Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Eve

"It's the last day of 2005. I can remember as a child asking my mother if I could stay up late on New Year's eve 1999. I could not grasp that I would be an adult, the mother of my own children by the time that special day rolled around. And here it is past and gone and we are five years into the 21st century. We have always spent New Year's eve with friends and family. This year, as in the past 3 my partner and I will go out to dinner and then spend the rest of the evening with his sister, brother-in-law and niece. We will watch movies and nibble on goodies. It is always a nice time. My son works tonight and my daughter is having a party at her place. I hope that the night is good for both of them.

I spent today making stuffed mushrooms and spanakopita to take tonight. Both are so tasty and real treats. The spanakopita is time consuming to make and therefore not a run of the mill item in our home. They are, however, delicious and well worth the effort for a special occasion. I thought I would share these recipes as my gift to you for the new year.

Stuffed Mushrooms
12 large mushrooms
3 Garlic cloves
1 slice of bread
Olive Oil
Mozzarella Cheese

Pull out the stems of the mushrooms and chop stems finely. Add the olive oil to a non stick pan and heat. Put the chopped mushroom stems in along with the crushed garlic cloves. Crumble the piece of bread and add to the pan. Stir until mushroom pices are tender. Stuff into the bottoms of the large mushrooms and top with grated mozzarella cheese. Pop into a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and mushrooms are cooked, about 15 minutes. Enjoy.

8 oz frozen chopped spinach, water removed (I squeeze it out when it has thawed)
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz feta cheese
1/2 cup Parmasian cheee
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teasoon basil

Mix all this, except for the filo,together. I find the best way is to use my hands and just mix it all up. Use two layers of filo pastry, brushing olive oil on the first one, then lay the second one on top. Brush again with olive oil. Cut the pastry into four strips. Put 1 heaped tablespoon of filling into one corner and fold the pastry into triangles. Brush outside of triangle with olive oil. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven until golden. These are delicious!

I hope that 2006 is a great year and brings you all the things in this life that you need, whatever that might be." I whisper.

Are you listening?

Friday, December 30, 2005


"I love history. I have my Bachelor's Degree in Modern European History, but just about any history enthralls me. I think I like ancient history the best. It fascinates me because it is so different from the world in which we live today.

I have just finished reading The First Emperor of China by R.W.L. Guisso and Catherine Pagani. It was written in association with The National Film Board of Canada and The Canadian Museum of Civilization. For any of you who know computor games better than books or history, the game Qin is based on this emperor's grave. A great game with wonderful graphics. I love the artwork.

This was the 50th book I have read this year. Probably won't get anymore finished by tomorrow night, so it ends up being the last for 2005. A good book to end on. Has all the makings of a good drama, intrigue, murder, and suspense. It even ends on a question. What is the tomb actually like? It has not been opened. Only the terracota army has so far been uncovered and if it is any example of what lies in the tomb, it must be fantastic. One can only hope that it has not been plundered over the centuries.

What fascinates me about this man and his time is the incredible things that were being done 250 years before the common era. We are talking 2250 years ago. At this time the Chinese were able to chrome metal, something Europe did not discover until the 1930's; they build roads that rivaled those of the romans over 200 years later; the Great Wall was built, a massive undertaking that saw 2,600 miles of wall built in a period of 10 years; and they built canals that are still in use today.

And yet when Europeans arrived in China, they came with the opinion that they were superior and that opinion didn't change or waver in all the years that they stayed in China. What does that say about people? Why are we as a species so smug and self-satisfied? Why do we all seem to need to believe that we are the best, the brightest and the most important? That we are right and everyone remotely different from us is wrong, their beliefs of no importance, their accomplishments of no value?

I would like to hope that as a species we can begin to grow beyond this outdated way of thinking. Unfortunately, the world around me leads one to believe the opposite. We have Canada, smug and self-satisfied that she is oh so much better than the United States, we have the United States devolving into a fundamental christian state, which believes that it's beliefs are the only right ones and we have the muslim fundamentalists who believe, not only that their way is the only way, but that those who disagree with them should not even live. This does not even begin to take into account all the other petty little peoples around the earth so busy killing, starving and maiming their "enemies", usually under the pretext of religion or race. Oh, when will we realise that we are all one, all alone on this little blue planet. I hope it is soon," I whisper.

Are you listening?

Thursday, December 29, 2005


"Driving into town today was like driving through a different world. The fog lay everywhere, thick and enveloping. In town, looking across the river, you could not see the other side. It had vanished like it never existed. Usually what we have is light mist, rising from the ground in little patches. This was different. For hours it hung over the river valley before it turned into rain, beating down on the snow, running through the streets in torrents, creating huge puddles that washed over the windshield when you drove through. It did not seem at all like late December. It seemed more like fall and reminded me of one of my favourite poems. Favourite, not for its great writing, but for the picture it paints. Here it is:

I like the fall, the mist and all,
I like the night owl's lonely call--
And wailing sound of wind around.
I like the gray November day,
And bare, dead boughs that coldly sway
Against my pane. I like the rain.
I like to sit and laugh at it--
And tend my cozy fire a bit.
I like the fall--the mist and all.
--Dixie Willson

I like the fog because it hides away parts of the world. You drive through it unable to see too far ahead. Like life, what is in front of you remains hidden until you reach it. You drive carefully because you have to be prepared for what is hidden in the fog and in life we prepare ourselves for what is ahead. We make sure we have the right education, so as adults we can earn the money necessary to have the life style we desire. We plan our meals so we can have the food on hand to cook them. We schedule our days as far in advance as possible so that we can be prepared for every possible event. As we grow older we make sure we have the right amount of money saved for retirement. We do our best to prepare for all eventualities and even so life has surprises hidden for us, just like the fog.

May all the surprises hidden in your future be good ones,"I whisper.

Are you listening?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


"As you know, I love to read. I have mentioned that I read anything, books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, whatever I come across that has words on it. Through good times and bad, books have given me great pleasure, access to other worlds and ideas, knowledge and escape from this world. Usually I take the ability to read and the ability to see for granted. For about three weeks now, I have not.

I wear glasses and for some time now I have noticed that I don't appear to be seeing as well as I did. I thought perhaps that my eyes were changing to due to age. I know because I am nearsighted that I can expect this to change as I age. For these past three weeks though, my eyesight seems to be going down hill rapidly. When I have my glasses on, I can't focus when I read and my eyes water. If I take my glasses off and close my right eye, I can see to read but find that difficult to do for long. Needless to say, I haven't been doing much reading lately.

This has made me think about how lucky we are to live where we live. At birth our children automatically have erythromycin or silver nitrate drops put in their eyes to prevent blindness from ordinary bacteria or bacteria associated with sexually transmitted diseases. Our children's eyesight is routinely checked in school to see if there is a problem. Our medical plans cover visits to optomitrists and some cover the purchase of glasses.

I called an optomitrists office this morning and already have an appointment for tomorrow morning. If there is a problem it will be dealt with. If all I need is a new prescription, it will be issued to me and I can purchase glasses right away. A variety of styles will be available and I will have my new pair within 10 days. I can then send the bill in to our medical plan and be reimbursed 80% of the cost, up to $200. What could be fairer?

If it is a medical problem that is causing my sight to change, I will be treated or sent to someone who can help me. I will not be left to go blind with no help and no future. People in other countries aren't so lucky. Babies are born and not treated and go blind at birth, injuries happen to eyes and are not treated, ordinary problems such as nearsightedness cannot be helped because people do not have access to doctors and eyeglasses. A simple thing like glasses can change a person's life and yet for so many this never happens.

There are ways that the ordinary person can help. Don't throw away your outdated glasses, donate them to one of the many charities that collect them and ship them overseas. Most optical stores have collection boxes. If you feel generous donate to one of the agencies that fund eye operations. There are many wonderful agencies.

And most importantly don't take your own eyesight for granted. It is a gift that allows you to see this wonderful world we live in, the sunrises and sunsets, the leaves changing, the gentle fall of snow, the wind whipping up the waves on the ocean. Your eyes allow you to read this. I hope that you always are able to see." I whisper.

Are you listening?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wheat and Weight

"I love all the foods of christmas, the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy; the stollen (a sweet bread) on christmas morning, the cookies and pies throughout the holiday season. Unfortunately these foods do not like me. I find that potatoes and wheat disagree with me. I bloat like I am 9 months pregnant and this is not a pretty sight. My brother-in-law, Frank, a crusty 77 year old Italian, looked at me the other day and said, "you have a fat stomach!". Not something that makes you feel good, I assure you! As well as making me bloat and sick from heartburn and acid indigestion, potatoes and wheat make me gain weight.

As mentioned previously, I give a great deal of thought to my new years resolutions. I have decided that I could do with losing an additional 20 pounds. I also really don't like the way I feel when I eat wheat and potatoes. So my first official new years resolution is not to eat any wheat and potatoes for the month of January. This will give me some indication of my ability to actual follow through on such a plan, as well as how it will affect my health and my weight. If I manage to fullfill this goal for the month of January I will hopefully feel better and maybe just maybe lose a pound or two. If this works, I will then continue for the rest of the year.

At home, this resolution won't be too hard to follow. I have gradually been phasing out all wheat pasta products and going to rice and other grain pastas. They are equally as good tasting as the wheat ones and the kamut is even better tasting. I love lasagna made with kamut pasta. It is eating out, in restuarants and other people's homes that will be the problem. Have you ever actually looked at a restaurant menu and tried to find one meal that did not include either wheat or potatoes? It is almost impossible to find one, I assure you. Certainly all hamburger places are out and there is nothing I enjoy more after a Saturday morning of shopping than Wendy's bacon burger with french fries. Oh well, what we do for our health is more important than our taste buds, right?

As I am really trying to become the me I want to be, I figure my health and weight are a good place to start. If I can control what I eat and therefore feel better, I will be more inclined to do the other things I want to with my life. I will keep you all informed on how I do," I whisper.

Are you listening?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day

"Boxing Day is an interesting holiday. Originally the day that the wealthy gave their leftover christmas goodies to the poor, it has now turned into THE sales event of the year. Everywhere that is, except New Brunswick. Here everthing is shut, closed, locked up tight. Everything except restuarants and gas stations. All the stores are shut and boxing day sales take place on the 27th. The interesting thing is that they are still called Boxing Day sales. I love the English language. You can use it to mean anything you want. Boxing Day isn't really the day after christmas, it's whatever day you decide it is. Cute, eh?

I use Boxing Day to tidy up from christmas, eat leftover turkey and mincemeat pie, visit family and start thinking about the new year. I always give a lot of thought to what I want the new year to be like and how I can make that happen. This takes more time than 15 minutes on new year's eve to write out my resolutions for the upcoming year. I do write resolutions. The amazing thing is that some years I actually keep them!

Some resolutions, I admit, show up year after year in the hopes that this year will be the year they are kept! One such resolution was flossing my teeth, everyone knows that doing this is a good thing. I knew for years and yet seemed unable to follow through for more than a couple of months. Well about 5 years ago there it was listed on my new year's resolution list and quess what? I actually kept it, not only for that year but for all the years since. I might miss a couple of times a year, but I always remember after one miss and back I go to flossing my teeth every night.

I am hoping that all my other unfullfilled resolutions that keep reappearing year after year, will be like teeth flossing, that one magical year I will be able to keep them and they will become another part of who I am. As I spend the next few days thinking over the past year and the changes in myself and contemplating the new year and the new me I want to be, I will also be thinking of you and of who you are becoming and hoping that you are enjoying the process of personal change as much as I am starting to. It no longer seems an uphill battle, a challange to overcome. Instead it has become a journey, one of personal discovery, that as each day passes, I am enjoying more and more. Maybe, just maybe, on this journey that you and I are on, we will meet and become friends. One can never have too many friends", I whisper.

Are you listening?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

"I had a wonderful christmas, great presents, a good meal, warm house and family that all got along!! It was a lovely day, we even had a light dusting of snow. Hope yours was a good," I whisper.

Are you listening?

Saturday, December 24, 2005


"Well, it's official. The government of New Brunswick, in the form of 11 male politicians, have decided that the women of New Brunswick are not equal to the men. On Thursday December 22, 2005 the all male, law amendments committee, rejected a private members' bill that would require the private sector to pay the women of New Brunswick the same amount as the men. They recommend that the issue be reviewed in five years.

So 11 years into the 21st century the women of New Brunswick will still not be equal to the men. I cannot repeat that often enough. It makes me physically ill that a committee of men, representing the people of New Brunswick, of which at least half are women, can decide that that half of the population is worth less than the other half, solely because they come into this world with a vulva and vagina instead of a penis. If this same group of men where to decide that all people of black skin, or native ancestory or orientals or red heads where to be paid less, it would not be allowed. It would be seen as a human rights violation, but because it is only women, it is allowed.

I think it is time for the women of New Brunswick to go on strike. I mean a total and complete strike denying the men of this province any help, work, support and yes, even sex, until the government makes pay equity manditory for ALL.

Perhaps then the men who govern this province would realise that we women are equal to them and that we deserve to be treated as equals, not paid 79 cents to every dollar that men earn. We are not willing to wait the estimated 110 years that it will take to gain pay equity.

The women alive today deserve better and we expect and demand more for our daughters and our granddaughters. 110 years is equal to approximately 5 1/2 generations. Can you, the men of this society, wait this long to treat all people equally? What kind of nation are you governing, thatyou preach democracy and equality to others and yet do not practice it at home to people who are of your own blood? We have the right to equality," I whisper.

Are you listening?

Thursday, December 22, 2005


"Well, Dorothy is home. The anti siezure medications appears to be working and so she was released from the hospital yesterday. Her husband, daughters and dog Bailey are very happy to have her home. I am taking a meal over on Friday evening, so we can spend time together. She is suppose to take it easy and as they are unable to come to our house for the planned meal, it will come to them!

Sarah visited her friend Johnny in the hospital in St. John yesterday. He is out of the coma and the breathing tube has been removed. He is sitting up and able to walk a little. It appears that his head injury has left him in a similar position to a stroke victim. His right side is impacted and he has no control over that side. He cannot speak, but Sarah does not know if that is due to his brain injury or the fact that the breathing tube was inserted twice and his throat is inflamed. today she went to the impound lot and retrieved his belongings from his car. His parents could not face doing that. Seeing the mashed and cut up vehicle would hurt too much. I know Sarah found it difficult too.

Everything is almost ready for christmas. Have two gifts to get, presents to wrap and sugar cookies to bake. Then clean the house, make some eggnog and sit back with a good book and Peter, Paul and Mary's christmas concert in the vcr and I will be content. We are not suppose to get anymore snow, but we will have a white christmas, the best kind. Sarah will be home for christmas eve and christmas day. I t will be nice to see her for more than a few minutes at a time. My son Phillip works christmas day, 2pm until 10pm, so we will have our dinner at noon.

Have been tutoring once a week now for a month. Really like the young lady. Today we went to the mall. She is very shy in public. Hates the fact that people stare at her. As she is muslim, she keeps her hair covered and wears a coat clear to the ground. I think she is an intelligent, brave young woman, coping well in a world unlike her own. I am not sure I would be so brave in a country where I did not speak the language and where the customs were so different.

Changing how you live and where you are going in life is like travelling to a new country. You aren't sure of the directions, you don't necessarily speak the language and you aren't sure of the people. But you go anyway because you must. I feel like I am on a journey, the travel is hard but interesting and I am meeting fascinating people along the way. Some are just in passing, others I hope will be friends for a very long time. Are you one of them?" I whisper.

Are you listening?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Winter Solstice

"Today is the winter solstice. The longest night of the year. From now on, the nights will get shorter and the days longer.
The need to hibernate becomes overwhelming. I like candles,incense and music.This is the time of year for pampering, for sitting in front of the fire, reading good books, listening to great music, eating winter foods. Indulging the senses.

This is also the hardest time of the year. This is the time of soul searching and the recognition that things and people have endings. It is the time of year for hibernation and self analysis. I like the dark of the year because it allows me to seek the dark side of me and learn about myself.

Living in New Brunswick, a land of seasons, where winter visits for months at a time, as the winter deepens an overwhelming need arises in me for green living things. By March I will just about be out of my mind for signs of life. I will avidly watch the trees for the first buds of spring, the air for the arrival of spring birds, I will watch the snow melt, waiting for the tips of the grass to be seen. I will want to throw open the windows and air out the house and welcome spring and life back in.

But now, on the longest night of the year I will hunker down, feed my fire and revel in the good things of winter, the times of celebrations and aloneness; the light of the day and the darkness of night; the glitter of snow and the bareness of the trees; the coldness of the outdoors and the warmth of my home. I will be glad for the roof over me, the food on my table and the fire in my stove. I will thank the goddess for the good things and remember that the sun will come back, the days will lengthen and the flowers will grow. And after a winter of introspection, like the earth, I will awaken in the spring to new life and all its possiblities. Will you share that with me?", I whisper.

Are you listening?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


" pamper v. to treat very indulgently

Today I had my hair done. I don't feel old and I don't want to look old and I would if I didn't get it dyed and cut every six weeks. I have just started this the past year. Before that I never really payed much attention to myself. I have never liked to fuss over myself. I quess I thought I wasn't worth it, not important. Now I find that giving myself permission to be pampered makes me feel so much better about myself. I wonder why we think everyone else is worth something, but we are not? This extends to more than just pampering ourselves. It includes giving ourselves permission to be happy, to do things just for us. To have time for ourselves just to be or to do what we want. That is what the afternoon at the salon does for me. It gives me time for me, for my wants and needs without me having to give anything back. My time!

As well as my hair I had my eyebrows shaped. Much easier than taking care of them myself and something I wouldn't do, too finicky. But laying back on the bed, with warm wax on your face and soft nature music playing, it is easy to relax and let your mind go, even as your brow is being ripped out by the roots! Amazing that something painful can actually be pleasant!

While the dye was in my hair I had my hands incased in warm wax. For anyone who has never had this done, it is a wonderful sensation. You dip your hand in a warm wax bath, it hardens and you sit with your hands in plastic bags and cloth mitts. The warm wax relaxes your fingers and it feels oh so good!

My stylist kept my supplied with warm apple cider, magazines and good conversation. It is an interesting relationship that one develops with the person who pampers you. It has to be relaxed and friendly or it would not be pleasant for me. I would get stressed and then I would no longer do it. As I pay my bill there is always that intial, "Oh my god, I am actually spending this much on nothing!", but then I take a deep breath and relax and leave feeling good about myself. I look good and that makes me feel good and I can do just about anything feeling this way!", I whisper.

Are you listening?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Good News

"I like days with good news. Dorothy has not been having mini strokes after all. She is having seizures. It appears that in the past she has had a stroke. Now, on occasion, when she tries to use the part of her brain that was damaged,this causes the synopses to misfire. This in turn has caused the problems with her memory etc. Everyone is very glad because no more damage is being caused, there is medication that will stop this from happening anymore and she will be home for christmas. Altogether a good outcome. Glad it turned out this way," I whisper.

Are you listening?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Problem Solving

"About 10 years ago I began an afghan for my daughter Sarah. I procrastinate a lot and the years went by as I periodically worked on it. By the time I realized that I did not have enough yarn to complete the project, the yarn was no longer available. So the afghan sat until last fall when I sewed what I had completed together. It was far too small to be useful as anything at all. I did not know what to do.

The pieces are jagged edged and I couldn't figure out how to increase the size of the afghan. The pattern called for two rows of cream colored yarn to be crocheted around the finished afghan to complete it. I thought about it for a long while and finally decided to crochet around the edges in the cream colored yarn until the afghan was the size I wanted. The only problem was that the end result was the edge appeared ruffled and wouldn't lie flat. So I took another approach. I decided to crochet in the jagged edges and then crochet around the whole thing. That didn't work either and I was at a loss as what to do. And so the afghan sat for an entire year, unfinished and unworked on.

Last night, while lying in bed at the end of a very emotionally charged day I had a brainwave. I would pull out all the work I had done and make up the required number of blocks I would need out of the cream yarn. Once I have this done, I can sew it all together and I will have an afghan of a useful size.

I couldn't believe that this idea had not dawned on me before. It got me to thinking about how we approach problem solving. We look at a problem and react in a set way. Our responses are the result of societal and familial ways of doing things. These do not always work or give us the results that we want or need. We need to think outside the box, not follow standard ways of doing things, to leave the pattern behind and make our own way. It can take courage to set out on a path of your own making, to solve problems in a way that others do not choose. What is important is to find what works for you and then follow that path. As long as a workable solution is reached, that fullfills all the requirements, what does it matter the path that led you there?" I whisper.

Are you listening?

Saturday, December 17, 2005

One of Those Days

"Today was one of those days where things seem to slowly slide into chaos and unpleasant feelings and you have no idea how you got there. Ended the day on an unhappy note and wonder where things are going. Sometimes it seems absolutely pointless and impossible to even try to move ahead. On days like today I am so lonely." I whisper.

Are you listening?

Friday, December 16, 2005


"The phone rang just after noon today. It was my partner's niece. His sister Dorothy, was in emergency. She has suffered from mini strokes for quite a while and is on blood thinners. They aren't working. She had a very serious mini stroke and her daughter had taken her to the hospital. In the next 5 hours she had 10 more.

Tonight she has no memory of today or yesterday. She can't remember what you told her 5 minutes before. She is frightened and doesn't want to stay in the hospital. She will be there at least until Monday when she will have more tests done and see the specialist. She does remember him and likes him, so that is at least a comfort.

As parents get older, it is as if roles are reversed and the child becomes the parent. It is difficult to see once vibrant people reduced to the position of needing care, rather than being the care givers. I think the worst is when the mind is affected and the body is still strong. To know that something is the matter and not to understand, must be very frightening.

It is also difficult for the children who find themselves in the position of taking care of their parents. And for siblings who realise that when their older brothers and sisters go, they become the eldest. To lose everyone older than you makes you confront your immortality, perhaps a lot sooner than you wish or are ready for.

I hope that Dorothy is stabilized and if she cannot regain yesterday and today at least remembers tomorrow and a great many more tomorrows yet to come. We are not yet ready to say goodbye. We love you Dorothy," I whisper.

Are you listening?

Thursday, December 15, 2005


" I collect quotes and thought I would share a few of my favourites with you today.

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is though everything is a miracle.
-Albert Einstein

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.
-Mary Pickford

To bring forth the soul of our being, we must be in our bodies, rooted to the Earth, able to draw from the universal source of energy.
-Diane Mariechild

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

When you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
-Paulo Coelho

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.
-Abraham Joshua Heschel

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who
looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
-Carl Jung

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.
-Indira Gandhi

Do they do for you, what they do for me?" I whisper.

Are you listening?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


" Sadness has once again touched us through Sarah. As you who read this blog know, Sarah lost a friend of hers a couple of weeks ago, a young man serving in Afghanistan with the Canadian military. Last week, another friend of hers was in a car accident and is lying in a coma in the hospital in St. John. Sarah has spent this week with his family, travelling to St. John to sit with him and them. She is experiencing things in her young life that I have yet to. I was in my 40's before I lost a friend. She has had two die this year.

This young man has nothing broken, only brain injuries. The outcome is not yet known. He lies in bed, hooked up to all kinds of machines. He is dimly aware, at times, of his surroundings but can have no affect on them. There have been many tears shed by Sarah this week as she learns how a second can change a person's life. From her comments, I understand that Johnny did not usually wear his seatbelt. He had it on last Tuesday when his car crossed the centre line and he was hit by a taxi. Otherwise Sarah would be mourning the loss of a third friend this year.

With all these things touching my life recently, I have been doing a lot of introspective thinking. Nothing really new for me I know. I seem to spend the vast majority of my time in my head, not actively doing, just being. I am trying to resolve various issues inside me and not having much luck. I feel, more than ever, like I am poised on the edge. Now though, rather than wanting to find a way to remain here, I think I want to leap. Into where or what, I don't know, but I do know that I want a change, something big, something that alters forever my perceptions and my expectations. Like Johnny, I need to wake up. I don't want to forever exist in this twilight state, neither awake nor asleep. If I wake,will you be there for me?" I whisper.

Are you listening?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Tree

"It's finished, I have spent all day decorating and it looks beautiful. I bought some new decorations this year, cardinals, pinecones and reindeer. And for the first time in my life, I decorated the tree all by myself. It is really a reflection of me, of who I am at this point in my life.

Through the years of my life I have collected christmas decorations. I have recieved them as gifts, bought some myself and have inherited others from family, neighbours and spouses. They have been acquired in various countries I have lived and visited. Some are handmade, others mass produced and others hand crafted with great care in an earlier, more careful time. They all have meaning, they all are memories and like all memories they need to be looked at and sorted and some discarded.

When I took down the tree last year, I made a decision, one that I have followed through with. I sorted my decorations into groups, those I want to keep, those tattered and torn by years of use and those that I can no longer feel comfortable putting on my tree. The tattered and torn, with great reluctance and a few tears, after all they represent years of my life, I consigned to the garbage. Those I no longer want I packed away and have given to my daughter. Those I have retained now hang in glory on my tree.

The sorting reflects the personal growth I have been doing over the past few years. In a prior time, I would not have been able to throw anything so charged with my past, away. I would have kept it long after its usefulness or beauty was gone. I now know that what they can give a person is used up and like all things deserve to be let go of when it is time.

I have also learned that keeping items that have negative memories or that no longer reflect who you are is not justified. With this in mind, ornaments that I have never liked, that remind me of people or times I have no desire to remember or that relect a belief that I no longer subscribe to if I ever did, I have also let go of. This would include all christian christmas symbols. What I have in effect is no longer a Christmas tree, it is a Yule tree. A celebration of the rebirth of light, of life. It is what the christmas story is truly about. The rebirth of an ancient god who in turn represents light, the sun and the end of winter. What better time to celebrate this, then on the longest and darkest night of the year, when it truly must have felt, in times gone by, that the sun and heat and green, living things would never return. When one really needed to be reminded that, indeed, spring will come again, the sun and heat of summer will return and the rebirth that we so long for in the dark will happen.

My tree now represents this to me. It also represents my rebirth, that hidden me that so few actually see, the one I am trying so hard to become. Do I dare stand so tall, so bright, so open to the world? Do I dare let the world see that me, like I have let them see my non-christian christmas tree? Will anyone notice the difference in the tree, would they notice a difference in me?' I whisper.

Are you listening?

Monday, December 12, 2005


"As a child, I suffered a great handicap. Both my sisters were very artistic and I couldn't make a stick man look good. As I got older I gave up any form of artistic expression. My eldest sister could draw and write and her embrodery work was exquisite. My younger sister excelled in drawing, painting, paper mache, any kind of art. I couldn't compete, so I did nothing and it became a habit to stay clear of artisitic self expression. To this day, while my soul craves to express itself and I buy art supplies I never use them. The only "crafty" things I do reguire patterns which I follow exactly, that way I can't make a mistake.

As I have mentioned previously, I love to read, anything and everything and I am currently reading Women Artists by Elke Linda Buchholz, a wonderful book that "surveys five hundred years of artistic output from a pantheon of women who broke rules, defied convention, and paved the way for generations to follow". What must it have been like in the past for women who were artistic and couldn't express themselves because they were women? How frustrated and limited those women must have felt who did paint and who then had to fight to have their work acknowledged. And after fighting for this right, at death so many women were forgotten, their work said to have been the work of males, or forgotten and discarded.

And I worry that my sisters are better than me? I need to grow up, I think, and put my fears of inferiority aside and let my artistic side loose. Who knows what might be lurking inside me, waiting for an opportunity to be expressed. I am all that holds me back, not my sisters, not the males of this world, only me, myself and I. And I am begging to be set free", I whisper.

Are you listening?

Sunday, December 11, 2005


"No, not the sweet syrup that honey bees make, my dog Honey. She is a pitbull/boxer cross, about 7 years old and the sweetest dog you can imagine. We got her from the pound in Victoria when she was 3 years old. She had had 6 owners by that point but when we took her out of the pound and put her in the suburban, she knew she had found her forever home.

My last pet, a dear cat named Cinnamon had died a few days earlier. We had not planned on having any more pets, having lived through the life and death of innumerable fish, a bird, mice, 3 rabbits, 2 cats and our beloved dog Sandy. However the stillness and emptiness of our house in the days following Cinnamon's death ( we had him put down, he broke his leg getting out of the litter box and at 17 years of age there was really nothing that could be done for him) was too much for me. I had lived in a house with a steady stream of pets for 17 straight years, since Cinnamon and his sister Misty arrived as little balls of fur about the same time Phillip brighten my life.

We went on a search for the perfect dog, I got books from the library, bought magazines listing all different breeds, read all kinds of advice and in the end it was the heart that prevaled, not the logic. We visited pet stores, the S.P.C.A., and then because we had nothing better to do, we drove out towards the ferry terminal and stopped at the pound. We were just looking, not shopping, just looking.

We walked into bedlam. Dogs barking and jumping, crying pick me, pick me. And there she was, standing quietly, with dignity and such sad, beautiful eyes. She pushed her muzzle against the wire of the cage, so that she could touch my hand and I was in love. The man running the pound ask if we would like to take her out and play with her in the yard. Of course, what a silly question. She was an angel, retreiving the kong and bringing it back to me like we had played together forever.

We were told she was a pitbull. I couldn't believe it, this beautiful, sweet, gentle dog was one of those. Her name was Honey and no explanation was needed, she was a honey of a dog and as we were to discover later, when she curls up to sleep and her body heats up she smells like wonderful warm honey. Yes, the kind those honey bees make. She has never smelled like dog, a big plus as far as I am concerned!

We brought her home, to her forever home and she has given us far more than we have ever given her. She brightens my life on a daily basis, gives me unconditional love, expecting nothing in return but a gentle hand on her head and a loving word in her ear.

Honey is getting old. According to vets she is a "senior" already. Her muzzle is getting white, as is around her eyes, she sleeps more and this past week she has developed a limp in her left leg. I now realized that, like my other fur babies, she won't be with me forever and I can't bear the thought. She has been there for me, through some hard times, when I had to quit working due to illness, on a cross country move to a new place and new people, and through an emotional period of personal growth. All I have had to do is reach for her and she has been there, her soft, gentle eyes reminding me that I am not alone, that things will get better, that there is always hope.

I hope there are still a few good years left in this wonderful animal because I am not yet ready to say goodbye. That is as hard to do as saying hello sometimes, to a new idea, a new person, a new life. When she was in the pound she acted with dignity and courage and hope and she found a new life. How can I an adult woman, act with less? I know Honey will face the end of her life with the same dignty she has lived it, and I will be there for her. But her passing will leave an empty spot in my heart, for like people, dogs are individuals and they become as much a part of you as anyone you can imagine. I only hope my future brings me another dog that will give me the same love and opportunities to learn as she has and that I can face the uncertain future with the same dignity and courage that Honey has." I whisper.

Are you listening?

Saturday, December 10, 2005


"Well today was the day! I officially started my christmas shopping. I know, there are people who have not only finished their shopping, it's wrapped, labeled and in some cases delivered. Oh and their cards are mailed, their house decorated, their tree is up and their baking is finished. I, however am not among those organized paragons of virtue. I don't even think about christmas until December 1. This is due to the facat that my daughter's birthday is November 30. When she was little, I didn't want anything to intrude upon her day. After 20 years, of not thinking about christmas before the first, it is an ingrained habit.

Today however I went out shopping and found things for my mother at the Fredericton Farmer's market. She enjoyed this thoroughly when she visited two years ago and will be thrilled to know her gifts were bought here. Now I just have to wrap and pack and mail the box clear across the country. Do you think it will get there before the big day? I hope so. My mother is 83 and I would hate for her not to have her gifts on christmas.

Bought my christmas candy gifts that have become as standard for christmas as the christmas tree. Turtles for my partner (I hate the new packaging!) and Ferrero Rocher for Phillip and Sarah. It would not be christmas without Phillip eating his entire box christmas day. Well, not quite true he always shares one each with his mom and dad!

Sarah's christmas is taken care of. She wanted a new dresser for her birthday/christmas present. That's taken care of, delivered and put together on her birthday. All her bedroom furniture matches, she is one happy, young lady and she has something her mother never has had, a matching bedroom suite. Ah well, there's always the next life! Now it's just stocking stuffers and a couple of small things, candy included.

Phillip is also going to be easy. For you who know him or have checked out the blogs listed on the right hand side, his is "The Art of Sushi", you will know he is a cook. As an apprentice cook he is still aquiring all the neccessary equipment. I hadn't realised until he started cooking professionally, that cooks have their own knives, whisks, etc. And of course, just any old equipment won't due, so he has asked for a gift certificate to a Fredericton store that caters to professional chefs. That and the traditional socks and underwear, candy and book, maybe a dvd if he is really good, should take care of his christmas.

That leaves my partner, Bob. As he reads this blog I can't tell you what he is getting but because we have decided on a joint present, a digital camera, his list is also small and easily taken care of. That just leaves a couple of family members and I am done. Wow, that was easy, unlike in previous years when I have spent hours and hours searching for the right gift and not finding it because everyone else started their shopping on November 1st and have snatched up all the really good stuff!

Shopping done, that leaves time for other things, like my traditional end of the year musing. What did I do, what could I have done differently, what should or shouldn't I have done. Reading over the list of books I have read this past year, only 50 some odd, a slow book year for me. Thinking about the new year, what changes do I want in my life, which ones are I brave enough to make and which will still be waiting come next christmas.

Do you think like I do? Do you disect your year, your life, do you think about how you can change and improve your existence, how you relate to your family, your friends and acquaintances, the broader community, the world, the very planet on which we live? Or are your christmas musings relegated to shopping and gift giving. Do you believe, like I do, that the greatest gift you can give is to yourself, the gift to be truly who you are, the person you were meant to be. Do you have the courage? Will you give yourself the gift of you this christmas?" I whisper.

Are you listening?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas Cards

"It is a lovely snowy afternoon. I have most of the house decorated for the christmas season. I collect Santas for those of you who don't know me, so that is always the theme of my house. I have an amazing variety and I have just finished putting the last ones up. The tree will go up the weekend and then it will be time to start baking. I bake 3 or 4 different types of cookies, depending upon how energetic I feel and I make a big container of nuts and bolts, a perennial favourite with a certain family member.

I have finished doing the last of my christmas cards. While I enjoy doing them, it is also a time of reflection and sadness. I keep a record of the people I send cards to and every year there seems to be another deceased on my list. When I think back over the years to the people I have lost the list becomes very long and my card giving list becomes much shorter.

In the beginning it was family members whose names dropped off one by one. My grandmother Sarah Elizabeth King, a continuing presence in my life, then my aunts Maude and Roxie, my mother's sisters who were such an integral part of my childhood, although I only met them once. Then their husbands' Willard and Louis, fondly remembered and missed.

Lately though it has been friends who I have said goodbye to. Dorothy, my half sister's mother gone for 2 years now, Richard a cousin I never met, but "discovered" while doing our genealogy, we wrote and exchanged christmas cards every year until his death. Ruby, with the beautiful hair and dynamite smile, I still have the angel you made me for my tree. Marie's daughter Crista, I can't put your name on the card this year. I miss you little one. But I'll have a glass of the eggnog your mother loves and drink to you.

I remember each of them with fondness tinged with sadness and can't help but wonder who will be missing from my list and my life next christmas. I hope that it is none of you.", I whisper.

Are you listening?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


"I'm sick, I have a cold, one of those deep in your chest, make you hack and cough colds. When I get sick I also get physically cold. A deep to the bone cold that doesn't go away until I have a long hot shower. I am also fighting a headache that woke me up off and on all night. So being as miserable as I am today, this is what you get, basically a rant about being sick. I hope it goes away before Christmas. I hate being sick on holidays, there is always so much to get done and never enought time. So I think I will go make myself a nice cup of tea, have a couple of cookies and start my christmas cards. I will be watching my mailbox, will you send me one?" I whisper.

Are you listening?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


"I fought technology my whole life until I discovered the computor. I only got a bank card because my bank began to shut at 4 pm and I worked until 6pm and was unable to do my banking. I kept my rotary phone long past the time it should have been replaced, got a dish washer only because my partner and I got tired of doing dishes for our family plus all the daycare children I took care of. The microwave came into our lives with great reluctance too. And yet now I accept all this not only with no reluctance but with great enthusiasm all because I acquired a computor.

I can't remember what prompted me to want a computor, but I can say that having one and being linked to the internet, has changed my whole life. I can write this blog. I keep my genealogical records on this computor, I do research on line that would take me months if not years to do otherwise. I can design my website and maintain it thanks to a computor. I do my banking online. I can write to people thanks to email, and those who have email do get letters on a regular basis, unlike those who still only use snail mail!

The possibilities are endless when it comes to technology and I for one am grateful to have finally embraced it. As time goes by I am sure that the computor and the internet will add even more to our lives. Just last month,thanks to computors, I started to talk to people online. I talk to my friend in Victoria, I talk to a young girl in Austria who is studing English and a man in Romania who wants to learn about Canada. I talk to friends right here in New Brunswick and I would talk to you, if you want to talk to me", I whisper.

Are you listening?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Community 3

" Two weeks ago I took a deep breath and did something I should have done over a year ago, but was too embarrassed to do. I sent an email to a friend I hadn't seen or talked to since July 2004. I was too embarressed to call her and thought that an email would give her an out if she no longer wanted contact. To my surprise the next day there was a message on my voice mail, not only did was she glad to hear from me, but she wanted to get together!

For over a year I had thought about this woman, agonized over calling her and wondered why she hadn't contact me. Had I made her mad unknowingly? Didn't she like me as much as I liked her? Didn't she want to be my friend? I had probably spent hours thinking, about her, about calling her and why she didn't call me.

Guess what? She had spend the last year coping with cancer and her mother's death. She had spend abouat 6 months of the previous year in the hospital and with all the turmoil in her life she had lost my number and couldn't remember my last name. She was so glad I contacted her. She and I had met in a class on coping with fibromyalgia and had instantly hit it off. We are, like Anne of Green Gables would say, Kindred Spirits. We have assured each other that we will not let time pass, that we will stay in touch, that our friendship will have a chance to grow and develope.

And what have I learned from this experience? To follow your instincts, do what your gut tells you to do. If I had done as I knew I should, I could have been there this past year to support her as she went through her cancer treatments. I would have had the opportunity to grow even more and we would have had a year longer to enjoy each others company. Old acquaintances are just a phone call away and when one is looking for friendship, what better place to start. I haven't forgotten you", I whisper.

Are you listening?

Sunday, December 04, 2005


"Last night my partner was talking and playing with our cat Sam. Our very good natured dog Honey, who plays with Sam, tolerates him rubbing against her and even licking her, reacted violently. She jumped up from where she was laying and ran across the room and attacked Sam. The growling and violent motion scared our other cat and both she and Sam went running under a chair. Honey was grabbed and sent to bed in no uncertain terms.

This incident got me thinking about jealousy. I have noticed in the past that when the cats get on my lap or lay near me, Honey watches them in a very assertive way. She doesn't like them near. She doesn't like us paying attention to them. She is jealous. What is it about relationships that make man and beast want exclusiveness with another? Why is sharing of others so difficult? Why do people, and dogs feel so betrayed when affection is shown to another?

I remember as a child asking my mother over and over if she loved me more than my sisters. Couldn't stand the thought of her loving them at all. My children have been much more secure. They never have asked if I loved them. They know I do and that makes me feel good knowing that they are secure in my love for them.

Adult relationships are more difficult and fraught with greater problems than such childish behaviour. Jealousy arises in all relationships, whether between friends, between family members, between lovers and partners. People get jealous if more time is spent with an other, if a is speaking to b but not to c, if you have more than they do, if you have different than they do.

Jealousy arises most frequently between lovers and partners. Most people want their significant other to only be theirs, not to interact on any more than a superficial level with members of the opposite sex or anyone who could potentially be a romantic or sexual interest. And yet no one person can give anyone everything that they require. Every relationship adds to a person's growth, to their sense of self, to their identity. Every relationship brings something unigue to both parties lives and it seems self limiting to me to expect to have only one close person in your life at a time. Why do we feel jealous or threatened if our partner has any kind of a relationship with someone else? Why are we so insecure in our own worth that we see others as a threat to our relationships? Why do we limit ourselves?", I whisper.

Are you listening?

Saturday, December 03, 2005


"belief(bi-leef)n. 1. the feeling that something is real and true, trust, confidence. 2. something accepted as true, what one believes. 3. religion, something taught as part of this.

save (sayv)v. (saved, saving) 1. to rescue, to keep from danger or harm or capture. 2. to free from the power of sin or its spiritual consequences.

Last night I attended a Baptist Church Christmas concert called The Living Christmas Tree. The music was beautiful, some of the singers had fantastic voices and the set was unusual to say the least, a "Christmas Tree" that reached the ceiling of the church and held the choir. Altogether an entertaining evening. One expected the theme to be christmas and it was, until the end. At that point it became a sermon on the need to "accept Jesus as your personal saviour". And at that point they lost me.

After the concert, the minister gave a short sermon. To my astonishment, I found out that I NEED to be saved. Of course, my silent comment was "from what?". What am I in danger from, what is going to harm or capture me? Or what sin has power over me? The preacher passed judgement on all there, and found us wanting, sinful. And yet, did not his Jesus teach, "Judge not least ye be judged?"

What gives anyone the right to say that anyone other than themselves is sinful? What arrogance to think that christianity is the only way to truth and that your brand of christianity better than all others? I had carefully watched the singers and actors throughout the night. I saw their faces shining with a glow that bespoke more than just joy at the singing and music and I wondered how anyone could believe like they obviously do.

Do they not know that the story of Jesus is just the latest reworking of even more ancient myths? That he wasn't even considered a god until 500 years after his death? I watched the women and wondered how they can have belief in a religion that teaches that women are less then men as all organized religions do. That women brought sin into the world and therefore all "mankind" needs to be saved.

I wonder would they believe if Jesus had been born a girl?" I whisper.

Are you listening?

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Dead

"Braun Scott Woodfield
Crista Carlson
Sue Bone
Ruby Winn
Annie Lim
Louis Bryson
Roxie Bryson
Maude Kenyon
Willard Kenyon
Sarah Elizabeth Julian
Rachel Ann King
Daniel Wesley King
Rachel Mariah Julian
Lewis Julian
Floyd Julian
Claude Julian
Henrietta Wikelund
Axel Wikelund
Philip Wikelund
Kay Starky
Howard Wikelund
Karen Wikelund
Dorothy Wikelund
Erik Gustave Wikelund
karin Augusta Wikelund
Harold Wikelund
Edwin Wikelund
Ella Wikelund
Violet Wikelund
Lydia Catherine Julian
Alfred Clinton Julian
Muray Samuel Bunker
Lena Elisabeth Bunker

I remember," I whisper.

Are you listening?

Thursday, December 01, 2005


" Today is the first of December. Another year has come and almost gone. As I mentioned in yesterday's post time does indeed seem to fly. The older you get, the faster it seems to go until minutes blend into hours blend into days blend into weeks blend into months blend into years and a huge part of your life is gone and you have no idea where it went. Then you wake up and realise that if something doesn't change, the rest of your life will vanish in exactly the same way.

How do you begin to slow time down? Is it possible? Or is what is needed, is just for you to "wake up" and realise that your life is ticking away second by second. That what is past is truly gone and cannot be reclaimed or that what is in the future will always be the future. In my second posting, I mentioned a book Wherever You Go There You Are. I am slowly making my way through it. It is a book on meditation and basically the premise is, as I understand it so far, that if you stop and just become aware of this moment, right now, without judging or wanting, you will begin living more in the present and therefore your life will not escape you. You will actually have more time, because you are more aware of time.

I have also found that when I actually do something, rather than just read, daydream or surf the web, that my days seem longer and I have accomplished more. I have, in effect, given myself more time. I wonder if others think of things like this?", I whisper.

Are you listening?