When You Get a Chance…

The blogosphere has been a gift, an inspiration, a learning experience, an on-going teacher, a place to create, to vent, to share… but you all know this because most of you are bloggers.  I have mentioned how much I appreciate the folks I’ve gotten to know, even doing a sort of Advent Calendar to show my appreciation for some… may have to do another this year, to be determined.

I have become good friends with a few bloggers that has brought us to the Skype stage (or rather, Messenger), allowing us to exchange face to face.  Did so, just this morning, in fact!

I have been so very lucky to meet two bloggers in person. One is from Montreal, right next door to speak, who also happens to be a friend of a friend, proving the world is a puny place.  And one who has become more than a cherished friend with whom I can share anything and everything, as he knows he can with me, our trust and respect for each other is that great.

And just this last Tuesday, I met a third.  Sawsan, who blogs at Last Tambourine, is a wonderful woman that I first “met” through David Kanigan’s fabulous, inspiring, thought-provoking blog, Live and Learn. Sawsan often comments with “return” pieces of poetry or prose to David’s original post and the exchanges between her and David, are wonderful and inspiring, and often humorous and even snarky.  Actually, David’s peeps love to interact with each other on his posts and he has created quite the family.

The world truly is puny as a few months ago, Sawsan and I found out – too late – we were at the same hospital at the same time on different floors visiting our loved ones. What? Damnation…  From that moment on, our exchanges went from solely on David’s blog, to emails and texting.

Again, Sawsan had to come to town (three towns over from mine) to stay with her parents to help out following her mother’s surgery, and this time there was no way in hell we were going to miss meeting each other.  Friday fell through so we had Tuesday and Wednesday left as potentials.  David kept texting us, teasing us that we were not gonna manage to get together… The thing is, when you are in town only now and again, you have family obligations that cannot be avoided.  However, we were able to prove David wrong when she was able to escape the parents and we met for coffee that turned into dinner. We had to send him selfies to prove it 😉

She has a lilting voice with the loveliest accent of her place of birth (Palestine) and a beautiful, sweet smile.  We hugged hello and talked non-stop until it was time to leave. Our senses of humour were in synch and we felt like old friends from the first minute.

When we start this blogging business, we never think things could or would go further than the post page.  Yes, there are those we find ourselves bantering with, some, by sharing our stories, we come to care for. We send each other encouragement, love, friendship, kudos, and we don’t expect things will go to the next level. We might joke and say, next time you are in Chicago, New York, Boulder, etc (coz, right, like I go to any of these places on a whim), don’t forget to look me up!

So when you get a chance…

… you take it!

 

 

 

 

The Journey – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #52

Crimson’s Creative Challenge has been going on for a whole year, already.  Can you believe that? I did not partake in all of them but quite a few. Thank you, Crispina for hosting such a fun and open challenge.  There is no way I could NOT write a little something to commemorate this auspicious occasion and include a few “matching, not matching” pics 😉  I may have cheated a tad with the timeline, for the purposes of my story.

The Journey

 

We are to take a journey

Will it be a long one?

It will start late in the summer

And then we will arrive?

No, we must keep moving forward

All through autumn?

And once the leaves have fallen?

We must keep on through the snows of winter

This journey will take forever!

No, you shall see, before you know it, 52 weeks will have gone by

A whole year?

Yes! But you’ll have enjoyed the journey for all it has brought you

What about the challenges?

They were the reason this journey began

I am so very glad for it

I am too.

 

 

Bewitching Hours – Weekend Writing Prompt #129

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments. A thank you to Sammi for issuing this weekly challenge.

Word Prompt

Twilight

Challenge

 

Bewitching Hours

It is a gift

To be able to witness

A light so enchanting

It can only be found in the in-betweens of

Dawn and sunrise or

Sunset and dusk

Twilight

When the Earth’s Sun

Scatters light into the atmosphere

Leaving us bewitched, not once, but twice

 

Crossing Paths – Crimson’s Creative Challenge #34

It’s been a little while since I participated in Crispina’s challenge. Life and all that. Inspiration and all that. However, today, here I am with a little poem and a responding picture of mine.

Have a fabulous Tuesday – what’s left of it!

Crossing Paths

“We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, me and you.”
Sylvia Plath

How long and how far matter not, in

Time spent sharing our friendship

There is no reason to quantify or qualify

And every reason to cherish it

Be it months or years or decades

Casual, formal, or all in

That old cliché poem

“A reason, a season, a lifetime”

Speaks the truth

The short and the sweet: thank you for our time

The on-going, going strong, let’s keep on keeping on!

The gone too-soon but never to be forgotten?

May we meet again in another realm

Pierre, Patricia, Roxanne, Brenda, Guy, Mick, Richard, Patrick

I’ll be expecting it. Me and all of you

Up in the air

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Word count: 121

For Patrick – One Last Cheers My Friend!

During my break at work last Sunday – Canada Day (July 1st), I was catching up on my emails, reading comments, etc. when I saw I had a LinkedIn message from Hugh. My heart dropped before even opening it. An awful feeling came over me and I had good reason. His message announced that his husband, Patrick, had passed away the previous Wednesday, five days after turning 56. His message said that “a routine surgery that went wrong in every possible way, and Pat fought like hell. I hope somewhere Pat is greeted by Mick saying ” Hey Buddy!!!”

I have been struggling with what to write since then. A flurry of emotions has come up and memories have been flooding my brain and heart since. Instead of sending plain old condolences to Hugh, I thought I would celebrate the times we had together.

He was an oncology nurse when we first met and eventually moved to palliative care. When asked what he did for a living, he would reply “I kill people.” What he meant was, he helped patients go gently into the next phase. When a nurse loses his first patient, he is given an angel pin. This pin he gave to me for Austin…and it is still pinned on my jean jacket.

We met in April 1997. After losing our son, Austin, Mick’s boss sent us off on a holiday to get away from it all and try to regroup from our loss. We had no idea where to go so we went to a travel agent who suggested a cruise. Something that had never occured to us and we jumped on it. We flew to tthe Dominican Republic, settled into our cabin, explored our itty-bitty ship (trust me, it was puny – 60,000 ton, 900 peeps on board and I’m not sure how many staff). Come supper time, we found our assigned table. And there they were, Patrick, Richard, Loretta, Hugh, John, Fred, Wilma (I’m not joking) and their daughter and us. We surveyed our dinner partners for the next week and figured out right quick that Pat and Hugh were a couple even if they had a couple betwixt them. A couple who happened to be Patrick’s sister and brother-in-law. A friendly bunch, we decided.

Our first stop was Puerto Rico and The Boys, as they would forever be known to us, said that, as this was their second week, they had already done the visiting thing and to enjoy ourselves. Which we did.

Day 2 found us in Sint Maarten and who do we run into but Pat and Hugh. A buck a beer from the lady under the palm tree and we were suddenly fast friends. Mick was going crazy, needing to pee out his beer and we all laughed at him. Why do you think we keep going into the water? After his initial reel of disgust, he joined in. After all, where do the sharks, whales, fishes, etc. do their business?

Then we hung out in St. Lucia with Bruce, one of the dancers on the ship – by now, we were hanging out at the “Gay Bar” in the evenings (it was not really one, but we called it that) where music played outside and there was a dance area at the back of the boat.)

Barbados. Oh dear. We went on the booze cruise on the Harbour Master, which is the friendly competitor to the Jolly Roger (one we would take on our second cruise with the boys). The sailed us to this cove where there was one big cloud hovering. The rest of the sky was blue with white fluffy clouds but not for us! After swinging from ropes whilst getting more and more drunk, the rains came. All the participants hovered under awnings. Not us. Mick got them to play music loud and the three of us (Mick became photographer) started to dance. The Macarena was the IN song of the time. Before we knew it, the rest of the passengers realised what fun we were having and joined in.

By St. Thomas, Mick tells Pat. “Man, my bar bill is insane.” To which Pat replies: “I have two words for you, Honey… Duty Free.” In those days, you could buy booze and bring it on board and just request juice or soda to go with. I’m going to say it cost us less but I’d be lying.

The cruise over, addresses and phone numbers were exchanged and promises to get together really soon were made.

And kept.

They live(d) in London, Ontario, a good seven-hour drive, which we were all willing to make. They came over in July of that year and lemme tell you… the recycling bin was embarrassing…

Pool noodling it with beverage in hand

Labour Day weekend, they rented a cottage somewhere in Algonquin Park and we went to join them. We got waylayed by the “wolf howl” – I kid you not. You cannot drive through until this is done. People line up for miles every Thursday in August to call the wolves and have them respond. We had no cell phones in those days so the Boys were worried, needless to say. I was about two months’ pregnant and quite anxious to get to a restroom and no – I was not going into the woods, thank you very much!

We spent a wonderful weekend. Richard and Loretta also came by. Then, while sitting out by the bonfire with the radio playing, the news came on. It was four in the morning. Princess Diana had been in an accident. Patrick was devastated. We were all in shock. We kept hearing the reports, hoping she had not succumbed but, as we know, she did.

Sitting on the porch

The following summer we got together back and forth at each other’s houses again. Their place.

Then our place. Lisa and Chris joined in and let us just say, Chris will no longer drink “Banditos” (a pre-mixed bottle of tequila and Kahlua).

We found out the Bolero (our original cruise) was still running and decided to go with them on our second cruise, this time with their friend Patricia (a co-worker nurse of Pat’s. They were known as Boy Pat and Girl Pat ;-). While waiting in line to board, who did we see registering patrons but Bruce! We started yelling “Bruuuuuce!” till he looked up and responded with an “Oh my God!!!”. Needless to say, we were going to have a great time!

We did take another booze cruise, this time on the Jolly Roger…

Maybe we should try something else…

And visited different islands such as St. Bart’s and Virgin Gorda (where our new friend Ellie and I almost drowned and got battered by the rocks.)

More visits back and forth after this cruise (where I think I got pregnant for Aidan!)

It’s too early but I’ll smile anyway

Gay marriage had not been legalized yet so the boys decided to have a Committment Ceremony to celebrate their love for each other. Mick was Patrick’s best man and I was official cake maker and photographer. They had their beautiful ceremony in their back yard on August 28, 1999. Aidan was born October 26. Can you say I was very pregnant? They never even got to taste the cake because they could not find their plates, so the heathens (guests) just started breaking off pieces. By the time they returned with plates, the cake was gone! I worked hard on that sucker!

We went on one more trip together, this time to Costa Rica. We went on a bus tour where the driver passed out from a diabetic episode. Thankfully, the bus was not in motion yet when this all happened as we could have ended up part of headline: “Bus Crashes Over Cliff, All Dead, Twelve Canadians On Board!”

We went zip-lining in the fantastic Monkey Jungle Canope Tour in Guanacaste. Pat was NOT impressed. Terrified of heights, he did it anyway! But when it was over, demanded a cigarette and a beer! After, we went and took a volcanic mud bath.

Something happened during that trip and Pat and Mick had a fight. We’ll never understand the whys of it and even though they made up, the phone calls became fewer and the visists stopped.

I was having none of it and went to visit them one last time by myself.

I called every once and again and we spoke for hours each time, catching up on stuff. Without focusing on anything negative, I was very displeased they did not get invited to our wedding in 2002… I am certain they were hurt by this as much as I was. I’ll put it into the Shit Happens File and leave it at that. Hugh agrees. It doesn’t matter anymore anyway, does it?

I’ll forever be grateful for the friendship we had with these two fabulous people. Hugh and I have vowed to get together soon and I know we will. When the pain of losing his spouse eases somewhat. When the sharpness dulls a tad. We will reminisce some more (We’ve already clocked a couple hours.) We have already laughed but I think we will also cry.

I kept this photo for last. I love the happiness on Patrick’s face after all the stress (and trust me, he was sta-ressed!) was over, the vows spoken, the food eaten, the guests still celebrating…

You were a character, a generous man, a drama queen, a friend, a brother, a husband. You will be sorely missed.

You introduced me to Holly Cole Trio so I feel it fitting I share one of our favourites.

Weekend Writing Prompt #95 – Devotion

I must admit I was going to go a whole ‘nother way, but then, felt I needed to thank my cousin, Marc, for coming, once again, to my rescue.  I want you do know, dear Cuz, I never take you for granted.  I appreciate your generosity over and over.  And I know a certain Mick feels secure knowing you always have my back.  Je t’aime, mon cousin! xoxo

 

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Devotion

Challenge

 

To show your love and devotion

Your self and your skills you share

Your time you give with affection

Just say the word, you’re there

 

 

The 2018 Annual Attitude of Gratitude: Bloggers Flood The Internet With Happiness & Positivity!

Dawn Quyle Landau of Tales from the Motherland has issued the 5th annual “50 Happy Things/Attitude of Gratitude” challenge and I am more than pleased to join in once again.  For instructions on the “how-to”, please click here.  Once you’ve figured out how to do it and have been inspired to do it (Why not?  How much can it hurt to bring forth things that make you happy?) click here to add your link.

There is absolutely no order to my following list.  I have set the timer for 15 minutes and this is basically stream of consciousness stuff (i.e. as it comes, I type).  All embellishments are added after the clock has run out and I’ve spell-checked my list 😉

  1. My boys – they remind me that I am human
  2. My home – protects me from the elements
  3. My family – all the way down to second cousins thrice removed
  4. My sisters – despite whatever goes on in life, they are there for me
  5. Mom – without her, I would not be
  6. Friends who are the chosen family
  7. Blogosphere – a world I could not have imagined ten years ago
  8. The friends I’ve made on the blogosphere – I cherish the connections I’ve made
  9. Going to Old Montreal for New Year’s Eve with good friends
  10. Getting on the ferris wheel for the midnight fireworks
  11. Friday Fictioneers – for teaching me how to cut the fluff and get to the point
  12. B – for pushing me to be a better writer while becoming a close friend
  13. My ability and joy of cooking
  14. Sharing my food with those I love
  15. My boys when they help me before I have to ask
  16. My computer – as a tool to connect and write
  17. Internet – bringing the world to my fingertips
  18. Brothers-in-law who help out for stuff that I just cannot do on my own
  19. Girlfriends – to share those things that you just can’t with family
  20. Blogging community – I keep learning
  21. Rochelle for her friendship and for trusting me with her lateest WIP (and any other writings)
  22. Julie for being my “culture friend” and my trusted date for stuff no one else is interested in
  23. Feeling part of my close knit gang
  24. Food – the diversity, the sensuality
  25. My taste buds – which permit me to enjoy all the flavours out there
  26. Good wine
  27. fun work colleagues
  28. New colleagues who seemed to really appreciate me
  29. Clients who appreciate me
  30. My legs for allowing me to take my walks
  31. My big-ass bathtub for when I need to get away from it all
  32. Reading – opening my world to other realms
  33. Writing, which allows me to let go of stuff
  34. Writing prompts that push me to do better
  35. My bed, where I get the rest I need or at least pretend to
  36. My hands which are capable of so much more than I thought
  37. Heating which protects me from the cold
  38. My capacity to love no matter how many times my heart is broken
  39. Being appreciated for what I offer
  40. My wit and sense of humour – keeps me sane
  41. Travel – I need to do more; experience other cultures
  42. The communities I’ve built – virtual and real
  43. Connections I’ve made with people from around the world
  44. A cozy fire, to gaze into, to snuggle with someone
  45. Zeke – who is not getting as much love as he should but will
  46. Eyes – to appreciate the beauty around me
  47. My smile, which seems to be what people remember about me
  48. My camera, which helps me to look at things differently and record the memories
  49. Being able to express myself and be open to others’ opinions
  50. Widow’s pension, which helps to make ends meet
  51. EI which permits me to take the time to rest between jobs
  52. Working a seasonal job which allows me to take the other seasons off
  53. Sense of smell, without it, I would never appreciate food and cooking so much
  54. My body – it may be quite as I would like it to be, but it’s mine and it functions
  55. Dishwashers – because sometimes, doing the dishes just blows
  56. My car – I can go anywhere when I want
  57. My resilience – even though it’s a word that bugs the shit out of me, it is the right word for me
  58. The close friends who will always include me in their happenings
  59. My ability to adapt to whatever life throws my way
  60. My boys – I am so proud of them both for the young men they are becoming
  61. That Iain has decided to go back to school to get a diploma in electricity
  62. That Aidan has decided to pursue an education in animation (yeah, yeah, it has another title that I always forget)
  63. That I know I can count on my sisters for anything
  64. My lack of cynicism – despite the world we live in
  65. My charm that can be helpful when I screw up
  66. Dark chocolate
  67. Camaraderie – that can be found
  68. Facebook – say what you will, I have kept in contact with many because of it
  69. Book, books and more books
  70. Potential for love – I’ve not given up