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Summer Farewell

 

Sunset

 Ahhh, summer, I will remember you well. Long after you are gone, I will hear the sweet symphony of songbirds welcoming the dawn; the gossamer wind touching my skin; the fragrant smell of wildflowers blanketing rural fields; the sun gently kissing the back of my neck. Such beauty you have brought into my life. Even when time passes and memories fade, I will reminisce of your peaceful, idyllic beauty. This will be my sweet remembrance of summer past.

But summer, you have only just ended and memories of you are still clearly etched in my mind.

Arghhh, summer, I will remember you well. Long after you’re gone, the ear-bleeding sound of my neighbours’ 1 million hp lawnmower will continue reverberating in my head from the wee hours of the morning to the wee hours of the night. I’ll get choked up (literally) when I think of the smell of rotting compost in my green bin, in 30°C heat, bubbling up into a vile witches’ brew of putrid proportions, wafting into my house through open windows. For months, I’ll gently touch the back of my neck with silky lotions, in an attempt to coax moisture back into the skin- seared to a crispy parchment-like casing, from one foolish venture outside without sunscreen, umbrella or lead vest. Summer, what would I do without you? Even with all your foibles and weather eccentricities, I look forward to you after slogging through 8 months of Canadian winter. Good-bye summer, see you next year.

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An Autumn Leaf Amongst the Green

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 50th birthday. Having never been this age before, at least in this lifetime, I looked to friends who have surpassed this milestone, for some guidance to what to expect from this point on. I received diverse tidbits of wisdom, some which were reassuring, and others which were downright ominous.

“People will be drawn to the beauty and wisdom of your inner being, not just your outer physical form.” OK, I can live with that.

“The shift of hormones in your body will cause you to come into your power and not take any c**p from anyone anymore.” Gee, I thought that was called PMS.

“If you don’t want to traumatize your children for life, you realize that you will never again be able to wear a swimsuit that shows more than your upper arms and lower legs.” My mind flashed back to a time when visiting the beach with my parents and siblings. We found a picturesque plot of sand looking out over the sun-kissed water, to settle. It was perfect. Perfect until a middle-aged, pasty-skinned, pot-bellied, hairy-backed fellow in a bikini Speedo parked himself right in front of our exquisite spot. He then proceeded to bend over; butt pointed towards our Xanadu, and rolled out his towel on the sand. I still have nightmares.

The comment that stuck me as most astute was offered by an old friend of mine who sensed my trepidation at reaching the big 5-0. “At least you got this far.” Yes, yes I did. An accurate statement, but not the reassuring words of wisdom I had been hoping for. “You are now entering the Fall season of your life. Enjoy it. Celebrate the fact that you will not longer be a naive 20 year old groping for answers. Celebrate the fact that you will no longer give a hoot about what anyone else thinks, because now you have the confidence to know what is best for you.” It made sense. Hmmm. Worth thinking about. The season of Fall, had always conjured up images of things shriveling up, succumbing to gravity and becoming more frigid as time passed. However, looking at Autumn in a positive light, it is a time of plenty when we reap the benefits of what we planted in the Spring and we tended through the Summer.

There’s a band I’ve wanted to see since the 80’s. When they were scheduled to play a concert in Canada, I decided this was the way I wanted to commemorate my 50th – with my close friends on a relaxing weekend retreat, and go see the show. So, we made it happen. At the venue, I was surprised to see all ages attending. An elderly couple that was seated beside me, were in their chairs calmly taking in the surroundings and chatting softly. I noticed that some younger people left their seats to experience the show stage-front. I decided that I wanted to be there too. So I asked my friends if they wanted to join me. Wow! What a rush. What rebels we were, not sitting in our pre-assigned seats. Maybe it was true what my insightful friend had said. I never would have thought of doing that before, but now I did. We made our way up to the stage and squeezed ourselves in-between the attendees half our age. The music was infectious and when I looked behind me, back to our seats, I saw that couple on their feet groovin’ away to the music. At the end of the concert, we headed back to our chairs to collect our things and asked if the couple enjoyed the concert. The lady gave an answer that spoke volumes to me. “At first I thought that I might look foolish if I stood up and danced, but then I just said s***w it! I don’t care what I look like; I’m having a great time.” Yes, age is just a state of mind, isn’t it? We still can (and should) be playful at any age. Playfulness keeps us in a state of discovery.

And as the season of Fall approaches us, let’s try to remember it’s all right not to always worry about what others will think of us if we engage in some mirthful activities. We do ourselves a great disservice when we judge ourselves much more harshly than others do. Young or old, it doesn’t matter; treating ourselves to bit of fun, and trying something new will keep our bodies active, our minds supple and our spirits soaring.

Airing Dirty Laundry

I am now on day three of digging my way through an unending tower of laundry. Every week,  I get to the last load dirty clothes, only to find the hampers overflowing and the cycle (no pun intended) beginning once again.  From all the clothes that are soiled, the article that most often makes its appearance is underwear. Not jeans or t-shirts or socks. Underwear!  How can two boys go through so many pairs of Jockeys in a week?? Wherever I look, be it on the bathroom floor, the boys bedroom floor or bunched up under one of their pillows (ick!) there is a pair of brightly coloured underwear waiting to be rescued and laundered. What a difference from a few years ago when my boys refused to part with any tighty whities that came in contact with their little bottoms. At this point, child and underwear had melded into one and trying to remove the offending garment was akin to skinning them alive. It would take strategic planning in order to evacuate child from underwear. My strategy was to lure them into having a bath, with the promise of some desired water toy. Alright, it was blatant bribery, but it worked. After wrangling them into the tub, I would then engaged the “soak and scrape” method of cleaning and even if I couldn’t get the underwear off of them at that point, at least it got a washing when the child did. At least it was a load less of laundry. Ahhh, those were the days.

Snowy Memories

 

    It never ceases to amaze me how absolutely giddy my kids get at that first hint of snow….and surprisingly, how the love affair with it continues for them the entire season. Me, on the other hand, as I’ve aged, I found myself welcoming the fluffy white stuff with cautious delight – or is that reckless aversion?    Maybe it’s the digging required to find all the boots, coats, and cozy accessories that keep us warm on those nippy days that has made me lament the approach of winter. Somehow, the season’s gear never seem to be stored in an orderly fashion, no matter how good my intentions are. As soon as that last melt is on, those cumbersome pieces are shoved, jammed and stuffed unceremoniously into my bursting at the seams closet. Maybe it’s the 20 minutes extra required to get bundled into winter woollies and another 20 minutes to scrape off vehicles (alas, I have no garage!) that is to blame. Could it be the endless shovelling, the nasty driving and the bone chilling cold? What could it be?

     As I sat down to think about why my feelings about winter had changed, I remembered back to a time when I was young and would wait patiently at the big picture window at the front of our house, looking up at the sky for that first little Suzy Snowflake to make her arrival. I remembered the excitement I’d feel bounding through the snow, getting it in my boots and my pants, playing happily until I was as frozen and soggy as my mittens were. I didn’t even notice the chill because there would be a warm cup of cocoa waiting for me when I finally did come in.

     I tried to remember what it was like the first time I set out on a pair of skis through a snow-covered forest: the exhilaration of flying down a slope on a toboggan with good friends, ice-skating, making snow-angels and snow forts. I thought back to the first time I built a Frosty the Snowman with my kids and the fun we had dressing him up. Most of all, I reminisced about the times of sitting in my warm, safe house with my family, all bundled up in blankets, sipping tea in front of a cozy fire with the snow gently tumbling out of the sky outside.   

    My perception had altered, not because the weather or the snow got any worse, but because I had been too busy to just take a moment to remember-to remember what it was like to be full of hopefulness, playfulness, wonder and abandon. When I finally took that moment, I felt true joy inside.  It’s amazing what can happen when we just take that moment to remember, reflect, evoke sensations and allow ourselves to feel.  

Snow Drift Sculpture

    I find I am now looking forward to waking to find a white blanket covering what had been my grass lawn. I am looking forward to discover all the imaginative sculptures the snowdrifts will make and I am looking forward to making wistful snow angels that will once again make their way back to the heavens in the spring when the snow melts and the cycle of life begins again. And when my kids ask me to cart out the toboggans, bundle us all up in NASA approved snow suits and head out to the hill on the coldest day of the year, instead of dreading every minute of it, I’ll remind myself of the memories I’ll be creating for the kids and myself.   

    Have a happy winter and Joyous Holiday that will bring you many wonderful memories.  

Snow Soldier

Kids and Kleenex

    With all the trepidation of the H1N1 virus looming this season, I was certain there would be a major outbreak of a cold or flu in my home and damned it, I would be prepared.  Anticipating an assault of projectile vomit and other various bodily fluids making an appearance on an assortment of inconvenient areas of my house, I made sure I had an ample supply of Kleenex, plastic-lined garbage cans and toilet bowl cleaner on hand. Luckily, I did not have to spend a small fortune to acquire these items. My mother, who had been living alone in her house since my father passed about a year ago, tended to buy things “on sale”. Familiar with her tendency to buy in bulk, I figured that there might be a few boxes of Kleenex she could spare.  Mom made sure I had all the necessities required for the impending onslaught of germs on hand when I left her house. In total, I had about 25 brand new boxes of Kleenex (I am NOT exaggerating), 2 packages of Paper Towel, 2 bottles of Lysol disinfectant and some spare suppositories?! According to my Mom, you never know when you might run out of suppositories and apparently, they are great for making your tabletop shiny too….and slippery.  But I digress. 

    Luckily, the flu passed by our house, probably because the bugs thought they would be outnumbered by the other more frightening microbes lurking in my bathroom. So, even though my boys have not yet had a major cold, they have managed to devour 6 boxes of Kleenex in the last two weeks. Any hint of drippage sends them diving for the Kleenex box, where they will nimbly dab away the offending snottage. They will not blow, mind you, just dab, daintily, like a pointillist artist working on his masterpiece. After this little ritual, I will see them promptly jam their fingers up their noses, digging like half-crazed miners mere inches from hitting the mother lode. I am quite pleased that they have finally discovered the Kleenex box and its contents as a substitute for whatever fabric that may have been readily available, be that my sofa, the dog, their sleeve or mine. Yes, I have trained them well – albeit with threats of removal of all electronic devices from the home. Thankfully, they have learned to use Kleenex, but now I just need to figure out how to teach them to use a garbage can.

Kleenex art

Greetings Visitor

I hope you enjoy my blog of personal anecdotes, observations and the odd rant or two, just as much as I do🙂