Posts Tagged With: light


Sometimes I want to drop things in the kitchen just to see how they shatter.

Which is ridiculous, because I know that I would/do squeeze my eyes shut when something falls — pull back your feet as fast and as far as you can without falling, close your eyes, tense your muscles, hold your breath.

When something does fall and shatter on the tile floor in the kitchen (whoever thought ceramic tile and glass/china/ceramics/stonewear would do well together?) I sometimes wonder if I willed it let it happen.

I suppose that might be a superpower that would come in handy — speedy like Yoyo in S.H.I.E.L.D. or one of the many Flashes that are running around in the D.C. Universe. Fast enough to catch that falling piece of history before it’s destroyed, or even fast enough to make time pull backwards a little bit.

We all know that’s not possible but if we retreat into our heads for a bit there’s the chance that we can at least get a glimpse of the people or things that have been crushed and lost to us. Sometimes that slight spark of a bright remembrance can make things even worse but on occasion it can be the very thing we need to get us through.

If you are feeling a loss this holiday season, be it fresh and stinging or aged and nagging, I wish you the help you need to make it past the darkness; I wish you the ability to find the brightness in the memories that will warm your heart; I wish you love and light.

Categories: family, loss, love, memories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Donna Day … wanna help?

Last year around this time a few of my bloggity friends gathered from far and wide for an event that was being held in Chicago. I Want a Dumpster Baby, From the Bungalow, Pinwheels and Poppies, The Monster in Your Closet, Mary Tyler Mom … they were all there. Trade show, bloggers convention? Nope. A St. Baldrick’s event. “What’s that?” you ask. “Some religious gathering?” Nope. A shave. A fundraiser. An event. This particular one was being held in Chicago, put together by Donna’s Good Things in memory of and to

Donna's Good Things event is being held at the Candlelite in Chicago

Donna’s Good Things event is being held at the Candlelite in Chicago

honour Donna Quirke Hornik, to raise much needed money to fund research in the hopes that one day children won’t have to fight cancer. I couldn’t attend but I was there in spirit and I did donate some cash. Donna was an amazing little girl and you can read her story here. It’s not my story to tell so I won’t do that, but it is my story to share and it is up to all of us to do the same. If you know of anyone who has fought cancer then you know how horrible it is … if you know of any child who has had to fight cancer then you know how much worse that is. If you haven’t got a clue (and even if you do), then please read Donna’s story,  her family’s story, her mother’s story. It ain’t pretty … but it’s beautiful.

So, Mary Tyler Mom (Donna’s mother) asked some people to blog today, Donna Day, about this year’s event. You can find out more about it and make a donation here (in case you didn’t see that last link). I wasn’t actually specifically asked, but you know, I didn’t need to be. Research into pediatric cancer is a big deal. It needs to be funded. We need to do this; we can make a difference. Sure, it takes scientists and money and stuff .. but we’ve got those things. Donate.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you don’t actually have to attend an event in order to make a donation. You don’t even have to be in the same state, province or country. You can donate to Donna’s event just by clicking through. Also thanks to this here internet, you can check to see if there might be any events in your area, if you would be more comfortable donating to or attending something like that. And by doing just that, checking for local events, I came across this little gem: a group of Tau Kappa Epsilon students from UOIT is holding an event on March 8th, 2013 at the Campus Ice Centre in Oshawa, Ontario. These young men are standing together to try to keep cancer from bullying more and more children. How can you help? Donate! You can click through and pick a certain participant to support or you can donate to the event. These guys are hoping to raise $1500 to help fund childhood cancer research. That’s not too much. I’m sure we can push them over the top. St. Baldrick’s partners with Childhood Cancer Canada Foundation so if you’re a Canuck and want your funds to go towards a Canadian organization, not to worry, they will.

Honestly, I’m not too concerned as to which St. Baldrick’s event you donate to, I just want to get you to donate. St. Baldrick’s is a good organization and like I said above, research into pediatric cancer is a big deal.

Please help.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

hopes and fears?

** Please note that I have many conversations with myself and do much writing in my head. Sometimes this leads to fractured thought and prose. This may be one of those times. **


After the last mass shooting that made the international news I thought to myself, “I’m not going to write about this, everyone else will be doing it and I don’t know that I have anything different to say.” And I didn’t. Write about it.

Yesterday afternoon, shortly before 3pm, when I heard about Newtown, CT, I thought to myself, “I can’t write about this.” This thought only occurred after my immediate reaction, which was a mish-mash of horror, nausea and resignation. Oh, and I was stunned for a bit. Then, while struggling to win the battle over the gnawing, spinning pain in by stomach I scrolled through a number of news stories and tried to keep myself from reading all of the comments people were posting (I’ll come back to this in a bit). Within minutes I realised it was time to go get BoyGenius from school.

A small knot of parents and grandparents were waiting by the doors, as we always do. There were a few comments, a small recounting of events for those who hadn’t yet heard and a collective shaking of heads. There were those who stated, as so many on facebook had, that all they wanted to do was hug their kids, go home, and hug their kids some more. I stayed away from all of that because that’s not the feeling I got. BoyGenius came bounding out the doors, we shared our signature greeting (him jumping into my arms and holding on for dear life while I spin him around until we’re both so dizzy we can barely stand), he told me there’s no school on Tuesday — 1 day teacher strike [a whole ‘nother story] and then asked if he could go to the park. I said “sure” and zipped up his hoody for him before he ran off into the woods. I didn’t pull him any more tightly to me than I usually do, I didn’t hug him longer and I didn’t tell him I needed him to stay closer to me. I told him I love him and sent him off to the park, alone, to play with his friends. That’s what I felt like doing. (Well, that and throwing up … and the throwing up part is still present, almost 24 hours later.)

I don’t want to be afraid to send my son to school every morning. I don’t want to be afraid to take him to the mall to do some shopping. I don’t want to stop going to public gatherings in fear that some gun-wielding, grievance-carrying asshole will pick that day, that gathering to attend. So I’m not, and I won’t. HardWorker thinks of these things every day. I don’t. HardWorker has way more anxiety issues anyway, and things like this just feed her fears. Then again, so do television shows about bacteria on chicken or germs in hotel rooms. I won’t live in fear. I won’t have BoyGenius live in fear. Some of HardWorker’s fears have already rubbed off on him and I fight every day to keep him from absorbing any more. I don’t want my friends with small children, my friends with grown children, my friends with soon-to-be-arriving children to be crippled by fear of the world around us. I, like others I admire, choose to live in hope. I hope that the world will someday be a better place, that everyday it is indeed becoming a better place. I hope that we will stop hurting each other. I hope that we will cure disease. I hope that we will conquer famine. I hope for a lot of things. I choose hope over fear.

There is much talk when something like this happens; in comments on news stories, on facebook, on talk shows. There is much talk about gun control, as always happens at times like these. There is much talk about holding your children tightly. There is much talk about health care and mental illness. There is much talk about the US constitution and its amendments. There is much talk about how horrible that this should happen just before Christmas. People are saddened, devastated, shocked, stunned and horrified. Some are callous and self-serving. There is much talk.

Well I’m here to tell you that talk is cheap. Talk about gun control leads NOWHERE. You know why? Because the bigger picture in that discussion is one about power and lobbying and that picture is painted in very broad strokes with brushes made of thousand dollar bills; the details are the really important considerations and those details always get painted over. Talk about holding your children tightly is all well and good, but PLEASE don’t leave it until a tragedy happens to think about doing so. Talk about health care and mental illness needs to happen but again, those talks always become about politics and power and those money-brushes whitewash everything so not enough gets accomplished. Christmas — the season of love and light, goodwill towards men; does it really matter that this happened at this time of year? Would this horribly unnecessary tragedy be any easier to bear in May? Should we not be sad or shocked or horrified? No, I’m not saying that … what I’m saying is that more importantly that any of those things, we should be angry. Angry enough to take the necessary steps to ensure that this stops happening.

Gun control? Hell yes. You want the right to bear arms? Go right ahead. But be put on notice that every time something like this happens, every time there’s an armed robbery at the corner store, every time some gang shooting occurs, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE. Societal ills? Hell yes. Sure, everyone should be held accountable for their own actions but it’s pretty hard to swallow that what you or I or the politicians do has absolutely no bearing on the person standing next to us. WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR EACH OTHER.  Loving your kids? Of course. Love them, respect them, listen to them, teach them. KNOW THEM.

Whenever there is a mass shooting, particularly when school-aged children are involved, those who knew the perpetrator(s) have the same things to say. Either “he/she was a loner; he/she was bullied a lot; he/she always seemed to have problems or issues,” or “we never noticed anything wrong.” Both of these perspectives need to be examined. It’s like people are either saying “we always knew there was something wrong” (and nobody cared) or “we never cared enough to get to know” if things were really as good as they seemed. WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR EACH OTHER. We need to accept that. Talking to someone might change their life. Smiling at someone may flip a switch in their head. A touch on a shoulder might let someone know that you actually see them standing next to you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that bad things won’t still happen just because you smile at someone. I’m not naive enough to think that the whole world can be healed with a hug. But neither am I callous or cynical enough to think that human kindness, human touch, human-ness won’t make a difference, either.

hopeToday, though. Today. It’s not about guns. It’s not about mental illness. It’s not about money or power. It’s not about your kids or my son. It’s about the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School. Parents that lost their children. Children that lost their parents. Students that lost their friends and teachers. Teachers that lost their students. It’s about a small town that will be forever changed. It’s about people whose lives have been turned upside down. Lives that may never be righted again. Let us hope collectively that they can all find peace.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light, the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. May hope always wield the mightier sword.


Categories: family, parenting, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monday’s words (on a Tuesday) – E

Alright, alright, it’s a Tuesday and not a Monday .. but we had a long weekend and the first day after a long weekend always feels like a Monday so I think I’m okay.

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter E and by the number 2216 (the number of E words I’ll be talking about).

E is for everything

When I first thought of this “series” I figured it would at least give me something to write about without having to give it too much thought; that turned out not to be the case. When I get around to these particular posts I find myself giving a lot of thought to words: words that start with the letter I’m at, words that are derived from those words, words that don’t fit the category but have the same or similar or opposite meanings, words that hurt, words that build.

I have a lot of favourite words starting with E, relatively speaking. They go something like this:

  • exhausted
  • ephemeral
  • ethereal
  • ease/easement
  • ebb
  • enliven
  • eddy
  • epitome
  • ewer
  • envision
  • element/elemental
  • ember
  • envelop
  • embrace
  • engage/engagement
  • enlighten

Now let me tell you what I like about these words and you can tell me if you feel the same .. or differently .. or nothing at all.

I love the thought that a person or an idea can be exhausted. We have explored all aspects of this, we have exhausted all avenues of thought. Do you have someone in your life who exhausts you? In a good way or in a bad way? I think we all have people who exhaust us in a “bad” way but I believe it is a rare find indeed when you come across a person who can exhaust you in a “good” way. I have a friend who exhausts me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and believe me, it’s all good. What that means to me is that I am so comfortable that I can let everything (good, bad, stressful or joyous) drain out of me, allowing me to look at it, to sift through it, to decide — sometimes with help — what is worth hanging on to and what should be let go.

I don’t really like the idea that some things are so short lived that they are ephemeral, but I absolutely love the fact that there is a term for this phenomenon and that it is such a beautiful word. Ephemeral. The word itself makes the idea easier to live with. Ethereal is another beautiful word. Extremely delicate, spiritual, heavenly, otherworldly, too perfect for this world. What a gorgeous word. What a sad and lovely concept.

I love the words ease and easement. Knowing that you are able to do something with ease is a good feeling — unless it’s something bad, then you should probably be concerned about the ease with which you are able to do it. Knowing that something you do can help ease someone’s feelings or hardships … that’s gotta make you feel good. And as far as easement goes, I’m referring to the feeling of comfort or peace, or the act of easing or relieving someone’s discomfort, not the right of way that allows you to use someone else’s property to get to yours. Although I kind of like that usage of the word as well.

I love the ocean and am soothed by the ebb and flood of the tide. When ebb is used to describe the lessening of things in general, although it is often seen as a negative descriptive term, I can’t help but think of the ebb of pain or the ebb of sorrow or the ebb of any other hard or painful thing. I always see it as a gentle calm settling over whatever is troubling someone. That’s why I like the word ebb.

There isn’t much that needs be said about the word enliven. It speaks for itself. “You enliven me.” You make me feel more alive, you animate me and my spirit, you inspire me, you brighten my countenance.

An eddy is a current of water (or air) that moves or flows contrary to the main current — man, I love that idea. Sure, it’s often a water feature so it grabbed me from way back, but going against the flow, building your own little current, whirlpool or whirlwind … that is totally cool. In fact, it’s the epitome of cool. Ahh, epitome. The embodiment of something. While I love the word epitome for its meaning, I love using it for its pronunciation. Epitome. Another one I love the sound of is ewer. It comes up often in crossword puzzles and knowing that when the clue is “pitcher” the answer is “ewer” always makes me smile.

Envision is kind of like enliven for me; the word itself is enough to make me see its meaning. I truly believe that a person can do or make or be anything that they can envision. It won’t always be easy, the way to get to that point may not be easily seen but as long as you can envision the goal I think you’ll get there eventually. (Eventually is one I didn’t mention but I fall back on it often. Eventually and eventuality. Those words keep me going sometimes; they give me hope.)

Element and elemental are words I appreciate in all of their presentations. Fundamental, essential, basic. Natural habitat. Sphere of activity. Being “in your element” must be an amazing feeling.

Embers are defined as parts of a dying fire; the small glowing or smouldering bits of coal or wood or ash. But if you bank the embers you retain the heat and can easily kindle a new flame when necessary. Embers may be tiny, they may be a part of something that is dying but they are hot. So very, very hot. When people speak of dying embers I think of sparks and heat and flames. I think of love that never dies; no matter how small that glowing ember is it can quickly be sparked to a raging fire.

Envelop and embrace are words that fill me with warmth and hope and an overall feeling of love and kindness. They are good words. I envelop you in my love. I not only embrace you in the physical sense, but I embrace your thoughts and ideas. How cool is that!?

When I think of engagement I think of BoyGenius. I think of how I want his teachers to engage him. I think of how I want him to be engaged in learning. I think of how it makes me smile when I see him engaged in conversation with a peer or a mentor, or when I know he wants to engage someone in conversation or in some other activity that interests him.

Enlighten. To give someone greater knowledge and understanding of something, be it materially, spiritually or philosophically. You often hear “well, let me enlighten you” used in a negative connotation but I think we should stop doing that. I think if I have knowledge or understanding of a subject or a situation I should be happy to share, to increase your understanding; I shouldn’t ever use enlightenment in such a way as to make you feel small or make a situation worse. That’s not what it’s about.

Wow. This has turned into quite an entry. I hope I haven’t bored you. Who knew E words could take over like that? (I actually pared down my list, if you can believe it.)

Categories: words | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

have you found your thing?

I do a lot of things. I’m a dabbler. I love a lot of things but I don’t think I’ve found my thing yet.

How many of you are doing what you love? What do you do when even doing what you love wears you down or starts feeling like a chore? How do you find that thing you love so that you can do it?

There are wise people who say you should find your passion and make that your work. That way you will be doing what you love to do and making a living at it. How many people does that actually happen for? First off, what if you can’t find your passion? What if, even if you have one, you can’t find a way for it to help you survive: buy food, pay bills, contribute to the rent/mortgage?

Whenever I have to contribute to the “about” section on any thing I sign up for I never really know what to say.  I am a stay-at-home-mother to one son. That’s about as far as I get. I love to cook (sometimes). I love to bake (sometimes). I really do love doing laundry, as hard as it may be for people to believe that. I love taking pictures. I love reading. I love words. I love music. I love to travel. I love to garden (sometimes). I love children, animals, trees, hearts, flowers, seashells, the ocean, clouds, Lego and the harmonica — to name just a few things.

So, I love all those things. I’m at least a little bit good at a lot of things. I guess I could say I am a good cook. I’m good at baking. I am good at laundry. I catch the odd perfect shot on film or flashcard. I read well. I can do a lot of things. But so what? I have people tell me I should be a writer, I should be a photographer, I should be a teacher. Well, guess what? I am all those things, just not professionally. I don’t think I have any sellable stories inside of me. Every consumer with a camera phone now believes they are a photographer, and I know how hard it is to be a professional. I love children but I know I don’t have the patience to be a teacher.

I’m a parent. I love it (most times). I just don’t know if I’m any good at it. I’m not a very good housewife. I’m not even a very good spouse. Parent? Who knows. Is my son happy? He says yes. He says I’m a good mom and there isn’t anyone else he’d rather have as a mom. Is that good enough for me? I guess so.

Maybe I have found my thing.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

When you can’t make it shine

What I didn’t address in Tall Trees – part deux is what happens when you can’t make the light shine for the ones you love.  I am in that unenviable position right now.  I don’t know what to do.

HardWorker’s mother lives in England.  They speak often but haven’t seen each other for about 18 years.  Neither of them flies, both have anxieties, even demons, I guess.  I have never met my MIL but we have built a relationship of sorts over the years.  I call her on much of what she says and I think it has helped to keep her grounded now and then.  Hardworker loves her mother.  It hurts her to know that her mother is often alone, possibly ill, definitely troubled.  This morning Hardworker got a call from England telling her that my MIL was in hospital.  She had apparently fallen, it wasn’t clear if she had had a stroke or what might have caused the fall; it wasn’t known when she had fallen.  Hardworker was a mess but stayed at work because 1) that’s what she does well and b) it would keep her busy while she could try not to think about the fact that she can’t do anything from here right now.

It fell to me to call my SIL and let her know what little I knew.  SIL made other calls and inquiries and sent family and friends to the hospital for her mother.  What we now know is still very little, but it might be more than we want to.  MIL fell and fractured her skull; she has a brain bleed; she is somewhat responsive but doesn’t know her best friend; she has a DNR order.

When Hardworker got home from work I had to give her all this news.  (I can’t stand being the bearer of bad news.  I have twice had to advise family members of deaths in our family and that’s more than enough for me I don’t ever want to do it again.)  She wants to go to her mother.  She feels guilty for not calling her mother last night.  She feels guilty for the fact that her mother was alone.  She feels guilty that she has occasionally had to “push” her mother off of the phone.  She feels lost, sad, devastated and oh yeah, guilty.  Did I mention guilty?

She should go to her mother.  She hasn’t got a valid passport.  She is anxious about terrified of flying.  She fears the worst, that she won’t be able to go or won’t get there in time.  She is scared.

I don’t know what to do.  I mean, I know what to do; I’m hand-holding, I’m hugging, I’m filling out forms, I’m making calls, I’m telling her that worrying isn’t helpful, I’m telling her guilt is pointless.  I don’t think I can can’t make the light shine through this forest.  I can’t get her to see the light, to feel the light because right now I’m having trouble with it myself.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know what to do.

Categories: family | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Tall Trees – part deux

A few days ago, a friend of mine was having a hard time “seeing” the light and an even harder time “feeling” the light.  Often we tell people that things will be okay but unless they can believe it, see it, or feel it, telling them that isn’t going to do squat.  I wanted to be able to help my friend feel the light.  I sent her a funny cartoon of a lightbulb and it was good.  But it wasn’t good enough.  I thought, “Which of my 6000+ pictures would best help her see the light?”  I scanned through them quickly and came up with a few that might work … but was any one of the photos enough?  A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words but a picture with words .. hmm .. that might do it better.  So which one?  And what words?

Something that you have to understand about me is that I love words.  I love the sound of them, I love the look of them, I love the spelling, I love the meaning.  I love that I can convey so much with words.  I love books, I love poetry, I love lyrics.  Words, words, words.  It’s funny, really, because I don’t “talk” a lot.  Well, I talk in my head a lot.  I don’t talk to people that much.  I’m shy.  Now, if you’re a friend or acquaintance who lives around here, you’re calling ‘bullsh!t’ right about now.  If you’re my best friend or my spouse, you’re just nodding your head because you know I speak the truth.  For someone who loves words, I don’t talk much.  I’m good with comments, I’m good at writing letters, I’m good with the colour commentary for everything from PTA meetings to football games; heck, I am the colour.  I am the comic relief, the valve that lets off some of the steam so there’s no explosion; there may be implosion because I can’t get out of my own head, but everyone else will be spared.

So I looked at the photos I had picked out and tall trees jumped out at me.  I could do plenty with that and within two minutes of playing with it I knew exactly which words would work.  The picture gave me the words .. well, my heart got them from the picture and conveyed them through my brain into my fingertips.  “Remember that there is always a spot for the light to get in … even through the tallest trees.”  I believe it to be true.  I think we often don’t remember that it is true and I think that even if we remember it we don’t believe it.  We don’t see it.  We don’t feel it.  If I can remind someone that this happens, that light gets in to even the deepest parts of the forest at some time or other, then I think I’m helping.  If I can get them to a point where they can see it, then I know I’m helping.  If I can help them feel it … hell, I’m rejoicing.  I think I helped my friend the other day.  I wasn’t alone, a lot of other people helped her that day as well; we pulled together and made a difference.  I think.  I hope.  I smile.

I’m letting the light in.

Categories: friendship | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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