Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Days

Whew! That was a whirlwind trip this past weekend. We went to Regina to celebrate Christmas with my side of the family. First time in 10 years I think. What a lot of fun! We were all there but one sister in North Carolina. Hi Lyse. You were missed. We had a nice dinner in my Mom's common room in her building and then went upstairs to open massive amounts of gifts. I got my cookbooks from my two favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver and Michael Smith. Excellent! And those were just the tip of the iceberg.

I was able to talk with each one of my nieces and nephews. It is nice to catch up. We have musicians,(Matthew) sports greats (Zach, Nick, Kenadee and Eric) and we have a genius who is in advanced everything (Kate). And then we have baby Ella, with her blond ringlets and bluest of blue eyes. Quite the group I must say.
Me, Mike, Tamara,Dana, Keri

The previous night we spent with this lovely family. Paul's sister Mona and her husband Stephane and their two great kids, Matthieu and Renee. We had a wonderful garlic soup that I just need to get the recipe for and seafood pasta. I love pasta! And Athena experienced her very first chocolate fondue for dessert, which she loved. They bestowed a huge bag of craft supplies and princess pj's on her but her very favorite thing was a years old copy of The Incredibles movie. She just can not believe her luck!

And now, in the season of the Winter Solstice and of Christmas time, the best is yet to come. On Boxing Day (Dec. 26th) all of the girls come home, and their boys too. We are having Beef Tenderloin with an array of veg, lots of appetizers, Creme Brulee for dessert and lots of wine. Lots of wine. Hint dear daughters: Bring wine.

So I'll sign off for a few days but I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas or whatever it is you celebrate at this time. Blessings on your new year. M

Friday, December 18, 2009

All Creatures Great and Small

It is true I love wildlife. I always have. Since I was a young girl. You tell me what 9 year old would wake up on Saturday morning and watch Bob Izumi's Real Fishing? Tell me which child was overjoyed when there was a nature show on the Wonderful World of Disney instead of a cartoon? Which child still remembers every Hinterland Who's Who short? Me.

So its not hard to see why I have at least 3 or 4 bird feeders in my yard that I fill with various seed all year round. Its not hard to see why I put out fresh water for them too. You have heard about Parker, our squirrel. He is still hopping about the yard, even though we were -47 with the wind chill last week. I have gone through 5 pounds of peanuts for that little guy already. The chickadees and nuthatches get their fair share of those.

But now, now we have another little pet. I found his tracks a week or so ago. He lives in an opening underneath the front step. We feed him toast with peanut butter, sunflower seeds and dried fruit. I am sure he is grateful. In fact, he dragged the entire piece of toast into his house. I have yet to see him but I see his little foot prints in the snow. I know where he has been. We named him Napoleon.

Today was a fantastic day! The weather warmed to a balmy -11 so Athena and I got out the wood sled and headed out down the street. And right in front of the house, directly in front we found not one but two sets of deer tracks. Two. Must be a buck and a doe because one set is significantly bigger. After our long walk trying to find enough snow and our one unsuccessful attempt at tobogganing down the hill near the golf course (gosh, you think there would be snow in December)and after losing a Christmas card in the field after we went to the post office, we rushed home to get the oats. We made a trail from where we discovered the prints to have started, which leads to our front yard. There they will be rewarded with a pile of oats. We were careful not to step on the lawn so we could look for prints in the morning. Of course if they do come, we'll head right out to Peavy Mart to get some Alfalfa pellets for them. And....maybe a salt lick too.

And, I will throw in a few pictures of my other two loves for good measure.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Oh my goodness it is cold outside. This week we were into the -40s. Celsius that it. We actually had to drive Athena to school all week and there were no outdoor recesses. Still not much snow. I can see the blades of grass sticking up through the little amount we have. We can't go out to play anyway so I guess it doesn't matter.

We have finally bought and decorated our Christmas tree. I totally changed the decorations this year. It is a theme that more reflects our little family. Gone are the gold and red shiny glass ornaments and colored lights. In their place are pine cones, burlap, birch, wood.
I asked Paul to go get a smaller tree than we usually have because I don't have many ornaments. I sold all of our other ones in a garage sale this past summer. The ones I bought were heavily discounted in after season sales last year. The tree he brought home was perfect. A Natural Fir. It is not shaped at all. Branches stick out at random. Lovely. Just what I was looking for.

I have scaled back the amount of decorating too. A few small festive pieces adorn the coffee table and under the tree. A wreath I made out of pine cones from Summerland BC (which Jordan collected for me like a nice Son In Law) graces our front door. That's it. Randy Travis' Old Time Christmas plays on repeat in the CD player in the kitchen. Simple. Natural. Down Home. That is what we need this year. It has been a busy, somewhat stressful fall.

Which leads me to my yoga practice. I am finding it more difficult these days to fit in a full 75 minute practice. My body doesn't want to. So I have been actually practicing yoga more often. Every day in fact, but I carve out time for a 25 minute practice. Lots of Sun Salutations and standing poses. Some stretching and sweet Savasana. It just feels right for me now. Just like beef stew, lasagna, roast chicken and warm food. Lots of warm food. Baked macaroni and cheese, homemade soups, mashed potatoes with gravy. No salads around here. Not in this cold.

When the days are short and the weather is cold I think we all need some self nurture. Lots of time to talk and snuggle. Time to listen to music and watch the fire. Time to create, read, love...Be.

Friday, December 4, 2009


While I was on the mat today, I got to thinking. Yes, I know, when I am practicing yoga I am supposed to be " in the moment". Mostly I was, but...

I got to thinking about my Yoga practice in general. Why do I do it? What do I get from it? Why do I yearn for it when I neglect it? Why do I always come back to it? Why indeed?

I practice yoga because...

It makes me feel good. Physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually. I admit there are times when I am standing in Tadasana and haven't even started when I think to myself, "I do not want to do this." But I feel compelled to move forward, to keep going. Without fail, I am glad I did it. I always feel connected to something greater than myself. Something ... how can I put this? Something ethereal. I always feel some clarity of mind. It is good for me.

So then I get to thinking about Christmas. As you may know, I used to be an Evangelical Christian. Before that Roman Catholic. Naturally Christmas had a religious meaning to it. You know, Virgin birth, from the Catholic days. Saviour of the world from the Evangelical days. But what now? I struggle with celebrating Christmas without the Christ in it. Am I being two faced? Am I not being my authentic self? (Sigh)

I am trying to raise Athena with a tolerant world view. A world view where we are all equal no matter color, creed or religious belief. I suppose I could tell her that the Christians believe that Jesus was born of Mary, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as the ultimate sacrifice and paid the penalty for our sin so we, if we only believe, can live in Heaven, with God, forever. Or that if we perform all of the Sacraments as laid out by the only One True Catholic Church that when we die, because of Jesus,born of the VIRGIN Mary, we go to Purgatory for however many years and then, maybe, fingers crossed, we can live in Heaven, with God, forever. Or...

I can tell her ...The Christians believe that Christmas was the time Jesus, their Saviour was born. The Jews celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of lights. Or some celebrate Kwanzaa, where African culture and heritage is remembered.

Then I can tell her that WE celebrate the Winter Solstice. The time of year when the days get longer and the nights get shorter, and we look forward to the renewing of the earth, of spring, of hope.

Whatever we are preparing for, celebrating, commemorating, to me it is a time of joy. Of love. Of family and togetherness. We revel in being together. Of warmth. Of giving gifts of love. Of good food. Flowing wine. Of gratitude.

We have enough.

We are enough.

Winter Joys

Well it finally happened. It snowed! Things sure look different. In a few short hours the landscape changed from dull, drab grey to bright sparkling white.

The sun shines often here on the prairies. The bright clear days can be deceiving. Sun shining, snow twinkling and bitter bitter cold. In fact, we went in quite a short time from above 0 temperatures to -26 Celsius, with the wind chill. Some American readers may not know what I mean by wind chill. The wind chill factor is the apparent temperature felt on exposed skin due to wind. Kind of like the Heat Index, only opposite.

The wind bites at our ears as we walk Athena to school through the school grounds. Actually only bites at my ears. The other two wear toques (hats). Not me. Too stupid to do that. Paul says people in Saskatchewan care little about what they look like when the temperature drops. They care only about staying warm. I am working on a lamb's wool scarf for myself. It is almost finished. Hopefully by Monday when we have to make the trek again. If not, I'm wearing a toque.
Athena has decided to call all of her winter gear her "warmies". Great idea.
We have Paul's Firefighters Christmas Party tomorrow night. At least the food will be good as he was the one to arrange it. We always do that gift exchange thing where one person can take the others gift. Not a fan of that, especially since we have to stand up in a line in front of everyone. Then there are the speeches by the Fire Commissioner and the Mayor and whoever else wants to speak, often the reigning MLA. Snooze. Then I go home to relieve the sitter and Paul goes back to play chaperone to a bunch of drunken people. Geesh.
We have been reading all sorts of Christmas themed books around here. One of Athena's favorites is Olive the Other Reindeer. We made her ears that look like Olive's and she dressed in white an brown. She loves make believe. She even made this picture of Olive. It was actually a collaboration between the two of us. Then she watched the movie bye Matt Groening (Simpson's Fame) on You Tube. You've gotta love You Tube for Christmas Specials. My VCR is so old that I can't tape anything past channel 99 so this is our way to get the specials in.
This weekend we plan to do a lot of relaxing. At least I do.Paul will likely hit the gym a few times. I might bake some gingerbread men too. And there's knitting. There's always knitting.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Owl Moon

This little girl of mine. What can I say? She is so fun loving and creative. She has a sweet sweet spirit. Oh, and she loves to draw.

One of her favorite books is Owl Moon. It is about a father who takes his little girl out "owling" one dark winter night. She is finally old enough to go. She is so excited she could scream. But, "when you go owling, you have to be very quiet."

We read this book the other night and this picture is what I found on her Magna Doodle the next morning. So cute. She told me that that was a Snowy Owl, even though the owl in the book was a Great Horned Owl. She says I can tell because there are no ears on her owl. Indeed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am listening to:

For the past couple of days I have been listening to Bach and Vivaldi. Baroque Music. It is a CD my sister Lyse sent me years ago. It is so lovely. Comforting in a strange sort of way. I've also been listening to my old Josh Groban Cd's. Old standbys to me. Athena particularly loves the song Vincent. Me too. It is an old Don McLean song. And as always, as always, there is Randy Travis in the CD player in the kitchen. My older girls know all of the songs. We have been listening to him for many a year.

I am watching:

Absolutely nothing now that The Tudors is over. Actually, Paul and I watch The National every night. We watch Courage in Red, and RCMP miniseries. We also watch The Ghost Whisperer reruns every night at 10. Actually, I usually watch until 10:30 and then go to bed. He watches until the end. We also watched the old movie Snow Dogs with Cuba Gooding Jr. on our first "Family Movie Night". Funny movie.

I am eating:

Lots of meat. Sigh. Paul is having trouble with pasta, potatoes and rice so we have been eating more heavily on the protein side. I have also not been eating as many veg as usual. Odd for me because I love veg. Hmmm. I wonder what is with that? I have a chicken stock simmering on the stove right now which smells wonderful. I'll make some soup tomorrow or the next day and save the rest in sealer jars.

I am enjoying:

The nice weather. We hiked the golf course on the weekend. It is only 9 holes but it took us 40 minutes. The next two days, my shin muscles just ached. Obviously there is not an asana in my yoga practice that mimics hill climbing. Ouch. I am also enjoying feeding the birds. I gave them water the other day and within minutes they flocked to the bird bath. No snow, no rain, no water for the animals. Parker the squirrel was in there too, just lapping up the cool water. I have to dump it every night lest it become a huge ice cube but that is a small sacrifice. Athena and I have been spending lots of time snuggling and reading and bird watching. She brought her rocking chair down from her bedroom and set it next to mine. So sweet.

I am slacking:

On my yoga practice. I did a 30 minute Sacred Yoga Sweat taught by Rainbeau Mars today, just to mix things up. It was short but difficult. I'm sure I'll pay tomorrow. I just haven't felt motivated to get on the mat in the past 3 days but I made it there today. I plan to make it there tomorrow and just see where the practice leads me.

I am wondering about:

The H1N1 flu season. They are saying it has reached is peak and is on the wane. Funny about that, vaccinations for the general public started this afternoon. They say 1 in 4 Canadians have been vaccinated. It would be nice to get some real numbers on the incidence of infection/ hospitalization/ ICU cases. It would be lovely to read the headline : H1N1 Big Hoax.
Also wondering when all of the online Christmas shopping packages will arrive at my home. In time for Christmas I hope.

I am thinking about:

Making plans for Christmas I hope. Or shall I say the winter holidays. Winter solstice. I am no longer a Christian so planning for "Christmas" doesn't really feel authentic to me. Anyway, I have plenty of sewing to do for gifts for some people. I should get after it. Also thinking WAY too much about the Parent Teacher interview we had that I mentioned in my last post. I think I have every book about Childhood Food Allergies, ADD and alternative treatment and Homeschooling Curriculum out from the library. I should give myself a break and look into this in the New Year.

I am reading:

All of the above books. Also a book called Bringing Up Geeks by Mary Beth Hicks. So far so good.
Also reading the cookbook The Art of Simple Food. In fact, my stock recipe that simmers on the stove is from it. I have also been looking at an abundance of Christmas Craft/baking/cooking/decorating books. I have a small list of things I'd like to make this year.

I am feeling:

A little blue today for some reason. Could be the pressure from the I am thinking about category. Who knows. It is unlike me to feel this way. I am sure it will only be for a day. I am also feeling the pull of nostalgia for simple times. Simple days, simple joys. I am beginning to believe that may days are too full of 'doing' and not enough 'being'. I must slow down and enjoy. I must.

I am especially liking:

The nuthatches and the chickadees who eat my profferings. On the weekend after our family hike, I remained outside in the warm sunshine. Paul made me some hot chocolate and brought it out to me. I stood there sipping the delicious warm cocoa watching the birds pick up the sunflower seeds I had placed merely a few feet away from where I stood. I spent a blissful 30 minutes out there. All alone. Me and the birds.

Which reminds me, we have twice seen a wonderful snowy owl perched on the same telephone pole, on the outskirts of our town. Wait, I think I blogged about this before. If I did, my apologies. birds. Also I am liking watching Athena with her glasses and her new haircut. She picked the haircut herself and the glasses, well, I found an old pair of mine, and knowing she would love them, I had Paul take the lenses out. It is all I can to to keep her from wearing them to school. I am also liking that swimming lessons are finally over. Woo hoo! And now we are going to do a lot of skating. We went yesterday. Our town has free family skate several times a week. We hope to take a lot of them in until we get our backyard rink all set up. Pictures to follow on that one. She does not like the fact that she is unable to skate. Practice and all is coming.

I am looking forward to:

Casting on for my new scarf and Athenas as well. I am finally finished my hat. Good thing too as it was -17 with the windchill factor this morning when I walked Athena to school.

The weekend, as always. The Winter Solstice. I want to plan something special for that day. And seeing all my girls and grandgirls and Jordan, all together again on December 26th. There is a lot of time from now til then. There is much to do as well.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This and That

I am thinking about:See the above picture? A rubber chicken. Yes, you recall. That is EXACTLY what my "twenty dollar free range bird" tasted like. What a huge disappointment. The skin was so thick and leathery it was almost like a football. It was so thick, in fact, that after the bird was cooked to precisely the right temperature, I couldn't even get to the meat unless I hacked it with a cleaver. Did I get taken for a ride. Paul went to a Hutterite colony the very next day on business. He was lamenting the story when one of them produced a Hutterite chicken for him. Try this! We sell them for $7 a piece. Same size. 2/3 less money. I hope it turns out better than the last.

I am working on:

Several things actually. If you can believe it, I am still knitting my wool hat. Only a few more rounds to go in the decrease. I can plainly see at least 5 errors. It better fit. It better be warm.
Also working on some Therapeutic Wheat Bags. Still working on the most comfortable prototype for the eye bag. Haven't reached perfection yet. Also working on my yoga practice. I did an old standby yesterday. It was a little on the easy side yet today my abdominal muscles are sore. Different poses than I am used to. King Dancer, Shoulder stand, Rolling sun salutation. The class was by Tracy Rich and Ganga White of White Lotus. Total Yoga was the name.

I am looking into:

We had PT interviews at Athena's school yesterday. Teacher says she it at or above par on all of her academics. A joy to have in class. So sweet. But... She can't sit still. Perhaps, she suggested, I should take her to her doctor and get some Ritalin. I would say WTF? But my Mother reads this blog so I'll just say What the Heck? Ritalin? To be fair, she didn't actually utter the word Ritalin but she strongly suggested it. So I am planning to contact Jen's Naturopath to see what she thinks and then move forward from there. Any advice would be greatly appreciated here.

I am feeling:

A bit lonely. Dear Husband has a long term project in the works and has been totally consumed by it lately. Reading, working out, studying, learning. All the while I am being a little neglected, in my opinion. (Sigh) Thank goodness for my daily morning phone call with a certain someone. It keeps me connected to the adult world. Thanks Jen.

I am surprised:

That the only show I watch, The Tudors, aired its Season Finale last night? Again, What the Heck? Didn't it just start a mere 8 weeks ago? That is the end of my TV watching until next fall.

I am enjoying:

The lovely weather. It is well above seasonal and I am loving it. Also loving watching Parker frolic in the yard. Feeding him Strawberries and peanuts.

I am looking forward to:

The weekend. Last swim class. Lots of yoga practice. A Hutterite chicken. Knitting. Reading. Cooking. Resting.

Hope your weekend is just as nice.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can You Eat Me Now?

I am always searching for locally grown, organic food for my little family. Locally grown especially. Nothing like Buy Amer.. I mean Buy Saskatchewan. Once not too long ago I bought a jar of pickles. Everyone grows cucumbers here so I didn't even look at the label. I couldn't even believe that my $3 jar of pickles was shipped all the way from The Philippines! The Philippines I tell ya. Come on.
The other day I was looking on a local free classified ad site and came across an ad for Free Range Eggs $2 a doz and Free Range Chicken $3.50/lb. I contacted the farmer right away and wouldn't you know it? The farm was 20 minutes from our little town. Score!
I talked with her on the phone and she said the chickens are grain and flax fed, roam around outdoors and had just started to lay. I'll take them. 4 dozen please. She went on to say that the chickens for sale were about 5 or 6 lbs each and had never had any animal byproducts. The only thing they had was chick starter when they were well... chicks. Free Range. Yes, thank you, I'll take two. That was when the conversation took a slightly unpleasant turn. I'll go pick a few out from the flock and have them ready for you tomorrow. (That meant as we spoke they were still pecking happily around the farmyard, totally unaware of their fate.) Gulp. Yes, I'll take two. Never had a fondness for chickens.
She mentioned that they had some Free Range, grass fed beef as well. (Raises eyebrow) I do enjoy myself a nicely grilled piece of beef tenderloin. Love Beef Burgundy. Even Bolognese. Go on. She said he roams around the pasture, we had him inside last winter but he likes it outside more. (Starts to squirm) I fully expected her to say "and his hobbies are watching butterflies and finding gopher holes." We haven't slaughtered him yet. (Gulp) Slaughtered is such an awful word.
I'll get back to you on the beef .
PS The eggs are lovely. Beautiful shades of brown, beige and white. Hard shells. Dark yellow yolks. I'll let you know about the chicken. It's in the oven.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Free Range Kids.

I just finished this wonderful funny book about letting our children have the freedom that we had when we were children. For reference I was born in 1965. Yes, I know. Long time ago. Moving on..
This was such an excellent book and the back pages worked to dispel parents fears from A to Z. The B section was

Bats (Aluminum). She went on to tell us why aluminum baseball bats are no more dangerous than the old fashioned wood counterparts. Then she wrote:
Bats (Vampire) Avoid these. Funny. You get the gist of the tone of which the book was written.

Lenore Skenazy supplied worried parents with statistic after statistic which proved that it is actually as safe for children now, and in some areas safer, as it was in 1970, when I was five.

So picture me, sitting on the sidelines of Athena's swim class on Saturday. A long row of parents all watching every move their little ones made, commenting on form, style and whether or not private lessons will be needed. And there I sit, not paying attention at all, reading my Free Range Kids book. Halfway through the class, a man taps me on the shoulder to tell my that he thinks my girl got hurt. Sure enough, the teacher is helping her out of the pool and she is crying. She has a small goose egg on her head. I go over, a little embarrassed that I hadn't witnesses the event because of course I was busy NOT being a Helicopter parent and I was doing my own thing. Ahem.

She was okay, just forgot to open her eyes while swimming and bonked her forehead on the wall. She jumped back into the pool in less than an minute and I... went back to my book.

Next day. My older daughter Jill's 24th birthday. We had all just come back from the city after watching Eden's (her daughter) soccer game. The girls were out in the back yard trying to find Parker (see earlier post about our squirrel). Eden knocks on the back door to ask me if they can play in the front yard. Of course they can. I go into the front room where Jill and Clint are watching Paul start a fire in the fireplace. I start to tell them the story printed above when she says " Why are the girl in the front yard?!!" She is from the city."Is this why you are telling me about your book?" I tell her that Athena plays in the front yard all the time and that she is perfectly safe in our little small town. About 10 minutes later I hear Jill scream and Paul run out the door. The neighbors dog (Dutch Shepherd) got loose and was running and growling after the girls. All turned out well once again but geesh! What are the chances?

I still recommend you read this book if you have children or if you are thinking of having children. And then read "Last Child in the Woods. Saving our children from nature deficit disorder." And then shoo them outside to play and don't worry so much.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Our New Pet (Kind of)

Just a few weeks back I was lamenting to my daughter about the lack of wildlife in our small Saskatchewan town. Although from my yoga studio window I can see for miles on end, miles of rolling prairie, I don't see much wildlife at all.

As soon as we are on the highway things change. We see deer a lot, albeit mostly as roadkill. Speaking of roadkill there is an abundance of that. Coyotes, fox, porcupine, skunk and just the other day I saw a dead badger too. I know there is wildlife around. Lots of it.

Anyway, the other day I saw a squirrel run by on the other side of the road. First time in 4 years have I seen one here. I literally squealed with excitement, right Jen? So naturally, I busted out the bag of peanuts in the shell, which I had just bought, coincidentally, the weekend before. I thought it would be a long shot, but no. At lunch time he was quickly taking peanuts and burying them in the front lawn, running them up trees and hiding them in the woodpile.
It wasn't long before he had taken them all so I replenished the pile in hopes Athena could see him after school.

Of course he came back. Of course he has since emptied the bird feeders and cleaned up the last remaining apples on our crab apple tree. I am sure in the spring we will have sunflowers growing everywhere from the seeds he will inevitably forget. We'll likely find peanuts stashed in the oddest of places but we don't care. We'll enjoy him all the same. Athena named him Parker.

In other news, Paul took Athena to visit her Grandma and Grandpa for the weekend. She goes about twice a year and I HATE it. She is only 2 1/2 hours away but I have always liked my children to sleep under the same roof as I. I know she'll have lots of fun though and she'll get to eat at McDonald's too. Big highlight for her. They have three schnauzers that she plays with and her cousin Maddie, who is her age as well. On the upside, Paul and I will have the weekend alone. We are planning to go to a movie. Yes, you heard it right, a movie. The last movie we went to in the theatre was 6 years ago. 6 YEARS! After that we are going out for dinner. We plan to do some yoga together on Saturday and Sunday mornings and he will go to the gym in the city and I'll do a bit of shopping. The weather is supposed to be wonderful, in fact it is 16 degrees Celsius as I type this.

Speaking of yoga, my practice is going very very well. Still doing the 75 minute class but I am noticing subtle changes in the asana. Things are becoming more aligned, more centered. I had a fitful practice today because I am still thinking about the family email debate about H1N1 which kind of took a turn for the worse. I started out asking a simple question and it all let loose from there, turning into a debate and who knew more than who. Yikes.

Last night on The National there was a feature about if the media has been irresponsible in reporting the news. One of the doctors interviewed said a resounding Yes. He said we should keep everything in perspective, something he feels the media does not do. He said that 200,000 Canadians die every year. 4000 die of the seasonal flu. Some of them children. Then he said when all is said and done they expect 200 -300 deaths from H1N1. He went on to say that a child is 20 times more likely to die from a car accident that from Swine Flu and that this is NOT a major health event. Perspective. It is all about perspective. And fear mongering. Lots and lots of fear mongering.If you want to check it out click here and start around the 26 minute mark.
Whoa, long post. Have a great weekend all. I know I will. ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wall Art

Take a look at my newest wall art. Actually I have had the piece for almost a year and just couldn't get the location quite right. It now hangs in the kitchen where my trusty Renoir print used to hang.

That Renoir used to bring me such joy and I have moved it with us everywhere and it has always been in my kitchen. It just doesn't appeal to me as it used to.

This does! So, dear family, if you are reading this, and I know school pictures have already been taken, please drop a picture of my nieces and nephews in the mail, or a family picture for that matter, so I can add them to my display!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Homeschooling. Round Three

My husband has been subtly suggesting that I home school Athena. He has been making little comments, little observations. This is brand new. For our older girls it was all me, all my idea. All my WORK! Make no mistake, work it certainly is. And dedication. And time. And... well, anything else that means WORK.

But the school year is already two months in. Dare I do it? Makes me wonder.

Friday, October 30, 2009

H1N1 Revisited

Well, I initiated an email conversation with my family. 2 daughters, 4 sisters, 1 brother (and 1 sister in law) and my mother about whether or not they and their families would be getting the H1N1 vaccine and their reasons for doing so or not. Interesting. Copy and paste articles were passed on, debunked, debated and even made fun of. :( I posted a survey a few posts back and even though more that 125 people read it, only 7 responded.

It seems like information abounds. What to believe? What to do? After taking with my sister on the phone yesterday and talking a little excessively with one of my daughters (right Jen?) this is the conclusion I have come to:

We will not be getting the H1N1 vaccine. Now or ever . Paul will not either, even though he is the First Responder for our district and will likely come in contact with it a lot. We believe that our bodies have the power to heal and to keep us well. We further believe that there are many compounds in the adjuvanted vaccine that are not healthy for us and could be harmful. We are eating well, getting lots of rest, washing hands, doing daily nasal swabs and mouth rinses, taking our vitamins, getting plenty of fresh air and exercise.

Will this prevent us from getting the illness? Probably not. (I actually think I had it, looking back on my Malaise post). Will these measures help us to heal quickly and get a milder illness? I think so. Will our bodies be stronger and our immune systems strengthened by fighting it. Definitely so.

Fear is often a motivator for people. I have been motivated by it in the past and likely will in the future as well. I choose to use common sense as an approach to this issue. Common sense and Lysol spray! ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Family Dinner and Yoga Update

Whew! What a weekend!

All my girls and their guys and their children came home for our late Thanksgiving Dinner. What joy. What a lot of work too.

Friday I was busy making pumpkin pies and preparing some of the other foods. Paul suggested, as he was walking out the door to go to the gym, that today might be a good day for me to make the French Onion Soup I had been talking about. Indeed. (sigh) Athena was great, playing for hours on end while I cooked, cleaned and got the guest rooms ready.

Jen and Jordan and Abby and Josie arrived later that afternoon and we had a delicious, if I do say so myself, spaghetti and meatball dinner, complete with salad with heart of palm (Thanks Mona) and garlic bread. Can you say carb overload? Who cares.

Next day I had to get the turkey dinner ready. No small task I tell you. One highlight of the day was that I got to do an hour or so of yoga with Jen. She was a trooper too. Not too bad if I do say so myself.

Shortly after lunch, Jill, Clint and Eden showed up and shortly after that Jess and Dann. Full house. The little girls were so good. They played outside in the cool fall air. They watched Tinkerbell and ate popcorn and later they all grabbed one of Athena's instruments and gave us an impromptu show. Too cute for words.

Athena 5 Abby4 Josie 2 Eden 5

Can you tell the two in the middle are sisters?

The dinner was good. I stuck to what I knew. All but the gravy. My sister Lyse gave me a recipe with Cognac and cream in it. Delicious. It was a hit. Even Jill liked it. ( Jill is my 3rd daughter who really really really liked everything to be "the same as it was last year and the year before that...") But, in the flurry of activity, I forgot to put out the table centre piece. The flowers remained wrapped in cellophane and the bosc pears in the produce bag. Candles, unlit, unused.
So yesterday, after Paul and I cleaned the house, I made two bouquets. One for the kitchen and a small one for Athena's room. It was kind of like a "You did it!" gift to myself.
Later in the evening when the girls were all bathed and sleeping, we went to the family room and tested our vocals with some Karaoke. Paul and Jordan stayed up into the wee hours singing and playing guitar on Jordan's Wii. I think the Southern Comfort spurred their efforts a bit.

Anyway, next morning we had brunch and the company was gone by 10am. What did Jen and Jordan forget this time? Toothbrushes? No. A stray sock? Nope. They forgot the pad you stand on for the Wii. Luckily for Jordan, Paul will take it with him to Regina when he goes for business later this week.
Sunday was spent cleaning bathrooms, washing floors, changing beds, doing laundry and vacuuming carpets. We had a simple shrimp dinner and we all went to bed early. These weekends take a lot out of me but they are so worth it. I would like to either have them at one of my daughter's houses some time or just go out to eat at a restaurant, merely for the opportunity to sit and visit with my family, especially my little granddaughters.
And on a yoga note, today I practiced Yoga for Intermediates. Jen was asking me about it on Saturday and I told her I hadn't done that class for over a year. Today I got to thinking that I hadn't done that class since we lived here or in our previous houses but had done it last over 7 years ago. 7 years! Today I popped it in the VCR and away I went. It was so good. Lots of poses I never practice. Forearm balance, handstand, headstand, shoulder stand. I am sure I will be sore tomorrow right in the middle of my upper back in the thoracic region. I will brace for the pain. I did really well though. I didn't hold the inversions as long as required and I only did two of the three Upward Bows but all in all it was a great workout. I may have even got some sweat on my mat. Heehee.
Afterword: I would have posted pictures of my daughters and their men but I changed a setting on my camera (thanks Jen ;)) and the pictures were all blurry.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

H1N1 Survey

I, like everyone else, have been hearing and reading a lot about the H1N1 virus and how it is supposed spread quickly and fiercely. We are urged to get the vaccine by health and government officials.
My question today is:

Will you be getting the H1N1 vaccine?

So anyone who happens to stop by today,even if you have never commented before, please leave a comment along with where you live and tell me if you will get it or not. If you are so inclined, feel free to support your decision here too.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

He Should Have Come With Me

On Monday after school, Athena and I went to the library at her school. They were having a Book Fair. She led the way for me and we entered the room.
No one else was there. Not a soul. It was me, Athena and a room full of books for sale.
Now some women have problems with buying too many shoes, or clothes or purses and scarves. Hi Lyse. Not me. I have a problem with books. I purge my collection regularly but when the Scholastic book orders come home from school, when the Saskatoon Symphony has their annual used book sale or when a book fair is on, I lose all control. I don't buy books that I know will only get read once or twice. I don't buy books with TV or movie characters in them. I tend to gravitate toward classics. Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie. Books like that.
My very biggest weakness is books about my country. Books about Canada. I can't resist them.
And on this particular Monday afternoon, I didn't. I bought M is for Mountie, Saskatchewan Facts, The History of Canada, (all three volumes) and the list goes on. I spent $84.
Paul should have come with me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

We found wood at last. Someone from Saskatoon was moving and didn't want to leave all of his wood for the new owner. Paul and his friend got a truck and trailer and loaded it all up. Almost 2 full cords. One full cord of seasoned birch and another cord of mixed birch, poplar and pine. Not to mention enough kindling to last us all winter.

Stacking and sorting the wood was a lot of work. A lot. Athena was a big help. We were all tired and hungry and sore after getting the job done. Of course Paul did the lions share as usual. Tough guy.

We had a beautiful day on Saturday. Warm and sunny with nary a breath of wind. Perfect. All the patio furniture is neatly stored away. The garden, fully put to rest. Paul pulled the last of the onions and a few carrots that got missed. We aso washed all the windows inside and out. We have a lot of windows. It was a tough job. Then we enjoyed our last glass of wine/beer on the deck for the 2009 season. But, you never know. The warm weather could hold.

Athena played in the sunshine. Note the siwash she is wearing. My own Mother made that for my little sister probably about 35 years ago. And it lives again! Perfect condition. I appreciate these hand knits more now than ever.