Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Home. Being Canadian. Summer Solstice.

Midsummer sweetness is about savouring the celebratory aspects of life. Living to the fullest while acknowledging the life doesn't "owe" anyone anything- so the delights are that much more profound. Sometimes people or society ask us to hold back our fierce love of life and we silence ourselves or try to squeeze ourselves into tiny compartments of BEING. We forget it's our ONE life. Being grateful does not negate hardship. If we can, living fiercely is our best gift to LIFE. I try to find the ripeness in life, amongst health scares, oven fires, mini house fire scares, water furnace break downs, anxiety, world issues, weather conundrums, extended family struggles, marriage work and children's needs. Inside the energy of beauty, love, joy and the focus on the positive is where I want to aim to spend most of my mentality when I can. I will readily admit I am in a legitimate depression and struggling with some things, and at first, it took a lot of effort to do anything or see the good. But after a daily habit of the "next right thing"...I still work in energy deficit...but my ability to see the beautiful is getting more poignant and my fortitude to rise to the energetic occasion is taking less time. There is struggle. There is beauty. There is trauma. There is grace.

It's knowing my chosen partner is beside me every night and taking joy in his sleeping face and being in constant awe of his facial perfection. (Also trying not to be envious of his looks as he doesn't even have to try!)

The daily joy is found in the preparation for Summer Solstice Day! One of my favourite afternoons this summer was preparing Rosemary Gluten Free Biscuits, Herb Roast, Fruit infused Juice, and Summer Solstice cake with my children.

I have taken a hermitage lately. I am off of most social media (deleting apps and checking in only once a month for the summer.) My creativity has gone into overdrive again which it tends to do after built up stress or when I actually have more time to myself. I love the little things in life. I love gardening (especially with my roses), hugging trees, re decorating, dusting crystals, preparing baking, ordering solar lights online, shopping for groceries, snuggling my children, loving my husband and taking back roads empty for miles with the music blasting, walking to my parents for quick hello, visiting old and new friends via email or in person when time permits, and talking to kind costumer service agents. (That last one is weird but A LOT of my time lately has been dealing with costumer service in all industries due to break downs and orders etc and I am finding that I am enjoying many of the kind people which is another shock!)

I decided that we needed to build a few structures in our backyard including a stone wall. We had a bunch of free stone we need to use up so why not? Luckily my husband is excellent at literally building my dreams. I decorate, stain, and help with whatever parts I can and then read to him while he works. My children will participate in heavy lifting and learning how to use all the tools etc. I LOVE working together. My family may grumble at times but I think they mostly like it too. Probably not as much as me. People often ask me how I have fun. THIS IS MY FUN:

Since I discovered oil based paint pens, my eldest son ( he is my drawing artist) and I have a new list of things to do!

I also love my Seasonal Holidays. My sister usually joins us for the marking of these occasions. This time my mother and her crafted summer wreaths for her contribution to the feasting day. 

My mother knowingly joked that my house was too full inside/decked out that I had to move outside. Actually, that was exactly it. I wanted to decorate and I could not find a free space that I felt like changing, so I looked outside and thankfully it's a season where I can expand the magic. I now have five mirrors in my backyard. I love it!

We have had an unusual rainy season with loads of mosquitoes. Our town also experienced unusual winter kill on many of our trees and plants so working outside has been interesting! However, we have found work arounds and bits of time between weird weather patterns. The last few weeks I have concentrated on paint/ stain touch ups, solar light and rose maintenance, weeding, transplanting and creating a fairy land of differing traditions into our landscape. My husband found two maple trees on discount begging to be taken home so we now have our Canadian symbols sitting on either side of our front steps. I was so upset that our little pine trees died but the Maple trees are their own beauty. I am finding that what feels like a curse can often be a blessing and what can feel like a blessing sometimes is a curse. When my son woke to the sound of our water being pumped out of our water boiler, I thought curse. Turns out it was good it happened and we had a quick, fairly cheap fix in what could have been way worse. I love the town we live in and how each business is attainable, friendly and unconcerned about Covid in many ways. It's such a beautiful aspect to just BE. (Of course hand washing and light social distancing happens but it's business as usual and many people are living out rich lives due to this mentality. No one is sick.) My kids have had their friends over and are happily adjusting back to life in community.

Tomorrow is Canada day. I loved that DISNEY PLUS honoured it in their own small way:

Seeing the Maple leaf always makes me smile. I adore my country. While it may have some past mishaps and has it's own con list, overall, it is a place that has offered freedom to most who have sought it out. It is a place that gives wide open spaces and camera free drives for hours. The landscape changes drastically an hours drive away. There are gorgeous streams, mountains, prairies, and badlands. We are free to worship as we choose, school as we choose, and love whom we choose. Our businesses provide prompt service in emergencies or when our power or utilities go out. Our weather may be crazy and we may have 8 months of winter, but the seasons are that much more poignant. We have mostly equal opportunities for all who seek to work or BE. Our history has some injustices, but as far as country history goes, the years of remedying injustice equal out to far less than most other places in the world, some of which took centuries or more to change. This is also because we are one of the newest countries in that regard. Canada is still a baby. It's important to celebrate the good and the victories.

My grandpa is Aboriginal. He grew up with some racism discrimination. He went unjustly to jail for punching a man who committed a grave crime against my grandmother. Yet, he still loves Canada and what he was able to have in this country. He still respects the police force- he did blame the one bad cop, terrible guard, and the one discriminatory judge but he liked many of the other friends on the force that he made during his time. (I do not know if I would have the same balance if I went through what he did but I admire it.) Does he have issues with some aspects and carry trauma from his experiences? Yes, but I love what he has taught me about the place that I live. I love that he still take great pride in his country. It was an example of both the pros and cons of my country from a young age. He gave a realistic, sad glimpse but provided a larger story full of determination, opportunity, and work ethic for me to honour and cherish.

On Father's Day we stopped in to see him and my father, while providing breakfast for my husband's dad. These men all helped us become who we are today. We are thankful for their roles in our life. It is not always easy to see eye to eye on some aspects and we all have our histories, but there is great beauty in so many aspects of our relationships too. 

My dad cracked up when we gave him two trees, one of which was very Charlie Brown ish and my son serendipitously drew a Charlie Brown card (purely coincidence but my father noticed the similarities right away!)

I love that near where I live tacky dinosaurs are on Grocery store walls. I love that there is disinfectant everywhere but in most places there are also pretty lax rules again. I love that people are semi careful but also living, smiling and greeting each other again. I love that in one store I see people from all different countries, skin tones and abilities being polite and kind to one another. It's not the exception but the norm. Cruelty is the exception.

I am hermiting into my surroundings. Because I see more good than bad with my own eyes, which is vastly different from what media/news is feeding me. I have had my share of strife, cruelty and personal differences in the last month, but I still see the beauty of the human spirit everywhere.

While we are seeing more people than we did for months, it is still with plenty of alone time in between. I am allowing myself to sleep longer, skip social stuff, and stay off world news. I am still detoxing. But good food, laughter, nightly tuck ins and fabulous birthday celebrations help.

Beauty is in the moment that my grandmother goes through her jewellery with my daughter and tries to hide her tears. It's when they both lovingly touch each piece. Or when my daughter comes back home and bawls because she remembers Grandma wearing and cherishing it all and hates that she has to part with it now to get ready for her next phase of the life cycle. Beauty is in grandma making sure each of her grandkids and her last living daughter have what they need for memories.

Beauty is my mother showing up with lunch ingredients on the last day of the month because our fridge and pantry are always empty on the last three day’s ( we wait for our cheque to put our bank account back up from forty cents till next month again.) It's her enlisting my daughter to help because she knows I had 4 hours sleep. They allow me to "blog rest" while they work.

Beauty is in my therapist sending me the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling (*below) because it reminds him of me. He encourages me to frame it on my wall to remind me not to lose my both sides perspectives even if it gives me more grief from others...it's worth it for my life.

Beauty is in my family. Sometimes I forget to truly look at their faces. To notice the freckles, smile crinkles, gap teeth or pointy smile...all parts of them I love. Aspects individual to them that remind me of the fragility and strength of life.


Beauty is preparing my body and treating it as part of myself. It's allowing rest days but also remembering to adorn, pamper and even restrict at times for an outcome I wish to achieve. It's to see myself as part of nature. Beauty is to see my body as not just a vessel but a large aspect of the way I am in the world and to honour it.

Beauty is my window crystals always begging me to take a moment and stare. I watch them sparkle. I look beyond them at the ever changing sky. And I find that I am breathing deeply again. My eyes fill with gratitude. I can't seem to get enough and at the same time it is everything.

To my fellow Canadians: Happy Canada Day- Savour the parts of home you love! To the rest of the world: May you have aspects of Summer that bring you HOME.

Song Choice: Blossom- James Taylor  (This song has been on repeat lately. Love it.)

Circle Game- Pink:

"I've got a little girl of my own and she looks at me
Like I'm a badass and you know that I wanna be
And now there's monsters in her closet and they wanna come and play
And I start looking for my dad to come and make 'em go away
I know, I know, I know, I know that it's my job now
I know, I know, I know, I know I better work it out

In the circle game, no one ever stopped to say
"Soon it's gonna change, it all just goes away
Count your lucky stars that you had a chance to play"
In the circle game, no one ever stops to say
"Soon it's gonna change, it all just goes away
Count your lucky stars that you had a chance to play"
In the circle game

I had a hard day, and I need to find a hiding place
Can you give me just a second to make it through these growing pains?
And I know that it's just life and I must go through things alone
But I'm feeling kinda small, I want his hand to hold
I know, I know, I know, I know I'm a big girl now
Yeah, I know, I know, I know, I know we all just work it out"

Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son! 

(Written at a time when women were treated differently- luckily that has changed so just translate. Words still are amazing and sentiments.)