Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31 .... Ending like I began...

Good evening. Well here I am.. having posted 255 days out of 365 days. While I'm short what - 110 days.. I still feel pretty pleased with how I did.

I want to begin by saying I am ending the year the way I began... grateful. I have had one of the best "Christmas Seasons" ever. Family came together, we ate, we gifted, we spent time together .. I'm still reveling in it all. I spent time with both grandsons, all three kids, and Honey - and all of it was wonderful.

In my last blog I talked about my "Christmas Cloud" I was on. How I had this full throttle fantasy going on about how wonderful and gingerbready my holiday was going to be - and then all these calls came in - money problem here, relationship problem there, ... and things felt for a moment like they were crumbling. Something snapped for me then - this was my family. My family with all it's warts and farts and what not, like a page out of a Carol Shields book, Larry's Party to be precise. I come away from this year feeling a deep appreciation, love and respect for each of my kids, for my whole family, for all of our struggles.

I am grateful for the time I still have with my father. What a difficult and complicated relationship that used to be. Now, in my father's autumn years, I see how he is affected by my presence, by what ever time I give to him. I will endeavor to do more, I promise. I am grateful for whatever capacity he still has left to enjoy what he can - and when he does, like he did on his birthday, singing and dancing with me - it makes me feel like a good human being, a good daughter - and I find myself grateful for his company and my capacity to forgive and to love.

I'm grateful I have become the mother that I am. I watch my daughters struggle - making choices I think I made myself - that if I could turn back time and make them over again, I wouldn't. But they have their journey to make, their stories to write .. and I admire them in their struggles and want them to know I am here. I watch my son work hard at becoming a good man. Life is not easy, it hasn't been altogether kind to my children - but as each of us grows, and informs the others of that exact possibility - so we grow as a family, so we heal.

I am grateful for my work this year. I am grateful for my work regardless - but this year I reached a milestone of sorts that I am very proud of. I have worked hard at building my practice, reaching out, making connections, and putting the deep need to be present with every one of my clients at the forefront of my work. I must be doing something right! And again - my sincere gratitude for the privilege each and every one of my clients affords me in allowing me to accompany them on their journeys. It really is an honour.

Honey and I have gone through what I would call a tough year. Yet here we are, tonight especially, having spent an awesome week in Canmore together, with my daughter and grandson, but also more importantly with each other. We have worked hard on our stuff - particularly in the last few months - and the work has paid off. I am eternally grateful for our stability, our sense of connection, our commitment to each other. And I say to you young daughter - the nice, quiet, Jewish musician guy isn't such a bad catch.

The practice of acknowledging gratitude has also left me feeling well, grateful. The practice has made me more aware, more attentive, more present. I notice the colour of the sky, the smell of the flowers, the breeze on my face, the sunrise and sunset, the snow falling, the stars shining, raindrops that have collected on a bush making it look like diamonds tinkling, the wildlife I have been entitled enough to meet with, Ireland - all of Ireland, music, silence, space. I have learned to appreciate, been present for, and am grateful for all of it.

So as the hour draws near, I want to wish all of you - whoever you are that has read this blog over the year - a most hearty and healthy of New Years. Find the space in you that can appreciate and feel grateful ... it is a gift unto yourself like no other. Peace be with you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

December 22.... Lot's of stuff... catching up...

Here I am finally on Blogger. While I accept and own my laziness about not keeping up with the Blog.. I have to tell you, and ask anyone reading, what is up with getting on Blogger and it bringing my router down? I heard from one person who said she has tried quite a number of times to get on - it always shuts her computer down - so she gave up. If anyone understands this please leave a note to explain. I consider my being able to be on here at the moment a total fluke.

So gratitude. Well.. I want to say first off I am so glad and grateful for having started this process. Truth be told you don't need to write to be grateful. I have had the opportunity to experience much gratitude in the realm of friendship. My women friends are coming through for me loud and clear. The depth and breadth of the relationships continues to grow and that gives me such pleasure. I hosted a 50th birthday party at the beginning of December for Y. I love her. She accepts me totally for who I am. You know those emails that go around saying a best friend is someone who loves you when you cry, scream, smile, fart - whatever... well that's Y. She turned 50 first. Phew for me. She seems ok. She is beautiful.

I had dinner with I & J last week. Our annual trek out - although we missed last year. We pick up where we left off. It's that easy. J and I catch up about our kids, grandkids and respective husbands. I regales us with her travelling adventures. The three of us compare aches and pains - that was really funny this time. Thankfully, despite a crappy menopause on my part, J's frightful dance with arthritis, and I's stomach issues, we're all reasonably healthy and happy. That's a lot to be grateful for.

Another thing that has kept showing up for me... is the change in colour as the season changes. I am assuming that the practice of keeping an eye open for things to be grateful for has made the world appear to me in a different way. This practice has kept me noticing. The blue of the late afternoon sky I tell you is different in the winter. The morning pink too. It makes me want to paint.

I can't write about gratitude without mentioning the hard work Honey and I have done in the realm of the couple. We have undertaken a painful process to heal what was amiss in our relationship - and you know what? It works. We are connected, loving, talking, invested, and continue to grow. Yay us.

Gratitude has also sweetened my relationships with my kids, my family. We are having Christmas together for the first time in - well I don't know when the last time was that I celebrated Christmas on the 24th with middle daughter. This year, she will be here with grandson number one, Jakob, my dad will be here, and Honey and myself. On the 25th my son and his girlfriend will be joining us. On the 26th Honey and I are leaving to Canmore to spend 5 days with young daughter and grandson number 2, Levi. I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to tell you the truth. Three days ago I was totally floating away on a cloud of Christmas bliss. I spent too much I'm sure - but I felt it fine because I can do this. I wanted to do this. There are gifts, a bird, a tree... Middle daughter called two days ago, having a pre-Christmas melt down. Then her brother called and said he was having difficulties. Not to be left out, young daughter called and said Boo.. things suck here too. Well... I think there was a time I would have reacted to all this by flipping out myself and then shutting down and letting go and giving up ... but that didn't happen this time. I decided Christmas would be what it would be. My family is not perfect but I can accept it with its quirks and all .. and a peace came to me. I found myself grateful despite the drama. And you know what... it all abated. Today, everyone called again, is reasonably ok, excited about the holiday. Everyone is being real.. including me. Everyone is still talking and ok. Call me crazy.... but I'm extremely grateful. I'm full of emotion and joy and peace even though I know things aren't perfect nor will they ever be. They are as they are and that's ok.

Honey and I are cultivating a new friendship with a colleague of mine and her husband. I find myself skittish from time to time, afraid to commit, still feeling a bit raw from the last "failed" friendship which I still don't understand and I guess still haven't got closure on. Regardless, I press on. I insist on taking risks and trying to make contact with new people and creating meaningful relationships. I feel blessed that this new couple is in our lives. It takes a lot of courage to keep marching, keep reaching out, keep connecting. I'm proud of myself and grateful at my capacity to be this way.

I spent a chunk of time with my dad today. I am as always thankful and grateful to the folks who take care of him. Bless you Ginette, Maria, and all the rest of you wonderful people who make sure he is safe and sound. I don't know where he, or I, would be without you.

That's it for now peeps. If anyone ever asks... cultivating gratitude is a good and wonderful thing. Even if you don't happen to write about it every day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November 24 .... Princess Day....

Princess day began with a new Pilates class. Please note, this will either cure me or kill me... at the moment not sure which. I thought Pilates was all about working your core muscles and at some point I guess it will be - for now it's about becoming conscious of your muscles, any muscles! Or becoming aware of bones and how they move and operate - like your shoulder blades, that are analogous to wings, who knew? Do you feel them rotating .. uh no actually. All right let's try this... can you feel your first and second vertebrae... uh no actually. Hmm.. This muscle? That muscle? Uh ... no actually... ok this is going to take some time. Who knew....

Off to clay to spend time with lovely Christiane and continue my work there. I will be building a full-fledged lamp shade. We are brain storming on the how of it... what fun.

Then I got to see my wise-woman. She is helping me carry work stories that are sometimes to big for me to carry by myself. While I was afraid of being judged she quickly disproved that and instead held me up, made me feel strong, taught ... thank you.

Later I'm going to pick up organic vegetables. We bought half a share in winter baskets. I need to find some potato recipes! It makes me feel happy to this though.

So that's me today - taking care of business...taking care of me ... not letting the pain stop me... grateful that it's not there all the time and the times when it is, I can nap, slow down, take care... and it's bearable. This is a good thing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

November 21.... of flowers..

I guess it's harder to hold yourself to the task of writing about your gratitude 365 days a year than I thought. But .. let it be known that I ponder on things that I am grateful for daily. Truly. Here are a few examples....

I was raised by a woman who was raised on a farm. Whether her gardening acumen came from there or not I am not sure. Suffice it to say I see a great similarity in how my mother gardened, ergo how I garden, and how many Europeans garden - especially my Italian neighbours. I was always taught to yank out every living thing from the garden before the frost hits. Your plot should be pristine, no leaves or weeds, or left over blossoms. It should be ready come the Spring to receive new plantlings. Well I gotta tell you... these past few weeks have been absolutely lovely (minus yesterday I guess) and walking to and from work has been a total pleasure. And there have been sightings... a rose bush, long neglected, not "pruned" or cared for in the manner befitting a rose to be sure, but its there, in the middle of November, with flowers - roses - on it. Deep red ones. They perhaps have become petrified I'm not sure, but they are beautiful. And I doubt the plant any worse for wear for its lack of attention really.

Not long past the apartment building that shows off this rose bush, I came upon a home down the road... happy pansies still growing, still upright - and we have had a frost!!! and they are there - bobbing in the breeze ... and its' the middle of November! Geraniums, purple flowers, Chrysanthemums ... I noticed tons of flowers - in all the gardens that weren't "prepared" for the Spring.

I think I need to try a new approach. I love the sightings of these flowers. They are happy-making. I'm grateful for the smiles they brought to my face.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 10... changing light...

So I have been hearing a lot of people complaining. Mostly about the coming of winter, the chill in the air, the fact that it now gets dark at 4:00 p.m. I have to confess - I love it. There are no leaves to block the light so that during the day there is a very different light in my house. It's wonderful. At about 4:00 the sky becomes a very different blue than in the summer. And it's not even so much about the hour - there are no leaves for the sun light to reflect off of, the black branches reach up and stand in sharp contrast to the Chagall blue of the sky. It's fantastic. It's inspiring and paint-able, makes me want to be creative. And because it's 4:00 or 5:00 pm - I'm not inside cooking or eating.. I'm available to catch the view, to admire the trees standing tall, the sky deepening. It takes my breath away. The bite in the wind let's me know I'm alive. The beauty of it all fills me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 2.... Gratitude

Happy Birthday Dad. I just called my dad to say Happy Birthday. For the first ten minutes he thought he was talking to my sister, which has more to do with his dementia than it does with my voice, or my sister. However.. all that to say, my dad was extra chatty this evening, regaling me with his philosophy of life, laughing like a hyena ( I wondered was he on something?? Birthday cheer??). In the end, it's nice that he could laugh like that. We had him here for a family dinner on Saturday to celebrate his birthday. We put on German beer drinking songs, and he sang his heart out. I invited him to dance and he happily obliged. That was funny. He can't move his legs around too much, bad knee, too much weight, so instead of twirling me around as he would have in days gone by, he threw his shoulders into it... was quite the sight. He lasted about 10 minutes which was great. It's always amazing to me to reflect on my relationship with my dad - he was a brute, brutal, really sucked as a father - until now. I'm grateful for what we have. I really am.

There are new pics of my grandson Levi on Facebook. I am so happy to see how well he is doing, how happy he is, how happy his mother is. However... there are moments like tonight where I viscerally ache for my daughter, and my grandson - and I should say daughters and grandsons. I don't know if it's because of the extremely difficult day I had at work - but I ache to hold Levi. I ache to hug Jakob. I wish my girls were here having tea with me.

In the end, reflecting on that ache let's me know how precious and beautiful these relationships are. I cherish them. I'm teary now as I write - who would have thunk I would arrive at a place where I am grateful for the family I have. Here I am.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October 31.... ahhhhh .. a perfect day...

That my dear peeps, is the sound and sigh of one contented Princess. Today my friend and I went to Rawdon to the Bain des Sources Spa. Embedded inside Laurentian mountains - this spa has hot and cold pools/tubs, a eucalyptus steam room, the cold pools are actual mountain streams, a dry sauna, an awesome place to eat with a big fireplace, a fireplace outside, and the whole in the most beautiful country side setting possible. They have added a new building  - which is massage central.. and this has been my third massage there and they have some of the best masseuses ever.

And to have this day with my dear friend Christiane.. made it a double, nay, triple pleasure. Sometimes... you just gotta take some care of yourself. And like I tweeted today - when you take care of yourself you are not being selfish.. what you are doing is helping the universe provide. I stand by that :).

And then... to come home and hear Honey had a great time playing! Music! And he'll be doing it again! Oh Joy!

Some days.. are perfect.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27... Relating....

I was just going to write about the women in my life, and how we relate as opposed to what it seems that men tend to do, and I realized it's my mother's birthday. Oddly enough my mother was not one for relating. She chose instead to remain isolated - and whether she did that by numbing herself with alcohol, or deciding she couldn't allow herself to need anyone, she never developed the capacity to relate. I'm grateful not everything is inherited.

I spent most of my day with my friend Christiane at her atelier. I'm trying those lampions again - remember them?! She remarked on our friendship while we had lunch together, said she so appreciated how her and I could pick up from where we left off regardless of the time between contact. We relate to each other, and we relate at a deep and meaningful level. And it doesn't matter what we talk about - whether it's about our kids, or the state of my couple, or the state of hers... we relate, we support, we love, and we laugh.

Isn't that just awesome?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 26 .... Work

I have had a big work day. So today's gratitude is a shout out to those brave and wonderful people who privilege me with their stories, their trust, their self. What they come and do with me is hard, hard work. Not for the faint of heart to be sure. I cherish the trust people give me. I respect the awesome journey I get to witness. 

Thank you for letting me do what I do. For doing it with me. 

My heart is full.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25 ...contemplation..

I miss my daily contemplation of gratitude. I used to walk around, back and forth to my office let's say, and contemplate what to be grateful for. I used to think of things and say to myself, there is something to put in the blog. I haven't been doing that lately. It's as though the blog has slowly been slipping from my consciousness. It isn't that I'm less grateful, or not grateful ... but I find myself less conscious of it. I think that's a bad thing. I also wonder - is that the same process that damages relationships, that the thought and act of loving slips from one's consciousness, it no longer is an active verb - but a passive backdrop to whatever else is going on? I think that's sad too.

It takes energy to love. It takes energy to be grateful, to exercise, to take care of yourself, to reach out, to act, to appreciate, to acknowledge, to connect. It takes energy to think and be and do. It takes energy to be a wife, mother, daughter, friend ... teacher, student... you name it. It takes energy to create, paint, play, throw clay.

It takes a wish to invest, in yourself, in those around you, in those you love.

I choose to invest.

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 22 .. Finally....

Hi there. So while I have indeed been neglectful - I would also like to say that I have had a dickens of a time getting on to Blogger. What's up with that? For three nights in a row now I have not been able to access the blog. Those are my excuses for now.

Alrighty - gratitude - it's there. There is lots good happening. Since I last wrote....  Honey and I are doing wonderful (even if the last two days has found me crabby). Even better, our weekly torture session this week, as we euphemistically call it, got cancelled! Now there's two happy people. Again, I have to say, couple therapy works when you do the work, it works when you let it work, and it works when you suffer yourself through the process. As a professional in the business, I have a whole new respect for my clients. Man is it hard work - to allow yourself to be that vulnerable, to trust that much, to share that openly. It is hard. But it is soooooo worth it.

One of the highlights in the past week has been the reintroduction of music into the home, into the soul of a man. And while I am suffering somewhat from the exclusion - I'll deal with it. I'm a big girl. I'll niggle my way back in... in the mean time, you play, piano man. You allow yourself whatever room you need. Grow. It's good for what ails you.

There's nothing quite like getting lost in our art is there. I remember those days - the smell of clay, I even like the smell of oil paints, toxic as they can be. Time I dug all that stuff out.... me too I need some fun.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15 ... TGIF...

It's Friday. It's POURING outside. One of those Fall storms, cold, wet,  necessary as a means of getting all the leaves to fall I guess. I'm here on the couch, with my tea (had my oatmeal cookies) .. in my sweats... I can tell I'm not going very far tonight!

Some Fridays are like that. Glad to be home, end of the responsibility for at least the weekend, time to unplug the phone... ah the nice quiet space I can allow myself.

I'm going to take a little snooze I think.

Can you hear that contented sigh?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October 13... Princess Day

It's October 13.. and, while I have taken a few days off here and there... here I am still blogging about gratitude! I'm proud of myself :).

Today was a Princess Day. So what did I do....  I skyped with my grandson! He is actually responding to me through the computer! Obviously it's not the same as holding him, being with him, or young daughter for that matter - but I can engage him. I find that very exciting. It's not long before Grandma Heidi is reading stories to him!!! I also received a beautiful thank you card from young daughter and her man. It was beautiful - and touching, because really, it's me who thanks her!

Honey and I did our work today too. What a difference that has made in our lives. For example, here we are, toying with the idea of getting a rescue dog, considering inviting a dog in where Doogie once was. We are both hesitating, both of us are, because all of a sudden we so appreciate this space and energy between us we don't want a diversion. Can you imagine, after 21 years we are excited at the prospect of each other! And I have to say .. it's humbling to hear it from him, to have it expressed by him, not just a ditto of what I'm saying, not just echoing me .. but something that came of it's own volition, to me, about me, for me maybe, even. A girl could get used to this you know. A girl could start to feel a bit like a Princess. And when you hear that, you open your heart more, and when you open your heart more, you grow, together. There's gratitude for you.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12 ... Happy Birthday...

Today is the birthday of a young man I know in Mexico. I met him in 2002 (I'm pretty sure that was the year). I haven't seen him since 2003. We had a student/helper relationship for an academic year. This wonderful guy, who came to me confused and homesick, used to tell me how helpful what we did together was for him, how grateful he was to have met me, how much he had learned about himself.

Well .. I want to pay that back. He needs to know that at a time in my "career" when I was in fact being bullied at work, he was a voice that kept coming back to me, kept reminding me why I do what I do, kept cheering me on. Years later we connect on Facebook, I see he is flourishing, I can't tell how happy that makes me. And still he feels free to talk and connect with me, still says how lovely of an experience it was ... and again, I feel strengthened, supported, vindicated which I figure is not a good word to use - but bullying does things to a person - makes them doubt themselves, makes them not believe what they are doing is any good, leads them to give up on themselves.

I remember - that this relationship, my belief and ability to connect authentically, be supportive, and so much more - allowed me to realize that I was in fact in the wrong place, that I did in fact need to go back to school to formalize what I was doing, put myself on the path I am on now. I didn't need to be bullied for that to happen, what I needed was to believe in myself ... and this young Mexican man really helped me do that.

Gratitude is a funny thing. I can't with all good conscience say that I am glad I was bullied - because that was one of the worst experiences of my life - but the work I did as an International Student Advisor certainly woke up the "therapy" bug in me, made me hungry for more, set me on my way. What I am grateful for was to have the hand of my friend to right the ship a wee bit in those dreadfully stormy days. I am not so sure I would be "here" without that hand....

I am eternally grateful for having known you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11.... giving thanks....

Honey and I were away for the weekend. What a fantastic weekend it was. Memorable moments included soaking in the hot tub - two days in a row! Having picnics despite the autumn chill in the air - after having cycled the first 30 km of our 70 km day. Having found my glasses after they fell out of my pocket on kilometer number I don't know 50 or so, and only realizing I had lost them at kilometer 57 or so? That's a lot to be grateful for right there. But there's more.

Autumn in the Laurentians, cycling through Arundel farm country - oh my God is it beautiful there. A lovely room and a lovely B & B, some nice talking and loving with Honey, discovering new places together, feeling happy with each other's company, two great dinners together, laughing, loving, taking awfully good care of each other.

I'm giving thanks for all this richness in my life. I know I'm fortunate, I know it won't always be this way, but I also know most of what I need to do to keep it this way is cherish it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October 6 ... those that can ...

So what's that expression .. those that can - do, those that can't - teach ... I hope I have that right... I would like to challenge that thought. Why? Because I LOVE teaching. Seriously. I find it exciting, rewarding, enriching, all about connection. Ok so I guess it depends to some degree on what it is you teach - but maybe not. And I don't understand for the life of me why it is so difficult to get gigs where you get to teach. Apparently if you follow your heart and do what you love you get to do it. And for the most part that has worked out for me. I love my work, love the connections I make, love the journeys I'm ever so privileged to join people on. But man I love to teach.

So while I was just going to go on about not doing it enough, I caught myself... this is gratitude... I am very thankful for the evening I had, for the opportunity I did in fact get to teach. I thrived on the sharing and connection. Thank you universe.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 5 .... an amazing Fall day.

I remember when writing in the Spring - I went on for quite sometime about the weather. How amazed I was at the early Spring, the warm weather, the wonderful paucity of snow.

Well seems it's getting bookended by the Fall. What a glorious day it was today. Too warm for the sweater I was carting around, the colors on the trees amazing, the smell in the air delicious, just lots to smile about. I took advantage to garden, and pulled out what will be my last vegetable garden - I can't fight all the growing trees that are making my sunny vegetable garden into a shady I don't know - English garden I guess? We'll see next year I suppose.

And this weekend, me and Honey, a getaway! With our bikes! To the awesome Laurentians - and I'm visiting Winnetou!!

Lot's to be grateful for.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October 3 ....where understanding grows

I have had a lovely weekend. On Friday, Honey stepped up, showed up, and took nice care of me after a tough work week. I really needed that - and it seems I didn't know how much till we were done.

Yesterday, we went for a walk on the mountain together. It was beautiful. Changing colours, crisp air, holding hands and talking. Later that evening we had dinner guests and we had a nice time.

Today we did a 50K cycle. We went to a new cycling path and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Hanging out with Honey has been a down right pleasure these days. It got me to thinking...

When something happens to jeopardize your attachment to someone... it's such a scary thing. I hope the next time (well truth be told, I hope there is no next time) ... but if there is, I hope next time I have the sense to recognize that's what's going on.. that the attachment between the two of us is being challenged (neglected, compromised) .. I hope I recognize the set of feelings that kicks up when that happens.. .and I hope to hell I have the where-with-all to recognize that and react differently, so that the time spent in that state is only as long as it takes me to recognize it. My cues are a deep sense of loneliness, aloneness, sadness, a good dose of anxiety. And all that because I felt like my connection was deeply troubled.

That's an awful lot to simply say, I'm really grateful for my connection with Honey. I'm really grateful I can take an ordinary walk with him and still feel crazy in love. I have missed that. I'm grateful that we both choose to keep working at this, to keep taking care, that we both see how precious we are as a team.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 29..... a cup o' love...

In the spirit of keeping things simple, and appreciating whats good in life...

Honey and I, got off our duffs (gratitude right there) and went to the new Yeh! on Monkland. I am in love! I had a cup of frozen chocolate yogurt - that may well have been the best I ever had. Fat free !!!!! 2 WW points!!!

Sometimes people, you gotta stop and smell the roses .... or eat chocolate frozen yogurt.. either way...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 28 ... don't you step on my red suede shoes!

Ok so they aren't suede, and I just realized, it's not even Princess Day, but I found myself two - that's right - two!! - pairs of awesome red shoes!!! I'm so happy!! And one pair has heels!! I haven't had a pair of shoes with heels - and red ones at that - in like, ever!

I realize how trite this must seem, however, a friend of mine once told me, with regard to this blog, to think and write on the things that bring a smile to your face.... well today it's my gorgeous red shoes! I'm still beaming!

May you find shoes that make you feel as happy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27... home...

It's dark, and pouring out. I can hear the water gushing down the gutter out front, and I see the outline of a tree - blowing in the wind. The lighting in the area of the house I'm in is sparse - so there is a nice, soft glow all around. Nothing to bright or crazy. I'm done work, done dinner, feeling content.

I'm grateful for my home. I've said that before - but there are moments like right now where the lighting is just right, and it's nice and warm (we turned the friggen heat on this morning!!!! September 27! What the hell??? But I digress) ... it is in fact nice and dry and toasty warm.

I like feeling content.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 26 .... reflections

I have been in a strange little space lately. Reflecting on life and all... appreciating how more and more it's about connecting, relationships, reaching out .... really appreciating that.

Last night we went to a 50th birthday party - that's the third 50 I'm celebrating this year!! That's what being a part of a demographic group is like I guess. It has given me the chance to look around - survey as it were the consequences, good or bad, of the choices I have made in my life. Going forward, there are other 50 birthdays coming up - my own included. Seems to me you have no choice but to reflect. Last night I wrote in my friend's card, "from high school to 50 in the blink of an eye" - and despite all the living that has been done in the interval, it really does feel that way. And sadly, I don't see any signs of "time flying by" slowing down. Know what I mean?

I don't want this blog to seem the least bit morose. Truth be told - some of that looking around and surveying, has me feeling pretty grateful as a matter of fact. Plenty grateful. Sometimes my life reads like a Carol Shields novel - and I'm ok with that. I'm very much ok with where I am at. I am ok with how I have weathered the storms, I'm ok with who I am. That's a lot to say don't you think? That't a lot to be grateful for. It's a good life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22 .... Princess Day...

Indeed today was Princess Day. Nothing like spending three hours (holy cow) at the salon on Princess Day. And while I am the first person to say - three hours are you nuts - at least it's on Princess Day, and I don't sit there in the chair with ants in my pants thinking of all the things I could be doing instead of taking some much needed aesthetic care of myself. Know what I mean? And to top it off - I look fabulous. Thank you new Stephanie.

Then I came home and shortly thereafter, Honey and I subjected ourselves to our weekly session of torture - which is turning out to be really good for us. Kind of validates my profession if you ask me, and, it totally humbles me and makes me far more compassionate and empathic towards my clients. I have such respect for what they choose to go through because it is hard, hard work. All that to say - it works, and I'm glad and grateful for that. It's a lot easier to deal with the stuff of a 21 year relationship from a perspective that is not from "the edge of doom". Instead it's from a safe place, a connected place, a place where "we" live, not just "me" lives.

And finally, to top Princess Day off - we went out for our favourite Indian Food - comfort it you ask me.

All good - much to be grateful for.. time to snuggle.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

September 21... Technology...

Sometimes, technology can get the better of me. I can literally sit and geek for hours. I suppose my laptop is "the new TV" - not that I ever devoted this much time to TV.

However there are upsides to this technology stuff. I skyped with young daughter and amazing Levi today. That kid is growing like a weed!!! He is huge! And even better, he is responding!! Which thrills me to no end. It sucks being 4000 or so miles away from your kid and grandson, it really does, in a profound kind of way - but sometimes, and I'm sure it won't be all the time, something like Skype serves as a decent salve to the ache in my heart.

I also do a lot of texting with middle daughter. Some how, through the scraps of tiny messages I send her way, she feel lifted up, supported, connected to something sane and comfortable. I'm happy for these relationships. I feel like I'm doing my "mother" job - better.

I'm grateful for my connecting.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20 .... all good things..

I have been at a loss for what to write about. This strikes me as silly (crazy, moronic.. whatever) because things have been going really well! All my relationships are intact and flourishing even, work is good, Honey and I keep working at it and its good, things are good.

Seems more of a struggle - wrong word - to find gratitude when things are rolling along smoothly - than when there is drama and suffering going on. Its like this. I'm sitting here .. feeling good - which probably translates to grateful some how but that would spoil what I'm going to say - content, happy with my life .. and in looking for something to be grateful for I'm waiting for "that feeling". "That feeling" like when I'm writing and I'm in the midst of shit and misery and drama - then I look for something to "feel" grateful for and when I ping upon it it's like a salve .. ahh.. yessss.... gratitude. So you recognize it. That sensation stands in sharp relief to the downness of the drama at hand. Not so much when you're happy.... :) Am I discovering something here?

So let me rephrase... not only am I happy at the moment, but really, I'm pretty grateful to be that way. I am grateful that things are feeling good between Honey and myself, between my kids and myself. I'm grateful that we are having a spectacular fall, the weather has been sublime.

There is much to be grateful for on this happy, gentle day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September 18... Lazy Saturday...

It seems to me like it's been a long time since we were home and chilling on a Saturday morning. I don't know why that is. Regardless, it's nice taking the time to read the morning paper, as brought to me section by section by Honey himself, have a nice coffee.. and stay snuggled up with a blankie on the couch.

I'm sure at some point I will get "productive" but for now, this is really, very nice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15 .... grateful

I'm whooped. Honey and I are going through a process. In the end it will be great. We will find each other, know each other, love each other - and really, I've grateful for that. You don't invest 21 years of your life somewhere and then blow it off right? Right!

So I'm grateful for perseverance, grateful for strength, grateful for commitment, patience and caring. I'm grateful for the courage this journey requires, grateful for healing .... Grateful.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 14 ... community and commitment

Three years ago in May, I had begun, at long last, a journey to lose weight. I'm a lover of bread, cheese, and nuts - all really healthy, all really fattening - in the quantities I was eating them in! That's the biggest, most important thing I learned with Weight Watchers, to watch what I eat. I also learned that I don't have to eat until I can't move, that pain does not equal "sated", that more is not better. I did the online version. I liked it and it worked. Some 20 - 25 pounds lighter - I felt I had reached my goal. I was able to stay that way for the better part of two and a half years.

Well I'm here to tell you pound-creep has set it!! I'm back on the plan and glad of it. It requires a commitment to yourself to maintain a weight once you've achieved it. Sometimes you, I, forget that. So here is to re-committing.  WW offers a community of people all striving for the same thing - to be wise about our choices. The people on the "Boards" are friendly and supportive - and until I rejoined yesterday I had forgotten how lovely it was to have all the "cheering on" coming my way.

I'm grateful for the community, grateful for the support, grateful for my commitment.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13 ... uber connecting...

So as I begin to write my blog, at this late (ish) hour -  I have Honey sitting beside me kindly nudging me to come to bed. That's nice. He's nudging too because for most of the night I have been "talking" to people. Middle daughter has a free texting plan, as do I, so we "talk" a lot more now. She is going through tough times as a matter of fact, and I'm really happy to be able to be a source of support for her.

Oldest Niece is back in college. Her boyfriend has a BlackBerry and she too can now chat with me for free - for long :-). She had a stressful first day back, needs some support too because of her fear of failure, her and I are good friends. It's all good.

Young daughter got home the other day from her two and a half week trip to see all sides of her family - and is now able to call. She did and I listened to little Levi singing away in the tub. He's outgrown his first wardrobe, he sounds happy so does my daughter.

In all that Honey got a little lost.

We women really are relational aren't we. I see how much it means to me, I see how important each and every one of these connections are, they fill me up, they make me happy.

Up to bed I go - to connect of course ;).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 12... In the woods...

Had an awesome weekend in the country. Yesterday was a work day - there was a  lot of land our friend had cleared. He rented a chipper and we chipped all the trees he felled. It was vigorous work. I loved it. It made me totally homesick for my Winnetou Lake. I used to work hard up there, clearing brush, picking up fallen trees, making bonfires. I loved it. I remember once, my dad and Honey, standing on the balcony, watching me; my dad turned to Honey and said "She's a real country woman that one, a real woodsman." Indeed daddy, indeed - you taught that to me, or the geography taught that to me: a respect for the land, an appreciation of the changing seasons, the smell of trees and earth. We may have lost our beloved cottage - but I am so grateful for my relationship with nature. When I get the opportunity to "work the land" as it were, I feel settled, centered, strong, at home, really at home.

Thanks so much J & Y.

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 10... summertime

I'm feeling grateful for the summer we had. Yesterday was our first official "cold" day. Hardly cold really - but a real switch from the hot, muggy temperatures we've been having. And again, after the last two summers - which were dreary at best, this year was amazing. We're spending time with friends on the weekend, on a lake, last of that for the year I'm sure. Our time is moving from kayaking, to pickling; from cycling to harvesting; from lazing on the deck, to chopping wood. My garden, which wasn't really a resounding success this year, is also winding down. We had one Spaghetti Squash - one! That's all the squirrels let me have. I'm grateful for that! It was awesome growing such a big vegetable! The weekends going forward will all involve some form of battening down the hatches for the winter - ugh. I shouldn't say that - my favourite season is fall.  I love the crisp air, wearing sweaters, the smell of falling leaves. I'm getting ahead of myself though. Let's enjoy what we can of what is left of our summer.

Given that, I would be ok with a killing frost - someone, get rid of the Ragweed!!

Happy Weekend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 8 ... honouring your inner control freak...

To all my Jewish friends and family - Happy New Year.

9 years ago when Honey and I moved into this house, we accepted and assumed the responsibility of hosting two dinners a year for his family, Passover and Rosh Hashana. This has meant having a sit down dinner for as many as 21 and as little as 10 people. Either way ...  it's a cooking day for me. In the end we've done more - hosting summer parties, anniversary and birthday parties. I kind of love doing this. Today, even though lovely young cousin is coming to help, I have done the lion's share of preparing and cooking. I recognized that I "needed" it to be that way. I feel comfortable now - at three in the afternoon, knowing what lies ahead of me. I like knowing what's left. I like taking charge and having it my way. I like that the napkins are just so, or the honey pot is in the middle of the table, not at the side. I like that the knife blades are turned inward not out... what can I say, I'm honouring my inner control freak.

It works!

And to those family members that are far and wide away..... we will miss you tonight. I hope your year going forward is filled with health and love.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7 ... all good things...

So in the on going saga of little Archie - the pup that was supposed to change my life (I know, I know) ... I am ever so happy to report that a wonderful home, complete with dog buddy, has been found for my dear Archie. He lives next to a lake, with kind and loving people, who are home most of the time. They have other dogs these people and so are versed in the life and needs of a puppy.

No one will be able to convince me that I haven't failed miserably at this ...  and that's fine. I am eternally grateful that a place like Rosie's Animal Adoption exists, that people like Kathy, who has devoted her life to helping animals exist, and that choices I make do not end in total disaster.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6 .. Hindsight better than no sight?

I've been reflecting a lot on the family reunion we had.

Sometimes I wish I could offer something that isn't mine to offer. I want to offer a place where children can come and play, where parents wouldn't have to worry about letting their kids roam around the house, where even, let's say, a puppy could frolic. I want to offer a big, happy family, a parade of my own, fun. But that's not what I have here. That's not what my life is about here at this time. There are no children in my life on a regular basis. Sometimes I feel like I should apologize for that, but that doesn't seem to make any sense. Am I projecting my own insecurities onto others and receiving that as disappointment? Actually, I don't know.

Sometimes, I receive messages from others that we're too stiff, too set in our ways, we don't engage, we show are discomfort to easily, we don't have a thick skin... like that. I actually really appreciate the feedback - it is helping myself and Honey grow into better stronger people.

Sometimes I wonder, if we don't talk about family dynamics and history, in a bid to understand them, aren't we just doomed to re-enact the same old script all the time? In reflecting about the family reunion I realize that right from the beginning everyone got into familiar roles and defensive positions. I heard someone say "Are you worried about how this will go", "If s/he starts up I'm outta here!", "S/he better not ...." - and so on.  I felt I was treading stormy water.

I would like to resolve that next time - seeing how this time was in fact successful as no one acted out on the above - that we trust and have faith and believe we can have the loving, connected and authentic family we all long for.

I know for a fact that I bring the best of myself to whatever I can. I do not seek out to make things unpleasant for anyone, ever. I love my family. Deeply, honestly. I am ever grateful for what my children teach me. From now on I resolve to be very clearly present in the relationship and share this love joyfully.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5.... reconnection...

Been a long, long time since I felt the way I did today: connected, loving, loved, wanted, wanting.. responsive, responded to... creative even.. two days in a row... in love, loved .... what a beautiful day.

Wish my kids were around to share in the nice of things - not just the sad and difficult of things.

I am very, very grateful for today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September 1... the things you learn...

Well a week has come and gone, and so has the family. Young daughter and precious, precious Levi left today. Huge pile of tears. Middle daughter and beautiful Jakob left on Sunday, huge tears there too. My son and soon to be daughter in law! joined us for Brunch on Sunday. First time we were all together like that in a long, long time.

Through out their respective stays, Honey and I received feedback about our "unbendableness", that we appear to have trouble tolerating change in our environment, that it shows on our face too much that we are uncomfortable. I blame Honey more than myself. Except that I wore my unhappiness about other things more openly that I should have.

This visit was all about bad timing. I'm not too shy to share that Honey and I had our first Couple session, only it was four hours after young daughter and Levi arrived. The repercussions of that session lasted a few days, they weren't good. I have come to wonder how my daughter must see me as the last few times we have been together have been tough times in my life. It appears I can't live in the moment all that well.... I need to work on that.

Another mistake of mine on this visit .. I had the puppy arrive with middle daughter and Jakob. So not only did I have my kids and their kids, but a puppy - that we have now discovered Honey and I are ill-equipped to deal with. You have no idea how sad I am at that horrible realization. We can not "tolerate" the growing pains of a puppy, we don't want our "stuff" damaged, don't want to "invest" the energy and time, there is a deficit in ability to discipline, we don't know how to "play", ... it doesn't make me feel good about myself to say any of this. On the other hand - we are among the best adult dog owners I know. All that to tell you, Archie is leaving us too. Kathy from Rosie Adoption is picking him up (Please support Rosie Adoption - they do such important work). I can't tell you how supportive she has been. Telling me there is no place for shame in all this, that she can see I am in fact thinking of Archie when I say - we would make terrible puppy parents. My daughter chastised me, told me Honey and I are so set in our ways we can't even get off our duffs more or less, to raise a puppy. I maintain that Archie deserves an awful lot better than the lonely life Honey and I might provide him. Lesson learned people: never get a puppy to save your marriage.

On the way to the train station I had my last lovely moments with young daughter. She reported on how she had a great week, was very pleased with how she had split her time up between me and other family members, was glad about how smooth everything went. I felt really grateful about that. After dropping them off I came home and cried my heart out. I stumble along, trying to do my best, to bring joy, to experience joy, to bring the best of myself to what ever I do and whom ever I do it with... and somehow, a lot of the time, I feel like I missed the boat.

But this blog is about gratitude. I would like to share that there is nothing quite like the overwhelming love you feel when you are with your grandkids. They are beautiful little people and they look at you in a way that inspires confidence, you see how safe they feel with you, they see clearly the love you have for them. That, in spite of the crazy bad decisions I made, made it a blessed and wonderful visit.

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27 ... family reunions...

Ok so I'm a little nervous - hence the mass amounts of grocery shopping I have done over the last two days. That's what I do... I guess.. It calms me down when the fridge is over flowing.. I know this about  myself ... insight is ever only half that battle.. that's what I tell my clients :-). At least I'm not eating it all by myself.

So the girls are on their way with their boys, and Archie. And tomorrow son and my father are joining us, and by evening time there will likely be a full house.

I have decided this is going to be nice, calm, fun.... all the things our family wasn't through the years. If you believe something is possible.. then it is, no?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

August 26 .... outta my head...

I'm grateful for my work. It gives me the opportunity to focus on someone else. Too often it's so hard to pull yourself out of your own drama. Let me rephrase that. Too often I have a hard time pulling myself out of my own drama. I like owning my stuff. Sometimes - when times are tough and relationships fraught with whatever, I can get caught up, or shut down, or numb, or rageful, or sad ...... so much so it gives me a splitting headache. I was there today - headache and all. Then I went to work. I worried it would really affect my work. Perhaps that's why it didn't - affect my work that is, because I paid attention to it. By the end of my work - no headache, no knot in the stomach, no sadness, no rage. Sometimes you just need to get outside of yourself - as a way to let things go. Wish I could bottle that.

I had a nice dinner out with Honey. Our last night alone before the arrival of Archie - who will inevitably change our lives without even trying. He will be bringing much needed light and joy into this house once all the grandkids leave.

I'm a little whooped from the drama - but not so much that I can't stand back and be grateful for what is fine and right and good in my life...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August 25 .... visitors...

Young daughter of mine and grandson Levi arrived this morning. Everyone is safe and sound and as I write, asleep. Levi is such a joyful baby. He demonstrates a great curiosity.  After having flown all night (all right he did more sleeping than flying, but still) .. he remained calm in my arms, as long as I angled him so he could watch everyone - while his mother went off in search of her luggage. Later in the day, while we were shopping, the same thing - he remained calm, interested, observant ... was quite the thing to behold. In the tub - he is calm, happy, as relaxed a baby as I have ever seen in the water. And always with the smiles...

Ok so sue me, I'm besotted with my darling grandson. He can do no wrong - even his crying is sweet, not annoying, almost inviting.

In two days middle daughter comes with monkey Jakob. He is also curious, funny, full of life and love. I can't wait!

What a salve to this aching heart, what a salve.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24 .... Perseverance.. and kisses

We are keeping at it, Honey and I. Keep reaching out.

I was rushing a lot today. We began our day with a great cycle. Came home and ran out shortly to clients at the office. I got to come home for lunch. I decided that I would go out to buy some of the things we needed for the arrival of Archie the pooch. I rushed back home - dumped the stuff - and had to run back to the office for more clients. As I was running to my car, Honey opened the front door, called out to me, pursed his lips asking for a kiss. My step was light as I ran back into his arms.

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 23 ... perseverance and persistence...

I imagine that the fact that Honey and I have been sailing some pretty stormy seas seems pretty obvious from my posts of late. It's been hard, on both of us. Neither one of us having an clear idea of what is causing the malaise, the distancing, the sadness and loneliness that has been growing like a bad weed between us. After 20 and half years... it seems you really do have to work at things sometimes to keep them floating, growing, nurturing.

We talked again. I feel like we pierced something last night, that some important truth surfaced, made things understandable. Where to go from here? We don't really know, but fortunately it feels like a "we" again - however tenuous, fragile, unsure ... it's a "we".

I'm not sure if it's the specter of mid-life, the realization of time left, the experience of crossing things off your list because you know or believe you won't get to them, existential stuff... there is a deep and heavy sadness that lives among us - and "we" are going to figure this out. We are. I'm not going anywhere.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

August 22 ... weekends...

Another weekend of gratitude - spent with friends at their cottage. Yesterday Honey and I went on a major cycle - scenic, challenging, fun, rainy but OK. I felt strong, up to the task, glad for the opportunity.

Time with our friends was good, too much food and indulgence, lots of resting.

We watched Cesar Milan - the Dog Whisperer dude... preparing our hearts and minds for the coming of Archie.  I realize I'm cathecting an awful lot of hope onto that poor puppy. Please let him be the salve we're looking for.

I think however Honey and I are coming down with some kind of cold. So this is short and sweet.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 19... dog days of summer

We are having the nicest summer we've had in years. So after a super frustrating morning of taking care of dad things again - found me out tending to gardens, cutting grass, picking tomatoes, and pitying my squash plant. At some point we will celebrate because I will in fact harvest ONE spaghetti squash! One! Which, on the grateful side of things, is better than none!

I have been reading up on puppy training and the like. Today, I am very excited (same physiological response right - panic, excitement - it's all in the head after that??) about Jackson's arrival next week. Best to be prepared.

I'm in a good place today. That cycle did wonders, and a weekend of that coming up sounds good to me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August 18 .. sorta bittersweet I guess...

So I did a big cycle today, easily 45K. It was great. Wasn't arduous.. seriously Ireland really did a number on me! So I cycled out to my girlfriend' s in Pointe Claire. Dinner plans didn't pan out for no real reason - totally fine. I get on my bike to go home. I have a major hypoglycemic something or other.. and you know what so big deal (that's the inner critic looking for an excuse for what follows). Stay with me. I decide, based on the sugar drop, I really would like to stop at the St. Ambroise brewery - they have nice pints and a BBQ, how wrong could anyone go with that? For whatever reason, sometimes for no real reason, sometimes for no good reason, all these years we have been cycling that path, we never stopped - couldn't, wouldn't, shouldn't - in the end didn't.

The things you do when you are alone are different I guess. I stopped. I LOVED it. Never has a pint and those Tostito chips they throw in with the sausage sandwich ever tasted SO good! I didn't feel bad being alone either. And no, that does not mean it would have sucked had "someone" been with me. What I am saying is - is that being alone was perfectly lovely, the ambiance was perfectly lovely, the food and the vibe and I, were perfectly lovely. 

Personally - I find that kind of bittersweet. 

I'm grateful for my strength, my body's endurance, St. Ambroise Cream Ale, my perseverance, my self, endorphins, the cycle, the weather .. it was a perfect night. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

August 17 ... the cat's out of the bag...

I broke the news to Honey today, it's still settling in. We will be acquiring a new pooch. A puppy pooch as a matter of fact, and while I woke up at four this morning in a panic about it - I know in my heart of hearts it will be a very good thing for this household.

This is an awfully big house for two people - and sometimes, lately, the space has been made even bigger of our own volition. I have a hope and a prayer that Jackson, that is his name, will fill some of that sad, lonely space up. And I know enough to know that is not a good enough only reason, and it's not.  My other reason for inviting a pooch into my life is that I love what a dog makes you feel: loved, cherished, loving and cherishing, like you have a friend, like you can be a great friend, like its important to be happy, like nothing is so bad that a good ball throw or walk can't fix.

I'll post a pick when I can.

Welcome Jackson, I'm looking forward to meeting you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

August 16 ... keeping up!

Well.. yes, I have been slacking here lately - and young daughter gave me a piece of her mind. "It was fine while you were in Ireland - but now you're slipping! Come on Mom!".... uh, ok :)..

So the last few days have been nice, calm, loving even... that's nice.

Last night we had dinner with new friends. We were supposed to go to a free outdoor opera - to celebrate the end of Italian week. We went, set up our chairs - and then the heavens opened and gave us a monsoon of sorts. That was fun .. we were completely soaked by the time we got back to their home. Towels, borrowed clothes, jasmine tea and pie.... that wasn't too bad of an alternative to tell the truth.

In 9 days young daughter and little Levi arrive. Two days later, we'll be joined by middle daughter and Jakob! I am excited! The family therapist in me .. never mind that .. the mother in me is a little nervous.. excited, but hoping the ugly history of our family stays at rest just once.. and just long enough to love each other and have a good time. How wonderful it is that we are getting the opportunity to do just that! That weekend, the last weekend in August, we will be having a family jamboree of sorts, with my son and father in tow as well as friends of the family and possibly other surprises!!

Life's a hopping these days .... nice way to know you're alive.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 14.... summer evenings when we're all in the groove...

It was a wonderful day. A cycle in a new place (I wasn't too crazy about the place - industrial Beauharnois, meh - what the hell is with Velo Quebec?)... but a good and nice cycle nevertheless, waterside picnic... We come home, Honey and I, with a minimum of bickering, which is much to be grateful for. We opt for a dinner at home, the two of us on the deck. We work together to make it lovely. We bring out the portable stereo thing and have an evening of loveliness, good food, good imbibing, good conversation, and good music. It's beautiful out tonight in many more ways than one.

I gotta tell you, after the months of feeling not good here at home, it sure is absolutely lovely to have an evening of connection and care like tonight.

I am truly grateful.

Friday, August 13, 2010

August 13 ... Sir Paul...

I had the privilege to see Sir Paul McCartney last night. This is as close as I ever got to the Beatles thing. Actually it was unbelievable. It was unbelievable to be there and hear Let it Be, Hey Jude, The Long and Winding Road, Blackbird for God's sake... I have never cried at a concert but last night I did and I can't even tell you from where that sprang. Music, as Oliver Saks and many others have written, reaches into primordial space with in us. It ties itself to emotional memories, and can evoke them.. in some way I'm kind of thinking that's what happened last night.

Then there is the energy factor - I am ashamed to say that a 68 year old man far out lasted me, and most of the people in the audience. At one point I thought, finish already, I'm exhausted! And he just kept on going. Paul McCartney has to be one of the most generous musicians I have been lucky to see. Yes the tickets were expensive but for a change, they were worth every penny - and he made sure of it. He was engaging with the audience, calling up a lucky Jessica to get her arm "signed" so that she could get a tattoo, and another young lady got her dress signed. He read the signs held up by people in the audience - and responded to them. He shared tidbits - and I'm sure he does this all the time, and I'm sure its part of the script and show - but he makes it feel very personal. Maybe thats the emotional leverage his music gives him... you're hooked from the first note... when you first start singing, you're in your living room (in my case it was the basement) listening to those records that you played over and over and over again. See, I'm tearing up all over again...

Then there is the group phenomenon. Holy shit can 18,000 people make a lot of noise! There was no doubt that Sir Paul felt the love last night. From the second he stepped out - actually it was a few seconds before he did, there was such a surge of cheering and screaming - the papers this morning dubbed it The Roar.. no kidding. Throbbing, pulsing, LOUD, loving, you could feel it... and the singing .... we were one voice joining with Paul.. again.. like in the basements of our youth... belting out the words to songs we will surely remember when our dementia sets in. That's not as crazy as you might think.

I'm grateful to have shared a history last night. I'm grateful that back in 1960 something, when my parents bought their stereo console, and were given 75 free records as part of the deal, they got the Beatles Hard Days Night album... without that I would have grown up with Heinte and Elvis Presley only ... and let me tell you THAT is something to be grateful for.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 11..... the quiet beauty...

I am going to try and make this a pictorial blog today. Pictures you are going to see are courtesy of the lovely Diane Holloway, Melba Atkinson, and myself. Seeing these sights personally, took my breath away... so words, in my mind, won't do them any justice.... enjoy.

Thank you Diane, I'm honoured to post this...

Thank you lovely Melba....

The peace and solitude of Aran Island.....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

August 10... the Stones of Ireland...

It seems to me that Ireland has an intimate relationship with stone. I suppose if it didn't, the ruins that we so admire would be long gone. The Galway region I am told, has a particular fetish, every where you look 3 foot high stone fences fill the landscape. I didn't think much of it at first, but then the sheer number of these - the miles and miles of them ... and to think that each stone was laid, someone's hand touched each and every stone. These are not apparitions of the earth, but intentional, mindful, thought out stones that have been laid in order that they maintain their stability, define a boundary, protect the animals, perhaps even give a purpose to the stone!

As you cycle through the region there are literally hundreds of "ruins", although there is no real way to tell if they are from 2000, 1900 or 1800 or beyond. Billy the Tour Guide explained that many were abandoned during the Great Potato Famine.

The picture above is a ruin that apparently dates back to the 1400's if I'm not mistaken. It's across the road from the Croagh Patrick. That mountain (Croagh = Mountain in Gaelic?) is an honoured and religious place which many people come to and climb as a pilgrimage.

The Irish use stone to build homes, fences, monuments, to hounour their dead.

On the tour in the Dingle Peninsula, there were "beehive" shaped buildings that date to B.C. that they are now preserving.

The Irish's relationship with stone is such that on the Aran Island, Mother Nature even spits the stones back at the land by virtue of the ocean. You are warned not to walk along a certain part of the coast there as you could get hit with a stone!

I wonder at the stories that could be told about these ruins. Whose lives happened here, whose deaths, what joys and sufferings? The landscape of Ireland speaks to me of endurance, of an impenetrable spirit that will last .... like the stones that so define them.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8 ... a wee bit o' Irish

So the next chapter in the Irish story was that the day after the mountain challenge, we cycled the Delphi Valley. What spectacular landscape. Lakes dot the valley, and these amazing green yet treeless mountains rise up on either side. The last 7 km (at least) of that day's cycle ended in a torrential downpour. That sucked - but we made it and were stronger for it, and hallelujah, this B & B had bathtubs! So all was good. Had I had a place to write a blog that day it would have been all about the wonders of a hot bubble bath.

Then came the day of the long cycle day - 73km from Lenanne to Roundstone. I was worried, I mean 73 Km - jaysus, how would I manage. And of course my stubborn pride assured me there was no way in hell I would make use of the van! So off we went. More stories will come I am sure, of our long trek, which in the end didn't seem so long thanks to the wind at our back...for at least 20 - 30 km. We didn't even notice that until we had to turn right to go to Roundstone proper, and we all nearly got knocked off our bikes. In 73 km you cover a lot of territory. In the Conemarra region, you cover so many different landscapes that when thinking back to it, it's hard to grasp that all these things were seen and happened on the same day.

We crossed our first "bog". For whatever reason, Ireland doesn't have fields with "earth" in them, it's "peat". They harvest this peat and use it for fuel. It's this fuel in their fireplaces that makes Ireland smell as good as it does. We were in valleys of farmland, saw those small stone fences everywhere, saw what is called the Twelve Bens - the mountain range that sort of encircled us through the bog. Amazing.

Upon arriving in Roundstone everyone except Honey (oh well) said to hell with our rooms and changing, we're having a pint right now! So we sat outside of our hotel, stinky and sweaty and spent and happy, on this tiny strip of street that was Roundstone, and soaked up the grandness of what we had accomplished. We made it, through clouds, and rain and wind and loveliness, we made it.

I loved Roundstone. As a matter of fact I think it may have been my favourite little town. It's where we had the day off (next day). They have a spectacular bay and beach a 6 km walk away, which we did the next day.

The evening of our second night in Roundstone was definitely a peak moment. To begin with, our friends, Team L.A., and Honey and I were excited about our upcoming dinner. We had read the menu at the restaurant we thought we would be eating at and were salivating at the great seafood options. Team L.A. are a lovely young couple, they are both teachers, voracious readers, appreciators of good food, liberal, open and curious, and just a real pleasure to hang out with. As dinner time came, Billy the tour guide said we were not in fact in that restaurant but upstairs. The four of us decided to sneak out and have the seafood offerings downstairs - and were we glad we did! Never have I tasted oysters so fresh and delicious - like the sea. The fish curry had to be the best I have ever had. The four of us sharing appetizers of crab, mussels, prawns (huge ones!) and oysters that were all fished out that day! There came a moment where none of us spoke - we were all too busy enjoying!

We were told that after dinner there was a local concert, and if we really wanted to enjoy Irish culture this would be the place to go. I had thought that it would be an outdoor concert, but no, it was held in the local community hall - and the funds they collected were to support that.

When we walked in, on stage were seated about 15 people from the ages of 10 to 90 something. Each person was a musician. I was taken aback by the coming together of the generations. Such respect one for the other, such importance was placed on passing the knowledge to the young people, of accepting this gift from the elders. The emcee's grandson was a 7 year old dancer. There were Shamus (I'm sure I  have that word wrong) dancers, a girl of ten who wowed the audience, a boy of six, two others in their teens, all excellent, all committed to their craft, all proud. They have steps that are particular to their family and that have been handed down for many generations. A 90 year old man, born and raised in the community, was invited up to sing. He sang a love song, part English part Gaelic. As he croaked out the tune "When Ireland is free, I'll come back and marry thee.." you heard people stifle sobs in the audience. The women behind me, long time, life time members of this tiny community, sang quietly under their breath. Another two men got up - both easily over 80, they regaled us with several Gaelic tunes, and again the women behind me singing along. I looked back at them, admired them, they flashed warm smiles at me. Another gentleman played an instrument I have never seen. Probably belonging to the family of bagpipes, he played such a mournful tune it hit me to the core. I couldn't help but think how perfect it would have been to hear that music while cycling through the Delphi Valley - I suppose Irish music is inspired by their landscape. More kids danced. Then a group of 8 adults got up to show the audience Irish step dancing. What fun! Near the end of the show they called out to the audience. They needed 16 dancers - come up and learn.. don't be shy. I had ants in my pants and couldn't resist. So I grabbed Team Vancouver's arm, and hauled her up with me!!! We danced the Irish, with the Irish, and hooted and howled and twirled and skipped as we tripped over ourselves, and were privy and invited in to this loveliness.

The Emcee kept repeating how vitally important it was for the Gaelic in this community to carry on their culture and language and how proud she was of all the children that were rising to the challenge. Her passion was contagious. And when the old men got up to sing and play - we all understood that yes indeed, many things are worth preserving.

I will forever be grateful for how I felt welcome. How privileged I was to have witnessed that show, that  community, that commitment. And for being given the opportunity to dance a wee bit o' the Irish.

Friday, August 6, 2010

August 6 ... of sheep and sheep and cupcakes...

Before we ambled up that mountain that I wrote about yesterday, our tour guide Billy, told us about an agricultural fair that was happening just 5 km down the road. He told us that if we were relying on the folk that were waitressing us, or B & Bing us, we weren't really ever going to meet any authentically Irish folk and that going to the agricultural fair would give us a peek at the real McCoy. So we went...

Who knew that there were at least 20 different kinds of sheep. There were men there testing them for what I assumed was durability or strength, checking teeth and ears, and rubbing the fur between their fingers. There were prizes to be awarded for the best sheep in each category - blue faced sheep (I'm serious), dread lock sheep, crinkle wool sheep - I was fascinated. There was a first, second and third prize for just about everything. There were horses - some of the most beautiful I have ever seen, their owners walking them proudly in a large sweeping circle while the judges did their thing. Under the big tent there were muffins, breads, cookies - all qualifying for a prize. Honey and I both enjoyed an award winning cupcake. There was hand made jewelery, quilts, knitted things - on and on it went.

Near the back of the tent was a board - it had tacked on to it colouring book pages - children had coloured the pictures and the picture of the rooster won first prize. I can't tell you how touching I found that to be. They were honouring everyone, young and old, and even the animals that offered them sustenance, companionship, livelihood.

Before we left we met a man who had this amazing dog - it looked like the first dog you see in the Purina slow motion commercial - youtube it, it's great. We spent time talking to him. He told us his wife wanted to enter their pooch in the contest, the Dog Show contest - that's where she was now, arranging it. He thought it was hilarious, he was being all bashful and shy. We asked if he had groomed his dog for the occasion and he said no the pooch always looks like that. It was nice, friendly, inviting, lovely...

I'll never forget the colouring book page of the rooster, with a big first prize ribbon on it. The child in me felt very honoured.

But really - I loved the sheep! Get a load of the curly-que! I can't imagine what this weighs on the poor things head!

And check out the little guys "fur" below. I bought a scarf for Mrs. Mooka and it's exactly the same wool! Crazy!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August 5 .... Peak Experience #1 - head up in the clouds.

All right, I had a reprieve.  So we get to Dublin, and I loved Dublin. Crazy, bustling, funky, noisy, old, architecturally totally interesting, there's a castle in the middle of the city - I mean come on! Our holiday was split into three parts: three days in Dublin, 7 days cycling the Connemara region, 3 days in Killarney, and the last night in Dublin, then home. These next few posts are pieces of the adventure...

I have to share that my first peak experience came when I got to the top of the Partry Mountain that we had to cycle up and over on our first day. Holy Cow ... what an amazing feeling. I was communing with nature, I was cycling through a cloud, a real cloud, I was talking to sheep, I was inspiring myself, having biblical moments - maybe I was hallucinating because of the effort required to cycle up a mountain? I don't know. I felt at one with God and the universe a number of times. All along the road we were cycling up, someone had the kind heart to paint how much further there was to go, cheering us on from another time and dimension so it seemed. At the beginning I didn't realize what the painted messages were. Finally at the top of the mountain there was a sign saying I had made it! When I came to that spot I was alone, Honey having cycled on ahead of me. We were a group of 21, all of us in our own head space, challenging ourselves to make it, to not give up, to keep pushing - this despite wind, rain, clouds, a vertical ride rather than a horizontal one! I was alone up there - and it was stupendous. The scene when I crested the mountain totally breathtaking. I cried. I was overwhelmed, feeling like the beauty and grandness of the mountain was going to swallow me up.

And yes, that is a cloud you see just behind me, and yes, it really is that low, or I really am that high :)

That, was peak experience number one.

August 5 .... reflections...

Well hello everyone. I'm back from Ireland. I have lots of stories to share. However, I'm so mindf*&^ed from jet lag I can't think straight enough to write what I want to write.

So I'm just letting you know I'm here, I had an awesome time in Ireland. I aim to write about the several peak experiences I had, about people I met, about things I saw.

Happy Day ... see you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

July... oops not sure of the date... or the day... oh my!

Well here I am at the train station in Dublin. We leave today to meet up with the tour for the cycling part of our trip. Here is a sampling of the things I would say I'm grateful and priveldged to have experienced....

First of all you need to know - the food in Dublin as amazing (except for the full Irish breakfast - stay away from that!!). So far we have not had one bad meal - at all. Our first lunch at the Jameson Distillery was wonderful; excellent; first dinner at Hedigan's, lovely Michael teaching us about how the used to serve whisky straight from the barrel over 50 years ago, and even better, that night, an authentic session! Eight musicians, sitting around two tables just playing - banjo, mandolin, two piccolos, a fiddle, two drum skin things, and an eigth guy doing I don't remember what...

The next day we found a fantastic little hide away restaurant - a small, organic friendly, funky little place - we went there for lunch on both days. Delish.... Night number two found us in the shi shi part of downtown Dublin, we had Asian, was fantastic.

And last night, well so ok .. you knew it was going to have to happen ... last night we did the pub thing (and God help me.. it starts early!)... first downtown in Temple Bar ... lots of musicians, lots of pints (eek) ...meeting new people, from Finland, from Texas, one from the Gatineau!! We older women upset that the young and beautiful Jacynthe from Gatineau got picked up by the equally beautiful guitar player!!! Ah.. our misspent youth ... 

And finally last night - we went to the Gravedigger's Pub... holy cow.. its the real old thing for real.. shellaced plaster walls and ceilings, locals only... we were for sure the only tourists! Was great...

And today we're off to Galway.

That's it for now... train whistle is a blowin'!

Monday, July 19, 2010

July 19+ .. for Andrea....

Sometimes, when life throws us the curve balls it inevitably will, our compass points get knocked off a bit. We get so wrapped up in our dramas, don't come up for air enough, maybe get lazy, complacent... maybe I've done all that.

I have a dear, dear friend. I have known her longer than any other friend... something crazy like since we were four, five or six... I forget which. Our stories are so intertwined it's eerie sometimes. We share a culture, we share the bane of alcoholism in our families, we both had three kids, a failed first marriage, a divorce. We have been there for each other, lent an ear, cried and laughed with each other. Grown up together. We have had periods of our lives where we have been in and out of touch - and while that may have been ok in the past, it certainly is no longer.

Sometimes, we take our friends for granted. We think they are there, living their lives, happily, busily, without us. Sometimes we each think the other so busy, we think ourselves so busy... Sometimes we don't recognize the impact our words might have ... like even in a Blog.

I promise to pay more attention to that. I promise to honour our friendship. It's funny how we both think the same, both in truth felt somewhat forgotten.... but that could not be further from the truth.

I love and cherish you, always.

July 19.... Adieu...

And I'm on vacation!!!!! What a blissful feeling that is no? And what a blessing that my last day was filled with warmth, insight, hard worker bees making me proud, love and care. I love my work. Now I feel my brain kind of melting, letting go, dissolving... on to new and exciting adventures! Yay me!

I'm plenty grateful. Seas are calm here at home, I aim to keep them that way. I'm packed, I'm excited, let's go!

See you when I see you....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

July 18 ..Fresh Air...

It's a balmy 26 today. We turned the AC off and threw open the windows. Lovely. It's nice feeling a breeze caress you. It's nice having a home that smells good. We've been tidying, taking care of the nest, each in our corner, but like a team anyway. I feel grateful for that.

Dinner will definitely be out on the deck tonight. That will be lovely too.

Sometimes there's lots of lovely. I just need to soften some to see it.

Tomorrow will probably be the last post for a few weeks. I promise, that while away, if I find an internet cafe I'll send a shout out. If not.. I promise to take notes of my moments of gratitude and share them upon my return.

Be well, and a warm heart to you.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 17 .... sun, water and poo...

I had an awesome day. We went kayaking with new friends. The bad news is we went to Riviere du Nord. Little did we know that last year there had been a huge issue with sewage being released into the river and it is no longer safe to swim. Yak! We kayaked down it anyway. Didn't see anything but still - that people can treat the land the way they do is just terrible. The irony too of our newspaper today saying there is only one lake closed in all of Quebec (not this one) - when there is a huge sign on Lac Raymond saying it is closed (even though it's dated 2009). And even though the sign was up - lots of people were swimming!!! WTF?

Anyhow - after the kayak we were treated to an amazing picnic lunch our buddies brought. Yumm! Then they took us to a lake that his brother has a cottage on! And we did swim! And it was spectacular! Nothing like a good swim in a Laurentian lake I always say! Yes of course I ached for Winnetou. I'll be going there in August, bring my dad along, let him have a day there.

The countdown is on for Ireland that's for sure. We'll be wrapping up final details tomorrow - and off on Tuesday! Exciting stuff...


As the tide ebbs and flows between Honey and I - I sometimes find it difficult to find the voice and heart that is authentic. While I'm thrilled with the things I did today - there is a stone in my heart - which makes it hard for me to feel grateful. I guess the stone in my heart - kind of parallels the marbles in my mouth I wrote about the other day - only it's not the words that are obscured .. but my feelings. So I end up feeling distant from what I am writing, sometimes feeling distant period. I soldier on.

Why am I sharing all this? Cause I need to be truthful.

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16 ..... sunshine in my life...

Ok so seriously.... what more do I need to say? No matter how bad the evening, how contentious ... whatever... I come home and find this on my facebook page... I'm grateful. I can not help but coo and giggle .... what a wonderful remedy for what ails you. See if I can't post another one ..

You know what.. this may seem selfish... but I look at little Levi.. and I long for a time when things were simple.

What an absolute Joy this child is!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15.... praying...

After 85 days, BP has apparently managed to at least temporarily stop the flow of oil in to the Gulf of Mexico. I for one will say a prayer that this works. I got worried for a while that the world was forgetting this. It wasn't a front headline on CNN for a bit - oh no I thought, here is that complacency creep, apathy creep ... please, everyone, this oil rupture has to stop. Don't forget about it. Don't go about your day like it's not there. Don't put it in the back pages of the newspapers like the wars. It's here, now, it's real.

Say a prayer everyone.

July 15 but really for July 14....

I tried and tried but was not able to connect last night... and I had lot's to be grateful for on my amazing Princess Day:

My 45+ km cycle! By myself!... was amazing.
Lunch at a sidewalk cafe, wonderful.
Fresh Quebec raspberries... a gift from above.
Dinner with the Mooka folks, always a good time.
Another calm day with Honey.
More prep for Ireland and lot's of excitement building there...

I had a really good day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 13....Flip Sides...

I'm working really hard these days. Lots of people coming to share their journey. I watch other couples, fighting, criticizing, blaming, attacking.... today I managed to calm them down enough, for just a wee moment, for them to realize they were both feeling the same thing - and thus, could connect, right there. I know what it's like to be lonely, afraid, threatened, sad .... I hear that's how you're feeling. I know that. Sometimes that's enough, enough to settle the stormy seas and let something other than bitterness and anger come out and in.

Sometimes, I sit in front of people that seem so sad, I kind of want to cry along with them. I am witness to suffering that extends to such depths it breaks my heart. Sometimes I wonder if I am just too soft for this kind of work.

Sometimes I feel the wrath and indignation of things that have happened, disrespect, injury, crushing of the soul... all these things happen, to all manner of people, to many of us...  time and again.

I have to be honest, some days this work takes it's toll. I come home carrying stuff that isn't always mine, react to Honey based on stuff that isn't always his, feel a little crushed in my own right... but the flip side is, I feel a great reward to all those that have righted their course, held up their heads, accepted whom they are, are prideful now, know themselves to be deserving and lovely human beings. That happens, a lot, my people are resilient, I'm proud of that. A little bit of listening takes the soul a long, long way.

So when I have an evening ... where I have been able to create some calm, where I have been able to bring them back to the original little block of whence they began ... help them to retouch that spot... and everyone softens, and there is silence... and we recognize the humanness in ourselves and the other.. and I bring that home.... I'm grateful for what I do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12... marbles in my mouth

Lately, I'm finding myself getting upset with the difficulties I'm having being authentic. I have words in my heart and mind, but when they get to my mouth they are like marbles .. they loll around but don't come out - and the words that do are somewhat "obstructed" by those marbles, they don't sound right, don't seem to be understood, don't get across what I desperately want to get across. And then I give up, and suffer in silence. 

I had a fantasy that as I got older, as I matured, did more therapy, learned more about myself, made it through menopause ... that I would get MORE authentic... not less. What's up with that? 

I'm grateful that I can recognize this cutting off I'm doing as something I am doing and not what someone else is doing to me. This gives me a measure of control over how my story will go ... or so I tell my self. Ah yes, the stories we tell ourselves - for comfort, security, indignation, fear ... I guess the journey to being authentic, like every other journey, begins with yourself, myself. 

I would like to wish young daughter a very happy birthday. I'm very proud of you Peanut. You are a beautiful mother - keep up the great work. Feel better.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11 .... weekend get away...

I had a wonderful get away weekend. No computer access so hence my absence. I won't be able to post while in Ireland either, so 365 days is going to be off by a few.

I had a lovely weekend: 45 kilometer cycle, amazing sites, spectacular huge deer, bunnies, herons, fields and valleys full of summers bounty and scents, beautiful. Today was a day out on a boat, swimming in Massawippi, laughing with friends, beautiful weather.

We took the scenic route home - I live in an amazing land. Hot air balloons, vast farmlands, just beautiful. I ventured to share some of my observations with Honey ... noticed how thats been absent of late.

Connecting with my wonderful girlfriend. My confidante in these troubled times. And yet another one on-line. I feel fortunate for the relationships I have that nurture me, hold me up when I'm needing that, validate what I'm feeling. Thank you women. You too, are beautiful.

Now, off to go nurture this nasty sun burn! Too much fun.... :-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

July 8 .... aging gracefully?

I have a confession to make. Maybe confession is too strong a word - because anyone standing very close to me might maybe notice what I'm about to confess. Ok.. here it is: I have a - yes "a" - beard hair that grows on my chin. It's the thing I stroke when I feel like being Sigmund Freud. I yank it out every three to four weeks. So in my head, that's not actually so bad.

I used to have a friend, who was pretty much older than me, that had hair growing on her nipple! Jesus Christ! She told me this - that's how I know! But serisously - on my nipple??? That might be the jump off a bridge moment for me, I don't know.

I won't go into "hair creep" in other areas.... let's just not go there.

My little guy, this one little beard hair, has turned into sort of a pet. Like I say - I do a S. Freud imitation when it's there, stroking my chin...  Someone once suggested electrolysis, but that seems so damn severe. And besides, doesn't that hurt? Burn? Something?

What does all this have to do with gratitude? Well first off my nipples, thank the Lord, are free and clear. Yay me! Second of all... I only have a group of one... one lovely, little beard hair. A solo act. I'm very grateful for that!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 7 ... it's not January...

So as you've noticed from the recent posts... we have air conditioning. As well... it's +35 outside... still.

At the moment, we are sitting outside on our deck. We've just finished a rather nice BBQ dinner. We're enjoying a few pints. We're sweating like pigs... funnily so. It's stinking hot. I asked Honey ... "Why the hell are we sitting out here when it's nice and cool in the house?". His reply was ..."It's not January. You can't do this in January." He's right. 'Nuff said...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 6.... hard not to be obvious...

I would like to post something profound and witty, something about family, shared values, getting through hard times....

However, due to the fact that it is plus 40 degrees out there... and life is hard on many a soul at the moment because of this heat wave... I am one of the ones that does not have to suffer because we have air conditioning. And hell yes, I'm grateful.

There is also a calm that has settled into the household. I am not sure how sustainable it is truth be told but I'm grateful for the reprieve anyway.

Pretty simple stuff for now... maybe that's the point. It's worth being grateful for simple things. Obviously.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5.... a reprieve...

I'm out on my deck. I hear evening birdsong.

I just had dinner and a nice Caesar.

We aren't fighting.

It's 40 degrees. I also hear what my mom used to call Heat Bugs. I think they are called June Bugs. Honey calls them Cicadas.. but I'm not sure we have them here. They make a long, electronic sounding hum and when you hear them you KNOW it's hot.

We aren't fighting.

I have air conditioning in the house.

Not a bad day all in all.....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 4 .... how to be grateful

So yesterday's absence was due to it being a travelling day. 4 plus hours driving through the amazing Kananaskis National park - the long and winding and spectacular scenic route to the Calgary airport from Canmore. Wow. There is not much else to say. The landscape is so mindblowingly beautiful it's hard to even keep a conversation going whilst you're driving. So much gratitude to young daughter for the awesome limousine service.  Of course, my grandson was perfect through out. There is the second thing to be grateful for. The strength with which the love in your heart wells up inside is so powerful - it makes you wonder how there is any trouble in the world. It leaves me weak knee-ed and happy, and loving .. and it's the most amazing feeling ever.

It's interesting. Honey and I are in the midst of some of the most difficult times we have ever gone through. When coming to the computer to write I thought how the hell will I ever pull myself out of this enough to write. In Canmore, rather than be in the present whilst with my daughter - I fretted and stressed about what was back home. I can't blame anyone for that but myself. So I am grateful for the moments that I did have that were there, focused, about love and babies and daughters. It was wonderful. What I began with though about this being interesting - before I sat to write .. I thought myself somewhat consumed by anger, worry, stress.... but sharing about my daughter and grandson, and the mountains, has softened that. So gratitude isn't hard to find.  Yet I let the heaviness of other things drag me down. Truth be told it's why my blog has been so uninspired of late (to me anyway).

Some times too, the swings between this happiness and love with my daughter and grandson (sometimes even Honey), and how that bangs up against what's going on here at home now.... it's exhausting to live so much stuff at once. But I gotta keep motoring, keep putting it out there....good or bad... I will keep looking for the gratitude, it keeps me sane.