I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Sunday came and went. Another September 26th. Seven years since J went home. Seven years since we learned how much changes in an instant. Seven years missing him.

Another anniversary of the day. Yes, says my rational mind, but another day does not make him any more gone from you.

That's not the point, I reply.

What is, then? Oh rational mind, you can be annoying when you persist.

I don't know.

But I always dread the day coming when it's "one more year since". I get introspective, retrospective. I miss my nephew, my friend, the silliness and brilliance and imperfections that made him, him.

ever and anon.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


This has been a singularly dreary day. Not in a things-went-bad way, but in the cool chill and wind of a dreary fall day. It was never really bright outside at all, and I was cheered by lighting a few pretty candles and making cozy food (shrimp risotto, and an apple coffee cake for dessert!), and hanging with my family all day.

The season of making thick, hearty soups and savory stews is upon us. I love using the grill, but comfort food, made flavorful with slow cooking and great seasoning, gets me excited. Creamy mac & cheese in the oven. French onion soup, dark with onions caramelized and cooked down in rich red wine. Roasted meat with pan gravy. Mmmm. And the cinnamonny nutmegness of apple pies, pumpkin pies, spice cakes.

'Drear' should be the noun form of 'dreary'. Perhaps it is. "Look at the drear out there. I'm putting on a fire". See? It works. Sometimes the dreary days are my favorite.

Four hundred posts. Wow.

daring kitchen, september

Fall is in the air, and now in my kitchen. This month's Daring Kitchen challenge was for preserving food. Now, I've done the canning thing. Every year since I've been married, I think. And two years ago, with our stall at the local farmer's market, we made more preserves than I'd ever thought I could in one summer.

We made jam. Strawberry, peach, raspberry, plum, strawberry-rhubarb.
We made jelly. Raspberry, apple, crabapple, cranberry-merlot, grape-apple, jalapeno pepper, hot red pepper.
We made marmalade. Traditional orange and lemon, and a raspberry-orange version we made up ourselves.
We made bread & butter pickles. Cucumber relish. Corn relish. Chow-chow. Salsa. Chili sauce. Chutney.

So when I saw preserves, I thought, done that. But they came up with one that, in our thousand-plus jar summer, we had never, ever made: apple butter.
The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, mainly in the form of canning and freezing. He challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.
We started off with Pink Lady apples (yummy to eat, too, by the way), cored and cooked until we had, well, applesauce - another fall favorite of mine to make. I don't peel the apples for applesauce; it saves time and makes the sauce a pretty pink color. After adding sugar and spices, it was back on the stove to slowly simmer. And simmer. And simmer. The house smelled amazing, as a side bonus.

Several hours later, it had thickened into a plummy-brown, smooth, spreadable paste. Some was put into a freezer bag to preserve it, but some we kept out and tried on toast. Delicious! Definitely something I will make again.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Today I ran for 30 minutes. And covered 4.5km. I have never run so long or so far in one go. I'm tired, but the sense of accomplishment is something of a reward in itself.

My goal of 5km is in reach, and I begin to ponder what to do over the winter when snow flies and the ice covers the pavement, and the biting wind is enough to keep me indoors. Pilates? Yoga? I don't want to lose the advantage I have gained over the summer, and I have another goal to shoot for now: I want to run my first 5km race in May.

I still don't like running. Can one like the benefits while not liking the activity?

Monday, 13 September 2010


I love fall. While the warm nights of summer give me pause to sigh and enjoy the porch until the mosquitoes discover us, and the promise of spring always fills me with hope, autumn is my favorite season.

On my second run last week, I headed into the cool morning to the sound of geese starting their journey to their southern home. The swallows left us weeks ago, and the starlings chattered in the trees before their departure. Heading up our laneway, I realized that the dipping and soaring Monarch butterflies of a week before had been replaced by quietly falling leaves: the first to give in. One tree had a side of one limb turned a fiery red, as if it had stuck its hand out too far and been burnt for its efforts.

Busy? Yes, As school starts and gives structure to our day, and lessons begin and add kid-ferrying to my evenings, the lazy what-time-is-it-oh-well-I-don't-care days are gone and I must actually keep an eye on the clock most days to ensure that schedules are kept.

Work? Yes, as we dug out a garden by the pool to replace overgrown shrubs with a rock. D found a boulder while excavating under a torn-down barn, dug it out and cleaned it off in preparation for a new above-ground home. It seems to take its change of occupation stoically, going from structural (cornerstone of a century-old log barn) to ornamental (visual anchor of the garden and sometime seat). Work inside, of course, is still calling, but the urgency of outside work speaks more loudly.

Soon, soon, the frost will come. Savor the days while we have them.

Friday, 3 September 2010


"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" - Satchel Paige

Today I am forty years old. I spent the earlier part of this year dreading it, feeling the inevitable approach, wanting to hide from it but knowing it was futility. It sounded like the end of being carefree, the start of careworn. The end of fun. The start of being drab. But then over the last month or so, I realized a few things.

I am more fit and in better shape at 40 than I was at 30.
I am more confident at 40 than I was at 30. Or 20.
I have blessings beyond count at 40, some of which I did not have at any other age.
I have wisdom at 40 that I did not have at 33. Some of it hurt to acquire, but I've got it.
I have a musical ability and confidence that I did not have five, ten, fifteen, years ago.
I have a better sense of who I am at 40 than I did at 15, at 20, at 25.
I have am amazing husband who insists that I am, in his words, "smokin' hawt". And he says I'm getting better.
I have three wonderful girls who seem to think I'm pretty cool. R insisted on buying a dogtag that said 'fabulous' for me to wear yesterday, since she said I am.
I know at 40 that God's got amazing things in store for me.

The dread of turning 40 started to get buried under the realization that, really, what I make of it is what counts. So last night as I watched the clock change and entered my next decade, I said aloud, "Forty. Ha," and smiled.

I plan to make it fabulous.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


We're back at school, and the girls have a new assignment this year: each of them now has a blog. It's intended as a writing exercise, getting them to think of what they wish to communicate it and the best way to do so. It's a side lesson of grammar, composition and editing. The fact that they're excited about it lets the lesson part sneak in (almost) unnoticed.

I hope they have fun. They all enjoy making up stories, telling me about their adventures. Writing is fast becoming a lost art, and I hope they can find the joy in it.