Wednesday, March 31, 2010

geranium, currently waiting patiently in the sunny window of the chocolate brown guestroom

joy and sorrow are inseparable ...
together they come
and when one sits alone with you
remember that the other is asleep upon your bed

Kahlil Gibran

A repeat quote from the man himself ...

I'm so happy that something's finally blooming around here. We're anxiously awaiting this year's eruption of the terracotta gardens- it won't be long now. The daphne and forsythia are in bud, the daffodils and tulips are poking up through last year's leaf litter. And Hey ! I know a man with a chain saw who loves mowing lawns Uh huh ! Uh huh ! s-h-u-t u-p !!!! la beast rouge has a new best friend and I have a gardening partner. This weekend's forecast is for sunshine and warmth and I plan to start cosmos and sweet pea seeds in trays in the, newly cleaned out, sunporch in little peat moss containers. Sighing.

the up side of down

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

illustrations from Hondo & Fabian by Peter McCarty

The good thing about bad things, the up side of down is that you see and feel the difference. I think there is a good side to my tossing around in the sea of sadness & hurt in my oft hastily built raft because once I've made it across that tumultuous Sea of Badness - somehow the life I left behind, possibly just a few hours or days ago, now seems better, brighter, bigger, softer and I appreciate it with a gratitude so enormous at times I feels as if I'll burst with thanks.

Now agreeably if you talked to me while I was tumbling down the steep side of some rogue wave that had broadsided me and my flimsy craft I might beg to differ. In fact I know I would. Certainly if you spoke to MLou, who knows all too well the person attempting to sail around in that particular choppy ocean you would find her poring over her marine charts and maps, compass in hand, trying desperately to point me to shore. And I thank her always for her constant and unwavering navigational support. The cowboy often misinterprets ... he adds extra lines of dialogue and meaning between my own ... we lose direction and the storm gets worse.

But I am becoming a better sailor. I haven't got the same fear of rough water I once had and now that I'm lolling around once again in my sheltered lagoon I feel more prepared for the next patch of extreme sailing ... I take heart in knowing that I will learn & grow, again& again, from it.

An interesting article on Depression's Upside by Jonah Lehrer (an article which caused a stir).
Of course I'm speaking always from my own perspective, my own experience. If I suffer from depression it's of a low grade variety (anxiety is more my curse) ... I realize that so many slog around in seas of agony never seeing a horizon and always feeling that their life is sinking - deeper. I'm thankful that that hasn't been my experience, I can almost always still see the shore. I don't always have the energy or the desire to paddle, but I'm getting better at finding both.

Bet the drug companies are really pissed by this study.

Pouring rain here this early morning, warmer temperatures and Tramp bubbles.

imagine that

Monday, March 29, 2010

red pepper on a purple ground

After all I was born a graphic designer - gotta get some typography in there

Yesterday afternoon I partook in another (Shut Up!) art workshop at this village's fabulous café and overall best darn meeting place. Sunday's workshop was titled Be Bold With Colour and for me it was subtitled Be Bold With Social Situations. Two workshops in 2 weeks for the socially phobic. Boldness seems to be oozing from my socially scaredy cat pores. I had such fun being bold with colour and more. I faced my imaginary demon front on, and oh how very small it was. Actually so small and insignificant you could barely see it. Such a relief. I brought a new friend along with me and she boldly discovered, or actually was reminded, that she has a brilliant (and I mean gaspingly so) skill and talent for drawing beautifully intricate and slightly quirky drawings.

MLou, all round best friend & most excellent coach, reminds me often how boldness becomes me. She gives to me much confidence to continue on with this journey of stepping out, little by little and lately ... leap by leap, up and out of the tight, tattered and worn box I've been hiding in.

An update of sorts - my hunting expedition was a huge success I am a skilled and experienced hurt hunter. I stumbled around for a day or two deep in the bush, off of the path, finding tiny shining new hurts everywhere, I picked them like berries. Home safe again I dumped them out on the floor, on the thick red rug in the living room near the fire, so that I could really examine them. As I picked each one up, turning them over in my hands, looking very closely - every one of them had magically turned into happiness and love, security and safety ... imagine that ?

song happily stuck in my head this early morning by Canadian cool band Great Lake Swimmers

all's quiet

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I can't wait to walk with Miss D on this beach once again ... soon, very soon

All's quiet here at 29 Black Street. Blue sky, birds singing, bubbles and scent await me.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

from les photo archives - Miss W D in an overgrown summers pasture

Sigh ... and me, this early morning I'm wishing I could lie down near her in that tall green grass and disappear. It's not easy hiding from yourself ... but that's where you'll find me this Saturday.


1000, 2000, 3000 ... ready or not here I come ... me

hunting hurts

Friday, March 26, 2010

last years Cosmos - a late in the season bloomer and an all time favourite of mine

I'm in a bit of a funk this early morning. So what's new pussycat ? Happens all the time. I'll be strolling along the winding path that is my life and suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I'll catch some sparkly hurt off in the distance, away from the path, twinkling at me from the packed bushes and brambles. Heaven forbid I choose to ignore it's glittering brilliance. I say to myself oh Susan I'm sure you'll find plenty o'hurts along this path. Why not leave this one for the crows ... and just keep on keepin' on. But oh no, far be it from me to leave a teeny, tiny, budding hurt where it lies, why not go get it, get myself off of the safe and secure path on which I currently tread, crash around a bit in those oh so familiar tangled wilds, pick up that baby hurt, wrap it up in fleece, cradle it to my bosom and nurture it, as only I know how to do. Grow it ... my specialty.

Uh Huh ! You get the drift. Having forgotten to leave my trail of breadcrumbs or to bring my handy dandy bushwhacker (it's tucked into the neat and tidy shed). I'm struggling and scrambling this early morning to find my way out of this mess of brambles and back up onto that darn ol' path of mine. I'll find it again ... I always do.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

my most excellent sidekick and best girl Winnie Darn Dixon

Winnie Dixon
She's a dickens
little dickens, a little dixon
Winnie, Winnie, Winnie, Winnie, Winnie, Winnie, Winnie, Winnie ...
Dixon !

A little song I sing to her in the teal wagon when we're out and about doing errands.
Love her forever.

coyote mix

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

our sweet little coyote mix at low tide last November

Piper Belle (aka Sunny Bunny) the sweet little dog that never really had a chance to be - with us anyway. I was reading back in my day planner yesterday to January 27th, I'd written I'm concerned about Piper, she seems to be declining both emotionally and physically. I miss her and I'm so very glad that she got to spend nearly 6 months with us.

Raining and cold here ... a busy day ahead of me drawing good things - things I like, as opposed to things I'm requested to draw that I often do not have a deep affinity with ... such is the territory of the freelance designer ... your wish is my command Madam customer.

mo' crazy

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the cowboy and me - November 2009

Well there ain't no way I'm letting you go now
And there ain't no way ... and there ain't no how
'Cause I'm keeping you forever and for always

Shania Twain

Remember these photos ? Let me tell you that post caused quite a stir in this little village ...
had I lost my mind ? posting photos of a kiss on my blog.

She must be crazy ... Uh Huh ! I surely am ... totally crazy ! and I'm a very lucky girl.

rescued 2

Monday, March 22, 2010

not yet ... but very, very soon - tulip bouquet from the 2009 photo archives

I wanna walk and not run, I wanna skip and not fall

Cowboy take me away
fly this girl as high as you can into the wild blue
set me free oh I pray
closer to heaven above and closer to you

closer to you

Dixie Chicks - Cowboy Take me way

Oliver's purring softly beside me, Missy D's snoring in her bed under my desk and oh the birds - the birds are back and they're up early and have begun their day, a day of nest building in the tress all around this old brick house.

The cowboy and I spent a few hours tromping around the gigantic plot of land that belongs to me, and now to us. The yard and garden that surrounds this old brick house, the largest residential lot in this little village. The overgrown and tangled jungle. I'm afraid he did seem a bit daunted in the beginning. Lots of sighing, and muttering unbelievable in a cranky voice under his breath while he dragged debris to the black steed (97' Ford Ranger pick up truck) parked curbside. Have no fear, I know now that this seemingly discouraged and overwhelmed persona is just a part of his overall process- he's taking in the whole (like he did with the tres scary basement completely filled with crap and inefficient systems), grumbling he's counting the steps involved and he's assigning priorities. He's thinking. I silently dragged debris along behind him, I quietly helped. I left him to his thinking and his pondering and sure enough by the time he and the brown hound returned later in the day for dinner (and a movie*) he'd devised the plan of attack - 4 distinct yard & garden projects all figured out and a place for us to begin.

He's rescued me ... and he tells me that I rescued him.

* The Last King of Scotland - borrowed from the public library

in the air

Sunday, March 21, 2010

oliver in a patch of morning sunlight

the song sparrows and red winged blackbirds are back
the ice is gone from the harbour
the beach has reappeared
tiny tips of tulips and daffodils are poking out from under last years leaves
the trees are beginning to bud
the back dirt roads around this village are all soft and mucky
the windows in this old brick house have been open
and all the welcome newness of spring is finally in the air

you never know

Saturday, March 20, 2010

scenes from yesterday's early morning walk - we're (Missy D & me) back on the beach again

Bubbles and scent poured and waiting, the sun's just coming up and another large, rich and full day lies ahead. Miss D will joyfully accompany me in the teal wagon as we do a few errands, then some mad housekeeping items (vacuuming, dishes, laundry etc.) and this afternoon a friend and I are partaking in a pottery workshop at our famous village café and most excellentl meeting place - how exciting is that ? I can't wait, then of course Winn & I will meet up again with the cowboy and the beautiful brown hound around 5pm for our nightly dinner and a movie*.

My life is so wonderfully full right now. Just jammed packed with goodness and love. If I think about it too much it makes me cry tears of wonderment ... still. I think about how much I struggled through the last few years, feeling so often like my life was done ... that I'd reached the pinnacle, that I was sliding fast down the back side. I felt paralyzed so much of the time by Ache & Sadness ... anxious, worried, sad and eventually depressed. Who knew that this comet of love was hurtling fast and furious toward me only to smack into me and my heart one sunny September afternoon in the park. That man and his chocolate puppy. They've opened my life back up again, unwrapped me from the beautifully crafted cocoon of resignation I'd thoroughly tucked myself into. I love him in more ways than I ever thought possible. It's crazy love.

You just never know for sure... what life has in store just up ahead and around the next corner. When you find yourself stuck in that muck of resignation you must always try to remind yourself

You never know ...

*The House of Sand and Fog the book was beautiful & heart wrenching - my favourite genre

crazy, c-r-a-z-y !! in love with her - Miss Winnie Dixon


Friday, March 19, 2010

daffodils - polaroids from les photo archives

The weather here has been glorious. I swear it feels like we're a month ahead of schedule. The ice is practically gone from the harbour, the days have been warm and springlike and the sky still, blue and clear day after day ... Last night as Missy D and I took our bedtime stroll along the harbour the horizon still faintly glowing orange, the stars just beginning to twinkle and glow and a sharp crescent moon hanging low above the water I looked up into the sky, sighed a big deep contented sigh and said thank you !

Thank you for this life I live here in this incredibly beautiful and peaceful place.
Thank you for this amazing partner in crime and love that I have stumbled upon.
Thank you for the animals that have that shared this home, that have loved and lived here.

Oh ... we miss PB, her domain throughout the day was always the living room sofa, stretched out and comfy. This week whenever I've gone downstairs for something ... to throw a log on the fire or to make a cup of tea, of course I'd forget - she's not there anymore. Sweet Piper Belle we love you and we miss you.

This morning as I sit typing here at the TTD* Buddha boy is perched beside me basking in the glow of my desk lamp as he so likes to do. Winnie Dixon is under my desk on her bed, in her office, snoring soundly and we're waiting for the sun to come up before we go for our morning walk. There's not a breath of wind, the harbour's like glass and I'll want to take my camera this early morning.

*TTD - teak topped desk

one self

Thursday, March 18, 2010

self portrait - basking in a patch of sunlight in Miss D's upstairs hall look out chair

The finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself.

Michel de Montaigne

Always with such the serious face ... and oh my les furrowed brow.

For Rachel ... a not particularly candid photo of myself and not a particularly good photo of me.
I don't enjoy looking at images of my self (who really does?) how often do you come across a photo of yourself and say Wow ! look at her ! she looks good ! I know it's because we don't see the same person that others see. I don't really recognize her, it feels like I barely know the person in this photo and I'm so much more comfortable with the me, the self, who's lives her oh so cozy life perched in my head, chattering away all day. She can and does cause me much grief and angst a lot of the time. She talks too much, incessantly, but she and I go way, way back and it feels like I know her so very well.

sigh. I do know, however, that actually ... I don't really know her either.

Some things become so completely our own that we forget them

Antonio Porchia


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

midday harbour blues

Miss Dixon and I are just about to head out into another breathless, warm, big, blue sky day.
Thank you all for such loving comments and condolences - it means so much to all of us.

sunny bunny

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunny Bunny - Piper Belle
unknown - March 15th, 2010

Beauty is ever to the lonely mind a shadow fleeting
She is never plain, she is a visitor who leaves behind
the gift of grief, the souvenir of pain

Christopher Morley

When I adopted Piper in mid October last fall she was very thin. The shelter didn't know much about her as she had arrived there via the dog catcher - no one ever came to claim her. It was obvious that she had very recently had puppies, that she had possibly been still nursing when she was picked up. She mothered stuffed toys and squeaky balls, gathering them like babies in the nest she made in her kennel at the shelter.

She & Bess hit it off, instantly, and like a house on fire - the cowboy and I would often comment how lucky we were to have two dogs that played so well (and so much) together. Miss D, the senior boss dog of our new pack of three, was always content to referee, to step in with an intimidating snarl if she felt Bess & Piper were getting too rough with each other. Quite suddenly Piper stopped tolerating Bess. She didn't want to play anymore and really seemed to want nothing to do with Bess. We assumed that it was because Bess was growing so much bigger than Piper and Bess (a 9 month old lab puppy) was/is rough, rowdy and a brat - most of the time. I began to worry that Piper was depressed and I wondered if she'd be happier in a home where she was the only dog. The next sign that something was amiss was Piper became very finicky about her food, her appetite was at times non existent. I spent many days trying to dream up something that would appeal to her. Eggs one day, beef another, cottage cheese ... She was already such a thin dog it became crucial every day that I got her to eat at least two small meals.

A few weeks ago we began to notice her breathing was laboured and she had developed a retching cough. We went to our local vet twice. Blood work, stool samples and a possibility of lung worm - perhaps ? maybe ?? It could be this ?? It could be that ?? This weekend Piper stopped wanting to go on our twice daily walks, it became nearly impossible to get her to eat anything and her breathing had gone from laboured to a puffy kind of shallow panting. I decided it was time for a second opinion and yesterday we took her to the vet in the nearby town, 45 minutes away - to the vet who has been looking after all of my animals since I've lived in this little village - 17+ years.

Everyone made such a fuss over Piper yesterday in the reception area at the vet's office. Everyone always does - everywhere we ever went people were always so drawn to her. That face cuter & sweeter than a stuffed toy dog, the funniest most expressive ears, the waggiest tail, huge gigantic paws that looked as if they'd been grafted on her from some much larger breed. A shaggy, wiry coat the colour hinting at some coyote heritage and her personality as warm and gentle as a lamb - Sunny Bunny I nicknamed her just days after she came to live here.

Piper's xrays yesterday showed a chest cavity filled with tumours. Lung cancer. The vet suspects that she may have been much older than we initially thought and that yes she must have had this cancer for some time. I was talking to MLou this past Saturday and I remember saying how I was worried that PB might have heart failure she seemed suddenly so very frail and weak. As the vet and I looked at the xrays yesterday she just put her arm around my shoulder and said I'm so sorry Susan. Oh ... I'm so sorry Piper Belle.

She was with us for 5 months. She simply adored the cowboy. Every single night she sat between us on the sofa to watch the evenings movie presentation. She watched each movie with such intensity that the cowboy would tease her and suggest perhaps she was paying such rapt attention just in case there might be pop movie quiz in the morning.

Miss D loved her, we all loved her and we already miss her. Sleep tight sweet Piper Belle.