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
Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson Day 3 Crush
What is it about these prompts? The ones that I don’t think will inspire much are the ones that become like a ripcord to my heart, bypassing logic and words, straight to emotion. This one was so much fun! And I had an aha moment which was interesting.
I love the writing of others, the voyeurism aspect of it, peeking into their lives. And I especially love hearing how writers come across their ideas, the way minds work to form links and create new ideas.
People’s recounts of spirit encounters and everyday synchronicities entrance me. I can never get enough of this kind of stuff.
I realised with this prompt that I totally had a crush on Rob’s voice years before I even met him. He used to have an advertising spot for his computer store on the local radio station at 8:30am and his voice was so velvety and low and charming that I used to postpone whatever else I had going on so I could catch his two minute ad which often involved answers to hypothetical computer queries so his ad varied. I was married to my first husband at the time but that didn’t prevent Rob’s voice from dazzling me. So funny that I only knew him by his radio voice until we met years and years later.
Two things I had missed off my list yesterday are two of my biggest crushes: tai chi and music. I started practicing tai chi years ago. Worrying that I was losing my memory, I chose tai chi to study due to its complex manoeuvers and having to memorise forms but it spoke instead to my body. It calms and grounds me completely. I go through periods where I devour everything I can about it and have stacks of books on the subject.
Music. Ah, music. I have tons of Spotify music lists sorted by mood: Instrumental Writing, Lighten Up!, YOU-nique, Romantic Rumours, Once Upon my Childhood…even naming the lists is fun. I grew up in the era of glamrock and many of the singers and groups wore glittery, outlandish clothes and make up. But perhaps the most bizarre of these was my absolute favourite band, Wizzard, and especially the lead singer, Roy Wood who I absolutely idolised. He wrote and arranged most of their songs (huge hits in Britain—not heard of in Canada) and for his solo songs, he played all the instruments (even bagpipes! Oh I’m a total sucker for bagpipes and have crushes on anyone who plays them!) and did all the background harmonising himself, track over track, as well as singing and of course writing the songs. And when he sang “Oh darling” in his solo hit, ‘Forever’, it was just for me and I melted every time. My friends thought me a little strange because I admired him so much. His make up was matte and involved triangles (red and blue) under his eyes zigzagging across his cheeks with a white starburst on his forehead but it was never clownish. He sported long, wild hair, often with red or blue hair pieces, and a bushy beard. He toned all this down and sometimes pulled his long hair back a couple of years and hits later. I read that he took to wearing make up as a mask because he was shy and, as a preteen testing out make up myself, I understood completely and of course that admission endeared him to me even more. The aha I had today was my link and understanding between the crazy make up of glam rock and the transformation of drag.
But his music—a huge wall of sound with many different instruments—lifted my spirits whenever I heard it. It had so much going on with it and all his hits were crazily dance-worthy. I often feel sorry for Canada and the States who know nothing much of him. One of the saddest things about me emigrating when I was 16 in the late 70s was that many of my favourite groups, Mud, Showaddywaddy, Alvin Stardust, were unheard of over here so I missed much of their music. But I had all my 45s and LPs! And used to spend hours in our basement dancing in the dark to them all.
Of course the last hour while writing this, I’ve gone to YouTube countless times and listened and rocked to and watched all those old videos from Top of The Pops!
The first song I thought of regarding crushes though is ‘Cry To Me’ by Solomon Burke. My friend Jo-Anne and I often spend part of our visits together going through our Spotify lists and she reminded me of this song which had been featured on ‘Dirty Dancing’. I immediately crushed about his voice so badly! The part where he sings ‘in the night’, how his voice goes so low then climbs high (or whatever it does!), is practically orgasmic! In fact this has been my earworm all day today. Not a bad way to live a day.
Tiny purple box
not much use until today
keeper of ear plugs #61 & 18
Day 2 of Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson : Relaxation
Lately what completely relaxes me is a Tetris-like game. I can lose myself completely in it and forget everything. It’s challenging, yet somewhat mesmerising. I was gifted a Jacquie Lawson advent e-calendar and this game was one of its activities. I can still access it on a tablet that I use just for that and these days that is my go-to relaxation fix, along with a weathered word puzzle book.
Today Rob and I went for lunch at my dad and step-mom Sandy’s which was lovely. I realised, thinking about today’s prompt, that I relax at other people’s houses. That feels strange. I relax at home too but my home is far from what I’d like it to be—we have lots of basic work to do on the house and it can be hard not to focus on that. At the moment the kitchen ceiling is leaking badly and water is trickling down the wall as the ice build up melts so to go to other people’s houses right now is especially relaxing. Sandy had a selection of books she’d read and I brought some home. I love relaxing with a good book at bedtime.
Back to that idea of relaxing at other people’s houses, I remembered a time in my life when I was in an abusive relationship and was working with a client at her house. It felt full of love with photos of smiling family members everywhere. I gulped in all the relaxation and relief I felt there and tried to express to her how much of a sanctuary her house was to me. In many ways my home is that sanctuary to me but in other ways not so much. I think it’s good to acknowledge that and to bridge those gaps as much as possible.
Today’s bright sun lured me into my bedroom in the early evening and, with the thought of doing what I could to help me relax in my house, I rearranged, tidied and cleaned part of the headboard. I found a pretty box to keep my ear plugs in and arranged some crystals on the clock radio. For a couple of years I’ve kept a bar of patchouli soap on my headboard as the scent of patchouli soothes me, that earthiness. Today I put the soap in my underwear drawer (I’ll use it when my present bar of patchouli soap is finished) and placed a couple of bottles of patchouli and another exotic oil essence I love on the headboard instead. I also have a flowering jasmine plant in the bedroom and its scent is totally intoxicating. As soon as I smell it, my shoulders drop. It entices me to pretty up my bedroom even more.
My cats relax me when they snuggle in and purr. I doubt if anything is as relaxing as a cat’s deep purr, especially chest to chest, and it’s an especially delightful way to fall asleep. A natural lullaby.
Creating, in particular painting/collaging, completely relaxes me and I lose all track of time doing that. Today I worked on some ATCs that I send to friends and before bed I’ll begin one of this month’s Book of Days projects. I love online art courses, just knowing lessons are there waiting for me whenever I want is a huge reassurance, an easy access to feeling good.
Being in nature is always relaxing. I often forget this. Even a good long drive through different scenery can be soothing and exhilarating at the same time. In winter especially, I stay in more but enjoy watching the birds and squirrels at the feeders.
Birds on front step
I fill the feeders #60 & 17
Day 1 of Wild Musings with Renee Magnusson: Anticipation
In many ways today was full of anticipation for me. Firstly, starting another round of Wild Musings which I enjoy, that focus and noting throughout the day, the slant Renee’s prompts give to my attention. Then I spent most of the day finalising my entries to an annual writing contest that I enter every year. Today at midnight is the deadline. Nothing like that last minute adrenaline rush for me! Looking forward to the excitement of the Literary Party in May when the contest winners are announced.
This morning I was thrilled to see that my pvr had taped another season of Portrait Artist of the Year. I absolutely love that show! My friend Louise had alerted me to it last night and I used it as a push to get through half of my entries in time to take a break and watch it. On a daily basis, I look forward to catching up with some of my pvr recordings. On nights when I’m working, I anticipate continuing my Netflix binge of RuPaul’s Drag Race on my down time. I’m surprised that I enjoy it so much but it’s perfect for work—pure entertainment, nothing happens that will freak me out when I walk the building hallways alone in the middle of the night—and it reminds me of my son, of visiting him and his hubby in Arizona. It’s become something we bond over. I’m on to Season 12 now which contains the couple of episodes I watched with Dane and Jonathan. So that’s extra exciting.
It also led to two of the biggest things I’m looking forward to in March and April. On Instagram, I had noticed that a drag show featuring some of the queens from the Drag Race was coming to town in April. I mentioned it to Dane who was delighted and insisted that I go. In investigating it further, I also noticed that another show featuring Bianca Del Rio (a Drag Race winner) was coming on my birthday in March! Dane immediately bought two tickets for me and arranged for one of my step-daughters to go with me. As all this was happening, my hubby Rob also bought me two tickets for the April show! Until I received these two lovely presents, I was unaware of how much I desperately needed something entertaining to look forward to. It lifted my spirits no end! I’m cautious that the shows will go ahead as planned but it doesn’t take away from all this flying-high time of delicious anticipation.
Since January, I’ve been hovering close to the mailbox on certain days, in anticipation of receiving the latest Gladdened Gluebook. This is a somewhat random online group of 20 artists who send a round robin of books to each other over the course of several months. Each person created a same-sized book, each on a different theme, then mailed it out to the next person for her to collage or paint in and so it goes. I’m super excited this time especially, as the next book I’m to receive is Effy’s! And it should be here any day now! Mail is agonisingly slow which makes the turnaround time very quick and we’ve actually fallen behind a little. But I’m surprised how much joy this whole project has been, from deciding on a theme and decorating my own book to creating pages for the other books and adding to them and seeing how others have interpreted the themes.
Last year I accomplished posting a haiku and picture every day of the year on Instagram and found it such a grounding and ultimately rewarding practice that I’m doing the same this year, too. So each morning I anticipate creating that. I’m also doing the 100 day project 2022 at the moment but I feel it’s kind of cheating as I’m not doing anything extra for that, just continuing on with my daily haiku practice. Lol. I had the photo in mind that I wanted to use this morning and something about precision but was finding it difficult to come up with much more then Rob shared his night of fragmented nonsensical dreams with me and I had my haiku. (I’ll share these each day at the end of my musings with Renee’s permission as they are part of my day)
In addition, each morning I do a 3 card Tarot and one oracle card pull for the day. I make note of the cards and my interpretations then as I go through the day, it’s with an ear (an anticipatory ear perhaps!) to seeing how the cards relate (or not). Nothing can beat that tickle of excitement when I recognise something playing out that the cards predicted. Especially the gentler or more favourable cards! It can be a different kind of anticipation if the cards are harsher!
So I’m fortunate to have many lovely things to anticipate in the near future (also lunches and get togethers with friends, online writing groups, lunch with my dad and step-mom even a dentist appointment to finally sort out a broken tooth). But I realised this morning as I prepared my morning tea and breakfast that I also set myself up for anticipation in ordinary ways by giving myself as many choices as possible. Very few of my plates and cups actually match because I love the thrill of being able to ‘mood-choose’ my cups, plates and teas. I usually have a few bottles of body wash and soaps on the go at the same time for the same reason. This is an interesting trait that I hadn’t particularly linked to anticipation before. But the anticipation of everyday choices is apparently a thing for me!
restaurant seaweed salad
you share hacked-up dreams #59 & 16
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.