Tuesday, March 31, 2009
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?
You make my spirit soar ...
Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
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
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
- 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
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
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
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
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
Friday, March 20, 2009
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
And I can't wait!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
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
Sunday, March 15, 2009
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
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
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.
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.
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
Geesh, why aren't those shoes in the closet where they belong!?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
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Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
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
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
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
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
Sunday, March 1, 2009
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.
Take me home (just even for a moment)