It’s hawt.

Not in that I’m-Paris-Hilton-and-everything-is-so-hawt-and-sexxy way that makes you want to harm small, fuzzy things. It’s truly hot here in the T Dot. As I just heard it so aptly put, “It’s, like, soooo hawt, dude. If I stand out there for 5 seconds I can fry boogers in my hand.” To which Dude replied, “For real.”

(I can’t wait for Richard to get to this stage of life so that I can hit him up with dude-speak. I’m gonna write all these gems down.)

It’s 33 degrees here today – add in humidity and it’s 42 (degrees Celsius). And of course, the Toronto Transit boys’n’girls with their impeccable timing, staged a wildcat strike this morning. I’m actually ok with the strike. They have concerns, no one is listening. And they claim they were locked out by management. Thank the Bus-and-Train God that they’re not hockey players or we’d all be walking for a year.

So we all walked, biked, or drove with more than one person in our vehicles this morning. True it’s not minus 25, but it’s hawt! Steamy, sticky, smelly. Why didn’t they do this last week when it was nice out? Why do it when everywhere smells like the zoo? Oh, TTC. Your timing. Your timing …

I would write a poem or something. Maybe something snazzy and clever about cooking phlegmy substances on your overheated digits. But I can’t. I’m hawt. And I have to walk home with a thousand other stinky people. There is no art in this moment for me my friends.

Good Parenting

Two weeks from today marks the beginning of the World Cup. I'm like some freakish anomaly in amongst most of my pals because very few of you/them are sports enthusiasts. Yeh, even the guys. But here I am – ready to throw down with the hairiest, sweatiest, loudest dudes when it comes to soccer (the Real Football), hockey and football (this N. American stuff). And not in that "Oh hon, yeah I'm totally interested in your little sports gamey thing on TV …" way – more like the "Dude, get out of my view and don't even try to talk to me for the next few hours" way. Seriously.

It used to be basketball. I loved it. Before the NBA went all mainstream on me and I was forced to watch the increasingly swaggering egos jostle for 15 seconds, stop, jostle, stop, dunk, stop, cut to commercial. Boo to that stuff. I'll still watch the college games but I can be interrupted – I can even leave the room. Trust me, that's big.

But soccer. Dude you just don't understand. It's so hard to explain to people who don't like soccer but this is not a sport. It's art. It's beauty. If it was a religion, I'd become clergy. I cannot be interrupted while watching soccer (something the female parental and small male progeny still don't understand). I don't want to chat, I don't want to talk about players' stats, I don't want to eat or go to the bathroom. I sit on the converter and pity the fool (total A Team-style) who tries to change the channel.

In short, I love soccer.

And I am a totally responsible parent.

Together this means that I must successfully infect young progeny's expanding mind with a growing love of the game. Because we must share this thrilling experience (I am not a selfish parent). Together. And bond and stuff. A successful plan goes like this:

  • Parent sees that child doesn't love soccer to the correct degree and makes gradual suggestions to child's mind about why soccer is brilliant.
  • Child begins to respond ever so slightly but his/her mind is currently busy absorbing hockey. No worries. Hockey is good, too.
  • Parent looks at calendar and sees that The World Cup approacheth. The time for proper instruction is at hand.
  • Child begins to play soccer at school on own initiative. Parent is pleased. Encourages child. School offers soccer as after-school activity. Parent is more pleased. Child wishes to join and does so. Success is at hand.
  • Parent offers to buy child FIFA 2006 GameBoy game. Child initially denies offer saying game is boring. Parent frowns. Overrides child's denial and buys game. Goes home and begins looking at game's oh-so-cool features, chooses teams and begins playing. Child's interest in piqued. (Note: If parent is buying the game because this might be the only time in his/her life that his/her team is playing, this is a valid reason to override. Not that I did this or anything … I'm just sayin' …)
  • Child begins playing the game and has fun. Finds out game is not boring in any way at all. Parent calls in reinforcements (uncle) and fierce play commences. All is well.
  • Parent purchases affordable, yet informative and colourful World Cup 2006 book for child so that small mind can begin to soak up teams, players, stats. Child is enthused.
  • The countdown is on. Parent wonders if child will understand the No-Talking-When-Soccer-is-on clause (doubts it as child never stops talking). Hopes that at least child will talk about soccer.
  • Child asks for team shirt.
  • Parent is super-duper pleased and moves on to scheduling vacation days for important games.

Success is the journey my friends.

(I dunno who said that but they must have been on the way to the World Cup.)

Saying goodbye

My uncle passed away on Monday afternoon. Beautifully. Peacefully. Today is his funeral and it’s pretty tough to be here when I really want to be there in Florida. But I imagine the waves are drumming out there at sea and the folks there can hear the roar of the ocean as they say final goodbyes. I was going to wear black today but it didn’t feel right, so I chose a vibrant red-orange colour. It makes me think of him, vibrant and healthy and happy. I wondered if I might be totally weird for that.

Anyway, I’m there in spirit, listening to ocean, smelling the salt air and saying goodbye.

This too shall pass

"And this too shall pass"
read the golden words
etched deep in the hill of sorrow

No man with a broken heart
could fail to miss the wisdom
behind the simple words

They were written deep
etched in ever deeper with
every cry of anguish

Lit more brightly with
the whisper of every prayer
born of love, despair, longing

Some of us lay down to die
under the weight of
sorrows only we can bear

Some of us hold others high
because we are born
to do just that

Some of us are born
with hearts full of sorrow
breaking with pain and regret

And some of us know only
joy and are the light
for our friends to follow

But all of us will reach
this hill and see the words
all hearts must hear

All of us will feel the light
and see the truth
to believe or not

"And this too shall pass"
is written there
in my heart and in yours

It means our life, our joys
and fears all pass, melting
into the doorway

That leads beyond the golden light
to the moonlit gentle road
that takes us home at last

~Lara
May 6/06

My uncle, the tiger

My uncle, Jaio Sookoo, is in the last stages of cancer. I want to remember him before he passes, not after. I want to think about him today – while he’s still here in this world with me. I’ll cry when he leaves us. I’ll grieve and I’ll feel the hollow place where his life belonged to my heart. But I’ll know. I’ll know that he’s not too far away. I’m not exactly how I feel about life after death and what that means. But I do believe that something of us, something of our identity lingers close to those who love us. And he will never be too far away.

He has always been my second father in my mind and in my heart. I always knew that if anything happened to my dad, I would go looking for him – and he would be there to tell me it was going to be ok. I’m sure I disappointed my aunt and uncle. (Hell, I made it my business at one time to disappoint my parents continually.) But like my parents, their capacity to forgive makes me small, grateful, ashamed and inspired.

My uncle has always been larger than life to me. He had a huge laugh and a booming voice. He had a wonderful sense of humour and an anger that I can only describe as awe-inspiring, crashing over you like a storm at sea. And over just as quickly with sunlight piercing the clouds and everything settling back to normal. He was not always an easy man but he is a good man. He makes me think of a tiger. Wondrous and fierce, not entirely tame and yet capable of playfulness and gentleness. My father has always looked up to him and respected him – and anyone my father respects will get no less from me.

I remember – was it 30 years ago? – the day we got the call saying he had been in a terrible accident and they didn’t know if he would live. I was little then but I felt the darkness spread out; I remember the devastation on my dad’s face. But he pulled through like the survivor he is. He’s always been part of my life, since I was born. My earliest memories have him and my aunt and my cousins in them. I don’t see any lines between their family and the one that is my brother, son, father, mother and me. I never have. I never will.

Uncle, I can only talk to you in my heart. You are far away from me today. I know you are passing from this world to whatever awaits in the next. I’m not good at fooling myself or placating myself with half-truths. In a way, I’m kind of like you. I face life and I’m damned determined to survive whatever it throws my way. If I can live with half your spirit, that will be saying something. But beyond that distance is the physical distance and you’re 2000 miles away. I won’t get to see you again and I won’t get to say good-bye or tell you to be well.

Not physically anyway. But I’m telling you now. And I’m telling you that I love you. And I’m telling the world too because you deserve that. We are all flawed people but we can all come to love, forgiveness and wholeness in the end. That is what you have taught me. Thank you. I needed to see.

So, I pray. I call. I love. Go gently onto that moonlit path and walk home in peace, love and grace. Om namah sivayah.