It’s a Sad, Sad World

I have yet to watch a documentary about the events of 911. I can’t bring myself to see people desperately falling from a building. I have yet to watch a documentary about the Katrina disaster. I can’t bring myself to watch people perched on their roofs, or X’s on houses, or numbers indicating how many dead inside. I have yet to read an article about the Newton shootings. I can’t bring myself to absorb the words of families who no longer have the sweet luxury of kissing their babies goodnight. So I don’t know what compelled me to open the picture from yesterdays bombing in Boston, the one marked “Extreme Graphic Content”.

I won’t ever forget it.

There were people on twitter saying they would pray for Boston. There were people saying what about the places in the world where this happens everyday. There were people comparing one tragedy to another, as though the one they cared about was more important. I have an idea. Whatever your faith, your nationality, your homeland, your belief system, how about we all just “pray” for the good to outweigh the evil. How about we “pray” for everywhere in the world that sees these types of tragedies, whether its once a decade, once a year, once a month, once a week, or god forbid, once a day. In no way does a regular occurence of this magnitude somewhere else, detract from the fact that it has happened in Boston, in our backyard. On the contrary. It is a stark reminder that it happens, everywhere.

I think of the planners of the marathon and my heart breaks for them. As an event planner, I know the weight of what we put on ourselves before and during an event. I know the responsibility we load on ourselves, what the enormity of the entire event resting firmly on our shoulders feels like. I know they planned their security in the same fashion that they would have in the last few years and I know they were comfortable with that and I would have been also. I cannot imagine the grief and the guilt they would have been feeling after this happened. It is not their fault, but they will feel like it is. This I know.

I think of those runners. Those runners that trained for this, that live a healthy and likely busy lifestyle, doing what they can to prolong their lives, doing what they can to keep their hearts beating and blood pumping. I think of them as they ran that course, wondered if they were hoping for a personal best, hoping for a chance to beat last year, or hoping just to finish. I think of them and wonder, who will keep running? Who will cower and not enter another group run again, who will run the minute they can to help them work through it all, and who can never run with the power of their own two, fully functioning legs again. I think of them the most.

Running is such a personal thing. It can be a private moment you have with yourself. A time where you marvel at how YOU can shape your life, your body, and your mind. And I keep going back to that image in my head, the one I looked at and will always remember. That person, that person who went out for a run one sunny Monday in Boston, and I think to myself “I will run. I will run for you while you cannot. I will run until you can run again.”

We are lucky. We are not exempt. But we are lucky. We live in a great country and a wonderful city and no matter what people say about it to the contrary, we are lucky. And yes, I realize that up until yesterday I am sure those that live in Boston would have said the same thing. But as I sit and send my positive and healing thoughts up into the universe, I choose to put my faith into the belief that Mr. Rogers was right. That there are more helpers out there than not. That whenever bad things happen, you need to look for a helper because they will always be there. Where there is one person who is walking with evil, there are hundreds running to help.

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Stop it, People.

10 things that need to stop, immediately:

1) Mens jeans with thick white stitching. Stop.
2) Jeans with jewels of any kind, whether on pockets or elsewhere, whether colored or diamond-y. Stop.
3) Wearing backpacks with shoulder straps at the lowest possible hook. You are destroying your back. Stop.
4) Women who constantly need to put it out there that they are also manly. You hunt. You wear plaid. You enjoy being in the bush. Big deal. This is not unique to men. Stop.
5) Adding hugs and kisses to everything you write. Do you really know people well enough that you would behave squishily with them in person? Stop.
6) Acting like you’re famous, and spending all your time working at pretending its true. You’re not. Stop.
7) Being self-depricating, just to hear good things about yourself from others. Get over yourself. Stop.
8) Duckface in photos. Its obvious. Stop.
9) Phone calls. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and you know who you are. Otherwise? Stop.
10) Sports-team-bashing. No team is perfect, all the time. Support your team, win or lose. Don’t crap on them when they don’t have their shit together. Just stop.

On Being Mindful

It was an anti-bullying day yesterday. People were supposed to wear pink to show their support. Some people complied, I was one of them. But after some thought and reading some tweets, I came to agree with an AntiBullying group I somehow ended up following on Twitter. One day, one big push, does not necessarily HELP the situation. People are all about it for that day, that one particular day, but does it stay with them? Do they carry it forward and make it part of their everyday life?

I also came to realize (though internally knew this all along) that bullies are everywhere. We push the whole anti-bullying thing in school and generally highlight the effects it has on younger kids and tweens/teens, but its rampant in sports and in workplaces all over the world. Sadly, parents are some of the worst offenders where sports is concerned. Yelling at coaches, other players, your own kids. Its disgusting. But often times you’ll see coaches picking on their own players. Don’t they realize that they won’t ever get the best out of these kids if thats the way they operate? Kids try harder when they think their work and effort is appreciated, recognized and respected. I’m always a little bit floored when I see these stories in the news, that the verbal outbursts in kids hockey arenas is allowed to continue. Its sad. And it sets the most dispicable example. We’re grown ups. We should know better.

Workplace bullies can be even worse. Undermining you, diminishing your ability to contribute, threatening your livlihood. I think some of them don’t even realize they are doing it. Saying NO loudly to something that you know is happening anyway, yet making you feel like you should run and change it just because THEY said so. Demanding things that aren’t necessarily rightfully thiers, making you feel like you should accommodate them because THEY want more. It may come across as simply just personalities clashing, or differences in opinion. But I think thats just the “grown up way” that we excuse shitty behavior.

I know we can’t wear pink every day, nor should we have to. But we SHOULD be mindful of how we treat others every day, mindful of how our words, our attitudes and our “personality clashes” may affect those around us. Just be mindful. It leads to being thoughtful. And THAT is something that can start at ANY age.

I Want To Be In That Number

Football is over.

Sad Char is sad.

HOWEVER! The CFL season starts on or about June 28 with pre-season games even earlier. The NFL season starts on or about September 5 with preseason games in August. So thats what…….4 months give or take?????? And in that time we have open practices, the combine, the draft……….that’ll help tide me over…..right??? RIGHT?!?!?

I think that my new goal is to go to the Saints home opener. This is for a number of reasons. One, I got a taste of it again in December and while that game was fun, it was their final regular season game and really, lets be honest, meant nothing in le grande scheme of things. Two, their defensive line is complete and intact and J-Vil will be playing from game one onwards, AS IT SHOULD BE. Add to that they hired Rob Ryan, the just-as-crazy-half of the Ryan brothers, as their defensive coordinator and BOOM bring on the brick wall of big boys! Three, Drew will be composed and collected and pinpoint and precise because he will not have any of the weight hanging over him that he had this year. He was essentially the brains of the entire team this year with the loss of the coach etc and having to work with an interim coach and then an interim-interim coach? That would crumble even the strongest of men. And last but not least, my personal fave is back, Coach Sean Payton. Back on the field where he belongs. Back beside Drew with his visor and his juicy fruit gum and his black track jacket. Back with energy and pure pure love for New Orleans coursing through his veins. He was a “free agent” for awhile. Open to other teams. And they wanted him. BOY did they want him. But lucky for us, lucky for NOLA, lucky for the team and for every fan who has stood by them that he stayed where his heart is.

Yes. I do believe that I would like to be there on opening day. Cheering and whistling and chanting along with 86000 other true-dats. Because when the Saints go marching in, don’t YOU want to be in that number??

Push Bar to Open

I had not seen my Uncle Rick from England for a good 25 years I’d say. He finally came to Winnipeg to visit us just last spring. You could see the years on his face, but those blue eyes, they still sparkled. Getting to know him through Facebook of all things made the visit that much better. He adored McK, loved her immensely, and you could feel it when he was around her. He got a huge kick out of Pat and believe you me, the feeling was mutual. After suffering a stroke and with his heavy british accent, Pat would say that if he closed his eyes it was like he was talking to Ozzy Osborne.

I will never forget taking him for breakfast at the Nook and having him hollaring out the team song for his Chelsea Blues while we sat in the crowded tiny restaurant. Everyone thought he was nuts. We just sat and laughed. I might have even been clapping along.

I remember my sister telling me a story of when she went to England and was able to visit with him. They went to a local pub for lunch one day and as many large doors do, the door leading to this pub had a sticker on it that said “Push Bar to Open”. So in my uncle walks, straight up to the bar, and leans into it with all his might and heft, huffing and puffing. When asked what in gods name he was doing he simply replied, “Oh, the sign said push bar to open.” This was him in a nutshell.

Of all of the amazing and beautiful things he saw and enjoyed on his trip to Canada, the one moment he said “made the trip” for him was when I brought him to my work. The soccer final was on, his team had made it, and wouldn’t you know it, we got to watch it on a wall-sized screen. He LOVED taking pictures of it and gloating to his boy Si, back in England, bragging and sending pictures to Facebook. Chelsea won that day and we draped ourselves in the flag he gave us and savoured the moment.

At the time, it was just a visit. Something that would likely be repeated. But now, its a cherished memory, one that I feel intensely lucky to have had. How LUCKY were we that he chose to come to Canada and meet McK and reacquaint himself with us after all that time had passed? How lucky are we that he didn’t wait another year, or for a better time, or opt not to come at all. How lucky are we.

Uncle Rick died yesterday. Suddenly and without warning.

Chelsea, Chelsea! Chelsea, Chelsea.

Sad and Thankful

I spent a lot of time touching McK this weekend. I felt the need to have my hand on her somewhere, essentially at all times, over this past set of days. She and I have always been very cuddly, always very loving, and I think if I told her I loved her any more than I already do it would be all I said in a day. But this last little while, with what has happened in the US, even the slightest touch of her soft skin was a necessary part of any waking moment for me.

I have not been able to watch the news. I cannot, right now anyway, bear witness to the grief and sadness in all of those families and not be a broken mess. I can still barely bring myself to watch any 9/11 documentaries because all I see when I do is loss. I could not stomach the idea that when I was getting McK ready to go to school on Monday, 20 other families would not be doing the same, even though they JUST DID on Friday.

I am not the type to say “go home and hug your kids” after a tragedy such as this because I am a firm believer that you should not need a reminder to do that. I can’t fathom a day where I do not smother my girl in love, or tell her how amazing I think she is, or stroke her hair out of her face as she falls asleep. And I do not know what I would do with myself if I didn’t get to do that, every day, whenever my heart felt compelled to do so.

I am blessed. I am lucky. I am thankful.

Once A Quitter

Pat quit smoking on the weekend. Lord help us all.

I could essentially end this post right there.

He quit Saturday afternoon. It is Tuesday now. Day three. And no one is dead yet. That I know of.

Saturday he did good. Not a lot of twitching or odd behaviour. Nor a lot of coughing. Sunday was a little worse. His natural reaction every time a commercial came on TV was to get up as that was when he would normally smoke. Or when there was coffee being made. Or when his dad came over. Or just before we’d leave to go somewhere. There were a few cranky moments but he was aware of them and realized what he was doing pretty quick (we MAY have given him a few subtle hints). There was much snacking going on. MUCH. Which is better than much smoking going on. And there was also much checking of the “Quit Smoking” app that details for him minute by minute things like how much money you have saved so far, how much your red blood cells are thanking you, what percentage of your sense of taste has returned etc etc.

Monday, the bear woke up.

Things were a little more grizzly, a little less “look how I am saving my own life” rosy. Probably the best thing to happen to our household was the fact that he is spending this week working offsite in Brandon. So all of his workmates get to deal with week one, in all of its glory. I’ve never been so happy to send him off on his way as this week right here.

He sent a message while en route to Brandon. “I hate people. I hate all strangers. I hate men especially right now. I have no patience for them. For people in general.” So thats fun….for the suckers in the truck with him.

There have so far been no reports of a homicide in Brandon, no requests to bail him out of jail, and no indication of a weak moment. Day three of a cigarette-free Pat is well underway. Which, considering the fact that 90% of his colleagues smoke and they spend, ohhhh, 90% of their day on smoke-breaks, is pretty amazing. Talk about cold turkey. Talk about jumping right in. Talk about willpower. Talk about being thankful for 200km safety radius.