Showing posts from January, 2013

A Few Days Difference

Our few days in Mexico were not very warm. Grey skies, mist that turned to rain, and chilly winds marked our time there. The ocean was grey as well, but still beautiful in monochromatic tones. These photos are all untouched. 

Fortunately, weather systems can move quickly, and now, just 100 miles or so up the coast, we're in California and the sun is shining. It's still chilly, but the weather forecast is for increasing heat. Hooray!

Sea lions at La Jolla Cove nestled together - I love this photo. Tenderness in nature.

Our days are spent walking, reading, walking, eating, and walking, with a lot of relaxation thrown in as well. 

Hope your days are filled with good things. 

Just a housekeeping note: I'm appalled by all the spam comments that are getting through to being published, so I've disabled anonymous comments for now. I keep watching to see if that clears things up. I know other bloggers have had spam problems lately, too. If you can't comment on the blog, you ca…

Just a Note

I'm away from home for a few days, with limited internet access so no photos. I hope to get back to posting next week. In the meantime, thanks for the comments on my previous post.

We're visiting friends who live in Baja California, Mexico. They are from our church community and are here to work with others who want to help pull people from lives of poverty and despair. We've had a full couple of days driving around bumpy, muddy roads seeing some amazing stories of people who care for others in practical ways, such as building houses, providing rehab for drug and alcohol addictions, breakfast clubs for children, and a transition home for women.. My heart is full. My back is sore. Lots to think about.

Today we walked on the beach - lovely sand beneath my bare feet. How I love it. The waves are amazing, unceasing, powerful, crashing incessantly upon the shore. Reminds me of God's love.

Looking forward to reading and commenting on your blogs soon.

Tweaking the Living Room

My sister-in-law, who visited last week, is a nurse. She told me that after work one day/night, she came home in the wee hours and rearranged her living room furniture. "Aha!" thought I, "this is a woman after my own heart." 

The two of us set about rearranging my living room furniture, with Mum sitting on the side, giving advice. I like the new arrangement. Tweaking my home perks up my spirits. There will be more tweaking after I write this post because, I was in such a hurry to write this that I didn't vacuum the carpet first.

The carpet mess is from the sticks I was playing with, now behind the couch, in front of the window. I wanted to ask some advice of all my savvy decorator readers. Even if YOU don't think you're savvy, I'm still asking your advice. The window is a shallow bay. There are white wood venetian blinds on it now, with a funny sort of valance topper. I would love to change this out and add more fabric for softness. Long panels would …

Art Gallery Visit

A dear friend of our youngest daughter invited my eldest daughter and me to the art gallery. I'm almost embarrassed to say that I've never been to our local art gallery. Now that's been remedied. 

The collection of pottery from the 1970s and 80s made me smile. This was the kind of thing popular when we were married. Now it's collectable and valued enough to be shown in art galleries. I was struck by how some of the designs, notably that of the black and white plate, look up-to-date for this decade as well. As my daughter said, "it looks like something you'd see at Ikea." 

It was Family Day at the gallery. The parking lot was full to overflowing and in various rooms throughout the gallery children sat at tables creating art. In other spaces they played with lights, creating shadows on the wall, as shown above. While taking my photos (once again with my phone), I also created some shadow art - did you notice it there on the black and white plate in the mosaic…

From Across the Mountains

When I asked my sister-in-law if there was anything in particular she wanted to do while visiting, she asked if we could take a walk on the beach. I told her that I thought we could find a scrap of beach somewhere nearby. Here is one such scrap.

Tim's mother was happy to meet her two great-granddaughters. There were meals shared, conversations over coffee, several walks (we found more scraps of beach), and just a few photos. We were too busy visiting to take many pictures.

Four generations - great grandmother, grandfather, father and Little Miss A, who is learning to say "cheese" when having her photo taken. We took a similarly posed photo with Little Miss S, her mother, her Nana and her great grandmother.

There was an afternoon tea at The White Heather Tea Room in Oak Bay - with a variety of scones and sweets and a dizzying assortment of tea to choose from.

And one last walk on a scrap of beach, with Mount Baker over in Washington State glowing in the rosy sunset. This pho…

A Finished Project

Last October I posted the above photo, mostly for the lemon verbena tea. But you might have noticed the knitting. I was inspired by a cushion I had seen on Mia's blog. Isn't it wonderful how we can share inspiration globally through the internet? She added her instructions later, after I began my riff on her design. 

Her yarn is finer, her needles smaller and that results in a nicer cushion, I think. However, I did finish mine this week. I just knit until I ran out of yarn, then made a pillow insert to fit.  I also put a zipper in the back as the ribbed section is just for show on my cushion. I didn't know when my yarn would run out! 

I love cushions on the couch - they go behind my back or under my head, they prop up a book or magazine, or my laptop. I pull them onto the floor if I'm cozying up to the fire. They add colour and can change the look of a room, too. What's not to like about cushions? Some people don't like them, and I don't care if they get toss…

Vee's Note Card Party - It's all about Colour!

For this month's card party, I debated between choosing snowy scenes and colourful ones. We've had no snow here, although I keep hoping. So colour won out. 

What are the colours in your world these days? Snowy white? Gray? Blue sky? How about indoors? 

Linking to Vee's Note Card Party.

Cold Weather Cooking

The kitchen filled with good smells this weekend. Tim's supply of granola was replenished, bread baked, a chicken roasted, followed by the carcass made into stock. Chilly temperatures had me yearning for warming soup.

Roasted butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables, and it's even better when made into soup. Fresh ginger added warmth, and a pale yellow, fragrant ripe pear added a hint of sweetness. It was an inspired contribution. I wrote out the recipe which you can find here, on my recipe blog.

Today is slightly warmer, but overcast, which paradoxically feels colder. What's your favourite warming food?

Along the Shore

Sunny days with the temperature hovering around 0 (celsius) are more preferable to me than slightly warmer days with rain. Yesterday afternoon an afternoon walk along the beach was just the ticket. Gulls and crows thought so, too. They flew ahead of us, alighting on the rocky, driftwood-strewn shore, paying no attention to us. 

These gulls strike me as complacent birds, standing with heads hunched into their backs, regarding the world with little curiosity. 

Waves rush over rocks, then draw back. 

My camera tells me this picture was taken at 3:49 PM. The days are still so very short, lengthening imperceptibly. 

Did you notice the white house there in the left corner of the background photo? Wouldn't that be a wonderful place to live? I don't think I'd get much done - all my time would be spent staring out the window. 

Linking with My Little Home and Garden for Sunlit Sunday,
and with Mary at the Little Red House for Mosaic Monday.

Quiet Days

The weekend prior to Christmas, Tim and I walked around Fisherman's Wharf. A scoop (or squadron, brief, pod, or pouch) of brown pelicans had dropped in for an unexpected visit. These birds are normally seen along the Gulf of Mexico, and along the California/Mexico coastline. Do you remember John Grisham's book and movie "The Pelican Brief?" I was quite taken with the thought of seeing an actual brown pelican, the cause of so much havoc in the novel.

I'm not certain how large the scoop is; we saw about 8 birds in total, but some may have been off elsewhere. The pelicans have made visits here before, but never in December. 

They shelter under the pier, dodging the pilings in a ghostly, silent fashion.

It's been a quiet couple of days around here. I came down with a minor ailment requiring antibiotics. The first antibiotic made me feel weird and weepy. I mentioned it to the pharmacist who recommended getting another prescription. The doctor concurred. So not much…

Just Chatting

This is one of those posts about inconsequential things - like a conversation that leaps from one topic to another, without many connections between them. My family seems to think I'm pretty good at that, and it gives them great delight. 

The rain-battered primroses are blooming in my garden. Hardy souls. I was looking for snowdrops and found no sign of them at all. Puzzling.

Eating just a little of everything at Christmas meant a little bit added to me. Everyone has their own way of losing a couple of pounds - mine is to cut refined carbs for a few weeks. I tried out the Cauliflower Crust Pizza that I've seen here and there. If you love the chewy bready crust that holds your pizza toppings, you won't find it with a cauliflower crust. But it was still pretty good. Do a search for the recipe and you'll come up with many options. I sort of did my own thing, simplifying some of the steps. Yes, I'll make it again.

Lately I've found it hard to get into a book I really …

For Downton Abbey Fans

The third season of Downton Abbey began last night in North America. Ah-hem. Thanks to the wonders of technology, I have already viewed it, seeing each episode the day after it aired in Britain. But I'll be watching it again, you can be sure. 

I found these two videos on YouTube via another blog - so if you're a fan, take a look.

This first one is a little tour of Highclere Castle, the real-life setting for fictional Downton Abbey.

This next video was done during the filming of Season Two.


Taking a Closer Look

This photo showed up in an earlier post. The arbutus tree is gorgeous, etched elegantly against the water and distant shores. But did you notice that dried out section of tree near the bottom of the photo? 

Tree rings and layers, texture and colour fill each crevice of wood. 
 Weathered, twisted wood, beautifully intricate.

The plant in the inset photo grows on the rock in the foreground of the larger photo. It would be easy to walk by and not see the succulent leaves, the pattern of two opposing leaves, or feel the smooth texture. Having my camera has helped me to slow down a little outdoors, to take the time to bend down, to look and to see.

I was reminded of this poem by Emily Dickinson - 

"Nature" is what we see --
The Hill - the Afternoon - 
Squirrel - Eclipse - the Bumble bee - 
Nay - Nature is Heaven - 
Nature is what we hear - 
The Bobolink - the Sea -
Thunder - the Cricket -
Nature is what we know - 
Yet have no art to say - 
So impotent Our Wisdom is
to her Simplicity.

Linking w…

From the Back of My Mind

I gave up making New Year's resolutions years ago. If something needs to be changed in my life, and I realize it, I'll begin resolving the issue at the moment. Goals and resolutions grow out of real life, not a date on the calender. That said, it's hard to avoid thinking about change and growth when talk shows, newscasters, magazines and online reading focuses on the topic. It's not a bad thing. 

some of my stash
We've moved twice in the past 3 years. There's nothing like having to pack up all your fabric, scrapbooking supplies, knitting yarn, and paints to make you realize how much stuff you really have. That "you" I'm talking about is really "me." For the past year, I've been resolving to use up what I have. The progress is slow and sporadic, but sure. 

Lately, I've been thinking, not just of using stuff up, but making the most of what I have. Those photography books, for example. I've looked at them, I've tried out a…

Vistas Grand and Minute

The trail down to McKenzie Bight slopes downward. Each time I walk it, I think of the return trip, all uphill. We've discovered another route, one that is steeper at first, but levels off for the last half of the return hike. Today, as we returned, I could hear the rushing water from a distance. This waterfall, so impressive now in January, dries to a trickle in the summertime. We stood and gazed at the waterfall for a long time, enjoying the play of water against the rocks. Admiring nature is a good excuse for catching one's breath.

This arbutus tree glowed in the late afternoon almost-sunshine. The branches really are that red. Amazing.

I used the timer setting to capture a photo of the two of us drinking our tea on a rocky outcropping. 

Lovely water, trees, rocks and moss. Moss everywhere. Green as green can be. 

Lichens on a rock. I've been trying to identify this lichen. I think they are of the Cladoniagenus, of the cup-bearing type. Perhaps Pixie Cup Lichens. Isn't t…