Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Christmas Choir

I was going to post this on Facebook but then decided to blog since I haven't blogged for a while and I wanted to write more than just a status message for a change.

I've been getting a bit fed up with some of the made for TV holiday movies available on Netflix lately. Some of them are so sappy and boring, even for me who has a high sappy and boring toleration level. They're so predictable and dull that it makes me want to write a screenplay as I'm positive I could write something better. Kobie, my cat could write something better!

Also I'm seeing the trend for these low budget productions being made in Canada and then passed off as American cities. That I don't understand at all. Why not actually show and say which Canadian city it is? It's like we're ashamed of our cities or something.

I guess it has to do with the Canadian government giving tax breaks to American film companies if they film in Canada. They have to pretend that it's New York City or Chicago when it's so obvious to me that it's not.

Yesterday I bought a DVD called "The Christmas Choir", something I haven't done in a long time since getting Netflix. I got it from a bargain bin at Giant Tiger for $5.00 and wasn't expecting too much.

The Christmas Choir

As usual, it was a Canadian city trying to pass itself off as New York City. This time it was so obviously Montreal, it made me annoyed. New York City does not have subway trains like those distinctive blue ones that Montreal has. Montreal is a beautiful city. Why couldn't they show more of it? I guess it wouldn't fit with the story which was based in New York City and starred American actors like Rhea Perlman with her distinctly Brooklyn accent.

Even though this movie had lots of sappy predictable elements, I was pleasantly surprised that it had more of a story than some of the others. And it was about a choir so of course it got my interest.

It had the usual plot line of a workaholic who has a crisis and then finds the true meaning of Christmas. 

As far as sappy, predictable movies go, this one was a bit better than the usual fare. It even engaged me emotionally a few times which is more than I can say for some of the movies I've seen lately. Not the best movie I've ever seen but definitely not the worst either. 

I still like all the old classics like "A Christmas Carol", "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's a Wonderful Life."  "White Christmas" is a fave with all that great music and dancing.

Still, if you're looking for something more modern, this one is much better than some of the boring Christmas movies out there. It's not a classic, but it's not a dud either. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 7.

What is your favourite Christmas movie?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Reflections on the YeahWrite NoMo Writing Challenge

It’s the 30th of November and I made it all the way through the Yeahwrite NoMo writing challenge, Yeah Write NoMo writing every single day for thirty days. Phew! I did it! Get out the champagne and chocolate to celebrate, Shilpa!

It’s not quite the accomplishment that NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is where you write a whole novel in a month, but I’m still pleased with myself. I forced myself to sit down at the computer and write something, even when I didn’t feel like it. As the month went on, I was determined not to ruin my perfect record and that motivated me even more. 

It wasn’t always easy, but I persevered, even on the hard days when time and inspiration were both in short supply.

My one regret is that I didn’t visit other blogs as much as I would have liked. Some days it was enough just to get the post done. I also didn’t finish replying to all the comments but I will try to catch up this week. I do appreciate the people who took the time to read my blog. That means a lot. Thank you!

When we lost our baby girl due to forceps injuries in 1992, I turned to writing to share about my feelings of sadness and despair. I also befriended bereaved parents and we shared our feelings and offered each other support to get through a difficult time. Writing helped me so much in my grief journey and out of that, I rekindled a passion for writing that I’d had since childhood.

The tragic event of my mom’s death on November 16th of a sudden stroke was such a shock to the family. It’s still so hard to realize that I won’t ever see her or talk to her again. The sadness is all consuming at times.

Once again, writing helps me share my grief and my memories of my mother. I find writing so therapeutic and healing. It’s like a trusted friend who is always there to lean on. 

The blog challenge rekindled that love of writing that is always there but sometimes goes on hiatus when other things are happening. Somehow with the imposed deadline, I forced myself to write and was pleasantly surprised that I could produce something. Also it made me realize that I am able to do so much more than I think I can. 

I look forward to another writing challenge soon.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November Sky

November clouds of pink and grey
Autumn slowly slips away,
Naked trees in disbelief
Stripped of every single leaf,
Geese squawk as they line dance by
Making a spectacle in the sky.

I am writing something every day for the Yeah Write NoMo Challenge for November.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Time is a River

Time is a river, sweeping us along. Always changing and never still
Sometimes it feels like we are drowning. Despite our desire for things to stay the same, they never do. Like the geese, we learn how to swim and go with the river's current. It's all we can do.

(Determined to finish the November blogging challenge and not miss a day this month, I managed to throw together a short post for today. It's late at night which is not my good writing time so Yay, Me! Good night!)

I am writing something every day for the Yeah Write NoMo Challenge for November.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Perhaps They Are Not Stars

This morning I saw a Facebook poster being shared of Charlie Brown clutching his pitiful little tree while looking up at the stars and it had this quote on it.

The choir sang the song “Perhaps we are not stars” a few years ago based on the Inuit saying. It was a piece commissioned by a school to remember a 12 year old student who died suddenly.

It was a hard piece to learn with many discordant notes and difficult entries. It’s not one of my favourite pieces in our repertoire but it is haunting. We sang it for a Remembrance Day service a few years back. Here is another choir singing a version of it.

Since my mom's recent death, it’s a comforting thought to imagine our departed loved ones shining down on us to let us know they are happy. I will think of that when I look up at the stars.

I am writing something every day for the Yeah Write NoMo Challenge for November.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Preserve the Memories with photo books!

I have been making digital photo books and scrapbooks for many years now. I really got into the digital books about ten years ago when the online technology became popular. I still find it amazing how I can make a book online, order it and send it off and then in a week or so, the book arrives in the mail. Magical!

People probably think I’m a little bit crazy making all these photo books of events in our lives. I have boxes full of books of events and beautiful photos I have taken of our pets, Nature, birds, and the seasons. If there was a fire, I would grab those first.

I truly believe that it’s so important to get the photos off the camera and computer and preserve the memories. I’ve often been surprised how some people could care less about preserving their photos and that saddens me.They think it's way too much work to even contemplate sorting their photos, let alone make a book.

I will keep making the books and will do it till I can’t anymore. Sorry boys to saddle you with all these books but it will be something special for you to look at when you’re old and I am gone. You can’t say I didn’t document your childhood!

I have made a book of all our visits to Cape Breton each summer for many years now. I’d always send one to my parents and keep one for myself.

Here is a photo of my mom with her cat, Mykie from the book I made in 2009.

With my mom gone, these books have become that much more precious to me and I’m glad I made them and I will continue to make them. Preserving the memories is so important.

We are all here on Earth for such a short time and want people to remember us after we’re gone. What better way than a photo book to tell the story of our lives so people will know we lived and loved as my mom did to the fullest.

I am writing something every day for the Yeah Write NoMo Challenge for November.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Anchor

I am writing this for the Blog-a-Rhythm Wordy Wednesday picture prompt of an anchor from a photo by Sreesha Divakaran which you can see at this link. Wordy Wednesday 

My mom was perfectly imperfect as we all are. She was stubborn, a bit selfish and often wanted things her way. She had a notorious redhead’s temper and wasn’t very patient. 

She didn’t like being a homemaker all that much and preferred to work as a nurse when we were growing up during the 1960s and 70s. 

She reminded me of Lucille Ball and even looked a bit like her with the red hair and big expressive eyes. Impulsive and brash, she would plunge full speed ahead into situations without thinking about it first. Often she’d get herself into a mess like Lucy would. But like Lucy, she had a great sense of humour and could laugh off her mistakes and continue on.

I’m so different in that way and tend to play it safe too much. I always wished I had more of her gutsiness. She wasn’t afraid to take a risk and fail which I often am.

She discovered painting and loved doing her fine arts degree in later years while working as a psychiatric nurse at the Allen Institute in Montreal. She joined art groups, had shows and sold her paintings to admirers of her work. Later when she retired to Cape Breton, she would give workshops and art tours to other art enthusiasts.

Having to deal with the mundane realities of day to day life made her resentful at times. I can understand that feeling. Creative pursuits take us away to another place that transcends time and we lose ourselves in the magic. I’d much rather write, or do my music and photography than housework any day! I have definitely inherited her love of art and creativity!

Despite her shortcomings, I always knew I was loved and she was encouraging and supportive to me. She was like my anchor in many ways.

She wasn’t perfect, but whose mother is? She was my mother and now she’s gone. I sure will miss her but have many wonderful memories to sustain me through the sadness of grief. 

I am writing something every day for the Yeah Write NoMo Challenge for November.