No point saying TGIF right about now

I love to check in with everyone in the morning. Usually I get the rounds in my email inbox and just click on everyone and see what you’re up to. If I can’t subscribe by email, then it takes me forever to click around, so I love the email option.
Where was I going with this?
Oh yeah. Daryl wrote TGIF on her post this morning and it got me thinking that I didn’t really care if it is Friday or not…except that there are only two days of my vacation left, but apart form that, life is pretty much just lovely here in the sun.

And isn’t that the point of vacations? Complete freedom from the work week.

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Speaking of freedom, Chloe wore her freedom dress today. She calls it that because under the dress size on the label it says “freedom”.

So I watched her float around in this lovely hand-painted dress and all the little children were looking at her and thinking, “she’s an angel!”. (Some of the teen boys were actually thinking that too…lol)

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She also re-chained my bracelet with the beads the sea didn’t want and some new ones. I love my new bracelet.

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Today we felt really tired, but it’s probably the sun.
I did the beach yoga class in the morning and wasn’t really feeling the aqua-cise afternoon class.

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Do we really look that silly splashing around to LMFAO’s I’m Sexy and I Know It! Lol :D

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Down on the beach the peddlers are trying it on with absolutely everyone.

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And then, after a while, they run out of people to tempt and take a break. (big relief)

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C found a friend. The wildlife rescue society came round with a young female banana boa offering photos for a 50 pesos donation. We happily donated and C tried the boa on for size. She loved every minute of it. She positively beamed as she felt the snake contract muscles in her powerful little body. (No, we’re not keeping her!)

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Later on in the day we met up with Fernando the craft expert and some resort friends, including the two beautiful poppets, Alexandra and Adeline, for a little crepe paper flower making.

Did we stop at flowers? I don’t think so. Pretty soon there were butterflies as well.

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At the beach, under glorious blue

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love logs

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C mix

beach find

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Such a beautiful day. Such a beautiful part of my town. Wishing you all this kind of sunshine, peace and happiness to last you throughout the whole week.

Sharing with Mary. :D

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world…

…You’ve walked into mine. :D

me!

Hi everyone, welcome to my crazy life.
I’m Veronica…as you can probably still tell from the name of my blog. This hasn’t changed since last year’s party.

I live with these two, in two countries (Canada and Britain), in two houses, in one cabin, with three cats.
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He’s Robert, mad scientist, designer, inventor and builder of brilliant machines which race at 200mph, and she’s Chloe, fourth year Communications student, saver of the world, of sharks and of small, squeaky things.

I take photos…a lot of photos. Some are proprietary and for sale with stock agencies or for use in magazines but all the photos here are for you. Feel free to share, use, have fun with, find inspiration in them…anything you like.

work

I tend to draw on just about anything. Mostly I love discarded bits of ephemera…torn papers, old letters, bits of unwanted cardboard. I love to take something which someone has thrown away and give it value with my paints. And then I tend to send the little paintings off to who ever wants them.

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Along with all the stuff I drew on last year…book jackets, bits of maps, the sawn-off end of the Christmas tree…this year I’ve branched off to such things as luggage tags…

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…and the eggs in the fridge…lol.

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But my main focus this year has been on old maps.

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I’m here most days, so please say “Hello” so I can come visit you.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. ;)

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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

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Friday I broke my heart. It’s a very private matter and nothing I want to talk about and, anyway, I’m not in the right frame of mind to spill everything in here and then try to pick up the pieces and I’m afraid that everything I would say about the matter wouldn’t help and would never bring about any kind of resolution.

But the end result of this Friday night in floods of tears is that I woke up Saturday morning with barely 5 hours of sleep and the Dixie Chicks concert in the evening after a full day of work and running around. Still, we must be brave and gather our best Dunkirk Spirit and carry on.

So, after supper, I put on my cowboy boots and some red lipstick and Chloe and I headed downtown, via seabus and sky train, to the concert. We walked into Roger’s arena and felt the Girl Power!

There were grandmas with their tween granddaughters, mothers and daughters of all ages, girlfriends, husbands and wives, couples and friends of every description. We loved it.

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(photos gently borrowed and collaged from photos in this morning’s news paper)

The Dixie Chicks came on stage to absolute thunder. I haven’t seen our arena so packed and, with over 18K seats, I think maybe three seats were empty, and that was probably because the people who bought those tickets were abducted by aliens. It was that full.

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C and I loved being there to pieces and, especially loved the power of the folks around us. We sang along to every song that we knew, and although it’s damn near impossible to drown out Natalie Maines’ beautiful, powerful voice, the audience did give it a good try!

Here are a couple of photos of C in the stage light. (no special effects on my part) :)
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But the thing that made the evening special is that I managed to calm myself down and get to a place of Zen tranquility, despite a broken heart. And do you know how? It was all to do with mine and Robert’s phone calls Friday night and Saturday morning. He’s so patient with me. He’s so loving and kind and understanding and brings me such peace and clarity. I’m such a lucky girl to have him beside me in my life.

I was waiting for this song to be played. I especially love it because it came straight into my head just after our conversation.

Thank you Robbie; love you.

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My ears are still ringing and I can hear the music in my head!

Introspection and sea lions

I love to be up very early.
I love to be up before the majority of people, before the hustle and bustle of the city.
I love to walk in the first morning sun.

This morning marks my last day in San Francisco, and so I was up and across the street at the Sbux by 7am.

Sometimes, most times when I’m in a different country, I have this compulsion to look around and really look at the people. You know, really see them, see the boys and girls behind the counter making the espressos, and the lattes and the cappuccinos, and as I watch them I wonder who they are, what their lives are like.

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Isn’t it true that everyone crafts their lives in their own little corner of the world.

Here in Chinatown the morning sun rushes up the streets, up the hills.

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…and people begin to open their shops for the day. Delivery trucks deliver, shop keepers select their products and display them packed tightly in cardboard boxes, stacks and stacks tall. Shoppers begin selecting their goods.

And each day begins like the next, like the one tomorrow will, even if I’m not here, like it began last week, last year…

Will these be the same people here? Will another camera mad tourist wander thru here after me? Would they care about every day life or will they take the street car to the piers, to the malls?

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The sun creeps over the hill and onto the Italian district.

Here things are probably a little different than the excitement of yesterday’s parade.

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But coffee shops are open and glowing from within, baker are baking and owners are sprucing up their little corners of the world possibly dreaming of Italy, possibly waiting for friends to drop by.

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A cruise ship has docked overnight. It is The Sapphire Princess. This morning the good people will wake in their cabins and disembark to explore the city. I wonder if some of them will walk all the way to the Golden Gate bridge like I did yesterday.

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The little boats haven’t started their trade yet. Their crew is probably still tucked up in bed.

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And beyond the boats are the sea lions. July to March they bark away and jostle for position on these rafts that they have “stolen” just after the earthquake of 1989. But people love them and let them steal away.

I love them. I love to watch them.
When they are sleepy they love to cuddle. They are thigmotactic animals, meaning they are calmer and rest easier if they have close physical contact with each other. Isn’t that true of you and me? Probably also true of the good people in Chinatown, in the Italian district. Much like everywhere in the world. We feel the calmness, the easiness when we hug our children and our love, when hold hands, when we cuddle up for the night.

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That’s how we form bonds, attachments, that, even after a day away, a month away, a year, are still there, still burning strong, still the power, the force that brings meaning and happiness to our lives.

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….

Then behind me the city starts to wake and it’s time for me to walk back up the hill, soon to return home to Vancouver to hug my child.

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Happiness from Saturday night.

Remember I told you on Wednesday that my friend turned 100yrs old? Well, tonight was his birthday party. What a wonderful age, what a remarkable life!

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Chloe and I dressed in evening dress, drove to mom’s house and waited for her to get ready…

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…and we all three walked up the lane to Norman’s birthday party.

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He was looking dapper as ever, with a huge commemorative button…lol. He was wearing his trademark bolo tie and I told him it looked very good. He told me it’s sterling and that his daughter Jane gave it to him. Then he said he can’t be bothered with ties. I said I didn’t blame him.

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The party was in full swing when we got there and, isn’t it funny that, no matter where you are, the party always migrates to the kitchen.
Around the rooms were letters of congratulations from HRM Queen Elizabeth, The Prime Minister of Canada, the Governor General, the head of the Ontario Dental Association, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, the Premier of British Columbia, and other notable people.

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About 8pm it was time for the cake. Jane brought her father into the dining room and said, “Dad, don’t forget to make a wish as you blow out the candles. ” Norman said, “Can I wish for a bigger cake?” ;)

Then he blew out the candles and three more cakes were brought in.

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Too soon it was time to go, but what a wonderful evening.

I wish you all a long and remarkable life with your children and friends around you always.

And remember how they say it in Ireland: A toast to your coffin: May it be made of 100 year old oak, and may we plant that oak tomorrow.

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Taking a little time

Oh lovely day!

This was what my morning looked like. Very cool outside and still very wet, but the sun is out! :) So happy. And so determined to find a little time for myself even on this busy day.

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It’s busy out there, isn’t it? But I’m not the only one. Right?

I know you’re like me.

I know that there may be a full day ahead of work or school and chores and errands and gym, but there’s also this hope of being able to set aside a little time to sit in the sun and read. Maybe have a cup of tea.

So here’s what to do.

1. Take your book with you.

Take it with you to work, to school, or take it out of your bedroom and put it on a table in a lovely spot where ever you are.

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2. Find your time. You know you have a lunch break, a break between classes, Now get yourself to a lovely, warm, sunny coffee shop, or go make that cup of tea and then sit down and stay for a while.

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Try not to allow yourself to be distracted too much.

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The world will still be there in an hour. The work, the chores, they probably won’t lessen any, but your heart will be lighter, sunnier, happier. Does this resonate as much with you as it does with me?

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There, don’t you feel better? :)

(“Her imagination was by habit ridiculously active; when the door was not open it jumped out the window.” Henry James)

PS: Giveaway

Star catcher and other thoughts

I’m very aware of what day this is and I’m very aware that I feel very lucky to be alive and here in this glorious, warm September sunshine, on this lovely beach with C.

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There’s this thing which happens in the afternoon. The sunlight fills the ocean with stars.

I went swimming with the stars in the cool water, in the warm breeze,

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and each time I moved my hands thru the water, millions of stars twinkled around me.

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I watched my mermaid child swim around surrounded by stars.

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I saw her come out of the ocean dripping and happy that we have this longer warm summer.

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I built a fantasy sand castle beside me. Ephemeral though it may be, it stood firm while we were there.

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I thought about my troubles, which I could list in a never ending page, but decided that right here, today, just now, everything is just fine. I’m healthy and happy and enjoying being on the beach.

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And watching the stars.

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Got out of town. Well, this really wasn’t what I had in mind.

Well, hello Calgary…hello Cowtown, Stampede City, Heart of the New West. People tell me you’re calm, you’re boring. I don’t believe it. Got my cowboy boots and I’m ready to explore. Might just buy a cowboy hat while I’m at it.

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But what’s this? Woke up to a complete lock down of the downtown core. No power, no water, possible evacuation. Emergency coffee, (courtesy of the fabulous Sbux), emergency complimentary buffet for as long as the food lasts, everyone being supper friendly and nice but looking very, very nervous.

Whoa cowboy, let’s go check it out.

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Just out of the Hyatt Regency and things look calm if a little wet. Streets are deserted, storm drains look fine to me.

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Two blocks towards the Bow River is a different story. Suddenly there is river where there should be street. But look at this urban cowboy, he knows how to have fun!

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Walking to the nearest not yet closed bridge and…oh my goodness…

Clockwise from top left: Looking downstream, looking upstream, looking under the bridge, logs and a park bench go floating by.

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Downtown Calgary is a ghost town.

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Unfortunately it has been decided that an evacuation must happen. So off I must go to higher ground. The news is full of horrible happenings. Of people being airlifted, houses being swept away and property being lost, while the storm rages against the Rockies bringing more water and more flooding down the rivers.

So far only one poor soul has been lost. I think it’s the wonderful grit and powerful spirit of these friendly Albertans, who have gathered together as if of one mind, which has helped save so many lived during this state of emergency.

Calgary, I’m impressed and I will never let anyone tell me you’re boring girl.

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Quick edit: It is 4pm and I can see on the news that all the streets in the downtown core in all these photos are now under water. Some as deep at three feet. Wow Calgary, Godspeed.