Friday, November 30, 2018

lost and found

I can't believe it! I finally found those %*&^ pink headphones. Over the last year and a half I've spent days looking. I tore apart the house several times in my mad quest. Where could the darn things have gone? I had no idea and eventually gave up looking.

Today I decided to play a bit of Christmas music from my phone. I dug out the speakers and opened the tin they are stored in... and there... in all their pink glory sat the ever searched for headphones. I will admit to shouting a few expletives, partially in joy, but also with some level of frustration. So much time wasted...

After settling into a grand old funk the last few days I knew I had to do more than what I had been doing, but what? Well, Christmas is coming, and with that our annual New Years Eve supper. I had to get the house looking a bit festive so I dug out a few bins of decorations to strew around the house while Carm carried the Christmas tree triumpantly to it's annual resting spot. With a flourish I removed the sheet that protected it through the ages. All decorated, it was an instant mood enhancer. Especially when I plugged in the lights, and the bright twinkle shone through the gloom.

Cue the Christmas music (at least until Carm gets home from his errands). A glass of eggnog would be perfect about now.

And there it is: my favorite song already playing. Davie Bowie and Bing Crosby singing 'Little Drummer Boy' and 'Peace on Earth' in an emotional medley. And over too soon.

A strange knocking sound echoed in the house. What the heck? A walk around, listening to the basement, the garage, the front door, didn't reveal anything. It was only when I noticed the woodpecker on the tree outside the greatroom that I clued in. Yup - a medium sized woodpecker was knocking on the evestroph downspout.  The house always seems to be under assault from one bird or another. In the spring the cardinal likes to fling himself against our bedroom window... at the crack of dawn :-(

Some pleasures: finding my headphones; twinkling lights on the Christmas tree; a walk around the field in this grey day - gosh where is the sun? puttering around putting out a few decorations, just enough to be festive, but not so many that it will take me ages to take them all down; duck plop soup for lunch, with a warm biscuit with butter and jam; setting the table for company tonight; a flash of blue in the spruce tree.

"A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all — he's walking on them."
~Leonard Louis Levinson

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

snow is staying

It is another dismal day... day after day the clouds have socked us in, draining all energy and will to do anything. Yesterday and the day before we had snow. It's TOO EARLY for winter!!!

I haven't been out of the house (well, I've been outside, but not in the car), since Sunday when I went into town to visit my Dad and Graham. I've been lazy and somewhat discombobulated and am having trouble on focusing on any task for longer than a few minutes.

The spare bedroom looks like a bomb has gone off. I had the big suitcase that stored some of our cruise clothes on the floor, the medium suitcase that had some of my overflow opened on the bed. Piles of clothes that I've gathered in the meantime on the desk. Yes, chaos. So yesterday I cleared out the big suitcase - we aren't bringing it - and put the two medium suitcases out so I could sort out some of the clothes. Carm's are neatly put away, at least until packing day when we'll make sure he has enough of this and that.

My clothes though... even more strewn around the room. I'm slowly trying on outfits to make sure everything fits and looks okay. That's the fun part, but I don't want to bore Carm so only tried on a few things before giving up and closing the door on the mess.

It's my second day in a row of my emergency meds... gotta remember to write down my pleasures.

Okay... lets wrack my brain to see what I can come up with...

It is not a pleasure that Kabira has been waking up in the middle of the night crying and having to go outside. Once back in she cries for ages. Is there something wrong with her? The snow is not a pleasure. The grey sky is not a pleasure. Needing to have all my sleeveless dresses tailored so they don't gape is not a pleasure.

This isn't going well. Must try harder.

Grace's chatter is a pleasure. Her little squeeks and peeps always brighten my day. The yoga pants that I got are a pleasure - they fit well and don't make me feel all stodgy. The down vest that cuddles me in my misery is a pleasure, as is the down blanket that I drape over myself when I'm cold. Spike running in the snow with his ears flying back always makes me smile.

I guess that will do. I'll try to change my focus for the rest of the day.

"But there must be some pleasure in condemning everything--in perceiving faults where others think they see beauties.'
'You mean there is pleasure in having no pleasure.” 
~Voltaire, Candide

Thursday, November 22, 2018

seasons in the sun or at least an hour or two

I'm writing this curled up in the sunspot on the sofa. Kabira is luxurating on the futon and Spike just left his sunspot as I think he was getting too hot. I can't seem to tear myself away from what has been a rare event over the last month. I feel the heat from the sun warming my spirit in a way that only it can do. Why am I so dependant on these rays?

The windows that scoop in the sunshine are perhaps what I love most about our house. The 'great room' has a 24' wall facing south and almost every inch of that is window.

Ahhhh... the pleasures

Last night we had Trudie and Leo over for a supper of Asian pork (what I was making yesterday in the instant pot). We see them often and yet the conversation never stops its flow. What do we talk about? Travel, the garden, the difference between gel nails and shellac polish (seriously), and so much more. Sometimes the conversation gets spirited but it is always fun.

It is officially winter now... my giant down-filled coat has risen from its summer shelter, out of the basement and outside. I trotted down the laneway this morning to open the gate for Carm, emersed in the black coat that engulfed me in comforting warmth; except my nose. My breath was visible in the cold (-11C) air.

"Every moment has its pleasures and its hope.” 
~Jane Austen

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


I hope these links work.

Carm sent me this great article from Time about creating optimism and building happiness. I may summarize it and paste it onto my fridge:

It was along the same lines as a youtube tedtalk that I watched a few months ago (and saved for later viewing):

Keeping a positive attitude is something that I try to work on everyday, but sometimes life, or bipolar, gets in the way and I need a reminder to work a little harder. There are (at least) four things that I should do everyday: get on the treadmill, do some planks, write something, and pay attention to my pleasures. So today I'll do a little gratitude/pleasures paragraph (and maybe after that I'll do the planks!).

We went out for a drive today and the wind was blowing across the road making for treacherous driving - but Carm drove slowly and I could enjoy the raw beauty of a winter day. It was sunny! Spike was stretched out on his back, hogging most of the sunspot on the futon - he's all puffed up from the bath the other day and was cute as can be. Smoked salmon and spicy cactus made a nice lunch - the cactus burns my mouth just the right amount. We cut up a giant pork shoulder roast for a sort of Asian pulled pork supper - the meat was tender and delicious - I love my instant pot. I love watching the constant flux of birds at the feeder. We are just feeding black sunflower this year, but it seems to attract many birds, even some tiny gold finches.

I suppose there were other pleasurable things that maybe didn't register in my memory.

"Many of us pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that we hurry past it.” 
~Søren Kierkegaard

Sunday, November 18, 2018

over the woodlands brown and bare

I watched one of the 'last' season episodes of Anthony Bourdain the other night. It might have been my imagination but he seemed not quite himself, more detached and uncomfortable with what was going on. He was in Spain with one of his chef friends, a bigger than life personality that took over the show - was he over compensating for something? The program was put together after Tony's suicide and didn't have his entertaining and insightful commentary. It rang hollow. And emphasized his absence. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed these differences if I didn't have the lens of knowlege.

It was hard to watch.  I have several more episodes on the PVR and will be taking it slowly.

The snow came and I'd like to say went, but alas it still lays white and cold, covering the brown earth. Birds flock around the bird feeder, getting some warming fat from the black sunflower seeds. There is ice in places on the laneway. Carm snowblowed. Winter is here - early.

Pat came over for supper Saturday night, straight from the ski hill where she helped with a swap meet. There are only 47 days left till she'll be making our house her home (note to self: get a drawer emptied in the spare bedroom). Speaking of spare bedroom, the suitcase is spralled open on the floor. I've started trying on a few things to make sure things still fit :-0 I'm not sure if the dogs have noticed - perhaps they are used to these shenanigans and they don't associate the suitcases with us leaving.

In the same vein, I've been having fun with 'MyCloset' app. I've figured out almost everything that I'll wear on our trip. Call me crazy, but it's fun.

"Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thursday, November 15, 2018

dizzy maze of whirling

A quick check of the weather radar shows the edge of the snow storm creeping its way towards us. We've had a few dustings of snow already but with 10-15cm about to blanket us winter will be full on here. It is a bit early this year...

I hadn't been out of the house since Sunday and with my mood wavering, it was time for an outing. Liquidation got our business today. Why liquidation? It is a nice country drive past picturesque farms and very little traffic. Sometimes the tall shelves filled with goods overwhelms me and triggers anxiety but I've gotten better with my filters.

I haven't been out of the house, but we have had people into our house. Tuesday night Trudie brought supper over here (lovely smoked sausages and homemade sauerkraut ). After supper Shane and Inga came by. We had a good evening of interesting conversations, including a spirited discussion about the difference between being a christian and a good person. Is there a difference?

"Look up at the miracle of the falling snow,—the air a dizzy maze of whirling, eddying flakes, noiselessly transforming the world, the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter, and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery all objects upon which they fall."
~John Burroughs

Sunday, November 11, 2018


A bright sunny day which is a lovely change from the neverending gloom that has dragged me down for the last several days. A bright sunny day for the service at the downtown War Memorial. We didn't go downtown but turned the TV on in time to see some of the ceremony.

I can't help crying at all the losses - so many men lost. So many families losing fathers, sons, brothers, uncles. So much grief. Some times I think that all of it washes over me.

As soon as the F18s flew over Parliament Hill I dashed outside to watch for them. In years past they have included our house in their salute and my heart thrills at the sight of them. No luck this year though. I stood with wet hair and no coat marvelling at the clear blue sky. And the silence... only the sound of birds and the odd car to interrupt my thoughts.

As I mentioned earlier it has been a week of dismal skies. I think the gloom is starting to affect my mood as I've been feeling discombulated - not exactly anxiety or panic attack, and not depression, but a feeling of up and down and wild swing as if I'm going from happy and content to miserable and back and forth so fast until I am dizzy.

I'm trying all my tricks to get this under control: out for drives everyday, some days shopping, others doing I can't remember what; cooking and having people over also isn't doing the trick. I've been making sure my sleeping is somewhat regular with moderate success - it is hard to sleep soundly as my body temp is fluctuating as quickly as my mood. I don't know what else to do except to keep trying and pay especial attention to my thoughts.

Friday Mom and my cousin Courtney came for lunch. I whipped together a creamy pumpkin soup and some garlic bread. We had a lovely visit which did brighten my day somewhat! Courtney is from Alberta but living in Kitchener/Waterloo for a few years.

Yesterday I made a giant pot of Minestrone so invited Trudie and Leo over for a bowl so we didn't have to eat it forever. Even still I have two meal sized containers in the fridge. There is no room in our freezer as we did some re-arranging yesterday. When we got the upright freezer we moved the old chest style one to the side with the idea of moving it to the garage. Well, Friday night our neighbor came by to help Carm move it. Saturday we picked up frozen dog food so it can go in the garage. We emptied the big freezer downstairs, for the winter - everything will go back to the basement freezer in the spring.

That was a really bad way of saying that we hope to save some electricity by using our brutally cold winter to help out the freezer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

flashes of blue

Carm hung up the bird feeder on Sunday late afternoon and by Monday morning a flock of bluejays were feasting. Five blue flashes lit up the tree like errant Christmas lights, while cute little chickadees flitted around trying to get their share.

We didn't hang around to enjoy them though, but piled into the car for a quest. We bought some luggage on Sunday - sort of on a whim, but the sale was so good and we'd been thinking about replacing Carm's old cases with spinners. But since we hadn't done due dilagence we wanted to check out Capital City Luggage to see what they had. Their selection was good with similar pieces on sale and they'd match the Bay price. Sold. We'd rather support a local family business.

I scored the perfect small purse for carrying my passport, tickets and phone on our travel days, plus it is nice enough to use on the ship for a few tissues, my camera, and sail card. The strap comes off so it can be used as a 'clutch' for dressup. It has security features that will be good in Europe next year. It's small enough to be a pocket on a string. Happy :-)

Carm of course couldn't understand why I'd need yet another black purse but since men don't get it, I just ignored his bewildered comments. It's like shoes - he doesn't get why I'd need more than 2 pairs. In my previous life I'd wear my blundstones year round (and there were even years that I had no sandels for the summer), but now that I'm wearing grown-up clothes I need the right shoe for the outfit! The hard part when cruising is keeping the number down to 5. I could drop to 4 but... We'll be bringing an extra suitcase for all my dress-up clothes :-o

After the exertion of shopping we stopped at our favorite sandwich shop in Little Italy for, you guessed it, sandwiches. Carm knew of a parking place in the Arboretum with a good view over the trees. It was raining out so we stayed in the car and crumbed it up. It was a nice treat.

Saturday night we met up with Trudie, Leo and Pat (and a few others) for supper and then to the arena for a Trivia game. It was lots of fun and Carm got to be the smart one. We didn't come close to winning though, there were some pretty smart teams.

We put the winter tires on the car today... an harbinger of winter if ever there was one. Well, that and the infernal time change. The dogs pace around in the late afternoon, sure that supper time has come and gone. "We're hungry" they say, not understanding the human folly of adjusting the clocks back and forth every year.