Thursday, June 20, 2013

Who Cares About IQ Anyway?

The envelope arrived in the mail today. Now it sits there on the counter. I moved it from my computer table to the pile of newspapers that need to be read, onto the counter. All in a span of 30 minutes!
It sits there, unopened, with all the power of the world over me.
I feel my breathing become labored, my neck hurts from the tension of my shoulders, my head pounds, my heart pounds and God, my breathing is so shallow. I can’t catch my breath; it escapes, never satisfying me enough. I try to breathe deeply, like I do in yoga, in and out; count it in, 1, 2, 3, and 4 and out, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. I love when I can get an extra breath out. It helps.
I try not to think about how this unopened envelope has the capacity to paralyse me, yet it does, and I am reminded of this fact, just by its sight. This is my anxiety at its highest power over my body; I try not to let it take over my mind too.
I know that envelope only contains an administered intelligence test for my daughter. It does not define her, or say who she is; it only tells me her IQ. It only tells me where she is intellectually compared to her peers. It will tell me that based on the results of the assessment, she is considered mentally retarded, a label I hate. A label that the system is trying to change now, to “cognitive impairment”.
I’ve been here before, four years ago, sitting in an office when someone first said those words to me, labelled my daughter that way. Actually she was one point away, and I was given the choice for them to go either way, if I chose the one point less, funding and resources would open up. I am not stupid, I told them I didn’t care what they called her, please go the one point lower. I quit my job that next week and embarked on a new focus in my life.
Here I am four years later, and I know the results that are contained in the envelope. I already had the sit down with the school psychologist. I remember the day well, only last week, when I walked home from the meeting giving way to my body and mind as it failed me. I lay on my couch at 4 in the afternoon, and I stayed that way for 2 hours. I don’t remember if I slept, cried, or if I was consumed with thoughts. I just know I missed my yoga class, sent my daughter to go for a walk with the dog and let her stay in her room to hang out. I didn’t want her to see me the way I was. Those two hours, would normally be filled with doing chores, homework and dinner prep, but today she got to spend at her leisure, while I let my body and mind recover.
I won’t let the same thing happen to me today. That envelope can sit unopened. I will write, I will work in my yard, I will keep busy. Today is too nice a day to be consumed by worry, by sadness, and yes by grief.
Today I will enjoy the sunshine on my shoulders, the breeze on my face, the time I take in solitude to consider how I will enjoy my summer. I will not make lists, and plan, and research.
I learned 13 years ago to never plan for more than the year. Each year brings changes, re assessments of the school year, new challenges to face.
I learned that each year I have a time of sadness, a time of grieving for what will never be, a time of joy for what is and a sense of pride for achievements.
What is the big deal with an IQ anyway? It’s not like we base our friendships and loves on it. We don’t ask people before we choose to love them, “hey what is your IQ, because if it’s not at least 92, I don’t think I can love you!”
No, we choose who we love based on caring, compassion, kindness, humor, spirit....not their ability to do algebra or write a winning essay or even play an instrument.
While my daughter may not be “book smart”, she is loyal and loving, genuine, cultured, kind, considerate, compassionate, happy, and above all, loved. Those are just some of her qualities, and I know, that is more important than any level of IQ.
So to hell with IQ!
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Minneapolis, Prince, 3rd Eye Girl and a Police Officer!

I grew up with a rather eclectic exposure to music. I am the youngest of four kids, so I listened to all varieties of music in my formative years. When my older brother would go out with his friends, I would sneak into his room, and play his vinyl records. My favorite, were the 45 rpm records because then I could really listen to an assortment before he came back home! His collection was bountiful, but my favorite of his was The Scorpions, The Rolling Stones, Sly and the Family Stone, Genesis, Queen, David Bowie, Springsteen. Then there was the taste of my sister, more than 15 years older than I am, that influenced me. These, being the likes of Lionel Ritchie, Pat Benatar, Joni Mitchell, The Police, and Cheap Trick. Like I said, eclectic!

I found my own likes, by the time I was 10, but there came that pivotal moment when I discovered Prince. Wow. I was blown away and in love forever! I went through my hard rock, heavy metal phase for a while, being the rocker chick that I am! My tastes narrowed to some favorites, still to this day in The Doors, Van Morrison, U2 and Aerosmith. But the one constant was Prince.

After finally seeing Prince for the first time in his Welcome to Canada tour, my view on attending concerts changed. You can read about that here if you like, in my post "Prince, You Still Rock My World". Then, not even a year later, I travelled to Chicago to see him again, and you can read about that here if you so desire, in my post "Prince Welcome 2Chicago, My Personal Review"! Needless to say, I was hooked! Recently I went to see Bon Jovi with a friend. I do love me some Bon Jovi, his music is classic and he sounds great live. Here is the thing though. I have seen him twice, the first time, in an outdoor venue, and it was a blast! The second time was with a friend who ADORES him. During the concert I waited and waited. What was I waiting for? That mind-blowing feeling that comes over you, when you are feeling the music with your heart, transported to a place that is for a moment in time, nameless. I waited for that moment to resonate in my soul, dancing, clapping and lost in time. I danced, and clapped and had a great time, but the rest never happened. Seeing Prince live, ruined me for everyone else!

First Avenue, where Purple Rain was filmed!
I have to tell you though, on May 25th, 2013 at the Myth in Minnesota when Prince and his new band 3rd Eye Girl took the stage, I was in seventh heaven! My new found twitter friend that I met up with, well he knew the first 3-4 songs that Prince was going to play. ("Let's Go Crazy", followed by "Endorphin machine, and "Screwdriver")  I’m glad I wasn’t that aware of his previous set list from the other shows on this tour. I read them, but didn’t memorize them, and so it was a nice surprise for me when he began his fourth song, “She’s Always in my Hair”. You see, I had this little dream come true, and somehow ended up with a special wrist band that got me up close, right at the stage. I could touch the stage. So when he began with “She’s Always in My Hair”, I think my eyes actually glazed over, for the first of several times that night, and I was misplaced. I was lost in pure emotion and pure feeling of enjoying the moment, etching it in my brain, to hold close in a place I can recall again and again if I like.

When Prince had Bobby Z, his drummer from the Revolution days, come on, applause erupted, with such an explosion of gratitude and love. Prince moved to the keyboard for this song, and I know many of my Prince friends will disagree with me here, but sometimes for this song, that is exactly where I like him. Especially this night, with Bobby Z on drums, with kind, caring, loving words spoken to Bobby, it would just not have had the same effect if he was on guitar. When you see Prince play guitar on this song, he himself seems to get lost and transported to his own place. I think being on the keys, allowed Prince to be present and speak his heart, giving us a glimpse of something that his fans don’t often see, the personal part of him.

This was not a concert of “hits” and I knew it wouldn’t be, which is one of the reasons I really wanted to see him and 3rd Eye Girl on this tour. This band he has is on fire! Donna Grantis, his guitarist, is remarkable. She tears it up on that guitar; you can feel her passion and is the epitome of my version of a true rocker chic! And she’s Canadian, so of course I am proud of her success based on her citizenship right away! There were times, I fought between looking at Prince and her, and I love to look at Prince! I loved that there was not a whole team of backup singers and dancers to distract my attention from the amazing band he has, but I did miss seeing Prince take control of the stage with his dance moves, jumping off the piano, showing us his sexy ass and all the rest that comes with his larger venue performances! He certainly did have control of the stage in that super conductor way that he has though, queuing his band when need be.

 He continued the rest of the show with Free, I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man, Guitar, Plectrum Electrum, Fixurlifeup, I Like it There (Oh my gosh, I didn’t think I could find him sexier!), So Far So Pleased, The Max and Laydown. I may be missing something, but those are the ones I know!

The bouncer in the VIP area mentioned to my friend that Prince will likely pass him the guitar during the performance. That didn’t happen because maybe we were not in the right spot at that moment in time, but he did get to touch it, and that was a highlight for him I know! The same bouncer also told us when Prince left the stage that he would not be back again, and that he looked very pissed off at something. I am not sure that was true, and I wish he never would have said it, because in my mind it was a perfect night, and I hope nothing annoyed him enough to walk off the stage abruptly, but alas, the night was over.
I know one of these wrist bands allowed me
 in the VIP section. And free
drinks, but I was NOT leaving my spot to get anything!

I need to say this, I really do. I have always wanted to see Prince in a smaller venue, thought I would NEVER have a chance to see him play live while I stood at the foot of a stage. But this night, I got both. Being that close, and watching him, I have been trying for two weeks to put into words, but they have not really come to me yet. I was so close that I could see the fabric of his clothes, the individual tassels on his vest. I could see his face, his makeup, and his hands. I am sure there were moments I stopped dancing just to look at him, I was so in awe. Then something happened. I saw him, and I saw for the first time that he was just him. Just Prince, in all his genius and his success, and his fame, I was seeing him as a man.  I had to wonder, with as private as he is, as eclectic as he is, and as brilliant as he is, perhaps it’s because his ego has taken pause and he feels just like that, he is just him, just a man doing what he loves to do?

A few months ago, I wrote down a few of my goals, for the year, and for the upcoming 5 years. Now laugh if you will, but one of those things I put on my short list, was to see Prince in a small venue (I was thinking more like the Dakota shows he did), and to be right AT the front of the stage. It happened, perhaps I should make a new list, and on that list one of the things should be to meet Prince? Actually meeting him would mean nothing to me, I don’t care so much to shake someone’s hand and engage in a small greeting. It doesn’t do anything for me. But dinner or a conversation....oh a girl can dream can’t she?

I think Prince need me to come to Paisley Park and build him a flower garden!
I do have a bit of a creepy, funny bit to my visit to see Prince live in his hometown. I figured since I drove the 8 hour drive to get there, I may as well drive by his recording studio, Paisley Park, just for the photo opportunity! As we parked our vehicle illegally and rather creepily by his gate entrance to quickly run around to the front to snap a photo, the police were driving by, swung around and came to check what was going on. Luckily he was nice, and said he was just checking why the vehicle was there. I assured him I was not doing any harm, just wanted to take a picture, and we would be on our way. I thought later that I should have asked him if I could take his photo, all I got was a shot of his car in the side view mirror. My daughter did the whole hand to forehead slap thing, and I told her we would do the same if say BEP or
Sorry Mr. Police officer, Sorry Prince!
Shania Twain or someone she really liked lived in a city we drove all the way to visit.

Ahh, good times, good memories, lovely feelings! Thanks Prince and 3rd Eye Girl for a great weekend I will never forget!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

My Gaping Hole

I love visiting a new city or town, and feeling the vibe of life being lived by others. I like to imagine myself there, my life as it would be, if that city was my home. Minneapolis this past weekend was the perfect place to imagine my life being transported. One day before leaving from Minneapolis, back to my home city, I became implausibly sad. I took some time to let the feeling settle inside me, and spent many hours during sightseeing, shopping, and driving, to consider why.

The trip was great; a good time was had by all. Minneapolis is a very pretty city, and I liked it more than I thought I would. I also may have found a new favorite paper store! I actually didn’t really wonder before we left, if I would like it or not. I was quite focused on the concert I was going there for, Prince of course. A small 3000 person show in his home town! (That has to be a separate blog post though!) What did I care if I would like the city or not. I was going to see Prince in concert for the 3rd time in 2 years!

But something happened, in the light of day. I looked around and saw that in some ways, it was a city much like my own. In some ways, it was a larger scale of the small mountainside town of Peachland that I fell in love with last year.  I could feel, within me, a gaping hole. Something missing...something not found...something I long for, need, crave?

There was a very pretty area that we went to on our second last day, the Lake Calhoun area. When we got there, my breath caught in my throat. Not because of its beauty. I have seen beautiful places before, in my ever favorite Rocky Mountains, the beaches of Hawaii, Jamaica, the forest and trees in our camping region, the soft silence and untouched beauty of the area I tree planted in as an 18 year old. I have seen many beautiful places, and that was not what caused my breath to be caught.

My daughter was with me the day I proclaimed that I loved Peachland so much I wanted to move there. She was with me in the water when she asked me, was it my dream to live there? She heard my reply that I was meant to live near beauty.

This day, in Minneapolis, as I stepped out of my vehicle, I looked at her and told her I had that same feeling that I had that day in Peachland.

I was meant to live near beauty.

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