Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dutch Mammas

I don't usually lead with a photo, but really there isn't any other way to describe Dianne, my crazy, beautiful, sensitive - and need I say, FIT - friend of 34 years ( I might be amiss if I didn't add, Dutch).

She has too many talents to list, and I adore her for all of them. Best of all, she loves her Mama, who is equally tall, beautiful and Dutch.

This is from Dianne for her Mom.........

Like many of us, one of the ways our mothers show us their kindess and their love is through food!!  My mom is certainly one of those moms.

She knows what my favorite Christmas dessert is (her homemade butter tarts....ooooooh, the saliva starts flowing at the mere thought of those labour-intensive culinary treasures!) and she always makes sure there is a batch waiting for me at Christmas.

   Likewise, everyone in the family has a favorite food item that she lovingly prepares for each of us when we go to visit, or when she comes to visit us (cookie tins and coolers arrive packed full!) . It might be her special ribs, or her trifle, or her peach pie, or her lemon poppy seed cake, or her Cornflake cookies, or her shortbread cookies, or her pea soup, or her mincemeat pies, or her special cabbage, or her OLIBALLEN ( a Dutch specialty which used to be our New Year's Day treat) .

And everyone in the family knows that those treats get made for each specific person who particularly adores that food.   She spends hours....days.... in her kitchen in Burlington happily preparing these goodies for us.

She is a master in the kitchen.... she is a pro.  And she is such a loving, selfless mother, grandmother, stepmother, mother-in-law, wife.  I adore her for soooo many reasons, and I could undoubtedly go on, but I was asked to think of how she shows her kindness, and this was the first of many examples that came to mind.

So there you have it.... my first instalment of Betta Hoeve - The Kindness Queen.   In the next instalment, you will hear about how her worrying ways are also manifestations of the loving kindness for those who she holds dear.

Dianne Hoeve (a proud and appreciative daughter)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Almost Party Kindness

Shortly after we turned 40, a good friend from France, Catherine, expressed (in a manner uniquely french and therefore evocative) how this milestone birthday had triggered waves of self reflection and nostalgia. At the time I was busy getting married (for the second time), moving, blending families, starting a business, and apparently, was not as self reflective as I might have been - sadly for me. However, the intervening ten years have revealed storylines that require some reflection and evaluation. Let me assure you that time flies whether you are having fun or not. Although friends and family were making celebratory plans, I asked them if I could gracefully bow out to take some much needed time for rumination. Their generosity and understanding were the best birthday present ever.

As it turns out one weekend is hardly enough to assimilate the events, loves, losses, and choices of 50 years. So I've decided to take the entire year to celebrate and contemplate. I'll share my discoveries and epiphanies here. To start I'd like to share some of the birthday kindnesses I've experienced so far.

The birthday invite to my Almost Party, made lovingly by the most wonderful, creative genius, Carolin.


 Birthday bonfire hosted by one of my bestest, most intriguing, intellectually inspired friends, Michael, and shared with two of my bestest, forever friends extraordinaire, Brian and Eileen.

Me, trying to contain all the love, adoration and gratitude spilling all over my beautiful daughter, Brennyn. She gave me two incredible pieces of art she created, during her studies at OCAD.

This is one of them.....

  Then Garrett couldn't wait to give me the "splendid" gifts he loving selected. Apparently he tried on every hat in the store before finally settling on this lovely, white number. Please note the "fabulous" colours of the accompanying necklace!

 I spent this past weekend in Vancouver, celebrating with Kohen and Jaime. Every moment was a treasure. We walked, ate, laughed, ate some more, walked some more, and words can't express how I miss them already....


 While in Vancouver I stayed with one of my oldest friends. She has always been, and remains an inspiration to me. She is an artist, a dancer, an entrepreneur, explorer and sage, but to me she is just Ainslie. Thank-you.

And to think, I only have 11 more months to celebrate (and reflect).