Posts Tagged With: burning question

The Blame Game

Disclaimer: I’m no political pundit by any stretch of the imagination.  But I’ve got eyes and a fairly decent brain.  So bear with me.

For those of you unfamiliar with Canadian or Albertan politics, the current government in Alberta is the New Democratic Party, or NDP for short.  They were elected in last year by a majority vote of unprecedented and some would say, epic proportions and their election meant that the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party had been ousted after 40-plus years of power over Alberta.

Like any establishment after such a long reign, it could easily be argued that the PC’s were far too comfortable in Alberta having been able to maintain their political position more than four decades.  Some might even venture to say that they became complacent.  Lackadaisical, even.  I have lived in Alberta for nearly three of those four decades and in that time I have seen the ups and downs of their government.  Some good, a lot of bad, and mostly a lot of in-between.  Like any political party, they relied heavily on contributions from Big Business supporters, in Alberta’s case this is largely oil companies with a lot of clout and financial ability to buy the party which fits their agenda the best.

The trouble is that with such a long-standing relationship between a political party and its Big Oil backers, you lose sight of the ones who are in reality backing both.  The middle class not only votes in the people they feel are best suited to lead their provincial or federal governments, but also consumes the goods produced by Big Business and Big Oil.

Yes, it’s true that the PC Party was great at bringing in business and creating jobs, much of those jobs with the oil companies backing the party.  But ask yourselves this: at what cost?  We were all blinded at the prospect of a booming economy that we lost sight of the fact that the middle class was being stretched far too thin by their support of ridiculously large corporate tax breaks.  Much like an aging elastic band stretched beyond its capacity, it will start to show cracks and eventually break altogether.  Relying on one segment of the voting and tax-paying public to support not only the over-privileged rich and corporations, but also to support the social programs necessary to assist and raise up the lower income classes proved to be too much for most of us.

I believe this collapse primarily among the middle class was the impetus for such a landslide vote for a different party to have their kick at the political can.  After more than four decades ruling this province, the breaks promised to the middle class were rarely, if ever, delivered.  And many of us were far too jaded by then to think much of the small pittances promised regardless.

Worse, when then-premier Jim Prentice realised he’d lost the vote to continue, his outgoing speech was nothing less than childish and immature.  He pouted and walked off stage without so much as the grace to wish the incoming premier, NDP Rachel Notley, luck in her new endeavour in leading our province.

To many, this was classic Progressive Conservatism – they didn’t get their way and like any bully, they were unaccustomed to being shot down.

Now, this is not to say that I am naïve enough to think that the NDP (or Liberal, or any other) Party would have behaved any differently had the same thing happened to them had they been privileged enough to have retained power for that length of time.  What I am saying is that the game has changed and if you want to stay in it, you have to adapt to new rules and parameters.  The Old Boys who voted you in four decades ago are now dying off, figuratively and literally.  Your voters are younger but not necessarily less informed.  What’s more, they want different things than their parents and grandparents.

Further, regardless of who won the election, there would still be the same messes to clean up after having the same party in for the last four decades.  If we are, as we all claim to be, open-minded and progressive, should we not then by definition have the grace to allow the current government some time to get their footing and to deliver on their promises which got them elected?  Isn’t that the democratic process?  And yet, as soon as the NDP gained the provincial seat, the naysayers were already at it – claiming that things were better when the PC’s were running the show.

Remember, the older we are, the faster we used to run.  Sometimes you have to embrace change, if you want actual change to occur.

Besides, if you wanted so badly for the PC’s to stay in power, why didn’t you vote them back in when you had the chance?

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My own meandering experience.

Dear Readers, those of you who are still with me, I sincerely regret my absence from my own blog of late. I have no explanation other than Life sometimes gets in the way of what you really want to do and so now, after re-reading some posts of other bloggers’, I realize that I, too, must jump back in the fray if I am to do what I really want to do and that is, simply, to write.

On the other hand, the time I have been away has allowed me to make several observations as well as to learn a few things along the way. The following is a potpourri of sorts of these revelations which seem obvious when written down, but were quite eye-opening when they first occurred to me:

Finding Joy and, more importantly, allowing Joy to find You:

I don’t keep a large circle of friends and I will openly admit that I frequently assess and evaluate the need for certain people in my life. Occasionally, these needs fall short and I am forced, for want of a better term, to trim the fat. This isn’t done out of hate for the person I’ve cut adrift, but more for the sake of my own soul. I am tenaciously and sometimes terrifyingly protective of those that I love, including my own soul. If there is someone in my life who no longer promotes a positive element in my life, then my soul is not being nurtured in the way that it must and so, sometimes regrettably, sometimes with great difficulty, a person has to leave. This is obviously a bittersweet process, but a necessary one just the same. The upside is that having made some room in my life, I have opened the door to other people whom I might never have met, and who have filled those holes in my life with their positivity and creativity and lovely souls. I hope I do the same for them.

Value what you have and stop yearning for what you don’t:

We all occasionally fall prey to the Quest for the Material. This could be items such as new furniture, a new TV, a new car, a new outfit, a new Whatever. We all need Things from time to time, but sometimes that quest to obtain becomes all too engrossing. A recent death in our family, of a not-so-close relative, has allowed me to observe that a person can spend their entire lives accumulating but have very little of true value. This person was for all intents and purposes a recluse. This rendered him a decease hoarder with a bunch of people who rarely gave him the time of day during his lifetime now attempting to, well, hoard his hoard. Again, it is not in tribute of the man or his life or his contribution to their family or society in general that they want his stuff. It is simply that they want his stuff. I pray this is not the legacy I leave when I leave this life.

Accept the faults in others as they evidently accept the faults in you:

There are none of us perfect, and far too few of us try. And this is all right. Harkening back to my first revelation above, keep those who nurture your soul with you, warts and all. While they may not be perfect, they do make a positive contribution to your life and clearly mean well. I butt heads occasionally with those closest to me, but they have a permanent place within the House of Lisa. I just hope I don’t screw it up.

Like Minds:

There are those who say opposites attract. Sometimes they do. My own experience has been, however, that like minds open up your mind and soul to things beyond your own reckoning because they give you a starting point, and then open the door to things you may not have considered yourself. Again, try to do the same in return for those lovely souls who share so much in common with your own, for these people are few and far between. Over the past few months, I have met two people in particular who share such similar interests as I, but the collaboration of ideas and creativity which flows through each of us has grown exponentially as a result.

Take note of where you’ve been, to know where you’re going:

My trip to Scotland last year left me with one thing: the visceral need to return. During my first visit, I learned so much about myself simply by observing the people who live in the place from whence my family came, as well as learning about the people who have lived there over the past several hundred years. I saw similar physical characteristics, personality traits and most importantly to me, similar glints in their eyes as we both looked at the same things and had the same reactions to what we saw. We all take this for granted, particularly if we have lived in the same place all our lives. I have had the benefit of living in many different places across North America and I can tell you firsthand that not all senses of humour, for example, are created equal. This is easily explained since certain regions are made up of certain ethnic groups which share a common thread of thinking and perceptions. But what if you’re the outsider looking in? How do you fit in? Can you ever truly fit in? Not being much of a “joiner” myself, I prefer to observe these conditions before making my move, as it were, and so I have learned through this process that there are places where I am meant to belong, and places I am meant to not. I am not personally affronted by this, but it was heartening to be in two places on this planet where I evidently fit in so seamlessly and that is a true comfort I value beyond the measure of any material good which might take its place.

I’ll leave you with these thoughts for now, but I will undoubtedly share similar observations with you in the future. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave your comments and observations of your own. Slainte mhath!

Categories: Random Crap, self acceptance, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goddesses in our Midst

Beauty turned to stone.

I work in an office full of women.  As a woman, I can tell you there are days when I want to strangle most of them to save them from themselves, as counter-productive as that may seem.  I have lost count of the ones obsessively exercising, dieting, preening and primping in what I hope will not be a vain attempt to live up to an impossible ideal. 

On the other end of that spectrum, and likely driving the force of this irrationally compulsive behaviour are the ones who clearly don’t give one single iota about their appearance and utterly embrace their weirdness like it’s some kind of trophy.  The ones who have abandoned altogether most of the things that make them feminine.

It’s an odd dichotomy to say the least.

What I’m saying is I’m caught somewhere in the middle.  On the one hand, I end up wondering to myself hey, do the primpers see ME as one of those shlubby ones at that table as we all figure out our lunches on a given day, or do they see me in a different light altogether?  Admittedly, the more protective aspects of my ego would like to think I’m somewhat of an enigma to them, but it’s likely closer to the truth that they know me better than I’m willing to give them credit for, or even better than I sometimes know myself.  It’s certainly (and annoyingly) true of my husband, so why wouldn’t it be for these women?

There are times when I, too, am less convinced of my adequacy.  At least in this respect, I do think I am an enigma since I do enjoy, as they say, waving good bye to those inadequate feelings as they pass me by.  I do this primarily by focusing my attention on other things, usually trivial and usually so unrelated to work it would astound even my closest friends.

All I’m trying to say is that from my standpoint at least, their physical beauty seems less hard come by than my own.

But, as is my habit when presented with a question to which there is no ready answer, I have given this some thought. 

Why is it that I also feel the same way they do and they hopefully feel about me the way I feel about them?  Why can I see things in them I cannot see in myself, or vice versa?  I don’t have a regimen.  I eat, but I don’t diet aside from trying to balance what I eat from day to day to ensure too much of the same thing isn’t going into my system.  I am overweight, some would say by a lot, some by a little given the underlying framework.  Either way, I could afford to lose a few pounds and yet my last physical revealed a “fantastic” liver, such low cholesterol (the bad kind) where it was recommended I take in some fatty stuff to get it to where it should be, and despite being overweight and apparently having a lazy thyroid, I am in remarkably good shape. 

Explain that, Dr. Atkins – the cardiologist who died of heart failure…  Too soon?

But I digress.  I’ve simply concluded that we’re doing this to each other and allowing those negative thoughts to creep in because we’re so consumed with our outward appearances; that we forget that every action deserves an equal and opposite reaction.  So when one of us starts feeling inadequate and takes steps toward fixing that dilemma, the rest of us start asking ourselves if we, too, should be feeling inadequate for some reason, imagined or real.  Then we lose sight of the other truly important things in our lives.

This is not to say that I think everyone should throw fitness and nutrition out the window.  It is merely to say that I think people should leave room for other things in their lives in addition to maintaining a healthy physical lifestyle.

Is it inherent in the female of our species to constantly question, to try to continually improve and if so, WHY?  Perhaps it’s a design flaw by Mother Nature who, as a woman, likely also became obsessed with herself and forgot about fixing her own creation, Us.

When, if ever, will we ever decide we’re fine the way we are in whatever moment we find ourselves?  Men have been telling us this for years, but all the female-driven media out there continues to bash us over the heads with new diet and exercise regimes, hair and makeup and what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Arguably the world’s foremost beauty icon, Marilyn Monroe, was by all accounts a total knockout.  But by today’s unwieldy standards, she would be grossly overweight and even morbidly obese.  Emotionally, she was a wreck and a lot of it was sadly by her own doing.  By playing into her own creation of herself, she believed in the end that her physical beauty was the only thing that was worth anything, leaving her emotional and intellectual self struggling for recognition.

Maybe our conscious minds must forcefully and ruthlessly take over our subconscious.  Maybe we have to remind ourselves that as individuals, we each have unique traits which no one else on the planet will ever lay claim.  Maybe we need to remind ourselves that we are so much more than the sums of our parts, and that the number on the tag of clothing we would like to fit into is merely subjective and unworthy of our attempts to fit into it. 

Not once have I ever said to myself, “hey, there’s so and so, she’s a Size 14.“  It simply doesn’t register in my head, and likely no one else`s.  Instead, what I see every day are stunning eyes sparkling with robust laughter, gorgeous tousled hair, and traffic-stopping figures in no need of any further dieting lest they should lose some of those wonderfully feminine curves. But overshadowing even all those remarkable physical characteristics are heartbreakingly beautiful souls with such great humour and grace and colourful lives which extend far beyond themselves into their families and other friends.

More than anything, I am thankful each of them is part of my own weird life`s story.  No matter where our future steps and paths take us, at least we will always have the here and now. 

And I promise to try to resist the urge to force feed each of you a large, greasy burger with all the toppings and fixings I can muster. 

No guarantees, though.

Update July 9, 2013: Please check out this video of Dustin Hoffman beautifully articulating his feelings on portraying a woman in “Tootsie”:

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OK, so a couple days ago I got pretty annoyed with Seamus*.  It doesn’t matter why; just sometimes I wanna cuff him upside the head for what later seems like a pretty trivial reason.  If you have a significant male in your life, I’m certain you can relate.

Anyway, Monday night it kind of came to a head and he decided to take the couch and I contented myself with reading in bed since I wasn’t going to be able to sleep anyway.  Now, either it was because I had been robbed of sleep not only on Monday night, but the night before, I’m not sure, but last night he comes home from work and I wordlessly put his plate of food in front of him and then we head downstairs to eat supper in front of the TV ’cause that’s just how classy we are.  Big Bang Theory was on.  It’s the one where Sheldon is in the cafeteria at work at the beginning of the episode, working out a problem and clearly stalling on the answer.  Leonard and Wolowitz are looking on in fascination, and Wolowitz finally asks Leonard if he’s tried rebooting Sheldon.  Bear this in mind as I tell you the rest of the story.

So, we’re sitting there eating and the tension in the room is nearly visible, it’s so thick.  Seamus calmly puts his plate and utensils down and starts very casually telling me that during lunch that day at work, one of his buddies there showed him a Youtube video on his phone of another guy who discovered that if you stuff uncooked macaroni into an uncooked hot dog, and then throw the macaroni-stuffed hot dog into some boiling water, then you get a cooked hot dog with cooked macaroni inside it.

Oh, dear God…











[THIS is what guys do at work?  Watch other guys cook?  Who knew?]

Putting aside the obvious burning question as to WHY anyone would want a macaroni-stuffed hot dog for a moment, I was literally stumped.  Then I realized that when I’m severely pissed with Seamus, this is what he does.  I don’t think he realizes he’s doing it, or maybe he does and I’m the one who doesn’t realize he’s more clever than he seems.  The last time we had a blow-out like this, we were driving to his brother’s wedding in Butt-F**k-Nowhere and Seamus had taken that opportunity to start talking about when the Butt-F**k-Nowhere bridge was built, how it was built, who built it, etc. etc. etc.  (Much like myself, his head is filled with facts that no one else in their right minds would even care about.)

Perhaps, then, he realizes my predilection regarding unanswered questions and knows that if he presents me with enough information, I will have to respond with a question and responding is communicating and to Seamus, an inexorably logical man in his own twisted way, that’s problem solved.  Or, to put it another way, he reboots me.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or punch him, so I went out to London Drugs to buy a new hair dryer instead (mine having quit on me Monday morning, thankfully AFTER I had dried my hair – helluva week).  At least I didn’t go to Chuck E. Cheese and try to build molecule strings in a children’s ball room, yelling BAZINGA! as people tried to extricate me.

It’s all about perspective, I guess.  I have actually forgotten why I was so angry with Seamus in the first place.

* Name changed to protect the guilty.

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