2015 In A Nutshell

2015

Looking back on a year that started out with me wanting to Take a Pass on New Years I have to say that things worked out pretty well.

Something I started in 2015 was a Throw Back Thursday theme to some of my posts.  If nothing else, it gave me an excuse to drag out my shoe box full of photos every week and take a walk down memory lane.  It’s nice to document the traditions and memories of Easter, Halloween and Christmas from when I was young and pass them on to my kids.  Even showing them Where it all Started and how my Mom and Dad met.  It’s a way to stay connected to Private School friends and Kamikaze friends.  It’s enabled me to look back on a special Place and gain some insight into my daughters Determination.

In an effort to stretch my writing to a different place, I write three posts that had A Different Approach.  I hope to continue doing this as it gives me a new way to tell stories.  I Will Love You Until You Are 92 and Where’s the Sandman When You Need Him let me get a bit deeper into feelings and emotions that are sometimes hard to write as well, me.

Most importantly, I was able to continue my goal of talking with my friends about their jobs and/or passions.  My friend Karen achieved Higher Education.  Nicole continues to live her best life despite the odd Pity Party.  Lisa continues to run and we share the knowledge that Running Is Cheaper Than Therapy.  I seem to be drawn to expats as Miss Sam joined an Englishwoman, a Scot and an Irish Woman in my circle of women to admire.  Donna and Lisa proved to me that you can motivate people and you can Change Paths Midstream successfully.  All of their enthusiasm inspires me to continue looking for My Thing.

Continuing to learn about myself and how I see the world never ceases to fascinate me.  Thinking about My Darkest Time made me realize that I have overcome a lot and have Learnt to Love Again.  But sometimes Barbed Wire and Untied Shoelaces still trip me up on my quest to find My Personality.  I can now readily admit that I get Hangry and that I Don’t Care If You Like me or not.  On a weird note I did, for a moment, think that I was an Eighteen Year Old Boy.  A Road Trip and Renovating My Bathroom taught me some cool things too.

Spending more time at home this last year has given me a deeper appreciation of my Neighborhood.  While I readily admit that I live in a Bubble, I will never take things like school Winter Concerts for granted.  Thank goodness for days like Earth Day to allow me to stop and see the forest through the trees.

Probably the biggest….no wait…..THE most important thing that has evolved this year is my feelings towards my mom and my commitment to getting involved in the Parkinson’s Society.  While it is important to Call Your Mom every once in a while, it is equally important to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is.  In December I was honored to have the Parkinson’s Society of BC publish a POST I wrote in 2014 about my mom and touched to see the look on her face when she read it and realized that I wrote it.

Wow.  I write a lot of stuff.  Some good some not so good.  Did I enjoy it?  Hell yes.  Will I do more?  Damn straight.

The Best Thing in Life is……..I may have found what I’ve been looking for.

Movies…or not?

theatre

While sitting on the couch last night, watching The Sound of Music, an ad came on for the the new Star Wars movie.  Despite the fact that I’m not really a movie person I said to my husband

“I would go see that.”

Looking back, it was probably due to the fact that I was on my second (possibly third) glass of wine.  Anyway, in that moment I truly thought that it would be cool to see The Force Awakens in a big theatre.  Today, not so much

The fist movie I ever saw was Oliver Twist.  A babysitter took me when I was about six or seven years old.  We saw the 1948 version.  I’m not sure why we went to see such an old movie, but I will never forget it.  I was so scared when Bill Sykes kills Nancy at the end of the movie.  That was at least 45 years ago but the brutality and darkness of that moment still makes me shudder.  Could that be the reason?

At that same theatre, I had my first movie date.  More precisely, my first make out date.  Pretty sure I spent most of the movie in the bathroom making sure my breath was fresh and my hands weren’t clammy.  The movie was……wait…..wait…..give me a minute and I’ll remember.  It was Goodbye Girl with Richard Dreyfuss.  I did see some of the movie after all.

My first R rated movie was the Bob Fosse movie All That Jazz.  My sister took my friend Anne and I.  I don’t remember it being all that shocking.  At least not in relation to today’s movies.  Maybe some naked body parts and some alcohol and drugs.  No biggie.

The first movie I saw with my husband was Jerry Maguire.  We weren’t in a theatre though and we weren’t even sitting together.  We were on a bus driving back from Seattle.   Perhaps the lack of  the “theatre” experience helped me enjoy that one.  Anyway, still love that movie.  And my husband.

Over the past nineteen years I have endured many animated movies with my son and, more recently, with my daughter.  My husband, bless his heart, has the ability to fall asleep anywhere and a dark theatre is no exception.   How I envy him.

I’m not sure why I don’t like going to a theatre to see a movie.

I think it seems a bit odd to me to be sitting in a huge dark theatre watching a movie with a bunch of strangers.  It’s so….impersonal. The seats are uncomfortable, the floor is sticky and I never know if it’s going to be freezing or stuffy and hot.  Okay, okay I know I’m just being fussy but  I would just rather wait and watch the same movie at home on my comfy sofa where I can hit pause and go get some fresh popcorn or a glass of wine anytime I like.

The Best Thing in Life is Netflix!

 

 

Christmas

stockings

I remember when I was little and Christmas Day was always at home.  Home being the house I grew up in.  And it was always the same.  Every year.  I loved it.

Bright and early Christmas morning the three of us would creep around the corner of the stairs to see if our parents were awake.  Okay, so creep isn’t really the right word.  Perhaps thunder would be more accurate.  It was stocking time.  Stockings were pretty standard.  Trinkets and socks.  Soap on a Rope.  (It was the seventies after all).

Then there was the year that my mom had a couple too many glasses of wine on Christmas Eve and put panty hose in my brother’s stocking and Old Spice deodorant in my sister’s stocking.  She can not hold her liquor.

Once stockings had been unceremoniously emptied, my mom would start breakfast.  Being British we would have eggs, sausages, grilled tomatoes, toast and tea.  If my dad was lucky my mom would have made kippers.  Oh my god they make the house stink.  A kipper is a smoked herring.  Ya, I know.  But they love them.

We almost always ended up leaving the dishes for later as if we didn’t we would be late for church.  It was one of the three days each year that we had to go.  The carols were okay, I guess, but really it was just another obstacle in the way of getting to our presents.  Occasionally a kid would come to church with a new toy that they had already unwrapped.  I was so jealous that they had been allowed to open a gift while we had to wait.

It.  Was. Torture.

When it was finally over and we could go home, my dad would start his time wasting routine.  He would go into his room and get changed, go to the bathroom, find some gift that he had forgotten to wrap, disappear into the basement.  More torture.  Why?  Why did he do that?

When he finally decided it was time, we descended on the pile of gifts under the tree.  A pile of wrapping paper soon emerged in the middle of the living room floor and hugs and thank yous were exchanged.  Done and done.

Time to eat again.

Lunch was always cold sliced ham, cheese, crusty bread and fruit.  Sounds very European doesn’t it?  Really, it was just quick and easy.  Besides we had better things to do.  Toys to play with, clothes to try on and puzzles to do. If I’m honest, this was a time when there was a tiny bit of let down.  All the anticipation and build up and hoping.  Done.  Ahead was a long empty afternoon.

But then there was the annual Christmas walk.  Rain. Sun. Snow.  No matter what, we would put the turkey in the oven then head out the door.  My favorite walk was down 29th Street to the beach, along the beach to 31st Street then back up over the railway tracks to a house that was filled with the scent of food.  As a grown up I now appreciate the fact that I could eat more after that walk.

By now my mom was in full “cooking” mode.  Usually we would have guests for Christmas dinner.  My parents would contact an organization that helped out any sailors/workers who were in port that day and wanted to celebrate the holiday.  It made for some interesting conversations as they didn’t always speak a lot of English. If I thought that English cooking was odd can you imagine what they thought?

Time to eat again.

Bring on the full Christmas meal.  Roast turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, stuffing balls (meatball size balls of stuffing fried in butter), veggies, gravy and bread sauce.  Bread sauce?  Another British delicacy.  Simmer a whole onion studded with cloves in milk for a couple of hours.  Discard the onion and fold in fresh white bread crumbs.  Yup, savory porridge.

xmas

Christmas Day always, always, ended with all of us in the living room.  A tray of chocolates and nuts (because we needed more food) and my dad pouring us all shots of Grand Marnier, port or brandy.  So what if we were only kids.  This is the one British tradition I enjoyed.

The Best Thing in Life is still remembering these things and passing on the stories to my kids.  They think they are ridiculous but one day they will be our family history.

Winter Concert

concert

 

Last night I went to my eight year old daughter’s school winter concert.  Mandatory for all parents to sit though every year whether their daughter is the littlest snowflake out in front or the one stuck in the last row with a snowflake headband over their eyes.

The concert started out without incident.  Recorders and xylophones played by grade four students accompanying sweet little kindergarten voices singing about Papa Noel.  Then a group of grade one to four students told the story of snowflakes and snirt (snow mixed with dirt).  Parents jostling for the best position to video their little darling from so that they can show grandparents on Christmas Day.

It’s usually about this time that we, as parents, are checking our watches wondering how much longer we can sit on the, oh so comfortable, bleachers without needing a trip to the chiropractor the next day.  Surely it can’t be much longer.

The last group of kids to go was the grade seven class.  They were going to sing a carol both in English and French.  Is started with two of the students out front with microphones and the rest of the students backing them up.  As they finished their solos two more student came down to do theirs.

It was a few minutes in and a boy in a white shirt started to walk down to the mic.

As he walked down he motioned to the music teacher that he needed the words…..but there was no time and he missed his cue.

The next two students had already started to come down to take their places and the boy in the white shirt walked back to his spot and hung his head.  You could feel his disappointment in every corner of the auditorium.

The song went on and still he hung his head.  His buddy next to him patted him on the back in encouragement as the song ended.

As we politely applauded the music director went over to the boy and said something to him.  No response.  Again he asked him and he finally shrugged his shoulders.  The director took the mic.

“I am so incredibly proud of this grade seven class.  It takes so much courage to step out front and perform a solo. Sometimes you get a second chance so we are going to try that one again if it’s all right with you.”

So the students took their places again and the music director gave the cue to start.  This time the boy in the white shirt gave himself extra time to get down to the mic and find his spot on the song sheet.  We all held our breath.

He started to sing his solo and……nailed it.  Everyone in the auditorium was clapping wildly and most of us were wiping tears away.

That moment happened because of a great teacher. A teacher who knew his students and knew what they were capable of.  The boy in the white shirt will never forget his last elementary school winter concert and neither will we.

The Best Thing in Life is a teacher who will never give up on your kids.