Friday, December 31, 2010


Challenged here to select a word for this next year I thought I would have difficulty in selecting only one to use as my guide, my inspiration for 2011. That is until I started my list for January, those pesky chores that lay awaiting my attention...bumped repeatedly ahead to deal with next month or perhaps the month after that....

From the small ~ touching up the kitchen cabinets, to the large ~ repainting the  garage floor, to the enormous ~ when to move, if to move, and where to move. Big pesky, oh dear, what to do things.

Things can pile up on us, the humdrum of every day and the emotional roller coasters; all can make us rush in, throw us off course, set us plunging toward the wrong directions, the wrong answers. Or we can get out of our own way and just 

Ignore the life buzzings in the ears, the restless flutter of nerves, and simply listen...

Last year I chose as a mantra the power of forgiveness, the power of grace. If any of you made it down to the bottom of my playlist you encountered Alice Peacock. I placed her there because the song profoundly matters to me but is not exactly holiday worthy.The song says it all.

So, properly empowered, I knew that now I must move forward, no longer mired in the quicksand of the past, yet afraid to head off into any direction, instead spinning round and round systematically screwing myself back further down into the muck.

In the calm I find my way, one step at a time, prepared to change direction if that is where I am led. I have learned this past year that I cannot get there by thought alone; action, any action however small must be taken, and so the word I chose...

I don't need to seek the endings, only the beginnings, I need only to start, a step, a first thought, a hatchling of an idea. Get out of my own way... 

It is a New Year with all the plump buds of promise and possibility. I wish you warmth and health, and laughter and joy. I wish you peace in this new year, and leave you with gratitude for touching however briefly into this place with your visits and your words. You matter to me, truly you do, and I strive to treat you with love and kindness here in my world.

Be Well
Be Happy
Be At Peace


It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is  essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

with gratitude always to Macky.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another grand surprise!

I was asked to keep this quiet until family and friends had been told, now I can let you know. I'm overjoyed to tell you that Shane and Sarndra will have their first baby in July 2011.  What a secret to keep!  I was almost bursting with joy at the thought of it.  The happy couple are pictured (above) on their wedding day June 2009.  They had started to save for a trip to Europe but that has put

Monday, December 27, 2010

And what of happiness?

A feeling of renewal always comes calling at this time of year.  The new year is looming, an old year almost gone and life is telling me to look around, take it all in, reassess, look toward the coming months and make sure that what we're doing will continue to make us happy and satisfied.  I have been doing that reassessment over these past few days away from the blog. I've spent time with my

Sunday, December 26, 2010

No Picture

I searched for a photo to show contentment-
something that signifies those big sigh moments.

The feeling is too deep, too personal,
too all encompassing with goodness and light 
and the belief in miracles and hope for our futures,
and I know it is so damnable fleeting,
so I grasp it leaving small holes where I clutched it 
to my breast with a sigh of such contentment 
my heart could burst.

No photos were taken yesterday, I could not pry myself 
away from being "in the moment" 
each blink of each moment
to get behind the lens and try to focus anything worthwhile. 
(and I'm SO bad at it anyway)
I will regret not having them, and curse 
my lazy butt for not at least trying to capture
the feelings, the laughter.
They are burned instead into my memory, 
a few more precious private moments
 with my children, mother to child.

It is truly all I will leave them.
Oh, I have imparted much wisdom to 
rolled back eyes and sighs of
"not again Mom" but I know it is the quiet 
memories that will live on in my children's hearts.
There will be tales told of how
 I mispronounce dinosaur every time, 
(and I wonder why the word comes up so damn often)
 and how I far too frequently need to "plan" what we are to do next, much to their dismay.

But when these tales are told it will be with love and 
humor as to who this Mother was to these children.

This day after, I hope you are nestled
 in the arms of those you love and 
are continuing to create magical
memories of your own.


Note to self: 
Next year Z, hire a photographer!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing all of you a healthy, 
happy and merry Christmas.
I loved getting to know you
 and sharing our lives.

Thank you for your support,
your laughter,
and your kindness.

May all your wishes
and dreams for the New Year
come true.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Peace, joy and goodwill

A change of plans at the last minute so no ginger beer was made yesterday.  I'm sorry that I can't follow this through with you but if you go here to an old post of mine, you'll see how to finish it off.  Make sure you have signs of fermentation before you bottle it and remember, you can add as much or as little sugar as you desire.  Served cold, it's a delicious drink.
I'm taking a few days off


My heart goes out to all those getting drenched 
and flooded. I was on a rain soaked ladder
 in my pj's at 6 am trying to unstop
a rain gutter on my porch, and feeling 
sorry for myself, although I know it 
could be so much worse and is 
for so many of you.

Instead of sewing a wee house yesterday,
I should have sewn together an ark!
Hope all of you dear friends are safe.

Dearest Son's plane broke (thankfully on the ground)
so he has yet to make it home. Mama is 
very anxious. 

Joy * HE'S HOME * Joy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When all is done, or nearly done

Cookies either made or dough is chilling.
All gifts sent, delivered or wrapped.
 Cards long since mailed.
 Decorations done.

Son to arrive in hours.
What to do?
Make a little white house.
Lots and lots of itsy bitsy stitches.
Lots more to add but I'm 
happy with the direction it is taking.
Next come flowers.

Helps pass those long hours waiting for 
both children to be back under my roof.

Happy White Wednesday all!
Please visit Faded Charm

Delectably rich fruit cake

I've had a couple of requests for our Christmas cake recipe and I'm happy to oblige.  This cake is really easy to make, it's full of dried fruit and nuts - so you might already have the makings in your pantry, and it will keep for up to three months - but if it lasts that long, I'd be amazed.  It's also versatile.  You can ice this cake and make it into a wedding cake, eat a slice with butter on

Monday, December 20, 2010

Working towards common goals

I received an email during the week from a young woman in Tasmania.  With her permission I'm replying to her here because I know more good advice will come via your comments.  She wrote:
For the past few years I've been working part-time which has given me the time I needed to grow our vegies and herbs, make most of our gifts by hand, and learn to sew and be organised. However now we're in

Sunday, December 19, 2010

T'was the week before Christmas

The last weekend before Christmas - it was slowly busy and relaxed here.  I worked on the book on Saturday and kept yesterday as a pottering around the house day. The rain poured down most of the day, but there was cricket on TV,  I had recorded Dr Findlay (naturally), and with knitting in my hands I was happy and content.  In the afternoon, I phoned the lovely Duck Herder and connected a voice

Darling Daughter

Please bear with me, it's a day for memories.

Twenty years ago today Darling Daughter was born.
It was a very stressful day because 
of tragic events that occurred 
to my OB just days before my scheduled C-section.
(My body refuses to go into labor even after 8 hours
 of Pitocin- we learned the hard way with dearest son)

My OB's infant daughter had just died 
from SIDs and I had been referred to 
another OB who made our lives hell for three 
days because he insisted on amnio 2 days before my due date,
and poked me three times without getting fluid and then said
 "let's wait for nature".
Nature made my first birth a 10 lb 3 oz birth!

I called the office sobbing, and my 
OB was there in the office and he said 
come on in, let's see what we can do.
Putting aside his unbearable grief, he scheduled me
 for the next morning and Darling Daughter 
arrived by C-section. 
Because of his grief he asked me if 
another doctor could "close me up"
 so that he could get right home.
 "Of course" I said! He gave me a kiss and off he went.
Bless you David wherever you are now...

The new Doctor who must have been trained under the Amnio idiot, ignored the warning painted 
on my stomach to use paper tape ONLY and proceeded to use adhesive tape. 24 hours later I have a raging infection at the site and the same Doc is insisting I take a percosett for pain. I give him the long story of sensitivity blah blah blah and not taking anything because I'm nursing. Yep, you heard right..I take only Tylenol after c - sections..OUCH! 
We battle for hours, he assures me it does not travel through breast milk, and I succumb to a pill.

Within 1 hour of nursing DD has a mild seizure which nurse assures me is normal in some newborns? 
Another pill is given, more nursing and the next hour DD suffers 2 grand mals which we witness and 2 more after they returned her to the nursery to be checked.

To not bore you to drink with the long details, 
DD ended up in neonatal, first row.
I have never been so terrified in my life.
I couldn't nurse her, she was put through a battery of tests
all day for 2 days and they knew nothing. 
I could not sleep ( maybe THAT is where it started?),
I could not eat, and they could tell us nothing.

Through it all I kept asking on a continuous loop, 
"could it have been the percosett?"
"No"  "Doubtful"  "Of course not" 
I'm checking merck manuals which disagree, 
and calling every person I know who has 
nurse's skills or who is married to a DR!
5 days later after no nursing, no more seizures 
and no bad results in testing they were stumped.

DD had been moved to the back of the room, the row where
babies go home. It was Christmas Eve day, and I had been 
harassing every neonatologist ( she had 5) for answers.
All I could get was "inconclusive". 
Finally we were told we could bring her home that night.
I grabbed the Doctor signing her out and begging I said
" Look, I need to know...Am I taking home a healthy child or do I need to sleep with my hand on her back in the bassinet checking for her breathing for the next 6 months?

 He started to shrug me off, and I grabbed his arm and made him face me, made him see me, and said, "if it was the percosett, if that Dr was wrong, if it traveled to her tiny ultra sensitive system and just like her Mama, she reacts very negatively to pain killers; if that is what it was, and there is no looming danger to this wee being who is my life...
I need to know.."

He looked me straight in the eye, and very quietly said.
"You are taking home a healthy child" and walked away. 

20 years ago on Christmas Eve, Darling Daughter came home,
and has offered us nothing but joy every day since.

Happy Birthday my Darling Daughter

we will now return to our regular programming. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't forget the ginger

This is just a reminder for everyone making their ginger beer.  Two teaspoons of ginger and two teaspoons of sugar every day and keep the mix in a warm place.  Also, it's okay to make ginger beer with fresh ginger if you have it.
Thanks to everyone for the warm wishes yesterday.  Enjoy your weekend.

Tinsel Tree and TV

White Christmas was on last night.
Of course I had to watch it.
Of course I had to have busy hands.

All the parts ready to be added.
Styrofoam helping to steady it since I do 
not have three hands. Tinsel is a silver green from
Bethany Lowe.

 Couple hours later....tree!

I will find a container today just right for my "made by my hand" tinsel tree. I can't stop thinking about making a 4' one.
Darling Daughter has promised to help make 50 Moravian stars that I bought from a Martha Stewart kit at least a decade ago, and they are in shades of tan, rose and white.
Perfect for a tinsel tree.

If it is to go up this year I had better hurry. 
Wonder what is on TV this weekend?

 I thought the trees looked so pretty last night  
and had to get a shot or two.
This is the front room; a vaulted 2 1/2 story. 

So, I have heat.
I also have roofers, not reindeer, clomping
on the roof doing repair from yesterday's installation,
and painters and drywall men in my closet 
repairing the giant hole they cut to get the unit up there.
VERY noisy
Don't they know I have trees to make?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


in a few hours
nuff said
thank you for all your "warm" wishes 

On my mind ...

This is on my mind is a Friday photo feature that anyone with a blog can join. It opens the door to us sharing our lives with these photos and gives us all a new way to discover each other, and maybe form new friendships. Your photo should show something at home that you're thinking about. It could be something already done but still on your mind, something you're about to do and you're working

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Using our time to make what we need

If you're making ginger beer with me, today you'll need to feed the beast, and you'll feed it every day for about a week, or for as long as it takes to bubble away beautifully.  Make sure it's in a warm spot if you're in the middle of winter.  The fermentation of ginger beer will depend on how warm it is in your home and the natural yeasts in the air in your kitchen.  The yeasts will settle in

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


This and that and.....

last little touches, no really...

Cookie cutters all ready for next week's baking

Just found these plump little birdies

Best part of all

* postscript With several comments on this board I was reminded of many
mornings coming down into the kitchen and turning to see that visiting
teenagers had gotten creative with the listings and many were now quite bawdy.
I miss those days- most of them anyway

Please visit Faded Charm for White Wednesday,
hosted by the delightful Kathleen.

Being satisfied with enough

I had two emails recently from women who are new to all this and they're hesitating to dive in because one is not a good cook and the other lives in an apartment and doesn't have a backyard. Let me say this loud and clear (again). The way Hanno and I live suits us at our age, twenty years ago, even ten years ago, I would have structured my simple life in a different way. And because there are no

Monday, December 13, 2010

Normal People

What do normal people do when it is 2 am and they cannot sleep?
Do they make a winter wonderland for their departed relatives?
Is it just me? Am I admitting this?

Since I've exposed my quirks frequently here
 I will go one further.
My father's clock and the crystal ball?
I do stuff like this in my home...tuck in something that tickles
my fancy, the meaning observed by no one but me.

The Big Ben an homage to time passing.
The crystal ball, a hat's off to my 
Great Grandma Mamer, said to 
be a witch of sorts, at least to the extent that 
she would predict the sex of unborn babies. 
Also a query as to what the future
 holds if the past is represented here.

Remember we were discussing normalcy....?

The Z collection, a gift from darling daughter.
Photos of natural items discovered in our yard,
 then formed into Z's. 

Still not sleeping, of course everyone decides to 
make a coffee filter wreath around 3 am?
 Probably should do this when more awake, 
or you receive burned finger tips from glue gun.

An old friend around for many Christmases.

 Merry Merry!

I'll be napping this afternoon- just leave a message.


Preserving food and making wine

Last week, one of the ladies here ask me to show my preserving kit. Here it is in our brick garden shed. I also store excess jars and bottles there, as well as egg cartons that have been given to us. The preserver is a circa 1970s Fowlers Vacola stove-top boiler. I bought it for $20, I think, many years ago. I also have a range of FV jars, lids, rings and clips but I prefer to use screw top

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The changing care of ageing pets

Pets become a favourite part of the family very soon after they come into our lives. We feed them, care for them, provide comfort and warmth and make sure they're healthy. Every day I see their faces, they're as familiar to me as Hanno's, but life is relatively short for our pets and in a heart beat they're gone.Alice, our Airedale Terrier, is 13. We've had her since she was a puppy. She came to

Friday, December 10, 2010


Festive isn't always about the grand decorated trees 
or the sweeping vistas of snow covered forests.
Sometimes festive is the wee little touches,
the tiny treasures tucked here and there saying 
here's a little holiday cheer for you.
At oldgreymare these are my favorites, 
a small ornament hung from 
a lamp key, or small touches added to a postal box to
say "Christmas". 

The most humble of door knobs is not forgotten.


Please join Chania at Razmataz for this week's challenge.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Last Tree Up

Last tree #8 is up.
Oops see a hole.
Found an ornament down on the table and 
wondered where it came from. 
Now I see.

Packages are for darling Daughter's B-day.

That's all for today.
Moving a little slower lately, no heat 
in the house until next week.
My heater bravely survived 18 years before 
succumbing a few weeks back.
I know you guys with snow have it rough, but concrete 
foundations and tile floors
and only stucco walls makes 60 degrees
 feel like 45-50 inside. 

My trusty red sweatshirt, fuzzy slippers and hot lattes 
are getting me through.

How are you all doing? 
Anyone done with the decorating yet?
Seems like many of us are a wee bit behind this year.
Maybe it's because we are just not ready 
to see this decade pass.
2011 sounds so futuristic to me.
It's only one day from one decade to the
 next but it seems so much grander somehow.
uh, oh I'm starting to philosophize, better 
fire up another latte.