Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tearing down walls...

I really don't like being away from my blog and all of you for so long! As many of you know my laptop crashed and my access to the internet has been limited these past few months. As my cash is better spent on car repairs and such I haven't had the funds to replace my worn out laptop as of yet. I'm hoping to be back and running in the next month or two. I have to admit, although I've really missed my blogging friends (even tho I've been lurking when I get the chance) I've really enjoyed not being stuck on the couch in front of my TV and laptop especially since life has been so busy these past couple of months.

I've started a new job, I was working for Apple Computers, doing technical support for the iTunes application and iTunes accounts, and now I am back working in kind of an electrical/industrial atmosphere. I am working in the warehouse of one of my old electrical suppliers, its quite the change from my cushy purchasing job but I was really excited for the opportunity since it payed a bit better than Apple and has many more areas that I can climb the ladder there. I'm even getting use again to wearing steal toed safety boots, my feet ached for the first 2 weeks, and still kinda do. I have to start being cautious as to what I ask of the universe, I really wanted a more physically demanding job, but this has taken some time to get use too!

So life has been good, and I've been smiling again, its been a while...

It's 4:30 am now, and the end of a long day - think we are going to head to bed ;)

We're going to carve up some pumpkins tomorrow night and roast up the seeds, hopefully I can procure a camera and get some funny pics! (Another thing I need to get - a new camera - I feel naked with out it. Ya scary thought, I know...)

Anywho, hope you all have been well.
I've sincerely missed regularly following your blogs even tho I have gotten the chance to pop in a visit a few times. I'll be back up and running soon I hope!


Embrace the Journey,
Bret =)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

...life

It's been a particularly rough "Mercury in Retrograde" for me. More and more things have gone wrong with my car, my cell phone quit working, my laptop is toast, and I have this general sense of coming unglued at the seams... I keep looking forward, leaving the small obstacles I encounter in the past where they belong, but its difficult to keep my head up. Increasingly more difficult everyday.

I sometimes forget how precious and delicate life is, things I should be grateful for seem to get drown out by the bitter betrayals of life and easily forgotten.

I was in Food Basics tonight, a local grocery store, when I had turned around for a loaf of bread and noticed a woman in a wheelchair with her back to me. Her son was helping her find some buns on the top shelf. From behind the woman resembled my mother, a delicate frail body with the same shade of red in her hair. I had to turn and walk away, leaving behind the bread, my eyes welled up with tears.

I quickly scrambled to gather the rest of my essential groceries and wait in line to check out. I turned around quickly startled by a shattering jar in the distance and behind me was the woman in the wheelchair. I noticed she was missing both of her legs, like my mom. She had neatly rolled up her pants and tucked in the excess fabric. I slowly lifted my head but couldn't help but to make eye contact with her. She smiled and for a minuet I was lost in her kind eyes.

My eyes swelled up, and tears began to roll down my face, I made no gesture to wipe them away.

"You've lost someone close to you" she said.
"My Mom..." I struggled to reply, trying to hold back a sea of tears. "I miss her a great deal"
She smiled and said "She must have been one hell of a woman"
"Yes" I replied, "she was".
She leaned closer and put her hand on my hip, "No matter what you do, I'm sure she is still with you, just differently then you are used too".
I put my hand on hers and again struggled to speak again "I hope so".

She smiled at me, which I returned, and preceded to load my groceries on the belt for the cashier that was now waiting for me, quietly and patiently.

It would have been my Mom's 60th birthday on Monday, I miss her terribly.
Not a day goes by where I don't think about her and miss her guidance and support.
I still feel her, but as the woman said, it is different now, more of a quiet whisper in a very loud room.

I rarely give myself the stillness required to hear that voice in my "busy" life. I need to make more time. I am in the process of starting to teach two yoga classes a week at our local library. I've asked for donations in the form of canned goods to be traded for classes, my mom always sent us with brown paper bags full of dry goods when our school or community had food drives. It seemed proper, to honour her memory and regain that stillness.

Life is delicate, and far too short.
Life is a gift - no matter what sort of box it comes in.

For today I am grateful for memories.
For today I am grateful for a strong mother who prepared us well for life's betrayals.
Today I am grateful.

Embrace the Journey, one day at a time.
Bret xoxo

Monday, August 24, 2009

Smiling...

A great deal goes into a smile you know... It takes 17 muscles just to make one...

I've been smiling more recently. Things are calming down at work; becoming less stressful. I haven't talked to my Dad or Sister since - obviously much less stress there... Each day I become more in tune with the rhythm of the universe. The Law of Conservation of Energy states that Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed. In my few years on this Earth in this body I've had a hard time with this "change" not really understanding why its a necessary part of life, and of course death. I accept the change, and understand its a natural part of life... That's my new affirmation.

These are a few of the times i've smiled this week:

When I painted this beautiful Watercolour of my Grandmothers Purple Iris'


When I watch the sun set this weekend on the beach, so still and quiet


The day I discovered and purchased this amazing piece of Amethyst and meditated all night



"Wing fest" at my sisters house... (We cooked over 250 wings)
I had JUST as many beers too! ;)


I've got to get back to discovering what makes me smile, rather than what makes me frown. Who the hell wants to spend life using all those muscles to frown (43 so I'm told) when you can take the lazy way out and smile! ;)

What makes YOU smile?

Embrace the Journey
Bret

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Missing Her...


Today was the 2nd anniversary of my Mom's passing. My sister Leslie and I decided to have a quiet dinner at her house, it was nice. It hurt not being able to go to the family home for her anniversary, but I've come to realize that memories travel, they are not confined to buildings of wood and plaster.

It's been a rough month, if something could go wrong, it has. There have been issues at work, failing brakes on my car (luckily no one was in front of me), ugly family fights, and just a general missing of my Mom. These are the times when I need my Mom, I still feel her around, often smelling her Channel No. 5, it's just not the same, but I am thankful to have anything left.

My mom was always there for me. Always. She was the one I could depend on. Sometimes that's reversed for people, but not for me. She was always there for advice, comfort, to boost my self esteem and so much more, she really came through for us, and in the end we came through for her too. I just wish she was still here to sort out all my problems and to reassure me that things will be okay - even if they are out of my hands.

I guess I know all that, she prepared us well - but sometimes I get lost on my path, she was the light.

It's 10pm now, and I am physically and emotionally drained - so I am off for a hot bath, then into bed. Hope everyone had a great day.

Blessings.
Embrace the Journey,
Bret

Sunday, August 9, 2009

...in the Storm

First... Thank you for the kind, warm, and supporting comments that everyone has left. I feel truly privileged to have such an amazing group of blogging friends!

I am sitting on the couch tonight, in the dark. The gale force winds, barrage of lighting, and torrential down pouring of rain has knocked out my power and I sit here only illuminated by the glow of my laptop screen and the flashes of light through my living room windows.

My heart this past week has felt very much like the storm outside. The uncontrolled pounding of fury has gotten the better of me on more than one occasion, but nevertheless I am on the mend. This journey of mine has certainly taken me through hell and back yet still, I feel blessed to have the memories that I do have - I realize there are others who have nothing.

The rain beats against the glass paned windows and I can see the silhouette of my cat peering down at the flooded street below whenever lighting strikes. He's not afraid of the stormy weather, and he inspires me not to be either. For even though lighting sometimes strikes, eventually the clouds do part and the sun does again shine.

I've done a great deal of self reflection in the past few days, accompanied by some deep soul searching. Again I come to realize there is little I can do to change the course of events that the universe throws at me, and even less I can do to change another. I can only make changes in my own thoughts and hope my actions will follow. When it boils down to it, there isn't a hell of alot that can be done otherwise.

The other morning I woke up still whimpering from a dream. I was in our family home, and my mom's cat "Kitsey" jumped up on the kitchen counter and said my name. I was baffled that the cat could speak until my mom announced that she was speaking threw the cat. She asked me what was happening, each word forced as it seemed it was a struggle for her to speak threw the animal. I had explained, and she nodded in disappointment. She listened to me talk for a few minuets then told me she had to go. Before you leave, I said, what can I do to make you proud? "Live" she replied. So here I am living... It's all any of us can do.

Sitting here in the dark I can only wonder what is next for me.
Until then, Embrace the Journey.
Bret

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

when the glue fails...

Mom was the Glue, she always was. Our family lost its glue nearly 2 years ago, and things have been falling apart ever since...

My Dad decided he is moving some whore into the house. Yup, I said it, whore... She has different motives, we can tell. I overheard her say in a conversation to my dad "I am not trying to win any sort of step mother of the year award, no one is going to tell me what to do". That when I decided it was time to fight back. My sisters and I went into the house and started to clear out all of our possessions, we decided not to leave anything of ours in the house.. Who knows, Ontario law states after 6 months of living together and they are common law married and we loose all claim.

We tried to talk reason into my dad, but he wouldn't hear any of it. Now that hes found his new Whore he basically wants nothing to do with us... Oh did I mention he thinks its okay to have sex with this woman, in my moms bedroom (the room she passed away in) while her ashes are hidden in a drawer instead of on her dresser? Ya, that's what I am dealing with. We were removing our things, and everything was fine, until my little sister took her and my moms special collection of Christmas snowmen. My older sister wanted them, just to hurt my younger sister - she has been trying to hurt us for years. Shari, my older sister didn't say anything until the next day when we found that she had taken my 1/2 my moms China set of dishes that were already promised to my little sister Leslie.

It's always been Leslie and I against Shari and Dad. They are so much alike, both the most ignorant, hurtful, violent people I have ever met. She uses abortion as a form of control against her husband. She is sick. Found out recently that my Dad was a wife beater. It only adds fuel to my fire. The day ended in fist fights, words I am not proud of saying, and a total and complete severing in the family. It was long overdue.

We removed 99% of our stuff from the house, and if I never set foot in there again I am happy. I am still going back for the rest of my sisters dishes. After I've gotten the rest of our things we've decided to burn the rest of the furniture so there is nothing left. Figured if Dad wants to start over, he should do it right.

What makes people turn on each other? Is it money? Greed? Jealousy? I just don't get it. What makes people so inconsiderate that they trample on the emotions of others. I can't for the life of me understand a woman (who apparent has been in love with my dad since she was 12) that would want to come into a house, 2 years later, and have sex in the bed where my mother had died. Do people not have any self respect at all?

I am so happy that the universe keeps a balance.
I am so happy that everyone in time receives their Karma.

I am literally exhausted. I need to sleep. I've been dealing with all this, trying to work all this out in my head - hoping it will make sense, but it just doesn't. I am at a loss of what to do next. I can't talk to my dad, it just ends literally in a fist fight. I want to kill my older sister, literally. I hope she drives her car off a cliff. I think there is one of these in every family...

Anyways, I am off to bed.
Embracing an Axe.
Bret

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sacred Sunday ... Baking with Grams

There are many things to me that are sacred, most relate to my childhood, at a time when I felt safe, complete and greatly loved. Before I knew what paying bills was all about, or the sadness caused by death and great loss, and long before my first broken heart, I was carefree, when the only disappointment was sleeping in too late on a Saturday morning and missing a Scooby doo episode.

This is the period in my life that shaped the man I am today, the good and bad. Time spent with my Mother and Grandmother, sacred time, memories that I cherish because they are all I have left. Time is cruel, only moving forward, never letting us revisit the past, like an hourglass glued to the table.

We had my Uncles 65th birthday yesterday, a family reunion, at my Aunt and Uncles farm in the Country, it felt incomplete. The family; separated by death, divorce and feuding. My grandmother was the glue, the matriarch of our family, the one who organized Christmas', birthdays and picked me up that one time I ran away from home. When my grandmother took ill the responsibility naturally passed to my mother, only a daughter-in-law, but too my grams so much more. Since my moms passing two years ago I've tried my best to fill the gaps left behind. Planning family dinners, quilting blankets for the baby, working in the flower beds, doing my best to honor them both everyday, in the traditions in which they raised me. I miss them terribly.

I was always taught to be a grateful guest and never arrive empty handed. My Aunt was having the celebration catered, but my sister and I told her that we would also bring some deserts as well. My younger sister Leslie baked 50 'butter tarts', one of Grams most favourite recipes. I spent Saturday morning baking as well and made 6 pies; 2 Graham Wafer, 2 Field Berry, and 2 Lemon Meringue. I have my Grandmothers crystal flour, sugar and tea canisters, and her talent for pastry. When I bake I feel her in the room with me, often catching a whiff of her "Explanation" perfume.

Here are some pictures from my morning of baking:


Getting the Dough Ready for the Pie Crusts

Lining the Bake Pans with the Dough

Field Berry (Bumble Berry Pie) Filled with Strawberries, Raspberries
Blackberries, Blueberries and Rhubarb.

The Meringue Pies Browning up in the Oven

The Thin Coat of Flour on my Kitchen Floor!
Yes, I am a messy baker ;)


The pies were a hit and my uncles said they tasted just like my Grandmothers. In no time at all the butter tarts and pies were gone, leaving some of the birthday cake untouched. I felt honored to carry on one of my Grandmothers traditions. I am thankful for my Aunt who planned the occasion, its hard to get together these days.

My Great Aunts came too. It was hard, they look so much like my Grandmother, and sound just like her too. I found myself closing my eyes while they spoke, pretending I was listening to my Grams, seeing her face in my mind. Tears that somehow found their way past my tightly closed eyelids were quickly brushed away and went unnoticed. All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Now for me, I better get back to scrubbing the dried pastry and flour off the kitchen floor, I've had the floor damp now for a good hour so it shouldn't be too difficult, I hope!

Embracing the Journey, and a bucket of suds.
Bret

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This House Is Clean

I wanted to thank everyone for their comments, advice and such - it is greatly appreciated!

I've now been able to cleanse the lamp, and the rest of the house. It's not like the energy of the lamp was bad, or evil, more of a pain in the butt! If I wanted the lamp off, she wanted it on, if she wanted it on, I wanted it off. I hope I've at least appeased her spirit, or energy, and helped it move on to another journey.

The cat wasn't freaked out at all, he made no ill motions, or odd behavioral changes when I brought the lamp in so I knew the energy wasn't harmful, just playful.

I would LOVE to know who the "she" was behind the lamp, in the upcoming days to weeks I hope to get in some good investigation time, talk to the lady who sold me the lamp, and consort with a friend of mine who is a talented clairvoyant to see if she picks up anything I've missed.
Until then, I am just going to keep an eye out for any odd movements from the lamp.

If anyone knows a source where you can send in pictures of antiques and have someone in the field respond with some information I'd be grateful for a link or e-mail address. I would really like to know the origin of the lamp, and I hope there is some sort of online "Antiques Roadshow" out there where I can submit pictures...

Anywho, its pouring rain here, and the cat and I have decided it would be a wonderful day to lay in bed and watch movies, so here we are! ;)

Embracing the Journey, and my pillow.
Bret =)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Lamp that Satan Built ...An Update and Video

So I have an update for everyone who is wondering, and it gets pretty interesting...
For the last couple of days not only myself, but visiting friends have witnessed the odd behavior of this lamp. Turning off and on, being unplugged and on one occasion being turned 90 degrees clockwise leaving scratches on top of my fireplace mantle. Early into the morning today, I woke up for a bathroom break (not unusual at all) and thought I saw an elderly woman sitting on my couch. Having crusty eyes, and a foggy brain I kept walking past the living room into the bathroom. It wasn't until I was comfortably seated until I realized what I *think* I saw, I am still not 100% sure.

Otherwise I slept OK, I think it was just the light of the full moon that was disturbing my sleep the last couple of days. The feeling in my apartment has been reasonably peaceful (for me at least) however couple of friends have noticed a shift in the energy, and the air feeling a bit thicker and heavier. I do agree with all your comments that a GOOD cleansing is in need.

I am thinking that the energy of the woman who must have owned this lamp is still attached, and she must be having difficult time with the move and someone else now owning one of her possessions. I am going to burn some sweet grass first to appease the energy, try talking to the spirit as odd as that may sound to some, I am hoping we can come to an understanding rather than "bicker" as to weather the lamp should be on or off ha-ha. If that doesn't work the lamp is getting a vinegar wash down and smudged with a sage stick and sea salts.

I've downloaded a program too to make my webcam on my laptop act like a motion sensing video camera, I think I will set it up tonight, facing the lamp and see what I get... Should be interesting.

Anywho, I am off!
Embrace the journey,
Bret

** Update **

Alrighty folks, here is the video!
I had to go out to go out and get a few things from the grocery store, so I figured what the hell, I'll set up my laptop quick on the bench in front of my couch and see if I catch anything, here is what I've got:

The video is 1:38 mins long and was activated by some sort of movement in video frame, however I didn't see anything that moved.

0:25 - Light turns on
1:00 - Lamp makes a sharp movement towards my picture frames, then several smaller and more gentle movements WHILE turning again.
1:17 - Light goes off

video

So there you have it. What do you think? When I walked in the door and saw it had moved I almost pee'd myself with excitement, the cat was sleeping on my bed, so he didn't notice anything, however I am pretty confident that something is going on here... Getting the sweet grass out tonight for sure! People wonder why I am scared of the dark hahahaha.

Embrace the Journey,
Bret

Monday, July 6, 2009

a LITTLE freaked out!!

What started off as an awful day of Garage Sales, turned into a unique find. Just about when my sister and I were going to give up, and call it a day, this lamp caught my eye. I figured it would be pretty expensive, as it looks to be somewhat of an antique so I tried not to show any interest in it at first. I browsed around at other knickknacks, and after a few minuets of watching it out of the corner of my eye an elderly woman approached me and asked me if anything had caught my attention. I responded by saying that the lamp was quite interesting and how much she was asking for it, I was preparing myself to bargain with this woman when she said $5. Ummmm, Five Dollars I asked? Yes, five, she replied. Sold! I was honestly expecting her to ask $50-$75 for this lamp, and I was hoping to get it for $40.

My sister was amazed, as I picked up the lamp. The lady said it worked just fine, but it didn't come with a bulb, but she would be more than happy to fetch one for me, I declined as I had just bought some new bulbs, and she proceeded to engage in small talk. I asked where the lamp had came from, as I'd never seen anything quite like it, and she said she didn't know, that she was selling it on behalf of a friend. I didn't think much of it, until last night when I got home.

I walked into my apartment, around 3am, and the lamp was lit. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I thought that I had turned it off before I left for the day, I didn't know how well it was wired and didn't want any over heating, or fire related issues with it. I switched the light off and went to bed. I slept horribly, tossing and turning, hearing pacing in the hall, voices... I didn't think much of it, as I live in a turn of the century Victorian Home with other renters to the side and below me. I did go out to the living room once to see if the TV was on, the Cat has been known to sit on the remote with his big ass and turn on the news, but nothing was out of place.

It's been an "eerie" day here today, not being able to put my finger on exactly what, until I went to switch on the light around 8:30pm tonight. It wasn't working, odd, it was working last night when I got home. Immediately I thought it was a burnt bulb, but realized it was new, so with my hands I carefully traced the cord behind my fireplace, looking for loose, burnt or frayed wires. When I came to the end of the cord, I realized the lamp was not plugged in. Odd I thought, but again didn't think much of it as I might have pulled it out when I relocated my laptop this afternoon. I plugged my lamp in, switched it off and admired its unique beauty while I brewed a pot of Earl Grey tea. On returning from the kitchen to the living room, tea pot in hand I was greeted by a dark lamp. It had been turned off, and GET THIS, unplugged as well...

So here I sit, with my cup of tea, next to this lamp, wondering if its haunted, and if she priced it at $5 because it was frigging haunted! I guess I will have to see what happens in the next few days, only time will tell. Stay tuned!

Embracing the Journey, my pillow, the Cat, and a Knife...
Bret xoxo

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Religious Intolerance... and the journey of frank

So... I'm pretty pissed off...

While at work today, I was tipped off by a few my management that my Buddha statue, which sits on my desk, was creating QUITE the controversy. Buddha I thought? Controversy? JeeeWizz, that just doesn't sound like the Buddha I know! Usually you find Buddha under his tree meditating, searching for enlightenment. He can also be found teaching peace, love, kindness and tolerance, so when I heard the office gossip I was shocked!

I work in a Support Center, for a very popular computer manufacturer. The floor plan is extremely open concept, and there are about 80 people, neatly tucked into rows that surround my desk, next to a popular coaching/meeting room. Apparently "someone", not from my team, but from another managers team has been making complaints that my Buddha statue is inappropriate, and upsets them as a Christian person. Apparently their faith is so strong, and they have so much trust in their God that no one else should be allowed to think differently, that there is no room for other teachers in the realm of "religion" other than their messiah Jesus Christ.

Thats when I took a big shit in my pants... Leave it to a Christian to shout religious intolerance, I am just upset I didn't have anything pagan at my desk today, I would have been a rather lovely day for a witch burning.

So, Buddha and I have decided that its 2009, not 563BC and he needs to acclimate to today's society.

Everyone, please say a warm hello to Frank:


Frank is an e-mail support agent, he likes long walks on the beach, enjoys some yoga here and there, and drives a VW Bug. He's funny, smart and most certainly NOT controversial. With his mouse in hand he can process 15 customers e-mails an hour, while rocking out to his favorite Taylor Smith album. The note on his chest says "Hi, My Name Is: Frank". No controversial here people, keep the line moving. Ohhhh, no no, that's not Buddha, that's Frank, he moved over from the Dispatch Department last week.

So far, so good. No one has blew his cover yet. Keep your fingers crossed for us please.
If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
Embrace the Journey,
Bret and Frank

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Life at 2 am...

The clock just struck 2am and I am wide awake regardless of the lack of sleep I have been having these past few weeks. I just threw some flour, water, garlic butter, parsley and other ingredients into my bread machine. My brother-in-law called this morning and demanded one of my buttery Parmesan cheese loafs. I love my bread machine, one of my most favourite Garage Sale finds from my Aunt Jean. 2$, brand new in the box, still had the starter kit. I am going to make another loaf for my Dad as well tomorrow, Fathers day.

I have a hard time celebrating Fathers day, it's always been a struggle for me as he's never been much of a Father. My Mom really did play both roles as my Dad was usually found playing hockey, hanging out with the boys, or working on some new car project. When my Mom passed I truly felt as if I were an orphan, especially after loosing my grandmother months before. I had two very strong female role models growing up (which I'm sure explains a few things) and after losing them both I felt very much alone. Both my sisters married, and me of course perpetually single, the closest thing I have to a partner is my Cat, and that is just really sad. Ha-ha.

My Mom "stuck it out" for us while we were growing up. I watched a movie last night with the amazing Boho Mom, (who is such a wonderful mother) which brought me to this post. The movie was "Double Jeopardy". A husband cheating on his wife, faking his own death and pinning it on her. She went to jail, 6 years separated from her young son, never giving up hope of their reunion. Libby (Ashley Judd) said in the movie "Even if a baby is separated from their mother at birth, they will always recognize her voice". I hold that to be true. My Mom, after having an absent husband, raising three small children practically by herself, while looking after my grandparents, ignoring the countless martial affairs my father perused, not to mention the arguments we pretended not to hear late at night; she endured, even to the detriment of her own health. Mothers are funny like that... So when I am sitting at the table tonight, with resentment in my heart, I will take a page from my mothers book and stick it out.

I must be getting to bed now, my eyes are burning.
To the fathers out there, remember that you are molding the next generation. Things you do and say will deeply impact your offspring in the years to come. Be weary of how you treat your wife, your sons will learn from you how to treat their wifes, and your daughters will learn from you how they should be treated from their husbands.

And to all the Single Moms out there, who struggle with this day. Please know that your love is more than enough. You are both Mother and Father to your children, and even tho times might be tough now, they will greatly love, adore and respect you for it in the next years to come.

Happy Fathers Day Mom,
Embrace the Journey
Bret

Thursday, June 11, 2009

...finding inspiration

in an uninspiring world...


I've found that in today's busy modern world it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find inspiration. Lately I've saw more boarded up windows and empty flower gardens than ever before. I think the economic depression has gotten everyone into a slump, I'm certainly feeling it. I've come to the realization that I must create my own inspiration.

I've been working at making my space more inspiring, one of the things I really love, is to leave post it notes for myself with affirmations of ideas I need to focus on. I bring them to work too and stick them around my desk. A simple reminder to breath deeply, relax, or that I'm in tune with nature makes a big difference in my life for me. Recently I moved my desktop computer from my writing desk to the closet, (I've got a laptop anyways) and started to fill my desk with things that inspire me. A water fountain found at a garage sale for $4 to bring peace and tranquility, a unique crystal vase to hold my watercolor paint brushes, pens, and pencils, some paper to sketch and paint on, and of course some candles as I like to write in the dim romantic light. The space is still lacking a little but I feel the improvement of energy in my space already, I will post a picture when I have it all finished.

This year I haven't gotten out there and taken any photographs. I just haven't been inspired. I need to, I really need to because I enjoy it and I like to share the beauty that I find. I think through the camera lens I find a whole other world, something magickal and spectacular. Here is one of my shots from last summer:


I've gotten back into my routine of Yoga and Meditation. It was a rough start back, but I feel my flexibility returning. I've been increasing my fiber, and limiting my meats and feeling more healthy about my intake, I've also been teetering on the point of vegetarian. Awakening the body and mind is a slow and gradual process, at least for me anyways.

So now I must get ready and go to the evil place where they keep my paycheck, but I will leave you with this question... How do YOU create inspiration in your world?

Blessed Journey,
This Guy ~ Bret

Monday, June 1, 2009

...the garden of ill repute

In a small city, one not unlike your own, is a small garden that looks as if it has been long abandoned and forgotten by man. One may wonder if the rapture has came, or some viral plague has done away with mankind. There's been no plague, and after 2000 years Jesus ain't coming back, sorry folks.

This is the garden of ill repute. The garden where happiness, ferries, bunnies and laughter go to die.
This is the garden that Boho Mom built...



Sure to soon be a garden filled with plump ripe tomatoes and the most earthy wonderful organic lettuce you've ever tasted, Boho mom is off to a rocky start as I found out on my visit yesterday.

The hatchling is rehearsing right now for her schools recitle of "Charlie Brown's Christmas Story", so Boho has planted the Famous Charlie Brown Christmas tree, oh, wait... No no no, those are acutally tomatoe plants. Oh my, I'm so sorry. HAHAHA

I have to cut her some slack, she is the hardest working single mom I know. This week alone, she's been altering costumes for the Hatchlings dance recitle (which was AMAZING), supervising and volunteering back stage, creating her FABOLOUS Bohemian space in her apartment, digging her her garden (by hand), blogging, and suprisingly she hasn't gone insane... Yet...

Honestly I am pretty jealous that she is off to such an awesome start with her garden. Living in an apartment I really miss having my own veggie garden, especially when I have to pay those organic store prices! I'm crossing my fingers that Boho will let me dig a few more feet on to her garden and let me plant some wonderful zuchinni and eggplant!

However, if you are looking for your lost puppy, or your desire to live, look no further than Boho's garden, but beware.... HAHA

Embracing the Journey (and hopefully a basket of veggies in 3 months)
Bret xoxo

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spirit Cleansing

Last week I posted some great Organic Cleaning recipes, and had an amazing response of comments and e-mails with lots more to add to my collection.

This week I'd like to post another kind of cleanse, a Spirit Cleanse. I do a great deal of work in the Niagara Region of Ontario Canada with Ghosts and Spirits, doing home cleanings for friends, people who seek me, and of course myself. If any of you have had this particular type of 'guest' in your home you know their presence can be anything from peaceful and relaxed, to disturbing and down right chaotic. When someone contacts me, they often start by saying the animals in the house have been acting weird, chasing things or growling at things that are not visible, or they've heard footsteps at night, or scratching from inside walls. Some report that they've been hearing voices, or have saw objects move, or caught someone walk across the room from the corner of their eye. On rare occasions I receive calls of desperation, from people who are being tormented by these spirits. If you are nodding your head now, you may want to read on.

First I'm asked why some ghosts, or spirits are kind, and don't cause much trouble, while some are destructive and are seeking to disturb the peace. My response is always the same; just as we have people in this present life who range from kind to cruel, so does the after life. Their second question is always "how the hell do we get rid of them"?

Continue reading and I will show you some time tested and fool proof methods to cleanse your home and rid any negative entity or energy that may be lingering. These methods are also excellent if you are moving into a new home and want to clear out the old tenants energy, or are just looking to do a little spiritual spring cleaning.

You live in your home, so you'll already know what may be lurking in the shadows, or the type of energy you're feeling that is causing worry. The first thing I do after walking through the front door is find a quiet place, central to the home and sit and open my senses. I sit quietly and open myself to any spirits, energy or vibes to get a good idea of what I am dealing with. I've always then said a prayer, to protect myself, the people in the house, and to send healing light to anyone who may need it. You don't have to be religious, or involve God in your prayer, your 'intent', and the energy you raise while you connect is most powerful.

Once I'm properly centered and grounded I prepare my cleansing supplies, usually consisting of the following:

Clearing Incense
Sweet Grass
a Sage Bundle
and, several White Candles

Once you are ready, you can begin. Light a white candle in every room. White is the color of clarity and peace. Light your incense and place it central to the house, usually in the living/family room. Next, and this is important, you want to open every window and door possible in the house, you want the flow of energy to be strong. You can pick any room to start in, usually I start at the front door with burning sage bundle in hand, my body surrounded in white light I bless the door, and say an incantation, or prayer that only good, love and joy can enter this home. That all negativity shall be refused entrance and be cast out of this place. While visualizing the smoke from the sage bundle and sweet grass creeping into every corner in the area, I bless the door (by laying on of hands) and ask for the universe/God/white light to protect this home from any being or person that may bring ill or negative energy. Leave the door open, and don't close it until last.

Working around the house in a circular pattern, in each and every room, and closet I bless each room, asking that all negative energy and spirits be released from this place and not allowed to return. That each room is filled with love, and peace, and happy energy. I extend the bright white energy that is radiating from my being to envelop the room. I bless each and every window that it will only bring through light, laughter and love and then close the window, signifying the closed doorway or path to any being that would want to bring negativity into this home.

Once I have finished each room, including all bathrooms, closets, nooks and crannies, I return to the front door, standing outside I bless the entire home, letting the white light that surrounds me to again envelop the house and property around it. Once I am done, I again bless the door to only allow entrance to good beings, love, light, and joy and close the door.

You will feel a sense that the air in the home is lighter, that feelings of negativity are gone, and the home has returned to a state of peacefulness.

Have any questions, need some advice? Just leave a comment, or e-mail me and I'll be sure to respond! Often I use Sea Salts, and Holy Water, even Vinegar for spirit cleanings and if you do as well I'd love to hear how!

Embrace your Journey,
AND the things that go bump in the night!
Bret =)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Organic Cleaning

I woke up this morning, to the smell of freshly baked bread - thanks to the timer on my bread machine. I opened all the windows to let in the fresh breeze and prepared a toasted slice complete with my sisters and my homemade strawberry jam.

I am working this year at living more organically, with less refined foods, whole foods, and only locally grown produce (this is a hard one). I've done a great deal of canning myself, including jams, pickles, apples, pears, peaches, beets, and frozen a bunch of broccoli, cabbage, peppers, and beans. It's been difficult, as I am sure any of you out there agree, its hard to live without all the quick modern days convinces of fast foods, ready to eat meals, preservative filled breads, meat laced with growth hormones, and toxic house hold cleaners. I decided today was a great day for spring cleaning, and I know its something that all of us have either just finished, or are gearing up too do. I had to replenish my supply of homemade organic cleaning products today, and figured now would be an excellent time to share with all of you some of my recipes!

First, lets assemble a list of ingredients, most I'm sure you already have in your house:

White Vinegar
Baking Soda
Salt
Lemons
Tea Tree Oil
Dish Soap (or Pure Castile Soap)
Reusable Rags
Spray Bottles and Glass Jars.

Seems like some pretty basic and simple ingredients right? Any combination of the above cleaners will work just as well, actually most of the time better than any toxic, store bought product you can purchase! Let's get cleaning!

Organic Window Cleaner:
1/2 cup White Vinegar
3 cups Water
1-2 Squirts of Dish Soap (organic)

I've found this is very effective, the few squirts of dish soap makes sure that all greasy finger prints and dirt is washed away. Try using this with a reusable microfiber cloth, or a hand full of newspapers. Bottle and mark clearly in a clear plastic bottle and store for next time.


Oven Cleaner: (or any grimy surface - works well on a bath tub too)
1 Lemon, cut in half
1 Bowl of Baking Soda
1 cup of pure Vinegar with a few squirts of dish soap.

With a reusable rag, wet the surface with the vinegar and soap solution, you can also bottle and spray the area. Take your 1/2 lemon in one hand, dip the cut end in your bowl of baking soda, and use the lemon as a scrub pad on your grimy surface.

If you'd like to use a scouring sponge for the above combine 1 cup baking soda, with enough dish soap to form a paste, add a little lemon juice and spoon on a scrubbing pad. If you'd like to bottle and keep this recipe, just add 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist.

Toilet Cleaner:
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Vinegar
5-7 drops of Tea Tree oil

This is a very effective cleaner. Feel free to let this sit in the toilet bowl for a while. If you've got a big job to do, turn off the water supply valve, flush the toilet, scoop as much water out of the bowl as you can, and use this mixture on an empty bowl with a scrub pad. For extra strength, add 1/4 cup of salt, just be careful as salt may scratch your surface, but does work very well on a porcelain toilet.

Floors (including Hardwood):
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1 Gallon Hot Water

This is very effective on any washable floor surface. I use this all the time on my hardwood floors, sometimes in the kitchen I do add a squirt of dish liquid, as the floors tend to be a bit greasy from cooking. You can also sub the dish liquid for 1 cup of lemon juice. Lemon juice will also cut through the grease, and leave a beautiful shine to the wood floors.

General Multipurpose Cleaner (great for all kitchen and bathroom surfaces)
3 cups water
1/2 cup Vinegar
2 squeezes of Dish Soap
3-5 drops of Tea Tree Oil

Combine, bottle and use on any washable surface! For grimy kitchen messes, add a few table spoons of lemon juice to cut through any grease!

Laundry Detergent:

For White Clothes

1/4 cup washing soda (sodium carbonate) in place of bleach. (Bleach is one of the most toxic substances for the environment. Washing soda costs only a few pennies per wash load, and it is far less expensive than bleach.) Along with the washing soda, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar.

For Dark Clothes

1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of salt. (Salt helps restore faded colors, and to remove dirt and grime.)

Polishing Wood Furniture:

Straight citrus oil (can be purchased everwhere) on a lint free rag. Citrus oil is very inexpensive!

Here is a great tip (especally if you have kids): for crayon marks, spilled candle wax, and residue left from tape and other adhesive, dab with mineral oil and wipe gently with a rag. Mineral oil is the main ingredient of many commercial products that advertise the removal of greasy wax stains and marks.

So that's it, that is whats under my kitchen sink right now. Nothing toxic, nothing that will harm our environment, nothing expensive, nothing I wouldn't have in the house anyways! Does anyone have and recipes or advice they would like to share? I would be honored to post and organic cleaning recipes and tips here, just e-mail me and let me know!

Cleaning organically and proud of it? Feel free to post the picture below, and add the following link to these recipes for all your blogging friends to see. All you need to do, is save this picture to your desktop, then when your customizing your blog side gadgets, add a picture, browse for it on your desktop, and add the "link" below! Easy Peazy! Share these wonderful recipes with your friends!

Here is the handy dandy link:

http://endeavorsandsuch.blogspot.com/2009/05/organic-cleaning.html

Happy cleaning everyone!

Embrace your grimy journey ;)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

... Missing Her

Today is my second Mothers day without my mom, it's been almost 2 years since she passed last August. I decided to work today, trying to keep by hands busy and my mind silent. I spent Saturday with my sister Leslie, we dug up some of my mom's perennial flowers and transplanted them into her own garden, I couldn't have thought of a better way to spend the day. Hands full of mud, and shoes full of muck. When we were finished we opened a bottle of wine and had a glass, then a bottle, then another. I'm lucky to have an amazing sister, she is my best friend.

I truly miss her, there isn't an hour that goes by that I don't think of her, wishing that I had her guidance, and support. I find myself talking to her alot still, still asking questions, listening very quietly to hear her small still voice, sometimes I think I hear her answers. The clothes she left still hang in her closet, her bedroom untouched, just as she had left it. I still sit in the bottom of her closet smelling her sweaters, they smell like a mom, I'm not sure how else to describe the smell. I find solace and peace in that closet. We still aren't ready to pack away her things, I don't think we will until my dad decides to sell the house if he does.

Selfishly I feel pretty "jipped" that I lost my mom so early, I was 25, I know there are alot of people who lost their mom's a great deal earlier than I did, so I feel blessed for the time that we did have together. A few Christmas' ago, when we came to terms with the fact that we were going to lose her, after the doctors had exhausted all surgical efforts to keep her here with us we decided to bring her home, and care for her there. I feel blessed that we were given that extra time with her, after all, we could have lost her 6 year ago when she first discovered she had cancer. In bringing her home, we again were blessed with another 8 months.

Time is cruel, it truly only ever goes forward, never letting us revisit the past. Although I don't live with any regrets, there are many things I would do differently.


Again I sit here with a glass of wine, in celebration of my mom, and yours. Always remember that you don't have to wait until Mothers Day to tell your mom how much you love her.

Struggling with the Journey,
Miss you mom. xoxo
Bret

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blooming

Today I saw that a tulip in my front garden had bloomed, and somehow I felt stuck. The tulip knew it was time to poke his head above the still cool ground, and even found time to produce the most amazing flower which I must have sat on the porch and starred at for 10 minutes. With all the beautiful weather we have been having I had wondered why I haven't stuck my own head above the soil and blossomed. My yoga practice has been suffering, my painting has been almost non existent, and the goddess knows that my blog sure has been lacking. Maybe I'm just a "late bloomer" as my Grandmother would put it, maybe I just need a reason to bloom.

It has been an incredibly long time since I have written here, and to be honest I greatly miss it. Although I have been lurking behind the scenes to see what you all are up too, I haven't used myblog, one of most favourite creative outlets. What you ask? Well, honestly not a hell of alot. I took this Winter off (emotionally) to energize and recharge. I truly hibernated. I feel "back" now tho, signified with this posting, which has been on the tip of my tongue for the past week now. I am vowing to write more often as part of my creative process.

I had an interesting phone call today, from my ex. We haven't spoken in nearly 2 years (this May) and I have missed him everyday since. The call was a surprise, and did not last very long, enough to ask how we were each doing, missing the old times, and he mentioned something about keeping in contact. I'm still half shocked, at the time I was making dinner and took the baking sheet out of the oven without gloves. I felt too sick to my stomach to eat, so I decided to go for a walk, I started down the stairs when I realized I was still in my underwear. I'm still not too sure what to make out of the phone call, what did he want? It's hard to think about him, two years later and I am still in love, covered with scars I did nothing to earn.

I know that I must "seize the day", who knows how many we each have left on this Earth. I do my best to make the best out of each day, but its hard, feeling incomplete. I've never felt that I've needed a significant other to complete me, but isn't it a nice notion to think there is another person out there that compliments your being so well that you feel as if you were one? I'm not too sure what the universe has in store for me, but I'm sure it will be one hell of a journey.

It is midnight now, I work at 8am, so I must be getting to bed. I've created some excellent organic cleaning products in the last month, and I will be sharing the recipes this week, I promise! So check back soon. Also, did you know that Mercury is heading into Retrograde again on May 7th? Mercury is slowing as we speak, do you feel it? Check back before the 7th and I will have some great information to keep you on track while we wait out the planetary changes for this next month!

Until then,
Embrace the Journey.
Bret

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Coming out of Hibernation



There's something about the way the street looks when its just rained, there is a glow off the pavement, a glow I had almost forgotten. The animals are starting to come back now, each morning I hear more and more birds singing as they bask in the warmer weathers. The squirrels are starting to awake too, Friskey sits in front of the window in awe of their delicate dance across telephone wires above him.

I feel very much today as the animals must feel. Like the warmer weathers and lessening of snow is waking up my soul, allowing me to come out of hibernation. I have all my windows open, letting the unseasonably warm breeze overtake my apartment and push out the now stale winter air. Maybe I am jumping mother natures gun here, but I really do feel that spring is at the doorstep, knocking, VERY loudly! Do you feel it?


I really feel like I am getting ready to grow some new branches, spread my foliage and bloom. My body aches to paint and be creative. To write, and draw, and dance outside. I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt, clear away last years underbrush and make room for the new growth.



My body is doing some interesting things as well. I am just getting over strep throat where I spent 23 hours a day in bed, and the other hour puking - don't know where all the puke came from, I couldn't eat for 4 days lol... It's really jump started my spring cleansing process.

I'd like to say that I have missed all of you, but I really haven't really missed anyone because I've still been coming to your blogs, reading, lurking behind the shadow, being inspired, trying your posted recipes, feeling each time that we've sat down and had a cup of tea together. I will be glad to get back into the community tho. I realize now how much I missed blogging, it was almost like meditation for me to come here, read and write. I am feeling the vibe again tho.
I can't wait to see what the spring has in store for all of us (yes, winter for some of you too).

Check back soon, I am going to have some great organic recipes for green house cleaning products, simple things we all have in the cupboards already!
Until then,
Embracing this Journey,
Bret =)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

...gifts from mom


It was our second Christmas this year with out Mom. Since her passing two August's ago, my little sister Leslie and I have done our best to continue to celebrate every holiday, every special event; from Thanksgiving to the dogs birthday. Mom loved to celebrate and decorate, so in her honour we decorated the Christmas Tree, hung garland, put up lights and prepared for our traditional Christmas morning brunch. We didn't last year, the tree stayed boxed and the lights stayed dim - I think we were just too tired and defeated after everything that had happened.

Mom made sure she was a part of Christmas this year too. Even tho she is gone, we never stop sensing her around us. While Leslie, her husband and I were putting up the Christmas tree Leslie stumbled across a plastic tote with her name on it. She brought it upstairs to the family room and called me in from the kitchen where I was making dinner. She opened the tote and discovered that it was filled with kitchen ware, silverware, dishes, oven plates, pots and pans, dish towels, and oven mits. It was the perfect starter box for any kitchen, something my mom put together for her a year before she passed. It's just like my Mom to make sure we had something to open from her even tho shes left us. I have to admit, I felt left out for a few days, I looked around the basement for a box labeled "Bret" but didn't find one...

I was coming home from work on the Monday before Christmas, it was about 5:00pm and I had an urge to go to the Thrift Store in St. Catharines, about 10 mins away. My friend Julie works across the street so I called and see if she wanted to join me, however she was already home from work, so I decided to go anyways. Something called me there. I grabbed a cart and shuffled my way through the store. I LOVE thrift stores, I always seem to find something great (like my new Jack LaLane Power Juicer for $20)... I was looking around that day in kitchen ware, looking at dishes. I have a set, well a partial set of antique "Johnson Brothers" English China. I found them at a Garage Sale (another passion of mine) about 12 years ago. I picked up 3 dinner plates, a couple small desert bowls, and 4 salad plates, I fell in love with the pattern on the spot. Ever since then I have searched everywhere for this set of China, I have never been able to find it again, not even on e-bay or their website - they have discontinued the pattern. Just my luck! Browsing through the glass and dishware I saw a plate from my Mom's set of "Coral" dishes. For sentimental reasons I reached over and picked it up and held it in my hands. When I picked up that dish, under it I saw a big serving plate with my pattern, it totally matched my set! I was excited, I grinned from ear to ear, and at that moment I could smell my moms perfume, and knew this was my Christmas gift from her. I kept looking around, I went to the other side of the shelves and was even more surprised. Here is what I found: 12 dinner plates, 14 salad plates, 10 bread plates, 12 desert plates, 6 desert bowls, 10 soup bowls, 8 cups and saucers, 1 serving bowl, and a gravy train. I felt like such an idiot, as I loaded the dishes in to my cart I cried, lol, all the way up to the check out lines. I'm sure the guy behind the counter thought I was partially crazy, with my puffy red eyes and my set of dishes... lol

I cleaned up the dishes and put them in my cupboard. I moved my everyday dishes up to the top of the cupboard and now use these as my regular dishes.




Christmas this year felt complete, like Mom was still with us. We exchanged pajamas, woke up and opened presents and had brunch. I still missed her, especially the look in her eyes as we unwrapped gifts but I know her spirit was with us.





Now, I am going to enjoy THIS cup of tea.
Embrace the Journey
Bret xoxo

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Time

Where did 2008 go, does anyone know? I've lost it somewhere around this place, maybe behind the couch, or under the bed or some damn place.

You become.
You became.
You are.
You will be.

This year has sped by. It has not dripped, but rather poured itself into what was, like an hourglass glued to the table. I find it hard to believe, I really do.

Much can happen in 365 days. I am a different person all together. Or perhaps, all apart... I am someone other than who I was, afterall you can't be the same guy even after the passing of a single day.

I have thought about living and I have thought about dying.
I have pondered the complexities of love and the simplicity of hate.
I have read books,
and walked dogs,
and flown around the globe,
and eaten Lasagna,
and washed clothes,
and baked bread,
and cried uncontrollably,
and stared at tall trees,
and contemplated life,
and slept in,
and stood tall,
and thrown my shoulders into my work,
and watched TV until I fell asleep on the couch,
and played with my cat,
and sat in the woods and painted the sunset,
and... and... and... and... You don't ever stop being and doing. I feel like I drift back and forth over the line of what is real and what is not real. I used to think that time is a pretator that stalks all through life, however now I see time as a compannion on our journey through this life and what we leave behind is not as important as how we lived.

Although fast, 2008 was a good year. I did alot of growing, and alot of healing. It's left me in some sort of "slump" tho that I can't see to get out of. I don't even know how to describe it. I just feel bla, maybe its the time of the year, maybe it's the fact that I'm back to work again now... Who knows... My creativity still kinda fades in and out, and when its in, my ambition is out. I just can't seem to get the two to match up. Even now, I am struggling for things to write, you'd think that after a month "vacation" from blogging I'd have LOTS to say... I do have lots to say, I just don't know how to organize it. You can probaby tell my thoughts are very random. lol
I can't fathom what this new year has in it's pockets. I don't want to know. I really don't. I am not much of a planner.I am ready for anything. I just want to be positive and healthy and joyful and optimistic and vital and faithful and kind. I just want to be all that I can be. I want to keep standing. I want to be brave and good. I want to believe that anything is within my grasp and that anything can happen. It can all go good. Life is a dream and I am the dreamer.

Ps. Did I mention that I'm BACK? I wanted to thank everyone as well for the messages you've all left me here and on Bohemian Moms blog too! I really appreciate all your kind words. I have been marked again as a "spam" blog, but at least this time they are letting me post, I just have to enter one of those stupid security codes before I hit the publish button. Some people are just jerks, what can I say? Life keeps a balance...
Until next time,
Embrace the Journey,
Bret =)
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