Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Hot and heavy greeted me when I opened the door to leave for work. It was only 6:30 in the morning but the day was set, and my quickly expanding hair signaled the need for air conditioning.

The weather forecast was all over the map with the operative word being "possible" --  possible showers; possible thunderstorms; intermittent sunshine. I walked to the gym at lunchtime with an escort of dark brooding clouds threatening overhead. I walked quickly, a trickle of sweat rolling down the middle of my back. 

I kept the sweat coming and worked out hard at the Y. Couldn't get dry no matter how hard I toweled off. The heat I had built up in my workout coupled with the power surges that have been plaguing me rendered me a hot mess. I stepped out of the Frigidaire into the steamy afternoon air. It had just rained; I inhaled the remnants of freshness and lightly leapt over puddles on the sidewalk. The air felt a little lighter, as did I.  

Half way back to the office I felt the first drops and quickened my pace. I couldn't outrun the rain. I got wet, and I didn't mind. I was cool, if only for a moment.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Decked Out

At the first sign of spring my thoughts wander up north, and visions of our cottage dance in my head. The lake; the sacred place of peace; our tranquility in the trees. Hubby and I share a love of nature, the nutty fragrance of pine in the nostrils and our winged, clawed and pawed neighbours with whom we share our waterfront.

We bit the bullet this year and replaced the crumbling facade of a deck that wrapped around our cottage. We paid a hefty price -- not just financially -- but in time. We missed out on the six weeks at the lake during which our piece of paradise was reduced to a construction site.

I kept the faith; good things are worth the wait. It did not disappoint. Jim was the elfin-like local contractor we entrusted our vision with. A roughly hand drawn sketch, a quick chat and a deposit and he was off to the races. He problem solved, improvised and enhanced - and of course went over budget. When I had asked him on the phone how much above the quote the final costs were, he replied, "you take a look at it for yourself - and then you tell me."

We bolted from the car and down the pathway to see the results of Jim's labour. At first glimpse of the solid wooden structure, I was ecstatic. We rounded the corner of the cottage and the forest came pouring in. I did a happy dance for the whole world to see. It was the first time in my life that I didn't wince at or begrudge an overspend. The glass panels that edge the deck provide a wide open vista of the lake and the forest that surrounds us.

I predict many summers of enjoyment from the lofty perch in the trees, close to the birds and away from the fray. The novelty hasn't worn off. I am fortunate - and I know it. And for that, I am ever grateful.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My Dad - My Forever Friend

We've been together for fifty-three years now - my entire life. You are one of the few people alive who saw my bruised and battered body - battle wounds from childbirth - too hideous for the hospital newborn photo. You were my first school principal; me holding your finger for the short walk to the station school as you explained that I should call you Mr B and not daddy if I saw you in class. Of course that didn't stop me from enthusiastically blurting out "Good morning Mr. B - daddy" when the teacher motioned us to rise and greet our principal.

You took me snow skiing and in the summer you would rest me on your shoulders as you water skied around the lake. You taught me how to drive a snow machine and how to free it when it got stuck in the snow.

NOTE: I erroneously deleted this Father's Day post and will replace the lost text in the next day or so. Sorry Dad! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Kidlet had her wisdom teeth extracted today. I'd love to post the video she made of her bloodied stoned self but I like to keep things clean here! I have a terrible laughter reflex that kicks in when I am nervous, or when I am faced with a serious situation -- church, funerals, sick people... It is highly inappropriate and embarrassing. So of course the sight of Kidlet slumped in the recovery room chair, gobs of cotton gauze oozing from her mouth, dark circles under her eyes giving me a weak smile and thumbs up - set me off. It took every ounce of self restrain to get the post surgery instructions from the nurse and get out of there without losing it entirely. And when the tiny little nurse wheeled out my precious little five foot ten treasure to my car I couldn't help myself. Through all of her animated grunts and other frightening noises and hand gestures I laughed. Bad mother!!

In my enthusiasm to get Kidlet to her surgery on time, I broke the law! I got my first speeding ticket -- EVER. The road that I had always known to be an 80 km zone apparently had been rezoned to 60km. Add a few more kms to that and I was way over the limit. I had been accelerating when I spotted the black Charger and immediately threw on my brakes. My guilty conscience kicked in and had me pulling over before the cop even threw his lights on. The shock and awe on my face when the cop told me how fast I had been travelling did the trick. That- coupled with my blabbering apology -appealed to the tender heart of the officer and he let me off with a stern warning and small fine.

So today Kidlet lost her wisdom and I became a lawbreaker. There's a first for everything.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Highlights from a Monumental Day

Today was monumental in more than the usual ways...

Canada celebrated its tenth anniversary of legalized same sex marriage, something that represents so much more to me. Legitimizing gay marriage not only promotes family, it acknowledges the diverse nature of relationships and symbolizes social acceptance - entrenching a fundamental human right for all. And personally, it makes me happy that all my children will have the same rights and opportunities to marry who they wish and create families that are legal and fully recognized by society.

Photo courtesy of
I had just turned on my radio when I heard the news that our singing astronaut Cmdr Chris Hadfield announced his resignation from the Canadian Space Agency and was planning to move from Houston to plant himself back on Canadian soil. He has inspired me and while he held court high above Earth, he was the first Tweeter I checked in the morning to see what quip or picture he posted - and the last I checked before bed -- to catch his finale post. Thank you Chris Hadfield for your service, for sharing your experience and dream and for reminding us that we are citizens of the world. It is the end of a stupendous run... an another reason why I am so proud to be Canadian. *wildly wave flag*
Photo courtesy of

And lastly, I finally filed my 2012 income tax return. Okay, I was a little late but a small refund is in order and all is good in my world. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Labels Equal Limitation

Labels - we seem to need them; labels that categorize and subsequently prescribe response. We need to know if it is a boy or a girl so we can plan. Plan for what -- pink or blue? Ballet or hockey? Playhouse or racing track?

Do we realize the limitations we place on our kids when we genderize them? It's shocking to me how many people are completely unaware that they do this - or how many don't really believe there is such a thing as genderizing. Do we really think little girls are born with a penchant for pink or that little boys have a love of trucks in their blood? Really?

Once, a long, long, time ago, I was a little girl. I was born free to be --- whatever I wanted to be. My parents didn't have the means or inclination to decorate a nursery so I was spared the frills indoctrination. I had a mother who had been athletic, strong and who loved adventure and my dad was the same, so it was natural for them to leave my sibs and I enough breathing room to decide for ourselves what we liked and what we were interested in. 

As a young child I had little to no interest in dolls, frills, pink or my mother's high heels. I did enjoy dressing up and playing Ivanhoe (mixing bowl on my head and all), had a fascination with pocket knives I couldn't manage to open, loved the sandbox and my friend's Tonka grader and when I got older, I loved building forts. Huck Finn was my role model and later on, Anne of Green Gables with her daydreaming, dramatic ways. And the best times of all spent with my sibs were pooling our imagination and talent (imagined and otherwise) and putting on shows. Throughout my childhood, I can't recall hearing my parents dragging gender into the division of chores or leisure. There weren't girl jobs and boy jobs -- just jobs that needed to be done. We fished with our dad, piled wood, played outside and shared our toys - whatever they were. My brother enjoyed our play kitchen and we all enjoyed his hot wheels (the tracks from which substituted as swords from time to time).

How different life would have been for us if we had been raised under an umbrella of presumption of what constituted femininity/masculinity - if
my mom had insisted that I wear a dress instead of a suit and tie for my band performances; if my sister hadn't been encouraged to play boy's baseball when there wasn't a girls team for her to play on; if my brother had been forced to play hockey when what he really loved was playing in the school band.

According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
fem·i·nin·i·ty: the quality or nature of the female sex

Why impose what those "feminine" qualities are? I can tell you that I never felt more feminine than when I was exerting my leadership and running for student council, or in later years, asking for a raise, or caring for sick child or parent. My notion of femininity had little to do with the height of my heels, how well I accessorized or how attractive I appeared.

Simply put -- had we been born to parents with rigid, preconceived notions of gender, we wouldn't have been free to express all that we were and grow to be the people we are today. My parents created a safe space for us to experiment, explore and express ourselves and  helped us feel that we were just fine the way, and who, we were. No labels required.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


I was on the phone with Harmony, immersed in deep conversation about all things legacy, spiritual, and soulful. The topic evolved into a discussion about "angel-speak" - a technique to open one's self up to their "guides", described in a book that Lyndsay had given me shortly after my mom passed. With Harmony on speakerphone, I thumbed through the row of dusty journals as we chatted, searching for the notebook in which I had recorded my angel-speak exercise.

One thing led to another and I found myself reading excerpts from my journals to Harmony. I was astonished at some of the passages (and even a little impressed) -- I had no memory of writing any of it, and the words were as fresh and new as if written by someone else. I lost myself in the unraveling of the hours leading up to my mother's death, and then the vivid imagery of the year and a half that followed.

Only when I heard a little gasp and then sob on the end of the line was I shaken back to my reality, leaving the pain on the pages. I asked Harmony if she was alright and she said she was, that it was just emotional to hear. I told her I would leave the rest of journals for them to read later on -- maybe when I am gone or too senile to care. *Weak attempt to lighten the mood*.

My take away was that I more fully appreciate the importance and significance of documenting emotions, reflections and moments -- and not just the big ones, but also the collection of the minuscule, because it is both that become the construct of our lives. And there is value in sharing pieces of ourselves and our human experience with others.

So I was sidetracked today, but it put me back on track... busy shifting and sorting through my dad's written reflections. And so the journey continues...