My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Hogmanay (pronounced IPA: [ˌhɔɡməˈneː] — with the main stress on the last syllable) is the Scots word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year (Gregorian calendar) in the Scottish manner. It is, however, normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of New Year's Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January which is a Scottish Bank Holiday.

When my brother and I are were little, our family celebrated New Year's eve together, and when we were old enough, or lucky enough to coax our parents into allowing us to stay up until midnight, we witnessed a traditional welcoming of the new year. One of the adults would open the back door, and would encourage the old year to take its leave. The front door would then be opened, allowing the New Year entrance into our home, accompanied by a warm welcome. I always assumed that this was a Scottish tradition, but after investigating the aforementioned practice, I found the following, which led me to believe that its origin was British.

A New Year party on the New Year's Eve is the most common type of celebration in England. When at midnight the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast, they drink a toast to the New Year. The most famous celebration takes place in Trafalgar Square in London, where big crowds gather to welcome the New Year. If the family prefer to bring in the New Year at home there is such a custom: the members of the household sat themselves round the hearth, and when the hands of the clock approach the hour, the head of the family rises, goes to the front door, opens it wide, and holds it thus until the last stroke of midnight has died away. Having let the Old Year out and the New Year in, he shuts the door quietly and returns to the family circle.

My Nana..or "Gram" as my cousin called her...would never allow a dirty home to welcome the New Year, so much cleaning and tidying was done prior to the 31st of December. Our bodies were cleaned as well... and then dressed in clean PJ's. After the stroke of midnight my brother and I banged pots and pans on the front stoop. I always thought that this was a welcoming act, but have read that the practice had more meaning. It was an endeavour to drive away evil spirits.

The Scots celebrate New Year with a passion...perhaps more than any other culture. Go here to read about their colourful festivities and traditions. I am sure that what our family practiced was both a celebration of both Scottish and English tradition as we are of both Scottish and English descent.

In closing, I pass on a wish that is above my door all year long. Lovingly stitched by my cousin, it has continued to bless us over the years.

Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What we did on boxing day.....

A Boxing Day wedding.....

Two sisters....

The happy couple.... now Mr and Mrs A....

One very proud papa!

Best wishes for a happy and long life together. Buddy and Heather!

Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

May your days be filled with love and laughter and the company of good friends and family! Peace, good health and happiness in the new year!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I am Still Here...

...but wrestling with yet another cold. I miss my blogging buddies but will be back soon!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Hippopotamus and the Tortoise

I received this email from a friend today and thought it appropriate to share, given what is...or is not ....happening in Copenhagen

The Hippopotamus and the Tortoise

'Much of life can never be explained, only witnessed.'
- Rachel Naomi Remen, MD

NAIROBI (AFP) - A baby hippopotamus that survived the tsunami waves on the Kenyan coast, has formed a strong bond with a giant male century-old tortoise in an animal facility in the port city of Mombassa , officials said.

The hippopotamus, nicknamed Owen and weighing about 300 kilograms (650 pounds), was swept down Sabaki River into the Indian Ocean , then forced back to shore when tsunami waves struck the Kenyan coast on December 26, before wildlife rangers rescued him.

'It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother',' ecologist Paula Kahumbu, who is in charge of Lafarge Park , told AFP.

After it was swept away and lost its mother, the hippo was traumatized. It had to look for something to be a surrogate mother. Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond. They swim, eat and sleep together,' the ecologist added.

'The hippo follows the tortoise exactly the way it followed its mother. If somebody approaches the tortoise, the hippo becomes aggressive, as if protecting its biological mother,' Kahumbu added.

'The hippo is a young baby, he was left at a very tender age and by nature, hippos are social animals that like to stay with their mothers for four years,' he explained.

'Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.'

This is a real story that shows that our differences don't matter much when we need the comfort of another.

The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.

Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

To Our Leaders in Copenhagen

As you gather this week to debate, and make decisions that will effect all of us, please keep in mind the following.....

You speak for the health and welfare of families...

...for little creatures who have no voice....

It is our ardent desire that our children and theirs will grow up in the same beautiful world that we have experienced...that they will look upon bodies of healthy water and abundant wildlife...

...upon lush and beautiful forests.....

...and that they will have learned from our mistakes. So.....please...take your responsibility very seriously. Make decisions that will help to heal our planet. We are counting on you....

Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

O Christmas Tree...O Christmas Tree!

I was having my usual struggles with deciding whether to decorate a tree this year.  It seemed a lot of effort to expend for such a short time and now, for so few.   My Christmas tree is at least 5' tall.  The thought of hauling it upstairs was daunting.  I needed to come up with another solution....  My daughter had a little tree...approximately 2 1/2 feet tall.  She was willing to trade.  We both win!

I enlisted the help of Alexia when she visited.  She is a great little tree decorator.  

Most of the ornaments on our tree are a lot older than she is!  My daughter, Mandy (aged 25) made the tree topper when she was 5.

I have many decorations.  Some are handmade by my children,  a friend, my mom, my MIL and myself.  Some are store bought.  This year I did not need to read posts about inexpensive decorations.....  I have enough...  I have stopped buying and making.

I am glad that I did put up a tree.  We need the bright colours at this time of the year... and it is nice to have another look at the ornaments... many that were lovingly handcrafted...that have graced our tree for so long



Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where Do your Thoughts "Drift?"

When my daughter told me of the snow that was falling in Bracebridge and Huntsville....two towns that are approximately one hour north of here.....I thought she was exaggerating. Apparently not. Huntsville has been declared in a state of emergency.

"Miley" plowing through a drift....

Mandy... up to her hips in snow.... and it keeps on coming! So... Where do my thoughts drift to when I contemplate another 4 to 5 months of this???

Did you guess summer??

Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous

Thursday, December 10, 2009

With Christmas two weeks away, I decided to take stock. Have I been able to "mindfully" give this year?

Well... I have bought toys for the grandchildren, but for the most part, they are toys that stimulate learning and that stimulate the imagination. I have also bought them clothing. I shopped close to home, or stayed home, saved gas, and did internet shopping. I bought them gifts that will help them cut back on waste and plastic. I will wrap their gifts in one box each, thereby saving wrapping paper.

My children and their spouses will receive their gifts in orange crates, again saving wrapping material.

I have made a few gifts. Not nearly as many as I would have liked, but having Pneumonia knocked the daylights out of me and changed a few plans.

My husband and I have made a pact to cut way back on our spending for each other, and yours truly has asked for bird feeding material, as I get so much enjoyment from feeding these little creatures.

I have already received the best Christmas gift ever, that a member of our family is slowly recovering. How can you top that?

Is this Christmas going to pan out the way I would have liked? No. Not this year. Lessons have been learned, however.

I pledge that next year, 80% of the gifts I give will be whatever form that takes. I am going to cut back tremendously, and try to do that as creatively as possible.

As a reminder to my children... I want nothing... I need nothing. That is my Christmas wish.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One Simple Word....

Thanksgiving has passed and we are moving on at a very fast pace towards Christmas. Preparing for Christmas often takes us into the malls for purchases of goods and foodstuffs. and that got me to thinking. Thanksgiving gives us an opportunity to express our gratitude, but have you noticed lately how seldom we use and hear the expression. "thank you?" Why is that!? We teach our children to respond with a "thank you"... to use their manners. Somehow this has escaped the employees in the stores where we purchase our goods. How often do you find yourself saying "thank you" to the teller...(she forgot to say IT!) she tallies your purchase? ("Thank you for giving me the opportunity to empty my bank account in your store?!? And yes...I will be glad to purchase a gift box after spending a whack of stash here"...)

It isn't just in the malls that we notice the absence of that word, though, is it? Too often I have forgotten to acknowledge an effort on the part of a family member or friend. I feel joy and gratitude in my heart for that effort but by forgetting that one simple little word. I may have left the giver wondering at how much I really appreciate their gesture. On the flip side, responding with "You are welcome" informs the person who has expressed gratitude, that they have been heard.

"Thank you." "You are welcome." Not just one simple word, I guess.

Why have I included the picture below? I forgot to say "thank You." I ask for much.... Too often I forget to acknowledge the gift...

Thank You for this beautiful sunset.

Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another project completed!

Alas! I forgot to take a picture!! The Ragg quilt is finished. It looks great, and its new owner LOVES it! I stayed up rather late last night, sewing it together and clipping its edges. Annie was very pleased and snuggled under it.

For all who asked or commented, Annie is recovering from a bout of Meningitis, and is doing well. She is still in hospital but is being a great patient.....because she is anxious to get home.

Sometimes life reminds us of its fragility. In the blink of an eye, our world can be changed forever. We need this reminder... some more than others...because we often forget what is truly important.

I will try to post a pic of this quilt at some later date. Now...on to the next project!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Digging Deep

One of my blogging friends has been writing about the memories she shares with her sister. I commented that I have few memories from so many years ago, and that I would have to dig deep to find them again. Why do you think that is? Is it because so many of us our caught up in TODAY, and have little time to reminisce? I am not sure, but unearthing old photographs sure helps.

My family which consisted of my mom, dad and brother, lived in the Silverthorne district of Toronto. We were fortunate to have grandparents and aunties and cousins that lived nearby. When mom and dad were busy, my brother and I were cared for by family.

We lived in the house that my dad built. Building this house was quite an accomplishment for a man who was busy with attending school, as a teacher, during the day and school, as a student, at night.

Our neighbourhood was small...our world was small. We behaved ourselves, because if we didn't, we knew that our parents would know about our antics before we got home.

In those days, milk was delivered to the door. Horses were frequently seen on the streets. Often a man would bring the pony pictured below around the neighbourhood and mothers would scramble to clean up their children for a picture taken on the back of a pony. It was a thrill for my brother and me, and I am glad that I have this picture to remind me of a time when life was simple...


Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Next Project...

...and I am wondering how long this one will take.  I am not known for completing projects in a timely manner.  I started the quilt for my grandson two years ago, and I am ashamed to admit that it is just finished...  This is a Rag Quilt that I am making for my SIL, Annie.  I am hoping that, stitched with love, it will help her on her road to recovery.

I will keep you posted on my progress.....



Posted via email from wendyytb's posterous