Friday, January 30, 2009

The pet barracade

Do you have any pets like these guys...

that at times you like to keep out of certain rooms in your home? Boy do I have a product for you!

The new and improved PET BARRIER at your service! Designed and fabricated by the one and only Cody Williams in Yarrow, British Columbia Canada!

Note the incredible detail on this one. Complete with a stuffy of a pet to symbolize just what it's suppose to keep out! A colour coordinated, timely piece that's sure to make a mom chuckle. And storage on top to boot! What a little multitasker this product is!

Interestingly enough, the one cat that tends to bother Cody the most isn't among these pictures. She's chocolate brown and her photos pretty much never turn out or she runs away. I'll have to keep trying.

Nevertheless, the other two come for visits on occasion as well. And it doesn't always work with Cody's bedtime schedule.

Teddy the choc brown cat, always jumps on Cody's bed right at reading time. Every night on schedule. Then she purrrrrrs and kneeeeeeeeads to the point of total distraction. Try settling down for the night with a noisy fan with something fluttering in the blades. That's what she sounds like.

Beethoven the black and white cat always wants to sleep against your face. If you like fresh cool air at night, this is not your night time cuddling kind of cat. Try wrapping your head with a hot fleecy blanket. Right against your nose especially. Weigh the blanket down with something heavyish, such as, I dunno, a box full of stuff. And then turn on that noisy fan again. That is Beethoven to a T.

So the cats get locked downstairs for night. Every night. We need our sleep! But it's a good place for them. Their food and litter box reside there as well as a couple big plumpy quilts for them to shed on.

Jenna the non barking dog on the other hand, is as quiet as a mouse. But annoys Cody with her bone chewing. At Cody's reading time she too wanders into Cody's room but she carries her bone and grinds on it while we try and concentrate. While I think it's hilarious and somewhat endearing, it isn't Cody's cup of tea. And for night as I like to separate the dog and cats anyway, she does stay upstairs. So Jenna's bed is at the foot of my own. She'll lay down and not even move all night. I'm a light sleeper so trust me, I'd know if she moved an inch.

We love all our animals! But they each have their place. They do roam the house at free will during the day. (that's why bedroom doors are closed as well as a sheet draped over the sofa and coffee table pushed up against where you sit. NO DOG ZONE ya know but can't really stop the cats from jumping up) Jenna stays outside for the day if I'm not home during the summer months but not winter. The cats are strictly the indoor variety.

Hence, we at times just really 'need' that cat/dog barricade. No need to go out and buy a fancy dancy pet or kidlet safety gate. Get a local 9 yr old boy to make you one!

I promise, there's no copyright infringement stamp on this one. Go at'ter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New snow = new happy!

It's snowing again! And I say that in the most very positive way possible. :) (pic is from previous snowfall)

We've had quite a real winter this year so far. When the snow finally melted and the weather reached somewhat balmy conditions for this time of year, I had visions of getting outside and gardening! I went outside one day and started picking up reno stuff that had blown into any nook and cranny possible from our high winds, when I realized, yikes, it's kinda cold out here!

Sunshine does a number on me. It fools me into getting outdoors for that vitamin D. It gives me energy and just makes me happy! I need out when the sun hits.

So what's up with this snow glee I feel? I have no idea. It's just about like white fluffy sunshine.
It may stem back to my childhood. Snow days were awesome. I remember the country roads disappearing so the milk truck couldn't even get through on occasion. Or the drifts being so deep you could walk on top of barn roofs! You could dig the coolest ever caves into massive drifts for the best forts ever. Snow evokes intense joy in my crazy corner of the world. And Cody feels it too. May have something to do with me pounding into his bed in the AM waking him with, "CODY IT'S SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!!!!" :)

Honestly, I kinda like rain on occasion too when you know you are stuck indoors for abit and are content with working on a reno project. I adore the sound of rain hitting a roof. It stems back to when I had a full wrap around veranda at my last home. I loved going out on that veranda with a blanket wrapped around me just to listen to the rain pound.

I do that on occasion here. I've finally cleaned up reno junk off my little back patio and have my lawn table and chairs set out in a nice and inviting way, beckoning me out there for some fresh cool air. So that is what I did one AM. I took along a blanket and sat on my chair, listening to the rain, overlooking my pretty mountain view out back with hot coffee in hand.

I just love the outdoors!

Now pounding rain month after month gets rather depressing. That's when I have to seek out people and get social again to keep my spirits lifted. I love alone time and hanging with Cody and all, but its as if too much doom and gloom sucks out the happiness factor, so it's time to replace it somehow. Adult socialization during those times is like a much needed vitamin. Just do it if you need to.

Living in a region with 4 real seasons I'm very grateful for! I visit online with lots of folks that live in very warm places with palm trees and everything. I dream of being there on occasion, but I smile when I look out my own window. I love it here! No matter what the weather, really.

So for today, I'm going to rejoice in the new fallen snow once again. The world looks as if God threw this incredible fleecy blanket over the whole works for us to enjoy. He sure makes the nicest quilts!

Happy snow day to me!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When a simple charm offers so much more

Indeed. And suitable for a little Sunday story.

This awesome gem is a gift to Cody from Vic. (Vic is an integral part of the Extreme Team helping us with our house renos.) A ways back, Vic use to teach a class and had a handful of these little guys to loan out to those going through a difficult time. They were brought back when their troubled time was somewhat resolved.

This keepsake is about 20 years old and there was only one left. And Vic gave it to Cody.

The night of receiving this, I talked to Cody about it's meaning and how to put it to good use. I kissed him goodnight and I left his room. He was suddenly up and walking into the kitchen rubbing sleepy eyes.

"What's up?"

"I forgot something." He went to where I had placed the charm and wanted it around his neck to sleep with.

I followed him into his room again and asked why it was important to wear it for bedtime.

"Because I want to. Vic gave it to me. I'm going to give it to my son when he's 9 and he can give it to his son when he's 9. It's going to stay in the family forever."

Cody wanted to wear it to school the next day so I ensured the string was short enough where it couldn't go over his head. We again spoke about the true meaning and off he went. I noted he proudly kept pulling it outside of this shirt to ensured it showed in full view. Cute!

The next night he slept with it again but in the morning, I noticed the soft metal had bent. I was worried that the precious 20 year old charm wouldn't make another Cody kind of night tossing and turning or even during the day kind of squiggling, so I offered to put it on display where we could always enjoy it, but with the promise I'd find Cody AND myself another that we could wear all the time if we wished.

So this is where it sits. Right in our new kitchen. And it's beautiful. A subtle reminder of how we ought to guide our moments/hours/days ahead.

When I look at it, I look at the new beautiful kitchen surrounding it and how this symbol simply and perfectly completes the entire picture. It was a blessing of sorts that it was abit too fragile to wear daily. It's now situated in the heart of our home, the very room where we make so many of our daily decisions. Now the gentle visual nudge is there on how to base those decisions. I believe every home ought to have one!

And the bonus? Vic said the metal went with our kitchen. Boy was he right!!! I LOVE this thing.

A timeless piece to stay in our family, indeed! With so many stories and meanings attached to it.

Thank-you Vic!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

On the quaintness of creaky floors

Have you ever walked into an older heritage type home and heard the floors creak? Or perhaps your newer up to date home does the same thing.

While we were renovating our current house, it was a challenge to stop all the creaks. Hardwood flooring was the plan, so we took great lengths to make the floors as sound as possible. A bazillion new screws littered the plywood floors in an effort to stop the eeeeeeeee.

There was this one particular creak that we could not lose! It was right in the pathway of Cody's room so an area you simply couldn't avoid walking on. And being that we were caught up in the spirit of all things highly productive and sound, we worked like the dickens to fix this!

No matter where I placed a new screw, it was not working. I was always greeted with yet another taunting eeeeeeee. I gave up. Cody heard my frustration and wanted a go. I gave them the entire box of screws, cordless drill and happily left that negative energy to someone more up for the challenge.

Cody worked HARD on that one. And he continued to test the floor upon each screw being embedded. I smiled while I worked on something else, hoping he wouldn't be to let down WHEN he failed at that impossible task. Well, he didn't fail. He fixed it! And this is what it took to do so. For one lousy little protesting squeak.

As the floors went in, I proudly tried them out and noted how we stopped so many of those annoying squeaks. Wow, we have good sound strong new floors!

A few days later, I remember talking to Phoenix while he was working on the fireplace. I was still working on screwing in the floor here and there where the floors weren't yet installed. That's when he piped up and said, 'Squeaky floors are awesome!"

I had to think about that for a moment. Whenever I visited an older heritage type home, I've always loved the slam of a screen door or the squeak of the old floors. Those sounds are those of comfort in an odd way, the very sound effects we strive to eliminate in newer homes of today.

Huh. Now I had a slightly different view of the floor. I walked up and down them not finding squeaks at all. Did I just remove the quaintness of a home that squeaked and slammed of all things speaking comfort from long ago? Talk about a mindset challenge!

And then the weather turned very cold. We had a blast of winter storms and ice chilling temps that kept us indoors and snowbound for quite awhile.

Do you have any idea what the cold does to wood floors? They not only slightly separate, THEY SQUEAK!

Now when I walk in an area and I hear that once annoying eeeee, I smile to myself, so very grateful to have some character back in this place.

Phoenix was dead on. Squeaking floors are awesome!

And useful. For Christmas mornings when Cody sneaks up to the tree...

So, what are some of the quaint quirks you are enjoying in your own homes? Feel free to share them here!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cody's first computer report

I think my boy is growing up!

Normally an afternoon of homework constitutes sitting at the kitchen island together with pen and paper in hand or in front of the dry erase board. Thursday was different.

Cody was to do a report on salmon habitat. And the kids had an option on how to go about their good copy, either by hand written ink or via computer.


Cody chose the electronic way. I was enticed to watch. He placed his fingers in the proper position for typing. One by one, in their own time, the appropriate letters appeared on screen. In grade 4, they learn how to type! Oops, I'm showing my age. Is it called keyboarding now? I don't know.

No matter. I was pleased as all get out to see him tab, enter, cap lock, and using the right fingers in all the right places! I quickly rounded up my laser printer from downstairs and found a permanent spot inside a cabinet in the kitchen. I had a feeling we'd need it more so in the future.

He printed out his work. And he got a lesson on how things can appear differently on screen than how they print out. Going back and forth a few times with needed tweaks, he proudly printed out his work. He was so pleased with himself!

Throughout his typing phase, he kept looking up at me exclaiming, "Am I doing good?" LOL Oh he knew he was doing good! I told him he was anyway. He wanted major acknowledgement on his new venture, over and over again, due to sheer newness.

He drew a picture to simulate his paragraph. Being that it was on another piece of paper, I suggested he cut it out and perhaps add a nice coloured border to it via construction paper. So I dragged out the bulk pack, scissors and glue, and let him do all the rest.

Can I just tell you how much I love our metal topped island again?!? Welcome to All-Things-Done-Here Central! Cody was cutting directly onto this very table top. I'm now convinced, everyone needs one of these in the center of their upstairs!

Back to Cody. I found a page protector so he could slip his elite work inside for the best protection ever. I placed it in his binder to be returned to school, and showed him yet again, what the final product appeared like, holding up his book.

He was amazed at his own work. He kept revisiting the page over and over. It was crystal clear that he impressed himself.

Here's to our growing children and all the new things they continue to surprise and inspire us with everyday. Each day is a new adventure just waiting to happen. And today, it was about a 9 yr old boy and a laptop and some artistic smarts on his behalf.

I think we are well on our way.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wacky photo day

Sometimes growing up is way overrated.

Remember those silly booths where you'd put your dollar in and 4 shots of you and your friend would appear through a little slot? The poses were NEVER serious! Alright I admit, I'm speaking for myself. You always pulled faces because you could and your mom wasn't telling you to smile NICE.

This mom and her kiddo didn't bother smiling nice either on this particularly silly day...

This end shot of Cody has me snorting! Harry Potter high on Fun I call it. Wait till I show him this shot on his wedding day...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Setting the stage for a weekend catered to ME

Cody generally goes to his dad's on the weekends for a night or two. This weekend it's only one night. But that doesn't mean it will be made any less special for me.

I use to mope in Cody's absence and rationalize how unnatural this was, to have a child ripped out of the arms of the mom. Jealous how intact families stayed together and didn't have to separate like this. It took me awhile to get it.

But finally, I now do. And I look forward to it.

As I don't currently date, I plan the weekend to cater to ME.

I know when he'll be dropped off, so I'll plan things in town nearby, perhaps grab a coffee and drift down the halls of Homesence just for fun. Or grab that beloved Tim Horton's coffee (remember to support them! They want to send my kid to camp!! LOL) and just go home and eagerly dig into a new project at home.

This weekend that new project will be staining stair and rail woodwork and painting one wall if I get that far.

As evening approaches, if I'm hungry enough, I love to order the local yokal pizza down the road (Yarrow Pizza's house special) and get it the way I love to eat it! This one's just for me! And it offers me scrumptious leftovers for lunch the next day to boot. My fav is loaded with veggies so it's got that healthy crunch that keeps me coming back for more.

Next up, a deep hot bubble bath complete with hazelnut scented candles. Sometimes an iced water to accompany my hot soak is all I desire, other times cranberry juice on ice. Just, whatever I desire.

On my night on my own, I love to plug in a girlie movie. I put on my pj's, grab a blanket, light the real fireplace and enjoy the warmth and good entertainment. I have some movies in stock that I love to watch over and over again that just never do when Cody's around, or I may go rent a new one I've been waiting to see. Doesn't much matter. As long as it brings a smile to my face, I'm taken well care of.

I get to sleep in the next day! But generally, I don't for some reason. I usually have this project on the go that begs me to get back at it, so that in itself wakes me up with an exciting prospect to face head on. Passion first thing in the morning is a good thing! And then there's the Sunday church service that always offers a good message. My good options offer me a great day ahead!

Then I will pick up my little guy later Sunday evening. But I'll be ready for him. We may go out to eat for a treat or I'll have an easy fix at home ready to throw in the oven. The key is, I'll be ready for him. I've catered to my needs, and now it's time to drink in the love and energy I've rejuvenated for my child again.

My point for this post? You create your own ambiance. If you desire to feel like the above, modify it to make it work for you.

So, what are your plans this weekend? Are you going to treat yourself and make a part of it just yours somehow? Or will this weekend be all about cuddling with the loves of your life? (those are fun too! I also make them special) It's all good no matter what.

Have a great weekend, all! Happy Saturday to you!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cody's amazing upcoming adventure!

I've enrolled Cody into Big Brothers, an organization that offers volunteer mentors for your child. He's currently on a 2 year waiting list and is pretty excited at the prospect of hanging out with a cool guy. Here's hoping the right match comes along for Cody in the future!

BB is quite an amazing program. Cody doesn't have a Big yet, however BB offers many opportunities to join in with so he has a chance to grow his circle of friends and acquaintances. For example, January holds free ice skating. Feb it's bowling, March it's movie night!

Cody qualifies to join BB due to the fact that he's part of a single parent household. Not every child has the wonderful opportunity to be in touch with BB, so Cody is one very fortunate kiddo!

Another round of luck seeked us out. BB Chilliwack had only 3 places for 3 fortunate kids to join the Tim Horton's Camp, and BB contacted me and asked if I'd like Cody to go! The closest THC is located in Alberta, which is a whole province away from us. Wow and yikes all in one sentence. Just look at this place.

The THC camp is situated on some beautiful mountain acreage by the looks of it. And basically put, it's a 5 star facility to give a child that couldn't otherwise afford to go, the camping experience of a lifetime.

Among the pictures on the above website link, are river rafting, mountain climbing and horseback riding along mountain trails. Not your typical everyday type things to do on a sunny afternoon in Yarrow. Wooowwww.

I was hesitant in asking Cody if he was interested at first. He's never been to an overnight camp before and didn't want to try any camp out last year when I suggested it, so I just left it at that. But when I broke the news to him that he had an opportunity to try the TIM HORTON'S camp, and fly in an airplane no less to get there, WITHOUT mom in tow, (not to mention this camp was during school.. heh boy do I know my boy or what!) he was totally up for it!
His first question, "Do they have Tim Horton's coffee there?" LOL

Since being asked if he wanted to go, he's been asking all kinds of questions. "Will I sleep in a cabin like this?" and draws a lovely wood sided cabin complete with it's own smoking chimney. The online brochure says overnight campsites with many fire pits. Not sure what that entails but by the looks of the rest of the facility, it's my bet it will definitely meet minimum (if not maximum) requirements! I'll be picking up an info brochure from BB this week so I'll know even more.

Kids that qualify (yes, there's that part) will be flown to Alberta to take place for 9 amazing days of adventure and new found independence! There is no financial cost to us for this. At all.

This is a pretty big opportunity for Cody. But I'm like any mom that has to cut a few new strings from their child. This is Cody's not only first overnight camping opportunity, but his first LONG adventure with no parent contact. This is huge, for him, as well as I.

I'll be actively seeking all the info I require for myself to ensure his surroundings are suitable in my rather protective eyes, but that's my mom qualification kicking in. Do I want this for him?!? Oh yes!!!! I'm thinking this will be the foundation in which it sets future overnight camping opportunities to present themselves in a good exciting way. Cody needs and deserves this one!

What sound minded parent wouldn't want the world for their child? At times I wish I could do more for Cody. No parent, even with two in tact, can generally 'provide it all' for their kids, I know that. What we have and do, we're doing OK! I know that too. But when something like this presents itself, it's wise to look at it with both eyes wide open and an open mind.

I'm hesitant to let Cody fly out of province without me, sure. But his enthusiasm is guiding me to what he's ready for. That is key is my eyes. The mommy panic fades when I see his enthusiasm. We after all are teaching our kids independence. I'd rank this one pretty high up there with that goal! He wouldn't be alone, he'd be with camp councillors and plenty of kids going to camp!

So, I'll be hoping, wishing and praying this will happen for Cody. (feel free to join me on that one!) June 2009 for 9 days is what is presented. However committment day is now in order to enroll, hence the news brought to you at this time. A seminar in Abbotsford is being held in March so you can learn more about the experience. I like the fact that there's criteria to be met. That keeps my boy safer!

I'm just feeling very grateful towards Tim Horton's and Big Brothers right now. When the Camp Day fundraiser at Timmie's comes up, I'll be first in line to purchase that beloved coffee, and to support a child for this amazing camping experience. I hope you will too! Because now YOU know of a particular child that has been granted a turn!

Cool huh?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reflections on flood watches

Recently in our region, we've had some pretty heavy sudden snowfall and snow melt weather patterns. The aftermath has led to a lot of localized flooding in low lying areas.

One of those areas is called Greendale. It's located 10 minutes from where I live now, and it's where I grew up my entire life as a kid.

Many flood watches are still in full effect with loads of farm fields appearing more like lakes. However, the worst is now over and the constant drawl of warnings over the TV and radio have thankfully begun to diminish.

At the hilt of all the flood warnings, I drove Cody to school one day. On that particular day it was pouring rain with dirty snow banks piled high creating crazy white tunnels everywhere you looked. Where tires hit, water sprayed. That's when the eerie song came on the radio, 50 Ways to Leave your Lover.

Suddenly, I was mentally back in my own bedroom in Greendale, with that very song playing on my tinny sounding radio. For that was the same song that played on the night we received the evacuation alert, to prepare for a flood immediately. I'll never forget that night.

My family was all tucked into bed snug and warm. We knew of the river rapidly rising nearby. However, as a kid, perhaps I wasn't told everything so we wouldn't fear. It was my understanding that all was OK, and to settle in and get some sleep, just like any other night. So we did.

Suddenly, someone came into my room to wake me up. I can't remember if it was my Mom or Dad. But apparently, someone had come knocking on our door to warn us of the angry river about to overflow it's banks. And we were right in it's path.

It's very unsettling when in the quiet of the night, lights flick on and suddenly, the sleepy fog you are in is interrupted by anxious voices. I was given instructions to come downstairs and help. QUICKLY.

Mom was busy pulling out all our old picture slides from inside a cabinet and placing them in much higher safer places. The long patterned heavy curtains framing each window were already rolled up high and out of the way of pending water. I started pitching in and placing slide box after slide box up high. Our slides documented our entire lives from babies on so this was a massive deal for us to protect.

For some reason, that's the only room I remember prepping. My next memory shot me back up to my own bedroom, safe and high, upstairs. I'm sitting on my bed, gathering up my clothes, when 50 Ways to Leave your Lover, no doubt among the top 5 songs of that era, came on. The walls were made out of donna conna (sp?) so it was a well insulated quiet comfy room. The radio always sounded good in that room, no matter how crappy it was. That's probably why I remember that song so vividly. It was a small section of time when my little radio happily distracted me while I silently panicked inside.

My next memory shot me outside at the dyke. Dad was helping sandbag along with so many others. In the dark of the night, amid the heavy sound of rushing water, sandbag after sandbag was being tossed into place while frantic shouts reached from one to another. It was wet, raining, everyone was soaked, and all those big boots were very hard at work. I remember seeing so many of those wet glistening black gum boots, the kind Dad wore in the barn, with the red tipped toe and sole.

I was a bit scared, but it was also very exciting. I was up outside so late at night, all in the name of saving our and many other homes. This was quite the night to remember.

The river as I recall, did start to spill over it's banks a bit, however not enough to have to evacuate. But we were ready to run for our lives if we had to.

It's pretty coincidental, that I moved to two other flood plains during my life. I'm currently living in one now. Why do I chose such risky locations? This isn't the only flood scare I've lived through. Far from it.

I was located in Matsqui Flats a few years back when the river was about to flow over the brink. There was so much dyke seepage that no matter where you lived, you had your own waterfront property. There was one particular lake right next to my house that alarmed me. At one point, the foundation of the house disappeared on one side. I remember holding my breath daily watching that thing until it started to recede.

And a couple years ago while living where I do now, a snow melt scare in the spring had the media abuzz. It was all the rage to have an emergency kit by your front door ready to fly along with you for when that moment came that you were asked to leave. And thing is, there was really no where to run. If the river banks broke, the highway in both directions would be hit. Go up to the local lake to reach higher ground would result in you getting stuck up there with no supplies. The plan of action was, get outta town early and head to the next town where there was plenty of high roads and lots of food supplies handy. I had Cody and I packed and we were ready. It was a very confusing and somewhat tense time. Everyone was so unsure of whether to send the kids to school or not as they were prepared to shut things down at any moment. I was reluctant to leave town to work in case the river banks broke. That would result in Cody and I being in different towns separated by a very low lying flooded highway! All this turmoil, until again, the flood waters started to recede.

And here we are again. This local flooding was due to an enormous dump of snow and an extremely heavy rainfall that lasted for days. The rivers were fine. The problem was, the huge snow melt and torrents of rain following had no where to go so suddenly. So it hung around awhile.

During this last flood scare, I was busy watching my creek out back swell angrily. I've yet to see it reach the house which had me somewhat relieved. However everyone else I knew of had these new fangled sump pumps working hard in basements and crawl spaces. Only those with above ground basements and living on slightly higher elevations seemed to get lucky enough to not need one. I was among those in that category. I was lucky, but many that I knew weren't.

Flood scares are obviously nothing new to me. I've chosen to live in places where there's a slight risk. It wasn't intentional. They just were areas I fell in love with.

Plain and simple, with country living comes flood potential. I won't be getting rid of my own gum boots anytime soon, so if that qualifies me as ready for the next flood threat, count me in among those that are prepared! Although the risks exsist, this is a beautiful valley to live in, and Cody and I have sprung many roots in our little town. So we are here to stay, enjoy, and plan to continue to expand those roots around us.

'Just Add Water' we'd rather do without of course!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thinking outside of the 4 walls

My first walk of 2009! I love power walks in the AM after dropping Cody off from school. They not only aid in waking me up, they fuel me for the rest of the day. And more which I'll getting to shortly.

We've had a lot of storm/rain storms within our region and it's kept me inside the 4 walls I call home a lot lately. To the point of subjecting myself to think of myself too much. I call it cabin fever.

For the first little while, it's fun to stay home! Sip coffee while staying in pj's, moving slowly, enjoying the renovations done lately, working at my own pace with no interruptions. It's somewhat of a treat being trapped inside a pretty house actually. But not for too long.

You start feeling tired from nothing. All aches and pains suddenly speak a little louder than yesterday. You start missing people that normally occupy the enjoyable part of your life. You just want out!

This AM after dropping off Cody, the clouds parted just enough to stop the torrents of rain we've experienced non stop for at least a week. I took that as my cue to escape.

This is the part I find most curious. I got dressed like I was simply going to work downstairs. But my dog Jenna picked up on something else and I fail to get what. She looked at me at some point, perked up her ears and scurried downstairs with paws ablur like there was this luscious roast beef dinner down at the doorway. I wasn't even near the stairs yet! Obviously she's been waiting for some time for her morning jaunt. I honestly didn't even say WALK yet.

Anyway, it was awesome to get the crunch of gravel beneath my feet again. And to start thinking outside my 4 walls.

My walks are therapeutic. I walk one direction on the gravel dyke beside the river. There's nothing to look at except the exquisite outdoors. The walk has me appreciating just how nature decorates best, and allows me to contemplate my day, life, what have you.

New refreshing thoughts took me in many places I haven't mentally visited for quite some time. Many voices, situations and stories trickled through my thoughts, entertaining me to the point of forgetting I was exerting myself. (and that's a beautiful thing!)

What did I think of? I didn't think of coffee or aches or weather keeping me from those I loved for a change. I thought of how good walking made me feel and that I desired to get back in shape again and started reflecting on a better diet. I fell into the world of what my dog was doing, something so simple as walking, yet on top of the world in her eyes. I thought of those affected by our local flooding (which are many right now) and empathized greatly. I've been on the receiving end of a flood evacuation before and know the sudden terror it can spin you in. (another good story for one day) So I relived some of that. I thought about my upcoming weekend on what I'd like to do on the house reno wise. And just thought about anything and everything.

I walked until my body ached in a slightly bad way. My back is out, leading to arm pain I've been tolerating for awhile now, so I knew if I went today I'd have to watch my pace and listen. So I did. It was time to turn back when it was time.

My way back takes me through our little town. I chose that route because I can switch my mind on to other things rather than myself. I think of others as I walk by their houses and wonder what they're up to, hoping they have a good day in store. It was interesting accounting for all those old Christmas trees on the roadside yet to be picked up. And I noted the sidewalks were incredibly icy and dangerous, so next time, until I'm sure the ice is history, best to stay on my gravel route both ways. And on it went.

Upon entering the house at the end of my enjoyable jaunt and mental housecleaning, my first ache hit me. Boy was it nice to forget about that kinda stuff when outside these 4 walls! The walk left me in a state of added optimism for the rest of the day. I WILL do this and that and get things done. Priorities first, then fun stuff!

So it's time to get off this computer and do just that. (as this is rated fun stuff LOL)

Walking (and writing for that matter) is my way of clearing my head. For others it may be working on a project, cutting the lawn or playing music. Do what it takes to make your day just a little brighter for you! Your overly occupied cabin fevered mind will thank you for it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Breakfast OR coffee.. oh which to choose!

Breakfast. A meal I so wish I could do without.

I'll start by saying I'm not an early AM kinda person. My perfect wakeup scenario is getting up when my body is ready (anywhere from 7-10 am, depending what I'm use to at that given time), stumbling into the kitchen, greeting my java homebrew with a welcoming yawn and stretch. No sound but the silent ticking of my kitchen clock and the furnace starting up for the first time that day. The animals slowly wake up and meander into the kitchen one by one, yawning and stretching just as I. The scenario makes me smile every morning.

And then Cody comes in. He boisters out of bed as if feet are embedded with springs and exclaims before his eyes fully open, "I'm hungry!" Which means, I have to think. Before my coffee is working.

On weekends when he's with me, I let him sleep in abit so I can wafe through my morning fog until my coffee kicks in. But there are those times he beats me to it. He's slowly learning to cook for himself but it all doesn't happen overnight. We're working on it, trust me.

Anyway, today he wants his special treat (which he had to earn by being kind to the animals, another story) to be White Spot for breakfast.

I don't pay for breakfasts. I don't go out then. I don't celebrate breakfast. Breakfast ruins the coffee experience. You coffeeaholics know what I speak of. Fresh quality ground beans only, a little on the strong side, real creamo always on hand in the large size... we are our own breed for sure.

Don't get me wrong. I do have breakfast, but later. I love my freshly cut up mixed fruit salad and massive dollup of yogurt. But not during my coffee ritual. NO WAY.

I vote that for today, we make it dinner and pick up Grandma first so she can join us. Make going way out yonder abit more meaningful. (and much much much later of course)

Hungry Cody had to deal with breakfast at home today, as always. There are TWO other mealtimes where we can eat out as a treat, no problem. Just, not breakfast. We'll save those restaurant spots for those true blue morning variety folks.

May your breakfast time be what YOU desire it to be. Food or no food. I think just one more cup will be the ticket for me...

P.S. This just in. Did you read my celebration of snow post? We just arranged to visit Grandma and now they are calling for 15-20 cm of new snow today! Don't 'they' understand we had plans?!?

I still love snow I still love snow I still love snow...

Celebrating SNOW!

We in BC Canada have had an amazing winter this year. Normally we don't get an awful lot of snow and for the kind we do, it can be there one day and gone the next. In Dec 2008, our snowfall was memorable.

Cody and I always do our utmost to celebrate new fallen snow by claiming it an official 'snow day.' Generally a good snowfall happens in the evening. And when it does, we revamp our night to take advantage of our fluffy white gift. Bedtime schedules are adjusted and off we go to enjoy, warmly bundled up in full snow gear from head to toe. If it's snowing before school, we walk there. If there's snow on the ground after school/work, we're playing in it. We are where the snow is!

This Christmas was amazing in the fact that most in our area got snowed in! Christmas concerts were postponed, seeing family rescheduled, whatever it took, in an effort to stay off treacherous roads.

While it was a difficult decision to bow out of some family functions, it was the right thing to do at the time. Once I got over the hump of realizing this Christmas would be alot quieter, I kicked the blues to the curb and Cody and I went outside. Many times over!

Most days we simply stayed in pj's and pulled our snowsuits over top when we wanted to brave the cold. It was lazy and wonderful.

But some new opportunities also came our way with our rapid change of our stay-at-home-snow-plans. On Christmas eve we went for appetizers among friends to Pete and Erna's. On Christmas day, we got invited to dinner at Rozella's just down the road. Then Christmas evening we stopped in at Dan and Janis' and ended up playing our favorite board game, Carcassonne.

We really weren't lonely or alone at all this year. Actually, this Christmas was full of plenty of smiles and good times with friends. Thanks to the snow!

Some folks agonize over snow falling. In some cases, I did the same. When groceries got abit scarce or we got hit by mild cabin fever, I longed to just jump in the truck and get outa Dodge for abit. However for the most part, a good snowfall is thoroughly enjoyed by us. Most times a good reason to just stay home can prove to be the ultimate kind of day.

Now in January, snow still threatens our region from time to time, alerting us to be aware and plan to stay off the roads. We attempted to join Rob and Maria for New Year's eve out of town. But as if the snow dial was again turned on high, snow filled the sky again having us scamper home sooner than later just in case. And so goes this winter.

I guess it takes a certain kind of person to really enjoy snow. Most often snow lovers are those that don't have a real opportunity to be around it much. Most folks that have snow on their doorstep for months on end tend to detest the stuff. I probably would too.

But that isn't what our region offers. When it snows, it's a time for a quick mini celebration! An invitation to play in the most beautiful surroundings given to us, but with a deadline. For it never lasts for long.

There is nothing quite like the quietness and serene surroundings snow creates. It truly is Heaven on earth on a good snow day!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The magical mix of housecleaning and pets

"Dear pets,

I love you all dearly. I really do. You can be my best friends whenever I desire a cuddle without a doubt.

It's just that I have a small issue.

I have just swiffered my entire hardwood flooring. And then found this.

You've graced your presence nicely throughout the entire house. Thank-you! But there just has to be more to life than holding a swiffer handle, ya know?

This is what happens to dogs that can't stop shedding when it's swiffering time. So just stop for a day, ok?

Love, your human swifferer."

I knew this was coming. Real housework to keep my new renos looking beautiful. I had just forgotten how often it takes to keep things up to snuff.

Plywood floors are so easy to care for. (because you just don't) The anal cleaning fanatic has come out in full force around these parts. New is actually easier and more gratifying to clean than old because you are able to bring back that lustre you love. It is fun to clean new and pretty!

But I am forcing myself to put away my cleaners and get back to the renos. Forcing is key. But I can do it.

Right after I quickly swiffer just one more time.

Oh, the sun came out. I should just quickly wipe down the windows...

... help ...

Baking cookies the 2009 way!

Baking in the new kitchen this Christmas was such a treat! So much room, functional and the big bonus, an oven that really works!

Cody and Alex found me baking cookies one day after school and asked if they could help. And the deal was, whatever Alex could manage to decorate, he got to take home.

They made some pretty amazing variations. Cody had this one cookie that must have been 3 inches thick with icing. Just because. Alex was after the quantity so he could bring a sampling home for each member of his family, so he worked very quickly.

Here's a little time warp to enjoy. Once upon a time, Cody sat on the counter while I made these very same cookies...

The other day he asked me if he could again sit on the counter. Funny how some memories linger that way. But the memories are always good ones, including the 2008-9 Cody/Alex no counter version.

Happy New Year all! Here's to many more cookies to come!