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