Bits and Pieces

It is hard to believe how busy one can be doing very little of consequence.   In my quest to putter around to keep occupied – without actually investing a lot of effort into my mission – I  managed to snap a few random shots to share.

Our Brown Eyed Susan finally bloomed 🌞
Our lillies are still blooming
Puff the Magic Dragon 🐉
Dan refinished another garden ornament – originally a hummingbird feeder from Jennifer.
Wednesdays with Dom
A painting from Genie – I love the colors and the ELEPHANT! 💗
Peace is my path 😉

Keep well and have a great day 💖

4th of July

Happy 4th of July to my sister Jeanne, her family, and all of our neighbours to the south of us in the USA.

I used to visit the USA quite regularly, years ago. We lived so close to the American border that it was never a big deal to spend a couple of days in Minot, North Dakota just for the heck of it. After my sister Jeanne and her husband Paul moved to Gillette, Wyoming I made a number of trips down to visit them – at first with my parents and then with my own family.

Wyoming was always a great place to visit. I remember an abundance of steakhouses, country bars and friendly neighbours. There was always a visit to the Black Hills – Flintstone Village, Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Every curve in the road was another tourist attraction and another fascinating little gift shop. I still have pretty little vases and stone bracelets to remind me of those days.

Jeanne and Paul moved to Chadron, Nebraska when Paul left the oil rigs to run an apiary. We were down there a couple of times. As always, it was good times and friendly people. Unfortunately, a few years after the move, Paul died in a tragic accident. Jeanne stayed on, running the apiary with an American friend of theirs. They eventually married and still make their home in Nebraska. Jeanne’s son is raising his family in Wyoming and her daughter is in Washington State with her family.

It is so sad how times have changed between Canada and the USA over the years – with border control, tariffs, and of course now with Covid 19 closing borders. I would love to travel back down through the States. There are so many places that I would love to visit and of course it is always an easy drive to better weather during our frigid winters!

I just want to say, I really appreciate the photos and stories that our American neighbours post on WordPress – it is an inside look at a country that I would love to see more of.

From this side of the border, have a great USA Independence Day!

My Priority is Peace

I have lived a stressful life.   There have been countless ‘situations’ in my life.  Through good, bad or ugly, especially the ugly, my response has been to stress out. 

I am turning sixty five years old next month.  I cannot handle the stress any longer – not physically, not mentally, and not emotionally.   I am done.  

As so often happens when one decides to give up an unhealthy lifestyle, the universe seems hell bent on dragging me back to the darkside. Currently there a number of potentially stressful events affecting my life and the world in general.

1. Family issues. My daughter got upset with me last August.  Typically, I have been labelled toxic and she has cut me out of her life.  Except she doesn’t cut anyone out of her life. She keeps the anger and the hurt and the hate going.  She cuts her entire family out of the life of anyone she has turned against, hurting them as well as herself and those she has shunned. Presently she has cut out her father and his wife, her ex-husband, her ex-husband’s family, her stepdaughter, her brother and his wife and their five year old son, most of her inlaws, Dan and I, friends too numerous to mention, and a few distant relatives.   As far as her problem with me, the truth is she cannot cut me out of her life – she is a part of me.  She cannot stop me from loving her and her family, she cannot erase the  memories that I have of her and her family – all of the good times we have shared and the difficult times we have survived, she cannot erase all that Dan and I have done for her and her family nor the things that her and her family have done for us.  We are a part of her life and she and her family will always be a part of ours.

2.  Finances. I am recently retired.  The plan is for Dan to work for another four years and retire with his full pension.   Lately the plan isn’t looking good.  Dan works making pipe for the oil industry – at a time when the oil industry is struggling and a time when big companies are working to destroy the unions that protect their employees.   Our finances could potentially be adversely affected.   Dealing with financial problems at this point in our life could be serious.  As tempting as it is to start stressing out over this situation, I realize that will not protect us nor in any way improve the quality of our lives.

3. Global Pandemic.   Everything is at stake.  The global economy, personal finances, health, lives around the globe,  lives of loved ones, the viability of the food chain – the potential fallout is endless and astronomical.   There are countless reasons to stress over this situation but far more reasons to keep a level head and potentially become a part of the recovery.

4.  The murder of Floyd George and subsequent civil uprising. I can’t even.  At first this was shocking. At first the peaceful protests and the support by so many were powerful and moving.  At first there was a glimmer of hope that we could overcome the invasive bigotry that courses through humanity.   Now this movement is slowly being crushed by those who believe violence is the answer and more insideously by those who prefer the status quo – those who feel threatened when others desire the rights and privileges that they have always enjoyed. That is all sad, painful, and potentially stressful and I have no answers.

5. Social Media. I have been on Facebook for years. I joined to share pictures with family, keep up with friends, read the jokes, and play the games. Now it is a source of animosity, ‘alternate facts’, disrespect, insults, and those trying desperately to justify hate and ignorance. Instagram is almost as bad but that is due to its ‘Look at me I am Better’ format. People want to be ‘influencers’ in a race to want more. It is a race all will ultimately lose. There are still good, human, beautiful posts on both Facebook and Instagram, but one has to expose oneself to so much negativity to find them.

I could stress out for countless reasons – but stress is not an option. I have done enough stressing. There is enough stress in our world – it is a violent and destructive force that helps and heals no one. Going forward, peace is my priority. Peace is the healing, constructive power that I need. Peace is what our world needs.

Peace is Possible 💗

Another Round of Elephants

It has been a bit since I posted photos of my elephants.  These are just a few of my random favourites.  That is not quite accurate.  Every one of my elephants is my favourite.

A ‘Dumbo’ collectors elephant from my daughter.  He should be kept in original packaging but then I would not get to thoroughly enjoy him.
Oriental Harmony Balls
Scented Oil Diffuser – A bit off track here but did you know you should avoid certain scents if you have animals?  Dogs are adversely affected by eucalyptus.  They become lethargic and depressed by it.  Strange but true. 
An Elephant Jewellery Box
An Elephant Ring Box
Two Elephant Pins & A Ring – I also have an elephant bracelet that I received for speaking at a career day for Genie’s class but it is out for repairs at the moment.
Tea Diffuser Elephant That I Received for Christmas From Son Danny & Amanda
Glow in the Dark Elephant
My PrimRose Elephant. She was only two 🤷He stayed on the elephant shelf🤣

These are just a very few of the elephants I have. I have everything from a huge stuffed elephant to outdoor elephants to micro mini elephants. I saved one very special elephant for grandson Rory’s birthday post tomorrow. 😉

Take care and have a great day. 🐘🐘

Seclusion

When I created my blog, I was focussed on my impending retirement. WordPress had other plans for my blog. “Instead of Retirement 101…”, My blog website became “Seclusion101….”. As strange as that seemed to me, it was actually a perfect fit for me. According to Wikipedia “Seclusion is the act of isolating from society”.

I admire people who can walk into any situation and make it better. Some people enter a room and radiate happiness. Others can be caught in the midst of drama, conflict or fear and radiate peace and calm. I am not one of those people.

I am a sponge for the emotions of those around me. By the standard of current terminology, I am an empath. I get close to anyone who is experiencing extreme emotion and I absorb it by default. I do not even have to be physically close to people I have close ties to – like my husband, sons and daughter. I feel off if there is something seriously wrong with them or the situation they are in.

There are occasions, when this ’empath’ way of being is helpful. I can generally feel when people need comfort or support. I can also generally feel when people are in a state where it is best to just back away and give them space. For the most part, being in the midst of extreme emotion just beats me up – regardless of the type of emotion.

I hate parades. I always have. When the planes fly over or the band strikes up and the crowd unites in excitement and anticipation, I am overwhelmed by the urge to burst into tears. Funerals crush me – even when the deceased was not someone I was personnely close to. The collective grief of family and friends suffocates me. Angry outbursts are the worst. Even if people screaming at each other are across the street, I feel terrified. I know these situation are over reactions, but that is how I am.

I would love to live on an acreage surrounded by nature. In the city, I make do. Regardless of where I have lived, I have always had my special place where I could ‘isolate from society’. Back in the days when I was alone with my teenagers, my ‘place’ was a corner of the kitchen cupboards. I could open a window, sit on the cupboard with my feet in the sink and enjoy a cup of tea and a cigarette. Nobody came near me when I was in my corner – until Dan came into my life. He was allowed in my corner. (He wasn’t allowed to put his feet in my sink.)

Now it is relatively easy to seclude myself. I have indoor and outdoor places that are perfect for isolating. Life has never been better – in retirement and seclusion.

Have a pleasant and peaceful day🌞

For the Love of Elephants

For my second Christmas, my parents gave me a fluffy stuffed elephant. They may have been trying to insinuate something. I was a bit fluffy myself in those days.

My first elephant.

Forty years later, I started to seriously accumulate elephants. It began when my father-in-law passed away and I inherited my late mother-in-law’s elephants.

One of my mother-in-law’s favourite elephants. She received it from an artisan she met when on a cruise. She watched him make it and was so amazed by his talent that he gave it to her when it was finished.
I started buying elephants as souvenirs when we travelled. I bought this little guy for myself on our way home from my Mother’s funeral.

My husband, children and grandchildren started buying me elephants.

Dan bought me this elephant (piggy) bank when our granddaughter Maddy was about nine months old. She would come in and go straight to the bookshelf to feed the elephant toonies.
My son Mark picked up this ‘Ganesh’ statuette when he went to British Columbia with Erin and their son Dominic.
Gabby, Lucas and Cason picked up this cutie when my son Dan and Amanda took a family trip to California last summer.
This “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” trio of elephants was a birthday gift from my daughter Jennifer and family.
This bridge of elephants was a present from my sister Denise and her husband Ray. We went to visit them in White Rock, BC a few years ago and were able to celebrate our anniversary with them while we were there.

I have another seventy or so elephants right now. I have garden elephants, stuffed elephants, stone elephants – even a crystal elephant. I will share more pictures of my elephant friends in future posts.

Surprise

Granddaughter Genie stopped by for a short surprise visit yesterday with her younger siblings. It is a bad time to socialize but we did our best to keep physically distanced. Nobody was happy about the no huggs and kisses policy but they all complied.

Genie
Rory, Prim& Kat, Maddy

Genie has been working a lot at Superstore these last few weeks. They are making things better for store clerks – shorter hours to allow for extra cleaning and stocking, limited customers at one time, special shopping hours for seniors and for store staff, sneeze guards to protect cashiers and wage bonuses for all staff. So grateful to their powers that be that they realize how important their staff is to them and to us all!

It was great to see Rory, Maddy and Prim. With Mom and Genie working lots of hours, Rory is stepping up to cover a lot of the house cleaning. Maddy is growing up fast. She is helping out with cooking and baking. Prim is doing her part to keep things lively and helping where she can – no doubt keeping the dogs, cat and turtle on their toes.

A few things of note:

1) They are all great kids and it’s amazing how they pull together to help out.👍

2) We miss them all – thank goodness for technology that keeps families in contact while we are kept apart.📲

3) It is really hard to keep physically distanced in our little house. Going forward – no visits until it is warm enough to visit outside. Fortunately, we have a huge yard and warm weather is coming. 🌲

4) I am now pretty much out of gummy bears, toffee and Pepsi. 😂

5) Rory was as happy as the girls😊. I just caught him at a serious moment. (Probably when Genie and I made fun of him for referencing ‘Fifty Shades of Blue’). Apparently he hasn’t seen the movie. If it is a sequel to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ that is no doubt a good thing.

Technology to Live By

Technology has made major strides in my lifetime. I do not claim that it is all for the betterment of society but some of it is definitely good. In these days of ‘social distancing’ it is proving to be truly great in some ways.

One of my favourite aspects of technology, as a parent and grandparent, is the ability to receive photos and video clips at the press of a button – even when we are separated from family by geographical distance or ‘social distancing’ meant to keep, us and them, safe.

When I was a young child, my earliest photos were black and white – on films that were sent away for expensive processing. By the time I was in elementary school, my photos were in color, taken by instamatic cameras and still sent away for processing. By high school we had Polaroids that printed out instantly – the quality left much to be desired and the film was expensive, but they were quick.

When my children were preschoolers, I had my first experience with digital photos. They were done at a booth in a mall and printed on a dot matrix printer. They were black and white, relatively economical, and instantaneous. I framed them and they hung on my livingroom wall for twenty some years. I have them packed away in a box at the bottom of my closet amidst my other treasured memorabilia from their younger days.

Mark Then
And Now
Daniel Then
And Now
Jennifer Then
And Now
Videos at the touch of a button

It is so nice to have the ability to quickly, easily and economically share photos and videos with family and friends. At this point in time – it is priceless💝