People’s opinions, travelling books and pissy-hissy fits

First off, I ran across this blog posting and it knocked me back, and continues to knock me back, because I keep re-reading it. Here’s the link

Such wise thinking!

The other thing I’ve been doing is drooling (not from heat sleeping this time). No, this drooling is over the Midori Traveler’s Notebooks.


I want one. I really, really would like to have one. Not that I need one. Or that I could justify the cost of one.

I just want to have one.

So color my creative side excited when I received the latest blog from Debbie-Anne Parent’s Ephemera’s Vintage Garden site and she has put up a video on how to make your own version of the notebook. Not only that but she directs the viewer towards another video with even more detail.

After watching both videos I screwed up the courage to dismantle (carefully rip apart) a cool little leather book full of thin blank pagers which has been sitting on my shelf unused for far too long.

I made three signatures (sections of pages) for my ‘travelling notebook’ ; one of drawing pages, one of writing pages and one of graph pages. Each signature has 48 usable pages. The fourth section I added was a daily planner I found to fit the 6″ x 4″ notebook.

 Behind all the signatures I slipped in a back and front pocket page to hold things like receipts and cards. I also included a pen holder (using wide elastic and double-sided tape for the first time so the verdict is still out on that puppy!). I added an elastic bookmark (with button attached as a nod to my sewing). To keep the book closed I’ve attached a loop of round elastic cord.

 It’s a rough little book inside, but not bad for the first one. And I tried to upload some pictures of my leather baby but my dinkish tool aka my computer, is behaving rather badly at the moment.

  It has decided to not recognize any of my USB devices today. Yesterday  pop-up window were quick to inform me that it couldn’t connect to my printer  as I watched my items print out. And quite often it likes to tell me that its sound devices aren’t working—usually when I’m listening to something.

Do I think my system is heading for a crash? I’d like to help it along at times. I truly would. But maybe it’s time I did the mature, adultish  thing and take it in for a checkup. . . and try to answer their questions without sounding like someone who should never, ever be allowed near a piece of electronics.

Sometimes I hate being a grown up. Throwing a tantrum was so much easier.


Somebody turn the heat down . . . Please.



Ever have one of those weeks where there isn’t much to say? Where nothing much happens and what does happen seems shallow enough that the effort to think about it is too much?

Where the hot weather keeps on popping the sweat and the warm nights keep on stealing dreams of solid sleep.

Where neighbors are barely nodding hello to each other and no one seems capable of long conversations outside when their air conditioning is pumping away inside.

I finally get what they mean by the hazy days of summer. I always thought it referred to the dry dusty days of continuous sun, but now I know they were referring to our heat-fried, snooze-less brains.

Plus there’s the fact that an unusual heat wave makes everything and everyone slow down which means:

  • Any job is going to take twice as long to do
  • Or, because it’s going to take longer, it will be shoved aside for ‘later’
  • Or, in a heat-fractured dither, it’s forgotten completely.

Bad news for those of us serious readers because, as any reader knows, the minute you pick up a book and start reading, the not-done, the half-way-done, and the ‘push off ’til later’ tasks will squeeze themselves right between the sentences on each page, crying out for attention.

And that, as any heat-suffering reader knows, means putting the book down to take a nap—a necessary step in building enough energy to attack the annoying cloying tasks.

But then, as one surfaces from their thick, sweaty, close-to-coma-like mid-day nap session, the reason for taking it has vanished—evaporated in the humidity.

So one picks the book back up only to . . .  well . . . it’s just a vicious hot cycle.

clocks (1)

So, don’t let anyone kid you—summertime isn’t all play and holidays.

A mini-roadtrip into the dawn

Woke at four this morning to catch Man-Wonder quietly getting dressed.

“What’s up?” I snorted from my warm pillow (yes, drool does make it warm).

“Timmies.” He said.

I was up and dressed, including removing any night-hare breath from my teeth and waiting at the door before his shoes were tied.

Fifteen minutes later we were dozily sitting across from each other in the surprisingly busy coffee shop (doesn’t anyone stay in bed anymore?) when he said, “Short roadtrip? Check out the pinks?”


Even though I’m not a fisherperson, I was standing at the door  dangling the keys from my fingers by the time he slid out of his side of the booth.

Pooh to responsibilities and let the road-trip begin. . .

An hour later we pulled into a well-known secret fishing spot up island. Man-wonder wandered over to where a number of fishermen were spread out on the shore  while I headed away to where a single well-aged beach chair was waiting. (Bless you whoever put it there)


Lord, it was the perfectly magical time of morning to be on the beach. Dawn was somewhere behind the first layers of cloud in weeks but you could tell it was there because right in the middle of the clouds there were three tiny openings. Like wee panes of old wavy glass windows where the most brilliant gold-orange sunrise was glowing through. Between the clouds and the horizon the sky was banded in soft pinks and blues. Across the bay, there was a band of islands, each one a different hue of blue-gray with wisps of cloud rolling between them.

I felt like kissing my fingertips and yelling bravo!

But that would have disturbed the approximately 5 dozen seagulls resting quietly about 30 feet in front of me.(Huh, who knew a seagull could be quiet?) Just to one side of them about 2 dozen geese quietly drifted on the water. Actually, aside from the crickets and the occasional cry of a loon, it was so quiet I could hear the swishing of the fishing lines as they were cast into the water.

OMG—perfection at its freaking perfected most!

Then came a splash followed by a happy yelp and the sight of every single seagull lifting into the air to do a long loop around the battle of man and fish. When the fish slipped the hook they returned to wait quietly on the shoreline.

Too bad no one caught anything while we were there – it would have been interesting to see if the seagulls would dive-bomb for the fish. And if they did, would the fishermen go after the birds???

I wished I’d been awake enough to remember the camera. But even more I wish there was a way to record the smells by the ocean in the dawn.





Everything and nothing


Okay, the great ride finally happened and it was as much fun as I had hoped and I finally understood why Man-wonder didn’t argue so much about me wearing his Ranger Rick hat. He knew I’d be wearing a pair of honking big puffy ear protectors (I got the lime green ones) and the only thing that fit under them was a baseball style hat.

I should have known he was being too nice. . .

My biggest discovery of all—bum muscles I’d forgotten I owned and, two days later, learned that they can cramp just like any other muscle.

Holy muscle spasms Woman-Wonder!

Aside from that spasm of fun, things have been quiet around here; mostly due to the heat. Our biggest excitement is arriving at the beach of our local city park shortly after dawn

morning cometh

so Man-wonder can join the others patiently trying to lure a pink salmon onto their lines.


Me? I find a nice bench to sit on and do a little writing, a little reading and lots of chatting with whoever comes by. I ended up sharing the bench with a local artist. I love it when life gives you gifts moments like that. I was able to pick his brain on watercolor paints, brushes, types of paper to use and why and mini-lessons on how he achieved some of the effects in his work. I even managed to snap a picture of his 30-year-old paint box and hear the story of why it was given to him.


I do deserve a smack upside the ear though because I didn’t think to snap any pictures of his work.

What a big goombah eh?

But I did get his card—which just happens to include his website;

So maybe I’m just a medium-sized goombah . . .





Secateurs and a chin-strap hat to go

So the big ride ‘em lawnmower event didn’t happen.Man-wonder had too long to think about it; his imagination took over and he put it off for a week, hoping he’d be ready.

Curses were heaped upon his head!

But now—here it is—THE NEXT WEEK—and since his back  isn’t one hundred percent back to healthy form yet he ever so nicely asked me if I thought I would mind doing the job. . .


Oh, yeah—like I don’t have it all planned; secateurs clipped to my work pants like a six-shooter just in case I have to jump off the machine and annihilate a rogue dandelion popping up just out of blade-chopping distance. And I’ve already picked out the best hat for the job. It’s the one he calls his fishing hat but I call it his Ranger Rick hat since he hasn’t hung any of his hand-tied flies on it yet.

hat shot(yeah, that’s Man-wonder hat and his head in it. Can you see the frown lines? I see them a lot!)

I picked that one because it’s got a chin strap dohicky which might come in handy should I get the G-Forces rocking on the machine (think downhill and wind).

So yes, I am looking forward to this Friday. And if he weasels out again . . . well, let’s just say the property is large and it might take them a while to find him.

Kidding—I’ll just run over his Ranger Rick hat with the truck. . .

I’d better make sure I enjoy every moment sitting on that majestic yellow and green beastie because there’s a good chance I’ll be banned from it after Friday.

Wonder if I’ll have time to snap a ‘selfie’?

Headline: Woman Wonder born amidst blades of grass

Writing this week will be taking a beating as I am having to spend time outside helping Man-wonder who strained his back last week. This week I am acting as Woman Wonder (okay fine – I made that name up, he didn’t.) He’s calling me the woman-behind-lawnmower, which I find rather boring and hardly worth curling the tongue over.

First, let me admit I’m not athletic. I’m barely mobile if it’s too hot, rainy or cold outside. I like sitting.

I know how to straighten up and space out the spine. I sit with an angled stool (below me not in me) and I keep the knees slightly above the hip line.

See – a student of sitting.

Besides, I’ve studied the best of the natural-born sitters which just happens to be babies. If you don’t believe that – check out those little chubbies of cuteness—their spines are a joy to watch.

So, for me to take over the some of the tasks of landscaping where I can`t run inside as soon as my face gets all hot and icky, is going to be tough. The other horrific thing is the sun makes my nose run. Oh, hell, anything beyond a simple sit makes my nose run. I used to laugh at Mom and her box of tissue for every room. Let`s just say I`ve lost that snotty attitude.

But I`ll do it. And secretly—I have to admit to being a teeny-tiny bit excited over the fact that if Man-wonder isn`t in good enough shape for his Friday job, which is the one where he rides his ride’m mower over and around five acres – I GET TO DO IT!

I get to run it. Not beside it. Not behind it. On it!

Cathie on lawn mower


Oh, I have driven it on pavement and it was fun – waving at the neighbours as I screamed down the road at a half mile per hour, goggles and earmuffs firmly in place and waving like the queen in one of her horse-driven buggies (and, hell, probably moving faster than I was).

But this time I`ll be running it over five acres of hillside with wide sloping lawns right down to shoreline.

I hate to admit it, but come Thursday night, if Man-wonder shows no sign of soreness, I may have to sneak over and re-adjust the numbers level of his side of the bed—just enough to through a kink into his plans . . .

Randy with cane

That`s not really mean-spirited is it? After all, he`ll have Saturday and Sunday to re-cooperate. And I`d be right there pampering him. .  . like a good wife should.



Words to Ponder


While at my favorite bricks and mortar book store the other day I was rooting around in the ‘sale’ bins like a pig in pen when I came across a Reader’s Digest  ‘Quotable Quotes’. Pure Gold! Because—next to who-dun-its, art how-tos, herbals, cottage picture books, etc., etc., quote books are a passion. Here’s a few I’ve stopped to ponder over:


“A peacock that rests on his feathers is just another turkey.” – Dolly Parton

You know—beneath all that hair and hooters Dolly is one smart chickie.


“When in doubt, look intelligent.” – Garrison Keillor

I know this to be true. Just try looking over the top of your glasses at someone. It’s a thinker’s pose man. An action which always creates a niggle of squirm and doubt in others.


Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” – Jimmy Johnson

Well, duh. Any wife/partner/female half of a duo knows that.


“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” – Richard Carlson

Yeah, and sometimes I feel like there is evil in those two words—socially acceptable.


“When you finally accept that you’re a complete dork, your life gets easier. No sense in trying to be cool.” – Reese Witherspoon

Okay, move over Martha I think I’ve just found my new hero!


“Happiness hides in life’s small details. If you’re not looking, it becomes invisible.” – Joyce Brothers

Now that is something we know as children but forget through the major part of our lives only to become re-acquainted  with it as we become older. I guess there is something to be said for not being able to run too fast.


“Good taste is the enemy of comedy.” – Mel Brooks

Amen. I wonder if Mel and Reese know each other?


Now, if you will excuse me, I hear some unread pages calling my name.





Time passing like calendar pages

calendar pages 2

Each winter I make up the next year’s desk calendar using photos and/or artwork I’ve been introduced to. Stuff that snags the ‘yes’ button.  July’s picture was one of those sneaky, “Hey, look!” shots I took of Mom. She’s wearing an exasperated but secretly pleased smile. ‘Turning the calendar page and seeing her looking back was quite the little zippy-zing to spirit.

Yesterday was her ninety-fourth birthday and the first one she’s been able to skip as she always wanted to.

I miss her; something pure and awful at times.

She was my voice of reason when things went stinky. She was my go-to for comfort when I was lost. She could find the good in almost any situation. Things seldom bothered her and if they did she’d just think it was her fault for being silly. She tried to like everyone and usually she could. There were the odd times when she simply couldn’t like someone and it cranked her. That was hilarious – kind of like watching a frog wearing a dress. No matter which way it was tried on it just didn’t fit right and you couldn’t help but laugh. Mom was unfailing kindness and unconditional love and I am grateful she was here for most of my life.

She was my best friend. The ten months since Mom died has felt like a lifetime and a moment.

Happy Birthday Mom and thank you for being the silver thread whose stitches made each of us in your family.

How come the finish line keeps moving away?


I swear by all that’s holey (socks, sheets, old facecloths) that I am going to write a ‘How-to’ book(let) for mobile home owners—at least for the DIY owners of mobiles like ours.

Those older but still classy mobiles—the kind that remind one of those sweet little white-haired ladies you see at a party. Decked out in their lovely evening gowns and looking so classy; until you move in for a closer look and can’t help but notice the thinning, wrinkly boobs have been pushed up a tad too high and if you look you’ll catch a glimpse of a torn lacy gray slip hanging low on one side. Lean in real close and you’ll smell a hint of arthritic muscle rub twisting around their luscious rose-scented perfumes.

That’s kinda the mobile we have. Looks good as long as you have one eye closed and are quickly rotating the other.

This baby of ours has an overload of one inch pretend-wood trim board. It crowns the top of every wall. It runs down the seam of every wallboard and it runs about three feet up, parallel to the floor, around every wall. Kind of like a top rail for a low wainscoting only they forgot to install the wainscoting!

The phony-balony wood finish also covered all four hundred cupboards in the kitchen. (Okay, eighteen in the kitchen, four in the laundry area and more in each bathroom).

What wasn’t covered in pretend wood was painted white and, at first, it did look clean and fresh but fast forward six months and white was feeling more empty than fresh.

A month ago I decided: Creamy yellow for all top cupboards, soft green for bottom ones and Caribbean Mango smoothie for one long (30′) wall.

All the goofy wood-ish trim could stay as is.

Cupboards turned out fantastic, and I especially love the hammered metal spray I used on the 50 hinges and 34 handles—which happened after pricing out new hardware.

And, with all that time spend in the carport painting and spraying, I got to know the neighbor quite well.


Then it was time to paint the wall.


Orange is a funny color. Don’t get it right and every time you walk into the room (and in a mobile you are constantly walking into ‘the room’) the wall isn’t going to sweetly say, “Hello again!”

No—it’s going to slap you with a growly, “What the hell do you want this time?”

But, as they say, I reefed up my big girl panties and rolled on the paint. The first coat dried ugly-splotchy and as I stared at it I was estimating how many coats of white it was going to take to cover it up.

But the little voice inside said ‘one more coat.’ I listened and painted again, and then, after a long nap in Man-wonder’s recliner, I woke up to find the wall smiling at me.

And, even though it’s more of a Mexican Tango than a Caribbean Mango,  Man-wonder and I agree we can live with it.

Now this is where a ‘how-to in a mobile’ booklet would have been a blessing. You see, for once in my life I was overzealous in taping. Every single piece of stinking pseudo-wood trim was taped over because I had no intention of painting it.

But—painter’s tape and pretending-to-be-real-wood finishes don’t play well together. When the tape came off so did the photo-finish of the trim. .  .

Ever think you’ve finished a job only to find out you’ve just finished the easy parts?

The trim is going white and while I’m painting all six million feet of it— I’m going to practice loving white. . .


Just because a road is paved doesn’t make it smooth

Last Saturday started out easy—we decided to take a drive across island, hit the village of Mesachie Lake and then follow a  widely touted paved logging road which also happens to be called the Pacific Marine Circle Route Drive.

signs page 1a

I mean, what could be more relaxing than a nice long loop to see the Pacific Ocean, follow the coast down to Victoria and then meander home again?

Hmmmmm . . .let’s see

Good description— a day trip through the mountains, to the Pacific Ocean and along the west coast side of Vancouver Island.

Better description—a paved winding, twisting logging road through the island’s the central range of mountains.

Best description—a roller-coaster ride for vehicles!

yield bridge warning bumpy road corner falling rocks  loose gravel narrowing road road flooding slippery sign

And here’s what we learned:

  • That an active logging road doesn’t really have to be wide enough for a logging truck and another vehicle.
  • That a narrow road can be made smaller still, e.g.—when every single creek bed, dry or dampish, and every single crack-in-the-rock canyon, has a single-lane bridge over it with a sign warning drivers to yield to oncoming traffic (if you can see around the corner, past the bridge).
  • That a scenic route can have a gazillion sign posts along both sides of the road.
  • That there are road signs I’ve never seen before (and never want to see again). Like the ones, on approaching corners, where each sharp angled arrow had a downward pointing arrow attached to it; meaning—scissor-sharp  corner coming at cobra-striking speed and turning dementedly fast downhill).
  • That a sign where the arrow was curved into an upside down letter U didn’t mean ‘hell’s a coming’ as Man-wonder moaned.
  • That a lot of people travelling the Pacific Marine Circle Route pack shotguns, judging by the size (and volume) of indents in the signs.
  • That a simple road-trip can take hours and hours (and hours) longer than expected.

What was the most impressive thing about the trip? That I drove and Man-wonder, notorious for his motion sickness, did not even turn green once. . . I might just give his chiropractor a big hug for that.

Would we take the Pacific Marine Circle Route again?

Hmmmmm . . .

flying pig 2





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