Night Owl

I think I may be one. Something about the velvet cloak of the night that stirs and wakens the reflective, or creative state. Tonight is such a night or could be if only I could stay up late, but tomorrow is work. It’s 9:50 p.m. in Vancouver and the wind is blowing across the water causing large starry openings in the night sky, and pushes against my little vinyl cabin. And I love the wind. I think it may make me restless, want to run along beside, want to hitch on and be taken. And the music on CBC is so good tonight, It’s always good late. So many enticements to refrain from sleep~~

Everybody into the Pool

 

Every Thursday morning I take the day off work to accompany and drive my mom to the local pool for an aqua-fit class tailored to those with limited motion and arthritis. There is a good turn out for this, filling one end of the pool with seniors and a few nearly seniors. The class is led by a young Mexican woman who is affectionately called the Mexican Bandit- she exudes explosive upbeat energy, comic antics, and genuine interest and joy in her bobbing charges strewn before her like so many seal pups in the water.  She gets applause at the end of her classes.

I am there not so much to exercise but to encourage and support my mom and guard her from turning turtle should her feet lose their footing and float up, thus disrupting the fine equilibrium she attempts to maintain between her upper and lower half while following our leader pool side. She’s cursed as a high floater. We’re going to try 2 pound weights on her feet this week to see if that will keep her grounded.

For the most part my mother is just cracking up with laughter. But she’s moving in the water causing the necessary gentle resistance needed to work her muscles, so that’s all good. But side by side we do our best to execute the movements, I coach mom and keep one arm just behind her.

The music is playing with the “Oldies”, giving our movements rhythm to follow, and I smile while listening to many of them sing along- “Love and marriage, love and marriage they go together like a horse and carriage-” That’s so cute, I think to myself and kind of inwardly roll my eyes.

Until Rocky Mountain High by John Denver cues up next. Now who’s singing in the pool?

Peter is a good friend of my moms at a sprightly 81 years of age and comes to this class twice a week (he’s one of the pool singers) and if one would need proof that the exuberance and delight of a boy could still persist in the mind and soul of octogenarian man well, here’s your proof. Like when the Bandit brings out the Noodles Pete’s face lights up and he excitedly says to us, “These are my favorite!” and pushes his way through the water to the pool side to collect three of them and pushes his way back giving mom and me each a pink one of course, the blue one for him. These are for the leg exercises and stronger resistance exercises, but what tends to happen is reclining back and talking with the person who happens to be floating next to you, or in the case of us three, general hilarity.

It’s not how well my mom does the exercises, it’s that she’s up and out of her house, in the pool, moving her parts around, and sharing with others and laughing. That’s a wholesome prescription that really benefits.

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Indoor Waterfall

Well that was a close. I of course stay up in my vinyl cabin all week and usually come home on the weekend, but since my husband was away on a job I didn’t, in other words our house was empty for a week and a half. This weekend we both are home and our son had come over from Vancouver to visit. After turning in last night and just falling into deep sleep my husband and I are startled awake by our son shouting out that  ‘something burst!” I was disoriented at first forgetting my son was here, so I thought a neighbor had come into our house yelling I don’t know what -house is on fire? But thankfully no, so we run downstairs where our son is in under the bathroom sink doing his best holding a large glass jar over the pipe coming out the wall that once had the bathroom sink shut off valve attached, but no more, having had popped off from water pressure. He was on his 3rd jar full. The floor was already awash and we could hear water dripping down through to the basement. My husband scrambled into the basement, up and over and into the crawl space- with uncharacteristic agility I might add – and shut the main water supply off.

We mopped up, calmed down and commented about how much worse it could’ve been if this had  happened last Sunday. You just don’t expect those little valves to come off like that. New rule made- turn off the main when away from home for an extended period!

Prairie Sky

Pining for a road trip, I came across a few photos.

Amazing storms we witnessed when driving to and from Ontario a few summers back. One of the things I find absolutely exhilarating about the Prairies is the sky – whether it’s endless, blue and open or robust, dark and brooding like these shots capture. Every day that particular summer was a storm watch day. Not to mention constant tornado worries as the radio and the TV weather channels we were glued to each night in our hotel room seemed to warn of just as we would be leaving an area or driving into an area.

You can see them come from miles. I was in a constant state of open-mouthed awe and terror. I was like a kid, “lookit that!”  and ” Oh man it’s massive!”  to  “Shit that was lightning RIGHT THERE!” and “Is that a funnel cloud starting?!”  It was fun.

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Misty Musings

Here on the North West Coast we’ve been held captive by a stealthy, steel silver, moist oppressor for going on two and half weeks at least. Where is the Mercy!  I know the sun shines brilliant just one hundred  and so feet above and oh I am starving for it! So what can I do to stave off this hunger, this bone chilling, depressing dampness, to keep from noting how pallid I’ve become, how lethargic, how UHHG?!

I know, I’ll take Pictures. And share the joy.

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I feel better already~

Plugged In

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At this moment I’m listening to the soundtrack from the film “Water” by Deepa Mehta. Not only has this film been and remains one of my top cherished since it premiered, it is the music that is so absolutely seductive to me, a work of music that is a venerational revelation through headphones. Which I have just re- discovered. Headphones. I only wish I had the big soft ones on right now, the ones that have you immersed and awash in liquid sound. Bliss. Because there is something more intimate about listening with those that completely envelop your ears in a soft embrace, unlike the hard iPhone ear buds I have in now- I prefer my ears cuddled for the full experience.

Ah, I’m melting- the track “Across the River.” You must listen to this.

There was a time I listened to music constantly and much of the time through headphones while I was a teenager. I had those big soft ones plugged into the family stereo and sat at the large dining room window that looked out over the Bay letting James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Seals and Crofts and Elton John and others smooth over my angst (teenager you know, ok, so I took the mellow route). But as I became an adult I didn’t have time for that sittin’ around plugged into my own world of sound anymore. I had to work, then I was a single mom and had to work, then I got married and gained a step-son, and worked some more. Who had the time?

Then  I just simply forgot about this luscious experience of seclusion into sound.

But as you may (or may not know if you haven’t read my previous posts) I am residing in my vinyl beach cabin and although I have my lap top and iTunes the Mac speakers are -well, ok. So last night I suddenly remembered I had packed my little ear buds that I’ve not used until now. Voila!

Ah, now La Boheme ! I have never listened to Opera with headphones on. Opera being a rather new musical taste acquisition. Stunning.

I must sound peculiar-so many people use headphones everyday whatever they’re doing.  At work, walking to the store, sitting in the park  with people around.

I can’t do that, I attempted it briefly when The Walkman was the big thing,  but I’d feel cut off from my environment. I found I cannot have my ears and head occupied with rhythms and melody while engaged in a physical task. Like walking. Or if I’m in a populated space. I must listen to my immediate surroundings if I’m out in the world. With headphones on and my ears seductively being drenched in my favorite music I could walk into a pole so easy.

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Numbers Game

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Today I was buying a coat and as the cashier was entering the information into the till she hesitantly and apologetically asked if I was 60 yet. No I said, but close. She explained that she had to ask because some people look a lot younger than they are and miss out on the seniors discount.

I said, I’d be all over that discount if I was of age. And it’s only a number don’t be embarrassed.

But I guess she was complementing me in a polite way-looking perhaps young if I were 60. Not sure. She was maybe 20, and everyone over 40 would look 60 in her eyes. I was 20 once too.

But why is it considered an embarrassment – like I should feel somehow deflated to think she thought I was older than I am chronologically?  Well I guess I might inwardly wince if she thought I was say 15 years older than my actual age. I’m being truthful here.

My mother is 89 and although she has some issues of some restricted mobility she looks much younger than her years, and in her mind she feels younger than 89. In fact she’s astounded when I remind her she’s nearly 90 (those times when she forgets). She can’t believe it. One day she said out of the blue when I walked through her door, I need to go shopping for some clothes. When I asked her what she’d like to look for she said, I don’t know, then asked, do I dress alright? She had my curiosity by this point. She went on to tell me that she thought she should maybe start wearing “old lady” clothes.

I restrained my chuckle. She followed with, I think I look alright, but other people I see that are my age dress differently. She often wears skinny jeans, (they’re like support stockings, she says, good for her knees), hates wearing socks in her Keds, wears comfortable tops and ties it all together with a rather liberal outlook and bright attitude. And she does look good in what she wears. It’s not her intention to act more youthful, or even dress more youthful, it’s just who she is. She has inner youth. I reassured her that she looks fine, that if she began wearing micro minis and crop tops then there’d be a reevaluation on the subject. But she does her best to keep current, she has had an iPhone for a few years now, and with our help, a Facebook page, which she does need a hand in navigating, but once shown, again, how to access her page she’s good to go.

IMG_1549She is showing me how to navigate too.

When I left that store today and walked to my car I knew what I should have said to the young cashier, what I’ve said many times on other occasions, but didn’t today. I would say to her there have been some family members and good friends who didn’t make it to 50, some far less. I’m 56 and happy to be here, I’ll take as many more years as I may be graced with and be happy there too, no matter how “old” I may happen to look. Bring_it_on.

Can’t we see aging as a privilege? To be alive long enough to be witness to whatever World/Humanity changes that will come?

That’s pretty cool.

Tajine

Thought I’d share the gift given to me from my daughter, in which I promptly made a Moroccan Lamb stew. Full of spices, with some apricots, almonds, currants, and dates and the previously dry rubbed marinated meat then braised for nearly 3 hours in a low oven till ultimately tender.

It’s the combination of these aromatics, these spices that are so satisfying and rich that seem to leave our cuisine on this continent somewhat limp and lackluster. This stew -if I may proclaim-was so luscious! Served over couscous, quinoa, or rice was a complete and satisfying foil against the cold winter snap we were having at the time.

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For those who may never have heard of a Tajine or Tagine it is essentially an earthenware Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven originating from North Africa. The shape is what sets it apart. The bottom is somewhat more shallow in comparison to the  conventional cookers listed and the lid or top is conical. This allows the flavorful condensation to accumulate up and drizzle back down into the food.

 

 

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And is traditionally cooked over a coal brazier. That must smell amazing on the street!

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As You Were

Well that’s over with. The eating, the gathering and well- eating again. (I did not eat a pound of  christmas fudge, who told you?) I’ve had my seasonal break from work, spent time at home, slept in, meandered, and watched the whole Marco Polo series on Netflix and caught The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies. All in all a comfortable hiatus.

Enough of that, back to work.

And back to my vinyl cabin at the beach this stormy January 4th night. I will resume my Monday to Friday stays here until the end of March, and while my being here is to be in close proximity to my mother, I have begun to savor my seaside cabin in a way for the quiet solitude in which I can write without distraction during the evenings.

And when compared to my Island home, the logistics here are a breeze. Why, I can just get out of my car here with groceries and take but a few steps before putting them down on the table! I swear to you there are many times I will “handle” bags, or whatever has to be transported from town to Island home, up to 5 times before they hit the kitchen counter. But it’s the price we pay for, uh paradise.

And it helps work off fudge.