Friday, June 24, 2005

School’s Out For The Summer!

I remember that ineffable sense of freedom. Coming home on the last day of school with my report card in hand and the sense that the whole summer stretched before me full of possibilities to play, sleep in, read and draw.

Today was a blaze of summer glory, despite a weatherman’s prediction of thunder showers and rain. The girls brought home their report cards and bags of papers that look as if they have been shoved into desks all year long. Our neighbourhood gang of bus stop moms and kids gathered at one person’s house (thankfully not mine this year) for a party this afternoon as we nibbled on wonderful food and watched the kids race around with water-soaked sponges to lob at each other or bounce on the trampoline. The kids topped off the party with bowls of ice-cream sprinkled with “pop rocks”, a type of candy that fizzes and explodes in your mouth.

How different to look at summer through an adult’s eyes. Why do we lose that sense of wonder and play so easily? Is it because our routines are interrupted without school to keep things on schedule? Is it because most adults wish that they too could have a long summer to rest, recharge and just play? Perhaps we tend to romanticize that freedom a bit as well because I can remember all too well those mornings of sheer boredom once I had run through my initial list of things that I wanted to do. How long will it be until I hear my girls complain that “There’s NOTHING to DO!!” ???

After my rant and sadness at the beginning of the week, I come full circle to a sense of peace. I have had the files removed from the site thanks to a supportive contact in Russia. I have let my colleagues know about who can help protect their designs and even if those files spring up somewhere again, I have stood up for my rights. I only wish that one of the infringers who really felt they were doing nothing wrong had the courage to use their own identity so that we could see who a court of law would side with. I guess that is why so many of them lurk behind false identities and petty words.

I also have a sense of Joy and Wonder. Dragon of the Deeps has been such a pleasure for me to stitch. Even though I am painfully slower than my model stitchers, it has given me great satisfaction to watch this design come to life beneath my needle. I can’t wait to see what the reaction will be to this pattern in Charlotte. I am also glad that I have a career where I will be able to enjoy some of the summertime with my children, even if it means doing most of the work at night or when they spend some time playing together. They are at such a fun age!!

So here is a toast to the arrival of summer holidays for our family. I can’t wait until Nick joins us after HE finishes working on Wednesday!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

FInding Hope Through Tears In Song...

The transition to reality after being away is never easy. At least the girls were excited enough about seeing their friends and all of the last week of school activities to get up out of bed even when their bodies were still on EST.

The first day of summer here was glorious and the kids ran through “Ollie” an octopus sprinkler after school with some friends while the moms tried to stay out of the way and chat on the deck.

Not to bad... but then I needed to send an e-mail off to close down a Russian site that had 36 of my designs on their pages for trade or sharing. A Dragon Spotter had reported the site to me while I was up at Mom’s, but since I didn’t have my contact’s e-mail with me, I waited until I got home, not knowing how much was up on the site.

Tonight it drove me to tears. For whatever reason, I just sat there and bawled. At that moment in time I thoroughly understood Teresa’s decision to take a break from cross stitching. Why pour so much of yourself into a design and pay to have it printed when someone can steal it and share it will others so easily?

I took a break to watch this week’s Canadian Idol and called in to support the young girl from New Brunswick, but as I watched her chase her dream, I felt even more discouraged tonight that after almost a dozen years of designing, I certainly had far less to show for all my efforts in terms of financial stability than someone who had spent the same amount of time in another job. I called my Mom, just to have her say “awwwww”, which sort of helped, and then got down to work on some graphic files for a client.

I put iTunes on in the background on my other machine and one of the first songs that came up was from the Touched By An Angel CD... the song Testify to Love by Wynnona. When it hit the line of the words “Every corner of Creation lives to Testify” I felt oddly comforted with the sudden knowledge that I was being true to what I have always felt called to do... create images.

If the ones that I make in cross stitch are more vulnerable to technology, I will keep shutting things down, speaking out, trying to find ways of protecting my work better etc. I will also continue to explore other, less vulnerable ways of using my images, but I will not let this take away the joy that I have in creating things that try to make the world smile, or hope, or dream a bit more than they did before.

I will learn from and be inspired by those around me facing adversity with such incredible courage, instead of watching how the world encourages “having it all” regardless of who you hurt.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


It’s Father’s Day today and we have to head back home on the train tonight. The girls called Nick this morning, sad that they couldn’t be with their Daddy on Father’s Day and yet delighted to spoil their Grandfather, Grr. Not having had children of his own, he inherited my brother, sister and I in our late teens and has merrily thrown himself into the role of grandfather with complete abandon.

My own father gave me far more than someone to look “up” to (I still do because he tops me by almost 5 inches!) I learned how to dream impossible dreams from Dad, how to imagine worlds beyond our own through science fiction and fantasy, a love of travelling to new places and meeting new people and how to sing Tenor harmony to name a few of the things that spring to mind.

I was glad we had the chance to see my grandfather in Montreal this visit. It is wonderful to still be able to have a Grampy around in this year that I turn 40. I have been hoping all day that there will be some good golf on television for him to watch.

Father’s Day is also when I think about the people that cae into my life through my marriage to Nick. Since Nick’s parents also divorced and remarried, Ken and Jerome became new people to appreciate in our lives.

Today, half a world away, my brother Dave also celebrates Father’s Day with Owen Charles and Anne safely home from the hospital. I wish him sleep enough to be able to function at work tomorrow and the joy of having all of his now larger by one family under the roof together at last. Sleep will come again eventually!

I also think of my sister’s husband, Yoshi, who has embraced his role as uncle in a totally different culture with such grace and enthusiasm. Whether playing Barbies and Uno or discussing Pokemon and Disney movies with his nieces, he is adding a richness to their lives that they treasure.

Father’s Day is not just a celebration of biological procreation. It is a day to honour the many men in our lives who build us up, grant us wings, challenge us to be more than we are, soothe our souls, inspire us, nurture us, enchant us, make us giggle or simply add richness to the tapestry of our lives.

Happy Father’s Day!