Monday in the fog

Since I moved down the mountain two years ago, I’ve been playing hide and seek with the fog. :)
Higher up I used to be above the fog, but here, closer to the ocean it’s 50/50.

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At the river, the fog highlights the mystery of the old heritage shipyards.


The little fishing village strains to show its colours.

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But somehow, the fog makes the inside so much cozier.


And inside, the colours stay vivid.

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For the first time I get a peek into the restored boat building house…soon to function as a museum.

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While the modern world stays quiet and still.

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Sharing with Mary and all my mosaic friends. :)

Special, true moments

I was thinking that the last year of my father’s life we drove to his cabin on as many weekends as we could. He loved it there.
Up there on East Twin Lake, six hours out of the city, up there with the loons, the morning moose, the northern lights and the millions of stars making up the milky way, up there he was at peace.

One time we left Vancouver quite late and got there after dark. I remember driving along the dirt road and the headlights illuminating the bone-white birch trees on either side and I remember seeing a cameo reflection of those birch trees in a puddle in the pitted path. It may have been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, and, combined with the harsh winter settling in, and not knowing if my father would be able to visit again, I captured that image in my memory.

This painting was born from that memory. I like it here, in the hallway outside my bedroom. I haven’t hung it on the wall because I like the way the lamp light puddles the image. I’m not sure I’ll ever hang it up.

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Do you have a visual memory of a special, extraordinary moment? I don’t really know why, but seeds from the garden always remind me of my grandfather.

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I suppose that, growing up in Europe where things are treasured and shared more than they are here in the North American built-in obsolescence consumerism culture, I remember my grandfather folding little paper envelopes to store his garden seeds in.

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I remember doing that with him while he wrote the botanical names of the plants on the outside of the paper. That’s something I’m always compelled to do…to collect and store the seeds form the garden flowers, (and paint puddle paintings…lol) But what does one do with millions of white Japanese anemone seedlings, or a grove of maples?

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Mind you, as I was carrying the trumpet vine seed heads thru the house, seven seeds fell to the floor and I scooped them up in my hand. I put them on the mantle. I think they’ll stay there for a while.

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Snow puddle painting: Oil on canvas
Fox: Oil on the cut-off end of last year’s Christmas tree

A handful of random thoughts about how BAD I really am

I woke up with a migraine this morning so everything makes about as much sense right now as this photo:

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I think it’s C’s legs in the shadow of the display of some green bottles (?) You know, when I wake up with that migraine mirage of arcs of shimmery lights, I’m inevitably dreaming of having an argument (usually with my ex) and feeling really angry. What’s that all about?

Anyroadup, was going thru my photos and kept coming up with images of how bad I get, so here’s a little confession time.

When I see something and that idea of “how hard can it be to make that” comes into my head, I take a photo of it and later make my own version.

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Do you remember that piece of broken jade plant I found in San Francisco? I smuggled it into Canada and planted it in a pot. How bad is that? It gets worse. I also nipped a little sedum off of a plant in a park and that’s planted too. The only saving grace here is that I have Master Gardener status and know better than to allow anything dangerous (pest or disease) to escape into the environs.

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I sneak photos of random strangers. Sometimes I just love the light or composition and want to hang on to the moment, and sometimes I love to send it to C and caption it with “your new look…lol”.


I take photos while I drive…gulp! I use my iPhone or a little Canon. The saving grace here is that I’ve taken umpteen defensive driving courses and am a brilliant driver. (I know, no excuse)

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I still haven’t started that etsy shop I said I would in my New Year’s resolution. The things stopping me are: ME!


Sharing the randomness with Nancy and looking forward to catching up with everyone. I love our random Fridays.

When you think of France, what do you think of?

Paris? Provence? Bordeaux?

Today, the lovely Anita from Castles, Crowns and Cottages invited me to share what my France is.


My France almost always is the High Savoy.


One of my ancient family seats is the village and the Castle Allaman in Switzerland, on the north side of Lake Geneva, (Lac Leman).


As a matter of fact, my maiden name is Von Alemann, a gentle spelling deviation thru the centuries since my family began with a strong Saxon tribe in 1218, but the same name none the less.

I’m drawn back to Geneva, where I’ve lived for great lengths of time in the past and each time I do, I spend every second day in France. France is just a short drive across a simple open border and then suddenly you are in the glorious Haute-Savoie.

I’ve been dragging my children around from village to Alps and back to village since they were very little. Hiking, swimming, eating… living.
I think Chloe’s fondest memories might be of a great big St Bernard named Lou-Lou and raclette, (it’s a long story).

The French side of Lake Geneva has two special villages so close to my heart. Yvoire and Thonon-les-Bains.


Yvoire, the magical, medieval village with the spectacular le Labyrinthe Jardin des Cinq Sens, and Thonon, in which there is a pool right beside Lake Geneva, is where I can be, normal to me, and suntan topless with the other moms while our children play in the crystal waters. Chloe still has a friend she made at that pool when she was nine who she corresponds with today.


But then it’s always into the mountains we go. La Clusaz, Chamonix, Mt Blanc. Where the most delicious mountain air makes for the most delicious hikes and small chalet lunches.


My most favorite has always been the complex salads of that region and a baked potato, lardons, reblochon dish called Tartiflette. I make it where ever I am and instantly bring my France back to me. As a matter of fact, I think I’ll make it tomorrow and post the recipe.


So please go dig up your treasured memories of France and tell me about them. :)

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Some days are like that.

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Ever have one of those days when you feel like you have to look at your cutest potential?

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Isn’t it also great to have those times when you just don’t care?

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Yeah, we hear you! :)


It’s been one of those lovely Vancouver winter days where the whole morning harbour is shrouded in fog.

I know it’s advection fog (a left-over term from a geography course) and I love to watch it move in and settle on the water. There’s very little to be seen so I close my eyes and listen. Fog horns are sounding, the gulls are shrieking, metal rigs are clanking against boat masts. Somewhere in the harbour a sea plane’s engine starts to rumble and my breath swirls the white haze around me.


Then, as the sun begins to rise and warm I can see the shore birds backlit by the weak sun.


A few more minutes and more of the harbour comes into view.


But the sun is determined and soon the magic begins to evaporate.


Mornings like today I think on my favorite little poem, a Carl Sandburg poem; the first one my children learned to recite.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbour and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

A little sad but a lot of happy in one morning

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Last night, as I was walking across the back garden, I heard a small rustling noise at the foot of the basement stairs. There was a weak little finch in the leaves. I thought it was a good thing I found him because just then there was an orange streak behind me; the neighbour’s aggressive cat.

I cradled the finch in my hands and, remembering what the vet advised about the last bird we rescued, I put him into a cage in the garage to recover with a bit of soft blanket and a small dish of water.

I’m so sad to say that sometime during the night his little body stopped. I think he probably flew into the loft window and fell the three floors to the basement stair well. That’s a hard fall for such a little creature. This morning I wrapped him up in the bit of blanket and buried him under my favorite yellow rose.

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This is how it goes sometimes.

Inside I poured myself another cup of tea, pulled back the curtains to let the sun in and watched Morgan and Milo play. C joined me and soon we were smiling again.

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Here we come a-wassailing

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand’ring
So fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

Off we marched Gill, Billy, Becky, Luke, Jamie, Steph and me down the road to the heart of the village and we gathered at Hankey’s snug little cottage by their open coal fire in the kitchen. Julie had spicy mulled wine and mincemeat tarts just out of the oven. Perfect to warm us up for the night’s adventure. We sang a rousing version of Deck the Halls and we were ready.

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Our wassail cup is made
Of the rosemary tree,
And so is your beer
Of the best barley.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

We were about twenty of us, our merry band of carolers, and off we went from door to door spreading cheer.
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We are not daily beggars
That beg from door to door;
But we are neighbours’ children,
Whom you have seen before.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

Carrying lanterns, torches and song sheets, we trudged thru the lanes and puddles, opened gates and marched down driveways making our way around the village.
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Call up the butler of this house,
Put on his golden ring.
Let him bring us up a glass of beer,
And better we shall sing.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

Everyone welcomed us and some sang along. A little tart here, a chocolate there, we were well set. Little Steph presented our charity pot to each homeowner and the change started to clink and jingle.
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We have got a little purse
Of stretching leather skin;
We want a little of your money
To line it well within.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

We sang requests, we sang what we wanted, and we left each home singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
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Bring us out a table
And spread it with a cloth;
Bring us out a mouldy cheese,
And some of your Christmas loaf.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

We ended up at Elizabeth and Michael’s Ferryman’s Farm for a rest and more yummies.

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God bless the master of this house
Likewise the mistress too,
And all the little children
That round the table go.
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too;
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year
And God send you a Happy New Year.

And much figgy pudding and good cheer. :) Thought about, written and photographed for Northmoor but also for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, Surprise

Everyday life…What? Fit into a form? Me? Tough, tough WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

I’ve fought and fought with this challenge. What I wanted to do is express my everyday life with images and then I realised that, being a true Bohemian, well everyday life just has to fall into place as it can.

So here is a small idea of my everyday:

My everyday is exotic. Yes…terrifically exotic. Unusual, extraordinary, one of a kind exotic.

It’s beautiful and fragile. Very fragile. Cut down with the tiniest cold draft fragile. Handle with extreme care, be careful what you say fragile.

(Just ask R, he’ll tell you)

It’s strong and resilient. Weather any storm, stay in the flow, circulatory system, Dunkirk spirit strong.

There’s art. There’s always art. There’s a sliding scale of traditional to way out there art. It’s ever changing, ever evolving, ever opportunistic will-make-art-of-anything art.

And there’s magic and whimsy…there’s always and most importantly magic and whimsy.

That’s everyday life round me.

Not easy being around me…or being me for that matter. Just hang on for the ride. :)

WordPress photo challenge…fleeting moment…and the London Balloon

So many fleeting moments…so little camera-at-the-ready moments! Searching thru my files for this week’s WordPress photo challenge I found this pic.

I remember standing in London, somewhere around Queen’s Gate, looking at this pink balloon. It must have been swept from a child’s hands and pushed by the wind along the road. I remember first catching a glimpse of it between the moving cars. I was fascinated that the balloon bounced out from between the cars and rolled/flew along the rough pavement.

It’s amazing how a little pink balloon can capture the imagination and give hope to spirit in a moment. For me, I suppose, the feeling is grounded in my meditation. One of the first meditations I’ve taught my children is to wrap all their problems with a pink balloon and release it to the universe while silently asking the universe to help.

I stood there staring at it for three more car passes, and then…it did what most balloons caught in traffic do.