Thursday, August 30, 2012

Solar Power

As the technology for solar cells gets better and better, this form of clean, renewable energy will find more applications that take up less space and produce more electricity, to meet the energy needs of our homes, schools and businesses.
Samuel Bodman, a U.S. Secretary of Energy, in a speech, July 14, 2005

Thanks to advances in solar energy I am able to send you today's posts. The solar panel rests inside a small wheelbarrow that can be moved according to the sun's desire. While the sun did its work, the gin and tonic beside me enhanced the flow of words. ;-)

The sun and I have become quite friendly, while the trees have been our whispering companions.

Moonlight Writing

Moonlight is sculpture.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, American author (1804-1864)

As it neared midnight and the full moon rose above the lake a canoe carried us into a magical world.

The moonlight wrote secret messages on the water's surface. Their meaning can only be understood with one's heart.

Of Mills and Mountains

Knowledge like timber shouldn't be much used till they are seasoned.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, American author (1809-1894)

That an old cabin is being rebuilt and needs a new roof provided a fantastic opportunity to visit a traditional mill.

It's so much more interesting (and less expensive) buying two-by-fours and four-by-sixes and paneling here where the timber is hewn and seasoned than at the 'big box' stores.

Interesting conversations are had leaning up against the stacks chewing on a grass stalk.

Later we headed West. It felt so good to be wrapped up in the mountains after a decades-long hiatus. I have missed them.

And a dip in the hot sulfur springs of Miette soothed body and soul all the more.

Pizza Experiment

Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. 
Anton Chekhov

We are experimenting with a rehabed oven at the lake.

Pizza was our appetizer; a perfectly cooked roast was the main course. Since practice makes perfect, pizza will be attempted again this evening.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

At the Lake

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore. . . .
I hear it in the deep heart's core.  
William Butler Yeats, Irish Nobel Prize laureate for Literature (1865-1939) 

As I write this, the sparkles of sunlight on the water matches the sparkles of sunlight on the leaves of the white poplars.

I am surrounded by beauty.

Down on the Farm

Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can't hurry the crops or make an ox in two days. 
Henri Alain

Away from the city there is time to run through golden fields . . .

time to mount great heights . . .

and time to let creativity flow. How wonderful!

 Ah yes, and time to visit Molly. The farm teaches us that we must be patient. You can't hurry Molly to lay her egg. And delicious eggs they are too! Well worth the wait.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Houston has Landed!

Time stays long enough for those who use it. 
Leonardo Da Vinci, Italian Renaissance polymath (1452-1519) 

In the nic of time, Houston is done. I really wanted it done before heading to the airport today and it's been a "will she or won't she" bet on for this past week. With just an hour to spare, I put down the needle and we took it out to the backyard for its memorial photograph. Whew! It's been a sprint to the end, with Mom cheering me on and sewing the binding as I completed the quilting. I'm exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. And very happy with the result. Now . . . off to the airport! Whoosh.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Have a Voice!

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.
Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader and thinker (1869-1948)

The good doctor says that I must be patient and wait three months before we can call the thryoplasty a success, but I'm so happy to be seemingly functional again. My functionality was tested today at the local drive-thru where I was able to order a 'large regular' without having to cup my hands around my mouth and 'yell' the order three times to be understood. It might be the swelling around my vocal chords that's enhancing the volume and tone but I'm relishing being the old me. Fingers crossed that it holds.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Terminal Antidepressant

Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.
From the movie Love Actually

If you're ever feeling down, flush the Prozac and Zoloft and head to the arrivals gate of your nearest airport. The air here is filled with heartwarming, positive energy that's infectious. Here, only happy tears are shed. In the midst of all the hugs and beaming smiles, you can't help but be lifted up by the open expressions of love.

And then, when you're feeling better, you can head to the WC with your laptop and send emails to your loved ones, sharing the good vibe. But perhaps this service is only available in Toronto. ;-)

Divine Art

Art is man's nature; nature is God's art.
Philip James Bailey, English poet (1816-1902)

Looking at the cloud meringues floating across the afternoon sky I thought to myself, "If an artist painted this scene, people would think it an unreal fantasy of the human mind. But it is real. God's art, God's creation, is very real." How blessed we are to have this art gallery before us!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Good Times with Stone

Write your sad times in sand,
Write your good times in stone.
George Bernard Shaw, Irish author and playwright (1856–1950)

Sitting on a flowerbox ledge outside the church, sipping a coffee and passing time, I took pleasure in studying the old stone walls around me. There may be lots of adages contrary to walls and their construction, but I take comfort in their strength and resilience. For me, their patina of soot, lichen, nicks, and bird droppings just adds depth to their character. Oh the stories they could tell! Perhaps it's just the archaeologist in me coming out, but I think old stone walls make fascinating companions.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

End of an Era

Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn't illegal.
Voltaire, French philosopher and writer (1694-1778)

Sadly, the lights of our beloved Stoney Creek Dairy Bar will shine no more after September 4th. The dairy bar is closing and all traces of this icon will very soon disappear under a seniors retirement home.

For numerous generations of local kids, memories have been made here since 1942 when the ice cream bar opened. It was quite a treat to go for a drive to the dairy, to stand in the line-up that snaked from the sidewalk outside into its cool interior, and to puzzle over the long list of flavour options posted from the ceiling. And then we would eat our cones in the car trying not to drip on the station wagon's vinyl interior. How I wish now that we hadn't been so honest in always returning the plastic trays stamped "Stolen from the Stoney Creek Dairy". It would be nice to have a memento.

The owners are encouraging patrons to move with them to the new location on the bay, but it's just not the same. And so I celebrated the end of an era with one final banana split. Thanks for all those creamy sweet memories. We'll miss you.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bad Luck

A stout heart breaks bad luck.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Spanish author of Don Quixote (1547-1616)

Black cats and red wine don't mix. Actually, to be more accurate: black cats, red wine, and beige carpet don't mix.

I can't believe my bad luck. Yesterday I was stung by a bee. S-I-L administered medication and all was well. Today red wine spills. Things may happen in threes but I'm not going to worry about what comes next. I'll just be a little more careful. Duh!

Anyway, with stout heart I cleaned up what I could of the wine and called the Scottish lads at our favourite carpet cleaning company. They'll pop by before Mom and Dad return home from vacation and work their magic and no one will be the wiser.

And then with same stout heart I poured myself another glass of wine. Thankfully, the number 13 doesn't scare me because the 2010 "Red Palette" from the 13th Street Winery is really quite good.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Down on the Docks

How wise and how merciful is that provision of nature by which his earthly anchor is usually loosened by many little imperceptible tugs, until his consciousness has drifted out of its untenable earthly harbour into the great sea beyond!
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish writer (1859-1930)

My brother and sister-in-law treated me to birthday dinner at a new, and very hip, restaurant in the ol' hometown. Sarcoa's location at Pier 8 brought back memories of Miss Broker's kindergarten tours to the docks where our grandfather stevedored. Water and boats are in our genes and the open water beckons to set out on adventure. Too bad I get seasick outside of the harbour's protection. ;-)

Ah, but I can still dream of setting sail. And Sarcoa provides an awesome view to contemplate and reminisce over a glass of wine. Thank you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Journey of Corn and Beans

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey. 
Fitzhugh Mullan, American physician 

A family celebration caused me to take to the road on a stunning trip through southwestern Ontario's rural landscape. On the outbound drive, some atmospheric tempests met me head-on at the crest of a hill, adding drama to the beauty of the cornfields and farmsteads that lined my path. The tempests had moved on by the time of the homeward journey, leaving behind intensified colours and lovely cool, fresh air. It is such a pleasure to make these simple road trips.

And lo and behold, at a crossroads, Fortune brought me face-to-face with one of Brant county's barn quilts. How appropriate to come upon this traditional "Corn and Beans" quilt pattern on a drive through countryside that has sustained generations with these very crops.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Quiet Soul

How wonderful is the human voice! It is indeed the organ of the soul! The intellect of man sits enthroned visibly upon his forehead and in his eye; and the heart of man is written upon his countenance. But the soul reveals itself in the voice only, as God revealed himself to the prophet of old, in "the still, small voice," and in a voice from the burning bush. The soul of man is audible, not visible. A sound alone betrays the flowing of the eternal fountain, invisible to man!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet and educator (1807-1882)

Hello? Anyone there? I'm still here . . . albeit much more quiet than usual. I'm not talking much these days. When I do, Cat looks up quizzically as if to say, "What was that?"

A week ago a good surgeon performed a 'thyroplasty' in an attempt to restore my voice, which had become reduced to a whisper thanks to a complication of thyroid surgery. By propping up the paralyzed vocal chord with one (or was it two?) stent(s), it's hoped that I'll talk again. Actually, the problem wasn't talking; the problem was hearing me. It's been rather frustrating.

I haven't yet tried out the new voice. It's still 'in progress' -- as Cat can attest -- and it could take weeks to develop to its maximum capacity. I must be patient. Unfortunately, patience is not one of my virtues. I am, however, hopeful.

What with the scar across my neck and the associated swelling that would be attractive to a bull moose,  I haven't ventured out much -- hence the lack of content for blog posts.

But I am here!