Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Winter - Checking Out

where is the time going? How cliche ...
do I dare believe that yet another winter has passed
and that we are home-free ...
that spring has truly sprung and is not just a tease?

if so, then I'll ever-so-politely
see our guest to the door -
winter has overstayed his visit -
and I'll not be sad to see him go.

he's leaving some good times behind,
sweet and bittersweet remembrances
a thoughtful reminder of time passing
reasons for gratitude.

I'll say my fond farewell to winter
heaven knows we'll meet again
but now I turn to earth renewed
and let the springtime in ...

guess whose knocking at my door?
welcome April!
You make my spirit soar ...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Standing Ovation

This past weekend my middle daughter made her directorial debut - directing a theatrical reading as part of a playwright festival. Theatre has been a part of her life since high school and she has had many roles -- actor, stage manager, even costumes - and now director. Her fan club - members of the various branches of the family - turned up in support and admiration.

My diminutive, Converse sneaker-wearing daughter who looks like a teenager instead of the twenty four year old she is - came out to greet us when we arrived. Grinning from ear to ear, glasses handily perched on her perky little nose, her appearance disguises the staunch determination and authority she wears close to the skin. Watching the actors on stage reading their parts, recognizing daughter's creative signature on the production and finally, witnessing her in action during the post show talk back session, I could barely contain my pride and admiration for her. Standing ovation! Ok, it wasn't appropriate at the time, but if I could've - I would've!

I admit it ... moments such as these - milestones being reached - are a privilege to witness. It is a universal hope that parents hold - that their children will dare to dream - and then fulfill those dreams. This is a sweet place I'm in, and the view is spectacular. My heart is warmed by the sight of my daughters finding their way in the world, one by one. Life is good, and I am definitely a proud Mama Bear.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Have My Cake!

Today is my birthday - marking yet another year well lived. Corny as it may sound, I have grown to regard each year as a gift. There are no guarantees. We humans don't come with a 100 year warranty, we just live as though we have a hundred years to squander. When my mother was gravely ill, living with the knowledge that she probably wouldn't live to grow old, she warned me that her and I weren't much different -- that she just had more information. There was nothing to say that I couldn't go before her ... but of course that didn't happen.

I feel fortunate to have lived the years I have - the joy, the pain - the whole damn thing. I have lived fully, in the moment, encased in a cocoon of love. Some of which I have spun myself, and some of which has been generously bestowed upon me.

I get reflective on my birthday (why should today be any different?) ... my heart sings praises for the love of a family I have grown up with and shared my life; my daughters who continue to astound me and teach me; my handful of trusted, dear friends (my chosen family) who love me just the way I am; and the laughs, teasing and caring of my work family (who I spend as much time with as anyone). I have been blessed to find someone to live in love with, who shares the dream of growing old together. That isn't exactly fair though, cause I have a big head start on him! My in-laws are icing on the cake - my loving and supportive extended family. Can't forget to include the unconditional love and wet kisses of my four legged, furry friend Fritz.

I believe that we choose the souls who will accompany us on our journey - some for a season, some for a reason and some for the duration. I have chosen well.

Of course, like any delectable treat, I crave many more years to live out my long list of dreams ... but I can say with all honesty that if this were my very last year, my life is beautiful and I am satisfied and grateful.

Happy Birthday to Me! It already is!

P.S. I have to thank my fun lovin, over-the-top MIH for the crazy number of bd cards she sent me. Every day I came home to LOTS of mail to open - all beautiful, thoughtful, funny (just like her) cards. She was trying to show me wow-love and she did! Thank you ...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Do it in the dark - for Earth Hour

Tonight is Earth Hour - an event to engage the world to take action on global warming. Everyone around the globe is invited to turn off their lights for one hour, at 8:30 pm local time. I remember we did this last year and it was kind of cosy and romantic by candlelight ... and the idea of the people of Earth acting as one for a cause is even more romantic.

The Earth Hour website is encouraging bloggers to write a live blog post during the event and tag it with earthhour or voteearth, and your location. The DailyGreen website has 8 Sexy Ways to Spend Earth Hour (then watch the birth rate sky rocket in nine months, which will raise another issue - overpopulation).
I don't have any big plans but whatever I do - I'll do it in the dark, if only for an hour.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Me ... An Easy Choice

Last night I drove into the city to meet my middle daughter for yet another night of theatre ... an inspiring, one-woman production of Shirley Valentine. The solitary drive in and the walk from the parking garage provided some precious thinking time. The closer I got to the theatre and my beautiful daughter, the more my spirits brightened and my heart warmed. Unsolicited, random thoughts on what makes me happy popped into my head ... so, in no particular order ...

things that make me happy

  • the smell of dinner as I come through the door after working all day

  • knowing that someone (hubby) loves me enough to be so thoughtful to cook me dinner

  • random hugs from Kidlet - as she gets older, they are more rare but more appreciated

  • witnessing thoughtful acts and the caring ways of my daughters

  • drinking piping hot tea from my over sized mug that Kidlet gave me for Christmas

  • Fritz's frenetic "welcome" when I come through the door

  • knowing I belong to something bigger - a loving clan

  • wearing my plaid, flannel Eddie Bauer shirt that I picked up at Value Village ten years ago

  • the smell of books, and spending hours flipping through my favourite reads

  • cooking and the smell of tomato sauce as it simmers

  • singing - especially as I cook and clean - especially a John Denver song

  • walking, camera in hand, breathing deeply in the moment -and capturing the perfect shot

  • laughing, talking and remembering with my family and my chosen family (friends)

I realize that my list could go on and on ... it is endless - as is my gratitude. I have always believed that happiness is a choice. For lucky, happy me ... it is an easy one.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dinner, Movie, Friends and a Pie

The day has been a full one... flaky, crusty but somehow ... satisfying.

My gal pals and I left work a little early to take in a 4:30 movie. Perfect time of day to see a chick flick. We kicked back with our popcorn, perfect centered seating in a practically empty theatre, giggled over trailers and exchanged clever quips and commentary while we waited for the movie to start. Seeing a chick flick with chicks - it's like sneaking a guilty treat.

Catching up over linguine and wine - simply wonderful. Resurrecting a few choice memories from the double-decade chest - smiles and chuckles. Teasing and ribbing - expected!

My dear friends have a history of making me feel special every time but tonight - at our little birthday dinner - they outdid themselves. They gave me beautiful books, a subscription to my favourite spiritual magazine and a homemade pecan pie - all of my favourite things. And nothing is more touching to me than a gift that reflects that someone really knows me.

Blessed am I to have the loving souls that I do, for companions on this unpredictable, lush life journey. It's almost as sweet as the freshly baked pecan pie -- almost!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Got Mail

I got mail today!

I love getting mail - discount the bills - the old fashioned, envelope-with-a -stamp-on-it kind of mail, especially the kind that comes in coloured envelopes. In a few days I will celebrate a birthday. And today I came home to not one - but two delicious looking pieces of mail. Cards from my Dad and step mom T, and my MIH. The sight of my name handwritten on an envelope causes my heart to skip a beat and I rip into the mail feverishly. MIH's card sported a retro photo of two ladies taking a self portrait - and was sent to the shutter bug in me. She's so thoughtful. Dad and T's birthday card was nicely divided into three separate notes where each took their turn to write heartwarming sentiments. I even scored a few I love you's. Did I say I love getting mail?

I love the immediacy of email and the closeness of phone chats - but I hope snail mail never goes away. There is something special about holding a tactile, handwritten note in your hand and having the words to keep for all time -- in between pages of books, stashed in memory boxes ...

I got mail. And I got more than that -- I got gifts -- of love!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Care to Dance?

My secret obsession -- ballroom dancing. Watching it of course - from the couch. Kidlet and I sit watching the cast of characters from Dancing With the Stars foxtrot, samba and salsa around the ballroom floor, critiquing each slip, lift, and twirl as if we know what we are talking about. For me it's not about the stars ... I am mesmerized watching the beauty of two moving as one, gracefully and elegantly .. spoke too soon --Steve Wozniak just did the worm.

That aside, it makes me long for a return to a time when people knew how to dance together. My parents love to dance and seem to know one another's moves before they make them. I remember my father trying to teach us as teenagers ... don't look down; head up; smooth - no bouncing up and down; don't lead; cover the floor ...

There's a special kind of joy in creating a moment together and feeling and moving with the music as one. Maybe I'll get off the couch and hunt hubby down. Care to dance?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Season of Renewal

Spring is in the atmosphere. It is still in disguise but with every deep inhale you could smell it in the fresh, cool air. I threw open all the windows to let the outside in. The sun broke out in the afternoon and lured us out of our house. We took the dog for a walk in the forest near our home and although the sky was a deepest hue of blue and the sun was brilliant in the sky, the ground and tree branches were dry, bare and tones of dismal. We soldiered on through the soft mushy ground carpeted with last year's leaves, carefully steering Fritz around the open mud puddles.

We strolled leisurely, soaking up every ray of sunshine and when I looked very closely, I was able to find hints of spring; those first few tender shoots of crocuses breaking through the soil. The Christmas cactus in our living room that blooms at Christmas and Easter boasted its first fuschia flower today. A sign of good things to come.

Springtime, with its promise of renewal and prelude to summer has always been one of my favourite seasons. In fact, both seasons of transition (autumn and spring) are my favourite. I suppose this is fitting as it reflects the beauty in the journey and I have always favoured the journey over the destination. I also find change exciting. New possibilities. The feeling that anything can happen.

Renewed and joyful too!

Spring shooting through ...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Airport Stories

She's back. Kidlet got in late last night from her Costa Rica adventure and hubby and I went to meet her at the airport. The moment I set foot in an airport - arriving or departing - that familiar tingling feeling in my tummy signals excitement. I have always found airports to be exciting places.

As I stand waiting for my loved one to appear from behind the baggage claim area, I try to be covert as I witness the seemingly endless stories unfolding in my midst. New chapters are being written as new Canadians arrive, wide eyed, luggage cart stacked high with huge suitcases and bulging boxes held securely with duct tape. Stories find their endings here as well ... families clutching one another in desperate embraces, tear flowing until that very last moment when they must finally disappear into the departure gate, turning for the final goodbye.

Greetings. Reunions. Farewells. Tears of joy, cries of anguish, looks of longing. So many stories unfolding in my midst. And the best one of all emerged with Kidlet -- who cried all the way home, and into the wee hours of the morning as she recounted the details of her journey. People she met and doesn't want to forget. The faces, smells, tastes and colours of Costa Rica. In her own words, she came home "full" (to overflowing). All that already at seventeen. And her story has just begun ...

Now -- to work on the mountain of soggy, smelly laundry that awaits. What a souvenir!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Love Express

I love you. (Or as Kidlet would say, I heart you. )
The sweetest three words to hear -- and the most powerful. I wonder if we say it enough ... or if we preserve love as an emotion - felt but not necessarily expressed. Love frugality.

It seems that when the house echoed with the giggles of little girls and hugs and kisses abounded, the "I love you's" were abundant, recklessly tossed about at every turn. After bath snuggles, accompanying hello and goodbye hugs, at bedtime tuck ins, and as they got older - at the end of every phone conversation. I think that is why we love children (and envy) - their innocence, honesty and open affection and willingness to love - and share it.

I am making more of an effort to tell the people I care about what they mean to me, and how much I love them. To me love unexpressed is love wasted. We all need to know that we matter to someone else. What is that saying ... love isn't love til you give it away. With every I love you, my heart expands and I am filled with utter peace. Every time I hear those sweet words spoken, whispered or sung to me - I melt. Immediate resucitation and emotional inflation. I am loved. I am alive.

Don't just think it - say it. I love you. I really do!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Prelude

Today the view is monotone
Hues of brittle, grey, brown and beige
Branches without dressing
Petrified remnants of last summer's flowers
Leftover in cracked clay pots.
Muddy, dusty pathways
Through yellowed grass in slumber
The forest lays in waiting ...

Fatigued from winter passed
Me and March wait-
Impatient with anticipation and wanting.
And then it will begin ...
Tender bursts of brilliant green
Will sing a new refrain
And herald the revival of life
This technicolour revue we call
S p r i n g.

And I can't wait!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shake The Shillelagh

Today I am paying homage to the 25% of me that is Irish. I certainly have been blessed with the luck of the Irish -- but now that I've said that -- have the Irish have had much luck? Instead I will wish everyone Tweetluck on this St Paddy's Day. Watch the video below if you want a few moments of peace, your heart filled with humanity and gratitude and the realization that you have the power to change someone else's luck.

An Irish Blessing For Everyone ...

May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ripple Effect

Anyone close to me knows I live by the mantra the love and life we create is the love and life we live. (Thank you Leo Buscaglia) I have always felt a strong belief that I must choose and create my life and live the choices I make. And I have. Lately I have been reflecting on how my choices impacted the people in my life - especially my children. Pretty much from the moment I became an adult I fearlessly forged ahead, surrounding myself with the love and support of my parents, siblings and other family members and close friends. With the vision of my life blazoned boldly in my sights I held unyielding faith that - coupled with my desire internalized and efforts and action - my vision would be realized. And it was. Instinctively I avoided toxic relationships and discarded negative experiences, choosing to "take the best, and leave the rest" from each. As a result, I have spend most of my life being connected, contented, joyous and feeling blessed.

My life choices included ending two marriages. At the time, although I acknowledged that my children would no doubt be affected, I think I minimized the impact and pain it caused them, choosing to believe that the decision was best for everyone and if I was happier, I would be a better mother, and therefore they would ultimately be happier.

The gift of the passing years for me has been a deeper appreciation of the ripple effect of the choices I have made in my life. I left my parents explaining the radical changes in my life to their friends and family and most importantly I imposed life changes on my girls, changes they didn't have a voice in. I can only imagine the pain of being torn between two households, living out of a duffel bag, always missing someone ... I have worked hard to build a strong family and create a stable circle of unconditional love, rich with traditions and rituals. I only hope it has been enough.

My choices have created ripples ... it's time to acknowledge that, and to offer apologies to those who have been hurt by my choices. Would I choose differently knowing what I know now? Probably not. I would however be more sensitive to the needs and feelings of my loved ones. And I would remember that choices have ripples ... as I have learned.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cultural Schizophrenia

Yesterday was a full day ... I squeezed in a matinee performance of The Color Purple (thank you eldest daughter ) and then went with hubby to another city for an 8 pm symphony performance of music from video games called Video Games Live. I guess you could say it was as culturally diverse a day as you could get.

Loved The Color Purple - although I think I have found something to enjoy at every live theatrical performance I have ever experienced. Nothing can match the excitement of witnessing a story unfold (or unravel) on the stage, with the knowledge that anything can happen, and never the same performance delivered twice. Musicals offer the added element of live symphonies. The low notes rumble in your tummy, the theatre walls inhaling and exhaling with the vibrancy of the music.

As I sat in my seat next to daughter (and the lady who used the intermission to grab a smoke) eyes transfixed on the stage it crept up on me ... uncontrolled emotion. The well controlled lump in my throat escaped and unleashed a flood of tears. And I cry ugly. Not those romantic cries depicted on screen where facial expressions remain unchanged and a lonely tear rolls down a cheek. Not a chance. My face indescreetly contorts in a losing attempt at flood control and tears gush down what looks like an anguished face. No disguising and no where to hide save the grace of the darkened theatre. Standing ovation! Jubilation and still the tears flow uncontrollably. Darn! They threw the house lights on! I want to yell out to the actors that I loved the play and that I am really not in any pain!

The sun was warm and brilliant and matched my mood as we left the theatre (my mascara streaked face belied this however). And it was a great excuse to visit the city and snap a few shots. But my day was not over.

I no sooner got home from one event when Hubby and I jumped into the car to head to Video Games Live in yet another city. With little or no expectation I actually found it all very entertaining. The 100 piece symphony and philharmonic choir brought a new dimension to the music I hear coming from hubby's cave. The audience was encouraged to express their appreciation in ways that would normally violate live perfromance etiquette. People waved their open cell phones and handheld game players, in lieu of flckering lighters. There were cheers, jeers, hoots, hollers and hearty laughter. Did I mention the costumes?

As we made our way home I had to marvel at the richness of the day. How lucky was I to have not one - but two live experiences - in two different citites - in a single day. Best of all, I shared them with not one - but two people I love so much. Thank you family. I slept soundly - feeling fully alive.

Some shots from a brilliant, living, breathing city ...

Friday, March 13, 2009

More of Me to Love

The needle on the way up
Well another monumental milestone has been reached exceeded. My weight has exceeded my full pregnancy weight (of more than 25 years ago) and I am officially the heaviest I have ever been. I'm no welter weight that's for sure. Can you tell I am shocked? Despite popping the button on my pants yesterday, I was feeling good - even a little slim(mer). I was sure my tummy was flatter than it's been for a awhile. Then I stepped onto the scale.

OK - I shreiked! That little needle bounced to new heights - new numbers I'd never experienced. As the needle squeaked 2 pounds past the weight I was just before giving birth I was dumbfounded. I jumped off the scale, discarded my final piece of clothing, crossed myself, exhaled and jumped back on. Darn it! Why the heck did I buy those Easter jelly beans? And those sea salt chips? Why haven't I been to the gym in the past three months?? My knees have been asking me to lighten the load and my lower back chimed in, lodging its own complaint.

Guess I had to bottom out to get motivated to do something about it. I was going to say there's no where to go but up -- but in this case .... I need to be a loser. It occurred to me that if I go to Africa and come back heavy - then there's no hope for me. I need a parasite - if only for about 6 months or so! My new goal - to lose one of my chins by my birthday (that's in two weeks).

Good news is that there's more of me to love! Now where did I put those salt and vinegar chips?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hola Life-Changing Moments

Kidlet emailed her "parentals" from Costa Rica. It was one that I had been eagerly anticipating. Was she safe? Did she like it? Was it everything she had hoped it would be?

The email wreaked of wide eyed wonderment and overwhelming appreciation - not only for the fact that she is privileged to have the experience, but for the place and people she is encountering.

I can't believe we are really here!
last night the full moon looked incredible
... for now I am just trying to take it all in

When she first came home with the idea of the Costa Rica cultural trip we both agreed that it would probably be life changing for her. How many teenagers get to have life changing experiences so readily at their disposal? (Remembering the Leadership Academy from last summer). The night before she left she told me that I would miss her. I was cranky so I vehemently denied it. But now, one glance at her running shoes by the door - her not in them - caused a large lump to grow in my throat. Darn! She was right. She is having her life changing experience and I am having my own - a glimpse into my not to far off future when Kidlet leaves home for university.

Geesh, why aren't those shoes in the closet where they belong!?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Flittering with Twitter

Cartoon by Krishna M. Sadasivam (PC Weenies)

Tweet, tweet, tweet.
No, it isn't the sound of birds chirping ... but rather Twitter! In the last few days it seems that everywhere I turn I am hearing about all things Twitter. Kudos to their marketing team. I turn on CNN and the anchors are discussing the explosion of the use of Twitter and their own accounts. On The Ellen Show P. Diddy sat in the guest chair, Blackberry in hand explaining the fine art of TwitterBerry to a befuddled Ellen. Why wouldn't you just call? You can now use Tweeter to post tweets on Facebook. A news report featured a story about congregations tweeting during church services. They gave impassioned testimonials on how tweeting their impressions, thoughts and comments to their followers enriched their church experience exponentially. President Obama has a Twitter account and apparently Washington has become the Twitter capital of the USA.
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service.
It enables its users to send and read other users' updates
(known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up
to 140 characters in length. Wikipedia

There seems to be an enthusiastic population wanting to share their abbreviated thoughts and impulses (140 characters or less) with, in may cases, a hungry audience of unknowns. Yes, I have a Twitter account and I have it mainly to keep up to snuff with social media for my job. I have a backlog of 40 people - none who I know - requesting permission to follow me. My posts have ranged from the mundane to the radical- political rants that I am not sure I am comfortable sharing with the general populous. Does that mean I am not transparent? Maybe. I think I will create a work-only Twitter account.
I am not comfortable in having my worlds collide. I squirm to think that someone could search on my email and know so much about me. I am always awestruck when I visit blogs that boast a lengthy list of social media outlets, or their communities -- follow me on: Twitter, digg, Facebook, MySpace, Profilactic, del.icio.us, Flickr, LinkedIn and Plurk. I can learn everything about them - even see the photos they took or like. Not sure how relevant this all this.
I just pulled up Twitterfall to see the latest 'tweets' cascading from the top of the page in near-real time. Lots of people are watching American Idol ... heavy sigh Did I need to know that? Do I care? Someone does. And do I need to have people caring about what I am doing, thinking, liking, who I am associating with, and what I have or have not accomplished ...
This has turned into a full out rant of sorts. Luckily I have contained it here ... I needed more than 140 characters. My tweet may have looked like this: Twitter is everywhere; not sure why?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ready for Take-off

Kidlet is going on an adventure of a lifetime with her classmates. In the next few days she will fly off to Cost Rica for a 10 day cultural exchange in the rain forest region. She will volunteer in the local village that consists mainly of an indigenous tribe, teaching English, repairing the school building, playing with the children and learning about life in Costa Rica. We spent the day getting her prepared -- and so at this very moment, she is plopped in the middle of her unmade bed, sweat pants rolled up, bandanna tied around her head, amidst mounds of clothes she is packing, mounds of clothes she may take, and even more mounds that she has no intention of taking. Her suitcase lies half open covering the last little bit of floor real estate, the contents spilling out onto the many mounds! So much to be done and organized, so little time, yet she sits there - so carefree - happily tying hemp bracelets amid the utter disarray.

As seasoned travellers we have a tradition of carrying a very complete "contingency kit". I topped it up this weekend and left a small fortune at the drugstore but this kit can cure whatever ails you and provide that all important peace of mind.

So tonight as I end my wonderful weekend with a blog post, I marvel at the wonderful opportunities that are available to our children and how they so easily embrace the notion of a global village. They seem to understand that change will not come by waiting for some other person or some other time; that they are the ones, and now is the time.

I suppose they are ready for take-off -- now only if Kidlet was ...
PS Happy International Women's Day

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I am open to anything! That's the mantra repeating in my head. Maybe it's the intoxication of the spring like weather, or the extra day off I had but for some reason I feel exhilarated and pumped with possibility. I spent the day organizing my office and the books and photos that go along with it. Of course that inspired a side trip down memory lane and well, the task took a little longer than it should have.

But there is something liberating about cleaning out, cleaning up and putting order to chaos. Even as I write this I am not entirely finished but the wheels are in motion. Not even a dismal, rainy day could dampen my spirits. I spent some time researching the Masai Mara National Reserve as that is where we would be staying IF I went on the Kenya trip. My excitement is building, especially when I discovered that in the summer months (when we would be there) the Masai Mara plains are filled with migrating wildebeest and zebra. The dream seems within reach. I said I was pumped with possibility. And tonight as we turn our clocks ahead an hour to accept more daylight and in readiness of spring, I am turning my own clock ahead to accept more light and in readiness of everything each and every day is going to deliver. I am open to any and all possibilities ...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Flirty Spring

Today was a great day! Firstly, I had the best sleep that I have had in a very long time - six and a half dream-filled, uninterrupted hours of slumber. Today is my day off and I did just that - took a day off. A day off from housecleaning, grocery shopping and anything else I didn't want to do. An extra hour laying in my bed, remote in hand watching the morning shows (U2 performing live on GMA), three cups of hot coffee, leisurely sipped while still in my PJs, and an hour long telephone life chat with my Dad (from Florida). Does it get any better??

Yes it does! Spring dropped by for a flirty little visit and our winter temperatures soared to over 17 degrees Celsius. The sun shone hot and brightly in the sky as a reminder of the better weather waiting for us when Winter packs up and heads down to Australia. Hubby and I took in an early 4 pm movie - One Week (a love letter to Canada) and walked our little schnauzer Fritz when we got home. Spring isn't only a flirt, she is a messy guest! The thawed pathway in the forest was reduced to mounds of soft gooey mud and pools of rainwater blocked the trails. Fritz's mud caked little paws earned him a bath.

Today was a wonderfully satisfying day with the impromptu visit from Spring not only the icing on the cake, but a beacon of hope.

I took a few shots from my walk with Fritz.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Missing Sleep

Where art thou sleep? Sleep has been eluding me lately - that nice deep, solid slumber that lasts from the time you close your eyes until you open them the next morning. Instead I have the kind of sleep in which you are awake enough to check the glowing time on the clock radio, hour after hour. The kind of anti-sleep in which you feel like you are awake all night - even though you know you must've slept??

Breathe deeply; slow breaths and exhales. Meditate. That project is due tomorrow. Shhh. Announcement: All thoughts, please vacate the premises. How is she going to survive after he goes? I should've called her tonight. Picture the ocean; hear the rhythmic rolling of the waves. The sun is beating down on ... I wish he didn't have to carry the worries of the family - the world on his shoulders. Breath in. B r e a t h o u t. Wish I hadn't drank that tea before bed. Sleep - you are invited to a sleep over ... my place! So much to think about -- but for now, I'd settle for a nice little snooze!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dreaming of Africa

Photo: Free the Children

Kidlet has me thinking ... or should I say dreaming. She and her schoolmates worked for three years to raise funds to build a school in Africa. Now they have the opportunity to go to with Free the Children, Me to We to actually build the school. And they would like to have a parent to go along with the teachers. Kidlet knows that I have wanted to go to Africa for a long time now ... and she invited me along. We both agree that it is the opportunity of a lifetime. I asked her if she thought we would argue - after all, the trip is three weeks long -and she said no, we would need each other too much.

Now my head is spinning with images of Africa. The possibility of Africa.The satisfaction that comes with making a contribution. A dream fulfilled. The only thing standing between me and that trip is a whole lot of money. More soul searching required. The most appealing part of this whole trip is the opportunity to spend three weeks with Kidlet, sharing the adventure of a lifetime.

Kidlet said it best ... we would come home forever changed.
More soul searching required.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Being There

With aging grandparents, ailing relatives and family members in the final days of their lives, it has me thinking alot about people being there for one another. How many times have we heard (or maybe said) "I don't like hospitals", "I don't want to see them that way; I want to remember them the way they were". No one enjoys seeing someone they care about suffering or at their most vulnerable. But take a stroll through the halls of a hospital or long term care centre and you see hallways lined with the lonely shadows of our elders, slumped in chairs, or strolling in search of conversation or a smile. Then there are those who spend their days confined to their beds, dependent on the kindness of others for everything - even a simple drink of water.

It doesn't seem right to me that people who are not alone - end up alone. For me it has always felt like an honour to care of people I love. It's a gift to be the one who gently combs the hair or washes the beads of sweat from a loved one - to be the one to offer a few moments of respite from their pain and discomfort. It fills my heart to overflowing, love washing over, healing a tender soul - and mine. These times are opportunities to make love an action word -- to love.

Being there. I hope I always will ...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Back Home Again

Doesn't matter where you are,
Doesn't matter where you go
If it's a million miles away or just a mile up the road
Take it in, take it with you when you go
Who says you can't go home ...

(Bon Jovi and Sugarland)

The sun was high in sky, shining brilliantly. The air was crisp and cold and the roads were clear. With the Sirius satellite 70’s channel blaring out every sentimental song from my youth, I was set. I was heading home to the valley in which I was raised.

The valley is a complete contrast to the city that I have called home for thirty years. After an hour on the highway, tall buildings and shopping malls give way to open spaces, colourful barns in every state of disrepair, and quaint country farms. Take me home country roads was the soundtrack to the scenes rolling past my windshield - a reel of nostalgia – my nostrils filling with fresh air and farm life and my eyes brimming. Why? An emotional cocktail churning beyond my control. I was on autopilot and decided to roll with it.

I had the car to myself; on my way to spend a day or two with a relative who was going through the final days of her husband’s life alone. Her feeble voice wrung with anguish. I packed a light bag, kissed the dog (and hubby and Kidlet too) and hit the road. I seized this opportunity to soak in the scenery and talk a hike down memory lane.

Benzie (the Jeep) wove through quaint hamlets and villages, past fields of huddling cattle, tractors abandoned in snow filled fields, boarded up fresh vegetable stalls – and best of all – not a Walmart in sight! Where do these people shop?? I remembered that life in small rural communities is not about commerce, shopping and getting. It is about buying what you need, helping, visiting and socializing with your neighbours and friends. It’s about participating in the community and the simple community events, like the Santa Clause parade (featuring every kid in the town), the fall fairs and the winter carnivals. Everyone turns out for these reasons to celebrate.

Life was simpler then and less complicated – as were the times. I had a great childhood in a town that I loved – of course the beauty of which I did not fully appreciate until I moved away to the city. They say you can’t go back; you can go back but you can’t expect to find it unchanged. The store that we ran as a family is a mirage – invisible to all but me - bulldozed under a sprawling senior’s residence. Most of the people who were important to me have passed, or moved away. But the essence of the special place remains the same: the dark gray waters of the river still race by the length of the town; the rolling hills of trees and sparsely populated country rising across the river is a reminder that we are in a valley and the night sky still spills stars in all of their brilliant glory, undiluted by light pollution.

Country roads,
Take me home
(just even for a moment)

To the place I belong … not so sure I belong here anymore, but it keeps my past and my memories.

I took some morning shots of the winter rapids; the sun was high in sky, shining brilliantly. The air was crisp and cold…