IntrepidWoman's Journey

Posts Tagged ‘grandson

Today I drove 2 hours to watch a four-year old play soccer. It was Jack’s second time. The teams do drills for 45 minutes, then they play a short game.

He is a Timbit or something. They wear forest-green shirts with Tim Hortons on the front. The name is silkscreened on, but the numbers on the back of the shirts are not. You could tell whose moms had washed the shirts from the first week because their numbers had fallen off, including Jack’s. When queried, the moms whose kids still had numbers were not sure if they should be embarrassed because they had not washed the shirts after one wearing!

Everyone sits and gets their soccer shoes and knee-high socks on and gathers up their water bottles. When the coaches arrive, off they all go, down the hallway to the indoor field, while parents and assorted other visitors climb up into the bleachers to watch. We were far enough away that they could not see or hear us very well. I believe that is probably a good thing.

I remember when Jack’s dad played hockey at the age of seven and I sat right above where the team sat. The coach, Dave Liddell, at one point asked me to move somewhere else. “Mom, could you please move to another seat?”

David, who was the goalie, was experiencing interference by his mom hollering, “Fall on the ice! Fall on the ice!” when the coach was trying to direct some advice his way. From that day onward, when coach Dave and I would pass in the halls at ISS (we were both teachers there), he would greet me with, “Hi Mom!” to which I would respond, “Hi Son!” This went on for many years and puzzled students would stare at us every time.

I digress. We are at soccer, indoors and warm, not hockey, indoors and cold. The two coaches are changing the drills every few minutes to keep the kids’ attention. Unfortunately, they never did get Jack’s. He had a ball and he kicked it, rolled around on top of it with his legs and arms sticking out, stood on it at the side, talking to total strangers, and then set it down beside him while he draped his body over the movable divider between mini fields to have a drink from his water bottle.

The coach would periodically ask him to join the group, which he did occasionally, but only briefly. I was laughing so hard that I doubt I got one photo that is not blurry. It was like watching a “Who’s on first?” scene.

Ah, but then the game began. Both teams ran from end to end, kicking the ball and travelling in a pack of green and blue shirts. Jack laid on his back and looked up at the ceiling, raising his arms and legs, then stretched flat and remained motionless as the pack sailed past him with the ball being kicked along by several little feet.

The coach invited Jack to join a couple of times, but he was not interested, and then suddenly it happened. Jack noticed the pack at one end with the ball and he suddenly got up, jogged over, slipped a leg in to capture the ball and began running down the field, guiding it all the way to a goal. Both teams ran with him but everyone was kind of in shock, so there was little attempt to get the ball away from him. He scored, high-fived with the coach and wandered off to drape himself over the rubber divider again, pushing his bum into the air and his head down on the artificial turf.

I did not even get a photo of this momentous occurrence because I was standing and yelling, “Go Jack!”

This reminded me of a soccer game in Edmonton 10 years ago when a young (3) Tala Sutherland was a newbie at the game. As her dad Drew hollered, “Tala! Tala! Kick the ball! Kick the ball!” she noticed we had cameras and proceeded to pose for us. Kids were tripping over her to get the ball while she turned this way and that, smiling for the cameras. The good news, ten years later, is that she now plays competitive soccer and is extremely good at it!

I see that in Jack’s future. When he decided to play tonight, he was very good at it. I see fame and fortune ahead. Well, maybe just some good soccer playing with his family watching and cheering him on and many goals being scored.

Lyndsey, Jack and I went for pizza after the big game, with Jack sneaking extra black olives off the uneaten pieces. He had worked up quite an appetite at soccer practice tonight!

My two-hour drive home was warm and fuzzy with frequent grins and remembrances of several hugs before leaving Jack.  He is such a treasure!

I will always remember being there for his first goal! (Are they called ‘goals’ in soccer or is that just in hockey?)


“Nana, I think your boat is sinkin . . .” says Jack, standing in his hard hat, wearing fluorescent-yellow water goggles, with socks on his hands and holding a toy drill. This is right after he tells me that my feet are in the water and then I put my feet up in the air to hear that my boat hasn’t got a hope! (I thought hope floats!)

He is in the process of fixing things with his tools – the cat’s tower, the couch, the fireplace. . .  He hands me a bright orange plastic hard hat and tells me it will protect me from all the smoke. Then he adds black, heavy-rimmed glasses to my attire. Did I mention he has bare feet and is home with bronchitis?

Suddenly he verbalizes that mom and dad are not here and it is “just us.” “Just us,” he repeats, then his eyes light up and he smiles. That sweet face melts my heart and heals all that ails me.

We have read books, watched a movie that made him very sad and wanting a hug from dad, bounced a ball around the room and off the walls (oops) and over the ledge to the downstairs. He played his guitar while I danced. Now he is wowing me with his shooting skills. (We all have Nerf guns, all us kids.)

Jack is four. His throat hurts and he coughs periodically and eats his popsicle too fast. Then he cries from the brain freeze and the frozen lump in his chest. A few minutes later, he sings as he cleans up all his toys in anticipation of his mom coming home. “Where can that fire be? Where can that fire be?” he sings.

When mom arrives, Jack announces, “I’ve been working on the cat house!”

Sunday, July 25th.
We are into the last time for everything. Today is the last Sunday open market for us. The time has gone by so swiftly. In the beginning, three weeks seemed like forever but now we only have 4 more days left here! It makes me a bit sad; this is a perfect place to spend the entire summer.
The young teacher from Thunder Bay who lives around the corner has bought her place and does just that! What a glorious lifestyle, teach and come here for holidays. She figured it out while she was young, bravo!
Yesterday in Montpellier, I watched a woman sitting next to a bank machine begging. We have seen several woman in Paris and now Montpellier, who sit with heads bowed and a cup beside them. This woman looked tired and would speak to each person as they walked up to the machine. Most would pretend not to see or hear her. One actually replied, “No’.  A man ignored her and as he walked past her upon leaving the machine, another man walked past, said something rude to him and dropped a coin in the woman’s cup.
I had just decided to go buy her a cold drink when a young girl around 7 ran over to her and was complaining about something. She was dressed well in a pink outfit with Crocs on her feet and was angry about something. The woman then moved to a different spot and I noticed that she had a large ring on one finger and had a purse. What a way to make a living.
David said lots of ‘beggars’ arrive on the buses in Lourdes to take advantage of the seniors and the sick who travel there for the holy water. I guess that is why it is better to donate to the food bank or charities where you know your money is needed and used for good.
Montpellier is a tourist’s delight and a place for lots of money. They have a huge, modern mall with over 50 boutiques and many, many streets filled with high-end stores like Cartier’s. I totally window-shopped and found it enjoyable. Later, I went  inside the mall to the central area with padded seats so Jack could play and rest. He ended up falling asleep on the rug next to me.
A lovely French grandmother in a ball cap and I had a conversation with few words, but eternal understanding. She asked if he was 4 and was delighted to tell me when he had gone to sleep. We both sat there across from each other for a long time while he napped, and when she left, she gave me the thumbs up and waved good-bye.
Soothers are very common in France, up to about the age of 4! We see kids plugged in everywhere, on the trains, in strollers and walking along with families! That must be why they are so noisy later, after being plugged in for their first few years!
Today has been a rest day as Jack was out of sorts, so we all took turns wandering the market and the side streets. I decided to do a “doors” project with my camera. There are so many styles and the iron grating patterns are numerous. Some doors are very fancy and refurbished or new, while others remain ancient and worn. I doubt that is an indication of what is inside.
Our house has a very warn, wooden door with an old-fashioned latch and requires a big skeleton key to open it, but the inside has seen major renovations. Photo album coming up soon of FB.
I sat on the roof deck this afternoon, enjoying the blazing blue sky and cool breezes and listening to a family across the way have a very loud, melodic conversation. It is not quiet in the neighbourhood where we live!  Most families have several children, and there is a lot of crying and yelling. They do it all with gusto.
Because houses are attached and share tiny, open areas, they also share cooking fragrances, music, television shows, and conversations!  Most Canadians have no idea how lucky they are to have so much space.
Children here play on their steps or just outside their doorways. Even the laundry is put right outside the doorway on racks to dry. My clothes are going to think they have gone to heaven when they get dried in a dryer next week. I open my walk-in window to find myself at the door under the stone stairs leading to our main entrance. Inside is the washing machine, so that is handy. When a load is finished, I hang everything on hangers or drape items over the day bed in my room.
It sounds rather inconvenient, but works very well actually. Because it is humid here, it does take several hours to dry things unless there is a breeze.
We leave by train for Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday morning, then have a flight on Friday to London, England, then Toronto and finally Calgary, arriving home Friday evening.
It will be a long trip home and we will have gained the 8 hours we lost on arrival in Paris. It will be good to have a long weekend to decompress before going back to real life on Tuesday.
My plan is to head to my church in the Pass for the weekend. I would like to take my jet lag to Allison for a picnic and perhaps do some painting. This time I do not mean walls. Finally, I mean canvases! It has been a long, long time. Coming to France has healed what has ailed my creativity, I think. I also plan to learn French.
I have made a promise to myself that my job is not going to be my life from this point on. It will take up part of my time, but not the most important part. Amen to that!
I want to talk to our landlord about taxes, etc. in Agde. It would not cost a lot to live here on a pension if one owned their home. . . . There I go, dreaming again. But what is life without dreams?

Long, busy day working at my list of things to finish while new things just kept popping up and making the list longer. Passing the torch to others now. I am done. Finished. Over. I have a life that does not include work. It includes Jack, my little heart-song. Tonight on the phone he said, “Two sleeps” and “I love you Nana”. Sigh!

Good story: contacted the two winners of our photo show, young people who get a week at Red Deer College in an art program in August. One said she wanted to give her week to another girl because she was a good artist and really would love it. Tried to talk her out of it , explaining you did not have to be a ‘good’ artist to go and enjoy the week. She was adamant, in front of her mom, so I accepted that she wanted to do this for her good friend. Turned out they barely know each other! She just really admires the other girl’s talent. I went to the Arts Council tonight (who are paying for the scholarships to this camp) and told them the story of this unselfish girl. They decided to send her too, as well as the other winners. Nice way to end the very busy and somewhat frustrating day today.

I hope these two girls enjoy the week-long art programs together and especially hope they become fast friends by the end of it! That would be a lovely ending.

And that sound you hear is applause. My hat is off to the Arts Council for their spontaneous generosity. Passing forward is contagious.

Time has gone by so quickly since this trip was first planned. And now, it goes by slowly. Once in France, in only 3 sleeps (not counting the 10 hours on the plane), I want to savor every minute and make a million memories.

When I had 3 weeks in China (Shanghai, Beijing, then Hong Kong) in 2004, I remember being concerned about constantly taking photos. I actually took over 700, but I think I was behind the camera too much. This time I want to be in the moment, have the experience and then take the photo. Not sure if that makes sense.

It has to do with the fact that I am right-brained and have not created art for a long time. I have taught it and viewed it, but not created it. My camera has been my creative tool in the last dozen years, and I have been desperate to express myself creatively. But it has not been enough.

Back in university, a million years ago, I spent long periods of time with canvases that I made myself and vast amounts of paint, mostly black, and various methods of application and experimentation. I was totally a process artist. The end result did not matter as much as the process that I allowed to take me over entirely. I want that again. I want to paint again, but I do not know where to start. I cannot start where I left off because a lot of time has passed and I am not the same person. My life journey since I last painted has been long and painful and awesome and has included a dozen other emotions.

I hope that by standing in the same room with some of the most famous art ever created over time, that I will be inspired to come home and get back to my own artistic journey. I hope that this trip is my place to start again.

…it must have been the fourth of July”. Great song – 4th is tomorrow.

In my jammies an hour ago and had a call from police that the alarm was going off at my place of employment.  The door was not locked and the officers found my cell number on the desk. I needed to get some Tums anyway, so this forced me to hop into clothes and car and head into town. I was prepared with town ID card in my hand and braced myself for the never pleasant question, “What is your date of birth?” Every year, every time I say it, it sounds so far back in the past. Did they even have televisions back then? I don’t think so. Okay. I am leaving that thought right there.

I need the Tums because my tummy hurts. I am getting so excited about my trip that my tummy hurts. I have so much to do at work before I leave that my tummy hurts.

Life is good, but my tummy hurts. Thank you Tums – I think it is starting to ease up.

Historically Speaking

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