Monthly Archives: May 2016

Circus

Daily Prompt: Attempt #8 (Circus)

Been so busy taking care of others, that self-care has kinda gone out the window this past week; look up ‘circus’ in the dictionary and it’s the definition of my life lately. My head hurts.

Hope is so hard to give up. Hope that things will get better, be different, make a difference… There are rules that should be followed, and exceptions to the rules, and rules that are stupid and that no one follows anyways.

Death is on the minds of many people these days, as it is on mine. I’ve been watching the documentary series Emergency Room: Life and Death at VGH and all of the above is captured so well! Hope, rules, stupidity and exceptions, life, and death.

And the doctors, they say everyone should discuss how they want to die; if the worst was to happen, what would it look like and how should the medical team and your loved ones proceed? They say that all too often, patients do not have these directives in place and that it makes it difficult to know if what is being done is the right thing, that the default is to do everything they can, to keep you alive, keep you comfortable — although the process of being brought back from the brink is anything but.

Many say that that is not how they would chose to go, not how they want their end-of-life care to be carried out: rounds of CPR, metres of tubes, multiple transfusions, interventions and ministrations that may culminate in extraordinary measures– and all requiring various lengths of recovery time and follow up care.

I am not a doctor. My only close personal encounter with death thus far has been the death of my long-time friend and confident, Kita, my dog. It hurt a lot, I cried for days and miss her still; her having four legs and a tail doesn’t make her death any less important than anyone else’s. One day she couldn’t get up and wouldn’t eat. Cancer was discovered — everywhere. Treatment would have only given her a little more time, a month at most, and it would have been painful. She left on a good day, with a smile on her face, at a ripe old age and having given and received a lifetime of love. So, as much as it hurt, as much as cancer sucks, I was ok with saying goodbye.

Don’t quote me on this, but I think, should the worst happen, if there is a reasonable expectation that I could come back, recover, and still be mostly myself, to be able to move without excruciating pain, and live a normal life, I’d like the chance to try. But I don’t want to be comatose for years or cryogenically frozen… Donate my organs, cremate me. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others, RECYCLE! Play some tunes and take care of yourself, my animals, each other and the planet. That would make me happy 🙂 If you could make sure I’m really and truly dead first, that would be most appreciated — I do have occasional nightmares about that, thanks to the CBC’s documentary Dead Enough (2014). Use your best judgement. Hopefully, you trust yourself and the doctors, and my departure won’t have to hurt so much. Love you!

As to how this post started out being about circuses, morphing into the slightly morbid and ironically hopeful…? Well, my brain has been making many, many connections and observations and this is just how it all turned out on paper. I hope it started you thinking, I hope you found it at least interesting. I hope you understand how little we know and how difficult life can be sometimes, how important it is to take care of yourself and let others know you love them.

“So, you’re going to feel sad for a little while, and that’s okay, that’s fine. But don’t feel sad forever, okay?” — Beatrice to her daughter (Grey’s Anatomy, S2 Ep 22)

Countless.

Daily Prompt: Attempt #6 (Countless)

Sitting here, wondering how to start.

I want to be spontaneous. I want to say, “Hey, friend! Let’s go for coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner; my treat. Let’s settle in and catch up on all the latest, watch a movie, take a walk, just hang.” And I have. I just haven’t got any bites.

Countless times. Countless ventures. Countless films and countless kernels…

I am a bit of a popcorn connoisseur. The Riescos on Malaview have a proclivity for films- and popcorn, that is unmatched as yet by any other being I’ve had the pleasure to get to know.

Everyone else is like, “Watch a movie? Ok. Have some popcorn? Don’t mind if I do! Just stick ‘er in the old micro-onde and voila! Here’s a handful for you, and a handful for me and there we go. Good for 90 minutes!”

We do things a little differently 🙂

A movie has to suit the mood, and meet the criteria for quality entertainment, whether that be goofy comedy, serious sci-fi or daring drama. We pop our popcorn to perfection in our popcorn popper, with coconut oil, some salt and a little pepper; perfect every time, I kid you not! And a handful becomes handfuls, each. Fill your tummy and feed your imagination at the same time, no need to starve on either account. Live a little!

I’ve eaten countless kernels and watched countless films; it’s one of my favourite pastimes and an unbeatable combination.

‘And that’s all I have to say about that.’ (Forrest Gump, 1994).

–Sam

Not alone

Daily Prompt: Attempt #5 (Grain)

I am sometimes overwhelmed at how little each of us knows one another, how instantly and deeply complete strangers can connect and share when some of those we would call our closest friends and allies can have such a huge impact on our lives and yet remain ignorant of some of the seemingly more trivial bits that can mean so much.

I sometimes feel like this alien creature, making my way in the world and shouldering my various struggles alone. And it is so nice to know, to talk, to trust and find that really, there has to be at least one other person on the planet who can relate to what is happening in your life right now. Even if that person seems to have it all together or to have lost ALL their marbles at first glance.

There is humanity in all of us. Whether it’s not wanting to get out of bed in the morning because you are so incredibly comfy  –or are feeling more tired and wretched than you ever thought possible– or that you can’t sit still because you are just so, so, so excited and want to shout it to the skies, or that you  only managed to brush your teeth 50% of the time this week. When you want to give up and can’t go any further, when you are thrilled with your progress or unsure of how you measure up to the masses, someone, somewhere has shared that experience.

You are not alone; you are human.

It’s ok to be a rebel and go against the grain, to strike out and ignite change. But to go with the grain is also an option, one you might choose without even realizing it– and in this context, I find that comforting.

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PC: Pixabay.com (Unsplash)

A bit gruff

Daily Prompt: Attempt #4 (Phase)

Today’s prompt is “Phase”, and I have to tell you that I’m in the midst of one. One where I’d like to toss anything disagreeable and it’s consequences out the window, but I can’t, because I’m to conscious of the impacts and really do still need to be able to function in the world.

For instance, everything auditory was too loud today; I’d have liked to turn that off, turn the world on mute.

People were preferring blue ink over red ink and struggling with the powers of ten, forgetting checkboxes and folders, wanting stickies outside instead of inside, asking really strange questions and seeing connections and barriers where there were none. And it was just really, freakin’ irritating! I wanted nothing to do with any of it.

Red ink, bad. Blue ink, good. Really? Who cares? I don’t. I really don’t. Not today.

I really should put on my headphones and take a breather… 🙂

Like the dead…

Daily Prompt: Attempt #3 (Dream)

PC: Pixabay.com (Alexis)

I woke up today at 11am. Yes! Victory! It was amazing. I had an amazing sleep and actually slept in! No dreams, no worries, no alarms, just pure bliss, complete with crusty eyes and crinkly sheet impressions tattooed over my entire body.  I went through my morning routine, visited Grandma over lunch and made it back home in time for dinner and a blog. It’s now 6pm and I’m dreaming of stir-fry, and milk and cookies for dessert — thanks, Grandma!

FIN 🙂

Retreat!

I’ve been rather aimless today.

Breakfast was delicious and I’m clean, warm and dry and I know what’s for dinner, so that’s no small feat.

But I feel like I’m missing something. And that I’m too sleepy to do anything about it. I’m a minimalist that has overindulged slightly and it’s put me off balance.

So, I’m going to make tea and settle on the couch for a bit, until I get my bearings.

Sitting here at my desk listening to Yann Tiersen and watching the sun go down, I have it pretty good. Life is good, and I’m glad I’ve had a few days to appreciate that.

Signing off,

–Sam

Saga

Daily Prompt: Attempt #2 (Saga)

I heard it said once that for an artist to be happy is a kind of self-sabotage, because all the great tales and songs and sagas hinge on struggle and sacrifice and turmoil, and if you get to a place in life where you are happy and thriving, well then, what is there to make of that; to paint, to sing, to film, to write, to sculpt or draw?

And I can neither agree nor disagree. I’ve had plenty of stories to tell in my life. And more than a few told to me. Some sad, some humorous. Some epic and some short. All I can say is that I love a good story, whether it’s about my dog hoovering bits of rubber off the floor of the garage, or a boy-wizard, or treacherous dragon… a hair-raising account of battling an unknown illness, or of a near-death experience or fateful turn of events…I will take them in whatever form they are presented and give myself over to the world of their creator.

I’m reading again, finally. And I’m halfway through 1400 pages of historical fiction, the fifth book in a series of nine. And it’s going well; I’m hooked. And I’m at a place in life where I’m happy and thriving, where I can laugh and sing and go out on a whim. Or stay in and drink tea and read. Or cruise around the web, or pull out my fiddle and play. I can prep and eat the food that I want and spend the day as I like. And I try not to take anything too seriously any more — though that doesn’t always go according to plan.

Today is the long weekend. And I’ve been asked three times in 30 minutes: “What are you doing today?” And my answer is, “Nothing.” And I feel I’ve earned it. I’ve half a mind to stay in my pajamas all day and drink tea- and write, here. Turn on the tunes and do some dishes and see what I can find on Youtube for entertainment. I revel in doing “nothing.” It is sometimes so much more effective at making one whole again than the push to do “something” which leaves emptiness inside.

I had the best day yesterday, eating good food, staying warm, sleeping, reading and watching films. Had a few laughs with friends, stayed up late and got unwound after a very hectic few weeks. And today, all I want is to replay it with tea.

 

 

‘Happy Birthday’ is tough, apparently.

Daily Prompt: Attempt #1 (Sing)

I love to sing. I sing by myself and with others all the time – just not by myself in front of other people.

Choir was my favourite part of elementary school – and dodgeball. Even though I felt I was one of the few who actually wanted to be there, singing, and the teacher was harsh, choir was fun.

English was my favorite part of high-school –and choir, well, even though the calibre and instruction greatly improved, it wasn’t fun. The audition consisted of singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice, a song which you wouldn’t think would test anyone’s vocal abilities but apparently has some tricky technical bits to it that made it a suitable audition piece.

I made it. We practiced every Wednesday for two hours in the evening. We had to read music (which I didn’t like and wasn’t terribly good at, so I used my ears more than my eyes…). We also had the most terrible dress code for a bunch of energetic teens who loved to sing; stuffed into formal shirts, ties and blouses, immaculate trousers, and long black skirts for the girls (which, honestly, made us all look like severe, elderly nuns -and ministers?). I don’t know. What I do know was that I hated dressing for performances; I looked fat and stuffy and the boost in self-esteem I got from singing was almost entirely destroyed with the horrendous wardrobe requirement.

And, 99.99% of the songs we sang were in Latin. They were old songs, stuffy classical songs, slow songs, Christmas songs – in Latin. And no offence to the composers or the arrangers or conductor, they were, I’m sure, all great musical achievements and very pleasing to the ear and the audience. But when the group is for teens, and the audience is their parents, and none of them are from 17th century Vienna or classical music buffs, and that is all you practice, practice, practice and hear all year, a craving for some heart-stopping, head-pounding, rock and roll, some feel good folk or classic contemporary tune in a language that is not dead, begins to grow in your heart – or at least it did in mine.

I sing for fun. I sing for solace. I sing for me. I trust my vocal ability, and it’s way easier to carry than a fiddle, cello or piano. I can take it in the shower or into the backcountry or along the busy city streets. I love to sing.

I’d like to join a choir, a group –just to have that comradery, to be able to play with sound and hear different voices, grow, build something new and have fun at the same time. But I’ve not found an opportunity that offers the flexibility and integrity that I am looking for, so, for now I’m on my own. Hopefully not forever!

–Sam

No idea

Feeling more than a little lost right now.

I try so hard to keep up, to keep going, to keep smiling and sometimes it just never seems to be enough.

I trust people. Other people’s minds jump to drugs and trouble and trauma and strangeness. And I just see a guy that wants to talk, tell you about his day, share a few laughs. Sure, he’s a little rough around the edges, but that doesn’t mean he wants to be invisible, shouldering all your judgements.

And yet, there are some people that make me want to run the other way.

I feel like such an outsider and I don’t know how to let people in.