Winter Wonderland

100_2652This morning I woke up to a beautiful winter wonderland of fallen snow piled up on tree branches, walkways, and every other surface.  Wet, heavy snow.   It was around -4C (25F) all night long and it’s beginning to warm up to around zero degrees now.  According to the news, we broke a 1967 snowfall record yesterday by accumulating 15 cms (6″) of snow.  We got another 10 cms overnight.  I know that doesn’t sound like much compared to my cousin Maureen on the Gaspe coast who went from grass to almost a meter (3 feet) of snow in a matter of a few days last week.  The local news reported that in the city, some buses had an impossible time making it up inclined roads and got stuck, leaving customers waiting for an hour or more.  Auto traffic home at rush hour seemed painfully slow; this morning as well.  Late yesterday afternoon, it looked like a blizzard outside with high winds and heavy snow limiting visibility beyond a few hundred feet so that we couldn’t see beyond the trees at the beach.   After supper, our lights dimmed and surprisingly, Melvin filled up the bathroom sink and a 5 gallon bucket with water in the bathtub just in case we needed water to flush the toilet if the power went out.  Five minutes later it did.  But the power came back on, then went off again several times while we tried to watch a movie.

Heavy snow on trees

Heavy snow on trees

Nice fluffy snow is one thing but this dense, heavy snow is another altogether.  As it warms up, it’s already beginning to slide off my metal roof with an indignant thump.  I don’t want to leave our poor dog outside too long as he whines by the window and door to come in – right where the snow will come crashing down.

Chickadee @ Suet Feeder

Chickadee @ Suet Feeder

The wild birds are busy today at my bird feeders.  One feeder filled with black-oil Sunflower seeds is full of chickadees and nuthatches while the other suet feeder with beef fat from the butcher is visited by downy woodpeckers.  Bushes and trees are severely bent over with the weight of the heavy snow.  When I opened the back door to empty my cold wood ashes into my metal collection bucket this morning, there was 28 cms (11″) of snow drifted against the door.

Backdoor snow drift

Backdoor snow drift

Now I’m wondering if the snowplow will come down our road today……. it’s a good thing I don’t have to go anywhere.  But I prepared for this storm when I heard it was coming, by stocking up on extra milk and bread.

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Art Class

I recently took a 6 week art class.  That’s pretty unusual for me since I don’t ever take any ‘classes’ of any sort.  The last time I took classes, it was 25 years ago at a local University!  I guess I’m just frugal (a.k.a. cheap) and don’t like to pay for any kind of activity in which I might learn something because everyone knows I already know everything!  lol

I was really interested in taking an art class because I already love to draw and paint and I was hoping to learn more about watercolour painting.  I wasn`t disappointed.  I think that the best thing about this art class was that it was small – only 6 women.  The ‘instructor’ was a very laid back artist who didn’t rigidly enforce her own style on anyone.  She encouraged each of us to find our own way with various mediums.  We started out by good old-fashioned colouring – it had been a few years since I coloured with my grandkids so I was thoroughly enjoying it.  However I shared with the group, that we usually didn’t like ‘colouring books’ at our house because the lines were too restrictive – my kids prefered ‘doodle pads’ of blank pages where THEY could make the lines and colour them in.

First Watercolour, Percé Rock

First Watercolour, Percé Rock, unfinished

At the end of each class, we discussed which medium we’d like to explore the following  week.  So we ‘played’ with Watercolours next.    I didn’t recall that you could buy watercolour pencils to create your painting then add water.  I forgot to bring a picture to paint from so I just did my first watercolour from memory of my favourite Gaspe place, Percé Rock.  Of course, there wasn’t enough time to finish it in 2 hours so I’ll add it to my list of paintings I’ve “started-to-be-completed-someday” (I have 2 painting that I began 45 years ago that I plan on finishing).

Food Colouring Watercolour

Food Colouring Watercolour

We also did some pictures on watercolour paper with water and simple food colouring as well as India Ink.  THAT was fun!  I chose my favourite colour combinations and just put a few drops of food colouring on the paper where the mood happened to strike me ……….. and just watched the picture ‘grow’ as the colours slowly spread and joined into one another……… it was like meditating.

About midway through the course, we explored painting on black-painted canvas.  It was just SO much fun.   My picture looked like the cosmos so I titled it “My Tribute to Carl Sagan for Marty”.   Now what was developing during this art class were friendships with people I didn’t even know a month before.    A real bonus.

"My Tribute to Carl Sagan for Marty"

“My Tribute to Carl Sagan for Marty”

The second to last class, we did finger painting!  It sure took me back to my kindergarten days when finger painting was my favourite part of school.   We just let the mood flow and talked and mashed our hands in the paint……..

Fingerpainting!

Fingerpainting!

We ended this series with pencil sketching called Zendoodling or something like that.  It was flowing, yet could be intense, eye-straining, and small.  Either way, it was fun.  We ended our classes by having lunch together at a local establishment, The Crusty Baker.   Everyone agreed to continue our connection and exchanged emails

What I did gain from this experience was the confidence to get back into my art and especially to dabble in watercolour.  But the most  unexpected surprise, was the new friendships I made.

La Leche League

I have written many blogs about my family and my life as a Mom and now Gramma. From the very beginning on August 15, 1975 when I first became a Mother, I wanted to provide what I felt was the very BEST for my babies. So of course that meant that I was going to nurse my babies and give them the best start, the best nutrition, and the best mothering I could provide. I had heard about La Leche League, which is a mother-to-mother education and support group for breastfeeding women. Little did I realize at the time, what an incredible impact La Leche League was going to have on my life…….

Baby Taylor

Baby Taylor 1980

 

La Leche League has thousands of groups all over the world with hundreds in Canada (http://www.lllc.ca ). Accredited Leaders host monthly mothers meetings to provide information and encouragement to women who want to breastfeed their babies as well as telephone and email support. My baby Robin and I attended my first meeting when my firstborn was about 6 months old. Not only did I find all the information and support, I found lifelong friends and continued to attend group meetings. It was just what I needed as a new Mother! When son #2 Darin was about 6 months old in 1977, I began the process of becoming an accredited La Leche League Leader. I led meetings in southern Ontario and then took over a group when we moved here in 1981. My new LLLeague friends became my best friends: we hung out together with all our kids playing together during daytime playdates and shared life’s little adventures together. I still keep in touch with these women who I met at that first meeting. I was an active volunteer Leader for 10 years until I ‘retired’ to meet the needs of my large family and pursue my Midwifery and Lactation Consulting work.

Loving Daddy kisses

Loving Daddy kisses 1992

 

Now fast forward 25 years to today. In the fall of 2012, I decided to volunteer for La Leche League Canada again in another capacity as I was already interested in pursuing some kind of volunteer activity. I considered volunteering at the local hospital or hospice but I just felt that La Leche League was a perfect fit. Now that my children are all grown up, I am able to give my time freely based on a lifetime of experience, knowledge, and dedication. I already fully endorsed La Leche League’s philosophy of mother-to-mother support for breastfeeding families and providing educational opportunities for Health Professionals. The scope of my LLLC work is enormous and a necessary part of any non-profit organization. It will likely consume 10-20 hours of my time per week with emails, monthly meetings, committee work, etc. I will gratefully give at this level so that this wonderful organization can continue to help mothers across the country.MelHuggingDaddy
La Leche League Canada (LLLC) is a non-profit, charitable organization and is an affiliate to the parent group, La Leche League International. LLLC has a website http://lllc.ca where Mothers can go to find out where the next meeting is in their area or get help via an 1-800 breastfeeding referral line or where Health Professionals can get information about LLLC’s upcoming continuing education seminars or where you can make a donation …..
It’s exciting for me to again be part of an organization that’s been helping Canadian mothers for over 50 years. La Leche League is truly an authentic grass-roots organization started by 7 mothers in 1956 in Chicago which has morphed into the recognized world authority on breastfeeding and yet still maintains that simple mother-to-mother help at the basic level.
It is my honour to serve La Leche League again and ‘give back’ to this wonderful organization. I feel that I have now come full circle and can give my time freely to this organization that has had such a profound influence on my life. I am grateful to contribute to La Leche League Canada so that this awesome organization can continue to help breastfeeding mothers and babies across the country……..for another 50 years.

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The next generation 2005

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