recalling summers (tan renga)

temple in the sky
the road opens
a slice of blue sea      (Ubugu)

heat dances above the horizon
childhood memories come to mind (Chèvrefeuille)

What a beautiful hokku!  Chèvrefeuille’s completion brings to mind fond memories of long ago. As a child she recalls lying on her back under the maple tree.

temple in the sky
the road opens
a slice of blue sea      (Ubugu)

under the maple tree
winged shells tickle her face  (Tournesol)

laying on her back
freshness on the cool grass
her summer bed

soft swirls on blue canvas
The Artist’s brush strokes

hum of the rowboat
midday reveries
gentle lullaby

sudden wakefulness
helicopter seeds

© Clr '16 rivière Yamaska
© Clr ’16 rivière Yamaska

©Tournesol’16/05/27

Daily moments – Feb 17 /16 ~loving memories (kikobun)

The view of fresh fallen snow offers a promise of hope. She looks at the pure whiteness from her bedroom window and smiles.  It was a welcoming mild day compared to the arctic weekend she’d just passed…the snow would be heavy yet sticky, just the right consistency to make snow forts, snowballs and snowmen.   She saw children giggling and sliding in her mind’s eye.

©Clr'16
©Clr’16

Walking on the snow-covered sidewalks she noticed the grey skies threatening more snow but it was too mild…surely it may turn to rain or sleet.  Mother Nature can get overwhelmed with the earth’s heating; she seemed dazed and confused.

Later shuffling through snow, its texture reminded her of cookie dough batter. You know when you add butter to that fluffy white flour and beat it until it all blends together.  Her mind wandered to old childhood memories.  Her GrandMaman would let her lick the bowl of batter…how she loved adding just a smidgen of sugar on the raw dough.

© Clr'16
© Clr’16

GrandMaman would spread the batter and let her granddaughter choose the cookie cutters of shapes of animals, stars or hearts depending on the occasion. Her favourites were the star and heart.

Walking along the street streets, she looked up at the grey skies

Searching
under veiled skies
love of her heart

© Tournesol’16/02/17

Daily Moments Feb 17 2016 

finding comfort (haiku)

after months at sea
docking home at last
finds his true love

ragoût et tourtière
souvenirs de ma grand-mère
bien-être retrouvé

saisie par l’arôme
cannelle et chaussons aux pommes
souvenirs de son passé

scents cast memories
apple pie and cinnamon
found from her past

© Tournesol’16/01/06

Haiku Horizons “find”

soothing voice (haibun) Haiga festival – Troiku

It is interesting that this prompt is posted the exact day I was reminiscing of times past with my mother. I was speaking with someone yesterday who mentioned that he felt sad that he no longer remembered the voice of his long deceased mother. That made me think about people I love who have passed especially my mother who recently passed this past December. I remember her voice, her off-key voice when singing, her laugh…oh her laugh!! and her cough that was unique to  her. She always tried to be a lady even when coughing and would clear her throat a bit like her mother (GrandMaman) but still unique to her. I remember her ankles making that snapping sound when she entered the church when I was little and clearing her throat, I felt so much better knowing she was joining me in the pew closer to the front of the church very soon for the priest in the pulpit high up was quite ominous!

Even when she was sick and her memory was muddled, her voice never changed. I remember sitting in the front seat of the car when I was very little because I was always car sick and leaning my big fat head on her breast always worried my heavy head would crush her tiny breasts.
I remember her singing pop songs of the 50`s missing a few words here and there but her voice would make any hit parade. And of course her signature pinch. She loved with such affection she had to control herself from pinching our cheeks too hard.

I remember her telling me so often, “Dont worry, darling. Dont forget to say your three Hail Mary`s and your Act of Contrition before going to sleep.” And the latter not that long ago.

 

her voice soothes me   haiga

(Troiku)

when I close my eyes,
brings me back in time
her voice soothes me

when I close my eyes
beauty adds red to her lips
scent of Youth Dew

brings me back in time
pins my hair in a French twist
pinches my cheeks

a voice that soothes me
humming Toura Loura Loura
Hush, but I now cry

© Tournesol ’15

CP – Melancholy

Childhood scents (haibun)

CLR 2014

I knew I was going to be a smoker eventually. When I was very young, sitting in the back seat of my father’s car, I couldn’t wait to have him light that first cigarette. The sweet scent of tobacco at just the first puff. (No worries I quit smoking a while ago)

Chevy Impala

red leather seats

Sweet Caporal

In the summer my mother was so busy hairdressing we would go swimming at the local pool.  The river was reserved ONLY when adults were around.  The pool was not the same, opening your eyes under water was such a habit in lakes and rivers but boy did it burn the eyes in the pool and the smell was so strong. It smelled like GrandMaman’s laundry room when she had to soak sheets for a long time to get them white.

blue water,

cement floor

laundry scents

When I was ten, we started camping, mostly close by weekends in Vermont but for vacation, we would head out every year to Old Orchard, Maine. The owner of a huge camp ground was friends with my parents and less than a mile from the ocean. I keep thinking of lobsters and steamed clams dipped in melted butter eating at the picnic table.

pine needles,

oil lantern heats the tent

salt water air.

© clr Grand-Maman 2014
© clr Grand-Maman 2014

GrandMaman had a huge vegetable garden not counting the flower beds.   August until end of September was canning and pickling time for all her produce. The kitchen was always busy. I still don`t know how she managed to keep borders at her house, cook, clean, garden and still be a midwife.  She had to stay busy to support herself since GrandPapa passed when I was 6.

hot stove and veggies

chez GrandMaman

vinegar stings

She often got a phone call late in the evening and I would often cry and plead with her not to go. She would wash, put baby powder as her choice of a midwife’s cologne…makes sense now that I think about it. She then put on her white uniform, white nylons and white “sensible” shoes.

 

Ivory soap

traces of pressed uniform,

baby powder lingers

 

My mother was a hairstylist and I grew up with our living room converted into a beauty salon. Still today, the lull of a hair dryer makes me sleepy, the smell of hair spray, permanent and hair dyes brings me back to the 1960’s. I still ask my hairdresser now and then if I can sweep the floor; brings me back to my youth and my chores.

 

shampoo, peroxide

hair spray, conditioners

hair dryer lulls

Colombe (Bette) Daudelin
Colombe (Bette) Daudelin

 

Of course when my mom would get ready to go out I knew she was going to be out late when she put on her make up, curling those eyelashes, painting her lips, fluffed her natural curly hair with her fingers…but that last touch…Youth Dew scent, that blue bottle…always put on too much…she loved perfumes!

 

Youth Dew Estee Lauder

lips tattoo my cheeks

softness of her creamed hands,

Youth Dew idles

(c) Tournesol ’14-08-06

Submitted for: Carpe Diem Ghost Writer 20 The Scent of Poetry

Same post can be found at Blogspot – Tournesol dans un jardin

The holidays already?!!

The holidays are quickly approaching…already!! Why do we always say this?  It is the same date every year, should not be a surprise there, right?  Adults don’t seem ready but the kids sure are!!! Youths expect this time of year months ahead of time.  Sometimes it would be nice for adults to feel more like a kid to feel that joy, that mystery, that wonderful blanket of comfort tuck you in the mystical wonder for several weeks.

That said, I am not a kid but thank goodness I have the next best thing…I am privileged to be speaking to kids/teens every day of the year on just about every topic.

The holidays is a topic youths of all ages call about and one that hits home with parents as well is often…”It’s coming so fast…I don’t know if I’m ready!”  Well, we hear enough about the holiday stress and we often lose sight of what the holidays really should be: fun, joyful, and a little bit of enchantment.

How can we get into that holiday spirit? A great way is to have everyone participate in the holiday preparations which allow everyone to be involved and engaged.  For instance, we know that there is often baking, cleaning up to do and decorating.  Why should this just be the adults /parents responsibility?  Okay, so now the perfectionist adult may have to bite their tongue now and then and allow everyone to take part.  So what if a ribbon is not perfectly set, who cares if a pillow is not centered…they are supposed to be “throw pillows” right?

How about seeing the end of December, the birth of a new season “winter” and that includes preparation for weather, outings, hosting parties and enjoying family fun.  Rather than focussing on ONE day, how about centering on this season.  If the word holiday gives you a panic attack, change it to winter fest.  Festivals do not last simply one day…and they are enjoyed by May for weeks…now that sounds a bit less daunting, doesn’t it?  Knowing that you have more than ONE day to make it all right.

 

Here are some ideas to expect a Seasonal mood:

–        Looking forward to something fun helps to get caught up in good feelings

–        When you feel happy and excited, you can actually create a good experience.

–        It makes it easier for positive emotions to build and grow and that’s one reason the holiday spirit can be so contagious.

–        So what mood do you want to create this holiday?  Do you want it to be fun, peace and love or giving and sharing?

Now how are you going to make it happen?

–        Think about activities that make people laugh like picking a name in a hat and each family member (or your group of friends) has to give a holiday token.  Notice I said token…not gift.  It can be something you made, a special scarf of yours that your friend likes and you are ready to give it to her, it could also be promising to do certain chores at home, offering to give a friend a manicure or doing her braids; for the guys out there, it can be offering to coach someone in a sport, skating.  It helps if you are a group to brainstorm different ideas as well and that puts everyone in the seasonal mood.

–        Take part in preparing the home for the season too.  Rather than dwell on how it sucks to clean up your bedroom, why not put on some favourite music to get it done?

–        Happiness is contagious…just think about how you feel when you see the little guys so excited during this time of year…why stop when you get older.

–        Brainstorm with your friends /family going to a shelter to sing some songs or help out to serve meals.  There is no better feeling you feel your heart when you give in these situations…really!

Here are a few ideas I have told youths during this time of year: 

–        A young teen called wondering what she could give her family this year. She felt she was old enough and had this urge to give back.  We talked about whether she wanted to buy gifts or make them.  She said she had $20.00 for the whole family (2 sisters, one baby brother and her parents).

“Wow!” I said, “You have a lot more than you realize…$4. Per person and you can combine your parents and make it $8 for them or if your siblings gifts end up costing less…well there you go more for your parents!”  After a long talk, she decided she was going to make photo gifts… purchasing frames for her parents and making frames for her siblings. The money would go for enlarging some favourite photos she had of special moments with family members.  How cool is that?! 

–        One child called because he did not know if he was going to see his dad this holiday season because he was in the military and may not be able to make it home on time.  We talked about his family members, extended family and he was very close to his uncle, (dad’s older brother) and how he could arrange ahead of time, some fun things to do with him.  If his dad was coming later, maybe he and the family could arrange to have second holiday feast and gathering when he got home.  “I bet your dad would really appreciate experiencing that and not feel as if he missed that day.” 

Sometimes I get calls from youths whose parents are working throughout the holidays and barely any extra time to spend with the children.  

–        One girl called wondering how she could spruce up her home without it costing anything and doing something so she and her younger siblings whom she was babysitting could have some fun.  I suggested she check out the malls that are selling trees and pick up the fallen branches on the ground…put together, you can create lots of nice decorations. Popcorn and cranberries are beautiful and inexpensive decorations! Have the siblings create decorations as well.  Going to the dollar store and getting a few items if you can afford this.  But, even more fun, if she could take a few days with her siblings and make some holiday gifts to give each other and their parents.  The biggest gift to her parents would surely be her organizing this time and creating a holiday mood that may be contagious. 

Tips for parents:

–        Develop traditions by creating activities that are special to your family.  That can consist of holiday meals created from parents’ childhood recipes.  Traditions can be preparing the home for the holidays as well, making it special and not a chore.

–        Keep your plans within your resources. It can become double duty for parents…delegate and accept nice and not best from your family.  If you do it all, chances are you may be short tempered with the family…

–        Be sensitive to your children’s wishes.  Communicate with your child how the time off school will be spent. Often we get calls from youths who are bored…plan activities ahead of time.

–        Try to communicate with your teenager and discuss how they want to spend the holidays…encourage them to plan things ahead of time and share your plans too. Often when teens get older, parents may feel they don’t want to take part and that could be far from the truth…everyone wants to feel included.

 

Make connections: this time of year is a great time to reconnect with family and friends…Can’t afford big feasts…pot luck is even more fun! The importance is having a place to gather.  Your gift is offering your home so this can happen.    Volunteering at a local charity with your children is a great way to teach your kids about the value of giving.  Inviting a neighbour over for tea if you know they are alone.

–        Help your children understand the value and the meaning of the holidays.  For some it may be religious, share that with your children; it may be a sharing experience, offer your child opportunities to share; if it means more family gatherings, give your children roles in hosting these gatherings

–        If you have teens and there will be parties, talk about drinking and what your expectations are.

–        Be available to do some car duty sometimes but set limits so you can relax too.

–        Have fun yourself, parents!  Don’t expect perfection …just has fun.

Tips for kids and teens:

–        Plan, plan and plan some more.  If you have some image of what the holidays should look like or what you are hoping for…talk about that with your parents.

–        If you want to get together with some friends, this has to be planned before the holidays because chances are; your friends have plans too.

–        Lots of fun can be had just doing fun winter activities for ALL ages, not everyone can get to snowboard or downhill ski but sliding; skating or making a fort can be a blast.

–        No snow this time,  just means dressing warm and skateboarding, roller blading or finding indoor areas to rollerblade, or why not try out bowling!  Call to check with days or times there are reduced rates  at some of these locations.

–        Board games are often only brought out at parties and the holidays…why not choose 2 or 3 board games that will become your holiday games.  You’re allowed to tell your parents that you prefer different ones now if you feel you’ve outgrown one or two.

–        Don’t’ worry so much about giving gifts, instead give of yourself and write in a homemade decorative card what you will do the help with chores, teach a sibling something, etc.

I could go on but I think you get the gist of what I am trying to convey.  This year, I decided to have family over for a late dinner December 24th.  I’m going to make sure beddings are ready so they can sleep over if they’re too tired to drive home.  I even am dusting off my vinyl records to play some 70’s music.

I will be working the following day, Dec. 25th.  I can’t wait to talk to kids and teens on that day and share with them my winter fest mood.  And if theirs is not so upbeat, I’ll be there to listen, comfort and offer some insights to lighten their mood.   Happy winter fest!!

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, 2012/11/28