Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pain and Pride

The week was fully devoured.
It's been a while.

This arm and shoulder of mine, the pain in which had me fantasizing about amputation, has been keeping me busy with physiotherapy and massage. The therapists at the torture chamber clinic are full of energy, enthusiasm and sweetness and they have hands that work magic and provide relief. As I lay face down with my face mashed into the crisp linen of the massage table, having my shoulder worked over like pizza dough, trying to suppress the spontaneous giggles that erupt when she presses my "laughing buttons", I can't help but feel like a pre-owned vehicle whose miles are beginning to show. I have work to do - things that involve broom handles and pulleys - but I know that the day will come when I am pain free and ready to rumble. In the meantime I search for the lessons to be learned and am, if nothing else, humbled and grateful for my health insurance!
Director daughter explaining the White Ribbon Campaign
The week was not all about pain; it delivered a healthy dose of pride too. My daughter Harmony produced and directed her first production for VDay: A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer. It was a fundraiser for the White Ribbon Campaign to help end violence against women. The whole tribe turned out to the funky little cabaret venue smack dab in the city's gay area. I helped myself to the extra strength condoms from the jar in the bathroom -- just kidding -- I just photographed them as I commended the efforts to thwart the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As directed by my bossy director daughter, my sister and I sat in the vacant front row - to give the actors someone to play off. Each monologue was delivered with the kind of passion and authenticity that makes you squirm uncomfortably in your seat while your eyes stay locked on the performance unraveling just a few feet away. Violence and rape are disturbing topics and the play tackled them both with raw honesty. As Harmony took to the stage to emotionally explain the WRC and thank everyone for turning out, I could feel mama's pride welling up inside me.

And my wish is the same for each of those wondrous spirits - my girls: that they may cultivate joy in their lives and find their passion and purpose.

It was a full week, and I devoured every morsel and crumb. Next post: how to walk off those extra crumbs and pounds!
Bathroom freebies - I'm all for prevention.
Moving monologue delivered tears.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Holawa Valley, Molakai [Photo by Lyn]
Shouldn't every day be Earth Day?

Shouldn't we care more about treating our home - Planet Earth - with tender loving care to ensure continuation of the human race?

Shouldn't the conversation about financial costs and the economics of preservation efforts be replaced with the long term costs - to humanity and the planet - of continuing on the destructive path we are on?

For a supposedly "intelligent" species born with free will, why are we willingly, knowingly destroying our one and only home? What other species does that?

Every day should be Earth Day.

We need to care

We must change our destructive, careless ways.
of us.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Arm and Hammer

My body is betraying me - my right arm, to be exact. I called this post "arm and hammer" - the hammer being the pain.

I spend the better part of my days perched in front of a computer, tapping out emails, stories, communications... doing a job that I truly love. However a little shoulder ailment has turned into big pain and cries for rest at the end of my work day. I have had to reduce my personal computer activities - thus the irregular blog posts.

This pain is making it difficult to perform some simple everyday tasks: stirring, pulling clothes over my head, washing and blow drying my hair although it does look pretty darn good if I say so myself, reaching, sleeping my arm has insomnia or doing much of anything with my right arm. I have enlisted my left hand and after some training, it will no doubt be promoted to the rank of "right hand". After avoiding, deferring and denying, I am finally seeking some medical help and am well on my way to figuring out how to get healthy again. Summer is approaching and the joys of the cottage - swimming, canoeing, and fixing up the place - await, not to mention my daughter's upcoming wedding.  The Village People's YMCA  and the time warp await! And  that flag -- well it will just have to wait to be waved!

I just wanted to let you know why I haven't been posting as regularly as usual. Enjoy your day, wherever you may be, and make today a good one,

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Peace of Easter

It's Easter Sunday! And lucky for us, each important holiday involves us spending time with both sides of our family. After hosting our Friday famjam, we headed to hubby's parents' place for a home cooked turkey and more laughs. It's a bitter sweet time for my MIH (no "in-law" for me) who is watching her ninety-nine year old mom withdraw into herself and slowly succumb to the final ravages of Alzheimer's. But she put on her brave face and chose to enjoy the love that was before her. It's been a wonderful weekend - as predicted - and the greatest overarching emotion that I have is that of gratitude.  Thought I would share a few images of our day (dominated by the furry, four pawed family members). 
Me and my MIH

Sammy the lazy kitty

The regal Mr Tibbs

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Scenes from Family Friday

Sunlight flooded the room through the crystal hanging in the window, making colourful prisms dance on the walls. The colours refracting from the crystals remind me of my mother and as I watch them move slowly around the room, even landing on the faces of my loved ones, I smile and think of her spirit dancing lightly among us. Family and love flooded our home for Good Friday dinner. I feel blessed. I feel joyful. And most of all - I am so eternally grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Hope Blooms

Season of possibilities with hope spilling forth in every bud and bloom. Springtime, the most anticipated season, my personal favourite, hostess to Easter and usher to summer.

Our home will soon be filled with the young and elder members of our tribe and the walls will reverberate with chatter, debate, and boisterous laughter. Doris will turn down her hearing aides to deafen the simultaneous cross-table conversations, and we'll be serving up heaps of love with the turkey and ham.

Tomorrow is Good Friday and we will raise our glasses to celebrate our family and remember those who  are missing at the table. I can't help but reflect on those who are alone, ill, or unable to fully enjoy the beauty of springtime, Easter, or Passover. If I could, my table would stretch to infinity and seat every one who needed some love, company or just a laugh. And if they were lucky, they too would come with hearing aides to subdue the din.

Wherever you may be, whatever your faith - and even if you have none - I wish you a wonderful weekend. And Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those of you who will be celebrating. And let's agree to keep hope blooming.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Brides' Project

It's started. Planning for my daughter's upcoming wedding just swung into high gear with the shopping spree for her dress. In keeping with her sustainable reuse-reduce-recycle approach, she chose to start her hunt at The Brides' Project, a charitable volunteer run organization. It's so much more than a bridal salon. Brides and companies donate wedding gowns to The Bride's Project to be sold for charity. Not only do the funds raised by the sales of the wedding dresses go directly to cancer charities, but often clients return to donate their dress after their wedding. And I have a feeling that is where Harmony's will eventually return.

It got me thinking about the wedding dress (I know- I should have quite a collection) I have hanging in my closet and I asked the helpful volunteer about perhaps donating it. She smiled slyly and said in the most diplomatic voice she could muster, "we only like to accept dresses that aren't older than five years old". I burst her visions of a puffy-sleeved, neck hugging poof of an eighties dress by explaining it was from a recent wedding. Relief and surprised eyes. I am definitely going to consider it. I love the idea of my lovely dress being repurposed and raising funds for cancer.

We rifled through the tulle, satin, silk and crinolines to find a collection dresses small enough for her petite frame. We were left in our small room - bursting with dresses - to try on her selections. We giggled as we tried to find strategic ways of getting the gowns on -- step in (somewhere in the copious layers of fluff); slide over; inhale; zip, button, tie and more. As I caught her image in the full length mirror, I couldn't help but marvel at how so very quickly the reflection had changed from the little impish golden haired girl who used to spend hours entertaining herself in front of such a mirror, to the woman with the delicate frame and long hair with resonating beauty that belies her strength.

Occasionally a faint knock on the door would signal the delivery of more dresses and a peek at the bride-to-be. It didn't take more than an hour for "the dress" to present itself. It needs a few minor alterations but it was exactly what she was hoping for. (The dress she is modelling in this picture is not actually the one she purchased -- that will have to wait!)

I am officially excited now that I can taste the sweetness  that is brewing. One thing is for sure ... she's going to be a beautiful bride. Spoken like a truly proud mama.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In Touch

Apres dinner recaps in our open air dining on the Mara, Kenya
It's been more than a year and a half since Kidlet and I took our trip to Kenya. But I knew then that the life-altering experience was one that would keep on giving - and it has - in so many ways. The bonds formed with trip mates from sharing wonderment and awe over dinners eaten under the Kenyan night have remained. We were from far and near -- Phoenix, Ohio, and Toronto. And since our adventure, our lives have taken the usual twists and turns, and changes. Through it all, with the use of technology, we stayed in touch.

I got an email from Megz, my Phoenix friend, bubbling with news of her next trip to the Mara and her philanthropic capers. She added news of the upcoming wedding of her daughter and her hopes to be a grandmother one day. I could picture her with her youthful demeanor sitting casually draped across from me, eyes wide-eyed and twinkling with excitement as she filled us all in. Lisa is expecting her first baby; Laura is working on her Masters degree; and Denise is always off on voluntours with one or more of her enlightened kids.

Our ages span a gap of almost twenty years yet we found a kinship, a sisterhood in one another. And even though geography and time divide us, there is a comfort in this easy circle of affection and caring we have formed.

I "replied to all" and gave them the scoop on Kidlet and I and added my direct questions for each. Now all I have to do is wait - and the responses will come tumbling in. Insta-joy! I believe we will meet again soon, and once again sitting lazily around the dinner table, laughing, debating and discussing the woes of the world and how we may play a part in the change.

Life is a generous hostess, serving up rich and lasting mementos of my experiences and adventures.  My heart is full to overflowing and my relationships meaningful and many. And for that, I am profoundly grateful.

Earth Hour Enlightenment

I lit my favourite candles last night well in advance of the 8 pm start of Earth Hour - to be ready when  hubby and I switched off the lights. It's become a tradition in our household - not that it saves alot of strain on the energy grid, but it is just our small way to remind ourselves that we belong to the human race - the default stewards of this tiny little planet of ours. It's our way of acknowledging the work we have to do to preserve our delicate eco balance and sustain life on earth.

There is a certain ethereal tranquility that falls over the house once we unplug. I went to the front window to watch our neighbourhood fall into darkness, however it was apparent that they all didn't get the memo. But I am proud of our local restaurants that really get into the spirit of Earth Hour, advertising romantic candlelight dinners.

We need these reasons to come together and act as one race - united earthlings - and connect over that which we share. For one hour we focus on that which unites as opposed to that which divides us. And if nothing else, for one hour on a Saturday night, there is no background noise, no lights, and no barriers to romance.