Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Face to a Ghost

I realize I have been horrifically absent for months and months, but silence allows us to recharge, it allows us to rest our words.

I was visiting my sister last Sunday, and she showed me this plastic tub.  It was full of photos, and she asked me : Should I just throw this out?

I peeked inside, and there was my family history.  I could see a jumble of colour photos and black and white photos. These were the missing photos my other sister and myself thought were gone. These photos are essentially all we have visually of our history. Sister K has very little sentimentality towards her childhood, and I get that.  Some parts I just want to trash as well. I took the box.

Last night I began to sift through, and made two piles.  One pile for people and places that are completely forgotten. The American cousins I have not ever seen in my memory.  The scenes from vacations my parents took in the 1950s. The other pile for anything, or anyone recognizable.

My interest in my genealogy left me with an obsessive curiosity about my maternal grandmother's death in 1924.  Because of the internet, I was able to trace her death to a hospital in Ohio where she had died from infection, from a botched abortion. Probably not the history anyone should want to discover, but I knew from stories my mother told me, that her mother's life weas not a pretty story.

Last night I looked into the eyes of my dead grandmother, in a photo with her standing behind my three year old mother and her 5 year old sister...  A big photo.  Probably taken a year before her death.

My ghost-grandmother has a face.  Agnes Ruth, descendant of Isabel of Spain, she has a face.

I think this dead grandmother wanted her story discovered.  I think she was seeking her voice through me, and now she has a face.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Sighs of Spring Beginnings and Dreams

This year we are/were planning to move house.  Because of our intense work schedule, we decided yesterday to flow with the idea of a move, instead of gunning for it.  Do what we have to; like the garage shingles, the kitchen counter, de-clutter....  but not because of a time frame.  

There is no reason, really, aside from a terrible neighbour.  We will take it day by day.

On Saturday I travelled by bus to meet up with two women I grew up with.  It was a good visit, with a lot of giggling and improper conversations.  Just like how we talked as teenagers.  Silly, serious, thoughtful, silly again.

It was not a soul-sucking visit.  It was good.

The visit reminded me of balance and freedom.  A visit way East to Newfoundland is a possibility for August.  Visiting Gros Morne National Park...  


Also more plans for foraging.  I think I will plan monthly foraging with Puck's Plenty to watch how wild edibles change over the growing season.  

And a new season beginning at the community garden this spring.  Fences to be repaired, quack-grass to be battled with, new plant babies to nurture and nourish.

Nearly there.

Friday, 27 February 2015

And then she Grew a Pair

I don't like that expression, because I don't believe that strong women need to imitate those soft parts of men.  But the title fit.

This second time around with my current job is quite different than that first time.  A full year I've been back, and time has vanished from under me.  I feel as though I've been carried along, especially since November when I took on a new location and went full time.

I've had to become very tough, very firm, very vocal, very determined.  Everything that worked against me last year at my retail job is what I need at this job.  And more.  The winter has been so long and cold.  My house is out of control.  The oven is still broken.  My green compost bin is snowed in and I have more compost in my downstairs freezer than I do food.  Waiting for the thaw, when I can dig out my green bin and get my side gate open.

I have nearly given up on my determination to move this year because I just can't see how we'll pull it off.  But I keep that to myself.  Move forward once the sun shines on my face and I can escape the stagnant air inside my house.

Yes, I am quite through with hibernation.  Time to break free of the burrow, and roll in the damp undergrowth, smelling the moist earth, rolling in last years grasses.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Humanity crammed into layers of waiting rooms...

Daughter has been feeling under the weather lately.  She is living large right now, a recent break-up with her boyfriend [we miss him] and finishing with Target Canada [very sad for the employees] has left her feeling worn out, burnt out, restless [think long Canadian winter....].

On Friday she thought she had a kidney infection so we went off to emergency to check it out.  We don't mess with kidneys in this household.

The dynamics in a hospital are incredible, scary, awe-inspiring.  No wonder there are so many medical shows on television, with the many layers of people working in an emergency ward.  The janitorial staff.  The front line nurses.  The exhausted and rumpled doctors.  How what is fearful and anxiety laden for us, is just another day of work for them.

The patients.  There was young Hannah.  All of 99lbs, any age between 16 and 25.   Supported oh so beautifully by her boyfriend and friend.  Literally supported.  I have never seen a person hover on the edge of unconsciousness before, she was swooning.  Some sort of allergic reaction or drugs, she was unable to sit up.  And there she waited with the rest of us, and we were all alarmed. By the time she had her iv drip for  an hour or two, with Benadryl, she was looking much better.  There are no secrets in emergency.  There is no privacy.  The elegant older woman who was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer, with her daughter.  The Italian daughter with her elderly parents, her father with heart issues.  Everything leaking out from under the curtains.  Words and descriptions you just can't zone out.

All these stories.  All that energy floating around.  I told my daughter that they should smudge or cleanse these various waiting rooms, because of the trauma and emotion that percolates constantly.

Daughter is fine.  On Friday the emergency  Dr. thought she had kidney stones, so we went back on Saturday so she could have an ultrasound.  All is clear, and we think she is simply stressed out.

I learnt from my two days in emergency that as we age we must, must, must look after our feet! I'm not sure at what age our feet start to give issues, but wow, did I see some older ladies in agony.  Real agony.  And I saw some feet I wish I hadn't.

Love your feet.  Trim your toenails.  Slather those babies with moisturiser and wear good shoes.

Daughter and I would love to know how things turned out for Hannah, but never will.  She was only in our sights for a few hours, funny how people can get inside you and touch your life and not even know it.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Productive Hibernation

In November I created a wonderful studio space for myself in our attic.  I carted up the narrow stairs my desk, my art supplies, my old journals, my fabric, my sewing machine...  All the shells from warm vacations, my lone plant from the kitchen that was floundering.  Some pretty things.

My life being crazy-busy since autumn began, I did not have opportunity to create in my space, but some nights I'd creep up the stairs and sit at my desk, and absorb the soothing energy.  Absorb the potential.  I'd write a bit in my journal.  Nothing earth-shattering, just words to fill the silence.

Yule came and went.

The snow came.

January came and went.

And finally in February or perhaps the end of January, I stole away to the attic one day after work.  For just an hour.  I put on soothing music and I started a picture.  I pulled some colours from magazines.  Then I roughly sketched a forest on a masonite board.  And then, on a different day I began to fill with colour.  My time in the attic has become restorative.  The time at my work surface is becoming easier.  I am loosening.

All is well with my winter.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Light Will Keep your Heart Beating in the Future...

The title of a song I heard this morning at my desk...  My desk becomes my home-away-from-home.  Art bits and feathers stuck to my wall, music in the background shells in a jar and a ceramic dish from Mexico holds my lip gloss, paper clips, post it notes and rubber-finger-thingy.

I can make Home out of anything, anywhere.

When I recap this year I treat myself with gentleness.  I celebrate what I did do and what I did learn instead of beating my self up on what I did not accomplish.

We travelled.  I learnt how to basket weave.  I learnt how to knit socks, which was a big 2014 goal.  Much time was spent playing in the life at the garden.  I swam in the ocean, and swam in a lake and swam in a whole bunch of pools.  The living-room and dining room were painted and I went on a wonderful retreat.

I consider this a well-accomplished year.

What do I want from next year?  Ah - Creativity, movement, healthy foods, garden earth under my nails, a move to a new location, long braided hair with twigs and moss woven in...

It's all wide open.

Tonight we are laying low.  We're going to do the puzzle that daughter gave us for Christmas.  3 invites out, but we want to nestle in.  Enjoy the last night of the Yule Tree.  Tomorrow maybe a walk on the boardwalk where the Chick-a-Dees sit on your hands and eat the offered seed.

But now I will work here at my desk, listening to music, processing tasks, getting stuff done.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Gathering Light

I don't know why I wrote that title, but it just fell off the tip of my fingers so I let it.

I have not written.  I have not written because....  Life has me too busy with hours spent away from home and obligations that hold me fast on weekends.  I know in my heart that in January much of this will ease off, and I will have some time again.

My [grown] children ask me what I want for Christmas and I say Time.  They roll their eyes at me.  This year I have post-phoned Yule to Saturday.  I was feeling stressed [overwhelmed]  about getting things purchased, getting things wrapped, getting things done.  I thought - why not?  Why not take Christmas Day as a day of rest?  I convinced Husband and all the other grown people in my house agreed as well.

On Christmas Day we might go see a movie.  I might spend the day in my studio, which has been gathering dust.  I might sleep.

The cats curl tight around us at night.  The lights of the season twinkle.  Feasting has been good with extended family on both sides.  We're getting it done, as best we can.

I have always loved the dark season.  In the winter months I find time to create, time to play.  While my garden sleeps I move quietly in corners lit by lanterns, drawing, thinking, growing.

Did I mention my oven stopped working in November?  That has been a gift in disguise, as I have been released from baking holiday cookies.  The yule ham will warm gently in the slow cooker tomorrow, and be hot by the time we have our Christmas Eve Feast with Eldest and Lovely Lu.

Things happen for a reason.