Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Time Just Before...

For everything that happens, there is a time just before -- a time when that thing that is about to happen has not happened yet. The earth is still rotating on its axis and all is well with the world. Everything is just as it should be, and the daily routine feels the same as it always has.  Nothing is out of place.  You feel the same je ne sais quoi that you feel every day.  Everything is predictable, and you don't mind. And then, suddenly, the hands on the clock tick forward, and It has happened.  There is no turning back; nothing can undo it.  Life has changed.  Forever.  And you wish you could go back to the time just before...

One of my co-workers -- I will call her Sarah -- is one of my favourite people in the world. She's wonderful, and she makes my life so much easier. We communicate mostly by telephone and e-mail, and we agree every day on what a great team we are. Speaking with her always brightens my day. There is a certain aspect of my job that has been extremely difficult because of the incompetency of the folks in a department with which I have had to deal over the past several years. When Sarah came along, the Heavens opened, and the angels sang.  At the end of the week, she never fails to leave the office without first sending me an e-mail to wish me a great weekend.  However, for the past couple of weeks she has not been at work, and once again everything went to hell in a hand basket. "When is she coming back? When is she coming back?"  No one seemed to know, and it was very strange.  And then, a couple of days ago I found out that Sarah is very ill and will not be coming back.

Time and life are so fragile, both are a gift, and we take them both for granted until the day when everything changes, and we realize we have not appreciated them as we should.  And we take the people in our lives for granted as well.  They're just always there.  We count on certain people to be there because they enrich our lives and we don't know what we would do without them.  Until they're gone.  Sarah definitely enriched my life, and my exchanges with her throughout the day always made me smile.  She was someone on whom I could always count to be there.  I wish I could turn the hands of the clock back to the time just before, when everything was okay with the world, and It hadn't happened yet.  But I can't.

And if Sarah loses her battle -- God forbid -- I know the Heavens will open and the angels will sing.

I'm Still Here...

The month of May has flown past, hasn't it? Where did it go? I am still having difficulty getting into Blogger, but I think I have figured it out now. My time lately has been taken up with other things, but I have missed blogging and all my blogging friends. I will be back soon. Watch this space. This summer I will be attending a high school reunion on Vancouver Island. The high school I went to was one of the largest in British Columbia, and all of our graduating class will be attending the reunion. Folks are coming from as far away as France and Australia. It should prove to be very interesting, to say the least. High School reunions are a bit like the movie "Peggy Sue got Married". The dorky guy grows up to become a millionaire, and the captain of the football team is now bald and drives a taxi. It's always bittersweet to go back to the town where one grew up, but to see all the kids who have now turned into their parents -- well, that's just scary. And yes, I will get pictures.

Have a fabulous day everyone!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This past weekend was a long weekend here in Canada, and I took a trip to Vancouver Island. When I was there, I saw this wonderful sign on a dairy farm, and I laughed. Oh, yes.  It's true, isn't it?  No matter how diligent we are with our lives ... Manure Happens.  We just have to laugh.  I have been experiencing some difficulties getting into my own blog this past week.  Argh...  Why is it when something is not broken, folks feel they have to fix it anyway?  Blogger was just fine the way it was, thank you very much.

Vancouver Island has some wonderful artists, writers, painters, sculptures and potters, and I found this little guy at a potter's gallery just outside of Coombs.  I couldn't resist him.  He is a mug, and his handle is at the back of his head.  This is -- exactly! -- what I feel like before I have my first cup of morning coffee.  I can't start the day without coffee, and Mr. Grumpy and I can share it together.  And now that I have finally figured out how to get into my blog again, I am a little less grumpy myself.  I have more photographs to share with you, but time does not permit me to post any of them at the moment.  Mr. Grumpy and I shall return shortly.

Have a fabulous day, everyone.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Truth is Out There..

The other night over dinner some family members and I had a rather ... animated ... discussion about whether or not the World Trade Center devastation was an inside job, or really the work of terrorists. I'm afraid I get more than a little impatient with conspiracy theorists, unfortunately. "Well, that's just stupid...!"  Almost everything in the scientific world can be explained scientifically, and to quote one of the engineers involved in the investigation, "Quantitative reasoning can help sort fact from fiction, and can help us learn from this unfortunate disaster". In other words, it's what we don't know that can be puzzling.  But during our discussion, my daughter made a very good point, an excellent point, actually.  She said, "It's okay to question things." And that is very true.  It is very okay to question things.  Never accept anything at face value if you feel there is another answer.  The truth is out there.

To me, questioning something is like starting a journey down the yellow brick road.  A question is not an answer, it is just the beginning of the learning process.  Along the road there may be all sorts of strange encounters.  You may wander through a field of poppies, and be lulled into a state of somnolence.  "Ahhh, this is nice, I think I'll stay here..."  Or perhaps you may be attacked by flying monkeys, or you may encouter folks who will say you're on the wrong road and will tell you to turn back.  But keep going.  Never give up on the quest for knowledge.

Sometimes when we reach the end of our journey, the answers we find are not the ones we expected. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."  There is a theory about conspiracy theories (don't you love it?) that conspiracy theories are sexier and more fun than the truth.  We want to believe Princess Diana was killed by shadowy figures in the palace, rather than by an ordinary drunk driver.  Conspiracy theorists always make their point by asking another question, rather than giving an answer. The explanation for something is never a question, and often the answer is dry and scientific and not very sexy.

As my daughter said, it is always good to question things, and I completely agree.  Intellectual curiosity is wonderful.  There are some things in life that cannot be explained, and that is part of the wonder.  But there are also some things that can be explained, and that is part of the wonder too.

Here is a link to detailed scientific, engineering, structural and architectural explanations as to why the planes were able to bring down the World Trade Centers, why they fell, and how they fell as they did.  It's very interesting and you will be reading all day, once you click onto the 120 citations and other supportive material.  The article is like Russian Matryoshka dolls, one link leads to another and another.  I think I have a degree in engineering after reading it.

The truth is out there...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the women who have children, who have had children, or who will one day have children. The other day as I was travelling on the cross-town No. 99 bus, I overheard a conversation between two young women who were sitting behind me. One woman was just coming home after a long day at work, the other woman had a small child on her knee and another child in a stroller. After talking about her day at work, Woman No. One asked Woman No. Two what she did for a living. "Oh, I'm just a stay-at-home Mom," replied Woman No. Two. A few seats over was a grizzled old man of about 90 years-old. He obviously had been listening to the conversation between the two young women. He looked over at Woman No. Two and said in a very loud, clear voice, "You -- young lady -- are the Madonna of the world. When you say you are a stay-at-home mom, never use the word *just*..." I chuckled.

Happy Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Bumblebee Tree

The Bumblebee Tree
(Reprinted with the permission of the author, Phinnaeus - age 16)

I suppose it’s time to discuss the house: the blue house mid-block. It was never a beautiful house, never gorgeous beyond belief. It was well kept, and had a nice front yard with a rose bush next to the window, but it wasn’t anything to look twice at.

Though each component of the house was not individually special, the combination of it seemed to create a magic unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Perhaps it was the way the morning sun sprawled through the windows and lit up the living room; a perfect place for a cat to nap, in the warmth.

Perhaps it was sound of feet running up and down the steps, that could be heard even when nobody was in fact running up them. The creaky second step was always skipped over when one was trying to move around the stairs quietly; and whenever stepped on, was an announcement to all that somebody was coming upstairs.

Perhaps it was the relief of walking into the basement in the midsummer, when there was an exact point between overly hot and bearably cool. And as such, everybody found a sleeping place in the underground, where you could actually sleep without sweating buckets.

Perhaps it was the assortment of doors, each with a different story. It may have been unable to close, or it may have stuck every time you (tried) to open it, or it might have made a big scratch on the kitchen floor from the years of opening and shutting. It might have even been the back fence, which could never be closed properly. Never.

Perhaps it was Thursday night: Survivor Night. When everyone crowded into the living room: Dad on the chaise, Katherine mid-couch, Mum in the edge seat, and me on the rocking chair. When we would all guess who was getting voted off, and never brush our teeth before we saw next week’s preview. The cat would get catnip, and the sit with us; and we would all hear the ghosts running up and down the stairs, and opening many of the 37 drawers.

Perhaps it was evenings in the backyard. Whether it was badminton, or croquet, or eating dinner on the green table, or just sitting and listening to the birds, it was a peace from the world. In the summer, after bike rides and long, hot days, it was to sit in the grass and feel the cool breeze blowing overhead; seeing the golden sky as the sun set only to illuminate another hot tomorrow. The lavender blossomed and set the whole yard full of fragrance, and the bumblebee tree was set abuzz with bees.

But I don’t think that it was really any of these things that made the magic in that house. It was that in all of it was cemented our childhoods and parenthoods. And though we didn’t have much for people over for dinner, or Super Bowl parties, or whatever it might have been, we were there together. The four of us, and a cat of one sort or another, through it all.

Life moves on. We grow up, and apart. And it’s not to be cried about. Tears should never be shed that we lost the house. Because we didn’t lose the house: we found ourselves; we found the true directions of our lives in that building. And when the house achieved its goal of setting the four of us on our own paths, it was needed no more in the world, so it left us.

So I’m not sad.  Even if it stands no longer, it will always have a place in my heart.

“It may be raining, but there’s a rainbow above you…” -The Eagles


Author - Phinnaeus

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Last Post ...

Evolution of Butterflies
Odilon Redon

After today, I will not be doing any blog posts for a while so I can concentrate on what I love doing best - painting. I think we all reach a certain age in our lives where we find the things we thought were important, really were not important, and that we have been ignoring the things that are important.  God gave me a very small talent that I have been neglecting, but I have recently been given some opportunities to pursue my talent further.

Interacting with all of you have been a wonderful experience for me, and I hope to continue to do so in the future.

Enjoy your spring, everyone!