Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The day after the day after

Yesterday, Boxing Day, skulked by in a fog. I thought I might write a blog, catch up on my reading of your blogs, answer a few email, and write some snail mail, but I took one step forward and two back all day, so eventually I gave up. I just couldn't get the cobwebs out of my head and make any progress at all, so I shut the laptop, put my "to do" list aside and picked up my new book of poetry, Thirst, by Mary Oliver. Ahh, it was just what the doctor ordered. I sat quietly and drank deeply there then listened to music for a while. Yes, that was what I needed to do.

Let me share one of Mary's poems with you.

When I am among the trees

When I am among the trees
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile,"
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.

Oh goodness I can't stop at just one, let me share another with you -

Mozart for Example

All the quick notes
Mozart didn't have time to use
before he entered the cloud-boat

are falling now from the beaks
of the finches
that have gathered from the joyous summer

into the hard winter
and, like Mozart, they speak of nothing
but light and delight,

though it is true, the heavy blades of the world
are still pounding underneath.
And this is what you can do too, maybe,

if you live simply and with a lyrical heart
in the cumbered neighbourhoods or even,
as Mozart sometimes managed to, in a palace,

offering tune after tune after tune,
making some hard-hearted prince
prudent and kind, just by being happy.

Ok, I'll stop there.

The cobwebs cleared a bit today and I made much better progress with my "to do" list, but at noon I put it aside and went out for a walk among the trees to find some light that I might shine; all the while listening for a few notes of the finches' song.

After our walk AC and I sorted through some pictures of our Second Christmas to post on our blogs. Let me share a few of those with you now. AC has also posted some on his blog be sure to stop by and have a look here.

Christmas 31
Butterfly prepared a Christmas Eve Buffet to munch on while we played Trivial Pursuit, after which we watched Dickens' A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim. Here I am helping prepare the buffet by icing the cream cheese with Apple Rum Chutney. Yum!

Christmas 26
We arrived back at Butterfly and the Boy's house about 10am on Christmas morning to nibble on toasted crumpets slathered in butter, and sip coffee while we opened the gifts Santa put in our Stockings during the night. Yes, he still visits our house and leaves goodies for us. What fun. Hmmmm, I wonder what Santa is trying to tell me with this gift?

Christmas 32
Butterfly and I spent lots of time in the kitchen on the weekend and had fun working there together. Work is always more fun when you take time for a hug

Christmas 23
and a kiss. Yes, The Boy and AC helped out in the kitchen too.

Christmas 30
Ahhh, the relaxin' side of Christmas. I love it. How neat to enjoy a hot cuppa whilst watching A Christmas Carol.

Christmas 27
Butterfly is in gales of laughter while The Boy tries to talk to Smudge.

Christmas 20
And finally a Merry Christmas picture of Mr and Mrs. C.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Early Christmas

Today is the day to cook the turkey, so AC and I were up early to prepare the stuffing and get the Old Bird ready for the oven. We make a really good team. AC sits at the kitchen table and chops bread, apples, onions, and celery while I bustle around gathering spices, broth, butter and other assorted things to add to the mixture. I stuff the bird, AC pops it in the oven and we both enjoy the aroma for the rest of the day. MMMMM good.

Christmas music is playing, turkey is cooking, and AC just went out to get our lunch so I have a few minutes to relax, say hello, and post a few pictures of the Early Christmas celebrations we enjoyed with Puff and Bug last weekend. AC has posted lots more pictures here.

Christmas 3
Bug and Puff wanted to try their hand at playing the fiddle and the bodhran. They actually did ok.

Don't you love the hair dos? They both had dreads (sp?) put in just before they left Thailand. Puff had very long dreads woven with blue threads on either side of her head and Bug had short dreads woven with yellow and red orange looking wool on top of her head.

Christmas 8
Daughters number one, two and three. See the fingers?

Christmas 13
Bug got a new Batman T-shirt for Christmas. Quite the high fashion pose huh?

Christmas 17
Butterfly is really pleased with a new blouse she got for her birthday.

Oh, AC is home with lunch. Must run. Will try to post more thoughts tomorrow.

Friday, December 22, 2006


The Lion and the Lamb

Whilst I was shopping with Butterfly last month this delightful duo caught my eye, and I fell in love with them. They made me smile just to look them, and portrayed peace so beautifully I was tempted to buy them for myself, but I was Christmas shopping for others, so dutifully put this cute pair back on the shelf. Sigh.

What a nice surprise it was to find them all wrapped up and waiting for me under the Christmas tree this past weekend. Thank you Butterfly!

I long for a time when enemies around the world will become friends and wars will end. Will there ever be a time when the lion will lie down with the lamb? I hope so.

I wish you all, dear blog friends, Peace during this holiday season and for the year to come.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sanity Stroll

The world continues to tilt and whirl at an ever increasing speed as the holiday draws closer, and some days it spins so fast I want to yell – STOP, let me off! I can't make the world stop, but I can choose to remove myself from the hustle and bustle for awhile and that is exactly what I did the other day.

AC and I bundled up, grabbed the camera and headed for our walking path near the river. I always find tranquillity there.
Early December Snow2
It was very cold, but we dressed for it and were snug and warm in spite of the blustery winds. Ahh, I could feel the peace and calm soaking into the core of my being as we walked in the quiet woods. The sweet sanity of nature washed over me and I returned from our walk refreshed and energized.

Early December Snow1
Above is a picture of the place along the path in the woods where the river overflows its banks when the water is high. Pretty isn't it?

If the pace of the season is threatening to throw you off your feet, grab Mother Nature's hand and go for a walk in her woods. It is amazing what she will do for you if you will let her.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Barley Shaker Concert

AC and I "donned our gay apparel" on Sunday night and headed for a most unique concert at the little Community Centre where the Celtic Jam's are held throughout the year. AC wrote a blog about the Jam's here. This concert featured The Barley Shakers group. Don't know where the name comes from, but they shook the rafters with their music and we had a blast. It was toe tapping hand clapping fun from beginning to end.

The main room of the Community Centre was all decked out with a huge decorated tree standing to one side of the stage at the front. A garland of white lights and greenery was draped across the ceiling and red and green garlands, bows and mittens were place on walls and window sills here and there. Very quaint indeed.

The Band was set up on stage and right at the front was a rocking chair draped with an afghan. When the show started a lady came out and sat in the rocker and knitted while the band played. She got up at certain intervals and lead us in singing a carol or two, and then she sang a solo or two and in between she sat front and centre in her rocking chair and knitted. While she was knitting she looked out at the audience and smiled and had a grand old time. It was....I am not sure how to describe it....let me just say it seemed to fit the evening perfectly.

Before the show started they sold 50/50 tickets to help raise money to keep the Community Centre open, so everyone bought tickets. One for $2 or $5 would get a roll of tickets as long as your arm. AC bought a roll of tickets as long as his arm and we won part of the pot. Four people won $20 each, and the rest of the pot went to the centre. They also had a draw for a door prize and AC and I won one of those too! Neat huh? We got a gift bag with two mugs, hot chocolate, and two boxes of chocolates in it. Wow!

The music was fabulous, the crowd warm and thoroughly into the show, the knitting lady very interesting, and the soloist...well, she tried hard. One lady in the band got up from time to time to step dance, and we clapped and cheered her on each time she did. What total delightful fun.

The evening was very Christmassy and made me all nostalgic for childhood Christmases past. I felt like I stepped back in time and it was a heart-warming memory filled step. Thank you Middleville for this most wonderful and unique Christmas Concert. I loved it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Holiday Train

I finished the gift wrapping this afternoon and have a few minutes to spare before I have to get ready to head out the door for our Line Dancing Christmas Pot Luck dinner tonight, so thought I would take advantage of this time to post a few pictures of the Holiday Train's visit this past weekend. It arrived in our little town on Saturday night and AC and I were there to greet it with toe tapping joy.

It was a cold cold night, but we bundled up and had toasty warm toes in spite of frosty cold noses.

Above is a shot taken through the crowd as the light of the train approached. I think the whole town was there.

Below you can see some of the lights on the cars as it got closer to us.

Again this year we lucked out and happened to be standing right in front of the stage car when the train stopped. When the stage car doors opened and the frosty air cleared there was Santa singing us a song. The crowd clapped and cheered and Santa rocked on in song.

AC and I both had our cameras at the ready and snapped pictures with abandon. Because of the low light not many of them turned out, but we both managed to get a few shots to share with you. Be sure to check out AC's blog for more pics.

We had fun singing and dancing along with the performers on the train, we met friends and neighbours there and wished them a Merry Christmas, and most importantly the local food bank got a generous donation to its coffers. It was a great evening.

After the train pulled out of town we headed home for hot cocoa laced with Bailey's. It sure hit the spot and warmed us up beautifully after we had been standing out in the cold for two hours. MMMM good!

Well, I must run now. Hope you had a sunny day of the heart and found something to bring a smile to your face.

Talk to you all later.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Don't know if you have seen Molly over on Maya's Granny's blog, but it is a perfect picture of how I am feeling these days. Yep, my hectic schedule is making it hard to keep my balance and stay on my feet at times. I am happy to report that I am still upright, but my writing has taken a nosedive. Sigh! There are just not enough hours in the day or energy in the tank to get everything done.

We have had days and days of rain, then an ice storm but today we are being treated to sunshine and I am rejoicing. Housework is just about done, last load of laundry is in the dryer, and as soon as we have lunch we will head out for a walk. Oh joy! I could stay home and write, but the sunshine is calling my name and I must answer. I just wanted to take a minute to let you know that I am still alive and sort of on my feet.

Must run now, but will talk to you again soon.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Storybook Christmas

On Saturday, after we decorated Butterfly's Christmas tree, we went downtown to see the Santa Clause Parade and we had a fabulous time there. The weather was mild enough to make the two hour stand on the downtown sidewalk most comfortable, but I would have preferred lots of snow and frosty temps. Oh well, I can always hope for those conditions next year. In spite of the lack of snow and warm temps, it was a festive wintry parade and really got us in the holiday mood.

The theme for the parade this year was "A Storybook Christmas", and all the floats followed the theme most creatively as you will see. It was a night parade, so a lot of my pictures turned out blurry, but I did manage to get a few almost clear shots to share with you.

We didn't have any big balloon floats or glitzy smitzy ones, but the cute factor was way off the charts on some of them I assure you.

My favourite was this one, "The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens". Don't you just love the driver of the float too? She was all decked out in a pink pyjama type suit and added kitten ears to her hat. What a good sport.

This might have been the most glitzy float in the whole parade – a hummer covered in lights. I am not sure what the Story was behind this one, but it was bright and colourful and added a bit of glitz to the parade.

This was one of about five cartoon characters that marched in the two hour parade. Most of the floats were homemade like the Three Little Kittens one and really made us smile with their homemade charm.

One store did the Twelve Days of Christmas and had twelve cars, flat-bed wagons, trucks, and walking groups portraying the twelve days of Christmas. As you can imagine some of them were pretty funny. The Nine Ladies Dancing walked past us before I realize they were supposed to be dancing. The Ten Lords a Leaping were a hoot too. Ten guys sauntered by and when I yelled out, "Hey, you guys are supposed to be leaping", one lord started to leap while the rest of them just stood looking at him. The crowd cheered and laughed and he continued to leap down the street. What fun. It was too dark to get a picture of the leaping lord though. Drat!

This wagon went by with the number 11 on it and consisted of rows of big stuffed animals. I wracked my brain trying to figure out what the song lyric was. I couldn't for the life of me remember anything about eleven stuffed animals. Butterfly saved the day when she leaned over and whispered in my ear that it was Eleven Pipers Piping, and it was only then that I saw each stuffed animal was holding a pipe. Tooooo funny. I know the picture is really fuzzy, but can you see the white pipe the bear in blue is holding?

Yes the parade was unique and homemade, and an absolute delight. We love this small town we are living in. Nothing quite like it for enthusiasm and small town spirit.

After the parade we went back to Butterfly's house cold and hungry, and were pleased when the delicious aroma of dinner cooking in the oven greeted us when we walked in the door. MMMMM good, the perfect ending to a very festive and fun day.

Talk to you all later.

Tree Party

We had sunshine yesterday, but the rain is back today and looks like it might stick around all week. Drat! I would really much rather have snow. Yep, I want winter to be winter so I can dust off the old snowshoes and give them a good workout. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. I'm ready.

In spite of the lack of snow, we really got into the Christmas mood on Saturday. Butterfly held the annual tree decorating party at her house in the afternoon, and AC and I joined the party to add our artistic touch to the decorating of the Old Tannenbaum. I used to host this event, but gladly passed the torch to Butterfly when she got her own house. She is our Christmas baby and she loves the season like none other. She decorates her house from top to bottom and even has two trees; one in the living room on the main floor and another in the family room in the basement. We are in much smaller digs now, and seeing as we spend Christmas Eve and Day and any other family events at Butterfly's house it just makes sense to have the big trees over there.

I have a little pre-lit, pre-decorated tree that I can pull out of a box, set on a small table and plug in. Voila, in less than ten minutes, my tree is up and decorated and I only have to move one lamp to make room for it. I like that aspect of it. I do miss the big tree, but I can go over to Butterfly's and gaze on her tree whenever I want to.

We missed Bug and Puff at our party, but we sent them heart hugs across the miles and look forward to them being home soon to share the beauty of the season with us. Hurry home girls, it has been too long see we have heard from you and much too long since we have seen you.

This seems an appropraite decoration for Butterfly's tree.

Finished product. Pretty huh?

AC relaxin' beside the fire in the family room after his busy afternoon's work.

After we decorated the tree, we put dinner in the oven and then headed out the door to attend the Santa Clause Parade that evening. I will post a few pics of the parade later today.

Whether you have rain, snow or sunshine today I hope you walk in peace and enjoy your day.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thank goodness for Re-chargeable batteries.

AC and I put in another busy week, but managed to find time to visit the park to recharge our batteries. AC was still feeling the affects of a bug he picked up earlier in the week, but a visit to the park always helps one feel better, so after a couple of short errands we headed for our favourite spot. We were really surprised when this sight greeted us.

I thought all the geese had flown south by now, but maybe this warm weather is confusing them. It sure is confusing me. There isn't a speck of snow on the ground, the temps are hovering in the low double digits and it feels more like spring than late fall. We soaked in the sunshine and warm temps along with the geese and enjoyed the quiet of the late afternoon. It didn't last long though because soon a car pulled up with a bright alert Border Collie in the back seat. He patiently sat there, eyes all a-sparkle, while his owner finished a phone conversation. As soon as dog and owner emerged from the car with a Frisbee, the geese hightailed it into the water and headed for the other side of the river. The peace and quiet gave way to barking and running and high energy entertainment. We loved it. AC had his camera with him and had fun snapping pictures of the dog.

After a few minutes AC got out of the car to say hello to the owner and show him some pics he took of the dog leaping and flying to catch the Frisbee. As he stood there talking, the dog came up to AC and woofed at him to throw the Frisbee. AC was pleased as punch and gladly obliged the dog.

When the dog kept coming back to AC with the Frisbee, and ignored his owner I just had to grab the camera and take a few pictures of him and the dog. The three of us stood there talking and before we knew it, the dog was bringing the Frisbee to me too. What a hoot. AC has posted more pics here.

We stayed chatting with the owner, and throwing for the dog, until our feet got cold and we had to retreat to the car to warm up. Said owner and dog continued their game of catch as we drove off to our warm house for hot tea. Our batteries were re-charged, spirits were high and we were ready to settle into our warm little nest for the night to prepare for the busy weekend ahead. After dinner I iced some holiday sugar cookies and got things ready for our tree decorating party at Butterfly's house the next day while AC worked on pictures. We both felt energized and ready to move forward into our busy week to come.

When you start to feel your energy drain during this sometimes hectic time of year, find a few minutes to go outside and sit by the water or walk in the park. Plug in to the great energy source of the great outdoors and re-charge those batteries.

Friday, November 24, 2006

All Aboard...

Come on now, get in the spirit. Grab your travel mug and let's hop on the Holiday Train and go for a ride. The kettle just came to a boil and the tea's almost brewed, so join me on the Holiday Train for a relaxin' cup of Christmas Tea. We will need lots of quiet cups of tea to calm us as we travel through this busy season.

AC surprised me with this new template this morning. Nice huh? These are pictures of the Holiday Train that came through our little town last year. I posted pics here and AC writes about it here.

Ah yes, the season is almost in full swing. I love it. We got our outside lights up yesterday and Butterfly will hold the tree decorating party at her house on Saturday. Whoo, whoo, the train is leaving the station. Total fun.

Enjoy the ride of life today.

Chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Probably for Canadian Eyes/Ears only.

I was getting ready to go to the Optometrist yesterday morning to have my eyes checked and I thought I was having trouble with my ears when I heard something announced on the radio. It took me a second or two to process what I heard and figure out what the problem was. The announcer gave CBC's postal code as "Mangle 5 Words, 1'll Enunciate 6"!!! What is the world coming too? Everyone knows that the postal code is "Make 5 Wieners, 1"ll Eat 6"! Arthur Black told us this was so didn't he? Oh the world, or at least the CBC, it is a changin'.

We are CBC radio fans at our house and always have been. What a national treasure it is. I wouldn't care if we lost CBC TV, but would really feel sad if we had to go without CBC radio. It is truly Canadian and ties us together from coast to coast to coast. So many times AC and I have listened to something, only to shake our heads and turn to each other in fits of laughter and say "Only on the CBC!" We have our radio dial set to it in the car, in the kitchen, in the bedroom and with a little effort, we can even tune in up at Riverwood. Yes, we search for it on the radio dial wherever we go.

I must say it was disappointing when The Royal Canadian Air Farce and Double Exposure moved from the radio to TV. Both programs lost something when that happened. It was so much better when we could just listen to the humour and let our imaginations do the rest, rather than have the cast do some phoney sight gags. It was never as good on TV as when it played only in my mind's eye.

Other sweet memories are those of Alan Maitland reading The Shepherd on Christmas Eve; Stuart McLean regaling us with Dave's antics cooking the Christmas turkey or his visit to Polly Anderson's Christmas party; Barbara Frumm's classic interviews on As It Happens, such as the one with the nearly deaf man who kept saying "Ay? What did you say?" no matter how loudly she spoke. Each question got louder and louder but he still couldn't hear her. She kept repeating herself and ended up laughing uncontrollably while we laughed right along with her. I also remember the interview Barbara did with the lady who couldn't stop sneezing. The poor woman sneezed throughout the entire interview, and when Barbara asked her what she found to be the most difficult thing to deal with when you couldn't stop sneezing. In a very dignified British accent the lady answered after much thought "Well, achoo it makes it almost impossible achoo to go to the achoo theatre!" It was just too funny.

Oh, and I can't talk about the CBC without mentioning Peter Gzowski and his Morningside program. What a window on Canada that was. His program introduced me to Canadian writers, musicians and everyday heroes from all across the country. He made me laugh and cry and feel very proud to be Canadian. I remember standing in the kitchen with tears streaming down my face when I heard Shirley Eikhard sing Emily Remembers, a song about loving someone with Alzheimer's. Another day while I was driving the car I had to pull over because I was laughing so hard I couldn't drive. It was the day Peter and Stuart got into a laughing fit over the dead cricket!!! Do you remember that one? Oh my, it makes me laugh still.

Well, I guess that is enough of a walk down memory lane for tonight. Let me just end by asking you this question - Do you know how far you are from Redding?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Coffee with Raindrops

We had days and days of rain last week and by Friday AC and I were both feeling rather damp and dreary in spirit from all the wet weather. I just knew it was time for a trip to the park even if we had to sit in the car and sip our coffee while the rain pelted down. So after lunch we set off to do some errands and then make a stop at Tim's to pick up coffee and take it to the river's edge.

The above is a picture AC took out the car window just after we arrived. I thought it was the perfect picture for a "Coffee with Raindrops" blog. Below is a picture he took about half an hour later. The sun broke through the clouds, lit up the world around us and filled our hearts with hope and joy. I was so glad we were outside to catch this marvellous yet fleeting gift from Mother Nature.

The rain stopped, the sun shone (albeit for only a few minutes) entertainment arrived and all the while we sipped cafe mocha's as we also drank deeply on the beauty of this day.

AC has posted pictures of our visit on his blog here. We were thoroughly entertained by the raindrops, the sun and then the border collie. What a great way to end our busy busy week.

Rain or shine, I always enjoy coffee with Raindrops.

Busy Week and Balance

Wow what a week this has been. I managed to get my morning pages written each day, but other than that, this was a lost week for writing. I did find time to read some blogs but didn't stop to comment much or squeeze in time to write my own. Sigh! Just plain ran out of time I did. Someone would think that Christmas is just around the corner!

AC and I spent the whole day in the big city on Monday, Christmas shopping. It was fun and we got a lot done, but we were knackered when we got home. Because Monday was spent gadding about in the big city, Tuesday was eaten up with housework and other tasks that are usually done on Monday. We also had to take a chunk of the afternoon on Tuesday to practise some new line dances to get ready for class that night. We are having so much fun kicking up our heals at that class. It is great exercise but the music and dancing just make it seem like fun instead of work.

Wednesday I was up to my ears in Advent Calendars. I make them for Butterfly and Bug each year and they require a fair bit of work. You can see a sample of last year's starting here. It took me all day to put this year's together, so the laptop gathered dust for another day.

I was going to make a big pot of coffee on Thursday morning and sip it luxuriously while I caught up on blogs, email and writing. Those plans went out the window on Wednesday night though. We were out for an evening of fun with the neighbours – AC wrote about it here – and my neighbour, Ivy, and I were chatting about AC's violin lessons and how one day he would be joining the circle to jam with the rest of the musicians. I mentioned that I would like to learn how to play the Bodhran and maybe join the circle too. She looked at me and asked me what I was doing the next day. I told her I would be home waiting for the furnace repairman and puttering around the house doing this and that. She said she had a Bodhran and an instruction CD that she would loan me just for the day if I wanted to give it a whirl. I did, and she did, so Thursday was spent playing. I loved it. The technique is a lot harder than it looks, but I think with a lot of practise I might be able to pick it up and join the jam circle some day. What fun! I reluctantly took the Bodhran back to her house at supper time on Thursday and thanked her for letting me get my hands on it. I made a copy of the training CD and thought I could at least listen to it and practise the rhythms using a pencil and a piece of cardboard or something like that even if I didn't have the Bodhran and stick. That night when AC went down to the basement to practise the fiddle, I headed up to the bedroom to drum. I used an Atlas and a magic marker that was about the size of the Bodhran stick and I had a blast. I was hooked for sure.

Friday morning I went out for coffee with the girls and I told Ivy that I had made a copy of her CD, and was practising on an Atlas with a magic marker. She thought that was a hoot. The Atlas didn't exactly have the same tone as the Bodhran, ha, ha, but I was learning the stick rhythms and maybe by the time I got my hands on a real Bodhran again I would know what I was doing.

I came home at lunch time and found AC busy working in the den. We talked for a bit and then I headed into the bedroom to change my clothes before heading down to the kitchen to rustle up some lunch. What a surprise greeted me there. A Bodhran of my very own was perched on the corner of the bed. A Christmas card on top said “Why play with a pen and an atlas when you can have the real thing? Merry Christmas” I could hardly believe my eyes. AC and Butterfly had gone Christmas shopping in the big city a couple of weeks ago and had purchased this for me. AC couldn’t stand the fact that it was in a closet at Butterfly’s house waiting for me, and here I was playing with a pen and atlas. So, while I was out for coffee with friends, he retrieved it and gave me an early Christmas gift. What fun!

Yesterday Butterfly and I set off early in the morning to run a few errands, and then head back to her house to wallpaper the nursery. The Boy spent the afternoon putting up the outside lights, AC and I wallpapered the nursery and Butterfly puttered around the house keeping busy with this and that. It was an enjoyable day and we got lots done, but nothing on the laptop - again.

So, here I am on a lazy Sunday morning and I am bound and determined to write something, even if it is just an account of my busy week. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner and life is picking up speed. I hope to find more of a balance this week though and post a few more blogs.

Ah balance is the key isn’t it? Hope we can all find it and keep it during this busy, busy season to come.

Talk to you all later.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Granny's Meme

Maya's Granny tagged me with this Movie meme, so let's see what I can do with it on this lazy Sunday Morning.

1. Popcorn or candy?
Popcorn, popcorn, popcorn, without a doubt. I can have a big dinner, feel fuller than full but still devour a bag of popcorn at the movies. We have a rather delightful little movie theatre in our small town that AC and I enjoy going to. It is in the basement of an old church and has a quaint air about it. AC wrote about it here. The popcorn there is the best, the absolute very best. I was amazed when I ordered my first bag of popcorn and asked for butter on it. The man behind the counter grabbed a glass coffee pot full of melted butter and poured a more than generous amount of the liquid gold over my popcorn. Wow, no modern contraptions that gives you a little squirt of butter here and there! Real butter, melted in a coffee pot, kept warm on the heating element, then poured liberally over my popcorn. Oh so yummy.

2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever.
Schindler's List! I have a hard time watching movies about the holocaust. They hurt my heart and haunt my dreams for a long time after I have seen them so I stay away from them. I had to leave the room during Sophie's Choice and have never finished it. I just couldn't watch it. So many people tell me that I must see Schindler's List though, so I plan on renting it sometime in the future, but each time I pick it up I end up putting it back on the shelf.

3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar: Who loses theirs and to whom?
Denzel Washington would lose his for TRAINING DAY, and Russell Crow would get it for BEAUTIFUL MIND.

4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. Which will it be?
The gown Audrey Hepburn wore to the grand ball in MY FAIR LADY.
I also remember the dress Carol Burnett wore with the curtain rod still in the shoulders and that would be a close second. Ha ha! The Carol Burnett Show was so funny wasn't it?

5. Your favorite film franchise is...
The Lord of the Rings by far!

6. Invite five movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why'd you invite them? What do you feed them?
Oh darn, I just put my list together of the five people I would like to invite for dinner and then I saw it was "movie" people. Drat! I think my original list would be more fun.
Here is my movie list, but I will give you my original list too.

Movie list - Oprah, she has a great sense of humour and would be a hit at any dinner party I am sure; George Clooney because he just seems like a nice guy to be around and a natural conversationalist; Brenda Bletham and Helen Mirren because I admire their work and would love to meet them, and lastly Emma Thompson because I would love to ask her about her castle. Poor George would be outnumbered wouldn't he? I am sure he wouldn't mind though.

My regular list - My maternal grandmother because I have so many questions I would like to ask her now that I am going to be a grandma for the first time,(she would also want to help me with the cooking), Jon Stewart because I think he would make the evening very lively and fun, my sister Heather because she is such a great story teller, AC because he is my favourite person to do anything with, and last but not least, Lynn over at State Street because he is one of the first people I met out in blogdom and I would like to meet him in person. He sounds like such an interesting person. Actually I would like to invite a lot of friends from blogdom to dinner, but Lynn gets the nod this time.

I would serve fondue at either party because you do a lot more talking than eating when you serve fondue.

7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cell phones in the movie theatre?
A ringing in their ears that only they can hear and which won't go away each time they need some peace and quiet.

8. Choose a female bodyguard: Ripley from Aliens. Mystique from X-Men. Sarah Connor from Terminator 2. The Bride from Kill Bill. Mace from Strange Days.
I only know Mystique, so I would have to chose her.

9. What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a movie?
I have to change to a TV program not a movie for this one. It was something I saw on Twilight Zone when I was a kid. A young girl was in bed and when she rolled over and touched the wall beside her bed she rolled right into another world. I stayed clear of the wall next to my bed after that, and to this day I don't like to touch the wall when I am sleeping. I am sure it has something to do with that show I watched those many years ago.

10. Your favorite genre (excluding comedy and drama) is?
I like Good science fiction/fantasy like The Lord of The Rings too, but what I usually hanker for is a devilishly intriguing British mystery.

11. You are given the power to green-light movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power?
I would outlaw car chases of any kind!!
I would insist that the actors playing an intelligent roll wouldn't insult my intelligence by doing stupid things that a person with half a brain wouldn't even think of doing. That is so annoying!
I would also insist that the casting departments use people that look like everyday people – warts and all.

12. Bonnie or Clyde?
I saw the movie but it was a long time ago and don't remember much about it. I guess it didn't make a very great impression on me.

13: Who are you tagging to answer this survey:
Anyone who has the time or inclination to have some fun with it.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I am sure you heard my big sigh of relief today when I checked blogs and discovered that the girls had posted. Oh joy, joy, joy! I can breathe a bit deeper now and feel a whole lot better since they have checked in. Less than a month to go and they will at least be on this side of the planet and in phone contact again. Counting the days I am.

It is a very funny blog if you want a chuckle, go check it out here.

Enjoy your weekend, I sure will.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Roots and Wings

"Good parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is and wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them." Jonas Salk

This quote came to mind the other day when I was reading The A-Team Adventure blog. Oh sure I thought to myself, that quote sounds great, but when our kids start to preen their feathers and spread their wings it is a scary thing. Do they really have to fly so far away when they decide to ruffle their feathers and leave the nest? Why the deep dark jungles of Malaysia for goodness sake or the chaotic streets of Phnom Penh? Whoever would have thought they would fly there, with lizards and bugs as big as your hand for companions, soup in bags for their main meal, three foot rats for night visitors, sizzling snake bits in baggies for dessert and bed bugs dropping by to munch on them for a middle of the night snack?

The last we heard, the girls were in Vietnam and were heading from Saigon to Hanoi. It has been over a week since they have contacted us and I am starting to get a bit anxious. Heaven help me survive this trip! Come on girls, it's time to spread those wings and fly back home.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Feeling on top of the world, now that "it's" at the bottom of the pile…

We enjoyed a beautiful spring like day yesterday so we took advantage of this most delightful and unexpected gift, and went out to play in the sunshine. What fun to luxuriously soak in the warm sunny rays being sent our way by Old Man Sol. It was grand and glorious indeed.

This morning though, we were greeted with rain clouds and sprinkles. Ah, the variety only makes life more interesting because each day has its own distinct beauty. One means more walking, the other more writing. Each makes the other more enjoyable.

Speaking of variety and beauty, I want to thank you all for your comments on my struggle with One Hundred Years of Solitude. Should I try to read it again, or just give it up as a lost cause? Hmmmm?

After AC read my blog yesterday he came into my room and said "You're not really going to try to read that book again are you?"

"Well, I was thinking of it" I replied meekly.

AC shook his head and went on his way. I am sure he was thinking "crazy woman", but he didn't say anything.

I haven't touched the book since getting home from my book club meeting, but it is still sitting on the table here beside my favourite chair. Said table is piled high with other books calling my name, and I just got a message from the library informing me that two other books I asked them to track down for me are in and awaiting pick-up. So many books, so little time!

Here beside me I have - Deafening by Francis Itani; Wake up Laughing by Pat Schneider; A Short History of Indians in Canada by Thomas King; Without Reservations by Alice Steinbach; Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee; Walking in this World by Julia Cameron; and The Call by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Novel, short stories, biography, poetry, travel journal and creativity workbook – I am itching to read them all

So, I am going to scratch that most delicious itch instead of picking away at the annoying one called One Hundred Years of Solitude. Marquez's book is being moved to the bottom of the pile right now! Maybe if I give it a few hundred days (or months) of solitude I might want to touch it again, but somehow I don't think so.

Ahhhh, I feel better already.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Book Club Update

If you haven't already done so, you can read my initial reaction to the book here.

So, I went to my book club meeting the other night not knowing what expect, but was anxious to hear what the other members had to say about One Hundred Years of Solitude. I was disappointed to see that sickness or busy schedules had done a number on our attendance and there were only three other ladies present. Drat! Oh well, at least I would get some input and hopefully the discussion would be lively. Hmmm? Would they rave about the emperor's new outfit or be like me and scratch their heads as they adjusted their glasses to try to see more clearly.

I was totally surprised to learn that they all liked the book. Yikes! They agreed with Lynn and said it had to be read like poetry and I had to listen for the music of it. They were totally confused with the names of the characters and couldn't follow time lines either, but said that didn't matter. They didn't try to figure it out or make sense of it, just read it quickly and let it sink in later. One girl said it was like waking from a dream when she put the book down. She knew it had meaning, but couldn't quite grasp what it was, like a dream just beyond her recollection.

So, I am going to try to read it again, with a different mindset this time and listen for the music of it. Who knew that I wouldn't need to adjust my glasses, only my hearing aids to read this book.

Wish me luck. I will let you know if I hear anything.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Live in the Sunrise

He who binds to himself a joy,
Doth its winged life destroy,
But he who kisses the joy as it flies,
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

-- William Blake --

My sister sent me this quote this morning and I plan on following its advice today. You might want to join me, so freshen up your lipstick or lipbalm and kiss the joy as it flies. Let's live in eternity's sunrise.

Are you ready now lips? Smack, smack, smack!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bending and Bouncing

When my spirit is rumpled, it always helps to pay a visit to old Mother Nature and let her work her magic on my ruffled soul. There is nothing like a walk in her world to calm me down and help me find my centre again.

Sitting by the water soothes me and washes my spirit with peace.

Walking along wooded paths quiets me and opens my heart to hear life lessons.

The trees are wise teachers and I learn from them how to stand. They don't worry or fret, they just stand. Rain or shine, heat or cold, they stand. They put their roots down deep and they stand. I walked among them yesterday and drew courage and strength from them.

We were still feeling rather ragged around the edges emotionally, so when we were given the gift of sunshine yesterday, we dusted off our hiking boots and hit the wooded trails at the Mill of Kintail.

AC headed off the path into this field of milkweed to check out the building just past the trees. I stayed put to give him a reference point to find the path again. When we encounter overgrown, rough areas in our lives, we all need someone to help us find our way back to the path again don't we? We take turns doing this for each other.

We came home revived in body and soul, feeling like we had been given a dose of tonic. Good old Mother Nature. She will work her magic if we will go out and walk with her a while.

Last week during the wind storm that swept through our area I had a front row seat in Mother Nature's classroom of life as I watched the maple trees in our back yard follow her advice on how to get through a storm. They were taking quite a beating, but when the wind gusts reached their peak, the trees bent when they needed to and snapped right back when given half a chance. What a life lesson - put your roots down deep in who you are and when the storms of life hit, bend when you need to but bounce right back when given the chance.

AC and I were bent low on Tuesday, but yesterday we snapped back and enjoyed standing tall in the sunshine. If a storm seems rather relentless in your life these days, bend and bounce, bend and bounce, bend and bounce.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sunshine and Shadow

As AC already mentioned, we had a rough day yesterday and wandered around like lost souls trying to process upsetting news. We can't go into details because it is not our story to tell, but let me just say that by dinner time we got word that things weren't as bad as we initially thought they could be, and once we heard that we felt some relief. Just in case your imagination is running wild, The A-Team is fine. This news didn't concern them at all.

On the weekend, I prepared my costume, got a huge bowl of candy ready and decorated the front porch for Halloween, but I sure didn't feel much like participating in the event after my horrible day yesterday. AC rallied a bit in the afternoon and made a delicious pot of soup for dinner and when we got the encouraging email informing us that the news wasn't as bad as first thought, we were able to enjoy our dinner and prepare for the ghosts and goblins to visit. AC didn't feel up to greeting the little munchkins, so I donned my costume, lit all the candles in the porch, made myself a huge mug of hot chocolate laced with Bailey's and took up my post at the front doot. I sipped my hot chocolate to keep me warm, and I indulged in a few chocolate covered peanuts and raisins while I sat at my post. MMMM, such a nice yummy payment for doing my duty and guarding the basket of treats. AC visited me from time to time, munched a few treats and then went back to work in the den. A nice evening was enjoyed by both of us after such a miserable day.

The costumes were marvellous and each little goblin was very polite and thanked me for their treat or wished me a Happy Halloween. My spirits were lifted and I felt better after interacting with all these cute little characters last night. Between 5:30 and 7:30 I had 250 kids come to my door. Yikes! They ranged in age from little ones held in mom's arms to groups of very tall gangly teenagers. Old and young alike had great costumes and all were a delight to see. My neighbour said he thought they were bussing kids into our neighbour from Ottawa! Tee Hee! He hadn't seen a Halloween quite this busy here before. We don't have that many kids in our neighbourhood that is for sure, and we had a steady stream of cars and vans going up and down our street dropping off kids last night. Maybe there were coming in from Ottawa! At any rate I enjoyed each visit and happily handed out treats.

Doors were locked and candles extinguished around 8pm and all was quiet for the rest of the evening. I toddled off to bed early and slept peacefully until the sunshine woke me up this morning. Oh joy, a day of sunshine after our day of shadow. We celebrated the warm gift sent our way and spent the afternoon hiking the nature trails at a local conservation area. It was just what our spirits needed after yesterday.

It is getting late now, so I will post this tonight and tell you more about our day – tomorrow.

Nite nite, don't let the bed bugs bite.

Monday, October 30, 2006

You just never know…

AC and I walked in the sunshine the other day,and crunched quite a few leaves under our feet. What fun!

We set off in a new direction for our walk and made a beeline for a country lane near us that was just too unpleasant to saunter along in the summer months. We tried to explore it a few times, but the bugs kept making us turn back; not on this day though. The cold air, blustery winds and sunshine made for the perfect day to walk to the very end of it if we wanted to and we did!

The river was just beyond the trees to our left, and huge farm fields stretched out to the right. We thought a new sub-division was being built back here, but there wasn't a sign of building anywhere. We walked along the rutted gravely road for quite a way, and didn't see anything but trees and rough rutted fields. I did catch a glimpse of orange here and there in the fields to my right and wondered what it was, but a heron, in the woods to my left, captured my attention and the orange was soon forgotten.

We got to our turn-around point in the road and when we made the turn I suddenly saw the most amazing thing. I blinked my eyes in disbelief - orange markers were lined up like soldiers in the rutted field. Was I really seeing what I thought I was seeing? Blink, blink, blink - a landing strip? Yes, a smooth, well tended, grassy landing strip was stretched out before us in the middle of this muddy, rutted field. Orange markers lined the edges and a big orange wind-sock fluttered in the breeze on one side of it. On the walk in we couldn't see the landing strip, even though we were walking right along the edge of it. It wasn't visible until we turned around and looked back on it. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. If you followed it to the end and kept going for a few hundred yards through some bush and across a road you would probably end up right at my front door! Yikes! How could this landing strip be almost in my front yard and I not know about it? How could I have walked all along the edge of it and not seen it? Why was it here? Who used it?

My imagination started to run wild and I could picture all sorts of interesting possibilities for it. I thought of the Diefenbunker we happened upon about a month ago, in the middle of what looked like a barren field, on one of our jaunts around the county.

What is a Diefenbunker you might ask? Well, it is a four story building built underground in the 60's during the time Diefenbaker was our prime minister. It was to house Dief the Chief during a nuclear attack but now serves as Canada's Cold War Museum. In case of enemy attack, the prime minister could be whisked off to this bunker undergound, and run the country from there. So, can you see where my imagination took me when I saw this hidden landing strip? Seeing as we are only minutes from Parliament Hill it seems like this secret air strip could have many possibilities. It could be the Stephenstrip leading to the Harperhanger. (Our Prime Minister is now Stephen Harper)Yes, I have a wild imagination!

Here I am thinking we live in this sleepy little town but then I discover this secret landing strip right at my doorstep and I begin to wonder. You just never know what is just around the corner from you, or under that grassy hill in the middle of that barren field next door.

Do you know what is in your back yard? Hmmmm, makes you wonder doesn't it?

AC found this image on Google for me and was kind enough to mark in red, our walking path from our house to the landing strip.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Country Craft Shows are a part of life in our area at this time of the year. Christmas is just around the corner, so this is a perfect time for craftsmen to display their wares and make lots of sales. Butterfly and I went to our local show last year and quite enjoyed it. I found unique gifts for people on my Christmas list there, so we planned on going together again this year. Well, life got busy and we just couldn't co-ordinate our schedules to get to the show yesterday. AC, bless his heart, being the trouper that he is agreed to go with me. Shopping is not his favourite thing to do at the best of times, and after the way he has been feeling the past couple of weeks, I am sure traipsing around a craft show was at the bottom of the list of things he would like to do with his paltry energy on this Saturday afternoon. Nonetheless, he came with me, and in good spirits too.

The show seemed smaller than the one last year, and we got there late in the day, so things were kind of slow. I didn't see anything that jumped out at me to buy for anyone on my Christmas list, so we left after a couple of spins around the room and decided to go to Tim's for hot chocolate and take it to the park. Yum!

It was a cold nasty day, and hot chocolate seemed to be the perfect way to warm up and make a little of our own sunshine. The rain was pelting down by the time we got to the park, but we sat in the car and enjoyed the rhythm the rain was beating on the roof while we watched ducks frolic in the river. It was quite nice actually. The hot chocolate was very chocolaty and it made us feel all warm and cozy while the rain did its cold wet windy dance outside. When we set off for home, we looked forward to settling in for the night. We treated ourselves to nachos and dip for an appetizer follow by a steaming bowl of turkey stew for dinner. Not gourmet stuff, but delicious nonetheless. I then curled up under a blanket and read until my eyes were bleary. Around 10pm I made the rounds to change all the clocks in the house, then I toddled off to bed. Mmmm, it was such a nice way to spend a cold rainy evening.

Hope you managed to make your own sunshine yesterday too, and finished off the day in a warm cozy spot.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Falling leaves

The leaves are falling off the trees in the world all around me and my life feels rather scattered just like them right now. Don't quite know where to start to write a blog, so let me just pick up a handful of life leaves laying on the ground by my feet and press a few for my blog scrapbook.

Do you remember doing that for a school project? Leaves flattened between sheets of waxed paper and then pressed with a hot iron to transfer the wax to the leaves. How pretty they looked all flattened and coated with wax ready for the next step of the project.

Well, I have the waxed paper ready and the iron is hot, so let me grab a leaf or two and get them ready for my blog scrap book.


Poor guy has had quite a struggle for the past two weeks, but I think he is on the road to recovery now. Still not back on top of his game yet, but getting there. I don't want him to go near that hospital ever again. He was fine when he went in for the routine procedure, but picked up a dandy bug in the process and it knocked him flat.

A Team Adventures
Oh those girls are giving me more gray hairs everyday. I just finished reading their latest post and this leg of the trip doesn't sound like a fun one at all. I want them to COME HOME!

Book Club
I joined a book club last year as a way to make friends in this new location. I quite like the group of ladies, but I have struggled through some of the books let me tell you. Oh well, I am being exposed to different authors and that is good. I was quite distraught though when I discovered the book for this month. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Groan. I tried to read this book the year Oprah had it on her book club and I gave up about half way through. I couldn't keep the names straight and I was totally confused as to who was talking and what was happening.

The whole time I was reading it I felt like someone was playing a trick on me. I could hear the voices of the reviewers shouting out how wonderful this book was, just like the crowds had oohed and aahed over the emperor's new clothes. They kept raving about the wonderful outfits and I couldn't for the life of me even see a pair of socks, let alone the whole ensemble. He sure looked naked to me!

Sigh, now my own book club wants to tackle this book. Ok, I will give it one more shot. Maybe there is a pair of socks or necktie there after all. Well, I have been polishing my glasses, using eye drops and even resting with cucumber slices on my eyes from time to time, but darned if I can see those robes. Nope, they are just not there. The emperor is still naked.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Can you please explain it to me!! He is naked I tell you. Naked!

Well, time is marching on and I must be out the door in 20 minutes so have to run for now. Will post these leaves now and try to get to a few more later.

The sun is shining, so maybe I will make a detour on my way home today and go to the park to scrunch a few leaves under my feet and maybe pick up a few more pretty ones to press for my album.

Talk to you all later. Enjoy your day.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gale force winds and gales of laughter

I woke up this morning to the sound of wind howling around the house and when I got up to peek out the window I saw storm clouds gathering in the sky, wanting to play a game of tag with the wind. Brrrr, this would be a good morning to make extra coffee to enjoy while I spent some leisure time reading email and blogs whilst still in my pj's and robe. Mmm, yes, that's the ticket for a morning like this.

I made the coffee, poured myself a large mug full of it and settled down in front of my laptop. I was delighted to see a new posting from the A Team and eagerly opened their blog. Oh joy, pictures too. I started to read and pretty soon couldn't drink my coffee because I was gasping with laughter.

Bug's pictures and comments brought back the memories of AC's encounter with the mice and that mixed with the word pictures I was getting from Bug just had me in gales of laughter. If you haven't read Oh No! Not again, and Mouse in the House you can link to them here if you want to.

Oh a good belly laugh is so good for you. Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What were they thinking???????

I woke up on this rainy morning with a headache. Don't like it at all when that happens. I rolled gingerly out of bed, grabbed my robe, and slogged my way into the den to see what AC was up to. I had a hard time focusing on anything but my pounding head, but after hellos and hugs I asked him if the A TEAM had posted a blog. He checked and oh joy, there was a new blog up. Oh heart palpitations as we read it. They trekked into the jungle and barely made it out alive. Puff's writing was very descriptive and made me laugh out loud – the second time reading it through! After the first reading however, I had to get up and walk away from the computer to catch my breath and calm down. I went to see AC for more hugs and then down we went to the kitchen for morning coffee. My head was pounding worse than ever now and felt like it was about to burst. I stumbled around getting juice and vitamins and fruit out while AC made oatmeal. We kept looking at each other and shaking our heads.

What in the world were they thinking to go into the jungle without a guide, proper maps, shoes that fit, or sleeping bags. Not only that, take the most demanding route to the furthest campsite and not to be registered anywhere. Oh dear, it just makes my stomach knot up. What were they thinking?

I can hardly stand to bowl for half an hour in rented shoes that are my size, let alone trek around in the jungle for three days in rented boots not in my size. Boots with holes in them I might add! What were they thinking?

I take maps when I go into the city with marked streets and lights and help on every corner. They had three scraps of paper, that I wouldn't begin to call "Maps". What were they thinking?

No sleeping bags! No sleeping bags!!! What were they thinking?

AC and I got through breakfast, shared more hugs and a few smiles of relief that at least the girls made it out alive and were writing about it with humour. We then went back to our respective writing nooks and work stations to check email and forge ahead into the rest of our day. AC had a violin lesson to get ready for and I had a "to do" list a mile long to tackle.

First things first though, I had to re-read the blog. This time through I was a bit calmer, and started to laugh out loud at the word pictures Puff drew. What a hoot it must be now for them to look back on it. I spoke to Butterfly after she read the blog and she said she was upset at first and then was caught up in gales of laughter over their antics.

I have to put an emergency call in to my hairdresser today. Order more of my hair dye in and better do it in bulk. I just got a whole new crop of grey hairs today and I have a feeling that more are to come before the girls return home early in December. Help!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Starlings in Winter

Such a busy, up-side-down week is now behind me and it is now time to regroup and move forward again. I am not sure which way is up today, but I will write for a while and try to find it.

It is oh so nice to be treated to a quiet rainy morning at home after all the busy ones we had last week. Two return trips to Montreal were a bit harrowing for these small town drivers let me tell you, but AC did a fine job navigating the highways and byways and got us there and back, and there and back again, safely. Whew!

We had many maps and written directions, but the pace of the drivers, the congestion on the roads and the lack of English road signs, gave us conniptions and caused us to get lost at one point. We shared a few anxious moments when we discovered we were heading north instead of east, on a rather confusing section of highway, but we soon corrected our error and got on the right road, going in the right direction again. I didn't like driving in downtown Montreal AT ALL! Nope, not one little bit, not during rush hour on Wednesday or early morning traffic on Saturday. Both were harrowing!

The highway between Ottawa and Montreal is a treat to drive on though, so we were able to relax and enjoy the ride on this stretch of road. Thank goodness. We had sunshine for our first trip to the big city on Wednesday, but the misty early morning trip on Saturday was by far the most spectacular. As we drove along, we moved from misty cloud to sunshine and back to misty cloud again in the blink of an eye. The trees would be bursting with colour one minute and wrapped in fog the next. The contrast made each phase vivid and etched in remarkable beauty. Oh such a feast for our senses.

AC and I travelled most of the way in silence as we were both in contemplative moods. Funerals tend to do that don't they? Each new one brings back the memories of all the others we have attended in our lives. I pondered life and death and relived the pain of the death of my father, as we went to comfort The Boy in the death of his dad. I thought about the joy of our expected grandchild and the sorrow of the loss of this grandfather. In and out of the sunshine and shadows we drove and in and out of joy and sorrow my spirit went.

At several points along the road I noticed flocks of birds performing aerial ballet routines and I was reminded of this Mary Oliver poem. I hunted it up this morning and it spoke to so many feelings that have been whirling around me this past week. Let me share the poem with you and wish you a day to live as though you had wings.

Starlings in Winter
by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theatre of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can't imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city,
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rain on a sunny day.

As you might already know from AC's post this morning, on Tuesday, The Boy got the middle of the night phone call that we all dread. His dad had passed during the night. Even though a loved one is sick and you are told that death might be imminent, you never expect it when it happens. You are never ready, and you always want to talk to them just one more time. Sigh!

Gilles had been in and out of the hospital since mid-summer, but we thought he was getting stronger and might rally like he had done so many times before. Sadly it was not to be this time. How sad for The Boy to lose his dad just when he is about to become a dad for the first time. My heart just aches for him.

Gilles was so please when he heard the news that his first grandchild was on the way, and he looked forward to holding that little bundle in his arms. When Butterfly and The Boy last visited Gilles about two weeks ago, he said that he would be strong and hold on to see that baby. Oh dear, life continues to get joy and sorrow all tangled up together doesn't it? All we can do is take what comes when it comes and let the remembered joy help us get through the sorrow.

Hug someone you love today and tell them that you love them. Walk in the sunshine whenever you can and enjoy this day while you have it. I intend to do just that.

Talk to you all later.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Reading Assignment

I picked up the mail last week and noticed a magazine sticking out of the pile of envelopes. It was Bug's first copy of the McMaster Times, her university alumni magazine. On that particular day, I didn't know where she was in Thailand, and my heart was in a bit of a tizzy wondering if she was ok. I stood at the kitchen counter and absentmindedly leafed through the magazine,while my mind drifted across the miles to meet my heart somewhere in southeast Asia. This quote jumped out at me and halted my absentminded perusal.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
St Augustine

I was grateful that Bug had taken this world travel book in hand, and was making an effort to read the whole thing, I just wished she would stop every now and then and let me know what chapter she was on! Where in the world was she?

She has since blogged about her current reading, so I now have a bookmark on that page and will be able to rest easy for awhile. Thank goodness! The girls even called home on Friday night, or should I say early Saturday morning. I was a bit groggy and disoriented when I answered the phone but it was soooo good to hear Bug's voice and share Puff's enthusiasm over the phone lines. They both sounded healthy and on-top-of-the-world happy. How neat that I could speak to them across all those miles. Thank you Mr. Bell.

Lulu and El made a return visit to our house on the weekend and breezed in the front door on a gust of wind full of stories and laughter. What a week they had and what tales they have to tell. We enjoyed hearing many of the stories first hand and having our house filled with their high spirits during the telling of them. They thumbed through many pages of the world's travel book last week and had a blast. Keep an eye on Sass's blog for pics.

I hope you have a chance to pick up the travel book and read a few pages from time to time this fall. Such a pretty time of year for "reading"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Good News

The A-Team just posted a blog and they are doing just fine. Yahoo!

I am breathing a bit easier right now. Will write more later. Time for bed now. Nightly night.

Thelma and Louise? No!

Lulu and El, is what we will call these two gorgeous gals. Heather, my sister, on the left and Sarah, her daughter, on the right set off on a road trip this week, and stopped in to visit us on their first night. We sent them on their way bright and early in the morning, and their spirits were high even if they were a bit nervous about driving through Montreal.

I love these pics we took of them the morning they left and thought I would post them here for the rest of the family to see. Don't they look happy? I am sure they are having a grand and glorious time.

Have fun girls. See you on Saturday.

Love and hugs from one and all.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Left foot, right foot, left foot - breathe.

I read these words in an Anne Lamott book during the summer and I knew the phrase was a keeper. Sometimes it is the only way to get through a tough time – left foot, right foot, left foot - breathe! Just keep moving forward one baby step and a time and try to take a deep breath every now and then.

Oh goodness the A-Team's trip to Southeast Asia is a tad hard on this mother's heart, right now, and I am struggling to take one step at a time. Just the thought of them trekking around in those strange corners of the globe makes me nervous. I must admit that I am not breathing too deeply these days and probably won't be until they are home safe and sound in December.

I wandered down to the kitchen on Sunday morning to make coffee before I picked up my journal to start the day off write! Three hand-written morning-pages are the first things on my agenda each day, and I am back in the habit of doing them before I even think about anything else. Best way to start the day for me.

Still in my jammies on Sunday morning, I poured myself a huge mug full of steaming brew then headed over to the couch with it. I picked up my journal and just got nicely settled in when I realized I had left the radio on in the kitchen. Drat! I prefer to write in silence, and now that I was so nice and comfy I didn't want to move again. Hmmm? What to do? I decided to stay put and just try to block out the radio. It was in the other room after all.

A few minutes passed and AC came padding down to the kitchen for his morning coffee. Oh good, I'll ask him to turn the radio off before he heads back upstairs. He grabbed his coffee and joined me on the couch for a short visit before making tracks to the den. The radio was still on, but he would take care of it when he got up. I turned to him and asked him if he had heard from the girls. He reminded me that they were in the southern regions of Thailand and probably not near an internet cafe so we might not hear from them for awhile. As we sat there talking about the girls and their grand adventure, a news bulletin came on the radio and the announcer's words hit my heart like daggers. There had been a series of bombings in south Thailand and one Canadian had been killed! Popular tourist areas had been targeted with these bombs and many people were injured.

AC and I sat on the couch in stunned silence. My stomach did a flip and went into a knot. We listened for more details and before the end of the broadcast they announced the name of the girl who had been killed - it wasn't familiar to us. Ok, now I could breathe again, but where were the girls and were they ok? We still don't know!

I am holding onto the old saying that "no news is good news" and I am trying to remain calm. Help! Left foot, right foot, left foot, breathe. They are probably on a secluded beach somewhere and don't even know what is going on in the areas around them. Yes, that is why we haven't heard from them. They are safe and sound on a quiet beach.

On Sunday morning I sat motionless on the couch while my mind went flying to all sorts of dark places. Fear lurched up into my throat and almost choked me. Oh dear God, where are the girls?

Breathe, just sit still and breathe. This situation is completely out of my control so getting upset and worrying myself into a frazzle is not going to do anyone any good, so just sit still and breathe. In, out, in, out, in, out. Yes, that's better.

I must tell myself the truth and only the truth. Not stories my wild imagination tells me about the truth, only the truth as I know it right now. And what is that truth, the only thing that I know for sure? The girls are in southern Thailand and I haven't heard from them for a few days. That's it. Those are the only facts that I know for sure, nothing more. Anything else would be just stories my imagination might dream up.

Yesterday we heard the news that a coup had taken place in the country and tanks had moved into the capital city. Left foot, right foot, left foot – breathe! We walked around in a daze for a few minutes and then packed up and went to the park to spend a few minutes where the wood drake rests. There really is peace in wild things! We came back home somewhat calmer and moved through the rest of our day. Left foot, right foot, left foot – breathe.

On our way out to the car we noticed three of our neighbours gathered by our car chatting. They greeted us cheerily and I responded in a shaky voice. I quickly filled them in on the details and hugs were offered all around. Later that night another neighbour called and said her son was in Taiwan and he had a friend in Bangkok. She gave me the friend's email address and told me her son had contacted him about us and girls and said they could contact him at any time and he would help in any way he could. How nice to have someone to contact directly in Bangkok. Now if the girls would just contact us and let us know where they are!

Amazingly enough, I can honestly say that I am calm right now, and I am sleeping at night. Amazing! I sure would like to hear from the girls though. Until then, it is left foot, right foot, left foot – breathe.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


We got a note from Butterfly the other day that the "cat was out of the bag", so we could go ahead and share the news with our circle of friends now. Yahoo! Goodness it has been hard to keep this under my hat for the past few weeks, but I did it. I was just about bursting though.

AC broke the news earlier this morning here, and has linked to Butterfly's blog, but I just have to add a few details of my own.

This has been a long and painful road Butterfly and The Boy have walked these past couple of years, and we hurt for them as they faced each disappointment along the way. Our hearts went out to them as they struggled with the heartache of infertility, and we felt so powerless to ease their pain. Goodness it is hard when you children hurt and there is nothing you can do for them.

We supported them as best we could and tried to be there to offer a shoulder to cry on or just listen when feelings needed to be vented, but this was a very private walk they had to take and we waited until we were asked for help before we offered any.

Acquaintances on the other hand, would make flippant comments and jokes about having babies, or what was wrong with them, or what were they waiting for, and Butterfly felt like screaming at them. She was hanging on by a thread each month, and these people would walk all over her hurting heart with their casual words. There is a huge lesson to be learned here for all of us. Think before you make a flippant comment to a young married person about not having a child yet. Infertility is a huge problem in our society today, and there is no heartache quite like it.

When Butterfly and The Boy started infertility treatments the drugs sent Butterfly on an awful roller coaster ride of emotions and she and The Boy needed the love and support of family and friends to help them hang on while their little family unit chugged up one huge hill and careened down another. What a ride we were all on.

To make this rather long story a little shorter, just let me say that this summer Butterfly went in for an IUI treatment and it was successful. Oh joy!

On the day of the treatment The Boy couldn't get the day off work, so AC and I took Butterfly to the Infertility clinic and sat tensely in the waiting room for her. AC and I were amazed at the size of the place and the number of couples coming and going the whole time we sat there. The waiting room was large and almost full. A steady stream of people moved through the efficient and busy office.

After a while AC and I noticed that people were glancing at us out of the corner of their eyes, and it then dawned on us what people must be thinking. I bet we were the talk of the day around some dinner tables that night. Can't you hear it now? 'You wouldn't believe this old couple sitting in the waiting room at the infertility clinic! They must have been at least 60! What in the world are they thinking?' Ha, ha, ha. What a hoot!

Anyway, after the treatment, came the waiting time. Each day seemed ten years long, and at one point Butterfly said she felt like a "watched pot" and a watched pot never boils. So we tried to give her lots of space and let her tell us how she was doing when she was ready. I felt like this big elephant was sitting in the room with us and we all just pretended like it wasn't there. Oh so difficult to do, but we did it.

On the August long weekend AC and I were working at the local music festival and Butterfly came to meet us at the front gate at the end of one of our shifts. The Boy was out of town, and she quite often joins us for dinner when he is away so we didn't think anything strange about her meeting us and coming home with us. We piled into the car and merrily chatted on about the music festival and how much fun we were having. We were still chattering on about people we met during our tour of duty that day as we entered our kitchen. I was unpacking coolers and thinking about what to make for dinner when Butterfly handed us each a little gift bag and said that seeing as we were working so hard at the festival this weekend she bought us something to help us get through the next couple of days. I took the bag and thought it was a piece of fudge or something like that. As I reached into the bag I heard a commotion behind me. AC was rushing across the room towards Butterfly, and I then saw clearly what was in the bag. A pair of baby booties! The IUI was a success, the test positive, she was pregnant. We stood in the kitchen, crying and hugging and crying some more. Oh joy, joy, joy.

It was still very early in the pregnancy, and many things could go wrong at that stage, so we had to reign in our urge to shout the news from the housetops just yet. But inside the house we let our joy run free. AC and I started calling each other Grandma and Grandpa and we liked the sound of that let me tell you. Oh joy, joy, joy.

So, here we are almost at the three month mark and have been given the go ahead to finally spread the news far and wide. Come next April, little Smidge (Butterfly called the embryo Smudge, but now that the embryo is officially a fetus I changed the name in my mind to Smidge) will say hello to this old world and I will answer to the name of Grandma. Oh joy, joy, joy.

Monday, September 18, 2006

September Hello cont'd

Sunshine greeted me this morning, but rain is on the way. Sunshine means a ride on the bike, rain means time to sit in my writing corner and maybe compose a blog or two. Oh joy, I should get both things done today.

Let me see, do I have more catching up to do before I go any further? Oh yes...

Wedding Bells - As you already know from AC's blog, Bug and Puff got engaged, but wedding bells won't be ringing until next August - I think!
I only got to talk to Bug for two minutes before they left for their three month trek through Southeast Asia, so I didn't get any details. Sigh. I am someone who wants all the details, and I didn't get ANY. I want to know when it happen, where, who said what, what the ring looks like, what date was set, where the wedding will be??????? Don't know the answer to any of these questions. The girls were in such a tizzie about the stolen laptop and lost tickets, they spent most of their time frantically running around trying to get ready to leave as planned. They sure didn't have time to sit for a leisurely chat on the phone with dear old mom. I only got to say "Congratulations, I love you, have a good trip and take care." So, I wait until they get home from their trip to get more details of the engagement and wedding. Stay tuned.

Thanks for all the heartfelt wishes left on AC's blog for us and the girls. Warms our hearts!

Oh goodness the day is moving forward and I must be on my way now. This entry is short and sweet, but at least I wrote something - right Dale?

Talk to you all later.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

September Hello

It is a cool rainy morning in September and just seems like the perfect time to open the laptop and let my fingers do the walking over the keys for awhile. It is past time to check in with all of you out in blogland that is for sure. Sorry I have been away for so long, but while the sun was shining I had to be out in it, not bent over my laptop. In between busy times with company and fun in the sunshine, I managed to read a ton of books, pedal a few klicks, fill up a pen and ink journal, do a tour of duty at the local music festival, go camping at Riverwood, and wonder of wonder, even spend some quiet time where the wood drake rests .

The summer is now history, fall is moving in to stay for awhile and I am loving the change in the weather. Cold nights and cool days are such a treat after the heat of summer aren't they? Leaves are starting to change, geese are flying overhead and we are enjoying the biking trails on every sunny day we are given. Snow will start to fly before we know it, so we have to get out on the bikes while we can.

With the busy summer behind us, it is now time to get back into a routine, and that will be nice after the lack of same all summer.

AC has kept you posted on our comings and goings over the past few months, so I won't try to go back and fill in too many details of all the time I missed writing about, but must add a few...

Violin Lessons - huge hug to AC for following his dream and picking up the violin again. I think it is great. Too bad we got rid of his old violin last year, but I guess he is right and it wouldn't have survived all those years in the heat and cold of the attic. Oh the attic! Do you remember that story? Here and here . Makes me shudder just to think about it again. (By the way, the attic in our new home doesn't have a thing in it, and it WON'T!) Anyway, back to to the violin. The new one looks great and sounds good. AC plays it everyday and I am impressed with his progress and enthusiasm.

Let me stop here to say just one thing about his enthusiasm. As a result of something that happened last week, I had to put my foot down and issue a house rule. "NO PRACTISING AFTER MIDNIGHT!" Yes midnight! Can you believe that?

I was rather tired one night last week, so toddled off to bed around 10pm. I was blissfully sawing logs by 10:30 but was rudely awakened at 12:15 guessed it, sounds of the violin bombarding up the stairs from the basement to the bedroom. It took me a few seconds to process the sound and when I looked at the clock I couldn't believe my eyes. It was after midnight and AC was in the basement playing the violin. Good grief!

I rolled over and tried to block the sound with my pillow, but that didn't work. I was just about to get up and stomp down the stairs to see what the heck was going on, when the music stopped. Ah, peace and quiet at last. Well, not for long. The next thing I knew AC was following the music up the stairs and he was whistling! Yes whistling!!!!!!! He was happy, happy, happy and just bursting with the joy of the music he had been playing, and he was whistling. Whistling! I met him in the hallway with an incredulous look on my face and it was only then that he realized that I could hear the music up in the bedroom. I then pointed out to him that is was almost 1am and he was whistling. Whistling!! He didn't even realize he was doing that.

I dragged myself back to bed and thankfully peace and quiet ruled for the rest of the night, well except for a few bursts of uncontrolled laughter, all was quiet. Sheesh! No practising or whistling after midnight, and that's final!

Well, the morning is brightening up and the sun is peeking through at last, so I will end this update here and head out for a bike ride. I will be back soon to continue this "catch up" blog.

It has been nice talking to you again. Enjoy the sunshine today, get out and walk in it every chance you get.