Daily Prompt: Take Two – In and Out

I am late getting to the Daily Prompt at WordPress.com because I slept late.  Now the why of sleeping late is rather embarrassing but it goes something like this:

Yesterday I ached

And knowing it must be

From the warm front

Moving in.

So as I finished

The last of my three

Library books,

I laid

All day

Reading.

By the time

I should have

Been sailing off

To the Land of Nod

I was wide,

Wide Awake.

Anyway now for the prompt: Run outside.  Take a picture of the first thing you see.  Run inside,  Take a picture of the second thing you see.  Write about the connection between these two random objects, people, or scenes.

Grabbing my camera I ran outside.  Literally ran since that was the instruction and I am basically a rule follower.

Snow going!

Snow going!

The first thing?  Yup.  I mentioned warm winds the other day and the thirsty force of nature gobbled up my snow.

My  winter

My winter

It’s a far cry from the photo I posted the other day (as above).

Next I ran again. (instructions and rules you know)

 

Windows open

Windows open

 

And this is what came up on the second look: Open windows, every where in the house beckoning in this false spring.

Birds are singing.  Residual snow in the first photo is even less this few minutes later.  The darned old Magnolia tree is again in bud as are so many other trees.  False springs are such a danger for crops due later as a freeze is certain to follow and the rhythm of nature will be off and in the long run it will mean more failed crops, less food and higher priced food in the future.

BUT on such a day (it is 12 cenlsius which in real language is 53.6 F) it is impossible not to let ones heart soar in the glorious warmth.  Yup for Canucks this is almost shorts and Tee weather!  Because after all we Canadians are a hardy lot!

Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: Meaningful Possessions

I am a little late to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge Being Saturday and all.  The subject matter is ‘ tell us about your most meaningful possession and since I have spent most of my life making sure that possessions were not meaningful, I honestly thought I had nothing to contribute.

Then last night outside under the stars I asked myself that same question and the answer came crystal clear.  I do have one possession that matters.  Would I fight to the death over it?  No, but while I have it with me I will savor the meaning and remember.

Dad's leather purse

Most Meaningful Possession

My Dad is not someone I write an awful lot about which always puzzles  me because he was the center of my existence.  While my mother tried to teach me how to darn socks (darned if I could understand why – being the diva I was I could not see myself ever darning anything), and knit and keep the house cool in  the summer by pulling down the blinds on the east side in the morning and on the west side in the afternoon, my Dad taught me other things.

Have you found it surprising, if you have ever had to clean out a home after someone dies, what seemed important to that person?  Have you ever held an object and wondered why it was stored in a tin box with other seemingly meaningless objects?

When it was time to do this for my father there were a number of treasure found.  His gold ring with his initials had been left to me but I decided it should go to the oldest son of the oldest son and gave it to my brother for his son.

There was one treasure I was not even aware of until about ten  years ago (and Dad died in 1981).  The gift came from my sister.  I wondered at it at first as it was a small suede leather bag measuring three and half inches at its base, two inches at its neck and five inches in length.  And leather tie to tighten it.  Engraved into the leather appears to be a Mayan calander or something zodiac like.  I truly do not know exactly what it is.  This bag and other ‘treasures’ were kept in an old tin box in his top drawer.  It was a pretty beat up tin box and I remember seeing it as a young child and wishing I could see inside.

Anyway I thought this was a strange gift but I was touched deeply and then my sister said, “open it”.

Inside were five pennies, each with the birth year of my brothers and sisters and me, and one nickle with my birth year.

Meaningful possessions

The feeling of holding something my dad felt was important enough to be a tin box treasure and understanding the depth and the heart of my sister was overwhelming.

There has never been another gift that has meant as much and each time I pull that leather string to close the bag I feel like I am ensuring my family is tucked in safely.

Die for it if I had to?  You know what?  Just maybe!

This Writer: The Unsuspected Truth

My mind sometimes rides on an endless roller coaster trying to sort out unsortable things.

Truth is one of those – the truth we think we see and the truth as perceived by another.

I had an old friend long ago.  She was old in tenure and age with friends of all ages.  As a matter of fact I and many others called her ‘Mum‘.  She was born sometime around 1916 and lived in a large stately home her father had built in the town of Preston.  She and her sister grew up learning good housekeeping from a very young age and when their school day ended they dusted both banisters of the front and back staircases.

She grew up well mannered, polite and demure as was expected of all ‘ladies’.  She was always a lady.

We became friends in 1967 when I was a nursing student and she a patient. A couple of years later I went to live with ‘Mum’ and ‘Pop’.

She died in 2002 after a few years as a widow.  She always kept her emotions in check as a lady should, through the death of her daughter and the difficulties with her son.  She never spoke out of line.  Never uttered a word of despaiir or anger.  Her daily life, for her whole life was centered in the kitchen, preparing food, planning, cleaning… After dinner ‘Pop’ retired to the living room  to watch TV as we cleaned up.

When her daily chores were done (about 8pm) she would go up the back stairs to the small room where she kept her craft supplies.  There she remained until time for bed.  She said it was truly the only time in a day that was hers.

Once Pop passed away she continued living there, taking care of the house and grounds.  One of the things I talked about at her funeral was that she appeared to have no problems.  She seemed to view them as challenges to be solved quietly.  When she could no longer kneel to garden she she would sit on a plastic garbage bag and slide along the ground.  When she could no longer carry things upstairs she filled a basket attached to a rope on the top railing and pull it up once she got to the top floor.

We spent many many evenings after a meal playing cards and talking.  The only time she ever used an unladylike word was during cards when just before she threw down a winning hand she would say, “I’ll show you where the bear sh*t in the buckwheat.” They were spirited games filled with moans groans and laughter.

As her time here on this earth became shorter she started to get her house in order. Literally. Wanted to make it easier for her son, her only living child.  She also started writing down the family history and told me tales of yore.

One Wednesday I suddenly felt an  urgent  need to see her so I stopped in on my way home from work.  She was pretty quiet during the meal and later during cards.  Quite suddenly, out of the blue, she said she was going to have a stroke and would be found on the kitchen floor.  She said it factual like not expressing emotion.  Just real quiet.  I opened my mouth to say I would stay the night in my old room but a message as clear as a bell came to me.  “You cannot stay.  Death is in this house. You cannot stay.”  I tried to get my mind around the thought and again the words were clear.

She held me for a long time that night as we hugged on the front porch and the next day I got a call from her Grandson who spontaneously decided to stop in to visit.  He looked through the kitchen window to find her lying on the floor.

But that’s not what I started to tell you –  as ‘truth’ and what we perceive are so often different things.  I asked ‘Mum’ after she had been widowed for awhile if she would ever marry again.  To me she had always seemed a woman happy in her role in life.  The crisp anger in her voice startled me,

“I would never marry again.  I spent my life looking after my family and my husband.  I was a good wife and mother and did a good job.  Now I get to look after me.”. And then we got up and went to the living room where she sat in ‘Pop’s’ easy chair and watched television.

She also told me that she followed the rules she was raised by.  “Never say anything in complaint and you can never get in trouble.  If I had it to do over I would talk up.”

So the truth I believed about an admirable always politically correct woman was not the truth of how she felt.  Marguerite was an amazing strong incredible woman and all who knew her were blessed.

Imperfect Memories

If you knew you only had a few days or a few months to live, what would you do with that time?  This thought has been on my mind lately and I can’t figure out if it is something to seriously consider or if it is an excuse to not do other things that wait for my attention.  But by devoting time for this one can only hope that one thing will lead to another and I do like to multitask so…

I am a few months short of my sixty-fifth birthday and realize that just having outlived my parents I am not sure of my own longevity.  It’s hard to beat your genes.  Who would I like to read this story?  Certainly my children and the rest of my family but there is a danger in sharing with my brothers and sisters as I have discovered each of us has a different memory of a past event which just goes to prove the old idea of the truth being completely subjective and perhaps nonexistent in its purest form.  I know I have posted on this blog memories of events and my brother and sister have pointed out a different or corrected version (very kindly of course).  This is probably a good thing as they are younger than I so perhaps their minds are a little fresher.

Distant memory in particular is colored by what we think happened and our ensuing experiences and emotions.  And of course we choose to believe or remember a specific thing or occurrence according to our own mind.  One of my brothers believes my grandparents did not own their home because he remembers seeing a box with rent receipts after they died.  He may have forgotten that at least one offspring and family lived in that house with them continually for many years and yes they all paid rent.  That included my parents, two aunts and several others for shorter periods of time.  So he, my brother, would swear on a stack of bibles that they never owned that house even though the family sold it after Grandpa’s death.  Fortunately my one living paternal aunt can verify this and explains that she was fourteen when she had to quit school to stay home and look after her younger brother and sister so my grandmother could get a job to make money to buy the house which they purchased when my dad was overseas.

This is one of the reasons I tend to avoid reading famous people’s autobiographies – just too subjective.  So if you are reading this little story and share memories of the past with me, please understand this is my recollection and while I will strive to be accurate it just can’t be more than my own mind and heart will let it be.

My dad joined the army when he was seventeen, and yes he was underage, but it was 1941 and the Second World War was raging so a lot of youngsters were allowed to enlist as age wasn’t questioned much.  We have a couple of letters  that he sent home when he was posted overseas and one letter from his younger brother who I think was only fourteen at the time.  I will dig them out and scan them for the record and will tell you more about that at a later time.

I think now and then about the sort of things I want my children to know about such as old wood stoves that baked pies and cakes and wonderful homemade stews and soups, old dial black telephones and numbers that began with words or initials.  Our phone number was Sherwood 2—2 and the Sherwood was dialed as SH so the number in fact was 742—-2.  (Naturally I have the exact number in the family version but it would not be a good idea to publish it in the event someone else now has that number).  Everyone in those days was on a party line, so if you wanted to make a call you first picked up the receiver to be sure the line was clear.  Mind you at any time a neighbor could pick up their phone and listen in and if they were skilled at making the click very quiet you would never know.  I suppose if you were of the paraniod persuasion clicks were heard when no one was there.  People did not use the phone unless it was necessary.  There was no idle chatter.  There was also no such thing as cordless, caller ID, or speaker.  Oh, and no such thing as colors.  It was black and very heavy as I remember.

The one below is exactly like ours and everyone else’s for that matter.

 

There were no phone jacks that lines plugged into so if the cord was snapped from the wall you had to call the phone company to come in and repair it.  Now I must qualify the not using the phone unless it was necessary part.  I do recall vaguely the odd Saturday when our parents were out making prank calls that generally went, “Hello, is your refrigerator running? Well you better run after it!”  We just dialed numbers randomly and have no idea who we contacted and they sure could not trace us.

It is my intention not to reveal any family skeletons as such; at least I think I will not, as many of those old bones are not mine to share.  Neither will I necessarily whitewash things but the memories are pretty happy nostalgic ones.  I guess we will just have to wait and see as layers of the dusty past are removed.  I have also decided that I will not try to stay on a chronological path as memories seem to pop up in a rather irregular fashion and that is how they will be recorded.  I’ve tried the chronological thing in the last couple of years and it drives me bonkers.

My folks were married in Scotland and she being a war bride followed him here to Kitchener Ontario a few months after his return.  I have spoken with my aunt who is my mom’s younger sister and the last of that family of siblings and my aunt who is the last remaining member of my dad’s siblings and have asked as many questions as I could about their youth and what they remember.  As both are well into their eighties the memories are very subjective but amazingly detailed.  Besides what are memories if they have to be objective?  The full flavor of life is in the personal bias of it all.  That’s where the fun comes in!

Well now that I have that all straightened out I shall ponder a little more and then get down to some real work.  I won’t share every record of history with you but when the little oddities such as telephones pop up I will keep you in mind.

 

The Life of Jamie requires assistance

http://thelifeofjamie.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/the-dinner-blood-pressure-rise/

My poor frustrated blogging pal Jaime is facing a certain brick wall and has posted a plea on her site above. It seems her wee ones have limited culinary tastes and regardless of attempts to make said meals delightful and intriguing and fun, they refuse to play the game. Now I know she will get some great advice, but having from current young parents but I do have a couple of suggestions compliments of my currant experience as Granny Nanny, Queen of Hamilton.
We are pretty lucky with G1 as he is eight, in a growth spurt with a matching appetite, There are several things he won’t eat but is becoming more adventurous in trying new things. Breakfast is probably the worst meal of the day for him.
G2 on the other hand sounds much like what you are experiencing.

Suggestions:
Throwing them in the oven is a no no and has been ever since that wicked witch tried to lure Hansel and Gretal into her pot. Society frowned. Sorry kid.

I have found lunch more successful with G2 when we sit quietly at the table with only the plate in front of him. I only put out the milk after he has eaten a significant amount. He always asks for dessert but he must meet a certain standard and alas dessert is not always attained.

I don’t send him to his room as he is a grandchild, but I will say there is nothing further til dinner. When my sons were that age they were excused from the table but not sent to their rooms. This way they had a view to the rest of us enjoying our food. I don’t think I would remove their toys as then it becomes a punishment rather than a matter of choice and really once they get hungry it sure makes them appreciate the next meal. Although I could be wrong on this or on any bits I offer.

For G1’s breakfast as he honestly doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite I make a smoothie that includes a whole banana, milk and fruit, blueberries, or mixed berries or melons. I also add a small amount of ice cream. But it means he gets something nutritious.

I don’t know if this is of any help but am sure you will receive many other words of wisdom.  So if  y’all have some advice please head off to let her know.

A Proclamation of Love, A Declaration of Intent

My ever entertaining 3 year old G2 is telling all who will listen he is going to marry Mommy.  To prepare for said nuptuals he is brushing his teeth at least three times a day, more if he could get away with it.  Today he asked for his shaving kit, a child’s Christmas toy he received complete with cream, razor, mirror and brush and proceeded to spruce himself up.  The same goes for hair combing.

He adores his Mom, her blue eyes, long blonde hair..she is perfect.  Previous to this his affections were reserved for Ariel the Mermaid and then Rapunsel all of whom have long hair.

He first mentioned his intent yesterday and I replied that it was a wonderful idea.  This morning he mentioned it again, watching me closely for my reaction.  Again I told him that was wonderful.  Then he said, “I told my Daddy and Daddy said ‘no’ that Mommy is his.  But I am going to marry her.”  He is pleased that Daddy seems on board with the idea now.

In addition it has become a training tool in matters so far unsuccessful.  He has developed an attachment to his soother lately.  Today Daddy told him to put it away and when he firmly replied, “No”, Daddy said he didn’t think Mommy would want to marry anyone with a soother.

“Fine,” he said and promptly deposited it in the kitchen.  Now if we can just use this to ensure number 2 is properly looked after.

I remember both my sons at the same age deciding they were going to marry Mommy.  Then at about 8 they felt it necessary to assure me that,”Mommy, I will live with you forever.”  And that is exactly where G1 is at that exact age.

Ah the purity and sincerity of youth.  I love it!

Beyonce JZ New Baby..YuuuCh

I am so sick of overly rich people adoring their new borns.  Even Jennifer Garner who I have admired says she will do anything for the happiness of her children.  Excuse me but that turns my old age stomach.  Life, and I don’t care how rich you are, is not easy and children should,in my opinion, be taught that it is hard, something to be conquered.  Instead the new young are being taught they are adored, and will grow to believe the world owes them something, and by God they will throw a tantrum until they get it.

For some reason, far beyond my ken, life is meant to be hard, I don’t know why but it is.  I don’t care if you believe in fate, the now of it all, or nothing at all.  Life is hard.  And if you think that parents who give all to their young on a silver platter, and constantly tell them…you are wonderful, you are magic, you are the be all and end all…well all I can say there is much disappointment waiting beyond tomorrow.

There are lessons to be learned.  Forget the silver platters because when it comes down to the nuts and bolts of it all..well there are just nuts and bolts.

What have you taught your children today?   What will they remember?

I sit here looking at my warming soothing ….

I sit here looking at my warming soothing fireplace, somewhat disconcerted because this was to be a go getum kind of day. Instead it is a day of naps, reading blogs and watching fav movies, which so far have included Ghost and The Blind Side.

It occurred to me that it is okay to succumb to lethargy and snuggling today. Physically, emotionally and spiritually I am drained and now I see today as a day to recharge. Batteries only recharge when plugged in and at rest.
I wasn’t sure I was even capable of a post.

But then my friend Katherine Gordy Levine at emotfit.wordpress.com responded to my ‘I asked for wisdom’ post with this:

“Reminds me of my favorite line from the movie The Field of Dreams.

Some days you win.
Some days you lose.
Some days it rains.

My mother raised me on a number of sayings. Two were: “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” and “Nothing ventured, nothing gained. ”

As she often does Katherine got me thinking about sayings we we raised on way back when in the middle of the last century, and that took me to thoughts of my Dad. I have written about my Mom and others, and although I was always closer to my Dad I have not yet felt ready to share him with y’all quite yet. But sayings we had a’plenty.

A WORD FITLY SPOKEN is like pitchers of silver and apples and gold, the source of course being the bible. Dad had us repeat those words whenever we argued with each other, and chose to ignore the fact it was recited in a pouty grump of a voice. It must have worked as we all speak pretty decently to folk and adulthood seems to have taken care of our need to argue. We all genuinely like each other in addition to the required sibling love and socialize often.

Every ‘goodnight daddy see you tomorrow was met with, “if the good Lord is willin’

Mom’s frequent saying was, ‘You made your bed, now you have to lie in it.’. I had to give this one lots of thought because it seemed to me that I lie in my bed whether I made it or not. Some things I spent a lot of time figuring out I wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.

In the winter with five kids in and out a lot it was: ‘Close the door we’re not heating up the outside.’

Well now I could stretch my mind for more nuggets of the past but will settle for the night and get this posted before my midnight. I’m still kicking around the 365challenge but not sure what one field or area I could blog on 365 of anything…I mean 366challenge.

Fall Feelings of Futility

Fall Feelings of Futility

I had a thought today on the cozy heart warming pleasure there is in taking a fall walk through rustling leaves.

I find the sound of shuffling my feet and kicking up the russet carpet to be a very satisfying one as listening somehow takes me back to childhood. Not to any one particular event mind you, just a feeling of youth.

That gentle comforting thought lasted through the first step into the yard as G2 and I headed out for a little fun bagging leaves. As I gathered piles to scoop up he did just the opposite. I tell you that child got lots of exercise and fresh air and I got a healthy dose of frustration until finally I got into the fun of it by developing a sense of humor and so in our own way we worked away and I found I just needed to work faster than he to make headway.

But there is a question that crosses my mind now and then, generally at this time of year. Why do we even have to pick up leaves? It seems to me that leaves provide a warm blanket, a sort of protective layer between the lawn and snow.  Is that not one of natures natural fertilizer?  That the leaves will rot and provide nutrition to the lawn?

It will be obvious to all of you by now that I am not a gardener of any sort, and I hope my question doesn’t sound too silly, but really doesn’t it make sense?

First Failed Flush of Love – Actually

Ah First Love

First Failed Flush of Love Actually
 
These slightly overcast hot humid July mornings sometimes serve up, in addition to a light sprinkling of temporary rain, a particular memory from a land far away, a time long ago. Actually a time long ago not so much on the land faraway, except it does seem in my mind to have been a million miles away. A land distanced by time I guess.
 
We were going on vacation to a cottage probably somewhere in the Haliburton or Muskoka region of Ontario where lakes meet forest meet city dudes for a limited week or two each year. It had to have been the late fifties, a time before, air conditioning, seat belts, road service and car radios that could receive signals outside a city limits.
 
Cars broke down all the time, or at least threatened to, but were easily fixed with a patch, hot air, or a good smack along it’s frame. I remember one trip where the engine kept overheating and the only solution was to drive with the heat blowing on max on the hottest day of the year.
 
There were seven of us that year, two parents and five kids and I cannot remember what kind of car it was but it easily accommodated four or five wee bodies. I’m thinking we were between twelve and six years old. I was the oldest and considered myself a diva of sorts without knowing that word existed, and for sure possessed that false prepubescent sophistication where really, nothing associated with family was good enough for this princess and Mom and Dad became Mother and Father and really, what kind of car we drove and where we went was below my level of interest..sigh.
 
I don’t remember much about the cottage except it must have had walls, enough bedrooms and probably and indoor loo as that is one memory that would have caught my royal attention.
 
One day on the beach, no, not white sand, probably a stony beach with large rocks lining the shore, I found myself talking to a boy. There was none of the discomfort or awkwardness that preteens often start to feel, just nice pleasant conversation. It turned out that he lived very close to my house and knew my brother. Then the conversation took a turn that screamed, ‘hormones at work here!’ but of course I would not recognize that message for a few years.
 
“How old are you?” he asked.
 
Not sure what to say here as all of a sudden it occurred to me that I did not want him to know I was just a silly kid (it seems the diva devil flees in the face of true love). After a pause I countered brilliantly with, “How old are you?” feeling much like Baby must have felt when she uttered the words, “I carried a watermelon.”
 
“Fifteen,” he replied, head down, hands in his pockets and kicking dirt with his right foot.
Whew, I knew it was safe to lie since he obviously was not fifteen.
 
“Well I’m fourteen,” and he nodded. He said that his family was going home the next day, (and mine still had a week to go), and asked if he could call me for a date sometime.
 
Our week passed and I soon forgot about the encounter but a few days after returning home I got a phone call. Now phone calls back then were rare. No one actually phoned unless there was a specific purpose to said call. And there were party lines so every conversation could be heard by most of the neighborhood.
 
Anyway, the call came on a Saturday morning and he asked if I could go to the matinee that afternoon with him?
I asked my Mom, and explained who this fellow was, and my brother corroborated his decent character, and Mom said yes.
 
I was a bit in awe at the potential of a first date but was pretty cool and calm about it, while my mother made me put on an actual dress and comb my hair (I was pretty much a tomboy like Trixie Belden then so gave no thought to ‘dressing up.’
 
Then I waited. And waited. And waited. I was not particularly upset, just a little confused maybe but I had not invested any hopes and dreams in this guy so it was no biggie, although looking back; it probably was for my mother.
 
Later that day a hurried whispered call came from my suitor who apologized for not showing up because his Mom had gotten mad at him and grounded him. He sounded totally humiliated and embarrassed.
“No problem,” said I, quite sincerely and meaning it. And then I promptly forgot about it, except every now and then on a hot humid overcast, July morning, my mind does that little time travel thing, where I find myself standing on a stony beach.
 


*The ‘Actually’ series are stories of childhood and family and memories.

Thanks to Photobucket for providing photos.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 312 other followers

Archives

blogsurfer.us

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 312 other followers

%d bloggers like this: