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Are YOU Kidding ME?

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Coronavirus Lego (1)

Where are you going?

Right… NOWHERE. I can predict that with almost 100% certainty. It’s like I live inside a Magic 8 ball.

But you know why. I don’t have to spell it out.

I’ve got you where I want you *bwahhhh-ha-haaaaa* and now I have to decide what I’m going to do with you.

It’s cruel and it’s powerful and it’s a rare moment in the universe’s history, so far as we know.

I know that you’re likely stressed in some way, so I’d like to relieve your angst a wee tiny bit this week cuz that’s just the kind of nice guy I am. I want you to like me, even if I am a jerk.

Today I’m coming at you with some ideas on how to take your mind off the pretend/reality TV world that over a couple of weeks has transformed into a real/REALITY WORLD… aka…

SURVIVOR- Coronavirus Island

Now you may not consider all of my ideas as fun… after all, fun is in the eye of the beholder – we don’t all love the same music or movies – so skip past the ones that make you nauseous, groan or cringe and move on.

Some are IDEA SEX and some are… *wink* SEXY IDEAS. Either way, surely, we can find one or two things to make you smile through the tension.

So… here are 10 things to do to lift your socially-isolated day out of the doldrums:

 

1. Channel your inner pervert and wear your partner/friend’s: underwear, bra (most noses are adequately protected by a B cup), or sanitary pad as a face mask to the grocery store… if that doesn’t catch anyone’s eye, try practising your moonwalk in the middle of the natural food aisle, plus maintaining 2 metres distance from everyone whilst dancing backwards.

lettuce mask

This works too!

2. Send out this woefully soulful note to your family:

Gal Gadot (or Chris Hemsworth or…) and I were set to have our beautiful wedding this April. However, due to the coronavirus, we will be postponing the celebration of our love. We’re heartbroken. My apologies to our friends and loved ones. Do not ask Gal about this she’s busy…

3. Do like Benny and Joon and make grilled cheese sandwiches with an iron on your ironing board. Young Johnny Depp at his finest…

 

4. Draw a spider on the toilet paper roll.

5. Make up a new national holiday (eg. National Cherry Cheesecake Day, World Naked-At-Your-Front-Window Day). Write to all your contacts and ask them to celebrate the special day on their social media platforms. See if your new holiday goes “viral”.

6. Out of TP due to shortages? Buy a package of paper towels and slice them in half with a sharp knife. For more extreme fun, hang out a few reams of damp toilet paper on your outdoor laundry line for your neighbours enjoyment.

7. Make up new recipes for the times: think… Emergen-C banana breakfast bread, Cinnamon-buns with 15% toilet paper-infused cream cheese icing (a treat at both ends of the eating experience).

8. Do your best erotically seductive dance in front of the pharmacy counter to get first shot at the new shipment of sanitizer.

9. Take an online class such as : 1. Get Stuffed: How To Taxidermy Your Problematic Family Members 2. Tantalizing Toilet Paper Origami Projects 3. Make Your Own Porno Netflix Special – Scintillating Solo Sex For Singles 4. Fabulous Blender Cocktail Recipes Made From Sanitizer.

10. Send an e-mail to all your friends and relatives and give them a silly nickname. The more outrageous the nickname, the better. The more ludicrous it is the better. See if they remain your friend after this lock-up period.

BONUS: 11. Couch Scavenger Hunt – the best way to find all those matching socks (or… used condoms and pizza crusts) you’ve lost and a great way to recover some of your lost virus income in nickels and dimes.

And finally… get out the kleenex (if you have any left)… a little soft nostalgia below to help you through these difficult times…

Toilet paper (3)

 

 

 

Our Hope For New (Corona) Spring

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spring blooms

Apocalypse… Armageddon… End of Days…?

Nah, don’t think so…

Of course – full disclosure – I am the world’s very worst prognosticator, so perhaps if buying up all the toilet paper that every old-growth forest tree can produce is your greatest worry… you may NOT be the only one breathlessly laid out in ICU without clean underwear.

SORRY, I don’t want to be flip or callous or understated… because…

The world will change. Again.

We live in an era of fear and growth.

They’re reaching out to us and we have to choose which hand to hold.

For those of us of a certain age, we watched our black and white console TV sets in November 1963, and after wiping away our tears as JFK’s casket lowered into the earth, discovered a new world that, even with moon launches and high technology, reminded us that mankind will never be totally civilized… EVER. We are animals.

Another day a few decades after, we all woke up, watched a couple of huge iconic buildings tumble and then unwrapped a brand new world post 9/11… the day that airports and airline travel stopped being a relaxing joy.

A year from today, the world will hum along once again, restaurants will buzz, stores will stock up and fill up. Smiles and sanity will return like spring blooms. Most things will have the air of normalcy.

normalcy

EXCEPT.

New normalcy.

It will be a new normal. Countless things will change going forward.

Dickens knew his present, and our future.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …”

We will move on from this winter of despair to a new spring of hope.

Surely, it will affect how we interact (will hugs and handshakes disappear?), it could result in the elimination of cash usage… will we crowd into stadiums and theatres and airplanes in the same fashion as always? … will the cruise industry sail on or sink? … how many major conferences will crowd a hundred thousand folks into a Vegas warehouse?

virtual handshake

Think of greater use of robotics and drones and virtual classrooms.

Any major disruption brings out new industries and productive uses of technology that we would have never dreamed of.

And if you think that Amazon ruled the world before?  It’s only beginning (note the hidden hot stock tip!).

We are science’ing the S**T out of this calamity and it will bring us into another new era going forward.

Covid-19 is creating a whole new set of heroes (and more than a few A-holes).

Every situation of stress and tragedy brings out the “sinkers” and the “swimmers”, beautiful heroes and ugly villains.

Fear tests us like nothing else… just look at those who receive a cancer diagnosis and find a magical inner strength they never knew existed… everyday heroes.

World War 2 sunk Chamberlain and Hitler… while Churchill walked on water across the English Channel. We need a lot of Churchills, and we are fortunate to get them when we need them most.

Soon the peak shall pass and we’ll move forward individually and collectively.

And yes, there will be more Black Swans that viciously attack and pummel us to our asses when we least expect it.

But sure as shootin’, we will confront and overcome the obscure monsters again and again. Freddie Mercury was right… WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS my friends…

OK… let’s all hug (NOT) and … damn… how about a toilet paper exchange?

toilet paper out

 

Above The Water Line – The Song

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sheeran sings

When I feel worried or overwhelmed, I sing.

When I feel dejected or hurt, I sing.

Hell, when I feel ecstatic and want to jump out of my skin, I sing.

The simple bottom line of what I’m saying here is… after this globally tumultuous week, I’ve written some song lyrics for this week’s blog post. Go figure.

Stay above the water line…

When a week or two comes along like we’ve seen recently – when infectious disease and financial dis-ease rear their ugly heads – it’s easy to fret … to worry about the future, as individuals, as members of the world community… to worry about the havoc that ensues as we stumble along a road that appears dark and uncertain.

Of course, it is worrisome… it’s normal to be concerned about the direction of the days and years to come. Few of us like uncertainty, similar to how we generally don’t like change.

Think about it… our world has passed through two World Wars where millions perished from weaponry and disease, an earlier pandemic that took countless lives, an economic depression that lasted a decade. Huge, terrible cataclysmic events.

And still, here we are…

Obviously, I don’t know the outcome of the coronavirus situation, or where the moneyed world will lie in the short term…

… but given humankind’s past history of slogging through it’s biggest, ugliest problems, I am optimistic that this too shall pass and we will claw our way back onto the brighter path drawing us forward, working to carry on…

And so… I sing…

water line

ABOVE THE WATER LINE

by Larry Green

CHORUS

Stay above the water line
Stay above the water line
we’ve done it all a hundred times
when snows up high begin to melt
from unannounced March thaws
when eclipse creeps up like night
push darkness back to light

Verse 1

My mom felt the helpless shudder
of naked empty cupboards,
years when money shed all worth
blue days of milk and honey lost
jobs as rare as virgin birth, and worried long
if the world misplaced its feast of Pentecost?

Verse 2

I’ve passed some seasons, been unnerved
found sweat is best served,
by running fast and free
you anticipate such a heavy stone
whisper what will be will be
and wonder where’s the chaperone, just…

CHORUS

Stay above the water line
Stay above the water line
we’ve done it all a hundred times
when snows up high begin to melt
from unannounced March thaws
when eclipse creeps up like night
push darkness back to light

Verse 3

Kids, all check your Twitterverse
fill vacuums that you curse,
murky shares of hopeless ghosts
I wish you fresh angels from ether
tomorrow’s ones’ still cloaked
stay strong don’t be beleaguered

BRIDGE

Where the rubber ball will stop who knows
you try to catch with eyes shut closed so…

CHORUS

Stay above the water line
Stay above the water line
we’ve done it all a hundred times
when snows up high begin to melt
from unannounced March thaws
when eclipse creeps up like night
push darkness back to light

Lunar eclipse

Mental Mental, bo-bental… The Mental Game…

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mental stregth upgrade

Can you give me a mental strength upgrade please?

I’m thinking along the lines of one of those computer games where you can earn and accumulate mental strength points.

I used to get up at 5 am (even earlier sometimes) and go for a 15 or 20 k run.

In the dark, in the rain, in the snow… didn’t matter.

Say!
In the dark?
Here in the dark!
Would you, could you, in the dark?
I would not, could not,
In the dark.
Would you, could you,
In the rain?

Dr. Seuss

Turn on the Sony Walkman and just go.

I’d listen to Gretzky’s old girlfriend Vikki Moss singing IF I TURN YOU AWAY (David Foster song) … and I’d fly, especially in the chorus. I could shave a minute off my mile time when Vikki sang. (Talk about the power of song… and big hair)

Along the way, I’d pass the bearded dude on his bike (you could set your clock to his daily ride) who’d sometimes stop and tell me about his porn website business (WTF?)… then I’d come home, shower, eat breakfast, help get the kids out the door to school and then head off to work.

It was challenging and often even painful for sure, but usually I felt pumped to slap my Nikes on the pavement and push to improve my speed. I’d be dripping buckets o’ sweat afterwards but ready to face my Microbiology agar plates in the lab.

Later, at the end of the day, I might go for a 20 k bike ride, or a 1 k swim in the pool or the lake.

Next day was similar. Wash, rinse, repeat.

That was me in the late 1980’s.

I look back now and think to myself… “Who was that friggin’ guy?”

Ironman 1990 Run Larry

Me… Ironman Canada 1990

It couldn’t have been me cuz I don’t have the mental energy to begin to contemplate anything like that.

I did a 12 k run this morning and it was a struggle… not a physical struggle really, my body can handle it… but it’s the mental struggle that exhausts.

I have to play mental games and tricks to keep myself going.

I go to a one-hour yoga class every Monday. I love the yoga stretches, but I don’t go to the later class because they’re longer than an hour, and strangely, even yoga takes mental energy…

Mental energy takes… *surprise*… energy. Energy that, like drilling for oil, sometimes comes up a dry well.

My mental energy rises when I play my guitar. It strikes a “chord” that invigorates, and now I worry a bit about the day that might come when even guitar is a drain. W?W?What if, what then?

Happily, my inner voice whispers insistently… I don’t think it will happen.

The mental energy needed to play guitar, or for you, whatever gives you a unique feeling of pleasure and release (pets, genealogy, sewing, bible-reading, star-gazing) has an amazing additive, restorative effect.

We know from our high school physics classes that energy is neither created nor destroyed… shifted, adjusted, moved… sure… but not destroyed.

I’m learning and adjusting as I age and coming – slowly – to accept that the mental energy I once bottled for use in long runs and triathlons, is now being utilized in other areas of my life.

Today, my mental energy supplies are doled out in small dollops to blog writing and volunteer jobs like soup kitchen, school lunch programs, grandparenting, and tutoring… and yes, I still save a small aliquot (that’s old “lab” speak) for running, swimming, yoga.

And of course… listening, practicing, writing, and performing music.

Most days now I still wake up about 5 am, but the exuberance for throwing on my New Balance running shoes (yes, I’ve changed brands) and knocking off a dozen kilometres first thing, well…

… those days and that form of mental energy have dissolved away like an Alka Seltzer tablet I’m saving for my older days yet-to-come.

IMG_0194

Black Swan Week of Worry

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black swan

Stock markets plummet 11.5%.

In one week.

The world is ending. Not.

I need to slow my mind.

It’s a life lesson that can take a life to learn and remember. I need to slow my mind. Write it on the blackboard 100 times. Slowly…

I need to stop typing and watch the windblown pine tree branches weave and bob like a giggling kid’s kite in the park against the late afternoon azure sky.

I need to stop worrying about whether I’ll be able to train my body enough in the next 8 weeks to finish a half marathon running race in under 2 hours.

I need to go into a steam sauna… close my eyes and feel the misty heat penetrate the deepest part of my lungs.

I need to stop stewing over the mechanic’s report this week that my Syrian student/friend’s old van needs about $4,000 worth of repairs to make it safe for he and his family of 7 to drive to Abbotsford in a couple of weeks to visit his brother.

What were your biggest worries over the last 7 days?

When it rain it pours but you didn’t even notice
It ain’t rainin’ anymore, it’s hard to breathe when all you know is
The struggle of staying above, the rising water line”
Kacey Musgraves

.

The stock market plummeted like a skydiver this week… the black swan swims…

G0124586.jpeg

… but I know from years of experience that 3-6 months from now, it will likely be a faint memory in the rear-view mirror.

Worry is easy.

It’s a mind cancer.

My Mom was a terrible worrier.

Correction, she was a GREAT worrier. OK… I share a few of her genes.

She should have been an alcoholic. I should be a needle-toting junkie.

She wasn’t and I’m not. She had cigarettes. I have a guitar. Worry relief comes in different packages thankfully.

Worry is a child inside of us, a child we need to comfort and quietly remind that it’s OK.

Worry is a gift/tax of life we’re given like a graduation certificate at birth.

OK… welcome… Here’s your birth certificate, a pair of underwear, and a hefty chunk of grey matter that will support you, amaze you, bring you smiles and pains, and drive you crazy at 2 am sometimes.

I’ll never rid my world of worry. I can’t magically wipe away your worries.

Black swans are inevitable.

So, despite the nagging, worrisome thoughts that wander in my head like homeless vagrants, and the real problems that exist in an imperfect world… I will remind myself regularly to remind myself… that:

  • I live in the best of times.
  • I live as well as a king of old, probably better.
  • I’ve had amazing access to shelter, plentiful food and water, high quality education.
  • I have “Free” healthcare that will never allow me or my family to go bankrupt paying for its provision.
  • At times, life can be very tough, which makes the good times so much sweeter.
  • I have supportive family and friends.
  • Beauty surrounds me in the natural state of things.
  • I have easy access to chocolate, pizza and wine (these might belong more appropriately in my “worry” column!)

As these days grow longer here in the Northern Hemisphere, I drive alongside beautiful Okanagan Lake with reflections of randomly treed hillsides layering the calm waters.

My mind will sometimes wander to the inky black swans that paddle inside me… and then… then… I spot groups of majestic white swans… stunning, graceful signs of hope and optimism that stage a serene ballet of tranquility.

white swans