Saturday, January 25, 2014


Well.....quite the winter we are having in Ontario. Snow, ice, bone chilling cold, more snow. And we are barely half way through it. Even now as I look out the window the phrase "swirling flakes of snow" which is usually so endearing, is not. We have shovelled 3 times so far today and it is only a little past noon. 
In fact, we are spending a fair bit of time with Mr. & Mrs. Shovel. Not great conversationalists, but always willing to help out.
We, the people, are weary. 
Weary of -35 Celsius.
Weary of boots, coats, hats and mittens.
Our cars are weary and grumble loudly at the request to start up and get moving.
We are Winter Weary.
I can hear the collective audible sigh.
A few of the lucky ones escape to balmier regions of earth and return tanned and relaxed. 

That won't be me. I will be hunkering it out to the bitter end.
I've started reading an autobiography of one of my favourite authors, Elizabeth Goudge. She has been gone for some time now but I love the way she writes. She thought the same way I do and I would aspire to put my thoughts down in a similar manner. Except where it comes to snow.

Here is what she wrote:

"In the company with all children and most dogs, I though snow the wonder of the world. The snow-light filling the house with magic as the white flakes drifted down in windless  silence, the splendour when the sun came out and hills and fields and trees sparkled under the arc of blue sky, the thought of the things one did in the snow, tobogganing and snowballing and building a snowman; it was all ecstasy. And somewhere tucked away at the back of one’s mind was the knowledge that every crystal in the vast whiteness, though too small for the human eye to see, was fashioned like a flower or a star. How could snow not be the wonder of the world?”

What a perspective! My hat is off to you Elizabeth! And she's right. Snow really is incredible stuff. 
So, in the midst of mine and everyone else's winter weariness, especially those like me who are not leaving on a jet plane any time soon, l will try to look at winter with a new perspective.
It gives me more time to read.
I can spend more time in the kitchen, my go-to place to wind down, to make soups and bread and soul comforting food.
It is pretty darn quiet out there.
I appreciate my fireplace all the more.
And lastly, all that snow that I have to shovel, every single little flake, is fashioned uniquely like a flower or a star.
Round one of snow shovelling at 6:30 am this morning

Saturday, January 18, 2014


For the past 18 years, I have been privileged to hang out with some of the most talented musicians in the area and play in a band. This is a church band - but don't let that full ya. We are as quirky, contentious, contemplative and sometimes very crass as the next bunch of creative types. And we play all types of music from the Beatles and James Brown to classic hymns or contemporary christian. We've performed at dances, weddings, conferences and summer camps. 

So I've learned a few things about bands - how they operate and function and I'm about to let you in on a few secrets.....

Bands become families. They bicker and call a spade a spade.
It is not unusual for us to finish practicing a song with such a statement as "Well, that sounded like s---."
We also laugh a lot, have a lot of inside jokes and nicknames for one another.
This is Dan -whom I affectionately call "Papa C".
Papa C has been in the music business all his life and knows just about everybody. He is the one we lean on the most, incredibly talented and creative. 
These are "The Tomatas!"
I am always blown away by their talent!
We have team members come and go. In fact I think I am the only original one left from 1996....
They have left for a variety of reasons; some being very painful and as we become a family, it affects us all greatly. Recently one of our lead singers, the only other original lost his son in a motorcycle accident. Needless to say he has stepped down for a while and we all grieved deeply with him.
But we miss him.....a lot.....
We could not do what we do without our sound team.
I cannot stress how important the drummer and bass player are. If they are off and out of sync, it throws everyone else off. A good, solid bass and rhythm section is tantamount!
I love watching the secret cues band members give to each other when they are playing. The cues that let you know we are ending a song or heading to the bridge or take a solo. The really good bands that have been playing together forever, they just give each other certain look! 
For some reason, if rehearsal is really crappy, it makes for a better performance.
You also get certain looks from team members when someone plays or sings either a)really badly or b) really good. Usually, the audience is oblivious to these.
So there are a few secrets for you. Next time you are watching a band perform, watch how they interact, try to find their secret cues other than the obvious ones like pointing their guitars towards each other so they know which key they should be in! Take time to appreciate the sound team and the rhythm section. We are a family that is sometimes in pain and sometimes totally connected. 
That is the secret life of bands. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


I've had some time off work lately. Seems I had too many vacation days left and the powers that be said in classic Canadian style "take off, eh". 
So....what to do....what to do....
I made fresh bread and homemade turkey soup.
Watched a fair bit of Downton Abbey!
I went swimming (with Nick, and that's another story).
And I did some painting.
When I was about 12 or so, my sisters and I would all truck down to this sweet little old lady's house and she would proceed to show us some tricks with water colours. We would all sit around her table with paints and photos to copy while Lawrence Welk played on the TV. Oh yes, I don't forget moments like that. My sister Heidi was quite promising, Heather was pretty good too. But I was no heck - could never quite get those sky colours right and my robin was a sorry sight indeed. I did improve over the years and I actually have two framed paintings I did on my own - one of our old house in Foxboro and another I did when I was going through a very rough time and for some reason I took to watercolours to manage the angst.
But this week, with lots of time on my hands I started painting an upstairs bedroom that will be my husband's new office area. 
I cranked the tunes, changed into paint clothes and sang as loud as I wanted. 

I had some help too. Sasha curious as always, was in there like a dirty shirt. She asked very nicely if she could help.

She got a little messy and she was not a lot of help, but she is always great company.

I got a little messy too - paint speckles in my hair and on my glasses. Fresh smudges on my paint clothes and on the ladder. All added to old painting jobs I remember. 
There is touches of bright yellow from when I vicariously painted my front porch.
There is red when I took the brave plunge and did the music room.
There is spring green from my last painting job 2 years ago.
Now I'm adding a nice warm caramel.
But really, January is a good time to start these kind of projects. A  new year where I can paint over the smudges and dirty spots that have built up and voila, everything looks brand new and no one is the wiser....if you get my drift. 
So here's to a fresh new canvass! 

Sorry about the selfie.....I'm new at these.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


We are slowly getting back into routine around here after two weeks of festivities, food and fun. I had an amazing meal with friends on New Year's Eve at one of my favourite restaurants, Blumen Bistro in Picton. But it was an early dinner for me and early to bed as well, as I had to work New Years Day.

It was just myself and another lady in the office manning the phones. How quiet it was! I shuffled around in my slippers.....and why not?? No big brass kicking around, or anyone else for that matter, to affirm the dress code. 

It has been dreadfully cold out. The kind of cold that hits you as soon as you walk out the door and nips at any uncovered skin. So when I decided to walk over to Tim Horton's for a cup of tea I bundled up, grabbed my office key and headed over. The parking lot was empty as everything was closed, except for the faithful Timmy's. On my way back there was an elderly fella aways ahead of me. All you could hear was the scrunch, scrunch, scrunch of the cold snow beneath our boots. 

Suddenly the fellow ahead of me stops and turns around.
"I just wanted to see who was coming up behind me." he says
"Just me!" I replied.
"Sure is cold" says he
I agreed in good Canadian etiquette.
"Hey, what's your shoe size?" he asks
"6 and a half" I answered without even blinking.
"Hmmm....they seem bigger....must be the boots. I'm just making small talk - no harm in that. I've never asked anyone their shoe size before."
"I'm glad I was the first!" I answered.
At this point he had made it to the store which unfortunately was closed and I was nearly back to the office. We said our adieus and that was that.

This may seem like an odd New Year's Day conversation. I suppose it would have been odd any day of the year. But there it was, all the same. For all I know, I may have been the only person Mr. Curious about Shoe Sizes talked to all day.  

So that's how my New Year has started out. A great pre-meal, a quiet day of work and an odd conversation with an elderly gentleman I could not even point out in a crowd. Could be a very random year.....