Today is Tori's 13th birthday. Tori is our eldest granddaughter and second oldest grandchild. The weather stayed mainly overcast but warm and dry but the family had managed to secure the Chinese pagoda at the International Friendship Gardens anyway so we were mainly under cover--the food tables for sure were. Fitting to be in that location as 40 years ago when it was built, Rob's parents were part of the Chinese community which paid to have it built. Their names are on a high up on a plaque in English and Chinese.
Today was fun. Grandparents, parents and kids. Laughter, chatting, impromptu games, meal sharing. My favourite part of Tori's birthdays which feels like it's become a tradition is the release of monarch butterflies that one of her other grandmas (Sandy) nurtures. Especially this year when there are less monarchs, especially this year as Tori turns 13. This photo is of the grandkids gathered around Sandy as she releases I think it was four or five ready to fly monarchs. It's amazing to watch them fly high into the trees and rest and open and close their wings, as if to take in this great big world amazing world. In living our lives, in whatever condition our lives are in, I think we all do that from time to time, I think maybe we all need to do that from time to time...step back and look at the big picture, step back and release how fortunate we are, step back and release that there are many options. I know I'm at that point especially with our home and all the repairs and work that it needs.
The chrysalis is so pretty and so necessary but so static. Life is meant to change and evolve. We are meant to change and evolve. Despite water back up in the basement and house worries, the month has been full of lunches out, parks, time outside with puzzles, painting inside on rainy days, poetry and writing groups, an outdoor concert which my stepson Bob played in (notice the double rainbow over the band!) and a lovely garden tour with my stepmom Sandy and her daughter Robyn. A month to embrace. A month to cherish. And time to release.
Work calls. Stay safe and remember the broad picture. Take risks. Much love.
blast of sunshine through darkness
a vibrant gift
Unbelievably to me, that's when I came to live in Canada: 45 years ago tomorrow. Canada Day. Lots of controversy about acknowledging Canada Day these days but I still remember Mam and Dad greeting me at the airport and Dad saying that the whole of Canada was having a holiday to celebrate my arrival. Lol. Of course I was 16 and knew much better but still, it made me smile then and warms my heart now.
Just had a lovely messenger exchange with Fran in Tasmania while i was writing this. She wrote to send me best wishes on my anniversary tomorrow and mentioned that it was 32degrees Celcius here as opposed to her 3 degrees Celcius. I didn't realise it was so hot--we have terrific winds, albeit very warm winds, at the moment and I feel exhausted and crabby. I mentioned this to her and she told me crabby was permitted. Lol. I don't think Rob agrees. I just bit his head off when he came home with his arms full of groceries needing help. I'd just got the computer up and running which takes at least 10 minutes even when i just put it on sleep so I had to put it back onto sleep mode because it'll turn itself off if i leave it longer than a few minutes without any action (haha...still on about the computer here...) plus I was tired from being outside trying to put in a little rock pathway which is way harder than it sounds. So I'm all 'why don't you text me when you're on your way home so I have some idea of when you're coming home...yadda yadda yadda' and he of course gets mad at me as we're lugging groceries in. And as usual I look at what he's bought and if it's not for the cats (which a lot of it was) then it's snacks and salads for me for work...sighhhh! Let's blame the humidity and heat! Despite all this the air smells so sweet and the little rainbow spinner which I moved to catch more of the sun is whirling around like crazy. So pretty.
June for me was about my 10x10 Magnus theatre play. I attended all 3 performances as did lots of friends and family and it was a wonderful high. I was so pleased with the way my play was directed and acted. The audience responded well. Just lovely. So fortunate to have had this opportunity. On opening night Dad walked into the theatre using his cane with one hand and carrying a huge bouquet of flowers in the other--a bit of a struggle but a sight I'll never forget. I tucked them under my seat in the theatre but didn't open them until I got home but they smelled divine, so fresh. And they were beautiful--a mix of freesias, daisies and mums--so bright.
I need to have a snooze before my shift tonight so I'm leaving you with some photos and haiku from this month. Wishing you a happy and abundant July. Thank you for reading.
18. opening night
Dad carries a bouquet
walking with his cane
19. the applause stops
the curtain drops
the scent of the flowers
29. freesia petals fall
30. chatting in the park
absorbing scents and colours
green fly eavesdrops
Leaving you with a mystery that gave me a haiku and a poem but which remains unsolved...
22. on the theatre wall
three roses discarded
what drama there?
Last hour of the last day of the month but here we are. Again, time flying past. When it flies by so quickly, it makes me even more thankful for my daily habits of a haiku and a picture and my gratitude journal, all ways to record each day, to know that each day held something special or unique, even my dail tarot reading with its reflections on the previous day's reading holds gems or highlights of the day. Otherwise time slips away like fine sand.
May was a good month, sure, let's call it a merry month. My oldest step-daughter, Crystal, who lives in southern Ontario had much needed stents put in after heart trouble. One more to go and I think she'll find them a tremendous help. She was already noticing a difference a week later. They were very literally a lifesaver for Rob 13 years ago. And speaking of 13, our oldest grandchild, Ethan turned 13 this month. We had an outdoor bbq family party for him which was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours before my midnight shift.
May also brought Mother's Day. Dad had shared a bunch of old old photos with me on an early month visit. I remembered them on seeing them, could feel the sea breeze in my hair, could feel the sand down my bathing suit, sticking to my legs. This photo is of Mam and me, possibly at Saltburn or Redcar.
Black and white photos
“Every day is Mother’s Day.”
Haiku #128 & 85 (#the100dayproject2022)
Mam never really agreed with Mothers Day and Fathers Day etc believing that parents should be celebrated every day, not just on one special day. I agree. But it is nice and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when Dane and/or my step kids acknowledge it.
Also in May, we had NOWW's LitFest. It was done differently this year by letting the winners know ahead of time that they had won--but they had to keep it secret until the winners were announced at the LitFest. I didn't like it this way as much. Not as exciting although it was equally nerve wracking as I'd agreed to read part of my first place entry out loud! I won 3 prizes and was thrilled and honoured to do so. 3rd place--short fiction; 2nd place--creative nonfiction and 1st place--Bill MacDonald prize (a story with a local theme, this year non-fiction). Many winners this year came from out of town or out of province. The contest is international.
As you can see from the haiku photos, our weather has been wild this month. But all the rain has made everything incredibly, delightfully green. Today we had fierce winds and there were tornado warnings for outlying areas and towns. The power is out at Shebandowan (Dad and Sandy's lakeside home) so we can't spend time together out there tomorrow as were our plans. Instead we'll visit them in town to celebrate their 3rd wedding anniversary.
Leaving you with some haiku. And warmest wishes to you for June.
time with friends
lone angler on the dock
bright orange hope
tangle of the yard
total overwhelm until
light on white petal
Today is the last day of April I realised with a shock as I finally settled in to sleep after my midnight shift last night. And I need to do my blog before work tonight . So here is a blog in 20 minutes. My photos are having a difficult time coming over to my computer from my phone these days. It's very hit and miss (usually miss) through my email. So these may or may not have accompanying photos.
Where does time go? The miserable weather we've had in April which often catapulted us back into winter hasn't helped but time and this year, has zipped past. April was a fun month writing-wise for me. My play was selected for this year's 10x10 which will be performed at Magnus theatre so that is wildly exciting. This is my 3rd play chosen. And my director is very experienced. I think she's directed 3 previous plays and she's an actor so it'll be interesting to see where she takes my play and the vision I had for it. Still have to do rewrites but they won't take long. The plays will be performed on 17th and 18th June. Rob has volunteered for them all and i have tickets for Saturday night and a free pass to the gala on Friday night (Dad and Sandy have tickets for that) and I've yet to get a ticker for myself for the matinee on Saturday.
In March, just past my last blog post, an article, a lovely article by Heather Leighton Dickson, was published about me and my haiku in Bayview Magazine, a free glossy local magazine. I got huge positive feedback from it when I told people and when I posted it on facebook. I tend to not toot my own horn very much on social media (other than in here) so it was extremely rewarding and refreshing to relish in and bask in the acknowledgements for a while. It's because of my daily haiku that I know I actually did discover and live through Marpril one day at a time. (my photo was taken by Heather's hubby, professional photographer Alan Dickson)
I had almost forgotten that I had that to share! I love the haiku, the practice and when it works and when it simply records a moment in a day in my life and perhaps the lives of those around me. I had my writing groups as usual, LUNA (Lakehead Unfinished Novels Association--in which I have nothing to offer at the moment), Thunder Bay Writers Guild (my story was up in April and got lots of constructive suggestions and acknowledgements) and ParaTactics (poetry--again a great meeting. We've changed the day of the week to Mondays for my poetry group too so all my writing groups now fall on Mondays which is perfect for me.) Next month we have the NOWW Litfest which will be in person and we'll find out the winners of the 2022 NOWW contest which is always exciting.
In other news I went to my first theatre movie show since pre-covid and it was great. Bigger, brighter and louder than I could have ever recalled! So lovely to spend time with Brenda who was in for cataract surgery from Shebandowan. I really miss her and our monthly dinners. The movie was 'Father Stu' which was based on a true story/life so I'm always up for those.
Almost forgot that I also went to 2 live drag shows in March (on my birthday) with Rob and in April with stepdaughter Carole. Yay! They were both wonderful. The sound of the audience (people en masse!) buzzing, laughing and applauding...wow! It ricocheted right through my bones.
Another highlight in April--a court date due to work had been resolved so no court! Such a HUGE relief! Woo hoo!
Anyway, just some haiku and pictures to add now (@lassfromyorks is my instagram account) before i toddle off to work on this rainy evening. At least it's not snowing!
Good Friday shift done
tree-lined streets snow-covered
working overtime #105 & 62
Christmas cactus bud
forgotten lipstick #96 & 53
(this is one of my favourite haiku)
Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson Day 10 Today
Yesterday I made my today better by removing a pile of papers and envelopes under a print in the upstairs hallway. The print is of koi fish congregating in a pond, they’re all kind of looking at the bottom third of the painting. But the bottom third of the painting was obscured by the mess on top of the hallway bookcase. I still have to arrange things underneath but now as I sit here typing, I can see the whole picture and the koi are looking at and creating ripples in a pond. Much better.
The print reminds me of my most favourite restaurant ever—the Noodlemakers in Gastown in Vancouver. It’s no longer there but it was an incredible experience just to dine there. Apart from delicious food, reasonably priced, the restaurant was built to honour the four elements, one higher floating platform for air, one right at ground level for the earth, and one floating one right above a large indoor pond for water. I can’t remember anything about the one for fire. Chinese music (so relaxing to me) played constantly. Everyone tried to reserve their tables to coincide with 7:30 because at that time one of the waitresses would sit beside the pond and ring a large gong. All the koi in the pond swam to her to be fed. An incredible sight. Everyone left their tables to watch. We were in another place, far away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
This morning I thought I could buy a gong. I saw one the other day in a garden centre. It sounded lovely and deep and I was in the Noodlemakers again many years ago. Yes. I could buy a gong and place it under the picture and gong it and pretend the koi are all congregating to feed. Something about that whole idea just delights me whether I do it or not.
And it prompted me this morning, after my midnight shift and before I climbed under the covers for a restful sleep, to order a steel drum online, one just like the one that young woman was playing in the conservatory the other day. I may never make it sound as lovely as she did. It may even have been the setting more than anything. But life is too short not to indulge as many harmless whims as possible. And I’m still thinking about that gong.
Old friend sends photo card
stretches across miles
and years #70 & 27
Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson Day 9 Cherish
Cherish. I rarely use this word. It feels quaint and old-fashioned, delicate even yet fierce and deep. As I moved through my day, I found myself cherishing not so much things but moments, and not so much moments but experiences, and not so much experiences but people, and not so much people but the memories of being with those people and the way things could remind me of specific moments and experiences. It made me a little spinny.
I’m a clutterbug (kind word)—everything has a story or reminds me of someone or of an experience with someone. But what do I truly cherish? No one thing came to mind although I could look around and point out many things that I love dearly. So many things.
Today, I found myself cherishing the slant of morning sunlight as I made my favourite breakfast, French toast with slightly cooked fruit. This struck me one day on another prompt too—that some day I may be somewhere else and the morning sun will light up my cooking area, spill into the frying pan and across the counter, shoot rainbows across the ceiling, and I will be immediately back in this moment and all those years of similar moments in this house with the radio on and pets eating and Rob somewhere (even if not in the house at that time) and my son safe somewhere many miles away and me making French toast, bread dripping egg into a pan sizzling with butter. Whatever may be troubling me today at this very moment, overall means nothing, swept up as it is in the broad brush stroke of this collective feeling, this layering of moment upon moment upon similar moment over time which is simply so very comforting. And which I know I will always carry with me somehow. This is what happens, isn’t it? The insight of this moment with all its imperfections being perfect because it becomes a woven strand in your life, often a golden thread which we don’t even recognise at the time.
Something about the word cherish forces me to boil things down to their essence, to something pale and shimmering that almost disappears if you look at it straight on.
I went to tai chi practice at the gym. And I cherish that. But it’s not really that. It’s the feeling of accumulation again. Repetition. Body memory. Time upon time upon time of years upon years upon years of tai chi all over the place, in groups and alone. It all comes together each time, all those other times build on this time today, the familiar grounding that I often so desperately need, the fierce concentration that is also so freeing, the pride when it all comes together and my body relaxes into it, the humanity when I stumble.
I cherish my chats with Louise after in the parking lot. But it’s more than that. It’s all the times we stop and chat and sometimes talk about nothing deep but sometimes do and we never know where a conversation will take us but we just both enjoy the connection and the witnessing of each other in this world, not just in a busy parking lot after tai chi practice. Cherishing those moments transcends those moments.
I arrived home to a lovely birthday card from an old friend in Britain. He had sent me a card with a photo on it that he’d taken on a walk on his birthday in February. ‘From my birthday to your birthday’ he wrote inside. The photo was of the area we grew up in, an expanse of hills looking to towns from my childhood. Again, what do I cherish? The card? The sentiment? My friend? Of course but also his thoughtfulness, his knowing that it would mean a lot to me and all those other moments over all the years that build upon each other, even the hard times which somehow become a foundation as we move beyond them.
Effy shared a video with some of her groups last week about still creating during hard times and in turn I shared it with my writing groups. Today I got an email from one of my writing friends, John Pringle, to thank me for it, saying it really spoke to him. He shared the following with me: (copied with his permission):
‘My father carried a volume of Shakespeare with him while he crawled around Italy and France during WW II. One of my favourite memories of him. I think he personified what Lewis was saying. When it was all over he worked 2 years to help settle refugees and then returned home in 1947 and eventually taught English with great gusto. And kept his sense of humour (a dark one!)’
John’s partner also messaged me to thank me for sending the video saying it meant a lot to her as well.
I cherish all that. The mutual sharing and connecting and ideas and emotions all bouncing off each other as we stumble along together in this life. It’s like someone holding out a hand and steadying you for a while. It’s not any one thing although every one thing certainly makes it richer and bigger but again that accumulation, that string of moments and the never-knowingness of it, never knowing when a connection will happen or be made. Synchronicity but sometimes not even as dramatic as that. That look at it sideways and not for too long thing again. Like a star. It’s there all the time but look too forcefully and it disappears. But it’s always there.
Dad emailed today about a birthday dinner with him and my step-mom. I cherish that. And all the caring moments scattered in the everyday ordinariness of a lifetime.
Rob came home with bags of salt and vinegar chips just for me. My favourites. He had to go to 5 stores to get them. Again, not just this one caring act but many many many stacked upon each other over all the years to become something elusive, a relationship, a marriage, that may not make sense to anyone else but which is something that I deeply cherish even if we both may see areas we might want to improve upon or change. Perhaps something can be cherished even more if it is a little tattered and imperfect. Like The Velveteen Rabbit.
And how would I like to be cherished? In writing this, I realise I am so very cherished in so many different ways, so much more than I ever truly acknowledge. The acknowledgement is extremely humbling.
pointy-toed plastic booties
brighter smiles #69 & 26
Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson Day 8 Grinch Heart
Going to the dentist today made my Grinch Heart grow. I realise that may sound strange to many people but I really like my dentist and I had two broken molars. They didn’t hurt but I knew I should get them fixed and one of them had a particularly sharp edge which my tongue liked to fiddle with. So off I went. My dentist looked at them. “Aha. We can fix that. Oh and that one too. No problem. And no freezing necessary.” All words that made my heart sing. I was finished in less than half an hour without any pain.
She had come through for me at other times, too, one time making me cry with her kindness and flexibility in fitting me in before a US trip. She fixed the tooth temporarily that time and charged me nothing. I enjoyed the trip with peace of mind about my tooth.
We have to take our boots off at the door of the dentist and put on these blue plastic booties instead. The ones they had this time gave me pointed toes so I felt like an elf. They made me laugh as I sat in the chair. The hygienist waited while I took a photo of them. “Take a fresh pair home,” she said.
When I got home Rob was busy with work but he had the tv on as usual and ‘Steel Magnolias’ was halfway through. So I sat and watched it through to the end. Of course. Because that movie touches on all emotions and makes me laugh and cry so my Grinch Heart grew for sure. Then ‘Mermaids’ was on. Of course I re-watched that too! And my Grinch Heart grew some more. What a delightfully lazy afternoon. So needed. So spontaneous.
I had munched my way through the movie-watching so I told Rob I’d just get myself a can of soup for dinner before a writing group meeting on zoom. He’s usually the cook and while I was starting my computer upstairs, I could hear him in the kitchen. When I came downstairs to make my soup, he’d made a delicious noodle dish. Enough for two coincidentally! Lol. So I shared that instead.
I had been in charge of organising three readers for the writing group and it had been such a pain this time. No one had stepped forward, the people I’d asked couldn’t make it, someone was having technical difficulties, someone seemed very non-committal and I had to repeatedly coax them to read. But we ended up with three people who had never read their work in public before—that courage is wonderful to witness. Not only was all their work interesting and moving and entertaining but one of the women reading was a former student of the wife of a man who was also reading. She recognised that when the man mentioned his wife in his memoir. She was stunned at the synchronicity of that, even more so because this particular teacher had been instrumental in encouraging her to write. After she had mentioned this, we all sat and waited, no-one saying a word, while the man went to get his wife. She appeared onscreen tying her robe as she had been getting ready for bed. But she remembered her student from over 45 years ago and they chatted for a while before we carried on with the readings. It was a lovely, magical moment, enough to make everyone’s heart swell.
donuts in the mailbox
so much love and care #68 & 25
Day 7 Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson Tenderness
So much felt tender today. I had planned lunch and a walk around the conservatory with my friend Tessa and I had just texted her to say I was on my way to pick her up when the mail came and I got two parcels from friends in Britain and Tasmania. Something so tender about parcels/ presents chosen with care and wrapped securely and mailed. Fran from Tasmania had coloured the outside of her package with a tranquil scene of flowers and a pond and blue sky and Angela had written ‘happy birthday’ on the back of her package. My birthday is next week and them both thinking about me so far in advance so I’d have pressies to open on my birthday feels caring. But I can feel the love even before I open the gifts. Then Tessa gave me a pot with three hyacinths growing that she had planted for me. The shoots themselves are strong, yet also tender. They should flower in a couple of weeks and Tessa has no idea of their colours so that’ll be a surprise.
Over lunch I was telling Tessa about a prank Dad played on me when I was little and terrified of the Dr. Who theme music (and the daleks) and I said it was cruel really but he laughed. She said something along the lines of how strange it is that we can still want love and still love people who have hurt us, especially parents. Even though Dad is actually a terrific father and I completely idolised him when I young, I still remember that fear I felt that time and when Tessa said that I felt completely seen and understood by her. Her compassion surprised me, not because she’s not a compassionate person but because what I had said had touched a tender spot in her too and we suddenly and unexpectedly related on a deeper level. I love this kind of witnessing and have learned so much more about it from being in Effy’s course, Moonshine. Being witnessed also reminded me recently of our coordinator at work. The company had given us extra money for snacks as a reward for working through covid and our coordinator asked us what snacks we’d like. I wrote a detailed list as I’m diabetic so I hoped for something more than chocolate and she bought pretty much everything I’d mentioned. It felt wonderful, that nod to ‘I paid attention to what you said.’
Tessa is legally blind and has a new guide dog, a golden retriever, a big soft lump with the most expressive face and the happiest tail ever. People literally melt when they see him. I think most people have a tender spot in their hearts for service dogs anyway as many people would smile when they saw her old German Shepherd too. It’s always lovely to have that instant connection with people. In restaurants some of the kindest owners bring water out for the dogs.
Walking through the conservatory with all its gorgeous flowers and tropical plants and waterfall felt magical in comparison to the six foot tall snow banks outside. But this time there was something special: music. Tessa said it sounded like bells, to me it sounded like an organ. Turns out it was a steel drum which looked more like a curling rock and a young woman on a bench was playing it to her friend. We told her how delightful and relaxing it was and she told us she’d got it on Amazon (I want one!) and that it was good for her kids too as they could bang away on it all day and it still sounded good!
Driving home I drove by a donut shop and had a sudden craving for a donut despite being diabetic. Although the mail had already been, I checked our mailbox only to find two persian donuts in a baggie! A surprise from one of my step daughters!
Today was the first day back at work for one of my coworkers whose father had recently died. I sent her a text with hug emojis. She replied with an emoji blowing a kiss. Such moments make my day—just a small acknowledgement of each other being in the world.
I keep trying to make these short for ease of reading but something about the prompts, about the accompanying texts (I loved today’s about the small kindnesses) stirs memories and I just want to share them. I’m trying very hard to not apologise for the length of my Wild Musings but I do thank you for reading this far.
I grew up being called ‘love’ and ‘pet’ from Mam and my Nannas and aunts and today I often pepper my speech with ‘love’ and ‘sweetie’, especially at work and with Rob and my son and step-kids and grandkids. But one time I specifically remember happened when I had returned to England for a visit soon after emigrating. I was maybe 18 but I’ve been the kind of person who smiles and says hi or nods at people as we pass and this one frosty morning I passed an elderly lady on the street. We smiled at each other and I said hi. She stopped and said, “Oh I just want to tell you, if you’re going to the cake shop be careful, pet. That bottom step is slippery.” I thanked her and checked that she was okay and she hadn’t fallen then we each went on our own way. But I felt like a huge fire had been lit inside me. Such a sweet, tender moment that I have never forgotten. That gentle looking out for each other. For me, it’s what life is ultimately all about. That and creating!
When I left Britain at age 16, Nanna, Mam’s Mam, bought me a gold signet ring so I wouldn’t forget her. (as if!) I’ve only taken it off once for a few hours all these years to have it resized. When I was sat beside Mam when she was dying in the hospital, I touched the ring and whisper-asked Nanna to help us and show me how I could help Mam. I felt so useless. A few minutes later, a janitor who had been working all evening and passing by constantly came into the room. She handed me a warm damp facecloth and a hand towel. I thanked her for being so kind to Mam. “No,” she said, “these are for you.”
Thick icicles drip
sparrows chirp, squirrels frolic
time fritters away #67 & 24
Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson Day 6 Nostalgia
Before I was even out of bed this morning I was having a lovely messenger exchange with my ex-sister-in-law, Lea (we call ourselves sisters along with Lea’s blood sister, Brenda). After Friday’s Wild Musing which brought attention to a beautiful card Lea had sent me years ago, I sent a random text to Lea just sending love. She lives at the opposite end of the province and we hadn’t been in touch for a while. She sent love back. Then this morning a photo of me had popped up on her facebook page, a memory of her being in town 14 years ago, so she messaged to tell me and we had quite a deep ‘chat’. I miss seeing her these past couple of years and I also miss the regular ‘dinner and a movie’ monthly nights that I had with Brenda who used to live intown. Brenda now lives and works in the country and it feels like she’s as far away as Lea. But I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need a regular physical connection with a good friend to feel in touch with them or to pick up where we left off or to suddenly dive deep like Lea and I this morning. So all in all that’s okay.
The day held such promise, like the pockets of sunshine I noticed from my bedroom window when I got up (hard to see in the photo but trust me, there were little dips in the snow bank where pockets of sunshine gathered like milk on a saucer). I remembered painting the walls of the bedroom when my ex and I first bought this house. I had borrowed a portable cassette player (I know! I’ve lived here forever!) from his Little Brother (through the organisation Big Brother) Jeremy and the only tape Jeremy had that I liked was by Men at Work (no idea where my own tapes were!) so whenever I hear ‘Who Can It Be Now?’ and ‘Down Under’ I’m back happily slapping paint and dreams and wishes on the bedroom wall of my new home.
In turn that reminded me of my first bedroom in British Columbia, Canada. Mam and Dad decorated it for me when I came over from England and they were proud of it. They had chosen a brown floral patterned wallpaper which I actually (thankfully!) loved. The flowers had delicate lemon centres and Dad had chosen that exact shade to paint the other walls. It looked pretty and grown up both at the same time. They had bought a brown wicker type lamp which sits beside me now as I type. I loved that bedroom which looked out onto a magnolia tree and a lawn and cedars. In England my bedroom looked out onto back alleys and brick chimneys and concrete yards albeit a beautiful view in its own right but to see trees and flowers right outside my window seemed like heaven. I miss that bedroom, the time my parents took into making it feel special for me and their excitement at having me ‘home’ with them. (I’d lived with my grandparents for a year in England to finish my schooling there while Mam and Dad lived in Canada)
At this time of year in Thunder Bay I miss mild springs and all the spring flowers whether in Britain or in Vancouver. The other day my uncle sent a picture of the local cemetery in England he’d taken that morning and it tore at my heart. The ground was covered in a neverending carpet of purple crocuses. Oh how I loved that cemetery. With its tall walls I always felt like I was entering a sacred magic place (even though I also had many fumbling dates there on the wooden benches) full of tall shady trees, eroded gravestones, narrow uneven paths and endless birdsong. My heart sank when I saw many of the cemeteries in Canada with their structured plots and few gravestones.
Despite its promising start, my day seemed to disintegrate into a tiresome tangle so to buck myself up enough to write this I put on my Spotify list called ‘Dance Dance Dance’. All the songs lift my spirit but I had a nostalgic flashback listening to ‘You’re My Best Friend’ by Queen. I was a young teenager on holiday in Scotland with Mam and Dad, me in the back of the car, and we were paused turning a corner. ‘You’re My Best Friend’ came on the radio at the same time as I locked eyes with a cute older boy stood waiting to cross the road. We smiled, he winked and we strained our heads to see each other for as long as possible once the car started to move. The warm Scottish air (I adore Scotland and my soul believes that Scottish air is different from any other air) blew through the open window and tugged at my hair and I felt that lovely flip of my stomach that made me feel alive and pretty and that the world was full of promise and mine to grasp with both hands.
Late winter morning
snow hoards pockets of sun
clock ticks steadily #66 & 23
Image is of a snow-filled yard from a second storey window with birds feeding and a glint of light at the top of a snow bank
Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson Day 4 Laughter
Every time I think of laughter I realise that I crave more. I have a skewed way of looking at the world sometimes which involves a somewhat sadistic sense of humour. My go to humour tends to be TV news bloopers and YouTube videos (surprisingly from childhood TV shows, especially the live ones where things went wrong).
This morning, in a rush to get dressed, I got my arms stuck in those plastic hanging loops that are part of the shirt. So I had to free myself with tiny T-rex arms. I could have sold tickets for that and gotten rich. I laughed once I’d moved beyond the moment of panic.
Rob and I have a standing joke about the round robin artist book group Gladdened Gluebooks. Say it out loud. Gladdened Gluebooks. Tricky, right? Or maybe it’s just me. But I stumble over it every time so I’ll tell Rob that I’m still waiting for my Gladdened Gluebook to come in the mail for instance and stumble over it. Then he’ll say “Your what?” Far too many times I’ll struggle to say it again before I notice the smile on his face. It happened again this morning. Such humour makes the relationship fun. My good friend Linda once said that humour is a cornerstone to a good relationship. She’s also my wise friend Linda.
Today I had lunch out with another good friend Lisa. We share lots together and usually a good laugh is somewhere in there. Today was no exception. The waitress had put the teabag in my pot of hot water rendering it too strong for me so I asked her for another pot of water. I could have gotten it myself and usually do at that restaurant but with covid I wasn’t sure if the rules had changed and indeed she said she would get it for me. But she was gone before I could fully explain. She brought us both glasses of ice water. So I tried to explain again. This time she ran off with my teapot. When she came back she had my original teapot, one of hot water and a mug of hot water. Anything to shut me up I guess or to cover all her bases. But it just tickled our funny bones and Lisa and I laughed about it and the all around confusion all the way through lunch as I tried to make sense of how to get the tea the way I wanted with what I had to play with. It became like a science experiment: if I took this from this container and added it to this one, what would happen next. Oi oi oi.
Rob and I used to produce a free little weekly magazine full of jokes and advertising. Its motto was an old one but a very true one: Laughter is the best medicine.
On the sun-soaked chair
Grey Cat curls, waiting
sun’s warmth creeps closer #62 & 19
Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson Day 5 Right Now
Trigger warning: homophobia and court subpoenas
This morning driving home from my midnight shift, I watched the brilliant sunrise brush the snow on the mountain. A delicate pink blush spread up its incline and made my heart swell. I couldn’t be at the sunrise vigil a local coffee shop had arranged this morning but I was shoulder to shoulder in solidarity.
From a facebook post last night while at work, I learned of a couple of hate actions against a gay couple who own a local coffee house that is gaining recognition for its humanity. First a large rock was thrown through their window. They had a local artist decorate the rock (at least six inches high) and auctioned it off giving proceeds to the local hospital in memory of a dear friend.
Next they received a hate letter in the mail citing Bible verses about the sins of homosexuality. The coffee shop owners brought it to the press’s attention and decided to host a sunrise vigil against hate this morning. Their shop faces the harbour and people could go at 7:15 and watch the sun rise over the Sleeping Giant in the harbour while enjoying free coffee. Also in celebration of this event, the owners made rainbow doughnuts.
As I drove home the brilliance of the sunrise delighted me for more reasons than simply its natural beauty. I imagined throngs of people standing in love and solidarity.
This had riled me. As had another subpoena which I had delivered to my work. A few years ago I had found something extremely distasteful in the bedroom of one of our clients at work as I was making his bed. The police were called, his computer seized and our services dropped. The incident dredged up many mixed emotions from me, stuff from my past and I took to therapy to help deal with it. I had thought I’d long since buried it all and danced on its grave but no. I received a subpoena at work to be witness against this man in court in April. This last subpoena which I got at work last night included two more court dates in June. Sighhhhh. My then-coordinator who is simply a terrific woman is also by my side in this so we are holding each other’s hand at least.
So the effort to be here right now was a little more intense today. My feelings were powerful. So I concentrated on the taste of rosemary on my fried eggs when I got home and before bed. I pondered my daily haiku and wanted it to reflect all my feelings and the sunrise vigil yet the image I had in mind to pair with it was my sunflower painting from a peace meditation regarding Ukraine and creative session Effy hosted a few days ago. As I was struggling with it, I noticed what was right in front of me: a small heart shaped bell that Linda had given me. The perfect image! All I had to do was to be in the moment to notice it. So I changed my focal picture and the haiku came instantly after that.
Then as I’m continuing to eat breakfast and calm my emotions, I noticed sunlight reflecting off a string of red foil hearts I have over my Fetch altar. They reflected red all over a card I have pinned to a corkboard. So of course I felt compelled to read the card. From my ex-sister-in-law but we consider ourselves sisters. The front of it reads:
As long as there are people like you
who care with all their heart
the world is still
a place of possibility and hope
I thought of all the people at the sunrise vigil; all those who sent their love and support; the optimism of the owners themselves; of the albeit reluctant witnessing that my coordinator and I have to bring to get someone the help/punishment they need and to hopefully protect others in the future. And finally, with peace in my heart, I could amble off to bed (much later than usual—I feel rather sleep deprived for my shift tonight!) and snuggle between soft sheets and know that other dreamers were taking care of the world while I slept.
Thank you, Renee, for a prompt which turned out to be so meaningful for me today, dragging me back to the present time and time again.
Love is love is love
against hometown hate #63 & 20
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.