Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween!

Yesterday I took my camera and walked along a Halifax street to get some fun pictures of Halloween decorations. This house was amazing and I did not do it any justice at all.

This wee pumpkin was cute. Simple to do but fun.

Imagine walking up to this house in the dark!

She was lying in a standing coffin but you cannot see it here. Very effective!

Spiders anyone?

Pop over to my friend Suzie's blog for a chance to win a beautiful charmed necklace guaranteed to keep the ghosties and goblins away! She has been writing about the paranormal recently, good Halloween reading:) She also has a terrific foodie blog with Halloween themed goodies featured at the moment!

Enjoy this spooky holiday!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Autumn Cat

Mildred... available now on eBay

I had fun trying out a different style with this wee painting:)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Literary Triumvirate

Three incredibly talented and diverse Nova Scotian writers!
Donna Morrissey, Ami McKay and Lesley Crewe.
Yesterday was the literary luncheon at the Halifax Club and I have to say that I think it was a great success! We dined, chatted and then were entertained by the authors reading some exerpts from their work, discussions about their stories and life, followed by a Q&A session.

They all have very different styles and were a pleasure to listen to! Please do yourself a favour and pick up copies of their work, you will not be disappointed! I've enjoyed their books immensely. Movies are in the works too:)

This is the front room of the Halifax Club, where the event was held. An old building with a very interesting history. Used to be a men's club which is now thankfully, open to women! Shockingly,( to me) as recently as up until 1985, women were not allowed in the club until after5pm. In that year, Noella Fischer became the first female member of the club. Since then, the Club has elected it's first female president and the use of the club has been opened to non members.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ooh la la

Last week I took my mum for a birthday lunch at a new creperie in town, Chez Tess. It is an odd grey little building just off Charles street but as you walk under the cement awning, wow! The ceiling is collaged with broken mirror and is stunning. It sort of drips down the sides a bit and is absolutely beautiful.
It was a dark day so I can imagine how lovely it must look in the sunshine. In the warmer months there are some table outside so you can sit under the mosaic and pretend you are in Paris! That's what it reminded me of.
Oh yes, and the food was wonderful and service terrific! I highly recommend.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I like Monday

This was taken along one of the small foot trails that wind in and out of the subdivision I live in. Tiny teeny pockets of wilderness. As small as they are, I am grateful for them.

Well, so much for starting my training this weekend! I spent more time eating I think!!! Big dinner on Sat night, belated Thanksgiving Turkey dinner yesterday, Bookclub last night, snacks while watching Family Guy with my daughter. Sheesh.! Watching food and keeping a diary of exercise. The thought of 6 hours is daunting but I am delighted to be challenging myself to do it and for a VERY worthwhile cause:) 95 days to go. You can help out here

Gym later, planting daffodils for dad at Hemlock (it is that time of year), post office, deliveries and painting. That's what I hope to get done today and maybe some raking. Better get a move on:)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Met someone special last night.......

........unfortunately he has a problem with stamina:)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Always something to do.

My poor neglected brushes... I've been so distracted and busy with other things that I have not been able to get any work done. Not good. I am planning to really put a lot of time into painting this week. Have to!
One of my distractions of course has been BustaMove. Did you know I am team captain of a group called HalifaxChicks? Not that it is a bad thing, but I do tend to get carried away with good ideas and end up with a lot to do:) Oh well, this is a great cause and it will be lots of fun. Getting fit is one of the big payoffs of this venture but that takes time too. (Thanks all of you who have donated!) 91 days left!
It is a gray rainy Saturday and I have a book to read before tomorrow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Johnathon Safran Foer. It is bookclub night! Yay. I should be painting but I think I will rest and relax for the next little while:)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The bold Monty...

Ahh to be a cat. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October Beauty

This is Long Lake, very near here. There are narrow trails that follow all along the edge of the water and branch off into the woods. It is a leash free park so one meets lots of dogs along the way:) I don't go nearly enough considering how close it is! So beautiful, especially this time of year. You can swim in this lake too!

Wasn't that flash mob video in my last post fun? I knew it was going to happen so made sure I would be there a bit earlier. My heart was pounding with excitement. So strange to know that something big was about to happen while people quietly went about their business. So fun!
I was watching and enjoying but also thinking, eek, that's what I'm going to have to do in January.... x6. My first big training goal is to be able to get through two aerobic/fitness classes in a day, eventually two back to back classes. I lift weights and walk but I don't really GO FOR IT! So.......big positive changes for me. I would love it if you popped over to my page and supported me HERE. if you can, even 5$, it all ADDS up:)

I am raising $1000 for new digital mammogram equipment. Part of the reason I signed on was in the timing...... Xue's anniversary; I just had a mammogram that day and today is my mom's birthday and she is a survivor. I have had quite a few people close to me succumb to cancer. I thought I would do something to help fight it and help myself at the same time:)

Speaking of helping oneself, my favourite librarian has written a post about the importance of Vitamin D! Worth reading. Have a healthy happy day!

PS. Laura, so glad your bout with Swine Flu is over!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flash Mob Dance

This was so much fun!!!!!! It was a FLASH DANCE MOB at the Halifax Shopping Centre food court that happened at noon today. It was a kickoff event for the charity that I mentioned in my last post. Very exciting!!! I love how everything turns to normal very quickly after it ends as if it never happened at all! The diners did not know what hit them!!

HERE is my donation page if you are at all inspired or inclined to support this really great endeavor. Remember 100% of the funds gos to the cause. Thanks so much.

Bust a Move !!!!

I went to a really interesting presentation last night. It was at the Oct gathering of "HalifaxChicks", a really cool little mico community of women in Halifax who twitter. If you live in HRM and twitter, you are welcome to join! I love the women I have met through it, so diverse and interesting. I digress....

Anyway, Bust a Move is a local grassroots fund raising effort that is about to be officially launched on Thursday. It is raising funds for new digital mammogram machines and the funds are to be shared equally between the IWK and QE11 hospitals to help create an integrated breast health care program. This is the first time these two hospitals have come together in a fund raising program.What is great is that 100% of the funds raised go to the project!!There are sponsors to offset the other costs.

The event is on January 30th and there will be 1000 participants! It is SIX HOURS of EXERCISE led by various instructors,... Dance, Yoga, Zumba, Pilates etc. at the Halifax Metro Centre. Rumor has it that one of the instructors will be a man who loves short shorts! I say no more:) There will be wee breaks between the classes and a couple of world records are hoping to be smashed or created ( not sure which) The Guiness world record people are involved and a judge will be present. Prizes and encouragement will keep us going all day.

Did you catch that?? US? Yes!!!!!!!!!! I signed up to be a participant! The cool thing about last night was that earlier in the day I had just had my mammogram done. All the stars are aligning to tell me to DO this! I have to start training now. It is the push I need to really kick into gear and get fit!

If you would like to support this cause and me:), you can donate by clicking on the wee picture. It is via any credit card and in Canadian funds so just put the amount Canadian you want to donate and it converts into your funds on your credit card. ( you get a charitable receipt via this method.)

If you would rather donate via Paypal, I have set up a button here. You donate to me ( I set up a charity account) and I will deposit it to the BustaMove account.

If you are still reading, thanks so much! I tend to get carried away with projects that capture my fancy! This one is for a really good cause and I love that All the money donated goes directly into the fund!! We each have to commit to raising $1000. I will wash floors if I have to!

If you are from here and want to participate as part of a team you can join the HalifaxChicks team ! Male or female:)
To find them on twitter, @bustamovehfx

Better get my sweatpants and headband on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Links

There's always something............... National Media Museum

Some links you might be interested in poking about over the weekend: :)

I saw the funniest video the other day that really puts things into perspective. CK Lewis on the Conan show talking about how everything is amazing and nobody is happy! So GOOD
Thanks Gillian:)

29 Gifts, this is an interesting idea! Cami had MS and was feeling sorry for herself. A trusted friend told her to stop thinking about herself and give away a gift a day for 29 days. Halfway through, Cami started to notice things were changing in a big way for herself. The more you give, the more abundance you experience. I started yesterday:) People are encouraged to write down what they are giving and the consequences of their actions. There is a place to do so on the site. I have not joined, I am just doing it on my own.

The New York Public Library digital collection. Oh my what a treasure trove.

One of my favourite food sites when I am looking for ideas for ingredients on hand. I type them in. Lots to discover. Reviews and tips from people who have tired making whatever dish you are interested in.

Wanting to grow in your creativity and expand your photography skills? The lovely Madelyn Mulvaney aka Persisting Stars has started teaching delightful eCourses.

This is a blog that I ALWAYS learn from. A Happy Healthy Long life A medical librarian's take on the latest news to keep you fit! You will benefit from reading it:)

Another writer (and art director extraordinaire) I always get a kick out of. Feisty, shocking and often very funny. Halifax Broad.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Remembering Xue..........

Oct 16, 2005, four years ago today.............. This is what I wrote two days after:

In the end, it came down to a dark, dim room,
a clock ticking, two women.
One sitting, waiting, watching, listening.
Nervous. Grieving.

Not sure what she is feeling.

One very still, not here, not there, breast rising, falling, breath in, breath out, breath in......

Their hands linked.
I was listening to the seconds ticking by.
Sitting watching Xue, my neighbor.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
I started counting the space between her breaths.
Not intentionally, I just did it to pass the time. I don't know why....
Breath, one two three four five six seven eight.
Breath, one two three four five six seven eight nine ten.
Breath, one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty........Oh my God, she's gone.

It was as simple and quiet as that.
I went to the nurses station to tell them, and started to cry. It was over.

They asked me if anyone would want to be called to come in and see her........
No, there was no one.

I left the ward. The hall was a million miles long. I felt like I was walking in slow motion.

Left the hospital. Made some phone calls in the parking lot and drove home.

Twenty four hours earlier, around 10 PM, during the raging storm, we had been headed to the Emergency room. Xue in terrible pain. Lightning sparking crackling and thunder announcing the arrival of our ambulance.

By 3am Sunday, Xue had a room in the hospital.
Lovely soft pink.

Pain meds were administered and she fell away into a deep blissful peace.

Thank God.

A few people came in to visit and sit with her throughout the day.

I don't know. It has been quite a long journey from beginning to end. One I had no idea I was getting into.

It was only just that Friday when we got the news from her Oncologist that the end of the road had been reached. It was rough. He had tears on his cheeks. Her first words upon hearing it were "I miss Jennifer!!!!" Her last words to the doctor were "thank-you".
Her last words to me were "thank-you Seela".

Tomorrow is her funeral.

Yesterday was visitation at the funeral home. There were many, many people. Lots of Chinese folk. I was surprised. I wondered where they all had been when she was so sick. Some of the crowd I know, was because of the stature of her deceased husband. He was a good man and well liked. I was really surprised at how many people were paying their respects.
Incense was burning, there were magnificent flower arrangements with white ribbons written in Chinese characters. I was given some "lucky" money as I left.

It is strange to look over at her house. The outside light has been on since she died. Her old mum keeps it on. She cannot go to the funeral. She did not go to the visitation. She left the hospital after a short visit because she could not see her daughter die. It is very bad luck. It is not allowed for an older person to see a younger family member dead.

Today, Jennifer, Xue's daughter is eleven years old and lives with a neighbor of mine who has a daughter the same age. She is doing well! Happy and contented. I see her all the time. Xue's two brothers and their families, now live in Canada and Xue's mum lives with them. Xue died of breast cancer that eventually spread to her bones and liver. I am going for my annual mammogram on Monday. Please don't put off getting yours done.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday in October

I've got a cold. Daughter brought it into the house and now it has settled in my pocket. I have been blasting it with fresh garlic (crushed and mixed into a small V8 juice...I know some of you are cringing, but it's quite nice actually:), lots of Bengal Spice tea, turkey soup , vitamin C, and COLD FX. ColdFX really does work to shorten the duration and drudge of a cold but you have to take it at the very first sign of symptoms. I always have it on hand now. This cold is on it's way out, and was not too bad as far as colds go, but today will be another quiet day of not getting much done because I 'm still not completely "up to snuff".

This event looks like it would be fun. A literary luncheon:)

Okie dokey, bye for now:)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Diana Gabaldon

Last night my daughter and I went to hear Diana Gabaldon speak and we were both very impressed. She was recovering from the flu and was a bit subdued but spoke like a true pro and filled the bookstore with anecdotes about her writing journey and her latest book. Funny and smart:) She's tiny, 5"2" but mighty! Listening to writers speak about writing always makes me want to sit down and DO IT! Write something.

This book tour is grueling. Tonight she is in Ottawa and then Toronto and then Alberta and then,... and then,..... and then on to Australia, next New Zealand. She's already finished the US. Diana signed every single book that was brought for her last night and the place was packed! They closed the store and she continued to work on with graciousness and patience.
(Here's her blog)

Outlander has been optioned four times for movie rights. This time the company who has it has a script in place and is moving on trying to secure funds etc. Should be interesting.

This was funny. A group of women had these t-shirts made up for an Outlander party. On the menu was Drambuie Cream Chicken, raspberry trifle and other delightful Scottish treats. There were games like pin the dirk on Jamie and one of their red headed nephews arrived in a kilt representing the young lad Jamie:) I can only imagine how much fun they had!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

autumn mums:)

Gorgeous aren't they! Love the fall flowers.

I'm heading out to lunch soon with a friend. Always exciting. Going to try a place called Rock Island Cafe, a Bermuda themed place. I used to live in Bermuda and am anxious to try their fish chowder. Quite different, they use sherry pepper sauce in it:) Just read some reviews on the place and they are mixed..hmmm. Oh well.

I did make the turkey soup yesterday (good thing because I'm fighting a cold) and of course still have tons of turkey left over. from the main event. My friend Mickey, in Texas, recommended this soup. It sounds delish! I look forward to trying it. Love anything cooked in a crockpot! Toss and turn on and forget:) Thanks M.

Mickey's Tortilla Soup!

1 lb. chicken breast or turkey cooked and torn into bite size pieces

1 jalapeno cut up…I add seeds, but you can remove them

1- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 clove garlic minced

½ cup flour

8 stalks celery chopped

4 carrots chopped

1 large onion chopped

1 teaspoon- chili powder, lemon pepper, ground cumin

3 teaspoons red hot liquid pepper

4 cans chicken broth

Garnish-Corn tortillas, avocado, Monterey jack cheese, sour cream

Put all ingredients in a large pot with the last being the meat and then the broth. Heat on medium over fire until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer 2-4 hours or put in crock pot on high for 4-6 hours or until veggies are soft to preference. Mickey"This is a really good recipe. I tasted it years ago and had to have it. I actually cut corn tortillas into strips, coat them with pam or olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for a few until they start to get a bit golden. You can use any corn chips that you have though"

Tonight Diana Gabaldon, the author of the Outlander
series is speaking at our Chapters bookstore at 7pm. I was looking at it on Amazon, 820 reviews 4.5stars! I enjoyed that rollicking series. Fluffy escapism with the larger than life Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall. Scotland, time travel, romance, history, adventure..... My daughter has just started to read it and so far is enthralled. I liked the first novel the best.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Monday

This is one of the benches that sits alongside the heart-shaped pond.......Julie's Pond in Hemlock Ravine. This one is at the top of the heart. Today is exactly the same kind of day you see in this picture. A perfect sunny crisp, autumn one. It is a holiday here, Canadian Thanksgiving and the day is wide open for adventure!

I have a crockpot of turkey being simmered into submission for later use as soup. Not sure if I will make it today because I have lots of other things I'd much rather do but it would be nice to have it on hand. Yesterday I had a start at getting the garden and yard ready for winter. Good feeling to see it cleaned up a bit but sad because we are getting ready for the long hibernation. I dumped all the tomato pot contents into the compost, back and forth carrying and dumping and pulling out the wire cages. Shaking them and spreading the soil. We had a great tomato crop this year, I have lots still and many green ones to contend with but after a plea on twitter, got some great ideas for them.

Might take a drive up to the Valley today. Might not. Don't really know how I am going to spend this wonderful day!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Autumn festivities

Waterlily at Julie's Pond, Hemlock Ravine Park, Halifax. Autumn colours reflected in the water, so pretty. I love this pond. Every season has something to offer.

Today is the start of the Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend. Coming from a British household, growing up it was never a holiday that we would celebrate in a big way. We would have a nice meal but that was it. Yesterday I purchased a small turkey that I plan on cooking at some point over the next three days:) The house smells so good when there is something delicious roasting in the oven. Reminds me of Christmas...and Thanksgiving:)

Tomorrow I'm going to the Maritime Fall Fair. Something we've done since I was a small girl, although in those days it was called The Atlantic Winter Fair. Livestock exhibitions and quilts and pickles. The main arena hosts the rodeo and the draft horse competitions. etc. The Percherons and Clydesdales get gussied up with fancy ribbons, braided manes and tails, brass all polished and head out onto the turf for displays of skill and handling. One of my favourite events.

It's also the one time I cave in and buy some fudge to much on as I roam around the fairgrounds. Junk food and fairs go hand in hand. Looking forward to it:)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

and the winner is....

Lulu Tini!!!!!!
I will be sending along a cookbook and a little something later this week:)
Thanks to all that entered:)
This gorgeous wreath caught my eye at a shop in Lunenburg called Down Home Living. I just LOVE it! Made from mussel shells. Still grey and rainy but I am off for coffee and a chat later this morning and that is always something to look forward to.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Because I am a Girl

Plan Canada, has just just released the 2009 edition of their ground breaking series of reports Because I Am A Girl. These reports highlight the plight of girls around the world and the unique role they play in the fight against global poverty. I was contacted by them and asked if I would help spread the word about their Because I am a Girl campaign. Of course! I really do believe that empowering young girls and women can only lead to good things. You can read a bit more about it HERE. Research shows that investing in girls can lift entire nations out of poverty. Girls in Halifax and across Canada have the power to change the world.

Plan Canada, in support of the 2009 Because I am a Girl report is filming a documentary across Canada. The documentary team will be filming at the Halifax Shopping Centre on Saturday October 10th from 12-2 pm. Girls will have a chance to share their thoughts on what it means to be a girl in Canada and how they make a positive impact for girls around the world. This film is aimed at capturing the experiences of teens, tweens and their inspirations. These experiences will be captured and released as a documentary in Spring 2010.

The documentary is the cornerstone of a campaign that aims to enlist girls in Canada in the fight against gender inequality around the world by raising awareness of the plight of girls in the poorest regions of the planet and their untapped potential to be powerful agents of change for their families, communities and nations.

Pass it on:)


So simple and yet it transforms mundane environments into something beautiful. Today is a quiet grey day but the leaves are burnished and bright, offsetting the gloom. Rain is coming and all is still at the moment.

Last day to enter for a cookbook and surprise.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday's Painting

Kate's Cottage, on eBay now:)

Made a big pot of curried coconut squash soup yesterday. It was delicious and there is plenty left over for tonight's supper! Yay. Especially nice when you don't really feel like cooking anything. It is so easy to perk up a good soup into something really great using a can of (lite) coconut milk. I love that. I just have to open, dump, stir and voila, an exotic concoction! Especially nice when you don't really feel like cooking anything. Another tip is "fresh" ginger. It can really liven up a dish.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Perfect Porch

Isn't this just wonderful?? I spied this wee spot in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Yessir, I could easily picture myself sitting outside, sipping something, reading something and watching the world go by..... rain or shine.

Just a reminder, if you haven't yet, to pop over to my fan page and enter my draw for a cookbook, and something special I'll send along as well. I am picking a name on Wednesday. Just add a comment to the entry about the contest or join my fan page if you are not already a member. (It's our secret club.... now all we need is a secret tree fort to make into our clubhouse!)

Here's something I've been meaning to share for ages. My new friend Sara Harley who lives just outside Bridgewater makes these beautiful stained glass pieces using windows from old farmhouses. Aren't they gorgeous?? I just realized that I only have details of the windows here and not a full shot, but you get the idea. Sara is from Ontario originally and she and her husband decided to make the big escape and move to Nova Scotia. You can read all about her Nova Scotian adventures on her blog.

This window has the seasons represented in the trees.

I love these words etched on the roots of the trees. Important words, foundations for a good life.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

teardrops and tea

Celestial Poppies original available now on eBay.

As I was painting this I decided to put on the TV for a little distraction and scrolled through looking for something to watch (rather, listen to because most of my time is spent concentrating on what I am doing:) I found a movie that looked interesting and quickly got into it. Well, soon the tears were pouring down my face. It was the Notebook! A movie I have tried to avoid because of the sob factor. Sheesh. What a story. I have to say that I did enjoy it despite the wrenching of the heartstrings.
Today is a rainy, put on the kettle and make a cup of tea sort of day and that is exactly what I plan to do when I finish posting this:) Enjoy yours!