Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Perfectly Happy Exactly Where I Find Myself

I just returned from a walk in the woods. This is something I try to do everyday and without exception when I do I return better for it. We have had a stretch of bitter cold weather and I only braved it to walk twice in the last two weeks.What I missed on those cold days I was given tenfold on the walk I took today. Now according to the best laid plans I am supposed to be in Alberta. Burton and I got up at 3:00 yesterday morning and drove to the airport. Our flight was not to be. At first we were put on Standby along with five other people because of a weight restriction . We waited and then were told the flight to Toronto was not going at all. Now some of the others around me were angry and I am not saying that not being angry makes me anything special but I figure people in charge of flying planes know more than I do and so for someone to make that call doesn't seem like a personal affront to me. I believe that just being fortunate enough to afford to go visit my daughter and granddaughters is a privilege not to take lightly.I also feel that I would rather be heading home after a cancelled flight then heading into the sky in an airplane that might not be safe. Seems a given to me. Burton,the irate woman behind us or I shouldn't be the one deciding whether the plane goes or not. So we went to bed last night expecting to leave early again this morning and fly to Montreal. I checked the flight status at 3:00 and our Montreal flight was cancelled. After calling Air Canada I was told it was because of runway issues. Again,I am not the one who should say the runway is fine because my granddaughters want to see me today. The helpful young man on the phone gave me several options and upon deciding which one worked the best for us he re-booked us. Now when I posted on FB several people made a comment that this was ridiculous. I disagree. What I think would be ridiculous would be for airlines to give in to entitled people claiming that their plans were more important than safety. So today as I walked down the beautiful snowy road in the bright sunshine and moderate temperature I couldn't help but feel to my very core that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. We will get to Meg's tomorrow or we won't. I will depend on professionals making that call not me based on my desire to prevent my granddaughters from being disappointed. I think they would be a lot more disappointed if Monkey and Toad were injured of killed in an airplane crash.So I hope to travel tomorrow and will be thrilled to see Meg, Cody, Emma and Paige but today I am perfectly happy to be exactly where I find myself.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Come out of the Bathroom

I find myself in the bathroom several times a day. No cause for alarm just a desire to take in the beauty of my renovated bathroom. I promised pictures months ago when the reno started and the finished room was just a vision in my head. The process was steady and we managed just fine taking advantage of our spa retreat at Chapin and Briannes across the road but it is so wonderful to have our upstairs bathroom back. There are a few details left to attend to;touch up painting, light fixtures to install and a few more pictures to hang but for the most part it is done and I enjoy walking in and taking it in. Now the decision is bath or shower. I love baths but a shower in my lovely new walk-in shower is tempting too. But this morning my task at hand is to get to the first round of edits on my spring release Y/A novel titled Headliner. I am anxious and nervous at the same time. There are some issues to tackle and a few things to resolve. Under the professional guidance of Penelope Jackson I will work away at the manuscript to get it ready for publication. I love this process and am so thankful for the opportunity to do it for the seventh time. Just a couple of housekeeping items to attend to and then I will get down to work. Intermittently I will venture into my new bathroom and gaze out the new window at the snowy fields and hills and remember the start to finish process that brought it to where it is now. As I consider that I will also ruminate on the start to finish journey I am taking with another book and take great pleasure in that.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

When Cleaning is Cleansing

I am not a clean freak. On the contrary I go for long periods of time forgetting to clean certain things. Just ask my sister in law who regularly reminds me about or empties for me the dead flies in the living room light fixture. I remember when I had my kitchen renos done in 2009 I was determined to keep my new appliances , new kitchen floor and new ceramic tile gleaming. I put the stove on wheels so I could clean behind it regularly. Now I may have done that a time or two but last week when I pulled the stove out it was apparent that I hadn't kept that promise to myself. I will attempt to try again making the plan of cleaning behind the stove at the end of each month. I will clean behind the fridge soon and establish a plan for that. The month of December has been besides Christmas decorating and enjoying the season, a month of cleaning, purging and organizing. I have tackled most closets and drawers and several rooms are completely finished. I have two closets left to do and one room left to paint, organize and set up. I have( for the most part)a finished bathroom renovation that I love. Now to establish a cleaning regime that will keep it looking as it does today. I have bought all the cleaners, the sponges, the scrub brushes and the cloths. I have a plan and my plan is to thoroughly clean the bathroom every Sunday. This may seem a tad obsessive but I need to schedule the cleaning that for me does not come naturally. I am not messy but I do not have the strong cleaning gene some people have or was bred into them. Keeping my new bathroom clean is my way of being thankful for it. Spending time organizing and reclaiming every room in my home acknowledges the blessing that my home is and the shelter and comfort it offers me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A New Water Closet

Today is Boxing Day to most people. In our house it has always been called Sue's Day. I don't know that a day named for me is that much of an advantage but in my head it gives me permission to do whatever I decide to do. Yesterday we had a beautiful dinner in Chapin and Brianne's new home. She pulled off a lovely meal and gathered her family and Chapin's together in their beautiful home. A winter storm did not keep her grandmother from leaving her nursing home and venturing over to be a part of the memorable event. Today I will enjoy some rest and the first order of birthday business is to have a bath in my beautiful new tub. Thanks to my friend Skip and his brother Tim along with our friend Connell (plumber), Chapin's friend Tony ( electrician) and our friend Paul (painter) my vision of a renovated bathroom has been realized. It is beautiful and exactly what I dreamed it could be. I will share the first reno picture showing the beautiful Welcome sign Crystal Mortimer made and donated to the Whites Wharf fundraiser at the marina. Wanda Cosman and I bid the sign up and I was successful in buying it, knowing it would hold a place of honor in my renovated bathroom. I am not sure if a welcome sign belongs in a bathroom but I love it and it certainly welcomes me.I will run a bath in my new tub and reflect as I soak, on the many blessings I have been given as I celebrate my 61st birthday.I will gaze out the new window, step out onto the new floor and totally enjoy my new water closet.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Seven More Sleeps

I am living my 61st Christmas. Of course I can't really remember the first few but I can remember most of them. My Mom and Dad always made Christmas a magical time. I remember it being about the little things;a box of Ganongs red wrap, tinsel and silver icicles placed just so one by one on the tree,Mom's small village set out on cotton batten on the mantelpiece, opening our stockings in Mom and Dad's bed,Mom's mincemeat and scotch cookies, eating breakfast bursting with excitement to get to the tree for the two or three gifts , a blow up Santa , new Barbie dolls, packing up and getting to my Aunt Lois and Uncle Bernie's for Christmas dinner. My childhood is full of wonderful Christmas memories and many of the traditions found their way into our home when Burton and I had our own family.This morning my heart is breaking for my Mom and Dad. I wish I could wrap my arms around my mother and quiet her turmoil. My Mom is locked up in a prison called Primary Progressive Aphasia.Each day it takes more and more from her. The main thing it has taken is her speech. My social,outgoing mother has lost her ability to speak.My dad never a chatty guy now has the burden of every conversation being one sided with no real indication of what his wife of 69 years is thinking. Her only outlet for the thoughts that must be constantly boiling inside her is a agitated type of pacing and obsessing. Dad is unsure how to react to this.My parents have spent many years away from us at Christmas, heading south in November. They have gone to Florida again this year . But last night as I heard the strain these days are on my father and hear only guttural sounds from my mother I want to take them both in my arms . I want to bring them to my decorated home and talk non stop about all the years they brought the wonder of the season to me. I want to thank them and take them year by year through the memories of my 61 Christmases. I want to make their suffering go away.I feel like the one in the middle holding on to the memories of Christmas for my parents, for my kids and for myself of course.My grandchildren are counting the sleeps. Oh how I wish I still had that wonder and innocence. Seven more sleeps and I will hold on to the wonder of twinkling lights, of grocery lists and family favorites, of treasured ornaments and decorations, of watching my kids creating their own memories in their own homes. I will carry all my people in my heart and accept the gift of that knowing that the love my parents gave me has prepared me for the blessings Christmas 2017 will bring.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

My Glass Half Full

I love rum and eggnog.It is a December thing and I treat myself to one glass a night. I seldom overdo it but each evening as I sit and sip I treasure all the blessings of the season. Oh how I could get caught up in the glass half empty approach but I will not even entertain that list but will spend a few minutes on the half full list. Entirely full really when I examine my plethora of blessing. Number one is my wellness both physical , mental and emotional. Oh how I celebrate my wellness.I acknowledge the journey that has brought me that wellness and I realize the key elements that maintain it and do not take them for granted.Number two is my home with its flaws and its shortcomings with the changes it has seen over the years. I am thankful for each room, each piece of furniture , each aspect that makes it unique and ours. This home was built and created and has housed a family blessed with love .It has sheltered us in storms and heartache and has witnessed our journey. I am thankful for the generations; the grandparents, great aunts and uncles, aunts, uncles, cousins, children and grandchildren who have passed through our doors and have left their mark on who we are and who we will be. Friends have gathered and laughed and cried with us.I am thankful for the seasons and see each one as a gift. Winter's cold, the snow, the ice and wind are part of another year we have been given. We take assurance in remembering each season of the past and as Burton always says, "We haven't freezed to death yet." Today I hope to stand the tree up and possibly begin decorating it. I will take each treasured ornament from the boxes placing them on the branches and feel gratitude, peace and comfort. I will not allow the hype and pressure to rob me of my glass half full. It is a choice and I make that choice deliberately and mindfully.My glass is overflowing.

Monday, December 11, 2017

So This is Christmas

Yesterday my friend Kathy and I went to a concert at Elmhurst Outdoors. What a perfect afternoon it was for the event.The snow cover framed the lodge which was decorated beautifully. Inside the place was cozy and welcoming. Mike Biggar , Sandy MacKay, Grant Heckman and Jessica Rhaye entertained for two and a half hours and it was wonderful. The afternoon show had sold out leading them to offer another show at 6:00. I am sure that show was lovely as well. Mike Biggar delivered an energetic and funny performance highlighting his immense talent and musicality. Jessica Rhaye's crystal clear voice is delightful.Mike talked about the spectrum of Christmas music lovers from the haters to the can't get enough-ers. Those who want Christmas music from mid November to well into the new year, to those who tolerate it on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. I am somewhere in between. I hate that the music comes to an abrupt halt and those days right after Christmas day it seems everyone has already forgotten about Chritmas.I have my favorites and I do enjoy most of it.Each song they offered yesterday had a quality of its own and I lost myself in the music. Then they introduced the Christmas song I dread hearing depending on where I am and how able I am to process the depth of the song's meaning for me. Sometimes it hits me when I'm not expecting it and it always brings a jolt of pain and nostalgia. I love it and treasure it and dread it at the same time. The first few measures of it bring me right to the heart of what this song is for me. So this is Christmas...Tears fill my eyes as I type those words. I instantly return to the Christmas Eve when Zac changed the lines in John Lennon's song. I will never hear that song without hearing my son singing along. It was Burton's traditional Christmas Eve run. He had been doing that run for many years beginning when Zac was a toddler and his dad took him along. First stop Sussex for Burton to do his last minute shopping. Later as Zac got older Zac would also buy presents for me and for his siblings. A few years later Megan and Chapin tagged along and did their shopping. Then a stop at Connell's ,then at Mike's for his Christmas Eve birthday spread and open house.Later a stop to see the Barrett's was always made. The run was and still is a tradition entrenched and honored. Both Chapin and Caleb look forward to driving their Dad on that day and sometimes count on it for their last minute shopping.But back to the particular day Zac changed the words to the ones that still echo in my head and heart. Caleb was just over one year old. I had decided I was not staying home but was coming along for the 'run'. All four kids, Burton and I piled into the Jimmy.I prepared two bottles for Caleb filling them with milk from our milk cow.Anyone that knows me knows I don't have a keen sense of smell. Had someone else filled those bottles they may have prevented what happened later.Off we went. Right away Caleb devoured his first bottle. Just before Norton he seemed fussy and still hungry. I gave him his second bottle. Seconds after finishing that one Caleb projectile vomited managing to hit each one of his siblings with a shower of sour milk.A quick stop was made at the Norton store where Burton ran in to buy paper towel. I stripped Caleb down to his diaper and threw away his clothes.The kids cleaned themselves as best they could and off and we headed to Sussex to buy Caleb a new outfit. Sometime along the way Zac began singing So this is Christmas and what have we done. We brought our mother with us and its not very fun.For years afterwards that was Zac's Christmas song and I was seldom(or possibly never)invited on the run. So as Mike , Jessica, Sandy and Grant belted out that song and as the crowd sang along to the chorus I held on tightly to that memory.The world just acknowledged the anniversary of John Lennon's death and that song of course is part of the legacy he left. It is also a part of the lasting legacy Zac left in this family.