Perry Boys – a Look Back

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m having trouble concentrating long enough to compose an original post. So today I’ll share a post from exactly five years ago, a nostalgic look back to simpler times.

When my husband Paul was six years old, he and his family moved from Newtown – the little community in which we live now – to live in the capital city of St. John’s. Their parents relocated so that Paul’s oldest sibling David could attend the Vera Perlin school for his special needs.
On the day of the big move, Paul crawled up under the house – the actual house we live in now – in a show of protest. “Everyone should be able to live where they were born,” he argued through tears, but the die had been cast. He was pulled out and packed into the car with everyone else.

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On the very first day at their new school, Paul and his other brother Kevin, who is one year older, decided to walk home from school for lunch, despite being told to stay there and eat the lunch they’d brought. But when they saw other children going home, they wanted to go as well. Unfamiliar with their new neighbourhood, the two boys got lost, and Kevin started to cry.

Brave little Paul tried his best to console his big brother by distracting him. “Don’t cry, Kev. Look at the pigeons,” he said, pointing at a bunch of them as they waddled across the sidewalk, hoping the strange, tame city birds might cheer him up. It worked, and they ended up following a classmate to his house. Between the jigs and the reels, their dad had to leave work and go pick them up.

Let’s go back a couple of years when Paul was four and Kevin was five, to another time the younger boy displayed his wisdom. A new addition to the family of three boys had arrived, and this time, it was a girl! When their mom brought baby Julie Ann home, the boys crowded around to get a look at their new sister. Kevin’s eyes opened wide when her diaper came off to be changed. “Look, Paul,” he said, incredulous. “She ain’t got nar topper!” (penis)
“No, ya foolish,” Paul said, enlightened beyond his years. “She got whatever Mom got.”

Now before you think I’m beating up on my brother-in-law, I’d like to share one more tale. Okay, two. When Paul was about nine and enjoying his summer vacation in Newtown, Kevin saved him from drowning. Paul was diving with some other boys off of Burnt Island, but he tired in the deep water and panicked. Kevin grabbed him by the hair on top of his head and pulled him to safety.

newtown

Years later, when Kevin was just beginning his teaching career, he and Paul were driving along in St. John’s one evening. Without warning, Kevin pulled over, stopped the car, and jumped out. He’d spied two teenage boys in a fist fight near the local hockey rink, and he wanted to stop them. Paul watched as he parted the boys, reasoned with them, and ended the scuffle.

It was a day he never forgot. Where most people would just keep going and not get involved, Kevin stepped in and tried to solve the problem. It made Paul really proud of his brother.

Paul confessed there were other boyhood fights where Kev stepped in and rescued Paul himself, fights my husband started and couldn’t finish. I would say he’s grateful for those too. And so am I. 🙂

L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin
L to R: David, Paul, Julie, and Kevin
Thirteen-year-old Paul

Originally posted on March 24, 2015 here.

Sunday Snaps: Books and Cats

“Books. Cats. Life is good.” ~ T.S. Eliot

Although only one presumptive case of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been announced here in Newfoundland and Labrador at the time of this posting, much of the province has already shut down out of caution.

Thankfully, I still have two of my favourite things to occupy me while I worry: books and cats!

Interestingly, Vivian seems to love books too.

On the other hand, I have no pics of Maisie hanging out with books. Perhaps she’s illiterate? Anyway, it’s all good. She often cuddles up close when I’m reading.

I’m sure T.S. Eliot would have heartily approved.

♥ Stay safe, everyone! ♥

Sunday Snap: Lap Cat

Lap Cat

“You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense.” ~ Jane Pauley

Sunday Snaps: Found Art in Driftwood

“Driftwood seal on rock” – August 25, 2019

“A photographer must possess and retain the receptive faculties of a child who watches the world for the first time.” ~ Bill Brandt, British photographer

“Driftwood seal on rock” – February 29, 2020

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~ Elliott Erwitt, American photographer

I don’t know about you,
but I much prefer the summer version at the moment!

Sunday Snap: Worried

“WHAT IS THAT SMOKEY UP TO NOW?”

Our Maisie was the epitome of worry and concern the other day when she caught a flicker of movement outside the window. Standing on tippy-toes to see over a snowbank, she spied a neighbour’s cat prowling around our property.

Her territorial nature kicked in full force. Her tail puffed up. She hissed and growled. Maisie wanted to go out and drive that puss away, but her mom was not in the mood to referee a catfight that morning.

“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now.” ~ Lloyd Alexander, American author

Blogger Bouquet #57

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers and bloggers!

It’s been quite a while since I tossed a blogger bouquet, but hey, today is the perfect time to share a little love.

In her own words, Evelyn Krieger – Inspiration for the Creative Soul – is a “word weaver, radical educator, dancer, and homeschooling pro.”

Her debut middle-grade novel, One is Not a Lonely Number, was a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book from the Association of Jewish Libraries, a 2011 Next Generation Indie Finalist, and a PJ Library Our Way pick.

From her Welcome page:

“I grew up in Michigan. Today my home is Massachusetts, though I hope to move somewhere tropical one day. Sunlight makes me joyful. I’m allergic to snow.
My blog explores creativity, grief, resilience, and all things related to the writing life. I love connecting with my readers and making new friends. Please stop by and say hello.”

Check out Evelyn’s enjoyable post below, where she poses the popular writerly question: Does the change of season affect your creativity?


SEPTEMBER
SONG – CREATIVITY THROUGH THE SEASONS


Comments are closed here but you can leave a comment on the blogger’s page.

Have an inspired weekend, everyone!
❤

Reflecting on the Little Things

For me, this winter has been a time of deep reflection. The dormant months are ideal for slowing down and looking inward, giving one a chance to rest, to heal, to quiet the mind and to focus on the spiritual side of life.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about and missing my mother more than usual. She has visited me in my dreams quite often in recent weeks.

I wonder why.

I suppose I could chalk it up to growing older and becoming infinitely more aware of my own mortality. Or maybe she knows I need her more right now.

Today, I dedicate this post to you, Mom. I wrote the following piece in January of 2012, ten months before our final goodbye.

 

The Little Things

 

You always hear people say that we shouldn’t love the material things in life, and usually I am inclined to agree. However, in one particular area of my life I must beg to differ. Sometimes we have certain items that are so very precious to us because they keep our memories bright.

My mother is now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She has changed so much in the past few years, from a vibrant, independent and beautiful woman, into a person who needs constant care. She can still smile in recognition at me but can no longer carry on a conversation of any sort. We are losing her, bit by bit, with every visit and every passing day. This is probably why I hold on so tightly to a few items that came from her.

As I write this, I am wearing a pair of wool slippers that my mother knitted for me. They are teal blue and white with little bows sewn on the top. I found them a couple of months ago when I was sorting out some storage items, and even though they are a little tight, which was the reason I had put them away in the first place, I’ve worn them ever since, stretching them so they would fit. Just knowing that she had made them for me gives me comfort.

While I was looking for Christmas baking inspiration a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for cherry cake in my collection, written in Mom’s elegant handwriting. I remembered her making that recipe many times over the years. My heart ached with loss as I read it, but I knew I had to use it. Now that Christmas is behind us for another year, I still have some of that cake left, and I savour every bite.

And on my right hand, I am wearing my mother’s wedding band. It had been sitting in a little box in my dresser drawer for months, waiting until the day it would go on her finger for the last time. So for now I am wearing it because it makes me feel closer to her, and to Dad as well.

So please don’t try to tell me that things aren’t important. Sometimes it’s the little things that we need to hold onto, the touchstones for our priceless memories. Sometimes it is all we have.

Our lovely mother in her younger days

Menopause…or “Perry” Menopause? An Update

Last week, while looking back on a few of my January posts from the past, I hit upon the following that I’d written exactly eight years ago. I thought the timing was perfect to provide an update as the last line suggested. I had mentioned that “The Change” can take anywhere from two to eight years. Thankfully, it didn’t last anywhere near eight years for me, and yes, Paul survived. 🙂

By the way, he still plays floor hockey on Monday nights and I never turn the heat off anymore in the dead of winter. I hope that brings a measure of comfort to those of you who are dealing with menopause or perimenopause at the moment.

January 30, 2012:
So here I am, on a frigid January evening. Outside, a bitter wind chill of minus 10 degrees Celsius (that’s 14+ degrees for you Fahrenheit folks) is blowing directly off the North Atlantic  just a few yards from our door. Husband Paul is gone playing floor hockey at the high school gym, so I’m alone, trying desperately to chill out. Not figuratively, mind you, but literally. I turned down the thermostats so there is no heat on in my house, simply because my body feels like a furnace turned up on cremate.

This is a new and fresh hell for yours truly, only making itself known within the last couple of weeks. Somehow, I had let myself believe I’d be lucky enough to escape the discomfort of “tropical moments” at this time of my life. How I used to chuckle when one of my friends or coworkers complained of a hot flash. Ha! The joke is now on me. And for the uninitiated, it doesn’t feel like a source of external heat that hits you. It’s more like internal spontaneous combustion, where you think you just might suddenly burst into flames.

pexels-photo-207353Stripped down to a tank top and appropriately, sweat pants, eating blueberries out of the freezer (still frozen), I’m trying to hold it together. I made the mistake earlier of googling other menopause symptoms, and started ticking off other lovely ailments I’ve been experiencing. Brain fog? Check. Anxiety? Check. Night sweats? Check. Mood swings? Okay, that one is just me, can’t blame that on The Change.

The website also warned that the whole process could take anywhere from two to eight years before it is done. That’s just terrific. Think I’ll go out and stick my head in a snow bank.

And now Paul is home. “It’s freezing here!” he says. He looks at my red face. “Is it alright if I turn up the heat?”

“If you must,” I bark, fanning myself with a throw cushion.

Then I realize something. In our house, PMS always stood for Paul Must Suffer. Well, the PMS might be coming to an end for me, but it won’t be ending for him any time soon. Will he survive? Will I?

Check back in two to eight years.

*Images courtesy of Pexels

Lots of Winter Ahead Yet, But…

… the days are noticeably getting longer. And in six weeks, we spring forward as Daylight Savings Time kicks in!
Newtown in Winter 2020It isn’t just me who looks forward to spring around here. Practically every day, Vivian and Maisie go outside to check things out. They don’t stay out long, only long enough to confirm that winter with all its snow and iciness is still firmly in place.

One of the loveliest features of the longer days?
The sunsets, just as pretty in winter as in summer.

No two are ever exactly the same.

As gorgeous as they are, you’ll still find us hanging out mostly indoors for a few weeks yet.

Hanging out with my muse – or is it mews?

How about you?
Do you embrace winter,
or are you counting the days until summer like me?

“You are my fantasy on a cold dark night, my muse during the light of day and the one wish my soul would make.” ~ Grace Willows

Calmer Girls FREE on Kindle

Calmer Girls is free on Kindle until January 22.

Grab this edgy coming-of-age novel here: http://getbook.at/CalmerGirls

#CalmerGirls  #NewfoundlandBooks  #CanadianAuthor  #EdgyYAFiction  #ComingofAge