Thursday, January 11, 2007

Christmas Haida Gwaii Style

I am a traditionalist, I like traditions. Remembering them when things are not quite right or if I am far from home gives me comfort and connection. I have lived on Haida Gwaii nearly eight years. I grew up and lived much of my life in Ontario with hot summers and snowy winters. I like winter, I like clear blue skies and snow that crunches beneath your feet, I like how it makes everything look fresh and new and I like a white Christmas!
Haida Gwaii has a temperate climate which means really boring! The temperature rarely goes below zero or above twenty degrees celius and it rains.....about 150 mm on the east coast of the islands and a whopping 500 mm on the west coast! This year we have broken records all over the west coast for "liquid" sunshine! However Mother Nature never ceases to amaze me by offering up what you want.
I was feeling a litte homesick this year and missing the cold bright weather of winter with its mantle of snow(I guess you guys in the east were feeling that way tooo!?) and wishing that maybe it would snow just for a day or two over Christmas and then go away! Well, it rained and it rained and it stormed with winds maintaining a sustained speed of 100km for two days. Finally on Christmas morning the winds stopped, like someone had turned the switch off and so my host and Marley headed for the beach to see what was up. Mother Nature came through.....not with snow but with so much salt foam on the beach you would have thought it was snow! So we all played in "our" snow and a great time was had by all!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunday mornings

All other days of the week are routine, even Saturdays can be considered routine however Sundays, especially Sunday mornings are not to be messed with!
I am a morning person and as a "maturing" soul I am no stranger to early mornings. I have learned to find joy and comfort with a hot cup of coffee, a lap blanket and a good book during the dark early hours of winter. Then it's up and at 'em and out the door to work. But that is a different story! I could have gone to bed at 8 p.m. the night before and I still won't stir before 9 a.m. on a Sunday(my usual rising time is 5:30 a.m.) and if I can prolong it I will! I lay under the warmth of my down comforter listening to NorthbyNorthwest with Sheryl Mckay on CBC Radio 1. Everything I do is deliberate and slow and comforting. I stay in my pj's and go coax the embers in the wood stove with some fresh fuel. Fire crackling, I go through the routine of grinding coffee beans and brewing two cups of coffee in my "Bodum". Sundays, for some reason are always sunny and I welcome the warmth of the rising winter sun that streams through my south facing windows. Sunday Report with Michael Enright now fills my space. During the week the radio is often just background noise. Sundays it is my morning, I take it all in, it prepares me for the new week.
During the week breakfast is usually coffee and a bowl of cereal or a couple of pieces of toast but that is a different story. I live on my own and cooking for one can be a hassel, however I have worked hard to maintain a routine of cooking proper meals and setting the table(for one) and enjoying my meals. I also enjoy trying great new recipes, which are usually better to tried out on ones self before inviting friends over.
One day just over a year ago I was travelling back from Port Hardy on the "Queen of the North" and perusing their "on board" bookstore when I came across a cookbook called "Cooks Afloat". All the recipes are "one pot" recipes for people travelling by sailboat, cruiser or like me living alone. It has some great recipes and I thought I would try the "baked pancake" this Sunday morning. Simple recipe, whipped fluffy rather than beaten flat and baked rather than fried. But it is what you put on top that makes it special....if it's during the summer or fall local berries are a must. Mix a teaspoon of vanilla extract, "whole milk" yogurt and honey until it is creamy smooth and then pour it over your berries of choice and pancake, then drizzle the whole thing with honey or my fave....maple syrup!
The secret now is to have it prepared and ready for 12:05 p.m. so that you can enjoy it while listening to Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe!
Listening this morning as Stuart celebrated his 10th anniversary on air I thought about the first time I heard his program.
I had been living on Haida Gwaii for about a year and doing a lot of housesitting for people. This particular time it was Christmas, we had had a fresh snow fall and I was sitting by the window reading a book and watching a nuthatch work his way around the window trim about six inches from me. All of the sudden I realized I was laughing out loud. The radio was on but I had not been paying I thought. I was laughing at a story about an AWOL Ferret and grandma's fur coat! Needless to say, I was hooked and that is how my Sundays have gone ever since.

Try them both out, the baked pancake and the Vinyl Cafe they will bring a smile to your day!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Marvellous Marvin

In the Beginning

Almost a year ago I was introduced to "blogging". This young blog wizard stood before an audience of some 150 maturing managers and explained how blogging was the way of the future and would change how we and our industry would do business. On a mammoth computer screen he walked us through "how easily" we could "create and edit" posts and "moderate" comments and how we could showcase our region by having "community blogs" with visitors extolling the virtues of our tourism region...."best and cheapest advertising" we were told.
That was a little too much information for one sitting. All my computer knowledge has been learned on "as needed" basis, which really means I do everything the long and hard way! I'm 58, why would I want to start and learn some new fangled program now!?
Then Gen(my daughter) and her new husband Steve started a blog so she could communicate with all her new extended family and post all her wonderful photos. When she would send me an occassional email there was all this chit chat with big holes in it. I'd write back, "when did all this happen?" and she'd reply frustrated "It's all on my blog!" "What blog?""The one I sent you the address to back in whenever!" And so I grovelled for her blog address again and spent an evening catching up on everything that had happened from weddings of people I didn't know, to disagreements with housemates to new additions to her extended family!
I didn't comment on anything.....didn't know how! Finally I took my new laptop home and on my intermittent wireless connection made my first comment on her blog but that was not before I had to set up my own blog site 'cause everything I do is backwards and takes forever! You will notice that this is the very first post since I established "Living on the Edge"! I must admit I have tried several times earlier however became "wordless"! Hard to believe coming from someone whose job it is to communicate! I realized I was exposing myself and that caught me off guard, so I withdrew from trying to post.
Then I tried to upload a photo to share and to give me inspiration and to this day I do not know where that picture is! It uploaded and disappeared!
Anyway, here I am, with a nudge from Genevieve and a New Years resolution committed to posting on my site sometime in 2007 no matter how feable the attempt and to leave the attempts at uploading photos until I have a more grounded connection!
Cheers and may we all learn something new this year!


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