Friday, May 20, 2011

I Remember Lilacs

My grandparents had a huge lilac tree in their backyard. I remember staring out at the tree through the kitchen window, waiting for it to bud and eventually bloom. The tree was a part of late spring/early summer for me for most of my life. My grandparents had moved into that house two weeks before my mother was born. I loved that tree. My grandfather, each year when the tree was in bloom, would cut off a bunch of lilacs to send home with me. There were years that, for whatever reason, the tree had only a couple dozen blooms. My grandmother would grumble, but my grandfather would still cut them for me. He knew how much they meant to me.

In April 2004, my grandfather passed away suddenly. I didn't get any lilacs that year. My grandfather wasn't there to cut them for me, and I wouldn't ask my grandmother if it was okay for me to cut them myself. My grandmother made the decision to put the house on the market, and the house was sold before the end of the following spring.

I miss that bunch of lilacs each year. Sure, I know people who have lilacs in their gardens. Mom and dad have a small lilac tree in their yard. However, for whatever reason, it's just not the same.

One spring, when I was teaching Manitoba, I walked into a teacher's classroom to teach French, and there was a bunch of lilacs siting in a vase on her desk. I asked her where the lilacs had come from, and was informed that a couple students had brought them in. It was the first time I'd really been able to bury my nose in a bunch since before my grandfather died. I inhaled their sweet scent, and tears started to roll down my cheeks. My students asked what was wrong, and I told them about my grandfather and the lilacs, and how much I missed them both.

The next morning I walked into my classroom, and there were several bunches of lilacs on my desk. I was so shocked and touched. Those lilacs meant so much to me. I brought them back to my condo, and held onto them until they were brown and the petals were dropping all over my table. It was actually hard to throw them away.

I still miss my grandparents' tree, and the lilacs each year. I can't smell them without remembering my grandfather, and missing him. The smell causes me physical pain, but I love it anyway.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Emotion and Music

I will admit that I have the tendency to be overly emotional at times. Commercials, books, movies and television shows all have the power to make me cry. Last year, during the Olympics, the commercial Tim Hortons was running brought me to tears every time.

However, there is something about music that speaks to me, and it's not necessarily the lyrics. One piece of music that brings me to tears each time I listen is instrumental.

There is something about the beauty of Clair de Lune that touches something inside me. I could listen to it on repeat, for hours on end, and remain amazed by the simplicity and the beauty of this composition.

Nessun Dorma is another piece that brings me to tears. I haven't a clue what the lyrics mean, but the crescendo toward the end of the aria fill my heart with emotion and my eyes with tears.

Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera has fascinated me since the first time I heard it. I was 10, and PBS was showing a performance of Michael Crawford during one of their pledge drives. I heard the song, and immediately ran to my piano to pick out the melody. I've seen the show twice - in London and Toronto. Each time I am moved to tears by the end of the song. I listened to it again tonight, and sure enough, by the line "You alone can make my song take flight
Help me make the music of the night", there were tears rolling down my cheeks.

Am I the only one? Does this happen to other people?

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Despite the fact that I don't particularly enjoy living here, there is definitely something beautiful about this part of the province.

This photo was taken in the fall following a rainstorm. The rain stopped and the sky started to clear just in time for the sun to set.

Friday, March 4, 2011

How to Relax

I love my bathtub.

The only regret I have is that it isn't big enough.

At the end of a long day, there's nothing I love more than to fill the tub with steaming, hot water, and throw in a couple LUSH bath treats. I just sit there and soak, the scented water and the heat working their magic to relax my body, as well as my mind.

I need this little luxury at the end of the day. It's a little "me" time. It definitely helps with my sanity.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Love Productivity!

I had an extremely productive day today. I manage to take care of a number of things that I had been putting off for months.

Today was a snow day, and rightfully so. We had the worst storm of the winter last night. Lots of horizontal snow and high winds. When I looked out the window at 1am the snow was halfway up the driver's side doors of my car. When I looked again at 4am, it was down to the bare pavement. The wind had obviously changed direction, and at that point the rest of the driveway was drifted in.

It took me a while to get out this morning. I waited until the driveway had been shoveled before I headed into the office. There was no one else at the school when I arrived. It was blissful. I was able to leave my office door open to work (a rarity for me). All those tedious paperwork tasks that I hate to complete on my own time are now done, and I'm even a little ahead. I have the sub plans done for the two days I'm away next week. When I'm at work tomorrow, I'll put together the folders for my sub for those days with all the worksheets, etc. that she will need while I'm gone. I organized my school tote, and have everything from each of my two half-time positions separated. The tote will be used solely for my special education position, while my vision teacher materials will all go into my lovely black leather briefcase.

My schedule for the month is complete and has been sent to those who need it. I'm caught up on emails. I have some copying and faxing to do, but that can wait until tomorrow.

All in all, I feel very accomplished.

Even if I wasn't able to sleep in and enjoy the day in my own way.

Monday, February 28, 2011

For Crosby and Sidney

Stories like this break my heart.

I just don't understand how anyone could treat an animal in such a manner.

The animals in my family have always quickly become family members. My childhood dog had the propensity to be something of a pest at times, and sometimes I wished he would leave me alone, but I still loved him. It will be 10 years this March since he left us, and it still upsets me to think about the fact I wasn't there to say goodbye.

My parents now have two dogs - both of whom were rescued from the city animal shelter. Both dogs look as though they were well taken care of. Both had collars, but no tags. Yet, no one called to claim them. Perhaps their "owners" just set them free. Perhaps they ran away and no one cared enough to look for them. Either way, they now live in the lap of luxury. They have a safe, warm home, humans who take them for walks and to the dog park, treats, toys, and people who love them and treasure them. And they will be loved and treasured until well after they are no longer with us.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't burst my bubble!

Okay. I admit it. I have problems with people invading my personal space. If I'm in a large crowd of people, I'm prone to panic attacks. This is a result of some things that happened when I was a teen, and it's something that I'm currently dealing with.

However, line-ups at cash registers are a particular pet-peeve of mine. I don't want someone standing so close to me, I can feel them breathing down my neck. I don't want someone walking on the back of my heels as I move forward in a line. I especially don't want someone knocking me with their shopping cart, basket, or large purse.

This happens to me repeatedly. I've had bruises from elderly women ramming me with their shopping carts. One lady hit me with the cart on the hip, and when I stepped so the cart was no longer touching me, she rammed me with the cart again. I usually give people a dirty look when these things occur. I make sure I give the person in front of me plenty of room. I would hope others would afford me the same courtesy. Apparently, I ask too much.

Today, as I was waiting at the counter of a local take-out, minding my own business, I felt someone hip-check me. I thought it was a friend, playing around with me. I just rolled my eyes and turned to see who it was. I was quite surprised to see a grey-haired 75 year old woman standing next to me. Never mind the fact there was a good 8 feet of counter to my right. She felt the need to forcibly move me to the side. I took another step to my left, and she followed. Seriously, I felt like hip-checking this little old lady back. I'd have knocked her to the ground.

I like my personal space. I don't want strangers invading it. I don't want people I don't know in close proximity when there is absolutely no reason for them to be. Under certain circumstances, I understand there is no other choice. I just grit my teeth and deal with it. However, one of these days, someone is going to invade my personal space in public, and I'm going to lose it. I'm going to take their shopping cart and shove it back towards them, or knock their purse off their shoulder so it's no longer hitting me in the side of the head (I'm short). Have some consideration for those of us who don't want to get up close and personal with the general public.