The Scent of a Person

I miss her so much already.

I miss her so much already.

There’s no way around it, we all smell.  Our sense of smell is like nature’s built in time machine.  One whiff of a particular smell can take us right back to a specific time or place.  Or remind us of specific people.  The smell of a woodburning stove or campfire reminds me of my Pepere.  The smell of sawdust takes me right back to my childhood, hanging out with him in his woodworking shop while he tinkered away.

On May 30th at 4:49am, not quite a month ago, I was blessed to hold the hand of my Memere as she took her last breath and left this world to go to the next.

In my kitchen is a cabinet in the corner.  It was a present from Memere’s kids (my Mom and Aunt) on their 35th wedding anniversary.  When we moved into our house, she gave it to us.  It was the first piece of furniture to be moved in.  For the longest time, you could open the cabinet, or one of the drawers, and you could smell Memere.  At that time, it was a combination of good perfume and cigarette smoke.  It was a pleasant smell actually, and I used to smile when I went in to get my good dishes caught a whiff.

Memere quit smoking a few years ago.  At this point, I never really noticed it, but her scent changed.  It was there, when you walked into her apartment, when you hugged her or got close to her, when I sniffed something she had given me (a handbag, a scarf, etc.) but it wasn’t anything that I really paid attention to.

Now she’s gone.  And I miss her so much.  She was 90 years old, and I know that she lived a long, good life, but I still selfishly wish she was still here.  I’m not going to stomp my feet and say it’s not fair when there are children dying all over the world, and innocent people dying in acts of war or terror.  But it still sucks.  Sometimes I think that the longer a person is in this world, the more we miss them when they’re gone, because they have been a part of our lives for so long, that the void they leave is un-fillable.

After she passed, the scent that I unconsciously associated with her lingered in her apartment.  I don’t even know how to explain it.  She rarely wore perfume anymore, it’s not an “old-lady” scent, it’s just a pleasant scent that is her.  Sometimes on my lunch in the last few weeks when I knew there wasn’t going to be anyone there, I would go to her apartment on my own.  As soon as I walked in the door, the scent was there.  I would sit on the couch and cry for a while, but it was almost a soothing feeling.  Like she was around me.  Even though she wasn’t physically there in the apartment, being there with all her things, with the familiar smells, comforted me and calmed me down.

Today I walked into her apartment again.  Almost all of her things are gone.  All of the furniture has been moved out and there are just a few things left behind.  My mom has been in there cleaning, and when I walked through the door, the first smell to hit my nose was cleaning supplies.  Lysol, VIM.  Her scent is almost gone from the apartment completely.  This made me so sad.  Not that the apartment was empty, that her belongings have been handed out to those she loved, but that the scent of her, that had been so prominent in there before – was gone.  It was like it hit me (again) that she truly is gone and isn’t coming back.

I have some of her things.  A handbag, a couple of scarfs, a chair.  All of these things still smell like her, but after today I’m terrified that the scent will fade from these things too.  It already has slightly – it’s not as prominent as it was a few weeks ago.  I’m so scared that once the scent fades from these things, that it will be gone forever, and that I’ll never ever smell it again.  That the one thing that was unique to her will be gone and I’ll never get it back.  It’s not like it’s a scent that they bottle and sell, though I wish they did.

Losing someone you love hurts really badly.  The more you love someone, the more it hurts.  It’s the price you pay for love.  But it’s worth it.  Every single memory that I cherish tells me – it’s worth it.

Thankful for the Big Little Things

I'm thankful for Pumpkin Spice lattes too. #psl

I’m thankful for Pumpkin Spice lattes too. #psl

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, and of course that got me to thinking about what I am thankful for.  I try to count my blessings daily, though sometimes after a long day where it seems like everything is going wrong, it’s hard to not focus on the struggles and concentrate on the good things instead.  I’m very fortunate in my life.  Of course I’m thankful for my son, for my husband, for my parents and grandparents. I’m thankful for my friends, who support me through good times and bad, who I share laughter and tears with.  I’m thankful for my job that I love, and for the amazing people I get to work with every day.  I’m thankful that I have a home that I love to rest my head in every night and keep my family warm and safe.  I’m thankful for my health, and being able to be active.  I’m thankful for the food on my table and the clothes on my back.

These things though, I think are pretty obvious.  I send up a quick prayer of thanks every day for these things.  What about the little things? What about the things in my life that are a huge part of my life, but I don’t really stop to think about them at all – I just take for granted that they’re there and they’ll always be there.  Today I want to be thankful for them too.

  1. Books.  We all know I love books.  That they are a big part of my life.  Reading is one of my true loves. I never stop to think about what life would be like if there were no books. Probably because I shudder at the thought.  Books were my friends through childhood (though I had other friends too 🙂 ), my escape as a teenager, and my sanctuary as an adult.  As a part of this, I also want to mention how thankful I am for my local library, that gives me unlimited FREE access to all the books I love.  It is an under utilized service that our tax dollars pay for, and with today’s technology, we simply go online, do a search for what we want to read, and place a hold.  When it’s available, you get an email to go pick it up, and you can read it for free!  Not done after three weeks?  Renew it online.  I love my library and am so thankful it is just a short walk away.
  2. Music.  We all know I love music.  But sometimes I think I just take it for granted.  My life, everyone’s life has a soundtrack, and sometimes I don’t think we’re aware of that.  Music fuels me, motivates me and moves me.  Yesterday I went out for a walk and I thought for a change I would listen to an audiobook instead of the playlist I usually do.  I love books…see above…but I made it almost halfway before I had to switch back to music.  It really makes a difference and I’m so grateful that music is woven throughout the fabric of my life.
  3. My church.  My faith and going to church is a part of my life.  Today though I looked around and really felt thankful for the sense of community that I feel there.  I am happy to raise my son in that community and excited that he gets to be a part of it.  It’s like an extension of our family and going there feels like going home.
  4. Memories.  I work for an organization that specializes in senior healthcare services.  Every day I see what the effects of Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be.  I can’t imagine what life would be like to lose all the memories that I hold dear.  Times I shared with my grandparents, some of whom are no longer with us.  Vacations we took, school memories, my wedding day, unlocking the front door of our home, the moment I found out I was pregnant with Nicholas, the day he was born.  I am so grateful that though sometimes I walk into a room and forget what I came in there for, my memories – the experiences that made me who I am – are all still intact.
  5. Breathing.  Okay, this seems obvious, because if I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t live.  But think about breathing aside from the receiving oxygen part of it.  Think about walking outside in the spring right after the rain starts and you can smell the rain in the air.  Or taking a deep breath on a crisp winter day and smelling the freshly fallen snow.  Or the smell of Memere’s beans baking in the oven.  Or being freaked out about something and focusing on your breathing and taking one breath at a time until you are calmed down again.  Sometimes I just think, as silly as it sounds, we really take breathing for granted.

I hope that everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving, and that everyone takes the time to be thankful for the little things.  Even though sometimes they are hard to see, they are there.  I’m getting ready to go and celebrate the day with our family, and will be very thankful for the meal that we will eat together.  Gobble gobble everyone!

Updates

Beach days are here again

Beach days are here again

So, I figured I was due (overdue actually) for an update post.  Because I am a very very bad blogger.  They say the key to a successful blog is consistency.  Obviously this is why all my posts go viral.

Sigh…I’m so funny.

Because it’s been almost three months since I last posted, I thought I would just chat for a bit about what has been going on in my little corner of the world.

So without further ado…

1.  Summer is here!

Actually, it’s half over, so I’m a little late to the party on that one.  We have had a very busy one, but it has been very very good.  My Mom has been looking after Nicholas full time, so his summer has been fantastic. She spent two weeks trucking him back and forth from swimming lessons, took him and a friend to a local berry farm for the day, and in general has been keeping him active and his days full.  In between times he has been going to coffee and swimming with my Dad.  We are so very fortunate to have her as our primary childcare provider.  Nicholas adores her and she is trying so hard to make this a summer that he will remember.  I keep telling her that all she would have to do is be in the same room as him and he would be happy, but she is determined to do all kinds of things with him and I am so grateful.

Summer has been busy for all of us.  We’ve been busy swimming, spending time by Joe’s parents’ pool, and here, there and everywhere.  We finally made it to the beach for the first time today, and plan to go back again next weekend if the weather permits.  We’ve got a golf tournament in a couple weeks, and Joe and I are both planning to take the last week of the summer off during which we have some fun things planned.  I am super excited to have a full week off,  I haven’t really had that since Christmas of 2013.  Starting a new job in 2014 made it a little difficult to take time, though I have managed a few days here and there.

2. Work

Work has been busy, but it’s going well.  I’m currently up to a 5 day week for the time being, which I’m incredibly grateful for.  I’m incredibly happy to be working for such a great organization with such amazing people.  I know how lucky I am to have a job I love and I’m thankful every day.

3. School

I have changed my focus in school.  I was taking a course in Office Admin at Fanshawe, but found out that they are retiring the course.  I made the decision to transfer some of my credits to another course that I think is better suited to help me in what I do.  It means I’ll be in school a bit longer, but I think it will be worth it.

4. Health

Joe and I have been taking steps (literally) since the end of May to improve our lifestyle and better our health.  It has been successful so far and we’re looking optimistically forward full steam ahead.  But more on that later…

So those are the basics about what has been going on in Limaville.  Life is going on, life is good.  We have our down days, but the up days make up for them and we are grateful for all the days.  I would make all kinds of promises about how I’m going to blog more and post more recipes, more book stuff, more anything stuff.  But I won’t promise, that way maybe we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.

I hope that everything is going well in your corners of the world, and that you’re having a fantastic summer.

Until next time…

Family Time

Buddies

Buddies

Today my baby boy turns 6.  It’s hard to believe that 6 years ago today he entered our lives.  Each day has gotten better since.  He has truly made our lives complete.  Being a Mom can be the toughest job in the world sometimes, mostly because you simply love that little one so much that they become an extension of you.  When they laugh, you laugh.  When they hurt, you hurt.  When they feel bad, you want to step right in and fix whatever the problem is.  Even when you can’t.

Anyway, I just wanted to fill you in about the little trip that our family took to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls.  We had gone in February and spent a couple of days, and we all had such an amazing time, that we thought we would take another trip to celebrate Nicholas’ Birthday.

So last week on Wednesday, we packed up the car, and headed for Niagara Falls.  It was a lot better drive than it was the time before, as we were in a snowstorm that time.  We had my parents with us, as we had the last time, and this time was even better because we had all been there before, we knew the ropes and how to go about doing everything, and how to best utilize our time there.  We had such an amazing time, I thought I would share the experience with you, and show you some of our pictures.  I was able to get some awesome pictures, as we purchased a waterproof camera a few weeks before our trip, which came in very handy in the waterpark, as I didn’t have to worry about it getting wet, as well as it allowed me to leave my phone in the room and causing me to be unplugged for hours at a time, which astonishingly enough, did not bother me at all.  I kind of liked it actually!  I got some great waterpark pictures, and I plan on using this camera a lot at the beach this summer too.  Already a great investment.

We arrived at GWL at around 2pm on the Wednesday.  We were delighted to find that our room was ready, so we were able to check in.  So we unpacked, suited up, and hit the water running!  Here are some pics from Day One:

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And from Thursday, Day Two:

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And lastly Friday, Day Three, and the day we came home:

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As you can see, we had a lovely, fun filled trip, where Nicholas spent a large amount of it under the water.  It’s such a nice place, we’re already planning our next trip, probably for October or around there.

Hope you have a great weekend, and a very Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms out there. 🙂

Mini Easter Cheesecakes

Sweet and Delicious

Sweet and Delicious

I made these little gems to take to our family Easter Dinner today.  They’re a sweet treat and fairly quick to make if you need something to take somewhere.  They are modified slightly from a recipe I found on the Kraft Canada website.  Enjoy, and Happy Easter to everybody!

Ingredients (for 24 cheesecakes)

4 blocks cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 eggs

24 Golden Oreo cookies

1 tub of Cool Whip, thawed

food colouring

candy, chocolate or fruit to decorate

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a regular sized muffin tin, put in some pretty cupcake papers.  In the bottom of each one, place one Golden Oreo cookie.

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well blended.  Add eggs, one by one, blending after each one until just blended.

Pour or scoop (I use an ice cream scoop) batter into muffin cups evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes or until centres are almost set.  Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight.

To decorate, put a few drops of desired colour of food colouring into the cool whip and mix well.  Top chilled cakes as if you were frosting a cupcake.  Add decorations.  I used Mini Eggs and Peeps.  You could totally go wild with this using whatever you wanted.  Jellybeans would be great, mini creme eggs, or fresh fruit (preferably berries that aren’t cut so they aren’t as apt to bleed).  The possibilities are truly endless.

Store in the fridge until about a half hour before eating.

Hope you all have a fabulous Easter and enjoy the time with family and friends.

Until next time.

 

 

When the Tough Times Teach You a Lesson

The silver lining is there. Can you see it?

I went to a funeral yesterday.  My sister in law lost her Dad.  He was in his 86th year, and the last year or so had been a rough one for their family.  They have gone through a lot.  Hopefully they are at peace now knowing that he is now at peace, and they can move on remembering the best of times with him and keeping him alive in their hearts.

I also received news last week that a man that I have known since I was a little girl whom I have respected and admired for the better part of my life, has died.  I knew him through work, and didn’t see him very often anymore, but he was a wonderful man, and upon hearing that he passed away, I was quite saddened.  He was a younger man, in his 60’s I believe, with a wife, children and grandchildren.  He was probably on the brink of what would have been one of the best times of his life.  He and his wife likely would have travelled quite a bit, and I imagine his retirement years would have been very full and very blessed, had he not been taken so early.

Neither of these passings effected me directly.  There are a lot of other people who are suffering due to these losses, and though they have impacted me somewhat, my prayers are with the people that are truly grieving their father, husband, grandfather, etc.

Everything in life holds a lesson though, and I like to try to take something away from every experience.  Therefore, when things like this happen, they get me thinking.  These are two different situations, yet the ultimate outcome is the same:  there are two families out there that are grieving a loss right now.

I don’t think about death very much, though I will admit that since I had my son I have definitely considered it a lot more.  I think it’s natural when you have children to think about dying – hoping you stick around as long as possible so you don’t miss anything, making plans in case tragedy strikes and your child needs to be provided for, etc.

But it is in times like this, where you encounter loss that strikes a little closer to home, that you really realize that what they say: “you can be here one moment and gone the next” is totally true.  Some day, we’re not going to be here anymore.  When I look at it this way, it makes every minute precious.  It makes wasting time a horrible thing.  It makes me want to grab on to the people I love and squeeze them tight, so that there will never be a question of how much I love them.

I try to find the good and the positive in every situation.  Maybe a month from now, when I’m stressing about something that I can’t change, that I shouldn’t be stressing over, I’ll look back on this time and remember that I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff.  Maybe 3 months from now when it’s summer and my kid is driving me crazy because it’s summer and he is bored, I’ll remember this and instead of pulling my hair out, I’ll take a deep breath and remember he’s a kid, and he’s bored, and he just wants my attention.  Maybe when my Dad cooks something in my kitchen and leaves the stove a mess because he boiled something over, I’ll remember that I’m just lucky that a) someone is cooking me a meal and I don’t have to do it, and b) someday he won’t be here to cook for me and I’ll remember this wishing he was messing up my stove again.

Life is full of tough times.  Some times are worse than others.  Some people seem to have it worse than others.  I think the important thing to remember is when tough times happen, the best way we can deal with them is to look for the positive things.  I believe every cloud has a silver lining, and there is a lesson to be learned from everything life sends our way.

Until next time.

It’s Been a Long Winter

Winter 1

At least someone looks like he enjoyed winter!

I think that statement is the biggest understatement of the year.  We have had an incredibly long, cold, snowy winter this year.  It was only a few weeks ago that the high temperature reached a number on the positive side of freezing, and that was only for a couple of days and then we were back to -10, -17, -29, with wind chills at times of -40.  It is only now that looking at the 14 day weather forecast (which could also be a bunch of malarky, but here’s hoping) and the high temperature is consistantly in the positive numbers every day.  This is like a heat wave.  Even though there is only 2 days in the next 14 that we are supposed to be above 10 degrees.

Winter seemed to start early this year.  Earlier than usual anyway.  The last two winters before this we barely had any snow or cold weather at all.  I don’t think we took our snowblower out of the garage once in either year.  This year probably seemed far worse in comparison to those two years, but the cold temperatures certainly didn’t help.  Since the beginning of 2014, we have been under at least 3-4 cold temperature alerts, and they tend to last for about 2 weeks at a time.  It has been brutal, and it hasn’t let up.  Every week it seemed to be about a new system, a new storm, a new pileup on the highway.

But, what can you do?  We live in Canada, we accept the winter along with the rest of the seasons.  Hopefully we have a nice long hot summer where we can spend lots of days at the beach.  That will help make up for it.

At Disney on Ice

At Disney on Ice

Overall though, we have had a good winter.  We have kept busy, and done some fun things. Back in February, we went to see Disney on Ice at Budweiser Gardens.  It’s the second year in a row we have gone now, and we really enjoy it as a family.  The look on Nicholas’ face when he sees Mickey and Donald and Goofy – is a true testament to the magic of Walt Disney.  It also adds to our conviction that we really need to try to go to Florida to take him to Walt Disney World.  I think we are going to try to go next February.  If Disney on Ice makes him excited, I can only imagine what Main Street USA will do to him.  I went when I was a kid – and again with Joe when we were engaged, and I seriously can’t wait to go back.  I really hope we get to go next year.  I really want Nicholas to experience it.

A little later on in February, we went with my parents to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls.  We drove through a snowstorm to get there (how fitting), but we had a wonderful time.  We stayed for two nights.  If you’re not familiar with GWL, it is amazing, and worth checking out, especially if you have kids.  It is a huge lodge themed resort that has an awesome arcade, bowling, mini golf in the summer, and among other things, over 100,000 square feet of water park.  The water park is simply amazing.  There are slides, a wave pool, lazy river, splash pad with bucket, hot tubs, and so much more.  We all had a really amazing time.  This place is so geared towards kids, it is so relaxed and fun, we were all really sorry to leave.  It is an awesome place for loads of family fun, and we have made plans to go back again for a couple of nights in May for Nicholas’ Birthday.  It is a bit expensive to go, but if you plan ahead, and take snacks, it can be doable.  It’s totally worth it.

The Family at Great Wolf Lodge

The Family at Great Wolf Lodge

The rest of the winter has been good.  The frigid temperatures have made it hard at times because even a beautiful sunny day can be hard because when you would normally be outside playing you can’t, because the news reports are saying that exposed skin can freeze in 2-5 minutes.  Not exactly the type of weather you want to send your kids outside to play in.  Nicholas has managed to get out tobogganing a couple of times this winter though, he got a new sled for Christmas, and has enjoyed those times out very much.

Winter 4

Out on the hill

In other news, my Mom just celebrated a Birthday this month.  She turned 65 years young.  She continues to inspire me on a daily basis with her energy, her dedication, and her ability to get things done.  She may be 65, but she really is so much younger than that.  She and Dad are selling their house, my childhood home, to move into an apartment in town.  This is going to be bittersweet for everyone I think.  It will be odd that they won’t be living in their house anymore, there were so many good memories there.  Still, it’s time.  Where they are is too much for them to comfortably look after.  It is getting to be way too much, especially for Dad, and Mom doesn’t want to live anywhere that she doesn’t feel that she can effectively look after.  Being in an apartment will be so much better for them.  No grass to cut, no snow to shovel.  They are looking forward to it, and it will mean that they will live even closer to us, so we’re happy about that too.

65 years young!

65 years young!

So that’s it for the updates I guess.  Not much else to say at this point.  We sit and we patiently wait for summer to come around again.  I look at the local forecast and it says 2 degrees.  This makes me happy!  Tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 11.  This makes me want to dance!  If you read this blog and/or know me at all, you know that I love days at the beach or by the pool, and though I do love each and every season, I am certainly excited to feel a bit of warmth when I step outside.  I’m looking forward to running out to the store or to work or wherever without having to put a coat on.  To slip on a pair of sandals and go.  Those days are coming, we just have to keep being patient I guess.

 

I just wanted to make a note about this blog.  I have a few plans for it, which include expanding the focus slightly.  There will be more about that to come in future weeks.  I know that lately I haven’t been blogging as much, and I really hope to turn that around a bit.  I haven’t had a computer at home for quite a while now, so I have had to resort to blogging when I can, and often on an iPad.  Now I love my iPad, but it is really not the greatest thing to write nice, long blog posts on.  It’s also a little hard to format the posts on the iPad.  Not for everyone maybe, but definitely for me.  I recently got a new computer for various reasons, and I’m hoping that this will lead to many many more blog posts in the future, about various topics, on a regular basis.  I know I’ve made this promise before, but now I have the tools, and I mean to use them.

Hope you’re having a great weekend, and you’ll be hearing from me soon.