The Bounty This Time Of Year

The four-footed ones have taken the idea of outdoor living indoors to a whole new level. I know she people take indoor living outside, but not my dogs.  They’d prefer to have the great outdoors inside at all times.

Colourful leaves are almost a given in the house at this time of year.  Some times they dogs can’t help it because he fallen leaves get stuck to their fur.  But other times they deliberately bring leaves in and drop them all over the floor so they can roll around on them and thus grind the crumbly leaves into the carpet.  Such fun!  For the dogs I guess, not so much for me.

They also bring in their outside playmates, insects get stuck in their fur.  And because they simply cannot make up their mind if they want to be inside or outside the door is constantly being opened and closed, allowing the flies to find warm places in the house.  And let us not forget the insects they have “sampled” outside and decide to spit out inside the house.

Youd be surprised at how well beetles get by without being able to use all of their legs or a crushed antennae.  Or maybe you are a bit more like me and it’s a disgusted fascination that the poor beetle served the trip in the dog’s mouth! 😝

Dirt is also plentiful this time of year.  Dirt to roll in, sit in, flop down on and get stuck to fur.  Dirt that requires you shake hard to get it off your body.  This is best done in the house, preferably a room that a human has just cleaned! 😉

N top of these delights, this is the time of year that some of the vegetation is rotting and who can resist rolling around in that?  Of course it’s best done when the vegetation is still a bit damp because the scent lasts long and clings perfectly to fur and toes.  Best of all this stuff isn’t easy to clean off so the dog can happily spread it around the house while you try to get the dog into the tub for a bath.

Of course my dogs aren’t finished, they can then spread that dreadful, smelly stuff all through out the bathroom.  Once clean and nice smelling again, the dogs will go back to the door to repeat the process.  Now granted some people are a little more relaxed about this stuff and allow bits and pieces of the great outdoors inside their homes.  I guess it’s a bit like saying I’d you can’t beat them you might just as well join them.  But what part do you give into?  Do you let the leaves just stay getting ground in?  Do I accept bugs as new pets?  What about the dirt or rotten vegetation?  Which is the least of the evils to accept?  Or am I just crazy to fight this battle?  After all, some people have told me it’s unnatural to fight nature thusly.

The Seasons Two View Points

It’s the time of year where I can finally exhale, even if just for a few moments.  Summer has wrapped up, which means wedding season is winding down completely thank goodness!  😉

Christmas season hasn’t started up yet so I don’t have to go through that torture just yet.  Don’t  me wrong, I don’t have anything really against Christmas, other than that there is some false cheer, and worst of all, dressing up!  Yep almost like wedding season.

After Christmas there is a bit of time to exhale again before spring and summer hit us.  And once again it’s time to stop exhaling and get on with the getting in of whatever it is that is happening.

Basically shoes that aren’t comfortable, dresses I will never wear again and gifts to buy.  Oh wait sounds like Christmas, but with better weather!  OKay honestly it isn’t all that bad, but those tend to be my immediate impression of it.

Beloved doesn’t see it this way, to him Summer is time to spend with friends and make peace with nature.  Autumn is a time of color and getting away with embracing your inner child with Halloween.  Christmas is time with loved news and finds and then Spring comes along with fresh color and a new beginning again.

Beloved also will tell you that Spring and Summer are times of weddings.  That Autumn is a time of bounty and harvest and then Christmas rounds out the winter.  Of course he likes getting dressed up, mostly because he doesn’t wear heels and he can wer the same suit without worry.  Just once I’d like him to have to get the uncomfortable shoes and spend way too much in a dress he will never wear again!😉

I guess it is all matter of what you want to see and take from it!

Apples, Ponies and Its Not What It Seems

When I was growing up my parents had friends who owned a small acreage  with a pond where the ducks liked to visit.  They also had two ponies, older ones.  I used to lean over the wooden fence and pick apples off the tree to feed to the ponies.

This behavior was frowned upon.  The apples on the trees were for people, the ones that had fallen on the ground were for the ponies.   Clearly this was a rule that everyone was just supposed to know naturally and if you didn’t follow it the most stern of looks would be sent your way.  The ponies would get in trouble as well, for being naughty enough to eat the apples that didn’t belong to them.

I was always puzzled as to how the ponies were supposed to know the difference.  I also wondered how it was such a big deal if the ponies got a few apples off the tree since the people couldn’t possibly eat them all.

Of course the fact that some were turned into jelly, others juice and still others baked or frozen never occurred to me as a child.  The only thing I could think is that there was no way they could eat all those apples on the tree before they spoiled.  Well that and the fact that the ponies deserved some nice apples too!

Now as adult, I realize it was hardly a farm, and they weren’t farmer.  The man had a regular day job in the city, he worked with my dad to be exact.  I can’t recall what the woman did, but she was working somewhere too.  Their home and property was their way to have a bit of the rural life, complete with ponies, without being committed completely to that style of living.  Instead they managed to find something that worked for them, a balance of time in the city and time out with nature.

As a product of city living, I always find the absolute silence and stillness in rural areas to be unsettling.  It’s a bit like waiting for something to happen when nothing is supposed to happen.  I am not able to relax the same in this silence the way I can in a city, and yet I yearn to have a small space that I can go to and find silence or what have you.

I mentioned this to real estate agent, who told me it would be possible to live that life if I wanted to, but she asked if I would be truly happy with at type of balance.  Maybe.  If I got some ponies, and a donkey, oh and some deer…  So basically the answer is no, no I wouldn’t really be happy that way.

Tightropes, Rapids, Lupus and Friendship

A friend asked me if I had ever considered tightrope walking as a hobby.  She also asked if I’d do over large river gorge.  The answer to both questions is no, no and you.   Not my cup of tea as they say.

i was rather intrigued as to why she posed the question in the first place.  She told me that the way she sees it, the sometimes cavalier attitude I have to my own health woes are akin to tightrope walking.  I should point out she works in the medical profession.  To her, when I make a choice that isn’t what a medical profession could fully get behind, I’m taking another step on a tightrope stretched across a massive chasm.

I appreciate her concern, as well as her sharing how she sees things.  I may not accept that everything she says is exactly as she sees them, but I know she means well,  I also know that she has education, knowledge and experiences that I do not have.  And I appreciate that she brings this all to the relationship.

What I appreciate most is that she will voice her concern, but not be offended if I chose to do something she doesn’t agree with.  And because she has worked with terminally ill patients, she gets that sometimes with lupus I just want to live.  She just tries to find trade offs so the fall isn’t too far or too hard.

When you have a chronic illness like lupus there are thousands of things you aren’t supposed to do, or be cautious with.  When you’ve had these “rules” or guidelines as I see them imposed on so much of your life for a long time, sometimes you just need to shake it off.  You just need to balance towards normalcy and the guidelines of navigating these chronically unpredictable waters.

At these times its best to have someone who is going to hold the safety line, but still let you experience the water, and not judge your choices.  It also helps if your friend holds the towel to dry off after you got wet, just as she knew would happen! 😊

A Sign Of What?

In my line of work signs and symbols are just part of the daily landscape.  Some of the symbols and signs are easier to determine than others and a great deal is open to conjecture.  That’s part of the fun in my job, when I’m fortunate enough to be able to examine and consider these various markings.

So you’d be forgiven if you think that I’m good with all signs and symbols.  Even Beloved assumed I’d be able to see a sign from what we found at the backdoor and then on the flagstone path.  But I’m not good with nature, not really.  So when we discovered four spiders outside our backdoor, Beloved asked me what it meant.

Okay so at first then jumped back first and then asked me about the significance of the number.  Now in some studies, four represents the sacred four directions, balance and harmony.  I’m not certain that’s why there were four spiders on our house, just outside the back door.  I’m also no expert in spiders, but I figured the house must be ideal hunting ground for them.  I hazarded a guess that there was a decent amount of whatever  it is they were consuming and thus good, plentiful hunting had brought them close.  To be honest I’ve never seen four large spiders together before, save the pet store where you can buy big, hairy spiders for pets! 😮

And when Beloved stopped on one of the flagstone steps and peered down, I saw what had caught his eye.  Three rather large slugs, one was doing something that appeared to akin to waving it’s antennae at us.  In some studies, the number three represents completion and perfection.  Think along the lines of the trinity if you must.  Not that I’m comparing the three slugs to the trinity, but rather the sacredness of the number three.

Now I know nothing really about slugs, so maybe they get together in large numbers all the time.  Maybe we had a slug family of a father, mother and child slug.  No clue really.

If we lived n different times, if I was a shaman perhaps then I’d be able to make sense of the signs nature was providing us.  The spider, after all is known as a creature of creation and in some societies it was grandmother spider who saved/created humanity or the earth.  I’ve never found what the slug symbolizes other than laziness perhaps.  But to me, these signs and e symbolism behind the animals is nothing more than nature at our house.  Thankfully not inside the house! 😊

To Beloved these signs from nature are not good.  He sees nature coming this close in what he refers to as “gross” numbers as a sign that soon they will be in the house.  And to be honest on of the spiders was awfully close to sneaking in the door.

Now im with Beloved in not wanting them in the house, but I’m not seeing any signs showing the end of times.  Then again I could be wrong since I tend to work in theory and not reality!  I also tend not to seek out symbols and signs in my every day life so I could be missing all sorts of stuff.

If you have any ideas about the spiders or slugs, please share with me so I can share with Beloved and avoid his desire to stock up on water and food.😐

Lessons From The Autumn Trees

Someone once said they only things that are certain is death and taxes.  Now if you have the means you  can find ways to reduce what you pay taxes or not pay them at all.  I figure of you aren’t paying taxes you shouldn’t have a say in how the country is being run, nor should you have access to any of the systems available.  Unless you aren’t paying taxes because you don’t make any money, but that’s a different story.

Death, on the other hand, is unavoidable. Nature you can do things to prolong your life and no ne will deny medicine has come a long way.  But in the end we all die. You can’t pay someone off to stay living and as much as popular culture would have us believe zombies and vampires are abound and providing eternal life, that’s not reality.  Reality is, at some point, we all must make our exit.  How we do that is, to a degree at least, up to us.

I won’t deny that I’ve always been enamoured with the idea of dying with dignity rather than a long and drawn death given my health issues.  But that also doesn’t mean I am enamoured with going out while my life is still at the top of things for myself either.  I always thought when the time grew small, the breaths more precious that maybe I’d look for the exit.

But there is also something to be said for dying naturally as it were.  Nature doesn’t have any opt out clauses really and animals don’t typically chose their ending.  So as I look to nature I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to do this dying stuff a bit like the autumnal trees.  The way that even at the end there is a vibrancy and quiet beauty to them.  Perhaps a graceful changing, one last show of charter, the way the leaves change color, lingering a bit for those who still need to see and hold that beauty until there is a reason to fall off the tree.

After all love, like beauty, is much in the eye of the beholder.  And love doesn’t worry about the stages of life because love is simply consumed with loving and being loved.  And love doesn’t ask us to hold on when we have lost our ability to do so, just as a tree cannot demand that a leaf remain attached after it has changed color and faded to a dry remnant of itself.

Stories Within A Book, All Out is All In

I am an avid reader and will read anything from Shakespeare to the back of a cereal box.  You could say I have an addiction to words and reading and you’d be correct.  Even more scandalous, I’m not one to hide my addiction.  Nope I flaunt it, reading in public and buying my next hit out in the open. 😊

I was recently awarded a free copy, pre-release, of a book titled “All Out” by Kevin Newman and his son Alex Newman.  Kevin is a successful North American news anchor, a confident and eloquent speaker.  His son Alex works in advertising and writes from the heart.  I didn’t know what to expect when I got this book.  Would it be a book about father and son relationships, like so many other ones?  Would it be Alex’s coming out story and the battles he fought as he made his way out?

The answer to both of those questions is yes, sort of.  The book is about father and son relationships, and all the ups and downs that come with that journey.  The book is about Alex accepting his sexuality, but it is also about Kevin journey to accepting this part of Alex.  But what the book is really about, in the end, is the vulnerability we experience as humans and thus what it means to be human and have unconditional love.

Kevin doesn’t shy away from his journey, allowing us to experience his bumpy path and showing us that his confidence isn’t without cracks.  He also shows us that we can love someone and still have to struggle to get beyond acceptance to embracing, honestly and openly, the whole person.

Alex invites us into his inner turmoil, hurts and fear of what would happen when he came out.  His concern about being a disappoint to his parents comes through clearly, one that any child can relate to regardless of sexual orientation.  He is a voice for many who are trying to find a way to explain where they are.

Both men teach us that things are never exactly as they appear on the outside.  They also demand that we examine our beliefs closely, to check for unconscious bias.  They ask us to be honest with ourselves and to realize that unconditional love doesn’t always equate a smooth ride.  And in the end, they remind us that we are all human, frail in our insecurities and strong in our ability to love and be loved.

I thank both of these strong men for inviting me on their journey, sharing their hurdles as well as their triumphs and insisting that I look at myself more closely.

This book, when it comes out, is one that I will be providing as a gift to friends because the messages are that important and the stories that well told.

Lessons Declared Upon Skin

I have a small scar on my thumb from a science experiment in school.  I don’t remeber the full experiment any more, but I know we had to break open a glass tube and our teacher was very specific about how we should break this tube.   The man spent what seemed like forever nsisting we break it away from ourselves so as not to create an injury.

The way we were supposed to break thus tube seemed so natural to me, but I placed m thumbs just so as shown and broke down.  Some how I managed to stab my thumb with one of the broken ends of the tube. My teacher basically freaked out that even after all of his cautioning someone went and got hurt.  He was more worried about the injury record than the fact that it was deep enough to require stitches.  A whopping total of four.

I learned two valuable lessons from that experiment.  The first one is that I have to watch them when they out in my stitches.  His is required no matter how icky it might seem.  Since that time aive watched countless needles going into veins, thread being pulled through skin and bones being pushed back into place.  For some reason watching it happen somehow makes it real.

The second lesson I learned was that if something doesn’t feel natural I will end up getting hurt in some way.  This lesson, though, required me to flesh it out a bit.  I didn’t realize that it was applicable to all aspects of life. Trying to be who I am not resulted in a disasterious relationship.  Affecting behavior that wasn’t my natural one resulted in a mass of miscues and screw ups.  In the end it all boils down to the same thing that caused the scar on my thumb, doing something that was unnatural to me.

Every time I look at the scar I am reminded of those two lessons.  And when I catch sight of the scar on Beloved’s chest I’m reminded of another lesson.  His scar is from surgery, a battle with cancer.  And after he recovered from that he went a few bouts with pneumonia.  When I see that scar I am reminded how deep love runs and precious time is with our loved ones.

Sometimes I will run my finger up that pinkish scar of his, the one that made my heart stop cold and my blood turn to ice, just tracing it.  And when I do I feel warm flesh, I can hear a beating heart and I am grateful for each precious inhale of air, beat of the heart and movement of his fingers.  I am reminded how fortunate we are and how lucky it is to be able to have walked away from his cancer with a bit of missing tissue and a scar.

Now scars doesn’t scare me, after all they are messages of battles fought displayed upon our skin.  The way I see it, it’s impossible to live life without acquiring a few scars here and there.  It’s what you make of them, how you handle them that makes the differences. 

Passion Bright, Passion Lost

I was listening to the radio as I drove around on errands, a talk show about plant care was on.  I marvelled at how passionate the expert sounded as she explained how much and when to water trees.  I was enthralled at her evident interest n explaining how to prepare your garden for the coming cold as well as how and when to harvest root vegetables so they remained sweet.

It wasn’t so much the topic that had caught my attention as the passion and animation in the expert’s voice.  You could tell she loved what she was talking about and was thrilled to share her knowledge with others.  I had the distinct feeling that she would have an inward shudder if she met me and knew how many of her green friends have suffered at my fumbling attempts of gaining a green thumb.  She’d probably be super polite and very encouraging while steering me towards nearly indestructible plants.  She is probably one of those very positive, uplifting encouraging souls that enter our lives now and then.

Listening to her got me thinking about an old friend who was always passionate about managing things on her own in a way that wouldn’t leave a great deal of damage on the earth.  This friend canned and pickled because she wanted to.  She grew her own veggies not because she had to, but because she wanted to.  All of this while we were still in school! 😊  While I was chasing down what I needed to take to get my career going, she was fitting in her self-sufficiency around classes.  She spent her summers planting trees while I spent mine with friends and working.

When she got out of school, she was assigned to a rugged section of land, tree health was her main focus.  I remember phone calls where she’d excitedly be telling me about what she had seen and done.  She talked about insect damage and things they were doing to stop it.  I couldn’t believe she was so excited about all of this when to me trees are just kind of there.

Her passion and excitement always made something inside me light up a little.  I didn’t think I had those gifts, the ability to be so passionate about something, to get so excited talking about something that my eyes would light up.  In the end, it was just a matter of time before I found a way for my passion to be felt.  But I can honestly say I don’t think, even today, my excitement and energy is nearly as palpable as hers was.  And while he never met her, Beloved assures me my enthusiasm and passion is very evident when I’m in my element!

I lost track of her over the years, and then from out of the blue I received word that she has passed away at the age of thirty-four.  She had died after a day of landscaping at the house she had just purchased with her partner.  I would learn, later, that she had left the forestry work after becoming disillusioned with the way things were going in her field.  Her partner said that when my old friend lost her passion, it was like a spark went out of her and she just stopped caring about most things.  Depression perhaps.  I don’t know for sure, all I do is it’s a shame when a the passion fizzles out.  Did her’s burn too bright too early on?  Is this how it works?

Of course it probably isn’t that simple.  People’s passions shift sometimes and it is possible to burn out, even doing what you love.  The real trick is to share that passion with others while you are burning bright  and full of energy that people can’t help but catch!

Cutting The Grass And Finding Your Place

Beloved took it upon himself to cut the grass even though we have a service the comes to take care of it.  If he was here more he wouldn’t want the service, but given that he isn’t here all that often and I’m not always able to find the energy to do so, we have a service that cuts the grass.

However to Beloved, cutting the lawn looks like fun.  From running the lawnmower to emptying the bag, the whole thing looks like a delight to him.  So when he has a chance he pulls out the lawnmower, checks the gas, and gets to cutting. He is in his glory, cutting diagonal lines, or straight up and down or, when the fancy hits him he does circles.  He will stop and look at what’s already cut and what needs to still be done and grin like a fool.

When he is finished he will come into the house pleased and proud of himself.  To him this is a very North American thing to do, cutting the grass.  He didn’t grow up here, he didn’t grow up with grass near his house so he had no need to learn how to cut the lawn. But now when he is here, it’s what he enjoys.

Now I’m not complaining any.  If cutting the grass makes him happy then fine he can go and do that.  But the man gets little bits of grass everywhere.  I have no idea how it ends up on his hair and on his face, but by the time he is done, he is a bit of a green man.  Oh not the kind you find in Europe in the churches.  No I’m talking about the kind where a man ends up with a lot of green on him.  😉😀

And when he has finished with the lawnmower he has this need to walk through the house, several rooms, just to grab some clothes and hit the shower.  It is as if he is on a mission to spread as much grass throughout the house as possible in the shortest amount of time.  And the dogs can the left out so they end up with grass in them.  Grass that they then transport throughout the rest of the house, just to ensure maximum coverage. 😐

And after he is cleaned up he will call the service we have and let them know that for this week they don’t need to come,he has taken care of the grass.  They will remind him that he has paid for them to come and that there won’t be any type of discount for him doing the work and he will assure them it’s okay and wish them a good day.  Then he will sit down and read a book, feeling secure in his ability to fit in here.  At least when it comes to cutting the grass.