Feeling better . . . and now feeling sad

My infection is nearly healed and I’m thankful for all the kind messages. I’m sure the energy that came my way helped speed the healing. There is only a small hot patch left and I’m pretty sure it will be gone in the next couple of days.

  Musician Pete Seeger and wife Toshi Seeger attend the memorial celebration for Odetta at Riverside Church on February 24, 2009 in New York  Pete Seeger Royalty Free Stock Photo

If you are wondering why I’m feeling sad, it’s because I just heard the news that Pete Seeger died yesterday. I’m not sad for him, but for a world that will be dimmer with his passing. He has been a key figure in my universe since I can remember folk music; high school at least (we didn’t usually have a radio earlier than that). His ideas, his passion, his love . . . all made me think and helped form my own beliefs.

Singer, songwriter, activist for a multitude of causes; all that and so much more. He  built his own house and lived there with his wife, who raised their children while he was away standing up for all of us in so many ways. He was a true pioneer. He started the movement to clean up the Hudson River, took part in many protests (and was arrested a couple of times). There is a lot in anyone’s story when they have lived into their nineties. If you don’t already know, and want to know more, there’s a lot of information online. And some in the documentary I’ve linked to below.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/pete-seeger-dead-folk-singer-and-activist-dies-at-94-1.2513591

Pete’s wife, Toshi, died last July, only 9 days before their 70th wedding anniversary. She had a great influence on him, from what he said and what was written about them. Many said he couldn’t have done the work he did without her support and he acknowledged that.

Pete and Toshi are people I look up to for their willingness to stand up for their beliefs, to live what they preached, to find non-violent ways to effect change, in a way few manage to achieve.

Thanks to YouTube, I’ve been able to view many of his “Rainbow Quest” sessions, featuring a wide variety of musicians. Rainbow Quest was Pete’s folk music show and I would have loved it, but at the time I didn’t have electricity or a tv; besides, I doubt the shows aired in Canada.

Pete learned, played and wrote a book about the five-string banjo; the book is still available.

I think all the radical, bolshie hippies and their ilk will be forever grateful.Here’s a link to 10 quotes (I’m sure there are hundreds!

Here’s links to a few of my favourite songs:

Bring ‘Em Home

Waist Deep in the Big Muddy

(written about the Vietnam War, but applies to most of our current political situations)

What Did You Learn in School Today?

Solidarity Forever

Here’s a collection of his songs.

The Power of Song – documentary from the PBS American Masters series

One of his grandsons is quoted as saying that Pete was out chopping wood just 10 days before he died. Way to go, Pete!

As Woody Guthrie would have said, “So long, it’s been good to know ya” . . .

Nice Summer, that was . . .

Yesterday, after our long visit to the garden centre, my friend A and I had a lovely lunch at The Tea Place, where I had a chicken chipotle panini and a watermelon passionfruit bubble tea (with mango stars; my favourite!); friend A had a ham and cheese panini and a mango orange bubble tea with tapiocs bubbles. We love The Tea Place and it was good to sit by the big front window and catch up on each other’s lives. I could have taken pictures, but was too busy eating, drinking and chatting to think of it. But you probably want a picture anyway, so here you are:

20130429-152210.jpg that’s two crows, two grocery bags and one seagull on a grassy back lawn, spotted after I was back downstairs at my Aunty’s. Looks so lovely, doesn’t it? Like spring might really arrive . . . and this morning I woke to this:

20130429-152812.jpg It continued all day; here’s a couple more shots:

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20130429-185423.jpg. . . snow on the Narnia lamp
. . . and more snow . . .

20130429-185558.jpg I think I’ll send any more ‘special delivery’ AND ‘overnight express’ to my friends downunder 😉

Thursday with my ‘crafty’ friend:

I took two large shopping bags to my friend’s; some was ‘show n tell’; some was supplies for crafting.

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First we went to the fabric store for buttons. I found these:

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20130405-032938.jpg My friend noticed that the sign by the remnant bin said “Buy one, get three (of equal or lesser price) free!” So then I got these, too:

20130405-033529.jpg The green at the bottom was the most expensive (it’s silk!), so I paid for that and the large bundle (wool) at the top and the two cotton pieces were Gratis!! What a deal!!
I completely forgot that I have a rather large fabric stash already . . . after all, none of it is emerald silk! ;-P

Then I remembered that I needed more orange thread, ’cause I’ve been doing all that handsewing on the brown, blue and orange quilt pieces . . . so I bought:

20130405-034029.jpg Did I say I needed ‘orange’ thread? Yes I did! and I DO!! “and the others??” I hear you asking . . . well, it was the colours! My favourite thing ever!! Guess I have a lot more sewing ahead . . . at least I already have fabrics in those colours . . . 😉

So . . . we took her grandbabies to the pet store as a treat; they were SO patient while I was being seduced by sale and sight! They weren’t feeling so well, though. A quick trip to admire fish, reptiles, chinchilla, birdies (cockatiels, too! Reminded me of my friends in kinder climes); then off home. By that time both were flushed and warm; my friend and I never got to craft at all; we sat around like this (me):

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20130405-035201.jpg being ‘Nana-pillows’, as my friend says, for the rest of the day. Good thing I’m an old hand at eating with a child draped on me! So a fun day for me and by the time I went home, both wee ones were feeling better and tucked up for the night.

In case you are wondering about my plans for the ‘sheep’ buttons, I found this NFO (Nearly Finished Object) the other day:

20130405-040814.jpg that’s the back. This is the front:

20130405-041024.jpg This is a ‘shepherdess’ cardi from this Debbie Bliss’ book:

20130405-042314.jpg This is the ‘Bo-Peep’ sweater in white:

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I made this sweater a few years ago and didn’t have buttons for it. That’s not why I didn’t finish it, though . . . this sweater is an object lesson: “Don’t use variegated yarn when knitting a pattern with intricate detail!” the yarn colours, while attractive, obscure the pattern that took me hours to knit! But it’s acrylic yarn, so good for a ‘wash n wear’ play cardi anyway. I plan to make another out of washable wool; next time, the yarn will be a single colour! I slso found that the acrylic is hard to block and the lower edges tend to curl a bit; I hope a wash or two fixes that, but I’m not holding my breath.

Distraction leads to disaster . . .

Well, it was minor, as disasters go, but I’m still upset about it. I was transferring the photos from my iPhone to a flash drive today. I was interrupted briefly, then noticed that the transfer had stopped. I didn’t check to see if the photos had gone to their new home properly; instead, I deleted them. Aaarrrgggghhhhh!!! Because, for some reason, none of them made it home and I could not figure out a way to ‘undo’ or ‘restore’ or any of that good stuff. It was a total of two weeks’ picture taking, including a few family videos that I really wanted to keep. Oh well, lesson learned: pay attention and think before deleting!

The bright light in all this: because the phone was full, I had no way to photograph the square before it went off to Belgium, so I scanned it instead. Those scans are all I have of it now; but at least I have a record.

I think I am too impulsive at times. Perhaps this will be corrected one day. You think??

At times like this, I like to remember King David, who made many huge and memorable mistakes, but he learned from each one and never repeated them. Oh, to be like him!

Slow and Steady . . .

Yesterday I did a bit more on my velveteen block:

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For the leaves, the half that’s more shadowed, or not so directly in the sun, I used two strands of the medium green and one of the light green; for the other half, I used two strands of the light green and one of the medium green. It’s very subtle, but I like that. When it’s all done, I’ll see if I can get a good close-up to share.

… and Home Again… and Happy New Year!

I was away again unexpectedly and my iPhone died, so I’ve been off-line for a couple of days. Therefore, a very happy belated New Year to all of you and your family and friends!
We went to First Night in Edmonton:

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The photos of the fireworks didn’t turn out, but the ice sculpture pictures worked out! Here’s another couple of pics:

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I hope your evening was a good one, whether you stayed home, went out, planned this year, made resolutions, whatever makes you happy.

Last Minute Stuff . . .

I finished my Christmas shopping and was home about 6:30. My mother was doing her baking, so I caught up on emails and had a visit with my Aunty. Then I got busy . . .

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That’s Part One: two apple pies! In the picture of the rolled-out dough you can see my mother’s wooden rolling pin. It belonged to my father’s mother. She died while he and his brother were overseas in WWII. After he and my mother were married, my grandfather re-married and his wife gave Grandmother’s rolling pin to my mother. You can see that one handle is missing and that pin is broken, but we still treasure it. I especially love to use it for ‘special’ baking, such as what I’m doing now for Christmas. I will love that homely tool to the end of my days!

Part Two:

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Two yummy pumpkin pies! ( Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of them ‘under construction’!!)

And Part Three:

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One Cherry Pie!
What’s neat about this one is the crust: it’s an old German style, made with flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; all mixed together, then a beaten egg added and the dough mixed by hand, then rolled out, etc. The recipe called for just pressing the dough into a pie plate, but that wasn’t working for me, so I added a little ice water and proceeded to roll. The lattice looks ugly, but will taste great! Besides, what the stomach cannot see, will not harm it . . . and here it is! (fartger down the page; I can’t remember how to move it up on my iPhone. Sorry.

That’s it for now, my friends; I’m going to set up the gift wrapping area (formerly my sewing table (-; ), then get a bit of sleep. I can wrap after that.

A Very Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate Christmas, and a Happy Holiday to the rest of you!

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P.S. Did I mention that the apple pies both ‘ranneth over’ with joy (or too much juicy filling . . .)? And I still had three pies to go! I was smart and took down the smoke alarm, which was a good thing, as the darn oven made the suite look like we were having a four-alarm blaze! No flames, luckily; just enough smoke to choke an elephant. I used one of the wooden spoons to dump sprinkle baking soda on the mess, which helped. Eventually the smoke went away (not sure where to, as the fan vents right back into the kitchen, not outdoors). Tomorrow, before we go for dinner, I will pour some ammonia on the bottom of the oven. Next day, it should clean up super-easy! Here’s a picture of how it looked after I took out the cherry pie:

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Ok, that’s really it!

Off to bed I go, perchance to sleep, as the Bard would have said if he’d been as tired as I am . . . ‘night, all!

Yesterday (Wed)

I had errands to do yesterday, went for groceries last. A good thing, ’cause it was cold out there and when I got home, I wanted soup. I had seen a recipe for soup using cauliflower, broccoli and leeks on the Frugal Feeding blog. I started from memory, so by the time I looked up the recipe and saw I had forgotten the potatoes, the veggies were cooked. However, I had half a baked potato, so I chopped that up, skin and all (I always eat potato skins, even in mashed potatoes; they’re a good source of trace minerals) and let it heat up with the veggies. Then I used my brand-new hand-held blender to smoosh it all together and into my big cup/bowl it went. I didn’t even take a picture! It was as good as promised, too. Good thing I have enough veggies left to make another meal, isn’t it? I didn’t have homemade bread, but the wholewheat bun was pretty good.

Yesterday (Saturday evening)

I was invited to dinner last night by my friend Anne Unfortunately, at the last minute she was unable to attend, but I braved the -29 C weather and went anyway. I was glad I did. Anne’s friend and co-worker Ying was there, too, with her husband and daughter. And her parents. I had met them earlier this week. They are visiting from Harbin, China and have only a few words of English. I have only one word of Chinese, though; I can say ‘hello’ in Mandarin. But it’s amazing how much we can communicate through smiles, gestures and Ying’s translations. The dinner we were at was cooked by the Collective Kitchen, one of the projects of the Edmomton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN). The members are all recent immigrants. They come together to learn a bit of Canadian cooking and culture and to share some of their own. They cook the dinner for EMCN’s Christmas party. The food was varied and delicious. The best part for me, though, was meeting a few more people from far away places, people who lived through times and events that I have only read about or watched in movies.

I will never forget reading “The Killing Fields” and later seeing the movie. Last night I sat at a table with a woman from Kampuchea (often Anglicized to Cambodia). She was a young girl when Pol Pot was in power, and saw the killing of her parents, a younger brother, a sister, an uncle, and many more. It is hard to imagine living through all that, then moving to a completely different country forever, and still being cheerful, which she is. I had trouble getting through much smaller challenges in my life, and I have nothing but admiration for those who endure the unendurable and then go on to create lives containing happiness, creativity and peace. I’m sure she must have her own ‘dark nights’, but last night she was happy, smiling and optimistic. We talked of her early years and she told me she could watch the movies about those times because movies are nowhere near what it was like to be there; but she can’t bear to re-live those days in her memories; that is still too real. Her husband, Kim, is a jeweller working in silver and gold, with his own small shop. He is a quiet man, but also interesting.

Also at our table was Jiri, a young man from the Czech Republic. He has only been here five months, but his English was pretty good. Luckily, as I have not even one word of Czech!

The entertainment included playing snd singing by a group of six or seven people (the 14year old only played for a few songs); all of them from Chile or Mexico. They were good musicians and lots of fun, too.

After them, an older Chinese gentleman in gorgeous white satin clothing had us all stand as he led usvtgrough the long form Tai Chi. I haven’t done that for a while, and only from my books, so I was able to keep up through about a third of the exercise, then fell behind, finally stopping and simply enjoying his grace and the beauty of the precise movements. Mine were far from precise!

The last of the entertainment was a man (from either Chile or Mexico) demonstrating some Karate katas; the patterns of movement used to train the body. He, too, was graceful, and his controlled strength and grace were delightful.

Then it was all over. My new friend from Kampuchea and her husband gave me a ride home, so we had a bit more time to chat.

A very goid day! And a reminder to me to overcome my shyness more often.

Sewing, and other stuff

Now that I’ve discovered the blogosphere, I’m learning to pace myself. Every day I visit a few to see what other creative people are up to. And sometimes I just have to leave a comment. At least, this is what I tell myself! Truth is, it’s easier to get lost in blogland than in the woods. Visit a blog, read it, notice the list of ‘blogs I like’ (ok, I don’t just ‘notice’ them, I LOOK for them . . .), check out one (or two, or…), see THEIR list of ‘blogs I follow’ . . . You get the picture, I’m sure. After all, isn’t that how you arrived HERE?

But it’s like all the other things that fascinate me and distract me, so that I abandon the path (temporarily) and wander off through thickets of delight and wonder. Lovely to do, but like chocolate: not meant for the main course. Not that I’ve never had chocolate for a main course, but that was lo, these many years ago . . . but I was speaking of distractions, like books, colour, music, patterns (not the sewing sort, the visual or the mental sort), wildlife, the shift of colours in the landscape as the sun moves across the sky (ok, ok, as the earth turns! Honestly!); my list is endless. My sisters call it ‘a blade of grass’, as in: I’ll be talking with one of tbem and something will catch my eye, or my mind, and suddenly I veer off on a totally unrelated (though interesting) tangent. And they say, “oh, look, a blade of grass!” and then I return to whatever I was saying. Or sometimes I just keep veering off, ’cause tbe world, and what we think is just SO darn interesting . . .

Anyway, I’m finding I need to limit time on other blogs so I have time to write my own (and time to do things worth writing about!). We’ll see how that works . . .

I wasn’t wandering through the blogs for long yesterday, though (which led to the thoughts above); I finished ironing the last of the Fat Quarters (FQs) and the yardage. I have two more patterns to finish and trace onto the Swedish Tracing Paper (more on that another time) and then the cutting begins! How exciting is that?

But that’s not all I did yesterday . . . and that’s in the next post.