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Dear Emma,


Wednesday,Nov 30th to Thursday, Dec. 1st.

After a four day (3 night) stay in San José, I am on my way back to Montréal.  I know the day and night will be long since it is  12:30 and my flight leaves only at 19:00.  My roommate tells me she needs help to clean up the volunteer staff room as they are eating now.  This was part of her seva (“selfless service” in Sanskrit).   I said I would try to go and help her but I was so tired, having not slept all night. I came to check out and realized I forgot my raincoat in the room; by the time I got my coat I decided I wanted to see how I could help in the Volunteer Staff room.

My roommate came to hug me, thanking me. I told her to go to catch her flight and I would stay as long as they needed me.  The lady in charge told me to start with, “You must eat first.  Help yourself to anything and then you can help.”  I made myself a humus sandwich with hot pickles and cucumbers…yum!   I told the lady in charge how well organized the retreat was and especially for Devi Bhava where there were double the amount of people.  She pointed to a man near the window and said he organized this. So I went over to thank him.  Truly, to organize the meals and the last night where a thousand or more people were eating meals and continuously munching throughout the night and never missing any food to serve us, was a miracle.  Really!  How could they know?  How could they calculate to always have enough food and always that delicious Chai that is the best in the world (thus far for me as I have not traveled much.  But there is always just the right amount of milk and sugar).

I got to speak to several volunteers and feel privileged to have met these people who had given so much of their time selflessly. And I was happy to help organize what to do with the leftover food…not to waste it.  So I suggested we put all the leftovers in ziplock bags.  One volunteer knew of a place to donate it. A homeless shelter was out of the question as they do not take any food that has been opened.  I kept looking at the vegetables and what a great gumbo soup one could make for several families!

I called for a ride to the airport and was on my way much earlier but decided I might be able to nap at the airport. I was surprised how close the airport was!  I got to security within minutes.

But, with only two hours sleep in 48 hours “j‘ai sûrement les nerfs à fleur de peau” …I was flustered when passing through security.  The officer asked me to unlock my suitcase starting going through my dirty underwear, examining my flat iron as if it’s a miniature rifle and scanning a box of vanilla instant coffee I never opened and purchased in San Francisco, I was breathing in and breathing out to stay calm. (Yes, I get it that they have to be careful!)   But still, to have my suitcase opened in public in front of men waiting to pass through and Only a teenage boy and I were put through a microscope. Yeah, I guess I need a few hours shuteye and venting with you, Emma, helps.

(C)Clr'16 San José Airport
(C)Clr’16 San José Airport

So I am sitting in front of the window watching the planes zip by.  “Boy, for a small airport it sure is busy!! I decide to take a short gander to the newsstand to get a bag of chips and a cola. “6.25$”,the clerk asks mechanically and too quickly, if I want a bag he will have to charge me 10 cents! I ask him to repeat but he blurts out the exact line and speed with that robotic voice. He appears to be losing his patience and I sense he is frustrated that I just don’t get it. I apologize for having to repeat but it is difficult to understand because he is speaking too fast.

By now I am ready to speak with a very thick French accent as my excuse for not understanding. Sheesh, this is an international airport! Why would he assume everyone is fluent in English?!

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Yeah I am tired. As for San José, it is definitely a pretty city with beautiful architecture although I do love San Francisco. (Will share my brief stay there later)

By the way, I took my first Uber trip from San Francisco to San José and today to the airport .  It is a service I truly appreciated in the USA.  I am not sure I will  use it in Québec though…Taxi drivers here have to pay a license of $35,000 a year to the government to operate and I feel compelled to support our drivers here.

I had not started eating my chips yet I could hear the crunching of someone eating them behind me.  After each bite, the man was licking his fingers…each bite!  I was ready to walk over to him and either offer him a napkin or smack him over the head. I did neither. I started humming a song and concentrate on that sound.

On a positive note, I was chatting with a woman by the Air Canada gate. Telling her my experience at the newsstand and why I was a bit flustered with little to no sleep. She said she slept a few hours too and then she explained She was at her first retreat. Yep, Amma has a way of connecting those beads together.  It was nice to connect with another devotee on my way home to Canada.

I arrived at Vancouver Airport at 21:00 and my connection to Montreal was not until 21:20. Seven hours to go until I was on home soil.

Walking through customs is an example of what our world has become…I don’t know why they  bother to put humans to simply direct us right or left to the digital stands where we are to scan our passport, scan our declaration of what was purchased and print it out to give along the way to another human being who decides if we passed or not. I passed!    I felt bad for an Asian couple ahead of me who needed a human since the form we filled in is in English on one side and in French on the other side. Their long flight just got prolonged that much more. I hoped that Vancouver was their last stop.  I had another seven hours until I would be at my last stop.

The lovely woman I spoke to earlier told me that time would fly by faster than I would expect.  I was sure hoping so.  I was getting more grumpy and hungry.  It felt so weird to be away from the environment I was for the past three days with chanting and singing with periodical moments of quiet and meditation.  Imagine a hall filled with hundreds of people, talking, laughing, chanting and singing and falling completely silent after that first OM.  A cough here and there and no other sound can be heard.  That is truly amazing to see how people from all walks of life come together in moments like this…all understanding the same language.

I kept walking towards signs indicating the gate for my connection and as I went down one floor and then up another floor, I noticed I was being led to the exit to leave the airport.  Uh Oh!! Could this mean I would have to go through security AGAIN!

I sat down a moment to loosen the laces of my Docs to be ready to take them off.  I am getting even more agitated by now. How can they manage on a busy day if you have to go through security when people have connections?

By the time I got to security, I asked them that question.  Of course they explain the regular “script” that for security and I pass by the exit, blah blah blah!  I was so tired and grumpy I wanted to cry like a baby. I was upset they did not answer my question I had asked how they managed when the airport got busy. “Oh”, one officer said, “This is just the evening and night shift because we do not have someone to lead people through another area.”  Wow!! So to save $$$ why not just put the burden solely on the travelers. Sure that makes total sense!

I was close to tears during the entire process of getting my plastic bag of liquids and gels out, my boots, coat, hooded sweater etc.  It is not busy at all and when it is over I ask if there is a place to sit down so I can put my boots on. (Every other place I noticed there was a long bench for that purpose).  It is far from the area and I am feeling rushed.  I know I am just too tired and not quite myself.  One officer who seemed more in charge as he seemed to have an air of authority and one who could make decisions. He was kind enough to bring me my back pack   I thanked him, whispering I was just so tired.  Whispering, because I was ready to have a crying fit.   Lack of sleep can certainly affect a person’s psyche and leaving a place filled with love and compassion, saying goodbye to Amma is like saying goodbye to my mother and never knowing when I will see her again.  Even though I know I can always feel her in my heart, the first hours and days after leaving her presence has this affect and surely not just on me.

Speaking of Mother, the 2nd anniversary of Mom’s passing is tomorrow, December 2nd.  I think seeing Amma has helped to get through this period.

I finally get all sorted out and am looking for my passport and it is still on the counter next to the officer…good thing I noticed!  Sheesh!!

By the time I get to the gate, I notice they are already boarding!! Gee, I guess, time did go by much faster than I realized.

I finally get to the gate and notice a Tim Horton that is open. Oh, did I mention that most stores were closed at this time at this airport?  I guess I was just assuming it was the same in all cities but I guess on weekdays it may be different. I really do not travel much so each airport is a new experience for me.

I decide to have a cup of soup and jot down some thoughts on my iPad.  It is 22:45 now and I walk up to the gate and am pleasantly surprised to see some people already boarding.  I was glad I had chosen a window seat ahead of time so I could lean my head on the side.

(c)Clr'16 Leaving Vancouver
(c)Clr’16 Leaving Vancouver

The flight was quiet. I slept most of the way which made the flight so much shorter.

One hour before landing I kept watching the sky waiting for the darkness to lift slowly.  I knew I would see the sun rise or at least some line of colours in the horizon.  And I did…the last half hour of the trip was silent as I am sure I was not the only one looking at the Universe wishing us a good morning in such warm colours.

Arriving Montreal airport at 7:10 means heavy traffic and so I am looking around for a spot to rest and have breakfast.  I am searching for a place near the exit so I can just catch the express bus when I am ready.  There is construction going on these days and I could blame my getting lost on this.  Whenever I follow “arrival” signs it takes me to stairs and I cannot find an escalator.  Hmm, so I continue to the other end of the airport and ask a woman at a kiosk selling something or other, my brain cannot even register what.   She says the stairwell I saw earlier is the only place since they are under construction.

As I walk back slowly to that section, I ask a man who is cleaning the window of a store.  I asked him first, if he speaks English or French.  He responds with a sourpuss, “French”. I only asked because there are many people where French is not their first language and some speak English better. Clearly, I had offended him.   He did not want to answer my question when I asked if he knew if there were escalators to get to “arrivals”.  He said he did not know and I should just look at the signs.  I look at him a bit stunned that he is so grumpy (I wonder what his excuse is…maybe he needs a hug but his attitude and way of speaking to me is hurtful, probably because my skin is not thick enough to hear typical separatist die-hards) I suppose the look on my face seems to have a huge question mark as he sticks out his chin as if to say, What do you want?  All I could manage in perfect French, was, “I do not dare ask you anything more, thank you, since you are being far too rude.”  And I push my luggage away from there.  I stop at one spot to check the time and curious as to how much I have been walking since I got off the plain…3 km already and I am still not out of here! Well,  this is a wonderful way to get some exercise I suppose!

5 km later, I have managed to reach the exit door where I can take a taxi or bus.   FINALLY!  I suppose when you have not slept much in three days,  one’s mind goes back to a toddler’s.  Yep, that’s exactly how I felt…missing my mommy to get me home safely.

I notice a Tim Horton’s near the exit and order a bagel and coffee. That too was another experience but I will stop whining…enough already, right?

I get outside and ask a man who calls taxis for people where do I get the 747 bus. He indicates the section and I walk there.  It is clearly written to wait here and yet I see a bus further up.  I am tempted to walk over there but decide to wait.  There are two men waiting there and we start talking.  They have just arrived from Egypt for two days only!  Tomorrow they have a second test to pass in dentistry and they are to return right after the test tomorrow.  Wow!! They will have one more test to pass in December to see if they will be accepted in the dentistry programme at McGill University. (Now I am feeling ashamed for being so grumpy!)  They ask me questions about the weather here. They find it terribly cold today and yet it is unusually warm at only 6C and last week it was -2C and snowing.  I suppose it could be the humidity that makes it less tolerable.

The bus arrives twenty minutes later and the driver tells us to wait at the other end where I had seen the bus earlier! Yes, I missed the earlier bus.  Perhaps it was meant to be.  I was able to give these men some information on Montréal and Québec.

The bus ride to downtown was slow due to traffic even at 9:30 in the morning!  With the rain, and the swishing sound of wet pavement, I kept dozing off. Once we arrived at Lionel Groulx Métro, I knew it would not be long before I would catch my bus home at Bonaventure.  By 11:00 I was finally home.

My bed beckoned me.  My cat, Bette, kept meowing and probably telling me off for leaving her for six days.  So I start unpacking and decide to do two loads of laundry before resting.  Before noon, I am napping with my Bette purring loudly next to me.  I wake up now and then but my  body screams at me to close my eyes.  By the time I look at the time, it is 2 in the morning!! I missed my son’s text asking if I was home  at 16:00.

I get up to drink some water and get back to sleep until 11:00 this morning!  Wow!! I slept almost 24 hours.  Waking up with a migraine and I am surprised how great I felt near Amma. Never a headache or any sign of migraines.

I am finally starting to feel human again…time to look over some of my notes from my trip and perhaps post one or two.

My only regret is that I searched through my luggage in every corner and compartment and did not find a CD a devotee and new friend purchased for me to help me learn how to pronounce The Thousand names of the Divine Mother.  I know I did not forget it at the hotel as I looked around several times around the chairs and bed to ensure I did not forget anything. I remember seeing the CD at the bottom of my suitcase.  I wonder if it slipped out at security when the officer was going through it…Fortunately, I purchased another CD of songs in 2014 (my first retreat)  but only asked to download to my USB key and that was attached to my set of apartment keys.  Lesson learned: In future, pay to have music downloaded rather than purchase a CD.

©Clr'16
©Clr’16

Emma, I will tell you more about my trip later when I have had a real meal…butternut squash and quinoa stew sounds like good comfort food.

Talk to you later,

Oliana

 

 

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reflections (haibun)


November has been more palpable than former years.  Once we passed a few weeks of rain, one gets the feeling that life is still hanging on.  There are the odd trees with colourful leaves hanging proudly on their branches.  It is almost as if nature is making a statement but it is difficult to interpret the meaning.

The other day I noticed one tree on my way to work with half of the right side full of yellow leaves and the other half completely bare. I smiled as I passed by the tree and wondered how the wind and the rain worked in tandem to catch ONLY one side of the tree.  “Nature works in mysterious ways sometimes”, I thought to myself, shaking my head.

Yes, November seems less dark.  I took a photo last week of the sunset from my desk.  I knew I would not have time to catch the beauty if I went up to the rooftop.  And I took another one yesterday.  I saw this huge ball of fire dipping and the few seconds it took for me to aim my phone to that glorious scene, the sun had almost slipped completely below the horizon!

©Clr’16 Montréal, Qc.

How blessed I feel, sitting at my desk, watching the Great Artist add different shades to His canvas.  And despite listening to heart throbbing stories sometimes, I can still feel the presence of something very powerful as I look out the window.

Aw, it is a difficult time for many this season.  I cannot help thinking of the calls recently of troubled youths, struggling to find a reason to go on.  A teen who grieves a mother and a twin, wishing to be with them, it hurts too much.  A  younger teen, whose voice is shaking with fear of what might result from taking “those pills”.    Thankfully, she finally accepts to call emergency services and the grieving teen accepts to tell his  family and coach at school, determined to break the cycle of suicide in his family.

©Clr’16 Montréal, Qc.

Today, I think of the approaching days and the anniversary of Mom’s death.  As I plan for my trip to a retreat in California to see Amma next week, I realize I am returning  one day before this anniversary.  Perhaps this trip will help.

How I miss Mom’s  laugh and especially her hugs.  I remember when I was a teenager.  I could kiss my mother dozens of times in one day because we always kiss before leaving the house. If I went out of the house umpteen times, well, I’d just kissed her goodbye that many times.  She would chuckle sometimes.

As we approach this date, December 2nd, I feel myself slowly replaying that night by her side … her last moments here. I cannot help but wonder if it is because it is my mother.  It is just as I replay the birth of my children the day before their birthdays even 30+ years later;  I find myself also replaying the end of life with my mother.  How blessed I was to be by her side.  Perhaps Amma’s embrace will be Mom and GrandMaman as well…the three most important women  that I think of every day, wrapping their arms around me.

ashen waves
sentimental currents
whispering despair
wind driving clouds away
making way for sunshine

I love remembering times with my mother and talking about her with my children. They too have fond memories of her. Every time they smile and laugh at how funny she was. She was a bit like Lucille Ball only she was not acting! Even when I was a teenager, I remember having a party in my grandmother`s house where we were now living. And my mother came to dance with all of us. All my friends thought she was so cool!

The year after my parents’ divorce, my mother was slowly starting to go out more. I remember going to the golf club with her for the first time. I was 15 and quite tall so I may have looked a bit older than my age at almost 5’7″. My mom was so pretty and petite (5’2″) I thought if I called her “mom” potential boyfriends may think she is older than she really was. So I asked her if I could have permission to call her by her first name on the golf course. She smiled that amazing smile that warms my heart. That was a special moment for me…for us.

missing you
my new role in life
as an orphan
remembering you
showers of sweet blessings

©Tournesol’16/11/18

Tanka for Carpe Diem Tanka Splendor #18 Depression

Daily Moments, November 18th, 2016

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charm of depression (haibun)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

Depression can mean many things.  We tend to overuse that word meaning, sad, moody, down in the dumps and wiped from work or school;  all these last moments to days or weeks but depression is not quite the same thing.

I remember seeing the face of depression when I was a teen for the first time.    I observed the grey tint to her face, the emptiness in her hazel eyes and that consistent  pout.  Of course, what did I know at thirteen?  I thought there was a cause and  that was the effect.  One person causing a broken heart, which in turn turned those hazel eyes into depression.

And yet, I know now that it is far more complex than that.  Yes, a broken heart is grieving a love that one had. I like to call all grief a “necessary depression”.    And that sadness can conjure up old wounds and…

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Dear Emma,


 

I’ve not been writing much. Whenever I sit down and hear my muse whisper a few lines, it does not seem to travel to my fingertips. And so I read and the following day I may take some photos and thoughts come to mind, hoping I will be able to translate them into a haiku or free verse.

But no, nothing really seems to stir the yearnings I had before. I remember starting to write when I got home from work at midnight and I would write until dawn, often! And I would spend almost ten hours or more on my days off to write, write, write.  I would read so many other blogs as well and after three years that dwindled.  I was thinking today, that maybe I will write at least once a week on each blog…or maybe just stick to one blog.  No, I’m not ready to introduce Oliana to my known world…my friends and family and least of all, my colleagues.  Not that I am ashamed…not in the least but I like to keep a private part of me from most of my workmates.

In September, I remember thinking it was so sad to see how I could write two to three haiku a day and still had never chosen my favourite I have written in the past three years to publish. I know if I start seriously looking at that, I may not be able to organize a time to compose and a time to edit and sort.  No, I may have to think that through or perhaps ask advice to some of my readers.

Working almost full time (32 hours out of the 35) limits me and I don’t just want to write in all of my free time. I want to travel a little while I am still healthy and since I am working I can afford it more. So here I am on my meal break trying to put some order in my “free time”.

I had a few difficult calls today and that seems to be the norm this time of year. Last week the calls were brutal in the sense that I was so emotionally wiped at the end of the week.

But I look forward to November 25th which is when I will be boarding the plane to San Francisco, arriving late in the evening and staying at a hotel on Fisherman’s Wharf for two days.  I have been to San Francisco years ago…a 50th birthday present from a former “beau”.  We did Nappa Valley, Mendocino County, all of San Francisco, Monterrey, Carmel, Big Sur and so this time around I just want to soak up a sunset and maybe just walk around the city.  It may rain, so I am coming prepared with my rainwear and the weather is still much warmer than here, so I imagine I will be just fine.  I was thinking of taking a catamaran sunset tour…maybe or a whale watch tour…the former seems much nicer, eh?  I had not realized that this will be America’s Thanksgiving Weekend…but I had not choice. The main reason for my trip is that on the Sunday I will be in San José at a retreat.  That’s right, Amma will be there.  It is the last trip before returning to India.  She is in Europe still this week and then off to Detroit.  I chose San José as I felt it would be nice to back in California. I do love this state.  I went back on another trip that same year when I was 50 to visit my friend in Newport Beach in November.  So it is like kissing the soil of California before the end of our calendar year.

It is maybe more than that. In 2002 when I came back from San Francisco, we ended our three year relationship.  I  came back to a father who was very ill.  He had been hospitalized twice during that year. I joined Bereavement Families of Ontario, at that time as well which was housed down the street from my dads apartment.  I changed job for 6 months full time working at an EAP (Employment Assistance Programme) and kept a part time position at a parent line.  I would drive from work north of Toronto, stop by my dads place often to check up on him or do his groceries and then continue down south downtown to pick up a shift at the other place. My daughter left home at that time and took a small apartment downtown in October and right after New Year’s my father was back in intensive care and died January 3rd.  That same week my daughter told me she was pregnant…for some reason, I sensed she was carrying a boy. And, she was (smiles)

That year was a year of endings, losses and plenty of transitions. Maybe going back to California is related somehow to endings and new beginnings. I am not sure but I do know that I am pulled to go back there and glad I am travelling alone. I will, however, miss Karuna (Livinglearningandlettinggo) at the retreat.  This will be my first time going to a three day retreat without her.  Maybe, that too, is a sign I am ready to experience something new.  I yearn to sit for hours basking in the presence of the Divine, and feel the energy of all the people around me and of course, to hear the chanting.  Here, I know I will be able to sit quietly at any time moving my lips and no one will take a second glance.  I still do it here.  I cannot chant out loud or whisper while I am walking with the colder weather lately. I start coughing, so I just move my lips hoping my words reach the universe.

My break is over already and this has really been a pleasant moment to stop and just reflect on me and my personal life rather than dwell on my work. Thanks, Emma, you are, as usual, an amazing listener.

Hugs, Oliana xxx

 

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Wordless Wednesdays 


(c)Clr’16
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Song Lyric Sunday “Brave” by Sara Bareilles


 

HELEN ESPINOSA gives us the theme this week for Song Lyric Sunday: post a song that deals with judgment or the opposite-getting rid of judgment and being more accepting of everyone.  

I chose Brave because I love how the lyrics encourage a person to be brave and speak up and not worry what other people say.  The video is really motivating. I would certainly have chosen this video after a 10 week workshop on Assertiveness (smiles).  I think I would also suggest it to youths who reach out to us on Live Chat struggling with any kind of bullying, racism and especially any youth struggling with coming out.

A few months ago our help line announced some of the findings of a survey  we ran by asking teens about various issues related to mental health and suicide.  One that was alarming but not surprising was that one in five teens have either thought about suicide or attempted.  What is sad with those stats is that 30% to 40% of those teens are most likely youths struggling with sexual orientation and sexual identity.

I come from a very small town where everyone knows everybody’s business or “thinks” they do. Gossip is a pastime, unfortunately for many people of all ages.  My only real bullying experience was when a few girls in grade 7 (I was in grade 6) taunted me with cruel names about my father.  One parent had told their daughter that my father was an alcoholic and had lost his job for stealing.   I knew my father was an alcoholic who was sober since I was in grade 2.  I had met really nice families whose father or mother was part of AA. My mother had explained to my sister and me about the disease of alcoholism and how proud she was of our father.

These girls were following me home jeering and saying mean things like “your father is just an old drunk and robber.  I would hide half way home in the wash-room of the train station. The girls would knock on the door and shout mean things to me and finally leave.  After weeks of this, the clerk at the train station called my mother to tell her about what was going on.  I guess this is the part I have to admit, small towns can be good (blushes).    When I got home my mother asked me about this and I broke down.  What is sadder is my mother had to tell me the truth…part of the cruel remarks were true but it was a long time ago when my father was drinking and made mistakes.  I still remember my mother’s face explaining this…something I would have preferred to spare her this humiliating and painful conversation.

Sara Bareilles is a singer and songwriter.  The song was written by Bareilles and Jack Antonoff from the band fun., as the singer was inspired from the struggles that a close friend dealt with in regard to coming out. (Wikipedia)

Brave
Sara Bareilles

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave
Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
Innocence, your history of silence
Won’t do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
See you be brave
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
Songwriters: Jack Antonoff / Sara Bareilles
Brave lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Dear Emma,


A funny thing happened to me on my way to work today.  Well, funny is an understatement.  Before leaving I had carefully placed a tiny amber glass bottle with a mixture I had prepared last night for migraines consisting of eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender essential oil mixed with a carrier oil.  I added the bottle of eucalyptus essential oil and another amber bottle of Echinacea.  All placed in a plastic container in case there would be a leak. Of course I did not think there would but one never knows.

I have been taking more vitamins to boost my immune system lately.  With the cold weather starting and travelling on public transit I want to avoid catching too many viruses.  So, apple cider capsules, Vitamin A, B-6 and Echinacea have been part of my daily regime and I add a few drops of essentials to add to my mini cool air mister.  So basically, my workstation smells like a spa!  Fortunately, I sit in a more isolated area now to work quietly and my work colleague loves my spa scents.

When I arrived at the office, I took out my plastic container, feeling proud of my little collection of scented oils and when I took off the lid the strong smell of eucalyptus essential oil struck me. I could see the bottle open, the top had broken.  Oh boy!! The scent spread very quickly all over the counselling centre.  I kept apologizing to two counsellors who were in the centre.  The director from the regional office came over wondering what the scent was.  Fortunately, the counsellors enjoyed the scent but the other staff members were walking around less pleased.

Oh well, I thought. The past two days I had suffered severe migraines with little to no relief even with the new medication that “used” to help.   A colleague had me try a mixture of essential oils to rub on my temples and the cold numbing feeling started up immediately.  Within a few minutes the migraine was just a soft throb.  When I got home, I looked up recipes to prepare something similar. It Is not quite as numbing but it does soothe.

So that was how I started my day.

Whenever I had a break I would try for the umpteenth time to register for a retreat in California to see Amma with no success.  I asked the supervisor if I could fax it but he would not give me permission to fax to out of country. He is the only supervisor that had given me a hard time in the past six years, so I was not surprised.  When you have little expectations from some people, you don’t get so disappointed.

I did not want to wait until Saturday and risk not having a place left at the hotel I wanted to stay.  So finally I decided to scan it and email it.  I had scanned many legal documents in the past years to notaries and lawyers and hoped it would be accepted.

I fretted a lot about this all evening and sent many emails to poor Karuna who had to endure my angst.  Finally, on the bus home at 23:30 I checked my phone and the retreat office confirmed receipt of my email.  Now I can book my flights and plan my trip before the retreat starts.  It will be interesting returning to San Francisco which is where I will start. I had been to California for the first time when I turned 50 as a birthday present from my former partner.  I fell in love with everything there…San Francisco, the hills reminded me a little of Quebec City but by the ocean; Monterey and Carmel made me feel like I was a movie start riding on highway one by the ocean.  Pebble Beach, well, I am not a golfer but I did love the area and the houses around there…wow!  We stopped for a drink at the Golf Club but honestly, it was way too snobby for me.

Enough for now, Emma. I will be celebrating my son’s 38th birthday on Sunday. Boy oh boy!  I can’t get over my kids and grands keep aging except for me of course. (big goofy smile).

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THE GIRL THAT DREAMS AWAKE – Week 12 photo challenge – Faces


aunt-mae-cheers
©Clr’16

Funky Aunt Mae on St Patrick’s Day.  She is an artist loves to party. That was taken 2 years ago when she was 84!  She swims twice a week from September to June and does 45 lengths each swim. She says that is when she thinks on what she will paint or sculpt next.

©Clr`16 Bette the Starlet
©Clr`16 Bette the Starlet

My adorable Bette seems to shine to the camera like a starlet.

heidi-questions-me

These are my son’s two girls…they’re sisters. As you can see they are bi-cultural. Mia on the left is less active and Heidi on the right is looking at me as if to say, “Can we play now?”  Heidi does most of the running and Mia just lies down and wrestles with her sister with little effort.

hey-look-at-me-im-brushing-nana-s-teeth
©Clr’16

Look at the proud face of that little one above!  That’s my grandson about 10 years ago.  I had to find all sorts of tricks to get him to brush his teeth before going to bed.  He is quite proud that he is brushing Nana’s teeth!

 

its-the-laptop-or-me-pick-one
©Clr’16

It is clear here, Bette is thinking “Okay, either choose the laptop or me. Pick ONE!”    

©Clr`16
©Clr`16

This is one of my favourite photos. Every time I see it, I laugh. My grandson turned 5 and his grandfather and mom were giving him a run for his money! I love his laughing face there.

This was fun posting faces and expressions for 52 WEEKS PHOTO CHALLENGE: WEEK 12 – FACE  at THE GIRL THAT DREAMS AWAKE

 

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Flower of the day – Nov 1/16 My favourite – Daisy (Cee’s Photo challenge)


©ClRoberts'16
©ClR’16  My favourite flower, Daisy

I took this photo two weeks ago on my way to work.  The wind was blowing so hard, my eyes were weeping. I noticed the daisies and kept taking shots because I thought each daisy looked like a woman with her hair blowing in the wind.

(haiku)

like a lover
hair blowing in the wind
saying adieu*

Flower of the day posted for Cee’s Photo Challenge – November 1/16

*Original haiku post at Tournesol dans un Jardin 

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Barns and Houses (Cee’s fun photo challenge)


(c) Clr'16
(c) Clr’16  Bromont, Québec

This was taken two weeks ago at my best friend’s place.  I’ve posted many photos during the day of her houes facing the mountain and a cornfield.  This was a bit late as I could not find the darn photo in time, for Cee’s fun photo challenge on Houses and Barns.

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Dear Emma,


I may as well chat with you for a while to kill the time…until I get drowsy enough to finally get to sleep.

It is late and time to get some sleep.  I enter my room and turn on the air purifier on medium and it roars to life…just the right amount of white noise I need.  Sometimes I lower it in the night and turn it up high again early mornings so I can sleep in late enough to be in shape for my late evening shifts.

I have made an agreement with my upstairs neighbour whose pre-schooler is still up playing and jumping from midnight to as late as three in the morning.  His bed is just above my bedroom.  Yesterday Yaminah and I agreed that if  I simply knock a few times on the wall, she will hear it and understand I am still trying to sleep.  There is a mutual respect for the odd hours each has.  During Ramadan last July was the perfect test when my neighbour’s home came to life after midnight with people feasting until dawn.  But that is what one does when we live all together.  Our building is badly insulated.  We are very cold in winter and too hot in summer as well we hear each other’s mobile phones vibrate, people coughing and well, do I have to mention why I turn on the fan in the washroom even in the middle of the night?!  I suppose this is not a bad thing if I ponder on the fact that I live alone and if ever I hurt myself or need help, surely, Yaminah will hear my cries.  I hear her lively Yaqiz.  That’s why during their new year last October, I gave him a stuffed monkey to sleep with!

While Yaminah was away with her son for two months visiting her mother, I asked myself, if my grandson was the one jumping around at all hours of the night, would it bother me as much?  I realized that I would be more tolerant. And that is when I decided to build a relationship with her when she returned.  I liked how she popped in now and then just to say hello and of course I would insist on my hug.  She hugs so nice and tight too!  Sometimes I think that my mother may have sent her to me.

I have become attached to her now, as well as her jumping jelly bean of a son (smiles)!   Yaminah tells me she has adopted me as a mother since her own family is so far away.  When she came back from her long trip, she brought me a present as well a beautiful bracelet from her mother.  Her mother is happy I am here with her daughter.  How nice is that?!

Someday,  I would love to travel with her to visit her family.  Morocco is a new place I have added to my list next to Amritapuri, Kerala in India and Ballybunion, Ireland.  The first is to visit Mata Amritanandamayi, better known  as Amma (“Mother”); I was fortunate to meet through a friend/blogger, Karuna from Living Learning and Letting go and her son Sreejit from The Seekers Dungeon three years ago.  Amma is a Hindu spiritual leader and guru who is revered as a saint by her followers and also known as The Hugging Saint and can she ever hug! It is like being wrapped in my grandmaman’s arms who is whispering to me in French, “All will be well, little one, don’t worry, I’m here and I pray for you.”  The town in southern  Ireland, would be to finally visit where my great-grandfather, Michael O’Donnell lived before moving to Montréal in the late nineteenth century.

I need perfect silence in order to surrender to sleep and so often I do not believe in tossing and turning so, I read and sometimes I write in bed until my eyes get so heavy I drift off to sleep in that semi-sleep state.    I am conscious I am sitting in my bed, aware the light now seems to be glaring due to those quick journeys drifting in and out of R.E.M. sleep but then I hear a sound!  A neighbour’s dog howling, surely out of loneliness, who is left sometimes days and weeks at a time with only one moment in the day to breathe fresh air and relieve himself.  The thoughts are racing back of two years ago when he was left for a year in the cold winter months alone to howl and cry himself to sleep. A family friend and the landlord would take him out once a day in the late evening.

My sleepiness seems to have vanished as my mind babbles about how cruel this was to this beautiful creature! This family member, this helpless dog, who was left to expect only one outing a day and sometimes less than that. I remember my kitchen floor freezing those winter months and placing my potatoes and onions in the bottom cupboard since it was so cold; the kitchen wall was next to that neighbour’s flat!  Aw, yes, I do remember a few mice crawling through the hole along the pipes from next door as well and settling in my box of cereal!  I have since insisted my landlord block that hole.  Now it’s my upstairs neighbour who seems to get a visit now and then from a mouse!

You see how the mind works?   Sleep is so far for me now, as the noise is in my mind.  So much ranting I must take up my  book and read to shy the chatter away and it works if the book is captivating.  Usually my  bedtime books are mystery or psychological thrillers. I cannot read spiritual readings that make me stop to think.  No,  that would not help me get to sleep.  However, mystery stories always allow me  to escape from any mental or physical sounds.  And the process starts up again until my  mind and body give in to sleep.   It’s four in the morning and I finally drift  off to sleep.

Sounds of Silence

early bird
stirring in her pre-dawn dream
chirps by her window

stretching to bring to life
steady roar takes over

tweets carry on
white noise overlaps
rising with the sun

© Tournesol’16

Most people may be in awe listening to the first chirps of the early bird.  You know, that pre-dawn bird who seems to want to wake up everyone even if it is still so dark outside.  Well, for me, that is a sign, I need to get to sleep before the sun rises.  Sometimes I just wait to look at the sunrise and nature’s beauty.  A special feeling washes over me and calms me enough to get to sleep.

Daily Moments October 31, Sounds of Silence (Solo no Renga)

 

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Through the Window – Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge


(c)Clr'16
(c)Clr’16

I take lots of photos through the window and especially on the bus going to work.  This one I loved for the vibrant colours of autumn and I sit here by this window when I read or write.  Adding a bit of warmth when editing, gives a slight hint of colour which I like.

This photo is for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge, “Looking through the Window”

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Dear Emma,


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The colours will soon disappear and I look around at the maple leaves on the ground; some are red, yellow and amber.  Walking through the thicket I try to slow my pace and take in the little green that is left and the grounds are muddy now and leaves are turning to mush.  Still, I hope the Great Spirit will not wash it all away before its time.  Last week we had five days of rain and this is day 2 of the five days foretasted again. Wind and rain are the enemy in mid autumn for we are robbed of those last days of colours and beauty.  In spring wind and rain turn into our gifts to clean the land and make space for new blossoms.  I suppose there is a time for everything…this is the unsavoury part of loss, endings.

Ever since I was fourteen when our parents separated, we left our house at the end of October…it was sold in auction by the bank.  We moved in with our GrandMaman which was such a blessing to have her take us in despite her having very little money to spare but one boarder and two tenants in a rundown duplex next door. Oh, of course there were the winnings when GrandPapa bowled up above the stormy clouds but I was not counting on that as much as a teenager.

My sister and I made our bedroom in the furnace room, hanging our clothes for school the next day on the pipes.  It was a bit scary but since my sister was with me, it was just a different bedroom where we could talk until one of us dozed off and felt safe and loved.

Last weekend I went to that house that became my mother`s house and my step-father is now in a nursing home, so no one can live there now.  I went down in the basement and turned on the breakers for the heating and all of a sudden the house seemed to shake and I turned around and realized it was the furnace roaring back to life.  I was quite anxious to run up the stairs and wait with my Tim Horton’s cuppa at the kitchen table until the heat rose enough that I would be satisfied before leaving.  The forecast for freezing that night had worried me and I certainly don’t want a mess happening with the pipes.

A neighbour came to visit and ask about my step-father and if he gave us permission to put up the house for sale since my mother had written in the will he was allowed to stay in the house up to 10 years and he was sticking to the 10 years…two years on December 2nd will have passed.  I know he is confused and has not had time to grieve having left this life in his house, so maybe in time and if not, we just have to wait and hope things will sort themselves out as they should in its own time.  That sounds so wise and philosophical but I am far from that…this is something for which I have no control, so I can only let go and let be.

Louise, the neighbour asked to check in the basement with me to check up on the heating for it was still very cold in the house.  I showed her where my sister and I used to sleep.  I slept there for 4 years until my mother and her boyfriend (my first step-father) took up the basement.  Louise looked around at the concrete floor, the open pipes and many spider webs around the room.  I gave her a tour of the washroom/laundry room, then the tool room but did not want to show her the cold storage as I still dreaded walking there. Brrrrr, I remember when GrandMaman would ask me to go down and get potatoes down in the cold cellar…still felt there were monsters and ghosts lurking around.

Image result for the supremes 1967 dancing
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Supremes

She looked around in awe and said she would have to tell her children who are all teenagers now how lucky they are when they complain they have nothing.

It is funny because I showed Louise an area in front of furnace where we would plug in our old portable red and white record player and practice dancing to James Brown or the Supremes so we would look amazing at the next dance at the cultural centre.  That was the time I had my first crush on a movie star, Sydney Poitier in To Sir with Love.  I would have sure liked a teacher like him!

To-sir-with-love.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Sir,_with_Love#/media/File:To-sir-with-love.jpg

 

We were loved here. I never ate so well since GrandMaman could make a gourmet meal on a very tight budget and of course she had a garden and canned all her vegetables for the winter and spring.

I always thought that my mid-autumn blues came from this loss of our fancy, huge, ranch style house and beautifully groomed lawn (which my sister and I mowed). Perhaps it was taking a cue from our mother who was depressed for several years and hooked on Valium which was what doctors did in those days rather than listen to them; even the psychiatrist she was seeing for over a year just sat there and let her speak and refilled her prescription every week.  Perhaps it was seeing how she had given up and worked less and less despite the fact that GrandMaman had a carpenter turn one living room into a beauty salon…she still did not work much…never enough to pay for all our expenses here.

But GrandMaman never stopped being who she is, working tirelessly cooking and cleaning and still delivering  the odd baby here and there at 67 years old!  It was easy remembering her age since she was born in October 1899.     I know I got my strength from her; my determination and stubbornness that pushed me to do something with my life.  I also got some of that melancholy that would wrap me like a cozy duvet now and then and mostly in autumn and winter.  Perhaps it was really S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) or a combination of hibernating in the cold months since I was prone to getting bronchitis so often.  I do not like the bitter, damp cold but when it is snowing, I find that tolerable ONLY because it is beautiful and love to hear the crunch crunch underfoot as I walk to school and now to work. But the dampness that makes every joint ache, not so much; the cold that makes my breathing more difficult and tightens my chest…not so much.  But this is our climate and to make the best of it is to keep our homes warm and inviting.  Perhaps that is why, subconsciously, I have purchased a new dining table that extends to seat ten people; I have changed my draperies to a soft eggshell tone to brighten the dining and living room which are one big room.

This is my way of trying to host again and have people over like I used to do when the children were younger.  Christmas time, there are many who are alone and I want to try and open my home to friends.  I want my children to all come over more often which makes seven with their children and my best friend and her husband and my ex would make 10 plus me for my son`s 37th birthday next week…yes, I will call them this weekend and see if we can fix a date where we can all be together.  This is a way to take control of this weather and show the gloom and doom of November, I will not given (not too much anyway).  Here is another poem I wrote about this time of year:

habits of the times (solo no renga)

echoes linger
mocking in the shadows
mid barren trees

tendencies of souls at risk
symbolic of this season

hopelessness
leaving far too many
unhinged

(c)Clr'16
(c)Clr’16

 

It is also a difficult time at work since depression and melancholy lurks in every corner, our phone calls are more and more serious…youths just giving up.  And so I am not blogging as much but reading to escape from reality now and then. I am also reading more in French to improve my French written  when I do Live Chats and reading and rereading books on certain clinical approaches and topics that are very close to home for youths.  Today I am finishing Vivre avec l’homosexualité de son enfant by Sylvie Giasson.  A beautifully written book about the experiences and passage of parents and siblings when their child has “come out”.  I wish they had an English translation of this little book that is filled with wisdom, heartache and awareness on how sexuality is very fluid.  There are graphs and exercises and if anyone was truly honest, at least to themselves, they would see how we change over time and then flip flop back sometimes.  Nothing is set in stone and I try to share this with youths so they can finally understand and not try to “fit under a label”.

And so, yes, my work is bringing me down at times…one night last week I told a colleague I had a really difficult call and she just said, “Well, you’re going home now so just take deep breaths.”  I was shocked at her response since she was a friend as well and what I needed was to debrief. No supervisors were available and so I walked home, crying for that youth who called and prayed he would be safe as well as his family.  Then I wrote a poem when I got home, “Broken” and that seemed to shed the rest of angst and sorrow I had so I could get to sleep.

(Broken) Tanka
waning moon
like broken souls of broods
kiss the darkness
daunting clouds still hover
robbing them of their youth

I am blessed to be able to write to keep my sanity and today, I just realized it is a very special day.  A few years ago I met someone through another blogger who posted weekly prompts.  I felt connected with her immediately.

20140713_212700
https://livinglearningandlettinggo.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/i-met-cheryl-lynn/

It is through her I heard of Amma and that summer we shared a room at the hotel where Amma had come down for a retreat.  Now, I do not share a room with many people…I like my own space and was pleasantly surprised how we met in person at that retreat for the first time and we seemed to respect each other`s space so naturally.

Of course she is a very very unique and special person…I do believe she is an angel; I am sure she is an angel who was placed here on earth to help people…her name is Karuna which means compassion and it is her birthday.  You can check out her blog and beautiful photos at Living, Learning and Letting Go. So happy birthday, dear Karuna, may you be blessed with hugs and well wishes today and the rest of the weekend.  You deserve to be celebrated with much love.

(c)Clr'16
(c)Clr’16

an angel touched me
very first contact,
through cyberspace

through cyberspace
wishing you a happy birthday
hugs blossom in space

Good night, Emma, and thanks for listening to my long winded tale tonight.

(c) Oliana 2016-10-28

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hunting the moon (haibun)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

Leaving work flirting midnight, she looked up at the sky and began her pursuit.  The sky illuminated at times showing off its teal blue and then she noticed patches of white and grey.  On she went aiming for the perfect spot…

(c) Clr'16 (c) Clr’16

weaving through
over and under
rain clouds
preying through black forests
chasing the glow

(c) Tournesol’16

Daily Moments October 19  2016  Hunting the moon

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seasons of love (haiga) Daily Moments Oct 18/16


Tournesol dans un Jardin

capture

like a lover
hair blowing in the wind
saying goodbye

©Tournesol’16-10-18

Daily moments – seasons of love ,October 18-2016

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tumbling leaves (haiku) daily moments October 17, 2016


Tournesol dans un Jardin

© Cheryl-Lynn R. '16 © Cheryl-Lynn R. ’16

like rainfall
different shapes and colours
carpeting the earth

(c) Tournesol’16

Daily Moments October 17, 2016

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Daily Moments Oct 16/16 – Sunday’s Best (Haibun)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

Sunday stroll by the river just before sunset.  She walks along the park alone;  summer lovers have deserted their summer nest and still, she feels a tingle of life, romance and sheer beauty in the air.

(c)Cl Roberts'16 (c)Cl Roberts’16

dressed in autumn’s best
preening at their reflection
one last time

© Tournesol’16-10-16

Daily Moments October 16, 2016

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beauty lingers (tanka art) photo by Paul Militaru


Tournesol dans un Jardin

paul-militaru

vibrant hues linger
autumn soon shades the earth
lapping each moment
darkness lurks in the shadows
barren and cold

(c) Tournesol ’16/10/15

Daily Moments October 15th, Paul Militaru’s photo inspired me to write

Check out his beautiful photography at PhotoPaulM

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semantics (haibun)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

©Clr`16 ©Clr`16

Late at night after she has arrived home and settled on her comfy couch, her bff (best feline friend) snuggles on the back of the couch near her neck. Such a lovely way to end her day. She wonders why on earth the English language chose “purring” to emulate the sound. Yes, definitely, she thinks to herself, the French word has coined the perfect match.

savourant le calme
bercée par son ronronnement
paupières s’alourdir

basking in stillness
lulled by her purring
eyelids weigh

©Tournesol’16

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Oct. 8/16

Daily Moments  October 13 2016 Semantics  Haibun

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autumn (troiku) Daily Moments October 11th 2016


Tournesol dans un Jardin

© Clr '15 © Clr ’15

illusions
her golden glow deceives
autumn

illusions
lively colours of the leaves
tumbling to their death

her golden glow deceives
another broken promise
wish upon a star

autumn
mask of maturity
counting days

© Tournesol 2016-10-11

autumn (troiku) Daily Moments October 11th 2016 

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perfect miracles (haiga)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

(c)Clr'16 (c)Clr’16

each sunrise
life’s perfect miracle
birth of a new day

(c) Tournesol’16

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follow the leader (troibun)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

Last weekend she spent time in the country at her friends’ home.  They had just received their puppies for breeding and family and friends came over to see the puppies run freely.

Life as it should be
simplicity
siblings bonding

life as it should be
two sisters and two brothers
running freely

simplicity
healthy fun
pure and innocent

siblings bonding
connecting
as one

©Tournesol’16

bonding

30 days of haiga, September 27 at 19 Planets Art Blog, Prompt: directions or maps

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Street art (haiga)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

monday blues
transforms on rue St-Laurent
spiced by art

©Tournesol’16

30 days of Haiga for September 26th at 19 Planets Art Blog

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riverbank (haiga)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

riverbank
under muted darkness
frog breaks the silence

(c) Tournesol’16

30 Days of Haiga, September 25 – “Silence” at 19 Planets Art Blog

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casting shadows (haiga)


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last mission (troiku – haiga)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

season’s last mission
spinning faithfully
a spider’s lace

season’s last mission
a labour of love
writing her jisei

spinning faithfully
each phase
intricately

a spider’s lace
adorning
the main foyer

(c) Tournesol’16

September 24, 2016  30 days of haiga at 19 Planets Art Blog

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dancing candle (troiku) & neverending love (senryu)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

(troiku)

one candle
in the window
dancing for the stars

one candle
waving
to the moon

in the window
image of perfection
just, an illusion

dancing for the stars
reflections
shimmer on the lake

©Tournesol’16

(senryu)

a thousand candles
lit by one flame
a mother’s love

©Tournsol’16

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whispering autumn (haibun)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

First day of autumn and she wondered if we would get relief from the heatwave.  It was so unusual for this part of the country.  Well, just on schedule, the temperature dipped just a little but enough to wear a hoodie…well, others did. It took her a lot cooler weather to warrant a sweater.  But she did bring it in her backpack and she shoved her rain hat and trench coat just in case it did rain later after her shift late into the night.

Aw, autumn did not disappoint for sure…leaving work, she had her hoodie zipped up nice and snug and once outside, she had to take out the rainwear.  She loves walking in the rain.  No need for an umbrella…her hands are in her pocket with the hood of her trench coat keeping her nice and dry as she walked the 2 km to the Métro.

soft…

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tranquil moments (troiku – haiga)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

mid-day pause
hours before
school’s out

mid-day pause
sipping
earl grey

hours before
when all you hear
autumn breeze

school’s out
slipping back into the living
laughter and bedlam

©Tournesol`16

September 21 – 30 days of Haiga – Prompt: tranquility or peace at 19 Planets Art Blog

Troiku is a new form of haiku created by Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

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morning play (senryu)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

early riser
tiptoeing on dewy grass
squeals of laughter

(c) Tournesol’16

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Niagara Falls (troibun)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

red rock waterfall
into emerald pools
cedar incense

water blackened rocks
falling with the waterfall
some of them

chipped rock
the shape of water
falling

white rim
on black rock light falling
with the water

© Jane Reichhold

Image result(c)ShutterBox – Niagara Falls, Onatrio

The first time she visited Niagara Falls, she was a teenager, visiting him. Returning thirty years later, brought back old wounds not quite healed. The falls were famous for honeymooners and lovers but that day, they were more…

rumbling falls
pouring out her soul
mist shielding tears

rumbling falls
rainbow curtain
above white ruffles

pouring out her soul
melting cruel memories
softens the heart

mist shielding tears
cleansing
liberating

©Tournesol’16

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Shawbridge creek (haibun)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

summer creek
the fish in me getting
fish kisses

summer-hot hills
folding together
dry creek beds

without a boat
crossing the creek
pine shadow wind

© Jane Reichhold

Artist, Mae Giroux, my auntArtist, Mae Giroux, my aunt

She has such fond memories up North in Shawbridge, now called Prévost at the family cottage. It was built by her great grandfather who arrived from Ballybunion,Ireland in the late 19th century. They called this summer place, Kilarney Cottage and it could house at least twenty people with nine bedrooms and only one bathroom in the kitchen downstairs. The house was next to a clear water creek. Children as well as grownups loved to skip the rocks in the creek. If you slipped, you got a startle from the frigid water. She remembers screaming with delight when she managed to skip more than ten rocks. Tucked in bed late at night, the adults still partying downstairs. The…

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Wordless Wednesdays 


(c)Clr’16 Thanksgiving Dinner
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Dear Emma,


Aw, life is moving quickly in day to day life but slowly in the world of estate dealings.   My stepfather has been in a nursing home for several months but in my mother’s will, he is allowed to stay in her house until he no longer can up to a period of 10 years. Yet, he is the one who has to sign to say he is not returning (even if the doctor said he cannot). So my daughter planned to bring him to visit the house last week and then explain that he needs to sign a paper at the notary (in Quebec we use notaries rather than a lawyer for estate planning and buying a house) so we can put the house up for sale.

The notary appointment was at 9am so my daughter could get to him really early before family members might refuse that we take him to visit my mom’s house ( like the last time when my aunt took his hearing aid way to prevent any communication).

He was really pleased to see the house and surprised that nothing had changed. We told him that was why we changed the locks to ensure nothing would change. Then my daughter told him he would have to sign a paper so we could start putting the house up for sale. He refused categorically. Unfortunately, he is confused as to who owns the house.   My mom had it way before she married him and bequeathed to her two children. And this visit to his home was the first time since April. He has not had time to grieve this part of his life…his autonomy. I told my daughter to let it go. He needs more time.   So my daughter took him for breakfast before returning to the nursing home and she and I met at the notary just to transfer the property in the name of the liquidators.

I called the insurance  later to let them know there is no one living in the house which changes the rates and coverage…no water damage is covered. Well, that’s great to know when the house is 10 feet by the river and with winter around the corner, freeze and thaw. Oh well, it is meant to be.

No one, legally, is allowed to live in the house until this is settled. My step-father thought he could rent it out to cover hydro and other expenses but no it is not permitted; and my sister and I are not allowed either. I’m pretty sure no one would buy it this time of year anyway…so we wait.

On my home front, I am attacking fruit flies in my apartment. Ugh! I don’t even have fruit!  It must have been those plums I got 2 weeks ago.  Not sure where the source is (breeding I mean…those disgusting eggs are somewhere!)  but I think it is the fridge. Yep, that is so disgusting! I emptied the fridge of all the food except what was never opened which leaves milk, margarine and eggs. Fortunately I rented a car for 2 days and I bought a garbage bin on wheels on sale. It is already filled. Yep, I had a lot in one cupboard like cough drops and mints I’ve had for a while along with cough syrup I had for my grandson when he visited.

I unscrewed the bottom rear of the fridge and sprayed poison in the water tray (yes, I took a chance since my cat never goes there) and spread several containers with apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap.   I worked for 8 hours non-stop and at midnight I had not eaten all day and went to pick up dinner. Not a good idea since I woke up this morning with a migraine along with my darn cold, sore throat…poor me (I sound so pitiful). Anyway I finished up more clean-up under the sink and then left for work. I have a workshop to give and not sure if my voice will last for two hours…

Fortunately, I have Monday and Tuesday off so I can rest a bit unless I decide to take advantage of my car I have until 3pm. to bring bags of clothes after I empty my closets. Yes, well, I’ll see how I am tomorrow after all I don’t get home until 3am after my shift.

Night, Emma…

P.S. I think they are fruit flies but they could also be drain flies, so I keep pouring bleach and boiling water in the drains and putting ice at night for the buggers to freeze to death. I know that sounds terrible but I cannot think of anything nice to say about those bugs…I respect my spiders and wish they would attack these suckers.

 

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From the mouths of babes


My friend and former mentor when I interning in Family Life Educator sent me this email.  I woke up with a terrible sinus headache having spent the day and evening cleaning my kitchen.  I had an extra shift tonight so I could give my workshop on Vicarious Trauma to the night staff.  I had rented a car so I could get home since public transit ends at 1 a.m. and I will be working until 2 a.m.

Driving through unusual traffic did not help and I started my shift 20 minutes later.  After my first phone call which was a sweet young girl struggling with adjusting to a new class with disruptive students, I checked my email and reading this just confirmed why I do the job that I do and love.

Of course these are quite young children but to read this feels like angels have blessed you by sprinkling angel dust over you.  Read on and you’ll see:

 

 

Subject: Fwd: God’s Wife ~ Priceless!

Lest we forget.IN GOD WE TRUST!!! 

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge.  The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. 

The winners are: 

  1. A four-year-old child, whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman, who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old Gentleman’s’ yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy just said, ‘Nothing, I just Helped him cry.’

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  1. Teacher Debbie Moon’s first graders were discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture had a different hair color than the other members. One of her students suggested that he was adopted. A little girl said, ‘I know all about Adoption, I was adopted..’

 

‘What does it mean to be adopted?’, asked another child.

 

‘It means’, said the girl, ‘that you grew in your mommy’s heart instead of her tummy!’

 

************************ ********************* 

  1. On my way home one day, I stopped to watch a Little League base ball game that was being played in a park near my home. As I sat down behind the bench on the first- base line, I asked one of the boys what the score was ‘We’re behind 14 to nothing,’ he answered  With a smile.

 

‘Really,’ I said. ‘I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.’

 

‘Discouraged?’, the boy asked with a Puzzled look on his face…

 

‘Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t Been up to bat yet.’

 

*********************** ********************** 

  1. Whenever I’m disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott.

 

Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told me that he’d set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen..

 

On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement.. ‘Guess what, Mom,’ he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me….’I’ve been chosen to clap and cheer.’

 

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  1. An eye witness account from New York City , on a cold day in December,  some years ago: A little boy, about 10-years-old, was standing before a shoe store on the roadway, barefooted, peering through the window, and shivering With cold.

 

A lady approached the young boy and said, ‘My, but you’re in such deep thought staring in that window!’

 

‘I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes,’ was the boy’s reply.

 

The lady took him by the hand, went into the store, and asked the clerk to get half a dozen pairs of socks for the boy. She then asked if he could give her a basin of water and a towel. He quickly brought them to her.

 

She took the little fellow to the back part of the store and, removing her gloves, knelt down, washed his little feet, and dried them with the towel. 

 

By this time, the clerk had returned with the socks.. Placing a pair upon the boy’s feet, she purchased him a pair of shoes..

 

She tied up the remaining pairs of socks and gave them to him. She patted him on the head and said, ‘No doubt, you will be more comfortable now..’ 

As she turned to go, the astonished kid caught her by the hand, and looking up into her face, with tears in his eyes, asked her:

‘Are you God’s wife?’

 

 

 

 

 

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life in all is colours (Free Verse)


can’t seem to shake it off
wallowing
slipping in a sea of pain
wondering
this is driving me insane
racing thoughts fill my brain
frustrating
recurring again and again

no reason in particular
just saying
watching a chick flick
turns on waterworks
watching t.v. series
about complicity
bonding
tears flow in cascades
adorable interactions
all make me smile
and yet,
all the while
a tear rolls down my cheek.

can’s seem to shake it off
wallowing
slipping in a sea of pain
wondering
this is driving me insane
racing thoughts fill my brain
frustrating
recurring again and again

although
life is filled with ups and downs
delightful and unpleasant
from smiles to frowns
from cries to giggles
this is all about life
filled with both
harmony and strife

although I struggle
to shake this off
this too shall pass
of that, I know
this too shall pass.

(c) Oliana 2016-09-26

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Syllabus (SoCS)


The prompt this week is “bus” at Friday reminder of SoCS (Stream of Consciousness Saturday). The first thing that comes to mind when I saw that word was syllabus, derived from Latin meaning “List”.   I remember returning to university at 37 years old.  My youngest was in Grade 1 and I usually had Friday off, so I would take two courses that fit in that day.  It was a huge learning curve for me and when writing term papers I would often get off-track because I did not pay attention to the details written in the syllabus.  Well, I learned the hard way but hey, I learned, didn’t I?  I struggle with tests for the same reason…not paying close attention to the question asked.

I am pretty sure if I were a student today in elementary school, I would have been diagnosed ADD.  That said, studying was a long process for me. Reading a chapter two or three times was not unusual since my mind seemed to wander and after reading a chapter I had not retained a darn thing!  I learned to read a few paragraphs and paraphrase what I had just read to ensure I knew what I had read.  The first years I would record myself reading a chapter or my notes and listen to the recording on my drive to Concordia University. Being stuck in traffic for an hour had its advantages at times!

The positive side of these struggles later in life is that it was always fresh in my memory and when youths call on our helpline discouraged with their learning differences, I would share some tips that got me through my schooling.  Naturally I don’t say it is me but just offer options as, “I wonder if you could try this to see if that might help…”

Aw, yes, I do remember at the start of each new semester, that syllabus would often scare me.  In the Applied Human and Social Science department (where I have my major), professors tended to squeeze in so many details compared to other departments.  I was a Teacher’s Assistant several years later on a course that ran two semesters.  When students would call me at 10 at night, I would support them especially the mature students who were experiencing lots of stress not quite sure what was required in their papers.  And I would take out the syllabus along with the information handed out on explanation of the requirements of the topics for that term paper, and walk them through it and they seemed to understand better.

I do believe that many things in life happen for a reason.  I would not have appreciated the process I went through studying in my 30’s and 40’s nor would I have grasped the importance of what I was actually learning on human behaviour and society.

But what a silly sounding word, though, “syllabus”.

©Oliana 2016/09/24

socsbadge2016-17

 

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Dear Emma,


Well I did it!! I got through the speech and most of the time I did not even look at my notes and spoke from the heart.  There were many teary eyes among the 200+ people at the breakfast.  I tried to convey that we do hear over 10% of terribly sad stories…mindboggling and heartwrenching situations but over 75% are from youths who come from great families, supportive communities and they are just looking for guidance. Often, they just don’t want to upset or worry their parents.  It is sad to hear a youth who has carried depression for years and does not want to worry her mom or a boy who suffers with anxiety and he is too ashamed to get help…so many are worried to get stigmatized.

Just this week a young man wanted help for his addiction but did not want to seek professional help in person because of the stigma.  How can I explain so they can understand?…mental illness and addiction has no boundaries…it crosses all socio-economic barriers.  I commended him for admitting he had a problem…that was the hardest step.  It may take a while in his phase of “contemplation to change” but he made that first step.

I admire youths at 15, 17 or 19 who call for support to stop their addictions. There are so many who come forward at this age…and yet, how many wait until they have lost everything…their family, friends and yet there are many who never do.  So yes, when a teenager calls for support, I applaud them for being so forthcoming and brave.

At the breakfast, I was seated with my team as well as a person who represents the ministry of education and the manager of fund raising asked me to stay for a meeting with her. We had a brief meeting at the end of the breakfast but later my manager asked if we had connected. We sure did!! I was so pleased to talk to her for it was the ministry that funded a programme where Grade 7 and 8 students are given information by their teachers on mental health…to create an awareness.  And the last information class is where I call as a counsellor in the classroom to tell them about our youth line and then take all their questions they may have about the service as well as mental health.

I was pleased to thank this woman and tell her how important this project is and how many youths call for support after learning about our service.

We shared on a personal level too…our adult children, our grandchildren…I told her I changed career in my mid-thirties and went back to university to get a degree in Social and Human Science…she did too! And ironically, we both graduated at the same age.

Then I started talking about travelling and mentioned India. She asked whereabouts I wanted to go. I told her Kerala and she had been there and encouraged me to find the time to go as well. I was moved with all the similarities in our lives.  Oh, yes, Emma, we did connect and I look forward to hearing from her…I gave her my personal information and hope she does keep in touch.

After the speech I was supposed to answer questions the audience had but I had two short live tv interviews which got me nervous.  I would have preferred the question and answer part.   I am including a photo of the first interview.  All in all, Emma, it was a great two days…meeting several people from the Ministry of Health the first day as well was a great opportunity to share  what we do at our youth line and hear the needs the ministry voiced for  their communities.

Now I am back home and addressing my landlord who took away my parking spot…sending him a registered letter which my daughter helped to write, since she is a paralegal. I did not get a response from the email I sent and that`s why I am mailing the registered request.  I guess what bothers me the most is the the new neighbour that is now taking my parking spot was friends with me and knew I was not happy with my landlord doing this. I tolerated it for two years as a favour to my other neighbour.  This other person had told me to stand up for myself and she and her husband are not taking advantage of the situation.  So enough…time to stand up for my rights.  I do hate conflict but letting people walk all over me is not okay either.

Thanks to readers who have encouraged me in regards to the speech I had to give at the breakfast…your thoughts certainly gave me the confidence and my chin did not even shake.

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Harvest Moon (Sunday


Our theme for Song Lyric Sunday is to post a song from a band you recently saw in concert.  Well, I have not been to a real live concert in a while but this past weekend brought memories of my last concert in 2000.

 

(c)Clr'16 Leaving Regina
(c)Clr’16 Leaving Regina, Sk

Last Friday, I was flying from Regina to Montreal, leaving a blue sky and bright sun, facing a sunset much sooner as I approached more East.

(c)Clr’16 Flying over Thunder Bay, On.

And, then clouds formed beneath the plane and then rumbling of the plane as we passed through a storm and back to clearer skies just as we arrived Toronto (my connection to Montreal)…the harvest moon accompanied me all the way home and Neil Young’s voice sang in my mind.

20160917_032706619_iOS

Arriving in Montreal, it was lovely seeing the lights before we landed.  My mother used to say that Ed Sullivan called Montreal, City of Lights.  I guess he thought it was almost as beautiful as Paris at night.  I love the skyline driving across the bridge towards Montreal morning, noon and nightfall.

(c) Clr'16 Montreal
(c) Clr’16 Montreal

Coming back to that moon that seemed to hang just next to my window as if it was accompanying on my journey.  I could not take a photo. I sure tried but the light inside the plane reflected in the photo.  So you will just have to imagine a harvest moon hanging out my window.  I suppose it is fitting that Neil Young sang in my head since we were leaving my connection in Toronto to get to Montreal.  I saw Neil Young perform in Toronto years ago but it was the last real concert I saw.

The first time I was introduced to this song, Harvest Moon, was one of my students in the late 90’s who had purchased the CD for her father. Gee, I miss teaching those girls!

Here is a photo I took last night…not quite full any more but still eye-catching.

(c) Clr’16 rue Laurier, Montréal, Qc.

Neil Young – Harvest Moon

“Harvest Moon”

Come a little bit closer
Hear what I have to say
Just like children sleepin’
We could dream this night away.

But there’s a full moon risin’
Let’s go dancin’ in the light
We know where the music’s playin’
Let’s go out and feel the night.

Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.

But now it’s gettin’ late
And the moon is climbin’ high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin’ in your eye.

Because I’m still in love with you
I want to see you dance again
Because I’m still in love with you
On this harvest moon.

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blossoming courtyard (troiku)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

[…] “There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” […] Lord Byron

https://www.facebook.com/tandemencavale/© Ari Gravel at Tandem en Cavale’16  – cycle tour through south Asia

sun gently peers
yawning gardens stir
from a dim skyline

sun gently peers
announcing
emerging day

 yawning gardens stir
waiting with bated breath
burgeoning rosette

from a dim skyline
sunbeams kissing blossoms
wowing the courtyard

©Tournesol ’16

Prompts: Haiku Horizons & Care Diem Haiku Hai

The Troiku is a new haiku form created by Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

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courting days (troiku)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

© OliG'15 (Gaspé - marguerite) © OliG’15 (Gaspé – marguerite)

hands her a daisy,
blushing, she thanks him,
Oh those courting days!

hands her a daisy,
heart fills with hope
their first kiss…

blushing, she thanks him
roaming the field – leans closer,
her hand feels so soft

Oh those courting days!
arm slides round her tiny waist
head on his shoulder

©Tournesol’16

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sunset bliss (troiku)


Tournesol dans un Jardin

[…] “There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” […] Lord Byron

© Clr '16 © Clr ’16

sundown getaway
silently savouring
nature’s last act

sundown getaway
inhaling
tranquil escape

silently savouring
guiltless greed
heavenly bliss

nature’s last act
rooftop view
exit the sun

©Tournesol’16

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