Gone fishing …

I haven’t been blogging much these days, partly because a lot of my time is consumed by writing my book “When the Child Becomes the Parent”  and also because I am being lured by so many distractions — all of which involve home renovation projects and gardening.  Okay, perhaps “lured”  isn’t the right word.  Let’s shift the blame back to the real culprit.  Me.

Mea culpa, mea culpa.

I admit it.  I am addicted to home improvement — inside and out.  I am an avid (rabid?)  HGTV and DIY television channel viewer.  Candace Olsen. Ty PenningtonDavid Bromstad. Genevieve Gorder. Vern Yip. Mike HolmesJamie Durie.  These talented designers, architects, builders, and landscape artists are my muses.

Not to mention my very own live-in architect and engineer.

In my view, there is nothing more rewarding than working with my hands (my nearest and dearest now calls me Rosie the Riveter)  and either creating something from scratch or restoring a room to its former glory.  Each Christmas, I tell my husband that in lieu of exchanging gifts just for the sake of it, we should simply get ourselves a new power tool — like a jack hammer, for example.  To which he replies, eyes shining, “I am such a lucky bastard!  A wife who loves power tools and motorcycles … amazing!”  

I never disagree with my husband.  That would be just rude.

But, I am getting distracted again.  As I mentioned earlier, I am trying to finish writing my book.  It is about one month (give or take a few days) behind schedule … a schedule that is completely self-directed.

Mea culpa, mea culpa.

Here’s my reasoning:  it is important to balance intellectual pursuits with physical activity.

Sitting in front of a computer, writing and researching for twelve hours straight is simply  not conducive to good health.   Although writing marathons/binges can be very productive,  the downside is that they can cause eye strain, circulation problems, and muscle pain.

I am an extremist.  I do go on writing binges which render me oblivious to time and sound.  I believe it’s referred to as “being in the zone.” However, when I let myself get distracted by my beloved house and garden projects, I push myself to my physical limits and, once again, I forget about that she-devil called Time.  The downside?  Chapter Nine was supposed to have been completed two weeks ago.  And, to add insult to injury, I just threw out my lower back again — very badly.

Mea culpa, mea culpa.

I should heed my own words. Balance.  Wasn’t that what I said earlier? Not one or the other. Both. In moderation and harmony.

Of course, now I can’t do either.  Sure, I can manage a 500-word blog, but I keep getting sharp twinges of pain when I move this way or that. So, I will have to press the Pause button for now and take it easy for a few days.

Gone fishing …


P.S.  I welcome any suggestions for tried and true home remedies for back pain …

Image via paisleyperspective.com.

New Year’s Revelation #4 of 7: Take the Scenic Route Always

Ever stop and wonder whether it’s really, really necessary to rush about (almost manically, sometimes) each day – from point A to point B, zig-zagging through traffic to make that green light (which will inevitably turn red, just as you reach it, no matter how fast you drive), or chauffeuring the teenage kids (some of whom feel that they are entitled to parental limo service) to all their activities and social events?  

Do we often impose imaginary deadlines or unreasonable time limitations on ourselves?  Are we biting off more than we can chew? Or, more to the point, are  we over-scheduling ourselves and perhaps need a refresher course on how to manage our time more reasonably?

Most importantly, are we cheating ourselves of the simple, serene moments (so very necessary for the nourishment of mind, soul and body) — like stopping to marvel at someone’s beautiful front garden, slowing down the car to gaze at a breathtaking sunset, stepping out to frolic in the snow (we’re never too old for that!), or taking a nice evening stroll just after dinner. Let the teenagers carpool with one of their friend’s parents or – here’s a novel idea – tell them to take the bus! We did . Back in the day. And, incidentally,  we didn’t have cell phones back then, to call anyone in case of emergency. 

Again, I digress.

Here’s another heatherfromthegrove anecdote.  My husband rides a Harley (Fat Boy  — the motorcycle, that is, not my husband!).  I happily ride on the back of the Harley.  We both love it.  Riding, with the wind in our faces, well … the word that comes to mind is Freedom.  When we ride, we feel free.  It is the most exhilarating experience.  Yet, so many times, we’ve had to go places and he would ask me (every single time):  “Do you want to take the scenic route, or go the fast way?”  Often – too often – I answered  “The fast way.”  Why?  I felt some irrational need to hurry.  I was cheating myself.  My husband – a very, very sage man – knew that I was choosing the wrong path.  He would always ask the question twice – the second time, he’d say “Are you sure you don’t want to take the scenic route?” The implication of the second question went right over my head.  I was blinded by my own imaginary timing. 

It should be noted that whenever we took the scenic route, we would ride with grins from ear-to-ear.  Ahhhhhh …. the sights, smells, sounds…. simply delightful!  Then we’d stop for a bite to eat and enjoy each other’s company.  We took our time.  And,  the amazing thing was that we somehow managed to do all the things we had set out to do that day.  Imagine that! 

Fyi … now, we take the scenic route – every time.  Life is too short for compromises.

So, if you ever have to choose between taking the fastest route or the scenic route….. always, ALWAYS take the scenic route. 

You won’t be disappointed.

It appears that animals are often times more spiritually enlightened than we humans.  Below, Bacchus (my “son”) takes a moment to gaze at the scenery (Bear Creek Canyon in the Santa Cruz Mountains – Northern California).

New Year’s Revelation No. 2 of 7: Pause and Take Note

Time is an elusive mistress. She is fluid and in constant motion. I can’t stop her. You can’t. Nobody can.  Our journeys are intertwined. Often, we find ourselves so caught up with our day-to-day lives that we forget to savour the journey.  There is only one journey. Of the earthly sort, that is.  So please, please pause and take note.

People pass through our lives — sometimes only for a moment, a season or two, and – if we’re lucky – some remain a constant presence throughout our lives.  I am blessed. I have a good number of very special friends who have gone the distance with me.  Through ups and downs, through cycles of silence and silliness.  I was just on a video call with a pair of them today.

Lest there be any doubt or confusion, I hope they know that I  do cherish them. Enough said.

And then there are the people we meet and then never see again.  I received news today that gave me an unexpected jolt.  A person who I knew back in college – only for a season or two – had died, back in June 2009.  She lost her battle with abdominal cancer at the age of 51.  Her name was Lorena Gale.

This news made me pause and take note.

You see, sometimes people may have a major impact on our lives, despite knowing them only fleetingly.  Lorena and I attended the same college in Montréal — Marianopolis College.  That college was a phenomenal academic, social and cultural experience. It was pivotal for me.  It was when I started to have a voice of my own, hear it, and revel in it.  I decided to take Theatre – with a very brilliant, commanding (mercurial, more like) theatre professor (who didn’t suffer fools gladly) named Victor Garaway.  I walked into class, just as the upper class was finishing. That was when I heard a deep, resonating voice.  It was a voice that enunciated words with clarity, precision, and perfect tone. It was a voice that was destined for the Stage.  I looked up and around, expecting to see a statuesque woman in the prime of her life.  I was startled as I looked a few inches down from me (me: 5’4″, she: 4’11½”), only to see a teenager (one year older than myself) with big, expressive eyes, a quirky smile and skin the colour of burnished mahogany.  Her laugh, as she said “hi” to me, came right from the diaphragm.  It was hearty, strong and confident. It was, as I would soon learn, vintage Lorena Gale.

I knew then that she would be an Actor. I also knew that I would likely not, but that this theatre course would bring me out of my shell and into my own.  I was right — on both counts.

Lorena went on to study at the National Theatre School of Canada, as the first black woman ever accepted into the school.  Her illustrious acting career spanned well over 100 movies and shows – film and television. She was a director and a playwright.  A wife and a mother. A woman with a social conscience. And, most of all, she was a Canadian. From Montréal. And damned proud of it (as I am). 

I was always thrilled when I saw her on the big screen or on TV. I’d shout out and say “There’s Lorena!!”  I was happy for her and proud of her.  And I was deeply saddened today, when I heard that she had passed away.

So, tonight I shall pause and take note of everyone and everything around me.

And, Winky, I lift my glass of St. Emillion to you.

Lorena Gale (1958-2009)

(as Elosha in Battlestar Galactica)

Image (top) via  pickthebrain.com.