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

Advertisements

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.  

 

 

Good Morning Colombo!

”So what do you do with your time, Mom?” Daughter asks.

“You know me,” I reply.  “I find things to do.”

Daughter’s voice, all the way down the line from Toronto to Colombo, is as clear as a bell.  It’s a free call, thanks to Viber, What’s Ap and Magic Jack.

The suitcases come out of storage four weeks before.  I pack in spite of an unhappy Puppy

pupsad

and head for the airport and a month in Sri Lanka, to visit my Dad in the Land of Dreams.

Dad turned eighty on March 23rd. March 28th marked the first anniversary of Mum’s passing.

This is my dad, a good-looking octogenarian –

dada pic

dadda2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                             He’s adjusted remarkably well to  being alone.   I miss Mum.  


April is the hottest month in Sri Lanka, with soaring temperatures and stifling humidity.  A perpetual film of moisture clings to the skin. 

welcometoparadise

It’s snowing  in Toronto. 

“Aren’t you bored, Mom?”  Other Daughter enquires a week later.

Me bored?  Never!

Meet the aunties who are not really my aunts.  (In the Land of Dreams everyone is your aunty or uncle.  It’s respectful.)  Aunty Romola lives on the third floor,  Aunty Amitha – her friend from Australia -lives  round the corner. 

The aunties and I walk every morning, just after dawn.

aunties
Romola de Mel (left) and, Amitha Fernando

The Ipad and camera phone are an established part of my anatomy.  The aunties are very forebearing.

Pause.  Click.  Pause again.  Click.  Aunties shrug and move on.  Catch up at a trot …

“Stop!”

Aunties halt.

“Our shadows.  Look!  Don’t move.”

Aunties strike a pose.  Aim and tap.

“No backsides, please!”  Aunty Romola warns.garagedoorback

threeofusshadow
The aunties and me

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have the routine down pat –

“Excuse me!” (That’s me in one of three languages) “May I take your picture?” …

“They probably agree just because you’re a woman,” my friend Suresh says when I show him my cache of pictures.

I never thought of that. 

Aunty Romola squeaks when she sees this one –

aachchi

“That’s my friend Sharmini’s maid!” she says. “Where did you find her?”

I e-mail the picture to Aunty Rom, who sends it on to her friend, who chides the sweet old lady for posing for a stranger.  “Don’t you know they do terrible things on the internet?”

The poor thing is horrified.


Aunty Rom looks over her shoulder.  “Did you get that?”

pickingflowers
Picking flowers

“I did!”    

Aunty Romola is beginning to see with my eyes

She points again. “Get that!”

That  is a line of tiny clothing hanging out to dry between a lamp post and a tree. 

tinyclothes2

Not far away, a  beggar family is asleep on the tiled threshold of an upscale  store.

sleeping family

More Colomber 3-at-dawn moments –

womananddog
Drink up, baby, it’s good for you!
nun
You want my picture?  Why?
muslimman
Friday,  it’s mosque day.
oneleggedbeggar
Hope for another day
sleepingbeggar2
A sound night’s sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cripple

oldcoupletrishaw
All dressed up.  Tuk-tuk awaits
templegirls
Off to temple with mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nurses
On duty
muslimmomkids
No school today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

scratching
Yep.  Just woke up.
shcoolgirl.JPG
Early to school
IMG_5803.JPG
Before breakfast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(For more pictures go to Colombo Faces and Kollupitiya Places & Other Spaces)

colomboexpress


The city landscape is changing rapidy.  A handful of remembered landmarks from my girlhood remain –

greencabinraheema

Lovely old colonial homes –

colonialhome2colonialhome3
colonialhome1colonialhome4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are being torn down –

torndown

to make way for more high-rises-

skyline
View from Dad’s condo

 

replacementhighrises


This is Mr C.R. de Silva, a friendly retiree from Washington, DC.  We often pass him and his wife on their morning stroll.  Today he’s pruning the greenery hanging over his garden wall.

crdesliva
Chanaka Richard de Silva 

 

This charming gent delights and intrigues me with his impeccable English and private school accent –  

Iottobooth

(It must be over 40 degrees celsius inside the lottery ticket booth.) I ask about his family.  He tells me he’s single and lives alone.  He’s inclined to chat and I’d love to linger.  The lights change,  time to cross Duplication Road. The aunties urge me on.


I ask Dad about Dr Chinniah, who was my dentist when I was a girl (too long ago).   Is he still in practice? 

Aunty Romola and I bump into Dr.  Chinniah on Galle Road.  

drchinniah
Dr Nithi Chinniah (left) with Aunty Romola

Only in Sri Lanka!

Doyne and Sunitha are my neighbours in Canada –

sunianddoyne
Doyne and Sunitha Seneviratne

They

IMG_6320

during the cold months,

livingthedreamIMG_20160429_142453

La dolce vita …                

sunianddoyne2
Kiri bath and all the accompaniments, fresh mango for dessert

I partake of a sumptuous breakfast and warm Sri Lankan hospitality in their fabulous home.


This year Sri Lanka celebrates the Sinhala and Tamil New Year on April 13th and 14th.   It’s all about the astrologically pre-determined auspicious time.

auspicous

For days the metropolis of Colombo becomes a ghost-town.  I stand in the middle of Galle Road, the capital’s normally traffic-choked main thoroughfare, to take pictures.

IMG_5517

 

 

 

IMG_5262

Overnight showers have done nothing to ease the stickiness.  The streets glisten with pretty puddles.

puddle1puddle

Aunty Romola suggests we pop in at Aunty Christine-and-Uncle Chandi’s for a quick visit.  Their home is along our route.    

christinechandi
Chandi and Christine Chanmugam

Aunty Christine is my cousin Dileeni’s mother-in-law and Aunty Rom’s cousin (and not my aunt at all!). It’s 7:15 am. They are a charming couple, gracious and welcoming, notwithstanding the early hour.  They’ve been married for sixty plus years.  I meet them for the first time. We stay for fifteen minutes.  

Aunty Romola and I walk home holding cinnamon branches from Uncle Chandi’s well tended garden. They’ll serve as plant-props on Aunty ‘s balcony.

stickshadows
Cinnamon branch shadows

Dad sometimes takes an evening stroll at Independence Square.

independencesquare

independencesquare.2

IMG_6178

and I accompany him.  Dusk is falling when  I happen upon this sweet old lady and her son.

mumandson
Mom and her boy

She beams when he tells me her age.  She’s ninety something years old.

This young family is happy to pose –

muslim family
Chip off the old block

I click and I head towards the walking track to get this one –

muslimspraying
Evening prayers (zoomed in from a distance)

and  collide into my once-upon-a-time friend, Piyali.  Piyali and I met (too many) years ago at a cooking class for young ladies.  I’ve often wondered where she was.

piyali
Piyali Dissanayake 

We recognize each other instantly. I puff and pant to keep up as, never pausing, she sends me a friend request on Facebook and enters all my contact details into her phone.  It’s boiling hot,  I’m wilting.  

I find out that Piyali’s in Colombo for a few days.  She shuttles between Sri Lanka and Abu Dhabi, where her husband works. The timing of our meeting is amazing.  She hasn’t changed one bit. She’s a mother-in-law now.    


Dad shows me a copy of the family tree on his mother’s side.  It dates back to 1670.  I find Aunty Romola on it, so I guess she’s sort of an aunt after all!


imaginetheimpossiblebuysrilankan

 

 

 

givewingstoyourdreams

widenyourworld

allofsrilanka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

barefootsign

foot

 

 

 

 

 

meshadow
That’s me!

                         

suninhereyes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


flowersonwall
Morning Glory

goodmorningbeauty

girl1
At Katunayake International Airport
girl2
Katunayake International Airport

homeofgoodtea

girl3


Aunty Amitha messages me on Facebook .  She’s back in Melbourne.  

It’s spring again in Toronto.  The suitcases are unpacked.  I’m home.  

Puppy is pleased.

puppyunpacking


I close my eyes and dream of Paradise.  It’s such a long plane ride away.

paradiseroadgalleries

paradise foodcourt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s something about Sri Lanka.  It’s …

divine

To Paradise Island, land of endless summer, land of my birth –

IMG_6377

sincerely

 

Share the love, like this page and follw.   Until next time …

In The Nut Aisle

IMG_20150403_075214403

There is the occasional time when discouragement slithers in under the guise of common sense, and hisses, “Sorry babe, it ain’t ever gonna happen!”

Such a weight of deflated dreams descended on me for no particular reason last week, right in the middle of  grocery day.  Feeling grim and bereft, I tossed items into a supermarket cart, and wandered around until I found myself looking at this enormous fabric creature perched on a stack of plastic storage bins –

IMG_20160317_084538091
Smile …

 It  didn’t belong where I found it.  Someone had set it down there,  just in time for me and my mood.  The red heart and goofy smile felt like a love letter of reassurance. My spirits rose.  Cart and I continued on and rounded a corner.  The caption on an outsize shirt shouted  –

IMG_20160317_090836736

The load of doubt dissolved and I smiled in spite of myself. How could I help it when the very space around me seemed to conspire in my favour?  [My friend, Rosalyne, calls this phenomenon Universal Synchronicity.)

It’s amazing how a single special moment can

IMG_20150827_164507

My mum used to say, 

IMG_20160306_194055

Look at this –

IMG_20160228_223222

Never too old …

Radical, thrilling!

IMG_20151217_095934that


FullSizeRender (12)

I wouldn’t be able to bear it.


I took this picture last week – 

IMG_20160319_103107

, chuckling at memories of a friend who once told me her family tree was composed entirely of fruits and nuts!  I grinned and remembered a recent moment at the bulk food store, when I unintentionally eavesdropped on a brief conversation.

“Could you tell me where the hazelnuts are?” a man asked.

IMG_20160317_130606

, sir. In the nut aisle,” the assistant replied. 

My mind boggled as I began to visualize the faces I’d find on the shelves of the nut aisle.  

IMG_20160317_082134425

Who??

 Pretty much anyone who thinks

Normal is boring!
Normal is boring!

  , I suppose, and that would include me, for sure!


There are three kinds of people in this world –

(1) The IMG_20160318_112602706_HDR(2) The non-dreamer

and

(3) The dream-killer

  • The dreamer – that’s you (if you’re a nut!)
  • The non-dreamer – the one who  regrets his inability to dream big crazy dreams, and might enjoy living vicariously through you
  • The dream-killer — the practical, down-to-earth sort of person who feels duty-bound to tell you that it’s time to grow up and stop wasting your time.

Here’s the deal – _20150709_210453

Of courseIMG_20160306_194453

and believes in the dream.

Dear fellow nut, do you know you have a

_20150601_161507

IMG_20150829_141934

IMG_20160103_210108

 Of course,

_20150710_101223

so _20150513_184057

and 

IMG_20160318_115626

IMG_20160223_112959

Above all IMG_20160223_113111

_20150423_190234


So …_20150428_144734

_20150618_150842

_20150623_101344

At the end of life’s journey, I want to be able to say,
IMG_20151119_192704


_20150709_222614

Well –

IMG_20160305_154647396


_20150610_172835IMG_20151101_231727

 

IMG_20151020_122322

IMG_20151101_231402

IMG_20160101_173732


_20150621_145229

, but big or small

IMG_20150817_113926~2

A toast to all the dreaming nuts (and fruits) out there –

IMG_20160213_090632
IMG_20160319_103212

_20150324_184251

 

sincerely

Two Slices Of Rainbow

Rush hour traffic on Friday morning. A chopped-off bar of colour appears ahead, directly above the steering wheel.

Sketch by Selina, 2016 F
Sketch by Selina,  February 2016

A sideways glance at my passenger. “Look at the gorgeous bit of rainbow!”

No response from Daughter.  I turn into the bus station, and …

Gasp!

An equal-opposite matching wedge in pastel colours. The slices cling to the sky, like two pillars on either side of the building.

Sketch by Selina,
Sketch by Selina, February 2016

Enchanting. Delighted …

“Look, another piece. Heaven is smiling!

IMG_20160123_201326

!  It’s going to be special!”

Daughter throws a puzzled look and hops out of the car. “Bye, Mom.”

Kids …

I park some feet away, remove sunglasses, raise camera-phone to click. No rainbow.

Huh?

Disappointed. Turn key in the ignition, put sunglasses back on and …  my chunks of rainbow are back!

Huh?

Lower the glasses to the tip of my nose. Rainbow-chunks disappear. Realization dawns. These stumps of rainbow are only visible through tinted glasses.   Daughter never saw them.  She must have thought I was nuts.  

I’ve just seen beauty un-visible to the naked eye.  Life’s like that sometimes, isn’t it?

I drive home realizing that

IMG_20160213_082344

because Inner Me wears tinted lenses born from the dark seasons she’s lived through.

I suppose the soul-sunglasses are to blame for how my eyes perceive  things. Like last week, when I was in the mall minding my business. I had this serious urge to step into Hallmark Cards and …

IMG_20160111_170028

Three ceramic ornaments in different spots — two below eye level and half turned away from where I stood — held hands and stood up to shout with one voice –

IMG_20160211_190507

IMG_20160211_190359

IMG_20160213_090218

Message for the day?

IMG_20160204_181051

 – honest! I’m

IMG_20160123_201812

and

IMG_20160204_101547

IMG_20160111_170103

IMG_20160111_175849

that IMG_20160123_201754

and IMG_20160114_150918

is now!

IMG_20160213_085133

to convince me and

IMG_20160213_090851

IMG_20160211_190544


I took this picture some months back.

_20150526_134922

How I laughed.  That’s me.  I can’t help it!


IMG_20150403_075051990

IMG_20150403_075247336

IMG_20160204_191305

IMG_20160123_195759

IMG_20160204_191932

IMG_20160123_201041

sincerely

P.S.  Keep the sunglasses on!


 

IMG_20160126_131407

imageIMG_20160212_113900


This post is dedicated to my friend Marietta with my thanks for the pictures she took and shared with me.  I’ve used one of them in this piece.  All the other photos are digital moments captured on my phone.

Synchro … what??

 

_20150313_193515


“It’s weird, Rosie. I walked into Winners and the shelves came alive.  As if the display had been contrived just for me. The words were flying out from everywhere. Odd thing is, I hadn’t planned to go there. Just felt an overwhelming urge as I drove by, so I popped in.”

I show pictures –IMG_20160117_150601

IMG_20160117_150615

IMG_20160117_150628

IMG_20160117_151105

IMG_20160117_151253

IMG_20160103_205923

There was more.


I met Rosalyn two years ago, on Fanstory,  a website for writers.   Turned out she lived round the corner, not in Alaska, Australia or … Timbuctoo!

We meet at Tim Hortons

IMG_20160123_133119937

 to talk about writing and … our dreams. The more we talk, the less unattainable they seem.

Rosalyn scrolls through the pictures on my phone. I chatter on –

“The same thing happened when I visited my cousin in Ohio over the Thanksgiving weekend. We went on an unplanned shopping trip and – oh, my goodness! – the place was alive with … dreams, Rosie.  Look!”

More pictures –

IMG_20151103_144508

IMG_20151102_225953

IMG_20151103_234329

IMG_20151227_212336IMG_20151103_234348

IMG_20151102_225137

 

IMG_20151101_143428659

“It’s called universal synchronicity,” Rosalyn volunteered.

“Synchro … what?”

“That’s what my son says it is. It means the universe is trying to tell you something.”

“The universe? You mean God?”

“Whatever you like to call it. Something’s trying to communicate with you.”

“To encourage me to keep dreaming?”

“I guess so.  Yes!”

“A man almost collided into my shopping cart last week. My eyes popped out of my head when the lettering on his T-shirt began to screech!”

IMG_20150929_140441718

Rosalyn grins. “You got a picture?”

“I chased him down the Walmart parking lot and asked it I could. Told him the words were significant. Said I wasn’t a crazy woman!”

She chuckles. “You dared?”

“He obliged.  I had to record the moment. This stuff has been happening a lot lately.”

I flash more pictures –

IMG_20150720_174307

IMG_20150801_122731

_20150716_200040

IMG_20150815_000116

IMG_20150810_185404

IMG_20150810_184145

IMG_20150801_125652

_20150324_191422

My words trip over one another. “I’ve caught more than a thousand moments  on my phone, Rosie.  Look at what I saw last Saturday, on a shelf at Winners.  It had no business there – ladies’ section, face up – staring at me … ”

IMG_20160117_145553

“It kind of grew and screamed … honest!  I was rushing past, not really looking.”  I barely pause for breath.  “I found a belated Christmas present in my mailbox some days back. From a friend I haven’t met in ages. I almost jumped out of my skin when I opened the package and  saw the words on the picture frame.”

IMG_20160111_181413

A dream come true!

Rosalyn, bless her, is never sceptical. 

“I had to see someone on Saturday. When I drove into the parking lot of her building, something grew out of the corner of my eye. It filled my line of vision.

Rosalyn looks amused. “You took a picture, of course.”

“Of course!”

IMG_20160111_175426

“It was parked at the far end. There was absolutely no reason for me to notice it.”

“And then I had this compelling to drop in at Indigo Books.  I hadn’t been there  in ages.  This  paper weight jumped up the moment I walked in –

IMG_20160123_201725

The words seemed to be on every item that caught my eye. Suddenly, I heard a child’s voice mumbling, ‘Dream bigger, darling’.  I got goose bumps.  The kid was reading out loud.  He held a pencil case in his hands, the words were etched on it.  It felt pleasant, you know, and kind of weird!”

It’s snowing outside. The medium white hot chocolate is warm in my hands. I take a deep breath and sigh. “I’m excited, Rosie!”

“Me too,” Rosalyn replies.  “This synchronicity thing has been happening to me too!”


_20150618_162422

IMG_20150827_170911

_20150710_101443

_20150324_191954

IMG_20160123_202132


IMG_20150815_004057

IMG_20150821_223055

_20150513_183302IMG_20151102_221135

sincerely


This post is dedicated to my friends – Rosalyn (who’s such a wonderful listener), Alice (who delighted me with the unexpected gift) and Karen (who dropped it off in my mailbox).  With my love and thanks.


 

Shadow Woman

 She wore a

IMG_20151009_165425

 and

_20150630_205115

outfit, loads of

IMG_20150805_123228

jewellery and

_20150716_201647

IMG_20150930_190203

 , her

IMG_20151008_160924

teased and sprayed. 

She has

_20150701_161105

.  She is

_20150701_155005

IMG_20150902_143639

  …  “

IMG_20151008_175447 lady,” I chirped.  “You look

_20150603_135732

.  Just

_20150701_135218

.”

_20150617_141400

,” she cooed.  “

IMG_20151023_174209

for keeping

IMG_20150929_180303

Have you

IMG_20150930_171430

?”   I gave her a hug. “

IMG_20151002_164643

, Cherie.”

 She has

IMG_20151008_191158

of

IMG_20150925_202257black-and-white movie

_20150702_200833

. The  pouty

IMG_20151023_185751

-type

IMG_20151008_193443

of

_20150601_092442

.  It’s

_20150617_151056

on a

IMG_20150927_001846

evening in the summer. This is my friend Cherie. She turns eighty next year.

Eighty!

 “You have to be friendly with your mirror,”

IMG_20150821_203018

, tapping on the restaurant table with pearl-tipped fingers.

 Her voice was silver-screen husky.

 

IMG_20151008_192030

to say,

IMG_20150911_202524

 is full of

IMG_20150920_104258

,” he snorted. “ It’s a

IMG_20151011_131051

.  Before you

_20150618_151657

 it’s

IMG_20150911_183312

, and taken

IMG_20150911_183041

.  And

IMG_20150911_205736

?

_20150619_112752.  Do you like what you see?  You stare and say, ‘What have you done to me?’”

Her

IMG_20150925_212222

 , resumed his perusal of the menu.  Not in a

_20150716_201811

today!  He’s a

IMG_20150928_184535, but a bit of a

_20150716_195957

sometimes.

She was more than

IMG_20150919_092556

He couldn’t

_20150701_144738her

_20150630_173341.  “

IMG_20150921_181549

_20150716_173152

. That is why you have to be friendly, so you are comfortable with what you see.  See?”

He rolled his eyes and began, in

_20150615_173042

French, to discuss

IMG_20151008_165436 with the waiter –

_20150701_144439

I remembered my find that morning.  The blue card tucked into the door of the  ladies’ room in a Montreal public building.  Here it is –

_20150701_145002

, it declared.  You are magnificent…

An advertising gimmick, with the name and address of a professional photographer on the reverse.

My initial reaction: I am?

I looked at Cherie.

IMG_20151008_185158

.  She lives it.  This is exactly how she feels  inside –

IMG_20150821_211243

. (

_20150716_201911 !)

“Cherie,

IMG_20151017_134321339~2

IMG_20150920_104045

,” I gushed.  “Just look at

IMG_20150926_232607

like this!  I

IMG_20150927_012454

_20150716_134911

You have a

IMG_20151008_160859

presence.

_20150503_131047

, you know. It makes you

IMG_20150917_190329

younger than you are.”

 She grew

IMG_20150921_190036

. “

IMG_20151008_192419

.   You can’t

IMG_20151008_170147

.  That’s exactly what life is.

_20150423_185733

_20150428_144941

, I thought I would be young

IMG_20150903_175716

Didn’t we all?


_20150708_014011we were young and in love?”  She smiled at Daniel.  He grunted. 

_20150603_181807

 It’s

IMG_20150921_194531

, and you’re living with

IMG_20151023_173008

IMG_20150926_092734

IMG_20151008_165824

, you know, by the map of time on my person.”  She touched her cheek. You can’t

IMG_20150926_093315

the lines away  like

IMG_20150926_093335

with a

IMG_20150926_093349

. When age hits,

IMG_20150921_181633

.  There’s no annual

IMG_20151011_130912

or

IMG_20151011_130929

to protect you from the inevitable. ” 

 “So

_20150704_171001

 the secret  to staying

IMG_20150930_175057

 and beautiful, Cherie?”

IMG_20150930_191227

.  So does youth.  There are

IMG_20150926_093234

 …”

 “Tell me.” 

She took

IMG_20151016_184258

out of her

_20150701_155909

(My friend  has an incurable

IMG_20151001_192023

.)

“The

_20150610_173852

never lasts long and

_20150617_170016

 don’t work,

IMG_20150917_190420

this is what 

IMG_20150916_163127

You’ve

IMG_20150922_172641

 aware.  Learn  

IMG_20151008_165954

IMG_20151008_170034 to

IMG_20151008_170249

 .”

Smoke signals and drowning –  what a

_20150620_144406

IMG_20151008_170809

way  of putting it …

 She reached for a

IMG_20150928_182029

 of

IMG_20150930_190116

. “We can all feel like

IMG_20151008_165754

,” she said.

 “We can?”

“Yes!

IMG_20150927_011028

 with the passage of time, my dear.”   She looked down at the

IMG_20150829_095926 on her dessert plate and grinned.  “It can be delicious!

IMG_20150912_105024

.  Find

IMG_20150801_195613

_20150513_183856

IMG_20150815_005339

_20150610_185239

_20150610_185226

IMG_20151025_202552

IMG_20151008_193135

reality.

IMG_20150930_180730

 dry up and shrivel away,

IMG_20151023_184940

IMG_20150821_193836

IMG_20150827_224624

have to. I refuse to turn into a

_20150624_193644

IMG_20151017_142312668

.  I will not fade away into a

IMG_20150920_103638

.  That would be a

IMG_20151002_190420

, I think!

Yes, Cherie, it would …

It’s

IMG_20150920_103434

IMG_20150921_181458,” she cooed.  “You can do it.”

“Come on Cherie, it’s 

_20150716_202238

.” 

IMG_20151008_174614dear, you can

_20150614_122012

_20150701_145720

!”

IMG_20150930_174519

.   Tell me how.  I

IMG_20150925_095919

a

IMG_20150925_100120

 journey into time.” 

She took a sip of water.  “

_20150617_141838

_20150624_190458

IMG_20151008_190825

approach it.  

IMG_20150801_191733

.  If you are

IMG_20150619_132650975

, tell yourself, ‘

IMG_20150619_132701428

IMG_20151023_174027

, but if you

IMG_20151008_175041

IMG_20150911_090240553

 .  Remember,

_20150503_131334

on the stage of your life. It’s up to me to make

IMG_20151008_165700

years the best

IMG_20150903_174930

You have to experience the

IMG_20151008_164040

of living in

IMG_20151008_172412

IMG_20150821_193946

and

IMG_20150821_194005

, do your best to

IMG_20151008_165543the rickety mindset.  Make it

IMG_20151008_165151

IMG_20150821_201338

 to waste on such things. You have to discipline your mind.  It’s like

_20150716_202226

_20150506_125218

Savour them all. 

IMG_20150930_190457

.  There’s a right way and a

_20150702_223412

to approach life. 

IMG_20151025_200133

You make the 

IMG_20150925_181055

_20150513_182932

.”

“Really?”

She was emphatic. “Really! 

IMG_20150927_005018

 , but certainly better. 

_20150701_183016

 are the full-blown ones, darling.”

 I have

IMG_20151008_175502

I

_20150428_143647

of her

IMG_20151016_183853

optimism.  This woman is a

IMG_20150821_201536

_20150428_143951

.  My

_20150704_234528I

IMG_20150930_173424

_20150428_144613

.  I’m

_20150618_162405

Cherie resumed her monologue. “

IMG_20151002_190217

,

IMG_20150920_110555

Don’t dwell on the

IMG_20151008_171625

IMG_20150918_165332906

_20150609_233653

IMG_20150920_105342.  Put your

IMG_20150917_190535

IMG_20150917_190615

Make an effort to

IMG_20150919_092755

IMG_20150919_092823

IMG_20150821_194125

IMG_20150919_092810

 if you have to!”

 Dance? Yes! Maybe not on the table, though …

” Oh, and

IMG_20150821_194058

IMG_20150821_194248

 ?” I quipped.

 She laughed.  

IMG_20151008_185957

faith. 

 

IMG_20150821_205240

 I

IMG_20150923_193652211

_20150613_145350

.  I

IMG_3913

_20150702_203356

_20150628_234055.” Her hand went to her heart.  “

IMG_20150925_204945

, you know. Right here.”

 This is

_20150614_121859

 There’s

IMG_20150921_195242

in her words … 

IMG_20151006_223839, Cherie!” I applauded.  ” It’s simply

IMG_20150920_125003

 , you know. You

IMG_20151008_192216

!”

IMG_20150903_180818

She purred.  ” 

IMG_20150903_181043

!”  (IMG_20150801_200453

 – honest!)

“My goodness, Cherie, you’ve

IMG_20150903_181007

,” I protested.

IMG_20150801_195450

for saying that! 

IMG_20150930_180704

the numbers. You make

_20150614_142155

to

IMG_20150826_183419

your body’s age.

IMG_20151008_193507

and live there!

IMG_20150918_165015737

in advance for

IMG_20151002_185107

IMG_20150821_204718

 the way you hope.   Life

IMG_20150821_194849

 …”

 IMG_20150925_203019

, can it ever?

IMG_20150911_220319

 the half of it, Cherie …

“ No matter what, choose to believe that

IMG_20150821_200946

.  Choose to

IMG_20150821_205827

_20150603_182516

IMG_20150911_210147

 comes at the 

IMG_20150911_210327

IMG_20150821_194942

IMG_20150821_195057

IMG_20150821_195151

IMG_20151002_164235has the right to do that.

IMG_20150903_173405

IMG_20150821_195400

IMG_20150929_131845

IMG_20150821_200127

 that your body may be going  

IMG_20150901_185840

, but never let it

IMG_20150827_224607

or

IMG_20150801_205110

IMG_20150930_190425

, but 

IMG_20150930_180648

, okay darling?”

IMG_20150930_185939

             …

_20150628_234042

 ,” she went on. “ I

_20150526_181811

Actually,

IMG_20150903_174333

IMG_20150930_175259

IMG_20150918_165135637

IMG_20150719_124734445~2

IMG_20150729_134226


 

       IMG_20150921_182824 . Suddenly I want to pick up my feet and

_20150624_180000

. I feel like

_20150619_180818

a

IMG_20150926_091715

IMG_20150917_185530

 down the aisles.

  “You can’t

_20150701_162428

_20150629_003053

 like you, Cherie,” I said. “And

_20150614_123313

 – every single one.” 

“Oh,

_20150614_121512, I’m not

IMG_20150929_131641

,” she replied. “I have my

IMG_20151025_222824

moments.

_20150716_175328

 might fluctuate.”

 “Cherie, no one is perfect …”

” 

IMG_20150801_201507

,” she beamed.  “Once you alter your way of thinking, you find you’re

IMG_20150821_181347

IMG_20151008_175356

 can be wonderful.  I aim to

IMG_20150801_195949

 who never grew old!” 

This

IMG_20151008_174630

 . The power of positive aging.  Could this be

IMG_20151008_193609

 The

IMG_20151008_172327

of

_20150615_171626

IMG_20150926_093212

 . This is

IMG_20151002_164938

to combat the effects of the saggy

IMG_20150919_093259

and  the

IMG_20150826_183804

Flaunt the smile, wear the

_20150624_193016

with grace!

IMG_20151025_220739

IMG_20150801_202032

, so  when the time comes,

IMG_20150926_232716(

_20150702_204107

)


 

  I looked at my list of

IMG_20150926_091542

(1) IMG_20150926_091454

 (2) IMG_20150926_091524

IMG_20150814_221541

 I grabbed a pen and wrote another list –

IMG_20151012_134846

_20150428_143027

_20150513_184343

_20150701_134804 Keep IMG_20150920_105310

IMG_20150925_203713Do it!

_20150701_144411

_20150417_191756

IMG_20150925_210404from within.

Write more

IMG_20151008_165850

IMG_20150911_221402

IMG_20150509_154338

IMG_20150911_221423           


 

IMG_20151023_173525

_20150324_185100

_20150513_182906

Hang on to the

_20150702_205228

_20150513_100917

IMG_20150815_005929

.  Have

_20150702_204710

.  This is where you begin _20150701_155304

IMG_20150902_181555

 And

_20150324_185245

IMG_20150930_190721

_20150324_191242IMG_20150801_202250

_20150530_102512–  a

_20150629_220456

_20150610_173054

IMG_20150926_093032

_20150716_200214


 

IMG_20150821_194356

IMG_20151012_094214 

 May

_20150506_145536