Saturday, 8 February 2020

Widow's Endorphins: Rhododendrons and Ramblings

Widow's Endorphins: Rhododendrons and Ramblings: Rhododendrons blooming in February! That's uber early, even for Vancouver's climate. There they are, in all their pink glory, fl...

Rhododendrons and Ramblings

Rhododendrons blooming in February! That's uber early, even for Vancouver's climate. There they are, in all their pink glory, flowering in gardens along False Creek's seawall walk. Rhododendrons, or Rhodos as they are often referred to, by people whose fingers get sore trying to type out the whole name, and whose tongues get twisted trying to pronounce it, usually bloom in May on the Westcoast. Some early varieties flower in March. February is worthy of a news conference!

January's record rainfall made the news. The city, which is known for rain, broke a fifty year record for the number of consecutive days of rain. All was forgotten, when the sun broke through clouds this morning. What a glorious day for a seawall walk to Granville Island Public Market.


I wasn't alone on the promenade. The sun brings everyone out. As I walked, I caught fleeting bits of conversation, and turned it into a game of poetry in motion.

Two older women in brightly coloured coats, nodded in agreement as one said to the other, "Don't go on a Friday, though!" I would like to have known where that was. Right behind them, a woman with a soft Scottish accent invited her companion to, "Get together." A tall jogger rapidly inhaled and exhaled. An older couple laughed, as the wife said, "I'll getcha." 

I caught the word, "Party" as a couple pushing a baby stroller were discussing the fact that, "There were an awful lot of people we didn't recognize!" Maybe they were at the same Friday night event! A man in a puffy vest explained to an elegantly dressed, bearded man, who was puffing on a European cigarette, "It took me a long time to like it. I didn't used to." What was he talking about? Gitanes, gin, or ginger? Then, there was the young woman in a cream coloured yoga outfit, and matching cellphone, who marched along, angrily barking into the phone, "So, I asked him, 'Are we going to go out, or not?'" My guess is the answer was not.  

 Photographs Copyright of: Ruth Adams. Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Widow's Endorphins: 02022020, You're Number One!

Widow's Endorphins: 02022020, You're Number One!: February 2nd, 2020: 02022020. Today's date is a palindrome. It reads the same backwards and forwards. Much like an old married cou...

02022020, You're Number One!

February 2nd, 2020: 02022020. Today's date is a palindrome. It reads the same backwards and forwards. Much like an old married couple, who each know what the other is thinking, and finish each other's sentences. I often say that words and images are my playground. Numbers not so much. All those two's and zero's in today's date, got me thinking metaphorically.


Over the years, I have listened to thousands of widows telling it like it is. Whether the loss of an intimate life partner is sudden, or takes place over a long period of illness, it is still deeply felt. You were two, and now...

How a woman sees herself is all important to her healing. It is not unusual for even the most accomplished women - CEO's, and women with global influence - to feel like they are nothing. Zero. Strong, independent women can be brought to their knees after the death of their husband. Two, then zero. Hear this: you are NEVER nothing.

I often tell the saltshaker story (February 2015: For as long as I can remember, the cut glass salt and pepper shakers were on the kitchen table. Not long before my husband died, I was washing them, and one of the salt shakers fell off the kitchen counter, smashing into tiny pieces. It was gone forever. I looked at the remaining shaker, and thought, it would make a nice bud vase for a flower. I put it safely up on a shelf. 

After Brande died, I saw in that saltshaker, a metaphor for widowhood. He was gone forever, but I was still alive! I was still standing! Like the saltshaker, turned bud vase, I was the same, only different. I had a new life.

It is hard for many widows to feel good about being alone with themselves. Waking up to themselves each morning, getting their own meals, having imaginary conversations in their heads. One can be a lonely number. Widows often speak of the loneliness they feel, even in a room filled with friends and family.

I don't remember when it happened. One day, I was listening to music - an eclectic mix of Motown, Soul, Blues, 60's Rock, and Brazilian beats. I was doing housework, and had the music turned up loud. I was dancing. Laughing. Feeling like a teenager again. Feeling like me! One person, at one with the universe.

In honour of Palindrome Day, the three of us (me, myself and I) leave you with some of my favourite palindromes, virtually ripped from the Facebook pages of my friend across the pond, Jae, and her Mum Sheila! 

He won a Toyota now, eh?
"Naomi, sex at Noon? Taxes", I moan.
Madam I'm Adam

Photographs Copyright of: Ruth Adams. Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated. 

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Widow's Endorphins: Aye Aye, Aioli!

Widow's Endorphins: Aye Aye, Aioli!: Like the signal from a Bosun's pipe, the call went out that one of our own would be in town, and it was all hands on deck.  This w...

Aye Aye, Aioli!

Like the signal from a Bosun's pipe, the call went out that one of our own would be in town, and it was all hands on deck.  This weekend, we had a mini reunion of "the girls" from highschool.  We may have graduated in 1974, but whenever we get together, we're 17 again!  

Each of us was to bring a dish to the potluck luncheon.  Some of us are vegan, or vegetarian.  Some are allergic to peppers, or stone fruits (unless they're cooked, which changes the enzymes, and makes them safe to eat.)  Some of us are on a low carb diet.  Some of us just don't like olives.

It was a simple dish of sauteed leeks, and pistachio nuts with garlic lemon aioli.  My Mum, who made everything from scratch, from grinding her own wheat for flour, to making her own mustard and mayonnaise, used to make aioli - a rich, thick French mayonnaise.  It has five basic ingredients:  egg yolk, olive oil, garlic, lemon, and mustard, plus salt and pepper.  What could possibly go wrong?

I could not find a garlic press.  After a futile attempt chasing pieces of garlic as they slid around a mortar and pestle, I found a meat tenderizing hammer.  A chimpanzee hammering on a clove of garlic might look brilliant on Youtube, I however, looked like, "you boob!"  

While all of this was going on, I forgot that while I'd turned off the stove, I'd left the leeks over a hot burner, and a few pieces were scorched.  When done properly, the leeks are translucent white and bright, fresh green.  They shouldn't be left to brown.  Oops.  

The egg yolks, smashed garlic and mustard were whirred through the blender, while I slowly added the olive oil, a small amount at a time.  It's a delicate process, because the oil can separate from the eggs. I could hear the change in consistency of the mixture, as it thickened into aioli.  I then added the lemon juice.  The aioli was perfect.  That's when I made the fateful mistake of adding the salt and pepper.  

The flecks of bright red pepper made me gasp.  While she has no problem with black pepper, our hostess is allergic to cayenne, and all red peppers.  The Agatha Christie book of etiquette lists poisoning the hostess as one of the top five things not to do at a luncheon.  So, I started all over again!

The leeks and aioli made it out to the suburbs, where they shared an amazing buffet table with grilled asparagus and tomatoes, vegan pate, ham and cream cheese pinwheels, cream cheese and bacon spread on French bread, curried cauliflower and raisin salad, spanakopita, crab cakes, skewered scallops and bacon, scalloped potatoes, sweet and sour mini meatballs and Chinese fried rice, a cheese platter, baked brie with balsamic vinegar, soda bread, almond cake, apple cobbler and chocolate rum balls.

We talked and laughed for six hours!  We brought a trunk load of memories and new stories.  Like a nautical braid, our lives are woven together.  We feel anchored here, in home port.
Photographs Copyright of:  Ruth Adams, Widow's Endorphins Photographic Images Incorporated.  

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Widow's Endorphins: The Birds and the B's

Widow's Endorphins: The Birds and the B's: What a beautiful ending to a glorious first day of 2020 in Vancouver!  Westcoast sunsets are spectacular!  The intensity of the coral ...