Friday Funnies: ‘Cause 5 Years of Blogging Bliss on Saturday

Hey, my 20 or so readers – can you believe I’ve been at this for 5 years already?! (Still?) Technically, the anniversary is tomorrow, March 17th, but Friday funnies…

I think this is supposed to be one of those milestones that beg for a little reflection with the gratitude for still playing in this sandbox. It’s true that I have come through a long meandering road to narrow the ‘topic tabs’ of my preferences. My original journal notes on life became the need to speak out for decency & fairness. To work in the best of hopes to elevate life for the marginalized & abused. Of course, even that isn’t much of a stretch when, as an Indigenous person, you’re speaking for one’s own relations for the most part.

I’ve also received an incredibly intense education over these years as I delved into the meat of the issues for the Indigenous. I believe many of you have shared those eye-opening lessons and I thank you, so very much, for your support and encouragement in that especially.

I’ve also learned you also don’t mind when I veer off into my other passions of sanity controls – poetry and eye-rolling humour. Without a doubt, I’m grateful to my following for your awesome prop-ups overall. So there, 5 years along, time to head into some lightness of being…

Solid medical opinion

2018… amirite?

Wait’ll they see her sidle up to them wearing a shark fin. Smile!

This completes the PSA obligation

Seems like this would be an end of the week job…like the end of a very long week – fortified with a lotta gin.

Oh, you know more than a few of us own these pants!

Let the birds speak their causes… you can always eat them after.

Ha ha, made you look…

 

Nostalgia hit… Just let it carry you back to Grade 1….

When you have teddy bear separation anxiety. It’s a thing! Or, it could be…

Much like my dignity after stooping to this level for my 5th Anniversary post…

Have a fab weekend, I predict a lot of green in various futures. Cheers – and thank you, again!

RL

Shut Up; Inspiration’s Tapping

Road blocks, creativity blocks, block heads…It’s a mindbender how often we stumble into the crevices of mental-logjam hell. Where you can’t get past step: what the hell is wrong with me? We’ve all encountered it and I have a theory about why. I think it’s a kind of, forgot who we are blockage.

I don’t mean traumatic amnesia or movement away from some great metaphysical understanding, not that those couldn’t be the issue. I mean by forgetting the simplest of our own self-connection, barring an osis attached to our psyches. I’m sure this isn’t new thought, but I landed on it while catching a breather.

I’ve had a few years of weaving around so many traumas that at times, I wasn’t sure I was still in the realm of general reality. It was hard work to get through that and one of my key coping tools was writing. I wrote out everything. I put it into journals, onto my blog, worked it into comments for online stories, into letters to friends. I wrote as though I was being chased by some spade-tailed catastrophic, disaster-delivering satan ready to fork me the minute I put my pen down.

Clearly, I wasn’t suffering from any blockage throughout all that. But – it was within this flurry of activity that I realized something. So much of what I was writing really didn’t have to do with the actual events that had occurred as much as what they activated in the storage room of my life.

One single lived moment can trigger a cascading torrent of imagination. A few incredible moments that shake us up to levels unknown can offer years of material. They needn’t have been traumatic, just the kind that opens up something, a doorway to that kaleidoscopic onion of infinite colors that is our subconscious.

We’ve all had them, these events, but we can’t really know how they will affect us when they occur. Sometimes, despite even our best efforts to forget them, memory will continue to haunt as though a living character in some perverse corner of the universe stuck on auto-replay. Relentless input, a consciousness stalker and its flying monkeys.

As a writer, any of these flashy inspirations can initiate a series of songs, poems, stories, or a simple chronicle of the event detailing what, why and how we were affected. They can induce flow for anyone – a photographer hits on a fantastic series of scenes to shoot. A politician may find that ideal answer to policy, the cure for cancer will attach to a researcher, the anybody who may unlock a talent long ignored, maybe bogged in banal duty or years of focused yakking about exes or bad bosses.

Conversely, there is another inspiration reality that’s just as effective, but seems to be less courted. Remember Newton, relativity, equal action/reaction? As much as huge events of any type can inspire, so can a simple minute of letting go and shutting up.

I suppose I’ve been learning that we really don’t have to search for inspiration; not when there are literally thousands of moments already in storage ready for excavating. Every one of our memories are multi-faceted jewels and each face has absorbed a song, a smell, a sound, a texture. Each is available and waiting. The only key to their door is closing the gate to absolutely everything else for a matter of mere minutes.

It’s a bit of practice initially, just letting thoughts float around, then up, then away… and wait. There will be no sudden heraldic choir announcement that it’s time to get your ass to the grindstone & forge the greatest creation ever. At least not typically, but if we wait a few minutes, the creation is there, ready. It will seep out timidly or flood our receptors, but either way, we’ll have achieved a nice BM, as in blockage movement. Yes, just as satisfying as any other.

Bottom line: rest is a requirement of the creative process, not a death sentence. So, shut up and let your muses get through to you. Or so they tell me… Mine mince no words. Ever.

RL

First Blog Resulted in 3 Unbelievable Opportunities!

Four years today… Blog Womaning bliss! The outlet for personal record became a portal of learning, teaching opportunities and making contact with the some of the greatest examples of human decency – and well, admittedly, an occasional dip toward the lowest. Luckily, those are very few, kind of like that deal I got to mull over not long after my first post back then…

teacher blackboard green irishI was really quite flattered when after I published my first blog, I received some attention from a fellow blogger with a message to follow his blog too.  I looked at his page and saw it was very well done. Quite sophisticated and up to date with all kinds of interesting media to flip through.  I liked, as in appreciated the post that was at the top of his published works. Nicely written, inspirational. Even more impressive was how young he was.  So, I hit the like button and even clicked on the blog ‘follow’ button.

Not long after, I started receiving inspirational emails from him that included ideas on changing my life, by changing my financial circumstances, by learning a really, super cool way to earn a living via my blog!  This guy did it and look, he’s only 18 yrs old and already retired in the Thai jungle of his retirement dreams – as demonstrated in his selfie-video telling me so.

The promo soundbites were right up my marketing background alley; though slight, the description sounded reasonable and plausible.  So, I followed the links as directed and got to a 45 minute video of two guys sitting casually in elegant chairs in front of a beautiful interior pool of an obviously expensive house.  My spidey senses began to web-out.

The guys opened their pitch with their personal histories and like young blog guy, they described their beginnings from nothing, with little prospects.  One had actually lived out of a van that cost less than the pen he was holding in his hand.  It was a pretty good looking pen.

The beautiful house was also his, and we wouldn’t believe that all he has now, was achieved after figuring out – are you ready for this – a simple, 3 step idea for making millions via the internet.

About 20 minutes into alternating the talk between how really hard life had been for them, yet so drastically changed with little effort into the still unexplained way they did it, another screen flashed up under their picture.  If I act now, for only $25, I will learn (finally) the secret 3 step plan for making millions – or as much as I am willing to work for, it’s all up to me – but I better hurry because there are limited spots left.  Ugh! Gut instinct confirmed, video turned off.

Pffftt! The not so secret ‘secret’ was revealed; original flattery flattened, thrill about having blog skillz fizzled. Hell, maybe I even did miss an opportunity to ‘retire at 18’, but I trusted my gut and I’m sure I’m richer from not doling out those bucks.

What this did do, was get me thinking about all these pyramid or multi-level marketing schemes that come up over and over. Sometimes they provide genuine product offerings, but mostly they’re about the quickest immediate cash grab for the idea guys.

I can’t begin to count how many of these pitches/ads/infomercials I’ve seen and you know what they all have in common?  Vans.  Ever notice that too?  Almost every one of these self-made from dirt poor guys who luck-out on the answer to millions, start out by living in vans.  Really shaky rickety vans too.

I’m re-thinking plans for my son’s formal education after high school.  I’m going to just shove him into a van when he’s 18 and say, “Go forth, my son, and prosper”!  Bring me back one of those great-looking pens when you’ve made it.

This lit up the third idea bulb – I’m going into the old van selling business.  Low overhead; at near break-down level anyway. We’ll sell ’em to these young guys who’ll eventually get rich. Win-win. Whose in? Time limited offer. Oh, and my son gets his half-price.

Top of the marnin’ ta ya, (sorry about that)

…and a round of green full-bodied gratitude with a heady froth of love for these awesome folks, each a very fine mug-O’-talent; thanks for the ongoing support and friendship over these years…

Cheers,
Ned Hickson
Le Drake Noir
Robert Hookey
Trent’s World
Joanne at My Life Lived Full
Lynne at Life After 50
Jill’s Scene
Dan Antion
Randall Willis

RL

With Lois, For The Win

I determined I’d open  2017 with a gratitude post, but to be honest, and this is no complaint, there were so many avenues I could go, I wasn’t sure where to start. I’m privileged enough to have most of my needs met and most importantly, I have pretty amazing family and supportive community.  It was in this, that I felt inspired to say how writing has played a role in winning me some of that love and support.

Years ago I reported for newspapers, later side-lined for an opportunity to make a bigger splash by managing the start-up of a non-profit foundation.  After that, a similar turn in the private sector, and then onto the biggest job ever, motherhood.

Throughout those years, I continued to write – scads of your basic business letters and mountains of personal journals. Then Facebook came along.  Once in awhile I’d wax on, and on…. and on and fill my status box with a full-page of opinion. I’d get pretty good feedback, but more likely, I’d hear from Lois.

loisWe’d met at a performing arts studio where our kids attended.  Lois was smart, an English major and she was a writer. A real one; which she practiced with a business blog.  I enjoyed her replies to my status comments – witty and smart. Sometimes, she intimidated me. Not in a bad way, she made me want to try harder.  Then she brought up the idea of starting a blog. She’d simply suggest it now and then, until one day after yet another of my Facebook essays, her inner- warrior firmly tapped out the order, “Blog, woman”!!!

And thus a new blog was born.

Lois continued the encouragement through my spotty and rough start. I do know I’m not above some clunky writing here and there. Anyway, she was always very kind about it all and this was just an extension of her amazing generosity and wonderful, thoughtful presence.  Our shared connections always gave her the highest marks for decency.

Yes, it’s a cliche’ when I say it feels like only yesterday, when I got that Lois smack-down to work up to something. it’s especially so now, because we lost Lois last October.  A brain tumour discovered a couple of years ago overcame her.  I was out of town when she passed and I wasn’t able to attend her service.  Not unusually, I struggled about what to say to her family, especially from a distance.

I wrote her daughter, Kathryn, a friend also and within that note, I ended up explaining how her mother’s influence affected my life in ways that I’d never told Lois. I asked for permission to print parts of that note here.  I thought my 2017 gratitude for writing couldn’t begin without my 2013 re-start from Lois.  What writing has done for me over the last nearly four years is inextricably tied to her…

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Kathryn… I’ve tried so many times to write something to you about your mother.  It’s hard to admit a loss for words, but it’s especially frustrating when you want to tell someone how sorry you are for their losses of such significance…

I want to tell you what a wonderful person your mother was… is.  But you know that – and I am so glad about that for you and your family.

I want to tell you how much your mother influenced my life.  I want you to know how she actually changed it.  I want you to know that her insistence, with that boot to the butt,  that I write for real, introduced me to a world I had no idea existed and yet there it was, waiting for me to meet dozens of amazing people who would then move me along into opportunities I never could have dreamed were waiting for me.

Even love was there in that new world.  I found all sort of love and that too changed me and grew me up some more.

I would never have found new work that challenged me to use every creative thought I could muster. I would never have found friends that stand like sentries whenever I need.  My whole world would not have been so beautifully enforced.

Initially, I think I found it hard to believe that a writer really thought I was a ‘writer’.  I was once a reporter, but somewhere along the way, I’d lost the idea that what I’d write in my journals could possibly be readable, or understandable, or maybe even helpful to someone else.

Your mother gave that gift back to me. She made me take a chance by offering a glimmer of confidence that I could claim for myself.

So, I want to say, I am so glad and I am so enriched in so many ways to have met Lois Wasstrom.

I thank God for, Lois.

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I’d also mentioned to Kathryn I was certain her mother would always be a guiding force for her family. I can only hope that maybe now and then, she’ll continue to lend a hand to this very grateful writer.

RL

I Would Die For My Words, But I’ll Stand With My Superpower

i-am-my-words

“Why are you speaking out so much? You’re going to get hurt”.

Going to get hurt? I’ve been hurt my whole life, what don’t I already know about hurt?  I’ve been hurt deeply enough to have died.  Literally.  (Life skillz pro tip: I highly recommend dying near a handy defibrillator; CPR hurts like a bitch – for days).

As a matter of record, this year has been one of the most painfully tumultuous for me and yet, I’m still here and I’m still talkin’ – unflinchingly.

I wish to continue asking people to step out of what they’ve learned is ‘success’ and question if it truly makes their heart sing, keeps them at peace and benefits anyone/anything else outside of constant, immediate personal gratification.

Well known, feminist activist, Gloria Steinem said, women become more activist conscious and engaged as they grow older because they lose power. I agree with her, re: our current paradigm.  We are prized for our beauty, our ‘niceness’; especially our willingness to ‘pleasantly get along’ regardless of any inequity levels in front of us.

She also said, men gain power as they age; that many tend to become more conservative – because they become more fearful about losing that advantageous power and so will use whatever manner to constrict others to protect that cushion.

I believe her words. I’ve lived them, but I refuse to accept them for me and my son.

This year especially highlighted my weaknesses, particularly from a genetic disease that doesn’t allow me to march or dance in all the ways I love, and from profound losses that reshaped my life, but I found ways to help change old paradigms anyway.

I’ve been gifted words and words are a superpower.

My words burst or seep in all kinds of form. I’ll write statement after statement about injustices that ignite my passion or calls to fierceness.  I often confess my words can be a stream of the most colorful profanity, that I could be speaking 6 other languages I don’t even know. Sometimes my words just want to be heard in the softest tones of poetry.  Sometimes my words are filled with laughter, and sometimes my words can embarrass the hell out of me.

What my words mostly are though, are a life source; a critical part of my purpose.  It’s been said so since I first spoke (a string of 3 expletives). My family gleefully and variously confirmed it with all sort of eye-roll inducing teases.

So, in answer to my concerned friend that I may get hurt by my expanding work to speak up against injustice – yes, I may, but since when is stretching not painful? On a personal level,  I’ve turned that around. I now refuse to spend any unnecessary time with anyone over 30 who refuses to relate in a straightforward grown-ass manner. I can confirm, time is precious. As Betty White said, “Vagina up, man”. She explained, why say,  ‘grow a pair’, when testicles are really quite fragile? We’re talking about actual birth canals; talk about taking a beating”! Man, I love that woman! Anyway, maybe this’ll net me fewer conversations, but saving time and connecting with people in a more real way for purposes greater than myself seems in fact, to be the point of my life.

I know that’s not entirely the pain my friend is concerned with, but – I can speak with some fair firsthand authority now, to assure that the most painful hurt, is not harsh words or bruises, broken bones, CPR or even dying. Outside of losing loved ones, what hurts most, is indifference.

So, I’ll continue to ask, which of our success representations are truly so valuable that we couldn’t live without them?  We don’t have to die to learn most of what we fear losing is really, not so much after all, but many do die because we refuse to look at the question.

We do everything we can for the safety and comfort of our loved ones, but will we extend that to include those who have suffered on any level for that comfort? If you don’t know who that is, please, please seek to learn; we need to look beyond our own small space in this great big world. Indifference is the poison that is instantly diluted by even the simplest act of compassion.  Just do it. I know you want to.

RL

Posting Fireworks That Burn

Actions Prove who people areI’ve been flummoxed for a while by how some writers, especially those married or committed, seem to get away with amazing levels of sexual flirtation in their communications seemingly without consequence.  I’m not talking about defined sex blogs, I’m referring to those based on life in general, photography, poetry, travel, etc.

Of course, I only assumed no misunderstandings because we can‘t be sure what happens behind closed post doors, so I decided to chat with some bloggers about it. This was no kind of social, scientific, double blind testing to come up with any definitive delineation of appropriateness. I just wanted to check out what’s behind it.

What started out as group speculation about lines of propriety in public comments quickly escalated into a near bloodbath on fidelity beliefs.

The varying opinions on ease with sexual overtones or statements blew us all away to an unexpected level of discomfort, hence the heat – decidedly non-sexual.   The vehemence in favor of free-for-all comments by three of my conversationalists made me question my convictions somewhat.

I need to note that only one blogger agreed to let me quote him publicly. The rest didn’t want to drive this particular conversation to their own blogs.  Fair enough.  I guess.

I also state upfront that in the end, this is really all about personal heart stuff and we all have our own idea of what’s acceptable, but what’s reasonable or not for the average commitment?

We read through various post’s reader comments that included compliments on general beauty, the sexiness of physical traits to outright statements of being turned on by one another.

Some posts were deliberately provocative – selfies of semi-nudes, bathing/shower shots, etc., so we couldn’t really be surprised when comments outside of “nice pic” came in. However, some writers pointedly invited that attention, by baiting replies with: “Do I turn you on”? or “Does this invite squeals of delight or make you think squeaky bed springs”? Even so, in all cases, there’s no actual requirement to reply with one’s level of arousal, right?

To my mind, if you’re both single and clear about the play, enjoy, but if not is that really cool?   Would I want to read my guy either answering in the affirmative or drawing out that chat in any way?  Not in this lifetime, nor the last five or the five to come.

That opinion wasn’t unanimous though.  One of us was adamant that because it was a public comment, it clearly wasn’t meant to be a reflection of any deception or cheating.  Interesting, but would his love interest get that point?

Another concurred, saying that as long as it was all in the open, it’s just harmless flirtation that required no further input, end of story, and this was where the emotional temperatures started to rise a little.  (Full-disclosure, one of these opinions is from an ex).

I wondered if that sense of freedom included publishing a post of intimate or suggestive admiration to or by a married/committed person. Interestingly, we had unanimity in declaring that was over the line and merited cautious stepping off.

Next, we moved onto our definitely non-single writers who admitted they shared more than writing tips in email and Skype conversations with their online flirtations. They easily engaged in detailing various intimate aspects of their relationship’s communication, emotional, and sexual issues.  I know it wasn’t only my jaw that dropped.

Maybe it’s because I’m old(ish), but I can’t quite see how physical distance really justifies these behaviors.  Has the ‘new reach out and touch someone’ technology made it OK to share this kind of intimacy because you’re not really touching?  Apparently it does for some. 

A writer who doesn’t agree with that, but did agree to let me name him and air his views is Ned HIckson,  a popular humorist & journalist and a resoundingly committed married man.  Ned has a wide readership that includes many admiring women that he responds to daily in comments.

He says it’s always possible to mess up, but he follows some personal guidelines to sort it out. To start, he avoids complimenting or zeroing in on any woman’s specific or intimate physical attributes and he “would never, ever comment on how ‘hot’ a woman is, or that she ‘turns me on’ or even jokingly suggest sleeping together”.

He said, “Whenever I leave a comment, I ask myself two simple questions: How would this make my wife feel and if my wife wrote this to someone, how would it make ME feel?  If the buzzer sounds with either one, it’s deleted. I generally never need to get that far, but there have certainly been some situations when I was caught up in a comment stream that I had to gut-check myself simply because, though I have a “naughty” side and am a sexual person, I feel it’s something that needs to be saved for my wife”.

You have to think if any behavior is hurtful to your significant other, there better be a pretty significant reason for doing it.  If not, why would you even be with someone apparently that incompatible?

These contentions in the world of writing sort of flung me all over the emotional grid about my own expectations, but I didn’t come away with any new beliefs and I can’t say anyone else’s views were changed about their own approaches either.

I do know though, that publicly or privately, I’ll remain damned clear about respecting my relationships and of others; most definitely, I’d expect the same from my partner.

RL

Here’s a great guide to supplement your gut checks on whether or not your online convos are appropriate:  When Does Flirting Become Cheating? 9 Red Flags

Related post:

Love you, Miss you… Not Really…   …“Readers are not just recipients of thoughts, they are real people who believe in words, who respect words, and yes, mostly they realize the power of words. They know words matter”.

I Was Hacked, & By Friendly Fire Too

Unfortunately I was hacked and a post was put up on my page without my involvement today.  Although I am in support of the knowledge contained in the report that was posted, I will not support the tactics used to place it on my page.

I am a strong supporter of Indigenous issues and I speak out regularly on various platforms often and proudly, but I’m sorry that someone felt that placing their view, even if well-intentioned, without my permission would be a viable method.  I will ask for help if I have trouble finding my own words.

I appreciate someone else wanting help in spreading the word about the incredibly uninformed and racist views of Conservative candidates, but ask for my assistance, do not impose your will on me, the way Canadian policies were imposed on our ancestors.

I am aware of these candidates, I speak out about them, I encourage people to seek out the backgrounds of who they may be voting for, but most of all, please use the hard-earned right to do so.

RL