Birthday Cakes and Secrets

On the first family trip to England, Mum had us pose in front of Buckingham Palace while she attempted to take a picture of Dad, Sister and me against the backdrop of the Changing of the Guards.  

The guards had changed and gone their way by the time the picture focused to satisfaction. Sister and I  teased her about it for years to come.

Smile please …                        

Everyone was using pocket cameras.  Sis and I were embarrassed by the ghastly contraption Mum still wielded with pride!

We flew on to Singapore where Dad bought us girls a Kodak Instamatic with disposable flash bulbs.  

Colour pictures … yay, finally!

Shudder to think of the environmental impact from all the used  flash bulbs we gleefully dumped in the trash can.

IMG_9237
“Smile please,” for the Yashica, at the Trevi Fountain, Rome.  Me with Dad and Sister (centre).  Have to check if Sis has the Palace picture (without the guards!)
IMG_9238
Dad, Mum, me (in rising order) on moving escalator in Zurich, Switzerland.  Instant focus with the new Instamatic captured moving subjects.  A new era in family photography.

Mum discovered the joys of photography around age 12 when she got a gift of a Brownie camera

She still had it when Sis and I were kids …       

Kodak_Brownie_Flash_III
Kodak Brownie.  A later version of Mum’s camera. (Courtesy Google images)

Mum’s crisp black-and-white photos display an instinct for capturing the ‘moment’ and an unerring eye for placing and composition.

When sister and I were little, Mum acquired the Yashica, also sort of box-camera-ish

Sleeker, less ‘primitive’,  more sophisticated  …

It took ages to focus with Mum staring into the open Yashica ‘box’ in her hands, at an upside down image. 

She’d  murmur, “Smile, smile” through fixed grin and puckered brow, our features remaining in frozen limbo until we heard the click and a cheerful ‘thank you’!

Felt like forever!                                                                   

Yashica_Mat_124G_5033 (1)
Mum’s Yashica (courtesy Google images)
Latest in modern technology! Kodak Instamatic with disposable flash, wrist strap and film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum often said she wanted to get an ‘unawares’ shot.

IMG_20170404_154859
Preoccupied with underwear. What Sis and I thought we heard Mum say.  We’d go into hysterics! 

Sister and I heard … underwears! 

We hadn’t the foggiest notion what she meant.

 

 

She caught us unawares all right.  The delightful album-memories bear testimony to the fact.

 

 

 

IMG_9107
Puzzled.  “Okay, so what IS it?”  Little sister and me with oldest cousin, Sri. 
IMG_9106
“Did you hear that?”  Sister (right) and me
IMG_9144
Sheer joy, unawares.  Sister (left) and me with Dad.

IMG_20170330_132039

IMG_20170404_155030

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mum’s was the era of stay-at-home mothers. Those who were in the professions were nevertheless the proud masters of the housewifely arts.  They cooked, sewed, hung for hours on the telephone with other women, shared recipes, discussed the current price of important commodities like sugar, rice and eggs, wrote lengthy, polite letters and never forgot birthdays and anniversaries.

At family concerts we kids ‘did’ Mum and aunties talking on the phone …

IMG_9091
Me pretending to be Mum on the phone with one of her sisters 

When Sister and I got married, we each received a special gift from Mum.    An album of photographs – mostly black and white photos and some washed out Kodak and Polariod colour pictures – each one tailored to document our lives from birth to early adulthood.

All meticulously labelled …

IMG_9223
A gallery of our early lives, with love from Mum.

IMG_9222

 

 

With Mum’s unexpected passing two years ago, I lost my best friend and discovered a treasure trove of old pictures while cleaning out cupboards and putting things in order for Dad. 

Eyes popped out of my head as a pictorial record of family history unfolded …

Who ARE these folks? (Dad has no idea. Dying to know!)

Entered a new realm.  Memories of bygone days surfaced from boxes, dusty files and disintegrating albums.

Mum’s voice recounting fragments of family legends echoing in the recesses of my mind …

The past came alive in a way that didn’t seem possible.  Moments in time frozen on faded bits of glossy paper,  pictures worth  thousands of words.

Family.  Grandpas, grannies, aunties, uncles, cousins …                                                      

Cousins might not necessarily be immediate ‘first’ cousins.  Sometimes you might not be quite sure how you’re related!
Me (left) and Sister on a play date with Mali (centre), our THIRD cousin.  Her grandpa and ours were first cousins.
IMG_9085
Birthday parties – just the cousins were crowd enough. (Me, a baby in cousin Chris’ arms, far left)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weddings were a huge deal, grand affairs.  Guest lists could run into the hundreds.  Your parents’ friends and business associates and in-laws’ in-laws might be invited. And the neighbours, of course.

No fib. Honest!

IMG_9265
The workers from Mum’s family’s firm at her wedding.  They arrive bearing a gift-wrapped china dinner set  (I own it now and use it on special occasions)
IMG_9149
Dad and Mum’s wedding

Little girls were dressed to the nines in scratchy, organdy dresses often ‘smocked’ by hand,  with stiff  ‘can can’ skirts underneath.  A nightmare to sit down in.  

Detested those cancans …

IMG_9099
Cancans and bows for Aunty Elizabeth’s engagement party.  Sister (left) and me outside Westholme, Kinross Avenue, Mum’s family home.

Engagements were solemn, formal family affairs, with a priest/ minister to officiate.

Pretty much as  binding as the marriage ceremony itself …

IMG_9100
All the cousins, uncles and aunts on Mum’s side at Aunty Elizabeth and Uncle Selva’s engagement.  Toddler Sister seated between the couple.  Cousin Shiro the only one still to be born.

You were as important to the aunties and uncles as their own offspring –

The aunties even cared enough to tell  you off as if you were their own!      

IMG_20170330_133046
She does!

IMG_20170320_185343

IMG_9143
Sister (left) and me with Babby (Mum’s younger sister, Elizabeth), my godmother.  I lived with her family for two years while Dad worked in West Africa.  She sewed some of my clothes and treated me as her own. 
IMG_9122
Uncle Prince, my godfather, recently celebrated his 95th birthday.  (Mum’s sister Ruby’s husband).  He’d always visit, very late in the evening after work at his clinic,for as long as we were laid up in bed with sundry ailments.  He never billed patients who were financially in a bad way.  Treatment was free for clergy of all religions.

IMG_20170404_153829

IMG_9132
Sister and me with Uncle Peter (Mum’s older brother) who lived with us for some of his bachelor years after Westholme, the old family home, was sold.  Sis and I hung around in his room whenever we got into trouble, until the situation cooled, knowing he would intervene if Mum hunted us down!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chances are your best friend was a cousin, the one closest in age to you  –

IMG_9102
Me (lying on mat) and cousin Dileeni.  Besties since we were babes.
IMG_9084
Gotta have a sun hat!  Rarely apart.  Dileen (left) and me.

 

 

Such secrets you’d share!

IMG_9087
And she whispers in mine …
IMG_9121
I whisper in her ear ..You  both could end up being flower girls together at several family weddings –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You both could be flower girls together, several times over –

Two for the price of one!

IMG_9147
Little flower girls.  Dileeni (to bride’s right) and me at Babby and Uncle Selva’s wedding.
IMG_9141
Flowers girls again!  Me (left) and cousin Dileeni at Aunty Betty’s (Mum’s cousin’s) wedding
IMG_9120
… and again!  Dileeni (left) and me, experienced flower girls at our oldest cousin Sri’s wedding.

No need to wonder why Getting Married and Having A Baby used to be our favourite dress up games!

We created our own entertainment, inspired by the Enid Blyton books we devoured. An active imagination and a bunch of henchmen was all a handful of cousins required. 

We all loved to read.

No one called you a nerd or geek.  It’s what kids did …

IMG_20170320_191134
This little girl reminded me of myself as a kid. 
IMG_9225
Puppy posing with some favourites from my childhood
IMG_9090
Sister and me with my doll, Cynthia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endless doll’s tea parties – 

IMG_9078
Dileeni (right) and me
IMG_20170318_132406
Sis and me With Baby Cousin Shiro and my dolls Cynthia, Diana and Minerva (Mum named them, probably)

 

 

Never seemed to outgrow the toys and board games.  Played with them for years.

Those were the days …

IMG_9083
Me with cousins’ toys.  We all shared.

Don’t recall ever being bored as a child.

Two cousins, Sister and I once crawled into our pretend kitchen, a curtained alcove under a desk space, to melt squares of chocolate over a burning candle.

Melted  chocolate is delicious spread over Marie biscuits …

We could have set the house on fire.

When best friend/ cousin set up a lab at home, you  followed suit. 

My lab sat on a rickety table in a corner of the kitchen …

Best friend/ cousin obtained test tubes from her dad’s clinic.  Litmus paper too.  And needle-less syringes.  She always shared.

We performed acid/base watch-the-colour-change litmus experiments with vinegar and lime juice …

There were those school-holiday cousin sleepovers, Monopoly games that went on for days, birthday parties and breathtaking birthday cakes –

IMG_9125
Sister and Me with my 7th birthday Humpty Dumpty cake made by Mum.  She handcrafted Humpty Dumpty out of parchment icing and painted him in with food colouring.

Rocking horses and fluffy pets –

Piano lessons and picnics, seaside frolics, Sunday School.  And cousins, cousins, cousins –

A kinder, gentler time, a different world.  No TV.  

Innocent and enchanted …

Though a late bloomer, I think I’ve inherited Mum’s love of photography and her desire to record the precious, never-to-be-replicated moments. 

And like Mum, I’m in less than a handful of photographs in my immense digital library!

So thankful for this gift of photo-memories from the past. 

Much to remember, much to write about.   That’s what next times are for.

So until next time,

sincerely

IMG_9098
Cousin Dileeni (left) and me.  Still close friends though we live at opposite ends of the world.

IMG_20170320_190828.jpg

That Corner Chair

Ever paused to check out what folks are doing at bus stops, or observed  parents with kids in restaurants, in the park?

IMG_20161228_193837
Eyes on phone.  Caregiver of disabled children. In local mall.
IMG_20161228_193621
In the mall at Christmastime.  Not interested in atmosphere, decorations,  festive music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forty-something-and-under phenomenon.  Hunched over phones …

Shook my head head in disbelief as I took this one –

IMG_20161228_194007
Youngster manning Salvation Army Christmas Kettle – crouched over phone and halfheartedly ringing bell with free hand.  Guess why kettle’s almost empty.
IMG_20161223_152111873
As it should be.  Smiling Kettle Person happy to pose at WalMart.  Couldn’t help emptying  my purse of all its spare change.

Times have changed. Sad.

Life’s blazing flicker moments come and go.  In plain sight.

So easy to miss …

IMG_20170315_184516

IMG_20160929_170224

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

Happened to look out of window as sun rose last week.    Picked up phone and clicked.   

IMG_20170315_194042
Sunrise over neighbour’s home

Minutes later –                                                     

IMG_20170315_194029
Brighter, more gold

Stark contrast in brightness of light and sharpness of shadow.  Parable for the day –

Only a matter of time before things get brighter …      

Might have missed the golden moments in morning haste, if I hadn’t happened to look.  ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….     Objects have such power to transport me back to associated moments.

 When I look at these – 

IMG_8958
The moment I stand at this bay window, I’m back in assorted paradise climes where I found the shells and starfish
IMG_20160730_145527374
Enormous bathroom collage of shells from  shores around the world.  Daily I re-live the joy of beach-combing.  The sense of remembered joy never fades.

                                                                                                        

IMG_8961
Ah, to be a dewdrop in lush, humid rain forest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then there’s Chair-In-The-Corner .

IMG_8708
Husband’s maternal grandpa’s chair.  Over a century old, from Kopay, Jaffna.  

Hansi putuwa in the vernacular.  Translated: resting chair

IMG_9001
Infant Husband with grandfather on said Corner Chair .

Miracle child, my husband.  Survived despite all odds.

IMG_9006
Cutie Pie- now mine!

Parents who dared to believe.  Mother with dogged faith –

He’s going to be okay …

IMG_20170321_084110
Husband with parents after christening at St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Borella.  (Left) Maternal grandparents, (right) Paternal grandparents
IMG_9002
“Hi there!”.  Dad, Mom and precious first born (two brothers to follow)

– and Maternal Granny who pretty much slept with head in his crib at night that first year.

Just in case …            

Grew to be strong as an ox, that babe, healthy as a horse.                     

IMG_20170321_083859
A deep, strong bond to the very end of her life. Husband and Ammamma (His mom’s mom). 

And married me …  

Testimony to power of prayer, faith,  love, positive thinking.

 

 

 

 

………………………………………………………………………………….

Visually struck by the obvious.  See how reflection in mirror changes.

Depending on where I stand,  angle I look from …

Another parable?  Sort of.

How do I perceive situations that arise?

IMG_20170127_111612
It will, but can it hold you?
IMG_20161228_185903
Need more

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider, ponder on definition of joy.  An inner grace, un-dependent on circumstances.  Ability to be thankful.  To see the glass  half full, not half empty.  To look back with gratitude.    

And embrace even the unbearable uglies …

To be able to evoke music from within –     

IMG_20170116_183038
Music from within??

IMG_20161228_195908

Determined to believe the best is yet to come.      

IMG_8971
“The best is yet to come”.  Caption on van zipping past on Saturday morning.

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

Thankful husband’s life was spared to marry me.  Thankful for our daughters.

IMG_9008
He and Me.  Post-cancer treatment cruise.  Sketched Antigua, West Indies. (Bears passing resemblance to Husband, None at all to me.)
IMG_9010
New York City artist.  Striking reproduction of the twins’ ‘inner essence’ 

    

 

 

 

Thankful for nine cancer-free years.       

IMG_9011
Pink ribbons for breast cancer.  Holy Spirit Dove.  Mother-in-law’s handiwork.  A gift to celebrate the end of chemo.  Always grateful for in-laws’ loving care and support.

 

 

 

 

Wordless gratitude …  

Wishing you thankful joy today.   May it sidle sweetly in and entice you to come out and play –

In spite of yourself …

IMG_20170107_150629524_HDR

IMG_20161228_183809

Until next time,   

sincerely

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

            

 

 

                                     

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

“So Grampi, was it love at first sight when you saw her?”

Daughter’s eyes widen, jaw drops when Maternal Grandpa lets out belly laugh.

Hahahahaha …..

 Her romantic notions of darling-sweep-me-off-my-feet-I’m-yours-forever are shattered.

Sister and I glean bits and pieces over the years.

img_20161109_102804
Sister and me

Dad’s story –

“I came home from work one evening, and Mother told me I was fixed up.

No further discussion …

(Rumour has it that Paternal Grandma in her heyday was a tough bird.)

Fixed up is a direct translation from the vernacular.  There’s a sense of no-way-out about it. 

Matchmakers are Aunty Ruby’s in-laws.

Dad, up-and-coming young banker, is desperate to see what the girl looks like before formal introduction when he and parents visit her home.   Enlists help of Friend Gunam. Friend and he ride Dad’s scooter up and down Mum’s lane.  Young Lady finally makes an appearance on front porch.

Dad and Friend ride away.  Dad is glum.

Friend Gunam’s version:  “He was speechless.  He fell instantly in love.”

Dad’s version:  “I didn’t know what to say.  She looked like nothing on earth!”

Ouch …

Enormous relief to meet the girl a few days later.  Accomplished.  Demure.  Long dark hair.  Pleasant to behold.

Phew …

Turns out young lady on front porch was Neighbour’s Daughter!

Wrong address!

True story – honest – straight from the horse’s mouth.

Mum’s Story –

Me:  “Mum, so what did you think when you saw him?”

Mum:  “He was so handsome, darling.  My heart skipped a beat!”

img_20160604_091606
Stars in Mum’s eyes!
img_20150824_181529
Only after  formal engagement and a ring on her finger
img_20150902_204449293
He’s the man!

                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The date is fixed.  Here comes the bride …

img_20150901_191343
All the world and his wife were invited
img_7710
Beatrice.  Blushing bride

img_20160530_183045

_20150716_200755
Till death do us part

   

 

 

 

 

Uncle Gunam – comrade, confidante, fellow sleuth – is   Bestman.

img_7711
Man and wife.  Confetti, flower garlands and smiles.  Dad and Mum on church steps

Fast forward fifty years.   Golden Wedding Anniversary  celebrations.  

138
Diamond ring.  Dad and Mum renewing marriage vows at  altar.  
077
Order of Service.  Reception dinner and dancing after.

 

 

They  all said it – grannies and great aunts, aunties and elderly widows:

“Love comes after marriage, that’s how it happens.”

Stable, enduring.

Me to Daughters:  “Safer, more trustworthy than E-Harmony dot com, right?”

Daughters shrug and roll their eyes. 

Whatever …

img_20150729_133622

img_7721

img_20150801_194004

 

Love comes after marriage …

So that’s why Grampi laughed out loud.

img_7767
Youthful genes and blue jeans.  Grampi with Granddaughters (too long ago)
img_7768
Aging nicely.  Grampi and Peter (Sister’s son)

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

Little voice from past echoes in my ear.  “Fall is an untidy season, Mommy …”

Second small voice chimes out in agreement.

Aptly put.

img_20161101_184408

Amazing how Memory Bank unlocks to release unexpected cameo moments. 

Daughters are all grown up now. 

I remember all over again what a pretty season this is.  

Neighbourhood trees are on fire –

Backyard fence is burning up –

img_20161020_124631710_hdr
View from upstairs window
img_7638
View from kitchen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer’s done.  Falling  in love with fall – all over again.

 

Blazing autumn promenades –  

IMG_20161015_181615689.jpg
Husband and Puppy
img_20161102_142602544
Puppy sniffs neighbour’s pumpkins on garbage day.  (No Hallowe’en celebrations at our house.)
img_20161103_202227
Eek!

img_20161104_082510

img_7765

Tiny joy-moments to take one’s breath away …

(1) Pause to observe a single coloured leaf –

(2) Apple-strewn sidewalk –

  • img_20161018_131805836
  • (3) Smudge of rainbow in grey sky –                         

    img_20161103_193242
    Gasp of delight, unexpected sight
  • img_20161103_193418
    Hello brave rose!

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4) Last lonely rose clinging to neighbour’s fence.

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

Thought of Mum when I took these pictures –

img_6791
Landscape-in-a-window
img_6454
Living room reflected in old mirror

She used to say, “Eyes are the mirror of the soul.” 

Mum’s heart was reflected in her eyes.  Childlike, guile-less.  She drew people to her like a magnet.

Me: “Mum, has it ever bothered you that Dad is so … er  … striking?  Have you ever wished you were … maybe … prettier?”

Mum (puzzled):  “No. Why? Never!”

img_7709
Debonair Dad.  Twenty-something bachelor.
img_20150903_193805
Play on words.  Dad’s name is  Prins.

img_20150903_180620

 

 

 

 

 

They called him Omar Sharif in his day.    

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

People leave footprints on our lives.  Mum left indelible prints on mine.

img_20161103_195240
That’s Mum
img_20150606_174706175
By the lake last summer

Thankful for those who’ve touched my life, influenced my thinking. Thankful for Mum. 

Miss you, Mum.  Miss your loving letters …

img_20150805_224214
Saved every letter Mum ever wrote to me (until she discovered email)

img_20160213_090411

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

Chilly morning today.  Found bird’s nest under tree –

img_20161109_115834159
Straw and clay – avian masterpiece

img_20161013_200010

img_20161107_135556
In church last Sunday

 

 

 

 

I’ll continue to  cling to thankful.  If it’s all that remains, it’s enough.  

Until next time,

sincerely

PS: All the pictures in this post are moments captured on my IPad and phone. 

img_7747

_20150612_111112

If you enjoyed the post, please like this page, follow and share. Thank you.  xxx

Meet Maria

 House is undergoing renovations. 

img_7518
Puppy, a nervous wreck. (“Help! Where’s my spot?”)
img_7493
Sleep tight, Claire! Overnight guest beds down with paint pots by front door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clouds of dust, pails of paint –

img_7479
Inside the coat closet

I gasp, run for IPad.  Just remembered something …

Tap. Click.  Got it!

img_7476
Take a look at this …

… something Daughter said eight years ago.

Flashback to …

Several dark months when light in home is dimmed while Mother (me) undergoes treatment for late-detected breast cancer. Pretty much confined to bed.  A simple journey to the bathroom and back is long, exhausting.  Endless pilgrimages to hospital and clinics.  Can’t do much else besides.   Completely sapped of strength.

One day Daughter says –

“I guess God allows the pit to get so deep, so we can see how high his ladder can go …”

Bingo!

img_7475
How high can it go?
img_7639
Not high enough.  

img_7415

_20150606_221832
Grammatically incorrect t-shirt!

Words to heal or kill- power of tongue to build up or destroy …

 

 

Perspective alters instantly.  Pit is deep, very deep – yes – but ladder goes high, so high.  Begin to count blessings.  Endless list.  

People who love and care –  

  • Husband, Daughters, Family, Friends, Church (Kitchen lies idle. Meals come in unsolicited for seven months straight.
img_20161019_182842697
Puppy, constant companion.  If eyes could heal ..
  • Maureen, who accompanies me to chemo sessions, sees me safely into house, remains awhile in driveway crying for me before driving away. 
  • Brother-In-Law, Jonathan, who spends 4 hours a day for a week, driving me to radiation through freezing rain and snow storms, so exhausted husband can have a break..
  • Puppy’s unwavering eyes on me. Doesn’t move from my bedside. (Never wanted a dog.  Can’t do without him now)   
  • Top notch medical care. Stellar surgeon and oncologist.
  • Knowing that everything happens for a reason.
  • Prayer.  Someone IS listening.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

img_20150927_010612

Husband wakes up each morning and says, “Good morning gorgeous!”

I cry the first time I hear him.  I’m grey,   bloated,  bald as an egg.  

He isn’t joking.

img_20161019_144857356
He’s my man

_20150621_121156                                       

   

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Maria –

img_4075

I see Maria one morning at the chemo ward.   A pretty woman.  She begins to cry when the needle is inserted into her vein.  My heart aches.  In two weeks she’ll be as bald and as I am, with black nails and all the awful trimmings.  I don’t want her to suffer as I have. 

I place a hand on Maria’s and murmur, “You’ll be all right.”

She says, “How do you do it?”    img_20150801_202032

“You wake up each morning and ask for strength for the day.  At night say ‘thank you’ for the grace that took you through. Live one day at a time.  Don’t think about tomorrow.  It’s too frightening.”

We meet every three weeks at the hospital, talk on the phone.  Dark moments.  Shared strength.

Maria makes it.  So do I.  Sisters. There’s something about shared suffering.  Eight cancer-free years for us both this year.  Oncologist tells me I’m one of her success stories.

How high the ladder goes …

img_20161016_210119

img_4066
Celebration time.  Hyrrah for Maria!         

_20150706_220140

_20150710_103346                                                   Pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness

 Detest the wig.  Makes me itch, gets into eyes –

img_20161019_203532
Unloved.  Hardly used the wig.

Husband wears it to sixties hippy-themed costume birthday party some weeks back!

img_7168
Happy Hippy Husband.  Despised wig finally comes in useful!

img_20161013_203008
That’s my man!

 

 

 

 

Won’t ever forget that moment when head feels scratchy. Realize hair’s growing back.

What a feeling …

………………………………………………………………………………

Gorgeous full moon last week.  

Playing hide-and-seek over neighbour’s roof …

Roses still blooming in Garden –

_20150702_204253

img_20161013_194628

img_20161015_200545

img_20161013_182402536_hdr
                                                                                              Standing tall.  Me in a puddle of sunshine.

img_20150801_211446

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope is a precious thing.  Joy is priceless.  

Until next time,

sincerely

PS: The pictures in this post are all clicks from my IPad and phone.  Please share your thoughts and leave a comment.  Thank you for dropping in. 

img_7585
A dog’s life. Puppy sleeps in. 

img_20160502_213406

Real Life Sucks

The shadows catch my eye.  Long stooped frame with  cane, smaller figure keeping step.

img_7444
Walk with me

His steps falter, hers are spry.  She must have been a pretty woman in her youth.

Pause at traffic lights.  His shadow falls over hers, covers it.  Now they are one.

img_7447
Rosalyne and me standing behind them

Symbolic.  

img_7443
Young love –  Viking lass and her beau! 
img_20160919_202808
Can it last?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my perfect world –

Daughters: “What planet are you living on, Mom?” (Eye roll!)

Planet Naive?  

img_20160904_101720313
He and me 

img_20160702_231348

img_6646

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still grappling with a sense of let-down over the Brangelina breakup.  Can’t think why.

Real life sucks. (Borrowing Daughters’ phraseology.) 

img_20160811_211311

What happened to  till death do us part ?

img_4526
All by myself

Aunty Joyce and Uncle Rajan celebrated fifty years this past summer, Husband’s parents mark sixty next year.   

There has to be hope.

img_6696
The royal wave. (Rajan and Joyce, 50 years)  
img_7526
The In-Laws: Merlin the Magician and Vampire Girl ( Wimsy and Devi, coming on 60 years)
img_7124
Always hopeful Puppy.  The crumb will fall. .

img_20160921_182006

img_20151125_212957

img_20160702_154834776_hdr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Change of subject.  A well placed seat on a porch/ in a garden corner, is a beckoning invitation.

img_6873
Gunther-and-Mary’s backyard
img_20160704_010050
Patriotic front porch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slideshow – more leafy corners and slivers of heaven –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

An old chair in a green nook makes a marvelous stage for a potted plant. These dilapidated abandoned treasures found a home in my Eden –

Love how chairs add charm and character to a space (indoors or out).  Couldn’t love this one, though –

img_20160929_165405-1
See through pink plastic – yikes!

When I can’t sleep  I re-live  lovely moments.

img_20160702_155212905

img_20160929_165422

img_7019

img_20160927_103413

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like these –

  • Time spent with kindred spirits –                                                     
img_7438
Rosalyne and me at Word On The Street, downtown Toronto

img_7430

img_7427

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Rainbows in hosepipe mist and around the house –
  •  Puppy discovers playground –
  • Swathes of morning sunlight –
  •  Dreamin’ ‘n’ dancin’ to the crooning of Six Feet Up

  • img_6744
    Six Feet Up at Fairmount MacDonald.  Music from five decades ago for Golden Wedding Anniversary
img_6750
Six Feet Up.  Baby Boomers  – Kevin, Gail and Bruce.  Vocals and wind instruments.  Irresistible toe-tapping nostalgia
img_6724
Fifty years.  Rajan and Joyce.  “May I have this dance for the rest of my life?”
IMG_20161011_132810.jpg
That’s Husband and me!
img_20160628_145026
Just you and me
img_20160510_162253
Mine!

 

 

 

 

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Saw this van parked on Next Door’s driveway. 

img_20160929_172021
Bringing dreams home.  A sign for things to come?

Yes, please!  

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

Thankful for –

(1) Dental care and the fresh feel of just-cleaned teeth –

img_7012
Thank you, Susanne Klimitz, dental hygienist since Daughters were tots

(2) Good neighbours

img_6585
Glen and Dianne – court garage sale organizers
img_6584
Court BFFs. Sepideh (left), with Jinoos and young Sahand setting up shop in Jinoos’ driveway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Ever wondered about the faces behind the names defacing public property?

Romance, art or vandalism ?

img_7329
So who is Leyla?
img_20160929_140752
Who?

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

img_20160704_005026
Bottoms up! (Thank goodness those weeding days are done)

img_20160117_145846 

img_6814

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

 Memo to self for this week-

 Hold that tongue, watch what you say. 

    Easier said than done.

img_20161007_210550044
Wise monkeys.  Tisha (left) and daughters

img_20161011_133129

img_20160803_220937144
Shh! In a neighbour’s garden
img_20160929_142656
I am?

Until next time,

sincerely

PS: Dad and Mum made it to fifty years too.

146
Prins and Beatrice – RIP Mum.  Miss you still.

Sharing is great, please do.  Like this page and follow to receive future posts.

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

The pictures are all moments captured on my phone and Ipad.

img_20160827_173141839
Shopping with Mom
img_7341
Husband and Puppy.  A quiet ramble.

So Long Brangelina

Brangelina’s done.  Announcement sets social media ablaze.

img_7381

img_7383

img_20160919_202824

 

 

 

 

 

How did the bubble burst?

img_20160820_095753

Why?

img_20160702_231509
No one knows
img_20160829_141334
All by myself

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shocked fans.   Shattered illusions. 

Brad-Pitt-‘N’-Angelina-Jolie …  poster kids  for You-Can-Have-It-All.

# Déjà vu   #What’s new?

img_20160824_154615
Did they?
brad-pitt-angelina-jolie-malifencent
Hollywood’s Golden Couple

Six youngsters now face a new reality.  Sad.

brangelinakids
Pitt-Jolie brood – poor mites

As Mum often said , and The Beatles sang …  money can’t buy you love.

img_7209
The Fab Four (Beatles tribute band) Money can’t buy me love …
img_7216
Concert In The Park 2016

 

The point is …

You never know what goes on behind closed doors.  (Yep, Mum said that too!)………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Garden gates are intriguing.  They seem to beckon and invite into a world beyond. 

You might, however, lift the latch and walk through to find a disappointing Other Side.

Food for thought…

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

Saw this one as I drove by last week.  Stopped to take a picture.

img_20160919_183228
Absolutely

Yes!  Made my day.

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

This week’s Joy Moments

(1) Full moon  through bathroom skylight –         

img_7355
Midnight magic

(2)  Husband in Andy’s sunglasses –

img_20160809_150013
A refelctive mood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Shiny green bug in Garden –

img_20160719_112341
Neon green sheen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Butterfly at mid-week picnic with  Little Girl and her mom –

img_7272
Reshma spotted it 
img_7274
Monarch butterfly

 

(4) Sky on kitchen counter/ in sink –

(5) Chipmunk in birdfeeder –

img_7180
Tea anyone?

(6) Apples in garden sun –

img_20160921_181758
Every single one!

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

img_20160829_152000

img_20160917_224444

 

 

 

 

 

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

This week’s assignment:  Keep a journal of daily joy moments.

img_20160829_141645

img_20160901_132052244_hdr

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_20160831_223719
Not really!
img_20160820_095254
Always!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

.Smile for the day – 

img_20160901_130349787
In mall parking lot

They don’t??

Enjoy!

Until next time,

sincerely

img_20160914_175815216
Something’s a-foot

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_3482
You make your bed, you lie on it. (Another gem from Mum!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PS:  The pictures in this post (except the Pitt-Jolies) were random moments captured on my Ipad and phone.

Feel free to share, like this page and follow.   Continue reading “So Long Brangelina”

This is Susan

She makes a tedious trip to Walmart special.   

img_20160519_082614
This is Susan

Susan poses for the picture on a rare occasion when no one is in line behind me.  I offer to send it to her.

“No,” Her fingers play across an imaginary keyboard. “No email.  My husband does.  And son.”

She doesn’t know their addresses.

Our first conversation is about the dainty silver-dust-sprinkled fabric flower tucked behind her ear.  She wears it with elegance and panache.

 “I like your flower, Susan.”

“Thank you! I bought it in South Korea.”

“You’re nice,” she says one day.

“No, Susan, YOU are nice!”

I give her a hug.  I have to. 

Co-worker walks by at that moment.  “Everyone likes Susan,” she chuckles … and waits.

Yikes! Sorry lady, show’s over.   Ain’t huggin’ you!

 Her smile is a magnet. It makes my day. I find myself disappointed when Susan (with the pale sparkly eye shadow and fetching lipstick) is not at her station.

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

Mum (who had umpteen quotes in her hat, bless her!) would say :

“Smile and the whole world smiles with you, weep and you weep alone.” 

In layman’s language:  No one seeks the company of a gloomy Gus.

Happiness is conditional upon circumstances.   Joy is a deliberate state of mind

img_20160829_142915
Just kidding

Next week’s assignment:  Look for joy moments.

 

 

_20150713_200504
The little moments are the real biggies

_20150710_103231

img_20160720_165923609_hdr

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

Some joy moments from this week  –

(1) Sun thumbing its nose at pregnant rain clouds 

  • img_20160914_182428870_hdr
  • (2) Chipmunk pausing to scratch

img_7348

…. before darting away

 (3) Neighbour’s cat (a second before Puppy pounces)

  • img_20160914_183211
  • (4) My shadow family
img_20160903_115740013_hdr
Eye-rolling patience with snap-happy Mom

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

Summer’s all but done.  

Too cool to sit outside till the stars come out.

img_7251
Wonderful while it lasted

These leaves will soon change colour. 

img_7208

Flowers will fade and die.  Garden will begin to look like a bitter, unloved woman.

Thankful for –

(1) Cooler afternoons to walk with Puppy 

  • (2) One last summer snooze-‘n’-dream in the Secret Spot under Apple Tree last Saturday afternoon
  •  

    img_20160806_152326416_hdr
    Popsicle, Puppy and me – unexpected warm  temperatures 
  • (3) The Susans of the world who make the mundane bright

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

 

 

img_20160831_223847

 

Here’s to what’s to come …

 

Until next time,

sincerely

PS:  Lawn sign seen near home.  Really, who shops here?   

img_20160831_223649
Huh??

 

All the pictures in this post are random clicks on my IPad or phone.  Share the love, like the page and follow.  

 

 

So Call Me Pollyanna

So the last days of summer are upon us.  The sudden scorching temperatures have been a bonus. Sort of.  Late walks with Puppy sans sweater –

Continue reading “So Call Me Pollyanna”

Mama Mia!

Love how morning light spills all over Garden.   Continue reading “Mama Mia!”