Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Snippets

waking with a cold nose cocooned in  a down duvet
puttering in bare feet, looking for slippers
making hot coffee and French toast with maple syrup
blogging and watching CNN
chatting with Dad from Florida
stripping beds and doing laundry
bundling up and venturing out into frigid
banking and shopping
watching Kidlet's game
chopping, peeling and cooking
folding laundry and daydreaming
catching up with MIH
catching up with Big Girl
savouring a piece of KitKat left over from Christmas
making tea
hanging with Kidlet
drifting off
winding down
closing up
bidding all a good night.

And how was your Saturday?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Stood Up - Almost

So NOW you decide to show up!
You were expected last December and you were a no show.
Oh sure, you dropped by briefly with empty promises of a quick return ...
you stood us up.

We resigned ourselves that you weren't coming
The salt by the door, the shovel standing sentry - both used but once
Don't get me wrong, we weren't disappointed
But you could have called.

Like an unwelcomed guest you blew in last night
And greeted me full force this morning.
Winter - we thought we had dodged your wrath
But apparently not.

Please don't settle in for a lengthy stay
When you failed to make an appearance
We started looking foward to Spring
Albeit optimistically - and prematurely.

So now you've made yourself known
Just in the nick of winter time
And even though I complain about you
It just wouldn't be the same without you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Simple Things

It's the simple things that deliver joy, comfort and contentment.  Here's my list ...

~ waking up with 30 minutes still left on the clock, drifting in and out, meeting the day lazily
~ standing in a shower so hot it makes my skin red

~ finding my soft place to fall - the sweet spot just below his shoulder
~ wearing warm woolly socks on my ice cold feet

~ seeing the shining eyes of my reflection when I am rested and relaxed

~ hearing a John Denver tune on the radio
~ strolling along the waterfront while my mind wanders the infinite

~ catching a rerun of The Way We Were on a wintry Sunday afternoon

~ singing from the top of my lungs to my music as I clean

~ sipping something steaming from my favourite coffee mug with a handle big enough for me to slip both hands through

~ eating leftovers

~ rummaging through memory boxes bins

~ I love you's that are murmured, proclaimed and jotted in notes.

~ peeling a perfect banana - firm, unbruised and little on the unripe side of things
~ pulling my luggage through airports, knowing I am on my way

~ using a fresh bottle of shampoo for the very first time

~ being bundled on the couch with a book and a whole day stretched out before me

~ bleeding hearts - the kind that peek through winter to herald spring's arrival

~ piling cheddar cheese on a piece of fresh homemade bread covered with strawberry jam

~ eating the above with a hot cup of perfectly steeped tea

~ not being able to roll over because my dog Fritz is laying right between us
~ writing with the perfect writing pen - the kind with a comfy grip and that glides across the page

~ snapping a picture knowing you got the perfect shot; that you captured the perfect moment

~ wearing new underwear
I met a new blogfriend a few days ago ... Christina from Soul Aperature. Her blog is fresh and creative and well worth a visit (you'll overstay!). She is inviting us all to post the simple things in life that we appreciate and for each blog that participates, she and her family will donate $1.00 to Doctors without Borders. Just leave the link to your post in a comment on her blog. It feels good to support her giving ways.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


It was still - a momentary lapse with no disturbance - absolute quiet.
The sun hadn't risen yet as I made my way to car this morning.
Tiny snowflakes were shimmering silently in the dark.
I paused, inhaled deeply and savoured the moment.
For if this is the only moment of
utter peace that I have all day -
I will be grateful for this single,
reverent, reprieve from

For one single
moment in time
there was only
cool air filling my lungs,
hushed city hum,
diamond droplets falling from the sky -
and me.

E x h a l e
No thought, no action, no movement, total stillness: only thus can one manifest the true nature and law of things from within and unconsciously, and at last become one with heaven and earth.

- Lao Tzu

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dropping Monica a Line

I finally wrote my first letter to my Sudanese sister from Women for Women International. It was hard to know what to include ... but I decided a heartfelt introduction was in order. Here is a little of what I wrote:
Dear Monica,
I have waited for this chance to write to you for a long time. From the moment that I learned about the need and struggles of my fellow women and the work that Women to Women was doing, I wanted to be a part of it. As women we share a common bond of sisterhood. We are caregivers; we have people we love and nurture and have to be the strength that our children, husbands/spouses and parents turn to when they need support.

It was wonderful to finally see you my sister – your noble face staring back at me. Your eyes look so sad Monica but you look like a strong woman. I wish I could sit with you and share a cup of tea; you could tell me about your life, your family. You could share your pain and tell me what makes you happy. I could wrap my arms around you and hug you close so you would know that you are have a sister on your side. I would tell you that I am a mother of three daughters ... and  am a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend. I would tell you so much ... but I would listen more...

I want to know all about you Monica ... maybe you can write back. But if you can’t, I want you to know that someone very far away thinks about you and is sending you lots of love. I know it is difficult to take care of children and make a life for yourself but I can see the fire in your eyes and I know that if you make a picture of the life you want, you can have it. Life will get better. Believe.

Love  – your far away sister.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kenya Confirmed

The dream is slowly crystalizing from those wisps of imagination, desire, visualization and passion. It's morphing from dream state to concrete reality. Trip is booked and half of the cost paid as a deposit. [Bad news: now the bank account is empty.Good news: we have 2 months to save up for the rest.]

Flights are booked. My credit card is bursting (and so am I) but I keep reminding myself that this trip with Kidlet to Kenya is a once (or twice) in a lifetime opportunity ... worth every penny or shilling. I am not used to spending money I don't have. I have never taken a trip that I haven't paid for upfront so this credit thing is taking a bit of gettng used to. The flights have escalated exponentially thanks to the tourists capitalizing on the World Cup. But those charges on my statement remind me that Kidlet and I will soon be travelling to the other side of the planet to experience something exquisite -- together. We have so much to learn; much to share; and much to experience. This trip is about so much more than the animals and nature (although that is a definite highlight) - it will be about learning how the people in Kenyan are living - what their struggles, dreams and hopes are. This will be a bonding opportunity with Kidlet - and that is going to be the best part of all.

Another part of this journey that has absolutely blown me away has been the unwavering support from my family, friends and friends I haven't met yet. Life is so wonderful when you have the world on  your side nudging you towards your dreams and goals. [silent prayer of thanks]

 Kidlet and I are starting a separate blog to document our journey to Africa so this one doesn't become deluged with Africa chatter. It will be a fun project to share with Kidlet. Do you sense the ongoing theme ... share as much as possible while she is around here to share with?

 Africa - the call is getting stronger and so is our anticipation!

More about my dreams of Africa ...

Sunday, January 24, 2010


O u t r e a c h.  I love that word - the power it carries and the image it brings to mind. The act or process of reaching out.  We've seen our share of outreach on the world news these past ten days in Haiti.  Mixed in with the coverage of horror and devastation were the stories of resilient survivors, life trumping death, courageous rescues, and truly spectacular demonstrations of the human spirit and the caring souls of aid workers, volunteers and community reaching out to help.

I have been moved beyond belief and as usual, I've been digging for the "take away" of this disaster. Just when the black cloud of negativity seems ready to burst and hope becomes elusive -- humankind rises to the call and reminds us that at the core we are connected; and when one of us hurts - we are hurt. We are reminded that we belong to something bigger than ourselves and that we need one another.

It reminds me that outreach is not just about world disasters (which of course are paramount) - but also about continuing outreach in our families and communitites. Pulling the focus from wide angle to close up -- do we have members of our own clan who need a caring call, a kind word, a visit, an expression of love ....

After my posts expressing frustration with the speed at which needy people were receiving basic essentials, my optimism is restored and even stronger than ever. The human spirit and love will prevail and we will emerge from this crisis as better versions of ourselves. And that is my gift in this adversity.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In Her Shoes

She came home flushed with excitement - eyes on high beam, her treasures in tow. She had bought a new dress for her very first semi formal school dance ... and new shoes. Coat barely off, she tore into her parcels explaining as she went how she landed great deals on her purchases. She was just about as excited as I'd seen her be about anything ...

She disappeared into the bathroom, and made like Clark Kent. She went into the bathroom a school girl and emerged a sophisticate. I was momentarily shocked at the vision standing before me ...  her tousled hair, five foot ten lanky frame - wearing an above-the-knee strapless black satin dress with an ivory sash. My eyes lowered to her shoes ... her 4 inch  peeptoe heels. I couldn't hide my shock surprise. The mama bear voice was speaking before I could process and edit ... something about the shoes not being age appropriate ... I think I went as far to say they looked like hooker shoes. [Bad Mama Bear - shut up!] Her face fell. I regretted the words the minute they left my mouth. Darn! She left abruptly ... and the joy vacated with her.

I sat there in stunned silence to figure out just what my problem was ...

She isn't my little cherub faced, tom boy Kidlet any more. She is a young woman - and the shoes proved it to me. I've been in a bit of a state of denial lately ... and I only know this because of the sporadic reveals -- you know -- those momentary glimpses of perspective or objectivity that provide clarity. It's cliche to say, but it seems that Kidlet morphed into a young woman overnight.

I rummaged through my hope chest and found them -- her size 2 pink and purple canvas high top sneakers. When I hold them in my hands it triggers a memory reel of Kidlet, cap turned backwards,  running like the wind - usually away from me! Was it so long ago? It is time to let go and let be.

I'm happy to report that I pulled it together, packed my pride, gathered up my humility and made peace with Kidlet. I apologised. I told her how beautiful she looked in her outfit and that I regretted more than I can say taking the wind from her sails and hurting her feelings. I tried to explain that I sometimes forget that she is no longer a little girl ... but rather a young woman, about to turn eighteen - in grown up shoes. I need gentle reminding.

The high tops are stashed back in their special place along with the childhood version of Kidlet. I am reminded that as a parent, there is still so much to learn. And I am trying to learn from my missteps ... and to put myself in her shoes ... but I think I would topple over. 

I love you Kidlet. Rock them shoes!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rest For Me - But Not Haiti

I haven't been this happy to see Friday come in a really long time. It is officially my favourite day of the week -- something about having the W H O L E weekend stretching out before me. But today I am tired. I haven't slept well this week; maybe I was watching too many news reports or reading too many blogs about it -- but Haiti was everywhere. I was dreaming their faces and cries and grateful smiles. I woke up feeling heavy - having dreamed their pain and utter grief for those who they loved and lost. Then my thoughts turn instantly to those who are there, livng through it - and I send my complaints packing.  Aid workers, doctors, nurses, volunteers, citizens, victims, media, military .... all there. All living without sleep and essentials. They aren't sleeping well either - if at all.

So today, on a day that I know I have two days of rest ahead of me, I want to acknowledge and honour those who are working tirelessly and those who are trying to survive this crisis in Haiti. My deepest respect and thoughts are with you all. The whole world is pulling for you. You have my deepest gratitude ...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Week of Hell in Haiti

It's happening again. Deja vu. I thought after Katrina, lessons would be learned, and that the next time disaster struck, it would be handled better. And maybe it has been, but from all that I have seen from Haiti, it is playing like a repeat episode of a bad drama ... scenes of anguished faces, desperate pleas for help, streets littered with corpses and people deprived of the basics of life .... while the basics for life sit stockpiled at the airport.

After the earthquake the world responded immediately - and generously. The cries of the those plunged in darkness and despair were heard. Monies were raised in record time and volunteers, supplies and planes were dispatched. There was - and is - a will to assist.  Sadly the challenge has been to effectively coordinate the distribution of the life saving food, water and medicines to the survivors who are in urgent need. CNN just reported that it is estimated that as many as 20,000 earthquake survivors are dying every day due to the lack of medical treatments and basic essentials. Preventable deaths.

How can  this be happening yet again? Life is a precious gift. The Haitians who are alive have already survived a catastrophic event - only to face a second life threatening hurdle. Every death now - especially those caused by starvation or lack of water is preventable and inexcusable.

One of the most moving moments I witnessed was the spirit of a woman pulled from a flattened building after six days. Her husband was waiting for her, and when she saw him, she raised her arms in praise and burst into song. She was singing her thanks for being alive. My take away - reminder to honour the gift that is my life.

The blackboard found from a collapsed school serving as a tomb for 130 perished children had a message written in chalk by the teacher the day of the earthquake  ... it read  "May God receive them with open arms".

We can do better. We must.

Monday, January 18, 2010

He Dared to Dream

Photo: This image is believed to be in the public domain and is from the National Archives
An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was eight years old when Martin Luther King Jr was shot. At the time, I did not fully comprehend his full importance and what his legacy would be. He appeared as grainy black and white images on the TV; images of him making impassioned speeches, leading swarms of people carrying signs, marching arm in arm. He was someone who appeared in stories on the six o'clock news and someone who I heard my parents discussing. I knew his name and I knew he was a powerful, important man. He was a part of the kaleidoscope of sounds, colours and textures of my recollections of the sixties.

My impressions of the sixties are etched in imagery of protests, violence, rage, war, concerts, peace funerals, and tears. I remember watching snippets of the now famous "I have a dream" speech and even though I was a child, I could feel the power of inspiration. I could sense leadership. It made an indelible impression. I knew I was witnessing greatness.

So today in a world where we are parched and thirsty for hope, in desperate need of inspiration on a landscape with leadership in short supply, I salute the larger than life Dr. Martin Luther King Jr who dared to dream and share a vision for a world that would require humankind - us - to become the best versions of ourselves ...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Cooking Bliss

Gord Lightfoot is crooning "Softy" in the background - and there's no one around (but Fritz) to complain. Perfectly chilled glass of wine - the white variety - poured in a stemless - seemed more practical for cooking to sip as I cook. Chopping carrots, parsnips, onions and rutabaga (we called them turnips when I was growing up - and I still do) for the oven roast. Bliss. That's what this ritual of cooking Sunday dinner is ... pure bliss.

I rubbed the sirloin roast with the mixture of herbs and spices I pulled from our cupboard collection. I try really hard not to lick my fingers as I cook ... I try really hard. A quick blast in the fry pan to brown it and then the slab of meat was popped into the oven, with only the veggies to keep it company.

Now comes the pay off ... the homey aroma of  the meat roasting is filling the house. And it's making me a little weepy. No - it isn't the wine! The aroma (and Gordon's lyrics) trigger memories of countless Sunday dinners cooked by my grandmother, my mother, my father, my husband, my father in law ... and now me. They conjure up the sights and sounds of an overcrowded dining room table, loud chatter, people reaching across to pass the food, a spill or two (usually caused by me), and pure bliss.

I miss those who are no longer among us to sit around our table ... but I remember them all. And I work hard to continue the tradition. Actually the tradition is in the gravy making ....

Gotta go -- Early Morning Rain is playing and it requires my full attention. Gosh - am I hungry!

The Shift

I can feel it ... a shift in my consciousness. I am seeing the world around me with new, open eyes. I can see the subtleties and feel the vibrations of need. It is a transformation in progress, and one that has been a long time in the works. It is difficult for me to explain this higher state of consciousness that I am experiencing, this desire to reach out. It is complex and layered. My dad tells me that I am becoming self actualized.
Maslow describes self actualization as:
"What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming."
All I can say is that I am thoroughly enjoying this stage of my life. This has less to do with the fact that I am approaching 50 as it does with the fact that my active parenting years are gradually becoming less demanding and consuming. I have more time than ever to pause, reflect and seek out knowledge and understanding of the human condition and my global family. It is an inspirational place to be in my life.

During the years of career building and raising my children - years in which I felt completely consumed emotionally and physically - I was often frustrated by what seemed like a lack of time to fulfill my philanthropic interests. I lived by the mantra "all things in their time". You know - the notion that we can have it all, just not all at the same time. Well, my time has come and I feel free - in flight. I have alot to offer and I finally feel as though the mist is clearing and my greater purpose is unfolding before me.

I am becoming a better person. Becoming. Evolving. And for that, I am supremely grateful.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hearts of Hope

The world as they knew it
Evaporated,  ceased to be.
They are emerging from rubble
Arms outstretched.
The need - so very great.

Will we heed their calls?
We have so much, in fact
More than we need.
It just takes many (each of us)
To give a little.

They are emerging from the rubble
Triumpant and determined.
Life is already resuming
With spirits rising, unifying.
Will we rise with them?

Hearts of hope to the people of Haiti ...
we're listening.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Three Cups of Tea for Me

I went in search of inspiration - and boy did I get a big huge heaping helping of it. My dear friend Jilly treated me to a night with Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. (Sounds rather juicy doesn't it?) He appeared at the Toronto Library to share his message of peace through education. The place was packed with more women than men, faces of all colours and ages and a scattering of children - many clutching a copy of one of the two books he has written.

He started late ... he went MIA. They found him down on the main floor of the library, greeting the throngs of people who were seated in "overflow" in front of video screens. The first thing I noticed about this big bear of a man was that he "saw" people; he didn't look through them. As he made his way to the podium, his smiling face beaming, he paused to shake hands and ask people their names. He continued along the front row until the faciliator gently reminded him that time was at a premium.

He seemed to be genuinely grateful to be there, and for the next hour  or so he mesmerized us with tales of  his childhood in Tanzania, the Afghan elders who became his mentors and of his passion for his mission to help educate girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He explained how education is the key to peace. My recount of the evening does not do it justice. I can only say that he moved me in a way that was unexpected. I felt the first tear fall as I watched the opening video showing the shining, hopeful faces of the Afghan children and wizzened faces of the elders. The next tear slipped down my cheek as Greg walked through the door and started embracing and greeting people with such warmth and genuine interest. There's that word genuine again ... and I suppose that pretty much sums up my impression of Greg Mortenson. GENUINE.

Jilly and I laughed as we concurred that we felt as though we had just seen a rock star -- an evening on par with a Bruce Springsteen concert (and we really love Bruce!). At the end of the evening my heart was happy, my head was spinning and I was brimming with love.  I felt full to overflowing with inspiration. A person like Greg Mortenson is a shining beacon of hope ... and makes me want to shine my own light too.

Thanks Jilly for an evening that impacted me profoundly.

Watch this moving video with the Three Cups of Tea song, sung by Greg Mortenson's 13 year old daughter Amira.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Introducing .. My Sudan Sister

Last fall I applied to Women for Women International to sponsor a sister - a survivor  of war. My application coincided with an appearance by WFW founder Zainab Salbi on Oprah. Surprise, surprise - her appearance generated huge interest and created an increased level of sponsorship activity  I can only imagine. They contacted me to let me know that they had a huge backlog of applications and donations but that I would soon be connected with a sister.

Today was that day. I ripped open the large white envelope bearing the now familiar Women For Woman logo, so excited to put a face to the name that had been provided to me. I opened the folder and there was Monica, a twenty-three year old who lives in the Sudan where she cares for seven children. It's difficult to get too much from one picture, but the eyes don't lie. Monica stares back from dull, haunted eyes, with a posture that can't disguise fatigue and despair.

With the sponsorship she will join a circle of 25 women her support network and have a year to take intensive, life changing training that will help her gain control over her life.
The enclosed letter was generous in its gratitude: "You are the reason for this transformation Lynda. Your sister was only able to enter the Women for Women International program because you reached out to her."
Hardly. Monica is reaching out to me and over this year, we will learn alot about one another and I will learn about the struggles women face in the most desperate conditions. I will do this from the security of my home - my safe haven. She may not be so lucky. And I know that once again, I will get back more than I give. Perhaps Monica and I will resurrect hope and both undergo a transformation of the humankind, sister to sister.

Read my other posts about Women for Women International:
Global Family
Women for Women ... a Sisterhood

In Search of My Waistline

Waistline ...
Where have you gone?
You used to sit so snug above my hips
clearly deliniating the bottom half from the top.
You were the place I wore my belt.
When extra pounds were added
they flocked to my existing curves
and left you unscathed.
When other parts let me down
you were always true.

But this past year
you seemed to have disappeared.
When I don my favourite belt
I am left to guess the approximate
spot you used to be.
Mock waist.
The landscape has changed.
The hourglass has given way to a cylinder.
My body profile triggers pregnancy flashbacks!
Flat backside and lots of stuff out front.
It's comical really ...
I think an alien abducted my former body or
at least my waistline.

So here I am - in search of  you.
I won't find you on milk cartons
or in closets.
But I may find you at the gym.
So I'm going to keep showing up
on my lunch hours
And maybe - just maybe
You'll reappear.

I miss you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Beans on Toast & Other Cures for a Wintry Day

Is there anything as comforting as good smells wafting from the kitchen - especially on the bitterly, blustery cold days of winter?  I love coming into the house and being greeted by the homey aroma of a chicken or roast cooking in the oven. It inspires me to take my boots off just that little bit quicker and head into the kitchen to check on (and sample) the progress.

Food is definitely a comfort - and sometimes it's something as simple as beans and toast that hits the spot. Simple and delicious. That was my Saturday night supper ... eaten as I sat crosslegged on the big comfy couch, wrapped in a fleece throw in front of a hot fire. Contentment tingling in every extremity.

So I made a morning trek to the grocery store to load up on fresh vegetables and spent much of today -- preparing Sunday dinner for my family. I steamed tender asparagus and experimented with raw beets ... did you know that the blood red juice of a blanched beet stains everything it touches ... even fingers! I prepared roasted potatoes and chicken breasts in a mixture made of tomato sauce, white wine, garlic, paprika, oregano and chicken broth. It didn't take long before the fragrances of garlic and spice hung in the air as dinner roasted in the oven. I topped it off with a spinach salad  in my ongoing effort to eat more fresh, green vegetables. Comfort food at its best - the perfect cure for a cold windy wintry day.

And just so I could smell them baking, I made a small batch of sugar cookies. Really it was just an excuse to use my rolling pin for the purpose it was intended!

So as my sweet little family gathered around the table, chatting happily as we ate, it brought me back to a time when our table was full for every meal. And now it is an occasion to have more than hubby and me at the table - and I have a deep appreciation for these meals shared together. Soon enough, it will once again be much quieter at dinner. I cherish these days spent cooking for my family and then sharing their enjoyment as they partake. I am fortunate to have loved ones to cook for -- and for that, I am grateful.

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Week Back

Well, I made it! After being off on two weeks of relative relaxation, I found the first week back at work to be so  l o n g.  It's taken all week to fall back into a routine. But now it's under my belt and life as I once knew it has resumed.

Drooping eyes. That's me  tonight, on the eve of the weekend - the sweet reward for a week's work. So I am going to roll with it, get some sleep and greet Saturday head on, refreshed.

But the good news is that I am ending the week better off than when I started it. I am  less stiff, stronger and more determined. And for that I am grateful.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

All Possible

Possibility has been my companion the last few days and the wheels are in motion all around me. I received an email confirming Kidlet and I for the Kenyan trip this summer, putting the fulfillment of that dream within tasting distance. I have to shake myself to believe I am actually going ... and that excitement that has been harbouring will only continue to mount right up until we touch African soil. Endless possibilities ... we will have so much to learn.

Yesterday a work colleague donated to our school fundraiser and it was an unexpected surprise. It rekindled my commitment to that goal. [Note to self: get cracking!] Thank  you Girl!

And today I got the icing on the cake ... my friend J invited me to go see Greg Mortenson (authour of Three Cups of Tea) speak. It will be in an intimate setting. I loved the book and it really opened my eyes to the issue of educating girls. I was inspired not only by his message but by his perseverance and commitment to building schools in Afghanistan's  war ravaged, physically hostile environment and culturally sensitive community. He is a bridge builder (literally and figuratively) and he is creating possibilities for a generation of Afghan and Pakistani girls. Debating whether I should bring my copy of  the book for him to sign .... and deciding what I would ask him if I get the chance.

So it's been a great couple of days... the kind that create excitement that you can actually feel in your body. The gift - endless possibilities and optimism. And for that - I am so very grateful.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Just Doing It - Finally!

Yikes!! - The scales don't lie!

The "before" shot (wide angle)
My knees and joints are going to love me!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Super Hero

He's a big guy, my Dad - actually he is larger than life. And I don't think he would mind me saying that today he is turning 73. I'm one of the lucky ones. Not only do I still have my Dad with me,  I have a remarkable man for a father, who is the epicentre and heartbeat of our family. I have written alot about his abilities and achievements but with each passing year, it is our relationship that I have come to cherish  more than ever.

After my mom passed on, my dad became more to me than someone to admire or to turn to for advice; we forged a kinship of sorts born from hours of conversation, shared grief and living under the same roof - a kinship rooted in authenticity. We discussed our ideas, argued politics and philosophical ideologies and explored the meaning of life. He became my trusted confidante.

So on his birthday I want to thank him for his greatest gift to me ... being a shining example of how to live:
  • to live each day fully, heart and soul;
  • to be a giver not a taker; 
  • to care - and make a difference;
  • to be a loyal friend;
  • to dream;
  • to be a life long learner;
  • to see wonder and joy in  nature and the extraordinary in the ordinary.
  • to multiply the richness of experience by sharing them with someone you love.
He has made tracks so deep and vast that I could never hope to follow in them. (He covered alot of ground).  In the spirit of growing and evolving, he continues leave footprints in the snow with his own blog, Peering Through a Porthole. My dad the blogger! And he has alot to share. His resume lists accomplishments that would put him at about 150 years old. He packs more passion and vitality into a day than most do in a week. I can only hope that we will be eating his home preserved pickles, spaghetti sauce and organic vegetables with him for years to come.

So you guessed it ... he is my super hero - my Dad. Happy Birthday Pops.

You can read more about my dad. (really - he's super cool).

Note: This picture was taken outside his cabin on the tundra when he lived in the high Arctic a few years back. Adventure Man.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Off to an Early Start

I woke up at 4 am this morning ... it was cold in our room and I wrestled the duvet from Fritz who takes up more than his share of the bed considering he is so little. I swear if it had been light enough I would have seen my breath. It was my first day back to work after being off for almost 2 weeks.

My mind started the wind up - a carousel of randam words, concerns and reminders swirling relentlessly ... remember - lunch in the fridge;  card for the cell phone "hands free" on the hall table; send deposit for Africa trip;  is that a snowplough rumbling by?; I never did find my snow brush; too cold for a skirt?

My duel with time lasted until I threw in the towel just after 5:30 and bolted to the shower. No time for lingering until the bathroom is transformed into a steam bath. It's so darn hard to get motivated to get naked on these dark, cold mornings.

When I have been away from work for any length of time I get a surge of nervous energy the night before. But I just hate waking up at 4 am ... too early to get up and often too late to fall back asleep. So that was me today ... sleepy by late afternon, and even sleepier now sitting my the fire.  But the good news is that I started taking mega vitamins (from a very large bottle marked with a best before date that has just recently expired), I went to the gym and I ate loads of veggies today.

I see a good night's sleep in my future. Life is good.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Forks in the Road

It's bringing back memories ... Kidlet and I sat perched in front of her computer filling out her application to university. Selections! What university? What program? What major?  So many decisions to make for what must seem like monumental, permanent choices to her. In reality, she is choosing her start and from there she will discover her passion and true intention.

I can remember that time in my life when infinite possibility stretched out before me, and the choices seemed limitless. I obsessed over the many options, picturing myself in various roles. My application reflected my diverse interests and desire to be everything. I applied to be a journalist, nurse, photographer, social worker, lab technician (what was I thinking???), and to a radio and tv arts program, which is where I ended up. I packed up my optimism and hopes for my future,  left the security of a loving family and small town and headed off to school in the big city. I couldn't wait to get started on my grown up life.

Now I watch my daughter - my youngest babe - at those same crossroads. She seems to be mildly excited and it was only after her marks from the past year popped up on the application that the reality of it all seemed to hit home. "They know my name and my marks". The wheels are in motion now for an exciting adventure ... getting decent grades; waiting to hear if and where she is accepted and then more decisions.

The reality of it all is starting to hit home for me too. When my middle daughter moved out to go to university it left a little hollow in the house and in my heart. I knew she would never live at home the same way again. My baby had left the nest. But I had two others left at home whose chatter, laughter and comings and goings filled the house and helped kill the silence. This time it won't be as easy. Kidlet is the last. The bedrooms will be empty and much cleaner; there will be no stream of teens through the house, no pile of shoes at the door, and no impish face to kiss goodnight. Fritz will have to do and hubby will have to prepare to have his ear talked off. Me? I will have to adjust.

Kidlet is at a fork in the road and I suppose I am too. And that is what makes life so envigorating and exciting, and that is my take away from today!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

End Strands and Leftovers

Hubby earned big brownie points by sitting through the movie Julie and Julia based on the blog, The Julie/Julia Project by Julie Powell. We watched it in the privacy of our own home courtesy of Pay Per View. Payback for hubby will come when I go to see Avatar with him. Anyway, I had been wanting to see this movie for several reasons ... the concept of a movie being made from book based on a blog intrigued me, and I am a huge Meryl Streep fan. I don't want to do a movie reivew but Amy Adams is endearing in the role and I found the film to be delightful. I was practically drooling as I watched the myriad of vegetables and meat beng whipped into what looked to be scrumptious creations. I decided to check out the blog that the movie was based upon ... and admittedly, I was disappointed. I am not sure I would have been an avid follower ...

When you are picking a movie or show to watch do you compromise with your partner or do your own thing? Maybe you both like the same genres ... Hubby and I have a longstanding ritual of taking turns. He picks a sci-fi or a film by Ridley Scott or Michael Mann and I opt for the relationship or romantic comedy films. But without argument, we alternate. Although he pointed out that he thinks he may have accumulated a few more points considering he'd seen two chick flicks in less than two weeks. He may be right. He's a trouper though ... when we went to see my daughter in a university performance of the Vagina Monlogues, he was the only male to sit through it. I laugh every time I think of it!

So today I am just savouring the final few days that will officially mark the end of this year's holiday season. Tomorrow I will dismantle Christmas and help Kidlet apply to universities. I just felt a slight breeze of change waft by ... There is alot to look forward to and it will be a year jam packed with monumental milestones, dreams fulfilled, adventures, firsts, beginnings and no doubt endings. Life will  look different by next year - and I for one wonder what awaits!

There was heartbreak we didn't anticipate and events we couldn't have imagined. Still, it wasn't all bad. So maybe there was a message in it all. The future was calling us and no matter what, there was no turning back now.

Source: The Wonder Years

Friday, January 1, 2010

Cleansing Breath

I sit in my kitchen, coffee in hand peering hopefully out the window. There are a few flakes swirling in the air. It wants to snow. I can feel it. Winter is embarassed by her stark nakedness. Green grass and rain have no place in a Canadian January. Why has our little patch of Oakville been passed over?

Today is the very first day of a brand new year. Clicking away on my keyboard, reflecting, I am trying to decide if I should make some affirmations that are rolling around my head - official. I am not sure it matters. I do think however that for me, it is important for me to decide what I want my year to stand for. It gives me a focus. Last year I decided upon: mindful living; writing; and giving. I think this year I am going to assign a single word to my intention -- volunteer. I have been throwing it around, contemplating, visualizing and procastinating long enough. I am not getting any younger - and there is no time to waste.

So next year as I write my first blog of 2011 I will be able to reflect on how volunteering affected me and helped me be a better person. I am making be an actionable item for myself. Now I've done it - I've committed and put it out there ... so stay tuned.

I hope you are enjoying this new year's day and taking a deep cleansing breath to get you through the upcoming year. It's going to be exciting ... I can just feel it!

Now snow darn it!!