Shabby Miss Jenn

Friday, October 03, 2014

Staying Afloat amongst Chaos

It's been approximately a week since I worked my last shift. 
The store has officially closed their doors and I've been working
 on adjusting my train of thought to being unemployed now.
 We mark things down onto the grocery list
 tacked to our fridge. I just tend to look closer at 
what really needs to be bought and what are more 
classed as "treats" to indulge in at a later date.
The alarm continues to go off at 6am.
I can lay in bed a wee bit longer with the cat curled up
 purring on my chest and not have to keep glancing
 at the numbers of the clock.
A rule has been implemented of
 no jammies all day.
Comfy pants happen AFTER a long day and
 it's time to unwind. Not before.
The closet space is scanned every morning for 
clothes that I can be productive in.
My days are still going to be
 jammed packed with busy.

I'm trying to remember to look for 
simple beauty each day.
Something to smile about.
Laughter needs to be heard and felt.
It's never been a good thing to allow myself to wrap
 myself in a heavy blanket of panic or worry.
Reminding myself daily, it's all worked out before
 when chaos has flooded around me.
I stayed afloat before and
 I shall this time round.

So I took my camera out between the grey drizzle moments
 we've been having and snapped 
some soul happiness......

With the turn of weather to much cooler (and damp), 
our firewood has begun to get stacked and piled in the
 basement. Knowing that I have a roof over my head
 and that we have enough wood to burn to keep
 us warm helps. There is something quite calming
 to be able to hear the snapping and
 crackling of the wood as it burns.

 The last of our sunflowers that we grew have been 
harvested and the seeds are drying. The amount of birds
 we feed here at the farmhouse is crazy and having grown
 these sunflowers is going to be wonderful. The differing sizes and
 colours of the flower heads was amazing to watch come to life.

 The simple joy around you when
 you just allow yourself to look.
Leaves changing colours.
 Small snail. 
Flowers blooming.

The differing cycles captured.

Large wooden crates filled with apples.
I let myself stand there for a moment after
taking the snapshot and just breath in deeply.
Transported me back to the smell of the back stairs
at my grandparents home where bags of apples
were stored for the season.

Nothing makes me smile like the
 burnt orange hues of pumpkins
 this time of the year

 As I walked down the street, I noticed something on the 
side of this building that I've never seen before.
A chalkboard.
When I pointed it out to my husband, he said to snap a photo
as we'd do such an idea on the side of the farmhouse.
I'm so excited!
I already can hardly wait to write
different quotes and messages.
Isn't this a wonderful touch?

Take the time to lay the worry and chaos aside.
That energy does nothing to help.
Open your eyes to the simple beauty around you.
Capture it.
even just in your mind


Thursday, August 14, 2014

25th HS Reunion

High School for many brings bubbling up from the past
 any number of mixed emotions.
When I allow myself to look back I can recall the jocks, 
the cool kids, the nerds and the mix of many who 
crossed into a few of those groups.
Different teachers and their classes 
stand out clear from the fog of memories.

My father was in the Canadian Armed Forces and
 we moved around a number of times in my youth.
One of those moves brought me
 to Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia.
It was Grade 8.
I walked into a school knowing no one else.
Friendships had been formed years ago for many
 of the other folks going to this school. 
It's a small community and they'd grown up together.
I was an outsider stepping into these circles.
It didn't always go smooth. A few stumbles along the way.
 A few lines drawn in the sand and no crossing it.
Friends were made.
Good solid amazing friendships.

I can look back thru time to my High school years 
and for the most part smile.
Silly moments are recalled. 
Laughter can erupt from me.
Gym class.
English class
Red and Grey Day.
Boy friends and heartaches
Girlfriends and sleep overs
Piercing and shaved heads
Acid wash jeans and Madonna

I was a part of this group from
 Grade 8 thru to Grade 11.
Then everything changed.

My father had finished his posting to Barrington and 
was being posted to his next place.
My family was moving to Summerside PEI.

I made plans to stay in Barrington so
 I could graduate with my friends.

My family said I was moving 
with them as a family.
Teen rebellion soared out of me
The next year was a rough year on everyone.

I can look back now with the eyes of an adult and see it 
was the best thing to have happened.
At the time, I could hardly 
breathe anything but rage.

I stayed in touch with many of the school friends.
Hand written letters.Grad photos exchanged 
with me wearing green and gold 
instead of red and grey.

Over time, the letters from some friends 
became few and far between.
Life has a tendency to do that.
Marriages. Children. Divorces. All the many twists and turns
 that life can drop at your feet.
Social media platforms came into play and like happens, 
you type in every name you can recall and see if they are part of it. 
Friend requests are sent out. 
You begin a new level of old friendships.
You are able to steal glimpses of family life thru the bits and
 pieces that are shared via status updates and photo albums.

In what seems like a blink of the eye, 
25 years has passed.
A High School reunion gets talked about and then
 a group of them gather to start making plans.
Excitement builds. 
Nerves start to fluster about in my belly.
A few stumbling blocks pop up but are quickly 
swept away by friends.
I'm included in this reunion with no qualms from anyone.
I am part of this group no matter what colors I wore that final night.

I meet an old friend in town so we can travel to the reunion together. 
It's the perfect way to scatter the last of the nervous butterflies as
 we'll talk about everything on the road trip there. 
She was using me for courage and an ice breaker.
It was perfect.
Laughter occurs. 
Tales of teachers and classmates.
 Who's doing what now. 
We play catch up on our lives in the 2 hour
 drive it takes us to get there.
We randomly check the updates and see friends
 decorating the space for tonight.

Kathy is sweet enough to drive the back way into Barrington and
 we reminisce about living along the sea shore. 
Who lived in which home along the way.
Pulling up to the parking lot, this is the first thing we see...
and a night to remember begins.

Friends start filtering into the pub and shared moments of hugs, giggles and
 exchanges of different information begins.
Some faces I knew instantly.
Others brought about giggles when we asked who was who.

 So many memories flood to the surface. 
I haven't laughed this much in a very long time.
Sharing photos taken from the night
..... some mine... some from others.

A series of photos that forever will fill my heart
with happiness and laughter when gazed upon.

Games of pool are played....
A few rounds of shots happen....

A night to remember always begins....

This photo of my friend Doug and I 
wraps the whole array of  feelings
from the evening up for me...
no amount of time

I am so very glad that I was able to attend and take part
in such a fun crazy night. The laughter still vibrates around my heart.
Those that planned this and made it happen....I thank you.
You all did an incredible job and should be proud.
Those that attended, I thank you as well.
You gave me incredible memories of continued friendships.
I loved seeing every one of you.
Those that weren't able to join us, you missed a magical night and were sorely missed.
Fingers crossed you all will be able to join us the next time around.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Another Romanian Connection Comes Full Circle

I've written about it before but in case you've missed reading it. 
I lived in Bucharest Romania for two years. 
My father was in the Canadian Military and had been posted
 to the Embassy there. It was like no other place we had ever lived before.
 I was lucky enough to be at an age to experience and remember
 many moments from then.
From the city landscape to the thatched roofs in the
 countryside villages we'd visit.
It was like nothing I'd ever seen before.

I went to the American School of Bucharest while I was there.
It was in a large home and children from about 20+ countries 
around the world went to school there.
I made wonderful friendships with many and have been blessed to 
reconnect with those friends again after so many years apart.

I always sort of kept a mental list of folks to look for again
 on social media sites.
Some were quite easy to find. 
Some actually found me first.
A few came back thru other friends. It's been fun.

One of the friends that was still on my list and
 yet to be found was Kelly.
Her parents were at the Canadian Embassy as well as mine.
She was a little younger then me but we had been
 friends and hung around together.
This photo from our yearbook shows Kelly dancing with 
another classmate at a school dance I don't recall.
I had searched her name and been coming up with no hits.

Being that I live in a rather rural area of Nova Scotia, I tend to 
take art courses that are offered online.
It's sort of my way of treating myself. I get to create art and 
chatter with like minded artists without having to leave my home.

A few years ago, I took an course called
 "Chickadee Road-The Studio Sessions"-by Kelly Barton and Liz Lamoreux. 
Part of this course included a private group
 to connect on Facebook.
As folks joined and posted, I caught the thumbnail photo
 of another classmate.

I knew those eyes.

Within the walls of this art course,
 I had just found Kelly.

It's been a few years now and we have managed to find ourselves 
in a number of the same art courses time and again. We have been building up our friendship with emails and shared laughter. We both love that yes, we have that initial Romanian connection
 that started the friendship; but our passion to create art,
 take photos of life around us; eat good food etc are all
 aspects we can use to build a stronger friendship now.

I'm totally in awe of her talent for knitting.
 It's something I can't do.
I love when she shares those photos.

Within the last few months of our chats and emails, we discovered
 she was going to be coming to Nova Scotia to visit family. 
( She lives in England)
 We quickly looked at work schedules for me and it was like
 the universe was smiling down on us.
 The time frame she was going 
to be here....I'm not working.

After 30 years...... Kelly and I are going
 to see each other again!!!!!

To say that I am excited about this would be an understatement ;)
We are hoping for good weather so that we can spend the day together
 having a picnic, taking photos of anything and
 everything we see together. We also have planned to exchange
 a piece of each others artwork.
I've sketched something out but not taken
 any photos of it yet.

She has teased me already about her piece
 to me by posting this photo to my Facebook wall

I'm positive you'll see a bunch more photos of when we finally see each other.
I can't stop smiling at the thought of it.