Since it’s the last Wednesday of the month, Cee Nuener’s Mid-Week Challenge asked for photos related to Spring or Fall, and in an effort to fall in love with Fall as summer wanes, I decided it would be fun to revisit it, from 10 years ago. I was just beginning to learn more about photography than taking family photos. That Thanksgiving weekend, I spent a lovely, sunny afternoon with my Dad and kids.
First we went to the park to see how low the Falls had dropped.
It was so low, we could walk on the riverbed.
Then we went to woods to just wander around.
We stopped by the river north of town and found this fellow enjoying the sunshine too.
That same weekend, I went for a walk down the road with my Mom, to burn off some of that green tomato pie.
Here’s to the twilight, Here’s to the memories These are my souvenirs, a mental picture of everything… Here’s to your bright eyes shining like fireflies These are my souvenirs, a memory for a lifetime.
“Afternoon tea needn’t stand on ceremony. Anything that becomes more important than sweet fellowship, whether lace or linen or the china itself, is a pretense. How much more we enjoy life when the pretenses are discarded!”
Paul F. Kortepeter, Tea with Victoria Rose
Nothing says patio like a sunny summer day, and when that patio is also a Tea Room – boom! I’m there! What a perfect way to celebrate my wonderful Mom and her long-time friend (who has also been a friend to me)! Both celebrated birthdays last week!
We arrived early and the patio was empty, which allowed us to settle in to the serene haven at The O’Connor House. Patio tables with cheery red umbrellas surrounded a stony courtyard with tea cups and tea pots nestled among the stones. The side wall of the stone “cottage” had a hand-painted mural, and tucked amongst the trees, tea cups and saucers hung on pastel ribbons. Larger trees were decorated with garden art. There was whimsy everywhere.
Our servers, wearing brightly coloured fascinators, were exceptionally sweet, encouraging us to take our time and enjoy one another’s company after such a long absence.
The menu included soup or quiche of the day and a lovely assortment of delicious salads and sandwiches (and desserts). We never got to desserts and elected to save scones with cream for another time. Mom had the homemade mushroom quiche with a fresh salad dressed with homemade honey mustard dressing. Her friend had a large curry chicken salad. I had an Elizabethan sandwich (cucumber, old cheddar cheese and sweet onion) with a fresh salad dressed with a creamy raspberry dressing. The bread was thickly sliced but so light, and the cheese was thickly sliced too. Super yummy!
We were offered hot water for our tea several times, and encouraged to stay longer and visit. So we did!
We never ordered dessert because we were just too full. But we decided to meet again soon and go straight for the scones! I’m so happy I was able to visit and celebrate this wonderful lady. My Mom is an amazing mother, wife, grandmother and friend, and I love her SO much!
A daughter is a mother’s gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters’ role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships.
Big Guy has helped me try out some other things too! He ran in Mud Hero with me (so he’d know where my body was buried in the woods). He took me to the gun range for my 45th birthday. He also bought me my zombie killing axe after I won an axe throwing “tournament”.
Last year we were planning to ride in a tank. Instead, the highlight was my Tim Horton’s steeped tea, black (after a 40 day fast) and standing in line outside the liquor store with a group of scrawny, tattooed small town mountain men, to buy pink champagne!
My, how the times have changed!
Tonight, on the eve of my 48th birthday, I will be fighting for world domination as a battle angel with my Big Guy. Tomorrow night, I will be fighting for world domination as a Spartan with my Little Guy (who is now significantly taller than me and loving it)!
I know I’ve always said I’ve wanted a daughter, but who better to have beside me in the event of the apocalypse, than my boys!?!
Shiny! For the majority of the world it means an object with a reflective surface, like sunshine on the lake, chrome on a hotrod, or a honking big diamond in a ring. But the nerd in me actually went to a few different places. In the space-western t.v. series, Firefly, Shiny is an expression meaning something is cool or valuable. And, in the video game, Overwatch, it’s a catch-phrase of Jamieson Fawkes, aka Junkrat, an Australian scavenger and anarchist who likes to blow things up! But since Covid restrictions mean I can’t leave home, I can’t fly into space (yeah…that’s the reason…) and blowing things up is just dangerous, I’m sticking with a literal interpretation of “shiny”. Of course, these items are also shiny, because they have value to me.
Little children love bright and shiny things – and in my experience, most grown-up women aren’t very different!
It’s true – the art of writing letters is slowly becoming a lost art. Who has the time to put thought on paper (once you find some paper)? Then you have to find an address, a stamp and even a mailbox! Sometimes it is just easier to send a quick text or post a quick message on Facebook. I get that! I’m guilty of doing it too.
But once upon a time, I used to write a lot of letters. Hubby and I started our relationship on paper. He was a poor student in another city and phone calls cost money! I wrote crazy stories with small-town caracatures to a homesick friend studying in the city. When our worlds seemed to be crashing down around us, another friend and I encouraged each other by sharing prayers and scripture. Baring our broken hearts to each other, we helped each other breathe in the darkness, until the sun started shining again.
Though housebound during covid, I once again have time to write and have re-discovered the pleasure in putting pen to paper. And for good reason:
Letters are more personal because they contain my effort, my time, and my handwriting. Those notes are often in or tucked into one of my handmade cards, made or chosen with that person in mind. My hope is that I will lift their spirits, and as I work, mine is lifted as well.
They take more time, which means I am more careful as I consider each word and phrase. I can extinguish inflammatory words before I create firenados. With my emotions in check, I am less likely to discourage, hurt, or offend the reader. And when I share my emotions or concerns, I can be concise, sharing the whole story without interruptions and distractions, and leaving other “cans of worms” unopened.
Letters can be read and re-read by the recipient. It gives them time to consider their response, if one is needed. It limits the number of folks who may feel they have a right to weigh in with their opinion or share their story. But most importantly, it may be something that the reader needs to read again and again, a reminder that they are special and they are loved.
Let us all then leave behind letter of love and friendship, family and devotion, hope and consolation, so that the future generations will know what we valued and believed and achieved.
I didn’t include the topic of Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto challenge today because for some, the first association might be off-putting. It’s “non-live animals“. My first thought was taxidery or stuffed animals. Little Guy’s first thought was roadkill. I actually have a photo of roadkill, but I won’t be sharing that today.
As I looked in my archives and around my home, however, I noticed there are a number of creative options! I have a stainless steel mouse in my kitchen, whose tail holds my rings when I’m baking. My egg timer is a pig. One tea tin has a sloth and one tea dish is a panda. I have assorted figurines of cats and frogs in the house, and Grandpa’s Pig. My shower curtain is birds on a wire. I’m wearing kittens on my nightgown and I am in no hurry to get dressed.
So I experimented with a few other items because it is, after all, a photo challenge:
Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.
Normally Wednesdays have been “wilderness wednesday” but there isn’t much wilderness in my backyard. The birds don’t visit my feeder. Even the squirrels, just like my neighbours, are holing up in their cozy abodes and venture out only to get groceries. And now, with the impending declaration of a “state of emergency” in our province, and living in a region that has been hit particularly hard by Covid, that isn’t likely to change.
So I decided today to share a few pics of my new office/craft room/spare room which I generally refer to as my “sanctuary”. It’s become the place I now tuck in to write or craft away a few hours, somewhat in peace. I have family visitors popping in to say “Hi” during their bathroom break! 🙂
I wouldn’t call the space complete, but it’s well on the way, and for the moment, relatively tidy! So a good time to snap pics because I know it won’t stay this pristine for long!
As you know, it took me several weeks to paint the room blue, and it would have taken longer without the help of a friend (who booped the ceiling with the roller in plenty of places so don’t look up!)
Let me give you a quick tour:
I had hoped to purchase a day bed, but elected to keep Little Guy’s bed instead and save some pennies. The drawers are handy for storing fabric (and a change of clothes for Big Guy if he ever gets to visit again)! I debated a long time whether to go for a “beach” theme or a “videogame” theme. I decided “beach” was more grown-up! At some point, I will print and frame some of my favourite photos from our 2 summer holidays at a cottage near the beach. It’s my “happy place”. I also have my eye on some fluffy and beach-vintage-y pillows, and I will re-cover some of these in softer colours. My hope is to create a comfy corner to read.
I searched my symptoms on WebMD and it said it said I needed to be on a warm beach sipping pina coladas!
I own a lot of craft crap! Moving it upstairs forced me to sort and purge, no small undertaking. I hid a lot in the closet and there’s still a shelf in the basement (shh!) My hope is that organized, easy access will help me recapture my “creative mojo”! I put out some cards to inspire me.
The desk is nothing like I wanted, but it belongs to Hubby and he wants to keep it for sentimental reasons. I would paint it white, but the sentiment comes from happy memories of refinishing it with his father. On the plus side, the drawers are deep and it’s been a handy surface for crafting, writing, and cutting sewing patterns. My new cow desk lamp gives me whimsy; the oversized tea cup for pens and pencils, a nod to my love of tea. The tissue paper flowers were a mother’s day gift a million years ago! I started to write a book and I need to suck it up and get back to it, so I prominantely placed this reminder: Let your faith be bigger than your fear.
Finally, behind me, a new shelving unit for form and function: more craft crap, and some pretty things to make me smile.
The top shelf is my “geek shelf”: Minecraft Lego, Big Bang Theory Lego, and my Mercy figurine. I play the battle angel, Mercy, almost exclusively on Overwatch! The bottom 3 shelves contain my stamps.
The middle shelves have more personal things. Some sea shells from my Grandfather, who loved to walk the beach in South Carolina early in the morning. He made me promise not to let Nana throw them out if he died first! I also have a photograph my aunt took of my family with the catamaran my Dad built. I don’t remember the boat (except the faded red paw print on the sail) but I have many happy memories of camping and canoeing on this lake. A blue glass bowl that belonged to my other grandmother. I seem to remember it with hard candy in it? And she loved blue. I also have her small white tea cup with exotic birds. Perhaps they are enjoying the sun in palm trees next to a white, sandy beach and turquoise waters.
Which is where I’d like to be.
Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.
Dear Diary – This morning, much to Little Guy’s horror, Hubby and I crawled in bed next to him. It’s his birthday! I resisted the urge to sing the traditional “birthday song”…first thing in the morning – I’ll sing it at lunch! He’ll be awake by then!
It’s hard to believe he’s turning 15! He towers over me and smells like a man. Where did my baby go? As we got ready for bed last night, Hubby reminisced about his white knuckle drive to the hospital at 5 a.m. It was snowing and the roads were slick. We passed one car in the ditch. But first, we stopped at Tim Horton’s for his morning coffee.
I imagine my Mom reminisced about her white knuckle drive at midnight. She drove up to stay with Big Guy, even braving all the highways to get here. We shared a cup of tea before she went to bed, some time after 2 a.m. What Moms are willng to do for their kids!
Happy Birthday Little Guy! We love you!
Dear Diary – Why do they always go for the nose? Or the face? Did it think my nose is an exotic cave to be explored? Was there treasure in there? We had one fruit fly that was determined to follow me from room to room to flutter around my face. I looked it up. Fruit flies are attracted to decomposting fruit and veggies, as well as moisture and carbon dioxide. Obviously they aren’t concerned about Covid-19.
Dear Diary – I’ve noticed lately that we have more trains running through town. I’ve also noticed they’re much longer trains. I’ve noticed them every time I’m sitting in a long line of cars waiting at the crossing, counting the cars.
How long, are you asking? Some trains have as many as 7 engines, spread evenly throughout. Last week, instead of walking to the mechanics again, Hubby started to drive me. But, just as we turned the corner when a train came along with 3 engines. I hopped out and sent him home. I tried counting the cars, but it’s a lot harder when they’re rumbling by face. They don’t smell good either.
Dear Diary – I ordered some Christmas presents from Amazon this weekend. I rarely shop online. I prefer to browse in person so I can see it, touch it, smell it, etc. Everything I ordered estimated arrival by Dec. 20. But once I had finished my order, those delivery dates changed to “Dec. 14-Jan. 5”. We may be celebrating Christmas in January.
Dear Diary – I am not short – I am fun-sized!
This week Hubby and Little Guy had fun asking me things like, “how is the weather down there” or “are you cold…because heat rises”, all because I’m “closer to the ground”. Just to add insult to injury, they also asked me, “are you getting shorter”?
Dear Diary – Christmas is coming and I don’t know how long the line will be at Bulk Barn, or if we’ll face another flour shortage! So last week, while Dad was waiting in the woods for Bambi to wander by, Mom and I made…Salvation DOUGHNUTS! The only hiccup was how to cut the hole, since I forgot my “hole cutter” in the city. Crafters always find a way! After several failed attempts, we discovered that a spool of thread works well. Except that we ended up with a spool full of dough too.
They taste even better than they look…
Dear Diary – I got an email this week from unsplash.com that said I’ve received “500,000 views on your photos! More people have seen your work than the summit of Mt. Everest”. This is the closest I may come to being “popular”.
Dear Diary – We’ve been very blessed with beautiful warm and sunny weather. On Tuesday, I took advantage of it and went for a long walk with my ipod!
It wasn’t long before I was peeling off my sweater and wishing more time had passed so I could go home and be lazy! Just then, a heavy metal song came on, one I used to run to when I was training for Mud Hero. Just thinking about it made me very tired. I decided a long time ago that unless someone is chasing me, I’m done wih running. I even compiled a list of 10 reasons Why I Don’t Run Anymore!
By the time I was 2/3 of the way through my long walk, and really “feeling the burn”, I noticed an older guy with a red cap. He was standing in his yard with his arms crossed and a mean scowl on his face. At first, I thought he was glaring at me and I started running through the list of things I might be doing wrong? Was I dressed inappropriately? Did I miss a “no walking” sign? But as I got closer, I realized he was giving the “evil eye” to the maple tree in his front yard. A row of brown yard waste bags already lined the end of his driveway. I guess, as far as this dude was concerned, he was done his yard work for the year! I felt sorry the tree.
I made it home from my walk without setting my pants on fire from my thighs rubbing together, or traumatizing any children or other innocent bystanders. I rewarded myself with a chocolate chip cookie! So maybe, just maybe, I will try it again some time. Or I’ll go straight for the cookie.
Dear diary – Someone posted this on Facebook and it amused me…
Apparently I slay each day like a bedazzled boss lady! Sounds about right? How about you?
Dear Diary – This past weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving and I was very blessed to be able to go home to do it. My parents and aunt have been part of my “bubble” since the beginning. In fact, I lived with my folks for most of March, all of April and May, and parts of July and August. The only thing that made me sick, from time to time, was too much Discovery channel. But then my Dad could say the same with so much HGTV bingeing! 🙂 Turkey sales were down across the country because smaller gatherings meant less desire for endless days of turkey. Tonight will be Day 5 for us. Hubby didn’t go with me and I provided him a turkey and all the fixings.
The youth group held its first outdoor meeting Friday night, so we drove down Saturday morning. For once, I was up, dressed and packed, waiting for Big Guy to arrive. He arrived with Tim’s! You know how much I love my Timmies! Can you imagine how I suffered in that 2.5 hour car ride with a hot steeped tea sitting beside me, and I can’t touch it? Torture!
I really needed it after I thought I was being pulled over by the police. I was cruising just under 120 km in the driving lane. Now before you judge me, I was neither the fastest nor the slowest car! When I spotted the police cruiser, I was nearly past him. I quickly hit the brake and time slowed down. I saw the car shift into gear and back tire start to move, just as his cherry lights came on. I panicked, and not wanting him to pull into the side of my car, I signalled and switched lanes to pass him. I could see his lights flashing in my peripheral vision, and then the siren started to wail. I wailed, “is he after me? Does he want me to pull over?”. I saw Big Guy’s head turning to the right as the cruiser flew past me…to pull over the navy minivan that had flown by me seconds earlier. Sweet relief!
Knowing holiday weekends are always a flying trip, I wasn’t planning to bring any craft supplies, but it didn’t work out that way. First, while I still haven’t replaced my broken irons, I did restock my fabric pile. Second, my friend still hasn’t stopped selling my masks. She exhausted my supply nearly a week ago, and by the time I arrived at my folks, I had orders for 22 more. My friend called Saturday afternoon and bumped it to 28! I spent a large part of Saturday and Sunday afternoon cutting out pieces. So did my Mom and my Auntie M. Mom made delicious meals; Auntie M baked a delicious green tomato pie! Family always comes through!
Guess what I’ve been doing this week?
The only distraction Sunday afternoon was listening to Big Guy try to do his grandmother’s yoga video. He only yelled at us once because our tittering in the kitchen was louder than the soft-spoken instructor. He yelled at her once too, something about “that’s already the speed I breathe”. Is it possible to breathe wrong?
When I stopped hearing the groans of a dying wildebeest, I peeked to see if he was still alive. He said the video was boring, but he might shop for another one. He must have been bored stupid, because he was watching Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. As for yoga…