Winter s captive Daily Moments March 1 2019

Day 7,
silent chisels fill her head
ears that cannot hear

winter cold and flu
mockingly whisper
“Ha Ha, I got you!!

sleepless nights
coughing
chasing germs away

hope is in the air
taste slowly returns
first cup of java

© Tournesol ‘10/03/01

Daily Moments March 1, 2019 winter’s captive

The river flows (haibun)

Patient river flows

Rich and fertile

Ever slowly

After reading a chapter from a friend’s book on her years of trying to have a child filled with losses, disappointments, frustrations, self-denigration to a miracle, I was inspired to go over my own journey. Of course I did not suffer like so many women have and do to have a family but I do remember my personal hopes and desires to become a mom…

Motherhood

God’s gift to humanity

Perfect miracle

I remember when I felt ready to start a family. We had married young. I was a 19 year old bride, having married my teenage sweetheart I had met at 15. He was just 21. Our marriage started on rocky grounds but when the paths seemed smoother, I felt ready. I still don’t know why I changed my mind since going back to university to get my degree had always been on my mind but my body was begging for something different. And why not, I thought to myself. Most of my friends were just getting out of university and starting their careers but my new friends I made had started from the age of 18 to 24 years old. So I guess there was no right or wrong here but what suited each person…in a unique way. For me, my biological clock was ticking, oh so early, and yet, it was blocking the sounds of logic and long lost career dreams. I could become a teacher or counsellor later, that’s all. What did I have to complain about? At 22 I was working for the CEOs of a multi-million dollar steel company? People dreamed to get so far at a much older age…and so my journey began.

The first two years, I blamed my inability to conceive to those damn contraceptive pills. They were so damn strong in the ‘70’s! Women were such guinea pigs in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s on so many levels. And we continued to hand over our bodies and minds (how my mother was exploited with her mind and stuffed with valium). In those days, most doctors did not listen to women but they shut them up with pills.

After over a year I started getting hormone shots. The doctor never explained how this might affect my moods…you did not dare ask too many questions then either…and so I endured the shots and discomfort it gave me in my thigh and my legs. After several rounds of shots and multiple “negative” pregnancy tests, I was almost ready to give up.

Let’s step back a moment to talk about those tests. There were not any home pregnancy tests then…at least I was not aware of it and I would go to the same pharmacy because monsieur Lasalle had such a sympathetic face when he would come back to whisper to me discreetly with a sympathetic look on his face, tilting his head to the side, “C’est négatif, chère madame.”

The first few times, I was disappointed but since this Pharmacie was in the town where I worked, I was able to busy myself in my work.

Another year went by and I could not understand what was going on. Everyone was telling me that I thought about it too much. Some would laugh about it. One of my good friends who also happened to be my friend and HR manager at work told me her story. She had tried to conceive for 10 years and finally she and her husband gave up and planned a trip to Western Canada. When she returned she was pregnant. Moral of that story, according to every friggin busybody who pissed me off was that you just have to relax and stop worrying. I was so angry that everyone was blaming my mind and worry nature (GAD was not a term anyone used at that time) for not conceiving. My mind, apparently, was controlling my body, my ovaries, my womb. Fine! I was getting frustrated. When I would see a woman who was pregnant walking on the street, I started crossing the street to not cross paths with this fertile queen. It made me feel so sorry for myself. I was a mess.

Then I heard from our local CLSC (Local Service Community Clinic) that some women were using the Billing’s Method as a natural contraceptive. Hmmm, that might be interesting to take my temperature every morning to see when I DO ovulate. So when most women knew, “tonight is too dangerous”, my motto had begun, “Tonight is the night!” I still do not understand why the first doctor I saw never suggested I do this to understand my cycle. I had never been regular…it was always 35 to 56 to 65 to 90 days between cycles. I was quite ignorant but slowly began to take things in my own hands to get to know my body better. Lord only knows my maternal GrandMaman who was midwife tried to explain to me how to examine myself to see the difference when I was ovulating but I just did not get it.

Within six months I learned that I always ovulated between 14 to 18 days from the first day of my periods. Well, now, there is something consistent here. I also learned to see how the lines on this temperature graph would stay up and steady for severe days and weeks (sometimes) and then dip suddenly when I started my period. Alrighty now, there is a plan of action on my part here. I felt a bit more in control. I knew when was the most optimal time to conceive!

A year and a half passed with no success. My husband refused to even discuss adoption so I finally decided to go to a fertility clinic. It was interesting to see the people waiting in the waiting room. Everyone seemed so quiet and even a bit self-conscious or perhaps I was projecting my own feelings of inadequacy. I was only 27 but already felt a decade older. That year, I decided to go back to school and took two courses in English literature just to see if I was smart enough to pursue further studies for a degree.

The doctor suggested my husband take the first test since it the most least invasive…just spilling his seeds in a jar seemed quite harmless compared to the poking and prodding women went through. He felt embarrassed but for once, I was sort of happy that he was finally participating in this chapter of our lives. We learned that his sperm count was slow and low, whatever the heck that means. Yet, they said it was not a reason for my not conceiving after I had shown the doctor my ovulating graph.

The doctor examined me from head to toe and when he noticed I had colostrum leaking quite easily from my breasts when he squeezed them a little, he had me hospitalized a few weeks later. Two whole weeks of resident doctors wanting to probe me, squeeze my breasts and then murmur to the side with serious looks on their faces. I was a wreck by the end of the first week and lost 10 pounds. My roommate told me I was allowed to refused to be touched by these doctors since their teacher had already performed several examinations in front of them. So the next time one doctor came up to me to squeeze my breasts, I said NO. He asked, “How are we to learn since this is a teaching hospital?” I still did not budge and simply responded, “You were there when Dr…..performed an examination yesterday. Have you forgotten already?!” I was sore and tired of feeling like a lab rat.

I still did not quite understand why so much blood was taken out of me daily and one day over twenty times in a special unit where there was another girl next to me. I told her excitedly, “I’m here to pass test to get pregnant!” When I asked her why she was here as she seemed so young, I was shocked and confused. “Oh, they’re checking to see about a tumour on my brain.” My mouth dropped…I was passing the exact same tests!

Apparently my doctor felt this must be checked before any further fertility procedures since he felt my pituitary gland was overactive, hence the colostrum easily leaking form my breasts. It took several weeks to get the results but all was well, the doctor announced and I would be going for the real “tests” after the Christmas holidays.

That summer we had planned our first trip abroad. We had never taken an airplane or gone any further than road trips to the Maritimes and New England states. My husband wanted to visit Germany and Austria but I wanted to visit my roots…England, Scotland and Wales where my paternal grandfather was born and gee, wouldn’t it be nice if we conceived in the UK? Okay, it was obviously still on my mind.

What a perfect trip to take since I had finally gone back to school and taking Introduction to English Literature at Concordia University. I had to know first if I passed this course if I was smart enough or college material still at my age.

On our trip we visited Lake District and William Wordsworth’s cottage, Shakespeare’s house and so many places where famous writers and poets had lived.

We also became closer to one couple on our tour that came from Montreal. They were about our parents’ age and they suggested we purchase a home now before the prices go up even more. And so upon our return from this trip, we decided to purchase a home that would be ready the following summer. Since we were both working, it was time to do something with our lives besides trying to have a. baby. And if I did get pregnant, we would be ready with a home.

The holidays passed and no news from the hospital yet. There was a long waiting list. I was still taking my temperature every day, just in case. This time I wanted to save the money for useless pregnancy tests. If the graph showed differently only then, would I take an other test. My neighbour downstairs was four months pregnant and she told me she thought I was as well. She kept saying my eyes were different and so sparkly. I really didn’t want to believe this and be disappointed with a negative test again. She promised to come with me and so the following morning we did go…the pharmacist comes over to me saying the test was “Positif”. I could not believe it! I asked him to repeat it and then asked him to write it on my receipt…POSITIF so I could show this to my husband.

I was so excited that my hands and legs were shaking so much, I could not drive yet so for several long minutes, my friend and I were giggling like silly teenage girls in the car and waited for my shaking to stop. I will never forget that moment…EVER. Just like I will not forget the morning we were in our new home and the basement was flooding and my husband was so irritated. But I had a big goofy smile…it was June 1978 and I felt the movement of my baby bouncing around inside my womb. I could feel life inside of me!

After seven years of marriage, the seventh grandchild in the family, our beautiful eight pound baby boy was born.

The universe smiles

Bonding with her bundle of joy

Blue eyed treasure

© Tournesol ‘19/02/23

Winter daybed (troiku) Daily Moments Feb 23/19

honey ginger
scent of peppermint
lingers on her lips

honey ginger
battling winter germs
always on duty

scent of peppermint
opens pathways
breathing with ease

lingers on her lips
oh for the memories!
that sweet first kiss

Daily moments Feb 23rd 2019 winter daybed

© Tournesol 2019/02/23

sighs of powerlessness ~ Troibun

After snoozing the alarm four times, she rolls over and greets her bff, petting her thick soft fur and whispering “I love you’s”. She then finally rises to the challenge of another new work week. Shuffling to her other bff, she opens the door to the guest room and hears the joyful purrs and meows this unique creature has. Her name is Kali. She runs up to her big, fluffy sister, Bette and is greeted with a hiss. No problem, little Kali seems to be thinking and she runs to her mistress for a pet and then lies on her tummy stretching her front paws about a metre distant from Big Sis and waits for some sign that maybe today will be the day they will play…such a patient little thing!

It is amusing to watch these two felines as she runs a hot bath to oil her old joints and then she moves on to the morning REAL priority: starting the coffee and feeding the cats.

Another week is starting and she tries very hard not think about it. Although she loves the support she offers, she is finding less comfort in the environment which no longer seems to shed enough light. She can literally hear the grumbling from within her peers’ body language and darkness hovering over their heads…

 

relentless 
deafening screams within
daunting reminders
 
relentless
dark clouds casting shadows
foreboding
 
deafening screams within
hearing their disturbing tales
smothered in despair
 
daunting reminders
exhaling melancholy
sighs of helplessness
 
© Tournesol ‘19/01/13
 
bff means best feline friend.

waiting for countdown (troiku – senryu)

knitting
weaving thoughts 
melancholy wool

knitting
dropping that last stitch
New Year’s Eve

weaving thoughts 
balancing hands and loom
in tandem

melancholy wool
patching wounds
forgiveness heals

© Tournesol ‘18/12/31

tic toc tic toc
waiting
countdown to midnight

(c) Tournesol’18-12-31

holiday dreams (troiku) RonavanWrites Haiku – slow-burn

(c) Clr ’18

 
Hot mug of cocoa 
Sitting before a crackling fire 
Eyelids slowly close 
 
Hot mug of cocoa 
Memories of long ago 
Scents of childhood 
 
Sitting before a crackling fire 
Birch logs burning ever slowly 
Embers glow 
 
Eyelids slowly close 
Dreaming of ol’ saint Nic 
Sleigh bells tin-a-ling  
 
© Tournesol ‘18/12/19 
 
A Troku is a new form of haiku created by Chévrefeuille at Carpe Dieme Haiku Kai  
This is written for RonovanWrites Weekly Haiku: Slow & Burn

an angel in the night

every inn is full 
  an angel in the night 
leads them to shelter 
 
every inn is full 
  stars bejewel a stable 
such humble beginnings 
 
an angel in the night 
 carries a sacred message 
a king is born 
 
leads them to shelter 
   babe swaddled in a manager 
wise men bearing gifts 
 
© Tournesol `18-12-15

another grey day ~ morning reflections ~ troibun

Each week is a mystery nowadays. No, actually each day is a surprise with the weather.  Last week she surrendered to her warm down filled coat and even wore her ski mask walking home! And this week the rain washed all the snow away and little bits of ice hang on for dear life (or to scare the life out of some poor clumsy person like her!)   

The first days of warmer weather were welcomed for sure but now, it is with mixed feelings. She  looks out the window with total apathy. “What again! more grey skies?!”  She shuffles back to the kitchen to make a fresh pot of coffee.  “Not enough coffee” she sighs like a martyr and takes out the espresso beans and grinds enough for her pot and a little bit more so she does not come up empty handed if she wants a cuppa later in the day. 

Her cats are sitting on the carpet looking at her expectantly. The black kitten, Kali,  wants to play but would be just as content to cuddle. She will soon be a year old in two weeks.  Bette, on the other hand, looks up at her with her dreamy emerald eyes and barely utters a”meow”. When she gets her mistress’ attention, she forces out a few more sounds pleading for food. Not a surprise to see that from this voluptuous Siberian cat  who loves to eat. 

While the coffee is brewing, Emma decides to make her bff’s (best feline friends) work a little for their food like true feline hunters.  She takes out her fishing-pole wand with long feathers attached.  Bette is really into the game and shows off to her competitor by jumping up and falling on her back ready to eat that silly bird like prey.  Kali runs back and forth, so innocent and clueless but succeeds to catch her prey a few times too. 

Treats are out and food for the beasts and now the mistress sits by the window sipping her cup of java with a sense of dread.  It is her day off and she had plans to get things done and purchase those Nordic Walking Poles today.  Looking at the jam packed parking lot of the mall across the street discourages her to even step out of her comfy chair. 

Her head is heavy with a million tiny hammers knocking simultaneously and she hopes the caffeine may help a little.  It is challenging to be cheerful looking out at so much grey today.  


lingering grey
mockingly hover  
deserted grounds 
 
lingering grey 
mud, clay, sand 
turn to dust 
 
mockingly hover 
abandoned gravesides 
mourning our loss 
 
deserted grounds 
footsteps on rich soil 
whispering adieu 
 
© Tournesol ‘ 18 – 11 – 30 
 
Morning reflections – another grey day 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




Dear Emma – troibun

How I have missed writing to you, dearest Emma!  Ah and to spend a day of searching for prompts on different blogs, teasing my muse here and there, are rewards after a long week.  This morning I started writing and it seemed to match the weather, unfortunately. Well, I should not say it is a misfortune since any  kind of writing is a way to remove clutter in my mind and allow my muse to cleanse my soul. My oh my, doesn’t that sound a bit dramatic?!   

I do believe that pent up emotions, processing a difficult work week or just getting the angst of the holiday season or personal affairs, out of your system is a good way to start fresh.

We are nearing December 2nd and I have noticed that my moods darken a few weeks leading up to that date.  I am not usually conscious of it but this year I want to be a little more aware on how I express it, especially at work.  It is already a heavy and dark time for any kind of crisis/ helpline with broken hearts, abusive relationships and sadly the urge to end it all and leave this f&%$ng world.   Many speak with words of despair and others with such anger, I can see them raise their fist up to the sky. 

This year I have tried to compartmentalise my thoughts and feelings so I could address the needs of our service and not allow one to drown the other when I come home.   However writing was my way of shedding all negativity and helplessness. Despite lack of writing,  I think I have succeeded for the most part but three intensive weekends of school have tested the boundaries of sanity somewhat.

Firstly, I am NOT a morning person and to get up at the ungodly hour of six and see the sun rise…well, alright, it is bittersweet. So radiant a sky even though I am dreadfully exhausted.

Secondly, I have just been accommodated to work three days a week hence two-day intensive weekends for three weeks brought me back to a five-day week.  Yeah, that was certainly more than I had bargained for. 

But it has been a wonderful experience and  I was blessed with an amazing group of students…each and every one is so interesting, kind and helpful.  Each one added to the richness and uniqueness of our class experiences.  Our teacher (for my type of learning anyway) was perfect!  She allowed us to learn from each other and not spoon feed us all the time which, I know, would not have helped me and by the afternoon, I would have fallen asleep.  She motivated us, encouraged us and inspired us with her past experiences, giving us a taste of what to expect. 

She reminded me of my university professor and Dean of the department teaching our practicum in Family Life Education. She would share odd, scary and funny situations to prepare us for teaching children and adults.  The most intimidating stories were from her high school experience in Sex Ed.  And they helped me during my five years where the students labelled me the Sex & Drug Teacher. [I suppose that sounds better than the druggy sex teacher.] 

I still have online grammar assignments to complete under 40 hours [crossing my fingers that will be cut in half] to get my official TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language).  I am planning to enjoy a 2-day weekend (Friday and Saturday for me) and hit the books on Tuesday. 

I think I really need this time off.  Perhaps I will rent a car tomorrow so I can pick up some poinsettias to place at my mother’s graveside.  I know it has been already four years and I am certainly not a young person.  I am fortunate to have had my mother in my life so long.  I know I am blessed to have had so many wonderful years growing up, as a young married adult and mother of two children. We have been tied to each other so closely for forty-five years until I moved to Toronto and even then, we spoke regularly and she would end her calls always with, “Don’t forget to say your three Hail Mary’s and Act of Contrition before you go to sleep tonight.”  My visits to Quebec were spending time with her and my children.  How my children had a great relationship with their Nanny.  I remember coming down from Toronto for 24 hours to reassure and calm her a the hospital in Montreal for tests.    I often wish I could have had my transfer much sooner so I could have spent more time with her.

For some odd reason,  my mind is remembering when I took her skinny dipping for the first time in our pool in Saint Mathias. She was giggling like an  nervous teenager.  We went into the water with our bikinis and slowly removed one piece and then the other.   I think about that now and I wonder if Mom was just pretending to be new to this just to make this experience our special mother-daughter thing. 

©Clr;17 Mom & Fred

How I miss her laugh, the scent of her cologne (Clinique Aromatics Elexir for one)  and her soft voice singing along with Englebert Humperdinck and missing most of the words (like me).   Fred, who was her second husband, love of her life and the dad I adored so much, shared her love for Englebert.  They met at his military retirement party.  She was his blind date and it was love at first dance.  I think I loved him even more because he loved my mother and treated her with such respect and affection.   Their relationship was what the movie, Love Story was all about.  He died thirteen years later but was there for my two children and he paced the floors during my labour and loved us all as his own.  My mother is buried next to Fred, so I can chat to both of them when I visit now. 

Celebrating my birthday for the last time with my mom and my grandson, and children

Oh, Emma, did I tell you that I found love letters between my mother and Fred when they were dating?  Ah, such a treasure this is.  At first, I felt guilty as if I was eavesdropping but then again Mom knew how much I loved Fred, so reading them brought me back to my teen years when they met. It was such a great time in her life and mine as well. I was engaged during the same time. Yes, at sixteen secretly and at seventeen on Christmas Eve we told  our family who were in shock! 

Oh my, Emma, my mind is all over the place but that is what a diary is for, isn’t it? 

Thanks for listening as usual, you never interrupt me.

(c)Clr,06
(c) Clr ’15 First birthday without Mom
Senryu

tu me manques 
tu sais 
chaque jour 
 
tu me manques 
quand le soleil se couche 
je te dis bonne nuit 
 
tu sais 
je pris encore tous les jours 
comme tu m’as appris 
 
chaque jour 
ton sourire rayonnant 
nourrit mon coeur 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
you are missed 
you know 
each day 
 
you are missed 
when the sun sets 
I say goodnight to you 
 
you know 
I still pray every day 
like you taught me 
 
each day 
your radiant smile 
feeds my heart 

(c) Tournesol '18-11-30

A troiku is a new haiku form created by Chevrefeuille at CarpDiemHaikuKai. A troibun is a haibun with a troiku.