Just a little light-hearted fun in the middle of intense yet gratifying circumstances. Definitely back to loving life.
Inspired by the writing challenges issued by the Daily Prompt: Passionate https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/passionate/
Just a little light-hearted fun in the middle of intense yet gratifying circumstances. Definitely back to loving life.
Inspired by the writing challenges issued by the Daily Prompt: Passionate https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/passionate/
The girl ran over hills and dunes, striving to keep up with him while holding back the hair whipping all around her face. He urged her to follow, and hurry. He made jokes about how tiny she was… how he could just throw her into his pocket and rocket them away. They were going to wherever their running legs would take them. Who needed a plan when any direction was good enough? There wasn’t any need to determine a finishing point. Their companionship was the ultimate destination.
Her 12-year-old heart laughed with his in complete ease. He told her she was the nicest person he’d ever known. He called her every name that he knew meant precious and he said that no one could ever be the best friend she was. She was so happy to have found him; no one wanted her for their best friend like that – ever. She was somehow always lacking a certain something that said No. 1 material, like the kids who always get picked last for every team.
She’d first sought him out when she caught glimpses of him in behind all the grown up discussions coated in angst, behind all the searches for adult contentment that had surrounded them for years.
At 12, he was still as shy as he’d been at 6, but she saw him when most barely acknowledged he’d even existed. He was taken off-guard when he realized he’d been spotted. He was used to being ignored, often drowned out by back to back beers or wine or depression. When the grown up around him wanted company, the last person he chose was his 12 yr. old.
The boy didn’t know he was lonely until he’d been seen. He didn’t know he could actually even love. He came to adore her, first for her seeing, then for being. He couldn’t bear to be away from her for even an hour. He’d go to sleep with her fully enveloping his thoughts until he woke up to resume them. Lifetimes of plans replaced empty, faraway dreams.
One night, after an effort of determined, careful planning, they got to share a room, snuggled within the safety of one another’s presence. They were startled awake though, in the middle of the night. The grown ups were fighting, loudly. It terrified the boy and he bolted. He ran as fast as he could. He left her behind.
Somewhere in the middle of his running he decided the grown up of his experience was right, the only way to be, the only way to cope was the head-on pursuit of simplicity, the eternal chase of a good cocktail and easy lovin’. Safety ensured by familiar pattern.
When she realized he’d turned back to the shadows, she stumbled from the room, once again rushing, this time blinded by the tears coursing over her face… As she ran, she heard his grown up and his grown up friends laughing behind her. They yelled out, “Ah, face it, kid you weren’t enough anyway”…
When she got home, her grown up cried with her as she rocked her. She whispered, “I’m so sorry sweetie, but you were always meant for far, far more than simple”…
Life is pushy when it wants the best for you. Sometimes you have to give in & give up, a lot…
When this photo shoot was set up in the spring, I knew I wanted to wear the dress I’d hung in public the previous October 4th as requested by Metis artist, Jaime Black. Her ‘REDress Project’ is an art-based awareness campaign in tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women. Red dresses represent these women. (See tree photo and background notes here)
I’d chosen to hang my dress under my beloved weeping willow tree. That seemed like a poignant statement in itself. At the time of that participation, I was soul surfing through a course of life-altering loss, trauma, and life and death events.
In a way, even that gorgeous tree experienced the same before it let loose its majestic beauty. I’d saved it years before from being brutally hacked at when my ex would attempt to eradicate the ‘strange weed’ growing in the middle of our yard. … I guess my point is, there was a whole lot of understanding under and within that tree.
So, when I met up with Nadya Kwandibens, a very skilled and renowned photographer who honored me with her talent, she suggested we head to a local park and search for more of a nature-based/natural background. When we arrived, she scanned the landscape and then she pointed and said, “There – head over there, I think we should get you under those weeping willow trees”.
Nope, she had no idea of my story, it was just how this particular circle would finish. It seemed like a good omen and I suppose it was. I have come through what I think is the greater part of those trials and I have gained new strengths and continue to build them.
From a time I was certain I couldn’t even breathe for another 5 minutes to standing up tall enough to see – that no matter how hard the testing, no matter how hard life knocks at me, I will keep getting up. I know that now, because even when there shouldn’t have been a way I could have, I somehow did.
Like my tree, I am still standing.
A couple of months ago I received a message on Facebook from a guy I’d never even heard of. He’d seen something I posted somewhere and from that, he looked me up. Of course, I’d joked that his initial check out was an actual ‘checking me out’.
We laugh about that now, but regardless of the original motivation for reaching out to me, it would be a turning point for the both of us while we were both in the midst of working out some next steps in our own shook-up lives. We’d soon instead be working together for causes near and dear to our hearts.
What we’d learn about each other was that we shared a lot of common history. That our family backgrounds were very similar, the same path of so many of our Indigenous families who’ve been lost to our cultures. Those that then coped with addictions to drugs and alcohol which lead to abuses in every form.
We also learned we both often speak out against the issues of the domestic violence in our communities and more recently, on behalf of the continental issue of our missing and murdered Indigenous women.
He is an ultra-marathon runner originally from a First Nation in the Northwest Territories. His name is Brad Firth, but his public persona is ‘Caribou Legs’, a name bestowed on him by a family member in comment to his stupendous running ability.
Brad’s history is quite storied as it is, but he continues to add many amazing and adventurous pages to that book. He’s currently doing that by running across Canada, in stints of 50 kms to 75 kms per day and alone with only a backpack, a small hand drum, and his face decked out in warrior paint.
When Brad contacted me, he’d already started his run from Vancouver, BC heading east planning ultimately to finish his run in St John’s, Newfoundland, a journey of 7,050 km. I was astonished to learn that he had no support. There was no vehicle following or anyone waiting to meet him at any point, and in fact, he wouldn’t even know where he might be sleeping at the end of a long running day. He’d actually spent some nights on fields next to the highway, in broken down, but open abandoned barns and even old vehicles. Wherever there was cover from the elements – which many times included heavy storms and severe hail – was good enough.
As far as Brad was concerned, this was just par for the course. He’d just decided one day that he was going to do this run to speak out for his sisters and mothers and daughters in his community. As compelling as that was, the point most dearest to his heart was that he wanted to honor the memory of his sister who had been killed in a domestic violence event the previous year.
I’m a mother. As most parents know, there’s an instinct that wants the best and most importantly, the safest avenues for anyone who comes under our wings. I also happen to have been an event planner for a great part of many of my roles in my corporate and volunteering worlds. To me this endeavor was awesome and noble, but for God’s sake, surely we could at least, keep him covered in a decent place at night. Brad initially laughed at my ‘softness’, but he relented. You can’t tell a mom that a good rest doesn’t make a hard journey that much more doable!
More than that, when he entered Alberta, there was an influx of racism-based attention that included calling him into police as a danger, perhaps mentally ill and even a gunman. Safety was moved up the priority ladder.
So, at that time, while Brad wondered if I could help him out in general, I took it upon myself to contact media across the country and start a fundraising campaign for him to, at a minimum, get good enough meals, a safe place to sleep and to help supply him with what he’d need on the road from running gear to educational materials. Brad is often asked to speak with various groups and treatment centres along the way. And don’t worry, I will have the link to said fund at the bottom ;)
There is much more to the overall story which I will share in upcoming posts and actually, there will be links to Brad’s Facebook pages and other stories written about his amazing story so far.
I’m stopping at this point because there was a very unexpected turn in our journey this weekend when my involvement in this issue became much more personal. I learned that one of my own family members had gone missing and that there was an active police search open. It was surreal and even more unbelievable because this same family had already lost a woman a few years ago in a case made famous by the name Pickton. I’ll ask you to look that up rather than detail it now.
I made a short video about what transpired up to and since finding out the news that my cousin was missing. All that I’ve said so far, helps to make this video more understandable. I post that here as a main point for what I am writing here.
Her name is Tara Ashley Ferguson. She is missing from and/or around her home town of Grande Prairie, Alberta. Her family is completely in anguish looking for her and they ask anyone with any information to please call the RCMP regardless of location. The link to these details are also below.
July 31: Utterly and happily relieved to advise that Tara has been found and will be home soon.
The work for everything else continues…
Next scheduled post: August 12, 2016
My friend Randall and I shamelessly descended into punny madness and while desperately seeking humor in a gravy boat, I realized it was time for Friday ha ha’s again anyway.
So, prepare for a little ‘Meme-y Vice’ right after I demonstrate how we fell into the hell of PUN-ishment over potatoes and cheese, a mutual love of poutine. It all began with this dreamy photo:
Randall: HEY CHEFS! Please make this happen! A twice-baked potato with cheese curds & gravy…I call it, The Poutato! (name needs work).
Robyn: I’m in! Do we need to start a Go Fund Me page to make this happen?
Randall: There was a guy who had a Kickstarter for potato salad, so why not? Chongo, did we want to start a funding campaign for its development?
Robyn: Damn that Quebec! Going to go wander into the desert of Poutato now, until I reach the poutatoasis…
Randall: When you get there, give me a valholla!
Robyn: Hahaha… will do! Eden though, I won’t share!
Randall: Is it because I am such a pervana?
Robyn: It’s because you’re mostly encraptured…
Remember, I promised punny, not funny, but admit it, you won’t get the thought of the Poutato out of your head for at least a week. On with the show:
Have an awesome rest of July. Good luck to those who have months of hot political potatoes to endure. See you next week, in whatever form I manage to mash up.
I attended a rally yesterday to protest the continuing efforts to raze the land within the Peace River district of British Columbia and Alberta also known as Treaty 8 territory. The protests are not about ‘hindering progresses’, they are about speaking against an incredible sense of depravity within the desire to forever ruin the lives of people and all the history of their ancestors for the simple purpose of serving big money. It is unconscionable and especially so because it is unnecessary.
The publicized intention is to flood that area’s prime agricultural and hunting/gathering grounds for the purpose of generating much-needed electricity. In a word, that’s bunk. Typical BC Liberal & big business bunk.
The basis is greed… spending billions of dollars to build a dam that will serve international need in industries that many people are coming to realize are relics of progress past and are in the midst of being turned away from for the betterment of the entire planet – the purpose is mostly for moving bitumen and tar products overseas.
Story after story has been published about the facts and figures of these points and still the BC Liberal government (a misnomer if there ever was one because this political party is as conservative as the former ruling party of Canada, the Progressive Conservatives) bulldozes on. Links to a few of these stories are noted below.
I speak to the human side of this issue, about the real people who live there and who are somehow meant to be mere side effects of big business allegedly on behalf of the majority of the population which lives in BC’s lower mainland.
BC Hydro says 73-77% of BC residents support this project. I find it extremely hard to believe that many BC residents support this when most Vancouver residents already understand it is not the clean energy being touted: “The Site C dam is being built with taxpayer dollars to generate energy for expansion of fracking and the tar sands, contributing to life threatening climate change and destroying precious farmland and artifacts,” said Audrey Siegl, Musqueam Band member and community organizer, in a release.
Treaty 8 is my ancestral homelands. In fact, my great-grandfather was a signor on that 1899 Treaty. Do I think that he and all Indigenous signors believed they’d be signing away their homelands, the very source of life sustenance for their children and children’s children in any manner and for any reason close to what has been happening ever since? I will ask you instead. What do you think?
In only one of many examples of what this project for China et al is all about: when a government is paying out $55 million per year to turn off even one working electricity generator that means we have no power supply shortages now or for the immediate forseeable future. In fact, electrical consumption has been going down. This is a make-work project for some people at the expense of generations of others. It’s a get-rich project for even fewer.
I do not believe, I simply cannot believe, that the majority of BC and even Alberta residents think they are more important than the grandmothers, grandfathers, their children and their children’s children in northern communities. I think if it were about the devastation of their families and stunning landscape, they’d be vocal and taking action to stop this insanity too.
So, that’s what I’m asking for… that’s what I hope for – that people will help people in their own back yards not have to suffer and succumb to the utter havoc being wreaked against an area and the people who live there for no damned good reason.
Sign the petitions of the noted organizations working on behalf of this critical issue. Send your own letters to the provincial and federal governments. Sign the online works and forward the pages on. It’s that simple. Surely to God, people can do that much to help their fellow neighbours…because eventually this greedy madness will affect everyone when the bills for it come due. Remember when so many doubted the effects of climate change? Well this is part of the reason for it.
Please, for the love of God’s green earth – do something.
Organizations you can look up to read about the issues or sign a petition:
RAVEN – Urgent Cause: Stand with First Nations against Site-C – Raven Trust
LeadNow – http://www.leadnow.ca/stop-site-c/
PVEA/Sierra Club/Y2Y – http://www.stopsitec.org/
Amnesty International – http://bit.ly/28Jvlpa
Official Government of Canada petition – https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-324
The Council of Canadians
KAIROS Metro Vancouver
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
So, I was reminded not too long ago that my predilection for profanity was especially evident lately. Lately? Where hath these innocents been?
Yes, OK, I have a mouth and it’s pretty potty at times, but I believe I’ve earned it honestly. I’m sorry, but I cannot apologize for it. According to even more recent studies than the ones that said swearing helps with pain, they now say my kind of swearing indicates genius level intelligence too. I wouldn’t lie about that…. I’d swear to it….
So, in that vein, I (re)present an updated story I published a few years ago about passing the gift down…
For about a millennium now it’s been said that kids say the
damnedest darnedest things. I know this truth first-hand and I’ve kept a journal to capture a good number of eyebrow raising, head scratching and -are you for real- statements that my son has spouted since he started spouting.
I always encouraged free and open speech with him and I’ve always adored hearing what comes out of that new and unfettered brain. The only thing I’ve forbidden is swearing. It’s not that I’ve pretended that swearing doesn’t happen; we’re all aware of its worldwide domination, thus he’s heard such a word or two in the homeland.
He had attempted to copy those words, but only once, (that I know of), OK, technically twice, but the second time was just a noun change. It happened when he was two and a half. We were on holiday and his dad was desperately searching our vehicle for the camera before the beautiful tall ships we were watching passed by. While he was frantically throwing items left and right, he yelped, “Where’s my f*#kin’ camera”?
A couple of hours later, on our way home, I noticed my son frantically looking left and right. I asked him what was wrong and he asked, “Where’s my f*#kin’ camera”? To be fair, his toy camera did, in fact, appear to be a missing casualty of his father’s earlier desperation.
About two weeks later we were playing tea party and he came out of his room with most of his supplies except one. With hand on hip and grave consternation, he spoke. “Where’s my f*#kin’ teapot”? We had a little chat and I have to say he’s been pretty good at finding alternative adverbs and adjectives ever since.
Actually, he would eventually become a little too efficiently aware; he grew into the Soup Nazi of potty-mouth alternatives. Our self-proclaimed lord of language decency worked his moral indignance to a level that drove me to drink. He deployed a ‘swear jar’, a wretched vessel of confiscated loonies for every swear word he caught, thereby generously cutting into my own happy hour funding. Which also had me questioning my study-confirmed intelligence for having agreed to this insanity.
So, yes, I can swear like a truck driver. Actually, I feel that analogy is an insult; I’m certain my stupendous ability could teach a truck driver a thing or two. Lest you accuse me of hypocrisy, I look at it like being an artist of abstract art who had to first prove that she can paint a real-life landscape before delving into free-flow style. My swearing is not a replacement for regular speaking skill, just occasional, as required, colorful enhancement. Certainly some days need more color than others.
Also, as a public service announcement, there have been recent studies that state hollering four letter words helps to alleviate pain. Think about that the next time you hammer your finger. No really, look it up.
OK, back to my son. What I’ve always told him is profanity is adult language; he’s free to swear when he is 18 or paying the bills, whichever comes first, (not gonna lie – secretly hoping it’s paying the bills).
No, I don’t really believe he will never swear again before he turns 18, but I’m pretty sure he’ll have learned to speak ‘real-life’ English first. After that, if he wants to add a little color now and then, fine, but more importantly, maybe then I can earn some #*@kin’ coins back.
During a year of upheaval, reflection and even amazing rewards, a walk back to beginnings can help to return a sense of balance, to find an equilibrium that helps make life make sense again. I’ve been going back to some significant and poignant moments for me for that purpose. One of those periods was returning home after time spent in child foster care. This story was also published a few years ago, but for anyone who hasn’t seen it, maybe something in this will resonate for you too…
Sometimes old memories float up in need of
a little light…
A soul’s whisper to let it go.
I was 14 years old. My mother and I were living in an apartment on the 14th floor of a basic downtown high-rise. We were there because that’s where she was when I ran away from the last foster home I’d intended to live in.
I threatened to run away and never be found again if they made me go back to that home. The Department of Social Services, and my unprepared mother, gave in.
My mother had been struggling with escape from an abusive marriage, alcoholism, and no way to fully support her daughters. That’s how we ended up in foster care just after Christmas that year.
We were six girls, ages two to twelve years. I was twelve. They were my sisters, and because I was the oldest, they were also my beloved babies. There was no doubt that having already traversed a very rocky start together, we were a fiercely bonded ‘band of sisters’.
I was quite used to taking care of them, and the house as required, which it seemed was almost always. So, the demand to relinquish responsibility to the social workers who came to take us away or to the people who were to foster us was incomprehensible. It was shocking and infuriating and frustrating.
Many nights I’d lie awake planning our escape from that foster home and formulating the many ways I’d find our mom. I usually ended up crying myself to sleep immersed in the despondency of realizing how powerless I really was.
We were all together in that initial home, except the youngest who was instead taken to live with our father – another story for another time. I was eventually to move to two other homes within a year and a half. Only one sister was allowed to go with me; they gave me one day to choose between the four faces that pleaded to be taken. Despite everything that we’d already lived through to that point, it was then that I learned that a soul could feel fractured.
In short time, and with little choice, we adapted and carried on as kids are so able. Then two years later, suddenly we were all being taken to visit with our mom at her own new home. The visit went by as quickly as I’d dreaded. When it was time to say goodbye to her, it felt like the beginning of all the bad goodbyes again. I could not return to that pain; the next weekend I bolted for home, for her, for good.
So there I was, on the 14th floor in a small, sparse apartment, a temporary only child, but finally with my own mom. Life definitely took another turn in my day-to-day. I spent less time with my friends and more with my mother’s.
She had a friend on the 7th floor. Phyllis was one of those larger than life characters; a hard-drinking party girl, a queen bee who had great pride in being a full-time ‘player’. She seemed to take my mother under her wing. She was a louder than life distraction for a young woman bogged down with desperate problems.
Phyllis held court to an allotment of very proud and loud butch lesbians. They called themselves the girbols (girl boys, hard g). One of them was Margaret. She was pretty, a large woman, and very quiet. Though she liked to hang out with the crowd and indulged in the same drink and smoke, she alone remained quiet.
I came home from school one day, at the start of spring break, and went down to the gang. There was a brand new baby girl cuddled up in Margaret’s arms. I hadn’t even realized that she had been pregnant. The baby was so tiny and delicate, and wrapped in a pink blanket.
Spring Break began on a weekend and as on all weekends, it was time to get the girbol party started. I was immediately designated the girl baby’s guardian. I took baby, and all of her required possessions, up to my apartment.
The ‘weekend’ turned into nearly two weeks, during which I had full custody of baby night and day. It’s awesome, as in really awe-inspiring, how easily you fall in love with a child, even as a young girl, and you immediately wish to be everything it takes to nurture them to perfection.
She needed me for everything and I reveled in that. At night, I would wrap her next to me and listen to her breath and smell the top of her head until I drifted off in true peace. Every minute with her was another moment of reclaimed love. I was once again protector, friend, sister, mother. For awhile I was me again.
Spring break was over and I’d already missed two days of school, I had to go back. That morning, I reluctantly took her down to the 7th floor, gave her back to Margaret and left for school. When I came home, I dropped off my school things and grabbed one of her blankets to collect her. I sniffed her baby smell all the way to Phyllis’s apartment.
When I walked in, I saw Margaret sitting by the window, staring out with the curtains blowing around her. The girbol group was strangely quiet. I asked for the baby and no one said anything. I went to Margaret and asked. “Where’s the baby”? She wouldn’t answer, and then I saw her tears. I was instantly alarmed, even afraid that the baby had gone out the window.
“Where’s the baby Margaret”? I was ready to cry, but not sure why.
“They took her”, she said softly.
“Who took her”?
“Social Services. I phoned them today and they came to take her away”.
I know I asked her why, maybe a few times, but I don’t recall an answer. I doubt she gave one.
I turned from Margaret and I looked at everyone else. No one would look back at me; they kept their eyes on the floor or each other. I turned to Margaret again and watched her silently cry for a while. I walked to the door and quietly closed it behind me.
It was the last day I saw Margaret, or our baby. I went to sleep that night holding that baby blanket. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. Somehow, I knew in my heart then, that no matter how much I dreamed, I was never going to get my family, my ‘band of sisters’, back in the same way again.
And, we didn’t, not ever in the same way again.
Started this funny stuff last month in sheer desperation to catch a breath from duty, dearth (of humanity) and a desire to break out of established molds. You know… what they used to call a mid-life crisis.
I had a good time with it last time, so I decided I’d add it as a monthly gig to my box of ‘shut-up and eat it’, (which incidentally also happens to be a monthly meal for my family too).
I think Forrest Gump’s mom referred to mixed expectations as a box of chocolates, but as my tagline implies, ya never know what you’re gonna get… plus, I want to apply this new word I’ve learned – whatevs… It’s how you feel when life gives you a big fat break – finally! Could be time for another trip to the tropics soon, but in the meantime… ha. ha. ha…it’s my party, I can fun if I want to.
Now that you’ve had this unrequested insight into my
demented state of mind, I hope I haven’t scared you off from the other regular goings-on around here …
See you at the funny farm or maybe a hot, luscious island. If not, have a fab June or if that’s too tall an order, at least the best weekend you can manage. Cheers!