Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reflections from the Four Lane

It is dark when I drive to work in the early mornings now; a simple reminder that winter lays in waiting. I don’t mind. I enjoy the change of the seasons as well as the quiet of the dawn, driving down sleepy, empty streets with only the occasional light flickering. There is a mystical quality about moving about while most of the village remains in slumber. Thinking time; moments of stillness that allow thoughts and images to flow freely about without hindrance or distraction. It occurs to me that when I probably appear most sedentary is when I am most active and creative … in my quiet, reflective driving time.

Thoughts this morning swirled around the upcoming We Day and the reunion of some of the special people I shared the Kenyan experience with. This experience, so rich beyond words is one I would wish for everyone near and dear to me. I remembered the profound effect the experience had on me the moment it had me in its grip. Inexplicable; long lasting - permanent I hope.

It is surreal that our Kenyan friends, emblazoned in my mind in their scarlet Maasai warrior garb are now in our country, fending off the Canadian chill in the standard uniform of the young – loose fitting denim jeans, ethically produced organic bamboo t-shirts, sweaters and ball caps. Their images are popping up everywhere, fueling my excitement to see them again. I want to know their impressions of our “village”, our lifestyle, our hospitality.

As I exited the four lane highway, dodging super-sized transport trucks, I marveled at how our eclectic group and Kenyan friends, born worlds apart, found common ground in humanity. We forged a bridge from a foundation of love for humankind, respect for one another and a shared dream for a better world.

Those days traveling in Land Rovers over rocky ungroomed terrain were only a few months ago and are sometimes strange to reconcile with my reality … but this I have learned: we are more alike than we are different. And thankfully, the world is shrinking and maybe I will live to see us live peacefully in one big village of colour, diversity and light.

Next up: We Day!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Soul-journ Continues

Photo from Free the Children http://www.freethechildren.com/
There they were on YouTube -- two young, dark skinned men dressed in brilliant red -- well -- dresses, draped in sparkles and beads with wide shining grins that poured over their faces, pushing their luggage carts. Wilson and Jackson, the Maasai warriors from our trip had landed in Toronto. An awaiting crowd burst into the "Jambo" song with which they had welcomed us to Bogani. Wilson immediately abandoned his cart and joined in, bellowing out the song, waving his arms, moving to the a capella chorus. Jackson joined in a little more shyly and the picture was complete. They had brought the unbridled, open hearted warmth and love from Kenya. What an import!

This trip to Kenya that Kidlet and I took this summer was offered by Free the Children as an opportunity to learn about and experience the life of Kenyans living out on the Marra. It was here we had our hearts touched by people with joyous, determined spirits, musical voices and wide smiles. I left a piece of myself there for safe keeping and now ... I get to experience all over again - for a brief moment in time.

I can't wait to reunite with some of our group as well as the faciliators and warriors from our summer sojourn at We Day, September 30th. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas. Megan is flying in from Phoenix and it keeps getting better and better. We will once again share a life changing experience. I am prepared to be inspired, rekindled and rejuvenated and to reciprocate the hospitality and love to our visitors.

Like I said - the soul-journ continues.

Warch a sample of their tv appearance to promote peace. (CTV)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

wordless Wednesday - Smile

It's that time of year again. thanks Boss!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Gift of Jewel

I got mail - the really good kind! Se'lah over at the Necessary Room organized this wonderful exchange between bloggers, reminiscent of the pen pal days of my youth. All I had to do was send a heartfelt message through the mail and then wait for mine to arrive. It did not disappoint. Last week I came home to a handwritten envelope that tipped me off that it wasn't a bill or a boring piece of corporate literature. No - the exacting cursive writing said "Lyn" on it and it was the first thing I ripped open.

It was from Amelia over at momsdailyretreat - a blog which I was not familiar with - until now. Like a friend dropping in for a visit, I popped over to check her impressive digs. The blog has a soothing feel to it.

I reciprocated with an electronic note of thanks to Amelia and to Se'lah for their efforts. It has inspired me to do more of that -- send personal notes through the mail. As atrocious as my handwriting has become, I think there is something extra thoughtful knowing the pains someone took to deliver a message, and I know how much I enjoy receiving them (thanks to MIH I get them all the time).

The intent was simple ... to spread the love. And it worked.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Catch Up

This weekend was all about catching our breath and catching up. We have been dabbling non stop in a gazillion (more than a trillion) things simultaneously, for months now. We have been living life fully -- working and doing our home stuff during the week and then packing up on Friday nights and heading up to our cottage for weekends. We didn't miss too many and we loved every minute however I was secretly relieved when Kidlet called to say she was coming home, and hubby suggested that we should be here for her when she did.

Harmony called to say she was coming home too so I decided to have a Saturday night family dinner and invite  my Pops, Theresa and Doris. Impromptu sometimes works better than the best thought out plans. I rolled into action, reacquainted myself with my vacuum cleaner and dusted off the graffiti carved into the coffee table. I shopped, chopped, peeled and cooked for my family and spent some quality time with the girls. This morning I did laundry and rummaged through dark and dingy corners of the closets in search of garage sale items. I am under strict orders by hubby to stay out of his domain  ... not sure why???

In the deepest recesses of my closet I found my old black leather briefcase that hasn't been used since -- well -- since before cell phones were the norm there are no outside pockets. Aside from the thick choking coating of gray fluff, the bag was exactly as I had left it in 1993, the day I left my Sales and Marketing Manager job at the cable TV company. It had a business card case full of my former life identifiers. It was complete with writing pad, several pens, rubber bands, daytimer, loose change and - this made me smile - a spare pair of pantyhose in the zippered compartment. I can't remember the last time I wore pantyhose.

This is what happens when I try to organize and clean -- I get distracted  meandering down memory lanes, sidelining the progress. Not efficient but fun.

Hubby and I took a time out for ourselves and took our furbag for a nice long walk down at the waterfront. We breathed easy and soaked in the Sunday afternoon. It felt good to slow it down and have a weekend that was not spent in full motion.

I heard from people I care about which included some friends I made this summer on the Kenyan trip. We are gearing up for We Day that is coming up in Toronto September 30th and Megs is bantering about the idea of making the trip from the U.S. to attend. Fingers crossed.

Life is good -- and even better with harvest pie!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What you realize when itʼs gone..

GUEST POST: Kidlet here, taking over Mamma Bearʼs blog!

Iʼm into my second week of University and I feel like Iʼve passed the first week chaos. Figuring out where to eat, where classes are, how to get back to my residence, and of course trying to get books. ($700 later and I made it.. no wonder students are poor). My first week was packed with activities, new faces and old ones via skype. It was filled with adventure and a feeling of curiosity as I explored the place that I was suppose to call home. I felt a million times better once I got all my walls decorated with an array of pictures, posters and super hero cutouts. I got all my stuff put away and found a place for everything. I began to get myself into a routine and learning when the hot showers were easiest to get and finding out the hard way when cold showers happen (generally after noon). I began to make connections with people on my floor, in my program and in my classes. Things are exciting and yet I missed my home routine.

I miss my friends and of course my sweetheart. I have seen him only a few times or as I like to think of them, glimpses. He has started school part time and was having his hockey home opener. I decided this was something important and so I figured out the bus route and took a GO bus home where my best friend picked me up and just like old times we trekked to Joshʼs hockey game. It was nice to be around someone that knows me and there was no pressure just rapid chatter and giggles about my stories of getting lost. My cute boy had a great game scoring a goal and getting two assists and he even drove me back to campus. Having a moment at home, a night with my friends and a car ride with Josh made me see that though I was having a new experience life was moving forward as always at home. What I had also realized is that I had not spoken formally with my Mum or my Dad, two people who I see and speak to daily.

I got a lump in my throat as Josh drove away. I realized that I am creating a very new life in a new town without the people that have helped to shape me. I couldnʼt be feeling homesick could I!?  I wasnʼt all that sad when I left home and Iʼm not even far away. I guess you donʼt really appreciate what you have until itʼs gone. My Mum is just someone who is there when I need her and even when I donʼt. She is quietly whispering advice in my ear and gently guiding me even when I think I can do it on my own. I think to really appreciate someone like my Mum or Dad you have to have some space. You need to see the space they leave once theyʼre gone. Finally I see the empty space they leave in me when they arenʼt present. I starting looking at my picture wall and reminisced on all the memories.

I decided the best way to keep them with me was to talk about them. Over dinner I explained to a girl on my floor all about my family and my Mum and many of her philosophies. I explained how I admired her and how she is the best example of a dreamer. I even heard myself recite some of her own advice. I hadnʼt realized the impact my Mum has had on me and listening to others makes me see how lucky I really am.

I know itʼs ok to miss home, its only natural. Itʼs been a long time since Iʼve had to really get to know knew people and have people get to know me. I think you get to know yourself again when you have to put yourself out there. Itʼs hard and quite a process but I know Iʼm equipped with the tools to get through this experience and make the most of it. My Mum called and I was so relieved to hear her voice. She asked me how school was just as I hoped she would and she listened to my stories of people and food and work. I know that no matter where I am my Mum is just a phone call away and that means so is home. I also have my sisters skyping me daily for updates. My best friend in Montreal constantly keeps up-to-date through a text or a quick Skype date. Things are changing and I might even be changing but I donʼt think I could go wrong with the support I have around me. Nothing has changed in that department, just my location.

Iʼm almost done my first full week of classes and Iʼd be lying if I said it wasnʼt intimidating but itʼs a challenge Iʼm excited for and one Iʼm excited to share. You guys better bet youʼll get some emails with papers to edit.

Signing out from my little residence room. I am fed, showered and clothed.. Iʼd say Iʼm doing pretty well. :)   
             - Kidlet
Added by Lyn (Mamma Bear) -- couldn't resist, Kidlet!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Contact

FINALLY -- first contact. I hadn't spoken to Kidlet at all since we were pushed out the door left her happily unpacking and settling into her dorm room. It felt unnatural. Hubby and I were cloistered up at our cottage enjoying the coziness and monotony of the six day long drizzle and chill with no land line. I  exchanged Facebook quips and a few emails with Kidlet -- mostly me whining about how much I missed her -- but I hadn't heard her voice. I just got back last night at midnight from a business trip and all I could think about was talking to her and hearing about her first impressions and her first week on campus.

"Hi Mom!" She actually sounded genuinely happy to hear my voice.
"Kidlet! How ARE you?" my enthusiasm blurting through the lines.

And for the next fifteen minutes I got the answer. She talked excitedly, rapidly, trying to squeeze as many words per second as possible into the call. She has made cool friends; she likes everyone in her dorm; she misses her sweetheart I sensed a gulp and a tear here; she loves her classes imitated the guttural noises she is supposed to practice for her German classes; she only got lost once; the food is delicious and HER ROOM IS CLEAN that may be subject to inspection. Will miracles never cease???

I felt a pang ... homesickness, excitement, and pride all rolled into one fat lump in my throat. As the pace of the conversation quickened I realized she was expected somewhere and had to wind down the call. We said our goodbyes hastily however I sensed our mutual satisfaction with our exchange. My Kidlet sounded more mature and a new confidence strengthened her voice.

It may be time for Kidlet to give way to Womlet.  We'll see... All I know is that tonight I am going to sleep a little sounder. Nite Kidlet - sweet dreams.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week at the Lake

We are just winding up our week’s vacation at the cottage – a week we had looked so forward to. Notions of leisurely hours spent dockside, soaking up sun, drinking in the lake action, puttering away idyllically at all the little labours of love that make up cottage time – DASHED! Mother Nature had other plans.

We arrived last Saturday in the drizzle and cold and with the exception of a few hours the next morning when the torrent relented to drizzle and mist again, rain and gray was the order of the day ... for six days in a row. At first it was cosy and romantic – hubby kept a roaring fire going for two days and nights straight to ward off the chill while I stay bundled in my sexy double thick sweatpants and sweatshirt and gray wool work socks. My persistent cough (that I had for several weeks) seemed to get ever more persistent and my energy plummeted. By Tuesday I made my way to the local hospital to get checked out. Hubby was patient during the five hour wait during which I was prescribed a puffer and some antibiotics. We celebrated with Boston’s (yup, that was the name of the place) Chinese food – famous for its Chinese and Canadian Cuisine - according to the pale green take out menu.

The rest of the week played out like the movie Groundhog Day ... each one similar in flavour, running together, but none without enjoyment and contentment. We checked the weather network on our handhelds and wondered when the nasty weather would turn around. We suppressed our outrage when we saw that back home they were enjoying sweltering heat and sunshine while we sat stuck at 13 degrees Celsius.

We decided to surrender. Aside from the fact that we didn’t have much choice, we concluded that the week would be what it would be ... and the best that we could do is just go with it. We dropped our preconceived notions of what we wanted our vacation to look like, and starting enjoying the subtle nuances of that being thrust upon us. We slept in. We spent time together talking, teasing and laughing. I swam in the lake and hubby braved the icy shower (no hot water at the cottage). We donned our raincoats and explored the rustic pathways and trails that run off the long dirt road leading to our property. We marvelled with appreciation at our sturdy rubber boots that could take us anywhere. We made trips to the nearby town, meandering the main drag and through dusty curio and antique shops. I read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle cover to cover and played my music loudly while hubby was busy and out of sight. We sat across from one another in front of the fire and virtually renovated our cottage and property – each dream a building block – and no idea too grandiose. In the evening we lit candles and by the light of the fire, we watched movies – me bundled in three layers of whatever clutching steaming cups of tea.

And then today, on our last full day of vacation – the sun came out and christened us golden. We were rewarded with a perfect September day of blue hued skies, brilliant sunshine and crisp, warm air. We spent all morning laying on the dock, gazing up at the sky, snapping pics of dragonflies and fluffy clouds. We celebrated with a “refreshing” dip in the lake, a nice long hike and a lakeside dinner of schnitzel at a local eatery. We ended our perfect day on our deck, gazing at our million dollar view, marvelling at how wonderful life has treated us.

And that was our week at the lake.
Misty mornings.
Mid day mystical rainscape,

Rain and muck for the most part ...

Proud of my rubbers!

Sun came out!

... and it all ended peacefully.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Moving Day

The day arrived. Moving day. For weeks Kidlet had been collecting, organizing and stashing the things she would need for her dorm room on my dining room table. And for weeks I had been complaining about the excess and mess – which probably had more to do with watching the evidence of her departure growing daily, deepening my sense of panic and reminding me that the move was imminent.
Kidlet is the last of my girls to leave home and as a mama, it is a mixed salad of emotions. Bitter greens, juicy, sweet tomatoes, and crunchy lettuce – sadness knowing a chapter of mothering is closing; happiness seeing the strong, intelligent woman Kidlet has become and excitement watching her pursue her dreams and for what is to come.

The family gave her a send off the night before – grandparents, parents, and sisters and Fritz. We celebrated Doris’ 93rd birthday too and it helped take the edge off. Then again nothing takes the edge off like cake and ice-cream (and a droplet or two of wine). This marked round one of the goodbyes.

The tribe rallied and with the help of her two dads and sister, we got the truck packed up with a fridge, food, clothes that could outfit a village and enough personal hygiene products to last her through her degree.

The second round of goodbyes was fulfilled with her sister and Fritz and me (although I was following the caravan to the university). Watching her pull away from our home, I knew that “that” girl would never return but that next time she was home, a matured, confident young woman will have taken her place.

Kidlet, her dad, hubby, Kidlet’s sweetheart and I converged on the campus and after a 2.5 hour wait, got her stuff up to her dorm room. Thankfully for any other poor suckers were spared sharing with her she has her own private room – small as it is. I could see the panic washing across her face ... where to put everything? Where to start? Where’s the ladies room, the common room, the bookstore? I made up her bed one last time, hubby put together what needed putting together, her boyfriend helped her unpack her dad stood nervously by in the hallway. Tension and excitement duelled for supremacy and Kidlet called it a draw by releasing us – assuring us that she would be okay after she sorted out her stuff. Dispensing us a few quick hugs and hurried goodbyes as she shooed us down the hallway mitigated any potential drama or emotional hallway farewells. We left her standing in her cluttered, chaotic room with her boyfriend what were we thinking and walked to the parking lot, almost shell shocked at the brisk ending to the chapter. We bid her dad goodbye and I gave his arm a quick squeeze “this is the last one J”, and he smiled as he climbed into his truck.

I was a little quiet as we drove away from her and towards our vacation at the cottage. The emotions were swirling and I was fighting the reflective reflex. No tears – only pride. And as we hit the highway north, and drove into foul ugly weather, hubby pulled me out ... “look ahead”.

A reminder of good things to come.
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