Friday, January 19, 2018

Snowshoeing and Lorenzo

Yesterday was a big day. I awoke feeling weary and a bit disconcerted. I was prepared for my reading on paper but not sure I was as ready in my own head.I planned my day fitting in my walk in (or possibly snowshoe) before lunch so I would have lots of time to get myself together.The fresh blanket of snow called me to the woods and I searched for my snowshoes. After finding them in the garden shed I strapped them on and took off up over the hill. It was a gorgeous day. The sun was strong and the snow was perfect. There were a few slippery spots to be aware of but overall my first snowshoe of the season was spectacular.It makes me anticipate the many snowshoe treks ahead. I had a good talk to myself and for the most part felt on track for the evening ahead.I did have a few doubts to quash and a few insecurities to push away. There is something daunting about stepping in front of a group of people and being part of an event I always regarded as slightly high brow. That of course is my perspective and like most self doubt comes from something we tell ourselves.On top of the hill I stood in the open air staring up at the brilliant blue sky and found my place in the vast scheme of things. That I believe is the key to truly accepting whatever our challenges are. Ashlie picked me up and in we went. Connor gave me a gracious and heart felt introduction and my Lorenzo debut began. The readings were fine. I stumbled through the Q&A with a bit of rambling but overall did OK. I signed a few books and met a few people . I talked to parents of twins I taught in my second year of teaching. I saw some friends and a former colleague. Ashlie and I and joined Andrea, Connor, Dale and Rachel for a lovely meal at Thandi's.I am very pleased to have been asked. I am pleased with the crowd and the response but I definitely felt relief when the night was over.It was lovely standing before an audience and reading my work but the real highlight of my big day was snowshoeing to the top of the hill and taking in the beauty and the peacefulness around me.It is for those moments I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Day Before

Months ago arrangements were made for me to read as part of the Lorenzo Reading Series at UNBSJ. I have had the date of January 18th in my mind and have very much been looking forward to it. Over the last few months I have seen the date, my name and the title of the novel I'll be reading from online and kept the anticipation close. A few weeks ago it was announced in the Telegraph Journal's Salon section. The bio attached was completely incorrect and even though I didn't see it I know many people questioned my being credited with film making and award winning movie directing. A false bio somewhat undermined my real one and I had to remind myself that my true accomplishments were something to celebrate as well. Last night still possibly being on Alberta time, I laid awake for what seemed a very long time. In that wakefulness I questioned everything about my own ability. I am struggling somewhat with my current edits having trouble keeping the tense consistent. Last night I practiced my readings for tomorrow night and found my self wanting to fix a few things. I remember hearing Joan Clark read and her saying she always wants to fix or revise as she's reading. I guess that's a normal thing. My Mom as she used to set a pie or a something else she baked in front of us always said it wasn't as good as usual or it was probably not sweet enough. I guess whenever we present something we have created we tend to see the flaws. Last night I was convinced I had no credibility , I shouldn't have been asked to read and so on and so on. So here I am on the day before. I know nerves will kick in. I know I will have to muster all my confidence and courage. I also know that people will be gracious. I have some credibility. I will prepare and hopefully sleep well tonight and I will stand behind the podium and take the evening in and for each minute and each interaction I will be grateful.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Perfectly Happy Exactly Where I Find Myself

I just returned from a walk in the woods. This is something I try to do everyday and without exception when I do I return better for it. We have had a stretch of bitter cold weather and I only braved it to walk twice in the last two weeks.What I missed on those cold days I was given tenfold on the walk I took today. Now according to the best laid plans I am supposed to be in Alberta. Burton and I got up at 3:00 yesterday morning and drove to the airport. Our flight was not to be. At first we were put on Standby along with five other people because of a weight restriction . We waited and then were told the flight to Toronto was not going at all. Now some of the others around me were angry and I am not saying that not being angry makes me anything special but I figure people in charge of flying planes know more than I do and so for someone to make that call doesn't seem like a personal affront to me. I believe that just being fortunate enough to afford to go visit my daughter and granddaughters is a privilege not to take lightly.I also feel that I would rather be heading home after a cancelled flight then heading into the sky in an airplane that might not be safe. Seems a given to me. Burton,the irate woman behind us or I shouldn't be the one deciding whether the plane goes or not. So we went to bed last night expecting to leave early again this morning and fly to Montreal. I checked the flight status at 3:00 and our Montreal flight was cancelled. After calling Air Canada I was told it was because of runway issues. Again,I am not the one who should say the runway is fine because my granddaughters want to see me today. The helpful young man on the phone gave me several options and upon deciding which one worked the best for us he re-booked us. Now when I posted on FB several people made a comment that this was ridiculous. I disagree. What I think would be ridiculous would be for airlines to give in to entitled people claiming that their plans were more important than safety. So today as I walked down the beautiful snowy road in the bright sunshine and moderate temperature I couldn't help but feel to my very core that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. We will get to Meg's tomorrow or we won't. I will depend on professionals making that call not me based on my desire to prevent my granddaughters from being disappointed. I think they would be a lot more disappointed if Monkey and Toad were injured of killed in an airplane crash.So I hope to travel tomorrow and will be thrilled to see Meg, Cody, Emma and Paige but today I am perfectly happy to be exactly where I find myself.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Come out of the Bathroom

I find myself in the bathroom several times a day. No cause for alarm just a desire to take in the beauty of my renovated bathroom. I promised pictures months ago when the reno started and the finished room was just a vision in my head. The process was steady and we managed just fine taking advantage of our spa retreat at Chapin and Briannes across the road but it is so wonderful to have our upstairs bathroom back. There are a few details left to attend to;touch up painting, light fixtures to install and a few more pictures to hang but for the most part it is done and I enjoy walking in and taking it in. Now the decision is bath or shower. I love baths but a shower in my lovely new walk-in shower is tempting too. But this morning my task at hand is to get to the first round of edits on my spring release Y/A novel titled Headliner. I am anxious and nervous at the same time. There are some issues to tackle and a few things to resolve. Under the professional guidance of Penelope Jackson I will work away at the manuscript to get it ready for publication. I love this process and am so thankful for the opportunity to do it for the seventh time. Just a couple of housekeeping items to attend to and then I will get down to work. Intermittently I will venture into my new bathroom and gaze out the new window at the snowy fields and hills and remember the start to finish process that brought it to where it is now. As I consider that I will also ruminate on the start to finish journey I am taking with another book and take great pleasure in that.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

When Cleaning is Cleansing

I am not a clean freak. On the contrary I go for long periods of time forgetting to clean certain things. Just ask my sister in law who regularly reminds me about or empties for me the dead flies in the living room light fixture. I remember when I had my kitchen renos done in 2009 I was determined to keep my new appliances , new kitchen floor and new ceramic tile gleaming. I put the stove on wheels so I could clean behind it regularly. Now I may have done that a time or two but last week when I pulled the stove out it was apparent that I hadn't kept that promise to myself. I will attempt to try again making the plan of cleaning behind the stove at the end of each month. I will clean behind the fridge soon and establish a plan for that. The month of December has been besides Christmas decorating and enjoying the season, a month of cleaning, purging and organizing. I have tackled most closets and drawers and several rooms are completely finished. I have two closets left to do and one room left to paint, organize and set up. I have( for the most part)a finished bathroom renovation that I love. Now to establish a cleaning regime that will keep it looking as it does today. I have bought all the cleaners, the sponges, the scrub brushes and the cloths. I have a plan and my plan is to thoroughly clean the bathroom every Sunday. This may seem a tad obsessive but I need to schedule the cleaning that for me does not come naturally. I am not messy but I do not have the strong cleaning gene some people have or was bred into them. Keeping my new bathroom clean is my way of being thankful for it. Spending time organizing and reclaiming every room in my home acknowledges the blessing that my home is and the shelter and comfort it offers me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A New Water Closet

Today is Boxing Day to most people. In our house it has always been called Sue's Day. I don't know that a day named for me is that much of an advantage but in my head it gives me permission to do whatever I decide to do. Yesterday we had a beautiful dinner in Chapin and Brianne's new home. She pulled off a lovely meal and gathered her family and Chapin's together in their beautiful home. A winter storm did not keep her grandmother from leaving her nursing home and venturing over to be a part of the memorable event. Today I will enjoy some rest and the first order of birthday business is to have a bath in my beautiful new tub. Thanks to my friend Skip and his brother Tim along with our friend Connell (plumber), Chapin's friend Tony ( electrician) and our friend Paul (painter) my vision of a renovated bathroom has been realized. It is beautiful and exactly what I dreamed it could be. I will share the first reno picture showing the beautiful Welcome sign Crystal Mortimer made and donated to the Whites Wharf fundraiser at the marina. Wanda Cosman and I bid the sign up and I was successful in buying it, knowing it would hold a place of honor in my renovated bathroom. I am not sure if a welcome sign belongs in a bathroom but I love it and it certainly welcomes me.I will run a bath in my new tub and reflect as I soak, on the many blessings I have been given as I celebrate my 61st birthday.I will gaze out the new window, step out onto the new floor and totally enjoy my new water closet.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Seven More Sleeps

I am living my 61st Christmas. Of course I can't really remember the first few but I can remember most of them. My Mom and Dad always made Christmas a magical time. I remember it being about the little things;a box of Ganongs red wrap, tinsel and silver icicles placed just so one by one on the tree,Mom's small village set out on cotton batten on the mantelpiece, opening our stockings in Mom and Dad's bed,Mom's mincemeat and scotch cookies, eating breakfast bursting with excitement to get to the tree for the two or three gifts , a blow up Santa , new Barbie dolls, packing up and getting to my Aunt Lois and Uncle Bernie's for Christmas dinner. My childhood is full of wonderful Christmas memories and many of the traditions found their way into our home when Burton and I had our own family.This morning my heart is breaking for my Mom and Dad. I wish I could wrap my arms around my mother and quiet her turmoil. My Mom is locked up in a prison called Primary Progressive Aphasia.Each day it takes more and more from her. The main thing it has taken is her speech. My social,outgoing mother has lost her ability to speak.My dad never a chatty guy now has the burden of every conversation being one sided with no real indication of what his wife of 69 years is thinking. Her only outlet for the thoughts that must be constantly boiling inside her is a agitated type of pacing and obsessing. Dad is unsure how to react to this.My parents have spent many years away from us at Christmas, heading south in November. They have gone to Florida again this year . But last night as I heard the strain these days are on my father and hear only guttural sounds from my mother I want to take them both in my arms . I want to bring them to my decorated home and talk non stop about all the years they brought the wonder of the season to me. I want to thank them and take them year by year through the memories of my 61 Christmases. I want to make their suffering go away.I feel like the one in the middle holding on to the memories of Christmas for my parents, for my kids and for myself of course.My grandchildren are counting the sleeps. Oh how I wish I still had that wonder and innocence. Seven more sleeps and I will hold on to the wonder of twinkling lights, of grocery lists and family favorites, of treasured ornaments and decorations, of watching my kids creating their own memories in their own homes. I will carry all my people in my heart and accept the gift of that knowing that the love my parents gave me has prepared me for the blessings Christmas 2017 will bring.