Tag Archives: sister

Bedtime Cookbook

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How far shall we flash back this fine Friday?  More than a lifetime for some of you, and just a drop in the time bucket for the rest of us.

What is more delightful than two recently bathed children with shiny clean hair all ready for bed?  Sitting together, sharing, being super good so bedtime will be delayed.

This was not a rare moment.  My mom often remarked on how well my kids got along with each other.  That changed for a while in their teens, but really, underneath the growing pains, they have always remained good friends.

I know it looks like the reflection of a halo on my daughters head, but don’t let it fool you.  She had her un-angelic moments.  And I never realized my son had such expressive toes.  I think that might be our polar bear hide on the wall in the background.  Hard to believe now we ever had such a thing.  But this is the NWT in the late 1970’s.  We didn’t know any better.  And that awful brown colonial furniture was in every government house.

One other thing I noticed in this faded photo is that the book they’re reading is not a kids book (although they had lots of those I swear). It appears to be a cookbook.  My poor children.  Is this what I gave them instead of reading them a bedtime story?  I can imagine the two of them pointing at the pictures saying – what is this yummy dish called?Mom has never made anything this awesome for us!  Maybe she doesn’t know how!  Maybe she doesn’t really love us!

Hey, they’re alive and clean.  Looks like it was a good parenting day to me.

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The Twelfth Day of June

ann

I have always been insanely jealous of my sisters hair.  Well maybe not insanely because I can go for several days at a time without even thinking about it.  Okay, insanely is probably pretty accurate.

Today is her birthday. She was born on Thursday the 12th.  When I was old enough to realize the significance of my own Friday the 13th birthday I decided to never forgive her for arriving a day early.  Although it may have been a relief for our mother.  I don’t know, I never asked her.

Anyway, back to the hair.  Hers was blonde.  It was curly.  It framed her cherubic little face in perfectly natural ringlets and waves.  My own poker straight dark hair showed every chop of the scissors, flat and boyish and boring in comparison.

Not much has changed in sixty years.  Except that I inherited our dads family trait of going grey early.  I like to think it’s silvery and I wish for it to some day be as white as my aunts and uncles.  Whatever, grey is grey.   With no hair coloring help whatsoever, Mom kept the color in her hair for a lot longer.  And my sister (with a little help) is doing that too. Now she has lots of blonde streaks and highlights in her waves and curls.

W asked me one time why I didn’t let my hair grow longer like my sisters.  I fought off the urge to grab him by the neck and choke him while yelling that he should grow back his bald spot and then we’d talk.  Because, you know, that would have been childish.  Instead I patiently explained that our hair is completely different and that mine would not look the same.  At all.  So shut up about the hair.

Yes, insanely is looking more accurate by the minute.

On our holiday my sister let her hair dry naturally and then gave it a quick brush and it looked perfect.  For the rest of the day.  I blew mine dry because if I don’t all the cowlicks show.  I put gel in it because if I don’t it’s about as thick as the wispy hair on a two-year old.  Normally I would use my brush curling iron to add some body but I was afraid I’d blow up or burn out our adapter and not be able to charge our more important things like camera batteries and I-Pads.  So I spritzed it all over with hair spray and called it done.  It looked good for approximately ten minutes every day, and then reverted back to exactly how it looked upon emerging from the shower.

I love my sister to death.  I want her hair.  I will die with this one fervent wish never granted.  I hope she has a happy birthday.  I hope she appreciates her beautiful hair.  It’s way past time for me to get over this and let it go.  I don’t think I ever will.

How insane is that.

Time Slips Away

This is my first ever (and perhaps my only ever) attempt at a slide show.  Whew.

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It took a considerable amount of time to put this together, even without captions, so I’ll just add one sweeping comment at the end here to say “What?  Doesn’t everybody put balloons on their Christmas tree?”

What I Did On the Last Day of February

1.  Wondered how it got to be the last day of February all of a sudden.

2. Spent seven and a half hours (by the clock) and seventeen hundred hours (in my head) at work. Friday has become the longest day of the week.

fast listener my twisted yet beautiful mind

3.  Listened to cold people complain about being cold, sick people complain about being sick, and people with broken glasses complain about their glasses being broken.  Glasses I can try to fix.  That other stuff, you’re on your own. Now please go away and stop breathing on me.

Brookside-Chocolate

4.  Came home and ate an entire bag of Brookside dark chocolate Goji with Raspberry.  But not the big bag.  Found myself not caring that the small bag might still be a bit piggy for just one person.  (I’ve tried them all.  They’re all delicious, regardless of bag size.)

psych

5.  On the advice of my baby sister, sat down and watched some episodes of Psych on Netflix.  Was happy to discover that even though I was tired, I was not too tired to laugh.

6.  Thought about this fun month doing Cin’s Feb Challenge and felt a bit sad that it’s over.  Today is ‘selfie and brag about your fun month’ day.  I’m too tired to brag, but trust me, it was awesome fun. Thanks Cin. ♥

smoothie
This is not really me, but close enough.

Now I’m going to go to sleep for the rest of this month and tomorrow if all goes well I’m going to wake up in a brand new one.  The one where spring might actually happen.  Yay!  If it doesn’t, there’s always Netflix and chocolate.

Happy People Dancing

Do you have any idea how many happy people there are in this great big world?  Thank you to my sister for sending this and reminding me.  It’s a video you’ll want to watch more than once or twice. (In Canada apparently our best dancers are from Toronto because they’re the only Canadians who made the cut.)  Don’t worry – the rest of us will keep practicing!

We have one more day of dancing left before the 21st.  Let’s make the best of it everybody!  Put on your dancing shoes.

Pictures From Moms Kitchen (Part 3)

Everything tastes better at grandmas house.

See that green and white butter dish with the clear lid beside it?  I voluntarily inherited that.  It’s one of those things that just refuses to wear out. I could never throw it away even though I don’t use it, so it looks like it may just last forever. I’m going to put a grandchilds name on tape and stick it to the bottom.  I’d hate them to fight over it when I’m gone.

Stuck in the middle with you.

This is my third sister – one of the self-named “out-laws”.  She has been part of our family for a really long time, even though I think there have been times when she’s wondered why.  I’m pretty sure it was mom’s delicious home-made biscuits that kept her coming back.  No wait, it was the scintillating conversation and the delightful company.  Yeah, that’s what it was.

When you’re stuffed to the eyeballs, you have to prop up your head.
The most amazingly interesting sausage in the world.

This is the year plaid shirts were in vogue, I guess.

It’s mom finally sitting down with her favourite son-in-law (sorry W) and her gorgeous daughter who has plans to add her own little daughter to the mix.

My handsome brother-in-law and my beautiful sister, contemplating impending parenthood.  They are obviously completely and utterly thrilled about something.

My daughter has some serious competition in the granddaughter department, no longer the only little girl in grandma’s heart.

And here she is – but we’re not done yet – there are two more grandchildren still to come.  Everybody gets to take a turn at wearing out that fancy red high chair in grandmas kitchen.

Pictures From Moms Kitchen (Part One)

The end of our wedding day, in moms kitchen doorway.

Finding a few favourite pictures taken in moms kitchen has turned into a treasure chest of memories.  We spent a lot of time there whenever we went to visit the farm.  It’s a place we didn’t appreciate enough when we were growing up, and then a place we could hardly wait to return to after we moved away.  It was where our family (which grew) sat down to eat the best meals ever.  It was all about us, until it became all about our kids.

Our baby daughter with my brothers oldest son.
Only at grandmas could you get away with crawling around on top of the kitchen table.
The kitchen wall paper was faux brick for a lot of years.  I think my love of red and orange must have come from my mother’s side of the family.  It was a strange old house – on the other side of this window was the built on “back kitchen” where mom put the old blue cupboards after she got new ones, and all kinds of old tables and cabinets and chairs that were almost worn out.  You never threw anything away until it was completely worn out.  It got shuffled off to the back kitchen where it could sit for years, waiting for that to happen to it.
My daughter, my brother, his boys.

I love the look on my brothers face – he was a man who loved his sons.  I don’t think it was ever a difficult thing for them to love him back.

The back-splash of orange flowers I remember  vividly.  Because it was vivid.  That space between the top of the cupboards and the ceiling was always covered in a hodge podge display of things that weren’t useful but were just too nice to throw away.  Gifts from well-meaning people and antiques belonging to grandma.  There were ceramic roosters on the other side.  I don’t need a picture to remember those.  Sometimes on a visit we’d climb up there for mom and wash and dust everything and check out the names on the bottom of things.  Grandma was great for writing the names of her relatives on adhesive or masking tape and sticking them on things she thought they might like to have after she was gone.  It’s a great system – certainly easier than writing it all down on paper.  Mom carried on that tradition.  My own cupboards go right up to the ceiling with no space on which to put things.  There are some traditions that aren’t that hard to give up.

Little sister, grandma and W, with nephew Andy bottom left: Christmas dinner circa 1974

I can tell it’s Christmas because of the plastic holly and the tree shaped candle.  But every meal at moms was like a Christmas feast.  Small people were supposed to sit on the bench on the far side of the table, but obviously on this day we got a little mixed up. Funny, no matter how many people showed up to eat, there was always room at the table, and  left overs for later.  It was a magical place.

How Far We’ve Traveled

Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of
long ago – the baby, the peacekeeper, the caretaker, the avoider…. It doesn’t
seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we’ve traveled.

(~Jane Mersky Leder)

Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories
to the inevitable dusk.

( ~Susan Scarf Merrell)

Free Spirit

Free Spirit is the Weekly Photo Challenge, so when I started flipping through some old albums I was looking for a picture of myself.  Because I would like to believe that’s what I once was.  Aside from a black and white shot of a laughing windblown toddler in a droopy diaper I wasn’t finding much to prove my point.

And then this fell out from between the pages onto the floor.

 It’s my sister, circa 1970.   The girl who wrote the book on free spirits and how to be one.

The Healing Gift

English: Spiritual Healing Church - Princes Square
English: Spiritual Healing Church – Princes Square (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My sister has been told by more than one psychic that she has the gift of healing, and it’s true.  She does.

The people closest to her don’t need a clairvoyant to point this out to them.  Her specialty is not in the realm of physical health – as far as I know she can’t cure disease or mend a broken bone.  Her gift is her ability to listen to problems and sum up situations, to empathize and sympathize and soothe the hurt.

Something in her nature makes it easy for her to do this.  She thinks of the most considerate, kind and thoughtful things to do and then she does them, without a lot of contemplation and without the expectation of getting anything in return.  She heals moods, and spirits, and souls.  And she doesn’t even know she’s doing it.

Sorry, you can’t have her, she belongs to our family. We’d be a sorry lot without her.

So imagine my consternation on reading my horoscope for today:

You may be asked to take on a teaching role in your spiritual circle today. People will be seeking out your wisdom, knowledge, and experience. You could discover that you have a healing gift, or benefit from the healing talents of another.

The confusion comes from a number of things.  Spiritual circle is one of them, since I didn’t know I had one.  People coming to me for wisdom?  Good luck with that.  I already benefit from the healing talents of another, just by talking to her.  But they’ve got the wrong sister for discovering another healing gift because I think I’m better at making things worse.

Our mom was the kind of person who did wonderful and selfless things for others, but she was also a worrier.  Her mind was always going a mile a minute and often her mouth couldn’t keep up.  She would start to say something and jumble it all up with three or four more seemingly unrelated ideas and before you could sort any of it out, go off on another tangent altogether.  The run-on sentences were a challenge, but the unfinished ones were even more puzzling.  I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse to think so much.  She took everything to heart and analyzed it to death and as a result said a lot of truly amazing things, and maybe my brain just couldn’t keep up.  But I was always able to see how badly she wanted to save the world, and I knew at a very young age that I just didn’t want to be bothered with any of it.

So I became not just selfish, but oblivious.  The world revolved around me, and everyone else could solve their own stupid problems.  This worked out really well for me until I had a husband and children.  “Me” got lost in the pandemonium for a lot of years.

Now that they’re grown up and on their own and coping as well as can be expected after having a mother like me, I’m back to my introspective ways.  I’m done with trying to be the glue that holds the rest of my family together.  Even if they don’t know it,  they really don’t need me, and it’s wonderful to be free.  Of course I’ll help in any way I can if they ask me to, but it’s nice to know they’re smart enough to ignore my advice when it’s completely out to lunch.

Other people aren’t that smart.  They’ll tell me about something that happened or try to explain some situation that’s giving them grief, and I’ll egg them on. Even if I don’t deep down care AT ALL, I’ll add fuel to the fire.  I have a knack for encouraging resentment and making angry people even more irate.  I get people fired up and then I back away to let them deal with it.  This talent for motivation in the wrong direction could never be misconstrued as a gift.  It’s a malediction that I should be fighting.  Not only am I still not saving the world – what’s even worse is that I am making it a more miserable place to be.

Well, recognizing there’s a problem is a huge part of the cure, right?  I would like to be that person who listens and absorbs and calms and helps, and not the one off whom you bounce your concerns, only to get them back looking ten times worse than they were before.  You do not want to talk to the riot inciting sister, you need the healing one.  I’m not there yet.

Will I ever be?  Who knows?  Maybe the stars know something I don’t.  Maybe I need to heal myself first.