A Seasonal Love Note and an Update*

Happy September, all!

I’m sharing one of my Evergreen Posts today, because much of its content still applies to my life right now. Between berry-picking, bread-making, and gearing up for more writing this fall with a plan to take part in November’s NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—I expect to be busy. If all goes well, I will complete the first rough draft of my fifth novel (I have two published, two un-published) by November’s end. Thanks for reading!

I know our Atlantic Canadian summers are short and I treasure the warmer days while they’re here, but there is something about this season of change I truly love as well.

Late summer and early fall has a uniquely different quality, where on a sunny day the air lends a crisper, more metallic edge to the natural world. (This love affair hinges on one important caveat: that the northeast wind doesn’t blow too much and turn our world chilly and wet for days on end.)

The outlines of clouds against the steel-blue sky look sharper, heralding the approach of what is to come. Most foliage and grasses are still summery green. I relish them all the more, knowing the colours will soon transition into vibrant shades of red and gold before finally fading to the cool grey and white hues of late autumn and winter.

It is a season of harvest and renewal, a time of new beginnings and the dawning of fresh ideas. The kiddies are back in their classes. Though my own school days and child rearing years are well behind me, I still feel that push of motivation into new plans and goals, to make the transition into a stricter work schedule, to get back to writing more in the coming months. November and NaNoWriMo are still a ways off, but I strive to clear up all loose ends in preparation for – dare I say it without jinxing myself – a 50 thousand-word first draft of a brand-spanking new novel. But hey, I did it before, so why not?

Then there are the berries. Where would this season be without the berries?

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fruits of the first trip

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…and fruits of the second

In two afternoon jaunts, the blueberries are now picked, and it won’t be long before we are in on the barrens again to pick partridgeberries. (In other parts of the world, these lovely bitter, relatives of the cranberry are called lingonberries or cowberries.) I make plenty of the jam for my other half since he likes it on his morning toast all year round, not to mention in the occasional pastry tart with a generous dollop of thick cream.

Especially anticipated, besides an excursion on the barrens, is picking the plump, juicy partridgeberries that grow right here on our land. I checked all around the Point last week and it looks like a bumper crop this year, probably a sign of how plentiful their growth is everywhere else.

My boy and me back in the day

Coinciding with the cool-down in temperature is a return to more bread-baking. There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh batch from the oven to take the chill out of your day.

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

What do you like the most about this time of year?
Relief from the heat? A return to a more orderly schedule?
Getting the children out from underfoot and back in school?
Or are you sad because the summer is nearly spent?
Do tell!

This post was inspired by Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Seasonal.*

A Cat Pic, Southpaws, and an Abundance of Jennifers

Vivian in her “Summer Happy Place”

Happy Sunday, all!

The above photo was taken by my son’s significant other, Jennifer (yes, another Jennifer, but I’ll return to that topic in a bit).

Vivian was enjoying a catnap in our back garden that day. Some days during summer, she crawls into the wild rosebushes in our garden for naps that can last for hours! She hasn’t got the life, I know. Thinking of the photographer reminded me of something I wanted to share.

Photo by Pexels.com

First, about the southpaws: I am a lefthanded person. I was one of those little girls whose grandmother tried to switch her over to righthandedness, whether I was holding a spoon, fork, crayon or pencil. But I was having none of that. No siree bob. Mom finally convinced my Nanny Lambert that it was useless for her to keep trying.

I was the only lefty in my immediate family. My parents, sister, and brother were all righthanded. But then something interesting happened.

I had: 1 GIRL and 1 BOY

My brother had: 1 BOY

My sister had: 1 BOY and 1 GIRL

Three of those boys, our only sons, were born lefthanded! What are the odds on that?

Now, back to the “Jennifers.”

There are three other Jennifers in my extended family. No, none of them were named after me (shucks).

These other Jennifers are the wives/significant others of mine and my siblings’ three sons! All three couples have been together for years. ❤

Funny how life in all its randomness created such a happenstance. Do you have any strange coincidences in your family? Many southpaws? While thinking on that, have another, more closeup look at our Vivian. Thanks again for the great capture, Jenny!

Sunday Snaps: Perspectives on Creativity

Do you agree with this quote?

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
~ Osho

But then, what of the following quote? Can a person who is low in spirit also be in love with life and create anything worthwhile?

“Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Many have theorized that there may be a correlation between sadness and creativity. Great talents such as Van Gogh and Virginia Woolf come to mind. The romantic poets described suffering as a precondition to writing anything of literary merit.

Angst has a creative upside! That said, I believe joy, heartache, or any strong emotion can stimulate creativity, just as one’s mindset can influence the mood of an artistic piece.

To look through the lens of a somber, troubled mind, one may imbue his or her own state of melancholy onto the subject. . .

Black and white image of Anglican church in Newtown, Newfoundland

. . . whereas, if the emotional perspective and attitude is lighthearted or happy, one might frame it in an entirely different light.

Anglican church in Newtown, Newfoundland framed by an outdoor bench in winter

Sadness and happiness are simply two sides of the creative coin.

Sunday Snaps*: Waiting

No matter what may be going on in my life, this time of year has often prevailed as an inherent waiting period and a turning inward. Loving summer and early fall on this beautiful island as much as I do, a huge part of me goes into a hibernation of sorts during the winter months. I look at it as a time to research and gather data, outline or finish new work, read (a lot), and reflect on life while enjoying home and hearth.

Enter 2020! When I wrote this post back in April, we had no idea the coronavirus would still be such a dire issue all these months later. The number of cases continue to rise, even here, in its second wave. Introversion aside—which can make social-distancing more tolerable—just like you, I’m getting tired of the rules, the separations, the lack of normalcy, and yes, the masks. That said, I will continue to toe the line as long as necessary and do my part to try and keep the numbers under control.

This fall has brought something new: my completion of an online course called Indigenous Canada through Coursera, an online education provider. This in turn has inspired a photography course in January. Lifelong learning is turning out to be a blessing in these uncertain times.

And as I wait out the virus—or wait for the expected vaccine to become available—here’s a more recent bright spot: there has been interest shown in my latest manuscript, which you may remember I’ve submitted to a number of publishers. Yay! Hoping for a positive outcome, but of course, that requires even more waiting.

How are you riding out the pandemic? Is it business as usual for you as you work from home, or in health care, or in other essential employment? Are you a retiree, a homemaker, or a homeschooler? Have you taken up any new activities or hobbies to keep you sane? Or has your work, social and/or family life been upended since this began? What do you miss the most?

What are you waiting for?

*Photos taken this past summer on Cape Island beach

Sunday Snaps: Buoys of Summer

In a fishing village like Newtown, you will often see brightly-painted buoys adorning fences, rails and walls, particularly in summer.

While buoys of all types are still used for fishing. . .

. . . many are adapted solely for decoration.

As fall approaches, most of the buoys will be put away until next summer, but some embellish the landscape all year round.

buoysWhen creating the title for this post, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Don Henley song, The Boys of Summer.

“I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone.”

Of course, if you are from anywhere besides the U.S., my play on words makes sense.
All other English-speaking countries pronounce buoy like “boy”, whereas most Americans pronounce it “boo-ee”. I wonder why.

And if that’s the case, how do Americans pronounce “buoyant” and “buoyancy”?

How do you pronounce buoy?
Do tell!

(And can you tell I’m not
ready for summer to end?)

Sunday Snap: Puzzling

Wolves in Spring

I finished my pandemic puzzle this morning. Now I’m sad because I don’t have another one to start. Although puzzles may be considered a huge time-suck, I love them as a way to unwind. Jigsaw and crossword are my favourites, but like good books, I hate when I reach the end.

Speaking of puzzles, I learned two new words today:

  • Enigmatology: the science of puzzles
  • Cruciverbalist: a person skillful in creating or solving crossword puzzles

“It is one of man’s curious idiosyncrasies to create difficulties for the pleasure of resolving them.” – Joseph de Maistre

My Girl*

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my girl and me
mother’s day weekend 2013

Today, June 14th,

is my girl’s birthday.

Since the first moment I held her

and gazed into her eyes

when I was just eighteen,

she’s been as constant in my life as the stars.

I wonder if she realizes

how much she has enriched my life,

how proud I am of her and

how happy I am to be her mom, because

she is more than a daughter to me.

She is my friend.

  Happy Birthday,

 **  Denise  **

“A daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give.” ~ Laurel Atherton

 

*This is one of my evergreen posts, first published here in 2013.

Baby Love

In the midst of the pandemic as well as my deep despair over everything that is going on in the world right now, comes a welcome respite of joy and gratitude.

My only sister and her husband became grandparents last night, to a perfect little girl who was longed for and whose mom went nine days overdue before finally going into labour late yesterday morning. I am brimming with happiness for them all.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, my nephew was only permitted to stay in the hospital during labour and delivery, so like my sister and her husband and her other grandparents, he now has to wait until mother and baby are discharged to be with them.

A side note: when this same nephew was a baby and my firstborn was a young girl, she absolutely adored him. How do I know? Back then, she had a locket. She kept a pic of him in that locket along with a pic of herself. I smile whenever I think of it.

I can’t help but recall how thrilled I was when I became a grandmother fourteen years ago, to a dear little bundle who felt like a gift from heaven for all of us. And now my memories take me back to the day my own daughter was born.
I became a mom when I was barely a woman myself. So young I was, a child having a child. It didn’t take long, though, for me to make my baby a priority and to fall in love in a way I never had before.

Eight years ago, I wrote a short poem about it.

Baby Love

Remembering that day in June
when you were small and pink and new
your needs so urgent, your helplessness
eclipsing all I’d planned to do

Your eyes, the bluest I’ve ever seen
gazed into mine, I drank you in
strawberry mark on your behind
that perfect dimple in your chin

The tiny o your lips would make
when, nursing done, you fell asleep
that newborn smell, the lightest heft—
who knew that love could feel so deep?

My firstborn with her firstborn 

What are you grateful for today?

Sunday Snaps: Hope*

If ever there was a time to have patience, we’re living it right now.

While we each strive to do our part in what is expected of us during this pandemic, I hold onto hope.

I hope the global outbreak will become a distant memory sooner rather than later.

I hope common sense and cooler heads prevail. In many ways, the outcome is up to us.

I hope, above all, we remember to preserve the most precious part of our humanity: our kindness and compassion for one another.

 Embrace hope
and stay healthy, everyone.

*Photo Challenge: Hope

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.