Sunday, January 29, 2023

Joy.....

I was thinking of writing Joy as "joy." This has not been a particularly inspiring week. Well, maybe that's the point. There are times when you have to hunt for Joy; it doesn't just jump up and smack you in the face. So let me fire up my Joy detector and scan the week, that was, for its fragments of Joy. 

Well...

1. Monday was my son's 30th birthday. It's always joyous to see they have come this far and fared!! Just a note, though, about celebrating special days on a Monday - EVERYTHING IS CLOSED. All the party places, balloon emporiums and dessert mongers were shut tight. Fortunately, Metro sold balloons (at half the price). Krispy Kreme donuts were open and I could get a dozen for half the price of a cake from Jules. Dollarama was good for a few streamers - they don't blow up their own balloons, and we could use the Christmas napkins which were an unthemed silver. It was the sticker shock of a delivery from Swiss Chalet for 4 dinners that was somewhat unexpected - just under $100.00. Still cheaper than a restaurant for four plus wine etc..etc.... Well, you only turn 30 once!


2. Got a 2/6 in Wordle. Bought a lottery ticket and didn't win. Sigh!  

Still, I had the "Joy" of hope for a few hours.

3. Had a delightful games' night on Tuesday and got to see "the new moon with the old moon in her arms" on the drive home. I will soon start to look for Orion in the south sky. I love being part of something that transcends time and space.

4. I finished the jig saw puzzle so I will have to find moments of fleeting Joy someplace else. Yes, finishing the puzzle might have been pure "Joy," however, there was a piece missing. OK we dropped the box a few times. There will be more Joy in the universe, if I find it in the vacuum cleaner bag. Digging for Joy in unexpected places!!

5. My son cooked a favourite beef dish of his. He used the cast iron casserole and stewed the meat for several hours. I love to see that one of his hobbies is cooking. My cast iron pot always brings me Joy - much more so when it is being used. Plus I got to eat an amazing meal!! - Non Vegan Joy.


6. I am still working on my daughter's quilt and capturing moments of fleeting Joy, as I struggle with the motifs. Years ago, I needed a cat for her camp hat. Why a cat? Well her camp name is Kat and when I was reading over the camp instructions again, fifteen minutes before her ride was to come, I realized that she needed a decoration for her hat. She needed a cat!! Jean Greenhowe to the rescue. I was able to knit a tiny cat in garter stitch and attach it to her hat just before the van arrived. Pant...pant. It worked. She still has it and I have managed to make a miniature - not knitted, though, I tried on .75mm needles. Some things are best left to memory.

The hat motif brings me Joy, not only in its completion, but also, in the fact that I can pass on a tradition of camp hats. I still have my mother's. Somehow I lost mine, but I have been able to re-create the magic of the camping experience, in my daughter's quilt. Never cease to know for whom the bugle blows, the tent pegs guy and the flag of fortune unfurls.

Hard to pick just one, but it might be #1. Parties are always a Joy!!

Have a Joyous week!! With a capital "J."

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Joie

 Yes, it's French for Joy and I have used it for no other reason than variety. This is my next post on finding Joy or Joie. However, before I evaluate my week for its relative amounts of Joy, I will take a moment to remember a student in one of my grade 10 English classes. In September her name was Joy. In the second semester her name was Joie. I also remember that she left school early, married and had daughter, whom she named, Jasmine. She might make an interesting character in a novel.

Now back to my week of finding Joy.

1. My writing partner completed her post on "light" and gave the next word "hook." I wrote my post on "hook." Writing always brings me Joy!

2. Metro had pasta clams, that looked fresh, so I bought 30 and had pasta with clams Friday night for dinner with my daughter. This is a favourite dish. It reminds me of summer, vacations to the sea, and lots of adventure. These memories always bring me Joy!

3. I was struggling with a quilt square based on my daughter's Fire Safety badge. I might have just omitted it, but it was the one badge she had mentioned. I pressed on and finally finished a whimsical interpretation. Whimsy always brings me Joy.


4. Someone posted on FB a poem by Billy Collins - Aimless Love. Well, I not only have the poem, I also have his eponymous book, which I bought at City Lights book store in San Francisco a few years ago. Connections always bring me Joy.

5. The jig saw puzzle progresses. Five or six pieces fitted in per day. As I have said before - moments of fleeting Joy.

6. The Tattooed Gardener posted the number of days until Spring. I think today would be 58 days until the equinox. Spring in itself is pure Joy, (unless it snows in May.)

7. No snow. I am not a fan of Winter, but the fact that we have had almost no snow and one blissfully mild day on Wednesday 5°C that reminded me of England, always brings me Joy.

So now, if I had to pick just one of these thin slivers of Joy, which one would it be? I think it has to be #1. Writing is my touchstone. It reminds me that I can still put a noun in front of a verb (or vice versa) and crystallize a moment in time. Writing is my record of time. It's also my Rosetta Stone. My translation of all those unspoken, and at times, cryptic messages the world sends you, which you have to decipher, and possibly even reply to, in your own enigmatic way.

Have an awesome day!!


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Hook, Line & Sinker

 My writing partner has given the word "hook," as our writing challenge, with personal memory. This will, indeed, be a challenge for me, because it's a word that doesn't spark any enthusiasm. I didn't immediately say, "Great, I have a few ideas." In fact, for me the word is off-putting. I dislike the sound of it; it's bluntness, and it's nasty image of fish hook or meat hook.

That being in said, I must write a post using the word, "hook."

OK, on the positive, I am reminded of the crochet hook. I was just going through my mother's (and grandmother's) cache of crochet hooks. They are both infinitely small and grotesquely large. My mother, near the end, hoarded them. She bought any she found in thrift stores and added them to her collection. I have about 100 more or less. My grandmother would have used the small ones, in fact, the very small ones. She often sat in the living room after dinner and crocheted fine lace edgings for linen hankies, while listening to Guy Lombardo on the radio or my grandfather playing his harmonica. 


She would sip half a glass of beer and invite her budgie, Fritz, to have a taste. I would sit beside her and watch her hands move quickly and gracefully through the double and triple crochets, turning pristine white cotton thread into delicate lace patterns with the smallest, shiniest steel crochet hook. To a six-year-old, this was tranquility personified.

Last week, I needed some of that tranquility. I trekked over to St. Claire and Dundas where the cultural mix is Portuguese/Italian. Years ago I had visited a store there that stocked both fabric and yarn. I knew they would have the very fine white cotton for crochet. Things had changed, though, so I had to hunt around for what I needed. I eventually bought some #8 thread. I was actually looking for #12 and passed on the #20, which I may buy later for another project. (As a note - the higher the number the finer the thread.) I needed the yarn for two crocheted snowflakes to add to my daughter's quilt. She had a Brownie (now called Embers) badge with two snowflakes embroidered in brown and orange. Unfortunately, she will have to accept snowflakes crocheted in white and blue for her quilt. Winter is depressing enough without snowflakes in brown and orange. However, I did achieve that necessary tranquility with an outing, a project and the exercise of using one of those very fine crochet hooks.

The other hook is from the title of the post - hook, line & sinker. I have had a fascination with fishing most of my life. When I was younger - ten or twelve, I would drag my family out to some pond to try my luck with pole, reel, hook, line & sinker. I don't particularly like lake fish, but I love the idea of taking from the wild - OK the ponds are stocked - and providing food, free.


However, I don't understand, catch and release. Why would you spend hours, days, even weeks fishing just to throw the catch back into the water? Really, get another hobby. Now I can understand the allure of all those fancy fish hooks, the fascination with the precision of the reel and its locking mechanism, and the many other intricate trappings of the sport. I can also understand being out in nature, alone or with a few other like minded people. I can even understand the challenge of wanting to hook something. And, yes, I can sympathize with the caught fish, who would rather be returned to its habitat, than eaten. But to spend a lifetime searching for something only to throw it away, after you have found it, is beyond me.

On the other hand, fishing is a more humane activity than hunting, which I despise. That being said I was once friendly with a knitter who managed a knitting shop and gun boutique. In fact she would knit you a sweater and make a button out of the bullet from your kill to add to your sweater. Her company was called "The Knitting Nimrod." Yes, it is a crazy world.

The pictures? My fascination with hook, thread and needlework.

Have a rewarding day!



Sunday, January 15, 2023

Joy, how do I find thee....

.....let me count the ways - my apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Well,

1. We had several days of brilliant sun this week - always a joy even in snow and bitter cold.

2. I resolved an issue with the person who is taking over the knitting retreat that eight of us have organized  for seven years, pre-covid. We were always "inclusive;" the new organizer was being "exclusive." Got that changed.

3. I decided where to hang a knitted collage I had made many years ago. Just need the right frame from Ikea, for another problem to be solved.


4. I have added five or six pieces a day to the jig saw puzzle my daughter gave me for Christmas - 6 fleeting moments of Joy each day.

5. I put on new socks that were a gift from a friend. They don't match but are related. Mine have a wine theme and my son's are bright yellow with a camera theme. I do enjoy creative minds and their amazing products.


6. I completed two new squares in my daughter's quilt and decided on several more. I also completed another magical creature to embellish the small squares that join the larger squares (quilting is complicated). It's the owl from Harry Potter.


7. I listened to one Sarah Brightman CD twice, while I worked on a quilt square. In fact, I listened to CDs all week while I did my needlework in the evening. I haven't watched TV since September.


8. I read an article in the paper on "Rewilding" - getting back to nature and your natural self. I do most of that, most of the time. However, I will take some time to "examine" my life. As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." I may surprise myself.

The pictures? - moments of Joy. Actually the last picture is the Catherine Wheel. My daughter was named after St. Catherine of Alexandria, who was martyred on a flaming wheel. We now have a firecracker of the same name - go figure!

If I had to pick just one of the above to write on a piece of paper for the "Joy Jar," I think that I would pick #7. It's reminds me of those moments of pure Joy that only come once in a while and are often over before they have even begun. Like fireworks - spectacular, but short lived - again like life. Hmmm.....better do some Rewilding today!!

Have a joyous day!

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Joy in an almost joyless week....

 Most of this week has been grey - very grey with rain. I suppose I could have found some joy in the fact that at least it wasn't snow. I also did enjoy the memory it gave me of living in England many years ago. I loved my two years in London and still keep in touch with two of my four flatmates.

I got Wordle on the second try last Friday and bought a lottery ticket. I only buy lottery tickets when I solve Wordle on the second try or get it in three trys, three days in a row. Yes, Friday should have been my lucky day a 2/6 (wordle talk) on the day of the LottoMax draw. My win wasn't in the stars though, so I will have to wait for that joy.

I got the tree down and out yesterday. Vacuumed through the house. Organized dinner and went to the office to check on inventory for a store. I woke up this morning with nothing pressing to do - I rarely iron anyway. However, I do enjoy being organized, with a clean house, meals planned and time to dawdle.


I think my joy of the week, though, has to be a post on FB of a poem by W. B. Yeats

“Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
― William Butler Yeats

I am reminded of his passion for Maud Gonne. His love poems are always filled with the vastness of the universe and the endlessness of time. For surely Love is, what is all encompassing and forever.

The picture? The best I could do for some enduring love.

Have a lovely day

Sunday, January 01, 2023

"of Joy Jars and Blog Posts, I sing...."

Taken from "The Aeneid" - "Of arms and the man, I sing." OK it's a poem celebrating war, struggles, conflicts.....what else is new?

I rarely make resolutions, because I hate failure!! However, this year (2022) a knitting friend of mine shared a post on FB about a "Joy Jar." Well, maybe it wasn't actually called a Joy Jar, but the idea was to write on a piece of paper one "good" thing that happened during the week and put that note into a jar. Next Dec 31, you empty the jar and read about the wonderful year you had!!

I loved the idea, but hated the fact, that I would take up the limited space I have, with a mason jar full of paper. (I like the ones filled with jam!) So, I have decided to write a blog post every Sunday about the good thing(s) that happened in the previous week. Yes, one of my resolutions is finding Joy. Now if everyone had this mindset, "What a wonderful world this would be!"

OK, now how do I choose which highlight of the week to post.

1. My son's partner, Desmond, sent us probably 50 amazing cookies, butter tarts, pecan tarts, thick shortbreads covered in icing sugar, meringues....the list goes on. It was an amazing "haul." I was stunned by the monumental undertaking that Desmond accomplished, while working full-time and posting to a youTube cooking channel at the same time!! Remember I am just one of the recipients and he has many, many friends!! Fortunately, I was able to pass a few of the delectables onto other friends - you never know when you might get a dinner invitation later on :). The rest, we are devouring!!


2. My eldest sent me 6 Christmas tree ornaments of his artwork. I was thrilled. His theme is bears and his website is "TuffBears.ca" My joy is celebrating his amazing talents and in his finding peace this December.


3. My daughter is about to embark on a new job/career. OK the career is the same - swimming/pool related, but the new job gives her more responsibility, more freedom & more pay.

4. My knitting/writing friend and I have come up with an idea to keep our group of knitting friends engaged and moving forward. It's still in its infancy so more to come.

It's very hard to choose, but I think it has to be #2. I love Desmond's generosity and his joy of cooking. He has a YouTube channel for his weekly recipes - love them all - J's World Kitchen.

However, I have followed my son's artistic journey and I think that he has found an amazing direction in this new venture. So #2 it is for this week.

Look for more posts about my daughter's new adventure and about our new knitting odyssey.



Monday, December 12, 2022

What you don't need in your time of need....

 "When troubles come, they don't come as single spies, they come as in battalions."

So yes, when my husband died, I had to deal with a myriad of tasks in a very short space of time. I had to -

1. Contact a funeral service to deal with his remains and carry out a cremation.

2. I had to write an obituary on a Tuesday and send it to the paper for a Saturday publication.

3. I had to contact relatives and friends.

4. I had to support those in need.

So into this mix was added -

1. An inflated invoice from the funeral home. I was quoted $4,000.00 for the initial services. When I went to retrieve the ashes. The bill was $4,800.00. I refused to pay until they could explain the discrepancy. They wouldn't. I eventually found a government "watchdog" for the funeral industry. I contacted them. They were a little vague. But the next day the funeral home called and said there had been a mistake and I was only to be charged the original quote of $4,000.00.

I didn't need this extra hassle.

2. My son flew out to be with us before his father died. He booked a return flight on Flair Airlines. It was expensive - $800.00 return from Calgary - because it was short notice. When it was time for my son to return, I drove him to the airport. It was Covid, so you just dropped off. I came home. My son called. "Come and get me. They won't let me board the flight." Although he had the two pieces of government issued identification that was required, he didn't have a passport. (Remember, they flew him to Toronto.) Flair refused to let him board and the attendant rolled her eyes when he said he was here for his father's funeral - NEVER FLY with FLAIR.

I returned to the airport. Picked him up and we booked a flight on Westjet two days later. Again, I didn't need this extra grief.

Most of the other settlements went fairly smoothly. My husband had had his affairs in order.


3. However, I didn't need the furnace to stop working 3 days before Christmas and for all the usual companies I called to be unavailable until January. I used a new company. They told me I needed a new furnace - mine was too old and they didn't have the parts. I said fine. I'll pay you for the service call and you can leave. They hesitated. Well, maybe if they called the office they might have the part. Of course they had the part, but it still cost $800.00 to fix the furnace.

I'll spare you the "wish this hadn't happened," complications, such as, a few car problems, son working Christmas eve, when I would have liked him home, odds and ends of extraneous costs, duties, WTF government requirements. Really when do you have time to cry!

By March, I think that my war with that pesky enemy, fate, was coming to a close. I had battalions of my own to counter the ones it had sent. I had the support of a strong extended family, wonderful friends and a personal resolve to make the best of a difficult situation and to remember my husband in the way he would have wanted - quietly without a lot of fuss...... I only raised my voice once.

The picture - some things never die - Peace, Truth and Beauty, come to mind. There are others, I know. They may hide for a while, but suddenly, in one spectacular moment, they appear and take us out of ourselves, reminding us that "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower," also gives us the strength to endure!!

Have a wonderful day!!