Posts Tagged With: childhood

mylinke skadooshnik – or something to that effect

I was shopping at Food Basics the other day and much to my delight I discovered three shopping carts full of ripened bananas.  Food Basics discounts their produce that is older, but still good, instead of throwing it out – bravo!  So – I took a cart full myself thinking I would skin then and freeze them for future muffins and breads.  An older European looking gentleman stopped me and commented, ” You must have a lot of monkeys at your house to feed!.” 

“I certainly do, ” I replied, grinning that my family really are little monkeys at times.

He commented, “my wife would be so pleased for these bananas as she will skin them and freeze them for breads and muffins.”

I said, “Well, that’s what I’m going to do with them. And good for you for looking out for your wife!”

We parted and met again later on in another isle.  He asked, “What is your ethnic origin?”

“Russian.  Why?”

He explained, “You are so friendly to speak to a stranger in a grocery store.  Do you speak Russian?” he asked in Russian. 

Since I had forgotten the word for little in Russian (and know even less) I said, “no Bolshoi – not a lot.”

He offered the word for little (pardon the spelling), “mylinke”. 

I was hit by a most overwhelming memory of my Mom who used to say to me… again… I do not spell Russian.. “mylinke skadushnik!”  I teared up – I had not heard that expression in such a long time… I explained to the gentleman that this was such a wonderful word to me and I explained why. 

We parted – I cashed out while holding back my tears until I was able to reach the silence and privacy of my van where I burst into tears.  Joy?  Likely – what a wonderful memory in such an unlikely place.

So – here’s to Food Basics – the second time that I have connected with my beloved parents in the grocery isles.  Maybe they should consider changing their name to Spiritual Basics? 

Anyhow – that day I brought home much more than groceries! 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

That was then and this is now…

I am still intrigued with the notion of forwards and backwards.

I know this theme is repetitive from yesterday’s post – but I would like to take a moment to reflect on the concept once again. ( You knew it was coming!)

What if I were to construct my posts according to then and now?  How would that look?  Here’s a sample of what “could be”.

Looking Back:  It seems that a lot of my childhood time was spend outdoors.  My parents were very strong environmentalists – before their time.   Dad was a farmer at heart and during the summer would pride himself in stirring the compost pile that sat beside his 1/2 acre garden.  At the time I thought it was disgusting and avoided at all costs the trip to the compost pile to empty the organic kitchen scraps.  Oh, the stench!  But Dad knew that a good pitch fork to add oxygen to the pile would keep the smell in check.  I often now think about Robert Service’s poem:  Ode to a wee mouse and wonder how many plans of the mice Dad had interrupted by stirring their inevitable home?

Now:  My husband and I keep five composters in our back yard.  They are the ones that can be turned to aerate.  We faithfully collect kitchen scraps and still reluctantly take the trip to dump the scraps into the composter.  No matter how many turns they get, however, they still smell.  But each spring, they get emptied into my garden.  And with pride, I mix the soil and wonder how the heck Dad was able to keep 1/2 acre free from weeds as my little backyard garden is plagued by weeds!  I love to garden and burst with pride when I carry in tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini to the kitchen.

Looking Back:  The winter was a time of magic and wonder when I was a child.  Mom would always talk about the beauty of a snow-filled forest.  And it really was spectacular when the snow stuck to the branches and created a delicate veil.  Day in and day out, Mom and I would click into our cross-country skis and “do the loop” out the back door, through the woods, through the field and back to the house.  Our cheeks would be rosy and our spirits lifted by the beauty of nature.

Today:  My family and I just created our own little loop – out the back door, around the pond, over the bridge, and home.  We returned with rosy cheeks and lifted spirits.  The woods were so beautiful and the snow so crisp!  What a joy it was to take “my” family and friends out to enjoy something I remembered so fondly from my own childhood.

Maybe the joy we experienced in the woods today and in the garden in the summer were shared by those who live on in our hearts and memories?  Maybe they come alive when we remember the joys of childhood?  Whatever it is – there is definitely something to be said about living for today with the spirits and joys of “then”.

Mom and Marion out to do the loop

Mom and Marion out to do the loop


Categories: Family and Friends, Life's Lessons, Mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Found it: Sans eyes, sans teeth

Now I wonder if this was taken from Omar Khayyam or inspired by his “sans” passage in the Rubaiyat?  It is the last line from Jaques famous ‘all the world’s a stage’ speech in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, 1600.  How many of us – my generation – can actually quote poetry?  What a gift.  Anyhow – here it is..

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Categories: Duff History, Family and Friends, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Omar Khayyam

Mom and Dad both used to quote this passage to me when I was young.  Then, I had no appreciation for it – whatever that “finger” was I had no idea.

Today – the passage resonates.  Maybe I’ll start reciting it to my own children.


“The Moving Finger writes; and having writ,

Moves on:  nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”


They also used to say something like, “Sans eyes, sans teeth, sans all..”  but I haven’t found the source of that yet –


Categories: Life After Dad, Life's Lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Dear Dad: 

I’m struggling to move forward and I’m struggling to stay put.  

There are so many changes and decisions I don’t know what is best.  

On a good note – even in death your blog is being well received.  I guess I don’t need to tell you how many people have read your stories because I guess you already know that.  

On another good note – Veteran’s Canada continues to be supportive of you.  All the equipment they supplied to you has been gifted to your estate and I have been “loaning” it to those in need.  I feel a bit panicky that this is the right path as I am now launching into another venture I have no idea of the destination.  

My greatest consolation right now is AM- 740.  I have always enjoyed your music, but never knew whether I was listening to it for you or for me.  Here I am – listening – but I am alone.  There is that strong sense of being alone – I can’t imagine how you felt when Mom passed away. 

On another good note, the Dancing Nannies are still busy working and I’m trying hard to figure out how to help them.  They have managed to stay alone in your condo for the past week – Dorothee really missed you and felt that you were still there often.  Too hard for her to bear – she is so young.  Ana misses you a lot – she feels like she has now lost two Dads.  I have, however, gained two new sisters and we console each other often.  We still pretend that you are in your pink chair and pour you a glass of wine.  I miss those toasts, Dad.  I miss you.  

I am trying hard to think of the good times and happy things, Dad, but it is tough.  WIth whom do I share memories of Mom, the property, my childhood, our grieving over Mom?  I hate change – and I love it at the same time.  There are new opportunities that are unfolding for my family and I – but I don’t know which direction to take. 

On a cool note – Ben saved a young boy from drowning, yesterday, while he was guarding at the beach. Dad, you would be so proud!  He is such a fine young man.  

David enjoyed VBS today and his art work is extraordinary. 

Katya just “chilled” with me. 

Kevin is trying to adjust to having me back in his life as his wife.  I’m not sure if he’s thrilled with this new “bonding” or not.  I’m sure that you and Mom went through that sort of thing when you returned from postings across Canada.  Wish I could share these things with you in person, Dad.  You were always such a good sounding board.  

Brian Marlatt keeps up to date with me and my ramblings and offers his support every once in a while.  I guess Fran and Floyd were hit pretty hard by you leaving us.  How about buying me a ticket to see them in BC this summer.. I’ll take that instead of the dress?  And please don’t suggest you have enough Canadian Tire money (grin).  I don’t think Air Canada respects that currency.  

What else can I tell you? 

What should I do with your condo?  I’d love to keep it – but I don’t know that I can do that.  I have always regretting that I couldn’t buy the property from you – and I don’t want to do that with your condo. There are many expressions of interest for purchase -but it’s SO hard to say good-bye.  What would I do without being able to go “home” to my second home?  There are so many memories there.  How do people cope?  

Dad – my heart aches, yet I can’t seem to cry.  I’m happy that you are “free”. But seriously – I bought cauliflower today to make soup… and no one here eats it.  I am going through the motions .. in an effort to find peace.  

Yeah – so Nat King Cole’s “Answer me, my love”, just came on the radio.  I remember how you and Mom used to light up when you heard him.  Where was it that you saw him live?  Toronto?  How wonderful.  Where did all those velvet voices go?  

Anyhow, Dad, I’m still waiting for you to visit me in my dreams.  Remember I told you about Mom’s three visits and how her last one she hugged me?  When do I get your hug?  I could sure use one right about now.  

I know you would like me to thank everyone who is reading these posts and express your most sincere appreciation for supporting you and I in our journey to … where-ever it is.  

On another positive note, Jamie has expressed his trust in my handling of your affairs.  This takes a big burden off my shoulders and I feel more at peace with that issue now.  All you wanted, you said, was for us to get along.  We are both trying.  And for that, I know that you and Mom would be pleased.  

So, Dad, while I don’t feel so frozen anymore – I do feel that I have rambled.  How appropriate is it to ramble on on a public forum I don’t know – but there are some who have told me our conversations/ stories have inspired them to write their own family stories – and that’s good. We sure did have a good time doing that, eh?  Okay – it wasn’t fun at the time as I know I had to “hound” you a lot for stories when you were so tired.  But, seriously, you did enjoy when I read them back to you – and your grandchildren will not be able to understand their own heritage better – and know you as a person through your stories.  

To those of you who are reading this post and feel that I’ve crossed the line of insanity – you may be right, I may be crazy (to coin the words of Billy Joel).  But I am no longer so frozen.  


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Create a free website or blog at