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Listen…

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I have written about some of the lovely residents of our neighbourhood in a previous post but I feel the need to add more.

I often run into a very elegant elderly lady on my way to town.  She is always wearing a skirt, pantyhose, starched blouse and a broach or scarf.  She walks her little dog or they ride together in her motor cart.  I’m always greeted with such a beautiful smile and a cheerful ‘good morning’.  One day when I was walking to the beach, I gave her one of my bookmarks that had a photo of dog prints in the sand with the caption ‘love walks on four paws’.  She was so happy to receive it – gave me a big hug thanked me profusely.  We have little chats on the street when we meet now and I find myself being disappointed if I don’t see her when I’m out.  If I am privileged to reach her age, I would love to possess even some of her grace.

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We have a new puppy whom we love to bits but at times can be challenging – that’s another post!  When I walked her yesterday, I was not in a good frame of mind.  Just wanted to spend the rainy afternoon painting (or trying to practice my painting) with my music playing and a nice cup of tea.  Porsha was not of the same thinking.  Playing with my slippers, chewing on the area rug and my legs seemed like far more fun.  I relented and thought it best to take her for a walk, although I was not happy about having to forego ‘me time’.

An elderly lady was walking across the street.  As soon as Porsha saw her, she started barking.  As it appeared that the lady was going to cross the street toward us, I picked up my pup.  After greeting the woman and her offering Porsha her hand, she said that she was going to pick up her dog at the nearby house.  She’d been at a memorial that afternoon and her friends kindly looked after her dog.  She said that she’d gone to the memorial to support her daughter – the deceased was her former mother in law.  Then she just started talking non-stop.  She lost her husband a year ago to Alzheimer’s disease and had been relieved in a way when he passed, knowing that he was not suffering anymore but this past little while, she’s been sadder than ever.  I offered that grief does that and that there are no set timelines – it surfaces uncontrollably.  She said she should be stronger.  I emphatically said that she shouldn’t feel that way.  There is no right or wrong.  By this time she is crying.  I gave her a hug and said I was sorry for her loss and that I hoped her day got better.  She thanked me, put her head down and walked into her neighbour’s driveway.

I believe there are no coincidences.  She needed someone to talk to and perhaps I needed to be reminded how blessed I am to have Mark, and that our time together is so precious.  That lovely lady would have given anything to go home to her husband.

I stood behind another lady in the lineup at the post office the other day.  Her daughter was with her and told me that her mom was 96 years young.  I told her that she sure didn’t look 96.  She said ‘even the back of my hair? I had a hard time with it this morning’.  I laughed and said no, it was perfect.  She smiled and said ‘well, the secret to living this long is to just keep breathing and oh, have the odd glass of wine!’.  I love her!

When I worked, I didn’t have these kind of interactions with strangers.  I was too busy working and trying to squeeze in a purposeful life outside of the office.   My family, friends and coworkers were all important to me and it seems that that’s all I had time for.  I am so grateful that retirement has allowed me to gain an interest in others in my community.   The lessons and reminders they give me are priceless – not to mention just the pure joy of their company.

 

 

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Just breathe…

After getting kind of used to retirement life I was anxious to start some new activities – or perhaps I was thinking that I should start some new activities. I picked up the area’s recreation program booklet and quickly found a few that would interest me. Yoga was one of them. I had taken Yoga when I was about 30 and in good shape. I thought ‘how hard could it be’ and what a great way to break into a more physical lifestyle.

I purchased a mat, dug out my semi acceptable yoga type workout clothes and showed up for my first class entitled Gentle Yoga. Perfect! Everyone looked really nice and oh so calm. The class started out with the winding down onto your mat type thing. Perfect! However, after about the first 15 minutes I was thinking to myself how much harder Gentle Yoga was than when I was 30. They must have really changed it. I found the instructor kind of curt and impatient which puzzled me cause I thought this was a beginner’s class. 50 minutes into the class, the lady next to me said ‘don’t feel you have to do this pose, just do what you can’. Oh, ok, thanks, wished the instructor agreed! The only ‘light’ part of the 75 minutes was when someone’s cell phone rang. The poor person ran out of the class with it. The instructor snarked ‘that’s a first’. Two things occurred to me here – the instructor is a B and I like the other presumably new person! As I was rolling up my mat at the end of the class, the kind lady next to me told me not to give up and suggested a few other instructors/classes I may enjoy more.

When I was finally able to raise my leg into a car, I went to my second class. Phew, obviously this instructor had been informed of newbees in her class and it really was a much more pleasant experience. I started to look forward to my twice weekly sessions. Yoga made me feel better. Everything you read about it was (kind of) happening to me. I have become good friends with the naughty cell phone yogi. We have our chuckles over some of the mutual hilarious moments during class:

  • her cell phone rang in another class (thankfully not same instructor)
  • when I got home from a class I realized that there were holes in the crotch of my leggings which would have made ‘happy baby’ pose pretty yucky for the poor instructor facing me at the front of the class
  • an instructor had lit candles in the middle of the studio floor prior to class.  A male yogi walked across the floor, not seeing the candles and accidentally kicked them onto my mat and legs.  Wax flew and I felt a bit of heat before the candles went out.   The instructor was great, while trying not to grin she said ‘it happens’.  We never saw the poor yogi again.
  • a lovely instructor that speaks through the whole class – whether you want to hear her voice or not.  Our fave line of hers is ‘peace to the plants’.  Huh?
  • the time I’m in so need of emptying my bladder and the instructor tells us to find peace in the pose.  That’s not how I’m translating it during my time of need and I get the giggles.  Did she say ‘pees in the pose’?

Unfortunately, it appears the studio owner has had some financial difficulties so it has closed in our city. But, we were happy to hear that one of our fave instructors is opening up her own studio in July. I look forward to continuing then. I enjoy everything that Yoga is supposed to do for you and does for me when I attend regularly – relaxation, me time, attention to my body, spirituality, strength in all it’s forms, and camaraderie. Some days the most important thing it brings to me is laughter. How great is that!

Namasté

yoga is the space between

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Music

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Music has always played an important part in my life. My mother was a very gifted pianist and her love for all types of music carried over to her children. She too inherited the love of it through family. Her father taught her to play the piano by drawing out the keyboard on paper placed on the kitchen table.  He hummed every key she played, even the wrong notes.   When they finally could afford a piano, mom just sat down at it and played.   Music was a constant in my childhood home – whether it be mom on the piano or records stacked on the turntable.

I took piano lessons and played clarinet in the high school band. Although I was okay at both, neither was a passion. Listening to and appreciating all genres of music is my passion, per se.   When I’m alone at home or in my car, unequivocally my music is playing.

“With the right music you either forget everything or you remember everything”.

Yep! A song can allow me to remember a special time, person or situation in my life. It can have me crying with sadness or happiness. It can make me bend over in a belly laugh, smile at the heavens, smirk, dance, sing at the top of my lungs. It’s great therapy too.  If I’m stressed or out of sorts, my music takes me away from the negative thoughts.  I know I’m not alone when I say that I honestly can’t imagine my life without it.

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In the genes?

Whenever I walk and can see my shadow, I think to myself this could be Mom, either of my sisters, my niece, or me walking. Our gaits are the same. I have many memories of recognizing a family member walking toward me, even if they are blocks away, simply by their gait. I can never wrap my head around how this similarity occurs in families. Is it in the genes? I can appreciate how facial and body likenesses, even voice tones can be attributed to genes. I can even understand our shared quirky sense of humour, given the wit both my parents possessed. But gait?? Don’t know why it puzzles me or actually, why I even care. I do know though that I’m somehow comforted and reassured when I notice it.

 

 

 

 

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Worry is a total waste of the imagination

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I’m sure this will sound melancholy and dramatic but I felt the need to write it anyway.  We took down our Christmas decorations this past Sunday.  Reminiscent of me, every year, I get sad when I am taking the ornaments off the tree.  There is sentimental value to many of the ornaments – gifts from friends, personalized ones for the kids, a picture of Jessie in a frame, etc.  It’s not really that so much that makes me sad, it’s my thinking when I put them away.  The next time I’m standing here, placing them back on our tree, what will have transpired over the year?  Will my loved ones and friends still be ok?  Will I?  Will we still be happy here in our home/community?  What will be happening in the world.  See, I told you, it’d be a ‘dark’ post!

I remember when I was younger not really liking New Year’s Eve because I was afraid of what the New Year would bring.  Would this be the year I lost my parents – the people I loved most in the world.  I eventually got over that although I’m still not really into a big celebration on the last day of the year.

I guess the good thing is that I know I shouldn’t be so worried about what the future will bring.  I am working hard at living in the moment and just being grateful for the blessings I have in my life.

Yes, worry is a total waste of the imagination.

What a great statement.  Won’t take the credit for writing it (don’t know who did) but it’s something I’ve got to remind myself of more often.

I genuinely wish you who are reading this a very Healthy, Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You’re welcome

Good manners were always an important part of my growing up. Well, not just important, required. Please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me, sorry (even if we really didn’t do anything wrong – ok, we’re Canadian!),  were part of my vocabulary from a very early age. If I happened to miss one of them and my parents were listening, I was corrected sternly.

I think I do a pretty good job of maintaining this requirement of my upbringing. Probably another obsession of mine but I sure notice when people aren’t as focused on manners as I am, and yes, it irks me.

At the risk of sounding like a rant, when I thank a store cashier, after I have paid for my purchase and they reply with just a ‘you’re welcome’, not combined with a ‘thank you’, I wanna scream. What? I bought something from YOUR store, I gave you MY money and it’s like you are implying that you did ME a favour. Grrrr.

Phew, thanks for listening. Sorry, I know I should pick my battles!!

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The little things….

I saw an elderly(ish) Salvation Army Kettle volunteer outside in the wind and the rain. I commented that it was a pretty miserable day to be out. He shook his head and said ‘ah no, the people keep me warm – Merry Christmas ma’am’. He warmed my heart and made my day.

Since retiring, I find that little things like the above touch me.  Okay, perhaps it’s also my age and I’m realizing now more than ever that time goes by quickly and that I should savour as many moments as I can.  When I worked it seemed there was always a rush to get what I was doing done.   I rarely took the time to just notice and appreciate brief encounters and interactions throughout my day.  I think in the end, a reflection of our life’s happiest and most appreciative memories will include little things like this.   As cliche as it sounds, an abundant life is filled with love, in all of its forms.

 

 

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Here goes…..

This was my post on Facebook a few days ago.  Very grateful for the support I’ve received from my friends and family re this little adventure of mine.  They’ve boosted my confidence in my product and my capability to pull this off.  As my niece mentioned, no matter what, I’ll have lots of stories to tell afterwards.

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I have always been very uncomfortable going to Craft Fairs. I feel bad if I don’t look at someone’s table and I imagine them looking at me with pleading in their eyes – pick me, pick me. If I do look at someone’s product and not buy, I feel worse. So, I usually avoid going or if I do, I literally sprint down the aisles, eyes straight ahead (oh God don’t let me make eye contact with any vendor!).

So, if you are still reading, you’ll think I’m crazy when I tell you, I’m going to be a vendor in a Craft Fair this weekend!!!!!!!! Yep, you read right. OMG. For those of you who live in the area, PLEASE do not attend. I would feel that you would feel obligated to buy something from that vendor who is sitting there with her eyes toward the floor, so that customers don’t feel bad if they aren’t interested in her cards/bookmarks!!

Thanks for listening. Phew.

Guess what everyone’s getting for Christmas if I don’t sell any!

My table will look something like this (well, maybe not close, cause it’s been changed 10 times already!).

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Addendum:

I survived!  I certainly didn’t sell as much as what I had hoped but it was a great experience.  I met some lovely people, had great conversations and some laughs.  I am very grateful for the nice compliments I received about my work and photography.

I was of course in the parking lot 20 minutes earlier than when I was permitted to enter the night before to set up.  I was happy with how my table looked although not nearly as ‘professional’ looking as other vendors.

An elderly(ish) vendor browsed through the bookmarks before the doors opened.  She picked up one, read it and burst into tears.  I said ‘oh, I’m sorry’.  She sniffed and replied that it just ‘got to her’.  It was a photo of paw prints in the sand with a quote from Wil Rogers “If dogs don’t go to heaven, when I die I want to go where they went.”  She told me that her beloved dog had died 15 years ago and she still misses his terribly.  She had a tattoo of him on her arm, that she kept rubbing.  She walked away, still in tears.  Later in the day her daughter came up to my table to buy the bookmark.  I told her that she could just take it.  She argued a bit then thanked me and walked away with it.

I gave away others, for various reasons!

 

Had interesting conversations about local birds in the area and of course met some other Albertans who are enjoying this great island.

All in all a good day.  Would I do it again?  No!  But, I’m proud of myself for going through with it.  Geesh, I sound like I just completed boot camp or something!

 

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Better Get Going

I cannot fathom the thought of being late – for ANYTHING. If I could relive the minutes I’ve spent sitting in my car waiting for a ‘not too early’ time to show up for an appointment or meeting, I’d probably add years to my life! When I worked I always arrived a half hour prior to my scheduled start time. It’s almost (well okay, probably is) an obsession. My heart literally starts to pound if I think I am going to be late. No doubt it is irksome for Mark. How annoying it must be for him to have to get to the airport 2 hours before the flight, only so that we can sit at the gate for at least an hour before they even start to board. Or, sitting in the line to get on the ferry for an hour or more. I’m well known for this quirk or whatever it is. Leah let Mark know last week that she showed up 45 minutes prior to her flight but the line up at security was huge so the airline employee had to escort her through the Nexus line and when she got on the flight, (no doubt the last to get on), all the bins were full so she had to gate-check her carry-on bag. She said something to the effect that ‘oh God, Debbie would have died’. Yep, I would have!

Guess it goes without saying that I simply cannot understand people who have no regard for time, or other people’s time and arrive late on a continuous basis. I sometimes think it’s inconsiderate and quite honestly, rude. I know that sounds harsh and I really should lighten up and not judge.  My (borderline!) obsession is inconsiderate too.  I should think about the quality time I could have spent with loved ones, had I not been in such a crazed rush to head out to where I was going.  Will try to remind myself of this when that heart starts to pound again.

 

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A Fine Balance

I was feeling kind of morose and sad this morning.   My favourite remedy for this mood is to head to the beach.  It’s certainly not a cure all but it’s a wonderful, peaceful place to just be and to reflect.

Before I left, I picked out a book to donate to the Beach Lending Library and I selected some bookmarks I had made from my photos to hand out and leave in the Library.  When I got to the beach, almost the first thing I saw was a beautiful heron, walking along the shore.  Behind it, far out, was a ship.  My first thought was damn it, where’s my camera!  I was feeling sorry for myself for missing what could have been awesome shots. I took a picture with my phone (which obviously didn’t turn out, and that’s ok – see below).IMG_0273

I left the book and a bookmark in the Library and decided to walk along the boardwalk a little more, still regretting that I didn’t have my camera.  I saw an elderly man with a huge pair of binoculars looking out to sea.  He had a little dog with a crocheted coat, sitting at his feet.  He saw me looking at his binoculars and he asked if I wanted to take a look.  I thanked him and watched the ship for a bit.  He said it was the Coast Guard.  I told him he had a cute dog, to which he replied ‘yeah, he’s my baby’.   He beamed when he explained that a neighbour lady had crocheted the coat and he thought the dog was very proud of it – now he runs up to people as if to say ‘see my new coat’.   We had a chuckle and I handed him one of my bookmarks that said ‘a true friend leaves paw prints on your heart’.  He said ‘wow, you made this?’; then he touched his heart and said ‘yes, that’s right, paw prints’.  I thanked him again and walked on.

It occurred to me that as much as I was upset about not having my camera, perhaps in the past I’ve missed some opportunities like this, because I was so ‘focused’ (pardon the pun) on getting the shot.  It really was wonderful to watch the heron, with just my eyes, walking gracefully down the shore.  I’ve had many conversations with lovely strangers when I did have my camera, but I could have had more.

It was a nice life lesson for me today – find the balance between your hobby and the moment.  From now on, when I don’t have my camera, I’ll try to just be appreciative of what I’m seeing, only with my eyes.  And, when I do have my camera, I’m going to put it down sometimes to see what I may be missing.

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Addendum:

Our local paper randomly select people on the street to ask them their opinion on current topics.  Last week they chose the dear man and his dog that I had given a bookmark to and he had kindly shared his binoculars with me.  Was so nice to see them again.  The dog’s name is Benny!

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