Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Pack Rats boots....

For the last few months, one of my biggest challenges has been trying to de-clutter our house.

I've got quite a bit of old crap in miscellaneous boxes but I also have the odd bit that I want to keep and some that needs to go to the 'adult' kids. A big job for the three of us is to take a weekend, to go through our basement and sort things into piles: Donation, Yard Sale and Garbage. It's going to be a big job but the biggest of it all belongs to my husband. I call him the Pack-rat.

What's funny; at least to me, is that he was born under the Chinese sign of the Rat. He LOVES cheese and; he's tiny and cute like a rat, not to mention his incredible intelligence. But I've been saying for a few years that there was a reason I didn't see his room until he was almost completely moved in with me. I cannot believe what this man holds onto.

Now keeping in mind that he's not only a complete geek; Barry has also spent 17 years in the Canadian Reserves. I remember when I used to trip over his 100 foot antenna. 
He really is a one of a kind.

When I first met Barry, he always wore the most UGLY and old construction boots that were never tied and always looked like they should have been trashed years ago. Even when we were to visit his parents, he was told to leave those things at the door while I was encouraged to leave my shoes on.

A year or two back, Barry got himself a new pair of boots. It's not taking them too long to start taking on the look of his old pair. He wears them everywhere; unless it's not appropriate.

But he won't part with the old pair. They have some kind of meaning. Are all men like this??? I mean afterall, those are the boots he wore when he worked on the original 407 project. For all the jobs he's done, there are so many memories in them. So he makes excuses to hold onto them. "They may come in handy some time....afterall so many years ago, I cut out a piece for something to do with Drew's Drums...therefore, you just never know.

This year, I decided to put my creativity to work. It's a strange kind of year where there's very little, if anything that I want to put into my garden. Our life seems to be hanging on one of those cliffs and I'm looking to see what direction we're meant to go. 

In the meantime, I've had my seedlings growing inside of my home. I put two and two together and viola...

A use for both my husbands old boots and a couple of my seedlings....
This one now holds catnip. Being a perennial, I look forward to watching it grow around the boot.  
I can hardly wait to see his face when this one starts to bloom. It's a butterfly flower.
It's just one idea of many. For those of you who  are dealing with clutter or have dealt with it, I'd love to hear about your ideas. Or pop in once in a while to learn about some more.

Oh...and the best part??? He hasn't noticed them yet, muah-ha-ha-ha  ;) I have to laugh because as I'm closing and my husband is completely oblivious a few feet from me. And I'm listening to non other than "Modest Mouse...I think I smell a rat".

It's been a slice  ;)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saying Goodbye Creatively...

There's an old expression I've never liked: "there are two thing you can count on...death and taxes". I don't really mind the taxes so much but I can honestly say, I've had enough of death.
I guess that's how it seems to go as we age but it's so damned painful. I believe our soul lives on in some way. Some people may refer to heaven or hell or an energy of sorts. I feel certain in my beliefs that our loved ones haven't really left us completely. And I also believe we will meet again. Of course there are those who do not believe that at all and I would never consider it my job to change what somebody else believes in.

As I'm hitting fifty this year, death has become something I feel even more strongly about. Or maybe it's just that there's been so much of it. 

What I find most intriguing is the many different traditions that we, as humans, hold. Options have become more varied and a service can be a final reflection of who we were in our human form.

There's even a company out there who claims to make a diamond out of your ashes. So much to choose from.

This time last year, we lost a dear friend. Susan was witty, colourful, and cared very much about nature. Due to her environmental concerns, Susan decided to be buried in a plain, pine box...very much as was done in the past. 

I did say that Susan was very colourful, yes??? We couldn't have her buried in such a plain looking box. The solution???

Environmentally friendly paints and a wonderful group of friends who were happy to provide Susan with all the colours of the rainbow.  The experience was incredible and when we were all finished, the plain, pine box was plain no more.

My Father-in-law recently passed away. He didn't have any real religious beliefs but my sister-in-law, who is in the Canadian Forces, as well as her husband, arranged to have their padre meet us at the cemetery today to say some words for my father-in-law. It was wonderful how she had the most wonderful readings and phrases that seemed to fit all of us.

It was a small, family affair and we also wanted to do something that we knew he would appreciate. 

My father-in-law always loved his brandy. My husband bought it for him every birthday. He never had the opportunity to open his newest bottle. So we brought it to him.

My husband poured some brandy into a flask. I brought my Quaich, or as my sister-in-law referred to it as "a friendship cup". My Quaich was a gift to me in 2008 from a dear friend in Scotland.
We passed around the Quaich so that each of us could toast my father-in-law and when it got back to my husband, he poured what was left in the cup over the ashes. It was very symbolic as my husbands father was a proud Scot and his brandy was his special treat. 

We left with the feeling that we had done what he would have liked. And in the end, I think that's what is really important.