Monday, February 25, 2019

Mom's Funeral

The funeral for mom (Ann Estill) will take place 10:30am Saturday 2 March at Harcourt United Church at 87 Dean Ave., Guelph.  A reception will be held at 12pm at the University of Guelph Arboretum which is accessed off College Ave.

Should you wish to make a donation in Ann’s memory please consider Brain Tumour Foundation at 

My brother Lyle wrote a good FaceBook post on her life:

Burying Annie
I lost my Mom last night. My brother Jim found her dead on the floor this morning. That’s all. Gone. I got the word mid-morning. Arlo and I were working on Hempsmith’s tax return. I was making scones.
It was a cold, rainy, miserable February day. Our phones don’t work in our house—so taking calls involves walking around outside in the rain. Horrible. My cell phone exploded with the news. Wet feet from pacing about the lane in my slippers taking and making calls.
I embark on the long drive to Canada tomorrow.
Mom was born in 1931. Ann Aurelia Wilcox in Highland, New York. She married my Dad, Don Estill, in 1953 when she was 22, and launched four boys into the world. I never really called her Annie. That was an affectionate nickname used by Dad, and by her little sister, Boo Boo.
When I was in high school Mom completed her Masters of Divinity and became a minister. I had a front row seat. She did a booming trade in funerals. I used to call her “Burying Annie,” and she loved the moniker.
She was a feminist at the dawning of the movement, and I got to watch her get kicked about by the male dominated systems of the day. She would spit out a sermon using “inclusive language” and get run out of town on a rail.
Mom was an intellectual. She loved to read. And to learn. She told stories. And loved the arts. From her I received the gift of gardening. And bird watching. From Mom I learned about theatre. And radio.
She loved CBC radio. I remember her crying as she ironed and listened to the news in 1968 when Bobby Kennedy was shot. I was playing with her spools of threads beneath the ironing board.
Ann was a homemaker. A stay at home Mom who kept her boys in homemade cookies. She mended socks. Picked out wallpaper. Submitted recipes to Gourmet magazine. And she raised her boys with a linen fist. Mom refinished furniture. Stenciled old things. She revered “stuff” from the past, and kept a close eye on her ancestors.
She was a keeper of photo albums, a maker of scrapbooks, and a writer of memoirs.
Mom buried her first born son, my brother Mark. And she buried her husband Don—who shared a bed with her for 61 years. She also buried her first born great grandson, Zafer. I have a bittersweet memory of her at Zafer’s memorial. She came out on stage as a dottering old woman. But once she was at the microphone, she laid it down. Like she always did. She was a deep introvert with a vast intellect that could spit wisdom when needed.
Lover of poetry. Lover of nature. Lover of family.
I had a wonderful conversation with her the day she died. I had her laughing. She would call it “being in stitches.” That same day she had a great conversation with Aunt Boo Boo. And she raved about a wonderful email she had received from Arlo—who had shared the lyrics of one of his newly written songs.
Mom was 88. She had lost a lot of her hearing. And a lot of her vision. She had stopped driving. Lost a lot of mobility. She battled brain cancer from 1982 until yesterday. One time she sought surgical treatment in London, Ontario. At the time I was a student. It was the only time I ever saw my father cry. He was so scared. We all were. Mom made it through.
I’m going to miss her. Our family has lost its matriarch.
I talked to Boo Boo today. She said that Mom was having multi-colored hallucinations at church. Walls were becoming alive with strange images for her. Maybe it was the brain cancer that took her. No one knows how she died.
But I’m going to say it was a good thing for her. She was lonely from the loss of Don. And she resented her loss of capabilities. She dropped dead at home—the way everyone should go.
Mom’s golden. She’s been released. The harder part is for those of us who are left behind. We get to search for the path of the “living.”
Rest in peace, Mom. Here’s hoping there is no bursitis on the other side...

Saturday, February 23, 2019

My Mom - Ann Estill Died Today

She was scheduled to help pack food today for refugees and Danby Appliances.  We had over 100 volunteers lined up and were packing hundreds of kg of food to ship overseas.  

The people who were bringing her told me she did not answer the door or the phone so I left almost as soon as I arrived at Danby.  I called and rang the doorbell and pounded then I went in (she lived alone – my father passed a few years ago) – she was dead on the bathroom floor.  911 could not revive her.

It was unexpected.  She was a bit deaf and going blind but she was fairly healthy and I expected her to be around for many more years.  She was 87.

She was married to my father for about 60 years and I knew she still missed him.  The second greatest tragedy for her (and all of us) was when my dear brother died 10 years ago.

She was active to the end - telling stories, going to aquafit, writing memoirs, going to symphony, attending movies and lectures in the Arboretum Centre etc.  And she had a wide circle of friends and was always having lunch or talking to someone.

She was always the first to tell my my blogs had a typo, grammar error or needed some other correction (so now I have an excuse).  

She never really liked business and did not really grasp what I do.  She even tried to mandate "no business talk" at the dinner table (which of course did not really work...unless she wanted silence).  

She was worried about me and thought I worked too hard and should slow down.  

Although it feels at this moment like there is no blessing in it - there is.  She must have died quickly - she had a lifeline on her wrist and she did not even push it.  And she always said she never wanted to move to a home - or even the apartments in her complex.  So she lived in her house to the end.

Now I feel like an orphan (and I guess I am)

She usually ate well (or almost perfectly) - this sundae was an exception.  Story time with her great grandkids.  And last Christmas.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Power of While

Today I got a light work out in before my work out at the gym.  I shovelled snow for 20 minutes.   This is a perfect example of the Power of While.  What can you do while you are doing something else.  In this case, I could get the drive shovelled and get a bit of exercise.

Last week the shovelling/chipping ice was more than just a light work out.

My brother, Lyle, who does not "work out" per se builds his life around heavy and physical projects so he gets his exercise (and he actually gets a few more steps in that I do)

I believe it is healthy to spend 20 minutes or more each day outside.

Exercise is one area I use the Power of While in a big way.  I do walking meetings with my staff and people who want to meet with me.  Most walks I do are 30 minutes.  Long enough to get some fresh air - short enough to be efficient.  Walking meetings are also very levelling - not like sitting across a table or a desk.  To some extent - less confrontational.

I will also sometimes get some friend time in by walking with a friend.

Most days I do 2-3 walking meetings.  Some rare days I will do 5 or 6.  I need the breaks anyways and it gives me a bit of exercise, steps for my Fitbit, fresh air and gives me the time to speak to people. 

I use the Power of While while I am driving.  Most of the time, I listen to audiobooks.  I surprise myself how many books I can get through even though most of my driving is short local hops.  Sometimes I will listen to an audiobook while working out at the gym (but usually not)

The Power of While is a time management technique.

A friend emailed me and article "Steve Jobs Practiced This 1 Habit That Triggers Creative Ideas, According to Neuroscience" where it talks about walking being a great way to stimulate creativity.  The article is here,

I just got an Ikea sitdown stand up desk.  What can I go while doing some computer work?  Stand up to be a bit healthier.  I also ordered a 40 pound weight vest but not sure I will wear that often.  Will see how it goes.

Lately I have been thinking about living in the present (something I am not good at).  Wondering if my Power of While hurts that.  Perhaps I should do some things without doing something else at the same time.

Some photos of my new desk, beautiful snow and beautiful grand daughter.


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

10 Things Successful People Always Do

I rarely use someone's articles in their entirety but in this case, I thought it was good.  The original was written by a friend of mine - Nate Collier.
My comments are in bold Italics.
1) Planning their Lives, Working their Plan. Ordinary folks with a plan will go further than a genius without a plan. Most folks go the same distance in life, too often much of it is in circles!
 I am fairly good at planning although, I admit, I was better in the past.  Good reminder to get back to it.
2) Growing, Developing Their Abilities. If you are not growing somewhere, you are not going anywhere.
I call this constant learning.  I try.
3) Saying No… to things that are others’ priorities, that are not core to their live’s purpose. Every yes is a no to something else, stay aware of what you are saying no to when you say yes!
 This is my failure.  I often decide I should say no more but I still end up saying yes too often.
4) Growing in Self-Awareness. Journaling is an excellent way to gain perspective on yourself, review the day, think about what went right, what and how you would do over better.
I work on this constantly.  My current work involves meditation.  And of course - study.
5) Releasing all thoughts that hurt, letting go of all attack thoughts and negativity. If you knew the Power of Your Thoughts, you’d never think a negative thought again.
I try
6) Choosing their companions carefully. Your energy levels and your life are powerfully impacted by the five people you spend the most time with. Birds of a feather flock together: what does your “flock” say about you?
I often say "you are the average of the people you associate with.  
7) Stay focused. Life is full of distractors. You can’t get enough of what you don’t need. Find your North Star, lock on!
My greatest strength is creativity.  My distractions do not tend to be outside of me.  It is my own mind.  So focus is something I could use more of.
8) Staying Positive and Solution Oriented. Successful people are optimists, believe in themselves and have good self-concepts with quiet self confidence that where there is a will, there is a way.
I am very positive generally.  Where I sometimes am not is when I think of the big problems of the world.  I sometimes find solving those to be daunting.
9) Taking Ownership. They are Pro-active, they are Response-able, they avoid Rational-lies.
I do.  I look for this in people I hire also.
10) Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude and the Habit of Happiness. They know that there is nothing but that thinking does not make it so.
I have this habit.  I am very grateful for the abundance in my life.
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier