“Good Morning… Happy Easter”

I’m wholly aware that it’s technically not Easter today, but I needed to tell you about this woman I see on my way into work every day.

First of all, what you have to understand about where I work is, it’s a maze. It’s your typical human ant hill which every day between the hours of 7-9 am sees thousands of people filter towards; convoys of busses shuttle people from their homes in the outskirts of the city into  downtown.  It’s a similar momentum at 5:05 pm, except in  reverse. There’s a lot of solemnity in the crowd, except for the occasional set of people who have found someone they know amongst the sea of faces. They’re the ones who find a little bit of joy in the “coincidence” of seeing someone they work with on the commute to that same location.

Back to that woman. She’s not one of us – and I mean this in every sense of the word. She stands outside the ant hill as the line of people passes her by. She wears her t-shirt issued to her by the media company she works for, and as she hands out the daily free newspaper, she greets “good-morning” to each and every person as they pass, one by one. There’s a bit of intonation to the “good” – it’s more like “GOOood mornin’”

That’s thousands of good mornings each day or hundreds of thousands of good mornings each year. I’m not sure how long she’s been doing it. At least a couple years because I remember her from the last time I worked in this building.

She’s got this pleasing southern accent. It’s dulled a bit – probably from many years of living in Canada, but it’s a nice break to the stream of monotony as people get off the bus and enter the building.

She’s not fazed by the fact that most people don’t even look her in the eye as they pass – that’s what gets me most. I don’t know about you, but in comparison, I’m kind of snotty about my “hellos.” I’m pleasant until someone isn’t pleasant back and then I’m prone to make a face after they turn around. (I’m pretty sure the face making negates the gesture.)

Regardless of where she’s been in life,  she’s happy when she stands there handing out papers. And it doesn’t have anything to do with the people walking by (because take it from me… collectively as a group, we’re not spreading a whole lot of cheer).  I feel like people like this woman are few and far between – in her green shirt, she’s a gem in a sea of grey.

Yesterday morning it was more of the same. Get on bus, plug in earphones, transfer busses, jostle to a seat, get off bus, head in building. And there she was, as bright as ever:

“Good morning… Happy Easter.”

I’m passing it along because it’s meant to be shared.

Four Things You Can Do to Save our World from Climate Change

I remember the feeling. It was 1996 and I was super hyped up about an issue; Y2K. As an overly excitable 11 year –old I was up in arms over the possibility that the world could end on December 31, 1999. So in the July of that year, about three and a half years before the big night, I sat down to write the Prime Minister of Canada a letter.

What are you doing to prepare Canada for the potential collapse of life as we know it?” I asked him.

Surely he would have the answer.

Ahh, young Emily. If only you knew then what you know now: few of us, if any of us, really have the answers.

When the clocked ticked around to 12:00am and the Millennium rang in, I had all but forgotten about the letter and the issue of the end of the world, which by this point, was a bit of a cult joke among mainstream culture. It was after all, in my young life, a significant amount of time later; I had already passed through the first year and a half of high school. By that point I had left my grade-school self behind and looked backwards upon that time with a certain sense of acknowledged naivety.

I wish I had bottled some of it up and brought it with me into my 20’s.

In grad school I started to learn about sea level rise, and about the melting ice caps and about the polar bears. And about all the public policy that continually fails to meet the mark of reducing our impact on the earth. My thesis in a nutshell: Governments use Climate Change promises, (especially ones where they help out “the vulnerable people of the world”) as Public Relations tools, but they aren’t following through and their words are empty of actions.

Climate Change will be the problem of our time, not just for the vulnerable, but for everyone – in fact it already is since sea level rise isn’t something that happens over-night. You just have to look at how increasingly extreme weather events are; anything from forest fires to massive hurricanes to winter storms and protracted freezing temperatures – all of these records have been broken in recent history both in terms of people affected and economic damages caused.

You would think since I studied it, I’d be taking up the banners and marching on government property. Raising my voice in a crowd of protesters …. Writing the Prime Minister. Instead, I join the rest of most of my generation and pretend it’s not happening. When I heard about the Polar Bears eating each other I refused to open the news article.

Where is that little girl who cared so much about the end of the world?

Apathy is that awful word that calls you out as a bad citizen. We use it to describe people who don’t vote. “It’s your fault if you don’t like the leadership in this country.” That’s what we say when someone decides to stay home on ballot night.

And the Americans are a bit more positive in their messaging “Be the Change.” (But maybe that’s because Bush pushed them to the edge.)

When it comes to Climate Change though, I’m astounded at how many people I know feel like a tiny cog in an overwhelmingly large system, and how hard it is to get them to see it otherwise.

It’s because we’re tired of canned responses like “We [insert Country X] recognize the urgent need for action.”  And numbers about CO2 emissions it fly mostly over our heads – as something that collectively we don’t have to change because right now, in this moment, we’re not quite sure what our responsibility is in relation to it.

We also haven’t really been instructed to change. It’s like that psycho- social theory where everyone in the group thinks someone else is going to start CPR on the unconscious person. Or the example from the 1960’s of the woman being raped in the court yard and people in all the surrounding apartments just listened as it happened. We’re all looking at each other going – “Well I thought you were going to do something.”
peoplecrowd

And yet, when I hear about the polar bears I just die a bit inside, and I don’t think I’m alone. I don’t want to be that person listening, but admittedly I’m still responsible for pretending it’s not happening.

Climate Change fatigue is causing an epidemic of apathy among the most able-bodied portion of our generation because we feel like we don’t possess the level of skill required to conquer it.

So it’s no wonder that when I hear about a really ridiculous hurricane causing flooding in NYC, or thousands rendered homeless from a chain of tornadoes throughout the north-west, I’m starting to think it’s normal. And when I see an alternative news article on why you should eat less meat, I think it was written by yuppie or worse, a hipster, and I naturally want to do the opposite.

So what should you do about it?

1.       GET OUT AND LIFT THE TRAIN: We need to acknowledge that this isn’t a scenario like the individual needing CPR – it’s not just a job for one person to resuscitate another; it’s more like that story of the train trapping a person on the tracks in Japan. Everybody on the train got out and pushed on it until it started to tip and the woman was freed. It’s like that a lot with Climate Change; unless every single passenger on the train gets out and pushes against the machine, we’re not going to be able to lift it up.

2.       SPEAK WITH YOUR WALLET: If the free market is how we’re going to make our decisions these days, let the free market make decisions. My favorite illustration of this example is the Gluten Free craze; we gave it a cool and healthy lifestyle angle and the marketing companies gave us GLUTEN FREE EVERYTHING (I still say bloggers are 90% responsible for driving this market change). We’ll pay A LOT for things that matter little. Similarly, we can pay nothing and cut back our footprint. Don’t worry; life isn’t going to be boring, they’ll figure out something else for us to spend our money on.

3.       HELP ME, HELP YOU: People working on Climate Change campaigns; you need to find a way to speak to us clearly. I have a degree on the issue and my eyes still glaze over when I think about gas emissions in “parts per million.” We don’t get jargon – it goes right over our heads. Combating climate change is as much about getting the message out there as it is about being innovative with technology. Hire employees who are really good at communicating and tell them to put it in layman’s terms (hint, we’re WAY dumber then we give ourselves credit for.) If you’re a journalist and you are writing on Climate Change you have to, HAVE TO, find an angle that allows people to situate themselves within the bigger picture.

4.       BE A KID ABOUT IT: Start to care, because you’re worried, because you’ve got unfinished business on this planet. Don’t take a pill to numb the anxiety; ask yourself what 10 year-old-you would do about it. Think on it, talk to your kids a bit, and then maybe do that. You know what kids usually do when they want help? They speak to people who they think can do something about it. Find the community leaders and the innovators, the famous and the PR spokespeople and maybe someone out there somewhere can ask us all to stop the train, get out and lift on the count of three.

Good-Bye Harriet the Spy

harriet-the-spy

The other day I was scanning through the Facebook newsfeed when something caught my eye. An article on bras – the address it came from was called “Lingerie Talk” (which is funny in itself; why is there a site devoted to articles about lingerie? One of everything on the internet.) But it had me at “bra” so I clicked away and found myself totally inspired by this 17 year-old girl who saw something she didn’t like in the world, and was actually doing something about it.

In a nutshell Megan Grassel couldn’t bear the thought of her 13-year old sister getting her first bra from a store that screamed “SEX”  and smelled like the line-up outside of a bar on Friday night. So she started Yellowberry, a line of bras and age-appropriate underwear for girls ages 11-13. I have to admit, the issue hadn’t dawned on me before. My first bra came from a box in the underwear and pyjama section at Sears. But the picture of taking a 13-year old into La Senza or Victoria’s Secret trying to find something remotely age appropriate is actually ridiculous. Is this what it’s like to grow up today? And how long ago was I thirteen?

ilovemybody

I remember reading somewhere once that girls need the chance to relish in their “Harriet the Spy” phase. It’s that time when you’re a kid and you run around analyzing the world, writing things down in your private book, because you’re playing detective; you’re on the cusp of putting it all together but before you do, you remember you’re just playing make-believe. When you jump from child to adult, the stages get blended. You have kids trying to tackle adult problems before they’ve even figured out if they’re creative or rational, analytical or logical. And while it’s not catastrophic, it’s a crying shame. There really isn’t anything more depressing to me then the thought of a cynical or hardened 12 year-old. Or one that’s standing in line with their allowance waiting to buy a leopard print bra.

Of course it doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye with a walk into a lingerie store. But I don’t think anyone could argue that it’s ever just that. It’s that and lyrics on the Top 40, and Selfies, and weird hashtags on Instagram, and “Teen” Magazines, and video games and even some young adult literature… am I wrong or are  there are just too many opportunities to grow up quickly now?

I feel about 50 years old writing this. And I’m wondering if this is what the generation before thought about the one before them. I mean, people had a problem with Elvis and the Beatles and Rock and Roll. Is our period in history any more unique? I say yes, but I’m open to arguments otherwise.

I think the really important question, which Grassel was getting at, is how do we protect this time-period and help kids just be kids? In the mall in downtown Ottawa, you literally walk by Gymboree, Old Navy and then you pass Victoria’s Secret. We were there today and the model, who ironically was advertising underwear, wasn’t wearing any. She was instead wrapped in some sort of silk thing, biting her lip. Images are so powerful. And I don’t mean that in an “artsy” way.

The thing that encourages me is that there’s a demand for the alternative. Grassel started her company through a Kick-starter campaign and she received double the contribution then she had benchmarked from the outset. What this says to me is that there are a lot of us are on the same page; totally aware that being a kid is the absolute best – and it’s a privilege we really should be doing more to protect.

Too Much, Too Soon

You guys on monday morning I woke up and I could hardly walk. At first I was confused because I couldn’t remember having sprained my ankle and then it all came flooding back to me in a rush of; oh yea, I’m not 25 anymore.

It was six in the morning and I’m not used to getting up that early. So as I stood there in my twisted t-shirt and pyjama shorts with all my weight on one foot, for a minute I thought “did I do something last night I should regret?” It would have been much better if it was one of those “early 20′s injury.” In sad reality, it was your classic case of “too much, too soon.” As in, rewind to the morning before and it was sunny and glorious (finally) and I said to myself, “I shall go for a run.” And I did. And when I felt a bit jiggly for the first few kilometres I said to myself “If you run faster and further, it will make up for the fact that you haven’t run in about 3 months and you sat on the couch and ate nachos every time it snowed (which this winter was like every tuesday and wednesday)- kinda like a drinking “eating game” in which the objective is to drown your winter sorrows in cheese and sour cream.

When I got home from my run I felt “ON TOP OF THE WORLD” so I cleaned like a maniac on prozac and then when that was done I did the groceries and then after that I went to my weekly co-ed soccer game (in which I scored the game winner – #WINNING … what? we don’t’ do that hashtag anymore?)

Enter Monday morning and the ligaments in my one foot were screaming at me.

And then, the subsequent four days in which I’ve just (just) been able to wean myself off the escalator in the mall on the way to work.

Can I just admit something for a second? I have this weird thing if you’re the person who gets the elevator on the ground floor,  and you only take it up one level up. I’m sorry I just can’t. It makes me scowl every. single. time. Like the third floor, that’s ok. The second though that’s where I draw the line. IT’S ABOUT 20 stairs. I know, I’ve counted. I don’t think that other people care like I do though because I’ve been apologizing all week when I get out of the elevator on the second floor and people are looking at me like “What? Did you fart?”

So this has been my lifestyle this week; the one in which I go for a run once and then suffer the claustrophobic fate of the elevator, until I can actually wear non-orthopedic shoes again.

Because; too much too soon. And because I’ve still got my winter “outfit” on and because I thought I could just go out for a casual run and smash it out old school – circa May 2013 when I ran a half-marathon.

Please excuse me while I go cry in my nachos.

The Making of a Teenage Midwife

Since I was 12, that’s how long this story has been on my heart.

Sometimes I’m hesitant to get too personal on here, because well, the internet. But if nothing else, I’m not much of a Buzz-Feed-numbered-list kind of blog. So here we go.

Do you believe that things in life happen for a reason? I do. I believe that every foot print, every breath and every outcome is pre ordained. And I believe that reactions and attitude are how we carve out space in this small fraction of history we call “our time.” That’s the free will part.

When I was 12 my sister got pregnant. At the time, she was 17 going on 18, still a high school kid, still just a bit awe-stuck by the cards we can be dealt. There was the usual reaction within our house – although admittedly that statement might be a bit of conjecture, because I was 12 and what did I know about a “usual” reaction? What I mean to say is, it seemed to me to be your generic case of “Your sister is pregnant and we’re not quite sure what’s going to happen next.”

But God bless my mother. My mother who is a rock and kind and always has the most comforting way of making you stand-up and get on with it because well, “If this is how it’s going to be, then this is how it’s going to be.”

From that point on I don’t think “we,” as in my family looked back. I’m sure my sister had months of thinking “I’m not ready for this” but then again, what new mother doesn’t? And while there may have been battles against deamons of fear and uncertainty on the inside, on the outside, we started to decorate a nursery. We ripped out my dad’s library one weekend while he was out of town and we painted the walls a bright yellow. And when my niece was born on April Fool’s Day, 17 years ago, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” by Paula Cole was playing in the hospital waiting room. My sister gave her my mother’s name when she was only minutes old.

Of course, people are unkind. This isn’t to say everyone is unkind – usually the closest people in your life are there because they will accept you as you are, but I can’t tell this story without touching on the fact that sometimes, some people are unkind (Why are people unkind?). Unfortunately, they can be the ones who stick out in your mind. They’re harsh and they judge. This despite the fact that everyone’s life at times can be so tiny, and there’s no one on this planet who has the right to cast judgement upon others.

But we’re human and that’s what we do – at least through this experience that’s what I learned at a pretty young age. One of the more unfortunate things is that’s also what we teach our kids to do. This explains why at school, a kid who was a year younger then me told me my sister was a slut. (Such an ugly, awful word, I doubt she even knew what she was saying, she’d probably only overheard it herself. ) And it’s why extended family members and other acquaintances had disapproving things to say as in “That would never happen in our family.” The unspoken thing you feel when people act this way is, “We feel sorry for you, because you don’t live your life the way we do.”

But the wonderful, most glorious thing about situations that try you; the people who we cast judgement on in moments like this, I believe they’re often the ones we should envy. Because deep down inside, whether they know it at that moment or not, they were born ready to handle whatever has been thrown at them. This is far more then the person perched on their pedestal would ever be capable of. In fact that’s why they’re talking from a position of comfort high up where none can touch them; they would probably crumble otherwise.

And the reason I can say this is because that’s what I’ve been watching unfold for the past 17 years of my life.

But here’s where the story gets good.

When my sister was only a girl in the hospital, the nurses, they judged her. They were unkind, not tender. They were harsh not attentive. And my sister, who’s a lot like my mom in how she handles things, she rose to the task. Not right away of course, but it was one of the many moments that shaped her. She didn’t become hardened towards people. Instead she tucked it away in her arsenal. And she turned those negative, ugly things into her army of “I can do this.” And slowly she started to show people what it means to be a strong, kind and determined woman.

Of course it didn’t happen all in an instant. There were years of scraping by. Of working two jobs. Of giving personal things up. Never sleeping in on weekends. Of putting the kids to bed and getting back up to use the quiet time because that’s the time she had.

And this isn’t to say she did it alone. My parents were always there. And there was of course my now brother-in-law, her confident and biggest fan, who was with her through it all from the beginning. And eventually there would be two more kids who added to the joy and raucous of a big-beautiful-busy (and not pottery barn) life.

And year after year you know where my sister ended up? In midwifery school. That’s right. That kid who had sub-par prenatal care… last week, she wrote her final exam which will make her a mid-wife. In Ontario, there’s a wait list to receive care from a mid-wife. And you know what? I bet she won’t judge. I bet she’ll give every women the right to a safe environment into which she can deliver a baby in peace. And not worry about the decisions she’s made, or whether or not she’s capable of being a mother, which I’m sure those of you who have already had a baby can attest, they’re the kind of things you want to keep out of your mind when you’re faced with delivering a baby. You can’t change the past, or everyone’s attitude or actions, but you can be a beacon of light yourself.

Last week, after five years of school, my sister wrote her final midwifery exam. It wasn’t just on any day, the exam happened to be scheduled the day after my niece’s birthday. That’s right, exactly 17 years after my sister was in the hospital giving birth, she wrote the test that would define a big part of her future. Isn’t it also just too uncanny that my my niece turned the exact  same age my sister was the year got pregnant with her?

See? I told you everything happens for a reason.

Life is intentional. Don’t ever think it isn’t. The scenario you’ve been handed is a gift- to extend to the world lessons on how to love, understand others and be courageous with your actions. It’s up to you to decide how you would like to react.

*This one’s dedicated to my sister who quite clearly, I admire in a way that I’ll never be able to capture in words.*
meandjudith
(and that would be me and the little squidgy one circa 1997 ^^ I wouldn’t normally post such a obnoxiously large picture but this blog template sucks when it comes to media).

Ending on a Good Note

Building a Home in Three Days for Habitat

Building a Home in Three Days for Habitat

This week is ending waayyy better then it started – (let’s recall the pain and wrath of CrossFit for a minute). I’m happy to report that by Wednesday I could walk upright again, but I spent the subsequent two days fighting off a nasty virus. I’m feeling much better today however and there are many family celebrations – a couple birthdays, a milestone and Mike’s doing this really cool project this weekend where he feeds the people building a home in 3 days for habitat for humanity. I’m like “Are you more excited to cook for people or to see how they build a house that quickly?” He had a hard time answering :) But all this to say I’m brimming with so many good things to say about the people in my life and I think I might have to spend the weekend writing them all down.

We’ve Been Fighting For You

winter-in-march

(^^March 24, 2014 ^^)

Winter is the fight between good and evil. Sometimes in the dead of January you embrace it, you sink into that black hole of day-light hours and you just say to yourself,

“Ok fine. I never needed sunlight anyway.”

Because it’s so enticing to just burrow into a warm blanket on the couch.

And it’s encouraging to me that by February, I’m ready to fight again. I’m ready to put words to action, make plans, pull out bright wardrobe colours. But the winter doesn’t always go down easily – especially this year; We’ve had what feels like such a long winter.

It helps me get through winter when I keep running outside. This year you couldn’t run outside. You were always cold and the thought of running outside and getting scratchy, burning winter running skin wasn’t enough to coax you out into the -30 wind chill. You could try to layer-dress in spandex and other various pieces of clothing and the result was you looked like a slowly moving pile of blankets as you attempted to dodge snowbanks in the middle of the side walk.

And this year even my indoor plants were slow to grow. And the poor old Honda we drive is creaking at this point – it doesn’t understand why this past weekend she still needed to be “warmed up” before we  put her into gear, and we can’t explain it to her because well, we didn’t even really understand it ourselves. (Also, inanimate object/besides the point.)

The other day I actually thought maybe the world had stopped turning and that’s why it was so cold and snowy here still (we got another 10 cm on Sunday morning and about 5 on the Friday before that). Of course, one of the first things I learned from my mom is that the world just doesn’t stop turning.

But what I’m saying is, as soon as that daylight savings time hit, and the world got a bit brighter, things felt so wonderful. Because there was light again.

Even if March was bitterly cold. Even if I tried to wear a spring jacket twice solely on the principle of it, and suffered dearly.  Because the light always wins. And even a candle in a room can remind you of that.

And yesterday, I was on the top deck of my double decker bus, minding my own business heading home, and I saw something that just made me so happy.

A runner on the street below turned his chin up, closed his eyes, and just smiled into the sunlight.

Because who in the world doesn’t love the sunlight when you give them a chance?

Welcome, April. We’ve be fighting for you.

The New Kid in a CrossFit Gym

walnuts
I’ve been talking about trying crossfit for almost a year now, which is in typical fashion to how I approach most things in life; let it percolate, percolate, percolate, and then suddenly: Over-commit!  Any chance at all really to do nothing, and then EVERYTHING, (include carry the member card laminated in my wallet), I’ll take it. I’m not certain however, if that’s how it will be with crossfit.

Gyms are scary places when you don’t know the system. They’re hard to infiltrate. You walk in, you assume everyone you see is a regular. You are suddenly aware of your workout-outfit. The gym-owner tries to joke around with you to get you on board – to show you that this is a community, not, as you first thought, a gym. At least that’s been my experience in places I’d call actual gyms. (There are of course the other ones that try to buy your way in when they send a girl in a red-jacket with coupons out to approach unsuspecting female customers, who thought they were just out to get groceries, and not join the “women’s only” complex attached to the superstore.)

So last week I finally mustered the “I’m doing this” up and wrote down the address for the crossfit gym I’d been eyeing. Nice and close, good hours. Seems like a perfect marriage for a girl like me. I was already planning the workouts into my calendar and I hadn’t even figured out exactly how to get there. Like I said, from 0 to 100%.

How to get there as it turned out, was not a problem. Finding it once I got there, was.

An industrial park, about 15 buildings in a row with old crumbling outsides, the businesses it had been built for long run bankrupt or to locations with a better curb appeal for their growing customer base. I did one drive past the address on my sticky note and saw nothing. A few cars parked on a diagonal up against the building, but no sign with a business name, and certainly nothing to indicate to a girl like me, where to “ENTER GYM HERE” without looking like the new kid. I pull in to where I think it’s supposed to be, and the guys at the adjacent loading bay, packing linens into the back of a cube van for delivery, eye me skeptically. “What’s a girl like you, doing around a place like this.”

(Judgement: What if I’d been there for linens?)

Around the side of the building I park my car, google the gym again and find I’m in the right place.

And like I said, I’d already planned an intense schedule into my “I-CAL” which meant I had approximately 48 hours to find the place, introduce myself, sign a waiver and get going with it already.

wakeup

So I pull up along side the row of cars. And then I notice, on a door with no window, a small sign, like the one you display on your desk. It’s the name of the parent gym I’d seen below the CrossFit headliner on their website. So at least I was in the right place.

But there’s no one going in or out. Other then me of course.

I pushed the door open a bit reluctantly and I’m met with the dim room, a bunch of couches you’d see at a garage sale, a coffee table with “Paleo Diet Lifestyle” strewn across a pile of about 10 other books.

The owner’s nice. He’s got an intense look and he tells me that normally cross fitters aren’t as bulky as he is – he’s a professional heavy-weight lifter. Or whatever it’s called.

And I’m watching the crossfit class and there’s a good mixture of normal, really fit looking people and I’m inspired. I’m not too crazy about well-lit places with girls on elliptical machines wearing bar make-up anyway. This is the sort of seedy underbelly place where I want to tell my body to just stop already with the extra body fat. All this to say, we can confirm through science that frills are not necessary when you’re looking to lift a weight, and build some inner strength.

Within two days I”m back attending my first class.

And I’m paired up with the only guy taking the class that day. As I quickly learned it was the “team-work” day. So now I’m not just there to try and muddle through my own set of exercises – I’m there to muddle through my workout with a complete stranger and I was in that lovely situation where my skill and fitness level directly impacted his work-out. I don’t have to be a new kid to know that people in these sorts of scenarios like to make their efforts count; each and every time. As I clumsily threw a 10 pound medicine ball from a squat position, in a pathetic attempt to hit the faded red line painted on the wall about 10 feet above me, all I could think was “I hate this, I hate this, I hate this.”

And the guy who’s my partner is counting down under his breath as I take my turn, trying to shave off a meagre quarter of the reps we’re supposed to collectively make our way through in that round.

You see, crossfit isn’t just about strength, it’s also about agility, speed, coordination. And I’m the person who dropped her wallet and shoes after I tried to turn the handle on the locked door of the gym while everyone else sat in their cars and waited for me to discover that’s not how it works around here. You just chill man and wait for the owner guy.

But I’m not chill or coordinated. And I’m out of shape and I’m clumsy. But I’ll be damned if I don’t give crossfit a try at least once in my life.

So I made it through the 25 minute rotation. And this morning I used the wheelchair bar to lower myself onto the toilet when we were out for breakfast. It might have been the walking lunges. Or the wall-ball.

                                                                 my-quads-are-on-fire*

I’m not sure exactly what happened in that building in the abandoned industrial park yesterday. Maybe I’ll go back and trace my steps once I’ve recovered.

*please note all the photos used in this post were not sourced because I’m still in too much pain to give a damn. 

Blank Canvas

blank canvas

There’s been a lot of time spent talking about the future lately. I think it’s only natural… when you’re planning to get married right? Our conversations have been drifting towards questions like “Where should we live? and “Are we ready to “settle down”?”

And usually these thoughts are followed with statements like this:

Let’s move somewhere warm. Do you think we can do it before next winter?

(Full disclosure: that was only half-joke. This past week I think we’ve come closer then ever to following through with this threat. Most recently the location was Arizona but I’m sure it will change next week.)

But more seriously, there’s been a lot of pontificating about what we want from our family life – how we each want it to look. It seems weird to verbally plan things out. Some things we’re actually trying to physically change habits of… because I feel like unless you start to do it now, we’ll never make the change. For the most part though it’s a lot of strategizing the game plan.

I guess we have a lot of time sit and think about these sorts of things. I think that’s a unique part about our generation. I’m pretty sure my parents just lived it out as the plays happened. (In fact my mom said she never read ONE “how to look after a baby” book – which I feel like the WASPs of 2014 would just GASP at.)

But hey, the luxury of this time; I’ll take it. Why not relish in the fact that life might change quickly from here on out? And can it hurt to air it out in advance?

And it’s funny because other than a (3 HOUR) meeting with the minister who’s marrying us, we haven’t had any formal “marriage counselling.” But somehow we started to tackle a lot of the hard questions on our own;

“What about finances? What about if we can’t have kids? What will you say if our kid asks you if God exists? What about if you lose your job? What about if I quit my job? Do we need two cars?”

I do realize that life isn’t something you can sit and plan. Nothing is ever exactly as you imagine it will be, and the best laid plans can fall through.

But all the same it’s comforting to talk “life” with someone you’re going to marry. I like the idea that we’re on the same team. And that we’re all excited and hyped up about the potential of the future. Even though we’ve done some pretty exiting things already and taken some pretty big milestones together,  I feel like we’re still looking at a blank canvas. There’s a lot of wonder and excitement in a gaze like that.

Enter Title Here

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I stepped outside in my bare feet tonight. It was the first time I’d done something like that since last October, and at that time, it smelled like winter was coming. Cliff was out there looking for his ball (“Go get your ball Cliff!”) so I thought… I’m just gonna go for it. The sliding glass door was heavy – cold and worn out from the past 6 months of nights below -20.  I squished my toes into the mat on the stoop outside the door. It was still open a bit and I caught the leftover smell of the roasted red peppers that we had for dinner, wafting outside into that beautiful night.  So let me tell you, it’s crisp and there are stars in the sky, but it’s not spring yet. And it’s still way to cold to not wear shoes.

So I went back inside and we watched True Detective. And since Mike won’t let me watch The Office in bed anymore  (to combat the scary show) I found myself starring at the empty WordPress screen, the title box blinking it’s usual “Enter Title Here.”  On that note, I love how there are shows now that take place in the mid 1990′s and I’m like “Wasn’t that yesterday” but in the show Woody’s being interrogated and he’s like “Man, I haven’t seen Rust in 10 years. And we went through all of that 17 years ago now.”

Seventeen years is how long it takes you to be born, learn to talk, walk, run, feed yourself, learn to read, hit adolescence, try to earn an income baby -sitting, hang out at the skating rink on weekends, decorate the gym for a school formal and then graduate from high school.

17 years is a long time.

Conclusion; I’m old. Which is why it’s Friday night and you’ve found me here, writing this.

Also, have you ever had Tirokafteri? It’s a greek feta cheese dip and we made some tonight. I’ve come to terms with growing old because adventures in the kitchen are pretty fun too.

Ok, I think I’ve sufficiently got Matthew Mcconaughey’s creepy/intense gaze out of my head, but that doesn’t mean I won’t leave you with this:

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G’night!