Friday, August 31, 2007

knitting cat

This is Belle, the cat, pretending that she isn't knitting, but of course she has had a paw or two in the project. Actually I am on my third go for that sweater and I'd better have got it right this time. I had been trying a pattern from a Kaffe Fassett. Either the pattern is off or I am off or we both are off. Obviously, however, the cat knows what she is doing. The cats like to be where the action is.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

blue egg

The egg is plastic. This is a geocache. I found it using co-ordinates on an inexpensive second-hand global positioning system. Inside the egg is a small log on which I left my name. This is in the middle of the city on a rocky outcrop. If I search for a geocache each day, I find myself on walks that I never would have contemplated. It is rather like a high-tech treasure hunt. This was my afternoon adventure on my way home from my central office.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I had a large and beautiful garden that I lost when I lost my partner. This past January a seed catalogue arrived in the post. I wept when I saw it for all that might have been. Then I pulled myself together and took the catalogue over to a single mom and asked if they would like to work on a vegetable garden with me in the large manse property. Her son chose the seeds: purple brocoli, purple carrots, purple lettuce, well you get the drift, and "Bright Lights Swiss Chard". We dug a new bed and had it seeded in early May. Then she got a job down south and left. So now I have an over abundance of chard and dill and lettuce and, with encouragement, the congregation is helping themselves to the harvest.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Belle, as in "of the ball"

Belle arrived with her friend, Miss Johnson, on the first of August. Since that time she has been training me on exactly what she wants out of life. Being a blue, a short haired grey, she has velvet fur and beautiful green eyes. She turns up for petting when she wants to be loved and butts my hand with her head until I vigorously hold her head and give her a good scratch behind the ears. As soon as the cats see me going to the bedroom in the evening, they assemble, Miss Johnston settles in at the foot of the bed, but Belle lies down on top of me as I read. When the light goes out, she butts for a good rub and then settles herself around my head. Fortunately she only stays for a few minutes and then she is off to settle down for most of the night on the living room couch. Here’s she is on the couch. The thing about a cat without markings is that they don’t seem to have much of a facial expression, but she certainly has personality to make up for it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

kulta koti

Twice a week they serve a soup lunch at the Kulta Koti, the Finnish Home. This was very convenient for me as I can work in my home office in the morning and then stop for lunch on my way into the downtown office. The folks in the home got used to my stopping by, and now I find that I am expected. This is a photo of me taking a photo of the front entrance. Today's soup was potato and bacon, always with rye bread, and always the coffee is served with pullah (spelling?) a Finnish sweet bread flavoured with cardamon. I have wondered what is the historical reason for the use of cardamon which, I don't believe, native to Finland.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

fortune cookie

I went out for lunch with a friend. Choices are fairly limited when it comes to fine dining up here, but there are lots of Chinese restaurants. So we went to the lunch buffet and chowed down. Then, with the bill, came the ubiquitous fortune cookies. I passed my hand over the top of the two cookies to pick up the vibes in order to see which one was the right one for me. It was the cookie on the left. I opened the cookie, and then I read the fortune. The waitress came to pick up the plate. "No, I need to take a picture of the cookie." The message to me was: "Ask not what your fortune cookie can do for you but what you can do for your fortune cookie". Is this my future?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

bears again

I actually tried to post this a couple of days ago but when I hit "publish post" it disappered into cyberspace. It turned up later but not before I republished it. I shall learn how this waoks, some day!
So Wednesday a bear raided the garbage bin of the house across the street and dragged one of the bags over to feast on my lawn. She came back in the evening for a second go at it but the light was too dim to take a good photo of her, although there was plenty of her.
I thought that they might pick up their garbage, but no such luck. So I got some disposable rubber gloves from the hospital and rebagged the debris. As I did it I became more and more disgusted. These folks do not recycle and the garbage was totally junk food. Nothing had been rinsed so it was a bear's delight. They love leftover Kentucky Fried Chicken and stciky MacDonald's wraps.
I took the bag across the street and left it by their front door. It is still there.
Of course the poop-and-scoop bylaw does not apply to bears. On the other hand they were here first and we didn't sign any treaties with the bears.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

garbage bear

This garbage belongs to the people across the street. A large sow bear broke into their garbage bin and brought the bag to my lawn before setting into the feast yesterday morning. She came back in the evening, but the light was too far gone for me to take a picture. The bear passed within six feet of the house. Anyway, I got some rubber gloves from the hospital and picked up the garbage this afternoon. It was totally junk food, and it had not been separated for recycling. I was disgusted. I rebagged the garbage and left it by their front door. As for the bear, the berry crop is very poor this year so the bears are looking for food. They were, after all, here first and they didn't sign any treaties.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


This is Porcuopine Lake, just a block away from the manse in which I live. Yesterday morning I walked by here and there were loons swimming on the lake, but this apppeared in the afternoon. It is a drill. They are looking for gold in the cores that they bring up. They seem to be looking for gold everywhere, especially since late winter when drilling rigs turned up all over the city, in parking lots, in ball diamonds and now in the lake. As the value of gold rises so does the exploration. The hills on the other side of the lake are man-made from the waste that came out of the Dome open pit. But then gold is the only reason that most people even live here.

Monday, August 20, 2007


This is "Miss Johnston", one of the two cats whom I rescued from oblivion. They are "indoor" cats. So yesterday I was peering into the refridgerator wondering about breakfast when a large, a very large, bat flew by my head. After screaming I grabbed the newspaper and flung open the back door and then the front door. Frantically waving the newspaper the bat went around in circles and avoided both doors. Meanwhile the hornets in the nest by the back door, the reason I don't use that door, woke up. Then the cats fled out the front door. I batted hornets, collected the cats and shut the doors. The bat had disappeared.

It returned last night in my bedroom. It circled the bedroom ceiling. The cats ran around in circles. So I flung off the screens, and opened the windows full, turned off the heat and spent the night in the fresh air. It was 4 degrees Celsius last night. I wonder where that bat is now? The cats are resting up for another exciting night.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

mother of the bride

The groom’s mother wore the usual outfit, but the mother of the bride, who walked the bride down the aisle, grabbed everyone’s attention. She was about the same age as the groom. Her long hair was blonde with streaks. The frock was minimalist. In brown and gold chiffon, the skirt was slit to the thighs. The back was cut to below the waist displaying a tattoo in the small of her back. The strapless bodice was as low as it could be and still stay up. The cut displayed the tattoos on her breasts. With this she wore gold sandals with five inch stiletto heels. Someone asked me following the wedding how I manage to keep a straight face. It’s probably because I have seen it all. I presided at two weddings this afternoon. The second was delightful with a sweet couple, but they did not provide any material for the wedding video that I compose in my mind. It will make me a fortune some day.

Friday, August 17, 2007

morning paper

Perhaps I should get my paper delivered each morning.
My excuse is that I am away a lot and the papers would keep on coming. The real reason is that I like walking the block and crossing the highway to the bait shop and buying my paper. Minnows and coffee, leeches and muffins, worms and milk, and chips, and videos and my newspaper; what more could you ask from a store. There used to be a sign that read “worms – coffee”. No one though anything of it. Now the sign is down and the store is still going, but maybe only the insiders know what treasures lurk within. So I drop in before my breakfast, buy a paper for a loonie, while the real loons are calling on the lake, and walk home to greet the cats and make my breakfast before I open the paper catch up on the news, try the sudoko and finish off the crossword puzzle.
Then it is time to start the day.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

crop circles

Crop circles absolutely fascinate me. I want to see one. I want to stand in one, touch it and feel its energy. I am a true believer. Here in the boreal forest it seems rather unlikely – but I put it out there – before I die this is what I want. After all I already saw a UFO and I certainly wasn’t expecting that!
Today I was introduced to a missionary couple from India. These are Indians who are on an evangelistic mission in Northern Ontario. I have a very distinct feeling that they would not understand. In fact, I keep my thoughts to myself. I’ve been condemned by Christians before and it was not very nice. And so I live a secret life. How many of us live these lives? There are so many things that I would not want to come out of the closet.
Is this the way to live?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


As I write this I am listening to Caroline Myss. Here is someone who speaks to my soul. I went to my second funeral of this week; a man who killed himself. Our journey into our soul comes when we recognize how frightened we are. That is the other solution. I am being driven through my fears into a deeper place. The deeper I go, the more I encounter God and the more I am thrust out into a hurting world. I am dancing along a spiral. So much for going to a funeral where no one will admit that he shot himself and missed, so the dying took a few days: the deep hurt goes unacknowledged. Where is the place for that to happen? Perhaps it isn’t the public funeral. Sometimes I think that real honesty happens through the sacrament of sharing a cup of tea.
Fields of grace in cups of tea, hugs and deep knowing

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I’ve got two sisters.
Despite all our faults, and we know each other’s failings very well, we care and look after each other. Conversations on the telephone always end in laughter – really enjoyment – because there is real love there. Anyway I just got off the telephone and realized how I was uplifted by a caring voice, interest in my doings and planning for the future – probably Thanksgiving. I have had more grief with those I have chosen. My sisters were a given, and they have proven to be faithful, caring and understanding family.
This was a rainy, gloomy, stormy day and I worked at home – so I guess I really needed that telephone call this evening – and now the sky is clearing as I have to drive to a funeral an hour and a half away tomorrow morning. That’s the second one this week.

Monday, August 13, 2007

soul contracts

I’ve been asking myself if we have “soul contracts”.
I know that term is used technically. I think that it is used for one person in one life, but that is not what I mean. Do two souls have contracts? Is there something that individuals are given to resolve together in their lifetimes? I have hunch that this may be so, but as I don’t move in new age or in reincarnation circles, I really don’t know what the others are saying. It seems to me that my soon-to-be-former partner and I had such a pact. It was in place before we were born. And we have failed. And all my attempts of trying to bridge the dreadful chasm between us are fruitless and very painful. Yet I am so sure, without any proof at all, that we have not done and we still can do, the task, whatever it is, that we have been given.
And I don’t know where to go from here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday afternoon

My parents lived in a residence for the elderly. I remember my mother saying that Sunday afternoons were the most depressing because then families visited, but as I was a minister and they lived an hour and a half away, I seldom visited on a Sunday, but went during the week. Now that I am on my own I realize all the more what she was saying. Sunday afternoons are most depressing. There is no family here and I no longer that a soul mate with whom to share my life. Today I held a morning service and an evening service, and despite a number of us going out to lunch together, when I returned to the manse in the afternoon I had to face my lonliness. I know that I am to rejoice and give thanks in all things, but rejoicing came hard today. Sometimes I enjoy my company, but I would rather share my life. Even so I wonder if I shall ever trust someone again enough to enter into any relationship.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

polar bear express

So we took the train to the Arctic Ocean: “The Polar Bear Express”. Well there aren’t any polar bears but the more interesting word is “express”. This train does not go over forty miles per hour and more often crawls along at ten. The railbed over the muskeg does not permit a greater speed. Guys with camps in the bush get on and off, so there are frequent stops. There is a special car for canoes. And the boreal forest is simply one tree after another. I always enjoy seeing the muskeg with its dwarf trees that often exceed two hundred years. I think that my ancestors came from the moors or the barrens, because I find that forests close me in. Perhaps this memory comes from another life. It was good fun. Moosonee was a trading post for Revillon Freres and Moose Factory was a Hudson Bay Company Post. It is the oldest English speaking settlement in Ontario. So we took the train to Moosonee and then a boat to Moose Island and saw the sites and enjoyed the people. I always want to know what goes on at the end of the line.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

day trip

Tomorrow I’m taking the train to the Arctic Ocean, well at least to James Bay, well at least to the delta a few miles from the sea.
We leave early and will return late so there will be no missive tomorrow. I did it last year with Jean. This past March, Jean and Denise and myself were having a cup of coffee and talking about last year’s adventure when Denise said that she wanted to go, too. So now Jean is gone and Denise and I will take the excursion early tomorrow. Really it is hours through the flat plain and boreal forest which leads to the coast. There’s not much there, but by taking a boat over to Moose Factory we find the Hudson Bay Post buildings dating from the 18th century – as old you can find in this part of the world. So it’s off early in the morning to catch the train. The forecast isn’t too good. But then it rained last year when we were there. Perhaps it always rains up on the coast, but I doubt it. It just rains when I go. The trip is four and a half hours each way.
I’ll take my book.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

dancing feet

I have dancing feet. I am dancing in the holy circle.
I was given a treatment at the Chinese doctor’s – what a wonderful gift. I arrived from the office, rushing in to meet the appointment time. He ushered me in, asking if I had any pain. “Only heartbreak,’ I replied, “and you can’t do anything for that.” “I think I can,” he said. So I took off my sandals and lay out on his table. He started with acupuncture, needles in my scalp and my forehead, then in my feet. One hit a particularly tender spot. I flinched. “That’s your bladder” he said, “Have you had trouble with your bladder?” He was right. Then I lay in the darkened room for fifteen minutes. When he returned the needles were removed and he began massage and reiki. Then he worked with my feet, reflexology, and finally gave them a good massage with a wonderful cream. “Now,” he said, “you can dance”. I floated out. I’ll be back. He gained a client.
He calls his establishment “The House of Wellness”.

Monday, August 6, 2007

existential feet

I love summer. I can wear sandals. My toes are free. But my feet get rough and leathery. So I was applying some lotion to a heel. Gently and quietly rubbing it in and thinking about how much my feet do for me. I was sending appreciative thoughts to my feet when I began to think that I, the appreciative one, was not my foot. I can think because I am not my foot. This is getting tricky, The feet are not me, that is the “I” who possesses them. None of my body is actually me. I am outside of my body. I am the possessor. My feet are the possessed. The possessor is not the possessed. So I am free of me. That makes this body just a temporary container. Of course, I’ve got to take care of it. It’s the only container that I have at the moment.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

the girls

Two little cats have come to live with me. Now I’m here for a year or less. I don’t know what will happen when I have to leave here. They have gained a reprieve. Who knows what the future holds? Apparently a woman needed an organ transplant and was told that there could be no animals in the house when she returned home. She had seven indoor cats which were very well looked after. However, she had to take them to the humane society, which was already overwhelmed with cats. Anyway, that was the story. I was approached to consider taking a cat, but these cats were used to company, so I took two. That is how the girls have come to stay. Miss Johnston is sitting on the desk beside me helping me to write this. I’d love to know the story behind that name. She is a grey and white with some brown shading – very fetching. Her friend is Belle, a little blue with green eyes. They are both very sweet. Now there are the three of us. Miss Johnston has just decided to walk across the keyboard, so perhaps I should draw this to a close.

Friday, August 3, 2007

burial bear

I’m a minister. So in the course of events I preside over funerals. Herb had died this spring before the frost was out of the ground. Up here burials only happen when the ground can be worked. So I had a funeral service and Herb was cremated. Now Herb was a crusty old miner who spent his “leisure” time in the bush, certainly not in church. But his son is very active in my congregation. So the family waited until everybody could get together again and today was the day to inter the ashes. It went well. We took our time. The family all held the urn before it was put down the hole and then they all put a handful of earth into the grave. I had given the blessing when a large black bear ambled out to watch the proceedings. I announced that the bear was present. There was laughter. There were shrieks. The daughter-in-law hid behind her little grandchildren. That produced more laughter. The group closed ranks. The bear strolled through the cemetery. People broke rank and began to run to their cars – the worse thing that they could have done. They were instructed to stop and the family then moved together to the waiting cars. They all then went on to a family barbeque. All agreed that wasn’t it just like dad to invite a bear to his burial. And me? I think that the bear made it all the more interesting and certainly memorable.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I'm back

I’m back. Not only that, my computer is back. After two weeks of being away for repairs they found out that it works if I disengage the battery.
It’s very hot and I have the fan on and am thinking about getting another drink of water. There… I spent some time at the family cottage. It was so good. More and more of my family came to join me until they were all there except for an older grandchild who has a summer job. Twelve people, two cats and a dog. I have gained so many blessings from my recent break up. I am free to visit family. They no longer feel alienated. I am free to go back home to our cottage on the lake where I had spent my childhood. When I went east to Halifax last month, I was surprised that I had so many friends that reached out to me. In the relationship, my partner had dominated. People who felt intimidated avoided us both. I have taken back my decision making and there are choices that I never dreamt were possible. And, oh, how I loved being back at the cottage on the Lake.