Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Magic

My Christmas was magical, wonderful, delicious & just plain fun.

We started one week ago with a lovely visit from my youngest sister and niece. They drove 2 1/2 hours through awful weather conditions to visit my mother and us. Here we are sharing a moment and posing for photographer - Don.

Then on to Christmas Eve with a trip to our daughters home for our traditional pyjama party, loads of yummy hors d'oeuvres .... meatballs with pomegranate sauce, Spanakopita, sausage rolls, delicious homemade cream of tomato soup, sourdough bread, mini quiche & more.

Then our annual viewing of the Polar Express movie.

Zander and Poppa snuggled up in one corner of the sofa, Sebrina & I with Miss Gabriella snuggled between us .... a moment with Mommy for a cuddle then over to Mammy for a cuddle. Ryan, Jayden and daddy on the floor and Nanny in her wing chair which Mike kindly carried up to the loft for her.

After the movie the children went to bed after leaving a treat for Santa and the reindeer and we left to go home too. You know everyone has to be in bed asleep before Santa will visit.

In the morning, we got up and opened our stockings. New dress socks, a DVD, a book for Don and his favourite chocolate Toblerone. For me a new book "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini who also wrote "The Kite Runner", a gift card from Starbucks (YUMMY) and David Fosters new Hit Man DVD/CD. We filled a stocking for my mom which she thoroughly enjoyed ... crossword puzzle books, a computerized Sudoku game, maple sugar candy and chocolate for her too. She was quite overwhelmed and said she had not had a stocking since she was a little girl.

Then a yummy breakfast of sausage and quiche with homemade raisin toast.

After breakfast we three opened our gifts.

Sweaters & shirts and Toronto Maple Leaf goodies for Don.

A red & black herringbone wrap to keep her warm and the Clapper for mom to help her get her lights turned on when she's going upstairs.

And for me this beautiful gold bracelet and then the biggest surprise of all ................

Tickets to the "Jersey Boys" which incidentally I have been talking about since it opened in Toronto a few months ago.

So as I unwrapped this last package, I discovered tickets for row F in the orchestra section dated for Valentines Day.

Now it was time to get dressed and head over to our daughters for the real fun of the day.

We were greeted with the usual excitement at the door ... regaled with stories of who got what from Santa.

I unpacked all of our gifts (which incidentally Santa left at our home for the grand babies) and placed them around the tree. Then we all gathered together to open presents, one at a time please so we can try to make the fun last and all enjoy what each child is getting.

New Roots hoodies for each of the boys, new books, the Star Wars Clone Wars game for the Wii along with new Star Wars light sabers.

A new hand knit poncho for Gabriella along with a collectible Li Bien ornament. (These are individually painted through a small opening in each glass ornament on the interior surface. It's delicate, intricate work painted in reverse to create a one-of-a-kind keepsake). Two new Madonna books, "The English Roses & "Mr. Peabody's Apples". A complete set of kitchen pots & pans, mixing bowls & tools, tea set and hand carved wooden fruit to go along with the beautiful new handmade wooden kitchen that Santa left.

Then the biggest excitement of all was when we gave each of the boys a remote controller and Mike a new blue ray disc.

Jayden our middle grandson immediately upon opening said "These are for a PS3 (gaming system), so Don went into the bedroom and brought out another package. As he came out he said, "I almost forgot Santa left this parcel at our house for you too." All four of them, Ryan, Jayden, Zander and our big boy Mike had fun pulling the paper off to reveal their new and best gift a new PlayStation 3.

Then when all the fun was over, Sebrina headed out to the kitchen to lay out a delicious dinner, turkey, stuffing, ham, lingonberry sauce, homemade (artery clogging) three cheese & full cream baked macaroni, yams and white potatoes mixed & mashed and delicious gravy all washed down with a scrumptious sparkling Italian white wine.

Then coffee, liquors (for the adults) and pumpkin cheesecake.

I can still feel how uncomfortable my stomach felt after this feast just thinking about all this food.

We had a wonderful, magical day of love, giving and sharing with our beautiful family.

I hope you all had a magical day too.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who Me??

Today, I was given this "Love Your Blog" award from Julie at Moments of Perfect Clarity.

Thank you Julie for your very kind words, and may I suggest to those of you who pop in to read my words, swing on over to meet Julie. Her posts never fail to delight, educate, enlighten & amuse me.

I'll be posting a little later on about my wonderful, heart warming and delicious Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Grateful Friday

Today I am so grateful for my sister.

Although we spent most of our life separated, today we have been fortunate enough to have found each other again.

I have a few memories of Frannie when I was a child, but as she is 11 years older than me we didn't share our childhood or teenage years together.

Whenever I think of her the most prominent thought to come to my mind is "giver".

There is not much she would not do for someone she loves.

When our oldest sister was dying from AML, Frannie was there ..... every day .... all day .... sitting with Gina, helping her with her bathing, reading to her, singing to her or just holding her. She gave her all the love she could in her last months and was there with her as she moved on to her next life.

And this is not the first palliative patient that she has cared for in their final days.

Fran herself has fought cancer and won. Years ago she lost a breast to cancer and she shared with me the words she wrote in her journal during that time ... her feelings, her fears, her triumphs - what a privilege.

She has suffered terrible financial losses resulting in the loss of their very home, but does she feel that the world is out to get her? Not at all - material possessions, financial gain are inconsequential to her. She is happy with her lot in life.

Today, she is am amazing woman who doesn't let these incidences in her life affect her ability to love deeply and give enormously.

She has a wonderful sense of humour and whenever we spend time together there is never a shortage of laughter and just plain old fun!

So today I say with an attitude of gratitude - thank you for this woman I am proud to call "Sister".

I borrowed these edited wishes from Moments of Perfect Clarity. (Julie I hope you don't mind).

Although I wish this for my sister, I also wish these for all family & friends dear to my heart.

1. Laughter every day.
2. A song to go with every occasion.
3. An ability to rest easy within herself.
4. To see her own worth.
5. To pick her loyalties wisely.
6. To be able to recognize her talents.
7. To use those talents to their utmost.
8. Rich, full encounters with interesting, engaging people.
9. Thick, full, fluffy hair.
10. To appreciate what others do for her.
11. To "use the difficulty." as Michael Caine once said on Parkinson
12. Patience.
13. Great love.
14. Building wonderful memories.
15. Peace within herself.
16. Many good friends.
17. People around her who stimulate her intellectually.
18. People around her who stimulate her emotionally.
19. Satisfaction.
20. Getting over the past.
21. Moving on to towards the future.
22. Happiness.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a big thank you to my faithful readers. I cherish the blog friendships I have made and the opportunities to see the world through others eyes.

Thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to read my blog and for your comments. I truly value each and every one of them.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Photo courtesy of Brungrrl's

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Little Extra Gratitude

I feel an attitude of gratitude today that I am able to be in a supportive role for my mother.

She is eating less and seems to be getting more depressed. I hope that the leadup to this week - the first Christmas without my dad - is the main reason.
Unfortunately we find that her sadness translates to her becoming very tense which shows in both her face and body language. This in turn translates to tension between the three of us, we share the tension and then pass it back and forth. This makes for very uncomfortable living conditions. Sometimes the tension is so thick I feel I could chew through it.

Last night I decided to re-read "The Four Agrements" paying extra special attention to the second and third agreement.

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
2. Do Not Take Anything Personnally
3. Do Not Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best

So today I am grateful that I am here and able to support my mother through this very difficult time in her life and remind myself when I feel impatient or resentful just how enormous the loss is that she has suffered.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Wish This Could Last Forever

Yesterday I had a lovely surprise when I was shopping.

As I was loading my groceries into my cart, I heard someone say .... "Don't scan that twice Jayden."

Thinking to myself, "what an unusual name unless you are my grandson or Will Smith's son", I thought to turn around to see who this child was named Jayden.

As I turned around I saw three little boys, scanning and packing groceries. It took a minute to realize that those three little boys were my little grand babies.

As soon as I said something they all came running over, nearly knocking me down with hugs and kisses.

Then I heard before I saw Miss Gabriella trapped in the shopping cart, arms spread wide calling "Mimi, Mimi".

Ryan, my oldest wanted me to come back to their house of course. I told him I was quite busy, but he insisted that I come for "just a cup of tea". Then he asked if he could come in my car with me. He's a big boy, you know and doesn't need a car seat any more. So I said of course he could come with me.

Then Zander wanted to come as well. My daughter tried the standard bribe, "Zander if you come with me, you can have a piece of chocolate". Zander stood for a moment, contemplating this and then ran over to me and said. "I want to go with Mammy."

Is there anyone more fortunate in life than I am? I am more important to my grand babies than chocolate.

What more could I ask for????

Let It Snow

Well, it's finally here ..... We are getting our first severe winter snowstorm.

Here's the forecast for Ontario:

"Major winter storm with heavy snow and blowing snow. This is a warning that dangerous winter weather conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Snow and blowing snow has now overspread most of the warned area. A general snowfall of 15 to 20 centimetres is expected across the district by this evening. Northeast winds of 40 km/h gusting to 60 km/h will give frequent whiteout conditions with blowing snow. Conditions will be especially severe near the shores of the lower lakes where winds gusting to 80 km/h are expected. Furthermore embedded snow squalls off Lake Ontario will likely result in a few local totals of 30 centimetres."

Stay in, stay safe, stay warm and have a wonderful, wintry weekend.

Light a fire, have a hot toddy, grab a great book or watch a good movie - maybe "Casablanca" or how about "It's a Wonderful Life" and don't forget to stay in your PJ's.

Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let It Snow .....
Let It Snow ....
Let It Snow.

It doesn't show signs of pausing,
And I've bought some corn for popping,
The lights are turned way down low,
Let It Snow .....
Let It Snow ....
Let It Snow.

When we finally kiss goodnight,
How I'll hate going out in the storm!
But if you'll really hold me tight,
All the way home I'll be warm.

The fire is slowly dying,
And, my dear, we're still good-byeing,
But as long as you love me so,
Let It Snow ....
Let It Snow .....
Let It Snow.

Grateful Friday

My gratitude today is for my Senses

Thank you for my hearing - without which I could not hear the wind in the trees .... my granddaughter calling for me "mimi, mimi" .... my grandsons telling me they love me .... conversing over a coffee with my daughter .... hearing a beautiful piece of music .... silence .... the purr of a kitty .... the birds at my feeder.

Thank you for my eyes - without which I could not see the colors of a rainbow .... the beautiful faces of my grand babies .... be witness to the grandeur of an autumn forest .... view a beautiful gastronomic delight .... study a piece of art .... look deep into the eyes of my beloved.

Thank for my touch - without which I could not feel the skin of my grand babies .... feel the crinkle of leaf as it drops from the tree .... feel the exquisite softness of my beautiful new faux fur throw .... feel the sharp prick of needle .... the softness of freshly grown spring grasses between my fingers and toes .... enjoy the tactile pleasures of beautiful yarns and fabrics.

Thank you for my taste - without which I would not be able to enjoy a delicious Christmas meal .... enjoy the tang of a lemon .... the crunch of a fresh apple .... a refreshing long drink of water .... the hard work but delicious reward of an almond .... the first sip of freshly brewed coffee .... letting a mouthful of peppermint stick ice cream melt on my tongue .... taste after dessert kisses from my grand daughter .... anticipate the salty crunch of sea salt .... the explosion of spices in Indian food .... the sinus burn from Wasabi .... licking off my fingers after consuming a creamy piece of chocolate.

(Thanks to my daughter for a couple of her beautiful pictures)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Christmas Story - Violet's Dream

Violet peeked into the dark room and then opened the door enough to slip in.

There was her father’s oak desk sitting in the centre of the room with shafts of moonlight cutting across the surface.

She tip toed over, climbed up in his big comfy chair, reached into her pocket and took out a piece of paper. Opening the top drawer she removed a pen. She flattened the paper on the desktop with her hands and looked down onto the letter she was writing.

Violet started to read her letter:

Dear Santa,

Ever since I was a little girl I have written you asking for whatever I wanted for Christmas. I never thought about what anyone else wanted, only me.

Santa, this year I am asking for something special. It’s not a toy that I want, but for my mom to come and spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day downstairs with us.

You see Santa, she is sick and daddy says won’t get better. I told him maybe mommy just needed more vitamins, but he told me that the doctor was giving her all the medicine that she needed.

A little while ago when she started to get really tired all the time, we had to stop playing at the park; she said pushing me on the swing was too hard for her. She stopped playing games with me and we stopped going for our special walks in the forest where we always looked for magical things like owls or fairies or unicorns.

Soon mommy couldn’t make my pancakes or oatmeal or sandwiches or yummy cookies like she used to. She stopped doing crafts with me because she said it made her too tired.

Now she stays in her bedroom most of the time, lying in her bed. Daddy says I can go up to see her twice a day but I have to be quiet –
(very difficult for a nine year old girl you know).

Sometimes when I go up, I climb up on her bed and we snuggle together under her quilt, but I have to be very careful, daddy says. Mommy’s bones are hurting so I can only snuggle up gently beside her and hold her hand.

So Santa, would you make mommy better for Christmas Day? Would you bring her a pretty pair of dancing shoes and a beautiful ball gown with sparkles all over it? Pink please, because that’s her favourite colour. She really loves to dance and used to dance with me all the time. And, sometimes when they thought I was asleep I would sneak down the stairs and watch mommy and daddy dancing around the living room.

I hope this isn't too much trouble for you. Thank you Santa.

Violet finished reading her letter and feeling satisfied with it, she signed ................

From Violet Whithaven

Then Violet took her letter, folded it gently, slipping it into an envelope and addressed it to:

Santa Claus,
North Pole
H0H 0H0

Just before she dropped it on the tray with the mail, she sealed the envelope with a kiss and a wish that Santa would get this letter fast and send her what she asked for.


The days went by quickly as Christmas drew closer. The bitter cold of winter lay over the ground like a blanket.

Winter in Galen’s Bay, where they lived is heartless, the cold biting into every nook and cranny. The temperature dips below zero and the wind whips up the water on the Bay into a cacophony of icy dancers who in their wild abandon cover everything with a fine misting of ice. The once earthy colours of the roofs now shimmer in the sunlight with layer after layer of ice laid across the roofs like blankets over a bed.

Violet stayed inside more often now, because the bitter winds licked at her face like icy needles, forcing her to run for cover whenever she tried to play outside.

However, before Violet could say Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear, it was Christmas Eve. After dinner that evening, Violet and her dad hung their three stockings, one each for daddy, mommy and her by the fireplace. Then he swept her up on his shoulders and carried her up the stairs to bed, where after a bedtime story, “The Velveteen Rabbit” - (Violets favourite you know), he tucked her in soundly and told her to go to sleep quickly so Santa could come.

At this point I must say, that all good children know that they must be in bed asleep so Santa can deliver their gifts.

He switched on her favourite night light, the violet one with beads hanging all around the shade which she got from her favourite aunt for Christmas last year. When the light was turned on the beads sparkled and danced. She loved to lie in her bed and watch the beads shimmer and sparkle and dance around the room when she swished over them with her finger.

Soon Violet was off to dreamland, but suddenly something woke her. She stayed quiet for a moment, listening and hearing the quiet tinkling of her mother's music box. Rubbing her eyes she sat up straining to listen. She was sure now, she definitely heard the music box playing.

She slipped out of her bed, padding quietly across the stairs and slowly opened her door so it didn’t squeak (sometimes it did you know, so she opened it very slowly). Then she continued out across the hall and the closer she got to the staircase, the louder the music became. She sat down on the top stair and ever so slowly started to slide down, one stair at a time until she got to the landing. She peaked through the railing and saw a glow shining from the living room, (this is the room where the fireplace and Christmas tree are).

Was it possible that Santa was here?
What would happen if he saw her?
Would he take back everything he had left under the tree?

Violet didn’t know what to do – should she keep going down the stairs or turn around and try to go back to her bed before she was discovered?

The sound of the tinkling music box enticed her. Like a cat, her curiosity was aroused so she kept moving forward, slowly slipping down each stair until she reached the bottom.

Now she was sure that she heard whispering coming from the living room and then she thought she heard soft laughter - it sounded like her mother. How could that be? She knew that mommy was upstairs in bed and too sick to come down to the living room.

So Violet walked on tip toe towards the living room, slowly, quietly, holding her breath so no one would hear her. As she reached the doorway, she saw hundreds of lit candles around the room throwing a soft glow on everything they touched. Her mother's open music box was sitting on a table in the doorway playing a beautiful song. Then she saw daddy dancing. As he slowly spun around, there in his arms was her mom wearing the most beautiful pink gown covered in beads and sequins. On her feet were pink ballet slippers with satin ribbons criss-crossed around her legs and tied in a beautiful bow. Her strawberry blond hair fell in cascades and curls across her shoulders and down her back. She had a pink satin ribbon tied around her head to keep her hair off her face. And ..... she looked radiant.

How could she be dancing? Just earlier today she had been too tired to even spend time chatting in bed with Violet.

Now Violet was sure she must be dreaming. But as she came into the room, she looked towards the corner, and there sitting in daddy’s big old comfy chair was an old man with a very long, very curly, very white beard. His eyes were twinkling and he tapped his toes on the floor to the music as daddy and mommy danced and dipped and swirled around the room. Her mother’s dress swished and sparkled in the candlelight.

Violet came into the room and when her daddy suddenly saw her, he swept her up into his arms. He and mommy wrapped their arms around her. Their love was like a blanket as she was held between them and felt herself spinning dizzily around and around as they danced to the music.

They danced like this together for a few moments until the tinkling from the music box slowly wound down.

Then Violet got down and went over to the old man who she just knew was Santa.

"Santa, you came and brought my mommy her dress and shoes so she could dance with daddy," said Violet.

"But how could she come down the stairs and dance when her bones hurt so much and she is too tired to even play a game with me?” Violet asked Santa.

“Oh Violet, your beautiful letter, so unselfish touched my heart. You asked for nothing for yourself, only for your mommy to be well enough to dance in a beautiful dress. When Mrs. Claus read your letter, she insisted that I make sure you got this one thing you asked for,” Santa said.

Violet couldn't believe her eyes or ears.

Santa continued, “Violet if you look closely, miracles happen every day, very ordinary things, but miraculous things – you just need to know where to look.

Anything is possible Violet, when you believe. So never stop believing, as you grow older you must become the keeper of this secret and teach your children to believe.”

Violet sat on Santa’s lap and watched as daddy wound up the music box and again he and mommy danced around the room, the sparkles on her dress reflecting the candlelight and throwing sparks of coloured lights around the room dancing like fairies.

Slowly she drifted off to sleep, dreaming of the wonderful Christmas Day they would spend together when she opened her eyes in the morning .................

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wow - Half of One Century

A friend of ours just turned "50".

What a terrific age to be. There is something about this magic number that brings a calm realization into life, a new respect and understanding for yourself.

So many people say they have a hard time with fifty, but I found that thirty was my big upset. Forty and fifty - not even a blip on the radar.

So here's to a Happy Birthday and another "50".

We heard you turned “50”
Now that’s a great age
Wise, discerning, judicious & sage.

Now parts will start hurting
The plumbing might freeze
And arthritis will make your poor old joints seize.

Your teeth will get weaker
They might soak in a cup
Dentyne & Polident – you’d better stock up.

Flatulence & gas will become an old friend
You’ll burp and you’ll fart
Will this ever end?

Digestion problems & acid reflux
Better watch what you eat
You’ll need fibre and veggies and lots of whole wheat.

No more tight jeans
They hurt on the tum’
A bigger size and a little looser
To cover that sagging bum.

Now you’ll need bifocals
Can’t read any more
You could see all the words and letters before.

Your forehead’s getting taller
What – no it can’t be
Your hair used to be thick, lustrous & bushy.

Can't walk for an hour
Without getting sore feet
Ten years ago you ran like an athlete.

The doctor says your blood sugar’s too high
Watch your diet he says
Cut out sugary foods like bread, cake & pie.

That “middle-age-spread”
Is taking over your waist
Can’t see your toes – have they been misplaced?

Here’s to the next fifty
You now know who you are
Time to trade in that blue truck
And get a Jaguar!

Happy Birthday Rob

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for my hands.

Without them I could not type this post.

Without them I could not knit, crochet, quilt, scrapbook, paint, garden, bake, play cards, turn the pages in the books I read, feel the skin on my grand babies, hold my husbands hand, turn on a light to chase away the darkness, enjoy the smoothness of wood after I sand it smooth, blow dry my hair, put on my makeup, give myself a manicure, turn a screwdriver, feel the tactile pleasures in different fabrics & yarns and blow a kiss

Without them ...... I COULD NOT TALK.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Almost Ready for the Crafting Party

The suspended ceiling went in this morning

Don is rerouting electrical, moving vents and hanging the framework for the 2'x4' tiles we choose.

And here is Chelsea supervising. It would appear that this is where she'll be sitting from now on when I'm crafting.

She has come down and jumped up here four times now, so I guess she really likes this spot with my girls.

At last the ceiling is installed.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shhhh - I Stole This Picture

This picture of "Mammy's Cat" is just too darn cute to not share.

Sebrina took it shortly after the boys moved in, but never posted it, so I stole it from her Flickr photostream to post here to share.

Whenever I visit the children, Ryan still runs and grabs Harrison and brings him to me and says, "Here's your cat Mammy!" I think Harrison will forever be known as Mammy's cat.

"Croutons with your salad anyone?"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Crafts

Finally, my knitting, crocheting Christmas gifts are completed.

Hats, scarves & toasty warm lap blankets are complete.

Boy are my fingers and shoulders ever sore. I think no more knitting for a while till everything stops aching.

However, I might have to do just one more blanket.

The other day while I was out, my mother told me she used one of the blankets across her legs. Her comment was "are those blankets ever warm!"

So maybe, just maybe there will be one more blanket under the Christmas tree.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Inauguration

Finally, here I am in my "CRAFT ROOM" taking my very first stitches.

I spent the afternoon down there yesterday and completed my squares for my new quilt and then put a strip together.

I Love My New Room!!!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Grateful Friday

Love .... given & received.

I love "love".

Tender little childish kisses & hugs given and taken by my grand babies.

The wonderful feel of little five year old arms wrapped around my neck.

The excitement of my precious Gabriella as she runs to me calling out "mimi, mimi" with her little face upturned for the ceremonial kiss.

The unconditional love & devotion of my dog - Chelsea.

The deep and "comfortable-as-a-housecoat" love between my husband and me.

The growing love and respect between my daughter and me through the years.

The fiercely protective love I feel for my grandbabies and children.

The supportive love of my dear friends.

The way love has changed from a dependant love to a nurturing and "I'll-take-care-of-you" love for my mother.

The many exchanges of love between my father and me in the last weeks of his life.

I am grateful for love in all of it's many colours, strengths, nuances and flavours .... the love from and for my children, my grandbabies, my husband, my mother, my family, my friends.

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved,
now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us -

I can live only wholly with you or not at all -

Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits -

Yes, unhappily it must be so -

You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you.
No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never -

Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves.
And yet my life in V is now a wretched life -

Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men -

At my age I need a steady, quiet life - can that be so in our connection?

My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day -

therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once -

Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together -

Be calm - love me - today - yesterday - what tearful longings for you - you - you - my life - my all - farewell.

Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine

ever mine

ever ours

Ludwig van Beethoven

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Moving Day

It has finally arrived and I have spent all day moving my crafting supplies into my new craft room.

My "please-go-barefoot", soft, squishy, warm, brighten up the room carpet was installed today in my craft room.

I chose a Berber from Shaw Carpet who run a program to recycle post-consumer nylon into new carpet. This in turn keeps up to 300 million pounds of carpet from landfills each year. As well, I upgraded the underpad which has an R15 insulation value so I won't get cold tootsies should I decide to go barfoot.

All that's left now is to hang the double french doors and install and paint the baseboard.

All my craft books and decorating magazines are stacked up on my sewing table waiting for my shelving unit.
Here's a few boxes and baskets of craft supplies stacked up again waiting patiently for the shelving unit.

Hopefully Don can help me get it down tonight ... then maybe Friday a little crafting!!!!!!!!
And just in case you were wondering ..... here is the completed storage chest (remember I built this to cover a drain in the floor) complete with it's upholstered top.

I brought Mollie and Sarah (you can just see them in the back corner on top of the chest) downstairs just because ..... this is MY room, no boys, husbands or mothers allowed.

However, I guess I'll have to let Don in tonight to help me with the shelving unit, and then again to finish the ceiling and again to hang the doors.

Maybe I'd better take him off the "off limits" list, but once that "honeydew" list is complete ............

BTW, I softened the quality of these pictures, because that is how this room makes me feel.

Mellow, soft, squishy, relaxed and where I can escape ...... well - everything in my own little world.

The excitement is building ....... I can hardly stand the wait to start quilting again.

Friday, November 28, 2008


As I resolved to do on my Grateful Friday post one week ago, I made my bread however, I am only just getting round to posting today just how yummy it was.

I made this recipe for Who Bread from Amanda Soule's blog.

Simply delicious - a very wholesome recipe with just a touch of cinnamon.

A word of warning though, it doesn't really lend itself to a sandwich made with Asiago cheese spread, sliced fresh chicken breast, sliced tomatoes, thinly sliced peppers & cucumbers. The cinnamon just doesn't taste right with those ingredients.

However, it is just scrumpdiliitious toasted with a little natural peanut butter and honey.

Time for another loaf.

These Boots Were NOT Made for Walking

How gorgeous are these boots?

I really need a pair of dress boots as I only have a pair of (look-alike) Uggs.

So off I go this morning to brave the Christmas crowds at the mall armed only with a $25.00 gift certificate and my trusty credit card.

I found these gorgeous, sexy boots with a 1 1/2" heel. Due to very painful feet, fused toes, osteophytes, plantar faciiitis, etc, etc, etc, I can only wear fairly flat & comfortable shoes.

But when I tried these on in the shoe store and found out that they were on sale for $69.99, marked down from $99.99, my heart started beating wildly. I walked around and thought to myself - these are quite comfortable.

So I whip out my card, hand in my gift certificate, the sales person wrapped them up and off I came home with the intention of walking around at home in them (just to be sure).

Boy did I feel sexy strutting around in these very stylish and sexy boots.

But my to my chagrin and utter dismay after less than 10 minutes, the fused toe especially on my left foot started to cause me great discomfort to the point where I could only limp around in these beauties. By the time I sat down to peel them off, the discomfort had graduated to stabbing pain in the big joint of my toe.

So unfortunately they are back in the box to be returned.

But I just had to post how absolutely gorgeous they were before they go back.

Well, all in all it really was fun to dream even if only for just a few moments that I could actually wear something on my feet that look chic and sexy.

C'est la vie .........

Grateful Friday

Over the past few weeks I have been taking great pleasure in reading more than usual.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life, The Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

One Soldiers Story - A Memoir by Robert Dole

Recently while chatting with my daughter she told me of a secret dream. She would like to have her very own Chapters/Indigo Bookstore along with a Starbucks Coffee Shop and someone to serve her coffee and a book whenever she asked for it.

Don't you just love her dream? I loved it so much I just had to go to Chapters to browse the other day and sit in Starbucks and have a coffee.

My father instilled in me a deep respect and love for literature and as my children grew, we always had books to read and love.

I know I succeeded as there is never a shortage of books in Sebrina's home, and whenever I visit Miss Gabriella always finds a book to bring to me so that we can share a story or five.

I love the feel of leather on an old beautifully bound volume .....

I love the smell of the glue that binds the book together .....

I love the ever so delicate pages that await me as I slowly open a new book .....

Today I offer my gratitude for literature, for the many beautiful book stores & libraries that house these magnificent works of art and for a country that allows freedom of speech and freedom to both writer and reader to pursue their individual literary styles.

Now, go grab yourself a great book, put your feet up, make a cup of tea and then ............

Have great weekend!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Under Construction

Bear with me while I make some changes to my blog's appearance.

I'm learning some funky new tricks thanks to my daughter which I hope to put into effect and share with you on my new look.

We Are Not Alone!

Something strange is happening around my house ....

For those of you who have followed my blog - remember the disappearing crane this past summer?

Why was he nowhere to be found when I was bringing out the summer furniture and garden ornaments?

Why did he reappear after searching for him in the very room I found him in for weeks?

A couple of weeks ago I started putting out some Christmas decorations, two of which were the two Santas (on the right below).

Last Thursday, I went in my dining room (which incidentally is not that horrible Walmart blue anymore - unaccounted for lapse in judgement when choosing paint colour) and the little Santa in the middle was turned towards the window in the dining room - almost a 90 degree turn from the position he is normally in.

So I turned him round back the way he is shown in the picture above. Then on Saturday Don & I went out for the day .... when we got home, Mom mentioned that she had gone in the dining room and wondered why I had the Santa facing the window. So I took myself downstairs and there was Santa - facing the window again.

Then this morning at around 6:50am I was sitting quietly in my living room having my morning coffee reading "The Secret Life of Bees" (again) and I heard a clatter. Wondering if something had toppled over, I got up and went to the kitchen and family room to check what may have caused the noise. On finding nothing out of place, I went back to the living room, passing by the dining room on my way. I looked in and what did I see again - Santa facing the window.

Okay now, my logical mind on the first turn thought .... maybe vibrations in the house turned him, but three times now - come on. I'm beginning to think someone else is here that is messing with us.

When we first moved into this home, we experienced a terrible flood 12 days after taking possession. I was at a dear friends funeral (gone about 6 hours). Upon arriving back home, as I walked past the dining room I caught a flash of light out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see what it was and saw a waterfall running off my chandelier onto the dining room table.

In the bathroom directly above the dining room, I had mounted a 4' glass shelf onto two wrought iron brackets under my bathroom window. On this shelf I had my collection of Murano glass.

Now, here is my question.

What would have caused this 4' glass shelf supported by two 6" deep wrought iron brackets and which I had levelled before mounting, slide one way or the other so that it slipped off the shelf, came crashing down hitting my toilet tank, breaking it and causing the flood?

Two nights ago my mother was woken up by a crash in her room (we never heard it). In the morning she discovered that one of two blown glass Christmas trees she has on her dresser (similar to the one at right)was laying on its' side and as well a 17" Galileo thermometer was knocked over.

Again, what would cause this strange accident at 3:00am???

Things seem to disappear around here regularly.

Seventeen years ago, my father gave my mother a ruby and diamond pendant. It held a special memory for her because it was a gift from her husband. She kept it in a very specific spot and I remember seeing it after she moved in. Well, guess what - it has disappeared and is nowhere to be found.

Then this morning she came down and said she cannot find a handmade satin handkerchief holder that was made for her when she was a young girl. I remember her showing it to me one day when she and I were sitting with my dad prior to his death.

Where have these two items gone? I keep feeling, that like the crane the pendant is going to show up.

These odd little things have happened to me for many, many years but I have never really thought much about it. Again my logical mind can usually come up with reasonable explanations.

I don't necessarily believes that spirits hover around us, however these strange little episodes, the crashing glass shelf, my disappearing crane, the turning Santa, the crashing Christmas tree, the pendant and now the handkerchief folder has me wondering what the heck is going on!

My logical mind cannot come up with an explanation for why that darn little Santa keeps turning towards the window.

Someone has suggested "house fairies".

Maybe, just maybe I should consider investigating whether someone other than Don, me, my mother and Chelsea is residing here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's Your Comfort?

Following up to my post on Grateful Friday - I'd like to expand a little on comfort.

The definition of comfort/comfortable - "Affording or enjoying contentment and security; free from stress or tension; providing comfort or ease; in a state of comfort; at ease in body or mind; contented; informal sufficient to satisfy; adequate".

What are the objects, thoughts, feelings that make you comfortable?

Here are a few of mine.

A delicious, deep, hot, bath full of salts, bubbles, essential oils, etc .........

And then the soft stack of fluffy white large bath towels ....... to wrap up in after my bath.

A delicious cup of coffee ... the first one in the morning, after grinding the beans, catching the scent of freshly brewed, frothing a little cream to float on top and then ......... that first sip .....

A good book to along with the the coffee .... the two just seem to go hand in hand ......

A down filled ..... soft-as-a-cloud cushion on a Bergere Chair .......

My home ...... a sense of peace washes over me as I come up the pathway to my front door .... thinking of all the pleasures within that await me ........

Simply luxurious French skin products ........

Friends and family .......

And at last, my comfort would not be complete without my grandbabies. Not an hour goes by in my day that one of them doesn't slip into my thoughts. Their sweetness & innocence, their uncomplicated love for me, their sense of fun & their beauty.

So, go on now ... go get comfortable ..........

Friday, November 21, 2008

Grateful Friday

This morning, I am sitting in my family room on my comfortable sofa, sipping a delicious cup of coffee, my feet wrapped in sheepskin slippers, a fleecy housecoat around my shoulders, a soft Peruvian wool throw over my legs and feather pillows at my back.

My goal at my home is comfort. Of what value is a home if one cannot go into any room and feel comforted by merely being present in that same room. When my friends come, I want them to be welcomed into my cocoon and feel completely enveloped in warmth and comfort.

So many around the world do not have a home, a roof over their heads or even a soft place to lay their head on at night.

Today, my comfort makes me offer an attitude of gratitude to the universe for my home, my shelter, my comforts ..... thank you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've Been Tagged

My daughter tagged me and since I love to read, I'm going to play along.

Here is how it works.

Open the book closest to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56.
Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following there.
Currently I am reading "Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life" by Dr. Wayne Dyer and it just so happens as well to be the book closest to me.

It is his insights after researching and meditating on the 81 verses of Tao Te China dictated by Lao-tzu 2500 years ago in ancient China.

Here is the fifth line as well as five extra.

Wasting energy to obtain rare objects
only impedes one's growth.

The master observes the world
but trusts his inner vision.
He allows things to come and go.
He prefers what is within to what is without.

Now I am going to tag:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ponderings for a Tuesday Evening

Why are girls so hard on themselves and each other?

Today I read a most interesting post over at Moments of Perfect Clarity on an issue recently uncovered at her daughters school with some bullying between girls. It started me thinking about why we as woman are so critical and hard on ourselves.

Why can we not be content with ourselves simply as we are. Image seems to be such a huge issue for most females.

I have learned quite a lot about myself in just the four months since my mother moved in with us. I could never really put my finger on why my siblings and I have such self esteem and image issues, but living with my mom as an adult (not a child) has been an eye opening experience. It has helped me to realize that I really have some wonderful attributes and also that I really am quite content and comfortable with myself as I have gotten older.

Unfortunately my mom seems to be almost sorry for the space she takes up. It is hard to listen to her sometimes and how apologetic she is for her very existence.

Here is a typical conversation one of which happens on a regular basis.

Sitting in the eye surgeons office this morning following cataract surgery, our conversation went as follows:

A lady walks into the office and sits down beside me.

Mom .... "Look at that ladies hair beside you. Why can't I wear my hair like that, I hate my hair."

Me thinking, you don't know that you can't wear your hair like that unless you try.

A gentlemen comes in and walks to reception desk.

Mom - "Why do men get all the good, thick beautiful hair and in this family the women are stuck with such thin unmanageable hair?"

After having her vision checked and being told she had 20/25 vision, I say,

"That's amazing, I wish I could see that well without my glasses."

Mom - "Oh you don't want to go without your glasses, you don't look good without them. Do you remember our friend Al? He stopped wearing glasses after his cataract surgery and he looked just awful."

Me thinking, I look different but don't really think I look too bad without my glasses.

Mom - "Did you know that you have a small run in your tights?"

Me, horrified looks down to see an almost unnoticeable run down the inside of my leg and say, "I didn't know it was there or I would not have put these on."

Mom - "Well, it doesn't really matter, it's not that noticeable."

Side note, if it's not that noticeable, how come she saw it and if it doesn't really matter why bring it to my attention in the first place????

When I finished my last painting, I showed it to her.

Mom - "I can't believe you painted that."

Side note, the same comment made whenever I complete a painting.

Maybe I'm reading between the lines but I find this an odd comment. Does she think I cannot produce a quality piece of art or is she surprised that I can produce something beautiful? Did she forget that I have studied art for most of my life and have a fine arts degree?

This conversation style shows me why I have historically struggled with my image and also why I am so very critical of myself and others. However, in just these four short months, I have resolved to stop listening to my inner critical voice and not to let my mom's critical self talk influence me any longer.

I am in possession of a beautiful book entitled "Mother Daughter Wisdom" by Dr. Christiane Northrup.

Here, a small excerpt from it: "The enemies, obstacles, and battles women encounter are seldom as straight-forward as those faced by men. They often exist within our own psyches and have been handed down to us by a culture that is only now becoming comfortable with feminine ways of being in the world.

A woman’s heroic journey always begins in partnership with her mother, the woman from whom she takes the imprint of what it means to be a woman. Her journey picks up speed when she leaves the comfort of the womb and goes through the process of birth. From then on, she must travel through a series of developmental stages likened to a series of wombs."

All women whether mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers should read this book. The statements made on mother daughter relationships are insightful and thought provoking.

My Menopause has also provided much insight. They don't call it the "change" for nothing. I have witnessed radical changes in myself ... the lessening of my need to be accepted by everyone I encounter, the need to have everyone like me, the need to lose weight, the need to be perfect, etc....

Every challenge in life is provided for a reason and I believe this challenge of providing a home for my mom is to guide me down a new life path - a path of loving myself the way my friends and family do. Loving myself enough to trust myself & my judgement ..... loving myself enough to be at ease with me .... who I am and to enjoy my own company.

Dove has for a few years been spear heading a campaign to promote real beauty. They are determined to help young women see their true beauty. It was developed to help free the next generation from self-limiting beauty stereotypes. Committed to reaching 5 million young women by the end of 2010, the Dove Self-Esteem Fund was set up to promote a wider definition of beauty.

What is real beauty?
Where does it come from?
It comes from within the depths of our soul!
I am beautiful because I accept who I am!
I accept everything about myself from the tips of my hair to the tips of my toes!
I am perfection because I choose to be perfect to me!
It can be difficult at times however I always remember to just be myself and the more I believe in myself the more others will believe in me too!

Here's to women and to all our beauty.


Thanks for the calls and emails about Don's dad.

I am putting a little update here, as one friend was quite concerned when I did not post an update on his status.

He is still in hospital, but doing better. As I said in my earlier post, he does have a multitude of problems ... Parkinson's (on two separate medications), prostate problems (on another medication) and now the heart problem.

His neurologist thinks that the medication he was on for his prostate may have caused the heart problem as a side effect, so now the three specialists on his case are looking for a solution.

You know the old saying, "sometimes the cure is worse than the illness" certainly applies here.

We have all had a scare and our poor patient has been put through through the proverbial medical system ringer, both physically and emotionally. This gentlemen is a very stiff upper man and on Sunday we sat with him while he cried like a baby. This was very hard on Don and his younger brother who was there that day with us.

However we are hopeful that just maybe he might be discharged today or tomorrow.

Thanks for the kind emails and phone calls. Please keep Don and his family in your thoughts as they continue through this difficult time in their dad's health.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Art, Bling, Colour

Here's my completed art project that I started when Jayden had a sleepover and we did an art proejct one morning together.

I can't explain why - but for some unknown reason, this little girl reminds me of our granddaughter Gabriella.

This lovely picture when framed will take a place of honour in my craft room.

And doesn't every girl deserve a little bling. I saw this cushion in a home decorating store the other day and just had to have it to go with another cushion on my bed. Yummy!!!!

This beautiful little bush in my garden just refuses to let go of it's leaves. The colour is luscious and I'm hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe it will hold on for dear life just a few weeks longer. The jolt of colour against everything else that has given up their foliage is just outstanding.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


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