Category Archives: life

Weekly Photo Challenge: Free Spirit

This is my first blog in a few months. Summer is over and it is time to get back to it.

I recently spent time on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The beaches are endless and great for surfing and boogie boarding. I spent a week camping and enjoying the grandchildren and some fun in the surf. Playing in the waves brings out the free spirit in all of us. The wind and water sets the soul free.

I am free

thrilling and free

Cannon is loving it

boogie boarding on Vancouver Island Canada

with the surfing dog Lucy

seven life lessons I was slow to learn.

The best teacher in my life has been life itself. If I had to teach a life course I would have to admit I usually got it wrong.

I love the quote: “The secret of teaching is to appear to have known all your life what you learned this afternoon”. Anonymous

There will always be people holding up stop signs. You need to make a detour and often find that you end up discovering the new path is a more exciting way to get where you wanted to go in the first place..

My class would include the following life lessons.

  1. Never make a hasty decision on important matters. When I was in nursing school, I met a guy. You know the type, the tall, dark, handsome type, who makes your heart beat fast and makes you giddy with excitement. Before long, he was transferred across the country. He asked me to follow him. I threw my education out the window and moved. It has been 45 years and we are still happily married, but the point is, I gave up my education on a whim. Don’t do that. You will need it.
  2. Make good  friends and keep them. I am the bad example. I have lost good friends through neglect on my part. I have lost the closeness I once had with some and totally lost contact with others.  Do not let them get away. I often feel sad because I do not have a best friend. It is easier to stay in touch in this age, with Facebook and email and all the techy contact we have, however face to face interaction is vital.
  3. Stay humble, forgive and be willing to say you are sorry. Family members hurt each other sometimes. Friends say things. We all make mistakes. Always make an effort to patch things up. Take the initiative to make it right. I have seen too many families torn apart with misunderstandings. Do not be too proud to make the first move.
  4. Set goals.  I mean a lot of goals. These should be flexible but you need to start with what is in your heart. Write out a bucket list. Fill it with your dreams. Big dreams like retiring early and small dreams like learning to ski. I wish I had done that. I never heard of a bucket list when I was young, in fact, it seemed a womans goal back then should be to get married, have children and … ummm… well, that was it. So that is what I did. Years went by, kids grew up and suddenly, there I was, aimlessly going through life, my mission accomplished. Once I crawled out of the depression hole I found myself in, I wrote a bucket list and I am blissfully working towards completing my goals
  5. Do not waste your sunny days.Be adventurous. Be spontaneous. Never stay home because the laundry needs to be done or the lawn needs mowing. We had a lot of fun with our children on the days we jumped in the car to go get groceries and ended up a hundred miles away hiking in the forest, the grocery shopping abandoned, simply because it was a sunny day.

    Don’t waste your sunny days

  6. Don’t worry. We all know worry doesn’t change anything. Worry is stressful, it is a waste of time and energy. Most often, we worry about things that will never happen. It is as if we are waiting for the shoe to drop. Think of the times you have worried in the past. What happened? Did it help to worry about it first?  Instead, go for a walk, go shopping, watch a funny movie. Learn to distract yourself. When a crisis does hit your life, and it will, you will somehow find the strength to accept it and deal with it as best you can. Just look at all your options and pray.
  7. Make sure you are happy. That sounds obvious but too many people work at a job they hate, with a boss that expects them to work overtime, leaving them drained and tired. Family life suffers. You suffer. Before it is too late, find another job, go back to school if you have to, but don’t settle for mediocre. Aim to get the job that makes your heart happy. Remember your goals.

I could go on, and I might, but not today, I need to go out and play. Oh, this  is important, maybe it should be number one.. Do not ever think you are too old to PLAY.

Let’s play

Supermoon and its Moonshadow

Last night I photographed the “super moon of 2012.”Our beautiful moon was at its closest for the year. It is on an elliptical path, and this coincided with the full moon phase this month, making it extra special, extra bright and beautiful. The moon was 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons of the year.

I wasn’t thinking of the “weekly photo challenge: Unfocused”, I wanted a good photo. I wonder if this qualifies?

Everything went perfectly, no clouds in the sky… when I looked at what I captured, I found this:

The super moon and it’s shadow?

The wonderful old song by Cat Steven came to mind… “Moon shadow”. A song of hope in desperate times. A song about looking for the good in a bad situation. A song that reminds me that no matter how things look, how tough the road I am on seems, God is there and He is faithful. Shadows may be following me, But the Light is always with me. Remember that there is always something good, always a bright side.

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow,
moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow,
moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land,

Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if…. I won’t have to work no more.
And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if…. I won’t have to cry no more.

Oh I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow,

moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin’ and hoppin’ on a moonshadow,
moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg,

Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if…. I won’t have to walk no more.
And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if…. I won’t have to talk…

Oh I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow,

moonshadow, moonshadow
Leapin’ and hoppin’ on a moonshadow,
moonshadow, moonshadow
 
Did it take long to find me
I ask the faithful light
Did it take long to find me
And are you going to stay the night


I’m being followed by a moon shadow
Moon shadow moon shadow
Moon shadow moon shadow
Moon shadow moon shadow

I did manage to capture the moon in all its glory.

The Super moon of 2012

Reaching for the Sun

 I asked the children to touch the sun. “That’s impossible ” they all laughed together at such a silly notion.

I am too small to touch the sun.

“We are just too small.” the six-year-old explained with all the wisdom of his years. I suggested they climb higher, reach higher, try harder.

So they climbed the tower at the park.

They climbed to the top

.

One by one, they reached as high as they could climb

.

and they touched the sun

.They touched the sun

They held the sun in their hand

.

Even the skeptical six-year-old succeeded and learned that he is not too small after all.

. Grandma’s aren’t so silly after all.

 

 

 

.

 

Journey to find the Ultimate Outhouse

This week, the Weekly Photo Challenge is journey. I would like to take you on a journey… a journey to find the ultimate outhouse. This is an essential search when travelling to the northern parts of Canada, where towns are few and far between.

the endless highway... on and on and on.... not an outhouse in sight.

Sometimes the outhouse is out in the middle of a field with a small parking lot and nothing else around.  It seems all exposed and alone.

In the middle of nowhere

I wondered about the sign on the door.

WHAT?? Really? At what age can we leave them?

Do people tend to drive off leaving a child in the outhouse?

This cute little blue one was on a bit of a tilt. The bushes are growing around it. The door was left open. Is it safe? I was a little skeptical.

Is this safe to use? Maybe in a pinch. How desperate am I?

Some are doubles, Men on one side, Ladies on the other.

A family the pees together....

Is this an outhouse or and in-house? I suppose it was much preferred over going outside in the middle of a dark and cold night, but I would hate it in the morning.

I am glad I am living in the era of indoor plumbing.

Some Outhouses are super fancy, dressed up with plants and flowers, covered in vines. A treat for the weary and desperate traveler.

wonderful.. this outhouse is complete with flush toilets, a shower, laundry and books, if you are planning a longer visit.

Sometimes, there is a conveniently placed outhouse, but one has to wait for a turn. I waited and waited and waited and waited.

He looks a bit constipated... I wish he would hurry up.

After a long drive, searching for a sign, desperate for a rest stop, I was ready to give up and find a conveniently located bush when “what to my wondering eyes should appear”, but a cute little log outhouse nestled in the bush. I was so excited and about to be relieved.

Isn't this sweet.. a log outhouse...

I opened the door. Maybe…

I have waited so long... maybe...

Maybe not.

Absolutely NOT !!

It was time to find that bush.

A little way down the road..  I was caught.

outhouse relief.

I hope you enjoyed the journey. If you plan a trip to the far north, I can tell you that I have become an expert in finding relief behind a bush.

 

 

An Arctic Journey

The journey to the Arctic began at the Arctic Circle.

Crossing the Arctic Circle

The Dempster Highway starts in the Yukon, and continues into the Northwest Territories. We travelled for 734 km on the dirt highway, our destination: Inuvik.

We had to quickly shut the windows to protect us from the dust storm this transport truck kicked up.

The highway is built up above the permafrost. It is hard to see the steep drop on the side of the highway. We did not want to slide over the edge on this journey. I am glad there was not too much oncoming traffic.

The journey continued to the Mackenzie River. As we drove down the mountainside could see the community of Tsiigetchic as we descended to the river. There is no bridge. We had to catch the ferry.

The crew allowed us to climb up to the top deck, past the “no admittance” sign so that I could take some photos. I could not resist a photo of our very dirty van.

The ferry was not busy, they let us climb up to the "crew only" area

A great view of the approaching “dock”. The ferry simply runs up against the gravel, lowers the ramp and we drive on and off the ferry.

The road is built right to the edge of the river. The ferry is an extension of the Dempster Highway and is free.

We made it to the final leg of our journey to Inuvik , NWT Canada, home to the famous Igloo Church.

The Igloo Church in Inuvik

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged

It is a beautiful sunny day, I was taking some photos in the back yard, checking on the dove in the nest, my husband playing with Sydney. I noticed the arranged patio stones. While I took some photos, the dogs shadow fell across the stones. I caught the kong in mid-flight, its shadow fell in front of Sydney’s shadow.
I thought this would be a good entry for arranged… I not only arranged the stones, but also the photo.

Sydney playing with the Kong on our arranged patio stones

Patience is hard to find.

A photographer needs patience. Waiting for the right moment, the time when the lighting and mood is right, waiting is hard.

Into the gray.

Landing

I love to take photos of birds. I need to get out into the wild with my telephoto and a tripod. I am looking forward to hiking and exploring this summer… Today is gray and cool. I need patience… one of the hardest things for me is waiting..

Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing” it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”    ―      Fulton J. Sheen

I am in a test right now. Waiting for the Insurance company to approve all the repairs so we can finally clean up after the flood. I cannot wait to get our rooms back to some kind of normal. I have boxes of food all over my kitchen and it is easier to order pizza than it is to cook. ( OK there are benefits.)

Francis Bacon said: “Whoever is out of patience is out of possession of his soul.”

I read that and started to wonder. I know I have been out of control at some points in my life and it is not somewhere I want to return to. I must be patient, with myself and with my world.

Who ate the Spider?

It must be because the kick plate is removed from under the cupboards. We are still waiting to hear what damage the insurance covers. The flood is dried up, but the kitchen is still dismantled.

A spider crawled out of its regular “under the sink”  hiding place, silly thing.

"I am just minding my own business, taking a stroll.."

The cat has good eyesight, the poor spider managed to make it to the middle of the kitchen floor before getting whacked across the room. Struggling to its eight little legs, it limped out into the middle again. Clover, the cat, sniffed at it, pawed it, toyed with it..

"Thanks guys, for getting me a new toy.." says the cute and innocent kitty cat

I feel guilty. I should have rescued the poor scared spider. Do spiders have feelings? Can a spider taste fear? I contemplated these things as I snapped a few more photos.

The spider must be scared, Its hair is standing on end.

Suddenly, the cat went in for a closer look.

"hey little buddy.."

That was the last I saw of the spider.  I am left holding a camera and singing that old children’s song;

There was an Old Lady song

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – perhaps she’ll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider, That wriggled and wiggled and tiggled inside her; She swallowed the spider to catch the fly; I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – Perhaps she’ll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a bird; How absurd to swallow a bird. She swallowed the bird to catch the spider, She swallowed the spider to catch the fly; I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – Perhaps she’ll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a cat; Fancy that  to swallow a cat! She swallowed the cat to catch the bird, She swallowed the bird to catch the spider, She swallowed the spider to catch the fly; I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – Perhaps she’ll die!

There was an old lady that swallowed a dog; What a hog, to swallow a dog; She swallowed the dog to catch the cat, She swallowed the cat to catch the bird, She swallowed the bird to catch the spider, She swallowed the spider to catch the fly; I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – Perhaps she’ll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow, I don’t know how she swallowed a cow; She swallowed the cow to catch the dog, She swallowed the dog to catch the cat, She swallowed the cat to catch the bird, She swallowed the bird to catch the spider, She swallowed the spider to catch the fly; I don’t know why she swallowed a fly – Perhaps she’ll die!

There was an old lady who swallowed a horse… She’s dead, of course!

She should have gone straight to the cat.

It is Not Right to Fool Mother Nature

I caught sight of her in the Blue Spruce. There has been a lot of coo, coo, coo-ing in the back yard, I knew my Doves were there. We have a pair of Mourning Doves nesting in our tree every year. This year is unusual.  This year Global Warming has tricked Mother Nature. While most Years in March, the tree is still icy and covered with snow here in Ontario, this year the weather is like summer. The Doves have been fooled and it is not right.

They have their nest built and she is already sitting on her first of many broods for the summer. The photos are not top-notch because I did not want to disturb her.

She sat so still as if trying to blend in with the tree.

According to http://www.a-home-for-wild-birds.com/mourning-dove.html Doves mate for life. The male gathers the material to build the nest while the female waits. He then stands on her back and hands her the twigs and she weaves them into a nest. Dove nests are not as elaborate and perfectly shaped like Robins or many other birds, but they do the trick and she will have five or six broods each year. Doves never leave the nest unattended. Both the male and female take turns sitting on the nest. It is nice to see that in nature, families share the work.

I hope my cat does not find her sitting here.

In the wild they will eat pine nuts,  which are plentiful in the Blue Spruce, wheat and corn. They also enjoy a variety of other seeds. At feeders, they prefer sunflower, safflower and millet seeds. They do not migrate because seeds are available in all seasons.