Saturday, July 31, 2010

Turning Lager into Water

As I sat interpreting the life of this man and his son, I sipped on the cold beer that I had just purchased at the dilapidated stand in what posed as a village square. A beautiful old hotel was the backdrop for my setting, but it had been abandoned long ago. It seemed just like so many other  aspects of Mozambique. All forgotten to the world.
The cold amber liquid poured down my hot throat, quenching the fire that simmered there. The beer was a luxury that I had allowed myself on this scorching day, as we lazed beside the ocean. I sipped at it, then returned to the writing in my journal. A shadow fell across the beach in front of me and I looked up to spy the man that was gracing the pages of my writing again. He had returned from delivering the fish we had offered him home. Now his gestures told me of another want. He had a thirst as well. I handed him the bottle expecting him to take a long pull at the contents. I was mistaken.
I sat up, perturbed at his retreating figure. He had walked away! He had taken my almost full beer and departed.   I had been willing to share, but still wanted more of the lager that had only begun to quench my thirst. With a sigh, I acquiesced that perhaps it was a luxury that he needed more. Something that he did not often get a chance to afford or enjoy. I chalked it down to a lesson learned that in this land, perhaps when you gave something to someone they kept it until they have had enough, then they too pass it on. Different lands hold different cultures.
Before I had a chance to think much beyond the incidence that had just occurred, I spied the man coming back again. To my surprise and delight, he carried with him a pail of water. It was a pail of fresh, clean drinkable water. He was returning the favor that I had offered to him, unbeknownst to myself. One good turn deserves another. As we were not camping in anything akin to a formal campground, we had to walk down to the village square to get our water at a communal tap like anyone else. It was a good sized walk and alien activity to our foreign ways. This man’s gift of water was worth much more than the humble beer that I had shared with him. My soul was uplifted by his simple act of sharing and kindness that I had not expected. I felt small in his presence of generousity, but awed by the beauty of it. Here was a spirit of sharing and community. Items were freely shared amongst the people and it was an understood thing amongst everyone. The beauty of Mozambique lifted to the top of my destinations in this simple, yet unforgettable moment. I was in love.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Painfully Painted Strangers

Painfully painted strangers
with hollow laughs 
and guttural grinding of bones
that slake the eternal 
thirst for touch

It hurts
this razor burn
on a fading heart
certain of tears
that fall
on yesterday's hope.

I cannot turn away
from me
and need
that galls my mind
with shame
for a weak soul.

I am lost
without anchor
or rudder 
to push 
towards solid ground.

All I can do
is hope
that will holds
perhaps one day 
over craving
eyes, hands, soul

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Eyes of a Nation

With Brett walking, talking and breathing freely again, we had done some cursory investigations of the city of Maputo.  It lay heavy on my soul though. Maputo’s fall from grace  seemed to have left all of its inhabitants affected, including myself. I begged for a change in scenery. I felt somehow scarred by the visions of children living in such abject poverty. My station in life left me above the reminders of civil war, disease and destitution that seemed to be everywhere. I could not take it anymore and we all agreed to move on. The sad eyes watched us leave the capital city and remained in my mind’s eye for many days to come. I felt hopeless and needed to cleanse myself from the sorry state that I likened Mozambique to be in. Pushing off, we hugged the coast and battled the currents North.
We chugged into Xai Xai and set up our tents. The Indian Ocean was large as life beside us and we relaxed some to be out of the city. Little markets were plentiful with women dressed in traditional sarongs sitting behind piles of bananas and little tomatoes. A bar graced our campground that we stayed at and I managed to chat over a beer with a woman who had recently emigrated from Namibia. She found it too quiet for her liking in Xai Xai and wished for more excitement. I far preferred it to our last stop in Maputo, but understood her need for something to do. The children’s smiles bloomed large on all the little faces we saw. While I could not forget, I managed to let go of some of the horrors of Maputo and began to enjoy Mozambique and its beauty.
We spent a few nights in Xai Xai, then moved on to Praia de Tofo. Here is where the blues of the ocean in front of me stole my heart. The pure white sand beach beckoned to me and I could not resist. I battled the scorching heat coming from the silky sands to plunge into the salty waters. It was heavenly to gently paddle in the warm waves that ebbed in and out. While it was too hot to sit in the direct sunlight, I did lay my towel down to soak up the pristine beauty of Mozambique’s coastline. I wondered how there could be so much suffering in such a beautiful place. Was it the heat that made people’s demeanours turn hostile? Did my colder clime make the people more prone to huddle together  and therefore more temperate in nature?
My musings were interrupted by the appearance of a boy in front of me. He said nothing, but followed my movements with his eyes. He appeared tiny, but his eyes seemed huge. They held all that Mozambique was. I could not resist and snapped a picture of him. His silence reminded me that I did not know his language or experiences, but he was beautiful none-the-less. We did not live in the same world, but could inhabit the same moment.
The child’s father materialized and smiled shyly at us as well. While English was not his first language, we managed to understand from him that his son was four years old. Miki and I  gave them some barracuda that we had dined on the night before and their appreciation was evident. I tried not to stare, but could not get over the size of the boy. We had seen children in Xai Xai that had claimed to be between 12 and 16. To me they had looked more like between 6 and 12. I pondered  again on what it was that formed these people the way they were. Did lack of vitamins and proper nutrition stunt the children’s growth so much or did the atmosphere of war factor in as well? I was supposing and questioning, but could not truly know the answers. I had not lived here, breathed here or grown up here. I could only guess at their lives paths. I don’t know if I really wanted to know the answers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fire in the Sky

Fire in the sky!
Seen by little eye
see it burning high
oh my!

Wisps of silken flame.
Distracted, them to blame.
A cool heat they can claim 
just the same.

Roadside pictures sought
lest their vision be wrought
undone with naught,
but memories got.

Sweet child to see the sight
in mornings light
of visions bright.
Ah, my heart swells tight.


through a child's

Sorry Brian, but you will have to wait another day for your trip to the dark heart of Africa. I had to make a stop at OneShot today. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tickled Tuesday

While I have not been a regular contributor over at Jingle's poet's rally for the last little while, I was pretty religious about trying to scrape together some bit of prose on Thursdays for her. She has a wonderful assembly of poets that are willing to link up to her rally on a weekly basis and I applaud them all for all their hard  creative work, plus visiting the prescribed number of poets that Jingle suggests every week. I do love the community that she has helped to foster and admire many of the artists she has found. With all the talent that she has visiting her on a weekly basis, I was surprised and honoured to have a visit from her this week announcing that she was offering me another award. I will post the other awards on my award page, but I thought I would highlight this Your Blog Is Grand Award. Thanks again Jingle. You are very kind.

Also to my surprise and delight, I received this beautiful Pink award from Mairmusic. I am not going to do a whole nother post for this beautiful pink award (see here for my recent acceptance speech), but I did want to say a BIG thank you to Marilynn over at Celebrating a Year. She writes divine poetry that is always just beautiful. I also recently discovered that she is a musician and listened to some of her music on her Myspace page. She plays Classical and Brazilian music on mandolin and bandolim. Very cool stuff that is worth a listen! Click here for a sample of some of her beautiful pieces. 

As for me, there is not much to say today. I worked hard painting all day (hardly! HA!), then got invited for dinner for my efforts. The girls and I enjoyed some tasty vittles and wonderful company with dear N, D and E. They are now abed and I believe fell asleep instantly after a busy day of water play at daycare. I think that I shall be following rather shortly. My allergies have begun for the season and they are draining me of all my super-powers. Accepting these beautiful ladies' awards has taken it all out of me. Perhaps I will work on another installment of my African tale for you lovely people, as it seems to be popular around these parts. Bless you all and thank you for all the hugs you offer!!! MMWWAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mystery Visitor

Hmmm, a mystery visitor...

I went away,
but for an hour
While gone to foray
for canning power.

Upon return I
looked down to see
that someone had been
to visit me.

Settled on
my little chair
sat a bag 
to cool my fare.

with plates and forks,
napkins and knives.
Even some Vex
for party to en-live.

Alas, no note;
No scribbled scribe
for me to know
whose thanks I describe.

So cheers to you
my mystery friend
A picnicing we'll go and
your presence heart lend.

thank you stranger

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Reflective Moments

Sometimes we are where we need to be.

Where are you at in your life right now? Have you just come through crisis, change or a period of inactivity? Is life looking rosy, full of questions, bleak or too challenging to go on? We all have days like that. Sometimes these periods last days, weeks months or just seem to never end. Everything that we go through is a process meant to teach us something though. I am learning how to stand on my own two feet right now. I am learning how to reach out to the world around me. I am learning that in reaching out, I am not weak, but rather stronger for the asking. This is a hard lesson that seems to be long in process. The lessons remind me that I am fallible, but that does not mean that I am a bad person. I remarked last week that in failure, we learn our lessons best. It is humbling, but holds a truth that I struggle with. This is where I need to be right now though. I am processing where I have walked, the steps of the journey and the possibilities of where I am heading.  I need to know these things. Overall, I need to remember that tomorrow is a new day.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What to do on Gray days?

What to do on gray days?

No festivals in town today. No guests in house to entertain. No sun to encourage a day to the beach. No plans at all. What are you up to today?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Arnie's Carnage

White sacrifices against
a blue streak of speed; Arnie.
Fluttering wings gone,
parted on our altar.
Some up and over, but…
            A splattered windshield
            We have.

Ohh, delicate and soft
 they look from this side;
That side, fluttering
stopped on a grill of one hundred.
            Repentance done.

A lifted wiper releasing
The lifeblood; body
less white than
the green smear;
             your reminder
            Remainder …demeanor

Sorry thoughts do not clean our
Windshield of splashed destruction.
Only a gas station attendant who
Tosses away the waste
To the ground;
 a return.
Wings to earth

A clean slate
ready to protect us
in faith
from gritty smiles wake
Bang. smear

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Teach them to Fish

Another grubby hand snaked out in front of me.
“Five Rand sister!” his voice rang out. “1000meticals. Enough for bread. I am so hungry missus!”
I turned away mumbling, “sorry.”
While I could have produced the change the boy begged for, I could not fix the state of the nation. There were so many here that pleaded for hand-outs. I did not have the money to feed them all. It was over-whelming to see poverty on such a level. Everywhere you turned pathetic  little hands were jammed into your face. Only this morning a boy stopped in front of me in a market we were wandering through. He did not say a word, only pointing to his mouth. Perhaps he could not speak, as his mouth was a misshapen gash. Whether it was the effect of polio, which seemed to survive and thrive here, or perhaps a misadventure with a land mine, I did not know. An image of a macabre jack o’ lantern struck me, as his eyes demanded sympathy. He got the sympathy, but not in the form of money. His errant few teeth and broken lips were another example of the horrors that this country was trying to survive through. It sickened me. How could life have turned so wrong on such a scale? This deformed child screamed of a whole nation contorted by the ugliness of war, greed and misuse. How could one person, or one handful of change make a difference? It could not. Time needed to pass to help heal the wounds so prevalent everywhere. Aid organizations were there offering what they could, but at times it just seemed that they encouraged the need to beg. The people could just sit back and expect that money would be handed to them. I often felt like my white skin was akin to a beacon of riches, booming out my affluence. Just the fact of my presence there screamed of the wealth I had in comparison to the poorest of the poor amongst this shattered world. I walked with all my possessions on my back, but still I had more wealth than most of these people would ever see. My plane ticket home was equivalent to freedom, tantamount to innumerable fortunes in their world. I turned away from him and his horrors with  a sadness that could not be ignored.
While the phenomenal poverty at every turn was a struggle to process, we did try to offer some small alms. A group of children were given some rice. A man that sold Miki a batik, also got our leftover rice salad. Another group of children were offered some slightly stale bread, that we improved with the presence of jam. We tended to live on a small budget ourselves, but we knew that our wealth was more than any of these poor children could hope to have. Our small kindnesses were met with broad smiles and extreme friendliness that did something to warm my chilled heart. Skirting monstrous potholes that looked to measure 6 feet deep and wide at times, I hugged myself and offered blessings again that I had the privilege to have been born where I was. Canada might as well have been on another planet, for the comparisons I could make. I took in the tattered tarps  and scrap lumber that held together market stalls. I processed what I could and took strength from my travelling companions. Brett strode along with a smile on his face. His recent ailment was washed from his face and his countenance held his regular good-will again. I relaxed in the presence of his faith in the world and tried to see hope for this country that was ridding itself of landmines, war, and yesterday’s ugliness. We had to look to the future with faith that life would get better, life would go on.
A proverb struck me as we skimmed across a world not our own;
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime”.
These people had fish, but were only just learning how to fish again. I prayed the process would be fruitful for this besotted country. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Jingle Dance

drum, drum, drum, drum
drum, drum, drum, drum
BOOM, drum, drum, drum

Earth reverberating
energy rising
listen to the drum beat
BOOM, drum, drum, drum

jingle, jingle, jingle
slide, jingle
shuffle, jingle
shake, jingle
jingle, jingle, jingle

she walks the circle full.
she fills the air sublime
her energy sent out
on tingles bells to mine

the beat it is my heart
my heart goes out to you
you heal the hurt I do not know
beats pow and wow so true.

jingle, jingle, jingle
slide, jingle
shuffle, jingle
shake, jingle
jingle, jingle, jingle

your medicine dance
entrances my soul all
Grandfather's drum owns me.
Tears gather and heed your call

drum, drum, drum, drum
drum, drum, drum, drum
BOOM, drum, drum, drum

Dance for me
dance for the world
jingle tears down cheeks unknown
with honour returned to earth's womb

Hiyaaah huh!

Click here to listen to the jingle and drum of a jingle dance

The energy and power of a pow wow is a pretty amazing thing, even in a smaller setting. If you have never been part of a circle, it is worth a sit down. The other circle I am sitting in on this week is over at One Stop Poetry. There are bound to be a few poets there that will rock your world, so again worth a check out. Peace to you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Lovely Blog

This one is pretty special.

My bestest bud in blogland and great friend in real life awarded me this beautiful award. Dear C, over at Is That a Promise or a Threat, remains anonymous at large, but her personality speaks volumes on the page.I think she is about my favourite blogger, because she is just so darn honest, candid and writes with such eloquence. Just look at me gush, but I truly love her work!

So anyway, she honoured me with this beautiful award that I gladly accept. Of course she had to tie a few strings around it that I have to pull off before I can hang my beautiful prize. The strings? The usual; list off some things you may not know about me (she had 7, we'll have to see), hand out the award to some fellow bloggers (again a request of 9 that I will do my darndest with), thank my lovely Ms C, which I will do again gladly! MWAH!!! Oh and let you lovely people who I claim as worthy know that I am sharing some love with you (but of course!!) 

So, what do you want to know, I wonder;
  1. Well, there was that time that I was hitchhiking in Namibia and got into a spot of trouble, but I suspect that you will hear that story at some point in the future :)
  2. You know about my toes and I even shared pics recently, but did you know that I had some serious Little Orphan Annie curls (BAD, Bad perm!) going on with glasses that took over my entire face back in elementary school? Can we say super-geek? No, those photos will not be up any time soon.
  3. Not only was I teacher's pet in Grades 7 & 8 (same teacher), with top marks in the class, but at my grade 8 graduation Mr. Matthews came over and asked me to dance. In front of everyone!Well, to be honest, I didn't really think anyone ever looked at me back then, but still! A sweet moment till I got a look at the photos my Mom took afterwards. I laugh now, but I think I was a little mortified that it appeared  he was looking right down my pretty little pink strapless frou frou dress (probably seeing the floor for lack of anything to block the view). It wasn't like that. REALLY!
  4. Whew! That was a long one. Okay, so my family is in agreement that I am just a teensy wee bit long-winded on occasion. Nasty buggers. I am going to leave it at that.
  5. I have my Therapeutic Touch and Reiki level one cetificates. Come on over and I will give you a session! We all need a little loving kindness now and again.
  6. Goodness, I am beginning to sweat here. Uhmm, I live on a corner lot and know 9 immediate neighbours by name (but don't always pick the right one - I truly suck with remembering names. Sorry!). Awesome neighbourhood!
  7. ooh! got to seven. That wasn't so bad. So the 7th thing that you may not know about me (and may not care about) is that ...
So, what of my lovely blogging friends out there that I would like to honour and maybe get a little bit more dirt on;
  1. Hey Suzi, she's so fine. She's so fine, she blows my mind hey Suzicate! Alas she is on holidays, so might not be responding any time soon, but I just wanted to say that she is a fine writer, poet and offers a lot of support to the little people out there.
  2. I have picked on Ron before too, but he is such a funny guy that I cannot NOT include him in my list. Go read him at Vent, if you can still read after wiping the tears of laughter from your eyes you will see what I mean. Love you Ron! XX
  3. I suspect that Nicole might not post this up, but she really does have some fabulous photo journeys and craft ideas over at GardenMama. She can show you how to make anything you find in your yard edible or into a nifty craft that people of all ages can appreciate (well mostly me and my kids)
  4. Speaking of photos, there is always a tonne here at The Dowser's Daughter. Joanny has some exquisite photos usually accompanied by just as exquisite poetry. Just a beautiful site.
  5. And I just got a comment response that almost made me cry it was so sweet. There is a dear sweet lady over at EarthMama, who also collaborates on another thoughtful blog at Threading Light. There are days when I am feeling down and less than positive about the road in front of me. I can almost always go to either of her blogs and feel uplifted by the fact that I have been offered this gift called life. Thank you Lisa for being you.
  6. I have recently been introduced to the witty repartee over at Eternally Distracted and couldn't be happier. Here is another anonymous blogger, but through reading her words you would think that you'd know her anyway. She is another pretty funny lady that I can trust to give me a laugh and I can always use that!
  7. Just to read her responses I am going to introduce you to Jannie Funster as well. She loves beer, donuts and writes her own music. What's not to like?

and I think I am going to take a page out of dear Madame C's book and end my list there. I tried to give a mix of people that I wander through on a pretty regular basis. There are many more fabulous blogs out there, but I am discovering new ones every day. I am going to give a brief nod to Brian as well (C had him in her list, so I won't pick on him again, but he is uber-super), but trust that you will find your own faves as you wander through this big, great home we call the blog-o-sphere.

And not to toot my horn too loudly, but I also got this pretty award from Jingle as well. I am just feeling the love all over. Peace to you and
Have a wonderous New Day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Going on a Mushroom Hunt

Bulbous, round
Yellow, Brown
Poison or Edible?
No clues to be found.

Grown up overnight;
Thy wee toadstool
with pensive stalk
doth flared in day's light.

At home on dappled forest floor.
Pine needles and leaves
rampant company until
siblings join for more.

My daughter's find
with pure delight. Noted growth 
and heeded care with tent
 placement we remind.

respect and awe
my bio-friendly child; Joy!
My love found in your rapture.


My daughter found this little mushroom and we watched it grow seemingly overnight. It started small and thin, then flared almost before our eyes. She begged to borrow my camera to photograph it. How not to resist such guileless charms? I am glad I acquiesced though. As the days passed, she noted that another mushroom was sprouting beside its brother. She was enchanted with the beginning of this faery ring and we made a point to erect a newly bought and larger tent  at a safe distance to these magical fungi. I cherish her respect for nature and truly make all attempts to inspire it. I did a little searching and think that I can identify this species;
   Amanita muscaria* -- This is a beautiful, bright yellow mushroom with white spots or patches on its cap and a ring and bulbous base.

P.S. If I am correct, this beautiful little treasure is poisonous. I will have to advise my daughter of this, as she is always keen to know what is edible in the natural world  around her. As I tell her though, please always check before eating anything of questionable lineage. 
Happy Mushroom hunting!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Summer Poem

Of feathered things

and water wings;
This is what the summer brings

Kick up your feet
relax to the treat
of water's flow so sweet


wonders never cease
to release
the worries crease

into summer slumber
with naught to encumber,
but bliss of quiet labour 

lost under veil
of star shine's so pale
to close summer's hot travail.

A snapshot journey
of a day 
at play

Saturday, July 17, 2010

These feet were made for ... Swimming?!

Right foot
Left foot
Look closer!


   This one is for my brother-in-law! Before leaving on holidays, he wanted picture proof of a certain webbed condition I have. Some sandy proof that I am a swimmer through and through! Life is a beach! Enjoy it while you can...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Late day interlude at the beach


Waves rolling in;
Crests white in dying day
with sun-kissed wind
for summer's play.

Sand castles built
while sand babies smiling
dig for treasure troves
of miracle mirth hiding.

Pleasant passage.

Disappointment plain
at dinner bell's toll,
but bellies rule hours, thus
may tomorrow's sun play main role.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Camping comedown

   I have returned to the land of indoor plumbing, air conditioning and daycare (blissful daycare that I dropped my darling babies off to this morning!). I am welcomed home to a mammoth pile of laundry of truly gargantuan proportions. I think I counted 8 potential loads, but there might be more to be squeezed in. It is mind-boggling how much laundry can be accumulated in such a short span of time. I can barely step into my laundry room, with every square inch crowded with smoke-saturated articles. Dirt is ground into towels, jeans, shirts and shorts. Lake Erie sand is sprinkled in everything, but especially coated on bathing suits and beach blankets. Excuse me while I go switch over a load...

    Ahh, despite all the prep work before and clean-up after, I do love camping. Once you have set up your temporary enclave, the biggest task is to learn how to relax. Food and beverage is imbibed freely and regularly. Dishes seem to be never-ending, but somehow do not seem too taxing when done outdoors. We were at the beach every day soaking up the fresh air, sunshine and washing it all down with a hefty dose of swimming and splashing in the nearest Great Lake to our home. With it being the shallowest of the Great Lakes, the water temperature was quite warm. It was refreshing enough to cool you down and wash away the sweat from a hard days work (suntanning?), but not startling enough to turn all the men into eunuchs and women into glass-cutting nipple-wielding  terrors. One day, we enjoyed terrific wave bashing into a torrent of white-crested water, but the subsequent days were more along the lines of peaceful splashing in the rolling waves. Fun for kids and adults alike. 

    All that fresh air and fun was definitely enough to work up an appetite as well. My other favourite thing about camping is the food. Cooking on a Coleman is challenging at times, but nothing beats that morning cup of coffee it produces. The campfire is where the real magic is made though. Steaks seared to perfection were the order of the day on Day 1. Hot dogs just can't be beat over the open flame and where else does the humble marshmallow shine so brightly, as but over the glowing embers of a fire pit. It always amazes me how much I can eat while camping, but it is just all tastes so good! Oh yum. 

    As I change another load of laundry, I can smile at the memories that were created for my children. They thrilled at their beach days, sleeping outdoors in a tent, bush pees (everybody does it, don't they?!) and togetherness with friends and family. While I know I had my grumpy moments, I prefer to forget them and focus on the smiles of my children and laughter of my friends. I shall perhaps share a photo or two in the days that come, but today cleanup is the name of the game. I hope you are enjoying your summer, for those of you in the Northern hemisphere. I certainly am.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Grain of Sand

I went through my ablutions in preparation for bed; teeth, face, hands, eyes, check! I donned my PJs and looked forward to an early night to bed after a rocky introduction to Mozambique. Brett came into Miki and my’s room complaining of pains in his side. He was looking for anything that we might have that would take the edge off of his  throbbing woes. Miki and I dug in our packs and produced whatever we could from our personal pharmacies. He swallowed a handful of painkillers we offered him and headed to bed, hoping that they would take effect soon and allow him some sleep. The word hospital was mentioned, but he passed it off as something to look into in the morning if necessary.
In fact, the painkillers did not do a thing. Brett wiggled and flopped on his bed, but the pain just got worse. Ten minutes after I had turned the light off, Brett was knocking at our door again. He was ashen. The pain was worse. He wanted to go to the hospital; Now. We scrambled back into our clothes and hurried to the van with vague directions to the hospital. Luck was not on our side this evening though. We hustled into the van, but Arnie refused to budge. The van would not turn over at all. We pushed it half-way down the street huffing and puffing all the way, with Brett writhing in agony in the driver’s seat. Our commotion caught the interest of several passersby and Miki managed to flag down another motorist for assistance. She scooped Brett out of one vehicle and into another and they were gone. Oliver and I were left to tend to our inept vehicle. There were others that had noticed our plight though, and we soon had a gang of street kids help us push Arnie back to the motel for the night. Of course, their ministrations came with a fee and we found ourselves ripped off handing over R10 and 50 000 metical (it should have been more like 5-10 000MT). In the grand scheme of things, it equated to a pittance, but Oliver argued with the youths, as I sprinted off in the direction of the hospital.
Now as you might recall, we had just arrived in Maputo that afternoon. We had wandered around the area surrounding our Pensao a bit, but I was far from familiar with the city. A lone, white female sprinting through a run-down city after dark is probably not the smartest plan to undertake, but my vision was clouded with Brett’s tortured visage. After losing myself momentarily, I miraculously found the hospital. The next step was tracking down Brett within the walls of the hospital, but that too was achieved. When I finally came upon Brett, the doctors had hooked him up to an IV. The problem; kidney stones. The doctor explained that the hiking that he had done in Mbabane had probably served to dehydrate him, which aggravated the stones. He administered pain killers and explained to us about kidney stones. They are often fairly small and found in the urethra. They can be similar in size to a grain of sand, but their power is much more potent. The doctor explained that kidney stones are one of the most painful experiences one can go through, akin to heart attacks and giving birth. The pain comes from the crystal-like stone passing through the urinary tract system. Most times the only thing that can be done for someone suffering is to hydrate them to help the stone pass more freely. Ultimately, the only solution is for the stone to pass. That required time. It was advised that Brett spend the night in hospital to rehydrate and monitor his pain level. After watching Brett relax with the effects of medication, Miki and I headed for home. We would be back in the morning.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Moonlit paths

Moonlit paths
Weave rambling words.
I have trailed their shadows
and am lost.

The way 
will be found

I have gone back into ancient journals to scrape up an old poem to share while I am off camping. This poem comes from several lifetimes ago, in a different metamorphosis of me. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Crumbling at its Seams

Finally, the day came that our passports were ready to be picked up. They came back to us with brand spanking new visas for Mozambique in them. Relief at having our precious lifelines back in own little hands, had us scrambling to pack for new climes. Swaziland had been a port of call that served its purpose, but now we were done with it and on to the next country. We headed to the border and confidently handed over our passports to gain entry into this new land. Fearing reproof at the border with our faulty ignition switch, we prayed for co-operation from Arnie. It was mercifully granted. He sputtered to life and soon enough we were past the scowls inherent at so many border posts and into my fifth country in Africa; Mozambique!
Mozambique is on the South-Eastern edge of the African continent. It is bordered by Swaziland, that we had just left, the Indian Ocean, that we were headed towards, Zimbabwe, that we would head to when it was time to leave, South Africa (been there too), Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. It had been a colony of Portugal from 1505 to 1975, so it was not surprising that the  official language was Portuguese. We hoped that we would find some people that spoke English, but expected to hear many of the local dialects as well such as Swahili, Sena, Makhuwa, Ndau and Shangaan. Whether we actually heard any of them or not, I can only conjecture, but suffice it to say that we managed to survive in English.
We drove along roads that seemed to speak of a lack of money for maintenance. Swaziland and South Africa by comparison had seemed both clean and organized. Here, potholes littered the roadway and I was reminded of the fact that we were headed towards the capital, Maputo, on the main thoroughfare from the border. As we neared the city, our progress slowed. I put the debris that we passed down to outer slums, but the further we drove, the less likely that became. I was shocked and stunned. Burnt out vehicles sat up on “blocks” with not a scrap of rubber on the tires, glass in the windows or paint on the frames. Empty lots filled with rubble were interspersed by small businesses, as well as many crumbling and abandoned buildings. The pot holes got bigger. As I stared wide-eyed out my window, I caught glimpses of the city’s former grandeur, before the Portuguese fled for their lives with their money in tow. It seemed to cry out that it had been the belle of the ball in its hey-day, when the city went by the title of Lourenço Marques. Those days had passed twenty years before though and the subsequent Civil Wars, left the capital on its knees both structurally and economically. This is where we would spend the night. I prayed that things would look better in the morning. We found the Pensao Nini, tried to ignore the cockroaches and filth, and attempted to leave our minds open to what Mozambique had to offer. A beer sipped at a local café made the world seem marginally better, as did our sustaining meal of banana sandwiches. Night encroached on our first day in Mozambique and we headed for bed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Housecleaning just for a little shakeup

Housecleaning just for a little shakeup.

Nothing earth-shattering to report here.  I just opened my blog up and was bored. Decided to change things up a bit before going on holiday. Yes, I should be attending to the rest of my house a little more, but that would not give me as much satisfaction. Hope your weekend is ship-shape! 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Let's Go Fly a Kite

It is blissfully raining out this morning. I thought I would wander down memory lane for a post today, as my plan to go to Sunfest seems to be temporarily squashed. Here is a photo journey for you to enjoy;

Let's go fly a kite

Up where the air is clear
chasing clouds both far and near

Tangling lines that prove to be
just too much for you and me

So perhaps we shall fly
with our kites up to the sky

and remember days cool to the touch
when summer heat seems just too much.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wandering a path not always easy

   I just came in from struggling, straddling  and sweating my cargo roof rack into place on top of the van. Frig, it's hot out there! I am quite proud of myself for getting it up there though. I thought I would have to get some help to hold it in place while I screwed the bolts on (we shall see how good a job I did when I drive down the road - don't drive behind me as I drive over any bumps!). I did it all by my little ole self though, with no help, but an occasional breeze to keep my morale up.

   As I wiped the sweat off my brow, I stood back to admire my handy-work. I could not help but think back to  a lady I know, who is going through a difficult period in her life. I believe she is in her late 60s and her husband apparently is in the process of beginning a cancer journey. They have yet to give a formal title to the kind of cancer he has, but there is a tumour floating around by his kidneys that is approximately 3-5" large. Not mm or cm, but INCHES! For one not familiar to tumours and their size, that is huge; about the size of an orange. I have mentioned at various points in my blog some of the trials I have traversed in my own life with cancer. It is not a pleasant disease and it affects many, many people in the world. 

   Why I think of this lady today, as I claim triumph over a difficult task, is because she is very dependant on her husband. She has a driver's license, but generally does not feel comfortable driving any real distance. She can clean, but cooking is not a skill that she can claim with any true sense. As meal time approached recently, she suggested that she would make dinner (a simple meal of barbequed hamburgers). Someone commented that she would have to start the barbeque and she retorted "oh well, I can't do that! You better do it G." I was floored. She could not even start the barbeque! Perhaps she is not comfortable handling propane, but really it is a fairly straight forward task. What is she going to do if her husband dies? We all die, but with his failing health, one would assume he will succumb sooner rather than later. She is even afraid of confined spaces (elevators to be exact) and worries about what she is going to do if he is admitted to hospital for surgery and is up on the fifth floor for recovery. How will she get up to the fifth floor? At said point, I am aghast.

   Over the course of the cancer journey that I went on with my husband and grief journey I have struggled with since he died, I have had many challenges. Understanding diagnoses, assisting him in his mobility, undertaking more household chores when he was unable were all things that I just did, because I had to. I did not want to, but I did not have a choice. Well, that is not exactly right, as my Mother pointed out to me at points. Another choice could have been to walk away, but that would never have happened. To me it was not a choice. She pointed out the strength it took to be there for my family, that some just do not have. Since my husband died, I have taken on all the cooking, cleaning, bill payments and general running of my household. Again, I have not wanted to do it all and at points was very close to throwing it all away, but somehow I have found deep reserves of strength to push me through. My house is not cleaned as often as some, but I pay my bills on time and make most of our meals from scratch. I do it because I have to. Again, there is always the option to leave, which to me is a non-option. I have a certain level of pride in the fact that I go beyond the mundane chores and accomplish other tasks that need attending to. I painted my living room in the winter mostly by myself. When I had my basement renovated the winter before, I again did all the painting. I have organized having the furnace  and hot water heater replaced, a shed built, and every room in the house (but my bedroom) painted. I have lifted furniture on my own muscle, when I perhaps should have asked for help, but am learning that I do not have to always do it all solo. For me it is not a matter of knowing how to do something, it is more a matter of knowing that I cannot do everything and stepping back to allow others to do what I cannot. There is no glory in being a martyr, I have been told in not so many words. 

   So when I look at this woman, who will be in such a disastrous place when her husband dies, I feel a certain level of anger, confusion and disbelief. I have wished and wanted someone to be there for me to help with running my household, spending quality time with and enduring this thing called life. I am sure that someone will enter my life at some point, that I will want to share and care with. I am learning to like and love me and respect my abilities and weaknesses. Really though, I am content to spend time with me, getting to know me and my path. I would love to have more companionship, but I do not need someone to survive. That level of dependence is scary for me and I just cannot fathom it. I had someone ask me if I had talked to this woman directly, and admitted I had not. In crisis, you survive as best you can and she seemed to be pulling back from her usual outgoing self. I could not and did not want to put myself out there and tread in my own recent memories. I cannot change her world. She will have to survive it the best she can and all I can offer her is the strength to face the day. 

   I realize I have gone on here, but just want to offer a link to a support system that has buoyed me up over the years for any of you challenged by a cancer diagnosis. Wellspring is a wonderful organization that offers emotional support to individuals, family and friends of anyone dealing with cancer. It is a Canadian organization that has branches all across the country and I have utilized their services often. I have not always been as strong as I am today, but they have been there to hold me up whenever I have had a need. As I have trudged a cancer path, I know how difficult it can be. Any of you that need an ear are always welcome to chat. Peace to you all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Camping Checklist

Calling all campers!
Amble up to the fire lest you
Meet me at the wood pile to chop and work.
Partake in smoky stories
In your best plaid (lumber jacket that is!),
Noting where the wind blows
Great gusts of white rabbit puff tails to smoke you out.

Cheeky coons may eye your stash, so
Hold your marshmallows fast
Even as the 'smores are
Charred and cooked to perfect
Kibble crusts. Resist!
Love that oozing mess
In hair! Oh my, that
Shall be murderous to remove by
Torchlight.Sandy soap will suffice til dawn.

List of Camping Necessities:

  1. marshmallows
  2. matches
  3. flashlights
  4. fire wood
  5. a good attitude to see you through to the end of the trip

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

the day is done

the day is done
my world has past.
a post not won
with left to last.

for shame
to blame
its only me
to bed tonight
yonder's words we'll see

I tip my hat.
I say adieu.
let's go my cat
may dreams be few

Monday, July 5, 2010

Birthday Song

I have returned to the land of the living, I suppose. With birthday hugs gathered this morning by my girlies,I face the day. Not a glamorous one, with groceries and laundry ticked off already. Being gone for an extended weekend, means playing catch-up though. My treat to me will be going out for dinner this evening. I just do not want to cook on my birthday, so I won't. I am going to finish the book I started this weekend and relax on my hammock. It's my birthday and I'll do what I want. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Away at Mom's for weekend Fun!

Away at Mom's for weekend fun.


   We have flown the coop to far-away lands for the holidays. Gone on a three-hour tour, not to return until the thrum of traffic lulls to my liking. Well, something like that. We are approximately that far from home to celebrate Canada Day with my Mom and Dad. The kitties will be irked with us being gone, but friends will come to tend to them and the house (I will find distasteful presents placed oh so delicately on my pillow if not) while we frolic in Lake Couchiching and surrounding areas. I hope not to bring too much campfire stench home with me to make you sniff, but excuse me if I do. Hopefully I have remembered to pack my Muskoka dinner jacket with me. Happy Saturday and have a good weekend!

P.S. If that is me, I have had WAY too much to drink this weekend and won't be back tomorrow. OY, VEI!


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