Hello, again.

I took a little — well, more than a little — break from blogging, but I think I’m back.  

I’ve been thinking more and more about how good it sometimes felt to write and share on this platform and that maybe it’s time to give it another shot.

Instead of trying to ACCOMPLISH something with my space, I’m simply going to write what I feel like writing — good, bad, mundane, maudlin, pointless, fraught with emotion, full of despair — whatever it is at the moment is what will make it onto my cyber-page. 

It’s not going to be about how many hits I’ve got, or who’s checking in on me.  It’s just going to be about me and my need for words. 

So, there it is in black and white.  

Word.

LOL

July 31st – August 2nd

Day 213 – 215 — We’ve had a few very lovely days here in Bon Accord.  And it looks like the long weekend is shaping up to be a gorgeous one.

I managed, finally, to get all the weeding done.  Yay! Yay! Yay!  I sat under my lovely pergola for the first time last night and enjoyed the fading rays of the sun after a late dinner.  I made the most delicious spinach salad I’ve ever had.  Don’t want to boast — well, that’s a lie! — but, damn, that salad was good.

On Wednesday I decided to pick up my grandkids and spend the day with them — to take a break from the monotony of chores and day-to-day.  We went to the spray park in St. Albert where they had a grand time.  Ethan was enthralled with the skateboard park next to us and I have fears that as soon as he’s big enough he’s going to want to try what he saw.  Gives me fits.  Afterwards we had popsicles and ice-cream as we sat in the sun waiting for them to dry off.

Then, home where I made them tacos for supper.  We were having fish tacos. None of them have ever had fish, so Grandma decided to try it on them.  I LOVE fish tacos — my new favorite food.  Has been for about a year now.  Anyway, they loved the fish, just not on tacos.  They’ll get there, eventually.  But I’m glad I was able to introduce them to something new.

On Thursday I went and got my haircut.  Quite a bit shorter than I have had, and I love it.  Something new for the new me.  LOL.  Followed my plan to find a little coffee shop and sit and write for a couple of hours.  Tried out a place called JAX coffee on 50th street.  Very nice.  Excellent food and service.  I would recommend the wonton soup if you decide to give it a try.  Got some good writing done.  Fleshed out a poem, which I think is going to get entered into a contest when it’s done.

I am feeling full of positive vibes.  I know it has mostly to do with the summer and the removal of work stress, but I’m determined to hang on to them.

Oh, yeah — I’ve registered for courses at Concordia again.  Marching ever forward.

July 29th

Day 211 — It was a work inside kind of a day.  Very cool again, but at least some sun.  Am working on some writing projects (which I will stay mum about until I’m confident that I’ll actually finish them) and just in general did house-stuff.

The pergola is all but finished.  We just need to do some of the fine details and then it will time to move furniture under and enjoy it.  I am thrilled — and, as I said before, it is beautiful.  My husband does good work.

Had dinner last night at my favorite pizza restaurant — Famoso.  A new one opened up on 97th Street near 153rd Ave.  I still think my favorite Famoso spot, though, is the one up on St. Albert Trail near the theatres.  For some reason the atmosphere and the pizza are just that much better there.  All the same my margherita pizza with Italian ham was delicious!

July 20th & 21st

Days 202 and 203 —  Yesterday — rainy and cool so decided to do more housecleaning.  Took on the main living room.  Got up close and personal with the upper windows and am looking at some re-caulking work and painting before winter.  Those window really need to be replaced, but. . .

Am continuing on my clean and purge routine.  It’s such a great feeling!  The wall unit in the living room where I keep just about everything under the sun was a big job.  I threw out a a TON of outdated manuals and junk that had accumulated over the past 23 years.  I can’t believe how much crap we stick in drawers!  I also packed away some things that just didn’t need to be collecting dust anymore.

When I got to the bottom cupboards I discovered the photo albums we used to put all our pictures in.  Looked through them quickly, got a little teary and though my intent had been to pack them up, I just couldn’t.  It’s wonderful to look back on all those pictures and see the young us.  Tim, fresh-faced with a look of eagerness and excitement in his eyes; Landon, so young with all those beautiful red curls he had as a baby and toddler — and always with a big, beautiful smile.  And, then, there’s the young me.  Looking, I thought, often far too serious, and much, much thinner.  I had smiles too, though, and it made my heart ache (just for a moment) for all those years gone.  I love my family.  I love that I have these pictures of us.  I now have a pile of pictures that need going through and placing in those albums.  Another rainy-day project.

Today was quiet.  Tim had to work and I just putzed about.  At noon I went and picked up my youngest grandson and had him come visit for the afternoon.  We worked in the yard and then I made us strawberry milkshakes.  After we played UNO and he beat me.  Four years old and already a card-shark!  I loved having that one-on-one time with him.  Doesn’t happen very often with any of them anymore.  I’m going to have to work on changing that.

I chose a new book.  It’s Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King.  A summer just isn’t a summer if I don’t get at least one SK book in.  He is my writing hero.  This book is a collection of short stories — novellas, really — and I just finished the first one.  1922 is a grim little story about being careful about what you wish for.  Vintage Stephen King.  I loved it,  though some parts were a little squeamish — but then, that’s why he’s the master.

And now, it’s off to bed.  Hope I don’t have nightmares.

Spark

I started this as an entry into some forgotten competition.  Was cleaning off what used to be my ‘writing’ desk and stumbled upon it.  Just a bit of the flotsam and jetsam that I sometimes manage to get on to paper.

 

Spark

I always wanted an Easy Bake oven, I tell her.  She looks at me with the incredulous look only an eight-year-old can have.  Her eyes say:  They had Easy-Bake ovens when you were little?  I smile.  Answer:  Yes, Hailey.  She smiles that bright quick smile I adore; caught.

My parents couldn’t afford it, I say.  She hmmphs and stirs the itty bitty bit of batter that will make three miniature whoopee pies. I am enjoying this more than I imagined I would.  Why couldn’t they afford it, she asks just before she pops a finger sticky with red velvet cake batter into her mouth.  Her eyes, big and blue, are searching.

Because I had seven brothers and sisters I say simply.  Her eyes widen.  She’s met all but one of my siblings, but she doesn’t compute that they add up to so many.  Well, I have Timmy and Ethan, she says matter-of-factly and Santa brought me one.  Oh, oh, this could be tricky.  I asked for one for my birthday, I say, hopefully dodging the “is Santa real?” question.  She considers this, is silent a moment, then just says: oh.

Easy-Bake oven baking is a lot more complicated than real baking.  All those tiny amounts of cake mix and water and icing and sprinkles are difficult to deal with.  The ‘whoopee cushions’ as Hailey calls them turn out okay, though.  They are messy as hell to put together but we do a pretty okay job of it.  There is one for each of us:  Grampa, Gramma, Hailey, Timothy and Ethan.  There is one extra.  I tell Hailey it is hers, because she’s the cook.  She’s pleased with that.

We all eat our one-and-a-half inch pies and make a suitable fuss about how good they are.  Truthfully, I find them rather dreadful and shudder to think of the myriad chemicals we’ve ingested.  But, she’s my granddaughter, they my grandsons; and I’ll do anything for them.  At that I wonder:  shouldn’t I have protected them from this, then?  What kind of grandmother allows her grandchildren to be poisoned with artificial colourings and flavouring?

The indulgent kind, that’s what kind.

And then it’s time to clean up.

Gotta get back, gotta get back. . .

Some words borrowed from The Who.

That’s really dating me, I’m afraid.

I can just imagine some younger readers going The Who who?

But, I won’t be going there.  This is not a post about old rock and roll bands.

This is a post about old me.

Although, really, I’m not old.

But, man!  Was I ever starting to act like I was!

For a couple of years now I’ve been kind of free-wheeling in place, not really knowing what I was doing or where I was going.

Over the past 6 months or so I’ve really been doing some stock-taking, some re-evaluation, some soul-searching, some trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with what’s left of my life.

And, I’ve decided I need to get back.

Back to a place inside myself where creativity once reigned supreme.

I used to pride myself on my ability to creatively problem solve.  If we didn’t have the money for something (which was quite often) I could usually come up with some way to find it.  I thought outside the box.  It was normal.

As time progressed and money became less of an issue I began to find it easier to just buy whatever it was I/we needed.

Not creative.

Well, maybe a little.  Because, I always look to get the absolute best deal I possibly can — and that can require some small measure of creativity.

There’s another word for that, I know.  Cheap. I prefer frugal.

It sounds more creative.

However, I need to get back to what I was saying.  About getting back.  Getting back to a part of myself that I’d abandoned.

About a week ago I was talking with a friend and she mentioned how she sees herself doing something entirely different from what she is currently doing.

She envisions herself as being a motivator.  Talking to others, giving them inspiration.

And I know, that if anyone can do this, my friend can.  She inspires me.

And, after I got off the phone I started thinking:  where do I see myself in 20 years time?

Sitting in front of a TV?  With knitting or crocheting?  Waiting for a phone call from my son or my grandchildren?  Waiting for the community senior’s bus to pick me up so I can go play cards or do a jigsaw puzzle?

I was horrified.  This is not what I had ever imagined for myself.

No, the future I had imagined long ago, in the time before marriage and children and grandchildren was something entirely different.

I saw myself as an adventurer, a photographer, a writer.  I saw myself as living in a place that nurtured me and inspired me and fed me.

Somewhere along the way that vision was altered.

And, not for one minute do I regret the alteration.

I have had a wonderful life up to this point.

Marriage, family, grandchildren, love in abundance.

A beautiful home, a great job, money to pay my bills and afford a few luxuries.

But, now, as time seems to slip and slide around me and I become daily more aware of the preciousness of it, I’m beginning to wonder.

Shouldn’t I be doing more with my life?  Shouldn’t I be trying to live as creatively and beautifully as I possibly can in the years left before me?

Because, really, how many are there left?

As my favorite sister and brother-in-law pointed out to us this weekend it could all end in a moment.

You could step into the shower feeling strong and healthy and then, as you step out, have your heart falter and fail.

All chances to live better, live to your potential, live with creativity– gone.

And how you are going to be remembered is who you were when you stepped into that shower.

Maybe you wanted to be someone different.  Someone who ran marathons.  Someone who wrote poetry and read it aloud in small coffee shops.  Someone who painted.  Someone who took singing lessons. Or swimming lessons. Or bungee jumped.  Or sailed around the world.

We all have dreams.  We all dream that we can do and be so much more than who we really are.

Very few of us ever actually pursue those dreams.

Because doing that takes conviction and creativity.

And being creative takes work.  It means always thinking beyond what’s obvious.

It means being willing to take a chance.

It means choosing the road less travelled, risking failure, forsaking ‘normal’.

I don’t know yet what it is exactly I’m going to do, but I do know it’s going to be something great.

I don’t mean great as in President of the United States great (I am Canadian, after all).  I mean great in that it will make me feel great, make me feel as though each day I live has meaning and purpose.

It’s going to be fun and I’m going to do it with joyful abandon.

I’m going to get creative.

I’m going to inspire the people I love most in this life to live their lives the same way.

To their fullest, most creative potential.

That’s something I wouldn’t mind being remembered for.

My New Year Plan for 2013

Jar full of memories -- what will mine be?Image courtesy Google images.

Jar full of memories — what will mine be?
Image courtesy Google images.

Saw this neat idea on Facebook about creating a jar full of happy memories that you would then review at the end of the year.  It’s very simple:  you take a large, empty mason jar and every time something good happens in your life you write it down on a piece of paper and stick it in the jar.  On December 31st you open the jar and read all the wonderful things you experienced throughout the year.

I think this sounds like a terrific idea — sort of the daily affirmation thing (that I’ve kind of let slide lately).  But, what I’m going to do is use my blog as my jar and post my good things on here, and, I’m going to try and post something each day.

That’s 365 good things, one small post a day.  I think —  I hope — I can manage it.  Surely, there has to be at least one nice thing that happens each day.  This little experiment will prove it.

I sometimes find myself feeling very depressed and sorry for myself, but when I look back at my wonderful life I can see that really I have nothing to despair about.  Anything that bothers me is usually because I choose to let it bother me.  There is so much in my life that I have to be happy and grateful for that maybe by writing down one thing each day I will stay focused on that.

And so, with that little preamble, here goes.

Monday, near the end of November

It’s hard to believe, but this month is nearly at an end.  December is a mere 5 days away.

December.

Christmas.

The longest night of the year.

The beginning of the depths of winter.

It has been an exceptionally rough Fall this year.  For me, anyway.  I’ve had what I think is more than my fair share of trials and tribulations.  That may sound like whining, but I’m being honest when I say it’s been a helluva long haul.  And it ain’t over yet.

Oh, no.  There’s still plenty coming my way.  Only now, I’ve managed to gain a modicum of perspective and I think I’ll manage to get myself through without too much trouble.  (That’s my fervent hope, anyway.)

I’ve had help from those nearest and dearest who have listened, talked, calmed and helped me see that it isn’t as bleak as I sometimes paint, and when I’ve felt that I’ve painted myself into a corner they’ve been there with the rags and the thinner to help show me the way out.  I truly am blessed.

Sometimes, it’s easy to lose your perspective.  Easy to give into the dark thoughts and fears that wait for the times when you’re feeling weak and vulnerable.  But, with perseverance and love and kindness, eventually you’ll see that all the good, joyful, wonderful bits that make life bearable are still there and that they can overcome your fears and insecurities.

I don’t know why, really, it was so hard for me this year.  Usually, I’m pretty tough.  I can take just about anything and bounce back ready to fight.  But this time around. . .

. . .I don’t know.  The fight seemed to go out of me.  I’m tired of fighting, I guess.  And that confused the hell out of me.  Because if I’m not ready to fight, then what am I to do?

I know what I want to do — and that is simply just to be.  I want to relax in the evenings and bake cookies if I feel like it.  I want to go out for leisurely strolls in the cold winter evenings, even though I hate the cold.

I want to curl up on the couch and read.  Pick up the crochet book and the yarn I bought.  I want to rearrange my bedroom.  I want to wander over and see what my grandkids are up to and then wander back home and have a hot cup of tea and go to bed.

But right now I’m not capable of any of that.  Right now I’m simply rallying.  Rallying my defences — physical, mental and emotional.  And that is taking a lot out of me.  Slowly, slowly I’m beginning to feel strong again, a little bit of the fight in me is showing through again.  It won’t, I don’t think, ever come fully back.  And that, I believe, is because I won’t let it.

It’s time for me to take care of me.  There’s only so much of yourself that you can give away before something inside you gives way.  It’s been a tough lesson, one I would have thought I was too old to learn.

Apparently I was wrong.

I’m hoping that my mind is a little clearer a little more free again and that one of these days I’ll start writing something besides these angsty, self-analysis posts.  Until then, thanks to everyone who has continued to check in on my meagre and sporadic offerings.

The glass half full — with cranberries!

Saturday morning

Just a little bit about being grateful —
Today
I am grateful for
My health
My family
My life;
I am grateful for
Fresh ground coffee
Irish cream to go with it
And time to enjoy it;
I am grateful for
Generosity
Optimism and
Spirit;
I am grateful
For words,
My love of them and
My ability to use them;
I am grateful for
Friends
Laughter
Love.

Wednesday, Aug. 8th

Well, I did it.  I submitted a piece of writing.  Now, I’ll wait and see.

 

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