Friday, November 23, 2012

Alone

The fire warms my back, perched on the hearth. It is me and the dogs. The sound of tinkling collars and gas flames licks. It is good. This space to breathe and be. For years the moments of quiet were spent planning the next meal, day, pick up, shop, budget, load of laundry. For decades the machines whirred in early mornings and evenings to keep dishes and clothes clean. Now I luxuriate in the freedom to be. Before he left tonight for the gig, I point out our obvious difference. I am content after the Costco trip. I was out, experiencing consumerism on Black Friday, and crossing things off my perpetual list. Even at the till I realized there were things I might need, do want, and didn't remember. Next time. There always is a next time. But tonight was fulfilling enough for me. I had not recognized myself as an introvert until recently. I am never shy to speak my mind. I have opinions that require expression. I love people and to entertain. I am cognizant that only sometimes I have the energy necessary in relationships or activities that involve others. After 25 years of a house of kids the obvious has been revealed to me. I have been stretched to the thinnest of elastic with the noise, the chores, the meals, demands, did I mention noise? I like the quiet. I am at ease in the solitude of nothingness. I love having 4 books part read that keep my mind, spirit or imagination sharp. Bathing in the solitude fortifies me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Remarkable

I found out today just how unremarkable both he and are. Sitting for the results of blood tests, ultrasounds and x-rays the doctor's comment felt unprovoked. I recognize I have not impressed him with my barrage of talents...but to call us unremarkable! He laughs, as we do, at the medical explanation that unremarkable is something you want to hear. Nothing to fret or worry about...well mostly. The fact that my x-ray called my coccyx unremarkable was concerning because it was removed more than 30 years ago. At this my doctor is confused because it clearly had been observed as unremarkable. Hearing this so many times in one conversation has convinced me that I must learn to impress people more. I had no idea my ego could be wounded by a word misappropriation.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day

Piled tightly into the Jeep we trudge downtown to experience the community of remembrance. Poppy clad chests, pipers, buglers and drums fill Victory Square...assembling to pay homage to the passed but not forgotten. Mom recounted her Dad's stories today - stories of stress, loss, anxiety and pride. He was gone to war 7 years...and yet she remembered his face as though it was only weeks. Such a tie is family. I am back in the Jeep listening to the banter of father and son that sounds more like brothers. "Can too!" "Cannot!" is the extent of their challenge and yet it breaks me up to see them locking horns with each giving way at the same time. Usually, because my husband, his father, has tears running down his cheeks with laughter as he mimics some show or movie. The youngest, the observer, smiles at my glance. I too am at a loss. I can contribute to neither at this moment. A text from snowy Winnipeg confirms that the middle one is also affected today. She is observing on her own as she has moved eastward for independence and school. We can try to understand what freedom means, but until we have experience the lack of it is much like a man understanding childbirth. They know it hurts, but cannot tell you where or why. The silence at 11:11 is consuming and comforting. The sea of humanity before me is a result of the freedom and tyranny of that era. Thank you soldiers....I am sure you had no idea the contribution nor sacrifice you were making.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cinnamon Buns

Dough is rising before 7:00am, which means it is one of my children's birthday. That is a tradition that I can't remember when it started...but once it did at least 4 times a year the whir of the kitchen-aid and the dust of flour fills the air. I don't think I am particularly good at cinnamon buns...but having 4 kids has made for lots of practice. Before Samee left for Winnipeg I was trying to find a way to celebrate through the tears. Mikee suggested gluten-free cinnamon buns - which was perfect. Samee will be celebrating her birthday in Winnipeg this year....so the Samee version was our last morning. Food connects us....reminds us...satisfies and sometimes feeds something we didn't even know was lacking. I made this for you...I know you love chocolate, seafood, edamame...are all ways to let a person know we consider them...regard them...love them. Food traditions abound around a family table. Formal dinners at are house have had to eliminate corn. There is a long standing joke within that could be construed as rude and uncouth. The joke is still floating around and has eked out in several places....but I do what I can to quash the guffaws when I am trying to have a sense of decorum. People know I love to cook..and love when people eat. I am the Canadian version of a Italian mom that wants others to enjoy the fruit of my labour. JJ Bones cannot come to my house without asking "what's for supper?" and pointing at the dining room. For him, that is where we gather... He actually could care less what I make. For the most part he is drawn to the meat and the buns...but he doesn't like when someone is missing...and he likes to sit at my left hand beside his brother. He connects to the din of the table interjecting silly comments now and then....it is wonderful. The first time a young lad from Australia sat at my table the cacophony was intimidating I am sure. Chicken and rice were passing quickly and I could see he was not used to the pace of the Andersons....nor the protocol. When I let him know it was fine to ask to pass something, in a voice a little louder than he or I expected he asked for food. No one blinked an eye - they just started passing things down. "You'll fit right in" I said....and he has. I miss him at my table. Today the smell of cinnamon is wafting through the air in anticipation of a rising birthday girl. I hope she hears what the food is telling her.

Friday, September 14, 2012

We all need..

..appreciation...respect...to be recognized....some more...some less...but it isn't nearly as egocentric as we might think... At least that is my conclusion to this week. I was dreading it. Dreading having credentials paraded and announced from a too small podium. Afraid of posturing and heads so big they could barely fit through the door. Uncomfortable with dronings from those whose voice was trying ever so hard to be heard amid the din of others...... It wasn't like that. Today. It was completely and utterly negative free. There was sharing, collaboration, humility, laughter, information, opinion, disagreement, spreadsheets, figures, data, tools, analysis, laughter, food, laughter, appreciation, pool, laughter, games, laughter, bonding, laughter, confession, laughter, appreciation, respect, camaraderie, team building, hugs, laughter,respect. We all struggle. Some with ourselves, our demons...some with loss, some with disappointment and sadness... None are immune to the reality of life..changing of seasons happens...even if we hate the winter. Among my comrades I heard their pain and displacement in life....their joy and their success....their anxiety and their hope. I learned some have ridden bulls, jumped from planes and endured needles without doctors. Some are well-traveled while others are travellers who have experienced life in many continents. One has loved the camera while another has quietly created beauty that speaks to souls. A few ride bikes, both motorized and non...and a tattoo was revealed that made us do an elbow pump... The motley crew that have assembled for the business meeting have had a different kind of meeting. The kind that knits hearts and memories together...

Saturday, September 8, 2012

resetting....

That is the mode we are in....warming up to the changes of quieter dinners and the kids flitting in and out of our lives - a few by Skype...one when laundry is necessary and the other, though around is planning her exit in November to Australia... It has been easier than anticipated for me. Not that I don't miss the kids..the bustle...the chaos of Saturday morning breakfasts for ten or twelve...laundry, dishes, shopping, leftovers. For some reason we still play fridge tetris. You would think with a few more out the door we would see the light in our fridge... Sad to say, I have yet to find it...and even after the cull of wilted celery and expired dressings, we are forever shuffling to make room for something. It drove a few of my kids to frustration and a few adoptees to amusement. The cupboards were like that too...me secretly throwing stuff in to get it out of the way and the man following after with a plan of organization. I hated things strewn on the cupboards...he hated it askew inside. hmmmm....I am wondering now if this is an illustration of us, and I am feeling uncomfortable with the thought that it is. We are alone this Saturday. We meandered to a car event with friends...did a Costco run on the motorcycles...(3 items only)...and wound up in the pool splashing and enjoying the refreshment of the water and play. He threw me in. I was plotting the same for him just moments before so indignation would not do. As we swam I realized once again - I really enjoy this...spontaneity, laughter, connection. Resets are sometimes necessary.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ch ch ch changes...

I knew I was making my job obsolete enabling them to cook, clean and think for themselves. I have no way of warning anyone that it happens in a blink or a heartbeat...everything will change. They are caught in the frenetic transport of children...grimy from popsicles mixed with sand...sunscreen and exhaustion. They are caught in the cajoling to eat a carrot, love your enemy and stand up for yourself coaching... I am now acutely aware of the deafening silence. Understand this is no lament- at least not yet. Our house has been the hub of chaos. Breakfasts laced with garlic potatoes, onion and chives don our island suggesting every day was filled with abundance and laughter. Most were...I will say that... But there were many a day of a cheerio or banana breakfast. The days where morning routines were timed and fluid. Conversation limited to nods and goodbyes. Days of flurry and fury as we made our way to respective places. One year it all changed. Schedules were set aside for illness...and yet I cannot say that laughter was set aside because my memories of that time - though darker than most things - I think of as connection with my family and others that could have never happened. My youngest has the scar of that year and I will always be beholden to her for that. The quiet can be disconcerting to me now. When I awake it is not from a sound within the house but within me. I do not wallow in fear of the future or regret the past. But, I do miss things. Children delighting in coloured sugar water in a plastic case - I always felt so generous with the wide-eyed and wide smiley faces. I miss seeing the delight of accomplishing boiling an egg or buttering toast. I miss seeing their response to life on a daily basis - good, bad and ugly. Judge all you want...some of the most discerning people I know are the ones that were able to express themselves at an early age. I may miss feeling like a hero - whipping up a batch of muffins, pancakes, burritos, chile, sandwiches.....for a motley crew that conglomerate in my kitchen. I will miss the connection to the kids that lets me know that life is not all that it seems to be....kids are transparent. Kids have taught me more about who I am than most...They tell it like it is...not in judgement but in fact. I mostly love this.

Friday, August 17, 2012

....they arrived...

...in Calgary safe and sound. Wacky, vintage loving daughter hugging curves with crazy vintage bike loving daddy. I got pictures along the way. The oasis of the Tulameen River that runs through Princeton.. I spent a Saturday languishing there, sun beating on my head and shoulders as I sat on soft rocks and visited with friends as a cold current refreshed my soul. We rode 3 hours each way for face time, and it remains as one of those defining days...sitting in a river, imbibing and then riding tricycles for adults down the streets of Princeton in search of ice cream. And now, Sambones has enjoyed the fruit of the Tulameen River. They rode on...I am sure down Old Hedley Highway with the solid yellow line because there is nowhere safe to pass.... They arrive at the lake in Penticton and they have to jump in....they have to...not just the scorching heat but the moment too...
They are pampered in Summerland with steak and barbecued peaches..breakfast in the morning and on the way to Tubby Dog in Calgary.. I am sorry...pictures must be on the way as this renowned location of hotdogs has been a story at my family table that I have yet to experience. ...and this is how I know they arrived....as I call and here faces stuffed with rendered meat that apparently is indescribable...and most likely will always be to me..

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Costco

Costco....I will miss the weekly visits with the sporadic mid-week necessity. Costco...I will miss Johnny and finding out how your band is doing... Costco...I will miss the cutest blond girly, girl, cashier that always was so sweet and embellished with jewelry and shades of pink. Costco...I will miss long pony-tailed, grey streaked, metal guy that should scare me to look at, that I know is a softy underneath the persona. He is a big man, but I can see perfectly braided hair and that he has pride in who he is for the right reasons. Costco...I will miss pierced guy who again is one of the sweetest people. Gentle in spirit....kind...always helpful. Nose rings and spacers don your head...but you wear your heart on your sleeve. Costco...you have been part of my life for many years..30 packs of toilet tissue, mounds of bread, fruit, milk...you exposed us to things we would have never tried with samples. Some became staples..garlic aeoli...some unnecessary...jelly bellys (smile)... I visited the other day and realized this is another relationship that will change. I have no need of cases of tomato sauce and mega packs of pickles. I have no need of 1.5K of cereal or 42 granola bars. I will not be able to use 180 tablets of Advil before they expire..and why oh why would I need to buy 8 toothbrushes now? This will not be easy. Costco...you have been our date night. Laugh all you want...a lot can happen when a couple spend time decision making on large and small things. "I really want those but I really don't need them" is my typical mantra.."but what's the big deal?" he says allaying any fear of his derision... "I want those cookies...yoga pants...book....dishes... but I am going to wait" That has happened many times with both of us... The demonstration of self-control, self-regulation in a place where things are gone shortly is worth the effort to understand your partner...What has emerged from the window shopping has often been an understanding on a level that transcends the ordinary. "You want that honey - go for it" is met with "It is okay not to get what you want".. Costco has been a place to try things...buy things...remorse and return things...enjoy things and also appreciate one another that we are not frenzied consumers looking for a fix...but walking our path and seeing what we need along the way to nurture our family and friends. thanks Costco.

blurry through tears

..and this can effect how I see things right now. How did this happen so quickly? A hub of buzzing activity, bumping into each other both day and night...waiting on showers and netflix will completely end within the next 24 hours. I can't describe all that is emerging within my throat...heart...eyes...it comes unwelcome at times...like the other night in Superstore...for no reason I find tears have spilled down my cheeks and the emotion of the moment is raw and open for all to see. I am relieved there is no death to accompany my grief. There is no sickness nor forlorn misfortunes. We are in a new stage of life. It has been happening for years...more than six in fact as our Kimee ventured to unknown corners exploring, then Jared bound for Europe and far lands both as a tourist and a rebel. Both returned and left again, more than once. This time there is a finality. A finality of the chaos, empty milk cartons in the fridge, mounds of laundry, recycling, 30 packs of toilet tissue, granola bars and spare toothbrushes. A finality that they will be now be visitors... Alighting for laundry - but leaving again...this feels weird. The poignancy of the moment can be remembered in the gathering on our living room floor between the stairs.... Something magical has always happened there. Naps, hugs, pictures, tears, arguments too...but none that I can remember. Packing has happened there....clothes and bags strewn with no semblance of order. Long, deep thoughtful talks....imbibing, jibing, laughter..laundry seems to always be folded there...the exact center of the house. Tonight was no different. Sweaters and shoes litter the floor...we are all poised to help cram as much of Samee's wardrobe into a backpack...It feels and looks impossible - but I will take credit for an optimistic spirit, for I know that much is possible that looks insurmountable. Zippers taut, a feat accomplished. My throat aches as I swallow hard to keep from crying. Kimee joins through the wonders of the internet and I see her radiant face. Her venture into biology and the likes have sparked a new spirit in her. Tomorrow I will bid adieu to Samee for Winnipeg and Jared to New West. Tomorrow will be fresh and new and although I will feel loss, there is also hope for this next part of the journey..
There is little truth to the fact that we control their lives. We think we do. We try to. In reality, we can influence but not control. We can suggest but ultimately they can neglect all wisdom and rationale as an act of defiance, independence or a momentary lapse in sanity. I was convinced this was not the case. I was sure that an endless barage of logic and sage advice would ensure that all of my wishes for them would unfold. I was persuaded by parenting books and articles that a + b = c. There are exceptions. I have observed a + b = a number of variables unrecognizable including the total being 6, which does not even compute. I have observed negligent parents be blessed beyond all with steadfast charges exuding wisdom and poise. I have observed helicopter parents produce resentful disruptive kids. Listen to your inner voice. Parent as you would like to be parented and you will be just fine...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

that's how we roll

......a giant ball in the living room is the instrument of a contest of the men of my house. They are balancing with abs and quads and laughter is teeming. This after we bid adieu to Luke - bound for Winnipeg.... I am sad and happy simultaneously.... sad that I will not have him to bounce off prose and ideas...happy as I see independence for he and Samee as they are about to conquer the great white north of Manitoba - school and domestication all at once. How the ball became the entertainment and cut through the awkwardness and reality of the moment never escapes my notice. That is how we Anderson's roll.....finding temporary distractions amidst pain....joy amidst sadness....laughter and tears....

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lesson on Procrastination

I intended to do so much more. At least to put away my dishes and pick up my clothes. Alas, I was inert and unable to accomplish more than settling under blankets and fluffing my pillow. I awoke this morning and quelled the dread by reminding myself things are not as bad as they seem. At 8:00am I began to bring semblance and order and by 8:10am the chaos was under control. I must remember this every day, for sometimes, the dread that floods leaves me powerless to move forward. It reminds me of the yoga instructor that tells our class that to make energy you must use energy. The more you use your energy the more you will make. Inertia follows the same rules with a different result. I am encouraged, enthused, energized for the day. I have a list of things that may only take me 10 minutes each, but for which I have procrastinated. The second thing to cross off is to try to blog every week. Done!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Skype talks have replaced her presence. Last night we were amused by their chocolate teeth and "couple" banter. It had been over an hour and by then she was painting her nails and reading Facebook.....but we were still enjoying each other. The notion of missing her has been replaced by missing her physical presence. It did not escape my notice that her sister had probably talked less to us all week. It is not that the relationship is strained. For Samee we can have two minute conversations a few times a day. The weighty matters are saved. For Kimee it is typical to only have those heart to hearts...."this is where I am at" talk, but the luxury of getting bored in a conversation but lingering just to hear and see each other. As our morning unrolled snippets of Kimee are rehashed. "I hope they find a great place to live" "She seems to love what she is doing".... She is with us in the morning. Samee will soon grace us with her presence...we really must engage her more.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

why and how are not important...nothing is at the moment that you realize you are truly not in control of everything you thought. I scorned any relationship that left me bereft or questioning...and yet that is where I am at. Wondering the influence I have in my family and my world. I would like to think of their eminent respect of my abilities at both word games and competitions...the latter being gauged through a WiFi connection to Zumba....but it works for me. To know, for certain, that I am 79% or 95% allows me satisfaction at having accomplished something that is measurable. Isn't that what we all aspire to? Wanting to know we affected the world about us, in some way, any way, as to say we were here. So...for today...Zumba will suffice to say that I have inspired you to the greater within.. : )

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Talking with a young mom today I was reminded of the endless chatter in my head as I poured heart, soul and body into my little ones. I emerged from those years relatively unscathed...mostly sane. There are days, weeks and maybe even months that will not be drudged up from the mire...they are best left as the percolation for the wisdom that imbue my present persona.

There are some things I am sure of. I am sure that children rarely have any idea how very loved they are. They are still learning pain and they cannot possibly understand the heights or depths we would go for them.

I am sure that kids want to please us, and I am sure that I sometimes might have been ambiguous of my expectations.

I am sure that I didn't put a priority on laughter - and I wished I had.

I am sure that I cared too much about what others thought - and not one of those people is important to me today - I wished they had never dictated my behavior, my mood or my thoughts.

I am sure that I responded far stronger to the negative than the positive - and if I could go back and wire myself different - I would.

I am sure that I stepped on others to rise above - and I am ashamed that I have had to undo this sometimes. I never wanted my kids to see the evil competitiveness can bring - I wish they had seen me accomplish through tenacity.

I am sure that I love my kids more than myself - and this has skewed my expectations for them to do the same for me.

I am sure that I would do it different again - but also sure that being human means it would not be perfect - just different.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

There are days when introspection takes me to the depth of my soul. I see everything there and cannot help but sigh. The resolve I want can melt in a moment. I am naturally drawn to that which goes against my very nature of "natural" . I still am not able to eat meat....I simply wretch at the smell, and the other night a taste of meat in tomato sauce had me dry heaving for hours; I didn't want to dry heave..really!

I am tired of this. Tired of being so disciplined with intake, output, energy spent, that at times I lust at those that have no idea of what they are doing. They gorge on bacon double cheeseburgers washed down with coke and fries. They don't care about fatty acids or glucose levels. They are blissfully unaware..

So....as a confession, the unnatural craving for me was the indulgence of potato chips from a can....the ones closest to plastic in the molecular field (thanks Meadow Spurr) The ones that have no hint of natural anything...no hint of health...(I think I saw her eating these too, though,....Hey!!!) Perhaps, my malaise is with the fact she was wanting them for herself...and not because of my own demise at all. I am going with that right now...WTH!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

...they say a sucker is.....

I did it...I succumbed....what can I say? I bought into one of those get amazing in 10 days schemes tonight. Now hear me on this - I don't think I need this.... I am not shallow enough to believe that I am amazing, nor debase enough to believe I need to be amazing. I was fully aware that it was an emotional purchase because I love my friend - and my friend believes the story behind the story. I drove away knowing I was duped...and yet...feeling okay to support a friend....and that is why the company will rake it in....we love our friends!