Monthly Archives: February 2016

Falling Down

There are days when I feel myself ascending. Rising above my ordinary life into a heady mixture of something that can feel a lot like joy, but might only be self satisfaction. My part of the universe is very well, thank you. I am floating around, above it all. Up with all the other smug folk, having a great day.

Then, there are the other times. Days when I am falling. Literally falling, which happened three times this winter. The first time I was out walking with my sister. I hit a slick of ice and achieved what a snowboarder calls a boost. There was a lot of air between me and the ground before I finally connected. First my head, then my back and hips. I was glad I wasn’t alone, because it stunned me. I needed help getting up. For a whole day, I walked around puzzled, possibly concussed.

The second time I fell, it didn’t hurt as much. A quick dusting off, a furtive look around, and a continuation of  my journey. The third time happened inside my house. I’d just hung a painting and was stepping back to take a look when I caught my heel on the rung of a chair and toppled backwards. It was the only time I regretted putting in hardwood floors.

It’s not the pain. It’s the humiliation. This, my new sports slogan, also works for the ordinary fray of people who fall down. If walking can be considered a sport, (and it can) then I’m not a klutz. I’m an injured athlete.

I have also fallen down on the job. Oh, the futility of shoveling muck as a summer student at HudBay. The pile never seemed to lessen. There were moments when I questioned my need to exist. I would sneak off to the bathroom, where it was warm, and ponder a little. Newly restored, I would remind myself about the great pay which, indeed, took me right through university.

I tend to forget appointments. I’ve missed some great nights out because of Netflix binging. Forgotten to pray for someone at a specific time because I was caught up in the bizarre reality show of American politics. In each instance I felt myself slipping, like the universe had tilted a little and I hadn’t been able to stick the landing.  I UN-velcroed. I fell. We all do. We fall and fall and fall. Into Facebook. Into heartache. Into messes that we make into bigger messes through the erroneous use of imagination or bad decisions.

But then we get up. We dust ourselves off and make sure our parts are in working order. We carry on. Sometimes, with the perfect kind of boost, we rise into a magical day. Propelled into joy filled clouds, we high five each other about the great view. Ice sure looks pretty from up there.

Those moments sustains us for the journey forward. Because, for sure we will fall down again. When we do, we should relax. Let the road hold us for a moment. We are down, but we are looking up.  We take the hand that’s offered, that pulls us back on our feet. It isn’t so bad, really. And the sky looks beautiful from there.

That’s so Cricket

Yesterday I was popping a free range chicken into the oven when it started talking to me. “Hi,” it said, which was only mildly startling. (Many things around my house like to talk.) “My name is Henrietta.” Well, of course. I stared into her lemon stuffed cavity and wondered where all of this was heading. She continued speaking as if my thoughts hadn’t interrupted her at all. As if we were getting acquainted. In truth, we’d already been kind of intimate. I had just given her an olive oil and pepper rubdown.

“Some things you should know about me,” she continued, not acknowledging my astonishment. “I like a good run around the farm yard, and I’m particular fond of a rooster named Elvis.” I swear her wings flapped lightly at this point. Slightly flustered, I popped the chicken into the oven before she could say anything else. I don’t know about you, but I like my food to be silent. I don’t want to know it better than I already do. But my imagination often gets the best of me. When you mix that with a guilty conscience, (why aren’t I a vegetarian yet?) Well. Anything can happen.

Which is why I’m following up my post, The Bug Eater’s Dilemma, with this one. I am about to make good on my earlier claim and invest in some cricket powder. Seriously. At cricketflours.com, they have some lovely recommendations. Like Double Chocolate Cricket Crispies. Yum. Two tablespoonfuls of cricket flour uses about 175 crickets. And the good news is, they are no longer recognizable.

There will be no unfortunate glances as I toss them into the blender. No chatty conversations as they try to delay the inevitable. Nobody is trying to make friends here. Yes, there are Buddhist monks who will consider my chocolately snack to be murder. But the lack of form, of flesh, will make all the difference to me.

I’m not giving up on chicken and fish. Not yet. I just need to make sure they had a good life before they walked the Green Mile. I will also be using more chicken pieces in the future. They seem much less likely to engage me in conversation. And I’ll be sure to let you know how my bug eating venture goes. I’m kind of excited about it. The Cinammon Cricket Flour Muffins, in particular, look delicious. Henrietta! Get back in the oven. You’re not done yet.

I Know You

One of the great things about growing older is that no one gets to tell you who you are anymore. When you’re young, what you hear from friends and family often defines your sense of self. ‘Of course you’re good at ballet!’ Even when you know the truth, you often trust the opinion of others over your own.

We spend our lives seeking our true selves. Every experience, every job and each new friend helps us down the road to the big reveal. All our encounters assist in peeling back the layers until at last we can look inside and see ourselves. There you are, we might say. I know you. And the great part is, if we don’t like what we discover, we can turn ourselves around and head in a different direction.

People are often willing to help us along our journey of self discovery. “Gosh,” I said to my sisters a number of years ago. “Am I too critical?’
“Oh, thank God. Yes! We’ve been trying to tell you for ages but you’re so bloody thick!” Which is true. As my sister Jen says, my first book should be titled, “I’m Okay. You Could Be Better.” I like to think I’m just misunderstood. But now that I’ve been told, I try to bite my lip. Though, seriously. Those boots?

Two more things I’ve discovered about myself is: I’m not very brave. But I am calm in a crisis. Watch a tense movie scene and I’ll be clutching the leg of the person next to me, or hiding my face in their shoulder, which, believe me, has led to awkward conversations with strangers. I hide my eyes at scary scenes, gasp, and sometimes say things like, “Oh No! Why did you do that!” This does not make for happy seat mates at the movies.

So. Watching a movie with me might be annoying. But lose your hand in a meat grinder and I’m your girl. I’ll call 911, conjure up a tourniquet and sing softly to you until the medics arrive. I know this, because I’ve done it. That’s how I learned that I’m calm in a crisis.

I don’t like to sit. I have finger tapping, nail chewing ADD during meetings, I’ll pick any activity over gambling, which is so boring, I’d rather hammer myself in the head than do it. I like long walks on the beach, as long as the sand is firm, and dancing in the rain, but only if there’s no lighting. I’m a democratic socialist trying to understand that not every conservative idea is bad. I’m a little too guarded… Okay. That was a joke. Anyway, I’m glad I’m not sixteen anymore. It’s a relief to have a few things figured out. Now about those boots…