Vibrant Winter

January 31, 2016 at 8:15 am (Meme) (, , , , , , , , )

Peek of Sunlight

The weather has been too warm this week. It is the end of January in Saskatchewan and we should not be having plus temperatures. I hate this weather. I would rather be cold. I know how to dress and live with the cold.

I hate this January weather. I hate the ice it makes. I hate this incongruous weather. I hate the fact that January is too warm – it is misbehaving.

The only thing I like is the way the vibrant sun reflects so lovely off the snow!

Winters Sun

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Christmas at the Farm

December 27, 2015 at 8:15 am (Life, Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A few years ago, without purpose or intent, my nephew bought my grandparent’s homestead. The only structure, of theirs, left standing was the old red barn which got destroyed in a windstorm this past summer!

Barn Collapsing

I’m not sure if this was my grandparent’s original home quarter, that is, the first place that they lived when they came to Canada. I’m pretty sure that this is where my father was raised. He was always very nostalgic about the farm and the surrounding country schools and rural towns nearby.

My nephew was not at first aware of the personal history when he went to look at the place. My father’s parents were both dead by the time he was born.

There is a synchronicity here. A place that once was important to the family comes back full circle.

I spent many happy Christmases here as a child and am now returning to make new memories for a new generation.

Tradition

Tradition. Traditions are important. Growing up, it was customary to spend Christmas at the farm and Easter with my mother’s parents. This was partly because my mother didn’t drive and partly because her father did not want to drive cross-country in the winter. Plus, mom is basically an only child (her bachelor brother was 13 years older) so Christmas at the farm was a lot more fun!

All the aunts and uncles would come and altogether there was twenty or so grand-children ranging through the ages from baby boomers to generation X ers (1956 – 1973), from babies to young teenagers. We were a diverse group.

Mom would take us four kids to Christmas eve service, we’d get to open one gift that night and then in the morning we would open the rest of our gifts and Grandpa would come pick us up for the short drive (15 minutes) to the farm. I couldn’t sit next to grandpa because I was a wiggler and was always bumping the gear shift.

Once at the farm we would all sit down to a big meal, after which the women would wash dishes, the men would talk and the children (no exceptions) would be sent outside to play because once the dishes were done the grown-ups would get down to some serious card playing.

Christmas Eve 2014

We didn’t mind. We’d make forts in the hay stack (this was when hay was stored in smallest rectangle bundles), play in the snow and generally run around going crazy until we got cold.

Once back inside, we would squeeze by the grown-up card players and settle into the smallish living room to watch the Christmas movie on CBC. This movie almost always seemed to star Hayley Mills. I remember parts of Tiger Bay and The Family Way; my favourite was The Trouble With Angels!

We would lay on the floor staring intently at the black and white TV. The youngest children slowly nodding off. Grandma’s Christmas cactus, which eldest sister still nourishes parts of, was a bright pink and green splotch in the corner.

There would be leftovers for supper after dark and slowly us kids would be bundled up and taken home where, no doubt, we slept soundly long through the night. No doubt, sweet dreams abounded.

My grandparent’s home was such a small house yet it still held all of us (20 kids, 9 parents, 2 grandparents and an occasional neighbour or two). I don’t remember feeling crowded. My nephew’s house is probably three times as big with half the amount of people coming for Christmas Eve and it can still feel too crowded to me!

Elf

I’m not saying that I never felt crowded out at my grandparents. Too much party, too many people and I need to escape to somewhere quiet. I’ve always been this way. Neither me or my cat are extroverts.

Too much and I need a place to hide close enough that I still feel like I’m part of the party. At my grandparents that was the spare bedroom right beside the quiet living room which was right beside the crowded dining room full of grown-ups. When I got overwhelmed, I would grab a book (the older I got the more likely it would be that I would have a book with me) and disappear into the bedroom to read all by myself.

All my life, I’ve curled up in a corner reading as life and chatter swirled around me. This is where I feel most at home. This is when I feel most warm, secure and safe. If anyone needed to find me, they instinctively knew where I was! I was somewhere quiet reading!

I loved getting together with my cousins. I loved the sociability. With them I learned on my feet, to get along with people and what love is.

Yes, even though, I was the one hiding in the corner with a book.

This is one of my traditions.

Chicken Bones

As a family of one (and a cat), I mostly get to enjoy the holiday as I want to and I definitely get to create my own traditions.

My traditions are:

  • Garlands of Stars,
  • Celebrating the Winter Solstice,
  • Chicken Bones (see above – I once tried explaining this candy to my Montreal boyfriend and he pictured actual glazed chicken bones),
  • Watching the 1966 Grinch Who Stole Christmas,
  • Watching a darker Christmas movie (like Die Hard or Gremlins),
  • Watching The Nightmare Before Christmas (at both Halloween and Christmastime),
  • Spending time alone reading.

Enjoy your particular traditions.

It is snowing right now. It is a soft, drifting snow. It covers all the bleakness of my lawn and makes it look soft and warm and white.

Happy Holidays to all and to all a good night!

 

 

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Off-Season & Off-Center

June 14, 2015 at 8:15 am (Blogging) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

IMG_1006

Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-Season

Travel Theme: Off-Center

This photo was taken just after 11am as we entered the Alaskan ice fields, last year, on June 27, 2014.

The day felt like winter as we were served hot pea soup on the deck as we watched the glacier calf. I think the picture would have been more effective if it had also showed the glacier as it is hard to tell that it is ice floating in the water without it. However, I do like this picture with its cloudy blue sky and icy blue water framed by the mountains.

My sister spent most of the day outside watching the glacier. She got to see it calf. I did not. She said it made an amazing noise.

No regrets. That’s the motto I try to live by.

:-p

 

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Endless Winter

March 29, 2015 at 8:15 am (Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Winter is coming!

First_Snow2 The big question on everyone’s mind right now is “Will this Winter ever end?” The answer is no. No, this Winter will never end. We have entered the next phase in the Earth’s evolution and it is Winter. As of April 1, 2015 we will have started the next Ice Age! Hoar Frost  1 According to Dr. David Suzuki “We (humans) have altered the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale. We have left no part of the globe untouched.” Thus, we have only ourselves to blame for this new ice age and endless winter. One only has to look at the weather patterns to observe the depressing ever-changing weekly weather forecast. Ice Flow Next week we will have: Rain Sun Sun Rain Snow or will we have Sun Cloud Cloud Rain Snow. The only constant is Snow. The Snow will never leave. The Snow will never melt. All we will remember from now on is Snow. In the decades to come, Boston’s 110 inches will be hardly note worthy and Mississippians will be able, like the rest of us, to build snow forts year round as we all learn to love Winter. After all, we Canadians have always known that it is possible to survive the ice, the cold, and never-ending Winter. Bring it Ice Age! Wear layers. Cover your face. Leave no skin exposed. Completely disregard fashion. Winter can be fun! The only thing we know for sure is that the new Ice Age is upon us. Not going anywhere It’s time to learn how to enjoy Winter or get use to never, ever going anywhere again.

“We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit.” David Suzuki

It’s time to stop arguing before this article becomes truth. Have a good April Fools’ Day everyone!

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Ice, Water, Steam

January 11, 2015 at 8:15 am (Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

On weeks like these, ice is easy to imagine. For most of January, so far, the temperature has hovered in the -20s with a wind chill up to the -40s Celsius. I should be use to this.

In December, just before Christmas, I walked home after dark. It was a crisp and clear night with nary a wind. The snow sparkled under the street lights. However, January’s cold is not the sort of cold one wants to be outside in.

I’ve lived here all my life. The cold is familiar. Sometimes the cold is a friend. In Summer, the wind would be an ally blowing away the mugginess of the day. But the wind is no ally today as I sit inside with cold toes. I really should go and put on some socks. All the cat and I want to do is curl up with a blanket and a book.

The only ice we wish to see are ice cubes sparkling in our mixed drinks.

I like to wax poetic about Winter and ice. I write “one freezes from the inside out. First the heart becomes a block of ice, then the veins.” I channel Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen.

The ice is a mirror. The mirror is ice. I am ice. What is reflected within?

Alaskan Ice Field

On weeks like these, all I want to drink is water. Ice cold water. I come in from outside and down two six ounce glasses. I sit and read with a glass of water by my side. The cat sit and stares at her water tower yearning for it to blurp. I really should buy her a lava lamp to stare at. I don’t know why this activity fascinates her, I’m just tired of constantly mopping up the floor as she tries to make the blurp and in the process spills water all over the place. I wish she could talk and explain herself.

I have a love/hate relationship with large bodies of water. I find floating on lakes relaxing as long as I am all alone. I never will be a fan of ice fishing though the winter we were young teens my brother and I walked a mile across the frozen lake listening to the groans and creeks anticipating the fear of falling in. We were lucky not to fall in and got major heck when we got back home to the grandparents. News travels faster than teenagers in a small town.

This was the lake in my mother’s parents village. My grandfather ice fished there. It was where we took our swimming lessons for the first time. I was seven and had to be dragged in, kicking and screaming, because I was determined not to go into that noisy body of water.

This was when I feared lakes. I feared lakes because I almost drowned when I was three. I don’t remember almost drowning. This is how the story was told to me. My mom and her friend were on the beach and me and her friend’s son, both of us about three years old, found a raft to explore and nobody noticed us until we were floating in the lake. I’m sure there was panic; my mother is a panic-er. We survived (obviously) but I came away with a fear of lakes and a bad dream.

I have this dream every time I am extremely stressed. I dream of being on a raft (alone) surrounded by water. I am floating through my home town which is flooded. I don’t feel afraid. Mostly, I feel eerily calm. I have not had this dream in a very long time. I was much more stressed in High School than I am now.

I have made my peace with large bodies of water. I float in lakes, take long cruises on oceans and fly over the seas acting mostly calm.

But in my mind large bodies of water are dark and maleficent. What is hidden beneath the calm? What is reflected there?

Dark Water

On weeks like these, I miss the steam we use to create as skin touched skin. He was a water sign (Scorpio) and I am a fire sign (Aries). Water signs tend to bare their souls and enjoy the chance to walk fire. Fire signs are impulsive and prone to boldly charge in.

We steamed up my small university basement apartment whether or not we were stormed in. One memorable weekend the drifts covered the door and we didn’t care. We had shelter. We had food. We had each other.

There was plenty of steam as Fire and Water embraced. Eventually, the fire was doused and the water evaporated away to nothing.

What was hidden in the steam? What was reflected there?

Girl w balloon 00

On weeks like these, who you are may change or take on different forms.

Are you solid, liquid or gas?

Are you ice, water or steam?

 

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Christmas Eve 2014

December 28, 2014 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Photos taken by iPhone before and after candlelight service Christmas eve day and night. Santa was not spotted because he was very busy elsewhere. 😉

Christmas Eve 2014 01

The hoar-frost was thick on the trees it being a typical winter so far. Snow – warm – snow  –  too darn cold.

Christmas Eve 2014 02

There are a couple of inches of hoar-frost everywhere. The furthur you travel into the country the thicker it is.

Christmas Eve 2014 03

The sky was an eerie twilight blue all afternoon tinting my pictures in nostalgic terms. I longed to be elsewhere. Elsewhere in time. I longed for the past.

Christmas Eve 2014 04

Were those jingle bells that I heard echoing from the past off some long forgotten sleigh? Who travels where? Who travels when?

Christmas Eve 2014_Moose

Shh, you’ll wake the moose.

😉

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Solstice/Yule: Book Quote Sunday #12

December 21, 2014 at 5:40 pm (Weather) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Church Xmas Tree

In the north in Winter you remember you’re on a planet hurtling through dark space …you could be lifted away and no one would remember you. (p. 92)

If I Live to be 100: Lessons From the Centenarians
By Neenah Elllis
N.Y.: Crown, 2002

P.S. A golden yellow cross to also enter in this week’s photo challenges.

The Daily Post: Photo Challenge Yellow

&

Ailsa’s weekly travel theme: Golden.

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Travel theme: Autumn

November 2, 2014 at 8:15 am (Meme) (, , , , , , , , )

Shadow & Sunlight

Let me remember you, voices of little insects,
Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters,
Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us,
Snow-hushed and heavy.

.
September Midnight
by Sara Teasdale (1914)

Travel theme: Autumn via Where’s my backpack?

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It’s Hibernating Time – A Short Blog Post

November 17, 2013 at 8:15 am (Meme) (, , , , , , , , )

Winter Morn

First snow today (or at least, the first snow that will last longer than a few warm days). Big flakes. Lots of wind. Invigorating to walk in. I have been out and will now stay in until Monday.

Sunday is applesauce and home-made soup day. Reading Doctor Sleep day. Hibernating.

I have a full freezer, full fridge and full cupboards. I have cable (after six months of only having one channel) and internet. I need nothing else.

This short post (look only one picture) is participating in Ailsa’s weekly travel theme – this week the theme is Travel theme: Short.

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This Is Not My City

May 19, 2013 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , )

Have you ever felt that something was a bad idea right from the get go? Have you ever  felt that the decision you are about to make is the wrong one? This is my life right now.

My life has become delineated to before and after.

This is not my city!

Blue Sky w clouds

This city has been bad luck ever since I came down for the job interview.

It stormed the day of my interview. There were tornado warnings and pounding rains. The interview felt endless. The rules were unclear. I hate unclear rules! The interview involved a too long lunch and a road trip out to a secondary site. I got soaked at the end of it as we rushed back to the original interview site. Did I mention the tornado warnings? There were lakes puddled in the road as I tried to maneuver unfamiliar streets so that I could head back home to the city I loved.

I accepted the job even though I knew that it was not a good fit! Some situations just feel like there is no other choice. Unemployed and poor in the city I loved or a barely tolerable job in a new place that might be okay.

Then, the day I came to look at apartments, I caused a car accident that totaled my car. I looked at two places before that and rather than come back another day, I took the more tolerable one which turned out to be (in the light of day) dinghy, run-down and in need of paint and new flooring (but the location is perfect for me – I can walk every where I need to go).

Because of the car accident, I bought my step-father’s truck because everyone (but me) is of the opinion that I MUST have a vehicle. I have not driven the truck since the beginning of last October.

This is partly because of the weather – it has been a long winter; snow has fallen from October until May! I broke my wrist slipping on the ice Easter weekend and the cast has just come off. I feel broken! I can’t do what I want and cannot perform all the tasks of my job any more and I worry (occasionally) that this might get me fired (which might be a mixed blessing).

This is not my city. The weather is different here. I don’t like it. It doesn’t feel like home.

Open Space

This city, this move, has been nothing but bad luck.

I have no third place to relax at. There is work. There is home. I have no friends here. I have no family here. Everyone is too far away and I am too quiet to start again.

I know that this is partly a self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t want to move away from the city I loved. I don’t handle change well. I lived six years in Montreal and spent the first year only traveling between school and home. It took me a year to get comfortable enough to take the Metro and start exploring the city. By the time I left Montreal, I had fallen in love with it. It may not be the city I love the most but I would go back there again.

The Elephant in the Room

The Elephant in the Room

I don’t know which straw broke this camel’s back.

I only know that this is not my city.

I should not have taken the job. I should not have moved.

This is not my city!

I should have trusted my intuition.

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