Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day of Rest

I think I can safely say that I'm not the only one ready for winter to be over! This is one of my favourite sights when I walk down to my postbox in the summer . . .

Fisherman Willie. :-)

When you're in the middle of the cold, you can use your summer memories to keep warm.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

HAPPY Saturday

Proper porridge is bubbling on the stove. The girls are snoozing after their breakfast. It's a very ordinary morning. :-) I feel spring just around the corner, even as I'm sitting by the wood stove. Pictured above is a page from a calendar I made for John Morgan with all my favourite Grasshopper quotes with pictures I've taken.

"Acceptance is the catalyst for transformation. Willingness is the catalyst for acceptance."

Acceptance takes away the fight within ourselves. :-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Last fall, I had the good fortune to take a one-day class with the FABULOUS Claudine Hellmuth. We had a great time playing with solvents and creating unique collage paper. Here is my first effort:

I love the textures and the colours. I love the image of the half-nude woman facing the women in burkas. This is my second one. I was creating a background. When I remarked to a fellow participant that I wasn't finding the images I needed for the collage part, she said, "Maybe it's supposed to be an abstract." So here is my abstract:

When I was without electricity, I started an altered book using many of the pages that I had created in the workshop. More to come . . . .

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ruthie & baby :-)

Blurry photo, but I love the feeling of it:

Ruthie with new baby, 1 day old!

Playing around with contrast & colour:

Black & white, not so bad:

Then I sent it to John to play with in Photoshop:

Awwww . . .

He says children & puppies should always be in warm tones. :-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chiro-sister's birthing day/night

As I mentioned before, chiro-sister Ruthie had her baby. During the labor, her dog Albus was by her side at all times--except when she went into the birthing tub. Albus was pacing about. He could hear Ruth, but he couldn't see her. Midwife Nancy suggested Hubby call him up onto a nearby chair so he could see her. So he did. And then! For a dog who hates water . . .


I managed to get this photo. Keep in mind that it was dark & I was just pointing & hoping I'd catch it. Nancy said this was a first; a dog jumping into the tub. Ruth picked him up & handed him to Hubby.

Drying off.

All tuckered out. Plus Mum told him to get in his bed. He jolly-well did!

Then Ruth moved back to the bed . . .

Albus on the bed at Ruth's feet; midwife assistant.

Ruthie was so AMAZING! As Mum says, "They don't call it labor for nothing."

9.3 lbs!!! 15 inch head with man hands!

Midwife Nancy & Mum

When I was going thru my power outage of 5 days, Ruthie said how hard that must have been, and how did I survive? After the baby finally came at 6:34 a.m., Ruthie said, "That is the hardest thing I've ever done."

[Pause . . . wait for it . . . ]

"Yeah," I said. "But could you live without electricity for 5 days?" Hahahaha ;-)

Monday, February 22, 2010

M&M Monday

When I have to travel, the girls go to Mystic Pet Resort. This is Gareth:

The girls worship Gareth.

The girls were making their way down the driveway & I was calling to them to come back. I got nothin'. They just kept going. Then I said, "Come on, you two!" like Gareth does, and they did a U-turn. Last visit, he gave them bones to gnaw on. Which they like to snarl over.

Here's Maggie sidling up to Millie and her bone:

I'm just sitting here, looking innocent.

See? Just resting my eyes.

Oh, look! My own bone!

Later . . .

Maggie asleep on BOTH bones!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


So HAPPY when my twinkle lights came back on!

As life has gotten back to normal, & I marvel at hot & cold water that magically flows from the tap, I have been reflecting on my 5 days of pioneering it with no power. When I first heard about the storm, I filled the bathtub & water bottles, just-in-case. Maggie woke me at 5:30 a.m. Saturday so I got an early start to the day. Shortly after I vacuumed the layer of dog hair off the carpet, the electricity went out. I managed to do a blog post on battery back up, and then the laptop was off until the power came back on.

What struck me was the silence. No hum of the computer or sound of the heat kicking on. No cars, no trains, no airplanes overhead. Snow muffles everything anyway, but it was very still. All the cleaning & busy-ness that I had planned for the day left with the electricity. So I pulled out my art supplies and started a new altered book journal; will do a separate blog post for that.

Just as I had resigned myself to a Catholic candle night, the electricity came back on. YAY, me! :-) I kept one of my Mother Mary candles burning just-in-case. But something told me this wasn't over; I added more water to the bathtub, and refilled my water bottles, just-in-case. 2 hours later, and 2 minutes after I blew out the candle, out went the power again, not to return til Wednesday night.

It's been hard sorting thru my experience because much of it doesn't have words. But this is what I've learned: the flashiness of a 10 second firewalk is spit compared to this kind of challenge. One of the biggest things is that time slows down. Way down. And there's a lot of waiting: for the sun to rise, for the water to boil (15 minutes) and for the food to slow-cook (2+ hours) on the wood stove.

I slept in the living room with the dogs & woke every 3 hours that first night to put another log on the fire. I was paranoid that it would go out & the pipes would freeze. By the end of it, I could go a good 5 hours.

Cool Moss.

XM Radio Guy pointed out that the last blizzard of this magnitude was in 1888. What's interesting is that beyond the amount of snow, our ancestors would have been able to cope much better than us in their daily lives. They were already heating & cooking with wood stoves. They had water from a well or cistern or some other system. They weren't dependent on outside power, they were much more self-sufficient. This experience has made me feel closer to my ancestors. There are still people in my life who grew up with a wood cook stove. Dave Dobson told stories about building a fire. My friend Robbie told me stories of her mother heating up water and taking baths in the winter time in the kitchen. And the best baked potatoes in the oven. I had a history professor from college who said he used to stick his feet in the oven when he came home from school to warm up. He used to get in trouble for it.

Even I remember growing up with winters like this and the power going out. Mum made soup on the wood stove. That's how I knew how to do it. I made proper porridge with the double boiler. You know what's yummy? A whole bag of blueberries in porridge. It's like eating pie filling. :-) Just sayin'. I made bean soup and an Italian soup with GF pasta--except GF pasta doesn't take kindly to reheating. It's not as sturdy as its gluten counterpart. It kind of ended up like scrambled lasagna. But it was still yummy. It's hot and filling and I'm eating by candle light!

Seth Godin references the lizard brain, it's that part of our brain that is all about survival. What are the things you need in your daily life to feel safe & that all is right with the world? For me, it's a cup of proper PG Tips tea. My tea kettle has stayed on my stove more as decoration since Brother D got me my electric tea kettle. Well. Here it is, a working kettle again:

Trader Joe's GF Pancakes & hot water for Best. Tea. Ever.

I know there are some who think I'm bravely living out in the wilderness. And I am--but with all the creature comforts. I'm not really an outdoorsy type. I love nature, but at the end of the day, I love a proper shower, too. I don't do camping. Well. Until this. When I talked to Mum a coupla days into it, she couldn't stop laughing.

View off back porch.

View out kitchen window. BEAUTIFUL.

Now that I've been thru it, I think it wasn't so bad. I did it! But that's the thing: you do what you have to do. I guess that's my inherited stiff-upper-lip. No use complaining, just get on with it! Beyond that, I'm so very grateful--for my new wood stove that works--thanks to Neighbor Dave, and for my woodpile, and my Mormon pantry, and for it all. I'm grateful that my cell phone worked thru most of it, and that Neighbor Dave & Carol were here as well, so I wasn't completely alone. I'm very grateful for M&M--altho, nothing really changed for them. Here's my philosophical math for the day out of this experience:

Acceptance + Gratitude = HAPPINESS

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I made a quick trip to Richmond on Sun. p.m. to be with chiro-sister for the delivery of her baby at home, yesterday a.m. :-) 9.3 lbs. with a 15 inch head! Ruthie says it's all those fish oils she took--he has an uber-sized brain.

Mum holding grand baby #7.

Heading back down my road today . . .

So beautiful.

Waiting for the Spring Thaw.

Monday, February 15, 2010

M&M Monday: Historic Snowstorm

You know what's funny? Nothing really changed for the girls with the electricity out for 5 days. Apart from getting their doggie massages by candle light instead of the blue glow of Ellen, everything else was normal. They were warm & had food & water.

Millie heads up the ramp.

Millie & Maggie scoping out the scene.

Neighbor Dave comes to plow!

The girls LOVE the snow!

Maggie, especially just plops down . . .

wherever . . .

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day of Rest: Millie

Millie snoozing.

This has become Millie's spot; by the window. She watches for trains, cars, deer, & other excitement. When she gets bored with that, she faces the other way to watch over the back porch--more deer & way more squirrels that scamper along the rail to taunt her. At night, sometimes she growls at her reflection. Hahahaha Back tomorrow with M&M Monday.

P.S. Happy Valentine's Day & much LOVE to friends & fam. :-) H.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Snowiness

Sunrise this morning:

Sunrise over the wood shed.

Icicles on the back porch.

Like shaving cream!

Down to the river . . .

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

B & W Blizzard Pix

Yes, I have power again after 5 days! I'll do a post about it later. For now, here are a few photos I took the day after the big snow.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Historic Blizzard

The electricity has gone out, so I'm operating on battery power. I don't know how long it will be out, & I need to save my battery for work on Monday. So, if I don't post anything for a few days, that's why. Here's the view out of my living room window:

View off front porch:

Back porch view with wood shed:

I've made quite the dent in wood

I've no water & I'll have to be more diligent about keeping the wood stove stoked thru the night. I've put some proper porridge on top of the wood stove to cook, and another pot for tea. I'm feeling rather pioneerish. Should I break out some darning? I'll be like Abe Lincoln reading by candle light. *sigh* Stay warm & toasty everyone. I'll be back when I am. :-) H.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Back in the wilderness for the blizzard!

Jimmys Cigar Bar
Now with 100% fewer cigars!

The above picture comes from one of my favourite sites, Friends of Irony. I thought it was an appropriate way to tell you about the bit of excitement at our Nashville seminar. I got an email from my friend, NYC Slicker Doug O'Brien, who was our hypnotherapist that night. He said, "There was some famous C & W singer at the smoking seminar last night. The registration helpers were all excited. Do you know who it was?" I called our radio guy there who said very dryly, "The fact that he called her a C & W singer tells you everything." That got a *snort* out of John Morgan. Anyway, it was Jo Dee Messina! How cool is that?! For those who are now saying, "Who?" (You know who you are, Mum) Click here.

I'm listening to her song, That's God, right now. The snow has started for the 8 feet that we're we're supposed to be getting. Kidding. Only 3 feet, I think. I'm cozy in my office with M&M snoozing in their beds. They are snoring in tandem. :-) Life is good!

If you take the time to look around, you'll see it everywhere
It's right here around us, even when we're not aware.

It doesn't have to be a miracle

It might just be the little things

And even those who say they don't believe

They may not know it, but every day they see

That's God.

Stay warm & toasty. :-)