bogeyandruby

Random stuff, reflections on the meaning of life and death, humour, self-deprecation, a bit of bad poetry.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought my low-vision dad a box of 36 black Sharpie pens for Father’s Day.

Strategically, I put a couple of them in each room of the house (sometimes multiple placements per room) where he was likely to want to write something down, sort of like when you hide foil Easter eggs in plain sight so that very small children don’t get too frustrated trying to find them, delighting with the pleasure of discovery when they do.

These days, his fingers are swollen and painful so we practiced removing the cap and clicking it back on several times.

I then placed the box with the remainder of the pens on the coffee table down in the basement, the one that sits in front of a movie-theatre sized TV screen, alongside a row of brand new lined notebooks awaiting large-font, Sharpie updates of the stock exchange, piles of documents my father can no longer read and an unopened bag of Miss Vickie’s Jalapeño chips.

I stopped by with their groceries this week-end, prompting my father to leave the comfort of his lazy-boy office chair, climb two flights of stairs, cane in one hand, ice pack wrapped around the other. He then settled in his living room chair and waited for me to log into his online investment account.

“By the way,”, he said, “where’s that black marker you got me the other day?”

Cue emoji facepalm.

In other getting nowhere news, I completed a full week of this health and fitness program app that has me logging in how much I weigh, what I eat, how much water I drink and how many steps I take daily.

How did I do? Well, after a week of religious accountability and logging in, of climbing that great hill of lifestyle change in pursuit of the ever-elusive “I have arrived and am here to stay” affirmation, I am at the exact same place I started.

‘Cause let’s be honest, the only measurement that really counts in a program that asks you to weigh yourself every day, is weight loss.

Never fear, I am not giving up. Wipe the slate clean and start again, new Sharpie in hand.

Today is the last day of my 30 day challenge writing 150 words a day.

Yay, I did it!

There is a reason they refer to it as a challenge. The difficulty wasn’t so much in the quantity or the quality of the writing as it was in writing consistently, as in daily.

Part of the problem was that I was writing in the evening when I am at my most tired. Think vegetative state, as in potato.

I am most definitely a morning person.

Publishing daily in my little blog meant I had to write something entertaining, or at the very least, interesting.

Trust me, easier said than done.

Whereas I am not very good at fiction, I have honed my observation skills, an occupational hazard (or habit) perhaps, thanks to years of picking apart peoples’ poor posture in my day job.

I want to express my gratitude to all my readers, followers and non-followers, for your encouragement, positive feedback and patronage. I don’t think I would have completed the 30 days without it. 🙏

I will be back soon, though probably not daily.

Stay tuned.

It’s the small acts of kindness that get me through challenging days. Kind acts that I don’t necessarily appreciate at the time, but that I acknowledge later on when taking inventory of my day.

Like the colleague who noticed how frazzled I was this afternoon and asked if she could help, the son who asked how my day was and said he was sorry when I gave the day two thumbs down, the husband who let me vent while walking the dogs and cleaned up all the bird poop without complaint, and the friend who asked me if I needed anything from her employee discount sale.

Kind people, you made a difference today.

Thank you.

It’s just a bad day, not a bad life. — Mary Engelbreit

I signed up for this fitness app the other day, based on the casual endorsement of someone in the fitness industry whom I respect.

I figure I have nothing to lose apart from a few bucks and hopefully a few pounds.

I’d like to blame what I refer to as my COVID pudge on the pandemic but I suspect this particular spread began sometime before the virus made its appearance.

The first assignment, apart from listening to some coaching tips promoting the power of positive thinking, was to weigh myself.

Ugh.

I hadn’t weighed myself in about two years but figured I could still fit into the same pair of yoga pants so how bad could it be?

I don’t wear jeans, or any other type of pants with a snap/button or fly (in my case it would be snap/button and pop) so it is difficult to gauge weight gain or loss by whether or not I can do them up.

I do, however, have a penchant for wearing a certain jean jacket that happens to be pure cotton. As in 0% spandex.

Not being able to get my arms in the sleeves of the jean jacket is a very bad sign. (I’ve been there.) The good news is I can get my arms through.

Then I check if I can do it up. Consider no spandex, no snaps, only buttons. I can do up one button with a lot of maneuvering. Check.

Next test is the drive test. Can I wear the jean jacket buttoned up and keep my hands at the ten o’clock and two o’clock position on the steering wheel? Umm … yup. But only if I’m not going anywhere ‘cause nothing else is moving.

The last test is the hug test. Can I wear the jean jacket buttoned up and give a very tall person a hug around the neck (a bushel and a peck are optional)? Fail!

So why not wear a cardigan or (gasp) a shawl?

Because I am already becoming way too cube-like in my middle age, rounded off at the corners, neck sloping to my disappearing acromion process(es). Pretty soon I will loose all edginess and spin through life like the internet wheel of death. I will roll around my neighbourhood like a big round of cheese wearing a cardigan.

The jean jacket keeps me youthful and sharp. It keeps me accountable.

So if you see me driving around the neighborhood in my jean jacket, one hand on the wheel and the other one resting on the top of my car, you’ll know I’m getting my money’s worth on this app.

Ian has his own jean jacket but agreed to pose for a photo-op.

When I announced to my husband today that my blog now had 37 followers, he congratulated me on having more followers than Jesus.

After wiping away the almond milk latte I had just snorted through my nose, I had to ask …

“Twelve disciples.”, he said with a grin. (I know, I know … but I’m not Christian and I forgot.)

Here’s the thing, I’m not one for collecting followers. I rather enjoy being unpopular. Please do not to invite me to your party; I won’t be insulted. That being said, I’m always pleasantly surprised (and in some cases flummoxed) when I get a new follower. I am wont to wonder why. Why would someone who writes a health and fitness blog follow a chubby blogger who finds it challenging to write anything that isn’t self-deprecation?

Don’t get me wrong, I am secretly thrilled, but also confused.

With gratitude, I bow to you, my cohort, all thirty-seven of you.

Thank-you. 🙏

This picture is supposed to symbolize my gratitude.

The other day I received a message from an elderly client of mine asking me to call him back because he was worried he might have missed a call from me.

I called him back to ask what I could do for him but there was nothing he needed. He was just concerned I may have left a message on his voice box when he was out, admitting he couldn’t remember how to retrieve his messages.

I teased him that I already have a dad who worries when he doesn’t hear from me and my client said, “Well, Sharon, that’s the immigrant way.”

Though I suspect my client may have the beginning of cognitive impairment, I was incredibly touched by this exchange.

A good friend of mine, a home care physiotherapist on the West Coast, is retiring at the end of this year and I’ll be leaving the system about a year after her. During a recent Facetime exchange, we both concurred that what we will miss the most about our jobs is the wonderful connection with clients. It is a great privilege to work with them in the intimacy of their homes.

Two days later, I noticed about four missed calls from a number with an odd-looking area code. Thankfully, that caller had left a message on my voicebox.

It was the same client’s daughter calling from Europe, saying her father told her I needed to speak to her.

It’s the home stretch for this month’s daily writing challenge and my feet are dragging.

Indeed I have developed the bad habit of writing yesterday’s blog entry the day after.

This project has become a blog slog.

Why do it? Or rather, why continue to do it?

Because if I don’t challenge myself with a goal, nothing will change and I want to change.

You know that wise saying (is it a question or a saying?): How do you expect anything to change if you aren’t willing to change anything?

The truth is, we sit around waiting for change to happen. Some magical opening of the sky, a light bulb moment, an epiphany out of the blue, but it never does.

Even rags to riches stories contain agents of change.

And I think we can all agree, the results of change are sweetest when they are earned.

Think of at least one achievement that was hard won. Now think of something that was handed to you.

Which of those contributed the most to your character?

Seriously, writing 150 words isn’t difficult. It’s writing 150 words every day that’s making my head hurt.

Inspire me. What’s one thing you have achieved through hard work and consistency?

Watching game six of the Golden Nights – Canadiens playoff series and trying to keep my heart rate under control.

Honestly, I find watching games with this much at stake to be too stressful.

My favourite memories of me and my dad in the 1970s are of the two of us watching his small, portable black and white TV in the master bedroom, a length of cable winding up three sets of stairs from some kind of receiver in the basement to connect to the back of the television.

My mother didn’t care for hockey and my siblings were too young so it was our time together. Saturday night games were the best because after a delicious meal of home made pizza for supper, I stayed up to watch all three periods.

What a magical era that was for Habs fans. We were spoiled back then because they won so much of the time.

I remember that when they did lose, and I hung my head in sorrow, my dad would always tell me not to worry, that they were all millionaires. As if that could make up for losing a key game.

I remember the 1993 series vividly, the last time the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. It isn’t the same league any more, but this is still a mega hockey city. Probably the only time opposing groups of all sorts are rooting for the same side.

They are ahead by one goal at the end of the second period. A win tonight and they are in the cup finals.

I’m finishing this blog and pressing publish before the end of the game. Worse case scenario, we’ll tune in to game seven two days from now.

Go habs go! 🤞

As I sat in front of my laptop watching my son’s high school convocation via live stream, I was suddenly struck by how alone I felt. Not surprising considering I was watching the ceremony by myself. We received the convocation protocol only a few days ago. Unfortunately, Sean’s dad was working evenings and couldn’t attend and my husband was out doing errands.

I permitted myself a brief period of wallowing as tears rolled down my face.

On a whim, I sent the live-stream link to my sister and asked her to set it up on an iPad for my parents so they could watch it from their house.

My dad gave up early on. I don’t blame him; the ceremony was very long and all in French. My mother and sister managed to catch that special moment and somehow my husband made it home in time too.

Sharing this celebration with family, albeit virtually, dried up the tears and made all the difference.

I’m grateful to my son for making it even more memorable by performing his trademark kung fu twirl and kick as he crossed the stage, then pumping his fist and releasing a triumphant roar upon receiving his diploma.

I managed to capture a poor quality video of that special moment, not to mention a few screenshots, all the while staying mindful in the present.

On a side note, I noticed that all the boys and many of the girls were wearing comfortable shoes as they crossed the stage. Wished I’d had the courage and foresight to dress for comfort and not for fashion when I graduated all those years ago.

Fist pump: made it through the pandemic and managed to graduate!

Pure joy: https://youtu.be/3bqJ63PFVkA

It was my son’s last full day of high school today. My husband, who isn’t Sean’s biological father, asked me how it felt to be the parent of a child finishing high school.

To be honest, I hadn’t really considered how I felt because I so rarely live in the present moment. If he’d asked me what my worries are for the future, I would have come up with a long list of concerns. I keep this list alongside an equally long to-do list. Doesn’t mean I don’t have hopes and dreams for him, I do. But it is the weight of responsibility and my lack of control over certain outcomes that keep me up at night.

So how do I feel? Enormous relief that he has completed twelve years of education and happy that he has thrived both academically and socially during his high school years. The former has not come easily. My son is the hardest-working and most disciplined person I know. The results are hard-earned.

Not only do I love my boy with all my heart, but I sincerely like the person he is becoming. A deep thinker, kind, and conscientious. A good conversationalist. He is a person I genuinely admire.

Even though he has a long way to go, there is a definite shift in my parenting, a letting go as he gains more independence. A short while ago, I reminded him that I wouldn’t be around forever and that he needed to start advocating for himself. In order to do that, I need to step back and give him space. That’s the hard part.

How do I feel? Happy, sad, hopeful and more than a little wistful. Mixed emotions for sure.

Well-done, my boy. Whatever you do in this life, do it with integrity and great passion. Aim for an authentic life, not an easy one.

All my love, mom.

❤️

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