Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Musing

Well we survived the Big Blow.
As it turned out, it was a Grand Excuse to chop up a load of kindling and bring in some firewood and fire up the Copper Woman (Hurrah! NO SMOKE!).
Is there Anything more pleasurable than to have a warm cozy fire going, hear the crack and pop hiss of cedar kindling  and know that it is a howlin' outside?
Mr Bear and I sat and watched Manmade Home on the bigscreen while toasting our toes.
In the midst of all this kuffufle I had time to compose a New Children's Song:
Sleepy snails, sleepy snails
You have lain asleep far too long
Blue froggies are coming and soon you'll be humming
In time to their Very Loud Song!

Blessings to all those who were toasty warm during our 1st Big Blow of the Season!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Big Blow's A Comin' In & Yellow Gray Card Challenge

Autumn has put on her dancing shoes and is busy selecting dancing partners for tonight's 'Howlin South'Easter'.
By all accounts (ie the Weather Office) it will be a Great Party: gusts and blows of up to 100km (60 miles) are expected. Our area's dancing card will be full.
Already the ferries on both sides - Island and Mainland have stopped running for the day and are tied up for the night.
We live in an area surrounded by trees and overhead power lines.
When the Douglas Firs and BigLeaf Maples get to 'swinging their partners' that's usually 'lights out' for the neighbourhood!
We have since learned how to handle the usual power outage that comes with this Party:
1 - have a shower (hot water is the first to go when the power goes)
2 - run the dishwasher
3 - do a load of laundry if desperately needed
4 - bring in a load of firewood for the Copper Woman downstairs (our wood stove)
5 - split kindling and have it ready
6 - have a pot of fresh hot coffee made
Candles, flashlight, and a plug in phone (not battery operated) are at the ready.
It used to be more serious for us when Mr Bear was on the dialysis cycler: having it quit in the middle of the night was Not Fun - thankfully we were able to weather that one successfully.
The only occasion we had to fire up the gas generator, bring it on to the deck and string an extension cord into the office, was so Mr Bear could have juice for his computer.
He had to deal with a cranky client who simply did not understand why Mr Bear could not solve his problems right then and there!
So this afternoon, while I still had juice, I twitted and listened in and found out about this week's card challenge from my artful group: yellow and gray.
Here is what I did for it:
I am going to send it on to a friend who is having a bit of a hard time and I will include a starbucks or timmy card so she can take a much Needed Break!
Blessings to those of you who like us are busy battening down the hatches as we wait this one out!

Sunday Library's Forgotten Treasure: The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox

When I look out my window and watch the rain drip from the eaves, I am reminded of what Number Ten Ox thought of days like this;
 'a perfect day for splashing ink around'.
He was endeavouring to write down the adventures he shared with Master Li and would often chew the end of his mouse whisker brush while contemplating his next brush stroke.
As a rule, I am not that fond of Alternate Histories as most that Mr Bear reads are of an SF Military end of the world scenario and who needs that on a drippy windy day?
But these Chronicles..O find them if you can, they are masterfully  and beautifully written by Barry Hughart of a China that never was; full of magic, mayhem and mystery.
Who could ask for more>
Blessings of a good read, hot coffee and place to curl up in.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday - Or What We Did On A Pineapple Express Kind of Day

Out in the Pacific, the Autumn storms had been gathering, checking their gps, and making sure they had reservations for the West (ie 'wet') Coast of North America.
Today they decided to pay us a visit, all three of them, Ms Mild Temp (15C), Mr Blowhard (the wind) and of course dear Ms Precipitation who brought along both her cats and dogs.
This was the view from the kitchen balcony door looking on to our deck.
Mr Bear then said the most Surprising Thing:
'I have an Idea, but you are not going to like it..'
'Oh?' I said, mumbling above my steaming cup of bean juice sighing inwardly at all the emails that had snuck in past my folder setups.
'No', he said, (more to himself than anyone else knowing that I was only listening with half an ear) 'it's a perfectly Awful Idea'... (waiting for me to ask what the heck it was ..)
'How about..(dramatic pause) we go to the DOGHOUSE for
WAFFLES?' (Mr Bear can be such a tease at times!)
I think I shut down my computer, poured myself into my clothes, in Olympic Record Time and we were out the door.
The Doghouse Restaurant is An Institution: it is exactly what every Good and Smart Small Town should have: a place to eat, nothing fancy, but has the Intelligence to serve Breakfast until 1600 (4 pm) so if you want to throw your clothes over your jammies, jam your socks into your gumboots, slap a hat on at 230 in the afternoon, and wander in, you can still get your eggs over easy at this place of comestibles.
This is what greets you as you come in through the front door and as you are sitting there waiting for a booth, you can get your juices up and running by having a gander at the desserts.
The sign on the back wall proudly states: HOME MADE PIES - Freshly Made - if you have a mind to, you can purchase the whole pie to take home!

I had already made up my mind (thanks to Mr Bear), I was NOT going to turn down a Belgium waffle with hot Spiced Chunky Apples and Whipped Cream on the side and that is exactly what I got, along with a steaming carafe of fresh made coffee.
Beanjuice and Brunch - what a blessing!

Mr Bear stuck to his usual: an Omelette with all the fixin's.
We rolled home, stuffed as an egg (as the Irish would say).
Blessings of a Good Waffle Saturday to all on here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

FreyasDay - Poetry Day

I belong to Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir facebook 'family' and he put the call out for Poets and Writers to submit their words for an upcoming concert in Germany on October 31.
This is my submission:
We Walk In Golden Forests

We walk in golden forests, breathe deep their spicy smell;
This is Autumn, this the Season,
Summer’s soft farewell.
Blue wood-smoke crests the plum-rose hills-
The titian pear gleams beneath its bough;
Looks down on one who tills the earth and will plow deeper
 for next year's harvest.
Life never rests even beneath fresh turned soil-
Next year another crop, next year another  toil.
In gardens,
twisted, plaited brakes of corn stand bereft
Now completely shorn of leaves and fruit.
The vegetables all leaf and root of them are pulled in and stored.
We, like squirrels, cache away our secret hoard;
The ruby jams, liquid amethyst in jars, all jewels of summer
Waiting to be spread upon the Festal Board.
Outside a cold mist hugs the ground,
While star-lit overhead
There’s a welcome knock, the guests arrive
In time for fresh-baked bread.
Blessings of welcome guests, fresh baked bread and joy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thankful Thursday

When we first went to Provence (Southern France) I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the blue blue provencal skies. O I said and O again. I knew without a doubt why Painters from times past chose that area to paint and sketch and live.
Little did I know what a delight was in store for me, when we moved here to the Valley.
Blue skies? Provencal Blue? You betcha.
And since we have had our cedar fence built, we got an unexpected bonus.
Light Strike!
Reflected light that bathes our northern side of the house and makes me and my garden glad.
The late afternoon light is the prettiest and on some days, I can even see cloud patterns through the trees in my far neighbour's yard.
Here are some of my light struck happy plants
a miniature sunflower, an overly optimistic strawberry and my persistent hydrangea with her fall speckle patterned leaf.
Blessings to those on whom the Rare Seasonal Light falls.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wooly Wodensday or An Art Date with my cousin Bonnie

While Autumn was busy painting with her palette outside, we were busy creating and using her Autumn palette inside.
My cousin spent most of the afternoon untangling her hand dyed wool and I jumped from one project to another finally settling on rolling some paper beads I had created out of Japanese calligraphy paper.
I am thinking the paper is rice paper but since I can't read Japanese I will just have to guess.
It takes the Dylusion sprays beautifully and surprisingly doesn't bleed through as much as I thought it would. (probably because it is made for calligraphic ink)  I even made a small video in Video Response Tribute mode to Shannon Green: the Paper Bead Diva.(Shannon, by the way if  you read this, you are so blessed right, making those darn things is ADDICTIVE- they should come with a blue light and a warning!)
Blessings to those who are falling in love (as am I) with Fall and Blessings to those who are being awakened by Spring's sweet song!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2 shot Twosday

It was a Rainy day outside our local Starbucks but the anemones and marigolds didn't seem to mind.

And here is a 'sneakypete' hint of an upcoming blogpost: Sleepy Snails and Froggy Tales.
Blessings of a 2 shot Twosday to you all.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday Musings - First Fall Photos

The Season has now changed over Officially to Autumn and the Reluctant Gardener (ie me) took pity on my Summer 'tenders' and tonight moved them indoors. My yellow lavender, tilsi, chocolate leaved pink flower begonia, and a varied mix of scented geraniums are now perched once more on their bench in the living room in front of the large living room window. I figure they like the view and they can wave their leafy fronds at passersby walking their dogs. They are also the most cheeriest and wonderful thing to see from the Nuvember rain-drenched street.

On the way back from my medical appointment, the light was playing fast and loose with the clouds, and large shadow patches were being painted on Mt Tzhouhalem so I prevailed upon Mr Bear to pull over at a small park so I could shoot it while it lasted.
I am calling this one: 'The Last Picnic'
and the other: 'Spiking the Clouds'.
Blessings of a ColourFall Autumn to all on here.

It is indeed the Month of Gratitude

I had sent a wee creation of a coffee sleeve mini album to a dear online SoulSister Art friend, Kathryn Costa (the CollageDiva) over at True North Arts, thinking she would get a kick out of it as it was made from Starbuck's TRUE NORTH coffee sleeves, so how could I resist?
It was as they say, 'a given'.
This is what I sent her.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think she
would love it so much that she would actually devote an entire blog posting to photographing its 'innards' and that it was inspiring her to do some 'collage play' with the ATC blanks I had included (along with my own ATC efforts)
I could not have wished for a more delightful way of thanks then to know that what I sent was going to be used in some creative way.
No saving, no hoarding for a rainy day, just dive in and use them!
I like that about Kathryn.
As I have said in other postings but feel it bears repeating- we do 'stand on each other's shoulders' in this creative online community and though the mini album was created by me, it is NOT my original idea. It was inspired by Lisa's excellent youtube video of a Coffee Sleeve album that she did for a friend and the Stacked Hinge binding that I used, was one I had learned from the Incomparable DownUnder Wonder Woman: Ozegran!
Thank YOU Ladies! for sharing and posting for all of us to see.
Blessings of Creativity and Musefilled Moments to all the 'Artfuls' out there!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumnal Equinox Sunset: The Balance

Tonight,The Balance was struck between Light and Dark.
We, caressed by its Half Light, could only gaze in awe and wonder, as we tried to capture what our hearts could see perfectly, but our cameras could not.

Coming home from the weekend away, we found This Equinox RAB (Random act of Beauty) left on our doorstep.
Neighbour? Cousin? Friend?
There was no note.
Just a beautiful array of Autumn Glory in a cut glass vase.
It does tell you something though of our neighbourhood; that we can leave gifts for each other on the doorstep (who knows when it was delivered, Thursday? Friday? Saturday?) and it will be waiting untouched for our return.
Is this a new Tradition I am unaware of (until now that is) where we leave Autumnal Equinox bouquets on doorsteps of our nearest and dearest?
If that is the case then I am making a note to be sure to do this for the Vernal Equinox in the Spring.
Now to to find out who did this; I am putting my sleuthing hat on.
Blessings to all those who do, create or leave RABs on people's doorsteps.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Autumnal Equinox

With the left foot still in Summer
And the right foot almost at Winter's door -
Autumn still does not know whether to dress in silk or velvet.
Blessings of Balance to all who read this.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Awash in washi tape

I have succumbed.
I confess to addiction.
The Daiso store in Richmond is dangerous to my credit card.
It starts off so innocently (as these things often DO) with one package of three very pretty (and hoarded) fabric sticky tapes. I just thought they were so pretty and sticky and what would I do with them?
What indeed.
I see that the Filofax / Midori/ Planner crowd merrily colour codes and covers their week/month/year sections with various washi tapes and COVETS them.
It's like Pringles or chocolate coated popcorn, 'betcha can't eat Just One'
You are right.
I am here tonight at this meeting of the Washi Tape Addicts Anonymous  (WTAA) to say that Yes it is bigger than all of us and yes we should give our sig others control of the credit card (when we can remember to do so) and I am going to try and see if I can limit myself to ordering or buying  just ONE tape a month, no scratch that, every two weeks, no no, every week!
All bets are off when we are on the mainland (like today) and we do a trip to Daiso.
We were lucky.
We came away with only spending 80 dollars as opposed to 100 and no it was not ALL on washi tape!
The photo shows my Daiso washi tape 'haul' with the cutest correction tape 'chick' I had ever seen. Each one of those packages was 2 bucks. See what I mean?
Repeat after me; Daiso Is Dangerous.
Blessings to all those addicted to this delightful obsession!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Duke Point / Tsawassen Ferry Run

We Islanders are well schooled in waiting.
Some of us wait patiently, while others, just stretch out and chillax until the Boarding Call is broadcasted across the parking lot.
Now that you are on board and being held captive by lousy food and worse coffee, what do you do to SURVIVE the TRIP?
Why you just reach into your bag of creative tricks and pull out the dollar Starbucks coffee cup that just cries out for something to be done with it's very plain sides and happily doodle for the next two hours.
Blessings to those stuck on a two hour ferry ride who had the foresight to pack crayons.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wonderous Wednesday

Triad of Contentment
Light from the Sky
Shells from the Sea
Plants from the Land
Blessings of the Three from me to thee.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Twosday - Dracula Pansies and Caffienated Hydrangeas

Two shots Tuesday.
This is one of my Winter pansies now nicknamed 'Dracula's Special' as they seem to be immortal. They were planted last November 2012  (I kid you not) and have continued to bloom in those flower boxes unendingly. I thought for sure that this summer's heat would have done them in - nope, they still keep on a' going like the energizer bunny.

The second shot is what happens when you feed your blue hyrdangea your coffee grounds - they turn a lovely shade of purpley rose pink.
Blessings to those who had at least two wonderful things happen on this Twosday.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Musings or I TOAD you so!

It started out as a typical Monday thing to do: Get Garnet (our beloved Honda) a tune up before this Week of Travel begins. She is not only going to be zooming up and down the Malahat to Mr Bear's Transplant Clinic, but later in the week, will be on a ferry and transporting us to a Cousins Reunion over on the mainland. Mr Bear always likes to make sure Garnet is in good running order for these jaunts.

We actually look forward to going to this particular Honda dealer as they are an easy walk to the nearest TIMMY's where as luck would have it, we would be meeting up with our island cousins for lunch.
So there we were, pulling in to the Honda dealership and after we stopped, I opened my door, put my foot out and felt/ heard 'squish'. I looked down and there was a previously deceased Western Toadlet on the ground. Poor thing! I flipped him out of the way with my shoe and saw that he had joined another dead brother under a stack of tires. Turns out that the Honda Dealership is right dab smack in the middle of Toad Hollow and the Annual Toad Migration has begun.
They spawn in the woods and ponds on one side of the road, then hop across in droves (toadfuls?) to the other, to live out their lives until the Mating Urge forces them to do play 'dodge'em' with vehicle traffic.
I found more information about it on a great blog called TOAD HOLLOW PHOTOS. Check them out for great shots and an amazing heartful story (toadily wonderful)
When they first started out, millenia ago, they didn't have to worry about cars squishing them. Now they do and it's a danger to both them and the driver! Think greased lightning and multiply that by 1000 if you hit a few!
So a fence has been built and the municipal road crew actually block off a portion of the road until the Toads get through doing whatever it is that Toads do under the light of a full moon (the next one is September 19).
Blessings to the Toad Protection League and their efforts to preserve an endangered species!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Two Sunday Successes!

It's so wonderful to celebrate the Little Successes as well as the Big.
For example: these Zen Beans (aka Orca or Yin/Yang) came from one beanstalk carefully shepherded all summer long in a hanging basket, safe from Buck the Deer's midnight munchies!
Tonight I tapped the pod and heard that delightful rattle - they were ready to be picked for seed!
We don't eat them, too few and too pretty; I just hand them out as gifts to those whom I think could use a little 'zen' in their life and I have a jewellery project in mind as well.
As for the next Success: I can only say that when I volunteered to do the 12 Days of Christmas Ornament Swap, I had not had enough coffee to realize what it meant to do  'seven swans a'swimming'. !
(Mr Bear calmly informed me that 12 x 7 = 84!)
Someone more brilliant than I had already snagged Days 1 through 6.(drat)
However tonight, I was bound and determined to conquer at least ONE version of an Origami Swan.
Naturally the video tutorial that I chose was for 'intermediate' folders and was in GERMAN!
Luckily it was clear enough and I could actually follow the folds.
So I am justly proud of this Swan serenely floating on top of my laptop.
Blessings to all those who are furiously knitting, sewing, quilting, crafting, and creating gifts in preparation for the Big Holiday ahead!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Indian Summer Golden Evening - Providence Farm

The Bluebirds have a field and mountain view from their box. I never get tired of shooting this field in all seasons and weather.
 A Sunflower 'tree' springing from the the very rich soil of the Farm's compost heap.
Yes that truly IS the Size of that Sunflower plant and head!
I guesstimated it to be at least 3 feet across if not more and the height of the plant probably about 10-12 feet! The man in the chef's uniform is one of the many culinary students who work at the Farm Table; a restaurant venture set up between Providence Farm and Vancouver Island University.They endeavour to create meals from whatever they can find in the garden or secure from neighbouring farms.
Saffron crocus - so beautiful and lush. I wonder when the stamens will be ripe enough to pick? <g>
We have no idea what this is, fruit? Infestation? If anyone can enlighten please leave a comment. thank you.
Rosehips the size of radishes are hanging in there from the still ongoing blooming roses.
It was a true Photo feast tonight as we took a wander through the Farm next door, before dinner.
Blessings to those whom Indian Summer has blessed with warm days and golden light.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Midnight Librarian's Book Review: A Tale For The Time Being - Ruth Ozeki

“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be…”

Spanning the planet from Tokyo’s Electric Town to Desolation Sound, British Columbia, and connected by the great Pacific gyres, A Tale for the Time Being tells the story of a diary washed ashore inside a Hello Kitty lunchbox and the profound 
effect it has on the woman who discovers it.
A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 
By the most circuitous and serendipitous route imaginable, a video review of Ruth Ozeki's book done by the incomparable Rhomany, convinced me to download it to give it a 'quick read'.
It was her remark that the book was partly set on 'an island in Canada' that perked up my ears and I said to myself, 'I wonder?'
Sure enough.
The Canadian part of the story is written from the point of view of someone living on one of the islands offshore from Vancouver Island (where I am from) and my hometown even comes into play (albeit briefly).
This book is so well written and moving, that once downloaded, I actually had to read it ALL the way through until 0330 (midnight librarian hours) though admittedly there are some parts that were Very Difficult - kamikaze training, the bullying at school, and the tsunami tradgedy, but even those (which I confess I skipped over since I wanted to sleep that night!) are so well integrated into the story, that in daylight you can go back and pick it up again.
Sidenote: The author Ruth Ozeki is the only practicing Buddhist Priest (so far) who can lay claim to being shortlisted for the very prestigious Booker Prize For Fiction.
Blessings to all Time Beings out there.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Sweet Art of Doing Nothing Kind of Day

About this time next year we should be in Toscana Italy.
Indian Summer must have heard our plans.
She has been giving us 'Italian temperatures' for the last few days pushing reluctant Fall into the High 30C's.
So we have adopted a 'when in Rome' kind of attitude and headed for a cooler area to while away the afternoon.
I had said to Mr Bear: I have only 4 requests, sea, shade, water and ice cream.

All four were fulfilled and more : in the case of the ice cream, it was a home made chocolate ice cream bar covered in roasted pecans.
I had some beading to catch up on, Mr Bear read aloud to me from his latest Nero Wolfe e novel and the crows cawed at us from the overhanging branches of the plane tree.
The sea was watercoloured blue silk and the mountains a darker blue and as we sat there, in our deck chairs and beaded and read, the shadows lengthened.
I type this with the sea scent still lingering in my nostrils and a faint heat to my face.
It was a Good Day.
Blessings to all those who can take a 'beach day' on a Thursday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We Will Never Forget Your Open Hearted Kindness

To our Dear Friends, Dan and Kathy of California:
In the midst of an Overwhelming and Unbelievable National Disaster, and despite the grief and anger and emotional upheaval that was taking its toll on the country, in spite of all that, you took us into your hearts and home with a simple invitation that began with, "Of course you will stay with us! where else would you go?"
Motel, Hotel? That was waved aside.

We will never forget.

The years may have softened the edges surrounding the Memory of those days, but the inner core of sadness and vulnerablity still remains, encased in steel and concrete at Ground Zero.
Stories will be told over and over of how total strangers became life long friends and were given welcome, shelter, and food while they were the unexpected guests of entire towns, (on both sides of the world's longest undefended border) - and how we all waited until the planes were able to fly again and take us home.
We are one of those grateful million stories.
Long may our two countries differ in opinion but never waver in respect for each other's strengths.
Love from your Grateful Canadian friends:
The Quail Hillers
Blessings to all those who gave or received shelter during 9/11.