The weather has been too warm this week. It is the end of January in Saskatchewan and we should not be having plus temperatures. I hate this weather. I would rather be cold. I know how to dress and live with the cold.
I hate this January weather. I hate the ice it makes. I hate this incongruous weather. I hate the fact that January is too warm – it is misbehaving.
The only thing I like is the way the vibrant sun reflects so lovely off the snow!
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to combine two challenges in one post.
Okay, I also give you cute cat pictures.
She keeps me optimistic. She makes me smile. She helps me to stay in the now and remember that all this too will pass.
She is also my future. I became her forever home a year ago when she was just turning two and I vow to be with her for the next fifteen to twenty years. Which means that we both will have to survive long enough to become old! Which means I have new motivation to eat better and exercise more. Which I need because some days I’m not the most motivated person in the room.
My cat is. She’s motivated to take her next nap after she tears around the room and pretends to hide.
“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne
“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
– The Princess Bride
Today’s post is brought to you by the Letters:
SH, I, N, E, S & H…
And the number 5!
I miss watching Sesame Street.
It is, in my opinion, the best place to learn the alphabet!
Luxury. What is luxury?
Is it raspberries every day? My own personal chef and driver?
Is it owning a VW bug?
The thing is, I’m no longer trying to keep up with the Jones or anybody else (not even my sisters or any other family members that I use to envy).
I have what I need – a house of my own, a cat, enough to eat and wear and read. The things I want are not as tangible. What I want are good friends, a healthy long life and just enough noise and laughter and love in my life as I can stand.
I’ve since discovered that all I really need is a decent library within walking distance and that Victorian homes are too big for only one person to inhabit and clean!
Now I know that bigger is not necessarily better as the cat and I rattle around in a three bedroom home with a never used basement.
I could go smaller and still be content within myself.
But, ah, if I had money to burn, money to waste.
I might spend some of it on a Faberge animal or automaton or heart-shaped box (no, not this one or maybe this one) or one of his amazingly realistic flowers. I’ve long coveted Faberge eggs. I’d had loved to have had access to the original Faberge workshop. As a teen, I didn’t want to keep up with the Jones I wanted to keep up with the Romanovs! And if I couldn’t be a Romanov I wanted to study with a 19th century Russian ballet company.
No, to be completely honest, I’d buy a Degas – one of his dancers (painting or sculpture it really doesn’t matter).
But with the price hovering over ten million pounds, I’m pretty sure I’ll never have that much money to spend recklessly!
I walked home last night around ten pm, the sky was crystal clear with millions of stars. I found Orion for the first time in a long time. I did not have my camera but then I don’t take pictures of the night sky because they never match the magnificence of the naked eye.
This is now.
Happy New Year.
A few years ago, without purpose or intent, my nephew bought my grandparent’s homestead. The only structure, of theirs, left standing was the old red barn which got destroyed in a windstorm this past summer!
I’m not sure if this was my grandparent’s original home quarter, that is, the first place that they lived when they came to Canada. I’m pretty sure that this is where my father was raised. He was always very nostalgic about the farm and the surrounding country schools and rural towns nearby.
My nephew was not at first aware of the personal history when he went to look at the place. My father’s parents were both dead by the time he was born.
There is a synchronicity here. A place that once was important to the family comes back full circle.
I spent many happy Christmases here as a child and am now returning to make new memories for a new generation.
Tradition. Traditions are important. Growing up, it was customary to spend Christmas at the farm and Easter with my mother’s parents. This was partly because my mother didn’t drive and partly because her father did not want to drive cross-country in the winter. Plus, mom is basically an only child (her bachelor brother was 13 years older) so Christmas at the farm was a lot more fun!
All the aunts and uncles would come and altogether there was twenty or so grand-children ranging through the ages from baby boomers to generation X ers (1956 – 1973), from babies to young teenagers. We were a diverse group.
Mom would take us four kids to Christmas eve service, we’d get to open one gift that night and then in the morning we would open the rest of our gifts and Grandpa would come pick us up for the short drive (15 minutes) to the farm. I couldn’t sit next to grandpa because I was a wiggler and was always bumping the gear shift.
Once at the farm we would all sit down to a big meal, after which the women would wash dishes, the men would talk and the children (no exceptions) would be sent outside to play because once the dishes were done the grown-ups would get down to some serious card playing.
We didn’t mind. We’d make forts in the hay stack (this was when hay was stored in smallest rectangle bundles), play in the snow and generally run around going crazy until we got cold.
Once back inside, we would squeeze by the grown-up card players and settle into the smallish living room to watch the Christmas movie on CBC. This movie almost always seemed to star Hayley Mills. I remember parts of Tiger Bay and The Family Way; my favourite was The Trouble With Angels!
We would lay on the floor staring intently at the black and white TV. The youngest children slowly nodding off. Grandma’s Christmas cactus, which eldest sister still nourishes parts of, was a bright pink and green splotch in the corner.
There would be leftovers for supper after dark and slowly us kids would be bundled up and taken home where, no doubt, we slept soundly long through the night. No doubt, sweet dreams abounded.
My grandparent’s home was such a small house yet it still held all of us (20 kids, 9 parents, 2 grandparents and an occasional neighbour or two). I don’t remember feeling crowded. My nephew’s house is probably three times as big with half the amount of people coming for Christmas Eve and it can still feel too crowded to me!
I’m not saying that I never felt crowded out at my grandparents. Too much party, too many people and I need to escape to somewhere quiet. I’ve always been this way. Neither me or my cat are extroverts.
Too much and I need a place to hide close enough that I still feel like I’m part of the party. At my grandparents that was the spare bedroom right beside the quiet living room which was right beside the crowded dining room full of grown-ups. When I got overwhelmed, I would grab a book (the older I got the more likely it would be that I would have a book with me) and disappear into the bedroom to read all by myself.
All my life, I’ve curled up in a corner reading as life and chatter swirled around me. This is where I feel most at home. This is when I feel most warm, secure and safe. If anyone needed to find me, they instinctively knew where I was! I was somewhere quiet reading!
I loved getting together with my cousins. I loved the sociability. With them I learned on my feet, to get along with people and what love is.
Yes, even though, I was the one hiding in the corner with a book.
This is one of my traditions.
As a family of one (and a cat), I mostly get to enjoy the holiday as I want to and I definitely get to create my own traditions.
My traditions are:
- Garlands of Stars,
- Celebrating the Winter Solstice,
- Chicken Bones (see above – I once tried explaining this candy to my Montreal boyfriend and he pictured actual glazed chicken bones),
- Watching the 1966 Grinch Who Stole Christmas,
- Watching a darker Christmas movie (like Die Hard or Gremlins),
- Watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (at both Halloween and Christmastime),
- Spending time alone reading.
Enjoy your particular traditions.
It is snowing right now. It is a soft, drifting snow. It covers all the bleakness of my lawn and makes it look soft and warm and white.
Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!
Santa is making a list and checking it twice; am I naughty or nice?
I’ve always wanted to be naughty. To be the child that would stick out her tongue at strangers who were annoying her.
What is naughty? Is it evil? Is it cruel? Does it involve committing one or more of the seven deadly sins?
I’ll admit that I’ve been envious and coveted what others seem to get so easily. I eat too much. I want too much. I laze about when there is work to be done. I lust after pleasures and in my darkest daydreams am quick to stomp my feet and come to anger. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated.
But I do these things more in my heart (Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart) and my imaginings than in my real life!
Naughty is not necessarily sinful. Naughty is slightly disobedient; it is indecent, risqué, bawdy, improper, indelicate. Naughty is a woman pushing back against the norm!
What’s the naughtiest I’ve ever been? Shh! Can you keep a secret? (Of course you can’t – this is the ubiquitous internet after all!)
What is Nice? Me, I’ve always been nice. Too nice. Too good. Did what she was told. Didn’t make waves. Behaved herself. Good daughter. Good student. Good wife. Good enough (for everyone but me)!
Then I discovered the etymology of the word: nice.
Nice derives from the Latin nescius (“ignorant, not knowing”); from nescire (“to know not, to be ignorant of”), from ne (“not”) + scire (“to know”).
To be nice I had to choose to be ignorant of many things. I had to be compliant. I had to be quiet.
I choose no longer to be nice out of ignorance.
I choose, in spite of Santa’s list, to be at turns both naughty and nice and to always be aware of why I am choosing to be either.
I am nice. I am naughty. Sorry Santa – your lists are passe anyway!
When you’re a girl, you have to be everything, You have to be dope at what you do, but you have to be super sweet, and you have to be sexy, and you have to be this and you have to be that and you have to be nice, and you have to – it’s like, I can’t be all of those things at once. I’m a human being. ~Nicki Minaj
I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do – that was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse. ~Diane Arbus
The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live. ~George Carlin
I’ve written before about the reality and consequences of buying my own toys.
How once I had bought myself the Thumbelina doll I had so desperately yearned for at seven and what happened to her.
I’ve written about the reality of being poor during the holiday season.
I don’t remember making Christmas lists or visiting Santa to ask for what I wanted. We were poor. I knew we were poor and I understood I was to be grateful for what I got no matter what it was. I remember wanting a Thumbelina doll so bad and never getting one.
I’ve always been poor. I’ve never made more than $3,000 a month (not poor for a year or two) and I’ve lived on less than $7,000 a year (poorish). I say poorish because I’ve always had adequate food & shelter. What I’ve wanted for is the extras like raspberries in January or the latest fad toy.
So, when I can I indulge myself in silly things as inexpensively as possible.
Like this troll. Growing up, in the 1960s, I yearned for a troll doll or a million like my friend Laura had. I loved their long, wild, vividly coloured hair and cute little physique! Laura also had a troll castle or at least I remember it as being a castle but according to the ubiquitous internet there is no such thing! My memory is not wrong ever (LOL)!
We spent many an afternoon upstairs in the cop shop (her dad was our small town police officer) playing with her naked troll dolls. I don’t remember her troll dolls having clothes or belly jewels. Anyway, everyone knows naked dolls are best!
I just remember how badly I wanted one. And now I have one. She lives in the kitchen keeping watch with her two frog friends beside her. I got her and the frogs for free. They were some of the lost and unclaimed tchotchkes that somehow ended up in the high school library when I worked there. Teenagers carry around the strangest things! At the end of the year anything unclaimed was repurposed. Thus, I acquired a troll doll with not too weird blonde hair and a trio of frogs, one legless – poor thing. Adults collect the strangest things!
I also have some Wonder Woman stuff. She’s my favourite Super Hero! She’s strong and independent just like me! She belongs to a community of like-minded women. She’s been around for a very long time. She’s a hero after my own heart.
The doll was acquired in 2004 when I was old. Way too old for Barbie dolls. I paid around $25.00 for her. She was part of a trio that also included Batgirl and Supergirl. Looking back, I should have bought all three.
I’m not the only women who yearns for Super Heroine figurines as the new 2016 collection implies.
Wonder Woman is guarded by Mama elephant and I’ve never used the Wonder Woman pen and pencil set.
I’ve bought toys for myself for over thirty years now. The crystal unicorn was a gift to myself when I was still married. The MASH jeep invokes feeling of nostalgia for a 1970s TV show that was fun and provocative. Cawper, the poppet, is recent and makes me smile.
The Lego warrior I spent way too much money on. She was one of the mini figures in the series that included the librarian. I wanted the librarian so badly that I spent over $100.00 on buying the series mini figures. I never got the librarian but discovered I liked the warrior woman almost as much. She is guarding the baby elephant in the photo above!
Ah, nostalgia. It is the reason for most of my toy purchases. Like this Gumby and Pokey that brings back warm memories of sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons and having fun. Everything old is new again. My parents told me this once or twice. I didn’t believe them then. I didn’t believe that history repeats itself. The older I get the more I see the truth in this statement.
Here is the latest toy I bought myself. Rey, from the new Star Wars movie. She cost under $20.00 and I bought her partly because I never owned a Leia doll. I was a teenager when the first Star Wars movie was released and was not buying toys for myself then.
I leave you with a chocolate death star (Lindt really missed the mark here; this could have been a marketing bonanza).
Not matter how poor I get I will keep buying myself toys that make me smile.
Lifetimes have passed since.
The length of a generation.
It’s been a life time – babies who were born that year are now young women as they were. They were women who never got to fulfill their destiny.
A Mother’s Grief.
A mother who will never hug her daughter’s daughter to her breast.
Je me souviens … Geneviève Bergeron, 21; Hélène Colgan, 23; Nathalie Croteau, 23; Barbara Daigneault, 22; Anne-Marie Edward, 21; Maud Haviernick, 29; Barbara Klucznik Widajewicz, 31; Maryse Laganière, 25; Maryse Leclair, 23; Anne-Marie Lemay, 27; Sonia Pelletier, 23; Michèle Richard, 21; Annie St-Arneault, 23; Annie Turcotte, 21.
My previous words of remembrance are here.