Monthly Archives: February 2011

Well, now I think I’m beginning to know what mother meant…

…when she would quote this portion of a poem to me on numerous an occasion…


Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in her fingers while she talks.
“Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
What life is, you who hold it in your hands”;
(slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
“You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
And smiles at situations which it cannot see.”
I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea.
“Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall
My buried life, and Paris in the Spring,
I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world
To be wonderful and youthful, after all.”

Portrait of a Lady
~T.S. Eliot

As can be read in its entirely at:


I was telling Squink he had to hurry and get dressed as we had to leave for a funeral in 30 minutes…

Squink: What is a funeral?

Me: Well, it is a kind of party we throw when someone dies. The first part is were we are all sad and miss them. The second part is where we have fun and remember the person and the happy times with them.

Squink: So, it is like time out and then a birthday party?

I love being a mom

As Squink was getting ready for bed I was playing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67: IV. Allegro. He asked where the music came from and noticed it was from my lap top. So I told him a bit about Beethoven and that he was deaf when he composed music. I asked him if he could imagine being able to do that…

He seemed to be rather impressed with this ability and when Squink finished brushing his teeth he came and asked how he could feel the music. I turned the laptop sound as high as it would go. I told him that music travels in waves and to put his hand on my laptop and close his eyes. He said he could feel the music, and I told him that was how I thought Beethoven could hear what he wrote once he was deaf.

It was a good mom moment for me.


This weekend I had two people I care very deeply for pass away.

And even though they were both elderly, close to or past 90… it is still hard.


He and his wife had become a couple I loved to see weekly… they had magnificent stories about their lives and I eagerly greeted them every chance I got! Fernando served in WWII, almost by accident he had been made a medic… when he enlisted the questionnaire asked what had been their previous professions and he had been a stock boy… one of the choices was stockman and he had thought that this referred to the same job, but just older and well, at 18 he was a man wasn’t he?

What I loved most about him though, was how he treated his wife. You know those couples that still hold hands, they had that about them… though I don’t recall them holding hands per se… I do recall him hovering over her, making sure she got her coffee and ate her lunch and was comfortable… it was in the way he looked at her. It was special, that palpable way he felt about her… there was never a doubt about how he felt about her. That alone, makes me miss him terribly.


She and her family were dear friends with my grandfather and his family. She was close to my great aunt, and the parents were close as well. There had always been stories about Helen and her sisters as I grew up, to the point I figured they were relatives. Over the past few years I had more opportunities to spend time with Helen. The house her father built and in which she played with m great aunt is now a local restaurant, Local Breeze… she took us out to eat there several times. She told me stories about my family… I think my favourite being how our families handled things during the depression… It seems that during those times, there was one Christmas card, which was sent back and forth during those years… she gave this card to my mom.

I feel her loss profoundly, deeply. She was a tie to my family’s history. How grateful am I though, for the stories, pictures, cards and meals we did get to share.


Happy New Year

One year, shortly after Squink was born, we happened to be in San Francisco during the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Though my in-laws had little interest in seeing the festivities, it is something that is hard to miss as there is something in the air that just seems ephemerally “new year-ish”.
One of my favourite life memories is from that trip and involves the Chinese New Year.
We were taking the bus to the Pier and Squink and I sat next to a woman. Squink instantly flirted with her and when she got up to leave she handed him a red envelope.The envelope followed the tradition of having a freshly crisp $1 bill inside.
So, why do I write about this, you may be thinking….
Well, the gesture stopped me in my tracks. It was unexpected.
I think what I found so fabulous about that gesture what that is crossed cultures. There was a part of me that just assumes that when there is a cultural celebration that one tends to celebrate it with fellow members of that culture… to the exclusion of those who do not.
So this woman made a gesture to Squink that was inclusive, that brought him (and by extension me as his mother) into the festivities and ceremony.
How many times have I felt like I could not participate in something because my skin was a different color or I thought differently… sadly, more than I care to admit and equally sadly, mostly in this country. And then I wonder if I have inadvertently excluded someone from something because they did not belong to the “right” group… I hope I have never done this, exclude people from times I consider joyful… because just that simple gesture by a stranger in a San Francisco bus still resonates with me
And yes, I am also pondering the meaning behind this and how it relates to our world… for example; when a stranger wishes someone a merry Christmas, it can be equally as strong… (though the propagandization (is that a word?) of the holiday, I think, may diminish its strength).