As the cost of Metro Vancouver storage climbs, I’m facing the challenge of ensuring we are storing only what we must. I spent several days – with my mother’s help – going through the last 7 or 8 boxes of “stuff” that has survived the multiple moves from address to address.
For over ten years, I’ve subscribed to Chicken Soup for the Soul daily emails. That is more than 3000 stories that have entered my inbox and I think I have read most of them. Except for the golf ones, and well, the “what I learned from my cat” ones. Of which I don’t really understand why someone would buy a book with that theme. Though I probably did learn a couple of things from my cat (prime example: don’t stay at your in-laws house too long or your teeth fall out).
There are some good ones, some funny ones, some “we need to publish another book” ones, and ones I stop reading half way through. And usually I receive them really early in the morning so I can read them while riding the elevator and avoiding conversation with my neighbours.
Occasionally, I think about writing my own story for one of the books. But I never have.
There is a CPR war memorial in front of Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver. I’ve admired it many times when I’ve walked by. It features an angel carrying a dead soldier to heaven. I read up on it and found out that the same sculpture was placed in Winnipeg and Montreal by CPR as well.
And I am glad they did because the sculptor did a magnificent job. It is at the same time both achingly sad and almost soothing to see the sculptor’s belief that those who died were cared for after death. And yet the angel grieves as well. I often admire it when I walk by.
But as brilliant as the sculpture is, it is the words etched on the base that give me pause. I find so many phrases and terms are now trite due to over use, but not so here. The author is not known to me, but his words match well with the sculpture itself – grief and care.
To commemorate those in the service of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company whom at the call of King and Country left all that was dear to them, endured hardship, faced danger and finally passed out of sight of men by the path of duty and self sacrifice, giving up their own lives that others may live in freedom. Let those who come after see to it that their names are not forgotten.
“Out of the sight of men” is my favorite part. Written as if those who died remain – but just not within our sight. A little hope in amongst the sadness.
March 8th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: To be able to write or sculpt that still imparts your intended meaning 90 years later. A gift.
I have a tendency to draw squares with my mouse pointer when I am bored or thinking or unable to do what I need to do.
And that is what I was doing on Monday evening while trying to write the Daily EO. I was exhausted, I was just wanting to not write it.
It was just then – 9:00 pm – that my husband came in the room, closed my laptop, said “Enough. You need sleep.” and turned off the light. I laid there in the dark trying to get the gumption up to get my flashlight and laptop under the covers. But before I could, I fell asleep.
January 21st, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: I like someone who knows best taking care of me – and I am so glad I have Emile to do that.
Almost a year ago, I wrote about traditions. I told you I like them. It makes me feel connected to the past. And I do honour traditions. This past Christmas, my mom told my brother and I that she didn’t need a stocking because we wouldn’t be together on Christmas morning. Independently, both Todd and I made sure she got a stocking – she got two. For part of Christmas lunch, we had mimosas and a pear apple (or an Asian pear) because we like them and because, well, it’s tradition.
Each Christmas, my parents sent out a Christmas letter – like many did – to friends and family to update them on the year’s happenings. Somewhere along the line, my Dad started writing a poem as the Christmas update – I think he started in 1967? And so each year, he would create a poem about events in rhyming couplets. At some point, I decided to become the Christmas poet and take up my dad’s quill. And for many years since – perhaps even 20 now – I have sent the family Christmas letter in poem.
E-mail and texting is changing the tradition of Christmas card – we receive very few in the mail any more. And I feel. .felt? . . that I was defending the erosion of this tradition. Cards are tactile objects for keeping, for rereading. Emile and I created our own traditions – eliminate the card, instead make a postcard from one of his pictures. It was ours, and I felt good about producing our Christmas package each year – it brought me pleasure to write and send.
And yet, this year I could not get into the mood. I could not seem to bring my pencil to paper to create our poem, but somehow managed to squeeze out 3 stanzas. But I needed to give myself a break. Surely right after Christmas I’d find the spirit to complete my card and get it out before New Year’s.
But then I was robbed. And in that backpack? My 3 longhand stanzas on my favorite (recycled from a computer motherboard) clipboard.
It’s taken me a while to get over that theft – and I still am smarting from it. I am pissed off, but continue to hope that perhaps something good will come from this. A lesson, a gift. And perhaps it is this: the realization that I don’t want to rewrite those 3 stanzas or any other stanzas this year.
Part of me mourns the end (or the gap?) in the tradition. Change is good, change is disconcerting. But this year there will be no Christmas or New Year’s letter heading your way from us. I hope you miss it a bit (like I do).
This year is just beginning, so perhaps we’ll begin a new tradition, or send greetings another way. I don’t know, but making this decision eases the furrow on my brow.
January 4th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Taking my own advice from a year ago: “Sometimes, you just need to move along people.” Traditions end. New things begin.
The sentiment remains. To all our friends and family: Happy Holidays via this untraditional medium. We spent our holiday season with those who are most important to us and hope you shared precious moments with those you care about.
I have started reading my friend’s blog. Well not so much that I started reading it as she started publishing it. It reminds me of why I started blogging in the first place. It feels like a therapist and a true friend all in one. She is trying to figure out some things and so writing and exploring through her blog.
When you write things done you process them. When you feelings are on the page there is no denying them. And it connects you with the world even if tenuous.
When you’re going through things, any connection matters. It is healing, it is positive and it is good.
November 25th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: To all the bloggers out there who are writing to find – and keep on – their path, I am one of you. Keeping stretching. Keep writing.
I go through times that I find it very difficult to write the EO. Not because I don’t enjoy it, but sometimes it doesn’t flow. It feels like the fingers are as stiff as the words. And that has been true for the last couple of days. You’ve probably noticed I am consistently one day behind.
Anyways, sometimes when I have these blocks, I am just really tired like I was a couple of days ago. Other times there is another culprit. And this time it is anxiety. Why am I anxious? Well, we have no jobs, limited income and in three weeks, no place to live. I think that enough to cause some level of concern. But I can handle that. But what I cannot handle is the lack of plan to deal with these things. And I don’t mean that I need to find us jobs and housing tomorrow, I just need a plan of attack to deal with all the above. It needs to cover likely contingencies, and provide actions for me to feel in control.
I don’t know what city we are moving to, I don’t know what jobs we are going to get and I don’t know the timeframe for these things. Can I come up with a plan of attack to deal with all of this? We’ve agreed to sit down to start a plan tomorrow – and I think it is because Emile cannot handle watching me vibrate any more. I am a delight to live with.
August 9th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: I feel better already with only a plan to make a plan.