The “401” is a highway that runs along the north shore of Lake Ontario from Windsor to the Quebec/Ontario border. As it stretches through the city of Toronto it is eighteen lanes, but gradually narrows to four lanes the further it gets from the city. Along the way, the highway runs close enough to the lake to get glimpses of the water where ever trees or buildings don’t block the view.
So it was along the 401 East that I found myself trying to keep my eyes on the road as I spotted an unusually shaped cloud. The cloud hovered over the lake like an oval space ship. Was this a lenticular cloud? I really want to see one of those. But, they only form in mountainous areas. As much as I dared, I watched the cloud wondering why it was that shape. I was excited to think I was seeing something unusual.
Finally, as I progressed around the edge of the lake, the unusual cloud revealed itself to be the very end of a very ordinary bank of clouds. The cloud bank trailed off into the southwest and the mystery of the cloud dissipated.
Only perspective made the cloud I saw any different from any other normal cloud. Had I not had to drive on, I would only have seen something wondrous. But changing my physical position relative to the cloud revealed it was somewhat less so. That’s how it is with most things. Change your perspective, and the thing you are looking at changes too.
If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you, but your own judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgment now.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Socks: on sale-four, ninety-seven
Barbie Doll: so she now has eleven
Toaster oven: will do for Mom
Sweater: again this year for Tom
Box of Chocolates: may keep for myself
Grab some tinsel, it’s the last on the shelf
Wallet: for Sis, too bad it’s green
Earrings: for Auntie- the selection’s sure lean
Here this will do, come take a look
Good heavens this list is as long as a book
On Christmas Eve the shopping is hard
Don’t stop and worry, just get out that card
Over twenty years ago I worked in the jewelry and purse
department of a major department store in a large suburban mall. Christmas Eve was on a workday and although we had to travel an hour and a half to my in-laws Christmas Eve celebration I had to work to closing time at 6:00 pm.
I don’t remember what time started but I do remember a very busy day. Most of the day I worked at the cash register (not an easy job for someone who has trouble adding back in the day when they didn’t add and subtract for your, and certainly before debit cards existed). What I do remember vividly is the very un-Christmas spirit of the shoppers and their willingness to buy whatever was on the shelves–and the shelves by that time were pretty bare!
The manager of the department refused to restock the merchandise so that all of the items–some of it had been there since the
spring when I started–would be sold. remember tucking decidedly ugly wallets, many time passed over purses, and gaudy jewelry boxes. The store was full of sour, rushed shoppers but I decided that none of that would affect my Christmas spirit.
I managed to smile my way through the evening and keep my good mood intact. It was an important lesson on how to control my attitude! I also, many years later, was inspired to write this little poem! I hope you have a great Christmas Season and if you suddenly remember on December 24 that the next day you need some Christmas gifts try to keep a little Christmas spirits
That theme inspired me to have a project theme as well. So, I’ve decided to “Finish the Year”. All those projects that are sitting around 1/2, 2/3, 3/4, 99/100 done, I will finish by December 30. An easy fun project is my train case, which I plan to use within the next few weeks as I have a few over-nights. It’s been sitting with the lining ripped out for about a year.
I recently decided to go and buy the fabric for the lining and when I went to look at it to determine how much I needed, I discovered I’d already bought the fabric. It’s almost done now, and ready to be used. I’ll post a picture when it’s complete.,Another large project that has been sitting since late last spring is my big lounge chair.
After I got it, I immediately sewed the cushion covers. Then, because the prospect of pulling so many staples was daunting, it sat looking very ugly for a long time. My husband offered to give me a hand this week, and we moved the project forward by a lot. Just another hour of stapling should complete the chair.
And, of course, there is a partially completed ‘sideways’ sweater on my knitting machine. It took some math to figure out the shaping, so of course, that made the whole thing grind to a halt. Please, someone, diagnose me with dyscalculia so I have a legitimate excuse. There’s more, of course–but I am going to Finish the Year. I will not start any new projects until the WIPs are done. Wish me luck.
This version of Christmas Pipes is a medley with O Holy Night. It, with a slighthy different arrangement quickly became one of my favourite choir songs for this term. I like our more jaunty version too.
Lando is still with us. He’s feeling quite comfortable here I think. Sammy seems to be getting along with him very well. They play, nap, play some more, nap. They’re certainly giving us lots of entertainment.
I haven’t been doing a lot of making lately. At this time of year, I like to be outside as much as possible when the weather is good. Some of that time is spent reading (while watching the antics of the dogs). My reading list lately looks like this:
The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin
Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker PhD
The Building of Celebration House, by Annette Drake
A History of Courtship by Tania O’Donnell
Push Not the River and Against a Crimson Sky by James Conroyd Martin
The First Americans by John David Cross
Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
1215 and All That by Ed West
The Queen’s Governess by Karen Harper
The Gilded Age by Milton Rugoff
Goodness! I just realized making this list how many books I’ve read in the last month or so.
Last Friday night, while a vicious wind storm whipped the south end of the province we drove down the highway to Toronto to pick up a weary traveller. Orlando is about a year old and he had left a shelter in Texas and headed to Ontario along with about a half-dozen others, Jack Russell and Rat Terrier crosses, that had been slated for euthanisia. Some of the dogs had been refugees from Hurricane Harvey. Others, like Orlando, were down on their luck and clearly running out of options.
Luckily, the Ontario Rat and Jack Russell Terriers were able to secure them, and Thursday morning, they began the long journey north on what’s been described as the underdog railway. The pups were handed off about 12 times before becoming Canadians and finally reaching their destination. On this side of the border, several families opened their homes to foster these dogs until permanent homes are found.
Lando has been with us for barely three days now. We’ve had him to the vet and all seems to be well with his health. He got his flea/tick/heartworm medication, which is a must for all dogs from southern areas where these problems are greater than they are here. His foster brother, our dog Sammy Sam loves him (so far).
I understand how many dogs were left homeless when hurricanes hit. But how some, including our Sammy, also from the lower states, and now Lando end up in shelters baffles me. Both of these dogs are absolute delights. They are sweet, smart and so much fun to have around. The temptation is to keep Lando–I’m going to cry when he leaves, but I feel smaller, much more submissive Sammy needs another dog more his temperament and body type. Ultimately, it will be Sammy’s decision as to what dog, if any, finds a permanent home with us. For now, Lando will stay until the rescue is sure he’s ready to go to his forever home. And we are proud foster parents, loving every minute of the experience.
Whaaat?! It’s January 30th? How did that month go by so quickly? One month of winter down, who knows how many to go. It’s been mild enough that we have lost most of the snow that fell earlier on. It got bitterly cold, and then the temperatures shot up well above freezing. I didn’t even get out to skate on the little rink they built here in the village. Now the weather has turned again and winter clearly hasn’t gone away.
But, I have been busy, which is why the time has gone so fast. I’m doing less writing and more making. I recently completed the Burda Sewing Instructors Certification. So that meant sewing, sewing and sewing. I also realized my wardrobe was woefully lacking warm winter clothes. So I stocked up on fleece and made myself warm pajama pants, fleecy leggins and a few fleece tops. My favourite so far has been a hooded tunic from Burda pattern #101C.
I’ve also been paper crafting a bit. Valentine’s Day is coming and I’ve decorated my Valentine’s twig. I was also asked to make a couple of cards.
This card gave me a chance to try a watercolor technique I saw a long time ago using a simple wash for the background and then layering with vellum. I like the way it turned out although I’d cut the trees in the background differently next time so they don’t look like they’re on a cliff.
This was simple and fun to make and used up a bit of burlap ribbon I had. The picture is a photo I took several years ago and edited to for a sepia look.
On quite another track, if you’re into planner stickers, here’s are some horse themed ones I came across by a talented maker named Victoria Thatcher. Check out her Horses stickers. She also shares lots of other great themes. I thought the whole planner sticker thing was silly and really resisted trying one out. But, now I’m mildly addicted. I’ve turned into a sticker and gold star kid again.
Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)