Taking a breather to chase some tail

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Now before your mind wanders into dangerous territory, I meant the Easter Bunny’s tail.  I am taking a brief hiatus from blogging this weekend to enjoy some much-needed R&R – Red wine and Rabbit (of the chocolate persuasion).

bunny

(image credit)

Hopefully a few days of not pressuring myself to write every day will ease the feeling of having a deadline and coax back the enjoyment of the creative process that I seem to be missing.  This weekend signifies rebirth and I am taking the meaning of the holiday to heart.

I wish all of you a very Happy Easter weekend.  May your days be filled with the love of family and friends, and maybe a little bit of tail for good measure.  The chocolate….I meant the chocolate!

The fireflies at the windows

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We are rapidly approaching the last of the “firsts” since we lost my mom almost a year ago.  I stumbled blindly through my birthday last year, which was three weeks to the day after she passed.  We muddled through the rest of the birthdays in our immediate family, except for one still to come, and celebrated mom’s birthday by having her celebration of life on that same day.

Valentine’s Day will be a quiet one for me this year.  After my dad died, mom and I made a pact to be each others Valentine.  Even after I was married, mom and I had a standing ‘date night’ on February 14th because my now ex-husband always had to work at the restaurant.  She and I would go out for a nice dinner and always gave each other either a lovely arrangement of flowers or a cry-inducing Hallmark card full of sentiment that we both honestly meant.

My youngest nephews’ 12th birthday will be the last of the firsts.  That will be an odd feeling.  But it got me thinking about all of the other milestones, the new ‘firsts’, my parents may see from where they are, but will not be able to physically participate in.  This is the calendar year that my brother will turn fifty.  I’m sure nobody in our family ever thought that momentous day would come and neither of our parents will be here to help him celebrate and embarrass him with untold stories of his youth.

They will miss my oldest nephew, in just over a year, getting his G-1 (the Canadian version of the Learner’s Permit) and creating a new crop of grey hair on the heads of my brother and sister-in-law.  They will miss both of their grandchildren deciding on what field of study they wish to pursue and their subsequent University years and future careers.  And they will not be here if the Gods decide to shine favorably and allow me to fall in love again, the right way this time with the person who deserves my heart.  (although I know my mom will be doing her best to send that person my way)

fireflies

I know in my heart that both of my parents wouldn’t miss any of these events.  They will be those dancing specks of light we see at dusk, hovering by the window to watch our lives move forward.  It would just be so much nicer if they were standing right beside us to share in all of the new firsts yet to come.

 

 

 

 

 

Willie, may the odds be ever in your favor

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Superbowl Sunday has arrived!  The culmination of seventeen glorious weeks of watching the pigskin, followed by Playoffs and now it’s time for the Big Show!!  Even the groundhogs get a reprieve this year and get to watch the game in the comfort of their burrows without being dragged into the daylight until tomorrow.

Ah, Groundhog Day – that magical morning when we put our faith in an abundantly nourished, rotund mass of fur to predict the arrival of Spring.  This over-sized rodent is depended upon to prognosticate to the best of his ability and tell us, by virtue of seeing or not seeing his shadow, when we can expect the return of Spring.

Last year my post about this auspicious day focused more on the history and process of Willie’s predilection for weather.  This year I thought I would look at things from the perspective of poor Wiarton Willie (the Canadian version of Punxsutawney Phil).  First, he is rudely roused from his winter-long slumber to come out of his burrow and predict something even educated meteorologists cannot agree on.  Second, when he finally does make his appearance, he is greeted by a bemused but somewhat urgent crowd as they try to keep themselves warm enough to endure the period-costumed pomp and circumstance.

I am inclined to guess that Willie’s urge to get back into his cave has nothing to do with seeing his shadow.  I don’t know about you but, if I awoke to large crowd focused solely on me, I would be in one Hell of a hurry to bury myself back under my nest of blankets, shadow or not.  I feel somewhat sorry for Willie.  After being forced from his snug home out into an artic-like morning, the New England Patriots are probably not the only ones with deflated balls.

Given the success rate of these whiskered weather forecasters, the only prediction I would really take to heart is perhaps Willie’s prophecy about Superbowl 49.  Enjoy the game Willie and good luck with the madding crowd on Monday!

gh2

Alas, another year has gone by

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The year 2014 has almost tucked itself under the covers, waiting for the sun to rise and shine its light on 2015.   I have never been a big fan of the loud, drunken New Years party.   I have attended my share of dinner parties with friends and enjoyed the company of those I love but I had stealthily left the party as the decibel level and the uncomfortable amount of alcohol consumption increased.  When it comes to the later hours of the last evening of the year, I prefer the solitude of my home, a robust bottle of red wine and a quiet reflection of the year that has passed.

Although some of my evening is spent looking back on the events that shaped my year, most of my time is spent looking ahead without making promises that may be broken.  My New Years Eve is not about making resolutions.

2014 took the best of me when my mom passed away in March but the many months following her death, although emotionally exhausting, were filled with wonderful memories and the yearning to succeed in the things that I was doing that gave her such pride.

candle

My writing and my desire to become a published author are tiny flames glowing in the distance of the new calendar year.  Each moment I sit at my keyboard and weave ideas into paragraphs, that flame will burn brighter.  With dedication, and help from my muse, hopefully that flame will grow into a raging inferno and my mom and dad will be able to enjoy the warmth of the fire I created with my imagination.

And now that January 1st is lurking just around the corner, I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year.  May 2015 bring you peace and joy.  May the changing of the calendar year ease the burdens of the past year and bring you prosperity and deep and honest love in all aspects of your life.  To quote Henry David Thoreau ~ “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life”.

It’s time to  start writing our new chapter.

 

 

 

Boys will be boys, and then they make you cry

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I knew this Christmas season would be difficult for me.  I’ve done my best to write my feelings into submission but they are stealthily lying just below the surface, waiting to bubble up when I least expect them.

Last night I celebrated Christmas with my brother and his family.  Nagging work schedules bumped the holiday up by a couple of days but any change in the old routine is a welcome change.  I arrived at the house with my food contributions, my secret Santa gift and the scrapbook I made of pictures of my mom so she could be with us in spirit.  What I wasn’t expecting was this:

shrine

My nephew had taken one of the candles I made for my mom’s memorial service in May, created a beautiful Christmas display and placed it in the middle of the room so she was with us during our celebration.  I now know how the Grinch felt when his heart grew three sizes.  I was so moved and my heart swelled so much that I thought it would burst out of my chest.  It was all I could do not to hug him until he turned blue.

That gift, that display made by a 14-year-old boy to honor the memory of his Nana, is, by far, the best gift of 2014.  I could not bring myself to show too much emotion for fear that the tears would come and never stop.  Instead, we high-fived and continued on with the merriment.  Gifts were opened, food was consumed and a great amount of laughter was shared.  I learned to never again go in a swimming pool with my brother (future blog post) and I learned that the spirit of Christmas was not tarnished by the absence of my mother, but lives on in the way we keep her spirit alive.

The tears finally came shortly after I got home.  They did not come slowly or poetically but exploded out of my body to make room for my swollen heart.  I can only hope that both of my nephews learned a few things about Christmas.  It isn’t about the material things wrapped in bags or boxes.  Christmas is about the people who are wrapped in your heart and doing everything you can to make sure they stay there.

Merry Christmas to all of you and may you enjoy the true spirit of the holidays.

Ho Ho Holy Shopping Wars Batman!!

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My father used to love to Christmas shop.  There was a certain spark in his eye, a unique scintillation that was only ignited when he was donning his overcoat and preparing to get lost in the churning vortex of people at the busiest mall in Toronto. His exuberance always makes me think of the childlike excitement of Darren McGavin’s character in A Christmas Story when he opens his prized “leg lamp”.   Blood would rush to his cheeks, there was a noticeable spring in his step and his baritone voice softly began to echo the songs of the season.  His melodic tone would lure us into his Christmas trance and we were transported into the beauty of all things festive and giving – until we got to the mall.

clothes fight

Taking a child to that mall during the Christmas rush is like taking a lone goldfish from its tranquil bowl and throwing it into a pool of piranhas.  I was honestly terrified.  On more than one occasion, my tiny hand was ripped from my father’s grip and I bounced like a raft down a cascading white water rapid, lost in a sea of angry strangers.

Never had I seen such a heinous display of the exact opposite of the Christmas spirit – it was full-contact shopping.  People pushed, they shoved, they elbowed their way to displays only to begin a game of tug-of-war for an article of clothing that would probably be returned on Boxing Day.  Many of the words uttered by adults were foreign to me, but they were said with such venom that I knew that my ears should not be privy to those descriptive bits of verbiage.

That shopping experience would taint me for the decades that followed.  For years after that nightmare-inducing display of bad will towards men, I adamantly refused to enter those revolving glass doors into Christmas shopping hell.  Even at that tender age, I had become summarily convinced that hand-made gifts would be more appreciated than something that had been plucked from the floor after the department store carnage in those late hours leading up to Christmas.  I was a pioneer, I was a rebel, I was 7 years old and I was scarred for life.

When the holiday season returned the following year and the threat of mall shopping reared its thorny head, I vociferously engaged in a battle of will with the sovereign of commerce.  Daughter vs father, I expounded on the virtue of hand-crafted gifts and chalked up a small victory as I watched his car pull out of the driveway on the path to the slaughterhouse.

Today, I am a proud supporter of local businesses, and for those gifts that cannot be found here, I shop online.  Parcels are delivered safely, with no malicious intent and I no longer feel the dread of shopping for the holidays.  The mall is now vague memory of a life once lived by a child who still wanted to believe in the true Christmas spirit but didn’t want to get “malled” in the process.

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – Blog Edition

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the blogs
Edward Hotspur had his bacon, Angie’s Grapevine had her dogs.
The synonyms were used by Honie Briggs with care,
And Conscious Cacophony, her feelings she would share.

Short Stories was nestled, all snug amongst his words,
While Sethsnap had artistic visions and took pictures of the birds.
Sage Doyle was getting poetic, authoring memorable scenes,
While Drinking Tips was creating, snacking on Poutine.

JannaTWrites newest blog had created such a clatter,
And Moderate Mama’s  comments only added to the chatter.
Away to the keyboard The Daily Post flew on its quest,
Tore open the gates of creativity and posted its newest contest.

The Modern Philosopher, his brilliance did show,
And masterful words from Dianne Gray, were shared from below. (well, Down Under, but it didn’t rhyme)
When, what to YarnSpinner’s eyes should appear,
Ned’s Blog, in all its glory, showing no WordPress fear.

With a well-versed writer, so lively in blog,
I knew in a moment it must be Trudging Through Fog.
More majestic than eagles the stanzas were put,
And I knew in a heartbeat, El Guapo was afoot.

“Now Grammar Ghoul! now Wordy! now Notebook and Leash!
On, Margie! On, Lindau! On, Bad Guy! on, Wine and Cheese!
To the top of the Fresh Press! to the top of the wall!
Now write away! Write away! Write away all!”

As Rarasaur roars before the wild hurricanes fly,
When they meet with Two Sentences, and mount to the sky.
So up to the Matticus Kingdom they flew,
With High Five & Raspberries and a Writer Fellow too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in my Realm,
The Ambling and Rambling of TwinDaddy at the helm.
As I closed my keyboard, and was winding it down,
Unawarebutunderlined was making a sound.

Jill Weatherholt spoke with a great deal of fervor,
And words were carefully crafted by The Mercenary Researcher.
A bundle of phrases HastyWords took from her stack,
And Shouts from the Abyss, the words he attacked.

With their keyboards they created with zest and with zeal,
They wrote just as passionately as brunch for every meal!
It was Apoplectic Apostrophes, the words she did reap,
And, in between writing, they read shrinksarentcheap.

They wrote from their hearts, like it was their favorite job,
And inside of them all lurked a Geeky Book Snob.
The Cutter rambled and wrote to make you think,
While a little Fish of Gold was readied with paper and ink.

On The Homefront took a few precious moments to reflect,
While somewhere during Red’s Rants and Raves their writing they did perfect!
JoeTwo spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Blending a symphony of phrases, responsibilities they did shirk.

The Writer I could be pounded endlessly on the keys,
While My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog kept up the pace with ease.
 You’ve been Hooked had amused us, FortyOneTeen surely did see,
And we quickly lost H.E. Ellis to the feeling of writer’s glee.

Inspiration sprang to its feet, to its words gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a high powered missile.
But I heard it exclaim, as our brains turned to fog,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good blog!”

 typewriter

(image credit: lhj.com)