I’m back! But only temporarily for the time being.
Initially I was absent because I had been quite ill — for five weeks. As I began to recover, life began to take on some major changes ‘around my campfire’. To keep this brief and skipping a few unimportant details, we are planning a move.
With an impending move we are frequently displaced from our home while realtors show our home to prospective buyers. It’s more disruptive than you may realize — certainly more than I had realized!
The good thing is that I’m well and all is well around my campfire. We’re downsizing and have found a fabulous new place in a much smaller package. I’ll share with you some of the new digs as we get there.
For now, I’ve barely been online, but I do promise to resume my little blog in due course. Thank you for your concern, your kind notes, and especially for being patient. I look forward to sharing lots with you once again.
May you enjoy the beauties of nature, experience the calm and the exciting, and above all cherish joy in the ordinary. I’ll be doing the same — see you soon.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” –Leo Buscaglia.
That same power of a soft touch pertains to dogs as well.
I thought it was about time to do an update on Heidi. As many of you know, when we first brought 11 month old Heidi home, we had our hands full dealing with some baggage and helping her with the adjustment. She’s barely the same girl who first arrived. Heidi now loves toys and playing, delights in training sessions, and has learned the benefits of routines, exercise, and self control. The biggest difference? Confidence. She’s not only become confident, she’s a bit of a rascal too.
The next photo is not mine. It was taken after ‘graduating’ from Rally O class on Saturday. The photo was taken with a phone by instructor Bev Maahs. Despite the quality of the photo, sometimes they are worthy purely to record a moment.
Although Heidi already had the loose leash heeling mastered before class (thanks to us participating in and learning from Susan Garrett’s Recallers program), she did learn a few new skills: sidestepping, figure 8, and working in a room with other dogs/owners training at the same time.
Here is a VERY short clip of Heidi doing a recall out in the bush (yes, I know, this amount of snow is very unusual for here). This recall didn’t come ‘naturally’; we’ve been working on it:
I’m so thrilled with the results of using the Recallers program I’m sharing some ways for you to find out more (besides clicking on the direct link in the paragraph above). If you have a Twitter account, simply search the hashtags #SusanGarrettRecallers or #DogTrainingGames. Better yet, head over to YouTube and use the search terms, “recallers games” or “dog training with recallers.”
You’ll see great videos by everyday people who have, like me, joined in and participated in this great way of training and moulding our dogs into well behaved, trusting, confident, and loyal bundles of fun. And it’s all done WITHOUT force: no choke chain collars, no prong collars, no jerking, no militaristic commanding, no physical force whatsoever. This video demonstrates the before-and-after of one dog:
“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.” — M.K. Clinton
This too — enrolling in these two training classes — is another of my “roam new roads” for 2017 and beyond.
Wishing you a week ahead crammed full of love, laughter, fun, soft touches, and innumerable kindnesses.
Made: another pair of socks. Experimented with techniques.
Best home meal: On an eggs benedict kick so made two versions. First one and most delicious version was seed bread; avocado; marinated tomatoes; poached eggs; hollandaise. The second one which was very good but didn’t quite hit the pinnacle as the previous one was toast; stir fried brown mushrooms; hollandaise. Going to make both again.
Gave me joy: A photo and text sent from my oldest granddaughter. A phone call with my son. Sunshine on the snow. Tulips on the table.
Gathered: Had a grand time with my book club sisters one afternoon plus a stimulating evening with some very good friends over dinner at their home one evening.
Something different: Not a tea drinker but enjoyed a hot cup of Genmatcha popcorn tea.
Quote of the week: “I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.” — Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life.
May your coming week sizzle and pop and make you laugh out loud!
Share with me what you have done this past week that gave you joy, made you smile, or that for which you are grateful.
Rachel Carson: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
from poet William Stafford:
“be a person here. stand by the river, invoke the owls. invoke winter, then spring. let any season that wants to come here make its own call. after that sound goes away, wait. how you stand here is important. how you listen for the next things to happen. how you breathe.”
“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” — Anais Nin
Where we live here on the West Coast it rarely snows. In recent days, not only has it snowed but it continues as I write this. The air remains salty, the flakes are wet and generous, the beauty is astounding.
May you experience a softly contemplative week where nature opens her heart to you.
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” — Philip Pullman
Living north, beyond the 56th parallel, going for walks takes on different meaning. The sky rich azure blue as it is when the winter sun bathes the dormant, snow-covered fields. The air crisp as it is when the temperature is below 20 degrees Celsius. The dogs and I trudge to the end of our field entering the boreal forest through well worn game trails. Trails kept firmly padded by an ecosystem of small and large mammals: deer, moose, elk as well as coyotes, hare, and their prey. Ravens scold us, or perhaps they warn us, as we encroach upon their territory. And then, one day, in the silence of the forest a cow moose and her calf appear to my right. She knew we were coming but chose not to flee; instead to stand her ground to protect her calf. Too late, one of the dogs went in for the chase, barking with the approach, coming to a halt as the cow harumphed and stomped her deadly front hooves. No calling would bring the dog back. I slunk in, knowing the danger, in an attempt to collar the dog and pull her away. Fearing she was being attacked, the cow turned sideways, split her hind legs gushing her putrid urine — a final sign of marking her territory and impending charge. With a guttural huff and a leap into a bluff charge, she made her final warning, striking violently ahead of her. Enough time for me to collar the dog and back our way from the immense creature and her offspring. Feeling relieved to be safe, yet in awe at what we just experienced, we made our way silently back out of the forest toward home.
The brave one
= = =
As if worlds away, this recollection could never be repeated here on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
I finished my socks. Had a few struggles along the way but I love the end result. I’m wearing them as I type. For the knitters, check out my notes on Ravelry. There’s nothing quite as cozy as handmade socks (unless it’s handmade sweaters).
So tell me a story. Any story. I can hardly wait to read about it.
“Like small gods, children formed their miniature worlds out of clay, or even just words. To them, the truth was never simple.”
“In childhood, Lib remembered, family seemed as necessary and inescapable as a ring of mountains. One never imagined that as the decades went by, one might drift into an unbounded country. It struck Lib now how alone in the world she was.”
Both quotes above are from my most recent book club selection and are an appetizer into what you will find between the pages. I just finished reading Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder. It’s a novel that was on my to-read list so I’m pleased someone in our group chose it. I found it extremely well written in terms of vocabulary and time period but it was a bit of a disappointment (though it’s still an interesting storyline so I do recommend it). To read more detailed remarks, slip on over to read my comments on Goodreads.
Did I mention I finally finished that beautiful, comfy, and easy-to-knit sweater by Canadian designer Jane Richmond? Not only did I finally finish it, but it fits perfectly! I only wish I had begun earlier because it would have come in handy with the three weeks of below zero weather we had.
With the pullover behind me, I am currently knitting another pair of sockspour moi. These are the first socks I’m making that have a lace design. It’s not the kind of thing a person, at least not THIS person, can knit while watching TV. Complete attention is required. It’s also been quite the adjustment knitting a sweater with bulky weight yarn and large needles to knitting with fingering weight yarn on teeny tiny needles. Talk about vast contrasts.
Oh dear, I nearly forgot. I want to thank each of you who have responded to my recent questions at the end of my blog posts, but especially for those of you who shared your spontaneous thoughts on what home is to you. Reading your comments is so enjoyable. Even though I’ve said it before, those comments or reflections you leave are always the best part for me.
Heidi and I have now attended the first two lessons on learning the basics for Rally O. Heidi is a bit more advanced in terms of behaviour and basic learning from the work I’ve been doing with her but it’s certainly good for me to find out what sort of core techniques are necessary at the beginner level. She’s doing incredibly well being in a room with other dogs, and is showing me full attention most of the time. One of these days I’ll try to remember to get hubby to take a short video for you.
Roam new roads. And now my first report of sorts regarding my focus in 2017 on roaming new roads. To give me a shot in the arm, I attended and have committed to a local photography group. We had to submit our favourite 10 images we each took in 2016. One of the leaders put them all on a slideshow so it was interesting and inspiring to see everyone’s favourite images. The group gets together at least once a month to go on a photographic outing. These images are shared later in a gathering where technical aspects are shared by some of the more advanced photographers. My inspiration is already amped right up simply by attending this first meeting. Our next assignment is long exposures which I have done very little of — in fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually done long exposures. I’ve read up and look forward to doing some experimentation both at night and in daylight. I’ve finally begun to roam a road I’ve always wanted to travel. More roads yet to come and in many different directions.
In the spirit of roaming new roads I’d like to offer you these for consideration, whether to explore, capture, live, or watch:
What a genuinely 'good book'. It's not a late-into-the-night thriller, nor a literary novel with luscious prose, but a down-to-earth wonderful story. It's comfort food for the soul.
I was particularly taken with the male friendship betw...
Knitters will certainly appreciate this book. Not only does Sylvia Olsen share 7 lovely patterns with us but she tells us some lovely stories about her experiences with her family and community of Cowichan knitters. In those stories we l...
I'd recommend this book for any YA reader say 12 yrs old and up. Although this book will appeal to either gender, I know parents are always looking for novels that will grab the interest of boys -- this novel will definitely fit that bil...
I read this novel after reading my friend's comments after she had read it. When I finished reading it, it left me nearly shaken and I wasn't able to write coherent thoughts, so now I'll make an attempt. My friends words keep rolling aro...
Read this for our book club. As thrillers go, it was a compelling read. The authors choice of using the narrative of the three women was an interesting way to unfold the story. Each character unreliable for different reasons. My only com...