Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas - the good and everything else

So I will try to get a few seasonal posts up over the next few weeks under this heading.

Let's face it - this is an interesting time of year - warm, joyful, stressful, expensive, busy, reflective, spiritual - inclusive or exclusive depending on how the season fits into your personal story.

And that's the point - everyone has a story about the holidays - happy, sad, funny, reflective. So for this season I am making a change to the blog. Call it a Christmas gift (or a desperate attempt to kick start this thing again).

I am opening The Story Spot to stories other than my own. Sometime over the next 24 hours, some of you will be receiving an e-mail invitation to share your own Christmas stories within this space. It's not intended to pressure anyone or leave anyone feeling obligated- it is just an opening for anyone who wants to use it. My life is populated by smart, educated and articulate people - trust me - I would consider myself honoured if any of you did decide to participate.

I'm not sure how this will work out - but it can't hurt to try, right?



Hello? Hello? Is there anyone out there?

I'm back - for now anyway. I promise I'll try to be more consistent - but no guarantees. Oh well - it's my personal playground in here - so I suppose the comings and goings are up to me anyway- LOL!

New post coming up.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

H1N1 - and me

I had gotten through two pretty rough weeks. T1 and T2 had been going crazy on volunteer projects for their high school career course. T2's was pretty intense; a Halloween Haunted House that would allow her to accumulate her required 30 hours within a week. However, she decided that she was having so much fun that she would just work through until the end. She did good...I'm proud of her.

My father went in hospital for surgery to correct a problem that had been plaguing him for over a year. Dad is usually my backup driver when Dearly Beloved is unavailable. That week, DB was working a run of morning shifts and was..well..unavailable.That left any early morning driving and late night driving up to me...and the driving had to be squeezed in among the nightly hospital visits.

Then there was normal life...Halloween, housework, groceries, Wednesday night I was sitting on a church parking lot waiting for T1...tears running down my face...wishing I could give up my modern independent woman of the world status and just sit in a corner and suck my thumb and let the men take care of me for a while.

By Saturday night...the last treat had been given out...Dad was waiting for his release orders...T2's volunteer work was done...and I was telling DB how I planned to go into work on Sunday to catch up on a couple of things...then life would be back to normal.

Or so we thought.....

On Sunday morning I woke up with my sheets soaking wet, my chest throbbing, head pounding, muscles aching..and most scary...I could barely breathe...

It felt like forever before I could get DB's attention...

"I think I got it." I croaked. He didn't have to ask..."it" had been on our mind for weeks. We had hoped that I would somehow manage to stay healthy until I could get immunized for H1N1...but it didn't work out like that.

Sunday was scary...if I sat up I felt like I would pass out...if I lay down I felt like I wouldn't be able to sit up... DB got me pre-registered with the hospital on the understanding that if things got worse it was paramedics, ambulance, intensive care for yours truly.

Monday, he took a sick day to stay home and take care of me...he was the picture of awesomeness...doing laundry, cleaning up the house, cooking meals, dealing with the Ts, dragging my butt to the doctor...

Welcome to the world of H1N1...I am off work for a week and sucking back a cocktail of drugs intended to keep me out of intensive care...I think it is working...still feeling a little beaten up..but a lot better than Sunday.

It is an ugly bug readers...stay healthy out there.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Apologies to anyone who is actually following this thing. It is been that kind of fall so far. Hopefully I will be back within the next week or so...take care


Friday, August 7, 2009

Life is a Beach

August 6, 2009

Northern Bay Sands

Dearly Beloved felt a tinge of "gout" (or some similar affliction) this morning and decided that eight hours on his feet would be uncomfortable - so he called in sick.

I am on vacation. I don't do "vacation" well unless I physically leave town. So as the mercury and humidex climbed, we did just that. Dearly Beloved, the two Ts and I piled into our car, made quick pit stop for sunscreen, batteries and Tim Horton's "iced caps" (we're Canadian...what can I say?) then we hit the road.

For the next two hours we wound our way through Conception Bay North - Carbonear, Victoria, Salmon Cove, Ochre Pit Cove, Western Bay - before finally arriving at Northern Bay Sands, a glorious sandy beach northwest of St. John's.

We've been here for nearly three hours, but it only feels like three minutes. (Okay, so I'm actually posting this seven hours after I wrote it - just use your imaginations) Dearly Beloved and I have taken a long walk along the shoreline and he the Ts have wandered off individually and collectively to explore every cove, cliff, and cranny, returning to our spot in the sand to grab a drink, or a handful of grapes or a bit of junk food.

We've watched whales, people and tides and enjoyed the baby blue sky, sapphire water and the ever present wind, grateful to be out of the sticky, city weather. T1 has borrowed my clipboard and written a new song lyric, T2 has been snapping pictures all over the beach (including the picture of her brother's footprints which heads up this post). I've chased my floppy hat into the surf a couple of times - but who cares? - it is not like this is a fashion show.

I brought the clipboard with the intention of working on a piece of fiction I started years ago - a somewhat autobiographical piece that is set on this very beach. Problem is - the story is a sad one - born out of an untenable living situation, fueled by sad memories and connections to the past.

Those memories and feelings simply aren't there today. I am sitting here with 175 Bon Jovi tracks playing on my MP3 player, soaking up the sun and watching each wave kiss the shore, becoming higher and more intense as it prepares for the ancient consummation of high tide and I can't seem to focus on those things that may have been broken in my life.

Today is about the things that work - T1 and T2 walking along the shore together and talking like the best friends they have become. It is about MY best friend sitting next to me with T2's camera in his hand, hoping to sneak a picture of our kids as they come closer. It is about blue sky, white surf and grey sand. It is Jon Bon Jovi singing "Wild is the Wind" in my head as the stiff wind off the ocean sends my hat sailing toward the water - again.

Life is a beach - and I think I am finally on it.

We'll have to leave soon - we have that two hour drive going the other way to get home and Dearly Beloved has promised us dinner in Bay Roberts along the way.

Wishing you all a beach of your own.

Peace out.


Friday, July 10, 2009

How Dearly Beloved saved my life


Dearly Beloved had just returned from a peacekeeping stint in the Middle East. During his three week leave in November of 1985 he had asked me to marry him. My crappy lungs didn't matter to him..he asked me anyway.

We were young and in love...and I couldn't wait to start my life with him.

In late December I began having some problems with my hands. The first two knuckles on my right hand were always swollen and hot and both hands would swell, making my new engagement ring hard to remove. I was also losing weight rapidly and seemed to be always tired.

In January, I had a few blood tests. DB was sitting on the sofa in my parents' TV room when I took the phone call from my doctor...Rheumatoid Arthritis. Twenty-four years old...and the rug had just been pulled out from under my life.

My only knowledge of RA came from visiting an aunt in California two years earlier. The disease had been particularly cruel to her. She could barely walk, was rail thin, and her joints were twisted and distorted. This was my future. This was the future the man I loved faced...if he stayed with me.

I hung up the phone, slipped the engagement ring from my hand and passed it to him.

"You knew about the lungs before you asked me to marry you. You couldn't possibly see this one coming. I know this is going to end badly and you will be stuck caring for a weak and crippled wife. You don't have go through with it...there's no hard feelings if you walk away."

He didn't say a word, just took the ring and put it in his pocket. He didn't say anything for the rest of the day as we went around running a few little errands...him driving my little SUV because my hands hurt too much to drive.

He didn't say anything until nearly midnight.

Just before he left my parents' house to return to the army barracks for the night, he fished the ring out of his pocket, took my left hand, put the ring back on it and said,

"For better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health...I'm staying."

That was the night I decided to fight for my life...that was the night I was saved.

On July 10, 1987, I strolled down the main aisle of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist...there were flowers, a choir, a trumpet player, 300 witnesses, a ridiculous confection of a wedding dress that had been inspired by Princess Diana and Bridesmaids inspired by Scarlett O'Hara (and incredibly, they all still speak to me).

But most of all...there was Dearly Beloved...smiling as he waited with the priest...waiting for me to finish my victory walk...

He stayed.

Sometimes heroes don't wear capes...and have no idea how to leap tall buildings in a single bound...sometimes they just quietly save a life...

I wrote this for him a few years ago...after a particularly dark chapter in our lives that had both of us questioning whether either one of us wanted to stay any longer...thank God we retreated from that course...


Today is the day
We gave our lives
Into each other's keeping
Locked in the treasure trove
That beats deep within each of us.
Precious gifts to be guarded
From cold hearts too willing to steal
And forces
Too willing to destroy.
Two candles once lit
Now burn as one light
Tempered by time
From hot flame
To warm glow
We no longer look the same
But can look at our children
Seeing shadows of where we have been
In the mysteries of where they will go.
While we keep moving forward
From that day in the past
When we whispered "I will"
Your life is still
The treasure I keep
Safe in my heart
'Til my heart stops beating.

Happy Anniversary Darling

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Dearly Beloved...and Gene Kelly?

T1 had been camping with friends all weekend and arrived home about an hour ago. He strolled down the driveway wearing a fedora that we had never seen among his clothes before.

He explained that it was belonged to a friend of his and that the friend's mother wasn't really happy about the hat on her son's head. So when she arrived at another friend's house on Friday to pick up her son, he tossed the hat at T1 and said, "You keep it for the weekend!"

Well...some kind of discussion arose among me, Dearly Beloved and T1 on the subject of hats...the details are irrelevant, but at some point I suggested to T1 that he should just go out and buy himself a hat if he liked it so much.

"What kind of hat is it?" Dearly Beloved asked.

"I think it is what you'd call a fedora?" T1 answered hesitantly. He retrieved the friend's hat and parked it on his head. Now, if you are a Canadian female of a certain generation if I said that T1 looked like Joey Jeremiah from the Degrassi Junior High series, you'd know what I was talking about right? But Dearly Beloved being neither female, nor a fan of the old series I figured the reference would be lost on him. So what I said was,

"Looks good on him, doesn't it? Kind of makes him look like a young Gene Kelly?"

DB sucked back the last of his beer and smiled that evil little smirk that still turns the knee caps to jello and said.

"You know I'm related to him right?"

"Who? Gene Kelly?"


"You mean 'Singin' in the Rain', dancing around the light pole Gene Kelly?"

"Yup...Elvis too."

"You're related to Elvis Presley?" T1 chimed in in disbelief.

"Yup...Mom showed it to me on the family tree once...there are Presleys and then there is the connection to Gene's like 10th cousin three times removed or something like that."

Well clearly, whatever irrigation ditch was attached to the gene (no pun intended) pool it siphoned the singing and dancing genes away from Dearly Beloved.( That is not being disrespectful either...I'm sure Gene couldn't strip anything electronic down to its components and then re-assemble it in perfect working order).

But T1 CAN sing..and he's got a great sense of rhythm (but chooses not to use it) and T2 is quite a good dancer and ya think....? Nah...he's gotta be pulling my leg right? Maybe? Maybe not?