Big Bird

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I woke up sad today. It wasn’t because I went to a party last night, nor was it because I had a nice day yesterday. All those are good things, no sadness required. After my meditation I got up made breakfast sat down to read the news and learned Big Bird died today. My daughter said, “I’m so sorry.” and that made me cry.

This summer Caroll Spinney, the original puppeteer for Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, announced he would not be attending any more fan expos. That was sad but understandable, the man was 86, he deserved some alone time with his wife. I reached out to him and thanked him for being there every day for me as a kid and every day for my kids. I loved Big Bird and Oscar and told him so. Not that he likely didn’t hear it every day, but he wrote me back.

Let’s pause for a moment.

CAROLL SPINNEY WROTE ME BACK.

He told me how much he appreciated the kind words and how much it meant to him when his fans said thank you. He then invited me to join his private group for fans. I was honoured. I lost my mind for about a day, but then I was back to normal just admiring the artistry of his skills. He was a master of puppetry, improv, acting, singing and was an artist/illustrator. His work touched me deeply. Related image

Spinney originated Big Bird and Oscar fifty years ago, November 10, 1969. I was two. They have been apart of my entire life. I shared my love of muppets with my kids and one day will share them with my grandkids. I remember Oscar was orange before he was green and Big Bird was 5. Apparently, Big Bird is now six.

I loved the giant size of his nest and his imaginary friend Snuffy. I also had an imaginary friend, her name was Lucy. Only Big Bird and I knew Snuffy wasn’t imaginary, neither was Lucy, but the adults in our life never believed us. This made us get each other on a level I didn’t reach with other muppets. Big Bird was special, just like me.

Big Bird, Super Grover, and Kermit were the big three for me. Grover is the last one left. Each of them made me feel as if I was important. Little five year old me that wore a cape and had imaginary friends who were real. I was included in the ragtag bunch because they embraced diversity and uniqueness. Everyone was welcome. I wish I could say that I was welcome with everyone in real life, but I can’t. I was often on the outs because of my looks, my ideas and my interests. I still have to deal with cliques, mean girls and mean boys at the age of 52. For crying out loud… people are just unbelievable in their actions and behaviour. I suppose that’s why I love the Muppets so much. Everyone was welcome and everyone was recognized for their uniqueness. They practiced kindness. This isn’t a hard concept. BE KIND.

I am grateful to Caroll Spinney, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Fran Brill and Jim Henson. Grover and Prairie Dawn are the only ones left. I am happy I was fortunate enough to have had Seasame Street as a large part of my life. As a Tribute to Caroll Spinney, they are asking for donations to be made to the Yellow Feather Fund. They support giving kids a healthy start, think of it as Seasame Street in communities.

At least original Snuffy and Big Brid are together again.

Caroll Spinney 1933 – 2019.

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Sleepless

My mind is buzzing with workload and life, so my brain assumes I want to be awake every night between 2:00 am and 4:00 am. My brain is incorrect. I would prefer sleeping at 2:00. This has me thinking about a reading light… and retirement. Freedom 55 and all that. Unfortunately, I chose the Freedom 75 plan. Max out those RRSPs kids!

When I was a preschooler, I remember choosing afternoon school, so I could sleep in. Looking back at my life, I doubt I slept in because I went to work with my mom. I was probably up at 6:00, at grandma’s by 7:30. I probably could have gone to early school, but I would have missed my daily Muppet fix. Anyone who knows me, understand the importance of Kermit and his pals. I love Sesame Street as much as the Muppet Show gang, but the one constant is Kermit. He is the calm in any storm. He has control of the situation and always comes up with multiple plans because let’s be honest, Muppets are wildcards, and anything can happen from boomerang fish to exploding chickens. Kermit has control of the situation.

I suspect he didn’t sleep much.

Kermit sits on my desk at work and I have a Kermit for at home. Over the Rainbow is my favourite song and I think there aren’t enough banjos or bongos in today’s music. Soon I will start watching Muppet Christmas specials because it fills me with joy. Everyone at my office understands the importance of Kermit in my life. I look to him for all my experiential events and projects. The only difference between him and I was he had an assistant Scooter. Maybe someday I should be so lucky.

When I lay awake at night I am filled with anxiety, I make lists and play out scenarios of all the terrible things that might happen. I know Kermit does the same. When he was Jim Henson’s responsibility, he was more in control. When Henson died, and Steve Whitmire took over, I think Kermit became anxiety ridden. Kermit is back on track with Matt Vogel, more like the frog I remember from his reporter days on the street. This is my goal. Get my act together, experience less anxiety and get more sleep.

I do all the things self-help tells me to, including meditation. Sometimes it works for me but mostly it does not. Tell me what you have going on between 2 and 4, perhaps we can meet for book club, or better yet, tell me what works for you to induce sleep. I am eager to be new and improved like Kermit.

5 year olds and 50 year olds both like cookies

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2016 was  ROUGH RIDE! I know I am not the only one who felt this way. Seriously world, we need to get our act together!

I had a tough go the last bit of 2015 and moving into 2016 the bottom fell out. By August I had just about gone completely grey. Happily my hairdresser is a genius and she helped me appear put together on the outside while on the inside I was a sobbing disaster.

Everyone died this year, and quite frankly I am surprised there are still people left. I lost a favourite author a while ago, Maeve Binchy, and the lack of new reads by her was a huge loss to my library. If Carrie Fisher decides to leave, I will be down another favourite author. So I decided to write my own books. I finished 2 novels this year. When I say finish, I mean I completed the narrative but still need to edit and polish etc… I have great hopes for 2017 for becoming published. Keep your fingers crossed for me please.

I have zero plans for travel 2017, New York was on my bucket list for my 50th birthday – I turn 50 in 2017 which astounds me because I often still feel like I have the decision making skills of a 5 year old, the only difference is I do it with authority instead of trepidation. I do not hear New York calling me right now. Too much has changed or rather too much became real. I think if I get anywhere for my 50th it will be Canada’s Maritimes and maybe visit my Little Gram’s old childhood haunts. I really feel like embracing my Canadian side since the US is a disaster right now and I am just tired of fighting the good fight, I feel like I need my Country. There is a comfort I am feeling being Canadian. Its that same feeling when you are 5 and your Little Gram cuddles you while she tells you a story. It feels like home.

5 and 50 look a lot a like.

  • I choose comfort over fashion
  • I pick friends who are kind and fun
  • I don’t play well with my enemies
  • cookies are still my favourite
  • naps are awesome
  • books are the best way to end the day
  • laughing is the best
  • Muppets are still my favourite

I made some serious changes to my lifestyle and I am feeling surprisingly great both on the inside and out! I still say yes more than no but I can tell people no and mean it. Walking away and owning my confidence is the best feeling ever.

Oprah was right, as you near 50 you really have things figured out if you put the work in. Damn, I put in some serious work and I really like who this me is. I couldn’t say that in 2010 when I started this project. Seriously  – I became the Edmonton Tourist in 2010! What a journey it has been.

As I move into my 50th year I reflect on the state of the world and it isn’t pretty. All I can do is fix my corner of the world so I am kind, tolerant and compassionate. I accept differences and embrace change. I help where I can and give what helps. Thats all I can do and that is all I expect anyone to do. A surprisingly amount of people are doing this just like me – there are those who are shockingly disappointing but I accept that they have their reasons for this and only step on if the under dog needs defending.

The Tao of Pooh made a big impact on me when I turned 21. I read it again this year when I turned 49. It reminded me of all the kindest people I knew in my life and reminded me to find my way back. So this is me.

I have finally reached that place where I can say I like me. I liked me when I was 5. I shall like me when I am 50.

I wish you the best of the season no matter what you celebrate. Enjoy it and be kind.

My test results are in and it doesn’t look good

I got the results of my brain scan back today and there was some surprising information given to me. I will share with you the MRI

My coworker recieved it from the Mental Health Specialist we consult with. They were kind enough to deliver it to me. I don’t remember having an MRI done, but obviously it is mine.

I have been studying the effects of brain trauma and growth in people under 25. I find Dr. Bruce Perry’s work fascinating. Never in a million years did I expect this. Lets take a closer look, shall we?

You will notice the top left of the image is called the Ptooey Gland (regulates veggie aversion and suspicion of new cheeses) It is part of the worthwhile food cortex. This explains why I am suspicious of new cheese. I look at what my mommy eats then judge it. My mom hates cheese! I didn’t even eat non-processed cheese slices until I was 21 an living on my own! This explains EVERYTHING I have come to know about my cautionary cheese life.

Moving down we come to the Phone Call Interruption Ganglia. Wow, that is in the frontal cortex! That means it is the higher functioning part of the brain. Everyone knows (and now you do too) the higher and more forward the separate parts of the brain  are, the higher functioning and less primitive or “caveman-like” the thought process is. Clearly I am a well developed communicator triggered by the use of someone else on the phone not talking to me or paying attention to me.

Then there is the all important Cartoon Addiction Lobe. Obviously it shows I love purple dinosaurs (Dino Flintstone) Blue Dogs ( Huckleberry hound) Red dogs (sure Clifford is great, but he was my son’s favorite. I prefer Hong-Kong Phooey or UnderDog because they wore red) and any colour dragon ( Pete’s Dragon and Mushu are my favorites). I had no idea this frontal lobe is so large. It does explain my love of all things animation!

Behind my ear is the Endless Repetition Stem. As a preschool teacher, this brain stem needs to be fully developed. I can sing the Wheels on the Bus for DAYS AND DAYS. I read Good Night Moon every night for 4 years and of course…say it with me… NO! There is a comfort in repetition. Something soothingly familiar. It is the reason I go to Disneyland a million times, or my constant need for Starbucks. Repetition = Good and that is why my ERBrainstem is awesome.

Then there is the largest brain lobe in my entire cranium. Muppet-Apprieciation Lobe. Clearly this explains my love of genius. Jim Henson was my hero. He created those muppet creatures that followed me my entire life from Sesame Street to Puppet Up and all the monster/froggy business in between. From them I learned my alphabet and how to count to 10. I learned about sharing and friendship. I learned that trash is only good for some people and not everyone can see a Snuffleupagus. Super Grover was a super hero like me and Mr. The Frog Played the Banjo and sang great songs. Chickens are awkward to pack and Smorgasboards are the dinner of choice. Muppets are family that arent related. That was the biggest lesson. I love them still.

Underneath that lobe is a gland called Crayola Oblongata (relays impulses to shove objects inside the nose and or vcr). Sure I blamed my nephew for jamming a dinosaur into the vcr. I confess it was me GG. Sorry. My gland is super heightened for jamming stuff, although it has been about 43 years since I jammed something up my nose…like that penny.

Whine Region – Hyper-thalamus (triggers startling adrenaline burst before bedtime. Coordinates tantrum efforts throughout the day) Hell yeah it does! This is why I drink wine, diet coke and coffee. This region is super sensitive and needs supports for regulation. I am still tweaking with quantities.

Exhibitionist Lobe – hehehehehe my favorite after the Muppet lobe. WHen I was 4 I use to run naked up and down my granny’s hallway wearing my towel cape. It was awesome! Since then? Ummmm my mom reads this and I feel the need to keep private about my exhibitionist activities that may or may not include pictures and texting.

Then there is the Scare-o-bellum (process fear of doctors, hairdressers and trolls) not to mention birds and mice…and bad smells…and expired food….public washrooms…oh and weird skin diseses. This gland is OVER ACTIVE and I need to have it removed or injected with ponies and rainbows.

As the lobes and stems go lower, we are reaching the more primitive parts of the brain. Like the Acceptable Medicine Center. This requires kissing booboos better, a love pat and 57 band-aids. Did you know a band-aid makes everything better? Even a runny nose – or so my son thought when he was 4.

Lastly the lowest functioning brain ventricle, The Hygiene Avoidance Ventricle. This becomes super active when camping and takes over my normal “Howard Hughes” ways. Shower? No it’s snowing. Kleenex? I’ll use my sleeve. Out house? Umm…behind that tree is cleaner.

So there you have it. My MRI results explain a lot about me…don’t you agree?

Welcome to Crazytown

I live in Crazytown.

As I flip through my favorite blogs, lots of my favorite writers are reflecting on this past year. As you may or may not know, New Years for me is the first day of school. Today is just the 3rd last day of my vacation. As I look at my life I realize my muppet family truly live up to their well defined reputation.

Yesterday The Evil Genius left us for warmer climates Down Under. He spent the better part of 5 or 6 weeks with us in Edmonton Crazytown. The cold wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. No one froze to death. The snow was deep, slippery and actually looked like snow from the movies. His excitement over the big giant flakes that were actually true to the myth –  different from one to the next – was adorable. Imagine someone excited over snow! This had to be from someone who doesn’t live with it from October to April. It isn’t the snow that makes us crazy – it is what we do in it.

When I was younger, my Great Grandmother shared with me tales of her younger days raising a family on the prairies of Saskatchewan. She was a widowed Teacher of 5 children trying to do laundry during the Great Depression without a tumble dryer! How did she survive? Well my dear readers, what you may or may not know is : There is NO MOISTURE here in the Great White North. You wake up in the morning and think you may have a cold. Your nose is stuffy, your throat is sore and dry, but wait! You have a beverage, maybe hop in the shower and voila! You are back to normalish. Just moisturize lots and often so your skin won’t crack and bleed and it’s ALL good!

Anyway….back to my Gram… She would wash all the clothes then stack the clothes flat in her laundry basket still wet. Out the back porch she would go. The colder the better. Gram would let the clothes freeze solid. It wouldn’t take long for the clothes to freeze in -30F. In 2 days or less, the clothes wouldn’t be stiff any longer. All the moisture would be evaporated out of them. Likely it was how the concept “Freeze Dried” was developed. She would bring them in, give the clothes a shake, then fold and put them away. DONE!

Here in Crazytown, December 31, 2010, Honey decides he wants to do this after telling Evil Genius a similar story about how his mom did laundry in the winter when he was young. (Clearly Honey is 100 years old and if his sister are reading this – please feel free to confirm or deny this history or your mom’s life on the prairies) So here am I sitting at the Kitchen Table, enjoying my morning coffee, watching Honey out on the deck taking pictures of the frozen clothes. Just so you know, we have a perfectly lovely dryer, Candy Apple Red LG with all the bells and whistles. Does he think it works well for drying things? ABSOLUTELY! Does he thinks it is fun to freeze clothes solid just like his mom did? ABSOLUTELY! Only I am willing to wager his mom didn’t find it so fun. The next step will probably be graph and chart the humidity verses drying time of the clothes. I have a feeling it will be a long wait for clean clothes this winter.

Welcome to Crazytown 2011.

Wishing You the Best This Holiday Season!

It is no secret, I LOVE Christmas! I love everything from Stocking Stuffers that make you laugh, to the “I can’t believe I just ate that” feeling after Boxing Day. I love the unexpected surprises and the hard fast Christmas Traditions that never change. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, my wish for you is to enjoy your family, friends and all the other surprises life forces gifts to you.

I leave you with some home-movies of my family Christmas, so from me and my Muppet Clan, Merry Christmas!