Shabby Miss Jenn

Thursday, August 14, 2014

25th HS Reunion

High School for many brings bubbling up from the past
 any number of mixed emotions.
When I allow myself to look back I can recall the jocks, 
the cool kids, the nerds and the mix of many who 
crossed into a few of those groups.
Different teachers and their classes 
stand out clear from the fog of memories.

My father was in the Canadian Armed Forces and
 we moved around a number of times in my youth.
One of those moves brought me
 to Barrington Passage, Nova Scotia.
It was Grade 8.
I walked into a school knowing no one else.
Friendships had been formed years ago for many
 of the other folks going to this school. 
It's a small community and they'd grown up together.
I was an outsider stepping into these circles.
It didn't always go smooth. A few stumbles along the way.
 A few lines drawn in the sand and no crossing it.
Friends were made.
Good solid amazing friendships.

I can look back thru time to my High school years 
and for the most part smile.
Silly moments are recalled. 
Laughter can erupt from me.
Gym class.
English class
Red and Grey Day.
Boy friends and heartaches
Girlfriends and sleep overs
Piercing and shaved heads
Acid wash jeans and Madonna

I was a part of this group from
 Grade 8 thru to Grade 11.
Then everything changed.

My father had finished his posting to Barrington and 
was being posted to his next place.
My family was moving to Summerside PEI.

I made plans to stay in Barrington so
 I could graduate with my friends.

My family said I was moving 
with them as a family.
Teen rebellion soared out of me
The next year was a rough year on everyone.

I can look back now with the eyes of an adult and see it 
was the best thing to have happened.
At the time, I could hardly 
breathe anything but rage.

I stayed in touch with many of the school friends.
Hand written letters.Grad photos exchanged 
with me wearing green and gold 
instead of red and grey.

Over time, the letters from some friends 
became few and far between.
Life has a tendency to do that.
Marriages. Children. Divorces. All the many twists and turns
 that life can drop at your feet.
Social media platforms came into play and like happens, 
you type in every name you can recall and see if they are part of it. 
Friend requests are sent out. 
You begin a new level of old friendships.
You are able to steal glimpses of family life thru the bits and
 pieces that are shared via status updates and photo albums.

In what seems like a blink of the eye, 
25 years has passed.
A High School reunion gets talked about and then
 a group of them gather to start making plans.
Excitement builds. 
Nerves start to fluster about in my belly.
A few stumbling blocks pop up but are quickly 
swept away by friends.
I'm included in this reunion with no qualms from anyone.
I am part of this group no matter what colors I wore that final night.

I meet an old friend in town so we can travel to the reunion together. 
It's the perfect way to scatter the last of the nervous butterflies as
 we'll talk about everything on the road trip there. 
She was using me for courage and an ice breaker.
It was perfect.
Laughter occurs. 
Tales of teachers and classmates.
 Who's doing what now. 
We play catch up on our lives in the 2 hour
 drive it takes us to get there.
We randomly check the updates and see friends
 decorating the space for tonight.

Kathy is sweet enough to drive the back way into Barrington and
 we reminisce about living along the sea shore. 
Who lived in which home along the way.
Pulling up to the parking lot, this is the first thing we see...
and a night to remember begins.

Friends start filtering into the pub and shared moments of hugs, giggles and
 exchanges of different information begins.
Some faces I knew instantly.
Others brought about giggles when we asked who was who.

 So many memories flood to the surface. 
I haven't laughed this much in a very long time.
Sharing photos taken from the night
..... some mine... some from others.

A series of photos that forever will fill my heart
with happiness and laughter when gazed upon.

Games of pool are played....
A few rounds of shots happen....

A night to remember always begins....

This photo of my friend Doug and I 
wraps the whole array of  feelings
from the evening up for me...
no amount of time

I am so very glad that I was able to attend and take part
in such a fun crazy night. The laughter still vibrates around my heart.
Those that planned this and made it happen....I thank you.
You all did an incredible job and should be proud.
Those that attended, I thank you as well.
You gave me incredible memories of continued friendships.
I loved seeing every one of you.
Those that weren't able to join us, you missed a magical night and were sorely missed.
Fingers crossed you all will be able to join us the next time around.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Another Romanian Connection Comes Full Circle

I've written about it before but in case you've missed reading it. 
I lived in Bucharest Romania for two years. 
My father was in the Canadian Military and had been posted
 to the Embassy there. It was like no other place we had ever lived before.
 I was lucky enough to be at an age to experience and remember
 many moments from then.
From the city landscape to the thatched roofs in the
 countryside villages we'd visit.
It was like nothing I'd ever seen before.

I went to the American School of Bucharest while I was there.
It was in a large home and children from about 20+ countries 
around the world went to school there.
I made wonderful friendships with many and have been blessed to 
reconnect with those friends again after so many years apart.

I always sort of kept a mental list of folks to look for again
 on social media sites.
Some were quite easy to find. 
Some actually found me first.
A few came back thru other friends. It's been fun.

One of the friends that was still on my list and
 yet to be found was Kelly.
Her parents were at the Canadian Embassy as well as mine.
She was a little younger then me but we had been
 friends and hung around together.
This photo from our yearbook shows Kelly dancing with 
another classmate at a school dance I don't recall.
I had searched her name and been coming up with no hits.

Being that I live in a rather rural area of Nova Scotia, I tend to 
take art courses that are offered online.
It's sort of my way of treating myself. I get to create art and 
chatter with like minded artists without having to leave my home.

A few years ago, I took an course called
 "Chickadee Road-The Studio Sessions"-by Kelly Barton and Liz Lamoreux. 
Part of this course included a private group
 to connect on Facebook.
As folks joined and posted, I caught the thumbnail photo
 of another classmate.

I knew those eyes.

Within the walls of this art course,
 I had just found Kelly.

It's been a few years now and we have managed to find ourselves 
in a number of the same art courses time and again. We have been building up our friendship with emails and shared laughter. We both love that yes, we have that initial Romanian connection
 that started the friendship; but our passion to create art,
 take photos of life around us; eat good food etc are all
 aspects we can use to build a stronger friendship now.

I'm totally in awe of her talent for knitting.
 It's something I can't do.
I love when she shares those photos.

Within the last few months of our chats and emails, we discovered
 she was going to be coming to Nova Scotia to visit family. 
( She lives in England)
 We quickly looked at work schedules for me and it was like
 the universe was smiling down on us.
 The time frame she was going 
to be here....I'm not working.

After 30 years...... Kelly and I are going
 to see each other again!!!!!

To say that I am excited about this would be an understatement ;)
We are hoping for good weather so that we can spend the day together
 having a picnic, taking photos of anything and
 everything we see together. We also have planned to exchange
 a piece of each others artwork.
I've sketched something out but not taken
 any photos of it yet.

She has teased me already about her piece
 to me by posting this photo to my Facebook wall

I'm positive you'll see a bunch more photos of when we finally see each other.
I can't stop smiling at the thought of it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Deeper Appreciation

If you look around the farmhouse, tucked into just about every possible space, 
I've created "something" that whispers to my soul.
 Piles of small books mingled with photographs housed 
in unique frames that captured my heart when I saw them. 
Collections of shells gathered on a 
summer day visit to a beach.
Old bottles filled with sunlight now as 
their original contents have long since disappeared.
Items that just make me smile when I look at them.

Sacred Altars. The Art of Altars and Offerings ... Jessica Brogan

What an amazing course this turned out to be. 
I knew that the topic had my attention and it was something
 I was already doing within my home. The course has been eye opening
 on a few different levels though and it's been a wonderful surprise.

Jessica is going to be hosting this course again in a while 
and I would highly recommend taking it.
I won't go into individual details about the spaces I created thru taking the course
but I'm going to share some photos that I took.

 The other people taking the course with me have created some amazing
pieces as well. We have felt strong and safe enough
in the group to share some touching and raw stories with each other.
This course has been such a blessing.

I'm looking at items around my home differently.
I am shifting things around and adding different pieces.
The act of creating the space as become as important to me as
the finished piece.
I'm gathering great peace.

When the chance arises to take part in this course again.... JUMP ON IT!


Thursday, June 05, 2014

She is a Diamond

Social media platforms are all around us.
You click like a zillion times.
You tweet something quickly.
You can look at a million thumbnail size images
 with a scroll of your cell phone.

You amass a string of "friends" that you for the most part,
 don't really know and could bump into on the street and 
would never recognize. (Sad but true for me. I'm trying to
 get better with that, I swear)

If you are lucky, a few real treasures are dropped into your life.
In the midst of those treasures is
 a true diamond to behold.
Someone that makes you slow down
 in the quick responses and think.
Someone who shares truly
 from their heart space.

I've been blessed with such a diamond.

The Light that shines from her is radiant.
When she writes, her words illuminate such
 an intense reaction within me.
She shares moments happening within her life and
 even though you know she is feeling raw and vulnerable in them; 
she is connected enough with herself to take 
the time to share and place her emotions into text.
 She's willing to do so because it may just help one other person
 in the world feel a little bit less alone
 fighting their own demons.

She's got my brain spinning in so many ways.
Surprises arrived in my mailbox just because she wanted
to let me know she was thinking of me.
Her self portraits make me feel strong and brave enough
to capture my own image and thought process that comes with them.
When I got flack for taking photos of myself, she had my back.
She supported me.

Her willingness to be raw with her writing.
Not always rainbows and
 little fuzzy bunnies munching clover.

Unfiltered Truth

 Spoke loudly enough to stop me
 in my tracks and truly listen.

I have darkness and demons on the edge often.
There are days my soul weeps in the background.
I'm no longer scared to share those aspects of myself.
They are all parts of me.
That same darkness also makes
 the Light within me 
shine bright when
folks look in the right space.

Just recently, Jessica was talking about her first e-course.
{You all know how much I adore a good course}
This one jumped at me for a number of different reasons.
Jessica was behind it, #1 of course.
Courses that speak to my soul don't always have to be an art course.
It was going to be about alters.
Something I already incorporate within my home.

Where did I have to go to sign up?!

The course began just a few days ago and
 it's blown me out of the water.


It's like Jessica is sitting right across from you and talking.
She has taken some of the most amazing photos.
She has had friends of hers allow her to
 share some of their amazing photos.
The content already has me doing research on stones, 
scents and different meanings
I wish to blend into my creations.
The term "feather-envy" has popped up a few times and even ended
with me racing around my back field 
chasing a feather in the afternoon breeze.
I'm looking at sticks, dried flowers, driftwood, 
sea shells and so much more all with new eyes.

She has made it fun, light hearted, full of incredible information mixed with just
enough depth and inner thought, to push ourselves.

She is going to be offering this course 
again in the Fall she says.
I place my hand on my heart and promise you...
I will be shouting LOUDLY
for all of you that this concept strikes a cord with
to scoot over and sign up.
You will not regret a single moment
of being in her Light
and all that this incredible
woman has to share and offer.

Thank you Jessica.
Thank you so much for being.... YOU!

{all photos are Jessica's photos and imagery.}

Monday, May 26, 2014

Change can be Incredible

So truthfully it took me about 30 years but 
that quote still hits home for me.
It really is how I try to live my life.
I am not one to follow a trend because others seem to.
I'm known for being outspoken on many topics and
 have even fostered some rough patches in friendships 
due to my thoughts and opinions being shared. 
I will ask for guidance in areas of my life but 
usually tend to follow my gut instinct.

Quiet thoughts

 Many mornings I step outside and just listen.
The multiple blend of birds chirping their hellos.
The wind drifting gently thru new leaves.

What changes do I need to see happen 
in my life at the moment?
Am I happy with how things are?
Where am I daydreaming myself to be
 in a month's time?
In a year?

I've talked about my battle with depression before in posts.
One of my surefire ways of shaking the darkness
 back from the edge is to
 change something in my life.
Sometimes all it takes is to paint my toenails 
a different colour then usual.
This time around in my fight, it took a little
 bit more then nail polish.

During my journey of weight loss, I had forgot about looking
after my hair. I just let it grow out and it got longer and longer.
The length I thought I was loving.
French braids

and then it changed.

Split ends
Dry and brittle
Same old hair style.
Clumps were falling out when I'd brush
or the shower would be full after washing it.
Getting a trim was just no longer going to be enough.
Frustration was always floating on the surface of my being.

Something was going to need to change.

I followed my instinct
and with one call to my hair dresser,
a good solid 9 inches was cut off my hair.

The change was within seconds of 
the last snip of her scissors.
I felt lighter. (obviously)
I soon came to see that the lightness 
wasn't just in my hair. 

I'd not noticed my battle with darkness
had woven itself into my hair.
I was hiding behind length.
 I was feeling stagnant. 

With the shorter cut, my curls came back
and so did the bounce in my step.
I had missed that.
The feedback from folks was instant.

My eyes sparkled
Some folks didn't like the cut and 
that was fine with me too.
I didn't do the change for anyone
other then me.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Newest Addition at the Farmhouse

As we have been reclaiming the yards and gardens around the Farmhouse, we've talked about the different landscaping we hoped to create. Different shrubs, bushes, flower beds and trees have been discussed to be scattered around. Fruit trees have always been tops on our list. Last season we planted a 5-in1 style apple tree and also a 5-1 style pear tree. They seemed to do pretty well and are covered with buds this year. We have our fingers crossed they fruit.

This year...... it seems cherry trees have been decided on for the yard.

Hole were dug and worked to be ready for trees when we found them.
We wrote down the names of the cherry varieties  that we could gain access to and spent the evening researching them on the computer.

He took the seats out of the back of the car and then reclined the front...... off he went.
Next thing I know, I can hear the car back in the driveway and he's placed a cherry tree into the wheelbarrow to get it across the yard.

This went quite well so in the next day or so, we'll add the other one.
The two kinds we went for are Sandra Rose Cherry and a Vandalay Cherry.
I am so excited to see how they do.