Friday, December 30, 2005

FOR THE LOVE OF PETS!


I have no idea how I did this. I have been having trouble uploading pictures to Blogger. I just downloaded a new photo, then posted it. It happened.
I think the photo is ROFL!!!!

Has anyone else viewed a horse from the feed bucket???

Been there....
This post is in response to my fellow blogger, Sean's, mourning of the death of his cat.
It is always difficult to lose a beloved pet.
They become family members - an integral part of our lives - loved.

I have had a soft spot for animals for as long as I can remember. My parents constantly relate stories about my bringing home stray dogs, cats, baby birds, fish and even toads!

My first official pet was a blonde and white guinea pig.
I named him "Whiskers".
I think I was about eight years old.
He was my pride and joy and I loved and cared for him like there was no tomorrow.
Apparently, there was no tomorrow... Whiskers developed several serious tumors about his throat and my Dad had to "put him out of his misery". I was absolutely devastated.
It was my first experience with the death of someone close to me, and I still vividly remember my Mum and Dad consoling me afterwards.
My parents were very sympathetic and understanding, yet pragmatic at the same time.

In the years since, I have experienced many aspects of the animal world.
For several years I worked with horses and during that time, I have observed the miracle of foals being born, as well as the trauma of horses being put down due to illness or injury.

When I was an idealistic eighteen year old, I had my favourite horse die with his head in my lap.
It was during my first working summer when I was a counselor/riding instructor at a local riding academy.
A truckload of horses had recently been purchased to augment the existing string of lesson mounts. One giant, gangly horse in particular, whom I named "Caesar Augustus", became my special friend. "Gus" was a generous soul who gave all he could into the work that was demanded of him.
He was the butt of several jokes by some of the other instructors, as he was rather clumsy and odd looking, but he had wrapped himself firmly about my heart.
As the days went by, I couldn't help but notice that he continued to become more and more dull and listless. I could see that he was not thriving - I saw that he was dying.
No one appeared to have the same desire as I to help this creature who was totally dependent upon us.
I did all I could during his last hours - including inciting the wrath of my employers.
It was a "business", after all...
I was reprimanded for using a "good" horse blanket to cover Gus during his last sweating and quaking hours.
As well, I was informed that I should not raise the ire of the younger campers by bringing the event to their attention.
It was a "business", after all...

In the years since, I have lived, learned and come to realise the importance of animals in my life. I have never been without a household "pet".
I no longer work with animals, because of the fact that they lose their "humanness" in the name of industry. It's not that I have any bad feelings toward those who do, I just don't have the heart for it. Sometimes I wish that I did.
If that was the case, I would still be working with animals...

A long time ago I made a conscious decision to keep my love of horses as a hobby, so I could enjoy them to a greater extent. In my case, the decision was a wise one.
At the moment, I have other responsibilities that supersede my horses and I have put that lifestyle upon "the back burner".
Once my children are older and on their own, I will return.

My own horse, "Red", who is out to pasture in the literal sense, is aging.
He is going on twenty-seven years old and he has been my buddy for eighteen years.
We have been on many adventures together and I was once in the position where I had to trust Red with my life - and he came through.
I know that one day I will receive the message that I should come to collect his remains.
Believe it or not, I have his "plot" picked out!
My good friend owns a farm and she has a place where she has buried her old horse who was once a good buddy of Red's. In fact, they were "corral-mates" for several years.
My horse's place is next to his.

My family now consists of "Red" the horse, "Spoons" and "Chicken Nugget" the goldfish, "Henrietta" the guinea pig, "Scat" the cat and "Murphy" the golden retriever.

Oh... And I have to remember that I also have a husband and three children!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

"HAPPY TO BE SAD" (BITTERSWEET)

It has been a wonderful Christmas with my family!

Mum and Dad were here all the way from Montreal.
We don't get to see them very much, because we live so far away and it is easier for the two of them to fly in to see us, than the five of us to travel there.

I have just bid my farewell to the folks and I'm feeling that happy-kind-of-sad.
They are wonderful parents and both of them are such kind, generous, and considerate souls.
I love them very much.

We are now home safe and sound after a three hour drive to the airport through some rather adverse weather.
It is always a relief to settle in at home after a long road trip.


POOH! Like Rachel, I have been having trouble posting photos, too.
I have a PC.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

THE SKIER'S PRAYER


I tried to post a photo earlier today, but Blogger decided that it was not going to happen.
Maybe it's the same problem that Rachel is having. I've had no trouble so far, except if a photo is saved in "Paint", it won't upload.

I tried again and, lo and behold, there it is!
It's a photo of the base of the ski hill today.
A bit dark and threatening snow...

We are, again, hoping for more snow. We haven't had any since two weeks ago and the ski hill needs more. It is a bit sketchy at the summit and only one run from the top is open. If we don't get more snow quickly, that run will deteriorate from all the skier traffic it has to maintain.

Snow is forecast for this week, but the temperatures are supposed to rise, as well. I hope that doesn't mean that unmentionable four-letter "R" word.
Although, if it happens here in the valley, it will often fall as snow at higher altitudes. I am going to keep my fingers crossed that the temperature remains below freezing and the clouds moving in unload lots of the white stuff upon us!!

I will pray for snow...

Monday, December 19, 2005

SKIING, SOAKING and STAFF PARTIES


The weekend was very busy.
I took the two girls and a friend up to the ski hill on Saturday morning. Our son stayed behind to go to work with his dad.

I almost forgot to bring my skis!
As it turned out, I did forget my ski boots...
No worries, the ski rental shop had a complimentary pair that I was able to use. They weren't as comfortable as mine, but they worked and we had a good day on the hill.
My older daughter and her friend disappeared as soon as we got there - no being seen snowboarding with Mum!
My younger daughter and I took a warm up run down below. It was COLD!
The sky was as clear as a bell, with not a single sign of a cloud. The sky was a deep blue, complimenting the thick layer of snow on the trees.
I had heard there was a bit of an inversion, where the air temperature is warmer at a higher altitude, so we headed straight up to the summit for our next run.
It was cold riding the three lifts to get there, but we were rewarded. It was about ten degrees warmer at the top. We stopped in at the summit hut and shared a large chocolate chip cookie and a cup of hot cocoa.
The views were spectacular, a real view of one thousand peaks, to be sure!
After warming up, we headed back downhill. The snow was nice and easy to ski.
On the way, we met up with one of my friends. My daughter headed all the way back to the bottom to go play on the bunny hill and my friend and I headed back up for another run in the sun!
By the time we reached the bottom, it was time for me to gather the kids and head home back down the mountain.

My husband and I packed for overnight. I had to pack lots, because I'm a girl...
Well, I had to bring all my makeup, good clothes, bathing suit and another change of clothes.
I brought a duffel bag, my husband had his stuff in a grocery bag...
Doesn't that say it all?

Our eldest looked after her two younger siblings. It was her first overnighter. They all did great!
I rented "The Fabulous Four" and "The Polar Express" for them to watch, so that helped keep everyone occupied before bed.

Our soak in the hot springs was delicious! The air was cold and the snow lay all about. The water was hot and steamy.
What a wonderful way to end the day!
But, it wasn't over yet...

We met in the hotel dining room for cocktails, followed by a great meal of roast beef, ham and all the fixings!
After dinner we carried on with music, dancing and a game of poker!
It was after midnight when we made our way back to our luxurious room.
In the morning we met in the dining room for a big buffet breakfast. The spread was marvelous.

We got home just before noon.
The rest of the day was spent watching Christmas shows on TV.
We had pizza in the living room for dinner before going to bed.

What a nice weekend!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

MY FAVOURITE MOUNTAIN


This is a photo of Mount Assiniboine in the Canadian Rockies. The credit for the photo goes to Russ Heinl.
Although, I do wish that I could say it was I who took the picture!!

One of the things that I found interesting, is that I can see this mountain from both of my favourite ski destinations.
It can be seen from the east at a resort in Alberta and is also viewed from an entirely different direction at the resort where ski here at home.
The two resorts are almost one hundred miles apart!

We call Mount Assiniboine "the Matterhorn of the Rockies" because of its triangular shape, similar to that of the famous mountain in the Swiss Alps. The shape is not quite as evident in this particular photo, though.
We can also catch a glimpse of the mountain on the road through the national park toward Banff. If one knows when and where to look, it shows itself briefly among some other peaks along the way.
Some day I will hike in to this wild and spectacular place!

Today we are heading up skiing after breakfast.
In order to be back down the mountain in time, we are going to leave earlier than usual and miss the apres ski with all our friends.
Once the three kids are organised and ready for the night, with supper arranged, along with entertainment in the form of two movies, my husband and I are heading to my staff Christmas Party.
It is being held at a nearby resort with natural hot springs in which to soak. It will be a welcome respite after a day on the slopes!
Then on to dinner and entertainment.
We are so looking forward to it!

I am hoping to be able to "poke my head in the door" of Molly's chat room before I leave for the evening!

Friday, December 16, 2005

CREATIVE BLOGGING

Here is another photo of our tree that I took at the same time as the previous one. It is a bit crooked and it looks as though the poor little thing is about to fall over!

I had to do a bit of thinking as to how I was going to post a photo in the first place.
In the end, I borrowed the digital camera from work, brought it home, took the pictures, brought it back to work the next day, downloaded the images to the computer there, then e-mailed them back to myself on my own computer, saved them and then uploaded them to blogger.
How's that for getting creative?

Here's a little footnote to my "bare my soul" post from yesterday -
I just reread it and I hope it doesn't make me appear a raging alcoholic! LOL

It didn't get nearly that far. It was a bit of an early wakeup call for me, that's all, and I learned some interesting things from the experience.
Again, I was one of the lucky ones who was able to get out before it was too late.

Today is day three of my make-over!
So far so good...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

FEELING BETTER (about myself)


This is a photo of one of my favourite couples! I would also like to consider them friends.
They have brought to me music, wonder and even a little intrigue.
As artists who are in the public eye, they have managed to remain "normal" - from my point of view...
They help make me feel happy!

Now, to change the subject entirely...

I think I am going through that middle age mother thing.
I am beginning to spread around my own middle - oh, Lord help me! I admit it.
In recent months I feel as though I have been "letting myself go". I have gained more than a few pounds - and I don't mean the UK equivalent to our dollar! Ten pounds, to be exact.
And then there are the ten pounds I gained over the two previous years...
I have been fortunate enough to look younger than my years over the course of my life. I believe that comes from having a positive outlook and a healthy, active lifestyle.

The past year though, I have been staying home more and more. Therefore, not allowing myself to breathe fresh air, exercise my body, or feed my soul.
Financial matters have become worse, although I know they will improve in the long run.
That can be a huge strain on one's well-being.

I have begun a bit of a self make-over recently.
I have managed to cut back on my alcohol consumption considerably.
I was going through denial of what was happening in my life.
"Let the alcohol take care of my troubles..."
Before long the alcohol itself becomes trouble - I am no idiot and I know full well what I was doing.

I now feel much better, both psychologically and physiologically.
The troubles are still there, but I am able to meet them head on and I am dealing with them.

It has, in actuality, been a very interesting experience. I can now see how and why one may be easily drawn in to alcoholism.
My eyes have been opened and my mind has taken recognition.
I am very lucky.

I will now bare my soul with an excerpt from a piece that I wrote to myself several months ago:


" Why am I writing this? Why the need to change, if my life is good? I believe I can do better and be a better person. I have slipped into a lifestyle that is not productive and potentially destructive. During the past year, I became overwhelmed and I began to avoid facing day-to-day life. My own expectations of myself grew to unreasonable proportions and I figuratively jumped ship.

And I landed smack in the middle of a wine bottle...

To be honest, it is not a bad place to be - some of the time. That is the reason I ended up there. I could simply wrap myself in the state of euphoria the bottle had to offer and muffle the world around me. Unfortunately, that state does not exist forever and the little things I was attempting to ignore piled up in front of me. By the time I slowly opened my eyes again, those little things had grown into a mountain.

It was a short dive back into that warm, fuzzy bottle...

The odd thing about what was happening was that I knew what I was doing. It was not as though I had no choice. I walked into this with open eyes and my head held high. I take full responsibility for my fallen star. I also take full responsibility for my education.

No event in life is for naught. There is a reason for every happening, no matter how great or insignificant in appearance. Every moment has its threads that create a web for the fabric of our lives that radiate from us, moving out to become our lifetime. I discovered that there is no particular point that one can define as "the" moment, for they are all woven together to create a whole that is constantly shifting and changing. I found myself searching for that elusive point at which to alter my direction.

An apparent lesson in futility that washed ashore in yet another empty bottle..."


It has been an undulating road since, but I believe I have been successful in my endeavour!

I do not regret the experience.
It is part of my life and has helped to mould who I am.
It is something that I will bring with me for the rest of my days and, most importantly, I have learned from it.

I will now apply that lesson to help create a simple, healthy diet and an exercise routine for me.

My challenge to myself is to lose twenty pounds by July 2006 - and have fun doing it!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"CLEMENTINE"


This is our Christmas tree!

My nine-year old son christened her "Clementine".
My kids had a go and decorated the dear thing...
Oh, we so love the Christmas Season!!

That is my fifteen-year old daughter lying on the couch beside the tree - watching TV.

Our house is very small and has an open area concept, which is good. If we had walls, it would appear even smaller!

If you look closely near the top right hand corner of the photo, there is a sketch of Pete Townshend that I did a couple of years ago. Below it is a sketch of Keith Moon. I am quite proud of the drawings.
I wish I had more time for my artwork...

People chuckle about the fact that I have portraits of "The Who" on the same wall as the school portraits of my children!
It has to be that way, due to the lack of wall space...

That's my excuse anyway.

Monday, December 12, 2005

MOLLY'S CHAT ROOM


This is a photo of mountain biking in our "backyard".
I no longer do downhill riding - I'd rather watch.
Much safer.
I broke my ribs and wound up with very large boo-boos after a fall riding down a trail at the ski hill.
So, I stick to cross-country now...
Much fun!

I attended Molly's chat room last evening while waiting for supper after skiing. I have never been in a chat before and found it a bit intimidating at first.
How was I to follow all those conversations??
I was with friends, though, and they helped guide me.
Although I was not able to see the Basement Jam on my computer, it was fun none-the-less!

Thanks to all of you for the chat!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

BANFF IN MY HEART


This is a photo of Cascade Mountain in Banff, Alberta, Canada.
At sunrise.

Banff is my favourite town. I have been to many places in Canada and this place has a special hold over me.
I settled in the area in the 1980's. I was merely driving through on my way from Vancouver to attend university in Ontario to study for my teaching degree.
I made it no further than Banff.

Having been there many times previously as a visitor, the place held a certain attraction.
It is difficult to explain, but it was like a magnet.
The earth there had a draw both physically and spiritually for me.
It was a place where I felt entirely at home - where I belonged.
And it still is...

I grew into the person I am while living and working in Banff.
In the years before, I felt that I had been waiting for... something.
I had been soul searching.
In the mountains I became reborn.

I met kindred spirits with a love for the great peaks and valleys and the adventures they offered.
While I worked there, I also skied, hiked, camped, rode horseback, lived, loved and gave birth to my oldest child.

Although I now live an hour's drive away - west through the mountains, in a valley no less beautiful - I cannot pass by Banff without being drawn in.
I might pause for lunch, take a walk or simply drive down Main Street on my way.

I cannot pass without saying Hello and Thank You.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

SKIING DAY ONE


Sunrise over the Rockies.

Yesterday was opening day at our local ski resort, as many of you know!!

Like I haven't spoken of it for weeks now...

The day was grand.
We woke up to snow falling, but that soon turned into a clear, sunny day. The temperature hung at about -10 C. Perfect!

I rose early and went about my regular morning chores, as well as making sure all our ski equipment and clothing were all in order.
Skis, boots, poles, snowboard, hats, neck warmers, mitts, goggles, helmets and a bag packed with extra hats, neck warmers, mitts, goggles...

After breakfast, I dropped the two younger ones at elementary school. My older daughter came into town with me to catch the bus up to the hill and I went to work just down the street from the bus stop. Half an hour later my daughter showed up at my work. The bus had not arrived.
Oh....

A quick scramble ensued, but it all worked out with my daughter catching a ride with my friend who had room in her vehicle. I was to meet them up there later.
I worked till noon and on my way home picked up my younger kids from school. We quickly got ready and out the door. We stopped for some fast food on the way.
Fast food used to be cheap...

The drive to the hill was beautiful. The sun was shining and the scenery a winter spectacle along the way.
When we arrived we unloaded the van and loaded ourselves with the equipment then went to organise our lockers. As season pass holders, we have the opportunity to rent lockers for the season. Very handy.

It was like deja vu...
All the regulars in the locker room, getting our boots and helmets on, chasing the kids down and making sure of that last visit to the bathroom...
My kids had so much fun. My son, the cautious mini-genius, had a great time, too.
Last year, by the end of the season he refused to ski. He was screaming and in tears on the hill. Poor little fellow. We encouraged him throughout the off-season, but not too much. We want him to ski, but it has to be his idea. We want him to want to.
A usual run is led by my younger daughter, followed by me - keeping an eye on her and waiting for my son. By the end of the day he was laughing and beating us to the bottom!
That was reward enough for me!

My last run was on my own. The kids waited at the bottom for me. While riding the lift up, I saw my two friends and managed to time it right to meet them. We took a ride further up the mountain and had an excellent, if not leg-burning, run back down to the bottom.
All three of my kids met us there.
We ended the afternoon with a drink of pop in the bar where we reunited with many or our other ski friends. We regaled each other with stories of our travels and adventures from the past summer.

Our drive back down the mountain was beautiful.
It was dark, the moon was rising over the crest of the dark bulk of the mountains with the evening star complimenting its glow.

We are decorating our Christmas tree this morning, then heading back up for another fun afternoon in the snow and the sun.

I will attempt to post a photo of our tree next week.

Friday, December 09, 2005

THIS IS IT!


This is what we skiied today.

The weather, the snow, the company, the hill, the skiing - all perfection!!!

The fog is the snow making in action.

Adios until tomorrow...

LIFT OFF!!

We're off to the lifts today!

I hear the snow is great.
I'll tell you all about it later!

Yodeladedo!!!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

ONE!


REMEMBERING JOHN LENNON...

John was the first rock star I fell in love with.

There have only been two since - Keith Moon (RIP) and Pete Townshend.
Only one of those stars is still alive...
And kicking butt, to boot!

John was a gentle soul who rallied for peace, harmony and humanity.
In an ironic twist of brutal and calculated fate, he was brought down violently.
He died of several gunshot wounds to the chest from point blank range in front of his New York City apartment exactly twenty-five years ago.

God Rest Your Soul, John.
I will remember you forever...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

TWO!


This photo is a view of the base of the mountain from one of the bottom runs.

Friday is going to be a big day!

Most of the high school kids will be taking that day off to go skiing/boarding on opening day.
I'm quite strict about my children attending school, but opening day happens only once a year!
My older daughter will be going up to the hill first thing in the morning, therefore missing the entire school day!

I am working that morning, but taking the afternoon off.
As soon as I'm done about noon, I will be flying home to change. The elementary school gets out at 12:30 on Fridays, so I'm picking up the two younger ones and we're all off to the slopes for the rest of the afternoon!

Only in ski country...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

THREE!

I am working at home today.
Cold outside! It was -22 degrees C when I woke up. Oh, Brrrrrr...
The sun is shining, the sky is a deep, clear blue and frost has taken a firm hold round the window panes.
Our Christmas tree is up and we will decorate it this evening in front of the fire.

I hope it warms up a bit before Friday...

Monday, December 05, 2005

FOUR!

It's Monday morning before sunrise (as usual).
The snow is falling! Again!
The temperature dropped to only -12 C last night.

I am sorry for those who were not able to get a decent feed for Rachel's show. I know that Matt Kent did the best he could. Experiments don't always work out first try...

I am happy for those who were able to be a part of the audience at the studio!
What fun they must have had!
And what a talented cast they were lucky enough to see!
I'm looking forward to checking their blogs later on today...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

FIVE

In exactly one week it will be my third day on the hill!

Yippee!

COLD, SNOWY SUNDAY

Today is Rachel and Petes' Basement Jam being held at Pete's Oceanic Studio in London, UK.
Some of my lucky blogger friends are going to attend!
I won't be able to be there, of course, and I am not able to watch it on my computer.
I will do my best to be in Molly's chatroom with the others who are able to watch.
I hope my silly old computer will let me! I am having trouble printing out Chapter Twelve of Pete's novella this morning. I will try again later.
Here's wishing everything goes well for the performers, the audience and those watching on their computers!
What an amazing event Pete and Rachel are so kind to present! It's free, to boot!

This morning has dawned clear, crisp and cold. The temperature dropped to -21 C over night.
It is a very lovely sight.
Now that the sun is ingniting the eastern sky, the beauty of our valley is greeting me.
Tree boughs are draped in a thick mantle of virgin white snow.
Mountain peaks are cast in the pink alpenglow of sunrise.
The air is crisp and clear with woodsmoke from neighbouring chimneys rising in sharp contrast to the sky.
The landscape is a velvet white carpet.

My, I am waxing poetic this fine, cold morning!

This afternoon we are going to see the little Santa Claus parade in town. We will be dressing in our woollies, snowsuits with our Sorels on our feet. I will pack a thermos full of hot cocoa, too.
After the parade we are going to buy our Christmas tree. Out with the decorations this afternoon!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

SMOOTH LEGS

Well, I finally did it.
I found out how long my leg hairs grow in three weeks!
All I can say is, I am glad I am blonde!

Ahhh, to have silky-feeling, nicely moisturized legs again...

SIX MORE DAYS!!!

PLAYING WITH TEMPLATES

All I wanted to do was create some links!
Now my blog looks like it's had a major make-over.
I made some changes back to what it was and previewed it - looks OK.
But when I bring up my blog, it still looks awful...
So, maybe I'll need to post something for the change back to show up.

Here goes!

Well, it looks no better.

I'll wait a day...

Friday, December 02, 2005

FUNNY BRITISH SAYINGS

It's a cock up...

I'll run you over...

or I'll knock you up...

The telly is the TV, not the telephone...

I could think of more, but I'm out of time.

ONE MORE WEEK!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

PANORAMA!

I can't believe it!
I am finally able to post a photo!

This is a picture of our local ski hill taken yesterday.
It shows the front side of the resort, but there is much more back country terrain over the summit. Some of the back areas are not lift-serviced, so skiers and riders have to boot pack - take off their skis or boards and hike in...
There are more serviced runs to the left and to the right around the shoulder of the mountain.

The snow has been falling here for a few days and it looks like we might have a great opening day.
The snow continued all last night and most of today. Forecasters have reported that more of the good stuff is on the way!

I am keeping my fingers crossed!

BACK TO WORK

Nine more days left and, so far, it's looking great.
It is still snowing! We have close to twelve inches piled up already.
Yipee!!!

I'm back to work today - I'd get hunted down if I didn't show up!
It's pay day and I'm the one who does up payroll...

Not much too exciting going on right now.
I have to fold the laundry, make lunches, put the dishes away, wake everyone up for breakfast and, then off to school and work.

In the snow...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TUESDAY and TEN DAYS LEFT...

This day is not my particular favourite...

But, today I don't mind at all, because it turns out that I don't have to go into work.

Now I can get all my household jobs done. You know, those scattered little items that collect in a corner, get ignored, yet continue to pile up...

I never seem to have enough time in a day to complete all that needs to be done.
Although, I am a stickler for having time for myself. That time usually happens about 8 or 9 p.m. when I crash after a long day.
Or at 5:00 in the morning when I get up.

One of the resolutions that I made at the beginning of this year was to always stay on top of what needs doing and not to fall behind.
It's been better this year than others, but I'm still a bit behind...

I am the only one who can remedy that!
The old saying that 50% of the work is done as soon as the job is started is very true.

The temperature dropped to -15 degrees C last night and it's snowing again!!!

I am listening to The Moody Blues singing "Tuesday".

Monday, November 28, 2005

ELEVEN

It snowed some more last night!

This must be a recent record for this time of year, as the past few seasons have been rather sketchy.
Let's hope this is "the one"!

I am preparing for school and for work this morning as I write this.
It's still dark outside and the odd flake is still drifting down.

Beth was up much of the night with a terrible cough and I think I will keep her in from school today, as she really is quite sick. I know she will not want to stay home, because she wants to see all her friends, but I am afraid that might be the best thing for her. One more day of rest.
Poor dear.

The younger kids and I took a walk up to the store on the highway yesterday afternoon. We towed the toboggan along with us and on the way back I was able to give the kids rides because it's downhill all the way home. That means it's uphill to get there...
The snowplough was duly "booed" as it rattled past us!

The Edmonton Eskimos won the Grey Cup.
I was hoping that the Montreal Allouettes would take it.

In four more days there will be only one week left till the ski hill opens!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I LOVE SUNDAYS, TOO!

Only TWELVE more days...

I was just reading Rachel's blog and she was mentioning how she loves her Sundays.
It reminded me of how much I love this day, as well.

It is early on a Sunday morning right now. Everyone is still asleep and I am preparing for the day.
The snow is continuing to fall gently around us. Six inches was delivered overnight!
I have my coffee in hand. The house is still warm, although I have yet to light the fire in the woodstove. The animals are lying about, happy and content. So is my family...

Jenny had a friend sleep over, so they are bunked out on the floor of her bedroom. Oh, to be eight years old again...
Poor Beth is suffering from a bad cough and a cold.
Bobby is cosy in his bed, too.

It won't be long before the entire house is stirring and the daily activities begin.
I picture sled tracks and snowmen in the yard, hot cocoa on the stove and wet boots with snow suits drying before the fire.
I believe that pancakes and bacon are on the menu for breakfast.

George was out late last night jamming with the boys.
I see the van is not home, but George and his guitars are...
I am glad that, if he had a few beers, he had the sense to leave the vehicle and walk home. We live in a very small town, so no place is too far to walk.
I'm glad that it wasn't me packing around that big and heavy bass guitar!

The Grey Cup is scheduled to kick off at 4:00 p.m. today.
Although I am no armchair sports person, it can be a good excuse for a change in routine.
My home team is playing, so that will make it a bit more interesting for me.

The kids have all woken up and are watching a movie.
And arguing...

Here's to the day!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

PATIENCE

THIRTEEN more days until the ski hill opens.

It snowed last night.
But not nearly enough.
I checked out the webcam at the top of the Champagne Express chair lift and there doesn't appear to be much snow there.
But, what does a photo show anyway?

At the moment, I am downloading an Adobe Acrobat Reader update. Looks like it's going to take almost two hours.
Blast this slow dial-up internet system!
I swear, once we have all our back bills paid, I will be upgrading my entire computer system! That also will include converting to high-speed internet access.

I am unable to download and print Chapter Eleven of The Boy Who Heard Music until this update is complete.

So, I wait for many things...

Friday, November 25, 2005

MISSING RACHEL

TWO MORE WEEKS...

As many of you are aware, Rachel webcast her last "In The Attic" on Wednesday.
Although I was not able to watch her show on a regular basis, I enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in a small way.
What a novel idea she had!
Trust that idea to come to life from the girlfriend of the likes of Pete Townshend! That man continues to keep me in awe of his work.
I will miss the leads up to her weekly appearance, the friendly, fun and informative show itself, and the comments during and following her presentation.
This has been an amazing journey for me - the eternal Computer and Internet cynic - and it has opened my eyes to the wonders of this medium.
This has been a perfect example of the good that can be derived from global communication.
It has been a typical win/win situation...
Rachel and her guests have benefited by being put "out there" and being heard.
Pete has utilised this same technology to launch his novella.
We, as fans, readers and dedicated souls, have gained new insights and friendships throughout.
Not to mention the fact that we have benefited from the music downloads and we have the opportunity to read Pete's writing hot off the press!

To Rachel and Pete, I send my sincere love and thanks!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

INVERTED

Fifteen more days!

And we are stuck in a weather inversion...

It has been almost two weeks since this low valley cloud settled in.
This is not the cloud that brings precipitation. It is the low fog that sits between the mountains and hangs over our heads delivering nothing but late sunrise and early darkness.
The wind is calm. The temperature hugs the freezing mark.

"Please, bring on the wind. Blow the valleys clear of haze.
Bring on the flakes! Ones of snow, that fill our days!"

We need snow...
Please!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

COUNT ME IN!

Sixteen more days!

Today I will be doing my best to be creative in answer to a songwriting challenge.
I am no poet, nor am I anything close to being a composer. I hardly know how to read music!
But I love to write...

My song will likely be very simple. The title we have been given is one that could take us anywhere.
Or not - as the subject indicates.
A couple of hints there!

Pete Townshend graced PTfan's blog with a comment yesterday!
I am so envious, but my happiness for her completely and absolutely outweighs those pangs of envy!
PTfan deserves it. She is lovely and sweet and such a dedicated fan.

I am looking forward to taking up the pen - I hear it is mightier than the sword...
And having fun!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Seventeen more days until the ski hill opens!

FIFTEEN YEARS

I gave birth to my oldest child in the year nineteen ninety.
My daughter was the best thing to have ever happened to me. She was beautiful and she was definitely the apple of my eye.
She still is.

From when I first became pregnant I was forced to go it alone. My boyfriend wanted nothing to do with me nor the baby.
I will never say it was easy.
I had to respect his decision and, therefore, he mine.

My doctors had previously indicated that I would never be able to have children of my own, so when I discovered that I was with child, I was ecstatic with joy.
To me it was no less than a miracle!
I was thirty-three and well aware of the very loud ticking emanating from my biological clock.

After my little girl was born, I realised how she helped create so much more purpose to my life.

Since then, I was able to further my education, resulting in a love for the work I do.
We have settled into a wonderful community in a beautiful valley in the mountains.
Twelve years ago we met a wonderful man with whom we now share our lives.
We have been blessed with two more lovely children since.

We are now in the presence of a teenager...
Where did my lovely little girl go?
I know she is in there somewhere!

At the moment, our lives are a rollercoaster.
An undulating mix of love, worry, anger and any other emotion that can be tossed in for good measure.
I am a firm believer in Karma - or call it what you like.
Yin and Yang, what goes around comes around, payback time...

We can only trust that deep inside she has learned the lessons that we have shown her.
That she really understands that we love her and that we want her to be happy, healthy, safe and successful.
This is the proverbial "cutting of the apron strings".
We have to let her go.
But at the same time she will know there is a loving, caring, safe and comfortable place to come home to.

Much can happen in fifteen years...

It is a lifetime for our beautiful daughter.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

COUNTDOWN

Only NINETEEN more days till the ski hill opens to the public.
It is open now to the Swiss and Canadian national ski teams for pre-season training.

My husband has just cranked his Marshall amp and is practicing on his Fender Strat.
I can't hear myself type....

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Friday, November 18, 2005

THE SEEKER

There is a force within that gives you life-

Seek that.

In your body there lies a priceless jewel-

Seek that.

Oh, wandering Sufi,

if you are in search of the greatest treasure,

don't look outside,

Look within, and seek That.

-Djalal ad-Din Rumi

TWENTY-ONE...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

TWENTY-TWO MORE DAYS...

HAIRY LEGS

Today I would like to broach the subject of leg-shaving.

I have been diligently shaving off my leg hairs since I was a teenager. My regular bathing routine includes shaving my legs at least once a week - whether they need it or not...
I might add, that this trend also includes shaving off armpit hair.
Where did this ridiculous fashion trend begin?

In this past century, something has happened within the marketing industry where women have wound up falling into large fashion traps.
We are made to believe that we have to keep up with the unreasonable looks of the "women" in magazines, on television and yes, even movies and music videos.
Indeed, smooth and soft skin is nice to look at and pleasant to touch.
Personally, I like the look of my freshly smooth-shaven legs, especially after applying a lovely moisturizing lotion.

I have no idea how long my leg hairs actually are!
My challenge to myself is to find out the length of those pesky little hairs...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

TWENTY THREE MORE DAYS...

PEACE and CONTENTMENT

It is another grey November day with a hefty sprinkle of white thrown in for good measure.
Snow fell the other evening and it has remained cold, so the landscape is still like winter.
Sunlight is gently kissing the white peaks of the mountains as the sun slowly climbs above the trees on the eastern horizon.
Clouds are striated against the backdrop of the Purcell Range across the lake.
Ice is beginning to form in thin patches over the black of the water.

I am at home.
The children have gone to school.
George is at work.
Now and then the guinea pig pokes her head above her cage to see what I am doing - curious little thing, our Henrietta is!
Murphy, the "burr" dog is curled on the matt by the door. She spent the other day frolicking in a twenty-acre field of brambles and nettles...
Scat the cat is sprawled, blissful, on his back - warm in front of the fire.
Spoons and Chicken Nugget, the goldfish, are swimming...

The day begins.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

AND STRANGE...

That one is for "PTfan"!

This was going to be titled "The Countdown"...

Only twenty-four more days until the ski hill opens for the season!!!!

This time of year is always one of anticipation.
November can be such a grey, dreary month.
All the outdoor activities have to be put on hold for a while.
It is too cold to mountain bike, but not cold enough to go skating yet.
There are no leaves on the trees and the ones on the ground rattle about like lost soldiers.
It is our last chance for gathering.
We need wood for the woodstove to keep us warm during the next few months, canned goods to see us through until we have fresh fruit and vegetables again, dried pastas for energy and we stock up the freezer with baking and home cooked meals, so that coming home from work is that much easier.
The early evenings are dark.
We hunker down in front of the fire, catch up on homework, read to the kids and maybe watch some TV.
Or blog.

And wait...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

COBWEBS

It was a late night...

The benefit for our friend went off without a hitch.
The dinner, that consisted of the juciest, tenderest roast beef on homemade buns, was a hit. The beef was accompanied by a crisp caesar salad and a variety of desserts. There was a cash bar and fresh cappuccino coffee to drink.
The music was a treat, as well. There are so many local artists willing to share their voices and their music.
The hall was overflowing with people, love and good cheer. There was the odd tear shed, as well.
The live and silent auctions were well met, too. The auctioneer is a local coffee shop owner, so he was able to cast out a few one-liners to several of the bidders.
At last count, which was done early in the evening, the total funds raised had reached $25,000.00, but that total did not include door entrance nor the cash bar.
It was good to see old friends again. Many of them we know from our skiing community, so talk of getting in those first turns was the usual topic of conversation.
Toward the end of the evening, the steadfast boyfriend of our fallen comrade made an eloquent (if not slightly drunken...) speech. He also read a note that she sent to all of us from her hospital bed. The words were full of hope and sights set to the future.
We ate, drank and danced till well after midnight.

Today is a quiet day while we clear our heads after the fun we had last night.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

ANTIQUES and LIVING LEGENDS

A couple of weeks ago, I had a close-enough-for-me brush with a legend-in-his-own-time!

We live in a very small lakeside resort town in the Rocky Mountains. Not too much happens here, except that it can become very busy during the summer and on holidays. That is when the seasonal homeowners and tourists descend upon our valley.
We have been known to have our share of "famous" visitors, as well.
I work in a slightly larger centre, ten minutes away, with a population of slightly under five thousand souls. Main street is barely one-half km long...
Although the town is small, it is the business centre for the surrounding area about the valley.

We are located approximately one hour's drive from the internationally renowned resort town of Banff. That journey from here to there through the mountains and two national parks is a treat in itself!
Most people, if not familiar with, have at least heard of Banff. It is a beautiful mountain town. I know this firsthand, because I lived and worked there for several years before settling here. While living in the Banff area, I had several encounters with different "stars".
All in a days work...

Three weeks ago The Rolling Stones played a concert in Calgary, the nearest large city to us. It is about three hour's drive away and one must drive by Banff in order to get there.
Alas, we were unable to purchase tickets, as they were sold out within a matter of minutes.

One day, shortly before Halloween, one of the fellows I work with commented upon a group of people walking down Main Street. Their look was slightly out of place and the comment given was somewhat along the lines of "early Halloween, is it?".
I gave it no more thought after I watched them enter the antiques store next door.

Two weeks later, as I was reading the weekly local newspaper, an article caught my eye. It was about how a local antiques dealer was curious as to the identity of some customers who had visited his store. Upon further investigation later in the day, he discovered that the mysterious visitors were indeed Ron Wood, guitarist from The Rolling Stones, and his small entourage!
They had inquired about an antique tea chest and were discussing how to ship it back to London. In the end, they did not purchase the piece, but thanked the store owner and left as quietly and unassumingly as they had arrived.

The interesting part of this, from my personal point of view, is I have a blogging friend, Rachel Fuller. She is a sweet, funny, lively and talented singer/songwriter and musician.
She also happens to be the girlfriend of Pete Townshend...
(You may of heard of him - "My Generation", "Won't Get Fooled Again", "Baba O'Reily", "Who Are You" - yes! That guy).
Rachel is also friends with Ron Wood and his wife, Jo.

It is a small world, indeed...

Friday, November 11, 2005

MY FAVOURITE POEM

IN FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae


As a post- script to the above poem I will add a short story regarding a discussion with my nine year old son.
Yesterday morning, before school and the ensuing Remembrance Day assembly, he asked me where the money for the poppy pins goes. (There are donation boxes in all the local retail outlets).
I told him that the money goes to the Canadian Legion, an organisation for Canadian war veterans.
Another item we touched upon was that the current membership of the Canadian Legion is decreasing, because members are simply dying of old age.
"This is good thing", I explained and asked him if he knew why.
To a young boy, people dying cannot possibly be a good thing...
Of course not, it never is.
But, when it involves membership to an organisation consisting of war veterans, it can be.

It means that we are so very lucky to be living in this time of peace.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

AIRPORTS and WAITING ROOMS

On our journey to and from Fiji last summer, we spent many hours in many airports.
(My husband and I were travelling with our three children).
Due to the recent tightening of airport security, we had to instruct our three on "customs etiquette".
The journey went smoothly and the flights were relatively uneventful.

Just recently, while we were waiting in the office at the medical clinic, our eight year old daughter was busy playing with the toys. While we were still waiting, she came and sat by me.

A moment or two later she looked at me and stated, "This is just like the airport, Mum. Except in here we can say the word BOMB...".

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"SPRING FEVER"

The above is the name given to an event being held in our town this Saturday.
It is a benefit and dinner and dance being held in the local community hall to help support our friend and her family.
They are in a great time of need, because she was very seriously injured in a mountain biking accident this past August.
In a fall from her bike she broke three vertebrae in her neck, partially severing her spinal cord. This resulted in her being paralysed from her neck down.
Since then, after several surgeries and intense physiotherapy, she has reclaimed limited movement of her arms and hands. She is also able to breathe and eat on her own.
But, she has a very long road ahead of her...

The outpouring of kindness and generosity that our community has displayed is overwhelming. Even from my healthy point of view.
She has friends looking after her business, her children are being cared for, a bank account has been set up in her name to receive all the monetary donations from so many individuals and several other benefits already been held in her name.
My family and I will be attending the big benefit this weekend.

We have our own amazing story of an act of kindness and trust.

My husband has been helping to build a house in a very ritzy location up at the local ski hill - on the golf course. The neighbouring new house was just recently inhabited by its owners who were holding a garage sale to rid themselves of excess "junk" that they had no room for.
My husband was checking the items out when he inquired about a guitar case he noticed in the corner. The owner then told him it was a guitar that someone gave him twenty odd years ago. Being a non-guitarist, he had never removed it from the case!
George asked him what the fellow thought it was worth and if he would sell it to him.
After a day or two, the fellow came back and said, "You know that girl in town who was injured? I'll tell you what. I will give you the guitar if you make a donation in her name for what you think it's worth."
Of course, George said, "Yes!".
We checked out the serial number and looked it up on the Internet. Then we checked E-Bay for a dollar amount on that particular model.

We now owe a donation of $300.00 and are the owners of a (never-been-played) 1987-88 black Fender Strat...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

BOOM, BANG...

YAY!
Back up again.

I'm becoming a blogoholic...

CRASH

My computer is down. Blast!
Thank goodness I can use the one at work on my lunch break. As long as no one else needs it.
I just check my blog from here.
It should be up and running (stumbling) in another day.

Oh, the virtues of technology...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

CHICKEN!

Firstly, I have this annoying habit of typing in the title of my post, then hitting ENTER...
Then I have to go back and edit the post in order to say what I have to say!

Once more, this is an early morning post. It is the hour when I have time for myself to have my coffee and muse without interruption.
I awoke, looked out the window and, to my surprise, was met by a glittering winter paradise.
There is a thin blanket of snow covering the landscape and the snow is still falling. It is slowly becoming light and the world is changing gradually to black and white.
Silently.

I have a recipe that I thought I would like to share.
The idea has come from fellow blogger, Adam. The guy who feels threatened by forests!...
Like Adam, I feel food is to be shared and recipes, too.
The following was a family favourite while I was growing up and I have continued the tradition with my own husband and children.
The recipe is very easy and certainly very tasty:


GARLIC CHICKEN WINGS

5 lbs. chicken wings
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic - crushed (or as many cloves you think you can handle!)

Combine brown sugar, soy sauce & garlic.
Place chicken wings in shallow pan or oven-proof dish & coat with sauce mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees F for approx. 1 1/2 hours until sauce thickens basting occasionally.
The wings may be served as a main course. They go very well with any white rice.
They can also be served as an appetiser - just have handy the napkins or serviettes or whatever you call them wherever you live...
When served as an appetiser, they go very well with sliced fresh veggies and dip.

"Bonus recipe..."

GARLIC VEGGIE DIP

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried dillweed

Mix above ingredients thoroughly. Let sit in refridgerator for 1 hour.
Dip veggies & enjoy!
*NOTE: The measurings of sugar, garlic & dill may be adjusted to your own tastes.


The kids are awake and have just discovered the fresh snow!

Friday, November 04, 2005

RACHEL AT WORK and TO SWEAR OR NOT TO SWEAR

Yesterday I was able to watch more of "In The Attic" live than I ever have!
The feed came through on the computer at work crisp and clear.
While I was watching the first half-hour or so, a few of my co-workers came through and checked out what was playing.
"COOL", they all commented, but I'm sure a certain few were just trying to humour me, knowing what a great fan of "The Who" (whoever they are...) I am.
But, before I knew it bosses and everyone were all looking over my shoulder at the screen, quite enthralled, with directions, "Make the screen bigger!".
My "boss" who is really a friend as well (she and her brothers own the small business), told me that if I didn't show up for work one day, she is going to look Rachel and Pete up, sure to find me there in London!
Is it really that noticeable??

Apparently we missed the juicy part of the show...

From what I understand, Pete called a group of people a certain bad word and that is when the sparks began to fly!
As I scrolled through the comments later in the day I caught the jist of what had taken place.
I am hoping that viewers took it all in the way it was presented - tongue in cheek.
We have to remember, this is Pete Townshend - the middle class boy from Shepherds Bush, Acton, Ealing or wherever...
(I have not got my London suburbs all figured out, having never been there).
It was just this attitude that attracted me to The Who in the first place! It was the potty- mouthed, unpredictable, hot tempered group of hooligans that, combined, could make this most amazing music - not to mention put on a great show!
When I was older I realised there had to be some brains behind it all...

I grew up in a household where the rule was "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". That included everything from one simple swear word to a distasteful comment.
They were words to live by, especially while around my Mum and Dad, but there is much truth to them.
As an adult I can choose whether to swear or not and, yes, I've been known to come out with quite a mouthful! But I know the difference...
As a parent I have to be careful what I say because I am my children's number one role model. My children, at this point, do not have that choice.
If I bring them up in a "swearless" household, they will learn to express themselves without having to use profanity. I am not shielding them from the big, bad world out there, either. They have heard the words and know them. But they are learning the difference...
When they grow up they will know what is appropriate and will have been brought up with that ability to choose.

And, when the situation requires, maintain their dignity...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

FROST on the PUMPKIN

The pumpkins are outside and there is frost on them...

We left our jack-o-lanterns out, like we usually do, after Halloween. (Not lit up, of course). I hate to throw them away after just one night.

That's the thrifty part of me coming out.
I was brought up with the philosophy of "waste not, want not" and it is a very good philosophy - it works. Mostly...
I will keep the tiniest scrap of paper (grocery lists), any waste paper from work that was only used on one side (colouring for the kids or printer paper for rough work on the computer), cardboard boxes (build "cars" for the kids and/or kindling for the fire), newspaper (kindling for the fire), zip lock baggies (I actually wash them out and re-use them!), plastic grocery bags (to carry absolutely anything, liners for garbage cans), etc.

We recycle as much as possible, too.
There is a recycle bag for bags, a bag for plastic containers (eg. yogurt, household cleaners, shampoo) , a bag for styrofoam (now there's a big one we could do without), a bag for cardboard food boxes and the list goes on...
When a bag is full, we simply take it to the recycle bin at the same time we take the garbage.
We don't have the luxury of garbage pickup included in our taxes. We could pay to have it done by a private company, but we choose to do it ourselves. It all ends up in the same place.
During the colder months we burn as much as possible (and as is healthy) in our woodstove.
The only thing that we don't have at this time is a composter, which is the next thing on our list.

I have asked Santa Claus for one...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

ADAM BURGERS and SNOWSUITS

Hey, we tried a fellow blogger,Adam's recipe for "Elvis Burgers" last night.
They were a hit!
I have been searching about for a good hamburger recipe that will not bore my family to death. I think this is it! I picked up the recipe from his blog.

It got really cold last night & the snow that fell is pretty crunchy at the moment. I've got the woodstove lit, so it's pretty cosy in here now.
Jenny is so funny! She busied herself last night getting out all the snowsuits, hats, mitts & boots in order to play in the snow this morning. She has them all layed out neatly ready to go.

Now I'm off to greet the day!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

IT'S SNOWING!

This is good news if one is an avid skier!
It is rather early in the season - maybe too early to make any difference, but it's "dumping" at the ski hill!
George is up there right now building a house and he has had to work in the snowy conditions for the last two days. Long underwear, heavy jacket, gloves and a hat have are his work partners at the moment.
We live only a two-hour drive north of the 49th parallel, so our living conditions are far from "arctic"! We would have to travel much farther north and cross the 60th parallel to find those severe type of conditions.
That said, we are looking forward to a snowy winter - hopefully...
The past few seasons have been pretty sketchy - very little snowfall and too much ice. Thank goodness for snowmaking machines! Right now there are some international ski teams doing their pre-season training.
I LOVE snow.
Whether it's here in the valley where we have to shovel it, or up in the peaks where we have to ski it...

We will be saying the skiers' prayer tonight!

CHAOS and CANDY

Yesterday, to say the least, was somewhat hectic.
I dropped the two youngest kids off at school on my way to work. There was a stack of papers waiting for me in my "in" basket, but that I don't mind. The more work the better, but it is month-end so the push is on to complete everything.
Over my lunch break I went to see the doctor about an unusual irritated skin spot on my face. As it turns out, it is a squalor cell carcinoma, a non-malignant type of skin cancer. A little bit scary, I must say...
In order to have it removed I have to see a (get this) plastic surgeon. Due to its location on the bridge of my nose it will require certain amount of skill and care during removal. I am certain that it's from being sunburned while skiing - I can see the pattern from my sunglasses around the top of the spot. From now on I will have to apply sunscreen more often while I am on the hill, especially in springtime.
The plastic surgeon whom I have to see practices about 1 1/2 hour's drive away in the town where I lived for several years. My oldest child was born there. My husband will come with me for the procedure. At this time I am not quite certain what it entails, but I think it's a fairly simple one.
On the bright side, it's a beautiful drive crossing the mountains and driving through two national parks!

That is not the end of it all.
It was Halloween last night and I was very busy helping the kids do homework, carve pumpkins, get costumes ready and see that our candy and decorations were all in order.

In the meantime, I received telephone calls from the high school regarding my older daughter missing classes. We have been through this before and it has been discussed at length with the guilty party. Apparently she insists.
I feel very strongly about my children receiving a decent education and I am adamant about attending class on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, the ultimatum that had been presented to her previously was not enough. We have been forced to take the drastic measure of revoking her current seasons pass to the ski hill.
I feel utterly sad and completely helpless (useless might be a better word).

On a brighter note, the other children had a great time trick-or-treating with Dad!
(I would love to have gone along, but I had the letter to the auditor to complete and properly compose. It's done and will be sent away today).
The candy is piled high! There is no hope in heaven that we will be able to eat (and maintain our good health) all of it!
I so enjoy watching the children grow and have so much fun!

What is it that when a girl reaches that teen age they morph into someone/something else?
What happened to the fun little girl that I used to know?
I hope she is in there somewhere....

I cried myself to sleep last night...

On the bright side, it is times like this that I DON'T want a drink.
It is the furthest thing from my mind.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

HOPE I LIVE and LOVE BEFORE I GROW OLDER!

The credit for the title of this post goes to Johanna in Vista!

But of course, the original idea goes back to a song that was written 40 years ago by a mutual "friend"!

It is early Sunday morning.
The house is quiet.
It is still dark outside.
Orion is pulsing silently in the southern pre-dawn sky.
Everyone is asleep.
All except me, Henrietta (guinea pig), Spoons & Chicken Nugget (goldfish).
This is the best part of the day!

I have my coffee & I'm making plans for the rest of the day.

Although it is Sunday, I have much work to do.
I have to go over the remainder of the books to edit any errors the auditor made. Our business was recently audited by Revenue Canada & they have come up with strange income that they have indicated we owe income tax on. Of course they did! They want all the taxes they can get, as well as make the audit worth their while. I have found many audit errors that I can back up with a paper trail, so that will all go into my response letter to the government.
It is just so time consuming.

I will not fret. I cannot put it off. I will simply do what has to be done.

We have closed the business down. The decision was made & steps were taken before hearing from the government. That has in no way contributed to the decision.
We had been considering it for some time now.
George's first concern was his health. All that auto body dust, paint & chemicals are not good for one's system.
We came to the agreement after our holiday in Fiji. Our heads were clear & we were both on the same page about it for the first time.
In the same moment, George was accepted an excellent postition working for some friends with their construction company. He is now foreman of a jobsite & working outdoors building multi-million dollar timber-frame homes at the ski resort.
The pieces all fell together to create a perfect picture.
It is a good thing.
Similarly, I was offered more hours at work, which I accepted. I miss being able to get all the household work done & having the time for myself, but we need the extra income.
Bottom line.

We have all had to adjust, but isn't that one of the things we, as humans, do best?
Adaptation has brought us to where we are in our evolution.
Oh dear, that is about as far as I'm going to go with that one! My, how I could go on...

"The kids are alright"!
They seem to have the ability to take everything in stride. They are happy, healthy & well-adjusted. The trials for them in a day are:
What activity will I do?
Who will I play with?
What is for breakfast, lunch & supper?
Do I really have to do my chores?
etc.

I am happy that I am continuing on my journey in the Land of Non. I took a short jaunt off the path on Friday evening by having a few glasses of wine & sharing a beer with George. It was a jaunt taken quite on purpose to see what the outcome would feel like.
I learned that as far as having a drink, I can take it or leave it.
I will leave it.

I want to live for today which, of course, is all I CAN do.
This moment of this day is only here now & only here once.

I will love & live it all to the best of my ability!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

ATTACK of the CHEESE PUFFS

I am trying to eat healther, but a craving keeps rearing it's ugly head.
They are oh, so good! Those little puffy, cheesy snacks that are loaded with everything bad & not one single thing good for me...
I can swallow a whole bag of them (one at a time, that is) in one sitting!
Will this become my new habit/addiction to replace my evening cocktail?

One for another...

Cheese Puffs Anonymous!

Friday, October 28, 2005

PRAYERS

I don't think of myself as a particularly religious person, but I am vey spriritual.

My upbringing was during the post-war baby boom in a middle class family in a suburban neighbourhood of a relatively large city. Nothing outstanding in that.
We attended our local Protestant church. I went to Sunday School, sang in the youth choir with my younger siblings & attended all the church functions. Those are happy memories.
Many of the things I learned there I have brought with me & practiced into adulthood. Well...practiced to the best of my earthly human ability.

But, there are other learnings I have recognised in myself & I know not where they come from.
A deep-seated knowledge. Akin to a wisdom that is just with me.

I believe in God & I believe in The Messiahs - God's teachers here on earth (there are many, depending upon which religion you practice). For all I know, we are all sent here to teach someone something from God!
I am not attempting to bring up a discussion about the various religions that abound within humanity. That subject is far to distant from my own limited knowledge of the world to even broach.
My thoughts this morning are that if I have nothing left in the world, I know there is something that no one or nothing can take away.
That is my power to pray & be heard.
The entity that/who hears me, I don't know for sure. But I believe I meet God or Allah or Jesus or Jehovah or Bono or Pete or Ikapikapoo... every day.

I have much to be thankful for:

My wonderful children & husband.
My fabulous extended family.
My great friends - real & cyber.
My health & happiness, as well as that of my family.
My passions & my love for life.
My home.
My work & coworkers
My mountains.
My animals.

I, once more, will begin saying my prayers every day.
This is my prayer for the day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

DEVASTATION, but only in my mind


This is a photo of the slipper I wore during Rachel's 6th episode of "In The Attic".

I missed the show...

Due to the age of my computer, slow dial-up Internet & other things that can & will go wrong with technology, I was unable to see it. I could hear it in bits & pieces, then it kicked me out. Over & over again.
I attempted a conversation during the show on Ballerinagurl's chat room. That didn't even work. My computer kicked me out of that.
(I really wasn't trying to be rude by leaping in & then disappearing without saying goodbye to all! Please accept my apologies!)

Is someone/thing trying to tell me something?

I'll chalk it up to a lesson in patience. Not much else I can do...

Believe me, I was there in spirit!
Can anyone fill me in on what happened during the show?
Any juicy tidbits?
Any good songs? (of course there were good songs...)
What is Matt like?
Were Mikey, Pete & Simon all there?
Any surprise cameos?
What did the set look like?
Did Pete show up in his jammies?
Was Matt wearing jammies?
Did Rachel have her "question & answer time"?
Anything????

Maybe I can sneak-a-peak at work tomorrow when no one is looking...

(It's a Polar bear foot all the way from Canada!)

Good Night & Love to All!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

BOBBY and ME


This is a photo we took with our webcam this evening. Beth showed me how to use it.
As the title indicates, this is my 9 year old son, Bobby & me.

ROUTINE

We are working on getting back into our daily routine now that school is back in swing. It's difficult to maintain that balance when everything gets thrown out of whack. We stuck to a schedule as much as possible during the strike, but it wasn't the same.
George & I had to go to work everyday, leaving our oldest to look after her 2 younger siblings. It was tough on all. Even if we had the means & wanted to get the kids into daycare, it would have been impossible. All the daycares were at capacity because of no school.
The kids have to get used to doing homework on a regualar basis again. I'm sure they will have more of it in order to catch up on the curriculum that they all missed. We will have to help them.

Routine is important in order for me to get done all the things that need doing each day. I get up at 5:00 a.m. & begin my day. I make lunches, fold laundry, do my excercises & get the kids' school things & clothes ready. Because I am more of a morning person, I like to make the lunches at that time. I tend to fade too much in the evening no matter what time I get up. I like evenings for family time. We always have family dinner together, then get last bits of homework & reading done & maybe watch a couple of prime time shows on TV.

Today I am feeling better, but not 100%. I've got this nagging feeling that I sometimes get, as if something is not quite right. But I can fix that. I will do an attitude adjustment & enjoy my day at work. I'll have lots to do because I missed yesterday.

I am behind on lots of household books, too. I have to balance the checkbooks, open the mail, do the payables & go over the auditors papers to look for errors. George has closed down his business, so I will have to get that all in order. I wish there were more hours in the day! I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. That is more than likely what is "wrong".
The only way to combat that, is to get cracking & just do it. It's a mind-set.

So, I will say goodbye to cyberspace & get on with my routine!

Monday, October 24, 2005

WEATHER FORCAST

Today I'm feeling a bit under the weather.
I stayed home from work & napped a lot of the day.
I simply hate not feeling well. I am so poor at it. If I could, I'd feel over the moon every day, but that is so not possible!

The day has been a rather pensive one.
I have arrived in the Land of Non ahead of schedule.
When in Rome do as the Romans so, as of today, I am a non-drinker - one week ahead of time.
Will the ride be bumpy? I don't know. I guess it all "depends upon my dependency."
Am I all that dependent? I don't know. "Mother's little helper" can be devious.
Can I be even more devious in return? I hope so.

It is entirely up to me to decide what the answers will be...


The good news is, the teacher strike is over!
My children are back in school getting the education they deserve.
Halleluia!

It's been mighty quiet at home today...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

THE LAND OF NON

Well, here goes...
As of November 1, 2005 I will no longer drink alcohol.
I don't consume much compared to the next guy, but I feel it is too much for me personally.
Therefore, along with Rachel & her fellow vice-ridden bloggers, I will be making the pilgrimmage to the LAND of NON (non-smokers & non-drinkers, that is).
Rachel & her smoking friends will have a more difficult time kicking their habit, but we all have our demons to face regardless of what our vice or habit is.
Superamanda posed the challenge & there are quite a number of us who will be taking it up. We are setting goals for ourselves & using each other as support. It just might be fun.
Today I went & bought a $130.00 pair of running shoes. That might be the most money I have ever spent on sensible footwear. (My riding boots & ski boots cost more than that, of course, but they don't count!)
My left hip has been bothering me since we arrived back from Fiji in August, so I need a good, sturdy pair of support shoes. Now I will be able to spring my way around the neighbourhood.
The plan is to begin walking then gradually work up to a walk/jog, then jog/run, etc. I will incorporate my regular set of stretches & abs excercises into my routine.
Wish me luck.

Friday, October 21, 2005

BANGS vs FRINGE vs TIME

I call them bangs - Rachel calls them a fringe. Plural vs singular.
I like fringe much better.

I am forced to call mine BANGS right now. I cut them too short & I look pretty geeky.
I have the type of looks that need all the help they can get - short, geeky bangs are not help!
Hair grows, thank goodness...
Horses are given "bang tails" when the tail hairs are trimmed straight & evenly across the bottom in order to look neat & fashionable. No such thing as a "fringe tail".
Bangs are hard. A fringe is soft.

Oh, bloody h*ll, I cut my hair too short.

Thanks to those who posted comments on my blog! I appreciate it & it was fun reading.
I will continue working on my sketching, Mikey. I know that I do need incentive & inspiration, both of which can run low when I find myself as busy as I am now. Sometimes I just need a push from somewhere unexpected.

And the ability to create the time.

Isn't it amazing how flexible time can be?
Time can pass slowly or quickly, we can fill it up or whittle it away, we can stretch it or compress it, it can disappear or be in our face, we can use it wisely or not, we can create the time or use it as an excuse to avoid getting things done.
Next time, last time, in time, out of time, make time, lose time, on time, late...

My fringe will grow.
Just give it time.

FEELING SORRY (for myself)

I'm feeling left out because no one comments on my blog!

I've been blogging to Rachel for some time now & in all that time there have been only 3 visitors who have left messages. Thank You!
I must appear boring or the like.

Yes, I am a Canadian, a mum, a hard worker (at home & at my place of employment) & I love animals & the outdoors (horses, dogs, guinea pigs, camping, skiing, mountain biking, etc.). Does all of that qualify me for "boredom"?

No, I have not done anything globally noteworthy.
I cannot play the guitar or the piano, nor can I sing very well. I have no acting experience, unless you consider the role of The King of Hearts in an operetta that the church choir performed when I was 13. (I did have 2 solo songs to sing). I have no great inventions, save those little ones that make life easier in my home.
No astro nor nuclear physics Nobel Peace Prize.

I am a ski instructor, a horseback riding instructor & I am teaching my 3 children the ways of the world as they grow.
I am smart.
I can sketch & am working on developing a portfolio. I LOVE to sketch - it takes me away...
I also love to write!

I would be tickled pink to receive even a small note from Rachel or Pete... Just so I know that they know I am here.
However, I will not hold my breath. My own life is too important to me than to lose it over the computer talking with artists who have very little time & everyone else wanting a piece of them!

I am comfortable in my own skin & in my own life. I have a wonderful husband & super children. I am very, very lucky!
So, please don't get me wrong. I'm not living for this blog.
But a note from someone nice would be nice...

I've said my piece. Now on to enjoy the day!
It's Friday!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

BUSTED and RANDSOM

I caught about 30 minutes of Rachel on WhoTV yesterday during my lunch break. I then noticed a yellow sticky-note on the computer "THIS COMPUTER IS FOR WORK APPLICATIONS ONLY. NOT FOR PRIVATE USE".
Busted!
It felt like "1984's" Thought Police, although it really isn't. I have enough seniority that if I actually asked or said something it would be OK.
It was the insecure child part of me thinking that if I did really ask I'd be leaving the door open for a "no" answer. Now isn't THAT silly!

I am getting very fed up with the teacher strike. My children are being kept hostage in this situation. I realise that the teachers have a point or two, but I don't agree with blackmail tactics that unions utilise. Furthermore, it is an illegal strike, because teachers in BC have been deemed an "essential service". Striking is not permitted.
All I can say is, that once an agreement is reached, my children had better shine at school & receive an even better education than before this bloody strike!!!

Monday, October 17, 2005

MONDAY BLUES...PURPLES...BLACKS...

Here I sit at my computer (again - but I guess this is the only way I can make a post) musing over the past day. It has been quite the one.
I only had about 3 hours sleep on account of my teenage daughter & her friend (sleeping over) deciding to sneak out the window to party with the boys. My mother's 6th sense told me something was up, so when I checked on them only to find the window open & screen askew, I was not surprised. Hey, I was 15 once...
I almost wish I had not discovered it, because it quite cut into my sleep. But really, I'm glad I did catch them (red-handed coming back in the window). I was lying in wait. I don't want this to become a habit. The reason I had a curfew for them was because my daughter had to look after her younger brother & sister today. The bloody teacher strike is still on. In a way, I do blame the strike, because it was what influenced my choice to let them have a sleep-over.
I will leave it at that.

I spent a stressful day at work. The kids were calling with all sorts of complaints, rumours of battles & conflicts, etc. Difficult to deal with over the phone at work. Not to mention the fact that I am working more hours each day 5 days/week instead of less hours only 3 days/week. I will just have to adapt.

I am so envious of my fellow bloggers who are on Rachel's guest list for her gig tomorrow evening in London. I am happy for them, too! What an experience. I will be shouting along with them in my heart. Will have to listen to Rachel's CD all day...

We ordered Chinese food for dinner tonight. I simply did not feel like having to cook.
I did split my fair share of firewood, though. It's good exercise & nice to be in the fresh air, even though it's been raining all day & soggy outside.

Happy Birthday, Mum! We gave her a call this evening.

I will say my prayers tonight.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

SUNDAY and FIREWOOD

I am sitting here at the computer when there is a payload of other things that I should be doing. (I just cooked up a big breakfast of Eggs Benedict, pan fries, bacon, sausage, etc.) The dishes are not completely done yet, the vacuuming has yet to be started (I have to do the window screens, too, because of the cottonwood fluff stuck in them), both bathrooms need cleaning, & there is a giant pile of firewood in the backyard that needs splitting & stacking.
I think I'll begin with finishing the dishes then tackle the stack of wood. I need a bit of exercise & some fresh air.
It's Sunday, but certainly not a day of rest for us...

The teachers are still on strike, so I believe it will be another day home for the kids. That really sucks - they should be at school getting their education!
Just my luck that I have more hours at work to deal with, as well. I hate leaving them all at home without me being there. At least Beth is old enough to deal with the 2 younger ones. She is a real life-saver! Apparently the local daycares are all booked to overflowing because of the strike. We are lucky that we don't have to depend on outside childcare.

Nothing more wild or intelligent to say on this fall Sunday...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

RACHEL AND INVENTIONS

The main purpose of my creating this site was in answer to Rachel Fuller's blog. I wanted to post with new-found friends who are also interested in her and her music. It has been quite an adventure! There are so many more voices out there celebrating Rachel and her music than there were when she first created her own blog a few months ago.
Rachel has proved herself a sincere artist, singer, songwriter, as well as an individual with a wonderful sense of humour and an enthusiastic love for what she lives and does - my kind of girl!

It was through Pete Townshend that I first became aware of Rachel. She helped Pete with the music in the radio production of his long-awaited "Lifehouse". Although I have not heard the final version, I have read the book - it is very much Pete.
I am loathe to call myself a "fan" of Pete Townshend - it is a word that does not properly define my admiration for him. Rather it simplifies it, which is not how I feel - he deserves much more than "fandom" from my point of view. I may have been a "fan" during my teenage years while listening the The Who, but it has evolved in many ways in the years since.

I was very curious about Rachel because of my views of Pete and his work. I knew that she had to be a force to be reckoned with if she was to consider herself Pete's equal. Rachel has more than fit the bill by coming across as the loving, confident, fun and humourous person that she is. As well, she has brought with her all those human qualities that Pete holds so dear.

I am neither sycophant nor fan, nor am I a "psycho-fan"!
I am simply an individual who has heard the boy's music most of my life and through that music, to my surprise, I discovered a soul similar to mine. As a result I discovered Rachel, and in her, the girl who makes music!


And now for something completely different...
I have just discovered the greatest invention since Velcro!

Stretch Denim!

Yesterday I bought two pairs of jeans - apparently, the first pairs in years. Now I know how my daughter and her friends can sport about in jeans that look like they have been painted on. I often wondered how they ever got them on, let alone sit down in them...
My new jeans are so comfortable that I don't want to take them off. This is coming from someone who can't wait to put their pyjamas on after getting home from work!

Where have I been? This is big news!

Is there anything else out there that I should be aware of?...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

SPRING AND INFINITY

I have not had a recent update on how our friend, Spring is doing but, "no news is good news". She is presently in hospital with no feeling in her arms or legs after a freak mountain bike accident. It happened about 5 weeks ago & the prognosis is rather bleak. We have all been praying for her & her family (she is a single mother of 2 teenaged children).
She had her accident at the same mountain bike clinic where I broke my ribs 2 years ago (it could just as easily have been me... ). This has put a bit of a scare into the majority of my friends who enjoy this particular sport. Since my own accident, I have been riding VERY carefully.
This weekend there is a golf tournament with the proceeds going into the trust fund that was set up by a local bank. We are very lucky to live in the small, kind community that we do.
In November there is another larger benefit to be held at the town hall.

On to lighter subjects - today is another baking day for me. I will be making bagels & brownies. My husband & kids love to find the treats hidden in their lunches. I am not working today, so I might as well earn my keep!

We buried poor little Alexandria on Monday - the 2 younger ones held a "funeral" for her in the forest. Alex was our wee mouse who passed away of natural causes at the ripe old age of one year. The kids are now busy saving money to buy a couple of fish, but not to replace the mouse. They have wanted pet fish for quite some time.

It is a beautiful autumn day, even though it has been raining most of the night & throughout most of the day. The colours are wonderful this year, although nothing like the brilliant reds & oranges of the maple trees in the East. But still, the yellows & golds of the aspen & tamarack are a sight to behold. I have lit a fire in the woodstove & I am going about my day in the cosy warmth of my home.

Last night I began reading "Infinity. The Quest to Think the Unthinkable". It is pretty powerful stuff & amazing to think that the idea of infinity can be found between the numbers 1 & 2... It is all mathematical using the number sequence 1,1/2,1/4,1/8,1/16,1/32... By adding up those numbers, one will never reach 2.
It is quite astounding that the principle of infinity is mathematical, yet it appeals to both thought & spirituality, as well.

Pete Townshend, you open my mind ever further...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

PETE'S NOVELLA

It has been an interesting morning. Between doing the household chores & reading "The Boy Who Heard Music" I've been kept rather busy.
Pete continues to be amazing! He is honest, genuine, courageous & so generous with his work. With his honesty comes an innocence, as well - I can sincerely appreciate that. True to his visionary genius, he is creating a great story.
I can only remain in awe & continue reading & look forward to his future posts.

Rachel is a darling, too...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

ON PARADISE

Recently we took a "trip of a lifetime". After a 31-hour journey/adventure (door-to-door) with our 3 children, our entire immediate & extended family met on a private resort island in the South Pacific. There were Grandma & Grandpa, brothers & sisters, in-laws, aunts, uncles & cousins. We took over the island!

It was an experience we will always remember. Having lived all our lives in North America where we have 4 distinct seasons, it was an interesting difference that we were all able to appreciate.

Also, it was fun explaining how we left on August 4th & arrived there on August 6th, after only one day. (We are planning a celebration on August 5th, 2006 in honour of the day we missed this year!) What was even more interesting was that we left at 6:00 pm & arrived home at 2:00 pm on the afternoon before the evening we left... (Oh, how I love time travel. And we don't even require warp-speed technology!)

We plan on returning to our tropical paradise some day after the children have flown the nest.

Thanks again, Mum & Dad!