Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn's Last Call

The leaves are falling
one by one,
As we sadly say good-bye
to the warm summer sun.

Shorts and sandals are all
packed away;
And the clear blue skies
are now mostly grey.

Sunshine strolls
along the beach,
Like a distant memory
now out of reach.

Vast farmers fields
once fresh and green,
Have all been harvested
and picked quite clean.

Trees now stand empty
of the birds of song,
Now heading down south
on their sojourn so long.

Bushy tailed squirrels
busy as bees,
Storing their treasures
high up in the trees.

The evidence around us
is becoming quite clear,
As cold north winds blow
howling, that winter is near.

Gentle as Angels
the first snow will soon fall,
So get out there, enjoy it
before we all hear
Autumn's Last Call.

by Bogey
(G. De Rouin)
October 28, 2009 ©

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

By the Book?

Now, before I begin, let me just say this; I'm not a parent, I never was a parent and odds are pretty good that I will never be a parent. Having said that however, I was, at one time in my life, on the other end of that. I was a kid. A child. And, as some of you may know, not raised by my parents but in a foster home. In that “home”, their word was the law. Go on either side of that and there were consequences to be paid. Which, of course, left a lasting impression on my psyche not to mention my backside. Love and nurturing were, well, non-existent. You made do and survived. So, my thoughts here are based more from a kid's perspective and as a witness to many of those people who have endeavored to become parents, either intentionally or accidentally. Good and bad and all that is in between.

From the beginning of time, or at least so far as the Bible goes, Adam and Eve, through love and desire became parents. And from my research, God did not hand them a 'Guide to Proper Parenting' book when the blessed event took place. It was up to them to figure things out on their own. And, from what we know about that episode, it didn't go too well, especially for Abel. But that did not stop them from continuing to have children and becoming parents again. They continued to move forward, to adapt, and to try better the next time. And there must have been a few next times otherwise, none of us would be here.

Most of the blogs I follow are written by women. Mothers really. And if I stop to try and count the collective number of children that these women have, it would probably be a pretty good one. And for all of the stories that I have read about them and their children, I cannot for the life of me recall any one of them quoting or paraphrasing a single line from a 'How To' book on how they raised their children. Or their children's children for that matter. They just did it. And the many success stories are pretty self evident amongst the group. That is not to say that they did not have their ups and downs. But, in their retelling the many anecdotes related to their children, somehow the down side no longer seemed as important. They just chalked it up to experience and moved on. Kind of like Adam and Eve.

When people decide to have children, for the most part, I believe, it is a conscious decision. It is not exactly like you are going to buy apples. Where you get to pick and choose the ones that are perfect and unblemished. If that were the case, the world would be filled with budding geniuses. No. We take the children just as they are because in a parents eyes, they are perfect and unblemished. And even if they are a little less than perfect in the worlds eyes, we love them just the same. Equally. Unconditionally. Or at least that's the way I think it should be.

A little over 5 years ago, a very good friend of mine told me that, after what seemed like an eternity, that she was pregnant. She and her husband had been trying to have children forever. Trying everything that was humanly possible. I was ecstatic for her. She was radiant and appeared to be walking amongst the clouds. After about six months or so, all of that came crashing down. The news was devastating. And the doctor, well let's just say he wasn't at his bedside best. The ultrasound showed that the baby had a severe heart abnormality. I don't remember the medical term but basically, the heart did not have four chambers as is usual in a heart.

The doctor gave her three choices. Option one, abort the child and try again. After they went through to get to this point, that option was out. Option two was to carry the baby to term and then just wait for it to die. And finally, option three was, have the child, surgically repair the damage as well as possible and hope for the best. Well, that was just over 5 years ago and the little guy is still providing all that love him many, many pleasurable memories. He is still not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination but they have persevered. At some point in his future he will be faced with a heart transplant. There is no getting away from that. In the meantime, we just love him, spoil him and treasure him. And I can reassure you that the bookstore did not have anything to cover how to be a parent during this episode.

Earlier today, the wife and daughter of a fellow co-worker came in for a brief visit. It is always fun to watch the interaction between father and daughter and always leaves me with mixed emotions. Happy for them but a little sad that I have not been able to enjoy that feeling. Anyways, later in the evening, after a meeting, my boss came over to me and we were discussing the little scene from earlier in the day and he was reminiscing back to his days of long. Not necessarily in the same manner but it did trigger something inside of him. This fellow in the office, I told my boss, had what I call a great foundation. Both he and his wife are two of the most grounded people I know. She gave up a promising career to become a mother and it looks damned good on her. Both of them actually. And again, you can bet damned sure that they were not raised by parents of Doctor Spock nor will their daughter or future children for that matter.

Why this little slam on parenting books you may be asking yourselves by now? Well, earlier today I read an article in the Globe and Mail called, 'Are your instincts about parenting wrong?' You can read it here for yourself. It is about a new book on the market titled, 'Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children'. It was written by U.S. Journalists Ashley Merryman and Po Bronson. To summarize, they “...boil down a decade of psychology, neurobiology and social-science research - and conclude that some of our most cherished ideas about child-rearing are based on outdated theories and flawed experiments.”

Great, that just means that the previous generations of parents got it all wrong. Bull crap! Now don't get me wrong, I am sure there may be the odd book out there that could probably help somebody dealing with a certain issue or two at any given time. But, how many parents want to sit there wondering whether they bought the right book for the right child. What if this book doesn't work for the second and fourth child but is okay for the third and the fifth? What if the book you read for your first child no longer applies; do you get to start all over again? Doubt it. Even I know that with each child comes it's own mysteries. It's own unknowns. Good and bad. Can you afford to be reading up on every opinion ever written about the proper child rearing techniques while your child is growing up behind your back? Or would you rather be playing with them, reading to them, teaching them, listening to them..........and …........Loving them?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Muskoka Getaway

Autumn Fire

Little Miss Daisy

Snoop Dog

Sizing each other up!

Comfy cozy!

Just lounging.


Nice scenery eh?

Blast from the past.

Check out the pink interior!

On the rocks!

Water power

White foam


Red, gold and green!

A little history

Pretty old rock eh?

On the road again.

A little serenity.

Hi! My name is Jake! lookin' at me?

Sleepy...getting sleepy...

A little tug o' war!

Two out of three...

Hey....wanna play?

'scuse me bub, but uh, this bowl 'pears to be empty!
What would you do if you had an opportunity to get away for the weekend, all by your lonesome, save for a couple of little white furballs – would you take it? Damn straight! Although the weather was somewhat less than co-operative, the colourful surroundings more than made up for anything that Mother Nature was prepared to throw at me. Not to mention the...SILENCE...was deafening . When things are so quiet you can hear a pin drop or the beating of your own heart. It was awesome. Mind you, the company wasn't so bad either. A friend of mine needed a doggie sitter for the weekend and asked if I minded. Duh! Nothing could more apropos. It's a bit of a lengthy drive, about 3 ½ hours, and it rained most of the way up making the journey feel longer than it was. Fortunately, I left work early so I could get to my destination before dark. Friday night was cool and damp and so warranted a fire. Care to join me.

Well, this is what I began to write about 3 weeks ago. Since then however, things took a bit of a dip. The first week I was busy which isn't so unusual at this time of the year. Business being what it is and all, you cater to who yells the loudest. And so it went. Then suddenly, out of the blue, my throat became incredibly sore making it most difficult to swallow. By the middle of the night I came down with a fever accompanied by a mind numbing headache. Then began a close and personal relationship, worshiping the porcelain goddess for the next six days and nights. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. Especially when, I am sure it could have prevented. It started at the office, innocently enough, with certain individuals showing up to work sneezing and hacking carelessly spreading germs around.

Well, needless to say, it has systematically claimed victim after victim only prolonging the unwanted visit of this particular virus. The sniffling, coughing and sneezing throughout the office sounds like a very bad and out of sync musical band. You would think with all of medical warnings abounding us to frequently wash our hands or to cover up when sneezing and/or coughing. Not to mention keeping our shared surfaces clean and disinfected. The one simple and basic requirement for not just our own health but our families, friends and co-workers as well is this.....JUST STAY AT HOME and get well. You may think it is some valiant and courageous thing you are doing in trying to become a martyr for the sake of your job. But believe me, all you are doing is making it worse. Not only that, but if others around you do as you do, then the likelihood of you getting sick again is pretty damned good.

Well now, where was I? Oh yeah! Getting away for a week end up in the great, not quite white, but red, gold and orange, north. I toured around the area enjoying the food, scenery and the company of a couple of very energetic little dogs by the name of Daisy and Jake. Jake, at the time was only 12 weeks old, if you can believe it, but was very much holding his own against his older 'sister'. Needless to say, they provided me with all of the entertainment I needed for the week end. The silence and the overcast weather made it very conducive for taking the odd nap or two. Which I did with very little fight. If I could, I would hide up there forever. There is just something so refreshing in letting nature surround you and stepping out and being a part of it. Very soon, I am afraid, the north wind will be blowing colder. The leaves will have lost all power to hold on and we will begin to see the first blankets of snow. (Insert deep sigh here!)

Well, needless to say, being off sick for those few days, things piled up again and now I am playing catch up. Oh well, this too shall pass. All around the neighbourhood are the early signs of Halloween. The stores are beginning to prepare for the upcoming Christmas season and the hours of daylight lessen on a daily basis. Oh where, oh where did the summer go. (Insert another deep sigh here.) Better stop daydreaming I guess and get back to the grind. Just one friendly little reminder to all though, if you are sick, don't be a hero. Stay home...please! Get well, for everybody's sake. I don't want to miss Christmas like I missed Thanksgiving!