The Scent

While enjoying my morning coffee in the backyard the light breeze drifts the smell of the lilacs from the four trees that line the west side of my home. The scent takes me back to my primary school years. Around this time of year, our school teachers would receive lilac bouquets from various students. It was also a symbol that summer was around the corner. The anticipation of another fun filled adventurous summer with friends was exciting. There was always something new to discover at that stage of life. Today, that feeling is back.

This upcoming summer represents a new beginning for me.
I have been alone during most of this pandemic. It has given me the needed time to develop a positive relationship with myself, and to experience new joys with the life I created over the years.

Do any of you feel that way?

Two Seasons in One?

Today is April 21 and it’s snowing!! Until this day, the weather has been pleasant enough to begin decent yard work and the prep of my gardens for its future blooms.

March and most of April has been quite emotional and physically draining. Apart from the limitations and stress generated by the the pandemic, the unfolding dramas around me have finally taken a toll on my well being.

There are a few people in my circle that are going through major health issues. For the last 6 weeks I was dedicating alot of time to my youngest daughter and her children since she came down with Streptococcus twice! Then the kids and I got gastro. I’m still recovering. There is always a positive side to what happens to us, if we look for it. In my case, my ex husband was genuinely concerned for my health and he even ran an errand for me. That made me feel that he had my back. The daycare that my grandson attends has shut down some of their classes due to a Covid case but since he wasn’t their during the contagion period (home recovering from gastro) he may have avoided a Covid infection.

The recent death of my cousin’s 16 year old daughter, who was terminally ill, has left me with an intense sadness. The funeral was a quiet affair; the heartache that permeated the room was overwhelming. The masks did not cover the sorrow peering through the eyes of those attending.

In my experience, the mourning of a young person is deeper and soulful, compared to one who has lived to old age.

My thoughts are with my cousin. May she journey through her mourning accompanied by the spirit and courage of her beautiful daughter.

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has sprung! It’s time to prepare for warmer weather. The winter coats are washed as well as my car’s interior/exterior. Now I need to “de winterize” myself. For me, that means changing my wardrobe from leggings and joggers to a more dressed appearance with some make up. The dirtiness of our winter and the snow accumulation is gone and I feel lighter. Call me weird but that’s how I feel about it especially around February.

This morning I tackled my make-up, discarding all the expired items. I ordered a new eyebrow gel and an eyebrow sirum that my eldest daughter swears by. Once this task done, I applied make-up, put on a nice pair of slim pants with a tunic sweater, and adorned myself with jewelry. It was time to look at the results. Hmmmm not bad, LOL!!!

Happy Spring!!

Ode to Women

It’s International Woman’s Day, bringing awareness to gender bias and inequality and the progress of women. The global effort has seen many changes over the years.

However, after all this time, women are no way near to having achieved equality. It seems like every other day, the news reports stories of women denouncing powerful men for sexual abuse. Husband’s, physically or emotionally abusing their wives is very real and more rampant then we think.

I question why we haven’t made more progress, after all these decades. Sure, the “Me Too” mouvment stirred some shit. But the men who are being identified as sexist or inappropriate with women are not changing. They defend or deny their actions.

I question this phenomenon , “the inability to reach equality”.

Where do I begin? It’s too long to discuss my opinion in a blog. But let me say this, we as women need to do some internal reflection. The power is within us. It is our personal effort that will bring us to the next level of equality. First, we must trust our own WORTH and capabilities. Second, we must not fear men and make ourselves feel like victims. We’ve got to face the dragon, our dragon, the one we created based on our fears and conditioning as girls. Women have to change their mind set and understand that the biological make-up of a man is different then women’s, thus their perceptions may be different then ours too! Some men’s fears of inadequacy and or insecurity are manifested through abusive or inappropriate behaviour towards women. When we realize that it’s not about what we might have done or said, to bring such unwanted attention our way, is when we detach from FEELING like a victim. To clarify, being a victim or feeling like a victim is not the same.

Anyone, man or woman, can fall victim of someone, but feeling like one, is something we decide to be.

Hobbies

Just came in from breaking massive slabs of ice on my driveway. I made myself a cup of coffee and decided to write.

These days we must get creative in order keep busy and active. Luckily I have a few interests that keep me occupied, one of them is crocheting. A few weeks ago my grandchildren G and J asked me to crochet a doll each, a girl and a boy respectively; I accepted the challenge.

I worked on the boy doll first and this Sunday the girl doll was completed. For a beginner, in doll creation, they turned out relatively nice.

Back in 1967, an Aunt had come to visit from Italy and she introduced me to the art of crocheting but it wasn’t until 2009 that I began to take it up as a hobby, making scarves, shawls, hats, etc. for family and friends. Every year I make a few beanies to donate to the Cancer Society for women who are undergoing chemo and have lost their hair. It’s my way of “paying it forward”, after all the kindness and support I received during my cancer treatments.

It just started snowing again! Can’t wait for spring. It will be time to garden. Cleaning up and fertilizing the flower beds after the snow is gone is heavy work but enjoyable and grounding.

Friendship

This week I began watching the Netflix series “Firefly Lane”. It’s a story of friendship between two teenage girls (growing up in the 70’s) through to their early forties.

This show has triggered memories of my teenage years and young adulthood. The main characters Kate and Tully are relatable. Kate is a bespectacled simple girl, unnoticeable to her peers. She’s not cool and not attractive to the boys. Tully on the other hand is the complete opposite. I see myself in Kate and my childhood friend G, in Tully.

When I was seven we moved on a new street closer to school. That summer I met a girl named G who lived across the lane. She was almost 2 years older than me. We became friends and later she became friends with my older sister. As the years went by the bond my sister and I had for this friend was exceptional. G became part of our family. My relatives all got to know her and invited her to many family affairs. In highschool she was popular with both the girls and boys. After highschool she went to hairdressing school. By 20 years old she was already working for a high end hair salon downtown and making good money. Her social life became exciting. My sister and I were in awe of her life, her trendy hairstyles and clothes. It was the disco era. She knew all the “in” disco clubs. We were lucky to go with her sometimes. When we would attend the traditional church dance halls she was always the one being asked to dance. Its funny, but I never felt jealous.

My years in highschool were far from exciting, I felt like a wallflower, invisible. My parents did not encourage us to participate in any sports or after school activities. They wanted us home. I didn’t have any friends my age except for the last year of school.

Back in 2018, I found the courage to prove, to myself, that I was not a wallflower amongst my peers anymore. That year I received an invitation to attend my highschool reunion. The list of people attending were unknown to me except for 20 or so but nonetheless enough for me to go. It was an outing after all. Why not?

The day of the reunion I tried every dress in my closet, none seemed to fit well. I arrived late! Everyone was already seated. As I entered the room people gazed my way. This can make anyone uncomfortable but surprisingly, I didn’t feel embarrassed. Seated at my assigned table were two familiar faces. During the course of the evening I circulated and chatted with those I knew. The reunion committee organized a silent auction to raise money for a charitable foundation. I checked out the items and placed a bid for a beautiful Georgio Armani bag. One of the attending prior students was a fashion stylist for Armani in New York and he donated the bag for the auction. Just before the closing of the auction I placed another bid. At the end of the auction, the purse was declared mine. Unknowingly, the purse was the highest priced item on the auction table and my bid generated a very nice amount for the foundation. The organizers were very grateful for my generosity. It got everyone’s attention. I no longer felt like a wallflower amongst my ex highschool peers! While I was waiting to pay for my purchase a fellow male student engaged me in a flirtatious conversation. He pointed out that I must have been one of the “Good Girls” in highschool since he had no recollection of me. Point made.

I used to be like the Kate of Firefly Lane, for many, many years that followed. That all began to change when I met Maia, my beautiful young friend. She introduced me to a new world and helped me embrace my true nature.

The Snowlady

I just came back from an afternoon walk; we are experiencing a mild winter thus far, making the time outdoors more pleasurable. The city has also been good this year at removing the snow and applying salt.

Yesterday, I restarted my exercise routine after several weeks of having abandoned my elliptical and weights for other forms of activity, not all related to staying in shape.

As a child I don’t recall ever having built a snowman, therefore a few weeks ago I decided to make one, actually, a “snowlady”. Did I have fun doing it? Absolutely NOT! How could I? By the age of ten I wanted to be a grown up, make my own decisions.

I was having a phone conversation with my youngest daughter about how mental/spiritual and physical health are connected, how your physical health can be compromised when living a life you feel does not belong to you. It’s since age 54 that I began to actually take control of my life and make it mine. Ironic, how it took 44 years. So many opportunities were within my reach back then but I did not seize them. Why? Because of what I was conditioned to believe and my fear!

The old adage,” It’s never too late” is true. Working towards a more authentic life, one more suited to who you are and your own values, is possible. Although, the missed opportunities remain missed, new ones do come along.

Christmas During the Time of Covid

The Christmas holidays have come and gone. I saw my eldest daughter and her family briefly when I dropped off their Christmas gifts. Later, through video chat they opened the gifts. I was grateful to have at least spent them with my widowed daughter and her two young children but my EX was not so lucky because of our Covid restrictions.

My youngest grandchildren were so enthralled by the magic of Christmas; it was infectious. I savored every moment with them. We did our best to make their holidays special so that one day they could look back with fond memories of “Christmas during the Time of Covid”.

2021 begins with my yearly mammogram and breast ultrasound. Frankly, as the years go by, it hurts less. My breasts must be losing all their elasticity and becoming two droopy weights hanging from my chest. But I’m not complaining. At least I have breasts, even though I have a one is reconstructed with no nipple.

With every New Year comes resolutions but this time I decided not to make any concrete tangible ones. Instead, I want to look back on the events of the past year and reflect on which experiences I wouldn’t want to repeat but acknowledge them as part of my spiritual/emotional growth. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, setting goals is important and resolutions are well intentioned goals however many times they are not met, for various reasons. Even if the reasons are justifiable we are left feeling disappointed.

Happy New Year to all my readers!

Your comments are always appreciated.

The Tangled Cord

On Wednesday I completed the extensive review of my storage bins’ contents. The “give away” items have been brought to the goodwill depot, the recycling bin has been filled with its acceptable discarded items, the old paint cans have been brought to my local hardware store, and two large garbage bags have been put at the curb for pick up. I shredded so much paper that my home shredder died on me! However, that did not stop me from going through the remaining documents. I immediately ordered another shredder on Amazon. In the meantime I filled up a 12 foot cubic bin, to the brim, with discarded statements, etc., waiting to be shredded.

I take some pleasure going through my items at least once a year and discarding what is no longer useful or pertinent. It feels like a beneficial workout for my mind and soul. With every item there is a memory attached and it brings forth an emotion, if not a few. It’s this/theseĀ  emotion(s) that determine(s) whether the item stays or goes. When performing the triage I feel a sense of control and satisfaction, my breathing is more relaxed, as if an invisible tangled CORD around my neck was becoming undone.

Two years ago I had an urge to burn all the letters my ex husband and I exchanged when we were engaged. He lived in another country; long distance calls were very expensive and e mail technology did not exist in 1977/78. I had re read all these shortly after our separation many years ago but the time had come to physically destroy them. I felt shredding would not give me the closure needed, instead, I put logs in the hearth of the fireplace and lit a fire. Seeing each letter burn one by one, its edges curling shriveling to mere ashes was the start of my healing process.

My next task is to pour over the photos accumulated over the years. I have so many printed photos as do the many people of my generation (before the digital age). Luckily they are already in photo albums properly dated but just too many!! This clean up will be more difficult. Many feelings and memories will be evoked.

My motivation for these yearly clean ups is driven by my symbolic CORD:

Cleanse false attachments; Organize; Reduce clutter;
Downsize/Death, the burden of cleaning up in a short time frame can be very overwhelming to say the least for me and/or my children.

My ultimate goal is to keep only what I need, use, and love enough to display or cherish. What is the purpose of storing objects that no longer serve or may be forgotten.

Note to readers: when I first started to blog 2 years ago it was to be about my new life as a SINGLE older woman and my adventures. In the last 9 months because of the Covid 19 pandemic, my social life and all that it encompassed has changed greatly. My writings now reflect my current daily activities which bring to light my state of mind.

The Caricature of My Family

Caricature of my family drawn by a Quebec City street artist, 1995

This past Sunday I put out my Christmas decorations, the same ones I’ve had for at least 15 years. A few years ago I gave away my Christmas tree and replaced it with a mini pre decorated tree purchased from Costco.

As time passes, there is a need to simplify, in all aspects of my life. Therefore, this week I decided to rummage through my storage bins first going through all the Christmas stuff I no longer wish to use. That done, I went to the souvenir bins, slowly looking at the contents and remembering their significance. I found a cylinder containing a drawing. It was a caricature of myself with my then husband and teenage daughters, taken in Quebec City, Canada in 1995, the latter part of the 20th century! For a fraction of a second my initial reaction was sadness, for a family broken by divorce, but then taking a closer look at the drawing my sadness turned into laughter. Firstly, the caricatures did not resemble us. But what was humorous, was where he positioned me in the sketch. The setting is a pool. My ex husband is between our two teenage daughters. On the left, my eldest’s little body is in a dive position, the youngest, on the right, is perched on a stool and my ex is in bermudas with a drink in his hand, his posterior facing my head. I on the other hand, am lying at the BOTTOM of the pool with only the top of my head and eyes above the water.

The above scene is humorous not because of how he interpreted our faces but rather how he captured us as a family. My eldest, ready to dive, describes her nature, a go-getter. My youngest, a more layed back personality, is shown sitting. As for my ex, he’s the king, holding his cocktail with his posterior pointing towards his wife, “moi”, who is almost fully engulfed by the water. The disconnection between us is so obvious.

Perhaps my reaction to what I saw in the drawing was not only sadness and amusement but something deeper. A feeling of being in a good place and with a healthy sense of humour. But most of all, finally accepting the revised version of “My Family”.