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

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12 thoughts on “Getting back on the horse . . .

  1. That was a knock-out post! I absolutely love your hair, and it’s good to have a couple of inches off every now and then, keeps the ends neat and tidy 🙂 My hair is nowhere near your length but I still like it long, and had to steel myself to ask Nicola to take off 2cm last month. (2 cm = just under one inch). I also check the hair lying on the floor before they sweep it away so she knows she has to obey me 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Jill! seems like I’m getting back to my usual, wordy self . . . Nice that you like my hair. It still seems too short to me,but I’m getting used to it. I’e heard about this ‘neat and tidy’ thing, but not sure if I believe in it 🙂 I should have taken a picture of it before, eh? There’s always been something about me that has resisted being made to do anything or put in any sort of a box. Not always a good quality, I know . . .

      We’re on metric here, too, but I still convert to Imperial (except for money; dollars and cents seem easier than pounds, shillings and pence, not that we ever had those here in Canada.) But I have learned that 2.5 cm = 1 inch and a few other conversions. rain in mm still drives me crazy, though. I love that you check the hair to keep the cutter in line; sounds like something I would do. I had my hair cut by a young girl just out of beauty parlour school once and asked her to cut only an inch; she cut it unevenly, then tried to even it out. Did that more than once. The end result was over six inches gone. Well!! Lucky for her I’m rather soft-hearted and I could understand how it came about. I thanked her, pretended I liked it to save her feelings (I could imagine how I’d feel if I had done the same thing), then went home and cried my eyes out. Didn’t go near a professional for some years. Then I had a friend who is a barber cut and perm my hair. She never explained the difference between a barber and a hairdresser, unfortunately. She cut my hair straight across about level with my collarbones, then put in a spiral perm (my request). But she rolled it all up from the bottom. When the rollers came out, it stuck out from ,y head in an unbelievable fashion. I handled it the same way (soft touch or what?), then cried for several weeks, off and on. Some time later, when I had calmed down sufficiently, my younger son said rather hesitantly, “you know, Mum, it did make you look a lot like a mushroom”. By then I had my sense of humour back somewhat and was able to laugh with him, Still . . . I can handle raggedy, but I don’t like how thin and straggly it gets now that I’m a bit older. Ah, well, all is vanity, they say . . .

      But I shall remember your approach if I ever go to another professional. And I have to say, I had an incredible professional cut, once in my life. At the time, I was part of a Worker Co-op Development company (it was a worker co-op, too) and we had an upcoming meeting with some high-level government people from China, so I thought I should at least try to look more conventional. But I had been living in Kelowna, where I knew none of the businesses, for only a few weeks. So I went to a mall and walked around, looking at all two of the beauty parlours. I chose one on instinct, which often serves me quite well. The lady who cut my hair turned out to be from Sweden, where she had won several awards for hair-cutting and -styling. She did an amazing job and my hair looked awesome for months afterward. I don’t think I even have a picture (it was back before cell phones and digital cameras, etc.). I never forgot it, though, or her. She was making her way around the world by working in various salons. I was just the luckiest person that day . . .

      Thanks for dropping by, Jill. Love and Light to you. ~ Linne

  2. I too loved the music, I’m a sucker for anything Gaelic. You have been busy, love the crochet piece you created and seven feet is huge! I haven’t made anything that large.

    I always wanted to play a musical instrument but my family always had an excuse. Your fingers aren’t large enough to play piano, only boys play guitar etc. So I encouraged my boys every time they asked to learn a new instrument yet I still haven’t taken up any.

    • I’m glad you liked the music, Lois; you might want to check out more of their work on youtube; I fell in love the first time I heard them and they’ve done a remarkable variety of songs over the 44 years they’ve been playing and recording. Quite a few of their concerts are online and I like to put one on, then use the headphones while I knit or crochet, etc.

      I always wanted to play, too; I taught myself basic chords on my Dad;s guitar when I was in my teens and I have a flute my husband gave me years ago. I can play simple stuff, but haven’t mastered the instrument by any means.

      It’s never too late to begin, you know; I encourage you to take up something. I know the cost is a problem for many instruments, and storage space likewise, but surely there is something you can have that would work. I sure hope so.

      My Dad was extremely musical, but Mennonites didn’t encourage ‘worldly’ things and his oldest siblings teased him about his interest. Only his mother supported him. I’m so glad you encouraged your boys; what a difference that can make!

      Dad used to go to the middle of a field and paractise. He was good enough that he could have made a living at music if it hadn’t been for the War (WWII); he never pursued his dreams, but we were lucky to grow up in a home where music was part of our week, at least. We sang together, except my Mum, who had a great voice but was shy (introverted). Later we had a small chord organ and all of us but one taught ourselves to play that. When I lived near my RN sister in my 20s I would borrow her accordion, too. But I never mastered anything; it takes regular practice and I didn’t have the chance to do that often. I hope to take up music again soon. My sister is bringing my (very cheap – $5 or $10 I paid) guitar when she comes in mid-July. I’m looking forward to that, as it has new strings that haven’t been put on yet.
      I’m glad you liked the throw / blanket thingie. the photos don’t do the colours justice; they are a strong tangerine orange, white and teal-blue variegate and the same blue in a solid. I made other things with this yarn, too. Once I find the photos (I was diligent and downloaded them all, but am not sure which folders I used LOL), I’ll post about those, too.

      Found your new blog, thank you. It’s good to see you online again.

      Blessings to you. ~ LInne

      • I keep saying I will take up an instrument and thought about collecting inexpensive instruments for the kids to play around with as well when they are here. If they are in the house I will pick them up. 🙂

        I’ve lived around the Amish and Mennonite communities a good portion of my life so can only imagine how your father was treated for being so interested in music. I’m glad he persisted and shared his love with you.

        It’s good to see you blogging again, I’d missed you!

      • Lois, I often find it more of a challenge to do something just for myself, although I’m working on that. It can take me a long time to work up the courage to act and in the meantime, others assume I’m not serious about my intention. Have you thought about a wooden recorder? They are fun to play around with and affordable, too, and harmonicas are pretty interesting. I think once you have stuff handy, it becomes easier to give them a try, especially if no one is around. I dislike playing poorly where others can hear, which doesn’t help.

        I’ve been interested in the more disciplined communities such as Amish and Friends (Quakers) for many years. I don’t think those are paths for everyone, but for some they are great. I don’t have a problem with disciplines as such, but it seems to me as an outsider that it might have gone better if there had been more philosophical types involved in the original design, specifically the choice of what, and why, certain practises would be avoided or banned. In some ways, that life would have suited me perfectly; in others, not so much.

        I think it was partly because my Dad was interested in ‘worldly’ music like country, that his older siblings made fun of him. If it had been church music only, it might have been different. Technology such as radios was and is a challenge for those on spiritual paths. I wish someone in our family had thought to record him playing and singing (and yodelling!!) I’d give a lot to hear him even one more time. Or my Mum; she had a beautiful voice, but was ‘shy’ (now we know that is introverted), so she rarely sang in anyone’s hearing except the babies.

        I’m glad he persisted, too. There is a lot of music on both sides of my family and my youngest son was a very gifted violinist; he sang before he could talk. He chose another path in life, but I hope music is always a part of his life.

        I”m glad to be back, Lois, and it’s nice to hear that I was missed. I missed you, too 🙂 I’m so glad you found a way to continue. I don’t understand the destructive urges of hackers; it doesn’t do anyone any good.

        Take care and I’ll be over to visit again soon. Blessings. ~ Linne

      • Ha, me too. I gladly do for others and tend to put myself last. I’m getting better about it now that my children are grown in demanding time for myself and my needs.

        In years past I attended many Amish functions such as their annual pig roasts. I got a close up look at how they live and agree there is much to admire but it isn’t necessarily for me. Unfortunately, even though I was born and raised in Pa, I’ve had no known contact with Quakers.

        I have a terrible singing voice, I tell people I am tone deaf to get out of singing in public but yes, like your mother, I will happily sing with little ones because they aren’t judgmental. To them we are having fun.

  3. LOVE the music, Linne! I could see how it would haunt your dreams. I’ve been to Port Angeles once a couple of summers ago when my kids and I took the ferry to Victoria. It was my second time there and I loved it. I loved your crochet blanket. It’s always good to have things to do with your hands. A good trim is healthy for the hair. I trim my own mostly just to keep the ends from splitting. I’d wear it short always but then it needs to be permed as it’s straight as a poker and looks awful short without curl. I hope you finally find a way to get settled. I’m certainly enjoying my roots going down deep. Quite novel for me. I prefer to live alone as well. I think my body needs so much peace that having others around too long drains me. My son left yesterday in the morning and I have had to have 2 naps each day since. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to just one. I run out of steam too quickly and sleep is not deep enough at night. The weather will turn from gray and cold and bring a bit of sun to lighten things up. Maybe I’ll lighten up too. Keep us posted. It’s nice to hear from you again. I love the yarn colors together.

    • Hi, Marlene! I’m glad you liked the music, too! (I was a tad worried I’d begun overdoing it with Runrig, but oh, my, I DO love their stuff!! I would have had a much harder time these past years without them.

      Victoria was lovely when I first moved there to attend Uni back in ’65, but it’s sure grown since then. Still lovely for the most part, though. If you ever go again, let me know; I can recommend some things to do / places to see that you might like.

      The blankets are so easy; great for a beginner (or, in my friend’s case, a re-beginner after more than 30 years). I can’t imagine not doing something with my hands every day. I have so manyt interests, but I need a place where I can turn it into a giant workroom / studio (if I’m feeling grand LOL) with shelves and cupboards for all my supplies and tables, etc. to work on.

      I keep hearing that trimming is good for the hair, but I sure don’t like doing it. I don’t mind split ends; they create a sort of ‘halo’ effect that I really like (yes, I know I shouldn’t . . .). But it was getting pretty scraggly, even for me. sigh

      I know what you mean about it needing curl, too; for some reason, grey / white hair seems to lose all its wave. I don’t understand it. Not that I had a lot of wave, but just hanging there, straight down . . . really!!

      I hope I find a way to settle down, too; it’s hard to let go of my life-long dream of an acreage and perhaps I never will, really. But I’m not going to wallow in self-pity or the like, either; just keep the dream alive, like a giant seed, and hope it sprouts and bears fruit. I actually prefer to live with others, but I need those to be people who share at least some of the most important things. Here, it’s partly family, partly a similar attitude to simple living, gardening, the cat, the (outside) birds, and so on. plus my cousin and I lived together for much of the time during our first six years or so. (with our parents and eventually my first siblings, of course). It helps that we are both quite introverted, so we give each other space. His wife is a bit more extraverted, but not much. She likes her mornings quiet because she goes to work around 2.30 or so in the afternoon. (They both worked as school custodians, but she won’t retire until the end of the year). So we all do our own thing in the morning; M and I go out and survey the acreage, all 1/4 of it that’s easily surveyed, lol. We water our various plants and raised beds, I brush my hair (better for the vacuum), then we go in and make our own breakfasts. Morning tv for them often, and I generally work on my handwork or catch up on the emails, etc. A lot of family emails just now. Lunch by 1.00 or so, then S is off to work and depending on weather, M and I may work in the yard, run errands or pursue our interests indoors. He likes driving the back roads as much as I do, so errands take a bit longer but are more fun.

      I think the sleep problems would wipe me out, too. As it is, I’m often wakeful at night, then find it hard to get up in the morning. But at least I haven’t needed a nap for a while. We’ll see how it is in the summer, when S will be home for two months, and again in the new year, when she will be here full-time. Lucky we like each other and get along well. 🙂 I don’t do so well if I’m around extraverts all the time, I do know that, but I am fine with creative introverts, artists and the like. My sons’ dad and their step-dad are both artists and I’m used to having someone around who is busy creating while I’m otherwise busy; then available to share a coffee or whatever and a short chat before returning to work. I miss that a lot.

      I think our weather is much the same. Lucky we had that glorious hot couple of weeks in May and planted the most important things. (Although I could have planted a great deal more, lol No cure for me, I fear.) Today and yesterday evening have been quite cool and rainy at times. Nice in that the plants all got watered, but not possible to get out in the yard today and dig out some blackberries to make a new bed for two echinacea currently in pots plus the twelve (yes, you read that correctly!) zucchini plants that I started yesterday.

      I’m sending you lots of love and LIGHT! And I’ll certainly keep everyone posted more regularly from now on.

      Glad you like the crochet colours, too. I picked what I knew my friend would love, but I love them, too.

      Take care of yourself, will you? Talk again soon. ~ Linne

      • I’ll send a note shortly. Sitting here trying to decide which of the many things that need doing I should start with this morning. It’s cool out so I think that’s where I will go.

      • I’ll watch for your note, Marlene, but no rush. Gardens first these days, right? Especially if one needs to avoid the extreme heat or cold/rain. I hope that was a good day. Thinking of you, as you know. ~ Linne

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading your comments. ~ Linne

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