Thursday, January 31, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!

I awoke this morning to another light dusting of snow. I have only a short drive to make later today, so I am not too concerned. Apparently busses have been cancelled...because of what is to come. Freezing rain is soon to join the snowfall.

Our feeder is a very popular place this morning. I haven't identified every visitor, but each bring such joy to this household. If you don't feed the birds, I encourage you to do so. These little creatures need all the help that they can get. As farmland and field disappear, their struggle to survive gets greater.

I have never read "Silent Spring.". I am afraid to. I find as I get older, I fear more. I fear for my grandchildren and for the world that they are likely to inherit. Can you imagine a world without birds? Can you imagine a world without bees?

I think it is up to everyone of us to do make some small difference.

“The world is not a dream, but a reality, of which we are the chief part, and in which we must be up and doing something...Come out into the world about you, be it either wide or limited. Sympathize, not in thought only, but in action, with all about you. Make yourself known and felt for something that would be loved and missed, in twenty thousand little ways, if you were to die; then your life will be a happy one, believe me.”
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baby...It's COLD Inside

It seems that hubby and I woke to the knowledge that the power was the same moment. I believe that I said something about a strange smell...and he commented that the power was out, in response. I am not sure what either had to do with the other, but indeed, while temperatures outside dipped to -29, temperatures inside started sliding in the same direction.

At first I wasn't worried. We had an inverter and I thought we could plug the pellet stove in and get at least 4 hours of use. Not! The inverter's power joined the race to see which would hit 0 the room temp. In less than 15 minutes it's charge was depleted.

My biggest concern was our bird...or rather, hubby's bird. (She hates me and takes every opportunity to remind me by lunging at me when I pass.). She is a tropical bird and would not last long in the cold. I covered her cage in flannel and filled the hot water bottle from the tap and then laid a thicker cover atop the first. It must have been effective as she was in fine form when we were finally able to take her cover off...and was able to resume her attempts to gouge me with her beak even as I came to her rescue.

In total, 3500 people were affected by the outage. We were without power, and heat, for almost 10 hours.

I am truly disappointed in myself. I prided myself in, and have preached preparedness. What went wrong?

First of all, we took for granted that our inverter would allow us a few hours of heat. We should have tested this theory. We were not able to make a warm beverage as we could not find our camp stove or propane canisters. These matters should have been attended to prior to the "emergency."

Rather than looking at this whole experience as a failure, I've decided to go easy on myself and recognize that there are valuable lessons to be learned. I know better now and next time I will do better.

The little girl in this watercolour sketch is my granddaughter, Alexia. I painted this from a photo I took two years ago. She didn't mind the cold then...and doesn't now...but this nana likes to be warm.

Hopefully we can keep it that way!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Leontien ❤

Six months ago I visited a blog whose author was participating in an invitation from friends of a young lady who was ill and battling cancer. The invitation was to send "flowers for Leontien.". I investigated further and discovered that Leontien was only 33 years of age and was suffering from a very aggressive form of cancer. Her future looked very bleak, and I wanted to help bring a smile to her face. It was the least I could do...

I was drawn to Leontien's story and discovered that she had accomplished so much in her short life...a degree in Agriculture...a move to the States...the purchase of a dairy farm... She was recognized by her piers for the management of this successful business. She was loving wife to Bastianne.

In short, Leontien was far...far more than a cancer sufferer.

I don't know the whole story but I know enough to recognize what a strong and determined soul she was. I know that she had a sense of humour...and I know that she loved her husband and family enough to keep picking herself up when there were times when she must have been tempted to just close her eyes and accept peaceful rest.

Several months after "Flowers for Leontien," I participated in "Leaves for Leontien," and sent her off a picture of a tree cloaked in leaves of reds and yellows, oranges and rust. I hope she enjoyed it. It was the least I could do.

A few weeks ago, Leontien wrote a post that said both thank you...and goodbye. Leontien spoke of the miracle of the kindness of others...many that she could not meet and would never know. Leontien passed away this week.

Heroes walk amongst us. Some battle illness with great courage. Some are, as Bastianne is...and her family are...pillars of great strength. How difficult it must have been to watch someone you love, suffer so greatly.

Today is Leontien's 34th birthday. Her friends requested that we do a random act of kindness in her honor. For you, and in your honor, Leontien, I visited a co-worker who is battling cancer and presented her with a bouquet of carnations, and several balls of wool to keep her hands busy. She smiled. I know she liked your gift. In your honor, I called a friend who is nursing her terminally ill father and volunteered to do shopping for her. She was grateful.

I, too, am grateful to have "known" you. I am grateful to have been able to be a participant a small way.

I want to thank the friends of Leontien for organizing "Leaves...and Flowers, and random acts of kindness.". You, too, are heroes in my eyes. I hope that "Random acts of kindness" is continued in her memory.

So... Happy Birthday, Leontien... Rest peacefully... You will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another Great Day!

While I did not find the time to paint, I got so much accomplished. Our pellet supply is again stocked, and it is comforting to know that we will be warm for the next 10 days or so. Have I told you that I LOVE my pellet stove? Well I do! We heat our home on less than 6 dollars a day. Our source of fuel is clean and bug-free and does not have to be chopped and split! We recycle the plastic bags that the pellets come in by taking them to my daughter's home in Muskoka where they have an excellent recycling program.

I pulled out our Jack Lalanne juicer that we bought several years ago and have had fun using up the produce in my fridge that was threatening to walk to the compost bin. Wayne and I shared two glasses of juice that contained broccoli, carrots, celery, beets, and apples. At the grocery store I visited their discounted produce rack and got some healthy deals on fruit!

I'm excited that tomorrow and Friday are free and that I can get back at this portrait. I guess as none of my family read my blog, I can tell you that it is a painting of my grandson at the Beach. As the theme of the Women's Art Show is "Reflections," I chose to enter this painting, because I see myself when I look at it... little girl playing on the beach at Grimsby where MY nana took us (my brother and I) every day when we stayed with her. These were some of the happiest days of my life...and in my grandson I see the reflection of myself as a little girl spending the day with my grandmother.

And so...another great day under my belt! The sun is shining. All is well!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Now Why didn't I Think of That?

Recently I came across an idea for a gratitude jar. I have tried to keep a gratitude journal, but often forget to enter, and the blank pages disappoint me. I love the idea of a jar where grateful thoughts are deposited all year long until the jar is again opened on New Year's Eve. Hubs is on board and already I am filling my jar with gratitude! (I may have to get a bigger jar!)

I have included YOU in the many reasons I feel grateful. Thank you for your presence in my life. Your thoughts and comments mean so much.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Painting again!

Today is a wonderful "about time and I wish you could last forever" kind of day. Today I painted.

It seems such a long time since I picked up paint and brush, but the desire to paint has been ever present... Like the carrot hanging in front of the donkey's nose...the ability to do so seems always out of reach. There seems to be a more pressing task at hand...and often I have admitted to myself that at some point in time I will most regret not making the time. I am well aware that there will come a time soon that I may not be able to see well enough, or hold a brush steady...

Today I put my needs first. I resisted shopping. I left a sink full of dishes... but I started a painting. I am so happy!

The Women's Art Show in Orillia is fast approaching. The theme this year is "Reflections.". This painting will be entered, and while I won't tell you what it is, I will show you pictures of the last painting that I entered. This show is non juried and artists of all skill levels are invited to attend.

I hope your day has been as enjoyable as mine!