Sunday, September 25, 2005

A state of mind...

I saw a man collapse on the road today, just metres away from the finish line of a half-marathon race. What makes a person keep running, and running, until they lose control of the very muscles they depend so heavily on? And I saw many others - older than me... heavier than me... - approach the finish line with a triumphant smile and tears of exhilaration. What's the difference between them and me? My body is fit. My body is strong (although untested). I can only conclude it is a state of mind that differenciates us. Or perhaps a degree of insanity.

Hubby completed his 5th marathon today. Yay for Hubby! He didn't reach his goal and is struggling to find the best way to fuel his body throughout that gruelling distance without becoming nauseous and wanting to throw up. In his words, his tactics are all there - he just needs to figure out the nutrition part. So he'll keep on trying, and I'll keep on cheering him on.

The dangerous thing is, every time I see one of these races - and the insane people who run them - I think to myself: could I do that if I really wanted to? What's to stop me, save for a degree of insanity?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Looking back on 15 years...

Can someone please 'splain to me how we get from September 12 (last post) to September 22 (today) in a blink of an eye?! Yikes... When I first created jag e*space, my hope was to write at least once a week, ideally a couple of times a week and eventually progress to writing a bit every day. Luckily I left the timeline open!

Fifteen years ago today, I was walking around in a blur of white lace & flowers. It was probably around this time of day that Mom stopped me and thrust a ham-on-kaiser sandwich in my hand, in the hope that I wouldn't collapse from hunger as I walked down the aisle.

Through easy times & difficult times, here we are - Hubby & I - still married after 15 years. We're two of the lucky ones... we almost didn't make it here. On our 10th wedding anniversary, we had dinner together but were living apart. In those dark days, a 15-year celebration was far from my mind. But God's plans are much bigger than what my mind can imagine. Through His grace, we were given the courage to give our Life together another chance. Like I said, we're two of the lucky ones! As I look back, here are a just a few of the things I have learned (in random order):
  • the wedding is the easy part; it's the marriage that calls for a daily decision to accept the other as they are (and hope that they do the same!)
  • it's OK if the garbage doesn't go out for another week
  • it's important to have individual interests, but it's essential to carve out time for togetherness
  • let Hubby & his mother be as they are - they'll be just fine
  • when Hubby & Mum-in-law are making dinner in the kitchen, it's best to stay in the living room
  • when you strive to remove obstacles (such as control and judgement), Love really does grow exponentially
  • raising your voice gets in the way of the message, and being silent gets in the way of your Voice
  • some of the best talks are had when walking hand-in-hand
  • we both have the right to make mistakes, and the opportunities to make amends
  • intimacy takes many forms
  • Life doesn't get much better than a Hubby I love, a good book and cup of coffee at Bridgehead Coffeehouse.
Thanks Babe! Life really is good. Here's to us - one day at a time...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Caveat emptor...

Let the buyer beware... Allow me to share my costly lesson so that you may avoid a similar situation in the future.

If you are a Bell Canada customer and are making a long-distance phone call using your calling card, always... ALWAYS... dial into the Bell service at 1-800-555-1111 in order to complete your call. Do not assume that the local telephone service will advise you that your Bell service is being blocked and that you are now tapping into the services of the local carrier.

A 3-minute payphone call to Ottawa from Philadelphia, using my calling card number directly, ended up costing me a whopping $23.12. At no point was I advised that my Bell Service could not be accessed and the call was automatically interpreted as a collect person-to-person call by the local carrier. I made 5 such phone calls during my short stay in Philly, luckily none of them lasted longer than five minutes. Ouch.

When I contacted the Calling Card department at Bell Canada to enquire how I was supposed to know that I needed to dial 1-800-555-1111, I was told it was written right on the front of my calling card. I guess she was referring to the calling card that I never carry around because I've memorized my PIN. Ouch. Ouch.

Caveat emptor... Although I haven't been scammed outright, I certainly do feel duped. The good news is: now I know - and it won't happen again.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Planning for future health...

Why is it so difficult to do what we know is best for us?! I started up my yoga class again this morning. I basically haven't stretched since May 2005. It felt so good to be back at it, yet I know that tomorrow, there will be pain. My teacher spoke of an ancient sanskrit word which translates to something like "planning for future health". It is a concept that dates back thousands of years, and we're still trying to figure it out.

Taking it to a whole different level, this same message came through loud & clear on Thursday evening as I sat and listened to Dr. David Suzuki give a talk as part of a fundraiser for USC Canada. It was my first time hearing him in person and I'm still processing the experience. I can't say I like hearing what he has to say - I don't think many people do - but I know I have to listen anyway. He speaks with great passion and conviction... and he doesn't mince words. I can see why some would find him difficult to accept; he certainly has no love for economists and SUV owners!

I find it baffling that our society, in general, values the intellect above all other faculties. Our brains... our ability to make decisions and shape our future... these are the things that set us apart from the rest of God's creatures! And yet, when scientists from around the world - the best of the best - issue a dire warning to humanity as they did in 1992, no one pays attention. For some bizarre reason, we continue to believe that we are separate from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we ingest: the elements that give us our very life.

David Suzuki's message can be overwhelming. The predictions of scientists seem too incredible to believe. After all, scientists & engineers were the ones who predicted that the city of New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen - how could we possibly take them seriously?!

Hubby & I bought toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper today. We refilled on our chemical-free cleaning products, we picked up a staple-less stapler and two more Compact Fluorescent bulbs. It may not be much, but it's something. There are many ways to plan for future health...

"If you drive an SUV, you need to take a good look at yourself in the mirror because you don't give a shit about the environment." - David Suzuki (to his audience at the USC Canada event)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The challenge of democracy...

In a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, "holds office"; every one of us is in a position of responsibility; and in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities.

We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve.

John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage (1956)
I came across this quote as I was going through some papers yesterday. It was hurriedly scribbled in a notebook during our visit to the JFK Library in Boston this past summer. It struck me then, and it struck me even more this time.

In light of ongoing heavy criticism of government happening in the States, as well as the particularly toxic parliamentary session we had here in Canada this past spring, I am reminded that I have a responsibility too. I've never really been politically active (other than making sure I vote in elections), but I'm realizing that I have stronger opinions on issues then I've ever had before. I just don't know what to do with them! Often, as my awareness grows, so do my feelings of utter powerlessness. And anger. I am angry that poverty exists to the extent that it does - how did we ever let it get so bad?! I am angry that politicians don't see that the state of the environment is the #1 issue that needs to be addressed... NOW! Without that, there is nothing else. I get frustrated and overwhelmed by my own inadequacy.

JFK's quote challenges me... am I up to it?