Quirky Things about Me

Best dryer in town

I have to say that I am loving the day once again. It is cool this morning as even my bathroom heater went on automatically. Are you kidding me!!! It is not FALL yet but my goodness the air has a bit of a bite in it. You kind of pay attention to things when you are in self-isolation. Yes once again I am in the 14 day self-isolation. This time the island seems to be much more rigid in its stance of returning. If you leave the bubble for any reason and return, 14 days are gone. But so worth it.

So I am discovering that I tend to have certain things I like to do or like to have when I do whatever. For instance, my sister, bless her heart, just made me some homemade soup. Now I am not a cook, do not profess to be one, but I certainly appreciate the nuances of those who do have the cooking thumb or baking thumb. You know like when they describe a person who has a good handle of plants…green thumb. Well what do we call those who have the ability to make things happen in the kitchen? Hence, cooking or baking thumb. May need to think further on that one.

Anyway her soup is heating up on my stove top and I cannot wait to try it. But here is my first quirky me. I like rounded shaped spoons. Not oval like teaspoons or tablespoon shape spoons you normally get in a set. I like the rounded kind and I ordered them because they are not easy to find. My mom has this one spoon in her kitchen drawer that I like. Of course I am not going to get it as my brother likes it too. Needless to say I have searched for a particular round shaped spoon with a certain kind of weight. I found it on amazon and well…little bit expensive for four spoons but okay. This is as close to the feeling as possible. So click. For me, there is something about the roundedness that makes the soup taste better. Not sure why but there it is.

Then I was sitting at my desk yesterday searching for a pen. Now I realize that the computer or iPad or cell phone seem to have taken over the written paper and pen/pencil technology but when I want to use a pen, I am kind of quirky about it too. I like it black, gel like preferred, with brand like Zebra A-grip or Uni-ball or Pilot gel pens. Not sure why but the grip, flow and movement of the pen allows me to enjoy writing. My penmanship really ‘sucks’ (sorry no other word comes to mind) unlike my mother or two of my daughters, they have lovely penmanship. But print or handwriting, it looks like chicken scratch. Probably a step up from a doctor’s signature but clearly not much better. Funny that.

Anyway I just finished cutting the lawn and wow, I really love the look and smell of fresh cut lawns. I like the lines after a cut, not the back and forth wheel lines, more like the up and down lines left on my lawn. Kind of silly really, but that is a quirk of mine. Maybe its because when I do it the other way, the lawn does not look to be cut. And today, well, the lawn is so dry in most places that it does not really look cut except that the hundreds of little flowered weeds growing, not sure the weed name right now, but they are gone. The lawn mower did not leave its lasting impression on the lawn but ‘que sera sera’.

So as I sit here pondering away, I am looking out my windows with a smile on my face. When I bought this place it did not have any window coverings. And for me I was good with that. I really do not like that trap closed in feeling and where I live, I do not need curtains. But because I do not care for air conditioning (not natural as I told my eldest sister…another story for later), my daughter says to me that we need to cut out the heat coming in through window panes. Well I have to say that she is so right….the heat was managed. These curtains are dual purpose, keep heat out and keep heat in…summer and winter seasonal wear. Gotta love it. And for the most part, with the combination of ceiling and floor fans and having drawn the curtains closed during the heart of the day, bearable. But now, the curtains are spread wide open to let the light shine in. Love it. Oh happy day.

And let me see how the best dryer ever bought….my clothes line. Courtesy of my brother in law. Freshly hung clothes on the line. I have to chuckle because my daughter will say, “Mom, we have a dryer.” And don’t I know it. That is for emergencies. I like the clothes hanging on a line; I like it when I see it at other people’s homes and I love it here. We do not have to throw everything out with the bath water. Do we? Not just saving on electricity but it is good for them. Then I hear in the background. “I do not want bird doo on my clothes.” I know she has a point but I have not noticed on our clothes. But then she says, ” But I like my towels soft and cuddly not a scratch pad.” Funny haha. Quirks of kids now a days.

Oops just noticed that a leaf fell on my deck. What in the world! And it is not green but yellowish. I hope that it fell because of it being too dry. Oh my. Raking leaves…no no no. Too soon. Really Mother Nature!? Oh well, blessings.

Let us think of those who are in need of prayers and hope today.

Woohoo it is a bit cool

Mother’s love

Cool out!!!! When was the last time that I could say that. I woke up this morning and what did my wandering eyes did appear but….no wrong story. Well I did wake up and boy there was a bit of a chill in the air. Is it real? Can I say there is a break in the humidity? Yippity do dah. Woohoo. I do not mind the heat but when combined, it is rough on the body. So colour me happy. I like that phrase for some reason as it seems to suit the feelings swirling inside me right now.

I love fall but no it is not Fall yet. Do not get me wrong as I love the four seasons and being able to experience them all. Summer in August is usually warm days with cool mornings and evenings. Not so much, and definitely not lately. So I am just way too happy in feeling the windy breeze lap its coolness around me. The trees are catawalling their leaves, this way and that. Oh such a delight because the wind is chilly…yep ‘put on your pants’ kind of chilly. That is why I welcome the Fall because the temperatures are near perfect. You can wear shorts and tees or light sweater and pants and not feel like you are smothering.

So thank you so much Mother Nature for the gift of reprieve. I went out on the deck and spun around, allowing the wind to whip my hair, stretching my arms out wide, relishing the gorgeousness of the morning sunlight with its warmth in the cool. Oh yeah. Don’t you just welcome the hardiness of nature’s untapped reserve of goodness…coming in and giving peace once again. I hope that it is experienced in other parts of the world today.

Well I have been on another sabbatical of sorts from blogging, My bad. Busy for a hot minute to touch base with family. When you are a mom, you are always a mom. Life unfolds in ways that are so unexpected but always you rise to the wake of family journeys. Oh to wrap your loved ones up, hold them tight, give them just a wee bit of that unconditional love so indescribable…a moment to breathe strength within. There is nothing like that feeling of helplessness until you see the whites of their eyes. Then the day follows the night and all looks new again…able to take a deep breath or four.

I think when you have children, you take on many lives (not asked of you) and that you do not stop thinking of them. It does not matter how old they are or how well they are doing or how independent they are or how far or close they are to you; you worry with love. Of course worry takes up way too much real estate in one’s mind and heart; life happens and will continue too. Things will take place regardless. But it is the response that is important I have found…oh yes the way we take what we are given and make lemonade out of lemons in life. Or is it freshie or fruit punch or what have you. It is here that you really feel life fully lived no matter what is going on. And as a mom, you respond…you know the mom way. Not from a books or internet or TV show like Leave it to Beaver or write in to Dear Abby. No. Just. Be. There. Yep.

So today I am going to enjoy such a gift of sun and wind and cool chilly breeze. You gotta love it.

Blessings. Let us pray for those who need it today. And to all school communities. Thinking of the educators and students this coming Fall as they get ready for a year of unknowns. Let it be good.

Oh for the mornings

Summer days welcome them

Just got back from my early morning walk with Maggie May. Back into a routine once again; routine, a wee bit of peace to the heart. Oh boy I loved the wandering along Cape Road as I took a peek over the wheat field to my left, seeing the rounded orangy red sun tip its crest atop the water, making it glisten and glimmer. There was a pinch of a cool breeze….I mean a smidge…. in the air. Thank goodness. So we veered off-road to find our way. Trekking over the bumpy red dirt tractor trail with its grass grown median separating the tracks while we meander up to the hilltop where I glance across the wide expanse of the bay at the lighthouse nestled on the cliff. It does its thing – a continuous rotation of light and pause out over the sea. Not needed today mind you but I am thinking much appreciated by the fishermen in the early light of dawn.

On our walk, I found quite a few indents in the dirt and noticed it came from the wiggle of caterpillars, literally hundreds scattered along our trail. I had to laugh as Maggie May and her nosy nose got right down with her snout touching the wiggle of this one caterpillar. It was moving so quickly (not like lightning) but not enough for Maggie who decided to help it out. Well she tipped little fur ball over. Yeah great help Maggie; act of kindness award. Not.

It is a sparkling day, woohoo. with its baby blue sky, cloudless, sunny, shining light everywhere. Probably hot to boot….hot days, cool nights – my favourite mix of summer blend. The rays of the sun can get so intense like this past week. My feet have had to move quickly across the deck, down the steps and find a patch of green to calm the tingles of heat waves tackling my feet and toes. Gotta love it.

So what to do today. Well colour me happy, I have to cut the lawn. Of course cutting the lawn on a hot day does not have the same appeal as cutting the lawn in late spring, early summer or late fall. It’s missing a smell, don’t you find? I cannot explain it but I know what the smell is…fresh and clean. Not today, the smell will be indifferent, not really there. And taking a look and seeing how the day seems to be unfolding, I need to take advantage of the dryness of the grass without the fallen dew usually adorning it; so I’ll be back.

Well grass is cut, sweat is trickling still even after taking a shower. It’s going to be hot tamales without the muggy. Tick and check. Another thing off the honeydo list…woohoo. No honey but lots of do. The passage from Mt “the harvest is plenty but labourers are few”…makes so much sense now.

It is kind of a bittersweet day feeling today as yesterday my daughter was to be married. And holy cow it would have been a great day for her wedding but alas, not to be. Next year is around the corner. Look out August 2021 here we come. So bless her heart, the two made a day full of fun and adventure and food. Get lemons, you make lemonade. But I love them for being positive in knowing life is to be lived. Funny how things unfold, you never know what is around your corner.

Well around the corner I will go and meet …..the many blessings before me.

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

Back Again…A bit sidetracked

Coming home.

Well good morning good morning. I guess I skipped July and here we are in August. Woohoo. It has been a bit of a whirlwind over the last month. So sorry to be a bit sidetracked. I guess each of us in our own way find ourselves in a bit of a tizzy. Joyce Rupp writes about tizzies, a beautiful prayer to be free of tizzies. Surprisingly I had a chance to be an instructor for an on-line course again and being as Covid-19 strikes at the heart of families everywhere, I also found myself caring for my grandkids as well. Now both of these ventures I welcome but when you have two on the go….well you can get caught up in the tizzy of the juggle. All is good as the course finished, and here I am pondering once again with you.

Upon reflection, the goodness of the spiritual nourishment you receive when you are present to people and in particular the group of teachers in the course I facilitated, it felt like home. Why? Well we talked about some of my favourite things….faith and its wonderings. God is mystery on a good day so discovering a little nugget or three is kind of inspiring. You never know when God will appear. I think of that parable about the man on the roof of his home, as the flood took over. He prayed for God to rescue him. And I think there were three different times the man could be saved but he did not take any of the offerings….for he said God will take care of him. Well, God did provide but the man didn’t see. Paying attention to the life we live.

That takes me to my grandkids. They are so different. And of course they are because they are 9 7/8ths and 1 yr old now. I cannot believe it!!! Where does the time go? Well here at my place, quickly it seems. It is wonderfully different to have the little ones with me and paying attention to them their needs and wants. On the one hand, my grandson is a gamer through and through and I find myself having to decide how to help him balance gaming and life outside of gaming. He knows what he wants but for me I like to give experiences. And then on the other hand, him being content allows me to pay attention to a curious little one who likes to walk all over. She is so close to walking on her own but right now my left and write pointer finger gets a real workout. Holds on for dear life as her little feet tromps across the grass, up the stairs, down the stairs, on the deck, down the deck. over this way and that way back and forth….no rest for the wicked.

It’s all good. Both make me jump because I can. Which goes back to my pondering of the “I can” in life. You never know when you cannot. As my mind wanders, my mom comes to mind. The things she could do have changed drastically as dementia takes over. She is in a nursing home much to the chagrin of my sister and dad. But her physical well being took precedence as her safety and care needed special supports. Now mom’s “I can” takes on a new look. And for me that is my reminder, while I can do what I can I am going to fill my life with “I cans”.

The wake of covid-19 and its face is changing how we do things, literally. It forces you to realize what is important. Having had many a conversation of the concern from the teachers in the course is what to expect in going back to school and the implications of the unknown. No answers that will be sufficient enough to settle the heart and minds so we place our faith in the collective wisdom of the leaders. No one has walked in these sandals before.

One thing that I do pray on is that as individuals we really need to pay attention to what we do. Our decision-making makes a difference to other people’s lives. I can not begin to imagine the cooped up feeling in being isolated for so long especially in spaces of multiple families like high rises. I worry for those who struggle with mental health and well being. The emotional and spiritual wellness may take a turn, a turmoil that goes crazy inside. Oh to be able to hold whomever that needs it and calm their waters.

To breathe, that’s the offering today. Just breathe.

Blessings, Karen

Oh Canada, Our Home

Happy Canada Day 2020

Well Happy Canada Day to me and you. July 1st. You snuck up on me. Noted, I have been a bit preoccupied with this and that lately but here you are…once again..celebrating your birthday. Kind of appropriate in that seeds of Confederation came from where I dwell today not too far afoot from those steps taken by elected officials in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island of long ago talks. How far we have come? How much of a reminder of being grateful too? Today, Canada Day, marks the half way point of our year the middle of 2020. A year filled with all kinds of journeys in our country in our communities in our homes…some good and others not so you want to repeat again!! But always, we are given what we are given and to find ways to make things work, regardless of circumstance. That is the rub.

It’s kind of cloudy and overcast, even mist-like in the trees, with a dewy warmth in the air and a touch of a breeze, gently swaying the tips of the treetops above. The birds are a chirping, loudly and crazily with their chatter. Bird watchers would have a hay day here I’m thinking. Then, I view my surrounding with its hues of greens and woods against the white and red of the Canada flag gently flapping its maple leaf so proudly…yes Canada it is a day to celebrate you.

Oh yes, how can I forget! I am sitting here working on my laptop and I can hear the sounds of the lobster boats, echoing from the speed of their engines; lots of echoing. Why? It’s July 1st and Canada Day, the end of lobster season! How did I not remember! Celebration of another sort for some islanders. Now I understand the constant din of noise in the background as I blog away here. The fishermen are on a timeline and so the constant reverberation from the engines running, echoing up and around throughout the countryside and harbour, makes sense now. They is a urgency to go back and forth, skirting in circles around their buoys marking their trap areas, pulling up and out for the season. Lobster traps have to be out today. And they have lots to get out. Oh well boys, you’ll be taking a breather soon enough. Another ode to the lobster tale. Celebrate ya’ll.

Celebrations. I have many fond memories in childhood of Canada Day with my folks setting up our backyard with a space decked out with sand and dirt in its middle, for us to once again, experience the wondrous and beautiful array of fireworks ready for display out into the night. Oh I loved those times. Every year for as long as I can remember, we would do the same thing…sitting in camp chairs or on our picnic table far back from the danger awaiting. Marshmallow and hotdogs toasting away (never heard of s’mores…too bad) while we wait for the dusk of the evening to come so we could end this day in colour. Colour of fireworks. Oh I loved the choices of fireworks! Each one seemed to be better and more elaborate than the next, as one by one dad would put them in the ground, light them up, and magic would happen.

Boom. Hiss. Sparkle. Twinkle, Glitter. As little bits of sprinkled sparks flash and pop, high and wide, to eventually dim into nothingness. We would bet on which one would be the longest lasting or the highest pop, or the one with the most colourful array. Never disappointed. Of course, the piece de resistance was the school house at the end. Oh yes the burning down of the school…nothing glitter or sparkly about it but burning so brightly…reminding us that schools out, burn that puppy so to speak.(And I am became a teacher. Who would have thunk it? ). Well you get the picture. It’s summer. It’s Canada Day. Let’s celebrate. And we did. Finishing off we would get to whip around those long sparklers. Running and jumping around happily, the lit sparkler would spit its sparks out, shining its brilliant tiny splashes of lights, allowing us to draw out our names in the night sky. Oh those memories. Thank you.

But not today? Not even sure we can get fireworks even, as public gatherings are not encouraged. Funnily enough, I did not continue the fun of my own childhood into raising the girls. Sparklers. Yes. But the other…not so much. I think we began a new tradition of going to the town display down by the water for all to see. And who can beat the barge going out in the bay and providing such a wondrous and orchestrated bounty of awe and wonder to light the night sky. All around, you would see people, young and old, singles and families, and all in between, finding and setting up their little spot, arranged just so, facing the water, to be ready for the spectacular. Not only that, the various boats anchored out in the bay, settling in to the waters, while they too await the entertainment. And I have to say, worth it; even when we had to get back in the van, trying to find our way back home. We learned eventually to park way up on one of the back streets. Funny what you remember.

So Canada Day. Not to lessen the impact of the pandemic but I need to remind myself even in times of tragedy, we have a lived life to live too. Certainly those memories of old should not be left there, but to create new ones. It was important back then, why stop. That is my wondering. I think I am going to have to get back to revisiting some old memories, resurrecting them in a new way. Just having a conversation with my middle daughter about what Canada Day looks like for them and then looking at my youngest who lives with me…well I think I need to do some future planning because we have much to celebrate as Canadians. Starting today.

How to celebrate Canada Day? Hmmm. It’s a national pride I feel within me, a sense of being a proud Canadian but with a humbleness in all that I have been given. So celebrate. Goodness get to it, Karen. Hey google…what’s going on here on the island? Well, fireworks cancelled. Okay. But hang on, social media from Charlottetown is holding a virtual celebration of music, celebrity chefs, arts and crafts, comedy and contests, starting at 11 am. I guess I have a plan to plug in and start celebrating Canada Day. Woohoo.

Blessings to Canadians in celebration.

Let us pray for those in need and giving thanks to our wonderful country of Canada.

Hot Hot Hot…it’s not cool

Morning dawn

Why not? Take my mind off of things right now…let me talk about the weather. Always a go-to topic of conversation. When someone says hot, hot, hot…that is today again and it’s not cool literally or metaphorically speaking. Not complaining. Nope. But I do want to say just for the record, a slight breeze OF ANY KIND would be soooo good. Maybe from the north…you know the kind that has a bit of a bite to it. I guess I am not made for ‘equator’ type weather. Although, I should not say that too loudly because I have been watching the news where other provinces are getting record breaking heat waves. I do not mind the heat as long as the mugginess stays out of the equation. You cannot get away from that sweaty sticky feeling when heat is combined with humidity. Everything just feels like wet glue.

It is amazing how the body responds to extreme heat temperatures and water. My youngest daughter convinced me to get a pool. Not a big one mind you, just a little puddle jumper kind of rubberized pool… you know those blue ones that look like a blue splotch on the ground when looking down from above; smaller in diameter on the top while bulging out at the bottom from the water sitting in its body. Anyway feeling the heat, I put my feet in the water, not the blue pool, but my grand-daughters princess ankle pool. Ahhhh. How do you spell relief…W-A-T-E-R. The body is an amazing temperature regulator.

Heat. I just notice it more now as I have the grandkids over with me. Of course my daughter’s two cats and my dog are sprawled out on the floor so that too is a reminder. Tongue hanging and little water troughs spread out in and around the house which of course they leave little sprays of water droplets splattered along the floor by each water hole. Worse than the kids. Personally, I do not care for air conditioning, not in my home, not in my truck, not in the malls and not in doctor’s offices. I sound like Dr. Suess and Sam I am in Green Eggs and Ham…”I do like them in a house, I do not like them with a mouse, I do not like them”….Can you get sick from air conditioning? Not sure of the answers but I feel it is hard on my body when you go from one extreme temp to another. But it is so not about me and so….

….off I go and finally spring for curtains. They are kind of like black out type curtains. Who would have thought. They are supposed to be keep things cool in summer, warm in winter. We shall see. I have not had curtains on my windows since I moved in. Nestled in the woods, surrounded by trees, I love the open feeling, airy and free as you look out the windows. I do not like that closed in feeling. But I have to watch the windows because few too many birds have hit them, landing on the deck or ground…some make it while others do not. Maybe curtains will help them.

Anyway, last summer, I discovered that if I put sheets up early in the morning to cover the windows, put the ceiling fans on, it was comfortable. I know. I know. Better Homes and Gardens magazine would not come in to take pictures of the beauty of sheets hanging up…no matching sets. Seriously, I was not going for the bougie-look. Anyway, my daughter convinced me to get proper attire for the windows. O-k-a-y then.

Well they work, amazingly enough and not too shabby looking as well. Curtains can get quite pricey especially if a person wants to do the whole kit and kaboodle in decorating and theme approach. I am not there. And funnily enough, it feels a bit cozy inside, not too stifling and closed off that I thought I would feel. Interesting.

I have looked at getting a heat pump, even did the research. I can barely keep up with the brand names …Fujitsu, Daikan, Mitsubishi, Lennox, York Affinity, Solaris, Boreal Geothermal, Save Green, KCS, and so on. Then there is the heat pump speak, language of their own. I guess it is like when I started looking at generators…maybe one should just pull a name out of a hat. Each brands has pros and cons at the end fo the day. My challenge is that all winter things are closed in, closed up, which is why curtains have been a no go. I do not care for that trapped feeling or being shut in so to speak. But if I get a heat pump, then all year windows could basically be closed all the time. Nah. I mean for the most part, here on the north shore of the island, there are only a few days where temperatures get uncomfortable. I’ll make the curtains and fans work.

So weatherperson, it is okay to give us a break. Maggie May, my schnoodle, has not had a fur cut since January and boy she does suffer. I would prefer her to keep her tongue in her mouth instead of hanging, sharing her bad breath too. I cannot wait until next week when she gets her fur cut…a day at the dog spa. Just kidding. But fur cut…cannot wait!! More importantly, for the young and old people who do suffer greatly from the heat, reprieve would be quite helpful for them.

Blessings to all kinds of weather.

Let us pray for those in need this day.

And a special intention for my mom as she journeys with dementia and being cared for.

Not thinking this would happen

Thinking of you.

Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in my mom’s life. Not sure if I am ready to accept it. Mom has dementia and today she will be going into a villa near her home, leaving a known life and her husband of 63+ years behind. I am not sure how I feel and I cannot begin to imagine how my dad feels or sister/husband who have been with them for the last year. Does mom even know the decision made on her behalf? Is she fully cognizant? I have a deep lump in my throat right now. And I am 1900 km or so away, not even in the field of touching her, hugging her, seeing her up close and personal.

This whole process has been a rollercoaster with the COVID-19 permeating everything you do. Not an easy journey of ups and downs of “can she go? should she go? when can she?”. One day she is going, the next a new policy in place by government agencies…I get it. No go. Wait. The risks to the fragile are real. In the end so is mom’s safety. The disease is taking its toll on her and on my dad and sister caring for her. Guilt. Hurts. Decisions. Hurt. Letting go. Hurts.

For the best. Yes. Unfortunately this pandemic that puts a haze of chaos within your heart and mind at the same time, hoping it is a decision made with best intentions. Of course mom is front and centre. But the journey of this disease continues to create a sense of havoc…what to do for her. What is best for her? My sister has been so good at describing what has been going on, and in the end of the beginning, watching my mom become more childlike in her actions, neglecting herself, and being so so stubborn… that is the best way she can describe her to me. THAT IS NOT MOM.

Oh mom, I love you. It brings me once again to the preciousness of life. And to a mom, who has been my mom forever and ever Amen. You are not prepared for this. Speaking with my dad a few weeks ago, one of the things he kept saying to me, this is not her. You could tell dad struggled with emotion. Not one to show that, always stalwart and strong; he watches while his wife of forever becomes someone whom he does not know. I recall the beautiful movie The Notebook from Richard Sparks book….never thinking that one day I, or we, would be facing a similar journey. Right now my mom still recognizes my voice and face across the screen as we Facetime. She waves at me, listening to me while my sister and dad talk away.

Why oh why? I was looking up songs about Alzheimers and Dementia. There are quite a few of them actually and each poignant in their own right. Our body is such a blessed vessel that you hope you take care of in the best way you can. But there are outside things that come in, things you have no control over, that change life as you know it in a blink of an eye. The body is a miracle in it of itself. I mean when I experience birth and then my own daughters giving birth, the miracle of how a body is put together and functions without breaking down….how is it possible? Yet it does. And so to does it fail you at times.

Did I think this day would ever come? Not on my watch. Not in a million years. But today at 11:00 am, mom is going to have a new chapter of her life, one that is not directly with those she loves. That hurts. Tears are in my eyes as I say that. Will she be loved? Taken care of? Giving her the intensive care she needs? Trusting that goodness will come out of a decision that is fraught with pain and fear, hope and relief? For mom, all for you mom. Please take care of her, she is precious cargo.

Of course I just get off the phone with my mom, sister and dad right now. Wanted to say a so long, not goodbye. My sister is getting things ready for mom’s departure, the technical part of leaving. Sometimes it is that part which you can hold on to without breaking down. Taking her in, mom will be on 14 day isolation and then only a drive by where they bring her out to picnic table and visitors can talk to mom from car window. No words here. No words, just a bit of choked up feeling in my throat. And my sister, will leave mom there to go to her room (one not to be visited until who knows when), will go to an office and do the paper work. Sum up a life to be cared for…on paper. Catch-22 feeling inside… best for her, not best time to go, having to make decision, best for who. Life as we know it.

Tears fall down my face as my sister lets me know I need to get off FaceTime. Best for all. I am never good in these moments. I remember when my youngest had to get surgery on her teeth because of too many cavities. I cried, could not go. Could not watch. I remember when my middle daughter had her tonsils out at 4 years old. She was such a little mite. They brought her out in this tall wheeled crib, looked like a little cell (just my memory) and rolling her towards me. I saw her and broke down. The nurse told me to get it together (stop crying) as I see my daughter from her surgery, tiny body laying there with tears in her eyes. I remember when my oldest had her baby, could not be there because of restrictions from virus. Tears fall freely. So when can I be emotional?! Not then not now. Stiff upper lip. Not me but one has to be. When sadness comes, in whatever way, it comes.

Oh mom, my heart is sad today and I am going to allow it to be. My youngest heard me talk to you (thanks for the hug daughter) but no response from you. That’s okay mom, I think you heard me. So I sign off in tears. Later on, the reality hit between the eyes as dad and my sister FaceTime me. She’s in. Not kicking my heels today. And……Dad could not even go in, standing outside of building holding mom’s items for the attendants to take. Someone put mom in wheelchair, took her temperature, put mask on her while my sister had to go and do paperwork. Yep…dot the i’s and cross the t’s. But before they could blink, my sister and dad stood looking at mom, tears running down her face, and they break too. Reality. Oh my. Not what it should have looked like. So allow me to mourn a bit today and maybe for a bit longer. Love you, mom.

Blessings to memories, gifts of grace.

Let us pray for all those in need and today most ardently to my mom and all those who journey with alzheimer or dementia.

Life is full of wonder when camping

Camping at Twin Shores…what a life!!

It has been a crazy few days for me. I went camping for the first time in a long long time. I think it must have been about 10 or so years ago, maybe a little bit longer. And surprisingly it was on PEI. Who would have thunk!! Here I am living in all of its splendor now, easy access. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that decision. Funny how things happen to you while you are busy making other plans. Don’t you find?

So busy that I forgot to do a bit of pondering. Lots of pondering did go on, but not pen to paper. Welcome back, Karen. So camping. Well what can I say. It was the first for my grandkids and their parents to camp with their dog, Luna. And it was hot. Hot tamales actually. Which led me to take baby girl home to sleep that evening…thankfully we were not too far from home. It would not have been good,

But setting up camp with my youngest daughter, it was like riding a bike. Just followed along in a rhythm of getting stuff out of car, organizing it, and looking over the ground to see best spot. Then get to work. Yes there is work to camping which my girls found out as they got older. One of the perks of adulthood….working at camping. Yep. As a kid, voila…tarp down, pegs in, tent up, cooler on picnic table seat next to camp stove, camp kitchen in bin, dish bowl ready, dry goods and TREATS in trunk, container of water in shade, wood near firepit, clothes line pinned, folding chairs strategically placed with a good view. And towels already hanging on clothes line. Marshmallows for s’mores…can’t forget. Visualize it. Yep…good to go.

Oh so glad to have got a site with shade…we were right across from the dunes leading down to the water at Twin Shores. (None of the provincial camp parks open, only for day use right now). Tucked away in the trees with an opening to the horizon of sand, tall grass and just beyond…the sea. Oh my. Best ever. I forgot about the joy of camping. Wireless as in no wire. But more important, washroom nearby.

The smell of the sea mixed with a campfire. Hotdogs on the menu tonight. Has to be. Once my middle daughter’s family arrived, a bit of crazy especially with the dog. She is a big big big dog, English mastiff. First time EVER to camp. Anyway once they got settled, off we went to swim. Oh my goodness. How do you spell relief? S-W-I-M in O-C-E-A-N. The water was perfect. Surprisingly few at the beach which is due to COVID-19. I think the islanders are going to experience their island for the first time in a long time; one of the gifts coming out of the COVID-19’s wake. For me that is great but I would imagine not so much for businesses. This particular family run campground has over 700 sites plus I am guessing. Lots of seasonal too. Colour me happy….the beach is perfect for playing, sunning and long walks seeing the sunset.

Shaking the water out, walking over the burning sand…hot, hot, hot. Refreshed, got back to camp which was a hop skip and a jump. Perfect. Now for the fun part…supper, campfire and settling in to the joys of front row seats to camping. Unfortunately, me and little baby girl had to leave as it was too close to bed time and too hot. As it turned out, she did not have a good night as it was almost too hot to sleep. No air conditioning at my place as I do not really care for it. So fans. Finally got to sleep at 9:00 pm, usually just after 6 pm. Lots of singing, rocking, patting bottom…finally silently breathing in and out. Sorry baby girl. And back at the camp. Well lets just say no sleep for the wicked either. Luna, the big dog, was more a lunatic (poor girl) as she gruffly barked over and over again to the noises of the outdoors…you know the kind of jolting out of the REM sleep. Not good. And it got cooler by 15 degrees. Well not happy campers when I arrived the next morning.

Change of plans from family of 6 + dog, to my two daughters camping the next evening by themselves. I’m thinking they were kicking their heels up but not sure. For me I went back home later on that day with baby girl as it was too cold for her (according to mommy). Daddy and Luna went back home in late morning after breakfast. My grandson did not care for it either. Not everyone is cut out for camping. I think he would love glamping mind you. Have to think about that.

On the third day, Father’s Day – happy Father’s Day to all dads, grandpas, uncles, brothers, guardians – it was just me, my youngest and my little yippee dog Maggie May. Camping is not for the faint of heart, you have to enjoy sitting around in the outdoors with bugs dirt sand wind sun et al. It was so restful as the day was warm once again, not hot, but warm. How does the weather go from hot hot to cold to back to warm? Like life, it’s crazy. Cannot keep up, just go with the flow. Sated with the sun’s rays, we went for a walk. Oh my, trekking along the sandy and rocky bits of shore with high red cliffs on the one side and gentle waves coming in on the other, life is good.

Getting back there is nothing like a good sleep in the tent, nap time. Can you believe it! Yes that is part of camping!!! But being a bit older in body, I found that the camp chair was more comfortable and really I did not want to miss the view. Calming, heedy, restful…I loved just taking the day and surroundings in. Oops…I forgot sunscreen. Funny looking arms and legs…farmer’s tan; is that not what’s its called?? No complaining. It’s camping.

Well for my first camping experience…rate it A-. Either I bring a muzzle for Maggie May or I…. did I say that she is yippee? Well she is YIPPEE. Live and learn. Now, back home, oh yeah. That’s right there is the reverse to camping. Unpack, reorganize, load laundry, empty cooler…put things BACK. I remember so many times how when work is to be done after camping for example, how no one seems to be around. “Got to go to washroom” most famous line. Good times. Well I have an adult daughter…pay dirt. Partner in crime to do the dirty deeds.

Blessings to the wonder of experiences in life.

Let us pray for those in need.

Trekking Along the Shore

Cabot Beach Provincial Park

Oh my goodness it is wonderful to travel around, find some hidden treasures. Although I am sure the places I am discovering now have been well travelled by those before me, they are new to me nevertheless. Getting in my youngest daughter’s car the other day, she lets me know we are going on a bit of a road trip to explore. O-kaaaay. What? Where? Her look tells me that it is a need to know basis. Well aren’t we all grown up now!!

This week has been beautiful weather of sun, warmth, and a bit of a bite in the breeze to keep the steady sun’s rays at bay. Just the kind of days I love. The smell of nature and its beauty abound, giving life to the eye of the beholder, we travel down route 20, toward Malpeque, taking in the lushness of nature surrounding each side of the road. That is one thing about the rural landscape of the island, you get all kinds of surprises of the natural flora and fauna blooming wild and free. I cannot believe the colourful and vibrant lupins growing so crazily on the side roads and in the fields, like their seeds were scattered haphazardly. People pay for the seeds to be planted, not here!! Love it.

Anyway get to the harbour of Malpeque and there is one of the first provincial parks that my daughter has set her mind to…visiting the islands gifts and wonders offered through provincial parks. Sign me up. Cabot Beach Provincial Park is our first stop. By the way as an aside, I am quite familiar with the route of getting here because last fall I did a brief stint of one the islands many traditions – mussel socking in Malpeque. And it is right beside Cabot BPP. Let me just say here that socking is hard on the upper body if you are first beginning, especially being older and doing it for the first time. But an appreciation of the labour that goes into one of the older island seafood industries …wow. Anyway back to our trek.

At this point and as a point of interest for me, all provincial parks are open for day use only this year with their 8 camping parks and 13 day use parks; sort of surprises me for the size of the island! So it seems the plan is getting to know our own backyard…staycation. Yippee-do-dah. The entrance’s iron gateway leads us in to a grassy field area where cars are parked in organized randomness near a playground, washroom, and smaller sized lighthouse. Gathering our backpack and camera, we trek down towards the wooden path leading us to a beautiful sandy beach and sky so blue. Too early for supervised swimming, a lonely lifeguard stands tall awaiting for its start. So to the water we go. I cannot begin to describe the colour of the water as the blues and greens seem to jump out.

Man, it’s a gorgeous day day. perfect for a hike stroll walk explore. I should have worn my sandals but shoes and socks are my go-to. You never know what you are going to find. The scenery seems to be divided between open sand dunes and beach to a narrower high cliff sheltered beach area with its character and charm of rock faces. Here I see the waters fairly kid friendly in its shallowness (closer to the cliff side), allowing little ones to go way way way out and it is still up to their knees. The ripples on the floor of the shoreline tell me of the gentleness of the waves recently. Walking with my shoes in hand, it is so peaceful and serene as I dip my toes and stay in the warm cool water…just what the doctor ordered. Living life.

Surprisingly, the lobster and mussel boats were coming in at this time and believe me their channel entrance was quite close to the open beach area, not more than 50 or so metres from the shoreline. You can tell by the colour of the water, where the floor of sea drops. As they come in, I stand and await the wake of the boats. So not disappointed…the waves come in, unbidden, rolling fast and curled, fresh white to sandy laden in their roll to the shore. I raise myself on the tips of my toes, catching the playful waves lapping speedily around my knees…a kid again. Splish splash kick. Thanks my daughter.

Where we go next, not sure? But we are going camping this weekend with grandkids at Twin Shores, family run campground. Bells and whistles. It’s been a long time and my youngest decided, enough was enough. Granted she tells me last evening that we are in for an incredible heatwave of sorts on Friday and then will cool off. Really?! Well why not. It has been a long time since my daughters and I have been to this campground – the last time we went, we had two tents with me and youngest in one, and the two oldest with theirs. Ours got flooded after a big storm. Joys of camping.

It does not matter because we are beside the beach on the north shore and have the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets coming soon. Where else would I be? Hidden treasures are certainly going to be on my menu…bon appetit.

Blessings to all.

Let us pray for those who need our prayers today.

Thinking of First Times

Thinking of my firsts

It’s Monday. Oh yeah. Not everyone’s favourite day of the week but I like it. It is kind of like a fresh start, a new beginning, a clean slate, time to make things happen. Not that I need to or anything. Yeah maybe I do. I’ll get to that in a moment. So today I am thinking of FIRSTS. Do you remember any of your FIRSTS? You know those FIRST times for experiencing something, making you so awake. Those moments of FIRSTS that seem to hold fast in your long term memory, resurrecting unexpectedly at a moments notice.

What’s a FIRST? Obviously, I do not remember the FIRST few months or even years of my life. At least I do not think so. I know I look at some pictures of days of old, my childhood and teenage years, captured in an instant. Do I recall it myself with panoramic images crossing like a flashing landscape of sorts? Or do I remember because it was embedded in my storyboard dictated in a narrative told over and over again by a significant person? That is the question for me.

My daughter from Ontario just informed me that their Premier just lifted the ban, if you will, to having a few people, outside own household, to come and visit. Well that must be a relief for Ontario…seeing light for the first time in a while. Blessings to you all. I know it will be a good news story for my oldest daughter and her partner because their newborn baby girl, who is now 3 months old, has yet to meet his mom and his siblings. For some reason I got in before the chaos began with COVID-19, to hold her, hug her, before I had to return home. I can only imagine the giddiness of feelings inside of baby girl’s grandma….gratitude, thankfulness, heart beating. Yes, Skype, Facetime, Messenger, texting or whatever form of social media (which thankfully exists) is available to connect across the miles, it is not quite the same as touching. To hold her for the FIRST time, that FIRST smell of her (not the diaper but her skin smell)…no words to describe inside, only feeling…oh my, to the roof. It will be a wondrous moment of FIRSTS for them.

Anyway, I had a sleepover with my grandkids on Friday night which was quite lovely. But, I had two FIRSTS that took place – one happy, one not so happy. I woke up early Saturday morning because my 10-month old granddaughter sleeps up in my room in the travel bed. She got up early along with me and after having her bottle and a bit of breakfast, I decided to take her for a walk in the stroller down to the beach. Her FIRST time. Not exactly a warm sunny morning but mild enough, little wind, and calm. Oh my. I held her in my arms as I looked at her face. She just kept moving her head back and forth, looking out over the water as the waves came in. I have no idea what she took in but I took her in….her expression on her scrunched up tiny face, looking.

And then, I took off her little shoes (her FIRST pair of shoes) rolled up her pants and put her feet on the sand. She did not move, only her toes, squishing them. I do not think she knew what to do. All of a sudden, grabbed my fingers and she walked like a marching elephant, feet kicking out in front of her towards the water. She stopped as the water touch her feet. A big FIRST. I so wanted to give my grand-daughter that gift. The sea, the sand, the surf. That was a fantastic FIRST for me and her.

Now my bad FIRST. When I left to go for my walk, my 9-year old grandson was left to sleep. It was about 6:30 am in the morning and I let him sleep; his auntie was in the next room. Well I got told. He woke up to a silent home, searching for me, and letting me know in no uncertain terms that his Rara, that’s me, did not let tell him. It really hurt him and it hurt me that I disappointed him; that was a FIRST for me. Lesson learned my boy – I will let you know. Humble pie is in order. Sorry.

But I do have a powerful FIRST that sticks with me even today and yet, it is quite ordinary in its nature. I was coming back from a retreat weekend which by the way was another FIRST for me (never having left my family before for a weekend) and my gas was quite low. So I pulled into a Petrocan, not thinking about what I was doing, and found myself in the self-service line. I had a car in front of me and then another car pulled up right behind me. So what? Well, the problem was, I have never ever put gas in my car before; and I was 45 at that time. I always went to a full service station (gap in gas prices for self-serve and full serve was not that big a deal) or my late husband would always do it. Needless to say, I panicked. Really? Yes, really. It was a moment of truth for me. I can remember every minute detail of that moment from start to finish. When I pulled away, I felt relief and joy all bundled up, making me feel free. Silly when I think about it now but a life changing FIRST nevertheless.

Of course there are so many FIRSTS that you experience in your life and cannot possibly remember each and everyone. Sometimes I would like to do a do-over, re-do, re-start for some of my FIRSTS. Then I’m getting into back to the future kind of living and regret. Is life not to be lived? Absolutely there are times when you wish you could go back but its about the journey. However, I do want to state here that some FIRSTS (chuckling at myself)…well let’s just say I could have done without.

Oh the hills and dales of the FIRSTS…tooth, step, smile, kiss, falling in love, home, job, car/truck, pay cheque, marriage, friend, parenthood, first baby, alcohol/smoke, boy/girl friend, heartache, loss of beloved, fired, pet, license, flight, sail, change a tire, abuse, bully, argument, school, speech, sunrise/sunset, birth, death, learning to cook, hair cut, glasses, cut class, go fishing, sports team, concert, ticket, left home, fight, school, date, sibling, crush, proud of you, travel out of country, movie at cinema, to name just a few, minuscule even. Each FIRST is significant, a walk down memory lane.

I think what I am realizing from all the FIRSTS I have noted (mine or others), there are still more to come. Oh yes. That is a good thing. It is allowing risk and courage to happen, to be open to the unknown, to give things a go. Why not?. Yes there are going to be ones that I could say and have said “holy lightning” or “are you kidding me?” While other times, you amaze yourself. Naturally when you do something for the FIRST time, it may not turn out the way you hoped for, but what was needed. I do not believe that FIRSTS are only for the young.

I am chuckling now because I am thinking back to my FIRST home with my folks in a little town outside of London ON. That is 5 + decades ago. I can still rattle off my phone number, address, and postal code. Yet, I cannot tell you two of my daughters phone numbers to this day. Now why is that?

Blessings for all the FIRSTS in your life.

Let us pray for those in need today.