Lazy, Crazy Days

 

lush & green wallpaper

Yes.  It’s finally here.  Summer.  In Canada, “summer” has special meaning.  Here, we like to cram t-shirt and sandals activities into a time frame of approximately mid-May to Mid September.  In other areas, farther south, they can take their lazy time with the same activities, starting January 1st and ending December 31st.

Don’t misunderstand me – I’m not being jealous, or bitter, or envious or anything, I’m just explaining how Canadians deal with summer.  Here’s how:  we play it to the hilt!  Every day is really, really precious and exciting!  Every blue sky, sun-drenched day is priceless!  And make no mistake, Canadian summers are really breathtaking!  We don’t have time for our grass to go brown, (well, maybe sometimes in a particularly hot August, but hardly ever.)  Everything pretty well stays lush and green…

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with amazing arrays of flowers and flowering shrubs.

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This is the time we fit in as much activity as possible: volleyball, tennis, bocchia, lawn bowling, gliding, hiking, adventure racing, backpacking, cycling, camping, canoeing, caving, fishing, horseback riding, hunting, kayaking, mountaineering, photography, adventure park, rock climbing, running, sailing, water skiing, surfing, rafting, hill walking, water polo, trekking, bird-watching, amusement park…

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snorkeling, scuba diving, ballooning, Safari park, mountain biking, para-sailing, flying, dog parking, metal detecting, beach crowding, motorcycling, bungee jumping, tree climbing, windsurfing, picnicking, sightseeing, mushroom hunting, clam digging, swimming, canyoning, field tripping, skeet and target shooting, foresting:  in general – getting acquainted with the sun, wind and fresh, warm air again.

www.dennyzen.com summer-act

Or – maybe just the hammock…..

Girl in the Hammock -Winslow Homer (wikimedia commons)

Girl in the Hammock -Winslow Homer (wikimedia commons)

I have a solution to enable Canadians to  get the very, very most out of the summer season.  I think sometimes we take our two-or-three-week vacations entirely too seriously.  Yes, we should have them, granted.  We’ve certainly craved them, and probably earned them, but there’s more!  Instead of waiting all year for those precious free-from-work days where we trip off to the Algonquin area, or Barry’s Bay, or Collingwood, Lake Simcoe, Muskoka, Magnetawan, Georgian Bay, Haliburton, Huntsville, Kawartha, for a frantic few days, –

Muskoka Sunset, Flickr - Ed Nutt

Muskoka Sunset, Flickr – Ed Nutt

we can do all that, yes, but here’s something else to think about…..

In those two or three week periods, it usually takes at least five days to give your mind and body time to wind down enough that you can actually begin to look around you and start to enjoy what you see.  That time lasts for about a week or so, and then the anxiety factor creeps back in.  How many days do I have left?  When you realize you can’t fit in all the things you planned to do in those few days you have, you create even more anxiety,  starting and ending the vacation with a tight, tense feeling, instead of a relaxed high.

planning

So – why not take planned mini-vacations many times a year instead? By taking regular breaks throughout the year to augment summer vacations, it can make a world of difference to the health of your mind and body.  For instance…… what if you took two (or three) single weeks instead of taking them consecutively?  For starters, you could have a week in the summer, a week in the winter (or two).  That way, all the work you left behind which your substitute was going to cover for you – but didn’t – wouldn’t still be there when you got back.  Or at least, the pile would be smaller, because your time away was shorter. You also realize your vacation isn’t ended – you still have a week (or two) coming up – no anxiety.

Next, you calculate all the single holidays we have in Canada – there’s quite a list, depending on where you live.

Nationwide
New Year’s Day, (January 1)
Good Friday (except Quebec) the Friday before Easter Sunday
Victoria Day (National Patriotes Day in Quebec) on the Monday preceding May 25th (except New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland),
Canada Day (July 1)
Labour Day (First Monday of September)
Thanksgiving (Second Monday in October – except New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland)
Remembrance Day (November 11) except Ontario, Qubec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland)
Christmas Day (December 25)

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Regional
Islander Day (3rd Monday in February – in Prince Edward Island)
Family Day (3rd Monday in February, second in BC) in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario
Louis Riel Day (3rd Monday in February) in Manitoba
St Patrick’s Day (March 17th) in Newfoundland
Easter Monday (Monday after Easter Sunday) in Quebec
St. George’s Day (April 23) in Newfoundland
National Aboriginal Day (June 21) in Northwest Territories
Féte Nationale (St. Jean Baptiste Day) – June 24 in Quebec
Discovery Day (June 24) in Newfoundland
Nunavut Day (July 9) in Northwest Territories
Civic Holiday (first Monday in August) in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nunavut
Boxing Day (December 26) in Ontario

Other time off can include saved-up “sick days”, or personal days (personal time off) which many companies allot and which can usually be accumulated.  So why not take some of those extra paid holidays and stretch them into long weekends?

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A five-day cruise is a wonderful thing!  Any five days in the sun when it’s winter at home can be a life-saving remedy for winter doldrums.

Norwegian Pearl mini-suite with balcony

Norwegian Pearl mini-suite with balcony

In the summer, being in another country can be exciting too – like a trip to Italy, Spain, the UK, Japan, Australia, Ireland…. (how about a whiskey tour in Scotland, hmmm? just sayin’)

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….in the winter the beaches in Florida, Hawaii California or Costa Rica can beckon us to take a break from snow shoveling.

Fiji summer wallpaper

Because our business kept us busy, my husband and I expanded many, many weekends into “mini vacations” which were refreshing and exciting and jam-packed full of things to do (or not do, depending on the mood).  Because we were our own employers, we chose what would have been our summer vacation this way.  During that time we would zero in on an area in Canada or the US that was having a festival or had a regional flavour not found anywhere else.

To illustrate what I mean – pick a state (any state) – such as Iowa.

Where is Iowa located?

Check out what alluring, interesting events happen there, and zero in on a destination of your choice.

Boone, Iowa hosts a biennial Farm Progress Show, is home to the Mamie Doud Eisenhower Museum, the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad, and Ledges State Park. (Incidentally, BSVY #6540, is a former Canadian National Railway GMD FP9 with CNW markings – a hands-across-the-border link to Canada.)

BSVRR BSVY#6540 former Cdn. Natl Railway GMD FP9 with CNW markings

The Meskwaki Settlement west of Tama is the only American Indian settlement in Iowa and is host to a large annual Pow-wow.

Meskwaki Annual Powwow Assn copyrite meskwakipowwow@gmail.com

In Madison County is the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset.

John Wayne Birthplace Museum

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art has collections of paintings by Grant Wood and Marvin Cone. It’s also home to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. Davenport boasts the Figge Art Museum, the River Music Experience…

The Redstone Building Home of the River Music Experience, Davenport, Iowa

The Redstone Building Home of the River Music Experience, Davenport, Iowa

and the Putnam Museum, Davenport Skybridge, Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Quad Cities, and plays host to the annual Bix Beiderbeck Memorial Jazz Festival…

Bix Bkeiderbecke

and the Quad City Air Show.

Quad City Air Show, Davenport, Iowa

Quad City Air Show, Davenport, Iowa

There are several resort areas such as Spirit Lake, Arnolds Park (having one of the oldest amusement parks in the country)  and the Okoboji Lakes.  Fort Dodge has the Fort Museum and Frontier Village.  Dyersville is home to the famed Field of Dreams baseball diamond from the movie of the same name…

"Field of Dreams", Dyersville, Dubuque County, Iowa

“Field of Dreams”, Dyersville, Dubuque County, Iowa

and the Maquoketa Caves State Park contains more caves than any other state park.

But Iowa is also the number one producer of corn in the US, and hogs, and chicken eggs. In 1872 the Red Delicious apple was discovered in an Iowa Orchard, and is now found in nearly every produce section of grocery stores in North America.

Red Delicious Apples

Red Delicious Apples

So Iowa’s food could become an enticement for you too – a little research will bring up the best places to go, then just center your weekend around that area. Those are only a few of Iowa’s attractions.  It’s so exciting to see new places, experience new things.  See what fun you could have in Iowa on an extended weekend?  C’mon, confess – before today it probably never crossed your mind, right?  (Unless you’re explorers like we are.)

I picked Iowa randomly – it is one of 48 states we were fortunate enough to visit together – for one of our mini-vacations.  I calculate we had roughly twelve – sometimes fourteen mini-vacations every year.  We tried to make them five days, but sometimes took four — all of them lazy, relaxed days. All of them providing priceless experiences and memories.

All of them making work just a bridge between vacations!

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 I trekked back into my older poetry books looking for something about vacations, and found a poem which could illustrate the Ultimate Vacation.  It was written by the youthful me, wondering what it would be like to travel to the stars.  At that time, we hadn’t even sent a rocket into space, so this poem illustrates that one invaluable commodity a writer must have – imagination.

 THE STARS MY DESTINY

If it were in our hands to choose
The time for birth – the time to die –
I’d wish my destiny to be
When Man controls the farthest sky!

Someday, somehow, I know, will go
Beyond the bounds of time and place,
A restless few who cannot stop
Until the very end of space.

This pod of mine is rooted here,
And only Earth will know its deeds.
My final planting here will be —
But ah! My seeds!  My seeds!

Someday a part of me will gaze
On unfamiliar shore and hill;
O! restless spirit, patience yet —
O! yearning, wandering heart, be still!

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

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Hi again! It’s the “daughter” signing in with a few songs for those hot “Dog Days” of summer coming up. As usual I’ve posted songs or artists that represent some special memory or meaning for me, and tie-in with the theme of Mom’s blog.  Hopefully you’ll enjoy them too.

Connie Francis (b.12/12/38-) is an American pop singer of Italian heritage and the top-charting female vocalist of the late-1950s and early-1960s who has remained a top concert draw and is still active as a recording and performing artist. (wiki)

1962 – To get the “beach” ball rolling, here’s Connie Francis belting out a popular sixties summer song “V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N” (vanderbeer/YouTube)

Nat King Cole (b.3/17/19 – d.2/15/65) was an American singer and musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He was widely noted for his soft, baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres. He was one of the first African Americans to host a television variety show, The Nat King Cole Show, and has continued to maintain worldwide popularity since his death.(wiki)

1963Nat King Cole performs one of his biggest hits, and one of my favourite old summertime songs, “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer” live on BBC TV (the ladies singing live back-up are a bit more operatic sounding than the recorded voices I’m used to listening to!) – (Johnny Brown/YouTube)

The Lovin’ Spoonful is an American rock band of the 1960s, named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. When asked about his band, leader John Sebastian said it sounded like a combination of “Mississippi John Hurt and Chuck Berry”, prompting his friend, Fritz Richmond, to suggest the name “Lovin’ Spoonful” from a line in Hurt’s song, “Coffee Blues”.(wiki)

(This band had a tie-in to Canada as the lead guitarist, Zalman “Zal” Yanovsky (b.12/19/44-d.12/13/02), was born right here in Toronto!)

1966 – Enjoy with me a TV performance by The Lovin’ Spoonful of a song that’s special to me, “Summer In The City” (DiscoBar80/ YouTube)

Mungo Jerry is a British rock group fronted by Ray Dorset, whose greatest success was in the early 1970s. They are remembered above all for their hit “In the Summertime”. It remains their most successful and most instantly recognizable song. Their name was inspired by the poem “Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer”, from T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. (wiki)

1970 – Listen to Mungo Jerry performing “In The Summertime”  and I bet you won’t be able to keep your toes from tapping along! – (Hits70s/YouTube)

The Go-Go’s are an all-female American rock band formed in 1978 who rose to fame during the early 1980s.. They made history as the first, and to date only, all-female band that both wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, is considered one of the “cornerstone albums of (US) new wave” (Allmusic), breaking barriers and paving the way for a host of other new American acts.(wiki)

1982 – Let’s take a nostalgic look back at what I affectionately refer to as an 80’s “Big Hair” band, The Go-Go’s, singing “Vacation” (emimusic/YouTube)

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, known by her stage name Lana Del Rey (b. 6/21/85-) is an American singer-songwriter who started songwriting at the age of 18 and signed her first recording contract in 2007. Del Rey’s music has been noted for its cinematic sound and its references to various aspects of pop culture, particularly that of the 1950s and 1960s Americana. The singer has described herself as a “self-styled gangsta Nancy Sinatra”.(wiki)

2013 – Lastly, here’s a current favourite of mine, Lana Del Rey, performing her version of “Summer Wine” (sung with Barrie-James O’Neill) originally recorded by Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood in 1967 – (Lana Del Ray/YouTube)

Wolverine-Drawing-by-C.G.Pritchard-Hall-&-Keson,-1959)

Wolverine-Drawing-by-C.G.Pritchard-Hall-&-Keson,-1959)

THE MIGHTY WOLVERINE

Because there are an estimated 20,000 or more of them in our Great Northlands, but only an estimated 700 in the USA, and low populations in Europe, China and Russia, I like to think of  the mysterious wolverine as being primarily Canadian. The Canadian provinces and Alaska state have the most stable and largest concentration worldwide. So let’s call him “The Mighty Canadian Wolverine”.  Many people are devoted now to the study of the fascinating wolverine, and up until recently, most information on him was scanty, and not totally accurate. I’d like to share with you what I’ve found out about this wonderful creature.

Wolverine, Arctic Interagency Visitor Center, Coldfoot

Wolverine, Arctic Interagency Visitor Center, Coldfoot

He is classified as Gulo gull which in Latin means roughly “gluttonous glutton”.  He has a hearty appetite, eats with gusto, even finishing off the bones and teeth of his prey.  His teeth and jaws are so powerful he can bite through a totally frozen carcass with ease.  Imagine taking a solidly frozen roast from the freezer (bone in) and trying to munch on it.  Child’s play for the Canadian wolverine!

Wolverine (Gulo) Global Distribution (Wikimedia)

Wolverine (Gulo) Global Distribution (Wikimedia)

For a mighty critter like him, the wolverine is actually quite small, like a medium-sized dog, but still the largest land-dwelling species of the Weasel family. He looks like a powerful, stocky little bear, muscular, furry, with a thick body, short legs, small rounded ears, broad flat head, little beady black eyes, arched back and a foot-long bushy tail.  He weighs in from 30 – 55 lbs, is up to 4 feet long (including the tail), the male being about 1/4 larger than the female.  In winter, his coat becomes dense and long, his large feet covered with stiff hair, helping him walk or run easily on snow.  The oily dark brown to black fur has light brown to yellowish stripes running from each shoulder along the flanks. There are sometimes white markings on chest and throat, or a light-silvery facial mask.  His fur is resistant to frost, (frost just brushes off) making it a popular lining in jackets and parkas in Arctic conditions, which is one reason its population numbers have dwindled worldwide, except for Canada and Alaska.

Wolverine On Rock (Wiki Seve Kroschel)

Wolverine On Rock (Wiki Seve Kroschel)

The Innu people of eastern Québec and Labrador called him Kuekuatsheu, known as a trickster and a hero at the same time. Kuekuatsheu built a big boat, putting all the species of animals in it, and when there was a great flood, he made an island of rocks and mud, which became the world. So he was in their folklore the creator of the world.

Wolverine Tracks on Snow

Wolverine Tracks on Snow

He is an omnivore – eating whatever he can find from nuts, roots, seeds, insects, berries, even greens at times, to small animals and nesting birds and their eggs, up to medium and big game.  He’s great for the landscape, because he eats mostly carrion, and constantly scours his 500-600 square mile territory (30 to 40 miles a day) searching for fresh or old kills, eating every bit of them, and leaving a clean scene. He has an extremely keen sense of smell, being able to sniff out dead meat two miles away, or under 50 feet of snow.  His powerful claws can easily dig down deep to find deer, elk or moose buried by avalanches or trapped in deep snow.  He can drag carcasses up to five times his own weight to a cache site, where he will return and devour every scrap.  Sort of like nature’s super street sweeper.  He will boldly steal a carcass from another predator larger then himself, because when it comes to getting fed, he considers “Me – first, last and always!” as his motto.

Wolverine, Kristiansand Zoo, Norway waiting for his meal (Flickr Lukasz Lukomski)

Wolverine, Kristiansand Zoo, Norway waiting for his meal (Flickr Lukasz Lukomski)

For his size, he is the strongest of all mammals.  He is absolutely without fear, showing courage and tenacity beyond belief.  Cougars, lynx, wolves and grizzlies are known to relinquish a freshly-killed carcass to him. Once he is in a conflict, it is “win or die” with him, although he is extremely cautious to enter a fray, always in ready-mode to run from perceived danger. He won’t back down from a fight, pursuing victory against all odds, and usually winning. Because he is intelligent and cunning, his thievery can be crafty and ingenious, sometimes stalking his prey while it eats or rests, taking small quiet steps, hiding, before making a quick final spurt to bite and kill. (Korzhechkin, 2005).

Wolverine Paw Tracks

Wolverine Paw Tracks

Jeff Copeland of the U.S. Forest Service who studies wolverines in Glacier National Park, says the wolverine embodies the image of wilderness.  “We see the grizzly as defining wilderness, but they can’t stay away from our garbage cans,” he says. “Wolverines don’t get in our garbage or go after our livestock.  They stay far away,” avoiding humans.

Wolverine Photo by Norton

Wolverine Photo by Norton

He’s a solitary, tireless journeyman. His incredible claws enable him to easily climb trees, and to be an amazing mountaineer, with no landscape posing a challenge to him.  Jeff Copeland once watched a male wolverine climb 5,000 vertical feel on Mount Cleveland in about 90 minutes. His claws can also tenaciously hold onto prey, as in one account clinging to the throat of a polar bear until it suffocated.

Wolverine (Wiki Zefram)

Wolverine (Wiki Zefram)

Although he’s a solitary traveler, he’s also a family man too. “Reproduction is by delayed implantation.  Females breed in summer, but the embryos don’t implant for several months, finally developing into fetuses in early winter, with birth taking place a few months later in late January through April.” (Montana Outdoors) So the female can decide when her kits are born.  Up to five kits are born in rocks, hollow trees or in deep tunnels built into the snow, and they are weaned and ready to go after two months, staying with Mom Wolverine a year or two, with Dad Wolverine coming for visits from time to time. Recent information reveals that the males will form lifetime relationships with two or three females, visiting them occasionally, although some males never have a mate.  Father makes visits to his offspring until they are weaned and some kits reconnect with their father at about six months, travelling with him for a time, with Dad teaching them the ropes.

Wolverine (Matthias Kabel)

Wolverine (Matthias Kabel)


A 1994 movie, “Running Free” (also known as “One Paw”) is about a young boy and his friendship with an Alaskan wolverine.  The first full-length documentary about them was called “Wolverines – Hyenas Of The North”, produced in 2006 by German Gulo Films for German TV, and has been broadcast in many countries as “Wolverine X” or “Wolverine Revealed”, and in the US as an episode of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.  It has won more than 20 international festival awards and nominations.

Here is a great YouTube video called “The Wolverine Whisperer” which will give you a wonderful view of two tamed wolverine kits. I found it fascinating, and very informative, and I hope you will take the time to watch.  It’s a one hour documentary, so please come back to continue visiting my blog once you’ve watched it.

There is also a series of six videos showing a 2013 Canadian Alberta wolverine tracking project, showing the building of a special trap (they’re too smart for ordinary traps), how it works, various visitors to the trap – including wolverines, but also showing an ermine, marten, fisher and a wolf, how they gently treat the wolverine, wake him up, let him go, and examining what great clean-up artists they are at a kill site.  You can see these videos by clicking The Wolverine Foundation’s website link below. Once there, scroll down to “On The Wolverine Trail” and click Chapters 1 through 6.

http://wolverinefoundation.org/news .

We need to know more about him to keep this incredible critter around, so that the wolverine is not only safe in Canada but in the U.S., Europe and China as well.

Wolverine from PBS's Nature - Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom

Wolverine from PBS’s Nature – Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom

Hope you’ve had an enjoyable visit — come back again and see what’s in the other blogs….. (some neat stuff!)

Waving ‘bye!  …. ej

 

 

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Super Mom

SUPER MOM

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I know, I know…. you all think YOUR Mom is The Super Mom, and that’s as it should be.  But what can I say?  I actually had a Super Duper Mom, and how many of you can say YOUR Mom was mom to over 100 children? Mine was.

When I was a child, my Mom was the Neighbourhood organizer at all birthday parties and events where children were gathered.  These events were always successes because my Mom knew How to Organize Children.  It was built into her gene structure.  Children automatically obeyed her, but adored her while they were doing so.  She was a female Pied Piper when leading children into the ways they should go – willingly.

Pied_Piper2

I always wondered why my friends would do absolutely anything my mother wanted them to do, and so willingly – because I had a genetic disposition to resist authority wherever possible, and was not always in step with the marching crowd surrounding my Mom.  My Auntie, sister to my Mom, gave me some insight into the secret of Mom’s success, which apparently began when Mom was a child herself.

When in a junior grade, Mom wrote an essay on what she wanted to be when she grew up, the gist of it being that she wanted to have 100 children, with no fathers around to get in the way.  My mother had a good command of words, and her essay was apparently superb, received excellent marks – but wasn’t posted on the bulletin board for Parent’s Night perusal, because of the “no fathers” stipulation, I assume.  Still, it caused a lifetime directional change.

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She always wanted to be a mother, and didn’t waver from her motherly disposition  her whole life.  But I only had three siblings, and that left her about 96 short of her ultimate goal.  Being the Super Mom that she was, there had to be a solution to her problem – and she found it.

She began fostering children from The Children’s Aid Society.  At first they arrived one at a time – adorable little babies who would be part of our family for weeks or months, and then they would be adopted out to a deserving family, and Mom would make a place for a new arrival.  It became apparent that not only did my Super Mom want to care for these children as though they were her own, (which I suppose they always were, to her), but she wanted even more of a challenge. She became known as a Foster Mom who was especially capable of caring for children that were not easy to care for, mentally or physically, and her role changed.  Not only did she become Mom to children with problems, she sometimes had more than one at a time to be cared for.  She handled them with her almost magical hands and mind, so that they joined her ever-increasing army of Super Mom Adorers.  Unadoptable children became adoptable.  Unhappy, angry children became sweetly agreeable.  Stubborn children became pleasantly passive.  It was as if they were all brushed with Super Mom Fairy Dust.

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Year after year went by, and even though Super Mom moved to another city, special arrangements were made for one of the children to go with her into another county (they changed the legal procedure), because no one else could get through to that child.  Through her patience and understanding, that little girl, who had been with Mom for four years, since she was two, and who had been written off as “mentally challenged” not only was adopted into a great family, but became valedictorian of her graduating class.  Because my Super Mom’s role also contained a Super Educator Hat as well.

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My Dad was working long hours and many times on the road, so Mom had free reign over the daily routine of bringing up children.  At one time, my husband and child and I spent a few months living with Mom and Dad while settling into a new life, and my child became part of Super Mom’s Army (where she remained steadfastly throughout the years).  At the same time, one of my brothers had a temporary job loss so he and his family, wife and three children, also joined the retinue for several months. Mom just rolled up her sleeves and added three more adoring children into the crowd. Her gang at that time consisted of two 14-month old identical twin boys, one with a severe asthmatic condition, and a three-month old little girl, as well as the six-year-old girl who had followed her to their new home.  8 in all, as I recall, plus giving day-care to a little boy of 3 whose parents both worked.  And through it all, Super Mom’s household was neat as a pin and clean, with meals served on time, and every hour of the day organized and correct. How she managed to do all this caring and still have time to read stories, help with homework, and change a tire on the car is beyond me!

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Every summer, Super Mom became Super Grand Mom too, as the grandchildren eagerly applied to be summer guests at her house.  Where better to spend their vacation than with their best-friend imaginative mentor, who opened up new worlds of what-ifs and I-cans?

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There came a time, when my Dad was ready to retire, that he cautiously mentioned that it might be nice for him to have Super Mom all to himself.  After all, he reasoned, her dream had been fulfilled.  At that point she had tended to well over a hundred children, all successfully placed into adoptive homes, or back into their natural homes, and there hadn’t been one father there to bother Mom with their upbringing and care.

It must have been hard for Super Mom to take voluntary retirement, but she finally agreed that it might be nice to spend time with her childhood sweetheart, take trips with him and get into gardening and other interests they shared.  But there was a stipulation, of course, that home would always be the place where neighbourhood children and her own grandchildren could gather.  As often as possible, of course.  And they did, of course.  My Super Mom.

Old-Woman-Who-Lived-in-a-Shoe

INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL ART

In my Artist’s Section this post, I want to show you the wonderful work of a special artist named Sherry Anne Albi, who lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

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About Sherry……

Sherry was brought up in a small town in Northern Ontario, with her parents, her grandmother, and five siblings.  The long winters gave her time to learn skills from her grandmothers and mother, which she uses today — knitting, crocheting, sewing, painting, drawing.  Her father was a renowned artist who painted with passion until the day he passed away.  Her mother is also a painter, and continues to paint in her senior years.  Sherry developed her own creative passion for lifelike baby dolls, and her art is centred in her “Forever Wee Ones.”

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These babies are NOT recommended for children – the life-like babies are family treasures to be handed down from one generation to the next.

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Babies are painted with durable, non-fading paint, which never rubs off.  Skin tones are realistic, like a new-born baby.  She uses a matte finish.  sherry uses mohair, resembling the fine hair of a baby, with hair being rooted one hair at a time, using the smallest needle available on the market.

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The eyes are blue-grey or a rich brown, for opened-eyed babies.

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Sherry makes all the bodies herself, with double-stitched seams, and doe-suede for the bodies.

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Babies are weighted with the tiniest of glass beads, so amall you won’t feel them, only the weight, and babies are weighed realistically to their size and age.

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No babies are under 5.5 lbs.  The body is signed and dated by Sherry (on their little tushy).

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Supplied with the baby – an outfit, undershirt with matching bib, hat and scratch mittens, socks, diaper, knitted or crocheted outfit (sweater, booties, bonnet) a blanket, pajamas for night time, and a birth certificate with baby’s picture on it is supplied.

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Some of Sherry’s babies have achieved stardom.  Henry has done a commercial for a well-known department store (and he is still available for adoption.)  Kyle just finished a photo shoot for a major television network, and many of her babies have been shown in articles in Discover dolls magazine, and The Toronto Star, etc.

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Babies shown above are samples of some “adopted” babies.  Here’s a little guy who is waiting to be adopted….

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Want to see more? Here’s the link to Sherry’s website: Forever Wee Ones

‘Nuff said.

 

 

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“When God Created Mothers”

by Erma Bombeck

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.

“One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

“God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”

“I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

“But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can it think?”

“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

“There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

“You are a genius,” said the angel.

Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”

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What Others Say About Moms

–  There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child – and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own.  (Robert Brault)
–  A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.  (Tenneva Jordan)
–  All mothers are working mothers.  (unknown)
–  The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.  (Rajneesh)
–  Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together.  (Pearl S Buck)
–  Sweater: n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.  (Ambrose Bierce)
–  The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.  (Honoré de Balzac)
–  If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?  (Milton Berle)
–  Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible. (Marion C. Garretty)
–  Mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled.  (Emily Dickinson)
–  A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us;  when adversity takes the place of prosperity;  when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us;  when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hears.  (Washington Irving)
–  Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease.  (Lisa Alther)
–  That best academy, a mother’s knee.  (James Russell Lowell)
–  A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.  (unknown)
–  You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool mom.  (unknown)
–  Mother’s love grows by giving.  (Charles Lamb)
–  All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.   (Abraham Lincoln)
–  God could not be everywhere, so He created mothers.  (Jewish Proverb)
–  The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. (W R Wallace)

 

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Mother, My Friend

When I have troubles
that come to my door,
I count all my blessings,
for they are much more.

And the best blessing
that I hold on to,
My mother, my friend,
I always have you.

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

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Mom

A drop of rain,
another,
many, many more.

A rill,
a brook,
a stream,
a rushing torrent,
a mighty river!

Lakes!

Oceans!

O !  Feel how much I love you  !

© E Joyce Finn/Collie

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My daughter has chosen a few songs as tributes to her Mom (that would be me), her Grandmothers and to all Mothers out there. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Connie Francis – “Mama”

Connie Francis (born Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero, December 12, 1938in Newark, New Jersey,) is an American pop singer of Italian heritage and the top-charting female vocalist of the late-1950s and early-1960s. Although her chart success waned in the second half of the 1960s, Francis remained a top concert draw. Despite several severe interruptions in her career, she is still active as a recording and performing artist. Following an idea of her father, Francis traveled to London in August 1959 to record an Italian album at EMI’s famous Abbey Road Studios, entitled Connie Francis sings Italian Favorites. The album was released in November 1959. Soon after it entered the album charts where it remained for 81 weeks, peaking at # 4. It remains to this day Francis’ most successful album release. The subsequent single culled from this album, “Mama”, reached # 8 in the United States and # 2 in the United Kingdom. (Wikipedia)

1959 – Reminisce with this black and white TV performance by Connie Francis singing “Mama”, in both Italian and English –  (from John1948ThreeB1a on YouTube)

 

Celine Dion – “A Mother’s Prayer”

Céline Dion, CC OQ ChLD (born 30 March 1968) is a Canadian singer. Born into a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and future husband René Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record. In 1990, she released the English-language album Unison, establishing herself as a viable pop artist in North America and other English-speaking areas of the world. Dion’s music has been influenced by genres ranging from rock and R&B to gospel and classical. Her recordings are mainly in French and English, although she also sings in Spanish, Italian, German, Latin, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. Dion has won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year for Falling Into You and Record of the Year for “My Heart Will Go On”. She is the second best-selling female artist in the US during the Nielsen SoundScan era, with her albums Falling Into You and Let’s Talk About Love both certified Diamond in the US, and is the only female artist to have two singles sell more than a million copies in the UK. In addition, her 1995 album D’eux, is the best-selling French-language album of all time.In 2004, after surpassing 175 million in album sales worldwide, she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards for becoming the best-selling female artist of all time. Dion remains the best-selling Canadian artist of all time with record sales of more than 200 million copies worldwide. (Wikipedia)

2004Celine Dion performs “A Mother’s Prayer” live on Oprah’s show, accompanied on piano by Canada’s own David Foster – (from CelineDionGreece on YouTube)

 

Carrie Underwood – “Mama’s Song”

Carrie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American country music singer, songwriter, and actress, described by music critics as Country Music’s reigning Queen. She rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. Underwood has since become a multi-platinum selling recording artist. She is a winner of six Grammy Awards, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, seven American Music Awards, and eleven Academy of Country Music Awards. As a songwriter, she has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Underwood is also a two-time winner of the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year award and the first woman to win such an award twice (2009/10). Underwood was inducted into and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. She was also inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009. (Wikipedia)

2010 – Here is Carrie’s lovely video of  “Mama’s Song” – (from carrieunderwoodVEVO on YouTube)

 

Il Divo – “Mama”

Il Divo is an English multinational operatic pop vocal group created by music manager Simon Cowell. Formed in the United Kingdom, they are signed to Cowell’s record label, Syco Music. Il Divo is a group of four male singers: French pop singer Sébastien Izambard, Spanish baritone Carlos Marín, American tenor David Miller, and Swiss tenor Urs Bühler. To date, they have sold more than 26 million albums worldwide. Il Divo sings in Spanish, English, Italian, French and Latin. (wikipedia). Il Divo put a fresh face on popular songs, utilizing their exceptional voices, good looks, and cultural diversity to bring their romantic blend of classical and pop music to audiences around the world. (James C. Monger – Rovi)

2011 – Please watch this wonderful live performance of Il Divo singing “Mama” –  (from GreatLiveMusicals on YouTube)

 Leah West – “Guardian Angel”

Leah West is Canada’s newest Indie-Pop Sensation. Leah West is the winner of the 2011 BCIMA “People’s Choice Award” and she was also nominated for 3 other awards, including “Songwriter of the Year” “Single of the Year” and “Pop/Contemporary Recording of the Year”. Leah’s songs are currently playing on both major and indie radio. Leah West is a Canadian-American Singer-Songwriter who grew up in New Jersey, near New York City. “It is a huge melting pot of culture and it was a great place to grow up and be surrounded by fabulous music and entertainment from all over the world.” Leah moved to Kelowna, BC, Canada in 2005 to immerse herself in the vibrant Canadian music scene. She travels extensively, but calls Kelowna, BC, Canada home.(Sonicbids)

2012 – This is Leah West’s ode to Mothers everywhere “Guardian Angel” – (from Ken Herft Jr on YouTube)

 

The Mamas and the Papas

Although this group doesn’t fit into a category of “songs for Mothers”,  their band title certainly is appropriate. The song I’ve picked could very easily be “dedicated” to Mom as well…

The Mamas and The Papas were an American folk rock vocal group that recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, reuniting briefly in 1971. They released five studio albums and seventeen singles, six of which made the top ten, and sold close to 40 million records worldwide. The group comprised John Phillips (1935–2001), Canadian Denny Doherty (1940–2007), Cass Elliot (1941–1974), and Michelle Phillips née Gilliam (b. 1944). Their sound was based on vocal harmonies arranged by John Phillips, the songwriter, musician, and leader of the group who adapted folk to the new beat style of the early sixties. (Wikipedia). The leading California-based vocal group of the ’60s, the Mamas & the Papas epitomized the ethos of the mid- to late-’60s pop culture: live free, play free, and love free. Their music, built around radiant harmonies and a solid electric folk foundation, was gorgeous on its own terms, but a major part of its appeal lay in the easygoing southern California lifestyle it endorsed. The group’s success was as extraordinary as it was brief. (Bruce Eder-AllMusic)

1967 – Here is a video of “Dedicated To The One I Love” with snapshots of The Mamas and The Papas – (from msknowitall96 on YouTube)

 

Paws for Awhile

We humans aren’t the only ones who love our families. Please sit back and enjoy “A Mother’s Love”. It’s a very sweet and touching video of animal mothers and their offspring – (from Jeannetter K on YouTube)

 

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FINAL NOTE:  Working on “The Beaches”…… coming soon.

‘Ta-ta for now”….. EJ.