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a birthday note to mum

happy 33rd birthday mama lav!
(hey, if dad gets to be 34, then you most certainly can pull off 33!)

well it snowed this morning. and it was the perfect kind of snow. not too much, not too little. but enough so that looking outside the window of your toasty warm home, as you sit knitting your squares, you feel the christmas glow start tingling in your heart. and no, you’re not allowed to play christmas music until december 1st. that’s the rule.

for your birthday we went out to dinner to royal jasmine (mmm). you bought yourself a tassimo-machine-thingy to make your chai lattes. and later tonight i’ll be making dinner for you, dad, grammy and i.

but its not enough. for all that you do for us, whatever we do to celebrate your birthday never seems to be enough. i mean, where would we be without you? a bunch of smelly, hungry folks who wouldn’t be able to manage ourselves, that’s where.

you bring so much joy and light into my life. you support me through everything i face. you are the best mum a daughter could ask for.

so enjoy your special day! you really deserve it.

love rae

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The Man I Used to Know

Running, laughing, screaming, falling, crying.
Picked up, dusted off, spoken to, hugged.
As a child I admired and feared you.
You stood tall, strong, and seemed to control the way the world turned.
A smile for when you were happy to see me / an even bigger smile when I was happy to see you / a mischievious grin when pulling a prank / a silly grin when telling a joke / a giant’s smile accompanied by a booming laugh, this is what I remember about the man I used to know.

Cement walls and crowded halls.
It’s been too long.
Where are your puzzles, your fish, your reading glasses, your jokes?
“You staying out of trouble?”
“Is it free?”
“It’s those damn ducks, they’re back again!”
These are the things I miss about the man I used to know.

Lying there, I see only a shadow of what you once were.
Eyes blank and glossy.
A smile, once permanently etched on your face, now creeps up so infrequently and briefly I question whether it was there at all.
The man I used to know is gone.
I see fleeting glimpses of him.
I hope he is reminded of this man when he looks at the pictures.
Because this man was brilliant, witty, caring, considerate, strong, and warm.
As a child I admired and feared you.
As an adult I admire and fear for you.
The man I used to know.
My grandfather.

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1. Someone’s blog entry today read:
“It’s GREAT to be alive!” When is the last time you woke up in the morning and felt like saying that expression? When is it that you woke up with a smile on your face? What would it take for that to happen to you again? Do it!
What I love about this is how simple and instructional it is. Think hard. When were you last real happy? Like REAL happy! Not just pleased, or content. When did you last smile without realizing you were smiling? When did you last laugh so hard your stomach hurt? Who do you feel most happy around? Why were you so happy? What will it take to feel like that again? Got it? Now go do it.

2. In response to the multiple youth suicides over the last month and a half, I came across this article which looks at the tolerance of hate in Western (specifically American) culture.

3. This pizza looks absolutely mouth-watering!

4. On Thanksgiving Monday I went to visit my grandpa, who I had not seen since the end of May. My grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, and this past June he moved out of the home he shared with my grandma and into a government-run facility for long-term care of seniors. The facility is called LeisureWorld. Sure, this name is suitable for the half of the facility which houses seniors who are still mobile, still active and essentially still ‘with it’. But for the other half of the facility, it really doesn’t work.

To be honest, I had not gone to visit my grandpa because I was scared. When my mum had moved her dad into the facility, I remember the look on her face when she was describing the facility, his room, his surroundings, the other people there. It freaked me out. And the thought of going there to see my grandpa in a place where he didn’t really belong, where he was separated from his loved ones, where he would eventually die, was effing scary. So yeah, I put off going to see him, I made plans and excuses and didn’t find the courage to go until this weekend. Thanksgiving dinner just wasn’t the same without him there — we didn’t hear the usual “as long as it’s free” jokes, or hear his booming laugh, or feel our hearts give a little sigh when he would call Grammy “little girl” after so many years together. So I felt it was time to go.

You know what? It was just as scary as I thought it would be. It was extremely intimidating walking into the facility, where hallways are clogged with seniors in wheelchairs, most of them staring blankly, some asking you to help them, others asking you to take them with you, and still others just happy to see people. As we entered my grandpa’s room, we found him asleep on the bed, and I immediately noticed how skinny he was. He hasn’t been eating much over the last few months. My grandma gently woke him, and we all hugged and kissed him our hello’s, to which I got a smile, and silently hoped real hard that he remembered me as we embraced.

Anyway, overall the visit went well. My grandpa made very little eye contact, and most of what is said to him does not always register. He’s trying though, I can tell. My mum and grandma decorated his room with pictures of his family, of his life as a pilot, of his favourite dog, and other pictures. I snapped a few quick shots of these. I’m in the process of a poem, but it’s not ready yet.

5. I’ve fallen behind on posting about my yoga challenge. I’ll get back on that soon.

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on religion

I am sitting, mindlessly feeling his words enter one ear and exit the other. I hear nothing. I have lost more time listening to him — to many men like him — than I care to count. Wasted time I won’t ever get back.

He preaches about good versus evil. Right versus wrong. God versus everyone else. All I hear is buzzing with undertones of conformity and fear. I have no intention of conforming, and what I fear does not concern this man nor his word.

I must admit I do pick up a line or two when my fantasies fail me, or when a phrase grips me. Times like these are when I need be most careful.

Times like these I get angered easily and my fantasies become revolutionary, rebellious, vengeful and slighly psychotic. I can’t help it — it burns my insides to cooperate, to sit silently. Silence assumes agreement and compliance. Yet I sit here, listening to his words, silent and angry. That’s it. I’ve had enough.

*note: this was written several years back, when I was falling out of the religion I was raised with.

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