About the January drive for fresh, new, spring, clean

You know what I do when I need to clean up?
I buy flowers!
And what’s better than one hyacinth? Two! :D
At the moment they are gracing both sides of the kitchen sink, but they might want to move to follow me around the house.

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So I swept the floors and got to the dining room floor and suddenly the cat hair and dust stuck to the hardwood. I thought, “what the heck?” I thought it’s my miracle orchid. It tends to drop sap drops from its blooming spikes. So I washed the wood underneath it and kept going.

Imagine my surprise and then imagine my horror when I discovered sap under my saved palm! “Oh, oh”, I thought, and had a good look and my worst suspicions were confirmed. The dreaded scale!

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Oh boy! I’ve thrown plants out for less. But this palm is already four feet tall and luxurious and I actually love it. But scale is so hard to control…and there was a huge infection! Right here is the reason I don’t really do house plants! So what to do? Save or compost?

Oh alright then…Save!

I got a large (2′ x 3′) plastic tub and filled it with warm, soapy water, stuffed newsprint into the pot to stop the soil from falling out, and tipped it sideways into the soapy suds and grabbed an old toothbrush and scrubbed the living daylights out of each and every piece of that palm for over an hour!

After the palm, I really wanted to put away the few Christmas decorations which got missed…

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…but ended up playing with Morgan instead. She commandeered the box anyway.

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Last night C took down my spotlight and vintage tripod to take some photos for her work.

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She finished her photography and said, “Mom, I think your spotlight might have an electrical fault because it really smells like it’s burning.”

Oh no! Not another thing wrong round here! :D

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Then we investigated and guess what we found!!!
A wasp nest? What? A little wasp nest was burning under that super strong light bulb.

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Well, that makes sense. I haven’t actually touched this spotlight since since last May or so. (Counting back, May and June were fine for light, summer I was in E, and since Sept there has been that other bit of nonsense happening…so that makes sense)

I should really get back to work, but today is cold and rainy, and so we all feel like Morgan looking out into the drippy world. Well, maybe I’ll put the rest of those decorations away since Morgan is out of the box. :D At least I will have accomplished something today.

Boy, I really have to get back into my strong work ethic.

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We all live under the same moon

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beach love

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Yesterday I took a walk on the beach at sunset and I thought about how intensely I miss Robert now that he’s had to return to E. Then I looked to the West, into the setting sun, and then at the rising moon, and thought, “that’s the same sun that warms him, that’s the same moon that lights his way at night.”

It’s a comfort of sorts.

Hello from Sunday night

Oh what full days we’re having! :D

Robert and I even managed to fit in a day in Seattle.

We went to visit a friend, to pick up some specialty car parts R had sent to our friend, and to visit the Museum of Flight and our favourite plane, The Blackbird.

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I’m in awe of this beautiful piece of aviation sculpture, and each time we come visit, I just stand transfixed staring at it for as long as I can.

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And I love to sit in the pilot’s seat and pretend I can fly it. Wouldn’t that be fantastic to actually fly it?

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Not sure what’s with that photo. R probably said something rude just as he snapped it. :D

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Anyway, I love this plane so much I even wrote a long ode to it a few years ago. Each time I stand there I say the poem to myself. Here it is: Blackbird

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There are plenty of other beautiful planes at the museum. Here is R’s favourite. It’s practically silent.

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I also love this reproduction of Amelia Earhart’s plane. It once completed her famous flight, the one where she was lost.

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One of our favourite area is the WWII exhibition. It always takes our breath away to stand there and listen. So very humbling.

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Of course, we had to stop for lunch and supper. Oh my. I love American diners! And Olive Garden! I came back two pounds heavier! (I know it’s so bad for me, but once a year or so I can’t resist the chicken fried steak!)

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On the weekend we got out to the country. I love mooching around the vintage shops.

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I found this lovely book called “Counting one’s Blessings; The Selected Letter of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother” I really wanted it but the $29 price tag put me off. Thank goodness for iPhones. It costs $5 on Amazon!!! I’m getting it. :D

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We also popped into C’s favourite boutique The White House, where she spied a lovely necklace a couple weeks ago and wanted to go back to get it.

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I’ll leave you with this silly thing: My two at lunch exploring their inner teen angst. :D

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

Toast, my drawing challenge

Welcome to my drawing challenge with Toast.

I’m so very happy that so many people could come toast something this week.

We artists, writers, friends and strangers are: Katrin, Barbara, Marian, Kristen, Roberto, Renee, Nadine, Patrice, Lucia, Anneke, Eric, Joke, Linda, Sabine, Tammie, Mano, Stefanie, Carole, Renilde, Susan, Kelly, Dawn, Becca, Jennifer, Melodye, and Catherine and Dot 

I hope everyone can manage to swing by the blogs, FB pages etc. Such wonderful people as we are should really all know each other.

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When I was five years old my father put his cup of coffee down on the breakfast table, reached into his pocket and handed me a small test tube full of fossilised sea shells. I shook it like a rattle.
“Gently”, he said, “these have been dead a long time. Little things, little things are fragile.” He said.
“Remember”, he said, “time kills everything”, he said, “time kills everything.”
Those were the last words I remember him saying.
From time to time, I spill the seashells into my palm and count them. There are 146 sea shells in that test tube spiralling perfectly in simple geometry, according to the golden mean, by the law of nature.
I tip them from one hand to the other listening to them click against each other. They leave traces of prehistoric sand in my palms.
I close my eyes and I see the test tube on the breakfast table, I see my father’s tired eyes. I hear him speak.
Time kills everything, he said that day at the breakfast table while I sat beside him holding the test tube in my hand.
And the dead world inside the test tube remains exactly as before.
And he said nothing more and looked at the sky through the open window. On the table, an uneaten slice of toast, a half empty bowl of cereal, a cold cup of coffee, crumbs.

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A little story, half fiction, half real

A little collage half fiction, half real: a page made from various bits of pages, on an old ledger, directions for a swift chess win (not quite fool’s mate), a bit of music, a bit of a toast recipe, charcoal, a stamp, gold crumbs.

The page and the little story were inspired by this little test tube of prehistoric sea shells. It used to belong to my birth father and he gave it to me when I was very little. It’s about the only thing I remember of him.

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A mid-winter picnic

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tea

Take my hand and come with us. Come high up on the mountain, away from the winter ocean fog, above the clouds, into the sun. Come hike the sky line Baden Powell trail for a while. Fall in love with the dogs and mourn as their owners tug them away. Explore the winter weeds and the new spring greening. Don’t worry, I’ve packed some hot tea and some nourishing soup.

Listen to the birds.

X marks the spot.
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Walking with the Sandhill Cranes

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A bit of a distance from my mountains is the delta of the Fraser River. Across this rickety little bridge is a small island full of organic farms and the George C Riefel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

On this drippy winter day I drove out there to see something spectacular, special and rare.

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Walking thru the sea of mallards, the occasional American wigeon, wood duck, teal and moor hen, along the paths being serenaded by red winged blackbirds, chickadees and towhees I came to the objects of my affection.

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The glorious and elusive winter visitors, the sandhill cranes.

I knelt on the ground and stayed with them a while.

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Then I walked thru the sanctuary and found all 11 birds. I made a small video to share with you all.

If you’re anywhere around the Lower Mainland, I encourage you to make your way here to walk with these magnificent birds before they fly away.

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Drawing challenge 155 “Toast”

Hey all my friends!

I’d like to invite you all to the 155th drawing challenge around the word “Toast”. :D

Take a photo, do a sketch, write an ode to your breakfast or just grab a glass of bubbly. Join me this coming weekend for our informal link-up of sorts where you leave me a comment this week saying you’d like to join in and then write a post for next weekend showing us your toast and I write a post for Saturday January 17th including everyone’s website, FB page or some other links to see your toasts. Then, we all have a laugh and visit each other.

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Everyone welcome to join our silly, organic and lighthearted challenges.

Big hugs. :D

Matchbox, Eric’s drawing challenge

Whew! This took a little time. :D

Eric called for this lovely drawing challenge. He chose “Matchbox” and I tried to think outside the (Match) box.

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I took to my silversmithing studio to craft out a few gem rings which can be stacked like matches.

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Then, find one vintage matchbox and…

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:D here we go!

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Much nicer stacked on fingers though.

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Come pop over to Eric’s site for more matchbox art.

Rings: sterling silver with oval bezels for these cabochons: Amber, yellow jade, green jade, coral and howlite.

PS, six more rings to go. :D

Mostly Ameliorated

There was an idea circulating around my Facebook.
An idea of part silliness, part self help, part inspiration, part community togetherness…one of those warm and comfortable ideas which comes around at this time of year.
The idea of finding a one word to focus on for 2015.

I thought about what this might mean to me.

As I read some of my friend’s reviews and some of the other lovely participants ideas and words, it seemed to me that 2014 had kicked a lot of butt!!! I mean, seriously! Not a lot of people are reflecting on 2014 with happiness and satisfaction.

And still we all carry on, trudging along in the muck of life, our Dunkirk spirits, our chins held high; we are all hoping for something a little better, a little softer, maybe a little kinder from 2015.

There were some wonderful words settled on. Words like, “trust” “grace” “release” “light”, but I kept coming back to AMELIORATE.

I like that word.

Make a little better each time. That’s what I would like for 2015. Small increments of improvement in my whole life. Not a massive MUST CHANGE EVERYTHING rush (which, for me, always leads to disappointment and self berating for not being perfect and achieving that change), just a gentle, imperfect, and perfectly wonderful amelioration.

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So, this morning I picked up a page of the 100 yr old Chopin. A page which has been torn twice and taped together. Probably a difficult page to master if it was so well gone over. Such is life I thought. Somewhat difficult to master, yet we keep going over it again and again.

I sketched my free spirit. I sketched flowers and swallows. I sketched mountains and fields.

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A perfectly imperfect little sketch, possibly the beginnings of a future painting.

So here we go, small changes for the better, like substituting a buttery croissant for my morning toast, I plan on having a mostly ameliorated year. :D

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In the last light of 2014

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river

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willows

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I’m looking at the photo of the mantelpiece in the morning light on the last day of 2014. I’m looking at my Christmas candles which were new and tall just a few days ago, now burned down to the candle holders, and at my new candle which Chantal made for me. A generous bee’s wax candle, clean burning and non-toxic, wrapped with a silver wire and protected with a beautiful, green phenacite.

Outside there’s frost and frozen puddles, pussy willows and loads of time to chat over lunch. Inside there’s clutter in the kitchen, a slow bathroom sink and the windows need cleaning.

This is life.

Life is light and shadow, burnt ends and fresh starts. It’s protection and vulnerability but right now it’s mercifully calm. It’s mercifully calm here. Grace for the moment. For this day.

This is how life goes.

It takes grace. And it takes notes, and it takes another year and another try. Another try at happiness and not cynicism and dread. Of contentment and hope, not frustration and fear. Of positive energy sent into the world. Of organised, serene balance.

And the sun is setting.

Goodbye 2014. Thank you for all the lessons.

Hello 2015…I’m ready. :D