Sunday Snaps: Books and Cats

“Books. Cats. Life is good.” ~ T.S. Eliot

Although only one presumptive case of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been announced here in Newfoundland and Labrador at the time of this posting, much of the province has already shut down out of caution.

Thankfully, I still have two of my favourite things to occupy me while I worry: books and cats!

Interestingly, Vivian seems to love books too.

On the other hand, I have no pics of Maisie hanging out with books. Perhaps she’s illiterate? Anyway, it’s all good. She often cuddles up close when I’m reading.

I’m sure T.S. Eliot would have heartily approved.

Stay safe, everyone!

Sunday Snap: Lap Cat

Lap Cat

“You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense.” ~ Jane Pauley

Sunday Snaps: Found Art in Driftwood

“Driftwood seal on rock” – August 25, 2019

“A photographer must possess and retain the receptive faculties of a child who watches the world for the first time.” ~ Bill Brandt, British photographer

“Driftwood seal on rock” – February 29, 2020

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” ~ Elliott Erwitt, American photographer

I don’t know about you,
but I much prefer the summer version at the moment!

Sunday Snap: Worried

“WHAT IS THAT SMOKEY UP TO NOW?”

Our Maisie was the epitome of worry and concern the other day when she caught a flicker of movement outside the window. Standing on tippy-toes to see over a snowbank, she spied a neighbour’s cat prowling around our property.

Her territorial nature kicked in full force. Her tail puffed up. She hissed and growled. Maisie wanted to go out and drive that puss away, but her mom was not in the mood to referee a catfight that morning.

“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now.” ~ Lloyd Alexander, American author

Reflecting on the Little Things

For me, this winter has been a time of deep reflection. The dormant months are ideal for slowing down and looking inward, giving one a chance to rest, to heal, to quiet the mind and to focus on the spiritual side of life.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about and missing my mother more than usual. She has visited me in my dreams quite often in recent weeks.

I wonder why.

I suppose I could chalk it up to growing older and becoming infinitely more aware of my own mortality. Or maybe she knows I need her more right now.

Today, I dedicate this post to you, Mom. I wrote the following piece in January of 2012, ten months before our final goodbye.

 

The Little Things

 

You always hear people say that we shouldn’t love the material things in life, and usually I am inclined to agree. However, in one particular area of my life I must beg to differ. Sometimes we have certain items that are so very precious to us because they keep our memories bright.

My mother is now in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. She has changed so much in the past few years, from a vibrant, independent and beautiful woman, into a person who needs constant care. She can still smile in recognition at me but can no longer carry on a conversation of any sort. We are losing her, bit by bit, with every visit and every passing day. This is probably why I hold on so tightly to a few items that came from her.

As I write this, I am wearing a pair of wool slippers that my mother knitted for me. They are teal blue and white with little bows sewn on the top. I found them a couple of months ago when I was sorting out some storage items, and even though they are a little tight, which was the reason I had put them away in the first place, I’ve worn them ever since, stretching them so they would fit. Just knowing that she had made them for me gives me comfort.

While I was looking for Christmas baking inspiration a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for cherry cake in my collection, written in Mom’s elegant handwriting. I remembered her making that recipe many times over the years. My heart ached with loss as I read it, but I knew I had to use it. Now that Christmas is behind us for another year, I still have some of that cake left, and I savour every bite.

And on my right hand, I am wearing my mother’s wedding band. It had been sitting in a little box in my dresser drawer for months, waiting until the day it would go on her finger for the last time. So for now I am wearing it because it makes me feel closer to her, and to Dad as well.

So please don’t try to tell me that things aren’t important. Sometimes it’s the little things that we need to hold onto, the touchstones for our priceless memories. Sometimes it is all we have.

Our lovely mother in her younger days

Lots of Winter Ahead Yet, But…

… the days are noticeably getting longer. And in six weeks, we spring forward as Daylight Savings Time kicks in!
Newtown in Winter 2020It isn’t just me who looks forward to spring around here. Practically every day, Vivian and Maisie go outside to check things out. They don’t stay out long, only long enough to confirm that winter with all its snow and iciness is still firmly in place.

One of the loveliest features of the longer days?
The sunsets, just as pretty in winter as in summer.

No two are ever exactly the same.

As gorgeous as they are, you’ll still find us hanging out mostly indoors for a few weeks yet.

Hanging out with my muse – or is it mews?

How about you?
Do you embrace winter,
or are you counting the days until summer like me?

“You are my fantasy on a cold dark night, my muse during the light of day and the one wish my soul would make.” ~ Grace Willows

Sunday Snaps: Make Room for Maisie

Hello, friends and felines!

Maisie here, wishing my sister Vivian would make room for me on our big new bed in the living room. Yes, our early Christmas present is actually a dog bed, but it’s oh-so-comfy for us cats too.

Mom thinks she’s clever, making us share it with a beanie baby named “Howlidays.” We realize it’s Christmas and all, but we would’ve preferred a baby of our own species. 

Oh well. Let me think… where shall I nap while waiting for my turn on the new bed?

Our twin beds are in the kitchen of course…

… and look what I found here. Just my size.

Ever-curious Vivian has to come along and inspect the situation.

I think you’re too big to fit, sis.

Move along. Nothing more to see here.

Finally!
Thank you, sis. Now, one more thing…

Think, maybe, we can lose the mutt??

Ah… that’s much better!

Thanks, Mom… purr… zzzz…

Happy Holidays to all
and warm, cuddly wishes for the New Year!
♥♥♥
See you in January!

Sunday Snaps: First Snowfall (and Fun Neighbours)

This past Thursday, Perry’s Point welcomed its first little snowfall for the season, just enough to get this cranky-pants in the festive mood for Christmas.

Speaking of being welcomed, our neighbours rolled out the welcome mat in more ways than one that evening when they invited us over for supper.

Unbeknownst to us until we ventured outside — and unnecessary because there were only a couple inches of the white stuff — “W” had cleared a path from our house to his. A sweet little gesture that put smiles on our faces. Check it out:

A look back at our house from the path

Taking the turn to their house

Follow the blacktop road!

The next day, a crisp, gorgeous afternoon for a walk.

“Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers.”
~ Kahlil Gibran

Sunday Snaps: Monument in Bronze

In July, I took these photos of a new bronze memorial erected last year in Victoria Park, St. John’s. I’m sharing them in honour of Remembrance Day tomorrow.

Inspired by the memory of his own grandfather, artist Morgan MacDonald named it One Hundred Portraits of the Great War. 

“Cast from the faces of 100 descendants of Newfoundland Regiment soldiers who fought in the First World War, the installation is a kind of “living memory” featuring the families who have carried pain, loss, and pride throughout the last century. After casting each volunteer, MacDonald arranged the bronze effigies, then welded the casts to an oval frame reminiscent of antique war portraits.” – CBC News, NL

Volunteers had to stay still and breathe through straws while the casting hardened.

MacDonald said, “I think it’s incredibly special to have a placeholder and a location, so the families can come and reflect on that memory.”

Evocative? I believe so, particularly when viewed in person. Haunting? Definitely.
So is war.

Further reading:
100 faces, 100 years: Bronze memorial to fallen soldiers unveiled
Putting a face on history

Sunday Snaps: Tuckered Out (but in a good way)

Hey friends! It’s been longer than usual since I’ve blogged or shared a snap, but I think I had a good excuse. I’ve been going over the final draft of my latest novel manuscript with a fine-toothed comb in recent weeks—a little snip and tighten here, an extra fleshing out there—and I’m happy to say it is finally in the hands of its first beta reader.

Due to a few changes made, it took longer to get to this point than planned when I blogged about the final draft in June, but between the jigs and the reels and the hope that feedback is mostly positive, here we are.

Much has fallen by the wayside getting to this stage, so I’ll take the coming week to finish reading Jacqui Murray’s latest novel, and begin another one for my online book club. Along with that I’ll catch up on neglected chores and, of course, all my favorite blogs. (Sorry for not commenting much lately, bloggers!)

I had hoped to take part in NaNoWriMo this month, but instead my plan is to write a blurb, query letter and synopsis for submissions to publishers. I also hope to complete the outline for Book 2 of my speculative fiction trilogy by month’s end. That way, writing the first draft can begin on December 1.

I’m tuckered out, but also STOKED. I feel good about the book and am more focused than ever on my writing.

But first, I will follow Vivian’s lead: flake out, hang out, and recharge. See you next week.