Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Spinning a Good Yarn

Today I was able to finish off the Latvian socks.
They took forever to knit.
They are the color of Granny Smith apples.

Then I put them on and had a cuppa tea while wiggling my toes happily.

Yes that is the to-do list in the background.

Sock Monkey on a New York City Subway last December.
He travels with us everywhere.

This is the antique spinning wheel that the Lighthouse Keeper's Wife GAVE to me.

I had some new spools made for it.  A very kind Scottish gent from the Dogwood Pavilion wood shop made them for me.  He did a beautiful job.  Thanks Mike.

I'm gonna spend the rest of the day spinning some alpaca.
That's the alpaca on the right.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rusty Wisdom

"People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they are lost." 
 Dalai Lama XIV

I have always loved the to-do list.  Even when I was a little kid sitting at my desk with a drawer full of stationary stuff, (colored pencils, pink pearl erasers, colored paper clips)  I would write out "things to do" in a little spiral note pad that looked like an orange.

There are a few versions of the list that exist simultaneously.

There is always the daily list which is usually written out the night before on a note pad that I keep on the coffee table.

There is usually some sort of list for the upcoming week or a block of time that may occur over vacation.  This one usually orbits around the house with me and morphs continuously.

There is the yearly list which is usually written during the last week of the year.

The Big Daddy list which spans up to 5 years or more and includes items like places we'd like to travel to. New things to learn like resuming those piano lessons that I quit taking around age 13.
Things I would like to achieve like move to the island and get that dang pottery business up and running. Finish the children's book I started in 2003. Eeeeek! it goes on and on.

Recently, someone very close to me exploded.
They also had a list, which criticized, pretty much, everything that I am because I do not look at life the same way they do. I won't get into the ugly details but I will say it has left me feeling very sad, and a bit pissed off.  It has also left me feeling unwell and the last few days I have struggled with how to deal with it.  I will probably do nothing more than set better boundaries for myself with this person. I have also been struggling to reclaim my zen zone.  Not always easy. Which brings me to something the boyfriend's dad, Rusty said to his kids when something crappy happened. We say it to ourselves any time something upsets us.

          Rusty is a funked out, beatnik version of Colonel Sanders with a big smile and a bigger voice.

                                           "Just relax and let the ole world take a couple of turns."

                                                               Love it.  Thanks Rusty.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Two Dum-dums and a Dead Guy

I have been a bit under the weather and feeling uninspired.
My to-do list is on the table with a big tea stain on it.
It gets longer as I do nothing.
Let's not be hard on ourselves.
It's okay

I forgot to put this on my to-do list.

Today's list:

- call in sick
- drink tea
- feel bad about neglecting the list
- think about planting an orchard
- fill bird feeder
- think about what I will write today

I noticed while performing the second to last item on the list that the dum-dums are out.  This is the name we have given to the young black capped chickadees that have just emerged from the nest with their moms. They are on the feeder or hanging from the wind chimes. They are a bit clumsy and overshoot their targets and end up in the branches of trees or on the ground.  Occasionally they fly into the house and are confused.  They usually just find a place on the window sill or the back of a chair and look at me curiously. There have been two so far. They are very cute and most of them can just be picked up with your bare hand because they are so new.  They have no fear.
I am always amazed how quickly they learn though. In just a few days they are proficient flyers and valuable members of the bird community.

Which brings me to this question.  Why is it so easy for most birds and so difficult for some people? It must be horrible for parents when a kid goes down the wrong path and gets into trouble.  I think in most cases it can be corrected and they can be steered right again.  I don't know I'm not a parent.  I think also that it doesn't necessarily depend on how good or bad the parents are....sometimes they just go astray.

This was the scene at the end of the street where the boyfriend is renovating his house.  24 years old, shot multiple times. They haven't arrested anyone yet.

I'll bet he didn't start the day thinking he would be photographed under a tarp that day, with one black Nike running shoe sticking out.

I'll bet a few people said "Good, one less punk to deal with"

The officer we spoke with told us that regardless of who he was or what he had done, they would treat this case as thoroughly and respectfully as they would any other.  They had the block taped off for a couple of days.  Officers were everywhere, guys in bullet-proof vests canvassing every home in the area.

There is no longer a chance to turn things around, to straighten out.
There is no longer a chance to say "I'm sorry."
Somewhere there is a mother who just lost a dum-dum.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Searching for Martha

Last night at work I was able, during quiet times, to read a bit about blogging in Tara Frey's book, Blogging for Bliss.  I have sooo much to learn!  So far the boyfriend has helped me to get this boat afloat, but there are so many things you can do and all of the sample blogs she shows in the book are most impressive.  I see a night class in the fall.  Digital photography maybe.

I know better than to beat myself up over this. I know most a lot of the women featured in the book are professionals and their blogs are an extension of their businesses.  They probably have a geek hidden under those exquisite dining tables!

The majority of bloggers featured in Tara's book are interior designers, and I was able to check out a few of the blogs featured. The pictures are beautiful and the furniture and detail of the rooms and gardens are enough to make one feel....a little inadequate.

So when I got home this morning I did the one thing that would make me feel better.
I curled up on the couch with a glass of wine and watched a recorded episode of Hoarders!  Suddenly, not emptying the dishwasher for two days doesn't seem so bad. I troddled off to bed feeling a bit more like Martha Stewart than crazy Mavis with the 50,000 dolls.

Got up at 2:30 pm to make tea bags. So I went for the beer fridge and sat in the sun for a while contemplating Martha. 
She did an episode once where I heard her say something like " What says springtime better than a beautiful carrot cake with a vegetable garden on top made from hand sculpted marzipan?"

I remember there tears of laughter rolling down my face! Are you kidding me?

She was not kidding and she proceeded to decorate an acre sized slab of carrot cake with cream cheese icing followed by a picket fence border made from rolled out and cut marzipan, followed again by rows of little hand sculpted cabbages dyed with food coloring, followed by bushels of perfect little carrots....and there may have been a cow on there too.

Ahhh!  I had to get that out......feel better!
I have to get ready for work.  No time for cake.

Sorry Martha.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gardening with Kieth

It is so true what they say.

 Life is what happens while you're busy making plans.

The weekend was to be a joyful blend of to-dos.  The pots for the herb garden by the front door are still full of dirt and waiting to be planted.  I was going to wash and detail my Dad's car for Fathers Day, and get caught up on a variety of mundane house chores.  I have no idea what my Pa does in his car, it  always used to be pristine.  Now there is a layer of stuff in looks like someone attacked a package of English muffins with a chainsaw. I am thinking he has a secret that includes fast food breakfast sandwiches....can't prove it.  Anyway, he is 77 and can do what he wants....

On Saturday my Pa went to Gabriola Isand for a day trip.  My Mom stayed behind. I think she also had plans to get some things done. At noon she called to say that she wasn't feeling quite right, nothing serious, and could I come over.  I ended up spending the rest of the day with her.  We talked and talked and got caught up on where we are at in life.  We drank tea, ate soup, cooked boiled eggs, drank coffee,  talked more.  It was great and I can't think of a better way to have spent a cool, cloudy June afternoon.

Now it is Monday.  I worked last night, went to bed at 7am, got up at 3pm and have to go back again tonight. No time for anything except a quick blog entry, but that's life.  Right?

A few years back I had this really cool dream.  I was in a garden, maybe the back yard of the house I grew up in.  I was on all fours with my butt in the air, weeding happily when I heard whistling.  I turned to see who had entered my garden and there was Kieth Richards!  He was wearing dark sunglasses and lots of chains and bracelets, a very fancy tuxedo style jacket and some honkin', funky shoes.  He was carrying a small potted plant.

"Hi Kieth, what brings you to my garden?" I ask.
"Ruch mar guh promraw fa dor gorgdu" he replies.
Translation," I thought you may enjoy this lovely Primrose"
"Thanks so much! Tea?" I ask.
We end up having tea outside in the sun talking about music and our favorite flowers.

I was so delighted when I woke up.  The dream stuck with me for days because it was sooo real and sooo fun.

I decided I would paint my dream. This is as far as I got. It is far from finished. The white blob in the background is me weeding and looking up to see Kieth.  I was quite happy with it  as I recall.
Sadly, I was dealing with an illness in the family at that time.  Things happened, my spouse needed to be cared for, there was the day job and the dog needed to be walked.  There were appointments and set backs and emotional unraveling. Groceries and food preparation and time for painting or anything else remotely creative.  The momentum was lost.  The painting was put in the spare room against the wall.

So you set out to do one thing and life has a way of pulling you, kicking and screaming, in a completely different direction. I believe for the better.  It builds character. It makes us more flexible, resilient. Then, if and when we get back to a place where we are able to resume those plans, hopefully it comes with more passion and appreciation than we ever could have had before.

Just let it go and enjoy every day for what it is  and with all that it brings.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Day Job

My day job is actually a night job and I find it nearly impossible to get anything accomplish anything on these days.  The to-do list would look something like this:

- Get home at 6:30 am

- Watch news for 30 minutes while slurping a cup of hot milk

- Sleep, hopefully without interruption , hopefully until about 2pm

- Get up, make tea, stare out the window and feel like some one who has recently had a lobotomy

- Think about things I should do.... but don't do them

- 4 pm start getting ready for work, shower , pack a lunch, call my mom.

- 5 pm leave for work at 6 pm

So I have decided that I will not write much on these days, because I would just basically be cutting and
and pasting exactly what is written above.  If I do, it will be because there is something interesting to write about that hopefully, has absolutely nothing to do with the day job.
There.  I have set some ground rules for my blog and actually accomplished one, small thing.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Odds n Sods

It is Saturday and we slept in. Ahhh
The morning conversation went something like this:

Him: Good Morning Poo
Me:  Good Morning, I missed you.
Him: Okay, let's think, if you could go anywhere on a trip for two weeks, where would you want to go?
Him: Don't say anything until we both have our decisions made.
Me: Okay.
Him: My trip is a loop.
Me: Sshhh, I'm not done thinking yet.
Me: Okay, I'm ready.
Him: You first.
Me:  I`m thinking that I would really like to do the heritage trip we talked about.  We could start in
        Amsterdam, then go to Scotland, then Norway, then to Germany.
Him: Yessss! I was thinking the same thing, but I would start in, like, London and then do Scotland,  Norway,
       Germany, Holland and then maybe hit Paris on the way back and fly home again from London.
Me: Sounds great.....and expensive......guess we better get some more dough in the travel account.

To Do List:
- Go out for Breaky
- Gas up ``the Pig``
- Hit the garden center to buy herbs for the terracotta pots by the front door.
- Glue the eyeball back on to the weird ``welcome`` sighny , thingy that hangs outside the door. The eyeball
   has been on the kitchen window ledge for a long time.  Sometimes I just get stuck.  I have no idea what that
   welcome creature is, but its cute and I like it.
- Loads and loads of laundry
- Take spun yarn off of spool
- Blog
- Rest.

The creature got his eyeball back.

I did get gas but did not get to the garden center because the traffic freaked me out ( still on island time )
I did get the planters ready for planting and full of fresh dirt.

The yarn is off the spool.
Laundry done.
Back to work tomorrow....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Go Canucks Go!

This Morning it was time to leave the island.  I was feeling a bit sad to go but also happy to be going home to the boyfriend and looking forward to the game tonight.

To Do List:

- Get up, have hot cup o tea , watch some morning news
- Pack up my stuff and load it into the Pig (my car, it sucks gas )
- Have camera on passenger seat in case I see anything interesting on the trip home
- Lock up and head for the Ferry by 9:00 am

About half way through the trip from Gabriola to Nanaimo, the Captain of the Quinsam  comes over the loud-speaker to tell us that there is a pod of Orcas on the port side of the ship. Everyone went to look.

Clearly this was a sign from the hockey gods that we are going to win tonight.
Shortly after that I continued on to Departure Bay to catch the big ferry to Vancouver.  There were a lot of people left behind from the previous sailing.  It was as if everyone had hockey fever!

Everywhere I looked, Canucks fans!

  More Canucks fans.....

Even the newspaper man was in on the excitement!

There were flags and signs on so many cars.

Even a couple of Bruins fans.

Good luck tonight Canucks!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I slept like the dead last night and was wakened by the neighbour's rooster at exactly 4:27 a.m.  He is a busy boy.  I don't understand why they have to get up so early.  What does a rooster really have to do that requires that kind of schedule?  Maybe one day I will have a rooster of my own and then I will understand.  Until then I have no judgement.
I am going home tomorrow, to spend a couple of days with the boy friend and get back to the day job on Sunday night.

To Do List:

- Get up, drink tea, don't watch morning news because I don't want to hear about Looooo
- Put away tractor and lock it up
- Finish planting the flowers in the window box
- Finish raking up the grass and hide it behind trees
- Rest
- Put tools away
- Relax and watch mindless  t.v. until bedtime

Price of removing a grove of Giant Hogweed with a machete?
Paralysis of right arm.

Price of mowing , raking and schlepping a couple acres of grass?
An aching back, sore legs, and entire body pain ( except for my right arm which is paralyzed )

Price of planting the window box and a  making the place look loved?

$ 23.17

The price of finally hanging the deer skull above the door of the tractor shed?

$ 0.00

The value of  four days of good honest work?


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ruffled Feathers

This morning I looked out the back door towards the pond.  There, sitting on this old, wooden, water wheel was an owl. There are a pair of them that live here year round but sightings are rare and usually at dusk.  This one is about the size of a loaf of bread, ( an artisan loaf, not the store-bought kind )  it's feathers looked like tree bark.  As I was clumsily getting my camera out, it looked straight at me with these huge, black, alien eyes, ( the small green aliens,  not the grey ones )  as if I was the most annoying thing it had ever laid eyes on. It was though it was saying  "Avert thine eyes from me, farm woman!"  Then, clearly not amused, silent, flap, flap, into the trees... gone.  I took a bad picture but you can see it on the blue thing.  After that I had to shake off feeling awkward and frumpy.  I had been humiliated by a bird.

To Do List:

- Get up
- Drink a hot cup of wonderful tea and watch some morning news
- Mow,rake, mow, rake, rake.
- Revel in the knowledge that the Giant Hog Weed is shriveling up in the sun like the Wicked Witch of the      
- Rest.
- Think about cleaning up the planters and window boxes.
- Go to garden center and pick up some flowers, ( a.k.a. deer candy ) for the item above.
- Later, hockey....Go Canucks!

This is dreadful , dead ,dry and full of spiders and creepy things...can't deal with it today...

This one screams neglect....


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This is War

I am blessed. Truly.
I am at my home away from home, 5+acres with a cozy house on Gabriola Island.  I arrived Sunday evening and now that the sun has finally emerged after  many drab and dreary months....well, there is work to do.

I have always been a big fan of the To-Do list. Somehow just writing things out makes me feel like I'm actually on top of things, organized... but things get busy and overwhelming sometimes and there were days when my beloved list became a big, bald, drill sergeant screaming orders at me and making me feel inadequate and wimpy.  Not being one that takes orders well, I gradually tweaked the list to make it more fun and to give myself a fighting chance.  I didn't think much of it until the boyfriend started reading my lists, which were left...everywhere,  they seemed always to bring a smile, and that look that he gives me which says, "That's okay Carm, we'll try to keep you in the community as long as we can".

Today's List :

- Get Up
- Drink a hot cuppa tea while watching morning news
- Clean out and fill bird bath, fill up bird feeders, welcome birds
- Clean out and fill humming bird feeders, welcome hummers for summer
- Dress myself with the island version of the haz-mat suit; hat, sunglasses, boyfriend's denim shirt all buttoned  
   up, jeans, gumboots, gloves.
- Arm myself with weapons of mass destruction; machete, tractor mower with cart and a beer
- Wage War on the Giant Hog Weed that is growing behind the studio and slowly implanting itself in an ever
   growing area by spreading it's demon seed!

It grows up to 8 feet tall and has seeds that can last un-sprouted forever! If you get it's sap on your skin and then go out in the sun it can cause severe blistering burns and cause blindness!!
It is not native to North America.
If there is a nuclear holocaust, there will be cockroaches, Justin Beeber and....yes the Giant Hog Weed.
It is the ENEMY!!!

Weapons of  Mass Destruction.

Victory...for now..