Saturday, August 26, 2006

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go

I sometimes stress over the fact I'm not disciplined enough to post a daily blog, but I've come to terms with it -- sort of – by putting it in the, 'Oh well, there are more important things to worry about' category. So, here's my official statement that I’m not going to feel guilty about it anymore.

Summer's almost over. Maybe not officially by the calendar, but it always seems like the end of summer when the school year looms just the other side of Labour Day. School supplies have taken over the front half of my local Shoppers Drug Mart and sales flyers about 'back to school' clothes arrive in my mailbox daily. There's a damp nip to the early morning and the sun has taken on that oblique-not-quite-hot-enough angle.

I'm a summer person and usually sorry to see the end of summer. But this year, I'm extending it by going off for a few weeks to warmer climes. I'm going to read, write, snorkel, eat properly, get enough exercise, and watch the evening sunset.

I'll think about the war in Iraq and the situation in Lebanon; ponder the AIDS crisis and the debate here in Vancouver about continued funding for the Downtown Safe Injection Site. Maybe I'll get a better perspective on things. Maybe I won't. Maybe I'll come back rejuvenated and energized. Perhaps that's all I can really hope for.

I have my see-through Ziploc (so the security people don't have to touch things) bags with non-liquid, non-gel, non-aerosol toiletry items in my carry-on; along with my unlocked (so the same security won't have to cut the locks in case of suspicious items) suitcases. I've remembered to take the electric fob for my car locks off my keychain, removed all sharp, over-2.5cm objects from my purse, and reminded myself not to utter the word bomb (Tom or other approximation) within a thousand metres of security guards, policemen or other uniformed individuals. I have prescription medication in their original containers with full name that matches the one on my passport. I have my son's digital camera because my old film one won't make it through the half dozen x-ray screenings. I have my brand new MP3 player loaded with music, two novels from my TBR pile, and a crossword puzzle book.

As I said, I'm ready to go.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mental housekeeping

While catching up on Ronni Bennett's, Time Goes By, I was caught by her following comment:

When, years ago, I first ran across E.M. Forster’s line, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say,” it was an instance of "I’ve always known that, why didn’t I know that "before." I write to figure out what I think about things and it is astonishing how many times I start a blog post and wind up in an entirely different place at the end than I thought I intended. Writing is a joy for me because it organizes my thoughts, forces me toward clarity and often leads to discovering what I didn’t know before.

It's precisely how I feel about blogging. It's not so much that I haven't previously had the thoughts before I set out blogging about them. It's just that when I write them down, it helps me explore, clarify and crystallize some of the muddy areas that have been swooshing and swirling around in my head. Occasionally, I even get a eureka moment.

I don't know how other people's thought processes work, but I know that mine are far from linear and logical. I'm more of a stream of consciousness -- with multiple rivulets bounding in and out around rocks, picking up leaves and branches that fall in, sometimes picking up detritus from the riverbed with the occasional splash of a boulder thrown in from someone standing on the banks -- kind of thinker. I'm heading in the same general direction, but lots can and does happen before I get to the mouth of the river.

For me, writing things down acts like mental housekeeping. It forces me to think out loud about things I believe in and care about; sort out where, when and how I came to those beliefs, and see if the reasoning behind them is still valid. It's a process I don't mind sharing.

It wasn't always so. Introspection is a large part of my psyche and I was an extremely shy person for much of my life. Even though openness and discussion has always been a part of my household and how I've raised my sons, the outward sharing with complete strangers is relatively new. I think open discussion is crucial in developing concerned, thinking individuals that are willing to question the status quo, change what needs to be changed, or revel in the fact that some institutions and ideas are worthy of keeping.

It wasn't the easiest way to raise children. I marvel at parents who can answer, "Because I said so" in response to their children's questions. My way was much more tedious. When the boys were very young, I wished I could press an off switch to the umpteen millionth "why" question. In the adolescent years, every statement or request seemed to end up in protracted debate.

But something really wonderful happened along the way. Those debates became well-reasoned discussions – sometimes heated, sometimes rancorous – but nonetheless interesting and intelligent. Now, as adults, they are passionate, always questioning, and ready, willing and able to hold up their end of a discussion or debate.

(For an example of what I mean, you can read D's blog, A Transient in Spaceship Earth. A few of you already know that it's my son's blog, but maybe that's something else I'm ready to share. He hasn't posted in over a year because of school commitments, but I'm hoping he'll get back to it soon. We don't always see eye to eye on everything, but agree more than we disagree, and can at least understand the other's point of view.)

Would it have been easier to raise "yes, ma'am, no ma'am" kids who think exactly like I do? Probably. In retrospect, would I have done it differently? No.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Time for a change?

My blog has become more and more like me. Some may think I have an identity crisis – but really, I don't. This is me, in all my messy, cluttered (gory) glory. I looked back at my original opening blog and realize I still don't have a specific direction, but it's been fun exploring the possibilities. What I can say for certain is that all my blogs are reflective of my eclectic, scattered tastes and passions and blogging has allowed me to express them in a way I never thought possible.

Lately, I've been reluctant to post certain things. Silly, I know, but true nonetheless. I realize that different readers come back expecting more of the same whatever it was that prompted them to bookmark me in the first place. I fear that when they come back and see that I've followed one of my philosophical musings with a political rant or writing exercise, they may be a bit bewildered. Perhaps my fears are unjustified and I'm giving myself way more credit than I deserve when it comes to making any impact at all on my readers. (You see, I'm calling you "my readers". How self-involved is that?)

Anyways, I've been thinking of splitting off and categorizing individual blogs. For example, a section for political, environmental, and activism blogs; a section for idle ramblings about what's going on in my life; a section for philosophical, "meaning of life" blogs; a section for writing that doesn't end up on First Drafts; etc. I figure people could just go straight to what they're interested in rather than wade through stuff of little or no interest.

I guess I'm just thinking out loud and hoping that maybe someone else will have an opinion on this. Should I just leave everything in a hodgepodge and post whatever comes into my head – or should I attempt to be more organized and place blogs into separate categories?

p.s. I'd almost forgotten that I posted definitions regarding my site name. I think they still apply and are open for your interpretation:

A globular fruit with many seeds and juicy red pulp in a tough brownish-red rind.
An endangered large feline having a tawny coat with black stripes. A fierce or audacious person.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Age is just an illusion

Age is a state of mind, so I’m told. I feel like I'm anything from thirty-something to been-around-forever. Mostly, I don't think about my age until my body doesn't work the way it used to or some young thing looks at me blankly when I mention something that, to me, happened only yesterday.

My mind says I’m a smooth-skinned, long-legged babe
Turning heads when stars align.
Vibrant, fun and full of life.
Sometimes silly, giddy, weird.

Blank stares tell me otherwise.
Invisible to all except fellow invisibles
And those who love me now or
Knew me when-then.

Amazing how well grey hair
Works as an invisibility cloak.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Just because

I need to

remind myself

why it's



stay positive.