Monday, November 27, 2006

That special quiet

There is magic in the quiet that a snowfall brings. It muffles everything but is not an empty quiet. And you never forget it once you've experienced being out in it, especially at night.
However, there was none of that to be found when I went out for a walk last night at midnight. No one around at all and for good reason. It was bloody cold! (It's -20 C. with the windchill.) There was no quiet because the wind has been relentless. Oh, and because I couldn't stop giggling as I waded, knee deep, out my front door through the drifts. That didn't help the whole quiet thing.

I no longer own clothes appropriate for such weather so my poor sneakers and jeans weren't too happy. But I was. It was a delight. None of the pics I tried last night turned out because the wind was just too bad and the camera (and me) kept shaking.

Today was beautiful, with the wind still fiercely blowing the snow up on the fields on the valley floor.....

And yesterday I still had a standing willow tree:

At some point this afternoon it gave itself up to the wind and keeled over on to the fence. It was a gentle surrender. (These last two pics were taken through the window's glass so there's some reflection there.)

So this is probably the last sunset through the willow I'll get before someone comes to dismantle it. Oh well, at least I'll get my better view back.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lookee Lookee

Ahhhh, retail therapy. A little while ago, I finally got myself my first digital camera so I get to play. The rose was a gift from my best friend and was my first pic. Below is what my home was looking like earlier this morning. Since then the snow has continued to pile up (a lot of it in drifts because we get a lot of wind here). Where we live in British Columbia, we don't often get a lot of snow so it's a real treat and soooo pretty.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


We all need something to believe in, whether it's an all-powerful God or Christ or karma or being part of a greater universe or a trust in the goodness of others or in the 'what goes around, comes around' theory or the butterfly effect or whatever.

My older son and his new bride have great faith in their Christianity. And they practice their faith in their day to day lives, how they treat and help others and each other, how thoughtfully they consider the bible's teachings and various philosophies and theologies, how he has done mission work for extended periods of time in difficult places, and they both plan on doing more around the world.

My son's very black and white faith (yes, I know he's young) and my propensity for always seeing the grey has created some interesting debates between us. Some basic things in which I believe and how I raised him is totally contradicted by his faith. And he very sincerely prays for my soul and wishes I could find the happiness he has found. (We have many earnest and respectful discussions because I want to know and be close to my son and this is his life. One day I may, here, go further into the issues.) It has brought him a hard-won serenity and I am truly happy for him in that.

And I envy him that serenity. Because even though my faith was different than his, I have recently lost mine.

In what do you believe?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Best Friends and Happy Feet

I've sat here for quite a while, wanting to say something to mark a terrible week, not knowing how to or if I should. I guess what I need to say is it's weeks like this which remind me how blessed I am in having my best friend and for delightful movies like Happy Feet. You can't help but grin while watching Mumble dance to Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" and watching the little kids who filled the theatre react to the music and laughs. I've waited for this movie for a looooooong time and it was the perfect escape.

All images copyright © 2006 Warner Bros. Pictures

P.S. I am suddenly struck with the irony of the subject of this blog; 'rebuilding a life', indeed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More Emily Gilmore

Played by the superb Kelly Bishop.... (I really wanna do this! Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I?)

This is what I'm talkin' about.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lest we forget

Remembrance Day is a big deal here in Canada, as it is in Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth, as Veterans Day is in the States.

An American friend of mine always gripes at me that we don't make much of a deal of our Thanksgiving, compared to how it is in the States. Well, we make up for it on Remembrance Day.

For me, it is one of the purest days of recognition, all about remembering and honouring those who serve in war and those who have died in that service, and we take it very seriously.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army
IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
It is because of the above poem, written during the first World War, that we wear red poppies at this time of year. They are on lapels everywhere.
This year, both in Britain and in Canada, there has been a renewed interest in wearing a white poppy, instead of or in additon to the red one. From White Poppies for a Culture of Peace:
"The White Poppy symbolises the belief that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than killing strangers."
It's a movement that began in 1926 and though I hate it when sincere symbols are politicized and believe that's the reason the white poppy has been resurrected now in 2006, I think it's a symbol that makes sense for some. It's about saying "no more young men and women should be killed in the name of war".
The representatives of our armed forced and veterans do not like the white poppy, feeling it dishonours our soldiers. What do you think?
Whether wearing red or white or both, our soldiers are remembered.
To all the Canadians and others in Afghanistan, to all the Americans in Iraq..... may you come home soon and may peace be more than a pipe dream for all the people in the world.
P.S. I remember you, Michael. And I suspect you'd be wearing the white poppy this year.
P.P.S. Happy Birthday, C!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


The last few months I've had quite a few epiphanies about who I am, patterns in my choices, etc. None of them have been flattering to myself so I know I have a lot of work to do. Not a fun time in my life but I'm hoping all this work will lead to a better place.

But enough of the serious stuff. Yesterday I had a couple more FUN epiphanies:

Why my taciturn friend makes me laugh

I have a friend in my life who drives me bonkers. Sometimes I don't know why I put up with him and his surly ways, nor know why his teasing rarely fails to make me laugh. I finally figured it out! His sense of humor is very like my younger son's who comes across as morose but has an incredibly quick wit. He'll say things to me that I KNOW others would find insulting, but I know where they're coming from and what the intentions are and he makes me laugh. Same with the friend.

On to the second epiphany....


Or a Sugar Mommy is fine, too.

Really, I do. I caught some of Dr. Phil the other day where the focus was on a 40-yr-old rich doctor who is in a relationship with a poor fresh-out-of-highschool girl. (They even met on an online dating service set up for sugar daddies. Eyes rolling now. There was a whole lot of outrage against the allegedly gold-digging girl. Not enough concern about what SHE was getting herself into. But I digress.)

I'm tired of the financial struggle. So I, too, want someone who will buy me cars and first-class flights and clothes and jewelry and iPods. (In return, I promise great mind-blowing sex on a regular basis. Seems a fair trade.)

Of course, that would mean I'd have to BE a woman who would attract such a person into my life. Nevermind the lobotomy but also plastic surgery, weight loss, fountain of youth, etc.

Is that too much to ask?

Apparently not. I asked my taciturn friend if he would be my sugar daddy. He's promised me that when he wins the lottery, I've got it. What a sweet guy.

Nothing wrong with that.

(I told my older son about this and his eyes lit up and he said "Sure! I want one too!" Don't we all deserve sugar daddies now and then?)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I love Emily Gilmore

And I love my mother. They are both flawed and funny and sad and cruel and somewhat crazy. That doesn't mean that either one is easy to be around.

For those unenlightened souls, check out this information on Emily Gilmore. She is a character from what has sometimes been one of the best written shows on t.v., The Gilmore Girls, and one of the only reasons to watch the show through the rather dismal last season and the weirdness of this one. I totally get her and her daughter Lorelei's relationship and I adore how she is written. I get the relationship because even though my mother is not from blue-blood society and isn't as smart nor as deliberately cruel, the two of them bear remarkable similarities. I get it because I, too, have tried to handle my mother with humor and have had times when I've had to withdraw completely from her AND I've sometimes overreacted to something seemingly innocuous because it all piles up. And I adore how Emily is written because despite her cruelty, despite her focus on the all-importance of appearance (something my mother shares), she also is played so well and is a 3-dimensional character for whom your heart sometimes breaks. She is genuinely bewildered that her daughter doesn't want all she has to give and teach. She is trying to be the best mother (and grandmother) she can be. And that's all any of us do. So I appreciate the talent that went into this character.

There are differences though. It took me many years (decades really) to realize that my mother is truly ill. I don't think Emily is. My mother contends with paranoia, delusions and conspiracy theories and I often wonder how difficult that must be for her. At the same time it can be difficult to be patient because she can be cruel to those around her. As she ages, this is all becoming more pronounced. (Though I believe age-related dementia may be part of the problem now and I wish I could help her in this regard, all of these issues have been there for decades so they are not the result of age or physical illness.)

I know that, just as Emily loves Lorelei, my mother truly loves me. She just doesn't know how to show it without trying to control every aspect of my life. She loves me the only way she knows how. She gives to me the things she thinks I need and has, at times, been there at times when I did really need her. I cannot share any of her story without emphasizing all of that too.

Unlike Lorelei, I work hard at being kind to my mother (while keeping healthy boundaries). This is partly for her, because I do believe she is sick and therefore deserving of kindness and forgiveness. And it's also for me because I do not want her treatment of me to turn me into someone I am not. I don't want to give her that power.

Currently, my mother is punishing me in various ways, trying different tactics to ensure I feel the punishment. I am again screening my calls so I can talk to her only when I feel strong enough to do so. She has an ability to kick me when I'm down that I need to avoid for my own health. She is punishing me because I do not agree with her about some issues in my life she's decided are important and requiring change AND I won't let her give some things to me. Gifts from her are about what she feels I need, not what I actually need, and there are always strings attached so I decline most of the time. I understand her frustration at not being able to control things as she would like AND that she feels this as a rejection of love but I can't help that. I am and always will be a heavy disappointment to her.

Thank goodness for Emily Gilmore. The laughter provides me with needed perspective on my own mother and on myself.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Where did I go?

Well, that's a loaded question if ever there was one. On the surface, I can make a list on what's been keeping me busy. Deeper still, I do wonder where I have gone. The woman Michael loved appears to be gone. I can't find her anymore. It's not just his death but, it seems, hit after hit after hit the last year combined with almost nonstop, debilitating pain. I used to be brave. I used to be able to find laughter in anything. Now it's all forced. I feel very beaten down and I know darn well I don't have it any worse than anyone else and I even have it considerably better than most. I carry on, day by day, because there is no alternative and there is the small hope that, eventually, that will move me forward and find new reasons to laugh.

Okay, the above is the main reason I stopped blogging. And I just don't feel I have anything worthwhile to say at all. I feel like a fucking whiner and I really hate that.

Because the truth is, it hasn't been all bad. All of the above is true, BUT it's also true that I have a lovely new daughter-in-law and we're getting along great. I have a great best friend. My sons are in my life. Other friends have been kind in sweet and surprising ways. I have a roof over my head and the means to keep it there. I know all that too.

So, some of the things going on since last I wrote, right after my son's wedding:

  • Work work work. Lots of it and there's no sign of it letting up. And changes in my job are coming; some of it's exciting, some of it makes me genuinely sad because I think I'll be losing the best (to me) part of my job. Not all bad but I'm tired. I'd go away if I could afford to, if I had someone to go with, and/or I had someplace to go. Eventually, I will start traveling alone but I want to be able to afford to do it as a single person and I'm not there yet.
  • I am sleeping better more often now. I've even begun to dream after well over a year of no dreams. I think that's a good sign, especially as none of them have been scary (something that can be very common with FM), just pleasant, nonsensical NORMAL dreams. It's not great and I'm still tired but it's significantly better than it was.
  • Issues with my mother and each of my sons, which I think I'll blog about separately one day. When I'm ready to talk about paranoia, dementia, the need to control, religious fanaticism, and depression.
  • My 46th birthday was last week. I'd been dreading it for various reasons (not the aging thing; couldn't care less about that) but I reached out to those around me and they came through and I ended up having a really great birthday week that has left me smiling but exhausted. I'll share more about that another day too.
  • I've had some more dates, off and on. More attention from others. It's been interesting how differently each of my sons handle that. One is absolutely cool with it. One is not (which I find pretty funny sometimes). I'll share more on that another time too.
  • I created a website with the wedding pics and they turned out really beautiful. They're not the usual formal pics but, instead, really captured who THEY are and their happiness. I wish I could share them here but I've always avoid sharing any info that would infringe on my sons' privacy. We did a thank you tea (yes, I live in a place where we have exquisite tea houses along with all the coffee places) for the ladies who helped with the decorating, etc., and that was nice.
  • I've been reading and enjoying the new t.v. season. Playing World of Warcraft very little these days because I simply don't have time and/or need to get the hell away from the computer when I can to get a real break. (So what am I doing here? ;-) )

On that note, it's time I went to bed. I hope this entry is the start of some more regular writing here.