Daily Post: Beach, mountain, forest or somewhere else entirely?


In response to a daily post challenge:

“I want to go to the ocean, and stick my feet in the water, remember I’m part of something bigger than what I see right now.” Beach, hands down. I love the mountains and being in a forest but being near the ocean is healing for me. I love the sights, the sounds, the smells and the ideas of what lies beneath.

Looking out over the water and seeing ships in the distance, looking up and down the beach seeing the crowds of people or, at my favorite beaches, seeing nothing but dunes and shore life.   I close my eyes; I can hear the waves of course, keeping rhythm in a hypnotic way, the seabirds laughing in joy, the wind blowing past my ears. I really love the smells of the ocean, salt air, vendors, and sunscreen.

Some of my best memories were made at the ocean. I have had the great fortune of playing in both coastal bodies of water. I have also dipped toes in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, The Kattegat and the Skagerrak. At the northern tip of Denmark, The Kattegat and the Skagerrak crash into each other making huge water haystacks, changing the way I look at oceans and seas forever. Two mighty forces fighting over turf.

Body surfing in the Pacific, which surprised me with its coldness, has waves much bigger than the ones I remember from the Atlantic as I was growing up. The coastline is so strikingly different too. I never thought I would love an ocean more than the Atlantic but with each new body of water I meet, I realize, with oceans, I am undeniably polyamorous. I want to live by them all!

Now, as to the other two, I thoroughly enjoy the mountains and can really relax walking through the woods. I went to college in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. To the west, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and to the East, The Shenandoah Mountains. I would often drive either direction just to be in the mountains. One of the things I genuinely miss living here in Milwaukee is looking at the horizon and seeing mountains. When I first moved here, I was amazed at how far away the horizon actually was. The argument that the world is flat truly could reemerge here. Thank goodness there are decent forests here…and a great lake which the natives think is as big as an ocean, but I know if I squint hard enough on a clear day, I could probably see Michigan.

So I am in the middle of the country, 892 miles from the Atlantic and 2187 miles from the Pacific Ocean. I get homesick often. I want to go to the ocean. I guess I’ll settle for a walk by the lake.

angry lake
angry lake

Changing Seasons


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Oh how I have waited for this. Winter is hard on me, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I know that sounds dramatic, but winter has always sucked some of the life out of me. After the first snow of the season, always exciting, I quickly lose interest and start longing for longer days and warmth. I know I should love the season I am in, and I have tried to engage with winter, make friends with the cold and isolation, embrace the darkness. Support and appreciate the beauty.  I started playing ice-hockey and got re-involved with cross-country skiing. It helped a little but I still found that the time after Christmas, up until Easter was difficult. And last year, My Stroke fell right in that time period. I missed the end of hockey season (Playoffs!) and got no skiing in at all. Luckily by the time I was discharged from the hospital, it began to warm up somewhat.   I could sit on my deck, have fires in my chiminea, be in the world.

Here I am stuck in the winter again. Today, though, it is supposed to be in the 60’s, hurrah! I’m fighting the urge to blow off work this afternoon and just drive around with my windows down. I’m imagining camping trips and campfires and dog play. Star-watching and night photography is coming. Having done some research on mindfulness, I realize I am wasting a lot of my present time by longing for the future moments…that are not even promised to me. So my dilemma is how to have hope for tomorrow and the coming of spring without missing out on the joy of today.

I find that the past year has left me questioning nearly everything. I am in a constant state of Deep Thought. And not just about existence and mortality. I ponder small things such as, “Is Death by PowerPoint really possible?”. Then what about death by other Microsoft applications? I find myself grateful I have switched to Apple Products! My stroke damaged brain wants to spin around every thought and make it deep. And I wonder why I am so exhausted by the end of the day!

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But at least the days are getting longer!  It’s supposed to be nice again all weekend.  I am gonna get out and earn my “tired”.  No doubt I will find something new to spin about.

Thanks for reading and thanks for the comments.  Big Love….spread it!

An Ode to Water


Passages

ImageI love the humility of water.

The way it assumes the shape of its host;

the honesty of its transparency.

I love the patience of water.

The constant ebb and flow of the tide;

the constancy of its breath.

I love the strength of water.

The ability to erode and wear-away;

over time or in an instant of dramatic fury.

I love the freedom of water.

The ability to accommodate resistance;

to negotiate; to seek a better way.

I love the loyalty of water.

The capillary action that leaves no drop behind;

the community it creates in its inseparability.

I love the spirituality of water.

The protuberance of spirit;

the abundance of life force.

I love the forgiving properties of water.

Its ability to cleanse the past

and renew the future.

I love the beauty of water.

The radiance mirrored in its reflection;

the depth and breath of its mystery.

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This Blog’s for you! Assignment #4


As I look back over my life, particularly the last two years, it is not lost on me that I have been incredibly blessed by the people in my life. There are those who have commented that I have drawn good people into my life because of my own goodness. I scoff but I am humbled none the less. To have acquired the caliper of people in my life and connect that to my own qualities seems far-fetched. I’m not trying to be modest; I just don’t see myself that way. Sure, I am generally happy, positive, adventurous, and I love people, all people. I love to hear peoples’ stories and find our common ground but I guess I believed that all people felt like this. I think I am a good person, a kind person and I want to see and experience good and kindness in the world and in people. It’s there. I’ve seen it.

No matter the reason, there is no denying that I have some of the coolest, best friends and family. They reached out to me when it was darkest. They’ve made it easy to be vulnerable. Some of them read this blog, but I write today for those who haven’t and really don’t know how deeply I have been changed because of their presence in my life.

Thank you. Thank you for your friendship, your love, your belief in me. For the time you spent with me allowing me to laugh and especially to cry. For the insight you’ve shared and the wisdom you’ve imparted. Thank you for being such beautiful, authentic human beings. For picking me up when I fall, literally. You have motivated me to spend the rest of my time doing good and living up to your expectations. I hope there is enough time.

Thanks for jumping into the hole with me because you’d been there before and knew the way out. Thanks for just sitting with me and letting me sit with me without explanation. Thank you for showing me what Big Love looks like. I love you Big right back!

http://rd.io/x/Rl6Yj2o-UZjL/

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If I Had a Dollar (Why I Am a Feminist)


Yes. This is why.

girl in the hat

image courtesy Devil Doll image courtesy Devil Doll

Because my mother was a painter and a beauty when artists had patrons and a woman like that needed a man to take care of her, so she married a money man.

Because my mother’s mother was a beauty and her mother was, too, and that’s what people said: “She was a beautiful woman,” as if that was the only remarkable thing.

Because I was born in 1966, the year Betty Friedan and others started the National Organization of Women and challenged an industry which required flight attendants to quit if they got married, pregnant, or reached the age of 32.

Because when my mother had me, she stopped painting and started cleaning house and throwing dinner parties and smoking too many cigarettes and crying in the mirror.

Because my mother never told me that I looked pretty because she did not want me to grow…

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Canada’s National Disgrace


Wow. Interesting read

Matthew Barlow

Two weeks ago, MacLeans, Canada’s only national news magazine, published an article that caused quite the uproar. Written by a former diplomat, Scott Gilmore, and entitled, “Canada’s Racism Problem? It’s Even Worse Than America’s,” it’s not hard to see why this upset people. Even better was the sub-title, “For a country so self-satisfied with its image of progressive tolerance, how is this not a national crisis?”  I wish I had written this article, it says what I’ve been saying for a long, long time.

Aboriginal peoples in Canada get screwed.  Have been since the first Europeans arrived, and still do today.  And that’s not going to change any time soon unless Canadians do something about it. But, in my experience, they don’t care.  Last year, I wrote a post about a funny sweatshirt that an aboriginal man, Jeff Menard, in Winnipeg (which MacLeans also called out as Canada’s most…

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Introduction to the world.


 

I want to be a better writer now that I have been having some fun with blogging for about a year. I am in this sort of contest “Blogging 101” which provides assignments, critiques and feedback as well as exposure to other good writers.

So, first assignment: “Introduce yourself to the world.”

My name is Kim and I am a Badass. Self-proclaimed but also anointed.   I am a motorcyclist, musician, teacher, dog-owner, skateboarder, ice hockey player and stroke survivor. The stroke survival is a process but it contributes greatly to my badassness. I have always been an active person and had, in fact, just finished a weekend-long tournament in northern Wisconsin. I was helping out with a motorcycle event and my co-worker thought something was wrong with me. I had no sense of anything being different but he insisted on calling the medical staff at the venue. They promptly told me I was having a stroke. I was highly skeptical since I didn’t feel like I was experiencing any symptoms. The responding EMTs fortunately differed with my opinion, taking me directly to the hospital where I was given medicine that kept the stroke from being more severe.

The entire night I remember fighting the idea of having a stroke. It wasn’t until the next morning, after I hadn’t been discharged and couldn’t move my left side and that my parents had been contacted and were enroute, that I accepted the diagnosis. I still believed, however, that I would be getting out of my bed and walking out of the hospital within days.

Days turned to weeks and I was still in the hospital but had been transferred to the rehab floor where I had been working on learning to dress myself, and generally care for myself. Additionally, I had begun taking some steps. How strange to have to think so intently about something that I had been doing effortlessly for nearly 50 years. My therapy team determined that I had progressed enough to be discharged, and my mother was gracious enough to move in with me temporarily to make sure I had help if/when I needed it. (She might look back and say “crazy” enough).

That could be the end of the story but it is only the beginning. In a way it was THE beginning. I have been blogging about the experience for about a year now and truly hope you take some time to read some of it. I would love feedback of any kind. I would love for other stroke survivors or family members to read it. So, in the beginning, there was dark. It was a deep darkness that nearly took my breath away. I couldn’t see out and didn’t know if I ever would. It was terrifying really. But one of the big gifts of my stroke was the undeniable awareness of the people who were there for me. I am still humbled by it all.

Okay, this is getting long and sounding self-important so I will wrap this assignment up by saying that in the year since the stroke, I got to go camping again, get back to teaching motorcycle safety classes, started a new job and have decided that I want to live fully.   It is hard but I want to be a participant. Another gift of the stroke was the spot light that was put on my life. I got the gift of awareness that life is a phenomenal miracle with the potential for many adventures left to experience.