Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 in Review from Photos

This is a small representation of my world from photographs taken throughout 2008.

Mount Pakenham

In early 2008 we took several day trips to Mount Pakenham, a modest ski hill about 20 minutes from home. Andrew loves skiing, and he took to the hills like he was born wearing skis (sounds hurtin). On this particular day it was sunny, clear sky, and had the perfect snow conditions.

Andrew enrolled in some ski lessons like last season, which prepared him for the annual week- long ski trip in February to Quebec.

Toronto, Ontario

I always wanted to experience life in medieval times not as a wench, but as a lady. Being wench in any time period would not be fun.

We enjoyed a porthole into what it might have been like at the Medieval Times Dinner in Toronto. The show was entertaining, didn't liked eating with my hands though, seemed barbarian.

Andrew and his friend Aritz seemed to enjoy the battles as boys always do.

The main reason for the trip to Toronto was to attend a workshop for children with landmark Education. The landmark Forum for Young People (ages 8-12)
The power to invent new possibilities; courage to face challenges; and freedom to create, grow, and be fully expressed.
At the end of the course, time will convey how the course continues to apply in everyday. Only Andrew can answer if the course empowered him to created new possibilities in leadership. I think it may have...

Before leaving Toronto we made sure to dine with hubby's sister Pearl and Richard at the Beaches. We don't see them often enough, but it is always good to enjoy a meal together now and then.

Catching Up ...It is always wonderful to have family visit. This time it was my brother Max who paid us a brief visit in February on his way up to Sudbury, Ontario, to help this cousin who was undergoing a medical procedure. But not before he demonstrated a few good wrestling holds to Andrew.

Hubby coincidentally ran into his good friend Rupert in Whitehorse, Yukon outside in the parking lot of the hotel. Neither had any idea the other was there and staying at the same hotel.

On his way home, Alan stopped in Vancouver for a brief visit with three gorgeous girls. These beauties came to visit us in August.

Visiting with a friend is bitter sweet when you know they are leaving. We often put off visiting because we are too busy, opting instead to email. It took one of us leaving to finally visit. I so enjoyed my visit with Marlene before she left Ottawa. She did not head to South America where she normally goes (especially in the winter) when she leaves Ottawa, but she packed up her warm underwear and headed to Saskatchewan to study at the University. Crazy girl (not for being a student, but for moving to Saskatchewan).

The summer surprise was visiting with a friend I have not seen for years. I kidnapped Dennis from our mutual friend's wedding last summer and took him home with us. It was wonderful to catch up. Dennis is waiting to hear if he is going to be appointed to the bench. Maybe this year, Dennis!

Many More visitors dropped in to cool off from the summer's heat.

The snow was too deep this year for the Easter bunny, so the hunt was on in the house.
Really, this was in April in Canada. How do we stand it?

Andrew enjoyed time with a school classmate before he went back to China. Patrick accompanied Andrew to his tournament, and Andrew got his blue belt in tae kwon do at his club, Winning Circle. It was great for Andrew to have a cheering section.

Mother's Day

On Mother's day, I was invited to the gazebo (boy's hangout). The men in my life prepared a wonderful brunch fit for a queen. There was tea, bagels, smoked salmon, cheese, fruit, cheesecake, punch, all so delicious. When someone prepares food for you it never fails to please the pallet.

I enjoyed this day because it was relaxing to not be in a crowed impersonal restaurant where we are all herded in and quickly out for the next sitting. Instead, I got to enjoy a leisurely brunch by the river with the men in my life.


In June Hubby celebrated another Birthday!

I went to Edmonton at the end of September to a birthday party, my brother-in-law, Ron celebrated his 60th!

Andrew turned 11, and partied at a bowling alley in November because we would be in Australia on December 1st where he would celebrate again!

We went to an amazing Brazilian (Churrascaria style) restaurant in Melbourne, Australia with my niece and her sons for my birthday. So why is my cake in front of hubby?

It was great entertainment for the boys, and the food kept coming and coming until we all could not eat one more bite. I of course left room for my desert (What's a birthday without cake?).

Art Show

Andrew teasing his friend Graeme at their Art show.

The wedding of the Summer! (blogged in August)

Awww, summer weddings in its warmth we eagerly bask, inhaling its tender, sweet, fragrance as we frolic lazily among the soft rose petals gleefully unaware of what the future holds. We the guest gladly cheek kissing, hand grabbing, raising our glasses saluting the bride and groom with best intentions. Overwhelmed with spirited emotions of the wedded couple, grinning ear to ear, caught up in the moment.

Unfortunately, sometimes this picture is fractured. Beneath the illusion of blissful happiness was an emotional eruption in the wait, and in the New Year it bubbled like champagne to the surface with terrible consequences.

This is a very intriguing surreal story. Although brief, it was filled with seductiveness, forbiddings, mysticism, and secrets . However interesting, its secrets will remain untold by me.

New Wheels

In the fall I decided to help the cause of GM and buy a new GM. I really like this SRX, and believe me I am totally aware that suvs are not PC. But if you live in the country you must have a dependable four wheel drive car. At least it is not a hummer, right?

It has a GPS, which I've named Sabrina. She is the quintessential Buddhist. Sometimes when I program her to give me directions I don't always take her advice. She tries to get me back to the original direction, trying several times before calmly recalculating based on the rout I've taken. Never using harsh words always patiently, gently, redirecting me to my destination until we've reach it, and ends by saying in that perfect tone "You have arrived at your destination".

I aspire to be just like Sabrina, but alas, I am but human.


The trip of the year was to Melbourne, Australia. Mixing business with pleasure what a wonderful combination. Can't wait to go back. It was a success, standing room only!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

T'is the Season to be Jolly - or is It

Melancholy and sadness can be around us during the holiday season. This season in particular has a way of bubbling to the surface and amplifying emotions. Particularly those emotions like loneliness, sadness and helplessness. If you are alone, you feel more lonely. If you are poor, you feel everything is beyond your price. If you are elderly, sick and alone you feel more isolated. If you loss someone during the year, the holidays without them can be unbearable.

At this time of the year my mind goes to these unfortunate people in our society. I sometimes feel guilty (Catholic influence) that I am blessed with a good life. Those who are away from family, the homeless, those in ill health, the alcohol and drug dependent, and the incarcerated are the most vulnerable at this time of the year. No doubt they may be feeling vulnerable now more than any other time of the year. They are someone's children, brother, sister , or parent. Perhaps if the season was not so commercialized, then maybe they would not feel as abandoned by their family or society. But everywhere you look you are reminded that its the season to be jolly, and everyone is shopping even if they can't afford it. The commercialization of the holidays increases stress on everyone.

This year embrace the spirit of giving and receiving gifts by being more mindful and thoughtful during this season. Approaching the season in the spirit of giving rather than as an obligation, or expecting gifts in return.

My most precious childhood memory of Christmas in Fort Chipewyan was when my siblings came home for the holidays. Our house although quite small could always accommodate another person. People would talk about their year, which always sounded so exciting to be off living and working away from home. Laughter, crying, and music filled the living room. Listening to 630 CHED count down the top hits of the year was a tradition in our home.  There was lots of hugs, teasing, and general merriment burst through the house. Christmas at home included many family members around and the chaos that ensues with that many people in being in close quarters. I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

It really is not about the gifts for me, it is about spending time with family. Although we were poor, we always received a gift, sometimes I don't know how my mom did it.  I recall a special gift one year from one of my brothers, it was a Jungle Book album. I was thrilled that he remembered I liked the movie.

Christmas to me is about being with family, enjoying visitors, and, well the food. Freshly baked goods, roastings, and candy filled the house. Nothing was more important than the Christmas dinner with all of its trimmings, thanks in large part to my sister Dora. The cakes, cookies, and chocolates, yummmmmy! Walking to church for midnight mass was always exciting, the reflection of the moon light on the snow made it  sparkle like tiny diamonds creating a magical feeling.  I treasure these memories in Doghead.

Childhood Christmas memories are magical and precious. However, I think sometimes it is those memories which we measure our current situation. If it does not measure up, it leads to unhappiness and disenchantment during the holidays. Particularly for those who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. Therefore, if it is all about the gifts for you, take a moment and imagine not having family and being alone during Christmas. Perhaps this reflection will open your heart. Now more than anytime of the year, if you see a homeless person on your way to shop for gifts, don't ignore them. Offer them coffee or spare change with love and kindness.

Meanwhile, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit some family members before Christmas, and to have talked with my mama who is so happy to be in her new home. I am grateful to have my health, a wonderful family, and friends who year round surprise me with acts of kindness and Love. And to those family members with whom I will not be with this Christmas, I am thinking of you with a special gratitude in my heart.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Occupied to the Rescue

It might be the result of the economy because we are not having as many book donations as last year for Andrew's books.

To the rescue Occupied Shop; This adorable chic gift store is collecting book donations for Andrew's Books, if you are in historic Gastown, Vancouver, BC drop in do a little shopping, and drop off a children's book between ages 7 -15 for Andrew's books.

Thank you owner Miss Jen!

Through the eyes of a child - Drover, Sarah and Nullah

I saw this movie while in Melbourne, Australia in December, and Nallah is the reason I saw it twice! It would not surprise me if he were awarded an oscar for best supporting actor. Bravo!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In an exotic land looking for Adventure (3)

Today, we visited the Melbourne Museum. We started with the rain forest,which was small but delightful, and then we saw Dinosaurs 3D at the Imax. It was incredible!

We went to see the Aboriginal display; This was truly the most powerful thought provoking exhibition I have seen. In particular, the section on the stolen generation (where aboriginal children were taken away from their families by the hundreds). Half way through the exhibit I had to stop because what I was seeing impacted me emotionally. I could feel the grief, oh, the grief.

Even my son, Andrew, looked so sad with his head in his hands as he sat on the bench beside the statue depicting two children being taken away from their parents. The juxtaposition of seeing Andrew beside the children and reading the words from the mother who lost her girls, was so powerful. Even now as I recall that moment I feel tremendous grief.

I asked Andrew what he thought, he replied softly "How old were they when they were taken away?" and "Why?" I could find no adequate response to those questions, all I said was, it should not have happened.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In an exotic land looking for Adventure (2)

I LOVE Australia, if only it was closer to the rest of the world, I would come visit all the time. Meanwhile, I am grateful at least, that in this life I am fortunate to have walked on this land four times. What is the magic that sings me to Australia?

A friend from Canada who lived in Melbourne suggested we visit William Ricketts Sanctuary. We set off in early afternoon after Alan made us scrumptious salmon omelets. What a great idea it was to rent a apartment for our stay here, our home away from home. Anyway we had a beautiful scenic drive to the Dandenongs arriving to what looked like a magical land with ferny walls along the highway.

The website describes William Ricketts Sanctuary as a place of beauty and tranquility, due both to the natural setting and the mystical sculptures half hidden among ferns along the pathways. It is a place for quiet reflection and for contemplation of the essence of the vision of William Ricketts. Many travel across the world to visit this place time and time again. But I would not know that because when we arrived it was closed the note said "closed because of the weather", which was puzzling because it was a perfect blue sky day.

However, all was not lost. A long the way we stopped at the best tea store in the world, Tea Leaves! Tea Leaves has over 300 teas and herbs and much more. And if you know me, you might think I was in tea heaven and you would be correct.

And while I was in tea heaven, this is what I missed in another part of Australia my friend Carol wrote me about her own Magnificent Life..."We had a wonderful day and I was gifted with the most beautiful silk wall hanging that incorporates my ProsperArty vision, by my good buddy Pilawuk." Check her blog to see

She goes on to say "Sal made his special chocolate mousse and Gemma made a lime and lemon tart, I made peanut crisp cookies. Where were you!...I put the choccy mouse to one side for you!!.;-)"

I was so close but yet not close enough, I thought of going, but could not get hold of my niece to see if she was enroute to Melbourne. It all sounds so yummmmmmmy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

In an exotic land looking for Adventure (1)

I've been in Melbourne for little over a day now and frankly this time I have not adjusted well to the international time difference. Again this morning at 2 am I am wide awake when I ought to be sleeping. But really it is so exciting to be here, it is so familiar and yet there is so much I have yet to experience.

When I arrived in Sydney, and then Melbourne, the airports are like any other in Canada or the US. I could have been anywhere,but for one big difference the intercom kept repeating what seemed to be a hundred times, last call for flights leaving, calling patiently for straggling travelers to get to their gate. Each time the intercom blared "this is the last call". Then proceed to call out again, and again, a few seconds later for the same flights.

We spent the first day in Melbourne at the aquarium to see the funny penguins and other exotic aquatic life (

In the afternoon, Alan skillfully drove downtown and then to a mall away from the downtown core because it was too crazy trying to find parking with all the one ways and closed streets. The Mall was a good idea, because being this was a Monday, the mall fortunately was not very busy. After some shopping, it was pleasant to sit with my tea, and people watch.

Lucky Andrew got to call our day because it was his 11th birthday. He got to see, eat, drink anything he wanted the whole day (within reason) .

I saw what looked like slushy drinks, and he said he would like some. We went up to order, and I noticed it was alcohol drinks. Nope, he did not get that! All in all I think he had a pretty good birthday!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Up, Up, and Away

I'm spending the day traveling to Australia, by way of Ottawa, Washington, LA, Sydney, and finally Melbourne. It is gently snowing in Ottawa today, but soon it will be nothing but sunshine, and warmth engulfing my whole being. Traveling is awesome because you never know how the day is going to unfold. I'm hoping that all flight connections come off without a hitch. Most of all I can't wait to meet my husband and son in LA.
I love traveling... okay got to pack.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Creative Juices

This is a wonderful demonstration of how creativity manifests in Vancouver, BC, Canada. This turkey is on its way to Occupied a gift shop in the heart of Gastown. It is for a window display competition. A winner for sure.
Go here to read more to read more.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nana Mouskouri - Adieu Angeline

What is in a name? A couple of days ago, I stumbled unto a song with "Angelina" in it, and now I want to find more. I am like a child who discovered how to write her name, and proceed to write it everywhere she can.

But, "Angelina' is not who I am. I've been know by other names, these names are not my identity. I am, but I am not.

Meanwhile, do I turn my head when I hear "Angelina", yup, I sure do.

This is a Bob Dylan song, but it sounds beautiful sung by Nana, don't you agree?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Billy Bob Thornton - Angelina

Another Angelina song, my song. Who would have thought Billy Bob could sing...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Angelina - Marillion

Any song about Angelina, is my song...

The more I listen to this song, the more I love it. And it is not because it keeps singing my name.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Reflections

Today is a messy day. The day began with the sun shinning brightly, then light wet snow, which transformed into rain. Now as of this writing it is cloudy, cold, and damp. Winter is coming there is no avoiding it, it happens every year at this time. I don't particularly dislike winter, it is just that I enjoy the warm sun beaming down on me more.

I decided to go shopping for groceries before the weather got too messy. I listened to Ajahn Brahm a Buddhist Monk from Western Australia, on my ipod as I drove to Kanata. ( Today's topic was power, specifically letting go of it.

We are creatures of habit, mostly living life in automatic pilot. But until we start paying attention, being mindful, life will pass us by in a blink of an eye. For me being mindful really is about living in the present, and paying attention in the moment. This is not always easy, but it is getting easier as time goes on.

We hold tightly to controlling aspects of our life, relationships, children and even things which are out of our control. I admit that I like to be in control, doesn't everyone? I am a methodical planner, and I think through all the possibilities before I take action (risk). But living life this way is stressful, particularly when things are out of your control. How do we begin to let go of our desire for control, and do we want to?

Meanwhile, since I am meditating more regularly, and I've found great sources of Bodhidharma talks, I am finding it easier to let go of my need for control. I say to myself, does this really matter, now?

For example, I was talking about my to trip Australia at the end of this month, and I mentioned to my friend that I was not looking forward to the 27 hours of actual travel time to get there. But just as I was saying that, I thought, the journey does not just begin when I arrive in Melbourne, travel there is part of the journey. So, I decided that I was going to enjoy every part of the journey to Melbourne, even parts that are out of my control. So if the plane is delayed, or I sit next to a grumpy person, crying babies, my luggage is lost, whatever this trip has in store, bring it on. I say, ha! because it just does not matter. It will be what it is. No worries.

Then life happens, the airline rescheduled my flight and consequently for the first leg of the flight I am not traveling with my husband and son. We will meet in LA and board the same flight to Melbourne. When I called the airlines, I noticed the flight was booked in my first name, which was different than my new passport (for some reason they only put one of my names on the passport). Meaning I either had to chance being denied entry into another country or worst have trouble getting back into my country. At the very minimum, I would have issues with immigration. Okay. Deep breath in and slow deep breath out and down to the passport office I went to correct it. It all worked out and I am being issued a new passport.

Letting go of control does not always mean do nothing. In other words, when faced with a situation, stop, silence your mind and concentrate on your breath. Make an assessment, what can you do about it. Move into action, without getting angry, depressed, or giving up. Too often it is our emotions that prevent us from seeing clearly and missing opportunities that could make our life better. It is being in a calm state, and present that makes a difficult situation easier to rectify. An example Ajahn Brahm likes to give is delays at the airport. No matter how upset one gets, banging on the desk, getting angry at the attendant, none of this brings the arrival of the plane any sooner.

Freedom is letting go of always wanting to be in control, but it is just as important to move into action calmly when the situation call for you to do that, and knowing difference.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Smartest Thing I've Done

Sixteen years ago today, 11.11.92 at 11 am we eloped.

I clearly recollect my wedding day. We awoke slowly, had breakfast and a leisurely talked. Then we realized we were running late and had to leave to Osgoode Hall, downtown Toronto where we were to be married by Alan's long time friend and judge, Roland (Roy) McMurtry QC.

We picked up Alan's mom on the way to City Hall. She had bought our boutonnieres. When we arrived our friends were already there.
Because it was Remembrance Day we had the beautiful historic building all to ourselves. The judge's brother Bill, Alan's partner at his law firm, found out about the wedding and crashed the festivities.

It was a completely stress-free ceremony, saying our vows which we had drafted a few days prior, went without a hitch. My face hurt from all the smiling as the photographer took pictures. Later, we went for lunch at Winsons's, an amazing restaurant where we ran into a few more of Alan's associates and the marriage was no longer a secret.

The courtship, and planning the wedding was a blast, the only people who knew our secret were our assistants Joanne and Roxy, who helped us with some of the details of the courtship and wedding. Mum was the word and they didn't let on to anyone. The eve of the wedding, Alan convinced me to call home, which I did. As expected, I got a lecture but by the end of the conversation got the blessings.

After lunch we drove to a resort, arriving as it was lightly snowing and very dark. We got lost at the golf course and finally made it to the main building as it was approaching 11 pm. Our room was not ready, and we had to sit in the lounge while we waited for the room. By this time I was hungry, tired, and getting grumpy. But the rest of the honeymoon was wonderful. Three days later, Alan drove us home, first dropping me off at my home, and then drove off to his home, in a different city. Our courtship had been brief and we had not discussed who would be moving leaving that discussion to after the wedding. Three months later, Alan moved to my city.

Whatever with a big splashy wedding, who needs the stress! I promised my husband our life would be simple, and non-complicated. By and large, that is how I am in this marriage. And to begin with, each year when we start seeing poppies, we know our anniversary is approaching it is on Remembrance Day after all. How easy is that?

Sixteen years later, among all the wonderful things this marriage has brought into my life includes a best friend forever (BFF). Sweet!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Network -

Sometimes having a good old fashion tantrum works wonders...then take a deep breath.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

293-World Music:Yma Sumac,Diva dos Andes,

By Dennis McLellan

November 3 2008

Yma Sumac, the Peruvian-born singer whose spectacular multi-octave vocal range and exotic persona made her an international sensation in the 1950s, has died. She was 86.

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,572792.story

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barack's Message for First Americans

I've never heard any Canadian politicians deliver this type of speech...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Letting Go, easier said than Done!!!!!

Chasing rainbows. But the rainbow is an illusion, when I get close, it disappears or it moves and the chase is on again.

Today, some questions I ponder:
  • Is relying on family a waste of energy?
  • Is asking for compassion for an elderly family member wasted on the young?
  • Is appealing to the generosity of family futile?
  • Why am I disappointed in some family members who are behaving disrespectfully toward a matriarch of the family, in her 90th year, and is in the most vulnerable period of her life?

At the end of the day, I will let it go... in the darkness I light a candle.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Daniel Lanois Interview - Here Is What Is

Last evening, October 24,2008 we went to see Daniel Lanois in concert at Centrepointe Theatre. It was a small venue, as concerts go, but that only increased the intimacy of the band and the reaction of the fans. There was a mixture of fans from young people in their twenties, and people in their sixties.

My biggest impression of the concert was the fans, who were the most civilized I've ever seen at a concert. Almost like they were still in their respective government jobs and afraid to let lose and just have fun!

Daniel comes across as a normal, humble person, not as a superstar record producer who has worked with Bob Dylan, U2 and many other world artists. His rapport with his very young band was very clear. Also, it was very special to listen to some of his older songs about his early life (mostly in French) with so many of his local relatives among us.

Daniel's solo steel guitar was so vibrant that the fans were so connected in the here is, what is that you could hear a pin drop, if anyone was so careless to drop one. The musical inspiration seemed to reach each of us in the audience directly and vividly. We left completely satisfied but another hour or two would have been great too!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kitty kat

An incredible picture of being present, Andrew cozying up to Tiger. Tiger has moved on to his next life...(not when this picture was taken, omg, Tiger was alive and well at the taken of this photo)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I've finally got it!

It took almost ten long years. I kept hoping one day, one day, and maybe this day, but it never happened. I imagined scenarios in my head about how it might happen, and how grateful and how happy I would feel when it happened. I'd have conversations in my head about it too (All this is not very Buddhist like). But it never happened. My friends all said to me, that I should forget about it, not my loss.  I'd say, you're right and yes I can move on. But, in my heart I could not let it go. As the years unfolded I thought less and less about it, but I never forgot and still held on to the fact that one day things would be different.

I was listening to Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm talk on attachments, and wham, I got it!

This is a sad story about friendship. I had a best-friend who I thought would be my BFF, but one day she decided our friendship was over. She stopped all contact with me. It was only after I sent her a letter requesting an explanation about why she was not returning my calls, (before e-mail) that she called to tell me that it was because of my continued association with her ex husband. She didn't say this, but I think she felt I betrayed her by staying friends with him and his wife to be at the time (now divorced from her too). She said she wanted to leave her life with her ex in her past, and did not want anyone from that period in her present life (very Buddhist like leaving the past behind). She evidently felt very strongly about her decision because that was the last I heard from her. Her absence left a void in my life, we were once very close friends since university and shared many secrets, laughs, and dreams over many pots of tea.

What helped me come to terms with the situation recently was after listening to Ajahn's talk on attachments, it dawned on me that my attachment to my friend created an unfulfilled expectation. What I created in my mind was the story about the incident, and through the retelling of the story it kept the painful lost of a friendship alive. Once, I realized that and let go of my attachment to the story of my loss friendship, I was free. I no longer have an expectation that she would contact me, and I'm good with that. Whew!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tansi by SoloCree

Awesome, what an amazing voice! You be the judge, tell me does this not make you happy?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Midnight Crawl

It is three o'clock in the morning, and I hear a voice whispering softly to me in my dream. I continue to sleep. Then the voice gets louder more urgent, and this time succeeds in waking me up. Mommy, I can't sleep says the blanket hording boy lying next to me. My husband is missing, evidently he decided to go to Andrew's room when he climbed into our bed, lucky guy. Again, Andrew says "I can't sleep" and I say shhh, shhhh, he goes," don't say shhhh".

Alright count sheep, I say trying not wake up, and to my amazement he agrees. I know it is because he loves animals and that this appeals to him even at this early hour. To make it interesting and perhaps quicken his process back to dreamland, I say, breathe in deeply, and change the color of the sheep, breathe out slowly and change it back to white. He loves this early morning game. A few moments later he says sleepily, "the sheep are really tired now, and I think most of them are asleep."

Then silence.... beautiful silence! But now I'm wide awake and my mind begins to actively plan my day. So, I count sheep, changing their colors, back and forth ...

One day, Andrew will stop coming into our bed in the middle of the night (at least I hope so), but I will always have warm willy memories of sheep counting in the wee hours of the morning...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Picnic

On September 20, 2008, I went to a birthday picnic at Seba Beach. Seba Beach is a approximately forty five minute drive west of Edmonton, Alberta. It is was a beautiful fall drive. We observed varying fall colors, with miles of rolling hills and vast farm lands. It occurred to me as I drove, how beautiful and picturesque it was. I live in Ontario, have been for the last sixteen years, and have been known to describe the maple trees in the fall as brilliant red and more beautiful than anything we would experience in Alberta. But as I drove and looked at the amazing fall foliage, I had to admit, that this too, is absolutely as beautiful as any fall I've witnessed in Ontario.

The occasion was my brother-in-law's sixtieth birthday.

As someone who enjoys planning, I ensured that my sister knew of my business trip, and she planned the party to coincide with my trip. My son and I went together, as it is the few times he can play with his cousins. No doubt it is absolutely true that picnics are fun, one takes great pleasure in all the details, traveling, picking the right gift, the anticipation and presentation of food, and most of all the people at the picnic. Tell me, who does not enjoy a picnic? Don't you agree that everything about going on a picnic is incredibly fun?

Indeed, this picnic did not disappoint. As soon as I entered the house a whiff of freshly baked bannock engulfed my nose and went straight to the core of my belly. The husband / chef was at the BBq paying close attention to food preparations. Plenty of friends and relatives, kept the conversations light and funny. Including a brief hilarious distraction when two of the farm animals made a daring escape. Watching men trying to get animals back into their pen, especially a donkey and a goat is indeed a laughing matter. I mean, after the fact.

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said often don't wait to enjoy your picnic. Don't put off your picnic. Your life can be a picnic by living mindfully in the present.

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