Sunday, 12 August 2012

Miss Lame in Italy

One year...

Sitting in the cobble streets of Firenze, Italy at a cafe. People flow by, a few at a time, some chat softly at the neighbouring tables, enjoying their breakfast "cakes" (typical Italian breaky- sweet pastries)- The right amount of commotion for Miss Lame's writing-focus. Background bustle with opportunities for momentary engagment with others- smiles.

A solo day of adventure for Miss Lame.  Needing a moment to breath in this new place. To write, eat and be me. Enjoy my own company.

I retreive the black, hardcover sketch book my sister gave me as a gift over a year ago from my purse. I scan through sketches and Miss Lame chicken scratch from over a year ago- The last time the notebook was opened.

I just so happened to notice this book as I packed for my trip and thought "oh, that would be a great writing canvas for my Miss Lame adventures in Italy!"

Curious, I take a moment to read my last written entry:

"Monday August 8, 2011- New adventure- Blog?"

I am about to leave Canada- in my favourite place in the whole world with my favourite people:
Northern Ontario, Canada- Jumping Caribou Lake- the family cottage- with my family.

In the passage, I brainstorm and hypothesize the pending unknown...

Becoming Miss Lame.

I decipher my message and I am moved as I compare, contrast and connect my current world and mindset with my person and mental place at that time.

What I didn't know. The unwavering confidence of my spirit.

I express a mind-numbing mosaic of feelings- excitment, pride, apprehension... Saddness?... These basic, contrasted feelings zip in and out of my brain, undirected, flighting and ultimately, uncomprehensible.

Miss Lame is usually very good at feeling emotions strongly. Clear, punctuated emotions is comfort to Miss Lame- They tell me what is wrong. They give me answers and insight. I feel in control.

Despite this brain flurry. There is a tone of certainty in my words- complete assurdness in my decision to step into the unknown, on my own.

No question- I was going to London England. I was going to teach. I was going to love it.

I was right.

Hypothesizing my new blog- "Becoming Miss Lame" in it's inception.

"Things I see and learn will bombard me as I venture to a new country and a new culture. This will increase the frequency and opportunity for "super-dork" moments, but it will also provide opportunities for deeper reflection and personal growth... I'm not JUST dorky..."

As I read this passage I am intrigued. I reflect- Miss Lame "super-dork" moments and their frequency...

Looking back on this year in the UK, it seems that this prediction was inaccurate. In a new place, with new people who don't fully "get" Miss Lame (there tends to be an initial distrust in Miss Lame's incredibly upbeat address here in London, England), super-dork situations became less punctuated. Perhaps it isn't the frequency of the lame occassions that changed but that they flew past, unnoticed.

The realisation: The beauty or fun in these super-dork moments is the shared laugh with friends who partake in the lame moment or catch them and call you on it.

Perhaps Miss Lame just doesn't notice how dorky she is anymore. It comes natural. I'm just being me.

Goodbye Grandpa Boobie.

I carry on reading my entry...

"Yesterday, my siblings, parents and I went to the hospital in North Bay to visit Grandpa Bob. He has been on oxygen for a while but recently has also been afflicted with a lung infection among other issues..."

A lump forms in my throat. Staring at the page, I grasp at my cappaccino, using my peripherals to coordinate. I take a big gulp, in an effort to pull the lump back down.

I read on: "It was so good to see him and hear his humour. He looks frail and weak... I feel a strange calm about seeing him... I dont know why..."

I read this and long overdue tears develop. Amidst the bustle of Firenze, Italy, I feel alone with myself. In a good way.  I can let go. Something I was unable to do months ago, last fall, as I piered at my parents through the computer screen one afternoon- the news of Grandpa's death rebounds off of me. I couldn't process it.

In Canada, this 18th of August, my family will be gathering in North Bay, Ontario to celebrate my late Grandfather's life. I will be missing this opportunity.

An upcoming adventure: In honour of my dear Grandpa Bob, I will be biking to Brighton on the South coast on Monday August 13th (tomorrow), surfing on a couch for the night and returning the following day. I plan to write, sit by the sea and talk to Grandpa.

I retreive the red pen in my purse. I write. I eat. I breath. I enjoy my own company in Firenze, Italy.


In Italy, my friend Bea and I step into a new world of flavours, social engagment and asthetic.

The speedo.
 "Why?" I question, entertained, perplexed and sometimes disturbed, as my eyes scan the beautiful coastal swimming encleave (Manarola, Cinque Terre), dotted, rather, interrupted by, scantally clad men. All shapes and sizes, young and old, in tight, package hugging, obnoxious in colour, speedo suits- Nothing left to the imagination. Too often, tummies portrude over the waistband of these spandy briefs, giving the illusion of nudity. Unfortunately.

WHY?- Miss Lame hypotheses:
I dig and grasps for some sort of reasoning behind this trend of over-exposure and decide on the following logic...
  • Maximizing tanned surface area of the body... Achieving that even, golden brown tan- No lines and inconsistencies on their bodily canvas. 
Miss Lame wonders- "what is the point?!"- as she notices the toll of this asthetic ambition- men and women approaching middle-age, red-brown in hue, rather than golden.  Their tired skin, crying for moisture.

The most prevailent form of Body Dysmorphic disorder in Italy?
  • Ease of movement... I imagine it's a freeing sensation. Much like skinny-dipping.
Not that we would wish to see majority of these men sprinting, prancing or attempting any particularly dynamic movement in this garb.  

The albedo effect.
Never before have I seen so much white, baige, cotton and linen.  A lot of white pants- or, rather, "trousers".

"They have it right", Miss Lame decides.  This observation launches my brain into a Science-dork rant...

Workin' with those photons (light particles).

Why  do we see green leaves, racy red cars, scalding hot black asphalt, and light, flowy white pants/trousers on Italian men? The physics of light and how we see colours.
  • White light from the sun or a common lightbulb is the combination of all the colours of the rainbow (visible light spectrum).  When white light strikes a prism or water droplet it is split up to show all colour components!
  • When white light reaches a surface (e.g. green leaves on a tree, a racy red car, black ashphalt, an Italian man's white pants/trousers) the colour that we see is the particular colour or combination of colours that are reflected off the object and into our eyes- the rest of the colours are absorbed into the material/surface.
The racy red car:
  • The colour red reflects off of the car and into our eyes- we see red. All other colours of the rainbow are absorbed into the surface.
Burning your toes on that HOT, black asphalt:
  • None of the colours of the visible light spectrum reflect off the surface- all are absorbed- As a result the surface becomes HOT (creates heat energy)
In the case of an Italian man's white pants/trousers:

  • All colours of the visible light spectrum (light particles) are reflected off of the white surface and into our eyes- meaning we see white- None of the colour spectrum gets absorbed into the material. This keeps things cooooolll! 
 Living in a Mediterranean climate such as Italy, wearing white and baige = good idea. 
What would be even better?

If Italians decided to wear tin foil- "Robot fad" is a good idea, I think..


Beautiful squares. Grandiose structures surround the open air with a strong, elegant presence.

As I walk through the space I feel the history. I imagine old farmers markets, rallies, movements. Sometimes lively and thriving with many individual contributions. Sometimes one voice or a pause- silence. A community come together or tearing apart.

I don't know the stories. But I imagine them.

Piazza Maggiore- Bologna (a film festival at night)

My favourite piazza experience:

A quaint, quirky, alternative little piazza.

Seated on crates. Crate tables craddle our wine glasses when we are not sipping away at them. A DJ plays retro infused dance music off to the side.  Offerings of free legitimate Shiatsu massages in order to bolster business.

Yes please.  


Savouring, smiling.  Heaven.

"I can't believe this..." I think as the mouthful of handmade, squid ink pasta, with fresh scampi overtake my mouth. Melting with pleasure.
After a moment to myself of complete an utter pleasure, I fixate my eyes on the view before me. Sea-side, Manarola, Cinque Terre, the sun sets and creates siluettes of the few land parked boats and individuals admiring in between.

Italy- A foodie's dream come true. Handmade pasta. Fresh seafood. Smooth, gorgeous gelato... The CHEESE.

Simple. Quality. Beautiful.

Customer service/common decency
Shops and service industry.

I walk up, eager, with my broad Miss Lame smile and open my mouth to speak.

A sharp, pointed finger.

A wall is created.

"ok." I step back and suppress my excitement for the moment.

Stone face, the tourism services women's eyes do not break from her computer screen.  After what felt like ages (likely 1 minute, but hyperactive, excited Miss Lame has a hard time with these things), the woman's eyes detach from the computer screen and meet mine- Lack luster.


She allows me to speak.
Of course my inquiry was not properly prepared. Not specific enough.  I was quickly turned away to seek the brochures consuming the wall behind me.

Don't get me wrong, not all individuals in service industry behaved this way in Italy, but it did seem to be a trend- A general vibe of complete and utter distain for the individual requiring their time.

Major exception was the lovely waitor whom on my last evening in Italy, recommended a great place to dance in Bologna.  A new friend from the hostel, also an educator of children, and I set out in search of this dance floor, determined to get our groove on.

We danced the night away with locals until the sun came up.  A perfect way to wrap up my time in Italy.

Dance. My favourite.

Miss Lame looks forward to her continued summer time adventures.  
The is so much to look forward to.

NOTE: Any words that are bolded, italicized, underlined and in red are suggested/preferred words by Mom. She doesn’t like me saying words like fuck, shit, ass (etc) on the internet… I feel these words better illustrate my feelings as times, so just imagine them in there if you will.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Miss Lame's Report Card

The Final Report: GRADING SYSTEM

FA- downright awesome
PG- Perrdy gooood
S- Satisfactory
WOI- Workin' on it...


Personalised invitations were assigned to the Visible light, Infrared, Micro wave and Radio wave families…


Chaotic excitement. Just how Miss Lame likes her classroom-  Paper flying, scissors snipping, hats, masks, props under construction- some of which seemed completely disjoint from the electromagnetic spectrum- but they were so happy and this creativity and excitement had to carry on.

No rationalising necessary.

Preparation time for the grand ball is up and the guest and their families are to take their place in correct spectrum sequence- shortest wavelength to longest- before introductions could begin.

Miss Lame was proud of her little rays of sunshine as they gaily shifted, chattered and coordinated themselves into correct order. Engaged. Collaborating. Success.

Introductions of esteemed guests:

(Miss Lame's favourite introduction- Visible light family)

A line of 8- Ece stands infront, holding a large white sheet of paper- "White light".  

"The sun or light from a bulb is a source of white light, which is actually a combination of all of the colours of the rainbow, which can be seen when white light passes through a prism or rain droplet and splits up into its parts!"...

As Ece explains the 7characters huddled in a line behind her fan out to either side- proud- each holding a different colour- Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, purple.

A beautifully choreographed rainbow. 


The Dance:

Miss Lame: "Before we can let loose and get grooving we must think about how we will dance...If all families move at the same speed- the speed of light- than how should we dance?"
I am hit by a barage of excited explanations:

"At the same pace!"
                                          "To the same beat!"
                                                                              "Like this, miss!"
(Did I mention I love my job... I DOWNRIGHT love it.)

"YES! Exactly!"... But if you all have different wavelengths how should you talk?..."

"Different speeds Miss!"

A mess of noise ensues.

My sweet, little year 8 microwave family begin experimenting with their voices and drop them an octave or two. Old man voices bellow through the science classroom out of 11 year old faces...

The visible light family begins chatting energetically- their words escaping their mouths at a rate beyond their brain speed- non-sensical conversation ensues as a result.

Miss Lame (so proud) exclaims "OK! We are ready! Let the dance party begin!

I press play on the youtube music video and step out from behind my desk and twist and swivel my way to the middle of the classroom- I crackout one of my signature dance move, the 1950s wobbly-kneed hand exchange that I learned from the best- my Mother.

I look around the classroom , smiling and encouraging my students to get their groove on.

Awkward, shifting eyes and big grins. Arms crossed tightly.

Who will be first to dance?

Oh, youth awkardness.. Miss Lame can sense their deep desire to be silly and let loose, yet they are not quite prepared to be a spectacle until joined by a majority.

A minute passes and the threat is made.

"Ok, I need to see some dancing in the next minute or else we are going to have to get the text books out and do some work."

Yep, bribery is the key.

No more than 30 seconds later...

The ENERGY in Miss Lames classroom reaches an all time peak- Utter joy.

Laughing, smiles so broad I can make out their tonsils. Sam and Miss Lame have a breakdancing "worm off", students stand in circles making waves and flailing their arms. To top it all off, a wild dancing train ensues- student after student latching on until the entire community is a part.  The train hazardously, gayily torrents around my classroom, papers flying, chairs tumbling.

My thought: "Ohhh my...         ...           ...This is amazing."


(they are not all as great as the Electromagnetic Spectrum Ball)

NOTE- One thing you learn very quickly in the teaching world is that things cannot always be perfect and your mental and emotional capacity to provide a stunning lessons, every lesson, every day is just not realistic. You do your darndest, but keeping things simple is good sometimes too...It is good to work with others who collaborate and share ideas- TEAM EFFORT!)

NOTE- This seems to be a consistent struggle for Miss Lame- I prioritize my fitness/athletics and nutrition, but tend to neglect my sleeping health- when the body builds, repairs, rejuvinates. Terrible. Many blog entries throughout this past year acknowledge the significant, positive impact of a full nights sleep on my teaching effectiveness.  I make many promises to improve on this poor habit.  I need to follow through.   


Sometimes it takes a simple moment, a happening or some particular words in particular construction to flip that switch in our heads. To realise.

There can be something particularly powerful about these 'moments', when we just haven't yet identified the "why" something just doesn't fit or feel quite right, or the converse, "why" something feels just right, and then a simple trigger launches this subconscious inkling forward into your prefrontal cortex of our brain- acknowledgement.

These moments could happen gradually or come crashing into our world, they could be little blips in the course of our lives or major crossroads. I truly feel that the more consciously we acknowledge these "moments" and more reflective about ourselves, our responses and choices, the stronger we become.

More personal growth. Higher expectations. Moving forward.

As my first full year of teaching wraps up and with many new, exciting experiences and "moments" flying at me, I find myself feeling sentimental and reflective.

I ponder, how did I get here?

All my life, the big, small, flighting, and moving "moments", from itsy-bitsy, baby Beth Lame through to present day full-blown Miss Lame, have contributed to this current person that I am.  The "moments" of particular impact involve my incredibly beautiful family and true, dear friends I have been fortunate to grow up with. 

Unconditional love and support.  The teaching world and travelling abroad has highlighted to me how rare and beautiful this is. 

Another major contributor to my current person is my spirit of "lameness", which has been fairly consistent through life.  Super-dork situations (moments) at every stage.  I feel fortunate to have grown up feeling comfortable in my own skin and feel this "lame with no shame" approach to life has contributed to my growth and learning as a person.  My opportunities.

Reflecting on my childhood, a few super-dork moments stand out in my mind...   

  1. Proudly wearing my bathing suit backwards to resemble a sumo wrestler, a massive wedgy and bee-sting nipples exposed as I flitter about in the sprinkler in the yard... 
  2. Getting incredibly excited over broccoli for dinner... Nutrition dork for life!
  3. Eagerly calling out "BOOBIES", no filter, during my first-ever Sex Education class in grade 5 as my teacher inquires about "signs of puberty"- I realise my "lameness" could be a source of entertainment for others.
  4. "Question girl" in University...Needing to understand. Not wanting to miss that chance for clarity. The more I asked questions the more I have been exposed to new "moments"- new knowledge, new challenges. Growth...   I'd like to believe no question is a stupid question... :)

Yep, Miss Lame with no shame has been a part of me through life.  

It is however, in the past two years that life as Beth- true-blue Miss Lame- really has began. 

Empowered, conscious and proud of my choices, my career and my self-directed life. 

A timeline: Important "moments" and realistations that got Miss Lame to her current 'place'...

  • March 2010: The sudden, life-changing moment that my brain when on a tangent- one thought leading to the next- pain- shock- the final thought: "you cannot be with him". Six and a half years. Not a mistake, but no more... It could not persist. A ginormous door of opportunity, through which Miss Lame could dorkily stumble, explore and grow, was opened to her. Choices and directions to come solely from self. Empowered.

  • July 2010-November 2010: New freedom. Returning from my first taste of travel and exploration- Chile and Argentina. An ache in my lumbar spine, symptoms of sciatica. Wrongfully diagnosed as having a back injury I faced a new terrifying realisation- I am not invincible. My body can fail me? My body can fail me... I was forced into the ultimate stagnant lifestyle- over 1 month of horizontal life- bed rest. Although many doors closed during this time- the slowing of  downright hyperactive Miss Lame, just as her world became hers- one significant door crooked open as Miss Lame discovered her love for writing. The inception of "Laying with Lame", Miss Lame's first blog, has been a crucial piece of Miss Lame's growth and identity. Life has gifts to offer, even in the most dismal of times. 
  • May 2011: Spine officially ok. Back at personal trainer work, while attempting to volunteer in a high school in order to somehow stay connected with the teaching world that I adored so much.  No teaching work. That stagnant feeling from the "Laying with Lame" days persists, despite my return to vertical lifestyle. The moment: Miss Lame connects with overseas agencies. Adventure, travel and MUST teach. A new direction. My life.
  • August 20th 2011: Little, lame Miss Lame, 5 foot, 2 inches, hobbles and hoist, struggles and sweats as she drags and manuvers two massive ski bags jammed to maximum capacity along with other smaller luggage bits-and-bobs in a new world.  Across the pond- London England- Heathrow Airport. I realise I know no one, have no mental map and have somehow made this all happen. Just a little lame woman ready to start up her teaching career and a new exciting chapter in her life. I recall feeling very happy about these facts. Being lost was excitment. 
  • January-April 2012: Downright, silly bottomed, poop head school. Miss Lame lets her energetic, positive, lame-with-no-shame person be dimmed and dulled as she struggles and pushes to educate effectively in a toxic, unsupportive environment.  Miss Lame realises the debilitation of anxiety and that "getting out" is not giving up.  
  • April 2012: Life on a positive upswing- Miss Lame stronger than ever!  My happiness project, with its simple yet affecting rules, help bring me back up (see last blog entry for clarification). My new teaching environment transforms, I am suddenly surrounded by beautiful people who love their job and work as a unit and my life explodes with opportunities for teaching success and growth.  I see myself again and know my capabilities.  Miss Lame's simple-beautiful realisation: Happiness is a conscious choice. All emotions are valid and beautiful and contribute to a fulfilled life. I believe that to be genuinely happy is about what you do with those diverse emotions and experiences- what you choose to look for/focus on and how you take in and respond to experiences- the simple, complicated, stressful and stunning. 
  • July 2012: I am strong. So fortunate to have such a beautiful career. I am a great teacher. I have come so far in the past few years and can't wait for more.
  • A new, recent "moment" for Miss Lame- instant connection. New feelings. A person who sees and experiences his world through a similar lens. He showed me the following piece, which I feel closely ties into my message of personal growth, acknowledging "moments" and speaks volumes about happiness and choice.

This is your life, do what you love and do it often.

If you dont like something change it. If you dont like your job quit. If you dont have enough time... stop watching TV.

If you are looking for the love of your life, stop, they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.

Stop over analyzing. Life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite.

Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people. We are all united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.

Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunites only come once so seize them. Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them. So go out and start creating.

Life is short, so live your dream, and wear your passion.

Make the choices that make you happy, love the people who make you happy

  • Current: On holiday. Just returned from 8 days in Italy. Beautiful people in my life. 
Happy as a lark.


Dearest readers...Questions to consider...
  • What in your life makes you happy?
  • What are some "moments" in your life that have contributed to who you are today? How do they make you stronger? 
I would love if you would share some of your "moments" in my comments!!!!

NOTE: Any words that are bolded, italicized, underlined and in red are suggested/preferred words by Mom. She doesn’t like me saying words like fuck, shit, ass (etc) on the internet… I feel these words better illustrate my feelings as times, so just imagine them in there if you will.