Friday, December 26, 2008

My Gift

Here is the gift PeterC made for me. It is lovely and includes all my favourite flowers found at Sparrow Haven. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Home made Christmas

This year we decided to make gifts to exchange for the Holidays. PeterC had requested tie clips and so I spent a few weeks trying to figure out how to make them out of wood. The end results turned out really nice and he loved them. He has told me several time since he received them that they were the best and nicest gift I could have given him. Pretty high praise in my book.

The woods are:
Left: Cherry Right: Walnut end grain
Left:Wamarii Right: Crabapple
Left:Yellowheart Right: Walnut w/ basswood inlay
Left:Wenge Right: Walnut w/ cherry and yellowheart inlay
Left:Crabapple Right: Basswood

I plan to make him at least a few more as long as I get the time and have access to different woods.

You may also remember I mentioned that I was weaving PeterC a scarf for Christmas. I finished it finally and thought I would share a picture of it as well. It isn't as long as I had hoped but it is my own fault. I left to much extra yarn, for fringe, when I secured it to the loom.

Close up of the pattern.









The scarf as it looks when worn.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowmaggedon

We were watching the news last night and the weather report referred to Environment Canada's weather warning that predicted "Snowmageddon" for southern Ontario. To quote Peter Mansbridge "..the storm that Environment Canada is referring to as Snowmageddon..." A huge series of snow storms that would drop 50 cm of snow over night with high winds and really low winchills in the -30ÂșC ranges. According to CBC's "The National" the airlines were encouraging people to change their flight plans as they expected the airports to be shutdown due to the bad weather.

Mr. Mansbridge went on to report that some passengers were already stranded due to the "high numbers of people changeing their flights", one family from Newfoundland being told it could be a week before they can get home. A week? Spent sleeping in plastic chairs at the Toronto Airport? Poor souls. I would be demanding my ticket money back and finding a Via train home. It might take three days but at least I'd be home for Christmas.

Needless to say I was expecting a blizzard this morning when I woke up but low and behold we have some wind and a few, and I mean a very few, snow flakes coming down. Like any reasonable person I decided to research the threat and find out what happened. I checked CBC and CBC "The National" and there was not a peep or a mention of the word Snowmaggedon anywhere that I could find. I did a Google search and was able to find only one news reference to the word in a Guelph Newspaper.

I went to Environment Canada's website and looked at the weather statement and of course could not find any reference to Snowmaggedon anywhere in the warning. In fact the only real warnings, I could find, centred around Toronto. Many Torontonians believe that Toronto is the centre of Canada or even the world, but the rest of Canada considers it just another big, busy, noisy city. So why would a weather warning that really only effects Toronto and locales surrounding it become such a huge news story using words guaranteed to incite panic?

Perhaps the blame doesn't lie completely at the feet of Environment Canada since it is well known that they update their weather warnings several times a day and weather, like the stock market, changes minute by minute. Instead the blame should, perhaps, be placed at the feet of the news agencies that latched on to such a dire and grim warning in an effort to sell more newspapers and encourage people to watch their programs.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Charity

The local Knights of Columbus did their annual door to door Christmas Basket Canned Food Drive yesterday and it got me to thinking about charity. There are two kinds of charity - physical and mental. Physical charity is the act of giving, be it food or money, to those you perceive as being less well off than yourself. Mental charity is the act of giving your fellow man the benefit of the doubt and thinking kindly toward them.

I think most people, at some point in their lives, have performed an act of physical charity. Donating clothes to a Salvation Army box, dropping a box or bag of food into the Food Bank bins at the grocers, even giving change to the homeless are all acts of physical charity. Giving is easy, and in some cases is done as a matter of course with no thought for those who will be receiving the charity.

It is the mental charity that I believe is lacking in this world. How many people actually think about those receiving their donations? If they do think of them do they think of them as lazy good for nothings? Perhaps it is not so with the giving of food or clothing, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of people who give change to strangers do not give out of the goodness of their hearts. Most people give to make themselves appear generous or they give to get rid of the beggar.

And there I go, being mentally uncharitable. I need to work on being more charitable toward other people, regardless of who they are or what they do. Would you join me in trying to be more charitable, both physically and mentally, toward the people around you? If we all be more charitable until the end of the year, maybe we can make a difference in the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Weather

As you might have guessed I did survive my trip into town alone. I had almost reached the point of calling and postponing the appointment until later this week but I girded myself and drove into town anyway. As it turns out that was the best course of action considering the turn the weather has made since then.

Yesterday, I woke to find the snow coming down hard with a nasty wind blowing off the river. The snow kept up until around 8:00 pm when it turned to freezing rain. At some point during the night the freezing rain turned back to snow. This morning all the trees and shrubs are bowed down heavy with ice and snow, which is still falling heavily. We've already received an inch of snow since I walked the dogs an hour ago.

So here I sit watching the snow fall, the birds flutter around, the fire curl in the wood stove, and I am thankful that I was able to get my anxiety under control enough to drive into town Monday. Now I can sit and enjoy the weather and the company of the animals, warm and snug in my home.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Nerves

PeterC is on a week long business trip and I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. I am as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. It has been several months since I've driven the truck and even longer since I had to drive into town. To top it all off I have to go to a clinic I've only been to a couple of times and find an office I've never been to.

I don't know why I get like this but I do. I can remember the first time I flew on an airplane alone and the severe panic attacks I suffered daily a week before the flight, and every time I landed at an unfamiliar airport to change planes. Even when my work required regular flying I would be nervous and twitchy the day before the flight, convinced that I was going to miss the flight, get on the wrong plane, or any number of silly scenarios.

I've been unable to sleep for longer than an hour at a time for the last couple of days and my appetite has gone into the crapper. I find myself glancing at the clock every couple of minutes afraid I am running late. I've made plans for every scenario I can imagine and plan on being dressed and out the door at least an hour before the appointment. It only takes 20 minutes to get into town but I'm not leaving anything to chance.

I know I am getting nervous and wound up over nothng. Thousands of people do this kind of thing every day but to me it is a big deal. I seem to suffer from some psychosis that sends me into panic at the thought of doing anything out of the ordinary, especially if it involves traveling and dealing with strangers. But, I will perservere and get through this as quickly and as safely as I possibly can. I will make it home before dark. But for now, all I can think about is "what am I forgetting to prepare for?". Oh yeah, money to pay for parking.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Slow Down

After all the hard work, over the last few weeks, I now have 14 litres of pumpkin cubes and 14 litres of yummy pumpkin soup to get us through the winter months. I still have one pumpkin left but I am hoping to find someone to take it off my hands. The pumpkin I have sealed is enough to last us a couple of years unless it is our only food and then it will last a couple of months. Either way, we have enough pumpkin stored that finding a home for the last one is imperative.

After I finished all the canning I worked on a commission for one of PeterC's coworkers. I had made some wooden tie clips, using magnets to secure them to the shirt, for PeterC as a gift and one of PeterC's coworkers like them so much he requested three for himself. I thought it was pretty cool and it gave me an excuse to order some more magnets and some exotic woods. I finished the commission yesterday and I am now on the front end of the winter slow down.

This is the time of year where I can catch up on my reading, take my time to create as my heart directs, and in general just slow down and relax. This period of relaxation will end sometime in January when I start feeling the need to work in the garden and get seeds started. Until then, though, I have several projects I want to work on including trying to teach myself to knit. With any luck I'll pick it up easily enough and will be knitting sweaters by next year. So here is to the slow down and to a month of relaxation and crafting.