The Treasures of old Photo Albums

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Recently again, I was doing some more sorting and purging in my optimistic pursuit and efforts at reducing unnecessary STUFF that somehow manages to accumulate in one’s home.  And from so many years, I have my work cut out for me….haha!

I did go through some bins and shelves and sorted a good number of things into the categories of garbage, donating to our local second-hand store, and keepers.

Then, on my way to get lunch, I happened to pass by the shelf that holds a good number of old photo albums. I pulled out a trilogy from the year 2000 and thought this would be going back far enough to be quite fun for my sons and I to look through after our lunch break……everyone looking much younger then!  And boy, did we share a lot of laughs and talk about the memories connected to all the photos.

One of the photos we came across was this one, in which all four of my children were at an age where they were exactly one head space apart from each other in height.

Being the family photographer as well, I had partially planned such an opportunity in the back of my mind as a potential photo…just waiting for the perfect time to snag it!

On that evening I had their cooperation, and everything was just right….and at the last minute, the youngest turned his gaze, smiling away.  This was back in the days of actual film, in which I didn’t have the option to take 20 digitals of a particular shot by which to have a good selection to find the ONE.  I had but only two takes.  And this was the better one.  And well, also, kids don’t hang around too long for photo taking, ‘cuz there are other cool things they want to do!

“Mom!  You’re taking too long!”  “Mom…hurry up!”

Hahaha!

Good times indeed.

And that photo still made it into the home-made family photo calendars for 2001.

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Bonus:   Here is another photo from that time……given the title “Snuggle Puddle.”

 

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A Treasured Hand-made Gift

My Grandfather’s Passion

I wonder what he envisioned when he held the untouched block of wood in his hands.

I wonder if his creation came to him in one moment or did it develop over time as he prepared and carved the wood.

I wonder how his eyes would have appraised the progress and noticed anything that needed some extra care.

I wonder at how his hands would have held the wood and turned it and applied the tools and correct pressure and motions to reveal the figure bit by bit.

I wonder at how he felt as he anticipated the joy it would bring me to behold his gift.

I wonder at the hours he spent carving and shaping and smoothing and painting.

And I wonder and feel thankful for the love he put into all of it.

 

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I pulled this wood-carved figure down from the shelf that it stands on to have a good look at it again.

My husband’s and my wedding anniversary is coming up next week, and this carved figure was a present in honour of our wedding day over 30 years ago, presented to us by my grandmother and grandfather on our honeymoon visit to see them in Germany.

My grandfather was self-taught at wood carving, and I know he had such a passion for it, as he carved many beautiful pieces over the years.  His skills may appear rough compared to more highly trained wood carvers, but in our family we appreciated all the work and joy he put into each piece.

Whenever I would go for visits to their place, in every room I would see a diverse array of his artwork, including a big and detailed head board for my grandparents bed.  He also lovingly carved an appropriate sized “stone” that rests at the head of their gravesite, which he made when my grandmother died before him.

 

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Do you wonder why this long-robed man carries a key?

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The answer lies with the good wish that came inscribed at the bottom of this wooden figure.

 

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My grandfather initialed and dated this wooden figure, along with the message, which translated means, “Our dear Ela, for her wedding and for the future the key to happiness.”

And he signed it “Vati,” my endearment for him.

❤ ❤

 

 

When one door closes….

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(photo courtesy of my friend, Mark Welsford, of Fairchild Photography; taken at the Rock Show hosted by Main Street School of Music in Arnprior, Feb. 23rd, 2017; with my ladies band)

 

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So….as of four days ago ie Monday, I am no longer part of the Werth It band.

Yeah…..bummer, eh?

Some changes in life seem to take a long time, and others can happen real fast.

All in a matter of a conversation, even.

It’s a parting on good terms, as the three of us had a fun time with all of our practices and a couple of performances. At the beginning it seemed as if we all shared a same vision and goals for our band, but over time it became clearer that things were getting somewhat askew.

As with every band experience I learned more about music – new songs, which are of a diverse mix, and I shall miss not playing them. And the dynamics of yet another group of people seeking to share their love of music.

Today as I was doing some more thinking about the change of events, I started focusing on more positives.

a) we might bump into each other again and have an opportunity to jam to songs

b) the ladies band I am in is still going strong, and now that our most recent Rock Show performance is behind us, we are looking to working on some new songs, That’s always an exciting time!

c) I was in conversation with a musician friend I haven’t seen in quite a while, and one of the things we discussed was getting together at her place and she and I just jamming out. I found out that she also plays the piano, in addition to bass! And we both sing, so that will be something fun to look forward to…. 🙂

d) things that I had to pass on or decline, because they conflicted with the band practices, I can now attend again…..like the monthly blues jams. Even though I willingly passed on those, I did feel a tiny twinge of regret last month, when I had to miss my drumming buddy, Andy’s inaugural time at being house drummer for the blues jam…..something he has been dreaming of doing for a long time. So, I know how much it meant to him. From what I heard, he did a marvellous job of it! 😀

e) and finally, more regular sessions with my newest drumming coach/teacher, Derek DeBeer (whom I was introduced to by Peter Fredette at the last League of Rock showcase night in December). I could only juggle two sessions so far, and both times we had a blast! We did kitwork in those sessions, but he also teaches hand drumming – he’s originally from South Africa – and I hope to also attend one of his monthly drumming circles, where I’m sure there will be plenty of African style rhythms to explore and learn…..and in a larger group, too!

So…..all that to say…..all is well. And life goes on.

 

My Beloved “Born Free”

Here is a montage of photos from a youtube channel I just found, when I went searching for links to go with my beloved “Born Free” song.
I say beloved, because from the first time I heard the song and saw the movie, it made its home in my heart.

Something about Elsa, the lioness, and her caring human friends touched me deeply.

Every time….and I mean EVERY time I hear that song, I get all choked up inside. It’s a good choked up. My eyes water. I have no idea why, but it gets to me.

I suppose because it’s a song that speaks of freedom, which is the joy and true being of every creature on earth – human and animal – and to be born free and to live free is so important.
Thank you, Spotify algorithms for sharing the song again with me…..Matt Monro sings it.  I forever associate the song with his voice, too.

I love Elsa’s story.
I have had a soft spot for the large cats, since I was a young girl.
Panthers, tigers, leopards…..and especially lions.
The movie “Born Free” came out in 1966, so I was 6.
It made a lasting impression on me.

Even when watching the movie again years later, that child-like love resurfaced.

It’ll also explain why I felt compelled to get all THREE books at one point in my teen years. The two movies were based on the books (Born Free, Living Free, Forever Free) – written by Joy Adamson, describing the adventures she and her husband, George, experienced, when they lived in Kenya. Among their adventures was when they rescued orphaned Elsa, raised her and successfully (with some challenges, of course) returned her to the wild.
And Elsa managed to be part of a lion pride again and have her own cubs.

But mostly I fell in love with Elsa. Her wild and gentle spirit.

Here’s the song…..perhaps you’ve heard it before?

 

NOTE:  There are photos in this montage excerpted from Joy Adamson’s books and from the movie, “Born Free.”

 

Baked Goodies and Chocolates

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Round ones and square ones,

Chocolate or nuts inside;

Home-baked Christmas treats!

 

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A wonderful Christmas time with our kids at home again this year!

Decorating the tree…presents are wrapped…sharing meals together…lots of fun conversations…opening gifts…smiles and plenty of laughter…playing games…hugs and love.

As part of my gift packages to everyone, I added in some baked goodies – some cookies and squares – and some colourful and delicious store-bought chocolate truffles and chocolate Christmas bears.  Yummy!

 

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Life-time Partners

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Two swans foraging,

Circling together, Staying

Conjoint for always.

 

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This beautiful swan couple was self-immersed and occupied with finding food, when I saw them on my way to the Brunner Peninsula Nature Walk on the South Island of New Zealand on one of my visits.

And I learned WAY back when I read “Trumpet of the Swan” as a younger child – many times!  I loved it so much – that swans mate for life.

I would wonder how their relationship bond develops over all that time and how they manage their togetherness.

I know….I’m looking at it from a human perspective.  Quite different as animals always live in the moment and their beings aren’t fretful with worry and doubt, as we so often can be.

I’m just curious.

 

The news intrudes…

I heard about it on Tuesday, when Stephen, Conrad, and I were driving into Kanata….and the subject came up.

I am not part of that crowd that sets their pettiness, nastiness, small-mindedness, gossiping into motion. For one thing, I don’t dock in that harbour of negativity. Secondly, though because I think of these two as people, whom I have admired – and continue to admire – for what I know about them. I have always rejoiced in their happiness as a couple and as a family. I just feel sadness at the news. I had fervently hoped that they’d be in the small minority of celebrities who would be able to keep a marriage going in their BUSY world of show business and philanthropic activities…..and six children. I am happy they lasted as long as they did!

Clearly, I do NOT know what goes on in their lives and in their hearts and minds, and they have to deal with whatever they have to deal with – it’s none of my business. I don’t make it my business. I respect them. The gossip fodder magazines and shows don’t make money off of me.

The only reason I am sharing this news post is to show a write-up of an author on how this news affects the children of Brad and Angelina, and in our world of small-mindedness, I gravitate towards those who write and think differently…..with understanding and compassion.

I am also sharing this news post, because right at the bottom is included a clip showing 12 loving moments captured from their lives.

And as you know me, I am always focused on the positive….projecting the happiness.

And that is how I like to remember them.

Here is the  news link

The Receiving End Promise

What is a Receiving End Promise?  It’s an odd promise.  And I mean mostly in the name.  I don’t think it’s a real name; I just made it up.  It fits.  It probably happens often enough; more often than occasionally, which is what “odd” implies.  And it’s one of those that really never ends up being fulfilled.

Mind you, I haven’t had too many….thankfully.  However, enough of them even just in the past two years for me to dwell on their unusual nature.  For example, being called or sent an e-mail message, consisting of a brief and “factual” statement, followed by the calm send-off, “I’m sorry, but I/we have decided to let you go.”  Yes, work related but also some in recreational activities. So, really….anywhere.

Two others were in person.  I much prefer those, in spite of the same discouraging message, but somehow it feels decidedly better in person.  Something about eye contact.  Not as cold and distant as calls or messages.  Plus, I know that it takes more courage to hand someone that message in person, because there’s nothing to hide behind if the receiver takes it badly.  I have respect for that kind of courage.  Not that I took it badly.  No fits.  No screaming.  No anger. Wiped away at the moistness in my eyes, yes. That’s more my style.  I listened to the explanation and, in nodding, demonstrated my quiet acceptance of the situation.  It’s always a mixed bag of emotions being at the receiving end of that message – part of me sensing things were headed in that direction and so not entirely surprised……even a smidge of relief?…….and part of me feeling sad, because good-byes usually are tinged with some sadness.  Of not getting together any more; of not seeing one another any more.  Like that.

Except…..that’s the point when the person delivering that message ALWAYS adds in that promise of “We can still be friends.  We will still keep in touch.  Drop in when you’re in the area for a little chat?”  I KNOW it’s an empty promise.  I have a hunch the other person knows it, too.  Is there an actual intention of staying in touch, even casually?  In the end both of us go along with it.  It sounds hopeful.  It sounds better.  Better than what?  Better than not making such a promise in the first place.

Notice the person on the receiving end isn’t making that promise.  Probably still in the midst of quietly, mentally figuring out what all just happened….and well, not wanting to come across as needy.

In that case, I see two reasons for the promise being issued:

1)  the person giving the letting-go message wants to salvage the conversation and leave it on a positive note;

2)  the receiving end person took it all so reasonably, calmly, understandingly, nicely……that the other person feels a stab of guilt, in spite of it all, and with this promise all is resolved.  Nobody to blame.  Right?  No follow through either.

At least….that’s how it seems to me.

Surprise Sparkles

I love surprises! And I don’t mean just the big ones. I’ve gained even more of an appreciation for them now….than when I was younger.
Mind you, there are those surprises, where things seem to go wrong, but these days, when that happens, I look for the silver lining, as there usually is one.

Mostly I was referring to the little gestures…..by friends, family, and sometimes people you only meet in passing……and you are given a compliment, some unexpected assistance, a gift in various forms. Those extra treats that add “sparkles” to life.