Sunday, February 28, 2010

Faux Spring

Trickling streams of melting snow
Reflective puddles and overflowing downspouts
Saturated green, spongy grass
Canada geese flying  in deep formation
Overdressed dog walkers
Beachcombers scouring rocky shores
Couples strolling hand in hand,
Strollers, toddlers, joggers and cyclists.

Trickling streams of melting snow
Waves rolling ashore
Babies crying
Dogs barking
Geese honking
Stones skipping
Cheerful chatting
Birds chirping.

Smells and Sensations
Sun warming my face
Musty dampness off the lake
Deep breaths of fresh and sweetness
Puddle jumping madness
Sloppy, soupy boots
Walking a little lighter
Cause everything seems possible
A springtime dress rehearsal.

All of this today - on the last day of February. Can you believe it?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Record Breaking

For the past two weeks the Olympics has dominated my thoughts and attention. I've been completely swept up in the excitement  of it all. Night after night I've been glued to the coverage - whatever the sport - snowboarding, luge, bobsled -- even curling. I don't get curling. I love everything the Olympics stands for ... clean, fierce competition, raw athleticism and good sportsmanship mixed in with pride of country. For two weeks the world has been a technicolour distraction from the grey and black.

So this morning I was yanked from my euphoria with the news about the Chilean earthwake; I watched the CNN coverage in disbelief. A record of another kind had been broken - the 8.8 strength of the quake was the greatest recorded in human history. The first thing that popped into my head was sadness for the people - for their pain. My second thought was of Haiti - would the world lose interest now? There is still so much need - in Haiti, in Africa, Afghanistan, at home and now - in Chile.

What a beautiful thing it would be if we could unite in love for one another - for humankind - and extend our collective efforts to helping those who are in dire need. What a spectacular feat it would be for us to rally around the needy just as we do for our athletes - our national pride. What could be achieved if we let the Olympic flame ignite our  visions, hopes, and dreams and push us off the shore of complacency into an ocean of possibility that extends far beyond even what we have imagined.

In Canada, the theme for the Olympics has been, "I believe". And you know what? I do.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Doggonit - An Unexpected Surprise

He's regally plopped on a cushion, nestled into a corner of the couch giving me the stare down. His dark little eyes track the spoon from my yoghurt to my mouth.

"No, this is not for you. Eat your own food".

He follows at my heels no matter where I go in the house. I think he is confused as to why I am home. I am clearly disturbing his routine.

" I have a day off, OK? And no, I don't want your bone."

I like animals but I am not what you would describe as a dog person. This little schnauzer of ours was an impromptu addition to our family, bought just months after hubby and I got married.  I should add that hubby and Kidlet conspired; we had not discussed getting a dog, but apparently they got sidetracked on what was supposed to be an outing to the arcade. [Hubby lost his beloved dog just weeks before our wedding and it hit him hard. He IS a dog person - thus my nickname for him - Dr. Doolittle.]

I came home from work to Kidlet and hubby fawning over what looked to be a soaking wet rat. I was confused. What trap had they sprung this creature from?

"What is that? Whose is it? Really -- where did it come from?"

Kidlet  thrust IT into  my hands in quick response. I was speechless. It was November - not ideal weather conditions for late night potty runs. Kidlet rattled off the highlights ... we know you like girls better; she was the cutest one of the litter; she fell in love with us the minute we picked her up; she's non-allergenic, hubby misses his dog .... and so on. IT was a standard, female schnauzer.

"That's fine. You brought her home so she is your responsibility." We agreed on a solid German name with a girlie flair -- IT would be known as Fritizie.

I tried hard not to like the dog. I reminded Kidlet and hubby as often as I could that Fritzie was their pet. But that darn dog worked me good, pulling out the charm and affection to win me over. Behind every door sat Fritizie, sitting up oh so pretty with pleading eyes that begged, "please love me". What's a girl to do? We women folk have to stick together.

It's been over four years now and I have become a reluctant dog person. Fritzie turned out to be a Fritz and a mini - not a standard schanuzer. That's what impromptu pet purchases deliver -- surprises!

So with Kidlet busy with her own interests and the other girls moved out and all grown up, it's just Fritz sleeping on my feet these days. And no matter what kind of day I have had, I can always count on a colossal frenzied, homecoming from this little furball. He may not be well trained (I need the dog whisperer), and he is a whole lot yappy, but I have grown to love this dog with the wise eyes and button nose.

"OK Fritz, TREAT!"

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Finger Licking Good!

The house is flooded with that warm, delicious home baking aroma. I made brownies tonight ... thank you Betty Crocker! I have no plans to eat them but - true confession time - I licked the spoon -- and the bowl -- and the spatula. I couldn't eat a brownie now if my life depended on it - I'm stuffed.

As I leaned over the sink happily licking my chocolate covered treasures I was reminded of other bowls and spatulas. With three other sibs to share the spoils with, as kids we were lucky to get a spoon to ourselves. Whoever won the bowl had to share it with at least one other. As a college student living away from home, it was a liberating experience to have the bowl to myself although it felt a little odd, as though there was someone I should be sharing with.

The self indulgence became history the moment I had little ones who claimed their rightful privilege. And as my mother before me, I negotiated equal  disbursement of the used baking utensils and settled disputes amongst the kidlets. I had my fingers and lips to lick!

So as I carefully removed the batter from the wooden spoon with my finger, and savoured the sweetness on my tongue, I couldn't help thinking how interesting life is. How a simple act of licking a spoon can trigger a flood of memories and emotions. It really is about the small things isn't it? These micro moments that when pieced together, paint the landscape of our lives.

And as for having the bowl all to myself ... well, that means my kidlets are all grown up and we've come full circle. But maybe - if I am really fortunate,  there will be a day when other little people march into my life who will claim the right to lick!  One can dream, can't she?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


It's surreal. The same day we were waving flags, mesmerized by the Olympics opening ceremonies and revelling in patriotism, on the other side of the world the casket of a young soldier was being draped in the flag for his long journey home.  He made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, his service embodying the Canadian spirit.

Faces to names of soldiers serving in far away places ... we see them in the paper and flashed up on the news as they announce their deaths, and if it weren't for that, I am not sure we would think of them at all.

Life goes on for us, undisturbed, barely a ripple as our troops peace keep, protect and rebuild in foreign, hostile lands. Canada has sacrificed 140 lives to Afghanistan,  so many of them young, their potential unfulfilled. And then there are the families and loved ones whose last thoughts at day's end are of their soldier or medic - silent pleading prayers for their safe return.

I've been applauding the valiant efforts of our athletes this past week. So in keeping with the Canadian fever sweeping our nation, I want to salute our valiant patriots -- those living the commitment, battling their fears and demons to fulfill a vision for a better future -- the men and women serving our country and our world of nations. We have not forgotten you. Peace be with you always.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Snowed Under

Kept my head down at work pretty much the whole day ... my cubemates and I are on the final countdown to a big event we have been planning for almost 2 years so the office was unusually devoid of idle chatter and laughter. Mostly the sounds of frantic tapping on keyboards, the occasional heavy sigh (I sigh the stress out of my body), a growl and snort or two and handsets returned to the cradle a little firmer than usual.

Lunch came and went and I heard comments about the weather but didn't take much notice. I didn't even raise my blinds today ... actually, I don't raise them anyday - the alley view is simply not inspiring nor aesthetically pleasing.

The sun was setting by the time I left the building with the few last employees, and I walked out into a winter wonderland. The trees were draped in the white stuff and the car was buried. My coworkers and I tossed a few snowballs in the parking lot as we scraped our cars clean. Snow has a way of bringing out the playfulness in us and since we really haven't had a substantial snowfall yet this winter ... it was a nice surprise.

Even though the weather made the drive home twice as long after a long day, it was somehow peaceful. I hummed to my favourite tunes as the wipers kept time, and reflected how it had been a day in which - in more than a few ways -  I was snowed under.

I better borrow hubby's shovel. And on a final note, I am off to bed after watching Canada's ice dancers Scott Moir and Tessa Virture stand on the podium to receive the Gold medal. A winning end to a full day. 'Nite.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Let the Sunshine In

The sun is shining high and brilliantly in the sky ... a sight that has escaped us for some time now. The muted hues of grey and blue have made way for glistening, brightening, sunshine and deep blue skies. A sunny Sunday! It's funny how this weather - even with the chill in the air - is a fast acting tonic for my spirit. Everyone seems to be happier -- the smiles at the market were a little wider; patrons a little kinder; and even Fritz seemed to prance a little higher when I took him for his walk. I confess I may have hummed a verse or two of Sunshine on My Shoulders ... but only in my head.

The sunshine has recharged my "optimism" and "cheerfullness" cells and I feel rejuvenated and ready to face my week. Once I make a Sunday dinner of comfort food and solve the missing socks mystery -- I'll be off to the races.

Wishing everyone a perfectly upbeat and happy week - make it happen!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Morning

Clunking, clanging, banging
of the washing machine
that seems eternally in motion.

Matching a mountain
of orphaned socks
and wondering to where it is they disappear.

Folding and piling high
the endless loads of laundry
inhaling the sweetness and freshness of clean.

Sipping a second cup
of steeping hot coffee
letting the morning leisurely unwind.

Yup! It's Saturday morning. Let the games begin ...

Hope yours is a good one!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

For the Record: We Are More

At the risk of totally alienating my blogger pals who are not Canadian, I am including the words to a  poem that was delivered by its author, Shane Koyczan at the Olympic Ceremonies. He blew me away. I think he pretty much nailed what it means to be Canadian. So - thank you for indulging me. If you prefer to listen rather than read, I have included the YouTube video of Shane performing the full version monlogue (audio only). I am clearly a proud Canadian ... and lucky for you all, the Olympics will be over soon and I will resume my Canadian restraint and tuck away my flaunting, in your face pride of nation. Thanks for understanding, eh?

We Are More
When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake

you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie

might even mention the fact that we've got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada

it seems the world's anthem has been
"been there done that"
and maybe that's where we used to be at
it's true

we've done and we've been
we've seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks

but when defining Canada
don't forget to mention that we have set sparks
we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away

we do more than sit around and say "eh?" and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we're more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you're welcome
well, we say that too

but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized

we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history

we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy

we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer

we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be

we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday"
someday we'll be great
someday we'll be this
or that someday we'll be at a point
when someday was yesterday

and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday
we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails

we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do

we live to get past what we go through
and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don't have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more

we don't all know what it is in life we're looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you've been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring

because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can't wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety

because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
"keep exploring... we are more"
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it's true

Canada is the "what" in "what's new?"
so don't say "been there done that"
unless you've sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don't say you've been there done that
unless you've been here doing it

let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you'll come back

next time pack for all the things
you didn't pack for the first time
but don't let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry

we are the true north
strong and free
and what's more
is that we didn't just say it
we made it be.

-Shane Koyczan

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I stand in the church, head bowed, gripping the pew in front of me. The congregation is praying as instructed by the priest, but my eyes are open, my stare alternating from the popping veins in my hands to the draped casket parked at the foot of the alter.

It is the funeral of my friend's father. It is the first loss they are experiencing as a family; a parade of bewildered eyes, profound, stoic sadness and blank faces as they follow the casket of their beloved. My heart aches for them, and then my heart aches for me. My mind takes a travel back to another time and space. Another loss of profound sadness. Another reluctant goodbye.

I retrace the final days leading up to the impromptu meeting with "the team". The moment when the medical wizards looked at me with collective sympathetic eyes and told me that there was nothing left to be done; that my family and me should start preparing ourselves. I remember smiling, nodding and politely thanking them for all they had done. I remember my body executing the proper social graces as my mind raced with my heart in close contention. I was weightless, unable to connect with my physical self as my thoughts operated erratically - independently.

I fast forward the memory to the final hours of her life. The phone call in the middle of the night ... "your mother is experiencing acute respiratory distress ..." . The panicked drive to the hospital with my family. The horrific sound of laboured breathing greeting us as the elevator doors opened. The look of hopelessness in my mother's eyes as they inserted chest tubes.

It was over. My optimism was brutally invaded by the realization that the end was waiting in the wings -- and the doctor's hand on my shoulder confirmed the worst.

And in the end -- the very end, we formed a ring of love around our angel. She opened her eyes one final time, and blinked when we asked her if she was going. And bathed in pink glowing light, she passed over. We felt it. As she departed, she gave us a final gift - a millisecond of utter bliss and peace - and we knew she was free.

It had been easy to finally let her go. It was like childbirth; pain greater than anything I had ever endured, followed by a flood of emotion, and finally - a lifechanging moment as special as one can be.

Since my mother's passing, at every funeral I attend, I retrace as others pray. But the important lesson I garnered from the experience of ushering my mom to her eternity, was that there are things worse than death; and that death can be the beautiful, bittersweet closure of the circle that is life.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heroes and Role Models

Heroes, superstars and role models. The Olympic opening ceremonies had them all. I sat glued to the TV as the evening unfolded, and Canada paraded its finest and most famous.

One of the most poignant moments for me was watching the Olympic flag being regally ushered across the stadium by 8 Canadian legends - among them, a noble humanitarian - Romeo Dallaire, one of my personal heroes. He took a moral stand in Rwanda when the world turned their back on the genocide in which  800,000 souls perished.

It got me thinking about heroes and who we value in our society. We pay professional athletes millions for their talents, yet our artistic community can barely earn a living wage, and if lucky, they are left to the mercy of meagre government funding. Our pop culture icons are easily recognized ... however when Romeo Dallaire carried the flag, he was an unknown entity to many  - a man who steadfastly refused to withdraw his miniscule UN contingent from Rwanda, choosing instead to stay and bear witness to the crimes against humanity.

Why are we so mesmerized by celebrity? Why do we value entertainers over those who protect, heal, teach,  explore and provide care?

Who are your heroes? Who inspires you? Questions I am going to answer for myself ... who do I look up to?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Caught Up

Can you tell I am totally caught up in the Olympic frenzy? When it comes to pride of country, we Canadians lean to the reserved side of things ... deep inner national pride that is a sparkle in our eyes - expressed in polite smiles and occasional measured bursts of applause and cheers. We are generally a hospitable bunch, and hosting the Olympics seems to have uncapped our passion. The Olympics has liberated us and unleashed a tidal wave of excitement and Canadian pride -- pride in our inspiring young athletes and pride in this grand country of ours. We are seeing our majestic land through the eyes of the world and we love what we see.

Tonight was a milestone for Canada with the very first Gold medal being earned by a Canadian  on home soil. It was monumental. It was moving. And when Alex Bilodeau was being interviewed after his achievement, he couldn't talk about his teammates, family and supporters enough. He gently contained his tears as he expressed his gratitude and acknowledged his older brother stricken with CP as his inspiration. He was humble in his greatness.

And I am thoroughly enjoying this wave of national unity we are riding. Dare I say it ... Go Canada Go!

Just Say It Outloud

 I love you. Those are the sweetest words to hear, and even better, so special to feel. Love is a verb -- an action word if there ever was one. Love is something we do. But I never tire of hearing those words delivered to me ... no wrapping and fancy bow required.

The words, spoken sincerely, are powerful. They can heal a bruised soul, uplift a sagging spirit, and send a surge of warmth to every extremity. They can endear, comfort and illicit reciprocation, I love you too.

So today on Valentine's Day, I say I love you -- to my sweetheart, and also my friends and family far and near. Because it's something we all love to hear. 

I love you -
say it now, say it often,
today and every day.

Muah! XXOO

Friday, February 12, 2010

Got the Fever

I've got the fever ... Olympic Fever. My Canadian Spirit is bursting out of my skin. I love it!  I just watched the final leg of the Olympic torch make its way to its resting place in Vancouver until the opening ceremonies that will be starting in a few hours. My modest, restrained  Canadian sensibility is totally in check and I am embracing the Olympic cyclone with wild abandon.

For the next few weeks it will be all things Olympic. For the next few weeks we can resurrect our national pride, put on our FAN faces and watch the world compete. For the next few weeks we will witness the pinnacle of achievement and the agony of defeat. We will watch as one world - and  immerse ourselves in a few weeks of positive.

It couldn't have come at a better time -- we are souls battered by the fatigues of a long winter, and the barrage of tragedies that have befallen our brothers and sisters around the planet. And that doesn't mean we'll forget our friends in Haiti ... we'll keep them close in our heart and keep a watchful eye.
We won't forget you, I promise.

So on the night of the opening of this 2010 Olympics, I wish you all a wonderful weekend -- and all of the national spirit you can muster. And if aren't interested, don't get too close. Olympic Spirit is contagious ... and I got the fever!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tribal Love

She is a tiny thing, my daughter Harmony. Petite in frame and delicate in appearance. But her appearance belies her inner strength and fierceness of spirit. She fulfills her desire to live an artful life by working for a theatre company.

Last night Harmony's tribe showed up in droves to support her company's anniversary gala. We make references to our tribe all the time but last night it was on full display. I had my two gal pals with me and we were some of the first in the Harmony contingent to arrive to the reception. Gradually the others trickled in and soon it was like old home week. The parents of my first husband mingled with my second ex-husband. My first ex-husband happily greeted my second ex. (Losing count yet?) Harmony wove in and amongst her loving cocoon of family, posing for pictures, stopping for hugs and collecting good wishes.

I know it looks odd from the outside looking in .... one big, expanding circle of family that we call our tribe. But it works for us. The love that we share for the children is greater than any differences or residual feelings we may have. It unites us. It provides a solid foundation of family, no matter how differently or oddly pieced together it is. The kids know they are loved and enjoy the security that it brings.

So last night I was one of many who watched our little Harmony, in all her delicateness, put her Doc Martins to good use and kick some serious butt. It was one of those cherished occasions that presses the pride button in us. It was a moment and feeling shared collectively ... by the tribe.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You've Grown Up on Me

Kidlet broke her promise. When she was at the height of cuteness and cuddliness laying in my lap, I made her promise to not grow up. She promised - but it was one she couldn’t keep. She grew higher than any woman in our family; grew through the eye infections and braces; sung, skated and competed through her girlhood, developing her physical strength and uncovering her strength within.

She embraced opportunities to travel and learn what the world had to teach. She had her mind and heart opened to new possibilities. She experienced outrage at injustice. When she was a child, I had a hard time trying to explain to her what an Indian Reservation was. She immediately wanted to write to the Prime Minister to let him know what was going on. I had to look into those chocolate pudding eyes and explain that the poor treatment of our First Nations peoples had been going on for a very long time and that assuredly, the Prime Minister was well aware of the situation.

Kidlet has never been “easy”. She was the kid at Moms and Tots swimming class squirming to get out of my arms to go it alone. I let her once and she sunk like a stone. She hung on a little longer after that. When we went to Parent and Kid skating, the minute she hit the ice she took off in search of a friend leaving me to skate laps on my own. I got to be a very good skater. She was not the child who came running with open arms when I went to pick her up after work. She would want to finish what she was involved in … secretly I used to wish that just once she would hesitate before letting go of my hand … cling for just a second.

But that is not Kidlet. She is a force unto herself; a whirling dervish of emotion, opinions and passion, boldly tromping wherever she pleases, blissfully unaware of barriers - with the expanse of her life in front of her.

And today, on her eighteen birthday I can see the little girl who still loves a hug and snuggle, who still needs an encouraging word from her parents. I see a young woman navigating the tricky path between childhood and adulthood, facing grown up choices, striving so hard to make her family proud. I see a young woman who is self reliant, capable and discovering her own power – the power to be just about anything and anybody she wants to.

Happy birthday Kidlet. You’ve grown up on me …

Monday, February 8, 2010

Living the Life

I am hooked on a television show ... The Buried Life. It documents four strapping young fellas as they travel around in their big blue bus and pursue their collective bucket list ... 100  things they want to do before they die. The neat twist is that for every for every item they cross off their list, they help someone else achieve one of their dreams.

What a concept - living like we don't  have time to waste, pursuing our dreams. Tonight's episode had them helping deliver a baby (from their list) and then helping a young woman visit her mother's grave for the first time (a plane ride away). The boys worked in a restaurant to earn the money to pay for her flight and then went with her to the military cemetary to actually locate the grave. It makes for great television and gives you lots to ponder.

My list would be long for sure ... and would include:
  • see an elephant in its natural habitat
  • watch the sun rise in the Yukon territories (only Canadian province/territory I haven't been to)
  • witness a birth of a baby who is related to me
  • hold the hand of a mother from a distant land
  • experience the dazzle of the Northern Lights with someone I love
  • learn to sail
  • write a love song
  • have a photo I have taken - published
  • build a school in Africa
I could go on and on ...

What would be on your list? What do you want to do before you die?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Girls Having Fun

It was overdue ... a rare space of time that my sisters and I stole for ourselves. That is what this weekend was all about.  Put us in the same room together and it didn't take but a few moments for us to fall into our old dynamic. We were school girls again swapping stories, sharing secrets and gossip - debating the particulars and accuracy of events - voices escalating as we competed for air time to make our oh-so-very-important point! This is a predominant family trait - bypassing only my much quieter brother.

It never ceases to amaze me how the perspectives differ from the different vantage points in a family. My two younger sisters are close in age and shared classmates and the same social circle so they share many of the same memories as well. There are three years between me and my middle sister and she and I have recollections that our youngest sister does not. But besides the matching pixie cuts we had as kids, we three  have common ground in the love for our parents and family and the adventurous life we shared together.

My mother used to say the best present she ever gave us was one another -- built in, lifelong friends. She was right.  You too little brother. And this is something I have tried to teach my own three daughters. No matter how lonely life can be; no matter how rough the terrain; no matter what differences we may have - we have one another. [Cue music: You are not alone, I am here with you ....]

As we packed the homemade beans and cookies (thanks Sis) into the car and hugged far away sister goodbye, we shared a collective breath of sadness.  I t ' s  h a r d   t o   b e   
a p a r t.  Then just as quickly we laughingly bid our farewells and drove off happily with my sister waving from her front porch.

We're getting older --- there was lots of proof this weekend (lol) - the stories I could tell  -- which makes our time together that much more sweeter. And the good news is that we are all still here to usher in each birthday - sisters - we're girls just having fun.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sister, Sister, Sister

Sisters, sisters, there were never more devoted sisters ...
(If you recognize the words to that song you are dating yourself -- and you like musicals!)

Sisters ... I have two of them and this weekend is going to be all about sisters. Youngest sister and I are heading out of town to see our far-away sister to celebrate her birthday. February 9th is a big birthday date in our family. I had Kidlet, youngest sister had a son, and my mom had far away sister - all on February 9. So because youngest sister and I are usually preoccupied with our children's birthdays, we don't often get an opportunity to celebrate far away sister's birthday with her. This year will be different.

Youngest sister and I will  have some good talk time in the four hour car ride over to our nation's capital. And if I am really lucky, I'll get a dose of the white stuff -- we haven't had much to speak of.

So - far away sister, here we come! You can look at youngest sister and bemoan the loss of your youth and then you can look at me and be comforted that you still have a ways to go . ; )

You'll always be younger ... and older. But that is the blessing and curse of being the middle sister.

Sisters ... there's nothing quite as special as the relationship I have with my sisters -- and for that, I am so very grateful.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Winter Whimsy

Tonight is  my Friday night  ... I'm off tomorrow so why not end my week with whimsy?

Cold weather and snow usually means we are wearing boots to work. Shoes are carted in plastic bags, stuffed in book bags or ... the easy alternative .... left at work. A quick look around my cubehood was telling. My gal pals love their footwear. Me? I am lazy so I just wear boots that I don't have to change. Enjoy!

Lovely selection!

Comfort is the name of the game here ,,,

Rollerblades for quick trips.

These boots are made for  ... just about anything.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Writing Our Truth

Kidlet entered  a selection of poems and song lyrics in some contests and to her credit several were published. Kidlet is a good writer .. her words and ideals are passionate and she has a unique style. She was reluctant to let me read one of the posts ... it dealt with a fight that we had. She was afraid it would hurt me. And it did ... just a little, and only for a moment.

When I was in high school my dad read a poem I wrote for my writing class entitled "Grandfather". It had some stanzas that  expressed frustration with cranky old people. My dad thought I wrote it about his father and it upset him. In reality the poem was partiall inspired by feelings I was having about my grandmother who was living with us. I entitled the poem as I did so she wouldn't think it was about her. The poem was based on partly truth... and mostly fiction.  Hey -- I was an arteest!

Those of us who write carry a burden -- the potential that what we express may hurt or invade the  privacy of someone we care about. Our truths may not be shared by others ...

When I was a girl keeping a diary my mom advised me that words could hurt so I may not want to write down everything I think and feel ... especially if it involved others. She felt that no one should be offended if they should happen to read what was written.

I spent years heeding that advice. But the result are three year gaps in my journals -- when things were tough and when my words would have been hurtful. My mom was a really nice person and her advice came from a place of thoughtfulness and kindness. But she wasn't a writer. And I have learned to express my authentic self without being destructive I hope. But it is always in the back of mind ...

My dad struggled with this too. When he started writing his personal reflections and memoirs, he was guarded. His writing was factual - arms length - devoid of heart. We spent alot of time talking about the dilemma of how much to reveal ... We decided to focus on our own personal experiences ... afterall, we own them and have a right to share them. In the past two years I have watched his writing become so much more textured, honest and personal. He is liberated and it shows in his words.

So the words I didn't say to Kidlet were, "I understand. I know this is how it looked through your eyes, and how you felt at that exact moment in time. You are entitled."

We have a need to express and just have to do our darnest not to trample any hearts in the process. But there are no guarantees ...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Free to Be ... in the Military

Don't ask don't tell.

I find it unconscionable that in this day in age of transparency and instant, open communication - people serving in the American military are not granted the same human rights as civilians. They serve their country, knowing that they may be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice. Yet they are not free to be - exactly who they are - not if they happen to be gay.

I am proud that as a nation, Canada has shed this archaic discrimination in 1992. Not only can people who are gay serve openly in the military, Canada legalized gay marriage in 2005 - becoming one of a handful of countries granting gay marriage the same and full rights as heterosexual marriage. Equality. What a concept.

Aren't we helping to secure equality for women in Afghanistan? Ironic.

America is considered to be a young progressive country ... it's time. There will always be individuals (in the military and otherwise) with opposing views and personal prejudices, however a nation's policies must reflect the greater good -- the aspiration of equality for all.

Don't ask ... it doesn't matter.

As images of fresh faced men and women, outfitted in desert fatigues, serving in the treacherous desolates of Afghanistan and Iraq run across my television screen, my heart swells with concern for their well being. I wonder how they cope with the stress of impending danger - and homesickness. Does it make any sense that any of these dedicated soldiers should have the added burden of concealing their authentic self? It is mandated dishonesty at the most basic level.

I dream of a day when tolerance gives way to acceptance; when love is bigger than fear; when people are not diminished because of who they love.

It's time to let go of fear and free the soldiers, so they are free to be themselves - like you and me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fresh Start

Today is the first day of a brand new month, and a brand new week. I love when things align to give us a fresh start. Looking back on January, it was a month of contrasts for me. Emotions ran the gammit. I had my heart lifted and horizons expanded by the books I read and by hearing Greg Mortenson deliver just the inspirational dialogue that I needed at that exact time. Personally I had moments of transformation and self actualization.

Then Haiti happened - a disaster of monumental proportion - and I joined the world in collective horror as we witnessed the horrific images on the news and blogs.

Hopeless soon turned hopeful as the crisis brought out the best in humankind. Finally it looks as though the efforts of volunteers, workers and organizations are making an impact. With optimism restored I renewed my personal commitment to play my part - contribute more - heart, mind, body and money - to creating the world we want to thrive in.

So ... January was an emotional blockbuster. Looking ahead to February, it looks like it may have its share of surprises and "moments". Family will take centre stage with the plethora of birthdays and famjams planned, and Africa will draw that much closer.

[Side note: I watched "I Dreamed of Africa" (again) on the weekend and I was sure it was run just for me ... it pressed my excitement cycle and I was beside myself with anticipation. I lost myself in the breathtaking beauty of Kenya - so thrilled knowing I would soon see it for myself.]

I guess every day is a fresh start ... and that my friends is the gift in today. And for that I am so very grateful.