July 28th – Magical Coincidences

Last night, Dan and I were invited to join my cousin Kathy and her husband Scott for supper.

As we pulled up in front of their house, Dan recognized their next door neighbour. He and Dan have worked together for ages and kept in touch regularly when they were both off of work a few months ago. Of course, Dan had to pop over to say hi and check out Roy’s amazing yard.

It is so funny, Dan and I can go anywhere at any time, in or out of Regina, and we will run into someone he either grew up with or has worked with. I always find it so wierd because we very seldom run across anyone that I specifically know.

I am so used to running into people that Dan knows that I don’t always pay too much attention to these meet and greets. Often they are discussing work, times, places, or people that I am not familiar with. One night, we were out and I had my back to Dan. I heard him exchange friendly greetings with someone. I half ignored them until I realized the other voice sounded vaguely familiar. I turned around and Dan was chatting with my one and only brother. 🀦

Anyway, when Dan and Roy were done with their short visit, we joined Kathy and Scott in their gorgeous backyard. We had a glass of wine and a pleasant visit, before proceeding to their deck for a delicious barbecue supper and more enjoyable visiting. It was so comforting to catch up on all the extended family news and share memories of those who are long gone.

After a lovely evening, we returned home and called it a night.

This morning, Dan was packing his golf bag into the Jeep when he found an unfamiliar critter in our yard. I am not sure if he followed us home last night or how he came to be here, but I hope his friends don’t come looking for him. 😳

Sphynx Moth Caterpillar ?

Dan is now off golfing and I am ready to settle down in my little corner to relax and meditate for a bit. I hope you are enjoying a likewise beautiful summer day.

Take care and see you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

Day 20 –Β  Happy Father’s Day

It is the twentieth day of my  June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge and today we are celebrating Father’s Day.

I wanted to do something a bit different this year so I have put together a little tribute to my father-in-law, Nick.  It has been eighteen years since Dan’s father passed away but I was fortunate enough to share many special days with him while he was still with us.

Nick and Dan’s Mom Elizabeth (Elizabeth passed away before I had the opportunity to meet her.)
Nick & Elizabeth at Dan’s graduation.
One of the first days that Nick celebrated a special occasion with us. Nick and my Mother were both with us to celebrate my sons’ graduation.
I have no idea what Nick and I were doing but I am not too surprised that we were the ones goofing off on this obviously solemn occasion.
Later that day….
Celebrating Christmas with Nick.
Over the years we  entertained Nick and his family. (Nick with his niece Kelly and brother-in-law Alex).
And Nick spent time with my family.  (Nick with my sister Elaine and her husband John).
On this day, Nick was honored for having volunteered over 10,000 hours with the St. John’s Ambulance.
Always a dog lover, Nick seldom went anywhere without his precious Buffy
Even when Nick’s health was failing, he made a point of being with us when we brought our Casey pup home.
Nick at his home – sitting beside one of the amazing macrame hangers he had created.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Nick and sharing a few of our special moments together. He was a good man who lived a life of dedication to his family and his community.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there today – Especially to my Dad who unfortunately did not live to meet Dan, to Dan who opened his life and his heart to my sons and my daughter and to each and every one of our grandchildren, and to my sons and son-in-law. Thank you!

Twenty days down and ten to go! I cannot believe I am already two third of the way through this challenge that I have set for myself. πŸ‘

Wishing everyone a nice Sunday and I will see you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

Day 13 – Siblings

It is the thirteenth day of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ challenge. Being a Sunday, I thought this would be a good day to spotlight my siblings.

Lorraine, Elaine, Peter, Jeanne and Denise
Denise

Denise was firstborn. She brought stubborn determination to the family, a serious talent for organization, and deep love and compassion for all things innocent or vulnerable – especially dogs, birds, and butterflies. πŸ€—

Jeanne

Jeanne came second. She brought beauty, elegance, and charm. To me, she has always been a cross between Jackie Onassis and a Disney princess. Over the years she has raised a family, bees, sheep, and a wayward duck. She has lost a husband, remarried, and survived cancer. She has done it all with genuine graciousness and without EVER having a bad hair day. 😐

Peter

Pete is my one and only brother. He has always been calm and quiet with a droll sense of humor thrown in. Being ten years older than me, we did not associate much as kids but I do have one memory of the two of us. I was in Grade one so Pete would have been in Grade 11. We had a huge blizzard. The next morning there was tons of snow around so my mother told Pete to walk me to school. He dragged me over or around every mountain of snow between our home and the town school only to find out that all classes had been cancelled for the day. Being brotherly, Pete dragged me all the way back home. I have a feeling Janice walked their daughters to school. 🀣

Elaine

After Pete, my parents reverted to yet more girls. Elaine brought creative genius and talent to the family. She has done it all and she does it all incredibly well – cooking, baking, crocheting, needlepoint, crafting, plus extensive home renovations. To this day, Elaine tracks every family birthday, anniversary, and the like and sends us all beautiful handcrafted cards. πŸ’

Lorraine

Lorraine and I grew up more as twins than sisters. (I wasn’t the evil one πŸ˜‡). Lorraine was, and remains, the firecracker of the family. I have never kept up with her physically or mentally – few if anyone could – but we have always made any time better together. πŸ₯³ 🍸

Teenie (Jeanne Christine) – Honorary Sister

Teenie is my sister Denise’s eldest child and only daughter. Since Teenie is only a couple of years younger than me, we have always had a sisterly relationship. When she was young, she would come for extended visits. I got to experience having a younger sibling and she got my favourite dress with the pink pinafore and my Campbell soup doll. She was the sweetest thing and unfortunately I was a bit too young to appreciate her at the time. We are good now!

Teenie and the Campbell doll she bought me a few years ago to replace the one that I always teased her about.

So that is it! Thirteen days down with seventeen to go!

Have a nice Sunday and I hope to see you tomorrow!

Happy Easter!

Easter has always been my favourite holiday.  I grew up in the Catholic faith and I loved the Easter services filled with joyful, spiritual music in a church decorated with beautiful spring flowers.   Outside of Easter Mass, the holiday marked the arrival of spring – warm sunny days, pretty summer dresses (with hats and purses and shoes to match),  gathering for a feast of ham and turkey with all of the trimmings, brightly painted eggs decorating a  basket of chocolate eggs and bunnies.  Easter was always a happy family holiday – far from the stress and commercialization of any other holiday.

This year, Dan and I are alone for Easter.Β  Churches of every denomination are closed here due to the pandemic. Likewise, family gatherings are prohibited. Easter dinner is an ongoing affair that started with baked ham on Friday, appetizers and turtle cheesecake last night and turkey supper tonight.Β  (Our house smells so good!)

My pan was a bit big for the recipe but it tastes like chocolate turtles and cheesecake.

It is a little windy and cool today but when the sun comes out it is nice enough. I put my little plants out for some fresh air – in baskets that would protect them from the worst of the wind.

Other than that, we have been having a quiet day. We enjoyed seeing pictures and videos of Dan and Amanda’s boys gathering Easter eggs. Son Mark sent a pic of Dom dressed as the Easter dinosaur. πŸ˜‚ I guess as long as he was an egg laying dinosaur. πŸ€”. Genie sent a photo of herself and her siblings. They are all growing up so fast!

Happy Easter and all the best to you and yours on this beautiful spring Sunday. πŸ’

Keeping Busy

January has been a bit busy so far.   Dan has been home so we spend quite some time being together. 😊

I have started cleaning our basement.Β  Basement is probably an overstatement at this point, but it is coming together.Β  I have replaced a dozen cardboard boxes with a few Rubbermaid totes, sorted through Christmas decorations and downsized considerably, vacuumed up a year’s accumulation of dust and spider webs and found a few winter sweaters I forgot that I owned.Β Β Β  A few good day’s work for sure.

While going through the basement, I found boxes of old family favourite recipes – and a few that could become so,Β  now that I have time to cook.Β Β  I have tried a few already – peppersteak, breakfast pizza, breakfast wraps, and lemon butter tarts.

We had a brutal storm this week.  Sustained winds of 126mph 😳 and snow.  We were extremely fortunate that we had no damage to our place and that all of our family stayed safe.  Our power was off for a couple of hours and Dan had some shoveling to do the next day.   

There was a lot of property damage across the province and many travellers were stranded away from home.Β  Dan and Amanda spent an extra night in Edmonton after taking Cason in for a bit of day surgery.

Recovering and milking the family for a little extra TLC. πŸ’—

I have spent time morning and evening practicing my meditation.   I have been enjoying Buddhist chants lately and continue to spend time sending healing energy to friends and family near and far.     I cannot imagine why it took me so long to appreciate meditating, but everything in its own time and this is my time to meditate. 🧘

Saskatchewan has the dubious honor of highest per capita Covid numbers since Christmas.Β Β Β  Dan has been doing our shopping and running our errands while I hunker down and await my turn to receive the vaccine.Β Β  In the meantime, I am happy to see those on the frontlines and our most vulnerable seniors getting the first doses that are available here.Β  πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Keep safe, keep busy! Only 4 more months or so until spring 🌻

More Lessons (finally) Learned πŸ€¦

It is so strange that we can hear the same truth repeated over and over in our lives and never really understand the meaning or importance of the message.

I was raised in a relatively loving home. The Catholic Church and her teaching were a foundation of our lives. I have read countless books on self improvement. Through all of my life, the concept of forgiveness and unconditional love has been brought forth time and time again. I thought I ‘got it’.

I have tried to be a good, caring person. I have tried to not be angry or hateful towards others. I have tried to not be vengeful or judgemental. I honestly thought I had a fairly good grasp on living a ‘good’ life.

Early this spring, I developed health issues that seriously impaired my life. I was driven to retire from my job (a few months earlier than planned) and to start living a healthier life. As part of my healing, I began walking – a lot! – on a regular basis. My walks gave me time to think and many of my thoughts focussed on peace. (Which coincidentally was the subject I had chosen to focus on in 2020).

Walking in itself did wonders for easing my stress level. Spending time in nature on a regular basis was relaxing and beneficial. I walked for my peace. I walked for my family’s peace. I walked for peace for friends and neighbours and strangers. While my health was my initial reason for walking, peace was the driving force that kept me going.

These past few days, while I still walked every day and enjoyed my time in nature, I have started to struggle to stay focussed on peace. There have been a number of things happening that I have been dealing with – ongoing issues with my daughter, my son’s upcoming wedding (which will involve spending a couple of days socializing with my ex-husband and his family), politics – specifically a provincial election which will once again result in a landslide win for a party led by people who have caused serious grief and pain to many – including my family, and with colder weather moving in, a return to having my husband watching his television programs in the livingroom. (I love my husband and I certainly want him to be comfortable on his days off, but personally I am uncomfortable with television programs the likes of Jerry Springer in our house).

All of these situations have cost me a lot of peace. I ‘block’ one disturbing thing out of my consciousness and three more things gnaw at me. It has become increasingly frustrating.

FINALLY I get it!

Peace is one of those things that you cannot just have and hoard. You cannot have peace and choose to share it with some, while withholding it from others. You do not get to decide who is worthy of peace.

For the last couple of days, I have been walking for peace – for myself, for my family, for friends and neighbours and strangers – but including and specifically for those who I had been previously trying to block from my peaceful consciousness.

I feel so much better. The more I walk for peace for myself and others, including walking for those who challenge my peace, the more peaceful I become. Seriously – how simple is that? 🀷

Parenting 101

My Parents’ 50th Anniversary (1989)

On January 1st, I made a commitment to make PEACE my priority this year. I have made a strong and consistent effort to stay true to my commitment. In many ways, I have made significant progress in becoming less anxious and in making my life more peaceful.

There is one area of my life where I continue to struggle on a regular basis . My problem area is parenting – and grandparenting – and when the time comes (if I do not pull myself together) – it will be great-grandparenting. πŸ‘΅

The problem (for me) started with my Mother. She taught me, that if you love someone you care about them. If you care about someone you WORRY about them. I am sure that is what her Mother taught her and, God forbid, that is what I taught my children. 🀦

I love my children and I adore their children. I care immensely about them all. So, when my children or grandchildren face any challenge whatsoever, I worry. If they face a serious challenge, I go into a full-blown anxious meltdown.

I know in my mind that I am over reacting. I have faced challenges in my life. I have made bad choices and I have had to deal with the consequences. I have had my heart broken. I have tried and failed. I have struggled with health and finances and grief. I have survived and, more often than not, I have come through each challenge stronger and better for having been through it.

I know my children and grandchildren are smart and capable and resilient and everything else that they need to be to survive every challenge that they will face in life. I want to stop worrying about them and start showing them that I believe in them. Regardless of the situation, I want to be a strong and calm presence in their life.

I have long believed that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. This quotation has been repeated by many strong men throughout history. It is true and so extremely important! It is the basis of my commitment to making peace my priority this year.

There is nothing more debilitating than fear. Fear makes any challenge – physical, mental, or emotional – all the more difficult to conquer. Fear makes any dream or goal all the more difficult to achieve. I know because I have too often allowed fear to rule me. I do not want it to rule me or my family going forward!

There is no form of fear that is productive or helpful. Worrying about those you love, even your precious children and grandchildren is not productive or helpful. If anything, it undermines their confidence and that is unhelpful and detrimental to their well being! Worse yet, it teaches them to perpetuate this unhealthy form of love when then become parents and grandparents.

Going forward this year, I will continue to make peace my focus – for myself, my children, and my grandchildren. πŸ•ŠοΈ

Finding My Tribe

One of the ubiquitous phrases I have noticed on social media recently relates to ‘finding one’s tribe’. Since I am about as about as outgoing as your basic hermit, I didn’t really think this was a quest that I would ever embark on.

Today I realized that I am less of a hermit and more of a nomad. I have always had a ‘tribe’. As a child, I had my family and my fellow schoolmates. As a young wife and mother, I had my own family and my neighbours. As my children grew up and I became a solid member of the workforce, I had employers, fellow employees, suppliers and customers. When my children became even older, my tribe grew to include a parade of amazing and entertaining grandchildren.

With my retirement, my children and grandchildren getting busy with their own lives, and my siblings some distance away, I truly felt my tribe dwindling down to my husband and my little dog, Kat. Between work and golf for my husband, it was often pretty much me and my dog.

Except that, since I have started blogging, I have met many interesting and wonderful people on WordPress. I look forward to seeing their posts and I enjoy seeing that they have read mine. πŸ™‚ I truly enjoy exchanging the random comments. I have met people I have much in common with, people I have something surprisingly in common with and some whom I find thoroughly fascinating because we seem to have nothing in common. 🀷

I have started meeting our neighbours and found that I once again enjoy the time it takes for a front yard chat. I even had one little neighbour over for a playdate with my grandson recently.

And I have started to meet and greet the regulars that I meet on my morning walks. There is one woman I have spoken to a few times. This morning, we had a lengthy chat. One topic led to another. I swear we have been living in a parellel universe for the past sixty-five years. I look forward to meeting up with her on a regular basis.

Whether I was searching or not, I seem to be finding my new tribe!

Kat’s TribeπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Bits and Pieces

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

Our Brown Eyed Susan finally bloomed 🌞
Our lillies are still blooming
Puff the Magic Dragon πŸ‰
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! πŸ’—
Peace is my path πŸ˜‰

Keep well and have a great day πŸ’–