Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Future past

Add ImageDuring the past week, I have been excited by the "Peace Summit" that has been held here in Vancouver. Of course, the big excitement has been the presence of the Dailai Lama. He is one of my heroes and - in my wishful moments - a role model.

There were several events which have generated a buzz here. One of them, yesterday, was the conference which spoke to the high school student leaders in our province. There were 16,000 present to hear and see an all-star line-up which included Jane Goodall, Marc and Craig Kielburger, Mia Farrow and, the headliner, the Dalai Lama.

As I read about this rousing spectacle, I was transported back to the 60's and this song started playing in my mind. I remember those times vividly. I remember my unspoken dreams which were built on the passions of others like John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Ghandi. It was a time of great hope and great darkness. Much like now.

There were so many of us who had these vague dreams and so few who managed to act on them in the big way of our ideals. I certainly didn't. Go to university, get a job, get married, have kids. That's what most of us accomplished.

I don't think that this is a trivial accomplishment. We have produced the kids at that conference: the so-called Generation Fix. Maybe we deserved a title like that, too. So many of us set about by establishing as much distance as we could from our parents' generation dubbed the Establishment. We were going to change the world and bring about Peace and Love everywhere. It was an image of perfection which is a difficult goal to realize.

There were some great things brought to the world by a few of those dreamers. The Berlin Wall fell. Women's rights inched forward. Apartheid in South Africa ceased. We have a multi-national space station in our sky. The Peace Corps, CUSO and other organizations who worked to help those with less. Greenpeace was born. The list is long and varied.

All these good results took patience, hard work and many years. The young people at the conference yesterday will also achieve great things. Some will have the vision and passion to sustain them as they help us toward a more compassionate world. Most will do as we have always done. They will create the new generations of idealists - some of whom will go on to greatness. They will continue to have their dreams in their hearts. And they will, like me know that slowly, slowly, we're moving in the right direction.

Cheers for all the dreamers!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

My Ruby Tuesday goes a little country today. This was an outdoor BBQ put on by the seniors for the local neighborhood. We're all enjoying the square dancing demonstration. Some even joined in.

Mary T hosts this wonderful meme. Visit here to find more Ruby photos.

Mellow Yellow Monday

These are the last of the summer flowers. The nemesia were all cut back in August and are now giving us a second bloom. This is the best-performing one and smiles and nods in a container on our back deck.

You can find more Mellow Yellow players on Drowsy Monkey's meme - right here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Wonders - B

B is for bottles.

This morning, Anne was making veggie pickles and I was thinking how funny it is that we call the whole process of preserving food in jars 'canning'. I know in other places it may be called 'bottling' and that seems so much more sensible to me. These pickles were so pretty, they inspired today's letter subject.

I started looking around for some other kinds of bottles and found a few antique perfume bottles...

And, of course, there were some milk bottles. Remember those little creamer bottle in cafes? The milk bottle is actually a new-ish one. This local dairy - right in the city of Vancouver - still sells all its products in glass bottles.

If you're looking for something a bit stronger to wet your whistle, I found an old gin bottle which was made square for easier packing. You might prefer to sample some ginger beer. This stoneware bottle was produced locally many years ago.

And, if you want to write home about all your drinking experiences, I have a few old-fashioned ink pots for you. Two are stoneware; the other two are glass. The pens in them are just small branches fitted with a ballpoint pen - no quills on hand, sorry.

I'm sure all these pieces - except the pickles - were happy to get out of the house for some air. And a very much needed dust off.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Scene

A few years ago, we took a much-anticipated train trip from Vancouver to Saskatoon. We had some spectacular scenery which we were only able to capture through the train windows.

This is Pyramid Falls in north-eastern British Columbia. It is only visible from the train and there is, apparently, no access to the falls at all. It's not a high waterfall at just 300 feet but it's certainly has a lot of character.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Feelin' lazy

A couple of weeks ago we went out and picked blackberries. They're all frozen now and we'll enjoy them in muffins and other goodies during the coming months.

That day we treated ourselves to pancakes for lunch. It was so nice to eat the berries fresh and this pancake was especially yummy.

Can't eat like that every day but it's nice now and then.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hen talk

So there we were this morning just discussing the state of the world as witnessed by the daily newspaper.

Over breakfast, we were focused on an article about how women don't enter politics. One of the reasons, stated Swanee Hunt, is that politics is perceived as a "dirty game" and women have "loftier standards".

She commented on the fact that women tend to govern in a more consensual and cooperative way. I think those of us who form the other half of the world agree that that is true. It can be very frustrating watching our political system operate in such an adversarial fashion. Is it really necessary to have an Opposition that opposes all the time?

I'm tired of finger-pointing and mean-spirited question periods from the other side of the House. If those people were in power, they would probably do many of the same things. Why not work together instead of fighting each other? Is there some idea that we voters want to see these childish tantrums? How much more could be done for the public good if we all worked together?

I think there may be some historical reason for this confrontational method. It may help to keep the other side honest. But I do assume that the folks who run for political office are actually doing it because they want to make the world better. I don't think that I am naive and I am aware that a very few may be there for selfish reasons. But confrontation and warring are men's pastimes. It's high time to try another approach.

However, we need to have a very large mass of women decide to get in the 'dirty game' and effect this change. As we have seen, just a few women will be only perpetuate the current system. This is our challenge.

Our pre-breakfast conversation had centered around the fact that we felt that we are no longer viable political candidates. Then we read the paper. Maybe we are? And now what?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pink Chiffon

Here is the pink shawl - finished at last!

It measures 90" across the top and 60" on each 'short' side. I think that's perfect math for a right triangle, isn't it? Seems very big but it's so light and airy that the size is just a bonus. It is also really cuddly...see?

Since pink is so not my color, I won't be keeping it. Giving away knitting is almost as much fun as the making.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

KAL started

We all started our KAL projects a couple of days early last Sunday. Last night I had finished what I called Stage One. Probably the simplest part of this whole cardi - it was 6.5 inches of plain knitting.

I'm now halfway through Stage Two: waist shaping - I haven't counted how many stages there are in all. After this part it starts to get interesting with three things happening at once. Dire warnings in the pattern about reading before leaping into action.

You should know that I take direction really well (!) and usually do not get too tied in knots about what's coming next. But with the trickiness of the next stage, I decided to read the whole thing through using some concentration. Yikes! Three pages later, I wondered what kind of mind would dream this up. Now, the cardigan is gorgeous so I'm happy that she did dream it up. But really! I was curious and read some previously ignored notes that the designer is an out-of-work physicist. 'Nuf said!!

I know it's not going to be as hard as it's printed to be...that's just knitese and I've been reading that stuff for years. But, it'll be a very interesting ride. Stay on we go!

Ruby Tuesday

The other day we found the most amazing big rose hips in a park garden.

They were the size of crab apples and even juicier. When they dropped on the pavement they just splattered like a ripe tomato. My mother would have been picking her skirt full of them to boil up rose hip jelly and syrup. All that vitamin C going to waste would have horrified her. I have to say, I was tempted.

The flower that produces them is the rugosa rose which is very commonly used in public gardens here...

Not exactly the same ruby as her fruit will be.

The Ruby Tuesday meme is amiably hosted by Mary T. This is where you'll find her and other RT players.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

I love how kids can get right into their play worlds...

Drowsy Monkey hosts this bright meme - you'll find more Mellow Yellow here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday wonders - A

Today, I'm starting over at A - for Anemone.

This plant is called Japanese anemone but if you go here, you'll see that it has absolutely nothing Japanese about it. It's a totally man-made plant with no native home.

The pink in the garden at this time of year is fragile and precious. Our plant is about four feet tall. Its tall stiff branches are so light that the whole mass of flowers dances gently with every breeze...

It was very hard to get one to stand still long enough to capture this hoverfly tasting the nectar before this bloom dies.

The flowers are in various stages right now from the shy little sisters hiding behind their bonnet brims... the lovely transition from tight-ball-of-petals bud to the poppy-like flower, ending with a strange, nubbled green ball.

I love these floaty flowers that come to the garden party in their summery pink frocks. Almost as though they've just received the invitation and didn't want to disappoint us. I'm so glad they can join us - one of my favorites.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


It's not very good when a photo needs a thousand words to explain it. Here's what the tables looked like

at this outdoor wedding. The tent was huge and the dinner consisted of many, many lovely Chinese dishes. Feasting went on for a long time.

Does this help make sense of the previous post?

Saturday scene

Place cards hanging around, waiting for a wedding.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Play day

It really was. We went out to research playgrounds built specifically for seniors.

And we played on the equipment, too. This equipment was designed by a local university team and is in the middle of a huge grassy area and has only a kid's playground for immediate company. There are seniors' apartments within walking distance as well as a recreation center.
Here are a couple of stations: stairs and ramps - good for balance...

Push-up bars of various heights...

We then picked up a friend and drove south to Tsawassen in search of the very first of these seniors parks. The local Lions club worked with the university to create this park...

As you can see it's in a much more urban setting with many seniors living in the nearby apartments. It's also on the same grounds as lawn bowling and the community recreation center. We were a little disappointed not to see any seniors enjoying either facility while we were there. The creation of a similar park is something that our local seniors association is exploring as a campaign goal. So, it would have been nice to have been able to talk to folks who used it.

When I got home, I played with the shawl, too. I have now completed one side of the flounced edge. Although it looks more like a ruffle right now.

I kind of like it's frothy look but I know that will disappear when it's blocked. Only a few more days of bind-off and I'll be ready to start my knit along cardigan. Whew! Good thing there are play days.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Last night, we were treated to a dreadful racket out in the yard. Getting up and turning on the light to see what was going on didn't make us any smarter. There was nothing out there. It sounded like nails being ripped out of boards.

This afternoon, we were out in the yard taking advantage of a small window of dry to get the grass cut. Right under the bird's jacuzzi was a huge pile of...bear poop!

Then we started looking for other signs that we'd had such huge company. We've never had a bear and because all our yards have high fences, didn't really expect too. There have been black bears seen in our neighborhood, though which is not normal. They are obviously following the creeks down the mountainsides AND the blackberry trail. It's been a really good crop this year and we humans never pick more than a small fraction.

One of fences had a decidely wonky look to it and some fresh scratching on top. But, the earth beneath didn't seem disturbed at all. I'm not sure how a bear could have done that gracefully but it managed to avoid leaving any tracks at all. Maybe that's not what happened. Who knows?

Our scat clue only made the mystery more mysterious. Raccoons and skunks I can live with but bears are a huge nuisance.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

For Ruby Tuesday, I've gone back to Ireland.

This accordion player was sharing his music in Skerries, a town on the sea coast just north of Dublin. The sun was out and the town was quietly bustling while the music lifted our spirits and sea birds cried overhead.

Ruby Tuesday is hosted by Mary T. and you can see more photos with a red theme here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

Anne's daughter, Deb, took this macro a couple of weeks ago. She thought it would make a good MYM post. I think so, too. Thanks for the gift.

Don't you just love how the bee is almost camouflaged?

Drowsy Monkey hosts Mellow Yellow Monday. Drop by here and see who else is playing.

Sunday wonder - Z

Z is for zipper.

I have a huge collection of zippers. Most of them are 'estate' zippers, meaning that I have inherited them from relatives who no longer have a need for their sewing stash.

I can usually find what I need if I'm willing to make small color compromises. Too-long zips can be shortened as long as they're not made with metal teeth.

I think zippers are pretty amazing. I love how the teeth just neatly mesh together. And it''s interesting that the teeth can have slightly different shapes. If you would like to know more about the story of zippers, go here.

I have lots of different colors in my bag and many different lengths. When I was sorting them out - just because I like to sort - I noticed that there was a large group of 23 cm zips. What was really interesting was that they only seemed to be in three colors. Who bought them? Why only these colors? And why weren't they used?

I even found a bag in a thrift shop that begged to be taken home. It is one continuous zipper - even the handles.

If you unzip it you can roll it up and it is sort of smaller. I think the theory is that you can pull it out, zip it all together and you have a pretty big bag for your shopping or whatever. But it takes quite a bit of time to zip it up and I wouldn't just do that on the spot in a market. It is also kind of heavy in the roll. The big zipper makes it a fun thing to have.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday scene

Hubbard Glacier in Alaska.

This shot from a couple of years ago was taken from our cruise ship...we eventually got within 1/4 mile. We could hear the huge cracking sounds of ice 'calving' but usually missed seeing the one we heard - it was so far away.

Just for scale, that ship shape you can see at center left is a pretty huge cruise ship.

Friday, September 11, 2009


My knit along yarn has landed! And I managed to wait a whole day before I got out the needles and swatched for the Farmers Market Cardi. So far, so good - no adjustments needed.

I love the yarn. It's so smooth and soft. Nice to work - not too slippery even with the bamboo content. It does appear to have different shades of blue like faded jeans. I can't wait to start!

Here's what will keep me honest...

I have finished a picot bind-off over the 500+ stitches along the top of the shawl. Then, to finish off the two shorter (hah!) edges, I'm making a simple gored flounce with 2 increases between yarn overs every other row. There are about 30 of these v-shaped gores on each side. I've got a long way to go - right now I have 13 stitches between and I'm aiming for 29. Then I plan a picot bind-off here, too. No. I have not done the math.

Doubt I'll get any socks knitted in between.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My happy place

Every time I sit down to sew, I'm taken back in time.

When my kids were little, I sewed almost all their (and my) clothes. I've even sewn for their Dad!

My sewing room was a funny little room in the basement. It had once been the coal cellar, I think. The wooden walls were painted white and, while it was plain, everything I needed to sew was there. This was my own personal space, but , of course, there was a tiny table and chair for someone small to sit and color, string buttons or sew little pillows for the cat.

The best part was being able to sit down in the early morning , all alone, with the radio on while the machine whirred and the steam iron made little friendly noises. Lots of garments came out of that room. But eventually, the sewing slowed down and I turned to quilting. It was an easy fit: sewing and lots of remnants!

Now, my sewing and quilting is not so frequent. But I have Charlie's quilt in production right now. I've sliced and diced...

And I'm putting the top together. The old radio that my brother won in some contest has changed - as has the station setting - but I'm still singing along.

It's odd to think of all the hours of my life I've measured out in those 2.5 minute segments of Top 40 music. I like to listen to our local 'oldies' station when I sew. When I hook, I listen to classical but those golden old'uns are the best for sewing. It's easy to look back in time when you're singing along the way you did when you were a lot younger.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Love affair

I confess to a love affair with the big work horses. They make me happy just to look at them.

On a sunny day in August, we went to the farm and there were two solid Belgian draft horses standing in the sunshine. They were so sleek and strong-looking.

I think there must be an ancestral memory at work. Horses were a large part of my family's way of life. They were farm horses, riding horses, drawers of carriages and, best of all, they were race horses. My father could wax quite poetic about sulky (or harness) racing.

I did ride horses as a girl in a casual way. I even belonged to the local Pony Club although I never actually owned one. And I rode off and on whenever given the opportunity until I was thrown while working in Banff. I was on my day off and not really dressed for riding. Partly my fault although I think that nowadays the stable owner would have refused to allow me to ride. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the ride while it lasted.

Of course, all these horses were big but not nearly as big as the Clydesdales used on the local farms. I would look forward - and still do - to seeing them strut their stuff in parades. I loved how their manes and tails were braided with ribbon.

This one is showing off her lovely mane.

I wonder whether I'd have the courage to climb up on a horse now? They are so tall and broad...they might actually move around. Oh, my! It's too bad that the pleasures of childhood become the terrors of middle age.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

My speck of ruby today is the tree faller's hat.

This tree used to live at the second house next-door neighbor's.
On the day that the municipality came and clear cut our trees by the roadway, our neighbor came to ask how much it cost to have this work done. After over 30 years of living with his big Douglas fir, he had finally become so spooked by the winter winds that he would go through the bureacratic maze to have it removed. But it was months before it actually happened.

Then one day we came home to a screaming chain saw and a man up a tree. I didn't envy him his job. This was a huge tree with branches at least 20 feet long. He tied a rope to each branch before it was cut off and lowered to the ground. You can see from the twin trunks at the top that, in the past, someone had tried to control this tree by topping it.

The process took two days and the almost constant whine of the chipper trucks - two of them at one point. Then the tree was cut down in rounds which thudded to the ground. I always wonder what the tree removal folks do with the big rounds of tree trunk that they truck away. Do they sell it for firewood? Make chainsaw carvings?

Mary T hosts the Ruby Tuesday meme here. There's lots of other red today...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

When we started our garden this year, Maria gave us three zucchini seedlings to plant in the first raised bed. They have done well, but recently have experienced a small blight of blossom-end rot. Back to the books to find out what to do. Apparently, they need more calcium.

When we planted the first three seedlings we found a fourth just sprouting in the little planter. So we planted it in the back yard and dubbed it the 'runt of the litter'. The runt is now producing zucchini but they are still small. I think we have enough warm weather left that it will be giving us many more.

I planted our oregano seedlings in a big container on the deck. No, these are not oregano...very clever of you to notice. This is a volunteer zucchini. I think it might have grown from a seed of a supermarket zucchini that was in the compost. It seems to have a forest of infertile blossoms. It may be non-producing but the flowers are pretty.

And, as if the oregano didn't have enough's another volunteer thriving in the same container. I am such a sentimental gardener. I figure if the seed was that determined to grow, the least I can do is see it through to adulthood. However, I have no idea what this one is. It grows like a melon or squash and has lovely little lemon-yellow blossoms. But, the best part is the fruit. It has now grown to be about 2 inches long and is still quite fuzzy. I have no idea what this could be. Our growing season is too short for this to mature so I doubt I'll find out in the natural course of things. Does anyone know what it is?

Drowsy Monkey hosts the Mellow Yellow Monday meme. Look here for more yellow photos and maybe more mysteries.


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