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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Gertrude

This young lady has been put in my charge for the next year……or until the ‘baby’ in our birthday group turns 70. Charming in her yellow jacket and her neat coiffure, she is the epitome of standing still slowly until she is wound up. Then, she leans forward with great purpose and gets that walker going! She does have a few things she insists on - a flat, shiny surface and someone to adjust her stance to give her proper balance. If she’s on a rug, she just marches in place - and falls over. If she’s not put in the right stance - with really bad posture - she falls over. As a nurse, I know that she’s not using the walker right, she’s not standing up straight and whoever fitted her for that walker just didn’t do it right. But then, the creativity needed to design a life and how to live it just doesn’t follow details like rules. 

My birthday was November 26, so Gertrude (I’ve just named her), is a bit slow catching up. But look at that face. Would you fuss at her? I’m certainly not going to. She has never aged in the several years she welcomed our group into her life. Her joints don’t creak any more or less. Her motor still runs just fine when she’s wound up. So, she has been given a place of honour on my mantel piece until it is time to pass her on to the next person 70 years young.

“If you survive long enough, you’re revered - rather like an old building.”
~ Katherine Hepburn




Friday, December 15, 2017

Silent Commitments

Silent commitments sustain.
Anchors for souls tarnished, lost and drifting
through stormy hairpin turns of this life

Silent commitments ~
Touch stones of inner truth and wisdom
keep us safe despite stinging sleet or twinkling temptation

Silent commitments ~
Whispers heard in silence, felt in chaos.
Beliefs to still my running feet.

Silent commitments sustain.
Rooted in stillness and growing from chaos ~
new life and living created in silent baby steps.

“Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength 
which will always spring up if thou wilt always look.”
Marcus Aurelius,  Meditations

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Creating Christmas

 


“Oh Christmas tree. Oh Christmas tree…….’
The children had gathered around the Christmas tree their grandmother had made for them. They knew she could create just about everything in the whole wide world. But a tree!?…”

And that’s where the story ended. Those few words had floated through my mind as I gazed at the Christmas tree that I had created. My own Inner Child had wanted not just the little tree I put up every year, but a tall elegant tree with beautiful decorations. And preferably a real tree.



Several restrictions have been placed in my life in the past few years which just didn’t jive with all those preferences - a real tree, tall tree, with elegance, and the time and transportation needed. Quite by accident, I discovered that I had several yards of evergreen garlands threaded on heavy wire with many little ‘branches. Without my permission, a vision began to form. A tree made with my own hands, but what to do about a trunk? Everyone knows a trunk is absolutely necessary to any good tree. So I was stumped - no pun intended.
When I get pulled up short when reality doesn’t fit my imagination I start doing other things. In this case, it was cleaning up the mess I had made with all the evergreen garlands strewn on my living room floor. One of them had pine cones on it. I started to coil it up so it would fit back in the carton I stored them in…………..that looks like a wreath. Again with the imagination! But what the heck. So I made a wreath that now hangs on my front door. I added a couple of jingle bells that had been left jingling around in my stores. A day later found a lovely bauble a friend had made and added the finishing touch. 

All the while I kept thinking about a tree trunk. Putting things away in my hall closet I spied a handful of six foot bamboo sticks. Hmmmmmm……..One would be too thin. What if I made a teepee kind of structure with three of them? I tried it and it just kept collapsing. In frustration, it was masking tape to the rescue. I taped the three of them together to make one solid, and very skinny trunk. Ok. Now what? A tall gold and silver brass vase almost shouted at me to be part of this mad bout of creativity. Did I mention ‘skinny’? So this ‘trunk’ just wobbled around in the vase. Not to be daunted I started winding one of the garlands and then found I needed two. As I worked the garland at the base filled in the gaps to steady my skinny trunk. 

All my little tree needed was to be decorated. Lights came first as always - I started with multicoloured and changed to tiny little blue ones. Then my one purchase - a $3.00 roll of gold ribbon with wired edges - an important part of my early vision. Still not quite done. Delving back into my store of decorations I found my beautiful, tiny, and shiny Christmas balls and hung them carefully. Standing back, my not so tall, not quite elegant tree looked a bit Charlie Brownish, but absolutely beautiful. But……one more touch. My angel with feathered wings!


There. I may not have trudged out in the snow to chop down my own tree in a beautiful crisp cold winter day, but bringing this beautiful tree to life has been so very satisfying and brought a lovely touch of Christmas to my home. 


“The object of the artist is the creation of the beautiful. 
What the beautiful is, is another question.”
~ James Joyce,  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man





Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Book Review - Speaking in Cod Tongues by Lenore Newman

When I sat down this morning to write this review, I felt a bit stymied as I had not finished the book before book group met at my home yesterday. Now, I like all things food related. Growing food, preparing food, storing food and definitely eating food. Lenore Newman showed me another area of food that I had really never considered - the part that food has played in the development of Canadian cuisine. If we think regionally and within our own families, we have specific favourites. I can cite Saskatoon pie as one of mine from the berries common to the prairie provinces. There are numerous varieties of berries from the Maritimes to Vancouver Island, from far north borders to southern borders that have sustained all populations throughout history. 

Speaking in Cod Tongues is a veritable buffet of foods that have become a Canadian creole. The term most people are familiar with is fusion, however Lenore Newman feels that our Canadian food experience has gone much deeper than just fusing two cultures. She has travelled across Canada examining the historical part that food and dining has played in Canada’s development as a country, the rise, fall and rise again of community markets, as well as the regional preferences and cultural effects of Canada’s multicultural landscape. She, with great dedication, has eaten her way across Canada.  Most frequently she has studied the cuisine in restaurants, but has discussed some home cooking cuisine. You will not find recipes in this book, but what you will find is a fascinating perspective about the foods we take for granted each day. This includes the marginalization that can and has occurred with gentrification in urban areas and the exorbitant costs of food in the far north. 

Christmas is a time when families gather around tables, parties always involve food, in fact any gathering whether large or small, involves food. Speaking in Cod Tongues, in 237 pages, simmers and bubbles with humour and a light touch. There are notes, references and an index following the text. I am continuing to read Speaking in Cod Tongues and it is now an important part of my personal library. Lenore Newman answers the question - What is Canadian Cuisine?  Indigenous peoples and those Canadians that have come as immigrants to this country, by necessity and creativity have cooked up a delicious Canadian creole experience.

“But creole is deeper. It’s when cultures co-exist until they form a cuisine 
together. And I believe that Canada has developed a bit of a creole.”
Lenore Newman,  Author of  Speaking in Cod Tongues



Title:  Speaking in Cod Tongues
Author:  Lenore Newman
Publisher: University of Regina Press, University of Regina
Copyright:  2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0889774595
ISBN-13: 978-08897745599
Type: Non-Fiction  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

For Alexis

Young at heart is all in how we feel and
Comes with Christmas bells and sunshine
Cloudy, rainy days when stamping in mud puddles is fun
Kicking through autumn leaves piled high ‘round trees gifting the ground
Wishing on the man in the moon and the twinkling stars high in a velvet sky
Diving into piles of new fallen snow just because
Feeling the wind combing your hair and filling your face
Streaming tears tracing rivers down chubby cheeks in tantrums and frustration growing into life
Brilliantly creating fun in each precious moment 


When tragedy strikes hard and fast
when sadness overwhelms and smothers our joy
there is only aged sadness in our broken hearts
until the remembering begins of 
   The blessed child that played
     The dazzling child that laughed and sang
       The brilliant child that was the moon and the stars
A time when tears of sadness mix with tears of laughter
  Gently restoring youthful feelings with the wisdom of youth for aging hearts to live life.

“You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; 
as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; 
as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”
~ Douglas MacArthur


Monday, December 11, 2017

Safe Haven

Thoughtful and true
we wish to create 
     for each other
        for ourselves
Christmas’s full of joy and fun
  from memories both recent and distant.

Yet some of today’s realities
  and some of those distant memories
hit with cruel, jagged and sharp edges
threatening to destroy forever 
 the warmth of Christmas gatherings and song.

Coming together with others
 ~ whether family, friends, or just folks alone for the holidays
shuts the door firmly in the face of that threat
 allowing tears, laughter, crying and song 
   to create a safe haven at times of great joy or great sadness.

“We are like islands in the sea, 
separate on the surface 
but connected in the deep.”
~ William James


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Knowing

Wascana Lake, Regina, Saskatchewan Sept 2017
Intuitive thoughts ~
Gut feelings without data

Drifts of inner wisdom
challenged by cold realism

Valuable messages from deep inside to be listened to and learned from

Internal forces creating our connections 
   to a desire to know more
     to each other
        to the world around us.



“When you reach the end of what you should know, 
you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.”
~ Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam