Monday, April 30, 2012

A - Z Challenge : Z

Z is for Zoomer.

What is a Zoomer?  Well you may ask.  A Zoomer is a "Boomer with Zip".  That's a direct quote from the folks who produce the magazine of the same name.  Of course, some of you may be asking: "What's a Boomer?"    

A Boomer is someone who is in the demographic of those born between 1946 and 1964.  That would be anyone between the ages of 48 and 65.  I am, what I like to consider, an original Baby Boomer.  When me and all my schoolmates were  young, having been born after our dads came home from the war, we clogged the schools for years - and just about every other social system, apparently.  But we were all part of the Baby Boom as it was called then.  For some reason, mysterious to me, the sociologists decided to stretch the boundaries of this cohort to include all the children of that particular parent generation.  So, we have a huge group to think about now without the Baby part of the name. 

Now, as we start having our 65th birthdays,  we're becoming seniors.  Not such a happy name for those who are only 48 I'm sure.  Moses Znaimer, a Canadian entrpreneur, figured that he could market to this age group if he could only come up with a catchy name.  And Zoomers were born. 

Now, I have to admit that I don't like the name:  Zoomers.  Yes, there's just the teensiest bit of jealous territorialism about the Boomer identity.  But it also makes me think of zooming around in scooters.  It reminds me strongly of the Zimmer frame which is another word for those metal walkers without wheels.  And it makes me think of time zooming along.  Which it certainly does. 

In my volunteer life, I am part of a seniors' group.  I have no concern about the name at all. As age is just a number so is a label just a word.  It's my attitude that matters.  When I'm feeling generous I can think that's what this Zoomer business is all about.  But it also seems to be like the training bra for a six-year-old.  Why would those under-50's actually want to put themselves in training for being senior citizens?  Is there something tricky about getting old?  I appreciate financial planning for retirement but do we really need a whole lifestyle industry to help us do this advancing age thing right?  And, believe it;  there is an industry.  Just flip through the pages of this magazine and you'll find ad after ad of great ways to spend your money. 

Z.  The end of the line for the A - Z Challenge.  April has zoomed along.  Looking back on my posts, I seem to have been obsessed by this fast forward of time.  Probably because it's been a month with very little time to get everything done that I had on the To Do list.  But I wouldn't have missed out on the fun of a challenge and meeting a whole bunch of new bloggers.  Bring it on...zoom, zoom.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

A - Z Challenge: Y

Y is for Youth.

Ah...youth!  It's a nice thing to look back on.   But I don't think I'd ever really want to go back to being eleven  again. 

Or even my twenties.  It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

Not even if I could have those beautiful babies back who have now grown up.  They'd only have to grow up all over again. Not sure that would please them much, either. 

I am happy right where I am - in the present.  It may not be perfect...what is?  But there just isn't the same anxiety about appearance.  About having - or not having - the right clothes.  Shyness that was at times overpowering.  Self-esteem somewhere around my ankles. In my memory's eye, it seems there was always something that wasn't right. 

Nope.  Don't miss youth at all. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

A - Z Challenge: X

X is for Xanthan.

When I was mentally pawing through the x-words that I knew without resorting to a Google list, the first one that popped into my mind was xanthan.  Specifically xanthan gum.  In an society obsessed - and I am obviously no less obsessed - with reading food labels, I see this ingredient all the time.  But what the heck is it?

OK.  I googled it.  According to an article on Wikipedia, it isn't something that sounds edible.  There is a detailed molecular chart explaining its chemical components.  I'm not a chemistry sort of person, so I have linked the article where you can read it for yourself.  Xanthan is not exactly a man-made substance.  So, while it does occur naturally it has been synthesized for mass production.  It's used that much.

This stuff is a basic in the prepared food industry as a thickener.  You see it on many, many labels.  I was even more curious about it, though, when I read that it can be used to mimic the gluten when making breads with gluten-free grains.  It makes the dough sticky like gluten does.  The fine print states that you have to get a xanthan not made from read those labels.  Again.

When I got to the part in the article that said it was grown from a similar bacteria that created black spots on the broccoli and cauliflower that have lingered too long in the fridge, I decided that I knew enough.  I've pretty much given up on pre-made salad dressing which is where I kept seeing it on the ingredient list.  I don't think it's absolutely necessary to a gluten-free diet.  And I think I can manage to eat the broccoli faster than the black spot can gallop.

Xanthan.  Now you know.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A - Z Challenge: W

W is for Wishes.

Since I'm going to indulge in some magical thinking, I thought I'd take some time to analyse the kind of wish I'd like to make.  There's the birthday wish where you blow out the candle.  But that's a long time from now.  I could borrow my granddaughter's magic wand.  But that's kind of ad hoc wishing.  You know, turning things into other things and making lots of sparkles and glitter.  Not that there's anything wrong with that! 

I have already decided that my wishing will be quite selfish.  I could wish for world peace or daily flights to Mars for all but those are more projects than wishes.  No, I'm going for the genie-in-the-lamp, three-wishes-to-a-customer deal.  Having heard " Be careful what you wish for" so often in my life, I think I'll have a better chance of not messing up if I have three wishes.  And, having that caution in the back of my mind, I'm going to be quite thoughtful about my choices. So here are my three wishes...

First, I wish that all the grandkids lived next door to us - or at least on the same block.  I think that having them so close would be just wonderful.  I never really knew any of my grandparents as they lived clear across the country in a time when travel wasn't as easy as now.  Even when they don't live thousands of kilometers away, we're all so busy with our lives that we have to make the time to see each other. 

My second wish is that my body could keep up with my mind.  I suspect that the bod has always been the slower partner in this race but the brain's lead is lengthening.  Each morning I think of about a million many things that I could do in the day.  By night-time, when I take stock, the score is shameful.  Every day, I vow to do better but I am lured away by just another page in that book, or just another row on that sock, or, or, or...

And, third, I wish that it only rained at night.  Each day would be clear-skied and sunny.  While I don't really dislike the rain - I'm pretty used to it - I do hate gardening in the rain.  This is the season when there is work to do every day.  If only the rain would stop.  Not forever...just in the day-time.  I think that would be the perfect weather solution.

There they are.  I'm sure that like the jokes, there are definite ways in which these wishes could backfire.  But it doesn't really matter, does it? They're only wishes.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A - Z Challenge: V

V is for Volunteer.

The first time I ever heard this word was when my mother noticed some plant that had taken root where it wasn't intended to be.  She called it a volunteer.  It wasn't a weed since it was something that grew in the garden but it was definitely out of place.  We have volunteers in our garden, too.  Sunflowers that grow where the birds have dropped them and tomatoes whose seeds have survived in the compost.  For a long time that was what I thought a volunteer was.

If you did something that hadn't been asked of you, you were doing a good deed.  No one that I knew would have said that they were volunteering.  It wasn't the unpaid work that it is now.   As a Brownie, I was expected to do a good deed every now and then.  It would be something simple and unusual - like giving someone directions -  because we had chores to do at home, too.

When I was in high school,  I was a helper.  I was thrilled to be asked to type up the pages that would go on the Gestetner mimeograph machine.  First, I got to use the office typewriter - very cool.  And, second, because it was fun to fix the mistakes.  There was this nail polish-like stuff, a neon coral color, that just sealed the little hole the key had made and you could type over again.when it had dried.  Loved that job.  But I was doing the teacher's work for her.  I was a volunteer.

In highschool, there were part time jobs for money and the homework, of course, but there was always some little thing to do.  I taught Sunday School for a long time as did many high school kids - girls, mostly. Since I wanted to be a teacher this seemed like a good start.   No one ever said we were doing anything unusual and certainly no one ever gave it a fancy name like volunteering.  I also remember, vaguely, helping out as a scrutineer at an election when I was in university.  

The real volunteering began when I was a stay-at-home Mom with kids in school.  Then you could help stretch the school budget by baking, playground supervising, helping in the classroom, driving on field trips,  and shelving books in the library.  Back then, almost anything that you wanted to share with your kids' classes you could - until high school.  Then it all stopped.  Not cool.

I am still volunteering.  It is fun and I am lucky enough to have the time.  I get to do things and meet people that I would never otherwise know.  My skills are tested and I even develop some new ones.  Sometimes, things get very busy and I wonder why I'm doing it.  And then something goes so very right that I know.  I hope that I am contributing to my community.  I know that the many volunteers that I work with make a great difference.  My father was always busy in the community and that's the example I saw every day.  He wasn't always a volunteer but it wasn't his day job, either. 

One of my favorite sayings is "Bloom where you're planted".  Like the sunflower.  Like our volunteers.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A - Z Challenge: U

U is for Umbrella.

We use umbrellas here on the Wet West Coast - a lot.  I remember that I received my first umbrella - a beautiful rainbow-striped child's size - from Santa Claus.  I remember it so vividly because it was the first time I wasn't surprised by my gift on Christmas morning.  And you know why that is, don't you?  Of course!  I'd found the stash in my mother's closet.  You can be sure it was an accidental find.  And you can also understand why I never went looking again.   I have always enjoyed having, and looking at, umbrellas. 

This painting is in our living room.  I can see it from the couch when I'm reading or knitting or just chatting with someone.  I don't think I would ever want to part with it.  First, there's the umbrella.  That's what drew me to it in the first place.  But then, there's the intimacy that sharing an umbrella gives to a walk in the rain.  I'm at home in the multi-toned grays and the reflection on the pavement.  I just never tire of it.

I love the shape of umbrellas.  I love that they twirl and you can dance with them.  They add exuberance to a rainy day.  This is a cartoon for a hooked rug that I will make someday.  I drew this at least 7 years ago and it still is something I want to do.  You can see how much the young person is enjoying that umbrella. You never know... the rain might have stopped and we're all so hunkered under our umbrellas we'd never notice.  Umbrellas lend them selves to flinging off and quickly covering up again if you must.

I like exploring how an umbrella is made.  I'm not a particularly mechanical sort of person so I'm impressed with even the simple mechanics of an umbrella.  I like pop-up umbrellas as well as the old-fashioned push-up variety.  I have small fold-up umbrellas to carry in a bag, just in case.  And it shouldn't surprise you that I want my umbrellas to be bright against the gray of the sky.  I got these as a birthday gift a couple of years ago.  They are still making me happy on rainy days. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

A - Z Challenge: T

T is for Temptation.

To  me a temptation is something to distract me from the task I have decided must be done.  Or it's a way of avoiding a deadline that looms but isn't quite close enough for the thrill of the risk. 

Having a nice new novel by one of my favorite newly-discovered authors is a good reason to hope for a rainy day when I can't see the garden through the drops running down the windowpane.  Imagine Ian Rankin meets Ruth Rendell in Glasgow.  Great characters.  Hard to put down once started.

This one I try to ration.  I really don't want to eat more than a couple of squares but, hey!  it sometimes has a very sexy, voice.  And it calls.  What's two more squares?

Then there's the temptation of newly wound balls of sock yarn.  Just waiting for me to start another pair of socks.  It doesn't matter if I'm in the middle of another project.  Oh, I just want to see what this yarn looks like knit up.  Just let me cast on.  Not enough...I'll have to knit a few rows. 

It's no wonder deadlines can't compete.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday Stash

It's a warm sunny spring day.  The garden calls.  I'll catch up with the knitting next week.  I'll have even more to report on then.

I'm planting peas, beans, cool Asian watermelon radishes and other spring stuff.

Have a great day!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A - Z Challenge: S

S is for Scrub.

 I can still hear young voices yelling...SCRUB!  One!....Two!....Three!....Four!....and so one, depending on how many of us there were on the playing field at the time.  Spring weather always makes me think of my elementary school lunch hours.  I'd race home, gobble down my soup and sandwich as fast as I could and race back to school.  It was a fifteen minute walk each way but in the springtime, I'm sure I ran it in about five.  Yeah, I was that keen.

Scrub was the only kind of baseball I ever played.  There were organized teams of Little League but they were for boys only.  If girls wanted to play they had to join in a Scrub game - usually at school.  The first person to yell "Scrub" was the first batter up.  All the positions on the field depended on what number you called after that.  Pitcher, catcher, first base and so on until you ran out of kids.  After the first batter, the play rotated through the positions until everyone had a turn - if the game lasted long enough.  School lunch hours were never long enough for more than three or four rotations. 

I loved playing baseball.  I was never a great player but I really, really loved it.  I loved the sound of the ball hitting the bat.  Even better was the feel of the hit when I actually managed to connect.  Even a foul ball was fun.  I loved pitching the ball - and this I was truly bad at.  Catching was easier but it was the one position I didn't like as much.  Somehow standing at the bases and waiting was a lot more fun than standing behind the batter.   I never liked outfield much because I never could catch anything that came out that far.  Not that I caught a lot - or hit a lot, either.

 The best part, though, was running.  Running for the ball.  Running out into the field.  Hitting the ball and just running for first base.  I wasn't a fast runner so if I managed to get a decent hit I was probably out by the time I got to first.  But the running was a nice release from the standing.  And running was what we kids did all the time.  To this day, baseball is the only team sport I can watch with with any enthusiasm - I don't watch much anymore because watching is pretty boring.  It's so much nicer to play than to watch a game.  Do kids still play Scrub?


Friday, April 20, 2012

A - Z Challenge: R

R is for Rant. 

I'm not a very accomplished ranter.  I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.  Since I'm a control freak a person who likes to have the universe unfold the way I want in a good way, you would think I'd be better at attracting attention to what is right and proper.  But I'm not and so you won't see any blazing rants on this blog. 

I do have a bit of a beef, though, with Blogger.   I like to use photos - a lot.  You may have noticed.  And I have been merrily uploading since 2008.  Sometimes, I'll even upload a photo and then not use it.  Oh, the profligacy!  Because, what is not spelled out when you sign up is that there is a limit to the size of the photo storage box - or whatever the Blogger equivalent is.  I hit that limit yesterday as I was uploading my queens. 

I was instructed to begin paying...which is totally reasonable and I'm not ranting about that part.  I just don't like getting sucked into something that is so much a part of my life and then being told that the ground rules have changed.  They probably haven't changed at all.  I just didn't know.  Betcha a lot of folks don't know until the big box covers their screen and says they've hit the wall. My immediate solution was to dive into Picasa - which is not my normal photo storage site - and start to delete.  Of course, there are dire warnings that the deleted photos will be gone from one's hard drive.  I only got rid of two because I didn't have time to fiddle around yesterday.  They were a couple that I didn't use and I hope my solution doesn't make a difference to  previous blogs. 

So, that's it.  Blogger, you should have said up front.  Now I'm going through the Picasa albums I never really knew I had.   I know, I know.  Dumb.  Where did I think the photos were going? 

And that's why I'm not a very good ranter....I calm down and see the other side pretty quickly.  Doesn't mean I think they're right...but I get that others need to control their universe, too.  Must be that other R-word: respect. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A - Z Challenge: Q

Q is for Queen.

Even a queen has to wake up in the morning.  Meet the queen of our garden as she begins this day.  I present magnolia stellata who never fails to grace  us with her pure white blooms each and every spring.  Better than tulips or daffodils, I know that spring has definitely come when the queen arrives in all her glory.

And sometimes, one only has to have queenly bearing.  I leave it to you...which queen is more regal?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A - Z Challenge: P

P is for Procrastination.

I admit it.  I am a procrastinator.  Not all the time.  Not in all things.  But I am never late.  It's not the same thing at all.  In fact, I'm always on time - even early if I think I might be late.  No, I put off doings thing.  I push that time boundary as close to the edge as I can. 

Most people put off doing things they really don't want to do.  And I admit to sometimes doing that.  Stuff like housework.   Especially housework. Sometimes it's things I even like to do.  But mostly it's chores or work imposed on me - not my choice at all.  But those things I like to do...what about them?  Then it's part of my creative process.  I do my best work under pressure.  Really.  It's no use doing something ahead of time because I'll only second-guess myself at the last minute and re-do everything anyway. It's part of why I can't stick to a theme on this challenge.  Nor could I prepare the posts ahead. 

 I have never liked the quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson: "Never put off until tomorrow, the things that you can do today."   I must have heard it a billion times in my life.  You see, I was born a procrastinator.  It's part of what makes me the person I am.  At heart, I'm a risk-taker.  Because, make no mistake,  procrastination is risky business.  The world runs on a time clock.  And it doesn't run smoothly.  But, to get the maximum thrill out of work that I like or to create a bit of excitement in a boring job, I will leave it until there's just enough time.  If nothing goes wrong.

I always work things out in my head, though.  By the time I get to the task, I've run through all the scenarios and know exactly which approach will work best.  If there are no cracks in the pavement to trip me up, I can usually race to the finish line with time to spare.  Although, I am the mother who was usually still sewing, knitting,  crafting Christmas gifts VERY early on Christmas morning before Santa Claus was even up.  It's just a matter of knowing how long a task will take.  Exactly.

The thing about procrastination is that it is often - in my experience - justified.  How many times have you been asked to do something only to discover later that it didn't need to be done?  Or it will be done but in a different way?  I escape all that wasted effort.  Brilliant, right? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A - Z Challenge: O

O is for Oracle.

Sometimes, it would be nice to know what the future will be.  I'm not talking long-range predictions here, or the 'dark, handsome stranger' type.  I just would like to know if the next few hours will unfold without any significant hiccups.  The AGM is today and while I may have the microphone in my own hand - meaning I'm happy - I can't say the same for those who are on the receiving end.

But, back to oracles.  I have an ambivalent regard for oracles as such.  Part of me wants to believe that this is possible.  Yet a bigger part of me has no patience for the idea.  I occasionally read my horoscope but it's more entertainment value than a way to live out my day.  What is more interesting about astrology of any kind is the personality typing.  Now that's fun.  I'm always ready for a personality quiz. 

While my brain plays a pushme-pullyu game of scoffing and wishing, a whole other piece of me is saying: "Wait, I want to be surprised!".  Every day is a new page.  Every corner that I turn has something new to see, some new people to meet and way more new stuff to learn.  I think if I really knew what was going to happen in my life - even for a day - it would be such a letdown.  How can you hope if you already know it's hopeless?  If I knew this afternoon was going to be a disaster would I do it anyway?  Or would I try to change the outcome by working even harder than have?  Is what I consider my best just not good enough? Besides, I've read enough about time travel to know that one never messes with the past - or the future. 

So, I'll not be getting out my ouija board and pretending to believe that that the other person isn't pushing the pointer around.  Instead, I'll have another cup of tea and double check all the papers.  I'll read a book.  Have a nice lunch.  Do some knitting and just relax.  I'm not the only one in charge...I'm just the biggest worrier. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

A - Z Challenge: N

N is for Nourishment.

This is what comes to mind when we think of nourishment.  Good food which will help us to grow and be strong.

Like this tiny tomato people need to have food, water, air, sunshine and shelter from the storms to be healthy.

But I think that humans need more than that.  We need to have moments of discovery and beauty...

We need to be able to feed our minds.  And share with others.

We need music and poetry and humor...

Most of all we need love. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday Stash

Gee, I wish it really were still Saturday.  I could do with a rerun of was a really beautiful spring day here.  A nice walk in the sunshine and a rare treat of a chai at our local watering hole.  It gave me strength to wrestle with a naughty computer the rest of the afternoon.  Using up the stash wasn't a high priority this week but I managed to finish a couple of things.

First, and most important, I have the pattern up as a Ravelry download.  Yes!!  I was having serious issues with uploading a pdf file but if you get frustrated fiddling with a computer, just walk away and have a cup of tea and then return to the fray:  the impossible usually seems to have resolved itself.  Yes, I do credit computers with having tantrums!  So, if you go to the Lismore Cable Socks,  you will find the pattern.  The photo is of the finished cotton anklet in the same pattern.  It's really my test knit but it does give another version of the sock, too.  I'm so grateful to Catherine for introducing me to this cable design and giving me the inspiration.  Thank you!

And since feet are always on my mind - and I can see that it might appear that way to the casual observer - here is another offering.  These are my Lads & Lasses Boots made from this pattern by Frankie Brown.  They are supereasy to make and quite a satisfying  little knit.  They just seem to pop off the needles.  And, best of all, they use up (almost) those extra bits of yarn left over from knitting a grown-up pair of socks.  I always have it left over anyway.  I think it's a clever use of remnants - perfect for stash-busting. 

That is all for today.  I'm glad the sky is a bit dull now - it won't tempt me to leave the desk.  I have a newsletter to get ready for proofing.  Then an annual meeting to finish organizing.   Life's just  a bowl of cherries - as long as you can find a few minutes to knit!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A - Z Challenge: M

M is for Mallard.

The mallard is my favorite duck.   I know that I can find a mallard almost anywhere I go where there is a bit of water.  In fact, that very homeliness makes them appealing.  Mallards are always there - like good friends.  You can't be at all homesick when you've spied a mallard in your travels.

Mallards will stand still and let you take their photo no matter what they are doing.   They are patient and wait for a treat...quack a soft 'thank you' and tuck in.  Of course, that makes them even more willing to stand still for a shot.

A mallard isn't afraid of hard work and reports for duty on the coldest, rainiest days.  You can count on seeing mallards no matter when you head out for a walk.  They don't seem to need much of a pond to work in, either.  Just a bit of flooded cow pasture will be enough for a mallard.  Perfect opportunists.

I think that mallards are also quite beautiful.  On a sunny day, their heads gleam with greens.  They have amazing blues in their tail feathers and intricate pattern of so many different browns.  And, for such a common duck, they carry themselves through the water with immense dignity.   But, what I like best about mallards is...their quacking!  It always, always makes me smile.  It sounds like laughter to me.  Crazy, knee-slapping laughter.  How could I not love it?

Friday, April 13, 2012

A - Z Challenge: L

L is for Light.

Morning light is so clean and pure.  It is just somehow - there.  Nothing has changed, the trees are still dark but the light is growing and glowing all around them.

As the sun rises, a bit of cloud turns the light pink and the leafless copper beech shows a hint of it's color to come.

Then, for a few moments, everything is bathed in gold.  And, as quickly as the glow came, it disappears.  The magical morning light is gone.  All we have left is a sunny spring day.  Not a bad start, I think. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A - Z Challenge: K

K is for Kitchen.

This saying is so true for me.  The kitchen is where everyone ends up when they come to visit.  We have perfectly comfortable chairs in other places but, mostly, guests seem to drift in and sit around the dining table.  I like it that way.  I enjoy having the kitchen full of people talking.  It makes me happy when the grandkids are running in and out as if there were an elastic cable bringing them back from whatever fun they have found in another room.  It's not really about the food that might be on offer.   It's the people. 

And when the food has been eaten,  the people have gone and the crumbs are swept up there are always the dishes.  I don't actually mind hand-washing the dishes - there's something satisfying about a sink full of hot soapy water - and I did it for years before I had a dishwasher.  But having had one for quite a while now, this is the one appliance I will never take for granted.  When it was beyond repair a couple of years ago, it was a top priority to replace it.  The other appliances, like fridge and stove are almost like furniture.  I couldn't even imagine a kitchen without them.  All the other little electrics like toaster, blender and kettle I wouldn't miss that much.  Just don't take away my dishwasher.

What's the must-have in your kitchen? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A - Z Challenge: J

J is for Jacks.

No, not this kind.  This usually means trouble - and work.
I'm talking about these fun little metal spikes that you play with.  We found a lovely set the other day and I attempted to show my granddaughter (7) and grandson (5) how to play.  Embarrassing.  I thought it would be like riding a bike.  However, I forgot that there was a bit of rustiness in that department at first, too.

So, we had a lot of fun learning how to bounce the ball.  Boys like to make the ball really bounce.  Grammy discovered cobwebs in very odd places while retrieving the ball.  When I demonstrated the toss and pick up part, I discovered that I am nowhere near as fast as I was when I was seven.  So, with my memory and reflexes totally compromised,  we all took turns bouncing and flinging jacks in the air.  It was great fun.

I was not an athletic, yes, but never an athlete.  My favorite games were ball-bouncing games, skipping and jacks.  I was very good at all three.  These games can all be played in groups or with a friend but they are also ideal solo pastimes.  There weren't always a lot of kids around for me to play with.  So I perfected my skills and played in groups in the schoolyard.  I remember so many happy hours sitting on the sidewalk, bouncing the ball and flipping the jacks in the air.

Here's how the well- practiced kids do it.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A - Z Challenge: I

I is for Irresistible.

There are some lures that can't be ignored.  Cats must sleep on quilts - especially when there is sunshine involved.  Knowing this, I always left a towel over a quilt in progress when our lovely Kalika lived with us. 

This is our Dublin Bay rose.  I was tempted by the evocative name when I was looking for something completely different at the garden shop.  Definitely an irresistible impulse. 

And, a rose, any rose - is an  irresistible nose magnet.  I must have at least one sniff.   Even a faded rose can have a scent. 

What can't you resist?

Monday, April 9, 2012

A - Z Challenge: H

H is for Hero

Me and my Dad

There is a time each spring when I think of my first hero: my Dad.  He was my only hero until I was about 10 and he was replaced by Elvis Presley.  Somehow, even though my musical heroes changed over the years, Dad never regained his original status.  Maybe I stopped needing a hero.  Or maybe we were too much alike in our independence and pushed each other away.  I don't know the exact reasons but I do know it happened.

He's been gone for almost eight years but I have him very close by in the garden when the primroses from his garden bloom in ours.  They have multiplied well from the few original plants that I brought when he moved from Victoria to be closer to us.  What I think is so wonderful is the chain of history for my generation of  primroses.

They came from a former neighbor's garden - Dad liked them and planted them in his.  When he moved house a few plants came with him to a new garden where they again grew and prospered.  Then, because I loved them,  a  few of them came to live with us while the rest remained behind and got on with their business.  And just like families, there is a whole wealth of stories of the plants before our generation knew them.  My hero had stories, too.  I never heard them all.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday Stash

A little knitting this morning. A phone chat with my daughter.   A lazy brunch of Eggs Benny on crab cakes and a leisurely stroll through the park.  Now I'm back to share my stash news for this week. 

The reason I was knitting first thing this morning was to finish this little cardi for Gabby.  Had to have something to show for a week - plus an extra day!  I have had these little airplane buttons for ages and this was the perfect blue sky project for them.  How high can you fly over the leafy treetops? 

I also tried my hand at another pair of slippers for donation.  They are supposed to have flowers on the toes and I made the first four petals.  But then I got bored and the petals were too big.  So, I made bows with buttons, instead.  I think somebody's grandma will like them. 

Last up, is another pair of the Lismore Cable socks.  I needed to test the pattern I've written up.  It still has to be typed and PDF'd for ravelry but the process is in motion.  These are anklets and I think they are the perfect Easter sock.  Remember those white cotton anklets we girls wore with our new Easter dress and hat? 

I'll leave you all with an Easter bouquet.  My sister brought these over the other day as a thank you for looking after her two dogs.   That pitcher is at least a foot tall so these are massive blooms.  And such a sunny yellow.  Or spring chick yellow.  Your choice. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A - Z Challenge: G

G is for Garbage.

Taking out the garbage bag to the wheelie bin this morning it occurred to me how our garbage habits have changed.  This is a fairly big bin and it used to always be full.  And not that many years ago, either.  A long weekend like this would mean a compacting exercise was in order because regular pick up service was delayed.  If we missed a week - whoo boy!

When I opened the lid I noticed there was only one other bag inside.  For the whole week.  Where did all of that garbage go?  We now have two composters.  The more fresh fruit and veg you eat the more composters you need.  And our garden is very happy with the leftovers. When I was a kid we always had a compost bin.  They were big homemade wooden boxes and my Dad was always turning the stuff over. 

We recycle all our paper, most plastic and our glass and tins.  And all the newspapers - they have their own bag.  I remember my Dad had a burn barrel out in the back yard.  We lived in a town - small but definitely not rural countryside.  And every week he would burn whatever was burnable.  Clean stuff got burned in the fireplace, too.  I'm still trying to remember what happened to newspapers.  They were saved to start fires, I know that.  And I have a vague memory of them being bundled up and collected by someone. 

Anything that was too big to burn  - or not burnable at all - went to the dump.  A wonderful place that I loved to go to with my dad.  Sure it didn't smell pretty but what was exciting to me was the stuff lined up at the entrance.  There were people who had the right to salvage and sell things that were discarded.  I thought this was a great thing.  We still have to truck no longer usable items to the transfer station but there is no salvaging allowed.  Now we live in the big city and the theory is that we can separate and recycle almost everything.  What gets dumped is no longer worthy of anyone's attention. 

All our wire coat hangers  used to be collected by Cubs and Scouts who made a bit of money selling them to recyclers.  They also collected all our bottles and cans for their deposits.  But big business has discovered that all these things make money.  And there are folks who comb the streets balancing their bulging bags full of cans and plastic bottles over their bicycles.  What's sad is that people think it's OK to just toss this garbage on the roadside or in someone's yard.  And it's definitely too bad that take-out coffee cups have no deposit.  They're all over the place.

Garbage has changed.  Some people's behavior has changed.  It's amazing what a little financial incentive can do.   Obviously, respect for our own environment isn't enough to get us all reducing, reusing and recycling.  We're still working on improving.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A - Z Challenge : F

F is for Fun.

It's been a little glum around here.  All work and no know what that leads to. 

So a day outdoors with friends is just what the doctor would have ordered.

Let's pretend that we're floating away to - does it matter where?

We can take some time to smell the flowers...

And let last year's grasses filter the view of this tiny part of the ocean.

I discover the fronds of new growth as the yarrow pushes its way past old stems.

At the end of the day, I felt exactly as this white-crowned sparrow...let's just open our beaks and SING!


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