Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the Old?

No... I can't just get rid of the little camera that's been the source of so much joy over the last few years.

But I love my new pocket-sized piccie-taker.

Happy New Year to all! I hope 2012 brings you peace, health, love and laughter. Now, I leave you, as I head off to prep for tonight's festivities.

Christmas Lights

On my way out, the week before Christmas, I had a fine opportunity to enjoy the lights in my 'hood.

Front Street is always charming. Even the construction crane (see it on the right) was lit up!

My favourite pub, P. J. O'Brien. I was there other nights this season, but tonight I just had to walk by.

This was my goal: the atrium of Brookfield Place, designed by the brilliant Santiago Calatrava.

The lights were magical.

These features looks straight out of Star Trek.

See what I mean?

The amazing glass sculpture outside Ki Restaurant.

But here's where I ended up for dinner... in my new favourite haunt, Bistro Tournesol, in the most excellent company.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dec. 25, 2011: 12:08 a.m.

Psst! Hey! Shhh... Merry Christmas! What are doing out of bed... do you want Santa to fly right by?

Sending good wishes to all my blog friends. I hope you are warm, well fed and loved tonight.


Friday, December 23, 2011


I just spent an hour laying on the sofa, with the lights out, gazing at the tree. After such a busy time at work, it is so good to know that it will be 10 days before I return. Well, I go in Tuesday for a short while, but we'll pretend that's not happening.

Today I tackled the last of the food shopping for Christmas dinner, but came back with decidedly more than what was on my list (bras!). Tonight, after making the cranberry sauce (new recipe including maple syrup and black pepper) and Jamie Oliver's make-ahead gravy, I just slumped in place and had an intense loll. Tomorrow, after a friends-and-family lunch out, I will make soup and clean my home. It needs it.

Off to bed. Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


It's good to feel the shortest day is now done. I always think of my ancestors at this time of the year, and how they must have trembled in their caves or huts, paying sacrifice to whatever gods they feared and worshipped, that the light might yet return in full force. Strange how many faiths celebrate a festival of lights at this time. Even I, despising fluorescent light, and only keeping a desk lamp on at work, have - for the first time ever - had my overhead lights on most of the work day, since Monday.

I. Need. Light.

Is it - gasp! - aging? Is it just tiredness from too much work and too many years veering from one climactic extreme to another? I crave heat, warmth, my own cave, and a sort of hibernation.

Oh, except for this weekend... I am so ready to celebrate, and will do so three days in a row. Get ready for hugs, food and drink, all you unsuspecting friends and family!

Heh heh. Pass the shortbread, and let's sacrifice some gingerbread men to the Sun god.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


After a hectic week, I walked through the city last night on my way to dinner at the excellent Bistro Tournesol. I picked up the last present on the list, and a couple that weren't. (Examining my new volume, I wonder why I have never heard of Epictitus? I think his philosophy might suit my temperament well.) The crowds were manageable but I'd had enough. And I have learned that it is best to stop at enough.

This morning I woke craving quiet, snow-muffled fields, space, sky, black trees, solitude, with only the sound of my own heartbeat and crunching footsteps in my ears.

Well, there's no snow, and no fields. But there is a city trail that will give me the space I need, so I am off to recharge.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


is how I want to die.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good Feeling... Feeling Good

I'm a bit behind on blogging, aren't I? Well, it's not surprising to me. I'm in a crazy busy time at work, and will be right up to 5 p.m. on Friday, December 23. It's also... oh right! ~ Christmas!

A couple of weeks ago I was a bit under the weather. Now, I usually keep a rotating supply of home-made chicken broth in the freezer, but I had run out. I stocked up that week on Amy's organic soups, which saved me that week, and also this one. Each evening is busy, after a busy day, but a few moments curled up with my hands wrapped around a mug of hastily warmed soup is a great soother, a perfect way to relax, giving me a time out to gaze at the tree lights and count my blessings. Because I am blessed, but I need to remind myself at times, so I take the time to feel the gratitude that is my lot.

Thanks, Amy! (If there's a real one out there).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hmm, mmm mmmm.... hmmmm...

... was the mood of the evening as I finally finished writing Christmas cards. I think the ones headed for international destinations run the risk of arriving after Christmas, but we are in Advent, and Christmas only starts on December 25 (or 24 for some). I love the process of finding cards I love, writing them, stamping them, sealing and the pleasure of sending handfuls of them into the postbox on the corner. And yes, I send real cards. I also e-mail Christmas news to everyone, but the cards are real. I suppose the time and cost are contributing to why fewer people are sending them. I will keep doing so. But, tonight, before writing the last batch, I fortified myself with some steamed broccoli and wontons in the broth I cooked the night before from some organic chicken (the second batch of the week, the first batch is frozen, ready to be used for a soup I'm making as a first course for Christmas dinner). So relaxing, it was amazing I was able to write after that. And as for writing, what has happened to my penmanship? Years of keyboarding has left it challenged. Then I wrapped some presents. Afterwards, I rewarded myself with clementines and tiny Lindt dark chocolate balls.

Oh, and I listened to the soundtrack to The Piano (1993). And now I'm off to bed. And most likely won't blog again until the weekend. Busy time, good time.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Beautiful Weekend

It was the quietest it's going to be for a while, and I was perfectly happy.

I put up the tree, another Fraser fir. It's decorated now and I have spent many happy already gazing upon it and its twinkly lights. In fact, I went quite overboard with decorating this year, and I loved every minute of unwrapping, planning, afixing, judging, zhoozhing and admiring! There was chocolate consumption involved, of course.

A pot of chicken stock is simmering with some pieces of organic bird inside. The pomegranates are seeded and frozen, but more carefully than usual, as these precious arils will be the formation of Christmas cocktails, as well as my breakfasts for the next couple of weeks.

With last week's bug out of the way (not sure if it was a touch of flu or not) the rest of the weekend was given over to puttering about, quietly shopping, talking, planning, eating, dreaming... a wonderful pre-Christmas time. Oh, and a few hours of work, but I won't go on about that here!

The picture above is of my advent candle, from a couple of days ago now. You may remember my post from last year and the inspiration, lovely blogger Zuzana. I so enjoy the ritual of observing it and keeping an eye on it as it burns down another day.

I hope your weekend days were beautiful ones!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Let my doing nothing when I have nothing to do, become untroubled in its depth of peace, like the evening in the seashore when the water is silent."

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

What a wonderful quote. I read this on Phil's excellent blog. I think my personal hero, Tom Hodgkinson, would approve.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Weekend in Perth County

From a few weeks ago when there were still some leaves on the trees... the open road...

Perth County is so beautiful.

Wonderful to see so many farms using solar power and no doubt feeding the grid.

Fall colours in Stratford.

Across from these stunning gates is an area that hosts a market on weekends.

A sign shows the market from many years ago.

Down by the lake.

Plovers on the main street sells bags of healthy swan/duck food!

Well, hello!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Snowing

I'm home for the second day in a row, felled by some dreaded lurgy.

And it's snowing.


Then I saw this, and cheered right up.

A Walk to Cherry Beach, Part the Zillionth

Again... a few weeks back. Now all is leafless and grey.

Oh, and the Cirque du Soleil big top.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Trees, Quakers

On that same day trip to Uxbridge, we also stopped at the Quaker Meeting House (that also took part in one of our car rallies). It was a perfect day to see the last of the fall colours, which have been particularly yellow this year, giving a golden light to all around.

Thomas Foster's Taj Mahal

As you drive north of Uxbridge, Ontario, you'll come across a gob-smacking structure, the Thomas Foster Memorial Temple. Built in 1935, it was inspired by the Taj Mahal, holds the body of Foster, his wife and daughter, and plays host to weddings, concerts and other events. A stunner in every way, it caught me and my friend Dave off guard the first time we saw it. We included it in one of the three car rallies we organized, and have never forgotten it. On a day trip recently, I visited it again with my friend Barbara and, not able to get inside (and it's amazing in there) we took a load of pictures of the outside.