bogey & ruby

bogey & ruby

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Curried

Here is a list of things that will guarantee you a spot in my bad books:
  1. Insist I must be pregnant when I tell you I'm not. 
  2. Ask me to guess your age immediately after you mistake my muffin top for the third trimester of pregnancy in an effort to distract me.
  3. Ask me where I'm from then proceed to tell me how much you hate curry.
  4. Complain about your East Indian neighbours stinking up the neighbourhood with their cooking smells.
  5. Practice your fake East Indian accent on me and think it is in any way charming.
  6. Tell me how much you hate curries using a fake East Indian accent.
  7. Refer to all East Indians as "Hindus" because you don't know any better.
  8. Tell me I'm lucky I don't look Indian.
The only way to get back into my good books is to tell me how sorry you are over a plate of curry while doing the Indian head nod. Click on the link for directions.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Long Goodbye

My father came home this week after spending six out of the past eight weeks hospitalized. The good news is his heart, after one hell of a tune-up, has the potential to recondition itself, to a fixed frequency of 80 beats per minute, thanks to a new pacemaker.

Some things though, will never be the same. Feet swollen to a point of no return, the flattened soles/(soul) of a failing heart, are now clad in medical-gauge, velcro slippers, worn indoors and out, that make him trudge with the weight of them rather than roll heel-toe.

Then there's the peripheral neuropathy that burns through the night. There's no cure for that kind of nerve damage and little to no relief from the meds. He's had it longer than the heart failure and about a year ago, I suggested he ask his doctor if he could try pot. Dad was keen but the doc was not, at least for now. You see, long ago in Pakistan, a prankster offered my father a hashish-stuffed pakora and what he remembers the most is that he felt no pain when his mother slapped him hard across the cheek for doing drugs.

Since early April, my father's looming death has felt like a long and painful goodbye. I lived on bagels, neglected my son and distracted myself by reading best-selling thrillers instead of the usual "book club" fare.

I rehearsed the words I wanted to say to him over and over in my head. The kind of speech you hear in the movies, when somebody is dying. But the night before his surgery, he couldn't breathe and his heart rate was dipping below 35 and my mother was too distraught. So I said nothing except, "See you on the other side, Dad." And as it turns out, I did.







Sunday, September 10, 2017

Two Moons

I was reading through some unfinished blog entries and decided to group them by subject in an effort to salvage something worth posting


The supermoon was November 14th, 2016. Sometimes it's better to experience life in real time than get the shot. 

After googling "how  to photograph the supermoon", I stepped out the back door and took aim at the moon with the recommended iOS, but the clouds got there first, and the focus would not lock through the bare branches of the maple trees on my lot. Not wanting to look foolish, I took some shots of November trees instead, in the dark, and in doing so, completely missed the supermoon.


Haiku

this menopause fog
found cheese in the butter dish
the moon in the man.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Three Bird Encounters

I had three significant bird encounters today, apart from the usual morning flurry around the backyard feeder. The first was a trio of goslings crossing Sources Boulevard near the Rideau Memorial funeral home as I headed South. Their parents were gathered around the adjacent, obligatory cemetery pond, oblivious to the great escape that was underway. They waddled across safely but I worried about them making their way back to the pond once their neighbourhood adventure was over. Were they even old enough to fly over?

The second sighting was coming back from a home visit on l'Ile Bizard. A male Cardinal darted out from some trees and shot like an arrow in front of my car, at exactly eye level. As it flew, it followed a straight line that was directly perpendicular to the road I was on and I was struck by the geometric perfection of its path. There is nothing more lively than a splash of red, albeit fleeting, on a drab stretch of pavement.

The third sighting was the best, an unexpected bucket list item: a peregrine falcon perched high on a branch, in regal contemplation, as we walked the dogs through the woods earlier. Apparently there are two adults and three babies sharing a nest, their high-pitched screeches to one another almost sounding like cats mewling. If it hadn't been for the mosquitos feasting upon us, the dogs panting from the oppressive heat, and life's preoccupations at home, I would have suspended that magical moment forever, or at least until the sun dropped from the sky, perhaps through the night as well. It is impossible to be anything other than wholly present when such a wondrous gift appears, a reminder of nature's incredible power to strike awe and its ability to make us forget about, at least for a while, the incessant need to update our plugged-in devices at home.

Namasté 👏

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Maze

When you reach middle-age, you think about death a little more. Having lived more than half the average life span, the pressure is on to live more fully. We tick off our bucket list items and attempt to declutter both our physical space and spiritual space.

Internally, our authentic self, still in its chrysalis stage, simmers beneath the surface. Unlike the butterfly, however, there is no guarantee that metamorphosis will occur in us because let's face it, it's hard to change who we are on the inside, even as our shell wrinkles and softens.

When my maternal grandmother died, my mother, having already lost two siblings tragically, shed few tears in front of us. I was fourteen at the time and inconsolable. I remember being surprised by her stoicism and asking her about it. Her explanation was that life makes you hard, and though I believed her then, I'm not so sure I do any more.

In my twenties and thirties, I read a lot about death and grief, attended palliative care conferences, and learned through trial and error how to comfort others. Admittedly, it was easier to manage grief back then, being further removed from death as imminent. I lost grandparents overseas, far away aunts and uncles, beloved pets and coped. Later on, I survived lost loves, and the end of a marriage, mainly because I managed to keep those who are dear to me in my life. My inner circle remains intact.

I find middle-age to be a paradox. So many aspects are liberating, yet it is also a slow and painful letting go. We say goodbye to parts of us we have lost and the way we used to be, to dreams we may have abandoned. There is an acute awareness of our own mortality and the fact that some of the people we love dearly are closer to dying than we are.

Is there still time to save the world?

Ian hates it when I say, "One person always leaves first.", but I want to be prepared for the inevitable farewell. I want to face it head on.

Today he was looking through some files and came across a poem that his mother had written on her birthday, the first without her beloved husband, David. He read out loud to me and its beauty, the longing and wistfulness of it, made me weep.

Ian gave me permission to post it here. It was written by Jean Hanchet on August 27th, 2002. (Ian's dad had died earlier that year on March 17th.) The picture features Ian and not his dad. Apparently his mum often mistook him for his dad as her Alzheimer's progressed. Until she noticed the long hair that is.

My Birthday Poem

Maze

Down the long labyrinth
  of days I search
      the winding path

Dew drenched green grass
   we trod, so long together
        where are you now?

While I am lost, alone
    I long to see your face 
      around some bend

To hold you in my arms
  to share your place
      but where?

Illusion grows, tears flow
   when in a dream’s deep sleep
        a corner turns

I see you there, your jacket’s old
   but somehow new,
      sun drenched and real.

You live, alive and well
     all joy receive.

-- Jean Hanchet (August 27th, 2002)


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Beige

I reached into the dregs of my closet in desperation today and pulled out an outfit (loose-fitting skirt and blouse) I wore at the beginning of my pregnancy years ago. Honestly, it made me look like somebody's aunty (minus the braided buns on either side of my head).

I never wear skirts and it was hot today so I resorted to applying some Pure Passion blissful breeze scented liquid body silk for men on my inner thighs to prevent chafing. I originally bought it for my husband's sweaty balls but he claims his don't sweat and since it's not the sort of thing I feel comfortable leaving on top of the mini fridge at work with a post-it that says "I'm all yours; please take me home.", I decided to give it a try. And hey folks, it actually works. Better than corn starch. Neater than Vaseline. Cooler than those pricey anti-chafe shorts.

Oh, and here's a fashion tip for members of the brown club. We don't do beige well, at least not on top. At best, it makes us look anemic. But mostly, it makes us look motion sick. 

Every single one of my clients reacted to my outfit today. My first client clapped her hands together (no easy feat with a broken wrist) and said, "Sharon, you look transformed!", which is a polite word for the opposite of a make-over. Another client started breathing like Darth Vader. And my last patient turned her mouth into a circle like Mr. Bill and said, "Ooh noooo ...".

Here's how you cope with a day when the only thing that fits is beige and your clients are having trouble breathing. You slather on some liquid breeze and you walk slowly and often, one foot in front of the other, heel to toe. You close your mouth and inhale for four seconds, exhale for six and hold for two seconds before taking another breath. Then, when you feel better, you look through your closet with fresh eyes and find something that isn't beige for the next day. 


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dealin' From The Bottom

So this happened last Friday.

My husband picked up 150 copies of his new cd, a twenty-song collection of Bob Dylan covers. Dylan is his idol and the passionate interpretations on this album (with help from his daughter Nicola on vocals and harp player Chard Chenier) do the legendary balladeer justice. At least I think so. One may accuse me of bias; after all, some of these tunes were used to woo me when we first met.

On Saturday, my son's dad picked him up midday, lingering a while to adjust Sean's bicycle seat and pump air into the tires. On an impulse, I asked my husband if I could buy my ex a cd. He agreed and I sent my son out with a copy to give to his dad. A few minutes later it was blasting from the car stereo as he and his dad shot some hoops together and Ian and I listened from inside the house. It was one of those happy "all is well in the universe" moments.

The next day, we were walking the dogs when a neighbour called us over. Apparently he'd enjoyed the music playing from our driveway Saturday, walked over to ask my ex about it, and was eager to buy a copy for himself.

Monday, my son returned from his long week-end away. As he plonked his knapsack and school bag on the dining room table, I popped my head around the corner of the kitchen doorway to say good-bye to his dad. Standing next to him was his girlfriend, Barbara. "I love Bob Dylan and I loved Ian's cd. Could I have two copies, please? One for me and one for my girlfriend who loves Bob Dylan too."

And just like that, one gifted cd resulted in three more being sold.

Honestly, I struggled to write this entry tonight. The news on the net has been pretty grim lately, to the point where I feel myself sinking into the bleakness of it all. It's not so much the horror of death and destruction that gets to me but rather the feeling of powerlessness that accompanies it, my inability to ease the pain not only on a global level but also at a local level as a public health care worker.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that these small moments of connection, of perfect alignment, of peace, are a reminder that there is a way through. To quote the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, "If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace."

And if that doesn't work for you, here's a quote from the man himself:

“Sometimes you just have to bite your upper lip and put sunglasses on.”
― Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Vol. 1




















Graphics by Ro Cerro; Artwork (Joker) by Mike Cochran