Today (Effy’s birthday! Happy birthday, Effy!) is the last day of Effy’s blogalong and I want to thank everyone for reading and commenting and for those participating, thank you too for your blogs. You have all been faithful and constant companions these past 30 days, some of you from April and beyond even, and it’s so lovely to reconnect.
I have nothing much to add and very little time—our poetry group is meeting by zoom tonight before I go to work. I wrote this haiku yesterday for today in response to a photo I took a couple of days ago. It is appropriate in a couple of ways today.
I found out this morning that one of our clients at work passed away. I will miss her. We had long routines with her and her and I shared a similar sense of humour. It always felt good to make her laugh. I know that she considered me one of her favourites and hadn’t liked the idea of me taking 2 weeks off. She was already in hospital when I returned to work.
Everywhere I went through town today I noticed orange tee shirts in support of Canada’s first National Truth and Reconciliation Day. And I thought how good that support is in this country and especially in this city where I have noticed profound indigenous discrimination throughout my years here. I felt proud even though it’s disgusting that there is a need for a day like this and even with the knowledge that this is just a start and takes so much more than one day. But I saw a country and a city acknowledging a horrific past and attempting to educate and support and ensure that the past is not forgotten or repeated in any way or form. I saw a country and a city stumbling ahead with earnest, being human. And it melted my heart.
dead maple leaves nestle
Last day of Effy’s blogalong! (day 30)
Change, although constant and sure, usually gets a bad rap. But some changes are good. This miniature rose that Rob gave me last week has adapted well to its spot by the window in our living room, the roses opening from buds to reveal their gorgeous dusky red petals.
Likewise I’ve been making changes in our home: cleaning and sorting and throwing away, especially in the basement. My goal is for one of our two allotted weekly garbage bags to be from the basement.
Little x little = lots + lots
That’s my encouragement equation. It hasn’t always worked through the years but when it does and when I adhere to it, it’s powerful. Change begets change. A body in motion is more likely to stay in motion? Is that a fundamental life law? Some things aren’t getting done—the sills still need painting outside, not to mention the house itself and putting up a fence would be good and are we putting up the temporary garage/shelter this year? But others are getting done big time. I took apart the whole dishwasher last night, even parts that we’ve never taken apart before, and gave it a good overhaul clean. Now I can put in the dishes that are creeping onto the counters. Lol.
Our upright freezer should be fixed on Friday—yay!
Maybe it’s the result of being on holiday for a couple of weeks even though I got precious little done at that time?
Maybe it’s fall? I always have more energy in the fall, find it easier to follow through on idle thoughts and good intentions. A dj on the radio today suggested that the cooler days kick us into a higher gear especially for outside jobs. But these jobs are inside.
Maybe it’s the influence of the sunflowers by the back door? Are they really instilling a sense of pride in me and in our home?
Whatever it is, and it’s best to not overthink but just to keep going, these changes make me feel like I’m thriving. For the first time in years, one of the basement windows has been opened to let fresh air in everyday for the past few days. I've moved things around by that window to maximise the amount of daylight and I have a plug-in air freshener down there too.
Little by little in lots and lots of ways, I’m reclaiming our house and home.
bloom at home dusky red
thrive with changes
Day 29 of Effy’s blogalong
Something absolutely lovely, sad in a way but lovely, happened today that has somewhat pre-empted my haiku focus. I make prisms for a local cat rescue as a fundraiser but it’s something I’ve been doing on my own for years as gifts for loved ones and occasionally strangers who lose a beloved pet. The rainbows from the prisms represent the poem Rainbow Bridge and hopefully will bring comfort and remind of happy times. Anyway, for several months on instagram, following my love of corgis, I had been following an account of a sweet corgi called Lily who only had one eye. She died suddenly earlier this year and her moms were of course heartbroken. I cried too. I learned that Lily had been a rescue and they had only had her a couple of years. I have a special place in my heart for all rescues, my own pets all having being rescues.
Anyway, I wanted to send a prism to Lily’s moms without letting them know what it was. I also love surprises. I worried about asking them for a mailing address but they obliged. However I’m a terrible procrastinator (and pretty busy!) and it took some time before I got round to making the prism. Finally I did make it (I try to make them intuitively with the particular pet in mind) and I sent them an email to assure them I hadn’t forgotten them and to alert them to a surprise in their mailbox. They live in the States and I live in Canada and the mail is pretty crazy at the moment so I had no idea how long it would take to get there.
This is what happened today:
on instagram post reads: Today would have been Lily's third gotcha day. The first pic is one of my absolute favs from when she first came home. Just so happy to have a family. We also received this beautiful prism in the mail today from @lassfromyorks in remembrance of Lil. The perfect day to receive such a beautiful gift. Enjoy some other faves of our sweet girl. Thinking about her an extra lot today.-Momma Morgan
Thanks for having a paw in all this, Lily. I had no idea of the significance of the date nor any control over when it was delivered. I like to think the timing brought them some comfort, knowing that Lily was doing her best to console them and let them know she was still with them. Her moms sent me a personal message of thanks, too and I think they did understand. That’s what I believe anyway.
Following is my haiku today. The calendar is work from my poet friend, Erin, who makes scenes (and portraits) come alive through construction paper.
Her work she’s selling
delivered across town
her hug, the best gift
Day 28 of Effy’s blogalong
Moons and suns with faces and personified trees and flowers have always freaked me out a little. I’m not sure why and thinking about it I thought it may have stemmed from Mam’s terror of the fighting trees in The Wizard of Oz. Her sisters were furious with her when they all got kicked out of the cinema while watching the movie as kids because Mam couldn’t stop screaming. I never saw the film as a child (which probably was good as, even though it’s a great story, the wicked witch and flying monkeys would have given me nightmares for years, I’m sure!).
Once a Sooty and Sweep show, a British children’s show, gave the moon a smiling face and I had to turn my Sooty and Sweep alarm clock face down for months because it had a moon on it. Bill and Ben The Flowerpot Men haunted me so much (even Little Weed) I could never watch them. I still can’t really! To this day I can’t hear the Dr Who theme music without feeling a knot of anxiety. And we won’t even talk about the daleks or The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and the HUGE wardrobe in my childhood bedroom that petrified me.
So it has been a revelation in my adult years that I’ve grown to like suns and moons with faces and leaf people. I see them as guardians now. Dad has never had any of these fears and Mam was okay with most things except fighting trees so when I was visiting Linda in Maple Ridge, BC, I found the perfect gift to buy for them: a round oak leaf man. It hung on their dining room wall for years. But when Dad met Sandy after Mam died, he got rid of a lot of his things. I took the oak leaf man. He's only about 4 inches wide. I like that he has energy from the visit with Linda and energy from being in Mam and Dad’s house. He stays tucked away most of the year but has a prominent place on my autumn altar to perfectly embrace and embody fall and its energies.
When Dad and Sandy bought a house in town, I gave them a leaf man door knocker as a present. They hung it by their gate: a guardian for their garden.
Gift to my father
taken back from his walls
Day 27 of Effy’s blogalong
Working midnight shifts/
easy to envy fax machine/
deep sleep mode/
Nothing much to add to this. I have envied our fax machine many a midnight shift as I drink my diet cola to stay awake while it apparently has a deep sleep right beside me. The audacity!
I had a stay-cation for 2 weeks recently and my body loved sleeping at night time—the regular schedule even though my actual sleep time varied greatly. It felt delightfully indulgent and reassuring to know that I’d be able to sleep at the end of the day. But I returned to super-quiet shifts that I easily adjusted to and I slept deeply through the day so the transition back was good.
Tonight though, my turnaround day, I have a completely fresh bed waiting and I’m anticipating my own deep sleep mode.
Day 26 of Effy’s blogalong
My cell phone takes great photos of flowers and plants and general landscapes, but sunsets? Not so much. So last night during a magnificent blaze of a sunset, I ended up with the following photo which is a zoom in of the original. It shows nothing much of anything, not the intensity of the orange sky, nor the reflected fire in the remaining tree leaves, not even the contrast of close-up unaffected leaves. But I knew I wanted my haiku today to be a reflection of the sunset so to speak and as I post on instagram, I try to have a somewhat corresponding photo to post. This was it. But as I studied it and thought about the sunset itself, there so briefly and ever-changing in its splendor, the photo reminded me of batik-dyed cloth. Hence the haiku.
I don’t have batik-dyed drapes but I’d sure love some if they looked like this. And as for wanting a different camera on my phone? Maybe not after all.
Orange blaze through trees
sunset ignites autumn sky
batik-dyed drapes close
Day 25 of Effy’s blogalong
A gift of a small pot of heather delighted me no end yesterday. I hope I can keep this one alive. I’ve had one before. Heather reminds me of the Yorkshire Moors which we drove across and visited lots when I was growing up. I love the vast wildness. Those purples waves. That biting wind. And the sheep that live there.
A couple of years ago, when Dad and Sandy went on their honeymoon to England and especially Yorkshire, I was so excited for Sandy to see the heather but there was none when they got there—wrong time of year—September? In my mind the heather is always in bloom! Even under snow. Lol.
Many many moons ago (over 20 years) when I was working at Zellers, I discovered a wallpaper border that reminded me of heather. Although abstract, it has a distinct heather-blowing-in-the-wind shape in purple on it. My heart leapt and I absolutely had to have it. My bedroom is still teal (from the background colour on the border) and sports that probably now very unfashionable border and wall colour. But I don’t care. I fall asleep surrounded by heather (quite literally now as I've placed the real-life heather by the bedroom window) and often lulled to sleep with sweet memories.
my heart sings of childhood days
home across the moors
Day 24 of Effy’s blogalong
After my tears yesterday morning, Rob came home from work earlier yesterday evening and brought a red miniature rose and this beautiful red begonia. I love flowers and plants so they were both very much appreciated, as was the gesture. They also brought me comfort today as I prepared to go back to work tonight after two weeks holiday.
I had ideas and plans for my time off, hardly any of which materialised, but the time off was wonderful and even though I still didn’t let myself sleep enough, my body really appreciated sleeping at night. I work midnights so sleeping at night time feels so indulgent.
I returned to tai chi class/practice today. Ahhhhh…The energy was palpable, almost too much throbbing in my fingertips and palms at times. But then I think is there such a thing as too much? Perhaps I’m more afraid of the power, the energy than anything else. What if I embraced it all fully instead of experiencing it but shying away from it and toning it down? What then? Perhaps that need to play it small, to be small, to feel small, isn’t so much a need but a habit? One that needs to be over.
gift given for comfort
Day 23 of Effy’s blog
Warning: I talk about triggers and their affects.
NB This is not about my hubby, Rob, who is neither the original ‘hurter’ nor the trigger. The man who was the trigger for me yesterday is unaware of being a trigger for me in this respect but his emotional reaction in a discussion was explosive and extreme and although I wasn’t fully aware of it in that moment, it was a trigger for me.
Rewording broken. I will NOT have it that he (from a previous abusive relationship) has broken me or that I need to be fixed. I understand that he has hurt me on a very visceral level that I hadn’t perhaps fully experienced before. And that it brought me to tears to this morning. I hate that he has affected me like that. I hate that my response is to cry even though I feel anger (at him) but I appreciate that I need to cry so if nothing else it brings about a desire to comfort myself, to tend to the hurting parts. To acknowledge them. To acknowledge that this has happened. It has leaked into today. It will not contaminate my day. It makes me aware that I carry this inside me, not his anger, not his swordlike ways that have cut me, but a tenderness that I was unable to attend to at the time. What I experienced today was grief. What I did was acknowledge and name the source both yesterday with the trigger and all those 20 odd years ago. What I did was comfort myself. Perhaps I tucked my heart into my sleeve instead of onto it today. But that is as temporary or permanent as I choose it to be. That is my choice.
My choice too to see myself coping as best as I could all those years ago. Yesterday. And today. To say to myself, to all those parts of me which are ultimately me, ‘Hey I see you there.’ And, when ready, moving forward with love, recognising that I have all this inside me, recognising that it is okay, not that this happened, any of it, but it is okay to have these tears. They are neither shameful nor embarrassing. They are necessary and lead to self-compassion.
I felt shell-shocked after the trigger yesterday but went straight into a previously scheduled video call with one of my dearest friends, Bethe. A call which I knew could be honest but comforting as the inside of a bird’s feathered nest. I didn’t bring that conversation up. And I slept well although the explosive image lingered.
I remember one dream from last night: I was mowing a communal lawn with another woman and my lawnmower wheels got entangled with her lawnmower wheels. Rob was with me and this other woman had another woman with her and we were discussing the communal housing, at least Rob and the two women were. Only I noticed that our lawnmower wheels had tangled. I whispered to Rob and told him. I could neither move the lawnmower nor tell the woman myself. I had lost my voice and my ability to make positive changes for myself.
When I woke up, the trigger rehearsed itself in my mind, no matter how much I argued back with it, with my beliefs, then the tears came and I understood so much better. Nothing else was needed in that moment but to cry and let the tears fall and then to care for myself.
Words are my power. I wrote the following poem several years after ending the abusive relationship and won a prize for it.
At the Street Fair, Selling Books
At the street fair, you hurry to my stall.
I know I should know you,
can’t place you at first.
Unshaven, greying, hands puffy with edema.
Last year, a burst appendix;
last month, heart issues,
you tell me.
Spittle foams, dries white as you speak.
But you buy my book,
ask can I sign it.
Years ago, I signed another book for you.
With a shaky hand, I wrote:
‘Thanks for your support.’
I abhor the lie.
Remember you in a rage.
As I typed, you swiped
the keyboard onto the floor,
broke the table.
on my knee,
I still wrote frantically.
Until I wrote you, your bloodless lips,
the shirts you ripped,
out of my room, my home,
Now, in August warmth,
a steady hand, a calm heart,
I sign this book: ‘All the best!’
—and mean it.
But today my order from LUSH has arrived…so much karma. Karma is my favourite scent. Boundless self-care done with gift cards given with love no less.
From drama and trauma to karma. I’ll take that.
1. Across the mauve mums
a thickly-spun spider web
hammock of sunshine #265
Day 22 of Effy’s blogalong
Thank you for reading. Above all be compassionate with yourself.
Sometime mid-summer I bought a reading from Canadian medium Carmel Joy Baird in which she was to instruct me what to plant around my house as directed by my ancestors and spirit guides. I couldn’t resist. It sounded so intriguing. Roses by the front door as a reminder of beauty (I think). Thyme for wisdom somewhere on my property. Acorns on windowsills for abundance and prosperity. Sunflowers by the back door for pride. Ouch. Pride? Something in that hit hard. Mistaking arrogance for pride, I rarely fostered pride in anything. Certainly not my home. Not long after, a friend texted me a link from Honey Nut Cheerios for a free packet of sunflower seeds for the bees. So I got those and, combined with a packet I already had, I planted sunflower seeds in my back deck pots. Too late I thought. And far too shady back there for anything as sun loving as a sunflower.
But they grew. Spindly and twisting and turning every which way. I loved them all the more for that. I watched their buds fatten. Shivered on chilly mornings as I checked on them. Would they have chance to bloom before the cold killed them?
I wrote a haiku last week about how I was concentrating on the big buds right by the back door and had missed smaller ones further away begin to bloom. Lesson learned. Again, about concentrating on one thing (often negative) so long that the positive a step away is almost missed! Every day since I have delighted in those small lemon flowers. Then yesterday, I noticed one of the bigger buds had started to open. Petals unfurling, tentative but determined. Last night we had torrential rain and I worried that the cautious sunflower would be beaten down, drowned in a puddle on the back deck.
But no. It had bloomed fully overnight. I feel so proud.
south wind coaxes sunshine
Day 21 of Effy’s blogalong
NB I wanted to post a beautiful video I found of "Here Comes The Sun" by the Beatles but when this post is published, it doesn't show up but you can follow the direct link to YouTube for it. The song itself is lovely and heartwarming and uplifting but this accompanying video is also really beautiful. It's 3 minutes and 11 seconds long. Watch it if you can.
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.