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.

Friday, December 3, 2010

hope this gets to you

love this...hope you enjoy it too

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!