Today the world is a lake.  The low-lying garden is a swamp, and Mucky picks his way around the paddock on high ground so he doesn’t get his ankles wet.  It’s raining with vigour, and I’m delighted to have wakened early and have nothing I have to do for a few hours, so I can huddle back in bed and read and write and listen to the escalating then subsiding waves of rain – through the window, pounding on the roofs of other outbuildings.

The only thing that disappoints me about Roxul is that it insulates sound so well that it blocks out rain.  The sound of rain on the roof is one of my favourite things.  Now it has to rain hard enough for me to hear it through the windows before I even know it’s raining.

One giant leap for Selkakind

It was a big day.  Just two days back from Cuba and two major list items checked off already.

We heaved the monstrously heavy “big stove” into the barn from the house: it is a more appropriate size for the space, and it can keep up with the current air loss, so tonight was the first time the barn has really seen room temperature in the winter.  Aka, the first time I walked about the barn dressed normally for indoor conditions.

I hooked up the propane cookstove, which effectively completes a functioning kitchen, although I am not posting a picture of it.  It is a kitchen which will never be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, despite delightful and fashionable key lime countertop.  I’m surprisingly excited about having an oven and stove, considering how little I believe I enjoy cooking.  I had a very festive grilled cheese sandwich to celebrate.  Yesterday when I had a disappointing “raw” cheese sandwich, I felt very motivated to finally get that propane stove working.

And I bottled wine.  Little-known potentialities of amateur wine bottling events include:  hosing the room down with a siphon gone wild, attempting to fill a bottle that was already full (causing wine geyser), and “sprinting” with wine wet feet down the (laminate floor) hall for another empty bottle when I came up one short.  Continue reading One giant leap for Selkakind

Book Love II- Book Shelves


I made bookshelves!  Windows be damned!  I know whats important.  Four of my window openings are covered with poly and the wood to build the windows with is sitting there, but the project most compelling to me is the creation of bookshelves.  Building bookshelves has felt so vitally urgent that it supercedes heat.  Hmmm.  Irrational, I know.

They took most of a day, surprisingly, and I had barely enough wood to complete them, but delightfully, all 13 boxes of books that have been languishing around miserably fit on the two new bookshelves.  I can’t really adequately convey my rapture at this.  All my books!  All safe and displayed on shelves!  Neat and tidy and esthetically pleasing!  Continue reading Book Love II- Book Shelves

Book Love I – Library

I love books.  I love books with a deep irrational passion.  I love touching them, smelling them, organizing them, being surrounded by them, and even reading them.  I enjoy shopping for them, reviewing them, even considering reading them and deciding against it.

My mom taught me to read very early (four), and I’ve been borrowing books from the library by the boxful ever since.  I read so much, all the time, and my brother did the same.  Since neither of us thought eating was worth putting a book down for, my dad eventually invented the Bookhug to serve our needs.  Among other things, once he got going.

It’s an incredible pleasure to work at the library now.  Just to be surrounded by books is enough, but in some small way to perform book husbandry is another level.  Continue reading Book Love I – Library

Readied for Cuba

What a rare and precious day- to be finished all my have-to-dos by the still sunlit hour of five pm!  I’m just after commenting on how on my very best productive days at full output without hitches, the best I can ever do is to get everything on the list done.  There’s rarely anything left over for spontaneity.  And today, there is!  A whole evening for writing in front of the fire and sewing with new fabric.

The best part is feeling prepared and caught up.   I’m ready to go to Cuba now.

I woke up early, with barely enough light to read by, squinted at my book for a little while in bed, got up and built a fire, cut some firewood, built the structure for my lovely green countertop and stocked it, cut some more firewood, cleaned up a bunch of the old barn, dyed my hair, cleaned and organized the new barn, made some calls and sifted through a couple boxes of row and the year’s paperwork.  I even ate properly.

Sifting through the stacks of random papers that accretes in little heaps is an annual event for me.  So I relate to my tax clients that sort out the box of receipts just before they visit me.  The odd ones that have monthly balance sheets seem a bit alien to me.  Who has time to stop everything once a month to do a balance sheet?  That’s just impractical.

2010- a tough act to follow.

 Iceland's tallest free drop waterfall or something. Just another Foss;)

This year has been so exceptionally full I can hardly believe it’s all true.  I can’t believe we managed to do it all.  I can’t believe one year could hold so much.

In January, in the dead cold of winter, my brother and I made the funnest, fullest, best cross-Canada road trip ever, with a housecat.  A photo essay on Canada’s big roadside things spontaneously happened, and we sort of accidentally followed the Olympic flame -we saw it on the run four times.  We laced up skates at random outdoor rinks all the way across, to pass the puck hundreds of meters in Sudbury, glide around at night in Portage la Prairie’s magic festival of lights, and play pickup in Whistler.  We played pond hockey on Lake Louise!  We visited Drumheller and Moose Jaw’s tunnels.

The two of us (plus the cat) spent February living in a camper in Whistler and volunteering at the Athlete’s Village and Olympic park.  We partied and worked and watched dozens of events live including the opening ceremonies rehearsal, and celebrated the Men’s Gold with hundreds of friends and Blue Rodeo in Whistler’s Square.   I hugged Jon Montgomery and got mistaken for Julia Mancuso (because if I were a model and A list downhiller, I’d definitely be standing in line to buy red mittens the day after winning a silver medal.  But thanks anyways, guy in line with me whom I could not convince I wasn’t her.  Wrong hair colour, even).

I squeezed in a bit of work, caught UFC 113 live in Montreal, rode the train across Canada, visited Saltspring, bought a house with Mogi and a farm in Nova Scotia, went vegetarian,  hitchhiked a satisfying amount, lived most of the winter in a camper, learned to skate ski, renovated a barn, got my first grey hair, joined the local volunteer fire dept and library, took First Responder and Bellyfit instructor training, did a workshop about finding life purpose, read some 60 books, fell in love a couple times, started running my truck on biodiesel, built a respectable sized garden, worked and danced at Shambhala, went camping and hiking a bunch, and slept the night of my birthday on a raft in the middle of a lake.

Oh yeah, we also went to Iceland for  a month.  We walked across lava fields and glaciers and fjords and fault lines and steam fissures; we crawled in caves and slept under northern lights and on mountaintops; got beaten by sun and wind and rain and slept outside 21 nights straight.  Almost every day held something I never thought I’d do or see.

There are many big checkmarks off the life list in this year, many firsts, and many not minor accomplishments, too.  The garden.  The electrical in the barn.  Many exclamation marks in 2010.  There was a lot of hard loss and sadness this year,  and too many funerals.  Two friends and two pets died this year, two in unexpected tragedies.

Iceland was the trip of a lifetime.  Oh wait, so was our Canada road trip.  And the Olympics- that was an experience of a lifetime too.

What I did in this one year – I would feel lucky to have done so much in a whole life.  Incidentally, if I were to die any day, I wouldn’t be sorry.  I’ve done enough to be proud of and the width and breadth I’ve already fit into the first third or so of my life is remarkable.  I am so grateful for the chance that has allowed me all of it.

So to finish off this epic year of extraordinary proportions appropriately, I’m flying to Cuba on New Years Eve.  Hell yeah.

How the hell will next year compete?  I don’t know, but I’m starting 2011 in the air.

I am so glad I have friends that can appreciate this.

This is my good side - awwww.
This is the other side - hmmmm.


What can I say?  The only tape that came quickly to hand was Tuck.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those mall kiosk gift wrappers that leisurely pull out the long curly ribbons on the scissors’ edge.  I’m a wizard with curly ribbons.

I think this masterpiece could be my “in” to a new career.

Definitely one of the funnest gifts I’ve ever wrapped – all the while anticipating the peals of giggling – at the pink, the Tuck tape, the skillful wrapping job….

Best phone ever!

Here’s where I found my phone this morning, embedded in the snow and ice of my tire tread, where I ran over it a few times last night.

I don’t know what possessed me to attempt this driveway in 2wD last night but it went sideways halfway, just as my truck did, and two wheels slipped over the edge.  When I opened my door to see how badly I was going to get mangled against the giant rock in the bank I was practically leaning against, I vaguely heard the clink of something falling out the door, but I had other things on my mind.

In 4wD with many backs and forths, I weasled my way out of trouble and escaped with only one little dent on my bumper.

My phone was missing, though.

I had to chip it out of the ice when I found it in the morning, totally unscathed and contentedly blinking “missed alarm”.
People laugh at my chunky old pink Barbie phone, but I swear- best ten bucks I’ve ever spent.

I haven’t been fulfilling my Iceland tale project, but Iceland has been following me.  I turn on the radio for the first time in a week and they’re just about to interview an Icelandic archeologist  who has isolated a piece of genetic info that, incidentally, may have come from Newfoundland.  The tires I want are “Icelanders”.  Iceland Moss is first element of a herbal mixture I’m supposed to take.  All of a sudden, runes are popping up in my life everywhere (again).

Our photos from Iceland that are cycling on my desktop continue to take my breath away, and bring me right back, to the sun warmed sand on Hornstandir; the magic of the moon over Snæfellsjökull.  Although it was only a few months ago, it seems like a dream far removed from my daily life, yet it is vivid and present.  Every day I smile at something that happened there, and I can’t wait to write about it (however, even one day at a time, it is so big a project that it’s still daunting).

Can’t wait to go back.

Happy about living naturally