Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday With Salmagundi

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

This morning my routine was disrupted by a whining Ridgeback.  I pulled the sliding glass door back and forth several times but Max didn't seem to want to go out.  I'd fed him and there was lots of water in his dish.  I tried the "Lassie Routine" - asked him if Timmy was in the well and walked past him to see if he'd lead me to discover Pitou in need of help.  He watched me walk away, a piteous look on his face.

 I think he was upset because his routine was disrupted this morning.  Max usually lies on the couch for a bit after breakfast, as does Pitou. 

Our living room and dining room furniture is now in the kitchen as we're getting a light re-finish of the hardwood floor today. It seems the dogs are not happy with that arrangement.
As soon as I put something a little more comfortable on the floor, Max took up his usual spot.  
He still looks a bit worried though.

Cats on the other hand, are more adaptable.....

Monday, January 21, 2013

Grateful for Music

"There are only two kinds of music.  Good and Bad" Duke Ellington
Oh how I do love music.  It's been a part of my life since before I was born when my Mom sang in the church choir with me listening intently from within.  It relaxes me, cheers me, calms me, saddens me, uplifts me, makes me work harder on the eliptical, makes walking up the ridge incredibly easy and thanks to headphones makes grocery shopping bearable.  This week I'm very grateful for being surrounded by music in it's many forms.

I'm grateful for the variety of music I get exposed to on CBC radio everyday.  Thanks to shows like Q, Canada Live, Radio West and Daybreak South, I can hear hip hop, folk, country, classical, jazz, pop, opera, indigenous music and lots of indie and local bands you don't hear on the local top 40 and Classic Rock stations.

I'm very grateful for Rosemary Thompson who's been the Music Director at the Okanagan Symphony for 6 years now.  She's brought some wonderful guest performers in and we were lucky enough to see guitarist Daniel Bolshoy perform one of my favourites...Conceirto de Aranjuez this past Friday night.  That's the tune I referred to in a post about Chris inspired Miles' Davis's "Sketches of Spain" and Chic Chorea's "Spain".

I'm so grateful Shelly Vida posted an invite to the Locarno concert at The Rotary Centre this past Saturday.  It was a high energy performance with some very talented musicians. If you get a chance to see them GO!

I'm grateful that listening to performers inspires me to perform myself.  Though I have nothing planned for public consumption in the near future, I do enjoy throwing a CD on and singing while I work.  If you want to hear what I sound like, you can listen to a sample from my CD "Between Love and Fascination" on iTunes or any of the download sites.

I'm grateful for my husband's love of latin music that has exposed me to so many new forms of the genre and like cumbia and Venezuelan harp music.

I'm grateful my son has an outlet for his love of music.  His band Astrakan is doing very well Vancouver's heavy metal scene.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Go Dog Go!

My little Pitou is such a trouper.  He's a determined little guy who won't let a little snow keep him from chasing his big little brother.  We really enjoyed the Mission Ridge yesterday afternoon and I'm about to head out and enjoy it with a little sunshine today.

Hope this makes you smile.

  The only way I can find to make the vide bigger is to go to your menu at the top of your desktop and select "view", "zoom in" - on a Mac the short cut is "Command" and "+".  Not sure about PC's.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grateful for People

This Monday I'm feeling very grateful for the kind, generous, thoughtful, creative, people who are a part of my life.

I'm grateful for all of those who have contributed to the wishing tree.  It's really taken on a life of it's own.  Last week I put out a thank you note accompanied by a gift bag of Hersey's kisses, with an encouragement to "share these small tokens of thanks with your neighbours."  When I pulled into the driveway on the weekend I thought someone had taken the bag.  On closer inspection the gift bag had been placed inside a clear plastic bag so you could still see the note. Inside the bag I found a collection of polished rocks, smooth and round on one side, and on the other, flat with the engraving you see in the photo.  I have no idea who put them there.

I'm very thankful for my friend Donna who happened to overhear someone in her snowshoeing group talking about their renovations.  She passed on the phone number of a tile setter the gentleman had used and I'm finally getting my backsplash installed at the end of this week!

I'm extremely grateful for my friend Anne Louise, my writing buddy (and former editor for a Toronto publisher) who was able to find some time to read my first chapter.  With her encouragement and suggestions I really feel like publication is more than just a pipe dream.

I'm grateful for Dave our friend and neighbour.  On Saturday we shared a lovely Indian themed evening with dinner at Poppadom's (his treat!) followed by Life of Pi at The Grand and a lovely glass bottle of Sandhill Syrah at his home where we heard some tales of his father's adventures in India.

Though I don't know Ang Lee  personally, I do want to express gratitude for him.  He's made some truly beautiful movies and Life of Pi is a visual feast.  I was going to link to the trailer but after watching it I think it shows too much.  I think you'd rather experience it on the big screen.  It's easy to see why people want to watch more than once.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Sun!

We've been blessed with sunshine for four of the last five days.  The local weather forecast is not looking as bright for the rest of this week so I thought I'd post some of the shots I took on Friday when Pitou and I stopped for some Vitamin D at Rotary Beach.  I'm very pleased with the quality of the photos on my new 4S iPhone.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Top Five

I've been writing, writing, writing this week.  Mostly transcribing the conversations that Reg and I had this past September.  I can't wait to get these stories into the memoir.  Anyone who blogs knows how time consuming it is so I'm going to cheat a little today.  We're still early enough in the year to do a  top ten list aren't we?  I thought ten might be a bit much so I took some inspiration from Lilly's blog  Feel LOVD Everyday and listed five of my favourite posts from January to November 2012.  I left out December since you probably looked at them recently.  The wishing tree is probably the true Number 1 in terms of the number of visitors.

Number 5:
I love this shot of the band at the Chris Botti concert we went to in June.  Have a look at Oh What a Night.  Do follow the link to my post on From the Valley and Beyond to see some more great shots  (how often do I brag about my photos?) and read the concert review.  Not sure why there's only one photo on Pocketful of Memory Cards.  I guess I was trying to get back to my original premise.

Number 4:
I had to include a day in New York City.  This day was one of the top two...From Bleeker to Bemmelmens.

Number 3:
I like the way the photos tell a story and I love the surprise ending of How to Remove a Giant Ponderosa Pine.

Number 2:
My mother passed her wedding dress on to me during a basement purge and it sat in a mangled box on my closet shelf for many years.  I hoped that my daughter would wear it, either for her wedding or perhaps her prom, but she didn't inherit the delicate DNA my wasp waisted Mother and Mother-in-law carried.  I thought about selling the dress in a vintage clothing store but I couldn't bring myself to give it away.  I thought about displaying it and lamented the fact that a dress maker's dummy was way out of budget.  A few days later I made a serendipitous discovery at HomeSense.  Check out Wordless WEDnesday

Number 1:
Can't help lovin' that man of mine.  Sometimes I think our conversations would make good sit-com dialogue, like the exchange in my post How Much is Too Much?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Grateful for Snow

I really enjoy the snow.  I grew up in a part of the world where the first snowfall was usually around Hallowe'en, and there was still ice on the lake in May.  I have extremely fond memories of my childhood/early teen winters.

I remember the big hill in the woods at the end of our street where kids would gather  with wooden toboggans and crazy carpets.  There was figure skating in the backyard rinks and cheering on our high school hockey team (Go Warriors!) in freezing cold arenas.  One of my favourite memories was cross-country skiing through fluffy powder while blue shadows stretched over the moonlit snow of our only golf course.  We had bonfires at our camp on the frozen beach, while the cold air intensified the savoury aroma of Maple Leaf hotdogs and scorched marshmallows.  We went power tobogganing (that's what they called snowmobiles in the early days), with my parents and their friends who brought along suede covered wineskins and thermoses of hot chocolate.  There were winter saunas and jagged holes in the ice filled with black water that the braver/crazier/Norwegian people jumped into.

 I recall making snow forts with my sister and the routine required to get ready to go out and play...corduroys and a turtle neck, pant legs stuffed into grey knit socks with a red stripe around the top.  You pulled a hat over your head, lay your quilted snowsuit on the floor and slid into one leg while your Mom zippered you up from the bottom of the other leg, right up to your chin...ouch that pinches!  Then you struggled into your boot liners, warm and toasty since they'd been sitting on the furnace vent since the last time you were out. Mom helped you into your boots and wrapped a scarf around your neck a half dozen times.  If it was really cold, she'd wrap it across your forehead too.  She pulled the hat down over your ears, tucked you hair in and helped you with your mittens, pushing them under your sleeves.  Once you were outside, it wasn't long before they came untucked. By the end of the afternoon balls of snow were stuck to the wool and you could no longer ignore the stinging red strip of skin between your mitten and sleeve.  That was how you knew when it was time to go in.

When we moved to Kelowna where it snows from December to February, (if you're lucky into early March), I made my husband promise that in the years when the snow fall was light, he would take me up to the ski hill, not to go skiing, but just to walk in the snow.  I do love the snow, and today I'm very grateful for all we've received in the past three days.  There was a snowfall warning this morning and depending on which radio station you listen to we're due for 10 to 15cm today.  *Sigh*.  I'm in heaven!

I'm also grateful for my amazing neighbour, who snowblowed my driveway while I was out grocery shopping this morning.

I'm grateful that even though the roads hadn't been plowed at 8 this morning, it was fairly easy to get around as long as you stayed below 40kph.  

I'm grateful I did my grocery shopping this morning so I can enjoy the rest of the day without worrying what the roads will be like later.

I'm grateful I have snowshoes which I plan to wear when I take the dogs up the hill later today.

I'm grateful that we are blessed to have so many things available to us to enjoy the winter weather and keep us warm and toasty inside when it's not so enjoyable.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Revisiting The Wishing Tree

Early in December I followed the instructions on Day 8 of the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar and made a Wishing Tree in a corner of my front yard.  It might surprise you, but I gave it some serious thought before I did it.  In the past, doing things that are outside the mainstream have brought me mocking comments or eye rolling from some of the people I know.  Then there was the fact that in the past our car had been vandalized with an obscenity, requiring  a new paint job.  Some of the moonlights in the front yard had been stolen or broken, and there are a few fences and stop signs in the neighbourhood with graffiti on them.  I was concerned that I'd be constantly replacing stolen pens and markers and that some people would write rude comments on the wish tags, or use the markers for more graffiti. 

I decided to ignore the imagined mockers, and since I had committed to the Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar, I was committed to following through on the Wishing Tree.  I would deal with the missing pens and ignore writing that was rude.  I didn't think I'd get much response anyway.

Within a few days every concern I had was turned on it's head.  Wishes filled the branches of the tree.  I wasn't constantly replacing pens, I was constantly adding more blank tags. The comments were generous, thankful and kind, and many brought a tear to my eye.  One writer got very enthusiastic about a wish for changes to gun laws and a few days later I noticed someone had crossed out a word that might have offended some.  The local media even posted an online video about the tree, expressing the hope that it would become an annual event.

Come the first of January I intended to retire the tree for the season but things have been a bit busy. (My Christmas tree is still in the process of being undecorated.) Yesterday I posted a Thank You and planned to take down the wishes.  I hadn't put any tags out for a while and was surprised to discover that people had started writing on the backs of the hanging tags, and some had even torn pages out of notebooks to post their wishes. As you can see in the photo someone got very creative.

I read the tags once more, many of them new to me, and I was touched by the good will, the hopes, the dreams and the longing expressed by people I didn't know, people I had judged, based on the actions of a few.  I was overwhelmed by a desire to help, to hug the people dealing with loss and uncertainty, and to thank people for their gratitude ...but the wishes were anonymous.  It brought to mind a quote I've come across a number of times "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."   Be kind.  It's often an easy thing to do but sometimes it isn't.  Sometimes being kind is challenge when someone is treating you unkindly.  The quote reminded me that you never know what's going on behind the scenes and a little kindness can make a big difference in the lives of those who are struggling.  

I couldn't bring myself to take the wishes off the tree.  It just didn't feel like they belonged to me and by taking them down I felt I was taking away the chance for the wishes to come true.  I'm not sure what the next step will be for the Wishing Tree, but I'm sure my wish to figure something out will come true.