i know, you think you saw kath and i running past you the other day. funnily enough that’s the way we’ve been treating life lately, including this blog, we just run by pretending that we didn’t see it.
we are however seeing the dust, the chaos, the winter and summer clothes jumbled together, the dirty windows and ourselves. we have managed to carry on a non stop texting conversation during our time straightening and organizing. we are running past in a blur, doing too many things at once, neglecting more than a few and worrying about our health all the time.
i have said it before, these two sisters can jump on a bandwagon faster than you can say oprah and fall off at the first corner, jump up and run away just as fast. we are experts, we have taken quitting to a new level and can now quit before we even start. what the heck?
i have notebooks filled with ideas, i have a heart filled with anticipation, i have a mind filled with determination and a success rate of zero. it’s time to stand still, make a list, (another thing we love to do) and run only for exercise.
we hope to be seeing more of you and hope that you will see more of us!!
I used to work in a plant store in my teens, my part-time job during school. Saturdays were spent watering, repotting and tidying up the plants in the store. I liked that job. I was a container gardener. I remember being blissfully excited at the prospect of gardening on a large scale when we bought our house here. I had a green thumb, it was going to be just as all the gardeners had promised, a meditation, peaceful and enjoyable. As I grew to hate the gardening, it was backbreaking, boring and took too much time, I longed for the simplicity and ease of my small containers. Luckily I have been blessed with an unexpected bonus of downsizing and I again have time to muddle around with small pots of succulents, herbs and violets, all safely perched on the window sills in our sunny apartment.
We always have big plans, the sisters and we always get easily distracted. It is spring and she has run away, that sister of mine. Run off without me for a visit with one of the grands. She is with Harry. The jealousy makes me green, a fitting colour for spring, I so wish I was there. She is off in Bubbie’s world while Auntie stays home.
Last summer, Margie was determined not to get distracted, she was organized and had a list of projects. She had Plans. She shopped, gathered supplies and as the waves slapped the side of the boat taking her to the island, she raised her creative sails and once the mice were sent back to the forest, wooden floors swept and fresh sheets on the beds, she put those plans into action. I would receive email while I was at work, the sun was shining, she had painted a picture of daisies. It was raining, she had donned rainboots and walked through the woods searching for mushrooms and moss. She said, “I made this!” and directed me to the Make Something Blog. I day dreamed while I typed at work. I was going to make a terrarium too!
I finally made it to the cottage for one (too short) weekend and all three grand nephews were there. Finally I could see the small boys … David had looked at Margie’s terrarium and marvelled, “Bubbie’s Little World!”, he promptly added a tiny plastic dinosaur and stated, “I want one!” (Ah, a boy after my own heart!). Bubbie and Auntie, two little boys (Harry, you were too small, maybe this summer!) set out to collect rocks and sand and ferns and moss. Baggies were filled, sticks were poked into holes in the forest floor and after a morning of exploring, we had all we needed to make terrariums in mason jars. We were all very excited and then sadly, mine took a tumble in the back of the car on the way home and never recovered.
Needless to say, I was disappointed that Bubbies Little World didn’t make it. It did set me on a mission though and I have been searching for the perfect jar. I stopped at the first garage sale of the season a few weeks ago, it was chilly and rainy, but tradition dictates that I must stop at the first one I spot. I wandered around, freezing, hands in pockets, shoulders hunched hoping that I would see something that would mark the start of the treasure hunting season and there it was …the perfect jar.
Like my sister, I made a plan, gathered my supplies and this morning, I made my own little world. I am so pleased. My creative wish & do list is long for this summer and first on the list, I need my sister to go home and come play on the blog with me.
Our summers were not Provence to Paris, but were Ottawa to Rideau Ferry …
I love cottage life, we don’t have one now, but I have such wonderful memories, the musty smell when the door first creaked open after a long winter. Running to see and touch those forgotten toys and books of last summer. Trying on last year’s bathing suit that was forgotten on the hook that hides behind the bedroom door and discovering it doesn’t fit! (This used to be exciting when I was a kid, less so now!).
Cottage memories are my childhood memories. Family, friends and food. Pretending to be asleep and wanting to stay awake to listening to the murmur of grown up conversation late into the evening, never succeeding, sleep taking a small girl to dreamland quickly after long days filled with fresh air. A trip to the country store for a popsicle or ice cream because somehow, although the cottage freezer could keep ice cubes and meat frozen, the popsicles and ice cream were always a bit soft. A trip to the store is a great way to get everyone out of the sun and lake for a while, a rest in the backseat of the hot car speeding down country roads leaving a dust plume behind us. You were allowed to ride curled up in the back window if you liked and there was nothing better than a friend whose family had a station wagon, kids tumbling like puppies in the way back.
Wet bathing suits, rough sun-dried towels, mosquitos buzzing round and stinging with an ouch. A long night of scritchy itchy bug bites, finally calmed by some cream out of the bathroom medicine cabinet. A place where it seemed there was always something so old that it had grown one with the cabinet, a metal tin that bandaids had come in. No longer holding bandaids, just a tin rooted in a cottage cupboard.
The far away rumble of thunder that springs everyone into action, battening down the hatches, for storms at the lake are not the same as storms at home. There are doors and windows to be latched, inflatable toys to be jammed in sheds or secured under a jumble of lawn chairs, the flag lowered off the flag pole. Then inside, reading National Geographic, old books, new books and magazines, a puzzle or quiet game of cards. Lemonade or orange crush in an aluminum cup, rainbow coloured in the cupboard making it hard to choose which one.
Up and down with the sun, the excitement of a car coming down the road, who is it? Never excitement to see a boat on the water, just a casual wave or a shout hello at the passersby. The front door is lakefront, the back door faces the road. Soggy cookies in the cookie jar and damp crackers in the pantry, it is too humid for them to survive, crunch comes from a radish or sugar snap pea snatched from a summer garden tended by a grandmother. Mid-week trips to the farm stand, first time for berries and ending with corn. Bookend foods for the summer kitchen. Putting on a cotton dress or shorts and a T for dinner, we don’t eat dinner in our bathing suits!
Pink noses and wet hair. A smelly dog who loves to swim. Swinging quietly on the swing, listening to the sound of nothing. Then hearing the cicadas, the buzz of a chainsaw and the drone of a faraway boat motor. I hear kids hollering. Are they hollering for me? Maybe but I think I will stay here in my reverie, savouring the memories of summers gone.
Andrews McMeel Publishing provided me with a copy of this cookbook, Paris to Provence.
It is a beautiful book. Ethel Brennan and Sara Remington have done a wonderful job of capturing summer memories in France and providing a nice balance of simple recipes with the more complicated but delightful sounding Fruits Confits. The chapters are divided into the ingredients for a perfect summer, road trips, markets, street food, cafes, afternoon snacks and meals with friends and family. The photography is breathtaking, creating a mood of a leisurely summer filled with mouthwatering food.
This is just the kind of cookbook the sisters like … one that can sit beside your bed as well as in the kitchen.
Amazon can land it in your Kindle right now, or you could wait for the hardcopy to arrive in the mail. I may do both!
we have lost our dear charley to a stroke. in the eight years that charley i spent together, most days just the two of us, it never crossed my mind that the one thing that we would share would be a stroke. if you don’t know the story you can read it here, charley.
very quickly i have come to realize that charley was my journal. we were live journalling all day every day, just the two of us. i find it much easier to remember my thoughts if i say them out loud, i can often chase words around in my head for the longest time and just as often never catch enough of them to make a team. so i told them to charley.
i asked her opinion, i answered for her, i complained and was short with her, i asked her what music she wanted to listen to, i would tell her how stupid i could be, i always told her whether my book was amazing or just so so and i would ask her what she wanted for dinner even though she never had a drop of people food in her whole life. i took her everywhere.
today i was organizing a junk drawer, a good activity for me when i am looking for a lost thought and i came across a face down photo. i knew before turning it over that it would be of charley and it was.
i took a new journal, i placed the photo inside and i will write down all the things i would have asked charley to remember.
We went to New York, Barry and I, in February.
A quick weekend getaway. Spontaneous and badly needed after my winter of recuperating.
This store window on Fifth Avenue made me smile.
That, I thought, is a window that perfectly depicts the Soeurs.
Two cities, two knitters, two bookish sisters.
notwithstanding that passover begins on monday night and that there are a multitude of tasks requiring my attention, i am still sitting at my desk watching the snow melt, albeit slowly, but melting it is.
i am an armchair photographer. i sit here and take these photos out the window. no need to stand up.
earlier i was doing a little hand dusting, not enough dust to require polish and a cloth, just a wipe of my hand was doing the trick, and i came across a childhood book, the mystery of the silver circle, published in 1957. i read the first page and felt nostalgic, it begins during the first week of summer holidays, olivia’s days stretched ahead like a sketch book waiting to filled with the most exciting…
should i just read the whole book? right now? so that i too can imagine that summer is stretching ahead of me and that it is filled with excitement and adventures or should i march on, in rythm with this endless month of march, watching the snow melt and perhaps tackling a chore here and there.
how could i resist the lure of one of my first chapter books, 188 pages, ten chapters and only one template.