Come Play With Me!

Every day when I attempt to do my exercises, Sam my cat comes to help.  I am doing various poses for frozen hips and legs, something Sam does not suffer from.  At first I thought he just lacks understanding as to what I am trying to do, but I’ve changed my mind.  He is a lot smarter than me.

He reminds me that we adult humans turn every task into work.  We need to play.

As I do static exercises; hold a pose, much like Yoga, to coax my body back into alignment, Sam is busy undoing my best efforts.  He jumps up on my back, bites my toes, fiddles with my legs, nibbles on my fingers, licks my face.

He wants to play.  That is how he stays in alignment.  Constant free flowing movement, ridiculous positions, contortions of upper and lower body going in opposite directions.  Stretches that enable him to do the limbo under 2 inches into cupboards and under furniture.  Energy that propels him up in a couple of bounds to the highest perch and back down in one.

Sam knows how to have fun!

He is trying to tell me something when he perches on my back during a thoracic stretch.  When he bites my toes while trying to do a foot stretch.  Nibbles on my fingers while trying to do the corpse pose.

I get visions of jungle gyms, monkey bars, ropes hanging invitingly over swimming holes.  The mad splash from jumping into puddles.  The thrill of scaling fences and climbing trees.  Hop Scotch and skipping rope.  Sam says, yeah!  Be a kid again!

At the moment I barely survive static exercises.  My hips and legs don’t yield much yet.  For sure, I am not having any fun at this.

Meanwhile, purring madly, Sam is a pure delight of energy and fun, ready to mess up my best efforts of anything I claim as work.  He has a radar for the mundane, the boring, so whenever I get immersed in it, he is quick to thwart it.  Whether it be exercise, writing a report, washing dishes or studying, he soon disrupts it.

Come play with me!  He grabs my pen and off he goes!  A merry chase ensues that soon has me breathless and laughing (but not yet to the point of rolling on the floor – it takes me some time to get down there).  When the game is over, he head butts me and purrs deep into my soul.

Oh to be agile like him – well, for a few moments of chase when I forget myself – that is the adult serious self, I am.  Perhaps he is right, all my day should be full of merry chases and a little less of making everything a chore.

If you don’t own a pet, check out videos on You Tube of cats and dogs helping their owners do exercises to convince them they are not doing it right.  They seem to know better than us!

Slow Hands

The times I really enjoy myself are when I am creating something; writing, drawing or photography because at those times I can work slowly and do something of quality instead of quantity.

The working world focuses on quantity at the expense of quality.  I think it is time, and wise, to get back to work based on quality.

We over produce.  Every day grocery stores throw out enough food to feed several cities.  There are huge automobile graveyards filled with brand new cars that no one can use.  Doctors allot 15 minutes or less to each patient.  There is no time to focus on one task and do it well, nor to take time.  There are unreasonable quotas and deadlines and for what?  Do we need to produce 10,000 Teslas in a week that there is no demand for?  Do we need to poison our land with chemicals to produce food we throw out?

We need to produce less.  Perhaps even take a lesson from some book publishers – create on demand.  That is, you order something and it is made for you, it does not exist until there is a demand for it. Talk about saving resources!  Do you know what happens to books that don’t sell in a bookstore?  They throw them out!  In the garbage!

We manufacture appliances and equipment so that they wear out in a short space of time so we have to buy new.  There is hype over the latest and greatest, new telephones and tablets every year – seriously – do we need that?  How many gizmos and gadgets do we use on those wasteful items?  Why such a big deal over electronic devices?  Devices that are difficult to recycle.  Telephones and cars and appliances were built to last not so long ago and were not over produced.

I read an article claiming we need more agricultural land and grow more crops because our population is growing.  We don’t need more agricultural land – we need to make better use of the crops we have – as in don’t grow so much and better distribute what we have – oh I know – politics!  Look what happened when Bob Geldof tried to feed the starving Ethiopians.  You should read his autobiography sometime (Is That It?)

Not so long ago the slow food movement began, advocating eating our meals more slowly, and actually enjoying the experience.  Well, I say we need a slow hands movement (I am not talking dirty, take your mind out of the gutter please).  I am advocating working for quality and not quantity.  Spending time talking to people and creating things of value that last.  Taking our time.  Not over producing for those fat cats called shareholders who demand more and more money.  Abolish quotas and deadlines.  Manufacture on demand.  Recycle everything.  Use our brains and talents, skills and experience, education and brilliance for saving our world and ourselves, and stop making more damn telephones, crap cars and junk.

A Nice Idea

My cat Sam has a favourite toy which he has secretly stashed at least 50 of them somewhere in the apartment.  Every couple of weeks I buy him another one or two, and they also disappear in a short space of time.

He also has a good supply of pens, pencils and erasers, specially selected from my studio.

Like cats, we humans are collectors, we develop a fondness for an item and then have to have every possible form of it.  There are collectors of toy pigs, cat figurines, spoons, books, match boxes, Santa Claus dolls, you name it, people will collect it.

But collections can begin because we forget.  There in the store is an object that would be great to have, you buy it, and discover you already have it, maybe 2 or 3 times over already.

When you are young you can remember everything you possess, even the cans of food in your cupboard and paperclips on your desk.  Not when you age a bit.  Now I understand why I found 5 of any given item in my Mom’s house.  Why I find the same in mine.

I went through phases of deliberate collecting of favourite things, like most people do at some point in their lives.  Eventually you find a like minded collector and happily hand it all over to them.  My collections now happen because I forget, or I am winter stock piling.

When you get older, winter stock piling is not just a quirk, it is a necessity.  There are power outages, ice storms, illnesses that can prevent you accessing even the simplest of things.  Stocking up on heavy items before the snow falls is a good idea, like kitty litter, and necessities like toilet paper.  You have to be older to understand this.  I used to think my Mom was nuts doing that.  Sorry Mom!

The accidental collections are what bring me a good laugh.  When I get home with that prized kitchen gadget, tool, art supply or toy and discover I already have it, I laugh.  If it was an expensive item I can force a chuckle.

Fortunately I always find an eager recipient to relieve me of overstock, or I donate it to goodwill.  As money gets tighter I do far less of what I call ‘excited shopping’ and try to stick to my list.

In all fairness to my forgetfulness, I remember items I use frequently.  I think you only need to worry if you start buying toasters and refrigerators, things you use every day.  Or bring home a new spouse or another kitty because you forgot you already have them, and thought it would be a nice idea.


Back in the mid 1980’s I was briefly part of a local group of activists that were at the time protesting the spraying of DDT on bananas.  I never went out to protest myself, but it was a mind blowing education on the chemicals in our food and environment. The leader of this group was often arrested for causing scenes in grocery stores.  It sounds funny now.

In those days, the way to effect change was to protest.  Yell, scream, wave banners and signs and just generally be a nuisance.  There were signed petitions. There were demonstrations.  Sometimes it made a difference, most often, not.  It only served to vent the frustrations of said protesters.

Petitioning the government or corporations was about the only way to make change.  And it seldom worked.

In the past protests were sometimes violent, and today that still holds true.  What did that ever do but get people arrested, hurt or killed? We don’t need violence, we need hands on action.

Demonstrations continue today, with much the same result.

Today, thankfully, many people are making things happen without demonstration.  We are creating change.  We are doing.

Activists need to be Actionists.  This is the only way to get things done.  Roll up your sleeves and get dirty.  Get out in the knee deep wastelands of plastic on beaches and clean it up.  

We have to stop wasting our talents and get out there!

Actionists include those who educate everyone on what is happening in our world.  Leaders that rally people to take action for causes.  The rich who buy medical equipment for hospitals, workers who clean up pollution, thinkers inventing new ways to better our lives (not just new telephones!) 

We need government leaders with balls, who make policy changes and laws that are “take no prisoners” type of legislation to stop pollution, poverty, crime and all our ills, instead of just passing a lot of hot air (and gas),  appeasing big corporations and pharma, and lining their own pockets by supporting their own interests.

My heroes are people like Boyan Slat who do something, quietly, without permission, without protest, without flair, but with passion and purpose.

In my own small way, through this blog, or for some unfortunate few in grocery stores (where I helpfully point out all the poisons in their favourite foods and products and try to persuade them to use something else) I am part of the solution.  I am always amazed at the number of people who are unaware of what they are consuming and using.  I am far from perfect but I try.

You can too.