Gratitude Without Attitude…It’s been awhile!

Hola people of the world!

It’s been too long since I have expressed my gratitude in writing and I have about 15 minutes to bang this out and get on with my day before my internet craps out again…time for a new modem and router!

Without further ado, today’s Gratitude goes out to:

  1. My Greggor. The funny thing about my husband is that he says he doesn’t, but he really does get me and all my shit and quirks. There’s a song by Kevin Fowler called Hard Man To Love that Greg really likes and I’m 100% sure he likes it because if the word “woman” is inserted everywhere it says “man”, the song pretty much describes life with me…even the part about the kitchen table leaning from where the dude kicked it once (except my line in that song would go something like, “The wind whistling through the picture window from that time I had a hissy fit and smashed the shit out of it when we first started dating and I didn’t know how to control my emotions.”). Even on my worst days – and thank goodness they are few and far between – he still lets me be me and still lets me know when I’m being a total douchebag. A guy who loves me in good times and bad is definitely something to be uber grateful for.
  2. My new teammates and league mates. Ya’ll have just accepted me with open arms and made me feel welcome and appreciated AND you aren’t afraid to remind me to check my attitude if it’s needed. I am so excited about this season. So excited!
  3. Junovious Prime LeFlufy. Best. Dog. Ever. I don’t even have to explain why because those of you who know him will totally understand the why of this gratitude!
  4. My car. She’s a little powerhouse that gets me to so many places, through all kinds of weather, and never complains. I am so grateful to have a reliable car that I never have to worry about when I’m traveling. And she’s ours, all ours!
  5. Snow. I know, so many people detest winter and can’t stand snow – driving in it, shovelling it, etc. I LOVE DRIVING IN SNOW. It challenges my winter driving skills and looks super pretty. Shovelling it gives me a kick ass core, arm and shoulder workout. Who wouldn’t want that?
  6. Kimmobabs. You always let me use you as a guinea pig when I have shooting ideas and you’re always so gracious and funny. You make me happy when we hang out and I think we need to do it a lot more. I’m grateful that, way back when, we found ourselves working together in the same crazy law office, and that we’ve kept up our friendship ever since. Much gratitude to you, my friend. 🙂
  7. Moon! I love you woman and I’m just really grateful that I’m now playing in your league. That is all.
  8. LucyD. You and I have such a great, similar sense of humour. I am grateful for all the laughs you give me…and little Molly’s message about her vagina yesterday! So funny.
  9. Stu & Martina. When I received your Thank You card the other day, I laughed my ass off. It was just so YOU and totally fitting. Stu, you are probably the funniest geeknerd I know and I am grateful that we did our Chem degrees together…and that you’re actually using yours to make the world a better place! I’m also grateful that you met Martina and she loves you all the way up to the moon and back. Your babies are going to be frighteningly intelligent. They will probably end up taking over the world, like that Brain dude in that cartoon…
  10. FloJo. Man, it just doesn’t matter what is going on in your life or how stressful it is or how much shit is going down, you forever remain a compassionate soul and always put others before yourself. I’m grateful that I have you to remind me to be more compassionate to those around me. xoxo
  11. Books. Right now I’m re-reading Mind Gym by Gary Mack, I will teach you to be rich by Ramit Sethi, The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte, and every day I read or re-read a chapter from Buddhist Boot Camp by Timber Hawkeye (and no, that’s not his real name). Every one of them is enhancing my life, my drive, my spirit and my outlook on life. They are all feel good  books and I enjoy feeling good.
  12. My brain. Yes, it’s a bit damaged and sometimes it doesn’t function at optimum capacity, but I am a fairly intelligent gal and I am grateful that I can use my thinker to pull myself out of attitude ruts like the one I was in most of yesterday. It’s nice to know that I can change my outlook just by willing my brain to change its course of thinking. 🙂
  13. Lastly, I’m grateful that I live in one of the most peaceful, safest countries in the world and for the things that I often take advantage of and forget how lucky I am to have-a house, food, money, and my health (mostly!).

I actually have a lot to be grateful for, but I’m at the 14 minute mark and I know internet will be gone in another minute. Hope it gets fixed soon. Ya’ll should spend 15 minutes today writing down what you are grateful for. It will amaze you and lift you up!

Have a great weekend, my friends. I wish you all enough…

Here’s Stu & Martina’s Thank You card. They are both chem geeknerds, hence why this card made me laugh so dang hard!

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The First Ever Roller Derby World Cup: Holy Shitsnacks That Was Epic!

There have been a handful of times in my life when I have felt the overwhelming force of pride rush through me and warm me to my core – at the birth of our daughter,  the first time I landed a double Lutz in figure skating after working on it for nearly a year, the day I received an MVP award for varsity volleyball, the day I graduated from University with my Degree in Chemistry, the day the senior team I coached for two seasons in volleyball won their AAA division final, the day I saw my niece perform at a gymnastics meet for the very first time, the day we held our first official home derby bout after months and months of busting our asses to make it happen, the day I coached some of the ladies I’d also coached as Fresh Meat in their very first bout,  and yesterday, when I watched the final bout of the Blood & Thunder World Cup of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby between our very own Team Canada and Team USA.

Both teams had a 4-0 record heading into the final game of the tournament, but despite this remarkable statistic, USA derby has been around a lot longer than derby anywhere else and those ladies have their skills, strategies and everything else derby so dialed in that facing them, at this point in the game, is like a Junior hockey team facing off against a team of NHL All stars – both teams have mad skills, but in the scheme of things, it`s truly no contest…not yet anyway!

In a nutshell, despite being the underdogs by an overwhelming margin and going up against skaters who are practically pros in the derby world, Team Canada didn’t let that deter them in their quest to make Team USA and, well, the world, sit up and take notice. They skated their asses off.  When Luludemon picked up Canada’s first five points on a board that already sported 94 points for Team USA, the entire venue thundered with applause and went crazy. In fact, each time Team Canada put up any of its 33 points for the bout, the place erupted.

Why, you ask, would fans be so excited when our team scores, even though the margin between points is still so overwhelming? Well, firstly, our skaters put more points up on the board than all the other four teams who played Team USA managed to put up (combined). And secondly, our ladies used every bit of their mad skills, their extreme athleticism and a truckload of HEART to play against Team USA. They never gave up, never got down, kept their heads and their cool, and kept smiling the entire time.

How many sports do you know of where a team can take a shitkicking and keep standing tall, smiling, hugging and high-fiving the winning team when the game ends? How about a sport where a team can do all that and also celebrate the fact that they took second place? This is Roller Derby.

As I sat there, watching the final game, wincing as our ladies took some incredibly hard hits, cheering as they fought so hard for each point, feeling my heart race as I watched the kick ass skaters whom I’ve skated with, look up to, learn from and respect, the familiar surge of the warmth of pride flowed through me once again and I sat there in awe and gratitude that I am able to play such an incredibly empowering sport made up of such incredibly empowering people.

Holy shitsnacks, Team Canada! That was EPIC! I can’t wait for the next World Cup!

Here are a few of our skaters from Western Canada. I took these at one of our Derby Boot Camps last year when a shoulder injury prevented me from joining in the scrimmage fun!

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Have a great Monday everyone! I wish you all enough…

Gratitude & Attitude: Laughter & Watercolor Death Reminders!

Well, well! Look who seems to be on a writing roll today! Two blogs in less than 12 hours is a bit of a record for me lately.

I was just sitting here, enjoying some Holy Crap and delicious greek yogurt (even though Dairy and I don’t generally mesh well, it seems to be okay if I mix it with my yummy Holy Crap) and I realized it has been months since I have posted a G&A.

Truth be told, I haven’t been feeling terribly grateful for anything lately, but I haven’t been dishing out much attitude either. I’ve been fairly neutral in all things, just keeping my head down, pushing through and getting shit done. Oh oh! There’s that trucker mouth again…more on that in a bit.

I am pressed for time (get it, hahaha, I’m using Word Press and I’m pressed for time…I kill me), so I am going to be  quick and dirty with this one.

Today’s Attitude goes out to:

  1. The dude in Merritt who let his giant Shepard pull him across the parking lot of a gas station, with its tail straight up in the air (dominant aggression) and then freaked out on Greg and told him that we should really train our dog after Juno snapped at his dog (defensive behavior) when it came blustering up to him. If the guy had a friggin’ clue about dog behavior and if he had any control over his dog, he would have recognized that his dog was full of aggressive behavior. If he also had a clue, he would have recognized that our dog did not display any signs of aggression at all and only snapped when the other dog practically tried to jump into our car. I could go on an on about this, but suffice it to say, that guy needs to pull his head out of his ass. Greg is still annoyed about this and I don’t enjoy seeing him annoyed about anything. Boo to uneducated, ignorant dog owners.
  2. PEOPLE WHO STILL DRIVE AND TALK OR TEXT ON THEIR F’N CELL PHONES. EVERY DAY. ALL OVER THIS CITY. If I had a dollar for every person I’ve seen driving and texting or chatting away with their phones in one hand while driving like idiots, I’d have enough to build a brand new, kick ass derby facility by now. GET OFF YOUR F’N PHONE AND PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING. The fact is, hand held cells are ILLEGAL for a reason – they make people die. YES, DUMB ASS, YOU COULD KILL SOMEONE – YOURSELF, YOUR KIDS, SOMEONE ELSE’S KIDS. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? IS YOUR BRAIN SO SMALL THAT IT CANNOT COMPREHEND THIS? Cell phone = distracting = dead. Period. I yell because I hate it when people can make a huge difference in the world by doing one little thing and they choose to ignore the importance of it. All of you folks out there who talk on your cell phones (without a blue tooth) or text while you are driving (including some of my friends and family members) should be completely ashamed of yourselves for endangering other people’s lives. Think, for a moment, how you would never get over it if you caused an accident and killed someone because you were above the cell phone laws and didn’t think they apply to you. You suck. That is all.
  3. The crazy lady who came into the Ruby Room the other day and turned my day completely upside down and sideways. Although I laugh now, I was not even smiling at the time and kind of wanted to dragon kick her to the face (but she was kind of old and people would have frowned if I busted out my kick ass Bruce Lee moves on a geriatric)…

Okay, enough ranting. Everyone has the right to act like an asshole now and then!

Today’s Gratitude goes out to:

  1. Teresa Schroder for sending me that beautiful watercolor with the poem about grieving on it. It will make a fantastic tattoo and it will always make me think of Cora and Kieran and your little Brielle.
  2. Acid for making me laugh and for making me laugh at her, unintentionally (the other day with the change from the Til thing….lol, sorry, but it was funny).
  3. Kelly at Kamloops Computer Center. I knew there was a reason I should always take my computers to you guys. It’s 1000x better and it was relatively inexpensive compared to buying an entirely new system. I heart good computer techs!
  4. My Greggor. For coming home yesterday, taking one look at my face and coming straight up the stairs to hug me tight and let me cry it out. Who knew we would ever get to the point where one look would be stronger than a million words? Super love.
  5. My brother Dan. His life is so simple compared to so many others, but he still struggles every day and it’s not easy for him. Yet, he keeps smiling when he can and he pushes through all the trials and tribulations of having a mental illness. I’m proud of him. He drives me nuts sometimes, but having him living in our basement has taught me many life lessons lately and I’m grateful for all of them.
  6. Mama Fluf. Out of all the people out there who know what we’ve been through  and what we are still going through, she really seems to feel it too. She lost a granddaughter when Cora died and she still hurts, just like us. It’s nice to know I can talk to her about my feelings and she is there to comfort and support us. Heart.
  7. Beatings…Holy Crap, Greek Yogurt and Baileys and Coffee…thanks for the giggle this morning, I surely needed it. And yes, birds of a feather do fly into airplane propellers together!
  8. Carrie Neal. Your message this morning made me feel all warm and fuzzy and grateful that my words affect people and that I’m not just blabbering incoherently most of the time. Thanks for reminding me that they have a positive effect on some.

Well, that’s it for me. I have a ton of stuff to do today, but wanted to get some of this down on the blog.

I’m actually revamping my blog and website and will be launching the new and improved version some time in December. Stay tuned…

Here’s a pic or three from our recent trip to Vancouver Island…

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Writer’s Block Or, As I Like To Call It, The Bermuda Triangle Without All the Pizzazz

A couple of months ago, I fell over the edge of a gigantic cliff into the abyss known as Writer’s Block. Unlike the Bermuda Triangle, there is no sense of enchantment shrouded in mystery associated with this completely un-exotic location and I am reasonably sure I will find my way out again…someday.

In the meantime, grief-induced insomnia has returned with a vengeance and my mind is a racing, irrational, chaotic mess. The moment a solid, full thought forms in my mind, it immediately sparks another and takes off on an entirely different tangent. For example, this afternoon while I was showering (which is usually the one time of day when I form my best ideas for writing and where I come up with some of my best topics), I flitted through the following thought processes…

This shampoo smells sooooo good, but it really doesn’t do much for my hair, which reminds me, I have to wash the pads in my helmet…and those knee gaskets for Beatings and, oh yah, don’t forget a notebook for bootcamp this weekend. Oh look, a jumping spider is living under the washing machine –looks like a female – I shall call her Henrietta! I wonder why strange things always happen to me, like the lady at the store the other day – what was that all about? Why me?…Hmmm…I should really remove my toenail polish and give myself a pedicure because what if people see my bare feet this weekend? I should call my sister and see how she’s doing at SFU – we just never really talk. I need new laces for my skates – probably have to whip up to Dolson’s in the a.m. I wonder if there’s anywhere good to eat in Armstrong – somewhere healthy. Time to change my tires over to my winters…

And that was only in the first three minutes of my shower. This is what happens to my brain when heartache and grief about Cora start to build up in my sleep-deprived body and I can’t provide myself with the much-needed outlet of writing about my life. Hard core exercise can only do so much to alleviate the toxins that build up while people are grieving – there has to be more of an outlet than the physical aspects.

And, yes, it has been 16 months since Cora died and I still feel my chest constrict and my eyes tear up at least once each day when I think about her. Greg and I watched a story on the news a few nights ago about a boy who was a twin and passed away from cancer when he was three years old. His dad was being interviewed and his eyes were still haunted by the loss of his child four years later and he was still blessed with two remaining children. I couldn’t help but wonder if I will see that haunted look in my eyes for years and years to come. The cold hard fact is that grieving for the loss of a child is not like grieving for the loss of any other loved one. I know, I have grieved for the loss of many people in my life – my grandparents, my mom, friends – nothing even remotely compares to it in my mind. Even the loss of my son at 24.5 weeks in 1997 isn’t comparable to the pain I feel after losing Cora. Every second of every day, I carry the weight of it around with me and try to lead a “normal” life again (whatever that is), but every few weeks, the stress of trying to maintain that normalcy builds up to a pressure point and I suffer small compression fractures in my carefully constructed façade.

It is during times like this (today, for instance) that I feel the need to write most strongly, but something prevents me from sitting down at the keyboard and letting it flow. Instead, my mind tells me that people are tired of reading about my pain and suffering and a ton of them are probably saying, “Get over it already. It was over a year ago.” I’m not sure where this belief stems from, but I have actually seen people roll their eyes if I mention that I’m having a bad day, Cora-wise (when they think I’m not looking, of course). I’ve also noticed a distinct lack of comments or acknowledgements when I post my feelings about Cora on my FB status. Only six months ago, I could post that I was hurting and there would have been a plethora of consolation and support to let me know that people out there were thinking of me – of course, none except a few of them could understand what I was going through, but they were still there to encourage me and let me know I wasn’t alone. If I were to be completely honest with myself, I would acknowledge that most people have probably said all that they can possibly think of to say and now they are either at a loss for words or they have kids and the thought of losing one of them hits so close to their hearts that they can’t even travel down that road by acknowledging that it could, in fact, happen to them.

I understand that feeling. I thought it couldn’t happen to me, again, either. I was wrong. Reality is harsh and difficult to face under trying circumstances, but ignoring it doesn’t make it any less real.

Hence, the Abyss…I want to write, but am not sure what to write about anymore because all I can think about, day and night, is my daughter’s blue, dead eyes, as they removed her from life support and all of our hopes and dreams of a future as a family stopped with her last heartbeats. Our future is still frozen, but everyone else around us keeps living at the speed of light.

Here’s another stark reality for us. I cannot carry another pregnancy unless I get an extremely invasive operation, while pregnant, and even then, nothing is guaranteed. And I’m quite sure, after watching doctors and nurses poke and prod our baby girl in a bazillion different places for nearly the entire 30 hours of her life, that I would NOT be able to undergo any kind of invasive action to keep a baby alive ever again. I’m also certain that after having two perfectly developed, healthy, babies die shortly after birth, for two completely different reasons, somebody, somewhere, is trying to tell me something. Uhm, hellllllooooo, is there anyone in there? Are you a glutton for punishment? Do you enjoy these sadistic plucking of your heartstrings?

Who knows, maybe I do. Maybe this lifetime is meant to teach me how to overcome suffering by choosing not to allow myself to suffer, even though tragedy has, literally, plagued a large chunk of my life. Maybe I’m here as an example – to make others see what I’ve gone through and say, “Phew! Thank goodness I’m not her. I should count my lucky stars.”

Of course, looking for reasons and meaning where there are none can make a girl a little crazy…just read the above ramblings and I’m sure you’ll agree.

But despite all of these strong convictions, I still find myself yearning to have a family. I still wish Greg could have another chance to be a father because I know how great he would be. I still feel the pull inside me to feel a baby kick and roll, to feel it dance to the music through my ear buds (like Cora did) and to hear those first cries and see another brand new face, all squished up and angry and beautiful. I still feel the uncontrollable urge to be a mother and to watch my children grow and shape into people I am proud of and love unconditionally.

And, in the face of all of this conflicting emotion, I also feel a complete sense of loss and hopelessness that none of these mixed emotions will ever resolve themselves and I will be plagued by them for the rest of my days. I also feel like the weight of grief pressing down on my shoulders will always be present, jading my chance at being truly happy ever again because, even on my good days, the pain never goes away.

And so, I continue to flit from thought to thought in an intuitive effort to avoid the most painful truths that lie deep within me. Sooner or later, I will have to face my fears, but for now, I’m okay with floating in the Abyss with no oars and no land in sight.

Goodnight my friends. I wish you all enough.