Yes, Virginia, (woolf) there is a ....


of my own

As for Santa and God ?

And as I spend then next days thinking of no room at the inn and those who are homeless -- and those who do not have everyone we love anymore----and  know our homes feel empty no matter how lucky we are to fill them  -- I will try to remember...


Today ...we place my brother's star in the window.  Shawn shone shine on.

Works in Progress : The Stairway to Heaven's a step by step thing.

We're under construction. Still. So what's new? There's still a tablesaw on the front verandah:

In what will be the living room, we still walk around lumber, sharp and dangerous things. My study's a shell of a room filled with sawdust and pink insulation. Unfinished we are. But...here we are.   

Gilles, the deeply dimpled Frenchman designed the house around an existing cabin (one room plus loft.) He's been building ( every nook and cranny ) ever since. Without a blueprint. With the  exception of five weeks when the frame went up, it's  been a one man operation. Yep. He's my hero. Mostly I don't complain. He wears a toolbelt. This still makes me drool. Lately people have been asking how it's going or saying encouraging things like "well the house must be done by now, eh?" Well.. no. We wouldn't have this house if not for the carpenter. The labour is free. Materials are not.  And he's building, yes, but he's also creating.

It will be a work in progress for as long as we are here and able. Incidentally, he's much further along with the house than I am with THE NOVEL. I'd rather be painting chairs.



Chairs: 7.50 each, material 20 bucks. Painted while listening to CBC Radio 2 In Concert. A perfect afternoon it was. I've christened them my Paolo Pietropaolo chairs. When not painting funky things, I play with rocks. 

Dig in dirt. Plant things. 

But here's the grunt of it. Here's where we were two years ago, May 2010:   

Here are some shots from this morning—June 2012.

Wee orchard planted last week—plum, cherry, apple, pear.

Front view with rock pile:

And why we are here to begin with—

Latest project—side steps. This involved a lot of math. A lot. When Gilles got to the top step he was off a few inches. This could be a building crisis. But no. He had to recalculate—all the way from the bottom. And he figured out how to do this without having to rip up what he had done. He teaches me, this man.

The porch building will continue while the weather is nice and in the fall we'll come back in and tackle the unfinished empty places. I will finish the novel. (Yes, I tell myself, I will!)  

A lot of life has happened in two years. A lot of death, too. A lot of splinters and unforseen happenings. Sore muscles. Arguments. Celebrations. Paint splatters. Bug bites. Grateful hearts. 

Step by step. We go one day at a time. One step at a time. 

photo: Kate Inglis

Dog Daze & Dream Vrooming

Right now, I'd rather drive a tractor with a dog than try to write a blog. Vroom. Vroom.

Summertime and the driving is easy. 

Do not call the SPCA. He has a helmet and steel-toed boots. 

After 35 years of working and waiting, my DDFM 's dream came true: A TRACTOR.  

We saw Elton John sing Rocketman last week in Quebec. I sing it "tractor-man."


If you're reading this, I'd love to know what long held dream you harbour. Write it, claim it, dream then vroom vroom. VA va vaaroom!

Current e-VENTs

VENT  ing    in-VENT-ion    ad-VENT-ure

e-VENT- u-ally

No news to anyone,  but in these first two weeks of 201l, the breaking news has been overwhelmingly… depressing. (Heart) breaking news. Excruciating. 

Verse for universe: Carry your hearts in shatterproof jars / hold beneath the midnight stars / hush hush whoever you are/ be/still hope

Not that anyone needs reminding...but I'm going to VENT. 

From floods and tragic deaths in Australia to the shootings in Arizona, to a stabbing in Dartmouth, not to mention- no, I won't mention details here but it has to do with children hurting children. The violation of innocents.  

Verse for universe: Carry your hearts in shatterproof jars / hold beneath the midnight stars / hush hush whoever you are/ be/still hope

& there was the story of a single father of ten whose home burned down in Winnipeg. The teeth-scraping comments posted after the article made me think a lot about class and judgement and compassion or lack thereof. My own included.

& then there is Sudan  

Pakistan, Uganda

the plight of Haiti a year after  

refugee camps 

women raped

children sick

MADness. SADness. BADness? 


So I remembered a poem about a women named Diana who suffered 'Death by Empathy'. Diana lives on the moon, looks down, ruminates. Asks how we still have “gall enough/ to call ourselves/ a human planet.    


I realize creating a blog/video about building a home is a luxury in this sadmad world and yes, another survival/thrival strategy. A diversion. Medicine. Yep. Narrative therapy. One more time, creating is a way to live in a world I might not want

to be in

if I let





In a world that makes no sense to me, making nonsense has always made sense. Telling stories makes sense. Connecting makes sense. Children make sense. Writing makes sense.

Writing instead of writhing?  

Writing as All Righting ?  

Beat a drum. ( scream) On a trampoline. (scream)

Drumpoline. (Scream.)

Play music. Make music.

So. Life is mixed. And the first twelve days wasn't all bleak grim hopelessness.

I also: watched episodes of Extreme Makeover ( Yes, I do like those H&G channels ) and blubbered over an amazing  couple who fostered special needs children and lived in a trailer with ten. (Where do people like that come from?)

Also: had sneak preview of a terrific book on gardens bloom in my hands

cross-country skied

made snow angels

listened to CBC radio /heartened by the series on mental health issues on


learned of two upcoming marriages, one new baby

re-read a poem by Howard Thurman I love

a poem about the  work of Christmas just beginning. 

Yep, I sent up some prayers. Beams. Wishes. Whispers for Sad-glad-ness.

So on the home building front? The metaphors? Well, I discovered the word vent also refers to the slit in the back of a coat or a jacket. I digress. All is a digression. Writing /rewriting  building/re-building or in this case --- "re-route-ing".

We also discovered that before the wiring, which goes before the installation of insulation, ( I mean the upcoming art exhibition)  in what will e-VENT-ually be the family room, we had to re-route a vent. It’s not that the DDFM forgot, he just had his mind on other things.

First, we had to clean sawdust from cracks and then, well, watch and squirm? (Nowwearehome : Episode 2.) Maybe, smile a little? The Frenchman plays with words too.


Line of the week: We're too young to be old hippies and too old to be young hipsters.

Singer of the week: Mary Boyoi

Soup du (many) jour(s): Black Bean Leek and Turnip Stew

Quote du jour: "When you’re safe at home you wish you were having an ad-vent-ure, when you’re having an ad-vent-ure, you wish you were safe at home." ~ Thornton Wilder

Rebuttal:  Not necessarily. Sometimes home is not that safe. Sometimes the adventure is home. Sometimes you gotta VENT!


"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home." ~ Matsuo Basho

Now ...End of 2010, beginning of 2011

We ...are Gilles and Sheree. Gilles is a retired CBC newsgatherer and an awesome builder. Sheree's a writer, storyteller & lipslippery wordsmith. We have a resident dog named Burnzee (after poet Robbie Burns.) 

Are ...building a home we’ve dreamed about, and learning to live where we dream.

Home ...is Pictou County, Nova Scotia


Home is an ongoing creation no matter where we are. 

Home is the earth. 
Home is the Merry-times for this merry-ed couple.  
Home means each other.

We have no blueprint and Gilles is the designer, builder, contractor and jack of all trades. He's doing this almost all himself.  (He is like Bob Villa on steroids.)


So... this corner of the blog, complete with video podcasts, is a way for us to capture and reflect upon the process of home building.

A way to stay awake. Wonder. Learn. Keep a record. For us. For family. We hope to share some insights and info as we go along. Like how to build a house around a cabin? Like why did we install geothermal? Like what is a sheet metal break? Like how do you build a cornice? What's fascia? What do you feed a hungry man after a day on the roof? Why hands matter.

We plan on more audio/video than written words but sometimes things I'm working on, writing about and wondering over might appear here. As poem. Or essay. Or rant. Time will tell.

We are, literally, under construction.

Life as a work in progress.
Or maybe guess work.  
A dot to dot puzzle. 
Who knows exactly what picture we're making----

Here's to old ways of doing 
new ways of being, 
a New Year ahead.


Beginnings. Ring a ding ding.     
Endless Possibilities. 
Um.. endless mistakes, too. 

I see juicy metaphors in the building, being, discovering and dreaming.       

French Verb of the Day :  Commencer
Inuktitut Word of the Day :  Pijiarniq ...the beginning...or the start.