Thursday, September 20, 2018

Welcome to 50!

Dear Heather:

"We are writing to invite you to get checked for colon (bowel) cancer." I'm sorry, you're...? reads the sentence again... You're inviting me to WHAT??  

"After age 50, your risk of getting this disease goes up."  How much?  How MUCH does it go up?? Could I get actual percentages here? Into what level of panic should I descend? And why have you BOLDED this text in your letter?!?

"The good news is that you can take steps to protect your health by doing an easy test called the fecal occult blood test (FOBT)." Fecal Occult Blood Test? OCCULT?!? Am I taking my poo and smearing it into a pentagram on the floor while I call up various demons from the Netherworld?

"The FOBT is a safe and painless cancer screening test that checks your stool (poop) for tiny drops of blood, which can be caused by colon cancer. You can do the test in the comfort and privacy of your own home, and it only takes a few minutes a day on three different days to complete." Wait? Have enough people sent in three pieces of wood from actual stools that Cancer Care Ontario had to define what "stool" is?

"Get your free FOBT from your family doctor or nurse practitioner!" 

Of course I had to Google it. There's a handy-dandy video!

Another perk of turning 50? My friend Kelly got me this great book!

I immediately open it, eager to discover new things. Its pages are completely empty. "HAH! This is amazing! It's a sex journal!"

"What? No! It's a gag book! It's empty! No sex after 50!" says Kelly.

"Gag book? You mean I'm not supposed to write all my post 50 sexcapades in here? I could invest in a fabulous sex pen!"


Thursday, September 6, 2018

And then we were carjacked...

Driving towards Rissa's university residence, we blithely follow the directions offered by the nice young people in their bright orange safety vests.

"Just drive around there folks, and they'll help you out."

I'm a bit confused - we are still relatively distant from her Residence. But we do it, we drive through the parking lot towards the dozen or more colourfully clad students. "Oh look there's a welcoming committee, isn't that..."

Clapping, stomping and whooping, these hoodlums swarm our Honda Civic.


"What's going on?!?" asks Rissa.

"They are apparently encouraging you to leave the car."

Our "Welcoming Committee" comes closer, faces at the window, yelling to a decibel level that seems impossible.


"Oh, crap!  Crap, I guess I'd better get out!" Rissa departs the vehicle.

"WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" The students explode with joy.

"I've got her!" says a young man in face paint and a dozen bandannas wrapped around his limbs. "You just drive up there and the guy in the vest will tell you when it's safe to go."

"When it's safe to go?"

"What's her name?" asks another student.


"RISSA!!" she yells as she checks off the name.

"RISSA!!!!!" Everyone else yells.

The student Sharpie scrawls onto a pre-printed, university-issue, green paper. "Here's her room number, you drive up to the Res. We've got your daughter." She hands us the piece of paper "Don't lose it or you'll never know where she is." She laughs.

They've got our daughter?  What the fuck just happened here?

We drive up to the guy in the vest.

"Is everything..."

"You just drive up there and we'll take care of everything."

"So she's just..."

"He's got her. She'll get there."

O...kay. We drive towards the Res.

"RIGHT THROUGH HERE FOLKS! RIGHT THROUGH HERE!!" Music is blaring, new packs, larger packs, of university students bounce up and down in excitement.


We show them the green paper.


"Uh... yeah, yeah... sure... it's okay."


(Perhaps now is a good time to mention that I was recently diagnosed with Meniere's Disease - an inner ear disorder. Some of the symptoms make me super sensitive to sound, which in turns makes me dizzy and nauseated. Usually this isn't an issue outside, unless it's incredibly loud.)

I stagger out of the Civic. So much yelling. Music SO loud. I grasp blindly for anything to help me regain my balance - finally finding the car's side mirror. Okay... now I can help with the... I do a cartoon double-take to the back of the car. Everything's gone. All Rissa's stuff is GONE - two shopping carts are disappearing into the Res. They took my daughter and now they've taken all her stuff! I start to hyperventilate.

David is  incredibly thankful and commends everyone on their organization and energy. I can't breathe.

"You guys are fantastic!! Can we get a picture?"

A picture? He wants a picture of these people?!?


Head OUT? But we haven't... I haven't...

"PARKING LOT IS LOCATED HERE." The university-issue paper with Rissa's room number is turned over and we are shown a map to parking. "THIS ACTS AS YOUR PARKING PASS. YOU GO PARK NOW!"

We get back in the car. David says, "Wow - that was amazing! They are like a well-oiled..." He looks at my face. "Love...?"

Tears streaming down my cheeks, I shake my head. "I'm just going to..." I reach into my purse for my emergency ear plugs. "I'm just going to put these in."

We drive away from the Res. I have no idea where Rissa is. I have no idea where her stuff is. I have a few moments of hiccuping sobs before I get my shit together. Eventually, I blow out a calming breath.

"You okay?"

I nod. "They took her. Then they took her stuff. We were car-jacked."

"Oh love..."

"No, it's okay," I say. "It really is okay. It's amazing. You're right they ARE a well-oiled machine. It's  wonderful for all these kids to have such excitement, such joy when they arrive at school. I was just... I was... unprepared for it, is all."


The week leading up to this day provides me with the opportunity to do the best acting I've ever done in my life. She's so excited to get going - every day is a new thing that she's thrilled to talk about. All her Frosh Week activities, the messages on her chat groups... each thing has a new superlative and she is practically vibrating with anticipation. I respond positively to everything.

"It's so great that you're so excited for this!" I feel like I'm going to vomit. "Really? They'll have a carnival? That's great!!" I'm this much closer to death. "Yes, this is going to be the BEST THING EVER. Yay!!" My heart... my heart is... breaking.


I manage to stop the tears before we exit the car. Now in a full-fledged Meniere's attack, I clutch David's arm so that I don't fall off the world as we walk back to the Res. I watch as other shell-shocked parents listen to the cheers and chanting and see their child's belongings disappear into the Res. We get directed to her floor and are greeted in the stairwell by another dozen excited students, this time chanting:


They're clapping and hooting. David has one arm and I'm clinging to the banister with my left hand; even with the earplugs firmly inserted, I'm so dizzy I feel like I could double for Sandy and Danny in the Shake Shack.

As we descend those stairs, the kids eventually notice that this particular parent is not so much "on the move," but instead, looks like she's going to keel over, or vomit, or both. They tone it down and I smile/grimace at them in thanks.

We get to Rissa's dorm, and knock politely. She bounds to the door Tigger-like, grabbing us both in a huge hug. And her smile? It could light up the galaxy. "HI GUYS!!!" She immediately goes back to unpacking her clothes. "I think I'm going to need more hangers. Can we get more hangers? I thought I'd counted them all, but somehow I think I don't have enough."

I rest on her bed and watch for a moment. I watch this person who grew in my body. This person I snuggled with, even last night, as we watched a movie together. This person I love so much, that our  impending departure at the end of the day is already making me feel like my organs will liquify. I  feel the panic creep into my chest and I close my eyes for a moment to regain my equilibrium.

And then I start helping her unpack.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Please see your doctor before attempting any new exercise regimen...

Ah, to have friends who share their cottage life! The bonfires! The smores! The water activities!!


David, 45, who spent his youthful summers at one cottage or other - boating, fishing and excelling at every water sport - is the first in the water - skiing. He gets up on the skis first try, does a quick loop in the bay before dropping a ski to go slalom. A huge grin on his face as he easily crosses over the wake - looking like a fit, fearless, 17 year old version of himself.

Back in the boat he still has a smile - flexing his hands, getting the blood flow back.

"How's your back?" I ask.

"Good!  Good. My back is fine! My arms are a little tired." He grins manically. "My hands have no feeling in them. I have forearm palsy! It's all good!!"

Rissa's turn. Our long-limbed daughter is on the tube with our friends' little girl. Rissa's torso fits on the tube, but her legs dangle in the water.  "HIT IT!" Big smile on her face as we start out. The grin slips as the speed increases, replaced by a determined grimace.  The physical limitation of not actually fitting onto the tube becomes apparent when we hit rough water and watch as she somersaults when her "leg-drag" becomes an issue. We offer suggestions when she drags herself back onto the tube

"Bend your knees!! Keep your feet in the air!!"


My turn. I'm on the same tube with the youngest of our friend's kids - a little boy aged 6, who weighs in at 22% of my body weight. Let us all cogitate on the physics of this weight disparity for a moment. Having learned from Rissa's run, I'm keeping my feet in the air,  I scootch up the tube as far as I can trying to find that distribution of weight sweet spot between sinking us and crushing the small child beside me. As the boat slowly starts out, I'm propped like a enigmatic Sphinx, resting on my elbows very pleased with myself. "I've got this!" My side of the tube is quickly dragged under the surface  and I immediately flip into the lake, inhaling 'fresh' water. I am then tasked with dragging myself back onto the tube. I reach for the handles.

"You good?"

"HIT IT!" yells the child beside me.

"NO!!" I'm channeling my inner seal - imagining that my body is all muscle.


"HIT IT!!"

"NOT YET!" My body is NOT all muscle.


I flex everything in my body (muscle, bone, cartilage, phlegm) and finally manage to hold myself propped in a somewhat balanced position.


"HIT IT!!!"

I was never that person who could rock the flexed arm hang for Canada Fitness Test. I just didn't have the arm or core strength. I wish that Ms. Rogerson could have seen me as I held my body weight on that tube for the entire length of the ride. Afterwards, my arms ache from my armpits to my knuckles. When I put my pajama top that night, I think I might die.

DAY 2 

David enjoys another stellar ski run - a little longer this time. Upon his return, he looks a wee bit concerned as his arms shake uncontrollably. "You good?" I mouth. He does his best to give me thumbs up, but can't fully extend his thumbs.

Rissa agrees to try her hand at water skiing for the first time. After 4 attempts she's on the skis for a triumphant few seconds.

This is huge for Rissa. As a perfectionist, the fact that she didn't bail after the first attempt is monumental. I congratulate her when she's back in the boat. "Great job kiddo!"

"I've just given myself a Conestoga Lake Enema."

As I'm prepping to ski for the first time in 32 years, I'm feeling optimistic. I was, after all, a gymnast.

"Even if I CAN get up immediately," I whisper to David. "I won't. I don't want to show Rissa up."

On my first attempt, as I'm pushing to standing, I feel something strain in my left ass cheek. My flight or fight response is telling me to swim away. And yet, I pooh-pooh my instincts and get myself set for another attempt. As the boat pulls away the second time, I feel the strain in my ass morph into a more 'tear' like sensation.

"We're done here."

There's still tubing to be had though. David partners up with the the middle child who weighs 22% of his body weight. His shoulders are pretty much as wide as the tube and he looks mystified as to how he will be able to hold on. At one point when they hit a rough patch he manages to pull her body out of the air and back down to the tube.

"How was that?" I ask. David's face is a little ashen.

"Every time we bounced I was sacked."

"You were...?"

He looks down to his crotch. "Sacked."

"Oh hon." I gently pat his thigh. He winces.

Rissa decides to use the inner tube the next time. She wedges her ass into its centre.  "If this sucker flips over, you have to come in and save me right away," she says. "I will not be able to extricate myself without help."

Before we reach warp speed, she has a brilliant smile on her face and she balletically points her feet - preening. As the speed increases, her smile fades. On the edge of the tube, her flailing legs have a distinctly Muppet-like quality to them.

"You good," I ask, upon her return to the boat.

"Conestoga Lake enema #2."


Later, as we pull into our driveway at home, David takes a steadying breath before he exits the car. Rissa lets out a strangled cry as she opens the car door and they both help me leave the vehicle.

"Where does it hurt?" I ask David.

"My entire right side from knee to nipple. And my forearms."


"Mostly forearms. Plus two lake enemas is two too many. I've never had that much water in my body ever."

They turn to me, each holding a side as I limp to the door, waiting for my prognosis.  "I broke my ass."

We all moan as we shut the front door.

"Next year? We train for 2 months beforehand. Agreed?" We attempt to raise our arms to shake on it, but can't.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

When Cats ATTACK!

Steve  - An orange Tom cat - goofy, playful, more than a little             bit dumb

Lola   - A very petite black cat - nervous, silly, terrified if you           pick her up.

Minuit - A rotund, older black cat - crotchety, belligerent, sounds           like Edward G. Robinson

Heather & David - unsuspecting humans



Hey guys! Guys! there's a cat in 
our back yard. Hey GUYS!!

(returns to licking her stomach bald)


Seriously, guys! Super cute cat in
the backyard - she's black and white
and kind of stripey...

LOLA sneaks a peek over STEVE'S shoulder at the window. She sees the outdoor cat, then looks at STEVE



LOLA (hissing) 

Lola, it's me - Steve - your brother.

(growling and hissing at Steve)

LOLA hits STEVE on the head several times and runs away.

(now growling and hissing at Lola)

Hey guys?  Guys?


Lola runs up the stairs, followed closely by a snarling, unexpectedly-nimble Minuit.



I'm your sister!


(hiding under the bed)
Minuit, I'm your sister! 


 (startled out of deep sleep)
What the fuck?



Hey guys! Guys? GUYS. It's all good.
We're good here.


Minuit - STOP IT!!! Lola - get out from 
under the bed - jump up on something high. She can't
 follow you if you're up on something high
Minuit! It's Lola. Steve, just stay 
out of their way.

Snarling and hissing, all three cats leave the room.

What just happened?


It was like I was Captain America and they 
were both Bucky. They didn't know me. They 
could see me, but they didn't know me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Today's period brought to you by Peri-Menopause!

Feeling too structured in your cycle? Wanting more spontaneity in your underwear choices?


Women all over the world are now enjoying less frequent periods while still getting all the blood loss they typically had--in shorter (or sometimes longer) times!

"I'm just thrilled with having my period again for the 2nd time in two weeks!"

"Who knew that back-pain could add
such dimension to my life?" 

"I love the delight of discovering my surprise visitor

|after 7 months of blood-free existence!"


* Peri-Menopause may not be as enjoyable for every women who enters it. Please discuss with your loved ones ways that you can make this 'Change of Life' a better one for you!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The perils of activewear (ou les orteils de chameau)

I finally take the leap. After years of sewing and resewing, I toss my decade-old leggings with their worn, next-to-nonexistent inner thigh seams into the garbage. And just to be sure that I won't fish them out again when that bout of clothing nostalgia hits, I cover them in more garbage. Which means that I go from seven pairs of exercise pants down to... one.  A single pair of leggings for my weekly exercise needs.

Sure, there are probably people out there who hand wash their leggings everyday, but I ain't one of them. After sweating my ass off in Lycra-infused fabrics, the last thing I want to be doing is soaking and then squeezing Woolite through that sweaty-ass activewear in the kitchen sink.  Legging replenishment was now vital.

My daughter? She invests in Lulu Lemon leggings. She hoards birthday and Christmas money along with her gift cards and then makes a yearly pilgrimage to the White Omega-esque Icon (whatever the hell that is) so that she may add to her legging collection.  I can't do that. I just can't. Yes, they are well-made leggings, yes, they make most people's asses look fantastic, but they are $118.00! For a pair of fucking leggings. I firmly believe that leggings should be $20 or less, which is probably why all my inner thigh seams disintegrate. Now, if I were to do the math - Lulu Lemon leggings might actually be economical. Spending $118 on a pair of leggings which could potentially last for 10 years, at one wearing per week, 520 wearings... that's $118 divided by 520 that's only 22 cents per wearing - fairly reasonable, but to lay out $800 on leggings in one go? Sheer madness.

Instead, I go to Old Navy where they have leggings for $35 each, which still makes me gag at the cost but at least my ass would be covered for much, much less. So I squeeze that ass into a couple of different legging styles in the Old Navy change room, marvel at the fact that they retain their shape on and off and bring them home at a cost of only $237, which means I'll be wearing each pair at only a cost of 6 cents per wearing.  Margonomics ladies and germs. My old roommate, Margo, who has convinced me many, many times to buy clothing based on what I'd be willing to pay to wear it once.  "Yes, that designer velvet vest/shirt combo might be $278, but if you wear it 10 times that's only $27.80 per wearing. If you wear it 20 times? Only $13.90 per wearing." HUZZAH!!

I get them home, take off the tags and strip them of their sizing stickers. Then it's time to christen them in an exercise setting. I pull them on sans underwear, because they all have cotton gussets and why have to wash an extra pair of underwear if you don't have to?  My Go Dry Active Fitted leggings are snug. Snugger than they had felt in the change room. Pulling them on is more similar to wedging your way into a pair of tights, but after doing a little bit of the pantyhose dance, they are on.

I am now clad in fully formed leggings, not an open inner thigh seam to be seen anywhere. I know, because I have to look down and admire the hole-less leggings. I do a bit of a presentation in front of the mirror to enjoy my new purchases when I can't help but notice that I am sporting a very pronounced camel toe. The Go Dry Fitted quality to the leggings is proudly offering up my labia for the world at large. My womanly bits are plumped out as if they've just had a collagen treatment before Awards season.

I tug the crotch down a bit to make myself a little less porn.  Better, but still humped quadruped-y. I head downstairs. David is working on his computer as I enter the room.

"These," I announce, "are my new holeless leggings!" I do a little twirl. "What do you think?"

"Very nice," says David, briefly glancing up.

"They okay?" I ask.

He raises his head once more and actually looks this time. "They are..." His gaze zeroes in on the camel zone. "They're ah... They're... ah... form-fitting." He clears his throat.

"Oh," I say nonchalantly. "You mean this?" I tilt my hips forward.

That's when Rissa comes in. "What are you doing?"

"Just showing off my new..."

"Holy camel-toe Batman!"

"RIGHT?!? How am I supposed to wear these?"

"Are you wearing underwear?" Rissa asks, peering at me as discreetly as a daughter whose checking out her mother's junk can.

"No! They have a gusset-thingie, I shouldn't have to wear underwear."

"Uh... Mama? You have to wear underwear with those."

"What? Is this not a good look?" I hike up the waistband a little higher, to add to the visual joke, nearly doing myself an injury. "Oyeeeesh!"

"Simmer down there," from Rissa.

David still seems captivated.

"Maybe this is the look that they're hoping for?' I suggest.

"No," says Rissa. "No it isn't. Go put some underwear on!"

"But these are skin-tight, how can I...?"

"A thong! Put on a thong!" She points to the stairs and doesn't drop eye contact until I move.

"Fine. Fine."  I trudge back upstairs and struggle to pull off the left leg of the leggings wondering if I can maneuver my way into a cotton thong, without having to pull down the right leg completely.  I let out a small shout of triumph and I realize that through the power of transdimensional physics I totally can, "WHOO-HOO!!!"

"You all right up there?" yells David.

"Oh yeah! I have mad dressing skills!" I shimmy back into the other leg and check out my junk in the mirror before heading downstairs once more.

"All good?" I ask, presenting my pelvis again.

David and Rissa check me out.

"You're good," says David, sounding slightly disappointed.  Rissa shoots him a look.

"You're fine. Very Rated G. Good job."

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Do you qualify for our discount today?

"Do you qualify for our discount today?"

"What discount?" I asked. Even though, from the moment the word 'discount' left her lips, in the back of my head, I knew what she was going to say. But in that 1/4 of a second it took her to reply, I found myself silently begging...  Please don't say Senior, please don't say Senior please don't say Seniorplease don't say Seniorplease GOD don't say Senior.

"Our Senior Discount."

There it was. January 18, 2018. I was mistaken for someone 65 years of age. I am 49 and a half. My birthday's in July.

Instead of laughing out loud at the absurdity of it, I woodenly said "No," while vainly reeling from shock. As I swiped my debit card I justified the mistake. She's young(er), it was because I had asked for iron pills, she saw me limp up after my dance rehearsal as my arthritic hips gave me grief, she doesn't know that asking a middle-aged woman if she qualifies for the Senior Discount is the equivalent to asking a woman who carries a few extra pounds if she's pregnant.

Just a number. It's just a number. It's a number over a decade more than my actual number... but it's just a number. I drove home, my self-pity holding me in a near-hypnotic daze.

I walked into the house. David and Rissa shouted cheerful "Hellos."

"Would you please look up what the Shoppers Drug Mart Senior Discount age is?" I asked, my confidence pathetically crawling along on the floor beside me.  Just a number, it's just a number.

"Sure," said David. "Why are we looking up..."

"Because the girl at the Pharmacy counter asked if I qualified for the Senior Discount!"

There were quickly stifled snorts of laughter from the peanut gallery.

"Not cool guys.  Not. Cool."

When I entered the living room, David and Rissa were each racing on their laptops to find the information. "65 years," David winced. "But some stores, might lower it to 55"

"I am 49 fucking years old! At the least she thought I was 5.5 years older than I am and at the most 15.5 YEARS!! Oh my God! Unless she thought I was 70!! I was having such a good week!"

And then it struck me. "When I went up to the counter, I was wearing my fucking pink sock monkey hat!!"

"This same hat, 3 years ago, got me carded at the LCBO!! Which means that in the past 3 years I have apparently aged 40 years, because they ask anyone who looks 25 years or younger for their ID at the LCBO.  Bring me my hat - this needs to be documented."

"Oh Mama," said Rissa. "You don't look 65."

"It's not that I want to be mistaken for 35," I grumped, slamming the hat back on my head. "I don't even mind being mistaken for my actual age. I don't mind being 49. I LIKE being 49! I'm kicking ass at 49!! But Sixty-fucking-five?!?"

"You totally should have taken the discount," said Rissa.

"If I hadn't been so gutted, I would have," I said, as David grabbed his phone to take my picture.

"You do not look 65," said David. "You do not look 55. You don't look 49." He kissed me before shooting the photo above. "You are a stunning woman who put all other woman to shame. A Goddess. My Goddess."

Next time? I'm strutting up to that Pharmacy counter in all my Goddess glory and I'm taking the fucking discount.