The Aftermath

 

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Ok, it’s boxing day and people have  begun to line up at various malls and shopping centres to tackle others to the ground for the big price mark-downs on merchandise, an activity I have, nor ever will, participate in. I don’t need a thing that bad.

There is so much merchandise overstock that boxing day has morphed into Boxing Week. And although almost every year we, being Bob and I, say we should buy the gifts for the next christmas during this boxing day week, we just can’t plan that far ahead, and we don’t really do a big gift exchange anymore anyway.

I’m not projecting the sanctimonious anti-material snob guru rhetoric, I like stuff, I just don’t like frenzy.

So let the masses continue on through the week with the hustle/bustle; I will saunter in a couple of weeks from now and peruse the shops leisurely if I’m in the area and I have some time, and if I see something that I can’t live without, I may decide to buy.

Which usually falls in the area of apparel. For me.

 

 

 

 

The Longest night of the year

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December 21st is not only the Winter Solstice, it is also the birthdate of my daughter -35 years ago. She entered in to the world after 10 hours of not too hard effort on my part during a full moon in a full maternity ward. Go figure. Every woman who was anywhere near full term was pulled into labour that night. My Solstice baby. The warm light in the dark.

My daughter may have harboured deep feelings of “second fiddle” to christmas as she grew up, but we did our best to make the distinct separation while also keeping the festive vibe going from her birthday right through to New years. Which was quite enjoyable, stretching the celebratory atmosphere out to its fullest length.

Which is what I desire during winter. It’s a dark season, and here in Vancouver it’s dark and rainy. (so extra dark, ok?)  Lets put up the lights, light the fire and get in touch with friends and family. Lets EAT.

Because it is a time for not only retreating within but to gather together, in what I can feel is an essential part of our primal make up. The sitting around a fire with friends and family and sharing a meal strengthens bonds. That simple act perhaps resonates an ancient tribal message that gives reassurance to those around us that WE are here, together. Do not fear the night and its storms. There is enough to eat, you won’t be cold, hungry, alone.

All well and good but… uh January? By the middle of that month I’m starting to get twitchy.

It’s such a bloody LONG month with no occasion.

And by then I’m eager for Spring. For the billowy days of blustering winds and fast-moving white clouds, for the returning song birds, and garden plans, for working and being outside.

But tonight as I write a cold windy rain is hitting my window, which somehow enhances my feelings of warm contentment, and spring is soundly snug under the soil. And I look forward to the next few days of being in the of company of my friends and family.

My small live tree is duly decorated with bits of memory, like the horse in the glass bell that was part of a set my daughter sold through her 5th grade class fundraiser, this is the only one that remains, and the needle point one my sister made and gave to me in 1988. My mantle is strewn with some fir-tree branches (of the hundreds that came down in our most recent blow) and white lights and there is a stack of fire wood at the ready.

I am thankful for all the comforts I have ~

but more for the love that I know surrounds me and that I am able to surround others with.

That’s what lights up all the darkness.

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The big 9-0

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Well,  that’s a milestone.

A life that has witnessed the horse and buggy to iPhones.

The gathering of the clan, 34 of us, took place on the 13th at my mothers house without a hitch; consisting of her children (4) and the 3 spouses, 5 family friends and filling out the rest were her Grandchildren, and Great-grandchildren. There were 7 other Grandchildren and 9 Great grandchildren and 1 Great-Great Grand child that couldn’t attend.

That’s a hill of beans.

All the little ones managed to avoid toppling the glass coffee table, but there were a few times when a loud bang was heard and every adult stopped mid-conversation to suddenly turn to look and listen for a screaming cry expecting a bruised forehead or worse, but no, just a knee bumped against the glass from jumping too close to the table. They played happily together, these cousins, some who have never met until that day. No tears or tantrums erupted.

It was a good day. A reunion.

I spent the night at her house that night, giving my sister and brother-in-law a night off from staying to help her to bed before driving home, and because of not wanting her to be alone after such a happy houseful all afternoon.

When we had settled down to a TV program after supper she began to confess to me that all the while during her party she thought she was at someone else’s house, that she didn’t recognize where she was. And that she thought we were celebrating Christmas. “That was my Birthday?”  I consoled her by saying that with all the people in the house and the dining room chairs not sitting in the usual spots may have caused a bit of confusion and that it was a busy day and perhaps she was tired. That she’d feel less fuzzy in the morning. She asked “why does my brain do this? I must be losing my mind.” And said that it was very strange.

During the party she was happy and engaged so I was surprised when she said this to me later. She enjoyed the day. But then I remembered when we brought the cake out, sang, and waited for her to blow out the candles she didn’t and had to be encouraged by her friend Peter and by us singing out ” And she huffed and she puffed and she blew…!” twice.

I was concerned a little that she may have difficulty sleeping worrying about her slipping memory, but she slept sound.

The next morning she remembered the “Epic Day”, she read through her birthday cards, we counted all the people that had filled the room, and talked about the children. She was bright and happy and said, “Bless your hearts, all of you, and thank you for that wonderful day.”

 

 

 

Days gone by

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To briefly catch up, I have been busy with my weekly Spanish class which has proven to be a fun and supportive gathering of neighbours as we learn to grasp the language through role play and songs, and I’ve been sitting in on her small intermediate class held later on the same day which helps me in listening comprehension, lots of laughs too- Wednesdays are mi dia de Espanol! Last class is tomorrow.

I was called back to work for two weeks (I opted to remain on the casual list) where it was good to be around my co-workers again, although my reason for being there was on a tragic note, filling in for a good friend and colleague who had lost her 21 year old nephew by suicide. He was like a son to her. Then attending the celebration of life, so many came in support, heart wrenching.

I cleaned out the shed (that was a job, take my word) and on a gorgeous crisp/clear Saturday did a backyard clean up and burn- I love a good bonfire. Primal.

The studio space I am planning is beginning to take form and look forward to start working in the new year.

I’ve also been doing some Holiday baking, something I haven’t had much time for over the last few years, and my moms 90th is next weekend so there is the organizing taking place at the moment. And as for my mom, my visits are steady throughout the week taking her out for walks on the boardwalk on the beach when the weather suits, for appointments,  just being with her.

The featured image at the top of my post is my Garden Angel, I felt she encompasses this post in a way; the approaching Soltice, the grace I feel she expresses when I think of my friends nephew, and my mom’s common response of “Bless your heart” to us or anyway who does a kindness for her.

Found her many years ago in a second hand store and paid $7.00. She has been watching over my growing things ever since.