Monday, February 16, 2015

Gratitude A - Z ... ..."F"

The end. So good to be finished a long drawn out project that started out as FUN but ended up as just being a pain in the neck. But it’s done, sent away, gone, for better or for worse. Whew. Grateful for being finished and at the prospect of new beginnings.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gratitude A - Z ... ... "E"


There isn’t anything really outstanding about ears unless you have ears like Prince Charles or they don’t work. So far mine are working just fine and I am very thankful for that because I live with someone whose ears don’t work really well anymore and it’s frustrating for him and for me. He misses so much and I feel so bad for him. In the past year I have spent more time noticing sounds – music, birds, voices – because I don’t want to forget them if my ears stop working too. It’s like anything else that is precious but taken for granted – you don’t miss it until it’s gone.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gratitude A - Z ... ... "D"

Dogs, Specifically Dachshunds

I have had at least one dog, sometimes four, for all but a couple of years of my life. I have enjoyed them all and they have been my best friends. The dogs we have right now, three dachshunds, are the most pig-headed, stubborn, disobedient pooches we’ve ever had and I love them with all my heart. Dachshunds are known for their attitude, their boldness, their willful badness but they are so smart and so cheeky, I can’t help but love them. The ones we have now are probably our last dogs, at least our last ones acquired as puppies and I hope to outlive them so they never have to be left to someone else’s care. Who would love the miserable little critters the way I do? They fill a need – for companionship, for entertainment, for great hugs and sloppy kissed. They need me to take care of them, and in turn they are tuned to my moods and feelings and seem to know when to be silly and when to be serious.

The best thing about the ones we have now is that my husband finally has a dog. All the others have been mine and he has liked them at a distance but never been close to any of them. Then we got Clancy, a funny, loving little wire-haired guy and “the boss’s” heart was stolen. Clancy is the first dog welcome on “the boss’s lap”, the first he’s admitted liking – really a lot. I am so pleased this has happened. I now share the relationship I’ve enjoyed for so many years with the person I’ve shared everything else with. We sit together in the evening, me on the couch with our two long-hairs and he in his chair with Clancy sleeping on his lap. I can’t imagine my life without a dachshund or two.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gratitude A - Z ... ... "C"


Plain black coffee, my morning fix. A year ago I found I was spending a lot of money by stopping regularly for a hazelnut latte on my way home from dropping the boys at school so I got a Keurig. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the coffee – so much so that I now prefer it to most of the coffee shop coffees I’ve tasted. You can’t keep everyone happy though, and I’ve heard that the argument against Keurig is that is uses those little pre-packaged coffee cups which are filling landfills and are bad for the environment which, I suppose, is a concern – not as serious as disposable diapers, plastic bags or the Athabasca Tar sands – but every little bit counts, I guess. My favourite coffee comes in those little plastic cups but my second favourite comes in a teabag (coffee bag?) and fits inside a little container the same size as the Keurig cups and can be used over and over. I assume the coffee bag is biodegradable. My conscience is eased and I remain, especially in the morning, grateful for coffee.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Gratitude A - Z ... ... "B"

Baking Bread  

I do this once a week, at least two loaves, sometimes buns as well. I learned to bake bread in the 60s – we did that kind of thing then. While others of our generation were out protesting, smoking pot and screwing around, dare I say the majority of us who believed in the gentler concepts of the hippie generation, tried to return to a simpler way of living.

We grew gardens, got into fibre crafts Рremember all those macram̩ hangers - and we sewed, quilted and knit things. We canned fruit, made antipasto, pickles, and jam and we listened to the best music to be heard before or since. We walked barefoot, wore long dresses, let our hair grow long, and we baked bread.

I enjoyed making bread then but somehow got too busy, too involved, too materialistic and the simpler values were set aside.

 Forward to 2005 when our grandson was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. Cross contamination with nuts or products containing nuts worried us greatly so I began baking bread again. Our concerns have been tempered somewhat, said grandson is not allergic to tree nuts and fairly recent labelling laws make it easier for us to determine which food he can have. He is an excellent advocate for himself when eating out or being offered a snack and can easily handle bakery products made in many bakeries which, these days, don’t use anything with peanuts or peanut oil in their products.

But I am still baking bread. I like the process – the mixing, the kneading, the time it takes for the bread to create itself. I experiment with different kinds of bread from different regions using strange but usually delicious ingredients. I experiment, add things, change things.  I believe it is part of my creative process. If I stop baking bread for any length of time, I feel disoriented and need to knead again. Besides, there is no scent more comforting than the smell of fresh bread baking on a cold winter’s day not taste more wonderful than a fresh bun still warm dripping with butter and strawberry jam.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Gratitude A - Z ... ... "A"

Thank you to visual artist Veronica Funk inspiring the following contemplations by painting her alphabet of gratitude and is now on her second journey through the letters.  Sometimes low on energy and ideas and needing a morning boost, I decided to write my gratitude alphabet, mostly for my own benefit but if anyone else is around to enjoy, that’s good too.


Mornings, so crisp and clear the air sears my nostrils and my throat as I walk from car to school, a gaggle of grandsons accompanying me, and back to car again.

“It’s too cold to breath, Grandma.”
“No it’s not, we’re just about there.”
He buries his mouth and nose in the neck of his ski jacket and breaths in the breakfast/toothpaste/morning air gathered under his chin. Two more brothers hurry on their way, eyes watering, noses running, the frigid breeze hurrying them inside to air permeated with wet mittens, soggy boots, and beyond that, an aura of paper, pencil shavings, erasers, white board markers and then, later, a promise of lunchtime. I turn and trudge into the north wind, giving in and burying my face in my scarf, cold air filtered to something warmer, thicker, stickier. I slide into the driver’s side, fling damp scarf and mittens across the seat and inhale the almost new car smell. Time to return home to my kitchen air filled with a reminder of bacon and eggers, and the promise of a fine cup of coffee to enjoy while watching snowflakes drift past my window on the winter air outside.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Celebrating Robbie Burns

'll gie ye some advice,
You'll tak it no uncivil:
You shouldna paint at angels, man,
But try and paint the Devil.
To paint an angel's kittle wark,...

Wi' Nick there's little danger;
You'll easy draw a lang-kent face,
But no sae weel a stranger

                       Robbie Burns