Friday, January 31, 2014

Another unwanted milestone!

This is the weekend I say farewell to these 2 wonderful girls:
(Elly (left) and Ayaka (right)

Ayaka's been with me for a year, and she's been a great house daughter.  Although I'm sorry that she's leaving me, she is only going to another part of the province; so I'll see her again which makes saying goodbye to her much easier.

But Elly been with me for 3 years.  That's a lifetime in teen years!  She was 15 year old when she arrived; she had little confidence in herself and could hardly speak or understand English.  She struggled the first semester with making friends except for the other Korean girl in school.  She would sometimes fall asleep in class and was unresponsive to her teachers -- 'cause she didn't know what they were saying or how to express herself.  Her idea of a spending spree was a trip to the Dollar Store and coming home
with a bag full of hair accessories and candy bars.  She never went out to the movies; she never watched English TV.  We'd go on day trips, and she'd sulk for the first 1/2 hour because she wasn't allowed to bring along her I-phone or Game Boy.  But I let her know in those first 5 months that if she was serious, then I was committed to helping her overcome the hard spots.  And she has rewarded me with her success.  

Over this 3 year period together, we've had lots of fun evenings full of card games and weird Korean snacks.  We've had fantastic day trips together where we spent too much money on clothes and delicious food.  We've had long, long talks about & boys & sex & the pain of having periods; about love & family & duty; about drinking & smoking & drugs; about education & travel & prejudice -- we've talked it all!   We've had some disagreements and gotten on each others nerves.  Her room is always a mess, even 2 hours after she's tidied; she never quite finishes cleaning the kitchen when it's her turn to do the dishes; and you can rely on the last of her laundry still being in the dryer when you go to do your wash.  The bathroom mirror is flecked with toothpaste and you have to wipe around the sink ('cause she's obviously almost drowned in it while she's been washing).  She spends too much time on the computer and, although she's respectful enough NOT to answer it, her phone constantly beeps and rings throughout meals.  When I ask her to do something, she'll do it ...... after a 3-5 min pause to let you know who's really in charge!  I love the way she's outspoken with her friends, 
even if her opinion differs from theirs.  I love how she knows her worth as a woman and will often tell other girls how they should be treated by their boyfriends.  I love how she'll always say yes to dessert (and how we are both going to cut back "tomorrow").  And I love how quickly she became aware of my tastes and how she's soooo generous and always buys me the perfect gifts.  She knows me very well ... and I her.  She has truly become my daughter!

She taught me so much about being not just a host-mother to international kids, but about being a better mother in general.  She has an amazing sense of humour and we always get each others jokes.  She helped to teach me to cook Korean and was always positive about every dish I tried, even the crappy ones.  And she taught me to re-think what I didn't like in my younger years because I may find it different now.  (And she's right!)  We share a love of adventurous eating, luxurious skin care products, zombie movies, shoes, dark chocolate, spicy foods and many other things. Neither of us will take guff from people, no sirree! As a matter of fact, she's a lot like "her mother".  

About the only thing I won't miss is her occasionally pouncing out from behind things and making me jump ... and cry.  Doesn't she understand how old I'm getting to be?

I'm confident that our goodbye isn't forever.  And if she gets accepted to the Canadian college of her choice, she could come home to NS for Christmas and/or I could go visit her in the big city more even more eating adventures.  

But how am I going to get through the next few months until I get used to life without her?  My heart is so full of pride and sadness.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Count to ten? Then keep going.

Yep!  It's been one of those days/weeks.  I don't need to bring you down with my details; it's just stress and a lot of little things.

And Alexander is often shortened to Sandy!  Duh!  Fits wha?

So I need to count my blessings.  Okay; sitting here in my unflattering plaid nightshirt, clean and greased and smelling of grapefruit body butter, here we go off the top of my head without thinking, I am grateful:

  1.  ... for epsom salts and bathroom doors and zen time ... alone, alone, alone; blessedly alone!
  2. ... for thirst quenching, ice cold soda water with lime wedges and frozen strawberry.  Yum!
  3.  ... that American Idol seems to be focusing on the good singers this season and not on highlighting too many bad singers and the embarrassment and disappointment that they must feel.
  4. ... for Keith Urban.  He's a smart guy; and seems to be a kind and gentle soul as well. (And he's so good to look at!)
  5. ... for God's grace ('cause I may otherwise have tested His limits today with my bad attitude and colorful language and childish behavior.  But he lets me vent and still loves me.)
  6. ... for comfortable beds and electric heat.  (I slept on a lumpy mattress in an old drafty house for years; I know what I'm talkin' bout here.)
  7. ... for money to pay the guy who comes to shovel for me.
  8. ... for surreptitious stashes of dark chocolate.  
  9. ... for my Xmas Kobo (reading "Allegiant" -- neah, s'okay) and being only halfway through my crossword puzzle book.
  10. ... for blogs that make me laugh, and hungry (and curious), and encouraged; and gives me pause to think, thereby taking me out of my nasty self.  Thank you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RIP Pete Seeger

As you all know by now, Pete Seeger passed away; a great singer/songwriter, a bastion of civil and labor rights, active even in his 90's, influential to so many other wonderful artists, a gentle man with a heart for the people.  

The first time I'd ever heard of Pete Seeger was around 1963/64.  Remember my folks old davenport full of records that I've mentioned before?  Well, besides Elvis, Skeeter Davis and Frank Ifield, there was The Seekers with "If I had a Hammer" and Peter, Paul and Mary giving cudos to Pete for writing "Where have all the Flowers Gone".  And then in later life, the Byrds with "Turn, Turn, Turn".  And because music was and still is so important to me, I'm sure that my early life was impacted by the music of Pete Seeger.   I can actually still recall how I felt when I first heard "Little Boxes" and how it made me think and think and think.  His song list is huge! 

I'd like to say goodbye and thank you to Pete for the years of musical enjoyment and for opening my young mind.  Arlo Guthrie has a beautiful post honoring Pete on his Facebook page.  He's sums it up by saying:

He may have passed away, but he's not gone.
RIP Pete Seeger

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January Thaw

After snow up to yer gunnels and sub-zero temperatures, the latest weather here in Nova Scotia is a wonderfully welcome hiatus.  No snow on the ground and 9 deg C (48 deg F) but rainy today.  It may play havoc with people's health, but I'm thoroughly enjoying this January thaw.

I also feel like I've personally gone through a bit of a January thaw. After the mayhem that I called Xmas where too many people inhabited my house, too much rich food was imbibed and too many after-Xmas sales were indulged in, I spent my post-Xmas time in bed with a head cold thinking about my goal of simplification and how December blew it all out of the water.  And although I don't make New Year's resolutions, I do try to learn from my mistakes.  

I've probably said this before, but part of my ongoing aging process is making sure that I relax more often and talk myself out of feeling guilty because I'm not "doing".  It's difficult though because at an age in life when my memory gets worse each day, I have to somehow try to find ways to remind myself to say no -- to things, to kids, to friends & family, AND to myself!  

So, I'm trying to remember to say "Let me think about this."   

I'm trying to stop so I can access:  How am I feeling; what's on the agenda; is it good for my health; how does it affect my goals. Whether it's allowing the kids to do something or the way that I eat or what I purchase, I want to be really "mindful" of it.

Well, the weather man says that our mid-winter thaw is about to end tonight and we'll head back to the deep freeze.  

But I'm going to work really hard to keep my head from icing up again.  I want to continue to think clearly so that I can make wiser decisions.

Aren't we supposed to grow wiser as we grow older?



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