I’m a homebody who has never pushed myself out of my comfort zone; never done anything really exciting with my life. I’ve supported many endeavours financially, wishing friends, acquaintances, and various groups well as they embark on humanitarian efforts around the world, but I’ve never gone myself. I’ve helped raise donations, and I’ve cleaned and catalogued donated medical equipment, but I’ve never traveled with it. I’ve read email updates and blogs, cheering others on, then listened to stories of adventures upon their return home, but have never had stories of my own to tell. As a matter of fact, as I write this, an AMAZING medical team is in Ghana and they are making real and lasting differences in the lives of thousands who attend their clinics.
This evening my heart was touched by the words of one of our nurses who has gone to spend six weeks in Canada’s north. This is not the first nurse I know who has done a ‘tour of duty’ in the north, and she’s not the only one in my circle who is there right now. The difference is that she is keeping a public blog, relating some of her experiences, and she’s given me permission to share what she’s written so far.
Continue reading “GEN’S ARCTIC ADVENTURES”
The weather may be very different when you get around to reading this story, but as I write it is hot and humid here, north of Toronto. As weather reporters say in this area, “With humidity it feels like 40C,” which translates to about 104F.
This morning we joined my parents and a couple of my sisters for our monthly family breakfast. Mom pulled out her iPad and showed me a picture she’d taken of a photograph that had somehow unearthed itself, and it was pure gold. You see, back in the good old days, when I was about twelve years old, we had the perfect combination of weather, resulting in a few magical days for us kids. Without photo evidence it might be hard for some to believe. Continue reading “Skating Party!”
Once upon a time, a workbench lived in my father’s woodworking shop. It was an ordinary bench, extraordinary only because of the projects built on its surface. I’ve lost count of the number of things Dad made, but his grandchildren will never forget building their own little projects with Grandpa’s guidance. At first they built small boats to sail on the river running behind Grandpa and Grandma’s property. Then they graduated to wooden mallets, and small baseball bats turned on the lathe. Always, there were small pieces of wood available to them — cutoffs from other projects — and a box of used nails they could help themselves to. Continue reading “Repurposed. Re-homed.”
So, I’m turning sixty. SIXTY! Sixty. 60. No matter how you slice it, I have six decades of living under my belt.
Up to this point, birthdays ending in “0” have never bothered me.
Ten? Almost a teenager. Groovy!
Twenty? No longer a teenager, thank goodness.
Thirty was okay. A gang of us used to go out for decadent desserts when someone reached that milestone.
Life was so busy around my fortieth birthday it passed without notice. I felt a million years old at that point, so forty was, like, pfft. Not even worth thinking about.
Fifty? Fifty heralded the best years of my life. I was old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyhow, with a bit more free time to carry things off.
Continue reading “On Turning Sixty.”
I think I’m a reasonable shopper. I like a good deal as well as the next person, but I don’t mind paying for items of good quality. All too often though, my shopping list includes laundry detergent and the price of quality brands really bugs me.
Over the years I’ve made my own laundry soap from time to time, with very good cleaning results, but my efforts always petered out because I disliked finely grating the bar soap needed to make the granular recipe I’d been using. A little while ago, still steaming over the price of Tide, I drove home wondering why I couldn’t make laundry soap in liquid form. Continue reading “Susie Homemaker’s Very Fine Day”
When cancer comes to call, it is entirely unexpected. We have spent no anxious days wondering about a suspicious lump, and no sleepless nights waiting for test results. Except in hindsight, there isn’t a single suggestion of cancer’s imminent visit. No, on this raw January day, cancer broadsides our family when it causes my husband to have a seizure in the middle of a Lone Star Cafe where we’re eating lunch. In six hours flat we speed from fajitas and salsa in the suburbs, through two local hospitals, and on to a big downtown ER. There, we’re warehoused until we can see a neurosurgeon about the scary grey mass that shows up on a CT of Paul’s brain.
Continue reading “When Cancer Came”
I’ve written before about Hillside Public School, a small redbrick building that still stands across from the Toronto Zoo in northeast Scarborough. Many of us Hillsiders traveled from Kindergarten through high school together and that, I believe, is the magical bond that has joined us for all of these years. Continue reading “FRIENDS FOR LIFE”
The year I was ten years old I received a woodburning kit for Christmas. I had never seen one before and my parents had to explain how to use it. I’m pretty sure it got plugged in right after breakfast.
The tool was an unwieldy thing in the hands of a child, although in my mother’s it had looked easy. The hot tip of the tool came with different attachments (as show on the box cover above), and each made a different shape: a circle, an X, a fine line, and so on. The only problem is, the small tool provided for changing tips didn’t fasten then very securely so they were always coming off. But when things went well, it was a lot of fun. Continue reading “THE GIFT OF A CHILD”
Today has been a really great day. One of the main reasons I’m enjoying it so much is because days like this seldom happen. For starters, I’m off work and it’s perfect fall weather. The sun is golden and warm breezes blow through the open doors and windows of the house. It’s also a good day because I realized something important about plain old me.
I’m not extraordinarily well-educated, nor am I a world traveler, unless you count the many vacations I’ve enjoyed via friends’ Facebook photos. I’ve never done anything great or accomplished a monumental feat. Instead, what I am is a fairly down-to-earth collection of small abilities and random bits of knowledge and that’s okay. More than okay, actually, because these small, random, practical things come to my rescue on many occasions. Today was one such day. Continue reading “A BAG OF RANDOM SKILLS”
We recently made the long drive from our home near Toronto, Ontario to visit our grandson in Virginia. We also went to see his parents.
Because we don’t get to spend a lot of time with almost-four-year-old Nolan, I try to make our short visits fun. One morning when he woke up he wasn’t ready for breakfast so I asked if he’d like to pack breakfast into his backpack and we’d go on an adventure. He thought that was a great idea, but only if he could bring his drill. Continue reading “A Breakfast Adventure”