Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Wishes

We are coming upon that evening, of ringing in the New Year! Come midnight, glasses will be tinkling, lips will be kissing, and hearts will be full of faith for a better year ahead. My hope is that you spend more time looking forward than you do looking back! I know I am certainly going to try!

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?

I don't. I feel the same way about New Year’s resolutions as I do about Valentines. You should not have just one day that you choose to show love, just like you shouldn't have one day to have as the defining starting point of making positive changes! These should be every day. That does not mean that I don't take some time for reflection, forgiveness and taking in the familiarity of my mistakes and how I can make changes for the better. My inspiration comes in unsystimatic moments though, and it is a process that always takes a long time for me, with much thought and consideration.

I do like to wish people a Happy New Year. It is a nice positive wish that you can wish for anyone, no matter what their race, religion, or beliefs. Even if someone does not celebrate New Year’s, wishing them a great year should be viewed as just that, a wish you have for them.

I am always intrigued by how we all choose to celebrate New Year’s Eve. I have not found the perfect way to ring in the New Year. Not yet. I remember as a kid, my mom would always be working New Years Eve. We kids would be at home with my dad, (unlike Christmas, I do remember how we spent many of our new years eve). It was always the same, in the living room, blankets sometimes on the floor, watching Dick Clark and the ball light up, everyone on TV singing and kissing and confetti all over the place. Then we would call my mom at work and wish her a Happy New Year!

I have never been one for very large New Years Eve celebrations. It always amazed me that women can have their hair and makeup done to perfection, a new outfit on their bodies, and then they get drunk, fall all over bathrooms, fight with their men, and ruin what could have been a perfectly fun evening. Men fight with each other, kiss women they shouldn't, and fail to be present in the moment most times. Just my observations by the way!

Intimate dinners and celebrating with family and friends is always nice, surrounding ourselves with people we trust and love, and who bring out the good in us! The last few years we have gone to a hockey game, which has always been fun. This year will be nice, as we now actually have a TEAM! Haley has her very own jersey too!

A few years ago, the company I worked for was selling these.

They are little cards that you give out, with candy and a hand written message. I think I only ever gave one out, but I kept them, as I thought they were a wonderful idea. I love the thought of personalizing in your own handwriting, a wish that you have for someone, something that comes from your heart, with genuine love.

I may take some time in the next few days, to write a few out that I can give to the people I care about. When these are all gone, you can bet I will be designing and making my own!

This is not my day to reflect, to think, to honour my year. I just don't feel it right now, but I will!

So friends, Happy New Year! I wish for you much health, joy, laughter, and strength of mind and soul! I know we say every year, may this be our best year yet! That is a good goal to have, so maybe this will be the year, we make the changes we need, to make that wish actually come true!

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

At the Dinner Table

My dining room is not really a dining room at all. In its original form, it was a bedroom, a small 10 x 10 room that I turned into a dining room. There is no door, just an open, white trim doorway. The one time closet is now an inset with dark wood shelving from near top to bottom, that houses my pretty dishes and glasses, the walls inside, painted a dark burgundy colour. The window is rather large, takes up nearly the whole wall, with just a white lace valance. On a good, sunny day, this window splashes light on my terracotta colored walls, my dark wooden table and four black leather chairs. On the opposite wall of my window, I have two shelves that hold my many cookbooks, baking books, magazines and a few sun loving plants. My placemats have burgundy, terracotta, burnt orange and olive green stripes, with small glass beads at the edges. They are a beautiful compliment to my warm, sunny, comforting dining room.

Can you see it? Can you feel the sunshine warming your face?

I can. It is my favourite place to write, gather with my small family, have an afternoon coffee or glass of wine, and all too often, my favourite place to put way too many papers that clutter up the table and take away my serenity!

We eat at the dinner table often. My daughter is in charge of setting the table. She decides who will sit where, and sometimes, she writes our names on a piece of paper, a small offering of kindness to know that in this designated spot, we are welcome to sit and enjoy our meal.

Sometimes our dinner table is lively with laughter, talk of the day, upcoming plans we may have. It is also where we make new plans, discuss how we want to spend our summer vacation, making the occasional list. However, sometimes, if one of us is having a bad day, or not feeling well, our table is not so lively, it's a bit more hushed, turning sometimes into a silence that can be uncomfortable and broken by the drop of a fork, or a smile.

This other dinner table is in the large kitchen, just off to the corner in a little nook area, built specifically for a small table. There sits a table, wooden I think, oblong in shape, with five vinyl covered chairs with chrome legs. The double kitchen sink, is in plain view, and has directly above it, a big window that has a view of the apple tree in our backyard. I don't know if the sun ever did shine in that window, but I know that my mom sure looked out of it a lot. I always thought she must love doing dishes, because she was there so many times a day, wearing always, an apron around her waist that she had made. I sat at the dinner table, just to be near my mom, and I watched her in the kitchen so often, I memorized her moves.

It is at that same dinner table where I remember there was not always laughter, sharing of everyone's day, or kindness. I do remember fear, I remember respect, the formality of a saying by my dad, and I hate to this day, "well if that's dinner, I guess we've had it!" I remember a time that our plates were picked up and smashed into the kitchen sink, soiled still, with a dinner we did not get to finish, left for my mom to clean up. Someone must have disliked something served that night for dinner.

When we did finally move away from my dad, and joined my sister’s dinner table, we discovered lively conversation, around a dinner table big enough to fit our family and the friends we brought home from school. Around that table is where we ate, we laughed, we drank our coffee and we visited, oh we always visited around that table. That table saw lover’s quarrels, family fights, discussions, it held the games we played, the homework we did, and once even held my mom sprawled out on it posing for a picture with the family around her. We grew to have fun around our dinner table, and as teenagers, we ate there nearly every night and without fail, every Sunday!

I want our girls to feel that our dinner table is a safe place, a time to share, to ask questions, to laugh, make a joke, to compliment the cook on the hard work and love that went into creating the meal, no matter how simple or fancy. (Wow do I wish they actually did this!) I look forward to the day that I have a large enough dining rooms that will fit a table big enough for our two grown girls and one day, their family, and a whole lot of love and laughter! These are the things I want our girls to know about our dinner table.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Prince, You still Rock My World!

I was maybe twelve or thirteen years old the first time I saw the Prince movie Purple Rain. I was in love with Prince in an instant! He was my first musical crush. I watched the movie every single day after school for over a year. My big brother's friend would criticize my new found love, to no end. He would say mean things about his height, his physique, his screaming voice, his femininity, you name it. Everything Prince has ever been criticized for, he was saying to me, trying to sway my pre teen mind from my futile obsessive love of an untouchable human being.

His attempts failed at every try. Nothing could sway my dreamlike state of mind. I was so sure that if I met Prince when I was "of age" , he would most certainly want to marry me! He may be a slight man, but to me he was larger than life! Oh the dreams we teenage girls have! They are amazing and sometimes a little more than crazy.

I can tell you that although I may have had an unrealistic reverie of my beloved Prince, from my love of his movie and mostly of his music, came so much more. That movie was etched in my brain, I memorized the dialogue, word for word, and I was touched to the core of me. His music inspired me to write poems, to write anything I could, to have courage to be my own person, to take a stand for my taste in music, no matter what others liked or disliked. When I would watch that movie, something changed in me. The movie was sad, it was deep, it was tumultious, it was tragic, and it was sexual ( I forgot just how much until I watched it with my eleven year old daughter!). It was familiar. He was familiar. I could not get the image of those sad eyes, those perfect lips and beautiful hands out of my mind. Then of course, I grew up! I stopped dreaming of the day I would meet Prince and he would fall in love with me, and I gave up all hope of seeing him perform in concert.

Yes I gave up hope of ever seeing Prince in concert, until.....this week. He was coming to our fine city to perform in his Welcome 2 Canada Tour. Me and two of my friends went to see him, my aniticipation building until I thought I was going to burst! He came on stage, of course in pure Prince theatrics, and I was in love all over again! We danced the whole concert, and it was amazing! A few times I had to turn to my friend and hug her, I was so thrilled! Of course I could not see his sultry eyes up close, but I did see a close up of his wonderful hands on the big screen ( I know that is such a wierd thing to find sexy, but I do!). The concert went on for 2 1/2 hours, but I could have listened and watched forever. There were times I just watched, and took it all in. Times I wished that his performance was in a small venue, where we could dance if he played something to dance to, and sit and enjoy a jamming session just to see the joy in their face. Pure joy. He said it,  "real music, played by real musicians". I have heard that he often performs after party sessions in smaller venues. He didn't do it in Winnipeg this time, I only hope he will next time, how else will I ever meet him? You see, I am still sure if he met me now, he would know he was looking for me! It was always me. At his concert here in our fine city, several times he called for the lights to come on. He was looking, but he didn't see me then either. Perhaps next time! :) Perhaps in our next life.
Music is so unmistakeably the one thing in this world that touches us all. Music moves us. Sometimes in the form of dance, sometimes in the form of emotion, memory, it can even be our therapy. Music makes us feel better, it transports us in our mind and in our soul, where we want it to take us. Music makes us sad, makes us happy, makes us feel. It sometimes makes me feel, when I don't want to, but that is the magic of it. Music is magic. There is nothing else in the world so universal, that connects all people, no matter our color, our race, our religion.

I don't care what other people think of Prince, what the media says, what anyone says. Going to that concert, was likely a once in a lifetime for me, and I loved every single second of it! Sure, I will hold out hope to one day see him perform in a small venue, where I can sit up close and just be in awe and enjoy.  I will be forever grateful that I had the chance to enjoy a concert I thought I would never be at, and yes Prince, you still rock my world!