A sad day for music-lovers . . . in the golden shadows of joy . . .

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/mar/27/john-renbourn-ceaseless-explorer-of-song-pentangle-folk-appreciation

I was sorry to hear of the passing of Leonard Nimoy and Terry Pratchett, but John Renbourn’s exit leaves the world a darker place. Pentangle’s music, and later John’s solo work, was a strong and golden thread in the musical tapestry I was so lucky to live in. I took it all for granted then, as so many did.

I am sad at this loss, but also filled with gratitude for the many hours of delight I have been so fortunate to enjoy.

It was an added delight to read of his lifestyle in the Scottish Borders; I can’t imagine anything more perfect!

Living in the Moebius Loop . . .

. . . I wonder if that’s possible . . . some times in life sure feel like it. Maybe that’s what happens when you knit a Moebius scarf? I did, once, and loved it! No photo for you, sorry; it’s in a box ‘somewhere’ . . .

Aunty and I returned from the hospital on the 11th of February. On the 12th I developed a mild but persistent bronchitis, my old response to being stressed and overextended. I’m happy to say it’s only an occasional cough now. The yo-yo weather hasn’t helped, either. Yesterday, we were up to +15C; today, when I had to go out, it was +1C. No such thing as climate change, luckily . . .

20150315-111354.jpg Keira (whom I named); one of the Crafties’ two Teacup Pomeranians.

My next oldest sister came for a short visit, which was very nice, even though we didn’t have much time to visit. She’s an RN, so I was glad to have her here for advice on supporting my Aunty and Mum more effectively. I wish she could have stayed longer, partly because the following week our Mum turned 92 and four days later Aunty turned 95. Their longevity secrets? So far as I can tell, those consist of living a plain life, eating moderate simple meals and being fairly active well into their 80s.

20150315-111817.jpg With Mum’s birthday dinner my youngest sister and I shared these (on my part mostly in honour of my friends from Tassie, Narfie7 and Stevie-boy. The bottlecap collection is small, but growing . . . and I now have collected all but one component for my contribution to their Sanctuary. Quite different from all the lovely buntings that have already arrived, but I hope mine will find a place somewhere, too. Mr. Crafty has volunteered to help me with one bit or it would be a two-year project, for sure . . . remember, my friends, Anticipation 101 ;-) ;-) ;-) . . .

We are still not moved into the condo, due to a combination of Unfortunate Events (I was wondering the other day if my life story was written by Mr. Lemony Snicket; that would explain a lot . . . but in the end things turn out all right.

20150315-114228.jpg Since Mum doesn’t want more ‘stuff’, I usually give her a couple of lotto tickets. This year I was lucky to find a cute card to go with them. Inside, it said:

20150315-114450.jpg Cute, eh?

Anyway, I’ve been going between my Aunty’s and my friends the Crafties. Since I plan ahead and take on small, simple projects (my nose is now longer than Pinocchio’s), I have been working on the CAL (Crochet-A-Long) project with Selma (Eclectic Home & Life) and her group. But, optimist that I am (on alternate Thursdays) I am making THREE blankets! That group is done (but my blankets are not) and now we are on to making a ripple stitch project; mine will be a pillow. But I digress . . . the blankets are the main reason for most of this pile:

20150315-160908.jpg What I take with me: 3 bags of yarn + projects, clothes and laundry (I don’t have a card for the machines here anymore), any food my Aunty won’t eat while I’m gone. The crafting stuff is the biggest deal, though.

20150315-161541.jpg A book belonging to Mr. Crafty that is now on my Want List; very well written.

20150315-161856.jpg Guess who?

20150315-162009.jpg Meet Herbert, snuggling in Mrs. Crafty’s hands. You can’t tell yet, but he’s a Ringnecked Dove. There are two cages of doves in the basement; I loved waking to their soft cooing as they were fed early each morning. Good memories; my sons’ Dad raises a variety of pigeons and doves which end up all over the world.
So . . . about that crafting stuff . . .

20150315-163635.jpg here are the three blankets side by side on the couch, which is over six feet long.
I haven’t begun the ripple pillow yet, but . . .

20150315-163844.jpg Ms. Selma can be most seductive. The pattern is here (scroll down; it’s below one of the bunny photos) and excellent instructions for the Magic Ring are here. These bunnies take only a few minutes to make and are SO cute! This one will adorn the most recent project of all . . . (I can hear you, you know!)

20150315-165009.jpg When my RN sister was here, she brought some yarn for our Aunty to use to knit a tuque for my sister’s first grandson. Unfortunately, Aunty hasn’t been able to knit for the past couple of years, partly due to diminished eyesight, so I volunteered . . . since my pattern books are ‘somewhere’, I am inventing my own pattern. Surprised? Thought you would be . . . ;-)
I am going to use the bunny because, to misquote Ol’ Blue Eyes, “you’re no bunny ’til some bunny loves you”.
BTW, if you have too much time on your hands (Narfie!), Selma’s got links to patterns for a variety of Easter bunnies, also knitted Easter baubles, and ALSO the recipes for the treats she makes each week for the CAL class. Sadly, no treats for me and no convivial times with fellow crafters/learners . . . but I’m still having fun!

You may hear from me again before Easter, but in case not, know that you are each in my thoughts and prayers and that I wish you and your families the loveliest of holidays.

Always remember, ‘some bunny’ loves you all and you are each ‘some bunny’ to me <3

Thanks for all the comments and support. I'm still planning to reply.

Serpentine Sagas

Well, that’s how my life would look if I were to do a Celtic drawing of it . . .

I will save the Saga of the Move for when I’m back at my Aunty’s; possibly after we move into the condo . . .

In the meantime . . . here’s my current bed at night:

20150208-170550.jpg
. . . and in the daytime:

20150208-181210.jpg
After we finished getting things out of Mum’s suite late on the 31st of January, I was pretty tired and mostly rested on the Sunday. But my Aunty’s cough had worsened, so Monday morning I packed my little backpack and brought her to the ER (Emergency Room) at the closest hospital. I was right; she has pneumonia. So we have been here since.

She’s doing better now, after a rocky start, and tomorrow (Monday) we start planning for her discharge.

I spent much of Thurs and Fri (plus the night betwedn) at the Crafties’, where I had a lovely shower and even lovelier sleep. On Thurs they took me to a department store, so now I have new jeans, T-shirts and a flannel shirt (very cosy!), as my regular clothes are ‘somewhere’ . . .

20150208-182118.jpg
My sort-of-tartan shirt shows here a bit, behind the Ian Rankin book I’m re-reading, topped with my last piece of Walker’s Scottish Shortbread. I took this, then realised I’ve been having a bit of a Scottish day . . . minus my favourite music, sadly . . . ;-)

My Mum took a mild turn for the worse, too, hers due to the stress of the past months mostly. But she’s doing better now and is staying with my sister until the condo is ready.

20150208-183048.jpg Two of the Craftys’ granddaughters, who also spent the night and were each working on a doll made from old socks. They were adding hair, a fairly tedious job, which fell to Mrs. Crafty to complete:

20150208-183427.jpg The girls’ work.

20150208-191159.jpg

20150208-191306.jpg . . . and after finishing touches by Nana.
The weather stayed quite balmy until 31st Jan, which helped make the move easier. After that, though, the temperature dropped back to seasonal ‘normal’ and then we got snow . . .

20150208-191832.jpg Second last day of the move . . .

20150208-192155.jpg the day after the move was ‘done’ . . .
And while I was at the Craftys’ . . .

20150208-192526.jpg and

20150208-192816.jpg
Some views inside the hospital:

20150208-193017.jpg the atrium on the main floor.

20150208-193938.jpg the atrium on the second floor.

20150208-194059.jpg looking down from the 5th floor to the main floor of the atrium. Near the centre you can see one of the pianos. People just sit down and play and the large space magnifies the music perfectly.

20150208-194414.jpg the view from my chair-bed to the hallway . . .

20150208-194534.jpg there is a wide variety of artworks here. This has long been one of my favourites.

20150208-194846.jpg . . . one of my favourite queens, Queen Alexandra. She was married to King Edward, who succeeded Queen Victoria and whose short reign was the Edwardian Era, also a favourite of mine. Downton Abbey fans will remember that the series began just after his time.

Among my great treasures are two copies of Queen Alexandra’s book of family photos, one in good shape and the other a bit threadbare, with a loose cover. In 1908 she had these books made up and sold to raise money for charity. The photos are reproductions of ones taken by her and are mounted on the pages with the triangular black photo mounts so familiar from my childhood.
You can see an image of the cover and some of the pages here: http://www.google.ca/images?q=queen+Alexandra%27s+photo+albums&client=safari&hl=en-gb&tbm=isch&ei=WCXYVPfqBMa2oQSn84KQBg&start=60&sa=N#

Originally from Denmark, she was a strong-minded woman who did her best to play a part in the politics of the day. I mention her here because we are in a hospital named after her, the Royal Alexandra Hospital. I admire her so much, I correct people who call this place “the Alex” and forget it is named for a queen . . .

20150208-201832.jpg A closeup of her portrait, whixh hangs in the main lobby. The hospital was founded in 1899, two years before Alexandra became Queen.

I forgot to mention that I went with the Crafties and their granddaughters to the new Re-Use-It Centre, now south of the river. I was very good and only chose a small paper bag of items, including a book of patterns for old-fashioned crocheted doilies and a video teaching Fair Isle knitting. More on my finds later . . .

20150208-202739.jpg

Did you wonder where they went?

Well, after rwo weeks of silence, now you get two posts!

I’ve had less than three hours sleep but am restless (my knee, not an intended pun ;-) ), so have been on my phone. And guess what?

I checked Facebook and found that the other Grandmother, D, got over to SSIsland on Saturday . . .

Here’s my oldest granddaughter, T, now growing towards 16! She’s a beauty, like her Mother . . .

20150126-062509.jpg

and here’s the newest granddaughter, S, born just last September.

20150126-062616.jpg

Apoarently more photos will follow . . . and I’ll share . . .

The Saga continues . . .

. . . but the full story will have to wait. For now, I just want to let you know that my adventures with U-Haul (rental moving truck company here and in the States) has continued to make me stronger (since it hasn’t killed me yet) ;-)

But it’s all too complicated to explain in a post. It’s been suggested to me that I write it up as a short story and I’m seriously contemplating doing just that.

IMG_8413

My Aunty’s salt and pepper set; I just love these. Years ago, she had a very impressive collection of unusual salt and peppers. She had a wooden quarter-round stand with several shelves built especially to hold them all. When I was 16, my Mum and Dad took me and my two oldest brothers to Saskatchewan to visit Mum’s Dad and his second wife. We stopped off in Calgary to visit my Aunty and I have never forgotten her lovely collection. I wish she had it now and could tell me the stories behind each set . . .

No photos from my main moving day . . we were just too busy. The Crafties, their son (with a still-unhealed three year old collarbone shattered in a quad accident and requiring yet another surgery), plus one of the first friends I made here in Alberta, all came and made the move easier. So the original storage locker is now emptied and my things from there are in the new storage locker. Mum’s things are in the condo, but some may have to go to the storage for a while so she can sort through with more ease. That was Friday. This incarnation of the Saga began on Saturday the 17th and has continued since. I’m so lucky to have friends with a sense of humour who help me stay grounded and sane, even laughing . . .

IMG_8438

Can’t remember if I shared this already or not; if so, I hope you enjoy seeing it again. I bought this lovely basket of artificial sunflowers when I worked at the little antique store; they are not antiques, of course; we also sold interesting home décor items and this was put together by one of the staff, a young artist whose creations I often fell in love with. I bought this and another arrangement when the store closed.

Not sure now of dates, but on the 18th I found the new locker and put the first carload into it, thanks to my Family Support friend (I really have to find a better name for her, don’t I?). On the following Friday (the U-Haul day), we not only emptied the original locker, we took stuff to the storage from the current condo, then a load to the new condo, including Mum’s antique furniture. She plans to sell some of it, so I plan to take some photos before the pieces are gone . . . didn’t have time that day . . .

We took the truck back and then remembered that the Crafties’ car was filled with my clay pots that I’m giving to another friend, who now lives in the country . . . A couple of those pots went to Mrs. Crafty first, though. The rest are now in the storage unit.

IMG_8462

One of the Crafties’ Teacup Pomeranians, snuggled up with Mr. Crafty. The other one, April, is much smaller. This one is Kiera, whom I named when she was born. If I didn’t have to bend down to pet her, I’d be tempted to take her home with me . . . but then, I love the big collies and the Border collies so much, I don’t think I’d have space for even such a cute wee thing.

Yesterday I had ambitious plans, but a bad tummy upset (not illness, just a combination of not enough sleep and too much stress for too long) kept me flat on my back. I was beginning to worry a bit . . . but today felt fine.

IMG_8466

The snowy back path to the Crafties’ home, taken nearly three weeks ago when I went over for that lovely half-Ukrainian Christmas dinner . . . It doesn’t look like that now . . .

One of my sister’s friends came today and packed up a huge amount of Mum’s stuff; I can’t tell you what a relief that was! But maybe you can imagine . . .

While she did that, my FS friend taped up lots of boxes, helped me pack some of them, then we took a carload of fragile items to the new condo and another to the storage unit. Then she took me to get a few groceries to tide me over until I’m at my Aunty’s again (Wednesday) and milk for Mum. I offered to buy her supper, but she had plans and supper waiting at home, so I treated myself to a tray of sushi, such as it is in a grocery store. Not bad, but not like the real thing, either , , , the tuna is cooked, for one thing . . . I’ll be enjoying it and some tv as soon as I’m done here . . .

IMG_8487

This is one of a pair of pot holders my Mum bought in a hospital gift shop. They were said to be a German stitch, but I haven’t been able to find a pattern anywhere yet. I think when I have time, I will try and figure it out for myself. They are prettier than the picture shows . . .

Tomorrow I’m packing up what’s left because early on Tuesday the movers come to take the rest to the new place. If I have enough to make up a carload or two for storage tomorrow, the Crafties and my FS friend will come and help again. Tuesday afternoon my sister’s friend is coming again, along with my long time masseuse friend to help with the cleaning. I have a borrowed steam cleaner that’s a real marvel, so the walls and glass doors (and those horrid channels full of gunge) will be done quickly and easily. In a few days, my sister is having a professional company do the ancient carpets, so that’s one thing we don’t have to think about . . . and the lino floors in the bathrooms, hall and kitchen, too.

IMG_8496

During my last stay with my Aunty, she noticed some of my yarn was lying there in a heap. She took the time to help me by winding it into a couple of cute balls.

Tuesday after the cleaning, I’ll do my usual shop for food for me and my Aunty, sleep at Mum’s, then will stay with my Aunty for the following eight days as usual. I’ll have six days (maybe five) over at the new place, then be back with my Aunty for our last eight days in her place. The week after that, she is moving into a lodge and I will stay with her there until she is settled in and can find her way around (have to take the elevator to a different floor for meals and another for social activities, I hear). Slowly, we will find ourselves in a new routine.

It’s sad for me; I’ve liked the routine we created here, but life just keeps morphing along, doesn’t it?

On a brighter note, the three blankets I’ve been working on with Selma from Eclectic Home & Life are coming right along:

IMG_8514

Here are my three as they look tonight. The one at the bottom has three strips of granny stripes already; there will be twelve strips by next week! Until now, the colours changed every two rows; with the granny stripes, they change every row . . .

If you are on Facebook you can see Selma’s posts here: https://www.facebook.com/eclectichomelife?fref=ts

If you want to follow her on the blog, go here: http://eclectichomelife.blogspot.ca/2015/01/crochet-and-fruit-tarts.html

IMG_8516

A close-up of two of the blankets.

IMG_8517

. . . and a close-up of the third, with the granny stripes along the right side.

There have been several times these last weeks when I was tempted (well, nearly) to throw in the towel and give up. I don’t do so well when I feel overwhelmed and I really don’t care for leaving everything to the last minute. But it wasn’t my choice. Luckily, I had some good advice from two of my friends here and from several of you out there in the Virtual Village, so I got over the rough patches fairly quickly and with minimal (for me LOL) whinging . . . One thing I was reminded to do was to find something to be grateful for . . . and I did. First of all, for having several good friends who have done so much to help. With my knee acting up and the path to the new place being one of uneven, packed and very icy snow, I can’t imagine getting everything into the place without a major disaster. Because I have good friends, I was able to work inside, carting things from the doorway to the final destination.

The second thing I am EXTREMELY grateful for has been the weather; spring-like, mostly above freezing and fairly windy, which is good for drying up the snow. I have been able to work with only jeans, a T-shirt and a long-sleeve T over that. How unlike the day we moved my storage items up to the container . . . with the wind that day it was close to -30C. I had been anxious that this week would be more of the same, but apparently this unusual balmy spell is set to last right through the end of the month.

I’m grateful, too, for all your comments, emails and kind thoughts. You Villagers are the best!

JOY!

IMG_8287

This folk art plaque, part of Mrs. Crafty’s Christmas collection, says it all!

IMG_7843

Totally irrelevant to this post, but I have to share it anyway; this is off the tv; it’s the same sort of washtub my Mum did all our laundry in for my early years. It was also used as a bathtub weekly. I think when she was young, they had a clamp-on wringer like the one here, but I don’t remember us ever having one. I could have used one of these when my boys were young. With the first son, I boiled his diapers in an old cooking pot filled with melted snow water (or water from the creek before we got that four feet of snow) Our own laundry we carried to the nearby town in a backpack and it was done in the launderette. Easier than my Mum’s work, for sure. But I’d still love to have one of these. We magpies just never know when to quit, do we?

magpie 01

One of my favourite birds, next to the raven, of course . . .

Silent on Sunday . . .

Well, nearly silent . . . you know me . . .   :-)

First, I apologize for replying to so few comments. I began with 15 December, but am still not caught up. Partly because you all post such intriguing posts and I am trying to catch up on reading them, too. It won’t likely get better before February. Still, I value each of you so much and appreciate that you take time to read and comment. That said, here’s the (ha!) ‘silent’ Sunday post . . .

IMG_8421

All day yesterday . . . white stuff falling . . .

IMG_8400

. . . last week, when the local news weathergirl said she wanted people to tweet their snow photos and tell her how deep it was at their place, I tweeted the above to her, mentioning that at my Aunty’s place, we had four feet . . . she favourite it, which was generous, I think. Gave me a chuckle, so that was good . . .

IMG_8419

One last pair of slippers underway and then I will felt!

IMG_8430

This is a rather interesting mystery I’ve been reading. I’ve never read so little in my life. Less than a book in two weeks is what I’m averaging now. Used to be more than a book a day, but things change, eh?

IMG_8431

I especially like the cover illustration. But then, ravens and their associated relatives are my symbols or whatever you want to call them. I’m definitely somewhere between raven and magpie, don’t you think? In the book, though, it’s a thrush that is the symbolic ‘murder bird’. I suppose most readers wouldn’t recognize a thrush . . .

 IMG_8438

Been busy today packing (also sorting and letting go). I’ve had a cough for over a week (just stress, nothing contagious, but it means lost sleep) and somehow pulled my inner left knee muscle again, so back to wearing the knee support and resting when possible. I bought this lovely arrangement when I worked at the wee antique shop. I’m giving it to the Crafties if they want it. They are coming tomorrow to take all my plants, too, and a few other things, like my dyeing kettles. The new place faces north and has odd long windows in a corner of each bedroom, but the only place for plants is in a corner of the living room where they will need a grow light. So, I’ve decided to give that space to Mum for her plants. She’ll be quite happy to have them accessible again, I’m sure.

 IMG_8439[1]

Started this yesterday. It will be for one of the three remaining wee relatives that I want to make something for and will use up at least some of the yarn I bought for the Bavarians. I’ve been in love with My Eclectic Home & Life’s blog for a while, as you may have noticed, and especially her Scandinavian CAL (crochet-a-long) blanket.

Selma got her idea from Lucy at Attic24, and if you are interested, the pattern is here. If you aren’t a blanket addict yet, you will be soon! I promise!! And if blankets seem too daunting, try out some of the smaller projects on both these blogs. Your life will change!

 IMG_8440[1]

Here’s a close-up of my fifth row being created. This will not be exactly like the Scandinavian blanket (i.e., a four-row repeat), but was inspired by this new blanket that Selma is using at a teaching class, where she has at least six people taking part.

Update: I just found out I’m to be included in the class!!! even though I will be somewhat delayed by packing and moving . . . no worries, though. I’m only using a 120 stitch chain, so it will be quicker than a single bed size would be.

Have a wonderful week, everyone. (I wasn’t really silent at all, was I? . . . sigh . . .)

Everyone Deserves a Roof and Utah’s Approach that seems humane

Linne:

A solution that could be implemented anywhere. I admire this so much! ~ Linne

Originally posted on Eslkevin's Blog:

from: http://other98.com/everyone-deserves-roof-head/

In 2005, Utah set out to fix a problem that’s often thought of as unfixable: chronic homelessness. The state had almost two thousand chronically homeless people. Most of them had mental-health or substance-abuse issues, or both. At the time, the standard approach was to try to make homeless people “housing ready”: first, you got people into shelters or halfway houses and put them into treatment; only when they made progress could they get a chance at permanent housing. Utah, though, embraced a different strategy, called Housing First: it started by just giving the homeless homes.

Over time, Housing First has saved the government money. Homeless people are not cheap to take care of. The cost of shelters, emergency-room visits, ambulances, police, and so on quickly piles up. The average chronically homeless person used to cost Salt Lake City more than twenty thousand dollars a year. Putting someone into…

View original 30 more words