Sunday, May 25, 2014


I've had one of those weekends where extremes are measured at both ends.

In a few short days I've seen my Dad in the hospital and seen good friends celebrate the beginning of their marriage. 

"to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part."
I watched Richard, a work colleague marry his beautiful bride 
Jacy and begin their marriage journey together.

Richard and Jacy

I also watched my Mom as she stood beside my Dad's side in the ICU unit after he suffered a stroke. 

Both on their marriage journey but at very different points. And that's the thing about life and marriage - you just don't know what lies ahead.

As I work in Palliative care, I know of many couples who are working through the end stages of one and sometimes both of their lives. I will never forget a phone call I received from one man. His wife had just passed away. He was tearful, and he struggled as he said "my wife has just died - I can't believe I'm saying those words."
Indeed, how does one, after spending a lifetime with someone adapt to that?

My parents have been married for I think 55 years next week. That is a life time of good and bad!

Mom and Dad with Me and my two sisters, 1964

They have had no money, and some money. They have celebrated and partied through the 60's and 70's. They have watched one daughter die of cancer at the age of 25. My Mom has had heart issues and beat a bout of breast cancer. And now they will face this new challenge together. My Dad, still working and affectionately known as "antsy Jack" because he really can't sit still for any length of time, will have some adjusting to do. But they will face it together, like they have everything else.

And what lies ahead for Richard and Jacy? A lifetime of happiness, adventure and a few surprises, good and bad. But they too, will weather them together.

I think Jon Mayer sums it up well in his song "Heart of Life"

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won't all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Garden Prep!
I've had the past week off. A week which I deemed to be focused on getting my garden(s) in order. The weather man was not looking very cooperative stating rain, rain and more rain but as it turned out, heaven smiled, sun shined, temperatures soared and it rained just enough to loosen things up so I could pull weeds and little maple trees hiding under bushes.
But I'm no gardener, not by a long shot....
Maybe, incidentally, I might be!
We bought this house from a little retired dutch couple who had nothing better to do than to fart around (pun intended, if I know old people) and putter in their extensive gardens. 
But I've lived here now for 10 years and the gardens are still intact,  things are still growing and thriving. Sure they are not the same, but they are no worse, might even be better in some cases!
By gosh, I am!! I am a gardener!! 
We used to have this lovely little pool in the middle of the yard, and there, sitting sentinel, sat Chad the Cherub. 
Chad, in his Prime

But Chad was a perfect perch for the grackles and I was always fishing him out of the little pond along with other floating, dead creatures like moles and mice. So a couple of years ago we filled in that little pond and got ourselves a nice fountain instead. 

The fountain

And Chad, well, one too many knocks into the pond and he began to break apart. 
I miss Chad...he was a good lad.
I inherited this monster clematis, which is still blooming nonstop each year

I've planted a few other clematis vines and they are looking promising as well.
I have beautiful roses and peonies,

 By mid June, the one section of the garden sorta looks like this:

My garden is abundant with perennials and I'm always trying to give something away. 

I had a great week off and got a lot accomplished. 
Flowers by Cyndi!

And it's a good thing too. This is now the long weekend in May, the official start of the gardening season. It's cold outside, feels like fall. So I mowed the lawn, got the fountain together with Sheldon's help and decided to come inside to have a cup of green tea and honey. 

Maybe I'll bake some cookies....incidentally, I might be a baker too.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


It's Mother's Day today! So here's to all you hard working Moms. Hope you are spoiled! I am blessed with an amazing Mom myself - she is smart, hard working, patient, intuitive and full of good ideas. 
I took her to lunch yesterday. "Eat your salad" mom says. "And finish your fruit." Good idea mom. 
Here is another one of Mom's good ideas. I'm usually a red-wine-drinker, but in the summer I can be coaxed into a glass of white. Mom drops a couple of raspberries into her glass and they are pretty yummy to mow down on when you finish your drink and they are all wine-infused like.

A few other good ideas:

Naps, especially in the sun are a good idea


Oatmeal, in the morning. Since I had raspberries kicking around I threw them in too. Not just for white wine!

Now don't get carried away with this one. Coffee is always a good idea and a couple of glugs of Baileys makes it extra special - good for weekends and holidays!
Need some more?
Reading - scripture or otherwise
Cleaning the kitty litter box on a regular basis
Throw a junk of frozen lemon or lime in your water.

Good ideas all round - some from mothers, some from coworkers, some I thought up all by myself. 

If you are a Mom, thanks for all the sound advice and good ideas. If you are blessed to still have your mom, enjoy her, listen to her, appreciate her. 

Now that's a good idea!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


I've been very blessed to grow up in a musical family. Oh sure, we missed out on the whole Canadian Hockey thing but there was music, by golly, there was music!
We listened to it in all forms and at least one radio was playing something somewhere in the house. My Dad would gather me and my two sisters around the piano and we would sing in rounds. The outcome being that although I don't have a particularly strong voice, I can carry a tune and I can pick up harmony pretty darn easy.
Sister one would start with "1 Bottle of Pop, 2 Bottle of Pop" and the next sister would jump in: "Fish and Chips and Vinegar!" and then it was my turn! "Don't throw your junk in my backyard!".. Anybody else do that??? Any other non-hockey obsessed Canadian families?? No....OK, nevermind. Guess you had to be there...
We all took piano but my little brother was the gifted one and excelled.
Yea, he's a maniac. And he does this for a living.

Recently I went to a concert my parents were singing at. It is a small church based community choir and even though they don't attend the church, they just enjoy the singing with a group thing. 
That's my little momma sitting down while my Dad beside her, and the other men, are showing off their talents. 

The rotund fella leading the group has got to be one of the most exuberantly passionate people I've ever seen about song in all it's forms. The guy was in his glory!

There is something intrinsic about a corporate sing song. I feel it in church everytime. The power and strength of it and how it encourages the whole body (I mean individually and corporately).

Yesterday, we went to Hamilton to visit my son and on the way home we stopped into a music store, Long and MacQuade in Burlington. Talk about a candy shop for music lovers! And Busy! the place was rocking around the clock. I have been in need of a new bow for Morrie for quite sometime. The bow I presently have is a student bow and has already been fixed once. So I've saved my pennies and was ready to invest in something a little more substantial. I tried a couple of different bows, one for $155 and another, a Yamaha, for $415. I settled on the graphite $155 bow and not just because of the price. It just felt right! 

Now, I know Canada is a hockey town. But I encourage you, if you don't have music as part of your life,  save a spot for it. Sing with your kids in the car, join a community choir or pick up an instrument. It's never too late!