Happy Birthday, Canada


JB flies the Canadian flag a couple of times a year – on his father’s birthday and on Canada Day. Today is a very special day for our friends down the road and across the Ambassador Bridge because they are celebrating 150 years since the federation of their country.

Bravo, Canada. We are proud of you – you have a lot of class. You feel like the next door neighbors who are like family, who are invited to special parties, who we celebrate holidays with. We have visited your special places often over the years and look forward to visiting Nova Scotia again in late summer. We always feel welcome when we cross into your land and have experienced countless acts of kindness during our visits.

JB and I feel a special kinship with you that runs deep in our souls. Many of our visits have been to the area where JB’s father was born and raised. I have often wished that his father hadn’t denounced his citizenship to become a U.S. citizen. It would have been nice if JB would have been granted duel citizenship when he was born. Funny how, because I love JB so much, I share his special heritage and experience his kinship with Canada.

But our ties to Canada have grown more special in the past few years because several of our Florida neighbors live in Ontario and winter with us. I’ve been thinking about them over the past few day and today decided to write this post for them, especially the Nash and the Welch families.

Today we received a surprise package in the mail from our Canadian neighbors, Don and Jackie. Jim loves the hat with the big, red Maple Leaf, Don, and we are both eager to use the Parks Canada Discovery Pass on our travels in a couple of months. And maybe the most special gift for Jim – a postcard from the Segwun, the steam boat we booked passage on a couple of summers ago. It was addressed to “An Honorary (not Ornery) Canadian – JIM.” That makes both of us smile big! We miss you, too.

Good Friends

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Good friends are those you can call to say you have some pie left over from a gathering the night before and they eagerly accept an invitation to a light supper of cheese and wine – and rhubarb custard pie for desert. The evening is spent telling fun stories with lots of laughter. Good food for the soul at any age.

Floral Friday For Friends

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Life unfurling with never-ending changes. Broken heart now means heart disease. Hearts are broken by death not break up. My eyes tire and sight is blurry, but my friend sees double because of disease. We have a hard time remembering what it feels like to walk without stiffness, sleep without pain. We take our designer pills to fix our brains, adjust our chemistry, and sooth the joints. I watch as friends struggle to hang on as time erodes their bodies, and nod because I understand.

Life unfurling with never-ending changes. I know who I am because I remember, when memory doesn’t fail me. I used to do things I now do differently, because I’ve changed. I am determined to hang on, as I loosen my grip on what is no more. Who am I becoming as I thoughtfully, unconsciously adapt?  Will I adapt until there is nothing left of who once was?

Life unfurling with never-ending changes. We friends laugh when tired brains make funny comments. We friends are not afraid to whisper questions starting with, do any of you sometimes need… We friends walk a pace for the slowest, wait patiently for the slowest mind. No one frets about the need to pace, to rest, to not go out. No one thinks it morbid to talk about the short time left and how we want to live it. But we fear the death of one of us.

Life unfurling with never-ending changes. The inevitable change is eased by sharing, laughing, swearing. I can’t imagine moving through life without friends to confirm the crazy, comfort the ache, fill in the voids. We affirm what is good and right but have no time for bull-shit. We collectively remember what shouldn’t have been so we can speak out for what the future should be. Age is giving us the right to be as we are reflected in each other. Age becomes our badge of courage and voice of reason.

This message is approved by Friends.


botanical garden 130Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is Connection. There are some things that we really need to have strong connections – like this hammock. The people who made this understood the imporance of having intricate and strong knots connecting the roping and the people who hung it knew the importance of a strong chain. It is also important to have strong connections with people.

When I travel or am at my winter home, I become very aware of the importance of my connections, my social network. We are excited today because J saw our favorite southern neighbors at the pool. We have been waiting for them to come down from Toronto and it was fun hearing their latest news. We missed them and I feel more whole now that they are here.

My connections with family and friends up north are also really important. When my mother was dying of cancer in Florida, I was still living and working full-time in Michigan. She was married to a man who was taking wonderful care of her but I wanted to be with her – to help care for her. I flew down a few times that summer when I didn’t have teaching responsibilities but soon realized I couldn’t stay more than about five days. The stress of seeing her in pain or doped up on drugs made my fibromyalgia worse – especially because I didn’t have my normal support system around me.

When my father died suddenly in Florida several years ago, we flew down for the funeral. My two sisters and their families were there, and of course my mother, but the funeral didn’t seem to nurture me or help with the healing. About a month after returning home, a cousin died of cancer and I went to her funeral. It was there, walking into the church and getting hugs from my aunts and other cousins that I felt the comforting support I needed.

I am missing my friends up north and am eager to see them. We have had some e-mail exchanges but that isn’t the same. I need face-to-face time. I need that mutual give and take of conversation and laughter. They have let me know they miss me too and that feels good. I am connected to people who know how to give me love and how to take in the love I have for them. This is good, this keeps me healthy, this makes me happy.

My connections with my adult children are healthy and this brings me great joy. They have their own lives but they eagerly include us and share their joys and frustrations. They share because of our mutual love and respect, not because they expect us to fix their problems. We are all clear that they can ask for suggestions and information and sometimes we lend a hand, but everyone understand who is ultimately responsible for making decisions and we know our roles. They are good people, the kind that I would choose as friends if they weren’t my kids. They feel like good friends.

My most important connection is with my husband – but I have another post planned for him. All I need to say now is that my relationship with him has helped me heal from life’s wounds and made my life very enjoyable. I am blessed.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

Companionable – let me consult the dictionary in my mind. The dictionary that gives me definitions that are as much emotional as intellectual. Companionable means going together, a good fit, enjoying each other’s company.

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What could be more companionable than warm-from-the-oven rhubarb coffee cake and a cup of decaf coffee in the evening with the comfortable companionship of the person I’ve shared precious moments with for over 50 years?

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