Sunday, March 01, 2015


Victoria girls collected buttons on strings. These “charm strings” were filled with buttons given to them from, perhaps, an aunt’s wedding gown or a soldier’s uniform. “The 1000th would be given to them by their Prince Charming,” says button fanatic Sandra Schaitberger of Pines-N-Tiques antiques shop in Minnesota.

Flea Market Style (2015)

Scribbling the Cat

In 2003, I spent 6 months working in Banff. When I left in June of that year to head back to the east coast, I was given a book as a good-bye present from one the Librarians at the Banff Centre. This book by Alexandra Fuller, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, is a memoir of life with her family living in southern Africa and has since become one of my favourite all time favourites. I have given it as a gift to many people and have re-read it, which I almost never do. Last year, I asked for her book Cocktail Hour Under The Tree of Forgetfulness. This year for Christmas, I asked and received Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier. I loved this book. I always enjoy being taking on a journey I know I will never experience myself. For me, it is always fascinating to read about the journey that people’s lives take them on – especially when they are so vastly different from my own.

Two quotes from Scribbling the Cat:

It was the time of night that precedes dawn and is without perspective or reason. It was the hour when regret and fear overwhelm hope and courage and when all that that is ugly in us is magnified and when we are the most panic-stricken by what we have lost, and what we have almost lost, and what we fear we might lose.

I don’t think we have all the words in a single vocabulary to explain what we are or why we are. I don’t think we have the range of emotion to fully feel what someone else is feeling. I don’t think any of us can sit in judgement of another human being. We’re incomplete creatures, barely scraping by. It is possible – from the perspective of this quickly spinning earth and our speedy journey from crib to coffin – to know the difference between right, wrong, good, and evil? I don’t know if it is even useful to try.

Alexandra Fuller
Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Old Grey House

How many hands have touched your doors?
How many feet have walked your floors?
How many hearts are longing for this old grey house?

Old grey house down the road,
You have the saddest eyes I've ever seen,
And the wild morning-glories grow
On your shaded face where once you were green.
Sepia pictures on your walls
Long-ago secrets in your halls
Are still as the autumn leaves that fall
‘Round this old house.

Old grey house down the road,
You have the saddest eyes I've ever seen,
And they're wide open to the winds
That can take you travelling to where they've been.
Tattered white curtains flap and fly,
Waving to summer friends gone by.
I cannot pass but I feel and cry
For this old house. 

I remember we were dancing on the lawn –
We drank hot tea after midnight.
We were staying up till dawn –
There were stories by the firelight,
Warm friends on a winter's night
And swordfights with the icicles that clung
To this old house.

Old grey house down the road,
You have the saddest eyes that I've ever seen.
Now they're boarded up and blind
To the life that was and what might have been.
Old apple trees root deep in sod,
Reaching their naked arms to God.
Forgotten fruit will bud one day
‘Round this old house.

- Margie Carmichael
And My Name Is...Stories from the Quilt

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It is men I tell about. I choose those who carried her in their hearts, from before her birth until after her end. They helped to keep the same raft afloat. Until after her death, and the obligation became mine, since people only really die when they are no longer remembered.
Dan Sleigh

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It happens to the best of them

"Madiba was scheduled to address the Palestinian parliament on the day before our departure. Prof. Gerwel edited the speech back in South Africa and emailed the new version to me. I didn’t have time to read it and somehow a virus of some sort crept into the computer program. The last sentence of the speech ended with a mathematical formula. Madiba also didn’t read the final edits and as a result he read out the maths at the end of the speech. It was in letters and, although I cannot remember the exact words, it was something like: “For every two equals four minus seven times eight. I thank you”. We were all puzzled but after his speech the entire Palestinian parliament rose to their feet in resounding applause. The speech was translated simultaneously and either the translator didn’t the maths formula or translated it into something profound. We were all surprised by this occurrence of this virus but amused by the fact that no one picked up on it. Prof. And I had many laughs about this incident for years to follow".

-       Zelda la Grange

Saturday, May 10, 2014

2014 Figoli

Starfish, green paint, and a flip flop

I should be prepping for my job interview this coming week. And I am sick of going over a presentation I will give for my ADM this Tuesday. Instead, I write about home. The Island. The farm. My favorite place. 

In April, I sojourned to the Island. For the first time in a long time, I celebrated Easter at home. There was church – a lot of church. There was also a lot of family time, laughter, story telling (some new – most old) and there was a lot of Molly time. It was wonderful. In my heart, I am still there.

The first order of business was painting the living room. At Christmas, Mom mentioned she was thinking of painting it. I jumped at the chance to do it with her. Painting a large room is not fun. Painting a large room with my mother, however, was a ball. The living room had been a grey color for almost twenty years and there had been many favorable comments about the color over the years. It contrasted lovely with the white crown molding. But after twenty years, Mom was ready for a change. So the grey was changed to a green and we did it in one day: two coats, the crown molding (that remained white), as well as a touch up to a kitchen wall. 

Were were squirelly by the end? – Yes.

Did I perform a major flip flop (e.g.: fall down) in the process of painting? – Yes.

Did we laugh a lot? – Yes.

Would I do it again? – In a heartbeat.



The next day I got up only to discover Mom still had the paint brush in hand. She confessed to just doing “touch ups” and I understand now that once you get started, it is hard to get stopped. Sometimes, the smallest change can make such a difference. In the bathroom, for example, Mom painted a small shelf white, and it gave that wall such a fresh new look. I also insisted two pieces of Mom’s art be hung in the washroom. These two beach scenes further contributed to the room’s beachy feel. I also re-organized a small shelf with some new finds I dragged home from Toronto, and added a new toilet cover tank that I made – a small hooked rug piece.

Upon completion of the big paint job, we realized that every room in the house, with the exception of Mom & Dad's room, is some shade of green (Yes, we are Irish). Plans are already underway to paint Pierre's room next.