Hello from Sunday night

fall

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painters

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gardens

Well, hello autumn! Is everyone ready? Ready for the mountains of leaves and crisp apples and chrysanthemums? Bring it on!

It’s been a rainy week here on the West Coast, and just as well for me because I really needed to cocoon and spend some time in thought and meditation, but the glorious weekend brought sun and loads of it and a wonderful Saturday at the river and Sunday at the beach.

Dogs, and farmer’s markets abound and also strange little art get-togethers. I love that, you know. I mean I love dogs and farmer’s markets, but so love to see a group of people, of all ages and expertise levels, set up their easels, paints and canvases and just go for it for the day. There was a group at the river, about 30 strong, ages five to 85, who painted En Plein-Air for four hours and presented their masterpieces in one of the historic shipyard buildings as an exhibition. I just loved every painting I saw.

One more thing which means super fall to me is HOCKEY! YAY! Clove and I caught the first Wolf Pack game. C’s boy Bryson is an extraordinary skater and has been serving as a linesman for the higher league hockey games, and this game was being played 10 minutes away, so naturally we went to support him. The Wolf Pack team is the last minor league boys can play in before they get called up to the NHL, (or not), so scouts are watching, and the game is fast paced and…um…testosterone-y to the max. In the third period, there were three WP players off the ice in penalties for roughing at the same time. I’m so glad that Bryson has years of Aikido as offensive training…lol. Although we’re technically cheering for the refs, it’s nice when the home team wins, and the Wolf Pack did! :D

So, two more days and we technically put summer 2014 to rest. How is everyone feeling about that? Does anyone do anything about celebrating the equinox? A little pagan ritual or something? I’ve been watching Outlander and now love all things Scottish…including Robbie, who is Scots…but now want to do something spectacular to bring in the fall, like build a stone henge right in my back yard and have a ceremony. I know, I don’t tend to do things by half…lol. Maybe I’ll just make a piece of jewellery from one of the pieces of ancient flint I’ve strung up on a copper wire. What do we think? Maybe a necklace with mystical powers? Looking up the powers of flint, I think I need to get this book!

Well, that about sums up my week and weekend. Hope yours was wonderful and you got the best out of it. If it wasn’t, then oh well, tomorrow’s a new day. Big hugs for a wonderful and shiny week ahead everyone. :D

PS: I have another of those darn spaghetti squashes round here. Anyone know something spaghetti squash fabulous?

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

Second hand, Joke’s drawing challenge

This is a wonderful theme, thank you so much Joke.
Anyone who knows anything about me knows I’m all over that one!

Out of all the maps I bought in England, the one I really fell in love with is a 1963 map of Oxford.

It’s been well used. Someone drew on it with coloured crayons, divided four sections and crossed off houses along some streets. Every time I look at these maps I love the scribbles and tears and wrong way pocket folds…they all tell a history. In this case it might have been a salesman or perhaps a survey taker, but who ever had this map in the past, it’s mine now and I decided to paint busy little bluetits on it.

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They’re perching on a little split hazel garden fence and quite possibly eyeing the morning milk delivery.

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Robert tells me of mornings in his childhood, when the door was opened and little bluetits were fleeing the scene of the crime having pecked thru the tops to have their share of the milk.

So here is my drawing challenge painting: Bluetits over Oxford.

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Come visit Joke when you have a chance to see all the links to everyone’s interpretations.

Stopping at my favourite garden centre

It’s the ideal time, here on the West Coast, to plant garlic in the garden, and so I popped over to Southlands, one of my most favourite garden centres, to get a few bulbs.

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There’s nothing quite like fresh, homegrown garlic. Anyone growing it? This year I harvested a few bulbs, (it was a trial year and I only planted a very small amount), but the flavour of my homegrown garlic has been amazing. This year I went to three different kinds, including a Mexican variety which promises to be potent.

I guess I just have to make sure everyone eats it along with me, or there’ll be no talking to me face to face…lol.

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I got my garlic bulbs and had a stroll around the nursery.

Look at these amazing vintage pink flamingos! I’d say they’re right past kitsch and out the other side into the chic area of garden decoration. :D I love them.

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One trend I’ve been noticing lately here in the North West is a huge import of all sorts of semi tropical succulents. They’re becoming the easy, must have of the garden.

I love them.

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I’ve always loved them, even before they were “fashionable”.

I tend to do really naughty things, like import a little leaf or piece of branch or tiny rosette from San Francisco, my friend Catherine’s plant in Oxfordshire, a random front garden in Mexico. No succulent is safe…lol.

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But can you blame me? They really are so very lovely.

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Clove thinks they look like land-bound sea anemones.

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I was absolutely stopped in my tracks by this one reaching its flower up to the sun. How spectacular is the geen pinkness of it?

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It’s part of this spectacular arrangement.

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But it’s normal for the wonderfully artistic team at Southlands, and what would you expect from a nursery who find and bring in land-bound sea anemones.

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Hello from Sunday night, which turned into a Monday post…again

Well, I must admit that this operation has knocked me on my butt!

Here I was all lah-di-dah thinking, “right, op on Monday, yoga class on Wednesday.” Well, not exactly what I managed. Actually, not even close to what I managed.

I did some research and asked my mother, (who is an anaesthetist herself), and the long and short of it is that the anaesthetic drugs settle in the fat cells and take a while to clear, and the longer the procedure, the longer the clearing. It seams that the 90 minutes might take up to one month for my body to get rid of the toxins. Damn, wish there was such a thing as organic anaesthetic. (Don’t say they could have hit me over the head…lol) So I’m plodding along feeling awfully tired and moody and no yoga at all.

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There have been some lovely and bright spots in my week though, The weather’s been so warm and sunny that I washed all the quilts and feather pillows and hung them in the sunshine to dry, had a lovely harvest of organic grapes from the garden, and I also caught up with some of my children for a fabulous curry supper under purple lights…mmm prawn vindaloo. We had Ziggy with us and she was so good that she slept almost thru the whole supper.

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Who else loves curry? Do you make it at home? I hardly ever do, except maybe for butter chicken or something like aloo gobi, but I think I should make it more often.

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Also, I’ve been feeling a bit stuck at home and have not had much energy for art, so I decided to rearrange things round here to look a bit more late summer-autumnal. I decided I wanted to look at this large oil of a late summer meadow. I painted this several years ago, but it’s one of those paintings I really love, so have never sold it.

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Over the years I’ve built up a collection of vintage decoy ducks, (I buy one each time I visit Quebec), and I decided to have my lone goose on the mantle. Behind it I put an oil I painted when I was 20 something, of aspen in the autumn.

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Further along are some potted plants and a wooden quail/partridge I found in the forest close to my father’s cabins.

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On the other side are the two stupid white cats, (as my children call them), a little art piece of fog in an old tobacco tin I did last year, and a little porcelain of my great grandmother. I have to tell you the story of the stupid white cats: so I found one about 20 years ago and just loved it. Then the second one shortly after that. These two hung around the fireplace off and on in two previous houses for years, and, about five years ago, my children thought it would be funny to start buying me every white porcelain cats they come across, and now I have seven! They still come and go, but these two original ones seem to be hanging around more these days.

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I’m hoping for some cooler weather soon, (the garden sure needs it), and, to help with the cooler weather wishful thinking, I’ve brought in some firewood.

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So now that I like my living room I have to go redecorate the rest of the house…just need a bit more energy.

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But for now I’m rearranging my wardrobe, filling the house with garden dahlias, and enjoying every warm, late summer day.

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I aten’t dead yet!

That line is one of my favourite lines in fiction.
For anyone who doesn’t read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, this line is attributed to Granny Weatherwax, a witch, who lives outside the small village of Bad Ass, which incidentally is what my children figure that the scar on my neck will look like. :D

Well, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I guess you could say that people post traumatic operations should probably take it easy, and I guess I’ve over-done it round here and now I’m in bed feeling not so hot, but over-all everything is going to be fine and ‘I aten’t dead yet.’

This lovely, fragrant posy ended up by my front door yesterday. It came with some lovely pages about planting an all white garden, an interesting art exhibit and indoor plants, with a little note: “From Rosemarie from the Art in the Garden tour, I read your blog.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing?

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Thank you so much Rosemarie, thank you for thinking of me. :D Please say hello so I can get to know you.

I know I should have been resting post op, but after two months away form them, Kerstie brought all three of our little girls over and we got to play with some of the toys I brought for them from England and also to start putting together the loveliest, but also complicated, wooden puzzle made after my friend Jackie Morris‘ drawing of dragon hatchlings.

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And while Ziggy was having a nap, Binky and Bunny redecorated the doll’s house.

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Now at this point I think I should have kissed my little and big ones goodnight and went to bed, but a supper came up with all of my children and I just couldn’t say no!

Jonathan made reservations at a downtown restaurant called Gyu-Kaku Japanese Barbecue.

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Most fun ever! A central grill and loads of dishes equals cook your own supper.

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And so we did.

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Chef Adam and Chef Jonathan hard at work.

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And what do you have for desert when there’s a grill right in front of you? Smores! And lychee ice cream.

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We had such a lovely time…except maybe a bit too much sake and wine.

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And got home way too late!

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Today we had monster truck races…

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…and monster chocolate chip cookie faces…

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Nourishing soup, fresh squeezed orange juice and tea, and I do believe we all felt better afterwards.

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And this evening, in the warm quiet of my studio, Clover and I finished the dragon hatchling puzzle, put it back in its box, and finally I decided I needed rest.

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And so I went to bed early with Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay, and my lovely pages from Rosemarie. For all of you who have never read any of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, I’m so jealous!!! I reread them quite often and I love them to pieces, and to think, you have this whole world to discover and delight in…you lucky ducks you.

Thank you everyone for thinking of me, and big hugs form me, (the bride of Frankenstein), to you. I’ll be back soon. :D

Hello from Sunday night

Do you guys do this?
Do you sometimes wish for things that aren’t instead of feeling grateful for things that are?
Yeah, I’m all over that these days.

Simple things; like not revelling in these warm, late summer days and wishing for cooler days of autumn so I can wear my sweaters, knowing perfectly well that when those cool days come, I’ll be wishing for the warmth of today.

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I think that a couple big things are bugging me these days.

Thing one is that I just miss Robbie so much, and thing two is that tomorrow I have to be brave and check myself into surgical day care for a small procedure which I’m dreading.

Now you probably all know that I’m the product of two doctors, so it doesn’t make much sense because I’m just pretty au fait with all things surgical, so I guess it’s the full moon.

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Still, this week/weekend has been a pretty fabulous one, (ocean and river time), and C and I even caught a special pop-up yoga class, outside, in a parking lot, under the deep blue sky.

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We’ve been looking for a new yoga studio, and must say that we’ve found a couple pretty fabulous ones, but then fell in love with the beautiful energy of one certain tiny tattooed yogini, so maybe we think we may have found the perfect fit for us.

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Lately, I’ve been noticing red. Is red the new black or something? Anyone notice that? Maybe it’s an autumnal thing, but red seems to be all over the place. Personally, I’m all over that too. I love red.

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And unusual food things. You know, It was cranberry festival time in the country today. Maybe that why red was all over the place. Maybe it’s a cranberry thing. I had cranberries in my arugula and gorgonzola with roasted pear salad at lunch. That little sweet hit of red with the sharp cheese and the peppery arugula was just wonderful.

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I also had coconut prawns with a mango chutney. Who ever thought to roll shrimp in coconut laced batter? Brilliant, wasn’t he?

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There was a bit of antiquing in the country today. I fell in love with a doll. The doll in this mosaic image to be exact. My children wince when I bring home old toys, and especially “creepy old dolls”, as they’re commonly known round here, but I don’t care. Now that I’m you know, like an adult and have my own house, I’ll buy all the creepy old dolls I want…so there! (stamps foot) But actually, this doll looks very much like the memory I have of a cherished childhood doll which was left behind in the Czech Republic when we escaped. Maybe I’m always trying to rebuild what’s been lost.

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Maybe I’m just in a funny mood tonight.

So I guess I better also tell you all, (because by now you’re all going, “come on V, what’s it all about), that the procedure I have to undergo tomorrow is not a sudden thing. I’ve been watching a growth slowly enlarge in a salivary gland over the better part of a year, and ultrasound and MRI confirm that there is a tumour which just shouldn’t be there, so out it goes.

Out it goes tomorrow morning and off to pathology, where I’m pretty sure the diagnosis will be non malignant, because statistically 99% of these kinds of things end up benign, and also, the scans don’t show any other enlarged glands.

Still it’s a bit on the unnerving side for me round here. (And most of all the Vanity Smurf in me doesn’t really want a scar on my neck… Oh have to tell you a funny story: the surgeon said, “we’ll just put the incision in this wrinkle because incisions tend to heal better in natural creases.” and I said, “what wrinkle!?!!?” And he said, “well, OK, but eventually you would get a wrinkle here.”)

But for tonight, I’ve got a wonderful wild salmon in the oven and it’s fragrant and salmony, stuffed with lemon and red onion slices and a large bunch of rosemary, thyme, fennel and marjoram…

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…and I’m about to go sit over here with one of these and relax and think about the full moon.

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Sharing with Judith and the Mosaic bunch and catching up with everyone when I can. Biggest hugs to everyone.

A river runs

Apparently it’s been a dry and lovely summer here on the West Coast and, while we can still believe that it’s the height of summer, there are undeniable signs of autumn all around.

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But what do we care about that on a golden Saturday as this Saturday it turning out to be?

We pick our way thru the boreal forest, around the giant cedars and firs, thru the curtain of vine maple…

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…to the aspens and the river.

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And we stick out feet right in and and balance on the slippery rocks with our toes.

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And then, when the cold, mountain water isn’t taking our breath away, we gently ease our bodies right into the river…

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…and watch as the aspens drop their leaves and float them by.

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And hours go by and the shadows lengthen and we reluctantly dry off and head out of the boreal forest for home.

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And as we walk out of the forest, the summer river seems like a memory because the signs of autumn whisper to us from all around. They are as ephemeral as a spider’s web and as real as next year’s wildflowers seeds caught within.

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But even as our thoughts turn to autumn, we will hold on to our summer river as long as we can.

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Beach love

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Days in Vancouver have taken on that golden Indian Summer warmth. It’s nearly impossible to stay in the studio in the afternoon when any number of lovely beaches is just minuted away. So I grabbed a certain flaxen haired girl and off we went to a little crescent shaped pebbly beach to beach comb, splash around and have some fun.

A little drama and peace restored.

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Quiet day at home. Not sure what I was doing just at that time, but I heard a soft thud and Chloe called, “Morgan, NO, Mom, emergency!”

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A little yellow warbler had hit the window and landed panting on the patio. Morgan was up like a shot.

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While Chloe blocked Morgan away from the bird, I picked him up and took him to the garage and put him on a soft blanket into the cat carrier to recover in the cool and dark.

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And got on with a bit of gardening.

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Twenty minutes later, the little guy was recovered enough to fly to a garden tree and he sat there for a very long time, and finally flew away.

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Morgan was suitably unimpressed by this, and, especially since she…or Milo…got a small rat in the night…

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…but came to terms with it and cuddled up on the little table in the living room and went to sleep.

Peace restored.

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Sharing with the WordPress bunch for the photo challenge Adventure!

Home, missing home

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The last few days at home in West Cottage were so very busy for both of us. It’s always that way when we try to get as many projects completed as we can together. There are things we have to do, like replacing a weak piece of wood at the bottom of one of the large bedroom windows, which is just nearly impossible to do on one’s own.

The good thing is that we managed to get all the jobs done. The bad thing is that now we have to be apart for a couple of months.

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But there’s no denying that the crops in Oxfordshire have all been harvested, the fruit is ripe on the trees, summer is ending, autumn is fast approaching, and I have to return to Vancouver. The ideal would have been for R to come to Vancouver with me, but his work and projects won’t allow that right now, and my work and projects won’t let me stay longer in OXON, so there you are.

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So Robbie drove me to Heathrow, we had a lot of hugs and kisses and tears, and off I went.

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All bleary eyed and jet-lagged at home, our sweet Chloe had garden flowers waiting for me.

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She took great care of the house here, both the cats and all the plants.

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I dug up some potatoes and garlic from the garden, we stopped at a little organic market for some more veggies…

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…and made a hearty roasted veggie supper.

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In one way it’s good to be home with C and the Vancouver cats, but in another way it sucks…know what I mean?

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