Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is Spring Out There Anywere???

After yet another blast from winter .... 15-20 cm of more snow, I now officially cannot see over the snow piled up on my front lawn anymore.

Thank goodness we have a snow blower, because it is taller than I am and I would not be able to throw it on top of the mound if I was inclined to go out and shovel ~ NOT.

So instead I find myself dreaming of spring weather and sitting outside sipping a drink enjoying the sunshine .... listening to the birds .... hearing the water trickle over the rocks in the creek ..... watching the grass grow.

How 'bout you???

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Under The Covers

Okay, here's a challenge for you ~ What does your bed mean to you?

As sleep has been difficult for me for the past couple of weeks, due to nocturnal pain, I started to think about my bed and the very different roles it plays in my life.

Providing a soft landing at night when I can no longer hold my head up.

Stacks of pillows against my headboard, providing a comfortable place to peruse a book.

On my side, curled up with a feather pillow bunched under my neck and my down comforter pulled up around my shoulders ~ soft as a cloud.

The place where Don & I can whisper into the wee hours.

After a drink or two ~ my own magic carpet ride.

However, in the middle of the night when sleep eludes me, it is my own personal torture rack as my hips undulate with wave after wave of pain .... the once soft feather pillows feeling like a board against my neck which spasms sending pain radiating up the back of my head ..... crushing my arms, waking me up to pain and pins and needles from my fingers up to my collar bone .... the memory foam that invited me to snuggle in before midnight now burns every inch of my body as I turn from side to side looking for just one square foot of comfortable space ..... the down comforter which comforted me when I climbed in with warmth, coziness & security now smothers me as I endure wave after wave of hot flash, my body screaming for release or a blast of cold air to bring my temperature down.

But, at 9:00 PM after having forgotten the pains of the night before, my bed beckons, the feather pillows plumped up ~ soft & fluffy and full of air ..... the memory foam restored to normal waiting for me to make an impression ..... crisp freshly laundered 600 count supima cotton sheets with a hint of lavender water spritzed on ~ waiting to release the fragrance as I slide underneath the comforter which was shaken and fluffed this morning in preparation for another night of slumber.

Ahhhhh to sleep perchance to dream.

So what does your bed mean to you?????

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Loving my craft room and the luxury it affords me to go somewhere where I can concentrate on nothing but the task at hand, no phone, no TV, no bodies to bother me.

Did I say - I just love my craft room!

I've started another quilt ~ just to break the monotony of working on just one.

The pattern I am using for this quilt is an Amy Butler pattern. It is pieced completely using a variety of lovely toiles given to me by a friend at Christmas time. It is such a simple pattern and I pieced almost the entire top in an afternoon.

When the top, backing and batting are all pinned together I'm going to quilt using the stitch-in-the-ditch quilting technique on the sewing machine.

Easy peasy!

When it is completed it will be approximately 36" x 36" ... not too big and not too small .... just the right size to throw over my legs if I feel a little chilly.

(Chris, hope you like this!!!)

Friday, January 23, 2009


Today, while out walking with my dog, I found this branch broken off a tree, laying on the snow.

But, look at how swollen the buds are .... could this mean that spring is not to far off?

With my hope renewed that winter is getting shorter and spring is on its' way ~ well one can only hope!!

There Are No Words to Describe

I just finished watching this video below on my daughter's blog and wanted to share it with you.

There are no words to describe my emotions as I watched this video.

As I came back to my blog to post this ... I looked on the faces of my beautiful grand babies ~ the picture of health and happiness and I wept for the life that these innocent children had been condemned to suffer by nothing more than chance and their geographical location.

But for the grace of God, there go I ..........

Please watch and resolve to do something, even a small thing to make this world better.

Sebrina also found this catalogue of affordable things that you can donate. Please share this with everyone you know. We can all make a difference.

I went to this website to see what this organization does. Go and see how much progress Sam, Esther and Jane have made. Scroll right down to the bottom for a few pictures.

Comfort ~ Image

This is the image(s) that brings me the most comfort.

Whenever I need a boost .... an attitude adjustment .... a smile, I go and sit in my living room and look on the faces of these beautiful babes ~ my grand children.

Ryan ~ our first grandson ~ thoughtful, kind, empathetic.

Jayden ~ our second grandson ~ curious, full of emotion, bright.

Zander ~ our third grandson ~ sweet, loving, still my baby.

Gabriella ~ our fourth grandchild, but our first grand daughter ~ beautiful, funny, loving & very girly.

I can't think of anything else that brings me more comfort than the images of these beautiful children.

Thank you Sherrie who was our host for this theme week on Comfort.

Wander on over to see what comforts the other participants have shared.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Comfort ~ Routine

This is proving to be a tough one for me as there are so many things that I routinely perform which bring me comfort. It is too difficult to choose just one, so I'll share a couple.

The process of getting my coffee ready in the morning. Blending and grinding the beans. Standing still inhaling the freshly ground coffee scent as it assails my senses. Pouring in freshly drawn cold filtered water, then adding the coffee grounds to a fresh laid filter. Waiting (not too patiently) while the coffee brews. Again the scent is overwhelming but delicious to my senses. Then when the system has informed me that it has completed the cycle ~ I pour 18% cream to a quick count of 4 into a pre-warmed cup .... then top up with coffee .... take it to my favourite chair .... snuggle back with a feather cushion & a velvet throw ...... then lift the cup to my lips .... inhale first the coffee goodness .... then take a mouthful of the delicious liquid .... over my lips .... onto my tongue waiting for that first explosion of flavour ...... all this followed by an audible ahhhh. Now that's comfort!

Gently cleansing my face. A light spritzing of French pure spring water. Massage in a skin serum. Then the application of a deliciously luxurious French cream .... feeling my skin drink in the moisture .... the gentle application of a rich eye cream ...... then seeing the glow of my skin following this morning cleansing routine. This is comfort!

Drawing a bubble bath ..... pouring in the lavender essence .... lighting the candles ..... getting out a freshly laundered white fluffy bath towel ..... putting on a CD to play quietly ..... slowly lowering myself into the scent and softness ..... laying a pillow at my neck for relaxation ..... closing my eyes and listening to the music. This too is comfort!

Sitting quietly with beautiful yarn and bamboo needles in my hands knitting, watching as the project sits on my lap, feeling the weight of it as it grows. Looking at the wound yarn on the ball and then feeling the delicious texture of the yarn as it knits up. This is comforting to me.

Well, now that I'm comfortable just thinking about all this deliciousness, let me invite you to wander over to Sherrie's blog who is hosting "Comfort Week" to see what the others who are participating in Comfort week are up to.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

6:28 AM

That was the moment thirty two years ago that I delivered my second child ..... I thrilled to the words "it's a girl". Then as I held my baby girl in my arms ~ I marvelled at her perfection. That seems like only yesterday.

Today I see a woman who is a wife and mamma to four beautiful babes of her own.

It is hard to believe that in the blink of an eye this women ~ my child went from a babe in my arms to a mother with babes of her own.

You've grown into such a wise, beautiful woman of whom we are so proud. I feel fortunate that we enjoy a close friendship.

She and I recently watched Mamma Mia together and one poignant song in the musical was "Slipping Through My Fingers". As I listened to Donna sing this to her daughter Sophia it brought tears to my eyes as I thought of how time like sand in an hour glass had slipped through my fingers. The words are beautiful in this song. Click on the song title to hear it. (Edited to add ~ when I clicked today on the song, it brought up a different ABBA song)

On Grateful Friday January 9th, I wrote how grateful I was for this special girl. No more needs to be said today.

Happy Birthday my girl!

These pictures are a few memories that are special to me.

Comfort ~ Place

Imagination ~ this is the place where I find comfort.

Limitations ~ there are none here.

I can dream .... think ...... be anything or anyone I want.

My creativity soars ..... I am in touch with my true self ..... there is no discrimination ..... no hatred ..... no judgements ...... peace abounds and I find comfort here.

This week of comfort is proving to be a thought provoking project for me.

Thanks to Sherrie for hosting Comfort Week. Click on Sherrie's name and see who else is participating and check out their ideas on comfort.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day

"This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed ~ why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath."

This powerful line was delivered by President Barack Obama today following his inauguration to the office of President of the United States.

Politics do not interest me and I am seldom impressed by the candidates that are clambering to run our countries, but this man ..... this man is different.

His speech was grounded in a series of historical events leading to this black man who today was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

"For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life," said Obama. "For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn."

The Washington Post said "The rhetoric was powerful ~ one of Obama's best moments in a speech that was as workman like as it was soaring ~ it ably connected the struggles and triumphs of the past to the struggles and triumphs of today and beyond."

This moment in history was a powerful, moving experience for me as I watched and realized the immensity of what was happening. I realized that the only limitations are those that we place upon ourselves. If this man .... a black man could become the President of the United States ~ then anything is possible.

I am blessed to be alive to see this day, and will press it into the pages of my memory to recall someday for my grand babies when they are old enough to comprehend the importance of this moment in history.

Comfort ~ Home

It is impossible for me to come up with just one thing in my home that brings me comfort.

So to that end, here are a few of the things in my home that bring me comfort.

Feathers cushions piled high ......
Candles .....
A bubble bath .....
A collection of mercury glass .....
My dining room .......
Flowers ......
My kitchen ......
Beautiful fabrics - passe·men·terie ......
Soft feather cushions on a leather club chair

Here are the other participants in Comfort Week. Take a moment and check out their ideas of comfort.

Vickie, Annie, Amber, Jane, mothergoose, Alli, Ingrid, sunmamma, Austen, Teresa, Mitten Monster, Heidi, nahiacreations, and Sarah!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Comfort ~ Food ~ PM

This recipe is one of my favourites and one that I find very comforting.

I am not good at following recipes to the letter, so here is the way I make ~ Chicken Paprikash

~ Chop 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite size pieces and dredge in flour.
~ Chop one large onion and garlic (as much or little as you like - I love garlic, so I used approximately 3 cloves).
~ Fry in olive oil.
~ Add the chicken and cover in paprika. Salt & pepper to taste.

~ Cook until chicken has turned white. ~ Add one can of diced tomatoes & 1/2 can of chicken stock.

Continue simmering on low for approximately 30 minutes. Serve over white rice with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


Comfort ~ Food

Sherrie at Frenchy's Finds is hosting "Comfort Week" and I am joining in on the fun.

My morning comfort is starting my day with a cup of coffee.

First fresh drawn cold filtered water. Then freshly ground coffee beans. I blend my own Ethiopian & Kenyan.

When it's done, froth a little cream on top - heaven!!

All the cares of the day don't matter once I inhale the scent and feel that velvety smooth liquid caress my lips.

My ultimate comfort food is soup, but since it is early morning, I'm sharing my morning comfort.

I just might post another picture tonight of my evening comfort.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Comfort Week

Next week I'm joining a few others bloggers in a "comfort week theme". It sounds like fun, so come on join in.

Here's the rules from Sherries blog where this all started:

"What's a 'week', you ask? Well, this is how I'm doing it: leave a comment on this post to indicate that you'll be participating, by doing postings on your blog next week which go along with the particular theme of the day (listed below). Posts do not have to include pictures, although I do love a pretty picture. I'll compile a list of participants, and do a post on Sunday night including everyones names and links, so you can click through to see the contributions. It's a nice way to invite you all to participate in my blog - I'll have to work on teleporting next, so we can all get together for tea.

Here are the themes for each day:

Monday: Food: your favourite comfort food (with recipes, if possible!)
Tuesday: Home: the most comfortable (or comforting) thing in your home
Wednesday: Place : the place most comfortable to you
Thursday: Habit: a behaviour or routine that brings you comfort
Friday: Image: a picture that represents total comfort to you; either an image of your own or a link to one you love

And that's it! I would love to see everyones personality in the things that mean comfort to you, so be creative! (Didn't it always drive you crazy when teachers said that?)

Invite all of your blogging friends to join in, especially because there will be a prize! At the end of the week, Sherrie will draw a name of one of the participants who posted every day, and the winner will receive three bars of
Birch Bark Soap.

So get your thinking caps on, and leave a comment if you'll be joining in."

Friday, January 16, 2009

The ABC's of Things I Love

A - Avocados - especially in guacamole, Art, Arthritis (you may ask why - because it has taught me to slow down and enjoy life), Alone, Autumn

B - Babies, Boots (my new Black sexy boots), big beautiful Brown eyes, Blogging, Bubblebath, Baking, Books, Birds, Beards, Bloody Caesar, Brownies

C - Crocheting, Clocks, Colour, Chelsea, Candles, Comfort, Cashmere (the only wool I can wear without going crazy with itch), Cheese, Coffee (Ethiopian & Kenyan), Chocolate, Champagne, Cookies (home baked - fresh out of the oven), Curly hair, my Chiropracter

D - Don (husband), Diamonds, Decorating

E - Eating, Ethiopia, Email, Entertaining, Earrings

F - Feathers, Food, Flowers, Frannie, Friends, Fires, Fruit, FAMILY

G - Gabriella (granddaughter), Gardens, BoldGirlfriends, Granite, Greek food

H - Home, BoldHands, Hot tub, Happy, Handbags

I - Internet, Indian food, Ice cream

J - Jam, Jayden (grandson), Jewellry, Jelly Beans, Japanese food

K - My New Knee, Kitchen, Knitting

L - Love, Leather, Sun Light, Linen, Lavender

M - Makeup, Mike (son-in-law), Music, Mercury Glass, Marble, Miso, Movies

N - Nail polish

OBold - Opera, Onions, Opals, Oatmeal

P - Pretty, Playing my Piano, Pedicure, Peanut Butter, Pearls, Painting

Q - Quilting

R - Ryan (grandson), Reading, Roses, Rain

S - Sebrina (daughter), Sparklies, Silly, Spa, Shopping, Silver, Silk, Snow, Sourdough bread, Spring

T - Tub, Touch, Taste, Tea (Red Rooibos), Todd (son), Thai food

U - Silk Underwear,

V - Vegetables, Velvet

W - Water, Waffles with blueberries, White bone china, Words, Writing, Winter

X - Xtra frothy cream on a cafe latte

Y - Yellow, Yarns for knitting, Yogurt

Z - Zander (grandson)Bold, Zebra

I'm sure I've missed hundreds of things, but these are a few of my favourite things.

Grateful Friday

I think I've come to the end of my run of Grateful Fridays.

So I'll finish this run with a thank you to all of you who helped make my Grateful Fridays fun to think about, to write and to share with you.

I'm grateful to have fallen into this world of blogging, where I have been fortunate to have made so many delightful friends.

So a big thank you to the universe for bringing you all into my life.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Four More .... Three More ..... Two More

Okay, I admit it, I am not good at sticking with an exercise program.

I always start with the best of intentions, but then a week, two weeks, three weeks have gone by and suddenly I remember ....... that I have forgotten to exercise.

For some reason, exercise is just not high on my priority list although I honestly do want it to be. I want to exercise, I want to like exercising, I need to exercise, but the best laid plans .....

I have been unable to find a type of exercise that I enjoy or that I might actually remember to perform on a regular basis.

I tried swimming, but I really am quite afraid of water.
I tried walking - works well in spring and fall, but I don't like walking in frigid cold weather and I can't handle the heat in the summer. Walking in the heat just quadruples the hot flashes.
I tried biking, but man, that seat hurts my butt.
I tried yoga - you all know the story there, although I still try to remember to do a few stretches each morning.
I tried weight lifting but the repetition aggravates the arthritis in my AC clavicular joints.
I'm not interested in golf, squash, tennis, racket ball or any other sport that requires me to chase an insanely small ball around a court, rink or acres of grass interrupted only by sand pits or water holes into which the ball might fall and where I would be required to play said ball from where it lays. Not in my lifetime!!!!

I've come to the conclusion that in order to successfully follow an exercise program one must be genetically programmed to actually enjoy exercising. No one in my family is into exercising although one brother does enjoy golfing, but the rest of us are confirmed non-exercisers. Don's family are all very athletic, his three brothers are triathletes, his father was a varsity football star and then for many years was a competitive bowler.

So you either got it or you don't and I don't.

Although I must admit, I can work up a good sweat going eating a meal. LOL

So with these thoughts in mind, I submit these words found today on my daughters blog.

"Exercise is a dirty word... Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The temperature is in the process of dropping from 0° Celsius to a bone chilling -19° Celsius and that's not taking into account the wind chill.

Get out your long johns ..... heavy socks ..... woolen underwear ..... parkas ....... hats ..... scarfs ..... mittens ...... afghans ..... down comforters .... and whatever else you can think of to stay warm.

Or be smart, and just stay inside. It will be a good few days to light a fire, drink a hot chocolate, read books, watch a DVD or two and veg.

Yesterday, Chelsea spent the day at the "dogie" spa getting pampered - bathed .... groomed .... clipped ..... nails done .... etc.... And because she got her short hair cut (I call it her summer cut), I went out and bought her a couple of fashionable sweaters to keep her warm. When her hair is short, she does shiver, but it is such a pain to maintain when it's long. It is very silky and knots into great big balls of unable to de-tangle mattes.

When Don got home last night from work, he asked "What's this "girlie" thing she's wearing?" I replied "She is a girl and should be wearing girlie things".

What do you think - is this a fashion statement or what????

Monday, January 12, 2009

Interview With A Small Town American Girl in Denmark

Julie at Moments of Perfect Clarity is passing along a fun little interview game.

Here are the rules:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. Please comment below and I'll ask you five questions and we can keep the interview chain going!

Don't forget to leave me your email address.

Here's the questions that Julie asked:

1. you write so fondly of your husband Don--how and when did you meet him?

I met Don at a company were we both worked. He started on a co-op program through the university where he enrolled to study Computer Sciences following the completion of his degree.

I met him when I was almost 29 - so you all can do the math. Here's a hint - it was a long time ago.

2. what is the biggest standout memory from your trip to ethiopia with your daughter to pick up gabriella?

I have so many that it is hard to encapsulate them into one outstanding memory. The country and people are so beautiful ..... the pain of Ethiopia hit me hard like a physical illness and I felt her pain in my heart .... the extreme poverty, the extreme wealth .... the children partially clothed, barefoot, sleeping on the streets, living on the streets, begging on the streets .... the fabulous food.

If I have to choose just one memory, then the moments leading up to seeing Gabriella for the first time wins.

Waiting at the guest house for the driver to take us to the orphanage .... watching Sebrina pace back and forth none too patiently .... driving through the city and down the dirt road to the orphanage seemingly in slow motion .... waiting outside the compound for the gates to be opened .... driving in and seeing all the children living there for the first time as they timidly made their way to the car to investigate .... going into the hut where Gabriella was .... the first moment that I saw her precious face .... watching Sebrina as she took her in her arms with tears streaming down her face, then holding her close to her breast and breathing a thank you for this child and this moment .... the first time I touched her and took into my arms & my heart and we've never looked back since that second.

3. if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and who would you take with you?

Back to Ethiopia on a Humanitarian mission.

I would want to take Don, Sebrina, Mike and the babes so everyone could see, taste and feel this beautiful country where Gabriella took her first breath.

4. i know you are a quilter, but what other crafty hobbies do you have (pictures, please!)?

I love to Knit .......... Crochet .......... Sew ..........

Scrapbook ..........

Decorate my home. I especially love putting together little vignettes around the house, not leaving any little corners untouched by me. I also love decorative wall work - this is an example of glazed Venetian plaster ..........

Painting - oils & palette knife .......... Writing ............

5. what do you do when you really want to pamper yourself?

Now this is a tough one, I take care of myself regularly and go to the spa every 6 weeks for pedicure & facial. When I first started, I considered this a luxury. Now however, I look at it as an important maintenance program to take care of myself and stay in the best condition I can.

So pampering myself would have to be a long, lavender bubble bath in my deep soaker tub, scrubbing my skin with a sugar scrub, candles lit, a big cup of African Red Tea - rooibos (my favourite right now) and a deliciously good read.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How To View Mamma Mia

Following my first post on "Girls Night In", I submit the following.

This is how one absolutely must watch Mamma Mia.

In front of a fire .........
on a (faux) fur rug ...........
with your favourite four legged friend.

Girls Night In

Well, our second "girls night in" has come and gone.

Mamma Mia was so much fun. And Sebrina and I got to enjoy it twice - first at my home, then back at her place we sat with little Miss Gabriella and watched it again. Don & Mike got comfy upstairs with their beers and some sort of televised guy sporting event and just shook their heads. Men just don't get the "girl" thing.

This is such a feel good movie and the music is just so much fun.

We sang, we laughed, I cried, we ate Spanikopita, Greek Potatoe Salad, Greek Salad, great big stuffed olives and Sebrina brought delicious brownies.

We drank Sangria and then we drank some more Sangria.

Sangria Recipe
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3 cup orange juice
1 bottle dry red wine - Greek of course
1/2 cup triple sec
1/2 cup brandy
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup white sugar

Mix and let the flavours blend overnight. When serving add 2 cups Perrier water.

Greek Potato Salad
1 lb potatoes (I used combination of red & yellow flesh nugget potatoes)
Scallions (I used a bunch of green onions)
10 olives cut in thirds
2 tbsp capers
2 cloves garlic crushed
crumbled feta

1/4 cup Greek style yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
cracked black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

By the way, this is best potatoe salad I've ever tasted. I find that regular salad with mayonnaise as the dressing can be a little heavy sometimes. This is a great variation and just scrumptious.

Greek Salad
Grape tomatoes halved
Olives chopped in thirds
Red onions
Yellow pepper - big chunks
English Cucumbers - big chunks
Crumbled feta cheese

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

And here we are - the three "amigos" after the movie, the food, the Sangria,
the singing, the talking, the sharing, the fun.

"Frannie" you missed a really fun time. Feel better soon.

Here's to the next "girls night in".

So ladies, get to work and start thinking about girlie movies for the next time. Maybe we should go with a good old classic ..... The Beaches, Steel Magnolias, etc....

I just had to add this mosaic (after the fact). I popped on over to my daughers Flickr page and saw this beautiful mosaic she made of some of the pics from last night.

Great job Seb.

Love the few extra pics I didn't have.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I am a collector of quotes.

Positive, reaffirming, life changing words.

Words have the power to lift us up, plant a seed of hope, make us smile, express love, encourage, engage, motivate.

But words can also tear us down, destroy hope, terrorize, bring a tear to the eye, express hatred, discriminate, discourage, manipulate, control, criticize, bully.

Choose your words judiciously. The words you speak may be shaping a life.

Over the next little while I would like to share some of my favourite quotes with you. Hope you enjoy my choices.

If you don't like something, change it.
If you can't change it, change your attitude."

Maya Angelou

Friday, January 9, 2009

Grateful Friday

Today I raise an attitude of gratitude for this beautiful young woman .... my cherished daughter.

Our start together was rocky as she was born with health issues which kept her in and out of the hospital for three months, preventing me from the bonding that she and I should have shared.

At three months when she was finally well enough to be home with me full time, we started our journey together as mother and daughter.

And what a journey it has been.

My pride swells as I think about her and what she has accomplished.

She nurtures a beautiful family of four children and a wonderful husband who has fit into our family like another son.

She possesses extraordinary talents .... quilting, doll making and now her latest - photography.

She is a determined woman. Whatever she sets her mind to ... she achieves. Just like her mother (LOL).

She is an amazing mother, homeschooling her children, cooking and baking everything using only the best of natural ingredients and has made a lovely, warm and cozy home.
Check Spelling
The other day, I keenly felt the need to see my grand babies so I drove out there to surprise them. I casually mentioned to Seb that I loved the picture from her blog of the Tomato Roasted Red Pepper Bisque. So while I sat at her kitchen table enjoying a cup of white tea, she roasted the peppers and prepared a pot of this delicious bisque for me.

Then we spent the afternoon sharing, talking, enjoying each others company. How fortunate I am to have a daughter that I can call "friend". She knows me almost as well as I know myself and never fails to surprise me with her insight.

Just a little sidenote - I was fortunate enough to see my princess Gabriella before I left who never fails to make me feel much loved when she wraps her little arms around my neck and snuggles in for hugs and kisses, but not before she inquires "where's poppa??"

Sebrina is succeeding in guilding her four children along the path to becoming loving & caring individuals - no small feat.

Looking at her accomplishments so far, I wonder what great things are yet to come?

Let no one tell me that this young woman is not a marvel.

How proud I am to call this extraordinary young woman - my daughter.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sneak Peek

Saturday I'm having a few girlfriends over for a viewing of Mama Mia (maybe with a sing along).

I'm feeling very Mediterranean, very sunny, very Greek.

Here's a sneak peek at a few things I've put together to make us feel like we're right there in Greece at the Villa Donna preparing to enjoy Sophie's wedding...

The Mediterranean sun inspired these colours.

Beautiful, sunny, yellow flowers for the table.

Some pretty yellow napkins as well as a beautiful bowl with sunny colours for the salad.

The menu too is Greek inspired, Greek Salad with tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, olives, feta cheese & of course the traditional oregano olive oil dressing, Greek Potato Salad, and in lieu of ouzo, I've decided to make a lovely, fruity Sangria with a deep, rich, red Greek wine.

Well, I can hardly wait till Saturday, just have to tune up my singing voice for the sing along.

Are there any more singable songs than Abba?

"Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much Ive missed you
Yes, Ive been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, now I really know,
My my, I could never let you go."

For Payje

Here are some pictures of my room that you asked for Payje. If you want to really see it you and your mom will just have to come for another visit.


The beautiful french doors with a hand knot carpet made by Nannie Coghill.

An old (still working) farm saw, that works well as a holder for my in progress quilt.

A corner to read in.

Another old rusty farm tool (I love rust).

These beautiful fabrics are all organized by colour into these baskets.


The beautiful toille patterns in the bottom were a gift from a dear friend and are waiting patiently to be made into this quilt pattern - inspiration from Julie's blog.

Thanks Julie!


In my Resolutions post, I talked about how I needed to take back my life in 2009.

In an effort to effect a change in my attitude, I picked up "The Secret" last night. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and the very first words I read upon opening the book were so profound that they stopped me dead in my tracks, invoking much thought about my present situation and my feelings.

"Everything that surrounds you right now in your life, including the things you're complaining about, you've attracted. I know at first blush that's going to be something that you hate to hear. You're going to immediately say, "I didn't attract the car accident, I didn't attract this particular client who gives me a hard time. I didn't particularly attract the debt." I'm here to be a little bit in your face and to say, yes you did attract it. This is one of the hardest concepts to get, but once you've accepted it, it's life transforming."

What powerful words.

As well this line impressed itself upon my mind, "It is impossible to feel bad and at the same time have good thoughts."

Since writing my Resolution post, I have effected changes in my mind and life, just by:

1. Making decisions about how to move on from this point. I do not function well when things are not clearly laid out in my mind. Indecision drives me to distraction, moving forward with only a vague notion about where to go doesn't work for me either. So deciding to work on this and laying out a plan of attack has helped move forward.

2. Realizing that I cannot change my mom's situation. She is content, dealing with her loss and is thankful to be here instead of being alone.

After much conversation, we all three realize that we moved too fast after the death of my father, but I remember feeling that I could prevent her from suffering emotionally if she was not alone. A huge misjudgement on my part. I realize now that she is alone and will be alone for the rest of her life even though she is here with us.

3. Doing what I want when I want and not letting the guilt over leaving my mom alone infiltrate my thoughts and mind. Again, remembering I cannot change her situation nor take away her aloneness.

4. Putting Barb at the top of my list.

5. Realizing as Don has said many times "nothing in the family has changed". My family is the way it has always been. So why should I expect a sudden shift in their method of communication, concern or level of support?

The change unfortunately has been in me, not in my siblings. It is as it has always been - nothing has changed. So in order to move forward, I must effect the change in myself.

So, I move on from this point, feeling so much better about how to deal with everything.

It is odd how just making these decisions and re-reading "The Secret" has given me a new found sense of peace.

I intend to only think the type of thoughts that I wish returned to me. What I put out into the universe is exactly what I will expect to get back. Negative words, thoughts and feelings will be replaced with positive words, thoughts and feelings.

And always remembering "Like Attracts Like."

Spring Tickler

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

You're Invited

Please come in won't you.

The craft room is finished .... the french doors are hung .... the ceiling is complete ..... the carpet down .... the trim is cut and installed .... all of my crafting supplies are organized and on shelves in baskets.

All of the collectibles that I love, I have brought into my room, old rusty pieces of farm equipment .... a few old spools I found at a flea market .... a rusty old cast iron pot ..... an old apple crate which when turned on its' end, makes a great shelf to stack a couple of baskets in.

The room is large enough that I was able to bring in a wicker chair and ottoman to make a reading corner and that apple crate turned on its' end makes a handy table beside my chair for magazines, books & of course a cup of tea.

This really is a room designed solely for my pleasure. How lucky can a girl get?

So I'll be quilting tomorrow ..... hope to see you if not in body then in spirit.

"It's Magic You Know - Never Believe It's Not So"

Today it is snowing - big fluffy snow flakes falling gently to the ground, covering the earth in a blanket of white.

Let's go for a slow winter walk - shall we? Down into the ravine we can explore together.

As I come over the hill into the ravine, I stop and listen to the winter silence made more intense by the insulating effect of the snow.

A snap in the woods and I stop to listen ....... what caused that snap?

A broken tree limb ripped away from where it belongs - if I stand still long enough I imagine I can hear the tree weeping for her loss?

Will she mourn her loss in years to come?

Do the other trees in the forest feel her loss?

Will they support her if she becomes weak?

A chickadee and a dove enjoy seeds from a nearby feeder that a kind soul filled so they would have food during the harsh winter months.

The dove is hunkered down to keep warm. I wonder where is his mate?

A little further along our walk I see animal tracks breaking the surface of the untouched whiteness.

What made these tracks .... a fox popping out of his den looking for something to eat, a deer who might have strayed away from the herd, a bunny frolicking in the fresh snow, a raccoon looking for somewhere to wash his newly acquired bit of food???

As I stand quietly, looking around for the animal that has been here, I can see a small rabbit who doesn't seem aware of my presence.
But her visit will not last long, she is soon scampering away looking for something to eat or maybe searching for the friend she had come out to play with.

What other creatures are around, that I cannot see, maybe hidding in the now, maybe having their long winter sleep deep under the snow?

I cross the bridge over our swiftly moving creek, moving so swiftly that it prevents it from freezing over in the winter.

Looking to my left I see a quick movement .... a beaver is swimming quickly downstream towards his dam. He disappears as quickly as he appeared.

The silence and majesty of this winter scene is broken only by the lapping of the beaver's tail as he swims, the occasional sounds of birds calling out to other friends, the creaking and cracking of the trees as they contract in the cold - drawing into themselves to protect against the bitter winter winds to come, a seed pod dropping from a tree to fall into the white blanket where it will await it's rebirth.

What or who else is hiding in this winter world of white?

The trees stand stately like majestic sentinels guarding the forest until spring comes blowing the magical breath of rebirth to everything in deep winter slumber right now.

Maybe the weeping broken tree will grow new limbs to replace her very great loss, the ground will come alive with tender green shoots and small creatures will venture out foraging for bits to sustain themselves.

Or maybe, we'll see crocuses peeking through the snow as they reach for the warm spring sunshine.

Let's go back home now for a lovely warm cup of hot chocolate - maybe Green & Black Gourmet Chocolate with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream on top, a drizzle of caramel.

We'll wrap up in a cozy throw, put on our fuzzy slippers while we sit and watch the beautiful big flakes gently falling outside my window, covering more and more of my familiar world.

Where is my rooster garden ornament .... my composter is covered with a white hat on it's lid .... the bird feeder is gently swaying, but still collecting a white bonnet.

The deck is nowhere to be seen, connected to the lawn and garden by a white blanket, no division to be found between the two. The cedars and other evergreens show green branches peeking through their snow wrapped bodies.

The beauty of this world is akin to something supernatural. The softening of the harsh landscape which only a few days ago was brown and drab is extraordinary. It has come to life with the movement of the snow as it falls in gentle drifts and creases. Water drops on my window warm up and slowly run down the glass each creating their own little river.

I open my door, turn my face to the heavens, feel the cold snowflakes as they fall on my nose and cheeks, oops forgot to take off my glasses which quickly become covered in minute water droplets ..... then I take a deep breath of the cold bracing winter air.


Friday, January 2, 2009


New Years Resolutions. Why do we make them? What compels us to feel that at the beginning of a new year we too must make a new beginning?

As I ponder resolutions and what they mean to me, I happened onto my daughters blog and her thoughts on resolutions. "A time for letting go of the past. A future full of possibilities. I have a few "intentions" for the new year. An intention is a purpose held in mind, a desired goal you want to experience. It's more than a hope or a wish. It's a steadfast fixed idea. Just thinking about having, being or doing it gives you pleasure. There's innate power in intention."

I am not a believer in resolutions for many reasons. After making many that I never stuck with over the years and seeing how many other people tend to list off many that they too fail at, why set myself up for a failure. You need only to go into a fitness club in January and see the increase in membership. Then go back in February and see just how many of those new members are still there.

On the other hand is it not a good idea to set goals for ourselves - something to work towards?

So with these thoughts in my mind instead of resolutions this year such as - I'm going to lose weight or I'm going to start and stick with an exercise program .... my resolution is to "take back my life".

These past 5 1/2 months since my father died, I have slowly been absorbed into my mother's life and her emotional health. I feel my very life energy being sucked out of me by her very great emotional and physical needs. Don was shocked when he put up the new 2009 calendar and saw that every week in January is already booked with many appointments for my mother which of course requires my availability for chauffeuring there and back, dropping off and picking up prescriptions, taking her for blood tests, eye exams, new glasses, etc....

I've lost myself somewhere in her life and must find me again.

The lack of emotional or physical support from my siblings has been a very painful experience for me to face. My family is very fractured and deeply scarred which I have known all my life - I cannot honestly say that it is a family. These past few months being faced head on with this lack of love, support, or even just a call to see how things are going with not only mom but me has been like a slap in the face. Do they think that things are status quo? That bringing my mother to live with us didn't effect enormous changes that we have to adapt to? They do not see the loss of privacy we have had to adapt to. They do not see the woman that I am faced with 24/7. She is a miserable, unhappy, sour, critical person who know exactly how to push my guilty buttons. She constantly has excuses for why her children aren't bothering with her.

I realize that I'm sailing this ship with no crew and it is one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. Fighting bitterness, aggravation, resentment, guilt & depression has lead me to this point. I don't like the way I feel, I don't like my lack of ability to control my emotions, I don't like feeling resentment and bitterness - it's like a bitter bile in my mouth.

Like Samantha said in Sex & The City, "Life was so much better when it was all about me". This is going to be the year that I will make the year of Barb. I will work hard to heal myself of all of these feelings which in the past have not been a part of my personality. If this requires taking time away from everything & everyone causing me this grief I resolve to do it, if it requires researching and reading self help literature I will do it, if it requires talking to a professional, I will do it. I resolve to do everything and anything it takes to become whole again.

The headaches, constant unchecked tears, neck and shoulder pain are becoming a pain in my ass and a great source of frustration to me.

Who I am as a person is important to me and I cannot afford to lose what has taken me 54 years to perfect (a little humour to lighten this post).

The love I receive from my children, grandbabies and dear friends shows me that deep down I am a good person, that I am worthy of love and support and that I deserve to enjoy my life on my own terms.

So from this point on it's all about me and I will take back my life that I have lost, I will stop feeling guilty over my mother's situation which I cannot change, I will accept the situation with my siblings and stop expecting help and I will make removing the bitterness and resentment from my life a top priority.

I cannot end this rant of a post without expressing my gratitude for my husband and my daughter, both of which are providing to be my rocks through this horrible situation. Their support, their words of wisdom and their steadfast love for me are needed and appreciated.

And thanks to you my readers, for listening to my rant. Your thoughts and many emails (thanks Chris) expressed to me in the past on my situation are appreciated too.

So let's raise a glass to 2009 - to a healthy, happy and prosperous year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR and thank you to all of you who have shared this wonderful blogging journey with me!

Grateful Friday

Although I start each day giving thanks for my blessings, I find it difficult to sit and verbalize just how grateful I am.

For my breath, my health, my very life.

How much can I write down before you my readers start to say "Enough already".

Today this second day of the new year of 2009, I am grateful for yet another year, the year I will turn 55 years old.

How swiftly time has sped by. It seems like only yesterday when my babes were small and yet here I am with four beautiful grand babies.

So today I am grateful for the seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years that I have been privileged to enjoy.

Each moment pressed into the pages of my mind like a photograph to be always remembered.

Precious moments remembered such as the births of my children .... the births of my grand babies .... the death of my father ..... my wedding day ..... my first kiss ..... my first painting - my pride in that first painting ..... my daughter's beautiful face ...... pressing a seam on a quilt ..... holding a sleeping grand child in my arms ..... watching a football or hockey game cuddled on the sofa with Don .... nap time in Kindergarten beside that boy I just thought was the cats meow .... the orthopedic shoes I had to wear as a child ..... my first pair of glasses ..... watching our daughter and her new husband take their vows ..... my mother giving her first "whatever" .... the pride on Don's face when he bought his first Prelude for cash ..... Gabriella's face after eating a piece of lemon .... the look on my grandsons & Mikes face when they opened the Playstation for Christmas.

As you can see, there are so many photographs to choose from.

I am grateful that I have learned to slow down and enjoy each moment, not to rush along because there is something better ahead.

How many times as a young mother have we wished that our child would sit up, crawl, walk, talk, get potty trained, stop using a soother, stop nursing, hurry up and go to sleep, learn to dress themselves?

Why are we always in a hurry to wish our life away? These moments we wish away are so precious and quickly enough are relegated to our past where they become intangible ..... untouchable no longer a three dimensional experience but a one dimensional snapshot of that moment.

What could be better than this very second I am enjoying?

As I write this I remind myself to just BE. Enjoy whatever I am doing ... however mundane and give it my all, my very best.

So today I am thankful for this very moment.


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