Thursday, May 26, 2016

Here We Go Again

I remember years ago reading about the importance of a blog post title...
Well, obviously I did not pay much attention
to what I read.
But then again I never did pay much attention to
the rules of blogging.

So, please do excuse me if
yet once again my title is confusing,
but I am in that mood of...
that mood of...
here we go again.

Summer of 2015

You see weather in Canada,
well especially Quebec city,
plays a significant role in dictating
when you do anything in regards to outdoor life.

Summer of 2014

We started off this month with snow falling off and on
and then more recently we have been bathed in beautiful summer-like conditions.

And, of course, I am quick to embrace all that comes with that.
All of a sudden,
it means getting up and throwing open the french doors
to welcome the breeze from both the front and the back of our home.

Windows are opened up to their fullest
and the sound of birds and peepers in the pond
become music to my ears.

Spring 2016

I will try hard not to write in metaphors here,
but I used to always compare the sense of excitement and joy
that washes over me at this time of year...
well, you guessed it,
the butterfly coming out of its cocoon.

But the thing is the cocoon,
whatever is transforming within that cocoon,
possibly a bit of a green yucky-ness ;), not sure...
but it
becomes a butterfly
and then,
that is it.

Spring 2016

But, we keep doing this seasonal transformation
over and over again.

You see,as you consider
the Here We Go AGain
part of all this...

Every season,
you start to wonder how to change your colours,
shake it up a bit,
not repeat the same patterns
make it all more interesting.

Add in a few more element to make life outdoors
more enjoyable
and to really benefit from the warm weather
because you know it is not for long.

here I am pretending like I am doing this all for the first time,
assessing our stock and how to arrange things.

And yet my one thought is
as I attempt to  
do this all over again...
as boring as it feels
 it is....

stick to what works.
So, without further ado I am going to be tweeking 2015...
So here we go again.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thoughts for today...

I have written about this before,
but it has become somewhat of a preoccupation for us.

And maybe as I get older and start to feel the gap closing 
between my own age (mid-fifty) 
and our more senior loved ones
I start to think about it from the perspective...
if this was me, what choices would I have made?

I wrote in a post that seems so long ago now,
about these two women in our lives,
step-mother-in-law and mother-in-law
that are living with dementia.

Living with dementia....what does that mean.
Well, one of them seems to be living with it better
than the other
but it is what it is.

A return to child-like behaviours in one case
and trapped in a body and mind in the other.

What strikes me most is the recognition that we sometimes 
don't have the opportunity to make any choice at all.
Although in looking back, the signs were there.
Repeated stories... 
on loop we would say.... 

Greta, (us smiling) you already told us that story today.

But we never really minded and we all recognized that these were stories of her life.
We just didn't realize that perhaps
what she was feeling 
was a tenuous hold on that life, those memories, her story.

Maybe she was not telling those stories for us at all.

The scrabble board has been pushed to the side now.
Last year, her pattern was constant.

Sit in the kitchen nook.
Arrange letters on the board, 
some recognizable words popped up, 
but gradually they became a random string of letters

We would clear the board when she left the room
because a completed board
caused her worry as she had nothing left to do there.
An empty board meant she had to get busy and fill it in.

Now though, not so much.

Car rides are at the top of the list right now.
She will sit in the front living room looking out the large windows 
in anticipation of someone coming into the driveway.

At least that is what I believe.
She loves to get in the car
and then silence.

She may count signs that she sees
or conjur up a comment that seems to float in from somewhere.
We respond favorably and attempt to move that into a full discussion
but the fragment of an idea
was just that..... a fragment.

My father-in-law uses the analogy that dementia

is like fog rolling out and coming back in.
Yes, he lives on the edge of water so that fits perfectly for him
and I grew up there so I can fully understand why he says that.

There are times when everything seems so clear 
and coherent 
and we were all wrong,
she is really not that bad,
we gather for family dinner parties,
she sports her favourite red hat,
she laughs and smiles
and admires the sparkly chandelier 
that she appears to be seeing for the first time. 

but then....

the fog rolls in again, 
clarity disappears and a certain dullness takes over.
And it feels grim.
Really grim.

And then I am back to wondering what I will do in planning my own future.
What lies ahead for me and my own children?
And I wonder why we don't talk about it with our children
and provide them with the answers now 
so they don't search for them later.

It seems that dementia makes people uncomfortable.

I took her to a small bakery for lunch one day,
fingers crossed that she would welcome this change
and at first it seemed okay 
but it quickly 
was not.
Nothing was quite right,
she took no pleasure in the smells.... I know that is a documented element of dementia
but what struck me most were the stares.
The sort of  
how can we enjoy our meal-now-stares
Yes, she was restless
Yes, she was somewhat dramatic in how she ate her sandwich 
avoiding the crusts.

But this was her community
And once upon a time they were proud that she was who she was
A strong advocate for environmental change
A member of the hall of fame
A member of the Canadian ski team
A mother to 7 children
and yet...

Well, that doesn't seem to count anymore.
And perhaps that is just part of the whole aging "thing".
Maybe I am supposed to just accept that.

It is after all a new world right?
Social media... 
young people 
people my own age
are suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out)  
and really that seems to be debilitating.... doesn't it? Isn't it?

I see that right before my own eyes,
friends with phones dinging with banal messages of 
where are you,
what ya doin?....

I am not the first to write about this
nor will I be the last...
I hope.

But, I think we need to discuss this,
and with care and concern for those people out there taking care of
someone with dementia.

Just the other day,
I noticed a thought that I was struggling to hold on to,
a memory
that lingered on the periphery of my thinking
as if taunting me,
demonstrating to me
what it would be like if I was unable to concentrate long enough
to bring it into focus.

I did,
but that small bleep in time
felt very telling.
It led me here,
to this page.

Not sure what any of that means
but I do know this,
moving forward I walk with passion 
and with an understanding 
that this is it, 
right now and right here....

As it has always been...the future is one big unknown.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Memories

I seem to have dug myself
into a hole
that I quite like.
That sounds contradictory .... I know.

But for the last few years I have been very predictable
when it comes to my decorating choices
for the Christmas holidays.

I seem to be constantly drawn to the au naturel theme
using branches and bulbs
around our home.

It seems to be catching on with another
member of our family. ;)

She has her own apartment in the city now
close to school and work
which means she gets to create her own space
with personal touches
and I get to ....well.....participate. ;)

There is something about the smell of fresh flowers
and greenery
that add a special touch to the holiday season.

I don't remember growing up with a lot of bulbs,
I do remember my mom receiving flowers at this time of year
from friends and staff members.

But every year I find myself
growing a small crop of bulbs
in the spare bedroom
ready to fill in for ones that are on their last blooms.

Sumac branches and pine .....and Jack

Moss-covered reindeer

Those are from Christmas past...
but certainly they feel like Christmas present.

Urns before lights and snow

I have to admit that most of these photos are probably best referred to as au naturel as well.
I have misplaced my camera charger so in the meantime I am using my
somewhat trusty iphone...

And with my work life taking a new direction
photos are feeling much less staged
and much more rushed....

The front entry of my daughter's apartment
also has a vase filled with fresh cut pine and sumac branches

And of course I should show you what she was preparing in the first image.

My daughter's apartment is what we call a demi-sous sol, 
just slightly below groundso this display of natural branches and sumac
is giving her a nice holiday touch
plus a little added privacy.

I will be back before Christmas
to share some images with you that I had promised way back.

Check out the BloomNation blog for those of you interested in ideas on using flowers in your decorating. This is not a paid post but I do think that natural
decorations are really inspiring for this time of the year....
well anytime actually.

In the meantime,
enjoy the lead up to the holiday season.....
Joyeux Noël à tous mes amis!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thanksgiving Preparations

Well, Thanksgiving gets a lot of attention in our home
and this year is a biggie.

Our 21 yr. old son who has been off on an adventure in British Columbia
is flying home for the week!
It has been one year since we have seen him so needless to say.....
we are a tad excited!!

And our daughter has now moved back to Quebec to complete a masters degree
at the local university so she is here as well.
It just doesn't get any better.

So I guess that sort of wraps up all the "thanks" part in regard to our immediate family.
Lots of other points to consider and I promise I will be back for that.
But for now I just want to share with you a few of those
crazy things I seem to do when these large gatherings happen in our home.

First off,
floors upstairs have been driving me crazy.
Too costly to install new floors rights now
and the old pine floors are too far gone to sand and refinish
I finally painted the floors a nice creamy white.
I only completed one bedroom and the hallway but I am really pleased with the results.

(Camera is still not charged...missing battery and charger for some time low quality photos...sorry and hence the reason I have not finished a post on the magazine spread....coming I promise!!)
A photo posted by Anangloinquebec (@anangloinquebec) on

And the duvet cover that I made last year finally stands out against the creamy background.
It becomes the star of the show as I had always hoped.

Painting the floors was always something I imagined but could not quite get myself to take the risk and now,
well now I am wondering what the risk was!!

You might have noticed that I did not paint the walls.
I am going to live with that for now. 

So that takes care of painting for now, still need to paint the floors of the other two bedrooms
but that will have to wait until after Thanksgiving.

We have had such a late summer here that even the other night I decided to get in one last taste of our favourite summer chicken....

We picked up this great grilling gadget
this summer
and it has been such a hit for
butterflied chicken.

This one received a healthy dose of pesto and good....well, beyond good!!
Is that possible?

Anyway, I will be back with the photo spread once I get my camera figured out.
Just wanted to drop in for a quick visit.

Take care all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Summer out.... Fall In

Well, I love summer
I also love fall.

In preparation for the onset of colder temperatures,
and the onset of our beloved
"cocktail dînatoire"
we decided to change out the very creaky and uncomfortable stools for some director's chairs.

A cocktail dînatoire is similar to tapas in Spain or a 5 à 7 here in Québec and a happy hour elsewhere. But it can be a little bit more elaborate than all that and spread out over the course of the evening as a meal would. In the fall and winter I love it.

Our problem was that the chairs around the island were not comfortable.
And since we spend a lot of evenings indoors during the colder months
I figured these director chairs would be of good value.
Of course a cocktail dînatoire usually involves somes standing and some sitting.....

We have to obviously invest in at two more chairs before the cold settles in....
But, I wanted to see how two felt before going for the magic 4.
Verdict.....LOVE it.

Oh and did I mention.....COMFY?
Well, I guess that would be stating the obvious. :)

And, I believe I mentioned some special visitors had passed through here in June?
Well, it is official.
Story is out.
I will be back with that later on in the week.

In the meantime..... hint?.....why of course.
Does that fireplace look familiar?