Showing posts from October, 2011

Family, Friends and Strangers

It's Gratitude Monday once again and though my plan was to list five things I'm grateful for each week, today's theme of thanking family, friends and strangers led me to come up with six off the top of my head so I'm breaking the rules already.  (A wise person once taught me the way to succeed was to learn the rules and then break them.)

So today I am:

11. grateful for my busy daughter and husband who do whatever it takes to keep our family traditions alive, getting up early this morning to carve the pumpkin together.
12.  grateful for my friend Janet who is a wonderful listener, a talented photographer, has a kind heart and a generous soul.

13.  grateful for the funny, crazy, smart, kind, thoughtful and supportive women in my book club.  You've enriched my life in so many ways.
14.  grateful for CBC radio for the daily companionship, the balanced newscasts and the intelligent programming that teaches me so much. (Happy 75th Birthday!)
15.  grateful to the people…

Feeding Time at the Zoo

Here's another little something that happens every day.  At 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. the sound of kibble being poured into ceramic and metal bowls brings cats and dogs running to the kitchen.  This evening, Toulouse, my daughter's tuxedo cat, showed up after everyone had finished.  Sometimes she prefers a table for one.

And Miles to Go Before I Sleep

At 2:00 this afternoon, my husband and I and our two dogs set out to conquer The Sleeping Lady, as we are now calling her.  I'd done some research online and discovered that it was an 11.5 km hike that would take three hours and would bring us up to the highest part of the mountain, where there are several communication towers. (I like to imagine she's having a little acupuncture on her shoulder).  
It was hard to tell from the website whether it was an 11.5 km hike up to the top or if that was the length of a round trip.  We set out with the goal of hiking for an hour and half and deciding how far we would go from there. 

I was surprised to discover we had to go around the back of the mountain.  It wasn't too steep, except for the stretch past these cows, and there were some beautiful views when you turned to look back down the valley at the lake.
About half way up we found ourselves walking through a wooded area dominated by pale orange tamaracks.  The directions told u…

Sooner than Later

Got my computer back this afternoon, so I have all my photos at hand and am posting the shots I referred to earlier today.   I was curious to see the difference in the state of the trees and as I suspected, we are a bit behind in the fallen leaf department compared to this time last year..
Gyro Beach October 28, 2010 late afternoon.
Gyro Beach October 28, 2011 @ 12:46

Back to the Beach

One year ago today, I took some pictures at Gyro Beach.  The sky was doing something that I've only ever noticed here in Kelowna.  Part of it was dark with smokey charcoal clouds and in another part of the sky the sun shone, sending brilliant golden light onto the fallen leaves.  It created some warm and rich oranges and yellows,  and long, deep blue shadows.  I wanted to post one of those photos from last year, and compare it to a photo I took today,  exactly one year later, but unfortunately my laptop is in the shop and that's where those photos are.  I will eventually post the two but for now I'll share a picture I took of the lake.  

Though the day is overcast the light allowed this optical illusion on the water.  I love how you can't really tell where the posts end and the reflection begins.

Autumn Leaves Me Speechless

Gyro Beach @ 2:52

Tea and Spice and Everything Nice

Any Chef worth his  or her salt will tell you the best way to make a good meal is to start with the best ingredients.  If you're going to take the time to hunt down fresh produce, and  purchase quality cuts of meat it would be a crying shame to add old herbs and spices to those favourite recipes.  Take heart!  If you live in the Okanagan, Abby's Spice & Tea Store has you covered.
If you haven't visited Abby in the Stewart Centre on Kirschner, you don't know what you're missing!  She's brought in herbs and spices from the four corners of the globe:  smoky Paprika from Spain, Cloves from Madagascar, Allspice from Jamaica and Star Anise from China to name just a few.  And it's all so fresh!  The Marash pepper I buy from her is so moist with essential chili oils, I have to make sure I put it right into a jar so it doesn't eat through the plastic bag she sends home with me.

And her teas are just as fresh.  The Market Spice tea I bought in May is still f…

No Bull

The past couple of weeks, I've noticed that every time I go past Thompson Farm on Gordon Drive, there seems to be more and more cattle out there.  I don't know the difference between a Black Angus or a Welsh Black, a cow is a cow to me....or maybe they're bulls.  Something tells me not ...and I didn't see any horns.  All I know is they look so glossy and cute sitting there leisurely chewing their cud like they don't have a care in the world.  Still, I don't think I'm going to get into the pasture with them any time soon.

The Kindness of Strangers

I walked the dogs along the Mission Creek Greenway this morning for a change of scenery.  If you've ever strolled along the south side of the creek, between the dog park and bridge on Casorso, you'll have noticed a little evergreen tree that's always decorated according to the season.  I can't tell you exactly where it is, so it's always an absolute delight to stumble upon when I'm wandering along the pathway.
I've often wondered who's responsible:  a retired Elementary School Teacher with lots of decorations left from her teaching days?  A home daycare provider that takes her charges to the Greenway to help decorate at every holiday  or change of season?  Little elves that slip out of the forest at dawn before anyone can catch them?  I don't think I'll ever know, and I think that makes it all the more magical.
Today for the first time I noticed a note attached to the tree. Though it didn't give me any clues as to who the decorator might be,…

Gratitude Monday

6.  I'm grateful for my daughter who when asked "Would you make me breakfast?" replied "What would you like?"

7.  I'm grateful for the website Flickr that allowed me to look at these stunning photos of Ramadan giving me a window on a world I know very little of.  Do check out the link and select Slide Show on the right to spend a few minutes in wonder.

8.  I'm grateful for yet another sunny day.  Hello vitamin D!

9.  I'm grateful I live in a democratic country where we can speak our minds without fear of retribution.

10.  I'm grateful for my first full night's sleep after almost three years of tossing, turning and pain.  Thank you Dr. Goldberg!

RauDZ Report

Yesterday my Facebook status announced I was going out for dinner.  My sister-in-law asked me for a detailed report on the evening's menu.  Naturally I always do what I'm told, so here it is!
We arrived at RauDZ on Water Street at 5:50.  Unfortunately they don't take reservations and there was no room at the Inn.  There was an hour and fifteen minute wait and the host suggested we go somewhere else for drinks first, offering to take our phone number and call us when our table was ready.  We decided to go for it and walked down Bernard, picking up our daughter from work on the way.  My husband had the great idea of going to The Rotten Grape for wine and tapas.  Luckily it's easy to find a seat there at this time of year.  
My daughter and I chose The View's Red Shoe Red and my husband ordered a glass of Red Rooster's Cabernet Merlot   I'd recently brushed my teeth and found the wine a bit tart.  My taste buds did seem off a bit as I found the Baba Ghanoush …

The Greatest Discovery

When my youngest nephew was born, I came up with a brilliant gift idea.  I would take a photograph of him and his older brother and then frame it along with the lyrics to a favourite Elton John song of mine.  Like many brilliant ideas I've had in the past, it never came to fruition.  I discovered the intended photo this afternoon while "having a turn out" as my mother-in-law used to say.   My youngest nephew is now 20 years old, and his brother is 24.  Better late than never I always say.
"The Greatest Discovery"

Peering out of tiny eyes
The grubby hands that gripped the rail
Wiped the window clean of frost
As the morning air laid on the latch

A whistle awakened someone there
Next door to the nursery just down the hall
A strange new sound you never heard before
A strange new sound that makes boys explore

Tread neat so small those little feet
Amid the morning his small heart beats
So much excitement yesterday
That must be rewarded must be displayed

Large hands l…

Another Cozy Corner

Popped into the Mission Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library system this morning and was met by this cozy little vignette all decked out for Hallowe'en with twinkling pumpkins.  It made me want to stop and sit a spell, but I had places to be and people to see.  Took a quick iPhone shot and picked up a book on Red Cross Volunteers in England during WWII.  Of course I couldn't leave without checking out the 641's grabbing two cookbooks - one on the flavours of Morocco, the other on Mediterranean Grilling.  Stay tuned....

Pumping Insulin

When I think about it, I'm surprised I haven't posted a photo of my insulin pump before now.  When it comes to things that are an important part of my day, I'd have to say my pump is at the top of my list, even above my husband, kids and pets.
The first thing I want to explain is that the fact that I'm on an insulin pump doesn't mean I have "the bad kind of diabetes", (there is no good kind of diabetes).  It doesn't mean that my diabetes is worse than some who isn't on a pump.  It means that I'm a Type One Diabetic who has decided to control my diabetes with an insulin pump rather than giving myself anywhere from 4 to 8 injections of insulin each day using a syringe or insulin pen.  It can also mean that I have an excellent extended medical plan, or that I'm willing to spend a lot of money on the initial purchase of the pump ($6,995 plus tax) and monthly supplies ($250).  I'm relieved to say it's the former and I have 100% coverag…

Afternoon Delight

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen.  It's where I do so many of the things I love to do -  cook, write,  and listen to CBC to name just a few.  And I  clean....  always clean... You'd think it'd be the cleanest room in the house.  Let's not go there.
There's something I love about the quality of the afternoon light that streams through the kitchen windows this time of year.  I can't explain it, but I tried to capture it. 

Mountain Lady Redux

On September 30th,  I posted a photo of Black Knight Mountain, known only to me I think, as The Lady of the Mountain.  It was a back-lit photo, so the image might not have been as clear to those of you who don't look at it everyday and automatically see what I see.  I thought I'd give you a better look today and post this shot that was taken in the early afternoon.
The lady lies on her side the highest point being her shoulder. If you follow the line down her arm and move into the foreground, you'll reach her elbow.  In this shot, on the right I can really see the definition of her head, her chin in particular and I can see her hair flowing down off her brow, to the right.

I'm thinking you'll see it a little better now...or maybe it's just my active imagine and the influence of growing up in Sioux Lookout, not too far from The Sleeping Giant in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Last Monday on Thanksgiving afternoon,  a visit to The Pear Tree led me to a blog called Feel LOVD Every Day.  It's author Lily is a jewellery designer and blogger living in Ohio.  On Mondays she posts a gratitude journal - five things she's thankful for that day.  Just for fun I thought I'd start doing the same thing here on Mondays, a day that I don't often feel grateful for.  Here's the first five:
1.  I'm grateful for my husband, for his unflagging support, encouragement and patience.

2.  I'm grateful for my children who make me proud every day.

3.  I'm grateful for my artist/writer friend Jeannie Peterson who is so helpful and encouraging  not just while I've been working on my book, but since I first met her more than ten years ago.

4.  I'm grateful for my friend and writer Susanna Kearsley who has been an invaluable help with my research.

5.  I'm grateful for the beauty of a sunny autumn morning and the opportunity to capture it on …

Sunny Sunday

Though there's no denying summer has ended, you'll still find a few hearty souls enjoying Kelowna beaches, making the most of a  sunny Sunday afternoon in October.

Infinite Frustration

This stunning sculpture of a mobius strip with the title Infinity is located in front of the Kelowna Public Library.  
I have tried to remain positive and non-critical in my blog and I feel I've done a good job so far, but at my 153rd post, I cannot pretend to be positive about my experience at the library today.

I was extremely disappointed in the Okanagan Regional Library System this afternoon.  An employee in the Information department was less than helpful and I'm frustrated that someone who  has a degree in Library science or at the very least a Library Technoloigst's diploma, did not have the ability to find me once piece of fiction, memoir, biography, film or DVD set in pre-World War II Britain in their catalog.

Canadian Maple

A maple leaf in the morning sun.

Maple keys in the afternoon sun.

Flight of the Bumblebee

There's something I love about bumblebees.  They're just so big and juicy compared to honey bees and they look like they're covered in soft yellow fur.

Years ago, I heard someone say that aerodynamically, bumblebees shouldn't be able to fly, but since they don't know, they do anyway.  In the back of my mind, I felt it couldn't be true, but it didn't know any better, so I repeated the story anyway.

Today I Googled it and guess what?  It is kinda true.  It's too complicated to explain here, but Ask Dr. Galapagos is a good place to start if you're curious.

The Tao of Pitou

Max is now four months old and as of October 20th he'll have been part of our family for two months.  In that short time, he's more than doubled his weight.  When we got him he was about the same size as Pitiou, at 18lbs.  At his last check up two weeks ago he was 37 and I imagine he's added a pound or two since then.  If you want to see how much he's grown, have a look at my favourite blog post "That's What Big Brothers Are For" and compare it to the photos below.

Max:  I dunno Bro, it still scares me every time. Pitou:  Courage is not the absence of fear, but the strength to go on in spite of it.

That Pitou is one smart little big brother.

My Point of View

Such a beautiful day to walk on the ridge.

Hello Lakeview Heights.

And a lovely view of the W.R. Bennett Bridge.

All in a Day's Work

There's something about a cool wet autumn morning that puts me in the mood to make soup.  It's my favourite thing to cook, my favourite thing to eat, and my favourite way to tell my family I love them.  
I plan to use up the last of the harvest from our backyard garden.  With lots of carrots left and a few beets, I begin with curried roasted carrot soup.  I choose vegetable broth since my daughter is vegetarian.  Many recipes I've read in the past recommend throwing the spices in with the softened veggies, rather than later with the broth and roasted carrots as this recipe says.  I sprinkle the curry into the frying pan and reap the rewards as the kitchen is filled with a heavenly aroma.
Once the first batch is simmering on a back burner, I troll the internet for a traditional Russian Borscht.   I give thanks to my mother for the pink rubber gloves she brought me as a hostess gift one visit as I shred beets into a bowl.  Luckily I have some beef flavoured vegetable broth on…

The Mighty Aunt

There are many things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving; family and friends, good health, my PVR, but what tops the list for me this year would be my Auntie. If you are lucky enough to have an Aunt that is your mother’s sister, you’ll understand what I mean when I say there is a special bond between this kind of Aunt and a niece.  This photo was taken when my Aunt was here a couple of weeks ago, and it gave me much pleasure to give her my favourite throw to wrap around her (a gift from her), while she sat in the sun in my favourite spot on the deck.  I served her tea in the teacup I bought at Buckingham Palace, while she took a rare moment for herself, joined by Oliver who substituted for her Gracie.  I’ve always felt a strong kinship with my Aunt, encouraged by the fact that my mother would often call me by her name, and compliment me by saying “You sound just like Linda.”   We have many likes and dislikes in common, and as a child I always looked forward to her Christmas presents e…

Thanksgiving Harvest

Here we are at Thanksgiving already.  My husband was in the garden this morning, digging up and picking the final harvest of the season.  It's been a great year for our garden, I hope you've had a successful year as well.  Despite the fact that Max dug up a quite a number of our carrots and beets, we managed to get a fair bit for the last pick.  I'm so looking forward to having some of these roasted under our Thanksgiving chicken tomorrow.
We never get much of a harvest from the grape vine (yes, vine) that grows up against the back porch, but these are the tastiest ones in five years.  So sorry you missed them Dad!

And lastly our cherry and pear tomatoes.  I think we'll probably get a few more here and there over the next week, but they'll probably disappear before they get from the garden to the house.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  We have so much to be thankful for!