Friday, August 29, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I am back home from an amazing journey which I am sad to have to leave, but glad to be back in amongst my things and family.
I am looking forward to catching up on everyones blog! Until then, keep safe! ;)
Bret =)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

...Gone Fishing (so to speak)

I am on Vacation!

Yup, just like the sign says... Gone Fishing! Well, no, no fish will be harmed in the posting of this blog! I will be gone from Sunday August 24th, to the 29th. So no Posts until I return, unless somehow, somewhere I can grab an Internet Signal Wirelessly somewhere!

Can't wait until I get back online to read all the blog updates from everyone, and respond to a few e-mails I have in my inbox too ;)

Until then, Have a GREAT week everyone!!

Embracy the Journey,

Bret =)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday

Today is Sunday, and time for my Sacred Life post. This is actually my first post for the Sacred Life Series which was started in Zena Musings blog. Being my first post, I was trying to think of all the things in my life which are sacred. I had a basic understanding of what it meant to be "sacred" but I still wasn't 100% clear, so I started by doing a little research. Here is what I've learned.

Sacred. It is a very interesting concept. What do I hold as sacred? In some countries cows are sacred. In other countries water is sacred. Some peoples even hold the song of the land to be sacred. Sacred implies a value beyond measure. The dictionary says that a sacred thing is consecrated, devoted, set apart or dedicated to religious use, entitled to veneration or worship, something that is not to be violated or breached. It becomes more interesting if we compare this to the word sacrosanct, which describes something that is inviolable, protected by sacred or quasi-sacred rules, is something so valuable that it is, in effect, untouchable.

What is it that can produce this sense of value? Nothing concrete. Concrete things have concrete value. The most valuable of things are those things that are abstract, those things upon which a price cannot be realistically placed in an objective fashion (although the current consumer economy has led some people to try). Abstract things have a value that is equal to that which people are willing to pay for it. Van Gogh's paintings do not sell for six figure sums because that is the value of the materials, they sell for six figure sums because that is the money with which people have to part in order to ensure possession.

So what is the abstract thing upon which we can place no sum? What is there that we cannot buy? For that thing that is so valuable we term it sacred there is no sum, no concrete price that we can pay. These things are abstract qualities that cannot be manufactured, nor bought, nor produced by genetic modification. These are things that touch something within people in a way that is profound.

Sacred does not necessarily mean inviolate. Remember that there is a difference between sacred and sacrosanct. This, I think, is the major difference between non-experiential religions and the various forms of paganism.

What is sacred? Sacred is a connection with the universe. It is love, it is friends, it is family. It is all those things that cannot be bought - it is life itself. It is our expression of life, it is the price that cannot be paid by anything other than surrender of the spirit to the experience. If that price cannot or will not be paid, then a thing is not sacred, for sacred is, above all, a personal thing. It is experiential. One cannot hold a thing to be sacred unless one is at least drawn to make that surrender of the spirit.

My paintings are sacred to me. They have no price, they are an expression of my soul, they ground, centre and balance me, and get my creative juices flowing. Usually I paint for myself, I end up storing them in the basement afterwards, or stick them in the closet, sometimes I even throw them out. It's not because I think they are horrid looking (I never said I painted well - just that I painted haha), or because they don't have value for me, its just that the pigment on the brush, and the brush in my hands was more of a healing experience. I wish I could have an original idea and paint something fresh, and new, and gift it to someone who would in turn find it inspiring. Most of my idea's come from my photography. I paint alot of what I photograph, flowers, scenes, people. It doesn't feel original to me tho, even tho its my photograph it feels as if I am copying someone else's work. Sometimes I think I have an fresh idea, paint it, and then realize that I had saw something similar online, and I didn't create it, I just remembered it! hahaha I don't want to offend anyone with my idea stealing, copyright infringing eyes! LOL What I would really like to do is create a wonderful affirmation, created specifically for a friend and paint.

Enjoy and Embrace the Journey,

Friday, August 15, 2008

Baby Quilts

Thanks to a jolt of inspiration from my friend Amie, I decided to dust off my sewing machine (and sewing skills) and make a couple of baby blankets for my Niece.

Our journey started at Fabricland in Niagara Falls, where we purchased yards of fabric, batting, thread and ribbon. I'm not a seamstress, I haven't created too many things in the past, mainly just did hems, drapes, things that aren't overly creative, so this was a jump for me, especially since I haven't sewen in years.

This is what I started out with...

The Strawberry Shortcake blanket, was my first attempt, and never making a blanket before, I had to buy a silk blanket binding cover to hid my stitching! My second blanket tho, I had an idea, and a plan. I figured it would be easier to wrap my cover blanket under to meet up with the striped fabric and do a cool stitch there to blend the two fabrics, which worked SO much better!! I'm acutally thinking about cutting it apart, and redoing the stitching and binding so it looks more like the stripes blanket. Personally I hate the use of the silk binding!

Here are the end results...

I have a feeling that my sister will most likely be using the blue/green stripes more. She secretly hates pink hahaha. Well maybe not secretly... I think all baby girls should have a pink blanket, it saves us from those awkward moments when shes wearing her froggy sweater and people say, oh "he's" so cute! hahaha

Anywho, I am off to babysit now!

Later ;) Bret

Monday, August 11, 2008

... one year

It's been 4 seasons, 12 months, 365 days since I lost my mom to Cancer... One year... I don't understand where the time has gone. It seems as if I was sitting at this very kitchen table just yesterday when she passed. I feel the same; the pressure on my chest, the empty feeling in my stomach, it hasn't changed in a year. Life however certainly has. I've quickly realized that my mom was the "glue" in our family. She was the matriarch, the protector, the encourager and the life force that kept this house a home. It feels very much just a house now, the feeling of home left when she did, it's now just a place to rest a tired body, and feed a hungry mouth.

Last week my sisters and I cleaned out her bedroom. It was an emotional experience. We emptied shelves of medical supplies, cleaned up linens and dusted. The three of us stood in front of her closet door, feeling almost haunted by her possessions. We reached for the handle to the door, and all decided that we just couldn't do it. I don't know if we'll ever be able to clean out her closet.

We finished dinner. We cooked some of her favourite foods, pork chops in a mushroom sauce on a bed of rice, cheesy macaroni, Cesar salad and bread pudding. We didn't discuss anything during, just enjoyed the food. We were going to have a bonfire tonight, out at my moms old fire pit, then head back to my sisters to watch the meteor shower from the pool over top of the lake, but it seems that the weather has a different set of plans for us.

I feel as if I'm dreaming. Things feel 'surreal' today. Am I really here? Is this really the turn of events of life for the past year? I have a hard time really accepting and understanding that my mom is gone, some days I even pick up the phone and start to call her. Some days I sit at the kitchen table and watch TV, keeping an ear open, listening to her quietly call my name in distress. No one answers the phone tho, and she doesn't call out to me any longer. Reality is cruel. I am told this is normal, natural, and a part of the progression of life. I should start to accept it. I have no other choice...

I keep plugging on, day after day, doing things to emotionally get me by. I keep my hands busy. Blogging, crocheting, weeding, cleaning and cooking. It helps to take my mind off things for a while. I know she is still here and with us, even if its hard to feel her presence some days.

I try to be strong and not to cry for her anymore, I know it must make her feel terribly sad and guilty that she had to leave us. I don't stand at her grave and weep, I know she isn't there. I know that she is everywhere I go. I'll see her on one of the shooting stars tonight during the meteor shower. I'll feel her spirit in the warm fall winds as they grace my skin as I'm working in her gardens. I'll see her smile whenever the baby Ksenia's face lights up with laughter when we walk in the room. When I'm in trouble I'll close my eyes and listen for her small voice. I have so many questions to ask her, so many areas of my life that I need her guidance for.

So again, as I sit here with my glass of wine, I will raise it to my mom and yours, weather they are near or far, with you or passed on, don't wait to tell them how much you love them. That motto applies for everyone, friends, family and partners. Tell them how you feel today, you may not have a tomorrow...

I miss you mom, I know you were called away on another journey, but one day our paths will meet again. Until then, I will continue to do my best to make you proud and carry on your traditions and memories. I love you mom, always.

Love Bret

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Garage Sale Success!

Saturday morning, bright and early at 7am, with newspaper in hand, my younger sister Leslie and I set out for a morning of Garage Sales. We usually look in the Fort Erie, Crystal Beach, Ridgeway area, they seem to have alot there. Some weeks we travel up to Burlington to tag along with my Aunt Jean, she is the master, and we have learned much from her especially in the area of price negotiation! lol

We stopped at a few sales, and didn't find anything. To be honest, they were kinda junky, the last thing I need is a flowered sweater (despite what I wrote in my last post). On about our 4th stop we hit a jackpot of baby clothes and toys. Lately our Garage Sale focus has shifted from purchasing for ourselves, to spoiling our little Niece Ksenia. We got a bunch of cute outfits, everything from Gap Kids, Disney, Carters and such... We got about 12 outfits for 5$. Pretty good deal especially since the Carters Dress and bloomers would have cost 35$ in the store! I also found her a big stuffed Tigger, bigger than her! She is in love with Tigger. She even has the Tigger Jumper (because Tiggers like Jumping BEST!). We also got her a Leap Frog Pretend and Learn Shopping Cart. Now she can use it to help her learn to walk, but eventually she and pretend shop, and even scan items. It helps her learn how to count! ;)

Now, it wasn't all just about the baby, I did find a couple things for myself. What I was really excited about was all the metaphysical books I found. Its very rare to find a collection like this at a garage sale, and I dug threw boxes for 20 mins (which is not something I usually do). Here is a quick list of the books I got, feel free to borrow a copy!!
Inner Simplicity (St. James)
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Relationships (Ferrini)
The Secret Garden (Burnett)
Crystal, Hem and Metal Magic (Cuningham)
Feng Shui Cards and Book (Craze)
Meditations for Awakening (Moen)
The Inner Lover (Harms)
Dream Dictionary (Robinson and Gorbett)
Awakening Intuition (Schulz)
Chicken Soup for the Singles Soul (Various)
Why Me, Why This, Why Now (Norwood)
Yoga for Today (Pattinson)
Feng Shui for Life (Sandifer)
Quest (Linn)
Psychic Development for Beginners (Hewitt)
Zen Action, Zen Person (Kasulis)
The End of the Days (Bloomfield)
AND incase you are wondering, I got each book for 25 cents!
So, quite a lot of interesting books. Will keep me busy on these RAINY days, which I am getting very sick of... I hate being indoors some days, but its always good to curl up and relax.
Any who, I am going to go, have a shower and get ready for Amie too call, we are going to sit down tonight and do a little sewing! Check out her blog, and her latest creations!!

Embrace the Journey ;)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

...slowly turning into my Grandmother

So.... I realized today that I have finally turned into my Grandmother....

It's not as if it's come as real shocker, after all, the woman did practically co-raise me! It finally hit when driving back from dinner with my friend Amie and her family. I was sitting in the middle of the van, scratching my chest (okay my right boob). It was itchy, and for some reason felt like a different texture than the rest of my shirt... I reached into my shirt, threw my collar, and pulled out a Bounce Fresh Anti Static Dryer Sheet. I turned to Amie and said "what the hell is this, oh my god, I am officially my grandmother", to which we both started to laugh hysterically!

We both knew it was coming, the day when I finally admit that yes, I am a 82 year old woman, who refuses to wear a bra.

My Grandmother would pull all sorts of things out of her shirt (and yes bra). Kleenex, hand wipes, cash, dryer sheets, and my all time favourite: a pair of nylon stalkings, because you never know when you need to go from casual to formal.

I had always been close to my grandmother, right up until she passed away a year ago. We lost her to Alzheimer's disease, which ties with cancer for the saddest disease. Slowly she started to forget things, where she had left her purse, phone numbers, names and dates. I would go over and cook for her, but one afternoon she had beat me too it. She was making herself hot dogs. The only problem was, she was boiling them, in the tea kettle, in the microwave. I knew then for her own safety it was time to look into a centre where they could better care for her. I always used to look down at families who put their loved ones into "homes", but after getting her settled in, and meeting many of her old girlfriends from the neighbourhood I realized it would be the best place for her. She made friends, tended the garden, and had movie nights. Eventually she began to forget more and more, people, family, friends, and one day she forgot me too. From then on I was the kind young fellow who would come to help feed her, and take her for ice cream.

When I was about 12 she taught me how to crochet. She would made the most amazing afghans and blankets for us. For a long time the knowledge sat dormant in my mind, until my niece was born and I realized she'd be the only one who didn't get a blanket. Unfortunately, I had lost my Grams by then, and now had to remember the complex patterns and stitches by myself. I started my journey at Wallmart, bought some new crochet hooks, and pretty pink yarn. I returned home and worked for hours making chains, attempting granny squares, trying to stitch rows of yarn with no luck. I put the hooks and wool down and went to bed, frustrated and upset.

I awoke in the morning after having the most amazing dream about my mom. She came and told me to go back home, and to look in the drawer beside the refrigerator, and I would find some help there... So I went back to my parents, looked in the drawer, and found one of my grandmothers old crochet hooks that my mom had borrowed years before. I picked up the hook and felt as if i pulled the sword from the stone. That night when I went back to my home, I sat down with my new old hook, my yarn and begun to crochet again. It was hard to understand at first what happened, but it was as if that hook had the memory of a million crochet stitches, and now they were surging threw my veins. I finished the baby's first blanket in a matter of a few days, and several after that. I feel now that the memory of my grams will live on now. The blankets were so important to us growing up, I am thankful I could pass that on to the next generation.

Many of my traditions originate from my grandmother. Tea before bed, family Christmas', shopping for hours, rose gardens and a fierce right hook. I miss the days when I could curl up in her lap in front of the television and watch old Shirley Temple movies. It makes me sad that my Niece wont experience all the love that only a Grandmother could offer. I hope that my sister and I are good substitutes and we can fill that void that my mom left.
Anywho, I am off to bed now.
Embrace the Journey,

Monday, August 4, 2008

weekends, updates and life

So life has been slowly returning to normal. I ordered a new LCD screen from e-bay for my laptop, paid $188 for it (which included overnight delivery from Texas), alot cheaper than the almost $600 that Futureshop quoted me!

Thanks to some amazing advice from my friends in the Magickal community (big thanks to Sacred Suzie for the feverfew tip) I've been accident clean and sober now for a week. I feel like I've been trying to kick some addiction or something. Like I'm addicted to chaos in my personal life, and need to destroy my things to get a high! (Destroy, not on purpose, something in my subconscious...)

As for my apartment, it's slowly being repaired. I checked in on it last week, and they were laying the new wood flooring. There is still ALOT of work that needs to be done, and I don't expect to return until September 1st. I'm wondering if I will be returning there, or if another opportunity will show its self to me.

I realized this weekend that Summer is nearly over, and is it just me, or is it starting to get darker sooner? My long weekend was amazing tho. I spent most of the weekend with my Sisters. We had a big rib fest at my younger sisters on Sunday night (not that I eat red meat...) we had a huge bonfire too. My brother in law is a landscaper, and just finished an amazing outdoor fire place created entirely of stone. Huge stone walls to sit on, flagstone floors, built into the side of a hill. It was beautiful, we call it "Fredhenge" LOL We also spend alot of time at my other sisters, just down the road at her new home on the lake, complete with 3 bedroom guest house, in ground pool, sandy beach and warm lake waters! We jacked the pool heater up, and tonight the water reached 92 degrees. It was amazing to float in the soft light, warm waters and watch the shooting stars fall from the sky. I was sitting on the edge of the pool earlier today, just kicking and splashing my feet in the water with my 9 month old Niece Ksenia, when I noticed a dramatic heat change on my leg... Yup, she pee'd on me, THEN she laughed at me! That quickly prompted another swim! ;) It was a very rejuvenating weekend!

I am looking forward to life returning to normal. Especially my emotional life. I have felt so insecure, and incomplete lately. I think its been because I'm "single". Not that I need a man to complete my life, but it just makes the honey a little bit sweeter! ;) I have no problem watching a movie on my own, but its nice to curl up on the couch with your guy and snuggle during a horror flick. There is someone out there that I care for alot, someone I have feelings for, but there is a little distance keeping us apart. Distance makes me insecure, actually to admit, I've been sad lately.. August is a bad time for the family...

For the past month that I've been living with my dad I haven't done any yoga or meditation at all. This just isn't the space in which to focus, balance and restore my soul. I feel almost "unglued". I do recognize that things need to shift, and I need to create my sacred space here so I can meditate and sort out all these thoughts in my head. I might do a bit of meditation on the beach tomorrow, hopefully the waves take me away! I need to start taking control of my life in the space its in. Using the elements and my talents to work for me, rather than against me.

So I plan on waking up in the morning, refreshed, recharged and ready to tackle my little world ;) On that note, I am off to bed, I am starting to nod off at the computer!

Embrace the Journey...
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