Instagram and Me and Tanis Fibre Arts

There are lots of weddings today around here. I know these things now because we dress people for them at 30 Church Women’s Clothing across the street. It is a lovely thing to help people get ready for big important days in their lives. Who knew I ‘d like it but I do.

I am midway through a project of 51 small squares that combine landscape and abstract. It has been so lovely. 51 because I am 51. I take small square pictures on my walks and then hook versions of them. Sometimes I still think I am 50, When I hang them I might make myself 49 because that would be 7 by 7.  I am one of seven sisters and I like symmetry, so I’ll be 49 when I hang them if hang them  7 by 7. I think I will actually have to make 60 or so to get the right combination, but I’ll not be sixty for nine years. It is fun to talk nonsense isn’t it? A little foolishness is good for ya.

Yesterday Tanis from Tanis Fibre Arts , a beautiful knitwear designer and dyer came by the studio. If you are a knitter you should visit her site to see some great designs and colour ways. While she was there she gave me some great tips on doing My instagram is….

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I think Instagram is a great way to get inspired. I use it like a magazine with a cup of tea, and scroll through it following people who post beautiful images. Tania also showed me how to edit my images. I thought you could just do filters but  you can also highlight, lighten etc. She showed me quickly and now I am instagram happy. You can see some of the squares on my instagram. I encourage you  get the ap and follow Deanne Fitzpatrick Studio and Tanis Fibre Arts.

I think what I loved about Tanis visit is her willingness to teach and to share. I also loved that someone who surrounds herself with colour on a daily basis was inspired by the colour we create in the studio. She really got me thinking about pallettes, about making things even more beautiful than they might already be. You see beauty has no limits, it is like love. The more we share with each other the more we become aware of our own possibilities and those of others.

Summer shots below, and my rugs of the Pugwash estuary…..

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Diane Krys: Wool and Welsh Cakes

Friends from different parts of my life have been wanting to try rug hooking so recently I gathered them together and hosted a Wool and Welsh cakes Sunday brunch at my house. Even my sister dug out her rusty hook and joined us along with the her friend Linda, the Welsh Cake Making Queen. I set up one buffet for good eats and another for hooks, hoops and wool. The day was a play session to see if rug hooking sparked anything for them to take further. I showed them how to pull a loop and then gave them as little direction as possible. It may sound stingy but I didn’t want to hamper any mad science impulses by filling their minds with arbitrary ideas about the “right” way to hook. Sometimes, the best way to teach something is simply to set the stage.

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I loved seeing their experiments unfold in front of me. It made me think the more proficient a person becomes at their art and craft the more they need a dose of the unbridled impulses and playfulness of newbies. I was so taken by their random patches of rug hooking the next day I started a new piece with my own random patches hoping to capture some of their precious naivete and fearlessness. Working on it has led me back to a forgotten experiment from my early days.  Funny how my friends’ baby steps brought me back to one of my own. It’s like I discovered a seed waiting for more experience to germinate and it’s already blossoming into a new direction for my work.

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Reflecting on our day also made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve rug hooked with a regular group. I really enjoyed attending a small weekly rug hooking group when I first started, however, there came a point in my journey when I needed to focus my time to work on my own. I’ve never felt the need to be part of a regular group since but suddenly the Wool and Welsh Cakes gathering has brought out a desire to keep this thing going. It feels special to have people you already love to laugh and spend time with interested in sharing a creative passion and I’m glad to be in a place where I can embrace that. I think an artistic path is ever shifting and it’s important to always keep moving towards what feeds your soul.

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I’m happy to say everyone is inspired to do more rug hooking and Wool and Welsh Cakes Part 2 is in the works. Apparently a few friends  hit a Value Village before they even made it home and there’s been a lot of mad science brewing all around since.  I can’t wait to see what they’ve been blowing up and I’m not sure who’s going to be teaching who!

Catherine Bussiere: a wedding

it was a week ago and everybody was here
brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles
parents, grand parents, friends
cousins
a few were absent
unable to make the trip
or gone too soon
they were missed
yet present in our hearts

many weeks had lead to that day
a proposal on a rainy day on another continent
a dream that kept growing
a dress bought in a heartbeat

we had a perfect location
of woods and fields
pond and garden
rock patio spread shaded by grape vines

a live dome had been built on the edge of the woods a few years back
covered by hops, an early summer offering
in it’s womb the union would take place
a fairytale setting

a week ago three young men lined up
in front of a small crowd they waited
out in the field a beautiful maiden
surrounded by her dearest
was making her way

the most anticipated moment
the one we had all been waiting for
arose

the groom saw his bride

it was short and simple
as they had wanted
in a few words they were united
in front of all they proclaimed their commitment
love at that moment was everyone’s attire

it was a week ago
as I walk outside
in the field
on the edge of the woods
or as I sit under the shade of the grape vines
I feel thankful for life and for love

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Catherine Bussiere: Jenn & Cadence

it’s a cool morning
chances of frost last night
I decided yesterday to wait a couple more days before I transplant my sunflowers
I did transplant kale last week
my greenhouse is full of it
I like to let some plants go to seeds in the greenhouse
at the moment I have a carpet of young kale, dill, cilantro, and the odd lettuce

I woke up early this morning
sun right onto my bed
I finished a book that I had read a few years back
I like to reread sometimes
some books are like friends that you need to visit every now and then

I pulled the blankets off
– chilly –
I put them back on in a hurry
I assess the situation
t-shirt on the dresser, sweater near by, those cozy leggings that I could wear one more day
a farmhouse can be cooler in the spring then in the middle of winter
either you’re out of wood or you feel it’ll warm up soon enough, no need for fire
the wood stove is going on a diet

I visited my friend Jenn and her daughter Cadence a couple days ago
both will celebrate their birthday this week
one will be six, the other 35
I came to have this ongoing discussion about age
I was curious to know what Cadence had to say
she was thrilled to be interviewed

I have to tell you that Jenn is a potter
a few years back she left a secure job with Canada Post, build herself a cozy studio, and became a full time potter
she makes beautiful mugs, plates, bowls, vases, you name it
she started off selling at the local farmers market
when I visited her she had just completed a big order for a shop in PEI

Of course Jenn isn’t only a potter
she’s a mom, a gardener, a cook, she weaves, sows and knits, she teaches, she dances, she plays
she smiles and laughs easily
a lovely person

In a way it wasn’t much of a surprise when I asked her about age and aging that really, she didn’t think much about it. Here is what she had to say:
“My goal in life is to be in every moment, so to think so far in the future,
which is what I think when I think of age; it ends at some point, and that’s why people think about it … If I get ideas in my head about getting older I just roll down my imaginary window and I throw them out (laugh) like I’m driving a car.”

“I think that there’s so many things to do there’s no possibility that I will ever get them all done. So I trust in myself to be doing the things that I wanna be doing and that’s as good as I can get. I think that’s the best I can do, and if I start not doing those, I feel it, I just don’t feel like I’m in a good place, so then I change them (laugh).
I don’t know if it’s a good thing, I can’t make myself sit still.”

You’re an older lady; how do you see yourself?

“I wanna be a roaming around the world 80 year old … I wanna be fearless.”
“I think about attachment and I don’t want to be attach to anything”

Nice

Wiggly Cadence in her seat, mini cup of tea in hands gracefully answered my questions. She too doesn’t think much about age. Obviously there’s better things to think about when you’re five. Like her big brother not letting her play nintento at the level she’d like, how many friends she will invite to her upcoming birthday, and that hen that has been sitting on eggs for days… So much things to think about.

Cadence

What does age mean?
“How old you are.”

What is old?
“31 is old”

Is there a number you’re excited about?
“ 12 “

Why?
“I just like that number”

Is there something special that happens when you’re 12?
“well … it’s my birthday”

Jenn: what are you going to do when you are a grown up?
“ I will visit you sometimes “

mama’s heart swells, we drink more tea

I think I will visit someone today.

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Catherine Bussiere: Surprise

a few weeks ago
I think maybe even before we got back
my son Isaac told me that there would be a surprise graduation party for his fiancé Haley
the cover was
she would be prepping a surprise birthday party for him
so just go along when she let’s you know about it

how does this work?

Haley has a cousin
who really likes Isaac
cousin will pretend he wants to host a surprise birthday party for Isaac
Haley is excited about it
she says it’s really hard to trick Isaac and she can’t keep secrets
but she’ll try her best

Most of Haley’s family lives in Cape Breton
nobody is mentioning anything about her upcoming graduation
Dad who is a musician is busy with gigs
Mom is about to start working
no time for parties it seems

Behind Haley’s back everyone has been plotting
she’s been tricked once before
for her high school graduation
she even made her own cake I was told
thinking she was going to someone else’s party
Never again she said then

yesterday was somewhat crazy
we have to make plans out loud about the day
Hey Isaac, what you want for your birthday
what should we have for supper
let’s bake a cake
the trick is not to slip
not to say too much
no whispering
make Haley think we’re going along with this secret party for Isaac
and keep a straight face

Haley has to figure out a way to get Isaac to St-Margaret’s Bay (cousin’s place)
which is 20 minutes out of town
we have a friend who is away and asked if Haley could go check on her house
then Haley will say that she needs to pick up a jacket she forgot at her cousin
You don’t have to come she says to Isaac, enjoy the day with your family
No, no, Isaac says, I’ll come with you

all of a sudden it’s time
Haley picks up Isaac and off they go
we have to hurry
of course we get stuck in traffic
but funny enough, when we get to the highway exit they are right in front of us
we slow down to let a couple cars get between us

we easily find cousin’s place
there’s lots of cars already there
we quickly unpack the car but as we are ready to head off to the house
here comes Haley and Isaac parking right in front of us
we hide as much as we can while making our way to the house
at this point Haley is breaking up and Isaac is smiling

the house is all decorated
on the table there is a big cake
two camera are set up at different angle ready to roll
we make a quick entrance
“They’re coming” we say

Isaac and Haley walk in
she has a huge smile, her face is glowing as she looks at him
I got you she thinks
then
she turns around
and as she slowly takes in all the people that are in the room
mom, dad, uncles, aunts, cousins
her ivory cheeks turn a nice shade of pink
her mouth widens
her eyes water
(as does everyone else)
We got you, we got you big time!
Oh the love, the laugh, the tears
Congratulation darling
and oh, Happy Birthday Isaac!

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Catherine Bussiere: Gail

foggy morning, fishcakes and biscuits, company over
my blog is a little late today
it’s Sunday

I visited Gail this week
Gail, in legal term, is my mother in law
in my term she is a friend

I thought Gail would be a good person to interview for my age series
she will be 77 this year
you may think: she’s 76, don’t need to age her faster
no, but the thing is, Gail cares more about the sound of the number then the meaning we might associate it with
and so 77 sounds much better then 76
actually, really, Gail loves double digits

so far, in the few interviews that I have done, there have been reactions regarding age;
mind association that connects age with physical and mental abilities
beauty, energy, hopes and dreams, curiosity, interest …
often I hear concerns, at any age, be it 20, 30, 40
fear, unmet expectations
our own or others
trying to keep up with the time
and the time ticking

The interesting thing with Gail is that age seems like an irrelevant word.

“ 77, what about it ? Nothing ! I’m grateful; I love double numbers.”

When does one become old?

“ It’s a mental attitude, an outlook …
I find it’s enriching because the wisdom is with age,
because of past experiences …
You have great memories of past experiences and that keeps you young,
in thought, mind …
Then I am just grateful;
Thank you!
I’m still able to be independent, and that’s everything.

Being a woman, when you go through menopause that’s the beginning of getting old
and you know it, you feel it, you sense it
you know your limits little by little
and the thing is not to give into your limits because you’ll loose all that muscle
muscle disappears quickly and you want to keep your muscle more or less ”

Time or age never affected you?

“ No, I had a lot of desires so I just went…
I never needed a lot of comfort, I didn’t need to have luxury.
You can be very vain about your body, your face and your living style
and I don’t think I was enhanced with vanity. “

the conversation will keep going
what inspires me with Gail is her will power
whatever Gail wants, Gail gets some way or another
she has lived and is living her life just like she wants
she has embraced an innumerable amount of projects
art, travel, work
she is creative, curious, passionate
she is demanding to herself and others
and is incredibly generous
her life has been and remains full

Next project? : “ my goal is when I’m 80 I’ll go to Cuba “

I love it

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Catherine Bussiere: homecoming

it’s been one week today
one week actually yesterday, we arrived on a Saturday
the first two nights I’d wake up in the middle of the night wondering where I was
trying to figure out how our windows fitted in what I thought was my Moroccan room

then I slept better and slept a lot
jet lag I guess and recovering from the journey itself
as if I didn’t realize my batteries were low and needed a full charge

the weather has been wonderful and tons of snow have melted in the past week
I started cleaning up the greenhouse
pruned around an apple tree
got a piece of ground ready to plant garlic

the ice on the pond is still holding but there is an opening near the beavers house
I saw the beavers come out looking for grubs
I should bring them my apple clippings

I saw a couple deers in the orchard and in the garden
I was happy about that
I heard form my neighbor that there are three dead ones in our woods
winter’s been hard

I visited a friend and she has some work for me
I went to a community talk on wild edibles and met a few acquaintances
we’ve shared a meal with family members, made tagine and drank some wine

slowly, bit by bit, as familiar motions take place
I am getting home
it’s been a long journey after all

ps. people are asking about highlights from the trip, there are so many, here are a some visual highlights

pps. I am planing on doing a blog series about women and age. I want to keep that conversation going.

 

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Catherine Bussiere: Susan and Regina

Two German ladies showed up one evening while the hotel was vacant.
I looked at them walk in wandering for a second what they wanted. We didn’t expect any guest for a couple days and I must have forgotten that we were indeed a hotel providing rooms. It didn’t take me long to clue in and I quickly went to the reception desk to welcome them.

They took a room and stayed with us for a couple nights. The second morning we started a conversation as I was serving them breakfast and I asked if they would be up for a couple questions about age.

Susan is a university professor. She is sixty three.
Regina is a psychologist. She is sixty six.
They are cousin, good friends, and enjoy traveling together.

It is interesting to get feedback from different age group (last week the ladies were thirty). The fact that English is a second language (for myself as well) only added flavor to the exchange.

What is old?

Susan: Being not attractive anymore, not attractive for other people, loosing autonomy, needing help.

I think you can be old in so different ways, I think and I hope I will never be old in that terrible sense. My mind is quite young, my way of behaving is rather young. All the time I’m in contact with young people now so that, perhaps, keeps me young as well.

Regina: What is it to be old? I don’t know.

My body is feeling old. When I get out of the car my legs are stiff, it takes a moment and then it’s good, I can move again. My mind, my emotions, are not old. And when my cousin say we are not so attractive for the man, for me it’s good because I was a very attractive woman and it’s not nice to be that, and now I can look and nobody is looking for me. I love it. I can show my emotion.

Last year I was really old, I lost one (pointing to her breast) and I think it’s good that I am an old woman and not thirty years old. No problem for me. I’m an old woman and I’m very very interested in all things and I’m also naughty. I’m a old time naughty, yes! And I understand a lot of things and when people say: oh, I want to be young, I think no, no. You are very alone then and I don’t want (that). It’s ok I’m old, but my body, my legs, it’s not so nice.

Susan: I see that the norm says you, as a woman, are suppose to look for men who are older or as old as you are and not the young ones. But when you’re getting older it’s for you like for the man that you like the younger ones.

Regina laughs and says “Naughty!”

Susan: And you accuse man of taking second and third women or marrying again and again and you say yeah, he can do that, he gets the new one when the old one is worn out and old and ugly but we’re not allowed to do that. I mean in general.

I have to think about that a lot because I meet a lot of young people that are nice.

The men that are of my age and older I think they are incredibly unattractive. They are so much less attractive then women of my age. And so, what can I do with them? I mean they don’t attract me, I don’t want to share my life with them. They are not lively anymore. It seems they are sort of depress, they are slower, they do not look for what is happening in the world.

I have the impression that women try to get more when they are old, they still want to learn things for themselves; keep themselves upright (she is looking for the right word) dynamic. And of course I can’t say that about all women but there are such women and I meet them and I like them. And I have a big problem getting to know men of my age that are interested and interesting.

Why do you think that is?

Regina:
The garden; the garden of Eden.
Eva say, let us eat from the apple and Adam say “oh God say no!”
She is very interested, she wants to eat the apple and I also want to eat the apple.
And God say no, Adam says no.

(Big laugh from both of them)

Regina:
I think it’s not easy to be old because I don’t plan, I can’t plan the next 10 years.
Oh! I’m going to (do) this and that… It’s over.
You can’t plan.
I think the next five years; I think it’s like now (looking at herself, physically) but then I don’t know. Can I live in my loft?, I have a lot of steps. I don’t know; I – don’t – know.
It’s a difficult question. I think when I have a good day, I think twenty years. (laugh)
Yes; I’m old in twenty years. But I don’t know.
I feel my body much more (now) then when I’m younger, I didn’t think about my body when I was young.
My wrinkles that’s ok. Ohhhh, beautiful! (laugh)

When was beauty not a problem anymore?

Regina:
Fifty.
Fifty years old and I’m sitting on a ship in Sicily and there are lots of men of all ages and they laugh at me and I laugh back and I think, ah! it’s no problem, ah!, the world is opening up (laugh).
The first time I realize this, yes, I was fifty, I remember very very clear.

About youth?

Susan:
Youth has a future. The world is there for you (if you are in such a privilege situation as we are, enough money, good parents, good education), the world is open, you can do many things, you just decide or you wait and things happen. Youth means you have all possibilities, the world is open. People expect from you that you take advantage of your opportunities.

When I got thirty we were joking about things. My friend say thirty, oh yeah, that’s something, and we give you some cream for your face and how to eat in healthy way so you sort of get along with age from thirty on. We’re laughing a lot and I say; you go off with your stuff, I don’t want it.
I didn’t think much change then but I know that when I approach sixty, my age of sixty, I was never fifty nine, I was always almost sixty and it was like aaaahhhh, sixty, that’s quite an age, this is something really…

You have to get over that. Say well ok, I’m sixty, nothing happened, I’m still as I am, ok, ok, ok.

But it is since I’m in the sixties that I’m getting more and more afraid of age… and I’m afraid that people expect me to be old. That they judge me and say: you’re sixty, oh yeah, ok, you’re sixty, not much to do in your life anymore.

I know that my father and my mother were ninety when they died so perhaps half my life is in front of me.
Yes, much life left in you indeed. Thank you Susan and Regina.

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Catherine Bussiere: Claudia, Julia, Ines

It’s been quiet here these past few days
been rainy and stormy and grey
our guests are gone
there’s water dripping here and there
looks like it will be quiet for a few more days

I photographed and interviewed Claudia and Julia last week
they are both 30 (it was Claudia’s birthday)
they were both on vacation with their beau

I got to know them a little, took a few pictures and asked random questions
there is a topic now that I will keep on investigating
age, aging, time

here they are

 

Claudia and Simon

Claudia is from Germany, she is a lawyer, wants to make a decent living, wants kids.
She turned thirty during her stay in Sidi Kaouki. That morning I made her fluffy pancakes with honey syrup. She liked them so much she asked for the recipe.
Simon looked chill, I forget what he does but he seemed willing to stay home and look after the kids when the time comes. Attentive, he had bought a small cake for her birthday. With candles on it.

They were both lovely.

– How does it feel to be 30?
“Three or four months ago I didn’t want to get 30 but now I feel good.
The last year is that (when) I found the more and more what I am. When I was younger it was like what the world is expecting from me.”

Now she feels like she is being herself not meeting others’ expectation.

“I want to be happy, have a family, we want to marry.”
“I don’t like this word: old. Maybe you are never old. You can not fix it with an age.”
“You don’t get that much older when you go with the times. My grandmother has a strong will. She grew with the times.”

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Julia and Aurélien

Julia is French.
She is pretty, social, happy, generous, attentive.
She likes her coffee black.
She is a waitress.
She wanted to work with kids and elders
Do social work
For some reason the french system may not let you be what you want to be
Julia loves: the sun, Morocco, but most of all she loves Aurélien

What is your dream?
“A house in the country, a big piece of land, three sheep, chickens, a goat, a garden, a baby.”

What do you like about your work?
“The contact with people. To offer (the pleasure of) food. The contact with the kitchen: foods, smells, flavors.”

She likes the fast pace. “You don’t get bored”

A good waitress is…?
“Organize, efficient, always smiling.”

Aging? What is it to be old?
“It’s in your head” “ I’m thirty now, my twenties are behind me. I’m not happy to be thirty, to have lost my youth. It’s the Peter Pan complex.”

What is youth?
“It’s to have time ahead of you, the older you get the less time you got.”

About Aurélien she says:
“I’m a fan of our love.”

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Inès

Ines left us too this week
She is a beautiful, spirited young lady
She has claws and she can bite
for that reason she found a new home
before she left we had time to become friends

What makes you happy?
“meow, meow, meow” (sardines, half the bed in the middle of the night, ruling the house)

What do you think about age?
“ meow?”
(what you talking about?)

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I miss them all.

Catherine Bussiere: Blue Kaouki

Blue Kaouki
it’s the name of a hotel
in Sidi Kaouki
long beach, pounding waves, surfers, camels, goats, dogs with teeth that mean it
travelers, campground, hotels, restaurants, surf shack, bicycles
low key
laid back
lovely

our job here is to welcome clients, make breakfast (on the rooftop patio), keep the place tidy
easy

there has only been few clients at a time
only so much to do
we end up chatting, hanging out throughout the day
sharing a little of our lives
I love it
we met a few germans, some english folks, a lovely french couple

Claudia turned 30 while she was here
the big three o
on Friday the 13th
I made her some nice fluffy pancakes with honey syrup
good start to her day

I like this job of easing people’s morning
serve coffee and fresh pressed orange juice
flip an egg
serve that delicious Moroccan bread
(it is delivered warm around 8 every morning)

we will be here until the end of our trip
over the next four weeks
I’ll introduce you to some of our clients
a snapshot and a quote
(yes, yes, I am inspired by humans of New York, the clever idea is not mine)
here’s the first

Drusilla

This lady came in with a cane, luggage and bottles of wine. She told me her doctor told her not to travel. She has been coming to Morocco for years. She is now writing a novel that takes place here. She likes to write at night with a glass of wine and a cigaret. Classic.

What do you like about Morocco?
– I like the people. People don’t care about how you look. They care about who you are.

What makes you happy?
– The lack of pain.

What bugs you?
– Rudeness

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Catherine Bussiere: la Taha

two more days until our visa expires

on another journey we go

this one has been good

the kind of good that makes you feel like you could stay a few more days or a few more months

that you could easily slip into this community

be yet one more wanderer that stumbled upon this place and never left

we have found generous people

that took us in

shared what they had

made us feel at home

tomorrow we will cook a big gumbo

invite a few neighbors

make one last almond cake

today we will go for another walk

maybe not the great big one we had planned on

but at least a little one

I was hoping to see almond blossoms before we left

even the trees in their greatness granted me my wish

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Catherine Bussiere: Atalbeitar

long days, short week
where does the time go
officially by 9am we should all start working
it’s about right, más o menos quince minutos

Alma goes to school
she is four years old
has curly blond hair
and the features of an angel
morning revolves around getting her to the bus in time
like any other household with a child in school

there is a breath of relief, a sense of achievement, when she is off
we did it again
we can go on with our day

a long list of various task is written on a large piece of paper pinned to the kitchen door
everyone has something to do
sanding, painting, fixing, building
ongoing maintenance of a restored house
very different from our house
this house has rocks for roofing
the ceiling of my bedroom is made of large beams holding a wooden structure that supports loads of rocks
the walls are made of blocks of cement covered with plaster
it enable a creative person to shape them as they wish
to insert rounded selves and small alcoves
I quite like it (I love it)
I want a house like that

it is snowing this morning
first snow we see on our trip
we are way up in the Sierra Nevada mountain range
it’s not unusual to have a little snow this time of year

although Christmas has gone by this snow makes us feel like Christmas

everyday we go for a walk
this village is tiny
it has a church, a bar (run by a gentleman named Jesus) and a handful of houses
most of the time you won’t see anyone in the streets except for cats
I have been thinking there may be more stray cats then people living here
I’m not too far off

the houses are all white
every year they get a fresh coat of lime wash
apparently it has antimicrobial properties
you can spot the villages from a distance
white slashes on the mountains

I like it here
every single time we go for a walk I end up picking either: almonds, walnuts or chestnuts off the ground
mostly almonds
people grow almonds around here
I keep writing this word: almond, because it pretty much blows my mind
it’s a dream come true
picking almonds off the ground, cracking the shells with a rock and eating them
I can scratch that off my bucket list
but I don’t want to
I want to live in a place where I can have an almond tree

do you think I could have one in my greenhouse?

time for another cup of tea
it’s Sunday, it’s snowing, I might just go bake an almond cake

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Catherine Bussiere: Christmas

December 21st
it’s hard to believe
I see the Santas here and there
a few decorations
but really walking around Barcelona
wearing a light shirt under a sunny sky
I don’t feel like Christmas is in a very few days

My son Sam joined us this week
we had said good bye to the hills of Provence
spent a day in Marseille
got off the bus really early one morning in the city of Gaudí
and a few days later Sam was here, on our door step
not in my computer talking to me on skype
but right there in front of me
sleepily standing between his brother and sister who picked him up at the airport
Could I possibly want anything else
my three babies for Christmas
my three adult babies
maybe that’s even more special

Barcelona is great and I should tell you all about it
but in a way
at this point in our trip
it is more like a shell that holds us all
a beautiful shell I must say
it is where we get together as a family for a precious amount of time
where we walk and talk
shop (mostly for food) and cook and drink
laugh and snuggle
where we just hang out and enjoy being together

it is precious isn’t it
once the kids grow up
once life takes us apart
when we all fly our own direction
to be able to take the time
make a pause
and reconnect with our dear ones

of course there’s always someone missing
make that a plural
my son’s fiancé
our moms and dads
brothers and sisters
nieces and nephews
the list goes on

But for what I have I am thankful

I wish you who may read this blog a happy Christmas
I wish you to spend time with anyone who is dear to you
may it be family or friend, make the best of it
Merry Christmas!

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Catherine Bussiere: coming to an end

as this day wears off so does this part of our trip
two days ago Isaac and Haley left for Paris
Isaac taking his belle to the last leg of her trip
she will be going home for Christmas

these past two days were spent doing small tasks
going one last time down to the village
enjoying the 2km path through the woods
looking again and again at this beautiful scenery
soaking it in
saying good bye to the butcher
buying one last almond croissant (make that three actually)

over a month has gone by already
our long time dream of Provence to be over

crazy

today for the first time since the beginning of this trip we had nothing on our agenda
first day of no work, no visiting, no traveling
I walked around the property
I took my time
I walked through the olive grove, into the woods
Geraldine was telling me how wild this place was ten years ago
the way she speaks makes me think of an archeological dig
it was all forest
they did an enormous amount of work to bring it to what it is now

I admire the stone work
some has been redone, some, in the woods, is barely visible
I can’t help to think about the past
who built these walls
when
what were they for
olive trees?
in places huge trees have taken roots
how old are they

I walk some more
at the spring I pick up the clay cup and I have a sip
fresh
I go by tall rosemary bushes
it’s hard not to
I rub my hands with their essence
I look down at the rolling hills
in the distance I see the village
on my back the cliff stands tall
no clouds are caught in it today
I look at the olive groves all cleaned up
much work was done there

this week, working away in the sun, I stopped for a moment and thought how content I was to be outside in such a beautiful environment
yes, this experience has been good

our work is done here and our journey to continue
tomorrow we will be off to Barcelona
this coming week we will reunite with our son Isaac and our son Sam who is joining us for the holidays
now that for me will be Christmas

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Catherine Bussiere: Mr. Robert

monsieur Robert
is a gentleman
of provencal decent

at 82 (almost three)
he embodies
the essence of his time

one short meeting
and we are invited to his dwelling on the hill
an offer to a typical meal follows

salade sauvage is on the menu
excited we walk alongside the wise men through the olive grove
looking for a leaf an another that really
to me
looks like dandelion

the cabanon is simple and oh so cozy
in the corner an open fire burns
I – love – the – fire – place
it looks like olden days
later he will put a grill on the coals and roast some lamb chops
cooking on an open fire in an open room
I want this

Monsieur Robert speaks provencal
he speak french with a southern accent like everyone here
but he also speaks provencal
which has it’s own twist and flavor and sounds a little spanish to me
way cool

the meal starts with “l’apéro”
today an anise liqueur diluted in water
one may add currant syrup and call it “une tomate”
one could add mint syrup instead and call it “un perroquet”
fruit or bird it’s a good way to start off

we try anchoïade on croutons
anchoïade is an anchovy paste mixed with garlic and olive oil
yes, it is salty
and what is salty is also tasty
and addictive
add needs to be washed down with “l’apéro”
one must know how to dose
it’s all good

Monsieur Robert made us a “gratin dauphinois”
the french are very clever in naming dish
all sounds terribly fancy
when in fact all is mostly terribly rich
a gratin dauphinois is a potato casserole with lots of cream, some garlic
it is topped with cheese and if that was not enough Monsieur Robert likes to finish off with a yolk glaze
now we all have to agree that gratin dauphinois does sound regal
and it is
hence the spelling

Monsieur Robert treats us well
the chops are cooked to perfection
wine is served
conversation flows
all are content

then
after a little while
when we think we are done
one realize we forgot the salad
“Oh mon Dieu!” we can’t skip the wild one
and so it is washed and dressed and we all get a good portion

at the table I am facing: my daughter Charlotte, my son Isaac and his beautiful fiancée Haley
as we are all eating the most bitter salad we ever got to taste
(imagine a full bowl of dandelion leaves)
I refrain a growing amount of laughter from cascading out
everyone’s face is slightly distorted as we chew
it simply tastes awful
to our palate lets be clear
we’re just not use to this
we all do our best and mostly finish it all
Monsieur Robert, innocently asks us how we like it
he knows
secretly he is having fun with us Canadian

hours later after coffee, a shot of Chartreuse, some ice cream
after the game of Rugby
on tv
Toulon won
that was a good thing
hours later we leave
cheek, cheek, kiss, kiss
with this provencal saying:
“À l’an que vèn ! Se sian pas mai, que siguen pas mens”
which means:
“Until next year! If we are not more, let’s not be less”

Thank you monsieur Robert

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new this week: a french post on my website

 

Catherine Bussiere: Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse: a traditional Provencal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille.

I can’t say how long I’ve wanted to eat bouillabaisse
growing up I read Marcel Pagnol, a god amongst Provencal literature
his series: Marius, Fanny, Cesar take place in the heart of Marseille where Cesar, a lively choleric character, runs a bar
the world of Pagnol is a world like any: family, friends, love, foes, food, drinks
it is lively, it is flavorful, the language sings
it is french from the south, from the sea, with accent, punctuation, words like no others
The bouillabaisse is a classic dish from this part of the world
as it requires specific fish and spices one can really only eat the “real thing” here

Friday night we were invited to a party of ten at “la table D’eux” restaurant to eat the famous soup
and I was excited
as we walked into the restaurant I was taken aside right away to the kitchen to see a basin filled with odd looking fish covered with garlic, saffron and who knows what

Our host have been fantastic
we help out all week
we’ve mostly been cleaning up the olive grove; mowing, chopping, making it nice
we get a lovely place to stay, the best grocery, (I have a tab at the boucherie where I’ve been trying all sorts of local specialties)
and on Friday we go out

Now we could just go out and eat but Geraldine (she likes to be called Gerry but Geraldine is so pretty and she does look a little bit like Geraldine Chaplin) goes above and beyond
She knows we are curious so she makes sure to introduce us to the locals
She arranged a couple tours to local olive mills
Took us out to try the Beaujolais nouveau

In the kitchen of the restaurant the mother of the cook explains to me how the soup is made
the various fish have been sitting in a wonderful mixture of spices for hours
The broth is made
veggies are cooked
one by one, depending on their size, the fish will be added at the last minute so they cook to perfection

in the restaurant the table is set
as we wait we are treated to a few rounds of sparkling wine to celebrate Isaac and Haley’s engagement
the traditional plate of charcuterie sits on the counter
someone tells me to try this and that
I try everything

We are now ready to hit the table
Bouillabaisse has a special order of thing
first the broth is served pipping hot topped with rouille spread on croutons
rouille is like a spicy homemade mayonnaise with garlic and saffron

The broth is heavenly
rich, flavorful
the crouton soak just enough of the broth for an easy chew
the rouille tops it all
I am in heaven

Then comes two huge platters of fish
it has all those crazy fish I saw earlier in the kitchen plus mini crabs, mussels and squid
I try everything
Next you place any of the fish you want in your plate
grab a few potatoes if you wish and cover that with the broth that has been kept hot

we all go for several rounds
wine keeps filling our glasses
our bellies are getting fuller and fuller
there is so mush fish to be eaten

several hours later
that’s the way it goes here
a proper meal takes hours
the fish is gone and we are served an expresso followed by a few shots of Lemoncello
jolly and filled to the rim we exit the restaurant with kisses on the cheek to the cook, his mom, the waitress

another meal in Provence gone by
I am looking forward to next Friday
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Catherine Bussiere: highlights

when one doesn’t know where to start; start with highlights
Paris is already gone by and I barely said a thing busy we were soaking it up
and before Paris there was Canterbury
didn’t even mention that did I
images are worth a thousand word, I will use this

Canterbury: awe, solemnity, beauty, moved to tears when I entered the crypt
why?
I think the sense of time, history, people, us in some ways passing through, achievement, faith, war, love, peace
I don’t know
and didn’t need to think it
the feeling was there and was enough
I loved Canterbury
later on we went back to hear the choir
we went to mass
I never go to mass
it was beautiful
the whole ceremony punctuated by a mixture of voices all tones and range mixed in unison in this huge sacred place

that was Canterbury cathedral
highly recommended

then Paris
an overnight bus ride from London that took us on the ferry in the middle of the night
long and groggy is the feeling
in the middle of the night we go through border
the French one
I’m a little nervous again, borders tent to do that
Charlotte is ahead
the officer says “bonsoir”
she says “bonsoir”
he then says “and in the morning you say…”
She is puzzled for a second then responds “bonjour”
“and in the afternoon…”
that’s the trick question, one must know that to go through border
Charlotte answers: “bonne après-midi”

I go after Charlotte
He says: “Bonsoir”
“bonsoir”
“She looks like you”
“She’s my daughter”
the officer winks, stamps my passport, “Bon séjour”
off I go
I love France already

True things about Paris: people are not rude
or at least no more then anywhere else
also, I was under the impression that there would be dog droppings everywhere
that was an old rumor
Paris is clean, surprisingly clean
Paris highlights: everywhere you look is beautiful, the bakeries, la Seine, the multiple bridges, la tour Eiffel at night, walking and getting lost, our hosts
Paris was thrilling and exhausting
you just can’t help wanting more of it

We are now settled in a beautiful nook in Southern France
up against a cliff looking down valleys
olives trees lined up on “restanques” (dry-stone wall terraces)
a 2 km path takes us to the nearby village (and bakery)
today we’ll explore a different path that leads to a monastery
the monks are known to produce “Chartreuse” and honey
worth investigating

at this point in our trip we have been reunited with my son and his … fiancé!
he proposed in London about a week ago
sweethearts
so it’s five of us for the month in Provence
we will be clearing the orchard, helping out on the land
it is a country where thyme and rosemary grow wild
as my son said “herbes de Provence” could just as well be “weeds of Provence”
we love it

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Catherine Bussiere: thanks dinner

I am walking around this morning
I go to the lounge
it is another stunning morning
crisp, fresh, covered in dew
the lounge sits empty yet I can hear the rumor
yesterday the two tables were filled with friends, family, neighbors

before our trip and just for shear pleasure
we decided to host a thanks dinner
for your support, for looking after us, for your friendship

there is something I really like about hosting
sitting people around large tables
having counters filled with food and beverage
being outdoors on a rainy windy day
and not caring because of a warm sweater and good company

I love to mix people
to introduce and say, this is so and so, she is an artist, he is a gardener
the conversation rolls
glasses and bowls are being refilled
people relaxing, taking time, enjoying

It was busy, it was good
we were thankful and we were pleased

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You have to have each others back.

Some of my best friends I have had since high school. I love the fact that people have known me a long time. It wraps around me like a quilt. I enjoy making new friends, meeting new people but the comfort of those relationships that have outlasted your school girl whims, your irresponsibileness of your teenage years, and the self centred years that we all put in as we grew into ourselves fits like an old sweatshirt. You know it belongs on your back.

The girls I knew in high school, well we ran around together like a band of thieves (we never stole, just a metaphor). We were just tight looking out for each other. There were missteps along the way with each other as there are with young women. There were even years where we did not keep in touch.  Sometimes even now we go months or a year with out seeing each other but I still feel that they are in my corner. I still feel that one cup of tea after a long absence would fill the space between us.

Friendship needs to be easy at my age. It needs to be void of expectations, and we need understanding with out explanation.

Yesterday a friend came in and said she was going to the Jann Arden Concert in Moncton with two other good friends. They did not invite because they booked it in May and they knew that I would never commit to September in May. I just jumped in and said, “Can I come?” “Sure, get a ticket”. I got a third row seat all by myself but travelled with those guys and went to dinner with them. It never occurred to me I was not wanted, I just knew that they did not ask because I say no to lots of well planned events. I like to go on the spur of the moment. Jann Arden was great by the way. I was mocked for inviting myself. I admonished them for not inviting me. None of it was serious. We knew our roles and responsibilities having gone from play group to university with our children. Again, long old friendships.

Not to devalue the new ones. There is nothing more fun then hearing a new story. I love to hear someone new is moving to the community, and getting to know them. There is joy in discovery as well. In friendship you just have to be able to assume they care about you. You can’t go getting slighted too easy. You have to be quick to forgive. Honesty and understanding are necessary if you want to get past the first few years because once you do there is often an endurance that will sustain relationships for a long time.

 

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Catherine Bussiere: lots to do

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– those are very small Beckwith news by the way
the mosquitoes are back
it’s been driving us crazy
it’s the end of the summer crop
they are small and they are hungry

then there is the garden in it’s full mature beauty
I walked through parts of it this morning looking at patterns
closing in to borage
how velvety it seems

a friend of mine spent the week here working away at four short videos
she is a percussionist extraordinaire
it’s been fun helping her out

but the most exciting news at the moment
is our upcoming trip to Europe
this week more then any
things have developed
we now know for sure that we will be helping out for a month
harvesting olives in Southern France
it sounds romantic
maybe it’ll be brutal
I doubt it
I’m up for new grounds, experiences and challenges

on my to do list coming right up
is a blog site (shared with my daughter)
that will feature our adventures in Europe
I’d like to keep posting photos and make short videos

I will keep a post on Deanne’s Sunday blog
it will most likely be linked to my new blog site
must figure that out

for now my friend is waiting
today we must wrap up her video projects
lots to do
have a good week

Catherine Bussiere: bike ride

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it is sunny
it is warm
it smells like fresh cut grass
it smells like a warm summer forest
there’s bugs
there’s birds
and fishes
and wild flowers

it’s the country
another country side
a hilly one
with fields, forests, tractors, and hidden ponds
with nephews and a niece
and bikes

it’s June
and it’s summer

Look with Lorna

Today we celebrated Deanne’s birthday. Brenda made strawberry shortcake for the special occasion and a few friends were in to help us enjoy the yummy treat.

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Catherine Bussiere: rhubarb and fiddle heads

I woke up to a warm morning
how glorious is a warm breezy morning in the country side
no bugs yet
no bitting bugs anyway

I put the kettle on for coffee
looked around… no husband
I thought, and I was right, he must be gone looking for fiddle heads

the water wasn’t even boiling that my son was up
to my surprised expression he responded: happy mother’s day
smile (awww)
then offered to make a smoothie

the smoothie was on it’s way when my daughter came down
with a gift and a card in her hand
!!!
awwwww
I really was not expecting anything

I like to make the most of my adorable, most willing to do something for me, children
I had invited my mother in law for brunch and was about to make the first rhubarb pie of the year
to the garden we go, help me gather enough for a couple pies
the rhubarb isn’t high yet
but with three sets of hands it didn’t take long
as we were picking my husband showed up with a bag filled with fiddle heads
it’s the first year that he gathers them
last fall he found edible mushrooms in the wood, now fiddle heads
there’s something quite fantastic about foraging
it has to be some of the best food one can eat

the meal consisted of fish cake Benedict (that is a fish cake with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce), steamed fiddle heads and rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert
we had some white wine with cassis liquor and frozen strawberries to go with that
which may explain why this blog is posted a little later than usual
a nap had to follow that scrumptious meal

it is a blessing to be a mother
to honor the ones that have nurtured us and to nurture in return

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Look with Lorna

Happy Mother’s Day everyone. I wish you all a wonderful weekend full of love and joy.

 

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I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know.” —Mitch Albom

Look with Lorna

I love the word Hope. Not sure why but anytime I see something with Hope on it I have to buy it. I even had Morgan from Damaris write it on my finger nail the last time I had my nails done. So when Deanne started doing rugs with words on them I said ” you have to do hope”. Well to my surprise she did do the rug and then gave it to me. It now hangs in my living room and I just love it !

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knit night

My sister in law, Jeanette travels the world and send me pictures and notes about wool where ever she goes. I guess she sees a skein of yarn and thinks of me. On a recent trip she sent me this from a New Zealand magazine, Good Health, June 2012

“Not only do knitters show reduced memory loss but one Harvard study shows that knitting bring the mind and body to the ‘relaxation response’ and can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and help the heart rate drop by up to 11 beats per minute.”

My guess is that most handwork, knitting , crochet, hooking, quilting might have a similar effect.

Last night my friends met to knit. We travel from house to house on Tuesday nights just the four of us. Last night we even went out in the storm because we needed to get together. We knit together because we need to get together more than we need to knit. Last night two of us were knitting dishcloths, the other was knitting a scarf for next winter. We rumbled on about the coming of summer and how we would miss knit night.

It was cancelled during March break and on the Tuesday night I just felt lonely. No knit night. My knitting was right there beside me but my friends were not. I knit at home and watched tv but I missed the social.

This morning I read Jan Wong’s article in the Herald about her group called sewing. She said they get together for cake and do not even sew but the real reason for the getting together is the togetherness. She talks about how important it has been for her in her move to Fredricton where she teaches at UNB. I really like her column thoughI do think her sewing group should try knitting.

Knitting might be good for your physical health but I am pretty sure it also good for your mental health. It promotes gathering and socialization. It takes lonely to lovely a stitch at a time.

I look forward to my knitting night because it is a chance to wind down with friends. We are a tiny group and happy with that really. We don’t cook for each other. It is a no fuss kind of night. A cup of hot chocolate or mint tea might be poured but mostly in our winter of getting together what gets poured is our thoughts.

As mothers we talk about our children. As women we mumble about our husbands. We share the news. I cannot say we gossip because the four of us our careful about that, but we do talk about the truth we know. We make a few plans for this or that but mostly we sit together and just enjoy the presence of another soul who likes the feel of wool slipping through their fingers, another should who knows that handmade is worth the time, not for the product , which is beautiful but for the process.

We gather because we have a need for each other’s company. We could easily knit at home with netflix but our lives become richer when we can share a story. We fell less alone when we hear a story that is our own coming from someone else.

I highly recommend handwork. Knit or hook or crochet or felt or quilt. It does not matter.

I also believe in the beauty of doing it together. Listening, while you weave your hands together, to the sounds of familiar voices telling stories similar to your own, creating memory, lowering your blood pressure and slowing your heart rate…who knew? We all did.

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Look with Lorna

Brenda made these great felted slippers for me. Love my Brenda Lou !

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James stopped in today to show us this sweater his wife made. Great job Sally !

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Catherine Bussiere: Cats

I don’t know if I ever told you about my two cats
once upon a time about two years ago
after mourning our previous cat, Miche, for a good year
– by the way I use Miche’s pretty face for my profile picture –
my daughter and I embarked on a very short journey to find a cat

It was I believe a Saturday morning when I slyly asked my husband if he would mind having a cat again

there was a time when we had goats and chickens and a dog and several cats
the kids were babies, we were home all the time, we gardened, we did the whole self sufficient thing and it was good
then one by one the pets left or passed away, we ate some chickens and gave a few and we sold our goats
we were all itching to go traveling
my husband and I maybe more then the kids but they didn’t know that then
they hadn’t been bit (by the travel bug)
now they have

When Miche passed away I was devastated
she was the best cat ever
she had been born from one of our cat and picked from the litter to be kept
she was beautiful and smart and was an incredible mouser
she would somehow know when the kids were in distress and would sit between them to elevate tension
Pets do that

After she passed away we thought (my husband thought) this is it, no more pets, freedom to go whenever, where ever, no pet sitter needed

So that Saturday morning as I presented my question, there was no definite answer
there was not a clear “no”
That was all I needed
the house, after a year of cat vacancy, was crawling with mice
it’s an old farm house and has plenty of entrance for the little critters
I had two teens still at home, one of them being my daughter, whom I thought could use the love of a cat

My husband was to be gone for a few hours that morning, he was to pick up his sister at the airport
Daughter, I called, let’s go find a cat
On a mission we were
drive, drive, look around
I swear if I had seen a wandering cat I would have snatched it
I was looking for a young female
I wanted a good mouser and didn’t think a Tom would do the job

We drove to Pugwash, the nearest village, and looked around for kitten adds
None were to be found
when you don’t want a cat everyone has kittens to give
of course that day with little time on our hand we couldn’t find any

Pugwash has a vet clinic so we decided to look there
the clinic should have been close but by chance the vet was there
We inquired about a cat and she said that she had two Toms that needed a home
her next door neighbors had moved and left their cats behind
My daughters eyes lit right up
I thought two Toms
of course they were coming together
they had once been separated but the one that had been sent away came back
…sigh…

So off we go to see the cats and of course my daughter falls in love with them
and so home we go with two grown cats, two male grown cats,
and I’m hoping my husband isn’t home yet
and of course he is home yet and not at all impressed with my find

It’s been two years now
Buster the very large, unbelievably soft, most sociable cat
and Charlie, much smaller and reserved
have not only capture everybody’s heart, husband included, but there isn’t a single rodent to be seen around
so there
now I’ll need a cat sitter for next fall
what was I thinking

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Sheree Fitch stopped in after her visit at the Spa. As she sat at the table hooking she said “I think I was a rainbow in my past life.” I think she may be right.

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The Olympics’ are over and here are the gold medals results

Norma’s  Sweater

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Brenda’s Sweater

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My Hat

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Megan’s Mittens

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Mary’s Blanket

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Our friend Vivian even joined in the fun

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Catherine Bussiere: stormy day

stormy day
wind and snow
swirling

engulfed,
somewhere on the map
a cozy house at the end of a road

no one needs to go
no one can go

it’s a full house
winter break has started
family is all together

time capsuled in the storm
all that is needed is fire in the wood stove

palms and taro are being read
hot chocolate has been made

enveloped in white
serenity infuses my senses

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As the Olympics’ start so does the excitement of cheering on our athletes and watching all the events.

So here in the studio we thought to celebrate the games we would have the knitting Olympics. Each of us has picked out a pattern we want to knit, and we have to finish it by the time the games are over.

I am doing a hat and maybe a matching cowl depending on how the hat goes. Brenda is knitting a beautiful sweater which I hope she doesn’t like and may want to give it away to someone. (Hint, Hint)

Megan is doing a pair of mittens and Norma a sweater. Deanne is working on a blanket.

So if you have a project that has been waiting for you to finish, now is the perfect time to get it out, watch the games and cheer on your country, and cheer us on too.

Go Canada Go

Here are the yarns we will be using

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Catherine Bussiere: Serendipity

I like embracing new words
think about them, get a feel of what they mean
english being a second language, every so often I come across a new one that I have to tame
serendipity is one of them
I had, last Monday, the perfect embodiment of the word

About a year ago, my daughter, then in grade 10, announced that she was going to finish high school the following year. She had talked to the school councillor, she had done her research and it was figured out that if she took two classes on her own through distant education and took such and such classes at school she would have all the required credits to graduate. No need to go through another year of high school, she could skip grade 12 all together. Nice. The question was, what will you do the following year. I want to go to Europe, she said, I want you guys to come with me. You guys being my husband and I. In this particular instance I love being you guys.

Clearly, neither my husband nor I questioned that offer. It was the kind of offer we wouldn’t consider saying no to. Our teen daughter wants to spend some extra special time with us before she leaves the nest. Hummmmm, ok.

Now the plan for this coming fall is to travel through Europe or rather visit a few areas and stay, if possible, for up to 6 months. We are not the go on a cruise type or the whirlwind see 12 countries in 12 days type. We are looking at finding a few places where we can spend chunks of time. We found this website called Helpx which connects people from various countries with travelers. In exchange of help around house, garden, business, the host provides shelter and food. Some host have vineyards, bakeries, businesses, small farm they need help with. My personal goal is to learn some new skills, a new language and share my skills. For my husband and daughter it will be, amongst other things, to share their music.

A week ago Sunday we had our first official family meeting. There is plenty to figure out about this trip, just the visa issue was starting to give me a headache. The three of us brought to the table our findings and came to some agreements. It’s a work in progress, getting together made us all that more excited about the infinite possibilities.

Sounds a little gypsy to you, just you wait…

When I came back from work the following day, Monday, I saw a full size winnebago parked in my parking spot. An older one, maybe from the seventies. Now we have musician friends that could potentially own one of those and be touring and be parked in our driveway, but mid January?
I got out of the car, looked around to see the plate and read Tennessee. Louisiana, North Carolina, yes, maybe, but Tennessee… ?
So I get in the house, hear voices in the living room and find my husband in a cheerful conversation with a couple and a teen. We are introduced; Joe, Donna, their son, there is a daughter upstairs with my daughter. They are from Australia. (Oh, ok, now that makes sense!) They have been on the road for years. He is a horse man, a cowboy, a musician, a long rider. He did a lot of his trip solo but is now traveling with his family. He wrote a book that is self published and has cds for sale. They go from town to town telling their story to the newspaper, find a venue, do a show and move on. Like troubadours of another era. Last year they were in Europe for several months. They fill us in with all those details we are wondering about. We talk for hours. My husband plays a few songs, Joe plays a few song. I move to the kitchen and start supper. Little Maddie, the 10 year old daughter, joins me ready to help.

What are you making she says.
Soup, biscuits and brownies.
Can I help?
Sure, let me start the soup, you can help me with the baking.

We shared a meal, stories, they spent the night, we exchanged emails.

Last night they did a show in Tatamagouche, a nearby village. I heard it was well attended.

Oh, you wonder how they got to our place. Serendipity I guess. They stopped at the Chatterbox cafe in Pugwash looking for a venue. That venue being closed the owner who knows us said “you should check out these folks” and instead of driving straight to Tatamagouche like they first intended they backtracked a little and found us. They will be in the maritimes for a few months. If you are curious here is their website: www.joeguylongrider.com

Now, I must go. We are having a meeting!

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my nest

It was time. I have thought about it for a year. Mostly I have been using my phone camera for all my shots. It so easy, but the truth I really wanted clearer crisper shots and something small that fit into my purse. On Saturday I went to Carsand Mosher and learned that you can have a wireless camera. So I bought a new camera that is every bit as good as my big SLR that is always at the studio, and this one can fit in my pocket. I bought it mostly for the blog because you readers are important to me and I want you to know it. This Sunday I even went online and read the manual. Not much point in having all those capabilities if you don’t know how to use them.

So I took these shots of the empty nest, and of course you know what I thought about as I did. Mine is not quite empty yet. There is still lots of comings and goings here but it is far quieter than it used to be. Now when parents pick up their kids they text them from the car. No more standing at the door talking for half an hour. Those were some great visits really. We still get some of that. Our friend John Rossong picked up his daughter Emily ( she works at my studio) the other night and he came in for a ten o’clock cup of tea. We ate a pack of cookies and some really good Dutchman Gouda cheese (Old Growler) and we sat at the kitchen table and just visited.  I’ll miss those pick ups and drop offs when my daughter goes to university. It’ll have to be more purposeful, our visits. We’ll just have to go. I have a half dozen people that I am comfortable dropping in on for a cup of tea. There are lots more I am sure that would welcome me but it feels a little awkward sometimes to take that step to visit someone.

I guess I need people at my kitchen table. I just like the feel of it. The tea. The toast. The whatever you got in the fridge. The talk. It all makes up my nest here. It makes my perch more comfortable, and it fills the nest.

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Catherine Bussiere: lightness

someone wished my mama lightness for this new year
there are a few definitions
I will share the ones I like

– lack of pressure or burdensomeness

– gaiety of manner, speech, style, … ; cheerfulness

– lack of seriousness; levity in actions, thoughts, or speech

I like it

I was at a women’s gathering earlier today
a friend organized a pot luck
we were to share food and thoughts about this coming year
where we’re at in our lives,
hopes, aspiration, resolution

she had placed pieces of paper in a jar
with questions to think of
one could pick from it as wished
no pressure
turns out that it stimulated various conversation

as there were too many of us to fit around the table
various pockets were formed
I ended up talking with an artist I had been meaning to visit
and a lady I had never met

my piece of paper had to do with new year resolution
and how it would affect me
I first thought I hadn’t taken any
just to be quickly reminded by my daughter of my year’s to do list

are those resolutions?
I guess so

I’ll tell you two things
one is that I feel really good about this year
like it’s filled with potential
there is lots to do and I’m thrilled by it

the other (thing) is that I will make changes and take chances
internal changes as in how I interact with my environment
be more attentive and receptive
it could be anything, people, nature, art, ideas

and take chances
shake things up
get out of my comfort zone
learn, travel, do

what I am not sure
but I feel lightness in the air
and I like it

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Catherine Bussiere: relativity

Christmas has just gone by and there is still New Years to come
yet this morning it feels like the holidays are coming to a close
one of my son is leaving for Cape Breton to be with his loved one
My holidays revolve pretty much around family
family home = celebration
family gone = back to routine
it’s not back to routine yet but it’s looming

Last night we had a little get together
a couple of friends were coming over for supper and last minute we decided to invite a few more
I’ve been wanting to have people over but with all these storms and holiday commitment  I was about to let it go by
last night was just perfect
We had plenty of food and on the spur of the moment my husband just made a couple calls
everyone showed up

I love to mix people up
People that may not know each other
different generation and background
all sitting around the table the conversation never stopped

After much delicious foods we kicked everyone out to go sliding
There really wasn’t any option
so these grown up friends
found themselves on crazy carpets
after what may have been 20 years or more
funny how we stop doing certain things
the sheer joy of sliding down a hill
the inevitable screams of joy
brought everyone back to their childhood

so
much
fun

it really is my favorite winter sport
if it is a sport

as the New Year is coming around
I have on my list to revisit simple pleasures
one thing has been
listening to records
thanks to my daughter who got a record player for Christmas
what a treat

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maritime Mary: Book Club

I belong to a book club. We have no name, we are an untitled eclectic group of ladies. We meet monthly, get caught up on our lives, discuss our book, laugh, and get off track. And then we drink teas and eat something delicious.

Last night we changed up our December meeting and had a pot luck at my house. It’s always fun to dress up a festive table, especially when you aren’t responsible for the food prep. Pot luck is a great idea. We also celebrated a special birthday for one of our members and the cake, well, it was as good as it looked. Have a peek.

Light snow was magically falling as we bid each other adieu, Christmas greetings were extended – till we meet again for tea and book talk in January.

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Look with Lorna

We received an order from Briggs and Little today. Great to see a company that has been in business since 1857 and still embraces the simplest of packaging.

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Megan and I had a little photo shoot while unpacking.

There is never a dull moment here that’s for sure.

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Catherine Bussiere: Grammy’s Birthday

This week end was Grammy’s birthday party
Grammy is 75 tomorrow so she organized herself a lovely family reunion just the way she likes it

Grammy is someone rather special
at 75 she lives like the grammy in Little Red Riding Hood
She’s off the grid, in the woods, pumps her water and lights her lovely cottage with beeswax candle that she makes
at 75 she sells those candles at local farmers market
She has taken several arts and crafts over the past 20 years
paper maché, tile work, photography, weaving, beeswax candle, to name a few
Before that she did a million things
amongst which having a restaurant in the Costa Rican jungle
and getting a university degree at age 60
She’s been what most of us would consider poor all her life
yet she is one of the richest women I know

Last night she got exactly what she wanted
in her little red cottage she hosted 22 of her closest ones
it was so tight in there it felt like one of those games where you have the one empty space and movement is directed by whichever element gets moved
all of us being those elements we eventually all had a place to sit, and a full plate of food in front of us
Grammy was beaming

Last night she told me she had a secret
she wouldn’t tell me right away
This morning she came by
sat in the living room amongst all off us
I made her coffee
her eyes were shining
out came the secret
“I have to tell you something she said: I’m getting myself a Kiln!”

Excitement, constant interest, curiosity
thirst for life and what it has to offer
animates this beautiful grammy

Dear GG (for Grammy Gail)
you are a remarkable women

 

the following images are for her

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The day the new book arrived

It was exciting when the first box of books arrived at the studio; we were all waiting to see that first copy. At first we were looking at the books amazed at how bright and colorful the rugs turned out on paper, but then Deanne started to cry and soon we were all teary eyed. I was surprised how emotional the experience was watching our friend hold her new book for the first time. Congratulations Deanne, Singily Skipping Along is a wonderful book, both you and Sheree are amazing !

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I was going over to the bank during the Fibre Arts Festival and this is what I saw, this sweet picture of Kathy sitting outside after a long day from the Workshop.

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At the Zonta fair Claire was there selling her beautiful spun yarns, mittens and hats. Loving the chicken hat.

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Catherine Bussiere: fall impression

so much can be said

so much can be seen

in a state of tiredness

all I share is this

a walk in the woods

of fall before the falls

wonders of nature

once again

fulfill ones mind, heart, soul

the drive home

long after too short a night

in the back seat

listening to music

I watch the changing light

over hours

pouring rain, rainbow, clouds

a strange evening

puts me in an impressionist state

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Bussiere: Still

the sun is rising later and later
this morning as I walk outside in the mist of dawn
I let the stillness fill my soul
fall

feeling the promise of the day
I look at my garden
the trees
the grass
the empty swing
I look at the light reaching the heights
slowly coming down on me
warmth

my sister came with her three kids for ten days
they just left at 5:30
it’s a long trek to Quebec
I will miss the busyness of the little ones
the companionship of my sister

the house is quiet
my teens
– my young adults
are slowly rising
eating yesterday’s leftovers
pumpkin, apple and cherry pie
breakfast

thanksgiving has to be my favorite holiday
I like the feast
the gathering of family
the celebration of harvest
earth goodness

happy thanksgiving
may you be surrounded by the ones you love