Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Today I am Home

So I have the ability to post some photos from the summer so far...

Youngest graduated at the end of June...

The Plantain photo for Francie!  Crush it up or chew on it, and apply to sting or bite!

Our Urban Oasis at dusk.

New porch rails in the works.  

Climbing Blue Moutain, which is really a large hill.

A welcome rest, we thought we were half-way up.

Still not at the top.
Thankfully, the knee managed very well.

Have a great day!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Reunion and Renewal

It was a reunion of sorts.  Three fifty-ish women, we gathered on Friday night to reconnect after many life years had filled the spaces since our last sleepover.  Honestly, we had not gathered since we were 16, maybe even before then.

We all floated off in different directions as people do when they grow up and out.  Me, I cast off people nearly as easily as I do last years wardrobe, a habit I am trying to change with intent.  Purposefully I reach out, sometimes having to face the consequences and having my hands slapped.

Learning comes harder for some of us.

But back to the ladies.  Both recovering from relationships with horrible men, I left our reunion thankful and very humble.  The one relationship I have not faltered from is the one I share with Husband, who has been my partner in life and home and birth and work.  Perhaps all my friendship needs were fulfilled to a large degree through him.  Perhaps there is simply not a lot of me to go around.  A hermit type in nature, visiting often leaves me drained and exhausted.

Talking to Caroline, though rebooted my creative urges.  Tonight I will search for my old copy of The Artist's Way and start over - again.  It never ceases to amaze me how the juices can flow again.  Caroline has been writing and I can see in her that enthusiasm when the words tumble out, and you can barely get them down fast enough.

Nothing is more exciting than when you become a tool while the story releases itself into something physical.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Thoughts from the Labyrinth

Two weeks ago I spent a hot, humid day visiting Toronto with my Eldest and my Youngest.  Mat is 26 and Evan is 17.  Evan and I have been making these pilgrimages into the big city for many years, taking in the sights and sounds.  Sometimes we come alone, sometimes we bring Daughter, or Eldest.  Middle Son does not like the big city, feeling anxious in crowds.

Evan and I always walk the labyrinth in Trinity Square.  It is a long path, taking 20 minutes or more to walk the spiral.

I love walking labyrinths.  The first time we found this one was early December in 2010.  That trip to Toronto was the first one following Evan's Sullen Year, where we visited Toronto and he did not speak.  Every time I opened my mouth I embarrassed him, the way mothers do when the child is 13.  I wondered that trip if I'd even bother trying again, it was such an awkward journey, but thankfully they grow a lot between 13 and 14.

We found the labyrinth, and walked it, quietly.  The snow was blowing across our path.  I did not know that in a few days I would suspect I was ill.  I did not know what was brewing inside of my body on that day.

I don't remember if I was anxious...  I know that while I wind in, I think of all the things that cause me worry.  I walk the worry, until I get to the centre, and then I breathe in and out a few times.  Then I wind my way out, releasing the worry, the stress.

After that first visit in 2010, we have returned many times.  Each visit to Toronto with Evan is better than the last, as he grows into a wise and sensitive adult.  I have been blessed with grown children who are kind and loving.  They are people I choose to be with.

Some visits I have felt bone-crushing anxiety when walking that spiral path.  Some years it has been less.  Physical anxiety, financial worry, Life and Death stuff.  The path walked with intent helps to get my inner shit in order.

This last visit, Eldest chose not to walk, but Youngest and I did.  As I wound in I thought of my worries and my anxieties.  I searched for them inside my head.  And I found that I am pretty much feeling peace these days.  Feeling calm.  Just getting on with this task of living.

It might not last, this anxiety reprieve, but I'll take it.  I'll recoup my energy for whatever life has next in store.

That first visit.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Edge is Better than Nothing

Husband and I are going away for a couple of days this week.  We will leave the office mid-day and go a little north to Collingwood where we will swim and feast and relax for a day or two.  He has some business to attend up there, but I am hoping it will be minimal.

I'll take a book [re-reading The Red Tent again, while I owe the library copious fees], and some knitting...  My computer of course.  I hope the weather is hot and sunny so I can spend a lot of time in the water...  Another pool, this year has been a year of swimming in pools.

I love to swim in lakes, but so far none have come my way.  No forests either.  Maybe a little bit of forest when we were away in May, but what I find, with resorts or fancy hotels, is that even if you are in the wilderness, you still feel like you are separate, as if you are observing nature, rather than being a part of it.

I miss being in the woods and a part of the experience.  A tent or cabin is in the midst of it all.  A luxury hotel?  Not so much.

Guess I'll have to suck it up and enjoy it anyway.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Creativity and Kindness

Opt for kindness.

I think the rudest thing I ever read about here in blogging land is that some people attack others in the comments they leave.  This has never happened to me, my 'readership' is tiny compared to many.  I'm a hermit-like character and would be devastated if someone lashed out at me in blogging land.

I've had people disagree with me, but that's ok.

If you can't be kind, then why comment at all?  For me it's about trying to put that good energy out there in the virtual world.  Throwing out and receiving kindness.  A virtual hug feels good.

Simple kindness.

Today is a slow work day, I think of all the things I could be doing at home...  The day is more than half over, so patience will win out.

Mid next week Husband and I are travelling a little north to Collingwood for a few days, he to work a tiny bit and me to relax.  I will take a few small projects, maybe that sock yarn & new needles....  I wish to learn how to knit socks so badly.

I have a perfect pattern for knitting leaf dishclothes that is so simple I have it memorized.  I sit in traffic with my knitting needles [not the driver, just the passenger!] and knit.  One dishcloth will take 3 commutes in fairly decent traffic, 2 commutes in heavy.  Knitting helps the time to pass.

Lovely Lu, my daughter-in-law wants me to take a macrame course with her.  She and I recently took a basket-weaving class which was great fun.  Macrame, though... I remember my sister making owl wall hangings in the early 70s. I said sure, I'm all for hanging with Lovely Lu.

My daughter recently helped a friend sew a dress for a Cosplay [spelling?] convention.  Daughter took sewing lessons when she was very young, and has done a bit of sewing but I shook my head when she showed me this slinky strapless dress pattern for her [extremely busty] friend to wear.  They did not pick out the fabric for the pattern, but made the pattern work for the fabric.

And she made it.   I don't know how she does it, she even 'eyeballed' the size of the zipper and picked the right length.  And she put it in even though my zipper foot is missing.

I have to remember not to underestimate her skills or determination.

So I am thinking about kindness today, and how easy it is to treat each other honourably, and also I am thinking about creativity.  Making stuff.

And the weekend is just within reach.

I am helping a friend unpack, the disappearing woman has a forever home.  A reunion between Very Old Friends will be taking place at the end of next week, a sleepover.

More on that later.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Pieces of Me

Earlier in my lifetime I was a deeply earthy type...  Home birth, placentas, midwives and all things natural.  My first home birth was in 1992, in Toronto.  Third child was born in our 3rd floor apartment with the umbilical cord wrapped tight around his neck.  When three women tell you to stop pushing, you stop.  All was well though and he did not need to use the oxygen they had on hand.  They told me to talk to him, and slowly he turned from greyish to ruddy red.

Soon after his birth, we realized that a third child in a two bedroom apartment had tipped us over the edge.  We moved to a little rental house down the road, where we lived very happily until Husband was transferred across the country ten months later.

In my freezer I had a frozen placenta.  It was waiting to be buried, and we had not done so yet, so one evening near midnight I went out to our narrow yard and buried it.  A piece of me left behind in Toronto, buried deep enough in the ground that a creature could not smell it.

Our fourth and last baby was born four years later in Mississauga.  By now midwives were legal in Ontario and this baby was born in the wee hours after Halloween, very fast, very intense.  He was a big baby, who was pink and fair, the first one with blue eyes like me.  I remember thinking, this one is like me.

The placenta went into the freezer until spring, when I buried it in the yard with a rose bush near.  I dabbed blood on his forehead and mine.  It seemed right.

We moved a lot in those years, and I can feel another one looming.  Maybe next year.

In our present home there are no placentas that I know of buried in our garden, but two tiny stillborn kittens have a special place near the burning bush.

It is interesting what we put in the earth, like an embrace.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Gardening with the Life

On my day off I rode my bike to the park-garden.  Rainy weather was approaching and I knew that I had zucchini to harvest before they grew as big as logs, and that led to weeding, and tomatoes that needed trimming.  I pulled the spinach as well, but might plant more.  It has been so delicious, and Kiki the cat cries for it when I make salads.

An itchy bump on my forearm looked like a mosquito bite, but by night I knew it had to be a spider bite. Not an evil spider, most likely a normal garden type.  I'm allergic to spider bites, and by morning my forearm was red and hot and hard and swollen.  I took a Benadryl capsule, last resort before heading to work.  I knew it was the sleepy kind, but there was nothing else in the house.  What happens when the children grow up?  You stop stocking practical medicine cabinet supplies like calamine lotion and antiseptic.

The Benadryl did kick in by noon, and I saw a noticeable ease in the swelling and itching, but it made me sleepy and rather high as a kite.  I usually stay away from strong meds because they are hard on my kidneys.

Research on the web led me to Plantain Leaves, those common weeds that the European settlers brought so long ago.  They act as an antiseptic and antihistamine. These are the weeds my husband is religious about removing from our tiny back yard.   As soon as we got home, I went to the ally behind our garage and picked some.  I chewed a couple [didn't even wash them] and plastered them on the area of my arm which was still very swollen, making a poultice, and within 20 minutes the swelling was gone.

Today I still have a faint redness, in a large 3 inch diameter from the bite mark, but no swelling.  I'll reapply more plantain later tonight, and intend on infusing some in oil to have on hand.

Living in the city has made me forget things I used to know.