Mixing and Matching….

When two girls are shopping at TJ Maxx, and both find the same pair of shoes, it’s a fundamental and economic question that needs to be asked..

“ Do we really need these?”

Of course the answer, is not need, inevitably, it’s want. They appeal to our sense of style. We each spied them, independent of each other. Surely, this is an obvious sign from the almighty that they need to come home with us. They are so “Fallish.” This is possibly a made up word, but it just worked.

“Free People”…..on Free Women

They came in two colors, plum red, or tan. It had to be the former.

As soon as we returned back to my friend’s home, we had to put them on, and walk about on the tan carpet. We were little girls again enjoying the exciting newness of a fresh pair of shoes.

It conjures up the reminiscent feelings from youth. Shopping with one or two parents, and the destination was the shoe store to get running shoes, that, as you may remember, “ run really fast.” when they are brand spanking new. This was always an exhilarating experience.

What is it about the “newness” of something, that sets off our endorphins, and gets our brains all a buzz?

We know this feeling will fade. It has in the past. I acknowledge this because , and I know this may be hard to believe, I do have a selection of what can only be described as decorative yet impractical foot ware.

I know there are gals out there who would scoff at any type of “shoe candy,” and wear only the most sensible of “ granny going to meeting,” practical, and cushioned sole type flats. This is what makes life interesting. We all choose different styles, and for our own specific purposes. Some choices make sense, and others just do not. They are chosen simply because they appeal to us, their color, shape, and style, or they remind us of something that was, or is pleasing to think about. Also new shoes for an important event makes a girl feel special, blisters from them however, do not.

The former expression, “ granny going to meeting,” was borrowed from my boss while I was in college studying interior design. She was a great design mentor to me. She was funny, kind, beautiful, and talented, and could charm a tree stump by the sea into growing again when there seemed to be no opportunity for growth.

She taught me so much, and she always, and I mean like.. always.. wore high heels. Stilettos are not recommended to be the most sought after type of shoes to wear on a muddy job site. It never bothered her.

She would catch me gazing at her, as we exited her old jaguar, that frequently broke down in the middle of intersections, and she would know that I was looking at her shoes, then at the tough terrain in front of us, and would exclaim with a bright smile,

“ just tip toe my dear, it will all be just fine.”

She would then just giggle, apply a fresh coat of fire engine red lipstick, and off we would go. Me wearing rubber boots, and carrying a clip board, and her just ahead of me, acting the part of a classic Hollywood movie actress, with her trusted ensemble of one, following behind her, poised to catch her if she toppled off of her “ Christian Louboutin heels.”

I was Mary Ingles Wilder from Little House on the Prairie by comparison.

She was a character. I loved her.

When I first started working for her, I was about 19 years old. Fresh out of the gate, and studying interior design at Sheridan College, in Oakville. I had stars in my eyes, and watched with regularity the show on tv titled, “Designing Women.” They were Southern women who worked together in a big Victorian house. There were four of them, and their fellow male designer, Anthony, who had to put up with their shenanigans. He made the show, with his eye rolling, and eyebrow raising. He was my favorite character. Two of the women played sisters, and I knew that this type of work situation would be perfect for me.

I did end up working in an old renovated Victorian house, with a gaggle of designers.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the idea of working with friends, sharing life, the challenges, and the triumphs, the mountains of joy, and the valleys of sorrow. Heading out to pick up Chinese food take out for lunch at 4:40, because you became so immersed in a project, and meeting a deadline, that you didn’t take time to eat. Then, at 3:30, you realized that the obscene howling noise coming from your stomach, was saying.. “feed me..now.”

There was a sectional sofa in one office, where a fellow designer worked. We would unwrap the take out, and the heady scent of garlic, honey, soya sauce, and breaded shrimp and chicken, would send my salivary glands into overdrive.

Relaxing back on the sofa , comfortable now in our “food coma,” we would discuss the current jobs we were working on, and what still needed to be done. Inevitably, and I’m not sure why, I would begin to pantomime some of our clients, and see if my fellow designing teammates could guess who I was immitating.

Hilarity would follow. We would spend 20 minutes doubled over with uncontrolled laughter. Tears would be rolling down our cheeks, and our sides would be aching.

People are comical. I know they are not necessarily trying to be, but c’mon… we all are. It’s so necessary to be able to laugh at ourselves , and our peculiarities..it makes life interesting.

If only I tiptoed more often. Life situations may not have become so hectic and complicated, if I had adhered to this concept. Cautiously entering into a fragile conversation that needed calm, instead of blundering full weight footsteps forward, into a minefield of uncertainty. Stepping cautiously would have saved feelings, and the need to go back and apologize for blundering up a relationship, and destroying trust would not have been required.

I’ve become aware that I’m now on the other side of my life. The final third as it were. Not trying to be mellow dramatic, just being honest, and aware. I have buried friends, a parent, grandparents, aunts, uncles, a nephew, and children.

Aches and pains, and ailments with particular pieces of my body that I didn’t know would hurt are aching. It’s true… all of those instances that I heard “ older people” complaining about stuff, back aches, shoulder issues, plantar fasciitis, and the sort.. now.. it’s happening to me… in real time. I’m arriving to the the ground that is the middle of the age. Shall we call it,

The Middle Ground, or the Middle Ages even?

It seems chronically inappropriate, and it is truth . It may not be fashionable to admit, and not politically correct. I’m hooked . I’m in “ the middle ground.” I’ve arrived, landed, touched down, disembarked, set foot on, I’m there, and it ain’t so bad after all.

It would seem appropriate at this juncture to say that because I’ve been away from my home country of Canada for coming up to two months on October 15, my hairs have begun to turn the grayish blue white tint of reminding me that I’m aging. Not quite the reminder that I want.

To dye or not to dye that is the question. Lots of women are saying good bye to the dye, and they don’t know why.. sorry.. now I’m distracted and want to rhyme everything that is up in the sky.. I’m stopping now.

There is a certain and unbiased freedom in getting to this age, and being ok, with what comes next. I live and love with gratitude for the moments… Getting to spend time with my two sons, friends.. family… What comes next is superfluous. No preaching, just gladness for life. Can a person arrive at middle, and possible old age, and just… be .. ready.. and ..filled.. to the top with what’s left in her teacup with a joy that overflows?…

Yes..a thousand times yes …..

It’s the only way…No matter what was before, this present scene that I find myself in… is a place of overflowing gratitude.

Hiking, with shoes gripping the ground, aware that a tumble, could send me down the embankment, and cascading into the stream filled with boulders below, I take in the view. It’s exquisite.

Horsetail Falls Trail. It is a lovely hike, and once again open to pursue after the Oregon wildfires. A great spot to adventure into, with views that are staggering. Poised above the mighty Columbia River, in the Gorge area, it was beautiful.

Finding a waterfall up close on the hike, may be similar to sighting a rainbow. It gives such a sense of wonder and satisfaction. It’s like a sigh that escapes your lips at the scenes that are found in our world that still catch a viewer off guard with their inherent beauty. It takes your breath away, and renews it in the next moment.

Trees lay down in homage to their maker. It an impossibility not to be filled with emotion, and gratitude for this experience.

While wandering below the rocks, literally right under the waterfall, I was struck with the knowledge that there could be bats above me hidden sleeping amongst the crevices. I wanted to share with Jenny, these thoughts, then decided once opening my mouth , that these things could better be brought to light once out from the under the rock formation.

Once in a while, I can stop myself from emoting the first thing that comes into mind. It’s taken some harsh learning.. and discipline , but I am still a student in the school of life.

The sound of rushing water

This “white noise” can be found on an “app” to fall asleep to while listening. It’s relaxing, and brings a deep sense of peace. But there is nothing like being here, and having all of the senses engaged in the beauty of the surround.

“And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army. When they stood still they let down their wings.” Ezekiel 1:24

“And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory.” Ezekiel 43:2

Staggering, and filled with thanksgiving and wonderment, these discoveries do a body good.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my fellow Canadians living up in the North Country, as well as those in the US, and abroad.

Remembering those that we can no longer hold, and holding space for them in our hearts with thankfulness and love. We will never forget you, and the tremendous impact that you had upon our lives.

We will never forget.

5 thoughts on “Mixing and Matching….

  1. Hi Jill, YES indeed, TG weekend… it comes too soon in Canada and too late in the States. I think around Oct 25th would be just right! Your matching shoes with friends reminds me of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants … you and your friend? Or were there 2 friends? I see 3 pairs of the same shoes! How fun! Next birthday I turn 60! 😳 I bought 3 mugs (u may have seen them advertsied all over fb) one each for me and my sisters, and yes u customize them to sort of resemble ourselves! I plan on celebrating this outlandish # with them in Alberta. We 3 have never done anything much together… Im the youngest sooo lets see if we 3 can scale a Banff mountain together, in our agéd years … but thats next year … yay, at least by then 2020 will be behind us and that alone will be worth celebrating! So glad u can spend some quality time with Jen and in the southern Rockies 🥰


  2. Hi Shannon:
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family🍁I love the ideas for your Sisterhood Weekend. That sounds like it will be memorable, and fun.
    I had not watched “Sisterhood of the traveling pants,” until this past year, but really enjoyed it.
    I had a great time with Jenny hiking and chatting, and enjoying creation.


    1. funny that while raising kids, we flew ‘home’ (Regina 😉 ) often, and that was the only time I had time to watch anything! so when I saw that 1st show I got off the plane, went to Walmart and bought it! then there was a sequel … same process … I guess Air Canada has a good ad policy with their inflight services!


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