Featured

Dowry Details And Dirty Deeds

“My dear Beatrice …” Mum read aloud from the letter in her hand.

Postman has just delivered the mail …

Sister and I dared not meet each other’s eye. Bit our lips to keep from giggling.

“I don’t think you will recall me.  I was a friend of your cousins, Daisy and Rosie, and have met you in their company on a few occasions in our young days.”

Mum’s voice rose to a squeak.  “I write to you now regarding my son …”

IMG_20160724_224052
Some mother’s boy …

Sister and I held our breath.  Our lips trembled with mirth.

IMG_20160502_215010
Hmm …

“He is a good boy.  Very sober and steady (no vices whatsoever).  He graduated as a doctor …..”

IMG_20161228_184208
Mum’s eye popping out of her head …
_20150708_005652
So his mother says …

Sister swallowed hard.  Her shoulders shook.  I covered my mouth with my hand.

“We have heard about the goodness of your daughters.  People all say they are good and smart, clever girls …”

No vices whatsoever/ the goodness of your daughters … good grief … who even writes like that?

IMG_9324
And so the letter went …
IMG_20160502_214927
From one mother to another …

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20161228_191127
Sis and I barely contain ourselves …

 

 

Mum eyes continued to scan the handwritten lines. “I would be so happy to hear from you regarding this matter if your elder girl is still unattached.  My friend, Mrs. Mills, tells me she is 22 years of age.  In fact, your sister, Ruby …”                    

IMG_9325
Aunty Ruby, Mum’s older sister

 

I’m the ‘elder girl’, Mrs. Mills is Aunty Ruby’s sister-in-law …

“You may remember the times we shared as children.”  Mum began to look puzzled.

Her jaw finally dropped when she came to the end of the letter.  “PS:  We prefer a spacious house in Colombo with garden and attached baths.”

Dowry details!  Eek …

_20150710_130520
Who better than a boy’s fond mama to take the bull by the horns …

We could almost read Mum’s thoughts –

What cheek!

 “I don’t remember this lady,” Mum mumbled almost to herself, and ran to the phone to dial Aunty Ruby’s number.

Hello, how are you dear? I just received a strange letter … sounds a little eccentric … who are these people?”

IMG_20151028_183123
Definitely not!

Sister and I held our sides and roared.  We laughed ourselves into stitches.

It all began some months before, when a close school friend of Mum’s asked if she would contact the family of Aunty Pearl’s neighbour (who had an eligible son) regarding a formal proposal of marriage for their youngest daughter.

IMG_9327
Aunty Pearl (Mum’s oldest sibling) with Sister and Mum (right) when sis and I were little

Girl in question was pretty, a recent university graduate, now on the Marriage Market. Parents were anxious to have her fixed up and settled.

True story, honest (down to the phraseology)! Absolutely no embellishment …  

Older sister of said Young Lady got entangled with Completely Unacceptable Young Man and eloped when well-to-do Daddy refused to give his consent.  Daddy disowned her.  A year later, when First Grandchild was born, Starving Couple were ushered back into the family fold.

Get the picture? God forbid that history should repeat itself, right? Okay, so stage is set …

Mum obliged and our home served as venue for introduction between Sweet Young Thing and Very Acceptable Beau.

Cousin Ranji was staying over that weekend.  She, Sister and I eavesdropped from behind the drawing room drapes.      

No TV in Sri Lanka then.  This was far better, delicious entertainment, served up on a platter …                         

IMG_9330
Me (left) and Sister (centre) with Cousin Ranji, possibly that same weekend. 
IMG_9310
We had too much fun to miss TV when we were kids.  (Pic. of Daughters celebrating 12th birthday at Disney World)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young Pair sat at one end of the room to get acquainted.  Mothers made small talk close by.

Recipes and stuff …

Two dads at farthest corner.

Mum and Dad sat in on the powwow – being it was their home and all.  Awkward …

Things suddenly grew ugly.  Raised daddy-voices.

Dirty dowry matters …

Young Man’s father haggled for more. 

IMG_8493
What Girl’s Dad said …
IMG_20160629_204228
What Boy’s Father hoped to hear …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Young Thing’s father finally agreed to throw in a lorry along with the house and land.  

Or something like that  …

Cousin Ranji, Sis and I are horrified. 

 We’ve travelled back into antiquity …

 Deadlock.  Evening concludes in chilly huff.

But no one counted on Young Pair falling madly in love.    

IMG_20160212_104813
Definitely! Head over heels for each other …

Completely unexpected turn of events …

Now unacceptable, Young Man contacted and romanced Sweet Young Thing on the sly.

IMG_20160604_180715510
Was it ever! Boy, oh boy …

 

 

 

 

 

Mum politely declined when asked to intervene.

IMG_20160416_181853100
He won’t!

Sweet Young Thing phones to weep on Mum’s shoulder …

IMG_20160617_183146
Persistent suitor 

 

 

 

 

Romeo and Juliet elope to overseas destination.  Daddy disowns Little Girl, then throws arms wide open when she returns from honeymoon with baby on the way.

 Yay!  Forgive and forget …                                                                         

IMG_20160530_183045
They defiantly tied the knot

Found out later that Rejected Romeo and one of the cousins were co-workers at the time of Nebulous Nuptial Goings On.  They were  quite good friends and  I’d met him at one of her birthday parties.

Only in Sri Lanka …

…………………………………………………………………

Found an old scrapbook of letters and cards written by Sister, cousins and me when we were children.  Carefully dated and captioned by Mum.     

IMG_20160502_205454
Mum was sentimental about everything.  She would have kept every birthday and Christmas card she ever received if Dad hadn’t protested.

Sis and I wrote little notes and longer letters all the time.

IMG_9079
Me (left) with Sister.  Probably born with a pen in my hand!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 About everything.

Hilarious notes from Sister …

IMG_9173
Thank you for being so kind.  Please buy peppermints! (No idea why she asked for prayer …)
IMG_9169
Forgive me for being so rude.  I am very hungry … (Looks like she went  to bed without dinner.  Don’t recall the incident.)
IMG_9266
I fell ill today.  Feel very much down in the dumps.  (Sis was a precocious little thing)

 

 

IMG_9165
From me. My dearest Mummy … Written while spending some days with Cousin Dili at Aunty Ruby’s home.  The younger cousins all went to Sunday School together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mostly to Mum.

IMG_9184
Sister’s handwriting

 So when it came time to play a prank on a long-suffering mother, inspired by              recent events, one would automatically resort  to letter-writing.

“My dear Beatrice …”

Poor Mum.  We teased her unmercifully and she was always such a good sport about it.  Don’t think Sister or I ever ‘fessed up or divulged the source of the written proposal of marriage that once came my way.        

IMG_20161011_133129
We kept out lips sealed!

Dirty deeds!

And now I’ve two daughters of my own.

Full circle.  What goes around surely comes around!

The memories flooded in when eyes wandered over the yellowed sheet of notepaper taped to the fraying page of Mum’s scrapbook.

With sister’s heavily disguised handwriting on it.  She must have figured it out …

Thankful for Mum’s sentimentality that induced her save all this stuff.

Pure gold …

Like these home-made cards from her nieces –

A definite artistic bent in the family …

 — and the self portrait I drew.

A fairly good likeness of my gawky pre-teen self …

IMG_9166
The unflattering self portrait!
IMG_9328
The real bespectacled me with Sis (and Dad inside car)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sister needs to work on her spelling in this one –

IMG_9154
S ..EPRISE!!!

Golden memories.  A sweet, mellow time.              

IMG_3002
Strolling down the quiet corridors of memory lane ..

When we were very young …

 

 

Until next time,

sincerely

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_9329
Garlands for the bride and groom.  Aunty Ruby and Uncle Prince at Mum and Dad’s wedding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160204_191331
I found a really great one, thanks!
IMG_9326
Reprise.  Aunty Ruby and Uncle Prince with garlands at my wedding.

 

                                                                   

                                                                  

 

       

Faith We Follow

“There was a crash.  The knife came down, barely missed my eye. Blood everywhere…”

I can almost hear Mum’s voice.  Wish I’d paid more attention to details.

Her tales often commenced with all six of us.  img_8482

Pearl, Ruby, Peter, Dan, Beatrice, Elizabeth …  

img_8670
“All six of us” (1976).  Seated (left to right): Beatrice, Pearl, Ruby, Elizabeth.  Standing (extreme left): Peter, (extreme right): Dan, the brothers-in-law behind their wives -(Left to right: Prins, Sub, Prince, Selva)

Mum:  So all six of us climbed into Babby’s cot with the cake Alice baked.  We found it on the kitchen table.  Just as Petes lifted the bread knife and said, ‘Let’s have a piece’, the cot collapsed.  The knife came down on my forehead.  It narrowly missed my eye.”

img_20170129_172818

Alice, the family retainer who helped cook and keep house, the hapless victim of boyish pranks.

Peter and Dan – Petes and Danma to us nieces and nephews – youthful villains.

Baby Elizabeth was Baba.  Babby to the next generation.

Me: (doing mental calculation) But Mum, if Babby was say … five, and you … eight, the others would have ranged in age from eighteen and under.  How could all six of you have squeezed into a baby’s bed – with a cake and knife?

_20150710_140211
Gifted teller of jokes and stories,  writer, mimic par excellence.  Mum loved to laugh.    

 Mum’s a storyteller, not a mathematician.  It’s how she remembers …

Mum:  On Sunday evenings we had family prayers.  On our knees.  They went on forever.

Her eyes are brimming with memories …

Mum:  We quietly slipped away into the kitchen to have a feast.

Me:  All six of you …

Mum: Poor Alice.  No one listened to her protests.  The patties were for the visitors.  She made lovely patties.  We ate everything we could find and crept back to the living room, knelt down and folded our hands.

img_20150806_160207
They did!

Me: And No one noticed?

Mum:  No.  And E.T.S Aunty was so impressed by our piety,   we all got  toffees.  She said we were good children!

E.T.S Granny (always known by her initials), Grandpa’s widowed sister, frequent visitor, devout, determined lady, given to eloquent, lengthy prayers.     

img_20150801_125036
Lo-o-ong prayers

Mum:  One Sunday evening, Geo Uncle came to visit.

Me: At prayer time?

She’s chuckling …

Mum:  Petes used a coat hanger to start Uncle’s car.  We all climbed in.

Me:  All six of you …

Mum:  He drove to Geo Uncle and Malar Aunty’s house.  We ate all the goodies Malar Aunty fed us and drove back home again.

img_8674
George  (Geo Uncle, poet, man of letters) and Malar Perinpanayagam on holiday in hill country with Beatrice (Mum)  She spent a lot of time with them in their early married life.

Me:  And their eyes were closed, they were still praying?

I’m laughing with her …

 Mum:  He never knew!

Me:  And Malar Aunty?

Mum:  I don’t think she ever told him.

img_20170116_184146
Lest we forget!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Shadrach Samuel Esquire, aspiring businessman aged 32, won the hand of Miss. Mercy Newton of Chundikuli, Jaffna.  As legend has it, the friends of the sixteen-year-old bride called out over the fence as she walked past the schoolyard of the local girls’ school, on her way to church to be married.         

img_8680
Miss Mercy Newton, second daughter of Charles and Rose Newton of Chundikuli, Jaffna

Shadrach and Mercy set up home in Colombo, sleepy metropolis of colonial Ceylon.  

He founded the iconic engineering firm, Samuel Sons.  

img_8681
Samuel Sons, founded 1922.  70th anniversary commemorative mug.  Uncle Peter, an artist, designed the logo.

                                 

 

 

 

The union produced six children.

  A seventh, Mum remembers as Bertie, succumbs to an untimely demise as an infant …                                                       

img_8666
Shadrach & Mercy Samuel and offspring.  Left to right:  Ruby, Pearl (seated), Dan (seated) and Peter.  Baby Beatrice held by Dad.  (Elizabeth was born a year or two later)

Grandma Mercy died in her sleep at age 33.  Cause of death unknown.

Mum recalls asthma and a family history of heart disease  …

Rajes Aunty, seventeen-year-old bride, moved in with new husband, Thurai Perinpanayagam (Grandma Mercy’s cousin) to help take care of a brood of children, some of them almost her age. 

To this day, Rajes Aunty occupies a special place in all our hearts.

img_3722
Looking good!  Aunty Rajes Perinpanayagam celebrates 90 years (2015)  Husband and I made a detour on a summer road trip, to attend the surprise party at her son’s home in Connecticut

The siblings grew closer to one another.                         img_20150805_222918

All six of us …  

Grandpa Shadrack never recovered from his loss.  Well meaning aunties and clucking grannies suggested umpteen prospective brides to grace his hearth and mother the children.

Mum:  He always said, “There was only one woman for me.  God who took her away from me will take care of my children.”

img_20150804_223804
Grandpa’s was. (Photo of picture hanging in friend Evelyn’s home.  Painted by her niece.)

Me:  Do you remember her, Mum?

Mum:  Of course!  She was slim and pretty, darling, gentle, soft-spoken, a lady through and though. Always simply and tastefully attired. She was an artist, she painted beautifully.  I remember whenever she baked a cake, she let me stir the batter and lick the spoon.  I got a new dress every year, for my birthday.  She cut it out herself and made me turn the wheel of the sewing machine for her.  She used to call me Pambaram.

Me:  Pambaram?

Mum:  Because I was a tomboy.  I could never sit still.  It means spinning top in Tamil.  She played the piano.  On Sundays, all six of us would stand ‘round and sing hymns.

img_8660
Tomboy Beatrice.  How she was allowed to pose for a formal picture dressed like this is a mystery.

Me:  It must have been awful after she died.

Mum:   We had Daddy.  We loved him. He was strict, of course, but such a kind, generous man. He helped everyone.  Babby and I secretly called him Dixie Daddy from a song on the radio hit parade.  We giggled every time we said it.

_20150716_173652
Dixie Daddy!
img_20150729_134030
Super Daddy Samuel …

 

 

 

Me:  Did you miss having a mother, Mum?

Mum:  Of course, darling.  On the day she died, I  asked God why he took my mummy away.  I was six.  Babby was only three.  I made up my mind to eat all my vegetables and grow strong, so I would be fit and well and never die and leave my children all alone.  But we had each other, it was a happy home.

img_20170220_183655

All six of us …

img_20170220_183536
Picture of Dixie Daddy on Mum’s autograph album
img_20170220_191230
1954.  Grandpa’s signature in Mum’s album:  S.C. Samuel.  He wrote:  “Let kind thoughts, words, wishes and deeds and the spirits thereof be ours and of those around us.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Church was an important part of family life.

img_20170222_103606
St. Paul’s Milagiriya, Colombo, where the Samuel family worshiped and most of the children and grandchildren (myself included) were married.  (Mum and Dad in bridal car, Beatrice’s wedding, 1961)
img_5159
Dad at St. Paul’s after morning service on his 80th birthday (2016)

  _20150702_203343

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And faith.

img_20170220_185452
Malar Aunty wrote in Mum’s album in 1955: “Behind life’s darkest clouds, God’s love is always shining …”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

As cousins, we have childhood memories of our mothers and aunts talking for ages on the phone.  Cousin Dileeni and I often recreated these conversations – to loud applause and gales of laughter – at family-gathering kid-concerts, 

“How are you, dear?” ” Did Alice come today?”  “Can you believe the price of sugar these days?”

They couldn’t do without each other.            

img_8682
Sisters:  (Standing left to right) Pearl, Ruby, Elizabeth.  (Seated)  Beatrice

Time marched on. 

img_3470

img_3207

img_20170222_075437
Pearl and Sub (Dr & Mrs J.T. Subramaniam)
img_20170222_075328
Ruby and Prince (Dr & Mrs R.P. Rajakone)

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pearl and Ruby married their doctors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter and Dan sailed off to the United Kingdom to pursue engineering degrees.

img_20170220_184805
Dashing sportsman, artist, dreamer.  Uncle Peter (left) engineering student in  England. (1950s)
img_20170220_185103
A brilliant mind.  Uncle Dan (front left),  also engineering student, England (1950s)

   

             

img_20170220_184911
Uncle Dan never married.  There were whispers of a mysterious Swedish lady who  broke his heart.

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum kept house for Grandpa and played doting aunty to a growing circle of adoring nieces and  nephews.

They called her Bety …

img_20170222_103358
The tribe of Samuel grandchildren at Mum and Dad’s engagement party.  Waiting to be born: Sister and Me, and Shiro (Babby’s daughter)

Tragedy struck again.  Grandpa Shadrach died unexpectedly, after routine surgery.  He was only 63.  Mum was 19 years old, Babby just 16.        

img_20170222_104859
Newspaper clipping.  Obituary notice.

Shadrach and Mercy united in death, buried side by side ….

img_5175
Together forever, Shadrach and Mercy (Anglican Section, Kanatte Cemetry, Colombo)

Mum and Babby clung to each other –

img_8663
Beatrice and Elizabeth outside Westholme, Kinross Avenue, the sprawling family home by the sea
img_8673
Babby wrote in Mum’s autograph album:  “There’s no friend like a sister, in calm or stormy weather …” (Signed: Beth)
img_20170220_183112069
Babby, an artist like her mother, probably painted this page for Mum
img_20170220_183513
Mum’s signature on her autograph album.  Her maiden name.
img_8671
Dr Elizabeth Samuel.  Congratulations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter took over the headship of the firm.

Elizabeth attended medical school. 

Mum ran the family home for Uncle Peter, wrote wonderfully imaginative short stories that were published in the newspapers, taught Sunday School and created exquisite cakes for nieces and nephews, an abundance of relatives and friends. 

The artistic, thespian, writing/storytelling genes run strong in this family line …

 

…………………………………………………………

Grandpa was a man of faith, a praying man.

His example rubbed off.  Mum was a staunch believer in the power of prayer. 

I remember Sunday evenings with Mum at the old piano of her girlhood (now situated in her own home), singing the same beloved hymns she sang as a child.

_20150708_003525
Mum taught Sister and Me this hymn

I remember us as little girls – Sister and I – kneeling by our beds as Mum taught us to pray.  I remember Mum reading from a book of devotionals, holding hands with Dad, Sister and Me (in our tiny school uniforms) and sending us off for the day with a prayer.

Sister and I often made fun, called her Saint Beatrice.

img_20150805_174558

 

Mum learned from Grandpa Shadrach. 

They prayed, things happened …

img_20150805_223544
Hanging in our home

               

   

   I learned from Mum.  

   Much older now, I’m an ardent              believer in  the mountain-moving        power of prayer.

     Faith we follow …

img_20150719_1247162532
Worked for Grandpa.  Worked for Mum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Just dialed long distance to talk to Babby – godmother, second mum — in Bethesda, Maryland. 

The pain of missing Mum is less when she and I talk …

Babby is the only one left.  She feels it badly.

img_8683
Elizabeth (left) and Beatrice (Babby and Bety).  Mum adored her baby sister.  Babby and Mum were close, right to the end of Mum’s life.

 

Asked about the size of the cot.  Says she slept in it till she was around eight years old. 

All six of us?  

It must have been a humongous piece of baby furniture!

 

 

Called Rajes Aunty some months back, posed questions about the family tree.  She snail-mailed  handwritten details from New York – 

img_8676
Appetizer.  Found the Newton/Perinpanayagam connection.  Thank you, Rajes Aunty!

Excited, more curious than ever!

Saw a picture of an ancestor on Facebook recently.

The Perinpanayagam connection, circa 1834  …

 Fascinated.  Impelled to dig deeper into the family tree. 

Mum’s second cousin, Thavo (Geo Uncle’s nephew), e-mailed more puzzle pieces from New Zealand –

img_20170222_115511997
A snippet from a fairly lengthy document put together by Uncle Geo’s brother, Stephen Edgar R. Perinpanayagam.  

Cousin Thavo remembers the Noddy cake Mum made:  ” For my sixth birthday in 1959.  It had Noddy’s car and house and even had 2 milk bottles outside the house” …

Discovered that Grandpa Shadrach and Grandma Mercy were distant relatives.

An exhilarating peep into the past.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

It was misty this morning in Toronto. 

img_8684
View from front door

Much brighter/warmer in the land of our birth.

Alas for ugly politics, economics:  the clans are scattered worldwide.

Appetite whetted.  Must know more.

img_20161017_231704
So which came first, the chicken or the egg?
img_20170220_182937
The pictures fascinate me

 

 

 

 

 

 

These roots go deep.

img_20160325_181055365_hdr

img_20161226_174705

 _20150710_142036

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay  tuned.  More stories to come as more dots are joined.

_20150630_173220

_20150630_172053

_20150708_010343

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until then,

sincerely

PS:  If you happen to be a branch/ twig/clipping of the Samuel/ Newton/ Perinpanayagam family trees and have old pictures/information, I’d love to hear from you. 

img_20150727_184955
… grandchildren AND great grand children!

_20150708_014756

_20150704_170751

     

   

 

 

 

 

And I’d be delighted to share what I’ve gathered, with you.  

Thank you!

img_20150729_135348

All pictures in this post are clicks on Ipad and phone.

Gimme, Gimmee, Gimmeee!

Puppy adores presents.  Assumes every gift-wrapped package is for him –

img_7997
“Gimme, gimmee, gimeee ….” (Puppy and Ruwan)
img_7996
“Hey … gimme!”  (Puppy and Reshma)


img_20161205_210701
Nope!  

                 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got  caught red-handed on Christmas Eve, snooping  around tree.

img_8312
“To Pup” … gift tag and tissue flung aside.  Hole in the bag.  He found his present.
img_20161130_192224
Looks like it
img_8321
“Finally, all mine.” (Had to hide the bag till Christmas morning).
img_20161103_201626
“Don’t remember.  Never graduated !”
img_8327
 “Oh, hello Santa, it was you all the time!”
img_20170116_184628
So who killed Santa?
img_8329
Didn’t do it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guilty …

img_20161129_074829861
Not me!
img_8015
    Fine, call the cops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puppy lives in state of constant joyous expectation.

Fabulous way to live …

img_8634
“Something yummy, for sure!” (Puppy and Friend Jim)
img_20150724_211926377_hdr2
Every moment, no matter what comes along

Living life in Puppy Mode …

Sunshine and shadow – embrace it all.

img_20170129_172923

img_7888
Me in splash of sunlight
img_8278
Christmas decorations on kitchen wall
img_8626
Ivy topiary in foyer
img_5140
Orchid on kitchen table

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s treasures – darkness, light; good, the bad, lovely and ugly.

Rich fodder for this writer’s pen, if nothing else …

img_20170123_071824
Driving home at dusk.  Lamplight over court.

img_8646

 

Life often presents real live parables.  Puppy is mine.

_20150709_210433

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I have dreams.

img_20150727_191324
More than one, actually
img_8610
BIG DREAMS
img_20161210_103148
Just did. 

A secret path leads to dreams.  Winds through dusty roads, up dim stairways and rugged steps, along endless corridors.  

Along the way –

  • Jeers, sceptics, wet blankets –
img_20160702_230849
Mean comments
  • Dead ends, slammed doors –
  • Grim warnings –
  • Unforseen restrictions –
  • Disappointments, endless waits –

And yet –

Impelling urges on, blazing inferno that won’t be quenched.  Lurks just beneath surface of immediate consciousness, hangs like  mist, a veil through which real world is viewed.

img_20160730_103337893
Endless
img_20160429_132341
Clinic for  weary dreamers?
img_20150726_145431
As fast or as slow as it takes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still …    

img_20160701_101556666
Yes! (Tiana’s T-shirt)
img_20160724_105803831
That’s me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see … 

Fueled by burning urge to write –

img_20161205_211719
Really do  
img_20160802_175733
At my desk
img_7183
Out on the deck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, no matter how I feel –

Must keep going –

img_8221
You want me to … what?
img_8222
Hey, it’s freezin’ out here!

                   Okay, all done, and good luck with shoveling up that poop when the snow thaws …

Never mind what they say.

One piggy, second pig, third pig …

and …

Ha! 

Nope!  Long before that …

img_20161228_192416
Okay.
img_20160519_082628
A swine state of affairs!

And now –

Don’t know.  

Won’t find out till I try … 

Finally, one sweet day –

img_8136
And it was all worth it after all …
img_20160822_114132372_hdr
Light at the end of the tunnel 

                                                            Aren’t you glad you made the climb?

Every day is Christmas for Puppy, any moment might bring gifts.

img_20160404_173338
Every day is NOT Christmas (back of scooter taxi, Colombo, Sri Lanka)
img_8303
                                                        Christmas Eve. Bone-shaped stocking – guess whose?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful for Puppy, a parable of joy and daily expectation.

Gimme, gimmee … gimmeee!

Until next time,

sincerely

PS: The pictures in this post are all random clicks on Ipad and phone.

Toilet Paper Brides

New Year rolls in. 

Brings gifts –

img_20161228_200919
Soaring postage costs.  Not many Christmas cards last year.

 – three hundred and sixty five days untrodden, all gift-wrapped.

_20150601_100324

img_20161228_191113

img_8499

Reams of resolutions.  High hopes in spite of/ because of …

img_20161205_212815
What next? 

Then comes …

 Evening news.  Burning building collapses.

170119134921-16-tehran-iran-plasco-building-fire-0119-restricted-exlarge-169
Downtown Tehran. Authorities ignored warnings about structural weakness
170119133847-12-tehran-iran-plasco-building-fire-0119-restricted-exlarge-169
Flaming highrise falls down flat

 

 

 

 

 

Shades of 9/11 …

Pick up phone to text Neighbour–

Me:  (tap, tappity-tap) Hope your family wasn’t near the building that came down in Tehran.

Neighbour (texts):  Thank God, none of my family members was in that area.  I knew this building very well since my father used to have an office there when I was little.  My mother was working, so he would take me to his office after school.  It’s all so sad.

Me: (Tap, tap): Thank God.  Sad, yes.

Avalanche in Italy buries ski resort.  More earthquakes. Tsunami warning. Shooting in Texas mall.

img_8498

 Never ends.  So what’s changed?

 Nothing, it seems, but …

  • Must keep looking upward, focus outward, embrace light. 
img_6450
Puppy embracing light
img_8405
Dawn over neighbours’ homes
img_8480
Moonrise above next door’s roof
img_8134
Full moon at midnight through bathroom skylight
img_8417
Crescent moon and single star above neighbour’s house
img_20161226_175425
… little star

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 img_20161228_182006

– Must speak LIFE.

Proverbs 18: 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue …

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Daughters’ Christmas present hangs by writing desk.  Speaks loud and clear to Heart.  Heart leaps for joy –

img_8428
Merry Christmas Mom (that’s me!)             
img_20170116_182708
Husband’s wife.  Daughters’ mom.  ME.

– Mustimg_20170116_183143 believe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes! Just getting started …

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Inspired by Puppy’s determination to keep dreaming, believing –

img_8390
“Hey, Grams, wanna share? “
img_20161117_185756
“… it’s gonna fall!”

img_8171

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When all else fails …

img_8388
Yahoo!  Dishwasher time …

img_20161228_195111

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Box of Dreams sits by bedroom door.  Weighs a ton.

img_2644
Up to the brim.  Almost twenty years of journals
img_20161116_115018
Yes, mine.

img_20160721_115848866

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now making entries in journal number thirty six.

img_20160514_150136

img_20160901_131843966_hdr
From the wildest dreams of …

img_6834

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Been scribbling my heart out for years.

A dream catalyses the evolution of Something out of Nothing, sometimes through Unlikely Source.

Like toilet paper wedding gowns …

img_6934
Radiant Toilet Paper Brides at Rachel’s bridal shower
img_8491
You’ll never know till you try
img_20170107_144202397
Just imagine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plan for the rest of 2017:

(1) Quit skulking  in life’s undergrowth   –

img_20160726_091051119
Puppy’s arch-enemy, lying in wait

…  strive for the stars.    

(2) Look at the bigger picture –     

_20150324_191242
Sky’s the limit
img_3533
Life in miniature.  Husband peeping into giant doll house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3)  Build more bridges (not fences) –

img_20160823_111222074
Shut out of paradise.  All fenced out

(4) Think outside the box –

img_7763
You betcha!
img_8104
Too confined
img_7734
Don’t go there! (Puppy and friend)
img_7735
Oh, come on out!
img_20161205_210758
No way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5) Break out of the iron bars –

img_7466
“Someone lemme out!” (Puppy out of harm’s way during renovations)
img_2637
“Come on out. ” (Puppy’s sister, Jesse)
img_20150727_181452
“Can’t you see the door’s open, silly?”
img_20161230_071844021
Sometimes the keys are in plain sight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what keeps holding you back?

img_5013

img_20160825_212954288
Unlocking door. (Husband after summer concert in the park)

         

img_20161228_200904
Endless!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6) Wear the weight of passing years like a  million dollar diamond tiara –

 With grace and elegance …

 (6) Resurrect dead dreams –        

img_20150412_015736679
Kanatte Cemetary, Colombo, Sri Lanka
img_20160717_105258050
Dying African violet.  Nursed it back to life.
img_20161011_134110
                                                                               LEAVE OUT.  DON’T PUT  IN GARAGE     (Sign on neighbour’s lawn)

img_20161228_184250

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(7) Pray more –
_20150710_141818

img_8341
Grace before Christmas dinner

img_20161228_200138

 

_20150603_182700

img_20161226_183217

img_20161210_160011279_hdr

img_20170115_091203

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

_20150423_184229

img_20161112_163007
Puppy’s favourite pausing spot

                                                                                             Dear Me,

                                                                                             The dream finally came true ….                                                                                                                 

_20150710_143739
I still write letters

img_20160702_154458593

img_5529
Who writes letters anymore? (Street corner, Colpetty, Sri Lanka)
img_20160705_164218
Never believe that

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Philippians 3: 13 But one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead …

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Ahoy there!  All aboard …

img_5682
Wellawatte railway station, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Oh baby …

img_7836
Puppy and Rithika

img_20160820_095449

img_20161013_200119
Never too early to start

 _20150423_184824

   

img_20160829_143619
Me?  Never!

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

Some day soon.

_20150712_161045
Some day …

Thankful for dreams.  A reason to leap out of bed each morning.

Until next time,

sincerely

            

 

 

                                     

Aloha Sweet Things!

Meet  Sharyn Stone, my friend.  She and husband, Jeff, live the enviably idyllic barefoot life at Huelo Point Lookout Bed And Breakfast (www.maui-vacationrentals.com), in Maui. 

The English Duke/Earl of Somewhere-Or-Other had just honeymooned at Huelo Point with his fourth (fifth?) bride when Husband and I visited just before Christmas 2013.

Picture breathtaking, heart-stopping paradise.

sharyn-alone
Sharyn at Huelo Point Lookout, Maui, Hawaii. (Bed and breakfast owned and operated by Dr. Jeff and Sharyn Stone)

First met Sharyn on the internet (gasp!) on a writer’s website, Fanstory.com

We each discovered our Writing Twin.  (Never thought to meet one in this lifetime.)

img_20160705_164041
Not really!  Uncannily related in many ways, tho’ ..
img_20160702_230243
Same fave novels as girls, same fave plays, poems, same passion for theatre.  Incredible serendipity.
sharyn-with-dr-and-jeff
Husband with Jeff and Sharyn, Huelo Point Lookout, Maui

Sharyn is everything I’m not, the very opposite, possibly, as regards general outlook and life philosophy and yet …

We call each other Twinnie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bio in her blog says it all –

ABOUT: SHARYN STONE

Getting older and, for the most part, having a blast!

IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO LIVE YOUR DREAMS. YOU KNOW THE OLD SAYING … ‘IF NOT NOW … WHEN?’

I guess I’m all about following one’s dreams—even though, sometimes, those dreams change into others and we have to make that adaptation—but I have no intention of dying with my “music unsung”!

See what I mean?

 I’m half her height (mildly exaggerating), and  NOT a blonde bombshell– but I’ve no intention of dying with my “music unsung” either!

Sharyn posted on her Facebook page shortly after the dawn of 2017

img_8442

Old Girls Looking … What??  

That’s Sharyn all right!

Her dream’s coming true.

Tickets, anyone (click here)?

One-woman musical. A bittersweet, poignant, sometimes irreverent look into life as she’s lived it. Script, lyrics and acting by Sharyn Stone, storyteller par excellence, poet, playwright.

She sang and played for me from the show’s musical score, over the phone last month, just before Christmas.  

Almost picked up my feet and danced.

img_20150801_201651

img_20160611_203826

Had the privilege of reading an early draft.

img_8448
Reading material on endless flight en route to  Sri Lanka

_20150710_215549

_20150602_094400

 

Sparks of brilliance.  Definitely going places.

Felt it in my bones …

 

 

This is Sharyn with her adorable sidekick, Joyce Romero (82 years young) and the comment accompanying the email she sent along with the picture –

and you thought leaf blowers were for the GARDEN??? Think AGAIN TWINNIE!

_mg_4359
The wind-blown look.  Sharyn with Joyce, posing for OGLH poster (on her neighbour’s Harley).

_20150601_150607

img_20150801_191622

img_20150801_185344
That’s for sure!
IMG_20150727_185455.jpg
No way.  Not those two!
sharyn-on-bike
Old Girls, the demure version
img_20150727_191118
She most certainly is!

_20150711_170822
img_20160505_095939         Aloha, Sweet Things!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

A peep into the final scene of Old Girls (with permission, copyright Sharyn Stone):

STORYTELLER/SHARYN: What’s that old guy looking at? (Speaking to “old guy”) Yes? Do you need the machine

MIME/MALE GYM MEMBER, OLD:  No, no thank you. It’s just that … well … I’ve been watching you for months now. You’re beautiful.  And I just want to say how great it is to see Old Girls like you …     Oops – that didn’t come out right

STORYTELLER/ SHARYN: Oh, ya think?

MIME/MALE GYM MEMBER, OLD:  Old girls … like you … looking … Hot! And I don’t mean … sweaty. You are seriously … HOT. On the INSIDE.  I mean …

The message?                                                    

_20150423_183604
I’m not.

YOUTH IS A STATE OF MIND.

I agree.  One hundred percent.

img_20160617_124356505
I’d rather not know.
_20150712_161434
Go on!

_20150710_101443

Congratulations, Twinnie!  

Thrilled for you.   

Your name in lights …

_20150515_194927

                                
So here’s to all the dreamers who DARE to dream –
img_20161228_201338
img_20161029_201428
Buying coffee at  Tim Horton’s.  She let me take a picture of the caption.
img_20161017_111748
Clipping from Toronto Star
_20150601_190952
Thankful for the ability to keep dreaming in spite of naysayers, sneering sceptics.  Despite what life’s flung my way –
img_7945
Tune out the dreamkillers … and run.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
 My friend Joan Adams wrote on New Year’s day –
Dream Again
… To each one who’s forgotten to dream.
Do you remember that old suitcase
Where  dreams were hidden and no longer seen?
img_8436
Used with permission, copyright Joan Adams, another internet friend from Fanstory (who lives within visiting distance.)

img_20161228_190721

I believe.

Happy New Year!
Until next time,
sincerely
 PS: All the pictures in this post are clicks on Ipad and phone. 

If You Could Read My Mind, Love …

Such fond memories of Asterix  comic books.  

img_7717
Frolicsome adventures in Roman times.  Fun, puns and ancient history.   Brilliant.  (First publication 1959)

Action-packed illustrations on each page. (Much) Younger Me spends ages poring over each micro-interaction in every frame.

img_20160530_183107

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a look at this one below –

Take time, observe … 

img_20161117_190034

img_7716                             Asterix, the Gaul.   Assorted mirco-moments playing out at  banquet table 

This picture –

img_7399
Family-and-friends choir sings at Aunty Joyce-and-Uncle Rajan’s Golden Wedding anniversary party (Summer 2016)

– has that effect.  Urges me back.  Over and over again.  Examine every face, every expression.  Gordon Lightfoot echoes in  head (background music and all!) –

If you could read my mind love, what a tale my thoughts would tell …  

GordonLightfoot Interlochen.jpg
Gordon Lightfoot (78) , Canadian musician, singer-songwriter

Looking again.  Intently.  Face by face.  Expression by expression.

So what’s going on in the singing heads ?

Ever wondered what it would be like to pitch a tent and spend a day in someone’s mind? 

IMG_20161205_203050.jpg
Some things are better left unexplored!

 

 

 

 

 

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What I see when eyes open each morning –

img_7680
Faintest crack of light slipping through door

img_20161103_195743

 

 

 

Light.

Husband’s up.  Light brightens, knifes through shadowed gloom.

img_7952
Bathroom light goes on
img_7499
Light will find a way

       

                       

 

 

Lurking dark recedes.

Heard someone say this recently:  “When night grows darker, light gets brighter.  It has to .”

Sets me thinking.

Light needs darkness to shine.

img_20161117_185725
Supermoon night.  Blood moon behind clouds
img_20160819_232510
Neighbour’s window
img_6562
Dawn thro’ bathroom blind 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

                     Darkness overthrown, must flee.

                      Power and effect of light … 

img_20160618_222340203

 

 

 

 

Notice how light plays with cloud, makes gloom slide away?

Spectacular …

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………                   img_20161205_210216                                   

                       Dazzling puddles of sunshine all over house –  

Delighted  by indoor rainbows. Heart-stopping joy-moments  in millisecond doses.

Grab I pad.  Tap, click  …   

    

                

img_20161205_125025742_hdr
Through crystal candlesticks.  Marianne smiles.
img_20160429_132054914
Bernadette’s tea towel
img_20161103_195021
… at the end of the rainbow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White light passes through clear glass prism, separates into colours.                                       

Grade 10 physics …

There’s a process to create  glorious dispersion of white light into rainbow colours  –

Parable?  Sort of …    

Realize something  –

img_20160502_204550

img_20160507_221248

LIGHT is only a prayer away.    

img_20160917_102530644

img_20160617_215606
And then …
img_20161117_185516
… comes light! (Aunty Bongo’s birthday cake)
img_8005
Puppy and Tree Angel

img_20161112_162943

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

If you could read my mind, if I could read yours ….

img_20160704_120941275_hdr
If you could read my mind, love.  What a tale ….
img_6806
Husband browsing in junk store.
img_20160530_182945
Yikes!

Better left untouched?

img_20161116_193655
Who knows?
img_20160725_221604
Perhaps …
img_20160429_142932
Big time!
img_20160803_2027050682
Only a prayer away …
img_20160801_164556
Excuses?

         

      

img_20160429_142806
Whenever you’re ready …

 

 

 

Let light shine. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

img_7912

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 Celebrating joy this Christmas season –

img_8072
Inside view of backyard
img_8071
Outside view from kitchen

May JOY be your gift.

img_20160629_203744

img_8035
                                                                                        Puppy believes.  “Hey, Santa?”
img_7688
Never in our house!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful for daily joy.  Priceless.

Until next time,               img_20161117_190138

sincerely

img_20161116_113429

img_7938
Puppy with Mall Santa

img_20161115_145428818

 img_8016

 

 

The pictures in this post are moments captured on Ipad and phone.

Support a local author. Like this page on Facebook, share and follow.  Thank you for dropping in.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

img_20160530_183029 img_20161123_112544002_hdr

They Called Her Mrs B

So Mrs Clinton doesn’t make it.

img_20161116_113127
All trumped up.  (A photo-shopped Donald?)
img_20161121_125420
          Hilary Clinton (Pants Suit Lady)                    
img_20161116_112805
A woman in the White House – ah when, oh, when?

American dreams of woman shattering glass ceiling are … shattered.  

 

 

 

 

 

Glass ceiling on international stage is shattered in 1960 when simple housewife steps into defunct husband’s shoes, becomes world’s first woman premier –

Old enough to remember?

Sirimavo Bandaranaike,  Madam Prime Minister of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), island home of world’s best tea  …

They called her Mrs B.

img_20161121_130413

                         Sirimavo Bandaranaike with Soviet Union Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin

img_7800
Way to go,  little Boy Scout! (Husband receives award from Mrs B at school prize giving)

Perplexing time in history of the  US of A. 

Glad to be Canadian  

img_20161117_185308
Begins with you and me … little drops of water, little grains of sand.
img_20161116_113149
The new reality.  Must it be this way?

……………………………………………………………………………………………………

House renovations are finally done.  Just in time for house guests –

smokin-jojo
My snoozing spots are gone, Mama! 
img_7831
   Relieved Puppy.  Hip hip hurrah!

img_20161013_195055

img_7780
“If you love me, let me be … ” (Puppy and weekend Guest-let)
img_7820
Three hearty cheers. No place like home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arduous weeks prior –

Never again …

img_20160921_181933
Scrubber, that’s me!  Couldn’t wait to get mop and pail out … 
img_20160927_214517501
Scary without railings, Mama!
img_7666
Much better, but slippery now. Carry me up, please …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next job: Duct cleaning –

img_7719
Quick phone call 
img_7720
 Connected up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stuff comes rumbling through vents into humongous tube.

Me to Duct Guy:  “Unearthed anything interesting over the years?”

Duct Guy:  “A Penthouse magazine once, dead ferret,  mouldy submarine sandwich.” 

Macabre Me: “Never any human body parts?”

Duct Guy (chuckling): “No!”

Boring …

Unseen toxic stuff all gone.   Household breathes so much easier.  

Literally …

Almost as wide as me. Gigantic tubing.

Feels like a parable –

Just because I can’t see what’s inside, doesn’t mean it’s not there and affecting who I am, how I function … 

img_20161107_135651
Sobering food for thought

 Do I need emotional housecleaning? Any residual gunk and uglies clogging me up?

Hmm …  

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Supermoon last week.  Crazy camera lady checks out rise/set times,  goes moon chasing.  Runs, walks.  Chilly, hungry, determined. 

Won’t to go home without pictures.  Thankful for unseasonably mild weather …

 Sun sets.  Ginormous blood-red orange slips into view above trees.  Bright as sun. 

Gasp!

Ipad and phone won’t do justice to immensity, colour and breathtaking grandeur. 

Pictures don’t record as eye sees. So disappointed.

img_7809
Reddish setting moon.  (In the park just before dawn)

 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

 Summer-like weather most of last week.   Snap pictures of burning, brilliant gardens.

img_20161117_145824381
Ankle-deep 

Neighbours’ leaves all raked, ready for pick up –

Mostly naked trees –

Some still stubbornly clothed –

img_20161117_160410293

Squirrel-y busy-ness –

img_20161117_182813
In Wai Ling’s front yard

Half chewed apples all over Garden, stalwart summer blooms clinging on for dear life –

Delighted to find last, late (scrawny) strawberry –

img_7761

                                                    “Goodbye, my darling.  See you next spring!”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Seen him a couple of times –

img_20161114_121702347_hdr
View from rear.  Glazed eyes.  Unshaven, unwashed.

Looks scruffy and lost. 

Homeless man?                   img_20161121_141352

Wish I could pluck up courage to say hello. 

Fear of rejection …

On my to do list: Talk to him.

 ………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Found this on fly leaf of an old book of Mum’s  –

img_20161120_130121
Mum’s handwriting.  Miss her gentle wisdom.

Material things were never a big deal with her –