This Is My Backyard on Good Friday

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This is a direct W quote – “Lord Thunderin’ Jesus”.  As for me, I have uttered a couple of phrases beginning with the word “Holy…”   It is a religious holiday after all.

Not even going to wonder how long this snow will continue to fall.  The good news is – we can see the Easter Bunny’s tracks!  Really!  They look suspiciously like the footprints of a jack-rabbit!  Sneaky bunny.

Happy Winterspring.  Hope you all have a thunderin’ awesome day.

Leaving

boarding the train

 

Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.  There was nothing green yet anywhere I looked, and the air stayed cold until well past mid day.  Sometimes the sun would break through the grey mist with a half-hearted attempt at cheering up the sad and dismal countryside , but all that brown was discouraging,  and day after day it seemed to simply give up without a fight.

No, come back!  I wanted to shout at it.  Try harder.  Winter is an asshole, you can make it go away.  But the sun doesn’t listen to anyone.

Those last few bleak days I spent hesitantly preparing to leave, because I was reluctant too.  Remiss to walk away from a life that had become impossible, but which remained, in spite of everything, still strangely comforting in its familiarity.   Afraid, wary, hanging back,  I kept searching for one good reason not to go.  There were reasons, but in the end,  none of them were good enough.

A shrill whistle sounded in the distance and the tracks grumbled and shook as a numbing north wind whipped stray locks of hair across my face and into my eyes, some of the long strands sticking to the tears that kept stubbornly falling no matter how many times I brushed them away.  My ticket to freedom was crushed and broken in one clenched fist.   The other one dragged my heavy bag across the platform.   And then I boarded the southbound train.  With all my might and resolve I resisted the backward pull and in my head I wiped the slate clean.

I felt as stubborn as the sun.  Strong and steady and enduring.   Soon I’d be ready to shine again.

The Speakeasy at Yeah Write # 157 - include the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.”

Get Ready Get Set

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I’m so lucky to have people who care about me.  And my feet.  Lucky to have feet, too, which people can care about.

Sorry, but this is how my mind has been working lately as I get ready for Greece.  The worlds worst traveller counts down to departure day.

So far, I have accomplished a lot of random (but extremely important) stuff in preparation.

1.  Went shopping with my daughter and granddaughter to pick out Birkenstocks sandals on Sunday.  I have been wearing them ever since to get them molded to my feet and a little less stiff.  They are marvelous.  Me and my feet are very grateful.

2.  Got my hair cut exactly a month before the trip, because from past experience I know that it will take a month of growth for me to like it.  Am a little bummed because I’m actually liking it right now.

3.  Made an appointment for a pedicure for the 28th, less than two weeks before I leave. Maybe I will post a picture of my beautiful new feet in my beautiful new sandals. If you are extremely excited about this, my goodness. That’s kind of sad.

4.  Bought a kind of over-the-shoulder backpack/bag to carry passport and other very important papers and cards and itineraries which I am currently amassing.  Along with lip gloss.  Because I can’t leave home without that.

5.  Ordered some euros on-line.  They should be ready to pick up at my bank in 3 to 5 business days.  My bank is about two blocks away from my house.  But on-line I could take care of this while wearing a nightgown.

6.  Bought some Skechers Go-Walks, in case we take some long and torturous tour on foot.  They are lighter than running shoes and so incredibly comfortable I almost forgot to take them off in the shoe store to pay for them.

7.  Have booked my flight to Toronto for the tenth of May, where I will stay overnight because the flight the next day from Toronto to Athens is 10 hours long.  That’s a lot of hours hanging around airports and sitting on planes, so I’ve spread out the fun over two days.

8.  Decided that the magic number for outfit packing will be twelve, subject to revision based on whim.  We will be gone for about 17 days and I can wear six things twice.  I have no idea if this will work, but I am a notorious over-packer and find it very easy to go over the weight restrictions with my luggage.

9.  Got two cards of earrings, 18 on each card, every one of them the same sparkly fake stone in a silver setting.  My ears are double pierced so I can lose over 30 of them and still have a matching set.  Overkill?  Yeah, probably.  This is a great example of how I pack, the operative phrase here being ‘just in case….’  Because, you know, they might not sell earrings in Greece.

10.  Look at that, made it all the way to ten and there are still many, many  things over which to obsess.  Like changing my email settings so that I don’t get over a hundred a day, mostly from blogs that I follow.  Finding an adapter, deciding which rechargeable things I can’t possibly live without, practicing being pleasant and agreeable so that my family doesn’t drown me in the Aegean Sea, scheduling posts for when I’m gone so everyone will know where I am whether they want to or not.

Well, there, I think I’ve got all that out of my system and out in the open for the time being.  I’m incredibly lucky to be going, I know that. I may never go anywhere so far away (and quite so willingly) again.  I wish I were a better traveller and could be dying from excitement rather than anxiety.  Big deep breaths, in either case.

Shipwreck

white water

                     He says he wants to brave the rapids

                So one leg in the canoe I give us a push

                        Bare feet with life jacket over bikini

              Too late I realize we’re bound to mess up

                Grab the paddles and endeavour to row

       Whack some rocks in the creeks white water

                  Bumping and tossing we finally capsize

                        Our little adventure is less than epic

           In three feet of water we wade to the dock

Poetry Prompt #6 – Reverse Acrostic from We Drink Because We’re Poets

Well this was fun!  Why start off with a frontwards Acrostic when you can do a backwards one?

Magpie

magpie spirit bird

Mom died.  My heart broke.

A magpie strutted across our backyard, cocked her proud head and looked me straight in the eye.

Her spirit bird.

Delivered a happy memory, then squawked and flew away.

With every visit since,  my sad heart soars.


Yeah Write Gargleblaster # 157 - Do you see her much?

Slow Down You Move Too Fast

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Tuesdays at work wear me out.  We have a doctor seeing patients and I’m there until 8 p.m.  Then I come home and sit at the end of the couch where there is a stupid lamp with such a thick shade that the light hardly comes through it and that’s where I stare like a zombie at my I-Pad for a couple of hours.  That little bit of light is very relaxing, and because of it I can say I’m not sitting alone in the dark.

Because I’m not.  There’s my I-Pad.  I catch up on Words With Friends and e-mails and Facebook and check out that there’s nothing new on Netflix and as a last resort play some Candy Crush.  I drink decaf coffee. I read my current e-book. I am a barrel of fun.

Wednesdays when I’m off work, I always think I’m going to get a zillion things done, because, hey, it’s a whole day, and I’m off.  So I sleep in late, mess around doing nothing for the entire morning (because seriously, I have the WHOLE DAY), do a repeat of Tuesday night with electronic time wasters, drink my smoothie, consume a lot of coffee, wonder what I should make for dinner….  Suddenly it’s evening.  There are three days of work ahead of me, laundry becomes a priority, there’s no time for those projects I’ve been putting off until my day off.  I am lazy and I like to procrastinate, and I excel at relaxing.  You’re supposed to do whatever you’re really good at, right?

Yesterday, like most Thursdays, I worked early and got off at five. There are a lot of hectic people out there running around getting things done in a huge hurry with places to go and people to see and deadlines to meet and WHY IS THAT?  Our contact lens student is one of them.  She got her glasses dispensing licence, went straight into the contact lens course, accepted the position of teaching the glasses course at the same time, is getting married, buying a new house, looking after her son from a previous relationship and her future husbands son from his previous relationship, constantly doing nice things (like baking) for other people, and now she has accepted the position of manager at another store (the store is a ridiculously busy one and she has no managerial experience) and she will start that before any of all the other stuff is finished.  She is twenty-six.  And probably insane.

Someone asked me if I didn’t remember being young and ambitious and I had to admit I’ve never been that ambitious in my entire life.  I want to tell her to slow down, don’t be so impatient, stop being so hard on yourself, get some sleep.  I’m afraid she’s going to burn out before she’s thirty.  And wonder where her life went.

And now it’s Friday and another full day looming, filled with trying to sell stuff to justify my pay cheque.  I’m tired.  And I haven’t even done anything, comparatively speaking.  But I’m not twenty-six either.  I drummed up enough energy to go and get my hair cut last night.  That was pretty exhausting, sitting there listening to another twenty something pink haired girl tell me about her social life.

Yeah.  I’m old and boring.  And ready to pack in this working for a living crap and actually get on with living and doing whatever I want.  And whatever that is, I want to do it very, very slowly.  Because now I know life rushes by while we’re busy thinking about all the things we have to do to get to a place where we can do something else.

And now I have to rush off to work so I can get that over with and then I’ll be able to come home and NOT work.  We’re all running around in circles.  Sit down and let people lap you.  It’s okay.  That’s really all I’m saying.

Walking to Grandmas

 

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It is the early 1950′s.  Not a hundred years ago, but in this old head it feels like it could be.  Mom wipes some flour off her house dress, tucks a stray lock of hair behind her ear, and hands us a basket of apples with a handle big enough for two little hands to share.  She tells us to deliver this to grandmas house.  Together, remember, mom tells my brother.  Keep your little sister with you, wait if she gets behind, don’t walk on the road, watch for cars.  No stopping!  Grandma is waiting for you, so off you go.  Dad and I will be over for supper soon.

That’s  lot of rules and instructions, and I’ll never remember all of them.  Neither will my brother, but that’s simply because he choses not to.  He bends and breaks rules all the time or makes up his own.  I admire him greatly and trust him implicitly and will do whatever he says.

Grandmas house is easy to see from ours, even though it’s a bazillion miles away,  up a winding laneway at the top of a hill.   I love to go to grandmas and I’m thrilled to be big enough at last to walk there with my brother.  I like to keep my eyes on our destination as it gets closer and closer with every step.  I like how the dry gravel dust puffs up and coats my shoes.  Ron likes to stop and dawdle and kick things, and jump down into the ditch for an amazing stick or a funny rock.   I am on the look-out for big bad wolves.   If I tell him this he’ll just laugh at me, so I don’t.  I imagine the house of Red Riding Hoods grandma looking just like this.   It is made of stones and has big white pillars holding up the roof over the  porch where one corner points in and another juts out.  No one else outside of a story book has a veranda of such magnificence.

There are big white outdoor rocking chairs waiting to be climbed on, and the wonderful smell of flowers cascading from buckets and beds all around.  The last leg of the laneway is very steep  and the basket is ten times heavier than when we started out.  I am dusty and thirsty and hot.

Grandma always whoops and fluffs up her apron and acts completely surprised to see us when we land on her doorstep.  She says funny things like ‘land sakes’ and ‘mercy’ and is always calling out for Will.  That’s grandpa.  He never answers, but eventually he will show up from the barn or the field or the woodshed quietly going about his business.  Grandma is never quiet.  She’s the very opposite of that.  It’s always crazy and noisy wherever she is, with banging pots and clomping feet and non-stop out-loud thinking.  Years later when I learn about ‘inside voices’ I realize that grandma never had one.

She takes the apples and plops herself into a chair.  Fetch another sharp paring knife Will!  Don’t you children touch these knives!  Oh, the apples are grand! Apple Brown Betty for supper, there’s nothing better.   Will, fetch some kindling for the cookstove!   And the stove is where that stick you brought into my house is headed,  she tells my brother.  No sticks in  my kitchen, and empty those rocks out of your pockets young man, they belong outside on the road!  Here’s the dipper.  Go out to the pump and get yourselves a drink of water!  Run along now!  Shoo!

Ron and I escape back out into the sunshine, drink as much cold sweet water as we have the energy to pump,  and then go looking for garter snakes in the long grass.  Grandma thinks little people should be seen and not heard, but she talks so much that we never really have to say much to her, so that’s one rule that’s pretty easy to keep.

When night comes and I curl up in my little bed with my tummy full of sweet Apple Brown Betty, sleep comes easy.  The long walk on short legs, all the sunshine and fresh air, plus a head full of grandmas random exclamations have done me in.  I want to go again tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that!  I want it to be summer forever.  I want to always have dust on my shoes.