Archive for May, 2012

Summer flowers line the streets.

They are standing on top of the high rise buildings in Toronto today in search of the sun! Even the breakfast television anchor man was perched on some skyscraper, as he babbled on about the local news. The Torontonians are in ‘summer fever’ mode and the excitement is tangible.

Outside patio furniture is being dusted off and carried out so that it can catch the first rays of summer. I catch the flash of turquoise, cerise pink and yellow in the shop windows to tempt me. Restaurants are competing for clientele and some have even added hanging baskets of cascading geraniums to their outdoor rooms. Graceful umbrellas extend their arms out and create peaceful havens in the hustle and bustle of the city. Newspapers abound with fliers advertising all that is related to summer. As I enjoy my cappuccino at my local café, I overhear a couple discuss their escape up to ‘cottage country’ this weekend. There will be a mass exodus of boats, fishing gear and summer revelers as they enjoy a long weekend.

Monday is a public holiday as Canadians still celebrate 24 May as Queen Victoria’s birthday. We are rather low on the public holidays here as we only have about 6 a year. So thank goodness for Queen Victoria and the colonies! It all began with 5000 residents way back in 1854. They sang ‘Happy Birthday’ outside Government House in Toronto and the queen liked this so much that she declared it a public holiday. Over the years the celebrations have varied from the usual rush north to the cottage, athletic competitions, firework displays, gun salutes, carnivals and the good old barbeque.

We are going to fall into the latter and I have bought the boerewors from the South African shop and a few ‘lamsvleis sjoppies’. The chops are from New Zealand but I am sure we will still pick up on the flavour. So on Monday we are going to light up our braai. We will join in with our neighbours and friends and toast Queen Victoria with a fine glass of South African red in one hand and a piece of boerewors in the other…… here’s to SUMMER.

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Sandy…..the gracious old girl.

She sighed and heaved and she made her way up the stairs and into the house. Her back legs were in curved arthritic mode as she contemplated the distance between each rise. The tail wagged as her glossy coat caught the last few rays of the late afternoon sun. She confidently stepped into her temporary home as the familiar aromas greeted her at the door. Only then did she look up into our faces and give us the doggy grin. Sandy was joining us at Maison de Morkel for a sleepover!


Need I say that Josh was delighted and eagerly ran onto the deck to show her the squirrel status. This was important to Josh and he obviously thought that his cousin might need an update. Her old eyes gazed down into the garden but quickly focused her attention on discovering her new environment. There were definitely more important things on her agenda. She spied out the soft couches and rugs and tested the fabric on the cushions. She eventually settled on a Ralph Lauren in natural linen. I might add, that she does prefer a cushion filled with down and not those plebian synthetic ones that frequent so many of our shops. My goodness, this 13 year old lady has taste!


Supper was gobbled down without a moment to stop and savour and washed down with a long cool sip from Josh’s water bowl. It was time for a spot of exercise and we ventured out into the cool evening air.  Josh’s furious pace around the block was a bit too much for Sandy but once she was saddled up in her harness, she coped much better. She sniffed out the local Jocks and left ‘her messages’ on just about every pole and patch of green grass. We were determined to tire her out. As we hoped this would alleviate the pacing up and down and howling at the front door. This old lady came with a bit of ‘history’.


She settled on her exclusive choice on the couch and Josh kept looking over with a curious stare. He could not work out why he had not been allowed this freedom of choice. But as with us humans, you have to ‘walk the walk’ to qualify. When you have done your time and served others well, you are allowed certain privileges. So Sandy has the run of the house and does much as she pleases. Although she does not curl up with Josh, she is experiencing some Summer Loving amongst her Morkel family.


Josh ponders inequality……….


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It takes quite a bit to shut me up, so I am told, but there are times when I grow quiet and just sit alone with my thoughts. As it is Mother’s Day coming up, allow me to indulge myself and to think aloud about my 3 sons.…..

These three boys, who are genetically from the same parents, are so different. They have inherited so many wonderful traits from their dad but today I am going to reflect on the part that I have played in making them special human beings. They all have that strength of definition in the shape of their faces with a strong chin. This is obviously derived from their dad’s genes, but with that strength comes a softness too. I notice this at certain times in the expression on their faces and in the curve of their smile. That look presents itself when they tend our household pets or engage in conversation with a child. I like to think that I had a part to play in those mannerisms.

They all love music albeit that their taste varies considerably. They play it in the car, strum guitars when they ponder their own thoughts or don earphones and allow the rhythm to obliterate the outside world. It all started way back in their car seats when we traveled long distances to do the monthly shop. Even my youngest son was ‘my city car kid’ as we traveled backwards and forwards to the sport commitments of ‘the brothers.’ They would bob to the beat while their mother kept time with her hands on the steering wheel. This would later become a great source of embarrassment to them as I sang and tapped to the music. I was severely reprimanded as it was not cool for a mom to display such behaviour. But as little one’s they thought it was grand! And so the seed was planted to enjoy music in any form.

 Where did dinosaurs come from? There were endless questions that had to be answered. The older two were borne in the ‘the pre internet stage’. I often resorted to seeking the answers in the local library, as it soon became apparent that my field of knowledge did not stretch that far. How do you explain evolution to a four year old? He eventually explained it to his mother with the use of pictures! I do still pride myself that my boys were encouraged to question, to seek knowledge and to analyse the facts. As an older mom, I was thankful to have the use of the internet when my youngest son began the ‘stage of questions.’ I had the added bonus that he would run and look up the answers for himself, as he was more computer literate than I was at the time. But I must add that I was involved with the discussion that ensued afterwards!

One of the joys of having sons is that over the years partners will be added to the extended family. If they are blessed with offspring, I will take great delight in observing small traits that could possibly have come down the line from me. Of course I will not take ownership for any possible ‘streke’ that might present themselves!

Jumping for joy with my boys!







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