Tag Archives: family

Things I Learned from Rudy

My sweetie Rudy
My sweetie Rudy

Rudy is my dog. Well, he’s technically my son’s dog, but he has lived with me for most of his life. Rudy readily adopted M into his pack and now hates it when M is away. Recently, he also adopted B, M’s son.

Rudy is an amazing dog. And he’s about to turn 15. We’re not sure exactly when he’s turning 15 because he was an SPCA dog. But it’s within the next three months, most likely around the end of February or beginning of March. Rudy is in excellent health and is still living a full life. His hearing and eyesight are not quite what they used to be and he’s got a little arthritis, but those things aren’t holding him back at all.

So in honour of Rudy’s 15th birthday, and in honour of the fabulous guy that he is, I’m going to share with you some of the wisdom that I’ve learned from Rudy over the years.

1. Go for a walk every day. If there’s mud, snow, or deer poo, play in it. (Actually, you can skip the deer poo.)

2.  You sleep better when you’re with your pack.

3. Grow your pack whenever you can.

4. Always wag your tail and show your pack how much you missed them.

5. Be sure to use your bark sparingly, but don’t be afraid to use it if the zombies come.

6. One invitation can negate seven rejections. (No matter how often Rudy is kicked out of the kitchen, he completely forgets the moment he’s invited in for a tasty tidbit!)

7. Demonstrate your loyalty without reservation.

8. Enjoy your food, especially your vegetables. (Rudy loves broccoli, asparagus and peas.)

9.  Roll over and get your tummy scratched as often as you can.

10. Be polite to the other dogs, even if you don’t like them.

11. Going somewhere, anywhere, is a wonderful thing.

12. If someone tells you you’re great, lap it up and wag your tail in appreciation.

13. Grumble if you think the humans are being unfair. They might change their minds. 😉

14. If you need to lick your butt, don’t worry about what others might think.

15. Remember that you bring great joy and pleasure to life. 💜

You’ve brought great joy and pleasure to my  life.

 

A Very Small Wedding in a Fabulous Place

So M and I tied the knot a little over a week ago!

We met our three sons (M has two; I have one) in Calgary and then went to Banff in Banff National Park where we got married.

Banff
Banff (Photo credit: diluvienne)

We had some pictures taken with the Banff Springs Hotel in the background.

English: Banff Springs Hotel Deutsch: Das Fair...
Banff Springs Hotel  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We stayed at the Post Hotel at Lake Louise, which is my favourite hotel in the world and features the most wonderful menu and wine list. (Sorry, I wasn’t able to upload a photo of the Post Hotel – arrrgg – the following picture shows Lake Louise and the Chateau Lake Louise Hotel where we had dinner.)

Lake Louise Ski Area on Mt. Whitehorn seen fro...
Lake Louise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A great day was had at the nearby Emerald Lake, including lunch at the Emerald Lake Lodge followed by some walking around the lake. Two of our sons thought that it would be a good idea to jump into it – pretty cold, even in August!

Emerald Lake
Emerald Lake (Photo credit: K J L)

Emerald Lake really is a very distinctive green; this is caused by minerals in the water from glacial run-off. All of the lakes in this region are impressive and varying shades of green and greenish-blue.

We had a fabulous dinner at the Chateau Lake Louise Hotel; M used to work there many years ago. He had fun taking a nostalgic walk around, remembering all the stuff he used to get up to and telling his sons about his life there on the hotel staff.

Chateau Lake Louise reflecting in the water
Chateau Lake Louise reflecting in the water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After our sons returned to their various parts of Canada – Ontario, British Columbia and Saskatchewan – (when the wait staff asked us where we were from, we were happy to say, “all over Canada!”) M and I spent some time on our own, as all newly married couples should do :).

Making the Best of It

Happy..Happy.. Mother's Day :-)..
Happy..Happy.. Mother’s Day :-).. (Photo credit: Thai Jasmine (Smile..smile…Smile..))

So it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow and all you procrastinators and excuse-ridden forgetful people who are too lazy to get out of their own way better rush out and get a card, some flowers – even if you have to steal them from someone else’s yard – and then make your lunch reservations.

Lunch reservations?

Fuuuuck!

Probably too late for that now!

Now what are you to do? Standing there with a card that used to say “Happy Birthday” and to which you’ve applied a liberal amount of  Wite-Out while your stolen flowers droop for lack of water and and your face resembles that of a robber’s horse?

Hah! I guess you’re just going to have to make the best of it and do what we used to do years ago before the commercialization of everything under the sun, including Hang-Nail Day. Ohhh, wait a minute. I think they forgot that one.

Nevertheless.

Here’s what we used to do – and I would do now if I still had my mom:

1. Make a card. When we were kids we used to make these really goofy-looking cards that were supposed to be endearing during the Friday afternoon art class before Mother’s Day Sunday. After my mom passed away, I discovered that she had kept a whole stack of these from me and my siblings.  It’s not hard to go find a craft store, get a few simple supplies and make something that’s much better than you can buy.

2. Grow some flowers. Kidding. Actually, I did do this a couple of times when I was a child but I got the idea back in February. However. If your mom is into flowers or gardening, you could buy a plant that will bloom later in the season. In this hemisphere, our greenhouses are all just getting going and there’s lots of choice. There might even be plants available that have some blooms on them already. And don’t buy those tacky ones that they sell in the grocery store.

3. Make lunch. Or dinner. OH. MY. GOD. Make dinner? But I burn water, you scream silently to yourself.  Don’t stress. If necessary, you can always buy something ready-made and just heat it up. Remember, the whole idea is for your mom to have a day off. And be sure to do all the clean-up. She’ll probably appreciate that more than anything else.

4. Last but not least. If all else fails, go to your mom’s place and do her cleaning or her yard work or her laundry for her. I don’t think that there could be a better present.

Happy Mother’s Day, moms, stepmoms, and all you people who have endeavoured to raise us and give us a good life!

In Praise of Stepmothers

In Praise of the Stepmother
In Praise of the Stepmother (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There once was a horrible woman who treated her biological daughters better than her step-daughter. In fact, she treated her step-daughter like the most lowly of servants. Then a rich guy fell in love with the servant girl, married her and took her away from her bad situation. The end.

Sound familiar? Other than the fact that this silly story suggests that marriage is the answer to a woman’s dreams, it has historically been the bane of every stepmother in at least the last 200 years.

The wicked stepmother. By now it has become an archetype. I’m not sure what its origins are but it certainly has had staying power. It encapsulates the notion that if  children are not your own, that you can’t love them, and worse, that you actually hate them and will carry out that hatred in nefarious and crushing ways.

What an image for women to have to cope with! Not only do they have to deal with a ready-made family but they also have to overcome these ridiculous fairy stories.

Most stepmothers try to do their best. I know, because I used to be one. It’s difficult, demanding, and requires the sensitivity of a professional diplomat. And there are few rewards for getting it right, but lots of condemnation for getting it wrong.

Yes, lots of step-parents are crap. But lots of biological parents are crap, too.

Mother’s Day is coming. Its popularity did not come out of the idea of honouring one’s mother. That came out of war. Out of the heartbreaking losses of sons that women had to endure because a government decided to send them to die. And there were lots of stepmothers among them.

Hallmark and other companies have commercialized and capitalized on Mother’s Day and it has become a colossal money-maker for florists and restaurants and the makers of cards. Its founder, American Anna Jarvis, was disappointed by this. It has been turned into flowers and hearts but that’s not really what it was supposed to be about.

It’s supposed to be about work. Hard work. And love and tears and worry and sleeplessness. And lots of people, not just mothers, have done that for us.

So, this Sunday, we should perhaps honour the fight that our mothers, stepmothers and others have carried out for us. For many of us, it was the struggle that saved us, not the flowers.

The Kitchen with the Yellow Stool

2 wicker baskets full of muffins sit on a blue...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I write this my partner, M, is busy in the kitchen making muffins. He is using an old recipe book, one of those great little gems that isn’t at all fancy but completely useful and built around the notion of good nutritious food that is also meant to be comforting and filling.

Old fashioned concepts, perhaps. For many of us, living our lives of plenty, we worry about comfort foods that fill us up. At best, they are starting to become guilty treats and at worst, calorie bombs to be decried and banned.

Sadly, they have lost their position as foods to be honoured and enjoyed after a long day of hard work.

I have good memories of such foods. Walking home from school on a cold rainy day to the yeasty, thick warmth of my mother’s kitchen as she pulled new bread from the oven. My cheeks warming up as sitting on the yellow stool, she served a thick slice, butter melting into the white softness.

We talked softly, too. About school. About my plans. About my friends’ plans. Dreaming about life to the accompaniment of pure edible bliss.

Much was discussed in that kitchen with the yellow stool while a drift of gratifying comfort foods was being prepared and consumed.

I miss it.