Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tumult & North Stars

Painting by Nick J. Williams through Willow & Stone UK

I like to start each new year in a peaceful place, with quiet plans for the next 365 days, with my dreams squared up in my head.  I usually don't write things down, but I make mental notes of all the things I want to achieve.  They don't have to be big things.  
For 2008, I wanted to make some progress on the house: get the living and dining rooms painted, get our office organized, buy a new iMac and a new digital camera.  I wanted to organize a trip to Europe and take a few courses (Residential Interior Design and History of Furniture, to be exact).  I managed to accomplish most of my list this year, but a few things remain.  For example, the new smoke and CO detectors aren't yet installed, and the office curtains still sit atop the desk.  But house "to do's" are endless, aren't they?
Going into 2009, however, feels totally different.  I have no idea what my future holds, so it makes planning difficult.  We got The Speech at the office on December 18th, when they told us the company is being restructured and that "layoffs will be deep and wide".  Since I'm in a corporate engineering group, I suspect I'll be affected - they've already said that some corporate groups will be dismantled.  The focus will be "cash generation" and not the academic pursuits like Research & Development and technology advancement we've been fooling with lately.  As one of my colleagues said "better people than us have been laid-off."  Which means "don't take it personally" and that we have no control over anything, and that it doesn't matter how hard you work or who your allies are.  There is never transparent logic in these things.
I don't want to be laid off.  It would probably be the best thing for me, considering that my career with this company has felt stagnant for a while.  But finding another job in this economy will be downright unpleasant.  Who wants to be unemployed for 6 or 12 months or longer?  
I've been struggling the last couple of years with my career path, but the reality is that I simply cannot think of any other vocation worth sacrificing it all for.  I would love to write or study interior design, but honestly, I don't think I can go back to living on $15,000 a year to start.  I was a poor student for far too long (and worked far too hard) to go back to living on IKEA furniture and eating dried beans and rice and taking the bloody bus everywhere.  
Sorry if I sound like I don't have enough passion, but honestly, I know several decorators in Calgary whose pinnacle of success is working at Ethan Allen or designing ugly office buildings and dentist's offices.  Sadly, we cannot all be Michael S. Smith or that annoying Nate Berkus, even if Oprah says so.  Anyway, where would half of those stars be if they didn't have famous mothers or wealth or good looks?  A lot of us have talent, but many don't have the means to develop it.  And Calgary is probably not the town to launch my brilliant writing career either.  Plus, I don't have a golden retreiver or a Sawtelle dog to exploit.  But maybe I could start hacking away?
So this year, all I can say is:  I want to find my North Star.  I want to try to figure out what to do with my life. Where to take my career or what to transform it into.  I want to find out what my essential self craves and perhaps, if it has any hope of bearing fruit, try to move in that direction.
It means learning to have more fun, and paying very close attention to the things that resonate inside me and make me happiest.  Those things I will doggedly follow this year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas! God Jul! Joyeux Noël!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas full of love!
David & I are leaving town tomorrow to spend Christmas with his mother and family in a small town in the countryside. I'm looking forward to eating lots of turkey & stuffing & sweets, going ice skating, watching movies, talking, and giving and receiving lovely gifts - but mostly being surrounded by love!
I will miss my mother (terribly!) and family on the east coast most of all, but next year I hope we will spend it with them. Merry Christmas Mom!
And before I forget - here is a big hug to all my dear friends in frosty Canada, gorgeous and inspiring Sweden, heavenly Norway, charming Holland, exquisite England, the always-awesome USA, warm and lovely Australia, and all the other beautiful places I have found you and your love and support this year! Bless you all.
Love, Terri xo
Photo: Ideal Home

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things: 1 to 10

While reviewing my Style files the other night, I realized there are many things that struck my fancy over the year that I never blogged about.  I must have two thousand photos of beautiful rooms and objets that caught my eye but didn't make it onto this blog.

So without further ado, this is a year-end round-up of a few of my favorite things that never made it on Wind Lost (unless I've forgotten already).  
I'm a candle lover and these tiny tapers from The White Company steal my heart.  I think they look especially exquisite in small groups of 2 or 3.
This exquisite "Amboise" tablecloth from Pierre Frey (for Yves Delorme) speaks my language.  It would clash horribly with the rose coloured rug in my dining room, but I'd eliminate the rug in a jiffy if I could acquire this beauty.

This romantic bedroom promises sweet dreams -the canopy is so clever and could be interchanged with countless beautiful fabrics.  Photo:  House to Home
This cognac bed by Hickory White is quietly glamourous and utterly perfect.  It is also available in a poster version.
This is one of my favorite living rooms, for the soft colours, the interesting furniture, and the architectural character of the room itself.  I find it very witty that the decorator used two surprisingly different consoles and lamps on either side of the window without affecting the symmetry.  The similarity of the mirrors keeps the eye from noticing this right away!  I would add a coffee table since I always need a place for my drinks and books.  Photo: House to Home
I like these pretty hooks from Graham & Green.
This adorable girly bed would add abundant character to even the simplest room.  I would feel like a princess if this arrived in my house!  Photo: House to Home
Believe it or not, this is my favorite kitchen photo.  You can't see the whole thing, but you get the gist of what I like in a kitchen - pristinely white with marble counter tops, silver fixtures, a chef-worthy range, tons of light, and a really clean design with a slightly traditional and classic vibe.
This sweet demi-lune from Drexel Heritage is for my future dream life, where I will wake up a glamorous kept woman.
I like the look of this comfy quilt from The White Company - perfect for our dream cottage!

Monday, December 15, 2008


I know I'm supposed to be ruminating on simplicity these days and trying to become a better person through non-consumerism, but the plain fact is - I want this chair.  There, I said it. I feel better already.

Isn't it a beauty? I don't care if it's uncomfortable to sit in - I would just like to look upon it and meditate upon its grace and eloquence. I think it might be very helpful in my becoming a better person.

This exquisite piece is available from Wisteria, who fortunately do not ship to Canada.  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Decor

 ~ M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S ~

Little bird salt & pepper shakers I bought this fall at Pier 1.  We used them for our dinner party last night and they were a hit with guests.

I love the abundance of this glass vase full of ornaments.

More ornaments and a little present in the background.

A Christmas tree tea light holder.  The Christmas tree is my favorite image of Christmas.

A crystal bowl with sparkling ornaments I bought last season.  In case you didn't notice, I love the gentle all-white look!

A pretty angel ornament stands next to my favorite lamp.

This little vintage wire tree came from a Christmas bazaar at my church last year.  It cost $3!  I love Christmas sales...
A laser-cut branch decoration, hanging on the wall near the kitchen.  

~ M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S ~

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Around Here

Our Christmas tree, a Balsam fir, decorated with collected ornaments from over the years...
A banner I made last Christmas for my front hall mirror...
Some wee ice skates and a beautiful ornament my Mom sent me last Christmas - did you know that I was a figure skater in my youth?  I skated for 15 years and hope to get a new pair of ice skates this Christmas since I haven't skated in years...
Another banner (this one doesn't like to hang straight!) that I placed on the front door of my china cabinet - the 
Christmas tree is reflected in the glass...
My miniature tree in the kitchen, with white lights and green and white decorations...

Friday, December 12, 2008


Photo: House & Garden

I thought I'd share a photo of one of my favorite doors! I just love this pretty blue door and its frosty aqua wreath.
Things at the office are rather busy and also stressful with the economic downturn. I work in a busy "Oil & Gas" town and layoffs are starting to trickle through the industry. Everyone is worried and we expect next year to be worse. We've lost one of our junior engineers already and rumours are that we face up to 300 job cuts in the new year. For a company of 2800 people, that means more than 1 in 10 may lose their job. One of my colleague's husband was laid off, and with 2 small children, they are rather worried. So it definitely puts a damper on the holiday spirit. And also lends some perspective!
I wonder if you have been affected yet?
I've decorated our house and it looks lovely, but I haven't honestly felt that excited about Christmas. We've cut back the gift budget (which feels good actually), but with job losses looming, it's amazing how your perspective changes. I suddenly see so much of the junk and consumerism related to Christmas as a terrible waste of money. And I wonder when I became such a materialist. I am not a big money waster compared to many, and simply want a beautiful home, but when did the joy of life become the eternal acquistion of new things?
So this Christmas, the only expense we indulged in terms of decoration was our Christmas tree. I bought my cards on sale last Christmas and kept them wrapped up, so opening them this year was a nice surprise! Otherwise, we've bought nothing new for the house. Instead, I just moved $6000 into savings. I suddenly feel like a machine that is being re-programmed from constant self-gratification to constant saving. It's positively weird.
Don't get be wrong. I still covet things, but they look profoundly less shiny and necessary when you imagine being unemployed for 18 months or longer.
And my desire to save probably isn't good for the economy! I work in the plastics industry after all, and should be encouraging you all to go out and BUY BUY BUY (particularly something FAKE)! Still, don't you think our economy and our lives were getting a little overinflated? So perhaps many of us needed a dose of perspective.
We're having a dinner party tomorrow night and another next Sunday. We'll probably splurge on food and nice wine and desserts, but I'd rather share the season's bounty feeding family and friends than on buying more stuff I really, honestly don't need.
I hope I haven't dampened your holiday spirits. It's snowing heavily outside and I'm starting to feel positively festive - but instead of going overboard shopping this weekend, we will cook and bake and live vicariously through blogs and window-shopping instead!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Home Office in Progress

Hello!  I thought I would share some pictures of my home office, which is in progress.  Unlike the oh-so-talented (and brave!) Mrs. Limestone, I will not be posting pictures of this room on Rate My Space .  I am not nearly that courageous!

What I am proud of is that I've managed to put this room together without spending any new money, using things we already own.  But I do desire a new rug, some repainted furniture, and some fabric updates.

Without further ado, here's the room:
The blue dresser (above) came with the house.  I'm presently using it for files.  I'm trying to decide whether to re-paint it (a different colour) - or perhaps a fresh coat of blue and some new knobs will do the trick?  I'd prefer it to match the bookcase (below)...eventually.
A close-up of the dresser:  The big bowl is for bills (I'm behind on my filing).  The cork board ($5.99) is from Ikea.  I plan to either paint the corkboard or cover it in fabric.
A close-up from the bulletin board:   This photo shows my parents' home in eastern Canada, last winter!  It's a cozy and idyllic country spot, nicely forested and with views of the river.
An Ikea bookcase I've had a while:  I like the weathered grey-green colour but once I replace the rug, I think I may repaint it (and the wee dresser) either blue, white or sage green.  Jewellery is stored on the third shelf in small boxes.  Office supplies are in the orange box at bottom.  I originally considered installing a curtain on the front of the bookcase to cover the clutter, but might leave it open.Here's the room:  Our computer table is a kitchen table from David's old place.  He doesn't want me to re-paint it, but I'd like to keep it because it's the perfect height and size.  In this picture you can see the rug, which is "no longer me" (not that it ever was - it was just cheap!).  I bought this many years ago from Home Depot and it has serviced many rooms. It's colourful and not terrible, but I'd prefer to replace it with something pretty and neutral.  I saw a delightful ivory-white wool rug at Ikea, but I don't want to spend much money! 

The old grey armchair (its twin sits in our living room) is in dire need of re-upholstering and may be re-finished, once I figure out my colour scheme.Our work station, with the new iMac.  I love this computer (after spending the last 3 months cursing as I learned how to use it).  The painting is by an accomplished Quebec artist named Pierre Bedard. It was my first real art purchase a couple of years after getting my first job in Toronto.  It's a Chagall-like winter townscape that I love and want to keep in the room.The small lamp on the left-side of the table is a Grono lamp from Ikea, which I covered in a Martha Stewart gift wrap, to dim its light a little.  Grono's come in packs of two and make lovely accent lighting, especially once covered in pretty paper.On my desk, the silver pencil cup came from Paris. I'm using a little paper box for scrap notepaper.  A glass heart container I've had for years holds my memory stick and USB gear.
The other side of the room...with my clutter table.  This is a beautiful country table I bought at auction for $280.  It now serves as a repository for all my clutter.  There's another Grono lamp sitting atop it.  I don't have my curtains up yet - the white rod and a pile of curtains sit near the window!  I will de-clutter this space, and deal with the boxes beneath eventually. 
A built-in bookcase that I really like.  I have tons of family photos and eventually want to style this a little and add more shelves (likely in white) above the big table.

Well, hope you like it!  Do you have any suggestions for a new rug colour (other than white?) and a colour to paint my wee dresser and book case?  I think a blue rug might be nice, with white furniture, if I could ever find a blue rug in the right shade.  Or perhaps a white rug with sage green or light blue furniture?  What do you think?

Then I'll add fabrics (on the corkboard, the armchair, and pillow) to complement the scheme.  Your suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In Memory of Pookey

This post is in memory of my Mom's darling cat, Pookey, who passed away today at the young kitty age of 8 years old.  Pookey was my mother's pride and joy, and he became her loyal companion, as a kitten, after her heart attack in 2000.

Pookey, having wonderful taste for a cat, adored my mother and followed her everywhere.  He especially liked being picked up and held for long periods of time, especially wrapped in a towel.  I've never seen a who liked being held as much as Pookey did.  

Pookey liked to sleep on Mom's bed at night and she never seemed to mind him waking her up at all hours to "let him out".  He also enjoyed burrowing up under the sheets of a freshly-made bed, where he would lay under the covers as a "hump" in the bed, sleeping for hours.  Pookey was my Mom's best pal and companion, especially during the last few hard years of Dad's illness when Pookey gave her one small thing to celebrate each day.  And he has kept her close company over the last year after Dad went into the nursing home.
Pookey especially liked to go outdoors, climb on the wood pile, cross the road, and chase mice. He was known to have confrontations with foxes, neighbour's dogs, and other cats.  Even though he only weighed 10 lbs (max) and was mostly fluff, he had an enormous personality, oversized paws, and an-almost-human character.  In fact, he was kinder and more loving than most humans I know. He was a doting companion and kept my Mom indoors many evenings to "spend with the cat puttering around the house".  She worried about him when he was outdoors and she was away, but as soon as her car came in the yard, he always came running to see his Mom.  

He had a fondness for cat nip and always got a Christmas present with some tucked inside.

Pookey liked to sleep on the bed in my old room, in his kitty basket, and especially enjoyed sleeping on any light-colored furniture where his black fur could accumulate.  He enjoyed scratching furniture, scratching his post to shreds, and chasing those little toy mice.  He had a whole basket of toys.  He liked to be rocked in the rocking chair, roll in the dirt (see below), and sleep in the laundry basket.  He often had leaves or sand in his whiskers. He liked to be held whilst one was sitting on the toilet.  And he liked to drink the leftover milk from cereal bowls.  All this was indulged with nary a word.  
He was also permitted to occasionally walk on the table and the counters, but we don't mention that.

About two weeks ago, he started feeling badly and seemed to be having laboured breathing. Mom observed that he was not himself and thought that maybe he had worms after all his summer exploits.  She planned to take him to the vet to be de-wormed and checked later this week, but then a couple days ago, he began to not eat and started to dislike being picked up.  Mom was worried and when today he seemed worse, she made the hour's drive to the city to the vet, assuming he would get medication and come home.

At the vet, after a thorough exam and withdrawal of fluids, he was diagnosed with FIP virus (Feline Infectious Peritonitis), which we'd never heard of.  It is a lethal virus.  He had fluid build-up around his lungs and was slowly suffocating. Due to his worsening condition and struggle for breath, there was no choice.  The vet said that he would not recover, so a horrible and sudden decision had to be made.  He was put to sleep peacefully, with his loyal Mum by his side.

He is now in kitty heaven, I'm sure.

They may seem like "just cats" to some, but they are beloved friends to others. Pookey will be sorely missed.  We learned many lessons from him, most importantly the meaning of unconditional love (even when your hair is not done).  He came into my mother's life at a time when she needed something to make her smile and get her out of bed each day.  He has been a ray of sunshine every day since, until today.  And he will live in our memories until we are no more.

Rest in Peace little angel.