Size matters

“You have to be a Skinny Minnie to fit in these seats,” the giant man by the window said as I unfolded the seat belt and wrapped it around my hips. It didn’t fit. I lifted the metal flap and pulled the nylon web looser and buckled it. I’m no Skinny Minnie, that’s for sure.

For the next fifty minutes me and the giant man, whose knees butted against the seat in front of him, and whose right hip spilled over the crack dividing our seats and made contact with my left hip, barely contained our bodies in the 18-seater Dash-8 airplane. As I read “Outside of Ordinary-Women’s Travel Stories” and he read “Talk Like a CEO”, we sat shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, me refusing to budge an inch, owning every scrap of fabric on my seat. In the past, I would have done my utmost to give the man more space – crossed my left leg over my right, rounded my left arm and shoulder inward, put my feet together under the seat in front of me, made myself small, small, small.

How many times have I sat next to a man on a plane or a bus or in a waiting room who took up space by spreading his knees wide in a huge V, like an invading Viking, marauding and menacing my space? How many times have I shifted my body away so I don’t have to touch him, so I don’t have to feel him, so I don’t have to be aware of him, so I can simply be in my seat and fly/bus/wait?

Never have I been in this situation where a man crosses his legs, or shifts away, giving me my allotted spot. Never have I seen a man squeeze his knees close and tight or plant his feet together like he was bound by invisible rope about to be bagged and tossed into an umarked grave. Never have I seen a man relinquish the middle armrest.

Maybe it was the news of the past few weeks that made me refuse to budge and reduce myself to accommodate the giant. My fatigue with forgiving someone else their size while trying to make myself disappear for their comfort has been transformed into determination to use the space I need and am equally entitled to.

No, I’m no Skinny Minnie. Give me my space.

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Miracles by mail

It was late winter in New Zealand when Pauline tucked her gift in a diaphanous gold pouch and pulled the stings tight to close it. Inside it glittered and prisms quivered through the fabric and spread across her face. Then she wrapped it in a styrofoam sheet and packed her gift in a box measuring 4 x 2 inches. It weighed 1.3 pounds.  Continue reading

The half-truths and lies of my photos

I cobbled together a sampling of where we went and what we did from mid-June to September first. What struck me about these images is what they don’t tell you and what I may not remember ten years from now – the temperatures, smells, and feelings behind each shot. Maybe most importantly, why the photo was taken and the context.

None of these photos will be printed and saved. It has been years since I made a photo album either digitally or the old-school method of printing and placing them in tidy chronological order. I justify this as a blessing to my children who won’t have to sift through dozens of albums after I die and toss out 99% of them because they will have no meaning to them at all.

So, kind reader, indulge me in a September wallow down recent memory lane. Below each photo you’ll find a short background story. Continue reading

Yoga for Yoda*

Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda

Several times a month, I write a post for this blog whether I want to or not. Kind of like having sex after being married for 37 years. It can be a grind. It starts slowly, reluctantly even, then gradually it starts to work. The brain and body connect and everything starts to flow – blog-wise I’m talking. Well, sex-wise too I suppose. Continue reading

There goes the neighbourhood

“Mamaaa! Maaa-maaa! Maaaaa!” his thin, sharp cry carried through the screen door, sieved into mosquito sized pieces and scattered through twelve back yards. Deck doors clunked closed, but I was in my back garden listening to wind chimes, which I swear his sound waves agitated, and I wanted to be outside.chimes

“Darius!” his mother yelled. “Stop whining! Do you hear anyone else behaving like you? Just stop!”

I went inside and closed the door. I could still hear the caterwauling.  I wanted to invite them both over to listen to the chimes but I didn’t. Continue reading

All grown up

 

Deluge2

Miraculously, the May-June-July  monsoons did not prevent the cherries from ripening. Somehow they gleaned enough light and energy from the milky sun to turn into hundreds of juicy blisters ready to burst. They reddened within days and the annual race to pick and pit before the starlings and squirrels reaped the bounty was on.  Continue reading

Memory map

Map1963

Map of Canada – 1963

When the Canadian Oxford Desk Atlas of the World dated 1963 was published, I was six years old.  The first map in the book shows the land mass of Canada and the scale is one inch to 300 miles.  In this atlas the islands and inlets spattering the west coast of my childhood are, like my memories, unnamed. I know now those islands grew from cataclysms and it makes sense that the route through them – the way home – is dangerous. Continue reading

Writing-Down-the-Baja-ha-ha

What could be better than going to Baja Mexico in February – from snow drifts to sand dunes; from tires spinning on ice to waves crashing on the beach; from white-out conditions to bougainvillea and cactus flowers in bloom? What could be better than all that? Going to Writing-down-the-Baja, a writers retreat led by author Ellen Waterston of The Writing Ranch, and attended by bra fitting expert and author Elisabeth Dale. Not that I knew the latter would be there or that there would be surreptitious glances at my breasts to determine did I know what I was doing  bra-wise. No, that was a double-barreled bonus. Continue reading