Mao and the Holy Ghost — Strange Bedfellows for a Pandemic

Featured

Tags

, , , , ,

The other day, as part of my routine of checking in on friends hither and yon, I sent a text to M who lives downstairs. I could have just pounded on the floor but we hadn’t worked up a code for bangs before the pandemic grounded us. M is one of the most diligent followers of social isolation among my friends. This is partly because from the early days of the pandemic, she has been receiving regular WARNINGS! and YOU-BETTER-DO-THIS! messages from her mom who got stuck in China where she was visiting her mom. A mother’s protective care for her chicks has no boundaries. I, too, have benefitted from Mom’s advice and M’s care for me.

Anyway, I miss her so much and our weekly binging of Crazy Ex Girlfriend episodes that I feel sad if I don’t at least get her texting words and occasional drawings — she is an amazing illustrator. So this week was no exception. The text exchange started out normal enough:

Me: How are things downstairs?

M: It’s good. Just working …

See, all normal, then M writes:

M: Writing about seeing Mao in the first grade.

Me:  The Mao?????

M:  Yeah, but he wasn’t alive.

Me:  This gets more interesting

M:  We saw him at the “Mao Tse Tung Memorial Hall”

I had no idea that Mao had been embalmed and put in a cooler for M and her first grade class to visit. Sort of weird and scary for those little kids. I remember seeing one of my uncles in his coffin at his wake and was freaked out for months (maybe years? still?) afterwards. Actually, I can still remember trying to move my kneeing knees backwards out of his line of vision as we said a rosary for him. But, he wasn’t put in a cooler for later visits, thank goodness, because I know the Eyerman kids would have had to go visit him.

The conversation continued. Me, not wanting to be outdone by a Mao sighting, wrote:

Me:  Me and my whole first grade class once thought we saw The Holy Ghost in the form of a white pigeon. Felt Blessed.

M:  LOL. That’s great xD

Hmm. I didn’t LOL about Mao but didn’t bring that up because I was now deep into the memory of my Holy Ghost sighting.

Me:  I just remembered that day and even that I was wearing this cute, little plaid dress.

M:  Would you say it was more of a peaceful experience rather than crazy and weird.

Too bad I didn’t ask her that same questions about her Mao sighting.

Me:  Exciting.

And it was. We had been on the playground at St. James the Less Scool when the sighting happened. We told our nun teacher (Sr. Melita?) all about it and, she, God bless her soul, took us back outside so we could have another look , Then, just like on cue, The Holy Ghost came back for an encore fly-by so we would not be laughed at by grown ups. I mean, after all, it was these same grown ups who told us that those little foot prints on our little reading chairs were made by the book fairies and not some creepy animal that lived in the building — which was probably the real story.

I’m glad that Mao and the Holy Ghost — aka Holy Spirit — made a return visit to my life here in the age of isolation and fear. I needed those memories as I think M needed hers. And we both needed the laugh.

 

 

 

 

 

One Word at a Time Will Get Me On My Way

Featured

Tags

, , , ,

Now that I’ve made the promise to myself, that this year, this 2019, I would do things differently, think new thoughts, try scary things and break through some of these fears and self-doubts that I’ve been wearing all these 72 years, I’m finding that it ain’t as easy as writing the words. I didn’t think it would be a breeze, but I had convinced myself that I was ready and even eager to take this challenge on. I thought I was ready to propel myself into this adventure but forgot that all of those fears were still sitting inside of me waiting to rear their ugly heads and put the brakes on my otherwise rosy plans.

All this self-recrimination started when my good friend, M, sent me the seat sale for Westjet. She didn’t write anything, just sent me the advertisement. We had talked about it earlier in the week and she had told me that their sales were fantastic. So her intentions were all good and I had told her — and myself — that this year I was going to travel. Go Someplace Where I’ve Never Been Before, I boasted. Get myself back to an ocean somewhere in this world. I was going to pack my bag and head off to one of my great unknowns. But I couldn’t do it that day. I couldn’t be spontaneous and just pick a date out of the blue, pluck my credit card down, and plan the trip afterwards.

I was greatly disappointed in myself. I felt like I had, in the first month of this new year, negated all my promises. I sent M an email and asked her if she thought my reluctance to just go-with-it and get a reservation was a sign of my “old demons” rearing their ugly heads. She wrote back that only I could answer that question.

That made me feel worse.

I had to do something to pull my spirit out of the toilet. So I decided to put the whip back in the closet and stop the shaming voice inside my head — which, as you probably know, is utterly worthless. Instead, I took a smaller, but a very important, step towards my 2019 goals. I started reading one of the books on my Ann’s 2019 Reading List.

Earlier this year — can you even say that when you’re still in January? — I decided, as part of this New-Ann-In-2019, it was time to wean myself off of the steady diet of period mysteries I have been reading for the past ten years or so and challenge my mind with something a little more substantive. I knew I couldn’t be trusted to pick out a new reading list on my own. I’ve had too many disappointments in the past. After reading glowing reviews of books in the New Yorker or in the paper, I would eagerly put them on hold at the library. By the time they came in, I couldn’t figure out why the hell I ordered it as I struggled to get beyond the first fifteen pages. (My friend, L, told me never to trust book reviews, “They’re written only to sell the books, Ann.”)

So, this time, I didn’t put my reading future into the hands of strangers. No, instead, I sent an email to a bunch of my wonderful, eclectic friends, and asked them for the titles of their two, or three favourite books. The results have been amazing. I have a list of 24 books so far that are as varied and interesting as the people who gave them to me. There are classics I’ve never read, a trilogy on witches and vampires, another trilogy described by the friend who recommended it, as an “Indian soap opera,” tell-all memoirs, a heavy Canadian content that I have avoided reading these past 23 years, and lots more. I probably won’t like them all but I’ll read them all. It’s another one of those promises I made myself.

And, there are added bonuses to this method: 1) I have my friends right here to talk with about the books afterwards and, 2) when the time comes when I do make that reservation to go someplace I’ve never been before, I’ll not have to even think about what I’m going to take to read on the trip.

Now I’m off to start Book II on the list.

Does Twenty-Five Years in One Place a Home Make?

Tags

, , , ,

Dex asking to please go home

It was twenty five years ago today that I landed in Oh Canada! with two drugged cats and a not very happy, unwelcoming husband. I had left my country, my friends, a paying job and, in retrospect, I could say my sanity as well. It was not an easy voyage up the highways from that life to land here. I should have taken drugs like the cats in the back seat who every few miles would let out a “Meowwwwwwwww.” not sure whether they liked all this or not — I totally sympathized with them. 

 

 

 

 

My first and best cat (don’t tell Rose) Milagros

Those first few days? Weeks? Months? Years? were not easy. I had to start all over again at age 49. To add to my “challenges” the day after arriving to an apartment with a musty futon matress on the floor and the exes’ daughter’s underwear in the bathroom, I was sitting on a pier at Swan Lake (aka Shadow Lake) with a bunch of tree-hugging environmentalist feeling even more homesick for brusk Americans and lawyers and pantyhose and pay checks and my job and all my friends.

Give me your tired…the day of my becoming an official resident of Oh Canada

But I survived — no I’ve done better than survive — I’ve learned a lot more about me here in Oh Canada than I did in Washington. I’ve had to recreate myself many, many times here. I — and he — weren’t so hot at the marriage part so after six years I became a divorcee on the same day I became an official citizen of Canada. I wore my little flag on my lapel as I rode the elevator up to sign the papers.

So I was on my own again. One of my brothers asked me if I was going to regain my sanity and move back to the states. I told him no because of two little words — Health Care. He didn’t get it.

I became a Master of Environmental Studies (I won’t even go into that — but the positive part of it was that I met my friend Lynda there who was a friend until her death this year. I wrote books, I became an “expert” on the life of office workers. So all those years of working as one paid off in a not-so-bad book and speaking gigs here and in the States. 

I muddled through to support me and the cats. I sold my skills — those I knew I had and those I pretended to have. I became a researcher and a book promoter and a college professor, and a project manager, and an English tutor, and a facilitator of workshops for newcomers and a transcriber and a job coach and a writer and The Excellent Cat Sitter. I never totally trusted all of the new reincarnations of Annie Eyerman but I did what I had to do. 

And best of all, during these 25 years I have met wonderful people, heart-felt good friends from all over this world. Canada, as my friend Leslie told me, has indeed been a good place to land. 

So is it home? I think so. If it just had a few members of my family it would be perfect. Anyway, Rose has let me know that she is a Canadian cat and she ain’t moving anywhere. Eh?