Cabin Living

Well, we’ve been living at the cabin for 3 weeks now and I am enjoying it immensely. We don’t have electricity or running water, but we do have propane lights, fridge & stove, and a wood stove for heat when it starts to get chilly. Surprisingly, the hardest thing to adjust to was not having any TV or internet! I was a bit shocked to realize just how much time really spent zoned out on the couch. After the first week of feeling like I had ants in my pants, though, I’ve figured it out and am liking the quiet time with books, handwork and the radio. CBC has really great talk programming and I’ve started looking forward to listening to favourite shows while I hand quilt or do other hand stitching.

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Here’s my log cabin kitchen:

081How do we stay clean with no running water, you may be asking yourselves…we heat water on the stove, fill the solar shower bag, and shower just like everybody else. Except we can’t stand and luxuriate under an endless flowing stream. Showers are shorter, but just as enjoyable.

I brought some pots of flowers to make it feel more homey, and so that I can say I’ve got a garden…and the first thing the ants did was set up a colony in the tomatoes. I got tired of trying to scare them away. So now we have an ant farm in a pot. I guess they can’t hurt anything…

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It also takes longer to commute to work – an hour each way. So we get up earlier, of course. And at the end of the day, we take the dog for a 5 km walk before driving home, which means we don’t get home until about 7pm or later if we’ve had to stop for groceries. After preparing a nice supper, doing dishes & taking turns with the shower, we only have an hour or so to settle down with books/crafts/radio shows before bedtime. Sometimes we watch a movie on the laptop (which is recharged with solar cells).026

 

So there you go…my summer-time life in a nutshell!

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Play Ball!

So there I am, minding my own business…

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enjoying the day…

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when suddenly Sam gets an idea!

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“Ball!” thinks Sam

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And off he goes to look for it.

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Wanna play? yeah, yeah, yeah? wanna play? Ball?

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Playing ball with Sam requires two balls. One for Sam and one for me.

First, I chuck the ball with the chucker…

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Then Sam and I both take off running after it.

Sam gets there first. He drops his ball and picks up mine.

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Then he chews on it until I arrive. Then I chuck the ball again and we repeat several times until we are both tired of running after the ball.

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We win!

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A Simple Woman’s Daybook: July edition

Since there isn’t electricity or internet at the cabin, I’ll be writing my posts and publishing them the next day from town.

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(It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these!)

Sunday, July 7th, 2013:

Outside my window…when I got up at 5:30 this morning, the lake looked like this:

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But now, several hours later, the wind has picked up causing the lake to surge onto the shore. A man in a boat has just gone past the dock, giving up the battle against the waves and Samson has marked his passage with loud barks of indignation that the boat should pass so close.

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I am thinking…about my friend Pam who came over for tea yesterday. We sat on the porch swing, she with her crochet and me with my stitching and solved the world’s problems. She remembered that it was my birthday and brought me a lovely gift basket, containing (among other things) a recipe book for vegetables, because Pam knows that I want to eat more vegetables but don’t know how to prepare them (vegetables don’t come naturally to me). Thank you, Pam!

I am thankful…that we are having such a wonderful summer in the Yukon this year. We have had several years of non-summer, so this one – this last summer – feels like a gift.

In the Kitchen…water is heating on the propane stove so that I can wash the dishes that I used to make a pan of lasagna. The lasagna is in the fridge, ready for the oven tomorrow. It should provide supper for several nights next week. CBC’s Cross Country Check-up is playing on the radio.

I am wearing…yoga pants and a sleeveless t-shirt. My feet are bare. I would not be wearing this outfit if there were anybody else here besides me because I am self-conscious of the 20 pounds I put on during my year of illness. I also think that it is interesting and sweet that this question is included in the Daybook…such a female thing.

I am creating…so many things! I have spent part of the morning hand quilting and thinking of what to name this quilt. I think it needs to be named after an exotic tropical drink. Tequila Sunrise, anyone?

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I am going…well, nowhere at the moment. Today is Sunday and I am at home. I have been here all week, alone (except for Sammy, Spooky & Misty), while Kelly and Michael have been driving the U-Haul to Salmon Arm. I’ve enjoyed being self-sufficient this week.

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I am wondering…what time I will get to sleep tonight. Kelly and Michael will get to the house about 1am. Then there will be the visiting and catching up, and I have to leave the house at 7:30 to go to work in the morning!

I am reading…My new vegetable cookbook for mealtime inspiration and Nora Roberts for entertainment.

I am hoping…that my son’s appointment to talk about getting a mortgage goes well tomorrow.

I am looking forward to…having my husband home in my arms tonight! And trying some of my new vegetable recipes!

I am learning…to listen to my body and ask questions (does my knee hurt because I have not stretched my hamstrings? Am I eating this because I am hungry or simply because I am bored or lonely?

Around the house…all is calm and a fresh cup of tea awaits me. The wind has picked up, causing the curtain that I hung in place of a screen door to billow in and out. I love using fabric instead of a screen door – it lets the cats & dog go in and out as they please, when they please; it keeps the bugs out and it billows in the wind. What more could you want?

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I am pondering…what my new life will be like after I retire and move to Salmon Arm in November. Will I be bored? Will I make new friends? (No! and Yes!)

A favourite quote for today… “20 minutes in the kitchen can save you 3 hours at the gym” – Devin Alexander from her cookbook I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening.

A few plans for the rest of the week…Go to work. Come home. Sit on the deck with a glass of wine. Catch up on the day with my family. Write a few blog posts to publish from town during the week (no electricity & no internet at the cabin).

A peek into my day… I have appointments with my Leslie Sansone Walk at Home DVD and one of my Rodney Yee yoga DVDs this afternoon, but first I’m off to do my nails. Ciao!

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The Simple Woman’s Daybook is a monthly linkup. Why don’t you check it out and join in?

 

 

A new creative space

I made a new friend last fall when I attended a workshop at The Haven on Gabriola Island in BC. Her name is Patricia. I was drawn to her, not just because she is a generous, kind and funny woman who is a lot of fun, but also because of the fact that she retired early, as I will be doing soon.  We had a conversation about how, when she recently married and moved into her new husbands home, she felt displaced and as though she didn’t quite belong. She lived there in body but not in soul. Her solution was to take over the guest bedroom and re-make it into her own personal creative space. She didn’t take anyone else’s aesthetics but hers into consideration. It is totally and completely, 100% Patricia’s room.  I absolutely love this idea. It has consumed me for months.

I have a sewing room. Like Patricia, I live there in body but not in soul. In the back of my mind it has remained Michael’s bedroom. It was a cobbled-together room, a place where I practiced my “make do” philosophy as hard as I could. I used the sideboard that was my mother-in-law’s as my sewing table because my husband, bless his heart, couldn’t bear to part with it. There was, quite literally, no place for it to go in the house except into the sewing room.  In order to use it, I have to put the foot pedal inside one of the cupboards and sit with my foot stuck inside to run the machine. I actually grew to like the old thing, but it was only a stop-gap for a real sewing table: it is too low and my back gets sore when I sew for any length of time. But frugal is as frugal does, and I made do.

And then I bought a treadmill.  I’ve always wanted a treadmill, but there was never any place for it to go, so guess what…yup! I put it in my sewing room. It was a terrific solution, but as far as a creative spaces go, the room fell kind of short.

And now that we are moving to a new house with none of our history in it,  I have been consumed with the thought of creating my own personalized space with no restrictions other than size. My creative space in the new house is a tiny 9′ x 10′ and faces east.

I  don’t want to “make do” any more.  I want to outfit the room with the proper equipment that I need to be creative in it: a good sound system.  A good sewing machine and a serger. A place for my laptop. Room to twirl a cane, a veil, or myself. I want it to be bright and airy. I want a bit of floor space in the middle of the room to set up my yoga mat or do my bellydance practice.

There is a window on the east wall which I am going to have opened up to install sliding glass doors. I love that these doors will take up most of the wall! Kelly will build a small deck  so that I can step outside, and it will also be our “shade” deck for hot summer days.  On the second wall, I am going to remove the closet doors and turn the closet space into a writing/office space…my computer desk will fit in there perfectly, and I can install lighting and put up funky wallpaper and shelving. I want to devote the third wall to a bi-level counter space – the tall portion for a cutting/crafting surface and the short portion for the sewing machine(s). I will put shelving above and below the counters for storage and a peg board where I can hang my tools.  The fourth wall will hold a large mirror and a ballet barre, and somewhere in this room I want to put the perfect chair for reading.

Maybe I’m asking a lot from such a tiny space, but I believe it can be done and I can’t wait to start creating my creative space!

 

I remember

…your shout of glee, your sagging training pants and orange striped socks, joyful toddler leaping to daddy’s arms, flying across the open expanse between coffee table and couch without fear, without thought to falling, landing against daddy’s chest to bounce off and do it again and again and again, neither of you tiring until the last leap, ending in the inevitable knock on daddy’s head with tight fist, ‘body home? ‘body home? squealing with laughter as daddy knocked back “anybody home?” and then you lean in, slumping into daddy as he breaths in a slow breath of sweet toddler sweat as you rise and fall against the beating of his heart.

 

 

 

Dancing with Words

Last night was the last of my creative writing classes that I’ve been taking at the college. What an amazing experience this class has been for me on so many levels. I really like writing. Not just bloggy-blog writing (which I also enjoy), I mean that I have really loved the challenge of creative writing. I tried my hand at fiction, non-fiction and poetry. And not only did I discover that I liked it, I discovered that I’m not half-bad at it, either! Or, at least in my own sometimes-not-so-humble opinion, anyway.  It does take a fair bit of time, though. So all the blogging I haven’t done and all the sewing I haven’t done and all the knitting I haven’t done is because I’ve been writing and re-writing my class assignments. And I have got something to show for it all, too! I have a great handful of haiku, two long poems that have gone through many revisions and are now finished and ready to go, a third poem that I am in the process of revising and have great dreams for, a 3400-word fiction piece awaiting revision, and a 5,000-word non-fiction piece that is finished and ready to go (or as ready as a piece ever gets, as I’m beginning to learn!)

Because I enjoyed the process of writing so much, and my mind is so stuffed full of ideas for more, I’ve decided that I’m actually going to jump into the inky swimming pool and submit a few things!

The bummer is that I can’t show them to you! Not the ones that I want to submit anywhere, anyway. For some reason, posting a piece on a blog is considered “published” in a literary magazine world that only accepts unpublished work.

Once again I am reminded of how many ways there are to dance through life, and how much I am enjoying this creative journey.

As Martha Graham said: “Learn to dance by practicing dancing, or learn to live by practicing living. The principles are the same.”

I say, go ahead and insert the word “write” or “paint” or “sing” in here. We are all dancing through life in our own way.