Thursday, 26 February 2015

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 26, 2015

The Checkout

"No! No! That can't be right!" The petite senior protested the refusal of her credit card. "Wait, I've got another one in here somewhere."

She hefted a mammoth handbag up onto the checkout counter. With leather gloves and purse handle clutched in her left hand, she plunged her right into the purse. The ample folds of her full length beaver coat muted the near-frantic movements inside the bag. A wad of tissues emerged first, followed by several retrievals of pink packets of artificial sweetener. Again the right hand dove in, this time coming up with a bottle of antacid tablets. More medications appeared and one by one joined the jumble of goods on the counter. Then an overstuffed wallet emerged. She seemed a little bewildered at first but then tackled the clasp, her arthritic fingers struggling to get it open. The unruly wallet flipped out of her hands, spewing coins to the floor.

"Oh shit," she whined.

I bent down and gathered up the fallen. Standing up I handed her the coins along with the wallet, "Here you go. I think I got it all."

Wallet in one hand, coins in the other, she offered a polite yet automatic, "Thank you."

But it was her pale blue eyes that captivated me. I saw a little warmth, a little sorrow and more than a little fear in those windows of the soul. We both hung on to the moment, eyes locked on each other, searching for something...

"So how will you be paying for this?" The cashier's impatient words cut between us. Eyeing the wad of cash crammed into the troublesome wallet, she added, "Cash?"

A sad little voice answered, "I don't think I have enough money." The register displayed $11.62. Her eyes and hands dropped to the counter. Her lower lip trembled.

"It's okay Mom. I've got this."


Month by month, year by year, Alzheimer's Disease ate away my mother's memory. But worst of all, it stole the light out of those beautiful blue eyes.

©2015 April Hoeller

Monday, 23 February 2015

Monday Moanings - February 23, 2015

SSDD - Same Snow Different Day

Minus 24°C this morning with brilliant sunshine lighting up fresh powder. Made me wonder if somehow the stars of the night dusted the new snow with all their glitter. It is stunning. It is also bloody cold, again. SSDD!

So what else is new? Well the Oscars were handed out last night. I watched the show for a whole ten minutes while I waited for Downton Abbey to come on. Neither the host nor the camera sweeps of the "stars" in the audience impressed me. I mean did anyone really need to see Michael Keaton's open mouthed mastication of what I assume was gum even just once, let alone three times? Surely black tie and gum is a fashion faux pas!

I was reminded of the rhyme my grade 4 teacher recited every time one her pupils got caught chewing gum.
It went something like this:

The gum chewing boy/girl and the cud chewing cow,
look somewhat alike, but different somehow.
Ah yes! There it is! I see it all now!
It's the intelligent look on the face of the cow.

Enough said. For the record I have seen both Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel and though both had their moments of intrigue and hilarity, neither one rang any of my bells. In fact I left the theatre both times thinking, "What the heck was all that about?" If there was a point, if there was something important for me to take home, I missed it - twice!

The best picture I saw last year? The award goes to ...  The 100 Foot Journey

India, France, food, Helen Mirren - what's not to love? And a prediction for the 2015 winner of My Best Picture Award? The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. All the same gang from the first time round, less Tom Wilkinson (his character died, happily I might say, in the first one), PLUS Richard Gere! Oh my! Coming soon to a theatre near you.

And that's all she wrote for this Monday Moaning. A new week lies ahead, full of opportunities and open for discovery! Best get out there.


©2015 April Hoeller

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 19, 2015

Sheep, goats and rams -  on a Siberian Express

The Siberian Express has roared into town yet again bringing with it more bitter cold accompanied today by a beast of wind whose sole intent seems to be to bite my face off. This is getting tiresome - we are headed for the coldest February on record!

But when brilliant white cold light of this unwelcome weather phenomenon meets the south facing windows of my house, the rooms are filled with wonderful stretches of soothing warmth. Truly delightful display of "day star" power.

Every moan, every groan, every hint of despair within me melts away, leaving me with images of sandy beaches...

...or even grassy hillsides filled with trilliums,

or strawberries,

or perhaps even a segue to grazing sheep...

Welcome to the Year of the Sheep! Chinese New Year exploded to life at the very beginning of this day, and though there is some debate about whether it's the year of the sheep, or the goat, or the ram (apparently only a problem for the English speaking world according to the New York Times), there is no debate about the celebration. Lots of red, lots of fireworks, lots of dancing featuring lions and dragons; and food, lots of food.

Last year at this time fuelled by an upcoming trip to China, I celebrated by preparing a Chinese Feast for my family. I'm not feeling so ambitious this year. Homemade almond cookies and store bought fortune cookies will have to do their best to mark the Lunar New Year this time.
Gung Hei Fat Choi!

And a few photos from our Chinese Adventure last year:

Wishing you, "Happiness and Prosperity" in this Lunar New Year.

 ©2015 April Hoeller

Monday, 16 February 2015

Monday Moanings - February 16, 2015

Family Day 2015

Rather that write something pithy or otherwise on this holiday Monday, I've spent several hours trolling through family photos, stopping by a few memories and considering just how fortunate I am to have the family I do. No place for moaning today!

Here's to each and every one of you. Good health, good fortune and great happiness.
Thanks for bringing me to where I am today.

And our lives would be so much less without the four-legged wonders who have graced us with their tails and trust.

©2015 April Hoeller

Monday, 9 February 2015

Monday Moanings - February 9, 2015

Oh look, it's snowing!

Snowing again, still snowing - what's the difference?

Why is it that I, along with so many others, greet this newsflash with so much groaning and head wagging? A mere two months ago I welcomed these exquisite crystals from the sky with joy and wonder. I delighted in their accumulation and was enchanted with the great white tapestry outside my door; all the colours of the rainbow woven together into one brilliant white exposition of form and texture.

That was then. This is now. This is February in southern Ontario where the white stuff is yesterday's news; neither fresh nor inspiring. SSDD - Same Snow, Different Day, or words to that effect. It's not just boring, it's dispiriting. Ah but even these February lamentations are nothing new. I know I can count on their annual visit. Better yet, I know I can count on their annual departure.

This is one of those days when I can hear my Dad the weatherman, telling me and all his listeners how a good thick blanket of snow was good news for the coming Spring; how it would insulate the ground from the bitter cold and prevent the frost from going so deep as to kill off the dormant seeds; how it would in time bathe the good earth in abundant yet gentle moisture that was so critical for new growth.

I hear ya, Dad. Thanks for the reminder.

The light is returning and underneath all that white, the green lies waiting for re-birth.

image courtesy of

©2015 April Hoeller

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Thursday, or Thereabouts - February 5, 2015

Passport to Paradise

There may be ink in the fountain pen, but there's nothing flowing onto the page, save for half a dozen incomplete sentences scrambling to grab some energy and a few doodles just for decoration. I am not feeling the joy of writing today. It happens.

Well hang it all, let's go look at some flowers. I know you've seen many if not all of these before, but what's not to like about flowers?

Especially when the sky is blue, the sun is shining and it's MINUS 12°C outside (balmy compared to the -20 I woke up to this morning).

Now while you are off smelling the roses and basking in the tropical delights of paradise in pictures, I'm heading into the city to pick up my renewed passport.


(It's 30C in Puerto Ayora today...)


©2015 April Hoeller

Monday, 2 February 2015

Monday Moanings - February 2, 2015

For the love of winter

It's Groundhog Day  and all was quiet in early morning grey. I groaned as I rose to my feet and staggered to the bathroom for the usual ablutions, then dressed in the obligatory two layers, briefly considering a third. I followed the river of cool air along the hall on the way to the kitchen. The furnace, though chugging along, seemed to be struggling to defeat the chill. A glance at the hall thermometer told me why:

I continued to my favourite room in the house and pulled open the first blind:

... then the one over the door to the deck.

A little snow they said, especially for us folks a ways north of Lake Ontario, maybe 10cm.

Not a groundhog in sight, so I sent out our very own prognosticating beast to find her shadow.

"I don't see a shadow. Do you?"
No shadow. No joy for the lover of winter.

Even Wiarton Willy the official Canadian expert found no shadow this day. But then plow roared by, leaving streams of snow in its wake along with a perfectly coifed header of compacted snow across the bottom the driveway. Time for the snow shovel and snow thrower brigade to get out there and clear the way.

and the solar panels, because the sun came out.

And if the sun comes out then there must be shadows...


And if shadows, then winter is here to stay.
What joy! Swimming in the snow! What bliss!

When it comes to winter, never trust a Colorado Low, an Alberta Clipper, a Nor'easter, or a Groundhog!

Just ask a dog. Just ask Sophie!

©2015 April Hoeller