Wild Musings Day 8 with Renee Magnusson
Enchanted moments lift me up, elevate the ordinary. They feel like a secret between me and the universe. I realise they are also immensely personal. I seek them out, try to be aware of serendipitous moments throughout the day, but they are best, most fulfilling, when they surprise me and when they occur in the least expected, otherwise predictable and mundane of times.
The other day while my car was getting its annual rust guard, I walked around the neighbourhood, peering into people’s gardens and studying clouds. I found fallen poppies which had grown through a chain link fence, a terrific eye on a birch trunk and a pretty white butterfly on tufted purple flowers. Little snippets of enchantment, two of which have become daily haiku. The white butterfly one was today’s haiku.
Hours after lunch with a friend today, I remembered leaving my jacket in my car. When I went out to get it, a gorgeous white moth was snoozing on top of it in the back seat. My car windows had been closed so I was surprised to see it. I carried it into the house to grab my phone to take a photo and it stayed on my jacket the whole time, only once waving its antennae in the breeze. I released it onto an outside plant then I remembered my haiku about the white butterfly this morning. And the two moments seemed like a kind of clasp on the day, enclosing it. Enchanting.
memories crowd in
poppies at my feet
white winged butterfly
on roadside flowers
wings still in the breeze
#365daysofsybwriting22 #365days of haiku
Day 7 Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
Today was a lovely mellow rainy at-home day with no real pressures—my ideal spare time. I try to schedule an at-home day, no appointments, nowhere to be, at least once a week because I need them. Today was especially lazy.
I wandered down online rabbit holes of new tarot decks and readings, window blind browsed, fiddled with poems, made my favourite brunch and an easy dinner.
I wanted to give myself a tarot reading. I’ve got out of the habit of my 3 card reading at the beginning of the day and miss it. Maybe I’ll still do that before bed while the kettle is boiling.
I wordled and I octordled.
I blasted music while I folded and put away laundry and I danced.
I wrote a snail mail card to a college friend I lost touch with many many moons ago (hoping the address I found for her is right), wrote another card to a lovely woman who regularly comments on my haiku on instagram. She had lamented not having a penpal and whereas I can’t/ don’t want to commit to regular correspondence, I know the joy of receiving physical mail so thought she might appreciate a card. I gathered everything to send to my friend in Tasmania—little bits and pieces that I’d been collecting for ages, now all together in one envelope and ready to mail tomorrow. Once I get started, I love writing letters and would have loved to write to an old friend. Another day.
I sat with my hubby for a while as he watched baseball, partially watching the game but mostly playing a tetris-like game, 10x10 from an ecard website. Totally absorbing and relaxing. And the Blue Jays won so even better.
At dusk I visited my faery garden, the red impatiens so vibrant against the dark wet earth, and I righted the broken terra cotta plant pot parts which make a little wall but had tipped over.
petals skin thin
all the long days growing
sad news penetrates
Wild Musings Day 6 with Renee Magnusson
Petty pleasures is a bit of an ouch for me. It smacks of a camaraderie that I sometimes feel is missing in my friendships or relationships. I want Renee’s memory of her friends all rallying round after a breakup and going out and dancing and eating noodles and being wildly supportive. So I ponder how I can give that to my friends, how I can cultivate it and invite it in my life more. And all those wonderful hexes.
I do have some memories like that actually when I take a minute to look deeper. Six months after I separated from my ex-husband, my friend Linda came out from BC, halfway across the country, to visit me. She knew my ex, Derek, as we had lived in BC and moved out to Ontario after our wedding. Linda came with me when I went to Derek’s to pick up my son. Derek wasn’t expecting her to walk in with me and he seemed taken aback and not sure what to say. I loved his discomfort, that knowledge that he was no longer privvy to everything going on in my life. Linda was wonderfully polite but she was also like a Rotweiller by my side. I could feel her strength beside me.
Derek stammered at her, “You-you look like a tourist.”
Linda smiled and nodded. “That,” she said with a dramatic pause, “would be because I am.”
And we left with my son. Out of his earshot, Linda said to me, “What a stupid thing to say. What else am I supposed to look like?” And it was all I needed to hear for my world to shift and for me to feel steady in it again. I could have kissed her for that fierce loyalty.
Recently I saw ‘Tommy’ on TV. What a trippy movie! I had first seen it on a first date with Ken from my class when we were 15. I messaged him about it, reminding him about a joke he made about our headmistress’s hair at the time when someone in the movie had a weird hat on their head or something. The joke became our private joke, a tent peg in our relationship, a bonding. I think that’s what shared petty pleasures give me: a deeper bonding.
A petty pleasure I often turn to, to buck myself up, is news bloopers or bloopers from TV shows and movies, the outtakes. I just love them, nothing staged, all natural.
slow drip of sunshine
from the light-laden leaf
clock ticks steadily
#234 #365daysofsybwriting22 #365daysofhaiku
Wild Musings Day 5 (Indulgence) with Renee Magnusson
I realised that indulgence for me is all about having choices to match my moods:
a box of nag champa incense but also a selection of sticks of different scents
100s and 100s of songs and dozens of mood mixes on Spotify but searching for that one song that one day which has the catch in her voice, the quiver in a note that captures my heart and that I need to hear, then playing it on repeat
having a drawer half full of nighties I love but buying just one more because it’s oh so soft and the colour and floral pattern reminds me of Yorkshire Moors heather and when I wear it I feel like I’m hugging myself
Karma shower gel (an indulgent staple—thanks, Renee, for the push to do that!) but also an assortment of different scents
hand-made patchouli soap as a go-to but also many different scented soaps tucked away perfuming drawers because sometimes I need to dream and drift into meadows rather than be grounded
my staples of earl grey or jasmine tea but also a myriad of other flavours upstairs and downstairs
Indulgence for me is also taking time to absorb moments, to notice:
brush of cool water on my bare leg as I edge past dew heavy harebells
sunflowers peering around a fence like curious school kids
morning sunlight moving across then dripping from a houseplant’s leaves after a long and worrisome work shift and a deep breath sigh of being off now for a few days
crowd of sunflowers
peer around the fence
Wild Musings Day 4 with Renee Magnusson
I’d never really thought about it until today, but I do get a strange kind of pleasure from imagining myself in other people’s homes, sitting in different chairs, looking out at different scenes, wondering, “How would I feel living here, sitting here, looking out here and getting the most awful news?” I’m not sure why it’s always awful news but it’s looking for comfort perhaps. Would I feel comforted here? Moreso than in my own home? What can I change? I know the surroundings would make no difference—would I even notice the plush cream carpet at such a moment? Of course not, but I love imagining. I’m pet-sitting this week, just dropping by my friend’s house, and haven’t tried out the different chairs. Because I did it last time I pet-sat for her. So I already know the views, the softness of each chair. It feels sneaky somehow which I suppose is where the guilty part comes in. Just call me Goldilocks.
I love walking or driving past lit windows at night and imagining the people behind the glass: their lives, their hopes, dreams and tragedies. And imagining myself living there, coming home after a rough shift, up that garden path, unlocking that front door, what warmth lies beyond.
Renee’s mention of ‘Dirty Dancing’ reminds me of Nora as I first watched it with her. I worked for Nora through the Outreach part of my organisation so I went to her home to care for her. Nora had MS which resulted in her being a quadriplegic. But we were fairly close in age and she liked to spend Saturday nights (my shift) watching a rented movie with popcorn. She was delighted to learn that I’d never seen ‘Dirty Dancing’, one of her all time favourite movies. So we watched it together, both of us delighting in hot buttered popcorn, the story and Patrick Swayze. Watching movies, really getting into them, especially with buttered popcorn, at any time of the day remains high on my pleasure list.
I also never miss an episode of Survivor or the Great British Baking Show or the Canadian Baking Show. I used to devour Forensic Files and real life murder shows but since working steady midnights by myself in a big apartment building I don’t indulge in that pleasure so much as I’m more liable to terrify myself while working remembering some of the shows.
And then there’s Spotify and the endless mixed mood lists that I create—hundreds and hundreds of songs. This pleasure began as a teenager taping songs from the radio, my cassette player’s mic pushed up against it, trying to eliminate any background noise. Spotify makes it so much easier!
step by step, hand in hand
Wild Musings Day 3 with Renee Magnusson
Yesterday I went on a gentle adventure with my hubby, Rob. I finally got him out of the house and off to Kakabeka Falls, our Niagara of the North, half an hour’s highway drive away. One of my all time favourite places, somehow even in winter when they’re sometimes frozen solid, the Falls energise and ground me. We walked around the Falls as if we were tourists, taking photos and still oohing and ahhing, closing our eyes to the spray in our faces. Then we went for dinner and ate on their patio.
Halfway through our dinner, a lone woman at a nearby table called out to us.
“Are they any good, those chicken wings?”
Rob said they were, but then she decided not to order them anyway. “I’ve driven halfway across the country and eaten chicken wings every night for supper,” she laughed, running her hand through her shoulder-length grey hair.
We got talking. She was from Saskatchewan and had been to southern Ontario to see her sister and was on her way back now but she was taking her time. “Well, two days ago I had no choice,” she said. “My car broke down on the side of the road outside of Wawa, in the middle of nowhere, middle of the day. No shade. I had to wait 4 ½ hours for CAA. I’d just bought a case of beer so I drank most of that. Well, I had to hydrate, right? So I had to find lodging for a couple of days, this happened on Sunday, of course. Luckily it was just a burst pipe, the coolant, $175. Could have been so much worse. I was ready to ditch Stella, that’s my car, on the side of the road and I was looking at car rentals. Stella’s parked way over there so she can’t hear me but oh she was a fucking bitch for doing that to me. Pardon my French.”
We laughed and she asked about the Falls and we told her that oh she must go and walk around them before heading down the highway. She said that the place she ended up in Wawa only had room for one night for her so she had to find something for the next night and ended up miles out of town at a hunting lodge right on the lake. The owner came to collect her. She said it was amazing, so relaxing, chatting with other guests, sitting by the lake. “I would never have been there if Stella hadn’t have broken down so I’m thankful to her for that.”
She said she loved driving across country and had been steadily travelling alone as much as she could after her divorce in 2008. “Best thing I ever did.” And I wondered if she meant the divorce or the travelling or both.
On this trip she had been sitting by Serpent River (oh the name!) when her chair slipped and her phone slid into the water. She gestured with her hand, a levelling motion, “For a moment it just kind of floated there then it sank right to the bottom and I plunged into the water after it. I had to put my head under the water to find it! Oh and the water was so warm! And I fished it out and it still worked. Couldn’t believe it. But I have everything, all my contacts and information on there, you know.” She shook her head, sipped from her rainbow can of beer. “My money and a joint was in my bra. But I didn’t even think, you know. I was fully dressed. The joint and some money sailed away, the rest of the money I had to separate and dry that night at the motel, money all across the bed. Now I keep everything in my bra, the phone as well.”
We chatted more. She talked of a place called Pebbly Beach and Old Woman Bay and I longed to go there. “Oh you must. It’s so beautiful.” We talked of both the coasts (she was originally from Clearwater BC) and she stirred my longing to visit the east coast of Canada (although I hesitate because I’m afraid I’d never return to Thunder Bay—the rugged scenery reminds me of parts of the British coastline). We realised we both follow the soap Coronation Street and gossiped about the characters. Then she was finished her meal and she stood up to leave. “More five minute friends,” she said coming over to give us both a hug. We wished her well on her journey home. She blew us a kiss as she walked away trailing words behind her. “I’ve met the loveliest people…”
Oh to travel like that. I have a friend who does, who loves being alone with her tunes on the open highway. Later, eating ice cream cones on a picnic table by the side of the road, Rob and I laughed about how we had vicariously been on a bigger adventure than we could ever have imagined when leaving home that afternoon. But even before we had met her, we had been talking about possibly going down to the States for a day again, possibly overnight, to Grand Marais, the quaintest artsy town on the shore of Lake Superior, another one of my favourite places to visit.
spray from the Falls
roadside ice cream
the sun in your smile
Wild Musings Day 2 with Renee Magnusson
I loved pondering today about my online communities and social media feeds. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend a couple of years ago. She said she was thinking of getting off facebook as it was so negative. Many of her friends felt the same. I shrugged, knowing it can be. In her feed, in all the comments, such negativity, she said. I studied my facebook feed after that. Post after post was a painting, a joke, a gorgeous photo or a collective lovefest on someone who needed witnessing and had reached out. Interesting. To this day, it remains pretty much the same for me although my friend weeded through some of her friends who were constantly bringing her down and she remains on facebook, now with a happier experience.
A couple of posts I find frustrating once in a while, perhaps someone who seems to be continually wallowing in the same situation without any effort to change anything, but a quick glance and I can scroll on down without engaging.
I post on instagram every day so am most vulnerable to and familiar with that feed. Today the first post that came up was from an old school friend—his first post—a video of him in the Scottish Highlands navigating his bike down a rocky glen which looked like it went over a cliff at the very end (he stopped his ride long before that part). I could feel his concentration. I might have held my breath. I was certainly captivated and absorbed and all day long I thought, “Well, if he can do that, this should be no problem for me!”
The second post on my instagram feed was from an adorable couple who run a local coffee shop. Several months ago they had a brick along with a homophobic note thrown through their window. Not the first note they’d received but the first brick. They immediately brought it to the media’s attention along with their resolve to hold a free rainbow donut sunrise toast the following week. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people showed up to support them. They got requests from schools to talk to kids about being themselves, about homophobia and how to face it and turn it into something positive. Anyway, their post today was a cartoon joke that had me chuckling each time I thought of it.
A sheep and a border collie are in a restaurant.
The border collie says, “What do you mean, I’m too controlling?”
The sheep replies, “You herd me.”
hamster peers out
pink nose twitching
I give him extra carrots
Day 1 Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson
One of my all time favourite movies, ‘Starman’, has a memorable scene where Starman (Jeff Bridges—a pleasure all by himself) brings a deer back to life. I cry every time. Although a little clumsy in the film itself (on the millionth view!), something about the open armed stance of Starman as he gestures at the deer to be free, tugs at something primal in me. When I read Renee’s prompts for today re ancient ritual, that is what sprung to my mind, that release, freeing another being.
Perhaps it came to mind because one of my cats, Kaden who is also diabetic, has a uti and I have to give him liquid antibiotic twice a day. He is such a love and so docile but I have to hold him fairly tight in a full body hug on a bar stool to give him this medicine. The first day, I had no chance to place him back on the floor after the medicine, he leapt over top of my arm and landed gracefully shaking his head. Once I realised I could just let him go, I did. I became Starman in the movie…well, stance-wise anyway. I feel good letting him go and he obviously feels good springing onto the floor. Not as dramatic, but still…
Hhmmm…does release equal pleasure for me?
Monday mornings I art journal along with Effy Wild during her live Prayers to the Moon where we journal out our feelings then art over them. I love the ease-in to the week, the clean slate, perhaps a setting of intentions. And what better way to start the week than with a dollop of art. I’ve also discovered that these little sheets of art paper that I use are lighter than the ones I usually use for my art and they end up with a unique feel, like soft parchment or old leather. They feel like ancient wisdom in my hands. I perch that week’s art by my computer for the week so I see it every day.
Today’s followed Effy’s idea quite closely, with a twirling, falling maple leaf. My quote: If it no longer serves, let it go. Easy to say but for me, very very hard to do. So much resistance. But what if the pleasure of releasing outweighed the fear and the resistance? From everything people have ever told me, I won’t miss the things. And the space, that openness of breathing space, will be very freeing. So they say. And really, so I know in my bones.
brown moth on headboard
in the dark, where does it rest?
I flit from dream to dream
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?
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.