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Autumn leaves & pumpkins please🎃

  Autumn

leaves us

floating on winds

drifting around and down

golden

Vcl©️

Don’t worry, we aren’t decorating for autumn in our home quite yet, but it was fun pulling a few things out the other day when I was rearranging the storage room. I was excited to find my box of pumpkin carvers. It is an art in our family and we look forward to the pre-planning …picking the design, finding the right pumpkin, exploring new ideas and dream of spice and everything nice.

Wait for more fun pics 🎃 friends.

But first I’m packing those suitcases I dragged from the storage room with summer clothing and flip flops.

Yeah Cuba….see you soon!❤️

 

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Posted in 2018

That tinge of bright 🌤

“Light is prettiest in the dark.”
Joyce Rachelle

A number of years ago I had the pleasure of traveling to Europe. One highlight was a visit to the Rikkmuseum in Amsterdam. There I absorbed the old art by famous painters such as Van Gogh, Vermeer, Marten, Asselijn and Rembrandt. It was a truly delightful experience.

One of the portraits that intrigued me most was the famous piece by Rembrandt named The Night Watch, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1642

Undoubtedly his best-known masterpiece, which is said to have marked a turning point in the artist’s career, takes pride of place in its own gallery. The large-scale painting depicts guardsmen getting into formation, with a young girl in the foreground rumoured to be modelled on Rembrandt’s late wife. The grand space is dedicated to Rembrandt’s vision .

There was seating all around the centre of the room where one can gaze at the painting from various angles. I was struck by the darkness of the room and the picture itself , which was huge along the wall. My gaze centred on the people depicted in front. This was my first introduction to what is called Rembrandt lighting.

Rembrandt lighting was named after of the great master, who often used it in his own portraits. The idea is to create a small inverted triangle of light on the subject’s cheek that is opposite the light source. This is very flattering (especially for people with prominent cheekbone structure) and was often used in old Hollywood portraits. Teachers say that it is important to ensure that you get catch lights in both eyes.

Since then I’ve been mindful of this thought. There’s no wrong in darkness, only a brief departure from the light. To understand the darkness in others, it serves us to know our own darkness. Rembrandt knew his subjects well.

Let’s show ourselves some light.  Allow yourself to be inspired to let go of the need to stay in darkness—your entire life isn’t meant to be a struggle, but if you think it is, that’s what it’ll be for you.

The trick isn’t to drown the darkness with light, or to replace the negativity with positivity, but to bring the darkness to the light, like an offering.

This is my offering today to you.❤️

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Posted in 2018

I am not a Writer ~ just stones that talk

    If you wish to be a writer,  write.

Epictetus *

I am not a writer~
Oh, I have stones crammed inside my head, collected

stuffed into an abandoned trunk of old forgotten valuables

left to expire in the dusty attic~ but I am not a writer.

I am a holder~

holding the talking stones of childhood memories, sibling quests

love gained and lost, birth pangs and the fool’s gold of age.

I hold the stones, smooth to my caress ~I feel the words speak.

 

vcl poem /photo ~ Lake Athabasca

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Posted in 2018

Taste the Mystery

We really are very lucky. You know…US… the gardening people. We have had our annual joy…..and a busy time recently gathering in all the fruits and vegetables of our labors. Abruptly…just as every year feels that way,  cooler weather has descended…I find myself contemplating socks….saints preserve us!

This is the time of year when we can’t go around with a new plant (family member) as in warmer climes, chanting under our breath “Where are we going to put you?” Here in northern Alberta….the land of the blue line on seed packets I call it, we are now asking ourselves “How are we going to protect you?”

My husband states he saw frost on my car in the early morning…which I’ll have to take his word for as early is a dirty word in my vocabulary. 🤩 Hearing that though, I am instantly thrown into a protective stance. Do I grab the peppers and tomatoes (still quite green due to poor sunlight caused largely by the forest fires that hid the sun and the rest of the skyline most of the summer) ? Or do I leave them be, alert for just a little precious Indian Summer?

That’s the dichotomy of gardening friends.  The cycle of birth and death. It gets played out on the gardening stage every year. It’s been a great run, but now we look for ways to cheat the calendar.  It could mean the difference between a bountiful harvest or no harvest at all.

As for me, I went down to my garden today. I picked some tomatoes, cukes and onions. I grabbed a couple of peppers and a lone zucchini too and made a delicious salad for our supper.

I pronounced it good.

I picked more sage to dry, anticipating Thanksgiving in the pungent autumnal odor lingering on my fingers. I contemplated covering the Tom Thumbs. Maybe tomorrow.

Mother Nature winks at us all. I Winked back!😍😉

Photo vcl©️

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Posted in 2018

You did not die ❤️

Upon reflection

Sometimes things

Get broken

And you just can’t

Fix it

You just can’t

Kiss it

Make it better

It just won’t move

Or improve.

It gets caught

In a groove

And you’ve wiggled

And waggled

Without success

But stepping back

You’ve learned to live

Without something

Important

And You did not die.

vcl©️ Photo & poem

Featured
Posted in 2018

If feeling isn’t in it~ celebrate dog days.

You can take it away, as far as I’m concerned—I’d rather spend the afternoon with a nice dog. I’m not kidding. Dogs have what a lot of poems lack: excitements and responses, a sense of play the ability to impart warmth, elation . . . .  

                                                                               Howard Moss

Tomorrow is National Dog Day. We humans like special days, don’t we?  I guess it’s about the warm fuzzy feelings they evoke in the memories of  happy times. This one occurred when I was eleven.

My Father spent some years as a salesman. He had a sales area which because of its size meant that he was gone for days at a time. Returning home from one of these trips he arrived at the back door carrying a large cardboard box. Setting it on the threshold he hunkered down, unmindful of his good suit and as we children gathered around he proceeded to open the box. What to our wondering eyes did appear but the cutest, most adorable little black, red tongued  puppy we thought we had ever seen.

He was so energetic, trying to kiss everybody’s faces as we passed him around. Then he peed on Mom. I remember Dad setting him on the stoop and as we all entered the house Rex (that was his new name) had to be helped over the threshold as he was too fat to wiggle over it. We all laughed.

Rex , Dad explained was a Black Labrador Retriever. He grew and grew in physical size and love, big sloppy love was his specialty. He mostly stayed outdoors as he was added to the family because Dad was away a lot. Guard dog was his primary role,but occasionally  on cold winter days he was ushered into the back pantry with a special blanket and snacks. Oh the love then lol.

He turned out to be a kind, patient companion alert to rabbits and squirrels along the path to the gardens. He was the first to flush out the porcupine with her babies, much to his chagrin. He never missed an opportunity to chase a stick. He seemed to sense when we were feeling blue and would sit close letting us pat his head, almost like he was offering a prescription for what ailed us.

If he had any flaw we never found it. That is until some years later we moved to a new home near a rural highway . It seemed that he had found the one thing that caused him some excitement in his quiet country life. Added a little spice he may have said in human words. He liked to chase the pea truck.

In the early autumn the peas are harvested in the Annapolis Valley. With it begins the steady procession of overloaded trucks taking the peas (with vines still attached) to the canning factory close by.

Rex just couldn’t seem to help himself. No amount of reproof made him change his ways.  Every time he heard a pea truck rumble down that road he was sprinting along beside it barking, snarling, grabbing the occasional pea vine that fell off in the breeze in his teeth, shaking it back and forth as if he had captured the flag of sorts. The truck would soon disappear out of sight, then Rex’s demeanour would relax and he would saunter back to the step as if nothing had happened. Yawn.

Sadly, that is how Rex met his demise. I wasn’t there when it happened thankfully but that darn old pea truck obscured the view of another driver passing and  didn’t see Rex as he crested the hill. One thump and he lay mortally wounded in a heap on the road. The commotion that followed , children crying, strangers apologizing, and the horror of the suffering friend I could only imagine as the story was relayed to me later. Gathering around,  my siblings recounted those precious minutes where hope died. It was quickly apparent that the vet wasn’t an option. Fortunately  a neighbor pulled up with a hunting rifle just then and Dad put our friend to rest.

it is said that “One bad trait can ruin a whole person”. I guess that can apply to dogs too.

Rex was buried deep in the woods among the old Apple trees the area is famous for. I have never visited. My brother mourned there. Boys and their dogs are another story.

RIP Rex. I’m glad we have a day to celebrate you.❤️

Photo credit: Dirk Vonderstrabe

 

Featured
Posted in 2018

Criss-crossing threads ➰

While skimming through some YouTube videos recently I viewed an excerpt from the 1968 motion picture Funny Girl. One of the things that most stood out for me in this movie was the song Barbara Streisand introduced by the name of “People,” often known by the line in the chorus “People, people who need people are the luckiest people in the world”. I still remember that song for many reasons. One of these is the deep-rooted notion that we are never alone in this world, furthermore that we depend on others for more that just mere survival.

People do need people.  Together we comprise the real “fabric of our lives.” It is up to us to work with one another in creating unity. By understanding what we share in common, and better defining the boundaries of what makes us different, we can embrace our connectedness and our diversity in the long run. And this affects our own reality, both as individuals, as well as at large. The sooner we come to this realization, the quicker we are able to fall in sync with our life’s purpose and find fulfillment. If we are to survive the challenges of our changing world, we must trust ourselves, open our hearts and bond with others through the real experiences that enrich our spirits. Only then will we rise to the call of our true nature, As the song says  “you were half, now you’re whole.” 💝

Threads

Today I overheard the term “fabric of life”

Not as a complete sentence, certainly not sure of the context

I think of criss-crossing threads, a cloth of existence

That we can wrap around our selves. An assurance of realness

           Soul dressing    ©️Vcl

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Posted in 2018

Memory Stones 😍

In the dead of night I ponder

all my stones of awkward weight

Mentally skipping them o’r the water

of my mind’s achromatic lake.

Casting stones of dreams and wishes

skimming hopes and fears obscure

Tossing far across the tide line

stones I’ve gathered on the shore.

Sweet release I feel unburdened

As they sink down into the calm arcane

Yesterday’s stones are now a memory

I stoop and gather an untouched day .

©️vcl

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Posted in 2018

There’s a little butterfly in all of us 🦋

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.     

Nathaniel Hawthorne

I was working in my garden today (actually I was playing)  when I noticed this butterfly alight on a leaf near me. It looked so pretty, sunlight bouncing off its wings that I stooped in for a closer look and a picture to show others. Truthfully it made me feel happy. How could that be? It wasn’t doing anything special.  But it’s very existence was special to me. Butterflies speak of peace and good will. They speak of change, rebirth and happy endings.  I had one of those mindful moments. Questions fluttered through my mind.

What has this little butterfly seen of the world in its journeys? Does it think about how important it is to the flowers as it flutters along , pollinating the natural kingdom? I picture it singing a happy tune, and even though it’s life is short I doubt I’d hear a mumbling word of complaint. What would that song sound like? Does it know it’s creator? Could it lead me there?  Or do butterflies just soar?  Some questions don’t get answered do they? I weave these thoughts, coccooned around my heart as the butterfly flies away.

The day has been long. Night has drawn its shuttered eyes, and I will do likewise. But before I go I leave you with this little Cinquain to ponder❤️ Vcl©️

    Butterfly

    Tissue white, graceful

      Chasing the wind, laughing

        Happy little thing

      Wings

 

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Posted in 2018

Oatmeal raisin cookies~ The great divide

Ya’ll remember the lines spoken by the minister at a wedding ceremony that go like this.  “If there is anyone here today, who knows of any reason why this couple should not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.”?

45 Years later I now daydream through that scenario…picturing someone, a sister, mother or even one of the church potluck team ladies jumping up and waving from the back of the church, “Raisins, he hates raisins, your marriage is doomed!” Then they exit  with maniacal laughter. (It’s my daydream 😀)

We thought we had covered all the important stuff, like children, money, pets and who’s family to visit on each holiday, but like so many couples we felt completely blindsided by seemingly trivial preferences that can change the relationship landscape forever.🤭

Like raisins.   “I thought raisin pie was your favourite?” piped up my husband’s mother after he refused a slice at a Sunday meal visit soon after our marriage.  “No,”said Ken emphatically. I dislike cooked raisins actually. I prefer pumpkin. I hate how cooked raisins squish in my mouth. Like polyps I imagine.”

I wondered how many raisin pies he had choked down through the years and now, as a grown man at last he was taking a stand. No more cooked raisins for him! Free at Last!

Well it actually turns out that there have been very few cooked raisins for anyone in our family. You can pretty well say it has been a raisin free environment. Thank God(truly) for cranberries. Life has been tolerable. I must admit though it has made me a bit of a raisin warrior. Today, while travelling, we stopped at Tim’s for a coffee and donuts treat. There in the case before me I spied the most amazing oatmeal cookies with raisin deliciousness.

I ordered one and my husband ordered a luscious peanut butter.  The clerk accidentally placed two raisin cookies in the bag. My heart stopped…for just the soupçon of a second…waving frantically I alerted her to her error. “Sorry, she said. “Now you have 2 raisin cookies because once out of the case I can’t put it back.  Do you want both? I indicated that while I was excited about the prospect of  TWO raisin cookies….but my husband was not. She added the peanut butter one. Phew, crisis averted! My husbands eye rolls were hard to miss. He whispered that I could enjoy twice the punishment.

So today I am mindful that We need not think alike to love alike.” ~Ferenc David

In fact for me in that moment, while I recognized my raisin cookie need, and fulfilled it, I was entirely conscious that my husband wouldn’t  feel the same bliss. And then I realized I cared.  Somewhere, all wrapped up in our childhood memory of the seemingly miles and miles of raisins, we had reached two different conclusions. And that is ok. Because we love each other in spite of our differences.

Me: I hate guacamole.  Ken: What?How can you hate guacamole? 🙄

 

 

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Posted in 2018

Sunflowers ~T’is the seasoning

Sunflowers say summer more than any other flower.
As part of the daisy family, they are cultivated for their edible seeds. Every road trip in our family begins with a trip to the store to ensure enough “spits” to fill a few empty coffee cups along the way.

I read that the sunflower’s name comes from its tendency to reposition itself to face the sun. It’s genus, Helianthus, is rooted in two Greek words — “helios” meaning sun and “anthos” meaning flower.

The ancient Greek myth of Apollo and Clytie is one explanation of why  sunflowers turn towards the sun. In this story Clytie, a nymph, adored Apollo. At first, he loved her back, but soon he fell in love with Leucothoe. Because of her jealousy, Clytie told Leucothoe’s father of the relationship and he punished her by burying her alive.

In anger, Apollo turned her into a flower, but even in flower form she still loved him and would spend her days watching him as he moved the sun across the sky in his chariot, just like sunflowers move to face the sun. 🌻

In 2013 my husband and I visited the Rikkmuseum in Amsterdam. We were excited to view amazing art and I particularly liked Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

I share his enthusiasm evidently…..❤️ I wonder if he would prefer regular seasoning or all dressed?

“The sunflower is mine, in a way.”
Vincent van Gogh

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Posted in 2018

The earth weeps~What listening ears?

The Earth weeps

And the sound of her sobs

Has fallen upon deaf ears

Or met with a look of scorn

How dare she wallow

In loud suffering

Is she not bedrock

solid foundation

to our future generations?

Is she not blessed

We have come and gone

Are not our footprints eternal?

Do we brazenly shout

Into the abyss

Scream at the unknown

Rip out tree and root

Poison our affections

Abuse our children

Or despite our insistence

That we slough off

Old wives tales

Are our ears perked

Listening for the voice

Of absolution ?

Listen deeply

for it may only come

Once..  vcl©️

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Posted in 2018

Unsettled ~ As the wind

I make things complicated for myself and chaotic, so I feel unsettled, and then the challenge is to make something structured and complete emerge from that.

❤️Jessica Stockholder

I am packing for a trip. A short jaunt. But packing unsettles me. Do I really need 3 pairs of shoes? What if it rains? Where are my sunglasses?….and the beat goes on, la dee dah. Experience has shown that I overpack. If I’m not careful I will let my joy get stolen. And the ransom may be  more than I want to pay.

So I’ve taken a breather. My packing will be complete. It always does. I  am writing a poem to celebrate my freedom from packing blues, spilling chaotic thoughts, into a summer night wind that’s reflecting summer’s heat. ❤️

As the wind

my mind is wafting

in and out

of conscious thought

whirling in a sea

of mysteries

Stirring up what

they aught not

Breathing in

unsettling whispers

knocking down

old barriers worn

Ancient beliefs

toppled

scattered

scorned

anticipating

wintry storms

mulling

o’r what really matters

life

             Unsettled as the wind.    vcl©️

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Posted in 2018

Where old flowers never die 💐

“The Louvre is a good book to consult, but it must only be an intermediary. The real and immense study that must be taken up is the manifold picture of nature.” – Paul Cezanne

I was perusing old photos today and amongst the pile, this one kinda stood out. There is an old saying by Osho that sums up my thoughts.. He says….

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love.
So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.”

I was mindful. I didn’t pick it up with my hands. I did snap a picture though and take it home with me.  I now can pick up this flower whenever I choose and it still gives me joy. The same joy that I felt when I first saw it. See the lush tones? The pinks and greens, each petal and flower a masterpiece? The open invitation to smell its nectar? If only it was scratch and sniff…if only to share with you dear reader…for my memory can conjure its perfume even now.  🎶I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart …where? …down in my heart to stay.   🎶

 

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Posted in 2018

Tradition’s sweet side 🥞

I know that everything essential and great originated from the fact that the human being had a homeland and was rooted in tradition.” Martin Heidegger

This past week I received a call from one of my daughters asking if I would like a jar of her first batch of crabapple jelly. I was so excited to be picked as a taste tester!  It was her first try at canning and her excitement was catchable, as she had not shown an interest in this ancient art, although I had done a lot of it in her growing up years.

Canning brings back so many memories of my childhood. I remember my mother carefully washing jars, lids, and rings. While they air dried, I can remember her washing the cucumbers and making the brine for the dill pickles. Then taking the jars and filling them with either sliced cucumbers or whole small cucumbers.

She’d pour the brine into the jars and lower them into the canner. After they boiled for a time, she’d carefully lift them out, line them in neat little rows, and cover them. We’d all anxiously wait for that loud “pop” that let us know that the jars were sealed properly. Oh the memories!!!

Each newly harvested fruit and veggie had its own place in the canning que. One year I counted 82 quarts of strawberries. They were all gone by New Years 😳

Well, needless to say, the crabapple jelly is delicious, especially on Cobb’s bread transformed into French Toast that was to die for…..❤️ There’s the picture to prove it😍

Next we tackle dills…but canning is so much easier today because after you fill your jars and close them, you just stick them in the dishwasher and after a complete cycle…voila …Done! Except we still wait for the “pop”. It’s just tradition.

 

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Posted in 2018

Roots ~Thinking of words

“I’ll have 2 of those Nutella donuts” I smiled at the cashier, fumbling in my bag for change. Handing it to her , I reached to grasp the bag she extended. When she handed me a second bag I realized she had got my order wrong. “You are giving me the wrong ones, you silly girl” were the words on the tip of my tongue.

But I didn’t spew them out because I was thinking of Words as Roots. Angry Words that become rooted in the soft flesh of the heart and grow unchecked until they choke the life out or get ripped out.

I thought “Let that not be me today, let the words I say have soft roots with lovely fragrant flowers that can be gathered from the heart and passed along to others. So I said ” No worries, I’ll take them…for later, so don’t worry about the overcharge. In fact I will take the others I wanted too. I saw the relief in her eyes as she filled my order.

Later, after my husband returned from a class he was attending, we had coffee at the hotel and I presented him my offering of 2 slightly squished Nutella donuts. “Yummy” he said.❤️ #Timhortons

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Posted in 2018

Life ~ with ice cream

 

 

 

We celebrated our 45th Wedding  Anniversary yesterday.

With ice cream. Hot fudge brownie sundaes. Two of them.

We joke as usual, we aren’t ready to share, yet.

But we bought the same flavour. Perhaps that’s the secret of 45 years and beyond.

“All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I thank God for ice cream ❤️

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Posted in 2018

Life is hard- then we drop a stitch

Sometimes it seems life is nothing but hard.

We battle our way,

Not always bravely~ through the days,

No end to issues that fray our mind.

Crippled, diminished, overwhelmingly maligned.

Like knitting, unraveling as we’ve dropped a stitch,

So easy to toss, refusing to admit~ defeat.

Sagely we just keep following the pattern,

Hoping it looks like the gift to others we envisioned

when we picked it.

Vcl©️

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Posted in 2018

Released ~ free verse it is.

Released  

I languished in a sea of untamed thoughts

I am powerless to reign

the tempest within

Some say that there are no new stars

But I have never been this way before

Thus my story keens

As an infant born in the bowels of a boat

I seek stormy release

Fearful of the deep

As the word winds sweep

My words land disheveled

In a heap, released safely to shore

Vulnerable but with relief.

 

Picture credit: Horacio Cardozo

 

Posted in Reblogs

Stable Nazi-enabler Strikes Again!

Food for thought

Past the Isle of Dogs

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Doesn’t this photo scream “presidential”?

I was also thinking it was the perfect deafening dog whistle photo for Trump. For one, it was posted on the same day the neo-Nazis are holding their much-advertised march in Washington. Since some bikers, but not all bikers, are popularly reputed to have racist inclinations, Trump can be viewed by neo-Nazis and other of his racist supporters as giving them an obvious wink and nod of approval while still retaining (very tenuously) plausible deniability (“Bikers for Trump racists!? More libtard fake news!”).

BUT look closely at the arm tattoo of this Biker for Trump. In case you don’t know, the symbol is the double S, stylized as twin lightning bolts, used as an emblem by Hitler’s paramilitary force the schultzstaffel. The organization held chief responsibility for carrying out The Holocaust.

This is beyond dog whistle. In essence, Trump just welcomed neo-Nazis to the White…

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