A Good Home, Oma and Opa, Young readers

Oma Paula and ‘The Best Critics’

I never know how much to tell you about the journey that Myrtle is on! (Are you bored yet?)
 
But many of you have hung in with me through the rough times, so I figure you are more than overdue for good news. And right now, some of my ‘goodest’ news is about Myrtle.
~~
Blog Photo - Myrtle Readers Paula and the grandies
 When Paula de Ronde wrote about Myrtle on Facebook recently, I was delighted.
~~
“Yesterday I read Myrtle the Purple Turtle with three of my ‘honorary’ grandchildren. Myrtle got three thumbs up, some giggles and big smiles.
“Cynthia Reyes has written a book for parents and friends who love to read and love to read to children.
“We had quite a talk about it and it is a hit.   Zoe, who is only 2, sat through the whole thing and wanted me to go back to certain of the very colourful pages. She was the illustrations critic and by her response they certainly did what they are supposed to do –  engage through colour.

“Dylan Damien (8) and Charlie (6)… talked about ‘friends’  and that ‘it’s OK to be different.’

“I have told many friends about how much I like this book. However, these are the best critics as the story is for them.  I bet this becomes a go-to, cuddle-up book on those long Winter nights.”

~~

Stefan Steen took the photo above of his wife Stephanie, their 3 children and Paula.

Paula and Stefan go way back to his childhood, when he and her son Damien were close friends.  Sadly, Damien died young, but Stefan remained close to Paula and her husband Bert.

Stefan and Stephanie named their first child for Damien.  Damien was known for giving the greatest hugs, and Paula says she is delighted that the kids have learned to give her “Damien hugs” too. 

They are the grandchildren of her heart, she says.

Today, Paula and Bert are close to all three children, who call them “Oma”, and “Opa” (Dutch for “grandma” and “grandpa”).

~~

A retired librarian and cultural connoisseur,  Paula has an eye for great stories.  She was the first person outside our family to read the draft of Myrtle, and therefore was its first reviewer.

Blog Photo - Paula and Bert
Photo Credit: Heather Bubb-Clarke
She said this about Myrtle:
“It is a long time since I have been so effusive about a children’s book.  Now we have something other than The Ugly Duckling, et al,  for this age group with a nice dollop of  ‘how to’ for adults facing this dilemma too.
 

“Children will love, relate and respond favourably to the  humour and that light, underlying silliness that is their everyday language.  I was smiling as I read some of the lines, descriptions and Myrtle’s thoughts.

“There are many teaching moments and issues in this book and you present them in such a warm and lovable way.  It is simple but not simplistic, ethical, tackling issues that we so need to tackle today but without being pedantic.”

I respect Paula a lot, so you can imagine how much her critique encouraged not just me, but our whole family.  And now, we’re glad to know that she has read it to her ‘grandchildren’ too.

~~

Thank you, Paula, Stefan and Stephanie — and special thanks to our young critics!

 

A Good Home

I’m Berry Blessed, I am….

I love blueberries, I do.

Blog Photo Blueberries by H Grange

On Sunday, as we drove to Wilmot Orchards Blueberry Farm in Newcastle, Ontario, I told my good man: “I want to go blueberry picking. How hard can that be?’

Blog Photo Blueberry Picking

To which he promptly said: “Not a good idea.” Or some other such very sensible reply.

Blog Photo Girl Picks Blueberries by H Grange

I gave him a mean look. Because he’s always right….

Perhaps to give me time to reconsider, he drove around to other nearby farms and we stopped as he took these photos.

Blog Photo Sunflower CU by H Grange

Blog Photo Sunflowers by H Grange

Blog Photo Apples by H Grange

Blog Photo Apples CU by H Grange

By then I’d regained my senses. I went and BOUGHT a container of blueberries at Wilmot.

Came home, shared it with neighbours and still had enough for a feast.

And now I have been eating so many of these delicious berries that, any day now, I shall be entirely blue!  (But very thankful.)

Blog Photo CR and Berries by H Grange

All photos by Hamlin Grange.

A Good Home, An Honest House, Animals, Canadian life, Family Moments, Home, Pets

Not Yet, Not Yet

Blog Photo - Julius and Dawson Sleeping

The mind knows it’s full time

But the heart beats to a different rhythm

~~

It’s time, the mind says, knowing

Not yet, the heart says, hoping

He’s shaky and blind, says the mind

But such strong spirit, says the heart

Blog Photo - Dawson runs

His hind legs are weak, says the mind

But watch him gallop, says the heart

His mind’s diminished, says the mind

But he has such heart, says the heart.

~~

Blog Photo - Mister D
Photo by Hamlin Grange

The two of them, the mind and heart

Together in the vet’s office

In sad reconciliation.

The fight over.

A life over.

Goodbye.

Goodbye dear friend.

Fare thee well, loved one.

Thanks for being our faithful companion.

~~

Dawson listened quietly as my daughter, then my husband, thanked him for being in our family, and bade him a loving farewell. Then I read to him: from An Honest House, the chapter I had lovingly written about him.

Would you believe it? He lay perfectly still on my lap the whole time I read, attentive, as if taking in every word. I shall miss him.

A Good Home, Amaryllis in Bloom, An Honest House, Blessings, Cycling, Family, Family Moments, Friendship, Pets, Re-blooming Amaryllis Bulbs

Great Moments

I’m big on the small things in life.

Blog Photo - Amaryllis in full bloom~The amaryllis that flowered again – two years after it first bloomed at Christmas, a  gift from my friend Jean. How lovely to have an amaryllis reblooming in May!

~My husband cycling again.  For my birthday gift, I asked him to “go cycling with Bill”. Bill is his former coach and dear friend. So off they went, and that started him cycling again.

Blog Photo - Cyclists B and H

Our wet winter meant he hadn’t gone cross-country skiing and missed the activity.

Blog Photo - H cross country skiing~Our older daughter and son-in-law live in the USA, and I miss them a lot. I look forward to hearing from them, including their weekly call together on a Sunday. I also miss their cats, Simon and Jerome.

So it made my day when they sent new photos of the cats. Below, Jerome is practicing the art of camouflage. Can you even see him?

Blog Photo - Jerry camouflaged on carpet

Simon, meanwhile, has come out of the closet. (Yes, for years  – until very recently — his favourite place was inside a closet.)

Blog Photo - Simon 2

Blog Photo - Dawson runs

~Dawson, whom our younger daughter rescued four years ago, was looking weak the other day, especially when compared to Julius, who has energy to spare.

Blog Photo - Two Small Dogs

Mr. D. is old now, and he’s mostly blind and part-deaf. But he must have heard me fretting about whether “we’ve arrived at that time”, because, just hours later, he was running around. One day a decision will have to be made, but not yet.

~And finally, the daily phone call from our younger daughter. She calls after work each day and when the phone rings, I’m delighted, eager to hear how her day went, glad to hear her voice.

Such blessings.

Here’s to life!