Monday, October 31, 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 who sold us our house almost 16 years ago and included the hot tub in the price.  We ease ourselves into it several times a week to relieve our aching muscles.  It greatly improves my quality of life.

16.  so very grateful for family, friends and strangers who take the time to read my little missives and look at my photos.  I'm almost up to 4,000 views since May 1st.  Though it may be a drop in the bucket in the "interverse", it means a lot to me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

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.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

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 us that once we traversed the upcoming four switchbacks we'd reached a flat area not far from the top.  After the third one we'd done our hour and a half and decided to press on to the top.  By the time we could see the seventh switchback, (yes, that's seven out of four) we'd stopped for me to recover from a low bloodsugar and were concerned about how much farther there was to go.  

It seemed like we were so close, but we'd had the same thought several times in the past 20 minutes.  We hated to give up when it seemed we were almost there, but it was four o'clock and we were concerned about having to walk through the bush in the dark.  

We decided to err on the side of caution and headed back down with the promise to return another time, in the morning, with our lunch.  It took us an hour to get back down the hill with the two of us commenting on our sore knees most of the way, but the dogs bounded through the grasses with the joy and energy only children and puppies possess.

I was proud of us for getting as far as we did and I think we did the right thing turning around. The sun was starting to set and it was much cooler by the time we go to the car.

I'm really looking forward to our next attempt but for now I'm looking forward to a soak in the hot tub and a generous glass of an Argentinian Malbec.

Friday, October 28, 2011

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.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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 fragrant and moist with flavour...which reminds me I'm almost out!  Abby carries the usual Darjeeling from India and Ceylon from Sri Lanka, but she also carries several Mate teas from Argentina (which I'd never heard of)  and lots of Rooibos blends from South Africa. She has more than 200 teas and spices, including some blends that she makes herself.  If you're curious to know the contents of those blends, she'll happily tell you.

Abby doesn't stop at spice and tea either, she carries a variety of imported Italian olive oils, gourmet vinegars from Summerland, Arlo's Honey and a several other food products and accessories that you won't want to be without.  The best part is, everything is available to sample.  If you're in a rush you can call ahead and Abby will have everything ready for you, or you can even order online.  But I recommend you pop in and say hi.  Abby has a wealth of knowledge and visiting her Tea and Spice Store is really an all senses experience you don't want to fact, give me a call and we can go together - there's always something I want need...

Don't forget to check out her website.   There's a 15% off coupon you can print out before you head over.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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.

Monday, October 24, 2011

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,  it did answer the question that I've heard others ask:  Why would anyone bother to do it?

Thank you kind stranger, for bring unexpected joy into my life.

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!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

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 we shared to be fairly bland despite my companions' comments on the nice caraway flavour.  We also ordered the curried broccoli and manchego cakes, which were quite tasty, reminding me of my chicken divan recipe without the chicken. The serving was fairly small (two cakes) but it was enough to whet our appetites and we didn't want to spoil our upcoming meal.  With perfect timing, my phone vibrated as we were finishing our tapas and after settling the bill we walked back to RauDZ.

Though I had thought it would be nice to chat with some interesting strangers at the long common table, most of it had been taken over by a group of ladies who appeared to be having a bachelorette party. I was quite happy when our host directed us to a booth.  My daughter ordered the backyard lemonade to start, my husband a glass of red wine and I had a vodka martini with extra olives.  I guess he didn't hear the "s" on extra olives as my drink arrived with only two.

I had checked the online menu earlier, and was thinking about the Wild Boar Rigatoni.  As luck would have it they had just changed the menu and the Rigatoni was gone.  I was considering the Risotto, but I knew it would put my blood sugar into orbit and I didn't want to have to take large amount insulin I'd need to be able to deal with all that white rice.  I ended up ordering the Butcher Special of the day, which was a flat iron steak served over potatoes with roasted broccoli, heritage beets and a chantarelle mushroom sauce.  It was excellent.  The sauce was smooth and peppery, with thin slices of garlic and the chantarelles had nice texture and flavour.  Roasted broccoli has never appealed to me.  The tiny florettes can burn easily and get a gritty texture.  They fall off in your mouth making you think you've eaten some dirt.  The potatoes were peppery as well, with a rough mash and a darker shade that made me wonder if they'd been cooked in a beef broth. They were very tasty.  The meat was fairly tender, flavourful and almost perfectly cooked, a touch more rare than the medium rare that I ordered but I didn't mind.

My husband and daughter ordered the Coast Special, which tonight was Halibut, served with potato pave, pesto, heritage beets, and roasted vegetables including carrots, peppers and onions.  There might have been some braised fennel in there too, maybe fennel pesto? Or maybe crushed fennel on the fish itself?  There was definitely fennel somewhere but I don't quite remember.  I did have a sample and it was very good.

We finished the meal with espresso macchiato ...RauDZ does make the best of any restaurant in town.  I think he serves you double the usual amount because it's normally pretty tiny. 

(My apologies for the out of focus photos of the food.  Neither my husband nor I could figure out was was going on with my camera last night.  The flash made no difference.  It was quite frustrating but I thought I'd post anyway just to give you an idea of the look of the meal.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

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 lift him through the air
Excited eyes contain him there
The eyes of those he loves and knows
But what's this extra bed just here

His puzzled head tipped to one side
Amazement swims in those bright green eyes
Glancing down upon this thing
That make strange sounds, strange sounds that sing

In those silent happy seconds
That surround the sound of this event
A parent smile is made in moments
They have made for you a friend

And all you ever learned from them
Until you grew much older
Did not compare with when they said
This is your brand new brother

Friday, October 21, 2011

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....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

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% coverage on pump and supplies (including batteries...and you go through a lot of batteries because you can't use rechargeables).  

The pump clips onto the waistband of my pants, or my belt, or sometimes I take the clip off and just tuck it into the side of my bra.  It has a long thin tube attached to it that hooks into an infusion set, which is a bit of plastic surrounded by sticky band-aid type fabric that holds the plastic in place, where it's attached to a small plastic Teflon coated needle, called a cannula that goes into my body.   The cannula is very small and flexible and I can't even tell it's there 99.9% of the time.  Every three days I remove it and put in a new one, to prevent infection.
I've been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was diagnosed at the age of 13, but I've only been on the pump since the middle of March.  It's really caused a great improvement in my ability to control my blood glucose (BG) levels. The pump supplies a continuous basal dosage of a small amount of insulin per hour, and then anytime I eat something I do what's called a bolus dosage.  I enter the number of carbs I'm about to eat, it calculates how many units of insulin I'll need to take, and I enter that amount and hit "go".  It also has an alarm that reminds me when to test my BG after I've eaten, to make sure I don't need a little extra insulin.  If I do, I can take a little more.  In the past, if I needed a bit more, the least amount of insulin I could take would be one unit.  Now with the pump I can take as little as 0.05 units.  It really allows for the fine tuning that keeps you from taking too much insulin and having to deal with a hypoglycemic reaction (low BG level that can lead to confusion, loss of consciousness and seizures).  

With my pump, you still have to prick your finger and test your BG many times a day but that may soon change.  In the states they have something that is able to test your levels continuously, through some sort of needle under the skin, as part of a pump system.  The few people I know personally that have used it find it painful at times and it has a tendency to wake you up with a false low in the middle of the night.  I'm willing to wait until they have things more fine tuned, but I do know of a very active young athlete in Kelowna who has found it to work well for him.  They would have no medical coverage for this however since it's not approved in BC as of yet.  

I can't imagine there will ever be a unit or "artificial pancreas" that will not have to be programmed by the user in some way.  For example I don't always give myself the full amount of insulin it suggests if I know I'm going to be going for a 1/2 hour hike right after lunch.  A pump that just gave you insulin based only on what your BG was wouldn't be able to take into account so many of the variables that affect the levels of someone without a healthy pancreas.

When i was diagnosed in 1975, Type 1 Diabetes was controlled by taking one dosage of long acting insulin every morning and hoping for the best.  The only way you could have your BG checked was to go to the lab.  You checked to see how you were doing at home by peeing on a piece of paper that would change colour to tell you how much sugar was spilling into your urine.  Really not an accurate way to predict BG levels.  Before the "discovery" of animal based insulin in 1921, Type 1 Diabetes was a death sentence with few people (mostly children) living no more than a year after their diagnosis, many of them starving to death.  

I'd have to say I'm pretty lucky when I think about it.  I'm very grateful for this technology that allows me to live with better control, one of the key factors in preventing life altering complications and I'm doubly grateful for my husband's extended medical plan that allows us to afford it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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.

Monday, October 17, 2011

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 film and share it with you all.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

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.

This smelled fantastic - coconut curry veg


Saturday, October 15, 2011

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.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

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.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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.

Monday, October 10, 2011

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 hand so my daughter will be able to enjoy this soup too.  I decide to cheat on the cabbage, and I phone my husband and ask him to bring home a bag of coleslaw mix.  It's mostly cabbage anyway and the recipe calls for carrots too so I think myself quite clever.

When it comes time to add the beets to the broth and other vegetables, I deglaze the pan they were cooked in with some of the broth and a wooden spoon to get those flavourful caramelized bits stuck to the pan.

I fill the sink with hot water and bubbles while pots steam and elements tick behind me.  Looking out my back window,  I notice the ground at the base of the pear tree is littered with ripe pears.  Until now, most of them have gone straight from the ground to the compost.

Fall is a busy time for us and so often the pears are what get left behind.  I decide to rescue a few of them and start searching for small jars and weighing sugar to see if I can't throw together some pear jam.

While I search the fridge for a lemon I see the chicken carcass from last night's dinner...might as well make some chicken stock while were at it, and I pull some green onions, some celery and the last of the carrots from the crisper.

It's almost 4:00 now and my calves ache a little from being on my feet all day. When I see those jars with their rich jewelled contents, satisfaction floods through me, tinged with  a sense of anticipation that makes it all worth while.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

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 each year.  It wasn’t because they were extravagant, but because they were so thoughtful and always had a few neat little things included, like a bit of costume jewelry, nail polish and bonne belle lip gloss, or a special book mark - I still have one she gave me in high school.  
Despite the fact that she once said that she didn’t think she was very strong, I think she’s one of the strongest women I know.  Like the insect with the homonymic name of  ant, my Aunt Linda has shown me over and over, that she can carry many times her own weight.
Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in her later years and thanks to my Aunt, my Nana was able to live in her own home almost until to the end of her life.  So may times over the last few years of my mother’s illness, My Aunt stood in for my sister and I who live so far away; nursing her after surgeries, taking her to chemo appointments, staying with her to give my father a much needed break.  Though they lived almost 1000 miles apart, My Aunt and my mother spoke on the phone several times a day.  She was there for my Mom in ways my sister and I could never be and I can never thank her enough for that.  
When my mom passed away my Aunt was a lifeline for my sister, my father and I, putting aside her own sadness to guide us as we stumbled through the unfamiliar steps of grief and funeral arrangements, always careful not to interfere but always there when we needed her.  We would have fallen apart without her.  I have to also thank my Mom’s brother and his wife who were also there with their invaluable helpfulness, strength and humour.  
When my Dad decided to drive out west, sharing the driving from Kenora with my husband and brother-in-law, it was my Aunt who flew out, had a quick visit in Vancouver and Kelowna and was there to provide companionship, egg salad sandwiches and breaks for my father on the long drive back to Ontario.
My Aunt is a kind and generous woman, with a delight and appreciation for the little things in life.  I was reminded of that on her recent visit when a waiter brought us  a tray of lollipops at the end of our meal. She picked one up and as she unwrapped it she began to sing “lollipop, lollipop oh, lolli lolli lolli, ...”  The waiter gave her an uncertain smile and she smiled right back at him telling him “Life is a song!”   He smiled back at her and said “I know.”  
Life is a song and my Aunt knows all the words: Help people when you can and be grateful for the little things I thank her for teaching them to me and hope we’ll get the chance to sing them together in harmony, very soon.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

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!