Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Thanks for 17 years of great haircuts, Gabriella. After hacking at my own hair from Grade 10 until part-way through university, your skillful work was a revelation!

My soul is heavy as I think of your sweet family tonight. I dearly hoped when I was in for an appointment just last month that I would be seeing you again in August, as we had optimistically planned. I don't think I would have found it in myself to continue working as long as you did while willing yourself to beat this cancer.

I will miss commiserating with you about parenting the 7 and under crowd, and discussing decisions about education and activities, or chatting about trailer purchases and camping. It was always fun showing up to find we had the same boots, or Roots purse, or that we recognized each others' outfits from one of our Winners excursions (at least once running into each other there, caught red-handed feeding our fashion addiction). And it seems we also shared a bit of a thing for red tones in our hair, and fun bob cuts, although we both played with lots of style and colour changes over the years!

I wish you could have stuck around - I kind of always envisioned us getting together as old ladies, because even with the commute now, I would have hung in there for the long haul. Mainly, I wish things were different because your beautiful children, and committed husband, and loving family and friends will miss you so much.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Wild Turkeys, House Finches, Agent 99, and my Motet

I have been uploading some recent photos and decided to find a few to post here. Turns out there is a theme. Not much of a surprise, since I do enjoy snapping critter shots.

A couple of weeks ago the kids called us to the dining room to witness some visitors in the woods just beyond the fence. Since moving further from the city, there have been far more wild turkey sightings, and a recent close encounter when one opted to take flight from the shoulder of the road directly into the path of our approaching vehicle. He just barely cleared the van as we passed, and I was jello for a few minutes afterward.

Much to my chagrin, I realized a week or so ago that I had failed to take any photos of our official outdoor cat (a "chattel" we agreed could stay with the property when we moved there!). Formerly "Peaches", our little (actually, fairly substantial) hunter is now "Agent 99". She's quite a lovely creature, and does her work well. (We have a couple of unofficial felines out there as well, who arrived as kittens last fall - I suspect they belonged to a cat I noticed late at night a few times, who eventually stopped showing up). I think 99 appreciated the extra warmth and company during the long, cold winter we just had, and the (now young adult) kittens seem to enjoy the free food. Go figure.

With the snow staying so long, I didn't get around to removing winter decor fast enough, and now much leave my Christmas wreaths in place until our house finches are done nesting. We can watch them from the kitchen, which is entertaining. And at least they are not in the back yard, where keeping fledglings safe from hounds would be a particular challenge (having done that with near-full success when we had baby blue jays at our other place. Of course, in that instance, mama jay was also a strong protector, swooping and cutting my head one time when she decided I had ventured too close to the nest).

My first cat, Motet, turned 18 in March. She seems to be quite deaf, but has otherwise been doing well. Last week she came down with a sudden and furious bladder infection, and seems to be on the mend. Baby Girl (not much of a baby now, at age 4) very thoughtfully tucked Mo in and read her some stories to help her feel better. That and the antibiotics appear to be doing the trick. I'm just trying to be thankful for any time I have left with my little cat friend.

Motet has always enjoyed hanging out on my neck. She has also always longed for an indoor/outdoor life, and with close supervision and a harness, has been allowed out at times. Since moving I haven't been able to find her harness, but with the advent of spring she has regularly been trying to trick me into letting her out with the hounds. I took her out the other day to see what she would do. She wasn't trying to make a run for it, but she did head right for the fence-line, having a good look to see if there were any obvious exits. So even at her age and when somewhat under the weather, it seems her zest for adventure has not suffered!


Happy Easter!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Winter Remnants

They say that Spring has arrived. I suppose the heaps of snow do appear to be gradually receding. I know that this has not been a popular winter with most, but I found the constant blanket of fresh snow to be somewhat refreshing, compared to the slush and grey that so often characterises our winter season. Four straight months of snow cover is highly unusual here, however, as there are typically a few thaws throughout.

Living outside the city has its advantages in winter...the scenery was beautiful this year, and I soaked it in on my drives, and while gazing out of the windows at the back of our house:


Some days on the road were an adventure...the highways near our new home are more open to the wind, with this result:


I was recently close enough, at last, to some wild turkeys to snatch a couple of photos before they wandered away from the roadside:

 The feeder beyond our sunroom has been full of activity - woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, chickadees, and others have enjoyed snacking there:

And Motet, turning 18 within the next few days, has enjoyed watching them:


We enjoyed the company of friends for brunch on a couple of occasions during February - I do hope to host more in our new home. I attempted peanut butter balls for the first time, and Kitch made a treats tag to go with them.


Two weeks ago I had the great honour of attending with a friend as she gave birth to her second little guy. He obliged by being born in the middle of the night on a weekend, between Geoff's shifts and my work schedule...I drove an hour, and arrived an hour before he made his entrance, stayed for a while afterward, then drove home to be with our kids before Geoff headed in for his 7:00am shift!

We are getting a little antsy for more-spring-like weather around here, although I try to save actual complaining for  middle-of-July heat waves! In the meantime, a few little organizational projects, indoor house projects, work, church, and other business gives us (more than) plenty with which to occupy ourselves.

Friday, 3 January 2014

On the 9th Day of Christmas...

Our first Christmas holidays in our new home are nearing the end...although despite working today, I intend to count the next 3 days (which includes the weekend, and my usual Friday off) as extended holiday time.

As always, time flew by between Christmas and New Year's. It didn't help that quite a few hours and much mental preoccupation ensued following a nip by a stray kitten (which we ended up euthanizing due to illness...after which we also found a dead raccoon in the workshop where the kitten had been living...and then realized that perhaps I should have started post-rabies vaccinations, which I did last weekend...thankfully due to holiday slow-downs, the kitten was still available for testing and I don't need to finish the vaccination schedule, but I digress...).

Geoff and I obtained some much-needed quiet and reading time January 1, when my parents offered to take the kiddos out of town for the day, to an annual extended family gathering.

As has become my pattern, the some highlights of our seasonal story will be told in photos...beginning with a hint of the teal and red combo I ended up using throughout the main floor (an extension of painting the front doors turquoise, and then bringing it into the house, alongside my more traditional red-based colour scheme) - I ended up enjoying it quite a bit!

The master bedroom is pictured below...we would love to do a fresh mid-century look in our room, but have an antique set we quite like (that has significance to us), and were just given the antique sewing machine, which at least temporarily filled a conspicuous empty place in the room. 


 We were a little concerned about furnishing the living room, in the centre of the house, given that the post-moving budget limit has been reached on more essential purchases. Less than two weeks before Christmas it occurred to me that we could likely find some super-cheap used furniture online to fill the space for now...and ended up with a vintage set in pristine condition, which we really like. Coordinating accent chairs were found through another online classified, and ta-da - we're all set up for $150.00.

 We haven't had much time at all to enjoy the view from the sunroom (other than glancing that direction was we pass through the foyer going between the kitchen/family room and bedrooms), but this is where Geoff and I spent a good chunk of time with our books on January 1 - ahhh.

 It was fun decorating the new place for Christmas. Once we build massive built-in book/display cases in the living room (flanking the piano), I can de-clutter the mantle, jam cupboard, and piano in future years to keep things a little simpler.

 Mesmerizing for all ages...the spinning candle holder...

My main gift from Geoff - a hand carved nativity (for which he built the stable backdrop and a hefty rustic wood storage box with individual compartments, that should be put on display itself).

Another gift from family...the year of the Nativity...


The holidays are truly not complete without Mom's pies (particularly the apple ones). I know everyone doesn't agree, but the apples are cooked down to a soft texture...and of course, it is best served with a liberal dose of the brown sugar sauce intended for the Christmas pudding...

Just before Christmas, Geoff and I celebrated our 15th anniversary...for the third year in a row (yes, that means each year since having kids) we did not get away overnight, as was always our tradition. We nearly did, but trying to find a B&B last minute, just before Christmas, is apparently not an easy task. We did, however, go to dinner and a movie, which was a novelty in and of itself.


I really, really want my kids NOT to believe in Santa (I will actually have way more fun with the whole Santa thing once that is the case), but long-standing family traditions prevail...this year we even neglected to leave out Santa's goodies, but he found them anyway and left us his usual note! Not much I can do about that...


 I hardly ever skate, and can't do anything fancy, but have always wanted a good pair of figure skates (and my current ones, while serviceable, are going on 25 years old now). Geoff found me these lovely ones, and I look forward to breaking them in...Now that he works at our local arena, I really have no excuse to neglect regular outings...

Merry Christmas (it's only the 9th day, after all, and we haven't reached Orthodox Christmas quite yet) and a beautiful New Year to you!

(I leave you with a picture of our formerly live tree - originally standing about 20 feet tall, hacked off at about 12 feet, and finally cut down to 9.5 feet, with nearly a 6-foot span. They said we could have anything left in the field for $35).