How to suck at pool – 101

Step 1: Join a pool league with zero experience or skills.

That’s it, that’s all you have to do.  And I have done this successfully I might add.  I have yet to master any sort of coordination that’s required to make a good shot.  I completely lack the ability to shoot in a straight line as well.

That’s not to say that I won’t immediately strut around like the queen of shit when I accidentally get a ball in and it’s assumed I did it on purpose.  I most certainly did not do any of it on purpose. But let’s not let that get out, just in case a team mate or opponent happens to stumble across this at some point.

Some interesting side developments have come about since joining a pool league.  It has forced me out of my comfort zone. I am meeting new people which is tough to do in PEI. I even made a stellar new friend. (pretty much the only other female in the room, we were drawn to each other like “thank GAWD, a fellow female, possessor of boobs)

Interesting thing about being low-key invisible in a room full of men, they fart! And they smell… a LOT!  I think they find themselves in a level of comfort being surrounded by other farting smelly men and so it goes, they let it all rip.  From Crop-dusters to SBD’s.  It all happens in that pool hall.

Aside from the frustration of not being able to play pool, I am having fun and it gets me out once a week to be forced in to socialization and that’s a good thing.

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Tourism – a love/hate story

I live in a tourist town. 100% no denying it.  Tourism is what fuels much of our economy and helps keep this province afloat.  I mean, we have a very successful exporting market open the world, as well as a thriving Aerospace industry along with several others, BUT tourism has been the backbone, in my opinion.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world descend upon our tiny island and massive cruise ships continue to grace our harbour each year well in to the fall.  Every single one of these tourists are spending money in shops, campgrounds, hotels, restaurants, festivals and shows, all owned by local islanders making a life for themselves here.

I have all kinds of love…

But you know what grinds my gears? And before you say anything or shake your head at me for being a curmudgeonly old fart, I already know that I can’t have one without the other and the other far outweighs the one so shut your pie hole and leave me alone to bitch…

Anyways, you know what drives me to the absolute brink of insanity? Tourists! They’re everywhere.  They walk around like they’ve never seen the place before (I suppose they haven’t, but still) all “oohs and ahhs” with their mouths wide open looking at everything taking out their giant iPads to take a photo (whaaattt??) Then taking up the whole side walk to stroll at a glacial pace down the main thorough-ways, and then waffling about on the street corners.  Are they crossing the road? Which way are they going? Should I wait before driving through? Or should I just go?  So they don’t do anything for an extended period of time while they deliberate and traffic is building behind you and people are getting angry and honking because you’re holding it all up so you decide the tourist has no idea what they’re doing and you just go for it and BAM… they step off the side walk right in front of you and you’re now officially stuck in the middle of a four-way intersection holding traffic back from ALL directions and no one can go and wait….HOLY FUCK, are the pedestrians stopping in the middle of the crosswalk because they’re unsure they took the right route?  Yes, yes they are.

By the time they’ve figured out what direction they want to go in, 10 more tourists have joined the hullabaloo and are doing the exact same thing in all directions thus forcing you to gingerly maneuver your way though a sea of waffling pedestrian tourists with your car and dear Gawd all-mighty, you just want to get to home after a long day.  Forget parking, that’s just not going to happen.

So what’s the answer here? Do NOT leave your office during the day unless you have absolutely have to. ie.. life or death.  For your own safety, stay indoors.  Do not attempt to walk down the street for anything.  Drink the office coffee, just suck it up princess, it’s going to taste bad but it’s still better than the rage that comes from trying to walk to the coffee shop among, not one or two cruise ships docked in the harbour today, but FOUR! Yes, that’s right, there is currently FOUR giant cruise ships docked in the harbour and ALL of those people have come to shore on a beautiful fall day in PEI.  Bless them for the dollars they’ll spend, and the happy memories they’ll make and they’re appreciation of our sweet tiny island but I’m just going to sit tight and wait it out.

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With a heavy heart, I hereby declare my defeat.  My campaign did not last as long as I’d hoped.  I really wanted it to work but alas, it did not…I do declare my dear, no one gives a damn. (Toss hand to forehead in mock despair)

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Only somewhat mocking.  I am disappointed I was unsuccessful in convincing my friend to move back. Actually very sad, but in reality, I knew it would never work. But hope springs eternal right? Damn you Pandora and your fucking box. You have cursed me with unrealistic optimism ultimately leading to disappointment yet again.

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There was two parts to said campaign though, and you may be wondering if I was successful in convincing myself to stay.  To be honest, I don’t have a choice.   As long as my children live here, so do I.  I could try and leave, but I’d quite literally crumble to the ground in a heap of despair and ugly crying before I could get more than a kilometer away from my children and I can’t take them with me because no one wins in that scenario.  It isn’t fair to anyone but my own selfish motives.

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I moved here in 2009 with nothing but optimism that I could make this place home and that optimism has never left. Almost 10 years later, numerous setbacks and I still want to call this place home. I desperately want to feel like I belong and that there’s a place for me here.  But it’s almost as if this place doesn’t want me.  I thought maybe a campaign to convince myself to stay.  Maybe someone would step up and say “I saw your campaign, have you seen this? Or have you tried this? Or have you gone here? There?” But, not one person stepped forward and said, “you should stay because… “

I’ve lived in a lot of places, some nice, some not.  Big cities and little towns.  I’ve never had problems making friends, meeting new people, even in Toronto (which I really didn’t like) I still made friends.  And yet this place eludes me.  Everyone is so nice, so friendly to your face, but when it comes right down to it, no one remembers to invite you along to the movies, or to the backyard BBQ.  Rarely anyone has time to join you on a hike or just have a drink after work.  Is it because they don’t know who my father is? Maybe…

It’s a PEI thing when you meet someone new “Who’s your fadder?, where’s he from?”  If you answer with “He’s not from here” you get an “OH” and conversation just stops.  The mentality here is not like anywhere else I’ve lived.

There is a very negative connotation to being “from away”.  It is a bad thing and Islanders have no problem voicing that negativity.  When confronted with an explanation as to why it’s unkind and alienating to people trying to make a life here, I receive shoulder shrugs and a half-hearted “ha ha ha that’s just they way we Islanders are” (actual scenario) It’s just…not…nice! JUST STOP!!!

Non-Islanders can spot each other from a mile away.  It’s the way we think, the way we receive each other and make the effort to make others feel welcome. We know what it’s like to be the outsider and we make an effort to include each other.  I found one at my sons ball game last year.  We were drawn to each other like magnets.  It’s like we made eye contact from across the dug out and just knew.  We connected instantly.  She called me out in about 5 minutes “you’re not from here are you?”   I asked how she knew, she said “you actually talked to me unlike every other parent here”   I know how she felt.  I experience the same thing at every baseball game, soccer game, school concert, hockey practice… every single one.  I don’t know anyone and no one wants to know me.  Their friend roster is full (actual quote from an islander)  Unfortunately, the one fellow CFA (Come from away) was moving in two weeks.  Her and her family were getting out of Dodge, and they couldn’t be happier to do it for all the same reasons I struggle to make this place home.

So I may not be leaving PEI for anything other than vacation, but I will try to maintain some optimism that it will someday feel like home.  For now though… this is where the campaign ends.

Here’s a happy sunrise to end on a good note.

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That one time in band camp…

Okay, those of you that get the reference, are you laughing? If you fall in to the generation before or after, move along, you won’t get it.

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For those of you who do get it: I had the best much-needed laugh at work this week. My friend walked across the hall today to tell me her son was starting band camp today. There was a brief pause and then we both busted out laughing.  What made it funnier was that her son has no idea why it’s so funny.

He’s going in to grade 7 so he clearly doesn’t get the reference and my friend is certainly not going to explain to her under aged son why it’s so damn funny.  But she keeps laughing about it and he keeps asking “what’s so funny?” and “what happens at band camp?”  Wouldn’t YOU like to know !!!

Just a shout-out to this generation and the things we found funny. The nostalgia is strong with this one.

 

UGH…spiders!

Ode to the spider, how much do I hate thee… I mean, you eat mosquitoes so that’s OK, but do you have to be so damn creepy?

I put serious consideration in to purchasing a new vehicle the other day.  Note the photograph of the handle on the drivers side door below.Untitled-1

What gives..you 8 legged asshole? You have unlimited options to build your web in my yard or preferably the neighbours yard (sorry guys) and you choose my f*cking door handle?

I have to get to work but nope, I’m attacking my own car with a giant stick and jumping around screaming like a school girl at a Justin Beiber concert. WTF?

My son is in the backseat watching this go down yelling “GET HIM!” “Get a bigger stick!”  What kind of example am I setting?

So I got a bigger stick, wrapped up his web around the end and threw the stick across the yard where it still remains.

As for the spider and his web? I walked right through it today on the way out the door. Well played spider…well played.

Boys and girls

When my daughter was growing up, I never freaked out over stuff.  Everything was super chill.  She liked to colour, do crafts, style my hair (it’s extremely painful to remove 5000 plastic barrettes BTW). She loved movies and would watch anything.  I could take her hiking, to the beach, the park, camping, anything.  She was just happy and content to do her thing wherever we were and it was easy and simple.

So when I had my son, I thought I had this in the bag.  It was going to be sooo easy. hahahahhahaha i’m an idiot.  To be fair, he’s really the greatest son I could have asked for, it’s more about my chill, or lack of it.

My son loves all of the above mentioned activities, minus the hair styling (thank gawd), and the beach (weird), plus a few extras like hockey, soccer, baseball, wrestling, and most recently sharks, so basically all things boy.

So when did my chill finally leave me?  I’m not sure but I realized it yesterday as I watched him hurl his tiny body off the high dive at the pool and proceed to do a flip off the diving board.  He seemed so small to me at the moment.  All arms and legs and skinny-boy rib cage.  I wanted to run out and grab him before he could jump off.  But he was fearless.  Just tossed himself off like he was taking a run at his bed at night.  He landed safely with the “oooh’s” of the gaggle of kids waiting in line to jump off as well.  I watched with baited breath as he swam to the edge of the pool to get out.  He was so happy he landed it.  So proud of himself for being so brave and loving it!  I was proud of him too.  Last year you could barely get him in to a pool, now he’s taking a run at it from 10 feet up.  But my nerves!

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It didn’t end there for my nerves yesterday.  I took him to the exhibition.  Please note how much I hate going to exhibitions.  It’s not so much the fair itself, or the idea of the fair, it’s the cost (astronomical), the parking (impossible), standing around in the hot sun nursing an over-priced bottle of water while trying to keep track of my kid and his friends in a giant crowd.  It’s like herding cats!

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Here’s where I lost my last nerve.  It was a ride called “The Freak Out”.  Guess who freaked out?  Not my son, that’s for sure. It was me.  I could sense he was a bit nervous and probably asked him about 3 times while he waited in line if he wanted to change his mind.  He’d quietly nod and say he was fine.  He’s like me, he gets quiet when he’s nervous. But he did it.  He put his tiny body (still my baby) on this terrifying ride that flung him and his friends all around and up in the air and I couldn’t stop staring but I wanted to look away. I was so worried for him.  My stomach in knots.  When he got off the ride, I asked him.  “Did you like it?”  thinking he’d be upset because it was so scary.

He loved it!  The worst is that this is just the beginning.  I have years ahead of him causing me anxiety over stuff like this.  I squashed my nerves, smiled and told him “That’s great buddy, I’m so happy you had fun.  You’re so brave, do you want to try it again?”

He answered: “I had fun but I’m good for now”  THANK GAWD BECAUSE I CAN ONLY HANDLE SO MUCH IN ONE DAY!

I want my chill back.

10 things your yoga teacher wants you to know and some random babbling

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I get 60 minutes. That’s it.  60 minutes to make you sweat a little, stretch a little, relax a little, work towards enlightenment a little…wait what? Shut the front door, that’s not possible!

Picture it, you get to class, you arrive, set up your mat, set your water bottle down, line up your blocs, straps, blankets, whatever you like, all around you so they’re readily available.  If you’re like me, they’re lined up with the lines on the floor because otherwise its chaos and OMG how can I expect to relax in this environment…?  Oh, am I the only one that does that? Weird, moving on…

Class begins, there’s somewhere between 1 and 25 people in a class, some can rock out a dancers pose like a prima ballerina, some are struggling to grab their left foot.  We’re all over the place.  Ensuring that everyone gets an enjoyable class means I can’t streamline the focus to suit any one person perfectly so I aim for a more relaxed sort of class that would suit anyone but to do that, sacrifices need to be made here and there.

I offer as much instruction, tips, adjustments as I can, but they’re often missed because there’s simply not enough time to get it all out.  Also I’m incapable of saying anything without adding every..single…detail..  So here’s a list, small but hopefully useful.

  1. Be mindful – Ya, I know, it’s a buzzword that’s been floating around for a while and in my honest opinion, it’s too vague to be useful.  I use the words but I follow up with “your body”. So basically, just pay attention to your body and how it feels.  If it doesn’t feel right, adjust the position, and if you’re not sure how, ask me. Raise your hand, speak up, send me the stink eye and I’ll help.  There’s always a modification.  Always!
  2. Check your shit at the door – In the resent wise words of a good friend “Be present”.  How does this translate to your practice? Leave your grocery list, to-do list, your sense of urgency, your ego at the door. Don’t bring it on to your mat.  It’s 60 minutes and then you can go back to stressing about all of the stuff (although I’d rather you didn’t).  Trust that I won’t let shavasana go too long and keep you past the allotted class time.  (I see you tapping your fingers) You will be rolling your mat back up in plenty of time to make it the grocery store, soccer game, appointment your worrying about.
  3. Check your ego at the door – Did I not mention ego at #2?  We all have one, but how it’s functioning is what is questionable so just leave it behind.  It’s not a competition.  If it was, I’d be very disappointed in my own practice because many of my students are considerably more flexible than I am, and that’s OK. We all start from a different place for a different reason, but what’s important is that you start.
  4. No one is looking at your bum – I promise. The rest of the room is probably worrying about the same thing and soo not thinking about your bum but worrying about their own bum.
  5. Take off your socks – they’re slippery, you can’t get a good grip on standing postures and degrades the quality and effectiveness of the posture.  Also, I don’t care if you need a pedicure.  I probably do too. So just take them off OK? No one’s looking, see #4.
  6. It’s OK to sit one out – Can’t stand Eagle pose? Had a bad day and struggling a little more than usual? Sit it out. Take a break, chill out, lie on the floor, grab some water.  It’s all good. You showed up, that’s all that matters.
  7. Use the effing props – That’s what they’re there for.  Standing in Tree pose is far more effective with your toe on the floor than wobbling around all over the place.  Cut yourself some slack, then concentrate on the rest of your body.  You’ll be far better off. You’ll be amazed how much more you get out of dancer with a strap.  Consider it an Inspector Gadget extendable arm.  Back tight? Sit on a block, and thank me later.
  8. Have fun – It’s OK to have fun.  It’s not a race to enlightenment.  There’s no hard and fast rule about what a yoga class should be like.  Relax a little.  I consider it an accomplishment if I can get at least a little chuckle out of every class but I’ll always aim for the belly laugh.
  9. Ask questions – I don’t know what you know or don’t know, you know? Please ask if you’re unsure.  I’ll do my best to give you an answer and if I don’t have it, I will find it for you. Also, tell me when something doesn’t feel right or hurts or if there is something wrong.  I won’t single you out, but I will adjust the class or offer suggestions to modify your practice and make it work for you.
  10. We are human – please be patient with me, and be patient with yourself. We have good days and bad. Some days I’m exhausted and I can’t tell left from right.  (who am I kidding, I get those wrong on the best of days) I promise to show up and do my best to be patient and guide you through your practice each week.

There’s probably a million other things that could be said but this is a good start.  I look forward to meeting you on the mat. Namaste!

The lost art of the love letter

I lay awake at 2 am, lamenting my feelings that were bottled up, congested and congealing in my chest until I couldn’t take it anymore, and I proceeded to pour my heart out for the object of my affection to read as clearly as I was able to express.  It was like that scene with Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give .  I could almost hear Eartha Kitt’s C’est Si Bon playing in the background.  It was so scary.  My heart raced as I typed.  I wasn’t going to sleep until this was done.

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In this day and age we’ve been reduced to texting acronyms and emojis and left to decipher what they mean.  (OMG I sound ancient, shaking my old lady fist in the air declaring “Back when I was young…”) I was terrified that if I sent this long heartfelt letter he’d think I was crazy and maybe never speak to me again.

I lay awake another night debating whether I should send my declaration of undying love.  Many times, I had typed out my feelings in a text, a simple “I love you” or “I miss your face” and carefully back-spaced each letter out of fear of what might happen. I needed to give this man the space I’m sure he wanted and definitely deserved.

But it’s amazing what you’re willing to do after several sleepless nights.  So I said “F*ck it, I’m sending it” and I did.  And you know what? It was OK….and I slept….finally!  I couldn’t bare the thought of carrying the weight of my feelings around for the rest of my life wondering “what if ?”  It didn’t change the way I felt about him, but now I knew.  I  wanted this person to know what they meant to me regardless of how they felt in return and now they knew too.

You’re probably wondering, “well what the eff happened next?”  I did everything I reasonably could from my position and carefully placed the ball in his court. So there’s really nothing else because the rest of the story is not mine to tell and belongs solely to the receiver of the letter.   Is he reading this letter about my letter?  I don’t even know that.

Anyways, I didn’t want to leave you (the reader) wondering what happened but you’ll have to keep on wondering I’m afraid!  My point is the letter, I poured my heart out, laid it out there the best I could and it was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done but also the most freeing.  I stepped out from the safety of my emotional walls and offered honest, raw and open expression and I meant every single word. The fact that the receiver of my letter didn’t do any of the horrors I imagined and acknowledged it with nothing but kindness was a testament to his amazing character and I will always be grateful.

So why don’t we do this any more? According to the old movies I used to watch as a kid, and the more modern love stories like The Notebook, we did this sort of thing all the time back in the day.  We openly expressed our feelings to our beloved without shame or fear of reprisal.  (Special shout-out to Hollywood for creating unrealistic expectations, DAMN YOU Jerry Macguire!!!).

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I realize we’re not all built to write.  We can’t all express how we feel through words.  We have different love languages and to be honest, I prefer touch, but that’s not always possible, and I highly recommend getting permission before touching another person (no means no),  so  I am forced to write because speaking the words are difficult for me.  I find myself tongue tied with too many things to say.  My thoughts become bottle-necked and nothing comes out. I AM that girl shuffling her feet back and forth awkwardly, looking nervous, stressing about what to talk about because there’s just too many things I want to say all at once. Or I say everything but what I actually want to say, so I have to write.  I have always written but kept those letters to myself.  But this one letter though… I wasn’t going to rest until it was sent.  I will never regret it.

If only my hand writing was more legible, I could really get in to this “written” word. Do people still use cursive?  I’ll leave that thought for another day.

Weiner Wagon

DSC_1403You heard correctly, there’s a Weiner Wagon in Charlottetown.  Did I stop and grab a wiener? I sure did!!  Do I regret it? Maybe…

…BUT here’s the thing. Me and gluten do not have a good relationship.  Other than that, I’d say it was not only the best wiener I’ve ever had but undisputedly the BEST street meat experience I’ve ever had.  #worthit

First of all, get your head out of the gutter. Second of all, if you haven’t gone yet, you need to go right now.  Put your phone down, grab your wallet, go outside and find him. He’s at the corner of Kent and Queen.  Black cart, right outside TD Bank, can’t miss him.

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Welcome!

Not only will he wow you with a fantastic foot long, Jason Doucette’s dry wit and sketchy humour will keep you smiling through the whole transaction.  He’s keeping it real, he’s also keeping it local.  Why? “Because I f*cking love it!” – J. Doucette

Now if someone could just start selling Tacos and Mojitos from a cart (at least on Tuesdays), that’d be super!

Kindness

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Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

A wise man once said, “Be kind whenever possible, it is always possible”

So much life advise out there, be yourself, live your best life, be grateful for absolutely everything, be mindful, learn from your mistakes, use adversity as a learning lesson, and so on and so on… I’m not saying it isn’t good advise, I’m just saying maybe we get enough “advise” pushing impossible standards on each other to be the perfect parent, perfect employee/employer, perfect bodies, perfect spouse or partner.

Maybe it’s enough. Maybe just chill a little, give yourself a break to be human. No ones perfect..NO ONE! So let’s stop expecting perfection from each other, blaming each other, lashing out or ignoring each other and just be kind!

Care how your actions or inaction affects others, and be honest with yourself and others. It’s easy!