Blogger Michelle Greysen is a professional writer/author 
and offers up this lifestyle glimpse from her side of the dock .

Posted By Michelle Greysen

storm

 I can’t say there are too many weeks in my life where I have given myself some time off! Not that writers ever really rest, but I am working without distractions. Spending the next week or so out of the city and here at Landlocked is peaceful but proving to be hard work to bring myself down to a relaxed pace. The excitement is limited to the occasional pop in from my mother who lives nearby, the odd dog barking, and having to pause to wave from my makeshift driveway patio as a car passes by (everyone in this town waves to one another walking or driving by). About the only things interrupting my quiet writing time are the birds chirping or the breeze occasionally whisking in a lost piece of paper up against the fence, but other than that there is really not that much going on.
I find it difficult to take the pace down to a slow meander and still my mind. Proof in that statement is that I had only been here a day and a half and had already harvested the raspberries and made 18 jars of jam and sewn an entire quilt top which has patiently laid waiting beside my machine in the city for months. Excitement is Thursday mornings when the fresh farmers market runs – nothing like in the city as this market has one small family vendor but no shortage of fresh potatoes and string beans, and a loaf of fresh baked Hutterite-kitchen bread. In a town with only three eating establishments the opening of the new Chinese restaurant was big news and packed in the patrons in spite of the temperatures soaring into the 30’s Celsius and no air conditioning.
Small town life (about 700 people in this prairie hideaway) is a lifestyle all in itself. As this is a self- professed lifestyle blog it is obvious then that I see a correlation between where I am sitting and what I am writing. The best part about small town life, for those that have not experienced it for any length of time, is that it is, to sum it up in one word, simple.
Simple in a good way. No stress unless you make your own, no traffic or rush hour, and especially no retail shopping therapy distractions. People are madly sharing the raspberry harvest around town as the harvest is plentiful, jars are being pulled up from the cellar in anticipation of the garden harvests and for the most part people are simply relaxing. The day starts early on the hot prairie as the gardens need watering and the house cooled overnight needs shutting in from the day’s heat ahead. Evening cold suppers are planned and prepared in the morning before the kitchen is too warm leaving the rest of the day carefree to enjoy the shade and a good book.
Surprisingly this past weekend one of those prairie storms that come out of nowhere late in the day when the temperatures seem almost too hot to manage anything more than a shuffle around to fill your cold drink. Leaving as fast as it arrived and depositing inches of heavy rain, thankfully no hail on the gardens, this storm took with it the power. In the city life halts to an anxious standstill if the electricity doesn’t flow as if a lifeline has been cut for what seems like an eternal hour of waiting for that flash of lights and the modem blinking again connected to the world. Here on the open prairie the power remained out a full twenty hours, into the next evening literally shutting down the town with no shops open, no eateries, no liquor store open on a hot long weekend Saturday, no Friday night out or Saturday hustle bustle shopping. The long weekend passed just felt even longer in a relaxed gift- like way as the busy world out there somewhere hummed on the grid without this quiet prairie town. Luckily there is no street light in town so traffic was not snagged!


 
Posted By Michelle Greysen
I can not imagine that it is spring already, although there is still a lot of white stuff piled up all around the cottage. Getting to visit at Landlocked in the winter has been a new reality this year due to the addition of a lovely thing called a furnace! What a treat that was to have it replaced this winter making this little gem of a spot quite cozy despite the prairie winter scene from the window.|

Also this past busy winter of too much moving and settling, but finally getting there, I had the thrill of moving some of my favourite things here to Lanclocked. My century old family piano, a bit of a beat up dinosaur surviving too many moves in its long life but glad to be home now. My absolute favourite writing desk, yes I have a few in various locations in various homes. My family dining room that is glad to be out of storage and ready to host many a great family dinners and scrabble and crib games this coming summer and beyond. And my little trinkets and treasures stored away for far too long in too many years of juggling life and change and moving forward.

Well I am pleased to announce I am here. Wherever that is, forward, if that’s what you want to call it. That stage in life when it is time to settle in, surround yourself with what you love and those you love, and enjoy the place and the time together.

I have just spent a few weeks alone away doing one the things I love – writing (more about that experience in my writer’s blog at INKLINGS ON WRITING.) I started that journey with a few days at Landlocked, and will get to finish that special time in my writing-life back at Landlock this coming weekend, to ease my way back into the hectic pace that will find me soon enough when I am home next week.

It is the space at the cottage, and not the place, that reminds me what is important and what can wait. Although I would love some major fix-er-up-er transitions to the little place, and there are small plans this summer for a few more, it is not about shower heads, or the unreliable stove, or the duct-tape on the kitchen floor, but about the solitude and the space and the calm.

I thought the new furnace this winter was the luxury, but now that it hums away and took the bite out of the air and let me visit Landlocked even in the snow, I realized it wasn’t about the furnace after all. Landlocked will feel as warm and inviting in the middle of summer as it now does in the dead of winter – which thankfully is finally passing.

I promise some updated pictures after the weekend … enjoy yours!


 
Posted By Michelle Greysen


I had the enormous pleasure of a road trip or two this past month coupled with an amazing writing experience (read about it on my writing blog at Inklings On Writing)

I did make note of a few lifestyle changes in my life-on-the-road experience that I am incorporating into my newly slower-paced lifestyle I am striving to take on. Being away and living out of a suitcase (or two, if you are a girl – not apologizing, just saying) – can be a humbling experience. I quickly realized how much time and energy each day goes into the process of daily routine when one has too many choices. At home it is only too easy to try on a few shirts, hum and haw over the ‘look’ for the day, deliberate the jewelry and accessories, the shoes and bags and even the jacket, wrap, scarf or whatever completes the look.

On the road and out of the suitcase life is very simple and choices are limiting and that is a positive observation. I am vowing on returning to daily routine to simplify my wardrobe, my accessories, and even my purses and shoes (gulp). I am going to approach the next season’s wardrobe change with a new eye for simple, my style, my look and only what makes me feel fabulous. After all why would I want to spend one day in something that did not make me feel good about myself and my world.

At Landlocked I am slowly unpacking boxes and boxes of my favourites that have been stored and moved many times over the years waiting for a spot to ‘be’. In that process, with each box that empties to my gleeful discovery of my own treasures boxed away far too long, I realize how much I have missed my favourite things. I have enjoyed re-discovering why they were my favourites in the first place and worthy of dragging along in too many changes and moves in my life. The simple answer is they make me feel good. For whatever reason surrounding oneself with what we love, wearing what feels good, wrapping yourself in your own style and your own comfort zone is a good feeling. It is not about monetary value or riches, it is about a personal connection to yourself, your style, your story.

Cottage life is not about two weeks in the summer but rather I am discovering that it is about an inner peace and comfort celebrating one’s story and the place where one fits.

 

koolaidset


 
Posted By Michelle Greysen
July 19, 2010 (first observation is that the formatting for my entry does not want to work correctly and my text reads like one long paragraph - but in my attempt to keep life simpler I am not going to fiddle with it today so sorry about that and just remember to take a breath periodically as you read the long not intended to be one only paragraph) - I just had the opportunity to spend a few days at Landlocked Cottage as a debriefing unwinding stop on my way to the next few weeks of a rare writing opportunity (you can read more about that if interested at my writers-blog link on the side of this blog). Stepping away from life, even if it is for a few short days, is the best remedy for a fresh new perspective on things you see day after day and don’t stop to notice. In my quest to slow down my life I am vowing to make an effort to be more observational and purposely made a point of deciding to pay attention to the moment starting the second I switched off my work brain and went to getaway mode. An enlightening experience and I suggest you try.. Here is what I observed from my new perspective: Day one! Notes from the journey: -Perspective is sometimes the only thing going for the scenery on a wide-open prairie drive – that is when you can find something taller than the ground to squint into perspective. -One is always generically notified of a generic impending generic small prairie town with the GENERIC sign “ICECREAM & FIREWORKS ahead” -With the Ipod shuffling I enjoyed the synchronicity of the open road prairie isolated setting in full sunshine and sunroof bared accompanied by the back to back great tunes of America’s Horse With No Name followed by Doobie Brother’s Blackwater and then much to my horror at full blast came Bob Dylan belching his guttural attempt at Dreaming of a White Christmas – scary (thanks to my son for loading that alarmingly dylan’ish festive set to my itunes last Christmas) -Song while pulling up at home at the end of the last workday – just before shutting off the engine – shuffle brought me – “The Last Worthless Evening” -Songs while leaving town on the long and alone journey … in a row (on shuffle Leaving on a Jet Plane, Hold On, I feel the Earth Move, Start all Over– and Ice Cream -I was reminded of the prairie-esque savvy of recycle long before it was vogue as I caught a glimpse (actually tried to put it in perspective) of a lovely claw foot tub re-purposed as a horse trough! -I saw a MOOSE!!! On my sunrise drive – 5 a.m. departure in rural Saskatchewan and did not see one car or one sign of life for ages and then out of the blue while passing through a tiny town – there it was in a yard just off to the left of me – standing there looking HUGE and was bent over and looking into the window of a pickup truck parked in a yard! (I did observe he was way taller than my VW beetle – yikes!) -I observed that the excessive ratio of Blue Rodeo tunes on my ipod to non-Blue-Rodeo tunes is seriously out of balance to the point that they shuffle up about every third or fourth song and made a mental note to attempt to help my ipod live a more balanced existence in the future -On a purely reflective note I always melt when Blue Rodeo’s ‘dark angel’ shows up on the play list …

 
Posted By Michelle Greysen
I imagine myself sitting at an old maple table facing the wide open prairie view of the cottage’s large west facing window while typing this on my favourite vintage minty green Hermes 3000 typewriter. The air is silent and hung thick with the smell of homemade bread and a simmering pot of fresh catch chowder. Waves of wheat in the foreground are catching the corner of my eye, distracting me from the words clunking out on the heavy keys. Wrapped in my favourite cozy sweater horribly mismatched to my comfy pj's, well past noon, I slowly sink into a world far away from the everyday and find myself daydreaming about when life slows down and this silence and solitude will be my daily grind.
The flip side of this visual is that I am actually in my city condo kitchen with a list of to-do’s a mile high, piles of coming and going items scattered around the table cluttered with two laptops - last minute writing on one while madly loading my iPod tunes on the other hoping to take my thousand favourite songs on the road with me later this week. Laundry is humming in the background, garbage truck banging down the alley, the fan is waving a monotonous breeze in the summer morning heat, my suitcase lies open on the floor patiently waiting and I am counting down the sleeps to my quick cottage stay on my way to a novel writing workshop for ten glorious days. Stepping out of a busy life for a few weeks takes an enormous amount of planning,list writing,shopping and preparing but even a greater amount of letting go. In the exhausting frenzy of getting ready to get out of town I remind myself this morning to slow down and enjoy not only the anticipation of the destination but also the journey. Landlocked cottage quietly sits waiting to grant me a prized night or two of solitude but leaving hurried and arriving exhausted almost spoils the cottage experience. 
Reality is that for many a cottage is not in the big scheme of things but for me ‘Cottaging’ and escaping to ‘Cottage Country’ is not so much a destination but a state of mind. The cottage-lifestyle does not have to wait till someday but can be a part of your daily life or your hectic week. When your life gets exhausting and days just fall on top of each other in a constant tedious drone give yourself permission to plan a day at the cottage (no cottage needed). Take the time to stay in your favourite weekend wear for a day at home, turn off the crazy, read, relax, bake, nap and learn to tackle those hectic days from the peaceful place inside yourself you will welcomingly re-acquaint with on your cottage day.
This blog, Tales from Landlocked Cottage, is about just that – permission to take life at a slower pace and step out of the hectic. Landlocked to me is a state of being from which I will write this lifestyle blog with the perspective of a step-a-way, a dock, a different angle not always in the thick of things. Life needs to be simpler. My life needs to be simpler. Hoping my writer’s eye can strive to catch the simplicity of daily cottage life no matter where I am writing from or where you are reading at.

sign

 


 


 
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