Tag Archives: challenges

Turtle Eyes

There’s a turtle sitting on my desk,

He staring right at me!

He makes me start to wonder,

Of a life that is carefree.

 

My little turtle is not real,

He’s made of stone you see.

But he reminds me of the ocean,

And of life there being free.

 

To race the waves without care,

To play beneath the kelp.

Prey and predator have a place,

They really need no help.

 

If only we could understand,

The synchronicity of life.

Then perhaps we’d have a chance,

To mend our world of strife.

 

To live in peace would be the dream.

When all would be as one.

Reach your hand out to another,

And then my work is done.

 

There’s a turtle sitting on my desk,

He staring right at me!

I think he likes what I have said,

I’m sure he does agree.

 

It’s a Sexual Thing

Ha ha ha! That got your attention! Don’t you dare deny it!

I recently read an article about an actor that I particularly admire. He had just received glowing reviews on a play he had completed and a Netflix miniseries that was brilliant but on social media there were an unseemly number of people who could only concentrate on his sexuality. Say what?! He’s an actor. He is charismatic and humble and a bit of a Chameleon. Everything that a good actor should be. I like that he acts. Period. Why are so many people hung up on things that are none of their damn business?

Perhaps they don’t understand what the word ‘personal’ means. It means it’s my business and not yours. Now granted, I understand we live in a scandalous and gossip minded society and anything that they could twist into perceived dirt is considered fair game. So, my question is this:  if I delved into your life and did a deep dive through all your secrets and then plastered it all over Twitter for the world to see, would you be upset? I would be livid. My personal life is my private life: not for general consumption. Actors are exactly the same. Yes, they have a public persona but I’m afraid that’s all I believe the public is entitled to. They all put their pants on one leg at a time, they all have to eat and you know, clean their colons.  Just like you and me.

I once read that an American power couple, both actors, had purchased a cottage in northern Ontario and were absolutely thrilled when people left them alone. I was so proud of that and so sad that it was worth mentioning. But they live in a world where they are basically considered fair targets. What a disturbing world.

I have stated in the past that I live my life from the seat of a wheelchair. But that does not define me.  The fact that I like cheese and jam on toast does not define me. My sexuality, the colour of my hair or the cut of my jib does not define me. My character does define me! What I do in public does define me. That is who I am and it is on that I will be judged. It is exactly the same for a public figure, why can’t people see that?

In the Background

When I was a youth my father took me driving. He used to quiz me as I was behind the wheel (terrified that I would do something wrong because of course my father was in the passenger seat)! He would ask me the colour of the car behind me and I had to answer without looking. What were the colours of the cars on either side of me, how many people were in the cars? He taught me that it is in the background, the places we don’t usually look, where there is a true value to be aware of.

I have known many police officers in my life, professionally and personally. No, I am not a criminal! And one thing I learned about them very early on is it is that they are always aware of what’s going on around them. Their eyes are almost on a swivel, constantly moving. I felt safe in their presence, gun notwithstanding. And I learned to do it too.

I may not be able to tell you what people are wearing around me within 10 feet nowadays but there was a time when I could. And I would do it unconsciously. Many, many years ago I was at a mall and was leaving with my purchases. At the time there was a serial molester about and young women were being warned to take care. I carried my keys in my fist and I put my head on a swivel. It was a bright beautiful Saturday afternoon and as I stepped off the curb, I noticed a young man do exactly the same thing at exactly the same time. He glanced at me and then turned away but he continued to move in the same direction I was. My heart was in my throat but I continued on to my car and quickly got inside. No hesitation. I glanced over and yes, he was looking at me and then turned on his heel and went back into the mall. This was in the days before cell phones so when I got home, I called the police and gave them a detailed description of the man. Was he the molester? I have no idea. But the man they arrested a few days later resembled the one I saw.

Being aware is not just a safety thing. When I watch TV, I always take the time to see what’s going on in the background and sometimes it explains the foreground. It’s almost as if we are programmed to see only what is in front of us. We have peripheral vision and it is quite acute if we would just pay attention.  Perhaps that is the key: we need to pay attention…

The Not So Simple Truth.

Last week I wrote a piece called The Art of the Lie. About how some people are really good at it and others not so much. So, this week I decided to write about the opposite, the truth. We desperately want to believe that the truth is simple, yes or no, one or zero but it is not. The truth is as malleable as wax on a hot sidewalk. Ask any police officer with three witnesses to a traffic accident, and you will find the truth of which I speak.  There will be three absolute, honest truths about what happened. They all saw the exact same thing but from different perspectives. And our perspectives are coloured by our history, our experiences and our beliefs.

Using the traffic accident as an example. A car careens into a pole. Sounds simple enough. One person sees a drunk careening across the road into a pole. A friend was killed by a drunk driver many years earlier. Another sees a person asleep at the wheel when the car plows into the pole. He had a friend who fell asleep on the way home from work. The third sees someone trying to commit suicide. A memory from his past.

As a species we are storytellers. Some go so far as to make a career out of it but each one of us tends to editorialize or to embellish what we see. We are not automatons; we use words to paint pictures. But what was it that our witnesses did not see? They could not imagine that the individual behind the wheel of the car had a medical emergency. A blood clot broke loose and travelled to his brain causing a stroke. His body reacted to the stroke by going into a full spasm forcing his foot down on the accelerator, leading to the accident. We can’t know what lies behind the truth. We either accept it at face value or investigate to learn the real truth, the whole truth. But most of us don’t do that. Most of us fill in the blanks with what we have experienced in our past. But what does that do to the truth?

The colour is yellow. Or is it Lemon? Gold? Canary?  We see the same colour but we interpret it differently. It is amazing to me that we can communicate at all. For the most part others understand what we mean when we use our words and yet some of our greatest humour comes from our misinterpretations. And also, some of our greatest tragedies. We don’t always understand each other’s truths. And it is open to interpretation.

The Mirror

 

When you look in the mirror,

What do you see,

Do you see who you are?

Or perhaps who you could be.

 

The reflection looking back,

Is not all that you are.

There’s so much beneath,

So much there by far!

 

Your soul can’t be seen.

Your courage is concealed.

Kindness and love,

Are not yet revealed.

 

The image reflected,

Is merely a start.

The who that’s inside,

Is the really good part.

 

So, remember these words,

And take them to heart.

You are who you are,

And that’s pretty damn smart!

 

 

Searching

 

We are all searching for something. From the moment we are born when we are looking for warmth and sustenance, we are searching. Sometimes we are simply searching for our keys, directions to a new hot location or sometimes a lost memory. That is what moves us forward. Could it be that the simple act of searching is the true meaning of life?

In the animal world, creatures spend their lives in the pursuit of food and shelter. That allows them to live. They procreate and their progeny starts the cycle again.  In the plant world it is exactly the same. They are constantly searching for food and a way to protect themselves from becoming food. They procreate and the cycle begins again.

The cycle of the human species is a little more complicated than that. Being sentient adds a whole new layer to the concept of searching. Yes, we start out only looking for sustenance and warmth but as we become aware we start to want. We want the shiny baubles; we want toys and we want to understand. As we grow and gain knowledge we want more.  We need to experience the world we inhabit. We want companionship and focus. We look for jobs to give us a sense of purpose. Or simply jobs that provide us with the means to acquire food and shelter.

We join groups of like-minded people so our search becomes communal.  We try religion, book clubs and social media.   Humans are creatures that crave companionship, mostly. There are those who do their searching internally and are always looking for ways to improve who they are as individuals and by extension the world around them. Perhaps we should all be doing that. But most people are simply looking for the next best thing, best book, best meal, most interesting movie. Our tastes are more simplistic than the philosophers. And that is not a bad thing.

Some say that it is the journey that is important not the destination. And that is true to some extent. But if only the journey was important then you lose the incentive of the destination. Once your objective has been reached, it is at that point you start searching for a new one, a new target, a new goal. And the search begins anew. That is the excitement, the wonder of living.

What are you searching for?

Odd

What a silly little word. It almost catches in the back of your throat. Odd. One vowel, two consonants. And yet it is a word that has so many uses, some good, some bad. It is one’s perception that dictates how this word is understood.  Odd, strange, abnormal, unusual, peculiar, funny, idiosyncratic, individual… It is a very long list.

There were an odd number of pieces. The weather is odd these days. That person speaks with an odd accent.  I have been feeling odd lately. I had an odd dream last night. The word has so many meanings and each of those meanings can have different connotations. I’m feeling odd. That could be a bad thing as: I don’t feel well at all or it could be a great thing as: I’m feeling on top of the world and that’s so unusual!

I like things that are a little off the norm.  A little unusual. When I was a child, I used to look up into the sky at night and paint a picture of what my mind saw.  Years later I learned about astronomy and the collection of stars that formed an image. I learned about the stories behind the stars and I was fascinated. So many people look up at the stars and see just stars. Those who study astronomy see something different.

I think those with open minds see so much more. They don’t see odd; they see unusual and fascinating. They see possibilities and opportunities. Labels are restrictive and limiting.  If we judge based on labels, we may miss the underlying truth of the individual.  Labels have a place in identifying but they are only a tool. Used properly ‘odd’ can be fascinating and incredible.

The world is full of creatures and plants that are considered oddities. They don’t fit the norm. Take a look at the platypus. I think it’s quite an adorable looking creature but it is odd.  It is a mammal that has a beak like a duck, a body like an otter, webbed feet, lays eggs and the males have ankle spurs that are venomous. Then there are plants that eat meat. It only seems fair since plants have been eaten by animals from the beginning.  Pitcher plants regularly eat insects but they have been known to digest the occasional rat or shew.  Does anybody remember Day of the Triffids!? Human eating plants take over the world. Yum. Now that was odd and not in a good way.

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. One person’s odd is another person’s inspiration. Being odd it’s simply being yourself, an individual. I have been called odd and I liked it. It means I’m not like everybody else and that makes me special. Just like you.

 

 

 

I Love Reality TV 

A Blast From My Past                  Originally posted in April 2017.

Now don’t judge, let me explain. I love Reality TV; you know, what is ‘Real’ not some half-baked version of reality. Seriously some of this “Reality” TV is not my reality!

Now don’t get me wrong. I know how wildly popular these shows are. I personally do not enjoy watching people backstab, scream at each other and generally act like jerks for entertainment. It’s just not my thing. The ‘reality’ programs I do enjoy are the cooking shows. I have never cooked at that level but I’m fascinated by the people that do. Some of them are average people off the street. I find them interesting and supportive of each other. Yes, there are the occasional jerks, but I do try to ignore them and usually they’re booted off the show relatively early.

I even started watching a program, well a game show actually, where they are forging weapons. Seriously! But the passion they show for creating something beautiful and deadly it’s fascinating to me. The other kind of reality I enjoy watching are actually called documentaries. Now that is as real as it gets. I watched a program on the letters Queen Victoria wrote during her more than six decades of reign in England. It was a little bit history, a little romance and a lot of a strong woman. That’s a reality I can get behind.

I’m not sure I understand why some of these “programs” are designated as reality when they’re really just live-action game shows. A group of people are put in a box and live together. I have never watched the program so I’m probably not qualified to judge but to be honest I could never get past the ads for them. It simply looks like a group of people who want to see who can be the meanest or the most obnoxious to gain a questionable prize. I probably don’t understand the concept.

I did watch for a while the game show where people are deserted on an island but when it deteriorated into ‘how badly people can treat each other’, I lost interest. It was fascinating to watch the culture of the island as it was often interwoven into the contest. But that too became unwatchable.

When was the last time you saw something absolutely new on TV?  Everything seems to be a remake of a program from decades ago, even the movies. And then when something interesting does pop up it shows up on other channels with different actors but a similar premise. Have we grown so stale, so jaded that we can’t handle innovation? I find it amusing when I’m watching a show and enjoying it only to recognize something I saw in my childhood in the new program. I guess each new generation has to experience what we did decades ago in the entertainment field. Perhaps if we didn’t continue to live so long, we wouldn’t be noticing all the rehashes.

Still, I watch what’s on TV, some I enjoy some I don’t. And I think I’ll keep watching the reality TV that I enjoy. Parfait anyone?

 

My Airport Antics

I was reading a friend’s blog the other day (tidalscribe.com) and she was regaling her readers with her airport experiences. It made me think of the times I’ve had, well, issues in an airport. My biggest and most traumatic experience was when my father’s plane crashed in 1978. He survived.

Then I guess the one that stands out most was the time I thought I was going to be arrested for transporting drugs. It was August 1978, I was a Boy Scout at the time (they would go coed at a certain age) and we were travelling to Alberta for a National Moot. Think Jamboree. Groups were travelling from all over Canada and I think a few from the States and we are going to meet in Pincher Creek, Alberta for three days. My group thought we would go a little early and camp in the Rocky Mountains and then make our way down to Pincher Creek.

It was a great idea. We had to travel in uniform for insurance purposes so think of seven or eight 17-year-olds in Boy Scout uniforms descending on an airport. We stood out. For years my mother had been supplying us with hot chocolate that she would make herself because it was great when you’re camping. You only had to add water. This was over 40 years ago and I don’t believe they made hot chocolate that you could just make with water.  To make things easier, she put the powder in plastic baggies. There were probably about 20 double bags and then she put them in a flight bag.  None of us thought of the optics. As we were going through Customs it suddenly became very apparent why the Customs agents were taking an inordinate amount of time investigating that flight bag. I moved back in line a few paces. I wasn’t carrying the flight back.  It all worked out when somebody stuck their finger in the bag and tasted the hot chocolate.  They realized it was not cocaine and we were allowed to board the plane. I never did that again.

Then there is the time, many years later, I was travelling to Washington DC for a wedding with my mother. My father had declined the invitation. It was for people we didn’t know but their relatives were cousins that my mother had not seen in 60 years. They were coming from Belfast, Northern Ireland and I was anxious to meet them as well.

When my father’s plane had crashed, it was in a DC9.  I called the Airport to inquire as to what kind of plane we would be using and I was informed it was a 727. When my father dropped my mother and I at the airport and we collected our tickets, my father’s face looked odd. I didn’t question him at the time. We got on the plane and got comfortable and I reached out to read the little brochure in the seat pocket. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the plane I was sitting in was a DC9, the kind my father had crashed in.

We made it to Washington in one piece but I was a wreck. First place I went was the bar! We had a lovely three days and I met some incredible people. It was on the flight back that things got even funnier. We were not sitting in a DC9, we were in the promised 727. When we were packing for the weekend, I had asked my mother to pick up a book for me to read on the plane. Obviously, I was in no shape to read the book on the first flight but now I was relaxed and I reached for the promised book. It was called No Highway by Nevil Shute about a plane with a fatal flaw that’s going to crash and nobody knows about it. Thank you mother.

Oh, and the funny look on my father’s face? He had noticed my seat number, it was the same seat he was sitting in when his plane crashed. Who says life is boring?

Ah, Airline antics . . . .

 

 

Wild Life

A Polar bear was napping,

Upon a sea of ice.

I wonder if he was dreaming?

Of lunch to be precise.

 

I saw a hedgehog running,

He was in such a rush.

Perhaps he had a meeting,

With his latest crush.

 

A fox was sitting in the dark,

Her eyes so very bright,

I wonder what she was thinking,

And were her kits alright?

 

Butterflies are everywhere,

Flitting amongst the trees.

I wonder if they are happy,

As they surf a morning breeze.

 

Animals are all around us,

They live where we can’t see.

But every now and then they show,

Their lives to you and me.

 

Birds are high up in the sky,

Squirrels atop the trees.

Rabbits run within the grass,

And don’t forget the bees!

 

Can we know what they are thinking,

As we share our world with them?

Can we even guess their needs,

Or do we just condemn?

 

We share our world with others,

So different from who we are.

But kindness should be a way of life,

Then love would not be far.