths from our fictions.

Sexualness is the context of the act. No one while being in public going about their daily life is likely promenading, intending to provoke sexual response. They are living.

If there is intended provocativeness it doesn’t matter what cloth or lack of cloth is there. It can’t be missed.

If it can be neutral for kids to run around in swimsuits or change their clothes on the beach, why is it any different for adults to? If kids must hide, who is it from?

We police one another for imagined of what might happen, for rules that are misguidedly reinforcing the notion that if you show your ankle, or wear non-sombre colours, or tailored clothes, or move your body in a large gestural box, this is related to morality or conflated with sexuality.

It’s understandable since people are looking for signs, for indications of interest. But the clues are flickering not constants like BMI or clothes put on hours before the context.

before and after
[Both are photoshopped incidentally.]

In a way bras are allowed to be scapegoating Eve. To display breasts is to play the game and to hide them is to refuse to play the game which is presumed as lack of awareness and intelligence of the game of gender roles and supporting the great mass of society.

The neutral human form is male as any health intake form or biology chart shows. Males can stand in for females but not the reverse. Like the news from April how the co-screenwriter of Noah explained that white people are neutral and can stand in for everyone, explaining why his picture had an Ark and no people of colour. He felt a mixing of “races” would be distracting and artificial construct. I don’t know where *he* lives but when the average face varies to a degree.

I remember riding the city bus from Palm Springs to Cathedral City to Indio. The land went from tall-walled and irrigated, people from white and tall to pure desert and shacks and all the people getting shorter and browner. I feel Ottawa is less zoned but then on the bus, I know I’m near the crossing of Somerset whenever the average ratio of asians increases. I go towards South Keys and suddenly there are people in hijabs and buildings with arabic-lettered signs. As church let out in the neighbourhood, black people came onto the sidewalk talking. I see a black person now and again around the shops, more so at poetry readings.

We still are in our racial encampments. We are still in our gendered encampments. It is more diluted and porous than when I was growing up. People are just people and yet in a room there’s a density of females clustering together and males clustering together. If it were random, wouldn’t it mix more often?

Why can’t gender be neutral? Why prevents females from being neutral? Why aren’t shapes neutral?

18 Aug 2014, 6:37pm
Comments Off on Listening to the Right Inner Voice

Listening to the Right Inner Voice

rose parasite?
The roses have extrusions of their tissues to look like lychees. It looks something like the same blight/parasite that was in the Saskatoon berries this year. What is it that we are dealing with? Or not dealing with since I figure the rose bushes can sort themselves out.

I feel lodged in a perennial state of under-informed.

I woke with a “roaring head”, noisy with accusations and readying the nerves to be jangled then shot.

For what? Yesterday was fine. Nothing particularly new has occurred. There’s nothing particularly stressful on the near horizon. Is it a nice safe time to place a little deflected anxiety? There never is a good time.

On waking I thought, maybe another dream could shake free my blood chemistry so I tried to cuddle and doze myself into a better day, but when I woke again I was screaming in confrontation against a woman telling her “I’ve hated every cookie you’ve ever bought.”

Against alertness it seems hardly the scope of the usual bad dream of being chased by the mob as a defector and bloodily killing someone to live a new life.

The climax of spite over cookies seems comic, but in the dream it was the most vile hurtful thing, and it hit its target.

All day my sense of tactile and audio have been cranked. I processed slowly as if in glue. I feel inside a skew and want to hermit because I can’t trust myself to react proportionally. And I don’t forgive myself for any other option. I feel as tho from any direction that I’m “loved despite” rather than “cherished because”. But that’s just the usual playbook of taunting of the bully depression.

I can’t just forget the set the pan on lower heat because of smoke point without recrimination from within. The noise that is as much a rhythm, an intonation of bickering more than words starts up and my energies nosedive. I can ignore it but it’s there to ignore. It’s a parasitic use of energy and it’s hard not to get sucked into its energy by lashing at it but that’s being suckered and playing by its rules of engagement instead of being the adult to myself.

I can tell from my muscles that I jump at unexpected sounds. I can tell by hubby that my face and tone are flat and my animation is shut off. I feel guilty about that but I can feel myself crash inwards. If pressed I lash and that’s good for no one. If I tongue-talk there’s no sense but when I type, my fingers-brain are partitioned to logic. I use external stillness until it soaks in. Perhaps it’s adaptive or maladaptive. I am listening to and honouring my own needs by quiet.

Of course, I’d rather be efficient than do real-life-compromise workarounds. It’s be simpler if I weren’t talking around the noisemaker like a monkey in the middle between me and the crock pot, between me and the software, between me and the cat.

Despite I made a few batches of soup for the freezer, chilli for the freezer, a few marinaded salads, edits to a proof, edits to another proof, laundry put away but little by way of writing or reading. Some days are built for physical life-running where it doesn’t matter how you feel. I wish I could will myself to a different bodily state. Finally it’s abating and I can make and make out distinct words.

I know I’ll float up again that even if I do nothing, I float, even if I feel like I’m thrashing and drowning. I know opposing the funk does nothing. Maybe focussed tasks can carry me to a new energy. Or maybe it is just busy work.

Maybe going into the sun and getting my blood pumping will do the trick but when I’m prone to overstimulation, my capacity to filter out is compromised and that can send me the wrong way to a panic attack. Which I can weather, but I’d rather not. It might equally well knock me clear of this.

My usual strategy of mental exercise is no good when I’m stuck for hours in Winnie-the-Pooh fog when simple things take large concentration and cannot get internal validation only internal criticism.

Getting myself sorted enough to have clarity to know where I am in the repeating pattern and to let go of the expectation that if I just do some magic thing right, this will never occur again. When I feel like this, I have to learn how not to jump on myself. That’s a vestigial left over from childhood. Smarten up, straighten up, toughen up, instead of listen with compassion, and give yourself love and slack enough to grow how you need to. And flow when you will.

Workoholic that I am, it’s not as if I’m at risk for becoming a lazy bum. I can give myself permission for downtime, even at inconvenient times.

Storm systems of the body make a tremendous noise but because I can write it’s a sign of the relenting of rain.

16 Aug 2014, 12:52pm

And whatever’s next will also be its own peculiar brand of awesome

you can’t judge a day by its start but when your first awareness is a crusty eye and suspect that cat slept on your head…

but at least the night before when reaching for anti-histimines in bleary hours reached the nighttimes not the daytime one like last time…

and when your first semi-conscious act is to itch your stomach, which the wired cat takes as a pounce invitation, and brings you fully awake with her fully body weight on bladder…

or when you go to use the waterpik and hit a tickly bit and laugh and spray that jet all over the bathroom…

or when you get rambunctious, heady with being able to point your arm at 12 o’clock without leaning the body for the first time in a year and a half…so lift up hubby for a swing and feel a pop in the shoulder that may mean nothing…seems to mean nothing…the small victory of not hurting your fool self…

and when you go to say “that’s rob gesturing” and for reasons known only to the arm, demonstrate “gesturing” and knock the juice box and pizza box clear flying off the sofa, but the lid was on and the pizza was gone…

and when deseeding tiny hot peppers and saying to yourself, do not lick your fingers, do not lick your fingers, donolickyorfinger until it becomes sound and then I lick my fingers…

and well, it’s just that Irish blessing, live in interesting times.

for all that, there’s a laugh track.


and among all the unexpected there are small victories like finishing a bottle of shampoo to declutter the bathroom by one bottle. one bottle = one battle.

and to have searched in 6 stores for combs and only find bulk packs of huge ones but finally secure a wee black comb to replace the one lost when travelling.

and you found that mislaid book just where you left it, used as a bookmark in another book.

and among all that, there’s the closest we come to holiness, the company of friends who are saddened at your sadness and cheer at your small yays and who share the narratives of their days.

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