Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Scent of Far Away

This is not the heartfelt piece to which I referred on Facebook.  This one came afterwords and is a lot more frivolous.  Still pretty sincere also pretty inconsequential in the larger scheme of things.  Basically, I smelled something and was reminded of someone.  There, I told you what happens.  Now you don't even need to read it because I gave away the storyline.  Oh well.  I would be pleased, of course, if you did choose to read it.  I always am.  :)

The scent of a cologne or an aftershave or something that makes men smell good drifted to me as I sat in a Starbucks today.  Immediately, I was reminded of someone.  My brain didn't question or judge me for having those memories.  It allowed them.  It was kind of nice.

Scent is so effective at taking us back to places, times, people.  By our initial reaction to a scent, I think we can tell how we feel on an unconscious level about who or what is associated with it.  It's an interesting way to access what's going on inside.

I thought a little of what it would be like if the person I had in mind could enter that Starbucks and sit down with me for a while.  We could catch up.  That's all I want.

Some people live close enough that maybe some day they will run into each other again.  They live with the possibility that it could happen.  Within a city, a province, a country, it's possible for their paths to cross.  I wonder what it's like to live with that possibility.  He is still alive (or was last I heard) so it's not impossible but some continents seem far enough away that accidental encounters seem quite unlikely.  I would REALLY be surprised if it ever happened.

I run into many people that are important in my life now and I keep up with many more through various means.  And it's not that I want to re-enter my romantic past.  I shudder at that thought and love my husband dearly.  I would love, though, to at least be able to fantasize about a surprise meeting occurring.  We could smile at each other and remember that brief time in our past.  Of course, he's probably changed his cologne by now and I wouldn't even recognize him.  We'd have to rely on the fact that he remembers me from how I looked in my early twenties.  Yeah, this is starting to seem even more unlikely.  And really, that's fine with me.


On Tragedies and Helping

I've heard of some tragedies recently.  There are always tragedies, of course.  Life is such a curious mixture of the horrible and the beautiful; it's hard to understand.  The recent incidents involve young people deciding to end their lives and, in one case, a man also chose to end the lives of the people closest to him.  So much is lost.

We can never know exactly what was in the mind of a person who has chosen to end his or her life. Was there an ongoing mental problem or was there a troubling situation that arose and seemed insurmountable?  In some cases, drugs and alcohol cloud the mind and the decision-making process. Afterwards, it doesn't really help to know the reasons.  The results are the same.  The damage is done.

It doesn't help, either, to blame oneself and to think that we should have helped, that we should have done something, whatever something is.  Most of us are not trained mental health professionals and all of us only pass through this life once.  It's hard to know what to do and it's hard even for mental health professionals.  Nothing is guaranteed to help.  When a person has gotten to the point of suicidal thoughts, we can try to help, if we know.  We can try to learn signs so that we may have a better chance of knowing.  But it is not our fault if it happens.  People make their choices. Sometimes their choices are tragic.

While blame is not helpful, I hope that we can try to help each other and show that we care as we live our lives.  Before people get to the extremes of distress, maybe we can help them, listen to them, support them as they try to go in new and better directions.  We can let them know that, although they may have problems, one of them is not that they're all alone.  Alone, things can get worse and problems can lock us into bad places.

It is important to reach out to others and it is important that we open up when we could use help too. We don't have to act like we have it all together, that we are leading charmed lives.  Life isn't easy or straightforward or predtable or fair.  I don't see how it helps anyone to "keep a stiff upper lip" on a regular basis.  It's o.k. to need help.  Very often when we ask for help with something, we learn that someone else has had a similar experience or at least has had some difficulties too.  They help us and we free them from feeling that they need to hold it all in.  We don't need to hold it all in and, to stay healthy, we can't.  We're not designed for that.

The young family that was lost this week to murder-suicide lived in Airdrie, Alberta.  It seems ironic that census numbers were released this week and that community was highlighted for its growing young population.  Looking at pictures and hearing about them now, this family seems to have typified that community's ideal family.  They had education, employment, a home, good looks and an adorable child in their midst.  We must never be fooled by such appearances.  Listening to a young woman talk recently, I was struck by how her inner world differed from the confident, successful image she portrayed.  She was willing to let people know of her situation, though.  Not everyone lets us know of their pain.

Nobody has life figured out completely.  That's o.k.  It's important to say that sometimes we need help.  That help may be as simple as a listening ear or two.  It's important to try even though we can't make everything all right.  I wish we could.  We are all in this together.  I hope we can show each other that and that no one ever feels they are alone.

JAHD - Please feel free to consider this piece dedicated to anyone you have known.  For me, it is dedicated to Mark.  (Of course I still remember.  I wish you'd known I cared.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sure, that seems like a really good idea.

I'm afraid this entry might turn into a rant.  I don't often rant or, at least, not in this forum.  Tonight, however, I feel the need.

Yesterday, my family went to the Lilac Festival.  Our schedule was tight but we saw some of the booths and a lot of people walking along the street.  Except for the fact I saw no lilacs, it was a pleasant affair.

Partway through our walk along the street, we encountered a cheerful woman.  She approached my son and gave him a pen.  She was very excited about the pen and told him to take it to school.  Indeed, it is an unusual pen.  It looks like a syringe filled with blood or some other liquid.  With my brain in festival mode, it seemed wonderful.  When you're in festival mode, lots of things seem wonderful.

Later on, my son decided to poke me with the pen.  I'm not mad at him.   He was being playful and this pen invites that activity.  While he surprised me when he poked me, I was also surprised to find out how much this pen could hurt.  I panicked.  I started to wonder if maybe it wasn't a pen but actually a syringe that some deranged woman on the street had been randomly handing out.  In looking at it, I saw the name of a health centre and was reasonably reassured.  Also, the pen does write.  So, I felt reasonably confident we were in no danger.

As I thought more about the pen, I came to realize that it's very inappropriate item to suggest an 11 year old boy take it to school.  I don't think the principal needs a bunch of students carrying around items that look like fluid-filled syringes.  Generally, kids are encouraged to stay away from such things.  Once they become familiar with these pens, they may be inclined to pick up similar looking items from the ground.  Sometimes things that look like syringes are syringes.  That a health centre came up with this idea and put its name on it is alarming.

In addition to the problems with the nature of this item, and I think those are serious, I don't understand why a public health facility in a non-market environment feels the need to have promotional items.  Are they in some form of competition to attract patients away from other public health facilities?  There's an urgent care centre and other clinics at this location.  Why is there a need to advertise?  If I'm injured, I'm not going to choose where I get care based on whether or not they hand out pens (although I might tend to stay away from a place that has the poor judgment to hand out syringe pens).  Even if I did, why would that matter?  Health services are provided at different sites but they're provided by the public system (mostly).  If, somehow, this site isn't busy and there is a desire to redistribute patients from busier locations to it, information could be provided by other means.  All we received was a pen (and some bandages; they provided even less information).  Perhaps the cost of the pens is small but an unnecessary expense is still unnecessary.  I don't understand the need.

So, our trip to the Lilac Festival was brief but we did come home with a great new pen and many questions to ponder.  I would rather have come home weighed down with lots of lilacs and lilac-related items but I guess this is good too.  I'm not letting my son take the pen to school.  For this, I expect the principal would be very grateful.

Thank you for bearing with me.  My rant is now complete. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Learning from a Rabbit

I went to visit and give my rabbits a treat today.  I like to make them happy.  It doesn't hurt to stay on their good side either.  I'm not saying I'm afraid of them but I'm cautious.

Before I got to their cages, the bigger rabbit knew I was coming.  He had a better view but, even if he hadn't, he would hear me.  He even stops doing things (sometimes) when I say "No Theodore."  I say that a lot.  Little Powder did not react at all to my entering the room.  He was washing himself and had no idea I was there.  I instinctively called his name so as not to scare him but there's little I can do to alert Powder.  He's deaf and when I see things like today's obliviousness, that fact is reconfirmed.

We had our first clue that Powder was deaf when he couldn't be roused from sleeping one day.  It was scary as a plumber had been working on something in his room and, oddly, another rabbit had died after we had a plumber working on the same problem.  Thankfully, Powder was just sleeping but I'd never had a rabbit sleep like that in front of me before.  As time went on, we put it together that he was deaf.  He has blue eyes and is white.  My mother-in-law told me that white, blue-eyed cats can be deaf.  Evidently, these rabbits can be too.

Of course, Powder is safe here (although I would suggest he avoid plumbers).  There is the other rabbit but they play separately.  From the way Powder gets away from all of us when we want to put him back in his cage, I'd say most of his senses work well.  He does ok.

As Powder lives in his quiet world, I wonder if he has any knowledge of his difference.  He seems like a happy creature and I don't see a way he could know he's deaf but, really, we can't know.  I hope he is completely ignorant of the fact that other rabbits hear and thinks he is doing just fine.  I guess there's a lesson in there.  It's best to focus on what is right with ourselves and not look at our challenges, our disabilities, our weaknesses.  Doing so helps us live our lives more fully and enjoy things.  I want to live like Powder.  Well, I don't want to live exactly like Powder; I don't want to live in a cage and I his bathroom set-up is not to my taste but his attitude is admirable.  And he does get all his food prepared and delivered.  I'd like that.


Open Windows

I keep on opening windows around the house even though the desire to do so puzzles me at times.

When I sit in my living room, I open the window if the weather is even close to warm outside.  It seems like a nice way to invite life into the house.  Sometimes though, doing so has no effect.  There's no wind outside, there's no breeze inside, and I end up disappointed to know that it's not only the inside of my house that's short on liveliness.

At night, I open a bedroom window.  Sometimes I warn my poor husband (who sleeps closer to the window) that it's probably going to be cold.  I get what I deserve though because, while he can sleep with the cold, I am a light sleeper and wake to a number of sounds.  There is nearby traffic (sometimes it seems to be motorcycle racing), newspaper delivery people (who have been to known to talk loudly on their cellphones) and those annoyingly chipper early risers, the birds.  I remain undeterred despite all these things but I do miss sleeping.  I get kind of tired.

There are occasions, though, when the pleasure of an open window is readily apparent.  It is wonderful to be near a window when a light breeze blows, and we can feel its gentle caress and the slight change in temperature it brings,  We feel a part of nature and a connection to the world outside.  At those times, it is perfect to have an open window and it makes up for all the other times that it's less than ideal.

I opened the kitchen window as I worked on this entry.  The only reason I'm home is that it was too cold to sit and watch my son play baseball so the air coming in here is a bit chilly.  It's nice though.  And, wow, there's a bird still singing.  Tonight I will leave the bedroom window closed.  I trust that all the usual things will happen outside but it might be good to miss out on them for one night.  And to get a good sleep.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bean Bags and Other Things of Beauty

I went into Crate and Barrel yesterday.  I do that sometimes but I'm not a big fan of that store.  I don't find much that I like and some things are expensive, perhaps unnecessarily so for the quality.  If I stuck to all my principles, I would never go in that store because it replaced the bookstore in the mall.  I have not forgiven anyone yet for that transgression.

I was drawn into the store yesterday by the colourful pattern on an object.  I did not buy the object.  It was an Outdoor Bean Bag and cost $79.95.  I couldn't justify $79.95 for an outdoor bean bag.  Really, I couldn't justify it for an indoor bean bag either.  My bean bag needs are not great at this time.

After examining the bean bag section, I moved onto areas of the store.  Not a lot attracted my attention until I came to bedding.  I like bedding and there was a grouping of it there that I absolutely loved.  In the end I did not buy it because I didn't think the beautiful pattern would be visible enough and this wouldn't work and that wouldn't work and I gave up.  I did consider making a purchase though (it was all on sale).

In looking at that bedding, I realized that it is important to buy things we consider beautiful.  Outdoor (and indoor) bean bags may not be necessary but, within reason, it is wonderful to buy, and perhaps make, things for our homes that we will enjoy looking at, touching, using.  When things look pleasing to us, we feel ar least a little better, we're lifted up a little higher.  Things need not be expensive - creativity doesn't require a lot of money.  It is the expression of ourselves and the small joys that beautiful things bring to us and hopefully to others that count.

I probably won't go back to Crate and Barrel soon but I will enjoy being on the lookout for other beautiful and, ideally, useful items.  At least I know now where to go when I need a bean bag in a hurry.  That's useful information.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Loud and Unsettled

I ate dinner tonight at an Earl's restaurant.  This week has been very unusual in that my husband and I have eaten dinner out four times.  For this last meal (and it will be our last meal out for quite a while), we took our son as he is back from camp.  It was nice to enjoy a meal together again.

The music in the restaurant was loud.  I am not generally a fan of loud music.  Really, I'm pretty selective about what noise I have around me at all.  Right now, one of my favourite tv shows is on and I have the sound muted.  It doesn't take much for noise to become too much for me.

Thinking about the music in the restaurant, my first reaction was that it was a bad thing.  I realized, though, that there is some advantage to it.  I found it unsettling.  Maybe it is good to be taken to a place sometimes where it's more difficult to feel grounded, to feel secure.  At home, I can get too grounded and secure.  Getting lost in the topsy turvy world created by music helps us leave the world behind.  We need that sometimes, I feel.

I still don't enjoy loud music and I still have the sound down on the tv.  I understand now, though, that it can serve a purpose.  And yes, it is ironic that I went downstairs during the writing of this entry and turned down music that my husband was playing on our sound system.  (He had fallen asleep.)  Clearly, I do not yet welcome a lot of loud music into my life.  But putting up with it during a meal is fine.  After all, at least I didn't have to cook.  .


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Pool

I spent a night recently at a hotel with really nice water facilities.  These include waterslides (even some teeny tiny ones for very little people) and a nice simple pool, away from the waterslides and their excitement.

In days of yore, there would have been no question that I would want to go in a hotel pool.  For this trip, I brought my bathing suit so that I would have the option.  There was no certainty that I would actually immerse myself in water.

Before heading down to the quiet pool with my son, I had a lot of inner dialogue.  And there was some outer dialogue.  I considered sitting on the deck.  I'm reasonably good at sitting.  I considered the hot tub.  Maybe I would plunk myself down in there.  Hot tubs are said to be relaxing.  I've never found this to be the case but I'd be willing to try again.  I hummed, I hawed.  And then I decided to wear my bathing suit under clothes "just in case."  I was not ready to commit.

Once I arrived at the pool deck, things changed.  I was in my bathing suit, I was at a lovely little pool and before I knew it, I was in the water and racing my son back and forth across the pool.  Apparently, I swim reasonably well.  That fact had kind of gotten lost over the years.  Also lost was the fact, and I should have known this, that I love being in the water.  It was great.

It would have been so easy not to go in the water.  My husband never went in and he still enjoyed his weekend.  But if I had not gone in, I would have missed out on a great experience.  I would have missed out on letting my son see his mother have a lot of fun.  Things would have been okay but a very good thing would not have happened.  Because I stepped into the water, for whatever reason, a good thing did happen.  I'm so glad I went in.

It's too easy to sit on the decks of life.  Decks are okay.  Pools are more fun though.  Sometimes the best thing to do is to jump in and swim and splash and enjoy.

And for the record, I did not jump in.  There was no jumping allowed and I don't know if I would have jumped anyways.  Also, I did not dive.  As I may have mentioned previously, due to a design flaw, I can't dive.  I can still have a lot of fun swimming though.  I'm glad I learned that again.  I hope you have fun splashing around in all kinds of activities in your lives too.  Come on in, the water's great!