Yarn

IMG_5527.JPGI used to sit and listen as she spun her life story,

wide eyed and curious, amazed by everything that was said

older and wiser by scores of years,

She always seemed to know everything

We would walk uptown, black button boots in my mind the way a “lady” wore her shoes

Up the tall stairs to get the mail and back home again.

When you’re small, everything is so grand,

larger than anything you think could possibly exist until you see it for yourself,

A world around you to explore, overwhelming and exciting

Stories of her childhood, when horses were common transportation still, and only a few people travelled more than a hundred miles away from where they were born

Living and dying around those you’d known since birth

Stories of a childhood unfettered by the same rules as mine,

ice cream for a nickel,  the creamery just down the road

running through grass to play down the long gravel road with neighbours, once the days chores were done

Little house on the prairie was real life, not a story that people read.

life has changed from those times, not better or worse,

but I still think of her stories, listening while she spoke and knit calmly in her chair, cat sleeping at her feet.

Glad I was able to enter another time,

if only for brief moments.

 

Miasma

the smell of her perfume lingered in the air

once present, she had vanished into a memory from the past

She’d been vibrant and glorious, full of life and ideas, feelings and interests

all of the things that make one alive

but time had changed her, she’d grown old and frail

until finally one day she just faded away

she left behind so many days

ones where she’d taught the young girl how to think, play cards, be kind

others where she’d impressed upon her how to accept life and  be yourself, always a bulwark in sometimes stormy seas

although long since past, these memories forged a sense of self in her young friend,

and every now and then she still smells  lavender and rose,

and feels close to her again

knackered

There are some words that just tickle my fancy.  Knackered is right up there at the top.  Today, it’s the word of the day prompt.  I’ve been faithfully doing these every day, no matter what else I have going on. Some days it’s been a stretch trying to figure out where to put it and what to say, which has inspired some of my more ranty posts, fyi.

Knackered is how I’ve felt a lot lately, although I think I’m finally starting to turn a corner with two big changes.

1) I cut back running to every other day, which was a very adult move on my part.  I really didn’t want to, but I’m happy I did. This has also allowed me to sleep in until 5:30 some days, which is helping with catching up on sleep. (That thing that kids take from you.  Sacrifices, right?)

2)I’ve changed my diet and caffeine intake.  I’m trying out eating a  lower carbohydrate diet these days, with the fear of  turning into my diabetic ancestors looming ever closer….  and strangely, I’ve been feeling more awake.  Even with the decreased caffeine.  Less knackered,  slightly sluggish instead?

I’m sure a large part of my unwillingness to get up some mornings is due to the grey weather squatting over my corner of the world for the last few weeks. Just about the time I started to get excited about spring, it took three steps back to February.

On the plus side, I got back the months that just whizzed by.  At least when it comes to the weather.

Between the weather and all the balls  I’ve been juggling so far this year, it’s no wonder the K word has been prominent in my head.   I’m starting to get better at reminding myself to be kind to me too, and that means I’m really looking forward to the two days off I took in May.

( This is what I do to myself.  Every time I take a week off, it turns into two days      actually off, the rest into part-time work at the assisted living place I attend.  I can’t leave “my people”.  I just can’t. This makes my husband crazy, but I’m still trying to get that work-life balance.  I am, really.)

I  leave for Toronto again next weekend, which means a weekend away from the kids and work and everything except education.

My favourite part is the plane ride, because no one can call or ask me for anything, and for a few hours Im cut off completely from the outside world.  Like a flying solitary padded cell.  Mmmmmmm.

This always feels so indulgent until I actually get there and classes start at 6 am my time, and last all day Saturday and half the day Sunday when I leave for the airport to fly home.  It’s the first time I’ve really been away from my entire brood, and it is simultaneously refreshing and so difficult.

This time I’m running behind though, and I still have an assignment to finish and paperwork to do. My wish-list is to write and read for pleasure, but that crazy adult is going to make me do my should instead of want-to’s. Crazy lady keeps winning the fight.

Maybe once I’m done being so knackered I’ll get back to having people ask what kind of crack I’m on.  Sadly, its been about six years since the last time I was asked that question.  This either means I’m getting old or that the kids  sucked the crack right out of me.  Maybe via placental transfusion?

Either way, the sun better come out soon and start giving me a hand.  Enough of this gloomy stuff already!

No more knackered, bring on the good Craic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But really

Blanket of contentment

A cover of soft white clouds surrounds the land, night sleeping longer into the day

The sun slowly rises, pushing gently through, warming the ground below.

I struggle to wake up this morning, enjoying the cocoon I’ve made for myself, nesting comfortably in warm blankets

It’s safe, quiet and enveloping. Reminding me of a childhood when I lived in my own country. 

The feel of contentment inside my soft comforter, book in hand as I whiled away hours in new kingdoms or countries with best friends I’d never met.

I long for that time, the uninterrupted hours of exploration and learning where time vanished on pages of ivory. 

I get up and greet the day on creaky feet not as young and pliable as they were then, 

And dream of a blanket at the end of the day, 

 maybe to visit some of my old friends again 

Roots

Some days I think about simplifying life. Cutting back to the bare minimum, scaling back and living closer to the land. 

I remember growing up miles from the nearest town, isolated by fields of wheat from civilization

It was a different time, simpler in so many ways. We had clocks but they felt less controlling somehow. Maybe in my youth I missed the ever present countdown, but days and weeks stretched out interminably at times.

We still had schedules, but they were less packed with details and focused on the big picture- holidays, seasons, voluntarily activities. Less with the shoulds and must do’s and have to’s.

My schedule now is to the ten minute increment, lunch hour often a hazy mirage.

What would it be to take back that time? Be able to slow down while others around me speed up?

I watched Cinderella last night, and was struck by the simplicity of the story. Feminism and societal expectations aside, everyone had a purpose and worked towards it. They weren’t split six ways from Sunday. They were merchants, or nobles or peasants, and went about their own business.

It made me long for a thatched roof cottage with flowers and a field out back to feed my children. For fall harvest and spring seeding and even weeding (dear lord!)

So I’m thinking this year, my goals for 39 will include getting back to my roots, giving up things that don’t serve me, and spending more time on the things that matter. Friends, family, creativity. 

It’s doable. To set goals is to achieve, after all.

Gray

The sky is in full shades of cloud as I hear my youngest cry. The day has started out in shades of winter, not the end of April that it is supposed to be.

As I look out into the dreary day though, my head keeps repeating the hallelujah song. Today I’ve woken with a song in my heart and wonder what will come of the day.

I am thankful for a good sleep, and healthy children, and a loving family and friends. On the grayest of days they are still present, lifting my spirits up just by their existence.

“No man is an island” said by a man far smarter than I am, and today that quote resounds in my soul.

I think of all the connections that keep us tied to life, making us part of the interwoven fabric of our societies, big and small.

It is these connections which truly make us human. They start at birth and continue until death. I’ve watched people at the end of life surrounded by loving and kind family members and known how blessed they were. I’ve also seen those who never had a visit, their entire world the walls that they dwelled within and those paid to care for them, and I sorrowed for their loss.
What was it that caused this isolation? Was it a bad temperament? Or Bad luck? What about those not born into the wealth of love, those who had no connections at birth through accident or other ill fate?
How is it that some are born adrift in the world, no soft landing to catch them when they suffer?

The words of hallelujah repeat over and over in my mind, and I give thanks for my riches that are so much more tangible than money.

And I snuggle my sleepy little boy as he slowly wakes up

Zip a dee do dah

Some times I just can’t catch my breath. The entire day rolls by without stopping for pictures, and I’m stuck standing at the end of the caravan, wondering why I’m being left in the dust.

I feel sometimes I disappear into the roles I play, whatever they may be to those in my life. Mommy, Wife, Daughter, Physician, etc.

Today I had a patient call me Hollywood. I was amused initially, not quite understanding it as I’d never heard it before, but when they explained it I had a hard time not snapping at them. 

You see, it wasn’t because of my looks or attitude or way of speaking. They actually thought I only work half days once in awhile, and that I’m rich, and “playing” at my job.

I was stunned, but somehow managed to politely explain that when I’m not in clinic I’m somewhere else working, but inside I was fuming. 

Why do other people get to judge what’s appropriate for someone else, when they only see a very tiny snapshot? Why does out of sight mean freebird? I haven’t had free moment in years!

We all do this a little, which is why I’ve been thinking about it. So why does it bother me so much when someone does it to me?

  I think it’s the assumption that I’m being lazy and that I have things better than the person doing the judging does. 

I do feel lazy quite often, but also desperately in need of more down time, and guilty about having that need. I should be able to do everything right? Be invincible and efficient and amazing at all times?

Maybe it’s because of how often I’m tired, or maybe because I compare myself to standards of other people living amazing lives while I feel like I’m doing the bare minimum. 

Or maybe because regardless of what others think about me I’m the same as they are, just getting through my days and wondering if it’s Friday yet.

My oh my what a wonderful day. Plenty of sunshine, right? 

Well yeah, if you can get through the rain clouds.  Maybe instead of so much judging we can appreciate Mr. Bluebird the brief moments he chooses to visit and forget about what others are doing. 

That’s a great thought.

The road home

I drive a lot for work, but I love being in my car. I like being alone, the gentle vibration of the road soothing me,

Like the purr of a cat

Together my car Misha and I have explored the roads near my house, and watched birds of prey soar by.

Prairie dogs race madly across, daring us to do something about them.

There is a tree down one road, alive with scores of wild stuffed animals in bright colours. 

It is so happy to see us everyday, making me smile with it’s buoyant nature.

The other way we pass a pair of  palm trees, an island in a slough surrounded by Canadian geese,

Tail feathers high up on the water, bobbing cheekily up at us.

It’s incongruous, out of place in the thawing landscape, 

making me dream of summer and relaxation.

I remember as a child my Dad would tell us to get our noses out of the books, to watch and learn the areas as we passed. 

I’m not sure when it stuck, but once I was an adult I stopped reading pages and started reading the land as he’d instructed. 

I’ve travelled across Canada and the United States this way, seeing the breadth and majesty of North America and never once found it dull. 

Every road a different story, and I an avid reader. 

I’ve been locked down for awhile, raising children and working, but one day soon I will head back out to explore,

And introduce my children to reading the world the way my father did to me.

Harmony

I watch as they play together, close in age and interests, not yet separated by school or friends. They race at each other on their bikes, veering before the crash and laughing hysterically each time before winding up to do it again.

For a moment I go back to my childhood, days of green and gold in the prairie grass

Laughing and riding bikes with my brothers through summers that went on forever

Our world was so small then, only as big as the places we’d been, the boogeyman just a story we were told to send shivers down our spine

My monster was Jenny Green-teeth, a witch who lived in the trees and came out at night. She would eat children with her green teeth, the price of not brushing twice a day. 

I invented her to scare my  younger brothers, but secretly ended up afraid of her myself.

Louder noises break my reverie, and I look back at my children.

Laughing and fighting in equal measure, each breath changing the tone of their interaction. Now howling and barking at each other, a small and hairless wolf pack.

What will their memories be? Is this the moment that will stick, a perfect harmony between heart and mind, the remembrance they discuss  when they reminisce over coffee in forty, fifty years?

Life isn’t always easy or enjoyable, but those aren’t the times I go back to. Instead, it’s the lazy summers of childhood play,  when anything was possible in your small corner of the sandbox and the world was in harmony.

Spike

Those of you who know me may know I have a habit of watching TV on the treadmill. Given that I like to run three to five times per week and live in a climate with snow or crappy weather 8 months of the year, this works out to a fair amount of TV.

I’ve mentioned that I am watching X-files at the moment, but my first love is a little something called “Buffy”

I first found Buffy in university.  I was a slightly bewildered farm kid adrift in the big city, knowing zero people other than a few cousins who were older and had moved there years earlier.  I vaguely remembered them from childhood, but they had been old enough that they were busy being teenagers while I was playing barbie, and we didn’t connect at that time.

I tentatively began to spend time with them, and found that we got along pretty well, although we were in different life trajectories again.  They were raising kids, and I was thinking of raising my grades and chasing my future.  We hung out relatively often for a few years, until work and school took over my time and they had relationships and kids  to shuttle back and forth.

I remember that time fondly, and I am glad we had the chance to be close when we were.

Part of that closeness was because of Buffy.  Every week I would go over to my cousin’s house and we would watch it together, after her son went to bed.  We would talk, and watch, and just hang out.  We did that almost every week for years (until I got into med school and no longer had life outside of school).

The beauty of Buffy was that the characters were all so relatable, which was impressive considering that the idea of a cheerleader fighting the forces of darkness is not exactly given to reality.  But they were funny and attractive and real.

Spike was the character we enjoyed most.  He was evil, but his obsession/love for Buffy caused him to get a soul, and he was redeemed by the end.  He was funny, and flippant, and true to himself.  No matter whether he was good or evil at the time, he was always himself.  I can respect that.

The people that I can’t handle are the ones you don’t know where you stand with.  That show a pretty face while plotting evil.  This silly and wonderful tv show taught me so much about the types of people in the world, and weirdly enough how to deal with them.

And now it’s twenty years later and I still watch the entire series at least once a year.  I think about those nights hanging out when life was so much simpler than it is now and I wish I could go back for 7pm Thursday and knock on Linda’s door.

So, Thanks for the memories Buffy.  See you soon.