Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections

Early evening at the end of the year.
Tonight, a night for reminiscing about 2010. It's our family tradition to get together for a long, leisurely fondue followed by pulling out our "New Year's Eve file folder"....full of memories from the past 18 years.

Every New Year's Eve, we record our memories from the year, our biggest surprise of the year, and our predictions for the coming year. We put the file away and only pull it out on New Year's Eve.


First, we go back over years gone by and are surprised by some of our past memories (without this file, I confess I would have forgotten a thing or two). Next, we record this year's memories...the good ones and the sad ones.


Some bloggers are choosing one word to live by in the year to come. I don't know what my word would be, but I think I might agree with Susan at 29 Black Street (a fellow Nova Scotian)....Firework seems inspirational. If you haven't seen the Katy Perry Firework video, Susan has featured it today.


I'm ready to say goodbye to 2010. And I'm ready for some great things to come in 2011. Happy New Year! Bring on the fireworks.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

hello and goodbye

Isn't it funny how fast time seems to go? Christmas is already a memory and a new year is just days away. We spent Christmas with G, DIL, and Miss M (a lovely few days!) and returned home to find many trees down in our driveway. Most could be moved by hand, but not this one:The trunk was at least 12 inches thick, which meant we parked the car and hoofed up the rest of the driveway on foot so we could get the chain saw and some working clothes on. One and a half hours later, we had the tree cleared and the car up the driveway at the house. It was great to get away for a few days, but it's always wonderful to get home (although we don't usually have to work so hard to get here!).
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Today we spent almost six hours on the road, touring the area and removing our "Lost Dog" signs. It was time for some closure, and it a very emotional day. As we first started out, an old Garth Brooks song played on our ipod shuffle..."The Dance"...

....How could I have known you'd ever say goodbye
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end,
the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance,
I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance....
We adopted Cassie when she was 4 years old.
We were the 4th family to have her in just four years.
She was a handful.
She was a challenge sometimes.
But she was full of boundless energy and enthusiasm.
We'll never know just what happened on November 15th.
But we do know that we miss her, and her zest for life.
Good-bye my Cassa Rassa Rooney Roo.
It's time for us to let go.
But we'll never forget our 3 years together.

Thanks for the dance.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We all celebrate in different faiths, and different ways. However you celebrate the season, I wish you a safe & happy one. Merry Christmas from Nova Scotia!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bits and bobs

Amaryllis Leaves. I didn't buy any new amaryllis bulbs this year....maybe a mistake....not sure if these ones will bloom. I love amaryllis flowers...the love for these plants is a gift from my dad. He was the gardener in our family and whenever I see amaryllis, african violets, flowering crabapple trees, and geraniums I think of him.

I want to share a couple of gifts with you. These lovely earrings arrived in the mail yesterday. Aren't they festive looking? Several weeks ago, the blog A Bushel and a Peck featured several women entrepreneurs on her blog. Wyokemia of Peach Evolution Designs was featured on this blog post. I left a comment and was the very luck winner of these earrings (I love them!). I really like all Wyokemia's bling, and purchased the breast cancer awareness key chain from her shop. She also enclosed an extra charm for an upcoming breast cancer awareness glass window that I'll be creating in January. What a lovely package to receive!These tshirts arrived in the mail a while back... Our friend Karen lives in Kingston, Ontario and designed these yoga shirts as a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls club in Kingston. Tshirts are a steal at $15, and available in lots of colours and designs. You can contact Karen through her blog (http://www.karmabykaren.blogspot.com/) if you're interested in one. (more designs and colours are shown on her blog) Isn't this cute? The yoga girl says "Ooommm"...the cow says "Mmmooo"! The shirts are so soft, they are going to be perfect for wearing after all my radiation treatments in January.

I've been working on a couple of creative projects over the past few weeks. This is a current one:I had 15 of my photos printed on canvas. I'll be cutting them into individual images and mounting them on frames. I was really happy with the quality of the canvas print...the images look fantastic. I have mounted 3 of them so far and am really happy with the results. More on this project early in January.

And...saving the best for last...Happy Birthday to a very special man...my partner through good and bad...and the love of my life! Looking forward to another great year together!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beet And Carrot Soup

John's birthday is later this week, but we celebrated it on the weekend with his son G, DIL, and granddaughter Miss M. I prepared a "gourmet meal", which might not sound like much but it's a big deal around here. You see, I am one of the luckiest gals around...my husband does 95% of the cooking (lunch AND dinner too). So I go all out with homemade soup and fancy schmancy stuff that I don't usually do. This year we started with swirled beet and carrot soup....two soups side by side in one bowl. I must say...it was pretty fabulous! And it looked great too. So when you want to impress some guests, give this recipe a try. Trust me, it's easy. I made the soups a couple of days ahead and refrigerated them until the birthday celebration.

Swirled Beet and Carrot Soup(from compliments.ca/inspired)

2 tbsp Olive oil, divided
2 cups diced onion, divided
2 tbsp minced garlic, divided
3 cups each diced carrots and beets
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 carton (900 ml, 4 cups) chicken broth, sodium reduced, divided
3 cups water, divided
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
dash of pepper
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in each of two medium saucepans over medium heat. Add 1 cup onions to each pan; saute until translucent, about 3 min. Add 1 tbsp garlic to each; cook for 1 to 2 min. Add carrots and ginger to one saucepan; beets to the other; cook, stirring, for a few minutes.
2. Add half a carton of broth and 1 1/2 cups water to each pan. Turn up heat to medium-high and simmer for 35 minutes, or until veggies are soft.
3. Season both soups with thyme, salt and pepper. Working in batches, puree each soup separately, rinsing the blender or food processor in between to avoid colour transfer. (I use a hand held blender and blend the mixtures right in the pots).
4. Return both purees to their saucepans and add balsamic vinegar to beet soup. Warm over low heat 5 to 10 min. or until soups thicken. Serve by filling each bowl with half beet and half carrot soup (tip: I put the soups into separate creamer pitchers and with one in each hand poured the soups at the same time into each bowl).
Optional: garnish each bowl with 1 tsp sour cream and 1/2 tsp pesto.


DIL, John, me, Miss M, G with homemade chocolate cake filled with caramel sauce, whipped cream and topped with chocolate glaze. Yum!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advent Box

To take my mind off things that were going on in November....and because Cody won't be joining us for Christmas this year....I put together an "advent box" for Cody and sent it off to him in Toronto. All the little gifts were wrapped, with a number, and Cody was instructed to open them on the appropriate days. Here is the list of what he has opened so far:
Day 1: a container (purchased at the dollar store) filled with green and red smarties. (I was told that Smarties aren't available in the US...can that be true??)Day 2: a photo of me and Cody's dad that Cody has never, ever seen....not necessarily for some holiday cheer, but more for a BIG laugh.The photo was taken when I was 20 years old...we were dressed to go to a concert by "The Monks". Years later, I was told that kids from my high school saw me and thought I had turned into "a punker". The mini dress was purple and white stripes, with white tights and blue high cut running shoes. Ian (boyfriend at the time, later on husband #1) was dressed in tails, white peg pants, and a peacock feather in his ear. Ah, to be young and foolish again!
Day 3: snowman ornamentsDay 4: a Pook Toque (for the non Canadian readers...toque rhymes with pook, and it's the Canadian name for a winter cap) Cody likes wearing weird hats, and I thought this fit the bill nicely. Made from a pair of wood socks, the Pook Toque can be worn in a multitude of ways. Cody told me he wore it to a bar, and 3 people yelled out "he's wearing a Pook Toque!" when he walked in the door. Who knew that I could give such an "in" gift? (it's a first for me, let me tell you)
Day 5: "Jingle All The Way" coffee mug
Day 6: chocolate santas
Day 7: Terry's Chocolate Orange (an annual stocking stuffer around here)
Day 8: Reindeer pine cones. Cody and I made these when he was 3 years old. I was newly seperated, and there wasn't money to buy a bunch of Christmas decorations. I saved four of them through the years...sent him 2 and kept 2 for me.
Day 9: I-tunes gift card
Day 10: Santa OrnamentDay 11: Underwear. He didn't get underwear in his stocking last year, and I heard about it. I guess he still depends on his mom for some things.
Day 12: Kinder Surprise
Day 13: Ferraro Rocher chocolates
Day 14: A card with a recipe for a snacking mix (Cody makes a batch of this every year when he is home for Christmas) and a note that it's better to give than to receive. He was instructed to either make the snacking mix for his friends, or else do something good for someone else that day.
Day 15: Thumb tacks with moody faces
Day 16: Socks (see Day 11...same thing applies)

And that brings us up to date for the Advent Box. I had so much fun putting it together...nothing big in there, but just little things to let him know we care.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the sun always comes out

The past few weeks have been quite difficult for me. Being diagnosed with breast cancer, having Cassie go missing, dealing with surgery, and waiting for results and appointments have been quite stressful. I think I have cried every day, but to be honest I have cried more about Cassie than feeling sorry for myself. We are slowly coming to grips with the thought that Cassie was shot by a hunter. I feel I let her down...it was my job to protect her and I failed. Those feelings are very difficult to deal with, and I find it hard to move on. I haven't been blogging much, and have been trying to decide what exactly blogging does for me. Why do I blog? I think I blog because it's easier for me to write down my thoughts than to verbalize them. When I first started blogging, I was anxious to get readers and followers. It seems silly to me now. Now I just blog for me. If other people want to read what I write, that's fine. If they don't, that's fine too. Because my blog is me. Not all of me. I don't write about bad times and bad days (well, up until just lately...ha). We all have bad times and bad days...that's life. But the sun always comes out and there is always hope. That's what I keep telling myself. I received the phone call today...the call we have been waiting for. My first appointment with the radiation oncologist is January 10th. I will also have an appointment with a medical oncologist (date tbd) to discuss medication therapy and possible chemotherapy. For some reason, getting my appointment date made everything seem just a little more scary. But I'll hug my man, and take a walk with my old girl Mulligan. And the sun will come out, because it always does.

Monday, December 13, 2010

an oldie but a goodie

One of my favourite Christmas songs...be patient through the first 2 1/2 minutes. This clip is from a tv show years ago.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Story of the Pointsettia

I took these photos taken during an outing with the Bridgewater Photographic Society to Pine View Farm. The information about the pointsettia legend was taken from this web site. Dr. Joel Poinsett, who was the first ambassador to Mexico, brought the bright red star-shaped flower to the United States. Hence, it was names as Poinsettia. It is also known as 'Flame Leaf' or 'Flower of the Holy Night'. The legend related to this favorite Christmas flower is Mexican too. However, there are two versions of the story. In one version, the two small children of the story are known as Maria and her little brother Pablo; while in another version, two cousins are mentioned by the names of Pepita and Pedro. Whatever be the names, the story goes like this:
There was once a brother-sister pair who was very poor. They lived in a village and they had barely enough to eat two full meals a day. As the Christmas time approached, festivities, parades and parties in the village attracted the children. The gaiety of the season in itself was quite charismatic. Moreover, a large manger scene was being set up in the village church and all the children were eager to go to Baby Jesus and give him the best present. Mario and Pablo also wanted to give expensive presents to the Holy Child that He will love. While all children were discussing, what they think is best for the baby and what they will buy as the gift for Him, Mario and Pablo knew that they had no money to buy the presents and had nothing that they could gift to the child.
Yet, they could not let go of the temptation to see the baby just once and give something to Him. On Christmas Eve, Maria and Pablo set out for church a little earlier than others to attend the service. Since they had nothing to give to the child, they thought of plucking some weeds that was growing along the roadside to make a soft bed for Baby Jesus and decorate his crib. While they were still decorating the crib of the Baby, other children also arrived. Now, children can be very cruel when it comes to teasing and making fun of others. Mario and Pablo were almost in tears for shame and helplessness when a miracle occurred. Suddenly, the weeds burst into bright red petals that looked like stars and were so beautiful that everyone was awed by their beauty. Everybody realized and said that a gift of love is dearer to Jesus than the most expensive presents that money could buy. Ever since then, Poinsettia flowers have become favorites for Christmas decorations.

Monday, December 6, 2010

a little luck

Look what I received in the mail...some luck! Blogger friend Karen from This Old House 2 sent this to me for luck...isn't it gorgeous?She wraps wire around horse shoes and embellishes them with beads. Love the details.You can see some more of Karen's decorated shoes here. Thanks so much Karen...love my shoe! I had a difficult time getting good photos....it has been miserable all day today with rain and gale force winds. Power is out all over Nova Scotia, surge warnings for coastal properties, and some roads are closed.

But all is well here on the hill. We received some great news today. My pathology report has returned and....the 3 lymph nodes that were removed are cancer free....and....the extra breast tissue that was removed is also cancer free. Yay! (insert dancing jig here) Next step is radiation, which apparently will be sometime in about 4 to 6 weeks. We still don't know if I'll need chemo, but chances are that I won't since the invasive cancer was quite small. Fingers crossed on that.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

sunsets and musings

We live on a hill, back through the woods and in an open field. We can only see 3 neighbours. Here is a view of one of our neighbour's homes...over on the next hill. You can see their house and two of the outbuildings. Here is a close up at sunset, taken through our trees:The other two homes we can see are in the opposite direction...a little further away than these people. We do have closer neighbours, but we can't see their homes and it would be a decent walk to get to them.

I find sunsets to be calming. No matter what challenges the day brought, a beautiful sunset reminds me that tomorrow is another day. (sounds a little like Scarlett O'Hara)

We were in Halifax yesterday and we returned home to find another message on the phone saying that Cassie had been sighted (again in Mahone Bay in the very same location as before). Maybe we should go to Halifax more often. Both times we have gone in the past 9 days, we returned to have a message on our phone about Cassie. We spent the morning in Mahone Bay looking and calling, but came up with nothing. My emotions have been like a yo-yo the past few weeks...tomorrow will be the 21st day since she went missing. At this point, we are not sure that the dog in Mahone Bay is actually Cassie, but we continue to hope.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Flowers For A Friend - WIP

I mentioned that I started a window a few days ago...here is the work in progress:All the main design is complete (I think...I'll take a look at it again tomorrow). I need to add all the "in fill", and then add the grout (or maybe not).
The colours make me feel happy...I hope the woman I'm making it for likes them...I have no idea what her favourite colours are!

Monday, November 29, 2010

the strength of a tree

My "The Strength of a Tree" inspirational photo available here. The third line has been applicable to my personal life in the past few weeks. No more Cassie sightings since the one on Friday...we are hoping it was actually her, but not sure. Still waiting for the pathology report from my Nov 17th surgery.

On the positive side of things...because I believe there is always a positive side...sometimes it's just difficult to see it...I have been very productive over the past few days. I put together an "Advent Box" for our son Cody, who won't be home for Christmas. I've never done an advent calendar before but it was very fun to put together. He doesn't read the blog, but you never know when things will change, so I'll post the advent box goodies after I know he has opened them.

I recovered a glider rocker that we've had for ages. I prefer a regular rocking chair, but it won't fit by our wood stove because of the border around the stone under the stove. So our old glider rocker is there (purchased when I lived alone waaaay back 18 years ago). I did recover it about 8 years ago, but found a new material that matches our living room better. It took me a couple of hours and $20 to recover. Not bad for a change of scenery.

I started a new "folk art glass window" today...a surprise for someone who dropped off 12 wooden windows for me a while back. Everything flowed beautifully today, so I have most of the design already cut out and laid out. Tomorrow I'll be gluing the main design, and then I'll work on the in fill glass. Title: "Flowers for a Friend"

Tomorrow I'm rewarding myself for all this busy bee action, and I'm meeting a friend for coffee at a lovely little place called The Biscuit Eater in Mahone Bay.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hope returns

We have been moping around the house for a week now (when not out posting flyers for our lost Cassie), so yesterday we headed into Halifax for a day out in the big city.We went to the Halifax Seaport Farmer's Market first....a little short of vendors on Friday, but it was great to see the eco friendly building. We'll have to drop by on a Saturday or Sunday in December to see it on a busy day.We did some Christmas errands, and then had a nice lunch, more window shopping and then headed home. Surprise, surprise. We finally received a phone call about Cassie. Someone saw her in Mahone Bay...quite a trek from home.We headed back out again and visited the man who thought he saw her (he saw our Lost Dog ad in the paper and phoned). John showed him some photos, and the man is sure it was her. We posted signs all around the town and talked to a few people...not many people out and about on a November evening.John is out in the area again today, posting more signs. Our new found friend Colleen, from The Platter House Restaurant in Bridgewater is also out searching for her. John and Colleen bumped into each other at The Dog Shop in Mahone Bay, so perhaps they are searching together now (I haven't received a phone update in a couple of hours).I am at home sending out updates to our contacts by computer, and hoping for phone updates. I did receive a call from Maxine in Mahone Bay...a kind stranger who called to tell me she is out looking for Cassie on our behalf.So I am now filled with hope. Maybe we will get her home with us at some point. I can't believe how much I miss that crazy dog.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Finished window and a big THANK YOU

Remember this work in progress?Here's what it looks like finished. I have had it done for a while, but with all the things going on around here I haven't yet phoned the woman who ordered it so she can pick it up. One of my "to do's" for today.Cassie has now been missing for 10 days, and although we still hold some hope in the corner of our hearts, we think we won't be seeing her again. I do want to say a huge "THANK YOU" to everyone who has been helping us. Our neighbours have been wonderful...phoning to see how we are, dropping by with freshly baked bread, dropping in for a visit with home made soup...

And the friendliness of strangers has surprised us. There have been lots of supportive comments on the blog, but we have also received many phone calls from people we don't know who have seen our "Lost Dog" flyers posted. Many folks have phoned to check to see if we have found her. Unfortunately, not one person has seen her.

I do want to give a special thank you to Colleen, owner of the Platter House Restaurant in Bridgewater. Colleen didn't know us before all this happened, but John dropped one of our flyers off at The Platter House when he went to eat while I was in surgery last week. Colleen has put flyers in several places in the restaurant, she has dropped off a flyer at the Ministry of Natural Resources, and she has been out in our area several times looking for Cassie. The kindness of strangers just amazes me. We went to The Platter House to eat lunch on Tuesday, after a much needed soul soothing walk on the beach, and Colleen wouldn't even allow us to pay for our lunch. We settled for leaving a tip for the waitress and a donation to SHAID (the local animal shelter). So I'm asking anyone who is hungry in Bridgewater to drop into the Platter House Restaurant for a snack or a meal....Colleen is just the friendliest restaurant owner you could ever meet.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make the past 10 days a little easier for us.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today's thought


Just started playing with my newest "inspirational photo" last night. I'm not sure about the words yet, but it's getting there.

Today's follow up visit with the surgeon went well...the healing is progressing nicely. Next step is to wait for the pathology report, which should be back in a couple of weeks. Hopefully we'll have our good news from the surgery confirmed and won't have any surprises.

We won't be seeing Cody (our 23 year old son) for Christmas this year. He is stuck in Toronto and will be working at Christmas. I am thinking of sending him an "advent box" so he has something small to open every day. Any ideas of small things to send?

Monday, November 22, 2010

time heals all wounds

This is one of my favourite photos of Cassie. You can't see it well here, but her face is bathed in the glow from the rising sun. I took this photo on an early morning walk in 2009.

The past week has been very emotional and draining. Cassie has now been missing for 7 full days. Not one person has reported seeing her. To be honest, this ordeal has hit me a lot harder than dealing with breast cancer and breast surgery. Dealing with a missing animal is much more difficult for me than dealing with the death of an animal. No matter how difficult death is, (and yes, I know it is very difficult...we have dealt with 3 animal deaths in the past 5 years) I can eventually come to grips with it because it's a part of the cycle of life.

Tomorrow I report back to my surgeon for my follow up visit. I think everything is healing nicely and pretty soon I'll be able to get back into normal day to day stuff. Today was the first day since my surgery that I made the morning walk for the paper (a mile long walk) and it felt good to get out. The sun is not exactly shining, but it's looking nice and bright out there with a dusting of snow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Good News Bad News

It has been a very emotional week around here. Our dog Cassie is still missing, and has been gone since 2pm on Monday. We live in a very rural area, surrounding by miles and miles and miles of forest. It's hunting season. I was outside with our 2 dogs on Monday when I heard a gunshot. I called the dogs and only one came back. Originally, we were thinking maybe Cassie chased a deer and ran far enough that she got lost. Now we are wondering if she has been shot or hurt. So many thoughts run through our minds, and not many of them are good. But we keep trying. We have posted and delivered more than 200 flyers up and down the country roads around here. We've put announcements on the radio, talked to animal control, posted flyers at stores in the surrounding towns, driven in the car and ATV calling her name....you name it, we've done it. John is out again on foot with our other dog trying to comb the woods. So this is all the bad news.We did get some good news this week too, which we will celebrate soon. You see, on November 5th I was diagnosed with breast cancer. (not such good news) I originally had surgery on October 13th, and the pathology report came back with the news that I had cancer. I had surgery again on Wednesday the 17th, and several lymph nodes were removed. The preliminary reports show that the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes...and this is our reason to celebrate. I will need 3 weeks of radiation treatments (5 days a week), but most likely will not need chemo. We are very lucky, so very lucky, that this was all caught early.


And I will cling to my good news, while I sit here in frustration at not being out and about looking for my lost dog. I am trying to think only good thoughts so that she will be home with us soon.