Sunday, December 18, 2011

Joy

I was asked to speak on Joy and what that means in our home.

I said of course, and proceed to realize that I had just set myself up for an intellectual quest.

I come from a long line of scientists and engineers so I started out with trying to figure out a consensus of definition.

In our day in age there is a dictionary which in a way said that joy is things like fun and happy to the 11.

But what does that mean, other than it is really, really, really, really a happy moment for us humans?

So, I did what any other person has the option of doing today and asked  what joy mean to people on Twitter and Facebook.

The answers were mostly expected,  a few that made me ponder more and I was starting to see some patterns.

I work with some tough kids, so I took this question to them and got some more expected answers, and some unexpected ones... but the patterns were holding... though somewhat elusive in setting into concrete language.

I asked a friend with whom I pursue issues of intellect and faith. I mentioned that I was starting to see that community was a theme, especially if the people were parents.  My friend suggested that it was about being a part of something bigger than oneself.

More to think about. I have to admit that I was starting to question if those moments I would have called joyful actually were. I tend to avoid definitions that require faith, as it is something that is not really definable.

A few days later I was sitting in one of my favorite coffee shops, getting ready for a meeting and a dear friend happened to walk in.  In the course of our conversation I decided they would be a good person to ask this question to... They revealed some interesting things to think about.

Among the things they said was that they tended to associate the word joy with the Christian faith. That in their work they used that word most commonly with Christians and not so much with people of an other faith.

I reacted quickly, saying that I thought joy was more of a universal concept, that it really did not have a faith barrier.

But, with time, and my typical Scottish Presbyterian upbringing tendency to dwell on such matters...  I started to think there was something very valid in that assertion. The word joy is very Christian (though it does appear in the old testament and in other sacred texts).

Joy is sometime that often comes up around this time of year, in reference to Christmas of course.

So, I had to give in to the notion that Joy was a Christian notion... though in doing so I don't say that it is ONLY a Christian one.

I think that the patterns I was noticing, that of community were about being a part of something bigger than ones self. That is was feeling content, that it was not always an easy emotion, that it could include things like watching children being themselves and feeling your heart swell with something that could only be joy, that it could be about our senses being stimulated with simple things like a favorite horse chewing on alfalfa or sugar and just how magical that moment could be. I would even allow for the answers that threw me a little and might not apply to me; a sense of accomplishment, feeling buzzed, and listening to music.

One thing I do know... for me, the most constant source of joy comes from witnessing Squink grow up and be a part of the world he was born into.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

And my favourite line is... (Stand forgiven)

Stand forgiven

Somber, as is this time, and I ponder tomorrow,
All as was given, and, in this beauty it is granted,
Life as we know it should be.
Of yesterday and those gone by,
For tomorrow, as it is, within question
And, existence in this mortal world
An answer awaits.
Upon this solemn ground I quake,
As though, I shiver in the nakedness of distrust!
Humble, and, I bow mine own head in prayer for thee.
A tear thus shed, in sorrow
Apathy for a time in turmoil, and, mine own disgust!
Truly as it were, a view of what should be
As we look to the morn'.
Alas, thine own view of reality
As to not tiptoe so quietly through the aftermath of yesterday's
Diminished glory!
Standing proud, and, there is nothing of this to be shared
Thus, I listen, and I hear the voice within
Ashamed, for what has become of a notion that all was done
Within reason.


Michael Shawn Groseclose

Copyright 2011 At first sight. Michael Shawn Groseclose. All rights reserved.

Thank You Michael Groseclose for letting me share this.
~b

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Art history

I just read a line in A Trip To The Stars by Nicholas Christopher that just struck me so personally...

"It was amazing to me, when I thought back on it later, that I got my art history, not from slides or photographs in coffee-table books, but from viewing the objects firsthand, close enough to touch".

This feels so true to my experience... not just with paintings, photography and sculpture but also with literature and music and knowing the writers and artists as well. Oh, mom... what a special thing this was.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My favourite line is...

drama in those old sunrise
prisms in wet cedar boughs,

deepest mystery
in washing evening dishes

          
The Orchid Flower      
~ Sam Hamill


As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/09/08

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Comic Sans

Comic Sans
Someone remind me to change the font to actually be Comic Sans... if I didn't figure it out already....

Why?

Because if you are not squeamish about some cleverly (and admittedly not so cleverly placed f-bombs, s-bombs and other alphabetical-bombs) and have a thing for fonts...

Then you might want to visit this article at McSweeney's.

I just wonder if Times New Roman (sending this via gmail, not even Google likes TNR, not available in their font options) really has true devotees...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And my favourite line is...

Precisely to the degree that you have loved something:
a house, a woman, a bird, this tree, anything at all,
you are punished by time.
 
Like the tree,
I take myself by surprise.
 
At Summer's End
~ John Engels

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My favourite line is...

and I look up at the window and think,
I no longer know where you are,
and I walk on and wonder where
the living goes
when it stops.

Layover
~Charles Bukowski

As seen here: http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2011/08/summer-as-it-goes/

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My favourite line is...

When I drank down cold water in a glass,
Drank a transparent health to keep me sane,
After the bitter mood had gone again.     
   
  
A Glass of Water
~ May Sarton  
   
    
  
As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/08/13

And my favourite line is...

the whole darn thing....


It will be the past
and we'll live there together.

Not as it was to live
but as it is remembered.

It will be the past.
We'll all go back together.

Everyone we ever loved,
and lost, and must remember.

It will be the past.
And it will last forever.

"Heaven" by Patrick Phillip


As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/09/03


Sunday, September 04, 2011

My favourite line is...

Link between water and air,
Earth repels you.
Light touches you only to shift into iridescence
Upon your body and wings.


      
The Dragonfly                    
~ Louise Bogan


As seen on:  http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/08/11

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

SQOTD

As he is working on his math homework (which is taught in Spanish)...

"It's making me lose my mind".

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

And my favourite line is

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.      
            
                   
The Round                  
~ Stanley Kunitz             
                  
As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/08/06

Sunday, August 07, 2011

My favourite line is...

Don't be ashamed of the homely thought
That whatever you might do elsewhere,
In the time remaining, you might do here
If you can resolve, at last, to pay attention.



Drugstore
~ Carl Dennis

As seen on:  http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/07/27

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My favourite line is...

Now that we both want to know what we want,
now that we both want to know what we know,
it still behooves us to know what to do:
be circumspect, be generous, be brave,
be honest, be together, and behave.
At least I didn't get white sauce down my front.

"Runways Café II
~ by Marilyn Hacker

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/07/21

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My favourite line is...

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men's hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

No Coward Soul is Mine
~Emily Bronte

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/07/19

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SQOTD

After being told he couldn't watch YouTube videos because they can have bad words.

Squink: Mom, I wonder when I can hear bad words?

Mom: Oh, I don't know. When do you think?

Squink: Maybe when I'm 18.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

SQOTD

Squink: You know, when you get electric your bones show.

My favourite line is...

but since our Thursday nights
have brought us
to a community of purpose
rare in itself
with you as
the natural center
we feel hopeful you
will continue to make
unreasonable
demands for affection
if not as a consequence
of your
disastrous personality

then for the good of the collective




We Who Are Your Closest Friends
~ by Phillip Lopate

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/07/22

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

SQOTD

Squink: You know, a light saber can cut off a hand you don't die.

Which led to an in depth conversation about cauterization and arterial spurt.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SQOTD

Squink: you know, doughnuts are in the bagel family. If it's round with a hole in the middle of it, it's in the bagel family.

Monday, July 18, 2011

SQOTD

Squink: Did you know there is a boy Barbie?

Mom: Yes, Ken

Squink: You know why they did that? (whispered) to make boys play Barbies... but, they didn't.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

SQOTD

Squink: Surviving in the wild is about finding fruit and eating trash. In the wild, you don't even get pizza. And you drink rain water.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SQOTD

Squink: "What does BFF mean?"

Mom: "Best friend forever, daddy is my BFF."

Squink: "Oh, you mean XOXO, hugs and kisses, hugs and kisses?"


Visit his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Squink/139322832805618

SQOTD

Squink:  "When you are 15, you lose your wolf teeth."


Visit his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Squink/139322832805618

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My favourite line is...

Then full
Of sound and speed, in need of
Each other, they entwine their necks,
Rub muzzles, bumping flanks
To embrace in their own way.
Together they prance to
The choicest pasture,
Standing together and apart,
To be glad until
They can no longer be glad.

Love Poem
~Paul Zimmer

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/07/12

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

My favourite line is...

Have a day of endearing nonsense,
of hopelessly combing your hair,
a day of yielding, of swallowing
hard, breathing more deeply,
a day of fondness for beetles
and macabre spectacles, or irreverence
about anything you want, of just
sitting and wondering.

Have a ____ Day
~Lou Lipsitz

As seen on:  http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/07/05

Sunday, July 03, 2011

My favourite line is...

"Beautiful," he said when it was done,
My father, who'd never heard a Brandenburg.
Eighty years old, bent, and scuffed all over,
Just in time he said, "That's beautiful."

Bach and My Father   
~Paul Zimmer,

As seen in: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/06/28

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My favourite line is...

With each new death
I added my grief
To the grief of millions

               
During the Assassinations
~ Maxine Kumin

Friday, June 24, 2011

My favourite line is...

And when you come to me
             To show you true,
Doubt not I shall infallibly
             Be waiting you.

When Dead
~ Thomas Hardy

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/06/02



q

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My favourite line is...

Well, now you do. In fact,
in some versions of this story,
beings of faith and light
are in the kitchen, dancing
with your wife. Then your
friends arrive, still lugging
around their own dilemmas,
hoping you will feed them
from the common pot, like
in the old days. And as tired
as you are, you think you can

Lunch Will Be Served
~ Eleanor Lerman

As seen on:  http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/06/01

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My favourite line is...

Vigil of silence, love and death, vigil for you my son and my soldier,
As onward silently stars aloft, eastward new ones upward stole
          
"Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night" by Walt Whitman.

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/05/31

Friday, June 17, 2011

My favourite line is...

Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!

Now I Become Myself
~ May Sarton

As seen here: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/06/04

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My favourite line is...

I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.

I Knew a Woman" by Theodore Roethke

http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/05/25

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My favourite line is...

coming. But first, a reflection on being a deacon...

One thing that I was completely unprepared for, though I imagine I would have known had I given things a bit more careful thought, was that being a deacon will bring death and dying so much closer to the door of ones being. One of my jobs as a deacon is to write birthday cards, anniversary cards and sympathy cards. It, my role as a deacon, has been going on six months now, and I have had to watch so many fellow parishoner's "pass into the church triumphant". Before this role, I was lost in my own little world that went to church because my mother asked, because the one I attend is filled with the ghosts of my maternal ancestors and it fells so right as an anthropologist to honor that... but, I was so completely unprepared for what this role brought me. I had to get to know people a little bit better, I had to learn of their sorrows and joys, how to write their names correctly on a card, and smile and laugh with them. I had thought that my lesson from this role would be that I would learn to become a letter writer, something I have always wanted to be, but needed some push to guide me there... I feel guided, but at a huge price... a price I think I find worthwhile.

and now, the poem (or rather, a selection of a poem) that caused these reflections...

Lead us to those we are waiting for,
Those who are waiting for us.

Flannery's Angel
~ Charles Wright
    
As seen here: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/05/24

My favourite line is...

But eating and drinking until thou dost nod,
Thou break'st all thy girdles and break'st forth a god.

Hymn to the Belly
~ Ben Jonson.

As seen here: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/06/11

Thursday, May 26, 2011

SQOTD

"I thought you left me to grow up in the wild".

Said after the adults stepped outside for a moment and Squink failed to notice they were in the back yard and not in the front yard.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My favourite line is...

with the sleeves of his tight black T-shirt
rolled up to show us who he was,
he is only another old man, picking up
broken tools and putting them back,
his heart gone soft and blue with stories.

"Tattoo"
~Ted Kooser

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/04/25

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My favourite line is...

This is how you live when you have a cold heart.
As I do: in shadows, trailing over cool rock,
under the great maple trees.

"Lamium"
~ Louise Glück
.
AS seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/04/22

Monday, April 18, 2011

NINE Muses

So, if we take a leap of imagination and could wish ourselves to be one of the nine muses, which would you want to be?

At this moment I might pick Calliope, if only because I am far from eloquent and it seems the most useful, though that might be said of Urania as well.

Calliope (epic poetry and eloquence)
Euterpe (music and lyric poetry)
Erato (love poetry)
Polyhymnia (oratory or sacred poetry)
Clio (history)
Melpomene (tragedy)
Thalia (comedy)
Terpsichore (choral song and dance)
Urania (astronomy).


SQOTD

Randomly... after we passed the cemetery my grandfather is buried in.

Squink: "Kids can die by guns or old age".

My favourite line is....

Where do dreams come from? Do they
sneak in through torn screens at night
to light on the arm like mosquitoes?

"Where Dreams Come From"
by Marge Piercy

As read on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/04/18

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My favourite line is...

To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
~"Lines Written in Early Spring" by William Wordsworth.
As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/03/31

My favourite line is...

We've been gathering here for years,
so I believe we will go on forever.
~ from: "Why I'm Here" by Jacqueline Berger.
as seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/04/06

A-Z Me

Okay, I needed a diversion, saw this on another blog that I can no longer find so I can't link to (Sorry, really!)

A - Age: [redacted].
B - Bed Size: Queen.
C - Chore you hate: Honestly, all of them.
D - Dog's Name: none currently, though I went for 10 years of having dogs named Lisa.
E - Essential start your day item: coffee.
F - Favorite Color: Orange.
G - Gold or Silver: Silver or gold.
H - Height: really tall.
I - Instruments you play: Piano, some faint memories of the guitar and the violin and the recorder.
J - Job Title: mom.
K - Kids:  yes.
L - Luxury you wish you had: a house remodeler.
M - Mom's Name: Mama, mamacita, nana.
N - Nickname: Bee, B, Blaisy, Blair Necessities, Pupus Aegyptii, Liverwirst cheese sams, Liverin....
O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: pneumonia like respiratory illness in high school, saving squink when I called him "dot".
P - Pet Peeve: constant gossips who won't tell their complaints to the persons face, people with flat affects, people who are late, and cowards.
Q - Quote from a movie: "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die".
R - Right or Leftie?: Ambie.
S - Siblings?: I have a younger brother as well as a half brother and a half sister.
T - Time you wake up: 5:30 AM.
U - Underwear: Of course.
V - Vegetable you dislike: liver.
W - Ways/ reasons why you run late: traffic is the only one I can imagine.
X - X-Rays you've had: Teeth, knee, back, chest.
Y - Yummy food you make: Lentil stew, Thai chicken pizza, ham and cheese sliders, and I make great rice (Ecuadorean style).
Z - Zoo Favorite: Orangutans, Elephants, Giraffes

Thursday, April 07, 2011

SQOTD

Last night as I was driving home I was thinking about something and whispered a curse word (under my breath I thought)... plus, the radio was playing music and I hoped that nothing was heard by Squink.

A few minutes later we had the following conversation:

Squink: "I heard a bad word, mama".
Me: "You did? On the radio?"
Squink: " I heard a shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"
Me: "Oh?" (feeling a bit busted)
Squink: "then I heard an it"
Me; "Oh?" (feeling even more busted)
Squink: "And it sounded like it came from you mommy, even though your lips did not move"

Squink in his sleep

Squink: "I am not a car".

Indeed.

Transformers, maybe?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sacred Text

I am fascinated with how humans relate to sacred text.

I love sacred text as I think they reveal a lot about the people who follow it. I call a wide variety of things sacred text... the definition would include the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and things like the Principia Mathematica (to name but just a few).

I suppose this is a relatively new interest I have in some ways. I have tended to think of sacred writings as products of humans, inspired by something, though the extent of what that may be was not for me to know. But, that there was something vitally important in the words to the culture the text meant to serve.

I like thinking about the texts I am familiar with and digging in to the message the ancestors that wrote those words were trying to convey (remember, I do not presume to understand or know the divinity of the texts... just that I accept that there were humans that wrote AND interpreted them per their cultural norms).

So, I had never even considered the notion of forged text until read this article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/the-bible-telling-lies-to_b_840301.html

I am slightly in awe of this article. Perhaps, it is because of the implications of the "divinity" ascribed to the Bible by the common culture who follows it... and the arguments it must cause in the variations of interpretation of message.

I do not have the heart (or soul for that matter) to dig into the validity of the divinity of works, though in that very assumption of mine I know I am making some sweeping statements that may cause many of my friends (on both sides of the belief aisle) to cringe. I will proclaim that I am deeply intrigued by the humanity behind the works... and I am looking forward to how I perceive sacred texts with this new piece of information closer to the front of my mind.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Japan

Go read this!

As an Apple user I am very deeply touched by the company philosophy and how it worked out during that horrible Tsunami. I can't help but think, however, that this was much more widespread and wasn't just Apple.

Geez, reading that again I feel compelled to add that I don't mean to diminish the story, I think it is very powerful and I was so glad to know that everyone bounded together and worked to help each other.

I am thinking, I suppose, on how humans can indeed put differences aside when this kind of devastation occurs.

Because of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, I feel like there is a birthright connection... for Squink and I.

Aurora Borealis

I had a friend, though it is more accurate to say she was a friend of
my mothers, who told me that seeing this while on the ocean was
amazing, that the lights seemed to bounce off the water.

Looking at this video below, it is very easy for me to understand the
people of the past who sought to explain this... either through
science or through religion.

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

And my favourite line is...

"I will fold this memory in my heart"

  To a Young Son
   ~by June Beisch

As read here: 
http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/03/19

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

SQOTD

Squink: "infinity never ends... until you get to the dark side.

I'm just kidding!

It goes on forever."

SQOTD

A new scientific way to measure time, distance, heat and sauce. The squinky pizza unit.
I think Einstein would be proud.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

My favourite line is...

...But it sways me
nevertheless and stands in for certain losses
and gains and for even that much I'm grateful.

"Personal"
~Irene McKinney

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/03/09

(because gratitude is my theme this year)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Dear worlds copy editor,

Could you please fire the person that keeps replacing words like; "won the lottery", "begun traveling around the world", "found a Picasso in their attic" and "awoke to find they can play a new instrument by ear" with the word "cancer" or some derivative thereof.  It is just not cool.

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter,

Sincerely,

Blair

Friday, March 04, 2011

SQOTD

Squink: In Greece opa means like hooray. In Germanland and Austria opa means grandpa.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

SQOTD

He has just leaned the pledge of allegiance:

Squink: What is under God?

Me: Well, it means that God is the boss, like a dad for everyone

Squink: He's everyone's dad and we'll never break in half

(This is his interpretation of "one nation, under God,
indivisible...." I think I like his version better in some respects)

My favourite line is...

You are a warm front
that moved in from the north,

(I am intrigued by the line: "a golden filament -  inscribed with the name of God's hunting dog,)

"You and I"
~Jonathan Potter

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/02/28

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My favourite line is...

Perfection straineth out
the quality of mercy,
withers rapture at its
birth.

"Perfection, Perfection"
~Kilian McDonnell,

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/02/27

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Well, now I think I'm beginning to know what mother meant...

...when she would quote this portion of a poem to me on numerous an occasion...

II

Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in her fingers while she talks.
"Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
What life is, you who hold it in your hands";
(slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
"You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
And smiles at situations which it cannot see."
I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea.
"Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall
My buried life, and Paris in the Spring,
I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world
To be wonderful and youthful, after all."


Portrait of a Lady
~T.S. Eliot

As can be read in its entirely at: http://www.bartleby.com/198/2.html

Monday, February 21, 2011

And my favourite line is...

there's never going to be anything
straight or predictable
about your path
.
.
.
"The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number 3"
~ Mary Mackey

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/02/21

Saturday, February 19, 2011

SQOTD

I was telling Squink he had to hurry and get dressed as we had to leave for a funeral in 30 minutes...

Squink: What is a funeral?

Me: Well, it is a kind of party we throw when someone dies. The first part is were we are all sad and miss them. The second part is where we have fun and remember the person and the happy times with them.

Squink: So, it is like time out and then a birthday party?

Friday, February 18, 2011

My favourite line is...

Rather than arguing about whether Giordano Bruno
Was right or not, it might be better to fall silent
And lose ourselves in the curved energy.

"What Did We See Today?"
~Robert Bly

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/02/18

Monday, February 14, 2011

I love being a mom

As Squink was getting ready for bed I was playing Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67: IV. Allegro. He asked where the music came from and noticed it was from my lap top. So I told him a bit about Beethoven and that he was deaf when he composed music. I asked him if he could imagine being able to do that...

He seemed to be rather impressed with this ability and when Squink finished brushing his teeth he came and asked how he could feel the music. I turned the laptop sound as high as it would go. I told him that music travels in waves and to put his hand on my laptop and close his eyes. He said he could feel the music, and I told him that was how I thought Beethoven could hear what he wrote once he was deaf.

It was a good mom moment for me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Loss

This weekend I had two people I care very deeply for pass away.

And even though they were both elderly, close to or past 90... it is still hard.

Fernando

He and his wife had become a couple I loved to see weekly... they had magnificent stories about their lives and I eagerly greeted them every chance I got! Fernando served in WWII, almost by accident he had been made a medic... when he enlisted the questionnaire asked what had been their previous professions and he had been a stock boy... one of the choices was stockman and he had thought that this referred to the same job, but just older and well, at 18 he was a man wasn't he?

What I loved most about him though, was how he treated his wife. You know those couples that still hold hands, they had that about them... though I don't recall them holding hands per se... I do recall him hovering over her, making sure she got her coffee and ate her lunch and was comfortable... it was in the way he looked at her. It was special, that palpable way he felt about her... there was never a doubt about how he felt about her. That alone, makes me miss him terribly.

Helen

She and her family were dear friends with my grandfather and his family. She was close to my great aunt, and the parents were close as well. There had always been stories about Helen and her sisters as I grew up, to the point I figured they were relatives. Over the past few years I had more opportunities to spend time with Helen. The house her father built and in which she played with m great aunt is now a local restaurant, Local Breeze... she took us out to eat there several times. She told me stories about my family... I think my favourite being how our families handled things during the depression... It seems that during those times, there was one Christmas card, which was sent back and forth during those years... she gave this card to my mom.

I feel her loss profoundly, deeply. She was a tie to my family's history. How grateful am I though, for the stories, pictures, cards and meals we did get to share.

QEPD

Those Romans!

History Of Valentine's Day Infographic
Source: Today I Found Out

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Happy New Year

One year, shortly after Squink was born, we happened to be in San Francisco during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Though my in-laws had little interest in seeing the festivities, it is something that is hard to miss as there is something in the air that just seems ephemerally "new year-ish".
One of my favourite life memories is from that trip and involves the Chinese New Year.
We were taking the bus to the Pier and Squink and I sat next to a woman. Squink instantly flirted with her and when she got up to leave she handed him a red envelope.The envelope followed the tradition of having a freshly crisp $1 bill inside.
So, why do I write about this, you may be thinking....
Well, the gesture stopped me in my tracks. It was unexpected.
I think what I found so fabulous about that gesture what that is crossed cultures. There was a part of me that just assumes that when there is a cultural celebration that one tends to celebrate it with fellow members of that culture... to the exclusion of those who do not.
So this woman made a gesture to Squink that was inclusive, that brought him (and by extension me as his mother) into the festivities and ceremony.
How many times have I felt like I could not participate in something because my skin was a different color or I thought differently... sadly, more than I care to admit and equally sadly, mostly in this country. And then I wonder if I have inadvertently excluded someone from something because they did not belong to the "right" group... I hope I have never done this, exclude people from times I consider joyful... because just that simple gesture by a stranger in a San Francisco bus still resonates with me
And yes, I am also pondering the meaning behind this and how it relates to our world... for example; when a stranger wishes someone a merry Christmas, it can be equally as strong... (though the propagandization (is that a word?) of the holiday, I think, may diminish its strength).

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

My favourite line is...

Daily dawns another day...                                                        ;-)

"Inscription for the Ceiling of a Bedroom"
~Dorothy Parker

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/02/02

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sufi poem

The moths and the flame
By Farid ud-Din Attar

English version by
Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis

Original Language
Persian/Farsi

Muslim / Sufi
12th Century

Moths gathered in a fluttering throng one night
To learn the truth about the candle light,
And they decided one of them should go
To gather news of the elusive glow.
One flew till in the distance he discerned
A palace window where a candle burned --
And went no nearer: back again he flew
To tell the others what he thought he knew.
The mentor of the moths dismissed his claim,
Remarking: "He knows nothing of the flame."
A moth more eager than the one before
Set out and passed beyond the palace door.
He hovered in the aura of the fire,
A trembling blur of timorous desire,
Then headed back to say how far he'd been,
And how much he had undergone and seen.
The mentor said: "You do not bear the signs
Of one who's fathomed how the candle shines."
Another moth flew out -- his dizzy flight
Turned to an ardent wooing of the light;
He dipped and soared, and in his frenzied trance
Both self and fire were mingled by his dance --
The flame engulfed his wing-tips, body, head,
His being glowed a fierce translucent red;
And when the mentor saw that sudden blaze,
The moth's form lost within the glowing rays,
He said: "He knows, he knows the truth we seek,
That hidden truth of which we cannot speak."
To go beyond all knowledge is to find
That comprehension which eludes the mind,
And you can never gain the longed-for goal
Until you first outsoar both flesh and soul;
But should one part remain, a single hair
Will drag you back and plunge you in despair --
No creature's self can be admitted here,
Where all identity must disappear.

As seen here: http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/A/AttarFaridud/mothsflame.htm

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NQOTD

My nephew has joined the fray....

As I pull into a convenience store:

JCrew1: "Is today dress like Jesus day?"

Me: "Uhm, why do you ask?"

JCrew1: "I saw a person wearing girl shoes and a beard".

My favourite line is...


Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

Happy birthday, Bobbie Burns

http://www.worldburnsclub.com/poems/translations/554.htm

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SQOTD

As we were getting out of the car:

Squink: "You know, mom's are better than chocolate cake?"

Me: "We are?"

Squink: "Yeah, but not to eat!"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Palettes of famous painters and my favourtie shorts

This post on How To Be A Retronaut reminded me of how I often would wait for my aunt to toss her painting clothes out so I could save her "palettes" and wear them... my favourite were a pair of pants that had been my grandfathers and which she had turned into cut offs...

urls:
http://www.howtobearetronaut.com/2011/01/pallettes-of-famous-painters/
http://www.annecoe.com/portfolio/index.html

btw - I think I am in awe of the palette that belonged to Georges Seurat

Sunday, January 09, 2011

SQOTD

At breakfast, the day after taking him on a 4-wheeling the day before.

Me: "What was your favourite part of yesterday, when we went out with Aunty A & Uncle Squid?"

Squink: "Loving you".

Saturday, January 08, 2011

My favourite line is...

My faithful friends draw nigh
And look us in the eye
It is a wealthy man who has good friends like you.
Through darkness, cold, and snow,
Wherever you may go,
You bear my friendship true, you bear my friendship true.

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind,"
by William Shakespeare.

As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/01/08

But I love this whole poem:
Now as the train bears west,
Its rhythm rocks the earth,
And from my Pullman berth
I stare into the night
While others take their rest.
Bridges of iron lace,
A suddenness of trees,
A lap of mountain mist
All cross my line of sight,
Then a bleak wasted place,
And a lake below my knees.
Full on my neck I feel
The straining at a curve;
My muscles move with steel,
I wake in every nerve.
I watch a beacon swing
From dark to blazing bright;
We thunder through ravines
And gullies washed with light.
Beyond the mountain pass
Mist deepens on the pane;
We rush into a rain
That rattles double glass.
Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
The pistons jerk and shove,
I stay up half the night.
To see the land I love.
"Night Journey" by Theodore Roethke, from Theodore Roethke: Selected Poems.


As seen on: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/01/07

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

My favourite line is...

If I knew you, I'd sit by your side and
sing:
This world is not our home, we're only
passing through.

From the poem:


"In A Cafe"
by Gary Johnson.

As seen on:  http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2011/01/03

Sunday, January 02, 2011

SQOTD

The day after an unplanned anatomy & physiology lesson...

Me: "Do you remember what your lungs are?"

Squink: "You mean the air things?"

One of the most interesting conversations I've ever had with Squink, so far...

Last night Squink asked why I had two earrings in one ear and only one earring in the other.
I told him it was a long story, and asked if he wanted to hear the story from the beginning. He said yes. I warned him it might make him a little sad.

My story went something like this:

I was once told by a real sailor that when sailors cross the equator or sail all the way around the earth that they are ready for their earring. Many sailors will put in a gold earring that can be used to pay for a "proper" funeral should they happen to die at sea.

I got the earring because of grandpa Honey (this is not his real name but is what I called him when I was little. (aside: He hears me mention Grandpa Honey a lot as every time I drive by the cemetery, which is close to my home, I say out loud "Hello grandpa Honey, I love you" and has joined me in saying that).

When I was not much older than you, I went on a boat trip with my family and that included me, uncle Trent, Nana, grandpa cowboy, a cousin, your great uncle Sam, your great aunt Claire, A lady named Anis, Your great-grandma Zun and Grandpa Honey.  We rented a boat and went to some islands that just happened to be on the equator. Those islands are called the Galapagos islands, and they are very famous and have lots of fabulous animals (I had my lap to handy and showed him pictures of things like the blue and red footed boobies, the frigate birds, seals, rays, penguins and iguanas). On night grandpa Honey felt very sick and he died.

Squink asked me what happened. I told him that we did not know but we thought he might have had a stroke. He asked what a stroke was and I ended up saying that it is like the blood blows up and stops going to your brain. Your brain can't work and tell your body to keep breathing and moving your blood.

So, there was a sailor on the boat with us who did something called CPR on grandpa for a really long time, with out stopping. Like 6 hours long as our boat tried to get to the nearest island that had a doctor.

Squink became very agitated that we would do something where we did not have a doctor very close. He said doctors and dentists and those people are very important and that we should have had one with us. I did not feel like telling him that he is lucky to be a first world child and that many people live in places that don't ever get to see a doctor much less a dentist. So I told him he was right, and that was something we had not considered. He threw me a loop at this point and said he wished he had been born earlier so he could have been on that trip with us and told us we had to have a doctor with us that way he could know grandpa Honey. He was very distressed and I was beginning to feel helpless and started to reconsider my philosophy to answer all Squinks questions as truthfully and as simply as I could. He started asking a lot of questions and I ended up having to explain what a nervous system was, what a circulatory system was, I even had to show him a picture of a brain that had a stroke. I told him that your heart is like a carwash for your blood and that it cleans the blood as it moves through your system. I told him that blood gets made in your bones. He was fascinated and asked me if he could tell his friends about these systems.

We talked about death, and how it was not a bad thing and a part of being human. That it was OK to be sad. That some people die because they are sick, but some because they are old and bodies just do that. He continued to be upset that he did not get to meet grandpa Honey so I told him that he can feel him with his heart which led to a discussion on spirit and how it is not something you can feel by touching, but is a feeling you feel like being happy.

It was undoubtedly one of the more difficult and fascinating conversations I have had with Squink.

birthdays

This year I promised Squink what he calls a real birthday party. In the past I had family and a friend or two of his over and we decorated gingerbread houses... I had fun, but making the houses for everyone was tough (Even if you don't bake them, you still have to set them up so they will stay up under kids "gentle" decoration) and the parents always seemed to have some sort of dread in their eyes as yet something else got added to their list of things they should do at Christmas time. I also always asked for no presents because this is a tough time of year to add another expense and I really never liked to burden people when I want they to enjoy themselves.

This was probably a collective disservice to Squink and to the people I invited.

Anyway, this year I told Squink that we would have a birthday party during the week he was supposed to be born and that he got to choose where he wanted to have it; we are down to two locations and today he has to decide which and who we invite. His choices are Chuck E Cheese or Pump it Up (I fear Chuck E Cheese may be winning, real fear, real big fear).

However, he shows signs of being a more effective party planner than I am.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

I am trying so very hard NOT to blame the lettuce.

My first exercise in gratitude.

"When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change."

~Thich Nhat Hanh