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Friday, December 30, 2005

THE SHADOW OF HIS SMILE

FRIDAY, Dec. 30/05

It's been a difficult few months getting through the grief of losing my dear friend Anibal. I have sometimes wondered when the tears would stop, and just when I think they have, I'll suddenly burst into weeping again often quite unexepectedly on buses or while walking down the street. I've tried to keep busy, occupied with happy pursuits, not dwelling on the loss. Most of all, trying to erase from my memory those last weeks when he was suffering so terrible, had grown so thin and the horror of watching him losing it and slip away day by day. I realize now, I was quite traumatized by that experience.

The most fantastic gift that has come out of this ordeal is getting to know his family. We have made such a beautiful connection, and I have grown to love them like the are my own children.
This week the girls came for lunch and two of the youngest grandchildren -- sweet little kids, so shy. The girls and I had such a lovely visit and while they were here we phoned their Mom in Chile. It was so good to talk to her. She told me how she had showed A. all around her house and took him (his ashes) to the beach where she's erected a little shrine so he'd have some solitude (which he would like). She said "He's happy now." And I'm sure he is.

I'm hoping in 2006 to go to Chile to visit her.

Then last night, when I was walking home I met A's son. We hugged and had a brief chat. It was like another 'gift', a glimpse of A. That same smile, the way he looked when he was younger and thinner. His son, like him, is apparantly a writer and has inherited his dad's journals. I would very much like to get to know him the way I have become aquainted with the girls, and I'm sure that in the future I will. Most of all, I know that Anibal is happy about this, and now when I 'see' him, I visualize him the way he was before he got so dreadfully ill: especially that big shining smile of his.

Friday, December 23, 2005

I'M DREAMING OF A WET CHRISTMAS

FRIDAY, Dec. 23
We had our cold, frosty weather a few weeks ago. Even a few snow flurries. Now that it's almost Christmas it has turned mild and very wet. Rain, rain and more rain! Some of the mountain ski resorts are having to close because of the melt-down spoiling the ski season which had got off to such a great start. I do hope that it isn't this mild in the Interior or it will ruin the ski/snow-board holiday my daughter and grandson were going on. I did hear from my sister and another friend who lives in the South Thompson that it is rainy and mild there too. My friend and her gang had planned a sleigh ride for Christmas Eve. Last year she said it was canceled because of the extreme cold. This year it may be canceled due to the extreme wet.

Well, all the shopping is done except for the wine which I'll pick up in the morning. Today I got all the makings for the "Life's Great Dinners" menu I always make for Christmas Eve:
cornish hens in sherry sauce with pate, rice, tiny peas and a crab bisque for starters. My guests will bring the appetizers. I am looking forward to this as we always have a jolly time. So I'll write more details about it after the weekend. Guests will include my son Steve, his wife Sue and various friends. I always like to invite those who have no families here -- the orphans -- so it makes it special for them too. I'm so used to the big family Christmases of the past and I miss that so this makes up for it.

I'm trying to be merry and gay but there is such an underlying sadness, still grieving over Anibal. I wonder how long it will take before I am over the sorrow? But this weekend I must try to stay above it and enjoy the festivities. Christmas is a happy time, a time of Peace and Love and Goodwill to All Mankind. And especially a time for family and friends.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND I HOPE SOME OF YOU HAVE A WHITE CHRISTMAS!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

REMEMBERING OLD FRIENDS

SATURDAY, Dec. 12

I went to a senior's luncheon today at my Dad's old Church. A number of the people who used to belong to the Young Couple's Club when I was first married were there. One of them is also an old school chum, from our teens. And one is the daughter of a very dear friend, my hiking buddy, who passed away 16 years ago today. Her family and mine were very connected, like an extended family. And Paula is almost like a surrogate daughter.

It happened that during the luncheon they held a memorial for several of the Church members who have passed. One of them was a very old family friend, who died this week. Emmett knew my family when Dad was the pastor of a prairie church back at the end of the depression, when I was just a little kid. His family, including his cousins, were the only African Canadians around the area. They were very poor, but I always remember Mom saying that their house was so clean you could eat off the floors. Emmett and his cousin Macky used to attend Sunday School at Dad's church. A favorite story about them was that one Sunday they arrived at the service late, coming straight in up the aise to the front, dragging along a wagon full of beer bottles that they'd collected on the way. Emmett would laugh that low chuckling laugh of his and deny he was involved in the prank. "Must have been Macky," he'd say.

Years later when Emmett moved to the Coast, after the war when Dad returned from overseas and was offered this Church here, Emmett saw his name in the paper and came to the Church to see Dad. He has attended ever since, faithfully, right up til his illness and passing.

There were lots of stories told about him today, we all had to smile, remembering. There were also remembrances for several other old family friends, and friends who had chummed with my husband and I when we were all in the Young Couples Club.

The lunch (dinner) was turkey and all the trimmings. Church dinners are always special affairs. And after carol singing and various other amusing activities, they gave out gift bags to everyone which I thought was a very sweet gesture.

It's always a very nostalgic time for me to return to the Church. It holds so many of my personal memories as well as family memories. My father and mother were well loved and I was asked to say something about them during the memorial. I know they would have been pleased. It's so nice that I've kept some of the same friends from my Church days, including my friend who will accompany me to Malaysia in March. She is the girlfriend (my namesake) who I have known the longest, since I was twelve and we first moved here from the East.

And last night I went to a small party for my other very close and dear friend Rosie who I have known since I first met my husband. (She was a chum of the daughter of my husband's partner).
And Suzaki, who is coming for dinner tonight and an evening of dancing, I've known for over 30 years! How fortunate I am to have kept these precious friends all these years!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

BACK WITH THE LITTLE ONES AGAIN!

TUESDAY, Dec. 6

At last, after two months of no daycare work, I've been offered several shifts. So today I'm off to be with the little ones again. How I've missed them! I had begun to think that I was 'officially' retired and resigned to that. But I am grateful for this renewed interest in my services. In particular at this time of year when money is scarce and I have no other work to generate it.

Things have been going along well this past weekend and forward. The party at the Cottage last Friday was excellent. I never did find that red blouse. Instead selected from my wardrobe archives my Chinese embroidered silk scarlet jacket. Combined with black slacks and high-necked silky shirt it looked terrific. And my copper-tone hair was a hit too. All those compliments certainly were welcome after two weeks of feeling really ill with flu symptoms and stomach aches.

On the weekend I went for dinner and a movie with Kitty and Ingrid. K. is returning to England today and we'll sure miss her and her computer techie husband. Sunday I stayed in, watched the snow falling, and by the time I wanted to go walking in it, it had turned to rain! Yesterday I spent a pleasant afternoon with my pal Astarte, then George came by for awhile so I could share the extra frozen goods with him that Kitty had given me. (My freezer is bulging!)

And last night at my writer's critique group, when I read the revisions on the latest chapter of "Shadow", the reviews were good, very positive. So I was pleased and relieved. It's a tricky part of the novel to write and I've felt a bit stalled and overwhelmed with it.

No writing today. I'm working a full shift and again on Friday. And starting with the daycare Christmas party Friday evening the weekend will once again be party time. It's that time of year again, and the social calendar is starting to look full!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

THE ONGOING QUEST FOR THE RED BLOUSE

THURSDAY, December 1
This is the second day of the on-going quest for the red blouse. Maybe I should have titled this THE RED BLOUSE DIARIES.

I wrote yesterday in my writer's blog about my search for just the right red blouse which I want for my festive costume. The one I'd seen on the Drive proved to be rather cheesy and not exactly what I'd had in mind. So yesterday I search one of the big malls for hours looking for one. No luck. And today, I searched some shops downtown. No luck. One last try tomorrow on the Drive and after that I'll give up and settle for something out of my closet. I did want red
though, to go with my new copper-streaked hair.

I tried my new 'do' out on my Memoir lady friends today when we went for lunch, and everyone liked it. And again tonight, with another group of ladies (writers) who got together for our annual pre-Christmas dinner. I wore my coral-coloured sweater tonight and it really enhanced the apricot shade of the hair. So perhaps if I can't find the right red I'll try coral.

It's the big party tomorrow night at the Cottage Bistro. The Kozak's Sixth Annual Christmas Blues Bash. My son Steve's band is playing and as well there'll be other drop-in musicians.
It's the first big party of the Festive Season and I'm really looking forward to it!

These days I'm trying to get out of the depressed mood I've been in since A. died, so I figured that a change of appearance would be a good start. Too bad there's not some magical way of suddenly losing 20 kilos, but that will be my next project as I intend to join Weight Watchers s.a.p. And get back to the gym again next week. I realized, while looking at clothing, that if I didn't feel (look) so lumpy I'd be able to have a wider range of choices for what to wear. Ugh! I hate the state I'm in right now. It's just not comfortable.

Anyway, I feel I'm on the right track, and my mood is lifting. Soon I'll be feeling my old self again. After all the holiday season is coming and there's so many wonderful social events already marked on the calendar. And it's not as if I don't have anything to wear. My closet is crammed with stuff. It's just that I had my heart set on something RED.