Saturday, December 31, 2016

goodbye hello

All in all it's been a good year - but then again, any year lived delivers a host of events, milestones and emotions - good and bad; happy and sad; but rich all the same. My only complaint is that with each passing year, they get shorter and shorter.

Like on the plane ride home from a long vacation, I can't help but feel nostalgic and reflective about 2016.

Personally I enjoyed my home life in the country, surrounded by trees, birds and other wildlife. The schoolhouse is finally feeling like home instead of as though I am visiting a B & B. The only thing missing are my family, especially my girls and parents. And that is not a small thing. It takes extra effort to get together but I cherish the time we carve out for one another. More family time is a priority for me in the new year.

Country life is not as convenient; everything pretty much involves a 10-20 minute car ride and when we get a hankering for exotic food, we have to venture beyond the local diner to the Japanese joint out on the highway.  The plus: along the way we get to gaze at horses grazing and frolicking in the fields and other soothing country scenes. First world problems!

My work life is good and getting better...or maybe I should say that I am getting better at my work! The challenge has been carving out time for exercise and rest and striking some decent work-life balance. But again, these are things within my control and it's on me to make better choices. My sedentary office job has helped add another 8-10 pounds for my knees to support. I am larger than I've ever been and it's become a health issue that can no longer be ignored. I am trying to take better control of this aspect of my life. Does that have a hint of "resolution" to it?

On other fronts, we had proof that the improbable and impossible are indeed possible and a reality. I was inspired by the election of our Prime Minister Trudeau and equally disappointed (understatement) by the election of Donald Trump. I am devastated by the resurgence in and public platform given to racism and bigotry and hatred. I am disheartened by the violence raging across our fractured planet.

But most of all I remain hopeful. I know at our core we humans are good, kind and resilient. We want peace and to live in a world that is more gentle and connected. And it starts with each one of us. How can we have world peace if we have discord in our families and personal relationships?

And so, as we show 2016 politely to the door, we do a light tidy up, catch our breath and then welcome 2017 and a year/world of new possibilities. I can make countless resolutions but at the very core of it all, I intend to live more fully, in the present, and give more of myself to others. #Move, #Love and #Give will be my keywords for 2017. Oh - and more reading and lots more writing!

Happy new year to all. Let's live it and love it.

Friday, December 30, 2016


Our family celebrations are behind us with a fridge full of leftover food to prove it. I made a delicious western omelette with scraps of ham and dinner was reheated lasagna from last night's family party. Eaten in the quiet and peace of a cosy fire, it tasted even better than the first time around.

The fridge is jammed, the shelves filled with plastic wrapped plates, cartons of cream, eggnog, and milk and the spoils of last week's dinner parties. I open the door, quickly taking a defensive stance to catch whatever may tumble out. I pour myself a final  glass of eggnog of the season, draining the last few ounces - two days past the "best before" date. It tasted delicious and  brought an official close to the holiday season for me.

I scan the room with the Christmas decorations and random bits of evidence of our festivities... bits of tissue paper from discarded gift bags and a stack of rogue cookie sheets and casserole dishes that have to be returned to their rightful owners. The walls still resonate with the din of the laughter and chatter that filled the room...and I can't help but reflect.

With my girls now full grown adults with spouses and spices of their own, corralling them all into the same time and space is challenging. But when we manage it, it is blissful. No surprise that as I get older I gain a greater appreciation for these precious moments spent with my girls and the rest of my family. We are a unit and when one of us is missing, we do not feel complete. When we gather together, we celebrate our unity and the comfort and peace that comes with experiencing belonging to something greater than ourselves.

In our midst this year we had our beloved Doris -- ninety-nine with no sign of slowing down. When dad made a little speech and mentioned that next year this time Doris will be 100, she nodded and grinned as she high-fived the crowd. So much to celebrate...

And so I relax on my comfy couch, glass drained with only granules of nutmeg remaining, bundled in my wool wrap enjoying the leftovers of yet another wondrous holiday spent with those who I love so very much. And as I reflect and savour every morsel, I conclude that the memories are almost as good as the first time around. And for all of that, I am eternally grateful.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Connections.

Wine glass is drained. Presents are finally wrapped and feet are up for a pause before bedtime.

The best of the pre-Christmas preps are the phone calls to reconnect. Sleepy voices answer and then perk up when they hear my cheery  "Merry Christmas". The calls are overdue - I've been remiss with many of my relationships. And as I dial, guilt almost derails the calls, but I push my embarrassment aside to make the connection. If not now - then when.

And then relief when the callers express happy surprise at hearing my voice; we pick up where we left off. The hesitation was for naught.

So as I sit here in the warmth of my cosy home, I must remember that around the world tonight, there are millions who are homeless, cold, and hungry - millions who are orphaned  or alone.

In hours I will be cocooned in the love of my very large, affectionate family, enjoying all the best that Christmas has to offer. For so many others this holiday season will offer no joy - just continued misery.

They will be top of mind and not forgotten. And my heart will be filled with gratitude for the family I am blessed with and the life I am privileged to live. I will not take any of it for granted.