A Gift from Mom

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I had a couple of errands to run today before my workday began.  First I had to go to the lab for some blood work (nothing serious…just follow-up from my annual physical) and then I had to go to the Service Canada Office to get a replacement social insurance number document.  (I recently went looking for my birth certificate and social insurance number card so I could put them in a safe place, only to realize I had misplaced them!) The blood work I needed to have done was the kind that required fasting from supper time the night before.  In years gone by, whenever I had to have a fasting blood test done, and if I mentioned it to my Mother, she would slip me some change and tell me to get myself a cup of coffee and a “little treat” when it was over. My Mother knew me well.  She knew that breakfast was my favourite meal of the day and that I would be “starving” by the time the blood test was over.  My Mother died in 2012.  I miss her.  I decided that I would “treat” myself to a coffee and a muffin on my way home…just like Mom would have done.

When I returned home from my errands, I tucked my new social insurance document safely away with all of my other important papers.  The loss of the original documents still bothers me.  It’s not like me to lose track of such important documents. Even though I had the new documents safely tucked away, I decided to search for the old ones one more time. I had always kept the old documents in a special little brown plastic card holder in my purse. Perhaps I had moved it into my wallet.  No…not there. I have a couple of “backup” wallets (old ones that could still work in a pinch) that I keep in my dresser drawer.  I decided to pull them out and see if I had tucked the documents in there.  One of these old wallets used to belong to my Mother.  When I opened it I couldn’t believe what I found.  No…I didn’t find my birth certificate and social insurance card.  What I found was much more valuable than that.  In the change compartment of Mom’s old wallet I found coins…coins totalling exactly what I had paid for my coffee and muffin earlier in the morning. It was as if Mom was once again telling me to “have a little treat” on her.

It’s the little things we do for others that make the biggest difference. Appreciate the little things that others do for you…and don’t forget to pay if forward.

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Things I’m Loving Lately: September/October Edition

One of the blogs that I follow faithfully is Annie’s Eats.  Mostly, Annie’s blog is a cooking blog…but every so often she publishes something a little more personal.  One of her regular personal-type posts is called “Things I’m Loving Lately”.  She recently published her September/October edition of this regular post and I was struck by how very similar and yet very different Annie’s “things” were compared to my “things I’m loving lately”.  Perhaps it’s the difference in our stages of life (Annie is a thirty-something with small children and a burgeoning career whereas I’m a fifty-four year old empty-nester waiting it out until retirement) … or the difference in our economic circumstances (Annie is a doctor married to a teacher living in a large city in the United States whereas I’m an accountant/software systems analyst living in rural Canada…and my husband left me years ago) … or maybe it’s just that each and every one of us is unique.  Anyway – take a look at Annie’s “things” and then read about mine.  I think you’ll see (and maybe relate to) the similarities and the differences.  Note:  I admit that I followed the form and content of Annie’s post when creating my own…and there were a couple of things that she loved that I knew absolutely nothing about…but when I looked into them I discovered I had a connection after all!

Knitting Bag

The minute I walked into Value Village and saw this bag I knew it was meant to be mine.  My old knitting bag had seen better days.  I drag my knitting/reading/general all purpose bag with me everywhere and my old bag was beginning to look like I had dragged it through the war.  I love the bright colours.  This beautiful bag was mine for the bargain price of $7.99 (that’s $7.99 CDN!).  Thanks so much to the individual who donated it!

Birkenstock FootprintsOh the joys of aging…!  Joints begin to deteriorate and hurt.  I’m afraid there will be no more “sexy shoes” for me.  These days, shoes that offer good support and keep my joints in place are of the utmost importance.  This past summer I purchased my first ever pair of Birkenstock sandals and I have to admit, they were ugly…but they made me feel good…and it seems to me that when you feel good you look good…ugly shoes and all.  I decided a second pair of Birkenstocks were needed for the winter but when I investigated, I discovered that the only type of even semi-closed in Birkenstocks available in Canada were clogs (or a work shoe for nurses).  I wanted something that would go with my jeans so I headed to Ebay and look what I found!  Loafers!  …and only $44.49 CDN including shipping.  Not exactly Annie’s sexy little flats…but between you and me…she’s going to be in Birkenstocks someday too. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!!!

Dovobet OintmentNow…on to the section about “beauty products”.  Fall of 2013 finds Annie donning nail polish in a lovely deep purple shade.  Meanwhile, here in Canada, I’m rubbing a lovely, sticky ointment on my knees and elbows every night before I go to bed.  Recently, my nurse practitioner referred me to a dermatologist to find out what was causing the dry, red cracking ugliness on my elbows and knees.  Turns out this old girl has a touch of psoriasis.  I am thrilled to report that this stuff really works!  Things are improving and I’m hopeful that within the next few weeks my elbows and knees will be pink and smooth once again.  NOTE:  You require a prescription to purchase Dovobet.

The next two sections in Annie’s “things” post dealt with knitting and reading. All I can say is…”back away from the keyboard”.  This old girl has been knitting and reading since before you were born!

SocksAnnie’s blog indicates she has a definite thing for fingerless gloves at the moment. My recent knitting focus, on the other hand, has been on socks.  Last year I made a few pairs and gave them away as Christmas gifts.  That prompted many requests.  Who knew handknit socks were so popular?  I promised that this Christmas, everyone on my gift list would receive a pair.  I am also making the cutest mini mitten Advent Calendar.  I got the pattern on the Ravelry website.  It’s called “Smitten”.  My goal is to knit one mini mitten per day until all twenty-four are completed.

SmittenI feel very fortunate.  Unlike Annie, because I am at a different stage in my life, I have time for knitting.  Poor Annie can only browse longingly through patterns and plan for future knitting projects.  There is an irony in all of this, though.  I finally have more spare time…more time to do the things I love…like knitting and reading…and now my eyesight is starting to fail me.  OK…now I’m going to insert a dirty word here…so prepare yourself…are you ready?

MENOPAUSE

There…I said it…that nasty condition that makes the female body dry up like a prune.  Everything dries up, including your eyes.  No one told you about that, did they?  When your eyes are dry you simply can’t make them focus.  Yes, you can put drops in your eyes but then you have to wait for your eyes to absorb the moisture…and you still can’t focus for a while.  BUT…where there is a will there is a way!  Personally, I have discovered that after knitting for so very many years (they used to call me Mme Defarge in high school…way back in the 70’s…and no, I didn’t disco dance…all right…well maybe just a little) I can now knit pretty much by feel.  That takes the strain off the old eyes.  And reading?  All I can say is “God bless technology”.  Audiobooks have become my constant companion.  Bonus!  I can read and knit at the same time!

I plan to check out the books that Annie recommended on her blog. I checked my local library to see if they had them.  One is on order and the other one is currently loaned to another user but I placed a hold on both of them. (One of the books is actually from the “Young Adult” section of the library…you know…the teenager section of the Children’s Library.  Won’t I raise some eyebrows when I check that one out?!)  Meanwhile…I just finished reading/listening to…

Books-the-end-of-your-life

No!  It’s not what it sounds like!  I’m not dying!  The book is about a woman who has terminal cancer and her son and the books they read and discuss during the last months of her life and how those books help them communicate about what’s happening to them without speaking about it directly.  I lost my own mother last December.  She was almost blind during her final years and could no longer read.  I read to her.  This book spoke to me at a time when I was still grieving the loss of my own mother.  I am thankful to have found it.  Plus…it provided me with a whole list of books I now want to read.

I have to admit, there were a couple of items in Annie’s post that I just couldn’t relate to.  I had absolutely no idea who Ryan Gosling was.  (No, I don’t live in a bubble…I just don’t get out much!) I asked the fellow I work with if  he knew who he was.  He did…and furthermore he informed me that Ryan Gosling’s Uncle Perry lives in Port Elgin, a town nearby.  Apparently, Uncle Perry used to be an Elvis impersonator.  Now Elvis…him I know.

The other thing I have to admit knowing nothing about is “hash tags”.  In my mother’s day, hash was something you ate.  In my day, has was an illegal drug.  Now apparently it has something to do with the internet.  Perhaps if I knew more about hash tags, more people would read my blog.

So you see…Annie and I definitely have some favourite things in common this month…we both got new bags…we both got new shoes…we’ve both been reading…and we have both been planning our Christmas knitting (I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do some).  Our favourite things are, however, different…a handmade tote vs a Value Village special…sexy little flats vs Birkenstocks…fingerless gloves vs socks…young adult fiction vs “The End of Your Life Book Club”.  Similar yet different…but isn’t that what makes the world an interesting place?

P.S. – Annie…if you ever read this post…please know that I sincerely hope I haven’t offended you.  I love your blog.  You are an amazing young woman and I admire you greatly.

Variations On A Family

There is a piece of art that hangs in my bedroom.  It was created by my son Michael when he was just eight years old.  Most parents hang their children’s artwork in a place of special prominence in their home (usually the refrigerator door) where it is admired for a few weeks and then it is replaced by a new creation.  I felt this particular picture, however, required preservation for the longer-term.  You see, Michael created this work of art about a year after his father moved out of the family home.  To me it speaks volumes.  It says that my ex-husband and I handled our separation in a way that maintained our identity as a family unit.  Michael’s painting shows that even though we no longer live together, he still views us as all members of one family.  More

Potluck

This spring I joined the Sauble Singers, a community choir based in Sauble Beach, Ontario.  The group rehearses and performs from April to August each year and then takes a hiatus for the rest of the year.  This lengthy break is necessitated by the fact that most of the members are snowbirds…retired people who spend their winters in the southern United States.  (Since age is relative, this group makes me feel like a youngster!)  We practice every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon.  Yesterday the group held its “Spring Social”.  It was a potluck luncheon held in the main hall of the Sauble Community Centre.  More

Love you forever.

My favourite children’s book of all time is “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.  For those who aren’t familiar with the story, it’s about a mother and son at various stages in their life together.  It begins with the mother holding her infant son in her arms and rocking him while she sings “I’ll love you forever.  I’ll like you for always.  As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”  The mother continues to rock her son and sing to him throughout his life, sometimes without his knowledge (such as when she sneaks into his room to rock her teenage son as he sleeps).  She does this until she is just too old and too weak to do so any more.  That’s when the son takes over and rocks and sings to his mother.  The tradition continues as the son rocks his own infant daughter at the end of the book.  It’s about the circle of life and the importance that love plays in keeping that circle going round and round. More

My George Pothier…

June has arrived!  It is a month of many birthdays and anniversaries in my family.  On June 25th my mother will be turning 94.  In honour of Mom’s birthday I would like to record some of the stories of her life, beginning with the romantic tale of Mom and George Pothier.  More

Whenever I smell lilacs…

The cool spring of 2011 has resulted in the lilacs blooming late this year, but they are finally here and the warmer air of the past few days has been heavy with their scent.  In my family, the Sunday when the lilacs are at their peak is known as “Lilac Sunday”.  The tradition was started many years ago by my father’s eldest brother, Uncle Bill. More