Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Zombie easter

Well, on Easter Sunday I watched two zombie movies with my daughter, her boyfriend, and some of their friends. I have never watched a zombie movie before. You see, you can still do new things at 55.

Earlier that day we went to the Maritime Museum on the Halifax waterfront. There were some wonderful exhibits, but I was mostly fascinated with the Halifax explosion,December 6, 1917 and the rescue missions out of Halifax for the Titanic victims, April 15, 1912. It is unfathomable to me (no pun intended) how life goes on despite such disasters. How people pick themselves up and carry on. How cities are rebuilt. How families are re-united, or not. How someone can lose everything and still there is this spirit in most of us that says....ok, let's go on.

Today, I listened to two people I love very much have a conversation. Well, it started as a conversation, then seemed to veer off-course into something else. A fight? Perhaps it could be called that, but what I heard from the other room, as the observer, was two people trying to be heard, trying to be understood, trying to be seen. Each was feeling the other wasn't hearing them, or understanding them or seeing them. And they were both right. And they were both wrong. At different points in the discussion they were both in tears, or one, or the other was in tears. And they just kept soldiering through it. I admire them both deeply for that.

I tend to not soldier through hard discussions. I tend to run. I tend to shut down. I tend to bury my head in the sand, or in a crossword puzzle, or a knitting project, or a tv show. I hate conflict. I always have. Lying in bed this morning listening to these two dear souls, I thought of the fights I used to listen to my parents have. They were awful, loud, mean fights.....and they never changed into anything else. Not to tears, not to resolution, but to stony silience that would last for days.

But these two? They persevered. It didn't necessarily end perfectly, but there was an honestly about two souls struggling to be heard. And what they were both saying, without either of them saying it, is I love you. I want to help you. I want you to be proud of me. I want you to forget the past and see me for now, for today.

So, what on earth do I think this blog is doing: morphing from zombies to disasters to conflict to resolution.

Well, when everything around us is gone. When the threats of the world are coming at us from all the dark corners, all we really have is each other.

Sometimes it is messy. Sometimes it is loud. Sometimes, the moment the connection can be found, it is glorious.

And sometimes, as painful as it is to watch loved ones in conflict, sometimes I have to remind myself - this is not my conflict. This is their conflict. This is their struggle. You, my dear, have to stay the hell out of it.

Now, where did I put that knitting.......

Sunday, April 17, 2011

just write something, damn it!

Sometimes I find myself aimlessly checking my email account. Nothing. Checking facebook. Nothing new. Checking friends' blogs. Perusing. Then realizing, I am meant to blog myself. So what am I waiting for?

Waiting for inspiration? Waiting until I have something brilliant to say? Waiting to see if the angst will subside and the humour will rise?

So, with nothing particular to say I will blither (blother?) on.

I went camping this weekend. I was having a very low day on Friday, and finding myself in the bathtub (again) I heard Brian come home.

Me: (pathetically) Do you want to go camping?

Him: (hesitantly) Ya, we can do that.

So, an hour later, there we were at our favourite spot. Of course it is less favourite in the spring and summer because there are lots of campers, and all the ocean front spots are taken by the new reservation rules. Never - the - less, there we were.

My dear husband got it into his head that heading to the nearest town/bar to watch the hockey game would be fun. Fun? I grumbled, thinking, how fun will a noisy, crowded Friday night bar be. Well, as it turned out, alot! So we had fun, and then headed back for a campfire before bed.

As often happens when I am 'low' we got into a bit of a squabble around that campfire. After 35 years together our squabbles seem to often centre around certain themes. This was the 'we can never plan anything' theme. It's true. We can't. Yet, it seemed hopeless to discuss it so late when I was already feeling so vulnerable.

So, off to bed in my cozy camper. And the day dawned, the birds were out enmasse and coffee around the morning campfire was perfect and comforting.

We invited some friends up for dinner and a campfire and headed to town to buy steaks. (Well, the husband was in charge of the steaks as I headed to the wool store to cheer myself up!).

Thy day threatened rain and sun throughout, but by the time our friends arrived the fire was going and the steaks ready to cook. It was a lovely evening. They are newish friends, but very good company, and the four of us are able to talk and laugh comfortably. That is a very good thing.

This morning the sky was blue, the birds were out, and the coffee was delicious as we sat on the edge of the beach.

Home by 12:30, a fabulous shower, and now awaiting the next canucks game. Due to my severely failing eyesight I can't actually 'see', the game, but I knit, and cheer as I listen to the announcers and all their endless stats.

Tomorrow we will start to pack for our trip out east. I can't wait to see our girl - all grown up and graduating from university.

Tomorrow I will start to fret about the packing, and the travelling, but once I am on the plane it will all be fine. It always is.

So, you see? Nothing spectacular here. This is my life. Not spectacular, but comfortable, and comforting.

Oh, and also, by the way, for those of you reading this, for those of you in my life - thank you. Thank you for your friendship, your teasing, your laughter, and your conversation. Even if it is occasional, or 'only' on facebook. It's important to me. This feeling of connection is important.

I am a lucky person. I am grateful for all the people in my life.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

puzzle ring and the meaning of life

I have a puzzle ring. Some call it a fidelity ring. It is three bands that intertwine to form a lovely celtic knot. Once you take it off it quickly falls apart. I take it off every night. I have never learned to sleep with rings on, except my wedding ring, but that is another story.

So every morning I reach for my puzzle ring. I wear it on my right thumb. My Uncle gave it to my daughter, but, luckily for me, it is too big for her, so I wear it. I wear it because I love my Uncle very much. He reminds me of my father, whom I loved/love very much. My uncle and I didn't discover each other until he was well into his 70s because my mother had convinced me that he wasn't a good man. He is a good man. A very good man. My mother was mistaken. But, that too, is another story.

So, every morning I have to puzzle out my ring. Somedays it remains intact on my dresser and stays intact as I reach for it to put it on. Sometimes the rings are only slightly unpuzzled, and it is a simple matter to rearrange its knots. Somedays I sit on my bed, fussing and fretting that it will never go back together. Somedays I will still be fussing while my husband drives me to work. Somedays I am still fussing at my desk before school. And there are those days that I fuss until recess time when it finally all falls into place.

So there I was, sitting on a bed, in a little house in Seattle, this past weekend, fussing over my ring. And I thought....this is just like life.

It's a puzzle. Sometimes we find it all neat and tidy, sometimes we just need to fix a few loose ends, sometimes we have to persevere. Sometimes it just seems to fall into place as if by magic. Sometimes it feels like it could never have worked in the first place, and it certainly won't work now. And there is only one thing I have learned in all this puzzling. I can't give up. I never give up. It has always worked out, one way or another.

A few months ago someone told me that my puzzle ring was flawed. He said it should have 4 rings, and not 3. He offered to polish it, and he did, and returned it. My flawed little ring. I don't wear it because it is perfect.

I wear it because I love it. I wear it because I love the man who bought it. I wear it because it reminds me that I don't give up, because giving up is not an option. I look forward to sitting on my bed, sorting out those 3 rings every morning for a long, long time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sometimes you just have to let go

Well, I am home after spending a frustrating hour in the chem lab, trying to do something that I didn't have the proper equipment to do. So, I have decided that this year's Grade Seven class won't do this experiment. I can't make something out of nothing, and it is a big step for me to just LET IT GO!

I am covered in some yucky residue, which I hope isn't eating the skin off my fingers as we speak, and I am smokey from tending the lime kiln we made today. At least that was successful. Tomorrow we will slake marble, and I will let go my acid rain experiment. We will burn phosphorus instead.....that should be fun.

It has been cold and rainy today. Really cold rain, sleet, in fact. I just want to come home, have a warm bath, eat some comfort food (macaroni and cheese), and curl up on the couch and knit.

Yea, yea, I will finish the laundry, and even put it away, and I will do the dishes, because that is what I do when I am cranky. Having my hands in warm soapy water always makes me feel better, and then, bonus, the dishes are done and the kitchen is tidy,

So I came home cranky, and I read a dear friend's blog that ended with a question. What are you grateful for today?

I am grateful for a wonderful husband who puts up with my cranky old self. I am grateful for a warm house, hot water, and good food on the table. I am grateful for supportive friends, and colleagues (many of whom I count as good friends as well).

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from my students. I am grateful for the fact I have the resources to fly back east to see my daughter in a few weeks. I am grateful for my son, who is home safe and sound from another tour with his band. I am grateful he still likes to snuggle on the couch with me and watch silly tv shows.

I am grateful for my health. I am grateful that I have the freedom to express my thoughts and speak my mind. What about you? What are you grateful for today?