Saturday, November 30, 2013

Moniker Gallery

Mikal is part of a show at Moniker Gallery in Toronto.  We went to the opening on Thursday and I was blown away.  The collection is eclectic, diverse and amazing.  The artists represented there are incredibly talented.

There was one painting I was drawn to time and again. It's a snapshot of my life in 1994.  Anyone who knows me well will understand immediately why.  It's called the Child Within.  The artist has been working on it for nine years and the explanation beside it says, "It is about dreaming. It is about possibilities.  It is about being a tiny part of the universe and being the whole universe at the same time;the interconnectedness of all things."

 This is the artist, Alan Reimer and The Child Within

This is a close-up of The Child Within. 

Sun. Moon. Lion. Whale. Dove. Sea. Earth. Planets. All that is within and without.  The blue and the gold. Every angle from which I viewed it showed me something new. 

This is a painting that one experiences.  Thank you to Alan Reimer for capturing a piece of my soul and showing it to me.  I am reminded of my unique place in the world.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Lots of chocolate

Just a quick check in to let you know yesterday was amazing and there will be more details about the art show - with pictures.  I want to devote an entire blog post to it.

Right now, I'm too tired. Late night last night, early morning this morning then a party with friends straight from work means I'm headed to bed. Today was also a good day.  No one annoyed me, I avoided the temptation of buying a bunch of stuff I didn't need just because it was on sale then I hugged lots of fabulous people I adore while we drank wine (what I didn't knock on to the floor), figured out what's wrong with the world and came up with some good solutions.  Love, not hate.

I hope you've been well. Enjoying life and all it offers. That goes a long way to dispelling the angst of daily life. I am truly blessed to have you all along for the journey.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Full day

We woke up to a lot of snow on the ground, smothering the trees and hiding the sky.  It was enervating to get out there and shovel while the dogs played like puppies.

I went to fill up the gas tank when the power went out in half the town. There I stood with the nozzle jammed in the car's filler neck while people exited shops up and down the street. Snow continued to fall from the sky and for one brief moment I thought I was stuck. $5 does little to fill the gas tank these days.  I drove down the road and managed to fill up there.

Then I headed down the highway to spend time with my writing partner.  We talked writing, life, writing, politics, writing, publishing, writing, food and followed it all up with more writing talk.  Over Greek salad we discussed our current projects and the directions we're taking them.  Cheesecake with a hint of lemon was given our undivided attention.

The drive home was uneventful while I pondered my family roots.  My people weren't famous(on my dad's side anyway). They were the ones who kept things working and did the heavy lifting - line workers, farm workers, gardeners, bookkeepers and nurses. They may be harder to find in history books or on museum walls but they are the people who helped the ones whose lives are celebrated. That's something to be proud of, I think.  The support team is a vital component of any success.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


All those years of watching NASCAR paid off this morning. My front tires caught road while the back hit ice and stepped out. I was able to save it from spinning off the curve I was transversing at the time.  It's snowing in earnest now but this morning it was merely a patch or two along the way.

On my lunch hour, I went for a short walk.  The air was very damp and heavy but I had on an ankle-length winter coat and mid-calf boots. I was warm and dry and the air smelled wonderful.

I love the first real snow of the season. The dogs race around like two year olds hopped up on sugar.  Their coats glisten in the moonlight.  Their fur smells as fresh as the white blanket beneath their paws. 

Humans aren't quite as enthusiastic but that's our problem.  It's fun out there and we should remember the joy of catching snowflakes on our tongues, shoveling the outdoor rink in anticipation of lacing up our skates and racing indoors to have hot chocolate with marshmallows. 

What are your snow memories from childhood?

Monday, November 25, 2013


I've had three wonderful people remind me today how wonderful life can be and is. They didn't yell at me or point things out. They held up a mirror and allowed me to see the beauty, and blessings all around.

Instad of focusing on the house that is far from my dream, I listen to the wind howl and appreciate the solid roof above my head.  There is food in the fridge, heat pouring from the vents, a nice reliable car in the garage, two jobs I like, friends who raise me up, and a family I adore.

Here's my raindrop phone photo.  Disappointing but it was fun taking it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Came home from work and watched 10 episodes of The Big Bang Theory while figuring out a new pattern.  That was my one good thing today. Laughter is good for what ails ya. So is sleep,  so I'm going to go try that next.

Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sis Boom Ra!

Last night was long and less than pleasant. It seemed like everyone was up half the night. 

It was a day with worrisome news and frustrations. Honestly, I've wanted to go back to bed and reboot since before I crawled out of it this morning.

Then the whole family came over for dinner. The Little Ones were entertaining, delightful and really cheered me up.  It's not every day your name is chanted in the living room as soon as you enter the room.  Lots of little girl snuggles, tickles and hair brushing did a lot to make things better.

I've prepped a hearty breakfast casserole for the household, done laundry and showered. Next up, a little quiet time with a good book, while the critters snooze.

Things are going to happen, or not, without any input from me. One way or another, I'll do my best.  I have my own private cheering section.  How lucky am I?

Friday, November 22, 2013


Today was crazy busy with work and home stuff. I'm tired and klutzy.

I was pacing around the community center stretching my legs when I noticed raindrops on the bush by the door.  I ran outside and took a dozen photos of various trees and plants covered in raindrops. I haven't had a chance to see how any of the pictures turned out but something more important came from my rushing around in the rain. I got outside of my head, away from work and into the fresh air. I filled my lungs with oxygen, the scent of wood smoke and damp air, lost myself in nature.

Such a good thing, that natural high.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Making frustration work

For some reason, the entire household was cranky today. I spent several hours at the computer, writing. It was a frustrating time. Once I gave myself permission to walk away, things fell into place. I wrote a solid outline for part two. I should be able to get at least an hour a day over the next few days to flesh that out.

I spent the afternoon cooking - a big pot of pasta sauce and chocolate chip cookies. The latter were better but still not how I like them. That's good. I will eat less than the usual quantity.  I found an interesting website that explains chocolate chip cookie fails. It gives me some ideas to play with.

Ending the sentence with a preposition made me shudder.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Good day

I had tea today with a friend I haven't seen for weeks. It was lovely to fall back into our natural rhythm.  It is ever thus so.

Yep, I've been watching BBC drama.  Ripper Street this time.  It was slow to grab me but now that it has, I'm addicted. Matthew MacFadyen has come a long way from Mr. Darcy but not too far from MI-5's Tom Quinn.
I wrote this morning. Inspired by number 3, I threw a bunch of words on the page. They weren't that bad so I threw some more on the page. I've been thinking about that scene enough that things started to flow.  Tomorrow I will write some more.

Because that's how you finish the story. By putting one word down after another. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fall food

Just for Elen, the Squash soup recipe.  I put fresh grated parmesan cheese on the bottom of the bowl then ladle piping hot soup on top of it.  For someone who doesn't care for soup, I really like this one. And my go-to cold-killer garlic soup.  I'll share that one another day.

I had a lovely visit with my great-aunt. We talked about the cold, grey, windy day which of course led to some Scottish memories. She told me about being a nurse in a small town just outside of Toronto.  That would have been in the 30's.  I've never heard of  ThistleTown so I looked it up.  Wikipedia to the rescue.  After she came home and got married, my aunt gave up nursing because that's what one did in those days.  Oddly, both of my grandmothers were nurses as well, yet I never felt the pull. Unless one counts nursing animals which is completely different from humans. There's a lot less complaining for one thing.

I decided not to eat anything I haven't made myself. The chocolate chip cookies weren't up to my usual standards. I only had whole wheat flour and forgot to compensate for that. They taste okay but I suppose the good thing is I'm not eating as many.

Chicken parmesan with fresh squeezed lemon and a spinach salad for dinner was far more satisfying.

Without anyone's input shocked stare in Stashaholic's direction, I decided to seam the sleeves of the cherrybomb bolero rather than look for fun buttons. The yarn and stitch pattern are quite lovely and deserve to be the focus.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Lots of wind and rain and I'm grateful to be snuggled down in the house, warm and dry.

I finished my wrap. I'm debating buttons vs seams to turn it into a shrug or bolero.

What do you think?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fresh air

Another freaking day of challenges so I choose to focus on that which is good.

I found the right recipe for squash soup and made seven jars of it. Most went into the freezer.  Two more jars of applesauce and five dozen chocolate chip cookies. I forgot to compensate for the whole wheat flour so they weren't as flat as I like them but tasty none-the-less.

Ky and I went outside to clean the yard and scoop out the pond.  Two days ago, it was winter. today, it was a nice Fall day.  I even picked fresh spinach I found still growing in a pot. Delicious.

Friday, November 15, 2013

One good thing

I walked to and from work today. It will be winter all too soon with snow, bitter wind and nose-numbing cold. It was not like that today. I enjoyed it.

The one good thing about being as tired as I am is the fact that my presence is not required anywhere until noon on Sunday. There are things I should do, things I said I would do but if none of it happens, it won't be the start of the apocalypse - zombie or otherwise.

It's quite freeing not to be responsible for the fate of the known universe.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Last night was fantastic. Eddie Izzard is not only funnier than hell, he's also quite smart.  His humour can make you think. Then he goes off on a tangent and you can only shake your head.

It was nice that I didn't have to work until later in the day. The cats had a horrible fight last night so I ended up taking Milo back into my room.  Urgh. He didn't let me sleep.  It was a long day filled with one annoying thing after another.

I did spend some time looking at my attitude and recognizing how it influences my perception of events. I really can't do anything about anyone else.  Some people are going to always behave the same way, or not. The only thing I can control is my response.  It's not always easy being the grown-up.  To think there was a time when I resented being told what to do, or when to go to bed, just because I was a kid.  My parents were surprisingly lenient with me, all things considered.

So, one good thing today - finding chocolate in the side pocket of my purse.  Spinach salad with homemade lemon/garlic dressing.  Enjoying the sound of the wind as it howled and swirled around town.  It was all howl and no damage.  Excellent.

I heard singing in the empty museum when I locked up tonight. That was cool, not creepy.  I wonder if the ghosts will leave when the museum moves to another building.  I will miss them if they do.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Winter is on its way.  My poor garden wasn't prepared despite the fact that I've had several extra weeks to take care of it. Other things took priority. My convalescing friend is doing much better.  She no longer needs someone with her all the time. I picked up a couple of things while I was out shopping then popped by her place for a short visit.  Mentally, she's ready to be out of the house and back to work. Physically will be a bit slower.

I'm working on my own routine and habits. My jeans are looser but I feel like they should be the opposite. Funny how our perception is often skewed. 

I've been designing sweaters, jackets and wraps in my head. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of any of them.  I have quite a few lovely skeins I want to work with on those projects. First, I will finish my cherrybomb wrap. It's going to be a bolero, I think.  I'd made a big mistake that necessitated five inches being ripped out but I actually picked up the stitches on the right row.  I'm better at this knitting thing than I think.  Perception again.

I had a great time with my friend and her daughter when we went to see Thor: The Dark World. I shouldn't root for the bad guy with such enthusiasm but Loki is delightfully complex. 

Tomorrow, I will be quite late posting, if at all.  I'm going to see Eddie Izzard with Stashaholic.  I heard him say he's doing the follow-up to the Death Star Canteen. Apparently, all trays have been removed.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, November 11, 2013


One Good Thing about today being a day of Remembrance is the realization of how incredibly blessed we are to live in this country.

We have the right to disagree, to be indifferent, to vote, to protest, to buy stupid things, watch salacious movies, investigative films, mindless comedies. We have the right to drive. To cut our hair. To wear hats or not according to personal preference or fashion dictates.

We have the right to eat junk food, to buy locally, to support alternative fuel options, to drive gas-guzzlers. We have the right to experiment or remain entrenched in dogmatic practice.  We have the right to worship God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 

We have the right to our beliefs, to our practices, to our excessive, decadent, selfish way of life.

We have the right to be oblivious to all of the men and women who GAVE THEIR LIVES so that ours could continue in a manner to which we had grown accustomed or envisioned as our future.

It is a very good thing to realize, be grateful, and thank veterans and their families, for all of those things and so much more.

Thank you.  I wear my poppy in pride and gratitude for this life you have enabled me to live.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

short but sweet

My day began with tea in my living room with my dear friend. It was a very good start to the day. We talked about life, mutual friends and planned a trip to Iceland together. She assures me ticket prices are quite reasonable at the moment. Sigh

Nothing remarkable happened at work. I twisted my knee early in the shift but continued movement loosened it up.

My friend's husband arrived just before I got home so we all went out for dinner before the headed out on the long journey home. The men all talked about boats and fishing while the women talked about family, friends and art.

I'm so blessed and thrilled that they were able to make time to visit with us on their short visit here.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Happy happy joy joy

I was so productive at work today that I danced and skipped my way through the stacks once the doors were locked.  It was a crunch to get everything done in the time allotted but I did it all and did it well.

A dear friend from North Carolina was in Toronto with her husband for his business meeting. He kindly shared her company so I drove up after work. We went out for dinner at a genuine Chinese restaurant. The menus and cheque were printed in Chinese. We hoped we didn't order the 8lb lobster or Alaskan King crab that they brought to the table live to show off its freshness before they cooked it for you.  It was an incredible meal. We didn't get everything we'd ordered but it was delicious, filling and not so fresh that I had to avoid its gaze beforehand.  I'm not good making an acquaintance with my food.  If I have to kill it, vegetarian I will be.

Now we're home, chatting, sharing stories and solving world problems. 

My other friend posted a photo of her engagement ring. It suits her perfectly.  That man knows what he's doing. And so does she. Their happiness is contagious. Here, have some.  Dance down the row.

Friday, November 08, 2013

It's all good

Oops, I was so tired yesterday I flat out forgot to post.  The weather was nice, work went well, the critters got lots of snuggles, I found a few bargains when I went for groceries, I had interesting email interactions and life was good.

Today no one was injured when the light fell out of the ceiling. The tether caught it. The well-known and much beloved local actor who was standing beneath the light at the time made a joke about it. The printer didn't catch fire five minutes later. I turned it off as soon as I noticed it was hot. And the man who put expired creamer in his coffee didn't choke.  He spit it out instead :)  That all happened in a span of twenty minutes.

All disasters were averted and everyone had a sense of humour.

Then I got a great phone call from a dear friend. She's engaged.  He's a wonderful partner for her and I couldn't be more excited, thrilled or happy for the two of them.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Good day

I was so tired driving to Grimsby this morning that I wasn't enjoying myself. Then the car in front of mine drove through an enormous pile of leaves. They swirled up and over my car to shower mine in gold and orange, maybe even a few burnt sienna.  It was glorious and made me giggle.

I was meeting my good friend Brenda Harlen for tea and writing chat.  I was much later than we'd planned and didn't see her when I entered the cafe. I texted to ask if she'd given up on me. She texted back that she was still there, was I coming?  I started to text that I was there also but looked behind me first. There she was, sitting at the table that sat behind my chair.  She'd been at the counter when I came in so we hadn't seen each other.

We had a great visit, caught up on life, conferences and brainstormed our current projects.  Having someone to bounce ideas off, to work through plots and character arcs is valuable beyond measure. Being able to work out motivation and staging with someone who understands their importance can save hours of bumbling around on our own.  It's one of the many reasons we set another meeting in two weeks.

The drive back to Queenston was equally gorgeous and I was more alert, full of how to continue the horror story.  My convalescing friend and I had a healthy dinner, spinach salad with lemon/garlic dressing. It was so good.

She's craving a milkshake, so we're distracting ourselves with Beowulf and Grendel. The scenery is exquisite, the script excellent and full of fantastic dialogue.  Oh, and Gerard Butler.  :sigh:

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Tuesday tidings

Another balmy day. It's been a real yo-yo season.  Freezing one minute, warm the next. I have no idea what to wear. Today, I chose a long dress,very purple.

I taught a class on downloading ebooks. It went well. Everyone thanked me and said I did a great job. I was flattered as we all struggled with various apple and google devices.  We all had fun with the frustrating bits and celebrated the successes.  I won't be teaching another class like that as we're hiring a full-time tech to take care of many things, including digital classes.

I'm home tonight catching up with my zoo and family.  They're all pretty understanding about my absence and the reason for it, but Milo spent most of the night telling me, in a very loud voice, that he missed me.  Yoda has been fairly quiet. No hockey tonight.

Monday, November 04, 2013


I am grateful to be home to sleep in my own bed.  It is exhausting look after another person, especially when you need to be vigilant about their care. In some ways though, it was relaxing down in the little village. We watched documentaries, drank lots of hot liquids and received deliveries of soup,cookies and edible arrangements. Air was stolen from our lungs as we took our evening consitutional.  We both thought a cat was a raccoon this morning. 

The neighbours probably shouldn't walk around half naked until they put up window coverings. No, stained glass panels are insufficient.

For some reason, my friend found the word hummus funny. 

This is what we've been consuming steadily for the last few days.

Today, I discovered recipes on the back on the chocolate wrapper.  Coconut muffins probably taste delicious but I'm not wasting my Icelandic chocolate on an ingredient. It's best enjoyed on its own and allowed to slowly melt in one's mouth.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Good things

Just a brief post to say we had a couple of gorgeous walks in the brisk Autumn sun. Tonight's walk was colder but the smell of decaying leaves and wood stoves balanced it out.

There's lots of healing happening. Definitely a good thing.

Plus, there was chocolate. Precious Icelandic chocolate.

Saturday, November 02, 2013


It was pouring rain today as I drove along the Niagara parkway. Yellow, orange and red leaves carpeted the road and I wished for my camera. I contented myself with the images that rolled past my windows.

I'm staying with a friend as she recovers from surgery. We almost lost her yesterday so I'm incredibly grateful to spend time with her.  She may be in a lot of pain but her sense of humour is intact.

After watching a horrible hockey game full of injuries, penalties and goals for the other team, we turned to Netflix. Nothing caught our attention despite the fact that some of the titles made me giggle like crazy.  I suspect relief made us giddy. Then I found YouTube and Eddie Izzard.  Laughing is not the best choice for someone with stitches in her belly.  We watched him in spurts.  Even truncated,  Izzard was the better choice over the horror movie.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Silly Friday

Man, today seemed long. The good thing is I can go to bed now. And sleep in tomorrow. My presence is not required anywhere until late afternoon, early evening. I  need to make scones. From scratch.  I just shamelessly begged my cousin for her husband's recipe. They were worth the drive to Prince George - from Whistler. They may even be worth the drive from Ontario but I don't have that kind of time.

One good thing about three interrupted phone calls was being able to catch up with a good friend.  Texts and facebook weren't cutting it.  Hearing each other's voices did.

One good thing about searching for my replacement credit card is I found all of the greeting cards I bought for family a couple of months ago.  Now I need to find their addresses (I can drive to their houses but have no idea what streets they live on).  While I'm certain the bank would have sent me a new credit card, I cannot find. Yay, that means I won't use it.  Silver lining squared.

Ooo, math joke and my head did not explode.  There's hope for me yet on that front.