The Unrelenting Echoes of Summer

The ‘hood battles are raging and the summer days are stretching onwards and upwards. No one is immune to the reaching fingertips of ire and impatience emanating from cranky neighbours who refuse to admit their age is getting the better of them. If one is to listen to them, the kids are running amok flailing wildly among heathens and hoodlums destined to dethrone the king of badness. Nothing good happens past nine- thirty peeps, and children left to pillage and plunder the village into the abyss of indifference and permissive dismissal are future adults destined for the Presidency of an American nation. Alas how are we to survive the madness?!Calm down, peeps.

The children are children playing in the backyards of responsible professional adults paying their taxes, abiding the laws of society and contributing to the well-being of community and ‘hood alike.

There is no crime here, only that of youth being restless and young on summer nights that have magically become windless and warm. The days where summer seems to last forever, where any kid of any age can dream of digging for buried treasure, swim in the depths of a backyard pool and savour the taste of s’mores and burnt marshmallows on a backyard campfire. Tents, giggles, sleeping bags, practical jokes, stolen garden gnomes (oh, my poor Norman where art thou?) all a big part of childhood and growing up in a safe environment surrounded by loving parents and committed neighbours to raising a generation of well-adjusted, educated, intelligent, compassionate and community minded young people.

That’s what my idea of a neighbourhood is.

Watching out for each other against the rallies of the occasional late-night thievery, lost dogs, wayward cats, and kids out past the boundaries of the park at the end of the street. Local spring clean-ups, bottle drives for hockey trips, Mummering Christmases, barbeques and the fence raising- shed building- deck erecting- construction that brings friends and neighbours together.

We connect to support each other in times of confusion and debt reduction, lost jobs, raised taxes, sky-high grocery bills and illness and heart attacks and even the death of someone’s parent or relative. It’s what they mean when a neighbourhood becomes a small village.

We become each other’s indirect relative.

A communal leaning post.

Friends. Allies. Fellow compatriots in a world where we embrace differences and stand up for the underdog. Where we denounce bullies, raise up kindness and understanding and assist at all costs.

It’s in the DNA of every Newfoundlander to have this innate sense of community; to feel responsible for each other because, hey, don’t I know yer father? At least, that’s what I was led to believe.

Let’s see more of that. Community. Fellowship. Understanding.

AND FUN.

Hey kids! Your loudness behooves me!

The kids running around playing spotlight after dark, the fires in the backyard pits, the barbeques, the late night dog walking, the chatting…

There is no room for fear of being loud or obnoxious. The sounds of laughter and squealing from children should be a sign of a healthy happy environment fraught with joy and the unending bounds of childhood activity.

It should be lauded as the epitome of strength of home and family; not sullied as unnecessary and appalling.

As the summer progresses, let the children play in the streets and wreak havoc in the backyards. Soon enough they will be grown and gone and our yards will echo with their lost squeals of fun-fueled delight from summers past. Youth is fleeting.

Let’s not wish it away.

 What?! I can’t hear you! Whispering sucks. 

 

 

Summer Days Can Be Noisy. Bring Your Headphones. And Gas Ovens. 

The summer is spinning on and I’m trying desperately to hang on without randomly sticking my in the oven…It just occurred to me that even that wouldn’t be effective, as I have an electric oven. I guess when you see the old lady-with-her-head-in-the-oven gag, she actually owns a gas operated appliance, which obviously would do one in. An electric one would only be harmful if it was simultaneously touching water…or plugged in whilst out in the rain. But then, why would you have an oven OUTSIDE IN THE RAIN. No one would need to bake a cake outside during a monsoon. Unless you wanted to have a baked goods sale on the side of the road instead of the usual lemonade stand and having the oven outside is both convenient and a sales pitch, and people would be too excited and cause mass riots in the ‘hood since, BAKED GOODS.    Then some people would think y0u are trying to sell the oven instead of the baked goods, which would cause more discussion and chaos.

No oven outside is what I’m saying. Totally useless and makes too much noise in the ‘hood which apparently, is an issue what with all of the children home from school because ITS SUMMER HOLIDAYS AND THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS IN THE SUMMER.

And no need to stick one’s head inside it, since it would also be pointless. And kinda creepy looking. Unless, cleaning. Ugh.    

What was I saying?

Right. Summer.  

It’s happening and really I just want to sit outside in the sun. It’s the best.  

Unfortunately, there are people in the universe who are not happy well-adjusted human beings who, for some unknown reason, decide that living in a neighbourhood full of children and families is a great idea until the children decide to, God forbid, laugh and play then it’s all STOP THOSE CHILDREN FROM HAVING FUN I’M TRYING TO BE QUIET HERE! And we’re all like YOU LIVE IN A NEIGHBOURHOOD WITH FAMILIES. And they’re all WELL THAT’S NOT MY FAULT. GET THOSE CHILDREN TO BE QUIET. JEOPARDY IS ON AND I CAN’T HEAR ALEX’S QUESTION! And I’m all like IT’S ACUTALLY THE ANSWER, YOU NEED TO COME UP WITH THE QUESTION GAWD DO YOU NOT WATCH JEOPARDY ON A REGULAR BASIS?! And they’re like NO BECAUSE I CAN’T FREAKIN’ HEAR IT WITH ALL THE FRIVOLITY AND FUN GOING ON!  

Hence, the oven.

Maybe I will have a baked goods sale with ovens and children and lemonade stands and garage sales and carnivals in the streets. Mags can be outside and bark at all the joyous crowds gathering then we could have firetrucks and police cars sounding their sirens and in the evening have fireworks and a bonfire and…

DID SOMEBODY SAY BLOCKPARTY??!!  

 THIS LOOKS AWESOME.  AND SCARY.  HANG ON KID! But don’t scream. That’s way too much noise.  

All Hail Friday

Fridays are a day where normally, everyone is rejoicing in the weekend to come. Those of us fortunate enough not to have to work weekends or shift work, look forward to the last day of the week when we can kick off our shoes and sit back and enjoy a bit of respite from the hassles of working life.
Then the Universe sticks its nose in just to keep it interesting.

Relax?! YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT!  

Friday’s dilemmas: Traffic snarls for daughter who has issues with drivers cutting her off and one lane detours then an awesome morning spent at the hospital for an appointment….which is ALWAYS a joyful experience.

I spill coffee down the front of my dress. Not so bad if it’s the end of the day, but at 9am it’s a bit of a piss-off.

Daughter baffles medical community following an appointment fraught with questions and little answers and left to figure shit out on her own. THANKS MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS FOR MAKING MY DAUGHTER AN ANOMOLY. HUGS!

Son receives a letter on his report card foreign to any of us who know and love him and are left wandering the streets yelling “WHY?!!!!!!!”  

The Universe is currently sitting back with a beer and pizza watching the games that have only just begun….

Daughter #1 has returned to work after the obligatory five days of mourning and wearing the same black clothes for a week. We all await the next round with bated breath and wine at the ready.  

I set out a plan of buying more wine for the long weekend ahead that is sure to have something akin to cleaning, arguing, laundry, in-fighting and heated discussions about the lives of the children/adults currently residing in our house. I plan on being sober only 10% of the time with some witty repartee ready for those occasions somebody actually asks my opinion.  

The new floor in our new bathroom that took months to renovate no longer heats up. The thermostat looks like this: —————– I’m under the impression it is DEEP in THOUGHT. Or it has decided to take a summer vacation. Maybe it’s shocked that we still require heat in July. Here’s a tip, Therm-O-Stat – WE LIVE IN NEWFOUNDLAND. IT DOESN’T GET ANY WARMER THAN THIS. NOW GET TO WORK!  

The 95 year old hip that occupies this soon-to-be 51 year old body enjoys the daily reminders that I can’t move to the left without the pain akin to getting a door slammed on my thumb times one thousand…with a Trump speech blaring in the background. And a hive of bees stinging my butt. I could go on, but you get the idea…it HURTS.  

 

Is it possible for a coffee stain to get darker as the day goes on? Because now it just looks like somebody smeared poop on the front of me. VERY ATTRACTIVE.

The Universe just polished off its first six-pack and opened another for the evening show…

 

 

Ma plan 

 

 

I’m Drivin’ Here!! 

Summer has finally hit the rock with warmer winds and the penchant to sit out in the sun void of any common sense and sunblock. Everyone returns to work on Tuesday after a long weekend with red skin and a hangover. Ahhhh, summer.With that, drivers seemed to be imminently scarred from the rays of the sun with forgetfulness and ignorance, aka, signal lights have gone mysteriously missing and cutting others off then driving like grandma-without-a-license is the new fad. Apparently, my daughter says I have road rage and I should take anger management classes, just because I swore a bit today while trying to turn into Tim’s and people had the nerve to DRIVE WITHOUT LETTING ME TURN!! COME ON I NEED COFFEE HERE!!! Gawd….

I think people should be reminded how to drive with a bit of grace, dignity and an air of panache. Like driving with the windows down whilst listening to a classic Manilow tune! Or driving that convertible that can only be taken out a few times a year and whip around the city with hair flying and eyes closed! AND, of course turn down any street and park on the wrong side of the road while one figures out that dang cell-phone thingy the daughter left! Please! Just don’t cut me off then look at me in shock and horror that I am presenting you with an offer to go in another direction. At least I’m smiling sweetly while I do that. AND, DON’T DRIVE BY THE COFFEE SHOP WHEN I’M TRYING TO TURN!  
Aside from the brutal driving, I am content with the sun, tolerating the wind and am unhappy with the clouds that seem to descend once I get home from work. I long for a full day of sun in multiple succession, not just a day here and there.

ALSO, who thought up the bright idea to have graduations, convocations and proms all in the span of one month?! Those of us geniuses with multiple childadults who are about-to-be-employed-and-eat-all-of-my-food-without-replacing-it-including-my-FAVOURITE-COFFEE-THAT-I-NEED-TO-EXIST-ON-THIS-CLIMATE-CHANGING-TRUMP-VOMIT-INDUCING-PLANET, DO NOT THANK YOU FOR THAT.  

Just saying.

Despite all of the above whining, I am content. I go to Bootcamp that has me dizzy with new exercises that are combined with other exercises that have me doing multiple things all at once. The bicep-tricep-dip-with-a-downward-dog-push-up-frogjump is my favourite so far. I’m gonna wait while you try that sucker out…

See?

Awesome. I’m often glad I can’t see EXACTLY what exercises Coach has printed on the whiteboards at each station. I’m tempted to rewrite what’s there when it’s my turn and watch the ladies who follow me figure that shit out.  

IF you see me with a marker anywhere near those whiteboards, consider yourself warned.

Also, I am hanging out with Hubby who is doing very well and the childadults-who–eat- all-of-the-food and whine about working.  

Awwww…SUCK IT UP KIDS.

Enjoy the sun, warmth and the impending rain that will happen because Newfoundland.

I’ll be over here drinking wine and watching another door blow off my house. Cheers! 

 

A Dance In The Hurricane

The other day I was cleaning out our closet.  It was time to do some much needed purging.   I decided to gut out everything and go from there.  I ended up finding some old cards from a few years ago when my mother passed away.  I opened each one and read them again, this time with five years behind me.  They were sweet and sympathetic.  My Aunt had sent one reminiscing about when she and my mother were teens and very close.  Some I kept and others I didn’t.  So much for the big purge.    In among the cards I found a letter that was written by a childhood friend of the family.  Her kids were friends with us when we lived in the old neighbourhood.  She and her husband were friends with my parents.  We used to visit them at their house after they moved away into a new house.  She wrote to say how dismayed she was of my mother’s passing and that she hadn’t realized my mother continued to reside in Chatham.  She assumed she had moved in either my brother or myself.  She was disappointed she had not made the effort to reconnect.  I think she was disappointed neither had my mother.  I don’t think it was anyone’s fault that they got disconnected.  It was just life.

Kids grow up, graduate, move on to university or not, tragic events unfold, weddings and new houses, new babies, new lives.  It’s everything that happens over a lifetime. We get disconnected. We get disjointed and enmeshed in the everyday we forget the connections that were made years ago on a summer’s day when the children were small, who later walked to the bus stop hand-in-hand on frosty fall mornings, caught “all things squirmy and squishy” (her words) and played basketball until nightfall.

letter

Those days get lost in band practices, packed lunches, hockey games and baseball tryouts.  People get older, move to other streets or to other towns.  They work, they make new friends, they move on to other hobbies, other occupations and other past times without the old acquaintances that have become a part of their past.  The present is different.  Its fluid and changes with the seasons and the ever-speeding passage of time.  We don’t notice the children becoming adults until they are there.  We don’t notice our hair changing colour until our hairstylist points it out (while saying loudly WHY ARE YOU NOT COMING HERE MORE OFTEN?!  )  we don’t notice the deeper cracks in the sidewalks outside the house,  how the maple tree has grown exponentially or how few little children are out playing street hockey these days, until all of that suddenly seeps into our consciousness and we take a look around us with open eyes.  And older eyes.  How did this happen?  When did we get HERE?

I understand her disappointment and dismay.  It seems like a sudden about-face of one minute she’s there, the next she’s gone, but really it wasn’t like that.  It was a lifetime of being, of living of surviving.  The disconnection of relationships is unfortunately, an everyday occurrence that can be prevented if we take the time.  Aye there’s the rub.  TIME.  We never have enough. It flies away so fleetingly.  If only we had more time to connect, to say ‘hey’, to reminisce, to support, to actually stop and watch everything grow and change without having to be awoken to its transformation.  It’s a difficult dance.  Maybe we don’t want to watch because if we do, then we’ll have to admit that we are getting older, life is flying by without us even moving or flinching in this hurricane.   Maybe we don’t really want to see the children getting older or the sidewalk cracking or the maple tree growing so big we can’t see across the street, anymore.  We’d rather hold on to today, to live in the present, just let me have one more day!

Connections are our lifelines.  We crave them, seek them out and some hold dear for a lifetime.  Our intentions are for connections to last as long as we take a breath, to be eternal and constant, but sometimes those bonds get weaker and grow more distant, then are suddenly lost in the gale force wind.  It’s not wrong.  It’s life.

I’m thinking after all of this time, to send her a letter of reply.  To let her know I did receive her letter and I did read it and I still have it.  That I remember everything she said was true.

Maybe, that could be one little dance in the hurricane.

The Journey of Self-Discovery

 

As we get older, I think we realize the person we have become is different than the one we envisioned ten, twenty or even thirty years ago.  We aren’t as rich as we thought or driving that Jag we had hoped.   Our professional aspirations may have hit a few snags along the way and we opted for security instead of enjoyment, or the opposite and opted for enjoyment instead of security.  We didn’t marry that guy or venture to the outreaches of the universe…or join the Peace Corps because the best friend at the time, had the logical explanation of running water was obsolete and showering might be an issue.  Duh.  I kinda knew that…and who wants to bother saving the world anyway, when you have more important things to do like date that guy who says he’s applied to be a Mountie?   Gawd, who wants to date a pre-Mountie?    Well….

Maybe one date.

Whatever it was, the path we may began has somehow veered off into directions that have been surprising or disappointing, depending on your point of view.  Spending valuable time and energy wondering what may have been is a waste and I try to concentrate on the here and now.  Not the yesterdays or the last weeks.  Not the tomorrows or the next weeks or even next years.  Today.  What’s happening today?

My interests have become varied and I’ve often switched creative ventures, balancing the need to be alone with the need to be writing or painting or doing something crafty.  It’s weird.  I was never a crafty person, but I’ve found lately I enjoy the solitude of sanding a chair or refurbishing a dresser.  I like the work with my hands and the dust on the floor.  I like the smell of the paint and the different looks I can make if I mix two colours together.  It makes me feel productive….accomplished? Maybe?  I don’t know.

It’s not something I’ve ever imagined myself doing, but somehow it comes naturally to me.  I look for pieces to redo.  I get complaints from the fam that there is simply no room for another piece of furniture, but I look anyway.  There will always be room…somewhere.

The dreaded “M” word is knocking on my door and a day does not go by without another exclamation of ‘oh, what fresh hell is THIS’ from my lips.  Now, it’s a rash…next week it will be the ever refreshing onslaught of hot flashes, the week after….who knows?  THAT’S WHY WE NEED HOBBIES. AND WINE.

To keep from maiming those around us…

And to keep us sane.  Busy.  Useful.  Needed.

So, on your journey into Self-discovery, don’t dwell too much on the past and concentrate your energy instead on the here and now.  The accomplishments you have achieved, the awesome person you have become and are still becoming.  The people around you who have been influenced and are touched by your presence.

AND, for those of you who are encountering the ‘M’ word, or are about to, remember WHORE…

W- ine

H-obbies

O-ccupied

R-efreshed

E-nergetic

Because without Whore, we would simply be OLD ladies repainting shit.

Ugh…

My mason jars are apparently out of control….

chair

Bestie’s refurbished rocker…I think I need a matching one…

 

East Coast Trail The Sequel, With Art and Everything!

We, meaning the ladies and I and a few little ones, embarked on our second epic East Coast trail hike last Sunday morning onto Cobbler Path.

2016 645  A 4kms and change hike into awesomeness that can only be described as steep and climby and a wee bit sweary.   Although it wasn’t raining…it was foggy, instead.  Newfoundland weather never disappoints.

2016 657

See over the cliff?  That’s the ocean.  See it? IT’S RIGHT THERE! 

So foggy, I couldn’t see the ocean…which was a bummer because who doesn’t like to see the ocean?   AND, we had to walk/hike/climb and of course, swear up the long stairs onto a steep cliff to look down and see…nothingness.  White nothingness.  Ugh.  At least we got through it…with a balancing act of epic proportions, I might add.

2016 647

  WHERE ARE THE DAMNED RAILINGS?!!

2016 665

 

The last pics are the artwork we found on the buildings just as we were heading out of Red Cliff.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

2016 678

They are waiting for me to cross the rocks and water.  Smartasses.  

2016 700

Graceful as fuck.  Again. 

2016 702

We are happy we are not lost in the fog…BTW…THERE’S THE OCEAN IN THE BACKGROUND.  WE FOUND IT. 

Wow…a wee bit sweary, but interesting for sure…

Our next adventure we are expecting to see actual vistas…and scenes.  And hopefully each other at some point.  One of the ladies is hoping there will be railings on the stairs, but I’m not holding my breath.

2016 667               2016 685

 

 

http://www.eastcoasttrail.ca/

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