It’s been a long time since I wrote anything here, so I don’t know if I will be shouting into a void landscape or not . . . and in case you’ve forgotten about me . . .
Not sure where I got that, but I love it because it’s SO me
. . . and now you have been warned . . .
And then I found this: a photo of the Chinese restaurant in Calgary, Alberta that bears my name. It’s in Calgary and back in the day, family who lived there gathered here to share special meals; visitors were almost always brought here, too. My last Auntie had one of the tea bowls and saved it for many years, saying it reminded her of me. A year or two before she died, she gave it to me so that it would remind me of her . . . and it does.
With everything that’s been happening here and around the world, I’ve either not felt like writing or it’s seemed too complex to address. Oh, well, I’ve missed coming here and sharing. I’ve also missed wandering around what I still like to call our Virtual Village and dropping by when someone’s home . . .
I’ve been a little busy, so I’d like to talk about my projects first, then I’ll get on to the latest news in our area.
This is quite long, so if a section doesn’t interest you, just skip on ahead, ok?
I did finish the blocks for the Summer Harmony and joined them, too. I do love Lucy’s Join-as-you-go method; otherwise I’d have piles of blocks hanging around forever, waiting . . . but I haven’t begun the border yet. I’ve chosen a different order of colours from the pattern and I plan to do a short section following the instructions, then another using the same stitches as the Original Harmony border. Then I’ll decide and get on with it. This is the Original border:
I crocheted a small troll head for Christmas, using the images from one of Selma’s Christmas posts. It sat on my bureau until last week and is now in the motorhome (MH).
This photo is not my work, but that of my niece in law. My oldest sister gave our brother some of Mum’s yarn and the Niece is making a lovely pullover from it. Mum would be so happy to see this:
I made one of Selma’s wire angels, too, and it’s been hanging around on the vine wreath I made back before 2006, when I was still living with my Mum in her house in Edmonton. It’s quite interesting to look at, as it’s not exactly circular. I’ll have to take a photo for you. I meant to make a string of those angels, but in spite of the supplies sitting beside me here for ages, somehow I never did that.
A friend from the crochet group I used to attend gave me two cookbooks when she was downsizing for a move. I’ve always loved these two, but never owned a copy.
Another book that’s gone into the MH is this one. I read it many times in my teens and looked for it second hand for years. It was around, but at prices well over $100, so not in my budget. Then I found it, paperback and new, as they had re-printed it. So much joy to re-visit . . . and around $12, too!
A friend sent me two books, too, which I also love:
Firefly Lane was made into a series and is on Netflix, I think. but I loved The Four Winds because it’s set from just before the Dirty 30s and into the ’40s. In the south-western states, where it was worse than here, even.
I feel very fortunate to be so introverted and also to have so many diverse interests and hobbies. The whole Covid-19 lockdown was pretty much “life as usual” for us here (I’m still living with my cousins). The things above have gotten me through a lot and continue to do so (see the last section).
I read a fair bit. I even gave in and began reading on a tablet. Books are still my first love, but with the tablet, I haven’t had to go to the library for months. ‘had’ may be the wrong word here, as it sounds like a chore, doesn’t it? Oh, well, I’m sure you know what I mean. So I have almost finished re-reading everything by Guy Gavriel Kay, as his next book won’t be out until next spring at the earliest. Three years between books means he does his research but it’s a long time for a reader. Luckily, I have other favourite authors LOL.
I also try to do something creative every day, but some days it just doesn’t happen.
I also watched a fair bit of Netflix and Amazon Prime in the beginning; a bit less of that now. I like films and series from the UK, Europe, Australia & New Zealand and other places (Iceland, anyone?) I’m currently watching Season 6 of the 1990s Aussie hit, Blue Heelers, a cop show. I like the characters and I can usually crochet or knit while watching/listening. There are 13 seasons, but only 8 are on Prime so far. Fingers crossed . . .
I discovered DuoLingo some time ago and fell happily into that rabbithole, as I’ve always loved words and language and languages (although I’m only fluent in English). And then my youngest sister bought a membership in Rosetta Stone and gave me one, too. Well . . . I began with quite a few, because I don’t know when to leave well enough alone, apparently. Then came recent events (more on those later) and now it’s mostly Arabic on Duo and French on Rosetta. French because I’m Canadian and it is our other language. I changed schools every year until junior high, so when we moved to Salmon Arm (close to where I live now), I started grade eight quite happily. But everyone else had already taken a year of French . . . I remember the first day, because I was so excited at the thought of learning another language . . . the teacher came in and immediately began speaking French. She asked a question. Others replied, but I had no idea what to do or say. As an extremely shy (introverted) child, I hated looking foolish in public or even speaking out in front of others. So I suffered through that first year, the switched to Latin, which had to be taken by correspondence and so I was not required to learn to speak it. It’s been a huge blessing to me all my life, as it makes English and the other Romance languages so much more understandable. And for some reason I loved it . . . conjugating verbs and dissecting sentences came naturally to me and I was hooked forever. I’m reviewing Latin on Rosetta, but it’s not the same as they’ve modernized it. My course began with Caesar’s “Gaul is divided into three parts” and went from there. Rosetta is more like immersion learning. Fun, though.
When I lived in Edmonton, I began studying Egyptian Arabic, as I want to visit Egypt some day and I’d like to at least be able to be polite to people. I was using the Pimsleur courses then, borrowing them from the library. I like their format very much. But I found that Arabic is on DuoLingo now, so there we go . . . I doubt I’ll ever be fluent, but I am enjoying the study so much, it’s worth it. And I found a set of videos on YouTube that show how to write the letters and then words . . . (it’s here, if you’re interested: Arabic Alphabet – Part One And why wouldn’t you be? hahaha) I’ve been practising writing the letters using a Sharpie fine point pen, but I also bought a set of cheap chisel shaped brushes and once I get my paints out, I’ll be doing more with those. I like how the written words are a form of calligraphy . . .
Writing French is a challenge, too, with all the various accents, etc. But a challenge is what I was needing and it fits the bill perfectly. There is a keyboard option on Rosetta, so I can type and then click on the screen when I need to access some of the special characters.
I’ve dipped back into a few others, but we’ll leave those for now.
Some of you will have heard that lower BC, in particular, has been hard hit with wildfires this year, starting at least a month sooner than usual. A couple of days ago we had almost 300 fires burning and over 30 of them were what they call “fires of note”, meaning extremely dangerous. The small town of Lytton, (known as “BC’s Hot Spot”) burnt to the ground the day after temperatures here reached 44 C (111 F), In Lytton, it had been 49.6 C (over 121 F). The very small town of Monte Lake is also mostly gone. Many of the towns affected or threatened by this fire are places I knew as a girl and on into my young adult years. It’s hard to see this going on . . .
The scariest fire, though, is the White Rock Lake fire, burning to the South-West of where we live, but it’s 32,500 hectares in size (80,309 acres or 125 square miles).
Still, by contrast, the fire in California was 240,595 acres (97,365 ha) on 30 July, so way bigger. I’ve been following that fire and the ones in Greece, and others, as well as our own. I feel so badly for those who have lost their homes or even family and friends.
The smoke here has been horrendous and I understand it’s reached past Ontario now, possibly to the Atlantic provinces. I do have photos . . .
This is Mount Ida, seen from what used to be our driveway back in the early ’60s. I took this one in April, I think, this year.
From the same place, taken last Friday:
Driving along the highway toward where we used to live:
Almost home again:
Home and you can see the smoke drifting in the background . . . it was heavier later on.
The MH, last December . . .
This is a screenshot of the fire activity a couple of days ago. The evacuation order area is pink and the alert area is orange. You can see the upper right corner of the alert area is right below “Ranchero”. That’s the district we live in.
If you want to follow the progress of this fire, go to:
https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a1e7b1ecb1514974a9ca00bdbfffa3b1¢er=-120.024417%2C50.304667&level=11&mobileBreakPoint=300&fbclid=IwAR1CZQLJC8VCeZj8ENG1Pl9fGphX4LrHI2vDYJpVuq36qncOdDsfg4tItaY and look for the “White Rock Lake” fire.
So for the past couple of weeks, my cousin has been making sure all three vehicles are ready to go, just in case, and we’ve been packing things we want to save into them. And food, bedding, etc. I’m lucky I still have the motorhome (MH). I was considering selling it, as it’s too cold to live in during the winter and now it’s too hot and besides, the smoke . . . however, for now I’ll hang on to it. I did get my provisional license a couple of weeks ago and will be writing my test as soon as it’s possible.
I do know that stuff is just stuff, but I have some things that are not replaceable. If my everyday clothes burnt up, no worries, I can buy more. But my treasures from my travels are another thing . . . and because my oldest sister came by last autumn and dropped off some of my things she’d kindly stored for me since 2016, I now have all my family photos (4 or 5 boxes worth), my guitar and more. If I can save them I will; if I ever have to walk away from them, I’ll do my best to do it with grace and courage. Still . . . I also have my creative supplies, which aren’t inventoried (who does that, anyway?) and would take ages to replace. Not to mention yarn that isn’t available anymore.
This knitting bag is one of my mementoes, purchased at Yarndale at the end of September, 2018 (If you don’t recognize the saying, it’s from the film “Babe” an unexpected favourite of mine). And so are the two cushions, created in the ’70s by another of my Aunties, my cousin’s mother. The colours turn out to be quite compatible with the Summer Harmony blanket . . .
The mug goes, of course (lol) and the runner, which was stitched by my Norwegian second cousin’s mother, who was my own mother’s cousin.
One of the things that is helping me get through all this and also stay positive most of the time, is my little Gratitude group; four of us formed it some time ago and every day we do our best to post ten or twelve things we are grateful for, and often some affirmations for ourselves, too. It helps to remember all the good things in our lives and to take a few minutes to be grateful for them.
Well, I’ll leave you with this photo, taken on the island of Leka in Norway (where my mother’s maternal grandfather was born). I was wearing my handmade socks and thinking of a song by Runrig, In Scandinavia . . .
(Here I stand, in Scandinavia . . .)
I am keeping you all in my thoughts and sending warm, if virtual, hugs . . .
Stay safe and well, my friends . . . ~ Linne