Finding the Unexpected Joys

Don’t you find that there are all kinds of unexpected joys that come into your life? One’s that catch you off guard, make you pause, create a pitter patter on the old heart strings and even make you tear up. Oh those are the best ones by far. Yesterday my sister and I were texting and she said she had a lovely visit with the new newlyweds, her youngest son and his new wife, over the weekend. I asked about her oldest son, my nephew, and how he was doing. Life has a way of grabbing you and pulling at the old ticker. She lets me know that at that moment he was in Ontario, surprising my mom (grandmother of him) with a visit at the home, And soon my dad would be coming in too. No one knew. So surprise would be a mild word.

So one has to know my dad. Routine. Routine. And yes routine. My dad’s weekly routine is to see mom three times a week in the morning. He comes in just after 9, , goes to trailer to get the covid test, masks up and then goes in to pick mom up at breakfast room and then spend morning with her. Well dad did not find her. Not a good sign. So apparently had an anxious look. I just bet. You do not change an 87 year old’s habits and routines. I guess dad was looking around, asking, and of course being my nephew and my dad’s grandson, he played a bit of a trick on dad calling out his given name…Clyde. Yep. My dad has always been a jokester of sorts. Lets just say the apple does not fall far from the tree. Anyway, Dad looked at the person calling his name, a tall bearded man (masked man even) pushing his wife and chatting with her. It did not compute.

You know when you look at someone for the first time after a very long time of absence and cannot accept what they see before them. Well, Dad could not wrap his head around his grandson being there. I do not think they have seen each other for 3 years or so since my nephew and family moved out east and then covid-19 hit. So this large man pushing his wife in her wheelchair was not to be had. Needless to say it was an emotional moment for mom and dad. My mom recognized my nephew too. She did!! Oh my heart. I teared up when my sister texted me the story. Best present ever especially knowing it is mom’s birthday on Friday!! Oh happy day. I feel like singing Happy by Pharrell William.

But more importantly unbeknownst to my nephew, my dad is going to three doctor meetings tomorrow. Dad in his life has basically had enough of his health failing. His kidneys are in bad shape and very few alternatives left to him. It hurts to hear that dad does not want anything more. He has had enough. To find joy in hearing him say that about not doing this anymore, you choke inside as you support the will of a man who has lived well. What will happen tomorrow, not sure. But for now, the unexpected visit by his grandson would be the most precious gift to him. Could not ask for a better unexpected moment.

So yes, the joys of the unexpected. Friends do that to you know. Its funny how you are thinking of a particular person and voila, a call or text or email. No mail though. Hmmmmm. Good friends of my family who we have known for 28 plus years have rented a cottage down the road from my place. Well colour me surprised as I forgot they were coming or maybe not forgot as much as been too preoccupied with babysitting my grandkids. LOL. The summer is getting away from me. Grrrrr. Already close to the end of July. WHERE DID THE TIME GO!! Oh yes, life happens to you while busy making other plans.

So a text came from my good friend saying we will be coming in late Sunday evening….where is the nearest grocery and liquor store?? Hahaha. LOL. Well if one knows the island on a Sunday, things like the sidewalk roll up early for most of the island unless you are staying in and around the only island city. Needless to say food and choice of beverage may not have been achieved. Yikes! Yep a little too late.

But they dropped in yesterday afternoon and man it was so great to see them. You know the kind of friends where you just pick up. Time does not change a thing as you engage in chatting and catching up and hugging. Yes hugging. Sorry covid-19 you had your turn now it is just…go away. LOL. It is a short time, only a week, so snatching a few hours together is wonderful. Breaking bread even more so. Grateful for the unexpected.

Now I’m not sure what to expect but it will be joyful this coming weekend. For the last couple of months, my middle grandchild has engaged in a deep conversation about her pink birthday party. Yes siree bob….PINK PARTY. And all who attend have to wear pink as she turns the BIG 3. As an aside, three years ago an unexpected joy took place as she was born on the same day as her great grandmother, my mom. She has not met her as yet but hopefully one day. Anyway, it is such a delight to listen to her talk about pink; the only criteria for her party. Yep. When you ask her what she wants, she says pink. Pink what?? Heaven only knows. Do you know how hard it is to think of pink party items?

Pink lemonade. Yes. Pink plates and napkins and cutlery. Yes. Pink balloons and streamers. Yes. Pink dress. Absolutely a must. LOL. Pink icing on cake and cupcakes. Yes. But pink entree. Nope. Hotdogs or sausages. Are they close to pink? Good enough. Now me…pink is NOT my colour. But you do what you do for the loves of your life. So pink dress it is my little grandchild.

And right now this very morning on my walk as the sun rose and the breeze came off the sea, I found… relief. Can I get excited about saying that I can spell relief? H-E-A-t. The heat is palatable today. Haha. I can honestly say that sweat was not dripping down my brow. And Maggie May with her new dog cut, she was barely panting. Joy. Joy. Joy. Unexpected joy. I am trying not to say it too loudly as I might even be able to turn the fans off. Open the curtains during the day Can it be true? Aaaahhhh. Find the joy in the unexpected.

Am I reaching the bottom of the barrel in finding joy unexpectedly in the price of gas going below $2.00. Nope. You got to find joy wherever as they are unexpected blessings.

Let us pray for those in need and for those unexpected joys wanted and even needed. Amen

Hot Hot Hot…Cold Please

Usually the weather is quite moderate here on the island. But lately the heat and mugginess are a wee bit stifling. The heat index is somewhere in between OMG and WT#$#. I do not swear and not going to start. But come on. Give a gal a break. In winter, you kind of hide from the bitter cold and in summer, you do the same thing. Grrrr. Although I should not complain at all because some places around the world are getting record breaking crazy heat. So. Solution. Nothing like putting ones toes or calves or higher into the ocean. If you do not have relief tickets to seaside, I suppose you can take a cold shower or even better, invest in a pool….kiddie size.

Grandkids come in handy. Hey if you cannot beat ’em, join em. LOL. They do not need much as little ones so a little bit of water from the hose (of course warm and cold water as they are fussy about too cold – LOL) and voila….relief. Yes Mother Nature needs a chill pill right about now.

I really do not think one pays attention to the temperature when younger. If it is hot, it is hot. If it is cold, it is cold. It is what it is. But as one grows older, there seems to be a noticeable difference in reaction to the body especially the muggy part. I do not do muggy. I mean I do but I don’t. And to top if off, I do not care for air conditioning. I do not have it in my home as the trees and sea nearby kind of keep things okay. I think it is the extremes to the body…too much. But the mugginess, now that is another thing. It is like when you just took a shower and think did I not just dry myself or is that sweat. Seriously.

Yes tis the season of summer. Hot days and muggy nights. Relief will be overrated. Even turning my pillow over to the cooler side, does not cut it. LOL. But it is summer. In Canada. Four season country. But just so you know Lord whatever you are baking outside, I think it is done.

Do I prefer hot over cold? At this point, maybe. Or not. Well I got that off my chest. Fans on. Curtains closed. Windows open. Movement at minimum. Oops. I got the grandkids. Hmmmm. Well, slower motion. And pray.

I do worry about the little ones and the elderly. It is not good for them. What to do! Well you do not put on the stove. Try barbequing….or sidewalk works now. Maybe you could purchase half a T-shirt… not to worry about the 6 or 8 pack bod. Get a sign to say “summer you can stop showing off. We get it. You are hot.” They have ice blocks for sale….hover around it like a campfire. Also check to see if your fan is spinning the right way.

So today if you can, stay cool. Like send shivers down your spine or break out in a cold sweat or keep a cool head kind of cool. Brrrr.

Happy summer day. Blessings.

Let us pray for those who need our prayers and for those who need relief from the extreme heat. Amen

Getting Ready

I am looking outside my window right now seeing freshly cut grass for the fifth time in three weeks. I love the tidiness and smell of freshly cut grass. Done for another couple of days until it rains again like it is now. Stay down grass. LOL. And dandelions too. Stop putting your little flyers out on my lawn. I have to get my grandkids to start pulling them out of the ground. Have you ever noticed after cutting the grass, the dandelion stems find their way up again. Geez. I really would like to have more grass than dandelions and unfamiliar tuft looking weeds. I am not creating a golf course mind you but I would like to have more grass to show for my efforts of lawn care. Not my forte I guess.

However, the sun is not shining its light through the trees, filtering its rays upon the new bloomed leaves surrounding my place. It’s raining. Glistening on the petals and leaves that encompass my home. Aaahhh. Oh how the world awakens to birth and rebirth of annuals and perennials, shrubs and bushes, barren fields tilled and ribbed, bringing about the glory of Creation. I am in awe. It is impossible not to be. With the rain pelting down, casting its droplets upon the leaves…it looks vibrant in all the greenery of greens, a palette of hues. Love it.

But the best part has been seeing the first signs of lupins. They run wild and pop up everywhere and anywhere. I cannot believe that I have them along my laneway!! Where a person has to go and get seeds at store, the lupins here are just randomly spread out from sides of road, across fields, along drives, in the ditches to nicely manicured gardens. I think I like the wild look. So beautiful. Love them. They are my favourite wild flower. Not sure if the are really wild but they are here. And colour…shades of pinks and purples and whites. It tells me summer is around the corner, getting ready to be out in full array. I did not walk today as the rain is too much for taking Maggie May. But I’ll listen to it in the open window. Maybe it is Mother Nature saying to human….stay in and welcome the pause.

I have to say nature is such a wondrous companion to be with especially during the rain. I do not know what it is but God’s creation in full bloom takes my breath away as Mother Natures gives it a good cleaning and wash. Living amongst nature, with the trees and wildlife, it beckons the soul to be at rest. Today’s rain is just a constant hum, not too hard and not to light. Gentle . Certainly not a skiff of rain but a pitter patter. Hahaha. And it is warm as I noted as I take the recycling out to the bin.

Oops. Not saying too loudly the pitter patter wordage because those words come with little feet, two two-year old feeties to be specific. Which doing the math, means four tiny feet who come with a stubborn mind to go outside, rain hopping. Yikes!! Which means getting ready to go out with rain boots and rain coats. That would be okay if that was the only thing. But not so much. Muddy red water that soaks their pants in reddish tints. Laundry here I come…again. But hey what’s a bit of rain between friends. Carrying them screaming and hollering because they DO NOT WANT TO COME IN! No need for weights or cardio exercises. Got that down in spades.

Well I guess I need to get ready for a day together with the kids and see what we can explore. Maybe the water droplets coming down, spraying us, as the rain slows down and we go out into the forest. Bugs. Maybe. But that is their thing. I guess deet might be good about now. Maybe they will be satisfied with their noses stuck to the window and watching a raindrop slowly making a path down the window pane as they look out longingly for the sun to come out. Rain or shine, they are outdoor kiddies. Woohoo.

Okay. Getting ready for whatever may come. Thank you for the pause. Blessings.

Let us pray for those who are in need of prayers.

Getting Older…Sheesh

Oh my goodness. You know that old adage “young and stupid”. Well how about ‘older and stupider’ might be one to go by as I get on in years. Not a good word mind you – stupid – but I really was being ridiculous. Seriously. What I think I can do and what I can do now are two different things. Big time. I don’t mind getting older but my body is taking it badly. Hahaha.

So last weekend, Friday evening to be exact, the top left part of my arm went crazily sore. I could not even lift, rotate, or extend my arm. To make matters worse, I like sleeping on my left side and it was so painful I had to lay flat on my back barely able to turn my body. WHAT in the world DID I do? I know I studied the human anatomy when I went to university way back when but I really do not remember how one muscle connected to the next. Well, believe you me, every muscle in my upper body seemed to be connected. I even had to take my right arm to move my left arm upwards. Turning over, my stomach muscles went to my left arm. Ow ow ow. I felt like a big baby.

You do not realize how one takes for granted the body and its natural movements going about your day. Putting on clothes or brushing teeth or turning on a tap or opening/closing the door or changing a diaper or going for a drive. Never mind little ones jumping into your arms to be lifted up. The muscles of the body are a machine but one that cannot take for granted. At all.

So ice ice and more ice. Then Biofreeze and A535….did not do a thing. Those freezer bubble beads with a strap on it only go for so long. I resorted to the lunch bag freezer ice packs placing it right on my upper arm. Numb became my new norm. And holy lightening the ice pack going under the tender part of my arm….jumping joly ranchers….brrrr cold. Really cold. You do not realize how tender you are under the arm until you put ice on it. I was laid up literally for two days with day three I could actually move the arm. Of course my granddaughters who are 2 + in years did not care for me to be laying down so getting up and going outside….they grabbed my left arm. And naturally if Rara is up and about then she can lift them up to.

This reminded me so much of when I tried mussel socking. Have you ever done that? Well I respect those who do that on a regular basis here on the island. It is a traditional fishing job to be done. So when you eat the mussels, enjoy each morsel and pay the price. Hopefully not too ridiculous in cost but the work behind the plate before you….let me say it is hard. Or maybe I just overdid it. For mussel socking is repetitive in action. There are three actions in the socking – putting 6′ sock on; filling the 6′ sock with baby mussels from a pipe filled with water and baby mussels; and then folding the filled sock into a container, folded in half. Two are easy to do and I did not pick that one. So after 4 days of constant putting mussel sock on pipe, my right forearm swelled to unbearable (did not notice it initially). I could not even lift my granddaughter who was just over 1 at the time. Needless to say, I quit and I have never quit a job in my life. Granddaughter over doing a physical kind of activity (met some really nice people too who were younger and older than me doing the job for months). Felt badly but it was my own fault. I should have mixed up doing the three parts to the mussel socking.

So getting back to me being a tad brainless in my actions of thinking I can do anything. Sheesh. It is not a can do or not. Why, is the question to me? Well I was thinking with a can do attitude in which I get on a roll with an idea of what I want to do, and then I just do it. And I did. Do it. But what I forgot in the process was that I could have asked for help. I am not as young. I am not as strong nor do I use those muscles very much. Lifting my grandchildren or pulling them on a wagon over rough terrain is not the same apparently. So the pull and yank and manoeuvring was not smart. In other words, I should not have picked up two large patio stone slabs from under the play set, drag them up and over, and place them strategically beside each other…jiggling and jostling them so they are flush. I wanted to create a space for an art area outside. Voila!! They were heavy and yes it was a bit of a strain but goodness I did it last summer. Am I slowly losing body strength? Nah. Just no.

I had to rack my brain of what I did because I did that in the morning. For the rest of the day I was fine. Obviously not as the pain came out of no where. And it hurt. Man it hurt. So what did I learn from life lesson….ask for help. Now that is a big to do because I am so independent. The reality is that the mind is so much more younger than the body. LOL. Not a big surprise and not going to pretend otherwise. However, I like physical activity and I want to be active. So mind over matter (seasoned body) is grateful for a youthful mind. “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” – Mark Twain

Right now I am thinking…woohoo. All is in working order and I want to keep it that way. Do I wish my body was as youthful as my mind seems to be? Yep. But alas, I need to get on board and be a little more attentive to the nuances of getting older and wiser. LOL. Or ignore and just do. I am betting I’ll get myself into more trouble again very soon. Too many things to work on and do. Never mind the climbing and crawling and tugging and walking and running that goes with taking care of two active stubborn delightful 2 year olds. Yikes!! And do not even get me started on my 11 year old grandson.

Thanks grandkids for making me feel youthful. Just let me think of easier ways to make fun things for your pleasure. Blessings.

Let us pray for those who are in need especially those ill or sick.

Take Me Home

Oh we are so very close now. It is amazing how time flies when you are having fun. I was just reading a post on FB from a friend who looks at her last days of her trip to be bittersweet. It is such an interesting word choice and yet so apropos. Soon I am going to be doing the same thing, heading home to my home, but with a bittersweet taste left as I say a ‘so long’ to family and friends here to embrace family and friends there. How does that work? Not that I am a social butterfly by any stretch of the imagination but I have both wonderful family and friends here and there. So the angst of leaving is squashed and squished by the joy of arriving. Is that not a paradoxical quandary to be facing? LOL. You betcha!

It reminds me when travelling anywhere in Canada or going out of country. There is a part of me that has not left home. Many a time travelling and camping through the States or when I was fortunate to travel much later in life to Kenya that my home called to me. It was time to return. As much as I am glad to be where I am and enjoy the blessings bestowed to me here, a call to the heart means it is time to head home.

There, one puts the hat up and nestles down into the sounds of routine at home. I cannot express in any understandable way that feeling when I see the red shore of the island. I have always been struck by the colours of PEI shores and traditions. It takes on this flavour of rich welcome where it calls from the warmth bask of the sun. The red hues of the island’s sand rock and soil with the backdrop of breath taking brilliance of greenery hues in its natures’ interior. It is not more or less than other places in the world but for my heart, it is home.

So waiting patiently, obviously not doing a good job of it, as there is still a ways to go, the trip home draws near. Of course having company to share the journey home with is an opposite feeling for said companion. It will be a home away from home for my daughter which I just experienced in these last few months with her. Thankyou. Grateful to have a pillow for my head to enjoy the fruits of being a Rara, daughter, sister and friend with many in my life here, I now get to return to home and do the same with family and friends there. It is funny how that works.

You do not know what you do not know until it is taken away from you. Not literally taken away, but put on pause in order to do what needs to be done. If nothing else one learns from the wake of Covid, it has emphasized quite categorically that family and friends, human contact and interaction, are needed in ways that you did not know you miss until circumstances happen.

I cannot begin to fathom the pain and turmoil of some of the people on this earth that are in constant fear and suffering. There is no home for them which should be one’s castle. Right? Feeling safe and secure even when things may seem crazy and spin like, you should have a home to rest your weary head. I pray for the circumstances and decision-making of those who have caused such destruction to the very essence of human dignity and life. Why? Oh, Why? Why should one b fighting for a home. It is not right nor just. I pray for the hope of calm and peace to come into the hearts and minds of all people. Please.

So I take this life given and be steadfast in knowing life changes in a blink of an eye. I recall riding in the back of our family car as a child as we travelled to my dad’s homestead to visit his folks for many summers. We would always leave early, around 4 am in the morning, and travel all day, destination ‘down home’. That phrase has stayed with me as long as I remember. Not sure what the draw was entirely but the drive along old number 2 highway, along the river, up to what used to be the old covered bridge, it felt like home. Old worn white siding farmhouse, with its quaint character and charm, had the goods. The happy, the fun, the joy, the food…can’t forget that. But most of all, the love within each nook and cranny, from days gone by with family and friends. I could feel it.

Home. A place that is a reflection of you or hopefully you. A beginning and an end to one’s day for the most part which soaks up the stories, the laughs, the sorrows…and all in between. It is a sanctuary like no other where you can settle in all cozy and warm and just be. You can hang out in pjs, casual wear, or the messy. Who is going to know for goodness sake? Well that depends if you live alone or not. You may not be able to escape for the quiet you may seek if sharing. LOL. You know when you do not want to be known as a mom or a sister or a daughter (ye gents, you can substitute to suit) or an ‘anyone’….I just want one minute for self. Ergo, bathroom…with lock. Hah. It does not matter for locks can be picked. Aahh. But regardless home is where the heart lies open and revealed.

Take me home, country road (or four-lane highway). Blessings.

Let us pray for those whom are in need of prayers and for those who seek home.

I saw it in her face

Do you ever experience a moment that you just want to hold onto forever and ever? One that puts you in a wondrous space, giving you a heartfelt warmth, right down to your very toes. But starting from the top of your head, tingling down, with a happiness so joyful, you stop and wonder if anything can be more special than this moment. Yesterday I was given that. Yesterday I saw it in her face.

Two weeks ago I had a plan with my oldest daughter that we would be coming up to see my mom and bring her a gift…to see face to face her youngest great granddaughter for the very first time. And possibly, hopefully, get a four generation picture of mom, me, my daughter and my granddaughter…mom’s legacy. So with the task in hand that Friday night, I went into the trailer located outside the nursing home for the fifteen minute covid testing routine with some questions in mind. Bombarding the local resident Covid tester, I wanted to make sure that we could all see up mom. I had good news. Of course, better news would be good warm weather on Easter Saturday and we could be outside while mom watched her great granddaughter do her thing….get into mischief as any 2-year old would. LOL.

Well kerplunk! Nah dah going to happen. For the very next day, twelve hours later, on the Villa’s website, only essential caregivers can come in. Talk about bursting ones bubble. Like any type A personality, you go to plan B for back up. So being Alice in Wonderland looking through the looking glass, we will go to the back of home and see mom in her window. She looks out across the field and public sidewalk nearby to see the many birds and squirrels and strolling by people which means she can see us. The happy sad thing for me was on that Friday evening as well, it was going to be the last time I could hug and kiss her (mask kiss), hold her hand in both of mine. Lord, I am going to miss that.

Anyway forward two weeks to yesterday we drove the three hours cross country and straight to the home. Texting my oldest sister, she would be waiting for us at mom’s window so she can direct mom’s eyes to us. Thankfully the sun is out but holy moly Easter Saturday fare, it is nippy outside with the cool breeze and calling for snow. Are you kidding me!! Not having been behind the nursing home, the ground was soggy like they had a big rain. We wore warm coats and hats but not mucking boots nor wellingtons. Come on! Seriously. Oh well, my granddaughter does not care. And wouldn’t you know it, we stood by the window seeing my sister in her bright orangy pumpkin shirt waving away at us. She texted me to say….mom is in the washroom. Which is code for a long wait as she is wheel chair bound and cannot do for herself. Timing.

But a brilliant idea passed between our texts….take mom to the other hallway with the big glass exit doors. Best. Idea. Ever. For I saw it in her face. We walked up the cement stoop, wrapped with steel railings, to a huge double doored entrance. And right before our eyes, mom and my sister watched us. The moment my mom saw both her grand and great granddaughters, I teared up. My throat started to tighten and a smile crossed my face as my mom sat there, staring so unbelievably beautiful. Mom’s eyes spoke volumes, crinkling in mirth and happiness. Her face shone a light so bright, no words needed. My sister sitting beside her, taking all kinds of pictures of my mom’s face, shed her own tears. Old softie. LOL. How could I tell? Because the glass shield was fogging up a bit between her mask and shield. Oh my sister. I know.

Could one give a better gift? I think my daughter had a bit of an inkling the importance this moment was for all of us. Especially for my mom. My mom has not met either of her granddaughters to date so this was a hallmark moment to the nth degree. Thank you so much daughter. Of course, the little one cooperated for a hot minute then as any good wee 2-year old would do, off to be distracted. But thankfully for many minutes, she was present to my mom and my mom, bless her soul, she ate her up. That is the only way I would describe it.

Chuckling now as mom fights dementia within but she was quite coherent and determined as my sister held my mom’s hand back. For there on the door was a long steel bar handle which you push to get out. Oh my goodness, mom wanted to open the door and allow us to come in. Or she wanted to escape. Not sure which was on her mind. Hahaha. My sister kept shaking her head and my mom’s face got that stern look she would always give us when unhappy. Nothing has changed in that regard mom. But at the same time as my mom reached out her hand, feeble but eager too, she sought out a touch. I know that to be true.

Oh, those hands of mom’s so withered and worn, held and tended all of us, shakily extended out, seeking her own people. She saw me in the corner of the doorway as I did not want to take away any part of her concentration. Recognizing me still. So grateful that my sister was talking with our mom, relaying what we were saying between the glass. What my mom witnessed was a love between daughters and mothers. Four generations before her. Can it be a more graced moment!

One second gift was watching my dad as he looks at his great granddaughter too for the first time. Hold her. Hug his granddaughter. He watched and observed, finding it amusing as he decided to share that the little one was similar to me. Words like stubborn, too busy, mind of her own, not listening. Hey, not nice. Seeing the family tree extending because of him and mom, I love that he reminds mom each visit (as I know he does) that all the images on her wall started because of her (and dad). And giving witness, we did sit together as four generations, on behalf of mom, together.

So Easter Vigil, where darkness turns to light, happened on this day for me. It takes me to the many years while participating in the Easter Vigil mass where we gather in total darkness. Then a single light burns brightly, cascading a single ray, and then turning sheds its light to another, lighting a way, then to another. Oh it happened yesterday for I saw it in her face. I saw it in his face. And I felt blessed to witness love beautifully expressed. Bless your hearts. Always.

Happy Easter. In this season of renewal and rebirth, may you feel your day, your faith, breathe in new life and your heart made fresh with the hope Easter brings.

Let us pray for those who are in need of prayers this day.

Walking With A Spring

Mom’s garden.

Spring in the air. Spring in one’s step. Springing in the rain. It’s a day filled with promise regardless of the gloomy skies and dampness in the raindrops. I can just see Gene Kelly from the movie Singing in the Rain with his umbrella skipping and sliding in his dancing shoes, piping out the lyrics “I’m singing in the rain” while splish splashing in the puddles. I wonder if he really liked doing that scene? Soggy socks. Socked clothes. LOL. Of course he did. So appropriate for the days of April. Right? April showers bring May flowers ( poem by Thomas Tusser in the 1550’s) one of many proverbial type lessons, it seems to be true. For April comes with unpredictable weather swings at times which as I look ahead over the next few days with single digit, maybe a couple with doubles, of upcoming temperatures and rainy day forecasts. I am good with that. Sure, a little burst here or there from me of “rain rain go away” will come out but hey not today. Bring it on.

Don’t you just love the smell of earthy mud and musky deadened grass emanating from the worn out ground after a long and hard winter’s havoc. Weeping endures for the night but joy comes to the morning. Is that not the way things work in life? A silver lining in life comes in after a dark cloud. For amongst the debris of the last vestiges of winter, lies the treasures of new life. Sprigs of sprouts poke out of the soil giving one a hint to the joy coming soon. The joy of springlike flavour with a renewal to rebirth.

Yes, the renewal takes a bit of a turn as one takes the good with the bad. Meaning the dark and gloomy days which could be quite a few, ever blended with that cool nippy air, comes out to the other side with delightful colour and fragrances. So hold on, for this too shall pass. Why? Well, like any Lenten journey, it leads us into the Eastertide where even in the darkest times, the tide of heart and mind rejoices in the Resurrection of the Lord and the resurrection coming back into our life, a rejuvenated refreshed life. Be it within or all that enlivens around us, there is a kick in one’s step.

A couple of days ago while taking a walk down by the waterfront, I could feel the burst within me that spring has sprung. It was not just one sign but many as I took in its many faces surrounding me. Outwardly, in my hat and mitts and layered look, not spring like fashion by any means, there was a beauty and hint in the barren surface before me. For example, the bay was still frozen and the wind coming in was NOT warm. But I smiled as the bay was in danger mode. I am not warped or evil. LOL. No the frozen ice was in transition, better known as black ice. Black ice being the operative two words for ‘you are walking on thin ice’ – literally. Soon to transform into the rippling wavelets, it is a ying to the yang of starting the spring thaw. Cannot wait! Water is the balm. Yeah?

Despite the droppings of Canada geese leavings (not a fan let me tell you) and having to weave in and around them, I can not help but feel an aura of readiness. It is amazing how the architects of creation have such a wondrous vision of sacredness whether by nature or the work of manual hands. As I look around at the gardens and wood-filled flora so lovingly created and positioned by their designers, I am struck by their empty splendour not yet to be witnessed but so vividly imagined.

Yes, there are still remnants from the previous year which marks the wait time. But that is okay. It is enjoying the beginnings, watching Mother Earth, prepare to dress up in her finery of silken hued lace, fragile and yet, solidly sound. So taking a walk with a good friend, enjoying the camaraderie, I want to nurture the gift of wearing running shoes. LOL. Nah. I want to welcome the bestowal freely given to delight and bask in nature’s handiwork while getting a work out. Let’s face it, unless you are a snow hare on the slopes or a speed skater of swoosh, a work out is necessary come April. Fitbit do your thing. LOL. I do not have one but sweat and achy body tell me what I need to know. Get. Out. Side. And. Walk.

Have you ever looked at the bared trees and bushes recently? I did. They have their own unique character and pleasingness about them, don’t they? The limbs and branches have no rhyme or reason of positioning for the most part, but each in their own way take your breath away with their perfection. Lord that is crazy amazing. Each limb holds life. And very soon that same limb with its family of limbs and branches together, will be burgeoning in its glory; taking up more space too. If you like nature walking in forested areas, you might want to get some good walks in before the hazards of full bloomed woods and forests can be hazardous to your health – like falling on knees from hidden roots, thistles or hidden poky branches catching clothes or the whipped branch on the face. Love it my grandchildren.

Spring…walk and look

Springtime. Oh to walk in your flower, field and fruit. To see the buds upthrust and unfold before one’s very eyes, colourful and breathtaking. How you do what you do is certainly a mystery in many ways. Squishy and mucky you may be at times, its all good. Which reminds me of gardeners right now as I am thinking they are chomping at the bit to get ready for their first dig in the earth, dirt sticking under their finger nails or garden gloves, ready to go. That would not be me so much even though I am going to grow sunflowers again this year. Mine grew last summer!! Wow. No, I am thinking more of my older sister (got the green thumb gene from our mom) who cannot wait to get at her gardens because she loves the soft earth on her hands, feel its energy, create a world of love; you can feel her spirit soar.

Walking with spring, savouring the riches soon, even in the rain and puddles, as Mother Nature bestows her gifts. Stop. Look. Listen. Enjoy. Yes sister, I am going to take a walk with you and enjoy spring in your gardens with ou . Blessings

Let us pray for those who are in need of prayers and may the days of spring be Spring in their lives.

Food Glorious Food

Kelly’s Oreo cake. Delectable

Oliver, you young little lad who wanted more. How dare you want more….porridge or gruel, maybe? Yes, it was out of hunger more than likely instead of the smorgasbord given to many today. BTW – I like porridge. Anyway, I remember the movie Oliver Twist as we did its play version at my elementary school when I was in grade 8. I think I was in the choir, no stand and deliver for me. Oh my, I loved the songs and dancing – Who Will Buy? I’D Do Anything? Where is Love?. Interesting how the brain works. I can see Tommy McFarland (how or why on earth I remember that name!!! He was in my class in grade 8 and had lead role Oliver) walking up slowly from back of our gym to the front, holding out his empty bowl, and lifts it up to that horrible Mr Bumble, and says “please sir I want some more”. He reminded me so much of Mark Lester in the first Oliver Twist with blond hair, blue eyes and raggedy in character costume. Hmmm. It was a really good movie but that scene popped out of my head today.

I realize it is Lenten season where many Christians reveal the “no-go foods” for forty days. Hard so hard. NOT. Okay, maybe a little if you are a foodie of foods and like your specific kind of foods….sweets and carbs or fried and oily. That about covers the lot. Oops I forgot the liquid fare. But do you ever get those cravings where your tongue goes “thuh thuh thuh” with its tip, clicking on rooftop, just behind your front teeth, trying to push and rattle the old brain cells for a specific flavour and taste. Your facial expression do some acrobatic moves as you sift and sniff the aromas and tastes of your previous archived food belt of food fare and then all at once…Eureka!!

Well lately it has been fish and not chicken surprisingly. Anyone who knows me well would find that hilarious for fish or any seafoods are not my friends of daily bread. Maybe it is the Friday or Saturday night traumas of rainbow trout or fresh salmon as the main entree. Dad being a fisherman and thinking what a great meal it would be. Read your kids dad. Fish stick from Highliner all the way. Thanks mom; always looking after me. LOL. Thank the Lord my dad liked to make dollar fries with the fishy fish of fish, let me tell you. The fishy taste is way too strong for my tender plain palette. No thanks. And seafood! Well, here I move to an island where the seafood platter is a main staple for islanders or ‘away’ visitors….not me.

But there are two fish that I really enjoy eating…halibut and haddock with a light batter and not too greasy oily. Smack my lips together and rub my tummy kind of yummy. So where to go? Apparently you do not search in Barrie on a Monday. Snooze you lose. So, Google comes up with Best Fish and Chips and shows Captain George, Fancy’s, Danny’s and The Halibut House. Maybe a few others but those are the top four. Having had them all, I can say for me Captain George you win my vote with your delicious battered halibut and coleslaw and fries (quasi yes). When you put price and taste together, they come out on top. But hey Ontario (sorry), PEI wins my taste buds on fish. Not that I go out much but heaven help me, the few I have had…absolutely my vote. Head to north side of island to Sou’West or Island Stone Pub or Go Fish. Yep. Although my sister said her son went to the one on south side of island, near PEI National Park on Wharf road, Richard’s PEI, and has really good fish and chips and also lobster roll (for the lobster lovers, not me BTW). Road trip when I get back.

As for fries, it is one of my food weaknesses. Thankfully and most gratefully, I am very very particular about my french fries. I do not do fries too much but when I do, I am pernickety. And surprisingly, the fries in Shelbourne ON at the ‘train’ are by far my favourite choice. Homemade, perfectly cooked, golden and wedge ribbed has the flavour of delish. Not even on the island of PEI, where they grow and harvest potatoes of all kinds and types, have I moved my opinion. Close in some like the crispy Costco fries or Da Mamas in Summerside, but not quite. I had no idea that there was so much to know about potato types until my one of two first face to face ‘dates’ from my online dating experience. He owned his own potato farm which was strictly for potato chips and fries. Did you know that you should avoid eating dark coloured fries; stick with golden coloured? Something to do with too much starch and sugar built up when they are dark.

Now the sweet palette which is the Lenten go to for many especially around chocolate. It is funny how things that are not quite good for you, taste or feel great. Temptation. What is good for you? My younger sister including my older sister and brother, all got the cooking and baking gene. Mom missed me. Haha. I am not a big sweet eating person but last year I had a real issue craving chocolate; I could not get enough of it. It was like I became a chocolate addict or fiend. Not only chocolate but desserts. Just a taste. Humph. Well when Oliver Twist wanted more, it was my mantra so to speak. I have no idea why but I just hungered for sweets. It did and does not help when my younger sister would make scrumptious mouth watering desserts and bring out to me. I mean look at the oreo cheese cake she did yesterday for her colleagues and family. Glad I am not at home, sister of mine.

So the little tongue movement click trying to discern what to eat, what do I feel like eating, can get one into trouble. Date squares, chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, bits/bites kitkat/caramel/aero bars, peanut butter marshmallow bar, and lemon crunch cheesecake cups. Ridiculous. Not that I was a pig but I felt like gobbler gourmand. I have to laugh as I think of the loopy cravings of pregnant women. No I am not pregnant. Totally impossible. Geez. But it feels like that at times for the urge within. In all three pregnancies of mine, it was chocolate milk and tuna fish sandwiches only which had to be on soft whole wheat. Um um yum. How is that for crazy! Maybe not. To this day, I like refrigerated tuna with mayo, pickles, pepper, and avocado (a new addition). Hey I guess that is another fish I like. Oops.

Close your mouth Karen. Sunset Grill

Still in all, the cravings come and go. Right now I feel like chicken wings or egg salad sandwich in a lettuce wrap; dry rub pepper and olive oil baked wing after lunch of paprika mayo pepper egg blend, nix the bun, and wrap it in water. It is soooo good. Lunch and supper on the brain. What is on the menu tonight? Breakfast. Cravings aside, breakfast is home. It is like that moment when Jesus on the shore, greeting the disciples coming in from a morning of fishing, with an open invitation to come eat with him (John 21:9-12). Cravings to be filled and fulfilled…with fish and bread. I hope that is not a message for me. To enjoy fish and seafood a bit more. Yikes!! Sorry, Lord.

Food glorious food at the table, breaking bread together, chatting and eating with those you love and find comfort in. PB & J here I come. Hold on Lenten promise. Blessings this day.

Let us pray for those who are in need of our prayers today. And for those who are hungry and need daily bread. Amen

Foodie friend quotes:

The secret ingredient is always cheese.

Don’t go bacon my heart.

First we eat. Then we do everything else.

There is no we in fries.

I’m on a seafood diet. I see food and eat it.

Food is the ingredient that binds us together.

Friends buy you food. Best friends eat your food.

Keep your friends close and your food closer.

We are best friends forever except at the dinner table.

Food may be essential for fuel for the body. But good food is fuel for the soul.

Most people eat to live. I live to eat.

I try to avoid things that make me fat…mirrors, photographs and scales.

Donut kill my vibe.

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

Waiting

Waiting for spectacular.

I do not know about you, but how is waiting in your life? Right now it is a Yes. Yes. Yes? Oh my. I sound like a Cocomelon song with JJ and his vegetables. (FYI: Children’ show for little ones). Anyway, It is about time. Spring has sprung, the grass is here, what a world we live in!! I can see the curbs. I can see the dirt in the garden. Oh yes, I can also see lots of work too – weeding, raking, sweeping, picking, dump run; and Maggie May’s leavings on the lawn!! What? Man, was I lazy. Yikes. The hidden treasures just below the layers of blankets of snow. Nah. It is all good. So yes yes yes. Spring is here. Oh Happy Day. Now I just have to get Mother Nature to do her thing. Maybe she can recognize that it is spring beyond the calendar date. Get bloomin’….please.

Waiting. It seems one is constantly waiting for something or someone, don’t you find? Yes, I have been waiting for the first signs of spring like so many other people. Thankfully it is Lent so slowing down and pausing has helped me. Reflecting on the stuff piled up in life that needs to be sifted and sorted and discarded even. Reminding me that seasons come and go and winter has almost run its course. Plus along my Lenten journey this year, I really paid attention to waiting as part and parcel of one’s life, a good thing actually. Is that not true?. Yes, the time in waiting can either get your heart pumping furiously or frustratingly, depending on your mood or circumstance. It can also be fruitful and joyous, taking me out of the spin of the day and take stock of the present.

I think back to those many nights having to wait for my daughters as they finished up work. You learn to bring a book or puzzle, just in case of any delays. LOL. Plenty of those days. Or know you can have what I call a ‘bathroom’ moment where you can be by yourself for a hot minute, uninterrupted. Haha. Thankfully locks are pretty secure. LOL. One can even engage in an entertaining text thread or call someone in the privacy of your vehicle like talking to a sister or a friend without little big ears.

But there was one kind of waiting I did mind, a BIG pet peeve for me. Have you ever had someone say “just 5 more minutes”. Well that was my morning routine during most of the high school years with girls. Ugh. And I mean that it was a daily occurrence coming out of my daughter’s bedroom, lingering in the air like a red cape to a bull. No Ole. Those mornings when I tried to get my youngest daughter out of bed especially to get ready for whatever (probably school), I felt the heebie jeebies coming on. I still get shivers to this day when I hear that phrase. It was a nightmare let me tell you. Been there done that and NOT going to do it again. LOL. She does that sometimes on a visit. NOT FUNNY.

But then you have the exciting times, preparing for celebrations or upcoming dates. A happy dance kind of waiting because last week the big 2 finally came. Woohoo!! It is so hard to believe!! Just two short years ago, the day before all crazy broke out with the pandemic in Ontario, my youngest granddaughter was born. I remember the events of her birth, coming into this world. It was an unsettling time for my daughter as she had one of her final visits with her doctor. The doctor inquired about me, the mom, and how did I arrive to my daughter’s place. If I flew, I would be asked to leave, not be able to be near mom and newborn. Her doctor took a proactive stance saying if she did not deliver in next couple of days then she was going to be induced. Covid 19 was unknown and the hospital was on the alert. Good call. Even though I drove and got there in time for the birth, I could not go in. But okay. Regardless, worth the wait.

So last week, watching my granddaughter enjoy East Side Mario’s spaghetti with sauce all over her face and then fussing because she was done so of course it was time to go….no waiting for her. Eat and run. Literally. Aaaahhh. High chairs do not cut it. Toys and colouring do not cut it either. Disney music on youtube on the cell does not work. Let’s just say she has a set of lungs and makes her feelings known. Cannot wait until she can use her words fully. There is that ‘wait’ word again. No I do not want her to grow up too fast. Okay mommy and daddy just finish your meal while me and little girl go outside and walk. LOL. Waiting is not an option in a little one’s world.

I think waiting is a good thing and probably good for us. It can bring a sweetness to when the waiting is finally over. Maybe it is taking for granted that what we hope to happen, does happen, surprise even in its fruition, and then do we dwell and reap the beauty of the gift given from all that waiting. In a few weeks time, I will be heading back to my home, having been here in Ontario for a few months, babysitting my youngest granddaughter, as accessibility to caregiving is not great. Even though, I have lived most of my life in Ontario and enjoyed the many blessings given, I feel at home on the island. I am not sure what the draw is but I am thinking it goes back to my childhood and the yearly summer trip to the Maritimes. I loved it out there at that time and now as an adult, making that decision, it calls to something deeper in me. Grateful beyond measure. But unlike my dog, waiting with such patience….I can’t wait to cross the bridge and see the red shore. LOL.

I think there is a line from Lemony Snicket movie that says, “If we wait until we are ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” That may be true. But I think our personality can get in the way. Can we enjoy the time in the wait? That is my thought for the day. I have to laugh because I looked at some funny things about waiting. For example, when you are waiting in line with one item and the person in front of you wants to get lottery tickets and has old lottery tickets to be checked. That would be that line over there. Not nice.

So in the meantime while waiting, you might try not to waste time looking at the time because it will go only as fast as the time needed for the wait to come. In the words of Joyce Meyerpatience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting“. Blessings this day.

Let us pray for those we need our prayers today and for those who have to wait for whatever, for it is worthy of the wait.

Waiting can be a pain sometimes but its all good.

A car front of you at a green light – 50 seconds.

Parents to quiet down their loud baby. Goodness how we do forget.

Waiting for your food at a restaurant. This is where my hangriness comes from

Waiting for your food at restaurant. Hangry comes a knocking.

Waiting at doctors office or emergency.

Waiting for significant other to get ready.

Being stuck on customer service. I hang up.

I really wish people would know the rules of a roundabout…go around.

When somebody cuts you and then says, “This is my friend,” like it makes everything okay. YOU STILL CUT ME!

When the person in front of you has been in line for 10 minutes but waits until they get to the register to figure out what they want off the menu.

When your mom tells you to wait in line while she grabs one last thing and then disappears from the face of the Earth.

When you’re at a rest station waiting to use the woman’s bathroom and the line is moving an inch an hour and the only thing to do is watch the men’s line move a hundred million times faster than yours.

To the Flea Market I Go

Sometimes it is good to experience a ‘blast from the past’ for a few moments especially when you find yourself wandering down aisle after aisle in artifacts and articles of nostalgia. A few weeks ago, I went to visit the 400 Flea Market (needed to DO something anything else LOL) in Cookstown ON and perused the unbelievable array of yesterday, today and even tomorrow items in the antique section of the flea market. As much as I like the flea market side of things with the new and improved or retro hip hop et al surrounded in the aura of a potent aroma wafting its scrumptious smells of varied cultural fare to the nose, I seemed to be drawn to the vintage side of the building that day. Antiques.

Although I must say the booth in the flea market with the lego characters drew me in as my grandson loves mini characters. Try standing in front of hundreds of little figurines and thinking, what ones does he not have? Only clue I have is that they have to be on the evil looking side. Even bending forwards, my eyes needed some work because most seemed to have that look.

I had to stop a time or two in front of some sections of the antique building because I was shocked to realize that not only my past was there, front and center, but also my own daughters who are in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Seriously!!! I guess the age range for artifact and historical interest has been shortened. Haha. Talk about humbling. There is nothing like seeing your first barbie doll, Skipper, that you played with, loved and coddled, now on display in the Antique part of the flea market. What makes it antique? Is that a woohoo I made it feeling 🙂 or is it a woohoo boohoo feeling, I made it (: . Not sure at this point.

I did enjoy going down memory lane though as I found myself smiling and chuckling, sometimes frowning too, as I went back and forth, criss-crossing then and back stepping to view the cordoned off or small enclosed areas filled to the brim with overflowing stuff. Stuff I would puzzle about. Stuff that I would do an aha too. Stuff is the operative word and an appropriate term to use because what was displayed would be described for me, in most cases, as ‘odds and sods’, while to others a whole different perspective. Nevertheless, there were all kinds of neat and intriguing things that I could confidently say that I have no idea what they were used for but had a purpose at some point, in some place, by someone. It’s all a mystery.

It did surprise me though of the number of areas dedicated to old magazines. I mean it is old paper that has a short life span. Right? Yes, I realize that magazines seem to be considered collectibles especially for avid fiends of comic books. Yes. But, why? That is my question. LOL. Well I should not say that because I found I was looking at some old Archie, Little Lulu ( I forgot about her) and The Detective comics copies that I once had. Huh!! But knowing the restrictions from Covid and no ‘touchy touchy’, I kind of glanced at only the visible titles of said ‘antique’ magazines. It does make sense the newsie stuff, back in the day, would peek the interest of an audience. Probably a particular year or memorable event that would be captured in say Life or The Saturday Evening Post or Housekeeping or even Cosmopolitan. For me, I would probably look for undiscovered tidbits on the Black Donnelly’s of Lucan or the sinking of the Titanic.

I also noticed a section with VHSs tapes. Do you remember those? They came out in late 70s I think. Did not hear of them really until I was teaching in the early 80’s and purchased first video recorder system, Betamax. Crazily Betamax did not last long at all for it was quickly ousted by its competitor, the VHS player. Who would have thunk? Anyway, there were some old TV mystery/crime series amongst the tapes in VHS format which struck a cord. I love mystery and crime.

It got me to thinking as I was doing a final crossword in the last of my eight booklets that I received as gifts for Christmas this past year. Yikes! FYI2ME. Big reminder to start scouring the shelves of the dollar stores around town, whatever the specific Dollar ???? name brand stores are called. They seem to carry the large print for folks like me, eyes slowly giving in to wear and tear over years of usage. So one of the clues came up, “Raymond Burr show back in the late 60’s to early 70’s”. It was 8 letters. I remembered him in a role as Perry Mason but did not fit clue. But for the life of me I could not jostle the old gray matter even after putting in letters from other words and their clues. So peeking at the back…Ironside. Ah ha. I smiled. He was Perry Mason before Ironside. Takes me back.

Do you remember Columbo, cigar smoking wrinkled trench coat worn detective? I loved him. What a character!! He reminded me of the tortoise and the hare story, Columbo being the tortoise, slow and dogged but so sure in his method of getting to the end. Or the opposite in crime and mystery…. Get Smart. LOL. Honestly why I ever watched that one? Ridiculous. So then I looked up that time period from the 60’s to 80’s, and realized I watched quite a few mystery shows back in the day, my days anyway, such as Dragnet, Murder She Wrote (still watch it as its mom’s favourite), The Man from UNCLE (I guess I liked the accents), Hawaii-Five O (“book ’em Dano”), Mission Impossible (theme song rocks), The Mod Squad (groovy glasses), Barnaby Jones (old Beverly Hillbilly Jed), Charle’s Angels (loved the trio- still do), CHIPs (Erik Estrada – beautiful smile), Hart to Hart (got to love that couple), Kojak (lollipop man), Magnum PI (great radio voice), Miami Vice (beach classy threads never got dirty), Quincy ME (best bedside manner), and Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

I love those mystery and detective type shows but if they are too suspenseful, I run. Literally. My siblings and my daughters too have laughed at me a few times over the years because of my inexplicable behaviour. For the life of me I have a hard time controlling it. Especially if the plot line is around injustice of humanity. I will be watching and then when it gets to the good part, the unknown or scary like part, I pace. I head to another part of the house, needing to do something. There is something in the unknown that gets inside me and won’t let me sit. Sometimes I can I finish the show and there are other times not so much; I have to ask what happens. Then I can rewatch it later on. I know weird but there it is. So going to a cinema, well that is another story. LOL.

How did I go from a trip to the flea market to the deep thinking of nuances of crime and mystery? Amazing how the mind works. But seriously, walking through the aisles of history, past and present, it was fun. Enlightening. I wish I had my folks and grandparents with me because I think they would have made the up and down trek come to life. They would have taken the mystery out of the mystery of stuff. Haha.

So what have I learned about a visit to the flea/antique market? Count me in. I am not so old and I am not antique, thank you very much girls. I may be in the age range of vintage or classic. Definitely a collectible. NOT ME. Geez. I am talking about the stuff. Not me!! So don’t be offended too much when your own kids say, “what is that thing do?” LOL.

I smile for the antique of life. Blessings.

Let us pray for those whom are in need of prayers today. May peace and justice to come into the hearts of those who lead.

PS A little old humour .

If you can’t vote, you’ve also never licked a postage stamp.

I’m not old, I’m vintage.

I decided I’m not old, I’m 25 plus shipping and handling.

At least your not as old as you will be next year.

Most people don’t think I am as old as I am until they hear me stand up.

If you have not grown up by the age of 50, you do not have to.

You are in mint condition for a vintage model. Happy Birthday.