100 Days/100 Photos

Water 1

The day (last month) began just like any other, but suddenly it blossomed into one of the best days you can imagine! I got accepted into the mentoring programme (on-line cohort) at one of the most prestigious film schools in the world. I’ve been bursting with excitement and impatience – longing to tell you all about it – but I wanted all the paperwork finished before my reveal, just in case…

It is a twelve-month course, running coincident with the calendar year 2018. A big part of our mark will be based on an assignment that may actually take the entire year to complete: We’ve to ask four specific people to assign us 100 photos which we must take on 100 different (though not necessarily consecutive) days. I have two of my lists already and today I set out to capture one of my assignments: “Waterfall”

Water 2

Today was chock full of sunshine and photographic productivity. Oh, and a long walk beside the river. I packed up a sketchy lunch and all my gear and headed out to the Trent River, north of Campbellford and the Healey Falls. At this time of year I expected a low flow but it was raging.

Water 3

The bright sunshine created some pretty rainbows. It was the perfect opportunity to practice shooting spray and mist and sunbeams and rainbows. There was no one there but me so I just relaxed and played around with angles and lenses and filters until I had some shots I liked; I’m hoping one or two may prove competition-worthy, so I’m not sharing them just yet.

Water 4

From the falls, I drove across to Trent River Village, one of my favourite lunch stops. The weather was so much more picnic-friendly than yesterday – 12℃ vs 3℃ and a balmy breeze vs a blustery gale. You know, both the island and its parkette are very small, there is only the one bench so I was delighted to find it unoccupied. This was my picnic spot today:

Water 5

I relaxed, absorbing as much of the day’s sublime sunshine as possible, ate my lunch and fed most of my grapes to the cutest pair of ducks you’ll ever see. Then I dashed home to begin my favourite part of a shooting day – post processing.

’Til next time, y’all…

Water 6

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Out With The Cobwebs

Cobwebs 1

Sorry, y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Thank you for all the messages asking about my health – it wasn’t that, promise! Our flooring and kitchen renovations are underway and they are dominating everything else that’s on the go but, I’m happy to report, this fixer-upper is scooting right along!

There has been a short delay in the installation of the cabinetry due to the company’s move into new premises. Fine by us. My only concern was getting everything done, house back to normal and decorated ready for Christmas. Part of this project is sprucing up our den-sized-family-room which is open to the kitchen and the front hall. It was dark and dated and I wanted something lighter and more modern (on a strict and small budget, of course!). With a couple of free days (no kitchen crew, no curling) my gem decided he’d get to painting the den which will be the same colour as the kitchen. With some professional guidance, I chose a new BM colour “Whispering Spring”. Seriously, isn’t that the most perfect paint name!?! This weekend we (and of course, for “we” you ought to be reading “Cam”) made major progress in our den. I am so proud of him and as always, amazed at just how much he is able to accomplish in a few short hours. I have the new look I wanted, on budget. How often does that happen? The work is complete and the house is back in order ready for Frank’s crew to start the cabinetry install. It’s a bit rough-looking, but here’s a sneak preview:

Before (during):
before

After (almost):
after

As soon as the paint was quasi-dry we wanted to get the furniture back in place (we’d been falling over it all the day long). Question: When was the last time you pulled out your desk and looked at the web of computer/printer/television/stereo/power, etc. cables hidden back there? Urgh! Dust and cobwebs everywhere. With a duster, a mop and a wee bit of elbow grease, it’s now pristine. Not, I know, that it will stay that way, but out of sight, right? I love working along side Cam; we have a grand time as long as we’re together.

Today was a slow, cloudy, blustery Monday with not much on the agenda; a perfect day for Presqu’ile, non? To make this day feel special, I packed a picnic lunch, sat out at the shore and let the breeze (gale force wind, really) blow away my mental cobwebs whilst I munched on my sammie. It really was quite nice and the sun poked his head out just for me – as soon as I packed up, so did he. As you can see, I was the only one daft enough for a picnic today!

Cobwebs 3

My camera and tripod are always set up when I’m at the lake, and peeping through the lens today I was surprised to see that I could make out the ducks’ feet and bodies below the water as the waves swelled around them. I’ve never seen that before and it happened about every fifth wave, or so. On a day that was SLAM FULL of wonder, this topped my list:

Cobwebs 4

I hope your Monday was just as sweet!

’Til next time, y’all…

Cobwebs 5

Art Day

Art Day 1

Oh what a splendid day we had yesterday. Although cold, the house and studio were toasty warm and bright with sunlight. Oh-so-welcoming! There was a Remembrance Day pause just before eleven o’clock. I was choked-up as I am every year. There was such beautiful creativity on display; tiny paper house construction, watercolour, ingenious mobile design, Japanese ink painting and quilting. Copious cups of tea and coffee and, um, an adult beverage or two at lunchtime. A perfect day!

Art Day 2

We were treated to a talk and demonstration of Japanese ink painting which, for me, was absolutely fascinating. Interesting tidbits:

  • the ink is a solid (dry) block
  • a few drops of water are added to a stone dish then the ink block is ground into the water until a rich, full black liquid ink is created
  • the brushes themselves are works of art
  • they are rolled and dipped into the ink and then, held perpendicular to the paper, the drawing begins
  • I imagine that holding the pen at such an awkward angle is tiring on the wrist and fingers
  • light pressure produces thin, slender lines and additional pressure widens, thickens the lines
  • more ink = dark black/less ink = grey
  • the artist, brought several samples of his work and his paintings were so beautiful – mountains, lakes, birds, wheat, trees, etc… each one evoking a feeling of peace and tranquility
  • the sweet gentleman who presented kindly brought paper supplies for all and everyone was invited to have a try
  • NOT me, I wasn’t brave enough in the company of so many gifted artists to put my grade-one-comparable stick-man drawing on display but I confess that one day I would like to try this hauntingly beautiful art form… first I must learn to draw

Art Day 3

There was also food – lots of it! Salad, chilli sauce, cheeses, wonderful fresh rolls, crackers, über-delish dip and – best of all – Lightening Cake!!! It. Was. Heavenly. I am definitely going to attempt to add this to my culinary résumé. This orange-flavoured cake is a New Zealand tradition. Google it – you’ll not be sorry, promise! Ohmigosh, I ate way too much – I truly am the most unwilling dieter you’ll ever encounter.

Each of the artists in this group is smart and funny and well-read, and well-travelled, and civic-minded – each one oh-so-interesting; the conversation was lively, the topics diverse and I wanted it to go on and on and on…

There is an actress/storyteller in the group. She had to leave a little early because she was appearing in a play last night. A very Canadian story about Thomas D’Arcy McGee, one of our Fathers of Confederation. The production is a tale about a day in Mr. McGee’s life, interspersed with live music; an inventive and historical piece of drama being prepared and groomed for next April, the 150th anniversary of his death. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about this production.

A good time was had by all, but all good things must end. Homeward bound:

Art Day 4

It was a happy day. I am grateful.

’Til next time, y’all…

Lightning Cake

Lightning Cake: First attempt.

Home

Version 2

What do you love about your home? A house is just the physical structure; bricks and mortar, as they say. A home, though, is so much more than that. It’s the feeling that envelops you as soon as you cross the threshold. It’s the invested love that warms you so much more than the furnace ever could. It’s all the things you miss when you’re away – none of which, I fancy, are its physical elements.

Home 2

“These are a few of my favourite things”*:

  1. Safety. My home is and feels safe. Not merely physically, but a safe place to be me and to live my life in my own way. It is where I am loved and cherished, needed and wanted. Safe as houses!
  2. The back of our house faces east which means we enjoy bright sunshine in our bedroom, family room and kitchen every morning. It is so nice to pop out of bed and immediately see the sun’s rays filtering through the shutters, a sight that never fails to make me happy.
  3. The lamp on our living room sofa table is on a timer. I love the soft, warm glow of its lamplight once the timer pops it on. Whenever we return after dark, it is just like a welcoming beacon.
  4. Our washer and dryer are in the kitchen (please spare me the critique, I’ve heard it all before, promise!). Being so centrally located, they make my home smell like clean laundry; that wonderfully fresh scent unique to tide+snuggle+bounce… There’s nothing like it!
  5. I have two small wooden chests – one is my original Hope Chest and the other is the seat of our Deacon’s Bench. This is where I keep my bulky wool sweaters. A couple of years ago my friend Theresa treated me to cedar blocks to keep in them -now that’s a smell I love – on my sweaters, of course, and also the faint scent that escapes every time the lids are lifted.
  6. Toby! I love the explosion of enthusiasm, energy and love with which he greets me. Every. Single. Time. He never seems to have an off day! You know, I’ve even become a bit fond of the little clumps of his hair that are always drifting across one floor or another (even mere seconds after having put the vacuum away).
  7. We enjoy homemade bran muffins and there’s nothing quite like that freshly baked, cinnamonny/nutmeggy aroma that always seems to linger long into the evening and sometimes beyond. I love that smell.
  8. Music! It’s always playing in the family room. Sometimes it’s our local –  Northumberland 93.3 (Meg and Jamie in the morning) and sometimes it’s Classical 103.1 Cobourg but it’s always on and it’s always pleasant and friendly company.
  9. Y’all know my only true forte is sleeping and home is where my perfect pillow, most-comfortable-ever bed and (at this stage of the game) threadbare wubbie are always waiting for me. Comfort, pure and simple!
  10. Cam is here.

This Home

Home 3

2010 was a great year for us; we bought this house (definitely a fixer-upper) and immediately set about the three Rs: Repairing, renovating and redecorating to turn it into a home we could be proud of and love. Two of the major projects that year were replacing the hall/bathroom/kitchen flooring and gutting the kitchen for a complete redesign. It was a huge expense and upheaval but we were both filled with happy excitement. We believed these renovations would easily last through our years in this house. Not so!

We both prefer to shop in town whenever possible so the kitchen was designed and built by a great Cobourg company with a downtown storefront operation. Many of our friends had used them with great success and my sorority sister worked there. She came up with a brilliant design for us that maximized the space in our oh-so-small kitchen. The company acted as our general contractor, arranging for permits, plumbing, electrical, gas, carpentry, flooring, cabinetry and countertops. They only used local trades/crafts/retailers. We did our due diligence, thought long and hard about our choices and were happy with our decisions.

Since then, all of the cabinetry and trim and the floor have deteriorated – badly enough that they need to be replaced – and as our luck would have it, the kitchen shop has gone out of business. Not, perhaps, as you’d imagine; sadly, the owner became very ill and closed up shop, for good. We’re on our own for this “renewal” project.

Home 4

A local cabinet maker, https://www.facebook.com/bouwmanscabinetry/ – also highly recommended – came to see our kitchen and offer up his recommendations. He says our “boxes” are fine so he recommends just replacing the doors and trim. He chose a superior product for us, it will be finished in a custom colour (a super-pale silvery grey), and best, there will be some upgraded fits-and-finishes. Am loving Frank to bits and pieces! He invited us (Cam, mostly) to visit his shop to see their huge machine (lathe? router? saw?) in action and it is pure amazingness. Decision made.

We shopped around quite carefully for flooring. Despite current trends and designer recommendations, I simply did not want hardwood. I have Cam. I have Toby. I need to mop. Often. This stretch of flooring runs from the front door and the door to the garage, to the back door, plus throughout the kitchen and bathroom. Enter Mannington and their luxury vinyl flooring (Surely to goodness I’m not the only one who thinks ‘luxury vinyl’ is an oxymoron!!!) which, mercifully, can be laid atop our existing limestone, without grout (Ohmigosh, do I ever hate cleaning grout!). There is some levelling/smoothing to be done (I think we have to move out for that step – um, Sandy!!!) and we’ve chosen a very pretty mid-to-darkish mottled steel-grey colour. It will be laid on a 45° angle. The warranty is outstanding.

I am so very excited.  And nervous.  What if this, too, only lasts seven years?

Home 5

This was a bit of a rough week for me; fever and trouble breathing again. I’ve looked nothing short of thrown away like so much trash (Nana’s expression). The best I can say is that it’s behind me now. The silver lining about having a bad week, though, is realizing how much worse it would have been without Cam’s tender love and care and help.

And, best of all, tomorrow is Art Day at Annie’s. Ohmigosh, I’m excited for that too. Life is good. I am grateful.

’Til next time, y’all…

*Oscar Hammerstein II

 

Elizabeth James

yellow rose 1

Yellow roses symbolize friendship and the joy it brings.

There are lovely, kind, loyal, funny, smart and even deliciously sarcastic people in my circle of friends and I adore them all. The one thing they all have in common is that they are genuine, true-blue, we go to the mattresses* friends. Each one enriches my life in a different way. I am lucky to have them and I am grateful.

One very special friend, though, is the epitome of love and faith and kindness. Please forgive the overt fan-girling; it’s just that, honest-to-goodness, she inspires me to be better and try harder; she is a confidant and advisor; she gives me unparalleled joy and loves a good tea party just as much as me. Oh, and she is nice as pie and just so much fun! My friends, meet the divine Elizabeth James.

yellow rose 2

Describing her to you, I would say she is affectionate, witty, humble, capable, generous, compassionate, smart, well-mannered, gracious, polite, sincere, humble and, most of all – courageous. Long list, non? But wickedly accurate. She never loses hope, and I am forever wishing her optimism rubs off on me.

Marvelling at her courage was where I began this post. Elizabeth James and her husband are currently waging the most stressful, demanding, scary and lengthy medical war of their lives. The adage “one step forward, two back” could well have been coined to describe their current battle. Yet she is unwaveringly positive, confident and happy. She works hard each hour of each day to care for her ailing husband, provide entertainment/amusement/diversion to distract him from the truly awful struggle he endures daily – always with tender love and gentle humour. Paragon is another word that comes to mind.

yellow rose 3

We haven’t been able to get together for a while now; her husband is at home and she, understandably, needs to be at his side. In their shoes, I wouldn’t leave Cam alone. Despite the enormity of the responsibility, she shoulders and the complexity of the care she is called upon to administer, she never forgets a single detail of the events in my life, asks after them and follows up. Always. Without fail. She has a sharp sense of humour that hasn’t dulled one iota in a year that would, frankly, have defeated me. Oh, and amid all this turmoil, she found time to knit me the prettiest, warmest pair of winter socks. Ever! Adorbs, right?

adorbs

Whilst remaining hopeful of a future tea party, in the meanwhile we are keeping in contact with a series of e-mail letters. I do my best to send one each day – all elaborate stories about my tiny life that is, in reality, the very opposite of elaborate. I hope they are the entertainment/amusement/diversion she needs sometimes and yes, I know, I may well be deluding myself. In one of our exchanges this week I marvelled at the fine line they’re treading with the medications prescribed/side effects they create, and wondered how they’re coping. Her answer was both simple and profound:

“I think Pam it is one of those situations where you just have to have faith and enjoy each day and be thankful.”

Seraphic, right? Her courage, perseverance and optimism inspire me to live my life with hope. Not what she intended, I’m sure, but her comment read like a daily intention-setting prayer. Intention is essential in leading one’s best life. Nothing happens without intention, and what better goals could I have for my life, than to…

Have faith. Enjoy each day. Be thankful.

Oh what I have learned from this amazingly strong, capable and kind woman.

yellow rose 4

Yellow roses symbolize friendship and the joy it brings.

’Til next time, y’all…

*Mario Puzo