Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Quick Without Thinking...

...Seven things for which I am grateful today...

For blue skies this morning that are clear of the hazy, gray smoke from the forest fires burning for weeks in various parts of Western Canada. The air is sweet today.

For the good rain that has watered thirsty, thirsty ground and helped with those forest fires. Not to mention, my own little patch of earth where my flowers and trees are most grateful.

For the cooler temperatures this week as anything over +31C feels too warm for this chickee. Today I feel more energetic and less sloth-like.

For misty goblets of homemade iced lemonade with a dash of anise oil to sip on a hot day. 

For the ability to enjoy the summer as it unfolds moment by moment, knowing that there is no having to get up before dawn to go to work, and there's no need to head off to bed long before the sun gives its amazing twilight summer show in the late evenings.

For spontaneity and the freedom to invite someone spur of the moment for chicken salad on croissants served with iced tea and lemon.

For the gift of this blog and my beautiful blogging friends who still come to visit. Honestly, I didn't mean to be away for so long between posts. (We were on a couple of mini-holidays. And, then I've been working feverishly away on a delightful project these last couple of weeks. Something I cannot reveal just yet, as it's meant as a surprise for someone who reads this blog.)

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ~ John Lubbock, The Use of Life 

Now, whether you're sitting in the shade of a tree listening to the leaves rustle, or you're off tackling some neglected project with gusto, or you're sitting with friends on a cafe patio, I'm wishing you a happy day and a joy-filled week ahead.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Rice Days of Summer

We're meeting friends for a picnic later this warm summer afternoon so it's a perfect day to make a light, but satisfying rice salad. The recipe I made includes chopped vegetables, minced herbs, and diced mango. The dressing is a lemon garlic vinaigrette.

The beauty of this salad is that you can substitute the vegetables to suit your own taste or based on what you find in your garden or refrigerator. And when you're trying to stay cool on a hot day, there is something quite refreshing about dicing up garden vegetables and herbs. I love the smell.

Once everything was diced and mixed together, we had to sample. A generous spoonful  or two. You want to make sure it's suitable for company, right? Oh y-e-e-e-e-s, this salad bursts with flavour and texture and is SO satisfying to the tastebuds. I might have to stay home because I think I could eat the whole bowl myself, it's so delicious.

I like rice.
Rice is great if you're hungry and
want 2000 of something.
~ Mitch Hedberg

Below I've included the recipe -- you're welcome to 'copy and save as' on your computer. Hopefully it prints out fine for you. Now, dear blogging friends, I'm off to eat rice in the company of some fine people!

Wishing you a lovely day,

Correction to recipe:  I forgot to include the amount of rice -- 2 cups. I've also added the amount in the recipe below. Remember, you can double-click on the recipe (as with any photo) to see a larger version.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

It's All A-Dangle

Sometimes a funny streak hits me where I just feel like being a little silly. Today is such a day. Not so long ago, I read an article where the author started explaining that big grammar no-no of dangling participles and modifiers.

Don't ask me why, but that started a daydream about other dangling objects. Here are a few things that came to mind:

1. Earrings
2. Catkins in the springtime
3. Projects that didn't get done

4. Unfinished sentences
5. Wilted celery sticks
6. Bird feeders hung from tree branches

7. The brass chain pull on a table lamp
8. Kitty's tail over the side of the couch
9. Legs dangling from the pier at the lake

10. Outstanding promises
11. Toilet paper caught on the bottom of a shoe
12. Carrots on sticks

13. Cuckoo clock weights on chains
14. Charms on bracelets
15. Spiders spinning webs

 16. While you're waiting for an unforthcoming answer
17. Grapes from a vine
 18. Keys on a hook
19. Kisses that miss cheeks

So, what dangling things come to your mind?

Sending hugs,

PS.  Click here to find out the story
of that mismatched pair of earrings in the photo above.

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Fine Morning's This And That

"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself." ~ William Blake, 1799, The Letters

Outside my window: Spring morning with blue skies and sunshine, with barely a breeze to flutter newly unfurled leaves. The air is fragrant this week with the flowers of May Day trees. I love when you catch the fragrance on the breeze -- it's like a spritz of paradise. Mix that with the happy whistles and chatters of the birds, and you'll understand one reason why I feel so full of wonder this morning.

"He that planteth a tree is a servant of God,
he provideth a kindness for many generations,
and faces that he hath not seen shall bless him." ~ Henry Van Dyke

My happy thought: If you've been visiting my blog for a while, you no doubt recall posts where I shared about working a part-time job with my hubby these past four years cleaning at our local performing arts centre. Every morning, five mornings a week we got up at three in the morning (even earlier sometimes) to wax and clean and polish. It has never been easy to crawl from a cozy bed to get going that early.

But we had a goal. And our goal was met a couple of months ago and today I'm c-e-l-e-b-r-a-t-i-n-g that we just finished our very LAST shift. We're hanging up the brooms, dust mops and vacuum hoses. This morning, we wiped lipstick and fingerprints off walls, gave mirrors a brisk polish, tackled overflowing garbage bins, vacuumed carpets, swished toilets, and straightened dressing rooms for the very last time.  It feels good. It feels wonderful. Mmm... I wonder what it will feel like to sleep in till five or six or seven in the morning.

With this new shift, we're taking some holiday time in the mountains.  And I look forward to enjoying the long summer evenings, and to focusing on my writing, especially here on my blog. I'm also looking forward to spending more time with my loved ones, not to mention catching up on much neglected home tasks and getting the corners of my home back in order. Woo-hoo!

I'm also giddy with excitement about: Susan Branch has been writing a new book -- a sorta novel/semi-autobiography/fairy tale. It's called The Fairy Tale Girl and it's going to the printers in a couple of weeks. If you pre-order on her website, those will be out end of August. Otherwise you have to wait until October when they are available in the bookstores.

Which means you don't want to miss this opportunity! Susan is hosting a draw and giving away the first ten books as they arrive from the printers. Hop over there... read her latest post, leave a comment to enter her draw, pre-order if you want a copy, and start getting excited about her newest gift to the world. I can hardly wait!

Sending out a gently used post: I often check my blog's stats to see which posts are being clicked on and to see who is visiting from where in the world. Usually, when someone visits a post from my old archives, I will check it to ensure that it's still a post worth reading.

This morning, someone visited a post I wrote in 2009 -- on the topic of finding comfort in Nature. I was happy to see it again after all this time. It's a little like meeting up with an old friend, my younger self and my present self connecting in this small way. It was interesting to re-read what was meaningful to her in another time and season. And encouraging too, as it spoke to me all over again. Undoubtedly you find that yourself, do you, when you look at some of your older posts?

As my little gift this morning I'm offering you Nature's Comfort... and hope you won't mind reading it again if you've seen it before.

On that note, I'm cheerfully wishing you a beautiful day!
Lots of hugs and good thoughts being sent your way,

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mom's Day

One weekend in August last summer my mother came for a visit. We'd planned for her to come and stay a few days different times over the summer, but it never worked out. It was as if Someone knew there was a better timing just around the corner. And there was!  The weekend was perfect in every way. The weather cooperated splendidly -- it was not too hot, not too cold, but just right -- for sitting in our garden for hours on end, for watching the birds to-ing and fro-ing, for reading, even for posing in patches of giant sunflowers.....

We went out for lunch and sat on shady patios eating amazing pizza (check out post here). We took in our library's annual book sale where Mom and I enjoyed a delightful time browsing tables laden with reading possibilities. And, when we arrived home, there was that sheer joy of opening our bags and thumbing through the piles as we decided which book to start with first.

As you can see, I come by my love of books and reading naturally!

All too soon, it was time to pack up the car with mom's suitcase and bag of books, and take her home. When I went back into her bedroom later that afternoon, I experienced a sudden wave of homesickness. I keenly felt the empty space in our house where just hours before Mom had been sitting and laughing and joshing us, especially with Rick -- they both give as good as they take.

I was homesick for her and I wanted to turn the car around and bring her back. For, I'd caught a glimpse of what life would feel like without her presence in our lives. It was just a split second, but I felt it like a sharp knife. The moment passed and life went back to 'normal', but I've never forgotten that moment -- and today I'm reminded again not to take for granted that there's all the time in the world for sharing and loving and memory-making with my own dear mom.

I'm so grateful for my mom. I'm grateful for her love over my lifetime. She's been a rock and faithful to her call as a mom -- she's shown her kids how to be faithful, loyal and compassionate to others. Today I'm ever so grateful that I have this precious opportunity to celebrate another Mother's Day with her.

To all my beautiful friends, may you enjoy your mom today. Whether in person, by phone or by Skype. Or, for those of you whose Mommas are no longer with you, may there be memories that come to bring joy and comfort on this 2015 edition of Mother's Day.

Sending you hugs and a gentle kiss atop thy head,