Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blogger Dad

He did it! He took the plunge ... my 70-something father is now officially a blogger. And I couldn't be prouder. He has been writing feverishly for almost a year now ... recollections, reflections, stories about people he has known, loved and who made a difference in his life. He scoured his memory bank and meticulously recorded the details of important events and experiences that impacted him. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, the size of his commitment and the resulting stack of papers are nothing short of remarkable.

Since he handed over his work for me to peruse he mentioned that he was missing his daily ritual of writing. I encouraged him to keep writing and not let me hold him up. And so he kept on.

I got thinking about he loves to be learning new things, and has always shown a keen interest in reading my blog. So - I set him up with his very own. His story is worth telling -- sharing. Why hoard all those stories of eating whale blubber and raw caribou all to himself?

Anyway - look out blogosphere cause here comes my dad ...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Take a Hike

When I awoke -- the sun was out. This called for some swift changes to the priority list and I started by cancelling cleaning, grocery shopping and laundry. After all, those plans had been made when the weather forecast called for a cool, overcast unpleasant day. I even cut my leisurely morning short so hubby and I could "make a day of it". We stole some much needed and deserved time together and headed for the country. Armed with my digital SLR, my point and shoot, long lens and hiking shoes we decided on a hike in a nearby conservation park.

First stop - quick stop off to see hubby's dad in action at work. He was on the way and we wanted to see where he spent his time. After being tempted by the latest and greatest RV's we hugged s'long and were on our way. My heart was happy.

Second stop - lunch in the village to quell my grumbling tummy. We sat on the patio soaking up the sunshine without a care in the world until hubby remembered he didn't have sunscreen on. We marvelled at how the village was busting at the seams with people on the streets ... and then saw the sign for the sidewalk sale. We browsed a bit and resisted the urge to duck into the bakery before heading off to the forest.

For the next two hours hubby and I explored the trails through the green, mossy forest that ran beside the rushing river. We chatted happily taking note of every detail - stranded dandelions, rogue moss, grotesquely shaped tree stumps and various insects. The air was fresh and damp with the promise of a thunder storm hanging heavy in the atmosphere. I snapped shot after shot and even convinced hubby to smile for me ... he likes to stay anonymous, my mystery man. He even said I could post it on my blog! Wonders never cease.

We wrung every ounce of wonderful out of the day while the weather cooperated and even enjoyed a quick drive by visit from my dad and step-mom. Happy hour.

Now, a storm is blowing through and I don't care. The day has been a good one -- packed with special moments that I will log in the cherished file. How bout you?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Surprise My Eyes

Look what arrived today while I was home on my day off ... an unexpected surprise!

Doorbell rings. I remove drugstore glasses from my nose, zip up my hoodie to hide my "indecent" non apparel, scoop up a frenzied Fritz into my arms and open the door.

Pleasant looking man holds out enormous bouquet of roses and blossoms as I stand gaping at him. "Who are they from??" He smiles and tells me that I'll have to read the card. We switch - he takes Fritz and I take the flowers. I take Fritz back and smile widely back at man. He nods sheepishly and then leaves, wishing me a good day. I close door with my foot and remember that I didn't remember to tip him. Now I am sheepish. Geesh.

Hubby asks who they are from ... what, they're not from you?

I rip open the cellophane and look for a card. I tear open the envelope ... my dear friend E, the budding artist, wrote something about thanks for being her sheltering tree...

See what happens when you let your friends read your blog? See what happens when you have awesome, amazing, life long friends? You get delightful surprises!

The weekend is off to a wonderful start.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Girl No More

This week I became a parent again -- to an eighteen-month old little girl I sponsor through Plan. Her name is Genesis and she is from Honduras. Apparently Karla-Elisabet, the child I had sponsored since she was 2 years old, is now considered an adult.

It was strange to get the news ... no fanfare, no official goodbyes for my little Honduran spirit - just a flimsy slip of paper with the sparsely worded announcement. Karla and I never developed a strong mutual correspondence ... she struggled with school and was too shy to write to me. I sent photos printed off the computer and letters in which I tried to explain hockey, freezing cold weather and snow, and divorce. I wrote out stories about kidlet (same age) and her adventures and wondered if she would find any of it interesting. I once received a piece of cloth with "God Bless You Lyn" roughly embroidered in pink thread that she made me. I pictured her sitting in the shade of a tree, perhaps happily chatting as an elder coached her with her stitches. I often wondered how/if she was enjoying her life; what her dreams were; what her fears were ...

And so a chapter is closed as a young woman starts another - her foray into adulthood. I can only hope that somehow she managed to accumulate the knowledge, maturity and strength she will need to live her life fully. God bless you Karla ... and thank you for letting me carve a little place for myself in your life.
And hello Genesis ... something tells me that this is the start of something wonderful.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All Talked Out

It's a miracle ... and anyone who knows me would have a hard time believing that I am all talked out. It's true. I'm done - mum - lips are zipped! I have a reputation to uphold. Maybe it's the hours of long distance calls I've logged the past ten days (note to self to convert to cable's VOIP phone service), or the too-numerous-to-count heart to heart chats with family and friends, or the day of meetings that kicked off with business continuity and ended with the parent meeting for kidlet's hockey team ...

I never thought I'd say it -- actually I can't -- I'll write it instead -- I am sick of hearing my own voice and my voice is tired of speaking. What can I say. The house is strangely quiet and I have a funny feeling hubby isn't going to protest the silence. Heck- even the dog seems happy about it.

They better enjoy it while it lasts cause after a good night's sleep I'm pretty sure my loquaciousness will return. After all - there's always alot to talk about.

But for now -- shhhhh!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rainbow Disconnection

How utterly disappointing ... the ruling by the California Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8 - outlawing same sex marriages. How generous (dripping sarcasm) of them not to dissolve the unions of the more than 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who wed before Prop 8 took effect. I thought as a society we had moved past this ... I held the optimistic glimmer of hope that same sex marriages would once and for all be accepted and that the snowball of societal evolution would continue to gain momentum.

As a parent of a gay child in Canada, I can breath easy that my daughter will have all rights, options and choices for family and marriage available to her ... just as it should be for all members of society. Marriage has evolved over the ages and it wasn't so long ago that interracial marriages were illegal. I know there will come a day when Americans will enjoy the same liberties as Canadians. My heart breaks for those loving couples wanting all the rights and privileges of marriage who are living in States that do not provide this option. Unfulfilled dreams, disheartened, and discouraged. But I know that nothing signifies hope like a rainbow ... and as a proud mother, I know it will prevail.
The Rainbow Connection
Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side
Rainbow's are visions, they're only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we've been told and some chose to believe it
But I know they're wrong - wait and see
Someday we'll find it
The rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish
would be heard and answered,
When wished on the morning star.
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it,
And look what it's done so far
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing?
What so we think we might see ...
Someday we'll find it
The rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me (the mother).

Kenny Ascher & Paul Williams

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sheltering Tree

When black clouds gather and waters are rough it's good to know that there's a safe harbour, a sheltering tree. I am fortunate in that I grew up in the midst of people who exemplified caring and nurturing. Our home was a central hub for friends and family members who needed help, a listening ear or advice. My parents offered all they had to give ... and then some. They set a solid example for us to follow.

Everyone needs a sheltering tree ... a place/person of refuge. When times are tough and I need a soft place to fall -- I seek the soft spot - south of hubby's shoulder, west of his chest - to lay my head. Works for me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Toiling in the Soil

What is it about spending a day on my knees, trowel in gloved hand, digging, mixing and packing moist soil - that brings such peace? The escape and relaxation from gardening is not unlike that which I get from reading a good book. The placement of each fragrant bloom releases a tiny burst of joy that mounts until the planting pot is complete - full to overflowing with colour and perfume. The work of art unveiled.

Today, the sun high in the sky and breezes gentle, was the perfect gardening day. Our salt water pool was crystal clear and beckoned. But to no avail. Hubby and I worked to fill each and every pot, container and empty space with the flowers and herbs we had selected. Once we finished, I sat in the breezy, tranquil gazebo and surveyed the results of our efforts. A large bumble bee (resembling more of a hummingbird than a bee) hovered leisurely above the snapdragon. I inhaled deeply ...

P e a c e.

Maybe working with plants, flowers and soil reminds us of the greater life force to which we belong; of the innate beauty of nature; and above all, is a gentle reminder to look inward for peace and tranquility - that it is found in the small and the quiet -- and not in the grandiose.

Toiling in the soil - just for fun!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Busy Buzz

That's me tonight. I gulp glasses of water as if somehow that will replenish my tired body and soul. I have spent the day like honey bee, passing pollen from blossom to blossom. I have given all I have to offer and although I am tired - I am satisfied and contented.

Trailing labelia, pink snapdragons, petunias - blossoms in shades of purple, fuschia, pink, and white, My planting pots are overflowing and our yard is now vibrant in full living colour. Hands buried in the soil, dirt on my face and not a care in the world ... nothing brings peace like communing with the garden. A hot caramel sundae from the Dairy Queen doesn't hurt either.

Good Night.
Sleep will come easy tonight; the day has been full and fruitful. Peace to those who are carrying burdens hard to bear ... may sleep come to you as well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stages and Change

My uncle passed away this morning. He lived on the other side of the country and I didn't really know him very well ... not personally, that is. I have had glimpses of him in the tales my father tells about their childhood and through the news I hear from my aunt and dad. My uncle was unwell and even as part of a very large family, it was mainly my aunt and dad who kept in touch with him. He and my aunt spoke on the phone several times a day; they were both pretty much housebound and shared their mutual love of hockey. A poignant relationship formed later in life. A gift to one another.

How hard it must be to live to the point in your life when you start losing your siblings. My brother and sisters hold my history and if the day comes that I lose one of them, pieces of me will go with them. A life shared: secrets, mischief, adventures, triumphs, tribulations, firsts, milestones, who we were ...

So tonight I am holding my father in my heart and sending him loving thoughts. I think of my aunt who is missing her evening call to her brother. Life is forever changed for them. And change is inevitable - for all of us.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hugs n Stuff

I am weary tonight ... and thankfully tomorrow is Friday.

The phone was flashing - a message from a family member. Her tiny frail voice was full of distress and even a little desperation. She is worried about her husband and brother, both who are very ill. She doesn't have many people to turn to. A phone call is an elixir for her.

My take away from my day is that there are many people in need - all around me. Lonely people. Struggling, frightened, financially strapped, worry-burdened people. And they are all people I love. I've learned that I can't always be all things to all people, however I can listen, hug, support, agree, disagree, suggest, provide, understand, share, empathize, sympathize and above all - offer unconditional love. Maybe just not all at the same time.

Look around - your office, your family and circle of friends ... anyone hurting? Anyone need a hug?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How Art Thou

My friend is going to kill me but I can't resist posting one of her first second artistic creations. She is one of those people who wants to do and try everything. We were teasing her at dinner the other night that she has taken every course offered at the community college. She protested that no she hadn't -- only sewing. photography, floral arranging etc etc. She learned to fly. She loves to boat. She took a horseback riding vacation in the Canadian Rockies and a safari to Kenya. She skies, golfs and fishes. She cooks, decorates and can keep the books. She has an insatiable thirst for knowing and a desire to do. She can be a handful on vacation with her boundless energy and "every ready" attitude - especially for a bookworm like me.

So it only makes sense that she is taking a painting course. It's an uncharted creative territory for her. She said she is finding it relaxing .... (her relaxing? THAT's a picture!) She is what I call a life long learner. The reason I am blogging about her I suppose is that she is an inspiration to me. She reminds me to see things in fresh and new ways and like my father, she is has a keen interest in virtually everything.

And although her second attempt at painting a canvas may not be a Monet, it represents the spirit of trying and perseverance. And I believe she will prevail.
Update: Apparently her most recent work is her interpretation of "The Scream" -- now THAT will be a scream! (All in good fun my friend)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Odd and Ends

Ever start going through old boxes, closets or drawers with the thought of decluttering, straightening up, "cleaning out"? You settle in for the long haul, armed with a cup of tea, garbage bags, a dust rag and a whole whack of good intentions. And before you know it you are blowing off the dust, re-examining every document, card, treasure and memento ... weighing its worth, reliving the triggered memory and tossing the occasional scrap into the garbage. In what seems like moments, hours are sucked into this time vortex , and - in my case - not much ground is gained. Nothing tangible that is ...

Maybe it's just me, but I thoroughly enjoy these mini mental holidays - brief respites from the stresses and realities of the day. It is both relaxing and therapeutic - which means - judging by the number of junk drawers I have - I should be the most relaxed person on the planet.

Another long weekend ... perfect for rummaging, remembering, relaxing and all those other odds and ends.

The end.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Long Weekend

I was cold all day as I went about
making, drinking coffee
showering Fritz
scrubbing, vacuuming, dusting
grocery shopping
peeling, chopping, cooking dinner
setting the table for 8.

I was warm for the first time all day when
my family showed up
wine flowed
dinner was served
conversation ignited
harvest pie and tea
laughter and hugs
and warm goodbyes.

Now, eyelids drooping
body heavy
dog sleeping
fireworks snapping
me blogging
day closing
And it was full.

Best of all, there is still one more day left in this long weekend to enjoy fill.
Thank you Queen Victoria!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spilled Paint and Birthday Cake

It is the end of a long day.

Painting walls at daughter's place. Painting - not my forte: spilling it, stepping into paint trays, hands in paint and then on walls, yellow paint on red walls. I have to face what I have always known to be true -- I am a horrible painter (but I work cheap!) Hubby is super detailed so at least no paint ended up on the ceiling. Result: happy daughter and thereby happy mother!

Quick nap then long hot shower to remove any traces of my handiwork (from hair, face and hands - the jeans are toast). Wrestle the over sized tennis bag (I swear it can hold the rackets of an entire team) into a gift bag. Drove into the big city for sis-in-law's birthday dinner. Cute bistro with good food and even better company. Then a drive to sis-in-law's place for cake and presents. I can tell she was like most of us on our birthdays ... a mixed bag of emotions; happy, melancholy and maybe even a little blue. She put on a brave face for us. We were all a little sleepy after all of the good eats and sweets so we called it a night.

And so it is ... ending as I started this post ... the end of a long day. But a very good one.

Happy Birthday S.I.L -- and I resisted to use your photo without your permission! And thanks for dinner P & S.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Witnessing the Sadness

Sometimes it's the hardest thing ... to watch someone you love be in pain and hurt by another human being. We feel helpless as our loved one suffers humiliation, sadness, heartache, and disappointment at the hands of someone they once loved. The helplessness comes from having no control. We can do nothing to change the outcome for them.

Oh sure - we fantasize about confronting the person causing the harm, twisting their nose and telling them the fault of their ways (using lots of words that require #%#^$), berating them for the pain they have caused. We dream of telling them that size does matter. But when it is all said and done what- if anything - will be accomplished - save for few moments of therapeutic venting? Nothing will have changed.

It's ugly to witness and I suppose harder to be the object of the wrath and hatred. Better to put your empathy hat on and offer two loving arms and soft place for your loved one to fall. Sometimes it's the best we can do. Sometimes it all we can do.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reading and Writing

Last Sunday I had all three of my girls home - to myself - for a few hours. The perfect gift of time. They came bearing gifts of almond croissants, berry tarts and scones -- and a spectacular orchid. The day was chilly and dismal - perfect for a cosy visit. As we lounged lazily about the family room I reached for my drugstore cheater reading glasses and pulled out my stack of journals. I had bookmarked some special entries that I wanted to share with the girls. They obliged me and over the next hour and half I read accounts of their births, my thoughts about mothering and the joyful moments they brought to my life. For some reason I felt compelled to share these intimate writings with them. Maybe I wanted them to know how much they meant to me and how their very being brought colour, hope and the deepest kind of love into my life. I can't speak for them however that hour and half will be filed in my cherished memory file, forever.

My father also started writing this year --writing with a vengeance. He began writing last summer and made it a daily ritual. He started at the beginning of his life - his first memory - and worked through every year and meaningful experience and wrote it out on his computer. Then he printed every single page. The result is a tidy stack of paper representing his life's experiences, impressions and perceptions; his dreams, regrets, triumphs and tribulations. And he entrusted it to me to read. I can't wait to dive in and immerse myself ... and get acquainted with my father the child, the teenager and the young man.

Isn’t it curious how we feel the need to document; to sort through our life as if to make sense of it; find meaning in it? I think of my journals and my dad’s writing as a kind of footprint that we are making/leaving. Someday, if anyone so chooses, they can find their way to our truth, as we lived it.

Maybe this blog is a footprint too. Just a thought…

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Choosing our response

Haven't we all had thoughts or preconceived notions that we are not proud of -- feelings or ideas about things that we didn't even know we had? I think most of us would like to think we are open minded, unbiased, or non judgemental. Then we find ourselves looking at the homeless person squatting beside the curb with a cup out for coin and we feel a little more than a little uncomfortable. Or we pass a group of young lads with black skin decked out in hip hop duds and clutch our purses a little tighter. Snap judgements that we'd be ashamed to admit -- to ourselves or anyone else. These are revealing moments for us ... teaching moments.

I don't think we can help or stop those initial feelings or reactions that expose ... but we can control our response. We can "grow" through it, move past "tolerance" onto acceptance and understanding. We sell ourselves short and deprive ourselves of possibilities when we cave to generalizations and prejudice. Take for example my first encounter of women loving women when I joined the Women's Centre in college. I had never seen women being romantic and affectionate with one another and I can recall the knot in my stomach and the utter discomfort that comes with fear and ignorance. I pretended to be OK with it all and let me guard down enough to actually get to know the same women I had been cringing about. Fear fell away with the labels. Misconceptions were replaced with warm human beings and soon I didn't have to pretend. Lesbian had a face ... and a heart attached to it.

I can think of many times when I have battled my inner "isms" - and I know I am winning the war. I aspire to have a heart that is big and pure enough to love and accept the shapes, shades and variations of humankind. It's a choice I can make.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Safe to come out?

OK - spring was here -- I know it. I saw it with my own eyes. And the proof is everywhere ... tulips are in full bloom, the magnolia tree has flourished (come and gone), the lilac tree is bulging with flower buds and the fruit tree branches hang heavy with blossoms. Why then the frost warning for tonight and the forecast of sub zero temperatures? Has spring gone into hiding or what?

My backyard spa is ready and waiting; my legs are sporting a gorgeous artificial golden glow (thanks Dove), the sleeveless attire has replaced the sweaters on the hangers and I am ready for heat, sun and fun darn it all! I feel like the bud on the branch in this picture ... ready to come out and embrace the sunshine ... instead ... it's like stepping out of a hot shower into the evening chill. Hence we stay wrapped up tight ... waiting impatiently. I heard a juicy rumour today -- the weekend is supposed to be "nice". This is one time that I hope the rumours are true.

Spring -- come out, come out, wherever you are. I think it's safe now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Blessings

I make it well known how much I dread Mother's Day ... however now that the day is here, I am choosing to be grateful for that which I have - and not dwell on what/who I am missing. So today, as a mother of three goddesses who had an inspiring mother of my own, I am celebrating the blessings in my life ...

Three Precious Treasures
Privileged to be the mother of three exceptional young women who have lofty dreams and spirits to match. The world - and my heart - is better with them in it.

A gentle, complex, loving man to share my journey with.

Blessed with a mother and father who loved me unconditionally and taught me the importance of family; and now a step-mom with a big heart to love not only my dad, but her inherited family as well.

Little brother is simply the finest person I know - and an outstanding father to his son. I admire the man he has become.

My mother told me that in my sisters, she was giving me built-in best friends. She was right. I love these ladies.

My father once told me that I would be lucky to have just one good friend. And I am -- I have a handful. I call them my chosen family.

Furry Friend
I have a cuddly schnauzer who likes to sleep with his head on my shoulder and who - no matter how my day has been -- greets me with more enthusiasm and love than you could imagine.

I live in a cosy space that is overflowing with memories and echoes of love, laughter and the voices of my children and the past.

I work with a team of people I love, doing a job I enjoy, for a cause which I am passionate about. It can't get any better than that, and especially in these times, I am grateful to be employed.

At this stage of my life I have more time than ever to explore creative interests and do things like blog. I have time to ponder and wonder ...and just be.

I have created a life I love -- filled with people who I love.

But I still miss you Mom.

Mothers In My Life

With Mother's Day almost here (technically it just arrived), and not having a mother with me, it got me thinking about the other mothers in my life. MIH, my two beautiful sisters and my two precious friends -- all who are wonderful mothers.

I miss my mom tremendously however I am choosing to honour the women in my life who have raised children - and dedicated themselves to launching solid, well loved people. It's one of the most important jobs there is ...
Happy Mother's Day. Your children are fortunate to have you guiding them.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Take my advice ... Kidlet

~ perseverance ~ or ~ We need a new screen!

Once my girls entered the workforce I found myself (in parental zeal) imparting little tidbits of advice that I had learned along the way. Usually lessons I learned the hard way. Advice on how to get a job; how to get ahead, how to be a superstar and rock at work; how to deal with work politics and difficult or awkward situations; and how to see the big picture. I was lucky to have learned many of these life lessons from my parents by working in our family owned businesses and was spared the embarrassment of being called out by a boss. Kidlet will be getting a summer job (pleeeze) soon so this post is for her ...

Do more than is expected
Forget the phrase "it's not my job". As my dad taught me, when you are being paid - you are being paid to be busy; when you finish the job you think you were hired to do, seek out more work or ask how else you can help.

Fight monotony by setting goals for yourself
When I worked in our family store and the time dragged on, I set a goal of trying to get a compliment from each customer. I smiled widely, I chatted pleasantly (to even the crustiest of customers), I tried to remember the wants of my regulars and have them ready for them by the time they reached the counter. I got addicted to hearing, "thank you dear, you've made my day". I kept a tally of each compliment and tried to beat it every night. (Thanks Mom for this one).

Make yourself indispensable
My dad taught me this one ... be the kind of employee that is truly missed when you are away. In my first real full time job I used to order the coffee, run errands, put money in parking meters for executives, and hand deliver the daily newspaper to the president with a post-it note happy face on it. I always asked him how his day was going. No job was too lowly and I filled every gap I could see. I delighted having the account execs asking where I had been and how much they missed me, after being off work a day or two. They depended on my for all the little comforts. As my dad said, if you can be away and not missed -- are you even necessary?

When you want out of a job you hate, be really great at it
When a job is difficult or just plain miserable, do it stupendously well and you won't have to do it for long. The trick is to get noticed -- and promoted! When I landed a job as a customer service rep for a nasty cable company answering 150 calls from angry, frustrated customers, I thought I was going to explode by the second day. I decided right then and there to be the best darn CSR they had -- I worked at answering the most calls and making the highest sales. Within 2 months management thought my talents were being wasted on the phones. Eureka!!

Create the job you want
Get in the door and after you perform the core function for which you are hired, fill in the job with tasks and other responsibilities that you are interested in or are good at, that aren't currently being done (well). Round out the job, develop it and add value. See first point - do more than is expected. You can create the job you want and then they hire someone else to sweep!

OK Kidlet -- here are five tips to start with. Get the resume updated and we can work on getting that first job. Benzie needs expensive gas!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mum's Day

Call me cynical, or negative or whatever. But I absolutely dread Mother's Day. I am a daughter without a mother and more than any other, Mother's Day is the painful reminder of that. I am a person who is usually in tight control of their emotions ... if a tear rolls, it's because I let it.

Who am I kidding ... I am a middle aged (did I just say that??) woman who must be nearing menopause. I have about as much control over my emotions as an infant. Stick me in front of a collection of Mother's Day cards and I reduce to a puddle of mush. I can barely help hubby pick one out for his mummy.

I know -- I should be remembering all of the happy memories we shared, what a wonderful person she was and how lucky I was to have had such an extraordinary mother. And I do -- every day. Not a single day passes without a happy thought of my mother. But THAT one day every year really gets to me. And it's a bit of a conundrum ... I am a mother to three daughters. A reason to get out of bed that day. As my mother once reminded me, if all of the mothers without mothers were so saddened that they couldn't acknowledge Mother's Day, there wouldn't be one. I know it can be a day to celebrate being a mother as much as anything else.

However ... allow me just this - a few moments in time
To let myself feel the void, the empty space
Where she used to be.
Let me fill with sadness and wrap myself in loneliness
And wallow, spare but a few moments.
Let me miss her; and if I so desire, shed a tear.
I know it's been years but the loss is still near.
And when I have spent all raw emotion, tears dried,
The colour will return, memories will sharpen
And my heart will be filled to overflowing
With gratitude.

I had the very best.

Monday, May 4, 2009

City Mouse

Fritz is perched on the cushion behind my head; the sound of his rhythmic breathing in my ear; his cold, moist nose pressed against my neck. He looks like I feel. We're both a little tired tonight. I wonder if he has a headache too ...

We're spent from the excitement of the wildlife adventure we had earlier. It seems that that ever-disappearing mouse poison I have been leaving in the cupboard near a gaping hole in the drywall was being consumed by ... (guess?) a mouse! Or maybe probably several. Hubby found a live one sneaking around a drawer that we keep dried foods in. He humanely captured it in a paper towel tube and released it into the wild (our back yard). As I was expressing my undying gratitude to him, I spotted movement in a clear cereal container. Then he poked his head out of the raisin bran -- Mickey Mouse Jr. I shrieked! I hate the spontaneous appearances that mice-on-the-loose make. Unexpected, unwanted surprises. Hubby wrestled the second one down -- Crocodile Rodent Hunter Hubby -- and also released it.

I hope our little friends will be happy in their new home, in the great outdoors. I didn't mean to show a lack of hospitality but then again, guests should call before visiting. And my animal hugging, fish loving hubby -- he's my hero.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Funday

Where do I start?

Camaraderie; exercise; fresh air; family; homecomings; revelations; sunshine; fundraising. My Sunday included all of these. The sun was high and bright in the sky - setting the perfect tone for the day to come. Hubby finished putting up the sun cabana in our back yard, creating that spa-like atmosphere I was hoping for. I told hubby that this is the best gift I could ever get - and it's not even a Hallmark holiday! Now we just have to persuade Fritz not to use it as a fire hydrant.

I received an early morning email from a close friend with revelations about her life and a vivid description of the life she wants to create for herself. I guess you could say she had an "aha" moment. Reading it, I felt proud of her and at the same time honoured to have been privy to it.

Today my daughter and 2 amigas joined me in a fundraising event, Steps for Life, a 5 km walk to help families of victims of workplace violence. Moving testimonials from a wife who lost her husband to occupational disease, and impassioned politicians set the tone for the day. Although not huge in numbers, the swarm of people outfitted in the bright yellow t-shirts sharing fellowship, swapping dog chatter (lots of dogs), and chowing down on foot long hot dogs created a feeling of community. My daughter had her heart set on bringing Fritz, and just like the kids who behave better for company than their parents, Fritz was a downright charmer. He seemed to revel in the company of so many other dogs. Needless to say - he is passed out cold.

Pops and step mom arrived home from Florida. I went over to their place and caught them just minutes after they pulled in. It wasn't long before my sister and her two sons pulled in too. Just like us to have an impromptu family reunion seconds after the chief returned to his tribe.

I am so happy to have them home and those tulips on the front lawn -- just bloomed. This has been a fantastic, fulfilling and rich weekend. Gosh I love my life.

PS - Kidlet had the car both nights ... I am learning to let go. : )

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday Saunters

Stupendous Saturday -- that's what it was!

After one of those leisurely mornings, you know the kind -- slow to rise, three cups of coffee, and stolen moments to ponder and set my compass for the day. If my day starts off at my own pace, the rest of the day is relaxing. Proof that most relaxing takes place in the psyche.

Hubby and I sauntered the streets of our town and of course our beautiful waterfront. Those to me are the most carefree moments of all -- walking hand in hand with the sound of waves lapping on the rocky shoreline; fragrance of hyacinths mingled with the fishy, moist air blowing in off the lake filling our nostrils; picking out dream homes as we meander the trail. Peace descends upon me whenever I get close to water whether it be an ocean, lake, river or ... puddle. : )

We gorged on British fish and chips for lunch. I gorged more, adding a side of coleslaw to my order. The only morsel of food left on my plate was the lone fry that I dropped on the floor.

Our magnolia tree is in full bloom. That tree is a tease ... it takes a few days to open its blooms and just when it reaches its peak, and is at its most beautiful, it abruptly sheds its fuchsia petals. So when it blossoms - it demands - you must enjoy it in that very moment or perhaps not at all.

My dad and step mom get back from Florida tomorrow. I prepared a pork roast and baby potatoes for them and left the food in their fridge so they will have a meal after their long journey. I cut a few of the tulips from their back yard garden, put them in an antique milk bottle (as good as a vase) and left them with my welcome note. It seemed a waste not to share them before they wilt away. The deep rose tulips in their front yard however saved themselves for their return ...

Welcome home; we missed you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Conections and Reflections

Here I sit, at the end of my day, reflecting on the gifts the day rendered. As I do this, my car is not in the driveway. Kidlet passed her driver's test today and now Benzie (my car) is in her hands. Her grin couldn't have been wider as she drove us home from the testing centre, and I admit I was a little giddy as well. I think she can smell the new found independence and freedom. I think I am going to be walking more. Another milestone reached ...

I took a vacation day to take Kidlet for her driving test, making this the third Friday in a row that I have had off. I could really get used to this four day work week. Hubby and I are focused on making our back yard the retreat we want it to be. He's been doing the heavy labour and it is paying off. Just add loungers and sunshine and it's good to go!

The news program in the background is discussing the newly renamed human swine flu -- the H1N1 flu! Thank goodness ... no one wants to have swine anything.

One of my amigas came over after work - a spontaneous get together. It gave my frozen chili an encore and we made a healthy dent in that box of wine in the fridge. (Box sounds tacky doesn't it?) Sometimes spontaneous is best; no fuss or muss. Just thrown together eats and good conversation. Fritz was smitten with E, gradually making his way from the bottom of the couch near her feet to a full out cuddle fest with his head in her lap. Nothing like a good ole gab fest with a close girlfriend to kick off the weekend. Even Fritz could appreciate that!

Icing on the cake was the phone call I received from my cousin out west - who I have never met. Brings new meaning to connections. We had been emailing back and forth for a while now, learning about one another and our extended family. She is the same age as I am and coincidentally her one and only daughter has the same name as Kidlet - not a common name.
I love the first time you hear someone's voice and put it to the face. It's like another mystery solved. She sounded friendly and energetic and she said I sounded different than she expected - she thought I would have an east-coast accent.

I never cease to be amazed by the wonder of it all -- family (some of who I have never met) strewn across the expanse of our country. Something so big - and I am a part of it.

What a wonderful day - milestones, friends, family (old and new) and Fritz. I forgot to mention he got a makeover.

Today is the kind of day that makes you sigh in contentment and whisper a quiet prayer of gratitude. Thank you.