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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Chase

He's got something I want.
Mmm...chewy...and it's all mine!
I want it back...how to go about this strategically...
I'll sneak up on him from the rear.
Rats...he's on the run!
Fernando! Give it back! Drop it Nando!
Hmm...another stuffy, should I grab that one too?
Na, that was just a dog stuffy. Pip's stuffies are much more fun!
I got it! Mission accomplished.
-Pip and Fernando yesterday in my parents back yard.

Gold panning was bust as I was stricken with a sudden horrid stomach bug. It left me too weak to do anything but lie flat on the bathroom floor--If I moved, I'd pass out. It was short lived Thank G.
Smokey in the Okanagan--so many forest fires blazing. Tonight a lightening storm, but at least there is rain with it.
Misty goes to a camp-out sleepover party tomorrow night across the lake.
I bought the girls many cute clothes these past few days. Dresses for Pip. T-shirts for Tabs and Mist got a trench coat and silver Doc Marten boots.
I got 94% on my giant lit review. I worked so hard on that!
I love my new office. It is right beside my retro family room--tres relaxing.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway

Miranda and I building an inukshuk sculpture to join an amazing long line of inukshuks decorating the side of the bike path along the Kettle Valley Railway.
Heading to Kamloops early tomorrow for one night. Will have to time either pan for gold along Tranquille Creek or canoe on Paul Lake. I'm thinking it's time for gold panning.
Been unusually tired these past weeks. I want to go to bed early and sleep in. I don't want to get up before 6 and head to the gym. Hopefully my laziness passes soon. School starts again for me and the girls--yikes! Not until Sept 8th though--so we have a good week plus of holidays left. It's a good time to go camping as the tourists are starting to leave for the season. Must get my passport updated so I can zip across the border.
I most definitely want to bike the KVR again next week and do a day trip down to Osoyoos. Summer isn't complete without a trip down to the desert to walk amongst the rattlesnakes and pick up a case of nectarines.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Melissa, Miranda and Theresa

Sisters sharing a bad joke and some champagne.
This week has been a busy one. I've been looking after five little girls. The girls are so pooped after their morning swim lessons that we tend to stay at home for the rest of the day.
However, even five children could not stop me from treasure hunting Tuesdays. And yes, I did come back with even more loot. An old radio box--solid wood, an antique mirror with an oil painting on top, an old steel and wood desk chair, a 1930's night stand, and an oval gilded mirror for Pip's room.
The bad news was that the radio box had what appeared to be grime on the bottom. I scrubbed it out with Murphy's Oil and lots of diaper wipes. Unfortunately I then had the worst allergy attack ever. My sinuses were on fire, my eyes watering and stinging and a horrible sinus headache and wheezing lungs. I had to take an allergy pill and Tylenol and collapse in bed. I guess the grime was probably mold.
Tired. Don't think even want to think about this weekend. I want to do nothing. Tonight we will go over to M & J's for Cake as it is John's Bday. I used to be the only August Bday in our family and now I share it with two other lions. Hear us roar! Mist is Babysitting as the couple will go on a BDay date.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Melissa's Wonderland

Help! I just spent the last hour locked inside a closed Zellers department store. Somehow the girls and I innocently wandered into a closed store--one door was unlocked. It seemed strange that we were the ONLY people in the entire store, but the lights were on and music was playing. We proceeded to look for a new bathing suit for Tabitha. After we found a meager two to try on, we proceeded to the change rooms--commenting how odd it was that we were the only people in the store and there seemed to be no tellers open. None of the bathing suits fit--everyone seems to be sold out of all the decent sizes! All that are left are large. Anyway, we walked to the front doors only to discover they were all locked up--including the one we'd entered through. So I shouted out "anyone working tonight?" We toured the store, including the stock room. Not a soul. Then Tabs had to pee. The light suddenly went dim--an auto shut off was in affect. The bathroom was pitch black and I could not locate any light switches on any of the walls--we gave up trying to "feel" our way to a toilet. I then went to one of the tills, picked up a phone and dialed home. Peter answered and I explained our predicament. He said he'd call the cops to come let us out. So we decided to have a little fun and joined hands and skipped through the isles of the empty store, stopping to browse through the toys. At this point, a few phones rang at the front of the store and I raced to answered them. It was security asking if we had a code. I told them, "No, but I'm locked in this store with my kids and we want out!" After about half an hour, Tabs started crying--she was worried we'd be trapped all night. I was totally calm because it was like a childhood fantasy come true--locked in a department store with toys and candy galour! We waited in front of the main doors to calm Tabs--occasionally dancing for the security camera. After about ten minutes, a woman finally came to the front doors with a key. The cops never did show up but called me once I got home to ask how we got out. They'd told Peter they were on the way to the store but we waited minimum a half an hour before the Zellers employee finally came after security called her (the ones I talked to on the phone). So there you have it...yet another adventure in Melissa's wonderland.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Perfect Weekend

The children's table and
The adult table below.The best weekend. I must write this down, record the weekend for future reference. When I'm bored or blue, I can check back to my perfect weekend and know what makes me happy--fun! I biked all night and sailed all day...dreamy.
We biked on the Kettle Valley Railway line (a high mountain abandoned railway line with world famous trestle bridges, tunnels and cliffs) from Myra Canyon towards Naramatta.
Peter and Miranda were my companions. It was mystical, serene, beautiful and so much fun. It was quiet and near dust, only our bikes and pristine wild BC wilderness. We saw a grouse and her two chicks--their peeps were so cute--they sounded like human babies.
I never wanted to turn around and come back to the van. Even though we'd never be able to bike it in the dark because of sharp cliffs and canyons.
And then Saturday, Peter, Mistaya and I sailed all day on Lake Okanagan. WOW--It was so much work, so much fun and a little scary. Sailing (as skipper) requires full concentration and powerful arms to steer in heavy wind or waves.
And then, following a day of sailing, on Saturday night, we had a party at my sister Miranda's house, she and John hosted a fabulous Thai BBQ for my family, friends and my sister Theresa's family (who were in town for one night only). We danced, sang, told bad jokes and ate a most delicious Thai meal with peach tart for dessert.
Now for today--Sunday--all day on the lake again--sailing away. We had to capsize the boat today and learn how to right it again and crawl back into it. I was slightly terrified of getting tangled in ropes or knocked out from the boom. We sailed to the middle of the lake (800 ft depth) and purposely tipped ourselves. We survived and righted ourselves without incident. Sailing is amazing. Being the skipper is very zen--full concentration. The trick is to remain calm during sudden bursts of heavy wind--not so easy for me.
So, there you have it, a perfect weekend. Perhaps my favorite to date.
However, now I am tired, perfect weekends can do that--and I still feel like I am on the boat when I sit down--that rocking feeling in my head. And tomorrow up way to early...

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Fabulous Fernando!

Ah...Dah...what was in that mug, anyway? Dah....that was no water... (sorry my darling Fernando--I couldn't resist!)
New research says dogs have the intelligence of a three year old human. The jury's out on Fernando! JK In actuality Fernando is one of the smartest dogs I know. That's what makes him an exhausting dog to raise. He needs constant supervision and stimulation. I just had to put up this pic though--he looks soooo ridiculous!
Beach yesterday evening--the water was warm and beautiful. I am continuing to edit Sugar Shack novel. Once complete, I will look at all options to publish them. My 2 junior fiction novels have the best chance for publishing at this time--so they are my focus, my passion. After they are published, then I bring on all my other novels and picture books.
Tonight a Kettle Valley Bike trip with John and Miranda and Peter. We will do all the trestle bridges. I can hardly wait! It is one of the most beautiful spots on earth. I adore hiking the KVR.
That and the Slocan Valley bike trip--top of the world places to cycle: gorgeous, remote and wild! Beautiful mountains and streams and rivers--cougars and bears. Yes, I should get paid for my plugs about Beautiful BC.
Tomorrow I am off to sailing lessons all weekend. Interesting. Next weekend I think we shall go down to Kamloops to camp, canoe and gold pan and visit my parents. All my ghost hunting crew can't make it that weekend, so we shall do our ghost hunt at the old TB sanitarium on Kamloops Lake in Sept or October. We will document it with video---so stay tuned it may prove to be fascinating.
And a sneak incite of what may be coming up in the New Year--a trip to Tibet and China! WOW! It is my dream to go to Tibet on a Buddhist Pilgrimage. Now, no more about that until it is all set.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Like It!

My new hair. I had it trimmed and straightened today and high and low lights. I like it.
Hot again in Kelowna--yay!
Yesterday (last night) I developed an unusual and fierce head ache--I never get headaches! I couldn't sleep, even on Tylenol. I thought perhaps I overheated on my morning run and the headache developed from that. Who knows. It is only slight this evening.
Took my babes out for lunch and then grocery shopping. I HATE grocery shopping. I try and avoid it at all costs. however, we were living on crumbs so I was forced to go. I did pick up a chocolate shag rug for the living room. I like it.
I'd go for an evening swim but the hair dresser straightened my hair so well, I hate to ruin it just yet! I will go for a hike though--Fernando needs it. Oh my, Sailing lessons all weekend! I don't know if I'm ready for sailing school 9am-3pm. But it will be an adventure.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Little Bit Hyper

Fernando in his jaguar hat.

A little bit hyper, a little bit bored--me and the dog.
I ran my long run this am with Fernando. I felt so pooped during it. Some days my legs feel like cement. But it does feel great to be back in my early morning workouts. Tomorrow I must hit the gym by 5:55 and then head straight for groceries at 7 am.
I went treasure hunting again this am. My greatest finds are some early 1960 board games and a gorgeous 1950's hand blown Canadian glass bowl. This one is big and beautiful and sells for over 2 grand in Vancouver. I love when I find glass!
Girls so busy today with friends. The neighbor girls and Tabs buddy Chase from school.
I edited my 2nd junior fiction novel. I am in love with it. Writing is so fulfilling.
Busy with my Facebook fiction too. Kyran, Mist and I are building on our story all of the time. It is work. Real work. Several hours in photo sessions more in editing and posting. Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can do it without pay! But aside from using this as part of my master's research in digital fiction, I would like to publish a hard copy of our story for children. The characters are so charming and have a bit of a cult following.
Anyway, summer seems to fill my days and nights and I have put meditation on the back-burner. It seems I meditate in the winter and fly by the seat of my pants all summer long.
Oh, to have more hours in a day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rocking with Rod Stewart

Tabs and I dancing to Rod's tunes.
The picnic gang.
Tabs and I dancing with Pip.
These pics were taken Saturday evening during the Rod Stewart concert--which was held outdoors in a park just up the beach. No, we didn't have tickets. We decided to bring a picnic and enjoy the tunes on the beach anyway. I wish I could say we were dancing to Rod's live concert but no luck. Alas, we couldn't hear squat. Peter to the rescue. He found a Rod concert on his iPhone and we listened and danced to that.
It was a cool evening with the odd drop of rain so we didn't stay too long. I noticed many boats parked in front of the park, taking in the concert from the water.
Today Kyran left for home in Nelson. I put up the long red striped curtains in the playroom and now it is finished. It looks wonderful.
I also decided to test my knee--I biked up the mountain across Clifton again. I love that bike. It is straight up hill, around twists and turns for about 1/2 hour. There is no development yet so it is me and my bike and the wildlife. Once at the top, I have a 360 o view of the lake and valley.
Fernando stepped on a wasp and refused to walk on his foot for awhile today. I panicked thinking it might be a rattlesnake or black widow bite--he seemed in so much pain. But all is well.
We went to Ponyo last night. The Miyazaki movie. It was good in some instances and weak in others. It is like he rushed the movie--not perfecting it.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Passions of the Mind

A beautiful Orange Orb spider in our lavender garden. The wind was blowing the lavender, thus the pic came out a little blurry.
I have been resting my knee yesterday and again today. I want it to fully heal and soon so I can launch into my workouts by Monday.
Kyran goes home tomorrow. Miranda and family will drive him and spend a few days in Nelson visiting. My family? Hmm...we have sailing lessons next weekend and swimming lessons for the girls the following two weeks. September long weekend will be our Kamloops weekend: gold panning, canoeing, ghost hunting. I am hope full Miranda and Theresa and families will join us in Kamloops for that weekend. I would like to do a trip down to Osoyoos this week. It is nectarine season and we could use a crate. Unfortunately, Peter and my passports just expired and we will not have enough time to renew them in order to zip across the border into Orville for our favorite Mexican food--they have a great restaurant run by a Mexican family just across the border--we have been know to drive down to the states just for supper and back again.
It is amazing how one leg injury can catapult one into a depression. I already feel desperate--knowing I can't hike, run or bike for a few days. It is what I do. I hate not moving!
Oh, most exciting: we will be seeing the new Hayao Miyazaki film downtown tonight! I love that director. He is brilliant.
Also, I am re-editing Sugar Shack at Sea--and realizing what a bang-up novel it is! Once my two junior fiction novels are completely reedited--then I am off to pound the earth getting them published.
Still undecided about how to fit in painting. I think I may just write a novel and then alternate with painting a series. Write-paint, write-paint and depending on my sales--I will alter the sequence to go with what it is my meal ticket at that time. I love doing both, they are burning passions of mine. I cannot, not do one of them--this is how I must juggle my passions mentally, so I can free my mind up to get down to business and create!
Saddened by the high suicide rate and poverty up in the Canadian Arctic. The youth suicide rates continue to climb at unheard of rates. What can we as fellow Canadians do to help?

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Style--it Lives Here.

My lovelies Tabs and Pip heading up the street to visit their cousins. They have great sense of style.
I am in love with my new retro family room. It is divine. I hope you will all have the opportunity to relax in my 1960's time warp room and watch The Dyck Van Dyke Show.
Busy zenning my home yet again. I get obsessed and that is all I focus on until I am satisfied. Once I am done (today) then I will move onto my next obsession: writing. The summer is wooshing by. It has been quite eventful with the Hart-Klironomos' moving up the street and the never ending forest fires and three + weeks of classes. This weekend I want to do quiet family things like hiking and beach and picnic.
Rod Stewart is playing down town in Waterfront Park next week. I did not buy tickets but I shall pack a picnic and spend the evening enjoying the music on the beach just down from the park--sorry Rod!
Still have a problem getting myself to the gym at 5:55 am this week. I did the mountain climb bike---biked past two beautiful bucks (harts), the run but going to the gym this week just does not appeal to me! Tomorrow I want to do the Paul Tomb run down the mountain, swim in the lake and run back home. I hope Miranda is willing at 6am--I'll have her home by 7!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Crazy Cousins

Tuesday has become "treasure hunting Tuesday." This is new. I usually stay away from thrift stores: minimize, down size! Yet suddenly, my new passion for the 1960's has inspired me and yes, today I confess, I found more treasure!-- mint giant cedar chest from the 1940's and several pieces of 1960's luggage. I've woken up to the idea that me with my vintage luggage (arriving at the Fairmont) would make a much more stunning picture than any new luggage would (save a designer set worth tens of thousands). I have a few rules: 1. I must need the pieces (at this point that only applies to storage pieces--side boards, wardrobes-- and perhaps a few more large luggage pieces and a standing lamp). 2. They must be very reasonably priced. 3. I must already collect them: fu-dogs, pug sculptures, antique mirrors, 1950's Canadian hand blown glass and Nancy Drew books pre-1950.
I will start editing my Peter Novels and then work on publishing them. That is my focus. Until that is accomplished all other writing will wait its turn. As for painting? I have yet to find the time to squeeze it in. Once my degrees are finished and I am working, perhaps then I can schedule in my painting days. What else can one do? There are only so many hours in a day. And with my writing, my family and my school--I am pressed for every second.
I am having a lazy, sleepy relaxed sort of a week. That is that. Perhaps it is what I need. I push myself to adhere to a firm schedule whenever I am at home. Up at 5:30, killer workout and go from there. I do worry though, that being so "fly by my pants" might just make the summer fly by. I don't want that. I love to savour each and every day and draw it out until the sun disappears behind the mountain and the insect's shrill hum is silenced by the coyotes.
Tabs has been busy baking. She makes sweets, following my recipes. She refuses any help--from gathering the equipment to putting the cookies in the oven--she does it alone. She and Anemone get along so well. They have similar personalities and passions.
Mist is busy hanging with her cousin Kyran. Those two have always been inseparable!
Pip is busy playing with Artemisia. They are so busy together: shutting the door to Pip's room and playing away, chatting a mile a minute! They are all heading over to Miranda and John's tonight for supper and a sleep over party. Whatever shall Peter and I do without four darling under foot?
...a few things I want to accomplish this week--to remind myself: rock climbing, bike to the top of the new road on the mountain across Clifton Rd, gym next 2 mornings, start editing Sugar Shack at Sea in the afternoon (tomorrow), tennis at the new courts. There, that is that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wild Kelowna Weekends

My DQ Blizzard BDAy cake--peanut butter cup--yum! I recieved a truck full of Buddhist books from my sis Miranda which are amazing--must maximize my knowledge for when I arrive in Tibet for my pilgrimage--but that is another blog!
A lovely weekend. It all seems a blur now. Let me see...Saturday night Peter and I went out for a drink with Miranda and John to Earl's roof top. A very happening night in the city: drunk men in women's bathing suits parading around. Sunday a beach morning and then in the evening, Miranda, John and Peter and I went to "Julie & Julia" which was most enjoyable as I adore Meryl Streep and she makes very single one of her characters absolutely riveting and lovable.
Julia Child's passion for french cooking reminds me of my sister Theresa and her feasts: stuffed duck then rolled in pastry and baked.
Fire up to 9000 hectares--when will it ever be out? Perhaps we will have to wait for the fall like the Okanagan Mountain fire of 2003.
LOVING my 1960's furniture/decorating revival. It feels so me.
Must go now and take the darlings to the bakery for breakfast as the maid has arrived. Although poor Tabs will rest in bed as she has a fever and sore throat. I will bring her back her favorite "Vienna buns."--Kyran is down the street and she has our cell numbers--so no, I am not a totally neglectful parent!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

More Kootenay Boating

Kyran on the bow.
Mist, Me and Theresa relaxing...
The boys: Archie, Hermie and Fernando
Theresa dancing
Joop fishing and dancing!
Snack time!
Mist cooling off
Pip playing peek

Me and my Pip

Today is a lazy day. Although I've already been across the lake to Mission Hill Vineyards for a photo shoot, to the beach and the Mardi-gras downtown and out for coffee. Such fun at the photo shoot! Kyran, Misty and I have famous facebook stuffies that we continue to write fictional little stories about and document their escapades with photos.
Mist is with her friend and the water park.
Tonight the kids will dine down at Auntie Miranda's while all the adults go to the movie "Julia-Julie."
Still obscenely smokey in Kelowna.
We are all a little pooped from a late night horror flick "The Haunting in Connecticut"--creepy. Kyran and Mist had to sleep upstairs after. Not to worry, Pip and Tabs did not watch it!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Leo Birthdays for Lions

Biking in the Slocan Valley on my Birthday.
Nemi turned seven yesterday--it was quite an event. A day long party beginning with the H2O centre. Two hours on water slides and in wave pools. The girls had the best time and I know Nemi sure did.
I am going to have to approach private companies to build me a canvas painting storage rack. The only one that is sold world wide is 650$ before taxes. And believe me, it is NOT worth that price.
My plan is to finish my web site promoting my books and paintings. Then work on finishing all my editing (and painting an entire new set of illustrations for "A Pug Named Pru"). When that is all accomplished, I will work on new paintings and just pound the earth trying to get published. I will most likely do digital self publishing to start. Life is a long journey. That is true. My journey involves painting and writing the entire way--and, most importantly, hanging with my three adorable little gals. I wonder if their is an interdisciplinary PhD program for visual art/creative writing out there?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Slocan River Rapids

The Slocan River Valley--one of the most beautiful places on earth. What started out as a calm river entry (albeit, deep and swift) soon turned into dangerous rapids.
These are some Slocan rapids, however, the ones we went through, the river was twice as wide.
We started out in in several dingies and tubes: Peter, myself and our three girls (in life jackets). Theresa, Kyran, Joop and Paul & Shane. Just my three girls were in life jackets (thank G). However, on entry, I realized the river was far deeper and swift than I'd thought. It seemed fairly calm on the surface and I figured it would only get more shallow as we progressed down river--so I loaded myself, Tabs and Pip in to Joop's 8-man dingy with Joop. Peter and Misty shared a giant tube "Big Bertha."
Soon we entered rapids. TERROR! They wouldn't end! After every river curve there were more and more, swifter and deeper. I knew I was in way too deep. If the dingy tipped, or the girls got thrown out, I would not be able to save them. Joop paddled like a mad man through the rapids, while I held onto the girls for dear life. When I realized the rapids were not ending, I yelled to Joop "As soon as you can, paddle to the shore--we're getting out!"
Joop paddled his best and finally managed to reach shore as the rapids eased. The current was too strong, and the rest of our party had drifted far ahead. By the time we'd reached shore I was shaking with fright.
So my little girls and I got out--preparing to walk through the forest back to the place we entered the river to wait for the rafters to return. I grabbed enough water bottles and a bag of chips from the raft--not knowing how long we'd be separated from the group--Unfortunately, Joop had the key to the car in his shorts (we left one car at our exit point) he had no choice but to reenter the river and try and catch up with the rest of them.
I was worried about him alone on that river. And worried about me and my two little girls walking through cougar/bear country in 40 oC to try and find the swimming hole we'd parked the cars at. My dear sweet little girls were such troopers though, unaware that their mother was afraid of cougars coming out of the bush and tracking us.
By the time we'd reached the hole (45 min later) my girls were purple with over heating. I immediately doused them in the cold river and gave them water and those precious chips I'd been smart enough to take.
We managed to wait for 3 hours at that swimming hole with various interesting Slocan locals: nude hippies, Frenchmen and some other unique characters. It was a fascinating cultural experience and I quite enjoyed it. The girls had so much fun building sandcastles on the river bank and playing life guard rescue with each other (Pip had a whistle on her life jacket that she took full advantage of).
The scary thing was not knowing if or when I'd ever see any of my fellow river rafters again.
After 3 hours and as dusk approached and all the hippies had left, Peter ran down the river bank towards me calling "MJ!" --They were alive!
I am so blessed to have trusted my instincts and have gotten out of the river with my babies when I did. The entire crew nearly drowned on a log jam up river. Peter and Mist's tube flipped, Kyran and Shane got sucked off their tubes and under the logs and Joop's dingy flipped. Paul and Theresa had made it past the logs and were unaware of the crisis. Peter tried to save Kyran but the paddle he handed him broke in two! Both Kyran and Shane were finally able to pull themselves out from under the log jam but not before loosing their hats, shoes and sunglasses.
Needless to say, no one will be tubing down that stretch of the river again.
*I bought the most amazing 1960's sofa and chair (copper fabric with green leaves ) and an antique reclining chair at a thrift store yesterday. Such treasures! I love them. And after seeing 5 decades of apartments at the VAG (Vancouver Art Gallery) I've decided I want to live in a time-warp. I absolutely love the 1950's, 60's style.
**Still horribly smokey in Kelowna--ash falling from the sky. It is like living in an ash tray. All of us are tired and have headaches from the smoke!
***And my darling Fernando is missing Hermie too much. He is not eating his food! Either I'll have to get another dog to perk him up (Peter will freak) or he'll have to go back to his Hermie. I do so hope he perks up today!

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cruising on a Sunny Boat, Loaded with Crazy People...

Happy Birthday to Me! Woot-Woot!
This photo was taken today on Kootenay Lake. My sister Theresa and I dancing on the bow of the boat with Hermie so wanting to join us.
I've had so much fun this past weekend--many adventures ( a few death defying too!). I have enough fodder to blog a dozen times. It has been a wonderful Birthday--biking in the Slocan Valley, swimming in Slocan river and boating on Kootenay Lake. Next, the adults are going out for supper--somewhere posh. We're picking up take out for the kids. Then I think we will wonder over to check out the "Man-Pad'--Paul and his roommate Shane's house (loaded with all the high tech paraphernalia guys love) and then perhaps Karaoke.
I received a Victoria era antique, blistered-pearl ring from Theresa and a 1920's necklace that I shall wear out tonight. Both items didn't fit anyone of this era--so Theresa took a chance, knowing they would fit me and they did! I have very thin fingers and neck--Victorian size apparently!

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