observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

  • Welcome to my photo journal

    Living on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada Diane loves the scent of forests and rain, the rhythms of the sea, and holds discoveries and stories in high regard.

    Where mornings begin with a drum roll! --Diane M Schuller

    Updated on random Mondays ... simply an online journal of an ordinary life. Come on in to enjoy a breath of West Coast air.

    Cohen’s Hallelujah

    With all the raging fires in Canada and the United States plus the powerful hurricanes and storm surges created by Harvey and Irma, and don’t forget the earthquake in Mexico, I feel a need to turn to Leonard Cohen. Although I’m well aware that the word hallelujah is an expression of praise and worship, Cohen used the word in his famous song more to talk of love and hardships. So in that spirit, to me, Cohen’s song Hallelujah conjures up the strength of deep caring going out to all those who are being affected by these overwhelming disasters and for all the compassionate people who help, take-in, rescue, comfort, and otherwise take action to care for people and animals caught in these devastating circumstances.

    Cohen’s song is beautiful, ironic, and melancholic, yet it is also full of hope. It’s the hope that sings forth to me.

    I’m offering up a lovely piano version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah for your listening enjoyment. Without the words, this lovely piano version simply sings with feeling.

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    Dianne - September 13, 2017 - 4:52 am

    No words needed. This song, tinged with sadness and hope, is enough.

    Jennifer Connell - September 13, 2017 - 5:30 pm

    What a lovely version of the Leonard Cohen song. I wonder if sheet music of the arrangement is available? Wouldn’t it be amazing to learn to play it yourself?
    There is lots of sadness in the news these days. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to lose everything in a flood, fire or earthquake. Hopefully I never know. My heart goes out to those who know only to well.

    Sherry G. - September 15, 2017 - 7:32 am

    Thank you for this, Diane. I am imagining that it is you playing it — with all your passionate caring coming right through!

    Lisa Gordon - September 15, 2017 - 12:34 pm

    I so love Leonard Cohen’s music, Diane, and this version is just beautiful.
    Thank you for sharing, and have a wonderful weekend, my friend.

    Candace - September 24, 2017 - 6:00 pm

    That is one of my favorite songs and I prefer Cohen’s to all other versions. The piano only is lovely, too.

    on the reality of time well spent

    When I practice piano, I start with a musical piece I’m familiar with or, dare I say, even relatively good at playing.

    Then I segue into practicing and focusing on the details of learning the newest (to me) piece. I love playing piano. I love practicing the piano. After all, it’s still the number one item on my bucket list. Learning to play piano — a lifelong dream — soothes me, gives me satisfaction, feeds my soul. The feel of the keys, even looking at the piano produces soul-stirring endorphins. It buoys me up, and is a heartening and wholesome activity that contrasts against time spent on the stale and manic social media sites.

    Distracted from distraction by distraction” — T.S. Eliot

    You see, since downsizing both yard and home, so much free time has had me going back to the internet therefore spending more time on social media. I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been using some of my very precious free time on social media and that has to stop. No I won’t be leaving Facebook and Twitter altogether, though I’ve certainly begun to wean myself. In an excellent article at the blog “On Being” John Metta said it best, “The arguments about community and personal connectedness fall flat when I realize no one is clamoring to lure me back. If they notice I am gone at all, it is a passing mention, quickly overshadowed by the latest viral retweet.

    More importantly John Metta goes on to state, “I’ve come to realize that the more I was connected on social media, the more I was disconnected from my life and myself.” I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Metta.

    So as I wean myself from the drivel and regurgitated sayings and videos on Facebook, and the plethora of branding on  Twitter, you’ll find me instead reading more novels, inviting friends over to share meals & conversation, meeting up with friends, exploring, observing, and learning to play piano.

    With that, I shall now close this blog post and sit at my beautiful black beauty and allow myself to embrace the euphoria of a real life.

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.” — Mark Twain


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    Gabriele - September 4, 2017 - 3:41 pm


    Lisa Gordon - September 4, 2017 - 4:22 pm

    Sounds like a good plan, Diane!
    I do hope that you will stop by here from time to time though.
    I would surely miss you if you didn’t.
    Have a wonderful week, my friend.

    Dianne - September 6, 2017 - 6:56 am

    Wise words, indeed.

    Jennifer Connell - September 7, 2017 - 9:05 am

    I admire your goal to connect with other people more through sharing meals, coversation etc. I’d like to do the same.
    I am one of those strange people who just doesn’t get the attraction of Facebook. My husband, on the other hand, loves it. I share my posts on Facebook, but days and days go by before I revisit the site. If I were a better, more successful blogger this wouldn’t be true.
    Twitter is another one I never use. I have an account, but I have never fallen into the habit of tweeting.
    My weaknesses are Instagram (I love pictures) and Youtube. I look forward to watching “Gardeners World” (a British gardening show) every Saturday morning on Youtube. One of my favourites Youtubers is a Canadian from B.C. She has a channel called Pick Up Limes. I love the way she smiles all the way through her uplifting videos. I think its one of the reasons she has quickly has grown her channel to 500K subscribers.
    Podscasts and audiobooks are other favourites. I often play a CBC podcast on my iPad (like the Next Chapter) while I make dinner. It makes a dull chore go faster. I put an audiobook on after I get in bed at night. It’s like having someone read me a bedtime story. The girl inside the woman loves it.

    Sherry G. - September 10, 2017 - 1:54 pm

    You captured the feelings of more and more of us Diane — so beautifully. That is largely how I feel too and I refer to it in my latest blog post. I have cut back so much and for the most part it has been a great decision. The only downside is less contact with the bloggers and photographers that truly inspire me — like you!

    all lined up in a row

    “Today we will live in the moment unless it’s unpleasant, in which case, me will eat a cookie.” — Cookie Monster

    Living in the moment. No regrets, only embracing the moment and all that we have to be grateful for.

    Downsizing has been a great exercise in living a more simple life full of gratitude. It’s amazing how less stuff in our home and lives creates space for breathing in life, appreciating the simple things, and far more contentment. Not that we weren’t content, but it has been magnified.

    The smile of someone you know or love. A home baked cookie. The warmth of the sun on your back. A sunset. Your little everyday joys all lined up in a row.

    My wish for you this week is to bathe in the forest light, breathe in the waning summer air, and exhale with a contented heart.

    Though I don’t say it often enough it’s time I thank all of you.

    For your presence here. For your continued support. For allowing me this safe place to share snapshots of my ordinary life and heart.

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    Toffeeapple - August 28, 2017 - 8:40 am

    It is always good to read your writings Diane. I hope that you will enjoy Autumn, I admit that I am impatient for it.

    Sherry - August 28, 2017 - 1:39 pm

    Lovely images, Diane. I’m so glad you have settled into your new home and found that quiet peace. 🙂

    DIANE J PATMORE - August 28, 2017 - 2:47 pm

    Yes, the simpler things often hold the greatest heart.
    Pleased you’ve settled so easily into your new life.Please let me know how the snail can find you!

    Lisa Gordon - August 29, 2017 - 2:36 pm

    It sounds like you are in such a wonderful place, Diane, and I am so very happy for you.
    I love these photographs, especially the last one here. Although I would love one (or three!) of those yummy looking cookies!
    Have a wonderful week, sweet friend.

    Jennifer Connell - August 29, 2017 - 6:04 pm

    We arrived home (literally) from an overnight trip to find our neighbour across the street standing in his driveway on the phone to the fire department. Minutes later 4 firetrucks arrived on the scene. Apparently there was some sort of electrical fire. There were a few tense moments for the firefighters who couldn’t find the fire hydrant. Luckily my husband overheard them and told them it was hiding behind the sunflowers in another neighbour’s yard… The fire reminded me of the impermanence of our possessions. Thank goodness no one died or was hurt.
    I admire what you’ve accomplished with this downsizing. A simple life full of gratitude sounds wonderful to me.
    P.S. Those cookies look amazing!

    sherri - September 1, 2017 - 3:00 pm

    yum !

    fantastic photos

    Candace - September 2, 2017 - 2:31 pm

    Sounds wonderful, Diane.

    The Story of the Piano Men

    Last time I promised to share the story about moving the piano. Before I forget — the story and to share it with you — imagine this:

    The Piano movers who delivered my new piano have since retired so I asked the good people where I had purchased the piano, who they might recommend. There’s only one company up your way, they told me. Feeling only half confident about their recommendation, I made the call to book them. The gentleman on the phone seemed to either not be writing down the information or he couldn’t read his writing because he asked me to repeat it all to him again. Before hanging up I had confirmed the day of the piano move and the time, now it was simply waiting for the big day.

    The day I had booked for the piano happened to be the day after the main move out of our house. I hadn’t wanted the house movers and the piano movers there on the same day, squeezed into the skinny driveway but also in one another’s way. The day before our house movers were to arrive, I receive a call from the piano mover. “Mrs what day did we have booked for your piano?” … okay, this is not sounding good. Turns out he needs to change the day for some reason to house-moving day. So I acquiesce and hope-like-heck he can have the piano loaded before the house movers arrive later the next morning. I get another call later that same evening from the piano mover. He sounds as though he could have been into the juice. He’s wondering if I can change moving day. What?! Seems he forgot he talked to me earlier. Alarm bells are going off like crazy and I tell my husband, “If that guy shows up tomorrow and I can smell even a whiff of booze on his breath, I’m running him off!” Needless to say I worried for hours after, losing much needed sleep.

    Morning arrives, and to my surprise the piano moving truck is rolling in the driveway on time! One good sign. Oh but wait. After trying about three different times to back in with his trailer, a guy gets out and helps guide him back. Once someone got out of the truck I quit watching from the window and went about getting some last minute things done before they came to the door. Door bell rings. I open the door and there, all smiles, are three guys ready to move my precious grand piano. Not – one – of – them – was – under – 70 – years – old. That is not at all an exaggeration. 70 if they were a day!

    I was so shocked I honestly didn’t know what to say or do. I made a point of getting close to the guy who I’d talked to on the phone. No telltale whiff of booze on his breath, thank goodness. But it was now woefully obvious the reason for those memory lapses when we talked on the phone — age. Pure and simple. And I’m no spring chicken either but I still have a way to go.

    Anyway, I watched like a hawk as they struggled and struggled and struggled some more. I was simply glad no one had a heart attack. They eventually maneuvered my piano out of the house and loaded on the trailer, but there was damage. Somehow the piano was unscathed but there were gouges in the walls and deep scrapes in the stone and hardwood flooring. I felt so sorry for those old farts I didn’t have the heart to make them pay for damages — they must all be desperate if they have to move pianos at their age! So I fixed all the damage myself the following week.

    Anyway, the piano was much more easily settled into the new house than it was removed from the old one. It was an experience and a good little story to share with friends.

    “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

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    Gabriele - August 11, 2017 - 8:57 pm

    I loved your story. More so because my husband moved pianos with our boys for 10 years.

    Lisa Gordon - August 12, 2017 - 10:51 am

    Oh my goodness, Diane, what a tense situation for you (and probably for them too!)
    I am glad that things weren’t worse, and that the piano is safe and sound in your new home.
    Have a wonderful weekend, my friend.

    stephanie o young - August 12, 2017 - 3:47 pm

    how funny…..as i was reading this, i was envisioning all kinds of endings, and not a single one had a 70 year old in it!!!

    Lyd - August 13, 2017 - 7:47 am

    Great story Diane 🙂 Happy that your piano made it safely to its new home ? Even though from the damage left behind I’m surprised your piano wasnt damaged!! Enjoy playing again in your new home ?

    Lionel Daneault - August 14, 2017 - 10:15 am

    Hi Diane!
    You’ve got to admire the Geriatric Trio’s work ethic. It’s a shame there are no younger people available for this type of work.

    Candace - August 20, 2017 - 7:32 pm

    Ugh, sounds like a nail biter. Glad it had a mostly successful outcome.

    Jennifer Connell - August 29, 2017 - 7:26 pm

    What a great story!
    Last week I tried to hire someone to clean up the dead branches on our three-story-tall black walnut. The first guy showed up when I wasn’t home and left a quote in my mailbox. Yes, I had a price, but I had no sense of who it was I might be hiring.
    The second guy got out of his car and began to chew me out living in Brampton not Mississauga. He only ever asked me for my street address on the phone. His GPS still got him here alright, but he seemed mildly pissed off anyway. He proceeded to step into my garden without any thought to my plants and handed me a quote for $800 dollars more than the first mystery man.
    I will make a fresh attempt to hire someone this week. Fingers crossed it goes a bit better!

    sherri - September 1, 2017 - 3:03 pm

    yes, it’s shocking to see so many elderly people doing working and in such strenuous jobs.

    absolutely gorgeous piano. i looked at a Yamaha, Studio in black, satin finish this past week. not now, but Lord willing, soon, very soon.

    On a clear day …

    “On a clear day the Oregon coast is the most beautiful place on earth—clear and crisp and clean, a rich green in the land and a bright blue in the sky, the air fat and salty and bracing, the ocean spreading like a grin. Brown pelicans rise and fall in their chorus lines in the wells of the waves, cormorants arrow, an eagle kingly queenly floats south high above the water line.”Brian Doyle

    He sure knows how to paint a vivid image in our minds.

    We are moved. Yes, we sold our Gardener’s Cottage at the hem of the Salish sea, held a full home liquidation sale, and moved into our new home. We’re living without much furniture since we’ll be ordering mostly new and more appropriate items for the drastically downsized home. So far, I haven’t pined for that amazing view we had though there was a lot of grieving before we moved so perhaps that’s what I needed to get it out of my system.

    The ‘new’ backyard’

    Gosh, there certainly are tales to tell during this whole process. The neighbourhood we’ve moved into seems a real friendly one. Neighbours have popped by and introduced themselves and one couple even invited us to a party they were hosting — the invitation came 2 days after we moved in!

    Thanks to each of you who has left messages for me on the last post. Although I definitely read them and was filled with joy to read your notes, I didn’t have time to write back to each of you. I want you to know that leaving those notes was a real boost for me so thank you!

    Six residents we inherited

    So we’re as unpacked as we can at the moment. My kitchen is now fully functional and  my (hip hip hooray) pantry is as well. It is so exciting to have a pantry and a good sized one to boot. We’re in a house half the size yet there is a pantry where the other home had none. In fact, the garage was what I had used as pantry — every single day I had to make trips to the garage for pantry items and for all my small appliances, roasters and such. Back and forth, back and forth. But no longer.

    Once the furniture we order arrives, I can complete the unpacking since I’ll have more places to put things in our small home. I’ve come to the conclusion — yet again — that North Americans on average have way too much ‘stuff’. We really do. After purging things we’ve been dragging around for decades, it feels liberating and fresh to not have the burden of all that stuff. Even after releasing all of our moms’ meaningful things (which we’ve held on to since each one died), it actually felt good letting it all go. What I did with some of the things that were important or had sentimental value was to take photographs of them. Once we’re fully settled in, I plan to get those photos developed, likely into a photo album or perhaps a photo book. That way, instead of things being in boxes or behind cupboards somewhere, they will be accessible to view should I wish to do so. The beauty of this process is that not only can I still enjoy those items by viewing the photos but now someone else owns them and can live with them and enjoy them instead of them being packed away in some dark corner, closet, or crawl space.

    I remember how lovely my mom looked wearing these items, back in the day

    a wedding gift to my mom and dad

    Sorry for the excessively long post but I thought perhaps I should emerge with some sort of “what’s up”. I have a cute story to share about the piano being moved. Maybe I’ll do that one next time.

    In the meantime, may your days be clear and filled with the warmth of sunshine, the freshness of a summer morning, and the comfort of family and friends.

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    Sherry G. - July 10, 2017 - 4:20 pm

    So good to see you back in this space, Diane, and fabulous to hear that your move went well and you are in a lovely new space! (That back yard is to die for!) I moved about five years ago and found the whole process exhausting but also invigorating as I let go of lots of stuff too and made conscious decisions about what was meaningful and needed. I did the same as you and photographed many things I just could not keep. Now, it’s probably time to go through another winnowing process, even hough I’m not moving. It sure does feel good. Enjoy your new abode!

    Lisa Gordon - July 11, 2017 - 1:23 pm

    It was SO nice to see you pop up in my reader, Diane!!
    I am glad that you are all moved in, and that your kitchen is in working order. You know, a couple of years ago when we moved into House #2, the kitchen was my main concern. It was already fully functional, but I “needed” to have everything in just the right place, and that seemed to take forever. My poor husband…he’d go to a cabinet to find something, and lo and behold, I’d moved it for the second (or fifth!!!) time. 🙂

    Your backyard is absolutely gorgeous.

    Again, it is so nice to have you back here, my friend!!

    Lyd - July 11, 2017 - 3:26 pm

    Nice to read the move went well. I know I felt great when we sold our acreage and all the “stuff” and moved into our 5th wheel. The gypsy life has really suited us for the last 8 years and will continue for sometime yet 🙂 Love it!!

    Candace - July 15, 2017 - 3:46 pm

    Your new view may be different but it’s still beautiful! I would love to purge; however, my husband is not at that point yet apparently.

    Jennifer Connell - July 26, 2017 - 9:10 am

    I am so glad you stopped by! Retirement that is something very much on my mind. It’s still 5 years away for us, but I feel restless even now. It is likely we will have to downsize. I look around my house and all the “treasures” are things I picked out 30ish years ago. I am not sure if I even like them any more!! I sometimes ask myself, if I had to choose again-china, furniture etc, what would I choose? The answer is– I have no idea. I am not sure what my taste is anymore, but I do know I probably wouldn’t pick the same “stuff” I have now.
    I like the idea getting rid of stuff and starting over as you have done. The one thing I have struggled with is guilt. My Mom has given me her treasures –sometimes things she made herself– and I have felt so guilty about parting with some of them! But recently I did just that, and to my surprise, the guilt disappeared fairly quickly. I am sure someone else who appreciates them has them now.

    Alina - July 31, 2017 - 2:56 pm

    Your new backyard looks so lush! I know how stressful the move can be – I’ve moved way too many times in my life. But on the other hand it always gives you a feeling of fresh start. I also notice that with every single move I have less and less things – I just realize I don’t need that much, except for yarn, of course 🙂

    Currently …

    Reading… not a thing.

    Playing … not at all.

    Working … on finishing up the sorting and packing.

    Eating … out this week.

    Wanting … this to be over.

    Needing … rest and my back to heal.

    Realizing, … again, that North Americans have way too much stuff.

    Grateful … for offers of help.


    Well folks, I’m in the final week before our move. Then comes the unpacking, the estate sale, followed by a new beginning in our smaller home and yard — hooray!

    Going to miss this view and those summer sunsets.

    So what are you doing currently?

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    DIANE J PATMORE - June 18, 2017 - 7:22 pm

    I am cleaning out yet another cupboard that had been colonised by ants! Of course, if we didn’t need “those boxes on the top shelf…” we’d probably never have known the little devils were there!
    So…right now? I’m dumping MORE spoilt paper in the bin and about to trundle off to the op shop.
    At least I’m getting rid of “stuff.”

    Lisa Gordon - June 19, 2017 - 1:44 pm

    I am glad that you are nearing an end, Diane.
    I know how stressful (and tiring!!!) this can be.
    Thank you for popping in here, and I hope all goes smoothly with your move.

    Sherry - June 20, 2017 - 8:06 am

    Oh, that strange limbo of being between spaces! Into week 21 of our renovation and I’m just glad I now at least have my garden to retreat to. Hang in there, you’ll be settled soon. x

    Candace - June 25, 2017 - 11:41 pm

    That is a beautiful view, Diane. Good luck with the rest of your move and looking forward to seeing where you’re landing.

    Gabriele - June 29, 2017 - 6:39 am

    I hope all goes well with your move.