Saturday, May 31, 2008

Looking in the Mirror - or - My Mom & Dad

My father's blood courses all through my body.

I was standing in the shower thinking that thought the other day. Where did it come from?
I've always rejected my father. Did not get along with him.
But when I look in the mirror I see his soulful eyes staring back at me from under shaggy, dark eyebrows. Yup, I inherited Dad's eyebrows.
My little sister was the lucky one. She inherited Mom's gently curving very feminine eyebrows.

Ten Years Ago - I looked in the mirror and saw my mother's face. Where was I? I turned and twisted but could still see Mom. Grabbing a comb, I yanked it through my hair, hoping the motion would somehow shatter the image of Mom's face and bring back my own.
It didn't.
Then I woke up and remembered that Mom had died a week earlier. What did this dream mean? Was I to fill her shoes? Look after my Dad?

It's been ten years since Mom and Dad passed away. They died within 8 weeks of each other.

My mommy was so special. She shaped and molded me into the person I am today. Her garden was her pride and joy; and that love for all living things, was her legacy to me, my brothers and sisters. Each person, plant, animal and living being was unique - to be respected and cared for.
The cycles of the Earth, seasons, the wind, rain, sun and moon were her guideposts in this journey we call Life.

Mom was honest, generous, and kind. She read me stories, nurtured me when I was sick, and taught me many valuable lessons, one of which was to always "stand in the other guy's shoes". In other words - look at a situation from the other person's point of view. I loved her dearly - I still do.

Even though she is not of this Earth, I still feel her bond, her connection very deeply.
But - her presence is fading. It's as though she's not here any more. I don't dream about her, nor does she pop into my head and thoughts as sharply and clearly as she once did.

The only explanation I can think of is that somehow, her work here is done. And it's time for her to move on - to whatever is awaiting her spirit.

My Dad, on the other hand, fills me with his presence. He is in my dreams. His face is very clear. His gentleness and love shine down on me when I least expect it. The strong, dominating, often angry father he was in life is gone. I am no longer afraid of him. Instead, I feel a sense of connection - something I haven't felt since I was a small child. It was my rebellious teenage years that drove a wedge between us. That rift was never repaired. Until after he died.

Dear Mom,
It's been ten years since you left this Earth. You now have 5 new great-grandchildren. And one grandchild you never met. I am glad you did not have to attend your eldest son's funeral. He slipped quietly from this Earth 4 years after you and Dad.
I am so blessed to have had you for my mother.
Your work is done. Rest in peace - you've earned it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Here's a better pic. Should have found this one earlier. You can see the picket fence, the stepping stones, plastic flowers (and a real one), and hobbit washing hung out on the line.

My Hobbit Garden

Here is a pic of last summer's Hobbit Garden. I made the door out of tongue depressors. Glued them together and painted it. The "hobbits" are just dollar-store gnomes.

Another pic from my Hobbit garden. This gnome is peeking out from under a pink verbena.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Last summer's hibiscus

I love hibiscus. They are one of my favourite flowers. Computer son borrowed my camera, so I couldn't take any pics of my garden this weekend.

Instead, I looked back at my pics from last summer and found this yellow hib called "Sunny Wind". You can also see my pot of marigolds. And that purple flower in the background is a new guinea impatiens. I do a lot of container gardening because our soil is sandy.

Never thought I'd actually show people the pics I'd taken of my flowers. Didn't think anyone else would be interested.
Then I found blogging. And everything changed.

Sometimes it's hard to stay on track. But then again - why commit to blogging about only one aspect of life?

Friday, May 23, 2008

French Fries

Last night Hubby and I were curled up in bed. I was almost asleep when I heard him say "French fries".
"French fries? Did you say french fries?"
"Are you dreaming of french fries or craving them?"
"I don't know".

What on earth?
"Why are you thinking of french fries in the middle of the night? Are you pregnant?"
"Ha ha ha ha."

I'm usually the one who craves foods (pregnant or not). Hubby just eats what I serve. It's rare he'll even ask for anything.

This morning I left the house at 9:30 to have coffee with the "girls". Forgot all about our nighttime conversation until I passed a "fast-food" restaurant on my way home.

Hmm - do I stop and bring him french fries for lunch? Or was he dreaming?
Decided just to head home. But I was thinking....
If I have a craving for something, I only have to grab my purse, jump into the car and I'm off - to whatever, wherever (within reason) I want.
Hubby has to wait for somebody to bring it to him.

How I'd hate to have to depend on somebody... anybody ... to satisfy my whims.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Herb Garden

Over the weekend I planted a herb garden. I got the idea to plant tiny panseys in between the herbs from our local garden center. In the past, I planted my herbs in separate pots, but I liked this arrangement better.

There is rosemary in the center, thyme and basel around it with a few sprigs of those tiny panseys (or johnny jump-ups) in between.

I still have parsely, sage, lemon verbena, lavender to plant as well on a nicer day. Today it is cold and rainy. Not my idea of doing anything outdoors.

Oh and Hubby is blooming these days too. All is well with him. Won't ask questions or try to analyse - will just be happy!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'll Tell you a Story

I've been tagged by Cheryl at My Wildlife Sanctuary. Cheryl is a nature-lover; a kindred spirit with her love and respect for all of nature's gifts. Her garden is a magical place where I can just imagine a pixie or gnome peeking out from behind a toadstool when nobody is looking. Cheryl willingly shares her vivid photographs with all of us. Each bee or butterfly is special; each bloom or tree a friend. I look forward to reading her entries each day.

The rules of this meme are:
1. Pick up the nearest book set in a foreign country.

2. Open to page 123.

3. Find the 5th sentence.

4. Post the next 3 sentences.

5. Tag 5 people and acknowledge who tagged you.

I wondered just how spontaneous this meme should be. Just pick up any book? The nearest book? Ah - the nearest book to me was called "Gnomes and Gardens". Oh good, it looks like it's set in Europe. The front cover shows a little gnome man and his little gnome wife in their tall pointed caps. I turned to look at where the book was published.
Oh no - right here in Canada. That's a little unusual, most of the books I have are printed in the U.S.A. Well, maybe the gnomes can be running around in European gardens, like the Black Forest or somewhere exotic. Or, maybe gnomeland is an imaginary land! Ha - that might work!!
Turn to page 123.
Darn - there is no page 123. Too bad, I can't get away with it then.

The rest of the books on this particular bookshelf (we have several) were printed and set in the U.S.A. Well, I don't live there, so that could be foreign.

After a bit of thought, I decided to go down the basement and find one of my favourite childhood books. I came across this one (above) written by Enid Blyton - my favourite author. It's called I'll Tell You A Story. The copy you see in the pic above was published many years ago. I'm not sure of the date as the front page is missing. But my mother read it to me when I was a small child, so it's at least 5o some odd years old.
Some of the pages are held together with scotch tape - a well used and loved book.
O.K. - here goes - Page 123: the twinkling of an eye, all the pixies became silent and looked at Belinda in the greatest surprise and alarm. They did not know who she....

Now on to tagging people:
1)Judy at Grand Life is a new blogger friend. Her blog is family oriented, as she has 6 children and 11 grandkids. Love shines all through her posts. Her "Mother's Day Over 80 Years" post is a special one.

2) Judy (femail doc) at Menopause Moments, always has a story to make me laugh. She draws upon a wealth of experience, both professionally and personally, and doesn't mind sharing in the least.

3) Jeanmac at a Mountain Too High is a Carer or Caregiver. She lives in Canada and blogs about the challenges of daily life. She is honest and down-to-earth in her posts - some of them bringing a tear to my eye and other ones making me chuckle.

4) Mary at Mom 2 my 2 goodboys - that says it all. By her own words her family is her pride and joy. She posts mainly about her boys (her good boys), but also about neighbourhood news or mothering issues. Mary is a very supportive person, going out of her way to help and look out for others, especially those in need. Happiness shines all through her blog.

5) Last but not least - Bev at Lacouchee Kid. Lacouchee is a small town in Florida. Bev is grandma to a sweet little girl named Ella. Bev's blog is also rich with family oriented stories. Bev is busy in the community with fund-raisers and looking after the elderly and lonely. I'd certainly love to have her as my neighbour. As a matter of fact - I'd love to have all of you as my neighbours!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pepper in his French Toast

Saturday morning. Hubby has requested French Toast for breakfast. No problem, I enjoy cooking food that he likes and can eat. He certainly needs the calories.

Thinking of the gardening projects I would be starting after breakfast, my hands automatically whisked up a couple of eggs and poured some milk into the bowl. I splashed a dash of vanilla for flavour. Turned around to get the bread out of the breadbox, while reaching into the cupboard for the salt & pepper shakers.
Ha! Who says I can't multi-task any more?

It was then that I noticed some little black specks floating around in the mixture.
Noooooo - I couldn't have!
I did not sprinkle pepper into the mixture! A little salt, of course - but pepper??

Oh well, too late now. I went ahead and cooked up his French Toast. I figured with all the syrup he pours over it, he won't even notice.
He didn't.
But my scrambled eggs tasted suspiciously like vanilla.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pansey patch and sunscreen

Here's my pansey patch - planted yesterday afternoon just before it rained. Worked hard to get them all in and now my upper back and shoulders are sore - but it's a good sore if it's from working in the garden!
Went to Walmart to buy above panseys, as well as a few other items. Was looking for sunscreen, since I'll be outside in the sun lots from now on.
I opened a container and smelled. Hmm - not much of a smell. I was hoping to smell coconut butter or something equally yummy. Tried another brand. Not much better. So I reached for the store brand.
Squashed the bottle.
SPLAT! A humungous glob of white sticky sunscreen lotion flew up in the air and landed on my boobs!
What a mess!
I glanced around - there were 2 employees stocking shelves. Thankfully, they were engrossed in their work, and hadn't noticed.
Quickly, I grabbed a handful of kleenex from my purse and tried to get rid of the mess. It glopped on my skirt, the handle of the shopping cart and the floor!
I started rubbing for all I was worth, while at the same time wondering if I should go back to the car, take off this T-shirt and put on an old one I have in a bag for GoodWill.
It seems the more I rubbed, the more the oily, gloppy stuff soaked into the fabric of my clothes. Looks like I'll have a time trying to get this stain out.
In the end I mopped up as much as I could - I even tried to clean up the floor, and went back to shopping.
Turning around to leave that section, I glanced over my shoulder to see another lady opening bottles of sunscreen, smelling the contents and then trying it on her arms. I didn't wait around to see what happened to her, but made a beeline for panseys in the gardening section.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good Advice

A short while ago, someone from my COPD Caregiver's list wrote in an email words to this effect:

"Make the most of each day. Make memories with your loved ones...let them know you love them.....and be at peace, because if you are at peace....your loved ones will be at is a shared feeling.....along with love."

She was responding to a letter from the worried daughter of a man with COPD. Her father was not doing very well, and she was looking for guidance and support from others in this situation.

Valuable advice. "Make the most of each day" is what I hear over and over from people whose loved ones have passed on.
Some days I do - I cherish our time together. Some days I don't. I have activities to do and other people to meet. I used to worry that one of these days while I am off having fun with my friends or on a shopping trip, I'd come home to find Hubby passed out on the floor - or gone.

"Let them know you love them". Yes, I do - all the time. And it flows both ways. In this I know I'm very fortunate. Not everybody loves their "patient". Some are just Caregiving because the person happens to be a family member and there is no one else.

"And be at peace." Well this one doesn't fit. I am definitely not at peace these days. I'm in a turmoil. Worried about Hubby. Worried about myself. Worried about other family members. And I never used to be a worrier.
In fact, one day, I was talking to a friend who said to me "You radiate inner peace. I want that."
Wow - what I'd do to turn back the clock and capture some of my former "inner peace". That was a long time ago. I don't even recognise the person I have become.

Time to make some well needed changes within myself, especially as I read the last bit of her paragraph: "....... because if you are at peace, your loved ones will be at peace - it's a shared feeling..."

Ouch..... does that mean he is picking up on my inner turmoil? He seems to be "at peace" most of the time. I don't pick up anger or bitterness or even fear from him. The only time I sense fear is when he is having an exacerbation.

Sometimes I think he is in his own little space, his own little world and thinks only of his own needs. Other times, I can see just how sensitive he is to my moods, my feelings.

I need to work on finding my "inner peace" once again. And sharing it with Hubby.
Thank you, E. for sharing your advice.

Sunday, May 11, 2008



Saturday, May 10, 2008

First Hummingbird of the Season

Today I saw my first hummingbird of the season! I always hang my feeders up early - this year it was in mid-April even though we were still knee-deep in snow.
I just wanted to make sure the little critters had something to drink on their journey.
Had a strange day, hormone-wise, I'd say. Tried to get a hair appointment, but the receptionist kept putting me on hold, so I finally gave up.
Put the casserole in the oven, set the temp. at 300 and 15 minutes later, wondered why nothing was happening. I'd forgotten to push the "start" button.
Opened the fridge, took out the milk pitcher and walked over the the plants on the windowsill. No, I did not water them - but it was close.
My head felt spacey and weird, so I lay down outside on my lounge chair for a little rest. Dozed away the afternoon and when I finally got up, realized that I'd missed my granddaughter's synchro-swim meet!
Hubby and I were sitting at the table eating my cooked (very well cooked) casserole, and suddenly I looked up to see a ruby-throated hummingbird at the bird feeder. It was such a nice surprise. Lifted my spirits immediately. As if this little guy (or girl, I can't tell the difference) was telling me that it was o.k. Even though the day had started out in a strange way, it was going to end nicely.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Delicious dahlias

Went to buy some groceries. I was not looking to buy flowers - yet. It's still too cool to plant annuals in the garden, so I've been holding off going to garden centers to buy. I have been to look and admire, but need to wait to buy.
However, just outside the grocery store, they were unpacking some lovely dahlias (among other flowers) and I couldn't resist.
Dahlias are my hubby's favourite flower. I don't really have a favourite - I love them all!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I almost missed it.....

.... by a hair, a blink of the eye, a whisper.

We were sitting at the kitchen table, eating breakfast the other morning.
Hubby was discussing the hockey game with me. Or should I say, he was talking about plays and goals, while I was interjecting "um hums" here and "oh, really's?" there, so he'd think I was paying attention.

Stirring my coffee, buttering my toast, eyes looking out the window at birds, squirrels and all the busy spring activity. My mind was miles away, thinking about buying pansies - is it still too early to buy pansies? Or could I take a chance.

Suddenly, my ears picked up a slight shift of energy, of sound, a subtle change in the tone of his voice. I leaned forward in my chair.

Thinking to myself: weren't we talking about hockey?
"Looking back, I realize how judgemental I've been," he was telling me.
I waited for him to go on.

"Back in the days of my busy practice, I had little patience with addictive personalities. Somehow I thought that the person himself or herself was at fault. I did not think that an addiction could be an illness."

Realizing where this was going, I stayed quiet.

"Now I understand how these people must have felt."
Hubby is still smoking. Even though his lungs are severely damaged, he still cannot kick that habit. Intellectually he knows he is killing himself. But emotional he cannot stop.
He had a funny look on his face, so I knew there was more.

"In my practice, I sometimes councelled the spouse to leave. After all, it was their partner's addiction and my patient was coming to me because she (usually the wife) couldn't take it any more."

So that was it. He was trying to let me know, in a bit of a round about way, that he was glad I am still here.
As if I could leave him at this point in our lives. As if I wanted to!
Well - that was a different way to start the day.

Hubby doesn't often open up like this.
And I almost missed it.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

O.K. - this is more like it. This one was taken on her birthday in January. Now you have a better idea of her face and can visualize the proud and happy smile as she checks out her New Shoes.

New Shoes

I don't know if you can see the proud smile on Granddaughter #2's wee little face.
She's 15 months old now. Has taken off her old shoes and is carrying one of them in her right hand, while looking as pleased as punch at her new pink shoes!

That's the little girl who I'm holding as a newborn in "about me".

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1 - Beltane

The ancient Celtic festival of Beltane.

A celebration of spring, fertility, passion and lust.
Dancing 'round the Maypole.

Well, it's too cold for dancing outside in this part of the world. Our warm summer-like week has given way to cooler spring weather.

Fertility? I think not.
Passion? Packed away in the past.
Lust? Long-lost.

Spring? Most definitely! I can certainly do spring. Spend some time in my garden. Daffodils and tulips are in full swing now. Liliac flower buds are still curled up tightly, hiding under their leaves. Won't be long now.

Bleeding heart is up. Not in bloom yet, but up and waiting for warm sunshine to awaken it. Birds building nests. Chipmunks skittering across my back deck, looking for food.

So May 1st and Spring - yes! Here I come!