The matter of age

I still remember being little and wondering how old I had to be, to be older than my siblings, or at least match them in age. Seems like a silly thought but when you are the youngest of four and constantly feel too small, not so much in stature but more in status, the thought crosses your mind.  Probably sounds strange? Well, when I was growing up, I was the gofer, the sacrificial lamb ( for jokes), and too young to be taken seriously.  I actually decided to run away from home one time.

imageI packed up a couple of items of clothing, some money I had and a snack I think, all wrapped in a small bundle wrapped in cloth, hid it under the settee near the dining room door, which had a door to the outside, and resolved to escape forever from the life that was making me miserable.  At night, I waited till there were no sounds, just a hum of the fan. I remember laying awake resolutely, waiting to execute my plan. When I was sure that no one was awake in the house, I snuck quietly into the dining room in the dark, pulled out my secret bundle of clothes from under the settee and just sat with it on my lap, in the dark, contemplating what I was about to do. I hadn’t thought out very clearly what I would do after I left the house or where I would go after the coast was clear. So I sat there a while longer in wide-eyed wonder about how I would actually make it into the real world, where I would live, how I would make money to find food and about the unknown dangers that could be out there in the dark. I think I must have been 9 or 10 yrs. old but even at that age, I was practical enough. As my fear grew, my resolve weakened. I silently dropped the bundle next to my side, got up off the sette and walked back to my room, unpacked what represented my life, stuffed it into the closet and went to bed. I can’t remember if I cried but I do remember feeling defeated.

From then on while I may not have felt that much different than I did before my failed escape attempt, I did become less concerned with the jabs at me. I accepted my fate and became far more relaxed than I was before. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade….while I didn’t know this saying then, I pretty much practised it. I allowed life to ‘take’ me where it chose.  I didn’t give up as much as I gave in, giving life permission to take me where it would. Not consciously of course, I think these things just happen and when you look back you realize what was happening, what your rationale might have been, the fog starts to clear…

I’m not much of a thinker. You’d never see me sitting somewhere all glazey-eyed, detached from the world, gazing into the distance, thinking about things, analyzing them forwards and backwards. I can do that for maybe 30 seconds, 60-tops; then other thoughts crowd around me, unrelated to the matter I was going to dwell on and take me on a ride. It’s not that I don’t want to, in fact sometimes I’ve tried really hard to focus on a thought but I’m just not capable.

I practise something I am going to call spontaneous thinking. I think as I write or speak, 90% of the time; in the moment and that’s it. Once it’s passed through my fingers, I’m not going back. What for? I thought about it as much as my limited capacity allowed me and now I’m movin on. What’s the point of wasting energy and time.  Sorry, did I mention I tend to be tangential?

So, life went on, I floated through it as soundlessly as is possible, met my now husband and got married in short order. I mean S-H-O-R-T order. I am quite spontaneous and as I already told you I don’t like to dwell much on my thoughts. The way my mind works, if something draws me to it and my mind decides I’m going to go for it, I’m not going to um and ahh about it, I’m just going to do it.  After all life’s short! I met my husband on September 8, 1992. I discovered I could talk to him like I could talk to nobody else. As for him, in the last 23 years that’s the only decision he’s made in a matter of minutes; everything else he analyzes no end before embarking upon (thank goodness one of us has that capability)! So, the Stars aligned to make sure we did not part, and we got married on September 27, 1992. That’s right, we knew each other just 19days before we decided to be cell mates 🙂 his family and my family have old ties but I had never met him before this time. like I said, the stars were aligned….

My husband is 8 years older than me. He IS the better half and every day I try to be more like him. I want to embody his maturity, his fairness, his purity, his single-minded courage to stand up for what’s right, even if it’s awkward or difficult or different. Since I spent all my young life trying to be accepted just like everyone else who was older than me, more quick witted than me, and smarter than me, among my siblings, I do find it difficult to do anything that might cause me to not be accepted. I think I need anothe blog post to go on about it….lets just say, in my mind I felt like I needed to be more his age to be more like him. I can’t explain why, except that I was young when we got married ( about 19) and I felt a little like a kid around his friends who were more his age than mine. At that time, in our first years together, I felt like a kid in whatever I did and wherever I accompanied him. Naturally, I wanted to match him in age, as much to be accepted as his wife, as to be seen as an equal. I had moments of doubt, on his behalf, that he had made a mistake marrying me, someone so much younger and less mature than him. I am still trying to come up to par with him. I keep thinking I’ll catch up to him in years, well we all know that’s not really possible. The distance that separates us in years is like the two sides of a road, and how can they converge…nevertheless I keep hoping I’ll be as old as him.

I’m 42 now, have some silver hair of my own, I feel closer to his age, his friends don’t seem ‘older’ anymore. In fact, I even feel like I can sit among my siblings and be their equal. Now and again  a passing comment still returns me to the age of 9 (or at least the feelings of age 9), but it’s a fleeting moment. For the most part I feel like I’ve grown up. In past years I’ve even shared some things I’ve learnt, with my siblings and recognized in their looks or words, a glimmer of pride in their younger sister, or maybe acceptance? In those moments I felt like I had crossed the barrier of age, like the two sides of the road have converged over a shared understanding a bit of learnt knowledge. It’s almost enough to make me feel like I’ve won a trophy, like getting to the top of the hill huffing and puffing and being rewarded with a breathtaking view of the valley.

So unlike my sister, who would always say to my mom, “I’m not turning 19, no way. I’m going to stay 18′, I say, I love my silver, when can I be 50 like my husband?!

I know most women are mysterious about their age but for me, I look forward to the next milestone I can surpass.

That’s not to say that the ravages of age have not bothered me. I do wish my bones acted like they did when I was 18 but that’s not realistic, is it? I wish I had more years ‘available’ to make sure I am there when my girls need me to babysit their kids or help them choose curtains for their dream homes but we get what we get and it’s up to us to try to live it out with amazing grace and sincerity.

imageI’m working on figuring it out a bit at a time.  I feel small, faced with the magnanimity of life but oh how wonderful to be given the chance. The chance to live here, to see it all, experience it all. What does age matter, it is after all, just a number representing how long we’ve been here, how long we’ve been trying (to perfect the art of living) not how much we’ve lived. Some live a lifetime in a moment and others, just a moment in a lifetime. If you focus on age too much the years will whiz by and you’ll find yourself wondering where they went. So let’s give it up, this obsession with age, me included, and make every moment count.♥️

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Love-joy

You might be wondering about the strange name I gave this blog…Love-joy?

I can explain.

I am so overwhelmed lately from the joy that love is bringing me ( or maybe I’ve just opened myself up to it more) that I feel compelled to write about it.  I am fortunate to experience love every day, in one form or another; from my husband, my children, my mom, a neighbour, an old friend and of course the love expressed by the universe ( like when I wake up and sunshine is streaming through my windows). In each of it’s many forms it brings great joy. Joy that I do not experience when I buy a coveted shoe or get a new hair cut.

I remember when my girls were little, I was so wrapped up in all the busy work and life was whizzing by, but in the quiet moments of the night during a 2 am feeding or a bedtime story, or a library craft class everything seemed to stop for just a little while, long enough for me to feel love to the core of my heart and warm me up all the way to the tips of my toes.  Then I remember the very moment I knew I loved my husband irrevocably. We were honeymooning in a hillside resort in India and the bellboy came to our room to tell us there was a phone call for him in the main lobby ( the far off, out of the way resort had no room phones but oh what a view!). My husband ran out of the room and down some wooden stairs, across the courtyard and I remembered it had been raining and the steps would probably be slippery, what if he fell and hurt himself badly. The dread from that thought ran a chill down my spine and I ran out of the room to tell him to slow down, my heart racing faster than an indie race car. As the relief of seeing him safely step into the lobby washed over me, I said a silent prayer and in that moment realized that my heart was his forever.  Funny how that moment 23 years ago, still makes me emotional.  What can I say, I’m a softy!

Just the other day my husband and I went to wish our old neighbours Merry Christmas. We lived next to them for 10 years and in that space of time, they’ve watched our kids grow from little kindergarteners to pretty young ladies and we’ve watched as their grandkids grew from pre-teens to working adults.  We’ve been around for each other’s ups and downs in life, they’ve been there to watch my girls when we needed their help and we in turn helped them throught their health roller coasters.  It never felt like I did enough to reciprocate for all the love and care they showed us but somehow they seem ever grateful. I guess it’s love.  Every time I see my neighbour, she closes me in a tight hug, takes my chin in her hand and tells me how much she loves me.  The same warm feeling passes through me that love tends to impart…pure joy!

My mom is now overseas and while she does not feel that comfortable typing up long messages on what’s app, almost without fail, a good morning message shows up on my phone every morning. She is amazingly patient, like that saying, “love is patient” and pure to a fault.  What a fantastic honour to be able to call her mom! We talk regularly and while we did not learn to say ” I love you” to each other until well after I was married, each time she says that to me, before we hang up the phone, it puts a smile on my face and the days’ outlook becomes a little bit brighter.

Now that my girls are close to adulthood and express their love in all sorts of ways, I’ve learnt to hang on to their each endearment, every hug, every kiss as if it were worth everything in the world. I savour their hugs and hold them for a little longer, draw joy from their loving words, it makes my chest swell with pride and finally, I feel so very grateful to the powers that be, that gave me this special privilege to be their mom and my husband’s wife.  Just writing the words fills me with joy.  How can that ever come from buying shoes and writing to tell your friend about it? It can’t.

There is no joy greater than that which love brings in its wake, no pleasure quite equal to the pleasure that comes from knowing you are loved and loving so wholly that there is room for no other feeling.  It’s Love-joy❤️

Another year? Really?

Ok, this is really very annoying! Yet another year got behind me and I have no idea how. Mostly, I spent plenty of time working – at work, at home, and sparing very little time for fun.  I started the year with a general reminder to self that went something like this…”I’m going to take time to enjoy myself between work and more work. I’ll take breaks, keep it in perspective, not let stress get to me, and not let myself get carried away with too much work.” It was a good, well meaning note to self.  It worked….for the first couple weeks. I kept my work day in check, stopped at a decent time, did not let stress of too much work on my plate overwhelm me.  Then I fell back into my old habits, working too many hours, running mself down, forgetting all about my ‘reminder to self’.  This is why I don’t make resolutions any more.  I can see you nodding with that knowing smile;)

Resolutions are hard to keep. I’m not sure why they are called ‘resolutions’. I think they should be called ‘potential resolutions’ since most of us know that under that resolve lies self doubt and very little self-control. I wonder what the stats are on resolutions that are actually ‘kept’.  I digress…

As as the end of the year was approaching, I had this sneaky feeling that I had let life take over and not made any attempts to regain control. It’s not the best feeling. It really is up to us how we chose to live, who we allow in, and how much control we decide to relinquish.

It was not all loss and failure though. I did push back my work to make time with the kids ( sure, more of this would have been better, but I’m taking baby steps), allowed myself to be lured away on two trips with no email, no phone, no work.  I know; you’re probably rolling your eyes, but my husband had to fight me to get me to agree. It was sad actually that I did not feel comfortable enough to take time off from work, but I am so glad that I did!  I got a much needed rest and desperately needed time with my husband and kids. I have 2 girls- Kaiya(13) and Zoe (16). They are awesome kids and I am forever hoping I can do them justice. My husband, Kesh…I have so much to learn from him, especially his particular brand of patience with my work and sleep habits. I am always wondering how he puts up with me. I also managed to take almost 2 weeks off over Christmas to stay home, bake, spin some Christmas memories, spend time with family, and recuperate from the year. It was THE BEST time I have ever spent – not working and not being away.  Turns out the ‘stay-cation’ is not a myth!  It was so nice to bum around in pyjamas all day, bake, watch movies, stay up late, indulge in yummy wine and eat leftovers or just chocolates :-p. You should try it some time.

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So along the lines of achievements, I sent my Christmas cards on time this year! In my books, that counts as an achievement.  I also managed to make a very positive change by changing where I work. I have been working from home for ages but I’ve always been sequestered in my home office, away from everyone and everything, not allowing myself to be disturbed by anything or anyone while I worked long hours. My husband has been asking me on a regular basis to try switching up where I set up so I can be more a part of the family life happening all around me, since all I have to do is move to a different room with my laptop.  I finally decided to take his advice and brought my laptop down to the main floor library, which is right next to our main entrance and has a rounded area in the corner with Windows all around. Small space but precious.  This small change has improved the quality of my life many fold.  You wouldn’t think that one small change can have such an impact but my happiness quotient is living proof!  Now I see my kids as they leave for school and as they return home. It’s like having a few extra stolen moments that are like a gift to myself.  Most mornings I also get to spend a few precious minutes over a morning coffee with my husband, reconnecting, hearing his plans, sharing my own, and then life takes over the day.

So like I was saying, it’s not been all failures, despite losing track of my ‘reminder to self’.  Another year has dawned and while I am not making any resolutions, I am reminding myself to be good to myself and everyone around me, especially those who are directly affected by my presence or absence…my family.

Cheers!

Smashed griddle potatoes

Who doesn’t like potatoes? Wait, don’t tell me. I guess there are bound to be people who do not like these delicious spuds, although I suspect they are in the minority. If those in this minority are converted after reading or experimenting with what’s to follow, I’ll take the blame for it :-p.

Here’s your inspiration:

Smashed griddle potatoes

 

This is is likely THE easiest thing you’ve ever made, right up there with toast!

Ingredients: For 4 servings

Mini potatoes – let’s say 12 (but depends on your appetite & severity of potato obsession)

Coconut oil – 4 tbsp

Fresh thyme – 3-4 sprigs

Sea salt – to taste

Fresh cracked pepper- to taste ( hint- you can never have enough, really)

Preparation:

1. Wash & boil the potatoes with skin, till fork tender

2. Drain the potatoes & place on a cloth or paper towel so they are not drippy wet

3. Add a tbsp of oil to non stick griddle or pan on medium high heat

4. Place mini potatoes on the griddle (about 6-7 on medium sized pan)  and with the back of a flat bottomed bowl or other dish, gently press towards the pan bottom – you’ve got smashed potatoes

5. Sprinkle sea salt, cracked black pepper & thyme leaves over the potatoes. Let the potatoes catch some heat and get crispy golden brown, then flip

6. Drizzle some oil on the pan if it’s starting to dry out, sprinkle sea salt & cracked black pepper and allow potatoes to get golden brown

7. Transfer to serving platter and repeat with the remaining potatoes

Hint: when I make these only a fraction of them make it to the table; my family devours them as they hit the platter, so you may consider increasing the portion size or making another side :-p

Smashed griddle potatoes

Happy New Year !!

So here it is whether we were ready or not…a New Year!  Were you ready? Strangely, this happens every year…I see it coming and I try to prepare for it; I think a bit about the Days that led me to the end of the year and any important, noteworthy moments, any contentious moments, anything done well ( hopefully there are a few things in this category 😉 ), etc. Then I ultimately get called out of my memories via a cry for help preparing lunch or finding something and there, the fleeting memories are all but gone and next thing I know, I’m chilling the bubbly and waiting for the ball to drop. When the clock shows one minute past midnight, it always feels the same…anti-climactic! It’s just another day with the same ‘life’, the same people, things, weather, life’s baggage. Nothing really changes other than the date.  So strange…what are we actually celebrating when we ring in the new year? I’m not so sure actually.  I think I’ve lost track over the years. I don’t even make New Years resolutions any more or at least not any I intend to keep.  It seems I’m drifting on an iceberg ( I imagine it would be cold, since I’ve never actually drifted on an iceberg) watching the days, weeks,  months, years go by but not actually getting off the iceberg to take in the sites, enjoy a moment, etch any in my memory…I guess maybe sometimes I’ve done that but for the most part, I’ve just been drifting.

Maybe this year I ought to stop, consider what I need out of life (the rest of it anyway) or what it needs out of me. I think each of us are meant to serve a purpose, similar to how bees serve a purpose (without them we would have no trees, no food), so I need to figure out what my purpose was to be. For the last 30 odd years (well the first decade or so really doesn’t count so I did not include it) I’ve thought about it fleetingly but I’m afraid my iceberg has held me captive.

I’ll try this year to find a way off my iceberg and look for that purpose, whatever it may be. Wish me luck!

Good luck and good wishes to everyone out there…those who have found their purpose in life and those of us still searching⭐️

Moments

imageThe carols have been sung, turkey has been eaten, and anticipation put to rest. Now time for some relaxation with nearest and dearest and more memory making time. The year went by so fast; it seems in a flash. Seemed like just yesterday, we we were wishing each other a happy new year…

Life is lived in its moments…one here watching a special ornament twinkling on the tree, the peace and calm of the night coming together like a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift; another, taking pleasure in seeing the delight on your child’s face as they unwrap the presents from their wish-list ❄️

As I approach the end of the year I’m reminded to immerse myself in each moment and maybe, just maybe the year will go by j.u.s.t a little bit slower.