Sunday, March 26, 2006


I found Ronni Bennett's blog, Time Goes By, shortly after I started my own blogging journey. I was immediately captivated by both the clarity of her writing and by the depth of her posts. She is insightful and humorous, and more often than not, leaves me with a jump-up-with-fist-in-the-air, "YES!" feeling.

She writes about what it's like being older in our (western) society and examines the biases and issues surrounding aging.

From her blog site bio, she states:
In my private hours now – age 63 at this writing – I am excited about exploring what getting older is really like. There is precious little information available in popular writing that is not negatively focused on disease, debility and decline. But I don’t believe getting older could possibly be as bad as our culture makes it out to be.

Lest you think it's a whiny blog about issues only related to aging, let me say that she looks at the broad spectrum of society from politics, to healthcare to almost anything that touches us as human beings.

I've occasionally left comments on her blog and was flattered when she added my site to her blogroll of Elderbloggers (you'll see us listed on the lower left sidebar). However, it's taken me some time to embrace the term elderblogger. In my mind, I always equated elder with OLD – and I don't feel old. Yet, as I've let this term settle into my consciousness, I realize that it's not so much about age, as it is about a way of looking at the world from a different perspective - an elder's perspective.

As I further examined my feelings about this, my attitude towards the word changed. I've known for some time now, that the way I view the world and how I deal with things in my life is completely different than how I dealt with things in my twenties, thirties, even forties.

There was a time when I had to win every argument and respond to every annoyance. And if I wasn't confrontational about it, I made my family miserable with my griping and complaining. I wasted a lot of time and energy on things that, ultimately, didn't matter. People who know me probably don't recognize the above self-description, but that's because I was always very "nice" in my disagreements and arguments. In truth, it was the underlying turmoil that was most counterproductive.

So how have I changed in the last few decades?

I'm not so quick to judge, for one, and no longer think that a jerk will always be a jerk – that people are capable of changing for the better if they're motivated, encouraged and nurtured. Instead of feeling helpless because the problems of the world are too vast, I believe in doing things within the realm of my smaller world to affect change – I believe in the ripple effect; one good action setting off a chain of other good actions. I don't feel the need to prove myself, my competency or my intelligence anymore. Instead, I'm content with a quieter introspection and the realization that others will judge me however and in whatever way they choose – whether I like it or not. I no longer think it's necessary to respond to every little challenge or argument anymore – as if it's some red badge of courage. Instead, I stand up for what's truly important to me and don't waste my energy on petty issues.

The passage of time, experience and maturity have all brought me to this state of elderblogger-ness. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate where I am in my life.

So now, I've come to embrace the term Elderblogger and thank Ronni for including me as one of them.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Wenda at Daring to Write got me thinking about personal demons.

I realize that the older I get, the fewer my demons. At least it seems so. The demons of my youth are no longer the sweaty-nightmare inducing creatures they once were.

Perhaps it's my perception of them that's changed. Things I thought were earth-shatteringly important in my twenties and thirties barely register a blip on my concern meter now. The related demons have, likewise, faded in importance.

I'm not saying they're completely gone. Some are like pesky salesmen. Every so often, they knock on my door to see if I'll buy into their pitch. I get rid of them with a firm, "no thanks" and refuse to let them in the house for coffee. Sometimes, I have to slam the door in their face. Others are like co-workers you don't particularly like. I concede grudging co-existence for the sake of everyone's sanity, but it's never a completely comfortable relationship.

They're slowly fading or maybe morphing into ghostlets of their former selves - annoyances rather than challenges. In times of stress, they try to reassert themselves, but with less and less success.

Although, there's still that ONE demon that jumps out at me when I least expect. I'm working on it.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Beause it's Friday night and it seemed like a fun thing to do

I was going to blog about how I hate shopping and how I don't get the whole shopping as retail therapy thing, but this came across my path and I got sidetracked. Nothing new there!

And besides, I rather like the idea of going from the serious thoughts of my previous few blogs to something completely frivolous and inane.

Results of some Blogthings questionnaires. They're more accurate than I thought they'd be:

Your Hidden Talent

Your natural talent is interpersonal relations and dealing with people.
You communicate well and are able to bring disparate groups together.
Your calming presence helps everything go more smoothly.
People crave your praise and complements.

Your Brain's Pattern

Your brain is always looking for the connections in life.
You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.
You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.
You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.

Your World View

You are a fairly broadminded romantic and reasonably content.
You value kindness and try to live by your ideals.
You have strong need for security, which may be either emotional or material.
You respect truth and are flexible.
You like people, and they can readily make friends with you.
You are not very adventurous, but this does not bother you.

You Are 72% Open Minded

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded.

Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints.

But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line.

You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I have a confession to make. I make a lousy good friend. Other than my husband and family, I don't do friendship well. I'm good at meeting people, making others feel comfortable and having conversations with them, but they seldom become good friends. I have what I'd call lots of friends and acquaintances, but very few are close friends.

I know some people who are constantly surrounded by good friends. They hang out, go for coffee, they call each other on the phone and chat. They talk to each other about all the important things that go on in their lives. They laugh together and cry together. I'm not good at that. In my lifetime, I can probably count maybe three people (excluding my husband) who fall into this category of friendship.

I don't know what it is exactly, but I keep most people at arms-length. They get only so close, before I think, nope, that's close enough. If I were to get really analytical, in a pseudo-psychological sense, it probably has something to do with my relationships with people close to me in my childhood. I've thought about this a lot lately.

My mother died when I was quite young and I have no conscious memory of her. I then got passed back and forth between various relatives, eventually ending up with my father's family (I never ended up actually living with my father). In my preschool years, I remember visiting my maternal grandmother regularly, then one day, I didn't – visit, that is. I now know that it was because she died, but no one ever told me that at the time. She just disappeared from my life. Later on, my maternal aunts and uncles made regular visits, they took me on outings, and I played with my first cousins. Then one day, it stopped. After awhile, I stopped thinking about them and they too, seemed to have disappeared. I lived in a succession of different households with different aunts, uncles and assorted cousins. Each time I moved, it seemed like the previous family just disappeared - only to be seen at family gatherings. In the passing years as my aunts and uncles aged and died, I realized their deaths never seemed all that real because in my mind, they were already gone. Pretty messed up, eh?

(I didn't think I'd wander so far into my family history, but it just spewed forth, so instead of deleting or revising it, I'll just leave it as is.)

Well, to finally get to my point, I think, subconsciously, I've decided that people simply disappear from my life, so there's not much point getting too close. I'm okay with short-term, closer friendships, but back off when I start spending too much time with anyone. It's really quite irrational, but it's a tendency I know I have.

The other thought I had about this friendship thing is that I'm afraid people will find out I'm a big fake and won't want to be friends any more, so I may as well cut it off before they do.

Which one is true? I don't know. Maybe a little of both? Maybe neither? This little confessional may or may not help, but as I mentioned to someone not too long ago, it's cheaper than a shrink.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Brain rattles

Sometimes I feel I have so many things rattling around in my head that everyone around me can hear it. Stuff just clunking and thunking around like bumper cars, one thought setting off a chain reaction of others, back and forth till they hit some invisible barrier and then come bouncing back again. Occasionally a thought will jump the barrier and demand recognition. I'm always a little amazed at this.

When I was young I'd play a little game of trying to track back my thought processes. Like - how did I end up thinking about bumper cars when on my way to the library? Let's see . . . I was thinking about whether or not to renew the latest Sue Barton Nurse book; then I thought about being a nurse; then I thought about sick people; then I thought about puking - makes me gag thinking about it; then I thought about the last time I was at the PNE and rode the Tilt-A-Whirl; then I thought about the Roller Coaster; scary, but not that bad; Bob didn't think I'd do it; then I thought about how I'm always too chicken to ride the bumper cars!!

Okay, so this brain rattling idea came to me when I was brushing my teeth: I'm looking at myself in the mirror brushing my teeth, rather boring; been there, done that; ho-hum; let's just get it over with; how many minutes optimum?; who the hell remembers?; Dr Roberts would; what's up for tomorrow?; don't think about it; what will be will be, Que sera sera, what will be will be, the futures not ours to see . . . hum, hum; Doris Day; Rock Hudson; too bad he couldn't come out; sad really; everyone already knew, so what was the point; so glad Matt came out; he's always been into music; maybe he'll get a contract with a major label; should ask Linda for his latest CD; so hard to get discovered; funny how all D's friends are into music; their jamming sounds pretty good, need someone for vocals; I know it's not what he wants to do; well he would, but if he got famous, he'd hate it; what IS he going to do; he's been with M. for five years; she's so nice, I think I'd be more upset than him if they broke up, can't see them getting married, though . . . Now, how the heck did I start thinking about marriage? Geez! . . . .

Then, I thought, I really have too much stuff rattling around my head; and maybe I should blog about it.

I'm not sure if others think like this – I've never been brave enough to ask. Maybe I'm just weird.

Friday, March 17, 2006

brain bubbles - update

After some thought and encouragement from her reader's, brain bubbles has decided to re-post her deleted blogs. I'm so glad she's doing this.

I still find it disheartening that people were upset with what she wrote. If they can't handle bb's darker life story, it makes me wonder if they live the rest of their own lives with head buried in sand.

Cheers to bb!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

brain bubbles

I'm using this entry as a little rant to do my part in getting brain bubbles to resurrect her x365 blog.

If you go to the link above, you'll see that she deleted her blog. I was incensed to find out why. She's done so, in response to some very small-minded people who can't handle a bit of truth.

She's had ugliness in her life and, in doing the x365 project, ended up blogging about some not very nice people in it. It wasn't always pretty, but it's her story. She received emails telling her it wasn't appropriate for the x365 challenge.

To me, it's exactly what's so great about the x365 and what it can and should be - a way to remember our connections with the different people in our lives, past and present. In recalling the people in our lives that impacted us, influenced us, and continue to influence us, it helps us understand who we are and how we got to where we are today Sometimes the recollections are warm and funny, sometimes sad and ugly. Ignoring the bad experiences of our past don't make them go away.

I applaud brain bubbles for the guts it takes to write from the heart about the truth, no matter how dark or ugly.

If you feel the same, perhaps you'd like to drop by brain bubbles' site and leave a message of encouragement. (p.s. Read her comments section.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Odds 'n sods on a Tuesday night

I’ve been unmotivated, uninspired and in a funk for the last two weeks – the reason I haven’t posted anything recently. During this time, I’ve stopped and started several bits of writing, only getting a couple hundred words out before abandoning them. There are at least twenty of these files. I guess I’ll keep them on my hard drive along with all my other bits and pieces in hopes of being newly inspired at a later date.

A new discussion forum:
About a week ago, I signed up for a new discussion forum. It’s a spin-off from another board I visit. The original board doesn’t allow discussion of politics and religion and has a very specific focus. A valid and personal choice by the admin there.

The admin of the New Board is trying an experiment of sorts. His stated goal is to see if an ‘anything-goes’ board with few rules and minimal moderation that discusses politics, religion and whatever else the membership comes up with can survive without things ending in chaos and acrimony. His contention is that reasonable adults should be able to discuss things openly and intelligently on a discussion forum without resorting to heavy-handed moderation and censorship of certain topics. I suppose there is an implicit message that the original board IS heavy-handed – but, as I mentioned, the focus of the two boards is different. I don’t believe there is any intention of taking members away from the original board and there is the potential of many cross-over members and happy co-existence.

When he initially told me his plans, I asked him if he was ready for the aggravation and stress, then wished him luck.

Well, he’s had aggravation aplenty. Things started out fairly well – some serious threads, some not-so-serious threads, some silliness and banter. On the whole, the atmosphere was good-natured and friendly. Who knew things could change so abruptly.

For reasons he alone knows, a certain member from the original site signed up and decided (putting it mildly), to crap all over the new board. He has taken issue with the new board’s admin – a carry-over from disagreements on the former board, I suppose. He’s posted in almost every available thread, insulting everyone, posting obnoxious graphics and detritus worthy of a bathroom-humour-obsessed thirteen year-old. In a bizarre twist of goodness knows what kind of rationale, he did a complete turnaround and made a few intelligent and coherent posts, only to go back to posting insults. I think everyone has whiplash from the abrupt mood changes. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he has a personality disorder and forgot his meds - either that or he has an evil twin posting with his password.

This sort of spam posting goes on all the time on various message boards, so I’m neither shocked nor surprised by the content. What I’m surprised at is that it’s coming from this particular person. It’s puzzling. This same person, on the original discussion forum, comes across as mature and reasonably intelligent. So how can a previously mature adult be so incensed/angry/annoyed/ that he becomes all but irrational and juvenile in another forum? Maybe I’m mistaken and have it backwards. Perhaps the irrational juvenile is the real person and the mature adult is the fake persona.

Further thoughts on doing Dan’s x 365:
I’m finding it not only gratifying, but therapeutic. The trip down memory lane has brought back fond memories as well as some painful ones. I’ve realized that in the recollection of the not so pleasant ones, I can track my progression as a human being. I think we need the unpleasant encounters as much as (if not more than) the pleasant ones to grow.

Notes on another birthday:
Another year older – maybe wiser.

I’m more patient and tolerant of human foibles. I can shrug my shoulders at behaviour borne of youthful ignorance. I can accept that a bad choice or decision doesn’t necessarily make someone a bad person. At the same time, I’m less patient and less tolerant of injustice, cruelty and bigotry.

It’s somewhat disconcerting that my children worry about my health and safety as much as I worry about theirs. I hear the admonition of “be careful mom” when I climb a ladder, go out late at night or have to drive in bad weather. When did this happen? I’m not ready to give up the reins yet.

What’s with that teacher who wants to claim the Tim Horton’s “Roll up the rim to win” RAV4?
For those of you not in Canada; “Roll up the rim to win” is a promotion being run by Tim Horton’s, a fast-food coffee and donut chain. Each take-out coffee cup has a rim that you “roll up” (by unrolling the edge) to reveal various prizes ranging from a free donut to free coffee to cash to a RAV4 truck to the ubiquitous “please play again”.

In this particular story, a teacher threw away his cup in the garbage without first checking to see if he’d won anything. An enterprising ten year-old found the cup in the garbage and tried to unroll the rim and see if there was a prize. He had difficulty, so asked a twelve year-old to help him unroll it. Well, you guessed it – they found a prize. It was a Toyota RAV4. That’s when the fun began.

The ten year-old ran home to tell his parents that he’d won a new car. The twelve year-old told his parents what happened and they decided that he should have the RAV4 since he was the one who physically unrolled the rim. The teacher got wind of it and claimed it was his cup, so the RAV4 should be his! It became a circus of greed. The teacher went so far as to go to court and demand a DNA test to prove that the cup was his.

As far as I’m concerned, the truck belongs to the ten year-old who found the cup in the garbage. If he’s generous, he'll share it with the twelve year-old. The teacher has no claim whatsoever. Sorry, buddy. You threw it away as garbage. No longer yours. It’s your own fault you didn’t roll up the rim.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Waking up

I woke up to a glorious day. The room was so bright, I thought I'd slept in. It was only 7:30; birds chirping, the sound of dh's shower running in the background. It felt like the first day of spring.

I was grinning before my feet hit floor, and I was singing, "Life is just a bowl of cherries . . ." by the time I got to the bathroom. Yup, I know - I'm just too cheerful for my own good. Not that I'm always cheerful, but I'm one of those disgusting people who wake up in a good mood.

Maybe subconsciously, I'm just happy to wake up at all and not to have succumbed to some mysterious ailment overnight - with news articles and headline reading:

"Famous blogger found dead in bed - cause unknown - autopsy report pending."

Ell, best known for her scintillating and popular blog, the pomegranate tiger, was found dead this morning by her housekeeper. Ms Yan suspected something might be wrong when Ell wasn't up by 9 a.m. She knocked on the bedroom door, and entered when there was no answer. "At first, I thought she was sleeping. She looked so peaceful. But then I saw how pale she was. I touched her hand - and I knew. She was icy cold."

She was pronounced dead at the scene by attending paramedics. By all accounts, Ell was active for her age and had been in good health. Foul play is not suspected.

See, I can be morbid.

It's funny about the waking up thing, though - how some people wake up in a good mood and others grumpy? My older son is more like me. He wakes up happy and, more often than not, is humming while brushing his teeth.

My younger son is the opposite. If you speak to him before he's ready, he'll start an argument just for the sake of arguing. He's the proverbial, 'Good morning. What's so good about it!!' guy. We give him a wide berth until he comes 'round. He's rather like a bear coming out of hibernation. Everyone keeps a respectful distance while he waters and feeds himself. We wait for him to make the first overtures of civility.

He's been like this since he was a toddler. No one ever wanted to get him up from his nap or wake him in the morning. We'd go through a ritual of, "no, you go": - You get him. - No, you go. - No, I got him last time. You go. - If I get him this time, you go next time. - Hey, let's get D to get him! We've spoken to him about his morning surliness, but he completely denies it. According to him, he's just misuderstood. Heaven help any future wife or roommate.

The strange thing is that once he's up and going, he's the most mild-mannered, even-tempered guy in the world. I guess he just needs to get the nastiness out of his system first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Blogger or writer

I write, but am I a writer? I've been mucking around with this question for quite some time. Then, being the good blogger I am - I decided to blog about it. Or is that write about it?

Anyone who knows me can tell you what I did next. – Yep – I Googled it – using the search terms "can I call myself a writer". There were 19,700,000 hits. That's right, over nineteen million. Since this topic has been so thoroughly covered, it seems a bit redundant to go over all the same stuff, so I'll just touch on a few thoughts about my own writing.

I like to write – well, sort of – in a masochistic, therapeutic, self-purging kind of way. Maybe 'like' isn't the right word. Sometimes it's an excruciating, paper-cut-bathed-in-vinegar, wrench-it-from-my gut process; and sometimes it's an intense, pounding-on-the-keyboard-'til-it-smokes race to the last paragraph, sentence and period. Occasionally, the words and ideas flow – the metaphors make sense and precise words conveying exactly what I mean pop into my head without the aid of a thesaurus. The latter doesn't happen all that often – at least for me. Maybe it's because I've been only dabbling at this writing thing on and off and not taking it very seriously; maybe it's because I'm just not very good at it. Whatever the reason, it's not always easy.

So why do it? Because I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea that I'm afraid I'll forget if I don't write it down; because when I haven't written anything for awhile, ideas and topics keep surfacing that beg me to write about them; because it's a way for me to think out loud and analyze my thoughts in critical black and white; because, one day, I'd like my children to read my deepest, inner thoughts; and because I need to get the words and thoughts out or I'll explode. -- So, I write.

Mainly, it's a hobby. Would I like to be published? You bet. I have this fantasy that I'll become the oldest newly published author in Canada – but I'm not holding my breath. Meanwhile, I'll just keep on blogging, doing little writing exercises, journaling, and filing away all my little bits and pieces that I write between midnight and 3 a.m.

Does any of this allow me to call myself a writer? I still don't know. Writer sounds too presumptuous, too professional, too Stephen King, Amy Tan, Kazuo Ishiguro.

Maybe I'm just someone who needs to get the words out and it's why I find blogging so appealing. There are no constraints, no deadlines and almost anything goes.

I think Woody Cavenaugh expressed my confusion most succinctly, "Am I a blogger who writes, or a writer who blogs, or a writer of blogs."

And so ends, another ramble.