Thursday, April 30, 2009

Does anybody remember laughter?

Life, as we have come to know it, is serious. Considering what the average life span is, for a very short time in our lives, we are children. We are carefree. Sprites. Full of energetic mischief, creativity and mayhem. We play. We act. We scheme! Although we don't really know what that word means. We run. We explore. We hide.... and we seek. We are fearless, for the most part. And.....we laugh! We laugh at each other. We laugh at ourselves and our silliness. We laugh at things adults would never understand. But we laugh.

For the most part, our little brains have yet to be corrupted by life's realities. Then, we grow up. Sometimes too fast. Faster than we know what is good for us. We become serious. We become involved in adult things. You know what I mean. There is school, relationships and jobs. Responsibilities, commitments and aaaagggghhh! Deadlines! Laughter; exit stage left. Stress.....please hit your mark. And so it goes.

For the good of our health we need laughter in our lives. Laughter benefits and contributes to our well being in so many ways. It helps to keep our brains more alert; helps to lower our blood pressure and reduces stress considerably. And think of it, have you ever had a really good old fashioned belly laugh. You know the ones where your insides feel like you were just at the gym, screaming at you, "go for the burn". Those kinds of laughs. Fortunately for me, I do a lot of stupid things where I am the beneficiary of my own laughter.

Picture this for instance. I'm out Christmas shopping, running around from store to store trying to complete my mental shopping list. Racing around trying to beat the clock and get as much done as I can. In the midst of this I realize I need to tinkle. It'll have to wait. You're not done yet. One more item then you can go home. "Fine", by bladder screams! Finally, I'm on my way home doing a jig behind the wheel hoping passers by think I'm just rocking to Christmas tunes. Minutes seem like hours when I eventually pull up to the door. I'm squeezing so hard my knees hurt and my eyes begin to water. I think, "that's it, one more minute and it'll be coming out of my ears." I grab the packages and hoof it to the door, keys in hand, pushing the 'open button' as I approach the door. No response! Great! (Fill in favourite swear words here) I try again. The door is still not opening. Batteries must be dead, I think. Bladder screaming in agony. I look at the keys in my hand sheepishly realizing that I am trying to open my front door with my car keys. Duh!!! Since when did you have an automatic front door opener. Wing nut! Glancing around to make sure nobody sees my gaff, I slip the key in the door and close the door behind me. Later of course, I laugh my ass off and I still get a chuckle out it. I hope you do too!

Do you have any memories of doing something bizarre that made you laugh at your self?

Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless
laughter can be said to remedy anything. ~Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Creative Purging

A number of years ago, I was trying to deal with a few issues that I had been harbouring inside of me since childhood. During one stretch, as I was thinking about a lot the things that were creating havoc, I began to write some of my thoughts down on paper. Some of them turned into poems. It was kind of a cleansing process. I was thinking about these things recently because of some posts I have been reading and it kind of brought a few things back. Here is one of them.

The Child Within

Amidst the quiet and the darkness, a tear rolled down my cheek;
as the child deep within cried out and slowly began to speak.

How could you too have left me, to fight the world alone;
and live your life so selfishly with your heart you turned to stone.

Could you not see the puzzled look hidden in my eyes;
or did you just ignore me, like the others with their lies?

Endless days and lonely nights; oh how the years you've blown;
and now you return to claim me, as though I were your own.

I hope you didn't just walk in and not expect a fight;
because I started hating you when you first came into sight.

Yes, the years have left me bitter and often sick inside;
but now that you have found me, I've nowhere else to hide.

So the battle we will be entering will exact a hefty toll;
because the prize we will be fighting, for will be your very soul.

G. De Rouin
March 22, 1996 ©

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Good Walk Spoiled

Well, it was the first time out on the links today.....finally! However, it didn't exactly go as we had hoped for. The day started off great; the sun was shining, only a few white clouds above and not too long a wait between holes. The course wasn't in too bad a shape either considering the winter we had and the time of year it is. We were moving along nicely when suddenly, Mother Nature decided to let us know who was in charge.
In the first pic, we just lined up and asked the starter to take a shot of us. I didn't notice how we were lined up until I checked the pics at home. Had to laugh though. I'm the vertically challenged guy on the left. It didn't help that the string bean on the right kind of dwarfed us all. These are some of the guys I used to work with. On the far right is Doug (The String Bean), then Andy, (The Jester), and Kiel (The Meltdown King). All good guys and hard workers in their jobs.

As I was saying, things were going okay for awhile. We moved thru the front nine without any trauma or drama. Believe me, it gets worse as the season progresses. don't want to know. Anyhow, we suddenly notice the winds begin to pick up and the flags were pretty well standing at attention. The skies, which started out blue began to turn various shades of grey. Still not too bad. We moved on.

We get to the back nine and start heading right into the wind. The grey in the clouds begins to get a little darker. Coming along in his cart is the course Marshall. He proceeds to warn us of an impending storm which he says is, "about an hour away". No worries, we think. On to the 12th hole where we all get off our drives. Scattered of course, but out there. Except now one of the guys says, "This isn't good. Where's the nearest Storm Shelter?" He barely got the words out of his mouth when we could hear the horn blowing from the clubhouse warning us to get the hell outta Dodge.

Before we saw the rain, we heard it. It was moving fast and sounded a lot like what you would expect a heard of Buffalo to sound. No time for prisoners either. Kiel and Doug booted to their left into the trees as the winds began to kick up sharply. I managed to get into the deep tree cover and had to momentarily take refuge behind a tree to protect myself from the wind. When I looked back to see what was keeping Andy, all I could see was the red of his umbrella fighting the wind. Enough of this, I thought and quickly made my way to the shelter and not a moment too soon as the clouds really let loose their fury.

Minutes passed before the lost lamb made his way into the clearing heading to the shelter. The picture is self explanatory. Well, we waited as long as we could thinking this would be just a passing storm and we could get out and finish. Didn't happen. We did manage to make it back to the clubhouse without any further issues and were given a raincheck. Not too shabby. At least we got to play a little today, had some fun and had a few laughs.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Me and My Meme

1. What is your current obsession?
Searching for my Serenity.

2. Which item of clothing do you wear often?
Jeans and a Hoodie (and of know!)

3. What's for dinner?
Beef Stir Fry with peppers, mushrooms, celery, pea pods and green onions in a Cracked Pepper Sauce on a bed of steamed rice.

4. What are you listening to?
Diana Krall's Quiet Nights

5. Say something to the one that tagged you.
Hi Natalie! (Musings From the Deep)
It has been an extreme pleasure meeting somebody who has a genuine joie de vivre. You seem to have found that perfect balance that so many people spend a lifetime trying to achieve. I get the feeling there isn't a phony bone in your body. And a great big THANK YOU for visiting and showing the appreciation you have been. It is truly appreciated. The next bunch of Roses is on me.

6. Favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere I can watch the sun set on the water. There is nothing quite like it.

7. What I'm reading right now?
A fellow Blogger, Michelle Frost's first book, 'First Light'. Citizen of The World (The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau) by John English.

8. Four words to describe myself.
Big hearted, generous, impatient, intelligent.

9. Guilty pleasure.
Spoiling by friends children, (I'm the adopted Uncle G' Bear). I get to go home at the end. Especially when there is chocolate involved!

10. What do you think you will feel about your life when all is said and done?

I could lie and say everything was hunkey dorey, but I won't. Sad is how I would describe how I will feel. Too many early events of my life caused me to mistrust and question people's motives. I've been right more times than I care to mention. The two things I wanted the most in my life was, one, to be married (I would have worked at the happily ever after part). And two, having children. I've become a good Uncle..........but it's not the same. I guess what I can hope for is that the friendships that I did create will leave some pleasant memories for those who remain behind.'Nuff said.....

11. What do you look forward to?
I look forward to the day my friends son, Daniel (my adopted nephew) will no longer have to worry about his heart. (I will write about that soon). And I look forward to the day their daughter, Hannah (my adopted niece), walks down the aisle. It's a long way to go, I know.......I just want to be there.

Now, as for tagging others, I leave that to anybody who stops by and doesn't mind answering a few thought provoking questions. Go ahead........we won't judge you..........

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

For the Blue Planet!

Today is Earth Day! Actually every day should be Earth Day if we want future generations to enjoy the things we and those before us did. For me, it's kind of a no brainer when it comes to transportation and work at least. I only live about 2 kilometers from home to the office. So, if the car isn't needed, I'm only a 25 minute walk or a 10 minute bike ride away. This morning, I chose the bike. Throw my stuff in a back pack and away I go. The good thing is, the morning trip is mostly down hill which is kind of fun. The afternoon trip, not as much fun but still rewarding. We have a couple of other people in our office who also ride their bike so multiply that by however many people did that today and hopefully we made some kind of a dent.

Like a lot of other things, this can't be just a passing fancy. It has to become a way of life. In a throw away society, are we selfishly going to throw away the kids of tomorrow's future away as well? If I'm walking to work, there are things I see that astound me. Sure, some people recycle while others throw out bag after bag of garbage. Much of which can be sorted and recyled. Home owners could compost a lot of table scrap with little or no effort. Plastc containers, tin cans, old newspapers etc etc. Right now in a lot of cases, a lot of this garbage is being hauled out into the ocean and dumped. How long before that winds up floating up onto the picturesqe beach scenes I've noticed lately. Nothing you will see in a post card at any rate. Not to mention what it is doing to the ocean's inhabitants .

The picture above is of my desk at work. During a brief pause, I took stock of what was sitting there. Nothing much really except my Tim Horton's refillable coffee cup. Saves on throw away cups. Reusable tupperware which I bring some of my lunch in. No garbage. A couple of little plastic thingy's from fruit cups. I keep the plastic and use them at home for when I am cooking. They are great for when I am preparing a meal and I need to measure multiple ingredients. You know, small things like garlic, herbs, spices etc. These two; one is holding paper clips and the other a tea bag. The tins in the back which hold my green tea. When I am done with them here they go to work holding all kinds of items. Nails, screws etc etc. Until I looked at these things with a different set of eyes, I was doing something without really being aware of it. Believe it or not, even what I do at work has an impact on the earth. Currently, I'm with an Electrical Consulting firm and we advise our customers on the type of lighting fixtures to use which consume less energy, saving them money and saving the environment. It's a little more complicated than that but you get the drift. Neat eh?

I guess all we have to do is think about what we are doing. And now, we have to do it with a lot less. I've been living in this area for about 16 years or so, (I kind of lost track). But I am within a 15 minute drive of what is now the outskirts of the farming community. In the time I have been living here though, I have noticed how new sub-divisions have encroached on what used to be prime farm land. Year after year, acres upon acres are being devoured by an ever growing population. The farmers, God love them, have at least been doing their utmost to keep up with changes. They have managed to do more with less.......why can't the rest of us?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Food......for the Love of it!

Maybe I'm lucky, but I learned how to cook from a young age and spent almost twenty years in the business before getting out. I would probably still be doing it except I discovered week ends. Oh.............and golf. Who knew? Don't get me wrong, it's something I enjoy, passionately. I would have to be pretty hard pressed for time to fall back onto the frozen food bandwagon. To me, there is nothing more enticing than the aroma of fresh herbs and spices simmering in a pot, or roasting in an oven of whatever I decide to create. I also have many friends who invite me over knowing full well that their kitchen, will temporarily, become my kitchen. And, we are both getting something out of it.

A couple of things come to mind as I am writing this. Remember when it was a luxury to go out to dinner to some ritzy place with inflated prices; to be served food portioned out like it was the last you would ever see. And then, after digesting the bill and washing it down with a final gulp of overpriced wine, wonder what all the fuss was about. Nowadays, or so it seems, things are reversed. It has become a luxury to create a home cooked meal.

Why? Have we stretched ourselves so thin in our day to day lives that a home cooked meal had to be sacrificed in order to fit everything in? Has it become too much of a chore to create and clean up after the fact? Or is it just because we don't know how and can't be bothered to learn or to even try? A lot of questions....I know. Don't get me wrong, this is not a criticism, it's an observation from what I have seen as I do my own grocery's and witness what a lot of people are putting in their shopping carts.

Just the packaging from the frozen food containers is mind boggling never mind what they are going to ingest. Where's the flavour? Where's the adventure? I know there are people who do enjoy cooking and creating just for the sheer pleasure of it. While blog hopping, I came by one post of a woman who spent the better part of her day creating a number of jars of homemade Salsa. Fantastic! I am sure, that every time she and her family open a jar of that sauce, the memory of the labour of love that went into it will have all been worth it.

The summer months offer us more of an opportunity to do some at home cooking. Those with BBQ's seem to find a little more creativity when they cook outdoors. Let's face it, if you have the room outside, you may as well move the kitchen out there too! There probably isn't anything I haven't cooked out there, including breakfast. You wanna wake your cottage neighbours up, start frying bacon outside. You can hear their lips smacking.

Another thing I have noticed is during the harvesting season. We have a fantastic Farmer's Market in St. Jacob's. Just a stones throw away. It's a Mennonite community with huge numbers of farmers bringing their crops of every description to market. Beets, pickles, corn, carrots and potatoes just to name a few. But, more people will will plunk down hard earned money to buy one jar of pickles instead of buying a basket of them and making about a dozen jars of their own! I don't know, maybe it's just me. But, anytime I can control what is going into what I am eventually going to eat, then I want to be a part of it.

Cooking isn't Rocket Science. But it does take a little bit of patience and practice. And of course, it won't always turn out right every time. What does? The point is, it's an adventure in creativity. Of enticing your palette with new flavours and of awakening your olfactory senses to the aromas of simmering soups and stews. Of trying fresh herbs and spices instead of that sawdust they put in jars. And if you are really adventurous, try baking your own bread or pizza dough. The satisfaction you will get when your family and friends push themselves away from the table satisfied will be priceless.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Me and My Shadow

I couldn't resist this one. And yes, the shorts are back out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The next scene features

I find myself tossing and turning in bed. Restless. I'm not sure whether I'm dreaming or awake. I keep hearing somebody whispering my name. Slowly, I open my eyes to the darkness and listen hard, trying to determine where the voice is coming from. Trying to figure out if I recognize the voice. But I can't. It's a man's voice. Strong, but sounding fatigued. I'm a little confused and unsure whether I should get up and investigate. Part of me is questioning my sanity. The naturally curious part is pushing me out of bed. I cave in, instinctively grabbing my housecoat and sliding my feet into my slippers. My eyes, having become accustomed to the dark, search for the doorway.

Quietly, I make my way out of my bedroom and peer down the hallway. Some kind of an eerie glow appeared to be coming from the living room. Almost as though somebody had turned on the TV. Again, I could hear the whisper of my name and I could feel the ice cold sweat on the back of my neck. I froze. Fear beginning to unsettle my nerve. I brought myself back to reality and continued to move forward. I hear the unmistakable sqeak leather makes when somebody shifts in their seat. Now I feel for sure that somebody is in my liiving room. My mouth drops open slightly, my tongue nervously trying to moisten my dry lips as I decide my next move. Run like hell came to mind.

I was only a step away now and prayed that if this was my end that it would happen quickly. An eerie mist cascaded across the room reminiscent of the stage antics from an old Alice Cooper concert. My eyes shifted nervously as I began to search the room for some kind of sign. I glanced towards the far corner where the high back leather chair was.situated. My eyes strained trying to see thru the mist and the darkness. Finally, my eyes settled on the unmistakable outline of a figure seated upright in the chair. It was indeed a man, dressed in an older style Military uniform. He was calmly rubbing his hands on the tops of his thighs, as though he were drying his hands on his pants.

I quickly studied the figure wondering where and if I had seen him somewhere before. Then as I stared into his dark and sullen eyes, tears quickly filled my own eyes as I recognized the figure from an old black and white photograh. A photograph which hung on the wall of the hallway that I just passed. It couldn't be, I thought. I struggled to compose myself as I came face to face with............

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Britain's Talented.....Susan Boyle!

Every morning when I get ready for work, I have my TV on to a local breakfast television show called BT. This morning as I was pouring my coffee, I was listening as one of the announcers was describing something he saw on one of those talent hunt shows. This show was called 'Britain's Got Talent'. I have to admit, the only time I ever watched those shows was a few years back when INXS was looking for a new front man. Okay, okay and maybe the Celebrity Dance shows. There!

Anyways, I vaguely caught the announcers comment about not judging a book by it's cover. They then proceeded to play a tiny clip of the woman as she began to sing. At the time, I didn't have a clue what it was she was singing. The clip was short but there was no mistaking that there was indeed a voice that was worth listening to. But tonight when I got home, I typed her name into the computer to see what the fuss was all about. You Tube had clips of various lengths so I picked the longest clip they had. The song she chose to sing was 'I Dreamed a Dream' from 'les miserables'. If I was able to embed the clip here I would. As it is, I know I don't have the words in me to describe what I heard but if you haven't heard this lady sing, I implore you, go to You Tube. Type in the name Susan Boyle, pick a video clip and give it a listen. You won't be disappointed.

Oh, and grab a couple of Kleenex. Unless your soul is frozen solid, you will need them. It's the first time I have ever seen Simon what's his face stunned stupid.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brain Triggers

I've been finding it funny, in a sense, how my brain gets triggered by the content of some of the posts I read. Sometimes I read them quickly or, if I find a topic that intrigues me, will read it once or twice more. Then I will try and leave a comment with the first things that come to my mind when I read the post. Later on, as my brain begins its wind down process, it amazingly stops as it makes a connection with something it stored earlier. Today I read a post titled, 'Eavesdropping At Your Funeral' at,

At first I wasn't sure what the connection was but as I was putting some of my books away, my eyes froze on the title of a book I had read a few years ago. It was a book written by Richard Holloway called 'Looking In The Distance - The Human Search for Meaning'. The book has four sections; I: Looking; II: Speaking; III: Listening; and IV: Leaving. It was the 'Leaving' part that had been triggered. The essence of this section was basically, about dying.

Lover of Life, the author of the above blog, summarized with this, "We only get one shot at living. There isn't a second act. So be the person you want to be remembered for being. A life well lived."

Richard Holloway wrote, " is difficult not to be depressed by the prospect of leaving this earth. We feel that just as we are getting the hang of the game and have wised up sufficiently to understand how to play it well, the whistle goes and the game ends." He goes on, "But the universe is not interested in our complaint. The mournful fact is that life is indifferent to our fate; it is programmed to care for the species, never for the individual; and, without death, life as we know it would be insupportable."

All I can say is what a connection. It's amazing how much information our brain harbours just waiting for that little trigger to bring it to the forefront. The brain is a fascinating part of our being. In a million years I probably would never have put the two pieces of information together. But, because of a momentary glance at the cover of a book, the connection was made.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A New Beginning

It's a time for a change for me now. This past year has been a bit of a gong show if you will. I had a lot of time on my hands this past week end and I guess my thoughts were all over the place. A lot of the blogs I was reading were talking about the Spring weather and the reawakening of nature all around. I wanted to share in these feelings also but my brain wasn't allowing me to do so. It was spending too much time thinking about what was in my life and not what is.

It was around this time last year that everything in my life was on the positive side. I was in a relationship that I was extremly happy about. My job, although challenging at the best of times, was keeping me employed and busy. It was also at this time that I was planning my summer vacation. What else could I want.

For a long time I wanted to visit the Province of Nova Scotia. I wanted to visit the small, picturesque coastal towns along the highways and biways and to feel the fresh, crisp air of the ocean breezes. To see for myself the colorful sunsets, feast on the seafood and scope out the architecture from a bygone era. And, I wanted to share this with that someone special in my life. The plans were in process. The town we selected was Shelburne. A small, if not quaint little town just over halfway between Halifax and Yarmouth. This would offer us an opportunity to travel around within an hour or so of other historic towns and see as much as possible without being constantly on the road.

We found a cute little cottage in Shelburne right across the street from the Marina and withing walking distance of almost everything. The plan was to leave on the Friday that my holiday was to start. No sense messing around. With only a two hour flight, I pre-booked a room at a motel near the airport because I was only able to get the rental car for the next day. And finally I booked another room at a motel on the way back to Halifax so we could tour around Peggy's Cove and Lunenburg. Everything was set. Now it was just the long drawn out anticipation of the journey.

Well, vacation was still months away and there was no sense wishing life away so, it was back to the grind. Then one day a couple of months later, everything began to fall apart. I guess to put it briefly, I got the, "It's not you it's me..." going away present. To say I was stunned would be a gross understatement. Like others, it wasn't like I hadn't gone thru this before in my life, but this stung. Hard. I didn't see it coming and it caught me off guard. I did everything I could to just stay focused.

For about the next five or six weeks I was just going thru the motions. We were getting to the end of our production season at work when bombshell number two hit. About a week before my vacation, I was told my services would no longer be required. I was being given eight weeks notice plus severance which would begin after my vacation ended. Nice touch. Have a nice vacation. As I found out, the reasons were benign. They were looking for a way to put a leash on me. I was doing my job and then some. The people I worked with were just as stunned. I was so angry it felt like I could chew rocks and spit out pebbles.

At that point, a couple of friends suggested that I just cancel my trip. But, like a dumb ass, I went anyways. It was almost like I couldn't get out of Dodge fast enough. The flight was uneventful, but I'm sure in my subconscious I was hoping the plane would take a nose dive. Didn't happen. With the help of a chatty limo driver, I found the motel I booked for the night. A non-smoking room which smelled like it was inhabited by a chain smoking monkey. I was already counting the seconds before the car rental office opened up. Believe me, it couldn't come fast enough.

Anyways, the next morning, I got the car, checked out of hell and was on the road to my next destination. It was a great drive. No traffic, smooth roads on what looked to be a brand new highway and gorgeous scenery everywhere you looked. About an hour and a half later I was driving around what would be my home away from home for the next eight days. Without much difficulty, I found the cottage.

I stepped up onto the small patio and noticed a gas BBQ, ironically from the company where I worked. There was a note welcoming me posted on the door which I hadn't notice right away. When I was sure I was at the right place, I opened the door, then stepped inside. And suddenly, I felt as alone as any human being could ever feel. Everything that I was feeling, or not feeling, for the past six weeks hit me like a 2 x 4. What the hell was I doing here, I wondered? The sick thing was I had this romantic notion that I would get a last second phone call but that didn't happen.

The cottage was cute and adequate for what I would need and the couple who owned and rented the property were great people. I occupied myself every day staying out doing touristy things as long as possible. And, considering I didn't want to drive around too much, I put around 1800km on the car while I was there. It was everything I expected and more. I took almost 600 pictures while I was there.

Would I do this again? Maybe......maybe not! This was a trip planned for two and I mistakenly thought I could handle it. I guess in a way I did. But at what cost and what was I trying to prove anyway? Nothing that I could think of. A lot has changed since last April when all of this planning began. Some good, some bad. I feel like something has kind of died a little and I guess I'm looking for the newness of the Spring days to rekindle my inner me. Perhaps, one day, I will look back on those photos and see something different than what I see in them now.

One of the things I read on the weekend was from the Blog, Lake Viewer (Rosaria) wrote, "Life is good. It isn't perfect. It never was. We always have to give up something in order to reach a new goal. Maybe that's one of the reasons I like Easter so much: it is a story of death and sacrifice, a story of renewal, a story of transformation. However we see the parallels in our own lives, the anniversary reminds us of the arc of our lives, the ups and downs, the constant push to be fully present and in resplendent ascension in our humanity."

Beautiful words from a beautiful lady and just what I needed to read to create the spark I was looking for. Like the old saying goes, "What doesn't kill you will only make you stronger". God, I hope so!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Resurrection Prayer

O Risen Lord, the way, the truth and the life, make us faithful followers of the spirit of your resurrection.

Grant that we may be inwardly renewed; dying to ourselves in order that you may live in us.

May our lives serve as signs of the transforming power of your love.

Use us as your instrument for the renewal of society, bring your life and love to all and leading them to your Church.

This we ask of you, Lord Jesus, living and reigning with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever.


Friday, April 10, 2009

In Rememberance of Me.....

He humbled Himself becoming obedient unto death, even to death on a Cross. Therefore God also has exalted Him and has bestowed upon Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father

Monday, April 6, 2009

Yesterdays Memories

I just got back from a little stroll. Considerably different from the walk I took yesterday afternoon. Yesterday I only needed a short sleeved t-shirt under a sunny, clear blue sky. I saw the early signs of daffodils, new buds bouncing on the tips of trees and the unmistakable smell of life. This morning.......this morning, I woke up to howling winds and blowing white snow!!!? Tonight the wind was stinging my cheeks and making me wonder whether I was living in the same city. Ah! The joys of living in a four season climate.

More seriously though, I was thinking of an older acquaintance of mine whom I haven't seen since just before Christmas. My friend is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Murray is closing in on 80 years old and this disease has definitely robbed him of a brilliant mind. Murray had his idiosyncrasies but there was no mistaking his intelligence. In an earlier life, he was a Civil Engineer and was pretty much responsible for a lot of the roadways that we travel on in my neck of the woods.

I guess I've known Murray for a little more than 13 years. He was always ready with a story of the various projects that he was involved in over the years. And generally, told those stories with great gusto and uncanny detail. However, what I saw at Christmas was only a shell of the man that once was. This disease is cruel beyond belief. To think of the knowledge, the memories and experiences that are being rapidly lost is tragic.

When I look back at our many meetings, I guess I am now able to remember when things started to change. Out of respect, whether I heard the story before or not, I always gave Murray centre stage. But within the past year and a half the stories became more repetitive and the timelines seemed to change. I found myself periodically filling in the blanks for him, having heard the stories many times. But I was still kind of ignorant as to what was actually going on. Attributing it to his advanced age. When he removed himself from the picture for awhile, his wife kindly filled in the blanks. It was a great shock.

It's a sad, slow ending to an otherwise great life. The memories of a career, accomplishments, friendships and most of all family doomed to disappear into the dark recesses of his mind. Being a witness to this makes me appreciate the fact that I have the memory of yesterdays sunshine and this mornings snow flakes on my face. Even now, Murray is teaching me to appreciate the fact that I can wake up and fill my day with memories and share them with whoever will listen. And for that, I will always be grateful.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do you have a minute?

Have you ever had moments in your life when all you wanted to do was to talk. What I mean to say is, to share. Not just the good things but also the painful. To get them out of your heart and your head and to lay yourself bare so that possibly, you can start to put things in perspective and begin to heal. But, how often have you found yourself talking to a friend who doesn't give you the opportunity to finish a thought without interjecting with their own experiences. Frustrating your efforts, and causing you to go silent and then abandoning your own needs.

Recently, I have had such an experience and looking back on it, realized that I wasn't forceful enough in my efforts to get out what I needed to. In the end, it cost me a lot. And, all it did was prolong my efforts to cleanse my cluttered brain.

Remembering being on the listening end many times, I would often sit in silence and just listen. I would listen until I felt they had purged enough misery before offering whatever insight I could. Often times, I would be able to point out something they overlooked and give them something to reevaluate. Or even remind them that some of their anger and pain was being pointed in the wrong direction. But still, I gave them their moment. An important moment.

It's difficult, at best, for some of us to deal with painful episodes in our lives. The happy times we share willingly. Almost without reservation. You may have heard the old line, "I was going to ask you how you were but I was afraid you would tell me." But how hard is it for us to listen. I mean really listen. To just shut up and let the speaker speak. To purge, to vent heal! It's amazing to me that as soon as I can get out what is ailing me that it somehow becomes manageable. The pain.......tolerable.

Is something or someone preventing you from asking, "Excuse me, do you have a minute? I need to talk".

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Nothing Serious

Nothing serious to say. I just want to get started and I haven't figured out what areas I want to concentrate on just yet. Maybe just random thoughts and experiences. Some may be serious. Others funny, but in the end, they will all be coming from my View From the Fairway!