A surprise lake, which we will keep a secret

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Chloe and I seem to have developed a ritual of finding out of the way fabulous places, which usually contain lakes, like last year’s treasure.

This trip we followed a river off the highway just for fun, then turned right at a ground hog and headed up a mountain logging road which promised something lovely at the top.

And there, about 20km up, was what we came for.

Heaven in a lake.

We’ll be back. 😀

Got out of town; to the Okanagan

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Got out of town!
Chloe and I headed out of the city, 500 km away, over the West Coast mountains, away from the rain, the wet, into the semiarid, to the Okanagan, to visit my daughter Kerstin and her family.

I used to live in this fragrant warmth for five years when Kerstie was one yr old.

The air in the pine forests is so sweet and so…unique, like nothing I’ve felt anywhere else and it’s so familiar.

Nice to experience this deja vu once in a while.

Doing everything right

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Today was one of those do everything right days.
Do you have those days? Do you know what I mean?
It’s one of those days you imagine having in your mind, you know, those kinds of days you know that you should strive to have every day in order to be healthy, productive, in love, successful, (fill in the blanks)… etc.

Today I made time to be with R on our daily phone calls. Really be with him, listen  to him, joke, sympathise, be there; really tried to take care of my love and build our relationship.

Today I treated my art seriously. I went to work in the morning. I went to work and I worked! Started a large map. Decided on the map, decided on kestrels, composed them, drew them, started to paint.

Today I took a lunch break, away from the computer, away form the studio, away from work. Took a lunch break and played with Morgan, did a little gardening, walked around my garden read a little, and then went back to work.

(Morgan gave me the death stare when I picked her up.)

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Today I stopped work and went to my yoga class.

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I got there a early, took 20 minutes of meditation and then got into the class. I connected with my body, flowed thru every pose in the most graceful way I could, thought about every muscle, breathed into every tightness, released, let go.

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Today I finished a nourishing soup from a bone broth base and served it for supper. After my winter (with that nonsense we will not talk about), I was instructed to make bone broths to rebuild collagen and muscle tissue. For me, this generally involves boiling the left over roast Sunday diner organic chicken carcass with some organic beef bones for 24-36 hours in a slow cooker, then I strain out the bones and use the broth for soups. To this I added tons of organic vegetables: kale, carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions, celery…basically what ever I have on hand, plus a good cup of mixed beans and lentils and herbs from the garden.

Knowing that everything I eat is healthy and working to make me strong and to prevent any future nonsense is so important to me. Even though some days it’s just too easy to pop that frozen pizza into the oven and be done with dinner, taking that extra effort, and actually making a pizza from scratch, better yet, making that pizza with a cauliflower crust, is such a good way for me to say, “I love you body, and I’ll take good care of you.”

Thank goodness I brought my children up with really good nutritious foods, so C loves the kale rich bone broth soups.

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Today is a shining example of what I strive for every day.

Will tomorrow look like today? I doubt it. A 12:45pm dentist appointment x town will seriously cut into my day and will make me feel like a poor baby, so I can pretty well guarantee I’ll be more stressed with Robbie, want to stop at Sbux for a green tea lemonade, and try to skip out of yoga class…although I’ll probably go.

But for today I feel I should celebrate. Pat myself on my back and say well done.

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I met C when she came home from a day out rollerblading with Bryson and having tea with her friend Kat, and the first thing she said was, “nice Pippi Longstocking braids mom!” And I say, “What? Braids are over at 13? I don’t think so!”

So go out there and strive to live your best life, day after day. Try to do your best and forgive yourself when you don’t. I will, and you can join me. We can rock it together.

And for all those about to rock, I salute you. 😀

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A country seed swap in a hundred year old barn

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Inspiration abounds!

I found a barn built in 1911, next to a beautiful house, in the middle of fields and stream, with a garden show and seed swap taking place inside, and a golden eagle in the trees outside watching over the proceedings. How wonderful is that?

Actually, it’s not all my doing. Michelle, a sweet friend on Facebook, posted about the event in one of my favourite groups, Hometalk Gardening, and then I knew I wanted to go. Also, my friend Thomas Hobbs, whose nursery Southlands I’m always at, was giving a talk which I didn’t want to miss.

We had a good mooch around and then headed to the relative quiet of the mezzanine between talks to have some lunch.

Just before Tom started his talk, Michelle came over and introduced herself to us. I was thrilled to meet my FB friend, and now can’t wait to see her again, soon. And, the best news ever, Tom announced that he’s writing his third book about his move from the city to 20 acres in the country, complete with pregnant squatters, two grow ops, Corona, an abandoned dog (who is theirs now), 17 broken down cars, and several feral lamas. Hurry and write it Tom. I can’t wait. 😀

We came away with a special witch hazel Corylopsis sinensis which Chloe fell in love with, some raw, local honey, two little cowslips, (love those little primroses from the forests of my childhood), and some local spuds to plant between my crazy garlic plants. We also, as it turned out, rescued three vine maple seedlings, which we’ll plant up in pots and eventually plant at the cabin by the pond.

The most glorious day. I really want to move to the country now.

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Who’s a spoiled princess?

That would be me! And it’s not even Christmas any more. 😀

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The other day I spied the first snowdrop in my garden. So I ran out, picked it, and put it on my bedside table inside the little ink bottle where I’ve forced some forsythia, pussy willows and poplar twigs. Waking up to this little bit of captured spring makes me feel so very pampered.

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But then, you’ll never believe what happened next!

A gift arrived from Norway, from my wonderful friend Vibeke. In it was this beautiful hat, the rosebud hat, which she knitted herself. Isn’t she so clever to be able to knit such a beautiful thing? But I didn’t just get the hat. V also included a lovely notebook and some tea. I absolutely love notebooks and absolutely love tea.

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I’ve already worn rosebud on a walk at the beach and it’s so soft and warm that I can tell it’ll be a treasure for years to come. The notebook will be filled with daily positive thoughts, and, in that way, will also become a treasure for years. Thank you so much dearest V. If you all have a chance, go visit Vibeke’s beautiful blog “a butterfly in my hair”. Guaranteed you’ll love it…and her…as much as I do. Oh, and I have a big secret to tell you. She will be hosting a humongous giveaway in the month of March as part of her birthday celebration, and some of my stacking rings will be involved.

So I was just feeling spoiled to the max, when a lovely lady came to the door. Her name is Rosemarie and she reads my blog. She came to my Art in the Garden weekend, and has been keeping in touch ever since. She is so sweet. She brought me a beautiful little book and some Ms Grey tea.

She had to send away for this sweet little book to Castleton, New York!!! It’s called “If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbows”. It’s written and illustrated by Cooper Edens.

I love each and every page, like this one; which says:
If tomorrow morning the sky falls, have clouds for breakfast.

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And this one:
If you have butterflies in your stomach, ask them into your heart.

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Butterflies in the heart. I love that. Much better than asking them into my brain…which I must be doing because it’s where they usually end up…butterfly brain…that’s me. 😀 Thank you so much for your thoughtful gift Rosemarie.

I also have to show you two other little gifts from two more thoughtful friends. My neighbour to my East snapped this photo of Morgan sitting on the old window box supports outside my bedroom window. My neighbour loved it so much that she made some cards from it and gave one to me. And, the last time I visited Dalyce, at my most favourite used book shop, she threw this little booklet into my selection of books for free. She’s incredibly generous and always saves me old books, photos, pictures, old magazines, anything she thinks I would love or can use in my art.

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Love this little booklet. It’s written in that strong salesmanship style which promises financial freedom, untold riches and fame if only the customer buys the course. The 4 page, hand signed letter was written to a Mr. R. T. Williams P.O. Box Drawer 687, in Victoria BC on May 3 1921. I wonder if Mr. R. T. ever took the school up on it’s SPECIAL OFFER FOR TWENTY DAYS ONLY SO ACT TODAY splashed in red all over the newsletter, and, especially since the cost is “a trifle” at $65, and 15 yr old Rob Brennan is already selling cartoons to a newspaper just days after beginning the course.

Somehow, I suspect not, because the stamped return envelope is still there in the pocket on the first page.

What fun for me to have this pristine little piece of history.

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What ever shall I do with it now. I think I want to paint on it. Hey, do you know about my FB friend Mark Powell? He’s the most incredible artist, and, like me, loves to draw on old documents. Except he uses black pens. He’s amazingly talented. Bet he’d fill the pages with some wonderful portraits.

Off now to gather my thoughts and maybe do some painting.

Oh, Drawing challenge, if anyone would like to join, is hosted by our friend Joke right over here, and the the words are: The Unexpected. Pop over and tell her you’re in and she’ll link you up for the weekend. What fun we’re having. 😀

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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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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. 😀

Happy birthday mom

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party

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kitchen talk

Three

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It’s not easy being a Christmas baby. One’s Boxing Day birthday is often very conveniently wrapped up with a Christmas celebration, but we’ve always tried to make it a special day for mom in some way.

My mother turned 80 years young yesterday, and we celebrated in grand style at the beautiful, Christmas-shiny home of our friend Jane. About 30 of mom’s friends came to help celebrate her birthday, and a huge treat for me because my son Jonathan and his lovely girl Chantal were in town and could join us. We all had a lovely time with plenty of yummy nibbles, plenty of wine and wonderful cake.

Happy birthday and many happy returns of the day mom! We love you. X

Chloe cuts her hair for Cancer

Chloe has been wanting to do this for some time now, and even threatening a shaved head for a period of time, (We are ever so glad she reconsidered the shaved bit), but she sent us examples of styles and finally settled on a short-ish bob which would allow her to donate the maximum length to her chosen charity, 360 Hair, a local non-profit, pro bono business, which makes wigs for children suffering thru chemotherapy.

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So off to our salon, Raw Hair Lounge, and an appointment with the lovely Chelsie, who brushed C’s hair and separated it into sections…

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…and cut it off. (Yes, C kept her eyes closed for it)

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And there we are. Twelve inches of clean, lustrous auburn locks all ready to be mailed away.

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Then a little bit of trimming, a little bit of product, a feeling of freedom and the soft, warm-hearted glow of doing something good and right…

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…and VOILA! Our beautiful child.

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I’m so proud of her drive to help, to save the world, to do all she can. 😀

Got out of town, Princeton, part one

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Hi everyone, it’s Monday night and I just drove into my dreary, rainy city of black forests and snow capped mountains, but my spirits are full of gold leaves and small towns, grasslands, rivers and lakes.

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Chloe and I spent the long Thanksgiving weekend at our friend’s cabin, with five parental units, seven 20-somethings, six dogs, two cats, two horses and one huge roast turkey.

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How lucky were we to have a weekend of horsey kisses, campfire chats, table games, late evening silly movies and chilly morning breakfasts?

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Very lucky indeed. More tomorrow. 😀