Friday, July 7, 2017

...A Memory...

I have had this idea for a blog about 'stones' for a very long time.
I am a soon to be retired memorial stone carver. I wanted to share some of the work I have done and experiences I know to be true.
This blog however, will not be singularly about that type of stone.
I love rocks big and small, polished or not, in a garden, a cemetery on a mountain or by a stream. My window sills and gardens are full of stones that have followed me home.
I have been pondering for months now, I couldn't decide how to introduce it. Recently my dear daughter gave me a piece she had written for a school project. I feel it is lovely and appropriate. So, without further adieu' here it is by my own sweet Santanna:
I vaguely recall the time I used to spend in the cemeteries when I was younger. My mother engraved headstones. Not as a job, per say: It was really more of a hobby. She always brought me along, because I was old enough not to be a bother. Hours upon hours I spent, watching her work, wandering aimlessly around, looking at the other markers. Each marker seemed to cry along forgotten tale. Their piercing screams reverting across the bone yard. One of these memories stand out with a clarity I could never leave behind.
I must have been no older than four, by now completely at ease, I had been to the cemeteries many times before. My mother was setting a granite stone into place with concrete. The grave was freshly dug. It was made obvious by the tell-tale musky aroma of earth that was being emitted from it. It wasn't an unpleasant smell. I actually found it quite comforting, perhaps because it was familiar to me. The small hill was masked by a blanket of flowers embedded in the disturbed soil. The colors were so vivid, it held yellows, and creams and scarlets. The occasional orange and purple shades were protruding throughout the sea of color.
"Mommy," I spoke softly.
"Yes Sweetheart?" my mother replied in a slightly exasperated voice. "How come there are flowers all over? Isn't there supposed to be a person there?" I tilted my head in a questioning manner, my brunette ringlets in a tangled fluffy mess.
"Because this person was well loved. Her friends and family put them here, to keep her company when they have to go away."
As she said this, she took my hand in hers. Her skin was rough, but it was cool and comforting. Small cracks and lines had dispersed themselves, tracing paths over her olive skin. These were the hands of a person who had worked long and hard to create beautiful resting places for the deceased. I could hear the chickadees chirping merrily overhead, their unique cords echoing of the wind rustled trees. The weather worn branches twisted high toward the sky, creating an air of peace about this place.
"Mommy," I repeated. "When I die, do you think that I will have as many flowers as she does?"
My mother paused for a moment, and pondering my complicated question. She then replied with these words...
"Santanna, no one could tell you the answer to that. You are young and dying is a long ways away for you. But, I have a feeling you'll have this many flowers...AND more!"
She beamed and scooped me up in her arms. I let out a gleeful squeal of laughter and held on to her tightly.
We stood there for a moment, critiquing my mother's hand work. The granite stone was a dark color. If you were to examine it closely, you would see flecks of slate, ebony and even the occasional salmon or brown. It was as if someone had ground a cornucopia of rock and glued them all together in random order.
The sun glinted off the polished rock. Somehow, it seemed to stand out from all the neighbouring gravestones. Silver letters, were carved neatly into the surface. A picture of a rose, engraved in gold accented the writing.
Though I could not read the words upon the granite, I knew hours of time and planning had gone into it. I had watched my mother sand blast every line and curve, even helped her peel the protective rubber from the sections that were not to be engraved. She set me down, and packed her concrete bags back to the blue chrome truck that awaited our return. I picked up the foam knee board used to take the pressure off her knees as she was working.
"Santanna, come along."
The sound of her voice guided me towards the truck. I felt myself being lifted into my booster seat, My mother buckled me in, the straps fit snugly around my shoulders and stomach, constricting me, so that i had no choice but to lean back into the soft cushioning.
As we drove away, I looked back towards the graveyard, completely innocent. Not knowing that this would be a moment I would remember, for the rest of my life.

I remember this day also, she was so small, to have such a vivid memory. That question was a difficult one to answer on the fly. I love that the words she remembers are the words I have said to her.
Thank you Santanna for giving me permission to use your wonderful tale of remembrance. Who loves you best?

Thanks for stopping in to visit, please pop back again soon
and leave a comment so I know you were here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Looking for you Part three Hard and Fast

My hands are arthritic now. They cramp like twisted snags on a winter tree. I have no control over their contortions. They let go of things I would swear I had  firmly grasped. I remember making you all laugh hysterically when I would pinch the back of my knuckles as the skin stayed that way. I would do stegosaurus back imitations. 
My gnarled hand is here for you, I will muster all the strength
I have to hold on to you. Just take it, I won't ever let go,
we will get through. 
FACT: Your fathers hard working hands were the first hands that touched you. If it was not for his caring gently hands, you may have been dropped right on your noggin. You came into this world on  your own terms. Hard and Fast. Even the nurse and doctor did not think you were coming. I was begging for drugs. {It is important here to say that I had 3 babies before I had you, I did two of them without drugs} But with you I was in so much pain that I did not think I could live through another contraction. They refused!! {I am strong. I was raised to show no pain, no fear, no weakness. That is who I am on the outside.} So, anyone just meeting me would not know that I was at the complete end of my endurance. I was in no condition to argue. The reason, they said, was the labor was only a few hours in and could go on all day. If I took the pain killers,  I would have nothing to ease the gut gripping crippling pain later. {nothing worth having is without some painful trade off}
The nurse left your dad and I alone, me in agony, him helpless to ease it. She said she would go and make a nice bath for me. Something I had never tried when in labor. I thought, well I will get Steve to help me to the washroom. I made it there, closed the door for my soon to be shattered modesty. I just started to sit down, when I realized. YOU WERE COMING NOW! I hollered for your dad. He burst through the door like the real hero he is. I said, the baby is going to be born, right now! He was on his knees without hesitation. He got his hand on your head and helped me breath through that contraction. This was not my first time, I knew that I could not push you out, until someone checked to make sure the cord, was not around your neck. Lucky he was able to pull the wall alarm and yell. You know he doesn't do that often, but, if he does someone needs to hop to. I can still hear him say. "We are having a baby in here."  Well, 3 or 4 nurses burst through the door. The one that told me I had hours to go was in a complete state of panic. She started ordering me around. 'Go to the bed, sit down, squat, lay down, go to the bed, sit down, squat' An older nurses aid pushed your dad aside and put her hand where your dads had been. {I could see your worried dad waiting and watching, trusting the medical staff to take over.}I made eye contact while the panicked one continued to shout useless orders....I said to the calm capable one "Can you catch this Baby?" She said- Yes.
 'I had been doing my best to hold you safe right up till that second.
I let you come'
 You did it your way, I was just the vessel.
 Still, you needed your Dads hands and Me to get you through.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Looking for you partT Two

 Do not read this till you read PART ONE HERE

Foreword: I will skip around the happy childhood bits. These girls are smart, so very smart. A challenge at times. We shelter them. I let them say what they have to say. I listen.  But, they must be respectful  when expressing themselves. These girls come from love, security, kindness and for the better part undivided attention of their mother. Dad worked away a lot and is a great dad.  When he is home, he is always involved in everything that was currently going on. He was on their side. Always. They have had beloved pets and acres of land to roam and explore. We had huge parties with baking and crafting and we still remember them fondly. The two older sisters move out and start their lives away from home. They love and care for their baby sisters. They are ALL MY GIRLS. Steve treats them ALL the same. As a family they are well loved daughters. We are well loved parents.

Teen years are the tough ones. Kids move from primary school into the big middle school. They are thrown into a world of older kids, snotty mean girls, bullies, comparing themselves to others and self loathing. This is also the age of computer freedom. They will get Facebook, some will have phones. Our girls did not have phones. But, we had a computer in a common room. I ask questions, I snooped about. Lucky for us our service is poor at best and not reliable. I know that these are the push years. They start pushing away from us. I must accept that they need to figure some things out themselves.

In the truck when I am driving and you are riding, I always put one hand back between the always grab it or touch it...I don't move it till you do.

We have an incident and social services gets a call. You can read about that HERE
The girls are friends they are so close in age.  I wasn't going to talk about this again. Social Services was misled by the abuse accusations. They said 'two children could not have answered their grilling invasive questions any closer unless they were actors'. I am still mad that we had to go through that at all. I talk to both the girls about REAL abused children. As much as they might get mad at their parents. They are NOT in any form abused or mistreated children. I Caution them to be very careful who they say what to? Because, not all friends know the difference between how you feel, how you act, and what is really going on. Then a mother will hear a story from her child and decide. 'well one or both of them must be getting abused, or they wouldn't grumble about their parents at all' We will just call the school, then social services.

Honestly give me a BREAK. Some people just don't have a clue.

 At 12 Santanna is one of the best and brightest in her class. She is chosen by her math teacher and given an opportunity to visit Japan on a student exchange. We take a deep breath, get involved and send her to Japan for 2 weeks.
Her sister spends the time with her second oldest sister. Steve and I get to go to work together and have a couple of weeks of just us. This is a rare occurrence. We always take the girls.
When Santanna returns, they both fly to Fort McMurray to be with us for the remainder of the summer. It is a good year.
The next Summer Steve and I get married. It is a lovely private ceremony at our house. The following spring Santanna, Steve and I go to China at Easter with the school band. We did not want to send Santanna alone. It is a once in our lifetime experience. We could not take Rhiannon, or we would have. She spends the time with her sisters again.

 By the time 14 comes around Santanna is dressing like a rock stars errant daughter. We have some problems getting her to dress decently for school. She is stubborn, but eventually does what she needs to do. I would say they are both responsible girls.

 Rhiannon is younger and loathes this behaviour from her sister. She does her best to not be like her sister. This to me is normal childhood rivalry.
Rhiannon decides to start dressing all in black. Emily The Strange is her new roll model. Harmless I think. Personal expression is a part of growing up.
I have loved watching them grow and start to individualize.

Santanna and Rhiannon get an internet friend. He is older and not from anywhere near where we live. He is a boy. I find out that he is flirting with both girls and lying about his age. I forbid them to talk to him. {He also helps Rhiannon to believe that she should start cutting herself} He is older and is playing them off against each other. I get the counsellor at school to investigate. He gets in trouble with the police in his town and for the most part the girls ignore him. The seeds of trouble, however have been planted. Rhiannon is angry, sullen and withdrawn. This lasts for about a year till she makes some new friends. She starts spending afterschool with friends.  Santanna is growing out of the little girl things and into older teenage interests........

I watch them, coach them, I love these girls and all they will become. They are strong, smart, beautiful and well loved at home.  When we walk I always wiggle my fingers if they are behind me till one or both of them grab it. I force them to hold my hand in public. Even when they are older. Santanna does this with ease and laughs every time. Rhiannon is resistant. She still wants my hand. A mother can tell.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Looking for You Story Part one

Foreword: This is a story I have intended to post for a very long time. It was set to scrapbook pages in the beginning of my scrapbooking years. The story grew first in my imagination bit by bit, in response to the often asked question from the two youngest girls.
-"Why are we with You and
Dad where did we come from?".
 We traveled extensively with the youngest two girl's. Steve worked all across Canada, and we followed. This meant hours upon hours of driving with a toddler and a baby. Eventually a small child and a toddler. To keep them entertained, strapped securely in their car seats. I would reach my hands back and use finger animation to get their attention. I would say. 'Do you want to hear a story' -"yes, YES tell us a story"- then I would launch into the following story with fingers dancing behind my head as I narrated to my eager captive audience.
Steve {baby daddy} would drive
and listen intently as well.*
1.} Dream on My Sweet Darlings
2.} I knew I would find you some day....
I looked alone for years.....
3.} Then I met your dad...We fell in love...
When I looked into his eyes
and asked if he would help?
He agreed with me, that we needed to find you.
So, he helped me look too..
4.} We traveled to the ocean,
 we looked along the beaches of
 Mazatl├ín and Puerto Vallarta for you
We searched the deserts of Nevada 
6.} We found Santanna first
She was in the willow trees,
not very far from our old house.
 She was playing with the faeries.
 It was starting to get cold.
 The faeries knew we could give her a good loving home, so they let us take her. 
7.} We would name her
Santanna-Hebrew for Saint Ann
 Gabriel-Hebrew for Angel
 Aurora- Latin for Dawn
We loved her before we found her and more after.
We knew we would love her forever and ever.
8.} We were very  busy with Santanna for a couple of years. But, I was always searching
my heart and soul for you.
9.} I looked by the streams and along the edge of rivers. We searched the mountain tops.
10.} I studied the northern lights in  the winter sky's.
 We journeyed deep into the forest.
11.} I looked on rainy days, on sunny days and I looked especially hard on cold days. Because, I would never want you to be cold.
When I told this story, I also say, "I would be so sad, if you were ever lost, cold, hungry or alone. Little did I know that a day would come when this story would prove to be a premonition.
I knew we would find you, I knew you needed us to find you. When I went driving,
 I always kept a look out for you.
It was always here when Rhiannon would interrupt and say "But, what if you couldn't find me, what if you looked and looked and I was lost?"
I said, "I would look FOREVER,
I would NEVER give up or quit looking".
12.} One day a Faerie told me I didn't have long to look, and I would find you.
13.} When we found out, I was going to have you,
we loved you then.
 After I had you, we loved you even more. When we looked at you we knew your name was going to be Rhiannon-Welsh for Great Queen
 Martina-Roman for Mars
 Fallon-Irish for Leader
14.} Our quest is over. You are both beautiful and smart and everything to us.
You are both Loved Best
Mom and Dad
You have two lovely sisters....
But, that's another story.
I don’t remember the last time I entertained their little minds and hearts with this story.  I am thinking it was on the way  to Disney land, a three week long road trip. The last one we ever took with just the four of us. After much thought, and reflection, I know I need to put the words to paper and tell more of this story. Where to begin? I thought...
 Well, lets start at the beginning. 
 'Once Upon a Time',
 'there were two well loved little girls.' 
 It is a story of  love,
 of  desperation and of never giving up.
  It is from the depth of  this mothers aching heart. I am digging deep to tell a story that is still unfolding.
I am afraid, which is not a strong enough word.
Call me, I am here.
As long as it is in my power to come.

* Italicized lettering is added after, for clarification. The 'story' is what is journaled on the scrapbook pages. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Teetering on the edge of 2015

In summary, this year I / We have:
Replaced all the windows on the North side of the house, plus the kitchen window. We started in the rain as you can see. In the end we nailed it!!
 This guy is my hero, whatever I dream up, he makes it happen.
Waited for the roofers and sider's to finish the job from a year and a half ago. This was an insurance claim. Don't get me started about how insurance actually works. Or doesn't work as the case may be. They finally got the roof done. It is quite a shocking change from this
to this
The blue was my second pick for color, the original was a nice medium brown, bronze. But, I was told they could not source it so, BLUE IT IS!!
Still waiting on the siding, but  now we are in the thick of
Beautiful here, but not very likely to facilitate work on the house till the spring. They had a GLORIOUS....
 summer and....dry fall
 to getter done, but they didn' we wait..
Angella found this fantastic iron door for my fairy garden. I know you are thinking 'Fae Folk can not abide iron'. Not entirely true, there are an entire nation that thrive behind this iron portal. If you are quiet you may catch them at their play.
We are down to just these two little beasts of the field
Cocoa and Thunder
Marley and Puss of the house...this is for Joanne who understands about the kats.
Thank You Pip from Meet Me at Mikes for the monthly journal prompts. I managed to do almost 8 months I think ?. then I fizzled. Thanks to Tracie of Beets + Birch for the non stop laughs. Keeping it real.
I do not lead an exciting life. Same old around here, lots of projects on the go and lots of running for the bairns.
Speaking of the children, the little ones have grown so tall. I measure them on the playhouse door frame.
Taryn, the smallest

 Irelyn, the tallest
Gabe, you can almost see him grow daily
Dartanian, from boy to Young Man!!and Driving this year!!
Jasper, just lovely and Driving this year!!
Beautiful Rhiannon {flew the nest this year}
Happy Santanna
Nan 'Granddame' of All
Me and Candice LOL
This was early last spring, they have all grown even more since then.
This year we have laughed,
 we have cried,
 we have all made it through.
We have found love and lost love.
But, there is always learning in everything we gain,
and everything we loose.  
Here's to a new year with
love, laughter, and  happiness for everyone.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Taking Stock September

Making :
 ATC's - 'Artist Trading Cards to swap with Paper Traders
Cooking :Cinnamon Buns
Drinking : Coffee- black
Reading:8 Things I'm Too Old For Loved this article, the comments are as interesting to me as the list.
Looking: At the fall display in our yard
 The moon was really large and beautiful, however, that never translates in my photos...sigh
With the new house phone.....I am challenged by change.....
Quiet mornings
The size of the potatoes from the small bunch that I planted with the kids this spring. If the zombies come, we will be okay for a while.
Wondering: What this rainbow and cloud formation is called. I know about 'Sundogs' but this is different?
That I have started the new 'Studio'
Classes I might teach in that studio
Upcycle items for that room
'Fear the Walking Dead' of course!
A maid....I would so love her and treat her good!!
Kat farted....UUUGGG its the worst!
Wearing: work clothes
Deep Thoughts....
Sorting: mental clutter
Buying: just the basics
Disliking: That the famer who owns the field around our house has spread stinks and the fly's are almost unbearable...BTW Walking Dead fans....the flies would be horrendous if there were actual Zombies walking around!
Opening: ?
Feeling: Good overall
Snacking: hmmm gotta go shopping for some snack type stuff
Coveting:- same old same old....
Wishing: Winter didn't have to come
Helping: DD's
Hearing: Skid Row

Thank You Pip from Meet Me at Mikes for this journal prompt

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Taking Stock August 2015

August just flew by this year in a whirl wind of doing stuff.
Making :
 Plans in my head for the new Studio room
Cooking :
Crock pot meals
Drinking :
Black coffee
'Mortal Instruments' by Cassandra Clare
More time to Play
At a wood pecker on the back of our little pony....weird relationship
Not as much as I want
how best to spend the days....working lots
Looking out the new windows, they are crystal clear
For the rain to cease
Quiet mornings
If I will get the potatoes dug before it snows......
That I stayed up long enough to watch the
meteor shower. I made it to a count of 47
We live in the country so it wasn't too hard to find a viewing spot. Next year I am going to drag the trampoline out into the open and lay on that. My neck is still sore. LOL
What being 56 means.....editing this list,
 I don't always have something to say....
The possibility that I will get the house cleaned up before
....oh, lets say Christmas shall we?
'Fear The Walking Dead'
For a long Autumn season
At the meteor shower
More energy
A crisp in the air, that means summer is over
Pajamas and work clothes, not the kind you wear to the office either. The kind you can rip, tear, get paint and silicone on. 
The Blue Moon- Spectacular
That's not my photo, thank you Google search
I will never get a photo of the moon like that, no matter how many times I try.....
This is the best I can hope for and it is pixeled out!
The youngest DD for her dedication to being on her own and working hard!
The siding pieces I took off the house, they are destine for the DD's house, but, not till next spring
Building supplies to finish the window sill's
behinder by the minute
DIY sites
Waiting, I am a terribly impatient waiter, if you say you are going to be there at a specific time. BE THERE !
The fridge....A LOT- must go shopping more often for food
Sometimes, and when I do, I feel like it would only take just one more funny thing to tip me over to the hysterical laughing. Love the hysterical tears in my eyes, can't breath laughter
A little burnt
Costco cocoanut cake....probably a recipe for a heart attack...
Sleep......always the sleep.....
they would get the new roof and siding done already!!
The other Grandmother of our dear grandchildren at her catering gig
Dianne Gabaldon's voice as she did the readings at the fair, Joanne took me to. Thank you Joanne, for a fun, interesting day.


Thank You Pip from Meet Me at Mikes for this journal prompt