Friday, August 27, 2010

Sweet jam of summer


Three days this week - three different kinds of berry jam.
First we picked wild blackberries in the rain on Sunday, fighting off mosquitoes. The jam was cooked on Monday - my first try at blackberry jam.

Tomato jam is from the tomatoes from friend Valerie J's garden. With little slivers of ginger, it is comfort food for us, and something so many of our Canadian friends have never heard of, but are willing and eager to taste and to adopt.

Our raspberry bushes are literally covered in berries! So, today it was the turn of this wonderful fruit that we first tasted fresh here in 1997. As soon as we had our own house, we planted four --- but by now they have taken over the back yard, and we gladly share with squirrels, birds and sometimes friends!
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quilled frog pond

Because of the Lyme disease, I've lost a lot of fine motor skills and strength in my hands. For moths I haven't touched any artistic projects, since it was just too disconcerting and upsetting to have my eyes all blurry and the hands not doing what they were supposed to do!

However, being on the antibiotics has created another set of problems, but I've regained much of the use of my hands, as well as other benefits.

A weekend ago, I tried my hand at quilling again. Nothing fancy, and just playing, using old CDs as the base. The finished project is not as "tidy" as I would have wished, because the application of Mod Podge at the end relaxed the paper more then planned, so the coils opened - but since the theme is water with ripples all over the place, I guess it doesn't matter.

The edge consists of a double layer of "rocks" made of different combinations of brown and cream strips. The water has different colours and I tried to make the rings even more irregular by folding the paper before rolling it, where the frog dives in. I'll add some more green leaves to the one big water lily.

The base has about 5 old CDs glued together. The top is covered with a layer of paper, to which I've applied Mod Podge before starting to glue down the quilling.
The frogs were all made separately, sealed with Mod Podge and allowed to dry before applying to the CDs.

Everything is paper, except the CDs and the googly eyes!

It was fun to make, and forcing the stubborn hands to do the same movement over and over again, while knowing that the rocks and circles didn't have to be completely uniform in this case.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grab Life

Wasp dipping in
Originally uploaded by MeerkatMarlene

The short night was made shorter because of two girl cats wanting attention early, and then arguing over it in the middle of the bed, between us. They made no sound, but their bouncing around is enough to wake up the sleepers!

So, upsa-daisy and the morning started with talking and laughter, with all three guys home to go do some special work at some or other company. They'll probably be gone all day. I cuddled the bunny, emptied the dishwasher, wiped up some rabbit pellets, got some rabbit hugs, toasted the Bulla for breakfast and fed the cheeky squirrels outside. Yes I know that's not how others eat Bulla, but we love it toasted, with butter, all crunchy and comforting! It is one of the new additions to our diet, discovered in the last few years.

With the menfolk gone, the house quieted down -- ironing calls, dusting and vacuuming and straightening up should be done.

Camera in hand, I found a busy wasp dipping his head completely into a raspberry blossom, holding onto the find with both paws, and not caring that hair was sticking up, bottom swaying from side to side - just embracing what is given!

SOOC -- Straight out of the Camera Saturday. Thanks, Melody, for your inspiration on "Slurping Life"!

Slurping Life

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Pet collection

Our pets amuse and amaze us, give us love and companionship. We've always had pets, but when we came to Canada in 1997 and lived in an apartment, we had no animal friends. We could only take it for seven months before adopting Patches and a few hamsters for the boys!

Since then, we've always had pets. And Arno, who grew up with dogs, is now a confirmed cat lover!

After Patches went over the Rainbow Bridge, we adopted Chatter. He is almost 9 years old now. He is very big, and very tall as well! Usually almost impossible to take his picture because his features just disappear, this one was snapped last night thanks to some tweaks on the camera. Even his single white whisker on his left can be seen!

A year after Chatter, Essie followed. She was about 2 pounds when we got her (all our cats are from shelters) and she was scared stiff. Now she thinks she owns the house! Her eyes are always closed in pictures, but last night, thanks to camera tweaks, this one could be snapped while she was playing on the bed.

Dusty (Destiny) is a Ragdoll cat - never thought we'd ever have one of these placid darlings! She is a sweetheart, and incredibly mild-tempered. Her colouring is amazing.

Goomba is Jenni and Theo's lop-eared rabbit, but we have cuddling rights. He was resting quietly for a few minutes and this picture was possible.

Thought for the day: When a cat is purring and sleeping on your lap, you shall remain seated for as long as it takes!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Caressing Cloud

Caressing Cloud
Originally uploaded by MeerkatMarlene
There was a storm with lightning - which I love -- but a man was struck by lightning and killed during the storm.
I kept thinking about it, while trying to take pictures of our friendly softball game, played with clouds and sunshine taking turns.
And then this gentle hand appeared,
smoothing out the dark, angry clouds,
softly saying, "I'm here, I am your comfort, and I'll dry all the tears."

The picture stayed with me all night, and was the first thing I thought about when waking up this morning, along with a prayer for the family in their loss.

Pledge for today: be gentle with the loved ones, every day.

(SOOC, no changes, just watermark added)

Best Shot Monday

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First SOOC shot - Green and red

Frustrated with the lack of creativity, the battle with the exhaustion of Lyme disease and trying to function every day, I stumbled on a blog called "Slurping Life" - it immediately struck a cord, although it took a while to find out what SOOC means! (Straight Out of the Camera; in other words, undedited.) And I'm still not sure how to share any of the pictures taken with her blog, but I grabbed the camera, kept an eye on the building thunderclouds and started crawling around the back yard.

The picture here was untouched, other than adding my watermark. Upon opening it on the computer, I noticed the grub, adding another bit of texture to the combinations already caught in the frame!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another boody test

lAm so sick of doctors, tests and the like. I've been saying that for a long time, but it is becoming a real issue. Don't want to see another doctor, don't want to have more radiation, don't want to know what else is going on. Been putting off going for three months, I guess, but this arm is becoming a problem. I was so afraid it would get frozen shoulder, though, that I kept moving it gently, and stretching it somewhat. Seems it was the right thing to do.

Left arm / shoulder has been agony for about three months. Not constantly, but every now and again, a certain movement would leave me gasping for breath. Sometimes the movement would cause me to go blind with pain, drop to all fours no matter where I am, and stand panting like an animal to gain control again. Whole left arm would be left numb with pain any time as bad as labour pains. Fortunately they don't last that long! After a few minutes, the arm would start throbbing and then life would start to come back. Once the pain is gone, it is gone completely and the arm is fine - until I move it in that wrong way again. I've been careful, but it still happens.

  I went for soft tissue ultrasound yesterday (been carrying the request form in my Lyme binder for six weeks, kept hoping it would improve or go away). Arno has been forcing me to go; he had seen the results of the pain a few times; there is no hiding it. They sent me for an X-ray immediately afterwards. Seems there's fluid in the shoulder. I didn't get the full results, but the lady was talking to me. When I said I had Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lyme disease, she said something about "having all the complications on top of it". I don't think it is serious enough for surgery. Will fight that. I'll have to wait for the doctor to give me final results, but know enough from X-rays and stuff to have recognized the pockets of fluid and to ask her directly.

Your falling-to-pieces green friend.

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