Friday, December 21, 2007



The Heights and Depths One Will Go to Find a Christmas Tree...

Love to You All!

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays

and

All the Best for the Year 2008!

Love Dale

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I don't have time
My cat's in heat
The kids are gone for now
Most gifts are wrapped
The boy cats are too young
My van is out of gas

i still love christmas...
i still love christmas..

i still love christmas....

I Still Love

Christmas!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I am midnight...



You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit.
You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.


Very apt, I'd say, except for the fact that, in life, I am a morning person.
I am an early riser and I am the most productive during the first half of any given day.
...but, I do enjoy the darkness of the nighttime hours.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Battle

The above video is of Sunday afternoon's Slalom race. This shot took several tries - as the skiers flew by so fast, it was difficult to capture them. I am not sure what country this skier is from. She had a decent time, but did not make the podium. These girls are the best in the world!

Denise Karbon from Italy won the Giant Slalom and Marlies Schild of Austria took home the gold in the Slalom event. No Canadians made the podium and homegirl, Christina, took a fall at the top of the GS course and did not finish.

None-the-less, it was a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The World at War (post 1)

This weekend our home ski resort is hosting the Women's Alpine World Cup event, where the best women skiers in the world will be battling it out for ultimate supremacy on the snow.
Olympian competitor, Christina Lustenberger, who was born and raised here in the valley, is fighting under the Canadian banner along with several of her teammates.
The Giant Slalom race will be held on Saturday, followed by the medal ceremony that evening in town, coinciding with our yearly Christmas Light-Up.

The next day's Slalom competition should be quite exciting, as the course is set up on a very tricky descent.
(Interestingly enough, we have skied those very slopes many times over the years and we are familiar with every curve, dip, pitch and roll along the way!)

Jenny and her Grade 5 class will be singing our National Anthem at the opening ceremonies early Saturday morning and we will be there to join in the song and cheer!
We had previously volunteered to help out with the race, but apparently they had enough regular help, therefore our resources were not needed.
Now we can observe the skirmish of skill and speed first hand from alongside the course!

If any of you want to see the race, I believe it will be televised world-wide over several networks.
You might just see us cheering our girls through the gates from behind front lines...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Preparation for Battle (post 2)

On the march.

The battlefield.


The above photo was originally taken upside down, as the placard was on the seat in front of me on the bleachers. A bit of computer photo magic, et Voila!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Front Lines (post 3)

I was thrilled that my camera was able to capture these moments so well!

When the helicopter was at its zenith over the ceremony, I nearly fell over from vertigo! I am terribly afraid of heights and we were standing on the top seat of the bleachers. I could not believe I was able to catch the fireworks, as well. They came as a complete surprise.

Jenny is in the group of children singing in the front. At this point, the National Anthem was being sung in French.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Favourite Poem

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.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

McCrae's "In Flanders Fields" remains to this day one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915. Here is the story of the making of that poem:
Although he had been a doctor for years and had served in the South African War, it was impossible to get used to the suffering, the screams, and the blood here, and Major John McCrae had seen and heard enough in his dressing station to last him a lifetime.

As a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, Major McCrae, who had joined the McGill faculty in 1900 after graduating from the University of Toronto, had spent seventeen days treating injured men -- Canadians, British, Indians, French, and Germans -- in the Ypres salient.

It had been an ordeal that he had hardly thought possible. McCrae later wrote of it:

"I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days... Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done."

One death particularly affected McCrae. A young friend and former student, Lieut. Alexis Helmer of Ottawa, had been killed by a shell burst on 2 May 1915. Lieutenant Helmer was buried later that day in the little cemetery outside McCrae's dressing station, and McCrae had performed the funeral ceremony in the absence of the chaplain.

The next day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the dressing station beside the Canal de l'Yser, just a few hundred yards north of Ypres, McCrae vented his anguish by composing a poem. The major was no stranger to writing, having authored several medical texts besides dabbling in poetry.

In the nearby cemetery, McCrae could see the wild poppies that sprang up in the ditches in that part of Europe, and he spent twenty minutes of precious rest time scribbling fifteen lines of verse in a notebook.

A young soldier watched him write it. Cyril Allinson, a twenty-two year old sergeant-major, was delivering mail that day when he spotted McCrae. The major looked up as Allinson approached, then went on writing while the sergeant-major stood there quietly. "His face was very tired but calm as we wrote," Allinson recalled. "He looked around from time to time, his eyes straying to Helmer's grave."

When McCrae finished five minutes later, he took his mail from Allinson and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the young NCO. Allinson was moved by what he read:

"The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene."

In fact, it was very nearly not published. Dissatisfied with it, McCrae tossed the poem away, but a fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Skiing for the Holy Grail



If there is anything as elusive as the Holy Grail, it's the alpine ski racer's dream to be at the top of the podium while proudly sporting a gold medal.
If not that, at least the dream of being draped with a silver or a bronze...
This year's Women's World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom is being hosted by Panorama Mountain Village - my home ski resort.
I am a course crew volunteer and, in preparation for the races, I will be on my skis next weekend, and again the following weekend for the actual World Cup race event itself.
WoooHooo!


Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Look up, way up...




Saturday, November 03, 2007

You Are 20% Left Brained, 80% Right Brained...

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy and sports.

Are You Right or Left Brained?

http://www.blogthings.com/areyourightorleftbrainedquiz/

Friday, November 02, 2007

Serendipity

I'm looking for the mushrooms.
They must be here somewhere.
There's been quite enough crap...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh...deer



I took this photo of a little four-pointer from our front window this morning.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Yes, The Phoenix



There is a certain beauty to the aftermath of a forest fire...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Watery Eyes

Val!
My copy arrived in the post!
I am now the proud bearer of your esteemed autograph.
Oh, and not to mention, the owner of your brand new book...
Water Ways is now resting upon my bedstand - beckoning.
I cannot wait to delve into those pages and drift into your life on the canals.
But not until I wipe away the tears...

Thank You

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ghost in My Mind

1. How old do you think you'll be when you die?
Much much older.

2. How will you die?
Not very carefully.

3. What will your last words be?
I should have been more careful...

4. What will your epitaph read?
"She hadn’t a care in the world."

5. Any parts of your body you wouldn't donate?
Yes.

6. What song will be played at your funeral?
"I Am An Animal".

7. Cremated, buried or "other"?
"A love born once, must soon be born again.
A spark that burned and died,
Leaving cinders to be fanned by the wind and thrown to flame.
Flames, like tongues, impassioned in a moment’s burst…"

8. If you could take one thing with you to the "next life", what would it be?
My sense of humour. Oh, and yes, my sketch book and a pencil - no eraser. (I know that's more than one...)

9. If you could take one person with you, whether they like it or not, who would it be?
Red.

10. Supposing they existed, do you think you'd end up in heaven or hell?
The suburbs.

11. If you could haunt any one place, where would it be?
My Grandma’s old farmhouse.

12. If you could haunt any one person, who would it be?
Eugene, are you there?

13. What type of ghost would you be?
Wispy – like mist on a zephyr.

14. You've been given the chance to send one message back to the land of the living. What does it say?
I’d do it all over again!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Decadence and Dude Ponies

Bobby and Jenny outside the front entrance of the five-star Lodge at Kananaskis in the beautiful Kananaskis River Valley.
We were just setting out to spend the day in Banff after visiting with Lesley on her last night before she went back to Toronto.


Bobby and Laredo.

Jenny and Walton.


Looking through Lefty's ears.


Front to back - our guide Troy, Bobby, Jenny and two Muslim women who were along for the ride, as well. We rode a one hour loop around the marsh in Banff. The weather was spectacular and the fall colours were brilliant!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

When All Was Said And Done




We were on holiday in Sandpoint, Idaho.
The latest bad news had already reached us.
A head count was taken.
All our children and loved ones were at hand - even the guilty.
But there was still time to enjoy the weekend we had planned.
What was done, was done and we had a deadline to keep.
So, why not all enjoy the time we had before returning?
This photo was taken in a wonderful, woodsy and tastefully decorated mall spanning the river Pack (not the most glamorous of names, but a name, none-the-less).
I will have to look up the history behind the moniker, one of these days...
We paused for tasty ice cream cones - of which I bolted with more enthusiasm than usual - then we took time for a photo shoot.
We also stopped to take in the local painter's art show - the talent is extaordinary in that valley.
We delved into a shop that boasted Persian rugs that were slung alongside Alpaca mittens and lambswool throws.
And the lovely butterfly kites that hung from the giant log rafters held Bob and Jen in amazement!
Although, I spent the day in a bit of a fog, it was a day well spent.
Thank goodness for our children.
They keep us grounded.
They keep us living for the small pleasures.
They keep in us the joys of our youth.
They keep us in mind of the future.
And, above all, they make us smile!



Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Happy Birthday


In memory of John Entwistle
October 9, 1944 - June 27, 2002

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Reflections


Thank You!
Each and every one of you are so incredibly sweet, caring and, not to forget, wise.
I am feeling better each day.
There are lessons to be learned from this, although I am sure not all have revealed themselves yet.
Time will tell many things - as well as heal our souls.
For that I am glad.
I remain with Gene at his home.
I have a space to store my belongings and a place to surround myself with some of my special treasures.
He has been patient, kind and loving through all these trials.
For all that I am glad.
Beth is here, too.
She needs to be with family, but she also needs to know she did something unacceptable.
Many people have spoken with her and I believe she is slowly realising the depth of it all.
For that I am glad.
I miss Bobby and Jenny very much, as they are still with their dad.
They will be there until I am settled - whichever way that is possible for me.
Their father has offered to buy my portion of the house and he, as a carpenter by trade, will fix it up and do what he wishes with the place.
For that I am glad.
My sister will be arriving from Toronto next Friday evening and the kids are coming to stay with us for a few days.
It's nice to have something to look forward to.
For that I am also glad.
Although my immediate family is slightly scattered for the moment, and my extended family is spread from one end of the globe to the other, Family endures.
We love and support each other despite the miles that sunder us.
For that I am always glad.
Although stricken from my home, I still have access to a computer.
I have been able to continue to compose my thoughts and use words to comfort me.
For me, the written word is a friend, whether I do the writing or the reading.
For that I continue to be glad.
At Christmas my entire Family will gather.
Beth, Bobby, Jenny and I are flying to Montreal, where Mum and Dad will meet us and we will drive to the family home on the shores of our lake in the Laurentian Mountains.
The place of my roots.
For that I am glad.
My brother and his sons, my sister, and my other brother with his wife and children from Australia will be there, too.
We will be spending several days over the Holidays at a cosy country auberge near Mont Tremblant.
Our leisure time will be occupied by world class skiing
dogsledding over the hills
roasting marshmallows over a towering bonfire
feasting on Holiday fare
sleigh rides winding through the trees
skating on the pond
lounging before a cosy fire in the sitting room
and sleeping beneath feather downs as the stars pulse through the cold outside our window.
For that I am glad.
We have our health.
We have our wisdom.
We have our aptitude.
We have our friends.
We have our love.
For that I am glad.

Next weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Trying To Make Sense Of It All


I am still trying to sort things out, both emotionally and physically.
At the moment I grieve deeply and can, at the least, simply be happy knowing my children are alive.
I might be hesitant to say well, due to the fact that I do not think any of us are doing well. We are merely coping.
My two younger children are with their dad and I miss them so very much.
I also miss my home, the cosy woodstove, the laughter, and the sunlight shining through the kitchen window.
Everyone at work has been very patient and understanding, even though I have been absent for several days.
Bobby has been having isuues at school, and past troublesome learning habits have, once more, reared their ugly heads. I must see that he is looked after.
Jenny is very resiliant, yet she is the one who carries the most anger over her dad's and my separation. Still, she is young enough to move on from day to day with the most ease of all.
Beth is with me. Where she needs to be. For now.
I am staying with my new partner in his home.
Most of my belongings are packed away in storage, but my two couches and some sitting room furniture are set up in an empty area of his room.
It looks quite homey, but I still feel out of place.
I need my own space - especially now.
As for Beth, I cannot forgive what has been done.
I love her, care for her, and will always wish the best for her.

I pray for Beth.
I pray for Bobby.
I pray for Jenny.
I pray for Gene.
(He has been so patient and kind through all this.)
I pray for George.

I pray for a simple Peace.

Happier Days

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lessons

I am grieving for many things right now.I grieve for Beth...She is moving to Victoria on Vancouver Island over Georgia Strait across from the city of Vancouver. Over the sea...She will be staying with a good friend of ours. Remembert the family we took in last year who lived in our camper in the backyard? They will be returning the favour. There is no place I'd rather her go to.Beth needs to get away and begin living her own life - far from the drugs and alcohol that run rampant through the group of "friends" she was hanging with.
I grieve for Bobby and Jenny...They saw the result of the damage - both the physical and the emotional. It was their home, too.Like I did, they left for a lovely weekend, only to return to shambles.Poor wee Jenny's bed is broken and her dresser is smashed, along with some of her china and glass birthday gifts.At least they are with their Dad for now.
I grieve for my own life now gone...My home has always been my castle and my refuge. My pride and my comfort.I don't even have a home now.
But just maybe...Something can be learned and somthing can be gained from all the sadness.George and I are now on better communication terms.
Beth is moving ahead with her life - as she should now. I will be selling my half of the house to George, so I can ultimately buy my own home. Bobby and Jenny will still be able to retun to their home and George is planning on fixing the damage and making improvements at the same time. Something that I was not able to do. There is a long road ahead for all of us. We have the opportunity to choose how we travel upon that road. I am still in the process of moving. It is difficult for me to be in the house, but it has to be done. I have moved most of the larger items of furniture. Today I will be packing my kitchen and both bathrooms. Tomorrow I will clean and make the house as comfortable as possible for Bobby, Jenny and George to return on the weekend. Once the house is prepared, I will perform a cleansing of the bad so the good may return. Juniper and sage.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Will Remember

Coffee in the morming sunshine.
A picnic by the Lake.
Sunset.
Thanksgiving dinner.
Children's laughter.
Moonlight.
Wearing a summer dress.
Hope...

Monday, September 17, 2007

There's a hole in my heart

...larger than the one in my front window.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Coffee in the morning sunshine.
A picnic by the creek.
Sunset.
Thanksgiving dinner.
Clouds.
White wine.
Skinny dipping at a deserted beach.
Brightly painted toenails.
Cold beer.
Moonlight.
A crackling fire on a snowy winter's eve.
Butterflies.
Children's laughter.
Catching snowflakes on my tongue.
Summer rain.
Walks along the lakeshore.
Daisies.
Skating on the pond.
Thunderstorms.
Egg salad sandwiches.
Music.
Lazy summer afternoons drifting on the lake.
Stargazing.
Wearing a summer dress.
A kiss.
Going barefoot.
Slipping between clean sheets.
A smile.

ASH


Charcoal on White

Saturday, September 08, 2007

8

1. I am blonde - no really.

2. I have four amazing children - one of whom my brother adopted.

3. I prefer individual as opposed to team sports - such as skiing and mountain biking.

4. I do not like sweets - but I love chocolate.

5. I have three cats, a guinea pig and a goldfish - all of them adopted.

6. I will not buy or build another house, unless it has at least two fireplaces - one of which will be in my bedroom.

7. I have a horse - that I did not adopt.

8. Life begins at Fifty?

Friday, September 07, 2007

oh

my kids are making pizza we just brought little miss fall fair to the fair one night before the fair so she could be judged its rainy and windy i just worked and lived the most challenging week of my life and i thought id already been there i was very sick one day and i thought id been taken over by the alien in me lurking behind the curtain of my unsheltered life we are discussing how it feels to be a bear who gets tranquilised and studied it seems we we have free ytv for the weekend and i have to work tomorrow but i fear life goes on through the amazing fall fair so does that mean i have to fall or rise or does it simply mean one year has gone by?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Signs of the Time






These photos are an apt memoir of our weekend drive to Spokane, Washington a couple of weeks ago. We brought my friend's two sons to the airport, so they could catch a flight to San Francisco to join their mother who is visiting that vibrant city. Since we spent much of our time on the road, I snapped a majority of the photos through the windshield of my mini van. There were occasions where I wondered whether we were still in North America, after cruising past such indicators as Naples and Moscow... However, the ubiquitous American flag was veritable proof as to our whereabouts - although, I did have to wait patiently until I found a banner of large enough proportions to grace my lense.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Just Like That!


I have no idea what I'm doing...
Beth snapped this photo as we were having brunch on the patio in Sandpoint, Idaho last weekend.
It was a rather fun and slightly decadent couple of days away from it all.
Maybe it was the wine...

Tnu's Magnificent Disappearing Act !

Lo and behold, I disappear for a week and find a new function in Blogger upon my reappearance...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In One Word...

What is greater than god
More evil than the devil
Poor people have it
Rich people want it
And, if you eat it, you will surely die?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pause for a Picnic


One warm, sultry evening, we decided to build some supersandwiches and head up the road into Kootenay National Park for a cool respite beside Olive Lake.
This particular pond is very small, green and olive-shaped...

At the site, there are two short interpretive hikes along a boardwalk that describe the flora and fauna found within that specific area.
At the end of each walk are small decks where one can look out over the lake.
The above photo was taken upon one such landing as we were enjoying our meal.

Martini anyone?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The New Me


As some of you are aware, my house is on the market - it happens to be a necessary evil when it comes to spousal separation. I love my little home and yard and I will be very sad to say goodbye, but the sale is also an important step forward.
Our realtor is a wonderful lady, with whom I am having the extreme pleasure of working to sell the place. Yesterday I had to go in to her office in town to sign some papers and we had a nice chat while I was there. It turns out they are looking for an Office Administrator, so I asked if I could come by another day and drop my resume off. She told me to simply e-mail it to her, because she was going over the applications on the weekend. As soon as I arrived home I sent it along with my references - and no preconceived expectations.

Soon after, I received a call from her assistant to set up a viewing for this afternoon and later another call came in from the office. It was she, confirming the viewing. I asked if she had received my e-mail and the reply was, "Yes. Can you start tomorrow?"
I was caught slightly off guard and was a tad flabberghasted, but recovered quickly and aswered, "Yes, of course, but I'd like a few more details on the position." So, she went into more depth on the position and ensuing responsibilities and it is exactly what I'm looking for. Apparently I am exactly who she is looking for, too.

So, after posting this, having my shower, feeding the kids, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, etc., I will be going in for my first afternoon of work! My usual hours will be the regular Monday to Friday. Today is only for training purposes, because the other girl will be gone as of Monday - nothing like jumping in with both feet!

Coincidentally, my new place of employment is directly across the street and overlooking the office where I worked for the past thirteen years...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Big Idea



The concept behind this bumper sticker has sparked debate and raised a steady argument between the environmentalists and the developers in our community. Several years ago a large ski resort was proposed for a remote and wild location in the Purcell Mountains. That particular location includes Jumbo Glacier, which would dramatically increase the length of any given ski season. Many residents in the valley have taken opposite sides and have stood fast in defending their individual philosophies on the matter. Personally, as a lover of nature as well as a passionate skier, I have been torn between the two concepts.

In the end, exhaustive environmental studies have been completed, various levels of government approvals have been authorised, and the Jumbo Resort developers have been given consent to procede. I cannot say that I am familiar with the full particulars of this contoversial idea but, from my simple point of view, I am happy with the decision to press on.

After all it does snow in Jumbo...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


"When in hell, walk steady so the devil doesn't know you're there."
.
.
.

Monday, August 06, 2007


Margie, I read your post and I am sobbing right now...

I feel that I have lost so much since Easter, when my life and that of my family took a giant leap into the unknown.
To me, family means everything and I feel that I have failed in so many ways.
When I read your post it brought to the surface many of those feelings that I have held down inside.
I am now separated from my husband, my dear children are angry and afraid, and I am officially out of work.

I am so proud of my Beth for working so hard at school and graduating one year early.
Beth attended an alternate school for the past couple of years, as she was having difficulties at the local public high school.
The difficulties were her doing, but the new environment really helped.
Beth is a bright girl and gifted in both the Language and Fine Arts.

I feel so bad that I will not be able to afford to send her to college.
I feel so bad that I cannot afford to buy groceries.
I feel so bad that I am not working right now.
I feel so bad that I have failed my family.

So, before I go out and save the world, I will have to save myself...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Heatwave

This was our sun preparing to dip below the peaks last evening - while I scrambled to find my camera before the sight disappeared forever...
It was a fascinating and eerie scene, as that merciless ball of heat sank through the haze of smoke from distant forest fires.
Overnight the the wind did rise, blowing in from the cooler north, to bring meager relief to the intense summer swelter.
As continued hot weather will take its toll on my good nature, I have recently found myself wishing - on more than one occasion - for the cold.
I now simply have to consider a drop from thirty-eight to twenty-eight degrees a blessing...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Take a deep breath,

be prepared and keep my fingers crossed..."
That is what I'm doing today.

This afternoon I have an initial telephone interview for the career opportunity of my dreams.
For good fortune's sake, I will not go into details, but I will say that the position involves something I love, as well as my accounting skills - not to mention a suberb salary with lots of perks!

As I indicated in an earlier post, the business where I have been working for during the past thirteen years is in the process of closing down. I am still employed there on a contract basis, but my hours have been cut severely and I am struggling to make ends meet.

My resume has been updated, cover letters written and I have been winding up to pound the pavement. Of course, I will not settle for any job, as I am a trained, experienced and dedicated worker, therefore quite employable. (Wow, listen to me tell you how great I am...).

This position means very much to me so, Friends, wish me luck!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Call the Cops Gravy

Take one beef or pork roast.
Roast it.

Mix into a glass measure:
One heaping tablespoon Bisto (brown sauce mix).
Two heaping tablespoons of flour (I believe flour is quite universal and needs no explanation).
A whole bunch of salt and pepper to taste (also universal).
One tablespoon of beef OXO, or chicken OXO if you're doing pork (OXO being the equivalent to Beef or Chicken in a Mug).
Garlic powder is optional (depending upon whether you're having family over - or your boyfriend).

When roast is roasted, set aside - covered on warm ceramic platter.

Add water from potatoes and/or vegetables to meat drippings in roasting pan.
Heat on medium high burner to boiling.
Add to flour mix about one half cup of milk (to mollify the children).
Mix into a paste then add to water/drippings mix in pan.
Stir constantly with whisk on medium low until thickened.
Then, when the kids are not looking, add a tablespoon (or to taste) of fine red wine (as long as no one has already pilfered it - in which case, do not tell the children where you are going in order to replace it).

There you have it, Folks.

now hide the recipe

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Through the smoke of distant fire
Drawn into the dusky sky
Growing stronger - rising higher
There it met my eye
Its glow was sure - a firey red
A pagan sight it's true
From the sleeping sun it fed
And yet it was quite blue

Monday, July 23, 2007

Quick! Call the Cops! Mum's making gravy...

Where is our society headed?
Several weeks ago, I was making a lovely prime rib of beef for Sunday dinner, complete with yorkshire pudding, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy. My gravy recipe requires a teaspoon of red wine, but I was unable to find the bottle of wine that I had stored in the pantry. I told the kids I was going to the corner store and that I would be right back. My ten year old daughter asked why, and I told her that I was going to purchase a bottle of wine. Her response was, "You can't feed us wine! That's illegal - you'll get us drunk! You know, I can call the police on you." I was stunned and subsequently outraged that my own child would think and feel that way. There have been other instances of my children attempting to take the upper hand - aka; avoiding doing what is asked of them... My older daughter also flatly refuses to pay rent, even though she is working. She told me that I am obligated by law to support her until she reaches the age of nineteen. That is incorrect, but my true point is that she has to help contribute to the family and learn to be a contributing member of society - laws be damned! Another time, I was feeling pushed to my limits dealing with the kids, so instead of taking it out further upon my children, I left and went to a friend's house just up the hill to relax and cool off. My cell phone rang while I was there and it was our local detachment of the RCMP. I was floored when I found out my children had phoned the police and the law said they could charge me with abandonment - what the heck is that all about? (In my own defence, the kids knew where I was, they knew how to contact me, I was gone up the street for a total of two hours and I did promise them I would be back). Society appears to be creeping into our living rooms and snatching away any of the empowerment that we, as parents, require in order to raise and teach our children to look after themselves and become accountable adults. The school system refuses to discipline our future generation (for fear of litigious repercussions) and the students receive no consequences for their actions. Or the teachers simply send a recalcitrant child home for the parent to deal with - in other words, a day off school for said student. The teachers are forced by society to pass the buck and force the parent to cope with an unknown situation - one that the school system should be dealing with themselves. We are not allowed to spank our children, raise our voices to them or oblige them to do anything they don't want to do...eg. homework or household chores. I have a serious problem with this metamorphosis that society is going through. It is threatening our mere existence as responsible adults and the future of our children. Television, the media, internet, video games and any virtual form of communication is further removing everyone from the physical reality of life. Global communication is not all that it's cracked up to be and I believe we are isolating ourselves more than ever as a result. Humans are a herd animal and we will not survive without the rest of the pack. Our future is with our children - it is a simple law of nature. We have to be trusted to be able to nurture, punish, support and raise our own children in a way we see fit.
Or where will our society end up?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Stuck Truck

Our vehicle in question was taken into the bush about a month ago and never came back...

Due to a mechanical problem (yet to be diagnosed) the truck could not make the return trip up the steep rocky mountain track.
The boys had to walk out in the dark of night, leaving their transportation in the forest deep at the bottom of a creek valley.

We made several hikes back in over the past weeks, attempting to extract it from that tight spot, but to no avail.
On our second sojourn into the valley, with another 4x4, we managed to tow the truck about 1.5 km up the precipitous trail but, when we got to the summit, we weren't able to negotiate the sharp right turn.
There the truck sat for another 2 weeks, until we were able to procure a tough little jeep with a winch attached.

Last Saturday morning 7 of us loaded up 3 vehicles that included 2 vans and a 4x4 pulling a trailer carrying the jeep.
There was the air of adventure with a taste of summer holiday spirit surrounding the event.
We even toted along a packed lunch containing sandwiches and various refreshments - of which water was most important in the 35-degree heat.

The jeep was manoeuvered into place in the thick undergrowth and the winch was hooked up through a pulley attached to the front of the waiting truck.
When the winch was first activated nothing happened - nothing but the jeep being winched back down the hill...
After anchoring the jeep to a stout tree trunk farther up the slope, the winch was wound tight once more.
Ah ha! The truck began to inch its way up the rugged incline.
Slowly, but surely, it made its final ascent - I held my breath during the entire procedure...
Amid hoops and hollers the truck finally turned over, fired up and was able to make its own way over the last hump at the top of the hill.

For the first time, after many treks into the bush, we were able to drive out of that place instead of doing it on foot!


Young Julian's first attemt at dragging the truck up the hill...

Eugene and Jerry hooking up the winch cable.

Jerry jockeying the jeep into place.


At last, an empty track where no truck should have been in the first place!

* The photos do no justice to the steepness of the slope. It was at least 45 degrees, making it difficult to negotiate even on foot.

Sticking my foot in it...


This lovely shot was taken along an old mining/logging road not far from here.
It was a beautiful, hot (37 degrees) day in the mountains.
Pretty white daisies lined the road, accented by scarlet indian paintbrush, purple fireweed and my favourite orange tiger lillies.

And no, I wasn't driving...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

HYSTERIA


Apparently, I've been rather out of it lately...

Proof being in black and white on Gypsy Noir's blog!
There was talk on a recent post of hers regarding one delectible actor who has played a myriad of different character parts.

Johnny Depp has raised the pulse of many a girl and woman over the past twenty years and he continues to do so.
One of the more colourful portrayals Depp has created is one certain pirate captain who stalks the Caribbean Sea.

Now I have always prided myself in my ability to use words and my quick wit, but this time I was completely innocent of what I had written on Mme Noir's blog.

Last Sunday, while I was cooking brunch for the family, the hilarity of it all hit me broadside as my children were watching Pirates of the Caribbean; The Curse of the Black Pearl - for the at-least twentieth time.

It was then that my faux pas became clear to me.
I know that certain captain of the Black Pearl is named for a small bird that occupies most of the large land masses of the world.

My dear Gypsy pounced on that one when I mentioned Captain Swallow on her blog.
The porn version of the movie, of course!

I did not realise what she meant until I heard said captain's name mentioned during the movie - Captain Sparrow.
My children were not watching the porn version.

To that, I was reduced to laughing hysterically over my breakfast.
Cracking up over my omelette...
Crying in the bacon...
Giggling over my sausage...
Sputtering through my orange juice...

My children looked up at me, eyes round, "What are you laughing at, Mum?"



Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Looking up...



The indelible tenacity of mother earth will endure...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Looking down...





A testament to the human condition...

Lovely flowers - even the view from behind - but then there happens some ugly human interference to scar the scenery.

Monday, July 02, 2007

As I Imagine Perfection ...


My day begins at seven o'clock in the morning. I stretch langorously, feeling the warmth of the sheets upon my skin. Rolling over, I snuggle close to my partner. There's a slight chill in the room - the embers in the fireplace dark, long-since burned down. Outside the window, in the gathering light, I see mounds of new-fallen snow clinging to the sills and railings of our high mountain cabin. As dawn continues to unfold, the valley below comes into focus - a broad monochromatic expanse of rock and tree and cliff and peak against a cold clear sky.

An hour later we are padding about our retreat, coffees in hand, while lighting the fire and readying our first meal of the day. On the menu is eggs benedict, topped with a creamy hollandaise sauce, accompanied by bacon, crispy-fried potatoes, fresh fruit salad and orange juice. There are sprinkles of love and laughter during the preparation. By the time breakfast is served, the sun is not long below the horizon and a spectacular view is revealed in its entirety through the large window by the table.

After cleaning and tidying our cabin, we bank the fire then don our thick underwear and socks, climb into our warm suits, buckle our boots and gather our hats and gloves. We shovel a path through the light fluffy snow from our door to reach our skis where they lean against the rough log of the outer cabin wall.

We can hardly wait - first tracks!

We swoop through the white, our laughter trailing behind us - face shots. We duck into the trees over to the ungroomed outer limits, then it's up to the summit for a simple burger for lunch on the deck. The temperature has risen to a comfortable minus three degrees by this time and the sun is hot upon our faces. The view of one thousand peaks steals our breath. After a morning of breaking trail through the trees and untracked powder, the food and warmth bring on a drowsiness - we come to with the sun in our eyes, ready to tackle yet more elevation.

It's four o'clock and we manage to sneak in one last run before the lifts close. The slopes are deserted and we take our time. In the waning light, we practice our turns - sorting out the odd kink in our techniques. Forty-five minutes later we reach the base. Breathless, we look at each other - eyes alight. We break into more laughter with grins splitting our faces ear to ear - tired yet happy.

Shaking the snow from our clothing, we stomp noisily down to the locker room, where we change into our jeans before heading back upstairs to the bar. Upon arrival, we wedge ourselves into the crowded room and order a couple of cool crisp, glacier fresh Kokanee beers. Our friends are already enjoying their drinks and we join them at the big table while the band pumps out a variety of cheerful beats.

Supper time - and it's beginning to snow again.

At the last minute, we decide to spend one more night and book a lovely suite with a balcony and hot tub looking out on the dark bulk of the sleeping mountain. The snowflakes are falling thick and fast. The lights on the trees twinkle in the dark. Sounds are muffled and our breaths waft thick on the air. A fine dinner at the five-star restaurant is a savoury seafood delicacy nestled in a fluffy bed of rice. Dessert - a wondrously decadent strawberry chocolate cheesecake. The wine - a fine imported Australian infusion. We take a bottle upstairs.

A warm crackling fire. A soft rug on the hearth. Snow falling silently.

Two wineglasses...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I'm supposed to be mowing the lawn...

Friday, June 29, 2007

Woo Hoo I Got Mine Too !


Now I am happy that I wasn't able to read this story on Val's blog before she got it published...
I went to the post office today, expecting a parcel from my Mum and Dad for Beth's birthday, and this is what was waiting for me!
Life has been crazy and unpredictable lately, so I am looking forward to taking the time to escape into my dear friend's newly-published story.
Thank you, Val!
Now all I need to do is discover a way for the author to sign my copy...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Moving On

We have put our house up for sale.

Regardless of how much I love our place, it really is just a building and I can continue to make our home in a new house.

Presently I am looking at properties around town, as there are several lots for sale.
I'd love to build a house that we can help design on my new piece of land.
Imagine - a fireplace in my own bedroom!

I am going to use this as an opportunity to move ahead toward new horizons...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bobby and Me


My eleven year old son, Bobby, broke his arm the other evening.
Apparently he fell off a zip line, landing on his left arm and breaking the humerus.
It was a clean break, so needed no setting, and Bobby will be fine.
He and his younger sister, Jenny, are spending a two week stretch with their Dad and I was taking some me time - as directed.
After work that day, I went on a rigourous hike and then, after we returned home, had dinner on the deck of a local food and beverage establishment.
My mobile phone was in the car, so I was incommunicado for most of the day.
I am going to make this a wee bit about me right now, because I feel very guilty about not being there...
I miss my kids terribly.
This is the longest I have been away from them - they have been my raison d'etre for the past seventeen years.
Beth has been staying with me, because it is more convenient for her to go to work from here.
I enjoy her company very much, but it's not the same without her brother and sister here, too.
That is something that I will have to adapt to.
There is a certain connection between Bobby and me that I cherish.
He is such a gentle soul with an inquiring mind, an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and a witty-beyond-his-years sense of humour.
I know his arm will heal, but my mothering instinct is strong and I want to be with Bobby so I can help him get better - I can't simply bury that feeling.
...there I was, doing something for me, and this happened.
It does shake my faith a bit.
There is rarely any time I am not available for my kids - but I wasn't that evening.
I know they are well-loved and cared for with their Dad - of that I have no doubt at all, but I do ache for them when they are not here.
I hope the feelings of guilt will soon pass - life is too short.