oh my

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Have No Mercy !! -chocolate peanut butter love

With homemade (kinda) chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla love ice cream.

I did something crazy yesterday - something I'd been thinking about doing for weeks. I've been waiting and watching our grocery store sale flyer, waiting for the premium ice cream to be on special again (it's on special every few weeks and Mama sure does love to save a couple of bucks). So home I came with my tub of Cookies and Cream (they were out of French Vanilla, but oh well I thought, C & C is my second favourite flavour - tastes just like real cream, real vanilla and pieces of Oreo cookies). I let the ice cream soften awhile on the kitchen counter and then added 9 (count em) 9 chopped up Reese's peanut butter cups stirred in gently. I then softened 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter in the microwave and added that in blobs, letting each blob cool and solidify before stirring it into the ice cream. Once this beautiful concoction of mine was well blended I scooped it back into the container and placed it into the far regions of my freezer to firm up again. Sigh.

There it is !! the top of the cake completely covered in Reese's peanut butter cups

Yesterday afternoon Harry stopped by to deliver a slab of his Have No Mercy! C & PB cake pour moi. Uh Huh Uh Huh !! Friday in this little village our annual & pretty darn famous cake auction took place at the village bank. A fundraiser for our summer Harbour Fest FĂȘte. Celebrities abounded, the place was totally packed and 60 cakes in total were auctioned off and nearly $20,000.00 was raised - I know it's crazy ! they bid like fools on these made-with-love wares. Harry's contribution to the auction, he who is famous in these parts for being very much a fantastic gourmet cook & baker, was a four layer towering monster of chocolate and peanut butter love that we dubbed the Have ! No ! Mercy ! cake - Mama designed the tag. He, being the smart guy that he is, made two cakes, a second two layer version for all the sous chefs, tag makers and assorted hanger-ons to enjoy later. Merci !

I'm wondering how I could make this count for my Dim Sum Sunday contribution - the theme this week is South of the Border - Maybe I could make a slight change - to North of the Border (subtitled those Crazy Canucks they always do whatever they want anyway). Que Cake & Ice Cream Passa ?

and lastly ... 'tis the perfect place for my best loved and tres often spoken quote

Deny thyself nothing
L. Meagher

Les cakes - ya gotta have a lobster cake in these parts. Yum ???

who are you ?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bleet(ness) - our big fat black velvet chiclet - Nessie Ness

It's as still as still can be this early morning. The air is warm and quiet and all our windows are open wide. The sky is overcast and pale grey and all I can hear are the birds in the garden. It's rained through the night and the air is damp and smells lush and green. Saturday. A lobster boat just trailed out of the harbour and past our second floor windows, sailing on water dark and grey and smooth like glass.

I had hoped to begin the second phase of a large new collection of photo frames this weekend - the final stage, the technical to-scale final drawings - the stage just before the invoice and les cheque. I hate to make it all sound about money but Mama's gotta pay some bills and this particular project (which seems like a big & lucrative one) has been lingering on far too long in the beginning stage. Sigh.

Which reminds me ... if you ever wonder why or how I could sell this house and move from this place. Please remember it's mostly a financial decision. It's not that I don't love this old brick house or this little village by the sea but the maintenance and upkeep and just plain living expenses are realistically too much for this single income gal to handle. I suspect I'm in some financial denial, I wonder if in the end I'm actually not going a little more into debt each year and likely have been for many years. I worry about money constantly and that is the biggest drag of all. The other factors I'm considering - I don't enjoy driving (at all) and my car is a beater (97' teal coloured Escort and former dog wagon) so I am stuck miles away from best friend and designer gal MLou, miles away from courses at the art college, more CE* possibilities and cultural, social and all round new and much desired general stimulation. I've felt, this past year, quite Lonely and really for the first time I can ever remember.

not good. I used to be Susan and her dogs. Oh hey! there's goes Susan with her car full of dogs. They filled me up, they were my family, they kept my life busy and full of purpose. I seem to know in my heart that the answer at this time is not more dogs although I do consider that possibility daily. I stalk my local animal shelter web site, daily, worrying that I'll miss another Jake dog. I promise myself I won't go there ... but I do, every day. I miss that life, I long for that old life. But that's not how it works. I am sure it's not about trying to go back somewhere, it's not about trying to recreate my past ... 'cause I've thought about that plenty. It's got to be about a new chapter. I need to go, to be, somewhere new, at the very least in my mind and in my heart - if not literally and physically somewhere new and I do feel afraid.

For now I am trying to have a little moratorium on those big thoughts, those big questions and decisions. I'm just trying - to be - day by day, moment by moment. I don't know who I am right now and I do know that I'm hiding out here in this little village by the sea while I wait to find out who it is I'm becoming now. And it is such a lovely, perfect place to hide.

Who are you ? said the Caterpillar
I–I hardly know, Sir, just at present Alice replied rather shyly
at least I know who I was when I got up this morning
but I think I may have changed many times since then.

Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

CE* Creative Empire

lavender & lilac

Friday, May 29, 2009

uh huh ! more lilacs and lovely light

Lavender bubbles pourin' in honour of this early morning's post. The sun's just up, the birds have begun their daily routine. Les Gang are all sleeping in this morning. I think maybe there's rain in the forecast and you know I can't tell you why ...
but Mama sure does loves the rain.

Spent another day puttering around Harry's little home decor and gift store yesterday. Our summer season is not yet in full swing so it's a bit slow on the customer front but I managed to while away the day listening to CBC and working on some paperwork of my own. I'm realizing how good it is for me to get outta Dodge for a spell, just to hang in the outside world for hours on end, leave behind all the to-dos, want to-dos & should-dos that come with living in my 100+ old fixer upper brick cottage. Ahhhhhh ! my spirit seemed to say at the end of the day. I was thinking back to last summer and wondering why I hadn't worked a bit in his store as I had done the year before - the summer of 2007. And I realized that last summer I felt dead - Ache & Sadness were smothering me. I missed my big red dog Jake so much. I was stuck in a deep mire of grief. I still think about him every day, often a thought will come whooshing out of nowhere and hit me like a punch that takes my breath away. It amazes me, still, how much I loved that dog - how much I leaned on him. How much goodness he brought to my life ... to our life. Love ya Noodle.

Hey ! I got a parcel in the mail yesterday. A lavender-lilac package of goodness. Awhile back I left a comment over at daily haunt Stripey Pebble Austen was having a little fav colour give away and Hey ! I won. I was expecting sweets and little good things but Wow ! was I surprised and thrilled to receive this beautiful, made by A, sweet little clasp purse. Thrilled.
I love it !! Merci A.

the book Happiness Is ... a wee present to myself, arrived in the mail as well


Thursday, May 28, 2009

lily of the valley

This nearly black nail polish on my lily white, Birkenstock clad, toes - tres chic (at least I believe it to be so with my fleece and cargo pants attire - my constant, and oh so casual WNTW ensemble). Wink • this achingly beautiful song • the intense beautiful scent from a tiny bouquet of lily of the valley by my bedside • PBS ! my favourite TV channel. I watched this previously taped (Sunday night) episode of Nature about Death Valley last night with my dinner - SO interesting and amazing photography • spending a day at a job where I talk (in person) to people occasionally and when I lock-up at 5pm I don't need to think about it again all evening. sigh • the deep, loud throaty purrs of the Nessie Ness - he has the absolute best purr • the smell of salt air, seaweed and low tide. Sitting a spell, once again in the early evening on our big rock - me and Miss D. staring out into the strait, watching seagulls and blue herons and a lobster boat arriving back into the harbour after a day of fishing • a ziploc bag of baby arugula and mixed greens from Harry's backyard greenhouse - I'll make this simple salad • birds, birds, birds - fascinating me - I just ordered this book from my library • the sound and smell of very soft and gentle rain.

Back to the little gift shop for a half shift today. I'm off around 2pm and back to the TTD hopefully to begin a big stack of final technical drawings for customer No Uno.

red tulips

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

where the birds are - a path of red in our back forest

Hey ! you were warned. This is the season where everywhere I look around this yard and garden something is brilliant and the light is often amazing.

I begin my very part time job this morning at BFF Harry's small gift and decor store, throughout the summer I'll work 1 or 2 days a week and make a lovely little sum of pocket money. Actually I'll make more than enough to pay for my recently acquired and much appreciated extended health care insurance. In Canada every citizen is covered by our national health plan Medicare (crazy socialists that we are) which covers pretty much all of our basic health needs, the plan that I recently signed up for extends that basic coverage giving me some extra protection, plus peace of mind and I've added long term disability insurance as well ... just in case - I am after all a single self-employed person (with four dependents - wink). If Mama couldn't work ... well we'd be in some trouble.

It likely will be slow dans les gift shop today as the summer season is not yet in full swing in our little Cape Cod of the North village so I've decided to take a huge and cumbersome paper work project that is dying to be completed and much long overdo so that I can while away the time in between customers doing a nasty job that otherwise doesn't seem like it will ever be done. All the while listening to my fav CBC shows. Hope you have yourself a perfect Wednesday.

I'm just off to the lands of Blue Skies and bubbles.
And Hey ! magically - no more leaking ceiling. Merci Universe !

Q with host Jian Ghomeshi is one of those favourite shows. Jian had Brooklyn band the National on Q live the other day. Love them, LOVE his voice and love this song ... plus the video for another favourite - Fake Empire (a song Obama used during his election campaign - cool tidbit).


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

lavender and white lilacs in the sunny kitchen window

Be warned - many more flower photographs to come. I think it's safe to say that I love taking photographs and oh the choices of subject matter that abound me now are completely breathtaking. Everywhere I look there's something that catches my eye. There are kittens curled up and kissing or napping in large patches of warm sun, scraggly black girls pose looking always exactly like love and throughout our tangled yard and gardens everywhere blossoms are blooming, sunlight is dappling, and all of the greens that exist are beginning to show off their own distinct flare of hue and shade ... and I do wonder to myself how could I ever leave this place?

Actually I am afraid to leave this place. It feels so safe here. It seems like I fit here.
I'm not confident that I would fit somewhere else. That is my struggle.

lilacs 3

Monday, May 25, 2009

tout la Gang came out in full force for this exciting event

Mama's created a big bouquet of lilacs, just ready to bloom, on our sunny kitchen table. Wow ! How tres exciting for them ! Cat's are so funny - it's as if they truly believe that everything you do must surely be ultimately for their entertainment benefit. Curious with a capital C. And yes that actually is the ever elusive and rarely seen Mr. Aloof himself - our Lil' Man handsome Gus in the bottom photo.

Well yesterday was one of those days. Those days where large plans were dreamed up early in the day yet never did come to fruition. One of those days when evening begins and you look back at the hours that have past and wonder what exactly did I do today ? what did I get done ? I do know that I was up and walking around or sitting here at the TTD (I didn't loll for too long in the afternoon on top of the nest with my book and the summer breezes). We did, Miss D and I have a lovely walk in the park and an ice cream cone with our friends Deb and Maggy Sue (Winnie's best girlfriend and caramel golden retriever).

Oh well. There's always so much a person could be doing, it just never ends ...

*TTD teak topped desk


Sunday, May 24, 2009

forget-me-nots picked from our gardens yesterday

to flit

verb (used without object)

to move lightly and swiftly; fly, dart, or skim along:
bees flitting from flower to flower.

Well I'm not sure about the lightly or the swiftly or even the skimming but there was most definitely much darting. Darting about the yard and garden, in the back door and out the front door and around the side. I normally call it puttering but yesterday was definitely a day of mad scattered flitting. It's terrible - Focus and I have never been the best of pals and put me outside in our expanse of yard and garden and Focus just throws in the towel and leaves to go get an ice cream and sit awhile in the park leaving me to my Oh let's begin half a dozen little jobs all at the same time routine - I'll leave a trail of tools behind me as I go (instead of breadcrumbs) and hopefully will eventually find my way back to them. I'll totally trash a few areas in my path so that by 3pm, when Mama's fading and needs a coffee break (urgently) I'll look around, sigh and think Oh my ! How did this big mess happen ? I'll take a deep breath, have that much needed cup of coffee and begin chipping away at my mess and finish up a few of those projects. I am always totally amazed at how easily I become distracted and diverted when I'm outside. Oh who am I kidding - I'm like that inside as well.

And ... how hard can it be to put together the 6 piece tubular metal frame for les Hammock ? - tres hard it turns out. Instructions for this cheap (you get what you pay for) hammock in a metal frame unit initially were so easy, so simple that they were quickly discarded that first season. I put it together twice yesterday with both Winnie Dixon and Bleet advising from the sidelines. Each time I finished putting it together I laid down on the hammock to test it. Both times my body lie prone in quite a severe v-shape. Hmmmmm- this can't be right. After two attempts I took it apart, put it back in the shed and made a mental note to ponder the hammock's construction awhile more before making assemblage attempt No. 3. Sigh.

My new best friend is a 12 year old boy. A boy who works really hard, keeps me company, keeps me focused and asks lots of thought provoking questions about nature, gardening and birds while we work. He brought a new helper friend over Friday night named Jeff. Jeff looked around the yard and looked up at me and said You must really like flowers ? My new friend and yard boy Ajay looked at me knowingly and then back at Jeff and said matter-of-factly She's an artist.
How cute is that ?

Rain in the forecast. Great Sunday CBC radio. Teak toppin' it today - all day.

weekend notes

Saturday, May 23, 2009

more pink tulips in setting sunlight

the plumber called Wednesday
I'll have to cut a hole in your ceiling he told me
since then the leak is no longer leaking ?? - assuming the best

I'll pick a huge bouquet of forget-me-nots from the garden today • do more loads of washing and hang them on the line to dry • SPF 30 spray-on sun protection and plenty of bug spray too • will work outside in the garden for a few hours with my yard boys • Miss D and I will hang out in the park later on this evening, it's become our nightly ritual • I might have an ice cream cone - which of course I'll share with Mr Calico Love - Oliver • I'll set up the hammock in the back garden with the birds and make a big jug of lemony iced tea • I'll read a bit more of my current book (a real page turner), perhaps dans les hammock • I'll be thinking about MLou who's spending the weekend out on the seas racing her sailboat with a crew of 4. It's quite windy here this morning (a North wind I was told in the park this morning) so she and her crew should be whooshing along • will tidy my office, do some filing and draw up les plan for next week • I'll draw more thumbnails for customer No Uno while listening to my fav CBC radio shows • change the sugar water in the hummingbird feeder and hammer a few more orange halves to the big tree - my oriole lure • and I will be happy in the moments as they arrive because I am almost always happy in the moment I'm in ... I just forget to be in it and I always get into trouble when I try to swim out to Future or if I wade back into Past.

a new take ?

Friday, May 22, 2009

a few new perspectives

You change your life
by changing your heart


Uh Huh. Sounds pretty simple.

For the next 30 days I've decided to, in each & every teeny tiny or monstrously large situation, event or issue to - assume the best. 'Tis my new motto. Every time I feel that Fear & Dread are sneaking up on me I will quickly flash them the hand and repeat to myself.

assume the best

For 30 days ... what have I got to lose ?

I'm off to school again this morning to hang with teenagers. Another two yard guys (the fifteen year old boys) are back as a separate team so I now have 4, count em, FOUR yard guys. Hooray ! Yesterday was absolutely beautiful, very warm and very windy. I love warm wind. I opened all the windows, freshly washed sheets and pillowcases flapped on the line, the leaves which are just out, rustled in the wind and Miss D and I went down into the park in the early evening where we both lay in the thick green grass next to our sparkling harbour,
we let the sunshine beat down on us and we stared up at a blue, blue sky and we spoke to our big red dog who's up there somewhere and always with us there on the grass. We tell him how much we love him, how we miss him and oh how we wish he could stay awhile.

feels like friday ...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

another little 29 Black Street vignette

'Tis the season. The yard and gardens are erupting and blooming and fast filling up with every shade of green imaginable (my favourite continues this season to be that bright yellow citrus green that has become widely available at garden centres - they even have a citrus creeping (or trailing) jenny which I would love to have for window boxes and flower pots. Throughout our vast Queendom and acreage are found wonderful pops of saturated colours like these favourite narrow hot pink coral tulips of which I'm sure I've taken a hundred photos of in the last few days.

My back garden, which is very private and secluded feeling is absolutely filled with birds this time of year, the fledglings are all just about to spread their new wings and anxious parents flit from branch to branch tut-tutting and fretting all the while trying to coax their babies out of the nest. I fret and worry along with them, naturally keeping my eyes and ears on all the nests that I know of and stepping very carefully when out and about always watching where I'm walking. Thankfully the big fat, black velvet, 10 year old Nessie cat, my only outside cat, at this point in his life seems content to loll in the grass just watching and chattering at the birds.

I'm off to school this morning. I've missed a few weeks of my volunteering at the high school what with Poppytalk preparations and attempts to ensure another big paying job with Customer No Uno - which thankfully is now confirmed and in the works presently. My yard guys have disbanded (actually it happened only days after their new poster went up around the village - some dissension in the ranks, a petite power struggle ... I knew it was too good to be true ) so I'm down to une yard guy, a 12 year old with tons of enthusiasm, a high powered whipper snipper and a love of mowing. What more could a girl ask for ? He and I plan to tackle the back yard and garden beginning Friday after school and if all goes as planned (and of course you know Mama's definitely got a big ol' plan) I'll work outside most of this weekend with my new pal and yard guy. And maybe have my first of the season BBQ. The Thrill of les Grill the theme this week over at the Karmic Kitchen.

those Fears

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

sweet and tres handsome oliver - design assistant - dans his sunny cubicle

Ultimately we know deeply
that the other side of every fear
is freedom.

Marilyn Ferguson

Sometimes those Fears, who all seem to know each other and hang out together, will gang up and then they pile up together like some fancy cheer leading maneuver and form a wall, a wall of dread. I know in my head that Dread isn't real that's it's just an imaginary thing, a thing created completely in my mind, like the drawings that I do here each day at the teak topped desk. But in my heart Dread feels real, Dread feels like I'm about to go on stage. I also know that each of those individual Fears are all fairly small and likely quite easy to overcome - but when piled together they build this impenetrable fortress that always seems insurmountable. Just looking at them, tall and wavering, makes me feel tired and resigned so I bargain with them, I make concessions, I give in to them. I turn my back and I walk away from those Fears ... it feels like the easiest thing to do.

without darkness
Nothing comes to birth,
As without light
Nothing flowers.

May Sarton

And les leak report - I called the plumber (the one and only) early yesterday morning, left a detailed message and my phone number and have heard nothing back- which of course is not at all a surprise. I, on my own, have narrowed the problem down to my upstairs bath - wouldn't ya know it - the darn lands of bubbles and scent are givin' me grief. I must say I have enjoyed the last few days of water conservation, the pioneer like carting of water up and downstairs and filling buckets with rain water, of which there was plenty the last few days. I enjoyed the lesson, being reminded of yet another thing in our perfect lives that we totally take for granted. Running clean water at our finger tips, any time and as much as we can pour. I turned the water back on last evening and left it on through the night. I've used my upstairs bathroom sink and toilet with no leaking. I'm about to have a well deserved Tramp bath and we'll see ... I suspect the draining bath just may be the culprit. I do so love it when I leave Helpless Girl far behind me ... in the dust.