Category Archives: Family

WHAT IF THE SOURCE OF ….

WHAT IF THE SOURCE OF WESTERN problems all stemmed from one evil? Societal restlessness, increased suicides and attempts, especially among the young, increased violent crimes, an increasingly hopelessness infused into each moment.

I wonder if we have let ourselves be duped, not unlike those of times long past who fell victim to purveyors of handy dandy things to make your life better, happier, bring you joy, ease.

You see I wonder if all our problems exist because of a collision of expectation and reality. Just like the anorexic young girl who cannot resolve her body image with that of skinny air brushed models we have been sold a load of nonsense about happiness.

That’s right. What if our expectation of happiness is not real, but an idea invented by small time scammers who made delusion a big time business.

Just like the simple country folk in the frontier days, shelling out hard earned dollars or cents (cents were so much more valuable then) to a shyster convincing them that the purchase of a bottle of mysterious happy juice would make your life, heart, or soul better, we began, decades ago buying up and into nonsense that life was all about being happy.

By the way the purveyors of this nonsense, who kept saying, look at me, how happy I am, You can be happy just like me, were indeed happy as society shelled out billions of dollars in books, on courses, in classes, advertising. At least they appeared that way externally, though I suspect their inner souls were just as bleak as any.

In the sixties the cry was, I am trying to find myself. Who am I?

Then along came the big roll out. Meditation, examination, imagination, any ATION, and all you had to do were pay. Happiness became a product. Buy this, be happy. Happiness in a bottle, a pill, a house, a car, a dress,……Or the most dangerous, Buy This Book, Idea Psychobabble told us imagine, visualize, believe, and it will manifest. The use of the word Manifest in itself should be a crime. And for those who tried to MANIFEST and did not succeed? Well they just did not do it right. We were, and continue to this day, we are being sold a Bill of Goods. It only fills the pockets of the sellers who are scamming you me and future generations. Sure they are happy, laughing at our gullibility all the way to the bank.

Then we came to believe that we had to convince our children they are happy or rather they should be happy. That life is all about being happy. They are not allowed to fail, to feel the pain of loss and know that it is okay, a part of life that makes us stronger. And they buy our Bill of Goods and become confused, depressed, and fearful when they cannot quite grasp this feeling they should have. What is wrong with me, they say. I must be deficient.

The pursuit of the illusive HAPPINESS has gone off to a realm of ridiculousness and people, especially our young are falling apart.

What if it all could be fixed?

What if we made a society (and we can by the way) where key words became, DIGNITY, HARD WORK, DETERMINATION, PERSERVERENCE, KINDNESS, NON-JUDGEMENT, VALUE PERSISTENCE.

What if we retaught ourselves that it is okay to fail, that there is a dignity in failing and falling? That failing does not mean unworthy? What if there was honor in the struggle?

What if we let our children know that it is okay not to feel happy in any given moment?

What if the new word became Satisfaction? Not in the result but in the attempt to live a good hard working honorable life. (with heavy emphasis on the hard working) and at the end of each day to feel a satisfaction?

Life is messy, and hard, and at time so sad and lonely, and painful but there is a worth to life, a Satisfaction that must be earned.

Let’s take a huge load of our children’s minds. It’s okay to be sad, mad, even glad. Let them know LIFE IS HARD, but can be rewarding instead of setting up an illusion called Happiness. And rewards must be earned.

What if Happiness exists as a by-product of this thing called LIFE?

Friday Toppers 12/366

Above is a photo of my last two hats and one pair of mittens.  I made them for my grandsons, both of whom love them. (I wasn’t sure but yes they loved them.)

Before I start my next project I thought I would use the rest of my blue yarn and make a few more hats.  Generally I do these kind of things in the summer to have them ready to donate to charity in the fall.  For some reason I feel the need to make more so will continue on.  Following my feelings always pays off.

I saw Auntie this morning and we talked about what it was like sailing across the ocean on a liner.  I am not much for boats so am in awe of those folk who traverse the water to reach a destination.    Her mind comes and goes, wandering off now and then, so conversation is patient and interesting.  She did talk about the joys of having a wonderful partner for over thirty years but the pain of the big goodbye.

It is hard to believe it is finally the middle of the month.  The first week seemed to drag on endlessly until the second week found it’s roller skates and sped up.

I finished a few books; Clive Cussler’s Ghost Ship, Sue Grafton’s Undertow ( a reread), an Agatha Christie Hercule Poirot short story.  Books and stories are my comfort blanket.  Lost a dear friend of the family this past week, my age, so have a funeral to attend Monday morning.

It is important I think to find joy and humor is each day.  It is there.

OH almost forgot! Judith at growingyoungereachday and Donna at Scatter Kindness and I are starting a fiction writing course on Monday.  The course is from Future Learn at https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction/

The course is  FREE! Check it out and hopefully join us!

Have a good weekend all!

Feeling Bad about Missing a Midnight Deadline Until You Realize it Might Not Be Missed 11/366

 

I missed the midnight deadline, a post, which by the way was about the reliability of midnight deadlines. Had it all planned. It was the execution that proved problematic.

See, in the world of daily blogging I have fallen a little behind. Advanced to the Rear as they say, except it was not an aggressive advancement which should count for something I think.

If you take note of the date you will see it is the thirteenth of the month. Really, here we are almost halfway through the first month of 2016.

I have accepted the reality of this being after midnight, though I suppose of could call dibs on the midnight next to come, say in Manitoba, or British Columbia. I could just date it the 12th, then I am just a wee bit behind. But no I will stand tall and loudly proclaim my allegiance to midnight in Southern Ontario. And let the chips fall where they may. Hmmm wish I had some chips here to snack on. I am not usually up this late, but I have things weighing on my mind so this happens occasionally. You know the staying up late part.

Any commentary up to this month relating to El Nino and the lack of snow in my part of the world can now be put to bed with the bears.   Winter has arrived!

Yesterday morning I did not brave the trek to my usual Café O to meet with my peeps. By midday it was over cast and damp so I made the 12 km run to The Home to see our favorite Aunt. The plows had been out so the roads weren’t too bad as long as one drove slowly leaving lots of distance between cars.

We had a nice visit, tea and chatter. Frannie was able to tell me about someone who had come to see her earlier that day, she spoke of Jack but knew he had died a long time ago. The only thing she was unable to do? She had no idea who I was. Oh she was pleased to see me, she knew she must know me. And she was very socially polite but I could see her trying to figure out exactly who I was. She just could not remember.

It leads to anxiety and more confusion. Then in a blink that part of the picture clears though another piece of the puzzle fogs.

Six Word Saturday: Puff, You Said This Would Happen 8/366

Peter, Paul & Mary – Puff, The Magic Dragon Lyrics

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Little Jackie paper loved that rascal puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. ohPuff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow whene’r they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Dragons live forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant strings make way for other toys.
One sad night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

G2 who has been by my side every day almost since he was three is growing up. He turns eight in March so I knew it was coming.  He still loves his grandma but his world is larger now.
I went to Hamilton for an overnight visit Wednesday evening.  Everything was almost the same.  He still wanted to go for our penny walk, which netted no pennies but lots of information and camaraderie.  But later I noticed he was not at my side.
G2, I called where are you?
In my room playing Grandma.
Do you want me to  play too?
No, its okay Grandma.
G2, you aren’t playing with me the way you usually do.
Oh Grandma, I am more like (G1) now.  I am growing up.
Sigh.
On the Auntie Fran side of things I thought I would show you what we have been up to. Above is a sample of our art work compiled while we have tea and chat each day. ( I have no idea how to position photos with this site.)
Most often Fran sorts through her coloring pencils then will color a bit but spends most of the time chatting and watching me.
When we left our love bird story we had Fran who felt she was down to earth and realistic about her own unattractiveness and Uncle Jack who felt he could charm the world.
Fran had agreed finally to go out to dinner with him.  She says now she wasn’t particularly impressed at that first date but he was pleasant enough.  She politely declined the suggestion of another date and went on her merry way.  But he did persist.  I am not sure what the second date was but it was interesting enough that it caught her interest.  And that was enough to get her to the all important stage – meeting the family.
I mentioned previously that the group of nurses who traveled the world together stayed together.  When they arrived at a new place they all shared apartments.
Fran told me years ago how sometimes one of them would ‘bring home a man’ and then she felt compelled to launch into her lecture on such activities.  She told them that if they must engage in such activity then so be it, they were adults, but please make sure you do it on his territory.”
“You never soil your own nest.” A saying she would repeat again and again.  It was the sixties but ‘free love’ did not exist everywhere no matter what you hear.

6/366 When It’s Short It’s Probably Busy

 

I am in Hamilton staying overnight as I have an appointment in the morning here.

Saw my fave Aunt this morning, then it was off to my first Tai Chi class, which I loved, then motored to Hamilton.

Visiting with my newly returned from Hawaii family.  It’s only been four days so they are still sporting nice tans. The time zone adjustments took a bit of time but everyone seems back to normal.

Frannie gets a little confused sometimes and will think Jack is still alive (he has been gone more than a decade) and then when she remembers she grieves anew.  These days she is pretty good so all conversation is just nice memories.  We were talking about Jack’s fave hobby which was fishing.  Now Fran cannot abide anything that comes from the sea, especially if it was once alive and is now dead in preparation for consumption.

She never belittled his passion and would properly ooooo and ahhhh over the catch of the day. They respected each other’s feelings. Thank goodness Jack was an A1 cook and we would feast mightily.

Five Days and It Feels Like a Year 5/366

I just thinking the other day – I wonder how long it will continue to feel like a new year.  You know, when your first morning thought is not, -Wow it’s a new year.  There is a certain deliciousness in the feeling.  Sort of how you feel when you get a brand new car.  A sense of awe.

But life intrudes, you know, with life things.  What is that saying? “Life gets in the way.”  Yeah I think that is it.

Conditions change, people get sick and get well. Some things you expect as you age.  As your friends age.  And sometimes the threat is to  younger people.

I was just saying not too long ago to a dear friend, Judith, that someone should write a book about cancer.  About something that never seems to be addressed.  I mean people discuss, write, argue about ‘fighting’, about “surviving’.  But there is one word that describes cancer perfectly.  Waiting.  Eternally waiting.  That’s what it all becomes about. The Sword of Damocles.  Hanging there.  Always.  Just try and live a normal life while you wait.  Hah.

No, it’s not me.  The Big C and I did our dance over a year ago and so far so good.  But it is someone.  And the thing is that for the next forever there is THE WAIT.

Wait – something may be wrong

Wait – we have to do some more tests

Wait – we have to do some MORE tests just to be sure

Wait – you have cancer

Wait- we have to do this bit of surgery to see how bad it could be.

Wait – we have to do more surgery

Wait – we have to do more tests

Wait- we have to do this treatment, that treatment

Wait – we have to do more tests

WAIT WAIT WAIT

Your life and everyone who loves you waits.  No promises.  No conclusions.  Just wait. Suspended Animation.

LIMBO.  Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone.  Imagine if you will.  That’s how he started each of his shows.  Imagine if you will…..

Or don’t imagine.  Just try not imagining. HAH

Well enough of my grumping for now.  I saw our Auntie Fran this morning as I do most days.  She was telling me that she was seventeen when she went into Nurses Training.  So that would have been 1951.  She said training lasted for four years and most of it was working on the units.  It was pretty much the same when I trained in 1966 and I still think it is a superior way to learn.  But for her it was six days a week, twelve hours a day when on the units.

To appreciate our love story you have to understand the two people involved.  I already told you Uncle Jack was a charmer.  Aunt Fran was the exact opposite.  Down to earth.  Her early years were spent during the second world war.  Her father gone into service, rationing and hardship for everyone not just for her.   Her father returned I think about 1945.  She was eleven when the war ended.  Hardly a year later when she was twelve her mother died.

Her parents and probably their parents were Salvation Army so they grew up with a solid foundation of faith.  Frances Alice never thought of herself as a dreamer.  There was too much harsh reality.

She told me a story that when she was about six she and her mother were walking along in town, and her mother was holding her hand.  The town was most upset because a young child had been abducted from the town, and I do not know if she was ever found.

Anyway Fran told me her mother said, “You should be happy you are not pretty. Because that means no one will ever steal you.”

Isn’t funny the things we remember from our childhood?  Fran told me this story because I had told her a few years ago that when I first met her I thought she was so beautiful.  She offered this information so that I would know she was not beautiful.  She was not even pretty.  I am sure her mother loved her and I think that she could not have known those words would stay with her young daughter forever.

You might think there would be a danger that if a smooth talking gent happened along and called her beautiful that she would succumb to his charms.  But don’t forget our lady was made of strong moral fiber.

More tomorrow my friends.

 

Oh by the way , the stamp about was issued by the Australian government in honour of nurses in 1955 the year Frannie graduated.

 

Book One and 4/366

I just finished reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.  Every year I think I should keep track of what and how many books I read because I read a lot so am naturally curious.  Anyway it is the first book finished this year.  I tend to be very cautious about new hot sellers.  Often the book doesn’t live up to the hype.

I read the reviews that said things like, GRIPPING, and I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.  I get most of my books from my library which I download onto my tablet.  Very convenient.  It means I don’t get to the actual library very often and I do miss that.  There is something magical about being amongst books.

I remember a few years ago, in Canterbury England going into an old old bookstore and smelling something so intriguing I never wanted to leave.  Sort of like old ink and dust.  So I miss the library itself.

Oh yeah, about the book – OUTSTANDING.  An amazing story filled with suspense.  Truly GRIPPING. All the reviews were dead on.  At least all that I read.

I just came back from visiting Auntie Fran.  She is not doing quite so well today but perhaps tomorrow will be better.  I think I told you yesterday a bit about my Uncle Jack who became her husband back in 1969.

Jack was this charming gad about and Frances was a traveling nurse.  In those days it was not unusual for nurses to travel the world, usually in groups, working for a year or  so in a part of a country then moving on.  There are ‘traveling nurses’ today but it is not quite the same thing.

Anyway Frannie and some nursing friends had saved some money in Australia and they decided it was time to travel.  They headed first for Europe, and worked in England.  After a year or so they headed off for Canada where they planned a few stops across country.

They went to work at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Toronto.  The girls shared apartments together and saved money toward the next leg of the trip.  Whilst there, (Fran being a well spoken Aussie often says things like ‘whilst’) a friend encouraged Fran to meet a male friend of hers.  Fran was rather rigid in standards and would not date just anyone.  She refused more than once to meet this gent.  Now as Fran tells it, one day this woman said, “I really think you should meet this fellow.  He is divorced, he is short and he stutters but I think you will like him.”

I guess that was the statement that sold her.  Perhaps curiosity.  Of course it was not an easy sell at all.  Which of course is part of the charm of their love story.  He truly had to woo her.

Well I must dash off.  More on our love birds tomorrow.

Surprisingly It’s Winter 3/366

Here in the supposed frozen north, as anyone south of Canada thinks of it, it is winter.  White flakes falling, and roads plowed to allow traffic flow.  El Nino winters are always milder than the norm but this year we saw no snow until New Year.  Frequently we wore lighter jackets.  But now we are truly into winter.  The question is what kind of winter will it be?

Today I had the last of the turkey dinner left overs.  It’s a meal I truly enjoy so I am not sure why I don’t have it more often.  And I am now just finishing the last of my holiday wine.

I quit smoking this past year in October.  It is something I really enjoyed but there were enough reasons to do it so I did.  I miss it sometimes but not enough to light up again.  I worried about my weight more than anything.  Back in ’97 I quit for eighteen months and gained thirty pounds.  I am quite happy with my weight and have no desire to gain.   Anyway, in almost three months I have actually lost a few pounds so I suppose that is good.  I decided sometime last year to stop worrying about gains and losses.  Well mostly gains.  I put it out of my mind and ate and drank pretty much what I wanted.  No fuss.  No muss as they say.  It seems to have worked.  The only change I have made is that I try to be more active.  Not working out active.  Just more active.

I went to see my auntie today again as I do most days.  She is somewhat confused but not too bad.  She still knows who I am.  I know yesterday I mentioned her a promised to tell you about  her.

She is originally from Sidney Australia, born in 1934.  She is not an ‘immediate’ aunt but a great aunt.  She was married to my great uncle John, or Jack as we all knew him.  Now Jack was my fathers uncle but he was two years younger than my dad.  So that means that when my dad was two years old, his mothers mother gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.  Actually Jack’s mother, Annie White had something like twenty-eight pregnancies, fourteen of which survived.  One of whom was my grandmother Elsie and many years later her brother, my uncle Jack.  Jack and my dad grew up more like brothers than anything else.

Jack was quite the charmer who liked to describe himself as the black sheep of the family.  He was viewed as something of an adventurer.  He had already had two wives by the time he met Fran in the sixties.  But more of that another time.

For now I must get on with other things.  Fran and I coloured today.  I had gotten her one of those ‘adult colouring books’ for Christmas.  Not ADULT as is restricted but books designed for adults.  The newest kick seems to be that coloring is rather meditative and good for one’s stress and ability to focus.  In truth Fran colours only for a short time then we chat merrily while she watches me and gives me some advice about colours. I just wish I had been the one to think of calling a colouring book “for adults”, charging ten or twenty times the going rate of a child’s book and getting rich.

 

 

 

 

Penny Walking

Penny Walking penny

We seem to have started a delightful new routine at our house, although I fear its demise is imminent, about to be quashed by that process called, growing up.

This past week, G2 who is all of seven, with endless energy and eternal curiosity about all things, was sitting out on the patio with me after school.

“Grandma,” he said, “Let’s go on a penny walk.”

Now being in the advanced stages of grammadom I still retain a modicum of curiosity myself and asked him what a penny walk was.  Having learned about money this week in school he had some wisdom to share with me.

What had he learned?  Well the first response was, “Always wash your hands after you touch money.”  Fair enough thought I but what else had he learned? “No one uses pennies anymore.”  Ah.  Now we are getting to the meat of the matter.

“Since no one uses pennies anymore, I think we should go for a walk and search for pennies that people might have thrown away.”

Do people throw away unused pennies?  I doubt it, but any excuse for some G2 fun and exercise, before he reaches the age when hunting anything with Grandma is no longer cool is a worthwhile adventure.

Off we went on our search, and what did we find?

Well we walked the edge of curbs, examined and discussed why pieces of cardboard, small screws, odd shaped stones, broken bits of toys, might all have found their way to the roads and parks.  We looked at some cut up trees lying across a yard, jumped to touch branches just out of reach, pronounced a kitten sitting in a front window as adorable, and declared a dead bird adorable if only he was alive, (adorable seems to be one of the words for the week), we did spins across park fields – he was faster and joyfully fell to the ground.  I did not.  We sat on swings, for such a long time, closing our eyes and describing adventures flying high above the earth, the color of the sun through our lids, being a bird soaring over mountains, and flying to the moon as we pumped higher and higher in tandem. (I was so informed that swinging in tandem is called double dating.)  He ascended and descended climbing walls with ease, and slid the slides.

He is now flirting with the idea of more independence.  “Grandma I am going to walk all the way home by myself.   Can I walk by myself?  You stay just back here behind me and I will walk home by myself.”

Every hundred feet or so he would stop, look back, then wave to me, making sure I was not too far behind.  As he was running up the street one of our friends came out and called his name.  He stopped and she gave him and hug and laughed when she saw me bringing up the rear, as it were.

“I saw him running up the street by himself,” she said.  “I wanted to make sure he was alright but I was pretty sure you weren’t too far behind.”

We found no pennies.  We found lots of treasure though.  I saw the joy of life through a child’s eyes and remembered briefly those long ago days.  No, I lived the joy of life same as those long ago days.

We went Penny Walking last night again and I can only hope we will again this week.

Spummer

SAM_0819Hey It’s Spri..uh no ..it’s Summ..Nope since it is May it must be Sprummer!

We seem to have bypassed actual spring, which is much better than last year when we had a false early spring, and the buds all responded to warm temperatures just to be hit with more winter that killed off a huge percentage of our crops and flowers. I sadly mourned (I know how can one mourn unsadly?) the particular loss of our magnolias. So close to bloom then frozen and dead, never to recover, at least in that year.
So today I am happy to change that wintery header of mine to our beautiful magnolias – alive and just shouting life and color. It seemed to be a long long winter although it was not harsh. Perhaps due to the false spring. We felt cheated somehow.

It was fun to get the patio ready first with the power wash that cleansed the soul of grit and dirt as well as fences and patios.

Daddy teaching our future patio cleaner
Daddy teaching our future patio cleaner

He who took great pleasure in water, force and strength.  Made him feel like the Hulk!

SAM_0793

Now that’s the way to start the season!

sam_0814.jpg