Friday, January 29, 2010

From the blender in my brain:

Dabbling: I've been dabbling in so many fabric/sewing things lately. It's been fun (messy) and now I've just found some more to try! As I get some projects completed and have the time to photograph them I'll share. A "rug", a huge bag, a couple doll quilts, a table runner pieced quilt. Fun stuff I say!

Sadness: Many of you know that we spent a significant amount of time in the hospital with our boyo shortly after he was born. During that time we met a number of parents in similar circumstances (Thank You Ronald McDonald House--a very noble and supportive group that helps to provide housing for families close to hospitals). Similar in that we were all there because of a child in the hospital. The children's difficulties ranged widely. They included kidney failure, heart malformation and transplantation, cancer, emotional trauma and recovery from attempted suicide. We haven't been very good at keeping in touch with most of those people except for one family whose time at the hospital seemed to coincide pretty directly with ours. Their 18 month old had cancer. She's been in remission for some time but it has re-occurred and they've made the difficult decision to pursue treatment. My heart aches for them. Regardless of the outcome.

It also takes me back to those shadows in my mind that I try most of the time to keep swept back. I remember with clarity some of those experiences. Some of them, many of them are still very tender, very sore. Some of them are filled with gratitude for the health practitioners who took extra time with us. Who knew our names not just "Mom and Dad". Who encouraged us to take time for ourselves. The gratitude extends to those we already loved before we encountered the difficulties and the support that they provided us both physically and emotionally. It reminds me of loneliness and abandonment--even in the midst of all that support. It also reminds me of the frequent loss we watched as we would return to our tiny one's bedside to discover "our neighbors" had been replaced by a "wet floor" sign left after housekeeping had cleaned up. I also remember this that no matter what length of time we might have with our children it is ours to enjoy and appreciate as we will. We get to choose. We get to hold them close and have them. Moments are precious. Time together is precious. Frustrations, though they are also a real part of that time, pass. Treasure the moments.

The swirling in my head seems to be refusing to release anything else, so I'll sign off for today.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Just thought I'd share a little recipe today. These are a favorite at my house. The tiny girl will eat spoonfulls of the dough if she can get away with it.

Cake Muffins

1 15 ounce Can of Pumpkin
1 Box Cake Mix

Mix together and follow directions for baking on the box.

We love using a spice mix with this recipe and the original called for chocolate. They are a very moist cupcake either way. We like the mini-pop-them-in-your-mouth-all-at-once size the best.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Harmonica
What a lovely little instrument!
Even the littlest can make a good sound.
It's so much fun to watch and hear.
Really it does sound nice
As an aside--we have had 2 bird visitors (though the large flock haunts the upper reaches of trees surrounding us) and they took a quick snack from the ground (the tree blew over) and left.
Sometimes our gifts are really for us.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I took our christmas tree out two days ago.
It look so lush and green I wasn't ready to consign it to a firepit.
So it has stayed on the patio.
Yesterday we re-decorated with food for the birds.
Our winter's been so mild I don't know if they'll come for a treat,
but we have tried to share a gift with them.
Cranberries and popcorn

A few left over Welsh Cake Crumbs

Orange Slices that are more for their asthetic appeal to me
What combats winter better than oranges and lemons?

And two little watcher's through the window.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Few More January Birds

Yesterday morning we went for a walk and the giant spruce trees down the street were being cut down. Mowg said, "I hope the birds can have a nice home." Then on our way back by he was mesmerized by the equipment being used to clean up. We watched for about half an hour. On our way back to the house the garbage truck drove by and the driver waved to us. I'm not sure if he was responding to Mowg or remembering us from another day when we watched him pick up our garbage. It strikes me that in childhood we revere those that we truly should. The folks that get things done. The garbage men, the tree topplers, the many jobs that do things. Instead, we tend not to appreciate those folks as we get older. I think perhaps we should.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Polar Bear Dip
Dip really is more accurate.
Here are a few more pics and some details I just want recorded
Going Down


I'm really not sure if I ever went all the way under, but I say face under is cold enough!


Some Details:
Before we left for the river I spent my time cleaning our bathroom. This "stoked the fire" internally for me and I was quite warm, but not sweating before we ever left the house. Not exotic or even very interesting, but warm. That's what I was going for warm.
For exit-the-water warming: we had a cooler filled with a dryer warmed towel and bathrobe. I "preheated" the cooler with a microwave warmed rice bag. When it was time to go we put the towel and bathrobe in and set the rice bag on top. It worked very well. I can't tell you how heavenly it felt right out of the water.

My friend who took the kids also brought some hot chocolate in a lidded jar, both were essential. I'd set the jar down in one of our cup holders and it flipped out onto the floor. Luckily I'd secured the lid so it was no problem.

It was a nice touch that the lid was Tropical. :)

Thanks Liz, for watching the kids and the hot chocolate! Thanks Heather for taking the pictures even though the memory card wasn't there to record them. (Who knew it would look like you took a picture and not save it!) Thanks to my kids for being good and being excited for my "swim". Thanks to my dearest for the scouting, support, the warm cider, wonderful soup and being a general go-to guy (do I need to hyphenate that? :)).

Finally thanks to all of you for your encouragement and kind words!

Mmmm loved the Tropical!

3 hours after the dip, I got cold. Very cold. Thank goodness for soup!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Polar Bear Swim
It was a balmy 35 degrees
My wonderful assistant went in and checked the river for me, finding the best deepest spot.
He wore waders of course, so he was toasty warm
--a little on the "too toasty warm" side if you ask him.
Then he guided me in and let me go. At least the first time. There were a lot of 2's going on today. Perhaps to combat the 1's and 0's. Do you think?
Anyway, my 2 kids, their 2 friends, my 2 friends and of course that cute guy and I. One of my friends pinch hit and took pictures while the other kept the kids up on a little bench that overlooks the river. Pretty good ringside seats. I didn't hear them as I had other things on my mind, but they cheered me on. I'd show you a picture of them, but that's the other part of the 2's. As we were driving away I pulled out the camera to review the pictures and got a "no card in the camera" message. Not one of the pictures taken worked. You know, like your film not advancing, or forgetting to load it in the first place. It took pictures, it just didn't keep any. Sigh. So we decided to run home get the card and do it again. Just the two of us. Romantic, No? So that's the last 2 of the day--2 times in the River. I do a lot of things twice, I wonder what that means. I got married twice (in the same day!).
Enough of the yakking, here are the pictures:
Found the deep spot.

Coming up, aka flapping my wings.

Just taking an afternoon the river.

OK, get me out of here!

Nice and warm, heading home

The blanket I have wrapped around me is significant in that it is one of the last gifts my brother gave me.
He picked it up while he was in Mexico and it's one of my most treasured possessions.
Here's to you Ty!


Cinnamon Craft Dough ornament

We came home the other evening to a tree flocked with birds.
Their cacophonous chatter is what caught our attention.
All it took for them to take flight was me
coming out with the long lens.
They relocated to a nearby spruce tree.
The Lookouts
Coming in for a landing

The Council

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January Reds

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thanks to a tutorial over at
I attempted some tiny books.
I used the cardboard that was inside some fat quarters I got for Christmas for the covers.
Then covered them with fabric instead of paper.
I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I've been wondering of late just where I want to take this blog. I mean what am I doing here? Am I sharing things I'm making? Showing my faraway family what's going on? Just throwing things out there hoping to find connections in the universe? The truth of the matter is that I'm doing all of those things. Where do I want to go from here?

Then I was e-mail "visiting" with friend recently and it came to me. We used to live in an old house that was split into two apartments. She lived on one side and I lived on the other. It was an ideal "roommate" situation because we each had our own space, but could still share what we wanted quite easily. One regular occurrence for us was to visit in one of our front rooms while we sorted through our mail. We talked about so many things in those conversations. There was no focal point. Nothing that was off limits. I miss that connecting time. I learned in that space. I shared. I was excited, sad, thrilled and interested. That's what I want for my blog.

In light of that desire. I have a little something I've been a little hesitant to share as it's something almost sacred to me. It's crazy. It's important to me. I can't explain it to my satisfaction. So from my living room:

Next Monday, 01/11/10 at 1:00 p.m. I will be stepping into a River just beyond the ice pack for a few seconds. My plan is to go in and come right back out. (After all as has been pointed out to me by quite a few people the only reason that part of the river isn't frozen is that it's moving)

I need to say thank you to my dear husband who is not thrilled, but is very supportive. Thank you my dearest.

In addition, someone has agreed to donate some money to NARSAD in memory of my little brother, Tyler. This organization "supports research into the prevention and treatment of mental illness". If you are interested in joining me and/or donating, please do so.

Thanks and thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

PS Yes, my Mom inspired me. She usually does.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

One of the people I look up to the most in my life is my Mom. On New Year's Day this year she participated in the Polar Bear Dip at a place called Auke Rec. She had some friends agree to make donations to the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation if she followed through.

She did.
It was cold enough for my brother to put on hat.
That's cold!
Don't be fooled by the moving water--it's the ocean and my Dad told me it was 21 degrees
The fresh water was frozen solid.
She's an amazing woman

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!