How I Know

There are poinsettias on the mantle.  A Christmas fern peeking out here or there.  A tiny holly plant in a bursting out of a snow mans’ stop hat and a Christmas cactus just ready to bloom on the table.

Soon there will be touches of Crimson on the tables,  and swatches of green here and there.  Eventually tiny white lights will be added to a tiny tree with silver balls and crystal ornaments.   And if he gets his way, somewhere in a door way Beloved will hang  some silly piece of greenery to meet the tradition of mistletoe.

Birdseed will be sprinkled outdoors, and branches will be smushed lower into the ground because that’s something he has always done.  Puddings and cookies will be planned and cooked. Presents will be wrapped, stockings stuffed and drinks mulled.

And I, well I shall not get too caught up in any of it.  I never do.  Some cookies I will bake.  Decorating I will leave for him.  I haven’t wrapped a present in years and won’t begin now.  (Gift bags are a blessing for those with joint damage!)  Instead I shall watch as the smile that starts to fill his face grows a little bigger with each task until he simply cannot contain it anymore.  That’s when I shall out presents under the tree and watch his glee turn him back into a small child if only for a few moments.  That’s when I know Christmas is here.


What’s On Your Windowsill or Decorating With Dinos

My grandmother used to keep plants and candles on her windowsills. My mother kept seedlings on hers until they were ready to be planted in the ground.  A few of the much orders ladies I knew growing up kept powder on their windowsills, to keep the haints away.  These ladies always had yellow trim on their windows to ward off the haints as well.

But me, I apparently seek the not to grow life nor to ward off those who have passed over.  You see friends I keep dinosaurs on my windowsills.  I didn’t start out with a plan to keep dinosaurs on my windowsills.  Actually I didn’t plan on keeping anything on my windowsills.  However the four-footed one opted to out her plush dinosaurs on the windowsills she could reach.  Thankfully she only has two, but that’s enough for me.

I’ve  nothing against dinosaurs, plush or whatever.  I just have no need for them on my windowsills, but every day around eight in the morning they are placed on the windowsills to be removed only when it’s time to run around the house with them in your mouth.  Well if you are the four-footed one that is.  I have no more need for carrying dinosaurs in my mouth than I do to have them on my windowsills!


When I Grow Up

When I was younger I swore I’d be different from the women I saw in my life.  I would throw off traditional roles, which I’ve sort of done.  Some of it was from breaking traditional roles and others because, let’s face it, I am not the domestic goddess that other women are.  But I sure can turn a turkey into a charcoal artifact like no one’s business! 😉

At some point I realized that while I can step out of a traditional role, that doesn’t mean others see me in any other light  than as someone not doing what she should be doing.  And to some I am a balance or rather a person attempting to balance modern with tradition.  For the record my ability to balance is less than ideal.

Whether I shrug off the labels and roles or not doesn’t matter to most people.  My mother certainly accepted that I’d do things my way from career to cooking.  My mother tried, bless her, still tired to offer me a way back to traditional things.  A cookbook or favourite recipe.  How-to books and subtle suggestions.  And while I’ve grateful for all of this, I’m sure she saw it as me devaluing what mattered to her by not once fully accepting her invitation on the journey of what she enjoyed.  I don’t think I could have ever done things her way without some type of modification.  (Thanks for teaching me the art of modification dad!)

So while I may never make a mean Christmas turkey, I can brew an excellent cup of coffee and colors the importance of myth, religion and well-being.  So maybe, just maybe, I’ve found what I’m going to do when I grow up! 😐😊


Here, There And Lists In Between


Beloved’s niece has decided to create her bucket list now, just in case she should become ill with something like the cooties from touching a boy (she is six after all). This is her response to learning her aunt is dying.

Beloved, upon hearing about the bucket list of such a young child, wondered out loud if it was the right thing to do. To tell a young child about death, and to do it in such a way that the young child feels the need to create a list of things she dreams of doing before she dies.

The thing is, we all face death in our own way, just as we grieve in our own way. What we want from life varies too. These ideas and concepts can very within the person as s/he ages. So the list that says eat an ice cream while on the top of the world may be altered to eating an ice cream with someone important in your life every chance you get.

Society, most certainly western society, has done a good job of making death something less than part of the life cycle. There was a time when people were closer to death. It happened, bodies laid in rest in people’s houses for visitations and so on. We didn’t hide it, pretty it up or anything of that nature. Now death is something to be feared as we have moved it from the world of knowing to being a mystery.

We have also created a whole industry around defying death, through various attempts at immortality or at least longer lives. It’s the norm now to not look your age. We see fifty year olds with vibrant, glowing, tight skin. They have brilliant hair and a body in the shape of a younger person. The fifty year old who decides to go the natural route, allow hair to grey, skin to get wrinkled, a body to soften with experience is suddenly the one on the outside. And we say things such as “boy s/he looks old”. We forget that the person doesn’t look old, rather the person has simply taken on the biological appearance combined with the life experiences of someone who is of a certain chronological age.

I don’t have a bucket list. I figure if I have a list of things to attend to before I die I’m not necessarily living in the present and making the most out of the moments I have. But that’s just my way of thinking. Do I have a list of thing I’d like to do during my life? Sort of. But if they don’t happen that’s fine and I’m not about to chase after them just to get the filled either.

Do I have an issue with a young child (or anyone else for that matter) having a list? Nope not at all. As I said we each face life, death and all the living in between as best we can as individuals. We have our own meanings to a full life, a purpose filled life, a meaningful life, what we want out of life. And we must acknowledge that death is another thing that will have different ideas and desires when it comes to each of us. There is no real right or wrong way to approach these things, provided we aren’t harming anyone else.

Of Humans, Clocks And Fools, Why We Look Foolish To Nature

The dogs do not get this time change nonsense.  Saving daylight to them is some silly human tradition.  I have to say that I kind of agree with them.  I mean we end up with daylight it’s just spread differently in the day. The same amount of hours still make up a complete day.  It’s all because we have ceased to live in a more natural rhythm with nature.  You see, and I know this will be a shock to some, nature doesn’t believe in clocks.

It is this human need to mark time, to track and keep tracking time, that has created this weird situation.  A situation that pretty much goes against the natural movements of, well, nature.

So the dogs, who are creatures of habit after all, are confounded by the starting of their morning ritual before it should be starting.  They also cannot grasp why a few short days ago it was acceptable to still be thudding around in the house at an hour that now has them settling n for he night.  Heck who am I kidding, I simply get them situated so they can settle down.  They aren’t setting down any earlier.  Why would they?  This time change means nothing to them.  Other than the fact that the crazy human has once again successfully foiled their good routine. 😉

Chances are, if we weren’t so bleary-eyed from messed up sleeping cycles, we probably find the whole ing a little silly to!  Then again, humans tend to mess up good things because routines seem somehow to rub us wrong if it’s a long-term deal.  I mean we change things up on big scales and little scales so why should I expect us to get it right now?

Booking Traditions From Angels

The pre-Christmas blitz is just starting to get under way.  The first hints of what are the must haves and must die fors are starting to be revealed.  Growing up , I recall how this time used to happen closer to Christmas.  Long after the excitement and frights of Halloween were past, my father would place his order for my mother’s angel.

Every  year, without fail, my dad would present my mom with an angel for that year’s Christmas.  And every year she’d display her complete collection during the Christmas season.  As the collection grew how and where the Angels were displayed changed.  I recall a few making appearances in odd places, like the kitchen and bathroom.

How and why this tradition started between my parents is a secret.  What it meant to them has always been a mystery to me.  I do know that as the years went by my father would struggle to find just the right angel for that year.  Some how he always seemed to pull it off and the tradition would carry on!

Beloved and I do not have any type tradition other than providing each other with the written word.  Basically we try to find each other favourite books, especially ones from each other’s childhoods, and provide tha magic again for each other.

There is  something magical and mysterious about providing a loved one with a first edition cool of his/her favourite book.  The mystery is how such an old book, a loved story, can reach so many of the senses.

This then is our tradition, sharing of books and trying to find just the right one for each other.  It isn’t a magical angel, nor is it carving and designing the Halloween pumpkin for the year together.  Just words, loved words, shared between the two of us.  I hope we keep this tradition going for a long time as there are a lot of books I adore!  And there is something truly wonderful about sharing a favourite book with a favourite person! 😉

Time For Tea?

For the record, tea does not fix everything.  I know some people will say nothing seems as bad once you’ve had a nice tea.  Some people believe tea has the ability to cure a myriad of illness and mend a broken heart.  I’m not sure where these people get their information from.  Or maybe I’m just using the wrong type of tea.

Please don’t shake your head or make those comforting words.  We all know I’m a coffee drinker at heart so it is utterly possible, most likely probable that I using the wrong tea, or doing the whole tea thing wrong.  I can accept that, it’s a very real truth after all.

What I cannot accept, what I will not accept is not being able to assist Beloved as he goes through a rough patch.  The kind of patch that says you must lose a loved ones to the arms of death.  And there is no promise that this parting will be comfortable either.  But it isn’t our place to say, just to be there as best we can.  Beloved needs to be there for his family member and I need to be there for him.

Friends I’ve made gallons, no correction it should read as oceans, of tea and nothing has gotten better.  No pain has been eased, no smiles have turned up corners of mouths.  No comfort has come from one of the pots I’ve brewed.

As a matter of fact, not that anyone is keeping track, I’ve poured endless cups of tea, most of which has gone untouched, or barely touched.  Not all of the tea I’ve poured has been made by my hands either.  Not that it really matters, except maybe in some small way it does.  To me.  Because it means there is a possibility that it isn’t my inexperience with making tea properly that’s causing the issue rather it’s the emotional state of everyone.

Right now there are four cups of tea, each colouring to different degrees sitting in the room.  Beloved has poured himself these, taken them to go and sit and then decided he didn’t want the tea after all.  Unless it’s that he draws comfort from knowing there is a cup at his elbow.  Ready and waiting should he need it, or want it.

It doesn’t help that I’m on summer cold number three either and feeling more useless than I usually do.  I’m pretty sure there is no level of uselessness beyond what I feel right now.  I want to curl up and sleep like Rip Van Winkle.  I want to wake up to a bright shiny day where I have energy and curiosity.  But that eludes me thanks my worries and my cold.

The last thing I want to hear now is someone saying tea, or tea time or anything of that ilk.  Because I know tea doesn’t fix, heal or mend all things.  It provides a person a ritual which you can get lost in briefly, but you can’t stay there forever.  Eventually you have to come up out of the tea and face the rest of the world.  When you do, if you are fortunate you will face it with friends and loved ones.  If you aren’t as fortunate, you will face it alone.  Know this my friends, no matter what, that cup of tea you brew won’t protect you from anything.  Because it’s just tea, boiled water and dried leaves steeped in ritual and tradition.