Saturday, 27 December 2008

Grandmas and Girlfriends

My sister wrote this and I love it so much that I am copying and pasting it here for all to read!

my sister and i went to visit our grandma in the hopsital where she is recovering and regaining her strength after a heart attack. as we sat chatting in front of a fireplace, grandma told us about a time when she and three of her girlfriends were seated in a food court having lunch and sharing some laughs. she said they were so engrossed in their visiting that it was as if they were the only ones in the room. a man at a nearby table said to them "you four ladies remind me of the golden girls" and grandma said that she quickly responded "yes, and i'm the sexy one."

my grandma, agnes josephine thomas, will turn 91 this january, on our shared birthday. she has macular degeneration so she can't see very well, she is hard of hearing, and she seems to get smaller every time i see her. and yet she is still strong and independent, living on her own, playing bridge with her friends several times a week, being the loving and steadfast head of our big family. her face still lights up whenever i see her and i am met with a smile and grandma's sweet familiar voice saying "there she is!" as she raises both of her arms in the air, celebrating my arrival.

during our visit yesterday, a woman came to fetch grandma for her exercise class. grandma said "no thank you, i'd rather stay here with my friends." she ended up going to the class after all, but it struck me that she referred to us, her granddaughters, as her friends. my sister and i grinned at each other, wrinkling our noses at grandma's cuteness. but last night, as i was reading about women and friendships, i realized that grandma's got it right. we are friends. she has been my lifelong friend. french braiding my hair, teaching me how to bake, letting me poke raisins into the dough to make eyes for my bread girl's face, taking me for a ride on the bus to new westminster's sally ann, serving me the very best homemade lunches, playing countless games with me (i've been blessed with two card-shark grandmas), inviting me to watch lawrence welk with her when she babysat me on saturday evenings, taking me as her date each year to the seniors' "january birthday party" at century house, making me lefse (a yummy norwegian treat - thin and crepe-like, made from potatoes, spread with butter and honey and rolled up to devour...a favourite of all of her grandkids), phoning me regularly to see how i'm doing. my grandma has been such a blessing in my life. she has shared her wisdom and shared her stories. she has instilled in me the importance of friendships, and she modelled how to cultivate rich relationships with her many sisters and many girlfriends. she has been an amazing friend to me. i am lucky to have so many wonderful women in my life. girlfriends, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, steps, aunts, cousins, monkeys, nieces, pastors, cousins' daughters, cousins' wives, extended family, sisters' friends, old friends, new friends, reconnected friends. there is nothing like it, really...having someone who knows you and your history, knows your heart, wants only the best for you.

my relationship with each of you is unique. maybe we made up dance routines together in my living room. had sleepovers and watched scary movie after scary movie. vacationed together and felt closer than if our families had actually been related. watched the fire crackle as we sang along to barbra streisand. got into teenage mischief. were roommates in university. maybe we laughed until we cried on a zillion occasions, especially the morning after a party, when everything just seems funnier. consoled each other's broken hearts. encouraged each other to feel the fear and do it anyway. invited each other. took the wheel for each other. gabbed over coffee, appies, wine, dessert. jumped on the tramp. shared our hearts. commiserated. made concoctions from everything we could find under the bathroom sink (you know who you are). pow wowed. stayed in hostels. drank and dialled. took chances. let each other vent. cried because we were sad. cried because we were happy. talked about god. skipped school and watched tv from the comfort of my parents' bed. stayed up all night. got each other through some very hard times. celebrated each other's triumphs, big and small. praised and worshipped together. held onto each other's dreams when we felt afraid or discouraged. held each other's hair back when we got sick. surprised each other. gave advice. walked and talked. maybe we grew up together. were a sounding board. had faith. gave grace. got over it. gave hugs. rocked out in the car. kept each other's secrets. borrowed each other's clothes. came up with great ideas. had spa days and weekend getaways. let each other Just Be. agonized over career choices. recorded ourselves singing. snuck out. got caught. covered for one another. shared a brain. emailed. brunched. road tripped. drafted sentences together. let each other ride our coattails sometimes (where do i sign?). made up secret codes (WDIS?). supported each other to be our best selves. believed in each other. made each other stronger. loved one another. here's some of what i read last night that got me thinking about women and friendship. it's from 'captivating: unveiling the mystery of a woman's soul' by john and stasi eldredge:"the gift of friendship among women is a treasure not to be taken lightly. women friends become the face of god to one another - the face of grace, of delight, of mercy. the capacity of a woman's heart for meaningful relationships is vast. there is no way your husband or your children can ever provide the intimacy and relational satisfaction you need. a woman must have women friends. to have a woman friend is to relax into another soul and be welcomed in all that you are and all that you are not. it is a great gift to know that you see as another sees, an immense pleasure to be understood, to enjoy easy companionship of one you can let your guard down with. when god gives a friend, he is entrusting us with the care of another's heart. it is a chance to mother and to sister, to be a life giver, to help someone else become the woman she was created to be, to walk alongside her and call her deep heart forth." thank you all for your friendship. i am truly blessed.

Christmas is over!

Well, that's it. Another Christmas is over. And what I really want to write about is the snow. Actually I have a lot of catching up to do here so I might post a few times today instead of one giant post or trying to spread them out over the next few days.

Christmas for me turned out to be a three day event. We celebrated on Christmas eve with my dad, stepmom and her daughters. Christmas day we spent the morning with my mom and stepdad and then dinner is my grandpa's. This year we've added in a boxing day morning tradition with my sisters and I together at my mom's. It snowed ALL day and so boxing day morning went until 11pm for Stef, mom and I. We hung around mom's all morning and afternoon and then went for a walk in the snowy/rainy evening and watched a movie together back at my mom's place. It was a lovely day.

I still have nowhere to park my car. This snow has made it impossible to get into the alley behind my building and even if I could there isn't any way to pull into my actual parking spot. I parked my car overnight at Safeway on Christmas eve and since then I have left my car down on Cornwall in front of my mom's. It has actually worked out well because mom and Steve's car got broken into on Christmas eve and so they have been able to use my car when they need to.

I took some pictures last night to document the craziness of this snow. We kept thinking it had to stop and then it just kept snowing. I will post a pic here for posterity.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

Oh the weather outside is frightful.....and I kind of love it.
I know it is cold and a pain and hard to get around in but it is also silent and beautiful and oh so fluffy. I can't remember it ever being cold enough in Vancouver to get snow this light and fluffy. I cleaned off my car this morning and was fascinated by how weightless the snow was. It really is like powder. We don't ordinarily get that kind of snow around here. Usually we have the heavy wet snow that turns into slush the moment it hits the ground. I am liking this powdery, light, fluffy snow.

In other news, I have a cold. Nothing too bad, mind you. A bit of a runny nose, the occasional sneeze and a once in a while dry cough. I don't expect it to get much worse than this and so it won't really slow me down this season. Not that there is anything keeping me going to quickly either. I am nearly done my Christmas shopping and am planning to do some baking next week. I have cleaned and decorated my apartment. I have even already wrapped the presents that I bought and have them under my little lime-green, tinsel tree. My tradition for wrapping presents has been to do them all on Christmas eve quite late at night while watching some totally-unrelated-to-Christmas movie on tv. Last year it was Eyes Wide Shut. Two years ago - A Clockwork Orange. Clearly some television programmer has a Christmas-Kubrick thing going on. This year I will be spared from watching Full Metal Jacket since my wrapping will all be finished early.

Some good news to round out my post is that my Grandma is being sent home today. She has been in an acute care facility for a couple of weeks now, since leaving the hospital and today she goes home. It is a joy to know that she will be back in her own environment for Christmas and the week leading up to it.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Busy December

Life has been busy and I haven't had enough downtime to sit and write. I have been crafting for Christmas and running around getting things done. Plus there is also all of the fun things I've been doing. I have gone to see It's a Wonderful Life at the Arts Club theater, decorated our Christmas tree, had festive dinners out, strolled 4th, window shopped, and really shopped. I have had a Dr. appointment, a dentist appointment, a chiro appointment, gotten my oil changed, new tires put on my car and gone out for my first experience of Vietnamese food. Phnom Penh - yum! The chicken wings are to die for! Deep fried with salt, pepper and garlic and a lemon (or lime) pepper sauce for dipping, mmm mmmmm. I found a pic of them online here... Phnom Penh chicken wings

This weekend there is a goodbye gathering for my monkey sister tonight, tree decorating at my sister's tomorrow, a bar mitzvah and a concert on Sunday.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A list for no reason (ok, because I love to write lists)

clean fresh sheets
rooibos tea
eucalyptus epsom salts
Cooper's paws
a good hair day
70% dark chocolate
red wine
any shade of green
fat, fluffy snow flakes

Just for a cleaning, but still!

I have a dentist appointment this afternoon and I don't want to go!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Nobody puts Baby in the corner.

I watched Dirty Dancing this weekend, on purpose.

I have seen this movie countless times. Pretty much any time it is on tv, I get sucked in and watch it. On Saturday afternoon, I put the dvd in my player and actually sat down and watched the movie from beginning to end. I paused it if my phone rang or for any other interruptions and watched it with purpose. I enjoyed it so much, that Sunday afternoon, I watched it again.

I have always loved Dirty Dancing but this time, I saw it a little differently. I found a new appreciation for it. Not only is it entertaining and fun (which is how I have always thought of it) but it is actually a really, really GOOD movie. The story is so much richer than I ever gave it credit for. The characters are well developed and you believe that they are really those people. It is beautifully filmed, interesting and clever. The music, for the most part, is perfect. Although I did scoff mildly at She's Like the Wind, it just doesn't fit the rest of the soundtrack.

I remember the first time I saw Dirty Dancing. I was 13 years old and with my mom on a mother/daughter date night. We had gone for dinner first and then to see Dirty Dancing. I wanted to be Baby. I wanted to go to the Catskills and meet my very own Johnny Castle and learn how to dance and do lifts in the water.

Does every girl love this movie as much as I do?