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Posts Tagged ‘celebrate’

In the mirror of your eyes…….

My rugged African pot stood sheepishly at the foot of my driveway all decked out with its hessian bow. It had to endure the humiliation along with the many other corners of my house. There is much to celebrate….the Winter Solstice heralds the fact that our days will slowly become longer and our nights shorter. Then we have my favourite time of the year. Need I say, it is Christmas.  The wonder and joy of the season here in the northern hemisphere is magical.

A delicate twist to my African roots!

I can see it all so clearly…..

The steep pathway down to the house is lit up with fairy lights. They have a double function; both to illuminate the slippery staircase and to add a flickering twinkle to the arduous task of getting up and down to the house. Although when your arms are piled high with copious bags of groceries and replenishment stocks to the bar fridge, the lights are the last thing on your mind. But it is so worth the effort!

Like an image passing by……

The twins made a quick pre-Christmas visit to drop Leo off for a few weeks while their parents had a well-deserved family holiday. Leo is the much loved golden retriever. While the dogs got reacquainted, the twins helped decorate the Christmas tree.  There is much to be said for having your family traditions and I sat back and lapped up the scene. Deliberation reigned as the two placed the carefully chosen ornaments on the branches. There was much teetering on the chairs and discussion. Both of them are fiercely independent and I had to restrain myself from intervening in their creative activity. I watched and listened as the two repeated history.

Katy added her magical touch…

Christmas finally arrived and we all gathered together to celebrate. Stuffed turkey, glazed ham and red cabbage cooked in apple juice and topped with cranberries was on the menu. Dessert was a homemade salted caramel ice cream topped with meringues. These were made from scratch too. Thank goodness Christmas only comes once a year!

Christmas traditions with Jack …..tartan and pajamas.

Like reflections of your mind……

Besides all the preparation that goes along with Christmas, it is a time of remembrance and soul searching for me. I was continually reminded how my mom managed a house full at Christmas with such grace. There was always delicious food and all were welcome at our table. I missed them both and found myself reflecting back now that I am ‘the nanny’ and all the kids descend on our house at Christmas. There is much music, laughter and plenty of food.

So now we will go our separate ways…..

So another New Year is about to begin. We all need to go out and carry on with our lives. I will bathe in the love that I feel. This was brought home to me when my granddaughter said goodbye at the car. I was securing her seat belt and she tilted her little head forward and said: “Nanny I will dream about you.”

Best wishes for 2019 go to all of you and may you always have something to look forward to.

Christmas Cousins

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Another year another turkey……

“Which one do you think would be better?”

My question was directed at an experienced looking housewife. She had tossed the birds around, examined their weight and made her decision. I marveled at her expertise and the swiftness of her decision making process. After all she had been doing this for years and I had 3 years under my belt!

“ Should I go with the 7 kilogram one or should I go a bit bigger?” The humble pasty- grey bird peered safely up at me from the supermarket fridge. Much deliberation went on.  A few women had gathered around me now and eagerly offered this newbie advice. More questions were asked and preference for white or brown meat was discussed. This was a serious matter. Eventually the decision was made and it was unanimous.

“So this is the one then.” I heaved the 10 kilogram bird into my shopping cart. My back muscles twinged under the strain. It was one hell-of-a fine bird!  Of course I won’t mention this to the family. There is no need for them to know that I was ably assisted by my experienced new helpers. After all, us girls stick together!

My shopping cart trundled off to the check out. The humble bird’s destiny had been sealed.  It was bound for the  Morkel’s Thanksgiving table.

 

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

It is our third Thanksgiving here in Canada and it is probably one of the best times of the year. People scurry around and prepare for winter. Gardens are cleaned up and anything that could be ravaged by the extreme temperatures is packed away. The leaves have begun to add colour to our walks around Oakville. Roads and paths are covered with ‘the drop’ and we notice and appreciate the hues of orange, yellow and the red. We savour the swansong of summer in the form of Fall and recognize that the burst of colour will have to tide us through till Spring next year!

Josh is sue that a skunk lurks nearby....

Josh is sure that a skunk lurks nearby….

But for now we celebrate the bounty of the harvest and all that it brings with it. One such event is Thanksgiving where a feast is held. Each family prepares a sumptuous meal to enjoy with family and friends. Around our table this year will be our adopted Canadian family.( I must add that they have not had much say in the matter….they are family whether they like it or not! ) I am thankful to them for all the support that they have offered us in this our new country. Distance dictates that a few people will be missing from our table. Our family from the US and our beautiful brand new grand children will be with us in spirit.

God only knows what I would be without you……

Happy Thanksgiving!

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The soft flakes waft over us as we pull our fur hoods closer to keep out the chill. I turn my face towards the soft caress of Mother Nature…I love the feeling of falling snow especially when you are dressed in snug attire. 


Baby it's cold out there!

Baby it’s cold out there!

The front doors are the first to beckon us in with their inventive displays. Vintage wooden skis, bright red mitts and ice skates are expertly placed with gleaming ornaments. They serve to wet our creative appetites as we brave the elements in the queues outside. We are out in the cold weather and are visiting the open Christmas houses for charity with a group of kindred spirits.

Eventually the wooden door creaks open and the magical world of Christmas is there to greet us. The wait was worth it! As I step inside, the inner child is evoked and I stand in awe for a few moments…….

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The aroma of fresh cedar wreaths and pine tree swags fills my breath. I slip off my boots and notice the crackling fire. Oh to just sit a while next to the warmth! Cozy throws have been strategically placed to lure one closer. All too soon the spectacle of the gleaming Christmas tree, all adorned in white and silver, distracts me. The lights twinkle and reflect the beauty and magnificence of a ‘real tree.’ Each ornament especially chosen reflects the owner’s personality and their nostalgia of bygone Christmases. I waft through as if in a trance…..arrays of delicious colourful cookies tempt me and the aromas of cinnamon and cloves warm the cockles of my heart. The gleaming ornaments shine, lights sparkle and wreaths dangle from tartan ribbons. Christmas is here to enchant us!

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The day sped by and we eventually peaked into 6 of the 10 houses. I could not wait to get home to apply some of the effects that had been so artistically created. 

That evening, as I gently wove my garland around the staircase, I could not help but reflect on our wonderful African Christmases that our group had once had back in South Africa. One thing is for sure if the spirit of Christmas is there, it does not matter where you celebrate! A wonderful Christmas to all of my family and friends wherever you might be…..

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Feel the rain on your skin……..

The rain falls softly on the carpet of leaves in my back garden. The drops glisten on the reds and yellows. Nature’s blanket is a burnished patchwork quilt lovingly stitched together. These little food factories have done their job well! They have sustained the giant maple and elm trees in our backyard. It is time to return their nourishment back to the soil. Fall has begun. The leaves give us one final display with their deep maroon and orange before they drop to the soft earth.

 

The splendour of Fall....

The splendour of Fall….

Reaching for something in the distance, so close you can almost touch it….

Last night I stood on my friend’s terrace in the city. They are leaving Canada for a while to follow a job opportunity in Europe. It was time to say ‘au revoir.’ We looked over the bustling streets and enjoyed the warmth of the Indian summer. The sun was setting in the distance and the stately CN Tower presided over all her shorter subjects. It stood silhouetted against the backdrop of the orange sky. It was a panorama to behold! I turned my face to the setting sun and squeezed out the last few rays. It was not to last……the sun slid behind the frames of concrete. It was gone; the orange hue was but a lingering memory. Shelved away safely in my memory bank and to be drawn upon in those long Canadian winters! The interesting conversation and my fine glass of merlot was a comfort.

 

The CN Tower at dusk....

The view……

 Live your life with arms wide open……

It is Thanks Giving weekend and time to give thanks for our bounty. Orange pumpkins and crisp red apples are plenty.  Mothers scurry around and plan the feast for the family. Dusty recipe books are being consulted and larders are bursting with supplies. The poor ‘frozen bird’ hangs on for dear life on the shelf in the fridge! One can get nothing else to fit in there when the ‘resting turkey’ awaits its fate. It too will have its moment of splendour. It is, after all, the honoured guest at our table adorned with its white frilled legs and laced with delicious gravy.

 

" e Fagalo bench'......

” e Fagalo bench’……

No one else can speak the words on your lips……

  One realizes that with all things here in Canada, there is a time for everything. As the leaves drop to the ground, it is now the time to celebrate and rejoice in our family and friends. We have been blessed with kind neighbours and wonderful friends in this our new country. But there will also be a special place set at our table for our family and friends that are far away.

Let the sun illuminate the words that are written…..

 

 

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I expect all the bells and whistles on Sunday! After all it is Mothers’ Day! I would like to start off with my tea in bed and a whole grain rusk. I like the ones from Ouma with cranberries inside. So that’s a huge call being that we are on the other side of the world! Thank goodness for the South African shop nearby. I have stocked up so all they will have to do, is have a dig in the capacious cupboard. Then a gloriously full bath will go down well if it is run with heaps of bubble bath.  As long as my day starts like this, I will be happy just to spend some time with my boys. On second thoughts…..a little back rub and a list of ‘I promise to do the following’…. that would also go down well!

As I am the MOTHER in this household of men, I give myself permission to celebrate and marvel at my 3 sons. Thank goodness they are all so different, as this gives me the opportunity to enjoy their varied interests. These differences have also proven to be rather challenging at times. I refer to the handling of the ‘teenager stage.’ Just when you think that you have this whole stage waxed, you have to rethink your strategy.  It kept me on my toes! What am I saying? It still does! As David, my youngest, is still there.

David

David

 So David keeps me young. Well hopefully, or else I will crumple up in a heap from exhaustion. As I charge from one rugby match to the next, I lap up the fact that I am still part of the ‘rugby moms.’ The fact that I am nearing the big six, this is quite a feat!

David has a peaceful soul and is happy with his own company. I marvel at how easily he has made the transition into this new country of ours. I can’t imagine how daunting it must have been to have walked into the High School of over a thousand kids. He did not know a soul! That takes guts! He is a strong lad too and is my right hand man in the garden. He has dug many a deep hole for the copious plants that arrive each week in the summer. But with all this strength, there is also a gentle side. It becomes apparent when Dave cares for his animals.

Bryan

Bryan

Bryan is the passionate one. What can I say? ‘Die appeltjie het nie ver van die boompie geval nie.’ He attacks whatever he does with fervor. He involves me by discussing his day at a busy pharmaceutical plant. Bryan has a good eye for design and often helps me with projects around the house. This artistic streak is also noted in his photography. He has documented in photographs much of our new life here in Canada. He is our ‘outdoor kid’ and drags us out over weekends to try all sorts of new Canadian activities. This enthusiasm is infectious, although it does get us into trouble at times. A broken wrist or just a case of sunburn and sore muscles is often the result of our escapades into the unknown. I admire the way Bryan has kept up this enthusiasm even through the winter when our spirits were low.

John

John

John is my eldest son and my old soul too. He has an innate wisdom as if he has lived for a very long time. He knows a lot about everything and I can talk to him for hours. John enjoys his work as a software engineer and I marvel at his commitment. His hours are long and he is often called upon in the middle of the night. This is because the US is just waking up when the day in South Africa is drawing to a close. His American counterparts were obviously not strong contenders for the geography prize at school!

Where is South Africa? We share a love for music and I enjoy watching him sing. He comes alive when he plays the guitar. I miss him now that we are so far away. I am grateful for the regular contact that we have and the for the man who invented Skype. Actually I am sure it must have been a woman…….what man would invent software that enabled you to TALK to someone on the other side of the world!

John and Kristen

John and Kristen

 I need to add someone else to my ‘celebration list.’ I am grateful for the lady who calls me mom. Kristen is my daughter in law. She has balanced out our family and has improved the plight of the only woman in the house. Ha! Ha! Kristen is a creative whiz kid and has developed an online textile design business. She produces the most amazing designs and has recently appeared in many of the South African magazines. Some of her designs have made their way over the seas to Canada too. When I need to touch base with my roots, I only have to look over at my Nguni or protea cushions that she made. I enjoy her creativity and her work ethic. Kristen has included me in their lives as a couple and I am eternally grateful for that.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge myself with my thoughts on my children. I feel content and proud today. Although I know that they all have their foibles too, they are my children and therefore my legacy. I rejoice in that!

The Morkel mom

The Morkel mom

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