Sunday, 31 January 2016

Recharging Batteries

This morning I was listening to music from a radio station I access on my iPhone. The sound was being transmitted from my iPhone to my portable speaker through bluetooth capability. I was listening to the music while sitting in my lazy boy chair and writing on my laptop.

Every few minutes my writing was interrupted by a voice message coming from my speaker. "Battery low, batter low." Almost simultaneously a message came up on my computer screen warning me it was coming to it's end too. "Only 10 minutes of battery power left. Plug into external source!"

Reluctantly, I got up from under my comfy blanket in my cozy chair and made my way to my desk to go plug in. First I plugged in my computer so I wouldn't lose my work followed by plugging in the speaker so it would quit interrupting me. Then I thought how nice it would be if I could plug myself in to charge my battery.

Unfortunately, as we very well know, there's no such place or thing but wouldn't it be nice if there were. The way technology is going I wouldn't be surprised if that's next thing around the corner. But, as much as I enjoy some of the technology available to us nowadays, there are some things that just don't seem right.

Plus, it's time that I unplug this morning. I need to get my butt in gear and clean up some of the dust bunnies and cat hair floating around all over the place. Then I will go for a walk down the side road.

You never know, the fresh air just might charge my battery enough to give me the courage to attack the prep work to get ready to paint another room.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Old Memories

Talk about old memories. We went to a pot luck supper and local dance last night at one of the neighboring towns. It was like stepping back in time 45 years or so.

Some of the musicians were the same, some of the people who gathered to have a good time were the same, and a lot of the songs were the same ones played at dances even when my parents were going dancing.

Having been gone from the area for so long, I recognized some faces but could not for the life of me get their names unless they introduced themselves to me again.  It's such a weird feeling to meet up with people I used to know in one of my previous lives.

I sat next to and talked with someone who recently read my book and who used to go to the same school I did when I was in grade one when the teacher was sexually abusing me.

She shared with me how my book brought up a lot of memories for her, none of them good.

She was one who got the strap often, for no valid reason, or got the pointer slammed down across her fingers when the teacher felt like unleashing some of his frustration and anger about who knows what.

In fact she showed me how her finger which is crooked and won't lay flat, has never been the same since. "You never got the strap or got hit" she said.

"No, I never did. I got something else instead. But what happened to you and what happened to me should have never happened to either one of us or whoever else that man laid a hand on in his years of teaching."

"He was a sick bastard!" she responded with visible anguish and abhorrence emanating from her eyes.

"You got that right," I said.

We left it at that and went on with our evening. That's what one has to do sometimes.

But my mind kept going as I sat and listened and observed and let my thoughts float around in this mixture of melodies, faces, toe tapping good clean fun with all age groups and not a drop of alcohol involved.

I tired to picture our teenage group who used to gather in that same Elk's hall on Friday nights. Most of us got up on the dance floor and barely ever sat down for the next 4 hours. It's a different story now.

A quick scan of the dance floor reveals a lot of white hair tops if there's even any hair at all and the people who used to dance all night long are now going for one or two fast ones then they have to sit down.

Yup some things have definitely changed, yet some things, at least in these parts, have very much remained the same.

Memories. Part of me feels like I stepped into a time warp - a very familiar yet distant world of long ago.

Friday, 29 January 2016

What Do You Believe?

Do you believe we need to make peace with our past so it won't screw up our present?

Do you believe the present we live today comes into play to help us face whatever we closed the door on in the past?

Do you believe it's easier to live in denial all our life rather than becoming aware and conscious of what we live, how we live it and why?

Do you believe we keep repeating the same thing over and over again until we learn what we have to learn through that experience?

Do you believe that when you have overreactions that it's trying to tell you to pay attention to something?

Do you believe you are loved for who you are and not for what you did or didn't do?

Do you believe someone else is in charge of your happiness or you are?  

Do you believe you are following your own manifesto in life or someone else's?

Do you believe you love your life and yourself? Right now, right where you're at this very minute? Do you?

Art by Mary Southard

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Shoveling Our Way Out

There was a lot of snow to shovel when we got home. Had to park the SUV on the street, walk to the house for the shovels, then start digging our way out, or is it in?

Look at these neat snow sculptures at my friend's place down at the lake. Aren't they something?

Filled up the gas tank before leaving Grande Prairie. Hola! I haven't fueled up at this kind of price since I don't know when. You won't hear any complaints from me. Not a one!

 It was a nice weekend away albeit a busy one. Would have been nice to have an extra day to do nothing more than relax but it was a quiet evening at home after we got ourselves in here.

It's back to work tomorrow. Plus, I still have to shovel my way to the backyard and the wood pile. There are tunnels meandering through the yard now.

Live Theater Tonight!

The Dinning Room. A play filled with comedy and drama. A series of vignettes revealing the secrets and foibles of a series of upper middle class families. A great 2 hour play with the dinning room being the main focus.

It was amazing to watch as the actors repeatedly changed characters. Three of the actors played 8 different roles each and the other 4 actors had multiple roles as well. How they can remember all those lines and switch back and forth from one role to another so smoothly is beyond me. It made for an entertaining evening that's for sure.

This morning we went to the Farmer's Market. Bought ourselves some cinnamon rolls and 3 big bags of home grown carrots. Hmm, hmm, now that's what I call carrots! Sure beats what we can buy in our local stores.

While Andree was getting her feet done, I browsed the second hand book store and Cole's of course. A trip to the city is never complete without those two pit stops. I had fun going up and down the aisles looking at what's new and reading little bits here and there but I came out empty handed on both counts. I'm still reading Anne Lamott's newest (from my previous bookstore pit stop) and loving it.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Weekend Getaway

It was a busy week at work. I was looking forward to our little weekend getaway.

Some people go away for a couple of months to a warmer country. Us, we go for a couple of nights in Grande Prairie. It's all a matter of perspective and how you live it. Well, to be honest, it's a more a matter of funds to draw from but what the heck, I'm living this little holiday with a heart full of gratitude.

Had a safe drive here through the freezing rain that has now turned into a nasty snow storm with blowing winds. I can see the beauty in it when looking at it through the window from the comfort of the Best Western Inn.

You can star fish on that king size bed as Brenda would say.
Went to Kal Tire to get my tires rotated. Picked up some office supplies at Stapples. Went out for a Japanese supper. Took in the academy award winning movie, The Revenant, (I would definitely not watch that one again), followed by a swim in the pool and a soak in the hot tub.

No files to make notes in, no receipts to get ready or business emails to answer to. Only writing in my journal, doing my meditation, writing on my blog, listening to music, reading. I don't have a hard time with any of that. None at all.

I turned that desk into my little writing studio
Tomorrow will prove to be another interesting day. I got some tickets to go to .....
more on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

How Do You Listen?

I was trying to think today what is the single most important thing that has made a huge difference in my life and that continues to be important to me today?

My answer? To be listened to. I mean really listened to. Listened to in a way that tells me nothing else exists outside of that moment.

Not a listening to respond but a listening to hear. One is impersonal, detached, and has an agenda, the other is heartwarming, inviting and pure.

From Photobucket

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Brave or Stupid - I'm Not Sure Which.

Went out this morning to get some more wood for the fireplace. I believe the temperature was at -27 and with the wind chill it was said to be -33.

I finished hauling in wood and decided to get my walk in regardless of the weather.

Not sure that was such a smart idea. It wasn't too bad when I had that East wind in my back but ohh-la-la! That wind sure had a bite when I was heading the other way. I had to slip my glasses into my coat pocket because they just kept freezing up on me.

It was nice and sunny though and I had fun walking down the road that leads to the lagoon. No one was down there since our last skiff of snow fall. I love being the first one to make tracks. Feels special somehow. The weirdest and simplest things bring me pleasure I tell you.

I wonder if it's from taking too many walks in this blasted cold!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Missing You

Barbara, my friend, I think of you and  miss you.

We connected on many levels and in many ways you and I. The moon was one of those ways. We might have been separated by land and miles but we connected every time we peered out our window admiring her in all her beauty from each of our corners of the world.

We connected through our snail mail letters, our almost daily emails, our occasional phone calls, Skype visits and twice when we actually met with each other face to face. Once when you came to visit us in Canada and the other time when we went to visit you in Mandeville Louisiana.

There was the time I had you pop some popcorn without a lid just because we always said that would be so much fun. And what fun we had when it started popping all over the kitchen counters and floors.

There was our love of books art, and music which we could talk about for hours on end. There was our love of nature, the mountains, the meadows, the creeks, the trees. There was our love for our cats, and other animals of the wild like wolves and eagles and the meaning they had for us.

And then there was our love of writing and self-expression. We shared so much about this and through this. It filled my heart as I believe it did yours.

You cheered me on to write my book and I couldn't wait to share it with you. Couldn't wait for you to see your name in my dedications knowing you would be as proud as I was.

Sadly, you left this world before my book was published and I never did get to share those words with you but I have to believe that wherever you are, that on some level, you got to hear my words when I did various readings. But, knowing you and your stubborn ass ways, you likely demanded a copy and read the whole damn thing in one sitting anyway.  

Well, old girl, I leave you with a bouquet of your favorite flowers, the lilacs that you always asked me to send you a picture of every year when they came into bloom because there was none to be had in Louisiana. I hope you are on some exciting new adventures my friend. Your spirit lives on in mine.

And just so you know, I still haven't been able to bring myself to remove you from my contact list. In some weird way it makes me think I can still reach you.

Friday, 15 January 2016

I'm Out of Here!

Me: "But why?"

"I've had it. I'm done with winter!"

Me: "But, where are you going to go?"

"Ship me off someplace warm like California or Mexico."

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

What's The Story?

I often wonder what the story is behind this piece of furniture. It used to belong to my grandmother's mother and I'm not sure if she got it new or if it was handed down to her.

So let's see, my grandmother (Victoria Rheaume Gour) was born in either 1899 or 1900 which means this dresser, or whatever you want to call it, has to be somewhere close to or more than 120 years old.

I wonder what was it used for before it housed my new waiting to be used journals, an assortment of odds and ends I need to pack back and forth from one office location to another, and a big pile of typed out sheets - excerpts about writing that I pulled from my journals in case I decide to write a book about my struggle with words and the importance writing has had in my life?

Monday, 11 January 2016

Chop Wood Carry Water

Well not quite but almost. I don't have to carry the water but I do have to bring in the wood if we want to keep this place toasty warm. I haven't quite reached the halfway mark in my wood pile yet so it should be good for the winter plus the summer campfires in our backyard pit.

I haven't counted how many wheel barrels I've brought in so far this winter but I'm starting to think it's enough already. I'm done with winter. It's been nice. It's been fun. There's been lots and lots of beauty to admire but let's move on to longer days, green grass, sandals, shorts and bikes.

I love walking but I sure do miss my bike in winter. I think my friend from Armstrong figured that out about me. Look at the card she sent me. Drool....... I want to be in the bush not be bringing in the bush to warm the house.

Oh well, I shouldn't complain. It hasn't been a harsh winter so far and the days are getting longer it just seems to take forever.

Laid Back Sunday

Walking in the middle of the field on the snowmobile tracks in Big Sky country.

Pumpkin will be 17 this year. That's a whole lot of years for a cat. I hope she has a whole bunch more. She may not be the most friendly (well maybe the least friendly) cat in the world, but she's sure grown on me in all these years. Mind you at 7 am sharp, weekend or not, when she's relentlessly pawing me in the face so I will serve her breakfast, I could very well do without her.

The woman who came from 7 hours away to do an intensive counselling retreat with me has gone back home. It was a good experience both for her and for me. She was pleased with the results and I really enjoyed it. I'm right in my element with this type of work. I love more in-depth sessions with immediate follow through. People can journey a lot faster than having a session once a week. Wish I could do more of those. I have to do some thinking around that.

Facing the other way. Hey, that's my shadow.

Tomorrow morning I will make the draw for my Facebook promotion for the 5 winners who will receive a free copy of my book. I hope whoever wins will enjoy the read.

I've was thinking today that I should try to organize a sort of book tour and reading at various libraries or book clubs. I could take a few days in February and take a little road trip. I'll see if I can find time to look into that tomorrow. Kate, would your library be interested  you think?

Andree and her sister went to play cards at the seniors club today, as they often do on Sundays. I went out for a walk in the beautiful sunshine, did a meditation, caught up on some computer work and got supper ready.

Hey, did you notice? The days are getting longer! I can't wait to sit on my back deck to have my morning munchies and tea. Will be a little while yet I suppose.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

We Are One

“What we reach for may be different, but what makes us reach is the same.”
Mark Nepo

I love this statement. It dives deep into my heart. It encompasses so much. It is profound. It is truth.

It speaks of me and you. It speaks of our humanness - of humanity. It strips the fluff away and leaves the essential.

When I share my story, it awakens yours. When I wipe your tears it touches my heart. When I look deep into your eyes I see a reflection of myself.

I sit by a flowing creek or listen to a piece of music and feel the movement transport me into the future, a world of possibilities and of connection.

For you it’s a day of preparing a meal for family and friends that nurtures, brings life and a sense of togetherness.

We are both reaching for the same thing in different ways. A sense of well-being, a sense that we matter, that we belong, that we are part of.

We are unique but we are the same.

“When I look deep enough into you, I find me.”

We are One.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Right Up My Alley

The woman who is coming to do a four day counselling retreat with me arrived today. I look forward to seeing her twice a day and doing some intense work with her.

I absolutely love working with people who make a serious commitment and want to get down to business. This kind of intensive work is for me the ideal of what counselling ought to be.

I wish more people had the opportunity to work this way. In fact I'm thinking of changing the focus of my website to reflect such retreats and intensive one on one work with individuals as my specialty.

I went for a walk this morning before heading out to work. I walked between the railroad track and the edge of the bush line that's only a few steps from my house. I was glad to have my ski pants on and all the rest of my winter gear. Kind of brisk out there with a biting little wind that made my nose run and had me sniffling all the way.

My friend Marcel shared his photos of his winter flowers in full bloom with me.
Aren't they gorgeous creations of nature!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Isn't She A Beauty?

I received this art piece as a present for Christmas from a friend in Armstrong. I absolutely love it!

I've got it on the wall right in front of my computer so I see her every time I sit at my desk which is almost all the time when I'm not at the office or out and about.

I do way too much sitting. I love to write and I haven't figured out a way to do it without sitting. Plus, my job requires that I sit all the time.

I don't think clients would feel I'm very present to them if I were bouncing around on an exercise ball or walking in circles around my office. I'd walk out in a hurry if someone did that to me.

I love the painting except for the fact that it tends to lead me to some day dreaming and wishful thinking of sitting by the water enjoying being in nature and contemplating the wonders of life. I relax me whenever I glance her way. Maybe that's the message she's here to bring me - relax!

I didn't make it out for a walk today. Thought of it. Almost went but decided I better get caught up on all the things I needed to get done tonight. I did get suited up in my snow gear and went out to the woodpile to replenish the inside supply. The wood disappears fast on these nippy cold days. Relax - yes, I'm going to do that right now!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Joy Ride #2

I had a Joy Ride to High Prairie to see a doctor today. Again, it's about a 50 minute ride there and another 50 back, this time in the opposite direction then going to Peace River. Again I waited 3 hours and again I didn't get to see a doctor.

I'm not even going to say more about that.

The good news is, I managed to go for a walk for a 3rd day in a row. I walked around town this time. And I mean around the whole town. It doesn't take long to do in a place with a population of 305 people. I wonder,if maybe that includes the cats and dogs.

I went around my old school where I did my grades 3 to 12. It's still going strong and welcoming students every year. Who would have thought I'd be back here all these years later. Life is full of surprises!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Joy Ride

Went out for another walk today. I had to kick my butt to pull myself away from my books and writing but once I was out there it was good. I would love to be able to sneak in a walk everyday. I got two days in a row now. All I can do is aim for number three.
Little pine cones all over the snow.
I also went for a joy ride to the emergency department at the Peace River Hospital. It's a 50 minute drive to get there and a 50 minute drive back. That's almost 2 hours of my precious day off.

However, my elbow has been giving me a lot of grief and people have been after me to get it checked out. After much hemming and hawing on my part I decided I might as well get myself over there. So off I went.

I saw a nurse who took my vitals and heard my story and, as expected, there were people ahead of me so I sat down to wait for my name to be called.

Then I waited some more, (patiently), for the next 3 hours. During that time all the people who were there when I arrived were called in to see the doctor, plus 3 or 4 others who got there after me.

By this time I'm alone in the waiting area. Again, I waited (this time not so patiently). Another 15 minutes went by. Things were quiet and I couldn't see the doctor anymore. I went to the desk and asked the nurse, or whoever it was, who was eating her supper behind the desk.

"Will I be seeing someone soon do you know?"
"Who would you like to see?"
"Uhh, a doctor,"
"Oh. There's one coming in but I think he's coming to deliver a baby. I have no idea how long it will be." She spun her chair around and back to her supper she went.

I opened my mouth to ask why the doctor who was just there hadn't seen me and why those who came in after me had gone through then decided there wasn't much point. She made it clear she wasn't interested in hearing me.

I (had no more patience), I put my coat on and left.

By 7:30 pm I was back home, elbow issue unresolved and still a pain in the ass.....I mean ... arm.

I've had a hell of a lot more pleasant joy rides let me tell you.

A Friend of Long Ago.

A New Year's Eve stroll out at Winagami Provincial Park with a good friend Marcel.

Our lives have intertwined here and there through the years. Even though we ended up living in various different places in Canada for most of our lives we still made sure to touch base once in a while.

Somehow, for now anyways, life has brought us back to the same part of the country where we were raised. So what better way to spend the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 than with a friend of long ago.

The air was crisp but it was beautiful out there in big sky country. We walked on the trails for a while then made our way down to the lake. It's an awesome feeling to walk on water and it's so beautiful when the sun weaves it's way through the bull rushes and the hoar frost on the snow twinkles and sparkles like a magic show. There's nothing like it.

Follow that with a hot cup of tea, a supper shared and some card playing and what more could a person ask for really.