Friday, July 31, 2009

hangin' out the laundry....

Get those clothes to the laundry
Get them shiny clean
They go into West Guilford
They use 24 machines.
Because they stick to your skin
The smell is a sin,
They're just not fit to be seen.
(Song written and performed by my friend Kirk, aka Skagg one night while hanging out at a laundromat near the camp we worked at.)

Sometimes I wonder at the interesting little artifacts and snippets housed in my brain. Carmi at Written Inc. has chosen the photo theme, "laundry" and ever since he posted it, this little ditty has been escorting me, as well as the memories of a seemingly ordinary evening doing laundry with a friend in a place so small its not even considered a village. West Guilford, Ontario. Maybe it's bigger now, but back then, it had a laundromat and an old fashioned bowling alley. I think there was a rundown old dance hall too. Nice combo, n'est pas?

Three very distinct memories come from that night......Kirk happily messing with new chord arrangements on his guitar, strumming away and eventually making up a silly song that he eventually performed and taught to the kids at camp (it was a HIT), me chilled and sitting inside the drum of a warm dryer with the door open listening and chatting with him from there. I can imagine what it would've looked like to anyone who happened to walk into the place...... you couldn't see me. You would've only seen a guy all on his own facing a dryer strumming away, responding to the "voice" coming out of the warm dryer. Luckily (and this is the other memory) only an old drunk stumbled in, three sheets to the wind, intent on cleaning up his booty. I can't remember all the items that he threw into a machine, but most definately one of them was the paper bag used to hide his preferred libation........London Supreme perhaps? He was so hammered that he was harmlessly funny.

More Laundry..........

My daughter arrives home today for a two day respite from her camp. Its been two weeks since she was home...... and I can't wait to see her. Sadly, her accumulated laundry will be accompanying her........damp, dirty and LOTS of it. ugh! At least it won't be as crazy as her last trip home. That time, she brought two lovely and exuberantly wonderful new friends home along with their laundry. Oh, no.........I didn't take it all on. That would fall under the category of "Enabling Parenting Techniques..." We all took turns until our dryer heaved a sigh of relief when it was done. For the most part, we were organized and kept everyone's stuff in their own piles. However, I have pulled out a couple of thongy looking bits of material out of my underwear drawer that I know for a fact ain't mine, and wonder if they could fit anything but a Beanie Baby.

For some reason, the camp Martha is attending doesn't have laundry services arranged, which is crazy! Given how yucky wet it has been since they officially turned this country into a Rain Forest zone in June, I can't imagine how anyone there has stayed ahead of the drizzle, grime and mud. When I was at camp, every week each group of campers and staff (usually 8 campers and two staff) would sort their collective pile and stuff it ALL into assigned canvas bags the size of large mail bags....... for transport to West Guilford. Can you imagine??? 120 kids, 30 staff.........??? We sent it just after dinner one night and it would arrive clean, folded and still warm by breakfast the next day. It was a miracle I tell ya!! A freakin' miracle! Though I did feel sorry for the folks on the other end who put in a full night of work.

24 machines........... making everything shiny clean.

I remember one "laundry" night after a particularly wet week of fun and frolics. We had played some kind of wide camp game which ended in a fun filled Kangaroo Court. The youngest group of boys who lived in a cabin together called "Bears Claw" somehow won the chance to have their choice of camp counsellor tuck them in and read them a story. They chose me. What an honour! So, off I went that evening to share my best story voice to a bunch of 7 year old boys.

When I arrived, I was so surprised to find them ALL in bed already with their sleeping bags pulled right up to their chins. Normally, they were a rambunctious crew. I had figured they would be hanging from their bunkbeds being silly. Instead, they seemed overly nervous about me being in their cabin. I wondered how long it would actually take me to get them all sleeping before I could leave and let them be for the night. I also wondered what was going felt like there was a secret amongst them, which I wasn't privy to. Well, it turned out that their own Counsellors (Skagg being one of them...and we know how he feels about cleanliness. He wrote a song about it!) sent EVERYTHING to the laundry except for one pair of gotch per kid.

Even though I was a grown up in their eyes, the thought of having a "girl" around knowing they were only in their skivvies was beyond the pale! Years and years later, at a celebration held in Toronto for all the staff who had worked at Kawabi, I sat with a few of those same boys....all grown up in their 30's and had a beer with them. I hadn't seen them since that summer. It had been my last one as a camp counsellor. So, when I spotted them sitting together all rowdy and having fun, I had to join them! And the memory of me visiting their cabin that night was mentioned in laughter. :)Hanging Laundry...............

There is nothing more aromatically inviting than the smell of crisp clean sheets dried in the summer breezes on a clothes line. Its funny how there used to be rules about not hanging out your laundry on a Sunday. Offensive to God? Was it just that you werent supposed to do any work on that day, so hanging out the laundry was a no no? I'm sure there were many homes back when this was an issue that were filled to the rafters with wet things draped everywhere..... just so there wouldn't be any nosey neighbours tongues clicking! We sure have strange human rules don't we?

This summer hasn't been a great drying season..........for the hay or the laundry. So, when a nice day happens to show up in between the sheets of rain, you can count on every single person with a clothesline to be busy hanging it out no matter what day it is. Crisp and clean once again....... for a while.

For more Laundry episodes and photos.............check out Carmi at Written Inc. He and the others have a few picture stories to share......

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Recovery is a head and a heart thing. It begins when both open up and start working together. The struggle happens when there is too much of one and not enough of the other. It continues to remain stalled while the battle of the head and heart push and pull, twist and turn, open and close.... like the clash of the intellectual/emotional titans! Sometimes they gang up on behaviour, forcing it to act in ways it never expected to.

The head wakes up one day and says....."HOLY Shit! I'm a mess! I know what I'm doing is abusive to my body, to my self, to my soul....I've got to learn more about how to conquer the demons. Let me find a book ..... do some reading ..... find a guru ..... attend a lecture .... go to a workshop. I can do this on my OWN." And before you know it, the head begins to learn. It begins to sober up and it takes control of its own destiny. It thinks......and thinks and thinks...... until the thinking starts to stink!

All of a sudden the clouds roll in and the head begins to stumble. It starts doubting itself. It begins to gobble itself up with that human syndrome called "rumination." Somewhere along the line in a brief moment of "reality sobriety" the heart begins to stir sending lightening bolts of shame and guilt down in a thunderous roar of "Look what you've DONE! LOOK at all the people in your life you've hurt! Who do you think you ARE?? You are a rotten person! For shame!!"

The head retreats quickly, returning to the cave of indemnity to numb itself from anymore emotional wave damage. However, the cave isn't a safe secure place. Full of ruminative echos, the air hums constantly. Old memories reveal themselves like a grizzly's fangs dripping in saliva, like the shivering screeching bats whose wings shimmer when the light from the cracks hit them with instant awareness.

The heart is winning..... in some ways, its stronger than the head, so angry and hurt from life tumbling, stemming from the unhealthy addiction choices made in the heat of the moment, all brought on by the head's ability to rationalize through coping mechanisms designed to fool the human. For a long time, it allays the negative emotions of the heart by choosing quick hit relief tablets...... pills, booze, sex, gambling. When the heart realizes its been duped by false ecstasies, it turns the head on its side.

It throws all it has at the brain....wads of tissue soaked tears, angry accusations, manipulative pleas...... black guilty rain splashes down with unrelenting fury. The head cowers in a saturated mess sending pleas to stop the incessant emotional ammunition.

At a point of surrender, the head has a new thought. "Enough...I've had enough. I'm sick of this internal emotional manipulation. I'm sick of feeling this way! I can see it for what it is! This heart is a selfish crybaby who is just as wounded as I am. It just knows how to push my to make me second guess my actions and needs. But there has to be a common ground. There has to be a place where we can begin to work together rather than this unrelenting barb throwing. hmmmmm...... how can I learn to cope better?"

From somewhere outside of the battered body is a voice....a message.... "Listen differently," it says. "The words that accuse are the same words that express worry and support. They are just wounded and don't know how to reach out. You know how to do that. You know how to reach out."

So many stops and starts ensue. Recovery is never an overnight process. It took years of accumulative actions, of using damaging coping skills, or listening to false self talk until one day, when all seems the most hopeless.....when misery reeks in fermenting mildew..... there is no place to hide except within the weeping bubble of a whispered "help me..."

"help me..." says the head to the heart.

"help me...." replies the heart to the head.

Those are the first two words which have the capacity to open up that road to recovery. Sometimes we have to hit the pavement hard with our whole selves........ a faceplant of the soul .... before we can croak it out. Then we hope and pray that we have the stamina to retrain our thinking and feelings so that one day they work together directing the behavioural choices so darn dependent on them.

No one outside of ourselves can truly heal us of an addiction. They can listen, support, guide, and do all those things that caring people do. But when the rubber meets the road, it's up to us to pull together the internal tools we were born with to come to our aid.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

rattle and hum.....

I feel like I'm falling
Like I'm spinning on a wheel
It always stops beside me
With a presence I can feel.
U2, God Part II

Silence is not the quiet around you. That kind can be the most jarring of all noises. It's potentially penetrating turbulence warbles in scratchy reverberations, filling any form of sanctuary with the sounds of.........

Someone you long to hear from sitting loudly in their invisibility. Their elected muteness speaks volumes and leaves vibrations of doubt ringing in your ears...

Someone you want to converse with about big things but they avoid connecting, preferring to fill the airwaves with chatter rather than what matters. Their aversions seem like mocking talking.

Worries and lots of them, which have choked your own thinking until the inside of your brain pulses its own anxious heartbeat... pathump, pathump, pathump. We'll call this 4 am unsilence.

Too many items on the never ending "to do" list that nag and nag while you attempt to take deep breaths to figure out when and if they can be done.....and HOW

Even in your sleep, silence cranks through aggravating dreams where discord dukes it out.

You can turn off the music, the outside traffic, the howling dog in need of attention. You can flip a switch on the hum of the kitchen appliances, ignore the snoring, close the windows to roar of the lawn mowers in the neighbourhood. Still silence can be LOUD.

Take a walk into the woods, away from the urban sprawl spinning through the city, to a place of tranquil beauty filled with green light and you can still be surrounded by a texture of alienating amplification. Sometimes its nearly impossible to run away from the irritating sounds of silence. The faster you run, the more it echos back at you like a teasing Siren in hot pursuit.

Even when we pray, we tend to do so within a tunnel of clashing daggers. We're always asking for help! Our inability to silence the vapors leaves our spirits unnerved to a point where we give up on believing in God (he's not answering through the din!!) and we begin to fear it, thereby adding more noise to mix in order to avoid being alone in the silent rattle and hum. Alone with our cacophony of thoughts is akin to spiritual unrest. How frightening is that? Are we thinking too much perhaps, thereby perpetuating the noise? Are we trying to "think it through.....?"

Evelyn Underhill, whose name reminds me more of an old lady typing teacher than the mystic she is revered as, once wrote...." We mostly spend our lives conjugating three verbs - to want, to have, and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing, we are kept in perpetual unrest." I believe she nailed it. Self absorbed in our wants, needs and actions, we forget that silence can be the most priceless gift we can receive rather than something to avoid.

Paradoxically, the more wearied we feel, the more the volume is turned up. That is, until you reach a point where you can give it up ..... an intellectual surrendering .... until there is a shift .... a shift towards recognizing the need to peel away the layers of human made complexities, leaving the soft white noise of simplicity. It's a healing of sorts, this surrendering. One which may take time, but one which aligns with opportunity. We can return to the lullaby of silence......

And as you reacquaint yourself to this meditative experience, when all that you think matters becomes faint, the pathump of the heart calms. the absorbing worries slip into serenity. The lonely ache of wanting to be affirmed is replaced with a tenderness of knowing you're loved..... of feeling a presence stopping beside you. True silence can happen in the noisiest of locations, right in the middle of world chaos. Why? Because silence is the absorption and integration of sound filtered through the heart and not the head. Silence of the heart is always buffered by the child like presence of grace notes.

It feels as soft as brushed cotton. Want to touch?

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Empathy is the risky travail of mining into the tenderpoints of our shared psyche. It may produce a diamond connection to another, but the journey of peeling away defenses which ward off the possibility of being hurt during an emotional expedition such as this may be too fraught with danger.

We all have the capacity to feel alongside another while recognizing we can't resolve the problem or take away the sad event. Well, some can't. For one reason or another, they live with a mental illness categorized as a Personality Disorder. Empathy is not possible. But aside from those folks, whom I try to remain out of harm's way from, as they are the very best at charming you with their emotional manipulation, we all have it in us to imagine with our emotions what it must be like to walk in the shoes of another human being.

Some choose not to. Why?

There is no simple explanation. Their individual stories most likely hold the answer. Whatever the reason is, the risk of feeling with such ferosity shouts out with fear inside them, putting on the brakes. Empathy is a risk they can't afford to feel. Instead, it is locked inside a primitive box along with vulnerability, sorrow and grief. Sadly, kindness, joy and compassion have been packed away too.

What is left is a person who refuses to wake up to the chance to love like they've never been hurt. It seems like half a life to me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

rain reflections of camp.....

I had a short catch up kind of conversation with my daughter last night on the phone. She's busy at her camp in the counsellor in training program, and is having the time of her life. So much so, that I think she's almost oblivious of how crappy the weather has been all summer long.

We have yet to have a string of sunny days. The temperatures are cool. The skies have been grey. The land is soggy. It feels more like early spring except everything is so lush it looks juicy. The flowers in the garden are bent over in surrender, too damped down by the wet lashings that they havent the energy to spring to attention. Instead, the blooms cower in anticipation of another downpour.

I asked my daughter how bad it was there in dampcampland..... Upbeat and perky, she admitted that she doesn't have a dry towel left, but they were all coping with it. In fact, she had just been swimming in the river to clean up after sliding in the mud. "It was great Mom. We put our bathing suits on and ran around the camp looking for mudpuddles to slide in. We were coated in it! It was a blast!!" Fun? WOW!

After we said goodbye, she was off to the Lodge to hang out with the rest of the CIT' doubt in front of a big blazing fire in the old fieldstone fireplace. No doubt someone would have a guitar in hand. No doubt there would be wishes and dreams, and plans aromatically floating from their comfort of belonging. No doubt they would offer up their hopes and bits about themselves into the communal basket of growing kindredness. Relaxed, unhurried, content, my daughter and her friends sprawled out on the wooden floor of the old lodge in front of the fire most likely spent an evening of broadening their connections through conversations, cardgames, music, and comraderie. I could envision it like it was something I had experienced myself. Why? Because I have and those memories I hold dearly.

Rainy summers working at a children's camp conjure up very different nostalgic scenes than the hot sunny long hazy day ones. Regular activities are often swept aside for different open ended adventures where you learn to live within the elements and have fun. Mind over matter always wins! Though it was hard work to push past the expectations of sunny paddles and blue sky sailings, you learned different skills by recognizing that rainy days offer gifts of deeper friendships. If you let it happen.

I remember summers when the rain was unrelenting, when moods were attached to short fuses, when pushing through the elements took a lot of energy. Leaders couldn't whine no matter how consistently dour the skies were. They were the backbone of enthusiasm. But it would take its toll. When this happened.....when there was a shift to a sense of surrender, our number one much loved leader, Skip, would decide to change things up by allowing his staff to sleep in a bit and along with a couple of his senior staff, would take every single camper, usually 120 or so on a long rainy day hike. Sounds like drudgery doesn't it? Far from it!!! Those hikes were ADVENTURES.....SKIN SOAKING FUN.

But, here was the catch. While he entertained the troops....taking them through the woods, down untravelled paths, away into the mystery of the forrest to a long forgotten old logging road and a haunted house called Blagdon Manor ..... while he led them in songs and chants and quick stops to check out new fauna, the rest of the staff had the morning to stretch, work together drink coffee and plan. Why? Because when the troops returned, swampy, muddy, happy, hungry and a little played out, they would be expecting a full out camp experience like no other. Planning consisted of working as a team to conjure up a whole slew of activities, usually under a theme, and usually ending in a dance in Squamish Hall. So many of those fantastic days swim out of my memory bank this morning that I feel upbeat just remembering them.... Staff talent nights (always hilarious!), capture the flag marathons, water baseball in the rain, Skit nights, Indoor games.... Guys and Girls, Counsellor hunts, Kangaroo Courts.... and theme days!

One year, we turned the camp into a Pirate's Training Den. It all began while the kids, then clean, dry and finishing a hot hearty lunch when a group of Pirates sailed around the point, right onto the shores of Camp Kawabi...... We had decorated one of the old outboard boats, The Stable Mabel and turned it into a sailing vessel.... A group of the most "vicious" looking staff dressed in their very best pirate rags loudly announced their invasion. Within no time, the whole camp ran down to the lake to find out what was going on, only to realize they were all held capture, thrown into groups, given pirate family names and promptly introduced to the idea that in order to become pirates themselves, they had to pass a bunch of "matey" tests, which had been set up in various spots all over the camp. If they passed the tests, they would be given their own head scarf and eye patch (all created that morning by a busy bouyant group of leaders).

As the skies threatened above, we were able to ignore its menacing ways and band together in a day of fantasy and imagination. How cool is that? Fun? WOW! A rainy day..... and I bet it was one of the highlights of almost every single person, no matter what age, of their summer. Laughter and song shared with 150 people is hard to ever forget. I loved rainy day activities..... I loved finding those mudpuddles and showing my group of campers how to slide with glee. You can always get clean..... You can't always find the mudpuddles...

After a long energy spilling day, which always left everyone smiling in exhaustion, we'd tuck our campers in and head up to the lodge. In quiet small groups, we'd form around the fieldstone fireplace. No doubt someone had a guitar in hand. No doubt there were wishes and dreams, and plans aromatically floating from our comfort of belonging. No doubt we offered up our hopes and bits about ourselves into the communal basket of growing kindredness. Relaxed, unhurried, content, and closer than ever..... rainy days can do that.

Ah, I now want to go find Blagdon Manor again. And why do I all of sudden want to wrap a scarf around my head? Arrrrrrrrr..........matey.........

ps.... what do you know? I finished this piece and the sun came out.... for a little while. :)

the grieving process

I've seen it in black and white.....bold type on a page and it seemed so simple to achieve. Follow the steps in the book. There is a method. It goes like this.....

"You will feel these things. Eventually your grief will turn into acceptance. Then, you let go and move on."

So, I rhyme the process off in my head.

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
So simple.
So linear.
So void of feeling.....

I ask questions to myself,

where i am in this process?
is this normal?
am i normal?
does my reaction follow the steps?
am i over it yet?
am i over it yet?
when do i get over it?
will I ever get over it?

The "it" turns into a human picture of the one I grieve, transforming into a blue eyed twinkle, a lyrical lilt, a hearty laugh at the end of a story shared. I see an outline which fills in with warm flesh, hands open in kindness, a face with a smile lined in joyful wrinkles. I feel the energy breathing life which pulls me into your realm. I hear my name said in a voice welcome to my ears.

So real.
So real.

I keep reading the book.....somewhere, sometime, the head knowledge will seep down into my heartpocket. That will be when I may be able to let go. Maybe.

Until then? I sadly grieve on, with a hollow sigh wondering where in the world I am. For some reason, it is me who is invisible. Not you.

This week's theme prompt at Sunday Scribblings is "Where in the world?" Strangely, it took me to another one. For more (hopefully upbeat) interpretations, check out their blogsite....

Friday, July 24, 2009

Assault captured on video.....

Sometimes I wonder if my friend Charles the crazy man blogger has 5 identical clones gallavanting around this town documenting everything from sunsets to festivals, from corruption to brutality. He is everywhere, capturing the unfolding life stories and events and posting them on his blog, often before the mainstream media has had a chance to get out of bed!
As you may recall, I recently wrote a piece about Charles Leblanc and his trip to the courthouse to after a spring incident when he was arrested for walking on the hallowed grounds of the legislature during a local protest to save winter access to MacTaquac Park. Charles' trip to court that day resulted in finding out he wasn't even on the docket despite being informed that he was to show up on that date. Since then, the ridiculous charges have been quietly dropped. And throughout it all, he continued to do what he does best...... documenting the events of this city. He NEVER goes anywhere without his trust camera.

Yesterday on the local news, we learned of a young man, a Canadian soldier named Luc Begin, was out celebrating his recent engagement to his girlfriend at a local night spot. He has filed a complaint over how he was mistreated. Mistaken for someone else who had been in that bar a couple of weeks ago, the Fredericton police force went into action to arrest him. Charles just happened to be there and captured the whole viciously brutal scene on video. He was left bruised and battered and was thrown in jail and not taken to the hospital even after he blacked out from the beating. Charles' efforts will be prime evidence in Monsieur Begin's case. It is highly unlikely this altercation has no chance of being covered up.

Here is a link to his blog and the video...........

As of this moment, the story remains at the local Maritime level. I predict it will be picked up nationally by the end of the day.......... that's if anyone's paying attention. And rightly so. We all need to witness the treatment of another human being, a soldier no less, at the hands of our "finest."

Charles? You have helped this man more than you know. Thank God you're out there. Just stay safe will you and stay out of the alleyways??

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

intuitive understanding.....

We could talk for hours, you and I
painting life-picture stories.
I'd enjoy that. Would you?

We could talk forever,
adding bits upon bits of information
shedding a few skin layers
catching glimpses of commonalities
asking questions
piecing people puzzles together...
Your people puzzle
My jigsaw of a life....
Unfinished edges remain.
Unfound pieces left under the carpet
as we talk in circles
around and around and around......

for hours we could take turns treading water....
spilling our thoughts out in rambling words
listening to the uplift and downshifts of our vocal tones
watching expression ooze out of our pores
rippling spills of thought bubbles
floating in the air of new knowing....
Truth is within reach if we let our guards go home.

We share what we have gleaned of ourselves.
We share from our own viewpoint.
The more we gab and jab,
the more we grab hold of our common clay
our blended shades of light.
Formulating unique people prints.....
like finger prints but bigger.
illumineer..... ing stories masking the whispers caught in the back of our throats....

What do you really want to say?
Tell me how you feel about it....

Out it pours.....
stretching back into the vaults of nostalgia
leaning forward into the foggy dreams of what may be
surrounding unfolding immediacy.
encompassing facts, ideas, thoughts,
only the comfortable ones confessed.....
always remaining entwined in intellectual fabric
where trust knocks but isn't welcomed yet.

What about the discomfortable ones?
Why are they shamed into repression?

We can talk forever, filling each other with so much of ourselves and still not really know one another.
We could live side by side for years and still never break through to meaning.
We have the capacity to fill the airwaves right up to the invisibly tough boundary lines like the TV midnight weather lady who forecasts facts backed up by science....

high pressure, low pressure.....
stormfront lines on the horizon,
do we choose to remain in the safety net?
controlled by intellectual calculations.


something mysterious and holy happens....
paint splashes onto our life-story canvas
a new puzzle piece is revealed....
WE both grab for it because it is the same.
THEN! The weather predictions don't follow the weather lady's script!

The change in air pressure bursts the glistening thought bubbles floating in the air, and out spills common feelings
raining down on me and you....
revealing honesty from each tender drop.

In a split moment, our guards run for cover and we are left reflecting upon one another as Truth holds up the mirror.
"Not bad!
Not bad".....we cry as we see the imperfections displayed as beauty marks, sending shivering affirmation and acceptance. "What were we so darn afraid of??"

Knowing transforms into understanding.
Understanding blends into a feeling of communion.
Now, let's restart from here......
We can talk for hours from here......

Can I call you Beautiful?? Because you are......

For you my emerald friend Pip. My first attempt to capture Paul Tournier's "Meaning of Persons." Food for the soul. Level 5 communication is within reach when you intuitively understand? Level 5 touches the heart and soul of communion? I believe communion goes well with sip or two of cointreau. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

one giant leap for mankind...

40 years ago today, I was 8 years old, staying at a rented cottage near Haliburton, Ontario with my Mom and Dad and my two younger sisters aged 3 1/2 and 3 months. At that point in her newbie life, my youngest sister was the baby from hell. I think Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin could probably hear her collicky wails from the moon. Our temporary cottage neighbours definitely could. Luckily one of them was a doctor and prescribed a drug to calm her down. I think it was a narcotic. Nowadays, we grin and bear collicky babes. Back then, we drugged them.

Our vacation that summer continues to be dredged up during conversations when nostalgic family vacations are served up. The unnerving wails that literally kept us awake, especially my Mom night after night was only part of it. The cottage, nestled on the shores of Blue Lake turned out to be a sham of sorts. It had been advertised by the owners as a comfortable haven with all the amenities including a fresh water clean lake perfect for swimming. I think they even sent my Dad photos. Needless to say, it did not live up to its description. The cottage was pretty bare and all of the furniture was primitive uncomfortable. No comfort was found. And the lake? It was the colour of murky green algae complete with slimey reeds and muck on the bottom. I recall a water snake hovering around the dock too.

This was my Mother's worst nightmare, and I think it was the last nail in the coffin of ever considering the idea of buying a cottage.....something my Father has lobbied for years. Blue Lake continues to be the benchmark for how a vacation destination can go awry. Everyone laughs about it now ..... and I bet it was discussed today in my childhood home as the world recognizes the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11's successful landing on the moon. It was most certainly what I've been thinking about today. Why? Because the other memorable part of this trip was watching the fuzzy screen of our black and white TV which had accompanied us for the sole purpose of watching Neil Armstrong take that first step on the Moon's surface.

The TV reception was very could just make out a blurry outline of Armstrong and every now and then the picture would clear a bit more. But, we had sound.....and we were connected to millions of others who were also absorbing this unbelievable feat.

It's difficult to describe to anyone who wasn't born then how monumental the event was at the time. Given that the space program basically fizzled out and trips to the Moon and proposed attempts to reach Mars was shelved after Apollo 17, this remarkable feat lost its grand enormity in the annals of history. Plus, there's an almost lax attitude, 40 years later...... one that almost dismisses the importance of the event. But, on that day when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin donned their big bulking space gear and bounced off the steps of the module..........the whole world held its breath in awe and excitement.

Anything seemed possible then.....even quieting a collicky baby.

ps. My baby sister, who had her own 40th birthday this year did stop crying is the quietest of us all. I guess she got it out of her system early. :) She and her family are coming east for a visit next week. I can't wait to see them all. I hope we'll have a chance to sit outside to enjoy the nightsky together....and I will rehash the story she has never been able to live down.

correspondance to and from Plagarist Anthony Tham....aka Anton

My first email to the poacher.... right after I realized just what I had found..... more than a dozen of MY writing copied and pasted on his blog like he wrote it. For your reading and entertainment pleasure.....

"Excuse me buddy???!!!

You better take down ALL of my pieces of work on your blog NOW or I will report you to Blogger and have them take down your blog. I am incensed that you have the audacity to pilfer my work and call it your own. Do you not have an original idea in your own head? I stopped reading when I reached my poem I wrote in the spring because quite frankly it made me feel sick to my stomach that i have been invaded like this.

If you consider yourself a spiritual giving and loving person, you will also be feeling a great deal of shame for what you have done to myself and to Marja whom i consider a dear friend. I don't know who else you are stealing from but I daresay we aren't the only two.

Now what would the Dalai Lama think of your behaviour????

I know what I think! Compassion doesn't come to mind!

You are an intellectual thief. You have stolen pieces of my heart and soul work. Stay away from my blog. TAKE DOWN MY WORK NOW!"


Second communicate with this man....

Anton.....if that is what your name is.

I see that your blog has now been removed. However, I have a BIG problem with the fact that several of my pieces have been cached under your blog name! I have been in touch with Blogger and have requested that they follow up with you. You have completely and utterly violated my personal intellectual property, subsequently trespassed into my heart and soul. Do you have any idea how that feels???? What creeped me out more than anything was that you obviously had duped many readers into thinking YOU had written these pieces....and then you followed up with replies to their comments??? Unbelievable.

I am OWED an apology buddy!!!!

What you have done ironically has fired me up. I may have initially felt violated, but I am now secure in my thoughts and feelings about my property. I have also been inspired by the support of the blogging community and friends who have been reading my posts for close to 4 years. They rallied and will rally again if you EVER pop up with a new blog. They also now have a link to a copyright site which will allow them to check to make sure there aren't any other assholes out there doing the same SHAMEFUL thing that you did.

Don't you EVER do that anyone, including published authors such as Father Anthony de Mello! GOT IT? Now, where's the apology?


Carmi's first email....much more professionally assertive than mine. :)

Greetings, "Anton". I just left you a comment on your new blog, Life's Impermance, but I wanted to make sure you understood how wrong it was of you to steal someone else's work, then claim it as your own on your now-defunct site, Biological Clock Ticking.

It's call plagiarism. It's not only immoral: it's also highly illegal. That you chose to steal the work of a good friend whose work I have long admired only amplifies the gravity of your actions. Worse, I'm a journalist, and nothing - and I do mean nothing - upsets me more than to see someone's work compromised in this way. Where I come from, people's entire careers can be destroyed by such breaches of trust, so I'm e-mailing you to reinforce the seriousness of what you have done.

I notice you promptly removed your old blog from the blogosphere without so much as an apology for your actions. I'm not surprised, as those who would so blatantly lift the work of others typically don't have the cojones to face up to their actions. I guess an apology is too much to ask. So be it.

Rest assured you have stirred up a fair amount of discontent among your victim's (I'm assuming there's only one, of course, but I'd hardly be surprised if you made this a regular thing) friends and colleagues. They and I will be watching your actions closely, and will surely let you know if you transgress again. There is no room in this world for this kind of activity, and we'll continue to work diligently on our friend's behalf to ensure you don't engage in this form of criminal activity again.

I'd rather enjoy hearing back from you, but I won't hold my breath. We already know what kind of soul you possess, and it sure as hell isn't anything like the bullshit facade you outline in your profile.

I would also suggest getting a life, but I've got better things to do with my day. Perhaps we can leave that for some other time, as it's clear you need help in that department, as well.

All the best,
P.S. I have visited a number of your correspondents and have left the following message on their respective blogs. Whether I continue to do so largely depends on whether you choose to do the right thing and apologize to those who have been victimized by your actions. I await your reply.

Text of blog comment:
Greetings. You recently left a comment on the blog, Biological Clock Ticking (
operated by Anton. You may have noticed that his blog was hastily taken
down earlier today. Here's why:
For quite some time, the author of this blog has been copying the work
of others and passing it off as his own. This is known as plagiarism.
It is not only immoral. It is also an illegal, criminal act.
When confronted about this, Anton chose the coward's way out. Instead
of responding, apologizing or otherwise expressing some sort of
remorse, he skulked away and started another blog.
I thought you'd want to know this, and would want to verify your own
archives to ensure he hasn't used some of your own work as well. I'd
recommend checking out the service at to ensure your own material has not been stolen in a similar manner.

I invite you to contact me via my blog, Written Inc., if you would like to discuss this further.

Thank you.


From Anthony the THIEF Carmi....

"Well, I see you have been busy.

Yup, I have decided to close down my blog....and make apologies to the parties concerned. It was not my intention to "plagiarize" as some of you wonderful peeps have "viciously with full vulgarity" have put it. If you had taken the trouble to read all my posts, quotations of the names of bloggers, authors and so on have been given due credit. It was my err to have left out quoting some.

If you wanna pursue this with the viciousnes that is your artform, then I can do nothing. I will make peace with the blogger (not you!) to offer my explanation and apologies (not you again!).

However, I wonder how you peeps who preach all things good cld turn into such vicious and malicious peeps....before even seeking out the truth behind.

The again, reporters like yourself is often guided by your inflated egos. I always gave credit to reporters who go into details and get their facts correct before reaching a conclusion. It seems I'm wrong.

I wish you well, I really do!"


Carmi's reply......

Hi "Anton". I noticed you've pulled your new blog down, too. So sorry to hear about that.

Please know that on the Internet, you can never truly disappear.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.


Carmi's reminder late last night..........

Hi Anthony. Still haven't seen that apology you promised. And from my correspondence with all involved, neither have they. I do hope it's forthcoming soon, as I'd hate for you to misunderstand just how big a deal this kind of thing is where I come from.

Please advise.


Anthony's response Carmi.

Hi carmi

A very good day to you.

I was just made to understand from some Canadian bloggers that where you come from, people seek and crave attention to get "hits" in their blogs for $$$ reasons. Some of them even went further to say that your side-window and articles of yours were works of plagiarizm.

I'm still trying to understand the whole situation, before I proceed-on. Sorry, we Malaysians are a bit "daft" and backward ( as you have generalized to another blogger on Malaysian bloggers) especially when it comes to practising double standards.

Neways, the Canadians have indicated that they will be contacting the Canadian journalism association and other relevant authorities to enquire on your spamming violations. I don't know to what extent those spamming laws apply to where you are coming from, but I'm sure these bloggers are as smart, or even smarter than you.
Again, I wish you well ........ if the laws are a big thing from where you came from.


(TWEEDLES??? SPAMMING??? yeah....Hey Anton.....I've got some swamp land in Florida you may be interested in. They've just discovered a few dozen Burmese Pythons nesting in it.)


Carmi's reply to this ridiculous response from one whacky plagarising bully boy....

Idle threats don't become you, Anthony. I'm willing to wager a significant amount of money that "the Canadians" to whom you refer don't exist. Furthermore, there's no such thing as a "Canadian journalism association". And if in some bizarro alternative world it did exist, I doubt it would have much interest in enforcing anti-spam legislation - or in listening to the half-witted whining of a guy (you are a guy, right?) who doesn't understand the fundamental concept of IP. Do you even know what the hell you're talking about? Wait, don't answer that. We both already know the answer to that one.

Oh, and your spelling could use a bit of an upgrade, too. Just sayin'.

If anything, I'm enjoying this little exchange with someone who is very obviously an idiot. Have as much fun as you wish within your backward little group of bloggers, just make sure you don't lift other people's work again. We'll be watching, and unlike you, we'll have all the proof we need to nail your little plagiarising self to the judicial wall.

In fact, we already do - captures of your site alongside the original material you stole - and will pursue this as far as necessary if you choose to repeat your criminal performance.

And if you haven't begun the pursuit of an actual life just yet, may I suggest that you do so without delay.

All the best


Laughable and entertaining these replies are, dont you think? Obviously he is not taking any ownership for his immoral and illegal acts. I have yet to hear from him directly and as far as far as I know, neither has Marja. One thing for certain is that he is not to be trusted. And, given the flavour of his bizarre bullying tactics, I can't imagine he will stay away from blogland. He thinks he's been hard done by. Hello???

oh, yeah.....I just found him on FACEBOOK. :)

Anthony, when will I hear from you???? Are you going to try to bully me too?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To catch a thief.....we DID!

I awoke early yesterday morning all hot and uncomfortable because I am at that magical age where menopausal heat seeps into your system like a steam locomotive and PUSHES right out of your toes at approximately 4 am. I couldn't sleep let alone get comfortable and the more I thought about it, the more irritating the flames shooting from my cute little feet became. Unpleasant? It sucks! It does a number on your head too. It ain't pretty!

So, it was in this frame of mind that I found myself cooling down in front of a blasting fan with a cup of tea in my hand checking out the recent posts of my bloggie friends. OH, shut up! I can hear you from here! What the hell is she doing drinking hot tea in the middle of a late forties FLASH? I recognize the contradiction. I'm a creature of habit. Tea and 4 am blog reading go together. Oh, who am i kidding, tea goes with everything. It was the first thing I asked for after 23 hours of hard labour and dammit, they brought me one! A cuppa in one hand and a newborn in the other. So why the hell wouldn't it go with menopause??? I'm a thirsty multi-tasker. Irish, Scottish and English flows through my system. for a spot of tea.

Quickly, the heat moved right into my gut when I innocently checked a copyright site (I have since posted it on my sidebar) and found that my own formulated words from a piece I had written just this week had been nicked and used by another blogger, living and breathing (uneasily NOW) in Malaysia. I had seen many visits on my sitemeter over the past 6 months from there, but never thought much of it, because most people who visit my blog don't leave comments. They read and move on with hopefully something to think about. THEY DON'T NICK IT! Needless to say, I felt pierced and violated. I couldn't believe it!!! How could anyone consider owning much of what I've written when it comes from my own essence?

At first I thought perhaps he had stolen just this piece because only one was caught by the copyright site, but I thought I'd check his previous posts, and saw that he had lifted whole posts, as well as bits of pieces I had written as starting points for his own posts. Photos, poetry, prose, even silly Q and A posts were used by this guy. (Interestingly, I surreptitiously learned that much of what I've written does have my own unique fingerprints were easy to see! I didn't know that until I went through Anton's blog! They jumped right out at me! SO, thank you Anton you eeejit.....your immoral behaviour actually enhanced my awareness! funny how that happens eh?)

Tonight, however, he's gone. Oh, he showed up again under a new name and blog site with most of my writing missing though a few still standing like he owned them. But after the pressure of my friends, he high tailed it out of blogland. Again. We'll see if he shows up in another form. Most likely, he will. The HEAT is on him now! I'm cooling my heels.

Plagarism is a more than just a surface blight. It is a complete and utter violation. Immoral and illegal, it is fraudulent action of someone whose morals are despicably missing. Consequently, I have been in touch with an old university friend who is a lawyer with a large copyright firm in Toronto and she is researching internet ownership rights and whether there is a precedence set in the land of blogging. Obviously there have been situations where published articles have been stolen from the media and visa versa, but its unknown as to whether a piece of creative writing stolen from one blogger to another has ever been brought to court. I'm very interested to find out and await her counsel.

In the meantime, I have been in touch with the Blogger folks and have asked them to help me with respect to dealing with the pieces which have been cached under ANTON's blogname. I am incensed that my creative intellectual property will forever be floating out in cyberspace under his name and i can't rectify it.

What started out as a feeling of being alone turned into the most extraordinary day of feeling lifted by a wide ranging group of BEE UUU TEEEE FULLL people who came to my aide. Mike, my very first bloggie friend shared this with a group of us through an email that flew around the GLOBE!!!

Dana, et al.,

It would appear that the blogging community has dealt the blog in question it's death blow. Earlier, the link you provided did not go to that specific post, but the blog could still be accessed. There was just one post - probably stolen as well. I flagged the blog based on your email - your word is good enough for me - and I suspect I was not alone. The blog in question (now just a short time later) no longer exists. It is as it should be. I have no problem with anyone reposting my work as long as three simple conditions are met: it cannot be for commercial use; it must be properly attributed; and it cannot be altered from its original form. If anyone reproduces my work as their own, I get angry. Very angry. More than angry, I get justice - and it appears as though justice has been served.
It's good to see the blogging community working together. Most of us do this as a labour of love - for ourselves and anyone else who finds our words insightful, amusing, cathartic or whatever other value they may hold. We don't (most of us) get paid to do this, but it is work nonetheless. For someone to steal it is wrong on too many levels - that it is illegal is only the tip of the iceberg.
You are a kinder soul than I, Dana. I would not have given (and in fact did not) this so-and-so a chance to remove the plagiarized material... I simply would have hit him or her with everything I had. The crime has been committed - it goes well beyond mere intention or a "little" mistake - we are talking about entire posts!
I have not checked to see if my material (which is copyrighted and noted on my blog) has been stolen in a while. Although it is difficult to be absolutely sure, it looks like my property remains within my control. But thanks for the reminder, it is a serious issue.
My reply....?

Hello everyone.....:)

Blogging most certainly is a labour of love, Mike. You are so right. It is also such a wonderful community of shared passions. So often I am inspired by something I've read, like a jumping off point for my own writing. There is a terrific give and take, and when someone violates that flow of creativity by stealing, it is wonderful to know (and feel) that the community does pull together.

I thank you all for your assistance. I have sent him another email threatening him and making it perfectly clear that I won't sit idle again and let something like that happen. I also told him he should be ashamed of himself.....asked him what the Dala i Lama would think of such sinful behaviour! :) Buddhist my ass!

I did get in touch with Blogger and file a formal complaint. Whatever he has posted in the past has been cached, so they can still follow up if they havent done already.

I wish I had copied the comments from everyone! They were priceless!! I had a few facebook friends nail the guy as well, so I am completely confident tha t he is shaking in his weasley boots today.

Thank you all! I'll post something about it all, hopefully tonight.


I'm off to pour myself a glass of wine and toast you all xxx

Thank you all for you kindness and concern. I can't tell you how grateful and humble I feel. The attention you poured on not only energized my drive to tackle this situation, but left me feeling affirmed as a writer and a friend. Carmi? A very special thank you to you my dear friend. If I may, I will post a separate blog with the correspondance you initiated on my behalf. I can't tell you how much I appreciated your efforts. Remind me never to get on your shit list! haha!

I am actually very fired up and more interested in writing because of this episode. Over the past couple of weeks, I was seriously considering leaving blogging. M y ideas felt stale, and my fingers weren't finding the keyboard as enticing. In fact, I had intended to write a piece this weekend and entitle it "To Blog or not To Blog...." However, this has spurred me on, and certainly made me realize just how important, precious and inspiring this little virtual global village is to me.

A lot of reflections happened yesterday...... good strong reflections on the importance of community, the joy of belonging, the empowering sense of efforts. I may have started yesterday alone simmering in a hot flash with a cup of tea in my hand and a look of horror on my face when I first realized my work had been lifted...... but it sure wasn't long before I was joined by a beautiful force to be reckoned with!

thank you ..... thank you....

Now I have to get a group of 5 beautiful camp counsellors (three of whom are sleeping as new best friends in my basement as I write) back to camp after a two day respite. I've fed, and laundered.....and listened to many hilarious stories... I plan to orchestrate a singsong along the way..... won't they LOVE that?? Little do they know that Muskie has taken over me today.....and she's drivin!

PS. Anton? You out there??? I have yet to receive that email you told Carmi you were sending me. If YOU try to steal my work or anyone else's again, you will be caught. As for what you have already done? Sit tight buddy, I have a lawyer who wants to talk to you.

bloomin' crazy!!!

These Shasta daisies are for you.....a bouquet from my garden. xx

True kinship was felt today throughout the blogging community, including several friends who have always been supportive of my writing pursuits. I'm fired up but exhausted! I will write more tomorrow...... when I've had a chance to catch some sleep. It's been a long and busy day. This saga is not over yet. I can feel it.

Thank you so much everyone for rallying with me and supporting me wholeheartedly. You are beautiful wonderful people. I feel lucky and so blessed to be surrounded by your swift action, your kindness and your concern.

ps. Carmi received an email from Anton the thief. He had the audacity to try to explain that his actions were misunderstood. He also stated that he would apologize directly to the blogger he stole from. I have yet to hear from him.

Sometimes it truly does take a village to make things happen. :) xx

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blatant Plagarism

***New update, Saturday evening....The Malaysian BlogPirate resurfaced under a new name, but quickly felt the pressure of the blogging community and pulled the plug on this one too. Thank you for all of your support. Hopefully (but unlikely) he will not return. In the meantime, blogger will be monitored for any attempts at returning.*****

***NEW UPDATE***SAT, PM....The weasley thief has left the building! His blog is now all gone. I will keep an eye on this "tosser" (love that word Paul :)) to make sure he doesn't lift his shameful head again. Thank you, thank you! You are all beautiful!!! *****

****UPDATE**** This guy has stolen several of my pieces! as well as Marja's! Please visit his site and check it out!!! He may have stolen from you too!***

Maybe I'm too naive and too trusting, but I hadn't ever really given plagarism a thought. Most of what I write about seems to personally driven that I never expected anyone else to even feel comfortable using one of my pieces as their own. Well, guess what I found out??!! This blogger lifted one of my posts almost verbatim. HOW DARE HE??? Boy am I pissed off.

As much as I write this stuff and put it out there to be read and contemplated upon, and as much as I realize I'm using a public domain as my choice of venue, and as much as I do let go of a piece emotionally once I push the "publish" is my intellectual and emotional property dammit! I own it.

I feel very strongly about this (duh), more so than I do the photos I've posted of my own, though that riles me too. However, most people have emailed me to ask if they could use one of my photos beforehand. I didn't think to wonder about my pieces. Now I'm wondering how one protects oneself from further stealing?? Any ideas???

Oh, and if you would be so kind....... Would you mind visiting this blatant plagarising blogger's site and leaving your opinion in his comment section? I'd appreciate it.

I'm a nice person, but don't ever fuck with me or my writing because I will not be nice.

PS....I have since left comments on 6 or 7 of my pieces and have sent him an email demanding that he take down everything he has stolen from the blogworld. I have yet to hear from the little slime.

Friday, July 17, 2009

what? too busy? nah......

In a world
* where busy has taken on new meaning
* where instant gratification has been turned into a pseudo-right
* where surface dwellers seem to rise to the top of the food chain
* where connecting with another fits into a twitter tweet
* where nerves fray open with a single touch
* where little annoyances transform into temper tantrums
* where the inner to do list goes into thinking overdrive
* where waiting patiently brings on heat strokes.....
* where destiny has turned into a drive-thru

In a world where you've got no time to change your mind....

......there are better options
......we can slow it down
......we can choose to connect with who and what is around us.

We could learn to "stand in the long now".....where fast paced flurry takes a back seat to the pleasure of time enhanced presence. Join me for a breathing out moment will you? I'll meet you by the yellow chairs with a tray carrying your favourite libation. What'll it be?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

having faith in others and in myself...

Communication is layered with our own meaning....our own needs or yearnings. It's easier to assess where the relationship seems to be hovering when you're face to face. You can hear, see, feel, smell, touch, and perceive it. The person is right there in front of you....and even then, we can still walk away with misguided interpretations. However, any other form of communication between two human beings brings with it many more complicated blips. Some are relatively new, texting, facebooking, twittering....

There is a discomfort felt in the gut when waiting for a response, a reply. You send out a message, a story, a question. You ask for clarification, or reassurance, maybe information. Then, you wait.... and wonder..... and fret. Even when you cognitively and intuitively KNOW that the person you are trying to connect with is dealing with their own set of issues, life conflicts, busyness, there is niggling poke at the fret button. At least there is for me. Maybe I'm overly sensitive? Impatient? Needy? I'd say all three.....

I begin to question myself, my actions, my own frame of mind when there is a long gap between putting yourself out there through your words and receiving some kind of acknowledgement or interpretive response. If I've REALLY pried open my flesh to spill something emotionally intimate and I get nothing back, I begin to feel anxious, wondering if I have done something wrong, or if I've worded something in a way that may have been misinterpreted. Depending on how I'm feeling and where I am at emotionally and confidently, this type of "stinking thinking" can sink my boat. I may have started off in a free flying craft with the sails up catching the gusts and skipping right along, but if I'm ignored, put aside, dismissed the boat all of a sudden starts taking in water. The wind dies down and I begin to sink into the stinking thinking mode of travel like a castaway alone and bobbing in unfriendly waters.

Irrational thoughts lead to irrational emotions ..... which in turn leads to irrational actions/reactions. Actually, I think it is more a vicious circle which can begin at any point. My mood could be despondent and it will in turn lead to an impulsive action to satisfy me temporarily which then leads to feeling guilt and shame from the thoughts that follow the action. If I happen to be caught in that dog chasing performance, it's difficult to pull out of it before it's too late.

Maybe its because I have a big problem with rejection. I guess its happened one too many times and as much as I try not to let it shade my thinking and feeling, I'm not often competent at that. It seems like it's always there, hovering in the foreground. When I find myself in the middle of another possible situation where this may be occuring, I try to see it as an opportunity to reflect on the refreshed irritation in order to learn how effectively let go of the stupid thoughts and hurt feelings. That way, I can try to step aside from my vantage point to read my own flushed and feather ruffled feelings. Then, I try to explore my own behaviour and actions that seems illicit a non response (and a strong desire to receive one).
It's a value thing too....I try not to do this to others because I find it so disrespectful, so when it happens to me, it rubs against this value button.

Rejection and that sickly sense of abandonment....the fear of being left out or left behind has a strong pull on many of us. It's an ingrained schema we have to fight tooth and nail to overcome. It kicks the gut until it empties, leaving you feel hollow and unloved. Where it comes from is unique to the individual it wants to strangle. But, I have grown to believe that we ALL experience it, some more intensely than others, at some point in our lives.

Have you felt the hollow??? How have you dealt with it??
I have a tendancy to stick my neck out more often than many I think. I do take risks and connect with many people, whether its a brief conversation with the muffin lady at the local convenience store, or someone in my life whom I consider a close friend. Consequently there are more chances for me to be in a position of being rejected....dismissed.... ignored.

For the most part I can walk away and move on. But not when I'm feeling it within a relationship which has deep meaning in my life. Then, if I'm not careful, it can pierce me deeply. This is something I've learned about myself only this year, and when the realization hit me....when those light bulbs went off, I literally doubled over. Why? Because once I knew that the trigger was a fear of rejection, all the times it had happened, particularly over the course of the last 10 years, went flooding through my system and knocked the wind out of me.

Viktor Frankl wrote.....“When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.” I read this quote the other day and just shook my head. So often, I have tried to change a situation through my actions, thinking that if I kept trying to connect, maybe the situation would right itself. When I read this Frankl quote, my initial reaction was a realization that this is where I am stalled in the challenge of changing myself. Knowing that my need to connect with a few people whom I seem to be slipping away from may be perceived differently than my intention tells me I need to change me. I need to recognize my own triggers, my own emotions, thinking, actions and then perhaps let it be.

I tend to read things into things......I get paid for my intuition and assessment skills. They come naturally to me. But, sometimes they go into overdrive. I read too much into things and then get too emotionally incensed. A lot of times, I'm right. I'm kind of like one of those sniffer dogs at an accident scene. I usually smell it right. Sometimes I'm wrong however, usually when I'm overly anxious to make a friendship work, or overly needy of reassurance.

Right now, that's me. Perhaps in the future it won't be? I won't feel the need to seek out affirmation? I hope so. It would be nice to relax a bit more about the lack of response.

In the meantime..... bear with me. I'm doing the best that I can to pry myself away from stinking thinking......

ps. Ironically, this was not written with the intentions of seeking out empathy. I have found the whole process of learning how to be more confidently patient, to trust a Higher Power when it comes to realizing I can only control my own actions, thoughts and emotions and HOW I react to others' behaviour....interesting and eye opening. It's a universal process I believe .... one which has become more complicated as we have allowed technology and different means of communication into our daily interactions.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sir Paul

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,

Where to begin?

Halifax was definitely blessed on Saturday with the most beautiful sunny summer day and the most amazing concert I have ever attended....(though I haven't seen U2 or Springsteen yet, so this may be a benchmark I intend to step over one of these days). However, I have attended many concerts in my young life and by far Paul McCartney blew them away and left me gobsmacked. Heaven knows I wasn't alone, but like everyone else who attended, I was into my own trippy nostaligic thoughts that seemed to unravel like a bunch of colourful ribbons floating right out of me into the night breeze.

As soon as Sir Paul began to sing, I was transported into places in my memory which held all those ribbons of happiness. Though I was expecting to feel a sense of glee, I don't think I was prepared for the deeper ties I felt to the music and to Paul McCartney's voice. He sounded exactly how he did long ago when I listened to he and the Beatles on a scratching tape deck recording in the old craft shop at Camp. For some reason, I didn't think that would be. I thought he would sound like an older version of himself.....kind of like how Sinatra's voice altered as he aged. He didn't! He sounded like Paul before the whole Knighting thing.!

Not only that, the man ROCKED it out for almost three hours and played several different stringed instruments, and the piano. Bass, electric, acoustic, mandolin...even the ukelele he was given as a gift from some guy named George Harrison which he started the song "Something...." after he told a wonderful story about his collaboration and friendship with George. There he was strumming the uke and singing all by himself to an oh so familiar and much loved song, with the background screen showing a montage of old photos of the two of them. Then, the song went into full orchestration and continued with a little help from his band.

Every single song was memorable. 36 in one evening......every single song pulled up memories, some more predominantly touching than others. There were several "pinch me" moments. All you had to do was look around at the crowd of people to see just how perfectly happy they were to be there witnessing and be caught up in the throngs of people who were generating their own warm nostalgia and letting it freely catch the breezes above the crowds was quite simply....magical.

I loved seeing so many people in their 50's and 60's there together as couples, arms wrapped around one another swaying and is all you need....

I loved seeing the younger folks, many with long hair and head bands....the strings hanging down in the back. Tie dye t-shirts blended in with tank tops and mini skirts. Oversized t-shirts and baggy bottom jeans..... it was a collage of fashion spanning 40 years.

I loved seeing the parents with their younger children, coming together to experience a moment.

I loved seeing the old fart druggie types who seemed to be on the wrong end of a cigarette butt....all scraggy with scruffy unshaved faces and a bit toasted from one or two or three too many parties. They were transported back to better days....

I loved watching the interactions between the seasoned concert goers and the uncomfortable suburban types who have never been to a full on outdoor rock concert before let alone interacted much with this type of crowd. They soon fell into the magic of sharing a moment with strangers who all seem like friends...

But mostly, I loved watching my son take it ALL in!

Every time there was a whiff of marijuana in the air, which surprisingly wasn't as often as I had anticipated, he'd look at me in wonder! Too funny. And when one of the men who was part of a rowdy happy group next to us came over an in full inebriation put his arms around me like we were the best of friends and wanted to chat about his excitement over being there.....? WELL! I just laughed, and agreed. He then told Max how great it was to see someone his daughter's age at the concert just as excited as he was to be there.

My son's reaction to this display? "Mom, you attract the strangest people!" hahaha! I take that as a compliment.... and it's true. It certainly happens to me often!

Since we ended up somehow being one of the first thousand or so let onto the grounds, and therefore made our way to the front area with no problems, we had lots of time to observe and to take all of it in..... And we both did.

There were many memorable moments, but the one which fills me with something akin to gratitude and grace happened during the first few notes of Blackbird. It was when I realized just where I was standing....unbelievable to hear a song which has always always touched me in a place very few songs reach. I can't really find the words to describe that place. There is a holiness feel to it, like a pluck of a harmonious blend of what makes up who I am.... the very foundation of who I have become from living, experiencing, sensing and feeling. Blackbird is one of those songs that rings that tiny bell.

Needless to say, I was awash in memories, mostly of the summer camp I attended and worked at so many years ago, but remain fresh in my heart. So often that song was played in the craft shop where I worked with a friend who loved the Beatles..... We'd have it playing in the background as we helped the campers create.....

Tears came bursting out of me before I could stop them.... I felt flushed and so darn happy to be there with my son experiencing such an amazing day..... Max took notice right away his Momma was kind of stunned by it all and he spontaneously put his arms around me and hugged me with such love. He held me and I held him as we sang the words together.... and listened to Sir Paul sing it as fresh as he did so long ago.

And when the first notes were played on the piano for Let it Be? I looked over at my 11 year old son and saw the emotions rush through him. He was very surprised by the flooding feeling! But, I was simply grateful to happily hold him and sway to the sounds of a song which seems to have the formula to last beyond lifetimes....

And when the night is cloudy,
there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me,

speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Brilliantly gobsmacked! We will never forget this day.
Love is all you need......and it was felt in abundance.