Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Yes, that's my balcony. No, it's not my balcony this morning. Imagine it with a thin layer of icy snow, no chairs, and you've got my balcony this morning.
The cats, however, did make--both of them--a brief sortie. It was Rascal, the one in the foreground, who ventured out yesterday. Fripon joined him this morning. That's equivalent to seeing the first robin elsewhere.
It's now afternoon, and I can say that it has been a most beautiful day. The cats kept asking to go out, spending only a few minutes at a time, but so glad to be able to get out into the sunshine.

The card is from a challenge by one of the online stamping groups I belong to. We were to make a card using a picture of us as children. Next, everyone tried to match the "then" images to the "now" person, which was difficult, since not many post their real pics as avatars. It was fun to make the card, and to see what everyone else did with their picture. I made another card with my picture, using different colours and embellishments, and sent one to each granddaughter. In case you didn't guess, that's my mom with me.

Have a great evening, everyone.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Spring doth cometh???

Outside my window, the sun is shining gloriously again, and although the snowbanks are still piled high, one has reason to believe in spring!

Another sign; one of the two cats ventured out onto the balcony this morning, in spite of the thin layer of icy snow still there. He walked around, shaking each paw after it touched down, but stayed out for a good....two minutes.

The cats are better than any thermometer for telling me how many layers I need to put on before venturing out for a walk. When I open the patio door for them, and they squeeze their eyes, shake their ears, turn and run for a cozy spot, I don't need the weatherman to tell me the windchill factor! Today, then, I have no excuse for not going out and walking in the sun.

The ATCs were done for a swap whose theme was "Ageless Beauty". I did do one on cats, but wasn't satisfied with it. I wish you all a great day, or restful evening, wherever and whenever you are!

Monday, February 26, 2007

26 February 2007 Empowering Love

I saw this quote from Jane Goodall recently in a magazine, "I have found that to love and be loved is the most empowering and exhilarating of all human emotions."
Every time I hear love referred to as an emotion, it irritates me, because love is much more than an emotion. True love, is constant. Our emotions are unstable and unpredictable.
It's more comfortable to think of love as an emotion, because when the emotion cools off, or perhaps disappears completely, it justifies leaving husband or wife, because, "I've tried, but I just don't love him/her anymore."
I'm not referring to those living in situations of physical or mental abuse. I'm thinking of ordinary people in ordinary marriages whose opinions, tastes, and goals seem to have diverged and taken different directions over months or years. I'm thinking also of those who, mistaking emotion for love, married before having a chance to know each other in depth, and discover that the person they thought they were marrying didn't exist.
I consider such situations tragic, because in the case of those who seem to have grown apart, but who truly loved each other in the beginning, love is just hiding under the cinders of their burnt-out feelings. It takes a little gentle stirring of the cinders to reveal the spark, and a lot of work to feed that spark and make it grow again. In the case of those deluded about the true nature of their partner, getting to know the person in depth and not letting emotion cloud the issue would often avoid the later rude awakening.
If love is more than an emotion, what is it? It is an act of the will. I know that some invent their own wording of the promise a couple makes to each other when they solemnly declare their love and desire to enter into a permanent union in a public ceremony, but whatever the wording, the meaning is the same. They promise to love each other, no matter what the future holds for them. This implies an act of the will. "I will love you and stay by you whatever the future holds," they say, in essence. A daring promise, which later on often prompts the, "But if I knew then..." That's the point. One can't know, but wills to love anyway. Thus the importance of getting to know a prospective spouse before making a serious commitment.
When someone says, "I love you!" What is often really meant is "I love the way you kiss," or "I love sex with you!" Talk about emotions influencing us! When passion enters the picture, reason is out.
Why do so many counsel waiting for sexual relations until after marriage? Because marriage should be taken for what it is; a commitment to love as long as both shall live, whatever the circumstances. It needs to be entered into only with someone whose values, goals, likes, dislikes, personality--the whole person--is truly known. The enjoyment of sex makes us willing to dismiss certain flaws about a person, which, unhappily, may later cause disillusionment and the wondering of , "Why didn't I see that?"
Emotions are of the moment. Right now, the sun is shining gloriously outside my window, with the promise of a new day, with new experiences. What will I be feeling an hour from now? If I cut my finger while slicing a tomato, probably not the same emotion I'm experiencing right now. Emotions are of the moment, but love is eternal, because it is willed. The rewards of a lifetime committment are well worth waiting to give one's body until after one has committed one's will to love truly.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Two Sides of a Coin

"Antony and Cleopatra were not the handsome General and his beautiful queen Hollywood would have us believe", according to experts at Newcastle University, who "have been studying the depiction of one of history's most tragic romantic couples found on a Roman coin. (...)Antony and Cleopatra are shown on either side of the small silver coin (pictured)," the article on the British site continues, "which is about the size of a modern five pence piece. Cleopatra is depicted with a shallow forehead, long, pointed nose, narrow lips and a sharply pointed chin, while Mark Antony has bulging eyes, a large hooked nose and a thick neck." Lindsay Allason-Jones, Director of Archaeological Museums at Newcastle University, added: " 'The image on the coin is far from being that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton! Roman writers tell us that Cleopatra was intelligent and charismatic, and that she had a seductive voice but, tellingly, they do not mention her beauty. The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image'."
For the full story, follow this link:
Another romantic illusion shattered! I don't mind being disillusioned in this case, however, because I find it interesting that Cleo must have used intelligence and personality rather than her face to attract Antony, and Caesar before him, proving that intelligent men prefer brains. She came within a nose (don't groan too loudly please!) of ruling Rome. Given her abilities, I'm betting that Cleopatra would have eventually turned things her way if she hadn't chosen the dead-end route of suicide.
In what must have been a moment of despair and panic, at the thought of being paraded through Roman streets behind a victorious Octavian's chariot, with Antony gone and no one to turn to for wise counseling, she made the most important decision of her life based on emotions, not intelligence.
The two ATCs are my tribute to the new version of Antony and Cleopatra and to the use of brains, not body, to achieve success.
Have a great day--or night, depending on your part of the world.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


This stamp has a lot of stories in it, just waiting to be revealed. This is one of them. First rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines and Friends

Don't you hate it when the weatherman keeps his bad weather promises? He promised us a blizzard with whiteouts, and the snow began a few hours ago. On the bright side, I have a good excuse to stay inside and blog, make the card at left, read, and think about Valentines Day.
Valentines Day belongs to romantic love, and much has been written, sung and cried over it, so I thought I'd turn my attention to the love involved in friendship.
The 10th edition of Merriam Webster's dictionary defines "friendship" as, "the state of being friends." (To think that in school, I was taught not to use the word I'm defining in it's definition!) The definition of "friend", same source; "one attached to another by affection or esteem."Those are the first meanings.
"One who is not hostile", is a further definition. That seems an understatement! How impassive and cold definitions are. But then, they're only basic tools for reaching an understanding of all that friendship involves.
" affection." Affection involves some kind of love, and love is definitely not impassive or cold! But what kind of love?The phrase, "disinterested friendship" pops into my mind. At first, "disinterested" seems a rather cold term, but it's actually just the opposite.
It's very demanding to be a disinterested friend, because it means that one is not looking for anything in return. A disinterested friend doesn't treat others like stepping stones on the way to fame, fortune, an "in" with the boss, a free trip to Tahiti or the gaining of any advantage whatsoever, including flattery.
Disinterested means I'm always, always, myself, warts and all, because true friends help each other to see and smooth the rough spots in themselves, and if one is hiding behind a mask, that is not possible.
Disinterested friendship means I'm here to help, to listen, to give, not to get. There will be times when friendship demands more of me than it does of my friend, and there will be times when she will be the more giving in the relationship. We will not count up these times to determine who gives more, because we know that it's impossible to even things out, as if we were children making sure that each gets the same number of cookies for dessert. God is the true accountant of our giving. His math is better than ours, because he invented it!
The French writer, Antoine de St-Exupéry, said in one of his novels that when someone dies, a whole universe dies with him. I agree, and exploring the universe of each of my friends is the most fascinating adventure I can have.
Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Come in out of the Cold and Watch a Dog Show

Don't I wish this were me having coffee with a friend in the sun! I did brave the cold to have breakfast with a good friend yesterday, and today is sunny indeed, so I won't complain.
I read an illustrated online NY Times story today, on the Westminster Dog Show, held yesterday. Those pooches are better coiffed and dressed than is legal! Pampered, pompadoured, brushed to within an inch of their little lives, they are!
Guess who was best Dog of the show, Dog on a pedestal above all breeds? Harry, or Ch. Hobergays Fineus Fogg. He is a Dandie Dinmont terrier from New Zealand, partly owned by Bill Cosby. Yes, THE Bill Cosby. Harry, by the way, was the only Dandie Dinmore in the show. Could that have something to do with the fact that Harry won 57 best-in-shows in 2006? Did other DDs just give up, thinking the prize lost before the show started? Hmmm! Is it me, or does Harry look less than deliriously happy the photo?

Okay, now tell me where to read about a cat show! Let's see those pompous Persians and sneaky Siamese! But don't bring Harry, because the best-of-cat-show winner might eat him for lunch! Have a great day, everyone.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Relief at Last!

It actually climbed above O (F) today! If I had been clear of Flu symptoms, I would've gone out to celebrate, but still had a touch. However, a friend and I plan to have breakfast out tomorrow, and I'll celebrate then.
Just listened to the news before writing this, and heard that some states and (Canadian) provinces are considering banning i-pod listening on the street, because accidents have happened to pedestrians too absorbed by their music to pay attention to traffic. One person interviewed on the subject said he used his i-pod to shut out the world around him.
I also like to listen to music without distractions, but at home or in a theatre, not while I'm out walking. Whether I'm walking on a street or on the quiet nearby wooded walking path, there are far more interesting and beautiful things to see than any portable sound system could provide for me. Many of the sights and sounds I encounter on my walks provide subjects for stories, essays, conversations, ATC and card creation. Where would my inspiration come from if I withdrew from the life around me?
Granted, not everything I see is uplifting or beautiful, but to catch the golden moments, I need to be aware and waiting, or I will miss golden moments. Moments such as the flight of a Golden Hawk, which startled me as I walked on the wooded path I mentioned above. A Golden Hawk, flying over my head to settle on a branch a few feet away, in hearing of early-morning traffic! The music of his wings and the sight of his proudly held head can't be replaced in my memory by any amount of canned music!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

In from the Cold!

Down with a cold/flu, whatever it was, just beginning to fell slightly normal(???) today, and ready to start stamping! Did it with this valentine card.
The card was made using SU (Stampin Up!) Sell-a-bration 2007 set, "Plaisir de vivre"/"Delight in Life", and SU "Wild Hearts" background. The phrase was made using a stamp included with a British magazine. The paper is also SU; Cranberry Crunch and Marigold Morning. Forgot; the bit of brown cs is from a non-SU stash I've made myself promise I'd use up before buying any SU cs. The CC and MM cs are the only SU cardstock I have, besides Whisper White. Ran out of white in my stash. Hear me chuckle!
The ink is SU Cranberry Crunch and Memories Black. Ditto promise for using up my non-SU inks.
I hope it's warm somewhere, because we're up to our ears in snow and have had a couple of weeks with windchill-warning temps ranging from -28F to -35F. Flu and windchill are enough of an excuse to keep me indoors and stamping, so I'll get to it. Maybe. Back to the couch, blanky and cats for now.

Monday, February 05, 2007

05 February 2007 Pardon My Bag

When I first heard of teabag folding, I thought of folding printed paper to make a personalized envelope for a teabag. What an original mind, eh? I finally learned what it really was, as the ATCs here reveal.

Apparently, it started out with some clever people who thought the decorated teabag envelopes were too pretty to throw away. They were right! When the folding caught on, other clever people started printing paper especially for teabag folding. Mine represent a very basic fold, but there are more complicated ones, which, someday, when I've mastered the basics, I may attempt.

Whatever one's level, teabag folding, scrapbooking, ATC and card making, are all good excuses to stay inside on such a day as we've had here in Québec City. This morning started out with a windchill warning; -35F no less! The wind's been howling around all day, like the wolf trying to blow the little pig's house down. At 11:00p.m., it's still howling with a windchill of -26F.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Ah! Bella!

This card represents what will probably become a craze in ATC and card-making. I'm talking about the little Parisian shopper happily posing on the Alexander III bridge. She's part of a whole family of Bella stamps, found at the online shop, Stamping Bella. There are Bella stamps for almost every occasion, and more to come, says their creator. I'm in no way connected to Bella's creator, but if she appeals to you, here's the web address: background is a photo that I played with in a photo programme. The Bella stamp is named "Emmybella".
I've already signed up for Bella card swaps in two different stamping groups and she's just the right size for ATCs, so Bella and I will be having fun together for quite some time, I think.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I looked up from the computer out my window this morning, and saw fat flakes of snow drifting down. One good thing about this: snow means the temperature has risen, and we've had enough -35-with-windchill days to last me until next winter.
The card is one I made for a challenge on one of the online stamping groups to which I belong. We were to do a card with stitching on it. Buttons are the one sewing craft I've managed to conquer. So that's what I did, made a sunflower with a button centre. However, the scan didn't produce a good image, since the button kept the lid from closing properly. I even covered the scanner with a blanket, to no avail. Therefore, it's hard to see the flowerpot and the word, "Friendship" stamped on it. Oh, well, on to the next stamping challenge!