Change #94: Perfecting My Saturday Morning With Paintball & Welts

Workout clothes. Hiking boots or running shoes. Cooler. WATER! Ice. Full length paintball body suit. Armour. Helmet. Paintballs. And of course, you’re paintball gun.

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Prep before.

****

All those questions that I asked, all those months ago, are finally answered.

It happened this Saturday. It was post-walk with LBM at 6 AM, post-showering, and post-wiggling into my tank top, sports bra, and tights. We had already coordinated with our friends Sheila and D. (he asked that I create a fictional name for him, Diego? Dexter? Ok, we’ll just go with D.) about the time we would rendezvous at Delta Force Paintball in Stittsville. We agreed to meet at 8:45 AM.

We were a little late.

There was an overwhelming sense of anxiety that flooded over me as we drove out to the Delta Force Paintball site. I was concerned about hitting someone with my paintball and seriously, and inadvertently, hurting them. I’ve never used a paintball gun before. Was there a chance that I could be so terrible at shooting, that I would send a ball soaring towards a referee critically injuring him/her without meaning to? Or, hit another player in the head sending him into a coma?

Then there was my concern for the three people that I convinced to do this insane event with me: hubby, Sheila and D. What happened if something happened to them? I twisted and turned my hands around in front of me in the passenger’s seat of the car as me, at 42 years old, decided I would play paintball for the first time and had somehow convinced three other people to do the same. (Although I learned later, that D. had already gone before. What???)

We needed to arrive at 9:00 AM as this was our first time playing. We were told that we needed some information before the commencement of the paint games. The information required me to know the following: how to use our paintball guns, how to reload, and how to turn on and off the safety for the gun. Oh, and more importantly, how we were to exit the area with hands in the air after we had been shot. Failure to raise your hands, meant you were in the game still. Yellow splatters would be your new favorite colour.

It was an overwhelming amount of information to take in, attempt to retain, and then recall when necessary, on only 1.5 cups of tea. All this before 10 AM. After 10 AM I would need to use this knowledge that I had been given at the following locations: The Two-Storey Castle, Speedball, and Prison Break. (There were others, but we called it a day around 1 PM). At these locations, I would become both the hunted and the hunter. Purple balls loaded in my gun, they would explode when catapulted into the air and would hit my target. Haha! I would rule the castle!

After I dumped all my paintballs on the ground, I reloaded the holder again. We hadn’t officially started yet, and I had already poured a bunch of balls into my holder, and failed to plug the hole with my finger that would enter into my paintball gun. Purple balls surrounded me, hubby and our friends where we stood. (We were not given our guns until we were in the zone where the games were played.)

My expertise already showing, I then managed to put my armour on top of my paintball body suit. One of the nice guys from the company very kindly and gently pointed out that the armour should go underneath the suit.

“Oh,” I think was my eloquent response. It reflected the depth of knowledge I had about participating in the event I was preparing for.

We finally put our helmets over our head. There are signs that are clearly marked that state you must keep your helmet on at all times while in the playing field. This is for your protection as there are other games going. There is the possibility you could get hit by stray paintballs. The man who delivered our detailed instructions did it with comedic oomph. At one point he explained that after we had been shot you could raise your hands in the air and say a number of different things that included: Out! Down! or …Ow! 

But the helmet thing he was serious about. Not a joke was made. The warning was real: TAKE YOUR HELMETS OFF WHILE ON THE COURSE, AND YOU WILL GET KICKED OUT.

I had on my tank top and tights, the armour that protected the chest and stomach area, and then the paintball suit. I was certain it was already in the 20’s, and when I placed the helmet over my head, and the staff at Delta Force Paintball secured the strap around my chin, (oops….forgot that part) I instantly felt like all the air had evaporated around me. I took deeper breaths in and tried not to panic about not being able to breathe.

The good thing is: I know for certain my hubby felt the same way. So, I was not alone. The trick, was not to panic. More importantly – DO NOT REMOVE THE HELMET.

As we walked through the wooded area, we came across a patch where slippery mud awaited us. I decided to bypass the mud and save my hiking boots by meandering over to the left side where shrubs and trees were in abundance, but mud was not. However, after further consideration about how dense the shrubs were, I forced myself to trample through the muck. The brown slippery mud was safer than the dense shrubs that awaited me to the left. The shrubs were guaranteed to tug and pull at my already overloaded gear that clung to my body, and by the weighted gun that I carried. (If felt like I was carrying bricks.)

Once at the castle, the referee outlined the objectives.  Hubby and I were placed on the blue team, and Sheila and D. were placed on the red team. Blue Team’s mission was this: to protect the castle. Red Team’s mission: attack the castle and raise the flag.

I was going to stay on the bottom level of the castle, but hubby suggested we go to the second level. We made our way to the top and the firing of purple balls started. Me and hubby were perched around the back of the castle, so it took some time before I saw anyone get hit. I was both shocked and horrified when I saw hubby put his hands up in the air, casually walk down the stairs, and announced, “Hit!” several times.

My mouth open, I stood there. I was alone. It was me and the few others that remained to defend the castle. I wondered how exactly this had happened? How was it that I remained? I saw someone from the red team hiding behind a barricade in front of me and I began shooting, shooting and shooting. We weren’t allowed to shoot blindly, nor were we allowed to shoot in the head. From an elevated level, the rules that I adhered to sure made it difficult to take my target out. I tried and tried to get a shot at the person (man, I think?) but I don’t believe I ever did.

From that way or this way, or yonder, or over there, a paintball EXPLODED and hit me in my upper thigh!!!!!!

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Welcome to paintball.

Did it hurt!

Holy SH*T! You Betchya!

This was my introduction to my first paintball hit.

Question Answered: Does paintball hurt?

Yup, it sure does. 

The Red Team killed us and raised the flag. Then, we switched it up and we killed them, and raised the flag. (Not me, other people. From my team. People who play paintball better.)

After this there was Speedball where our Blue Team lined up against a fence, with only barrels between us and the other team. The Red Team stood against a line of trees. I thought briefly of those war movies, where you had a courageous hero that would charge down the center screaming, and would get several hits in on the enemy taking their people out, before the hero would succumb to a fatal blow. I wanted to be that person. I would be a shock trooper.

But my first paintball hit still stung. I was never brave enough. I made it to the first barrel and hung out with some kids. Then, I got clipped on my collarbone. It didn’t hurt as much, and I don’t think the paintball exploded. But, any injury counts, so I walked out.

When we switched sides, I got clipped on my finger. That hurt. And I was out again.

We had completed 2 rounds. I was sweating so much my body armour clung to me inside my paintball suit.  I wobbled off the course with my helmet firmly affixed to my face until it was safe to remove it. Once we made it back to where the picnic tables were, I pulled down the paintball suit to my waist to cool off and felt the refreshing breeze on my arms. (I had my workout clothes underneath.)

Sweat dribbled down my body. My hair was stuck to the back of my neck. I also found myself fading a little and decided it best to head to the car to grab water and a granola bar. We had all agreed to one more round. Nourishment  and hydration before the start of it, was a much needed requirement.

I swore we had more time. When hubby and I got to the car I gobbled my Kashi Bar down and gulped some water as my ears heard the words, “Red Team & Blue Team…”

I turned to hubby and said, “What? I thought we had more time? We finished our last game early?”

We pulled and yanked at our suits, and suited up for our last game of the day. As I pulled the helmet that covered my face on, I felt this: air-can’t-breath….air-can’t-breathe….air-can’t-breathe….

We walked through the woods again to our destination. The heat soared. Water dripped from my nose. I hadn’t even begun to shoot my heavy  gun yet. (Did I mention that? The guns were SUPER HEAVY! I must get to the gym and work my upper body.)

Thump, thump, thump, thump.

My heart. Can’t breathe.

The paint game commences again. I start from the back and run to a barricade. Then, the unthinkable happens. My gun jams.

I hunch down behind the barricade, waiting to get shot. I’m unarmed and trapped. Then, I say something like, “Referee, gun jam!”

I start to walk over to where the refs are and amazingly, no one shoots me.

Once there the referee examines my gun, turns to me and says something about me popping the air off an I think I hear, “you must have done it when you were running when you were scared.”

I can’t help but laugh.

I go back to my spot. I take a few more shots. Then someone hits me on my right knee. A second later, two more shots hit me on my left knee.

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Did I mention that the knee shot broke skin and I was bleeding? Not a lot. Just a little.

I yell, “Hit!!” And slowly walk to the barrel that I am to touch and then rejoin the game.

I have the option to go back, but I linger by the barrel for awhile. My hubby sees me and motions that I can join the game again. (In this game you get multiple lives, it’s not always the case. But right then, I could. However, at less than 5 minutes, you don’t get to come back.) Reluctantly, I slowly walk back to the barricade.

I’m tired. I’m hot. I can’t breathe. I think I’m hungry.

I hide behind a barricade and I have no idea if I got shot again.

The game is over. I can’t remember if we won or not. I don’t think so. Then, we switch sides and do it again. Once on the other side, I get shot again and I go hang out with some of my team mates that are lingering by the trees because they ran out of paintballs.

I’m hot. And I’m tired.

From what I know, no one else stopped playing before they needed to. My hubby stayed in the game right to the end, perched behind a bus. I don’t know about my friends as they were on the opposite side. But, I bet they played until they couldn’t play no more.

I am apparently the biggest wimp.

Would I do it again?

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The Pushing Boundaries Blog Team

Absolutely! It was one of those days where your mind is in a constant state of working hard trying to figure things out. I struggled to reload and load my paintballs each time. (I dumped my purple paintballs several times) I exerted myself physically running, crouching, hiding, and trying not to get shot. Sure, it hurt.

But, without the pain I would never have this experience. A bruise here and there, and I’ve decided, it was worth it.

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Sorry Sheila about your arm. I hope you feel the same about the bruises.

Change #94: Impending, Paintball Challenge

Date: Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 (That’s Saturday!)

Where: Ottawa, ON

Who: Hubby, 2 friends and me!

Why: Because I’ve never played paintball before!!!

Top 5 Concerns (There’s only 5 because it’s late, and I’m tired):

  1. I should read the instructions/rules/regulations. Our friends already did.
  2. Will I get an eye infection if I get mud in my eye, while playing paintball, and wearing contact lenses?
  3. Am I getting a cold?
  4. Does getting hit by a paintball hurt?
  5. I am very passive. Will I seriously be able to shoot someone with a paintball?

***Bonus Concern – If it rains, do we still go?  (See concern #2 regarding eye infection/ mud/contact lenses)

***

Book Reading Challenge Update: Does anyone think I have a problem because I have 2 books on the go, and I am contemplating starting a 3rd?

Change #93: On A School Night, Go To The Advance Screening of Dunkirk

Over the years, I’ve entered, entered, and entered a contest to win free tickets to an advance screening of some movie. The last time it was Wonder Woman. I believe another time it was Saving Mr. Banks. In all, I had apparently entered 23 times before it finally happened.

I was on my morning break at work, and my email from home downloaded to my phone. Imagine my overwhelming joy when I saw last week, that I had a chance to enter to win tickets to see an advance screening of Dunkirk. I saw the movie trailer some months back and I was hanging on the edge of my seat. I can’t even recall what movie I was watching that time, but all I thought was, MUST SEE THAT MOVIE! As well, a few days prior to receiving the email for the contest, my hubby had announced that people were already saying that the movie would be AMAZING. (It hadn’t even been released yet!)

As my fingers frantically punched into my phone the information that was required in order to enter the contest, Mrs. Negative, reared her ugly head.

My fingers stalled for a few moments as I wondered whether it was worth it. Bad Luck Penny pounced on me at my most vulnerable time and whispered into my ear, you? Do you really think you will win? 

Then, I did what I do when I write. I waved my hands at her in an attempt to shoo her away from me, like the mosquitoes that swarmed around me this morning on my walk with LBM. But Bad Luck Penny wouldn’t leave me alone. So I smacked her away, with a take that! 

And I entered. That day I received an email saying, I had won!

Take that Bad Luck Penny! Hubby and I were going to the advance screening of Dunkirk!

I was excited about it initially. But then as the day was nearly upon me, I wondered whether it was a good idea or not. I would have to get into work early in order to make it to the event on time, and then at the close of the day I would have to crawl through traffic. We had already been informed by the organizers that we needed to be there early.

But then I thought, it’s for Dunkirk! Of course, I’m going!

Yesterday was the day. I went to work early, did my time, and then once in my card I yanked out my GPS to see if she could navigate me through some crazy traffic. GPS decided she would attempt to send me down a road that was closed, but I did not listen to her and made my own turns. GPS and I eventually reconnected, and I was somewhat confident she was sending me in the right direction to the movie theater. In the end, GPS’s route was not much different than mine.

Hubby and I met at the movie theater with time to spare and entered 1 1/2 hours before showtime. We received our tickets, and then were placed in a cue. People all around us chatted and laughed. We were all in good spirits.

But as the lineup grew and grew, I became more uneasy. I’m short. There’s no way to write it differently. For that reason I believe, sometimes when I’m standing in a lineup with lots of people, I get claustrophobic.

I became short (pun!) with my husband. I snapped at him for some irrational reason. I became crusty with the people that were laughing all around me. I wanted to move. I wanted to be outside of everyone.  I wanted to run.

Finally the doors opened and we made our way into the theater. We had a short (ok, that will be the last time I use that word) security check, and then we found seats in the middle of the movie theater. Everyone who attended was much more considerate than usual when we purchase regular movie tickets, and we all made a point of shifting down in order to ensure there were no gaps between seats and that way there would be room for everyone.

The movie was an IMAX version. As the trailers started, the sound thumped off the walls, and made our seats vibrate. When Dunkirk began it was an intense movie with non-stop action from beginning to the end. I found myself covering my eyes, and then peeking between clasped fingers, hoping the men would make it onto the ships to be ferried home. Many times during the film the men who were waiting were killed by enemy gunfire. For those who made it onto the ships, they too were not safe. In the end, it was a roller coaster of a movie.

I know that’s a brief synopsis of the movie, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. This movie is like nothing I have ever seen before. You should see it.

The only downside of attending the advance screening? The lineup, the amount of time we had to commit to lining up in order to attend the early screening, and the sound was cranked up much too loud making it difficult to hear the dialogue.

Would I do this again? I don’t think so. I’m really glad we did it for such a wonderful movie like Dunkirk, but if the movie was meh, I would have been disappointed.

Now – GO SEE DUNKIRK!

Change #92: Oh My, Oh My! Pink Hair!

Ok, not really.

My quest to fulfill this challenge started yesterday when I walked the aisles of my local Shopper’s Drug Mart in an attempt to locate a product that would turn my hair pink for just one day. I turned over multiple products and they said something along the lines of, will rinse out in  4-8 washes. 

That didn’t work for me. I know I’m suppose to be pushing my boundaries here, but I would be uncomfortable with strolling in Monday morning with pink hair at my job. No problem on the weekend when I waltz into my local Starbucks to gather my food items and tea, walk LBM with my close friend Sheila, or hang out with my long-time and another close friend for tea on a warm summer’s day in the late morning.

But work, no. No pink hair for work. 

There were other problems that I had with the will rinse out in 4-8 washes product as well that included:

  1. I believe it used peroxide to clear the colour. (No, not going to happen.)
  2. It required me to purchase gloves. (What does that mean? I’ll burn my hands applying the product?)
  3. If you’re hair has been chemically treated…. (Ahem, everyone remember that I went blonde back in March?)

The other problem that I had was that back in my 20’s I would dye my own hair. I remember the mess it made with brown or red bits that caked my bathtub. Sure, I felt like a natural woman (to borrow a line from a commercial I remember when I was much younger) with my new colour, but then after I looked back in awe of my hair in my bathroom mirror, my eyes would inevitably drift to the bathtub. I would then know that someone had to clean it. And that someone was always me. It was no simple chore requiring at least an hour of roll-up-your-sleeves-and-put-all-your-muscle-into-it marathon cleaning session. Yeah, not fun.

Back to yesterday. I finally found a product that was a one day thing.  (Oh joy!) As well, the only requirements were hairspray and the box containing the pink stuff. I  was so thrilled I felt like throwing my hands up and trying my disco moves like John Travolta  in Saturday Night Fever. 

This morning I washed, blow-dried, and flat-ironed my hair. (Apparently, hairspray is flammable. I didn’t know. I haven’t used hairspray at home, well, ever.) Then I applied the hairspray as instructed and waited for it to dry. Then, I took out the compact that contained the pink “splat” and began applying it. Nothing, nothing, nothing happened.

I put more on. As I did this, I dribbled crumbly pink bits along the edge of my bathroom counter, and gobs of it fell into the sink. I applied and applied. Still nothing.

What I did manage to do was get a pink “splat” on my neck that looked like I had been bite by a vampire. I continued applying the pink crumbly texture and got a chunk on my forehead that was noticeable. I rubbed it out with kleenex and water while thinking, no, it’s not suppose to go on the forehead! 

After 20 minutes I took a step back looking for some indication of pinkness. I moved to other rooms. Turned lights on. My hair, in all kinds of different places, looked the same.

Excellent investment in terms of time and money. But oh well, I tried. And I’m counting this one for that reason. Also, I applied a heavy dose of hairspray and my hair has an overwhelming scent of flowers attached to it. I believe I will require another shampoo and rinse before I leave the house today.

To sum up: PINK HAIR, EPIC FAIL.

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Yup, no difference.

 

 

 

 

Change #91: Purchase Tickets for Something You’re Not Quite Sure About: Beethoven’s 9th

We all have things that we love to do, and things that we don’t.

People in my neighbourhood love to garden. On numerous Saturday mornings I watch as people that live on my block, sweat buckets on a warm summer’s day as they engage in the tasks of planting flowers, weeding, and mulching their beloved flower beds. Dirt is caked in their work gloves, and when they finish, they stand up and smile proudly at their accomplishments.

I am firmly, 100%, not one of those people. I’m more of a, Whew! That’s finished! Now I can finally move onto something I really want to do!

My reasons for planting flowers, weeding, and mulching are these as per the order of tasks already listed:

  1. I plant flowers so I don’t look bad in my neighbourhood. Ok, I still look bad. But not nearly as bad if I planted nothing.
  2. I weed only when things are getting out of control. (Ahem, it’s getting there, and I keep meaning to do it, did a little bit one morning, and every time I think about weeding, I think of something better to do. Eg. Work on my blog, or go for a run. I hate it. I really do.)
  3. Adding more mulch is a requirement in order to keep the moisture in after it rains so you’re not outside watering your flowers, shrubs, or garden twice a day. Also, it keeps the weeds away. (See point 2. Less time spent weeding. Did I mention I hate to weed my flower bed?)

Now, you’re probably wondering what does this have to do with Beethoven, right?

Here it is. I don’t know if I like Beethoven.

(Shocked gasps are heard from readers around the world!) 

(Ok, I don’t have that many readers. Their mostly in Canada.)

Anyways, I know, I know. Beethoven was a classical musical composer that wrote such and such song, and how could you say such a thing?

Because, I purchased a Beethoven (tape?) when I was in high school and I vaguely remember playing a few songs and was like, Hmmm…I don’t know how I feel about this? The fact that I have no idea whether it was a tape or CD means I didn’t fall in love with it and keep it around.

But the fact that I can’t remember, may also mean I didn’t give Beethoven a fair shot.

So why attend a concert that you’re not certain about, you ask?

Here it is: a couple of years ago my hubby and I went to Vienna and went to a classical musical concert. (Hubby thinks it may have been Beethoven, I think it may have been Mozart.) When we left at the end of the night, I remember feeling excited and full of energy. It’s the same feeling I get when when I find a new band or singer that I never knew existed and I realize I adore their music.  (Many times the band or singer has been around for quite a few years.) My most recent prime examples include: The Script and Ed Sheeran. (Stop laughing, I’m really not kidding. Ed Sheeran. I just started listening to his stuff last year.)

In Ottawa, on September 21st, Beethhoven’s 9th is playing at the National Art’s Centre (NAC) and hubby and I purchased tickets this morning. We’re going.

Because this is called Pushing Boundaries and it’s about not being afraid to try new things. I might not like everything I do, but maybe I’ll find some new experiences where I’ll think, yeah, that was worth it. But if I don’t try, I’ll never know.

On September 22nd, I’ll let you know how I finally feel about Beethoven.

Assuming it isn’t cancelled. Or I don’t get the flu. Otherwise, expect a report the day after.

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Change #90: Minions In The Air

Minions hovered above the empty school on a a warmish summer’s day. They were on the lookout for new recruits that were willing to join the mastermind Gru.

Ok, not really.

But, there were Minions in the air. One Minion in particular that was stuck to my kite.

Yes, that’s right people. I flew a child’s kite over the empty school grounds about an hour ago.

I have to say, that I don’t know at what age it became wrong to have fun. When I purchased my kite a month ago, I had to stop myself from providing a lie to the cashier that would go something like this: Yeah, I’m buying it for my kids. They’ve never flown a kite before.  

I don’t have kids, but the cashier would never know. The person processing my order never asked, but for some reason I thought I needed to defend myself. It felt as if all eyes were on me, that people somehow knew the kite was for me, and they would know that I would be the old woman trying to build and fly her kite that was designed for children.

The building part should not have been as cumbersome as it was. It was two sticks that you had to stick in the sides. Somehow I still managed to get it wrong. My husband very gently pointed it out to me when I showed him my assembled kite and asked, “Did I do it right?”

He looked at it, turned it over, and said, “Oh, well, the string is suppose to be on the other side.”

“Oh,” was my only response. I quickly corrected my error.

After it was assembled, it sat in my office for close to a month. I thought about flying it early in the morning, or late at night, when all the kids had cleared the parks. For some reason I was still scared of neighbours that would glance at me and say, what is she doing? She doesn’t even have a kid with her?

Those days came and went. As the sun finally poked it’s way out after almost a week of rain, and I had a day off from my job, I decided today would be the day.  My hubby agreed to come with me to be my photographer. As well, I suspected he also realized he needed to be my coach after I said at breakfast this morning, “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever flown a kite before.”

We had wind, but for some reason we struggled to get the Minion airborne. Let’s call this minion, Bob. Bob fluttered, and flapped, and crashed on a few occasions. My husband showed me how to hold it up, how to keep tension on the string, and encouragingly said that once he’s in the air, it’s easy. I struggled with the instructions, walked one way, walked another, took off in a small trot and still nothing.

At one point I turned to my husband and said, “My blog entry will be, kite-fail.”

My husband looked at it and said, “It’s weird. Normally there’s a tail.”

“Oh,” I laughed and added, “There is one.”

I had forgotten to unravel it.

We tried again a few more times.

Then….

Liftoff…

Bob was in the air.

I have to say, it was exhilarating. After spending so much time wondering whether I should or shouldn’t fly a kite, the time it took to build it, and the time it took to get the kite to be carried effortlessly by the wind, it felt like I had accomplished something.

Something that was so small, but for some reason, felt big.

Update On Change #89: The Revisions….

It has been brought to my attention that there was an error in my last post. This is the paragraph:

“It’s about staying below the radar. Now, that I think about it, my mission in life maybe to live in submarine mode. My objective is this: you won’t see me at all, except for the odd time when I will resurface in order to take a quick look around, before diving back under my blue ocean.  (Sure they have ***radars under water, but without it, you won’t see me at all!)”

***(Ahem, I guess it should be sonar. Sonar is used for detecting stuff under water.)

And there is the unmentioned part of Pushing Boundaries, and more generally, in terms of writing. Every time you write something publicly you run the risk that you will make a mistake (see example above) and everyone will notice. I could ignore it, or try to redefine the definition of radar to fit my use of it in terms of a submarines, but why would I do that?

I am ok with making mistakes; I make mistakes on a daily basis. I am the tea-spilling, tripping-and-falling-on-my-face, I’m-sorry-I-did-what? girl. I am the furthest thing from perfect, wobbly tummy and all, and I accept that.

Writing is an exercise in being brave. It’s hard to write stories that people will love, or maybe hate, or maybe be indifferent to. I find that I have to be ready for the feedback that comes from the process of creating a story. More specifically if I want to try to publish something, I need to be ready for the rejections that will most certainly fill my mailbox with returned manuscripts.  And I’ve had lots of rejections.

That’s ok. There are different writers out there, just like there are different types of movies. Not everyone enjoys horror movies. Some of us will stay awake for a week after watching one. (Yes, yes, I am one of those.) Also, movies that are excessively violent and could have happened are also detrimental to my sweet dreams.  Nonetheless, there are a whole group of directors that I cannot watch their movies. And that’s ok. There are different movies that I watch: enter Up, Superman, and Saving Mr. Banks.

With writing, it’s also a constant state of improvement. I’ve learned so much in the last 6 years when I first started writing, in terms of how to communicate information when writing, and how to craft a story. I think and hope, my writing has vastly improved from my earlier work. I’ve had the opportunity to research random facts in history in order to include them (hopefully accurately) in my writing. That’s the fun part of writing. There’s always a chance to improve and that maybe, one day, a large group of people will love something that you created.

It’s an exercise. And like all exercising, it never ends.

Change #89: A Week of Rain: Hello, Sunflowers and Butterflies…

You know me. You know me well. 

The items I own are meant to avoid attention. My wardrobe, and everything else I own, are made up of the following colours: black, grey, blue or white. On a rare occasion, I may toss in some red or green to spice things up.

But that’s as spicy as my life gets. One solid colour, with absolutely no patterns.

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Exhibit A: Boring….

It’s about staying below the radar. Now, that I think about it, my mission in life maybe to live in submarine mode. My objective is this: you won’t see me at all, except for the odd time when I will resurface in order to take a quick look around, before diving back under my blue ocean.  (Sure they have radars under water, but without it, you won’t see me at all!)

Then one day on my drive to work, I saw interesting canopies that protected their holders. Canopies that were brightly lit in purple or yellow; and on occasion critters were printed on them. Sure, my black canopy protected me on my walk in to work in the morning, and sheltered me from the pelting rain that would swiftly undo all the hard work I did to straighten my hair.

But I was envious. I wanted a fun canopy to protect me too! Who says, you can’t have it all? 

What I really wanted was my canopy to be clear, and be adorned with yellow baby ducks on it. What I ended up getting was a black canopy with sunflowers and butterflies.

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Hello, Fun!

Alas, there were no ducks tonight. So it will be sunflowers and butterflies that will cover me from all the rain that is forecast for the next 5 days:

July Weather
Well, thanks to Environment Canada and my new snazzy umbrella, I’m all ready.  (Hmmm, wonder if I should have purchased a rain poncho too?) 

And just to make sure that I don’t chicken out, I’m tossing it in my knapsack so that way it’s my only choice to shelter me from the impending rain. It will be a situation of: use the sunflowers and butterflies to protect yourself, or – GET WET!

Change #88: Planting My Two Baby Gardens

At 9 PM the day after summer solstice and it’s finally happened.

Something that I’ve meant to do for years. I’ve planted a somewhat bigger pretend garden in boxes, that sit on my deck.

Several years ago we had a birthday party for my husband and in an effort to make my home as inviting as ever for our future guests, I planted some tomato plants in ceramic pots and placed them on our deck, and hung some baskets that contained spices over the balcony.

I felt as if I had achieved the impossible. For once, I was finally getting into making my home feel warm and inviting for friends and family.

Except, one of the spices that I planted was parsley. I had purchased it several days before planting it and left it on my front step. I noticed each night I came home there was less and less of my parsley. I assumed it was the bunnies and made an effort to get it off the porch and into the hanging basket sooner rather than later. (It would be out of reach, was my thought.)

It turned out it wasn’t just the bunnies. Once in the basket it still disappeared and it disappeared rapidly.  Until there was none left. My basil and oregano remained but my parsley vanished into nothingness to my annoyance. A co-worker of mine at the time, who was an avid gardener, informed me when I told him about my vanishing parsley that all animals love parsley. (DID NOT KNOW THAT!)

But I too, love parsley. I use it in just about everything I make, whenever I can be bothered to cook. That summer I STILL had to buy it from the grocery store.

That same year each one of my tomato plants that managed to produce tomatoes (and they were few) had a brown spot on the bottom. A few days after my hubby’s party I noticed one tomato that looked like it may make it; and I waited somewhat impatiently for it to ripen. Nonetheless, I waited.

One night as my hubby and I sat on the back deck I announced to him triumphantly, I am going to eat that tomato! I planted those plants, and watered them all summer, and I’ve worked for that tomato! It’s mine! 

As soon as I announced my intention towards my precious tomato, Hershey sitting on the grass below got up nonchalantly, meandered up the the stairs, put his teeth on MY PRECIOUS TOMATO (too which my hubby and I began giggling, as we couldn’t believe Hershey may actually have understood our conversation), yanked it off, ran down the stairs with it, and EAT IT!

L. B. M.

Not cool. 

Over the last few years I’ve planted a few spices, but I never bothered with anything else. I looked longingly at my friends gardens that blossomed cucumbers, tomatoes, and garlic from their boxes in their backyards.  I wasn’t bitter about my earlier gardening experience despite my dog stealing my only tomato, and those thieving critters that waddled up to my hanging basket and gobbled down my parsley. I always meant to try to plant vegetables and spices again.

And here are those words you’ve already read so often – I never made the time. 

Tonight, I did it. I have tomatoes, cucumbers, oregano, fennel, and basil. (NO PARSLEY.)

I don’t know what will happen. I kind of shoved everything in a box, and then pulled out a ceramic pot that has a small crack along the side. But everything’s in and I think if I get my basil to work, (I love putting it in my scrambled eggs or omelettes! I don’t know why. It just tastes so good to me.) I produce one tomato that I get to eat, and one cucumber – I think we can call it a success.

(Tomato and cucumber plants are in the rectangular box. The slightly cracked ceramic pot contains my spices.)

***

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LBM, step away from the tomato plants!

About That Paintball Thing

I have a long list of things that are sitting around that I have purchased for this blog.

My kite that sits collecting dust as I wait for a day where 1) I have enough wind that it won’t be a struggle to keep my kite up 2) that we’re not having thunderstorms and I’ll be like Benjamin Franklin out there flapping my kite around in a dangerous situation 3) where I have enough time to do it and 4) where there aren’t kids in the park on the  soccer field where I’ll be dodging children and balls while trying to keep my kite up in the air.

There’s my basketball.

There’s my plan to eat solo one evening. (Most of the time I’m too full after work. And then there’s the constant pull of chores that beckon to me to race home and try to get just ONE of them done.)

Then there’s laser tag, and the Extreme Trampoline that I keep blogging about.

But paintball. This was the thing that was causing me sleepless nights. Random anxiety attacks. I wanted this to happen. And I wanted it to happen yesterday.

Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad. Here in Ottawa, we needed to wait for the weather to warm up. Then we needed it to stop raining. (Oh yeah, all that water meant flooding!) After that, I needed my schedule to clear so that I could find a weekend to make it happen. Finally, I got strep throat. Five days with a fever, and seven days on antibiotics and I couldn’t even fathom when I would feel well enough to chase people with my paintball gun while splashing through muck wearing my armour.

We’ve managed to convince two of our friends to come along with us. You’ve heard their names before in this blog. And we now have a date.

July 22nd, 2017 is Paintball Day.