Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Simple Woman's Daybook: November Edition

imagine by congerdesign from pixabay

"The smell of that buttered toast simply spoke to Toad,
and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts
on bright frosty mornings, of cozy parlour firesides on winter evenings,
when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the
fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries."
KENNETH GRAHAME


November arrived with nary a bump -- it was calm and warmish these past few days. Suddenly I knew the post I'd been working on wasn't gonna cut it this week, so here I am musing my way through the prompts for November's edition of the Simple Woman's Daybook. Although I'm ever in awe of how quickly the days and months slip by, I'm not gonna mention it today (wink).

Without further ado...  


FOR TODAY

Outside my window... grey and overcast. Flowers are done, trees are barren, and the only real colour left in the garden are the bunches of red berries on the Mountain Ash and the deep carpet of orange-bronze leaves beneath it. Blue jays are busy burying peanuts under those leaves.

"November comes and November goes,
with the last red berries and the first white snows..."
ELIZABETH COATSWORTH

(Insert) I wrote the above yesterday ... this morning as I sit down to finish this post, the vista has changed -- the leaf carpet is under a layer of snow and the red berry clusters are sporting snowy white toques. With a smudge of pale blue sky beneath billowy grey-white clouds, in this moment it's postcard-perfect. Alas, my iPhone camera did not capture its perfection, but here's a go:




I am thinking... of a Twitter friend's post from the other day. Carrie and her husband Stuart were our hosts when Rick and I visited Oxford a couple of years ago. No longer BnB proprietors, they and their two beautiful dogs (Jack and Tex) now make their home in the lovely Cotswolds. Carrie posted a video of their daily routine of driving Stuart to the train station. The video shows a gorgeous vista as they drive through English countryside on narrow, winding roads, hugging hedgerows on the left side of the road. I made the comment that she's truly living the dream -- you could see how beautiful it all was. She said it feels amazing to be living the life she knows she was meant to live -- better than she even dreamt. If you are on Twitter, her handle is @CarrieHerself.

That makes me happy. To know there are folks like Carrie who are truly living out their heart's dreams. So I think to myself, if life were different, would I actually pick up sticks and move to England, for my soul doth long to do so. Ah, but there are so many factors to consider, some which definitely include family -- would I really want to live that far away from my dear ones? No, not really, not right now. Besides, I do have a very good life here in Canada. Still, I let myself dream about the possibility to live there, even for a while some day. Because we all know what Carl Sandburg once said, "Nothing happens unless first a dream."

I am thankful... for another quote, this particular one is from Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance book. I  was reminded of it when I saw it on a friend's Facebook page: "You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you."

That line I put in italics really jumped at me ... to become so aware of the abundance that exists in my life. Oh my, there are so many 'abundances' of all sorts filling and overflowing my life: I'm thankful that I am loved abundantly, that I've got access to an abundance of clean drinking water and fresh provender, fresh posies of flowers, and good coffee beans. That I have the freedoms granted to me as a Canadian citizen, to come and go as I please... really, the list is endless. So, I'm going to focus a while on the idea of all I enjoy in abundance, and give thanks.

One of my favourite things today... is that there is nothing pressing on my schedule, and so I am at ease knowing I don't need to be somewhere else, doing something else. What a treat not to feel that over-the-shoulder presence of Should. I can truly relax into writing this post and think about you and look for things that I hope will make you glad you stopped by.

I am wearing... black slippers, black leggings, teal coloured t-shirt (which I'm happy to report is getting awfully loose on me, and that nasty muffin top/spare tire around the middle is paring down). The scale gives me good reports too. All by doing tiny gradual changes in my lifestyle, one being choosing to eat less carbs and sugar.  I didn't cut out, but I gradually cut down. As the weeks go by, I feel able to let go of other things I know aren't good for me. A much better way for me. I've learned over the years that trying to make big changes do not work for me. I need to come at it gradually and as easily as possible so as to make the journey enjoyable, and sustainable. It's about being kind to oneself. 

I am creating... lists in my head for cleaning and preparing for when it's time to full out decorate for the holiday season. I've got twinkle lights out and as the days unfold, there will be more on display. And no, I am not in a hurry to start Christmas. I'm quite content in this between time of November's grey dullness. 

I am watching... the sky these days. Around these parts, the brilliant colours of early autumn are over and now the world is cocooned in shades of grey, including the skies on many days. Have you ever noticed just how many shades of grey there are? Cool greys, warm greys, blue greys, cadet greys, dove grey, slate grey, green-grey, metal-grey, heather-grey, charcoal-grey, steel-grey ... could there actually be 50 shades of grey? 

Just finished... reading the last chapter of an old favourite: Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery. It's been years since I read it, so I'd forgotten how delightful and entertaining it is. I used to love pulling it out at this time of year because it's autumn: Anne is writing her first letter to Gilbert one dusky September evening in her new home at Windy Poplar on Spook's Lane. You just know there are going to be those cozy, shadowy descriptions of her life in Summerside, PEI.

Looking forward to tomorrow... That's how Anne lived her life in the book. She was always looking with anticipation of what little adventures and things of interest might come her way each new day. The people around her loved her spark of life and often took their own comfort and joy in her presence. Like Davy when Anne came home to Green Gables for Christmas: "When you come home, Anne, everything seems to come alive."

That's what I have aimed for in my own life -- both Anne and her creator were always such an inspiration to me from way back. So it was lovely to feel that lively energy surging as I immersed myself in this old novel once again.

Image by annca from Pixabay

I am listening to... classical music on CBC Radio 2 FM, the good old-fashioned radio with buttons to tune into the radio stations. One day we'll come into the 21st century and live stream. 

I am hoping... can't say I have anything I'm particularly hoping for today. Except, yes, I do hope your day is unfolding pleasantly. And if not, that you have the grace and ability to carry on till it gets better.

I am learning... French on Duolingo.com. These lessons are short and snappy. Fun. And there is no fear of getting it wrong, for they set you up to work on it until you get it all right. Win/win. There are spots for listening to the pronunciations, places where you pick up the grammar and spelling. I took French one semester in Junior High, but I never did anything more with it. It's one of my wishes to learn the language well enough to one day visit Quebec and Paris. If French isn't your cup of tea, they offer all sorts of other languages: Spanish, German, Portuguese, Norwegian, to name a few.     

In the kitchen... about to enjoy a warm slice of Cobb's apricot fruit loaf with a cup of freshly brewed Lavender Earl Grey tea.

Around the house... Laundry done. Fresh linens on the bed. Typing away on a blog post. Friends shortly arriving for tea and a visit.

A moment from my day... the weather has changed again. As I finish up this post, the skies are cloudless in that wispy pale blue, the sun shines through the tree tops over snow-laden rooftops, and the temperature is frosty at -11C. There is a decided nip in the air, so dress warm if you're going out.

* * *
I believe in kindness
Also in mischief
Also in singing.
Especially when singing is not
necessarily prescribed.
MARY OLIVER

* * *

On that note, I'm wishing you a beautiful day.
I hope your November will be filled with an abundance
of heavenly glimpses in unexpected places.

Hugs,
Brenda
xox


Linking with The Simple Woman's Daybook



34 comments:

  1. Lovely post, Brenda. I always enjoy these posts. Wishing you a lovely month of November and I wishing you your England dreams.

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  2. I would love up and move to Ireland or Scotland to the land of my ancestors but I just am not brave enough to do more than to think on it, read about it and plan it in my mind. I loved my visit to your blog, like visiting and sharing a cup of tea with a friend.

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by, Pat. Thank you for your lovely comments. Even dreaming about it and planning adds a certain pleasure, don't you find?

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  3. Maybe a 'holiday' house for a couple of months in England? That would give you time to explore, but not enough time to miss home too much! You can imagine I have an ulterior motive in my suggestion, as I would hope we might meet up again!

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    1. I'm all for that little idea, Barbara! I certainly hope our paths cross again and that we'll have a proper time of visiting and sharing. xox

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  4. Well then, I am glad that the former post didn't work out for today. You have inspired me to go looking in my library for Anne of Windy Poplars...sounds as if it would be wonderful to read again. I am glad that you are putting your dreams on hold for now. Not that England is any further away than you are now for your readers, but certainly it is for your family. I have been taking German lessons for years now with Duolingo. It feels as if I am going in ever widening circles. Perhaps one day I will arrive.

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    1. So you're taking German. What fun! That is also on my learning list, German and Spanish. German because of my family roots (I do know ein bisschen deutsche, also un puqito (a little) Spanish because I lived in Venezuela for several months many years ago. I loved it there.)

      I hope you enjoy Anne's adventures at Windy Poplars.




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  5. Thank you for stopping by my Daybook, Brenda. I have throughly enjoyed reading yours. What lovely quotes you have added to this post. I recently re-read the Anne series. It has been a favorite for so many years. As I get older I enjoy the later books more and more. :)

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    1. Yes, I agree, I'm really enjoying her later books at this stage. I might even resort to reading Rilla of Ingleside, I found it too poignant when I was a young thing. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  6. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your lovely musings.

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  7. What a lovely visit today. I'm so glad I stopped by, and yes, you have inspired me to pull out my Anne of Windy Poplars too. And I also believe in singing, especially when it's not necessarily prescribed.

    Joy

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Joy! Thanks so much for coming to visit. I love it when you do.

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  8. Lovely writing and thoughts. I couldn't help but think where, if anywhere else I would like to live, when you mentioned wanting to live in England. I honestly can't think of any place I would rather call home, than right where I am.

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    1. Thanks, Ruth, for your kind comments. It's good to know that you see yourself 'home' right where you are.

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  9. This is the second post related to gratitude that I've read today. I think that's a sign I need to resume my gratitude journal.

    Last week, my co-workers and I were discussing how gray is the new trendy neutral colour for the house.

    I stopped taking French class after grade 10. I can still remember odd words here and there. But maybe I should try Duolingo to improve my sad French skills.

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    1. I have kept gratitude journals at different times in my life. I always found them to be such a rewarding experience. I hope you fill your latest with lots of all that's beautiful in your life. Especially all those tea cups (wink).

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  10. One of the things that I admire about you, Brenda, is that you are always dreaming, learning, reading, reaching. You are a lifelong learner I believe!

    I also admire your writing that draws me in and gives me new ideas and things to ponder. Nice to visit with you here tonight!

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    1. Aw, thank you Cheryl. I love that picture of me that you see ... dreaming, learning, reading, reaching. Yes, I guess I am a lifelong learner.

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  11. Thank you for sharing the site for learning French. I took a few years of this in school, but want to learn more. We have French radio stations in our area and many French speaking visitors throughout our region. It is a charming and lovely language.

    The photograph of the roses on the sheets of music speaks volumes of beauty, peacefulness, and happy moments.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. White! I hope you enjoy the duolingo site. I'm having so much fun with it. They make learning fun. And of course, if a person wanted to be more 'serious' then one could always take a more in-depth course.

      Yes, that is such a pretty photo of the roses and sheet music. Found it on pixabay.

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  12. Your blog is as beautiful as I remember it! Have been on a long blog break, but am getting back to blog land. I long ago deleted my blogs Joy in the Middle and Fill My Cup with Beauty, but I have resurrected my "family" blog, a formerly private blog, which I've been writing on since 2006. Interestingly, we have a similar name...mine is This Beautiful Life. I would love to have you pop by if you have a minute.

    I have never read Anne of Windy Poplars, but I have set a reading goal for next year to read all the "Anne" books, some of them for the umpteenth time.

    What an awesome quote by Sarah Ban Breatnach. We ARE so abundantly blessed. We just have to open our eyes and look around.

    You must be dieting. I am too! Started Weight Watchers in September and am down 17 pounds. Only 18 more to go to reach my goal!

    Blessings,
    Patti

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    1. Patti, Thanks so much for stopping by. I started blogging in 2008 and the journey has taken me over hill and dale (as it were), like so many of us. Even though it changed so much since the beginning, blogging is truly my heart home for writing. (It looks like it might be yours as well.) I don't write as often as I once did, but I cannot not write here even if it is less often. And, who knows, that might change down the road, depending on how seasons and life events unfold. I'm working on some off-line writing projects (memoir) so I divide my time that way. I hope you will enjoy picking up your own blogging journey again. Our blog names really are similar, we must have have some kindred spiritedness going on. :)

      If you're an Anne fan, then you will surely enjoy Windy Poplars. Someone recently mentioned that she finds reading the Anne books later in life a much different experience than when she was young. I find that too. I don't 'need' to hurry to find out what happens next, but I go a lot slower to take pleasure in reading the delightful descriptions: Anne watching the moon rise and tromping with snowshoes with Katherine Brook through quiet woodsy areas as well as vignettes of her cozy bedroom with its little fire and lamplight casting shadows and a dear kitty purring on her bed. I delight in those word paintings from LMM's deft hand.

      Congrats on your own weight loss achievement. Wish you all the best in reaching your ultimate goal.

      Brenda xox

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  13. I started using Duolingo in order to learn Spanish, and I've been at it for over a year now. One day I was a little tired of Spanish after doing ten or more lessons, and I thought, "Why not review the French you studied so long ago?" So now I've been doing French at the same time. French feels so "easy," having been the foreign language that I studied first and longest, so I do those lessons when my brain is tired. ;-) My account is GretchenJoanna on Duolingo if you want to be friends there!

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    1. Gretchen, I'm really enjoying my French lessons. I'm also interested to do some Spanish and German lessons. It's nice that you can switch from one language to the other to give your mind a break when it needs it.

      Hasta luego!

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  14. Visiting from the Daybook link up. Would love a slice of that loaf sounds delicious. Love the way you write, so thoughtful. We in England would happily welcome you shoukd you up sticks one day, especially with sweet loafs and tea!!

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  15. Thank you so much for dropping in. We visited England and Scotland in 2016, and then we came back to visit Oxford a year later. We just love it there. And we had such a good time. I'll be sure to have sweet loaf and tea with you when we next visit (wink).

    Happy day to you...
    Brenda

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  16. That coffee and bread looks good.

    It's been a while since I've stopped by here. This was a warm, comfy visit.

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  17. My November dear Brenda is already more lovely since I read your delightful post. Thank you for warming my heart...now if you could do that with the weather - life would be perfect. :)! Hugs

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  18. Your post is delightful, Brenda! I too have always enjoyed inspiration from Anne and her creator. I read the Anne series about every two or three years. The books are great company. I love the photo of the roses on the sheet music! Music and books kept me sane when I was growing up. :-) Congratulations on your weight loss! I agree it's better to go at it gradually by changing our habits. But a little treat now and then doesn't hurt us. Our leaves are covered by snow as well. 'Tis that time of year. Me thinks that Winter is going to set in early again this year. Thank you for your visit and enjoy the rest of your week. Hugs...Sandi

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  19. Well, your post has been sitting in my mailbox for much too long. It seems I am having a bit of trouble keeping up with my blog reading (and posting as well) since I have joined the ranks of the retired folks! Your posts are always a blessing to read as I place myself at your window as you describe the sky and tones of the day and especially that I can almost taste the yummy things you are eating and drinking! I love November and all of those gray days that it seems to bring....but I have to admit I was not quite prepared for ours to be so cold!! Thank you for sharing your daybook with us!

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  20. I read my first Anne book when I was twelve and I've loved her since then. I think she was one of my earliest inspirations for finding delight in the moment, in the 'little' things that money doesn't buy. I've recently discovered a new (to me) Anne TV series - Anne with an E. I've watched a few episodes from the third season and Matthew isn't dead. What a treat!
    Amalia
    xo

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....