The Salt

I love old things, and older people for that matter.  I thoroughly enjoy listening to the stories that my elders tell of times gone by and their experiences. I love their wrinkled faces that give physical evidence of the life they have lived.  My favourite is eyes all crinkled from laughter, smiles and sunshine.  I also enjoy the stories that antique items tell in their own rusty and timeworn way.  I have a slight addiction to antique fire extinguishers for some reason and also to old cars.  The picture above is me and my little shadow Georgia (if great danes can be called little) at 7 in the morning after we unloaded my 31 Model A from the trailer that delivered it late at night.  I think I threw a hoody on over my pyjamas and ran outside to look at it and placed my hands on it.  I put my hands on a lot of things to feel the energy of them and in some ways I think that the items become a part of me, as if I can absorb their history through my hands. If that truck could talk!

The Model A arrived not too long after we returned from our trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats for the land speed races.  I had never been to the salt flats before and had no idea what to expect.  The salt flats are a short drive from the lights, sounds, and throngs of people at the casinos in Nevada to a  white covered world that reminded me of the moon.  There are no animals, plants or insects on the salt, at least none that you can see. It is barren and beautiful and if you ever get the chance to visit during the summer I highly recommend it.  In the winter the salt is covered in water and looks like a large lake. In the summer it transforms into a white wonderland that draws racers from all over the world hoping to break land speed records.  This area is so flat that you can sometimes see the curvature of the earth as you look across the salt to the distant mountains.

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Donna at the starting line with one of the race cars
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Panorama shot of the Bonneville Salt Flats

There is something about this place that seems to become part of your blood and the people who frequent the salt call it salt fever.  I am not normally an overly emotional person, but the day we said our goodbyes to the people we met and the place itself I cried like a baby.  I did not want to leave.  For anyone who has been there they know that my words only scratch the surface of what goes on here. There is a bonding that happens with the salt and the people.  Everyone is friendly and helpful and there does not seem to be much of that us and them attitude that is part of most car gatherings and races.  People are just as excited to see the rusty old cars that don’t look like they could run let alone be driven hundreds, if not thousands, of miles as they are to see the race cars that people have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into for the chance to race.  There were speed records broken, dreams dashed, friends made and old friends reunited in a place that calls you back time and time again.

My guy has been going there for years as a race spectator.  Some years he drives from Vancouver Island to Wendover, Utah only to discover that the races have been cancelled because the conditions on the salt are not suitable.  One year it was still covered in water and on another year it was just a big mud pit. I am so thankful that the conditions were perfect for my introduction to the Salt Flats. In 2017 we will be there again but this time my guy Shawn will be behind the wheel of his own 1955 Studebaker racing across the salt in search of the speed record in his class.  I will have my ear on the radio so I can hear his speed called out for the mile markers over the noise of the engines at the start line.  I can’t be in the race car with him as he flies across the salt but my heart will be.  I have a feeling that the salt from my happy tears will hit the ground and i will also become part of that place forever.

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Love you all

Donna

 

 

 

 

The Same but Different

It is 5 am and the coffee is brewing. My slightly soiled chair is in the garage, so I now sit on a big comfy sofa to write, but my sunny yellow mug is still a part of my life. The only noises are the occasional car driving down the highway and the gentle snoring of a great dane named Georgia who has become my shadow and follows me everywhere in my new home. It is hard to move into someone’s home and find your place. This is not to say that the man I am living with has made this difficult, he has done everything to make me feel at home. My things are mixed in with his things and there are pieces of me and my life in every room. There is a blending that happens and it takes me a little while to settle down and feel comfortable. It is not the place that makes it a home, it is the people and our shared experiences. In my case home is definitely where the heart is and my heart has never been tied to a place or the things in it, my heart is connected to the people.

I have been talking to my older sister more than usual and am enjoying this new relationship we are developing. The picture at the top of the page is of me and my sister Marg taken last June at Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia. My sister has one of the best laughs, you know the kind that makes you smile or laugh just hearing it. Well, my sister is in the process of writing a book and I get to be a small part of it which is very exciting. We are having conversations now that were not possible before to some extent because our lives were so different. This is no indication of how we feel about each other, I love my sister dearly and she has been more like a second mother to me for most of my life. We are having conversations about things we would never have discussed 5 years ago. I am excited to get to know my sister on a different level.  I have a number of people in my life that I can have conversations with about life and the things that matter and then there are others where the conversation is kept light and just skims the surface of what really matters. This does not make one type of conversation good or bad, I think we need both.

I have been having a difficult time finding my way. I suppose I should give myself a break considering the huge changes that have taken place in my life in the last year and a bit.  The new man in my life, his name is Shawn, was a friend of Howard’s that I had  met once very briefly before Howard passed away.  One of the things that drew me to Shawn was how big his heart is.  He has a lot of room in that heart for a lot of people and that included Howard.  Now it includes me.  Howard’s sculptures have become part of the landscape here and his artwork is also hanging on the walls, sitting on the deck or a shelf.  Shawn’s heart is so big that he is able to include the people that I have loved and still love into it.  So, while Shawn and I are building a life together we both get to include the people and other important things from our past into it.  My heart has a lot of room also.  I will tell you more about all of that in a blog piece that I have called The Tale of Two Ravens.  I have started working on it but the time is just not right to tell that story.

The only reason I am writing this morning is to try and incorporate my writing into my new and busy life.  I have missed sitting in my chair connecting with all of you. The last year has been filled with new experiences, new people and new ways of viewing the world.  I think it just takes me a while to be able to process it all and write about it.  Sometimes I just don’t have the words to express myself.  Someone asked me yesterday to smell a healing spray they had made and give them my opinion.  It was the strangest thing, I almost could not describe the smell.  It just brought up so many feeling that words almost escaped me.  I couldn’t say, oh that smells like roses or some other distinct thing.  It smelled fresh and ancient at the same time, it was almost as if she had captured everything the entire world has ever experienced in a bottle.  Weird huh?  I think she has a gift.

Well, I hope you all have a wonder filled day and don’t forget to make your heart big and greet the world from that place.  Live with your heart wide open, it is worth it.

 

Hug everyone, Peace to all

Donna

Comfort Zones and Risks

I have not written a blog post in a long time.  I do have things to say and things I want to share, but putting them on paper seems to overwhelm me and I end up getting frustrated.  In those moments the delete button is my friend.  I have been having some wonderful conversations with my older sister lately and the one we had yesterday resulted in me dusting off my violin and attempting to play a few of my favourite tunes.  One thing that my sister and I share, other than DNA, is music.  Music has played a large role in both of our lives.  I don’t hear it, I feel it.  Most of the time I listen to blues but also like everything from the Gregorian Monks chanting to some of the newer rap and chart topping tunes.  I love music and there is always a song that speaks to whatever I am going through in my life.

When I spoke to my sister this morning, we had recently shared some poetry with each other, she asked if my creativity was a result of emotional pain.  She had asked a great question and it got me thinking. When I started this blog I had just gone through the cancer diagnosis and death of the man I loved. There was a lot of anger in me and part of me thought that the universe had taken the wrong person.  He had so much that he wanted to do and his art career was just beginning to take off.  His life seemed so much more than mine that I thought they should have taken me and I even offered to change places with him. Since that time my life has changed so much that sometimes I don’t even recognize myself.  I mean I am still me of course, but there are events in life that have changed me in such a significant way that I don’t remember what life was like before, or what I was like before.  Because the universe has such a great sense of humour it constantly puts people in my life that mirror the old me.

I know I am rambling a bit and am not even sure what the point of this blog is today other than to get me writing again.  Does it really matter what the point is?  It all matters and at the same time nothing matters.  I guess taking a trip down memory lane with my sister has reminded me of a few things.  Once you understand certain truths and gain knowledge you have a responsibility.  Knowledge brings power and you get to decide how you are going to use it.  Ultimately you are only responsible for your own actions and reactions to others.  Sometimes I have noticed that the words that come out of my mouth and what others hear are two different things.  The words are filtered through their experiences and fears, and they hear what I say in a way that reaffirms those fears for them.  Strange isn’t it?  So what do you do in those instances?  I try to reword things in a way that allows them to see beyond their fears, but in all honesty I get tired of it quickly.  Saying the same thing in twenty different ways looses its appeal quickly. Because I understand a few things that other people  may not, I have a responsibility to treat them with kindness and compassion and all I can do is share my experience with them.  How they interpret it is not my responsibility.

I have learned a lot in the last year.  I have constantly been challenged to operate out of my comfort zone.   Sometimes I have participated willingly and other times needed to be dragged out of that comfy place.  I am forever in debt to the people who were patient enough to help coax me out of that place of comfort with kindness and compassion.  If I am constantly in that comfort zone and experiencing life from that perspective I am missing out on some wonderful opportunities and experiences.  I never would have met the wonderful man who brings so much joy, laughter and love to my life.  There are so many people and experiences I would have missed and let me say that each person and experience has helped shape the person I am becoming.  I guess what it all boils down to is that life is short, shorter for some than others, so take a walk outside your comfort zone and see what the world has to offer.  The only thing that creates that zone is fear.  Find out what those fears are and face them head on.  My way of doing this is asking myself what is the worst thing that could happen.  Nine times out of ten it is worth the risk.  So are you going to hide from life because ten percent of the time things don’t work out so well? Be honest with yourself and others, treat yourself and others with kindness and compassion.  Notice that I put you first!

Love and peace to all of you
Donna
aka Miss Daisy

A Year of Grace

Apparently it can take more than one year to figure out who you are after your life is torn apart!  I didn’t realize how much of my identity was derived from my business and my relationship.  Once those things were gone, there I was standing naked, feeling exposed and alone, wondering what the hell I was going to do.  I have moved on with my life in a number of ways and most of the time it was trial and error and the best things were happy accidents.  This is the first time in my life I am not working, since the age of 15, and I also didn’t realize how much my self worth was tied into my job and being productive.  It has been one hell of a year with lots of ups and downs but the ups are winning.

I have done things in the last year I never thought I would do.  I tried online dating without much success.  How the heck do you write a profile?  The best and most honest one I could come up with went something like this:  I don’t dye my hair, I don’t wear make up, I own 6 pairs of black boots and I have all my own teeth.  There were few who were intrigued by this!  I finally gave up on the dating thing and asked someone I knew a bit if they were interested in being my friend with benefits, even though I wasn’t really sure what that meant.  Well, this friend with benefits thing turned into much more than I was expecting.  He helped me find the joy in life again and continuously makes me laugh.  He is a very private person so he may not like me writing about this.  Oops, too late.  I guess I just want you all to know that when you least expect it, someone or something is going to come along and help you find the joy in life again.  I also started this blog in the last year after a spiritual awakening of sorts and gained so much from not only the writing of it but hearing what other people had to say about it.  Some comments were surprising and made me see that I was constantly downplaying who I was and what I contributed to the world just by being myself.

Each of us has something to contribute.  You don’t have to move mountains or earn six figures to have value to this world. Sometimes a kind word or a smile can change the course of someones day or life for that matter.  I recently ran into my former husband who I have not been married to since 1998.  I was a little uncomfortable at first but we had a few chats and it was like having coffee with an old friend.  I also had lunch with his parents a few days ago while they were in town and it was a joy to see them again.  I forgot how much I adored them and realized that when we got divorced I essentially divorced a lot of people in my life.  The pain of that period of my life is long dealt with and gone, there is nothing left but love for all of them.  One thing my former husband said in a text message really made me stop and think.  He said, “Maybe you just bring out the best in everyone.”  Perhaps I do, though my first thought upon reading those words was I am not that special.

If you have the ability to approach people and love them unconditionally that is special. If you can let them be them without judgement that is a wonderful gift, not only to them but yourself.  Don’t try to change people, love them for who they are and just by doing that you give them the space they need to grow and change because they want to, not because you think they should.  Don’t restrict other people or your love for them because of your own definition of right or wrong, good or bad.  Open your heart and the world opens its heart right back.  Besides, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?  I love being wrong.

So, I would some up the last year as a year of grace.  There is a gracefulness to awkwardly finding your way.  There is grace in the tears of grief as well as tears of joy.  I am one of those people who cry when I am happy!  There is grace in this world, it is all around you and you can see it if you look for it.  You know what they say, you get what you expect.  So expect grace, expect kindness, expect love, just expect great and wonderful things to happen all around you.

 

Be kind to yourself.
Hug everyone like you mean it!

Donna
aka Miss Daisy

Ancestral Influence

Got a phone call this morning at 5 am. My first thought was something is wrong. Turns out one of my cousins back east called my cell phone by accident. So we had a brief conversation and I sent him a text to make him laugh. Started my day with unfounded worry and a smile. I was worried because I have a nephew who is ill and going for surgery in a few days. This got me thinking about the wonder of our DNA and genetics. I know, how does an accidental phone call lead to a post on genetics.

Our family has a genetic condition called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome, which may or may not predispose you to a number of different cancers the main one being colon cancer. Four members of my immediate family have had colon cancer so it looks like the odds are not in our favour. So that is the downside to genetics. I have regular screening for two types of cancer and after testing have found that I do not carry the gene that causes this. Other members of my family have not been so lucky. The gene has been passed down through our maternal line of ancestors. I on the other hand take after my father’s side of the family. I am the spitting image of my father and my grandmother. So this stuff makes me think about what else we inherit from our long line of ancestors.

What is it that makes us who we are? Do we inherit personality traits as well? I would say yes to this. I have a cousin who is about 16 years older than me and when he was here for a visit a few years ago we discovered that we have some of the same quirks. I am constantly losing my coffee or tea mug and never close a drawer fully. His wife started laughing because he does the exact same thing. Family trait or coincidence, we may never know. I thought it was hilarious and we still talk about it nine years later. As far as learned traits go I would say I am a mixture of both parents. I grew up being influenced by them and was taught to see the world through two very different sets of eyes and life experiences. They helped shape the person I am today. I on the other hand am wholly responsible for who I am today and like to think that I have refined and expanded the world view they had. So are we simply the sum of our experiences? You can have two people experience the same upbringing in the same household and they move through the world in completely different ways. I look at my own brother and sisters and marvel at how we are so alike in some ways and so different in others. I also marvel at how each of has a unique memory of the same event from our past.

I have never felt like I fit into my family. I used to wonder if I was adopted but looked too much like my Dad for that to be the case. When I danced down the wonderful path of discovering my ancestors during my genealogical research I discovered some interesting things. My love for fiddle music, my writing, my ability to sketch, and having a head for numbers, are all things that one of my ancestors excelled at. I am a great mishmash of everyone who has contributed to my DNA. Magical isn’t it?

I also believe that my cells and DNA have their own memories of all the things that my ancestors both close and distant experienced. Even my intuitive abilities are inherited and handed down through my family line. Sometimes these things seem to have skipped a generation or two but if I look closely enough they are there in all of us. So I have chosen to hone my writing skills and my intuitive abilities, others in the family have chosen a different path. My Grandmother whom I have never met, she passed away when my mother was a baby, comes to visit in spirit and she usually shows up when I am writing or doing some piece of creative work.   Does she have this connection to me because I am pursuing things that she loved? I like to think so. She spends a lot of time looking over my left shoulder when I type. She is nodding her head right now and says that I am doing things that she wanted to do but never got the chance to. So I guess in some way the grandmother I have never met in person has influenced me and continues to do so with her presence in spirit. She also tells me that my intuitive abilities come from her line as well as my father’s side of the family. A double whammy! So the predisposition for colon cancer, as well as artistic and intuitive abilities are handed down from generation to generation.  Nothing is ever all good or all bad. The truth of it all is somewhere in the middle. So I choose to walk in the middle of the path, the view is much better from here.

Peace and love to all
Donna

 

Love and Shit

Yesterday was the first day of summer and I am back home on Vancouver Island. The sun was shining and my guy picked me up at the airport on Sunday with a huge smile on his face and big hug that lifted me off my feet. No one has ever picked me up at the airport with so much joy and it made me melt a little, it made me feel loved. Today, Tuesday, finds me awake at 4:30am suffering from a bit of jet lag as my internal clock tries to sort out the time change. So, I sit here on a comfortable sofa wrapped in a purple blanket waiting for the coffee to perk in the French press and feeling the need to write. You would think that someone who writes so much would have a way with words when talking to people, this is not the case for me. I stumble as I try to speak from my heart and I can be as awkward as a newborn colt when it comes to expressing my feelings. I worry about things and I worry a lot. Sarcasm and joking around are easy for me, serious discussions not so much. I don’t like being vulnerable.
One of the reasons I don’t like letting people know how important they or something else is to me stems from how people have used those things against me in the past. I have also come to the conclusion that I cannot let the past, regardless of how it turned out, write my future. You cannot approach life or people the same way time and time again expecting different results. I realize that everything I say on this blog has been said by countless others. The truth of these statements, as old and worn as they are, has withstood the test of time and then sometimes regardless of the truth of things, the heart of things, shit happens. Shit you were not expecting. I also want to point out that shit helps things grow. So it doesn’t matter whether your glass is half full or half empty the truth is, it is still half a glass. Your viewpoint of the truth is the important thing.

I know that I can ramble on sometimes, but this is the way my mind works. One thought leads to another and the point comes out at the end, if there is a point. I don’t know what the point of this blog is. I know it has helped me tremendously in dealing with my grief and growth. I hope it has made a small difference for someone else even if it is only that they realize that someone has had the same thoughts or fears and they don’t feel so alone in this vast world of disconnectedness. We have vast amount of information at our fingertips but we are all lost in that sea of data looking at a small screen and not noticing the people or events taking place right in front of us. We excel at being disconnected when the only important thing is our connections with others. But, in order to connect you have to open up, let people in and work through the difficulties together.

When I started this relationship with the wonderful man who picked me up at the airport, I wanted someone to do things with. I was essentially looking for a friend with benefits. I did not think any further than that. I have written blog posts about what I want in a relationship and this man is quite aware of my aversion to marriage or living with someone and all the other things that I have written about. He has read my blog and he has listened to me when we have a conversation. He and I are similar in some respects. We both have a weakness for antiques and rusty old cars, sushi, reading, music, coffee chocolate etc etc. We are also very different in the way we view the world and move through it and there is nothing wrong with that. We have much to learn from each other and are inadvertently helping each other refine our perspective and grow. What I was not expecting was this relationship becoming so much more than I had originally intended. I am not going to throw the love word out there simply because I think it is misused and misunderstood. That word holds great meaning for me and I do not use it lightly. Anyone can say the word, few actually mean it in its purest sense.  This man has helped me fall in love with life again and I cannot imagine my world without him in it. I am grateful that he is part of my life and hope he feels the same way.

One of the professors in an English lit class ,yes this was years ago but I have never forgotten it, asked us who had the most to lose in a relationship. I could not come up with an answer. His answer was the person who loves the most. I disagreed with that then and I still disagree with it now. How can you love too much unless the meaning of the word is twisted and warped in your heart. To me the word love is about acceptance, truth, it has a softness and warmth to it. Just looked the word up on line and in my opinion none of the definitions come close to explaining love. Some describe it as a feeling of deep affection, a strong attraction to another person that may include a sexual attraction. I think they, in their definition, have only scratched the surface and in trying to define it have reduced it and taken something away. For me love is never grasping or confining it is about letting go. Letting go of your expectations, letting go of the need to be right and letting go of the person if that is what is needed. When you let go love has some room to enter your heart. When you let go there is space for another person in your heart. So let go, open your heart and watch the magic happen.
Hope you all have a wonder filled day

Plant some flowers for the bees, they need our help and 

our very lives depend on them

Donna

Memories and Appearances

It is strange to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in twenty years. They remember who you were, but don’t know who you are now. They are in a sense strangers to me, though we are connected by blood and history. Now we get to make new memories with and of each other. Some of us have kept in touch over the years but there is nothing like hugging them in person and looking into their eyes when we chat. We are all a combination of our experiences and life’s ups and downs. We are shaped by them and they are visible in our physical bodies as well.
I got to visit Peggy’s Cove yesterday. It was and still is one of my favourite spots. The lighthouse on that rocky point warning mariners of the dangers along the shore stands tall and strong against the power of the wind and water. The rocks there are amazing and treacherous with huge waves that have swept many unsuspecting people out to sea. Yesterday, it was windy, rainy and cold and we spent more time in the restaurant gazing out the window than we did exploring the rocks. I ordered seafood chowder and a piece of their famous gingerbread with lemon sauce. It tasted as wonderful as I remembered. Here is a picture of me and my older sister Marg huddled against the side of the lighthouse.


My sister is thirteen years older than I am and she has been more like a second mother to me over the years. I was the flower girl at her wedding and have had the man she married in my life since I was two years old. My brother-in-law, Brad, used to take me out trick or treating and they took me on summer vacations with them. I tease them and tell them I was their practice child. I am blessed to have them in my life. They tease me, annoy me and love me. On this trip I got to meet some of their grandchildren that have all been born or become part of their lives since my last visit in 2009. I do not have any children of my own but I spent many many hours with my niece and nephews when they were young and I miss having children to play and let loose with.  
This is also my first trip east that did not involve the funeral of a loved one and I am determined to have more fun trips home. I am determined to have more fun! Somewhere along the line I turned into this serious person who did not have time to play. I think I shall spend the next few years reconnecting with the playful side of myself. So if you see a lady with long grey streaked hair and a big smile on her face acting foolish join her! There is still lots of play and laughter left in this tiny body I inhabit.
I am spending the day with one of my cousins. We are going to visit a friend’s farm in the valley then out for supper. I was never close to this cousin because of our age difference but when we met again last week there was an instant connection and recognition of souls. He is a big tough looking man with a heart of gold. He could even scare you if you did not know him but he has a wonderful sense of humour and a soft spot for children and animals. So do not judge people based on their appearance. Take me for instance, I look all tiny and fun but get me angry or be mean to someone and I am a force to be reckoned with and will stand up to anyone regardless of size and demeanour. So behind the tattoos, rough clothing or doo-rags there are some beautiful people, don’t miss out! I am often wearing jeans, biker boots and a Rolling Stones t-shirt, have my nose pierced and am getting my first tattoo. Yes I know, I am still not intimidating because of my size but people still judge me based on my clothing choices and appearance. Accept people for who they are, not who you think they should be. It makes life stress free.
This trip has been good for my soul. I plan to do more things that are good for my soul! At this point in my life if I cannot have fun doing it, it is not happening. In reality you can make anything fun, it is a choice. I dislike doing housework so I turn on the tunes and sing and dance my way through my chores so even cleaning the bathroom can be fun. So, go out and have some fun today. I know I will. Well it is sunny out there today and I am off to the farm. Have a fun filled day and spread some joy and laughter with the world.
Love to all

Donna