For the Love of Google 

Today’s word prompt caused me to reconsider, not for the first time, my love of information. 

I’ve always had an intense desire to know why. Didn’t matter what it was, I wanted to know about it. As a child I remember reading encyclopedias for answers, and the bible a few times 

(ps- very intense and violently disturbing story for a ten year old. Yes Old Testament, I’m talking about you)

That NEED to know continued on from the time I learned to read all the way through school. Sometimes I think I knew more before I went to high school then I ever learned in University, 

and then forgot it all.

When I was in first year university, working at Canadian Tire to pay my bills, I remember reading the forensic science dictionary on my lunch breaks if I was alone. 

(Learning about body farms is something better done alone instead of with a confused and worried audience. Unless of course you want to be left alone, then it’s highly effective)

But it wasn’t long after that cell phones with internet service changed the way most of us did things. One of the biggest ways it’s impacted my life is the ability to find out WHY immediately.

 Instead of making lists to research, Google was at my fingertips with the power of a million libraries run by the most efficient librarians the world had ever seen, and the power to tell me answers in a fraction of the time it had taken before.

I could look up how to pronounce a word, verify half-remembered facts and even (or most importantly?) learn what the lyrics to every song were, 

the minute I thought to look. 

These memories and others flooded back, reminding me of the “old days” where knowledge was harder to come by.

( I’m pretty sure my husband likes to ask me questions because I’m faster at looking things up, not because he thinks I actually know the answer. )

All these thoughts came because of my curiosity about today’s word prompt, “buff”

Initially, I thought I would go down the body building path- it would have made sense, given that I have one of those at home. 

Then I remembered it was a colour, and thought hey, what else does it mean?

What I learned tonight was that the word “buff” initially referred to a B-52 bomber, and was the nickname for Big Ugly Fat F***er, and came from the Vietnam war . 

Huh. 

The more you know, I guess. And that is why I love Google. 

Next time, why I hate Google,  in relation to work, of course 

(Google, we will always have our happy private life. We just don’t work well together)

I love learning WHY. Anyone else in awe of the power of the Google at your fingertips? 

Malaise NYD

It’s a tough thing to set yourself up to write every day, even with a prompt to help you on your way. Some days, Mondays in particular, motivation and inspiration can be  lacking.

I did the Calgary half marathon yesterday, and at work today I remembered why I had booked the day off. 

Sadly, I had forgotten about the reason when I rebooked my day back on a month ago. Smart me had booked it off as I thought I’d be sore, but crazy me thought I wouldn’t. Or something similarly bonkers.

As per usual, the crazy me or forgetful me won out, and today was spent trying not to die via muscle cramping or narcoleptic episode. It didn’t help that my terrible two-year-old decided that sleeping wasn’t something they wished to do anymore. 

Naps or otherwise. 

This created many situations over the weekend with full melt downs and drama, some even by the toddler in question.

Somehow I survived the day, walking around in a crampy sleepy fog, with the all encompassing and unmistakable sensation that I was forgetting to do something, that some bomb somewhere was going to detonate any second. 

When I finally had a moment to check my emails I was overwhelmed to see 17 unchecked waiting for me. (I’m an empty mailbox kind of person) 

this was stressful on top of stressful. 

And then to top it off, I felt empty and hollow about the idea of coming up with something poignant or vaguely interesting to write about.  It was just one of those Mondays where I had no creative juice left by the end or even at the beginning of the day. 

And so I sit, thinking and listening to the tick tick of the clock in the hallway, pondering the many different things that go into making one feel creative. Some of it is inspiration, but much more is really just saying, 

well, it’s all I have right now and that’s going to be enough.

 It won’t always be brilliant, or even worth reading, but it’s always worth exercising the muscles. 

Today this is both metaphorical as well as literal as I sit, with aching quads post-run, regretting my poor prep for the hundredth time. 

You can not do well without putting in the work required. 

So once again, life lesson reinforced. I made it through the weekend intact, and I shall make it through the rest of the week, but I’m tired. 

It’s time to take a little break from stress, take some extra vitamins and work on breathing.

I got this.

Radiate 

The moment where you feel the light coming off your body, 

Borne on the breeze as though you are incandescent, 

Brilliance unending

The weight of your intentions gone at that moment,

 existing only to provide illumination and warmth

Feeling the breath move through your body while the faithful heartbeat does the rest

The slap, slap, slap on your feet on the asphalt, 

Constant, propelling you forward

The radiance glows from your face, shining from your smile and you know,

In that moment,

You are Mercury 

Quicksilver messenger of the Gods

Untouched by mortal concerns

Free to race onwards eternally

The day job

Some days I feel that writing is so much more rewarding than having a day job, and wish that I’d been granted a life of luxury to pursue the dream.

But then I remember in order to infuse writing with meaning, one needs to have life experience to go along with your imagination and perspiration. 

I’ve read so many books during my life time that I truly can’t remember even ten percent, but the ones that have stuck with me during these years are the ones based on life experience, whether in a biography or fiction.

You can feel the difference between writers who know the human condition, those who have been observers as well as doers. Not everything needs to be based on reality,

 but the things that dig into your soul and bring emotion to the surface often are.

The expression “don’t quit your day job” applies to writing more than I would like it to. Without my “day job” I would be insulated from so much.

 My profession allows me to feel the pain with and for others, 

the joy of release from illness and birth of a newborn.

 I feel anxious while waiting with someone for answers, 

and sorrow when the response is the worst case scenario. 

I have been gifted with such an amazing responsibility and burden, and I will continue to write to lighten my load whenever possible, and hopefully,

 touch someone’s soul the way mine is, 

every single day on the “job”

Reprieve 

Trapped in a nine to five, boxed in at the corners when I’m really more of a triangle,

Each day a mixture of joy and frustration, wondering if life is what we make of it or if we are what it makes of us.

Trying to keep the bad from leaking into the good, 

Brain stop it! Shut down, decompress.

But it ticks, ticks, ticks away, thinking thoughts left over from the day.

So many things I’d like to do if I had my druthers,

Instead of paperwork and obligations

I’d like to hold hands and listen to stories, learn from the wisdom of those who came before me

I may have medicine in my mind, but they have lives lived, truths achieved

While I search for reprieve 

Deep breath and sigh, continue to do my best, try. 

Wishing that clocks would disappear and time would flow at the exact speed it takes to listen to everyone in turn,

To be a human first.

Survive and thrive

A conversation with an old friend today brought back complex memories from a time long ago. 

Part of my life experience includes six  years in The Royal Canadian Air Cadets, something that was expected  we did growing up. My Dad had joined back in his high school days, and it was free and  involved camp possibilities, so it was an accessible activity to someone who had three brothers in the middle of a rural area.

And so I followed in my older brothers footsteps and joined the 317 squadron. 

My memories are complex, not simply good or bad. I learned about the history of the military in Canada, had personality conflicts with other teenagers in positions of authority, cried on a shoulder or two about things I can’t quite recall.

But I also learned to iron a sharp crease, shine a boot so that it was mirror-bright, and how to make a shelter and start a fire. 

I learned to believe in myself,  how to survive a tough spot and how to speak with those around me with conviction, (even when that conviction was that I had no idea what I was doing!)

I flew a plane and in a plane for the first time, and went far from home and anyone I’ve known for the first time at fourteen. 

I memorized my social insurance number and my Dad’s calling card number when I was 12, just in case I ever needed anything. And if it’s memorized it can’t be lost.

I met amazing people, retired military volunteering to show a new generation things they’d learned over a lifetime. 

Fast friends that slowly faded away when a summer ended, never to be seen again.

I learned you can really care for someone and say goodbye forever. That sometimes that’s ok, and it’s all you need from each other.

I learned about the “You Bastard” pause that smoking gives you in conversation, (that pause where you can collect your thoughts), and saw it used wisely and with hilarious effect.

I saved money that paved the way to my first year of university, allowing me to settle into a new culture without worry about being able to pay my tuition. 

Twenty four years after my Senior Leaders course I still wear my sweater, worn and off-white now, but every bit as important to me as when I first got it. Proud of my accomplishment, learning to dance the SLC Shuffle and earning the right to do so on graduation night.

Dancing with my brother when I got home, not allowing our younger, non-SLC graduate brother to join in. 

Over twenty years later the memories come flooding back in, and I think about how much I learned while wearing a uniform. My children will be third generation cadets, and I can’t wait to watch them learn to fly on their own wings the way I did so long ago.

Last impressions

We always talk about first impressions. What you recall of someone at the first meeting, what they were wearing or how they spoke, what they said.

But what about last impressions? It’s not something I’ve had discussions about, 

but it is something I think about daily with the way my life intersects with others.

Often I can’t “fix” people, can not heal what ails them. My hands are sometimes tied when it comes to my ability to even tell them what’s wrong with the body that is failing them.

I’ve witnessed death and birth and everything in between

I’ve shared private moments and horrible experiences,

Been there for bests and worsts for a multitude of people.

Some feel like family  to me, 

we’ve been together so long 

while others are quite literally a ship that has sank in the night.

My last impressions are often brutal and sad. Watching the light leave and the eyes cloud, 

seeing pain of both existential and physical nature overwhelm and then dissipate.

What do they see?

 What is their last impression of the world?

 Do they want to have one more minute, 

or rush away faster, 

leaving behind the suffering?

Families, too, 

burdened by sorrow,

 I speak with and part from, gone from my life forever. 

Was it enough? 

First impressions can change, but the ones at the end are final, and irreplaceable. 

Is it enough? 

I don’t and can’t know, 

at least, not yet.

 But one day I will have a last impression too

Long weekend hangover

Why does the day after a long weekend take the same amount of time as the entire weekend to pass? 

For the first time I can remember, May long weekend was beautiful,  the longest precipitation free break and warmest days I have ever seen on the weekend that catapults the camping season back onto centre stage.

In fact, returning to work made me wish (not for the first or last time) that I had a life of leisure.

Until  I thought of people I know who live that life, either due to circumstance of birth,

 or by accident or design. 

They often share a commonality which I feel lucky not to share with them- an ennui that comes from a life without purpose.

Purpose is what makes us get up in the morning, 

keeps us going long after we’re ready to throw in the towel. 

Keeps us up late at night, propping open bleary eyes.

Purpose is what makes us strive for better, more, new or different

Purpose comes in many shapes and sizes, 

and can be out of love, 

ambition, 

fear, or even

 because something is there to be conquered.

My purpose was set years ago, and keeps me moving forward.

Be the best I can be, love those around me, help others, never give up on a worthwhile cause,

Work hard to achieve.

And so on this beautiful sunny day, trapped in a room without windows and inconsistent air conditioning,

 instead of feeling irritable or unlucky

Today I feel grateful to have this chance to change the lives of others, to support my family,

 to be allowed to care for others and have their trust in my hands.

The long weekend may have passed into the longest Tuesday, 

but today felt like a blessing instead of a curse

And that’s a good Tuesday after all

Change

The pieces don’t fit together,

Set adrift on the waters of change

Lost in the turmoil,

No time to rearrange 
You must start a new trip,

Travel far to distant shores

This trial by water different,

 off the familiar  script 
What beauty awaits at the end?

Challenges and triumphs unseen, 

a world ready and able 

to test an old friend
So pick up the sword and shield,

Fight to make the world your own

Truly there is but one life to live,

Struggle and all shall be revealed.

 

Unmoored 

The quiet waters beckon, whispering for the nearby loons to hear

Alone in the dark wildness, 

Only the silent stars watching as events unfold

I approach in this fugue, feeling the gentle breeze against my face, lifting tendrils of hair in examination as though deciding if I can stay

The peace I feel sinks into my bones, into the thumping of my heart, 

The air in my lungs joins the breeze gentle puffs of warmth against the night

I cast off the rope,

Drifting free on warm waters, amniotic fluid of life beneath me while the sky sings 

I am one and myself at this moment,

Unmoored and complete