Thursday, January 27, 2011

I just decided!

Today is going to be a great day -- I just decided! Hope you make yours a great one too.

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.

- Groucho Marx
PS - I have this other little blog called Soul Snax -- a collection of my favourite quotes and quips and photos. It seems that whenever I decide I don't have time to keep it up, it gets another follower. Someone trying to tell me something?  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I am longing
to inhale deeply and fill my lungs
with humid salty sea air;
to leave lone footprints in silky beach sand;
to drift asleep lulled by the rhythm of rolling waves.

I am longing
to leave winter sitting in the front room
as I sneak out for a brief dalliance
with the heat, sand, sea and sun;
respite from the frigid.

I am longing...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Take a Break

Riding a wave of contentment - one that even frigid -22 degrees Celsius can't break. So I can't resist taking a JD (John Denver) moment to share one of my old favourites.  I know - John Denver is not cool - nor was he when I was listening to him when I was fifteen years old, but I loved then what I love now. His voice is soaring, his lyrics inspiring and his passion for the environment and the planet - contagious. Take 5 and enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Paint Me Happy

The laundry room is painted - well it will be after one more coat (but that will be tomorrow's task). And I am sitting here, salt and vinegar chips to the right of me, a tall glass of water to my left, feeling pretty bloated from the chips with contentment.

The room is already showing signs of resurrection. But as I rolled "fresh" on to the dingy walls, I hit a speed bump. For years as the girls were growing up we would measure and mark their heights on the wall.There are sixteen years of progress documented on the laundry room wall. I paused and smiled as I read each and every entry, memories triggering left, right and centre. What to do???

I grabbed my camera and took a dozen different shots of the wall for posterity. I just hope the girls will forgive me. As the penciled entries disappeared under the paint I couldn't feel as though I was erasing a bit of history.

It's been a good day, with precious moments spent productively, fully and a few steps closer to loving my laundry room.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Laundry Room Intervention

It was overdue. In the 23 years that I have lived in my home, the laundry room remained untouched, its dingy yellowed walls grew even dingier, and the lime green mottled linoleum flooring is now pulling away from the baseboards. So last week my washer finally seized (after about a year's forewarning) full of sopping clothes and soapy water (of course!). I figured it was a decorating intervention courtesy of the universe. So I accepted the challenge.

Today's goals: Organize, toss, and empty room of appliances, critters, critter droppings and all other contents. Evict spiders, scrub walls and floors and find a place to hang the sopping, mouldy laundry. Buy paint and new flooring.

I am happy to report that ALL my goals were met. Oh sure we have a 200+ pound washer lodged outside by the front door and a dryer in our entrance hall as well as two full bags of single socks whose mates are in sock heaven (or wherever socks go when they don't return from battle). But I was rewarded with  $2.17 in coins scavenged from the scene of the crime. All in all it was a productive, profitable day!

Tomorrow's goals: paint the walls from dirty yellow to a whiter shade of pale and ready room for new appliances that are coming at the end of the week. Hubby will lay the floor next week. I have my eye on the prize but let's face it, it's going to getting uglier and messier before it gets pretty. But I really can't wait.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Photo from Obsidian Theatre Company
Ruined. Maybe it was a little ominous sounding for a festive night out with Adventure Girl to celebrate Tender Heart's  birthday. But needless to say we happily traipsed into Toronto to see  Obsidian Theatre's production of Ruined. I had been anticipating seeing this play for almost a year but I wasn't sure how much my gal pals knew about the subject of the story. A few hours before we were scheduled to meet, I cut and pasted some information about fistula and the Panzi Hospital into an email and sent it off to them.

The play is set in a humble shack of a bar in a small mining town in the Congo. Women rule the stage in this production and from the first moment the lights dropped and the drumming began, my heart pounded just a little quicker. From our second row seats in the intimate theatre we sat - eyes transfixed on the mosaic, textures and shades of fierce femininity that unfolded  - mesmerized by the slow, deliberate reveal. There were moments of shock and awe - mentions of  ways in which women have been, and are violated - so horrific that the air is sucked from your lungs when you heard the words. The pit of anxiety that is formed from the first appearance of the shunned, shattered girls in tattered rags continues to swell with each layer of conflict and hopelessness. We learn what "ruined" means ... and how these violent crimes and acts of war raged upon women's bodies are intended to break the spirit and destroy the very fabric of the family and community.

As I watched, the whole while trying to contain the waterworks, my mind drifted to my Sudan sister from Women for Women International and to the horrors she has experienced. Hurts felt by our sisters are felt by all women. There is a kindred thread that binds us together.Ruined is a story of the phoenix rising from ashes with a display of unfailing human resilience that is blinding. Or maybe it was those tears ....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


You are a charmer - sometimes.
Inappropriate - at times.
Stubborn - always.
Complicated. Yup.

But you have soft blue eyes that belie your crusty outers.
And when you clench your loved ones tightly in hugs that sometimes go on just a little longer than is comfortable, your loveliness melts the crusty.

You are not one to chat on the phone - heck you hate picking up the receiver.
So when I get an early morning call from you wishing me well, or letting me know that you remembered,
it gets filed under special.

When you get married, no matter what people say, you marry the family. And although  we may have got off to a shaky start, we have grown on one another (I can tell). We're pals. We sing along to the same tunes - maybe not always in key (me) - but we sing all the same.

So today, on your birthday my dear sweet, pop-in-law, I wish you beautiful music and all the love you can handle. Thank you for being a bright spot, a twinkle in my life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Letting Go

Letting go ... it's tough. Letting go of expectations; control; outcomes - it's probably the hardest thing we ever have to do. And sometimes no matter how hard we try or what we do, things are out of our hands.

Sometimes the best thing - the only thing - we can do is let go and trust that the universe is unfolding as it should. No matter how much it hurts. And sometimes it hurts bad.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reclaiming Happy

My sister is a pretty woman. She is picture perfect most of the time - beautiful long blonde hair, fit, athletic body, wide eyes and a great toothy smile. She's had her challenges the past few years with times when it was tough to find reasons to smile.

She answered the door tonight wearing a full apron - and she never looked more beautiful. Her living room resonated with the laughter of her three children and the garlicky aroma of spaghetti sauce permeated the whole room. Her baby chicks were back in the nest, even if only for a night, and I could see contentment softening her jaw, unfurrowing her brow. She reveled in the peace of a full home bursting with love, and in the role of Mom who cooks awesome dinners for her loved ones. It was a throwback to happier, simpler times before she made the trudge through what seemed like endless hellish drama and complication.

I think she has finally emerged intact. Salad tongs in one hand, a glass of wine in the other and face aglow - she welcomed us into her home to celebrate her chicklet's birthday. You go girl ...

For me, it was a special treat to see my beautiful sister reclaiming her happy. And that made me happy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Tear Down

Ted Williams - the man the media refers to as "the homeless guy" with the golden voice. Like everyone else, I was captivated by the heartwarming story of this fragile human being who had visibly suffered much and was seeking a better life for himself. But when I saw his image oozing forth from every media orifice,  I became worried that change was coming too quickly and the avalanche of job offers, demands for public appearances and media attention would suffocate him.

True to human form we thrust him on a pedestal, touting his virtues to satisfy our hunger for a fairy tale, feel good story. Then ADDICTION, his insidious disease, his closest companion, made a public appearance of its own. Media outlets buzzed with the compelling follow up story, trying to mask the obvious delight at the story that keeps on giving - and the methodical tear down began. It's what we do; build them up so we can tear them down.

I am saddened by the obvious lack of compassion and caring for this troubled man. Sure the job offers came pouring in - and what would seem like random acts of kindness were probably more like opportunists cashing in on a great story. Who was worried about Ted's sobriety? His bewildered eyes told the story -- he was clearly overwhelmed. Anyone who knows anything about addiction  understands that it is a demon that will be fought one day at a time, for always. Addiction is a lifelong affliction and he needs more than a fancy haircut, clothing makeover and limo rides -- he needs treatment and support. I heard that Dr. Phil reached out to him and convinced him to go to rehab. Of course all of this after he taped three interviews with him. No free ride here ... cha-ching.

My heart goes out to Ted Williams and his family. Addiction is a roller coaster and it is apparent that it is a ride that they have taken many times before. I wish him the strength and resolve that he will need to sustain himself through his treatment, that he may emerge in recovery and finally start living the life he was meant to live.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Scenes from a Wintry Sunday Stroll

The kitchen was flooded with sunlight this morning and if I didn't know better I would swear the appliances were smiling. It was a fitting start to our SUNday. Hubby and I headed outdoors to soak up some of the glory. We strolled the quiet streets of a favourite village, walking briskly, keeping our noses buried in our scarves. Everywhere were picture-perfect scenes from a pretty much perfect day. Enjoy!

It was a glorious weekend -- and for that, I am truly grateful.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm Worth It

Awoke to a snowy wintry wonderland, with large heavy flakes still falling. I took it as a prescription for a lazy, slouchy Saturday. And nothing goes better with a cosy weekend day than a big, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast. Hubby wasn't interested, so I asked myself, is it worth it to cook for myself? Of course I am; so I did.

So I chopped, mixed, toasted and cooked myself up a hearty plateful of YUM, and finished packing away the rest of Christmas that I had put off. Today was a good day. Lfe is good, and for that I am grateful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Here and There

First walk in the snow of the season. Armed with plastic bags in my pockets for pick up duty, my breath steamed in the air as I ran the pathway with Fritz. My mind wandered to far off places as we left a trail of foot and paw prints in the snow. The southern Sudan has a monumental referendum vote on Sunday that could potentially erupt into violence and even a full blown conflict. Innocent people could be killed.

So today on my leisurely day off, with my biggest worry being whether or not  I brought along enough "doggie doo" bags, my heart and soul is with the men, women and children in the Sudan who will be fighting for their independence, and perhaps, their very lives.

In the cold wintry forest, with the sun sitting low in the stark trees, I whispered a silent prayer for peace.

Care Package

We've all got the call -- someone near and dear to us desperately needs our help. It often comes without warning and it is rarely convenient. That's why they call it help. I can remember as a younger version of myself I thrived on being needed; being the one people turned to for advice, guidance and support. I needed to be needed. But if memory serves me correctly, I think I harbored a secret sense of martyrdom. Oh, I was sincere enough in my concern and assistance - but I was also somewhat self centered about it all. There was ego involved.

As I matured and had my metal tested, I grew to find the gifts in giving of myself. My mother became very ill and  lived with us as she waited for a lung transplant. The program was grueling, requiring her and her caregiver (me) to go into the city four days a week for a series of exercises, appointments and preparatory therapies. When we first started this journey I felt pretty darn proud of myself - bloated with self importance to be giving so much of myself to the cause.

But as the days passed and my devotion, stamina and patience were tested, I started to see the situation for the hot bed of opportunity that it was. I shared hours of dedicated talk time with my beloved Mom as we drove the 2 hour round trip and spent hours in countless medical waiting rooms. I was privy to her thoughts and private anxieties, as well as the benefactor of her theories, perspectives and philosophies on the mind-body-spirit connection, self actualization, how to pray and how to be the highest form of expression of one's self. She once told me, "This is important for you too Lyn. You are going to grow from this experience. You'll see." She knew what she was talking about.

I shifted my thinking from how this was impacting MY life, to this IS my life. Ever-changing schedules taught me to let go of that over which I had no control. Hours of waiting - for doctors, procedures, appointments - taught me patience. Witnessing her stoic, positive demeanor in the face of impending death inspired me to be grateful for my own health and the life I had created. Her appreciation for every breath of life taught me to cherish life that much more. Her attitude that there is always someone worse off than ourselves motivated me to want to be a better person. And in the end, she showed us that there are things worse than dying.

Needless to say I learned that it is an honour and a privilege to care for the ones we love; to give back a small fraction of the love and kindness that has been shown to me. And if we do it with our eyes and heart wide open, we can expect to forever changed, and blessed -- the ultimate care package.

Dedicated to MIH who always gives more than she gets.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


What can I say that I haven't already expressed? 

Your abiding love and devotion is like fine twine,
weaving through our family and binding it tightly together.

You are my inspiration and - I'll say it again -
my North Star.

And today is your birthday.

I celebrate your life
and that I call you Dad.

And for that - I am truly grateful.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Coming and Going

Winter obviously didn't get the memo ... we barely had a flake of snow during the Christmas holidays or even the entire month of  December and today, the first day back to work, the early morning was draped in a light blanket of the white stuff. Hence "Let it snow, let it snow ..." was lodged in my brain all day, replaying over and over. The audacity! If we couldn't have snow for Christmas, I sure as heck am not interested now!

I drove by my Dad's place this morning; the house was still dark at 6:30 am. I honked loudly - as is the custom - and couldn't help but feel just a little melancholy thinking about them leaving today. I really don't deal well with goodbyes.

So as the snow arrived, the snowbirds once again took flight and by now are probably toasting poolside, marvelling at their good fortune to be out of the cold. Cheers! I am missing you already ...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to Our Regular Programming

It feels like Sunday night. Tomorrow I go back to work after a nice chunk of time off. It's not going to be easy to leave the cosy of my down duvet at 5:30 am, morning sky black as ink, winter chill still in the air before the furnace kicks on. I developed some bad habits over the holidays, such as sleeping in until after 8 am, lounging around in my PJs for the morning pausing only to putter. Reality is going to smack me in the face.

My dad and the ladies head back to Florida tomorrow. I always dread this goodbye ... I won't see them until May after this. It was great having them around again -- driving by their place every night after work and seeing the glow of the soft yellow light in their front window. We squeezed lots of good visits in - dinners, debates and wine. We even managed an early birthday famjam for my Dad. With each passing year I appreciate my dad even more.I am grateful to still have a parent in my life. My friend at work lost her father suddenly just before Christmas. The passing of my mom 13 years ago left a void and made me value every moment I have with my dad that much more.

So the interlude from regular programming is officially over and life tomorrow begins again. It was awfully nice while it lasted.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Wrap Up!

It's winding down now. I can feel it and the signs are everywhere ... I dread the dismantling of Christmas. I find no joy in stripping the tree and returning the treasured ornaments to the safety of their weathered packaging. Where are the kids now???

The Christmas stockings look a little sad drooping from the fireplace mantel, - devoid of treats. And the tree stands barren without anything underneath it.  This would be a good day to procrastinate - however I will resist the urge. I will toss the stale ginger cookies and week old scones into our green bin, gather every shred of used wrapping and bows and relieve the staircase banister of its garland. I will unhook, roll up, repack, take down and store away Christmas for another year.

It was a good Christmas season. I am full and satiated, with enough in me to comfortably sustain me for the rest of the winter! For now -- it's a wrap!

Here are some shots from my post Christmas walk about ...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blank Canvas

It’s 2011. A new year, A fresh page. A new chapter to be composed. I love this feeling lodged in my innermost being … twinges of anxiety mixed with infinite possibility.

2011 is a blank canvas, mine to imagine and to create.

I glance over my shoulder at 2010 and wish her a silent farewell, thanking her for the gifts she bestowed and left behind. “You are one my favourites, and I will remember you fondly.”

As for today, I set my course for that which lays before me. No doubt there will be uncharted milestones; events; challenges; passings; celebrations; reactions; responses; and choices.

I am choosing to honour this gift of time - this gift of life - to live it fully, deeply and broadly with every fibre of my being. I am resolved to live presently and with gratitude.

I am fortunate in that from where I sit, it is indeed a happy new year; I think about those for whom it is not so much. I cannot cure all the world's ails however I plan to be a soothing remedy and instrument of service whenever I can, and to add my spark to the chorus of light.
Reflect, Remember. Recharge. Reset. Go.