Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Excess...

...the saying too much of a good thing isn't so good...or at least that is my paraphrase. I have observed the diminishing returns of too much. Too many toys has meant too many choices for a toddler - who abandons all for the laundry basket with pretend steering wheel. An excess of food has often meant unbridled enthusiasm followed by remorse at having banqueted without limit. I am guilty. I have so many scarves to choose from I am overwhelmed and typically opt for the standby. I have boots, shoes, food choices - rye, sourdough, multi-grain, gluten-free, pita, bagel...I wasn't done yet - and these are in my house on a regular basis. I cannot pinpoint the tipping point where enough became excess - when things were revered for their scarcity. Candy, pop, toys, new clothes, new shoes....these were things I looked forward to. They were rare, special treats that stood out as thus. Life was about school, grades, chores, making beds and exploring the world. Mom and dad were busy - and we were busy too. Square ball, jump rope, tadpoles were pastimes...as were knip-knops from which I had perpetual bruised arms from the ball out of time landing perfectly on my radial bone. We played games, climbed trees from which we fell and hurt ourselves...and survived. There was never too much of anything - TV, toys or treats. Boredom was allowed...as was imagination. Want was never viewed with pity...but with hopes and dreams. Of late I observe that we seem to have too many things crowding out the imagination. Too many choices rendering us immobile for they are all good...chocolate, vanilla, cappuccino, strawberry, jamoca almond fudge, marshmallow........... it goes on and on...really..it does. I am trying to recognize the excess in my life. To rid myself of the too much for the just enough..or for the need a bit more, but can do without. I think it is cathartic to live in a place where satisfaction is not manufactured.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

words

I like to use words like furl instead of curl, impoverished not poor, wendy not windy. I like the way the words dance on my tongue and cause pause for the reader and writer. Words evoke memories and imagination in a way that nothing else can. I can recall first hearing hue instead of colour. I was eight and from then I made a conscious decision to try to incorporate it when I could. I have oft made mistakes in understanding. Hearing and adopting word someone has also misused or was trendy at the time - but these quickly fall from my vocabulary. Playing scrabble has introduced me to nonsensical words or spellings that my husband claims are bogus. Qat and qi are ridiculous just as are kat and aa...but according to the official dictionary - they are perfectly acceptable in games. The "official" dictionary has now included the word selfie...which to me sounds like something from Aussie where everything is peachy and they like to contract everything to cutesy words that end like footie, Brissy, Uni... Will this same dictionary discard obsolete words? It appears this way as using hubris or obdurate cause unnecessary research. The dictionary that is quick to add a slang is becoming antiquated and unused as writers have made it easier for the reader to understand. So for a wordy like me...it will be hard...for I love the pause and stump a new words causes.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

enlightenment

From my child's eyes I accepted judgement, ridicule...shame. I had no defence to those who were older, wiser and meaner. My experience is not unique - in fact it is ubiquitous with childhood. Bullies, friends and parents hurl damning words that we learn to deflect, fight or accept. From my adult's eyes I have learned that there is no shame - no moniker that can banish me from humanity. I am human with foibles and frailty. There is no dishonour, disgrace or disrepute at being fallible.

Reactions

I am intrigued by people's reactions...whether it be to a loss or win, bad or good news, pain, discomfort or their idyllic partaking. Reactions vary from outward cursing, graceful congratulations, to enraptured enjoyment. To claim I understand humanity based on reactions would be ridiculous...but my observation and introspection shed light on my own response to a recent heart-stopping toe stub. The pain intense, my heart beat faster and harder, tears welled...and yet nothing escaped my mouth. No yelp, no cry, no curse. I calmly sat down. This reflex was the fodder for this post. I have ruminated over it since. I was not embarrassed or shamed by my humanity. I was not expecting those around me to ignore nor pander me with sickly sweet sympathy. I did not want to acknowledge any problem. Giving attention might do this. I cannot help but wonder how much of this parallels my life. Do I ignore things just to pretend they don't exist? I am uneasy at the question. In my defence I know that making a spectacle can in itself become a reward for our pain. Evoking sympathy, empathy and attention sometimes fills the void within our souls. I abhor artificial connection...soothing and placating feel like a grater on my skin. Perhaps instead, my own acceptance of the pain is my balm.

Monday, November 11, 2013

light

I often try to navigate the dark. Feeling along edges, creeping carefully. I am afraid of little things - toy cars that can hurt to walk on, bed legs that munch your toes and all those things I intend to clear from the floor but forget to. I sometimes get hurt... The light can be difficult too. it exposes so much. Dust, imperfections, things we try to avoid. I was walking toward my car the other day and the light completely blinded me. I could not see a thing. I felt immobilized. The idiom of the deer was real in that moment. The disorientation and confusion, overwhelming. I fumbled as much or more in the floodlight as I do in the dark. The metaphor was living. It taught me grace for those in the floodlight - figuratively and literally.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Aha

It was one of those moments...my brain was quiet as was my voice and in the silence I wondered how often I filled the spaces with meaningless conversation. This thought was unbidden, and the source was a mystery, yet clear. Silence can be awkward and yet equally graceless is sputtering without objective. My contemplation has been fruitful. It was just the kind of day.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Poking through my salad to find the accoutrements of fried onion bits, I found myself eating voraciously at greens for the reward of the crispy coating. So worth the hunt and yet I was reminded that I have sometimes just gone for the good stuff. Ignoring any base, I have thought it wise to snack or stuff on things that are meant to complement. The results have always been similar for me. A bloated, shameful feeling of having gone overboard. The little bits of onion are best experienced with ordinary leaves. This speaks of more than just toppings to me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

.....

..and it is over...a beautiful life. He was and will always be an amazing and ordinary man. Doing the right thing, stable, loving and evidence proved him to be a wonderful son, brother, husband, father, friend and man. I am honoured to know such a man. Honoured to have so many memories of him and wishing for more. Honoured that he always seemed to be happy to see me...know me..include me. Allen James Loewen left this world a better place because he was here. Thank you God.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thanksgiving

The symphony is over...dishes are done..bellies are full. I am the conductor timing the elements, mashing and whisking to the crescendo to the seated dining room. I am satisfied with the dance of the dishes, the fluid movement to baste, broil or whip. Dessert is the finale... ice cream melting into the sugary warmth and the frenetic scurry to squirt more whipped cream. Dinner at the Andersons.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Marbles

I learned today about marbles. A symbol of those that add to your life..filling you with hope, love, laughter, everything good....taken away the opposite. Grace has been full of marbles for more than 20 years for me. She fills my jar with thoughtful words, encouragement and the reflection I need to see. Twice today she said things that not only floored but humbled me. Grace is the most amazing woman I know. Nurturing, kind, thoughtful and incredibly funny. I see her give an apple to a sleeping, homeless man and then quip something that is more hilarious than can be repeated. Grace is what she wears...emanating it from everywhere. We shopped and stopped in many stores and the entire time I am agog that she exudes her moniker, blessing all within her wake with an amazing smile and a deliberate observation to accentuate the positive.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

who is this woman...

...yep...me..Who am I that I can plunge into the pool of mire as quickly as I can laugh at the humanness I exhibit in moments of solitude? The quiet becomes a cacophony of jeers at the agitation of my soul. I am acutely aware of my faults and foibles..they are no more or less than typical. I can laugh at my mistakes...and even turn them into a learning moment. hmmm...it is me...

He's back!!!!

..surprising us again he came home unexpectedly...at dinner time. His MO. He confounds me sometimes. Demanding freedom with his own boundaries. Taking off with no plans, yet sticking to a schedule. He had situations...stories of Chicago and Detroit I could do without....and yet ... keeping with who he is. Trying to find "normal" food to him...with the right mix of beverage. He has always been an enigma to me. Telling me truths I can barely stand, yet appreciating his honesty. My kids are more wonderful than the world will ever know. How can they possibly see through my perspective? It is not just a mother's pride. They are people I would strive to know. My Kimee..battling books and being implanted in a country she knows not. Samee - rushing in - job in hand - with superhero powers - organizing tupperware drawers and playing piano to soothe my soul...and Mikee...dear and sweet..makes me smile and cry at the same time..reminding me of the powers of zinc...and the fragility of health. Gush...Gush...Gush... How can I not!! I have the most amazing kids and could not be more proud of each of them.

Monday, August 5, 2013

He's gone again...

The mop top of yesteryear has set out on an adventure across Canada. He surprises me..often. My adventurous, homebody son. His destination is where he ends up..his map is the tarmac and where it takes him. He is set in his ways and then floating with the wind. My wish is that this country teaches him much. I expect his return to enlighten him that humanity is better than he expects. I know this already. My wish is that he will see our country for what it is - beautiful, rugged, staid, curvy, straight, diverse, bi-polar, polite, hurting and spectacular. He has traveled other countries..and continents. He has seen the Vatican, enjoyed Amsterdam and the Gold Coast of Australia. It has affected him. It has formed the man he is. Canada - unleash yourself!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Weeds

I planted tomatoes a few months ago. I rarely have missed watering them. I love seeing the fruit of my labour red and juicy. In the cool of the morning I began to tend the beds - agog at the weeds that had taken over everything. My tomato plants were looking sorry. How quickly good things can go to ruin. How easily weeds can choke out life. As I unraveled ivy from my red maple tree I could see it too was affected by a vine. The tree is over 7 feet with a truck the circumference of a grapefruit - and yet the insidious, intrepid weed had managed to wend its way to the very tip and brown the leaves. Arms achy, back too, I heed the lesson of weeds; never leave them unattended. Cultivate and nourish the plants you want.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It has been one of those idyllic days. Warm, cloudless and sunny...and yet this is when I notice things. The windows and skylights are in need of cleaning. The pool is full of leaves and the garden needs tending. The skylights bother me most as I cannot do anything to change them. They are at that annoying angle - too high for a ladder and not enough for a hose to reach. They don't annoy me in winter. The sun is less intense and less hours in a day. It is the way it is I suppose. The light exposing things.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

...beyond limits??

...I sometimes think I am...or at least feel that way. I begin to weed the front yard and within a few hours I have things plotting. (excuse the pun)... A weed here, planting there and a wave of exhaustion hits. I know I have gone too far. My muscles ache, my eyes are itchy. Will I ever learn my limits? Will I ever pace myself so that I am not pushed to that brink? As the warmth of the sun ebbs and I sit to write I feel my inner self chastising actions. Dirty fingernails remind me of my enthusiasm to get in there without gloves. The pricks and pokes remind me of my foolishness. And although the tiredness cloaks me, I am sitting next to impatiens that will greet me on every arrival. Limits? Sometimes it is okay to break them...

talkers

...you know who I mean...Those that espouse their virtue, wares or lifestyle whilst stepping on others to elevate themselves. Those that can say all the right things, even at the perfect moment... They help you see the light, buy the bauble, become a vegan or throw aside encumbrances. We sometimes idolize them...emulate, copy or try to live in their shadow until the sunlight changes and either truth is revealed, or we follow a new path. I have learned that anyone can talk the talk. Many fools can lead people astray, take their money, their dignity, their self-worth. It is not the talkers I wish to follow now. I seek out the quiet livers of life. The ones that are doing things with no thought to converting others. Their mission is not selfish nor selfless. They are making their way in the world being. They are who I want to be when I grow up.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

It happened so gradually I scarcely noticed the impingement. Peeking at my email, getting supplies on a Saturday, talking to clients on a Sunday...Now I feel trapped in the world of availability. When did 40 hours become 168? It is not just my diligence, my caring, nor my need to quell chaos that has acquiesced my life to my job. This was an inevitable part of my personality. Having compartments for my roles does not seem to work for me. I am a mom 365 days a year. My nature is to mother, and not just those I have issued to this world. I have no discretion at the age, stage or function of someone that might need a word of advice, chastisement, reminder of manners, health, caring, or encouragement. I am a cook and relish in the exchange of ideas, spices, markets and yes, even trends like acai berries and hemp seeds. I cannot turn this off. I am a natural editor. Not a cynic nor critical. I don't look for the mistakes of others. In fact I am liberal in my praise of well-written, well-rounded compositions from science, humour, business or fiction. But I notice things...Inconsistencies, misuse of words, commas, capitals and adverbs. The adverb and its overuse troubles me. They can add fluff and puff that confuse or bore the reader. Is important not strong enough? Is there a scale you are aware of that I missed? Really, very, extremely are common to find bolstering what I consider a word that makes me take notice. Does the addition or lack thereof change this? Competitor. I admit for me this is a role and not a trait. I am driven to wins in particular areas. Not usually against others..mostly with myself. I love getting the most possible points out of a Scrabble tile, five stars in Zumba, and a deal at the store. This also compels me to finish a project on time, on budget, and as faultless as possible and labels me a type A...and in some areas triple A. I thrive in the role of competitor as it pushes me to be my best. I challenge myself to take a corner fluidly on my motorcycle, to execute a maneuver I am scared to try, and to learn as much as I can about something that is new to me. Thus, I will check email, prepare for the coming week recognizing that I don't change hats but have a unique role just for me.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chores...

I take pleasure in certain necessary chores. Frankly, I cannot understand how a toilet bowl is left with a ring when it can gleam in less than 15 seconds. There is satisfaction at the blue water and essence of wintergreen. I love when the drain munge is extricated with a toothpick and soap scum is polished from the taps. I am not a clean freak...or at least...maybe not a neat freak. I do not get the same satisfaction from hanging coats and sweaters, nor from putting dishes away from the dishwasher. Of late I have been able to avoid both. This break in frenetic tidying, cleaning, washing and folding is my respite. I could not remember a week where there were not 14 loads of laundry and the same amount of meals. Cookies were baked and eaten within hours of cooling. For now, I am relishing in those quick wins...toilet bowls and basins.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The perfectly right and perfect road...I have the answer

........NOT........I don't - I can't even pretend. I wish. I want. I can't. I have been there..done that....would do it different sometimes...would do it the same sometimes...would steer clear sometimes... and face it head on sometimes... I was asked recently about a situation and what I would do....but how relevant could I be when I have the experience of seeing kids fall on their face and get back up? Not every kid can get back up...I have seen that too. The crushed and broken kids that give up. The disappointed that try to find their place in this world. I would like to say not to worry too much about the future because you have no control about how it will unfold - and yet in the same breath tell them to be strategic about how you plan for the future.... I am clearly the worst at giving advice since I juxtapose and contradict all that I say.

sometimes things are hard....

...his mom has just gone to palliative care. The end imminent but unknown. The plans were in place for a journey abroad until his mom took the turn. A sombre tug weighs my heart now. Listening to all that he has wanted - to celebrate a milestone anniversary and birthday...to grieve his son. March is the month he was taken. Too young to leave his family and world. The pain immeasurable for a parent. I would do anything to ease this. I am powerless. Sometimes things are hard...I have been there...and nothing can change things sometimes.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cinny buns again

Yep..another one of my issues is celebrating a new year. My son is 24, halfway between the arrogance of youth and the modesty of middle age. I am sure he still believes the chasm of decades will keep him away from the epoch of wrinkled years and fragility. The leap to grey hair is but a moment, and yet his smile imbues his obtuseness. The impish grin will line his face. His skin will slack, his muscles wane. I want to say so many things, but find myself tongue-tied when I see him dangle his arms and dance silly, or puff his face to make us laugh. It is hard to be serious when you see him do his jig in the center of our house where we gather.... And yet, I want to tell him to enjoy his youth and not to worry so much; it never helps. I want to warn him not to marinate in the bitter juices of jealousy, greed, or anger. They ruin your soul. I want him to remember to love with abandon and fully without measuring against what is given back. This is the only way to truly love. I want him to remember to have fun...forgive often, respect others and their opinions, and be slow to judge others. There is much more I could say...for I have grey hair....and am entitled. But for now...Happy Birthday Jared. love always mom

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Enduring through sleepless nights, sub-par dinners and the answer of endless questions...I find myself at the conclusion of an era. Four little ones under seven and all their friends afoot meant creative licence in the kitchen..mediation in the backyard...and moments of thoughtfulness to the purpose of now. If I were to speak to my younger self I would tell me..don't complain too much...it ages you...don't take them too seriously...it ages you too... I would jump on the trampoline every moment I could...with reckless abandon and laughter. Lest I sound morose at not having experienced things....I did. I drank in the smell of a baby as much as I could...and enjoyed the giggles and tickles and wonderment of their curiosity... I see the dimples of my son as if it were yesterday...impish...only slightly defying..mostly just egging me into some melee to challenge his intellect. I recall being wakened by the pull of a single hair... "ooops" she said as I leapt to the ceiling in pain out of my sleep. I was engulfed in pregnancy and terribly sick, but is there a child that understands this? The passing of time has not saddened me at all. The memories are rich and deep. The malaise is more that I did not know the memories I was making. Kimberlee Karen, Jared Thomas Nairn, Samantha Lori and Mikaela Grace you have blessed me with every good and perfect gift. Thank you.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

There is no training manual, no classes, no sage advice that can prepare you for parenthood. You have no idea what you are doing almost every day. Oh sure...some days your confidence soars as you see them behave properly and appear to listen well...but it falls apart the next day when defiance over carrots, or ice cream leave you spent and doubting. I remember this better than I expected. In a moment I am back in clothes less becoming, hair askew, questioning my sanity in the wake of a sleepless night and a crying toddler. In a blink I can see the piles of dishes, laundry, toys and crayons...I see myself, arms akimbo warning or disciplining what now appear to be angelic cherubs. Flour dusts the floor, cookie dough plastered on hands, face, door sash and counter as the communal effort at baking for daddy has become something akin to spreading batter everywhere except the cookie sheet. The smells then were sweet. The smell of dinner cooking, banana bread, bubble bath and baby powder. I recollect the waft of penaten cream so strong from the bathroom only to discover a 2 year old covered from head to toe, including stuffed in nose, ears and mouth. "It tastes good momma...try?" I hope I laughed at that. I hope I had the sense to see that this moment is what I would recall as precious over others. The kids are mostly grown now. All trying to find their way and figure things out. Sometimes they do this well...and sometimes not. I take it all less seriously now. They are a reflection of me, however, even as a reflection others dip their toe in the water and skew the image. I thought I would be their only imprint. They would look to me to have all the answers and knowledge for successful living. I have no idea where such a grandiose thought came from. I am relieved to know that it is a village that raise a child...and the contribution of many help shape and mould them.