Tuesday, May 31, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

Good-bye May, hello Tuesday - it's time for Virtual Coffee. If we were meeting for coffee today I would say I was greeted early this morning by some more trash can art.

If we were meeting for coffee today we might be meeting in "real time" because I headed off to meet my friend, Tammy, this morning at our favourite haunt for a "real" cappuccino and chocolate/cranberry muffin. If we were meeting for coffee today we would sit on a terrace because as of yesterday, it has been summer here. Glorious, sun drenched days. Ahhhh. I really come alive in the heat, this is MY season. I would admit that I'm not sure what's the heat and what might be hot flashes since it's been so very long since I've had sweaty feet.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that I have been running around getting so much done this week. I attribute that partly to hanging out with some ambitious people. I'm not sure what rubs off on me around busy people, but I often come home and get moving. Riley and I went up to the cottage on Sunday to take the annual assessment. And I'm happy to report that over the winter there was minimal mouse penetration. But there was and is more woodpecker penetration as they peck away at the wooden part of my house. We said hello to the lake and hello to the deer head hanging over our mantle.

I cleaned the place from top to bottom and now I feel ready to start inhabiting it once black fly season calms down. If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that I was grateful for Sunday being a rainy day because it kept those nasty biters down to a bare minimum. Despite the rains we still took a nature walk.

I could tell you about how incredibly soggy everything was and how incredibly green. But I couldn't begin to tell you how it all smelled with the new growth oozing life and making pure oxygen.

We were done by early afternoon so we stopped at our favourite greasy spoon for lunch on the way back to the city.

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about Claudette's french fries. I could tell you about some of the characters that are regulars there and how it has become a summer ritual for my sister and I to get a paper bag of fries and smother them with vinegar and salt. But I wouldn't be able to tell you how our hair and clothes smell once we leave the place.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you where else I headed this morning. It's not a big secret but part of my past before I adopted this virtual personality was a marriage that sadly ended, acknowledging the vow 'until death do we part'. I had felt a calling to this place for a few weeks now and today brought with it the opportunity for a few more hours in a row than I usually have in any given day.

I sat on this bench for a good while (it always makes me smile to know one of my favourite writers is just a few 'doors' down)

and quietly asked why I needed to be here and I waited. I listened deeply with all that is me. I don't really know why I needed to go but I was grateful for the solitude and the meditative space. There are things that pass in our lives that we never fully get over but we keep moving forward because that is all we really can do.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would slip into the conversation that this past week I have bought two Christmas presents. Which is early, even for me, as I usually start in July.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you how inspired I was by this post by Melody at the Brave Girls Club and how she is unplugging from Facebook for 90 days. I would admit that I find social media leaking my precious time away in sneaky ways. And I would point the finger at Facebook as my biggest sprung leak but honestly I would know that it is all my fault and that it is one of my strange and powerful addictions.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you today is a day for drying sheets on the line

and for planting the last bits of my garden like the heavenly blue morning glory

and some lavender. I would tell you that on admiring a neighbour's overgrown patch of lavender, I was told that my own lavender - the one I have to replant every year - does so poorly because my soil is too rich. So I am planting this bunch in the Space Where Nothing Will Grow and I'm hoping that whatever has cursed this patch of ground will be food for my lavender.

And then we would go over to Amy's at Lucky Number 13 and convince her that it really is Tuesday after all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Haiku

Sometimes it's better
to have fewer choices, like
vodka or vermut.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Expectations and Gratitude

It has not escaped me that Oprah's last show aired yesterday. I would have to be living under a rock to have missed that information although I didn't watch it. I used to watch her show regularly, I even had a subscription to O magazine for a while before I discovered I just don't make the time to read magazines with any regularity and let it lapse. It was Oprah who introduced me to the concept of being aware of and recording gratitude via Sarah Ban Breathnach, which has stuck with me through 1,122 days and counting.

Today I am pondering gratitude for a number of reasons. I am mixing gratitude up with expectations. I am wondering why it isn't enough for me to express my personal gratitude without expecting an acknowledgement in return.

A few weeks ago one of Riley's extra activities, that had run from the previous September to this May, came to an end. I had asked the other parents who participated in the year to financially contribute to a $50 gift card for the person who ran the event the year long. They all agreed, happily paid up and wrote some thought-felt words in a card I purchased. When I presented this to the organizer of the event, she didn't open it right away, but popped it into her bag "for later". For days I waited for an email or a phone call, something that would thank me/us in return for our own gesture. Two weeks have now passed and not only has there been no email or phone call but I have seen this person at school drop off a few times. Still, nothing has been mentioned. I haven't gone so far as to fish for a response and I find myself struggling with it to be enough that I made my own gesture of gratitude with out the expectation of a thank you back.

Where is the line between good manners in thanking someone for a gift and expecting acknowledgement for something I did willingly and genuinely?

Last year I tried to grow something in a part of my garden that had only produced weeds. I was planting physically and metaphorically but managed to only coax out small bits and pieces of colour where I had imagined a riot of wildness. Physically and metaphorically. This year I am trying again in the same patch of ground but my expectations are different. I am just going to "wait and see" what decides to bloom despite the variety of seeds planted. I am still tending, watering, and watching over it. Physically and metaphorically.

And in other parts of my garden I am grateful for the irises about to burst

the tiger's eye still to be planted


the last of the tulips

bursting gazanias

and funky weeds that show up all on their own

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

It's Tuesday and time for Virtual Coffee and let me tell you I am savouring every mouthful today because on my road trip last week I barely had a drop.

Riley and I took the train to Toronto to spend some quality time with my sister. And she runs on pure adrenaline. She is unable to drink coffee because of the caffeine rush. Basically she doesn't need it. I will admit I sort of envy that.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you awwwwllll about that trip, starting with finding a hubcap in a strange place

and the nature trail we walked the first day

which had some classic Canadian art along the way.

A funky pair of cheaters I picked up at Michael's because a trip outside my province isn't complete without a side-step to Michael's

Some of the Rock Fairy's rocks we left behind

and another that my sister hasn't found yet in her house (I'm safe saying that here because she almost never stops by this place).

I would show you this turtle that was wandering not far from the creek further down the nature trail

and yeah, he really is as big and scary as he looks.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you about a trip deeper into the country which was all about extra large dogs in compact cars


adventures at the pond

bug suits and willow seats


bird nests in odd places

super sized footprints

pale pink trillium

and smaller bouquet wildflowers

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that new and deep friendships were made and on Sunday morning quite a few tears were shed at the good-byes. I would wonder if crying at good-byes can be carried through the DNA because with us it is definitely a family trait.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that the trip home on the train wasn't nearly as much fun as the trip there. We ended up sharing a foursome seat with an older couple who I at first thought were Italian. As their conversation went on though, I realized it wasn't Italian but more likely one of the Slavic languages. I would tell you they had an endless bag of food and continually tried to feed us big juicy blackberries, Chinese pears and Pringles from a can. I would tell you that Riley and I really just wanted to settle in and immerse ourselves in reading but the woman of the couple decided she was going to talk to us for the 5 hour ride instead. I would tell you about these little sucking-tsking noises she would make after eating a few blackberries, trying to get the seeds out of her teeth which I tried really hard to NOT find annoying and how she would put her hand up to shield her face from us then flash her teeth at her husband to get him to look for more seeds. Then I would laugh because if you get the same kind of visual that I have burned into my memory it would really be funny after all.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that when we got home Sunday night our dog had ended up once again in the cone of shame over her glandular issues.

I would also tell you that I had to call an emergency bra day last week. Heading off to work on Wednesday I realized that with all the time spent over my conjunctivitis and blepharitis, I had neglected to do the wash and neither of my two standards were going to cut it for a day at the office so I had to call into service my emergency bra. Every woman has at least one and it can be recognized by these characteristics:

- the colour or pattern is often unconventional for underwear
- there is very little functional elastic left in it
- in spite of its inability to offer any support, it still manages to both ride up and pinch at the same time
- it refuses to be thrown out

I would definitely want to know what your emergency bra looks like.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would eventually let you get a word in edgewise then I would suggest we head over to Amy's at Lucky Number 13 to look at the photos from her antiquing weekend.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sneak Peek

Riley and I are headed out on a road trip for the weekend, a long one here in Canada, with limited or no internet access. I wanted to thank everyone who expressed concern about my eyes, they are much, much better today

Thank you.

And here is a sneak peek at my studio space which is being featured by Tracie Hanson today over at her place at mybloominglife.com

And yet another sneak peek of a tiny but great soul that crossed paths with me. I have said "no" to her so far. But she does need another two weeks to let the frostbite on her ears heal before she is officially adopted.

A rescue dog that would fit in the palm of your hand. Very laid back (spent the day in the sweater of a co-worker at my office and didn't make a peep but won over every single heart anyway. She weighs less than one pound and was found running down the highway. She was chased by someone for 18 blocks before she was caught and treated with love and respect. The other details pieced together from a full and proper veterinary examination you don't want to hear. Sometimes people just break my heart.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

{Virtual Coffee}

It's time for coffee, thank heavens! I really need this cuppa because I spent the morning in the clinic waiting room to get a diagnosis of conjunctivitis and bleferitis, although I assume it is spelled with a "ph" instead of an "f" since it is a fancy pants medical term. If I could see better I would look it up in the dictionary but I think it means the tissue around my eyes is inflamed (and this judging from my unsightly swollen eyes).

If we were meeting for coffee today I would show you the beautiful sympathy flowers Riley brought home for me last night after walking the dog, to help my eyes feel better because this swollen/red nonsense has been going on for a few days now.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would show you what I did this weekend, my new bare walls. I spent all of Sunday stripping old wall paper that has been on my walls since day 1. And I mean 1 A.D. Seven years ago, just before we moved into our house, we had managed to get some of it down and then just ran out of time and I had been looking at wallpaper literally half peeling off the walls for s-e-v-e-n years.

I think I just stopped seeing it. But one day I did see it again and it was unbearable. And if I had known what a tedious job it was going to be, I never would have started it. But I did start it so I also did my best impersonation of Martha Stewart crossed with Mike Rowe because that was one dirty job. Now the walls are ready for paint. NOT! On day 1, when the paper went up, I discovered it went up on wet plaster in spots and the whole area is going to need some serious plastering. If we were meeting for coffee today I would happily tell you that I have actually hired someone to do THAT dirty job.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would bemoan the fact that I finished my jar of Wow! sauce.

Made by The Pickle Guy himself, it is basically chopped garlic with a bit of spice. Next summer when I am back up in Cremora, Ontario, I will have to buy more than one jar.

My last piece of toast with the Wow sauce, uh huh, even for breakfast.

If we were meeting for coffee today I would tell you that on Thursday morning Riley and I are getting on a train to Toronto to visit my sister for an early birthday celebration for her and if I'm lucky I will be meeting up with The Indigo Girl at some point. And another thing that is happening on Thursday, a peek into my art studio is going to be appearing on Tracie Hanson's blog (mybloominglife.com) for her series she calls "Room to Bloom".

If we were meeting for coffee today I would now be giving you the bum's rush out the door because I think that is all my eyes can take right now and I need to go and rest them a bit and put more drops in. But there is always something good cooking over at Amy's Lucky Number 13 if you're still in the mood for more java.