Oh How My Heart Leapt For Joy

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must. – Johann von Goethe

IMG_20150827_075614_edit1_editLast week Calgary was under a smoky, hazy sky.

We were warned to keep our windows shut in our homes and keep the vents closed in our cars.

The haze was a result of fires burning in Washington and BC.  The poor air quality registered off the index.

Some days, I could taste smoke on my tongue.

On the news they compared pictures of Hong Kong and Calgary’s Deerfoot; the main highway that runs north and south.

The images were indistinguishable from each other.

I wasn’t happy about the last vestiges of summer being diffused by smoke, but was amazed by how quickly it became the norm for me.

Something to simply be endured.

The sun during the day and the moon during the night were often red or orange and looked like a scene out of a Sci-fi movie; an other worldly picture of a faraway planet.

Magical, perhaps even beautiful in its own way.

But oh how my heart leapt for joy when the sun’s beautiful light broke through the haze on Friday!



On Friday the sun broke through the haze

What Would Onkel Karl do?

THIS PAST SATURDAY I was vacuuming the living room when the powerhead suddenly turned itself off. I turned the vacuum off and that’s when I noticed the Belt Protector Reset button. So I pushed it and turned the vacuum back on. It ran for a few seconds, then turned itself off again.

Maybe it’s clogged I thought. So I…

  • checked the vacuum bag, and yeah it was full. I put in a new bag.
  • spent an hour learning how to take the vacuum apart and checked all the hoses and bits for dirt. Clean as a whistle.
  • I checked the brush roller thingy and it did not move. It was stuck. I noticed lots of hairs and fibers and tried to pull them out. No go – the roller brush thingy would not budge.
  • So I tried to take the powerhead apart. On the flip side I read, “Flip powerhead and read manual for further instructions.


I’d bought the vacuum secondhand. I have no manual. Not that I ever read them when I have them.

So there, I sat cross-legged on the kitchen floor.

What would Onkel Karl do?

Onkel Karl was an old friend of Dad’s. In fact they hung out together as teenagers in Wittenau, Berlin.

They did normal teenage things with about 52 other teenagers, or so I’ve been led to believe.

Cute things like lifting people’s cars over their pretty fences with cute little walk-through gates .

There was no way these car owners could get their cars out of their yards without taking their fences down.

Yeah cute things. They did cute things like that.

Years went by and Onkel Karl emigrated to Canada, as did my parents.

Upon the blessed event of my birth, Onkel Karl and Tante Stella were asked, and agreed, to be my Godparents.azfwvudhswrvvt2qdcdu

I loved Onkel Karl.

I always thought he looked a little like Jackie Gleason, you know, the ‘to the moon Alice’ guy from that show The Honeymooners?

In fact, the only two men I loved back then were Dad and Onkel Karl. Onkel Karl had a trained German Shepherd. A would-be burglar could walk into his house, start loading stuff in his loot bag while dancing a jig, and good ole Rex would just lay there, barely even looking up.

But when the poor unsuspecting thief would try to leave, Rex would spring into action, pin him down, baring his teeth and holding him there until Onkel Karl got home.

I used to love visiting Onkel Karl and Tante Stella because they lived on 120 acres of land and there were lots of fun things to do. Onkel Karl taught Mike and I to drive his skidoo. Once while I was driving, I hit a bit of a bump and Onkel Karl went flying off the back of the Skidoo.

On his land, Onkel Karl also had a landing strip.


He owned a 4-passenger plane and took us up for a ride every now and then. Once when I was about twelve, he let me take the controls – Woo Hoo!

As well as all of that, Onkel Karl was a businessman. He owned and operated a secondhand vacuum/repair shop. My parents always bought Mom’s favourite standup Hoover vacuums there.

So there I sat on the kitchen floor looking at the pieces of my vacuum and wondered what Onkel Karl would do.

And I swear I heard his voice telling me, “Take it to that vacuum repair place on 11th Ave and 14th Street.”

Reasonable advice I thought, especially since I don’t really have a good track record of being able to put stuff that I take apart back together…

…like that hot summer day when my floor fan died and I thought maybe I should clean it and sat on the living room floor cross-legged with a screwdriver and took it apart and there were so many pieces on the floor and I was unable to put it back together and it was so hot that sweat was dripping from my hairline and a blue cloud of cuss words escaped my mouth as I picked up the stupid fan pieces, put them in a stupid cardboard box  and carried them out to the stupid dumpster in the back and headed out to the store to buy a new stupid fan…


Are you a Mr./Mrs. Fix It? Or like me, is it just best to call on a professional?

Today Is Your Day!


Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way. ~ Dr. Seuss

I think we often view the Mountain as a barrier that we’re trying to get around

as something that stands in our way.

Something that needs to be obliterated in order to achieve that which we desire to achieve.

And I guess that it can be, depending on the metaphor we’re going for.

But what if your mountain is your calling?

What if climbing it is the point, not getting around it or blasting through it? What if the journey to get to the top is what gives you the very skills you need to accomplish what you’re meant to do?

My mountain is called Building Community. And I have thought it has meant many specific things at very specific times, most recently The Other Bottom Line.

But the higher I climb, the more I realize it has meant all those things. And none have been for naught. Each has been a gift along the way.


What’s your Mountain called? Do you link it directly to one goal or do you see it manifested in many ways throughout your journey?

Friday Pick 168

Very recently I came across JMR’s blog Bienvenue sur ma page de peintures/Welcome to my paintings page because I read a comment JMR left on someone else’s blog, if you can believe it! I was enticed to check out JMR’s blog because the comment was about the beautiful fall colours in Montreal, my home town. Each post is written in French and English and showcases JMR’s art – how cool is that?

In JMR’s own words:

No complete english translation yet, in short I will say that I am a self-taught painter, and draughtsman (pastel mainly), in this blog I will present my daily work, in progress, eventually I will also post completed works, I’ve also included links to other personnal pages, showing more of my work and also, links to artists friends, whom I appreciate very much their work. I could provide more informations if needed, in my broken english….:)

This week, I’ve chosen the post below as my Friday Pick.

In this post JMR shares a ‘redrawing’ – you’ll have to check out the post to learn what is meant by that…

Go ahead and visit the link below

and tell JMR Diana sent you…

Top modele remodelee/Top model reshaped by Bienvenue sur ma page de peintures/Welcome to my paintings page


*I’ve closed my comments in hopes that you will leave a comment on the writer’s page*

Like The Time Dad Stole A Horse From The Russians

My brother shared this video on Facebook the other day with the following preamble:

Wow, this was a real tough one for me to watch. I realise that Germany was the aggressor and I`m not trying to comment on the outcome. This is the first time I have seen the post war Berlin in moving picture. In 1945 my Mom and Dad were 7 and 11 respectively. They grew up in Berlin. I remember them telling me stories of rubble in the street and how people lived. The fact that they even survived, is a testament to their strength and resilience. My parents went on to make a new life here in Canada. May this never happen again. Please watch it, there are no winners in this type of conflict.

We’ve heard so many stories from Mom and Dad over the years…

like the time dad stole a horse from the Russians and it was butchered by his family and neighbours so they could eat.

how one night you’d have potato soup and the next night you’d have potato peel soup.

or the time when Mom accepted chocolate from a Russian soldier.

how you could buy cake crumbs for a few phennig just to have something in your belly.

or the time they were sitting around the table when the windows imploded because a bomb had been dropped nearby.


I cannot imagine the affect war had on my parents. And after viewing this video, I’m reminded how blessed I am to never have experienced war in my lifetime in my country.

As my brother Michael states: May this never happen again. There are no winners in this type of conflict.


I many times thought Peace had come
When Peace was far away
As Wrecked Men—deem they sight the Land
At Centre of the Sea

And struggle slacker—but to prove
As hopelessly as I
How many the fictitious Shores
Before the Harbor be  

Emily Dickinson

I Don’t Know What Time It Is

There are few times that I feel more at peace, more in tune, more Zen, if you will, than when I force myself to unplug. ~ Harlan Coben


I’m not so sure Harlan.

Because I keep reaching for it, but it’s not there.

I don’t know what time it is, having gotten rid of the clock several years back.

I don’t know how I’ll wake up on time to go to work tomorrow. I threw out my radio/alarm clock a few days ago.

What if someone needs to call me? I got rid of my landline a year ago.

What if I miss an important text? What if someone’s crushed because they think I’m ignoring them?

Those were my thoughts on Wednesday when I forgot my Blackberry at work. I noticed at home when I reached into that special compartment of my purse.

“No biggie,” I thought. “I’ll update my Facebook to let people know I forgot my phone. I’ll send an email to work, if I’m not there it’s because there’s no alarm to wake me.”

No biggie

Peace? In tune? Zen?

That’s not what I felt…


Do you reach for it when it’s not there?

Friday Pick 166

I’ve been following Laura over at On My Way for quite some time. Laura lives with a constant darkness, yet she is one of the greatest fighters I have ever met. She made a promise once to be there for someone, and she’s kept it. I know she sometimes feels like she does not contribute to the world. But that’s not what I see. I see a woman who deeply cares for others and works hard to create a better tomorrow for others who live with depression. In short, she is inspiring.

In Laura’s own words:

Whether you’ve just discovered my ramblings or have been reading for a while, I thought it was about time I let you in on a little bit more about me and my fight with depression that’s lead me to writing here in the first place.

This week, I’ve chosen the post below as my Friday Pick.

In this post Laura shares a poem that makes me want to always live in the moment…

Go ahead and visit the link below

and tell Laura Diana sent you…



*I’ve closed my comments in hopes that you will leave a comment on the writer’s page*