Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bye bye "Cousin It"

2 days ago I made the decision to go through with something I'd been thinking about for a few years. I followed through with it today - yea!
My hair has always been one of my best, if not my best, features. Throughout my childhood, Dad worked for the hair products company, LA Jones in Oakville. They manufactured the hair colour line ROUX, various shampoos and conditioners. They had a lab and… a chemist. He'd formulate various concoctions which Dad would bring home for Mom, me and my sisters to try out. 

I don't know whether it's due to those products or genetics but, we all have great hair. 

Mom's was full and thick till the day she died; becoming steel grey as she aged. She always fantasized about visiting Hawaii; never got there. We scattered her ashes in Lake Ontario to join Dad's but I strew some of her locks in various spots on the Big Island of Hawaii, and now her genes rest there too. 

My older sister's dark brown hair was smooth and shiny and so strong that it could hold the pencils I put in the curl of the flip she sported throughout high school. She, like me, began to turn grey quite early in life. But her hair was a stunning true grey which highlighted her darker complexion, thick dark brows, lush eyelashes and deep-blue "Betty Davis" eyes. She later dyed her short hair, exploring: auburn, blonde, highlights and lowlights (as I once did) opting for the more youthful look it imparts.

My younger sister's blonde, unbroken, split end-less, hair is more resistant to the greying process and so thick it could choke a horse! She kept it long throughout high school (as did I) but surrendered that look in university opting for sporty, shorter cuts. She's flirted with the idea of growing it, beyond the bob, but I suspect that the sheer weight of it and the time it would take to dry would be daunting.

From short to long - except for shaving my head - I've tried it all. Yes, even the mullet…cutting my own hair to maintain that horrendous look, and NO you are not going to see it here. But people remember me mostly as the woman with "the hair". Long and chestnut coloured as a teenager, young adult and again (with some assistance) in my early '40's; long and predominantly grey these past few years. 

I gave up the fight against going grey years ago. The henna that I'd preferred began to give my hair a strange orange hue due to the increasing percentage of grey. Home tinting jobs ceased to do the trick convincingly for that same reason. Professionally done highlights and lowlights became the best solution as they blended with the roots that showed through within the first week (my hair grows fast). 

But, I'm lazy and cheap. Could I let it go grey?

In the beginning of the greying process my hair was just washed out, colourless, neither dark nor fully grey. That's when the high and low lights eased the transition; got me used to seeing lighter hair against my face. It allowed me to see when the true, fully grey colour was coming through and dominating. Once that happened I was ready to let it take over.

I grew my hair and wondered just how long it could get? During menopause, shoulder-length was about it before the ends would break. However, these last few years it's grown like a weed! And I've enjoyed it.

But, it's taken over. I've felt less like me and more the "woman with the hair". Kinda what I suspect having a parasitic twin could feel like. It's there all the time, you can't hide it. People give you second looks. They comment on it. "Wow, you've got great hair" they've shouted to me from across the street. It's all the more impressive because I'm short and it's unusual to see someone my age with long hair. 

I've lavished a lot of tender care and attention to maintaining it…too much. I'm surprised that flipping the hair from one side to the other in my sleep each time I turn over hasn't given me whiplash. Constantly having it in a ponytail to get it out of the way takes away from the purpose of having it long. Freeing it from back packs, shoulder-bag straps, chairs in restaurants and movie theatres has become a common occurrence. The weight of it and the slightly "cousin IT" appearance I've taken on when it's down (see first picture) isn't the sexy image the idea of long hair promises, at least not for 4' 10" me. My obsession with it has become tedious, it's like being in a high maintenance relationship.

So I chopped it off. Well technically that's not correct…thanks to Allexys Peterson at Sigma Squared Salon in Victoria for giving me such a great cut and taking the before and after pics.

Now, I haven't been thinking about chopping it off for years but, I have been thinking that when I did, I'd donate it to a good cause.

Weird note: I'm stunned by the variety of colours this swatch of hair contains: dark brown, reddish-brown, even blonde, along with the grey. Though the overall effect is grey, you can see it's much more than that!

So basically I chopped off most of my non-grey hair.

There are many great causes out there for making wigs for people with alopecia, kids programs and older people with grey hair.

I'm very happy to have achieved this goal as I didn't have the patience to hang on for the extra inches the last time I cut it, nor the daring to go quite this short. It helped that I knew, from the last cut Allexys gave me, that she'd do a great job.

I'm donating mine, mailing it later today with the aid of the label they supply online to print out and use, to the Canadian Cancer Society. Click on this link to get info about what they need, preparing the hair and making the cut. Most salons are familiar with the process.

NOTE: some organizations don't take grey hair and some prefer that the hair isn't braided - check this out before you send it off.

And so I leave you today, lighter in body, mind and spirit. I think I'll go outside and let my short, greyer hair blow in the wind.

I actually began writing this yesterday - so today is day 2 of my new cut.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

PANTS ON FIRE

My sister-in-law posted on FB a picture of one of the Minions from Despicable Me saying, "Just once in my life I'd actually like to see a liar's pants catch on fire."

Loved it!

But then I got to thinking…we'd all be running around like human torches, hurling ourselves into rivers, streams and oceans to douse the flames. The intensity of the fires and the steam rising from buttocks being extinguished would contribute substantially to global warming.

We all lie from time to time but, what makes a lie become a truth.

© Nance Thacker 1990
I found a pile of roughed cartoons and I'm in the process of inking them.
We've all had them, those holidays from hell. Nothing goes in our favour. It's nobody's fault. Or, maybe we've slipped into a frustration induced, period of incompatibility with our travel companions and we're ready to strangle each other. We simmer and seethe for the duration of our return trip home. 

If there is any effort to converse at all, all that passes for conversation is "Humpf" or "What - e - ver" - delivered with "tsk", sigh and eye roll for maximum effect. If you, like me, are of the white Anglo Saxon persuasion then the WASP fight consisting of deafening silence is most likely to be your choice.

What a waste of money THAT trip was! you're all thinking.

But once we're back home, ask us how our trip was and, dollars to donuts, you'll hear, "great"… "good"… or at the very least "OK".

What's happened here? Is it taboo to admit we've had a shitty time? Are we averse to sounding like whiners? If we tell the flat out truth that, "The f***ing trip was f***ing horrible", does it make us sound ungrateful for the opportunity that we've had to even have had a shitty vacation? After all some people never get away anywhere and here we are complaining. What nerve! 

Do we play the consensual game wherein holiday = great time, so we try to keep up with, or even surpass, the Joneses with tales of great adventures that all would envy? In my younger days, before I'd experienced any intimate relationships, I seriously believed (because they made it sound so romantic) that every holiday any couple I ever knew had been on, was INCREDIBLE!  

OK, so I was a bit naive. One of the big attractions of being "in a relationship" was to share in travelling adventures like…well, like Jonathan and Jennifer Hart in that TV show HART TO HART (that ran from 1979 - 1984). Maybe solve a crime or two along the way; not criminally offend the consensual code with a shitty experience.


Jonathan and Jennifer Hart gasp in horror at the very idea
that their trip could be anything other than fabulous
What if we're not glossing over our difficulties at all? Somehow the good times (as meagre as they may be) have risen like cream to the top. We scrape off these stories, embellish their magnificence, and with each re-telling our belief in the truth of we had a great time becomes so increasingly strong that it comes to embody the essence of our whole experience.

Is it a mark of resilience or a default mechanism that our inner Jonathans and Jennifers survive un-singed, bonded more deeply, and ready to tackle yet more adventures?


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Yea, it's National ________ Day!

Wow, I don't know about you but I'm exhausted! Face Book (aka FB) has opened up a whole new world to me. I have connected with long lost university housemates, promoted my dream classes and workshops on my FB site AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS, most recently my class on CONSCIOUS DREAMING - Dreaming Story on my events page, shared posts of social importance, and participated in many lively, and (mostly inane) debates just between old friends. And, don't get me started on how seriously I take my responsibility to pass on videos: extolling cat love, cute animal "aw" inducing tales, and those inspiring sagas of interspecies couplings…yes, why can't we be more tolerant, accepting, and loving, just like them?

But…that's not all FB has to offer me.

No sir-eee!

How could I not know that the world is full of amazing celebrations, and I'm invited? Celebrations, that were heretofore only enjoyed by a very exclusive set, are (with a few exceptions) now open to one and all; we're all invited. That means you too!

Why, just a few weeks ago, it was National Friendship Week, which occurs pretty much every few months. Then there was National Crochet Your Chicken a Sweater Week, I could barely contain my enthusiasm for that one. I swear I could hear the yarn spinning through the hooks and smell the smoke coming off of them, due to the world-wide frenzy that ensued.

National Left-handers Day gave some of you "righties" a well deserved break, but not me. This southpaw partied like there was no tomorrow, displaying her sinistral skills to the amazement, nay, astonishment of envious right-handers who had the good fortune to gaze upon her. I had to resort to using my right hand for days afterwards…but since I'm fairly ambidextrous it's not such a big deal. Say, there must be a day for ambidextrites (is that a word?) too!

It seemed that there was no let-up in sight as just yesterday I was told that…Today is National Short Girl Appreciation Day. Which brings back, ah yes, such joyous memories.

© Nance Thacker 1984


Why are tall men and short women attracted to each other? I've had tall boyfriends. One was 6 feet tall (182.88 cm) ; another 6 foot 4 inches tall (193.04 cm). For all intents and purposes, I'm 4'10" (177.8 cm) - actually 4 foot, nine and ¾ inches to be exact but let's just round that up. Hmm…I just found out that I qualify as a very tall "little" person… there's the internet for you.

Anyway, I got caught up in the attraction thing for a while but I found out that it wasn't what it was cracked up to be. One day, I caught sight of the reflections of Mr 6'4" walking hand in hand with Ms 4 foot 9 and ¾ inches in a store window. With my elbow bent at an awkward angle and dangling above my shoulder it looked like it he had custody for the day and was taking his kid out (I looked way younger than my years back then).

But dancing? That's the worst! Have you ever had to endure a full dance being carried around the dance floor? Well, I have. Then there was the guy I met at a university dance, held in the residence hallway, who spent the whole night on his knees so that we could converse eye to eye. He later danced with me while on his knees. I knew that, that relationship would last only as long as his knees could hold out.

But, my all time favourite was the guy with weak abs, that thought the best way to deal with the situation was to lean his full weight over and onto my shoulders. As the music droned on and on, his core gave out, I felt like a participant in the dance marathon from the scene in *THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY?



O.K. maybe I'm being a little bit overdramatic…but, now that I have someone with whom I can dance, with my head resting on his shoulder…after such traumatic experiences if he threatens to take me in his embrace for a dance, I'll wrestle him to the floor.

*       *       *

* On a serious note THEY SHOOT HORSES DON'T THEY is a very good movie about the dance marathon craze in the '20's and '30's. My Mom was a kid then and she remembered hearing about such events being held during the "dust bowl" days in the USA. As I understand it, people would compete because they got food and lodging during the competition, they achieved a little bit of fame, and the cash rewards for the winners were relatively substantial.
"It seems unbelievable now but there were once fifteen thousand people – promoters, emcees, floor judges, trainers, nurses, cooks, janitors, cashiers, ticket-takers, publicity agents, promotion men, musicians, contestants and even a lawyer – whose main source of income over a number of years came from endurance shows." High Times Hard Times, Anita O'Day, pg. 34.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ack, say it isn't so

I'm reading Amanda Palmer's THE ART of ASKING and it's taking me down memory lane. Parallels of her life's experience collide with my earlier life as a struggling cartoonist/yoga teacher/artists' model/house-sitter living in Victoria in the early '80's.

What resonates most for me right now is her struggle to accept help offered in monetary form. I suspect that if you have never been an artist you might have difficulty understanding this particular challenge especially when the whole point of being a "professional" artist is to make your living at it.

The thing is, I (like Amanda) needed help along the way and often it was given. I couldn't afford rent above the $50 that I was paying for my studio space at Xchanges Gallery so I became a house sitter. Many people provided a haven for me between house-sits letting me stay on in a spare room, or couch surf, after they'd returned from their trips. My great friend, confidante and fellow aspiring artist, Bud even house-sat for friends in the country (despite the fact that they really didn't have need of his services) so that I could house-sit for him as I was about to become homeless.

One day I would be a paid cartoonist; able to "pay my own way" using my artistic skills which to me meant having that money go into "my" bank account. When I was in my early twenties I vowed that I'd never get into a committed relationship until I could pay my own way…but fate had other plans.

My father, when he realized that his 34 year old daughter was, seriously, getting married, overturning her heretofore repeated protestations that she'd never get married because she didn't want her "wings clipped", took my intended aside with this advice for matrimonial harmony… "Don't try and make a nine to fiver out of her, it'll never happen." He took Dad's advice and we're still together.

I eventually packed in my aspirations as a cartoonist, and all the associated jobs that I required to support my chosen "profession", and took up what I thought would be a much more profitable profession and still give me the freedom that I required. I became s a Shiatsu Therapist…and I still couldn't pay my own way. Like many alternative health practitioners, I was able to practice only because my work was supported… by my husband.

A fellow therapist said that though she didn't make much money she and her husband felt that she was gaining them financial karmic points. As a result of her services, his business was thriving. Their businesses were intimately linked, not through word of mouth, but rather, her good vibes were drawing clients to him.

I tried that concept on for size as my husband's business did thrive…but I couldn't make it stick.

I tried different venues for my work, added Certified Hypnotist to the mix and threw up a shingle offering hypnosis and Shiatsu in a medical aesthetics clinic in East Oakville, on the "other side" of the creek in my hometown.

This was surreal! If ever there was a fish out of water, it was me.

The women were welcoming and lovely…beautiful, actually…and well turned out, confident and successful. All the things that I was not. I was, as Palmer often judged herself…a fraud. But, I could and would, make this work.

I won't say that things went swimmingly. I spent more time hanging out in a cubicle near the receptionists desk, setting up this blog, than in my own treatment room. I  heard prospective clients interviewed over the phone, shying away from the perfectly effective Shiatsu and hypnosis, opting instead for the insurance coverage of massage therapy and psychotherapy.

Some days no one came into my treatment room but they flocked in for medical aesthetics procedures, massage, psychotherapy - ca ching, ca ching.

My soul was slowly bleeding. I swore I wouldn't supplement my work here with the meagre profits from the home based practice that I still maintained. This vow I kept. The next rent increase was beyond my limit and I was out before a year had gone by. But, let's go back to the early days…

Once the "team" got established the owner/operator put on a pot luck celebration to kick off our venture. I couldn't go. How could I go to the other side of the creek? I didn't fit in…but you can fake it. Haven't you been doing that all the time you've lived in Oakville? 

So, I psyched myself up and went. Surely you can do it for just one night!

"Guess what everyone, I'm treating us all to a psychic! Isn't that great?" our host excitedly announced as we sat down to share our culinary delights.

Everyone was thrilled…but me. I'm going to be busted, I know it.

What were people going to ask about? Money, business ventures, relationships, children; the usual stuff. Each came away from their 15 minutes glowing with reports of success, success, success, success.

And then it was my turn…

I walked in; my spirit trudged in. She asked for my hand and I put my hand in hers. "What do you want to know?"

"Will my business be financially successful?"

And, this is what she said…

© Nance Thacker 2015
"You will always have enough. You know from past experience that you've been supported. You REALLY aren't striving for the same things the others are, are you? You never have. You have always been supported as payment for what you do for others."

Busted.

When asked how it went, I said with a nod, "Great!" And, I think once I got over the initial shock, I meant it. She was right…but I still struggle to accept this from time to time.

NOTE: This is my first strip cartoon in 24 years - WOW
Something I read in Palmer's book yesterday triggered the bit and it wouldn't leave me alone.
"All right, already"
I dug out my old boards and erased an uninked, unfinished rough (found a stash of drawn but unlinked strips that I'd forgotten about) and drew this new one today. 
Amazing! I can draw, ink, take a photo, upload it onto the computer AND get it out into cyberspace all in one day; incredible!
So, it's going on for 2 a.m. (Don't believe the time stamp, still can't figure out how to adjust it to PST. If anybody knows how to do this let me know.)
Can I go to bed now?
Nothing, I think that's a yes.

Sat Jan 17th 4:00 - Just had to pop in again and thank all those who have supported me, and continue to do so, all those years. I truly am deeply grateful.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ENOUGH

© Nance Thacker 1991
It's 17 months into my husband's retirement, our move to Vancouver Island and scaled down lifestyle.

Over the past few weeks the implications of this reality is finally settling into my bones. 17 months ago we stepped off the treadmill and into the kind of life that many of my friends have repeatedly told me they "can only dream about".

Yet, I've resisted the "R" word. "My husband's retired, not me", I'd protest. But, the reality is that I'm not exactly employed. I've given workshops and classes here and there; many of them for free. I haven't been able to transplant my business here as effortlessly as I'd expected. I've spent more time in developing and promoting my projects (something I don't enjoy) than actually presenting them (which I love), that's the reality of starting over again. And, it's bummed me out, but clearly, enjoyment is tipping the scales against what I don't enjoy and desired financial gain.

I've railed at the idea of retirement until one day it hit me. What am I doing? What am I fighting to maintain? My aspirations for success - what I have striven for all my working life - has been defined by others and has only served to keep me discontented and clinging to a value system that I never embraced. I'm still reaching for the carrot at the end of the stick.

Wait a minute…I've got Stockholm syndrome!

I'm finally freed from my captor yet I keep on defending their notions of: value, self-worth, and responsible engagement in our social, cultural and financial structure.

Arrgh.

Many of my friends are envious of us. How we could just pack it in and drop out? We've always lived simply and been mindful of where our money goes. It's not like we had a lot of bucks at our disposal compared to what financial analysts proclaim one needs to retire "comfortably". It is a matter of dropping all those misconceived notions of having enough.

If we waited until we "had enough" money to retire, we'd still be back in Ontario, doing what we were doing. Face it, you'll never "have enough", until you "have enough" of the striving to "have enough" and realize that you have all you really need.  It's not "freedom 55" but it's enough and that's pretty good!

We came out west while we are in good health, able and young enough to do things we enjoy and discover new things along the way. I'm in the discovery phase and I can proudly say that I'm retiring my old value systems.

I'll still offer workshops and classes until I've had enough and I'll keep exploring and developing other special areas of expertise in this realm of retirement.

I used to think life was a school and so I received many lessons; now I think of it as a place to have fun and I'm enjoying it a lot more.

Retired one definition I found includes: (of a place) quiet and secluded; not seen or frequented by many people.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My Love/Hate Relationship with FB

No posts here since Sept 11th…wow! Where does the time go?
I've only written 3 entries since then on AWAKENING CHOICE DREAMS. Where have I been?

On that time-sucker Facebook, that's where.

Since my last entry I've been involved in a lot of "real life" stuff; really I have.

I've been stared at by Maya, a lot
I came across this little Stonehenge at one of my fave places
at the beach…AND, I repositioned 3 that had toppled over.
A man is holding back his kid from throwing stuff at it as I take the picture.
I don't know just how long others resisted the urge to destroy it.
Just last Saturday I went skating at the Empress.
The new owners have erected this tent which takes up one half
of the front lawn. You can rent skates, hats and gloves. The far end
is open to the view of the harbour. No stale, sweaty, mildewy arena smell here!
View from the outside, very festive.
They have music and hot chocolate and treats at reasonable prices.
I've had earth-shattering, life-changing thoughts; realizations worth sharing with the world. But…there's FB. Little "dings" emanate from my phone at random moments. Someone's out there reaching out, seeking connection with you. Come on, just check it out. You know you want to, you're soooo far away…

And, I'm snared. Just see what family and friends from all over the world are up to, have a "conversation" with them through comments, share a tidbit from your life, post a pic or 2. In the shake of a rabbit's tail you'll be done.

HA, ya right!?

I get sucked into the world of FB and I become less discriminate as the minutes tick by. Tick, tick, tick. Initially, friends' shares and comments link me to informative videos and newspaper articles. I get involved too! I sign petitions; I share them embellished with my own comments. I don't donate. One could go broke with the number of sites out there begging for donations. But, I'm proudly, socially informed, responsible and engaged, for a while…

Gradually, usually while I'm reading up on crucial news-rich entries of the day, my eyes begin to wander to the great supplier of brain candy; the sidebar. Little snippets caught at the corner of my eye begin to gnaw at my innards until, suddenly, I can't stand it anymore, I JUST HAVE TO KNOW. I HAVE TO KNOW about: the 10 Celebrities' Faces Most Botched Up From Plastic Surgeries, Celebrities Who You Didn't Know Were Related, Celebrities Who Live In Modest Homes Despite Having Millions, "Celebrities" doing or being this or that…

Educational nature, environmental and science entries supplied by my most learned, scholarly, friends, somehow have shifted over into the realm of cute animal videos: dancing penguins, piano playing cats, talking dogs, until the witching hour descends upon the members of my own animal kingdom - Flippy and Maya. Leaprotic* frenzy breaks out all around me, stirring me out of my FB-induced stupor.

I pull down the task bar. It's closing in on 1 a.m. and, though tired, I can barely pull myself away from the clutches of this most engrossing material.

Well, no more! 

After reading a discussion between 2 very creative friends about FB, on FB last night, I vowed to follow their lead. I'm pulling back, people!

30 minutes allowed today. I set my timer. Dig in and scroll down. 30 minutes; time is precious. I read only the most compelling entries. I comment on a selected few. I share only 3 items, my original limit when I first got on FB but which has since grown over time to 8 or more entries per day.

My phone glows as I write this. The latest FB comment directed to me appears on the screen. A thank you, I think, sent in response to a Happy Birthday message I'd sent to her. Does this glancing count as time used. I didn't enter into FB to get the info from FB, it just came…hmmm. 

A scant few moments after I'd signed off with…Damn! I was just about to check the exact wording that I'd used on FB, by going in but I'm going to resist. Let's try this again.

A scant few moments after I'd signed off on my status, to the effect that, I'd reached the quota I'd set for myself today, so I'm done; my longest-time friend (who's on vacation in Mexico…so far away but she's connecting with me) made some comments. I know this cus the screen on my phone glowed, it "dinged" and I caught a glimpse of the text, just enough to know it was from her but not what her comments were about, before it timed out and the message disappeared.

Oh, the temptation!

But I'm NOT BITING.

I'm not even going to post this til tomorrow.

"TAKE THAT FB!"

"Ya, we'll see how long this lasts!"

Who said that?
*       *       *

Follow up: It's now going on for 3 p.m. ( I know it says 6p.m., haven't figured out how to change the settings from Eastern Standard to Pacific time) the next day and I haven't gotten onto FB despite the fact that 19 messages await me. Another just came in, dropped it's way into the screen on my phone. 
This post will be one of my "shares" for the day so I needed to wait til I'm ready. Ready, here I go.
_____________________________________________________________________________

* LEAPROSY - Cats display a penchant for LEAPROSY - not to be confused with leprosy. One moment they are lazing around as only cats can and suddenly, as if a bee has bitten their butt, they jump up and as if possessed run around in fits and starts. This usually occurs at about the same time each day or night, depending on your cat. In Maya's case leaprosy hits just after we have gone to bed. She announces it with a brrritt, brrritt sound followed by stampeding through the house, bashing things about along the way, eventually pounding her little cat feet and skidding around the corner into my room, leaping onto my bed, running over my body, then catapulting herself (very appropriate for a cat to do) off of it to tear around the apartment again. An episode of leaprosy ends just as quickly as it begins with a sudden stop, and a look comes over their face (like you get when you way into a room and have forgotten just why you came in) followed with consolation bathing ( for the cat, not us, though this would be a good idea.)
INFO here taken and adapted from the original post NANCE'S WORD EMPORIUM

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cartoon Break III

click on cartoon to enlarge
© Nance Thacker 1984
Some things don't change. I was just thinking I "should" write something for my blog…but I don't feel inspired enough to write. And then my cartoon stash started calling out to me, as it sometimes does when a cartoon thinks it might fit whatever's going on in my life.

So, I went into the kitchen, grabbed myself a small bowl of Tostidos with a hint of lime "flavour" ( I know, can't you just taste the salty goodness in each bite) and a tea, plonked down in front of the computer, began browsing and… there it was.

Yup, that's about as inspired as it gets tonight.

Til next time sleep tight y'all.