Look into my eyes

The eyes really are the window to the soul. I’ve always made it a point to look directly into a persons’ eyes when speaking with them. This has, on occasion, unnerved some but I defend this practice for two reasons. One, making  and holding eye contact ensures you have their attention, and two, looking into someone’s eyes is the only way to really ‘see’ the person, in all sincerity.

People often put on a façade; a ‘game face’, if you will, to accommodate the audience or situation, ie, they try to project the image expected of them in the moment. This is often to camouflage their own vulnerability; hide their pain or sorrow or grief. Most people are uncomfortable revealing their emotions too readily because it potentially exposes what they perceive as weakness within themselves.  (The whole, ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘learn how to hide your feelings’, rules)

Letting ourselves feel and express every emotion, happy or sad, is one of the gifts that comes with being human. How often have you asked someone how they are, and gotten a half – hearted response; ‘fine’? You know from the answer, they are not fine at all. Take it a step further.  Look them in the eye when you next ask and you may be surprised to get an honest answer. You may also get appreciation for expressing sincere interest cause let’s be honest here, most of us ask about another out of habit and usually don’t care what the answer is. Looking directly at a person when posing a question forces honesty. They can’t look you in the eye and lie, not without squirming and giving themselves away – the soul doesn’t lie, and the eyes are the window to the soul.

I’d like to think that if we all took the time to genuinely look at another we’d change our behaviours in a positive way. If you look into the eyes of the obnoxious sales clerk, you might see that they’re nervous on the job, possibly insecure about approaching you. Wouldn’t that temper your reaction to them?

If the abuser looked deeply into the eyes of their victim, be it a child, spouse, dog, etc, would they still strike them? I believe they would see fear, pain or disappointment, maybe they’d even see the reflection of themselves in those eyes – would it cause them to pause, reflect on their actions? Not making eye contact makes the victim anonymous giving the abuser a guilt free conscience. Staring right at them is like forcing a mirror into their face and odds are they won’t like what they see.

If you look into the eyes of the coworker who’s testy or moody, maybe you’d see fatigue, or sadness (never presume to know what goes on in the life of another) Maybe they are unwell, or are having problems with a child, spouse, parent, finances. Maybe they’re unhappy with their job. Looking directly into their eyes when you ask tells them the question isn’t just lip service; you really sincerely care how they are, and while it’s not an invitation to get their life story, it does resonate in their minds that we live in a caring society.

It has been my experience that looking directly into someone’s eyes invites trust. Granted, it’s also made me the confidant of many, and sometimes the burden of hearing another’s story takes an emotional toll but I wouldn’t change my strategy because looking deeply into the eyes of another opens the window to my own soul letting them know we are all weak and vulnerable and loving and caring, and very humanly beautiful.

Here’s to looking at you, kid!  (ok, shameless pilfering from the classic, ‘Casablanca’, but I had to do it)

Death by Spandex – the Rerun

Covid has still managed to dominate my days as I now have to help with the care of my young grandchildren. This allows for lots of play time with my little ones (and I wouldn’t trade that for the world) but leaves me little time to write, so once again I searched my archives and decided to rerun an oldie. I wrote this one 3 years ago but for me it still rings true! I wonder how many of you can identify with this?

I’m not beyond admitting that I’ve tacked on a pound or two. Age, menopause, and a relaxed lifestyle have conspired with gravity to humiliate me….but I can’t discount the role spandex has played in this.

I remember watching old shows on television and loving the 50’s styles. Full skirts with crinolines, pencil skirts with high heels, and slim leg pants! They looked so feminine, so I was thrilled when several years ago these fashions reappeared. (everything really is a cycle)

I was excited to go shopping…ok, I’m always excited to go shopping, it’s my ‘thing’ (much to my husbands chagrin) but this time I was really excited because I could now wear the fashions I’d adored.    Or so I thought…..

Time changes everything…..who knew that time would make me well, ‘insulated’?

First thing I tried on was a pencil skirt.  I took a few sizes into the fitting room. I may not fit in to a size 6 anymore but mercifully most fabrics are now blended with some form of spandex for those of us who need ‘forgiveness’.  The first 2 sizes barely made it past my knees so I rifled past the next couple of skirts and grabbed the biggest size. It fit! Ok, I had to do some major yanking to get it there, thanks to the flexibility of spandex, but it fit. (I won’t disclose the size) I tucked in my shirt, smoothed out the skirt and secured a leather belt around my waist, then faced the mirror. I looked like a knockwurst with a rubber band around my middle. I don’t understand it! This style looked fabulous forty years ago – it was a classic – what happened? I look at the label in one of the skirts and note that that it’s a blend of fibers with only 5% spandex. Ok, there’s the problem

I peel off the skirt, pull on my leggings and leave the fitting room, morosely handing my selection of skirts to the attendant (a sixteenish, size 0,,, really?) who smiles and cheerfully asks if any were the ‘one’. I shake my head no (knockwurst can’t speak) and trudge back into the store.

As I rifle through the racks of clothing (I feel it’s my responsibility to buy something,,,,,my husband will wonder what’s wrong if I don’t) I find myself constantly coming back to my old favourites, leggings. Out of curiosity I reach inside a pair to read the label; 70% nylon and 30 % spandex. Ok, it’s not me, it’s the spandex! Those skirts didn’t have enough spandex. (someone should complain to the manufacturer – this is misleading)

As I continue to scour the racks for anything interesting a nagging thought keeps coming to me. When did I last try on my jeans, my NON SPANDEX jeans, the regular kind. I can’t remember. I do remember that sense of relief when I pulled on my first pair of spandex leggings though – I remember I could breathe for the first time in a long time. I left the store and drove home, determined to face my demon.  After parking the car, I put away my purchases (yes, I did manage to find something to buy, after all) then headed for my closet. It took some rifling but I finally found my old blue jeans. (why did I keep them?) I peeled off my leggings and pulled on the old jeans (God, I’d forgotten how stiff denim was) but they only made it part way up my thighs. I faced the mirror, and in doing so faced the truth…..spandex had tricked me into a false sense of security! All these years I was so sure my figure hadn’t changed…..the leggings slid on without effort, but the reality was I had changed, and spandex (now my nemesis) had camouflaged my expansion! I felt betrayed.

The reality is society is growing and manufacturers are clever enough to know how to keep up with our girth. Lycra in our socks and underwear and spandex in pretty much everything else ensures a comfy fit, but where does it end? If we keep this up how big can we get (how stretchy is this stuff anyway?) before we explode into a big lycra/spandex mess?

I, for one, move for warning labels in all clothing containing any form of elastic. It used to be that we knew we were gaining weight by the ‘fit’ of our clothes but clearly that’s no longer the case. Clothing manufacturers have conspired against us to ensure we keep purchasing. Spandex is a killer – spread the word.

Me, Myself and I,,,the rerun

There are those in this world who are loners, introverts even. They’re not anti-social, they simply prefer to be somewhat anonymous; they are the observers versus the center of attention. I am not one of those people but I do understand their need to be alone.

I love a party, I love a crowd, and I try to keep a steady stream of friends coming through my house because I so enjoy being social, but there’s one person, above all others, whose company I enjoy most.

Mine.

I love time alone with me. I talk to myself. I sing really loud. I crack jokes I find so funny, I laugh until I cry. In short, no one entertains me as much as I do and I thoroughly enjoy my own company. A well-educated gentleman I worked with years ago caught me talking to myself in my office one day and commented that he’d read that highly intellectual people were noted for ‘talking to themselves’. A little embarrassed at being caught enjoying myself with me, I was flattered but let’s face it,,,,,I’m no genius. When I walk in to a room people don’t generally say, “Wow, I bet she’s really smart!” They might, however, say “She’s really fun?” (jeez, I hope so!)

You know the crazy, thing about all this is that I rarely feel lonely. I like the company of just me, myself, and I. The three of us have a ball! We laugh and we talk. We dance, and we sing. We have the same taste in music, so whatever I play, we all enjoy,,,, go figure! We crack open a bottle of wine (because I hate to drink alone) andwe have a girls night, just the three of us. It’s a wonderful friendship and necessary for me, but it does run its’ course. After a couple of hours of revelry I need real people again.

Solitude may be a state of isolation or seclusion, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. In fact, quite the opposite. Being alone with you is a good way to really get to know yourself. You’ve no one to impress, no airs to put on, so the real you emerges. What a great way to get to know who you really are!

It’s human nature to be social, we crave the company of other people, but I think it’s just as important to feel comfortable with yourself just you, alone. For many this is a grim prospect. They’re not comfortable in a solitary scenario. It makes them focus on their ‘aloneness’,,,,, suggesting what, unpopularity? It also causes some to dwell on why they might be alone; perhaps they have somehow pushed away the company of others. You couldn’t be more wrong! (ok, there are exceptions here. There are people who are just plain unpleasant to be around so if you find yourself alone too much, it’s probably you)

For most, time alone is time well spent. We all need to regroup. Time to think. Time to talk…to no one, because no one’s a better listener to you, than you. And no one understands your thought processes, no one knows your vulnerabilities, better than you. Who better to spend quality time with? No pressure, no judgement, just an interested non-threatening participant.

Maybe I’m crazy. Fortunately I don’t care what others think in this regard because for me, time spent alone with myself is therapeutic, enlightening, and fun….which reminds me, I have a great joke to tell myself later…. it’ll kill me, and myself, and I….all three of us’ll really crack up!

Church music (another rerun)

Let me preface this by saying I have no issue with any religion. I was born a catholic and will likely die one and I have only a very healthy respect for all religions. I have no designs on converting anyone nor do I want anyone else trying to convert me. I do however, have some questions about certain practices within specific religions; namely mine, and only because it’s the only one I am familiar with.

The catholic church has its’ traditions, with age old ceremonies and countless hymns, most of them thoroughly depressing. I was always led to believe that my faith is what will save me. If you’re struggling with life, go to church and God will help you. If you’re struggling with guilt, go to confession and God will cleanse your sole. If you’re looking for solace, comfort and peace, you will find it at church, right? I think that’s how it’s supposed to work, but does it? Is that the environment they’re creating in the church? One of peace and love and mercy? Cause if they are, I’m not feelin’ the love!

I went to mass every Sunday growing up and I sang in the choir. I dragged my 3 children to church every weekend (with a pile of toys to keep them quiet while I repented for my sins) but for some reason I never felt happy after attending a service and I could never figure out why.

Then I happened upon a Baptist service on television one Sunday morning and it got me thinking because it didn’t leave me feeling bad about myself when it was over. Granted they too have one’ preacher’ who dominates the service and does a lot of screaming, but it didn’t seem accusatory.  What I found uplifting was their music. They’re all dancing in the aisle, clapping their hands and pounding tambourines – they’re having a ball! The catholic church on the other hand, has put more than half of their mass to music, and I don’t mean happy, upbeat, make you want to come to church, music. This stuff is tuneless, morose, and has the enthusiasm of a speed bump.

Further, the catholic service consists of a lot of lines like “I am not worthy” and “ I have sinned”. I know that, I’m no saint, but do I need to advertise my short comings? I come looking for solace and mercy but I get berated, and told to get on my knees and say 50 Hail Mary’s. And by the way, if we can all talk to God, anytime, anywhere, why do we have to go to confession at all? I’m all for cutting out the middle man so I go straight to the big guy and to date I’ve not been struck by lightning. And who are you to tell me I am not worthy? I lead an honest life, a Christian life, and if occasionally I falter I think I’d repent more effectively without having the snot pounded out of me. I think God knows that, and while I still consider myself catholic, I do not attend regular mass and the big guy and I have both made our peace with the arrangement.

I have to admit there are times when I long to go to a church service. There is a sense of peace you walk away with when you’re in Gods house but I fail to understand why they can’t make it fun. Religion should be a joyous thing. Just once I’d like to see someone boogie up to receive communion, and maybe they should hand out tambourines and maracas to the congregation. Put a little life into the service, get people up on their feet, singing and clapping, celebrating religion instead of fearing it. Make people feel good about themselves and the church, then maybe, just maybe, they’ll come back.

I think we could all learn a thing or two from the Baptists and Gospel Church goers and if I could muster up the courage (and a few conspirators) I’d crash the next catholic service with a mariachi band – bet that would blow the priest right out of his papal clompers!

Mothers Day – the rerun

Thanks to Covid my family have been busier than ever juggling work-from-home, child care (or lack thereof) and isolation. This has left me little time (or energy) to write a new blog and given our situation is unlikely to improve in the next few weeks, my husband suggested I post some ‘repeats’ to maintain my momentum. The blog below was originally posted 4 years ago, and while I am not hosting any grand parties this year, my sentiment is much the same. More than I ever I hope you can find a way to show a mother in your life how much she means. Stay well.

Mother’s Day – 2017

Last Tuesday my husband turned 60 and my mother turned 87. Two days later my daughter turned 30 and last night I threw the mother of all parties to celebrate their mile stone birthdays. It took weeks to coordinate, days to prepare the food and the house for out of town guests, and a small fortune was ‘invested’ in our local liquor store.

This Mothers Day like so many in my past, saw me cleaning house, changing beds and sorting empties, in between airport runs. I’m exhausted and a tad hung over (ok, self inflicted) and while there will be no fancy dinner out for me today, I feel a sweet sense of satisfaction and joy in my lot in this life.

This routine is not new. Mothers Day at my house was always overshadowed by family’s birthdays and over the years I always threatened to move Mothers Day into September, where we have no family celebrations and the day would be mine and mine alone, but I never did it and today for the first time I wondered why I hadn’t. Something feels different.

In truth, I’ve come to realize I really don’t mind my annual Mothers Day celebration (or lack thereof) because I’ve come to appreciate the occasion from a very different perspective. It was my husband who made me a mother – he can’t help that he was born so close to a national holiday that celebrates them. My daughter too is the reason I am a mother and that she arrived the day after Mothers Day 30 years ago simply reminds me that she was a gift, one of the best I ever got. (my other 2 children had the decency to arrive at neutral times of the year)

Instead of complaining about what I thought I was missing, I find myself enjoying the fact that I have these annual chores because they remind me that I have these people, these gifts, who made me “Mom”, and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.

However you celebrate Mothers Day I hope you take the time to reflect on those who made you a mother. You don’t need flowers or jewels, just the reminder that these people love and appreciate you, and they do. As I put my third load of sheets in to wash and prepare to mop my kitchen floor (if wine stains are any indication of a good time this  must’ve been one helluva party!) I feel a wonderful sense of love for my husband and children who make every day of the year Mothers Day and if running myself ragged once a year to celebrate them in lieu of celebrating me, is all I have to do, I’m good with it. Thank you for giving me a reason to celebrate with you at all!

Happy Mothers Day!

My ‘Ahha’ moment

I have spent the better part of my life trying to ‘improve’ myself because I was always so sure my purpose in life was to accomplish something great. After years of trying to find my groove I’ve come to realize that maybe I never lost it.

I set very high targets for myself, expectations that put a lot of pressure on me (and often those around me) and in the end I am either unsatisfied with the final result or too tired and frustrated to appreciate it. I’ve always had that sense I needed to ‘do’ something but never quite sure exactly what it is.

I’m painfully disciplined in my routines, taking a walk every day, but not just a walk, an aggressive one, because I’ve always believed there should be a purpose to the walk; fitness, weight loss, something. Then I came to realize that taking a walk didn’t have to be a chore. Maybe occasionally a shorter walk, with a friend, and no motive would be of more value to my psyche. (Why did I feel the need to break speed records?) Was I out of balance?

I could never just dust or vacuum, no not me. I had to move furniture, wash curtains, repaint walls, because simple cleaning wasn’t enough – it had to be a major project. Several years ago what started as a simple paint touch up of my staircase bannister resulted in my taking out the entire floor of carpeting (it no longer looked fresh next to my newly painted bannister) and  of course I can’t lay nice new carpeting into rooms with tired old paint on the walls so yet another major project evolved. Finally after 3 years I ran out of rooms to redo (which is a good thing cause I’m pooped!) I was so driven to tackle monumental projects that usually overwhelmed me not long after launch because I felt I had to accomplish something big. Then it hit me,,, it was my ‘ahha’ moment.

Who was I impressing with this aggressive to-do list? (ok, I was impressed with myself) My loved ones appreciate me for everything I do, big or small, and they don’t seem any more impressed when I super-do something, so why do I kill myself? (ok, some of this can be blamed on personality – I’m probably just one of those people who can’t sit still) The realization hit me hard, partially from the wisdom of age and experience, and partially from a lack of steam. I think I lost my stamina but in the process found a new groove, and that included finding balance. (Or maybe I’m just getting old).

I am learning the art of letting go, setting reasonable expectations for myself. Now instead of rushing to dust the furniture, I write my name in it, or draw a happy face, then make a mental note to tackle that,,,one of these days. I am finding satisfaction with what I can accomplish even if it isn’t substantial. Enjoying simply what I have instead of aspiring for more. Wow, with age really does come wisdom. Wisdom that helps us to set priorities and accept things as they are without the need for improvement.

I finally found my ‘ahha’ moment, my realization that I am where I was meant to be, and what I do or do not accomplish is also, meant to be (so I can stop stressing about what I haven’t done)

And it only took me 60 years.

Time Flies

My father is 91 years old and I talk to him every day at 5:00, and because we speak each day we often struggle for new conversation. He’s elderly, somewhat frail, and we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, so it’s not like he goes anywhere. (for that matter, neither do I) We focus instead on what he’s read, what he watches on TV, and what he had for dinner. Most days the conversation is predictable, but every now and again he catches me by surprise with how really ‘with it’ he is for 91. He follows current events and sports, providing intelligent comments around both, but what truly amazes me is his recollection of things. Life, actually, his recollection of life. It is startling detailed.

My father can recount the details of his life 75 years ago, more even. He knew a time without cars, microwaves, washing machines, and he remembers with vivid accuracy the events of world economics and politics at the time. Most recently, when I marveled at just such a conversation, I noted how he recounted these memories as though they were yesterday. Time seemed to disappear and he was ‘in the moment’.

Yesterday, as I went for a walk through my own neighbourhood, I passed a house with 3 young children. They were playing on the driveway and their mother was sitting in a chair nearby supervising,,,,exactly as I did some 3 decades ago. My children, all in their 30’s now, have their own children, but I could swear only 2 weeks ago they were playing on the driveway where I sat watching. How can it be that so much time has elapsed?

Like my father, I can recall the details of the most mundane events 25 years ago as though it was yesterday, and while it’s delightful to revel in the memories, it’s also a stark reminder of just how quickly life goes by. Events you think leave a permanent etching in your brain eventually fade, until something triggers the memory and suddenly you’re reliving it all over again….in your mind. Where did the years go, and why did they go so fast?

I’ve always believed we are here for a reason, our own predetermined life and learning path, and that includes an expiry date. It’s baffling to comprehend why some die so young, or so tragically, or why some seem to suffer a life fraught with loss and pain. Then I remind myself, we all choose our path, and perhaps these are souls who’ve elected to come into this world in a role of suffering to facilitate the learning path of another. There’ve been cases where I just can’t justify it in any other way. These are the lives most challenging because the memories they recall are often difficult, but necessary, and I wonder do they too recall events of years past with vivid detail and accuracy?

The older we get the faster life goes by which is ironic because it is in our later years we want to take the time to reflect – slow things down. We stop sweating the small stuff. We laugh at the things we would’ve been shocked by. We lament all we neglected to do or say. And we berate ourselves for things we did do or say that we now regret. (seems we’re awfully good at beating ourselves up)  

Listening to my father recount the details of life 75 or 80 years ago reminds me to ‘stop and smell the roses’. Now when a memory of something my child said 35 years ago springs to mind, I welcome it, let it linger. And as difficult as it is, I also let in the harder memories, because they too bring comfort, even if it doesn’t make me smile, because any thought that tells me my brain is working is a good sign (If we didn’t suffer the lows, how would we recognize the highs) and often recalling painful memories helps bring closure.

Life really does go by in the blink of an eye so all we can do is reflect when we need to, regret nothing, and live in the moment, because all too soon we leave this place and our opportunity to effect change is lost.

Life really is so very good. Celebrate in it.

Partnerships

We all have someone on whom we rely for laughter, support, companionship, even money (I’m still looking for my sugar-daddy) but such partnerships are a two-way street (at least they should be)

We protect them when they are weakened, defend them when under assault, and love them unconditionally (ok, maybe not ‘unconditionally’ but a lot) What is it about these individuals that sparks our protective instincts? (Parenting aside, a child is a whole different kind of love….kids and pets)

My husband/partner is my soulmate. He defends me (most of the time) supports me (when it suits him) loves me despite my very few flaws (I can hear his guffaw of laughter here) and is as loyal to me as an old Cocker Spaniel. In return I do his laundry, cook his meals, clean his house, bear his children, nurse his health, schedule his appointments, entertain his friends, welcome his family, mend his socks, endure his golf, and print off his puzzles every day…. so yeah, it’s even….you know, the ‘partnership’.

Funny how very differently we all view partnership and our role in it. My husband likes to think he is my provider, mentor, friend and lover. (that translates to budget police, know-it-all, back-up companion when his friends have bailed, and physical outlet….I’m so proud)  Now, by contrast, I think he sees me as his conquest, challenge, and ultimate burden (which translates into ‘the only one who said yes’, ‘the one who tests him’, and ‘the best thing that ever happened to him’) It’s all in the interpretation…..and I prefer my version.

The tricky thing about partnerships is making them work, and that takes fortitude and patience. (In my experience people aren’t always likeable so it’s been more of an effort for me) Personalities are so finicky, and it’s one thing to put up with it when it’s a partner or a friend, because you made the choice to be with them, but when it’s someone who’s been forced upon you (like a boss or a neighbor) it’s not easy to take. These ‘partnerships’ can be difficult and much of the difficulty in accepting them is knowing you have no choice. (I have a boss in my past I’d like to see slide bare-assed down a razor blade and land in a pool of iodine,,,,ah, but I digress) Acceptance is critical, and the key. It’s also a total pain, but it’s reality.

At the end of the day partnerships are work, a lot of work. And they require sacrifice and tolerance and patience and compassion (ok, this is already too much work, I’m outta here) but the reward is comfort, acceptance, understanding, kindness,,,,,and yes, love. Regardless of the type of ‘partnership’ we engage in, it all comes down to loving and wanting to be loved. (Ok, I’m still holding out for money)

The Best Guest

I love to entertain and do so frequently. Welcoming friends and family into my home and laying out a spread gives me a total rush, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Now it doesn’t come without effort or expense, but it’s where my husband and I choose to spend our ‘entertainment’ dollars. We really don’t go out to dinner much, nor do we frequent any pubs or bars, preferring instead to stay in with friends so we are very selective about those with whom we like to spend our time, effort, and money.

We have one set of friends who stand out above the rest because they are the BEST guests. They eat everything I serve, never complain, have yet to advise of any food allergies or preferences and rarely leave me with left overs. Now THAT’s what I call good house guests!

I love to experiment with new recipes and often refer to them as my ‘guinea pigs’, and I keep waiting for criticism, an expression of likes or dislikes, but nothing comes. They eat everything with relish, shower me with accolades and welcome all invitations. We should all have such gracious houseguests.

I suppose much of their behaviour is a matter of courtesy and manners. I was raised to eat what was served without questioning or criticizing (now this advice also came with the threat that if I complained there’d be NO food) and never ever was I to say I disliked any particular food, which meant choke it down no matter what (hence my violent hatred of liver…vile, foul stuff….I’d rather chew my shoe)

I’ve come to realize too, that part of being a good houseguest is showing appreciation. People (like me)  take time and energy to plan a menu, set a table, create an atmosphere, and seeing my guests enjoy my efforts with appreciation is the ultimate reward.

Fortunately I’ve never been made to feel undervalued by a guest….(guess I know how to pick my friends) and I hope I never do, so until such time, I will continue to open my heart and my home to good friends. And should the day dawn that I inadvertently host an ungrateful guest…..mmmmmm, I was going to say it’d be the only time, but no. I’d invite them back just once more…..for boiled sneaker, or worse….liver.

Where’d the water go?

For the past 20 years that we’ve lived in Atlantic Canada I’ve struggled to find a cottage rental that is on a fresh water lake. Growing up in Ontario, where there’s nothing but fresh water lakes, it’s a comfortable swimming hole for me (I love to frolic)  and I love salt water to swim in, don’t misunderstand me, but I also like a body of water that stays where I left it.

About 3 years ago I finally found a rental that I thought would suit. It was on the ocean, so salt water was a given, and that’s fine, but the pictures showed a beach that looked perfect. The photos even showed young families frolicking by the seashore, so I booked it.

My daughter and her 2 young children came up to stay and we wasted no time getting our beach adventure underway. The shoreline was across a narrow country road and through a field of tall grass but it was a short walk so we packed up our picnic and donned our inflatable toys and started through the grass. When we emerged onto the shoreline we were shocked to see the beach was gone. The lovely lapping shoreline was about 200 feet away and the ground in between was mud. Ahha,,,,,, so I didn’t factor in tides.

We walked along the muddy under-beach for a bit but as it was too wet to sit on our towels and too muddy to play we soon trudged back to the cottage. I found a sprinkler in the shed and we turned that on for the children to play in, and while they seemed no less content, I felt short changed (where’d the water go?) And how’d they get that picture in the advertisement, night cameras? Who frolics in mud?

I noticed a poster on the wall in one of the main living areas that listed tide levels and schedules and realized, only for the first time, it was going to require some strategizing to coordinate our ‘frolic’ time with nature. (I hate a holiday that’s work)

Interestingly I found over the next 2 weeks that tides really don’t care about frolic time – they do their own thing. And because the timing for our beach adventures had to work around nap times, we really didn’t see much ‘beach’, accept from a distance, so while we ended up having a wonderful vacation (it’s all about the people) it wasn’t the seaside holiday I had envisioned…..so my search continued. (and I had my work cut out for me) They don’t call Nova Scotia “Canada’s Ocean Playground’ for nothing, because despite the fact that there are fresh water lakes inland, they are largely uninhabited and those that are built up are carefully guarded.

It’s taken me the better part of 20 years to find a cottage rental that’s on a fresh water lake and I can hardly wait because this time I know when I go to the beach each day, it’ll be exactly where I left it, and that’s how it should be…..stupid tides.