Sunday, September 17, 2023

Embrace Something New

"Autumn shows us how
beautiful it is to let things go."

I love this time of year—it makes me feel spirited and creative and alive. There really is something in September's atmosphere. Along with the deep blue skies, warm but not croaking hot days, the smell of harvest in the air, long shadows, and leaves dancing on the crisp breezes, something about it all makes me feel hopeful about life. And it comes with a readiness to begin again, which perhaps stems from childhood school days when a new school year created that frisson of new beginnings. New pencils, new notebooks, and days still new with no mistakes in them.

So... let's fling off the remains of the old season. Believe something good is about to happen. Something that will jostle and startle our wonderment at being alive. And give our minds new patterns to play with and get us out of the rut.

Today I'm inviting us—you and me—to engage in the simple pleasure of embracing something new. Putting aside some of the usual routines and choices, and without thinking about it too much, doing something a little different, even if it's just for the day.

Don't study the menu when you go out for lunch. Close your eyes and point to a spot on the page. Order it, even if you've never tried it before. And if it isn't quite to your taste, well, that's okay, isn't it? You've pushed the boundary, explored a little, maybe even created the start of a new blog post.

This morning choose something other than your favourite mug, blouse, or pair of earrings. Select something you haven't used or tried for a while. See with fresh eyes. Do you still like it? Has your soul outgrown it?

Don't take the same route on your walk or trip to the grocery store. Take some other leafy street and crunch through a pile of dried leaves.

Don't listen to the usual radio or streaming service. Choose a listening style not your usual taste. Appreciate it, even if it's for just a few minutes.

Don't call your mom, sister, best friend to chat about the same old things. Introduce something new to chat about. Ask what she's reading, what she remembers about autumn days in her girlhood, what made her feel happy today.

Don't sit in your favorite chair when reading or watching television. Pick a spot elsewhere in the room. Look around from that vantage point. Maybe you'll see something that should be fixed, rearranged, or tossed. Or you'll see something lovely you've not noticed before. A couple of quarters, perhaps?

With it being just days before Autumn's Equinox, will you embrace something new to celebrate the new season? Will you share something with us?

"I can be a light in darkness;
I can be a patch of blue sky;
I can be the pink hydrangea
alive on a cool September day."

Wishing you a beautiful week ahead.

Photo credit:
Top Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Saturday, September 02, 2023

Friday Five on Saturday: Little Joys

"September is dressing herself in showy dahlias
and splendid marigolds and starry zinnias."

It's the little things giving me joy this week. These heady dahlias were photographed last autumn at the St Albert Botanic Park. Their late summer display still makes my heart go zing.

How can it be September already? I love this gorgeous month of the year so I'm not sorry it's arrived. As I begin to put away the summer things, I want to browse my shelves for books that suit the season and start shifting our meals of summer fare to more hearty and warm dishes. Some folks 'sniff' at all the pumpkin spice items available this time of year. Me, I'm eager for that first autumn latte. Which could even be this afternoon. I have always loved the pumpkin spice of pies, so why not add it to muffins, waffles, and beverages.

I started this post on Friday so please consider it a Friday Five on Saturday. Happy Weekend!

One - Sunsets and long shadows 

September's sunsets and long shadows are usually a favourite delight at this time of year. But some days the sun is hidden in smoky skies—some days there are no shadows. And when the sun shines, it's amber orange. Still, trees are turning, and tiny piles of leaves gather along street curbs, enough to scrape one's toes into and hear a crunch. I've haunted the shops looking at new notebooks and pencils; let me just say I had great restraint from buying more, remembering a small pile of notebooks I bought last autumn still waiting to be pressed into service.

Two - Gently used book finds

Had the urge to pop into the thrift store for a quick look around the book section. In about five minutes, maybe ten, I had five books in hand—buy four and get the fifth free. Then I had a book to drop off at the library, and after a fast glance at their sale rack, the two Dorothy Gilman Mrs. Pollifax mysteries were added to the pile.

Driving home with my treasures, I giggled to myself, thinking I'm like a squirrel, stashing provender for winter. Food for the mind is as necessary as food for the stomach. There's a gleefulness to seeing my shelves bulge with new reading possibilities. I don't think of myself as a book hoarder, though someone else around here might think they should take my temperature. Ha!

Three - Bees in the Joe Pye Weed

The other morning I was standing by this 10-foot king of a plant called a weed—it's a gorgeous weed— watching the bees in the blossoms. I don't hear their hum as well as I used to, but the sight of them continues to give me a thrill. Alas, when I went to take photos this morning, every last hummer had gone elsewhere. So we're imagining their presence today.

Four - A stubby 8B pencil and a greeting card box

Why does this 8B sketching pencil give me joy? I don't know exactly, except I love holding it in my hand when I'm reading. In case I need to gently underline or mark a passage. It needs to be short and stubby, well-used. I've laid the pencil on an old greeting card box, which gives you an idea of its cute short stubbiness. That box once housed a lovely set of greeting cards I ordered years ago from Victoria magazine. They were paired with translucent creamy velum envelopes. I never quite got over how exquisite they were - a real joy to write in and send out.

Five - Repurposing a scented soap box 

I found a beautiful box of scented soap which smells like 'the scent of a garden in bloom'. When I set the bar out in our bathroom, I could smell it on the air for days. I was loathe to discard the box; not only was it pretty, it smelled good even empty. So, I cut it up into tiny bookmarks. They are now tucked inside books I'm reading, and when I open the pages I still get that tiny whiff.

"But the days grow short when
you reach September."

Before I sign off, I wanted to mention that I won't be around for the next week or two. We're doing some home reno projects which means our house will be a little upside down. I probably won't get to a blog post. So I'll take this time to wish you a beautiful month ahead. I hope it's filled with tiny pleasures and a few big ones too. Stay safe, be well.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Photo credits:
All photos are mine, except the
Trees at Sunset by Mabel Amber from Pixabay

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Five on Friday: Flowers, Books, and Fun Stuff

"There are few pleasures like really
burrowing one's nose into sweet peas.
ANGELA THIRKELL, quote found on A-Z

I have to agree, burrowing my nose in a fistful of sweet peas is one of life's best pleasures. I still recall one memory, from a handful of early childhood remembrances, of the time I went with my mom to visit our neighbour on the next farm. The woman had masses of sweet peas growing on the side of her garage; we didn't have sweet peas at our house. I was invited to smell them. Oh, the sweet fragrance. I have but to catch the scent on the breeze, and I'm right back in that lovely moment. Sweet peas carry on the tradition, and today they climb my garage wall and fill my vases with sweet memories.

It's been mostly cool and rainy this week - with a decided nip in the air that makes one nearly forget it's still summer. There's still so much to take pleasure in. Despite the lateness of the season, the sweet peas are going strong, and now the late blooming Rudbeckia is coming into its own. This perennial beauty inspires me for I consider myself a late bloomer - I wrote about it HERE.

Beautiful friends, I hope you enjoy today's edition of Five on Friday!

One - Outside my window

We moved the tall Rudbeckia two summers ago from the front garden to the back yard. This season it has once again reached its stunning height of nine or ten feet. My heart takes sheer pleasure in catching sight of these yellow petalled beauties with their cute 'hats' in the centre.

Two - An old car and a faded old memory

Here I am standing in front of this vintage car, a 1956-57 Ford Meteor (or so I'm told). This past weekend we had a family reunion on the homestead farm where my mom grew up. My cousin said the car had been my granddad's. Oh my! I popped straight into an old memory—I'm about four or five years old, my grandparents are in the front seat of their car, I'm standing in the back (no seatbelts in those days); I think we're going into town. As we sorted out the approximate year of the car and how old I probably was at the time, I do believe this is the very car of that old memory. I joke with my cousins that maybe there's some of my DNA remaining on that backseat. Haha. I'm tickled to have matched up the car with that flash memory.

Three - My book pile this week

In my new reading pile this week, there are a couple of books from the library and three I purchased. I've browsed but haven't yet delved into any of them. Guess what I'm doing this weekend!

A Cotswold Ordeal by Rebecca Tope. A new-to-me British crime novelist. This book is the second in the series, as I couldn't find the first at the library. From my quick scan, the author has a couple of bestselling series: one set in Cotswold, one in the Lake District. She is also the ghost writer of the novels based on the television series Rosemary and Thyme, a series I liked very much. Do you remember it?

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Everyone surely knows this classic brooding novel set in Cornwall. I read it as a teen and have never forgotten the opening line: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." I'd given away my copy some years ago, thinking I wouldn't revisit the story. But I thought of that opening line, and it made me want to read it all over again. I now have a copy back on my shelf.

Write It All Down, How to put your life on the page by Cathy Rentzenbrink. This book came out a couple of years ago, and I always wanted a copy for myself. When I learnt that it took Cathy twenty years to wrestle her own life story onto the page, I knew I had to read the book. She reminds me of myself about the wrestling. In it, she shares what she's learnt about "writing the self in the service of others, no matter their experience, education, background or story."   

Forgiven, A Gift from my Grandparents by Mark Sakamoto. The 2018 Winner of CBC Canada Reads. I was drawn to both the title and cover with its black spine and fiery burnt orange Oriental-like painting overlaid with Japanese characters. This historical biography tells the story of the author's family's story, 'set against one of the darkest periods in Canada's history' during World War II.

Matrix by Lauren Groff is a novel set in 1158 AD. The opening lines set me up: "She rides out of the forest alone. Seventeen years old, in the cold March drizzle, Marie who comes from France." What is this young woman doing alone in the middle of a forest? Where is she? Why has she come from France? 

Four - Funny things happen

Yes, it's true. I went out in public like that! Which reminds me of something that happened 30 years or so ago. My housemate and I were off to the landfill site to discard a worn out mattress. Till we wrangled that thing into our hatchback, I completely forgot to change my shoes. The site when we got there was grubby and muddy, and that's when I realized my feet were still shod in my bedroom slippers! Eww... thankfully the young man working that day offered to retrieve the mattress and take it away. I didn't have to get out, or the slippers would have been tossed right alongside it.

Back to the first story, a couple of days ago, we headed out to meet friends for coffee. I had my blue jeans on, so I slipped on my blue flats. Or, so I thought. Grabbing my bag, I hurried out the door. It wasn't until we were nearly home again till I noticed I'd been happily sporting about town in two different shoes. As they were both flat heeled, they felt similar. No one even noticed, or that's what I hoped. 

Five - Something delicious for lunch

The other day I needed something quick and simple for lunch. I made BLTs. Bacon, lettuce, and rather than plain slices of tomato, I used a few roasted tomatoes with olive oil and chopped basil left over from another meal. Whole-wheat sesame buns, mayo on the lettuce/tomato side and sweet chili sauce on the bacon side. Oh my, it was so delicious. The combo of flavours really jazzed it up. In this case, there are no crumbs remaining... and no pictures to show you.

On that note, I'm wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Photo credits:
All pics, except the sandwich graphic, are mine.