Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolution Revolution

To resolve or not resolve. Is that your question? Last year I had a couple of goals, more than resolutions. Creative goals that I didn't keep up with, one I felt a little guilty over (imagine?!). I also had a word for the year - peace - which was like a goal. I needed to bring a sense of peace into my life about everything. It involved letting go of so much, remembering what is important in the moment. I feel pretty successful about the results of my peace quest. This year my word found me in November - dream. Ah, such dreams I have! I am going to dream this year, not only in a wishful way, in a way that brings these dreams down to earth and into my life.

A while back I stumbled across a blog post connected to, I think, the Mondo Beyondo group which was about grieving what you need to grieve for the year passing as well as setting your intentions for the coming year. I wish I could find the link for the specific questions as they seemed geared toward digging up a lot of deeply buried treasure.

This coming year I am participating in Karen and Lori's Weekly Gratitude project. I am a big fan of gratitude, it has been an essential part of my life for over 600 days now (and counting). I have also bought and downloaded Leonie's beautiful book for seeing out 2009 and welcoming 2010, with 40 colorful pages of writing and other exercises. I can hardly wait to carve out the time to sit down with that piece of art.

What are you doing during this transition time?

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


*e*'s 49th question - What is the sweetest thing anyone has done for you?

It might sound sad but there is no one thing that really stands out as the sweetest thing. I do know that Riley is such a sensitive and kind soul and so in tune with what is going on around him emotionally that he often knows just the right thing to say or do to turn my day around. Example: I had been given an ipod a number of months ago but was unable to get anything downloaded on to it despite many, many wasted hours at the computer. Two weeks ago after a particularly frustrating hour, I told Riley to take the ipod and throw it out into the snow because I never wanted to see it again. He took it, but hid it until the next day when he asked me if I was ready to have it back. Please don't call child services.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Lifespan of a Ladybug

Yesterday we were moving some things around in the house and Riley found a ladybug. A l-i-v-e ladybug which begged the question - what is the lifespan of a ladybug? He used to have a board book with a page for ladybugs that declared they sleep together in bunches through the winter. Wikipedia gives them between 1 and 2 years. A bug! And they do hibernate, living off their body fat which they plumped up in the fall. And it's a good thing because there is no ladybug food around in our climate at the moment which is mostly made up of aphids and pollen.
Apparently it's not uncommon to find them in your house in the winter, the smart buggers look for warm places to hide but their biggest threat at this time of year is dehydrating. We've scooped this guy/gal into a dixie cup with some paper towel shavings and are trying to keep a little piece moist. I don't know if he'll make it through the next five months, or if I'm going to remember to keep him hydrated. But I have to admit it seems almost like a miracle finding this bit of nature in our house at this time of year.

The Big and Small of Hockey

Coach and Riley. Big and small.

I don't want to be a hockey mom. I don't want to get in the car in the dark, drive on icy roads with one eye looking for an out-of-town arena and the other eye on the road, to then sit in a cold building for two and a half hours with people on either side of me blasting ear drum splitting horns reeking of cigarette smoke. With all due respect to hockey moms everywhere, of course. I'd rather be a soccer mom. Which, at its worst, means sitting in the pouring rain, eyes on the sky for lightening or ankles being eaten by mosquitoes. But mostly its spending the last hours of the day outside when the days are long and it feels like a blessing to be outside without multiple layers.

These days we are playing a tournament which means the nastier details of the above. To sound completely selfish, I want to spend a couple of days at home where we don't have any obligations to go anywhere. Where we can putz around with our stuff, watch too much t.v. and eat junk food. Hockey is an experiment this year and I'm secretly hoping the passion for it doesn't grow. Oh how awful of me, I know. But there it is, in all its naked honesty.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post Holiday Fun

These ladies never sleep together. I guess I shouldn't say "never" since I caught this snap:

And hoping you have a similar sense of humor, I stole this from Dawn's blog because I thought it was really funny. I'm not sure what I found funnier - the actual video or the person laughing all the way through!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

And a few words...Merry and Happy to all. Thanks for tuning in here, leaving your comments and thoughts. It makes a world of difference to me that you do.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Solstice

The end of the dark and yet, somehow, the official beginning of winter. So what we've lived the last month - still wintry.

I opened an email from my friend Christine today which read, "At 12:47 today the sun stands still -- celebrate!"

And until June 21st, the days will each get a little bit longer. I feel as if I've made it. I always celebrate the fact that the shortest day of the year is behind me, regardless of the fact that the toughest winter months are still to come.

Having tried to embrace the dark these last two months and really delve deeply, working with a deck of cards that describes archetypes and their light and shadow sides, I feel well versed. The one stickler there was that I kept pulling The Saboteur card. And after a little while I decided I needed to settle down and receive that message. I'm still processing.

But a saving grace came last night, while coming to the conclusion of Martha Beck's, "Steering By Starlight". Therein was a poem by Ben Okri (whose book I will be buying after the holidays) which reads:

Remember that all things which happen
To you are raw materials
Endlessly fertile
Endlessly yielding of thoughts that could change
Your life and go on doing forever...
So fear not, my friend.
The darkness is gentler than you think.

I am so grateful for finding that poem when I did. Or perhaps it found me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


*e*'s 48th question: What have you done over and over this week?

The journaling on the back: "This week I have shovelled and shivered and shivered and shovelled. Lots of snow and deep freeze temperatures. And muddled through in the dark, physically and metaphorically." I started with a homemade collage sheet and used snowflake masks and black ink. I have felt the dark this week, rather deeply. Mind you, I haven't had mice in my house and for the most part we've been pretty healthy. It's just that time of the year, in so many ways. I've never minded when my life has been boring, I embrace boring, I'm probably at my best when the external influences in my life are boring, some of my best friends are boring. As much fun as the approaching holidays are, I will be glad to get back into the regular routine of living and learning.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Haiku

A mouse in my house
But it turns out it's not real
Made me think of Beth

I was cleaning out some closets, making room for the things that will be coming in the house next week, or at least the things that I am aware of. At the back of a cupboard I found this toy mouse. At first I flipped out, then realized it was just a toy, but a pretty good replica nonetheless.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

You know it's cold when... (Part 1)

1) the locks on the INSIDE of your house are covered in frost;
2) you sniff outside because, well, the cold air makes your nose run, and your nostrils stick together;
3) you can't blink outside because the water in the corners of your eyes freezes instantly;
4) feet? what feet?
5) IF your car starts, you drive around on what feels like square tires all day;
6) even the kids and dogs don't want to stay outside for longer than absolutely necessary.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I can hardly believe the year is winding down for *e*'s questions. Five more tags for me to make, two more questions to be posted. The 47th is, "When you think back to your childhood, what moment first comes to mind?"

I have two strong, first memories. One is a home movie my father made when I was two as I struggled to dress myself. I hold that moment responsible for my low self esteem and poor body image for the first 40-odd years of my life. The second was the fact that I got an "F" in English on my Kindergarten report card because I refused to speak in class. Things that happen in our childhood can seem funny once we are older but at the time they are happening, how we perceive those moments mold who we become.

Thought for the Day

I received this card in the mail yesterday from Celeste, one of my classmates from the LIAV coaching class we just completed.

Not a Christmas card, but a celebration card. I needed to be reminded of this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Making Lemonade

It's still cold today, but less windy. So we're making the most of it.
Here a Bog, there a Bog, everywhere a Bog, Bog (they are pretty good on ice, too I will admit)

and eating lots of these

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Haiku(s)

I'm tired, spent the day "doing" things on my to-do list. I made my first dream/vision board and accomplished a substantial amount of holiday baking. My back is sore from all the standing so I'm reaching a little with these.

The wind is howling
Crappity crap, it's cold out
Frostbitten iced toes


No pigs were harmed for
My double batch of shortbreads
Oven warmed the house

To Belabor A Point

Those are my new winter boots - Boggs - good to -30 Celcius, waterproof and breathable (thank you very much for that part). It seems I am forever on the quest for the perfect winter boot. I'll let you know how these pan out. And my snow pants. Life is better in the north with snow pants. No, I'm not five years old, but I wear them always when walking the dogs, always at a certain temperature no matter what I'm doing and it makes a huge difference.

I'm surprised that I felt so caught off guard with winter now here. After being lulled into a fall sense of global warming with the ridiculously fine November we had, this first storm really knocked me for a loop. Enough to call my snow removal company TWICE yesterday and act like the kind of consumer I loathed when I used to work retail.

But the Queen of Arts left me a message a couple of days ago which made me feel a little less alone in this blustery time. Basically she said she didn't intend to waste any more time letting something she had no control over get her down. She's rolling with it. I'm going to try harder to have that kind of attitude. Today I am grateful I don't have to go farther than walking the dogs. With the windchill it is -17 ( about 0 Fahrenheit). After 28 centimetres of snow (about a foot), then a smattering of rain and high winds, the deep freeze has moved in. I've noticed a pattern the last three winters that goes like this:

1) heavy snow fall
2) rain and high winds
3) sudden deep freeze

all within a 24 hour span. That, my friend, is winter in the north in the 21st century.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Over It

December 9 and I'm over it. Our first storm, which turned out to be less than predicted, but still of storm caliber. Despite all the excitement around me, I just can't muster up any pleasure for the white stuff. I deeply envy all those who either never have to see a flake or who have limited exposure to them. I was doing OK with the dark until this morning. At 7:00 a.m. the street lights were still on and with the incoming weather, the sky looked like it was filled with locusts. I do wish I could feel like this:

but I don't. I hate shovelling it. I hate driving in it. I hate scraping the car windows multiple times a day. I hate the cold feet and the hat hair. I hate the amount of time it takes to get dressed to get us out the door. I hate not seeing green, living things for months on end. Yeah, I'm over it.

Wordless Wednesday, by special request

Sunday, December 6, 2009


*e*'s Q46 - What makes you glow?

I made this pretty quickly, without even thinking about it very much. Ink, masks, marker.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Globetrotting Monkey

I saw this Sole Monkey over at the Blue Chair Diary and it didn't take me long to join in the fun. Would you accept this monkey into your home for 10 days, take some photos as he joins in your life and blog about it? Silly? Maybe, but to me it represents the contact we make in the blogging world, some human contact versus cyber contact, not that there's anything wrong with cyber contact, some of my best friends have come from cyberspace. If you want to join in the fun, take in Sole Monkey then pass him on (I can see the various descriptions on the customs declarations already...) but sign up quickly as it's only open until December 9 and on December 10 he starts the journey.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Haiku

Four a.m. full moon
Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! I cry, I beg
But to no avail

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Here a Chick, There a Chick

She beat me to the posting board, the Queen of Arts, she did. I was so excited for days before she came. We've been blogging buddies for any number of months, probably since last spring but when we sat down together it was like we were spirit sisters. We talked so much and so fast about everything, jumping from subject to subject, trying to learn it all in the few short hours we had to spend. All those things we choose to not blog about and that don't carry so well in emails either. Our visions and dreams, our stumbling blocks and our beliefs that everything is going to work out just fine. She is originally from my neck of the woods and lucky for me she still visits family here quite often which means other trips will be down the pike before I know it. She's a special soul, you can tell when you look in her eyes and she looks back. We laughed and nodded a lot in agreement - oh yes, me too. If I could choose one word to describe the Queen, it would be Authentic. It was a gift to sit and break muffins with her, and naturally we left a rock behind! Thanks for sharing those parts of yourself with me Kim, they are safe in my heart.

For many reasons this is a poor photo but I love our expressions - my favorite of the ones I took of the two Kims this week.

And the rock, again the quality is poor, the light was difficult to work with but it has an ethereal quality at the same time.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The End and the Beginning

When I woke this morning the snow was falling lightly. Have I mentioned how grateful I am to have had a snow-free November? Well, almost. I accept that it's November 30 and that the snow will fall. There wasn't even that much, enough to make a couple of snow balls or leave behind a few footprints.

And remember my chewed up compost bin? Here's what it looked like at 5:30 a.m.

Tomorrow morning the advent calendars will be started, the store bought one and the home made one. Christmas is coming and having that bit of snow made it all the more real. While we were out walking the dogs tonight Riley told me that today his teacher had told his class that their fathers are Santa Claus. Grade 1. A roomful of six-year old kids. Any takers on whether it is the place of a teacher to dispel the Santa Clause myth? I did a little talking dance around it with Riley and he decided that what the teacher really meant is that Santa Claus is everywhere and in each one of us. Have I said lately how much I love my boy?

On the subject of myth-busting, Patti Digh had a great post on her blog last week detailing a letter a mom wrote to her son when he discovered that the Tooth Fairy isn't real. Go here if you want to read it. I've saved it to pull from when that moment comes in my house. At Riley's current age, teeth are coming out left, right and center, but I'm hoping I'm not going to need it for a long, long time.

Friday, November 27, 2009


*e*'s 45th question, "What song do you have on repeat right now?" I'm assuming most people have ipods and use them, I kind of got lost in the shuffle with this type of technology. I have an mp3 player whose battery won't hold a charge and I was passed down an ipod nano (only 4 gb) that for the life of me I can't figure out how to work. I have managed to charge THAT battery but can't seem to load anything on it. That requires time and patience to which I choose to not dedicate. So the songs in my head are either from CD or what Riley is learning in music class week by week.

Friday Haiku

I am grateful for
This snow-free, mild November
Amongst other things

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm Going Nowhere With This

Have you noticed the Human Calendar on my side bar? I love it, think it's hysterical and very, very creative. I first saw it on beth's blog and I thought it was made up of her own photos because one of the people in it looked an awful lot like her son. Then I started seeing it here, there and everywhere and I thought, "wow, beth's calendar is really getting around!" and eventually it dawned on me that it was there for the taking. Of course, maybe it is hers...I've just come full circle with that thought.

Another thing on my mind is that I think I'm the only one in my house who has the gene that requires occasional tidying up. Everyone else seems to be able to live endlessly in squalor. finches. Well, not MINE, but frequent visitors to my feeder. Thanks to Snap for confirming their identity.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. This guy is giving thanks that he is still doing the turkey walk around town. But whether you eat it or not, the relevance is in the joining together of spirit and energy and gratitude. Life is good.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

*e*'s 44th question is, "How do you make decisions?"

Maybe it's quite normal, but I am capable of making big decisions very, very quickly. And then I'll agonize over what to have for dinner. Black gesso, gold Sharpie post paint marker and collage from a handmade collage sheet.

Friday, November 20, 2009


*e*'s 43rd question - What were you doing this time last year?

This was a phrase that popped into my head when I thought about the question. I really feel as if I was getting ready for so much that has started and happened in my life. The ducks are cut from a handmade collage sheet, and I used my India ink and quill pen for the face writing for the first time. I can see the fuss other people make about this ink, it's quite delicious.

Yesterday I Was a Hero

Every other Thursday afternoon I work in the school library. Naturally, it's the time when Riley's class visits and last year I did the same duty. It has been an opportunity for me to observe him outside of our usual settings and it has been very good for me. Last year I worked with another woman, this year I am going it alone and I have been called upon to do things I hadn't before when I could relax a little and let the other woman with years of experience take care of the trickier tasks while I stuck to the mundane. Yesterday one of the grade 1 boys asked me for a book his friend had taken out previously. He didn't have the title, just a few scanty details such as it was about monsters, maybe Frankenstein and it had something 3-D in it. Often these requests for searches are phrased like, "it has a pink cover and it's about princesses", or "it's a book with scary stories". Not the most salient facts to enter into the computer's search engine. But yesterday I found that book about monsters (293 entries in the search results) and it did have a picture of Frankenstein on the cover and a sticker that said "3-D" for some things that were on the inside. I don't know who was happier, me or Matisse, the boy who had asked for it. He actually came back to the library later that day to thank me. The second class that comes through during my tour of duty is a 4th grade class and there is one boy who is, shall we say - "challenging". In fact he challenges all I say or help him with. And up until yesterday I dreaded seeing him come through the door. But yesterday he was checking out a book about origami and we got to talking about that and the beautiful paper and the kinds of things he made and I saw a whole different side to him, the side that is just another human being excited about his craft, delighting in beauty and thrilled to talk with someone who wanted to hear what he had to say and how he felt. And I did feel like a hero and it felt good.

Friday Haiku

Feeling better now
Goldenseal and ginseng too
I clobbered that cold

Monday, November 16, 2009

Multiple Choice

It might be this one:

or this one:

but I think it's this one:

the virus that is making me feel like crap today. I was on my way to the bus stop, headed to work this morning when I got that familiar feeling of "uh oh, I think I'm getting a cold". And it snowballed pretty quickly. As soon as the pharmacy opened I ran downstairs and bought a bottle of Cold F-X as it has worked amazingly well in the past. But only if I start taking it within minutes of when the symptoms first appear. Waiting until I got home at the end of the day and then dosing myself would have been too late. I think I have it on the run, I'll know for sure tomorrow. But I'm going with shot number 3, it's the prickly strands with that weird looking nodule on them that feel dastardly familiar.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November So Far, Examining the Dark

At the beginning of this month I made a commitment to myself to examine the dark. Since then I find I have been less affected by the actual shortness of the days. I will admit that as rotten and trying as October was weather-wise, November has been, so far, a pleasant surprise. We have had an extraordinary amount of sun and some warm temperatures but only a degree or two above normal. The last few nights we have had some very hard frosts. And in the morning I find myself noticing the beauty of this:

and this:

and how our soccer field looks like there is a dusting of snow when it's really just frozen dew:

Walking the dogs by the water this morning we noticed that the ducks are still here although they are starting to congregate, as they will, in clumps of hundreds, facing south, assessing the conditions for their upcoming flight. Here is a pair that dared to come close enough to us despite the canine presence:

Since Trish at Buttercup Beret lauded me for my brutal honesty today, I will admit to having eaten an entire 200 gram bag (slightly less than 1/2 pound) of these since the beginning of this month:

This may have contributed to my surprisingly light mood. Or not. But today I wasn't even bothered by Friday the 13th.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Further Chronicles of the Dark: The Saboteur

I have been sitting on this card for almost a week. When I first pulled it from the deck I laughed, then felt kind of devastated.

From a deck of 80 cards, I managed to find this one. According to Caroline Myss, the Saboteur is one of four archetypes we all have in common, the other three being the Child, the Prostitute and the Victim. My Saboteur and my Victim often walk hand in hand. Just when I think I am past much of that behavior, it surfaces and I get to look it boldly in the face. Again. I can look back on my twenties and see how I was so mired in personal discovery-hormonal-reactionary-overdrive and that helps me when I spend time with people of that age. It has given me an insight into the angst that grows from adolescent angst. My thirties were slightly better. Everything calmed down somewhat but the Saboteur would often surface with self destructive feelings and actions of not being good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough (you get the idea). And now being able to look back on my forties I feel as if personal growth has sped up. Conceptually, what used to take me a decade to work through, I feel I can "get" in a couple of years. In theory. Both light and dark attributes are pretty dark to me, the light is described as, "Highlights your fear of self-empowerment and the changes it would bring to your life". I do fear some of the changes, I do want certain guarantees. I'll bargain with the gods and goddesses - give me this but don't take away that. I want to let go of the trapeze and yet the fears are paralyzing. This, in a nutshell, has been my week with the saboteur.