Introducing Sophie Rae, my son’s new dog. She is a white golden retriever.
Isn’t she a darling? Welcome to our world, little girl! 💕
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” — Charles M. Shulz
Introducing Sophie Rae, my son’s new dog. She is a white golden retriever.
Isn’t she a darling? Welcome to our world, little girl! 💕
“Happiness is a warm puppy.” — Charles M. Shulz
Last week while I was sifting through old papers, I found this piece of writing from decades ago. Thankfully, we have all made peace since then . . .
Once upon a time, there was a girl from St. John’s.
At the age of fourteen,
she moved around the bay with her family.
She hated her curly hair,
adored her Persian cat,
and loved to get lost inside stories and songs.
When she grew older,
she fell in love and got married.
She was happy.
She had a beautiful little daughter.
Not long after,
she gave birth to a handsome son.
She liked to tease him and call him
her little “curly boy”
because he so much reminded her of herself.
A few times,
when she and the husband had terrible fights,
she had to take her girl and boy
to her parents’ house.
But the husband would always tell her
how sorry he was,
and she would go back because she loved him,
and wanted to believe him.
Eventually, she stopped believing.
She moved back to St. John’s
and started a new job and a new life.
She still had her beautiful daughter,
but she lost her curly-boy
to his dad.
She found someone
who reminded her of her love
for stories and songs.
She loves her cats,
still hates her curly hair, and
misses her son
with an ache that never goes away
and leaves her pillow wet with tears
Still, she knows
she is doing the only thing she can.
She hopes someday he will understand
how, once upon a time,
there was a girl from St. John’s
who couldn’t fight anymore,
and only wished for
a happily ever after.
~ Jennifer Kelland, 1995
*Evergreen post from 2014
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.
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.
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. 🙂
Originally posted on March 24, 2015 here.
My Mommy loves me so much…
…and that makes me purr.
Mommy loves my soft white bib. She says it feels softer than the rest of my fur. My sister Vivian’s white fur is softer too.
Mom read online that pigment makes fur feel rougher and is a characteristic of many cats, though not all of them.
Thanks for looking at my snaps! 💕
Photo Challenge: Soft
These are a few excerpts from my private journal in September 2010, shortly before I started this blog. We were living in Mike Perry’s summer house here in Newtown, while our future home’s interior was being renovated on Perry’s Point by Paul’s two handy cousins and by Paul himself.
Of note, this excerpt was written during Hurricane Igor and its aftermath. Also of note is my poem at the end.
Very slowly, the old house on the point is undergoing its planned metamorphosis. My emotions are mixed. To see the rot exposed, the peeling paint and wallpaper, the ancient cobwebs hanging from the now-bare and blackened rafters, the unbelievable mess in the yard created by demolition, and now reconstruction – all of this plays havoc with my need for cleanliness and order. Are we really going to live here, in this two-storey house on a piece of rock jutting out into the cold North Atlantic? And are we ever going to find carpenters to install the new windows and clapboard while the rest of the work is done?
But then on one occasion when I visited the point last week, I saw something. I caught an encouraging glimpse of what could be. Of what that old house could become. My eye is drawn to the sun shining in through the multi-coloured glass of the windows we are not replacing. I see promise in their dazzling jewel tones of green, pink and yellow.
I get a mental picture of the rooms, devoid of junk and sawdust. Instead, they are neatly decorated, warm and comfortable, the kitchen filled with welcoming smells, music playing, Paul laughing at our cat Vivian as she skitters across the floor after a pop bottle stopper. I see Paul in his home office working on design plans, and I see me typing another page in my new novel. I welcome a visitor, put the kettle on…
I pretty much wish we were already there, playing house. Patience has never been my strongest virtue, so time drags on.
So the house in Paradise didn’t close yesterday as planned. The buyers require a survey of the land…why did they wait until the last minute??
And now we are back in Newtown, enduring the wrath of Hurricane Igor as he sweeps over the province, the likes of which we have never witnessed. There’s a leak in the living-room here at Mike’s that started since Paul left to go out on the point. The wind is howling, the rain is hitting the windows in sheets. Mother Nature is showing her teeth today and she means business! The radio assures me that this storm is a record breaker, and I feel like I have three houses to worry about: this one, the one on the point, and our biggest investment up to now, the one in Paradise that is almost sold.
Even Maisie and Vivian look worried.
Everyone I love now has their power back. My sister Lynn got hers at 1 yesterday, my mother-in-law last evening, and daughter Denise at 4 this morning (no other family lost theirs). We had it gone for about seven minutes on the night of the storm. So I breathe a great sigh of relief that all is well once again. I smile to realize that many have no cable TV or internet access right now – just like us!
Of course, we still wait for a phone call from our real estate agent or our lawyer as to when the house will close. I pray the walk-thru goes well. We wait to see if the Trans Canada Highway will open later today. And we wait for our new windows to be delivered. Sometimes life feels like a long drawn-out waiting game.
I love cooking and baking. Sometimes it feels downright therapeutic. As I made cod au gratin and a strawberry-apple crumble yesterday, a feeling of such peace and contentment enveloped me, it made me think of the book Simple Abundance and how much truth is in it. Whenever I cook and there is lots of time to do it right, I adore it. Thinking of living on the point and cooking and baking in my brand new kitchen fills me with happiness. I taped some loose recipes into my personal cookbook just this morning, in anticipation of using them soon.
The only thing that hurts is to read the recipes that Mom dictated to me over the phone not that long ago.
And I wait for a call from Lynn to see if they have a new placement for Mom. I don’t think I will get over the hurt of her Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time, and the worst is yet to come. Right on the heels of Dad’s ALS and death in 2003, the dreaded condition swooped in on my precious mother and changed her forever. Why has this double whammy hit our family, I wonder. I fear that the knowledge of it and the pain of its aftermath have changed me forever too.
As a way of dealing with these feelings, I wrote a poem this morning.
God, give me back my mom, I beg you and I plead
we’ve lost her much too early, the pain will not recede
First we lose our father to a death no one should know
too young he was to leave us–my God! I miss him so..
The grief it proved a burden our mother couldn’t bear
her sadness turned to illness with a name I’ve always feared
I know not how her soul survives as her mind and body waste
she lives and yet she doesn’t; a stranger took her place
Where is my mother’s heart? Where is her winsome smile?
I miss the wisdom of her words, her gentle, caring style
God, give me back my mom, if it’s only in a dream
let her put her arms around me; let her hold me as she sings
Then please take her up to heaven, let her suffering be gone
reunite my precious parents–maybe then I can go on.
The north wind rages,
thick curtains of snow swirl outside
and darkness sets in –
yet another spring blizzard
close on the heels of another.
The sound of it
as it rattles thin panes
in old windows
and the deep isolation
weighs heavy on her spirit.
He puts on soft music
from 1977 and
pours her a glass of wine
to drown out the world
beyond this room.
Sitting beside her,
he begins the footrub
she’d asked for earlier
and they’d both forgotten about
She closes her eyes.
The music swells
in the warmth of this cocoon.
And all of a sudden
he is her young, dark-haired man again,
the one who had captured her heart
more than twenty years ago.
Is it the way he tends to her,
the way his eyes meet hers?
Or is it the wine, and
the song he knows she loves?
Or could it be
their history together,
a combination of all these things
and zooms her back
to that magical fall of ’94?
She doesn’t know.
All she knows for sure
she never wants this moment to end.
Have you ever looked at your children when they are teenagers – or beyond – and wished you could go back in time to enjoy a day when they were little? I certainly have.
Children grow up so incredibly fast! It’s almost like you blink and they are grown. All the way through childhood they are making firsts: Their first word, their first steps, their first day of school. There is so much to relish and celebrate about these milestones that you almost forget about the time whizzing past.
Kids need a solid grounding and good examples to learn from, therefore conscientious parents want their kids to remember their childhood fondly, and with love. Their formative years are important because they’re going to remember certain things forever, so if you do fun things together as a family, they will remember these events fondly for the rest of their days. Here are some ideas on how to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Play with paint
It’s a great idea to teach a child creativity from a very young age. If they learn not to be afraid of a blank page, they will probably go on to create great things. (As a writer, I have faced that blank page many times.) One of the most imaginative and artistic things you can do with your children is to create and paint together. Let them go wild with crayons, colouring pencils, acrylic and water paint, and glue. They will feel proud of their results in the moment, and it will be fun to look back on their creations together in the future.
Pose for a picture
The wonderful thing about smartphones is that you have a camera almost always at hand. This give you the chance to capture as many candid photos of your children as possible. And don’t forget taking videos of them. If you would like something a bit more professional, a photographer can give you great results. A professional family photo is something that everyone loves to look back on because it perfectly captures a moment in time you can cherish forever. Not only will you have the physical photos, but you’ll have great memories of the actual day as well.
Read stories together
My girl’s favourite: The Owl & The Pussycat
This was a big one for me when I raised my kids. When your children are little, it’s a great idea to get into the habit of reading them a book every evening. This not only calms them before they sleep, but it also helps them learn. The stories that you first read them will probably stay with them forever. Almost everyone can remember the first book that they loved to have read to them. It’s a child’s way of really using their imagination to form the pictures in their mind. Keep a couple of their favorite books for you to show them when they are grown up.
If you can teach your children a family recipe that has been passed down through the ages, they’ll remember it forever. A cherished recipe can be pulled out and enjoyed again and again, and it will strengthen the memory for your child of when you first made it together.
Our boy making muffins!
Notice the recurring theme here? Creative endeavors seem to be the best way to make memories for you and your family!
What do you and your children do to make memories that will last a lifetime?
Recently, I was catching up with someone I hadn’t seen in a while.
At first, the conversation was pleasant, as was my general mood, but as the chatting continued, I realized this person was swimming in barely concealed hostility.
Almost everything that came out of this person’s mouth was either a brag or a humble brag, a passive-aggressive remark, or a backhanded compliment (don’t you just love it when someone insults you like that – and it’s “socially acceptable”?).
But perhaps what rankled most was the obvious avoidance of discussing anything going on in my life. Whether the reason for this was self-absorption, disinterest, jealousy, or whatever, I could only hazard to guess.
So what did I decide to do? Well, I held my tongue and chose to follow the advice from Ms. Angelou as stated above. I decided to look at the experience differently, to frame it in a way that muted the annoyance I felt, and replace it with understanding.
I already know this person has difficulties going on in his own life, which helped me to recognize that the hostility had very little to do with me.
So I chose to temper my hurt with this awareness. The pain he is presently enduring in his life is far worse than anything he could inflict on me with his words. And perhaps, along with that, he was having an especially hard day.
It doesn’t always work, but in this case, a little understanding made all the difference.
Have you ever consciously changed your thought processes about something?
How has it worked for you?
How do you deal with difficult people?
I have always hated good-byes. They suck.
There are all sorts of good-byes in this world. This past weekend, a blogger friend of mine had to say good-bye to one of her dear little cats, and everyone who knows me at all knows what cats mean to me. I feel your grief, Lois!
And you might think when another blogger friend decides to no longer continue with her blog that it wouldn’t be a very big deal, but to me, it is. A virtual, cyber relationship can be meaningful, especially when it is a relationship that has gone on for a while and you have supported each other in ways other people can’t. She will be missed. 😦
But I am richer for having known her. As a writer, I understand why she needs to do this. And we will still be in touch on Twitter (though that isn’t the same!)
I wish all the best for you, C.R., in your writing career and everything you do.
Try to drop by once in a while, okay?
That is all.
Be grateful for the kindly friends that walk along your way;
Be grateful for the skies of blue that smile from day to day;
Be grateful for the health you own, the work you find to do,
For round about you there are men less fortunate than you.
Be grateful for the growing trees, the roses soon to bloom,
The tenderness of kindly hearts that shared your days of gloom;
Be grateful for the morning dew, the grass beneath your feet,
The soft caresses of your babes and all their laughter sweet.
Acquire the grateful habit, learn to see how blessed you are,
How much there is to gladden life, how little life to mar!
And what if rain shall fall today and you with grief are sad;
Be grateful that you can recall the joys that you have had.
~ Edgar A. Guest
Edgar Albert Guest was born in Britain but grew up and spent most of his life in the U.S.A. He was a product of “small town” America and the values and lifestyle he had as a boy permeates his writing both prose and poem. He worked most of his adult life as newspaperman, syndicated country-wide and is reputed to have had a new poem published in a newspaper every day for over 30 years. – AllPoetry.com
Travel Theme: Poetry – combine a favourite poem with a fitting photo.
Do you have any favourite poems to share? What are you grateful for?