Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Unexpected

The Unexpected

Sometimes my love for you
crashes in
like an unexpected guest
a surprise.

In moments of mundane
chores or times
of quiet solitude
there it is.

Perhaps a song
you courted me with
a moment of laughter
in an otherwise
blue, or gray,

Sometime when you
are most vulnerable
I remember that
young, young man
who opened his heart to me
and still does.

Unexpected moments
that can find
and heal
expectant heart.

Please go here to find other artists that are taking part in posting about The Unexpected this weekend.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Button Button

There is this amazing little store in Gastown called Button Button.

I could spend hours in there, and many dollars.

Look what I did today.

I bought 1 pound of Buttons to start my own button jar,

plus a package of buttons I just couldn't resist cause the container was so cute,

plus some wooden buttons that I am certain I will have some use for one day – and I could paint them if I wanted

plus buttons for my sweater I just finished (which is why I went in the first place).

I found the perfect buttons right away, and now I am more than ever determined to wear this sweater.

Wool – Free
Pattern – Free
My time – Free
Buttons - $22.00

Finished Product – Priceless!

And look at my button jar now:

That was how I spent my Friday.


Thursday, January 29, 2015


I have been nominated by Edwina's Episodes for a blogging award and it is a bit daunting.

I am thankful for the acknowledgement, but the melancholic in me does not want to appear to be bragging. 'Cause then no one will like me.
And for a melancholic there is nothing worse than feeling you are not liked.

Who do I like? All the blogs listed on the right side of page. If your blog is listed there then consider yourself nominated. I love you all that much, otherwise I wouldn't be following you! Today I will give specific shout outs to:

North of 49
Sheep to Frog
Project Project
Hummingbird Redemption

I never thought of myself as versatile in my blogging but I suppose because sometimes it is poetry, and sometimes pictures, sometimes knitting, and sometimes self-indulgent whining that it would count as versatile.

My sister says I blog as if my life depends on it, and it does. I swim for the same reason. And knit, I knit for hours a day, so it is fair to say my life depends on that too.

My life depends on many things, and when I get into something I don't go half way. Nope, that is not my style. I jump in with both feet, usually in the deep end.

This often means treading water.

Or heading for the shallow end.

Or sometimes just getting the hell out and heading for the hot tub.

But often I do just jump in, find my pace, and move forward.

Writing is coming easier in the past couple of months. I think the challenge I set myself to write everyday in November helped. I don't just write when something is bothering me. I find myself thinking of topics to write about and I have to jot them all down so I don't forget them. It is like a torrent has been unleashed.

Today I even thought about the premise of a novel.....

Oh my.

Oh my, indeed.

To fulfill the other requirement of this award I am suppose to post 7 random facts about me so here goes:

1) I am thinking of getting another tattoo.
2) I am afraid of having a stroke and not being able to communicate.
3) I have knit over 20 miles of yarn, and have about 8 miles in my yarn stash.
4) I worry when I talk to my children on the phone that I don't have anything interesting to say.
5) I was fired in 1973 from a volunteer position of reading books to tape for the Canadian Institute for the Blind.
6) I applied to be accepted into Honours English in 1975 and I was turned down.
7) I wish I could write songs.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Talis (wo)men

Sometimes it seems as if the years I spent raising my children were just a dream.

And then I will stumble upon a reminder.

Like this one I found last Tuesday in the wood pile - reminding me of both my children and their gift and talent with the guitar:

Or these that I found in a box of lego that my honourary grand-daughters were playing with - reminding me of:

my daughter's passion for horses

and, my son's passion for all things star trek.

And last summer, before I embarked on a long vacation I found this suddenly appearing on the hallway floor:

I have no recollection of this ladybug, and not sure where she came from, but I popped her into my pocket, and she travels with me.

Reminding me that I was a mother of young children.

Reminding me that I am still a mother.

Allowing me to hold on to the memories for a little while longer.

The guitar is an instrument that links us all together: daughter and son, mother and father.

The ladybug and the little horse are tokens of my daughter.

The starship Enterprise, and this hummingbird are tokens of my son. He embroidered it for me a few years ago.

These tokens are with me always.

Tangible objects for an intangible concept.

Like love.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Flashback Friday - Three things about me

Original post - Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I am an Introvert

People who knew me in elementary and high school would say I was shy. People who know me in my 'teacher' mode might see me as extroverted. I am not.

Taking a Myers Briggs tests years ago confirmed what I always have been, but didn't always know. I am an introvert. I first truly realized this at a dinner party about fifteen years ago. It was a Greek restaurant, and, you probably guessed it, the belly-dancer showed up.

I hate belly dancers, mostly because they come over to your table and try to get you to dance too.

Three women at my table leapt up and starting dancing with her. There I was, luckily sitting with my back against a wall on the bench seat, with two male colleagues on either side of me. I grabbed the arm of each of them and whispered urgently that they were not to move until the dancer had vacated the premises! Thank God they complied.

It was really my first inkling that I am indeed an introvert....those three women dancing on the floor out there? Extroverts!

This is not to say that I can't be funny and entertaining at parties. If I have a good yarn to spin, then I will spin away.....

But mostly at parties, and gatherings, I sit and watch and think that everyone is having a much better time than I am. Everyone seems to be being greeted by long lost friends. Everyone seems to be having a much more interesting conversation than the one I am having, or not having.

Me? I like dinners with one person, maybe two. I love to be around people who are entertaining. I love to watch the interactions of others. I don't like to be watched.

I am an intuitive

I am not an academic. I try to read academic journals, and articles, but I can't follow them, can't quote them, can't really get into them. I just know what I know intuitively. I used to try to pretend to be an academic but it was too stressful. I now tell people, out loud, "I am not an academic", just so there are no surprises, or disappointments.

I protect my heart

When something isn't right in my life, or in the lives of people close to me, my heart hurts. This isn't metaphoric. It actually begins to ache. I have learned in my life to listen to my heart when it aches. It is never wrong.

When my heart aches then I know there is something I must say. I know that I have to say it. It always turns out to be that which had to be said. You can imagine, for me, and perhaps for those around me, this can be a curse, and perhaps sometimes a blessing.

My heart also aches when I stand between two people who are in conflict with each other. It doesn't have to be spoken. My heart knows when conflict is there. It took me years to protect my heart from issues that weren't mine. Years.

So I have to protect my heart.

That is really all you need to know about me. I am an introvert, and an intuitive, and I have to protect my heart.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Hope springs eternal

Yes, I am continuing on with the sweater - actually finished the body - and decided that maybe if I ripped back the sleeves and re-knit them a bit bigger I could get project to work for me.

The sleeve increase worked - but when I tried on the sweater, although it closes around my bust, it would need, as I said last week, aggressive blocking to close around my waist. Which is weird because my waist is much smaller than my bust.

Anyways - I am soldiering on - and will make the button band wider than stated in the pattern to see if I can still salvage it for me.

You see, I have fallen in love with the colour, and I really want this to work for me.I was concerned I wouldn't have enough yarn - I only had four balls - but I still have a whole skein untouched - so maybe...maybe, I could frog and re-knit if necessary.

There are those that would say to just frog now get it over with.

But hope does spring eternal, and as some would say this is 'how I roll'. (I actually hate that expression!)

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Saying Thank You - Giving Thanks

This has been on my mind of late. I think that as a society we are forgetting, or neglecting, to say thank you.

I remember when I was a young girl and my aunts from the next province over would send me a Christmas gift: something small, and sweet, and their way of saying they remember me and were thinking of me. My mother always got me to write a thank you note and pop it in the mail.

My mother also used to call me the day after a party, or dinner, to thank me for the invitation.

People don't do that so much anymore, although I do have friends that always text me after we have had an evening together to comment on the nice time we had. I like that.

And, I don't do it.

But I should.

Most people I know are very good at expressing thanks when a gift has been given in person, face to face, but not so good when a gift has been sent through the mail, snail or otherwise.

I wonder why that is?

Are we so busy that we can't take the time to call, or send a quick text?

I am certain that we are delighted to receive gifts, and think warm thoughts about the sender while we are in the process of receiving, but then, somehow, the thank you part falls off the radar.

Often I would receive small packages of notes as a gift - the perfect size to send a small thank you message.

I still remember sending thank-you notes after my wedding, and how it took me months to get them all done. Really? Months? My mother said you have a year after the wedding to acknowledge a gift. A Year? Are we all that busy that it takes a year to acknowledge a wedding gift? Apparently I was. And it is embarrassing to recall that fact.

Many people told me they didn't send cards out at Christmas this year because the stamp costs had jumped so dramatically. But, really, eighty-five cents is not that much to connect with someone, and to let them know we are thinking of them. I don't think it is about the money. I think it is something more systemic.

Maybe it is because the world is too busy, too fast, too full.

Maybe we should only give gifts in person.

Maybe I have been watching too much Downtown Abbey and have become nostalgic, for the small notes sent and received in the mail, for a time gone by.

Maybe I am just too judgemental. I hate that I fret about the behaviour of others when I am guilty of the same faux pas.

Whatever it is, I am going to make the effort to say thank you and to acknowledge the people and moments in my life that I appreciate.

I do appreciate them, and often reflect on them happily, but I need to let the others involved know how important those moments and gifts and dinners and lunches and cups of coffee are.

Because giving thanks should not just be a silent mantra. It takes on a whole new life when it is shared with the other.

Giving thanks becomes a gift in itself.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Some days

Some days
no amount of sun
will clear away
the clouds
that cool my heart

Some days
no amount of cedar
will allow me to

Some days
the weight of it all
is more
than I care
to bear

Some days
I wish for night
to come
with blankets

Some days
are just like
but not
every day

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Singing bunnies

I gave this candle sculpture to my Mum for Christmas many, many years ago. It was a reminder to her about our love of books, and specifically the book 'Watership Down'.

We often would read books the other had suggested - The Mists of Avalon, The Clan of the Cave Bear, anything by Agatha Christie, or James Michener.

When we were heading out to our family campsite on Bowen Island she would buy at least a dozen Agatha Christie's at the used book story for ten cents each and that would be our reading for the holidays.

But there was something about Watership Down that really spoke to me. I really connected with the little bunny, Fiver, the clairvoyant one.

However, the title of this blog comes from a dream I had when I first was with my dear husband. I had this glorious dream of rabbits on a grassy hill, standing up on their back legs, singing.

The song was ethereal, beautiful, perfect.

I shared it with him, and he still refers to my singing bunny dream.

I never dreamt it again, but believe that it was a picture of Heaven.

Back to the candle - it was returned to me after my mother passed away. I brought it out every Christmas, and finally lit the candle a few years ago. The wick was quite short, and now I can put a tea-light in the well on its back.

This year, when all the decorations were being put away, I left the bunny on the kitchen windowsill.

She belongs there, not hidden in a box for fifty weeks of the year.

I have been writing about my mother a lot these past weeks. I think I have reconciled many of my conflicted feelings about her.

It has taken ten years.

I wonder what our relationship will be in our next life together. I don't think our journey is over yet.

I hope when we meet again there will be singing bunnies.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

26 Years ago today - Part Two

A Friday in January
The thirteenth don't you know
You were four days early
And the forecast was snow.

The date seemed auspicious
The labour was ok
We managed despite the weather
The hospital the next day.

So two days later
You finally made your way
3:20 in the morning
On your grandfather's birthday.

You were Mommy's girl
No other arms would do
My little Velcro baby
Carried like little Roo.

You sing with all your heart
And write your point of view
You strive to make better
what others failed to do.

Tarot, horoscopes and books
Have helped you find your way
Sharing ideas with me
Hearing what you have to say.

Twenty six years ago
I was afraid to say
How much it was I wanted
A daughter to light my way.

Whether doing errands
or endless cups of tea
Time we spend together
means everything to me.

Happy Birthday baby girl
May peace come to you most
And know that now and always
You are loved from coast to coast.

26 years ago today - Part One.

It has become a 'thing' that I write a blog post in honour of my daughter on her birthday. Now that it has become a 'thing' I have horrible writer's block.

Partly because many things I would write are personal and intimate and not something I want to put in this blog, partly because I have performance anxiety.

I make it a point not to go back and read previous birthday posts because when I do that I think to myself that that Mary-Anne of Breathing Life was a much better writer than I am.

I wrote a poem, that I will publish, but it is not turning out quite the way I wanted.

This girl of mine. This girl deserves a poem of great magnitude, because she is something very very special. She is actually a woman at twenty six, but I hope I can be forgiven for thinking of her as my girl still.

If you met her you would see a young woman of amazing style, tattoos, piercings, half her head shaved, the other side long dark hair, eye-liner, bright lipstick.

When you see her, she will take your breath away because she is so beautiful.

But it is what you don't see that amazes me.

She fights for the disenfranchised. She works for a sexual assault centre and does all she can to make the streets, the university campuses, high school hallways and the world a safer place for women, for queer people, for transgendered men and women.

She does not suffer fools gladly.

She is fierce.

Her anger can be huge, and so is her love.

Her spoken word poetry will leave you speechless, and often in tears.

Her songs are poignant, wise, and powerful.

Her singing voice, and her guitar playing are amazing.

Yet, she struggles.

She struggles to make a living in a career where, as she said once, 'she is destined to work for non-profit societies'.

She struggles to truly find her community. A femme queer woman who loves her high heels, and short skirts and sexy tops.

She has her politics and her points of view, but sometimes she just wants to laugh and be silly and not take on all the woes of the world.

She is a feminist in the truest sense.

She is my daughter, and I am so honoured to be her mother.

She is one of many of her generation fighting the good fight, having ideals that get crushed on a daily basis, and coming face to face everyday with the baser side of life.

Still she gets up, puts on her face and heads out into the world. Everyday.

I have learned and continue to learn so much from her.

Our conversations makes me think. Hard.

I want her to know, today, on her birthday, and every day.

I have your back.

Keep going.

I have your back.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gifting a frog

I have been working on this sweater for a week or so, and I am pretty sure that even with aggressive blocking it will be too small for me.

Last night I decided to frog it (rip it, rip it rip it out) and start over.

But, today, as my Uncle used to say, 'calmer heads prevailed'.

I have decided to finish it, since it is almost finished, and gift it to someone in my life. After-all, the yarn was a freebie, and it is a quick knit.

Besides maybe with aggressive blocking and aggressive swimming it will fit.

Hope springs eternal!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy Birthday

My Mum always wrote a little poem in birthday and anniversary cards. One day I will collect them all in one place.

Today I thought I would try to write one to honour what would have been her 93rd birthday.

A Capricorn you were born
on this day in twenty two
A long life ahead
That I partly shared with you.

You met my father in forty two
and married during the war
I can't imagine those three years
of worry, pain and more.

Three children five and under
then I as number four
Two more came after me
Six children blessed your door.

We had some struggles you and I
but good times too as well
Coffees in the morning
Shared stories we would tell.

There is so much you taught me
good memories and some bad
but still and all I'm thankful
for the mother that I had.

So happy birthday Mum
Wherever you may be
And know that on your day
This memory I see.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mum? Mom?

My mother always signed her cards, and notes to me, Mum. I don't know why but this bothered me, because at school I learned to spell it Mom.

I insisted for her whole life of addressing my cards, and notes, and letters to her as Mom.

What a snot I was.

So, fast forward to the current year and my daughter who always addresses her letters and cards to me as Mum.

My son, always uses Mom.

So, I am both. I sign my cards to my daughter as Mum, and my cards to my son as Mom.

I kinda like this. It is a tangible example that I have a unique relationship with each of my children.

In my life I have many titles: Mrs. Taylor to my students, Mary-Anne to most of my friends, Mary to my husband, my brother, and my dear childhood friend, Auntie Mary-Mann to some of my nieces and nephews, and lately Me-Ann to my adopted grand-daughter, Mum, or Mumma to my daughter, Mom to my son.

I am a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister-in-law, a teacher, an aunt, a great-aunt, a cousin, a daughter (although now orphaned), a niece and at one time a daughter-in-law (also now orphaned).

So many titles. I have probably missed a few others.

Each of us has so many relationships wrapped up within us, and around us.

I like that I have different names to different people in my life.

Because each of those relationships is unique and our way of naming each other is a part of it.

So in the future, when I speak of my Mum, I will honour her by calling her by the name she wanted.

Because that is the least I can do.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I currently have four projects on the needles, and then today was invited to a baby shower in eleven days.


So here is the yarn:

and here is the pattern:

Because the present my daughter made for me says it all:

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Today is the first day of the season of Epiphany. The twelve holy nights of Christmas are over, and we are now in a new season, on a new journey.

I remember the first time I heard the word Epiphany used. I am embarrassed to say it was not that long ago. Maybe fifteen years. Someone spoke about having an epiphany. I had to look up what it meant.

But now, all these years later, this is a profound time of year for me. Because of my experience teaching at a Steiner school I have learned how to honour the season of Advent, the twelve holy nights of Christmas, and the season of Epiphany. I usually try to leave my tree up until the 6th of January. This year I took it down a day early but I left up my two creches.

I think a lot about the three kings and what their epiphany must have been. I think it was simply that they realized that greatness was not connected to wealth, and place of birth, but instead to inherent goodness and purity.

This world could use some inherent goodness and purity.

And the gifts we bring to our moment of epiphany do not have to be gifts of great expense, or rarity, or meaning. THe gifts we bring can simply be an open heart, an open mind, and love for the other.

Whether that other is human, animal, vegetable or mineral. We can approach the four kingdoms of this planet with love.

Because when all is said and done - what we have on this earth is each other.

And you never know when you are in the presence of God.

Actually, you do.

We are always in the presence of God, because there is the divine in all of us.




Blessed Epiphany, dear Readers, and safe travels.

TS Eliot is one of my favourite poets, and this is one of my favourite poems. Today seems like a fitting day to share it.

The Journey Of The Magi
by T S Eliot - 1927

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Best nap ever

It has been a long time since I napped with a two-year old napping beside me.

Today was that day.

It was the best nap ever.

And when she woke up, all rosy-cheeked, and asked for a hug?

Well, icing on the cake.

I like this honourary grandmother thing.

Her sister said I will make a great grandmother one day.

I am a grandmother-in-training.

How cool is that!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Work in Progress

I finished 2014 with everything off the needles except my sock-yarn blanket. Since that is a project that will take years I am ok with that.

Here it is January 4, and I already have two projects on the go, and a third one itching to be cast on.

I am making myself a sweater, my sister a pair of socks, and I want to make a shawl out of this beautiful teal yarn I won at my Knit Group's Christmas party.

So, I think it is safe to say I am on the way up. I am feeling better, actually getting out of my pajamas for the first time in two days. I had a good swim, took down the Christmas decorations, and did the dishes.

Tomorrow I am spending with a boisterous two-year old so I will be in bed early tonight. I have the Duplo by the front door so I think I am set. I am hoping she will have a good long nap so I can get some knitting in too.

So, back to my WIPs, or Works-in-Progress.

It reminds me of a post by Rubber Shoes in Hell about being a work-in-progress. Many people decide on January 1 to make resolutions about how to improve themselves. I stopped doing that years ago. It seemed like a set-up from the get go.

But being a WIP is something I can get my head around. In fact, I think I can be any number of WIPs.

So I am gonna work on a lot of projects this year: writing, knitting, spinning, swimming, camping, mothering, communicating, sorting, praying, socializing, gardening, acting, being braver, loving.

It is not about changing, it is about doing.

One day at a time. One WIP at a time. One moment at a time.

I can do this.

I am a Work-in-Progress.

I don't plan to ever be done.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Stroke, stroke, breathe

I went for my first swim of 2015 today. I wasn't feeling great, and I thought the mile would help.

I have struggled to breathe evenly on both sides - but today I just started to swim with the mantra:

Stroke, Stroke, Breathe.

This results in every other breath being taken on the opposite side.

It was surreal.

Why hadn't I come to this before?

I could feel my weaker side complaining, but at the same time getter stronger.

Did the mile help?

You bet your ass it did!

Stroke, Stroke, Breathe.

Not a bad mantra for other moments in my life.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Putting out the garbage

I like garbage day.

I like getting the garbage out of the house and to the curb.

I like getting the recycling off the back porch.

I like getting the compost out of the tins and freezer and ready for pick-up.

I like cashing in the bottles. Even though it is a ridiculously small amount of money, I like getting those coins put into my hands after sorting and cashing in the wine and pop containers.

I like returning all the stupid plastic grocery bags to the store.

When we are camping I also like the feeling of getting the tanks empty. Getting rid of the shit, so to speak. I always offer to do it. My husband does not understand why I like to do this, but he is glad I do.

I also like doing laundry, and the feeling of folding it and getting it all put away and seeing the empty laundry basket.
(putting it away, in the case of my husband's clothes, is piling it on top of his dresser).

I like (okay, LOVE) doing dishes.

Clearly there is a metaphor here.

For a person who suffers from depression and anxiety cleaning up and sorting out stuff is helpful.

It gives me a sense of control. And accomplishment.

It is like wiping the slate clean.

A new beginning.

Fuck waiting for January 1, which only comes once a year.

Garbage day is every week.

And wiping the slate clean fifty-two times a year makes a lot more sense.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Anxiety comes to stay

It is over. Our son left yesterday. Our daughter left today. There were tears. There are always tears when they go back to their lives.

It was a good visit. We ate well, swam, walked, went to yoga, played music, talked, played board games, napped, shopped.

We had the most lovely Christmas morning. The gifts we exchanged all seemed so perfect.

And then.

And then two days after Christmas my anxiety kicked into high gear and although I would rally from time to time it was always there in the background.

Today, most of which was spent in bed, I was thinking maybe it isn't anxiety. Maybe it is the flu.

Maybe I am not crazy.

Maybe I am just sick.

So that is how I am framing it now. My dear husband has gone out to get me some ginger ale, and tomato juice.

I am not going to let this feeling take away the last seven days.

I couldn't hug them enough, love them enough, spend time with them enough.

We went to bed before midnight so the new year arrived without our help.

Today is not the day for a big dinner, we celebrated our new year's dinner on the 30th (and also our daughter's birthday which is later this month).

Today is the day to nap, and sip ginger ale and maybe start a new knitting project.

Because although it doesn't feel like it right now, I know this feeling will pass. Anxiety is not a welcome guest, and I will do whatever I can to move it out.

And there will be at least 360 more days to revel in what 2015 has to bring.