"I myself have twelve hats and each one represents a different personailty" ~ Margaret Atwood

Saturday, November 24, 2012


This entry is not going to be about Henry, at least not directly.  Although I suppose it will be about his history, his roots, the people and events that led to his existence.

This week, my Grandmother passed away after a courageous few years living with a cancer that was slowly but surely bringing her closer to the end.

I'd like to say a few things about the woman my grandmother was and the influence she had not only on my life, but the lives of my sisters, my cousins, my father (and my mother), my aunt and uncles and no doubt anyone else she came in contact with.

I recently posted this article on my facebook timeline.  If you haven't read it, it is titled "I've started telling my daughters I'm Beautiful" and it is about one woman's journey to change the world her daughters will grow up in by teaching them what true beauty is, starting with how she sees herself.  My grandmother wasn't an author.  She never expressed to me in so many words how to see yourself as beautiful when faced with so many obstacles, yet that was the exact thing she taught me how to do.

Years of sun worship had taken it's toll on my grandmother and skin cancer was ravaging her face.  Many people would have looked in the mirror and been discouraged, disappointed or saddened by what my grandmother looked at every day, yet her confidence never waned.  She never hesitated to go out, have fun and live life to the very end.  She was always elegantly dressed, with her lipstick on, ready to take on the day  Even after having a mastectomy to slow the breast cancer she was diagnosed with, Grandma would wake up, put on her fake boobs and come over for dinner.  One of the last times I saw my grandmother well at her home, she told me she was thinking about taking ukelele lessons.  My grandmother taught me that life is not about how you look, it's about how you choose to live it and that looks are not about what others see but how you see yourself.

Grandma was married twice.  My grandfather died when I was about 9 years old.  We were living in Austria at the time.  Grandma stayed in the home they had together and hung up many pieces of art.  She quit smoking at the age of 63, cold turkey (even after starting smoking when she was only 13 years old).  She lost her partner but she built a new life that was every bit as exciting (if not more) than her life with my grandfather.  A few years later she met Pat.  Pat was a wonderful man and he loved my grandmother very much.  They were married not too long after they started dating.  I remember when they dated, how happy grandma was and how cute they were together.  Their wedding was beautiful and it was wonderful to be able to be there.  Grandma believed in the afterlife and she must have been thinking about being reunited with granddad some day when she told me that she wasn't worried about loving two men and having two husbands waiting for her in the afterlife because surely that would not be a problem in Heaven.  My grandmother taught me that the most important thing is love and that you should love often and without fear.

When Pat died, Grandma moved into a small condo which she loved.  One time she called my parents asking if we could bring one of her dining room chairs (which were stored at my parent's house) because when her friends come over they are one chair short.  She had many friends in her building.  She and her friends would leave easter candy on each other's doorsteps at Easter.  It reminded me of a university residence, they partied and laughed and hung out together and looked out for each other.  My grandmother taught me that you are never too old to make new friends.

I can't tell the whole tale of my Grandmother's life.  I am so lucky that I got to spend so much time with her.  My childhood memories of her are all happy visits to her house, playing in the rec room drinking Dr. Pepper and eating chips out of margarine containers, visiting the trailer on rice lake where she would wear terrycloth dresses, getting a present even though it was my sister's birthday so I wouldn't feel left out.  I didn't know it at the time, but my grandmother was teaching me how to raise patient, kind humans.

My first memory, not just of my grandmother but of my life, is of my grandmother.  I remember going to my Dad's convocation (well, someone told me that part), I remember sitting with her in the auditorium, she was wearing a family ring with birthstones for each of her children and I remember her describing each colour to me and why they were on the ring.  It's not a life-shattering memory, but it in so many ways is an example of the woman Grandma was, patient, kind, loved, beautiful, elegant, loving.  My grandmother taught me the value of these things.

Grandma, we will all miss you so much and will never forget you.  As long as we remember what you taught us, you'll always be with us.

For viewing and funeral info, go here

Friday, November 9, 2012

Ka-Pow! Blam!

At long last, I have found some time to update everyone on Henry's Halloween.  Last halloween was the peter pan costume that kind of started all of this hat-making and blogging.  Since his costume was so cute last year, I figured you wouldn't let me get away with buying one for him this year, at least, not the whole costume.  This year, Henry went as - da nananananananana da nanananananana Batman!

Answering the bat signal:

Bat signal again?:

False alarm.  (Notice the batmobile in the background?  Thanks Aunty Katy and Brett)!

Now we'll take a short break from batman pictures.  Thumbs up for pumpkin carving (we're letting him start early so that he hopefully doesn't inherit his dad's bad luck with knives):

All finished!:

They turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.  The little Jack Skellington heads are candle holders that I got from a friend a long time ago:

Batman playing with his new fisherprice Kitchen:

Happy man!  (Thanks to GG for the smiling shot where he isn't trying to take off his hat):

That's all for this week.  Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel.