Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Early December

I walk the land every morning.
It's in my bones.
I rise early each day, well before sunrise.

This pattern too must be in my bones. A time of the ancestors when out of necessity, work had to be done first. Lanterns lit, water pumped, a fire started in a hearth, porridge bubbling in a cauldron or flour turned into loaves for the day's consumption.

My modern self throws on a housecoat and slips down the stairs in darkness, not wanting to face the glare of electric light. It's too harsh this early.
Entering the kitchen, I surrender and with a flick of a switch turn on the overhead pot lights. These new lights are on a dimmer, turned down to a softness -  just enough so I can see to start my coffee maker.
I pull a carton of milk out of the fridge (no milking of cows in this day and age) and splash a good amount into my cup.

Coffee in hand I step out onto my back deck. Yes, it's December here in Canada and cold, but that doesn't bother me. I'm warm from my cozy bed, warm in my plush housecoat, winter boots on my feet. Not long ago it was flip-flops. October this year was unseasonably warm and I was ecstatic to be able to slip into flip-flops and feel the strange contrast of autumn leaves crunching underfoot.

Deep breaths of fresh air - oh how I love to inhale the freshness of a new day.

This December morning Mother Moon lights up the entire back yard. She is beautiful as she shines out between the branches of Lady, a glorious beech tree standing tall and proud in the west side of my yard.

Trees are beautiful at this time of year - their bare branches reach up to the heavens, revealing that which is usually hidden by their greenery. Our trees are old in this part of the land; a forest once-upon-a-time, they remain rooted deep in the earth, watching us humans go about the business of our everyday lives.

I've lived in this home since 1996 when I moved in with my soon-to-be husband. As some of you know, I moved out for 3 years, now back again.
I look around my property and inhale the familiar, the homes and neighbours, an occasional light in the window of another early riser.

I'm not the same person as I was a few years back. Certainly not the star-struck in-love woman in my 40's back in 1996. Life changes us, as it's meant to.

My blog is still up, yet I leave it behind for long periods of time.  I miss it. I miss the energy, the good feelings blogging evokes when I visit your blogs. I miss peeking into gardens around the world, being invited to share in the lives of ordinary people. My blogging friends are generous "come sit a spell, pull up a chair and warm yourself by the fire, coffee's on, tea's hot and ready for you, I've just made a batch of gingerbread cookies!" All virtual of course, but the thoughts, the intentions give me a warm feeling, a feeling of connection no matter who or where in the world we all live.

I'm not the same person I was when I entered the world of blogging. Back then I was hurt and scared; husband was sick with an illness that would eventually take him. Blogging was a way to save my sanity, a way of reaching out to others who may be with me on this frightening journey.

It came as a surprise that people actually responded to my cries, my venting and grieving, I did not know what to expect. I drew strength and comfort from my fellow bloggers, their own struggles, their joys, and virtual hugs, their normal everyday activities.

I did not know what blogging was all about.
Was I good enough to actually post something?
Would anybody read my stories?

Along the way I met many, many kind and courageous people. People who blogged whether their writings were good or not. People whose pics were phenomenal, their writing superb, and I felt myself measuring up to those standards and coming up short.  Maybe I shouldn't post. I wasn't good enough. So many others were so much better.

And then it came to me one day that I was blogging for me. That I was making friends anyway, whether my posts were "publish-perfect" or just ordinary.  Blogging was about the normal ups and downs of everyday life.  The important part was reaching out and connecting.

Gazing into the face of Mother Moon, her benevolent glow warming my heart and cold hands, I feel a ripple of happiness, of contentment at this unexpected gift.

Wouldn't this make a nice pic? Framed by bare-naked tree branches if I stand right here. If I walk a little to the side, she's lost behind the tree trunk. Quickly I run back in the house, pop my cold coffee into the microwave and grab my phone.
Not a great pic but it works for today.

Pocketing my phone I step off the deck into the pre-dawn stillness. I drink in the quiet, the lull before the beginning of a brand-new day.
The anticipation.
I like to be up early enough to witness the soft glow in the Eastern sky as a new day is born.
It's like magic.

Night is fading. The clear strong light of Mother Moon shines on, even as she slips further towards the horizon. Stars as well are not giving up yet. They hold on to their brightness in a clear, cold sky.

With the passing of years, I've become stronger.  A little more confident in who I am. Blogging, I've learned, is an expression of who we are. Competition is not necessary, nor is it wanted (to me anyway). Some will like my blog and others won't.
As simple as that.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

My daffodil garden. South side of the house where it receives full sunshine. When the tree leaves fill out, there will be too much shade for any sun-loving flowers to survive, so this will remain my Spring Garden.

Happy Spring!
Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Circles - Part I

I have a feeling that Life travels in circles. We set out on an journey only to find ourselves back at the beginning.

I had a hairdresser for years. She left the Salon and I found someone else. He was good, but after a while I got tired of that particular hairstyle. I asked him to change, but he wasn't very receptive.

So I looked around.  Asked my friends for referrals and found nobody. My hair grew long and even though it was rather unkempt (well, not really - just more fly-away and a bit straggly) I kind of liked having long locks once again.  It made me feel like a teenager.

Hmmm. Something wrong here. We can't go back in life. Some of my grands are teenagers and I certainly would not want to be back there, with all their issues and social pressures.

Then one day, I happened to be shopping in the neighbourhood and noticed a new Salon. Peeking in the windows it looked busy and cool!
Maybe I should just go for it!
Maybe somebody totally brand-new would give me a fantastic up-to-date stylish hairstyle.
I pulled open the door and popped inside. It was noisy!  But just beneath the drone of blowdryers I heard a bubbly giggle that sounded suspiciously like Tina - my old hairdresser.

Couldn't be, could it? Yes!
"Does Tina have time for a cut?"
The receptionist left for a few moments then beckoned me to follow her.
"Tina!" We hugged and pecked cheeks and I sank down into the Salon chair, sighing with relief. I'd come home.
Full Circle again.
It felt good to be back in her lively and fun-loving energy. We chatted away as if there hadn't been a time lapse of 5 years or so - we'd known each other for a long time. In fact, she was the one who got me into horseback riding about 15 year ago. I left a short time later - could not conquer my fear of horses.

"I want Layers! Pat doesn't give me Layers! Can we do that?"
"Of course!"

So she cut Layers, but kept the length because I wanted to feel extra-young.  It felt good!

For about a day or two.  But when I went to wash my hair and blow it dry, the Layers wouldn't do what I wanted. And they were dry from too much processing, or maybe it was age. Everything seems to dry up as we age (or at least I feel like a dried up old prune some days!).

For the next several weeks, I alternately ignored my misbehaving Layers, wrestled with them or pretended they were just fine. And bit by bit I felt silly with my long hair - it really didn't suit me and the Layers gave me a "ball" of a head while the long part was just strings against my shoulders. Yuk.

What do I do?  Should I give Tina another chance? Or throw in the towel and go back to Pat?
Now I know why he never gave me Layers, even when I asked (and I forget what reason he told me, probably because I didn't want to listen). Ha!

Tina? Or Pat?
I had to admit that I'd received more compliments on my hair when it was short and I really didn't like this Layer/Stringy hair - but maybe I could have short/Layer hair?

Round in circles in my mind, but in the end I went back to Pat. He explained once again why Layers were not for me - hair texture changes with age and the style needs to reflect that change. What's particularly important is to cut the damaged ends more often, not less. Oh and whatever else he said, I've forgotten as I just nodded and smiled and couldn't wait to see my new short hair.

"Short," I said, "just below my ears."
And that's what I got.
Full Circle - again!

I'm on the far left.  Hair was a couple of inches shorter than this.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Spring Break

The grandchildren are growing up and changing.  I was babysitting one morning while Mom and Dad were at work.  I was a little surprised when Jasmine greeted me perfectly groomed for a 10 year old and wearing a skirt!  I thought she would be dressed in outdoor play clothes.
I didn't comment as I knew it would only invoke "Oh Grandma!"  and eye-rolling.
Off to the park we went anyway. There were others around on play structures despite the residual piles of snow and huge puddles. I should not have been surprised, but I was as this young lady couldn't wait to skip into the deepest part of the frigid water just because. Just because she was still a little girl.
Eight-year-old Nathan had no qualms about jumping off this neglected planter and into the icy water.

"All right you two - I need a pic of both of you for Mom and Dad!" Can't wait until the really nice weather is here and we can properly play in the park.

In a few more years, they won't want to play on slides and swings and rock climbing structures, but for now I will spend as much time as I can while they're still children.

And as a grandparent, I am grateful to be part of it all; to sit back and watch the rich process of transformation, as they blossom into pre-teens some of the time, yet on other days they backslide into gleeful little ones playing in mud puddles and hugging teddy bears.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Nothing Special

 I liked this pic which was hanging in the gardens at the hotel in Key West.
She reminded me of Medusa with her snaky hair!

 Couldn't resist taking this bromeliad (I think) also in the gardens surrounding the swimming pool. I miss that warm, sunny climate: an early morning dip, the free feeling of peddling a bike wherever the wind chose to take me, inhaling the fragrance of a tropical breeze and feeling the sun on my face while standing on the shore, positively mesmerized by Mother Ocean.

But no matter where I go, I'm always glad to be back home again.
Six of my 11 grandchildren in this pic. It's Saturday afternoon and we're celebrating 3 of their birthdays (the other 5 children escaped the photo).
Soon we'll have a spring gathering to look forward to as there will be a whole slew of other birthdays to celebrate.
But one thing at a time.

Hope you're having a good winter, safe and snug with loved ones - or relaxing on vacation, or planning your spring garden.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Blending with Energy

I spent a week in Key West, Florida recently to attend a Writer's Workshop.

It was my first time staying in Key West and I was totally in love with the calm, unhurried, laid-back energy where everything goes.

Good Morning!
Roosters run wild, pecking away  in yards, in parking lots. This smart one chose to be at the beach!

Egrets fishing in the early morning.

Even the pet dog gets to ride in a boat.
Yup, everything goes in Key West. 

I had a great time!  Learned a lot at the Conference, made some new friends and travelled everywhere on a bicycle. 

Oh the feeling of freedom! Jumping on the bike, peddling to the conference, to the beach, to the shops, greeting perfect strangers along the way, stopping to pick up a sandwich or bottle of water, weaving around random roosters pecking in the dirt - it was a nice relaxing way to get around, where no one is ever late for anything (well actually people showed up early for the conference part, which was just as well - you can get toooo laid-back).

One evening we were treated to a sunset sail. Drinks flow in Key West and as we boarded the boat I was handed a glass of wine. 
"Um, may I have water, please?" 
I'm not a drinker so the free-flowing booze was lost on me. But the good thing is that people here in Key West, whether on an excursion or in a restaurant are just - happy, not drunks (or at least I didn't run into any).  
The ocean felt a little too tranquil on the way out and I wondered if we'd ever arrive at our destination.  The crew were not concerned in the least and I should have remembered that all would be well, no worries, that everything goes in Key West.  
Breeze picked up on the way back and the rest of the evening was absolutely delightful, with the most glorious sunset!

I chuckled at some of the signs at The Eden House (my hotel) and thought I'd share with you. Doubt if these would be "allowed" back home where I live - too bad. :-(

Don't think anyone will leave their children unattended, do you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Changing The Energy

The doctor was late. A good 40 minutes according to my cell phone. Annoyed, I rattled my magazine (as if that would hurry things up).
Christmas was just days away and I had some serious shopping to do.

A man sitting next to me in this crowded waiting room seemed to be sleeping. His head lolled over to my side and I edged away from him as if he was contagious. 
With a snort he woke up, reached in his pocket for a hanky and loudly blew his nose. I held my breath (to avoid breathing in his germs) and squeezed myself as far away from him as I could go. 

A nurse entered the room, chart in hand, called a name; a woman stood up and followed her out. Then a different nurse called someone else. Yippee!  This claustrophobic room was emptying.
Now I could move away from Sneezy into a seat someone had just vacated.

A few more minutes passed.  People shifted about, sipping their coffee, turning pages, or getting up to use the washroom. No one spoke. Two others were called away and now there were just 3 of us. Sneezy (who'd fallen back to sleep), and a woman sitting across from me, her head buried in her cell phone.

Impatiently I checked the time again. It was almost an hour now! Then a thought popped into my head. I wonder if we were all waiting for the same doctor?
Well, if that's the case, then I'm going home!  I don't feel like sitting around all day! Besides I was getting a little nervous about the whole procedure. This appointment was for cosmetic skin care -  not medical and I didn't have to be here. 
What if the doctor made a mistake on my face? Maybe I should just go home. 

What should I do? Get up and walk away? Or just ask? 
Should I ask the lady which doctor she's waiting for?
No, that would be rude and nosy. Besides, she might ignore me. Or tell me to mind my own business.
What about Sneezy/Sleepy? 
Forget it.

I shifted about in my chair, got up to refill my water glass, gazed at the door willing a nurse to materialize and call someone in. 
Nothing happened. 
Then I made up my mind. Really, what did I have to lose?

"Excuse me, are you waiting for Dr. K?
She looked up from her iPhone and answered. 

"Oh yes, and she's always late! But worth it. I've been seeing her for years.  She's so compassionate and does a good job. She knows what she's doing and takes good care of you."
"Oh!" I felt better immediately. "Thank you for telling me that."

Just then Sneezy/Sleepy woke up. 
"I'm just waiting for my wife," he said in response to my questioning look.

Whew!  Well then, I guess it's not so bad, I could wait a bit longer. 
Ms. Cell phone and I began to chat - then something strange happened.  I felt good, I felt fine, I was not grouchy or impatient. 
We laughed.  Even Sneezy/Sleepy joined in.

Ms. Cell phone was called in for her appointment.
SS and I continued our conversation. Turns out he lives not far from my son.  And his children are attending university close by. My goodness we had something to chat about!  Then all of a sudden Ms. Cell phone was waving goodby as she passed the waiting room to head out. 
It was my turn!
But I was having fun - I wanted to stay and chat. 

Wow - who would have thought? Just the simple act of  reaching out and talking to someone had the power to change the whole situation. 
Changed the energy in that room.  A lesson? You could say that.