Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Bye Sweet Alice

June 10, 1918 - April 22, 2011

My Grandma Dodie's BFF since girlhood was Alice. For as long as I can remember Alice was a part of our holidays. We called her Auntie Alice and it never occurred to us that she was of no relation. I don't think one needs to be a blood relative to be family and I'm pretty certain Alice would concur. Alice passed away this week. She was two months shy of her 93rd birthday. All of her Easter baking, including cheese cakes, cookies, poppy seed and Easter breads were complete and her table was set to host Easter dinner.

Alice on her 90th Birthday.

The last visit I had with Alice was in September. She looked well and made us a cup of tea. She gave Fin a little white plush lamb. Finley calls it Baby Baaa and totes it all around the house. We talked a while and then she and Finley looked tired so we headed off - back to NC. Letters went back and forth and I sent her a parcel including her favorite hair colour. It had been discontinued in Canada and so I'd send it from the US. Last week while my sister was visiting I was talking about Alice. I owed her a letter. She had written to tell me she'd had a fall. It was a surprise to get this letter as her hands were becoming so stiff with arthritis she was writing very little. I had also mentioned her several times in the past few weeks to other friends of mine, recounting stories including Alice. It's weird - it's like she was sending me a vibration and I didn't pick up on it to call her or write that letter...

When I first started out in the TV business I worked on a comedy series as a locations manager. Which meant I had to source the locations to shoot the series. Alice let us use her house as the leading lady's house for the series shoot. We invited her out to the wrap party where she danced the night away with all our actors and crew. Everyone loved her!

Me and Alice Summer 2008

When Alice's husband Joe died he had just purchased a bitchen red Camaro. It was a 1973. Alice kept it stored in the garage under all her old fur coats for safe keeping. She did get her drivers permit and drove that beautiful car out to see us in Richmond once. I doubt she drove it after that. It remained in the garage for some 20 years until she gifted the car to my father. When my mother was in and out of the hospital in her last year battling cancer Alice felt my dad needed a pick me up. She didn't say so, she just gave him the car. It had 6000 miles on it and the original tires. Dad spent that whole summer detailing the car, going between drive nights and the hospital. He was so happy to have that car. It was a good distraction and I think just what he needed at that time. He too parked it, when he lost the love of his life, just as she had.

Alice at 91 meeting Finley 3months old
Summer 2009

It's going to be very strange to come back to Ottawa and not drive over to Alice's ... I'm fortunate she invited me into her life for so many years. I'm so happy she got to meet my husband and daughter. I'm fortunate to have had so many written correspondences with her over the past few years. I will forever regret not writing her back on time after her last letter arrived to me in February. I'm usually good with replies but we left on a family holiday and then I wanted to print current photos of Finley to include in my return letter. I left that letter unwritten for too long. She won't get it now and was asking why she hadn't heard from me and where I was......I hope she knows how much I cared even though that last letter was unanswered.

Alice was an incredible woman. She was strong in mind and body. She had guts and gumption telling off anyone who asked her to slow down. She was still cutting the lawn with her push mower last summer at the age of 92! She was a fixture on Plymouth Street in Ottawa - where she lived to her last day in the house her dad built, independent and surrounded by wonderful friends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Edible Art

My next door neighbour Lori is the chocolatiere behind Polly's Perfections. She is about to open her new store front in downtown Washington NC. I've been helping her out by photographing the truffles so she can create a catalogue. Of course I get to sample too...

I'm really digging photographing truffles!

This one was blown up for the shop wall.

Finner caught me in the middle of photographing the chocolates and she went insane.
Like a whirling dervish she was diving into the boxes of chocolate.

She even threw down the hatch some of the chocolates I hadn't gotten around to photographing yet. I wasn't too happy about it but got over it when I realized she couldn't even listen or control herself she went wild grabbing all the boxes and diving into the chocolate. She was really funny to watch.

More pics to come...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Oyster Roast at the Farm

Fin's cousins Aaron 16, Gavin 4, and Noah 2, are also born in April. We celebrated the kid's birthdays with an oyster roast out at our Brother in law's family horse farm in Baily NC.

Finley driving the gator.

Gavin & Finley

Me and my nephew Aaron

Me and my nephew Noah
Jumping in the new trampoline.


Ryan and the oyster feast

Ian and Aaron shucking oysters

I made this "Very Hungry Caterpillar Cake" for the kids.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Daze

Finley and I enjoying the hammock.
I was showing her the bird's nest and baby birds in the tree above.
Gosh, I LOVE her.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I LOVE birthdays - it's truly the only day that's your own. I've been as excited for Finley's birthday as she has been. We've been singing Happy Birthday all week. When I was pregnant I planted tulips and daffodil bulbs so I could tell her when the tulips are blooming it's your birthday...but for the last two years the darn tulips are coming up with leaves and no stem or flower??? Go figure.

I can hardly believe my baby is two. She was SO excited for her birthday. I was trying to explain who's birthday comes before hers. First it's Cecil's birthday then Grandma Linda, then Grandpa, then Gavin, then Kaylee and then it's YOUR birthday! Seriously all these birthdays are in the days leading up to Fin's... Steve's two sisters and I all had April 10th as a due date for our first borns...they arrived the 8, 9, 10th a few years apart. Cool EH?

How old will you be on your Birthday?


No, TWO!
I count one, two, on my hand, flipping up my fingers showing her two.
Two. You will be TWO on your birthday.

Finley what would you like for your birthday?

Ice cream and a balloon!

Honestly, how sweet is she? I hope she always wants such simple delights on her birthday.

On birthday EVE, my sister, who had driven from Canada, to be with us on Fin's second birthday, helped me to blow up pink balloons and dress the dining room in pink and purple, Fin's absolute favorite colours. We wanted to surprise Finley, since this was the first birthday she was going to remember I wanted it to be spectacular!

When Finley awoke she came to the top of the stairs and called down to us. "Mama I wake up!" Sue, cousin Aaron and I ran to the bottom of the stairs to wish her a happy birthday. We were so excited to see her face when she saw her pink party room. She ran in and stopped dead.
"PINK BALLOONS!" she shouted.

I ordered a strawberry cheesecake ice cream cake from the DQ
and her Daddy bought her a helium balloon.

Opening amazing gifts from her great aunties, Ann and Dianne and cousin's Ray, Ivy and Hazel.
Thank You!

Finley and her BFF Jonah opening her gifts.

Finley received phone calls from her Aunts Jennie and Dee, her grandparents; Grandma Linda, Gaga, Mimi and Pipi and she had an ichat with Aunty Kelly and Uncle Mark. It was a wonderful birthday. She loved every second of it and so did I.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

LOOK What I Made!

My Finley Mae turns two tomorrow. I can hardly believe it's been two years since she arrived in our lives. Everyone says it goes by so quickly and now I know that statement to be true! Last week while we were visiting our friend Justine, Finley found some bean bags Justine had sewn for her son Samuel. The were so pretty and soft and she had taken the time to blanket stitch the numbers one through ten on the set. The looked like a little bag of love (if you could personify love) sitting in the palm of Fin's hand.

With Fin's birthday fast approaching I had still not thought of a good gift to give her. She's only asking for ice cream and a balloon for her birthday which by the way is the cutest thing ever to hear her say, then it came to me I HAD to make Fin a set of bean bags too. She needed a gift from my heart.

I'm a beginner when it comes to sewing but I've managed to make the Roman Blinds in my kitchen, add length to my living room curtains and make a baby I figured I could sew a tiny bag to fill up with beans.

Here is my mini tutorial:

For around six dollars I bought pre-cut quilting squares from the sewing section at Walmart. They have really lovely material right now in some awesome 100% cotton fabrics.

I matched up the fabrics placing the good side of the material in and pinned them.

Then I ran a straight stitch all the way around leaving an inch and a half opening in the middle of one side so I could pour in the beans.

Turned right side out.

Using a tea spoon I counted out 11 teaspoons of beans per bag.
I used dry pinto beans.

Then I straight stitched the hole closed.

Bean bags.

Using fabric paint I wrote on the numbers. The material is supposed to be washed before using the fabric paint and for this project I did not pre-wash the fabric so I'll let you know if the paint hold up.
I made 16 bean bags and numbered the first 10. They turned out really cute I think.
The whole project probably took me two hours and it was EASY!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Spring Forward Yoga Re"treat" - Update!

Spring Forward Re"treat" in Duck NC

Meet the lovely ladies aka broads who attended the weekend retreat.

Laura, Ebba, Kadra, ME, Brandi and Sharon

The weather was 87 degrees the day before the retreat at the the time we were heading there it was a glorious 57drees F. No one minded as the company inside was so warm and cozy. We settled into our Friday afternoon, choosing bedrooms in the beautiful beach house and joining the gang in the great room to write our retreat intentions. I like to set the weekend's intentions in writing. Why do we choose to be at a retreat? How does it fit with our daily lives and what do we hope to take away after our weekend. It's interesting to place an idea or statement on a page and revisit it over the course of the weekend as the statement takes on new meanings after each session each day - it deepens. These are personal intentions and are not shared unless there is a free willingness to do so by the individual.

We practiced a fully supported restorative yoga on the Friday night to set the tone for the weekend. Candle light, music, and only 15 postures supported by pillows and blankets and using straps to help the client really settle into a relaxation. I like to offer assists and a few elements taken from Pranasage that I learned while studying with Don and Amba Stapleton in Costa Rica. Janice Lane arrived toward the end of the practice to meet the gals. She joined in placing her super hot Reiki hands on the ladies. It was a delicious start to our weekend!

Heather participating in the Saturday morning Interdisciplinary Yoga session

Yogi's listening to a discussion prior to practice.

Getting settled for a guided meditation by Janice Lane

Of course you have to feed the body as much as the mind and we fueled it up with out hesitation!

Flounder special at The Bluepoint in Duck NC

My good friend Rachel Mills catered the vegetarian meals at the retreat. We feasted on cucumber mint salad, lentil soup, corn bread, butternut squash and apple bake over brown rice and orange and roasted red beet salad. My photos aren't doing the food justice - it was fresh and

Sunday morning we stretched our bodies gracefully in a Yin Yoga practice called sweet surrender. It was a beautiful opening practice that really was the finale to a beautiful weekend. Of course we journaled and shared open discussions about all kinds of things ....related to our lives and the lives of mating turtles ...(don't ask). It was a lovely weekend and I am looking forward to another already!