Sunday, January 29, 2006

Love Letter To My Parents

It has become evident lately, that I have many wonderful things for which to be thankful. One of the most important things, are both of you. This is a letter to thank you for all the time and effort you have put into being my parents.

Included in my memories are incidents and moments of love and caring that have influenced me in becoming the person I am.

Our Sunday walks in Friday woods. Picking wild berries, acknowledging the gypsies, bathing in Bounstead Brook. It was a family affair, enjoyment being of the utmost importance.

Our summer camping trips. The long drives, pitching the tent, Dad getting skin rashes, visiting the local sights.

Our daily trips on the “picking bus." Duck, ducks, ducks at Bourne Pond, picking leaves out of the berries, having picnic lunches, secret adventures, taking off boots to discover socks full of squashed berries.

Parent’s Days at Kennylands. Waiting anxiously to see the old car, even sometimes when I knew you weren’t coming, but hoping anyway, showing off my family, showing off myself, having serious, important conversations, catching up on old news, receiving the goodies.

Baking on Saturdays. Rolling pastry for hours on end, eventually producing a jam turn-over. That is a very special memory for me, the smells, the private time we had, the feeling of happiness, and of course the good eats afterwards.

Our trips to the seaside. Walking along the beach in the wind, sun, rain, enjoying the quiet, looking for shells, money, treasures.

My birthday parties. The best in town, everyone wanted to come, sandwiches, jelly, cakes, biscuits, pop, everything a child loves. Even when we had so little, you could always make the best birthday parties.

Fishing. The chalk pits, the gnats, the worms - yuck! the quiet, the long conversations, the catch?

Sunday dinners. Spending what seemed like endless, empty, boring hours in church, to return home to a wonderful family event - dinner. Always plentiful, always grateful. Wearing our Sunday hats, just like Grandma!

Monkwick School. School plays, dinnertime, encouragement to return after many bad days of teasing, school reports.

Learning to play the harmonica. Special instruction from Dad in the car, lots of encouragement, recitals.

Christmas. All the many wonderful gifts, the excitement, wrapping paper, crackers, decorations, food, loud conversations at the dinner table, the quiet afternoons in exploration of gifts, the typewriter I couldn’t find, waking up at 3 a.m. to open and then rewrap presents, trying to show surprise at 7 a.m.

Trips to visit Grandparents. Long drives, laybys, 224 Tatwin Crescent, Midway, breakdowns, stops at the pubs, crisps and pop.

The visits home with a new baby. The pleasures, excitement, pride, joy, delight, the friendships of boy and dog, boy and Grandparents, boy and Aunts and Uncles, the relaxation for a few weeks of less responsibility.

Your visits here. The honesty and closeness it brought us, the sharing of friends, the recognition of accomplishments, the baseball game, the visit to Thomas’ school, the Hot House brunches, the souvenir shopping, the good byes at the airport.

Acceptance. This is one of the biggest gifts you have given me. No matter what my choices, there has always been acceptance. My friends, music, clothes, jobs, lifestyle. I am very grateful that I was never tainted by suggestions of disapproval. By accepting my decisions, you made me able to choose the right path in life, without discrimination.

Your understanding and support. The calming words, the reassurance, the warmth, the common sense, the love.

These are just a few of the memories of the caring and enjoyment you have given me. Words like these are often left said too late, so I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know how much you both mean to me.

Thank you both, so very much.

Your loving daughter,

Mary

(This letter was written and sent in 1997. My mother died in 2004. I am happy that I had the opportunity to send this.)

Breakfast

Having had a good night's sleep, I feel much better today after a week of a cold. I got up at 9:30 a.m. and made myself breakfast. I had bought strawberries yesterday and the kiwi fruit I bought last week is finally ripe enough to eat.

I sliced up 4 strawberries and a kiwi while the kettle boiled and the pancakes browned in the toaster oven.

The kettle boiled and I poured the tea into the coffee mug, and added a little skim milk.

The toaster bell rang telling me the pancakes were ready. I added them to the plate of fruit and poured a little maple syrup onto the pancakes.

And that was my breakfast this morning.










Delicious!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Making a difference one step at a time

Here is my son with his class, K10. He has now completed the winter camp in Chuncheon, Korea. Camp Korea was a great way for him to decide if he wanted to continue doing this kind of work.
He is now on his way to Seoul to find another position for a one year contract. I have to say that I am very proud of what he is doing. Eventhough he may not realise it, he has already influenced children's lives.
A man who grew up as a child of a single mum, he is the ideal guy to be in the lives of children. He is good, gentle, fair and honest. He has a healthy sense of humour, a playful spirit and knows how to have fun. He is artistic in many ways, including music and visual arts, and is able to think outside of the box.

Okay, okay, enough gushing! But when it is warranted, you just can't help it, can you?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Singing horses?

Check out this. Click on the horses and see what they say!

Questionnaire

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being with someone who treasures me

What is your greatest fear?
Losing more family members

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Princess Diana

Which living person do you most admire?
Stephen Lewis

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My seemingly inabilaty to exercise regularly

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Dishonesty

What is your greatest extravagance?
$5000 tummy tuck

On what occasion do you lie?
To save hurting other people’s feelings

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
Very little at this time in my life. Perhaps my eyelids

Which living person do you most despise?
Child abusers

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
”You need to ….” said to the children I work with

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
The pain I have in my knees and feet

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Overcoming depression

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A person with a loving family

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
A singer

Who are your favorite writers?
Tolkien, Dick Francis, Sue Grafton

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
The Grinch

What is your most treasured possession?
My passport

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being so depressed it hurts to take a shower, and the though of drying yourself off is overwhelming

Where would you like to live?
I love living in Canada, but like to live in New Zealand

What is your most marked characteristic?
My creativity

What is the quality you like most in a man?
Patience

What is your greatest regret?
Not taking George to the hospital sooner

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
George

How would you like to die?
Doing something heroic

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Lucy


After Mum died so suddenly we were all worried about Dad. Mum was the motivating force behind our family and now she was gone, how on earth would he manage. We had all suggested he get another dog, but since he had taken Fluffy, his last dog, to be put down when he was so sick, he couldn't stand the thought of having to do that again. Fortunately a neighbour stepped in and brought a dog over and Lucy and Dad fell in love instantly. So although the dog is a crazy one, and I am incredibly allergic to her, I love her for saving Dad's life.

Meet In Toronto


Having signed up with this website last March, I had yet to join in on any of the events set up. With it being a new year, one of the things I promised myself I'd do again this year was to socialize more. So the first event I signed up for was a karaoke night. It happened that someone who had read and commented on my blog had shown some interest in my quest for a relationship, and seemed to be a willing participant, so I suggested we meet at this event. He never showed up and I have yet to hear from him! However I went into the club that I had assumed was a karaoke club. Alas, it was not at all as I had thought. It turned out to be a karaoke ROOM! If you are afraid of singing in front of people you can rent a room and sing to your hearts content, or even invite others who are like minded. I stayed for 30 minutes knowing this was definitely NOT my thing, but not wanting to seem rude by walking in then walking out. Besides being in a small room about 8' square with 3 men, all strangers, was not really my idea of fun!
The following day I joined in another event, a walk in High Park. It was snowing, but the weather was pretty mild. This was a much more successful event. There were only 6 of us but it made for an interesting hour and half. We walked up and down hill, checked out the animals in the zoo and took a few photos in the children's playground. And of course with snow around I had to throw a few snowballs. The others didn't seem so interested, but I got a few thrown, eventhough I only hit 1 or 2 targets!!
We left the park and found an excellent restaurant for lunch, where the food was delicious. So after a great walk, amazing food and good company we all parted ways and went home.
My third event was on Friday night for the Happy Hour at One Up. I met Beatriz there and we had dinner first. The salad was incredible but the main course left a lot to be desired. We joined the others in the lounge and got ourselves a drink. Of course, as usual we were the oldest patrons there, and after the drink, and no one bothering to approach us, we left.
So I have made an effort in the past couple of weeks, but as usual no luck! I don't actually go out expecting to meet anyone, rather I go intending to make some friends and have a little fun. I'm not sure that this is the right group of people to have fun with. They seemed a little concerned with making the wrong impression on people, (who couldn't have fun throwing snowballs?). So I will give it a few more tries and then see how it goes.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Mrs. Henderson Presents


I went to see this movie this week, and it was a great piece of entertainment. I enjoyed it immensely.

Penetrating, lively and invigorating, Mrs. Henderson Presents is a love note to a famous London theatre, an homage to Britain's wartime experiences and an evocation of the great musicals that lit up the screen during the thirties and forties. Directed by Stephen Frears, who has offered Toronto audiences many delights over the years, it features the incomparable Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins as well as the introduction of a fresh face, Britain's 2001 Pop Idol, Will Young.

Dench plays the eccentric Laura Henderson who, at seventy years old, finds herself widowed and at loose ends. She decides to buy an abandoned Soho cinema and turns it into what would come to be the historic Windmill Theatre. Knowing nothing about the theatre, she hires the irascible Vivian van Damm (Hoskins) to run it and reopens its doors as Revudeville. Nothing seems to bring the vaudeville house to life until Mrs. Henderson has a flash of inspiration: produce a nude revue. She neatly sidesteps the censorship laws by freezing the performers as "tableaux vivants" in which the showgirls do not move a muscle. The Windmill Theatre becomes a smash hit, and when the war begins, the theatre provides a haven for thousands of young soldiers.

Meanwhile backstage, the young models on artistic freedom, but Mrs. Henderson's constant stream of ideas means the two are bound to butt heads. Indeed, they do. And what finer actors to bring this engaging duel to the screen than Dench and Hoskins?

The film is a triumphant mix of deft comedy and stunning stage numbers that recreate the nude revues that made the Windmill the British equivalent of the Moulin Rouge. All the while, spectacle is set against the more sober realities of a London that must battle bombs on a nightly basis. Frears is unquestionably at the top of his form.

My son, the teacher in Korea


So here it is.

My son has been in touch with me and things are looking good for him in his new job. He has 10 kids who are about 10 years old. In the afternoons he teaches all the other classes, a different one each day. His specialty is teaching body parts. He has set up some fun games for them to learn. His morning group of kids were a bit of a challenge at first. They are a bright bunch, and some of them were more advanced in English than the book they are studying from.

He has to eat lunch and dinner with them, and he says he is not that excited about the food, although it only took him a couple of days to master the chopstick. He needs to get more fibre and fruit in his diet, if you know what I mean!!

He hopes to get another job in Seoul when this one finishes at the end of the month. He has a few friends there, and that would be better if he could hang out with them. There are other teachers from all over the world teaching there. His room mate went to school in Cambridge, England.

So I have to say that I am incredibly proud of him and all his efforts. It takes a special person to pull up stakes and check out life in another part of the world. Although I am not really surprised. My mother left her native South Africa when she was 21 and lived the rest of her life in England. I left England when I was 18 and have been here in Canada ever since. So it was almost expected that he would try life in another country. My secret wish is that he doesn't stay there the rest of his life. I want him back here in Canada, the best country in the world!

Monday, January 02, 2006

I have it all (almost!)

I always seem to have defining moments in the shower!

Today I was thinking about how much I want a man in my life, when it occurred to me how fortunate I am.

  • I have an amazing kid

  • I have a job that I am passionate about

  • I have an apartment downtown that is rent geared to income

  • I have money left over at the end of each month to buy not only things that I need but some things that I want

  • I get the summers off and 2 weeks at Christmas as well as March break

  • I am relatively healthy

  • I look great for a woman turning 50 this year

  • I had a great childhood, without abuse

  • My parents were still together after 51 years of marriage when my mum died in 2004

  • I do not come from a dysfunctional family

  • I got a great education in an English co-ed boarding school

  • After being a single mum on welfare for a few years, I was awarded a scholarship and was able to further my education for free and build the foundation of my career

  • I live in a city that is tolerant of all people; their colour, their sexual orientation, their religion, their political views, their traditions

  • I have family and friends who support me in times of need

  • I have food in my kitchen and money in my bank account

I guess we are often blinded by what we don’t have or what we think we need to see how lucky we really are.

I am grateful for the wonderful life I am living, but having someone to share it with would surely make it more meaningful.

The Best Christmas Present Ever

A Kiss and a Hug!



On Christmas day I insisted on taking a few pictures, as my son would be leaving soon for Korea. Here we are standing infront of the tree.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A New Year begins


It has been forever since I last added anything here. Such is my life. Just not that much going on!

My son left on Thursday for a teaching position in Korea. It was a heart wrenching parting, but then I remembered when I was 18 and left England to live here in Canada. He is 23 and ready for an adventure, and I wish him lots of fun and discovery.

I spent New Years Eve at home trying my best to ignore the celebrations. I hate New Years. I have no one to kiss, so it feels quite lonely, therefore I ignore it, and usually watch a DVD.

I am in a cleaning mood. Since my son left I started with his room and cleaned it completely. That took half a day if you can believe that! And today I have been working on the kitchen. I have come up with loads of stuff to put on www.freecycle.org. They'll love this stuff.

As for resolutions, I don't believe in them because every day we should try to do something new! Well that's what my friend Beatriz says! I think that having some hopes and dreams is a much better idea. I am still working on my 1001 things to do, but I haven't fulfilled as many as I had hoped by now. As for some hopes for 2006, I hope to
  • remain healthy
  • indulge in a long term intimate relationship
  • travel at least once in 2006
  • continue being passionate about my work
  • encourage my dad to visit me
  • see my son enjoying his choices
  • maintain and build friendships
  • live a relatively harmonious life with lots of spontaneity

I have a few dreams to!

  • Win some big money
  • Wake up beside a loving man each morning
  • Have someone else do the cleaning
  • Go to South Africa to see my mother's homeland and visit family
  • Buy a new livingroom suite
  • Grow vegetables in a garden

That's it. Not too far fetched, but dreams all the same.

So to all have a healthy and fun filled 2006!