Friday, April 30, 2010

They Hear

We watch with keen but with seemingly casual eyes. We watch for shifts in normal - signs of stress, sadness, fear or any hint of darkness. We are their protectors.

We witness the struggles and emotional moguls as they navigate the tumultuous years of teenage hood. And when we can't be a party to certain collision or implosion, we advise -- ever so gently. Its risky business, this advising thing ... for at best you can hope for responses that range from rolling of the eyes, looks that scream "you're an idiot", two syllable versions of three syllable words (what-ev), shrugging of shoulders as the fingers fly across the minuscule keyboard, to stomping off to the anti-parent chamber - AKA their room. Total disengagement. Not to fret - it's really not personal.

We have lived and already traversed the rocky terrain that they must travel. We have much to offer - but our well intended wisps of wisdom seem to dissipate the moment they are spoken ...never quite making it to the ears of our beloved teen. But we don't give up when maybe we should at least ease up. We carry on one-way conversation ad nauseam hoping that despite the absence of any form of comprehension  or acknowledgement, our words can offer guidance and perspective that could prevent, comfort or save them. And we have to ask . ..are we trying to save them or us from pain? We are their nurturers. But maybe we talk too much.

And then the day comes, if you are really lucky,  where you overhear them with a friend, chatting, exchanging rants, and  you hear your words (albeit cloaked in teenspeak) offered up as advice or as options. Or you see snippets jotted in birthday cards. Fragments of thought and conversations that have somehow magically penetrated the anti-parent shield like a SCUD missile.

I have learned that despite the lack of confirmation of receipt or seeing any obvious signs of active listening, they do hear. And I suppose as parents we have to choose wisely when to launch those advice/opinion packed war heads. Because in all likelihood most will be intercepted and discarded; but those that do hit their mark better carry important intelligence.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Know I Can - During the Commercials

My guilty pleasure is Dancing With the Stars ... there is an addictive quality to it. Like a cheap street drug it sucks you into its "I  think I can dance too" vortex leaving you with a false sense of flexibility and grace. And it holds you in its gnarly grip so that by the second show you graduate from the admiration and spectator stage to the invincible "how hard can it be?".

Kidlet and I watch it together most times and we laughed when we caught ourselves critiquing the performances -- "the lines were off; the footwork was a mess; the choreography didn't showcase the star enough; her head should be tilted more to the right". Incredible how the mere act of watching can instill such confidence and expertise in one who lacks even the most basic sense of rhythm. I confess to trying some of those latin moves in the privacy of my own family room, but the dog and Kidlet protesteth too much!

But all is not lost. I have a new strategy to minimize the couch time that I log when I am watching the tube .... I pulled out my stretch bands and resistance bar and during the commercials I logged some resistance training. If the sight of those half naked dancers doesn't inspire, I'm not sure what can.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Homeward Bound

Just out of the shower, rolling my hair into a towel when I thought I heard quacking. Fritz is a wonder dog but he doesn't quack. I peered out the window ... and down below were a pair of mallard ducks holding court on the makeshift pond that had accumulated on the top of our pool cover.

They made a handsome couple as they glided across the surface without a care in the world. In fact they looked right at home.

It got me thinking about another pair (make that a trio) of snowbirds that will be home in a week or so. Yup - the Polar Bear and clan are closing up shop and leaving the sun and fun of Florida for the call of their home and native land ... Canada.

I look forward to their return ... the breath of life to transform the empty, darkened house into a home. I drive by there everyday and have to catch myself from honking my horn as I pass. Today I noticed a chorus of tulips and fruit blossoms on the front walkway that will be a splendid welcoming party.

Ducks, snowbirds, polar bears and parents ... so happy you are homeward bound.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Joy of Socks

Hark yonder socks! Where doest art thou goest whilst thou art cleansed and dryethd?

It's Sunday laundry day and I've just folded the last of the five loads.  Alas! to no surprise -- there remain three lone socks -- no mates in sight. I retrace my steps, tear the cushions off the sofa and dive in for a recon mission. I came up empty handed.

*Lightbulb moment*  I crawl leap up the stairs on all fours, struggling to keep all panting to a minimum, scour every closet, search every cabinet  and dive under the beds. Where the heck did all this crap come from? I found things that have been MIA for ages, but only one bachelorette sock. And this minor victory brought me way too much excitement. I return to the random sock bag, smug with anticipation of a match. It was premature. No such luck. Instead, I had yet another addition to the collection.

The random sock collection is growing at an alarming rate. Where do socks go when you put them in the dryer -- sock heaven? What to do with this plastic bag of colours, textures, fabrics, and sizes?? How many sock puppets does one need? I am reluctant to toss them, fearful that the moment I do, the mate will surface. But it's been years now, and it's time to move on and part ways with my random sock bag. It won't be easy ... cause breaking up is hard to do.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Africa Calling ... Sharing the Journey

Kidlet and I are teaming up to document our upcoming trip to Kenya with Free the Children. We started a  (yet another) new blog entitled Africa Calling. This blog is for totally selfish reasons; our mother-daughter adventure (before Kidlet flies the coup) is worthy of proper documentation and memory preservation.

Africa aside, I wonder how well we will get along with more togetherness than we've had in years.  Kidlet says she thinks we'll manage just fine, "we'll just need each other too much!". I hope she is right!

For anyone else interested in a volunteer vacation, I hope this can provide some valuable insights and information. We're sharing all legs of the journey - from the preparation, paperwork, packing list, itinerary and finally, our posts as we travel and volunteer with Free the Children.

Africa Calling ...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love Again

Yesterday my dad and step-mom celebrated their tenth anniversary. A decade of togetherness and marital bliss. And no, I am not being sarcastic. When you happen to find that person who fits, who complements you and with whom you are better together than alone - it is bliss.

My dad was married to my mother for 38 years and she often commented that he was someone who needed a partner with whom he could share his life with. Experiencing life alone has never been enough for him -- it was the sharing of his adventures that has always been paramount. My parents had a passionate relationship; they were fearless in their pursuit of their dreams; they fought hard and they loved harder. When my mother passed my sibs and I worried that my father would be aimless without a partner. We thought he would return to the far North and immerse himself in his work and we'd never see him again.

But that didn't happen. Serendipity intervened and through people dad knew in the North, he reconnected with a lady he had know decades earlier in university. They bonded over shared memories and over the course of many long distance phone calls, they developed a relationship worthy of pursuit.

It was a life affirming tonic. The light returned to my father's eyes; his interest in everything returned with a zeal and he was goofy in love. It was a riot to watch my grown father so smitten and fretting over the perfect Valentine's Day gift. This happened fairly soon after my mother's passing and the usual questions edged in ... was it  too soon? What would he be waiting for?  Is he still grieving? No telling how long that could take ... and who says you can't be moving forward while grieving?

I read somewhere that if people who have had a positive marital experience are happy to repeat it, and remarry. Those who haven't - don't. So ready or not, we welcomed another addition to our clan. Mama T - and it has been heartwarming to witness the bond they have formed. She gets him. And I really wasn't sure he would find someone at that point in his life who would.

And ten years later, I can see that she still puts a twinkle in his eye and his love for her is written all over his face. They love one another and they live their lives to the fullest. And isn't it comforting to know that we can love again - and that there isn't necessarily just one love out there for us? Each love is it own independent, special package of oneness, all unto itself. In this case it was a love for a season -- a season of renewal.

Thank you for showing us that life can be better as a pair - and that love can happen, at any age.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Be Kind to Our Mother

Today is Earth Day - a day designed to remind us that which is our home, our sustanance, our environment, and our source of nourishment is in peril.

I think we are going to have to expand our thinking a little and consider every day Earth Day. We have disrespected our Mother - abused her - and she is quickly becoming depleted. She needs attention and tender loving care. Hubby and I are working hard to make changes that will reduce our carbon footprint by reducing the amount of energy we consume, the volume of garbage we send to the landfill, and increasing our recycling efforts.  We know we have to do more. I have listed what efforts we currently make and also what we have to do better.

What we do to minimize our negative impact on our environment:
  • compost all fruit, vegetable and garden waste
  • collect all organic material in our green waste bins
  • recycle all eligible glass, paper, metal, and plastic
  • reduce waste to one garbage bad every two weeks waste
  • buy products in minimal/recyclable friendly packaging
  • leave grass cuttings on the lawn as nourishment
  • drink tap water - not bottled water
  • collect unused water for the plants
  • use organic, non toxic cleaning products and laundry detergents
  • turn off lights in empty rooms
  • use programmable thermostat to reduce energy used
  • donate all unused clothing
  • repurpose items instead of buying new
  • use only  energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • buy less packaged food and more fruits, dairy, vegetables, meat and fish
  • cooking fresh, from scratch
  • reduce the use of plastic - replace with glass
  • strive to eliminate chemicals from my personal products entirely
  • use cloth bags when shopping and eliminate the use of plastic bags
What we are going to do to minimize our negative impact on our environment:
  • collect our rain water for garden use
  • change out our 6 cyclinder car for the 4 cyclinder, clean diesel green car of the year
  • buy more organic products made from natural, non toxic materials (rugs, bedding, clothing)
Hubby and I have "miles to go before we sleep"  but we are committed to learning more to do our part to respect and care for our Mother Earth.

In honour of Earth Day I am sharing two of my favourite photos taken several years ago on a trip to the Grand Canyon. If you have ever doubted the existence of a higher power, God or life force -- just stand on the edge of the Canyon. The power surges through you and you become instantly aware of being connected to all things living; an intelligence greater than ourselves.  Maybe it is an epiphany that is necessary for humankind; to be awed into being gentle and kind to our Mother.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring in my Walk

Spring is an early arrival -- about two weeks early I'd say. I walked slowly, strolled really, breathing deeply and enjoying the heat and sunshine on my face. And I wondered as I walked. Wondered and marvelled at everything around me. Deep breath. The air was heavy and sweet - and the trees in full blossom. A perfect day. A gift. I sung the soundtrack silently (thankfully for others) as I walked. You know what it was ... Sunshine on my shoulders (c'mon - sing along with me - you know you want to).

The lightness from my walk continued for the rest of the afternoon. I found reason after reason to burst into song - and my cubemate Susie was patient a saint. It was joy to overflowing bursting out. And it didn't stop ... not even when I got in my car to drive home at the end of the day. I started the car, opened the sun roof and flicked on the radio. And no lie -
You are the sunshine of my life
That's why I'll always be around,
You are the apple of my eye,
Forever you'll stay in my heart...
I sang happily as I drove along and suddenly  the words "forever you'll stay in my heart" choked in my throat - an emotional ambush! A surge of so many feellings at once ... happiness, bliss, sadness that she isn't here to share this. These uncontrolled emotional blips are like flash fires ... fast and furious, and often at the pinnacle of happy. Some minor leakage, a silent acknowledgement of I miss you Mom and then a big smile.

It's true what they say ... love never dies. And a day like today, rich in every way possible leaves my heart full of gratitude, for all that I have, and all that I have had. 

Happy springtime everyone.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mother Nature - Busy Body

In January Machu Picchu in Peru was flooded by torrential rains and Haiti was rocked by a catastrophic earthquake.

In February an 8.8 quake hit Chile.

In March damaging sand storms swept across China burying everything in sand and rendering the air quality dangerous.

In April the Baja California, Mexico rumbled under the 7.2 quake and two days later Indonesia was hit by a 7.7 magnitude quake and a few minor tsunamis.

And if you haven't heard, a few volcanoes in Iceland have erupted creating massive ash plumes that are choking all air travel - and the people on the ground.

Mother Nature has been a real busy body these days. I wonder if she is trying to tell us something ....

And if she is, will we listen?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Bag of Wishes

For my birthday, MIH gave me a bag of 50 wishes stored in fortune cookies. I am a sucker for sweet packaging so the bag sat prominently displayed, cutely wrapped in colourful ribbon. But I am trying to break my reflex of  "saving" things for later, or for better occasions. I decided to use the gift in the spirit in which it was given ... untied the ribbon, reached in the bag and cracked open a random cookie.

Here is it what it said:
How much fun is that! I saved the "wish" in a glass and I have decided to open one every day until they are all used up. Thanks MIH! Now I am off  to wind myself up ...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Be Real

I just saw a commercial for running shoes that claimed to tone your butt and ham strings simply by wearing them. I assume they work best if you are moving around. And apparently you can lose double digits inches off your belly, back, butt and thighs by wearning magical underwear -- Spanx? My grandmother called them girdles. I call it bondage.

The barrage of advertising aimed at perfecting our imperfections is staggering and it's aimed squarely (disproportionately) at women. Judging by the ads women have alot of things to repair, upgrade, conceal, replace and maintain. I don't see too many ads suggesting how men can lose their belly fat or that unwanted hair in their noses, ears, or on their backs. Not many ads for products that can make every male body part smell like a box of chocolates!

A few things come to mind:

One - some clever sleazeballs are making scads of money from  women's insecurities; and
Two - we really need to reconcile - make peace with our image - and be content with ourselves, just the way we are. We need to get real.

Remember my posts on the booty pop and bump it?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Something to Sip About

What is it about the perfect cup of steaming tea that calms a ruffled soul or puts the finishing touch on a good meal? After I get home from work and swap my work duds for something loose and flannel, the first thing I do is put the kettle on. It's a reflex. It's required. It's both a want and a need.

When I was in college, the ceramic teapot warming on the back burner was a constant and a comfort and  cheap. I have since then stopped heating my tea once it's steeped - I don't like the taste of smell of the tannins. Instead the water is boiled, the pot warmed and the tea steeped for three minutes. And then I have to drink it while it is steaming hot. Warm tea is not an option and is used to water the plants.

Maybe it's the taste, or maybe it's the soothing heat that radiates from wrapping my hands around my oversized mug - whatever the draw, a cup of tea is an essential part of my relaxation ritual.

So on this Friday night, after a busy week and ditching a cold, I am getting acquainted with my newest cup of tea. Me and my tea. The perfect end to a long week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Simple Time

Photo credit:

For my birthday Hubby gave me tickets to the James Taylor/Carole King Troubadour tour. *sweet*   It's no secret how much I LOVE acoustic, singer/songwriters and these are two of my favourite. Okay, maybe I'm stuck in a bit of  time warp. Do you think??

Carole King is from the decade before I was a teen but then again I've always felt I was born ten years too late. I related to the laid back, folksy vibe of the late sixties and early seventies and loathed the overproduced sounds of disco and the eighties' music. boo to that!  Give me an artist who can sit at a piano or with their guitar and sing their own material - and sound like their recordings. Enter John Denver. It was not cool to like John Denver ... in fact I don't remember any of my friends liking JD. I was pretty much the lone folk freak in my crowd. But his soaring vocals singing the virtues of nature and freedom and of course, love and peace were the anthems of my teenage-hood.

But with that folksy vibe, came a relaxed way of life. Dressing was easy ... what shirt to wear with your jeans. You washed your hair with baby shampoo - no products required, and sexy hair was shiny and soft to the touch.  I don't remember alot of conversation and fretting about weight - maybe that's because there wasn't alot of show and tell in the body parts department. The thong hadn't been invented (so there was something between me and my Calvins) and neither had lingerie for teenagers.

Life was simple and natural was in. My friend Jill once cracked that my "style" hadn't changed since the seventies ... and it occurred to me today as I hung up my favourite LL Bean flannel shirt that she may be right. So cultural rut or not - I am going to be in acoustic heaven when I go to the concert next month -- and something tells me there are going to be alot of long gray ponytails in the audience - and I'm not talking about the girls!

Now what shirt should I wear with my jeans?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blessed and Blowing

Misery is mine ... a nose that is running like a tap; eyes that are so red and runny it looks like I have been crying for days and a very sore throat. Seems like I picked up a cold along the way. *thanks Hubby*

And even though my body is drained, my heart is full. Tonight, I am humbled by the kindness and generosity of people. My coworkers came through, making contributions to the Africa school fundraiser. We are 42% of the way there ... My friends, family and colleagues have dug deep and given much. In between sneezes, wheezes and nose blows I feel so very grateful ... and happy ... and blessed.

Thank you.

Can you pass the Kleenex please?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Breathing Break

I went for a walk at lunch today. I left the office, car keys in hand, fully intending to hit the gym. That is until the sunshine hit my face. Game over. Cancel indoor running on a treadmill. I decided to get off the treadmill, pack in my keys and head out anywhere my heart would take me.

My sunglasses in place,  a few deep breaths and I was off to the races. My stride was long and brisk and every step burned off a little more office stuffiness and stress. I walked mindfully, fully present. I didn't want to miss a thing: the tiny front yard with the carpet of ground cover; the purple hyacinthes clustered against a fence; the cardinal perched on a naked branch; the abandoned (or not) shopping cart stuffed with well worn green garbage bags. Who did it belong to?

I meandered along, happy in my head. Thinking time. Humming time. Singing in my head time. Time that lead me to the German deli. Oops! No need to buy lunch ... a five minute walk-around to the sampling stations and all the food groups were covered - cheese, perogies, breads, strudel, ham, and veggies and dip. Sufficiently sufficed - I bought a few loaves of rye bread and a bottle of beets and headed back out into the afternoon.

I have a bad habit of losing track of time, and breaking my own rules for sitting too long. Today was a much needed reminder that a mid day stroll in the sunshine is a calming tonic that can make the second half of the day -  the best half.

And I'll sing in the sunshine ... and I'll laugh every day ...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Past Prime

The tulips that once filled my house with springtime are looking a little tired right now ... a little past their prime. With the sunlight backlighting the thinning petals, they seemed to take on an ethereal quality ... a different shade of beautiful.

Past prime is an ongoing theme in my life. I am that person who keeps and eats the yoghurt a few weeks past the "best before" date. My taste buds and nose tell mr if it is edible or not. I peel off the outer layers of the drooping lettuce to get to the surviving leaves inside. I peel off the little bits of mould on the cheese and slice off the rotting end of a potato to spare the good bits. Call me crazy but I just can't bring myself to waste what appears to be good food. I can't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I just don't pay too much attention to those important expiry dates. After one of our famous famjams at which my sister had been helping with the clean up, I opened the fridge to find the entire two shelves on the door empty - devoid of all salad dressings. I stood there puzzled and then checked the garbage bin. BINGO! There was my entire collection of salad dressings. Efficient sister was quick to inform me that she had to throw them all out because they were well past due. I frantically started rummaging, examining each bottle, "This is mainly oil and vinegar. Oil and vinegar don't go bad." I was clearly in denial.

And my laissez faire attitude once burned my family ... after we inadvertently used outdated sunscreen on vacation in the Dominican Republic. We burned to a crisp on our first day in the sun.

After dispensing some outdated Tylenol (the five year rule) to Kidlet, I am almost reformed. I pay closer attention to expiry dates and don't impose my relaxed attitude towards freshness on others.

But I still look to salvage the best, and leave the rest.

From the vase to the compost pail, the petals still retain an element of beauty.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Good Read

Kidlet is playing her final provincial championship hockey games this weekend. The weather chimed in to create an appropriate environment by dropping the temp to just 2 degrees Celsius and throwing in some blustery winds for good measure.

Arena time involves lots of pre-game waiting - sitting - drinking hot drinks. I grabbed a book from my "must read" pile as I headed out this morning to help fill the down time. My random reading pick ended up being Give a Little, How our small donations can transform our world, by Wendy Smith - and I can't put it down! It describes the cumulative power of the affordable donations made by everyday citizens and how they can change the world. The author suggests ways to choose charities and non profits that will help your donation dollar have the greatest impact possible. I was happy to see some of my favourite causes and agencies listed.

The book reads somewhat like a textbook with its source citations and charts but I found myself hungrily devouring every page and factoid. I feel as though  I am getting clarity around purpose and giving back. Most of all, I found inspiration between the pages - inspiration to dig deeper; give more consicously. I can feel the winds of growth blowing gently on my neck and my heart quickens at the excitement of it all. Life is good - and if you allow it to be - an incredible journey of self actualization.
Life is not in having and getting,
but in being and becoming.
- Matthew Arnold

Note: Off to bed. We are due at the arena by 6:30 tomorrow morning. Good thing I am a morning person. Now only if Kidlet was ...

Thursday, April 8, 2010


"SIT." Fritz the surly Schnauzer turns head calmly away, clearly unfazed.

"Stay. SIT." Kidlet commands  urges -  almost as loudly as the furball's barks - in her mock authoratative voice. Fritz bolts back to the door to resume barking at the imaginary intruder. The sound is shrill and deafening. That dog occupies an octave all his own. Kidlet and I protest in chorus - two part harmony, and Kidlet stomps to the front door, growling under her breath.

She confronts the little furball head on, finger wagging. "NO Fritz. STOP you little $^$#. Mommy, stop laughing." Mommy (me) tries to suppress smile. Kidlet drags our little furball back into the family room and props him up onto the  couch to meet the little beast eye to eye.

"Don't laugh Mommy. This is serious." She resumes her impassioned lecture to the disrespectful furry subject. Fritz looks off givng Kidlet the invisible treatment. Where is the Dog Whisperer when you need him most? Kidlet clearly thinks she is making headway. Fritz sits up in perfect posture as he waits patiently for her to finish her lecture on the subsequent consequences of his continued barking. Before she finished with a commanding, "OK - go now" he was already bolting back to the door.

"He is the most defiant dog I have ever seen!" she utters in disgust.

I smile to myself ... remembering a day many years ago, when that script played out pretty much word for word ... when Kidlet was about two, and we didn't have a dog.

Headstrong and defiant. Kids and dogs.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Date Night

It's Wednesday ... Hump Day ... and that means it is date night. And that means Indian dinner with my sweetheart. YUM.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What to Do With Unused Shoes

I am always on the lookout for the creative inititatives people develop to help make our world better. I read about one such project, Shoes for Samantha over at Carrie's blog.
Shoes for Samantha was started by a few friends trying to collect used athletic shoes to send to their friend Samantha, a Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Lesotho, a small kingdom surrounded by South Africa. Here is how Rachel Sparks describes their project on their blog:
My dear friend Samantha is stationed in Lesotho (Southern Africa) for a 2.5 year stint with the Peace Corps. Recently in her blog she wrote about a track team at her school. Sam was a HUGE runner in high school and at Clemson ... Track season in Lesotho is almost over but she's talking of coaching next year. The problem? Her students desperately need shoes. Sam writes, "The debatably 400 meter track had two mild inclines and was dirt smeared with shards of glass. My students ran barefoot!". After reading this, I knew I wanted to help.

After a little research we found out that, "not only will shoes protect our avid runners' feet, they protect the students' health as well!! A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause. Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected."
Shoes for Samantha is asking you to donate any old running shoes - it doesn't matter what size - so they can be shipped to the students in Lesotho.

There are five "collectors" in the US that you can contact to arrange drop off - go to Shoes for Samantha for details. The projected ship date will be May 1.  If you want to help but don't have any old shoes, you can do what I did and make a small donation to help them cover shipping costs.

One of my favourite movements, Free the Children, uses the mantra Me to We. I love when I witness individuals being the change they want to see (how Gandhi!), and shifting the focus to WE - humankind. Let's applaud these young ladies and help out if we can!

Sam's Class

Monday, April 5, 2010


Okay, it's time for me to get back to work, while I can still fit into my clothes. I have become a human vacuum, sucking up the odds and sods of leftovers that are stowed in our fridge. A hodgepodge of turnip mixed with potato, strands of turkey laced with a few hunks of ham all topped off with a few mouthfuls of stuffing and cranberry sauce - take this and multiply by a dozen times or so and you have my diet since Friday. I swear I am growing feathers and developing a distinctive snort.

But what also is leftover is the euphoria and joy I experienced on Friday baking memories with my friends and fam. Throw in the incredibly early arrival of springtime, complete with sunshine and heat - and the weekend was perfection. If I could I would frame it and hang it right above my desk to remember it over and over again. But then again, I guess I did just that with my blog posts. Ahh ... the beauty of blogging. 

Enjoy your leftovers!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Times Are A' Changing

Well Easter is not quite what it used to be .., no little feet pounding the staircase; no squeals of victory upon discovery of sugary treats; no fancy little baskets brimming with more chocolate than any human has a right to ingest.

We had a family dinner on Good Friday, freeing up my girls to spend Easter Sunday with other members of the family. Kidlet had a hockey tournament  and my eldest daughter hosted Passover at her place for her Jewish family. So this morning, hubby and I got up to enjoy the glorious sunshine of the day. We took to the road for a Sunday drive, exploring the quaint villages and shops along the way. As we drove, I leaned my head against the window - and as the farmland, barns and wetlands  rolled by, scenes of Easters passed scrolled in my memory.

Of course I had bought my loved ones some chocolate treats but without the excitement of Easter morning and the egg hunt, it felt as though something was missing. It felt odd for hubby and I to have this day to spend together. And although I enjoyed the warmth of my hand in his as we strolled along, and the time we had together, I couldn't help but marvel had how the times had changed.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Night of the Morning After

I've had a busy few days. It takes alot of time and energy to turn 50 - if you do it properly. For my milestone birthday - any excuse to be self indulgent - I wanted a special gift. I wanted to be surrounded by people (and dog) I love; I wanted to immerse myself in their warmth and drink in their kindness. I wanted to prepare a feast (remember -- nothing says I love you like dinner) as a ginormous THANK YOU to these souls who accompany me on my journey. I wanted to say what often goes unexpressed -- that I am so grateful to have the friends and family in my life that I do, and a night doesn't go by when I don't drift to sleep counting my blessings (works better than sheep).

Hi there my dear family and chosen family,

It’s almost the end of March and that means that I will soon have a birthday. I have a very special group of people with whom I share my life and whose love and support is a blessing to me. You are an important part of that group. I would be honoured if you could come by our place on Friday, April 2nd around 4-4:30 pm so I (we) can cook you dinner and show my appreciation while I still have my faculties. It would make a Good Friday spectacular and it would give my birthday special meaning.

I also know that for some of you, this is a busy time of year. The Easter Bunny has already sent regrets. I know a few husbands also have birthdays to celebrate and Cousin Pastor may have church duties so please understand that this invitation is not meant to be an obligation. If you are free to come, I would love it. If not, I know you would if you could and that is good enough for me. You’ll just miss out on my live acoustic performances of the entire John Denver collection.

There is nothing to bring. Hubby and I will have lots of delicious food for every palate ... and maybe even some fish for the Catholics in the tribe. : ) Of course the Jewish contingent will just be coming off of Passover so its matzo for them! Daughter may even make me an organic, gluten free, sugarless, bran boosted Duncan Hines natural vanilla birthday cake! If you have any extra candles kicking about the joint, please bring them along .... we’re gonna need them!
So that's what I did. I invited and they came. With hubby's help, our home burst with the amplitude of spirited chatter, teasing, laughter and so many hugs exchanged you would like you were at a Greek wedding, The feast was bountiful and devoured by guests who sang praised between appreciative mouthfuls and sips. I floated and flitted amongst them, bantering, listening, lingering, observing in awe, drinking in the heady nectar of unconditional love -  the biproduct of true friends and a close family. My eldest daughter baked me my favourite vanilla cake (yes, I am THAT boring) and as I was serenaded by a mostly on key, unintentional many-part-harmony rendition of Happy Birthday, my heart was  full to overflowing.

 It was the most spectacular gift- one that included the particpation of many. And if I think too long and hard about it, my throat thickens and my eyes fill.

For me, this Good Friday was great. Life is good.

Thank you.