Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tea and ginger nuts

I am thrilled to be sitting on the swing, enjoying the beautiful day. Well… mostly enjoying it. I think I mentioned the helicopter yesterday, today they have stepped up their flights so there is a constant woof filling the air. When it is right overhead (like it was when I started writing this) it is pretty darn loud and annoying. The birdsong is drowned out by the mechanical monstrosity. Somebody must have won the lottery cause those things are expensive to fly.

Back to the swing :-)  Grace is in her cage beside me making sounds of contentment and saying hello. She likes it outside when I am her companion but I'm not so sure she likes it when she is out here by herself.


The grass seems to be a shade greener than yesterday, and there is a faint haze of green in the trees across the river (Glen's weeping willow is veiled in Chartreuse ). Some of the trees are maples and sport red buds. The Manitoba maple trees right around the deck are pollinating. The robin is sitting on eggs in the nest just over my shoulder. Life is bursting forth from its long, cold nap.

And I'm drinking tea and eating ginger nuts from New Zealand on my swing.


The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. ~William Blake

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

One swallow does not make a spring

earlier in the day… Sunshine, birdsong and swallows swooping over the barn convinced me that eventually summer will get here. I'm on the back deck without a sweater. Grace is beside me and she looks happy. Today was the first day that I saw the swallows back, surely it is the same pair as last  year as they have the barn already sussed out. I can't turn my head without seeing a robin (one has built a nest not more than 10' away from me.  The grass has suddenly turned green and the buds on the trees are straining to reach the sun.

Another sign that winter is over - taxes are done and filed.

We seem to be in the centre of a training grid for helicopters. The whop whop whop drowns out music - we wonder where they are going and what they are looking for as they buzz our house. At first I though it was the ORNGE choppers which air lift for the hospitals, but I've caught sight of it a few times and it is definitely white and not orange. The Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls are not nearby tourist destinations. My one and only chopper flight was over Niagara Falls - I sat in the front seat where the windshield curled like a bubble down to my toes. The world was at my feet and I was thrilled. This was the way to fly! So I guess if the helicopter people are out joyriding, I don't really blame them!

I wonder if I need sunscreen? I'd better put my tablet in the shade, the keyboard is starting to fry my fingers.

The quote is from one of my favourite books: The Secret Garden, and while the British robin is different from North American ones, ours also like to show off by strutting around with their red breasts puffed out.

The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off - and they are nearly always doing it. ~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Sunday, April 26, 2015

WYL #14a Jobs and Careers

This is my first shot at this topic. It is okay I guess, but technospeak turned it into a boring list of what I did. It isn’t all that meaningful either if you aren’t a computer person. I’m re-writing it now to put some life in it and hopefully remove some of the technobabble but it is proving difficult. I’m giving myself until Thursday’s writing group meeting to get it done. I’ll read it out loud to the group then to get some feedback.


Not a Cowboy

From my first serious boyfriend, through the ups and downs of becoming an adult, my years with Carm, the highs and lows of pursuing my dreams, and dealing with an illness, my job was the backbone of my life.

I had no idea what I wanted to be when I 'grow up'. It was impossible to be a cowboy, my marks weren't good enough to be a vet or an architect and by the time I was through grade 13 I knew I didn't want to work in a kennel. I had no clue. As it happens, fate and good timing got me a job in the federal government documenting master files. If you don't know what that is, have no worries, I didn't either. I was clueless when it came to computers and technology. Home computers were a thing of the future and the Z100 that my engineering boyfriend had was of no interest.

The first day of work I felt like I had landed on an alien planet. Dressed up in an unfamiliar dress and high heels, I tottered after Mr. Jenkins, the head of the project, trying to figure out what he was saying. The acronyms and technical terms were like Greek to me - seriously. But I paid close attention and eventually my pretty little blonde head started to put things together. In fact, I learned this new language remarkably fast, and found what it had to say fascinating. A computer geek was born.

After the first project with the master files we started documenting the applications (we called them systems back then), that the department ran. I entered the data collected into an archaic word processing machine. I don't recall exactly how many there were, but in 1982 it was around 50 (I actually have a print out somewhere). Little did I know at the time that the application inventory would be repeated over and over again, and would became my final focus before retirement.

When that project was over I moved onto what was to become my life's work. At first my job was to load the repository (we called it a data dictionary back then) with data supplied by the project managers. We were documenting the programs and files that made up an application and it was up to us to not only enter the data, but to ensure that it complied with a defined standard. At times this created a conflict between our group and others. As the years went by I became involved with designing the underlying structure of the repository, and then started running the upgrades to the existing technology and programming the system to customize the user experience.

Our department was one of the forerunners of implementing data management theories into real practice. When we moved to a new platform I wrote code that would output database create instructions from the documentation entered into the repository. Changes to the database structure would go through a work request process that ensured a consistent result. Part of this processing involved sitting with the developers to design an efficient schema. It seemed that we were constantly at odds with project managers and developers as we balanced the quick and dirty with meaningful documentation. It was not always a harmonic workplace.

The last few years it seemed that it was all futile. Upper management was no longer interested in the details of an application, they only seemed to care that it was produced quickly (no matter the quality). It looked like they might pull the plug on everything that I had been working for. In my final months of working the pendulum swung once again in favour of data management practices.

I cannot fail to mention the most important part of the job - the people on our team, starting with my first government boss, Jack Drawbridge. The hours we spent discussing theory with a pen and scrap of paper between us are a treasured memory. Blair Stannard made me feel special and part of the group from my very first day with them. He never forgot a birthday. Chris Fleming and Jo Ellen Welsford became close friends - we've known each other since the early 80s, when we were young and fresh and full of passion. Ken Buck let me take on more responsibility as I grew in experience. Roy McSheffrey let me try things on my own and grow in confidence. All of these people, and more, helped me to grow and learn. None of them held my high school education against me.

I'm not sure if I brought a strong desire for orderliness to the job, or if the job built that desire in me - most likely it was both. Once retired I couldn't stand to let disorder reign and needed a daily computer fix so I built databases about my mood, sleep, food, etc. and ran reports. I couldn't quit cold turkey!

I sometimes wonder if I would choose the same course for my life if given the opportunity. I won't say that I would jump at the chance to change because I do believe that I made a difference and I did enjoy many aspects of my work, but at the same time, being in a field where I was not constantly at odds with others might have changed my life in other ways.



Friday, April 24, 2015

Blue wherever I am

It isn't Monday and it isn't raining but still the grey clouds press down, filling my head with melancholy. I putzd around the house in the morning trying to find relief until, finally, Carm suggested a drive. I can't count the number of times a drive in the country has arrested the decline and today was no exception. Part of our excursion covered territory that we hadn't traversed in years - our old stomping grounds where we had our first house. We drove past houses that we had looked at in our search for both the first house and our current home. It was fun remembering the details.

Our old house looks much the way it did when we sold it, except a 2 car garage had been pasted to the side. I wonder how they made the transition from the house to the garage - if I recall it would have required loosing much of the sunny eating area. The beautiful blue spruce that was at the front of the house had been cut down and replaced by a brilliant blue and white statute of the Virgin Mary.

Yesterday was my writing group meeting and again it was great fun. My story was not the greatest - I'm workng on a re-write to bring more life into the Jobs and Careers topic. My first attempt was a dry, blow by blow description of what I did. There was no life or feeling. But how do you bring life to an IT career? This will be a challenge (perhaps one that has to wait till my head clears!)

Lunch with the ladies after the meeting was at the Village Bakery which has the bestest ever apple fritters. Sweet.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays

Do you ever have those periods where you go from task to event to bed with your brain in a mush and no energy left to put fingers to the keyboard? I've been going through that for the last little while but today, with rain pounding against the window, I'm cuddled up in a blanket and my tablet on my lap.

The last week has been sunny and unseasonably warm which is a nice change after the coldest and longest winter ever. It was nice enough to open the slides on the camper!!!! I dragged the vacuum out to suck up all the Asian beetles and dead flies that died over the winter, and a bucket of water to give a good scrub of the countertops and other horizontal surfaces. I still have a few cubbies to wash out and then it is ready to be loaded for a summer of fun.

On the first free night we brought a chilled bottle of what else but bubbles, and some supper fixings and had our first evening in the rolling villetta - ah, bliss. There is still a month to go before a real camp but it was nice to have a taste.

I did do one thing that probably should have been done by a professional… hem some pants for Carm. One pair are almost flood pants, another has the legs different lengths, oh wait, two pairs have different length legs… HEY! Maybe Carm's legs are the problem and not my sewing at all ;-)

If you were given the opportunity to have a super power what would it be? I'd want the incredible power of making people laugh. I'd love to be funny enough to do stand-up and be quick enough to make people laugh in normal conversation. I'd love to be a funny writer like Dave Barry.

Talkin' to myself and feelin' old
Sometimes I'd like to quit
Nothin' ever seems to fit
Hangin' around
Nothin' to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Sunday, April 19, 2015

WYL #11b Marriage

Knock 3 Times

I was 24 years old when I met Carm and just out of a relationship that left me in tatters. I was living in the ground floor apartment of a two story house, Carm lived upstairs. My old boyfriend, Ken, was only out of the door for a few days when I knocked on Carm's door for some company. Magic must have been in the air that Saturday night as a spell was wound around us.

I had to go out of town for a few days right after our evening together and thoughts of him made concentrating on the conference difficult; when I got home butterflies writhed in my stomach as I wrote in my diary that I hoped he would knock on my door. He did.

He knocked that night, and the next, and the next. Soon the door was no longer closed between our apartments. Carm had a surety and stability about him that was a salve to my battered self. He didn't play games with my head. His love wasn't demanding and greedy but was open and selfless. Slowly I was able to heal in this shelter. Those heady days where we got to know each other passed in a blur. It seemed that my heart would never slow down its frantic, love struck beats.

Only 6 months had passed when we started looking for a house in the country to make our own. We looked at countless wrecks before finding our Limoges high ranch bungalow. It wasn't my dream farm, but it was a good start. We moved all his furniture downstairs to my smaller, 1 bedroom apartment so we could save some money while we waited for the closing date. For the next few months we squeezed around sofas, stubbed our toes on dressers, and tripped over my 2 cats, and by then 2 dogs. We didn't notice any of it, we were in love.

In March of 1988 we moved into our house.  We had fun painting and wallpapering (without fighting!). We built a deck and bought an above ground pool. We got another dog - a giant Irish Wolfhound.

In 1989 we were married in a lavish Italian style wedding with around 150 people in attendance. I don't remember what we ate, but I do remember swirling around the dance floor in my fancy wedding dress. Starting with ‘What a Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong for our first dance,  each song that played was my favourite and I had to be dragged away to talk to our guests. I've never smiled so much, I didn't want the party to end.


In the years that followed we got first one parrot (an African Grey Congo), then another (a Blue & Gold macaw), then 8 more to start a breeding flock. We still had three dogs (Chetta, Ranger, Max), and two cats. Every moment of every day was filled with activity. But it wasn't enough  - I wanted a horse and a farm to go with it so we started driving around to look at property. Eventually we found what we were looking for (see


We designed our house together and then oversaw the building of it.



Once we had settled in for a few years, my mind turned to horses and so it began with one Norwegian Fjord horse mare which grew to a herd of 11 purebred Fjords over a few years. Carm and I worked hard together building a barn, erecting fences, and all the activities that come with breeding horses.


The parrots and horses were my ideas, but Carm embraced my dreams as his own and worked tirelessly by my side. Without his help the dreams may not have come true - there is something very special about fulfilling dreams with someone you love. The joy in every shared moment is magnified.




The years of parrots and horses sadly had to come to an end and in their place we got a camper to distract ourselves with. It was a good distraction!

Like all fairy tales we did have our share of conflict, but as the years have passed we have learned how to communicate better and be kind to each other even during the rough patches. Together we have partially tamed the wicked witch of bipolar disorder and with Carm's help I have been able to achieve a stability and wellness that I may not have without him.

From that fateful night in 1987 when I knocked three times it has been proven that this was no infatuation but an enduring love that has nourished and at times sheltered me.

Tony Orlando & Dawn ‘Knock Three Times’:

Louis Armstrong ‘What a Wonderful World’ -


Monday, April 13, 2015

Played on the Stage

I walked into two of my short stories last night (Alone, Casa Musica). The setting was the same and the same main character strode across the stage before playing his music. It was a bit strange feeling as I felt I knew the man, yet I didn't, I only knew the life that I had given him when I wrote the story. It was strangely satisfying to see him still living the ending that I had given him.

When we were driving home, I swear to G*d that we drove right through hillbilly land. We had to brake for a travel trailer (you know, the kind you see at campgrounds) being backed into a driveway. What is strange about that you ask? The trailer had a peaked and shingled roof just like a house. Hillbilly style!

Sunday afternoon my brother and his kids came 'out to the country' for lunch and a walk in the fields. They brought their archery stuff to practice with - I got a few tries and expertly hit the ground. It was fun though, and if I were inclined to take up a shooting sport it would be archery. The dogs were safely tucked into the house while that activity took place, but then we all went for a walk through the wet fields - with our coats off!

Those of you with golfers in the family know that it was the 'Masters' weekend. The golf course in Augusta, Georgia was abloom with rhododendrons, azaleas and other flowering trees. Stunning. We watched most of it on the PVR in the evenings as real life interfered. Sunday night we got home late and watched the last round while we were tucked in bed. I am sickened to say that I recognize many of the golfers by their stance over the putter or set of their shoulder as they walk down the fairway. Over the years with Carm I've come to enjoy the quiet competition and find it mentally soothing. (I can't believe I admitted that out loud!!!) 


Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character. ~Arnold Palmer

Saturday, April 11, 2015

auspicious day

April 7th was an auspicious day for Bella and aside from a brief congratulation her birthday was forgotten. There were no extra bones, nor any slabs of luscious meat. Her 10th birthday with no celebration!


Bella is a little more grey in the muzzle but still leaps and jumps and runs like a much younger dog. Joie de vivre still shines in her eyes.



Wednesday we almost sold the house and moved south... the snow was coming down hard, obliterating all signs of spring. The robins trudged through the snowbanks looking for food and the dogs barely stuck their noses out the door. WOE.

Thankfully by Thursday afternoon the snow had stopped, but it kept raining which made for a dreary drive into town to celebrate my brother Graham's birthday. I was 15 1/2 when he was born - I remember one night my parents were out really late and Graham had colic - I walked and walked and walked with him in my arms. I would never have imagined then that he'd be a 6'+ man.

Friday night we went to a neighbour's house to help them tend the evaporators that were boiling down the maple sap. It was hard work watching Leo toil! The second boiling was in Leo's giant workshop full of tools, tractors and other 4 wheeled vehicles. The wind was jamming a percussion jazz beat on the huge garage doors while the woodwinds whistled through the eves.  Propane tanks fired the burner in the shop. We had some chairs and a little table topped with special cheeses and Trudie's homemade bread. Outside was another shack with a wood fired stove topped with a large stainless steel tray that buckets of sap were carefully poured. It was a fun, and rather late, night!

It is sunny but still cool today – the robins are hopping around on the brown grass, perhaps with new hope in their red breasts.

“A Robin said: The Spring will never come,
And I shall never care to build again.
A Rosebush said: These frosts are wearisome,
My sap will never stir for sun or rain.
The half Moon said: These nights are fogged and slow,
I neither care to wax nor care to wane.
The Ocean said: I thirst from long ago,
Because earth's rivers cannot fill the main. —
When Springtime came, red Robin built a nest,
And trilled a lover's song in sheer delight.
Grey hoarfrost vanished, and the Rose with might
Clothed her in leaves and buds of crimson core.
The dim Moon brightened. Ocean sunned his crest,
Dimpled his blue, yet thirsted evermore.”

~Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

WYL #11a Love and Marriage

I will admit to cringing a bit as I post this (you’ll see why), but the trials and tribulations of those years helped to build the strength and courage that has helped me in the years since.


The Things We Do for Love

Looking back it seems that I always had a crush or infatuation with some boy or another. My first crush was Danny Scanlon. I thought it was true love from the first time I set eyes on him. I was in grade 3, he was in grade 4. I knew that one day we would marry but overlooked the small detail that he would have to reciprocate my feelings. Our families were friends so we were thrown together on a regular basis. I remember one evening sitting on the couch together watching the 'the Planet of the Apes' and talking about how we would both become vets. I was still a pre-teen but it seemed that my future was mapped out. We moved away as I was going into high school, but I always kept him a secret little fantasy in the back of my head. I was 21, living in another city, and hadn't seen him for years when he walked down the aisle with another woman.

The first two years of high school had the usual merry-go-round of boyfriends but none aside from DG stand out (oh, I forgot about Olaf V.). Dave, 21, was the son of family friends and had come from Winnipeg to visit our family during my March break. I had known him for years before then, (when I was 13 he introduced me to 10cc, an alternative rock band), but we had never spent much time together. During his visit we went to see 'Fun with Dick & Jane'; laughed while walking in the rain and singing 10cc's 'The Things We Do For Love'; rode the bus to the parliament buildings where we took a tour to the top of the Peace Tower, and looked out together over the grey city. It was almost inevitable that we developed a fondness for each other, but I was only 15, a full 6 years younger than him. On the day he left, he sat me down to tell me how much I meant to him and that if we weren't in other relationships we would reconnect when I turned 19. That day never came as he was killed in an airplane crash.

I met Steve Janssen in grade 11 and was immediately and totally in love (do you sense a trend?). He became the centre of my world, leaving little room for myself, which in retrospect was unhealthy. When I was 19 my parents moved to Toronto but I stayed in Ottawa so that I would be near him. A year after my parents left we moved into a shabby basement apartment together and then shared a townhouse with another engineering student. We had what I thought was a happy relationship until one day he came home to say he was in love with another woman. The timing couldn't have been worse - Alan, our roomate, had just tried suicide and had named me as the reason. I was already upset by Alan, but it wouldn't have mattered, I wasn't prepared for the total devastation that Steve's desertion would engender. I couldn't believe how stupid I had been - I had arranged study dates for the two of them and cooked vegetarian meals for her. I couldn't deal with it and cracked up. In the end it was a police officer at my door that brought me back to reality and possibly saved my life.

Another Steve was my companion for a year. He was from Trinidad and was great fun. Visits with his family would involve feasts of Island food, and then with full bellies we would all go to the rec room in the basement and play music and dance like we were in Trinidad. I was never really serious with him - how could I be after being hurt so badly? The year after Steve Samuel and I broke up I bounced from relationship to relationship, none of them serious. I wasn't really over my breakup with Steve J. yet.

I was at a friends wedding when I met Ken. He swept me off my feet with tender words and caring actions. I was starved for a serious relationship which left me in a vulnerable position. Within a month he had moved himself into my apartment, despite my protests. He could be hard to resist as he smothered me with cards declaring his love and small gifts of dedication. Just when my guard would be down he'd sit at my bedside sharpening his army knife and proclaiming that no one but him would ever have me - the message was deftly delivered. I'd try to squirm out of the relationship but he stuck to me like glue and kept me on a tilt-a-whirl of devotion and devastation. People saw him stalking me. I moved. He followed. Eventually he got the message and moved out. I was left in an unstable state - he had really f--cked with my head. He continued to stalk me and occasionally phone me. Eventually he gave up. Unfortunately it took years for me to get over the fear.

Enter Carm. Like the proverbial knight in shining armour he arrived into my life just when I needed him most. He was kind without expecting me to sacrifice myself. He was loving without dire threats. He was patient and didn't try to trip me up. He was protective without smothering me. He was sane. He was exactly what I was looking for all those years.

The Things We Do For Love / 10cc - Live:


Monday, April 6, 2015

Can you guess?

Sunday night we watched our traditional Easter movie - I'll include a few quotes to see if you can guess!

The Lord of Hosts will do battle for us. Behold His mighty hand.
God opens the sea with the blast of his nostrils.
Are her lips chafed and dry as the desert sand, or are they moist and red like a pomegranate?
He cannot cool the burning kiss of thirst upon his lips nor shade the scorching fury of the sun.
He is driven forward, always forward, by a god unknown, toward a land unseen... into the molten wilderness of sin, where granite sentinels stand as towers of living death to bar his way.

The 1956 epic 'The Ten Commandments' might be the most mellow-dramatic, over-the-top, corny movie ever written. Every line spoken makes me gasp with suppressed laughter. It's not that each line is without merit, but strung together, with every single line more dramatic than the next it becomes a parody. If I were to say I have a favourite movie, this might be it.

Easter Monday: cloudy, 0C with snow in the afternoon. What the He%%.

We were across the creek at our neighbour's this afternoon - I would have liked to bring my camera to get photos of our property from another angle, but with the heavyish snow I left it safely indoors. bah.

Terry, our neighbour, said there is a huge flock of wild turkey's at the back of his farm - he sees them flying over the tall trees before going to roost at night. I'd love to see that!

WKRP "As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly"

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Did the Easter bunny bring lots of chocolate? He has passed by our house for many years now - perhaps because we have hunting dogs! Or maybe I cooked him as the main course one year (Cynthia and I roasted a rabbit with wild rice stuffing one Easter). Still, a few Easter crème eggs would have been good!

We didn't have any plans for the day so we drove down to the St. Lawrence for brunch, and then wandered around the flea market for a while. Many people had the same idea as us - it was packed. The sun was out, but it was windy and just hovering around 0C - good for inside activities but not for standing around outside.

Spike has been brushing up on a few of his tricks. Ages ago we started weaving through through my legs as I walk but since we review it sporadically it is coming slowly. I may not be raising the criteria fast enough, or he's afraid I'll step on him. He is very cognizant of his personal safety. He is also relearning 'bring tissue' which he could do at work with the tissue box at a fixed location. At home he has to jump up on the futon to get at the box - he's learning and can now do it with me 5 feet away.

Thursday was the first day for being outside with just shirtsleeves. It was glorious! The air was alive with the sound of birdsong. I had Carm drag out a comfy chair so I could sit in the sun, and once I had soaked up enough rays we started on some simple yard work. When we were done I thought I'd see if Spike could find a dropped glove all the way around the back of the house and out near the brush pile. I had to walk behind him for the first 1/2 till he remembered to use his nose, then when I was 30 or 40 feet out I let him complete the search. Since I was standing on a little hill I had a good view of him following my trail and then bang - he had it in his mouth and was running up the hill to give it to me. He was so proud of himself and pranced around in circles after he got his treat. When he looks up at me with that 'what next' look I melt.

According to the calendar we could be out on our first camping trip in a month!!!

There seems to be a million different sneaker/runner/hiking shoe choices and I tried every single one on Saturday. Some shoes let me know right away that they aren't right, while others are more subtle. But not only does fit need to be taken into consideration, but style is a big question as well. The new shoe is for camping so I had to decide what the primary requirements are. I only bring 1 pair of shoes, 1 pair of sandals, and one pair of rubber boots so the shoe has to be multi-functional. In the end, I passed over the lighter runner type shoe for a heavier and sturdier hiking shoe. I have them home and will wear them around the house for a day to make sure they are 'Mr. Right'.

When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself. ~Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Up the Ladder

Spring is creeping in even though the snow lingers and the temperatures are cool. Yesterday we spotted a small "v" of Canada Geese, and there was a pair of mallards in the pond. The day before that I heard and then saw a red-wing blackbird, a scout as it was alone. I've seen a robin in town, but not out here. There was a coyote in our field last week, and today one ran across the highway in front of us. All these creatures have made it through a hard winter, I hope the late spring doesn't do them in.

I walked down the snowy path to the barn this morning, kicking aside the bigger chunks of ice to more quickly melt the path. The sun was blazing, although it was only hovering around the freezing mark. The snow has crystallized and with some raspberry cordial or some other flavour other than lemon (I'd stay away from lemon for obvious reasons) I'd have a lovely sno cone. Except the tiny snow bugs are starting to emerge. Nix that idea!

Melting snow is nice, BUT, the mud that is released from its frozen bonds is not as welcome. I've been wiping muddy feet after each outing - usually Bella's as the other two seem better at saying out of the puddles.

Carm has been pounding away in the garage and workshop fixing our garage door opener. It was working fine... and then it wasn't. It is something that we've taken for granted these past 20 years, but with a few hours of figuring, a trip to the city for a part and a bunch of time up the ladder (even me!) Carm got it fixed.

Every winter, When the great sun has turned his face away, The earth goes down into a vale of grief, And fasts, and weeps, and shrouds herself in sables, Leaving her wedding-garlands to decay - Then leaps in spring to his returning kisses. ~Charles Kingsley