Friday, December 16, 2011

The Joy of Not Doing Any Christmas Shopping

That almost sounds strange doesn't it? Not doing ANY Christmas shopping?

Well it's true.

A couple of months ago I came up with the idea of taking what money we would have spent on Christmas presents and donating it to those in need - like Somalia, Uganda, World Wildlife Fund, Pakistan, Child Sight Foundation, Global Animal Foundation, etc. etc. The list of those in need is absolutely endless!

And we are not on it.

I brought my suggestion to everyone in my immediate circle of family and friends and they have all agreed to go with my proposal.

So instead of going crazy battling shoppers and worrying that we have everyone on our list covered, we are spending our time searching out foundations that we would love to support.

We do have one restriction. We want foundations that actually use the money donated for what the foundation is all about instead of for paying themselves an 'administration fee'.

And that's it.

Come Christmas day we are all going to arrive at my nephew's house WITHOUT gaily wrapped packages. Instead we will be arriving with items for a pot-luck supper. The Man is going to deep-fry a turkey, my brother is bringing Trifle, I really like brussel sprouts done in yogurt and garlic, Byron is bringing cranberries and probably more cranberries, and my nephew promised to dust the house in flour to make it look festive (and to tease Byron and I as we are both Celiacs and that might do us in).

Once our meal is over with (and the dishes done) we are going to sit down with our lists and explain who we have chosen and why. Our lists can be as long as we want or as short as we want. It doesn't matter at all.

And then comes that moment I'm really excited about. It is seeing my selected foundations up on the computer screen and clicking SEND. It's knowing that I'm going to be giving a far more valuable gift to more than one person this year and that my gift is going to make a difference. Perhaps it will be food or drinking water, or even the gift of a smile for a child. Perhaps it's keeping an animal from being euthanized or providing shelter for the homeless along with a good hot meal. And perhaps I can only give $5 or $10 dollars to a selected few or to many, but it will be done with joy.

Each donation I am able to give is going to be wrapped with love from my heart. You don't need to put a bow on that.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Don't Know What To Think -


My mind wanders here and there - higgily piggily. I've thought of a million blog posts? No - surely I exaggerate! A thousand? Bah! Perhaps around 100? That's probably more like it but I don't remember.

Words come but mostly they go. Memories - especially recent ones, evaporate into the ether and I can't find them when I turn around. They aren't under the ottoman or behind the drapes. They aren't under my chair or behind my monitor. But certainly - most certainly - they are NOT in my brain anymore.

I often wonder about the pathways in that gray matter that resides between my ears. Is it like a maze? Or perhaps it's more like one of those games where the little shiny gray ball goes in one end and you have to tilt it and jiggle it around corners and down blind alleys, until finally, finally it pops out the other end. You've done it!

Except it's still just a shiny gray ball.

Words and memories disappear instantly. But some of them - especially the words, are caught by those around me and they pop them in their own mouths and finish my sentences.

It helps. But my frustration levels grow exponentially with each word or thought lost on the wind.

My brain is melting slowly. It used to be so slowly that I thought I was like everyone else. Those of us who walk around with words stuck to the tip of our tongues. A turn of the head with a question - 'What was I saying?'

But now - now it is something different. Now I look vaguely around me, searching the floor for the words and memories that surely must have fallen there the last time I was in the room. I've even asked the woman who helps me clean, 'Did you happen to see any words or memories on the Swiffer cloth before you threw it out? Were there any stray letters wrapped up in old dust bunnies when you swept under my bed?' Or - horrors upon horrors - perhaps they were sucked up by the vacuum and I will never see them again for sure! Not unless, of course, I switch to a Dirt Devil and I can rummage through the dust and hair myself and shake out the letters before I replace the little gray cup. Then I have to try and arrange the letters into words or elusive memories and I waste another day. Another lifetime.

Of course I don't know when I started to notice this. How could I? It would have been a short-term memory and I can't seem to keep those in between my ears. I think I noticed a couple of concerned looks that were instantly covered when I turned to search the face. 'Am I missing something?' The quick dissembling and reassembling could of been my first clue - but I don't remember really. Truly I don't. But it was there.

When those actions became something of the norm I knew something was amiss - I think I did anyway. My brother's darling face - the slight sorrow - the kind eyes - the turn of the head. Now I accept it as the norm when he seems to be the one speaking - finishing my sentences, popping in words. He admitted as much the other day. Funny thing is - he couldn't remember when it started either. How odd is that? Not really I think, because everyone around me seems to be doing the same thing - putting in a much needed word here and there for me - or just finishing the sentence. I didn't know I had so many speaking voices. I should have done something with that - acting or ventriloquism.

Did you notice that? I wrote tranquillism for ventriloquism and sat here stumped for a while - searching - using my hands to form something of what I was trying to say. It's little things like that. They may be small - uneventful for you really. But when your day is filled with these they do become extremely annoying. Yet it is still just another day.

I know of a doctor who swears that you wouldn't know you were losing words or memories if you actually were. I call bullshit on that! Who wouldn't recognize the frustration and the searching if it was happening to you? Surely this change in your lifestyle would be something of a flag just out of your line of sight? Anyone? Hello??

What I do remember and still say is that I have always had a love of words and I have clung to my memories good or bad and loved making them! I know this. I. Know. This. Each day is precious. I know that too. Sometimes people say, 'It's only words.' But that's not true. It's a memory as well that goes along with them. It's the physical movement of your lips and throat and a pathway in your brain that has opened and waits.

Still, my thoughts and words continue to run higgily piggily. Bouncing off the gray matter. Beating it down. Ricocheting off bone and leaving dents behind. I'm here! I'm here.

Ah well.

Now - what was I saying?

Friday, October 21, 2011

It Snowed Here Today!

Snow - not again! Ugh.

Makes going back to the Big Blue Barn that much easier!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Believe it Or Not!

I'm almost back!

However! I'm still at my brother's although Otter Rafting Adventures has been put to bed for the winter season and Otter Pottery is slowly making its way into the building.

I'm following doctor's orders and doing what 'I' want to do.

And that is taking it easy and working on forgetting the kind of summer(?) we had this past rafting season. I keep telling myself - "Look on the bright side! It's over!"

You know - it mostly works too!

At present I am spending my days with my brother - our hands covered with clay as we play at making beads. It's fun! It makes me happy! It makes my brother happy too and that means so much to me there are not sufficient words to cover all of these emotions.

But! I'll be back sooner than later. I must go back to my big blue barn at sometime. The Man would like me to come home sometime too although he told me to stay another week. Just coz! Ya gotta love a man like that!

I'll be back with pics of what I've been working on these past months that I haven't been here!

And - BTW - I've missed you too!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Carpal Tunnel Surgery

I was wondering today if carpal tunnel surgery would actually change your life line if you saw a palm reader. Perhaps that’s a strange idea but when you see the scars you might wonder too.

So here I am with 7 weeks behind me from the first time I knew that knife was cutting into my palm. My right wrist looks pretty good and it has been incredible to feel and see the difference each day makes. 

P5020022Surgery March 15/11

I’m still not picking up heavy loads with the right hand nor can I put pressure right on that scar. Eeeeek!

Now take a look at my left wrist -

P5020020 Surgery April 26/11

It looks (kinda) neat, doesn’t it? You can see a bit of swelling just to the bottom left of the scar. It has been just 6 days from surgery.

As each surgeon is different – and boy was I lucky to get the plastic surgeon I did! – each surgeon has different techniques.

My girlfriend in Ontario had to keep her hand in a brace for 23 out of 24 hours of the day. She did exercises during that 1 hour.

My surgeon wrapped my hand in a tight tensor bandage over the gauze and I left that on for 48 hours. Then I changed that to a bandage and I will wash, then put polysporin on the scar and a bandage over that until I get the stitches out 14 days from the surgery.

Even before I got up off the table, my surgeon had me making a fist and opening it over and over again. He told me the best thing I could do was to exercise it in this manner – and – type!

Today everything works wonderfully and any pains in the site can be controlled with ibuprofen. Eventually I’ll be right back to normal – no numbness or pins and needles and strength once more in my hands. How I look forward to that!

As for the surgery part? It took my surgeon 5 minutes for the surgery and an intern took almost as long to sew me up. I was in and out within 20 minutes.

The worst part? Probably the needle they put in your wrist to freeze everything. But you all know how I’ve been practising with needles in my back – hip – and knee. They do say practise, practise, practise!

And when I go to get the stitches removed, my doctor checks his work by shaking my hand.

How perfect!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Snow Daze!

Yesterday I tried to capture what kind of day we were having here in central Alberta. Please remember the date is – April 14, 2011.

These first set of pictures were taken around 7:40am





These next set of pictures were taken around 10:55am





The following were taken around 1:30pm. As you can see – some of the snow has melted as the temperature rose a few degrees.




And lastly – pictures from around 4:10pm.





Forecast for today?

Currently –6C with thundershowers this afternoon followed by snow this evening and for the next two days.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We Call It – The Grimm Ride!

Last weekend we spent out at Otterville (as we call it) helping my brother (the Otter) with various jobs. This is what we do in the two months before white water rafting begins.

During a much needed break we enjoyed the slightly warmer weather and played with our housemate’s dogs – well – Sam played with his dog Grimm while little Gypsy tried to get in our trailer.

Always ready to try something new, Sam attached his helmet camera to Grimm’s harness.

It’s quite a ride – please enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sunrise or Sunset?

Sometimes you just have to open your mind and really ‘see’ what is streaming in to your brain through your eyes.

There are so many beautiful things that we take for granted because we have ‘seen’ them an umpteen millionth time. Yet if we really pay attention then suddenly the beauty that is before you can take your breath away.

I have windows that face east and west and I am blessed with the beauty of each sunrise and sunset. Either one comes to me shining through trees – an image that I can’t describe to do it justice.

I let these colours inspire me and I came up with this wrap bracelet. These are the colours I see before the sunrise and sunset turn to that rosy colour and then on into darker copper…….

(Please click to enlarge – it does make everything look that much nicer!)


 P3200011 $26


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Taking The Time

Sometimes you must take the time to be happy – to force yourself to shrug off that dark cloud that sits on your shoulder and put a smile on your face.

I looked in the mirror the other day and wondered who the person was with the ‘frowning  face’? You know the type – the people whose line of their mouth carries on down towards their chin – a permanent extended frown. The biggest upside down smile you can imagine.

I know I didn’t look like this before I took on the battle of the permanent pain thing these last couple of years. So I’ve set myself a goal – to turn that frown upside down. I’m just going to add that onto my goal list and work on it.

I find it odd that I have this upside down smile because I work hard at being in a happy mood every day. However sometimes the body is more powerful than the mind, but I’m not going to give up on my mind (again)!

Way back when beating Aims seemed to be the best game around for 3 decades, I always smiled to cover up the pain, both physical and emotional. I am not the only person who did/does that either.

These days I go every Friday to the hospital and get my bladder injected. There are three of us who have made friends and who cheer each other on. One comes from quite a distance away and with her illness can’t drive so her husband usually brings her. One day I met a beautiful woman who had driven my friend. Not only was she very pretty, but more importantly I felt a kindness that surrounded me when I spoke with her – like wings or a big blanket.  She made my day with her smiles and good wishes.

When she didn’t drive my friend the next time I learned that she has breast cancer. My heart sank and that instant fear all us women feel for each other took over. Now this morning I have learned that her partner is a Beater. I wanted to cry. I wanted to go defend her with such anger that I’m afraid of what I might do.


I hear she is safe – hidden away from him for a week. I’m hoping she isn’t thinking that a week will change him. I’m hoping she knows she has to keep running, she has to keep strong for herself twice over!

How angry this makes me! I often don’t understand how people can do this. Where is compassion? Where is love?

This wonderful woman took the time out from the horror of her life and made a couple of us gals feel better. I think her wings are made of gold.

Please take the time today to smile at a stranger and to read some of these stories. We all need support and a smile from a stranger.

It’s time to make a change.




Sunday, April 3, 2011

I’m Positive Spring is Coming – or Am I?

My beloved brother’s birthday falls on April 2. Not a hard date to remember is it.

This year Mother Nature gave him a lovely present.

Here’s looking out his back window (that trailer belongs to a guide).

April 2nd, 2011JPG

See all that beautiful fresh snow! It will eventually turn into lovely raging white water this summer. Hmmm – white snow – white water.

Of course it does make for extra work when you are trying to get out of your own driveway!

April 2, 2011 (David’s drive)

We live a 40 minute drive from my brother and we got a bit of snow too, but only enough to dampen the grass!

You have to love living here. Truly!

Happy Birthday David!

(click to enlarge)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tea is Good at Any Time

I just checked our weather forecast and see that at present they have described our weather as ‘fog depositing ice’. I could have told them that by looking outside myself. It was something I noticed last night as I wandered the halls at 3am and again at 6:30am. The fog is so thick at present that I can’t see the houses across the road.

Rhett! Rhett! Where are you? Rhett come back!

Fog always make me think of Gone With The Wind and Scarlett as she ran down the sidewalks in the swirling fog and that gorgeous dress! Perhaps that is the reason I love the fog so much – I’m a hopeless and lost romantic at heart!

What has all of this to do with tea?

Have you ever noticed how tea is always perfect at any time of the day and in any circumstance? There is nothing like a good cup of tea to take away the chills and stop the sniffles. When situations get really tense ‘Would anyone like a cup of tea?’ seems to always break the tension. Or perhaps when things get rather tricky, the excuse to make a pot of tea is always handy. And of course – just to make one feel relaxed and content – a cup of tea will always do it.

I made this bracelet for all those reasons! It has a heavy chain that not only carries a number of different teapots but also a couple of tea cups so that a ‘spot of tea’ could be shared. I also dangled hearts everywhere to show how much tea is universally loved and then threw in a couple of chocolate bars – well – you know why.

Tea Anyone?

P3200069 $45



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Waiting Patiently

I think today makes six days straight that we have had snow.

Some days it is just little flecks constantly falling past my window – other days it’s those big soft ones that make you want to catch them on your tongue.

No matter how it comes out of the sky – it is getting exhausting.

I took these pictures of our deck and the surrounding trees two days ago. The depth of snow has risen another half inch at least since then. Have a look. 




I’m sure you can see why I am patiently waiting for Spring. Almost like waiting for Godot……

So I made this cute little bracelet that makes me think of Spring bonnets and Easter parades…..



P3200040 $26

Monday, March 14, 2011

Turquoise – Oh My!

If you’re going to wear turquoise – you might as well wear a good chunk of it!

Here’s just the chunk! Circled with a silver bezel.

P3050006 18”

P3050008 $48

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring is Right Around the Corner – Isn’t It?

This simple necklace makes me think of spring right away. I love the colours and the dangles hanging from the heart. How fabulous this would look with anything!

 P3050001 18”

P3050004  $40


Please click to enlarge.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Keys to My Heart - #2

Sometimes you like something so much you have to more than one.

Just saying……


P3080068 71/2”

P3080069 $35


I always take orders and I can ship anywhere!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Keys to My Heart - #1

We all have keys to our heart. Some unlock our love, some unlock our passion, others unlock a part of our heart that we try to keep hidden.

What do these do for you?

The Keys To My Heart - (stamped around bangle)


P3080059 61/2”

P3080062 $45

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anything Else In That Sparkly Trunk?

This bangle is a little different than the others. I wrapped it with a darker wire and used brass charms instead of silver.


P3080049 6”

P3080050 $40

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Always & Forever

Sometimes this is just the perfect sentiment. It can have different meanings to each person. What does it mean to you? How would you view these words when you looked at it encircling your wrist?


P3080041 8”

P3080042 $45