Monday, May 30, 2011

Nearly Summer

Summer must be near.
The heavens have cried themselves dry and the sun has appeared. Today the temperatures soared and I drove with my windows down. The pool is opened and the bleeding heart is heavy with fuscia hearts.
Summer must be near; it must be nearly here.
Things are blooming, the air is sweet and the lilacs are quickly wilting. The grass is growing - so are the weeds - and as soon as it's cut - it needs it again. The fridge is stocked with watermelon, strawberries and corn on the cob. 
I'd say is summer is almost here.
Socks give way to barefeet and sandals, and long sleeves to bare arms. Sunscreen is slathered, insect repellent sprayed (sparingly and only in desperation) and sunglasses perched upon pink noses. Dogs parade their owners, the jingle of the ice cream truck is heard regularly and the aroma of grilling meat tempts the senses. I drove through the car wash, singing hits from the 70's and then opened my sun roof wide. 
Summer is here - there's no mistake - it's really, truly, absolutely here.
Summer tastes like fresh berries.
Cottage bound!

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I seem to have misplaced my memory; you haven't seen it, have you? I'm not sure when it went missing ... for obvious reasons, but  it was fairly long and vivid, covering approximately 49 years. But it's the short term version that I miss the most ...

My list of mishaps is growing. Last week I awoke with a start, glanced over at the over-sized glowing numbers on the clock radio only to find that I was already running 6 minutes late. I am on the job by 7:30 AM so I get an early start to my day. I bolted into the shower and lathered with the shampoo suds. I managed to pull it altogether and get out the door on time. I pick my daughter up on the way and after waiting for almost 10 minutes out front,  I called her.

HER: (groggy and confused) Mom?
ME: Where are you? I've been waiting for 10 minutes.
HER: (Panicked) What time is it?
ME: (glancing down at my radio clock) It's 5:35.
HER: MOM! What are you doing? 
ME: (Annoyed) I'm waiting!
HER: Mom -- look. What time is it?
ME: 5:35!
HER: Go home Mom. Eat some breakfast.You pick me up at 6:30. 
ME: (in complete disbelief) Cr@p! What the... ??

It all made sense ... I had noticed that it was darker than usual and that there weren't any cars on road. Geesh. "Embarrassed" doesn't even begin to cover it!

Then tonight as I sat watching the last 15 minutes of The Voice, I could hear water running - what I thought was hubby filling our swimming pool (he was opening it today). When I heard hubby yell that the tap in the kitchen was running (thank goodness for the overflow valve) it jarred me back into reality. I had started the dishes and while I was waiting for the sink to  fill with hot soapy water, I stepped out of the kitchen to watch one of the singers perform. All recollections of the activity that I had been fully engaged in just 5 minutes prior - were MIA. Double geesh.

Lately I am drawing alot of blanks, dropping lots of details, losing my word retrieval skills and all in all - missing my memory. Am I losing my mind? Women who have travelled this path are quick to reassure and comfort -- it'll come back.  Cripes, I hope so or label me nuts!

So for now, I am flying without a net - and short term memory! The upside is that I can re-watch movies and enjoy them like it's the first time. : )

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Give a Little Safety Net Against Malaria

Kidlet is on a mission trip in the DR right now and she is finding the heat and humidity close to unbearable. She doesn't do so well with heat - must be all that ice hockey she played. And when some rainfall finally comes to offer some much needed relief from the heat, it's an open invitation for mosquitoes. Lucky for her, she has a treated mosquito bed net with her to protect her from the bite -- and potentially -- malaria.

This week for my Give a Little commitment and in honour of Africa Day - May 25th - I donated to Spread the Net, the Canadian campaign to raise funds for and awareness of the prevention of malaria. They work with partners on-the-ground in Africa to purchase and distribute bed nets to some of the most malaria endemic countries in Africa.

It amazes me that a $10 piece of netting can be the simple but effective solution to protecting people, especially children, from contracting a deadly disease. It was a small gift, but one that can make a big impact - and perhaps save a life. Tonight when I go to bed in a comfortable bed, swaddled in covers in a cool, mosquito-free room, I will give a silent prayer of gratitude.
Read about my Thursday's Give a Little Challenge and other posts. I have to give ongoing props to Wendy Smith for her inspiring book, Give a Little. Consider giving it a read.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cool Hause Options

Next best thing to sailing there ... Vancouver, Canada

Floating house in Vancouver marina

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The persistent rains have left lush in their wakes and a freshness in the air. Today the air is heavy with the perfume from the lilacs that have newly bloomed. Lilacs are my most favourite ... along with the apple blossoms. The slushy hues of lavender and pinks that line the street for just a few days are spectacular eye candy. And that the blooms last for such a short time makes them that more special ... like precious gems... to be enjoyed immensely, intensely and fleetingly. 

A perfect reminder to live presently, fully in the moment. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Long Weekend

It was the first long weekend of our summer season. Who cares if it poured buckets and that the paths at our cottage were a veritable mud fest. Who cares if four adults and two dogs (who barely tolerate each other) were sequestered in a 750 sq ft cabin without cable TV? It was a long weekend ... three days in which thoughts of our jobs and our busy minds were silenced by the music of the forest and the lapping of the lake. Here is the weekend in pictures ...

Bunkie make over

Sun came out long enough for a canoe ride.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Up and Away

I dropped Kidlet off at the airport at the crack of dawn this morning. She is off again, this time to the Dominican Republic for a 3 week mission trip. Equipped with her bug net, Kraft dinner and a few random anxieties along side the American money in her pocket, she is hoping to learn about the culture and gain insights into the issues, help out where she can and practice her Spanish. She is planning to blog about her adventure so I'll keep you posted once I see her first post.

As for hubby and me, we're headed up to our cottage to give the upcoming summer a proper reception. Saturday is supposed to be hot and sunny but even if it isn't, I will still awaken to the chirping of birds, fresh woodsy air and maybe even the rhythmic tapping of a woodpecker. It's the first long weekend of the summer for Canadians - a preview of what is to come. Peace.

So Kidlet is away and we're headed up North. Oh the places we will go ...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Give a Little Light - Or Maybe 1 Million

I move from room to room happily flicking lights on and off as I need them - lately preferring the low, romantic lighting that casts a softness about my face - but I digress! My worn little spot on the couch that so coincidentally is shaped exactly like my behind is great for watching TV, but a pain to read in. There is no direct lighting strong enough to light up the pages of whatever I am trying to read for these dazzling green AGING eyes of mine! So I complain.

When Kidlet and I were in Kenya last summer, we saw first hand the cosy little clay and dung homes that relied on a single window-type opening for light. Our hostess Jane showed us her new block house she built with her earnings from her farm, which is the only one of its kind in the community, but told us about how it was still difficult for her children to do their homework by the light of the cooking fire and kerosene lamp.

SO - this week for my Give a Little challenge, I donated one Kiran solar lantern ($15) to One Million Lights, an organization with a goal of replacing one million harmful and polluting kerosene lamps with clean and healthy solar light.

Good lighting provides more opportunities for education and income generation for rural, families in a developing country. It helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions and ultimately helps improve the health of people living in rural communities by eliminating dangerous kerosene smoke fumes as well as the risk of deadly burns and fires from kerosene lanterns.

I applaud One Million Lights for having a creative, effective solution to a problem that may not seem huge, but the solution of which will have lasting impact. It provides what I and all of us in our country enjoy with wild abandon - often in excess and wastefully. I am going change my ways ... and I started by buying myself a solar lantern as well. And gosh darn it, it feel so good to give - even if it is just a little!

Read about my personal Thursday's Give a Little Challenge. I have to give ongoing props to Wendy Smith for her inspiring book, Give a Little. Give it a read.

Freedom to Love

Just wanted to share this moving award winning video from Pink Dot in Singapore - a campaign that supports the freedom to love. It moved me and reminded me that so many of our brothers and sisters still do not have the most basic of human rights -- the right to love who they want. I want this for my daughters and I want it for humankind.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Forever Friends

I was chilled and damp all day it seemed - but it was worth venturing out into the city to meet up with Jilly - my friend of almost 40 years. Impossible! We met at our favourite Thai restaurant, and for the next two hours over shrimp satay and basil chicken, we slipped back into our easy, familiar "us", our friendship that is soft, worn flannel that gets better and more comfortable with each wash. We catch up, swap our parenting laments and marvel at how blessed our lives are. How lucky are we to have found one another. I think it is anything but luck! We are travel mates, accompanying one another on this fantastical journey - there to share, care and support when needed - unconditionally, eternally.

When we were little girls meeting for the first time, I told her that we would be best friends. It was a bold move but there was something about that tall, quiet unassuming girl with the long brown hair that told me in an instant that we would know each other forever. And I was right, and we have.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Change Is Gonna Come

The words of the Sam Cooke anthem blasted in my ears as I ran on the treadmill -- "I know a change is gonna come oh yes it will". As the rhythmic pounding of my feet on the rubber ramp lulled me into deep contemplation, I thought about how life is served up in stages of change, adjustment and stabilization. Right now the winds of change are blowing, barreling  through... I can feel the earth tilting, shifting, for me and those whom I love.

Our grand lady Doris is transitioning from my Dad and T's place to assisted independent living. Nothing final yet, however the process is underway. My daughter put the bow on the job she enjoyed but felt was limiting her, and parked it to pursue her dreams. Kidlet just got home from university, then Italy and now is leaving for the Caribbean for a 3 week mission trip. The luggage hasn't cleared the front hallway for weeks and the laundry is still MIA. My sis-in-law just got married and we are settling into a new family rhythm on that front. At my office we got new leadership and change is atmospheric there too. To add yet another layer of excitement to the change brew, my Pops is having  a very serious surgery in a month to revitalize him and ensure his mobility so he is in prep mode (making like a navy seal plotting to overthrow the enemy). And of course there's the whole dance with middle age that delivers up daily surprises -- most of which is NOT covered in any of those self help books, so I won't even touch on these relentless power surges that are plaguing empowering me. (Yes I want some cheese with my whine!)

I know that for some, change can be a source of uncertainty and cause anxiety. However despite any misgivings I may have, the excitement of possibility always eclipses the fear. Change agitates and stimulates. It swirls and surrounds and leaves you breathless - but exhilarated. Change makes life interesting and even more so when it is embraced. So I am going to put my arms around it and give it a big ol' hug. Cause life is about to get very interesting ...

Resolve to be a master of change rather than a victim of change.
- Brian Tracy

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Give a Little and Pay it Forward

Pay it forward; hand up - not out; empower. That's pretty much it in a nutshell for Heifer International. If you haven't heard of them, you have to  Google them or go to the website. The story of how this organization got started is fascinating, and the concept is simple and effective. Heifer collects donations and pays them forward to communities in developing nations in the way of livestock and the education needed to farm and care for the animals. They provide the tools necessary to help people lift themselves out of poverty by learning how to cultivate a business that will sustain them and their communities. Heifer asks that the recipients of these gifts pay it forward; the first born offspring of the donated animals (cows, goats, chickens, pigs) are "paid forward" to someone else in the community that they may also benefit.

I am behind in posting my Thursday "give a little" thanks to Blogger's technical difficulties. But it did not deter! I am in week  10 and to my surprise, I haven't felt so much as a twinge of discomfort, sacrifice or anything but gratitude. I am giving more than I planned and I can feel my capacity and desire to share growing exponentially.  The hidden gift of giving. 

If you have a cause that is near and dear to your heart, share it with me. The weeks roll around quickly and I am always up for inspiration!

Read about my Thursday's Give a Little Challenge. I have to give ongoing props to Wendy Smith for her inspiring book, Give a Little. Give it a read.

Season Opener

It's still raining and grey today, but not as much as it was yesterday when hubby and I made our first visit of the season to our cottage. The mission was simple: make ready our cosy little hideaway - drop the water lines into the lake; connect the water pump; free the mattresses from their protective plastic; make the beds up; get the indoor plumbing working; stock the fridge and medicine cabinet for the weeks to come - rain or shine. So of course, nature tested us and we did it in the pouring rain, with the ground around our cottage so saturated and muddy that I practically canonized my hardware grade black rubber boots.

My expectations were low; I wasn't sure how the uninsulated cottage would fare through the frigid Canadian winter. So when I opened the door and was met with fresh smelling air, not a hint of must or damp, and a neat little cabin with all packets of mouse poison totally untouched - it was not only a relief but a spot of happy.

I sung as I fitted the fresh organic covers over the down duvets, plumped the pillows and stocked the fridge. I peered from the kitchen sink down to the lake and couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of hubby, hood pulled up over his head, rain teeming down as he maneuvered himself with paddle in one hand, the water lines in the other, trying to find the optimal spot to drop them in. It was comical, and when he appeared proudly in the doorway, soaking wet, water rolling off his clothes and nose, we both had a good laugh about it. I snapped the budding trees, the red and white trilliums that so beautifully carpeted the forest floor and the desolate landscape that will - in a few short weeks - contrast with the summer variety.

We came and went in the same day; the cottage is ready for our return next weekend and will certainly be more hospitable than she was this weekend. This was a sampler of good things to come. Lucky me; lucky us. We are living our dreams with more joy than sometimes I feel I deserve. But then I remember ... there is no such thing.

Trying to coax the old snapping turtle off the middle of the road.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pulp Non Fiction

He has poured it all out; emptied his memory cache; committed it to paper with the intensity and urgency of a man on a mission.

It's raw; literal mulch; fertile fodder waiting to be sized and pressed into a book. And he has asked me to help. We don't know the shape or weight of what it will be; but the writing will reveal itself.

I can't wait Pops. Bring it on. Send it over. And let it be.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Pixels

Pixels of the Mother's Day I shared with 2 of 3 of my gals. Kidlet is across the pond with her dad. The sun shone brightly; the sky was blue; and I had two amazing women walking by my side. And I would call that a pretty amazing day ... one that makes me happy to be a mom. 

To all the mom's out there --- I hope your day was every bit as good.


She was a fiery spirit cloaked in a quiet demeanor. She was a sidelines kind of person - content to sit back, one leg tucked up under her, the other one dangling, nodding, giggling and offering a word or two when the opportunity presented, but never vying for the spotlight.

She came in a diminutive package however offered more spunk per pound than anyone I knew. She was a peacemaker but not a push over -- not when it counted. And when she engaged her inner fury, it was unexpected, and effective. She could get your attention. It was a power she used sparingly - selectively. And as a young girl, I was always a little proud of her when she did.

She was quick to say "sure" and to offer whatever she had to give (even that which she didn't have). Anything I learned about giving, I learned from her. She was a dreamer and taught us that we were perfect manifestations of all that is good, and that we could create the life we wanted. She was content to stay on the sidelines, supporting and adopting the dreams of her husband.

Once in a while she would permit herself the luxury of wondering how her life would have looked if she had made different choices; stayed in school longer; studied her beloved Latin; traveled before having children. These mini laments would always end with -- "it all turned out how it should. I got you kids."

We always knew she was a giving little powerhouse, but nothing would prove it more than when she became ill. She fought her disease with an unfailing determination and focus and in the end, she won. She shared her journey with all of us and showed us how to honour the life that is be-gifted to us. She lived on her own terms and best of all, she left a family intact, closer than ever who speak her name every day. She is proof that love never dies.

And on this Mother's Day, I honour the living legacy that is my mom.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Give a Little - Blood, Sweat & Tears

She received word that her uncle had been diagnosed with leukemia. And in the face of potentially devastating news, my blogger friend Kattrina from 365 Days of Happiness chanelled her spunk and energy into training for a run to help raise funds to obliterate this form of cancer. She asked our blogger community to join her in this fight so this week I donated to the Leukemia and Lymphona Society, an organization that is dedicated to fighting blood cancers. Research is key to finding a cure.

So thank you Kattrina for your reminder that fighting disease is key to our sustainable future. And I send you and your uncle BIG HUGS for your blood, sweat and tears.

Inspire us with your own stories of giving, or suggest a cause that you would think is worthy of support.

Read about my Thursday's Give a Little Challenge. I have to give ongoing props to Wendy Smith for her inspiring book, Give a Little. Give it a read.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Vacation Grains

In the spirit of Wordless Wednesday, here are a few randoms from our vacation to the Mayan Riviera.
The sand ceremony
The poolside wedding reception

Hot tub in hot climate
Mounds of seaweed keeps workers busy

Leftist tree

Me - being grateful for a few days in the sunshine

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fun in the Sun

We left the hot, sticky 30 C breezes in Cancun this morning to head home to the cold rainy weather that awaited. We had five days in paradise with family as we attended my sis in law's destination nuptials. I buried my feet in the hot sand, rode the turquoise waves on my back as the sun beat down on my skin, and   soaked up some much needed time with hubby. I won't bore you with the details of our vacation - about the nudist resort we stumbled into, or the amount of sunscreen we burned through - except to say that it was wonderful to get away, and just as wonderful to come home -- rested and contented. Now spring -- hurry up and spring!