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Let Them Eat Cake… What Are Your Positive Addictions?

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Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette:

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”

 

As it turns out, Madame Marie likely never spoke those words, but nevertheless… I would so love to eat cake every meal of every day.

My dream world consists of one food group … SUGAR!

Cinnamon Buns and Black Forest Cake for breakfast.

Key Lime Cheesecake and Matrimonial Square for lunch.

Bakewell Tart and Boston Cream Pie for dinner.

Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut Bar as Evening Snack.

The perfect diet for the perfect day.

Fool! Wake up Larry! That’s not the perfect diet for the perfect (long) life.

I know YOU’RE perfect, but I’m not … there’s an addict… a Sugar Monster inside me (maybe I could sell him to Sesame Street).

Cookie monster.jpg

Damn… we live in a world of honeyed riches for the not-so-rich Mr. Average. This is a thick problem for this not-so-thin Monsieur.

How many types of sugary sweetness are there and why am I so magnetically drawn to each of them?

How many sensuously slinky saccharine seductresses sway and dance before my eyes before my mouth must take them in?

If anyone in this world deserves Type 2 diabetes, it’s me.

I tell myself that if I only exercise like crazy 5, 6, 7 times each week and somehow sweat sufficiently to keep my weight below 200 pounds, then I’m immune from the ravages of modern metabolic syndrome.

Yeah, it’s probably a delusion … a childhood imaginary friend that is invisible, especially to me. Addictions hide out in the open like the glasses we’ve lost on the top of our head.

We all have blinders on don’t we? Somewhere in our lives?

There are harmful addictions galore in this world of fallible humanity. Alcohol, drugs, sex, smoking, gambling… sugar.

We always talk about the harmful addictions. We should talk about harmful addictions and the pain they germinate.

I freely confess to my sugar addiction … but you know … I also confess to a slew of beneficial addictions.

Maybe sometimes… no … often… we need to look at our half-full cup and remind ourselves that despite our failures, our weakness, our fallible selves… we also contain a cornucopia of goodness that doesn’t necessitate a daily or weekly visit to a 12-step meeting.

…….. POSITIVE ADDICTIONS ……..

I hold inside myself the nuggets of addictive behaviour that cause me to lace up running shoes and hit the sweaty streets or gym … I make special meals to celebrate others… I share the education I was so generously afforded with others who weren’t given those same opportunities to learn… I study and practice music so that I can share moments of musical joy with my self and with others … and more.

I know these are addictions because I feel the edgy withdrawal effects when they’re absent from my life.

I feel like a lesser being when a week passes and I haven’t felt my heart rate hit 150. I sense a loss in the world if a family member’s birthday goes by and I haven’t taken the opportunity to carry a candle-laden cake to place in front of them and share in the joy of their life’s passage. Positive addictions.

When we offer our time or energy to anything that makes a day better for ourselves or another, we’ve succeeded.

We’re all boats out on a foggy night … sometimes the best we can do is shine a flashlight on the brilliant parts of ourselves that reflect that light and allow the darkness to remain in the shadows.

My tummy is rumbling … all this optimistic thinking is making me think of … oh yeah … CAKE!!!!

Positive addiction

Hip Hip Hooray… Ain’t Your Bathroom Great?

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Dog on toilet

CRAP … I lost another game of iPad solitaire while sitting on the toilet.

Yup, CRAP!

The very best place for sitting, game playing, thinking, contemplating, figuring, worrying, laughing, reading, and of course… shitting… is in the bathroom. Instant privacy and quiet.

Just the other day I wandered aimlessly upon a moment of intense gratitude. We all need more gratitude moments.

I live in a house that has an indoor bathroom. With a toilet.

I’m gonna take a wild guess that you do too.

Call it what you will… loo, WC, restroom, washroom, head, lavatory … by any name we should all smile with great glee at this thought.

In February when the cold winds and snows were pouring off the white-shrouded mountains like perilous nasty whitewater waves, I was warm, dry and windless in my cozy little comfort station.

It seems such a simple expected perk of life. So simple.

 

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But I don’t have to look too far off into the distance to glimpse other areas and eras where this would be a huge luxury.

In post-cyclone Mozambique news today, a reporter makes note of: “Three thousand people who are living in a school that has 15 classrooms and six, only six, toilets.”

On a “First Class” train journey from Jaipur to Mumbai, India a couple of years back we had to balance ourselves in a squat position over a pit toilet as it jostled back and forth with the rhythm of the clickety-clack.

You guessed it. The smell and sights within the squalid little room were stomach-churning.

And of course, historically within my home country Canada, just a few generations back, my relatives all hiked outside every single day, every season. No cushy pillowed wipes… it was newspaper and Eaton’s catalogue time.

In the humid heat of fly-enriched summer and icy-terrained winter, my grandparents did their business in a highly-scented wooden box just like in the opening graphic scene from the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

………………

Well, not quite like that but you get the idea.

Our world is encased in oodles and oodles of technology, and yet, for me, despite the inventions of:

  • cars and airplanes
  • computers
  • television and movies
  • recorded music and all the electronics it comes from
  • telephones
  • automatic washing machines and dishwashers…

… that enhance my standard of living… and yes, I could go on and on … there is probably no human-devised invention that enriches my life more than indoor bathroom plumbing.

Praise be the in-house toilet.

We really don’t take time often enough to reflect and en-wrap ourselves in gratitude for the modern luxuries that enrich and simplify our daily passage.

Which is why I am dedicating this week’s blog post in praise of the indoor toilet.

You may think I’m wasting your time, you might like to poo-poo me, sure, tell me to piss off, possibly you don’t even give a shit …

… but I will continue on giving a crap about such delightfully uncomplicated things that bring me comfort and joy, even if I can’t win this stupid game of solitaire!

ipad toilet

Attitude and The Ten Year Boomerang Effect

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LAR GORD HOCKEY TIFF (1)

Me (with newspaper shinpads beneath my pants) dropping the puck for my brother Gord… STARS!!

 

I was a baby athletic star when I was 7 or 8.

Here’s how my mother described me in a letter to my older brother…

Larry is making quite a name for himself at hockey this winter. So far his team has 27 goals and Larry scored 13 of them and about 9 assists… The coach says he doesn’t get in and get himself banged up, and he’s good at fooling the goalie too.”

On the downside, I had attitude which is never good. SKY HIGH ATTITUDE.

Then at 13 I transformed into a chubby tween with acne and glasses (athletic still but my star status plummeted). I felt awkward and ugly. My “attitude” plummeted from altitude which IS a good thing. LOW ALTITUDE ATTITUDE.

Then at 17 I morphed back to a slender recreationally-athletic young man with a guitar and an old Rambler car that was mine. GOLDILOCKS JUST RIGHT ATTITUDE.

It was a case of the Ten Year Boomerang effect. COOL … UNCOOL… half COOL.

Each 10 year period of my life has run along similar lines.. some bright, exultant convex points followed by lower stages, degrees of concave. Harry Chapin sang about this in his poignant song Story Of A Life:

I can see myself it’s a golden sunrise
Young boy open up your eyes
It’s supposed to be your day
Now off you go horizon bound
And you won’t stop until you’ve found
Your own kind of way
And the wind will whip your tousled hair
The sun, the rain, the sweet despair
Great tales of love and strife
And somewhere on your path to glory
You will write your story of a life

 

Chances are pretty good you’ve experienced something similar but with different details. Your attitude may have been a problem, but how would I know?!

Life has its own wavelength… some periods where our star rises and we feel the peak excitement (Lady Gaga nervously hits the stage as a promising new singer-songwriter in A Star Is Born).

wavelength

 

And some periods where the skies are so dark and foreboding that the stars are nowhere to be seen… (Bradley Cooper urinates in his pants on stage at the Grammy Awards in A Star Is Born).

Our attitude and our place in the stars rise and fall throughout our lives.

Have you ever watched the TV show THIS IS US? Every character on the show goes through a full cycle of boom and bust in every episode.

It’s exhausting.

I get boomerang whiplash watching for one hour. I need a shower to wash away the sweat and filth that builds up with all the tension and cathartic release.

I don’t know how famous (or once famous) actors, artists, politicians and musicians cope with the massive fluctuations in their popularity and fame.

The 10 year boomerang effect that I’ve experienced through my years is compressed into a much shorter time span for those in the public eye. For most of us, ten years is sufficient to adjust, to learn to bend with the positive and negative winds that inevitably blow.

It doesn’t surprise me that so many of the famous succumb to drugs and alcohol and suicide. The throngs of sycophants that surround them kissing their chilly butt cheeks one minute and then turn around the next to spit in their face or worse still, ignore them totally…

… it takes a monumental strength to withstand the ups downs twists turns… the bashing of the boomerang in your face.

My once-burgeoning hockey career has long ago melted into the ether… my old Rambler has rusted away in the scrapyard… but … thankfully… the guitar I strummed at 17 still lives and my fingers retain the strength to play a song or two …

I’m know I’m living the GOLDILOCKS life – and the boomerang that is my attitude? … well … I try to keep it in sight and close to the ground.

What about you… where does your star sit in the sky  and… is your boomerang under control?

boomerang.jpg

 

 

The Internationally Unintentional Era (Errors) of this Unwoke Man

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International Women's Day 2019

International Women’s Day?

Is it weird that we devote/commemorate a single day to fully half of the population of this planet?

Or is it weird that we feel we need to do this for some good reasons?

How could half the people alive today be in need of special recognition?

When will the day arrive that we nod our heads and reminisce nostalgically about the past need to strive for female/male equality in the same way we (should) reminisce about the early scourges of Smallpox or Scurvy?

Shhhhh…. this is not for sharing (good thing there isn’t such a thing as the internet where everyone can see!)… I have to admit that my job as a man in this world is more difficult as each day passes.

Hang on … I’ll wait a moment here for you to say … “awwwww“.

*Silence*

Yeah, I didn’t think I’d hear too much there. Could be my failing ears but I really don’t think that’s it.

silence.jpeg

Frankly, the difficulties I have to face as an older white dude are infinitesimally minimal to the struggles that so many others – in this case, women – face from the moment of their first cry until their final breath.

What I want to explain to you in today’s post is that I know from time-to-time I’m gonna step in the deepest, darkest gender shit, despite all my best efforts at being “woke”.

I’m kinda half-woke!

I’ve spent a good deal of my life’s days transitioning to a world where everyone should be truly valued at the same level of distinction…

… no matter their skin colour, their gender, their religious belief, their mental capacity and so on and so on (I have to add that etcetera part because I know I’m unintentionally excluding groups that should be delineated here, see?, the shit plops are EVERYWHERE).

I’ve learned … I’m learning … I’ve discontinued my childhood jokes about non-straight sexualities (how many young boys did I coarsely demean in high school?), I’ve hopefully stopped using derogatory words I once used to describe other ethnic groups, I try to use the most non-confrontational descriptors for every person and every group.

And still I stumble…

stumble2

I stumble … and yet I know there’s far worse than myself.

I gape and gasp in dismay; so much of what I see in the world still confirms the suppression of women.

If I were a praying kind of guy, I’d spend hours each day on my knees begging for God to give something even close to equality for women in dark oppressive countries and regions of repression, torture, abuse.

On a wholly personal level, it’s impossible for me as a Baby Boomer to be sufficiently aware of every possible transgression regarding – for today’s discussion – gender politics, to never say or make a judgment error.

I’m an OK guy but let me leave it like this…

I celebrate all women and the determination, intelligence, strength and yes, beauty, that they bring to the world.

Each of us, man, woman and any other, is transitioning daily to a world that changes in ways, minor and major, with each sunrise and each sunset.

So please, when I falter in my own personal transition and step in the stinky doo-doo I’ve dropped, it’s not for lack of trying.

Not everyone is magically accorded the advantages that I’ve largely taken for granted. My responsibility is to keep learning and learning, trying and trying … trying to find the words and means to build others up.

The last thing I want to do to any person is unknowingly, accidentally, ignorantly, lessen their esteem or feeling of individual power.

But sometimes I know I will, cuz I’m a part of this Unintentional Era of the Unwoke Man.

unwoke men.jpg

Yeah, still unwoke

The Big E … The Edible Exotic Erotic Feast

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Man Big O

What does your face look like?

No … not when you look in the mirror.

Anyone can make themselves look presentable to the mirror, and if you’re lucky (*probably doesn’t include me) even handsome or beautiful, when all the stars align and you’ve put an hour of effort into making your countenance shine.

No, right here, right now, I’m talking about in the dead of night (or during Afternoon Delight) when you reach that hot moment of glory … the Hail Mary worked… your game “face” is on …

… you know, the Big O, where the inhibitions and worries fade away and all that remains is the pouty flash-of-glory, the swinging-from-the-chandeliers, the peeling-panties-off-the-ceiling, the fireworks and Northern Lights on full display.

Now it could occur in a tandem encounter (excellent), or perhaps a solo effort (great too) or … hell … if you’re into team sports, could even be in the Orgy Dome at Burning Man in Nevada (this one beats me).

Maybe still, it’ll be the Meg-Ryan-in-the-Deli (hell yeah!) scenario … where you and I wanna have what she’s having.

meg ryan O.jpg

Damn, I got distracted… again!!

*face palm*

The whole purpose of this post is supposed to be about how we eat. The cuddly facial contortions of the eating process. There’s lots to chew on here.

OK, though maybe not as titillating as the Big O … the Big E … truly does fascinate me.

And truthfully, in most cases it’s not a pretty sight (I sadly include myself in this category)

This past week, we were revelling in a delightful buffet and restaurant romp in the tropical heat o’ Mexico.

Mucho mucho demasiado comida.

Spooning (as well as knifing and forking) in the dining room is as entertaining as most other spectator sports.

My poor distracted eyes were in their most hyperactive state.

Gazing around the dining areas, the plethora of styles of masticating food is just too damned hard to ignore.

Through the musical meanderings of the accents from varied regions of the world: German, British, Japanese, French, Polish … yes, Spanish… and lots of Canadians.

There were: speed-eaters; plodders; the bend-over-to-the-plate-eaters; the eat-everything-except-mashed-potatoes-with-your-hands eaters; the mash-everything-together-eaters; the consume-while-you-text-eaters; the non-stop-talk-eaters.

Chewing is engrossing (and sometimes just GROSS) … the jaw-straight-up-and-down-chew, the circular-cow-eating-its-cud chew, the nibble-and-chew-at-the-front-of-the-mouth chew.

There really should be etiquette classes given to each of us as children on how to eat with some delicacy and grace.

Most of the consuming I saw was akin to watching a Grade B horror film… ugly but nearly impossible to look away.

And in fairness, there were a few instances of eating ballet on display… beautiful, delightful folks who obviously enjoyed their food without facial contortions while chewing, no ugly Big E moments, no displaying the contents of the food in their mouths for the world to admire.

Noshing Olympians. Bravissimo!

antelope eating.gif

The worst offence? for me? Pouring wine or beer or even water into your mouth while unchewed food still remains on view. Edentum deformis…

Eating and drinking are 2 separate activities… would you do your tax returns while approaching the Big O? … do not answer… I thought not!

Eat. Swallow. Drink.

Self Description? I’m not sharing my Big O face nowhere no-how … but my Big E face?… I guess I’m a bit of a speed eater… a slight left-to-right-jaw-drift chewer. I’m a gastronomic adventure eater (I like to try lots of different innovative foods… lots of ethnic diversity, guinea pig in Peru, snake wine in China, bull’s testicles in Greece).

When it comes to the Big O, there’s not much I can offer you … mirrors are not useful in these situations (except on the ceiling? whatevah you into)… but there is hope and help when it comes to the Big E.

Why not try watching yourself eat in a mirror sometime?

Try to adopt some classic grazing variations that increase your beauty quotient while eating. A great Big E could lead to a great Big O

Or … watch Halloween 3.

You can choose your fright-faced option!

ugly eating