Thursday, December 27, 2012

here's hoping

Have you ever gotten on an elevator, wanting to go up and found yourself going down instead?
Someone on a distant floor has pressed the down button and nothing in the world can redirect that elevator.
Down it must go.
5,4,3,2,1........ and then a pause before it begins its slow assent with all of the occupants in the elevator staring grimly at the blinking numbers.
Somehow, having a cold has something of that same powerless feeling.
That feeling of grim resignation.
Down, down you descend, until you hit the bottom....
Until you feel the worst you are going to feel.
Then that pause, and the slow assent.
Here's hoping.

still germ free

I descended the stair, platter in hand. My daughter's fridge beckoned.
Just as I entered her suite, I felt the warning twinge of an approaching sneeze. I rushed across the room towards the fridge. I could feel the sneeze building. I flung wide the fridge door and hurled in the platter. The sneeze was almost upon me. I turned and sprinted for the exit.
Too late.
I battened down the hatches as best I could.
A sneeze imploded.
I staggered back upstairs, her space still germ free.

fresh sweet air

It didn't call ahead.
It didn't ring the bell and wait politely at the door.
Instead, while I was out and about, a Christmas cold threw wide my door and marched in with overstuffed luggage looking like it plans to stay awhile.
It isn't a pleasant guest, the kind you wish could stay forever.
In fact it's pretty demanding, making me constantly rise to blow my nose and wash my hands;
Making me stagger to the kettle and contemplate my pillow longingly.
It talks too loud and stays up all night and leaves things strewn about.
I'm looking sadly at the calendar and pessimistically predicting departure dates.
Still, there's nothing like being sick to make you appreciate health.
Nothing like enforced rest to make you thankful for useful occupation.
My 2012 may go out with abit of a snivel, but the fresh, sweet air of the New Year is just around the corner.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Emmanuel

The following is taken from a piece called Emmanuel, by Frederick Buechner

Christmas is not just Mr. Pickwick dancing a reel with the old lady at Dingley Dell or Scrooge waking up the next morning a changed man.
It is not just the spirit of giving, abroad in the land with a white beard and reindeer.
It is not just the most famous birthday of them all and not just the annual reaffirmation of Peace on Earth that it is often reduced to so that people of many faiths or no faith can exchange Christmas cards without a qualm.
On the contrary, if you do not hear in the message of Christmas something that must strike some as blasphemy and others as sheer fantasy, the chances are you have not heard the message for what it is. Emmanuel is the message in a nutshell.
Emmanuel, which is Hebrew for "God with us."
That's where the problem lies.
The claim that Christianity makes for Christmas is that at a particular time and place "the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity" came to be with us himself.
When Quirinius was governor of Syria, in a town called Bethlehem, a child was born who, beyond the power of anyone to account for, was the high and lofty One made low and helpless.
The One whom none can look upon and live is delivered in a stable under the soft, indifferent gaze of cattle. The Father of all mercies puts himself at our mercy.
Year after year the ancient tale of what happened is told; raw, preposterous, holy, and year after year the world in some measure stops to listen.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. A dream as old as time. If it is true, it is the chief of all truths. If it is not true, it is of all truths the one that people would most have be true if they could make it so.
Maybe it is that longing....... that is at the bottom even of the whole vast Christmas industry, the tons of cards and presents and fancy food, the plastic figures kneeling on the floodlit lawns of poorly attended churches. The world speaks of holy things in the only language it knows, which is a worldly language.
Emmanuel.
We all must decide for ourselves whether it is true. Certainly the grounds on which to dismiss it are not hard to find.
Christmas is commercialism.
It is a pain in the neck.
It is sentimentality.
It is wishful thinking; The shepherds. The star. The three wise men.
Make believe.......
What keeps the wild hope of Christmas alive year after year in a world notorious for dashing all hopes is the haunting dream that the child who was born that day may yet be born again even in us.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

words to live by

One year on Boxing Day.......
I went outside and flung a string of lights into the branches of our maple tree.
Better late than never, I thought to myself.
Are those words to live by?
I think so.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

many ways

'Although it's been said, many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.'

Friday, December 7, 2012

clearly

Two mice, clearly married, discuss mozzarella, havarti, cheddar, swiss, and parmesan. There's nothing like shared interests to bring a couple closer.

bric a brac

The little goat girl and boy were gifts I made my grandmother back in the late eighties when the country look reigned. She lived in a tiny apartment by then, and likely the last thing she wanted was more bric a brac but she graciously accepted my gift for what it was, a token of love.

spreading out the joy

Most years, I wait until the evergreen is cinched into the tree stand and swathed in lights before I turn my thoughts towards decorating for the season. By then, December has settled in for its brief stay and there seems to be so much that calls for my attention. This year, I dusted a shelf and added a touch of Christmas in late November. Then, a few days later, I added some coloured balls on ribbon in my window. Nativities followed and then a mitten garland.
My house has an expectant holiday glow and there is still the tree to look forward to, to enjoy, to add.
We're spreading out the joy.

snip snap

Did you ever make paper chain dolls? You know, a string of girls or boys, their hands clasped.
You folded paper like a fan and then snip snap, there you were.
Well, some clever soul has come up with a variation on the theme.
The paper children form a circle.
And they go boy, girl, boy, girl.
And they make a star
and a snowflake at the same time.
It's a wonderful world.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

high notes


A choir of mice jostle for position and squeak out, Silent Night.
Thank goodness for the tenor. He can really hit those high notes.
'All is calm, all is bright...'

past present future

Although my sister lives over the mountains and far away, she is ever present at Christmas. Many of my special decorations, the ones that make it to the mantel every year, were created by her hands. They are more than a tradition to me, placed just so each yule tide. They are Christmas Past, and Present and Future.

before the hearth

My grandma knit mittens.
We got a new pair every winter, or maybe two.
When they become sodden with slush or encrusted with balls of snow, we propped them near the wood stove to dry out.
They were as colorful as Joseph's coat.
Grandma was a very thrifty crafter, and it wasn't unusual to have several wide bands of color and contrasting thumbs.
Her grandchildren grew up and a lovely crop of great grandchildren made the pilgrimage to visit her.
She never forgot them at Christmas and tiny mittens warmed the next generation as well.
It is hard to believe that twenty winters have flown by since I saw her last.
She lived to a ripe old age. Such a wise, gentle, charming lady.
I think she would be pleased to see her mittens immortalized; hanging before the hearth.

fa la la la la

"Deck the halls with boughs of holly," I warbled.
"Fa la la la la, la la la la," chimed my grandson.
"Tis the season to be jolly," I continued.
"Fa la la la la, la la la la," he sweetly sang, right on key.
The song continued and was gamely repeated, ending with a big note.
"La...la....la....la...la... la  la la LA!!!!"
Singing a song in parts or as a round is such fun.
We've also been practicing Row Row Row Your Boat.
And like all experiments, there are some surprising combinations that nobody else has tried that seem to work.
Row row row your boat, gently down the stream,
Fa la la la la, la la LA LA!

day dress

My little granddaughter has suggested that I sew her a Cinderella dress.
Or a pink dress.
She is very open minded.
I have decided that Cinderella needs her day dress and her evening gown.
Don't you agree?
The pink dress above will be the day dress and has served me well as a practice run.
Years ago, my own little daughters were clad in home sewn clothing. I sewed and sewed and sewed.
Now I feel a compressed excitement just thinking of the sewing I can do for my grandchildren. I'm off to a bit of a slow start but like riding a bike I will pick up momentum and head for the hills.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

mysteries of faith


Years ago, I succumbed to temptation in a toy store, and purchased the Playmobil Nativity.
The wise men were sold separately; an add on to the 'good news' story.
I suppose it makes sense. The road they travelled was long and winding. They didn't arrive in time to see the babe in a manger. 
The Bible says that Mary and Joseph and the Child were in a house by the time the wise men came to fall in worship, gifts in hand.
I imagine that for Mary and Joseph, staying in Bethlehem was preferable to returning to rumour and scandal in Nazareth. Regardless of the centuries old prophesy about a virgin birth, few believed.
Hardship marked their lives in spite of their faith and obedience.
And hardship marked the life of Christ himself,
and the lives of His followers down through the ages.
One of the many mysteries of faith.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

i recognize the smile

A dozen years ago I bought a nativity set from a dollar store, piece by piece. Simultaneously, my sister purchased exactly the same set in a dollar store over the Rockies, in a completely different province. Unfortunately, there had been a run on baby Jesus and try as she might, her set couldn't be completed. It just had that expectant, waiting look.
Christmas inspires rash gestures of love and so I packaged up my baby Jesus and sent Him off in the mail. It didn't occur to me that my store would sell out of baby Jesus too.
And it did.
I checked the next year and the next and even earlier the next, and eventually gave up looking.
I set the nativity out anyway one year and no one seemed to notice that Jesus was missing. It seemed such a profound commentary on current culture that I packed the tiny figures up in tissue and put them in the back of the cupboard. "Perhaps some distant year.....," I thought.
This is the distant year!
Although the figurines from my set, and the one in the dollar store this year are completely different styles and sizes, the baby Jesus was just right. He looks like He was made for my set. I recognize the smile.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

visual aids

My older sister is a gifted gift giver. Because I have always had a soft spot for nativities, she fanned the flames of that passion by giving me the Fisher Price Nativity a few years ago. It has been delighting me ever since, and not just at Christmas although I do especially like to set it out then.

I have taken to adding to it over time. First, some extra fence from the farm set to sort of corral in the extra sheep.

And Noah followed soon after to impersonate a shepherd because Joseph had been forced to multi task.

Noah's wife seemed the perfect innkeeper, gracious and accommodating. Everyone is thankful for her quick thinking in suggesting space in the stable.

A cow, a horse, a chicken, a rabbit; why not, the corral is pretty big. And this year, a fourth wise man.

The Bible doesn't say how many wise men came. It certainly doesn't include names; that is Christmas Pageant fiction. It just lists the gifts, which were three and that is likely how the rumour got started.
A nativity set is full of stories; stories within stories, and I am thankful that Fisher Price has provided the visual aids.

Monday, November 26, 2012

bling blong

The stores are filling up with Christmas glitz but one icon of Christmas Past is gone from the scene, as extinct as the Dodo bird.
The Christmas corsage.
When I was a girl, every woman wore one.
No December coat lapel would have been caught dead in public without one.
It was an essential holiday ingredient, a small bit of festive frippery.
The base was always a colored foil leaf.  .
Then perhaps a spray of multi-colored tinsel and a bell, its edge encrusted like a margarita glass.
The Christmas corsage seemed to condense onto a woman's lapel everything that was lavish about Christmas decor.
Real, honest to goodness bling, long before the word was coined.
Bling, blong, ding, dong, Christmas bells are ringing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

slow food

Crows are canny and careful usually.
You seldom see them served at The Road Kill Cafe.
There was almost a change to the Daily Special today though.
A crow had dropped from the sky to the centre of the road in front of my husband as he drove this morning. The bird was tugging at a stale french fry trapped in a tangle of wrappings.
As the truck bore down upon it, the crow had to make a decision.
It decided to tug harder.
There was no frantic flap to safety.
The point of no return came and almost went.
At the last moment, my husband swerved and the crow lived to dine again another day.
But I think it may be true that fast food can be deadly.

fall in worship

Christmas has seemed to arrive like an unexpected knock on the door these past couple of years. Unexpected and therefore unprepared for in some way.
Not so much in the tangibles, like gifts and baking or even decorating but unprepared for in the mindfulness and meditation that are to me, the sweetness of Christmas.
This year, I am going to turn my thoughts aright.
And not just for Christmas, but as a gift to the Giver of all good gifts.
I want to know the fearsome awe of the shepherds, and fall in worship in the straw.

a phase

There is a line in the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, that I love. The main character, Nia, explains to her almost boyfriend, "...I was kind of going through a phase up until....now.!"
It seems to capture how I see my.....life!

in the air

“As the hours crept by, the afternoon sunlight bleached all the books on the shelves to pale, gilded versions of themselves and warmed the paper and ink inside the covers so that the smell of unread words hung in the air.”

― Maggie Stiefvater

self-help

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.”

― George Carlin

a day will come

“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

a hand taken

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours”

― Alan Bennett

finding yourself

“Isn't it odd how much fatter a book gets when you've read it several times?" Mo had said..."As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells...and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there, too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower...both strange and familiar.”

― Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

more than true

“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

G.K.Chesterton

Friday, November 23, 2012

hit and run

I grew up in a small town with little traffic on the streets. Therefore, my sister and I learned to ride our bikes, wobbling and squeaking in wavering lines up and down the block and through the odd intersection.
This may have contributed to an inadequate understanding of the dangers of cars and car bumpers.
I can no longer play the accident scene out in its entirety, but I do recall my sister weaving across an intersection on her bike at exactly the same instant as a car rolled through. Neither saw the other in time. My sister hit the ground running, changing the definition of hit and run for me forever. The driver was out of his car in a flash. "Little girl," he cried. "Little girl, are you alright?"
I stood silently watching as my sister, her bike abandoned, raced for home. The volume of her wailing and the ease with which she sprinted boded well for her.
I was rooted to the spot, as I am in so many of my childhood memories. My fight or flight response was always a bit sticky.

one at a time

Nothing is worse than pants that are too long, unless it is pants that are too short. Too long pants feel sloppy and disheveled. A feeling that all is not right in the world, not unlike needing a haircut.
Too short pants are impossible to carry off with any shred of dignity. Maybe tucked into boots but otherwise, they languish accusingly in the closet awaiting the merciful re-hem or recycle.
I have made a sacred pact with myself to only purchase pants that are the right length. I avert my gaze from the sale rack featuring dangling legs and eye the petite racks with suspicion. My wardrobe may become more streamlined but that is fine because I only wear one pair of pants at a time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

so was he

As I entered the store I noticed a man, eyes downcast, a few steps behind me; an older gentleman. It seemed respectful to hold the door, to wait the few moments it would take for him to come. In that very instant, he realized I was holding the door for him and his face was transformed with light. Nimbly springing ahead, he leapt through the door and spread his arms like a ballet dancer. Ta da! I was startled and delighted. And so was he apparently.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

handy victim

Sometimes we learn something too late.
I once learned that the word 'blood' made me squeamish.
Unfortunately, I was sitting in the front row of a First Aid class when this great revelation dawned.
I had noticed as the class progressed that I was feeling strange.
I noticed each time the teacher said 'blood' that I felt even stranger.
In fact, I was feeling positively stricken.
"If she says blood one more time, I'll have to leave," I thought with a growing sense of disbelief.
She said 'blood' one more time.
I asked to be excused rather weakly, and tacked towards the back of the large room.
I made it to the doorway but no further.
Darkness closed in and I slid to the floor.
They used me to practice bandaging because I was already lying down;
A perfectly handy victim.

peril and hazard

"How many years have you been married," he asked. "It'll be thirty-five in March," my husband responded, which caused me to have exclamation points above my head. How can our twenty-fifth anniversary already be a decade ago!
Andre Rieu's concert tour brought him to Vancouver that spring, ten years ago and it seemed the perfect special evening to mark our special anniversary. Off we gaily went, dressed in evening finery.
We took the sky train so that we would have no worries at all, no traffic or parking to distract us from each other.
Front row seats awaited us.
Like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears though, someone was sitting in our chairs.
It was an omen of sorts.
The seat mix-up was sorted out so pleasantly, like the calm before a storm, and we snuggled down to enjoy the show.
It was much later, as we emerged into the crisp night air, our eyes full of stars, that things began to go awry.
The sky train had been closed by the Police.
Everyone needing to travel into the valley from the city would need to be shuttled by bus.
Lines formed and the waiting began.
We had not dressed for a cool March night.
We huddled and leaned and clasped each other for warmth.
Hours ticked by.
Overstuffed buses came and went.
We were finally home as early birds stirred in their sleep.
Even then, it seemed a fitting metaphor;
An anniversary celebration that mirrored married life.
We had set out with high hopes but the unexpected loomed.
Life seemed fraught with peril and hazard.
Then turning to each other for warmth and comfort we travelled together, our thoughts on home.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

and dabble

In a large family, birthdays are ever present. They are just the right motivation to drag out the water color cards and dabble. Cards are so wonderfully bite size. What can compare with that happy feeling of starting AND finishing.

double joy

I've always loved toy monkeys. Perhaps that is why I found myself pausing before the hats on display at Otter Coop. A sock monkey hat and I gazed at each other in mutual admiration.
I have been endlessly pondering the perfect gift for a baby shower tomorrow. I quickly purchased it and hurried home. Hand made cards are a double joy; fun both to make and to give. I was soon happily dabbling with water color paints.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

start driving

Don't things left undone clamour for attention. It's sort of like being in a boat with a slow leak. Before you know it, your feet are cold and wet and you're looking anxiously at the distant shore.
It is truly a preventable discomfort.
Thinking about patching the boat, worrying about patching it, planning to eventually patch it, all lead to the same inevitable state, trouble in the middle of the lake.
It makes me think of a great illustration a pastor once shared. He said, "if you want to go to Whistler, and you head down the highway towards Hope, you aren't going to get to Whistler. If you figure that out, and stop the car, you still aren't going to get to Whistler. If you turn the car around, you still aren't going to get there. You actually have to start driving there."

wouldn't that?

"What's the name of your blog again?" queried my co-worker. "Spit and Polish?"
I laughingly corrected her but wouldn't that have been a great name?

sam salmon

Fish was on the menu at my daughter's house.
My grandson wanted to know what kind and so he asked, "what the fishes name was."
 "I think his name was Sam," my son-in-law teased, delighting his children.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

magic in it

You don't speak of November and early potatoes in the same breath.
Not usually.
This year as summer faded, my husband in an act of defiance or optimism, planted  four potato plants.
He hoped to beat the clock.
The seasonal clock.
Summer hours shortened into the crisp golden afternoons of Autumn.
Leaves fell.
Rain fell too.
Yesterday, a bell tolled for the potato plants and my husband took up glove and spade.
I was presented with an aluminum colander full of new potatoes.
Yukon Gold.
Some were as small as marbles but most were golf ball size.
It was when I placed them in the sink and began to wash them that the magic happened.
The pungent scent of fresh garden earth enveloped me and I was transported to my grandparent's root cellar; that dark, rich, earthy place.
For a sweet moment, I could see the heavy door, the bins of vegetables found by Braille.
That dark, dark place so richly scented.
I was always a little afraid that the door would swing closed and leave me to sprout slowly in the dark, a pale little shoot seeking light.
My practical mother always reminded me that someone would look for me. I would be missed. That sense of being missed never comforted. I missed the point I think.
Still, the fragrance of fresh garden dirt is one of my very favourite. There is magic in it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

taken to heart

Practice on something that matters.
It seemed like such good advice.
A pieced top languished in my stash for years. For years and years in fact. It was an awkward size and had a bit too much of a country vibe. But I did need something to practice on. Something that mattered enough to motivate. Something with potential.
I was so delighted with the finished mini quilt and it has been a table mat and a tiny picnic blanket. It has been a doll quilt and a rug. It has even kept Douglas, the toy cat snug and warm.
Advice taken to heart.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

sure enough


I decided to give Stack and Whack a try. I turned to Google, the source of perhaps not all inspiration, but a pretty hefty dose. An Image Search showed a variation using only four 'stacks' or repeats. Beauty was practically promised. I chose a fabric with a color and print that I had no affection for whatsoever and sure enough, once the fabric was duly 'whacked' and assembled in fourpatches, it took on a life of its own. It was transformed into a kaleidoscope of coordinated blocks; floral wreaths and spinning floral wheels. This technique is called Fourpatch Posies. Who thinks up these names?!











welcome

"Wouldn't this make a beautiful baby quilt?" I held up a little bundle of fat quarters, fanning them out for my daughter's approval. "It's Heather Bailey," she sighed admiringly. "I have some of that line already."
We made a pact that this fabric would become The Baby Quilt. 
We pondered pattern and decided upon a simple zig-zag. Ahhh, the beauty of the HST. (half square triangle for the non-quilt literate)
The backing had to be a dotted flannelet. Her older brother and sister had the same. You can't mess with tradition.
It had to be square, and not just any square of course, but 34 inches square. See above for reason.
I love how the prints work together. The stripe has a hat boxy feeling and the large florals are just so lovely and... welll....large and floral.
In keeping with the previously mentioned tradition, the quilt does not really say baby and could be just as happy as a table cover in some future decade of my grand daughters life. Welcome!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

14,287


"Behind a painted picket gate
There lived a quilter known as Kate
She had one son, a boy named John,
One daughter whom she doted on.
She had one husband and one house,
One dog, one cat, one little mouse...
And 14,287 pieces of fabric.”

author unknown, but don't you think there could be endless variations?

"Behind a door of weathered pine
There lived a carver known as Kline
He had one son, a boy named John,
One daughter whom he doted on.
He had one wife, one car, one house,
One dog, one cat, one little mouse....
And 14,287 pieces of wood"

Try one yourself.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

gifts

"Change comes bearing gifts."

Friday, October 19, 2012

to sing

We awoke to the song of a frog this morning.
In our backyard.
Such a loud voice for such a little creature.
I don't speak frog, but I got the message I think.
Winter is on the way.
It's inevitable.
But Spring will follow.
That's inevitable too.
If you are a frog, and your little frog butt is planted on the cold mud of October, the coming slumber of Winter and the warm breath of Spring are something to sing about indeed.

minor characters

I have been reading A Year With G.K.Chesterton. It is, as the title implies, a book of daily readings to last a whole year long, but I have been unable to put it down. I am not a philosopher and it will likely take me a year to figure out what he is saying at times, but I have found his words filling my thoughts, surrounding me and encouraging me. Single statements have felt like a thunderclap of revelation. His faith was strong and winsome. And what a way with words!

"We must certainly be in a novel;
What I like about the novelist is that he takes
such trouble with his minor characters."


believe

"Everyone on this earth should believe, amid whatever madness or moral failure, that his life and temperament have some object on the earth. Every one on the earth should believe that he has something to give to the world which cannot otherwise be given. Every one should, for the good of men and the saving of his own soul, believe that it is possible, even if we are the enemies of the human race, to be the friends of God."
G.K.Chesterton

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

here

She is here at last.
Loved before seen.
Somehow familiar
but as mysterious as tomorrow.
My tiny granddaughter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

hunters

We went for an early morning stroll, disappearing into the mist, our vision opening up before us as we walked. The trees were festively strung with spider webs. the sidewalks adorned with leaf confetti. A maple tree, swathed in color and the glistening strands of a large web drew us for a closer look.
"The spider is hiding there." My husband pointed to a folded leaf edge. His finger grazed the web. Instantly, a pompous, paunchy spider rushed out and inspected the spot for damage and retreated just as quickly to its hunters blind.
Quick as a wink.
He looked well fed.
Don't be fooled by the ornaments of Autumn.
The trees are full of hunters.

early start

Early morning, and my daughter and son-in-law heard a little cry of dismay. There it was again followed by the soft sound of distant weeping.
My little grandson was soon discovered grieving a broken pencil lead.
The birthday pencil.
And just when he was going to start drawing too.
The morning before, explaining his early start to the day, he told his father, "I woke up and the sky was still orange and I just couldn't resist the urge to draw."

"I would like to recapture that freshness of vision which is characteristic of extreme youth when all the world is new to it." Henri Matisse

"When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college- that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared back at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?" Howard Ikemoto

a little apathy

Once October settles like a mist, I grow a little apathetic about hanging baskets.
I tend to admire plants that flourish through a bit of benign neglect but the dryness of fall this year has put a strain on some of my plant relationships, ones that I have apparently taken for granted.
While dining last night, my bleary gaze settled on the fuchsia on our deck rail.
I frowned.
Did I hear a distant cough?
The leaves said it all.
"Good-bye....gasp."
Or possibly, "WATER!.....wa..ter...cough."
I was brought to my feet as though by an invisible hand and rushed to the tap.
Pity or guilt? No matter. The fuchsia won't question my motivation.
Perhaps it's true that the opposite of love isn't hate, but apathy.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

four winds




Cast your gaze to the four winds.

kind of music


 Today, heeding the siren call of the sea, I slid into the car and pointed it towards White Rock.
As I pulled onto 8th avenue I felt something strange, that feeling of compressed happiness, the fluttering wings of excitement. By the time I turned onto the shore road, I was smiling.
I hunted for beach glass and waded as the waves swirled and tugged at the beach. All around, gulls rose and settled, rose and settled, their shrill call the perfect background music.
The kind of music that fills the air, and blocks out everything but the sunshine.


happy thanksgiving

Saturday, October 6, 2012

waiting

We are waiting, waiting, waiting.

farm fresh

Although we live in town, we are surrounded by farmland. Such a variety of farms too; sprawling berry farms with their towering mansions, hobby farms, fields dotted with llamas and black faced sheep, and horse boarding stables. Of course there are also vineyards and nut groves and pumpkin patches and corn fields......
One of my favourite farms though, is Annie's Orchard. Back in the seventies, the owner worked for the Department of Agriculture in the U.S. When he and his wife moved north to Canada, they brought seedlings for an orchard with them. It was easier in those days to bring that sort of thing into the country. Now, more than three decades later, sturdy apple, pear and plum trees lean towards the sun, their arms entwined. Gravenstein, King, Northern Spy, Bramley, Cox Orange and Belle de Boskoop ripen in the sun.
Those old varieties are heady with scent, crisp, juicy and sweetly tart.
Farm fresh.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

half the sky

The sky this morning had a split personality.
Half of it was denim blue and brooding and half was the color of a robins egg with frothy clouds. Somewhere, people glanced grimly upwards and clutched their sweater closer.
But not us.
We gazed up into the light of a golden October morning.
Clear and bright or dark and foreboding.
It just depended on which way we looked.
It always does.

Friday, September 28, 2012

worth it

This is a picture of a picture; a watercolor painting, and it hangs in my aunt and uncles living room.
It was painted in the thirties. Doesn't it look like someplace you'ld love to be?
I wish I could suddenly find myself wading in the stream towards the distant cows, the sandy bar.
Perhaps I would call to the woman and children on the opposite bank.
Birds are rising on the cool spring air and the sweet smell of smoke rides the breeze.
More likely the water is cold as mid-winter and the cows would chase me.
The woman would call out that I'm late for chores and that twenty pounds of potatoes are waiting to be peeled after I haul water and feed the chickens.
It would be worth it though I think......

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

good company

I opened the front door and stepped into the night just as a male voice spoke out of the darkness. "I don't want to scare you," he warned and so of course, I screamed.
This in turn may have caused the man delivering flyers to clench his teeth in fright. Maybe, but probably not. Not everyone is poised to flee.
I tend to be a gasper and a screamer.
I have frightened myself watching the toaster. My mind has wandered, as it does so easily if left unattended for more than a moment, and the popping of the toaster has caused the balloon above my head to explode. Who wouldn't give a little cry of fright under such circumstances.
This inclination to melodrama may actually be encoded in my DNA and therefore at risk of being passed to future generations.
I remember when my daughter and son-in-law were teenagers. As they drove home from work, my daughter suddenly gasped. My son-in-law gripped the steering wheel, awaiting grim destruction as my daughter blithely continued, "We have the cutest skirts at work!"
I know our family isn't alone in this.
We are in good company I think.
My friend shared that her sister's three year old granddaughter had been tucked in for a nap.
Her grandma gently informed her that she would be gone when nap time was over, but that Daddy would be there to take her home.
The next time they were together, the little girl confessed, "When I woke up and you weren't there, I cried and cried........ and then I had a melt down!"
Good company for sure.


Monday, September 24, 2012

vivid

"I like how you're coloring that," I said admiringly. "It's very vivid."
"What does vivid mean," my grandson asked, pausing in his coloring.
"It means very bright, and full of color, like the orange or yellow of a sunset."
"When I slept over," he began. "The very last time I slept over," he continued.
"When I got up at six....the sky was green."
Now, that six o'clock start to the day.... I can vividly recall myself.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

small project

Wee Quilt 2012, Plaids At Play, has come to an end, and my little quilt has returned like a homing pigeon.
This is a close-up view of some of the plaid parka wearing preschoolers playing.
Wee Quilt 2013 is to be a Greeting From Auld Sod. I have a story that is desperate to be told in quilt form and this is the perfect time for it. Great, great, great grandmother Haddock would approve I think.
I'm in the pondering stage but will soon move to the sketching stage and then on to the snipping and sewing stage and then the quilting stage and then the posting stage. And then the breath holding stage of course.
That's a lot of mileage from such a small project.