This blog keeps me accountable. So, in that spirit, I'm announcing on here that I'm embarking on the 12 week journey following Julia Cameron's The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough. Again. I have never finished the full course. I think the furthest I've gotten is to chapter 7. On forgiveness. Hhhmmmm...but you'll all keep me on track, right?
This in response to my new moon vow of the 6 areas in my life that I've chosen to specifically focus on which I mentioned in an earlier May blog:
I LOVE Julia Cameron, her writing and her 12 week guided programmes. The Artist's Way transformed my life. I highly recommend it for anyone at any time in their life. I've worked through it fully at least three, possibly four times. It grounds me and points me in the right direction every time. I have the same faith with The Prosperous Heart and trust that this time I'll make it to the end. For this course, she has an interesting selection of tools:
Today I started my Morning Pages practice--3 handwritten pages each morning as soon as I wake up (on days that I work, I will work around this as best as i can...pages at work ASAP for the 7am-5pm shift and on my midnight shifts in the morning before starting the scheduled routines if possible otherwise when I get home). Refreshing though these pages are (I call them my AM pages as they are so grounding and self-illuminating and i love the play on a.m.) they can be difficult to justify at times if I feel I'm neglecting something else to get them done. But they only take 20 mins and add such clarity to my day. They are SO worth it. I still have to decorate the front of my present AM book (an 80 page Hilroy notebook) and design a playlist on Spotify. In the past I've used a mixed tape of Enya's music. I may return to that.
So there you have it. This is where I'm at right now. Where are YOU at? What is going on for you in your life right now? What are you choosing to focus on? What are you showing up for? Showing up can be the hardest part. Do it anyway. Much love. (Please note that weebly (my blog site/host) is having trouble with a bug preventing comments at the moment. They assure me they're working on it so please check in at different times and persevere. Thank you!)
Yesterday I discovered a delightful, heartwarming side story to the royal wedding that I hadn't realised before. Really it's a side story about Meghan Markle's kindness. She has two dogs, one is a rescue dog, a beagle named Guy, who is now living the life of a prince in England with her. His story is quite amazing: being found alone in the woods of Kentucky to being taken to a shelter, not being adopted and put on the euthanasia list. Then being accepted by a beagle rescue organisation in Ontario and with the help of a chain of volunteers who each drove him an hour closer to Canada, arriving at the rescue and being in an adoption event. Someone there fell in love with him and knew he was the dog for her. Meghan Markle. Rumours have it (although I'm not sure how true they are) that he sat with the Queen in her car on the way to the wedding.
I'm thrilled that this story is getting such publicity. All of my three present pets are rescues. For me it's the only way to go although of course any animal in a loving home is a huge bonus. But rescues are special. My sweetheart Trixie was also a rescue dog. There are so many pets out there awaiting their furever home...please check out all the local rescue organisations and even if you're not looking for a new pet at the moment, please consider donating your time, energy or money to help their causes.
I donate regularly to a local cat rescue, Kitty Kare. Such organisations do selfless work in rescuing and helping abandoned animals, usually recruiting only volunteers.
Of course, not every abandoned animal will live as a prince like Guy, at least not in your eyes...but in their eyes, your secure, loving, furever home will be as good as any palace.
A random comment from my good friend Louise yesterday reminded me of a mug experience from when Dane was young. I'm not sure how old he was at the time but still quite young, only fairly recently starting to talk? I'm guessing. But he had taken to calling me Sue not Mommy. My ex thought it hilarious. He was never Derek to Dane but always Daddy. Other people thought it funny or strange or some degree of both extremes. I found it funny sometimes but it also upset me a little. I could be Sue to anyone but only Mommy to Dane. I don't know why he decided to do that. One day he simply stopped. In the meantime, as a gift, I got a mug from Dane (of course really from Derek). 'My very first Mommy mug!' I thought excitedly as I opened it. Wrong. It read SUE. Derek collapsed in laughter. I think I laughed. It was kind of funny but I also felt very disappointed. I used the mug but also made my feelings about it known. At the next gift-giving occasion, I got another mug from Dane reading I love my mommy! I still have that mug. You can see it below. The writing is quite faded but I don't need to read it to know what it says.
This made me think about all my other significant mugs. I'm sentimental and quite a hoarder. We have tons of mugs. Most of them I could tell you who or where they came from. Favoruite mugs that get broken become brush or pen holders or pet food scoopers. Some of my special mugs are pictured below. Linda, my dear friend from BC, began a lovely tradition when she first visited me in Thunder Bay and we keep it to this day. She brought two similar mugs and a specially chosen tea. Those became the mugs we used all through our visit. Then she kept hers and took it back to BC and I kept mine. When i visit her, I n bring the mugs and tea. You can see the mug from her last visit below. Along with some of my other favourites.
What about you? What are your favourite mugs?
Did you watch the royal wedding yesterday? Did it lift your heart as much as it lifted mine, I wonder? I was working 7am to 5pm but got up even earlier to watch people arrive. At work I watched as much as I could on the computer inbetween routines. I was very fortunate to see the choir sing 'Stand By Me' live. One of my favourite songs, sung so movingly by a beautiful choir. I present it here for for your viewing/listening pleasure. Listen and watch it again even if you saw it. If you're listening and watching for the first time, I envy you. It's so magical.
I'm listening to it repeatedly as I write this. One of our men that I had to see at work yesterday at 8am had promised the day before to have his TV tuned to the royal wedding. As soon as he could, he turned the TV on for me so I could glimpse and hear Prince Harry and Meghan getting into the coach for their drive around after the service. So touching of him to do that for me. "Just for you, Sue," he told me, "Don't you dare tell anyone else." Too bad. Now everyone knows. Lol! This particular man is a dream to work with, always helping and joking with staff.
Hopefully you also saw Reverend Bishop Michael Curry's speech. If not, please go and check that out, too. So uplifting. He talked about love being all there is. "Two people fell in love and we all showed up." We could all watch it every day as a delightful way to start the day and put us in the right mindset. (tried to copy it from YouTube and also watch it from there but it doesn't seem to be working at the moment.)
Anyway, if you did see the wedding, I hope you liked it as much as me and I hope you, too, appreciated all the lovely modern twists to it.
At work yesterday, perhaps because i had love on my mind, the following sweet potato peel stood out in particular. Looking at it today, it might have stood out equally well had I been thinking about going to the dentist!
Wishing you a day filled with love in all its forms and shapes.
Yesterday morning was the new hawthorn moon in Taurus in case you missed it. Through Moonshine with Effy Wild, an incredible online art course which cycles with the moon (see also side button in this blog), I am much more aware of the moon and its phases and also the properties of each moon. It enthralls me. And it's rather magical. Each moon has its strengths so the idea is to make new moon vows, what you'd like to manifest in the next cycle as the moon increases/waxes to full, capitalising on the attributes of that particular new moon.
Hawthorn is the tree sign that this new moon falls on according to the Celtic tree calendar. Hawthorn represents defense and protection. And Taurus is the moon sign for this new moon (also the sun sign at the moment. Sun signs refer to astrology which we're all more familiar with). Taurus, like the sun sign, represents practicality, finances, no-nonsense approaches, realism, physicality. Steady and sensual are its trademarks.
I feel drawn to create some regular daily practices in several areas so that I can boost certain things in my life, gain some control. I also feel drawn to share these (and my new moon spread) with you to show accountability. So, this is my rather personal new moon vow...very specific as per the Taurean way.
From this new moon to the next, I vow to build a solid foundation of 10 minute (at least) daily focus/practices in the following areas:
So there you have it! Do YOU have a vow you might like to make based on the properties of this new moon?
Also a tarot card reading is interesting to do at this time. And I have my lovely new shiny Dreaming Way deck to play with. So this is my new moon spread (complete with shine, sorry). Basically a very positive reading...the 6 swords, far left, represents me right now: moving forward with a purpose, being guided towards a set goal, moving from some turbulence towards more peaceful/tranquil waters/times. Interestingly, I did this reading last night. This morning I did my daily tarot card pull after shuffling the cards thoroughly and the card that came up for today in the Dreaming Way tarot was the 6 swords!
Basically, the rest of the reading shows me needing to be firm with boundaries, sticking to my plans, working/creating steadily, head down, stay focused, keep producing. Fresh start financially, rein in the spending, gain control of finances to increase peace and harmony in this area. Others can help me balance some areas, share their tips (hint hint, comments always welcome! Lol!) and show me different ways of achieving balance in all areas. Implementing some regular practices will move me steadily forward in the right direction. I can trust in tried and true wisdom and rely on what has gone before and worked. The concrete focus on building steps will greatly help me and the little by little (but doing something!) approach will prevent me from being overwhelmed and stalled. I'm on the right path, have harnessed the right energies and approach and can move forward with trust and confidence. Did I mention how much I love this deck?
Yesterday the temp went up to 26 degrees. Another gorgeous day. Sunny, too. Rob set up his office outside on the back deck, something he's never done before, something he wanted to do on Sunday but didn't manage. Yesterday I remembered a table we'd recovered from an SUV accident and we set that up with a sun umbrella for shade and Rob marked his students' online work. I heard him chatting with the neighbour. I heard his tremendous sneezes. I saw a cluster of runs in the back of his grey shirt. He cared about none of that, just sat typing and reading. At one point, I huddled next to him on the back steps and critiqued a story with a warm wind circling my ankles. He became my shield (as he is in so many areas of my life) from neighbours on one side, the BBQ my shield on the other.
So many trees cut down and 'trimmed'. These trees were my protectors, ensuring me privacy. Last year I had anxiety attacks about going out into my back yard and being so 'seen', so open and vulnerable. Few others understand this. This year we have to tear the garage down and it will take away even more privacy.
I have to learn, like Rob, to just do what I want to do, care nothing about what others may think or about how they may perceive me. I have the umbrella to shade me, the table to ground me and my words and dreams and creativity to ignite my soul. Other than good weather, what else is needed? This will be the year I own my own space, especially outside in the bigger world.
Not a lot of time today to spend on my blog. Getting ready soon for dinner prep, dinner then off to a Guild meeting. I've typed up my comments, as per directions, cos my writing is difficult to read. If you've ever seen it, I expect you're rolling in laughter at that understatement. OK, I just a picture of it to show you. I remembered that I have posted a sample of my handwriting in a much earlier post but never mind. Below is my written critique for a fellow Guild member's piece. Even though I can't always read it myself, I do like my writing. It looks especially good peeking through as a bottom layer in a collage of mixed media painting.
In addition to typing up my critiques and doing some house tending today and a staff meeting this afternoon, then a phone call to Dad, I've been working on a couple of poems for our poetry meeting on Wednesday evening. It's a week of writing groups. Well, two nights out of the week anyway. One poem came from my post yesterday and my feelings. I feel it needs a lot of work yet. I'm hoping my fellow poets have some ideas. The other poem was birthed the other night after I'd turned the light out and was starting to drift off to sleep. I recalled an incident during the day where I rescued a spider and the poem arrived. I put the light on and wrote it directly into my phone. As much as possible, I take advantage of these flashes of creativity and ideas when they occur and capture them as soon as possible. I know from experience that I likely won't remember them the next day. Even the next half hour sometimes. Working on the poem today, I haven't changed much. Always interesting to hear the poetry group's take on it. Their suggestions and thoughts are invaluable.
And in that vein, with writing thoughts circulating, I'll sign off with a poem that was selected for an anthology, The Banister, last year. It didn't win a prize--I've never won a prize in this competition--but I do like that selected poems are printed in hard copy.
Today is Mother's Day in North America in case you live under a rock and didn't know. I've never been much into Mother's Day. I grew up with Mam's attitude that, like Father's Day, parental love and appreciation shouldn't be confined to one day a year. Of course, it's not really, hopefully, especially if you have decent parents. Mother's Day and Father's Day are more about commercialism. But they are hard to escape. And sometimes they're very unwelcome. Their 'in-you-face-ness' at least.
I'm crying as I write this. Grief is a bastard. Not a word I like or usually use. It's the one that came first to mind. So there it is. This year, more than any other that I can recall, I'm really missing Mam. I feel compelled today to take one of the three pretty carnation plants my hubby Rob bought me from the MS society up to Dad's to place beside Mam's urn which Dad keeps on a table by the chair she slept in for the last year of her life. Dad regularly has fresh flowers or a flowering plant there. This year I want to bring something for her. Today. Mother's Day.
That surprises me. I don't believe that deceased loved ones are in a particular place...if we're lucky we can feel them all around us a lot of the time, nor do I believe, as I've mentioned, in Mother's Day being so very special. But I do believe in following my intuition as much as possible and I feel compelled to take this carnation there this year. Of all of the carnations, I've chosen the brightest one for Mam cos she loved bright colours. Her favourite colour being red.
Perhaps I sense Dad moving on and I feel freer to grieve? Rob sent me a f/b private message from downstairs: Happy Mother's Day, my darling. It made me cry. And I told him. He raced up to see. Yup. I mentioned about Mam and just missing her and maybe cos Dad had seemed to pass some invisible marker of grief this past year I felt freer to grieve? Or at least openly grieve in front of him? Rob also suggested that this year is 5 years since Mam died and those anniversaries have a way of sneaking up when you're not prepared for them.
Before Rob's message, I'd cried as I made myself French toast with warm fruit, treating myself like a precious jewel to comfort myself. After Rob's message, my son Dane texted from the States where he's spending time with his hubby Jonathan. He told me I was an amazing mom and that he loved me so much and hoped I was having an amazing day. I hesitated but replied with a thank you and said I was crying cos I was missing his grandma. So we texted back and forth for a bit. I told him I was ok and plastered smileys all over the text to prove it. He said he knew that but it was ok to cry. Did I tell you he's a wise one?
As I was preparing breakfast, I listened to CBC Radio. The host, Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe, mentioned it being Mother's Day. She said it was a hard one for her. Her mother had died just over a year ago and today was her mother's birthday as well as being Mother's Day. Her voice broke as she revealed that. A tough day to get through. She played A Good Mother by Jann Arden as the final song. Very moving.
Perhaps part of the reason that I'm grieving today is that it does make me focus on Mam and whereas I do believe that our loved ones are always with us in some form, I feel like I'm losing some of this earthly connection, the memories, and yearn to reestablish that. Angeline got me thinking about Mam's favourite songs. These are the details that I sometimes feel slipping away into the mist. But I remember the year I spent in Britain living with Dad's parents, my Nanna and Grandpop, while Mam and Dad established their life in Canada. My record player and all my records had been sent on ahead. It needed a transformer to change the electrical current so it would play in Canada and Mam and Dad saw to it all for me so that I could play my records on a Christmas visit. But they wanted to test it. Mam had written to me saying she had fallen in love with a song and one particular phrase in this song. And she bought it. I couldn't remember when she had ever bought a single before. And she played it on my record player to test it and she hoped that was alright.
The song is by England Dan and John Ford Coley. The line is "There's a warm wind blowing the stars around/and I'd really love to see you tonight."
Thank YOU for hearing me. And Happy Mother's Day, whatever that means to you and whatever your memories. In a sweet aside, I consider myself mom to all my pets and Rogue deposited a bone behind the bathroom door as I was showering today. His gift. The cats may or may not bother depending on their moods. Lol.
Sometimes I marvel at the little sequences in life, how, when you look back with that proverbial 20/20, things worked out just the way they did for something special or right to happen. Like a pinball machine or the crazy game in the Price is Right where the contestant drops a big coin at the top of a game and tries to get it to fall into one of the prize columns at the bottom. I don't watch the Price is Right (obviously as this game has a specific name!) But life works like that sometimes.
My yesterday was like that. Rushing to get my blog done before visiting a friend for popcorn and a movie, I found I was running late. I still had popcorn to pop and butter to melt. And Rogue wanted to go outside. I couldn't deny him as it was so warm and sunny on the back deck. But if i let him out he's old, quite death and quite blind plus plain stubborn. Trying to get him back in the house can be a challenge. But I started the popcorn popper to let it warm up as usual and let him out. He basked in the sun, nose sniffing the spring air. I put the kernels into my popcorn machine. Nothing. It made its usual noise but the popcorn did nothing. It hadn't heated up. And despite me talking to it, unplugging it and trying all over again, it still didn't heat up. I'm sending frantic texts to Val:
Running late. Sorry.
Popcorn machine not working--do you have one?
I can bring unpopped corn and melted butter and pop.
She never answered.
Rogue had left the deck and was meandering all over the yard. I sorted the melted butter, unpopped corn and pop into a bag then tried to encourage Rogue to come in by clapping. Reluctantly he jumped up the steps and came inside. I gave him treats and headed out, later than the time I was supposed to be at Val's originally.
As I approached her house, someone was parked in 'my' spot, right outside under a small tree. Not that mattered, as there were no car in her driveway. Strange. Had she been called in to work? Had something happened and her sister was in the house to let me know? (ask anyone in my family--my thoughts always turn alarmist first. I'm working on it) Maybe her car was in the shop? I pulled into the driveway and ran the doorbell and knocked on the door. And I checked the thread of text messages that had led to our arranging this get together.
Yep. My fault. Val had suggested NEXT week. Duh. I sent another text:
OK I'm at your door...I obviously have the wrong day. Lol. Going home now.
I got in the car and started it, had to wait for a string of traffic to pass. One of which was Val. I moved out of the way, gave her a little wave, parked down the street, then walked up to meet her getting out of the car. I felt silly as I apologized and explained everything. My mistake, how I'd been held up.
"I had a few errands to run, had coffee," Val said. "But I'm off today anyway. We could watch the movie today."
We could? Did she have a popcorn popper? Yes she did. A cute red one that looked like a vendor's cart in a park and popped perfect popcorn.
So we visited and watched a movie, Lady Bird. (I highly recommend it--even the movie wasn't what I expected...a contemporary coming of age story, not the movie on Lady Bird Johnson as I had thought!) We both enjoyed our visit and I contemplated at the jiggly sequence of events and misadventures that caused the visit to happen. Had I been on time or not had to mess on with the popcorn popper or with Rogue, I'd have missed her. And our yesterday together wouldn't have happened. Nor would the time Val had originally suggested as I'm working full days next week.
These little time snafus remind me of 9/11, of the stories that materialised of people who missed being in the buildings through one thing or another...missing a bus, buying a band aid, an appointment rearranged at the last minute. No comfort of course to the families and friends of others who were there, perhaps erroneously at that time. But still an interesting reflection on the sequence of events that make up our days.
One of my favourite songs growing up was 'Que Sara Sara' by Doris Day. What will be will be. I like to think we have more individual choice than that now, but sometimes I wonder.
May your day unfold beautifully.
At one point yesterday I checked my email on my phone. The time was 4:44 and my phone had 44% charge left in the battery. That tickled me. I love things like that. To me it's a little magical nudge from the universe. "Hello! I see you!" Well why not? It happens a lot. Not the fours, more like ones and twos for me. Had I graduated?
I checked into the number 4 this morning. It means stability. Like a square. Like a solid table. It includes all four directions and all four elements. So far so good. Recognition from the angels according to Joanne Walmsley's Sacred Scribe's website. A sign that my hard work towards my passion is paying off. Support to continue.
Sure. I'll take that. Thank you.
This past Saturday, 5th May, Rob and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Rob gave me some cheerful daisies and noted the sequence of 5s on the card. According to Joanne Walmsley this sequence shows support in letting go of the old which no longer serves and trusting and embracing the new. Very interesting for a wedding anniversary!
Rob had bought me two pots of daisies. Anticipating more magic when I was thinking about this blog, I counted the total number of open flowers from both pots. How crazy if it was five!
Well, it was six.
Five and one to grow on. It still works! Lol.
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.