Thursday, April 30, 2020

Human Hearts

Ok, maybe not human hearts.  We all know I'm too squeamish for that, but I wanted to differentiate between the hearts I am sharing today and the other accidental, ephemeral and naturally-occurring hearts I have shared here.  

These hearts exist because someone made them exist. They are there on purpose.  They are hand-made.  They are expressions of gratitude.

So much gratitude.  In retrospect, perhaps "Thankful Human Hearts" would have been a more appropriate, and less nauseating, title for this post. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Postcard from the Past

This mysterious postcard was in my mailbox yesterday.  

I don't know anyone who is travelling. Is anyone travelling? And, as the postcard-writer pointed out, Rainbow Falls Provincial Park is closed, as are all provincial parks.  

The postcard was signed, so that mystery was solved, though I still couldn't figure out how this person could be at Rainbow Falls.  We've chatted on the phone recently.  I know in this age of cell phones she could be anywhere in the world, but background noise made it sound like she was here in town.  We commented on being able to hear the same planes overhead the last time we talked.

Yet she claims she isn't here.  And she won't tell me how she accomplished this.  She's having so much fun having the park and its animals to herself that she won't share her secret.  

Except, the postcard provided a clue.

1996.  She's not only traveled in space, she's travelled in time.  That can only mean one thing.  What I thought was a walk-in closet when I toured her new house is actually a TARDIS!  I wonder if she's a Time Lord, or if the TARDIS came with the house?

As soon as this pandemic is over I'm heading to her place. There are a few places in  space/time I'd like to check out.  It's going to be awesome having a friend with a TARDIS, and, in the mean time, it's nice to have something to look forward to!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Special Guests

Here she is, by popular demand, Auntie P's African doll!  

Auntie P was kind enough to share some of the doll's history.
I am the last of 7 children and when I was quite young (I think about grade 5) my 3rd oldest sibling went to Africa for a year with her spouse.  His mother had been working in Africa for years assisting women in that country.  (Amazing woman).  
Of  course when my sister went, it was before the days of internet and we had to wait patiently for "air mail" to come in order to check on her well being.  I don't even think my kids know what air mail is.  Anyway, I remember one air mail package arrived and it had fabric  to make my dad a shirt and also my doll.  I was so excited and proudly took her to school for show and tell.   
This doll was made by the group of women my brother in law's mother was working with.  She was made to show the traditional dress of the women and how they carried their children.  You can see the tiny baby in the picture.   
This doll is really a treasure and I appreciate the chance to share her story.
As Auntie P says, she has several siblings, which means I have lots of aunts, and uncles, and cousins.  Which makes it pretty darned amazing that everyone got gifts when her sister and brother-in-law, my Aunt B and Uncle H, returned from Africa.  I can't imagine what they'd be charged in extra-luggage fees if they attempted that today.

What's even more incredible is how many of these gifts are still around.  Auntie P still has her doll.  My parents still have their wooden hippo and rhino.  I have my rhino wall hanging.  I'm sure there are other gifts from my aunt and uncle's adventure in households throughout the country.  I'm not exaggerating.  There are that many of us.

Though I do wonder what happened to my grandfather's shirt.

Photo courtesy of Dad

Photo courtesy of Dad

Thanks Auntie P for sharing.  It was wonderful to see this doll again.  I'm glad she's around to keep Mrs Beasley company.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Something About Marvin 14

Marvin spotted a bunny in the yard last week.  I was too slow to get a picture of the rabbit, but I was able to get a picture of Marvin's reaction to the rabbit. 

My sister thinks Marvin is saying...
I tink I saw a puddy cat. I did, I did see a puddy wait...I tink I saw a baby bunny! I did, I did see a baby bunny!!! GET OFF MY YARD!!!
I didn't have the heart to tell her that he was likely disappointed that the rabbit was gone.  Marvin was an outdoor cat before he came into our lives.  I imagine that once upon a time he  snacked on  baby bunnies.  I know that he's not opposed to the occasional tin of rabbit pâté.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

All the Weather

Yesterday Hubby and I took a drive up the mountain.  In that 40 minute trip we experienced all the weather. 

We arrived at the top.
This was the view from the driver's window.
Note the clouds and fog.
Also note those ginormous pot holes.
They almost swallowed our small car. 

This was the view from the passenger's window.  Blue skies.  

That blob at the top of the picture is sleety-snow on the windshield.

Clear enough to see all the way to town. 
Even though we didn't get out of the car it was good to get out of the house. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Talking About Writing About Nothing

Yesterday I was struggling with what to write here.  I had lots of ideas, but no words to complement those ideas.  I reached out to my sister to see if she had any suggestions.  

Me:  I need something to write about today. I'm stuck! Ideas?

Sister:  Boredom makes you uncreative.  It makes it hard to write something good every day let alone finding something to write about whether it's good or bad.

Me:  That's what I should write about? Or are you just telling me what my problem is?

Sister:  That's what you should write about. Then take a picture of nothing.

Me:  I think I have a picture of nothing. Let me check. 

Sister:  Looks like nothing. Great job.

Good to know I have the knack for something, or rather, nothing.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Early Morning Coffee

Every morning this week I have been getting up at ridiculous o'clock so that I can participate in Firefly Creative Writing's Morning Coffee Sessions.

Not a Firefly

Yes, I know that Hubby and I are generally up at ridiculous o'clock on weekdays, but he's off this week. I could have slept in.  

I'm glad I didn't. 

During the Coffee Sessions over 100 writers met on Zoom.  Chris, the founder of Firefly and a writing coach, offered us a writing prompt and we all wrote for 20 minutes.  It was as beautiful as the website promised, but I didn't really know why.  My writing felt ponderous and unfocused.  I was using my phone, so I couldn't see the other participants unless I went looking for them.  Most of the time the only faces on my screen were Chris's and my own.  There was no audio other than Chris.  The "all in this together" vibe was there, but on a much smaller scale than if I had been able to easily see the other participants.  So what was the attraction? 

You can stay with the prompt or go on a tangent. You can write about the state of the world or the state of your morning. You can write in any style, any topic, any mood. There is no way to do this wrong. The commitment is simply to sit together and let writing lead the way.
And this...
There won’t be any sharing, though you’re always encouraged to share what you write with a loved-one, or on social media, or however else feels right.
The attraction was the permission. Permission to set that time aside. To write for myself. To be led by the writing. To let it be ponderous and unfocused and messy. To write with no audience in mind.
It was as beautiful as advertised.

I can't wait to do it again next week.

 (**Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Vivid Vintage 80'S

Oh. My. Gawd!  This photo, like, totally reeks of the eighties.  You can practically smell the Rave hairspray and the Ralph Lauren perfume.

Thanks again to Dad for capturing, and sharing,  this rad example of eighties style.  He had a wicked-bodacious model, my sister, to work with.  She shares her, like, totally bitchin' memories in italics below.

I personally don't remember this happening, though I will admit it sounds about right.

Look how good this home perm turned out!  All thanks to time spent as the home gnome!

This is a fabulous showing of 80's bright colors, right down to the matching earrings, as modelled by me, the gorgeous, cute and incredibly helpful youngest daughter. 

"Helpful?" you ask...

Helpful because my sister, who was also dressed up to go out, did the most awful thing to to me.  When we both heard the words, "Hey, come here for a sec!" bellowing from the den, my sister vanished.  She knew our dad had new camera gear and was set up for a round of let's-see-how-this-works. I was not aware of this.  I totally fell for it when she slyly said, "See what he wants real quick. I'm not quite ready teeheehee." and ran out the door. 

This left me to hours of fun-filled posing for pictures when I really wanted to go out with my friends.  I still think I deserve a huge shout-out for being the ever-present model.  We all know how my never-present sister feels about having her picture taken. She's been flipping off photographers for years. Good thing she didn't try that with Dad!

I'll never forget my model days with my dad.  My sister missed out by running away, but who can blame her.  Her hair never looked this good.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Rain Day

I am declaring today a "rain day".  It's like a snow day, but warmer.  As such, I am suspending all activities for the day.  See you tomorrow.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Sky Heart

This heart almost disappeared before I had a chance to take its picture.  It's there.  Can you see it?  The wind has just about carried it away, but I assure you it is there.

See?  A heart.  

Once you start looking you'll see them everywhere.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Something About Marvin 13

I think my sister is getting bored in isolation.  Instead of just choosing the Marvin photos I share here, she has started writing stories about them.  This week, she incorporated all three photos into one story.  

The Cat Was Fat

  "Help! Get me outta here! I'm stuck! I'm stuck!" screamed Marvin.
  "How could you possibly be stuck?" I yelled back.
  "I ate too many treats.  Now I'm stuck!" Marvin cried.
  "What treats? Where did you get treats?" I asked.
  "I found a bag of treats, so I dragged them over here to enjoy in the sun. Now I can't get out!"
  "I have no idea how you 'found" those treats.  They were in the cupboard.  It's your own fault you're stuck.  You can stay there until you are skinny enough to get out."

  "Hellooo! I'm still stuck. Please bring me something. Little treats would be greatly appreciated, as I'm wasting away.  I've almost vanished.  Only my head is left," whined Marvin.
  "You're not fooling anyone. If you'd close your mouth and turn your head you'd be right out of the cat--ladder," I said.

  "I'm so exhausted from fasting. My legs can't hold me up. Can you slide me over a big bowl of cat food and a bag of treats, please? I'm starving," Marvin mewed pathetically.
  "Do you not remember how all this started?" I asked.
  "How what started? Can you bring me some food? I'm starving."

My sister's story pretty much sums up life with Marvin, which is kind of funny considering the two of them have never met.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Mrs. Beasley Lives!

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the Mrs. Beasley doll my aunt once had.  A few days later this arrived in my inbox:

Photo courtesy of Auntie P.


My aunt still has her.  She's missing a few of her accessories, but I think she looks just fine without them.  

I asked my aunt if I could use the photo here, and I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to share about Mrs. B.  Her response made me smile.  

"Well Family Affair was one of my fave shows to watch.  I especially liked Mrs Beasley and the butler Mr French.   (My son's middle name is Sebastian after Sebastian Cabot who played Mr. French). So you can see the obsession was real.  I wished for a Mrs Beasley doll for Christmas and Santa came through.  Oh what a thrill to see her sitting in front of the tree.  Poor Mrs. Beasley though.  She endured dress up, stroller rides, swinging her by her arms for a game of airplane.  Not to mention she went everywhere with me.  My brother used to hide her from me or string her up from the ceiling just to watch me scream...and scream I did.  Not sure why, but I always got in trouble instead of him.  Anyway, she was one toy I was never able to get rid of.   Her and the doll my sister brought me from Africa, sit proudly on a shelf in my home."  

My aunt, my sister and I spent a lot of time together as children.  Mrs. B was always there.  It's great to see her again.  What memories!

Thanks Auntie P!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Walk, Walk, Walk, Walk

It's hard to believe that I have been home from work for a month.  Work life feels like ages ago and not that long ago at the same time.  Apparently the rules of time do not apply to the new normal.

I've been going for lots of walks, sometimes by myself, sometimes with Hubby and sometimes, remotely, with friends. (We walk in our socially-distant neighbourhoods and chat on our phones.)

Yesterday was a spectacular day.  I went for four walks.  Great weather, great view, great company.  Perfect.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Family Vacation

The full photo, as supplied by Dad

Here's another photo provided by Dad.  This one is from a 1968 family vacation when we travelled to Ottawa via Algonquin Park.  That's Mom, holding my sister, and me, looking less than enthused.

My sister and I had the same response on first seeing this photo.  Mom looks so young!  And happy! And cool!  Look at those Wayfarers casually clasped in her free hand.  And that gamin-chic oversized cardigan.  Though, since Mom is about 4'11" (and 3/4, if you ask her), she finds lots of clothing to be oversized.

Next, my sister commented on her own cuteness. Then she ridiculed my hair.  I'm actually surprised it took her that long to make fun of my hair. Though personally I thought my hair was kind of sweet.  I did wonder what was up with my jacket though.  

The same photo cropped so you can see the details. Like those Wayfarers. 
Though my sister looks like an adorable, if stunned, cherub, she was the force behind the most-told story of this trip.  She "pitched a fit" (her words) in a restaurant while we were having breakfast.  Mom took her and her "loud-ass mouth" (again her words) outside. Dad stayed with me so I could finish eating.  We were well on our way home before anyone realized Mom had left her purse in the restaurant.  Fortunately, the restaurant was kind enough to mail the purse back to my Mom.  Lucky for my parents. Could you imagine having to extend a several-hundred kilometer road-trip when travelling with kids like us? 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Teddy Chicken

Last week a friend emailed to tell me about another window-decorating movement.  In addition to hearts, local educators are asking people to put teddy bears in their windows so children can go bear hunting.  They hope to encourage children and their families to get up, get out and get moving.

I think this is a lovely idea, though I won't be participating.  Our home has been bear-free for years.  I'd have to make a bear if I wanted to play along, and that's not happening.  The mask project was enough.

I suggested that I could raid my lingerie drawer for a teddy of the lacy variety, but my friend felt that subjecting tender, young minds to my tattered, old underpinnings would be akin to child abuse.  I probably should have made clear that I wasn't planning on hanging out in the window wearing the teddy.

Perhaps teddy-chicken would be a reasonable substitute.  In his disrobed state he is, in fact, a little bare.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Masked Maker

As far as I can tell, we are not yet required to wear a mask when out in public here in BC.  "Yet" being the key word.  Last week I thought we should be prepared for that to change, so I decided to make masks for Hubby and I.  We both scoured the interwebs for masks we could make with items we have in the house.  It wasn't easy, as most required some sort of elastic*.

As you can see in the photo above, I do tie my hair back, but I use hair elastics designed for fine hair.  They are tiny.  They certainly wouldn't fit behind my ear.  

A dig through my sewing stash unearthed a couple of scraps of elastic,  but not enough for one mask let alone two.  I even searched the junk drawer for rubber bands, but they were either the wrong size, or they had been there so long they had lost their elasticity.

Just when I thought I was going to have to harvest the elastic from my underwear, Hubby found the pattern** for the mask above.  

It wasn't too difficult to make thanks to the skills I learned at The Spool Sewing Studio. It would have been easier if I had non-fraying material for the straps.  Still, I managed with limited swearing.  

I realize the mask offers me no protection, but I am willing to wear it to protect others from my germs.  I hope you all appreciate it.  The mask is hot, and it makes my glasses fog up.  I'm in danger of walking into a wall or otherwise injuring myself when I wear it.  

Maybe I should add a helmet to my new look.

(*Note: There are lots of elastic-free patterns available now.) (**Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Something About Marvin 12

Since early March I've been sending my sister pictures of Marvin, and she chooses the one I share here.

This is the photo she chose this week:

She wrote an entire story about Marvin tripping me as I got up from the sofa with my basket of folded laundry.  The story ends with me picking up laundry while Marvin steals my spot on the couch.  Sadly, most of that tale was lost in the aether.  It's too bad, because it sounds like something Marvin would do.

Instead she offered yoga cat on a yoga mat.  The pose combines a spinal twist with a supine diagonal stretch plus back and side bends.  We'll call this pose "Marvin in the Sun".

It's also possible he was just looking for a belly rub. 

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter!

This photo was taken in the olden days when people, and bunnies, were able to roam the streets freely.

Hope you are having a safe, happy Easter.  

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Cone Tired

Today I decided to mow the lawn, but first I had to pick up all the pine cones* that had dropped since the last time I mowed the lawn. 

September was the last time I mowed the lawn.  

There were a lot of pine cones.  And that's just from the single tree in the back yard.  There are two trees in the front yard.  Guess what I will be doing tomorrow?

* I believe these are actually spruce cones, but you know what I mean.

Friday, April 10, 2020


I liken this lichen to a heart.

Seriously, they are everywhere.

I'm talking about hearts, not lichen, though lichen is everywhere too.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Pile of Smiles

The first thing I noticed is how happy my sister looks in this photo.  The first thing she noticed is that my cousin and I hadn't done a very good job covering her with leaves.  

"That's a sissy pile of leaves you piled on me. Look at all the other leaves you could've used to at least cover my jacket some."

Makes me think we should have started with her head, though we would have missed that smile!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020


Yesterday, I told you that my friend Sheron is working toward offering more online yoga classes.  Well, while I was writing that, she was making it a reality!  She now has her own YouTube channel where she has posted two videos so far.  

The first video is the one she did with our local recreation centre.  The second is one that she shot in her home studio.  

Hi Sheron!

As Sheron admits herself, the video quality isn't the best, but the audio if fine, and the content is great. As with any  fitness video, it's a good idea to watch it once before you attempt it. I watched it yesterday then I tried the class this morning. It was lovely.  It was a bit more energetic than the other yoga classes I've been choosing.  I admit that I've not completed a class that requires standing in weeks.  Still, it was a gentle class and I had no problem keeping up.  You do need to be familiar with poses like mountain and warrior, as there isn't a lot of pose description.  If you've taken yoga before, and in particular, if you've taken classes with Sheron, this could be a great class for you.

I'm looking forward to seeing what is offered next!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hello Dolly

I carry a lot of tension on a normal day.  The current abnormal state of the world has amped this tension up considerably.  I'm way beyond 11.  It's not a good feeling.  It leaves me sore, tired and about as flexible as a Barbie.  

(*Note: I do not resemble Barbie in any other way.  When asked, my sister suggested that I look like the Mrs. Beasley doll my aunt had when we were kids.  Now there's a blast from the past!)

Collectible Mrs. Beasley Talking Doll From Family Affair by The ...
We both talk, wear glasses and like polka-dots.  Other than that, I don't see a resemblance. 

I've been using the following online resources in an attempt to move from Barbie-esque stiffness to ragdoll-like softness. 

  • Yoga Download - I pay for a membership, but there's lots of free content too.  You can filter by workout intensity.  I always choose "Ahhhhhhhhh", though there are "Bring a Towel" classes if you are looking for something more energetic.  Some of my favourite classes, like Daily Decompression and Hummingbird Flow, are offered at no charge. 
  • Headspace - Hubby and I have a family membership, but they are offering some free resources.  A few are available through the website, but it looks like you have to download the app to access the free "Weathering the Storm" collection.  They are also offering resources for educators, healthcare professionals and workplaces.
  • Our local recreation centre has posted free classes on YouTube. I've done most of Ann Marie's NIA class.  Usually I do the first song and the last two songs.  The rest are a bit high-energy for my current needs, though I'm looking forward to doing the rest of the class at some point.  
  • Also from our recreation centre - my favourite yoga class!  The instructor is my friend Sheron, so not only do I get to participate in a super-relaxing class, I get so see her on my TV! (Hi Sheron!)  The class is gentle, with good suggestions for support and modification.  Sheron has also built a pause into the class for those who wish to stop and pursue more energetic activities.  I sometimes start with Sheron, switch to Ann Marie, then return to Sheron for the last pose and final relaxation.
  • Sheron is working toward offering other online yoga classes.  Watch her website for updates.  You can also follow her techie journey on her blog for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of a yoga video.
      Marvin enjoys yoga with Sheron too!
      We miss seeing her in real life!
(*Note:  I don't get anything for the links above.  They're there for your information.  Hope you find them useful.)

Monday, April 6, 2020

Something About Marvin 11

My sister thinks I woke Marvin from a catnap, and he doesn't look happy about being disturbed . She thinks it looks like he's trying to decide if he wants to expend the energy to swat at me, or if he should just go back to snoozing in the sun.  

She got part of it right.  I did wake Marvin, though not on purpose.  As soon as I got close he opened his eyes in anticipation of a treat.  He was kind of miffed when he realized no treat was forthcoming.  No swatting was attempted.  

When we first got this cat tree Marvin would not use the top tier.  We got it so he could look out the window, but he just couldn't seem to figure it out.  It might have been because the top perch is somewhat too small for him, or it could have been because it is slightly tilted.  Whatever the reason, it takes up a lot of floor space for something that was only being partially used.  

We eventually resorted to treats to tempt him to the top level.  Once he realized there's a lot to see from the window he started using his tree regularly.  He still expects treats when he gets there, but he can usually be distracted by all the things happening outside.

If this isn't enough Marvin for you, you can follow him on Instagram.  He's @marvinmeowmeow.  

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Ephemeral Hearts

Each time I go out I notice more hearts. Some are modest; some are elaborate; some are bursting with rainbow colours. Some have been up for so long that they are starting to fade.  They're in windows, and on sign posts.  Someone has decorated the backs of local stop signs with hearts that appear to have been torn from brown paper bags.  Yesterday we saw a roadside mailbox covered in hearts cut from Lucky Lager cases.  

I'm also starting to notice hearts of a more ephemeral nature. There are hearts in the clouds, and in the foam on my coffee.  I noticed the heart above on the kitchen counter last evening.  They're everywhere.  Symbols of hope, love, unity, joy, gratitude, and in the case of the heart above, serendipity.  I'll take it all.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Pandemic Picnic

Hubby and I packed a lunch and headed out for a picnic today.  We drove down-island, parked on the waterfront and ate our chickpea salad sandwiches and accompaniments in the car.  We did slip out  for a moment -once we made sure the coast was clear - to take some photos before we headed back home.