A Good Home, Acts of Friendship, Canadian Gardens, Flowers, Gardens, Keeping the Faith

The Glory of Late Summer

So much beauty.

Late summer, but the garden is still resplendent with colour. 

Blog Photo - September 2018 Lovely Backyard tree to woods

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Ligularia Yellow Blooms in border

The bees are plentiful and hard at work, drawn to fragrant hosta and almost everything else, it seems.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee on Hosta Bloom 2

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Hosta White ECU

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee ECU

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Very wide shot with bee in one lily

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Bee in Lily Med Wide

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 Bee CU in Lily

The trees are still green.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Under the Dogwood tree

And there are blooms everywhere.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - late blooms1

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Single Blue clem

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Zucchini and Flower

I give thanks for this season and the ability to enjoy it. Last summer, I had a bad concussion and broken bones from a sudden fall.  Luckily, my husband and an old friend both took photos so I could see bits of the garden.

Blog Photo - Garden Sept 2018 benches and blue pot by pool

This summer, life has again challenged me greatly at times — as it does to many of us.  Loved ones get seriously ill or die.  Another fall.  A lengthy medical assessment kicks off horrible nightmares and indescribable pain; I’m shocked to find myself again staring into the abyss.  I shake my head and have a few frank words with God.

But weep ye not!

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Sunface

I’m determined to dwell, not on the bad, but on the good that’s around me. And there is so much good, so much beauty, to be thankful for.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Yellowish Hosta fersn and wall

My husband and children are healthy. They are caringly present, especially in rough times. 

Most days I am, according to my husband, “strimping along”. (I insist I’m striding or strolling, not limping.) 

My relatives, neighbours and friends are never far away.

Blog Photo - Garden August 2018 - Hosta in front

We support each other.

I surprised one dear friend with a funny birthday gift and kept a promise to another.  (Tiny acts, but I know they matter.)

My sisters and daughters called; we shared words of hope, love and reassurance.

Blog Photo - Garden 2018 Bee on Blue shrub

And I’m still keeping the faith.

And the sun still shines in abundance.

Blog Photo - Phillipians 4 Whatever is True

~~

 

A Good Home, Blogger Friends

Flowers for Jeni and family

You may know her as The Hopeful Herbalist.

She writes gorgeous poetry and prose, and posts lovely photos of life at her home in Scotland.

She’s also a blogger friend to me and many others. As an example, Jeni’s kind wishes and comforting verses helped bolster my hope and faith at a very shaky time.

blog-photo-pink-peony[1]

Recently, Jeni has been going through a challenging time, alluded to here.

~~

Jeni and Ian and your family: you are in our hearts and prayers.

If I were half as good a poet as you, Jeni, I’d write something wonderful — but as you know, I’m poetically challenged.

blog-photo-afternoon-tea-pink-poppies[1]

And as you might guess, Hamlin took these photos. I didn’t.

But I chose them for you.  And I send you love.

Stay strong, my friend.

From my family, to you and yours, with hugs.

Grace and peace.

A Good Home

A Strong Voice, Silent Now

Canada has lost one of its greatest fighters for people with disabilities.

Bill McQueen — musician, TV producer and disability champion — has died.

photo-innoversity-bill

It breaks my heart to see him go.  Bill was my dear friend. 

When I got lost in the fog of pain and injuries from a car accident — not making sense and stuttering so badly I would not use the phone — Bill called. He sometimes called several times before I called back. I couldn’t stand to complain to someone who was handling so much, and doing it with forbearance.

Mind you, Bill had little tolerance for the health system when it didn’t work for its patients. Many doctors didn’t take the time to explain to patients, he felt, especially when delivering bad news about their health. He believed in patients pushing back, doing their own research. 

photo-innoversity-summit-bill-mcqueen

 

When I blamed myself for not healing faster, when I felt ashamed of my  disabilities, Bill kept me on the phone, talking, willing me to change my attitude.

As my husband says, “He was always there for you.”

~~

Do you know what a precious gift that is — to always be there for someone?

The thing is, it wasn’t just me.  Bill was “always there” for many people living with disabilities. It’s one of the reasons I respected him so much.

photo-innoversity-summit2

He and his business partner Don Peuramaki and colleague George Farrell founded a production company –  Fireweed — the first we knew of whose principals all lived with disability.

There, they continued the work they had started at CBC Television years earlier at “D-Net”, the weekly CBC TV series which Don executive produced, and Bill produced, along with George. (My boss, Les Lawrence, had helped with the start-up; I met Bill and Don when I became the chief journalism trainer and, later, a mentor for the team.)

Most of their programs at the CBC and Fireweed were about people trying to participate: trying to access workplaces, institutions, and to make their contributions  in a world that often seemed indifferent. 

~~

Most of Bill’s work was voluntary. He was a musician, and belonged to  his beloved symphony, but there’s an impressive list of other voluntary initiatives that he and Don worked on. Many of them focused on getting people with disabilities employed in the media, or changing the way the media portrays them.

photo-innoversity-summit-3

Don and Bill lived with multiple disabilities, yet worked tremendously hard for the participation and inclusion of other people with disabilities.

They lived on very limited income, but spent money on (e.g.) securing video archives of the fight by persons with disabilities for inclusion. When Bill told me how much he paid to store the videos safely over many years, I was shocked.

~~

When Don fell seriously ill, Bill took over the fight. He wanted to make sure the 100+ hours of video stories and raw video that Fireweed owns is used to train others — and to  help tell the history of the fight for respect, inclusion, participation. 

Bill and Don were both recently hospitalized — not for the first time. Bill returned home, quietly certain that he wouldn’t live much longer.  His voice was weak, resigned.

“I’m really sorry I won’t have a chance to do more,” he said.  He meant the goal he’d set for himself.

photo-innoversity-summit1

Then, this week, Bill sounded upbeat again. I told him that Les and I were talking: we wanted to help him and Don reach their goal.

As always, we ended the conversation with: “Love you, Bill.” And “Love you too. Take care.”

The next day, we spoke again, and I headed to the hospital with gifts, card, love and hope in my heart. He was sitting up in bed, talking.

The next morning, I called. And called again, leaving a cheerful voicemail message, silently reassuring myself there was no need to worry.

This morning, Les called to say Bill died yesterday. 

We love you, Bill. Thank you for everything.

Photo Credits: Innoversity

A Good Home, Cooking, Food

Sprouting Feathers

 

I’m known for my cooking. How I wish that were not so.

I burn things, forget half the ingredients, forget what I added then put them in again. It’s right there in my books, on my blog, and in the memories of everyone who knows me.

And now nobody trusts my cooking.

Take Marilyn.

“Do come for lunch”, I say.

“Oh, great,” she says.  “You choose the restaurant.”

What’s the point in visiting a person at home if you’re going to go out for lunch? But I was so glad to see Marilyn, I didn’t fight.

Then there’s Elaine.

“You make the tea,” she said. “But I’ve read your book. So I’ll bring something for us to eat.”

Then Jane took sick.

“I could make you a roast chicken”, I phoned Jane and said, not revealing the thing was already roasting in the oven. 

But Jane declined immediately. “I have pneumonia,” she said. “Don’t want you to get it.”

“I didn’t know you could catch pneumonia from someone else,” I argued.

“Well, with your luck, you just might,” she replied.

So there’s a roast chicken sitting in my fridge. Or lying on its back, as roast chickens are wont to do. In a freezer bag. Surrounded by lovely roast potatoes.

But the real reason I’m not pushing the chicken is because, since I’d have to deliver it whole, I’m unsure how it tastes.

“How ‘bout I bring her half of the chicken we roasted for ourselves?” I suggested to my husband. “We know it turned out well.”

“You can’t bring half a chicken!” he replied. “It’s like giving someone your leftovers.”

~~

What to do?

Muriel to the rescue.

My friend Muriel is in her 80’s, her husband Michael in his 90’s. Michael’s been ill and in hospital. Muriel, meanwhile, needs all the help she can get. She spends almost every day at the hospital, returning home exhausted.

What could I do? Well, I’d considered giving her a roast chicken too, but then I started to worry – what if I’d over-seasoned it? Worse, if Muriel got sick anytime in the next 10 years, I’ll know it was my chicken that did it.

Then Muriel called to say Michael’s health was improving. I was so happy, I offered both roast chicken and butternut squash soup. My soup – pureed butternut squash, made with apples and onions – always turns out well. I said so.

“I’d be glad for the soup, Cynthia. Thank you, dear.”

Thank God. Thank Muriel. 

So today I brought soup for Muriel. Then for Jane and Allen.

I’d planned to leave it at Jane’s door, run away, then phone to say, “Check your front door!” But she opened the door  just as I was about to do so, thanked me, and said they’d be glad to have my soup.

Hooray!  I’ve finally become one of those women who bring food for their friends.

Meantime, my poor husband claims he’s sprouting feathers.

“Chicken again?” he groans.

Yes, dear. Until that roast chicken is all done.