Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Yesterday the air was filed with swirling snow as fine as powdered sugar. Today, the sun is casting long blue shadows everywhere.
Snow is sparkling.
It's a white world.
White and bright.
A flurry of wings startled me though. I expected to see the gang of crows that usually patrol the street but there was a flash of white.
And then another.
Huge white wings.
Wings like arched eyebrows.
Gee, what do they know that we don't know.
Gulls do come inland. That isn't really unusual but they haven't been tourists in my neighborhood before.
They chose the right day to come.
Garbage day.
Maybe the word was on the street.
I can see white wings against the blue, circling above the distant trees where the crows roost.
But there isn't a crow in sight.

Monday, February 24, 2014

always there

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper." W.B.Yeats

The magic is always there.
Whether I notice it or not.
 A few moments outside are all it takes.
Just a few steps outside into the sunshine or the swirling snow.
Past gardens trim or tangled.
Birds overhead.
The wind my companion.

Friday, February 21, 2014

the love

Don't you find that knowing who a poet wrote something for makes the words even more powerful?
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote,
'But time which none can bind
While flowing fast away
leaves love behind.'
He wrote it for his cousins.
He remembered all the games they had played as children.
The make believe.
The adventures.
And now as adults, they sat together before the fire and he remembered and was thankful.
I tried to read those lines aloud to my mother but didn't do very well.
I got through the part about time, and felt my voice tightening as I read about it flowing fast away, but it was the love that made me cry.

all my life

I love poetry.
When I read it, I always think (rather passionately) so THIS is what is missing from my life!
It sometimes seems to me that my feelings are just out of my sight and all it takes is the right words to fling wide the door. 
I remember when my daughter told me what song I would be walking down the aisle to at her wedding. Mothers always float in to some special song.
Mine was to be In My Life by the Beatles.
"Oh," I said my eyes brightening, "I know that song."
And I began to sing, :"There are places I remember, all my life, though some have changed, some forever...." and then I surprised myself by bursting into tears.
Oh oh.

It was because of my brother.
I realized that in a moment.
The marriage of a child is such a huge moment in time, that I had turned on the path, to my companions on the journey, and found my brother gone......

I listened and listened and listened to that song, and when the August sun rose above the chestnut tree I was ready.
I could hear the first strains of that tune and glide across the grass as serenely as befit the mother of the bride.
It is a dear song to me now.
There ARE places I remember all my life. Places and people and love.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

batten down the hatches

I flicked on the TV this morning as a way to jump start my morning self.
Olympics, click, olympics, click, click.....

Somewhere far away people are leaping off snowy mountains and plunging down icy slides headfirst.
While they pause to catch their breath, I brandish the remote control.
I click past a chef recklessly dicing and slicing and a yogurt craving woman belly dancing in her kitchen.
Then back to ice-dancing.
And curling.
And then a ski race where only the Swedish skier could still command his body and have it follow orders. The others were all awash in lactic acid.
The finish line was a cheer and cry sort of moment as it always is. The Swede crossed the line, head up, eyes afire. He sprang nimbly out of his skis and jumped into the arms of his leaping, hopping, shouting friends. A gold medal! Hooray!
Right behind him, silver and bronze flashed over the finish line too, but they each dropped like a rock. No leaping or springing for them. The way their legs gave out told the story. They had clearly been hanging on for that very moment.Such courage.
And then just as I was blinking and breathing shallowly, a commercial break.
It seemed like the perfect moment to check out the weather network and I was just in time to glimpse a Meteorological Alert posted in orange and black.
You couldn't miss it except that I did.
I think it warned of wind and rain.
Looking out the window now, it seems so unlikely. The sky is high and blue. The clouds are great creamy puffs.
But the branches of the trees look restless.
And, the horizon is somber.
They both know something.
They aren't fooled by appearances.
Batten down the hatches.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


“Guess what I’m thinking about,” my grandson urges.
I guess and guess and guess.
“Tell me when you give up,” he says smiling slyly.
“I give up,” I declare joyously.
“I’m imaging an alien eating pizza,” he announces.
“You should draw that for me,” I say. “A picture of what you’re imagining.”
“But I don’t know what an alien would look like,” he admits.
And then, “Maybe it could look like a slug,” he suggests.
“A Slug from Slog,” I declare laughing.
“And it could only eat round pizzas; round like planets.”
“Pizza’s are always round,” he corrects seriously.
“Well then, his pizza has only things that start with the letter S on it.” I challenge.
“Like spinach……and salmon,” I chant.
“And sushi,” he adds, his eyes brightening, and we dash through the wide open door to the beginning of another day.

When I got home, I realized something about where stories come from and I quickly wrote this one down.

Felix and George threw down their back packs and raced across the grass. They slid to a stop at the edge of the creek.
” Let's see who can skip a rock farthest,” Felix called out.
“Whoa,” George exclaimed. “Look at this.” He dropped to his knees at the edge of the water.  A huge slug was climbing over a rock. “Hey, it looks like an alien,” laughed George.  He bent over and peered at the slug.  
“Ugh,” said the slug, but of course the boys didn’t hear him.
“The Alien Slug from Slog,” declared George.  “I bet everybody on Slog eats pizza.” George always thought about pizza.
“Only if the pizza is round like a planet,” said Felix
“Pizza is always round,” argued George
“Well, only if the toppings start with the letter S then.” added Felix.
“Spinach,” shouted George.
“Salmon,’ yelled Felix
“Sushi,” shouted George.
“Ugh,” said the slug, but of course the boys didn’t hear him.
“Look at his antennae waving around. Cool. I bet he’s trying to pick up signals from the spaceship,” Felix crowed.
“Spaceship?!” squeaked  the slug.
“I bet that’s toxic slime,” George grunted, making a face.
“Ugh,” said the slug. “Ugh, ugh, ugh.”
“Hey, it’s starting to rain,” said George.
“Let’s go. I’ll race you,” Felix called over his shoulder.
“I’m a Slug from Slog,” said the slug happily to himself.
But of course, the boys didn’t hear him.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

crossing the road

Everyone knows why the chicken crossed the road.
It's the same reason roads have always been crossed.
At least, that's what I thought until this morning.
Until I watched two crows and a squirrel cross the road in front of our house five times.
Each time the squirrel crossed the road the crows enthusiastically followed.
Very enthusiastically.
Tag, you're it.
There was a sprint and somersault- the squirrel, followed by a swoop and swerve-the crows.
They seemed pretty evenly matched.
Back and forth they went.
The crows were flying so low, wings outstretched, that they almost seemed to be skating, coasting across the black icy pavement.
All that foot traffic got to the squirrel I think.
It was trying.
Very trying.
Trying to cross the road.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

old man of the forest

We gaze out our dining room windows into the arms of trees.
A green thicket of waving limbs.
This morning, as we sat sipping tea and talking, my husband chuckled.
In the dark and light of branch and sky and shadow, he could clearly see the face of a man.
An old man with a flowing beard.
And as the wind gusted, the man seemed to talk, or sing, his beard twitching, his face alive with movement.
"Show me," I begged.
"Well, you'd have to be sitting here," he began, as I promptly perched on his lap.
Sure enough in the distant green, a face appeared.
The old man of the forest.
He lives in my yard!!
I'm not positive he was talking or singing.
He looked like he was chewing gum.
A big juicy wad of spruce gum.

Tolkien came to mind.
And Ents.
Our old man of the forest looked quite old.
Ancient and wise, breathing the morning in and exhaling winter's wind.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

someone wild

My friend has been living alone until very recently.
Until someone wild shocked her by moving in.
Without asking.
Someone hairy.
Someone that loves the night and revels in the dark.
No, it's not a biker.
Think smaller.
No, no, smaller, smaller....
A mouse.
A solitary trespasser.
At least she hopes it's solitary.
An anti-social mouse.
One with no extended family.
No friends either.
Just a lone mouse.
A lone mouse who thrives on adventure and is just passing through.
Not a domestic sort of mouse that plans to set up home.
To settle in.
To grow old along with her.
And so, she is doing what she must do.
She is locking up the food.
That should give him a clue about her feelings.
But just in case, she is bringing out the big guns.
She is turning up the sort of music mice hate.
Super sonic music that vibrates on mouse eardrums.
Like mall music only worse.
Like ipod music on the bus.
That mouse will feel the urge to flee.
The irresistible urge to head for the hills.
Or else.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

eating cake

"Did you send all of that chocolate cake to our house?" my grandson asks, gazing about the kitchen.
"Yes I did," I admit, "But we can make another one. I have a very quick recipe."
He doesn't look convinced but drags a chair over to the counter.
Flour, sugar, cocoa powder.
"Does it have eggs in it?" he asks hopefully.
He is a boy who loves to crack eggs.
"It doesn't," I admit, "But let's add one like a scientific experiment. We'll see if the cake tastes as good that way."
He is soon happily and zestfully stirring and cracking and stirring some more.
He is a boy who loves to stir things.
He opens the oven door and in goes the pan ever so carefully.
It looks a bit like a mud pie, all lumps and goo.
The heat of the oven does its magic though.
Up, up it rises and the air is filled with the fragrance of happiness, with the warm sweet scent of after school.
"It seems like our scientific experiment worked," he pronounces, joyously eating cake.
He is a boy who loves to eat cake too.


The wind is huffing and puffing today. There is a tap tap tapping from a loose window screen; Morse Code gone wrong. Prepare-for-winter-stop-button-up-stop-stop-winter-stop-stop.
Due to the perverseness of human nature, I have a burning desire to Get Out For A Walk today. I feel a call. I feel a need for change.
Are there geese somewhere, raising their heads and sniffing the February air?
Do they feel a call too? A need for change?
Far down the street someones garbage can has hurled itself into the street in an act of desperation.
An overdressed woman has just rescued it. 

Monday, February 3, 2014


"Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all."  Aristotle

sounds simple

Quilting is rife with life lessons.
I had sewn a lovely flock of flying geese blocks. The plan was to make a table runner.
Sounds simple.
How many ways could there be to combine a handful of blocks.
Quite a few actually.
The math would astonish you.
Eight flying geese can each fly north, south, east or west, either in unison or in an each goose for itself sort of way.
I dutifully lay the blocks out and that is when I had an epiphany.
There is no 'one right choice.'
Doesn't that make the ground move under your feet?
It is this very principle that gives quilting its never ending fascination.
Any quilt, and every quilt could be recombined, rearranged, sometimes infinite times and be fresh and new in a moment.
I suppose it is a sort of math.
The math of quilting.
But doesn't it make you think of the math of life?

  Here are some table runner hopefuls,


I'm wading about in the weeds of a small quilt project, a Procrastination Project. I should really be working on my Wee Quilt Challenge for McDougall Cottage but I need to build a bit of momentum first. I need to feel the pressure of time crunch.
Procrastination has been the father of many a grand creative endeavor and isn't really a vice at all. There is virtue in procrastination. Anything that motivates us to create has value. And while our hands are busy, our mind is often leap frogging ahead. It is carefully weighing, judging, and breaking down into bites the task ahead that seems daunting. One thing really does lead to another in the creative realm. While it is true that you can't steer a parked car, the fastest, straightest route isn't always the most scenic.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I leaned forward and stabbed at the radio button. The hysterical vitamin seller was replaced by music. Ahhhhhhhh. Oldies.
The last notes of a song trailed away and a new one began.
I pulled up to the light and flicked on my turn signal.
A voice began to sing.
Music seemed to well up and surround me and the strangest thing happened.
I remembered.
It was the song.
The music.
It was as though I remembered being nineteen.
No, that's not it.
For a moment, I swear, I WAS nineteen.
I felt such an overwhelming flood of the strongest, sweetest sort of recollection.
I felt the extreme emotion, the extremeness of that age, that moment in time.
It was so potent; passion and angst in equal portions.
The singer just kept on singing and my euphoria changed to tears right on cue as the lyrics shifted.
I cried for two blocks.
Fortunately Gordon Lightfoot followed and jarred me back to my senses.
I rolled my eyes at myself but when I began to sing the song a few miles later, but I choked on the words.
Music, the soundtrack of our lives.