Chinese Checkers

The boys came home today. This will be my last week with them before their Dad gets back. Don’t know who’s more excited – me or them! Haha!

We got home around 2:00 which meant of course that everyone had dispersed by 2:05 and regrouped by 2:10, friends in tow. There’s a little hill directly across from the house where they go sliding and it wasn’t until 4:30 that Little Bear came to the door crying because someone had pushed his face in the snow. He’s a bit of a dramatic little soul and he got all fired up with the indignation of it all. By the time he’d calmed down, his fingers started to tingle as they warmed and we had Act ll over that. Before the curtain fell on that little scene, Sam also came to the door crying. Someone had rubbed snow in his face and hair and he, like Little Bear, was not at all impressed. When I was their age, we called that a ‘mobbing’ and it was always a good bit of fun when you were the ‘mobber’, not so much so when you were the ‘mobbee’. In any case, hot chocolate with marshmallows and extra whip cream seemed to soothe the soul and they were adamant that the perpetrators should not be given any hot chocolate should they show up at the door.

The perpetrators, one being big brother, were not at all concerned, and at five we called them home as we were invited out for supper. Pop had made a chocolate cake for dessert. Home for baths and Chinese Checkers. Forgot, as per usual, to take pictures. Bedtime stories and everyone asleep by 9:00. Try as I might, 9:00 is the best I can do. I can get them in bed early, but asleep? No way. And no screen time today. Not for the boys; not for me. (until now) Little Bear, by the way, cheats. He does it when he thinks you’re not looking and then puts on this angelic personae that is so exaggerated I would know he cheated even if I hadn’t seen him do it. He’s a sport about it when you call him out though. Just laughs and moves the marbles back.

The game and the leather pouch of marbles came from my grandmother’s house. I suspect it’s eighty plus years old at least. More than one game played on this board.

Twice-loved.

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Screen Time (you probably shouldn’t be reading this)

It’s cold here in the house. We lost power last night around 9:00 p.m. and while it’s not terribly cold outside – hovering around zero – the winds are still gusting to 90/100 km/h. The house, like myself, is not young. The wind whistles through the cracks and I am chilled to the bone though wrapped in several blankets and wearing snow pants and a heavy winter jacket.

I’ve been for a drive around town to see what damage the wind and the surf have inflicted. Heated seats in the car and sufficient gas for a couple more rides should I feel so inclined. Places I can go where there’s a wood stove and warmth.

No electricity. No cell service. No internet. Not even a battery powered radio. Disconnected. It’s not so bad. Not as of yet.

I’ve been reading: Reset Your Child’s Brain by Victoria L. Dunckley, MD. It’s incredibly interesting – looks at the impact of electronic screen time on the human nervous system. While the focus of the book is primarily on children, the information easily transfers to older youth and yes, even adults.

Not just interesting, but scary as well. What are we doing to our children? To the developing brain? To behaviour, mood and social skills? To cognitive ability? Are we really compromising natural development and growth; creating moody, exhausted, dysfunctional children who are fast losing control and becoming increasingly at risk for stress, isolation, anxiety and depression?

I will finish the book. And I’ve already decided to monitor more closely my own screen time. Can I do that I wonder? Can I limit myself to an hour a day? What about Netflix? Who would have thought that even Netflix could be harmful? Come on now, “This is us” – harmful? really? Social media, I get. Pure poison at its worst; huge time sucker at its best. Gaming, I get. Overstimulation and difficulty both physically and psychologically “gearing down” – but Netflix? Yep. Netflix too has its dangers. Read the book!

That’s what I’m going to do now – read a little more. And it is a hard copy, not the online version!

It’s 4:00 p.m. The latest update on the power being restored says 8:00 p.m. at the earliest.  It gets dark at 5:00. Going to be a long day.

By the way, I am writing this in my notebook, I will type to my blog later.

Paper and pencil now; digital version later.

Twice loved!

 

Hello…..

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Found Black Beauty tucked into a corner in an antique/curiosity shop in Parsboro, Nova Scotia: Henry and Lucy’s. We were on a family vacation and the boys indulged my love of all things weird and wonderful. I was looking for an old fashioned typewriter, actually, but ended up with this beauty instead.

I am never far from my cellphone. Or perhaps I should say my cellphone is never far from me. Which is kind of funny because I was a naysayer for so long. But now, if I can’t find my phone, a mild wash of panic sends me into a tailspin.

How quickly this instantaneous and immediate source of communication has become a perceived necessity rather than the luxury it is. I have moved from being a two handed typist to a two fingered texter. Truth be told; however, it is not the texting that impresses. The camera is the cell phone’s most impressive feature, though I must admit I rarely use it. I am guilty of living “in the moment”. I have memories galore of the fun times I’ve had with friends, family, grandchildren. But very few pictures. Which is why I like to see the snaps others share. Especially of the grandchildren. So very fortunate to have so many people who happily take screen shots and send me pics of my beautiful boys. They are blessings for sure.

But back to Black Beauty.

I remember distinctly when the long cord came out and Mom bought one for the family phone. You could stretch that cord all the way round the corner into the next room where, if you lowered your voice to a whisper, you could imagine you were having a ‘private’ conversation – party line notwithstanding.

Privacy is not such a big deal today. A standing joke amongst a few close friends is that if it’s not on Social Media, it’s not real. Which again is funny, being it that so much of what you do see is staged, filtered and fake. “So what?” you say. And you are probably right. So what … years from now, will we know the difference between a memory that is real and a memory we have had ‘instagrammed’ unto our consciousness?  One will likely endure as long as the other. So maybe it doesn’t matter. What does matter, though, what does make a difference, is the right here, the right now: being present in the moment.  It shapes who we are, who we become.

But I digress.

Back to this old antique, this phone. What am I going to do with it? Nothing … pure nostalgia …feeling that way today …  I was happy to pack it up and bring it home.

Twice-loved.

Home

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It’s Sunday afternoon. The wind is howling outside. It’s not cold – 6 degrees – but there is a wind advisory in effect. The weatherman promises gusts between 100 and 120 km/hr. The old house will shake tonight!

Yet it feels oddly quiet. I am waiting for the boys to come home. It is their week to be with their Dad. He is working away this week. So Gram lucked in. I will spend this week with the three laddy-os. I won’t deny it’s hectic and when my feet leave the floor at my usual 10:30 bedtime, I’m tired. But stressed? Never. They are an endless source of amusement. Their honest observations and unique perspective on life make me thankful they’re around – thankful I’m around. It’s not easy to care for three rambunctious little boys, to get them where they need to go, to keep them clean and fed and rested and still put in a day’s work elsewhere. I would be lying if I said it was but fortunately their Pop is a huge help. This time is a gift.

The circle continues and I am reminded of how so many many people supported me when I was a young single mother. I hope I showed them how much that support meant. Because it meant a lot.

The three Ronnies are home now. Not so quiet here anymore. They are playing a video game with their Dad who is also on FaceTime. Lots of yelling, lots of laughter.

But still peaceful.

Twice-loved.

Thrice-loved!

 

 

Old Friends

When these two old friends turned up on my doorstop tonight my initial reaction was to look at them with a somewhat critical eye. They are definitely not in the shape they were when crafted oh so many years ago.

“Perhaps I should just throw them out,” I suggested. “No way,” says Little Bear. These are going in my room.”  They definitely need a few touch ups. Little Bear suggested a new jacket. “You can make one, Gram.” And I can. It just takes a little effort. Just a little.

How easily we throw away the good stuff, ever in search of something brighter, so terribly eager to replace quality with the bright brassy shine of the latest Walmart version. Yes, they are a little worn, a little tattered, but nothing a wee bit of love and attention can’t fix. Sort of like with real people. And like real people, they come with stories.

I remember well working on them, Mom and I working together, side by side, likely getting ready to open our little shop for the Christmas season.  Christmas was special in so many ways and this, the sewing, the decorating, was but one. Mom is gone now but perhaps I can salvage these two.

The boys seem to think I can.

They’ve been asleep now for ages.

I lay down with Litte Bear for a bit and tonight I shared a made-up story I used to tell the oldest when he was just a tiny tot. In came Sam to listen first, and then Max. Four of us contributing to a silly, impossible story that began long ago, with the story and the four of us tangled together like silly string in Little Bear’s single bed. It was fun. It was special.

A nice evening. Old friends and old stories.

Twice-loved!

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Somedays are diamonds …

And yesterday was one such day!

We loaded up the kayaks on the speed boat and took them to Trump Island where we spent an idyllic afternoon paddling the shoreline.

A stop at the Split Rock on the way home for a brew where younger brother and I had our photo snapped in front of a very special wall. The wall is built from boards salvaged from my grandmother’s house in Back Harbour, a place where I spent many wonderful summer vacations as a child.

If this wall could talk, oh the fabulous stories it could tell!

Twice loved!  ‘Recycling’ at its finest!

Something wicked this way comes…

There’s a lovely little shop in Benton that sells everything, kitchen sink included: antiques, curiosities and too many twice-loved treasures to name.

It was here I found the silver goblet though I purchased it black. Slathers of Silvo, some passionate rubbing and the goblet is restored to its former beauty.

Forbidden fruit, black roses, a string of pearls and curse of the Raven. The Dark Queen awaits!

A little early for Halloween but putting together a few things for an upcoming fall fair and this arrangement is one of a few.

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