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.