Wherever you go – it may be raining

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Spring travel whisked me away from the rainy Ottawa Valley to Vancouver Island.

It rained there too. 

My objectives were made months in advance:

  • Travel somewhere within Canada
  • Push my air travel anxiety limits – further than before
  • Visit with family
  • Do touristy things
  • Do not think about work

My destination was Vancouver Island, just off the coast of British Columbia. The long stretches of flying, sitting, waiting, flying, sitting, etc. tired me out. At various destinations I welcomed opportunities for walking tours and restaurant outings. Soon that tired me out too!

I practiced mindfulness as much as I could, savouring moments and reminding myself to breathe.

One family member took me for a drive up the east coast of Vancouver Island, humoured my request to stop where I could dip my toes into the Pacific Ocean.

Theresa dipping her toes into the west coast ocean waters

Pacific Ocean (well… some inlet) I am in you!

Soon I was on a bus then another bus to the beautiful city of Victoria. I was happy and comforted that relatives were waiting for me, extra umbrellas in hand to provide an escort to my hotel.

While in Victoria, I was treated to sufficient walking excursions, visited a castle and tried food from different restaurants. We had one sunny, windy day.

I spent one rainy afternoon by myself, enjoying bright flower gardens and inhaling the scent of trees in full blossom.

Flowers rain Victoria

A rainy tourist outing in downtown Victoria

A wet park bench

A wet bench and colourful flowers

Soon one of my adult children joined me after his own cross-country tour by train, ferry and bus. He got to meet one set of cousins for the first time. He accompanied me for a walk by the docks, an appropriate lunch and a walking tour up to Emily Carr House.

Lunch at Red Fish Blue Fish – Victoria

As with my tour of the castle a couple of days earlier, we exited through the gift shop and I picked up a few souvenirs.

Blonde Lady sitting at tea table in Emily Carr house

A chance to sit down during a tour of Emily Carr house

Did I achieve my objectives?  Yes! I practiced mindfulness moments wherever I was, taking in the experiences, breathing in and breathing out.

After a long day of travel east, I returned to Ottawa in the rain. I observed the local news about severe spring flooding in our region.

I was glad to be home, to have the chance to do laundry and rest in my creature comforts.

Snuggles was glad to see me too and perform his morning routine of waking me up to serve breakfast and read the online news together. Creatures of habit…

Black cat on lap

“Good. You’re back where you belong – with me!”

Thanks for dropping by.

T

When you were ten

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What did you enjoy doing when you were a child?

Did you like to run and play ball in your big backyard or in the park with other kids? Did you like to colour, to play in the dirt or puddles? Did you try to run away into the nearby forest but return home in time for dinner?

I think that the age range between 8 and 11 years old is one of innocence, adventure and discovery.

This deep thought has been brought to you by page 106 in a book of daily inspirations. I think it is a good reminder for ambitious, jaded adults.

Quote from book invisible force

Good advice: observe babies

…except for the part about pooping in your pants.

When I was ten, I enjoyed playing in big puddles, engineering canals and small towns. I enjoyed playing with Barbie dolls, playing school with my siblings and friends.  I enjoyed drawing pictures. As I matured, I had dreams of creating greeting cards or children’s books.

I didn’t care about fashion or boys. I didn’t know our family was poor. I was oblivious to the inhumanity happening in our country, in our world.

I didn’t even know I was fat until it was pointed out by a friend’s older brother.

The jerk.

 

This particular winter sucks

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It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. In my opinion, March came in like a soggy little lamb.Old Man Winter has since elbowed his way in and frosted up my windows again.

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I am tired of wearing my bulky winter coat and big boots. It’s no fun while waiting for city buses that don’t show up on time.

I have aches in my body and my tender heart. I have no motivation to do morning stretches. I have to push myself to get on the buses in to the city. Some days I just want to stay home and putter.

I am tired of supporting flakey technology that doesn’t provide consistent results.

I feel inconvenienced. I used to like puzzles and technical challenges.

I feel like an old grump.

 

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Je suis déçu!

On the other hand, I have been embracing my inner child, nurturing and encouraging that shy artist from my awkward adolescence.  You can read more at the blog where the Tabby Cat rules.

Thanks for dropping by. Excuse me as I grumble, preparing to take the weekend buses in a quest for new stretchy pants and “stylish” Mom jeans. First world problems…

T

To everything there is a season

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and a time to every purpose under the heaven

Ecclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV)

Central Experimental Farm and tractor

Central Experimental Farm, reaping what was sown 2016

For me, 2016 was a year full of challenges and opportunities, reunions and departures.

I can accept that winter is here and we should acknowledge its presence as part of the cycle of life. Also, I can’t afford to travel to somewhere exotic or warm…

Central Experimental Farm December 2016

Central Experimental Farm December 2016 – Covered up and ready to start all over again

As a parent and grandparent, I have concerns for the future of our planet and humanity now that the pendulum has swung back to allow for unbalanced, machismo leaders to take the reins of power. Many of us are wondering what the heck went wrong…  Yet, I can cherish the moments I had with loved ones this year and will embrace naive hope for sharing happy times with them again.

My gift to readers of this blog is another time-lapsed photography project. You may remember and hopefully enjoyed the four seasons with two trees from the autumn of 2014 and summer of 2015, and that whimsical cat grass grow-up project this past summer.

This latest obsession was started with joy as I celebrated new opportunities and gave thanks while waiting for the weekend bus near the Central Experimental Farm.

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Thank you for dropping by. I hope you enjoyed that. Here’s a soundtrack and some nostalgia for those of you born before 1963…

You can also visit the Tabby Cat’s blog for the recent offering or my pen name’s blog to see what she is up to.

Wishing naively for peace on Earth and good will…

T

 

Why are you here?

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That question was recently asked by what could have been a younger, curious version of myself.

A few times each month, I spend three hours of bliss volunteering in a small bookshop.

I get to meet interesting people, stroke and skim through the latest items placed on the shelves. Not a month goes by without me purchasing something of interest to me or someone I love. I like the fact that sales revenues go towards purchasing new books and supporting programs for our local libraries. Being in that book shop is the closest I can get to working in a library – for now  🙂

My recent volunteer shift was graced by the usual lingering regulars and families attending events nearby. It warms my heart when children express delight as they find a book or two that they want their parents to buy.

One particular tot caught my attention while exploring books with her older sister, parents and grandmother. She approached the front desk, her blonde head barely above the counter, her blue eyes peering at me.

“What’s your name?” she asked in a sweet and barely audible voice.

I responded with a smile and asked about hers. Her Mother responded on her behalf due to the child’s limited conversation skills.

Then the child asked, “Why are you here?”

“Why am I here? Well… I like books, I like meeting new people and selling them books.”

Then she skittered away to explore the shelves with her family.

Soon she returned to ask again “Why are you here?”.

After I repeated my previous response I wanted to ask the wee thing if she was being philosophical about the big picture but I decided it would just confuse matters.

It was cute. It was thought-provoking in a naive kind of way.

I think that was a helpful experience for those basic queries we should ask ourselves often, like “Why am I here?”.

If we cannot answer the why, we could at least ask, “What am I doing during my time here?”.

T

Reminders for the love of life

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I recently contemplated the delicate balance of life and human relationships.

An elderly relative passed away after years of loneliness from losing a spouse, falling into unhealthy habits and an unpleasant lifestyle.

Those of us who were able to travel for the funeral benefited from reconnecting with each other and catching up with old friends in the town of our birth. The occasion gave a sobering twist to Halloween and All Souls Day.

It was a long journey for a short visit. The surrounding events provided opportunities to hear stories from others who knew your relative for years or recently formed friendships through shared interests.The sombre experience reminds you to enjoy times with those beings you love and cherish despite their shortcomings.

You venture into the new version of the church you once attended a lifetime ago, the religion you abandoned due to differences of opinion. You reach into the crevices of your memory for that sense of community and shared values. You notice they transported the large crucifix from the old church, the one with the bleeding savior you could not look at as a child. You find the strength and spirit to join in song, to celebrate a life and provide a smooth, harmonious send-off to the next dimension.

You contemplate how we should treat our deceased with respect and dignity. Without getting too elaborate, I feel it’s important to plan ahead for your own funeral, to make decisions for your mortal remains, to lessen stress on loved-ones, and put your house in order.

Although emotionally and physically drained, you enjoy companionship on short, refreshing strolls about town and down memory lane.

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Shuffling through the fallen leaves, you visit the streets, the town park and the library where you recall misadventures and fond memories plus learn to enjoy new experiences. You let yourself laugh, share updates and hopes for your children. You dream of a future with the grandchildren who have entered your life and nestled into your heart.

As you contemplate the next decade of your independent life, you are determined to continue with those small changes to improve your health, to reconsider compromise and expectations. You tolerate the brief interruptions and annoyances, knowing that they too shall pass.

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Breathing in. Breathing out.  Repeating as necessary.

Thanks for dropping by.

T

 

 

 

Bending, stretching, sweating and remembering to breathe

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I don’t like rushing into things.

Three weeks ago, the resident artiste provided me with five morning lessons of gentle sitting and stretching, gentle Yoga moves for Salute to the Sun. That was three months after she gifted me a “high-end” Yoga mat for Mother’s Day.

Like I said, I don’t like rushing into things.

On the first day, the Tabby cat took position on her living room perch in preparation to supervise. As we have seen in a previous post in another blog, she’s not a fan of exercise for the sake of exercise.

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On the sixth day, I proceeded to perform the sweaty, grunty feat in the privacy of my room. Soon the Old Boy wandered in to complain and rearrange my sweaty towel.

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The Salute to the Sun routine goes something like this. With time and commitment, I shall be so graceful and poised. It has been two weeks during which I think I have succeeded in getting myself into a routine as part of a healthier lifestyle.

  • I aim to perform this sweaty morning ritual at least five days a week;
  • I time each session for 15 to 20 minutes;
  • These are small steps in supporting a healthy habit for body and mind;
  • As with most challenges in life, you just gotta remember to breathe – and repeat as necessary.

I am grateful for the resident artiste, bread baker, cook and cat sitter for persistently nudging and motivating me. It’s only a matter of time before she turns me into a vegetarian too.

What small steps do you take to keep yourself in good overall health?

Thanks for dropping by.

You might be interested in this book I wrote about a priest, his biological daughter and a retired exotic dancer dealing with family issues in a small Georgian Bay town during the 1970s.

T

 

Lighting up vs puckering up

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Come on Boomers, who didn’t get a thrill from striking matches or flicking cigarette lighters, experiencing that primal awe of having fire at your fingertips?

Who didn’t test their lungs out of curiosity and peer pressure with a prized pack of Du Mauriers or Old Port wine-tipped cigars? Who didn’t deeply inhale the aroma of a freshly opened pack of cigarettes?

Who didn’t get dizzy and nauseous their first time?

Why didn’t they stop there?

In my young adult years, smoking was part of dance bar outings and mostly a social crutch. It gave party-goers something to do with their hands while practicing conversation skills and courting rituals. That was so many years ago and before I carried my children.

From my caffeine-induced, Sunday morning Web research, I can see that smoking started as an experience of the spiritual, for Native Americans  to call upon and to give thanks for the six energies. The peace pipe was an important symbol to the indigenous people in the Ottawa Valley as well. Tobacco was used as an offering to the sacred waterfalls named after the pipe bowl.

This is one smoking symbol that I’d like to see spared from modernization.

So with smokers these days, does that mean people are trying to capture that inner reflection or reaching up to the divine? Do they want to meet their maker sooner than intended? How much of their earnings have gone up in smoke?

Sobering statistics and dry facts

Humour / satire

A clever, satirical film called Thank you for Smoking.

How dare you compare smoking to eating cheese! 

Quotes about smoking

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/smoking

Subconscious suckling desires?

I often wonder if smoking (and now vaping) are subconscious, primal desires for the comfort of suckling at our Mothers’ breast as well as reaching for the Divine. At least those who choose vaping are doing it to wean them off the death sticks. You can do it!

Social behaviour

I’d like to thank those public transportation users who walk a few meters away from the shelter to light up and begin your ritual of self-reflection while waiting for the next bus. Please complete your ritual by stomping out your cigarette instead of tossing it into the dry grass beside the bus shelter, and please completely exhale your sacred smoke before boarding the bus.

I will be sure to not sit close to you and experience the stench wafting from your hair, clothes and breath.

Be kissable

Another reason to quit smoking is to increase your attraction and possibilities for pleasurable mouth pressing activities.

Ah yes, pleasurable mouth pressing activities and making for romantic memories…

Thanks for dropping by. May your lip puckering activities be refreshing, memorable and sweet.

T

Millennial matters

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I am riding that Baby Boomer tail. 

I am also the caboose in one resilient and large Catholic family.

I am a white woman, a parent and a survivor. As a woman over 50 I feel invisible to most eligible men. I do not have a reliable partner, don’t own my home nor can I afford to travel to tropical locations every winter. I will be lucky if I can retire in comfort by the time I turn 60 years old.

Whenever discussing retirement plans with friends or colleagues, I joke that my insurance was to be extra patient with and kind to my children so that they will take care of me in my old age.

My beautiful adult children are Millennials. They are testing out their respective paths, life purpose and independence. Some are taking a little longer than others due to childhood trauma or the ridiculous limitations of the economy.

My Millennials were not handed everything on a platter. We were barely scraping by in the early years while surviving home life with an unstable, controlling individual.

It saddens and frustrates me when the older generations and entertainers poke fun at Millennials.

You’ve Gotta Love Millennials – Micah Tyler
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLpE1Pa8vvI

A few weeks ago, my oldest Millennial and I watched a documentary on TVO (TV Ontario).  It was interesting but discouraging.

My Millennial Life

“Millennials are getting dumped on from all sides – from parents, employers and the economy. “My Millennial Life” takes a look through the eyes of a group of resourceful, charming and talented 20-somethings and the obstacles and opportunities they face in getting launched and making their mark on the world.”

Then there was this article on CBC News:

Still living with mom and dad? You are not alone, and the numbers prove it
Almost a third of 18- to 34-year-olds still live at home, data shows
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/young-people-living-at-home-1.3599364

I love my Millennial room-mate who cooks healthy meals, cleans the humble apartment once a week, and looks after the cats while I am away – all the while using artistic skills to earn a modest income.

On a related, rippling note I am sad to acknowledge recent violent events south of the border. Some parental concerns and human rights issues catch your interest even more so if your Millennials are also dark-skinned, dealing with social anxieties or are gay.

They would seem to be fncked whichever way they turn. I know they can overcome challenges with courage, intelligence and strength of character.

I believe in them.

T