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Days of Gratitude...

Once upon a time, maybe 4 years ago, I decided to try the practice of writing my gratitude for what had been in my day for 100 consecutive days....It was a very interesting process, and I lived to tell the tale.  I remember that at the beginning of the project, the end seemed very faaaaaaar off.  And the middle was challenging because I seemed to have a lot of resistance.  And then I was sliding rather quickly down towards the end of the 100 days with great amazement. 

100 days = just over 14 weeks
And if I start today, June 15, 2012,  I would be finished the last week of September.

Seeking inspiration, finding hope

This has been one of my favorite quotes for a while:

"Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the song without words and never stops at all."  --Emily Dickinson

I used to sing songs full throttle when I was around 10, wandering around the house when no one else was home, singing songs without words.  I was looking for the acoustic "sweet spot" which might change depending on the note, pitch, and volume.  They were very haunting--lots of minor notes and playing with scales.

The feathers remind me of some beautiful Christmas decorations that I bought as a present for my now-ex: round, stylized birds covered in feathers.  I'd put garlands of pine out and nestle them in to them...I can't remember if I took my set with me or not...

And hope is a very tender feeling, I find.  I can only hold it gently in both hands, cupped against my heart.  It cannot be clutched, and does not like the roughness of seizing.  So I call it forth, gently, prayerfully, and gratefully.

I AM Hope.  Hope has been incorporated into my consciousness.  More and more Hope unfolds in me.


And you? 

Not A Turkey Day...

Thanksgiving came a day early.  And we had roast goose--which caused a lot of consternation at Mom's. 

The 9.5 lb goose was a gift of her friend who didn't want turkey.  And it arrived frozen solid!  So... thaw it first, then find the brine recipe, then try to improvise when brine ingredients are not in the kitchen, sort through the pickling spice package to find all the whole allspice berries (yay!), make brine, start to dilute to proportion but can't as the bird would have floated out of pot, put outside with lid on it, improvise a weight to keep it submerged, mop up overflow as dish on top of bird shifts, ignore it for a day, make stuffing from another untried recipe which requires a lot of diced raw potato, learn that need to parboil potatoes before adding to stuffing of prunes, apples, and onions, and then pierce the skin all over a lot and again for good measure.  For the roasting, that required agonizing over how long to cook it & at what temperature because brining always reduces the time needed, and add to this my mother's insistance that we put the temperature up by about 50 degrees because her oven is "slow"!!!!  Mercifully, it was not over-baked nor undercooked, there was (just) enough for the dinner party, and it was not greasy in any way, shape or form.  Everyone raved about it.  The potatoes in the stuffing remained hard--even after microwaving--everyone ate around them...

Mom made challah which she enjoys doing and is a huge hit at the dinner table.  We forgot to bake the yam.  Forgot we even had it until 2 days later!

Truly don't know yet.  It's ten past seven already, and I stopped at a gelato place after veggie shopping where I treated myself to a smallish tub of the most wonderful, awe-inspiring concoction of very good dark chocolate, dark cherries and brandy....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....sorry, synapses are kinda wonky due to a small bowl of this wonderfulness.....

In other news, the young cat that I thought might be a stray has been playing me like a cheap fiddle!!  She's a slick one, that one.  The scamp probably lives two stories above me and jumps from her balcony onto a nearby cedar which she climbs down, and then roams around as she pleases!!  Nice that I don't have to agonize over handing her over to a rescue org, or worry about getting her fixed/treated/vaccinated...  I might just get visits from her.  Not that she's not demanding, of course.  She was visiting me last evening, and suddenly I couldn't find her.  This made me a bit nervous because she had pee-ed in some empty packing boxes last week.  This seems to have stopped now that I have a kitty litter box (actually an aluminium foil turkey roaster lined with two plastic bags) outside my balcony door.  But I digress...I couldn't find her, and on my second pass through the apt, I looked more carefully at the kitchen:  she was curled up in the sink, purring! 

Well, it's 7:45 pm, and some common sense prevailed: not a good idea to have another bowl, not matter how small, with out putting something a bit more substantial in my stomach.  So, I just made a bit of fried chow mein with veggies.  Not bad.   A bit on the bland side (forgot to buy onions today), but it helps get me closer to the option of another SMALL bowl of Mona Lisa gelato. 

This is my new apartment. I've got some loverly pix of some of the problems...

The first two show you what the blinds look like closed. The decorative blue on the top right of the second picture was installed to block out the light & to give me some privacy. The new curtains, brought to the apartment 6 days after I moved in, are mostly transparent. The manager suggested clipping them into the individual blind slots while I wait for him to get curtain rods--he said about another 7-10 days. What these pictures do not capture is the yellow-y tinge they have, nor the slight tobacco odour that lingers.

This segment shows how dirty the windows are. The manager promised that this would all be cleaned by the time I moved in, in front of a witness, now 13 days ago....The cleaning lady came on the 1st and couldn't get to the windows because I had the boxes everywhere. Funny enough, I was under the impression that tenancy began at one minute past midnight on the first of the month... She was supposed to come on Thursday, which would have been day 10 if you're counting...   The manager said that it would have to be done as it was just too much--and I agree!!  It's beyond filthy... 

And this is the bathroom. It looks like someone converted the fan opening to a heat lamp at some point but without closing off the venting. This means that the upstairs neighbours' cigarette smoke fills my bathroom on a regular basis... And the sealant around the tub clearly shows some kind of yukky growth which the manager also agreed to fix.

And this open space in the wall might just be the telephone hook-up, and necessary to make the intercom system work. 

I am about ready to cry.  And am going to the Tenancy Board (whatever it's called) to see what can be done.  I have been camping here for 12.5 days.  There's got to be something that can be done.  


Well, seeing as it's past the 15th, thus cannot rent a place for the beginning of the month with only a 15 day overlap, I have moved onto cleaning...and dreaming...

I came across a wonderful site via
http://www.offbeathomes.com/, a blog that I check out regularly.  The latest entry is about treehouses.  Yes, you heard right, TREEHOUSES!!!

Take a look at this:

  Much better than a dingy basement suite, no?  ;-)  
Here's the website for the company:

Achhhhhh....am in a sleepy, dreamy mood.  Partly due to working 6 days in a row, and partly due to a wonderfully warm & sunny day.  


Well, in my previous post, I put up some pictures of my little planting efforts, and it turns out that this is one drawback for finding an apartment in my price range.  Not too many have either a balcony or space for me to put pots outside.  I saw one today that would work, and it has enough light to satisfy my Ficus Benjimina et al... But we shall see...

Amazing what people are charging for rent, and no laundry facilities for many, either.  ::sigh::  I'm glad that I have some time to get a good one!  I think that my list isn't too demanding, either: no mold, finished bathroom with tub, finished  & painted walls, good natural light, balcony or patio space, close to good bus service but away from the main drag, laundry facilities (coin-op ok), and a kitchen with f/s and counter space!  

Now I feel like singing a variation on the Walt Disney song, Some Day my Home will come!!

The Garden...so far

Some pictures of the garden so far:

This will be the sweet pea pot  with yellow & orange cosmos, a few (small as yet) marigolds in clusters of allysum, a tuft of wandering jew and a mixed group of brachycome (tiny daisy-like flowers, blue & white).  And there might be a baby nigella (love-in-the-mist) in there, too.  
 And as you can see, this will be the nasturtium pot with a bunch of bachelor buttons, scented geranium,  and brachycome.
 Here are the 2 zukes, installed into their own pails.  Handsome, no?  I put tomato cages around them because these are supposed to have an upright habit.
 very young salpiglossis on L, 1yr old on R (corner) 
  The ones in flower are snapdragons from last year, & chives from Mom's garden.

       2 shots of my S window...

I'm missing some shots of the two pots with sunflowers/dahlia & the scarlett runners...maybe more later...

nb: edited on June 3, after much gnashing of teeth regarding my photo program...Sorry that they're so SMALL!!


 These belong in the category of things I didn't know I needed:

A FANCY Keyboard:  

And then there's this one:

A pendant lamp:  Skygarden S1 Suspension by Flos  This is from

I guess that I'm getting more florid in my tastes!!

Speaking of florid.... I'll need to do something about all the seedlings I've got which I've been hardening off for about 10 days now... So, all we need now is some sunshine!!!

Going to sign off now so that I can 1) water my plants and bring the trays in from outside, 2) make another 2 veggie snack boxes, so that 3) I can get to bed EARLY.
 Although I'm feeling a bit sleepy already, it's been a productive day.  It was busy at work, which makes the day go by so much faster.  The temperature was much more moderate than yesterday's 30 degrees C.  

In preparation for my move, I have already emptied all the extra clothes out of my closet: I have two large bags of suit-like stuff (plus two pairs of shoes) that I used to wear from a previous career & job search wardrobe that is quite serviceable still, so that is going off to a charity.  And I have sorted through THREE dresser drawers.  All my winter clothes are in a net bag thing.  And I cut my old pj's into rags right away.  And I have almost caught up on my dishes.  I feel so accomplished, you know?  Almost adult-like?  

I know that I still have a few boxes & two half-empty suitcases of clothes in the closets.  And an awful lot of paper to still go through.  But it feels manageable this way.  I'm aiming for getting a place for July 15th, but not leave this place until Aug 1.  This is quite do-able with my current budget, so all I need is a lovely and suitable apartment to be available in my price range! 

It's a long weekend here as Monday is Victoria Day.  At work, no one is conscripted to work on stat holidays--a wonderful idea--so those who want to work that day "volunteer".  (Paid, of course!).  Anyway, I volunteered to work tomorrow.  This makes Monday Day Six.  I have one day off & then back to a regular week....well, my regular schedule, anyway!  This will make the end of the month much easier!  ;-)

In plant news:
~The two decapitated sunflowers remain headless.  The other two are doing well, although seem nervous when I'm fluttering around.
~The cosmos are doing really well, although some got so leggy that now they're rather crooked.
~I separated the two zucchinis into their own peat pots & they're doing great.
~Sweet peas & nasturtiums are doing really well, too.
~Only two Nigella came up from the second reseeding I did, and none from the first batch.  Very odd.
~Salpiglossis are developing 3rd leaves already but are on such tiny fragile stems that I do not dare transplant them to thin them.  Not yet. I guess that I'll have to speak to them about setting down stronger roots & developing a stronger stem, too...
~The Bachelor Buttons are vigorous & I hope plentiful enough.
~The dahlia bulbs that I (finally) planted into big pots are sprouting though the top of the soil now.  That means that I didn't break off the green sprouts as I put the soil around them!!  I hope that they bloom because the picture from their package is rather spectacular.  Dark red, spikey blooms...

My landlord broke one of my clay pots with cyclamen in it.  He moved several pots from in front of the little garden at my south window to place them in the garden part.  It had a crack in it before, so I knew that it was going to go.  What bothers me the most is that he didn't say anything, didn't repot it, and if I hadn't looked closely at the area before I brought the hose over to water, it would have died.  That's just not ok...And I had spoken with him earlier in the evening to ask if I could buy a big black plastic pot from them that had been unused for two years (except for the bits of grass growing out of it).  He didn't say anything at all about the broken pot.  Maybe that's why he just gave the other one to me...

Well, down one cracked pot, up one large pot.  I wanted something bigger than the ones I just bought for the Scarlett Runners (which are really ready to be put out into real soil).  I'd like to plant them out tomorrow, but they haven't been hardened off for long enough.  And it might get a bit cool for them.  I don't want to add cold to transplant shock.  Yes, I know that I'm fussing!