storm clouds

Monday, March 31, 2008

big skies, wide open spaces, and stormy clouds

As I wrote that sentence - big skies, wide open spaces, and stormy clouds - I realize that those words and these images are such a metaphor for what's going on inside my head these days. I am a storm cloud, I feel like the recent death of my hero dog Jake, and my attempts to deal with his absence, has released this torrent of sadness and gloom, of dark and grey storm clouds. But also crouching in the corner, along with those clouds, is always my tiny bright spark of hope and happiness, of endless optimism and zest, my possibilities are endless, my future, and most of all, my present is a wide open space with nothing but big sky ahead of me ... if I can just chase those storm clouds away.

This may seem a tad heavy this morning ... think I'll blame it on Eckhart.

Eckhart Tolle - The New Earth


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Le Vasque Fleurie Kees van Dongan 1917

Tiny goals accomplished = enormous satisfaction. While watching my favourite cooking shows on PBS yesterday afternoon I went through (first go around) 3 shoe boxes of photos and cards and memorabilia. Piles of pet photos now lovingly collected in one book, a gorgeous leather Umbra album that I've had forever ... waiting empty, for just this time.

Especially the pictures of my sweet boy Jake's life ... finally tucked away and protected. Page after page of bursting love. I had know idea how it would make me feel to turn these pages now filled with images of our life, how honouring these memories with ritual and care makes me feel safe and secure and happy. How it helps so much with my sadness & missing.

All the postcards and cards that I've purchased on my travels over the years (many, many) collected now in one place. Such a simple thing ... that gives me such big pleasure. To think now if I need or want to send a card I know just where to look.

Bad photos, blurry photos and photos that mean nothing thrown away, no longer taking up valuable cherished space. And a few photos and letters ceremoniously and dramatically ripped up into little pieces first ... ahhh, that felt so good.

I'm not finished with this project, I want to send images from my iphoto archives to the Walmart photo center so that I have hard copy snapshots of my favourite digital images ... and there are so many. And all my beloved polaroids from over the many years will be gathered in another album.

Yesterday I also made corn chowder, I took a zillion photos of giant skies and beautiful stormy clouds, I walked in sunshine with my gal pal Miss Dixon, and I filled the clothesline with sheets and pillowcases and duvets. And at 8pm I turned off the lights, participating in Earth Hour, and read more Eckhart Tolle by candlelight, madly highlighting most all words with my lime green highlighter. I'm currently grappling with and completely mesmerised by his concept of Pain-Body. A tight ball of accumulated historic hurt and sadness that we all cart around inside us to varying degrees. I'm realizing that Jake, his goofy, easy going and demanding self, was often a buffer between me and my own pain body. Now it's just Miss Dixon and me, each with our own lumps of pain bodies dragging along with us, as we walk through pastures and along the icy shore.

and today is Sunday ... the best day, and the favourite day.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

looking back at the cottages from under the lighthouse

on the back back shore beach just below the bayberry & wild rose pasture

Back to the nest this morning with coffee and sweet Miss Dixon. A few photos of our, still very wintry, walk taken a few days ago. Last night it snowed again, tiny little flakes that just twirled softly to the ground, no wind at all. This morning everything is once again covered with a clean bright white layer of perfect snow.

It's the weekend, and I have planned lots of gentleness and kindness for myself. Tea and naps and big long second walks after lunch along treed paths and wide open spaces at the golf course with Deb and Maggy Sue (Winnie's Dixon's best girlfriend a Golden Retriever). I'll make homemade soup, I'll putter while listening to CBC radio and I'll achieve a few more of those tiny little goals of mine. I will try to only think about
now and I'll try and avoid my roller coasters ... just for the weekend. Smile.

wishing & dreaming

Friday, March 28, 2008

Miss D basking in a big patch of sunlight

Big deep sigh. It's been a week, my busy mind spending most of it camped out at the bemusement park partaking in any, and all, spinning, whirling, rocketing and plunging roller coaster rides. Up and down and sideways and back again and often in the space of a very few hours. Shut up ! I'd like to say but I don't seem to know how, or maybe I just get so caught up in the drama in my head that I forget to say shut up or at the very least Shhhhhh ! Please !

And of course, as is our human nature, I'm focusing and dwelling on the parts of this week that have been troubling and bothersome - sadness, worry, feelings of overwhelmed-ness and more sadness. I'm leaving out the moments of daily glory. The moments spent standing on the edge of a cliff looking out at blue, blue sky and a stretch of ocean jammed with slabs of ice as far as the eye can see. Of trudging through wide open frozen pastures, bundled in down & fleece, with my faithful and loving girl, Winnie Dixon, so close beside me we walk along as if we're one.

Phone conversations with a friend who's there too, in that same place. Who understands. Who I know isn't furrowing a brow and thinking to herself "Oh Susan, you are SO serious". Chats that are easy and make me feel safe and secure. Happy.

A week of tiny little accomplishments, baby steps toward giant goals. Steps forward.

Eating broccoli and fresh asparagus and pillows of pasta filled with ricotta.
Salads of baby arugula, sweet onion, creamy avocado, and tomatoes with a sharp Dijon vinagrette. Hot steaming coffee in a favourite mug. Bedding fresh from the clothesline. Bubbles & scent.

Smiling and laughing at those crazy kittens Gus & Oliver who several times a day insist on peeling up and down the stairs, pinging off the walls, with lots of mid air leaping and crashing, and thudding of kitten feet. Only to find them moments later curled up together in a tabby-striped and calico hump of exhaustion.

Many kisses from Bleet, accompanied by mad deep purrs that always protect me from badness.

And wishing and dreaming that our boy, my boy, Jake was still here.

things I would move No.2

Thursday, March 27, 2008

still life with Noodle

More Eckart (Tolle) The New Earth last night, snug in the nest of down & flannel. Safe, at least for now ... A best friend and I decided to read this book as the first selection of our Book Club of Two, a long distance affair, a telephone chat book club.

I fell by the wayside initially and got very bogged down in the first chapter of the book which takes a more global, big "we" perspective. I needed and craved a more personal perspective ... I wanted to directly relate myself and my own current (and ongoing) emotional struggles to the concepts and ideas that Eckart presents in this book. From Chapter 2 on, he's speaking to me ... and it's actually not at all the difficult and heavy book that I perceived it to be in the beginning. It's one of those books that I'm sure I'll read over and over again for though the words and sentences are very simple and straightforward, and it's written in a gentle, quiet style - the ideas presented have potentially profound meaning and substance ... for me and my life ... now.

It's all on Oprah's sight, everything you need to know, tools and guides, a workbook. You can download the 10 weeks of classroom sessions in any format you choose.

In other news. Much sleeplessness last night due to raccoon squabbles outside my bedroom window, and I forgot to take my little magic half white pill, plus those darn cats were all jacked up and marauding through the house causing much ruckus. Sigh. Maybe I'll have a nap (one of the many perks of self-employment) this afternoon with tea & more Eckart, with lime green highlighter pen in hand.

My new and difficult (read very challenging) and historically accurate design project is going well. I had an email back from my customer yesterday afternoon and she's very happy with my first page of thumbnails, so of course that makes me happy ... and once again somewhat relieved.

comfort & joy

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

sweet ol' beach bum - Jake

Yup I'm sad again, not that it ever really totally subsided, but things get better for awhile and then something (?) triggers another big wave of aching sadness, of where did my big red dog go? How is it that he's not here? The sun doesn't set over the harbour, these last few nights, until nearly 8pm. Spring and summer are just around the corner. My first summer without Jake. summer is his season, his favourite time, swimming out into deep water to retrieve one or two smooth pale sticks and then coming ashore and galloping and bucking like a young stallion, dripping wet and racing around the beach with his beloved sticks.

You see he wasn't just any dog. He was my soul mate dog, my everything, my buddy, my confidante, my courage, my comfort. No matter how shitty things seemed in my life ... I always had Jake to cheer me up and make me smile. He was very high maintenance and bad, in the best possible way. Busy and always into something. He was so full of life and had so much personality. He was goofy, and silly and calm and unflappable. He followed me everywhere, and always had to be smack in the thick of whatever was going on. He'd bark at me if I talked on the phone too long, he'd sit patiently beside me as I peeled and pitted baskets of peaches (peaches were high on his list of most excellent foods), and he slept near me every night, he was my Noodle dog and God I loved him more than I ever thought possible.

A concerned good friend of mine wonders if maybe I'm depressed, if maybe I should be taking something. I've battled the blues and anxiety my whole life and I've thought about this question of depression, over and over. I don't think I'm depressed - I think I'm sad, I'm grieving and I'm a little lost. The love of my life and constant companion for over 12 years is gone and I'm learning, very slowly, how to live my life without him in it ... and it's very hard at times and there are many, many days I just don't want to get used to life without him. I just want him back. I would give anything to have him sitting on the sofa beside me and to be able to bury my face in that neck of thick red curls and breath in deeply, once again, his smell. Like fresh cut grass with a tinge of roast chicken. To kiss those big beautiful paws one more time. That's how it feels.

Comfort & joy, that's what Miss Dixon is, and has been, especially lately. She's the good dog, the easy dog. The dog who walks off leash, through snowy pastures, so close behind me that I often turn around in a panic thinking she's gone. She's my little shadow girl, my little velcro girl. And then there's Bleet who sleeps on my chest, just under my chin, all 20 lbs of him, like clockwork every night, purring madly & deeply. Crotchety old Lulu curled up on a bed of pillows beside my head, Oliver asleep draped over a leg or an arm, a soft calico blanket and finally Gussie, Mr. Aloof, who has his own apartment somewhere else I think, but prefers to curl up on my bed only after I've left it. My tribe, my pack, who all in their own way, help to chase away this sadness that clings to our home.

There is snow in the forecast today, winter's hanging on. I have an elaborate and difficult (in a good and very challenging way) design project from my new Chicago client on the go. And a tub full of Lavender & bubbles awaits me.

comfort & joy - Miss Winnie Dixon

blue skies & sunshine

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

gerbera daisies in my sunny office window yesterday

I started to read Eckart Tolle's New Earth in earnest last night. I decided to skip Chapter 1 and begin with Chapter 2. For some reason Chapter 1 just seemed too big for me, too broad. I think maybe I'm finally ready for this book, actually I think I need this book, I think it will help me. I've also downloaded Oprah's web cast video's and I think it's time to begin the course ... it just seemed all too much for me a few weeks ago ... but I think now may be the perfect time.

I am grateful for blue skies and sunshine and for Miss Winnie Dixon, my scraggly black dog, these last few months I would be so lost without her.

I am grateful for the love and companionship of my big red lug dog ... Jake. My love for him continues to overwhelm me, he was my strength and now I have to be kind and gentle with myself as I build my strength again.

ice & cold

Monday, March 24, 2008

the view at the edge of the back shore from the bottom of the grassy lane

the view from atop the bayberry and wild rose pasture

These photos were taken yesterday. It's still very wintry here. Cold, windy and lots of ice in the harbour. Down filled parkas and layers of soft fleece keep us warm as we happily trudge through the frozen pastures and along the shore. Yesterday afternoon we had another long afternoon walk, this time in bright sunshine and sheltered by tall spruce trees at the golf course. And because today's still a holiday for some Winnie and I will repeat these lovely two long walks with our friends Deb and Maggy Sue (golden retriever).

Although my heart still aches for my big red dog Jake. I am so grateful that I was fortunate to have shared over 12 years with his incredible canine spirit. He is, and was, truly the best friend a girl could ask for. I love you Noodle dog and I miss you terribly.

14 things

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Scotia to New Zealand and back

Anya asks me to explain a bit more about the swap package that I was preparing to send winging off to the far away land of New Zealand. 14 things mailed on the 14th day of this month March. It came about when I had my beach glass give away and Pherenike from New Zealand had been one of the potential winners. I had expressed sadness in a comment on her blog that Winnie hadn't chosen her name because I was so excited about the prospects of sending a package so far away and especially to New Zealand, a place that has always fascinated me and a place I've always wanted to visit. I said maybe we could have a swap and she instantly expressed that she would love to. So ... she did most of the work coming up with the list, my only contribution was to manage to get a few food items on the list, being a foodie I'm always enamoured with foods from other places. Here's our list.
  1. a beachy thing,
  2. a papery thing,
  3. a thing that cost less than $1,
  4. a yellow thing,
  5. something found in the back of a drawer
  6. something starting with the first initial of your middle name
  7. something that once was alive
  8. a soft thing
  9. a food item traditional to your area
  10. something that delights you
  11. something that once was useful
  12. favourite candy/chocolate bar
  13. a map of your area
  14. a tea bag of your favourite tea
I think the key is to be swapping with someone that has similar interests and tastes and someone that you have gotten to know, at least a little, in my case from reading her blog. I might have spent $10.00 on actual items, most things were things that I found or that I already had, or that I made. Postage for a filled shoe box was $19.60 surface mail.... we both mailed our parcels on the same day from opposite ends of the world. I had SO much fun with this project and I'm sure others would enjoy getting involved with a similar swap. I think the more creativity that you can put into a project like this the more fun it is and you realize quickly that it doesn't need to cost much at all.

I was sick yesterday, all day, as sick as I can ever remember. Sigh. Let's just say my dreaded affliction was akin to food poisoning and from 9am until nearly 9pm I was trapped either in or near my ladies room. I, thankfully, am a very healthy person ... I just never get sick and by lunch time yesterday I was, to say the least, beginning to freak myself out, I called my one and only sister and left a message - call me it's a medical issue! (I refrained from using the word emergency although that's the word I wanted to use). A few hours passed, more freaking, and eventually my cordless phone which was stuck in my housecoat pocket rang. Yeah. Sandra, she who has a fairly calm unflappable personality, has raised two great kids, and I know from previous conversations has had much experience with this particular delicate issue that I was suffering from. My first words to her were shaky and tear filled but in her calm, soothing voice she talked me down from that Should I try and take myself to emergency ? place.

As I lay on my bed with sweet Winnie Dixon keeping me company, later around 8pm last night, continuing to feel miserable and dreading a sleepless night I was listening to a story on CBC radio about a woman who was suicidal because of extreme alcohol addiction. Through her sponsor at AA she became involved in prayer and the story went on to tell how prayer had helped many people with a variety of illnesses.

So I said a little prayer myself, it couldn't hurt ... Please God give me some relief from this sickness that I've been suffering from all day. I know it's a little thing but it's making me crazy. I was feeling stressed and exhausted. I closed my eyes, held Winnie's paw and just took some deep breaths. Within an hour my sickness was gone and over. Wow !

I settled comfortably under the covers and picked up my Corfu adventures book. Happy sigh

I am grateful that I have a sister and that she is always there when I need her and I love her very much! and thank you God for answering my prayer, and so quickly. Smile.

ice burg

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Em, Jake & Winnie with an ice burg spring '06 - Polaroid Time Zero

Typing to the sounds of CBC radio's Saturday morning show and the growls of snowploughs off in the distance. We had just a little bit of snow fall overnight, a skiff of snow as they would say around here. But it is a Saturday, a busy day around the village, especially as it was a holiday yesterday, so those ploughs are out prowling the streets making sure that all the roads are salted and sanded and scraped of any snow that could turn to ice.

Tidying, a bit of design work, walking with dogs and a late afternoon nap with my adventures in Corfu book are the only items on my agenda for today.

in a hammock somewhere

Friday, March 21, 2008

a Noodle tail, under the lighthouse -summer 07

Many family members over the years (most often in an exasperated tone)

“Oh Susan, you’re so serious”

Me “Is that a bad thing ?”

Retired to the nest of down & flannel at a shockingly early hour last evening. A big icy glass of diet ginger ale, fresh flannel pajamas that had been hung on the line and smelled of outside, Winnie Dixon softly snoring beside me, her paw held in my hand, and this book. The copy I read last night is very old and musty smelling (and actually volume two in the trilogy - Birds, Beasts & Relatives), the pages still barely bound together adding to the experience of transporting myself somewhere else, back in time maybe, or to some imaginary place ... to a hammock hung under a big tree at a cottage built on big smooth round rocks on the shore of Lake Ontario. An old dusty paperback found in the cottage bookshelf under a pile of vintage National Geographic magazines and next to an old Monopoly game.

This is the book I read when I want to feel like a child again, when I want to just feel happy and safe and snug. The book that makes me laugh out loud and smile to myself. And it always makes me feel that way and I’ve read it over and over again.

If you love animals, and witty, very descriptive magical writing rush to your favourite secondhand bookstore and pick up a copy of this book or any of the Corfu trilogy.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

the view along the walkway at the edge of our little harbour

This is where Miss Dixon and I walk sometimes, when we don't hop into the car to head for the beach or the pastures.

So... I wrote this little blurb last night in yesterday's comment section.

It's nearly 7pm my time and still only one dog at 29 Black Street. The retriever mix black boy did not tug at my heart.

Although I came SO close to bringing home a 5 year old Chesapeake Bay retriever/chocolate lab mix named Mac. Very handsome, gentle, calm and 110 lbs. I'm ashamed to say that I signed the papers and had him in the car and when we started to back away I just felt sick ... that "what am I doing" sick anxious feeling. I had to take him back inside and rip up the adoption papers and stand there feeling kind of humiliated and say to the woman I can't do it ...I can't take him home.

I'm exhausted, and slightly ashamed of myself. I've called or emailed the women at the shelter and apologized for my erratic behaviour.I feel like I have been, have put myself, through the ringer with this dog question.

This morning there was a kind and very understanding email waiting in my in box from Jo Ann who's responsible for the adoptions at the shelter (who also lost a long time companion dog in January). Everyone's being very patient with me and I feel relieved that my reputation seems still intact. Thank goodness as that's something that's very important to me. I have been involved with this shelter for many years and both Jake & Winnie Dixon came from there. In hind sight, I'm reminded that sometimes lessons learned can be very difficult, especially while you're thick in the learning part. Yesterday's faux pas (that's what I'll call it) was the culmination of weeks and weeks of wondering & questioning ... I think now I can settle a bit, put the dog question on the back burner for awhile, and just enjoy the life I already have.

Thankfully Mac had someone else interested in him and they had filled out an adoption application. He is a beautiful dog, kind and gentle golden eyes and I know he'll find a wonderful home. I am grateful to have met him.

clouds of nothing

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

easter jelly beans - cheery spring like colours

There's a big full moon shining low in the sky outside my office window this morning. My big fat chicelet cat, Bleet is sprawled out on the floor here by my desk, Winnie's just arrived from her bed in my room to settle in another of her beds, this one under my desk and Oliver is lying curled up on a pillow in the wide window casings. A pillow placed there for kittens. Everyone's just hanging out waiting for something to happen ... waiting for me to give the big OK let's begin our day signal. Smile.

Off to town with BFF Harry this afternoon to do errands and stop at the Shelter to meet Mr. young retriever mix, I have decided until I meet him I am letting my mind go blank about the whole thing (an extremely difficult and tricky task for this particular mind). God knows I've pondered the subject enough and for today I'm not going to think about it all ... I will let the decision just come to me upon looking in those eyes. I am taking a duvet for Harry's back seat and a leash and collar just in case. I am, after all, a be prepared kinda gal. Smile.

My 97' Ford Escort wagon is in the shop being patched and tinkered and welded and magically fixed enough that it can have it's new safety inspection sticker and hopefully will drive us around for another year. In a few days we'll be back on the road again and for now Miss Dixon and I will walk around the harbour this morning just as the sun is coming up.

I am grateful for the ability to allow my mind to drift in clouds of nothingness.

I get so tired from thinking about everything from every angle possible. I totally exhaust myself. I've always said that I can take a trip and never leave the farm. But for this morning a second cup of java, lavender & eucalyptus, hot bubbles and clouds of nothing.

yes, no, maybe

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

things I would move #1 - votive candle holders Polaroid

The good news is I found my camera's battery charger. Thank goodness and lesson learned is when finished putting newly charged batteries back in camera put charger in that special battery charger place and be mindful of doing so. Last time I did just toss it somewhere (the story of my life) and then could not remember the tossed place. With careful and repetitive retracing of my steps I eventual thought to look in a paper maché bowl atop the bookcase where I keep the packing tape, (which is not at all where the packing tape should be). I remembered that the bowl had been brought down and placed on the antique school desk (that I bought at a yard sale) that I still don't know what to do with because the desk top is slanted and therefore kind of useless (I'm a girl who loves a flat surface that you can pile stuff on). The paper maché bowl had been sitting precariously on the slanted desk top around the last time I replaced the newly charged batteries. Yesterday I brought the bowl down and in it, along with the packing tape, my battery charger. Voila. Sigh.

I am trying to decide whether or not to adopt another dog. Part of me thinks it would be good for me to have something more to fuss over and be busy with new love (although I do already have 4 cats and 1 dog who all need lots of ongoing TLC) and part of me thinks it might just send me over the edge of feeling overwhelmed. Adopting a dog is a huge long term responsibility, this particular dog is still a baby really at 7 months old. It's all I've been thinking about for days now and honestly I've been circling the entire gamut of possible thoughts and feelings (maybe, Yes, no, definitely No, sure, why not, no way) about it several times a day (and night). The shelter called me about this dog, which I'm always flattered by, they know that any dog that ends up at 29 Black Street would have a pretty good life. He is part retriever, apparently very sweet, and a young male - all on my wish list, if I had a wish list. I can't even decide if I have a wish list.

Anya mentioned in the comment section yesterday that I should just follow my heart. That's what I would normally do, that's what I've always done, but I can't find my heart. My heart I think has crawled away inside some dark cave or tunnel and still doesn't want to come out. So I can't rely on my heart for this decision and if I follow my head. My head says No ! and pretty emphatically. My head these days is all very doom & gloom and overly careful, cautious and even pessimistic. Which is another story.

I have yet to see a photo of this young black retriever boy. Maybe later today. I'm hoping that seeing his face, especially his eyes might coax my heart out of it's hiding place. Otherwise I think it will be a No.

votives shot with my regular camera

quiet & still

Monday, March 17, 2008

standing in the first pasture beside the cottage lane - early morning

Coffee and a hot bath pouring, quiet and stillness, no radio yet this morning. I have big plans for this new week. A big, fairly elaborate new design project to work on, a project that as usual until I get into it a little, makes me feel nervous and anxious - my normal Will I be able to do this project ? sweeps over me and I have to remind myself patiently Yes, Susan you will ... you always do. There is a good side to self-doubt, I think, in that it does continually push you forward.

Lots of other little projects to fill up those early evening, and now sunny & light, hours. More decluttering and organizing, a little design project for my sister. Organizing my photographs into albums, especially those of Jake & Emma, and Miss Winnie Dixon and I have a big decision to make about a young male retriever mix who needs a home.

orange & lavender

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jake & me at the golf course last spring

I still ache for my boy Jake

Another Polaroid from the archives. This one shot with Time Zero film and a drastic difference in the colour. I find the Time Zero film cool and dull by comparison to the amazing colour saturation of the former Polaroid SX-70 film.

Orange & lavender bubble bath this morning, coffee in bed with the big fat March issue of Vogue, two long walks planned for today, my weekly phone chat with my sister Sandra, continuing on with the declutter and clean out of my life quest, the Would I move this ? game (yesterday I cleaned out my old work files).
Whenever I find my battery recharger. Big sigh oh how I hate when I misplace things. I plan to take a few photos of Yes, I will move this items.
Maybe I'll have a nap this afternoon or at least a lie down in the nest with a good book.

I do love a Sunday ... the most perfect day of the week.

coffee & quiet

Saturday, March 15, 2008

clouds and leaves still on the trees

Coffee & quiet this morning.

miss you ...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jake & Em

A hot tramp (Lush) bath with lots of bubbles, a brand new project from new big fish giftware company, a lovely long telephone design chat with a fellow designer in Chicago and my art director on this project, feelings of hope, optimism and inspiration once again. Hershey's kisses and Easter coloured jelly beans. Excitement and childlike fun yesterday finishing up the details of my 14 things mailed on the 14th day swap parcel to send off to New Zealand, a very messy desk this morning and dirty dishes in the sink. Feeling very creative once again. Hot, steaming and delicious coffee with lots of milk. A sweet black girl, Winnie Dixon, wearing a red bandanna and sleeping (with one eye open) in her bed under my desk as I type this, waiting patiently for me to get ready, put my coat, scarf & mitts on, and grab her leash and let's get a going Miss Dixon and begin our day.

We miss you Jake & Emma Jane Louise


Thursday, March 13, 2008

stephanie - polaroid sx-70 image

Another image from the abundant photography archives. My camera's battery re charger has yet to leap out from it's hiding place and bite me on the ankles so I'm forced to select images from my past obsession with photography (with delight I might add). This image another of the all time favourites taken when I still lived in Toronto and shot with my beloved Polaroid SX-70 camera back in the day when they still made SX-70 film. Sigh. Such saturated colour. This image has not been adjusted at all in Photoshop. Polaroid film has never been the same since.

Yesterday I felt happy. Tears do still spurt uncontrollably from my eyes if I think too long about my boy, or if someone else mentions his name ... Jake. And honestly I feel a bit dazed about his death and missing. I just feel like how did that all go down and where was I when it was happening. It's like I've blotted out whole big chunks of time and experience and I'm left feeling ... where is he ? where did he go ? ... my handsome gentle big red dog. He's just gone and it's weird.

A new project begins today from big fish Chicago company and I am getting ready to send a swap parcel to New Zealand, with someone who I've met through blogging
Pherenike Sunshine Dew. It's been very fun gathering the 14 items to wrap up and send winging by post across the ocean. I'm sure that she and I will post more details at a later date and perhaps see if others are interested in participating in another 14 random things swap that she and I have created. I do love the collaborative spirit of many blogs and bloggers.

It's cold, blustery & a bit snowy here this morning. Winter's hangin' on.

I am grateful for hopeful, happy & inspired feelings. I am grateful for my friend MLou who has been a beacon of love and caring when I've needed it most. And the medicine that is her great friendship is taking effect ... I can feel it. And oh yeah, I am SO grateful for my cheeks of sweetness, my little muskrat hunter - Noodlette, or Miss Winnie Dixon - love her !

that face ! - I've been so blessed to share my life with this dog - Jake

muskrats & eagles

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March butterfly illustration

From my beautiful Cavallini wall calender.

Although yesterday was a pretty good day, all in all, I did spend a portion of the day continuing to fester over a recent financial disagreement and a general feeling of being taken advantage of with my main customer. I'm not really used to festering, believe me this ol' mind feels and experiences a lot of emotions but anger, thankfully, is a rare one. Winnie Dixon's best girlfriend Maggy Sue (a 4 year old golden retriever) is on March break this week, so I called her mother Deb and said we're going out for another walk if you'd care to join us. It's my experience that the best cure for festering, or any shitty emotion for that matter, is stomping around frozen pastures in blue skies and sunshine.

Winnie's just renewed her muskrat hunting license for the spring, an annual ritual, and spent much of our lovely long walk showing Maggy Sue the ropes. The two of them stopping often, snouts buried in mucky holes, inhaling the heady smell of something, tails wagging furiously, and I'm sure some detailed rodent chat happening that Deb & I weren't close enough to hear.

Came home and FINALLY had the direction I'd been waiting for so that I could finish a project that had been lingering, to say the least, which means I could finally file it and best of all, send out an invoice.

Career horoscope for this week at my favourite horoscope sight I am a cancer -that sure explains a lot doesn't it?

Stop the negative thinking NOW: Negative thinking is the last thing you need at the moment. Concentrate on what you love to do and each success you've achieved, no matter how incremental. You need to rebuild your legacy and self esteem with positive thinking, not drippy dreary stuff that has never worked for you. You can enlist a new partner, team member or investor before the end of the week - if you're willing to step away from self-centered fear and step up to the plate. You're the only person holding you back right now.

Shortly after we said goodbye to Maggy Sue & Deb for the second time yesterday at the gate to the main pasture and Winnie & I began the short walk down the road to the car I happened to glance up ...and flying directly above us and low enough that I could hear their wings were 2 bald eagles. Sigh. I strongly believe in animal totems, that animals are often messengers, if you're paying attention and you notice them, for they are there in that spot at that moment in time, to tell you something.

Eagle is reminding you to take heart and gather your courage, for the universe is presenting you with an opportunity to soar above the mundane levels of your life. Eagle teaches you to broaden your sense of self beyond the horizon of what is presently visible. If you have been walking in the shadows of former realities, Eagle brings illumination. Eagle teaches you to look higher and to touch Grandfather Sun with your heart ... to love the shadow as well as the light. See the beauty in both, and you will take flight like the eagle.

The passage above is from the book Medicine Cards by David Carson. This book comes with a deck of animal cards that you can use for guidance, similar to Tarot cards. The book describes the meanings and messages from various animal totems. I don't use the cards that often but I am constantly looking up the meaning of animals that I've encountered on our adventures. If you are looking for guidance select an animal card here.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A happy Noodle dog at the beach

I have been considering whether to keep blogging or not, for awhile now (my thoughts and opinions just seem very repetitive to me ... yeah, yeah, her best friend dog Jake has died, she just can't believe he's gone, she keeps expecting to turn a corner in her house and there he'll be, she's sure she hears him, she cries all the time, she has trouble sleeping, she worries a lot about money and she lives in a messy cluttery house ... ya da ya da ya da). I guess if you're bored you can magically click away.

I have decided that I will continue to post at least one photo everyday. I do love the visual documentation of my life. Lately I need to keep seeing images of my boy, front & centre. I miss him so much. Knowing myself well, I'm sure that I will continue to write each day as well, I'll think of something to say ...I always do.

My Dr's appointment isn't until April 8th, Wow that's a whole month away.

I've misplaced (can't find) my camera's battery recharger. Sigh. No new photos until I find it.

Thank you all for your kind and supportive comments ... it's helps so much really, especially helps to make me feel like this is OK, that it's to be expected ... that it's normal.

A Noodle on the rocks

I am grateful for the love & comfort of my wiry scraggly black girl Miss Winnie Dixon who gets me out in the fresh air for an adventure at least once a day and who sleeps so close to me at night that I can feel her breath on my face.

I am grateful that today is another new day, another fresh start and a new beginning.

one day at a time

Monday, March 10, 2008

Winn waiting at the bottom of the grassy lane for Carol

I'll admit I've been having a rough time emotionally since the death of my hero dog Jake on Jan 25 (45 days ago). A caring friend reminds me that often depression can be triggered by a trauma like death & grief. A hopelessness sweeps over you, it's like you're trying to start the engine in your car each morning and you just get that errrggghh errrrggghh errrrggghhh sound. The engine won't turn over, it can't think of a reason to turn over. It seems my eyes are always filled with tears.

It's hard, - people, friends & family don't know how to deal with a broken spirit. If you had some physical ailment something tangible that they could see (a broken limb, a terrible case of the flu or strep throat) something that they could relate to, some sickness that has a name, they might want to try and help. Along with sadness comes loneliness and feeling isolated. It's a terrible vicious circle. Having battled low grade depression and anxiety for most of my life these feelings aren't at all new to me ...

My solution, this morning anyway, is to remind myself that it's Monday always a great new beginning day. I'm pouring a nice hot bath with coco butter and orange essential oil droplets. I have a plan for the day and further plans and goals for the week and I will continue to put one foot ahead of the other, to allow myself to cry if that's what I need. We'll get out in the fresh air Miss Winn and I and we'll have long walks though frosty pastures. We'll get lots of exercise. I'll try to stay with today, with this day only ... to not let my mind wander back in time or forward into the future. I'll make an appointment with my Dr. who is a kind and caring man and he and I have had this conversation before. It's possible, I'll admit, that I may need some help with this.

cheap thrills

Sunday, March 9, 2008

calliste natural bristle toothbrush

This toothbrush has been living, unused, in my red metal tool box until just recently. It was given to me by a good friend years and years ago, a gift brought back from a trip he took to NYC. I spied it, a few weeks ago, while rifling through said toolbox looking for long nails to board up my wide open basement window (the reason for no water due to frozen pipes but that's another story ... sigh). It had never been used but lovingly carted around with me for years, as I am want to do with lots of things. I think I'll try it I said to self. Well ... it is, without a doubt, the best toothbrush that I have ever used. The bristles are all natural and feel so good while brushing, and not to mention it's way handsome black & cream striped body. I love it. The only site I could find that mentions Calliste toothbrush is here.

aromatherapy dish detergent

And this isn't even the good stuff. Just makes washing dishes that much more pleasurable.

The shelter (my local animal shelter, where both Winnie Dixon & the Noodle were adopted from) called yesterday to tell me about a dog who had just come in. A black retriever, a golden retriever, black lab cross, a male who is 11 months old. Winnie and I are just going to sit with this news for the weekend. I would like to see his picture, only because I'm wondering if he might have Jake's eyes. This could be a sign from my boy ... and I want to be open to receiving it.

I am grateful, SO grateful, that I have so many fantastic photos of my red boy Jake and oh so many amazing memories of an exceptional dog who I was blessed to share my life with for 12 great years.

my beautiful red dog

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Jake summer '07

Yesterday morning Winnie Dixon and I had a perfect long walk through the fields, and down the cottage lane, across Hugh & Dorothy's frosty yard, then down the bunny trail (or grass lane) and all along the icy shoreline to the top of the bayberry & wild rose pasture and then back through the rolling main pastures.

I think I cried the entire walk. We were by ourselves, Winn & I, it was a beautiful morning- clear and sunny, the air crisp but not really cold, it felt like spring was finally arriving and every step that I took I knew I'd walked before, a million times, with my red dog by my side. It feels good to really cry, to wail if I feel like it. I miss him SO much. I would do anything to have him back and I realize that, no matter what, I will always feel guilty about ending his life, regardless of whether or not it was the right thing to do at the time.

At the top of the cliff, which we'd always climbed up to, from the back back shore, after we'd had our final session of stick fetching in deep water, my boy's great love & passion, lie a few of his left over sticks, sticks that I know he carried up there. When we were done with our morning game he'd carry his two sticks up the red clay cliff to the bayberry and wild rose pasture. Soaking wet and dripping, always - ever day, and he would flop his big red body down with a thud and roll and rub delighted in the hay and grass - it was part of our daily routine. Often he'd leave a stick or two behind and yesterday I found three of these sticks, held them close to my chest and then I placed them down again in the frosty pasture in the shape of a large J.

I chatted a bit with God while we were walking and stopping often to admire the quiet and stillness and incredible beauty of where we spend our early mornings. I asked God to please send me a sign, a sign that my Boy was OK, some message from him, please. The thing about asking for a message or a sign is you really have to stay on your toes from then on. You wouldn't want the message or sign to arrive and have you miss it because you weren't paying attention. And often these signs can be very subtle.

The sign did come, over and over, yesterday. I kept hearing his name spoken out loud to me. First on two separate CBC radio shows where the person they were talking to or about was named Jake. And they kept saying the name over and over Jake ... Jake ... and then in the grocery store in the afternoon I ran into someone who I haven't seen in a long while. Another dog lover who many years ago lost her own exceptional Jake dog, a black lab, a dog who was loved by the entire village.

There we stood chatting in the deli section and that name, his name, was spoken out loud to me, over and over again ... Jake ... Jake ... Jake.

Jake. I miss you. I love you.

ver & the red daisies

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ham verring it up with red gerberas

I mean Ver hamming it up with red gerberas. Smile

Had an upsetting argument, yesterday, over money - over compensation.

I stuck to my guns, for once. Hearing Suze Orman's recent voice in my head speaking about women and their lack of self worth, especially when it comes to monetary values. And because I know, in this instance, that I am right and sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself ... even if it seems like you might be biting the hand that feeds you or cutting off your nose to spite yourself. I do hope that I did the right thing. Pondering this at 1:30 am caused minor sleep deprivation, however sweet Bleet-ness arrived to lie on my chest, all 25lbs of him, and to purr madly and cover my face with fat kitten kisses which will always chase away the badness.

I am grateful for the comfort and love of all the furry beings that share my life.

Lulu, Winnie Dixon, Bleet-ness, Oliver & Gus.


early morning stick fetching with retriever extraordinaire - Jake

I'm pouring a lovely hot lavender bubble bath, the temperatures are mild this morning, and I have lots more design work on the go. More drawings & more paintings. I've discovered that half a tiny magic pill = perfect sound sleep and no heavy feeling upon waking. Smile. This morning I'll take my second cup of coffee back up to the nest of down and flannel with Miss Dixon in tow and the big fat March issue of Vogue magazine.

I am grateful for the peaceful and serene life that I am fortunate enough to be living


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

early morning skies yesterday on our walk

I am grateful for a lovely perfect sleep last night. And for another two new projects from my main customer and a new project from my new big fish company. Lots of work. Smile.

I did indulge in a little magical, dissolving, under-the-tongue pill last night and decided, as tiny as they are I think I'll try tonight cutting them in half. Half as much magic sleep-ness. It is so nice to have a solid sleep.

We're expecting some weather this morning, snow, ice pellets, freezing rain. Schools have already been canceled.

I have a lovely cozy day planned at my desk working on a great new project. Having my hair cut after lunch (from a long layered shag to a choppy bob). Tres exciting !

We saw a large owl and a bald eagle on yesterday morning's walk, along with spectacular skies.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Winnie Dixon and Jake

We miss our red dog

I did not stay up to watch Eckart & Oprah live at 10pm my time (a 90 minute broadcast) after reading on Oprah's website that it would be available to view any time today and also available as a podcast to download.

I did check my biorhythms this morning, at Vee's suggestion, and phew ! My emotional and physical self are both sitting at the very bottom of the chart, as low as they can go, today March 04. Wow ... that explains a lot.

I am grateful for darkness and for down and flannel and the comfort of holding dog paws, Miss Dixon's, through the night


Monday, March 3, 2008

my Buddha cat, Oliver, hanging out with me while I work at my desk

I must confess I'm not feeling so much like blogging these last few days. I guess I don't have much to say or can't decide what it is that I want to write about. I am trying to raise myself up out of a little slump. I've become a little bit glass half empty these days - which is not my usual outlook, or at least I don't think it is, and I am working hard (I think and I hope I am) on turning that perspective around ... but I'll admit, I have been struggling. I think I'm officially sick of winter, sick of cold and darkness and I am looking forward to this weekend and the time change, and of springing forward once again.

This morning we've woken up to the remains of a stormy, snowy cold all day blizzard Sunday and I must get going early and shovel us out. Lots of snow and drifts and wintryness.

I haven't forgotten about the clutter report that project does continue. I did clean off the surface of the large old dresser beside my bed which was completely obliterated by piles of magazines (which have been glanced at) and piles of (yet unread) books. Those piles are now in neat and organized rows lined up on the floor behind the door of my bedroom. Sigh. Aaggh the illusion of tidy & neat.

I am grateful for the shelter and warmth of this big old brick house and for ...
Winnie Dixon who slept all night curled up beside me, a little black scraggly ball of comfort

blog of the week Paris + food = swoon


Sunday, March 2, 2008

saturn moth postcard from a book of post cards called Posta Insecta

I've been tagged, by Pherenike, I'm to post a list of 7 things that are odd or random about myself and then tag 5 other blogs myself. Hhhhmmmm.

1. I love insects & spiders of all varieties (creepy & cute) ... and it really upsets me that people kill them without a thought. I think that says SO much about the arrogance of the human species. I carry them outside, or use my drinking glass and postcard method of capturing them and setting them free. If I find a spider in my house strolling along the dangerous floor I scoop him or her up and move them to a large houseplant ... as I'm convinced that they'd be happier there.

2. I watch a daily soap opera called The Bold and the Beautiful. A half hour of very campy, over the top facial expressions, and mad crazy soap opera plots set in the fashion industry of Los Angeles. I'm not sure how I ever came to begin watching it but now I tape it every day and never miss it. ?

3. I love cooking shows. PBS has a lovely long commercial free line up Saturday afternoons

4. (followed by a contradiction) I think about giving up my television at least once a week as I ultimately do believe it is a giant waster of my time. I have canceled my cable TV twice in the past which renders my set channel less. It wasn't so bad. It is a huge distraction and I am once again considering seriously saying goodbye to TV... in time for spring. Please see #6.

5. I love New York City and often daydream and fantasize about living there in a tiny apartment in the centre of it all. With Winnie Dixon, my little city girl and the cats. But Charlottetown will do. Smile.

6. I tend to think about many things in life in all or nothing or black or white terms. I'm really trying to get the hang of maybes and greys. (#4 is a perfect example of this thinking. It never occurs to me to attempt to be more discriminating with my television viewing - it's automatically TV or no TV - there doesn't see to be an in between option). Sigh.

7. A scene from the movie Leaving Las Vegas (another favourite on my list of bleak, dark and incredibly sad movies) has always occupied a small space in my mind. The main character played by Nicholas Cage has just been fired from his high powered job in a Hollywood talent agency and his life is spiraling downward and out of control because of his debilitating alcoholism. He takes his severance cheque and goes home and basically puts the entire contents of his home and life, all of his stuff, in garbage bags and lines them up at the curb. My recent attempts at decluttering and all my If I moved, would I take this with me ? questions make me think of this movie and even then, back in '96, when I watched this scene for the first time I remember thinking -Wow ! how freeing would that be ? To not have, or be so attached to, stuff. I feel both frightened and compelled by, the imagining of no stuff.

My list of newly tagged fellow bloggers ...


Please tell 7 random things about yourself and then tag 5-7 other bloggers


Saturday, March 1, 2008

tapioca and strawberry puree in a pink cup

Well yesterday was a bit like a day off. It seemed I had been working solidly for many days on a rather tight series of deadlines. I do have another two projects assigned from customer No. Uno but these two have a little breathing room. It was a day that I had planned to get caught up with some housework, had a few errands to run, and wanted to organize my project files and generally tidy up my life ... even a little bit.

Well in the wee hours of the night as I lie awake as per usual and reflected back on my day, it felt like I had wasted a perfectly great free day doing what seems very natural for me. Puttering - doing a tiny bit of this, and a tiny bit of that, flitting from this and that, and not making enough of a difference in the this and the that to even know or see that I had been there. Sigh.

And then I decided to cook. My always default when avoiding things that should and need to be done, and, as if that wasn't enough unnecessary activity, to top it off I decided that the items that I had just prepared were so absolutely beautiful they definitely needed to be photographed. So fuss and putter and style my creations and dirty a few more dishes. Sigh.

It seems a big ol' catch 22

I dream of a life where I won't ever feel guilty about puttering around, flitting from half baked project to half baked project and just living in the glory of those seemingly purposeless moments - because there is no question I am enjoying those moments.

I also dream of a much more productive life, a happy concoction of rolling all the shoulds, needs, wants and desires into one lovely ball of contentment - to lie awake in the middle of the night and feel that warm glow of satisfaction.

I am grateful for a brand new month, a brand new day.
31 lovely brand new days.

fried rice with lots of veggies, cilantro and red chopsticks