November 5th – Family

The words of wisdom for today are attributed to Clara Ortega.  Unfortunately, I did not discover anything definitive on her, other than she obviously had a deep connection with and appreciation for  her siblings,  as this was not her only family quote.

“To the outside world we all grow old.  But not to brothers and sisters.  We know each other as we always were.  We know each other’s hearts.  We share private family jokes.  We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.  We live outside the touch of time.

– Clara Ortega

I grew up at a time when there was respect for family, for parents, and for each other as siblings.  I have one brother and four sisters, all older than me.   My two eldest sisters and my brother were all grown and gone by the time  I was eight, but we were family.   They returned home frequently, their own families in tow.   As we all aged out of the family home, we went our separate ways, but we kept in touch and  reunited  for weddings, funerals and the like.

My family was not perfect.  None of us, as individuals were perfect.  But we were family.  Nothing could, or would, ever break that bond.   We shared joys and grief, chicken pox and measles, family trips, and countless meals.   We have had our fair share of disagreements, feuds and the like.   But we forgave and we moved on.  We were separated by distance  or circumstances, but in our hearts we were always family.  Even now, our parents and our family, lives on.

We share family jokes and family memories.   Who could ever forget the feasts  that Mother would prepare, the jigsaw puzzles that we assembled together, the countless Scrabble Games, or badminton matches,  the Christmas that little Brigette plugged in the wagon lamp? (The cord was not yet attached to the lamp. 😬).    Or, the day the wheel fell off Lorraine’s car, to be followed by the wayward boiled eggs falling off of Mother’s kitchen cupboard.   (I can’t believe she found that more annoying than humourous. 🤭 ).   We all remember  midnight masses, family evening prayers, and  weekday masses where us girls  wore makeshift ‘hats’.   In recent years, I found one of those ‘hats’ preserved in the family bible. 😂. We share a lifetime of memories unique to our family, because they were shared as family.

Thank you Clara Ortega, for reminding me of my family, all family – parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, nieces and nephews.  Thank you for reminding me of a past filled with stories of ancestors and family history.   

Today, there are so many who place little to no value on family.   There are too many who would rather go it alone, than accept the past, resolve differences, forgive and move on. There are too many families that have been torn apart by those who were welcomed into the family.    It is hard to believe that there will ever be Peace on Earth, while so many families remain angry, indifferent,  abandoned and estranged.   

That is it for today.  As always, all comments are welcome and appreciated.

Take care and have a great day! 💞

Day 23 – Memories

It is Day 23 of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge and I have decided to pay tribute to memories. This one is a bit of a trip down the rabbit hole for me, so hopefully it will be a positive experience for anyone who chooses to join me today.  🙃

I have never been one to dwell on the past.  At first,  it was not a conscious decision.  I was focussed on dealing with the present and looking forward to the future. 🌞   After a brutally painful period in my life, I did make a very conscious decision to shut the door on my memory banks and slap a big old lock on them.   If a moment from the past happened to sneak through, it was nothing more than a snapshot in someone else’s photo  album.  I would not relate to it personally.

I was perfectly happy to live in this delusional little headspace, where my past did not exist.   I had no desire to relive my past through  painful memories, and bizarrely,  the best  memories from my past were the ones that were most painful for me to face.

Ultimately, this decision to block my past became problematic.   I had a tendency to react to triggers that  seemingly came out of nowhere – like the time a business consultant snapped his fingers in my face.   He was lucky that he got out of my office while he still had fingers!   There were other times, many times,  when I just drew a blank when someone mentioned the past, even the recent past –  like the day Dan and I ran into his boss.  They started talking about the time they had been at one of our local hospitals.   I could not remember when or why Dan would have been at the hospital.  It was only when Dan’s boss turned to me and asked how I was doing now, that I realized that Dan had been at the hospital to be with me.   I had been in the hospital with pneumonia/empyema for a solid month  a couple of years earlier and  I had totally forgotten! 

In the security of my relationship with Dan, and the relative well-being of my life in general, I decided it was time to crack the locks on my memory banks and have a peek around.   At first, there was a whole lot of ugly memories that burst out.  I wasn’t surprised, and I wasn’t that bothered by this.   I was expecting them.    I did not find a lot of warm and fuzzy memories.   I was not expecting to and quite frankly, I was terrified of finding any. 

Lately, I have been sorting through our basement and closets.   I found a couple of boxes of older photos.  I started to go through them and discovered that I have finally reached a point in my life where I am ready to look for the positive anywhere and everywhere – even in my past.

So, without further ado, or rambling on as the case may be, I invite you to browse through a few positively good memories with me. 💞

Lunching out with Jen.
For years, we went shopping on Saturday morning. And we went for lunch. And we went walking at Wascana Park or took the kids tobogganing or swimming or to any number of places. We took trips to Gravelbourg and Saskatoon and one memorable trip to Winnipeg.  $$$😂
First there was one – Genie, back in the day when grandbabies were all sweet little  innocents – happy to chase ladybugs and steal Pipsi. 🤗
Back in the day with Casey and Susie.  Casey was a beautiful American Eskimo/Pomeranian.  She was with us for sixteen years before she passed away.   Suzie was a tiny  blind kitten that Jennifer gave Dan.  She lost her owner and all of her siblings in a house fire.  The owners family took her mother but could not provide a home for Suzie. We had her for about thirteen years before we lost her to cancer.
My first Christmas with Dan and his dad, Nick.
Danny, getting ready to head out on his own with his very first vehicle – bought and paid for by his truly. 👍
The first home where my ex and I lived in Regina.  It couldn’t have been uglier!
Until we added our ugly sofa and mirror and fugly lamps!  (I spared you the wall of mirror tiles and the one covered with metallic butterfly wallpaper – and the glass and brass orange lamps!)
Family visit at our home up north.  Without a doubt the best years with my ex. 
Back in the day with my ex. (Mark Sr.) and our three little ones (Danny, Jennifer and Mark B.)
And way back, with my sister Lorraine and our niece Brigette. 💞

Twenty-three days down and seven to go.

Now that I am caught up with my life, I had better get busy with my here and now. That lawn isn’t going to water itself.

Have fun today and I hope to see you tomorrow! 💝

Finding Myself

Back in the day (my day), people went to great lengths searching to ‘find themselves’. 

I loved and admired my father.  If I ever envied him, it was because he never had to ‘find’ himself.  He knew who he was, and he was who he was, regardless of who he may have been dealing with at any particular time.   

My father was a very quiet, peaceful man. I spent a lot of time with him and I  remember him losing his temper with someone else ONCE!    My parents owned a service station/autobody shop.  My siblings and I pumped gas from the time we could reach the gas nozzle.   One day, my father was busy in the back of the shop when a customer pulled in.  He was a big man (at least 6′-6″ and 250 lbs).  He owned one of the most successful retail businesses in town and was no doubt on the town council and Chamber of Commerce.    I ran out to pump his gas.  I was tiny, probably about six years old.  This big man got out of his vehicle, stepped around it, and stood behind me.  I did not notice he had a lit cigarette in his hand.  My father stepped out of the shop.  He noticed!   He yelled at the man to get away from me and he went up one side of him and down the other for half a block.  My father was 4′-10″  and 130lbs.   If I had not been so shocked at his outburst, I would probably have found the entire incident hysterically funny.  The customer obviously did not, but I never saw him smoke another cigarette in his life. He did remain a loyal customer.

At the other end of the spectrum, my class was making graduation plans.  We had to choose a business person to make a toast to the graduating class.   I was surprised when one of my classmates nominated my father.  When I asked why, he said because my father treated everyone in town with the same respect and consideration – everyone including the teenagers in my class.  It did not matter to my father who you were, he knew who he was, and he acted accordingly. 

I was not like my father when it came to knowing and being myself.  I blame him.  😂    To the very end, on his deathbed and while I was pushing forty, my father would introduce me as ‘our baby’.  To be fair, six kids in,  he probably forgot my name by the time the ink dried on my birth certificate. 

During this past year of seclusion, or reclusion as the case may be, I have been ‘finding myself’.  I have found myself, learned to like and accept myself.  

The interesting part of this journey, is that while I have been finding myself, I have learned to accept others as they are.  They do not have to agree with me or validate my views, and I can accept them as they are and respect their views – even if I disagree with them. 

I don’t know if this is a new level of maturity or self confidence, but I am in a good place. A peaceful place. I am ready to quit searching and just be – me!

Yea, I got my first Covid vaccine shot today!

Have a nice day and stay safe! 💞