Tuesday, December 31, 2013

like her

This is my mother's annual Christmas Poinsettia.
It is as speckled as a hen.
An occasional cream petal is so unexpected, so unlikely.
Christmas camo.
Last year her Poinsettia had leaves that were dark as soot with flowers like red velvet.
I love plants.
And this plant, my mom's poinsettia, is so unusual and lovely.
Just like her.

better now

I should have taken 'before' pictures but this way you will have to take my word for it. You will have to trust me when I tell you that the embroidered design on this teeny tiny vest was not my baby granddaughter's style at all.
Covering it seemed an easy fix.
I copied the flower motif of the all over quilted design and created a calico flower to match.
I feel better now.

bad sized

The conversation had turned to rodents. Don't conversations take dire turns at times.
"Well, pack rats are a good sized rodent," my mother mused. "Or maybe I should have said, bad sized," she quickly amended. "Can rodents ever be a good size?"

Monday, December 30, 2013

maybe a quilt

I love this photo of my grandmother. The strong light and shadow would make such a wonderful watercolor.

I think the corner post competes for attention so cropping it out makes the figure the sole focal point.

 I love the curving path but I wonder if I would like the picture better without it.

Or maybe the path should stay and the picket fence should go.
First a sketch and then a painting and then........... maybe a quilt.

wishes warm

like flypaper

"If you take a book with you on a journey," Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, "an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it... yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else"
Cornelia Funke, Inkheart


"Stories never really end...even if the books like to pretend they do. Stories always go on. They don't end on the last page, any more than they begin on the first page.”

Cornelia Funke, Inkspell

knee deep

Into town I went.
I had some returns to take care of.
So did everyone else.
We stood in long lines together.
At one point, it felt like my life was in danger.
You know that feeling don't you?
A long line forms.
Faces are surly.
Feet shuffle.
There is a distant murmur like a herd of cattle on the brink of stampeding.

The clerks were all amazingly bonnie and blithe.
They deserved medals, every one of them.

The outward trimmings of Christmas still cling everywhere.
Christmas at seventy-five percent off.
Clean up in aisle six.
Customer service on red alert.

It reminds me of standing in the middle of a living room after the birthday party guests have gone home clutching their goody bags.
It reminds me of a reception hall after the wedding party have dashed off through a hail of rice.
It is apparent that something 'big' has transpired, something celebratory.
We are knee deep in the afterness of it.
The distance of time will soon arrange my memories, like cookies on a platter.

Friday, December 27, 2013

hemmed in

The December sun is barely up in the sky before it begins to set.
Mid-winter days are hemmed in by darkness.
We walked this afternoon as the light slanted ever lower in the sky,
as pearl gray clouds became drenched in color.
The wind blew great rolling billows of pink and orange above the trees and we watched the color drain from them,
gone with the retreating sun.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

one true light

We are drawn to love like moths to the light. And Light is just what this dark wintery world craves.
There is plenty of it all around us; reflections of the love of the one true Light. Christmas blessings to you all.

Friday, December 20, 2013


“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

solid underfoot

Have you ever noticed advice, the kind we can so glibly dispense, has a way of coming home to roost? "You can want more, and be unhappy, or be thankful and be happy," I had exhorted.
Sure enough, as I lay in bed this morning i found my thoughts leading towards a perilous place and quickly made the leap, from the slippery slope of wanting/wishing to thankfulness and found the ground very solid underfoot.


My granddaughter and I were placing the Nativity stickers on the window. "Do you know why the trees looked like this?" I asked, referring to the palm trees beside Mary and Joseph.
"Yes," she said nodding. "They are on a vacation."

Sunday, December 15, 2013


My little granddaughter loves to make things.
She loves to make things for people she loves.
Her work is recognizable too.
She has a definite style.
Pink is her go to color.
And she is very good at making hearts.
They are often pink although purple is a close second.
Today, in honor of my special day, she created a pink card.
Rainbows glimmered on the cover; a promise of something special within.
Inside was a starry, starry sky and......a heart.
I am being wished all the magic of a rainbow with its pot of gold, and a whole sky full of stars, and.......love.
Oh my!
And an envelope.
A pink one.
With birthday stickers.
Love in an envelope.


We celebrated my birthday today, a smidge early.
That just spreads out the joy, as my Mother would say.
When my grandchildren arrived, my grandson was wearing a tie. His mother confided that he had chosen to wear it himself, in honor of the occasion.
I was flattered.
And charmed.
Even now, hours later, I still feel a special glow.
I think it's called happiness.

another living soul

As my car swung into the darkened parking lot, a movement just at the edge caught my eye.
It was very early morning.
I didn't expect to see another living soul.
Neither did the racoon.
Its expression and mine were identical.
Our eyes locked for an uncomfortable instant and then we both averted our gaze and headed in opposite directions.
Racoons aren't morning people either.

just like her

We pulled into our driveway just as she walked by.
The girl with orange hair.
Walking her dog.
The girl with orange hair and purple toque and scarf stalking by as haughtily as a model, her dog's leash stretched as straight as a stick.
She looked so lovely wearing her riding boots and faded woolens,
all aglow,
orange and purple.
Just like a fashion illustration.
Her little terrier was brisk and bristley.
Just like her. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

taking steps

Piecing a quilt top is step three.
Or maybe step four.
Step one is the dream, the idea. This may include sketching and algebra. Ahhh, the joy of using both sides of the brain.
Step two involves cutting and sewing and pressing and cutting and sewing and pressing.
Step three is the assembling of the top including units or blocks, and sometimes sashing and borders.
This could go on indefinitely.
Step four is sandwiching and basting.
Step five is breaking down in a sweat, breathing into a bag, procrastinating and finally quilting the works.

continuing nature

Have you ever pondered the fact that blog posts of a continuing nature are read backwards, with the last post becoming the first?
It can cause a question mark to form over the readers head.
It reminds me of reading to my granddaughter this week.
She wanted to hear her stories backwards. I read three books to her, starting on the last page and working my way to the beginning. It felt strange but was pretty entertaining. One of them seemed to work either way.
I hope you will find the same experience here.

of gray

I bordered my quilt with flying geese units. It seemed appropriate for a quilt featuring wild animals. I had intended originally to surround the animals with maple leaves as a sort of homage to the Canadian wilds, but the geese asserted themselves and I was powerless to resist. The shades of gray in the geese make the solid gray sashing sing I think.
I had also planned to cluster other smaller wild animals in vignettes in an outer-outer border, but the quilt felt that it was finished and I have listened to it. They always know. This may mean that I will have to make another quilt featuring beavers and squirrels but so be it.

donner and blitzen

Yep.....more antlers. Caribou have pretty distinctive antlers and I was sorry that I had to leave so much of them out of the picture. They really are massive. Think Donner and Bllitzen.
I wanted to emphasize the shape of the nose so I placed the rest of the head in shadow. There's a rule I often default to: If you want something to look light, put something dark beside it.


When I made the elk, I was forced at last to deal with antlers.
They add that necessary elkish look.
They add that note of authority.
I couldn't fit those darn antlers into the block but I didn't let a little thing like that hold me back.
P.S. Wood grain print fabric is a boon to mankind.


Lynx are very large, wild, long legged, short-tailed cats. Wild cats. They stretch and scratch and pounce and purr and snooze in the sun.


The thought of creating moose antlers seemed daunting so I made a female moose. Presto.
I employed a fairly strong highlight area and dark shadow for contrast. Moose are pretty, I mean moose are pretty homely.


Coyotes seem like the city cousin of wolves although there are plenty of them roaming about in the wild too. A coyote is really neither of the main colors that I used, but is somewhere in the middle. I think this works because the eye sees the variation of color as highlight and shadow.

local color

Oh the black bear stories I could tell.....and I will but not in this post. Even though a bear's local color is black, it reads as black even when it is gray.....and mauve. Isn't life wonderful?


Where there are mountain goats, can mountain sheep be far behind? They are such agile animals in spite of having four feet to worry about on the slippery gravelly slopes.

The fabric for the horns was such a find. The texture looks so real. I really emphasized the light on this block and it makes me remember summer trips through the Rockies.

up from there

As I worked on the animals, I tended to place a silhouette onto the background fabric and then build up from there with shadow and highlight alternatively. After slapping the beige fabric in place I gasped. Mountain goats are white. I had momentarily confused the color with the mountain sheep. I could have removed or covered the beige but I decided to leave it as a warm highlight and I really love how it looks now that the goat is finished.
The fabric for the horns couldn't have been better. it was a wood grain and the lines add such a realistic texture.


This is a twin wolf. It's sibling loped off to Alberta and has the distinction of being the seed, the kernel of an idea, that started me off and running with the idea for a 'wild animals of Canada' quilt.


I had a bit of trouble with this big cat. There is an entirely different cougar lurking underneath a layer of fabric snippets.

full moon

I've seen my share of bears over the years. I ended up making both a grizzly and a black bear for this quilt, but started with a grizzly. I got a bit carried away with highlight on this poor fellow. Must have been a really full moon.

most often

One of the first blocks I made was of a deer. i suppose that's because of the twelve wild animals on the quilt, the deer is the one I have seen the most often in the wild. I note now that I really didn't do much in the way of shadow and highlight. That sort of evolved as I went along.
A deer is pretty recognizable just by silhouette and so I chose a fabric that had the look of hair, emphasized the nose and eye, and called 'er done.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

farm fresh

The setting sun tonight was the color of a farm fresh egg yolk with a lemon sky all around.
Or maybe I should just say,
The setting sun tonight was a farm fresh egg yolk in a lemon sky.

Either way, it makes me want to bake something.

far away and blurry

Ta Da!
This picture is supposed to look far away and blurry.
I wanted you to have to squint and ponder.
It builds suspense that way.
I think I should have used a flash and propped the camera on the edge of the table as a sort of tripod.
Did you notice that the geese are flying counter-clockwise?
Is that ok for a quilt made in the northern hemisphere?
Makes me think of a jingle recited for those of us who lack handyman skills.
'Lefty loosey, righty tighty."
My geese are loose.
Goosey loosey.
Could have been a good quilt title, but I'm sticking with Springtime in the Rockies.

FAQ- Where are the geese?
Answer-The outer border of the quilt is a traditional pattern called Flying Geese.

magically becomes

Sometimes I read old stories from my blog to my mother. She is the perfect audience.
Today we enjoyed animal stories together.
I remember reading excerpts from books to her over the years; bits and pieces for her entertainment.
And I remember reading paragraphs from school assignments and even snippets of Dick and Jane for her applause.
I've always loved books.

Stories make up the fabric of our everyday.
And writing, although a solitary pleasure, magically becomes in the reading,  a shared enjoyment.

stay friends

My four year old granddaughter's birthday is on the horizon, just a few weeks away.
Perhaps this is why she suddenly, plaintively confided, "I don't want to get older." I put my arms around her and she added wistfully, "I enjoyed being three."
Dear, dear little girl.
I felt such a conflicting rush of emotion.
I wanted to laugh of course.
Why are the heartfelt sentiments of children so funny I wonder?
But, children are very wise and often grasp essential elements sooner than an adult would.
I noted that she didn't say she enjoyed being four, but was looking with longing a little further back.
I can clearly remember feeling the same way.
Still do at moments.
I also remembered her mother saying something very similar as a tiny child, and her big brother too for that matter.

Aging has its charms and compensations but it can be hard to let go of one stage to take hold of the next.
We can stay friends with the child within us all of our lives though.

Monday, December 9, 2013

springtime in the rockies

This is the center of my new quilt, Springtime in the Rockies. It isn't just an unfinished block anymore, mind you. It's bordered now in grey and surrounded by animals wild and wooly, a wolf, grizzly, black bear, coyote, lynx and cougar as well as a deer, moose, elk, mountain goat, mountain sheep and caribou.
I began it a couple years ago and it really came together fairly quickly. I loved working on it. Some projects grind to a halt and this is one of them. It can take a bit of effort to jump start them again.
I'm super excited to be finishing this one at last though. It has sort of felt like a cork in a bottle.There are other quilts just waiting in the wings, waiting to be started and enjoyed and unfurled.
I'm excited to share pictures of the completed top soon and some stories that go along with it.
Isn't finishing a wonderful feeling?

Sunday, December 8, 2013


I dialed the number.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, bip, beep, bip, bip.......
So many numbers,
and I reached A Voice that instructed me to press a number which I gamely did,
and I reached A Similar Voice that instructed me to press a number which I gamely did,
and I reached A Strangely Similar Voice that instructed me once more to press a number which I did,
although a little warily,
and then I was put on hold.
Not just put on hold.
There was music.
My glazed eyes cleared with a jolt when I realized I was listening to Brahms Lullaby.
A lullaby?
Was this a veiled threat?
An indication as to how long I would be on hold?
just a Classical soundtrack, Pachelbels Cannon came next as I snoozed on hold.
I've found myself thinking about that lullaby though.
About comfort and music.
And so, I am going to share a lullaby with you too.
Is there a voice more soothing than the voice of Fernando Ortega?

Friday, November 29, 2013

large or small

I nearly wrote a story about this picture a few weeks ago. The children of winter are my older brother and sisters.
That story remains untold because today, all I can see are the houses behind the children.
Buried behind the snowbank is the home of our childhood, but it is the darker house in the background that startles me.
Although the photo predates stucco siding, I recognize the home of our neighbors.
For some reason, I always saw our homes as a sort of duo, a set. There was The Little House, ours, and The Big House, theirs.
What is startling me now, is the size of The Big House.
How could the very large home of our neighbors actually turn out to be a really rather small house?
I know this is so common that it is almost a cliche, this childhood miss-perception of size,
but being common doesn't make it any less powerful or amazing.

With the eye of memory I can peer through the darkened windows, into the rooms beyond and large or small, that house has a very big place in my memories of childhood.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

like incense

I can hear the traffic beginning to pick up steam for the day but all is still and silent on my street.
Well, except for the crows. They already are on the move.
And except for the geese riding high against the morning light.
Oh, and a small black squirrel sprints for safety.
A woman returns with her dog from a brisk round the block march.
A man stiffly clad for winter pedals stiffly by.
In the distance the first siren of the day wails.
The morning light has washed across the sky.
We waken, we rise, and a plume of woodsmoke ascends like incense.

water color

The sky this morning is the color of a robin's egg, the distant mountains faded denim. It is early and everything else stands against them, against the light as a silhouette. In the moments that I sit and gaze eastward, the apricot sunrise shifts and climbs cloud by cloud, like a water color wash.

Friday, November 22, 2013

and fruitful

Those of us who have sewn since we were hatchlings, don't really need patterns for basic things like bags. Have you ever looked at something hanging in a shop and thought to yourself, 'Ppfffff, Who needs a pattern. I could make that.'
But the thing is, we often don't.
Out of sight, out of mind.
A purchased pattern can sometimes tip the scale in our favour and prod us on.

I had a yen to make something quick.
In the yawning abyss of my sewing closet, I came across a vintage bag pattern.
It looked quick.
And simple.
I had four fat quarters of navy/cream calico.
They had been languishing with no sense of purpose or direction in life.
I ironed and cut,
pinned and stitched,
turned and quilted,
stitched and turned again,
and voila!
A bag that has a sort of sashiko vibe.
My underemployed fabric woke up and smelled the coffee.
It seized the moment.
Well, actually, i seized it, but the four prints are working well together.
They have a happy and fruitful future of usefulness.

thing of beauty

A wooden bangle and a wooden cuff bracelet, both lucky thrift shop finds.
There's just something about wood. It's so smoothly patterned, so warmly colored.
'A thing of beauty is a joy forever.'

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I could smell cinnamon.
I jumped up and ran to the kitchen.
I yanked open the oven door.
I gasped.
Just in the nick of time.
Just barely in the nick of time.
Cinnamon biscuits, brown and bubbly.
As I placed the steaming pan atop the stove to cool, I remembered my sister.
She had mixed up a batch of cinnamon buns.
She had stirred and kneaded and rolled and cut.
They were soon in the oven, rising and resplendent and she was on the sofa reclining and relaxing.
She was tired.
The couch felt so soft.
The air was sweet and warm.
Just a few more minutes and she would rise and pull those buns from the oven.
The apartment was deliciously quiet.
So quiet.
She slept.
Perhaps she dreamt of home, of kitchens fragrant.
Or of wood smoke on the autumn breeze, or campfires, the air thickly acrid....
She woke with a start.
She could smell cinnamon.
She jumped up and ran to the kitchen.
She yanked open the oven door.
She gasped.

Her voice was still tinged with regret as she told me her tale days later.
They had been the best cinnamon buns she had ever made.
She could tell.
The charred remains were so plump, so well risen.
Those cinnamon buns had started out with such promise, but ended up looking like relics from Pompeii; a natural disaster.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

close, closer....

default setting

I have a default setting. If I am not vigilant, my heart slips easily into an old worn groove, and old worn grooves can be a lot like a rut.
I find I default to, it should or it will; to expectations.
Having expectations is dangerous. It sets you up, even tricks you.
I find that if I sail out to meet life with an open heart, unencumbered, I am happier. In fact, I am very often surprised and pleased. Anything at all becomes a lovely bonus; an unexpected blessing.
When I have expectations though, I am likely to be disappointed and even hurt. Anything at all can become a missed target; a falling short.
I suppose the reason is clear.
Yep, it's me.

It is not others who are letting me down.
It isn't the circumstances that surround me.
It's myself and self doesn't make a very satisfying focal point.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

just recently

My tiny granddaughter has just turned one. She has just recently gotten teeth and just recently started to walk all alone and just recently started to say surprising things.
Really anything a baby says is surprising.
They are so little and so......new.
But, babies know things.
It is just that they are not fluent yet in the local lingo.

My little granddaughter began to fuss as she was placed into her car seat. My daughter asked her what was wrong; just one of those hypothetical questions parents ask babies and she said, “I’m sad.”
My daughter was shocked. She could hardly believe that she had heard right. How could a baby say ‘I’m sad.’
“You’re sad?” my daughter dazedly asked. The baby nodded and made her ‘sad face,’ wrinkling up her eyes, pouting and adding a little fake cry sound just in case her mother wasn't fluent enough to understand.
Babies are patient with us that way.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

and far away

This photo was snapped in the spring of 1949.
What an amazing chair.
I have to say, it is as green as they get.
It won't fold into the trunk of the car but it's solid cedar; ergonomic, weather proof and custom made, although it looks like it was made for someone taller than grandma.
She look like the Queen of the Forest seated on her woodland throne; her kingdom vast, her subjects loyal.
A tiny princess perches upon each royal knee.
Long ago and far away.

high and dry

There is the sound of distant running water like a tap left on. It is raining hard this morning. I usually enjoy the sound of rain, but this morning it occurs to me that it has an ominous rumble. The sort of sound that makes tenting campers cringe, and for the same reason. Rain overhead could become rain over head.
We are in the midst of re-roofing.
I admit I have taken my roof for granted.
I have smiled at snow and wind and laughed at rain.
Not today though.
Today I am glancing uneasily at the gray sky.
Here's hoping the ceiling stays high and dry.

always the sweet

I've always had a fascination with autumn leaves. I can remember scampering around the school yard the year I was in grade two. We had been instructed to find as many different kinds of leaf as we could. It had something of the thrill of an Easter Egg Hunt about it, a sort of botanical version of I Spy.
My whole heart was in the search. I can still remember the excitement of pouncing on one leaf after another, clasping my treasures in warm little hands.
The leaves in Blue River never attained the size we have here on the rainy coast but we made up for that lack with colors rich.
It's the yellow that I miss.
Those glowing hillsides.
Quaking birch leaves the color of ripe pears.
Golden flakes, spinning and twirling and falling.
Robin's egg sky.
And always, the sweet wood smoke scented air.

Monday, November 4, 2013

up on the rooftop

Our house has become a curiosity.
We are reroofing.
Now when I say we, I really mean my husband.
He is the one who is brave enough to scramble all over the roof and dangle over the eaves.
When the ladders went up, passing cars slowed.
When the scaffolding took shape, people far below on the street gazed upwards, their steps faltering.
As the stacks of shingles along the peak have diminished though, neighborhood interest has not done likewise.
Today two woman perched on their car bumper and watched my husband's high wire act.
Moments later, the occupants of a car craned their necks, not to check for oncoming traffic, but to check on the progress near the peak.
I imagine the span of time this project is taking may be part of the fascination.
Work and diminishing daylight hours have transformed my husband into a weekend warrior. A weekend after weekend after weekend warrior.
This has not been a sprint but a marathon.

My mother forgets things now.
This allows her to enjoy the sensation of surprise each time fresh volleys of thumps and bangs echo down from the rafters.
I have become like a kindly recorded device announcing that her son-in-law is on the roof.
Today for some reason, I found myself telling her it was Santa.
Must have been the frost in the morning air.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

low and slow

If this canoe was an elevator, I would have peered into its crowded corners and waved it on without me.
Four adults and five children are riding low and slow.
My grandmother is settled in the bow with her five little chicks under her wing.
Two visiting adults have taken a leap of faith.
The body language of the woman speaks of serene trust but the man is hunched down, his eyes fixed on the distant shore. His eyes may even be locked on the distant shore.
My grandfather is seated as far to the stern as you can get and still be in a boat. He is expertly and confidently propelling the entire party.
I wonder if they were thinking about the fun ahead, about conversation and campfires, picnics and play.
About the dome of sky and lush green hills
....... about the return trip.

Monday, October 28, 2013

continuing conversation

"Oh oh," my baby granddaughter says, her voiced edged with drama. We are walking. She is clutching my finger with one hand and a doll with her other. The doll has dropped and she stoops to pick it up.
The walking continues.
We go where she directs.
We turn when she wills.
Babies have their own ideas.
They know things.
They remember things.
I read somewhere that most communication is non-verbal, only a small percent the words we choose. The rest is tone of voice and body language.
Perhaps this is why babies can communicate so well. They often get the tone of voice down pat before they have the words. We recognize the cadence and inflection to mean 'all done' or 'night night,' even before the words can be spoken clearly.
Communication is part of our humanity. We touch, we reach out.
It can be sacred ground.
My daughter carried her baby as we walked along the rocky beach.
Their conversation lasted the entire way and I could tell they still had plenty more to talk about.
Love is a continuing conversation.

Friday, October 25, 2013

swirls and eddies

My grandmother's toy box was a wooden orange crate. It held a thousand delights. Well, maybe a few dozen delights, but there were plenty to go 'round.
I am the little mite in the middle, staking my claim. See how I am edging my poor cousin out while he is distracted by the photographer?
The rug was made by my grandma.She collected woolen coats which she cut into strips and braided. They were incredibly durable and even more beautiful. I have a small one that she made for me entirely out of red plaids.
This picture stirs so many memories that I am like a rabbit caught in the headlights.Those memories are a blend of joyous recall, heartbreak and regret all at once. I think old photos are like that because of what they are, pictures of life and isn't life a blend of joy and heartbreak? The regret part is something I can change though. I didn't realize that once but I have come to.
The river of life sweeps us along.
It swirls and eddies.
We are taken places we didn't expect to go.
We can choose to celebrate life though.
Choose to celebrate love wherever and whenever we can.
You can't undo love.
It doesn't have a shelf life, or an expiry date.
It lasts on and on.
Forever in fact.

space saving

I didn't really collect things as a child. Well, I did have a shoe box full of marbles for a while and a stash of paper dolls. A small stash.
In my late teens though, bookmarks began to accumulate and fall like autumn leaves out of my books.
They earned their keep a few years later entertaining my little girls, especially as they sat perched upon a church pew.

Money was as scarce as hens teeth then when my children were small, but that has never seemed a barrier to creating. Necessity truly is the mother of invention. 
A leather jacket from the Thrift Shop was sliced and diced into many projects and a bookmark was one of them.
A nice navy blue, hand painted leather bookmark.
I made it for my Grandma because she lived by then in a tiny apartment and didn't have a spare scrap of wall or shelf or table top for extra frippery.
A book mark seemed so sensible,
so useful,
so space saving.
She hung it on her wall.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


If I could save time in a bottle.....

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

instructed kindly

We were playing follow the leader.
It's harder than it sounds.
We ran into trouble and ended up in the principals office.
It all happened so fast.
My grandson was the principal.
He took his seat across the table from us; my granddaughter, her doll and I.
His gaze was firm but friendly.
Turning towards me he began.
"You need to not worry so much," he instructed kindly, seizing upon a kernel of truth.
"Because you are very old," he added gently, "and children are," he paused, considering his words carefully, "playing differently now than when you were young."
I humbly agreed and resolved to make a change. I found myself meaning it.
He then turned to my granddaughter.
"And you need to try not to get worked up."
Of course this served to begin to get her worked up but I hastily added, "He is helping us to be happy." That's what principals do. They give advice to help.
My granddaughter pondered this while the principal went on with his final encouragement for the doll.
There is something about counsel, thoughtfully and kindly dispensed.
It has a way of sticking with you.

with fog

What is darker than darkness?
Darkness with fog.

The headlights of a car can pierce darkness and even by moonlight the distant horizon is visible in the middle of the night.
But let fog settle like eiderdown and everything changes.
My morning commute last week was darker than dark.
I felt lost.
It seemed as though I must have made a wrong turn even as my mind declared the impossibility.
It was not a good feeling.
Both darkness and fog have their separate charms though.
I love how light drains from the sky with a last flash of sunset brilliance and then all is chill and velvety dark.
The night air becomes infused with sounds unheard by day.
Winter darkness is my favourite.
Moonlight gilds the snow.
Snow absorbs the sound.
The world seems to hold its breath.
You can hear your own steps, your own breath, your own thoughts.
And fog has always seemed a friend to me as well, comforting and gentle.
I love to see the silhouettes of tree and hill melt away into gray and then white.
I love to feel as though the world has pulled a thick quilt up under its chin.
Foggy days make me feel safe and happy;
Two of my favorite feelings.

Monday, October 21, 2013

all over

The Annual Fall Visit of my sisters always includes our annual fall forage at local thrift shops. This wooden bowl has my mothers name all over it.

A cedar bowl, spun into life on a lathe. And it has a lid!

It was the perfect place to put the leather crocus broach.

And not a bad place to display the vintage hankies.


I've been to a family reunion;

A gathering in of the Nelsons.
Cousins planned and plotted and cast the net far and wide.
Thirty of us found our way from far and near.

The time together was a blink;
A mere moment.
But we all came home with a very tangible gift.
A book of family memories;
Stories written by my Aunt, a woman I think of as The Keeper of the Family Story.
Black and white photos accompany the text.

My mother has read and reread the stories.
She has remarked repeatedly of the wonder of seeing pictures of people and places she knows in a book.

This may sound like a happy but expected outcome but it is really much more to me.
My mother has lost much of her memory.
It is not just her short term memory that is gone.
For her to have her sisters stories is such an amazing gift.
It is a link to the girl she was and the woman she became.

to the brim

I've never been good with goodbyes.

My sisters and their daughters have come and gone.
That sounds so sad that I am going to rephrase it.

I am still basking in the glow of recent visitors, my sisters and their darling daughters.
Ahhh, that makes me feel a smidge better.
The Annual Fall Visit is such an anticipated event.
They say anticipation is half the joy.
The other half is of course the visit itself.
You can't count the remembering because joyous recall is always tinged with the bittersweet that accompanies backward glancing.
At least that is what I have always felt, but I am going to make a change.
I am going to whisk out the memories and trot them before my wary eyes and find they hold up to the light.
Find that I can indeed extract the joy and laughter and love and kindness without paying the least bit of attention to regret however it tries to elbow in.
Doing the math, I find that 50% is anticipation and 50%, the visit. That makes 100% but there is the added bonus of recall. We cast our bread upon the water and it returns to us after many days.
I love bonuses.

Life is so filled to the brim that it overflows.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

outstretched arms

I have a soft spot for nativities.
I also have a soft spot for things made long ago in foreign countries.
This tiny Christmas creche was made in Italy many a year ago. It has a kneeling maiden sweet faced and serene, a basket of buns on her arm.
The tiny baby with outstretched arms gazes ever upward.

it does

 Enamel Ware is a joyous thing.
 Especially when it is trimmed in blue and splashed with gypsy color.
 Especially when it is my favorite bowl shape.
 And very especially when it only costs ninety cents.
 The little bowl on the right is my newest acquisition.
  Isn't it a charmer?

 Looks even better turned upside down and paired with a larger bowl.

 I balanced a basin to see if the magic extends....and it does.
Rush to your cupboards and give it a try.

My mother startled me by observing that chewing gum might be necessary to hold them together. Juicy Fruit anyone?

Friday, October 18, 2013


"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem."
Theodore Rubin


Joe stood as still as a statue and listened. Ahhhhh, alone at last.

He slid to the edge of the cushion and happily closed his eyes. "A hop from the couch is nothing if you have been raised in a Baobab Tree," he thought.

But he got stuck part way down and took a bit of a tumble.

A little snack seemed just the thing, though it wasn't as cold as he thought it would be.

The sewing machine stood on a table near by. Things that whirred and buzzed gave Joe a thrill and he'd always hankered to give it a try...

but it was harder than it looked and he ran over his finger.

He climbed onto the back of the couch and watched the squirrels hiding nuts in the yard.
He held his breath and gasped in admiration as they flew from branch to branch.

He sat at the window until the low morning sun climbed in the sky and dazzled his eyes with its brilliance. 

There is a curious call to books, and turning from the window at last, Joe found a story that was just the sort of light reading he enjoyed, but he could hardly see the pages after gazing into the bright autumn light.

Then Joe played with the blocks for awhile; little cubes of jungle green, but he found them puzzling.

Barrel of Monkeys was so easy by comparison that he got lost in the game.

Playing Doctor seemed promising too, but only one patient showed up; a ballerina in very good health.

"I'll just watch a little television and enjoy a laugh or two," thought Joe

but the news made him cry.

He pulled up his quilt and leaned back in bed. "What a busy day," pondered Joe. Just the sort he liked to
  remember moment by moment,

but he was soon sound asleep.