Thursday, 11 August 2016

About a Shirtless Man and a Sneeze

Oh, and there was a carrot.

Ready for this story??

Honestly, it could have only happened to me.

So, to begin, I need you to understand my level of laziness some days. I finished work at one job, biked home, walked the dog, and had to go to my next job. I was tired, and didn't want to put on my bike helmet (and therefore have to redo my pony tail- again-) so I decided to walk to my second job.

So my trip turned into a 15 minute walk, instead of a 4 minute bike ride.

As I left the house I realized I wanted a snack, and in the absence of an apple, I grabbed a carrot- a full sized carrot.

I'm walking to work eating my giant carrot- just like Bugs Bunny- when I realize there is a guy without a shirt on walking on the sidewalk toward me. Well, this will look silly. Oh well. Yum, this carrot is tasty. I think to myself.

I continue walking, and the shirtless man is still approaching. Now I can see his tan lines and the fact that he is reasonably well muscled. I look at my carrot. Damn, this is kind of embarrassing, and there's still too much carrot to hide. Oh well, at least he might think I'm healthy. 

I continue walking, and mowing down on my carrot. Maybe I can finish it fast, before I pass him. 

But this is when I realize, I have to sneeze.

OH GOD, NO. I think. (And yes, if you've ever had to sneeze while eating a carrot you know EXACTLY what ran through my mind.) The hot, shirtless man is a foot away from me, and I am going to sneeze carrot chunks all over him. oh God, oh God, oh God, no. PLEASE NO. 

I look around desperate for a way to bail out, to hide, and aside from jumping into traffic, I have no options. So, as the hot, half naked passes, I hold my breath (and my mouthful of carrot) and PRAY to contain my sneeze.

I do.

The naked man is a foot behind me when I sneeze. And it's just as I imagined it- except no carrot bits stuck to his abs- it was a forceful, loud, disgusting sneeze, and he turned to me in surprise.

I blush and he walks away.

Upon closer (carrot free) inspection, the stranger was not as attractive as my sneeze anticipating self had thought. He was shirtless, tanned and reasonably fit, but still a far reach from Ryan Reynolds- even so, I would have felt badly sneezing chunks of my snack all over the guy.

And all because I didn't want to re-tie my pony tail.

-Brandolyn

Snipit- The Tower of Arista

"Sometimes I don't know what's real and what isn't." Elaina's forehead creased as she looked at her bedroom. The room was cold, as always, but the large four poster bed with its bulging duvets and mass of pillows should have been an inviting sight, but tonight the thought of sleep made her uneasy. She pulled her dressing gown tight around her body and shivered. "I see faces in my dreams..."

"What faces? Do you recognize anyone?" Lilith looked to her Mistress with a mixture of excitement and anxiety. She hadn't remembered anything about her life before she came to Arista, and although Elaina wanted answers, Lilith and most of the Arista staff were afraid of what she might remember.

Lady Elaina shook her head. She raised a hand to her chest in an attempt to calm her pounding heart. "There's one face..." Her hand shook. "... every time I see him I wake up- my heart racing." She looked away from her handmaid, picturing the man who haunted her dreams. "His eyes are wild, and his hair," she paused, "untamed, and red like-" her eyes flicked to the empty fireplace and a shudder ripped through her body. Her skin seared at the thought. It was as if she could feel flames biting at her limbs as she thought of his hair.

"It's okay. You're safe." Lilith traced calming circles on Elaina's back listening patiently.

"I'm afraid Lil, I see him whenever I close my eyes. Who is he?"

Lilith rolled her shoulders back. She wasn't as tall as Lady Elaina, but she was tough, and not afraid of a fight. "Whoever he is my Lady, he cannot get you here." She offered her Mistress a smile, but in her mind there was a low rumbling; her own version of a growl, as she thought I'll make sure of that.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The World I Thought I Knew

I thought I knew a world of sleepless nights and unending prayers.

I thought I knew a world of hope and dreams coming true.

I thought I knew a world with a little boy named Dustin.




I have always had a very active imagination. I can see dragons in the sky, flying overhead with the robins, and am afraid of monsters lurking in dark places. I can even see fairies hiding in flower beds. And, as a very imaginative person, I often have incredible, fantastical dreams- the inspirational for each of my stories came from dreams.

But never have I known one of my dreams to be so agonizing, painful and heart-breakingly convincing.

A few nights ago, I dreamt of waiting. Months of waiting and praying for approval to adopt a little, wide-eyed boy named Dustin. I remember of each prayer, each fit of tears, and of each sleepless night as we- my husband and I- waited for an answer.

I dreamed of meeting that little boy; 4 years old, trying to convince me he was actually 13. I dreamed of holding him and laughing with him, choosing him, and more importantly, being chosen in return.

I dreamed of the congratulatory phone call and how we had to hire a taxi to pick him up because we were too excited and nervous to drive safely.

Then I woke up and Dustin was gone. In the amber light of morning, my world shattered when I realized the perceived months I had spent agonizing over that little boy, were a figment of my imagination.

I cried when I realized: Dustin isn’t here, he was never real.

And yet, I remember him.

I remember the race car pajamas I had bought for him, and how he had a missing front tooth. I remember how he had wanted to call me “Moma”, because although I wasn’t his mother, I was pretty damned close.

I remember it all- not as a dream, filtered by a haze of sleep clouded memory- I can remember the smell of him, the sound of his voice and the weight of him in my arms.

The memory of a night’s fantasy has struck me dumb. Days later, thoughts of him still bring tears to my eyes. How can I have dreamed so vividly that I have imprinted a fiction on my heart?

Monday, 20 July 2015

(DA) Limits

Knowing your body's physical and mental limits is one of the greatest things to learn.

With my MS I have had to learn that a headache, or muscle spasm is much more than a minor discomfort- it's a warning sign. *Danger* you aren't sleeping enough- *Danger* you need to eat more vegetables- *Danger* you forgot to take your vitamins... etc. 

But learning to understand my body's limits has helped me in my active lifestyle and in my work life too. I now understand that when I get nauseated, I am under nourished. When I shake on a run or get a headache I am dehydrated and I know that it's time to take a break, get in the shade, or in some air-conditioning, breathe normally and lower my core temperature. 

In my work life I have learned what I find stressful, and how to breathe through it. I can feel my pulse when it elevates, I feel the tension in my tongue and have learned how to stand to open my chest and breathe deeply into my diaphragm. 

There are still many warning signs that I haven't learned yet, and I'm sure I will continue to develop more as I age but I'm looking forward to that learning curve. 

-Brandolyn

Monday, 13 July 2015

(DA) Mudderella

"Life begins just outside of your comfort zone" was written on the back of the shirt of another team racing in Mudderella this past weekend and "You never know your strength until it's tested" was posted at the end of the race.

I found these sentences rang very true.

It's a thrilling feeling to challenge your body, and an even better feeling to challenge your body and come out on top. Every time I step over the starting line of any race my heart thumps, adrenaline pumps and a beast inside is released. "The Beast" is the part of me that loves wind in my hair, thrives on self growth and who lives for a challenge.

My Beast Mode is most common during physical competition; paintball, racing etc. but when it hits I feel like a completely different person; mostly instincts, confidence and guts.

There is a part of me that wishes that my Beast Mode would engage in other aspects of my life, maybe not the instincts only part, but the confidence and guts part for sure. But I'm working on it.

As for the race itself, my favourite part was racing with my mother and sister. I have done this kind of race and obstacle course before and it took a bit of convincing to get them to agree to do it with me. I was nervous that they might not enjoy the experience as much as I do, and was thrilled when I realized I was wrong. They loved it and are looking forward to challenging themselves next year.

-Brandolyn

Monday, 6 July 2015

(DA) Play-xercise

Play-xersice is exactly what it sounds like; or looks like- it's the devil to say aloud!

Today while at my Chiropractic Clinic the woman who runs the workout classes I used to attend commented that I'm looking very fit right now. I thanked her for noticing and went about my day as usual, but the comment made me feel really great.

When Jason got home I told him about her comment and his answer was "That's awesome! Are you working out?"

"Yes." I replied.

"What are you doing?"

"Play-xercise!" I exclaimed enthusiastically. Jason knew exactly what I meant. Play-xercise is the idea of getting a workout and exercise from play. So whenever I take the dog out for a walk, he and I run around jungle gyms, jump over park benches and low walls, I hang off of monkey bars, do cartwheels, run, jump and play with whatever is around me. It's great fun, a good exercise and is easier to wrap your head around than going to the gym for a workout because it's 'fun' and there are no rules. Play-xercise is also a great challenge for the dog because he has to keep up with me and deal with me changing tempo, jumping and hanging from obstacles. It's a slow progression to get him comfortable with some of the things I do- and we've tripped each other before, but we're getting better every day.

Any one who complains that they don't want the pressure of going to the gym should think about play-xercise as an alternative. It's low risk, high reward and as much fun as you want to make it!

-Brandolyn

Monday, 29 June 2015

(DA) Too much bread

One of my favourite lines from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is from Bilbo Baggins when he admits that he's starting to feel his age. He says, "[...] I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean; like butter that has been scraped over too much bread."

Some people will question this quote as a personal favourite because, let's face it, there are so many wonderful quotes from these books! But what I like about this quote is how easily I can relate to it.

No, I don't feel old. I don't feel sick or feeble, but I know this feeling when I'm tired; when I've pushed myself hard, for too long without a significant break.

I'm feeling that now. I'm not complaining about my MS. No, that's properly in check ;) but I am saying I'm tired.

I've noticed at work that instead of looking forward to my shifts, I'm counting down the minutes until I can clock out. Patrons complaints wear on me more than usual. Random negative interactions with strangers eat at me instead of bouncing off. When my alarm clock chimes in the morning all I want to do is roll over and wait for the weekend- until I realize I work weekends too.

The easiest way to describe 'feeling too thin' is to say 'I need a vacation'. I want time to myself, time to goof off with my husband and time to be with my family.

My vacation is just around the corner, and just in time. And although I will be taking a boat for my vacation, I will not be following Bilbo Baggins' example and going off to the undying lands. I will be away long enough to recharge my batteries and come back home to regular life refreshed and revitalized, and ready for the next adventure!

-Brandolyn