Saturday, January 28, 2012


What a wind it was this morning.

Yesterday, Barb, Marilyn and I had tentativley made plans to meet at High Park for our usual constitutional this morning, until we heard the weather forecast for today. Yesterday was a miserable morning, with wet snow & slippery roads, and that was what we had heard was in the forecast for this morning. We agreed to check email this morning to reconfirm.

Well Marilyn's poor dog Lucca got sprayed by a skunk last night, so she wouldn't be joining us. I saw slight precipitation at my house, but thought it was ok, so Barb and I agreed to meet at High Park.

We walked south through the park, crossed the cordoroy road they call Lakeshore Blvd., to walk along the boardwalk that runs parallel to Lake Ontario.  Wooosh. Walking west, we had a driving wind in our face, and rain, or wet stuff hitting our faces. Neither one of us were cold, so we persued this nutty habit of ours. As the km's went on, we saw very few people out there this morning. Approaching the big bridge that crosses the Humber river, the winds opened up with avengence. Barb said, "only the hardy are out here today. Them and the dog walkers." And that was as true a statement as it comes.

Where there wasn't necessarily the cold, or snow, the winds were incredible. The lake was churned up, even inside the break wall, and the swells were huge that were crashing against it. As we got to the more sheltered Humber bay marine area, it calmed down, and at least we would have the wind at our back on our return walk, something I remember you always wanted, from my early marathon training days.

Well the wind didn't lift us, and float us home, but it was indeed one of the briskest days I can remember being out there. We saw a hand full of serious runners training for something, and the odd dog walker, and then there was the hardy twosome of Barb and Kathi.

Donned with windblown cheeks, we thought a hardy breakfast was in order.

Today made me long for the calm & warmth of summer on the lake.

Friday, January 27, 2012

82 + 1...

... the number of blogs I have written in the last year, including today's. Today marks my first anniversary as "the reluctant blogger." I find that incredible. As I never considered myself a writer in any way — merely an observer of life, armed with a camera.

My desk in the bunkie in Tucson, where it all started.

I can't believe a year has already past, since I sat around Kate McKinnon's large dining room table in her Atomic Ranch in Tucson Arizona. I was armed with a borrowed PC, rather proudly stated that I wasn't into blogging, but loved being in Tucson for the big gem show, antiquing and exploring the beautiful deserts around us, and being with like minded individuals.

Some places I visited in Tucson + beads I bought.

Who knew I would embrace this thing called blogging. I've had fun with it. Andrew challenged me with it. And I will continue to do it. I get to share my thoughts about current events, jewellery design, my travels, the weather, friends, outings and all the things that fill my life.

Thank you to those loyal followers. I always enjoy when I get your feedback. It's always good to find out that someone is out there, and reading my blog.

While I may not be in Tucson on this anniversary, I am thinking about the Clinton's who started me on this journey, as they flew down today, and Kate and Andrew who will be at the gem shows and pine for when I can return to Tucson.

Monday, January 23, 2012


This is my new beading obsession — the art of Japanese braiding, with the aid of a disc.

This past weekend I experimented with different lengths of cord, different gauges of materials, creating different patterns, using different textures, all the while, spurring on more ideas. I have tried Chinese knotting in the past, and I just don't have what it takes to do it proficiently. It's not my thing and that's ok, because when something is my thing, I get excited, and want to keep on doing it. Kumihimo is my thing.

It has so many possibilities just in colours alone. Soon as I  throw different materials into the scenerio, and decide on whether I want a flat look or rounded look, depending on whether I use a square or round disc, the possibilities are, really endless.

The Tucson three , aka Laurie Anne and Beth Clinton and me, spent an afternoon together recently, where they showed me the basics of kumihimo using wire. Where wire wasn't necessarily my thing, cord, rattail, leather, and such are. I still haven't advanced yet to mixing beads into the braid, but I know that can't be far off.

The simplicity of the leather braid
is set off by beautiful sterling findings.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The power of the pheromone!

One stressed cat, made two stress cats and one big stressed Kat, me.

What seemed like a simple visit to my vet's over a slight concern I had with my Lily, turned into one lost night's sleep for the three of us, Lily, Gretel and me. Without getting into all the mundane details of my concern, to say the least, I saw a side of Lily I've never seen before — Damien, devil cat. Normally, Lily is the most placid cat with a great disposition, super friendly and not demanding.

As I took her out of her cage in the patient's room, one look at a sketch of a tabby cat on the wall, and Lily was a bundle of hisses. I didn't know she knew how. I've never heard her before. Well, she hadn't even seen the vet yet, what was to come?

The vet did the usual prodding and poking, and dare I saw a rectal exam, not fun for anyone, blood tests, all the while growling and hissing. She was a neurotic mess by the end of it. Thirty minutes at the vet's turned into 24 hours of a hissing Damien cat. Lily was so stressed by the entire adventure, that she took it out on poor quiet and tiny Gretel. Gretel unfortunately got the wrath of Lily's vile behavior — though I got the odd hiss too. Lily made these low toned growls, that made the hair on the back on my neck stand up. I wasn't going to mess with her, and you could be sure Gretel wasn't either.

I thought after an hour or two, all would be well. Not.

Lily wouldn't allow Gretel to be anywhere near her. I gave Lily time-outs, locked her in a room to cool down. I think that only stressed her more. When it came time for bed, they both normally sleep on my bed. Well, that was not to be. One came, then the other, then the hissing, then the running. I swear I didn't get more than 15 minute blocks of sleep that night. I got out of bed in frustration at 3:00 am, to check my email and surf a bit and ended up watching a movie on TVO. I was wide awake at this point.

Would I ever have my Ying Yang cats back?

Concerned by the about face behavior, I locked Lily in her own room while I went to work, concerned for poor Gretel's safety, and I visited the vet's first thing that morning. "Highly unusual behaviour," I was told. No kidding. My Mom had suggested I get a Feline Pheromone spray, that she had heard had good results for calming down cats. What did I have to lose?

Off to my local pet store, $40 later, and one tiny little spray bottle of French Feline Pheromones, & I was armed to meet Lily head on. After I got home from work I let Lily out of her room — she was still hissing at Gretel.

I walked through the house and & must have sprayed half of the bottle of pheromones everywhere I thought they would be, and within 30 minutes, calm had settled on our home.

Ah, the power of the pheromone.
Take that Pépe Le Pew.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


What can I say, I LOVE a good Mariachi band. They are lively, passionate, soulful and you can't help but want to tap your toe.

I recently went to the Maya Exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and one of the luring enticements, was that during the holiday period, they had a Mariachi band performing. I heard the last show of their stay here. It was fun, it was moving, it made me tap my feet, made me smile, made me misty and made me want to hear more. I love their flying hands on all the strings, the yodeling and hooting in the songs, the melodic sounds of a specific region, the look of the big round base, their black uniforms with the silver embellishments running down their legs with their perfect posture and the memories it brings back for me.

Mariachi music is the sound of my childhood Christmases. My parents would put on their Mariachi records on the turntable during the Christmas season, when I still believed in Santa. It was a special time. An innocent time. A time when our pink flocked pine tree was the most gorgeous thing I ever saw, and I had it in my basement rec room to enjoy and remember fondly to this day.

Well of course I had to buy the CD, for my next Christmas.