The Last Two Weeks (but who’s counting?)

That’s right, my friends; last week was pretty busy, so I scrapped the post I’d begun. And now in less than a week I shall be in the air. The changing time zones have me a bit confused at times (pun intended). I do know that when I land in Glasgow sometime close to 9 am on Monday the 14th of May, it will be close to 1 am here in BC.

I’m going to keep this short; I just want to touch base for a few minutes. There may not be any photos; for one thing, I left the battery charger for the camera I’m borrowing) at home, so it was out of energy before we arrived in Princeton and those photos are all of the landscapes on the way down. For another, the cell phone camera was also worn out. I charged it up, then left it in my sister’s car . . .

Catching up: I’ve begun packing up things that will go into my storage unit for six months, in between the various creative activities. Nearly two weeks ago, Cousin S and I went to Vernon and spent close to three hours shifting boxes and bits of furniture in the medium unit so that I could put most of the items from the small unit into it and free up a bit of money. I do wish I’d been able to do it a year ago, but the fire hazard kept us from wanting to breathe deeply or even be outdoors on the bad days. Still, it’s done now. I was quite pleased not to be sore except for the odd twinge here and there, after a couple of years of a very sedentary life.

The three of us went on Sun, Mon & Tues last week and got the job done; a few things had to come here for storage (lawnmower, garbage can, two large pieces of driftwood . . . all hard to pack in a smallish space). So much relief all around. There isn’t much room left in the medium unit, though, so some boxes may end up staying here. I’d hoped to avoid that.

We were in Princeton, BC, for most of three days for our Auntie’s service. It was good to see family again; some I hadn’t seen for over 50 years and some I had heard so many stories about I feel I know them, but we’d never actually met. I am lucky in that I like my out-laws as much as my in-laws! (and I like my in-laws) Most of us met up at the Brown Bridge Pub on the Friday night. I had a glass of dry white wine in honour of my Auntie and a very good bowl of Pad Thai. My Auntie would have loved that evening; she was so outgoing and family-oriented; I like to think she and maybe her siblings, too, were hovering around us that night.

I stayed with my RN sister in her hotel room, so we sat up until 3.30 the first night catching up and talking about a million subjects. That was great!

There was something else great, too: I finally got to meet one of our second cousins from Norway (that means our parents were cousins; in this case, her Dad and my Mum). We hit it off right away; she is so bubbly and energetic and I am quiet and intense most of the time. If I can get to Norway this summer I will definitely be adding a visit with Tove to my list. Even better, I was telling her about the upcoming Great Adventure and when I mentioned a concert in August, she asked about the band. I was SO surprised (and excited) to learn she knows Runrig and one of her close friends from Germany will be at the same concert! Runrig is huge in Germany and Denmark and their concerts sell out quickly in both countries. Anyway Tove is putting me in touch with her friend and perhaps we will be able to meet up.

The service was held in a very small church and it was nearly full, mostly with family, who came from the coast, from Alberta and Saskatchewan, along with Tove from Norway. A few of Auntie’s friends came, too, including the ladies who ate with her at the assisted living place that was her last home. Lunch was provided by the Church Ladies in the traditional fashion; a great variety of sandwiches followed by a marvellous selection of baked goodies. I do love the old ways!

Later we went up to our cousin L’s place to hang out in the house and backyard and later to enjoy a barbeque. More visiting, of course.

The next morning, we were invited back to cousin L’s place for brunch. There was not only plenty of food left from the barbecue, there was an entire Seven-Layer Salad that had been forgotten in one of the grandson’s travel trailer! I’d forgotten how delicious those are.

We left Princeton and Tove came with us as far as Kelowna, where we found a hotel for her not too far from the airport, as she was flying home Sunday morning. the long ride gave us time for more visiting and sharing of stories. Her grandfather Paul was our grandfather’s brother. He and his family also came to Canada, but stayed only a few years; his wife was very homesick and they went back to Norway.

Crafty activities: I’ve been working on the Clover socks every spare chance I’ve had, mostly in the car en route to Vernon or Salmon Arm for shopping. Pictures coming soon (or after I get to Scotland lol). I’m not a fast knitter and now I’m on the ribbing, so that’s even slower. But I’m pretty pleased with them!

Since arriving home on Saturday I have completed the two ends for my moss green Meg shawl, found a pattern for a rectangular panel, made that and joined the three parts. Today I will work on the border for a bit.

There has been much other craftiness going on here, too, but I’ll leave that for another post.

I was very excited to stop in Armstrong on one of our trips to Vernon and pick up some Great Britain Pounds Sterling; I haven’t even taken time to admire them; just packed them up right away. A first for me . . .

I am nearly finished Jon Sayer‘s Batdig and still enjoying it thoroughly. I’ve rationed myself quite strictly, but do want to finish it before I leave. I really need to know how it all turns out! I’ve enjoyed finding an in-joke or two along the way, but I’m not telling you where; you’ll have to read it for yourself. The second book, Kirkenes Blue, will be waiting for me when I return. A side note: my cousin Tove happened to mention Kirkenes during one of our conversations, so I showed her the books.

Well, the last time I began a post and waited to add photos and music, it ended up retiring to my drafts folder, so I am simply going to publish this as is.

I hope to post again before I leave; if not, I shall have time in the evenings, I expect, once I am in Glasgow. All of you are in my thoughts, whether I post or not.

Edit: I just remembered the music I had planned to share once this Auntie was gone. So here it is, as I remember my own Mum, Dad, Aunties and Uncles: Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin singing (in the film A Prairie Home Companion, which I love) Goodbye to my Mama

Have a wonderful May; for many reasons, it’s always been an inspiring month for me.

Gerard Manley Hopkins was one of my earliest favourite poets and I still have the book of his poetry which I bought while I was at Uni back in the mid-60s; it was the first book of poetry I bought for myself. When I think of May, I think of this poem:

Spring

Day 8: Five by Five on Friday

Hello, again; it’s been so long since I wrote, hasn’t it? (at least 20 minutes!) But I was just informed that Cousin M and I are going to Vernon tomorrow to shop, so it means up a bit earlier than I’ve been managing lately and less time during the day to get things (like knitting) done. Of course I will take my scarf and try to finish it on the drive; it’s over a half hour each way, so that’s good. So no blog-hopping tonight, sorry. I may have time tomorrow evening. We’ll see.

And so I have been wracking my brains over what to write about for Friday. I think it’s going to be Five Lists  for Friday. Because I do love lists . . .

A) Female writers who changed my thinking and my life . . .

  1. Tasha Tudor, author and illustrator, who lived as though she’d been born in the 1830s, weaving the cloth for her dresses, making her own candles and soap, raising her own food and much more.
  2. Keri Hulme, of New Zealand, who wrote The Bone People. Not an easy read at times, but a beautiful use of language and story-telling. She addresses some difficult issues.
  3. Zenna Henderson, who wrote the few books about The People. They make me think about how we react to those who are different and to their gifts, too.
  4. Ursula K LeGuin, whose books also changed my thinking; more accurately, showed me different ways of thinking and also to question what I think of as ‘normal’. The Left Hand of Darkness in particular, for questioning gender and gender roles. She wrote the A Wizard of Earthsea books, too. Also thought-provoking.
  5. Vonda N. McIntyre, for Dreamsnake in particular and also for Of Mist, And Grass, And Sand.

That’s five, but I can’t leave off Andre Norton, whose book Star Rangers I read at age ten. I have read nearly everything she wrote, but Star Rangers remains the most important to me, as it exposed me to thoughts about racism and racial harmony.

B) Male writers who changed my thinking and my life:

  1. Robert A. Heinlein, for his children’s books first and later his more adult novels. I don’t always agree with him, but I love that he is so thought-provoking.
  2. Ray Bradbury, for everything he ever wrote. Mostly for The Martian Chronicles and Dandelion Wine.
  3. Guy Gavriel Kay, Canadian author. I love all his books, but most of all, The Lions of Al-Rassan. His characters and plots are subtle and complex and he never fails to surprise me by some twist of plot or change in character. And his use of language . . .
  4. Louis Bromfield, whose Malabar Farm introduced me to ecological ideas about farming and whose house-building inspired me. He (with an architect)  started with the original small farmhouse, then built on additions to look as though they had been added over many years.
  5. J R R Tolkien, whose The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will be a part of me forever. I read these four books to my boys half a dozen times or more, the firs time when the older=st was four and a half and the younger one not yet born.

And I can’t forget Zane Grey and Albert Payson Terhune, the former for his stirring plots and colourful descriptions, the latter for his love of dogs. I first loved Collies because of his books.

C) Musicians who have changed my thinking and my life:

  1. Runrig, for their love of family, country and their own culture; for the beauty of their songs; for the way their words and melodies have touched me deeply.
  2. Phil Ochs,  for standing up for what he thought was right.
  3. Pete Seeger, for the same and also for his love of music and fun.
  4. Woody Guthrie, for more of the same . . . especially for The Hobo’s Lullaby
  5. Buffy Sainte-Marie, ditto

Looking at this list, I can see the sameness in my favourite singers, although I do like other genres, too.

D) Artists whose work I love

  1. Maxfield Parrish
  2. M C Escher
  3. Emily Carr
  4. A Y Jackson, The Group of Seven
  5. Jackson Pollock. I came to understand his work through Ed Harris’ wonderful depiction of him

E) Poets who have influenced me

  1. Gerard Manley Hopkins. I still have the book of his poetry that I bought when I was in uni and I still love his work. He introduced me to a different approach to words and rhythm in poetry.
  2. John Masefield
  3. Emily Dickinson
  4. Pauline Johnson
  5. Walt Whitman

I wanted to add photos and more details of why I chose these particular people, but I’m out of time now. If you have questions, do ask in the comments section and I;ll do my best to answer them.

Music for the day:

2 Cellos playing Benedictus live in Zagreb, a lovely piece.

I wish you all a day of Peace, Light and Harmony.  ~ Linne

p.s. In case you missed it, I’m having a Give-away! Check out Day 5 . . .