Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Time to let go?

I had this pottery pitcher that I used to fill the cats' water dish.  Sadly I left an inch or so of water in it one day.  One of my cats tried to get at this water, knocked it off the counter and broke the handle.

I love the glaze, the colours, the way it goes over the top to the inside; I am finding it very hard to toss it out.

I've found this unusual japanese vessel in a thrift shop, that I now use to fill the water bowl.  The glaze is plain brown, but the shape is pleasing, especially when the water pours out.

So is it time to let go of the old and broken, and just keep the new functional object, or is there room for a pretty but useless article?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Audra makes herself comfortable

Don't even think about getting up.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fast knitting

Lately I've been starting many knitting projects then setting them aside for various reasons.  A shawl where the wool is too heavy for the lace pattern.  Socks that there may not be enough yarn to complete. Another pair that should be ripped out an started again in the next larger size.  Hat that may be too small also, needs to be taken off needles and checked.  Colourwork sweater that I'm just tired of knitting.  Cardigan ditto.

So it's good to have a finished object in the middle of all the dissatisfaction.

Every morning I get a coffee across the road from my office.   Now that it's freezing out I try to keep my coffee container protected with my hands, and it occurred to me I should knit a coffee warmer for it.   Hope it works!

Moving on

Speaking to an old friend about how I'm trying to declutter a bit.  She said that shouldn't be a problem for me as she's seen me let go of stuff before.  She's right, I've had events in my life I've pretty much left/lost everything - including my planned future with someone (twice). 

On the other hand, I still have a few items from my Vancouver life when I was 21.  A glass jar that I use for sugar, it probably was a candy jar in a general store. 

It's good to have things around a long time that I still use.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A rare occurance

I wore a skirt to work on Thursday.  I can't remember the last time I wore a skirt to the office, probably a couple of years ago, summer time.

I saw this look on a very chic woman last year, and thought to myself "I could knit a vest like that" so I did, but never got the courage to put it all together.  Now vests are in according to A Femme d'un Certain Age so  that's a bonus, and the skirt I purchased last winter on sale still fits which is also a good thing.  Adding knitted bulk around my middle, plus a belt is perhaps not so flattering.  But it was warm and cozy, and at least I pushed my comfort limit a little.

Photo taken in the room I'm renovating, for an uncluttered background.  Then Rory got in the best shot anyway;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Repurposed clothing

One of my cats has discovered the comfort of sleeping on a down filled bed.  I was going to send this jacket to Goodwill, but he loves it so much I think I'll keep it for him.  I just zipped it up, pulled the sleeves to the inside and it's a perfect fit.  Plus it doesn't seem to collect cat fur, so it stays looking clean!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

memory lane

Eversley Public School

This photo from the Country Day School website shows the original one room school I attended and the new two room building that was added when I was in grade six.  I can't find a date for the school, but there is mention of Henry Frost, 1816-51, the originator of music education in Ontario schools, who taught in the Eversley school in 1850 and 1851. 

The church from my previous post is just across the road off the bottom right hand corner of the photo.

On the old school you can see the two doors in the photo - girls used one, boys the other.  Inside was a hall for coats, past this was the classroom.  There were more tall windows on the other side of the building; the side that shows is the north side.  You want to minimize the windows there - in winter the winds blow straight across the fields!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Eversley Ontario

Eversely Presbyterian Church

Metscan posted a photo of a church in Finland that reminds me so much of this little church that is in the village where I went to public school.   Her version is much taller and grander, and has a bell tower!, but the stone construction and the window shape is very similar.

This little church was built in 1848. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Black and Grey

Gazing at my closet the other night, and I noticed how little colour there is.  The turquoise and gold in the photo are both scarves.  The rest, jackets, sweaters and tops are almost all black, grey or white with one purple and one brown exception.  Pants are even less varied.  Am I this depressed? 

I do feel that bright colour is more for young people.  Plus since my hair is gray now, I'm not into the fall shades I used to wear.  Lately it's been all about clear colour and blue/grey shades, partly because that's what is available right now and partly my preferances.

Duchesse's recent blog had a theory that lighter fabrics and brighter colours reflect/cause a happier more attractive life.  She had a friend who made a decision to change her wardrobe this way, and ended up with a lighter spirit and a new love in her life.  Interesting thought.

One question would be which changes first, the inside or the outside?  I may try to add a bit of bright and see what happens!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I wish I had someone to take a picture of me today.  I was napping on the couch with a cat on my legs, a cat next to my shoulder and Rory's head in my lap, all four of us asleep.  Comfort is having warm bodies to curl up with.

Of course I wasn't going to let this dog on the furniture at all, but then he's had digestive problems the last few days.   When he wouldn't eat yesterday I took him to the vet, spent the amount of a new pair of shoes (but decided I get more value from my dog) and he's put on a bland diet, a prescription and Pepcid A/C antacid tablets.  He's been quite subdued, so when he wanted to cuddle I couldn't resist.

Friday, October 22, 2010

More minimalism

The struggle to purge continues.  I am now down to seven pairs of jeans from twelve.  That's a 40% reduction.  I also have two bags of miscellaneous stuff to take to Goodwill.  If more goes out than comes in, there will be progress toward a more stylish and wearable wardrobe.

I have excess in my hobbies too.  I need to finish some of my knitting projects before I start something else.  So tempted to start the Cloud Chaser vest.  And buy new yarn for it too, when I have 40 km of yarn stashed!  The temptation of 'more' tends to come ahead of contentment with looking at what I've already got.  Starting a new project more interesting than completing an old one. 

So much acquisition, so hard to let go.  Why is that?  I wonder if humans are genetically programmed to hunt and collect as a survival thing.  Or is it greed - do I think of the money I've spent and want it back?  It's not going to happen!  It won't make money sitting in my closet, basement or where ever.  And I'm not a sales person type. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010


There's a blogging challenge going on to limit what you wear to twelve items.  I can't get into it.  Seems to me I should be trying to wear everything in my closet in rotation.  If I've bought it and I don't wear it's just a waste.  I buy on a whim and then never wear the new item.  It hangs in the closet or is lost in the drawers while I go back to the same few things over and over, mostly pants and sweaters. 

The concept of limiting your wardrobe artificially when so many have no choice in the matter just doesn't appeal today. 

I'm a bit down today anyway, a bit angry too.  My friend B. died on Friday.  Died or killed herself, or was killed; the police are calling it 'suspicious'.  There's alcohol and an abusive ex spouse involved.  Only God knows the truth. 

Rest in peace B, your suffering is over for this round.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Renovation Upstairs

The work upstairs continues slowly.  I'm taking the paint off the baseboards, it's a big job.  Everything else looks clean and new, so I just couldn't leave them with 47 coats of paint.

Need to tackle the trim on the windows too.  Since the drywall is thinner than the plastic, some shims will be necessary to get the trim back on level.
I find it interesting that the original baseboard finish was a faux woodgrain.  The wood itself is not hardwood, but they added this effect.  The base colour is the honey tone, with the darker overlay with a varnish type material.  Then lines have been dragged in to give the grain effect.

Some of the doors in other parts of the house were finished like this too, under several layers of paint.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dog Bed

Of course I have a bed for my dog in the livingroom, because I've decided this time the dog will not be allowed on the couch.  This will avoid embarassing incidents when the dog walks into someone else's house and climbs up on the furniture like he owns the place.

Naturally the wonderfulness of a new soft sleeping place did not escape the cats.  So we have to share!
 Charlie has the whole bed to himself.

Gaelan and Thomas share. Love it when they get along.

Gaelan and Rory share.  The dog gets a turn.

Of course sometimes things are a little awkward when there's a major size difference!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dog school

Took Rory for his first (with me) Good Behaviour Class.  I think I've chosen well, I like the trainer's attitude to things.  For instance if you want to let the dog on your furniture that's fine, if you want to let the dog only on certain furniture, again that's okay, just be consistent.  If I don't want to work with treats that's okay. 

Rory was very nervous throughout the hour lecture part, lots of whining and fussing, but he got much better with the advanced group when we went outside.  He seemed to pick up what was expected from the other dogs, walked nicely once he calmed down.  He even did sit stays although I didn't move far away.

I'm optimistic that I'll have a great city dog if I follow the advice Jill gives me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I knew it would be dangerous

to take some outgoing clothing into my favourite consignment shop.  I did not look at any clothes at all, but the shoes and purses are displayed next to the take-in counter.   And I really have been looking for a pair of grey boots, not suede, preferably short.  So these are not completely an impulse purchase.

Staccato boots, grey.

this however was totally an impulse purchase...

At least I had a $6.75 credit at the store.  and the bag was only $34.00 ... don't ask about the boots!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Thoughts on Minimalism

Wandering around looking for inspiration on minimalism this morning.  there's always Metscan's wonderfuld blog to get me started.  then I found Jenifer Skinner's now defunct blog on a minimalist wardrobe. 

She identified a minimalist wardrobe as saving money.  You have your set number of outfits and only replace items as they become worn out.  Makes sense, but then I realize how much emotional comfort I've been getting from shopping.   the "I'm not old and ugly - look how good I look in these new jeans/sweater/boots "  And the thought of how boring it would be to wear the same uniform over and over.  So I go ahead and purchase the whatever, bring it home with no plan to integrate it and it hangs in my closet.  Taking up space, representing my money, my image, my so-called fashionable future.

There's part of the reason I have 12 pairs of jeans.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I really only carry one bag at a time; I can't get into a bag 'wardrobe' and changing them over for different outfits etc.

This is my everyday bag, a Kitamura.  My bags have to be very functional - they have to hold my stainless steel coffee mug, my wallet, the Blackberry and my current knittng project.  Occasionally I have to carry 81/2 by 11 inch drawings or files for work so I need a fairly large bag to be a briefcase too.

I don't like bags with a bunch of compartments; I want one big open space with perhaps a small pocket on the side for my Starbucks card and transit pass.

the red shoulder bag is from Rudsak.  I don't use it very much, bought it on sale to carry the occasional times on the weekend when I'm not toting much more than the wallet and keys.  Love the colour and it works year round as far as I'm concerned.

this is my black bag for winter, by Morris B, a Canadian company. It's similar to the tan bag - large enough for all the things I need to carry day to day, long enough strap that it goes over my shoulder, made from real leather. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Mercedes cat died last night.  I went up this morning to give her her meds and she was gone.

Stopped me in my tracks.  Went back later, wrapped her in silk and buried her in the back yard.  Said a prayer, carried on with my day - stoic.

Now I'm tearing up, she was such a sweet little cat, she came in out of the cold and I wish she'd had a longer life of comfort.  I don't think she was more than three or four years old. 

Bless you on your journey little one.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Do I really need ...

Twelve pairs of jeans?

Have to give this some thought.  Some of them are 'work' jeans and some are 'office' jeans.  And possibly a couple of them don't fit anymore, if we're being really honest.  And the fancy ones with the designs and beading that I spent a bunch of money on are now my least favourite jeans.  i.e. I never wear them. 

I need to get over the 'I spent a lot on this, I can't just toss it now'.  As Leo Babauta says, I've already spent the money, I can't get it back.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Now Rory

Went looking for Yo's leather lead for Rory, found it with his ashes on top of the hutch, but I can't bring myself to reuse it.

New dog, new leash.

The old bed is okay though.  He likes it better than the one that came with him.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

this is reality

"And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it."

George Carlin

rather depressing thought for my retirement.  i guess i'm on my own except for a small social secruity payout.  which as stated above, i've contributed over my working career of thirty plus years.

my main issue now is how to land somewhere i can be self sufficient?

retiring overseas

this link is to a book about retiring in another country, where living costs can be much less expensive.  interesting thought, but of course i worry about having to make new social connections in a strange country, possibly in a foreign language.  not one of my strong points, to put it mildly.  and how would i get the animals there?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

more wendell berry


Make a place to sit down.

Sit down. Be quiet.

You must depend upon

affection, reading, knowledge,

skill—more of each

than you have—inspiration,

work, growing older, patience,

for patience joins time

to eternity. Any readers

who like your poems,

doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath

the unconditioned air.

Shun electric wire.

Communicate slowly. Live

a three-dimensioned life;

stay away from screens.

Stay away from anything

that obscures the place it is in.

There are no unsacred places;

there are only sacred places

and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.

Make the best you can of it.

Of the little words that come

out of the silence, like prayers

prayed back to the one who prays,

make a poem that does not disturb

the silence from which it came.
-- Wendell Berry
so I'm reading a post on misswhistle and get to the bottom - it's more Wendell Berry. 
 "stay away from screens" yes this makes sense.  So again i need to consider turning off the tv.   of course this computer is a screen too.  Never thought of them as 'screens' between myself and the reality of the experience on this planet in this life.  Screens between myself and the experience of God?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ceara's picture

Some Mississippi school has decided to be so mean spirted that they won't acknowledge this girl's existence because she's a lesbian!  So because sexual orientation should not be any part of a school's business, I'll show my support and publish her picture. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pushing boundaries

I have had this brown silk shirt hanging in my closet for at least two years.  Possibly longer.  And I have never, ever worn it!  Finally I put it on with brown pants, brown belt (how boring).  Felt vaguely uncomfortable all day, but I must say looking at it here objectively it looks normal enough.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

new shoes!

Went looking for shoes at lunch to day and fell in love!
Fluevog Barkerville in Purple, with two lace colours, purple or pale aqua.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I really thought I was on the side of "it's too expensive, waste of money, too commercial" etc. but I got totally caught up in the olympics. what a party, the atheletes such amazing feats, win or lose by 100ths of a second, and the fantastic canadian sportsmanship.

Plus the fans were having such a good time - Whistler was wild. Spontaneous singing of O Canada.

I was coming home excited to see who had won each day, and the Candian atheletes didn't let me down.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

goodbye tv

they cut off the cable today. good, i think, although i still mindlessly headed for the tv when i got home. even though i had just read the notice from rogers in the mail box saying that it was gone. and now i'm on the computer.

but i do feel a glimmer of the possibilities waiting in the wings. my evenings could be filled with virtuous cleaning, improving my mind, getting to know my possessions (and therefore myself) and may-be even getting creative.

anything would be better than mainstream tv - that 'sugary' diet of constant 5 second clips, restless motionless movement, unreal emotions from fantasies, washing over me constantly, invading my mind and numbing it, rotting it with crap.