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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Platitudes


Ah no, I won't throw them out. No matter the day that's in it.

We are all individuals. Our journeys are so different and our instruction manuals are self- written. All the platitudes in the world won't fix us. I read the Dalai Lama periodically. And yes, his advice is sound. But my own self=advice is good too: "Yes, you can get out of bed today. Yes, you can ride this storm, remember the worse ones? Find the light in your day."

Etc.

Our etceteras are larger than our cores. I share my journey in case it ignites a tiny spark in someone else. But advice? Never. Unless you ask for it. And even then I will only impart some hard won lessons of my own.

Through this past week I've run the gamut of many emotions. I wanted to throw myself on Daughter when she left on the 27th. But I didn't. What a burden to one's child even if the child is going to be fifty soon. Fifty. Take that in.

I wrap my own neediness up tidily and bury it somewhere in the pit of my brain when someone I love leaves. The leave-takings are more poignant as I age. It could be the last time. Morose? Morbid? Well, shoot me.

I remember my mother breaking down in bits the last time I saw her. She held on and held on and I stayed that extra minute hugging her. I should have turned away to spare her pride. And her shame, my wonderful, strong mama. I'm reminded of that with Daughter. So I laugh and push her away and as soon as her car has gone. I cry. For what? For losses, for the tangled old year behind me, for my uncertain health. And for her kindness to me. In spite of. She is exceedingly kind as if in compensation for her sister, for the betrayals of my family. So I don't add anything extra in the way of emotional demands on her.

I'm grateful for all the privacies that I don't share in person but do on this silly old blog or in my journal.

For the many of you out there who seem to get my eccentricities and can add some of your own. We find each other and commiserate and laugh and share.

Blogland.

I thank you.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Conversations

At a table next to me in Tim Hortons, a woman of my age to three companions:

Imagine - me, 6 children in 8 years and he has the sauce to tell me I was good for 8 more! I said to him, well it was more of a scream, you`d better yank the damn thing out of me or I`ll find a good protestant doctor who will!

From Leo:

Mudder would have to cut up the apples and oranges and divide them among the 8 stockings. And there was only one peppermint hobnob each. Fadder would drink all the Christmas money away.

A good friend to me:

You`ve always admired my French glass bottle of lavender soap, and guess what I found one for you!

Overheard:

Well, it`s all wonderful Jingle Bellish isn`t it, until Harold arrives. No, we never invite him. He just shows up and what can we do, surrounded by little ears waiting to pick up on all the fucks. And it wouldn`t be so bad until he shoves Tom out of the way, as if Tom wasn`t my legal husband now. I mean Harold and I were only married for 7 years of hell, right? And now he expects to sit at the head of the table beaming at his grandchildren. I tell ya, Tom is a saint.

Me:

My happiest Christmas? Prepping the food at 4 a.m. and feeding the homeless at 10.00 a.m. in Toronto with my younger daughter. And talking to them, hearing their stories, their memories. Singing together. Joking, even. Feeling so privileged at the end of it all. Humbled.

Whatever you do, whatever you wish, may it all bring peace and joy and a smidgin of hope for the new year.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gratitude - Surviving.


I am grateful I have survived this long. Life isn't always a bowl of cherries and certain times of the year are worse than others for most of us.

I was thinking back on pivotal moments. The ones that changed everything.

I've had a few directional shifts in my life. Emigrating to Canada. Semi-retiring to Newfoundland. Recovering from alcoholism. To name but a few. And children. Bearing and rearing of same are enormous pivotal moments.

I have very little regrets, if any. I can't think of one offhand apart from wishing I'd been kinder, less defensive. We use the tools, often faulty, that we're brought up with, and frankly I should have abandoned mine much sooner. But I can't preordain the speed and direction of my own personal and spiritual growth.

I can't understand you if I can't understand myself.

I'm shocked by people who put an end to their learning. One said to me recently: I hate new words, I hate learning things. I've had enough. And she's 8 years younger than I.

And here I am wading through a book about Burma and designing a book cover for a daytimer. How? I ask myself. How can we abandon being curious, being creative, being a scholar?

So as I age I find fewer to discuss ideas with. I find, on the whole, talk is reduced to gossip and medications: yours, mine, ours.

But I have a cherished few. And the Young One. Grateful for that I am.

Grateful for Daughter who sees me right each and every time in ways I can't even count.

Grateful for the one sibling who checks up on me with frequency and concern. One out of 5 ain't bad.

Grateful for dear friends who are there, always, with love and open hearts.

Grateful for this one wild and precious life.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Gratitude Day Wevs


My dear young friend had another catastrophe befall her which took me a fair distance from gratitude.

Her father's best friend assaulted and tried to rape her in the woods.

And her father did nothing. His BFF is back in his house as if nothing happened.

Her mother, as usual, is stoned out of her mind on pharmaceuticals.

We are moving heaven on earth to get her out of there and into assisted housing.

Sometimes life just sucks the bag and it's so hard to find the little diamonds underneath all the coal.

My missing daughter's birthday is tomorrow and this is always a rough time for me.

I spent the morning at the hospital with my vascular evaluation and that's not looking good.

So here you go:

Gratitude are my friends who are solidly there, all the time: supportive and loving in so many different ways I cry when I think of them. I'm not fit, as we say right now, and their arms and hugs reach out and hold me closely and cook me supper and listen as I cry and try and make sense of the world that would hurt my wee friend so deeply. And my missing child who could be? Not hide nor hair of her can be found. I just can't dig deeper. I don't want to know. It would be too much.

And Daughter is having challenges with her new job. Her MS is rearing its ugly head after a long nap and badly affecting her, poor pet.

But yes, if you're reading this, it's still this side of the daisies for all of us. The weather is kind. The bay smooth as a mirror, Grandmother Moon watchful and alert over it all. But puzzling. As I am.

As 2017 looms large on our horizons.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Gratitude Day 6 & 7

My house in the fall

I was slumpish most of yesterday. Could not seem to get motivated and then stopped trying. Went with the flow. And I'm grateful for that, knowing enough now to stop, careful as to who I share with as I don't need the admonitions - you know how they go: stop worrying, get outside, breathe.

(1) One friend in TO told me to have a Board Meeting/meditation with my body parts. Gather them all together for half an hour and reason things out. Ask the legs to improve, ask the heart to drop this alarming vascular shyte, ask the brain to co-operate and not add worry to the turmoil. So I did and felt 20 tons better. Seriously. Candle glowing and the parts all listening.

(2)Another friend texted she had loads of designer clothes for my young friend and if she dropped them off would I give them to her anonymously. Wow, yes, yes and yes.

(3)Today was much better. A fantastic community brunch in our local pub/restaurant. Daughter and I spent some time together after and she had all these goodies for me in her car. I had to suspend my cleaning lady due to unexpected bills for car brakes and then the whammer of a new hot water tank plus labour really threw a huge dent in the budget. Daughter insisted on paying for my Emma's December housecleaning. Some things just make you cry. That made me cry.

(4)My favourite rain jacket had gone AWOL. It's only about 10 years old and owes me nothing, but you know how that is. I love it. Hood, huge back pocket on the bum, 4 side pockets, I can look like a grocery store shelving unit in it when I pack it up.... but I love it. I called my past 4 locations where I'd been to see if they'd seen it. I gave up. And then, today, underneath my cloth grocery bags in the trunk? A flash of navy blue. Oh baby, I said, come to mummy.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Gratitude - Day 5

The barn cats continue to wait for Ansa. She adored them. And they her.

At times, it is difficult to keep focussed on this attitude of gratitude. And in case you think life is a sunny bowl of cherries for me, it isn't, I have other more serious painful health issues which I prefer not to obsess about (hence my last post) but of which I'm consistently mindful. Further tests coming up next week.

(1)In my volunteer position I was extremely stressed about an employee situation I had to manage as some had threatened to quit over an ongoing dispute knock-down-drag-out-hostility between two men. It tested every level of employee conflict resolution I had negotiated in my working career. But a half hour later after I started the meeting, they were apologising to each other. Surprisingly, one of the men was close to tears, the other looked ashamed. There are no sex stereotypes. And I didn't have to pull my old woman card once - i.e. "I'm getting too old for this shyte"- which I've used sparingly in the past to great effect.

(2)"You are just another version of me." I read this recently and was moved by it. It's a shame it's not a national anthem or something.

(3) I had put a little nostalgic statement on FB about the Sunday brunches I would enjoy in Toronto with different groups of friends. Lo and behold, in response, a local restaurant is test-marketing a brunch this coming Sunday.

(4)Midnight last night, as snow had been forecasted, I thought to put my car in the garage which I use for the winter season. And holy disaster, batman. No room for the car. I'm in my PJs. But I got down to shifting and moving and tut-tutting all over the clutter on the floor. There was more dog stuff than anything else - 2 beds, her blankies, her car gear, her dishes, her stool, water fountain, dry food holder, etc. I didn't cry which is good. But there's nothing like cleaning up your own mess at midnight in a floodlit garage for neighbourly entertainment. "You OK?" came sailing up over the meadow from numerous stopped cars. Any truthful answer would have rendered me certifiable so I waved them all away with a nonchalant grin. So yeah, I finally parked the car where it belongs for the winter. And PS the snow was pathetic, about 10 flakes. But I felt so good about this midnight housekeeping so I did.