Wednesday, October 31, 2007

no love for 'time'

I confess, I have given up on reading Love in the Time of Cholera. I know it is a classic work of literature. I know that Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Nobel Prize winner and acclaimed genius of the pen. But I also know that close to a hundred pages in, I don't care that Dr. Juvenal is dead. And I am tired of waiting for the love to begin. I am bored.

Reading is not supposed to be a self-flagellation by pages. It's supposed to be a thing of beauty, a journey eagerly taken whether it leads to the heights of love or to utter desolation. Reading is not meant to be a chore, but rather a joy and there is no joy in this book, at least, not for me. And life is short so I am putting it down. Classic or no.

I don't like keeping books on my shelf that I have neither read nor plan to read so if you want a copy of Love, you're in luck. You can have mine. I should warn you that it *is* the Oprah's Book Club edition. I was tricked into that. A wily Chapter's employee put the 20% sticker right over the logo. I still have not forgiven Opera for Songs in Ordinary Time.

A while back I saw a list on a blog of the 100 hardest books to read and going through it I noticed that quite a few of them have been OBC picks. Coincidence?

I'm well in The Other Boleyn Girl now and it is everything a decent novel should be. I am delighted.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

around here

I really enjoyed Rachel's photos of their new diggs. I thought it was about time I posted a few of my own. So here they are. It's not exactly art and likely to be one of those posts that only my family reads but that's fine by me. Here's the nickel tour. Come on in.

You reach our place through a lovely little wooden gate. But it's raining today and the pictures didn't do it justice so we'll just start at the front door.Just inside the front door to the right is our makeshift hall closet. The one thing with this place is that the only closets are in the bedrooms. So we had to improvise a place for coats and shoes. Kendra and I built the shelf with hooks and now we have a row of impalas standing sentry by the front door.To the left of the entryway is the office. Kendra and I have a lot of books and whittling the collection down to seven bookcases was hard enough. We decided to put a couple of the shelves to work as walls to create the office space. The plan is to back these with cork board so they'll be more functional and also prettier. Every office needs a place to pin things up. You can't really see it well in this photo, but to the right of the desk is set of photos of New York. You have to be able to dream a little too :)This is what you'd see straight ahead of you when you walk in. Living room to the left, kitchen to the right.If you stand in the living room and spin counter clockwise you'll see this. We didn't originally set out to do all international photos in the living room but it worked out that way. First with Paris in the Fall over the couch . . .Then Chester at the turn of the century over by the bookcase. . .And then the black and whites of New York visible form the office. (And, I just realized not visible at all in this photo.)Next stop is the kitchen.The kitchen was one of the features we loved about this place. It's huge. You can have four of five people bustling around in there cooking dinner. (And isn't that one of the best ways to get dinner on the table with a bunch of cooks all doing their thing?)There's a dishwasher at the end of the counter and full laundry in what looks like a cupboard right beside the pantry. The kitchen is also home to my newest piece of art. It started out as a poster of a painting looking out the window of a Parisian cafe. Gord took it to China to get it framed and it came back this beautiful, immense piece of art. I love it.I'm convinced there are a thousand stories in this painting. Who are these people standing out in the street? Are they waiting for the man with the red umbrella or watching him walk away? Was it good news? Bad? Is he being strong for her or is she lending him her strength with such a tight grip on his arm?

At the end of the kitchen there's a bathroom. And to the right of that the hallway leading to the bedrooms.Outside the front door there's a little patio. It's a little cold to sit out here now with a freshly brewed latte, but the sun will remember us eventually.The table is Kendra's own creation and the result of many summers' ambition. Can you believe she free-handed the whole thing? (I helped a little too.) So we've got the perfect spot for a cup of tea. When are you coming over?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

dinner's on

A few weeks ago we got a new table and chairs from Ikea (thanks Mom & Dad!). Tonight we had Shannon and the girls over for dinner and we realized that it was the first time we had sat at the new table for dinner in our new place. So of course we had to take a picture.
Even though it's a lousy picture of me, at least it's a great shot of the table :) I was going to do a retake, but that was a re----ally good ham dinner and I'm not nearly vain enough to let it get cold.

Update: Check out what Shannon made for desert. It's an apple, wrapped in pie dough, stuffed with brown sugar and baked. And then topped with ice cream and a little cinnamon. Yummy.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

grasp and reach

One of my favorite professors at Trinity, Professor Gutteridge, was forever telling us that if we wished to learn, "our reach must extend our grasp". Wise words really. If you never try to do something you cannot do how will you learn? Of course what he didn't tell us is that true wisdom lies in knowing just how far to extend your reach before you fall out of the tree. That, it seems, is a skill I am still learning.

A few weeks before we moved I found a book of 365 patterns for foundation quilting. I was casually flipping through it and was completely inspired. The patterns were beautiful. Delighted, I marched it to the checkout with visions of fabric dancing through my head.

I had done foundation quilting before, once, about eight years ago. I remembered it being a fairly easy process and so decided that there was no reason not to flip right to the back of the book and try one of the really fancy patterns. The block I had done before had about 10 pieces total. The pattern I choose this time around had closer to 80. (You know where this is going already, don't you?)

Last week I had a day off and I sewed all day. I fully expected to have a completed project in hand by supper time. I stand corrected. I didn't even come close. Altogether, I think I've spent close to 15 hours on this project. I have measured, cut, sewed, ripped out, sewed again, ripped out again, double checked the measurements, sewed, pinned, tucked, hand fitted, hand stitched to fudge the seam and finally, FINALLY today I have a finished project. And just in time for supper.I will say this: I am very pleased with the way it turned out and it was worth it. I am trying really hard not to see the mistakes that are in it. There will always be mistakes. That is part of learning too. I think it would be fair to say that I reached too far and fell out of the tree on this one. But I did manage to finish it, and it's such a lovely tree to fall out of in the end.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

look up, look up, look waaaay up

One more thing I'm thankful for is the brand new header custom designed for me by my friend Kimu. Svelte.

(And for the Firefly fans -- shiny.)

giving thanks

Technically it's a little late for Thanksgiving, I know. But giving thanks is supposed to be a lifestyle choice, right? If thankfulness is an every day thing then I'm right on schedule.

We had a great Thanksgiving this year. A few days earlier on a trip to Ikea Kendra and I saw these crazy napkins and we got the idea that they'd make great turkeys. (Actually, I'm pretty sure the whole thing was Gord's idea :) A little construction paper, a little glue and we had a row of these fine fellows to set each place. Before long the spices were out and it was time to make pie. Is there anything quite as wonderful as walking into a kitchen that smells like pie? We had pumpkin pie and apple pie and cherry pie. Kendra makes great pie. I highly recommend it.I tried something new with the decorations this year. For the past several years I've done leaf garlands over the fireplace, but I don't have that fireplace anymore so it was time to try something new. There's a crazy commercial for Safeway that has been playing these past few weeks. There's this perfect, Martha Stewart set-up right down to little pumpkins in the trees outside and soup served in little carved out gourds. Then they pan to the kitchen where there's a store bought Safeway pumpkin pie still in the box. Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

On the table in one of the shots they have flower arrangements set in gourds as vases and they looked beautiful so I thought I'd give it a shot.Not bad for a first attempt. I was pleased with the way it turned out. I made a pair of them and we took them over to Shannon & Gord's for the feast. We set up the table and it was the perfect backdrop for a drop dead delicious turkey. MMMmmmmmmm. In looking back over these photos I realized that I've got pictures of all the accoutrements, but none of the people. Whoops. I am thankful for the colours and smells of Fall. I am thankful for the beauty painted so carefully across the landscape. But I much more thankful that wherever I turned my eye that day I saw people I hold dear.

Thankfulness is all in the details. It's in taking a moment to notice what has been done with you in mind whether that's all the work of cooking a feast or cooking the peppers on the side (just for me). Thankfulness is a state of mind. And I am thankful. Still.

Friday, October 05, 2007

this one's for Jane

Hey Janie, this one is all for you :) I officially started my Fall decorating this morning so I thought I'd send you a pic. I've got a day off and I'm getting all set-up to sew something very Fall-ish. I've got the pattern all cut out. Now I just need to fix myself a latte and I'm set to start cutting fabric. But before I got into that I fixed a bow on to this wreath and hung it up on the front door. Feels better already.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

the sky fell today

I was working from home today, a wonderful treat after missing it for so many weeks. It started raining outside, thunderously, and I had to open the door so I could hear it better. Before long the thundering rain turned to hail and for a moment it almost looked like winter had come early. Much too early in this neck of the woods.

The hail was huge. I wondered if it would be possible to make tiny, little snowmen out of it? I could just picture myself out there with a little set of tweezers stacking up the balls of ice. Well, maybe not. The hail was coming down with such force it was bouncing right off the patio steps. I tried to get a shot of it but I don't think I have a long enough exposure to catch it. But I did get this shot that shows the paths a little. After a few minutes it stopped and about fifteen minutes later there was no trace it had ever been there.

It was a brief, loud, violent rush, a torrent of ice as the sky broke and fell and then repaired itself and held.