Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dear God: Give Us Our Daily "Glove From Above"

February is toast!

March apparently will make it's annual appearance dressed as a lamb but with a lion mane. At least by all local weather reports.

The Olympics will end and the hangovers in Vancouver will start as quick as the deficits are tallied and the homeless move back to their boxes in the east side.

As I type this, it is time to get ready for the Gold medal hockey game. Canada vs USA. I will put on my patriotic "Canada" official Olympic hoodie, and will get Mary to do the same. The two of us will then head over to friends with my car adorned with a "GO Canada" flag attached and flapping in blaze of patriotic glory. We will watch the game and pray to the hockey Gods to give us the "Glove from above" if those Gods feel us worthy, and snatch pucks that seemed surely bound for the mesh. The crowds will roar and you will hear a collective "did you see that save?" from a sea of some thirty million Canadians that have in our DNA, the "hockey gene".

Our game.

We all remember for some reason where we were when Canada beat the USA to win the gold medal in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Funny lot we are. American friends will tell us in detail where they were when they heard Kennedy was assassinated; or regale in historical detail their location, and with whom they were with' on 9/11.

Canadians on the other sporting hand, will give you coordinates to the exact degree, along with temperature, time and weather outlook when "Our team" won something or other.
It is hockey man. This is Canada.
This is our game, to be sure, but boy do we have an inferiority complex about it. There is no swagger or no given. The outcome is not always a win; a medal; a world championship.
No sir, last winter Olympics we finished so far back, the country drank all the beer in our borders for a week straight! The arm chair hockey coaches and the political pundits flapped gums about what went wrong for a year! We analyzed and second guessed every move made by coaches on the games that we lost. Governments fell I am sure over the catastrophe.

The tide is changing. Russia and Canada were always the two hockey supremacy's in the world. Outside of the "Miracle on ice"30 years ago, the USA was not a hotbed of hockey talent. That is changing.
NCAA is working on drafting talent and building a program of young talented players.
The annual "Boxing day" fixture in our collective consciousness is the World Junior Hockey championships, where traditionally we mop up the world and then apologize in our true Canadian nature for having so Damn much young hockey talent.
This year, we lost!
Lost to the United States of America!
That country to the south of us that we thought just raised Nascar drivers, suddenly came out of the south and beat our young boys at our game!

So in just over one hour from now as I type this, Canada will break a record that quite possibly never be broken again. More people will watch this game in than any other game in our history.
When we beat Russia in the quarter finals just last Wednesday to advance to the Fridays semi-finals, over 10 million of us northern denizens tuned in to watch.
The estimates tell us that the number will be a lot more today.

I pray to the "Gloves from above" as most of my northern neighbours are doing right now.

It is our game, to be sure, but in true Canadian manner, I want to apologize to my friends in the US, for winning soundly!

Go Canada


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Coping With A New World.

It was two years ago almost to the day when I posted my first blog. I remember clearly the excitement of it. Reading MY words when they were magically transformed onto a template that I created.
The Super Bowl was just in the books , and American Idol was once again in full swing.
And I was deaf as a stump!
No hearing, no balance, and no idea that in 4 months time I would be implanted with a tiny computer inside my head that would give me semblance of sound.
Digital speak as I called it,

Since that first post in my first blog (life in a cone of silence), I figured out how to cope with what I have, make due with technology that attempts to recreate the world that once graced my cochlea, and I learned that my lives concerto is what I make of it.

Today in church while listening to the band, my mind rambled over many thoughts. I caught glimpses of the music and figured out more coping strategies. I watched the people around me and lip read to figure out where we were in the song. Just another strategy in my world of coping.

We do what we can, which is never the best, but its the best we got.
Every day is about coping. I am deaf, I have no balance, yet I can figure out ways of getting through the day and it's challenges.
My cochlear implant gives me sound, it is the comprehension of that sound that needs the work.
I/we (all CI folks) employ strategies to "get it". We read lips, use closed caption, fill in blanks and guess a hell of a lot.
No balance is just damned determination.
"I will not fall, I will not fall"!
Head up, focus and use all the muscles to walk from A to B.

Two years ago I needed canes and could not hear a jet roar.

On Friday I did a 2 1/2 Kilometer power walk at the indoor track, and enjoyed Mary's conversation the whole time.

Damn my life is blessed!



Friday, February 19, 2010

Missing Cuba!

I think I may have gone to the warm sun too soon in the long winter of our Canadian discontent.

Mary and I just got back from a week in Cuba, but after a scant 6 days back it hit me that it is still February!
Funny how the seasonal disorders; the blues and the blahs ramp up big in the shortest month of the year.
Perhaps because the month that is shortest in days, is also shortest in our true source of vitamin D: Sun glorious sun.

Regardless, Cuba chased the blues right out of my horn for 7 wonderful days.

Temps in the 30's every day with the exception of Superbowl Sunday. On the day of hype and American glory it dropped down to the mid teens (Celsius my American friends!)Great balls of orange sun every day, as we laid on the sand and watched the surf turf the land.

This was my second visit to the island of Cuba.
My last visit was during Christmas 25 years ago.
My father had just passed away and I had an opportunity to use sun, sand and Cerveza to reflect on what I thought was a sad "part of life" event. He died a young man, not quite 60 yet, and it was a surprise to me.

I have since come to a new acceptance that people die, babies are born, spring follows is change. Accept and enjoy.
And I have. My chapter 2 is a glorious wonderful story with a wonderful lady that showed me how to live and love again!

Cuba, as I discovered, offered a different look at the world. A view that life is a gift, and what we have in our world, we take for granted until we see another world.

I loved Cuba then, and love it now. The people are warm and so thankful and grateful for the dollar store trinkets that we brought to give to them as our tips or our way of thanking the maid/servers/hostess etc. It was a million dollars to a lady who lovingly custom made our eggs each day when Mary gave her colouring books for her children.

25 years ago, on my first visit to Cuba, I smoked too many Coheba's, drank too many Mojito and cerveza (por favor)!, and got montezuma's revenge! Cuba had just celebrated 25 years of Castro in power.

25 years later, last week, I smoked no cigars, and drank the odd beer on the beech and took advantage of nice wines at dinners. Spanish coffee ended most evenings and early nights were the norm.
Ahh yes 52 year old male versus a 27 year old boy!

Castro is still alive, and technically still in power. His brother though has the control of the remote on the island right now.

Regardless of the great time, we are back in "groundhog" month, where every day is the same: sun rises late, sets early, same cold and damp temp every day. No sun, just grey with shades of Gray!

I feel like a snarly old manopausal (new word) male who needs more sun, more sand, and vino blanco por favor!

I spent some time looking at Blogs by Cubans the past few days, and if you get some time I suggest you do the same. The simple fact that you and I can do this (Blog) we take for granted. Different story in Cuba, and one day I will do a post on it.

Oh the sun is making a comeback here in the land of "own the podium". I best open the blinds and suck it up.



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pull Down Your Pants And Slide On The Ice!

So I watched a bit of the Olympics, as I felt it was my patriotic duty and really, what else is on for the next 17 days as this country comes to a standstill, both in terms of productivity and media.
Anyway, I guess I am bit of curmudgeon and perhaps need to lighten up a bit, but my God man...what happened to the "Good sport".."Good Game"..."Happy to be here"....lucky to be competing with the worlds best."..."Blessed to be amongst these athletes"?


We apparently must "own the podium" as it were. Not my words, but a conscious and expensive effort for the past 4 years to not show how good and classy athletes we are, and pick up the odd medal here and there; no we have to own it!

Me thinks it smacks of arrogance, and flies in the face of what I figured was the worlds perception of us good Canadians.

Apologizing for things that are not our fault; opening doors for every and all; health care to all the good folks in our land of lakes and trees. But that is as gone as Saars. Dead as courteous drivers on the Highway of Heroes.

Overnight we became the people that want to take over the world of shooting whilst skiing; dancing on ice; tobogganing way too fast in spandex, and of course Hockey.
Ahhhh yes. Our game!

The poor Canadian that finished 5Th in our first Gold Medal affair will go home and never be heard from again! This young lad (Eric Guay) is the fifth best in the world at this sport, and yet not a peep was heard about him, not a glimpse of his parents (who I am sure are undoubtedly proud) sitting in the stands. And sadly, we will probably never hear from him again.

No, you see we have to "own" the podium. All colours of it. Fifth is kissing your sister with tongue damn it!

Why can't we celebrate excellence?
Why do we have to "WIN", "OWN", "Decimate", "Destroy" ???

"Ladies and Gentlemen take my advice. Pull down your pants and slide on the ice"...All the way to the bottom of hill and have the joy of your life.

Nice to be back