Thursday, December 13, 2018

And still I (We) Rise....

It's been a long time since I've written a post. What can I say? Life gets in the way of writing. I know, I've said before, if you're really serious, life should be writing. Well, unfortunately for writing, I happen to be serious about a lot of things. I need to focus!

Today, or at least, this morning, I can focus on writing and our word, for a long time, has been "endurance." Thank you for enduring the wait :)

For me endurance is all about being in it for the long haul. Maybe it's a relationship and you just don't give up. You work at keeping it together. It's easy to enjoy the good times, but you have to endure - and make better - the not so good times.



Endurance is also about yourself. How you "hang in there" for the long haul. How you buoy yourself up in the dark days of winter. How you find peace, when everyone around you seems to be raving mad. Where you find the resources, that deep well of strength, to get you through a negative diagnosis, a separation, a death....a something.

We talk, we write, we paint about the indomitable human spirit - How we take on challenges to test and strengthen our endurance; how we build our tolerance on a daily basis; how we resist in small measurable acts until Justice or Peace or Love has been restored.



I once said to a friend that I have a fairly high tolerance to pain. I thought that it might have come from two basic situations in my childhood. 1. If you live in a family that struggles daily to survive, you don't add to their struggles by suggesting that you are in pain, or some distress. You keep it to yourself and work it out, somehow. This concept was supported by the nuns in the Catholic schools I went to. 2. If you were in pain at school or some type of distress, you were told to, "offer it up for the souls in purgatory." Through your suffering you might free up one poor soul, paying the price for a venial sin, and send them to heaven.

A pious thought, maybe, but a giant endurance builder. Then again maybe I believed all those, "stiff upper lip" movies we watched - Once more into the breach and damn the torpedos - full speed ahead!!

The pictures? Building the endurance muscle!

Have a tolerable day!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Rights..

Our writing challenge this time is the word, "rights." Maybe there is also a bit of synchronicity here too, because someone was reading a post of mine from 2012 about Thunder Bay. I included this quotation in it -

"The foolish are like ripples on water, for whatsoever they do is quickly effaced; But the righteous are like carvings upon stone, For their smallest act is durable." 

Horace.


When I think of the acts of protest by people who were protecting our rights, I remember the marches in the '60s against racism. I remember the people who went to fight in two world wars against fascism. I remember history classes about the French Revolution. I remember teaching the concept of heroism in Greek mythology and citing Bobby Sands and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. In fact, we still live in the aftermath of the US' civil war...the list goes on.


These were huge efforts to protect our right to freedom, to the many freedoms, most some of us have today. I might have written "most" about fifty years ago. There was a time, when we were moving in the "right" direction, as far as human rights were concerned, now, we are in retrograde. Neither are we seeing any positive progression against racism, fascism, or the fostering of woman's right, we are actually seeing the rights we have won, being overturned, negated.



I would like to believe that the truly righteous will prevail and justice, though, "lame of foot," will stop these tyrants, these manipulators, from ruining civilization, as we know it. Unfortunately, too often, those who struggle for justice's sake bear the marks of their fight, both internally and externally. They are the stones on which the enemy carves. Let us hope their acts, their scars endure and continue to speak through our actions.

The pictures? We must be strong!!


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Fusion...

Another word for the writing challenge is "fusion" - the joining of two or more things to create a third. I couldn't help playing with this word, by fusing it with other words, OK, prefixes. Hence, from fusion, we can make - confusion, diffusion, suffusion, effusion, affusion. It's an interesting way of increasing one's vocabulary and/or creating new words. For example, I desperately wanted to make reffusion, but it doesn't appear to be a word, as yet. Well, that hasn't stopped a lot of writers - why not just make one up!!



"The refusion of his existence, did not make him go away" or something like that.

Today, though, fusion is the word and mixing things up is the game. In Art, collages are a fusion of images to create a statement. In food, fusion is the combining of dishes from different cultures to create a new taste - bruschetta with couscous, perhaps.  And in fashion, designers fuse tutus with Doc Martens for a dramatic look.



In fact, so many new ideas are just a fusion of several old ideas, especially when we break the rules, blur the images and diffuse the rigidity.




Fusion happens in people too - the most basic being procreation. Two identities are joined to make a third. Sometimes cultures are joined to make a totally different ethnic group. Most often, though, one culture is assimilated into another and disappears. Only the very strong resist the fusion forming sub-groups, and creating, at times, confusion.


Obviously, my Latin is showing and my delight in playing with words.

The pictures? Mixers and mixed messages from a suffused view of the world.

Have an effusive day!!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Adjustments

Another word to write about (about which to write)....I may be catching up, but I may also be losing it!!

Adjustments....let me count the ways. How many times in a day, an hour, even a minute, do we make adjustments? Smooth the hair, settle the jacket, sniff, blink..... It's those unconscious movements or moments that strengthen us to face the world.....



......Where we adjust to a constantly changing environment - new medications, new hips, new knees, new places to live, new friends, new losses....

All this, while the world adjusts on a grander scale...icebergs melt, weep, perhaps, species die, climates roil! The list goes on.



It becomes too much at times - "Stop the world. I want to get off." It's the title of an old musical, I saw once and I've never forgotten.

We need escapes. Can we escape with or into Art? For the moment, we can still escape into nature, on a good day, if a tree, or something green isn't too far away. We can escape into a book - a form of Art, to be sure. A lot of the people, I know, escape into knitting, it's a handicraft and in it's highest form it is design and fibre Art.


Some people escape into hobbies. My husband has taken up cooking - this is a dangerous hobby :) My daughter curls twice a week. My sister does Ancestry.com and my youngest "games." They stop the world for moments to adjust the salt in a recipe, sweep the rock, read the obit, shoot the evil overlord.

The pictures? My son's art in a new gallery in Calgary. He stops the world with paint and canvas. Can you guess my favourite?

Have an adjusted day!!

Friday, November 09, 2018

Inventive...

Inventive is our word for this week or maybe the past two weeks. Life has been getting in the way of writing. I know life should be writing, if you are very serious, but I happen to be serious about a few things, so everything gets done in its own time!!

What can I say - It's important to be inventive - to come up with new ideas, new ways of doing "things" or new ways of being!! Let me tell you about my inventive day, yesterday. My friend suggested that we go to a thrift store and buy some clothing, we would normally NOT wear for $25.00 or less. The seed for the idea came from the concept of "Advanced Style." It's the idea that woman of a certain age can, wait!! actually, should wear interesting and exciting clothes, not just functional, serviceable black!!



I'm certainly guilty of the black. Also, I rarely wear scarves and never wear bling. That may all change. Both of us spent over two hours going through racks saying things like, "OK, this is definitely not me" or "it's not me but, I still wouldn't wear it in a hundred years." We spent the last half hour trying on our "finds" and discussing their merits, as articles of Advanced Style.



I was charmed by two gorgeous beaded caftans with pants that I almost bought. I just wasn't sure I could make the leap. Change for me happens in baby steps. I did, though, buy an amazing jacket for $8.99. It isn't me. Well it might have been me of twenty or thirty years ago. Time to turn back the clock!!

Did I mention that a darling (not daring) Ralph Lauren blouse slipped into the mix for $9.99. It was really a "me." So I couldn't pass it up.



I plan to get more inventive soon. I like the idea of combining several items, perhaps sewing a skirt or a loose top from a few panels of something else. This would be the fusion of Advanced Style and Slow Clothing. I wonder if I can become that fashion designer, I've always wanted to be or some sort of super model? (Auto correct changed super to supper, well that too, because my newly retired husband has taken up cooking as a hobby!!)

Have a fashionable day!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hostile..

Our word for the last few day has been "hostile." With the election and all, I haven't found the time to write, until now. For better or for worse - here it is.

Yes, we live in hostile times. One year under the Trump administration and Canadians have been turned away at the border, insulted often and, generally, treated like some nasty disease. Sigh!

Even if we ignore the border and focus on what is Canadian, we see so many problems, as well, at home. There is gun violence, unheard of in the past. There is no affordable housing. It's hard to find meaningful work that pays a decent wage. Our infrastructure is rotting. Huge high rises dominate the landscape. Construction is everywhere. Common activities, such as, biking and walking are dangerous. The world seems to be against us.



Words, like peace and harmony, rarely come to mind and if they do, it's a memory. Even our quiet neighbourhood has been decimated. Eight house to the east of us have been sold to build townhouses, which will increase the density from eight households to forty or fifty. Families that we have known for thirty years have moved. It's sad.

A good deal of the unrest in the world is because of climate change. There are now deserts where arable land once was and the farmers have moved. There's no work for them or their children. It's easy for right wing ideologies to bind jobless people into a fighting force to destroy what they can't have.



Hordes of people are trying to escape this destruction, forcing themselves on other countries, which have their own problems. There is a huge imbalance now, too much unrest.

At some point, though, the pendulum must swing to the left and we will again have a sense of freedom, peace and harmony. Unless, of course, the pendulum is a wrecking ball.

The pictures?  -  peace and harmony

Have a thoughtful day.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Patches...

My word for this post is "patches." Finally, I found sometime to write. I know I've been holding up my writing partner, but I got a rush of orders for Infiknit and well the orders come first!! Anyway, the delay has given me time to think about the word. It is actually my word, in the sense that it was my time to set the writing topic.

Well, what can I say, I live my life in patches. For some their life is a linear progression, you know - birth to death, Monday to Friday, Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring. Certainly the progression of time is linear, in my life, but how I fill that time is erratic, much like a Crazy Quilt design is erratic. A small piece here to play the piano - A larger piece there for domestic "stuff" like cooking and cleaning - A very unusual polygon for the creative escapes, that happen, when there is time. Repetitive blue patches for my morning writing. Weird and wonderful prints in Chagall-ian placements for my dreams at night - the pieces go on...



In crazy quilting all of these patches would be joined with the fairy-like feather stitch. I can see myself in this stitch too, jumping from one activity to another in shades of pink and orange. Other patches would hold appliqu├ęs, or more embroidery - those rich moments that add depth to a few colourless hours - meeting a friend for coffee or reading a good book. Ribbons, beads, buttons and other oddments will find a home somewhere on the quilt, like gems of thoughts that brighten our days.



I wonder if this is the cosmos speaking to me. I have been reading a lot lately about the slow clothing movement, about up cycling, or mending, or repurposing the garments we might other wise throw out. There was a time when no one threw away anything. Fabric was expensive. Every scrap was re-used again and again until it ended up in a patchwork quilt. Slow clothing is a movement to bring back this way of thinking. There is also a part of this movement that asks you to leave something of yourself behind. Something you have created to make the world a better place.



My mother, towards the end, crocheted everyone an afghan. She used yarn from resale stores and created some lovely throws. I do, however, miss her smocking, which might have been captured in a quilt. When I did work with fabric, I selected scraps from the garments I remember members of my family wearing. It was a way to hold onto them a little longer.



Quilts are photo albums in fabric. Certainly we can touch a photo, but when we touch a piece of fabric, that was actually worn by someone, we come very close to touching them.

I quilt, but I knit more than I work with fabric, so my patches for the moment are knit. However, when I hauled out my old Crazy Quilt wall hanging, I though hmmmm, maybe I need to start doing some fabric stitching too.

Have a crazy day!!