Tuesday, December 1, 2009


It's been a long time since Corkery Road played in Orleans on that cold April night. Since that time the Muses and I have been on a merry road trip for the last 8 months and it doesn't show signs of coming to an end any time soon.

I've been indulging in new vistas; sampling new experiences; learning lots of new things. I've been enjoying the company of friends and family. I've been working very hard to simplify and better organize my life to make my time more enjoyable and calm. To strive at living calmer is an interesting contradiction. While there has been a lot of clutter to clear away, both in the house (which has taken a lot of sweat) and in my mind which has taken just as much or more effort, it has been worth my pains.

While I haven't lessened the number of interests I have or the diverse obligations and activities I continue to honour, I have sought to be true to the most important things in life. I am living largely by the following tenants:

People before things.
Work before play.
Play before cleaning.


This, of course, has meant spending an amount of assessing what is important to me. I'm quite sure there are people who go through large chunks of their lives without going through this difficult and sometimes painful process. I'm not sure if I am jealous of them or if I pity them.

It is a difficult task because there are a multitude of things I could be doing with my precious time and with an infinite number of people. Beyond the chattering and railing of the 9 Muses, there are my beautiful children, friends, family, music, work, continuing education. There are bandwidths I have retreated to when I have been hurt or confused. Good for immobilization when I needed the time to become ready to make a shift. To become willing to make a much needed change. When I have needed to fortify myself in order to let something go.

It has been difficult because no matter how hard I have tried to bend the time/space continuum so that I could do all the things I'd like to do, I just can't do it. And this has lead to a process of grieving for the things that must be postponed, shelved, and abandoned. Fighting that frustration has been futile and has used up so much of my energy.

Getting a hold of my activities and trimming the active list while honouring the postponed list has been largely a background activity, but the efforts have metted out more of an ability to enjoy the things I can do. The main goal is to live my life free of guilt for the things that cannot be.

This has been the main reason why blogging has taken a back seat for lo these many moons. I've been living my life, not documenting it. A dear friend of mine cautioned me about taking so many pictures of things around me that I neglect to actually live the stuff. Well, I can't say I'm done my grieving for things lost or unattainable.

In the words of Dolly Parton, "I grieved long and hard about my decision. But I've never once regretted it." If I have been absent from this place for a time, it has not been wasted. I cannot say what the nature of the things I may share with you here. There may be things you do not want to see or hear. I ask you to choose for yourself what you will find worthy of taking away from the time you spend with me here. I would ask that you share your views with me if you wish to do so. I have felt in the past that I was just one voice speaking into the void. Since taking my sabbatical from this place, I have been gently reminded that I have a readership. That there are people who have enjoyed the things I have had to say. To you, I say thank you for your support and laughter. You know well who you are.

I think I'm finally ready to share.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Corkery Road and Other Stuff

Corkery Road had a smashing good time at Darcy McGees out in Orleans last weekend. The crowd was awesome and people were dancing up at storm until after 1 am. They wouldn't let us pack up without two much begged-for encores. Fantastic. Here's how we looked.

I think we look pretty freaking happy, myself.

See, there really were people up dancing. One woman from the East Coast got several people up. There was no choice whatsoever in the matter. She was like a tidal force. Even Charlie got caught by her.

It was a long night, but we are looking forward to going back there again.

Mother Nature shows her fickleness

We have had significant changes in weather in the last couple of weeks. We completely enjoyed the warm sun and cool nights, good sap running weather during which the girls and popped out to Lewis and Annabelle's to see their Sugaring Off process. And before we left for other adventures, Calla and Fiona and I caught picture of this summer time denizen.

Yes, that is the first butterfly of the season.
And then in a nice constrast and still in keeping with the whole nature theme, this was the scene on Tuesday looking out the front window of the house.

Snow. And big fluffy hunks of it (it is gone now) and it really messed Beaver up. The river has been high and lovely to listen to from my bedroom window. I'm sure Beaver is thinking that he may have gotten up a bit early and left the lodge too soon.

Finished Yarn Object

Despite rumours to the contrary, my arthritis has not stopped yarn or knitted item production. I may have slowed down a bit, but that has more to do with the other things I'm doing in my life (like banging a drum). I joined in a Knit-a-long (surreptitiously, of course). The Yarnarian's Mitred Scarf had me completely smitten. I put down my sock in progress (which is now done) and picked up some Noro Cashmere Island (I don't have it with me and don't know the colourway number) and completely obsessed on this baby. The result hasn't even been washed or blocked and I'm not sorry about that. It's lovely and soft and has bright colours and I am in love. Lookee, lookee!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Climbing Vines

This sweater comes from Interweave Knits Winter 2008. I cast is on within a week of receiving my magazine. Here are the particulars:

Designed by: Joëlle Meier Rioux

Knit in Briggs and Little worsted (blue no dye lot, from out of the awesome bargain bin at the mill)

Started Dec 8 Finished Jan 5

Mods: lengthened sleeves.

Comments: Fun to knit. Lots of easy panels with just a bit of interesting lace to keep the mind occupied. Knit 3 arms due to not paying attention which needle I started for the cuff (started with the larger size and went to the smaller, ugh!)

Enjoying wearing it immensely.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not your average “To Do” list

This one’s for you as much as it is for me…

1. Respect yourself
2. Put your well-being first
3. Make some quiet time
4. Take more bubble baths
5. Knit/spin more (OK, that one might just be for me)
6. Bake something sinful
7. Get out your paints
8. Do something you’ve never done before
9. Sleep more
10. Surround yourself with beauty
11. Put your own pictures on the wall
12. Indulge more in laughter
13. Make wishes
14. Talk to your friends more
15. Eat well
16. Take more photos
17. Think of 5 things you are grateful for
18. Hug your family and friends more
19. Stop asking for permission
20. Breathe in all the way

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Did you ever have one of those days?

When I was about 12 or 13, I started to write all sorts of stories. I wrote a ghost story about my school being haunted. I did scary stories about the woods and conservation areas near my home. I tried my hand at a horror story about a field trip. (Just as a little tip, co-students get pretty freaked out by being killed off in stories. Don’t worry, it was just a phase.) I wrote some fantasy fiction. In fact, I’m still writing some fantasy fiction that sprang up at that time. When short stories become novellas and bloom in to novels, they take a lot of percolating to get them done. It’s like knitting an afghan. I digress.

I wrote hilarious little bits too. There’s one story in my accordion folder that details a crazy camping trip during which my dad crawls into his sleeping bag to find a snake had also thought it a good place to sleep. Total fiction. Never happened. Of course, the description of him screaming like a girl…I couldn’t make that up. Ah, good times.

I also delighted in making up “The Worst Day Ever” scenarios. You know the type: woke up late because the alarm wasn’t set—cold shower—burnt toast—spilled coffee—no gas in car—seriously late for work—miss meeting—catch shit, etc.

This morning was a bit like that. For one blistering hour, I could not seem to get us up, dressed fed and out of the house in a reasonable amount of time. Obstacles just kept leaping up, making it impossible to do simple things. One step forward, one giant leap back.

Fiona was slow getting out of bed. She couldn’t fine the pants she wanted to wear. We’ve all been there. It sucks when you can’t find the pants you wanted (usually because they are standing up all by themselves in the laundry hamper). Then we hunted for a suitable shirt. Found one, but had to cut the tag out downstairs.

Meanwhile Calla is getting the table set (bless that child) so that she could change her mind about toast after it was toasting and had to get a hold of herself under the table before she could settle on rice krispies.

I got the milk in the microwave for hot chocolate. Fiona insisted on picking her own cup and whatever you do, don’t touch the lid. She’s taking care of all that. 4 year olds and their push-pull of “I can/can’t do that! “ I pour the milk before anyone says they want to. Turn around to get the chocolate syrup and hear, “Uh-oh” and “Oh no” simultaneously. A whole cup of hot milk has spilled all over the table, the chair, the floor and Fiona (in her chosen pants). Had to strip her down, get some towels strategically placed for the mopping up, more milk in the microwave to replace the cup that spilled. Oh, and find other pants.

It’s like being a finely tuned juggling machine some days.

And then for no reason I can tell, the cat barfed up her breakfast right beside the table.

Now, most of my previous cats were private pukers. You know the type. Off somewhere in the night when you sort of wake up to that sound. No idea where the cat is. No real sense in looking for it until you’re armed with daylight. Or the cat that barfs up bug bits while you’re at school or work, but does it in a place you’re sure to find…with your be-socked foot…while you’re just about to turn on a light. Yep, that memory is never going away no matter how much therapy I get.

This one is not fussy.

Back to breakfast, just the right amount of milk had to be poured into Calla’s Raisin Bran…enough to cover it. You know that stuff floats, right. Discussion ensued. Then it was too mushy because of all the milk. Tough.

Made coffee. Made my lunch. Navigated dishes into the sink for later. Brushed hair. Brushed teeth. Had to negotiate outdoor clothing, because the sun was shining but the wind still has meat hooks in it and will rip the flesh from little children. Caught shit because I was putting on my vest instead of my heavy winter coat. I was putting on my windproof over it. Timing is everything and you just don’t get it until your older. Kids just have no patience.

Then, we had to race upstairs for a sleep toy. They nap at daycare. Fiona likes to have a friend to sleep with. Hey, who am I to argue with that kind of thinking? She brought three. We negotiate down to one which she then leaves inside the house.

I had to go back into the house 3 times before I started the car. Each time I had to bodily block the cat who was throwing herself at the door like some depraved escape artist.

But in the end I finally managed to get away from the house with my coffee, my lunch, both children and a shred of my sanity. And there is the hope that tomorrow will be better. At least I hope we can avoid the barf. Really, isn’t that all we can ask in a day?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Welcome to the family

On January 2nd, the girls and I invited a new family member into the home.

Caitlin is an 8 lbs brown tabby who likes to talk, play with her many, many toys, and is quickly perfecting the skill of darting between your feet as you walk anywhere near her food or her bowls.

She enjoys climbing into the linen closet and cabinet and pulling down as much as possible to insert herself into the smallest space available. She also likes running through the house with one of the children's slippers in her mouth, while meowing at the top of her voice.

She enjoys quiet nights, sitting on the couch being petted. She purrs like a machine. Her favorite spot to sleep is on my bed, but if either of the girls gets up in the night and sleeps in my room, she toddles off to sleep with the one who was left behind.

She's been in every nook and cranny in the house (except the attic) and is now actively listening to the mice, scheming about how to capture them.

Now, if I could just get her to stop drinking out of the fish bowl, she could get on with her obvious designs for World Domination.

Monday, January 26, 2009

In the Back in the Saddle

Well it’s been 2 months since I wrote. Most of you already know that Bruce and I have parted ways and it has taken me a while to recover from this ending. Now we are into the new year and I am looking forward and calling upon my closest friends to lend a hand when necessary and getting things done.

This weekend we tackled a huge portion of the on-going kitchen reno. A big thanks to Nicola, Gord, John, Charlie, Dad and Christine for all their labour.

Nicola and I started on Thursday night by clearing out a couple of free standing cupboards, moving them out into their new homes in the pantry and the living room and vacuuming up an astonishing collection of dust bunnies.

Saturday morning dawned crisp (-20 deg C) and clear. I whipped together a chili and started some broccoli soup. I am a firm believer that if you are going to wear out your friends, you’d better be able to feed them too. Dad and Christine arrived in time for coffee and we cleared out the table and chairs, shoved things to the perimiter of the play room (to bring in the cupboards from the barn) and shovelled a clear path for bringing them in. We also had to use the hairdryer to get one of the barn door locks off.

Gord and John arrived and they and Dad started to tackle the remaining demolishion on one cupboard. (When Nicola and I tore out the big pantry cupboard in October or November, it took us 2 solid hours of female angst to tear it out. The guys had their cupboard off the wall in 20 minutes. Lesson learned: men do demolishion better.)

(This was really hard work, and this is how happy I was to have the new cupboard in.)First we had to rip out the cupboard that was where the paint changes to the colour I like to call "Rock of Ages" and then the buttler sink had to go. Anyone want to buy an awesome old sink?Then we took the heat vent that had a remarkable U (see where the paint looks different along the waste stack, that's where it used to live) in it and turned it into the Leaning Tower of Heat.
They ripped out the sink and started putting up cupboards with lots of shims. This portion of the house is newer (circa 1900) and the plaster walls are a bit off plumb (just the way I likes it). But shims a plenty to go around.

There is always a joker in the crowd, isn't there.
Charlie had arrived to do the plumbing by this time. Once the uppers were level in all directions, they started on the lowers while Charlie was banished to the basement for his work with the blow torch.
With a minimum of cuts and some rerouting of a heat vent, the cupboards went in and Gord and John, flagging at this time from 5 hours of hard labour, took leave of us. Charlie stayed until the pluming for the sink was roughed in and the valves were in place (and the water was turned back on).

A bit more work and we had the countertops chopped up and in place. (The kitchen I got the units from was configured differently). It doesn’t look perfect, but it is a temporary measure until the electrical is done and I can contract someone to replace the counters.

Sunday morning, Dad hooked up the sink and faucet. I have a functioning kitchen.
Everything goes in steps. This was a big one and I couldn’t have done it without the help of so many friends. Oh and Duane, sorry you couldn’t make it. We missed you. We’ll catch you next time. Like maybe when we drywall the ceiling…

Now, every time I do a reno in this great old house, I always come across something interesting that hasn't seen the light of day in God knows how long. This is the gem this time.

Is it a top? Is it the top of something? maybe a toy? What I do know is that it is porcelin, hand painted, likely c. 1910 and extremely funny looking. It has a chinaman hat (as my grandmother would have called it) and exquisite lips that I will refrain from describing in print, but I bet his name is Toby. If anyone knows what this thing might be, let me know.

More posts soon. There's been knitting going on and other news with the band and a new addition to the family. How's that for teasing!