“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.
In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
~ Julia Child
The Great Fruitcake Debate
The ultimate fruitcake—no, I’m not talking about me. I’m talking about that ubiquitous dense cake filled with nuts and dried fruit which materializes everywhere around the holiday season. The debate about fruitcake seems to know no neutrality: most either love it or despise it. I once fell into the latter camp—the fruitcakes of my youth were all dark, dried-out spice cakes containing bits of strangely coloured unidentifiable things. I could never abide it. Naturally, I concluded that I detested all fruitcake. But I was wrong.
“A large drop of sun lingered on the horizon and then dripped over and was gone, and the sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud, like a bloody rag, hung over the spot of its going. And dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east.”
~ John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
In the late summer and early autumn of 2008 and 2009, the sun in Calgary took to setting itself with outrageous beauty and flare. There must have been pixie dust or some other magic in the air those nights—on several occasions our city was graced with the most incredibly saturated, spectacular sky-on-fire sunsets I’ve ever seen. Incredibly brilliant colours danced in the dusk sky in the most dramatic ways—ways I’ve yet to see again. I thought I’d burst from the beauty of it all—an ever-changing spectacle of red, orange and sometimes pink flaming clouds melted into the skies. And I got to enjoy all of this beauty right from our living room window (where all of these photographs were shot from). What glorious shows… what a glorious series of shows we had!
The snow and bitter cold have arrived and The Danbo Brothers stayed indoors today, possibly because they’ve been having some difficulties acquiring winter hats and scarves for their small and rather boxy heads. I wish I knew how to knit—I’d happily have knitted up some winter wear for the brothers by now if only I could.
I know the Danbo Brothers would have rather been outdoors today, but being indoors didn’t seem to dampen their spirits one bit. They hung around the kitchen this morning, intently watching my every move as I cooked up a belly-warming batch of roasted butternut squash soup. And early this afternoon I watched them as, curiously, they began to gather some of my books, a good number of them actually, dragging them one at a time off my bookshelf, down a long corridor and into the living room. I had no idea what they were up to. Continue reading →
Death is not extinguishing the light;
it is putting out the lamp because the Dawn has come.
~ Rabindranath Tagore
Life and More Life
My father, whom I adored, died two years ago today. Interestingly, he chose November 11th, Remembrance Day, to move on to the next phase of life. He enjoyed a long, happy life knowing that he was deeply loved by his family. And although he is no longer physically with us, I must assure you that I am not saddened by his passing because—and this may sound strange—he does not feel lost to me.
I understand that there will never be agreement as to what does or does not transpire after we die—some believe that there is something more after we leave this body and some do not. And, while I have no desire to alter anyone’s beliefs, I admit that I fall into the camp that believes life is eternal—that our consciousness continues on in some fashion after we depart these bodies. Though I can’t say I understand how it plays out, I have an unshakeable knowing in my gut that death is simply a natural part of the continuation of life.
I was very close to my father, so when he died I wondered if I’d experience any signs that he was still around me in spirit—whether I would feel his presence around me in some way. And, yes, I can happily say that I immediately noticed many small signs, all very playful and humorous (my Dad loved few things more than a good joke). But the most powerful and beautiful experience came a few weeks after his death when my partner and I made the long trek to my small prairie hometown to visit my mother.
“I believe in pink.
I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day
and I believe in miracles.”
~ Audrey Hepburn
My Digital Dabblings
I really should have gone to art school. But, for some strange reason, for a very long time, I didn’t know I was an artist at heart—I only knew that I loved to dabble in creative things. I have no formal art training and I don’t draw especially well, but I have always had a strong innate desire to create and express myself in some visual form.
Everything inside and around us wants to reflect itself in us.
We don’t have to go anywhere to obtain the truth.
We only need to be still and things will reveal themselves
in the still water of our heart.
~Thích Nhất Hạnh
Autumn at the Pond
Wedge Pond, in Kananaskis Country, is a justifiably popular destination in the summertime and I am delighted that so many people get to enjoy its beauty at the height of the summer season. But, since my partner and I prefer to go when fewer people are about, we generally choose to go off-season, when we are able to truly enjoy the quietude, serenity and beauty of this lovely mountain pond nestled in the Rocky Mountains. My favourite time to visit Wedge Pond is autumn, when the larch, poplar and aspen trees start to turn their stunning fall colours, creating ridges and valleys of gold.