Sunday, January 23, 2011

Victoria Park Skate

Skates in the trunk, we'd get bundled to go
Looking for mitts, to play in the snow.

The crisp smell of winter, the humid fresh air
Into the old car, to meet buddies there.

Down to the lake at Victoria Park
Oh how we loved to skate round in the dark.

From the central loud speaker the music would blare
Couples would skate arm in arm without care.

Mom wondering if I'd ever skate without falling.
Dad driven to teach in spite of my bawling.

An old wooden chair, with the seat long gone
Would be my balance till I could glide on my own.

Round and round the flagpole I'd go
Sometimes to stop I'd collapse in the snow.

Those quite daring would play crack the whip
Teens holding tightly, not willing to slip.

But me, a little one, chair gripped firm
Would shuffle along tenacious to learn.

Nose running, sweaty, to the boathouse we'd go
Hot chocolate in a paper cups, cheeks aglow.

Back to the car, energy waning
But regarding the skating, there'd be no complaining.

Next night at supper, our nagging would start,
Please, please, please can we go back to the Park?

The Park more skating.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Avoidance

The summer before last I took my first creative writing course. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much. The thing that stood out to me above all else is that all writers, (the honest ones anyway) go through times of tremendous self-doubt. A kind of writer's cramp sets in - like a cramp of the soul. All creative functions twist and seize up and paralysis sets in.

Knowing how to push past this shaming shutdown is the key. It starts with identifying the behaviours we use to avoid writing. Instead of writing: I clean the kitchen, eat something, surf the net, check and recheck my emails, check the Weather Network, throw in some laundry, plan meals, daydream about a past event, anticipate a future event, watch YouTube, look at my Picasa file, call my Dad, call a friend in B.C., go outside and walk the perimetre of the yard, check the garage, check airfares for some assumed vacation getaway with my husband, read the fishing regulations for Ontario and look at maps, listen to worship music, pray a bit and the most common thing - sit like a stone and lament.

None of these behaviours are very productive, except maybe the laundry one. None are inspiring, except maybe the prayer one. So I've learned new techniques. Looking at photos can lead to making up scenarios. Pure description can start a flow of words that could lead to a breakthrough. The key here is for me to write anyway. Write no matter what. Write, no matter how I feel about myself. Do it because in some way, I can.

So today, I will write. I will keep on a course of positivity and not let self doubt pull me off the page. And this is the reason. I am of reasonably sound mind, the Lord loves when I write, even just for him....and ....all my laundry is done.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Seeing Through New Eyes

The decision was made. The deed was done. On December 28th after much consternation, I had laser eye surgery to correct my inability to see distance. After being told that I would trade the “up close” for the “far away” and considering and rejecting mono-vision as an option, I lie on the table and let some capable professional cut my corneas and burn some tissue. The whole process was swift, but decidedly more violent than I was led to believe. When I think back, I realized that I had kidded myself pretty well, thinking someone could permanently change my vision with no discomfort and no healing process. How dim could I be?

After I paid for the procedure, I was given a muscle relaxant and can honestly say, felt no effects whatsoever. After waiting almost five hours with a trusted friend, it was my turn in the assembly line. The only preparation was a little blue surgical hat to place over my hair. I lie on the table, put the back of my head in the hole and was told to look at the little red light in the machine. Freezing was liberally poured into my eyes, though it felt no different than having a shower. Then, wowsers! My right upper eyelid was yanked back and taped down, the lower the same. Some sort of apparatus seemed to be tucked in to keep my eye open. I lay very still and watched the red dot change and move. I was told I would feel pressure and yes, I did. Then I was told I would smell some burning, not to worry. Okay. Then they said that everything would go dark for a few seconds. Everything went as they said. After that, the red dot came back, the tape was yanked off and the eye was done. I felt the “discomfort” I was warned about, but nothing much to it. BUT…. not so for the left eye.  I can say, that only if for less than 7 seconds, the left eye hurt. Pain. As long as it took me to firmly grasp the two rubber balls they had given me to hold and think that this is not what I bargained for, it was all over. Tape ripped off and I sat up.

Now my friend had told me that she could see everything clearly when she sat up and was quite excited. I saw as if looking without a mask underwater. Halos and milky wetness was all I could see. I sat on a chair; a machine was wheeled up. Nothing further to do on the right eye…. but oh, the left! The surgeon started poking and manipulating it with what looked like a hypodermic. Good thing my vision was blurred, or things could have gotten ugly right there. I was given dark glasses, led from the room, told to wait 45 minutes longer and was examined again. More unnerving, was that just before I left the clinic, I was given a second dose of freezing “to get me home.” I appreciated that and wondered what horrors were yet to come.

The right eye never did have any pain. The left felt like a chunky pebble was rolling around under the lid. Routinely, twelve hours later I was back at the clinic with my dark spectacles on and was told that the right cornea had a rough edge that it would “settle down” in a few days. Religiously following the “drop” ritual, I learned that was soon true. Both eyes were strained but painless within two days.

It has been just two weeks since the procedure. Three days ago I stopped regretting my decision. I can no longer see “up close” but dollar store reading glasses more than suffice. I bought numerous pairs and have them in every room of the house, in my purse, in my car and on my desk at school. I am equipped.

The world looks differently now. I now see a frameless, glare-less world. For forty years I’ve worn glasses all day long and it is liberating not to have to do this. I’m excited and very hopeful this will last. It was a good decision after all.

There's so much to see!