Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Butterfly Effect

The "Butterfly Effect" is the propensity of a system to be sensitive to initial conditions. Such systems over time become unpredictable, this idea gave rise to the notion of a butterfly flapping it's wings in one area of the world, causing a tornado or some such weather event to occur in another remote area of the world.

I am sure you have all heard of the Butterfly Effect and wondered from time to time what effect your actions, no matter how small and insignificant, might have on the world around you.

Well, we have our own unique Butterfly Effect going on here at our house and it is a complete mystery to me and causes me to wonder about other unanswered questions out there in the universe.

My Butterfly Effect doesn’t involve a real butterfly, just an iron one. It doesn’t move its wings or any other part. But it does nonetheless, move— a lot! It is attached to a wall and holds a candle, but the candle does little to illumine me as to this butterfly’s mystery. It has a very real effect on a certain member of our household though.

Let me go back to the beginning and fill you in on some of the details. We have lived in this house for 20 years and the bedrooms have gone through many changes. The hallways and others rooms however, have not. Now that we have an empty nest, the smallest bedroom is a guest room, the middle sized one serves as my studio and the largest one is the master bedroom.

Our house is a front to back, four level split - three bedrooms and bathroom on the 4th (top) level all joined by a little hallway leading to the stairs down to the 3rd level living room, dining room and kitchen. The little hallway is used all the time, every day, each and every day.

As I approached my 50th birthday I had a great desire to pick up an artist’s paintbrush and paint. Before this, I had only held a paintbrush in my hand to apply glue to a project but I liked the feel of it there. I wanted to explore this creative outlet before I turned 50, so I explored one avenue after another and eventually ended up at the local community college in a beginner’s course in Watercolour painting. I absolutely loved it. The paint did its own thing on the paper and when the colours moved and blended with each other I felt like I was watching creation. I wasn’t the artist; I was just the brush holder, standing there while the paint had a party on the paper. It was fabulous. I completed that course, and went back for two more.

I made quite a mess when I painted, so we set up a bedroom as my studio and I would retreat there to get lost in the creative process. I would get so engrossed in one project or another, I would completely lose track of time and forget to eat some days.

During this time I was suffering from deep grief after the death of my father, who suffered a long agonizing death in the hospital. Two years after his death I was faced with the sudden and unexpected death of my mother, on Christmas day. Three months later my five year old niece died unexpectedly, on my mother's birthday. The year following, my favourite aunt died and in that same year I lost a dear dear friend I considered a teacher, adopted mother, and role model.

I no sooner got my feet under me after one major loss, than I was blind sided by another. I felt like I couldn’t get my balance or catch my breath. I was reeling and felt like I was going down, and wouldn’t come back up again. That is when I picked up the paintbrush and got lost in my art. Some days I felt like the pain was flowing down my arm and along the paintbrush onto the paper. I couldn’t think straight, but I could paint and find a release there.

This painting is called Soul Tears. After so much grief and loss I felt like a dark empty shadow in this life, and all the colours of life were behind me. I couln't see them anymore and I felt empty and formless. As I healed, the colours of life eventually started to shine through and make themselves known again.

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. Twyla Tharp

I found this quote somewhere, and this yellowing scrap on paper in now tacked up on the bulletin board in my studio.

That is exactly what I did. I ran away into my art and lost, but also found, myself there. I gave myself permission to grieve, feel the pain and eventually heal.

I painted for myself, and was amazed when someone wanted to buy one of my paintings. This absolutely blew me away. Something that came out of my pain, spoke to someone else and they wanted to buy it. Actually buy it! I couldn't believe it. I kept painting and eventually worked up the courage to enter a picture in a juried show. How thrilling when it was chosen to hang in a local art gallery exhibit. Something beautiful was coming out of all that pain and I stood in amazement.

My paintings multiplied and I had many pictures framed and stacked in corners all over the house. Every time someone wanted to see one, we would have to dig through the pile on the floor and set selected ones out so we could see them. Not the best way to do it. I got really bold one day, and put everything I had framed, on the walls in my house. Kitchen, living room, bedrooms, hallways, and family room all gave up wall space for my paintings.

Three years ago I fell whilst rollerblading and did major damage to my back: a compression fracture between my shoulder blades. Certain activities still cause me a lot of pain: sitting at my desk or easel being one of them. I can take it for about 10 minute and then I am done. I have to stop what I am doing, put my arms down and rest. After a few minutes the pain eases up thank goodness, but I can’t find a comfortable position in which to paint. Starting and stopping like that doesn’t work too well when painting. I spent more time covering and uncovering paints than I did painting. I am still working on it though and haven’t given up hope. My paints are piled in a corner gathering dust, but I still have projects waiting to be finished and one day they will be. Yes, they will be.

Over the past few years I have sold or given away a number of paintings but haven’t produced any news ones to take their place – yet!!! Each time one of the paintings go, I move stuff around on the numerous pictures hooks all over my walls.

Yes, I am finally getting back to the iron butterfly. It is not my favourite wall hanging, but it is filling space on a wall hook until I find something better. It sticks out about an inch further than the picture did, but only an inch or two at the most.

For some unknown reason this butterfly reaches out and grabs AC every time he walks by it. Morning noon or night I hear a thump and a twang resounding through the house and know that the butterfly effect has stuck again. I am not sure what global catastrophe it is triggering in some far flung corner of the world, but tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and floods seem to be increasing in number all around the world.

AC looks at me, and his eyes beg me to take the blankety blank thing down. 'Save the planet' he seems to be saying to me. I have assured him over and over again that I will move it and do my part to stop major disasters around the world from happening, as soon as I find something else suitable to hang there, or until I can replace it with another painting!! First things first after all!

Well, time has passed and this butterfly effect has become a real joke now. So much so, I hate to change it. We both go into fits of laughter each time the thump twang resounds through the house. I try to tell AC that maybe he is the one hitting it instead of it hitting him, but I can’t convince him of this. Oh those tricksy butterflies what will they do next?

I kind of like this butterfly effect now though, because in our house it causes only ripples of laughter and that is a good thing. I might not ever move that little wall hanging, even when I do paint another picture that could hang in that spot!!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Feeling the Sunshine again.

What a difference a day makes. The sun in shining on fresh fallen snow this morning, and I can feel its warmth in every nook and crevice of my heart too.

I do not have breast cancer! I do not have breast cancer! I do not have breast cancer!!!!!

What a sweet sound that short sentence has. For the past three weeks I have been hearing another one whispered in the quiet corners of my heart “I might have breast cancer!” That one was a lot harder to say, and I didn’t like the sound or feel of it at all.

Just after we got home from Riverwood I was scheduled for my yearly mammogram. Ouch! I walked out of the hospital whistling a happy tune on that day, glad that it was over with for another year. I picked up my routine and continued on with the task of sorting things out after being away from home for so long. I had all sorts of balls in the air and was getting back into the rhythm of juggling them nicely.

A week later, I was in the middle of adding one more ball to my act when the phone call came. The mammogram revealed something sinister, and I was to return for further views and tests. My heart sank, all the balls that I had nicely dancing in the air went skittering out of control and fell on the ground, and I began my journey through dark February. I was skittered and scattered in spirit indeed.

Just after I got this call, I sat down to watch Oprah. Lance Armstrong was on that day talking about “Live Strong” the yellow bracelet campaign. My heart jumped, and I wondered if this show was preparing me for what I was about to face in the very near future. During the next two weeks things like this kept confronting me and taking my breath away.

I went back for the second mammogram, and the girls at the clinic were talking about lumps and biopsies and calmly told me not to worry. 80% of the detected lumps were benign. Their words gave me hope and comfort, but I stood there feeling sick to my stomach. I knew this room too well. I had walked past it many times on the way to the cancer clinic with my mother-in-law just a short time ago. Yes, once every 6 weeks for over two years we walked past this room to face chemo, blood tests and oncology doctor’s appointments.

All those memories were still fresh and vivid in my mind and I didn’t want to go there again. This time I would be the one sitting in the chair waiting for the chemo injection, and AC and my girls would be standing helpless by feeling all my pain. Help!

I walked outside into the fresh air and breathed deep. As I did so, I mentally put up my inner hands to ward off the fear and wild imaginings and walked into the rest of my day, determined to focus on the positive and enjoy the day. I just couldn’t waste today worrying about tomorrow, but I sure had a battle on my hands.

For the past two weeks I have been on an emotional roller coaster ride. Chugging up one frightening hill and zooming at lightening speed down another. Up and down, up and down, round and round and round. AC was there with me and we held onto each other and laughed and cried and screamed as we faced each new hairpin curve and swerve.

We also sat silently at the end of the day when fear lurked ready to pounce out of the dark at us. Nighttime is always the worst time to fight fear isn’t it? It seems to gain strength in the dark somehow. I wasn’t sleeping too soundly, so I went to the library and loaded up on books on tape. When I woke up in the middle of the night with my mind racing, I would put a tape into my walkman, slip the small earphone into my ear, and listen to someone reading me a bedtime story. I had poetry on tape, short stories, murder mysteries, biographies, and other assorted fluffy stuff like Maeve Binchy or Dick Francis, and these stories helped me get through the dead of night many times.

I thought about Mel’s blog sharks-loss-and-snowflakes often and felt the sharks swimming all around in the deep water I was going through. I could sense them brush past me and nibble at my confidence and strength. I couldn’t see them, but my imagination painted vivid pictures of chemo, radiation and surgery sharks taking big chunks out of me.

I had to force myself to focus on something else and look up, not down at what might be circling in the dark water at my feet. I read poetry, listened to music, went for walks, ran away into a good book or two, and also worked on changing my inner dialogue. I kept telling myself — I am ok for today! I can eat, sleep, walk, read, breath without pain, so life is good. I can get up out of my chair and walk across the room. I am ok! I am ok!! I am ok! I will enjoy today and worry about tomorrow when it shows up.

I met friends for coffee, went grocery shopping, looked for new sunglasses to use on the bike trails this spring and continued on with life, all the while feeling the sharks just under the surface ready to chomp away on me. I got through ordinary things like grocery shopping and stood amazed at the fact I could do that while the sharks were so close. (See What a week )

One day I went to get my hair cut and in the solitude of the car as Andre Bocelli sang on the CD player, I wondered if this would be my last hair cut in a long time. Would I have any hair on my head at all in 6 months time? I drove along and let myself get lost in the music as these shark thoughts attacked me. By the time I got to the hairdresser I had my dukes up again and was in the fighting stance. The sharks retreated and the day progressed with some sunshine in it.

I spent a lot of emotional energy fighting those hungry creatures during these past couple of weeks and my mind tried to go down many a scary path. I was exhausted by the time my doctor’s appointment rolled around yesterday.

AC and I got ready in silence and headed out to the car. At the side door he held my hand and said “Whatever it is, we will get through it together.” We high-fived each other and said in unison whatever together and hugged. It was during that hug that we both lost it. AC started to cry and so did I.

We were both struggling with the fear of what we might hear in less than an hour, and how our lives might change. We had walked this road with his mom not long ago, and we knew what was around some of the twists and turns on this breast cancer path.

We drove in silence to the doctor’s office, and when we got there I ran in to see how crowded the waiting room was and how long the wait would be. I would rather wait in the car than in a waiting room full of coughing and sneezing people. I spoke to the secretary, and she informed me the wait would be 30-45 minutes. My face must have registered all my tension and anxiety, because she whispered to me that she had talked to the doctor about my report and it was fine. All clear. He just wanted to see me to reassure me and answer any questions I might have. I didn’t really register what she said, and thought maybe it was wishful thinking. I asked her to repeat it. She smiled and did. I still had to wait almost an hour to see the doctor, so I told her I would leave and come back. I skipped back out to the car and told AC the test came back clear. The shadow was just that, only a shadow that disappeared on the second more intense mammogram. We both sat in the parking lot and cried.

After we dried our tears we drove down to the river and followed our bike route up to the Lake. My heart skipped when I realized that I would indeed be biking again this spring and not facing surgery and chemo and radiation and other untold treatments. I burst into tears again and let the joy and relief flood through me. We drove aimlessly back to the doctor’s office, and I could feel myself breathing deeply for the first time in days as the tension slowly ebbed out of my body.

I am still feeling the after affects of the emotional battle I have been through for the past few weeks, but I said to AC that I feel like I have a new lease on life and I am going to enjoy every minute of it.

The sun is shining today and life is good. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but today is good and I will deal with tomorrow when it gets here.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
Corrie ten Boom

We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hands…and melting like a snowwflake. Let us use it before it is too late.
Marie Edith Beynon

Friday, February 25, 2005

Sing along with me

I was reading Wash Lady’s blog the other day and at the end of her post I wanted to stand up and cheer! Her words resonated with something deep within me and I heard myself saying Yes! Right on! I love it when that happens, don't you?

I am well past my childbearing years, but I so related to the essence of what Wash Lady was saying in her blog about telling our own truths, and then learning from other women’s stories. Young or old, we have so much to learn from each other. Each of us is the younger women in someone else’s life and the older woman in another's. Older women need to open up and share their life experiences, and younger women need to hear them. Older women have a rich wisdom of experience to share with younger women, and younger women have fresh new ideas and enthusiasm for life, to share with older women. We all need each other!

In every area of our lives, we owe it to ourselves to be educated, know our options and therefore make wise informed decisions. We need to gather and weigh all the data we can, and then act on the knowledge gained; not just do what someone else tells us, we should or shouldn’t do.

Wash Lady talked at length in her blog about birthing and all the choices and options to be informed about during that wonderful time in our lives. Oh how I wish I could have talked to someone like Wash Lady 35 years ago.

I had two normal uncomplicated pregnancies and am very thankful for that. I gave birth in the hospital both times, under the care of an OB. No epidurals or other interventions were used, even though the first delivery was rather long and drawn out. I had no complications and everything was fine, but I wish I had been more informed back then and had known my other options. I still might have chosen the path I did, but I would liked to have been given the choice.

Over the years I have come to realise that my comfort and best interests are not always at the top of the medical profession’s priority list. My first clue about whose comfort and convenience was foremost on the list for my care, should have been the fact that when I was in labour and just about to deliver, I was put flat on my back with legs up in the air, feet in stirrups and then told to push - down. Oh sure!!!!! Whose comfort was a priority here I wonder? Surely not mine. The doctor sat there without having to bend his back at all, while I was pushing down, all the while pointing up to the high heavens! Yes, that should have been my first clue!

That was 32 years ago and it has taken me many years to hearken to that first clue and learn all I can about my own care and stand up for myself and others when dealing with the medical profession. Sigh! Some of us are such slow learners.

Maybe, just maybe my interests and comfort aren’t always first and foremost on the medical profession’s agenda. Maybe, just maybe I should educate myself and be my own best advocate and caregiver. Hmmmm? Sounds like a good plan.

As I said, I am well past my child-bearing years, but I have become very familiar of late, with the Silent Passage called menopause.

For some women the passage is indeed silent and swift with no problems at all. For others, me as a prime example, it is hot and uncomfortable and seems to drag on forever!!!!!

While I was dripping wet and miserable I had friends who were cool as a breeze and skipped along merrily singing the HRT song. It was a number one hit for many years. I am sure you have heard it too. It goes something like this - HRT is an easy wise cure for that horrible disease called menopause. Yes, 15 years ago that tune was top of the charts for women my age.

My doctor just assumed that I wanted to sing along too, and prescribed HRT as a matter of course at the first signs of perimenopause. The medical profession had the attitude that this was not a natural passage of life, but something bad to be dealt with like a sickness. I came home with a prescription in my purse that day, but the still small voice at the core of my being was softly humming another tune. It was very hard to hear her voice above all the other loud voices singing the HRT song though.

During this time I heard a sweet clear melody sung by Janine O’Leary Cobb the founder of an organization called A Friend Indeed. She wrote a book entitled Understanding Menopause and also put out a newsletter addressing women’s health issues. She didn’t tell me what to do, she just sang her song of education, understanding and information. She told me her truth, made me stop and think for myself, gave me solid research to read,then put me in touch with other women who were going through the same thing I was. Women who had the same doubts about HRT and were trying to listen to that still small voice within themselves.

Janine pointed me to studies and reports pro and con on many issues and then let me make my own informed decision. She wasn’t backed by any drug companies, so her material was unbiased and straight up. I found her song a sweet relief in the middle of all the clamour and noise.

Over the years I have learned so much from other women willing to put their stories to the music of the written word and am so thankful that I was able to find a spot for my voice in that choir too. What a joy to sing along with the melody at some points but have the freedom to make harmony in others.

I needed to have all the sheet music clearly in front of me though, so I could see all the notes and make a knowledgeable choice of the best part for me to sing at different times in my life.

So dear blogging friends, learn all the music, and then chose the best part for youself to sing; alto, soprano, descant – whatever. Continue to share your stories and let's make beautiful music together.

You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.
Doug Floyd

Monday, February 21, 2005

Fire…Part II

I finally found some time to sit down this weekend and finish my blog about the fire. Part I can be read here.

Today I thought I would fill you in on what was going on at our neighbour’s house, while I was running around looking for the fire in my house.

Ralph and Marion, a youngish retired couple, were our neighbours at that time. In their sixties, they had certain health problems they were dealing with, but nothing serious, so they were active and interesting people who participated in neighbourhood life. Marion was always out working in the garden, or decorating her house or going off to some social function or another. Ralph was more of a homebody and his main interest seemed to be his car. He was often outside washing it, polishing it, dusting it, airing it out or some such thing. I am sure as a teenager he was the kid with the fabulous car that all the other kids admired.

We don’t have garages on these small lots, so our cars are out in all sorts of weather. If ice or snow were called for, Ralph would sometimes cover his car with plastic. It got to be a neighbourhood joke of sorts. If we were out washing or working on our car, a neighbour might come by and say, “Oh, you’re Ralphing your car.” or “I need to go home and Ralph my car too.”

Can you guess where I am going with this? You’re right; it was Ralph’s car that went up in flames. It was a fairly new car too. The assorted dusty old clunkers everyone else in the neighbourhood had were as cool as cumbers that night, but Ralph’s new car was “hot”! Literally!

On the night their car burst into flames, Ralph and Marion had retired to their beds in a room at the back of the house, and all their windows were closed tight. As a result, they didn’t hear or smell anything. The fire trucks were at their house, people were gathering around and they slept throught it all, even the loud banging on their front door. The firemen were getting ready to burst the front door down so they could get into the house to turn off the gas and electricity just in case the house caught fire. One of the neighbours asked the firemen to wait while he ran into his house to try to call Marion on the phone. After many rings a sleepy Marion answered the phone and she was told to get up and open the front door or firemen would break it down. She stumbled to the front door and no sooner had she opened it than firemen with wet sooty boots brushed past her, trudged along her white carpets and down to the basement to turn off the gas and electricity.

If I was in a state of shock, I can only imagine what Marion was feeling at that awful moment. Ralph was right behind her at the front door and I don’t think either of them could take in what was happening. Marion’s gaze was on the sooty footprints on her white carpet and Ralph was staring in disbelief at his flaming car. Oh dear.

What a night for all of us. I was a shaken heap of nerves after my rude awakening from my bed, but at least I didn’t have the aftermath of the clean-up to contend with the next morning like Marion did. I had major work to do on my feelings, but she was dealing with her feelings and her destroyed car and her damaged house.

I went outside around mid-morning the next day and saw her on her hands and knees beside a pail of hot water at her front door. She had a scrub brush in her hand, and was trying to get the sooty, melted-rubber footprints off her porch. Her driveway was covered in a mixture of melted rubber, and residue of chemical spray the fire department had used on the car. Each step in and out of the house tracked more of the outside mess inside. She was trying to at least clean a small path to the front door, before she dealt with the damage to her carpets inside.

No one was hurt in the fire, and we were all thankful for that. It could have been much worse, and really in the grand scheme of things it was a pretty small event. Houses, people and pets were fine, and the car was new and insured so it could and would be replaced with no problem. The trauma was huge in Marion and Ralph’s life though and took them awhile to get over it. Me too!

As I lay in bed the other morning I thought about all these things, and the irony of the situation. How awful, that of all the cars in the neighbourhood, it was Ralph’s new one, his pampered, prized possession that went up in flames. There was no rhyme or reason for it and it seemed so unfair that it was Ralph’s baby that was damaged.

Have you ever felt like this has happened to you? The one thing that you treasure more than anything else, and have taken great care of, suddenly goes up in flames. You did the best you could and followed all the rules, but now you are standing there with ashes all around you and a terrible mess to clean up. Other people seem to be getting away with murder, while you have to stand by and watch your hopes and dreams go up in smoke.

Hopes and dreams for your kids, your new home, your promotion, your book deal, your retirement plan – whatever you took great care of and treasured; you now watch smoulder in dust and ashes. God it hurts. It just plain hurts.

You took such good care of your “life’s treasure” - cleaned it, washed it, polished it, protected it from the elements and still it went up in flames. You now stand dumbfounded and look up and down the street in your life and see other old clunkers sitting dusty and neglected, and they are ok. How come? You ask. The neighbour’s treasures aren’t threatened. Why yours? Why now? Why this of all the things in your life?

Has your “life treasure” ever been on fire and you didn’t even know about it? Maybe a friend had to call you and awaken you from a deep sleep of denial and tell you to wake up and get out!

Sometimes bad things happen to good people and we just have to deal with what life sends our way. Ralph’s car had an electrical short and no matter how much polishing and washing he did, the car would still have gone up in flames. He didn’t neglect the oil changes or the tire rotations. He did nothing wrong! It was something out of his control and nothing he could have done would have prevented what happened. He did nothing wrong! He did nothing wrong...YOU did nothing wrong!

The aftermath of such an ordeal is so hard to clean up and sometimes you feel overwhelmed and so alone in the task. You scrub one area, but the mess keeps getting tracked back into your life and leaving marks all over your heart. What do you do first, and where do you find the strength to do it?

You find it inside! Inside! You have the strength inside to face anything sent your way.

There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.
Washington Irving

When you come to these times in your life, pick up your bucket, fill it with whatever you have, then start at the front door of your life and work from there. Even though you might feel totally alone, your friends and family see what you are going through and they will help you if you let them. They can't take the pain or trauma away, but they can support you and help you get through it.

We have to come to a point where we let the unanswerable questions go, pick up our buckets and start cleaning what we can. We can allow ourselves to feel what we feel and even say it out loud. This is not fair! I don't like it! I don’t understand what happened or why, and I feel so hurt and angry. I might understand why it happened someday, but then again, I might not. For now,I will not let what happened rob me of today’s joy. Today is all I have. I will try to love and accept what is instead of mourning the what isn’t, and get on with my life.

Forgive yourself for what you did wrong, don’t accept blame or guilt for something you had no control over and get on with your life.

If there is a purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering and in dying. But no man can tell another what that purpose is. Each must find out for himself, and must accept the responsibility that his answer prescribes. Viktor Frankl

He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how. Nietzsche

The last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances. Viktor Frankl

Saturday, February 19, 2005

What a Week!

As you can tell from the lack of postings during the past few days, I have had one of those hectic weeks. The kind that makes you want to hit the rewind button and start all over again so you can do things differently, or if that can’t be done, hit the fast forward button and just get it over-with!!!

The movie on Monday night knocked me off balance, and then just when I was catching my breath and on my feet again, something else would blind-side me with a bit more force and over I would go again- kerplunk! Yep, it was one of those weeks. I felt the sharks circling and threatening. See Mel’s blog Sharks Loss and Snowflakes.

Without going into details about my week, let me just say my spirit feels a bit ragged today, but I am still in one piece. The sharks nibbled at this and that, but weren’t able to get away with huge chunks of me. They did make life rather miserable though.

I walked through the grocery store early Friday morning and bought fruit and milk and cheese and was awed by the fact that I could do something so ordinary while I felt the sharks circling and brushing up against me. Be calm, inspect the apples, pick out the best bananas, walk the length of the store, get milk and cheese. Ordinary tasks being done successfully during such an up-side-down week, amazed me.

In the middle of my muddle this week, I happened to turn the TV on and caught a re-run of Oprah. She was talking to Dana Reeve, the wife of Christopher Reeve. I am sure you know the story of this Superman star, and his accident that put him in a wheelchair. He died just a few months ago after spending 9 years as a quadriplegic.

One segment of this Oprah show included a past interview with Reeve. He said something that stopped me in my tracks that day. He said he would look at people get up out of a chair and walk across the room and he would be amazed that they didn’t realize the wonder of that simple action. He would have given anything to be able to do that.

I wasn’t able to hit the rewind or the fast forward buttons in my life this past week, but I did hit the pause button when I heard that comment from Reeve, and I took a long hard look at all the positive things in my life. Just the simple act of getting up out of a chair and walking across the room was a gift. Not only could I walk across the room, I could make myself a cup of tea, write a letter and do numerous other things that gave me independence and freedom. I was blessed indeed.

Here it is Saturday morning and wonder of wonders, I am still standing. The sharks are still circling, but life is good and will continue to be so as long as I focus on the positive and enjoy the everyday miracles all around me.

I challenge you to hit the pause button in your life today and take a long hard look at all the miracles in your everyday life. Think about it the next time you get up out of a chair and walk across the room. Your life is a gift. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

All A-buzz and Dancing

We had snow last night, and now all the puddles that formed here and there in yesterday’s rain are frozen and snow covered. Winter’s last gasp.

In spite of the snow today, I feel a few rays of emotional sunshine breaking through and the ice is melting on the inside at least. Whew! I am going to curl up with my books and journals and continue on in my search for more of that sunshine today. We really have to dig for it in February don’t we?

I read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, while we were at Riverwood and thoroughly enjoyed that book. One quote from the extra dialogue at the end of the book jumped out at me, and I wrote it in my journal.

All our sorrows can be borne if we put them in a story or tell a story about them.
Isak Dineson

Blogging does help us to tell our stories doesn’t it? Writing our own stories down on paper gets the poison out and releases the pressure of hurtful things in our lives. Reading other’s stories and relating to them when we are hurting and feel alone in our pain, is like applying a soothing balm to our inflamed hearts.

Yes, all our sorrows can be borne if we put them in a story or tell a story about them. Keep writing your stories for others to read. We all need each other don’t we?

Have any of you read The Secret Life of Bees? What did it say to you?

I am reading another Kidd book right now, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, and it is quite the book. The front cover subtitle reads – A woman’s journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine. There is a lot of underlining going on and deep soul searching taking place as I read through this book.

The Secret Life of Bees is a novel, this book is not, it is an account of Kidd’s journey to capture her feminine soul and live authentically. It is really making me stop and think about who I am, what I believe and why?

Have you read it? Do you have any thoughts to share with me? I would love to hear them.

Well, my coffee cup is empty and my books are calling to me, so I will end this post here and talk to you all later.

Enjoy your day and find a way to make some sunshine for someone else if you can.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Raining on the inside

I feel wrung out today. Absolutely wrung out. We had such a wonderful day yesterday and enjoyed sunshine in spite of the weather. Today however is a different story. It is another cold rainy day and my feelings mirror it. Yes, it is “raining on the inside” today and my heart feels cold and damp. Maybe I will go sit by the fire for a while and wrap myself in a blanket, my mind in a good book and my heart in some warm memories. Yes, I think that is what is called for today.

We woke up to the sound of icy rain pelting against the bedroom window yesterday so I rolled over and turned on the radio to get a weather report. School busses were cancelled because of icy roads! Oh dear. AC had an appointment to take the car in for a repair at 7:30am and then we had planned on going out for a Valentine’s Day breakfast. Maybe we should cancel plans and stay home. Hmmmm, what should we do? By the time we got up and dressed the icy rain had turned to just plain rain so we carried on as planned.

We made our own sunshine, and enjoyed a warm sunny day even though it poured rain all day. After dinner we settled down to watch what we thought was a light-hearted romantic movie - The Notebook. I guess it was light-hearted and fun in spots, but it hit so close to home and was so sad at the end that I sat on the couch and wept as the closing credits rolled on the screen. Neither AC nor I could talk at the end of the movie, nor did either of us move to switch off the CD player. We just sat there in the dark and wept as the music played and the credits rolled.

I am feeling the aftermath of that emotional wringer today, and am walking very slowly through my day as a result of it. Memories of past pain and fear of what the future might hold is causing the icy rain to fall on the inside and chill my heart today.

Not long ago we watched a dear one stumble through his days at the end of his life. He didn’t know what season it was, where he was, why there were all these strangers around him, and why he couldn’t just go home. It was so sad to see him so confused and alone in the nursing home but there was nothing else we could do.

Visiting him was exhausting, and when I was at the hospital I just wanted to go home to bed, but when I was at home I felt like I should be at the hospital to help him. I couldn’t find peace anywhere.

I watched this movie last night and all those thoughts and feelings and fears came rushing back like a tidal wave. I felt the pain of the past, and the fear of the future wash over me and almost swamp me. The wave has passed, and I have my head above water today, but I feel like I am just clinging to a piece of driftwood and the chill of the icy water is still all around me. I can’t see or feel any sunshine right now, but I will hang on until tomorrow. The sun will come out again, tomorrow.

If an icy storm is blasting into your life today, just hang on until tomorrow. Hang on.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Shall we Dance

We rented Shall We Dance on Friday night, and it was a light and fluffy story, but fun to watch. Made me laugh right out loud in spots, and think about my life in others, so that makes it a good movie in my books.

I loved the movie The King and I when I was a kid, and wanted to get up and dance myself when Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner swept around the dance floor. Oh the music, her dress, the ballroom – it was all so wonderful and made a great impression on me. All those feelings came back to me when we watched this movie on Friday night and I wanted AC to get up and take a spin or two around the family room with me. I didn't have the right dress on though!! What fun.

In Shall We Dance,Richard Gere plays a middle aged attorney who starts to question the nature of his existence and is unable to articulate his unhappiness. The long and short of it is that he does something completely outside of his “box” and has fun.

At one point in the movie he asks himself the question that his clients had invariably asked him over the years after they had signed their wills, dotted all the “I’s” and crossed all the “T’s”. “Is that it then?”

As he looked at his life and asked himself the same question he realized that it wasn’t enough and he wasn’t ready to say “Yep, that’s it. That’s all there is.” He had a dream to do something else, and the only way to do that was to get out of his seat and take the first step towards his dream. No matter how strange and uncomfortable it seemed to him, he had to make a move and take action.

That first step is always the hardest one to take isn’t it? I know it is February, and a bit dreary out there, but it might be a perfect time to dust off your dreams, take them out of their boxes, look at them closely and then take a step towards one of them. Go ahead. Do it.
If not now – when?

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Saturday Sunshine

Sunshine streaming in the bedroom window woke me up bright and early this morning, but I was reluctant to get out of the warm bed and brave the cold room. I rolled over, pulled the comforter up under my chin and burrowed deeper into the bed to enjoy a few more minutes in the snug cocoon of covers. Ahhh, Saturday morning comfort, nothing quite like it. I love a lazy winter Saturday morning when nothing important is on the calendar and I can set my own agenda for the day. Pure luxury indeed.

I lay in my cozy bed and let my mind wander along this path and that and wondered what I would do today. Go for a walk in the park, pay a visit to the library, return a shirt to the store? Odds and ends like that could be done, but nothing had to be done. Oh joy, I could take the day in any direction I wanted to. The blog I wrote yesterday was still fresh in my mind and I realised that there was more of the story to tell, so I started to gather thoughts and put them in order for another blog. (Stay tuned for Fire - Part II) I soon needed to get up and get a pencil and paper, so I threw back the covers and got up to face the day. Pencil first, and then coffee!

I am now working on my second cup of coffee and am all settled in my comfy writing nook in my studio. AC is in the den happily working on some HTML lessons, so we will work away at our computers for the rest of the morning and then meet in the kitchen for lunch. I think a walk along the water and a visit to the library is on for this afternoon. Yes, a luxurious Saturday for sure.

…Well, it is now 8pm, and I am just now getting back to finish the post I started this morning. Some days the best laid plans just have to take a back seat to the sunshine.

I spent the morning writing, but didn’t get my story ready to post, then stopped for lunch and didn’t get back to the laptop again all day. We had a fun afternoon though – even got out for a ride on our bikes. Yahoo! We stayed on the dry roads in the neighbourhood and only went about 4k’s but it was fun. It was so nice to get out on the bikes again.

We went for a walk in the park too, and there was a major drama going on at the waterfront. Fire trucks and rescue squads were parked on the beach, and firemen were suiting up to go out on the ice flows to rescue two young fellows way out on the lake. We stopped to watch.

As it turned out, the young kids were not in trouble and had no idea that a rescue mission was being set up on shore for them. They were sauntering along on the ice when they noticed the firemen walking towards them with all sorts of ropes and equipment to haul them out of the icy water if need be. Crazy kids. The ice is all melting and breaking up and they could have easily been stranded out there, but they were oblivious to the dangers of the shifting ice and were just walking further and further out.

When we left the scene, the firemen had the kids back on shore and were giving them a good talking to. Sure hope they don’t do that again. I wonder if their parents will be sent a bill for the rescue. Does the fire department do that? I know you get billed for an ambulance ride. What about an emergency rescue from an ice flow? Hmmm? I wonder.

It amazes me that people aren't more careful when the ice starts to melt at this time of year. We went to the Bay a couple of days ago and the ice is breaking up in there too, but people still have ice fishing huts out on the water and snowmobiles parked beside them. Sheesh, I wouldn't set foot out on the melting ice these days, let alone drive a snowmobile out on it.

Well, it is getting late, and I am starting to ramble, so I will end this post here. I hope you had a wonderful day too and got to soak up some of the scant February sunshine.

Stay away from thin ice and be safe.

Talk to you all later.

Survey on Blogger Ethics

I was reading Iona's blog this morning and she has information on this survey if you are interested in participating

Friday, February 11, 2005


I was reading Karla’s blog the other day, and it reminded me of something that happen to me a couple of years ago, and I thought it was worthy of a blog on this dreary February day.

Anvilcloud (AC) was fighting a terrible cold, but I was still winning the battle and fending off the nasty germs. As we were getting ready for bed that night I jokingly said to him “Please don’t breath on me tonight. Keep your germs on your side of the bed, OK?!!” He looked at me rather forlornly and said he just wished he could breathe period. Cough, hack, gasp! He crawled into bed and I opened the bedroom window to let the fresh air in while we slept.

Soon I was in a deep sleep. I was in that deep state of sleep when something started to tug at me and drag me back to the surface. At first I thought it was the smell of the medicine AC took for his cold, it was awful. Then I was instantly awake and knew exactly what I was smelling - smoke! I glanced over at the bedroom door and saw a red flickering glow out in the hallway. I jumped out of bed and raced out into the hall. Nothing there, but I could smell smoke and see the red flickering glow of flames coming from the kitchen area. Oh no, I must have left the potpourri pot burning on the stove and now the whole kitchen was in flames. The smell was overwhelming and choking me. I raced down to the kitchen, threw open the door and ran into the room. Nothing there! I grabbed the fire extinguisher and headed down to the family room and den. Nothing there either! The smell was thick and noxious, and a flickering red glow was filling the house, but I couldn’t find the fire. Where was the fire? I raced back up to the kitchen and flew towards the front of the house. The smell was stronger and the red glow brighter there. Oh no, the front of the house must be on fire. I threw open the front door and tumbled out onto the front porch. The smell of smoke almost knocked me out and a very bright light blinded me for an instant. I stood there in my rather flimsy nightgown and blinked in disbelief as I saw huge lights aimed at the front of my house, fire trucks on the street, firemen with hoses, neighbours milling around and many sets of eyes turned my way. I stood there in terror, caught like a deer in headlights. I couldn’t compute what I was seeing or smelling or hearing at first. It did eventually sink in that there weren’t any flames at my front door, most of the activity seemed to be around my neighbour’s house, and... my nightgown was almost transparent in the bright lights. Yikes. I quickly ducked back inside the house to grab a coat – and WAKE UP ANVILCLOUD!!!

Can you believe that? I thought the house was on fire, and I left Anvilcloud sleeping soundly in bed!!! He was so stuffed up he didn’t smell a thing, his cold medicine had put him into a deep sleep so he didn’t sense me jumping out of bed, and his good ear was on the pillow, so he didn’t hear me as I ran wildly through the house.

I bolted upstairs yelling all the way for AC to wake up, we both grabbed our coats and went out into the street to see what was going on. I had only been awake for maybe 5-10 minutes at the most, and now I was starting to shake. I still didn’t know where the fire was or what was going on, but at least I knew that it wasn’t my house that was burning- yet! I had time to at least get a coat, grab the cat, and oh yes, wake up my husband. Sheesh! I just couldn’t believe that I had left AC sleeping in the bed.

We went outside to a group of people milling around the front of our house and asked what was going on. We discovered that our next-door neighbour’s car had caught fire and had been in flames in their driveway. A person driving by at 3am had noticed it and called the fire department. By the time they got there, the car was engulfed, and the fire was so hot, the front tires melted. (That is what I had smelled wafting in the open bedroom window that I had so nicely open before bedtime to let in “fresh air.”)

The car was flaming, and the fire department was afraid that the house would go up next, so they had the entire area bathed in light and were getting ready to hose down the houses. They eventually got the fire out and towed the charred car away on a flatbed truck. No damage was done to any of our houses. Thank goodness.

On shaking legs I walked back into our house and was almost in a state of shock. I made a cup of tea and sat shivering at the kitchen table trying to sort out what had just happened. The most frightening part of all, was that I had done everything wrong. Everything! I just couldn’t believe how stupid I had been.

I had studied fire safety tips and gone over them with my kids. We talked about what to do in case of a fire, and how to get out of the house safely. I knew that we were supposed to roll out of bed and stay close to the floor as we tried to leave the house by the safest route and get everyone out. I knew we were supposed to look for smoke and touch doors before opening them. All that stuff! I knew it inside and out, but when it came right down to it, I didn’t do any of it. I jumped out of bed and ran right into the fire – while I left AC asleep in bed I might add! Good grief! I ran right into where I thought the fire was. I smelled the smoke and I saw what I thought was the red glow of the flames and I ran right into it. RIGHT INTO IT! The red glow was just the flashing lights on the fire trucks shining in through the front windows, but the smell of the melting tires and my sleepy state caused me to believed I was seeing flames. And I didn’t wake AC up! I didn’t even shake him or holler. I just left him sleeping and ran into the flames to try to put the fire out. It still makes me shake when I think about it now.

I clutched my cup of tea as I sat at the kitchen table that night and thought about what could have been, and how lucky I was that my family and house were safe and unharmed. I wrapped my fingers around the hot mug and warmed my cold hands on the smooth surface, but the warmth of the cup did little to melt the icy feeling of upset in my heart.

I eventually went back to bed around 4am and amazingly drifted off to sleep. When I got up the next morning I was so thankful for every little corner of my house, and I looked at everything with different eyes. How wonderful it was that I still had my photo albums and journals and other things that might have been lost in a fire. All the trivial things I had worried about yesterday had melted in the heat of the fire, and I didn’t care about the spot on the carpet or the broken latch on the gate anymore. Funny how a near disaster can put things into perspective huh?

Yes, I was very thankful for what didn’t happen, but I was also upset with myself for what did happen. What if it had been a fire in our house? What if I had run into a flaming kitchen? What if I couldn’t get back upstairs to wake AC? What if the last thing I said to him was “don’t breathe on me”? What if…what if…what if??? I was beating myself up and felt awful. I knew better. I knew what to do in case of a fire, but I did everything wrong. EVERYTHING!

Nothing bad happened this time, but it could have, and I felt sick about what I had done and NOT done. It took me awhile to work through those awful feelings. Now, a few years later, we laugh about some of things that happened that night, but at the time I sure didn’t laugh. I must have looked quite the sight though, standing wild-eyed on the front porch in my flimsy nightgown, clutching my fire extinguisher. That is a sight the neighbours won’t soon forget. Groan!

Life throws us curves some days, and even when we think we have all the answers and know just what to do in any situation. We don’t! People make mistakes and do dumb things in the haste of the moment. Believe me, I know about dumb mistakes! People disappoint us, and worse than that, we disappoint ourselves.

The only way to find happiness in this life is to forgive ourselves for the dumb mistakes we make, and forgive others for the same. Move forward in joy, from where we are right here and now. March into the beauty of each new day given us, and keep moving forward not backward. Don’t waste another minute on regrets and what if’s.

We are not the mistakes that we have made. Hold onto that, and believe it. It is true.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Surprise !!

I had such a nice surprise today and am still basking in the glow of it, so permit me to share some of the joy with you.

I spent a busy morning at the computer catching up on email and then set to work returning numerous phone calls. After lunch Anvilcloud went out to do errands, and I went up to my studio to get back to “work”. I was on the phone when I heard him come in the side door about an hour later, so it took me about 10 minutes to come down and say hello. I walked into the kitchen and there on the table sat a white jewellery box all tied up with a gold bow. Oh so pretty.

I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to see that box sitting there. I thought I knew what was in it and couldn’t believe that it was waiting on my table for me! I have seen movies where someone is surprised by a gift-wrapped jewellery box, and they are positively thrilled about the bauble in the box, but I don’t ever remember it happening to me. How neat when it is your turn for something like that to happen, and it is a genuine surprise. I don’t remember much of what I did or said, but I think I squealed with delight. Yikes! I don’t recall any time that I have ever done that before, but this was such a surprise.

This was a Tuesday morning for goodness sake, and no special Tuesday at that. Not my birthday or our anniversary, or any other special occasion, just a plain old Tuesday morning in February. How neat and wonderful.

It all started over 20 years ago with a beautiful silver and amethyst Scottish shawl pin I bought for myself. I wear that shawl pin all the time and get comments on it every time I do. It really is quite beautiful and unique.

One day last year I walked into a small ladies dress shop in town, and the owner noticed the pin, walked over to me and said, “I have the perfect ring to go with that pin. Let me show it to you.” She did and it was!!! I loved the ring but left the store without it. It was too expensive and just not the right time to buy it for myself. I did love it though and mentioned it to Anvilcloud. He asked me to take him to the store and show it to him, just in case he needed a gift idea sometime in the future, he wanted to see what it was like. I took him to the store to point it out to him, and he bought it for me right then and there. Right on the spot, for no special occasion at all! I was flabbergasted and thrilled to pieces.

I wear the ring and pin all the time and still get comments on them each time I do. The pin is beautiful, but the ring is extra special because of the way it came to me.

While doing my errands yesterday, I saw a silver and amethyst bracelet that would go beautifully with the pin and ring. My birthday is coming up next month, and our 36th wedding anniversary is in May. I thought Anvilcloud might want a gift idea or two, so I mentioned the bracelet to him.

Yep, you guessed it, he went down to the store today and bought it for me, had it gift wrapped and just set it on the kitchen table for me to discover. He didn’t even think of keeping it for my birthday or our anniversary. Just gave it to me to enjoy today. Wow! You just never know what tomorrow will hold for any of us, so he wanted to give it to me now. I still can’t believe it.

Gifts out of the blue like that are so amazing and wonderful and memorable. Now, along with the story behind the ring I have the story behind the bracelet, and the stories are what make each piece absolutely priceless.

Do something totally out of the blue and unexpected for someone you love this week, and give them a story to tell. If you don’t have someone special in your life right now, do a random act of kindness for a stranger. It will make their day, and yours too. I love surprises don’t you? Come on now, put your thinking caps on and have some fun planning who you can surprise and how.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Menopause Cake

This blog has been keeping warm in the oven at the back of my mind since our trip home from Riverwood last week, and now I finally have time to take it out of that warm spot to see if it has risen nicely, and firmed up a bit so I can get it out of the pan, and share it with you. I think it's ready.

We have a cell phone that we use when we are travelling, but get very poor reception up north. Each time we drive to a city or town I usually take advantage of the better service there and try to dial our answering machine to check for messages and take care of any calls needing a response. Once we hit the 401 last week, that was the first thing I did. Imagine my surprise when I heard a strange voice on the answering machine saying she was a friend of a friend and was interested in my recipe for Menopause Cake! Our mutual friend had raved about this cake and said I would give her the recipe. Well, I would have been happy to do so, but I had never heard of this cake. Evidently our mutual friend had mixed me up with someone else, but the very idea of a Menopause cake sure gave me a chuckle.

Menopause Cake! Menopause cake? What in the world could it be? Maybe it was an ice cream cake? Hmmm? Could be a winner.

I felt like calling this lady right back and saying, “I don’t have such a recipe, but if you find it and whip it up, just give me the cake pans full of batter. I am sure I could cook them in my bare hands some days!” Yes, hot flashes have paid me many a visit and made life very uncomfortable at times.

Small children have been known to gather round me to sing campfire songs on a cool night. I drew the line at toasting marshmallows though, the messy goo tended to get caught in my hair!

If I lingered too long on street corners during a cold spell, people would draw near and hold out their hands towards me to warm them in the radiating heat. I considered it my community service to go for long slow walks in the cold weather to help ease heating bills in the area. Hmmm, what is the real cause of global warming??? Could it be all the Baby Boom women going through Menopause at the same time? Makes one wonder doesn't it?

Hot Flashes! You just can’t imagine what they are like until you experience them yourself. One minute you are cool and comfortable and the next minute a raging inferno has enveloped you. For instance - I would be in a store trying to talk to a salesperson about something but would have to give up and leave the store because it was too hard to concentrate on what they were saying when sweat was running down my forehead into my eyes and dripping of the end of my nose. If only I had known there was a Menopause Cake that could have helped me. Maybe it was a cake of ice. Well, two actually – one for each armpit!

AC was sitting in the car beside me when I laughed at this phone message and started to ramble on about this mysterious Menopause Cake and how it could have helped me when. He laughed right along with me and said he would like to have a piece of that cake too - if it was warm. Poor guy had been through it all with me, and was very patient and understanding when I was melting, even though he was freezing most of the time.

Many a night I wanted to open the bedroom windows in the middle of winter to let the freezing cold air fill the room while I lay on top of the covers. He was buried under a pile of blankets with his teeth chattering while I tossed and turned beside him trying to get cool. Ah, where was the Menopause Cake when we really needed it?

I remember one spring morning during a particularly hot spell(for me). AC and I were sitting at the breakfast table enjoying a second cup of coffee while we read the morning paper. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt but AC was dressed in sweat-shirt and track pants. He was settled in at his end of the kitchen table and I at mine, which was right in front of the open window.

AC said it was a cool morning, but I didn’t think so. As usual, I was melting. Sigh! We have a big fan over the kitchen table and as a hot flash swept over me, I reached up to turn it on. I continued to sip my coffee and read the paper while the fan moved the air around over our heads and the cool air drifted in the window. Ah, that was better.

I wasn’t paying any attention to AC or what he was doing. I thought he got up at one point to get more coffee but nothing more than that registered with me because I was engrossed in the article I was reading. After a few minutes I put the paper down to go get more coffee and when I glanced at AC I burst out laughing. There he was sitting across the breakrast table from me wearing his hat and coat!!! A wool Tilley fedora and a black fleecy jacket! Can you just picture it? I was in shorts and t-shirt and he was bundled up for winter. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I felt like I was at a Woolworth’s diner. What a hoot!

He looked up at me in surprise when I started to laugh. “What’s the problem?” he asked incredulously.

“What on earth are you wearing? I blurted out between fits of laughter. “I feel like I am sitting in a diner.” Gasp, chuckle, roar!!!!

He started to laugh too and said, “It’s freezing in here. I don’t have much hair on the top of my head you know, and that fan blowing full blast on my scalp is killing me.” Oh, it was just toooo funny.

He was shivering in his boots, but didn’t say a word to me about the cold air blowing on his head, or the gale force winds coming in the open window. He just quietly got up and put his hat and coat on, returned to the breakfast table and finished reading the paper. It was too funny for words. I am laughing even as I write about it now, many years later.

Thankfully, the hot flashes are almost a thing of the past now, but every once in awhile I am treated to one, just to keep me on my toes, and make me extremely grateful that they only come once in a while instead of every few minutes. I don’t know who is more relieved about that though, me or AC.

Overheard at a medical convention –

Doctor #1 – How is your patient load these days?
Doctor#2 –Just fine, but I am concerned about an overload in one area of my practise.
Doctor #1 – Oh, what’s the problem?
Doctor #2 – Many of my patients are going through menopause and I am overwhelmed with requests for appointments and patient care.
Doctor #1 – Lots of questions about HRT and a search for alternative treatments?
Doctor #2 – No, for husbands suffering from pneumonia!!

Isn’t life grand? I hope your "cake of life" has lots of icing on it and warm or cold, you get to enjoy a corner piece or two.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Home Again

Has it really been a week since we left Riverwood? Now that I am home I feel like I am on another planet instead of just the other side of the province. The temps are above zero; the traffic is thick and the concrete copious! Home sweet home.

I do miss the beauty of Riverwood, but I must admit that is it nice to be back in my own bed, and I am enjoying the total luxury of that. Focus on the positive right? The house looked a bit tired and dusty after sitting empty for so long, but other than that, things seemed to be in order. Or so I thought!!!!!

The first day we arrived home late, so we just unloaded the car, got cleaned up and headed off to bed. The next day was given to unpacking suitcases and sorting laundry – stuff like that. After a busy morning, I took my lunchtime cup of tea down to the family room to enjoy the hot brew in front of the fire. I plopped down on the couch and opened the drawer in the couch to put my nail kit away. What a surprise I found waiting for me there. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing at first. Little bits of Kleenex, little pieces of cloth, torn shreds of paper, piles of seeds husks…piles of seed husks????? What the… I looked closer and saw… MOUSE DROPPINGS GALORE!!! Oh no! This can’t be! First it was a mouse in the car last fall, then two mice at the farm during this holiday and now a mouse here at home. ENOUGH! No more mice – please!

I was dumbfounded when I looked at the drawer and saw seed husks. Piles of them! Where in the world did they come from? I keep Kleenex, paper, pens, stickers, glue, scissors – stuff like that in the drawer, but nothing edible. I quietly closed the drawer and sat calmly (or at least I was trying for calmly) drinking my tea while I pondered the mess the little blighter had made. How did he get into the house in the first place; was he alone; how long had he been having a party in the drawer; and where did he get the seeds from?????? Sheesh!

I finished my tea, then found some old garden gloves, gathered up some garbage bags, cleaning solution and paper towels, and set to work to clean out the drawer. It didn’t take me long to discover the source of the seeds. I had three, microwave heatable, cloth bags to treat sore muscles. Two of them were homemade affairs and were full of some type of seed. I didn’t know this until now!!! The mouse found these bags, chewed through the cloth covers and had a feast. I think he made paper plates out of my stationery, and serviettes out of Kleenex, because there were piles of chewed bits of them all over the drawer too. He set quite a cluttered buffet table let me tell you.

The drawer is now empty and traps are set. So far I have caught two mice and I will continue to set the traps to make sure any of their buddies that might drop by for a snack in the next week or so, will be dealt with in short order. Now, can I find the spot where they are getting into the house and take care of that? Hmmmm, where do I start to look for it? The search begins. I hate trapping them, so if I can find a way to keep them outside I will share that world with them, not this inside world.

After I dealt with the mouse drawer I put a load of dishes in the dishwasher and went upstairs to finish unpacking. When I came down about an hour later, I discovered the dishwasher had drained all over the kitchen floor and had leaked into the basement. Oh Joy. What next? The repairman came yesterday and replaced a gasket in the door, so that problem should be fixed, but I haven’t done another load of dishes yet. Stay tuned.

This has been a lost week as far as writing is concerned, but I am all unpacked, the washing is done, the cupboards re-stocked, the mail almost sorted out, the dishwasher repaired and the mouse situation under control – I hope!

Today I don my gallivanting shoes and go out to meet a friend for coffee. We haven’t had a good gab session for seven weeks so it is time to go to Tim’s, for an extra large coffee with double cream (yum) and catch up on all the news. I am looking forward to that after my less than warm welcome here at home.

I hope you have had a better start to the month of February than I have and are enjoying some of this wonderful sunshine. Right now it is streaming in the window beside me, and it promises to shine all day today. Yesterday was almost nice enough to bike. Not quite, but almost! We are getting there though aren’t we? Days are getting longer and spring is just around the corner.

Hope is hearing the melody of the future. Faith is to dance to it now.
Richard Alves

I hear the melody of spring playing loud and clear today. If you hear it too, put your dancing shoes on and join me for a waltz or two around the room. One, two, three…one, two, three…one, two, three! There you go. Don’t you feel better already? I do. Take care and I will talk to you all later.