27 December 2014

- Tradition -

Every year for Christmas since I was a young child - my Dad would always buy each of us a box of Purdy's Chocolates.   A whole box was and is a very expensive extravagance, especially when we were younger.  

I loved getting these very yummy chocolates even after I grew up and grew a little too chubby.  I cherished these chocolates growing up because it was one of the ways I always knew just how much my DaD loved me.  Time was extremely valuable to my DaD - on a farm everything is time sensitive and there was never, ever enough of it.  My DaD usually worked 7 days a week, 12 - 14 hours a day.  So taking time off at Christmas (albeit, the slowest time of the year farming) was big, really BIG.  

I remember, he would get all dressed up in his 'regular' clothes and go off by himself for the day ... shopping and not a the Co-op either, he would go to the big mall.  My DaD always selected a special gift each of us a and it was just from HIM and it came with a box of chocolates - Purdy's Chocolates.    

I don't remember every gift he ever bought me but I do remember he did something special for me every Christmas and that special feeling comes back to me whenever I open a box of Purdy's.

Purdy's under the tree at Christmas, was and is, for me, the most enduring and endearing Christmas tradition I have - it is a reminder of my past. I was so touched & surprised to find a box of Purdy's with my name on it under the Christmas tree this year - Mike had had them shipped down from Canada for me and this simple box of chocolates helped bring my Mom and my Dad home to me for Christmas. 

I love you Mike 

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

- N -
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19 December 2014

- Dad -

- Not your average Hallmark Birthday card -

My father was not a calm, quiet man, he was more of a category 5 - powerful, fierce & frightening - within seconds he could destroy the landscape of my world and with a single word he could (and did) destroy parts of me that can never be repaired.

But, he loved me with that same intensity, strength and unconditional force - I have never once doubted that fact.
The fury with which my Dad approached everything in his life created a dichotomy of emotions in me that, to this day, still confuse, torment & haunt me. 

Fear, admiration, LOVE, hate, respect, dread - but throughout it all I have loved him without hesitation. He was and is the most enduring benchmark in my life.

My Dad is still here with us but yet in almost everyway that matters ..... he is not. I miss the Dad I loved, respected and admired, I miss him very much.
Happy 82nd Birthday DaD
I love you

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

- N -
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17 September 2014

- the weight of a memory -

I was blown away a couple of weekends ago when I stumbled upon this clunky old relic from my childhood - it was sitting by itself in the corner of someone's front lawn at their garage sale. 

An out-of-place souvenir from my past that literally took my breath away and in that same split-second - it took me, home again. 

I stood there staring at it for such a long time and eventually two men wandered up behind me to look at it.  When they spoke they broke the spell but by then I had fallen madly in love with this old scale and I just knew that I was not going to let it go because for whatever reason, this piece, this old scale had instantly become a touchstone of my deepest and earliest 'home again' memories. 

With only $5 in my pocket and the scale sporting a much larger price ticket I was frantic to leave it limbo and unprotected (because who wouldn't want this tiresome old thing, right!) so I tracked down the owners and told them I would buy it if they could hold it for me while I left left to gather some cash and a husband to pack it home and they did.  

I am beyond thrilled because now every single time I look at this old scale - I am free to go 'home again'.

Home again  is the place where I keep all my memories.  I never really leave a home, I take it with me and carry it in my heart where it becomes, over time, simply a photobox, a place for me to store, catalog and organize all my memories.  It becomes my home again box.

I think we all have, many different, home again boxes ...

  • My homeland, the country of my birth.  It is not geography or a place - it is a culture, a way of life, a way of living, it is my past, my Canada.
  • My house - home - it is  where I currently lay my head down to sleep in every night, the place where my garden grows and where my heart & my love currently live.
  • And true north, my childhood home again, the place where I grew up.  A rich patch of earth where all my childhood & early family memories still row strong year after year.  Some memories sprout up - a row after row of onions in a field - growing in straight, perfect lines, a well ordered patch while other memories grow wild & messy - a patch of tangled, overgrown noxious weeds in a twisted wreck of love & hate that always sends my emotions spinning out of control and yet it is the only place on earth I want to spend eternity. 

I have sat and stared at this old scale many times now over the last couple of weeks curious to know why it seems to bring back only good memories!  Never bad or ambivalent ones - just good ones.

But, in the end, I guess it doesn't really matter why, only that it does and that it now lives with me at my current home again.

I think memories are trapdoors sometimes, you start out reminiscing about one thing and fall into a nightmare or visa-versa but, as I said, this scale only seems to bring me only good thoughts and smiles.  It brings me peace and playing with it, touching the weights, changing them and watching them swing until still is almost hypnotic and I start to think, I can still ...

" remember the feelings of overwhelming pride, and accomplishment I felt when I was finally able to drag a 100 lb burlap bag of potatoes over to the scale by myself, hoist it up, weight it, sew it closed with a giant needle and binder twine  - not too loose, no blood and sporting two PERFECT little same-sized ears (mine were usually lopsided).  

Nobody ever said, good job, well done or great work but I knew.  I grew up learning how to pat myself on the back, to be my own strongest and best supporter so that when someone would come up behind me and interrupt my moment of glory by shouting 'What the hell is going on here, what's the hold up, keep moving, you're slowing down the line" it really won't bother me much because I could always find my own satisfaction in knowing I had done a good job and while it may sound harsh it is a life lesson I've always appreciated."

Funny the things you remember & funnier still is what can bring that memory back to life.

Funny what once might have brought you tears now just brings you a smile! 

Hope you have find some good memories along the way today.

Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we're always home, anywhere. 
 - Glinda, the Wizard of Oz  -

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07 September 2014

- a chill in the air -

I woke this morning to a sliver of sunshine creeping in the window through a crack in the curtains.   I smiled to myself knowing that today, at last, we could be friends because like a houseguest who has long overstayed their welcome - I know you will soon be leaving.

It is time for the seasons to change, for the days to shorten, the rains to begin and the air to finally cool - Autumn.

Autumn is a like a breath of fresh air - I welcome Autumn with open arms.  I always feel safe & cozy wrapped up tight in its shawl of morning fog and gray skies.  I will not be weary of it's drab colors and relentless rain for many, many weeks.  

As the days begin to cool - I will meet the fall garden armed with a trowel and coffee.  I know I have been neglectful but I will make it right and I will not once complain about the chill or the wet.  I will enjoy every dirty minute it.

The fall garden, not to be outdone by summer, has already begun to put on it's seasonal show; look upward or down deep amid the spent vines, weeds, or cold dirt and you will soon see a rainbow of pumpkin orange, butter yellow, fire engine red & shades of earth brown.  The colors of the fall gardens.   I love them all.

As my MS has progressed it has made summer in the garden almost intolerable due to the heat.  MS has  resulted in my body being unable to properly regulate its temperature.   The heat summer sun makes gardening very difficult and so I have learned to just be PATIENT and wait for fall to arrive.

I suppose I enjoy everything about Fall - I love seeing every breath I take,  the sight & sound of geese flying overhead on their way south, the sound of crunching leaves underfoot and the cool crisp air.  But what I love best of all about fall ... is the smell - it smells like Harvest,  fresh dug earth.  It smells like the farm.

I love to garden for many reasons but I think the greatest reasons of all is that for me, gardening is a living, breathing slideshow of my childhood, it is the caretaker of my past.

Cold, stiff, wet dirty fingers always open a floodgate of memories for me - not all of them good but all them are cherished and welcome. Mine to love, hate, enjoy, despise or eulogize as I wish, they are mine and mine alone.

So here's to fall in the garden, a chill in the air and childhood memories.

'We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.' 
- George Eliot -

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21 August 2014

- let it go -

I let something go last night 
that had been weighing heavy on my mind 
for many years ...
eating away at my heart & soul.

My goal this year is to THRIVE and I have come to realize that it is not possible to thrive in your own life until, like a snake, you shed your old skin, 
so you can begin anew.

I think sometimes I hold on to things for fear of giving away or losing something, becoming less than I was but, in reality, finding the peace & strength to 'let go'  has allowed me to become so much more!

Inner peace is like a whisper, it takes up no room in your heart or soul. 
Late last night I finally whispered the word

- Forgive -

"I let it go.
It's like swimming against the current.
It exhausts you. 
After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go,
and the river brings you home.”

― Joanne Harris -
 Five Quarters of the Orange

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07 August 2014

- Belated Joy -

Oh my, this was a post I wrote back in March 2014 and never posted - better late than never right!

March: 2014

Sometimes the best Birthday gift of all doesn't come wrapped in shiny paper or tucked inside a card.  It doesn't come with a cake, candles or song - it just arrived one morning, a simple message in the Primary folder of my gmail box. 

Nothing of note or exception, just an email, an ordinary email ...

Here is my response to that email ...

Dear friend, 

I can't tell you how happy & excited I was the other day when I opened my gmailbox & saw you name listed in the unread mail column - it is such a joyful & happy feeling to know that I was in your thoughts & memories today.

 -  What a wonderful Birthday Surprise - 

I love hearing from you & as I read and then reread your eletter I was struck by the fact that we have now, somehow, reached the age where talk of 'hip replacement surgery' has crept into our conversation and it isn't an update on our grandparents or even our parents health!   

This startles me for a moment and I think, yes we are older but so what!  With age comes wisdom - and at worst we are now just wise old women with aging knees, slightly bent backs & graying hair but we are still here!

We are here despite all that life has thrown at us and while nature works tirelessly in the background to blur & muddy our memories , I struggle to remember my youth, my Canada days and our friendship.  Your friendship is a welcome & enduring tether to my past.  

While we write today of children never met, homes never visited  and of lives never seen we do so with the familiarity & ease that only old friends can know.  A letter from you opens a lifetime of memories; plum wine, crocheted vests, elephant pants, 1st loves, and many hours of chatting on phone -bike rides, car rides, bus trips & ski trips.   

And with that in mind my dear old friend, I refuse to think of us as old, we are timeless -you will always be forever young to me, in part I think, because while our friendship arcs across my entire life-story it no longer involves the wear & tear of everyday life.  I  now see you mainly through the lens of long ago or far away and I think that it is a wonderful thing, albeit wrapped in a lonely sadness at the same time. 

So thank you for the birthday wishes and the years of friendship and know that even though we now smile on what we once smirked at; senior discounts, comfortable shoes, conveniently located restrooms you will always and forever be a young girl, a teenager, a friend for life in my eyes.

Thanks for the wonderful birthday gift & Happy BDay to you as well

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

- N -
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06 August 2014

- Today I fell love again -

 borrowed these words
because someone else's head 
exactly what my own heart
about my love

... two decades of marriage and learning to appreciate your spouse in more ways every day. The scales have decidedly tipped towards loving all that you have together versus lamenting everything you don't. 
The ability to have entire conversations through a single raised eyebrow across the dinner table, without ever opening your mouth is one of the coolest, sexiest things about being together for so long.
- Emily Mendell -

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

- N -
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04 August 2014

Today I am a Gardener

I got up very early this morning so I could work in the garden in the stillness of the morning -just beyond twilight. 

I love my alone time out in the garden - just me & my peeps..

A bit of planting, weeding & watering and I spent a bit of coffee time alone with my thoughts.

I enjoy the last cool breath of the night before the sun wakes up and I must run inside and hide from the heat of it.

 Somedays I think I should start gardening with a flashlight so I can get more done before the sun rises but that's just silly  ...

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

- N -

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03 February 2014

WordGirl ...

via: www.sublackwell.co.uk/
Some girls are smart girls, some are athletic, tomboys and some are even pretty girly girls but I am none of these - I am a WordGirl. 

I am not a smartypants wordgirl or a writer type of wordgirl - I just love words.  

 All of them, even the bad curse words - they come in handy sometimes! 

I especially love the written word.

However you assemble them - poems, prose, quotes, novels, shopping lists, love letters, journals, diaries, newspapers, biographies, dissertations, etc  - I love them all. 

I love stories.

I guess I might be a StoryBook Girl too!

I love that no story written down is ever simply put - it is, for me, never a straight line.  

Human thought is probably one of the most malleable elements on earth and when thoughts are strung together to become a set or collection of thoughts, those words can be formed, or formatted into a dense collection of ideas - love that.

To me, reading a book/story/tale is akin to crafting beautiful storybook origami.  

via: www.sublackwell.co.uk
Each fine line of a good book is like the precise fold of an origami piece, crisp, purposeful, yet random until it is surrounded by all the many folds.

Likewise, uncovering the truth of a story -  your truth of the story is, for me, like fumbling around in the dark until every thought that lurks between each line or is disguised behind some carefully chosen word is brought to light and refolded into a coherent whole.  

And as with all art, I love that we each bring our own meaning & truth into it - that it is mine, I own it because no one will see or read exactly what I have seen or read.

I love that about words ...

I love words and the prayers they allow me to whisper.

I love unspoken words and the promises that they allow me to keep.

via: www.sublackwell.co.uk

Words have always gotten me from here to there and have rarely failed me until now - now they often seem to linger a little too long on the tip of my tongue.  They betray me and stick in my throat - I sometimes feel that I am choking on my own words.   

MS has sent my words orbiting around my brain, drifting aimlessly like useless satellites lost in space - creating signals that never quite make contact.

Once a chatterbox, now just an awkward silence. 

Once an avid, skilled reader, now a shy, clumsy one. one who struggles to remember plot lines and seldom seen characters. 

I recently realized that I had, without thinking, sat a book down once upon a time and never picked it up again.

I had quietly given up, I had just quit.

And why?   Pride, self-pity, disappointment, depression, whatever the reason - it doesn't matter because whatever you call it - quitting is a sad & empty waste of a life - it is the VERY opposite of THRIVING.  

It is giving up and giving control to MS  -  it is letting MS win and I WILL NOT DO That!

All I know for certain is that I hate my fuzzy brain.  I HATE like hell that I can't absorb, process, retain & recall information the way I know I once could.  

via: www.sublackwell.co.uk

But, out goes.the.pity.party - gone with the trash because this is my year to 'thrive', to flourish, to grow & prosper - quitting is simply not an option. 

I will not go down gracefully or without a fight.
I will not give in and I will not give up.

MS cannot be overcome but it can be met head-on and on my terms. 

I still love words and I miss them.  

Sometimes I may need to read each page more than twice, sometimes even more than that just to bring the story back to mind.  To give it life again.  Rereading previously reread pages will not be uncommon but so what! Who cares!  

A well-written book deserves a second look - right!

I am not sure where MS is planning to take me but this much I do know for sure - in order for me to thrive, to really thrive I must stay true to who I am, and who I am is someone who loves words/books. 

And so I begin reading again and in honor of new beginnings I have decided to do something completely new with an old love, something I've never, ever, ever done before. 

 I will begin by re-reading my all-time favorite book.

And it begins ... 
Chapter 1, Page 1  The line outside Madison Square Garden started to form at 5:30 p.m., just as an orange autumn sun was setting in New York City on Halloween Eve, 1912.  The doors were not ...


A single word, a feeling.   
My favorite single word is:

A few words strung together in a line, become a thought. 
My favorite quote is:
Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it. - L. M. Montgomery -

Many words woven together, become a story.
My favorite book is:  

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevel

t's DarkestJourney - Candice Millard

James Michener

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life
- N -
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22 January 2014

Project365 ...

A Year
A Day
A Life

Week 3 | January 15 - 21

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

- N -
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16 January 2014

Actions ...


An action is the perfection and publication of thought.

Actions I lived today

1. Positive Mental Attitude: When you awake each morning recite the affirmation "I feel healthy, I feel happy, I feel terrific!" Do this several times mentally and even out loud and see how your day goes. Give it time.
I woke up this morning & read a couple chapters from an inspirational book called, Simple Truths by Kent Nerburn.  This is the thought & action I carried with me today to help me have a positive mental attitude.
."Knowledge is words; wisdom is silent" (K.Nerburn)

2. Sound Physical Health: Each day decide to eat healthy choices - at least for the meal you are currently having. No need to plan a month's menu - just remind yourself that you are the custodian of your own health, and that as caregiver you want to always select the best available options each day at every meal. 
Today marked my 8th early morning workout at Curves (It's a start).  I find that I am enjoying getting my day started early.  It motivates me - by 10am I have woke up, dressed, left the house, worked out, chatted with people, come home, showered, eaten breakfast,updated My Fitness Pal and I am ready to start the rest of my day.  This is the thought & action I carried with me today to help me make healthy choices.
                "Well Begun is half done" (Anon)
3. Harmony in Human Relationships: Instead of initiating a disagreement, initiate a solution. Refrain from combative behavior. Work toward collaboration. 

4. Freedom from Fear: Little fears can lead to enormous ones. Always remember faith is the opposite of fear. Act in faith instead of failing to act due to fear. 

5. The Hope of Achievement: Inspire yourself by creating a dream of your own to conceive, believe, and achieve. 

6. The Capacity for Faith: Stretch your mind to embrace choices made with faith as the backbone to your decision. Soon you could sprout wings! 

7. Willingness to Share One's Blessings: Make someone else's day. Focus on being the bearer of goodness instead of the recipient. 

8. A Labor of Love: Do something each day that you love to do and would do regardless of the compensation. 

9. An Open Mind on All Subjects: Say "yes" to an invitation that you would rather decline because you are not sure you would enjoy it. 

10. Self-Discipline: Do a little more, work a little harder, tackle the dreaded task for the sake of showing yourself who is your real boss. 
Today it was really important to me that I completed 4 workouts in a single week period.  I can be very easily dissuaded & knocked off course - it doesn't take much.  So today I focused on my goals and made them a priority - I have no regrets about today's choices.   This is the thought & action I carried with me today to help me improve my self-discipline.
"Everyone must choose one of two pains: 
The pain of discipline or the pain of regret." 
(J. Rohn)   

11. The Capacity to Understand People: Learn to enjoy the company of diverse groups of people. Be all-embracing rather than exclusionary. 

12. Financial Security: Make setting aside money for a future purpose a game of sorts that represents gratification - but at a later date. Mark savings on a calendar with an ending date and final amount in mind. You are not denying yourself, but rewarding yourself on a designated date.

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

- N -
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15 January 2014

cupcakes ...

'You cannot have change without challenge.' ... J. Michaels ...
'Bummer' ...Me...

And so begins the cupcake challenge.
Let me be perfectly clear - I did not buy them. 
They were brought into my life quite unexpectedly and without warning however I will admit to opening the door & inviting them in. 

Well, I couldn't be rude, could I?

So now they are sitting in my kitchen, screaming for attention but I continue to ignore them. 

I must - because rewarding that kind of behavior can have serious consequences. 

It's hard though, turning my back on them I mean, but in a cupcake challenge there can only be one winner.

I will stand firm, I will thrive, I will win this challenge!

I will earn my change and wear it well!

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

- N -

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14 January 2014

project365 ...

a year
a day
a life

No.14 | Pens
- N -

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13 January 2014

project365 ...

a year
a day
a life

No.13 | Hello

 - N -

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