Saturday, January 30, 2016

Stream of Consciousness

Blogging has not been easy this month so this seemed like a good prompt to get going. Go here to see other SoCS participants.

Today's prompt is 'an'.  So here goes.

Another day
Another breath
Another minute
Another hour
Another sleep
Another weep
Another moment
Another reprieve
Another heartbreak
Another swim
Another dream
Another and another and another.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Learning to Breathe

Who would have thought this was what I needed to learn?

I had a private swimming lesson on Thursday.  On Wednesday I had an epiphany about why my breathing was a problem.  It had to do with my placement of my left arm while I was breathing on my right, but after my lesson I was shown it was also about the timing of my right arm catching the water.

I had a huge aha moment once I got the timing figured out, and I was moving more effortlessly through the water rather than stalling each time I took a breath on the left side.

In yoga learning to breathe in the right way through the different poses and flows has always been a challenge for me.  I seem to be forever breathing in when the instructor is telling me to breathe out, and vice versa.

I blame it on my right/left confusion.  Maybe I also have an in/out confusion?

And then yesterday I was reading a book my counsellor suggested and lo and behold there was a section on self care and BREATHING.

So, three times this week in different areas I was focused on breathing.

Yesterday I went for a Korean spa and spent much of the time breathing.  Breathing deeply to relax. Breathing deeply to stay with the heat.  Breathing deeply so I didn't faint (too long in the hot tub).

I realized how ironic this post is when you look at the title I chose for this blog of mine.

Breathing Life.

Science books will tell you that breathing is a non-voluntary reflex.  We can't help but breathe.  Our bodies are made to do it.

Science books don't tell you that in times of stress, or grief we do not automatically breathe well, or efficiently, or sometimes at all.

That takes focus.  That takes practice.  That takes vigilance.  That takes awareness.

So today I will go to the pool and practice breathing.

Tomorrow I will go to yoga and practice breathing.


Now I will practice taking slow, deep, deliberate breaths.

Because if I don't?

If I don't I feel like I will die.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

HodgePodge Wednesday - skating and other stuff

Yup, it's Wednesday, so it must be HodgePodge!  Thanks to Joyce for hosting.  Skate on over here to see other entries..  

1.  Speaking of skating...when did you last 'skate on thin ice', 'skate over the details', 'encounter a cheapskate', or just plain skate?

Gosh I haven't skated for so long.  It always, always hurts my ankles too much. Plus I could never learn to stop except by running into the boards.
 I feel like I am skating on thin ice at the moment.  I am pretty fragile these days, but I can't be mixing metaphors like skating on thin ice and totally immersing myself in swimming. That would be weird.

2. What would you say is the biggest problem of people your age?

Hmm.  The first thing that comes to mind about women my age is we focus too much on our skin instead of what is under it.  

3. What's your favorite accessory? Is it something you wear every day, often, or only on special occasions?

I think my favourite accessory is my hummingbird necklace that I where every day, and also my hand-knit socks which I wear everyday (not the same pair everyday, but always a hand-knit pair).  My current favourite special accessory is my Cameo shawl I completed last fall. 

4. January 20th is National Cheese Lover's Day. Are you a lover of cheese? What's your favorite dish made with cheese? Last thing you ate that contained some kind of cheese? 

I do love cheese - pretty much all kinds.  Lately I am on a Brie binge.  My favourite dish made with cheese is a zucchini/tomatoe/feta casserole I make. 

5. What's something guaranteed to make you roll your eyes? 

Young boys that wear their pants with the belt line across the top of their thighs.  

6. Your favorite book series

That is tough.  I loved the Lord of the Rings, but also The Hunger ames and Game of Thrones.  But, if I have to pick a favourite, and if two books counts as a series, I would pick Seraphina and Shadow Scale, by Rachel Hartman. 

7. Why did you choose your profession? 

It kind of chose me.  I was tutoring a boy with a learning challenge when he was 14 and I was 16. That was it, I was hooked and decided to become a teacher. Even when I left teaching proper for many years I was still teaching - end users of the computer programs I wrote, or breastfeeding classes for soon-to-be parents, or peer-counselling classes.  Then I returned to the classroom at a Waldorf School for the past sixteen years.  Although I am technically retired I still teach from time to time - like this morning I am subbing in Grade Three. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I have a private swim session with my Total Immersion coach on Thursday.  I am looking forward to it even though it means being in the pool by 7:30 am!  Eek!

Saturday, January 16, 2016


I am pleased to participate in another drawing (artistic) challenge.  Since I don't draw  very well these dear artists let me draw with my words.  Veronica threw down this challenge - Rhythm. Go to her blog to check out the other entrants.  They are all incredible artists in every sense of the word.


The Rhythm of my breath
as I lie in Shavasana
as I mimic the dead
a breathing corpse.

The Rhythm of your breath
as you sleep beside me
my fear that I will awake
and the rhythm will no longer be there.

The Rhythm of my strokes
as I swim for my life
as I kick in rhythm
to the beating of my heart.

The Rhythm of the rain
drumming on the roof
of a camper that shields me
from the storms outside.

The Rhythm of the music
resounding in my heart
the songs you once sang for me
echoing in the silence.

The Rhythm of my walk
through the cedars and the ferns
reminding me of this journey
I will see through to the end.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

First Hodgepodge of the new year.

I hope this first hodgepodge isn't too auspicious since I am posting a day late. Thanks to Joyce From This Side of the Pond for hosting and check here for other entries..

1. Share one thing that really makes your day.

A 48 minute swim.

2. Lots of these kinds of lists out there, but one found here says the fifteen most colorful places on earth are:

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy~Burano, Italy~Havana, Cuba~Rio de Janiero, Brazil~Chefchaouen, Morocco~Balat, Istanbul, Turkey~Menton, France~Jodhpur, India~La Baca, Buenos Aires, Argentina~Guanajuato, Mexico~Capetown, South Africa~Valparaiso, Chile~Wroclaw, Poland~San Francisco, California~and Pelourhino, Salvador, Brazil.  

Of those listed which would you most like to see up close and in person? Of all the places you've seen or traveled in your own life, what would you say was one of the most colorful?

I would like to travel to Italy.  I was in Florence eight years ago, and Northern Italy and Sicily twelve years ago, and I would love to go back with my husband..

3."Everything you want is on the other side of fear." Jack Canfield  In general, would you agree or disagree with that statement? Why?

I think some things I want are on the other side of fear for sure, but not everything.   Wanting to live a long and healthy life is not on the other side of fear.  Selling my house and moving probably is. 

4. Imagine you're stranded on a desert island and dessert appears...what do you hope it is? Do you ever struggle to remember which spelling is desert and which is dessert?

hmmmm.  I am not much of a dessert person, but if I had to answer it would be cheesecake. I didn't think I struggled with how to spell which word, but when I started this sentence I spelled desert instead of dessert.  So there's that.

5. What song almost always makes you cry?

Danny Boy.

6. January is National Soup Month.  Everything from soup to nuts, in the soup, thick as pea soup, souped up...which saying most recently applies to your life in some way? Explain.

In the soup, for sure.  For an explanation read the post before this one.

7. Write a two word note to your younger self. What does it say?

Be Brave.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I am glad for these hodgepodge prompts to get me thinking and writing.  Life is not easy at the moment and thinking about these questions gives me some reprieve. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Reflections on your birthday

You and I had a terrible disagreement when my daughter was three years old.  We didn't speak for about eighteen months.

Every time the phone rang my stomach would lurch, and so my husband bought us our first answering machine so I could feel safer and screen calls. 

I came to your house a few weeks after our altercation and you wouldn't answer the door to me. 

You sent me flowers on my birthday that year, and I was angry and hurt and didn't respond to what I now know was your way of reaching out.  

The next time you reached out I did respond, and we met and talked and sorted out things enough to continue a relationship until the time of your passing. 

Ours was a turbulent relationship, but, still and all, one where love did exist.  Sometimes I couldn't see it, but I know, as I remember you today, that it was there. 

So now I have a small sense of how it must have been for you - those months of silence.  Of course this was before email and twitter and facebook and text messages.  I imagine your only knowledge of what I was doing came through other family members.  

Now I sit in the middle of my own estrangement with my daughter.  It is uncomfortable and devastating and I am unsure how it can unfold.  There is a lesson here that I am destined to learn. 

You and I found a way through the distance.  My younger sister and I found a way through the distance.  

If there is love - there must be a way through this distance. 

For now, my dreams are filled with her.  My days are filled with her.  My tears are filled with her.  

I am trying to keep track of her through social media but that has gone silent.  

I am trying to pray and hold my faith and wish for grace.  

The days are not getting easier.  

I am sorry.  I should have reached out to you a second time.  I shouldn't have given up. I should have responded to your flowers and Christmas Card.  I didn't, and I am sorry for the time we lost. 

And now?  Now you are there, and I am here.    

Thank you for all you did for me, the times you were there for me, the memories we shared together. 

Happy Birthday, Mum.  I miss you.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Blocking the Hell out of It

I have finally finished a shawl I have been working on since last July.  It was fiddly and I would put it down for long periods of time while other projects caught my attention. 

While away for the Christmas Holidays I brought it along, and picked it up, and kept at it until it was finished early this morning. 

It is a very complicated lace pattern, but what with the yarn I used and the needles I used the lace pattern is not really showing up. 

I also ran out of yarn so it is much shorter than what I envisioned. 

However, I believe if I 'Block the Hell Out of It' it will be beautiful and functional and lovable.

I wonder if one can block the hell out of my life?

Blocking requires soaking the finished object until it is wet through and through. 

I can do that - what with my swimming and all.  I can soak myself through and through.

Then the soaked garment is placed on a blocking mat and stretched and pulled and pinned into place with wires and pins and measuring tape and a few good curse words thrown in.

Usually when I block a shawl I get almost to the end of the pinning and then realize it isn't quite working out and I have to unpin and start again. 

This endeavour usually involves taking up all the floor space in my 'crafting' room, or taking over the kitchen table for a day or two.

Once you start blocking something you often notice the mistakes you have made.  There they are, staring up at you, and you know there is no way to hide them.  You also know that some well meaning fellow knitter will likely see the mistake and point it out to you when you pass it around as a show and tell at your next knitting group evening. 

So ya, like life.

You work on your life, sometimes more, sometimes less, and then some phase of it is finished and you look at what you have produced and sometimes the intricate work is hard to see.  Sometimes the mistakes are hidden, and sometimes glaringly obvious.  Sometimes it seems too small for all the effort you have put in, and sometimes?  Sometimes it is just not what you expected it to end up like and then you have a few options. 

Rip the whole thing out and make something else.  This doesn't translate so well into life.

Block the hell out of it and hope it transforms.  Hmmm.  This might translate.

Put it away and just forget it ever happened.  Tempting, but not really a good option.

Gift it. 

Or maybe in life it is just to look at it as a gift.  What have I learned from this experience?  Will there be a time I look back on it and am grateful for what it has taught me? 

If it is a gift, shall I just wear it and talk about it and share it with the world?

So, first things first.  I am going to block the hell out of this shawl and see where that takes me.

And while I do so I will ponder the current project that is my life and see if I can soak it, and wire it and pin it into something I can live with. 

And if not?

If not, I will just have to continue one stitch, one step, one breath, one day at a time and welcome what is coming towards me and be grateful for those moments that are filled with grace and hope and love. 

And faith. 

Faith that nothing is unsalvageable. 


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Just one word

My niece introduced me to the idea a few years ago of finding a word, one word, to set your intention for the new year.  

I have come up with this word. 


I will go into this new year with the intention to understand. 

Understand myself. 

Understand the other. 

Understand the world. 

Understand the lessons that are before me to learn.  

And today I keep thinking of this passage from the Bible.which I have heard so many times during Communion services.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

As I have said before in this blog, I need to protect my heart.  This is no less true today than it has ever been. 
What about you, dear reader?  Do you have a word for 2016?