A Silent Back

I’ve had this habit of cracking my fingers since I was a kid.  Then it gradually expanded to my toes. My mom was always annoyed and warned me about painful and swollen joints.  As a teen, I started to crack my spine.  Eventually I figured I could crack almost every joint in my body.

A few years ago, I stopped cracking my neck.  These past few days, I’ve stopped cracking my back.  The easiest way for me to crack my back is to simply lean back over my chair and with my arms behind my head, I pull it forward while pushing against the back.  I’m pretty sure this isn’t healthy for my muscles, ligaments and tendons.  But there is a satisfying release of pops that follow.

Here’s the odd thing.  When I see my chiropractor, the only joint that makes any sound is my neck.  My back only makes a wimpy pop when when it’s being adjusted.  It’s nothing like the loud pops I get at home.  I’ve mention this to my chiropractor.  He’s not sure why.  Maybe my back is so intimidated by this young, very handsome, muscular, Asian chiropractor – it’s just very quiet. Or maybe I’ve hyper extended my joints so much that it can’t crack normally.

I think I’ll have to slowly replace this back cracking with stretches.


My back seized up on Saturday morning.  I was just getting ready to head to J’s place when everything just tightened up in a knot.  I had to hold on to the counter when I brushed my teeth.   My chiropractor was fully booked that day and the earliest I could get in was today (Monday).  I managed to do some stretches to ease the pain.  I knew I had some Ibuprofen.  But it’s harder to find it when you’re in pain.  Eventually I did and quickly downed a pill.  I had another one later that day.

That was it for me that day.  Stretching, sitting, walking around in slow motion and Ibuprofen.  Yesterday was better.  I could walk around in my condo and didn’t need Ibuprofen.  What is worrying me is I have an 8 hour car trip coming up in the weekend.  It’s for a wedding so I can’t get out of it.

And to top it off, I woke up with a bit of a stiff neck today.  I can’t wait for my chiropractor  to “crack” it.  You know what’s strange?  Whenever my chiropractor manipulates my back, there’s no cracking or popping noise.  I crack my own back (I know it’s a bad habit…) and have been doing that since my teens.  I told him that and I think it has probably messed up my back by overextending it or something like that.

I watched the Anthony Bourdain special on CNN last night.  It was a bit cathartic for me.  Today, the sky is blue and the sun is flexing its muscles.  I have a ton of things to do today so I hope I can get to those.


Tough Morning

It’s a tough morning.  I went to bed hearing that the current right wing populist party has won a majority government in our provincial election.  A party that used to be center right but now shares nothing with that heritage.  A party that didn’t disclose how it will pay for its election promises.  A leader that was muzzled from the press so he won’t say anything embarrassing.  It’s a crazy how people vote.

And this morning, I woke up learning Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.  I’m reminded that everyone has their own burdens to carry.  And sometimes those become too heavy.  He was a wonderful storyteller who was able to unite people around his virtual dining room.

Sad loss.

For readers in the Toronto area that need help, please click on this: Crisis Resources in Toronto

No One Knows Who You Were

It was a warm, sunny late afternoon.  As I approached the intersection, I saw several police cruisers.  Just beyond the cruisers were the yellow police tapes.  There were several policemen standing around.  Then I saw the body.  It was covered with a pink orange blanket from an ambulance.

Was it a homicide?  An accident?  An overdose?  There are quite a few homeless people in the area.  Was it one of them?

A few hours later, on my way home, I passed the intersection.  The police cars were all gone.  The yellow tapes were on the ground and the area where the body was wet. It had been hosed down.  After I crossed the street, the skies opened up with a heavy rain.   I was drenched by the time I got my umbrella out from my knapsack.

I checked the news sites and police reports when I got home. But there weren’t any reports.  Nothing.  Whoever it was – rest it peace.

Need A Jolt of Energy

It’s just been hard to muster enough energy and positivism these past few weeks.  I’m just not able to focus and be productive.  It’s like the dark, winter nights have taken over. Hopefully it’s just a phase that I can work through.

Stumped By Kids

I don’t have kids.  But if I was a parent, I think I would be stumped on a daily basis.

One of the girls I work with at the library seemed to be in a bad mood when it was time for her session.  As we walked to the room, she asked me if I ever got so angry at someone that I swore at them.  Hmm… how do I answer?

I asked her do you mean use very bad words?  She said “Yes, like the f word and the other one that starts with m.” I was surprised.  But she said all her classmates use those words (she’s in grade 3).  I don’t remember learning the f word until I was 13 or 14.

She was in a better mood at the end of the session.  There was still some time left and she wanted to watch videos on the iPad.  Her favorite videos are slime videos.  But this time she was watching videos of people with long nails, children born without limbs and so on.  Then she clicked on a video “11 year old transgender”.  Hmmm…. she watched in silence for a few seconds and then asked “What’s a transgender?”

I told her, I don’t think she really understood.  But she got bored with it and switched to another video about a girl who keeps cockroaches as pets.  It was gross.  This kids keeps hordes of cockroaches in her bedroom.  My student was happy I was so grossed out by it and kept saying “look at this!”  I would then make the most gross out face I could.

The other girl did a bit of homework after she finished reading.  She’s not really suppose to do homework but we use our own judgment.  I typically don’t help her unless she’s really stuck.  I was watching her write a sentence.  “The monsters sleeps in garbage cans.”  I told her it should be sleep not sleeps because monsters is plural.  Then I wondered if monster is a collective noun.

But she looked at me and said, “no – it’s sleeps”.  So I made a snooty face and told her “Fine… if your teacher finds the error, don’t blame me.” She looked at me but continued with her work.  After a while, she covered her work with her hand so I couldn’t see what she was writing.  Then she asked me to help her spell a word.  I made her try first before giving her the answer.  As she wrote out the word,  I noticed she had already corrected sleeps to sleep.   Sneaky little kid….

One thing I am always conscious of is my mood.  If I had a bad week or a bad day, I try not to let that show.  I’m pretty sure kids pick up on these things.


Hey Universe – What’s Up?

I was almost home when I saw a cat near the sidewalk.  There used to be a cat in this area that would always “meow” at me and loved to be petted.  I took a step closer and this cat just scurried away.  A man who was standing nearby told me the cat’s name and said it’s an outdoor cat.  We started chatting, first about the raccoons and skunks in the area, his car and how much the neighbourhood has changed.  Then another guy joined us.  He knew the first guy and also lived in the area.

So the 3 of us were in the sidewalk chatting about politics, a bit of about music, economy, funny stuff and so on.  I thought I’ve seen the 2nd guy before and once I got home I remembered.  I had stopped by a bookstore while walking home.  In front of the store was a cart with books on sale.  He was standing beside me when I was looking at the cart.  He started to ask about books and then shifted to the meaning of life, how energy flows in people and leading tours to sacred sights around the world.  I know.  I was a bit wary but he seemed like one of these harmless, eccentric people you run into.  So it was kinda weird seeing him again.

Then as we were about to finish, I saw the Asian, geeky looking barista who works at the nearby coffee shop I go to.  I had just came from there and was still holding on to my coffee.  We both looked at each other as he walked past but he didn’t recognize me.  Oh well.

It’s was one of these weird days when I think the universe is trying to tell me something.  But I’m just a bit too dense to figure it out.  Or maybe the universe is just trying to mess with my mind.