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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Looking Up - Down and All Around

It’s rather pleasant to be able to go for a walk or a drive during my pre-retirement work time! Mild temperatures and the sight of my neighbour’s palm tree set me in a holiday mood, as I meandered around the neighbourhood taking a few photos along the way.


A few robins were flying in and out of a cedar tree, landing on a holly bush and then flitting off again. I think they knew I was trying to take photos because they played hard to get! The berries were more showy anyway!




Farther along, I spotted a heart rock on the pavement ~


I heard a plane overhead ~ here is another look at the Cessna.


Down by the beach, a bald eagle was surveying its surroundings, and it was easy to see fresh snow on the mountains.




I noticed a moon sliver peeking from far above as it, too, must have realized that the day was too good to miss!

Yes, a very pleasant day ~


Saturday promised to be just as lovely and it was!

I noticed the buds on the mock orange bush near the front door.


~ trees silhouetted against a sunlit cloud


~ puffy clouds pretending to be mountains


~ and wispy clouds feathering the sky.


Very relaxing and the fresh air did me good as I looked up, down and all around!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ducks in a Row

Since retiring at the end of December, I have been fairly busy with paperwork making sure 'all my ducks were in a row'.  Yesterday I made a trip down island to finalize the process.  It was a lovely day for a drive ~ about 14 C, and the sun was shining!  Unfortunately I didn't have time to take many photos because I was focussed on the job at hand.  

I did notice the sunshiny winter jasmine by my front door ...


and later on in the day as I waited in the park to meet my brother, I had confirmation that my day was a success!


Just edited to add this photo I just took of the spectacular evening sky (5:00 p.m.) from outside the front door.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beach, Birds, Birthday and Breakfast!

It has been a busy couple of days. (Photos are clickable)

On Friday morning, I saw something I hadn't seen for some time ~ a touch of blue sky! Temperatures were fairly mild at about 10 C and so off to the beach I went. The waves were churning, the gulls were soaring, and oystercatchers were taking advantage of the mollusc-crustacean-encrusted strip of sand!






We try to get together and celebrate whenever we have a birthday in my immediate family. My eldest son's birthday was on Friday, and we were happy that his two brothers and their girlfriends came up for the occasion. We all went out for dinner. This excellent meal was followed by desert at home ~ and then they all decided to stay over, which meant much sharing of stories, etc. well into the night.


It also meant breakfast for six. Luckily, they all like lending a hand, so it wasn't long before the loaf of multigrain bread I had baked was sliced up and dipped into a tasty concoction in order to make French Toast ~ served with the pears I canned in September. We used the griddle and the waffle iron to make the French Toast.


This afternoon, once the house had returned to its quiet mode, I checked out the garden, refilling bird seed, replacing suet blocks, and attaching new birdseed bells. There were many small birds flitting about the garden enjoying the warmer temperatures and happy, no doubt, for some dry weather.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snow Frog :)

I had mentioned to Flighty that with all the snow he was experiencing, he could perhaps build a snow frog in honour of Frog Newton...but then I felt really bad, because it was so terribly freezing cold!  However, now it seems his area has turned to slush, so to take away the pressure of trying to slap some slush together, I managed to locate the one I built either last year or the year before ~ the years fly by so quickly, who can remember!

Anyway here he is ~


and while I was searching for Mr. Snow Frog, I found one of my photo/tanka poems of a blue wintry day.


At the moment we have neither snow nor blue sky ~ just rain!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weather for the birds

Many areas of North America and Europe are experiencing major winter challenges with heavy snow conditions and cold temperatures.  Here on the west coast of Canada and all down the coast to Southern California, the weather is much milder this year.  It really isn't fair for me to mention California and my location in the same breath because of the difference in temperatures for one thing, and the colour of the sky for another!  While Nikki is finding it necessary to water her garden, I am splooshing through puddles!

Recently there was an article in the local newspaper regarding Trumpeter Swans, the largest native waterfowl species in North America. They have an average wingspan of 196 cm (77") and can fly at 35 km per hour (20 mph). They average a lifespan of 12 years in the wild, although they can live twice that long in captivity.

Last month I posted this photo I took on a bright day.


Here are a few images from yesterday's visit to the same spot. I took the video to try to capture the 'trumpet' of the swans.  There was a pod of at least 10 seals popping their heads up and down.  Very curious creatures :)




I quite liked the artistic composition of this photo of a gull ~


Friday, January 8, 2010

To the Rescue

After reading many blogs from the UK, I am reminded of our winter last year! We were covered in feet of snow and I even bought a new pair of boots and snow shovel for this year.  However, there's nary a flake to be seen!  

Flighty has shared snowy sights of his Allotment plot and included links to some other wonderful wintry blogs in his post.  Nic shows us on his terrific photo site a link to an air shot of the UK blanketed in snow! 

I would also like to add a few more sites to indicate how winter has enveloped the whole country and beyond. Uphilldowndale's site is amazing! She has a special way with photos and takes many opportunities to catch some breathtaking shots. Don't just stop at the one post that I've linked to ~ take a wander through her others posts ~ and meet Spud, her lively 'snow' dog!

Yolanda's Bliss from the Netherlands is another blog that I love to read. It's always entertaining and is often embellished with delicious sights and sounds! Meet Tara on her site, another dog who relishes the snow!

Back in England, Midmarsh John is inundated with clientele at his Birdy Bistro and is concerned about the possibility of running out of bird seed if this wintry weather persists! Meet his dog Bobby on his site!

Lovely blogs ~ with lovely dogs.

Hmmm, blogs, dogs...rhyme time.


Edit to add:

Thanks to Midmarsh John for giving me the OK to post this little Photoshopped picture I did of a "Bob(by)-sled".


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 3 - Sharing the Load

This morning I baked 18 chocolate cheesecake cupcakes and after reading Nikki's comment about showing great restraint, I started thinking... what's a measly 18 cupcakes, get on with it! So I made a couple of large pans of double ginger crackle cookies with lemon icing drizzled on top.


Following the baking spree, I spent a few hours typing a summary of the information I needed to share with the new person in my job, and emailed it to her so she could look it over before I arrived. She also had questions for me.

It was good to see everyone since I hadn't seen them for a long time ~ a couple of weeks before Christmas. It was commonly agreed that they had been side-swiped by my decision to retire. It's important to add a little zing to life every so often, I say!

They were most appreciative of the goodies as they headed to their staff meeting, while I spent the next three hours reliving and sharing my workload with the new person at my desk. I was ready to retire all over again by this time (and I think she was too)!

Another step on the way to letting it all go...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 2

I think I'm going to like this retirement business :)  It's a good job I didn't have to go to work today, because I would have been late!  I spoke with the person who is taking my place and will meet her tomorrow afternoon to show her the ropes...and all the other paraphernalia.  Tomorrow is also their staff meeting day, so I'm planning on baking some Chocolate Cheescake Cupcakes in small muffin pans (for finger food) and take them when I go.

For some reason, the sun forgot to come out as forecast, so it was another cloudy day.  I even drove to the other side of the mountain, but it wasn't there either. While out, I bought some more bird seed bells and suet seed squares so I'm all set up to feed the birds for the next while.  

I took a photo of the snowy mountain top poking out of the clouds, but I can't put my hands on the cord that transfers photos for that camera at the moment.  I've obviously put it somewhere 'safe'!  When I find it I'll upload the photo.  

In the meantime, I'm off to enjoy the evening puttering around the place.  Oh, and I didn't nap today!  Phew!  I was beginning to wonder!

Monday, January 4, 2010

First Day

The first day of retirement - I woke up with the dawn
and didn’t close my eyes again. I got up and put on
some comfy clothes, my slippers too, had cereal and toast.
I checked my emails, and the blogs and read near every post.

I stripped my bed from top on down and washed the whole darn pile,
then played the piano for a bit – I hadn’t for awhile.
I looked outside and saw some birds just dancing in the rain.
I didn’t fancy getting wet, so inside I remained.

At noon I thought I’d take a break, and sat down in my chair.
The fire’s warmth was all it took for me to linger there.
It’s funny how the time can pass when leisure-time you choose,
for sure enough two hours fled by when sitting turned to snooze!

My son phoned up to say that they’d be dropping by at six.
I flew down to the grocery store to see what I could fix.
I bought some local halibut and salad makings, too;
crisp breaded fish with almond crust, a change from turkey stew!

The emails started coming through, not too long ago ~
Surprise at my retirement because they didn’t know ~
and thanking me, and missing me, and oh, my throat did ache
and yet I know this time’s for me. It wasn’t a mistake.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Taking Retirement to Heart

Yesterday, my brother visited me and gave me a card with the following retirement message:

Relax and
Enjoy the ride
Try something new
Imagine the possibilities
Remind yourself to play
Expect adventures
Make new plans
Entertain a few wild ideas
Nap without guilt
Take time just for you

For all you've done and all you've achieved, wishing you the time of your life...

I'm going to take the message on this card to heart!

A few of my heart things ~

Earlier this evening a friend phoned and asked what I was doing, and I replied that I was getting ready not to go to work tomorrow. She thought that was really funny!