Grateful, Thankful and Satisfied in Zanzibar

We spend the day relaxing, lazing around our room, reading and relish in the option of stretching out on the bed or sitting on the couch, so many soft surfaces to consider. Such a change from the last few weeks where a cozy spot was not possible as we moved from one place to another, comfort just beyond our reach.

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We pop open a can of Pringles,our staple in this continent and nibble on the salty snack. We wash it down with ginger beer, a tasty refreshment that has kept nausea at bay these last few weeks as we climbed Kilimanjaro and bounced around in Safari vehicles.
Options abound for dinner, there are restaurants and choice that surround and its difficult to choose. Our group plans to dine together and we set out in our clean clothes to peruse the many options available.
The night is dark and stars sprinkle above us, lighting our way as we walk sandals in hand in the cool sand. We find a lovely spot just a short distance from our resort. A table is set on the sandy beach. We sit and our chairs sink into the sand as we hunker down for the duration. Candles abound and the soft lighting is magical. Menus arrive, we are bombarded with choice, drinks, entrees. We decide after considering all our options and I close my eyes and take in the moment. I can hear the waves lap the beach, coupled with a lively band that strums out its chords.

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The food and drinks arrive and we eat and drink relishing each sip and bite. After days of stews, Milo and unbuttered bread, our taste buds explode. It occurs to me how much we take for granted in life and only when its taken away do we realize how fortunate we are. I make a mental note to always be thankful though know that in time the memory will fade.
Satiated, we begin the walk back to our beach bungalow. How lovely to know that there is a permanent structure waiting for us, complete with a comfortable bed and the ability to sleep for as long as we choose.

We bid good night to our friends, making loose plans to meet up tomorrow. Perhaps we will snorkel, kayak, or wander the beach, its difficult to decide at this moment of relaxation. I am not interested in further adventure at this moment, liking that time has stood still for a time.
In many ways this part of the trip is a typical beach vacation and we could be anywhere in the world in our safe, gated community. As I watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean, I am in this moment and content to have the next unfold without plan.

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Lazy Me

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Lazy Learners.”

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I’ve always wanted to learn many languages.  I dabble and can say a few words in French, Dutch, Taiwanese, Spanish and Sign language. When I travel to a new country, I learn a few simple words,  please, thank-you, adding to the  richness of travel.

Still, I love the idea of being  fluent in  many languages.  I  daydream about travelling the globe and slipping from one language to another effortlessly. I would  know when I’m being  short changed, could  haggle with the best of them, eavesdrop on conversation and know exactly what the  locals think. I could order food in a restaurant  and know what I ordered, omitting the surprise when it arrives.  I can see it in my minds eye and its perfect.

Therein lies the problem.  I studied French in school, for five  years and although I believed that I repeated the phrases perfectly, my teacher would  beg to differ.  It seemed that I never could get it perfect for her.  I’m reluctant to share my knowledge with anyone about the phrases I know for fear of being figuratively back in  French class.  This phobia seems  to have oozed into all  languages.  I’m  happy  to read and write  the words and will spell  them  out  to  people, awkward  for certain, though effective.

Seeing my excuses written down gives me pause.  The best part of getting  older is that I no longer care what other people think about me.  With  this in mind,  I  will take the time to learn another language and have my daydream become  a reality.  May-be  it isn’t too late?

Hurry scurry

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Style Icon.”

My personal style is hurry scurry. Whatever I do I try to do fast. I love to read but rather than relishing the words, I skim. I walk fast, talk fast, think fast. It seems as though life is a race and yet I know we are all moving to the same target, the end.

I married a man who moves slower, savours the written word, thinks before he speaks and as such is thoughtful. He lives each moment content to be in the moment and present.

As I rush along becoming more frantic, the list of must do and have to do stretching into the abyss I pause and remember why I married him, to learn. I sit down, breathe a full breath, put my feet up and for this moment I’m still

Great News

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Celebrate Good Times.”

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The mail arrives just after midnight, a happy chime of events on my IPAD. I roll over in bed and decide to wait until morning to read the mail.  I wake, my eyes bleary, still somewhere between fully awake and the land of nod. I read the words, then read them again. A smile beams, elation and I’m fully awake reading the words for a third time.  Could it be?  The timing perfect, my last full day at a career that has defined the days of my life for so long. All niggling doubts fly away in this moment. Crystal is my clarity.

Who should I call?  I call my husband first, then our children. Their happiness bubbles through the phone lines. I tell others’ throughout the day, their words not always matching their eyes their words not matching their emotion. It’s no matter, I do not require their joy, I have enough. I think of calling my Mom and Dad, how excited they will be I think in the next moment. Then I remember they died 12 years and 27 years ago respectively.  Momentarily I’m sad. I tell them anyway and my spirit lifts once again.

Every life is punctuated by moments of great joy. The day we receive the letter, email, text, the word.  The moment we receive the news, a job, a degree, a house, a proposal. The moment when the stars align and all the work, bad dates, and scrimping retreats into the abyss and there is only this moment of great joy, where all roads no matter how convoluted led to this one.  Our joy exponential, in the sharing, though for several delicious moments we savour the news and bathe in its glow

Imagination

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Toy Story.”

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My favourite toy as a child was a board game that my Grandpa created.  It was called Aggravation, similar to Sorry, but created long before that board game became popular.  Instead of plastic pieces it used marbles.  Each person had a set of coloured marbles and the goal of the game was to get all your marbles home.  A deck of cards was used and each face card had a value of ten, the ace had a value of one.  I no longer remember the finer details of the game. The board was white with decals in each corner.  The marbles moved around the board and settled into spaces that were carved out for them to rest.  There was a lip around the board to keep the marbles from rolling on the floor.

One vivid summer day my Grandpa and I were partners against my older sister and brother.  It came down to the wire with my siblings hot on our heels.  We were one space away from winning and I drew an Ace.  I’ll never forget how I felt when I put the ace down and my Grandpa and I won.  Teamwork, and even though I was a child I was able to offer something in that moment.

I suppose this shaped me.  I never coveted toys as a child. I instead spent time making up games and living different lives.  I imagined I was an Archeologist and dug a very large hole in our back yard to unearth artifacts, a nail, a rock, a spring, cataloging each item. I played street hockey in the back alley and dreamed of playing in the NHL.  She shoots, she scores!  My friend and I ran a bar and created an elaborate menu, all  a version of saltine crackers, peanut butter and water which we sold to her younger brother for a tidy profit. I imagined  myself a writer and wrote stories about people I knew, creating lives for them far more amazing, heroic and adventurous, then what seemed to me to be their truly boring existence. I found a pallet in the back alley and dragged it home as the base for my clubhouse.  I rode my bike to find the end of the rainbow.  I spent the money during that ride.  I never found the pot of gold, though the journey was golden.

I wonder in this world of over indulged, over scheduled and over tired life of a present day child if there is enough time to dream, imagine and create? I hope so, I know my life is richer for the experience.

A challenge

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All About Me.”  Why did I choose the title of my blog?

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I chose my blog title name as it encompasses my core belief and need to surround myself with positive. I’m not a Pollyanna and do know from first hand account of touching the centre of my own sorrow and rising out of the ashes like a Phoenix reborn. I know from a  career that has seen me witness to great sadness, at times more than a life can endure. I learned early that dwelling on the negative, sadness my soul, makes my heart heavy and does little else for myself or people around me.

The media is brilliant at focusing on angst, suffering and sensationalistic news bites coupled with photos that are etched in our minds forever. My blog was started as a way of continuing to find the silver lining or if no silver is to be found then to search for more and at least find copper and share with all who read my words.

i survived 27 years in healthcare with my heart intact and my soul only slightly tarnished. I took photos of beautiful things to combat the ugly. I surrounded myself with beautiful souled people and learned. I looked into the eyes of a child struggling and saw hope.  I have spent time with people on their last days of life and learned what truly matters when the trappings of life are stripped away.  I learned to focus on the positive and to accept life as it is and not what it might be in some long distance future which may never arrive. I am fortunate.

i look at life through a child’s eyes of wonder and amazement and at my best treat each day as new with a clean slate. I never remember negative and only remember the positive of any encounter  For certain, some interactions the memories are scant as only the good remains.

I do know each of us is fortunate. Where there is breath, there is hope, life and endless possibilities. I suspect there are others more fortunate than myself, though I do not know the intimate details of their lives  I only know what I can see and what they tell me, both are suspect  I suspect there are people worse than me, though they likely have gifts that I do not possess and they do not see their life as a hardship, they see others strife as worse than their own. We can choose this or the alternative.

What is right in the world today?  Everything!  I challenge you to look and see with wide eyes and wonder. I challenge you to only keep the best and to trash the worst. Look.  The good is always there sometimes you just need to look closer.

D.O.G. rescued us

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Menagerie.”

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My  daughters and I went to a local animal shelter to “visit the animals.”  While we were walking between the kennels, my  youngest daughter Michelle’s  attention was drawn  to the puppies.  Across from the puppies there was a forlorn looking white dog with black spots.  I wanted to teach Michelle an important lesson.  I pointed to the dog and explained that he would have great difficulty finding a forever home as it was unlikely many people would notice him across from the puppies, and wondering out loud how many times he looked his best only to be ignored.  His chances were limited as he was a grown dog.

Michelle went right to him, opened his kennel and gave him a big hug.  She stayed with him while Danielle and I continued to look at the rest of the animals. When we returned, she was still with him, stroking his fur and making his day.  Tears streaming down her face she pleaded with me to take him home.  My earlier message was received and my words boomeranged back to me as she stated that we must take him as it is unlikely anyone would want an older dog.

Reluctantly, she left him and shortly a young woman arrived and took him out for a walk. As the young woman was saying good-bye to him she promised that she would return the very next day and take him home forever.   Michelle had me promise that if he was still here in two days, then we would take him home. I made this promise easily, convinced that the young woman would return.

Two days later we returned, and were greeted with a grand smile and a wagging tail. We promptly named him Lucky, as we felt he was lucky that we chose him.  The name never suited and we changed his name to D.O.G.  (Dee-Oh-Gee).  This unusually usual name was perfect for him.

He helped us through the teenage years where he acted as a conduit to connect the generations and keep the communication lines open.  We spoke through him and wisely he listened and then offered advice sagely as we spoke for him.  In a bizarre twisted way, it broke the tension and  it always worked.  He had amazing insight into the most complex of problems.

He was my constant when I started the next part of my life alone. It was a year of upheaval. I sold the family home and began the process of building a new house.   D.O,G. moved in with another family temporarily and I became a renter.  Every week-end I picked him up and together we walked around and marvelled at the progress of the new house. He watched me learn to build and paint and stain.  The day arrived when I picked him up for the last time and brought him home for good.  He sighed and so did I, we were home.

He helped combat my loneliness  as I talked to him about my dreams and plans.  He was present nightly, keeping me safe in my country home with its strange sounds.  He listened while I cried about another bad date and then listened with interest when I told him about meeting my future husband, John.

He put many smiles on faces at stop lights, his arm on the armrest, leaning to the side and looking intently out the window at the road ahead.  He made me smile many times as he refused to be caught by the girls, effectively dekeing them out, proving that he watched closely when they played soccer.

His favourite place was sitting on the top of the hill overlooking his pond.   He would spend hours watching the birds, ducks, geese and wildlife who call our backyard home.  He looked like a Buddhist monk, serene, like he had it all figured out, perhaps he did?  We had him over fourteen years and though its been 5 years since he passed, his memory is easily accessed, he was one of a kind.   We are forever grateful that he rescued us, we were the lucky ones.

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