Saturday, December 31, 2011

animation imagination

My grandson asked if we could make an animation.
He would be the artistic director and producer and of course the stage crew, and I would be the cinematographer.
It was an ambitious project.
He imagined an erupting volcano with lava and a dark cloud.
In his minds eye he could see an little man moving away from danger just as you would expect.
He was pretty sure that Hawaii would be a good location shoot and I just happened to have a 2012 calendar from the realtor that became the back drop.
Plasticine was pressed into service, no pun intended.
A tropically green mountain was soon topped with a towering black cloud and studded with sparks.
A little gray man, his arms thrown wide with fright looked on.
I snapped away as my grandson moved the cloud left and right.
I made a series of shots of the little man inching away to safety.
We will need to consult the resident tech support and there will be cropping and cutting no doubt.
Stay tuned.

the chip store

"Where did you get the dolly?" I asked my granddaughter by way of making conversation.
"From the chip store," she confided. (AKA McDonalds)

he's toast

A stuffed toy was drooping over the side of the toy box.
"That elephant looks tired," I exclaimed kneeling down beside my tiny granddaughter.
"He's toast," she solemnly agreed.

work in progress.....

An unfinished work in progress.......


I have never felt so strongly that time has passed more quickly than usual.
I've stood on the cusp of the New Year before and gazed back and back, but this year, I swear to you, last January was just a few weeks ago.
I've reread posts from this time last year and felt more certain than ever that something happened to 2011. Something that I was not aware of, or a part of.
Was I sleeping like Rip Van Winkle?
The year was really weightily eventful, full of unusually heavy things and yet it seems a blurr. Perhaps that is the answer.
You can see for miles on a clear day.
There have been breaks in the cloud cover, amazing views that took my breath away. but a lot of the time I had my head down, hiking along in the fog with no landmarks to get my bearings by. No sense of the passing of time.
I am so grateful that life allows change.
That we are always learning.
That there is hope.
"Behold, I make all things new."

Friday, December 30, 2011

something so grand

My grandmother lived in the shadow of a mountain.
Of course when you get close to something so grand, you can't see it towering beyond your vision. You are aware only of the smaller, darkly treed hills that block the horizon.
Thick and lush is the vegetation surrounding Blue River.
My grandmother selected wild plants, native plants, and landscaped her yard with their beauty; a clump of creamy birch trees, lacy mountain ash, tiger lily, and pine.
Her log home would have pleased the sensibilities of Frank Lloyd Wright, for it was one with its surroundings; an extension of the rustic view.
A burnished, golden house with corners like clasped fingers, it stood as a sentinel, the dark forested hills beyond.
Those wooded slopes were wild places, filled with chipmunk and skunk, moose and bear.
My grandmother began her life as a homesteader, a pioneer, on the softly rolling prairie of southern Alberta.
but when I think of her, it is against the backdrop of pine and cedar.
It is in her sweetly smelling kitchen surrounded by golden log walls and burl bowls that I see her, in the shadow of a mountain.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

not morning people

Bears hibernate.
I'm not sure why bears come to mind now in the midst of winter, but I do know that in the thickly treed mountains that cover British Columbia, bears are hibernating.
As the air took on its familiar chill this fall, bears took their last bite of this and that, their late night snack so to speak and ambled off to bed for a long, long night.
It's hard to believe that they sleep through Christmas and New Years and Valentines Day,
but their seasonal morning comes at last.
Perhaps the sound of melting snow; the sound of dripping water, annoys the bears into wakefulness.
Perhaps the piercing call of the first returning robin does the trick.
Maybe the warm breath of April.....
Bears awaken and straggle out into the weak spring sunlight.
They are not morning people.
It is better not to talk to a spring bear until he has had his first cup of coffee.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


This Christmas we received a truly amazing gift.
My mother opened a Christmas card and began to read the letter inside.
There was a wish for a blessed Christmas and of course a Happy New Year just as any card or letter might begin this time of year.
But the next sentence was the show stopper.
"Thank you again for the generous help you gave me and my children so long ago. In fact, almost 53 and a half years ago."
We gasped.
The letter went on to detail lives well lived; the story of children grown to adulthood and happy accomplishment.
There had been sorrow and hardship overcome.
The letter concluded with the warmest words of blessing for my Mother and we, her family.
I phoned my older sisters to see if they remembered the writer of the letter.
Yes, my oldest sister remembered, and I learned something about my mother that I hadn't really known.
About her selfless kindness. About her gifts of friendship shared.
And they have not been forgotten.
How kind this friend from the past is to put into words, her appreciation for all of us to share.
To bless my mother.
It is a picture of God Himself I think, who remembers and blesses.

Monday, December 26, 2011

glory all around

I had a wonderful day yesterday playing with my grandchildren and watching them play.
The first toy opened would have kept them occupied for the day I think.
My granddaughter wore her new purple princess gown and didn't look the least bit overdressed.
She is polite and passionate by turns just as one might expect from a tiny royal personage.
My grandson kindly invited me to help him color his cardboard spaceship. I gamely started in on the whole blue of outer space while he colored the stars. I noticed that he was uncharacteristically going outside the lines until the stars were glowing yellow orbs.
"It's the glory," he informed me.
Glory all around.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

for He alone is worthy

The air is full of music in December.
Christmas carols known by heart.
We first heard them in church, joyously sung, voices separating into parts and blending in harmonies.
We warbled them in elementary school from news printed song sheets.
Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Silent Night.
Joy to the World.
It is impossible to listen to those tunes without the mind singing along.
Last weekend as my friend and I wandered through shops in Fort Langley I suddenly stopped to listen. The words were there now, clearly heard by the ears of memory.
"For He alone is worthy," I intoned, startling the clerk.
"Isn't that O Come All Ye Faithful?" my friend questioned.
And of course, it was, but tunes have a way of being borrowed. Somewhere, sometime, someone had composed a very different song to that old recognizable tune.

O come all ye faithful
For HE alone is worthy

Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing
For He ALONE is worthy

O come let us adore Him
For He alone IS worthy
Christ the Lord.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

something to do with it

Candle light may have had something to do with it.
The tree glittered in the corner, blanketed in crocheted snowflakes.
Fragrant cedar boughs decked the halls and the shelves.
Felt mice clutching tiny song books, pointed their noses skyward in silent song.
Christmas baking and steaming cups of tea all said December Book Club Meeting.
In the center of the table was a ginger bread house; A wonderful candlelit masterpiece.
After a number of admiring glances, my friend blurted, "I just have to tell you..... that is the best gingerbread house anyone ever made."
There was a  pause.
"Oh, Alma," I cried. "It's ceramic."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

upward like sparks

"I have a theory," by grandson declared, as the car sailed over the rolling country side on the way to kindergarten.
"When wood burns it turns into dust."
My thoughts swirled upward like sparks.
I have pondered burning wood myself as I've sat before camp fire light.
Where does its heat come from?
It seems that the warmth of a hundred summers is stored in that wood and released at once.
Burning wood glows as coral as salmon flesh; its grain, one of the myriad repeating patterns of nature.
In the morning, ash is all that remains of the grand blaze of the night before.
The tree has flown away, up and up and up into the starlit sky.

loyal pair

My husband is a wood carver.
He carved a pair of loons for my parents many a year ago to honour their 50th anniversary.
A pair of loons?!
That sounds like a joke waiting to be told.
In fact, loons are amazing birds.
Such a loyal pair.
They share the work of nest building and chick raising.
So alike.
Such resilience and longevity.
They seemed a fitting choice as a tribute.

The joke came from the way their beaks were carved.
One loon is gazing into the distance, beak firmly closed.
The other has its beak parted, a call forever on the wind.
My parents joked about who was who.
I have my own opinion on that and I smile now when I look at them.
A loyal pair.

inside jokes

I can see my grandchildren in my rear view window as I drive. Only little glances of course, but I can hear them just fine.
A few months back, my grandson launched into a tale of clown fish and sea anemone and finished up with this conclusion. "It's a symbiotic relationship Grandma."
I was momentarily speechless.
"What does symbiotic mean," I cautiously queried.
He knew!
I have found myself noticing symbiosis ever since.
And in the most surprising ways.
Family relationships are a wonderful example of mutual benefiting, and so is friendship.
I have found myself laughingly using the label, symbiotic as a result.
Aren't inside jokes wonderful?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

raison d'etre

"It's my birthday," I announced to my mother this morning.
"Oh, Happy Birthday," she exclaimed, her face brightening to mirror my own. Days and seasons have slipped from her memory but not her love of family.

The story of my birth has always delighted me.
I am the fifth and final child.
The sister that is two years older than I would have been the last child.
Unlike the previous three children, she was not an independent soul.
She cried when my father left for work because she hated to see him leave, and cried when he got home because she had missed him. She cried when the older children left for school.
"Maybe we should have another to keep her company," my kindly mother suggested.
That kind of solution could go on forever, my father had ruefully observed.
And so, it seems my raison d'etre, my sole reason for existence was to be my sister's companion.
As it turned out, I was an independent soul and played happily by myself.
And then as I grew older, I plagued my sister as only a younger sister can.
I did my share of tagging along and whining and even bit her once.
I'm pretty sure she's glad I was born though.
I know I am.
Happy Birthday to me.

like a sea

Who needs the ocean when you can just look up at the sky;
The ever changing sky like a great, pearl gray sea.
Golden light is breaking on the horizon and lapping at the edges of the hills.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I have been at times photographically challenged.
I once snapped my way through a never to be repeated holiday, catching once in a life time moments, only to discover that my film hadn't "caught" and wasn't winding it's way through the inner workings of my camera.
Another time, far from home and any store, I accidentally rewound my partly filled, and only roll of film.
As I hastily and distractedly tidied, I once threw away a filled roll with a handful of crumpled paper. Sports day became a distant memory.
And, just as a hush fell over the church and the breathless bride took her first tremulous step down the aisle, my last picture taken signaled the camera to rewind with a grinding whirr and buzz that I was unable to stifle.
I am glad that the digital age has rescued me at last.

such a boon

Photos stored in a shoe box are not as user friendly as photos online.
I love trolling through pictures taken, cropping at will.
Digital cameras are such a boon to mankind.
No more film, or in my case, no more looking for film, loosing film, rewinding partly shot rolls of film and paying for poorly shot film.
It is still hard to believe that photos can be enlarged and edited at home without taking a small loan from the bank to pay for them. They can be shared in a moment too, and stored in endless folders.
Next year I'm going to take even more pictures and they won't all be blurry.
I will figure out what the settings do too.
Oh the joy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Dinosaur names just don't stay with me.
My grandson patiently sounds out the syllables for me and I dutifully repeat them back.
Today he urged me to meld the sounds together into a word. "We're blending," he announced modestly, referring to his advancing progress in reading at kindergarten.
What we are taught, we can teach.
It is a wonder to listen and learn.


The Terrible 2's.
This label was definitely not thought up by a grandparent.
We think two year olds are charming. We might say The Tiny 2's or The Talkative 2's or even The Thirsty 2's, but surely not Terrible.

While shopping at Old Navy, my daughter overheard my two year old granddaughter say to a mannequin as she hugged it. "I love you so much."
Terribly charming.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

randomly selected

What would be on a running list of Things I Have Learned The Hard Way?

Below you will find four entries randomly selected for your edification:

1-Never blog while your oven is set on grill-high
2-Don't eat Spicy Tuna Roll after 10pm
3-Put off napping while waiting for the light to turn green
4-Avoid leaping down the stairs in stocking feet

Saturday, December 3, 2011

weather proof hunters

My day was dissected by errands. My morning list ran into a hitch and resulted in a last minute add on to the afternoon list.
I recruited my mother to ride shotgun, and off we spun.
Such a gray drizzly day.
A hawk on the power line reminded me of the lone hunter my daughter and I had seen earlier that week, his eye trained on the tangle of yellowing grass below. He had been at the same spot morning and afternoon, morning and afternoon. We mused that he must be doing well there if he kept returning.
Trees flashed past and there was another hunting hawk, and then another.
As we wound our way down towards River Road, we spotted a fourth hawk, his shoulders hunched in concentration.
Later, as we churned our way back up the hillside, a kestrel was suddenly there on our right, gripping the power line overhead. It shook off the rain, drops flying, orange feathers standing out like a halo.
Weather proof hunters.

a new year sort of moment

It's interesting how time swirls us along through the passing seasons. It makes me think of those old black and white movies and the calender pages tearing off, tugged by the wind of time. It's not that life is so uneventful, but really just the opposite. It amazes me as I take a backward glance each year at this time and see the road travelled stretching back and back.
Aren't there truly so many of those sorts of vantage points in a year? A new year sort of moment.
For many years September felt that way to me as my girls started out with freshly sharpened pencils and new sneakers.
And June was similar but for the opposite reason. A school year wrapped up and a whole summer stretching ahead.
The changing seasons too, especially spring, always thrill my heart with fresh beginning.
And birthdays mark time, as do the special days, the days of feasting and family.
I'm looking forward to Christmas this year. To the season of Christmas. To the chance to look back and ahead with gratitude and joy.