Saturday, August 28, 2010

Inferno on the Road

A dense cloud of black smoke became visible as I approached the intersection, billowing up into the sky. Traffic, including myself, were diverted to the right, where most people opted to abandon their cars and scramble onto the grassy stretch beside a plaza to witness the blaze.
The photos don't capture it, but flames were licking out of the side in a huge snarling mass, writhing like they were alive. Thankfully, a woman standing by answered my anxious query about the driver with the information that whoever it was had gotten away. That was wonderful news.
A fire truck and a police cruiser pulled up just before I left, though. Not something you expect to see on the way home from work.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ordinary or Extraordinary

The air was a blend of coolness and warmth on Monday. A wonderful day for a walk or two, despite the minute droplets of intermittent rain. We took advantage of the weather to go for a stroll in a local park. It's a place we've been to many, many times. Grasses, trees, flowers, leaves, water... as I explained to a student last week, two people can watch the same sunrise, and see something completely different. To one, it's just a sunrise. To the other, it's dark shadowy clouds dramatically under lit by the rising sun, with a rosy blush throughout. Same sunrise, different perspective.
Same park, different perspective.


Bridging the distance

Quiet place for a picnic

Graceful arc

Tibetan Spaniels generally love being on high places, and Keani is no exception.

Autumn's touch

Park residents

Splashes of color. The flowers reminded me of snapdragons

Winding trail


The sinuous shapes of trees

In a field of clover


Tree bark patterns

Ordinary or extraordinary?

Growing ducklings and their mother

Alone in a sea of green

Bridal trails of ivy

Touching a mirror

Icewind, happily on top of everything

In the driver's seat with Dad

 The Friendly Guardian

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Art in Motion: Heron

I can't BELIEVE how much trouble I had getting this one to look decent on screen. Didn't really succeed, unfortunately, as it still looks a bit fuzzy. *Sighs* Oh well.  I started this drawing last week and worked on it for little bits, usually at night, when I had finished my writing and other things for the day and wanted to watch a bit of television. Drawing and painting are two of the things I can actually do in front of the T.V., and it keeps me from feeling that I am "wasting" time, *lol.*

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Saying Goodbye to Another Season

The tang of Fall is in the air, and I even find myself thinking about snow, and *Gasp!* Christmas. Horrifying, I know. It may have something to do with being wound up over the imminent, and imminently huge, schedule change that is looming just around the corner. I have to say that I am tired of having it hanging over us - I want to just wade in and get it rolling, already!

On the other hand, it may have something to do with what we spent six hours straight doing, yesterday. It was the perfect day for it; breezy, mild, but not cold. Yes, yesterday we cleaned out 3/4 of the gardens. A little early, you say? Perhaps. But I know I won't have the time (or the inclination, probably), to do it once I'm back in school full time, teaching piano three days a week and still hoping to do a bit of writing/ artwork, and, of course, spend time with my hubby and canine babies.

So we pulled and plucked, chopped and snipped, and the result was eleven bags of yard waste, and much barer looking gardens. The verdict is in on the weed carpets, though. The bad news is that No, they do not stop weeds from growing, HOWEVER, they make the weeds much, MUCH easier to pull. So yes, they are staying as a yearly garden staple.
To celebrate and commemorate another growing season, I have posted photos of the phases it's gone through from March to the peak of the summer. It began, as usual, on my glass kitchen table, with newspaper, Styrofoam cups, a water spritzer and a huge amount of seeds...
...and progressed to the two mini "greenhouses," we put up by our kitchen windows. These two shelves become home to hundreds of plants - both vegetables and flowers - from the months of March to June.

Once the soil warms, it's time to go at it with shovels and other digging implements for the purpose of weeding, loosening the soil, and enriching it with things like composted manure.
This year, we added the step of covering the garden plots with weed carpet. Aaaah, it looks so clean...
At this point, I often wonder if the garden will ever look like it did last year, *lol* These are the seedlings in their cup planters. I placed them where I felt they should be planted (by height, color, etc...) Hubby isn't as familiar with their characteristics as I am, of course, so this was how he was able to help me "install" them.
Almost there. Carpet doesn't look too clean, now, covered in plants and dirt.
And Voila! One garden plot done. For me, it's an annual act of faith to believe that these little ones, sparse looking as they are right now, will fill out, join together, and actually form a flower garden.
And they certainly tried their best not to disappoint.
And there it is...
...Until Next Year!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sockeye Salmon Dip Recipe, and a Little of This and That

Last week I posted a rich and decadent recipe that I entitled White Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake. This weekend I set myself to experiment and come up with a layered chocolate mousse recipe and some chocolate truffle recipes, but lest anyone think that all we eat are sweets, here is an appetizer recipe that was created on the same day as the white chocolate cake. I have written it once again as a Suite101 article, and it can be found here: Sockeye Salmon Dip Recipe.
For anyone who may be wondering how we can put away all of these sweets...No, my husband and I do not exercise, other than the occasional walk and the "garden" and "house-cleaning" work-out. Our problem is that we have a hard time exercising just for the sake of it, and I am ashamed to say that whenever I come up with a regime, I usually only manage to stick to it for about four days before I throw in the towel. I hasten to explain that we always eat brown rice and red rice, stay away from white bread and pasta (unless it's whole-wheat), and almost never eat fast food, donuts, chips or store-bought goodies, and we never drink pop. Sounds fun-less, perhaps, but it leaves us more leeway for home-baked goodies!

One day, I hope to be able to take ballroom-dancing lessons, to combine exercise with fun with learning something I really want to be able to do well. That's the kind of motivation I need, *sighs*

I snapped this adorable photo this morning of our two boys. I think I'm going to call it "Brother Love." It's wonderful to witness how attached our two canine "kids" are. Icewind is superbly gentle with Keani, and is careful to have a "soft mouth" around his little brother. Keani is the typical bratty little brother who adores but torments his older brother.
These are some additional cute pics.
It's been about seven years since I got my BA from the University of Toronto, and now, in exactly three weeks, I will be returning to the hallowed halls of education and learning, albeit at a different university. Almost time to take a deep breath and roll up the proverbial sleeves.

Along that note... for those of you who, like me,  are fans of Dr. Seuss, here is a witty satire of his wonderful book "Oh, the Places You'll Go." I wasn't sure whether to laugh, or feel a bit depressed after reading it, but I enjoyed it enough to share:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Adorable Photos of Newborn Foal in his Mother's Lap

I came across these adorable photos this morning. Having so many of my music students take the summer off has big pros and cons, but one of the pros is that I don't have to rush out of the house at 7:20 am on Saturday mornings, giving me a bit of time to relax, read, and stumble across interesting things on the computer.
Check out the photos at this link:  Pix: Nothing like mom’s lap

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Blitz: Part 4 - Reaching for the Finish Line

after over 900 cookies, 150 (or so) muffins, 30 loaves of sweet breads (meaning banana, strawberries, etc...), vats of spaghetti sauce, broccoli cheese soup, ground beef with onions, sliced pork, 8 whole chickens, and various odds and ends (i.e squares, more chicken, another slew of ground beef), the finish line is in sight for "The Blitz." Good thing, too, since school for me starts in about three weeks.

The freezers? (we have two) - bursting. Thankfully, we were able to vacuum-seal everything except the bread, which should do fine in the amount of layers we wrapped them in.

Have I accomplished everything I said I wanted to this summer? Well, no, not quite, perhaps. But, mind you, I did add more to the list, including all those pieces of art that I've done (and four more I hope to do/ finish). I also completed my second writing course, culminating in a 200 or so page manuscript. Not the first manuscript I've completed, but the longest so far.

My goal was originally to finish two or three more outfits, which was made moot by the fact that my sewing machine pedal decided to give out about a month ago. I had almost completed another long swishy-skirt, too, the kind that ripples and flows when the wearer walks, but with the imminent return to school, it seemed pointless to spend money fixing the machine until I had more time to use it.

I also wanted to complete a second YA manuscript, finish editing a middle-grade one, and get started on a few more. I did manage to finish editing the middle-grade one, but the rest will have to wait a bit. After all, summer only comes once a year, so I've taken more time to relax with books, watch movies, and spend time with my human beloved and our canine babies.

Ah, Summer,  Why dost thou flee so quickly?

Keani, Tibetan Spaniel

Icewind and Keani - New Beginnings