Book Tag ~ you’re it!

Hi again. (never rains but it pours, right? So here I am again after the long drought of no posts).

I found this wonderful idea here on Marcia Meara’s blog and just couldn’t resist taking part. I love books and reading more than anyone I know and for years read more than a book a day, so this is right down my alley . . . As she suggests, I have copied the questions; the answers are mine.

Do you have a specific place for reading? 

I can read anywhere. For years I carried a bag of handwork and a book or two everywhere I went. I could be found reading in a lineup at the bank, the grocery store, a bus shelter and more. Like Sam in ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ might have said: I can read it in a box, I can read it with a fox, I can read it here or there; I can read it anywhere! You get the idea, I’m sure.

Bookmarks or random pieces of paper? 

Both; Tissues if necessary. Whatever i can lay my hand on in the moment. I love bookmarks, but often they are packed away. I have even bought myself a couple of lovely ones with curved metal bits and danglers of beads, fibre and crystals. Too nice (or, honestly, awkward) to use, although I love the idea of using them and really enjoy looking at them and handling them. I was brought up to know that desecrating books simply was not done, EVER!, and dog-earing the pages definitely came under the heading of desecration.

Can you just stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter? 

IIn theory, anywhere; in practise, sometimes at the end of the chapter. more often, unless fate intervenes, at the end of the book. ONce I’m caught up in the story, I simply HAVE to know what comes next. Even as I dread coming to the end and SO wish to leave something for later or even tomorrow . . .  It isn’t easy being me . . .

Do you eat or drink while reading? 

Yes, sadly, I do, more often than I like to admit. Reaching the end of a meal with little recall as to what, exactly, it was composed of. I think this began once I was living alone and mealtimes were no longer times of conversation and shared communication. I know it’s bad to do this, but I hate sitting at a table alone and looking at my food. Besides, I get more read that way. I do have to say that I’ve learned not to do one thing, though. I used to use finishing a chapter / book as an excuse to eat more, as I could hardly be expected to do anything else while eating, right? But that had consequences I didn’t like much. Now I limit the food intake to meals or tea / coffee and my daily treat and that’s it. I give myself permission to read because I love it so, not just to fill in time while eating. That’s working much better for me. I may need new jeans soon . . . smaller ones 🙂

Music or TV with e reading? 

Yes, most of the time. I grew up in a busy home with eight younger siblings plus assorted friends, and if I hadn’t learned to tune out the excess noise, I’d never have read anything, ever. I can tune out pretty much any distraction, even now. Sometimes music will distract me, but that’s ok. I only play what I love, anyway. Celtic folk and folk-rock, mostly. I can tune out people talking, even when they are talking to me, and have been known to make those acknowledgement noises (mmhmmm, sure, yep, etc.) even while engrossed in a fascinating turn of plot. My family and friends know to be sure they have my full attention and am no longer looking at the book before continuing.

One book at a time or several? 

Several, always. I prefer to keep piles by everyplace I may sit, lie or otherwise pause for a moment or several hours. I never know what I will feel like reading: fiction; non-fiction, various genres of fiction and so on . . . I may be in the mood for something thought-provoking, or a distraction, or a book that is complex and subtle, or not . . . I am currently living with cousins, so do my best to keep the piles in my bedroom, although cousin M is as much of a reader as I am and he would certainly understand. Still, one likes to fit in and not complicate matters too much.

Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

Both. Everywhere, to be honest. I sleep better if I read first, although if the book is interesting enough, I push on to the end and sleep less . . . You’d think I would have learned by now, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen.

Read out loud or silently? 

i read to my sons nearly every night and often during the day as well. I’m self-conscious about reading to adults, though, so then I sound stilted and awkward, especially when it comes to giving the characters individual voices and expressing moods. For myself, I read silently, as that’s much faster. At my peak I read more than a page a minute, but my eyesight is not what it used to be and now I am much slower. Poetry is a different thing, though. I like to hear the sound of my favourite poems out loud, especially Gerard Manly Hopkins, with his unusual accenting patterns.

 Do you read ahead or skip pages? 

I can’t believe anyone would even ASK that!! NEVER, EVER, do I read ahead! And I would NEVER skip pages either!! The very idea!!! Until recently, I also read anything I started to the (sometimes) bitter end. But now, if it’s too awful, I do put it down without continuing. With a such an extensive feast for the savouring (and with fewer years ahead than behind me, even if I live to 130 haha), I can no longer justify to myself finishing what I’ve begun when it bores me or makes me angry / disgusted.

 Breaking the spine or keeping it like new? 

Another question I find hard to comprehend. Sometimes a spine is so stiff that it breaks on its own, but I would never do it intentionally. When I purchase a book new for myself, I prefer to keep my it as much like new as possible, but most of what I own is older and well-loved and often-read, so not in pristine condition. I admit I rather like the marks left by previous owners; I may never know who they were, but I know there is a story there and I like knowing that. Still, if I were to mark a book, the word ‘desecration’ would once again rear its ugly head . . .

Do you write in your books?

Well, what I’ve said above about ‘desecration’ holds here, too. I have never written in a book, but I have written on a post-it and left that in a book for another time. I don’t know if this question includes turning old books into ‘works of art’. I get the concept, but seeing a lovely antique rendered unreadable strikes a chill to my heart. If they want to do that to modern romances or maybe (maybe, I said!) to old Readers’ Digests, I could (barely) understand that. Better yet, print out your own book and mark THAT up, won’t you? Leave the leather-bound tomes with gold edges for those of us who treasure them beyond measure.

Well, that’s it for me. Sorry about the ranting, but I’d do it again (especially about ‘desecrating’ practises), so I guess that doesn’t count as an apology, does it? 

I hope some of you will follow suit and copy these questions, adding your own responses. If you do, link back to Marcia (link above), whose blog is worth reading, and / or to the originator of this game of Tag, Sarah Brentyn, whose blog, Lemon Shark, is worth checking out, too.

If you leave a comment here for me, I’ll check out your responses as time permits. I may have strong opinions (you think??), but I enjoy other people’s opinions, too, even when vastly different from mine. So rant away, if you like.

Stay warm, those of you south of the equator. And cool, those of you on the up side. Hugs to everyone.  ~ Linne

Thankful on Thursday: Three Things

First of all, and this is not part of my ‘Three Things’, I’m thankful for this idea, which I found on The Snail of Happiness’ post. Feel free to start your own list or lists.

I quote Ms. snail here (in case you would like to leave a note with either or both of the ladies who began, and are carrying on, this lovely idea):  You may wish to let Ms. Snail know you are spreading the word as well.

“Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.”

Three things that I am thankful for today are:

A) A place to lie that is low-key, with little pressure and a lot of acceptance of me as I am. That’s not always easy to find.

B) More than enough to eat and nearly all of it healthy 🙂  As much as possible of it is grown here, much is purchased from local growers (sadly, we have just come to the end of the local asparagus season; no more until next year, as we prefer to eat seasonally.  The treats tend to be home-made, often baked by cousin S. She is a very good baker and those treats are tempting, I can tell you! This week it’s been rum and raisin chocolate muffins, with the raisins soaked for half an hour in a cup of rum before she began. The alcohol is baked out, but the scent and flavour remain . . . We have one a day, along with a cup of hot herb tea. Very nice, indeed.

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C) beauty, in such a variety of forms that I had a hard time selecting a ‘few’ representative images. As you can see I love nature and weather, and especially old things, with their peeling paint, their rust, all the details that tell me they hold a multitude of stories. I shall never know those stories, but I do love knowing they exist. To me, new things are, for the most part, soul-less and uninteresting. There are a few exceptions, of course.. 🙂

That’s it for today, my friends. In the face of daily challenges, personal or global, I think it’s good to practise gratitude for what we do have, large and small.

And a favourite classical piece to lift your spirits:

Let’s each be that wee girl, taking one small action and starting a flashmob of joy! Have a great weekend, all of you. See you again soon.  Love and Light  ~ Linne

Getting back on the horse . . .

Well, my friends, it’s time . . . to get back to regular posting, I mean, as I finally caught up with your kind and thoughtful comments!  I wonder if others find it hard to know where to begin, too? I’ve been thinking about what I want to share and so on, then decided I would simply upload images from my time in Tacoma (part One), then add notes and probably some of my thoughts along the way. I hope that works for all of us.

I took literally thousands of photos after I left Edmonton late last September, so there were plenty to choose from.  I think I will write above the photos (just so you know what I’m going on about . . .).

This is a long post, so don’t worry if you can’t get through it all, and don’t feel obliged to comment on all, or any, of it. I totally understand about that.

Here is a photo from my friends’ back porch in Langford, BC, where I stayed while waiting to get new ID suitable for entering the USA. That took longer than I’d imagined, partly due to the fact that I had only my birth certificates with me; all else is in storage ‘somewhere’. Anyway, the autumn colours were lovely and I especially liked this view through the latticing.

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We kept busy, ,y friends and I, as I waited. One trip we took was to a small country market and I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the pumpkin / squash display. I have a painting planned, based on this sumptuous collection of colours and shapes.IMG_5599

Once I arrived in the wee Varda (travel trailer; I like the original gypsy word, VArdo, but liked to think of Varda as a feminine form), I adjusted my diet to fit my food prep options. I have never cooked in a microwave, but really didn’t want to have the propane hooked up, so I quickly learned to make simple and delicious meals. More about that in a separate post, I think. Below is the glass dish I used for cooking everything from morning oatmeal to pasta and veggies.IMG_5710

It wasn’t long before I got back into crochet and knitting. More on that later, but I couldn’t resist sharing this cute photo. So true, isn’t it?

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I had fun taking photos in the Varda, too. Some of my oranges were especially interesting in shape and I liked the composition of this one sitting on my unmade bed one morning.

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My friends have a lovely upright piano that belonged to Mr. R’s mother. They loanded me a book for adult learners and I had a lot of fun any time they were both out, just noodling around and working my way almost to the middle of the book. I used to attend all my younger son;s lessons (violin, viola, piano, etc.) and had always wanted to play myself. Music is very healing, at least for me. There is a wonderful book called “Music as the Bridge” that gave me a different outlook on the place of music in the world and in my life.IMG_5834

AS I think I’ve mentioned, <rs. R was not well for most of the first month that I was there. Once she was feeling better, we had some fun making Christmas gifts for her grandchildren. Each received a fleece blanket, which was made by putting two pieces of fleece back to back, cutting slits along the sides (we used masking tape so that the slits would be even in length), then knotting eacch pair of ‘tabs’.IMG_5949

This is the back of the blanket pictured above.IMG_5950

THEN, we got more serious about creativity. Before I went south, my friend J (Mrs. R) had asked me to teach her to knit and crochet again (she’d learned as a child, then not done any for some years). You may be appalled to know that I pretty much threw her in at the deep end when it came to the knitting. we decided that she would make a scarf for her husband for Christmas and chose patterns that reflected their individual heritages.

The scarf is made of Classic Wool on two sets of circular needles, so the pattern is always facing the knitter (easier for the knitter and making any errors simple to spot and correct.

In the end, though, J found the loose ends of the unused circular needle were too distracting for her, so I knit the pattern bits. She did most of the plain knitting, though. Here is the first end once the patterns were completed. The row counter is there mostly to mark the beginning of the raven pattern segment.IMG_5960

At the bottom is a row of Fair Isle hearts; J’s grandmother was from Oban and apparently liked to tease her husband about his being only a Lowlander.IMG_5962

Mr. R’s grandparents, like my maternal ones, came from Norway,, so we chose to include two ravens, one on each end of the scarf. They were considered to be Odin’s birds, Hugin and Munin (Thought and Memory), who flew all over the world each day, bringing back news to Odin. This pattern came from a book I had from the library a few years ago. The book is called Selbuvotter (Mittens/Gloves of Selbu); it has many lovely patterns for gloves and mitts traditional in Selbu, Norway.IMG_5963

The upper pattern band is also from the Fair Isle tradition. It has Os and Xs for Hugs and Kisses, with Crosses in between for blessings.IMG_5964

This is the ‘back’ side of the scarf.IMG_5965

J gave me two lovely rayon tops from Holy Clothing, a company selling ethically made clothing. This photo shows the embroidery around the neckline of my favourite piece.IMG_6089

In January, J drove up to victoria to visit her son and his family, so I went along and while I was in Langford again my friend L trimmed my hair. The longest parts were finally down to my waist, after many years of wanting it to all be that long, but it was looking quite ragged, so I bowed to necessity. I don’t care for it this short, but it looks neater, so that’s ok. Besides, it should grow in again. IMG_6102

WE left late in the afternoon, taking a ferry to Port Angeles, WA. These are poor photos of lovely views from the ferry; James Bay (Victoria) in the last light of the sun.IMG_6120

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reativity!  While in Tacoma, J and I began going to Hobby Lobby and Jo-Ann stores; occasionally to Michaels as well. To start her off with crochet, we had purchased a small ball of variegated khaki Sugar n Cream cotton yarn.  With an eye to the future and savings (ha!), and knowing that J loves turquoise and teal, I talked her into buying these two cones of cotton (also Sugar n Cream).

But then, one evening as I was sitting with her while she worked on a square dishcloth in the khaki, I asked if she’d mind if I started a ‘small’ piece using these two colours. You see, I’d had an idea . . . what if one was to create a circle using both colours in concentric spirals?  Of course she said yes and so it began . . . You can see the beginning below. I never wrote down what I did, so if you feel inspired to make your own version of this, ou will have to do as I did, make it up as  you go along. IMG_6246

After a while, I switched to treble (US double) crochet, with a chain in between, which you can see in the first photo. Then, for a change, I began working in the back stitches, creating a lovely ripple as if there were waves washing up along coral and white outcrops. The piece grew like Topsy and I bought two more cones and two more cones and one final cone of the turquoise. so, seven cones in all. At one point, I found myself creating interesting ‘petals’ in the variegated yarn, but they vanished in the next row. I remembered them, however, and re-created them as I came to the ends of the piece. By that time, it measured around seven feet across, I think. The final photo here is of the centre. I do have photos of the completed piece, but I’ll have to look for them.  spread out over a recliner chair, it covered it and hung down the back!  I’m rather proud of this piece. I think it’s the larges I’ve ever made; certainly it’s the most creative in terms of stitches and overall design. Not many things make me as happy as pure creativity, making things up as I go along. (although it doesn’t always work out so well, I have to admit). I’ll post the photos of the finished piece next time, assuming I can find the photos.

In the meantime, I am thinking of each one of you out there in the Virtual Village; those for whom things are going well and those facing a challenge or ten. Take care of yourselves, will you? I’ll be dropping by to visit soon.

And here’s my newest favourite album; it was the first recorded by Runrig, back when there were only four members. It’s not so much rock and, while it’s in Scottish Gaelic, I find it hauntingly beautiful. I find myself hearing it in my dreams and often waking to it in the mornings. i hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I do.

Love and Light to each of you.  ~ Linne

Back soon . . .

. . . “God willing and the creek don’t rise” as we used to say. And the creek IS rising; many creeks, all over the central province.

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This is normally a small creek . . .

Roads are closed all over the place due to landslides and flooding. Heading to downtown Salmon Arm earlier today, we passed nearly two miles of parked ‘big rigs’, in some cases double parked, too. We ourselves had to change routes a couple of times on our way to SA and later on the way back from Vernon, where we’d had lunch and done a bit of shopping.

I’m doing better; nearly rested up from the long trip back from Tacoma.

Lots to write about and responses to your kind comments to catch up with.

Wait ’til you see what my friend and I were doing when we finally made it to creating . . .next post, I promise, but here’s a preview:

IMG_7803[1].Guess what these are? I’ll share soon. Anticipation 101, remember?

A new day is dawning . . .

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Take care, my friends. I wish you lovely days filled with creativity, laughter and all that good stuff . . . and maybe some chocolate!

Interesting Times . . .

Greetings, everyone!  I’ve been doing a lot of resting, napping and binge-watching series on netflix and I’m beginning to feel better and ready to begin focusing on plans for whatever is left of my life. Along with making plans and designing a daily routine that will take me beyond cocooning and into renewed creativity, I have spent time just thinking about world events and the like. Now that I’m in Tacoma for a while, the likely changes that will come to pass after 20 January have occupied my mind more than a little.

I remember as a child being told that an ancient Chinese Curse was: “May you live in interesting times”. As it turns out, this is an English saying and no-one has ever traced it back to China. But either way . . . I think we are now living in VERY interesting times. And, as usual, even if it’s too late to do much about what’s happening (and I’m not sure it is too late, at least for everythig), we always have the choice about how we respond to these times.

I’ve been catching up with various Villagers and was interested to see in a comment on one post that heroin sales have skyrocketed in Pennsylvania due to the lack of available work. So that’s one response, I guess. I also read that a city in Florida (Miami? I should have taken notes, eh?) is proposing to build up all of their roads so that the rising of the sea level over the next decades won’t affect them. Short-sighted, but maybe better than nothing. What do you think?

As I said, I have been thinking (one of my favourite things to do) about possible responses to current political situations and working out a strategy for dealing with the stress I feel about some of them. I’m focusing on creating a response that is healthy for me and for those around me, but that doesn’t sugar-coat the issues or just ignore them.

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So . . . what makes a tree grow and bloom? If we look at the naked stick that itis in mid-winter and decide to withhold sunshine, water and food until it gets it together and starts doing what it’s supposed to do, is it likely we will see leaves and blossoms and eventually fruit? Nope, not so much.

 

And when a baby begins learning to walk and falls down . . .first-steps

free image off the ‘net

. . . do we scold them? Tell them they are hopeless and don’t deserve to walk, let alone run? Do we ridicule, shame or punish them? Of course not. We know that nurture and love, along with some teaching, will work wonders as children grow and develop. The same is true for adults, too, isn’t it?

So I have decided that when a politician worries me or threatens to do dreadful things, the healthy response for me is to surround that person or persons with love and light; to bless them, even as I sign petitions, join boycotts, and so on. And that leaves me in a happier place. It will be interesting to see the results. One thing I know, this approach will leave me happier and healthier in the long run, for me at least.

Creativity

I have to confess that I haven’t done much creating for these past months. My considerable stashes of yarn, fabric, art paper, etc. are all in storage in Vernon, BC. I did bring my knitting needles, though, and some crochet hooks.I started teaching my friend J to knit. She had done some as a child, but needed a refresher course, so I threw her in at the deep end with a tubular scarf with a Scandinavian pattern created with two-stranded knitting. Most of it will be plain knitting, though, so that will be easier for her to manage. After all, it’s only two circular needles . . .

J has been ill for three weeks, but is now feeling better, so tomorrow we are going back toJo-Ann’s to purchase a crochet hook and some cotton yarn for her to use making dishcloths / bath scrubbies. We were there over three weeks ago and I found a lovely teal cotton remnant; tomorrow I’ll be looking for a complementary piece and some batting. Then I plan to get on with finally making a tea cosy using Kym’s directions: Tea cosy design. I’ve been talking about doing this for several years now, and it’s finally time to act!

I did bring my Fair Isle style ‘barn cardi’ with me, but haven’t gotten back to working on it, although while at my cousins’ in September and early October I did work on one sleeve so that they are now nearly at the same point in the design.

Christmas

The past few years I’ve done little to nothing for Christmas and this year will probably be similar. Christmas boxes are simply too expensive to ship anymore. More than fifteen years ago I sent a box to my older son’s family. It held a selection of home-made cookies (biscuits) that I used to make when the boys were young, plus a book for each grandchild and a small gift for each parent. The postage was over $50!  I felt they could have used the money more, so for a few Christmases I sent a money order. However, that never feels christmassy to me; I enjoy finding the perfect thing for each person, then wrapping each gift creatively and ecologically.

Some years I used brown paper for the gift wrap; some years it was white tissue paper. I used green and red yarn instead of ribbon and tucked in a small cluster of seasonal greens: cedar, holly, sometimes a cinnamon stick or two. Inexpensive and lovely, at least we thought so.

I was thinking the other day about the first Christmas I shared with my husband and two sons. We lived in a very old house in Victoria that hasd a bay window. We were able to find a tree that reached nearly to the ceiling, but the budget was tight. We could afford gifts for the boys or ornaments for the tree, but not both. Of course we opted for the gifts.

For ornaments, I got really creative. I ‘borrowed’ small squares of plywood that the boys used for building blocks, wrapped the in white tissue and tied them with red and green yarn to resemble tiny presents. I used some veriegated yarn; some red and white, some green and white, to crochet a couple of dozen wee stockings. Those were hung on the tree with co-ordinating loops of yarn. Tiny candy canes were shaped from red, green and white pipe cleaners and we found a few dozen of the real thing at a nbargain price; just two inches long, they fit in perfectly.

Inspired by my favourite childhood books, I popped bowls of popcorn and we began threading onto heavy cotton thread. I like to string three or five kernels, then one cranberry and repeat until I have a string about four feet long. We made so many of these that I lost count! Then I tied the ends together carefully as I hung them on the tree.

The only other bought ornaments were some strings of tiny white lights that were on sale shortly before Christmas Day and some tinfoil icicles, which I hung one by one from the popcorn strings, spacing them as carefully as I could. I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to a Christmas tree.

The angel I made myself and I still think she was beautiful.

We used those decorations every year from then on, adding a few each time and they are in my storage unit now. I hope they have survived their long hibernation; if not I will simply have to make more.

Often I would wrap cookies in cellophane and hang them, too. The popcorn strings were left on the tree after the other bits were packed away and the tree was set up outside as a feast for the birds. This was always after the first week in January.  That, I’ll explain about in another post . . .  🙂

For some excellent Christmas baking and other recipes, and for more ideas for yuletide decorations, including a knit pattern for a wine box cover, check out Selma’s blog here: Eclectic Home & Life She lives in England, but hails from Norway and I love her traditional recipes. You may remember y post about making her Mocha Roulade for my Mum and myself on Mother’s Day in 2015. Light and scrumptious, it was the perfect dessert!

I hope you are all enjoying the run-up to Christmas, taking time to enjoy the music, colour, lights, etc. Do try not to stress. It’s a good time for gratitude and I have to say again that I am grateful for each one of you, my Virtual Village neighbours.

Here, to help keep you in the mood, is a set of Christmas songs by Sissel, one of Norway’s great singers: Christmas songs by Sissel

Some of you may be familiar with Newfoundland’s group Great Big Sea.Here are some of their Christmas songs: Great Big Sea Christmas songs

And what is a post from me without a song from Funrig?

Silent Night

These are by Bruce Guthro, lead singer for Runrig and a Canadian from Cape Breton Island:

Christmas songs by Bruce Guthro

And, again by Bruce, a video in the true spirit of Christmas, featuring footage from the Christmas Truce of 1914. Christmas at the Front, 1914

And finally, a mixed bag, beginning with one of my own favourites:

Let There Be Peace on Earth and more