Monday, 31 December 2018

New Year's Eve Again

Here we are again, another year under our belts. I went back to re-read what I wrote last December 31, and I really have nothing to add to it. Feeling grateful for my blessings and having gotten through another 12 months virtually unscathed. (I can't help it; I tend to think of life as an obstacle course, or running the gauntlet. If you can get through it with no blood on the floor, you win!)

The first week of January last year, there was a "bomb cyclone," and it was -37 here. This year, after another long, warm, mild autumn, we are still enjoying temperatures above freezing most days. There was an inch of powdery, dry snow yesterday that melted by afternoon. I still wear a sweatshirt instead of a coat to walk the dogs (and yeah, still a broken zipper on the coat). There's always that tentative hope that we'll just carry on through the entire winter like this, even though you know deep down the hope is futile and eventually we'll be swathed in eight layers and digging out of three feet of snow. But still, as long as the cold holds off, the hope lives on.

I wish everyone a safe, healthy, and peaceful new year.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Two Blogs

So I've decided to start a new project for 2019. Each week I'm going to try a different kind of cheese and blog about it. I'd welcome your suggestions for types to try and comments about your own experiences with cheese.  You can check it out at

Friday, 28 December 2018

Two Minds

It is the lovely, luscious week between Christmas and New Year's Day, and I am off work. Long, beautiful days of reading, eating, writing, watching drippy Hallmark movies, doing needlwork, and walking the dog. Napping when I want to nap. Accomplishing nothing more difficult than a jigsaw puzzle. With a tiny tiny bit of housework thrown in, just to keep me from being completely indolent. I could definitely get used to all this freedom.

Even while I'm soaking up the rest, though, there's that stupid little part of my brain that niggles and wriggles like a worm in the cake, that says "You have to go back to work in six days." "You have to go back to work in five days." "Now only four..." I tell the voice to shut up, but it's persistent. I don't know why I do this to myself.

The stupid thing is, I enjoy my job and I'm not really dreading going back. The people are nice, it feels good to be able to put food on the table (obviously, since I've been eating so much of it this week!), and I have a lot of free rein in my work. It's challenging and interesting and full of change and variety, yet not overwhelming.

I think it's the life-long problem I've always struggled with, of not being able to just be in the moment. Why can't I relax and just be now? Why do I always look forward? I know we gardeners tend to live in the future, because, after all, planting seeds is the ultimate in planning for the future. But other than potting up a bit of lettuce to go under the grow lights, I'm not gardening now. The yard is asleep under iron-hard earth, the tools are put away, and I can be in writer mode. I know if I look forward too much, I'll miss the wonderfulness going on in this moment, and I don't want to do that. Must learn to be here.

I look forward to the day I learn that lesson. :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Thirty-two Years and Counting

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary (we had to tuck it into the Christmas break because of school). A lot has happened in 32 years, when I stop to think about it, and yet it also feels like no time at all. I lucked out in many ways when I agreed to marry He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. He's the world's best cook, for one thing. He keeps the house immaculate. He thinks of small things to delight me, simple stuff like bringing me home a treat after band practice, and he always puts his family first over himself. His meticulous bookkeeping has kept us afloat for decades, managing to stretch the pennies in some sort of loaves-and-fishes sleight of hand I don't understand but have come to rely on. I have confidence that he could handle any and every circumstance. He's tireless and broad-visioned and hard-working. He's smart and stubborn and loves to learn and explore. He has mentored many music students who have gone on to accomplish wonderful things. He can build furniture, quilt beautifully, speak Italian, and make pasta from scratch.

It was sheer luck I stumbled across the newspaper article that led me to the BYU Bagpipe Club where I met him. What would have become of my life if I hadn't seen that? Would I be in Canada right now? Would I have the three wonderful kids and two lovely grandchildren I now have? It's a bit staggering to think how much rode on that one small coincidence.

Happy anniversary, sweetie, and here's to 32 more.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Hallmark Christmas Movies

I'm trying to understand the strange attraction of schlocky Hallmark Christmas movies. They're all the same (they even recycle the same actors over and over, but in different combinations). There's always a snowball fight, a tree lighting or Christmas fair the whole town turns out to, ice skating, a sleigh ride, snow angels, a thwarted kiss, and a small argument or misunderstanding that's wrapped up within five minutes. None of these people work 9 to 5, ride subways, catch head colds, or live in dim and dreary apartments. No one bundles up to the eyeballs in scarves and balaclavas in spite of all this winter wonderland. They never show the hero scraping an inch of ice off his windshield. The houses are stunning, the views breathtaking, the townsfolk quirky and welcoming, the protagonists are always in their late thirties and fit as race horses, and the whole thing is so quaint and sweet your teeth ache. And who in their lives has actually gone to a town Christmas fair or a public tree lighting?

But still I watch them, one or two a night, and record the ones I have to miss so I can watch them later when no one else is at home. I live with four males, and I feel I need to defend myself if I'm caught watching these things on TV. I can feel them lowering my IQ as I watch. But still I devour them like chocolate.

What is it about them that appeals so much? The simplicity? The warmth? The knowledge that life will always work out in a happy ending for these people no matter what? The amazing mountain vistas? (I found out a lot of them are filmed in British Columbia. Well, no wonder!) I curl up on the couch with the dog and a bowl of popcorn and listen to the ice pellets ping off the window and imagine myself into these glowing, golden scenes. And wonder if I could write one...

Friday, 7 December 2018

How to Build a Log Cabin

I was riding home on the bus and couldn't help overhearing the conversation between a young man and young woman seated beside me. She asked him if he was planning to move into his own place, and he replied that he was saving up to do so. But, he said, if he couldn't find a cheap enough place, he would take a sack of potatoes and an axe and go out into the woods and build himself a place. To which she replied he could go to the library and get a book on how to build a log cabin.

I came very close to jumping into their conversation but managed to restrain myself. I had just such a book myself at home, all about how to build a log cabin. The first sentence was something like "First cut down 80 trees and let them age for 12 years."

I don't know what the second sentence said. (I suppose I'll find out in 12 years.)

I have similar cookbooks, too. I remember one recipe that started with "First kill a rabbit." My personal favourites, though, are the ones that start with "First take a pound of butter and a dozen eggs..."