Ginger Shampoo

woman taking a shower
Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

by Kathy Larson
© 2019

 

I am in the shower, at my parents’ place. I left in such a hurry to get here that I forgot all the essential stuff — shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant — all of it. There hasn’t been time yet to get out and buy replacements, so I’m going to have to use theirs. Through the water running over my face and in my eyes I scan the shower caddy in the corner of the tub looking for shampoo.

Mom’s got some Vo5 that’s supposed to smell like green apples. Pass. There’s another bottle, nearly empty, of some dollar store brand I’ve never heard of, and then, I see it. Body Shop Ginger shampoo. Ah, that’s what I want.

It’s dad’s shampoo. He uses it because of his psoriasis. I remember telling him about it years ago.

I’ve got sensitive skin and an especially sensitive scalp, so I’m kind of picky about the products I use. When I told him about it, I remember, he was dismissive like I was trying to lay some kind of quackery on him. He was like that. You’d tell him about something you liked, or something you’d heard about that was a bit different and he’d say something like: “There’s probably no damn ginger in there. Just a load of bs. I like my _________, thank you.” And then, like with the ginger shampoo, you’d find that he tried it. And liked it. That was dad.

It makes me remember Neil Diamond and his album Hot August Night. I was fifteen or sixteen and was upstairs in my room listening to said album for about the zillionth time. Like most moody teenagers I spent as much time as I could shut up in my room whenever I could get it to myself. With seven brothers and sisters we all had to share a room with a sibling. I shared with my sister who was a year younger than me.

Dad usually gave me grief about whatever I happened to be listening to. He particularly hated Queen, couldn’t stand Joni Mitchell and just generally despised anything that wasn’t country music. And I mean country like Charlie Pride and George Jones. To this day I can’t stand either of them. When The Snakes Crawl at Night. Please!

So, when Dad came pounding on my bedroom door I readied myself for another fight about my music. When I opened the door he surprised me by asking what it was I was listening to. Being all prepared for an argument I didn’t know what to say right away. I guess I just gave him a blank look. This was confusing — he never showed any interest in anything that I liked; I just didn’t know how to react. Then I managed to collect myself and told him who it was and showed him the album. He stood there looking at the pictures of a wild-looking Neil Diamond and reading the liner notes for quite a while. We listened to that amazing record together and I played him a couple of my favourite songs. I really like this, he said. And I felt ridiculously, incredibly happy and proud.

Why am I remembering this now? While I dance around in a shower that refuses to stay one temperature — it either blasts me with cold water or scalds my boobs with hot. I want to scream. My heart hurts. It’s been an exhausting three days since we found out my mother fractured her leg. And that both she and my father are in the hospital.

I’ve come home because he is dying. He has end-stage kidney cancer. The man who was once larger than life, who in turns terrified me, frustrated me and, who, more than anything, I wanted to make proud is small and frail and frightened. He needs me and I’ll be here until he no longer does.

I pour his ginger shampoo into the palm of my hand and as I rub it into my hair begin to cry.

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Raven Speak — a poem

bird birds usa raven
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I heard some peculiar sounds outside near my balcony yesterday and went to investigate. It was a family of ravens on the neighbouring balcony. Mom and Dad were out with their teenagers — and the young ones, especially one of them was really unsure of him/herself. It was wobbling back and forth on the banister and making the most worried sounds. I stood and watched them for awhile. The young one would sidle up to one of its parents and seem to demand something from them — most likely food, but I thought it was maybe seeking reassurance. Mom and Dad stuck close, but ignored all the whining. Eventually, they coaxed their baby into flying off, but not before there was a lot more complaining and nuzzling and attention seeking.

Ravens, I think they’re fascinating creatures.

I wrote the following poem earlier this year and submitted it to a local magazine. It wasn’t selected for publication, and I’ve tweeked it a bit, but seeing that family yesterday prompted me to share it.

I hope you like it.

 

 

Kathy Larson                                                                                                      ©2018

 

 

 

Raven Speak

 

Clork? Clork?

They chitter and chatter

Amongst themselves,

Quorkel. Quorkel.

At times,

Voices

Soft and gentle.

Quirrel? Quirrel?

Where were you?

Let me see.

Are you all right?

Grak! Grak!

Leave me alone!

Stay away!

I hate you!

Crah! Crah! Crah!

Death-black wings unfold.

Beaks like scythes slash.

Don’t come back!

So ungrateful!

Kraw! Kraw!

Oh, who cares?

I was going anyway.

There are better places

Than this.

Than here.

Chirrip. Chirrip.

Please, oh, please.

I’m sorry.

I want to stay.

Please? May I?

Gleergle? Gleergle?

We love you.

We’re sorry.

Come.

Sit.

Feel the sun?

Warm on your back?

Chrrgle. Chrrgle.

There now.

We’re okay.

 

#48

pexels-photo-259200.jpegWhat’s this? Posting two days in a row?  What the.  .  .?

Purging will be simple today – it’s just venting.

Vent # 1- aquafit/aquasize/water aerobics – whatever you want to call it last night. It was my second class. Because last Friday’s got cancelled. I had rushed to get there all enthusiastic and everything (and a little late, too) only to be told it was cancelled due to the Alberta Winter Games.

Well.

I knew the games were on but the instructor never said anything when she was telling us that our next class was to be held in a different pool because the one we were in needed some maintenance.

You know what they say about assuming things.  .  .?

Anyway, I made plans to go with someone to a class last night. (Double checked that the class was running, first.) We arrived and stood around looking lost because we had no idea where the class was being held – no signs to indicate which pool, no milling crowd of excited participants – just us shivering on the edge feeling conspicuous in front of the row of men sitting outside the steam room and the sauna. (We come to watch!)

Finally, I asked where the class was taking place. The instructor shows up and we get in to the water. The cold water. The deep, cold water. We were standing on our toes, water lapping at our chins.  Ever tried doing a skiers lunge in water that’s nearly over your head? Ha ha ha ha. We toughed it out, but were pretty chilled by the end of the hour.

This is what was great about the class – I got out for the evening, I spent a lot of time laughing, I got to spend a bit more time with a new friend, I got some exercise and I got to sit in a hot tub afterwards.

Vent #2 – Rewards programs.

Like 99% of the population I like rewards. I like the feeling that I’m getting a little something extra for my loyalty as a consumer.

Hence, we collect Airmiles. At the rate of about 10 a year. We have 2 travel points credit cards – which get used quite regularly, and which have been extremely beneficial. We also have a PC/Optimum card for groceries and whatever.

Generally, I don’t complain about these programs because I figure, hey,  it’s a bonus and it’s better than getting nothing. Right?

Riiiight.

In the last year our travel VISA through TD has changed the way you earn and redeem points. These were tagged as ‘new’ and ‘important’ changes.  Essentially what it means is that we earn fewer points per purchase but it costs us more points when we want to redeem.

I did the irate consumer thing and called to voice my dissatisfaction. All that got me was a “We value your opinion and we’ll be sure to pass along your comments” platitude. Despite my threat to cut the card up I’ve still got it, because, well, you know, something is always better than nothing. Right?

Recently, I’ve been forced into the PC Optimum program. This is an amalgamation of the President’s Choice family of companies and Shoppers Drug Mart.

I shopped at Shoppers quite a lot, and had earned a swack of points. I didn’t really shop at Superstore that much, just occasionally, even though I had a PC points card. So I really didn’t earn many points there.

When the switcheroo came my points transferred over and I thought nothing of it. Other than – now that the two programs are joined I might as well shop more often at Superstore, and any other stores affiliated with the PC Optimum program.

And that’s how they get you. Because you think there’s a benefit in it for you.  Well, not so much.

Now I no longer earn points on every dollar I spend. I only earn points on those items they choose to send me offers for. And most of those offers are for things I’d never purchase.

It’s an ingenious marketing strategy, and one I’m sure many producers are paying handsomely to be part of. Because now they can directly target consumers and entice them to buy their products through the promise of points that they can redeem for more of their products.

So many people use these points programs to enhance the quality of their lives. It allows them to put more food on their tables, take vacations, buy gifts they might not otherwise be able to afford.

When I consider this I can’t help wondering: if, instead of spending trillions of dollars creating these ‘loyalty’ programs, companies simply lowered their prices so that consumers could actually afford to purchase what they needed and wanted – wouldn’t that in itself create loyalty?

It’s a long one today – glad I got it all out.

47 rhymes with heaven. . . But not purging.

Well, that was just silly. But it made me smile. So.

Four days since my last post. I had a bit of a stomach thing going on this weekend. Did not feel like doing a damned thing. Seems, though, I have managed to purge myself of whatever it was, ’cause I’m feeling fine now.

Fine enough that I went grocery shopping.

I’m not one of those people who hates grocery shopping. In fact, I kind of enjoy it. I like checking out what’s fresh, what’s on sale and discovering new foods to try.

But today was a trial.

I swear every dough-head in town was in Superstore this afternoon. They parked their carts in the middle of every aisle I went down – and looked peeved when they were asked to move.

They stood smack-dab in front of the dairy coolers, doors open while they chatted on the phone, completely mindless that other shoppers wanted in.

They blocked the aisle ends so no one could get past while they stood there, gazing skyward in search of God only knows what.

They man-handled the produce to the point of obscenity. Seriously.

What I had set out upon thinking it would be a leisurely afternoon of browsing for groceries turned into an exercise in frustration.

Some days.

Glad I purged that out of my system!

My 43rd day of purging– sorta kinda

Physically here’s what I’ve gotten rid of over the past couple of days.

  • Old flyers for pizza and hamburger joints – these, aside from being out of date are not good for us to have around when we’re trying so hard to lose weight, eat healthier and get in shape. I’ll admit I was sorely tempted as I leafed longingly through them before tossing them – all that ooey, gooey cheesy goodness just flaunting itself in front of my tearfilled eyes.
  • A beer can, a beer bottle and numerous candy wrappers, chip bags and takeout coffee lids while out walking. Doing this makes Tim cringe – he thinks I’m going to contract some horrible disease or something. I’m wearing gloves, for Pete’s sake and I wash them when I get home. It’s not like I’m checking those bottles and cans for a little sip – sheesh!
  • Another pound. Losing weight is so much harder than it used to be. Still, a pound is a pound and I’m happy that my efforts are paying off. And I’m extra happy because Tim took me out for supper to The Keg for Valentine’s Day. I only ate half of everything I ordered, but it was still a LOT of calories. Mostly of the fat kind. I just keep channeling Oprah and her wheel barrow full of butter.

Now, for some other stuff I need to get rid of.

pexels-photo-756790.jpeg

The debate over changing Canada’s national anthem so that it’s gender-neutral. All I can say is:  How is this even an issue?

Political correctness and feminism. That’s how.

I think both of those causes are worthy and necessary. And a lot of really good changes to society have been advanced as a result of people championing them. Changing our anthem is not one of those.

As far as I’m concerned it’s petty, and specious. A small group of ‘concerned’ women who have deemed it their mission in life to exact a meaningless change to something that reflects who we are, and more importantly, speaks to our national pride. They say the lyrics exclude and deliberately fail to acknowledge that women have played as important a role in Canadian history as men.

Bullshit. It’s an anthem.  noun 1. A rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause. (Google on-line dictionary). In this case that group would be Canadians – all of them. Which I’m pretty damned sure when we all sing it at public events we’re including everyone who is a Canadian. Be they indigenous, immigrant, black, white, pink, purple or green. Whether they are gay, straight, queer or any derivation thereof possible. Whether they served as a soldier, a line cook, nurse, mother, father or field hand. If you’re Canadian this song is for you. And it should be left alone.

If some people feel the need to be offended by the use of ‘in all our sons’ command,’ then they should feel free to sing whatever word they wish to substitute whenever they sing the anthem – if they can get past their self-righteousness, that is.

We are, after all, a democracy, and we will support their right to do so. Because that’s what Canadians do.

41st Purge

pexels-photo-235474.jpegThe weather has been very odd the last few days.

First, it’s blisteringly cold. Then it warms up to the point it was raining last night. Today it’s bloody cold again.

I get tired of saying, ah well, winter in Alberta, but really.  . .

Today I started an aquafit class. It was a lot tougher than I thought. Trying to force foam dumbbells through the water while holding them at waist height is not as easy as you’d think. A couple of times I felt like I was going to lose control and one or both of my arms would just go rocketing up out of the water and I’d look like a drunk synchronised swimmer. Thankfully, our instructor seemed to know exactly when we’d reached our limit and she’d let us have a millisecond of rest.

Another thing that’s way hard in the water? Jogging. Fast. She had us do the equivalent of wind sprints all the while exhorting us to keep our shoulders back, our heads up, our backs straight and our stomachs in. Seriously. Water torture.

Never mind my whining. I enjoyed the class and I’m looking forward to continuing.

You know what else I enjoyed? Getting the senior discount! I don’t want to brag or nothin’, but I saved 75% of the regular cost. Ha, ha. Take that. I think I’m going to like being 60.

Well, I’m trying to convince myself that I will. Think young to stay young.

Day 41 of The Purge

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Confession: I don’t think I should say this blog is about purging anymore. Although.  .  .

Tim and I talked about purging yesterday. It didn’t go well. More in a bit.

The last four days were what I consider ‘good’ days. The weather was decent; I got some great walks in (Tim even came with me once).

We took some dance lessons on Friday night. Learned the two-step, which I pretty much knew how to do, but they taught us how to twirl and do the cuddle. We need more practice, but we had fun and met some nice people.

Saturday was an incredibly lazy day. The most I did was make this weight watchers loaded cauliflower bake. We visited with some friends in the evening and I wanted to give this recipe a try. It was actually very good. Lo-carb and (fairly) lo-cal. The important thing is it had cheese and bacon in it.

Sunday, I spent the morning on the phone.  Easy to do when you have seven siblings. Then Tim and I indulged ourselves and went to Cora’s for brunch.

I never used to be a Cora’s fan, but I tell you, I sure am now.

After our leisurely brunch – where the subject of purging raised its ugly head – we went for a long walk in the cold, but very sunny afternoon. Lovely.

So now about the purging.

And it occurs to me that I have discovered another way that I am actively purging, but I’ll get to that after this.

While we were waiting for our meals at Cora’s we began discussing the future. As in three years from now when Tim retires again.

One of our main plans is to have our house completely retirement ready. All repairs and reno’s done so that we don’t have to spend our time, energy and limited income on doing them when we have nothing but time on our hands.

To do that we have to really clean house. Tim and I have VERY different ideas about what that means.

I would like to get one of those rent-a-dumpsters and just go to town.

Tim is all for saving every thing. He considers all the stuff we’ve accumulated over 39 years together as’ history’.

You see the problem.

The more we (I) talked the more agitated he got. Finally, it got to the point where he told me he wasn’t going to talk about it anymore. Which annoyed the crap out of me. So I asked him what could we talk about. Nothing, he said. So, what, we’re just going to sit here staring at one another? I asked. I guess, he said.

So that’s what I did. I made my eyes as big as I could and I stared right at him. He was studiously ignoring me, but he finally had to look in my direction. The second his eyes caught mine he started to laugh. You’re such a jerk, he said.

After that we had a great time. However, I wisely left the subject of purging alone.

Now, the way in which I am actively doing some purging is while I’m walking. I get so tired of seeing garbage on the street and walkways and I always complain about it.  Last week I decided to stop complaining. Instead, I pick it up.

Fort McMurray is a wonderful town for having an abundance of garbage cans and receptacles on its streets. And for the most part its citizens are very good about using them. Still, there is always some garbage littering the ground. Generally, it’s plastic stuff. Stuff that won’t break down or biodegrade.

It’s such an easy thing to do to bend down and pick it up and carry it the few feet to the next garbage can.

There you have it. It won’t save the world, but it’ll keep a little more waste out of the river and the trees and maybe it’ll save a bird or a fish.

Gotta love the urge to purge.