Monthly Archives: December 2013

Think Big

Dec 3 2013 006

I have always said that if you are going to dream, dream big.  People tend to be aware of only their immediate surroundings.   We worry about the cleaning and Joey’s school report and Suzy’s music lessons.  Situations on the other side of the world are meaningless to us.  We do not believe that we can be affected except in the price of our gasoline, for example.  That kind of thinking is small.  We should, no must, be aware of and be concerned about the people on the other side of the world.  We need to think outside our little world and let the rest of the people in.  I do not mean to imply that we should send all our savings to refugee camps in Saudi Arabia or that a hunger strike would show solidarity for the starving thousands in other countries.  People in war torn or hunger ravaged countries do not care about the big picture.  They are just trying to survive.  We on the other hand have the luxury to care because we are fat and complacent. 

 I do not mean that last statement literally, although some people do fit that description literally. We live in a country that allows us to eat and get medical care and to be educated.  We are a country of luxuries and we get miffed when our ‘luxuries’ are in danger.  How does that relate to people battling a nasty disease?  Well, in my case, MS will not kill me and no one is tossing me into the gutter because I am taking up space.  Okay, maybe a few would like to but that is another story.

 All of us, able-bodied and disabled, are so concerned with our ‘stuff’ and the extras in our lives that it is difficult to comprehend the suffering, the terror and the deprivation that abound in other countries.  We worry about the country club dues and whether or not to buy lottery tickets.  And we have worries here as well.  The SARS scare, the West Nile, AIDS, the list goes on.  So why are some people so fixated on a little, itty, bitty, incurable disease?  Put things into perspective using a global model and things look a tad different.  I may never work again but I will still have a home, I will still be able to eat, get medical care etc., etc.  My little picture is safe, protected by society, my government (yes I said government), and by my employer.  Pretty cushy picture I think.

 The necessities of life are taken care of.  My job is to take care of the quality of that life. At the moment I cannot change the disease but that does not mean I give up.  As I said earlier, I will try and modify the symptoms. I will ensure that I can contribute to society and remain a valuable member of my little world.  But I will never forget to be thankful that I am here.  I will never forget to say a prayer for the others who are not so lucky and I will do what I can to help others, in my small way.  The big picture is important.  So is my little picture.  The global picture is even more important. We live in a global village and we are all beholden to each other, never forget that.

 

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Christmas Day

WREATH

Christmas snows

Chilly toes

Presents round the tree

Holiday cheer

Specialty beer

All friends are family here

Singing off key

Dinner and tea

The New Year’s on it’s way!

  SNOWMEN 3B

May whatever Holiday you celebrate be joyful

and may the coming New Year be kind to us all!

Merry Christmas !

Santa Claus is Dead?

‘Santa Claus is dead.’

When Sebastian Phillips finished writing that phrase on his bulletin board he turned around to see what the reaction had been on his students. He was not disappointed.    Because this was a first-year philosophy course he expected them to be a little green when it came to abstract ideas.  After all they were just kids.  Truth be told, Professor N. Sebastian Phillips wasn’t all that much older than his students.

When he looked around the room Sebastian saw surprise, humour and perhaps disbelief, it was also very quiet.  Here he was, a college professor talking about a white haired, fat man in a red suit as if he were real.  Well real and dead.

“When you signed up for this course I am quite sure you were not expecting to talk about a symbol for a religious holiday that has come to mean the excesses of commercialism that are rampant in our society.”

Sebastian looked out at his students.  They seemed relieved, this was more like it.

“Santa Claus does exist.”

Now Sebastian heard a few giggles and was that a grunt?

“Professor, those two statements cannot both be correct. There either is a Santa Claus for isn’t there? I mean really! ”

Sebastian grinned, “Actually they can Adam. A thing can only be dead if it first existed. “

“Come on Professor there is no Santa Claus!  That is only a marketing gimmick to get parents to buy more for their kids. Commercialism at it’s best:  vulgar!” These words were spoken by a young woman with an earring in her nose and one in her belly button which flashed every time she turned around.

“Well Cindy, yes and no.”

At this point the room erupted in confusion. A great many of the students were arguing about the wisdom of using symbols, some about the evils of commercialism in general and the western world’s corruption of money in particular.  Sebastian noted which students seemed to think he was demented and which students were curious.  Curious minds are open minds.

Very quietly Professor Phillips spoke.  “Amanda did you believe in Santa Claus as a child?”

The room was suddenly quiet. Everyone turned and looked at Amanda, eager to learn her answer. The professor had chosen to ask the one person in the room who appeared normal.  She was conservatively dressed with no strange piercings throughout her body.  She also preferred to observe any heated discussions without actually joining in.

“Amanda . . .” her professor coached.

“Yes.” Was the quiet response.

“And how did you feel when you learned that the jolly man in a red suit was just a marketing ploy.”

The answer was a few minutes in coming and it was not the answer everyone was expecting.  “I still believe in Santa Claus and I do not believe he is dead professor.”

For the second time that morning there was complete silence in the room, a stunned silence.

And then there was pandemonium.  Only snippets of conversations could be heard.  “I always knew that woman was nuts!”  Geez I wish I had taken a mathematics course, that would of made sense.” “It is going to be a very long day.”  “Do you want to go to the pub afterwards I think I could use a drink?”  “I don’t know who is more insane: that Amanda chick or that Professor?”

Professor Phillips let the arguments roll about the room for several minutes. During this time Amanda just sat and looked at her hands as if she was too timid to become involved in a conversation she had helped to create.

“Okay everybody pipe down, you have had your little discussions and each one of them has some sort of validity.  Problem is you’re not listening.  Does Santa Claus exist?  Yes.  Does he exist as a fat, old man in a red suit?  Yes.  That guy in the red suit is on every corner in the Western world ringing a bell and selling products. Something can exist in more than one embodiment.  We see the jolly, old fella and we equate him with shopping at Christmas.  Do you know where the idea for Santa Claus came from?  Amanda might.  Because she alone seems to understand what Santa Claus represents, and who he is.  Let me tell you a little story.”

“In a coastal town called Patra, in what is now Turkey, in the year 260AD a child was born.  His name was Nicholas.  His parents were taken from him when he was a child and yet he still grew up with a generosity of spirit and a love of children. He was a rich young man who tried to use his money to give other people happiness.  He did ‘good’ in secret. Eventually he became known as St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra and his generosity continued.”

“Over the centuries St. Nicholas has become beloved by many religions.  Our Western tradition of Santa Claus and Father Christmas originated with St. Nicholas.  His faith and his actions make remembering him more important even in our day and age. He is our Santa Claus and people need to remember him.  In essence it is his spirit of giving that is behind our traditions at Christmas.  The spirit of Santa Claus is alive and well.”

“A beautiful character is more powerful and more memorable to more people than any marketing ploy or religious dogma.  Santa Claus, even if he comes in the guise of a human being is still the loving spirit of the good Nicholas. Santa Claus does exist, and should continue to exist for as long as we remember what he stands for.”

There was total silence in the room.  Not a single student had a humorous quip, or disparaging remark to make.  In fact when Sebastian looked around the room he saw only understanding and awe. Finally, these supposedly well educated young adults had picked up on something that all children knew from a very young age: if you believe, it will endure.

“Class dismissed.”

Sebastian smiled to himself and started to gather up his books and notes. The class had gone well, better than he’d expected.  But the year was getting on and there are places he needed to be so he was going to have to tender his resignation and move on.  But at that point Sebastian realized that not every student had left the room. He looked up.

“Amanda, how can I help you?”

“Professor Phillips you haven’t been completely honest with us have you?  I know that Santa Claus exists and not as the jolly, red suited man, but rather as St. Nicholas/St. Nick.  You see my family can trace its roots back to that same town in which St. Nicholas was born.  As a matter of fact we’ve kept a very close watch throughout the years on the descendents of that family.  It has always been the responsibility of my family to ensure that yours is protected.  I’m surprised you didn’t know that.  What’s your first name Professor Phillips?”

“Yes I thought perhaps you did know,” Sebastian’s grin was even more pronounced. You know I won’t be here next week.  I have a lot of preparing to do and Christmas is not far away. And yes I am Nicholas/St. Nick. ”

 

The end

 

May this Holiday Season be wondrous

and may the New Year be all you could wish for.

Merry Christmas

2013

 

santa49  image courtesy the internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did it!

I did it, I killed him.

I did willfully commit homicide.

I did with malice aforethought take the life of another and end it.

I feel no remorse, no compassion.  I feel sated.

The long winter is over and now life can begin anew.

He is dead.

For a short period of time, I felt loved as a woman should be loved

and I returned the feelings tenfold.

 When you love so deeply you can be hurt just as deeply.

I was lied to. I was betrayed.

The scars run deep.

 Perhaps too deep.

I did not feel his life ooze from between my hands as it left his body.

I did not feel his warm blood lessen the chill in the air

as it slowly covered the ground beneath him.

I did not mark him as he left his mark on me.

But he is dead and I am alive.

I will continue to live.  He will not.

He will enrich the soil with his decaying bones

and life will blossom from his effluents.

I am alive.

He no longer holds sway over me.

It is over.

I killed him in my mind.

vista moon c

Is anybody home?

 

I would like to share an amusing anecdote with you.  Let me explain how it all started.  I recently read an article about a couple of staff reporters for a newspaper (a large one) who decided they wanted to see just how difficult it was for people in wheelchairs to access fast food establishments.  It seems to have been quite an eye opener to them. According to the article there were very few places that were accessible. I guess the assumption is that people in wheelchairs only eat healthy food.  Fat chance, we like burgers and donuts the same as anyone else.   I applaud the effort of these reporters.  Now let us see if anything comes of it.  One of the places mentioned is a large chain and their President claimed that ALL their outlets were fully accessible.  There is one of those places near me and I remember it as being inaccessible.  Actually they have a great ramp outside but the door opens onto the ramp making it impossible to enter the shop.  It seems the second door, which would allow for entrance, was always locked.  After discovering that several years ago I never went back. I was planning on writing a scathing letter to the CEO but I felt I should be absolutely sure before I did.

I went to the shop.  I went up the ramp. I tried the door.  The second door was now unlocked.  It was fully accessible.  No letter.  Ah well. I was looking forward to sampling the food.  What happened next I could not have made up.

Because I am sitting in a wheelchair I am shorter than most adults. In this shop the donuts are on shelves behind a rather high counter.  I couldn’t see the products because the counter was in the way so I asked if they had a list of the choices.  Two young women looked at me as if I had three heads (I don’t!!!) and said nothing.  I asked again, they looked at each other and told me that everything was laid out at the back for me to choose.  I must admit that at this point I became convinced I was not dealing with geniuses.  I explained that I was in a wheelchair (duh!!) and that I could not see the back wall because I was sitting down (DUH!) and could not see over the counter.  I asked again if they had a list.  At that point I asked if they knew what a list was.  I am not the most patient person I know, not even close.  At that point a young man finished with a customer and handed me a list.  He said it was not complete but that he would try to help.  Finally, the brains of the outfit. I looked at the list and made my choices.  Satisfaction.

I have to wonder if it was the chair that intimidated those two women or the fact that I asked them a question they were not prepared for.  These were not small children.  They were young, attractive women.  I do not think of myself as intimidating but then I am also not a meek, wallflower.  My strength is the result of necessity.  I will not sit and wait for someone to find a cure or to rescue me from the horrors that exist in this world.  Honey just get on with it! Places to go, people to see, toes to . . . oops!

 Nov 5 2013 025

DEATH OF A FLAKE

HE SWIRLS INTO THE ROOM

UNMINDFUL OF THE STARES

PEOPLE STEPPING BACK

HE GOES WHERE HE WOULD

OBLIVIOUS TO ALL

BUT HIS OWN DESIRES.

BUT THEN,

SOMETHING AHEAD

HE TURNS

PERHAPS IN FEAR

AND FALTERS

SLOWLY HE SUCCUMBS

DOWN HE DROPS

DARTING LEFT

TWISTING RIGHT

IS THERE NO ESCAPE?

WILL NO ONE HELP?

ALONE HE FALLS,

ALONE HE DIES.

A SINGLE FLAKE OF SNOW

FIRESIDE.

snowflake 2

Ah, memories . . .

 

IMG_0238

Here is another story from my past. I hope you enjoy it.

My mother didn’t swear.  She was the epitome of a lady.  But there was one time she let go with all she had.  She and my father had just purchased the most adorable puppy. Samantha was her name.  She was a boxer with a brindle colored coat and a black face, and the most exquisite eyes.  She was beautiful.  She was also very small. Being a puppy there is always the danger of accidents. She was very young.  So my mom left her in the kitchen when she went out for a few minutes.  Now the kitchen didn’t have a door on it, just a doorway so my enterprising mother put a board across the opening. Samantha had a bed, water, food, toys, and besides, the board was bigger than she was.  Samantha could not get out.  Wrong.  My parents had just bought their house the previous year.  It had beautiful grey carpets throughout.  I was at my office working diligently when I received a somewhat disturbing call from my mother. Her words were “that damn dog shit all over my house!!” now you can imagine my horror at hearing that particular word uttered by my mother.  This is a lady that wouldn’t use that word if she were covered in it.  And she said it again!  When I stopped laughing (hysterically?). I inquired about the circumstances.  Inquiring minds want to know.    It seems that Samantha, now being a member of the family, felt it was important that she live up to the standards set by the other women around her.  She would be independent, form her own opinions and as for enjoying life, she felt she had to explore to find that life to enjoy.  Alone in the kitchen was just not enough.  So being an enterprising young female.  She did what any self respecting woman would do.  She changed her circumstances.  Samantha climbed the board and went exploring in my parents very beautiful home. Chuckle, chuckle.  Do you know what happens to very small children when they get lost or frightened? That is why then invented diapers.  Well the same thing happens to small dogs that get lost in very beautiful homes.  Oops.  My mother came home to find little puppy poops deposited throughout the main floor, but no puppy.  Eventually the wayward miscreant was discovered at the top of the stairs, very frightened.  She had managed to climb up but the thought of climbing down was just too intimidating.  Poor little thing. Mom scooped up, cleaned up, put up, washed up, and carried down. Of course it is probably very difficult to look stern and menacing when you are trying to discipline a very small, big brown eyed, soft tongue kissing puppy.  But it is a mom thing.

samantha

THE PHONE KEEPS RINGING

Nov 19 2013 004

NOW I UNDERSTAND

WHY IT IS SOME PEOPLE

CAN LET THE PHONE KEEP RINGING

AND NEVER SEEM TO CARE.

A SPECIAL KIND OF PERSON

CAN KEEP IT ALL INSIDE

AND LOOK BEYOND THE NOW

TO DISTANCES AFAR.

THEIR UNDERSTANDING IS THEIR OWN

NOT TO BE SHARED WITH ALL

THEY RISE ABOVE THE REST OF US

AND SEEK ANOTHER PLANE.

PERHAPS THE DAY WILL COME

WHEN I WILL SEEK THAT PLACE

AND CROSS INTO THE WORLD BEYOND

THE CHOICE IS MINE TO MAKE.

Who am I?

 woman hat

When I was a child I knew exactly who I was.  Some days I was a damsel in distress waiting for her knight in shining armour.  Some days I was a brave explorer saving endangered animals from extinction.  Some days I was Superwoman and I was going to save the world.  And then I grew up.

 At High School and then University I had responsibilities to attend my classes..  When I got a job I had a responsibility to the workplace and my coworkers.  I had friends that I socialized with.  I had family that I loved.  Later I had an apartment that I had a responsibility for, and then pets.  Superwoman was gone and the brave explorer explored no more.  I had grown up.

 The years progressed and I was diagnosed with a disease that changed my life.  In some ways it allowed me to get back in touch with the child I once was.  My responsibilities changed.  My priorities changed.  And in time my body changed.  Move ahead a few decades.  My biggest responsibility now is to me.  And what does that make me?  It makes me human.

 As our species has evolved over the millennium, so too have individuals, of course over a much shorter period of time.  We have to evolve to fit into society.  Some of the dreams we had as children cannot transition into adulthood.  Some of the dreams we had as children morph into something comparable but not exact.  Adulthood really does take a toll on our childhood dreams!  But still sometimes what we’ve dreamt of as a child does come to fruition.  There are brave explorers out in the wilds of unexplored lands working to save the endangered species of our world.  I’m not one of.  There are Supermen and Superwomen out lobbying for the disenfranchised and the needy.  I’m not one of them.  There are women who play the game of damsel in distress to attract a man they believed to be their knight in shining armour.  I’m not one of them.

What I am is myself.  I have come to terms with my perceived inabilities.  In fact I embrace my disability.  I have multiple sclerosis.  It does not have me.  I have a life and I will continue to live it to the fullest whether it wants me to or not.  Do I make concessions to fatigue and other symptoms of this disease?  Yes.  I am no different than anyone without multiple sclerosis.  When they get tired, they rest.  When I get tired, wait for it, I rest.  We all have issues we need to deal with whether you have a disease or not.  And I have made the choice to live and to have a life of my own.  That’s who I am.