Sunday, June 25, 2006

don't feel so bloggy

I'm feeling lately like i don't have much to say. This may excite some of you?! (as you anticipate a short-winded post?). I realize I have a tendency to 'go long', but I'm not usually cognizant of length so much as just going with it when i'm in the 'blog-writing zone'! The breeze is so fresh today. The climbing vines on the deck trellises are gorgeously green. I love the rustling sound they make as the wind disturbs them. Our umbrella and table/chairs looks really inviting. We've already spent some beautiful outdoor time. As I sit here I can see right through the sliding glass door and I feel like those cushioned chairs are calling me. Summer in this part of Ontario can be so lovely. Today I would say early summer beauty is at it's zenith. The flowers are all in bloom, though the grass is a tad on the parched side. Our planting is done. I'm saying a prayer for my now planted, dried-out perennials. They may come back? I hope so!! They got a dose of Miracle gro and i'm giving them lots of H2o. I love to enjoy the gardens. . just don't enjoy putting in the work! Maybe when I'm retired I'll become the stereotypical grandmother out in her gardens, weeding and pruning. I can't see it. . but I won't rule it out. Young grandmothers like me don't fit 'the mould'. I don't buy my clothes at Tan-Jay or Northern Reflections *massive shudder*. I don't know how to knit or crochet. I don't have dentures. I work full time. I don't wear high-waisted, tapered leg, or pleat-front pants! (God greatly forbid!) I don't call my grandchildren "dear", I don't have bifocals and I don't wear support hose.

I missed watching CBC "Sunday" today. . I slept in. (I did way too much yesterday physically and stayed up WAY too late!) Instead I sat down with a couple of good CDs. . . downhere's "Wide Eyed and Mystified" and Brian Houston's "Rollercoaster". I read my Bible. I'm working into the 90s in the Psalms. . and I'm in Colossians as well. . I journaled my prayers. I like that . . I'm really into journaling. . have been for years. I don't write a 'did this, went there' diary. I write to God and tell Him exactly what I'm thinking, how i'm feeling. . of course He knows and no, I don't have to do that. . its for me - but i think He loves that i write to Him. I thank Him, I ask him questions. I ask Him for answers. I lay it all out on the pages. What gives me a great buzz is that I can go back and write in the dates of answers to my questions and pleas. . its like proof to help me believe that He's the genuine article, which experientially I know him to be. I get a lot more out of sitting in the quiet with Him. . this is where I need to be at this point in my life. It may seem a bit 'isolationist' to those who feel it necessary to 'go to church'. For the past 2 years, this has been my 'church'. Maybe i'm in a desert place, but I'm at the oasis. I'm no longer wandering delirious and ragged with thirst. I'm not crawling on my belly in the dust. . I'm seeing a path and I'm walking it. I'm learning to be in relationship with the invisible Almighty. I love this time. I love how He's become my teacher, He's the one I look to and admire. He's the one I ask questions of. He's the one who is there for me, always. He's the one who gives me dreams. He's the one who takes up residence in my spirit. . He's the one who sets the example. He's the reason I exist and He's the reason I breathe, think, speak and move. I've learned that without Him I am a black hole of self. . . taking everything in and giving nothing out. The power of self is frightening but there is a greater power. I'm learning about daily, sometimes hourly what it is to surrender my will. . to His. If I surrender, I can change from a black hole, where no light gets out, to a supernova. . light exploding out from the centre, eliminating darkness. Its not my light. . its His. . not my power. . not my anything. . this is what i'm learning, its not about me, its all about Him. *i'm no expert on deep space. . but these seemed to fit in here!*

This is where I am in my spirit. I'm in training. I'm learning. I'm just excited to own a spirit! I know that I've always had one. . but it was given up for dead before I began to know Jesus and follow after Him. That is as honest as I can be. This is what my entire new life has amounted to, knowing and following. There's a lot out there to know and there are lots of people and paths and 'beliefs' to follow. . i've been there. . now I'm here with Him. . I like this much better.

Wow. . this started out to be about 'nothing', then shifted to the weather, then the desert. . now we're in deep space and in the spirit realm. .

I should go. . . its been a good day. Thanx for going along with me here. . yes, it was a little 'all over the place' but that's just how my thoughts are going tonight.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

hell's kitchen

Gordon Ramsay. . the shar pei of the culinary world! Gordon, the wrinkled one. Gordon the rugby-playing chef. Gordon the laughing all the way to the bank chef. Gordon, the Profane One. Gordon the TV star. Gordon the restaurateur. Gordon the blond. Gordon the hot tempered. We love Gordon!!!!

click and go to hell. . . .'s kitchen!!

Robbie and I are hopelessly hooked on Gordon Ramsay.

I love to watch cooking shows, so no surprise there. Rob just loves Gordon cuz Gordon's so brashly outspoken. We always laugh when the bleeped out dialogue is more than the kept in dialogue! We just look at each other with open-mouthed, shocked hilarity and we laugh and gasp when he calls people "wankers" or idiots. We love to see how dorky people can be. . running restaurants when they can't cook, owning bars when they have no business sense. We are delightfully aghast when we see the insane scenarios in his "Kitchen Nightmares" adventures. Chef Ramsay travels the U.K., hired by desperate owners in hopes of redeeming their troubled businesses. Oh the filthy kitchens, gungy kitchens, messy, bug infested, cluttered! Gross! We watch in disbelief as 'head chefs' who couldn't cook to save their lives invite a big gun like Ramsay to give them a shake down and a smack upside the head as only Gordo can do! They're ballsy or ridiculous. . not sure which. Some of the visited establishments are top drawer, with imported foods, fine linens on the front of house tables, and no bodies at these tables. . pricing themselves right out of business, or serving the wrong kind of cuisine for the region. Gordo's impressive business sense, his kitchen leadership knowledge, his culinary skills. . . and his no nonsense delivery is pure magic. He's every ailing and failing restaurant's brutal saviour.

Hell's Kitchen. . . bamalam! This series makes "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" Gordon look like Mr. Rogers. . whoa!! Like the million other 'reality shows' out there. . this one has eliminations every episode until that magic moment when the winning chef is given their own restaurant to run. The difference is location and occupation. Kitchen and chef. No island or torches. No board room. No race around the world. Just a screaming, swearing Scotsman in your face and on your case! I don't think I could take the abuse these wannabe chefs take?! They are all thrown into full service in 2 side-by-side, busy restaurant kitchens and asked to complete service each night. Naturally they can't do this and the results are spellbinding. Its like watching a trainwreck. . you can't look away, even though you may want to. Rapid-fire ticket reading by Gordon. . mass confusion as no one remembers the orders, no one seems to know how to cook the menu items properly. . communication doesn't happen, food is wasted and Gordon is screaming: "F*&@ Me!!! is that what you call a Wellington? throw it out!, F**&in' he**" "I said, 2 risotto, 1 scallop, 1 wellington and 1 salmon, now effin' MOVE!!!" F&@#!!! All the trainees are cracking under the pressure. . dithering, "Yes Chef-ing" and "No, Chef-ing". Gordon is fuming and muttering 'bloody He$$' shaking his blond noggin, furrowing his already lined brow. During last night's show he became so shocked as he watched the teams disintegrating into chaotic panic. . He quietly *for a change* said to his maitre'd: "I feel like I'm cooking with Muppets." At which point he then shouted his trademark: "SHUT IT DOWN!!!" The ovens are turned off and the beleagured trainees visibly slump and wilt. Rob and I exchange knowing glances and head nods. Rob often tries to predict the exact moment when 'the words' are coming by gauging the size of Ramsay's bulging neck veins! Its crazy fun watching this man's shows. Sometimes I think Gordon needs to attend an Anger Managament course. He's a rage-a-holic, but he's also hilarious and really affable when he's not pissed off.

So, if i've made you curious. . . check these shows out! If you're already a Gordon fan. . . what do you think of the inimitable Mr. Ramsay? We love him!!! There's no one like him in the world of 'food tv'. . . an angry, yelling Scotsman!!

Friday, June 16, 2006


I hate being an asthmatic. I especially hate it when i catch something that's 'going around'. The average person will get an annoying cold, take their nyquil or whatever and they'll be able to get through it. I get the bug and right away it descends into my lungs, my 'twitchy airways' start doing what they do best. . constricting. I get the telltale heaviness and pressure like I have a baby elephant laying across my chest. Usually it will take about 5 - 7 days to get into this kind of trouble for me. This time 'round it only took 2. It kind of scared me how aggressive this 'whatever it is' got in there. I had a scratchy throat for a day and a half and them this incredible fatigue, like i couldn't sit upright, you know? then the cough. . the kind that burns when you cough, and aches. There there's the breathing. . . yesterday i did nothing except work my shift and sleep every chance i got. today I took a walk with Robbie and the puppy!! *Maggie!* I was gasping on level ground and that was AFTER my puffer. Pathetic. I saw the doc the other day, he had a listen and wrote me yet another prescription for Zithromax (antibiotic). I think I should get him to do a standing script order, cuz this happens to me usually once per season.

He talked to me about trying Singulair again. . (once a day pill) I tried it before, didn't seem to do much for me. He said its 50/50 . . for half of asthmatics its a wonder drug and for the others, doesn't do a thing! Figures i'd be in the latter group!!!! When I took this in addition to my puffer i was spending $160 a month on asthma medications. Thank God for drug plans and for living in a country where health care is pretty decent and accessible. What would happen to me if I couldn't afford to buy the medication that keeps me alive?!

Anyway, I'm tired again. . gotta get some rest. Sometimes i dream of being able to breathe like I used to when I was a child, before all this. I don't remember what it feels like to ever get one complete breath. I don't remember what its like to not take puffers two and three times a day. I don't know what it feels like to go for a walk in the cold without my airways closing off. I don't remember what its like to be able to withstand humidity without hiding in central aired buildings. I don't remember what it feels like to get a normal cold. I don't remember not wheezing and I hate that I don't remember all of these normal things. bah.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

turbo jam and my fitness life

So this is now THE adjunct to my vigorous dancing, yeah, baby!! Its a big energy ball of fun,sweat and pain called TURBOJAM. . and I LOVE it!!! More on that to come. . first the insane journey of my fitness life:

I have tried sooo many fitness regimens over the years. . you name it!!! Callanetics, ballet muscle work (still love it!), Yoga (been doing that since "Lillias, Yoga and You" in the 70s!!) I have always flirted with dance classes -- back in the 70s at the downtown YW in steeltown, in the 80s when my kiddies were young with the old DanceFit! and now with whatever style captures my fancy. . bellydancing, burlesque!! ooh la la! -no, not the Carmen Electra stuff. . I have the fruity, hippie chicks of "Yoga Booty Ballet"!! What they lack in heat, they make up for in coquettish cuteness! I've done some Brazilian street dance and swing too, though that's hard to learn alone. That's just my dance DVD collection! My heart still belongs to my beloved "Shemotions". .the live experience is the best.
What an amazing group of women! We meet twice a week to bust our moves and we sweat and laugh. AND EVEN MORE EXCITING, I'M DANCING WITH BOTH OF MY DAUGHTERS NOW!!! They're hooked!!! YES!

I have periodically haunted the exclusively women's gyms. . BORING!!! The only things I enjoyed were the live classes with all their energy. . Tina's Jammin' Cardio topping the list. . with all that hip hop and lyrical jazz. .FANTASTIC!!! What else have a tried?! *i get restless* I've tried all the Kathy Smith stuff. . . and she was THE QUEEN for a while. . I don't know what she hasn't done?! maybe spread things a bit thin? I've stepped up and down and sideways and backwards in step classes and at home, I've worked out to "The Firm" with its strength training and cardio intervals. . I've done TV exercise shows: "Charlene Prickett" was one of my faves. . I've done the Jane Fonda tapes, even had the leg warmers! ACK!!! I LOVED trampolining with my mini tramp!!! Its fun, but yeah, its only SO fun jumping up and down once the bombastic thrill wears off. Billy Blanks' Tae Bo. . . FRANTIC and yet so boring. . . wha?! Can frantic BE boring? Yes, it can. blech. . . I always felt when I did Tae Bo like i should have been more caffeinated like everyone on the video seemed to be !! Especially this one woman. . man was she 'out there', glassy eyed, twitchy. . *shudder*

Winser Pilates. . .yawn. . oh the bloomin' POWERHOUSE. . powerhouse this and powerhouse that. . engage it, watch it, engage it again. Ms. Winser, she just needed a pointing stick to wrap ppl on their flabby powerhouses. . she constantly prowled amongst the Pilatians. . she never seemed to DO the exercises herself!! The Crunch -they do everything, but meh. . okay. . kind of like the fitness equivalent of cream cheese, kinda bland. . . . Oxycise. . (stretching and deep breathing - I actually do need reminding to breathe deeply!) Tony Little!!!!! talk about FRANTIC!!!!! I always felt like I needed a VALIUM after watching him. Positively hyperkinetic. He always seems dangerously close to having a stroke, with the veins in his neck and forehead bulging as he screams. . ahhhh, give me a break! I don't want more stress when I exercise, I want to banish it!!!

I won't even get into detail with exercise equipment I've bought and sold over the years!!! OI!!! So many things. . . so stupid of me to think that I would stick with them!!! I've sworn off machines all together. .I don't like them at a club, I don't like them in my house. I don't like them with a mouse. I just don't like green eggs and ham! If I can't use my body and maybe just some tubing or barbells, I don't want anything to do with it. After so many zigs and zags along the way I've learned a few important things:
1. I will ALWAYS need to work out. Housework don't cut it, neither does running after kids or working full time, nor does walking the dog. . just ain't gonna do it.
2. Even if you look like you don't need to work out like my girls, they're slim. . ppl say to them "Why do you need to exercise?!!!" EVERYBODY needs to.
3. Your must LOVE what you're doing or you won't keep doing it. And even if you DO love it, there are days when you're not gonna feel like doing it!! But unless you're sick in bed with a dreadful fever, you must! Do it anyway and you won't be sorry.
4. If you fall off the wagon. . . like i've done more times than I would care to confess. . your body will happily get accustomed to the activity again! its a glutton for good treatment. Its too easy to get fat and happy! I know. Gaining weight is too easy. . and if its the result of eating too much of that yummy, delicious food and just sitting on one's heiny its even fun! But once that weight's on there. . man, so NOT fun!!! UGH. Bad. .
5. If you have physical illnesses, limitations, conditions. . . work around them, do what you can, have your physio, take your meds, do an alternate activity that will benefit your body and give your stressed parts the rest they need. No excuses. I've had times when I've been stricken right down and unable to do anything. But I always told myself that I would get back there again.
6. Middle age or grandparenthood, having had children, having arthritis, having a thyroid condition. . all excuses! BAH!! I will not excuse my laziness or my bad choices. . I will own up to them and put them behind me and I will work and not fool myself into thinking that I don't have to keep up that work and diligence. . cuz I know that inside of me is an out of control woman who must be kept in line.

So, back to TJ. . . I haven't called it that yet! first time!! does that mean I'm becoming a veteran?! heh heh. . . Chalene Johnson - creator of TurboJam - she's a little pepmeister, with dimpled cheeks and flaxen locks. . I could just squeeze her she's that adorable!! She doesn't just HAVE a powerhouse, SHE IS ONE!!! well, maybe a powercottage, cuz she's so teeny! Chalene has a martial arts, kickboxing and dance b/g. . so imagine the hybridized fun?! Can you? I find it so appealing. . the punching makes me feel STRONG, especially getting into that horse stance doing the Tae Kwon Do punching and blocking, the Brazilian Capoeira moves are FABULOUS and empowering. . The kicking!!! woah, the kicking - great for getting out that pent up or unused energy or stress. The dancey groove is so great and the music gets in your head! and its good!!! After I'm done. . I go around the house growling: 'I'M GONNA KNOCK YOU OUT. . MOMMA SAYS KNOCK YOU OUT!!' My family isn't impressed. . Chalene's moves are so unique. . fun, HARD! Yep. .I feel bodily different already! I don't think i've ever been this excited about any fitness program in my life! My obliques are solidifying daily, i'm developing lines and contours. . my legs are muscling up from all the dancing and now this. . POW!

Just getting the word out there. . TURBOJAM! The hyperlinks aren't working! WAH!! If you're inclined, you can visit and check out Chalene's TJ. . If you like shaking your stuff, punching the air and kicking it too. . .you can be a Jammer!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

evening is a beautiful time

Right now I'm sitting here beside my sliding door, the inside door is open. I can feel the fresh air on my skin. Its not quite twilight. . ahhhh. . love that time when everything cools off, activity wise and temperature wise too - unless you get one of those close, humid nights that annoy rather than soothe. This is one of those green, soothing times. I'm listening to a cacophony of bird calls right now -- can you hear them?! I swear they're that loud! My neighbourhood is of the older, matured tree variety *i.e. many trees are 75 + years old* -- bird 'condos' all over the place here! Do you ever wonder what the birds are saying to each other? I wonder! I love to hear them, except when I have insomnia and its 3:45 a.m. and they're starting up with their little sing songs and i have yet to sleep a wink!!

The twilight comes like God turning the dimmer switch. The sky darkens incrementally, the glow of sunset plays out on the golden red edges of the horizon as purple night softly settles. I love that God did things like this. . really there was no need for him to make it all beautiful, except that's how He is. If he had been inclined to make the daily/nightly switch abrupt, he could have -- imagine blazing sun. . . BAM!!! inky black sky. . blazing heat -- sudden chill. I love that He's so present in every detail of night fall and sunrise and everything in between. He's not abrupt or clumsy. . He's graceful and adept, masterful.

I see the clouds through the screen. . greyish violet, billowing, thick. . Doesn't it look so much like you could grab them? don't they look substantive? Puffs of gas. . majestic and protective, shifting, sheltering. The air smells wet and life giving. It feels dense and pleasingly cool.

The birds are still clucking, and peeping. . but they're quieting. Stillness hangs. . breezeless calm, interrupted only by intermittent traffic noise. Moon and stars have yet to come into view. It won't be long. Have you ever owned a Lite Brite on which you've made pictures with rainbow-coloured plastic pegs over the dark-papered light box? Have you then pulled out all the coloured plastic pegs and looked at the white light glowing through the holy black paper? This is the night sky! Yes? (just different pictures - no clowns or ice cream cones)

I just wandered out bare foot into the yard, the grass feels lush and damp. I padded down the grassy hill, through the gate and stood on the sidewalk. I wanted to get a better look at the sky. As I turned my gaze I was greeted by the beaming full moon. . . Oh, its so gorgeous. What is it that so captures us when we see it? Is it the knowledge of its foreverness on display every night? Its mystique? its membership in 'club universe'? If we explain the light refraction from a ball of gas and fire onto a rocky orb, doesn't sound so lovely. And yes, technically speaking, its precisely that. . but it is lovely and serene. I love the romanticized way we view it.

The birds have ceased. The night has fallen, tucking everything in its big, dark blanket. All is perfectly quiet for a moment, save for the remote, distorted echo of a passing freight train with its mournful, off-key whistle. The corner streetlight's golden halo mesmerizes a frantic cloud of insects. Crickets chirp in harmony. I am quiet, observing, participating. The moon peers through the high branches of the maple tree. I take a draft of night air into my lungs, hold it and exhale slowly. . . ahhhhhhhhh. . .

Saturday, June 03, 2006

this woman's mind

Ever get so many thoughts zinging through your mind that you just want to blow a whistle to give them all a time out?! I do believe its a gender thing. Every woman i know is the same -- thinking, thinking all the time, often being kept awake by their overactive brains. Rob and I once watched a documentary on the brain. It was fascinating. Okay, this is a bit of a tangent, but its related, so please indulge me?! When Rob and I watch tv he's alert with regular programming, but man, you sit that man down to view a documentary. . . he checks right out. I watch him, which annoys him greatly, but i get a kick out of it! watching his head bob or snap back when he feels himself nodding off. HA!!! Before i know it, his mouth is wide open and his head's on his chest. I'm chuckling right now just thinking about it! In this documentary we were shown comparative CT scans of women's and men's brains - at rest and active. You know those scans where red, orange and yellow are 'hot' colours which indicate activity and blues and greens conversely are cool colours which signal lessened activity? The woman's AT REST brain was 50% MORE ACTIVE than the man's ACTIVE brain!!!!! When I saw that my whole life suddenly made sense!!! I finally knew why I was the way i was!!! *Of course I gloated for all womankind -- YEAH! FOR THE SISTERHOOD OF SUPERACTIVE BRAINS!!!* Rob good naturedly, as usual, endured my Ms. Superior pants attitude with great masculine grace. What else could he do when faced with scientific proof?!

I may have these supercharged neurons firing like there's no tomorrow within the lobes of my brain, but so what? I can't lie my head down on the pillow, shut my eyes and be gone like he can! So, its a rather hollow victory. More like a curse!! My thoughts are sometimes like crazy, sugar-high children running amok in the corridors of my mind. They're bumping into each other and trying to beat each other out for attention. I find they're at their most unruly when I'm trying to rest or pray or meditate. At other times i picture them as if they're students sitting at desks wanting the teacher to pick them. .You remember school with those kids? or maybe you've been one of those kids?! Shooting their arm up and supporting it with the other arm, waving it, bouncing in their seat, saying 'OOOH, OOOH, PICK ME!!!!'So desperate to be heard!!! Yep, my thoughts are like an entire classroom of those little buggers.

One of my thoughts tonight as i listened to a very cool CD, (Wide Eyed and Mystified by downhere) *sorry, i tried to create a link, but naturally it didn't work!! grrr!*
while Rob watched Detroit vs Toronto in baseball was, admittedly, a jealous towards men thought. I'm watching these men run around and swing pieces of wood and knock around this little ball (can you tell i'm not a fan?!)I'm thinking: "Imagine if a stadium full of people watched me work and cheered when I spelled a complicated word?" It was a ludicrous thought. . but it amused me. I imagined them doing the wave when I was able to properly hear a technical phrase from a difficult to understand accent. I have a really background kind of job, you know. . .it pays the mortgage. sigh. . .Sometimes i think that a career making dog biscuits would be more exciting. I also thought of my friends in this cool band (see above)*since I was listening to them!* They do their job to applause and screams and 'woohs' (I know that's not why they do what they do - but its probably nice!). . and the juxtaposition of that kind of public feedback for people doing public jobs; applying it to my beige job, well it was just silly but you can be guaranteed that next Tuesday morning when i get my headset on and i sit at my computer and start listening to droning doctors and start dealing with calculated aortic valve area values and the intricacies of the heart's structure and spelling impossibly long latin names for muscles, some of which I have to look up every flippin time. . I'm gonna be laughing most likely out loud at the thought of thousands of ppl cheering my performance!! BAH! AS IF!!! Whatever gets you through the day?! Geez. . Jon Lovitz gets paid God knows how much money to do those HILARIOUS Subway commercials. . Every time I see those things I laugh loudly! Nobody laughs when I work!!! WAHHH!!!! No, I don't want any cheese with my whine. . though my dog would probably love to have some!

So, while I'm listening to music and keeping half an eye on the ball game, I'm thinking of so much more -- The song "Stir" comes on and though its a cool song about stirring and being stirred in the best, most spiritual sense, every time i heard the word 'stir' all i could think of was cooking and a pot of something on the stove. . and i felt bad for thinking of cooking when I should have been thinking of the beauty of the message - but i kinda laughed at the way my mind works. . Its as if every single word or image is a trigger and all day long my thoughts are itching to be triggered. .and yeah, they're constantly being triggered POP, POP, POP! If you could see inside my head when i'm on the job, I don't even know how i do it. . I work my brain hard with the job lingo and the million and one things we have to remember technically and procedurally and i make myself crazy with all of it sometimes, yet its like i can assign the hard work to one part of 'the class' and the other part of the class is out of their desks, running around, chalking all over the board, climbing onto desktops and jumping off, rolling the trashcan around, getting each other in half nelsons, screaming, throwing spit balls and singing "this is the song that never ends"! I give myself mental fatigue. . oh, i wish I was a man!!!! . . a baseball player, Jon Lovitz, a rock star, Rob . . . Don't tell, but I would gladly trade my womanly cranium for a day, maybe a week or two, just to get some peace. Did i just say that? oh my. . .