The Ol’ Ball and Chain

Leon

Winter, which drags on like a ball and chain in Ottawa despite the good cheer of robins and red wing blackbirds, has been a pain in my hips. Prolonged sitting – or even brief sitting – brings sharp hot jabs to my derriere. Concentration is difficult so writing has been sporadic and targeted. Blogging, in case you hadn’t noticed my absence, has been difficult.

Look. I’m not complaining. I still have my teeth, all my limbs, and most of my faculties. Those I’m missing are bolstered by my long suffering spouse. Together we are one. Occasionally gas erupts unexpectedly but I have a dog at home and at work my chair has a squeaky wheel to blame. Plus, a well-timed loud toe-tap can sound remarkably like a fart.

Evenings, which formerly were devoted to you, your concerns and interests, I spend on a yoga mat attending to the lengthy physio exercises and stretching routine that will render me as limber and pain free as a puppy. I must persist. But overall, really, I’m fine. Just fine.

I’m telling you this not for your pity (though I’m not above that), but because I miss you, think of you often, and wish I could be with you more. Time, they say, heals all wounds. The pain in my ass will pass and I’ll be back.

In the meantime, meet Crystal Anderson. She’s new to blogosphere and is an enormously talented storyteller. Please drop into Crystal’s blog and say hello.

IMG_1507

The dirty dog in dirty snow demands his due, despite my dragging derriere. 

Advertisements

Life is a Beach

“When can we go to the beach? When, Mom?”

We’d just moved to Vancouver Island from our former home in rainy Prince Rupert on the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada. There were no beaches in Prince Rupert, just the docks at Royal Fisheries where my Dad worked. Commercial fishermen berthed and off-loaded their catches at the docks and this was where my friends and I jumped into the frigid fish-gutted water. The temperature was always blue-lip cold. Continue reading

Nuclear Power – by Melissa Ballard

 

Leon

A writing mentor, Richard Taylor, said recently “What do you do with the shit in your head if you don’t write? Hit a supersize bag of cheetos and a litre of Coke?”  So many reasons to write. Here’s one of my favourites –

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. – Joan Didion

 

Or how about this from a great Canadian writer:

I’m concerned about the unknowability of other people. – Carol Shields

I can guess why my friend, Melissa Ballard, wrote this story. See if you can, too. Whatever drives Melissa, I’m grateful for her beautiful non-fiction stories and exploration of events and people in her life. She finds the universal in the particular as you’ll read in her latest story in Belt Magazine. I hope you like it as much as I did.

 

 

A Shot at Redemption

I wake to my mother’s black and white image every day. Her photo hangs over my dresser and she stares directly at me. Its one of those photos where the eyes follow you. My husband has never objected to the location of the photo or that her gaze is focused on our bed. Perhaps its because she is very beautiful and serene.

Judging from the hairstyle and clothes, the photo was probably taken around 1940. She looks like a big city gal which belies her rural Midwest roots. I wonder if it was taken while she lived in Chicago where she finally settled down after years trailing her Dad in the Dirty Thirties as he looked for work.

Propped in my bed with the dog snoring beside me, cozy in a nest of pillows and books, we loll in soft grey light. A squirrel skitters across the roof and I tense, hoping he doesn’t fall down the chimney as happened to one of his brethren on Boxing Day. As I hold my breath, I hear my mother’s voice. Continue reading

Fear of Authenticity

IMG_1206

Christmas morning – Authentic dog and snow

“If I brought my authentic self to work, I’d be fired.” This was the most authentic thing I said in the 2.5 hour long discussion my employer held on the new corporate values. My authentic self is quick-tempered, opinionated, potty-mouthed, and arrogant. These are not highly prized attributes for an underling and certainly, during a corporate group-think values session, I was not about to expose my true self. Continue reading

How to Clean Your Closet

Close your eyes, slide the door open, and pluck 12 items randomly from left to right. Ignore the weight of your choice. You touch it, you pluck it. Ignore texture, too.
Make no conjecture about your selection. You don’t know if that silky feel is real or synthetic. This moment is your emetic. Commit to the decision at your fingertips.

Continue reading

A Walk on Nietzsche’s Birthday

Western1

You may know of his most famous work – a philosophical novel called “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and you probably also know the music of the same name from “2001: A Space Odyssey”.  The composer, Richard Strauss, had read Nietzsche’s novel and created this strange, other-worldly musical fanfare used at the beginning and the end of the movie.

Without music, life would be a mistake.

Now, lest you be thinking I’m some kind of philosophy buff, let me divest you of that thought pronto. I discovered it was Nietzsche’s birthday because I was driving in the car early the morning of October 15 and a radio host shared this nugget and then played the music. Continue reading

To be or not to be

I felt something soft under my foot and thought I’d stepped in dog shit. We were outside the door of Ottawa’s newest fancy donut joint, Maverick’s, where we planned to buy a ½ dozen of the pricey treats and bring them home to the children for all of us to enjoy. We’d spent the last 2 hours hiking in Gatineau Park, tromping up and down hills aglow in fall foliage – maples, aspens, birches, fanned out like a male turkey’s tail feather display. The bear warning signs had not deterred us. Continue reading