Monday, October 31, 2011


I think that either term applies - Hollowe'en because we hollow out the pumpkins for the "weens" - the wee wains and that's pretty exciting. It's a lot of fun to see the children get dressed up and for many adults - it's fun to be children again and get dressed up.

I don't actually go hunting for ghosts, though many do and where would we be, if we didn't have a foot in another world.

Tomorrow is Samhain, and All Saints Day and the Day of the Dead in Spanish countries.  I guess it's that time of year.  The harvest is over, the fields are stubble and we wait for the cloak of winter.

There is this sense of an hiatus...a time of loose ends....and maybe the spirits sense this and start disturbing our "peace."  Cats are always a little more restless these days. Weird things seem to happen. I wonder if it is a more creative time for artist?

Whatever it is...I love events and celebrations....festivities and reasons to break the normal - "hum drum" of daily existence.

Happy hollow - hallowe'en

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Did you hear the one......

So, did you hear the one about the woman who went into the camera store and came out with a $300.00 lens cap?....Well, that really isn't how it went...sure, we know....

Well actually I lost my lens cap....could be worse.  I know that it will surface one day, after all - A. who would steal a lens cap. B. as caps go, it is really rather minor. C. make a list of everything you know that involves "caps" and you will know how insignificant this really is!!!!!

So why would I pay $300.00 for a lens cap - well there was a small camera attached to the cap.  Not the camera I actually came into buy the cap for - well that would be ridiculous - that would only have cost $7.00 and I would have been in and out in 10 mins.

No the other camera that was attched to the lens cap...or wait, maybe this new camera really didn't need a cap, because it had a retractable lens and, oh yes, did I mention that it could take video - you know the Youtube type video - just a minute or two - actually 15min and then you edit - of course, if you can understand the crytic software intructions for editing video and life....alas poor Yorick....right time of year - wrong software.

Anyway, I ramble.  I bought a small Canon camera to take stills & video. It is minute, my intention. If all else fails I could support the secret service...again, you know....little old lady...arrested as international spy, who would have thought....  I intend to go onto the Canon site and tell them that my next camera will be a Nikon because of the inferior movie editing software that they have provided with the particular Canon camera I bought.

Tomorrow is another day.

Hope yours was better than mine.  Here's a pre-hallowe'en picture.

Looking forward to tomorrow...I love Hallowe'en!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Roses are red....

I finally found my red rose. It was hiding in the back of the garden, so I am sending it to you.  I know that you would probably want it on a Monday when things can be a little down.  I always feel that you can get through anything on a Friday, unless of course you have to work on Saturday and/or Sunday.

Then again, if you love what you do, you may not need little perks like roses and blue sky, anytime!!!

I love what I do; but every once in a while, I need to stand back and put things in perspective. You know - get a coffee, go for a walk, smell the roses and then I come back refreshed.

There was a hoarfrost this morning and most of the flowers, close to the ground, were lost. Those higher up and hardier were spared. This rose was spared.  I also noticed a few promising buds, that might open in a week or two, if the weather doesn't become too severe.

Enjoy the last roses of summer.  Winter is long and white. Here are some roses in lace - Red Rose Shawl.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Cemetery without soul.....

I mean no disrespect.  I know that cemeteries have a lot of souls in them; but I was walking over to a cemetery that is close to me, to take pictures of their lovely rose gardens, only to find that they had cut back all the rose canes to the requisite 6" - needless to say there were no roses to be seen.

I was hoping that they would let the canes grow into November to capture that last rose of summer.  I have written about her before.  She is my alter ego. There is something about the flower that hangs in there to the frost and maybe even a bit beyond that conjures that sense of the eternal present.

My photography group wanted pictures on the theme of love and what says love more than a rose - a red rose in particular.  I was hunting for a red rose.

Fortunately I had taken some pictures of roses from my own garden.  I am not as kempt as the cemetery gardeners.  My roses grow into November - all the better to remember summer by.

Now where is that red rose?  Have a LOVE ly day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I'm just back from Woodstock, which I have re-named WOWstock because of the fabulous time we had there. First the organizers of the festival are just the nicest people - friendly, helpful and appreciative!! Secondly the show has a real "down home" feel about it. It feels like a festival for fleece.  There were fleeces of every kind and spinning wheels and animals and real food made by real people....I had oatmeal for breakfast!!

Here are some pictures.

This is the barn that housed the animals, but it also had old spinning equipment for sale.  This is 6:00AM - before the oatmeal.

This is the best I could do for the llamas, I think.  Alpacas are bigger aren't they? or they could be babies.  Anyway, all the animals were penned so I had to take pictures through bars - metal bars that is.

It was a knitting and spinning show with booths for rug hooking, weaving, basketry and other related crafts.  I couldn't resist this one or this one

The picture is a little fuzzy but I think that he looks even woollier.  All in all it was a great show.  It will be the weekend after Canadian Thanksgiving next year. Think of booking it.

Have a great day!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

99% and counting......

OK my apologies if you are that 1%, this blog maybe isn't for you.....But if you do fall into that 1% category, I could use a small donation - a few thousand would work -  more if you are so inclined and love knitting...honest, no questions asked, just leave a comment, where you may be contacted & I'll work out the transfer of funds!!!

Now if you are in that 99%, I have to say that I loved an article in the paper today about the eternal Pete Seeger leading a march in NY - I think it was 5th Ave - makes sense - he's 92 and still fighting the good fight.  Well he had to use a cane or two and his grandson, another musician, was there and they hooked up with Arlo Guthrie somewhere along the way.  They chanted - think "talking blues" and they even broke into a chorus of We Shall Overcome.

I believe if anyone can win this war - this silent struggle for jobs and meaningful work for brilliant young people, for honest hard working (would-be) providers for their families and communities - then we have to approach this "fight" the way we approached the racial issues in the '50s, 60s & 70s.

We have to close the great divide and support the middle class bridge.  We all have to get out and protest.  We ended a war.  We reversed racial legislation.  We now have to stop the pay outs and enforce taxation to promote equality.

I have often referred to myself as a Pete Seeger "groupie." I remember saying to my daughter that for almost 20 years Pete Seeger was forbidden from performing.......They let him sing to school children in the 50"s, because they felt that he couldn't do much harm there...

My daughter answered by saying...."Surprise, surprise...he raised a generation of Flower Children." We need to do that again.....Thank you, Pete.  Help us to get organized again.

Have a great day and make a statement....I just did!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Six hours from home.......

Another mini challenge - this time it is to list one "thing or one person that has made a huge impact on your life".....

This took a lot of thought because a lot of events and a lot of people have influenced me through my life; however, one short very casual conversation which could be summed up in about six words probably carved the path that I am on right now.

I was 22 and planing to do some travelling in Europe for a while with a girlfriend.  Well, about a month before we were set to leave, my friend said that she was getting engaged and would not be travelling with me.  I was unnerved.  I didn't resent her decision - she is one of the most honest and stable people I know and she is still married to the same man, many years latter with children and grandchildren so it was the right decision for her.

Now I had to decide.  Would I go to Europe on my own or would I stay at home and maybe find another travelling companion or maybe not and maybe never realize a dream that I had been planning since high school. I was mulling over my choices, one day, in the staff room when a rather worldly wise colleague said to me - "Why don't you just go ...... after all you're only 6 hours from home."

The thought of being only 6 hours from home made the concept of taking on the "great unknown" so easy - if all else failed I could just hop on a plane home to safety.  I booked my ticket with a return flight in a year.  I just told people what I was doing and they connected me with friends and places to stay.  I ended up staying for two years.  It was just such an amazing experinece.  It taught me that I could do what I wanted to do on my own and it opened my mind to experiences that were just so mind expanding that I couldn't have imagined my life without them.

Now, for every new undertaking, I look at the down side in terms of "six hours from home."  I probably won't end up doing those very amazing things that require you to be a lot further from home; but, even small steps out of a comfortable niche can be exciting and enlightening.

I am working on slight changes in my business structure which will require a little travel - baby steps to bigger things - take a few hours off and go somewhere you haven't been - it could be amazing!!

Have an adverturous day!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Woodstock revisited....

I am off to Woodstock this afternoon ...  That's Woodstock ON for a fleece festival - both people and animals will be clothed - unlike the first Woodstock - well OK maybe the animals were clothed - difficult to tell, though, the people from the animals with all that long hair :)

Anyway, I am looking forward to the comraderie with other vendors. The free breakfast.  I'm taking my camera - so free photos of Llamas and Alpacas as well as sheep oh yes and there will be people there as well to oohhh and aahh over the gorgeous yarns and patterns etc.

Years and years ago I spent sometime in Woodstock visiting with relatives of a fellow I was was a small sleepy town at that time and I wanted Europe and beyond.  Right now small sleepy towns are just fine and I may find that Woodstock has woken up - certainly if this festival has anything to do with it - I heard it's a BLAST!!!!

Sheep to shawl - Toronto to Woodstock - Woodstock to Woodstock  - we just keep rolling along. Come by and say Hi if you are going.

Have a great day!!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sacred Rides.....

I was reading today in the business section of one of our local papers about a small business that started in the 1990's, as a provider of guided "extreme biking" vacations. Things struggled along as most of these market specific companies do...or as my husband would say - went for the lifestyle - stayed for the bankruptcy, until they positioned themselves on facebook.

Well, they do, do amazing "things" - rides through mountains - Peru, Utah, Slovenia, Patagonia and other fantastic places.  OK, I am not into extreme biking, although I am always in awe of Lucy Neatby who biked the Cabot Trail - I drove it.

Anyway, this blog is not about exercise; it's about the naming of a company.  I just love their name - "Sacred Rides".  It has raised their passion - cycling to the level of the divine.

Could we apply this to knitting?  Could you call a yarn store - Sacred Skeins or Etherial Ewes?  I will stop at Holy Socks (Batman).  How do you condense a passion into a few words which impart that intense feeling to the world.

Here is their website, in case you've had a breech of sanity - Sacred Rides.

Now where are my UFO's - well they are out of this world!!!

Sending You A Sunny Day

Hopefully the sun is shining where you are; but if it isn't here are some blue skies for you.  The sun hasn't shone here in Toronto in almost a week. I have been popping Vitamin D capsules and "thinking" happy thoughts to dispel the gloom.

Here are the pictures taken from the Staples parking lot.  It helps to look up, when heading to work.

Some said that they saw a violin in this picture - musical skies!!

Here is another one.  Maybe you can see  pictures here too.  This is the type of sky that I had hoped to have translated into lace in my stole Queen of the Sky. The picture of the shawl needs to be retaken or photoshopped over a picture of the sky, like those above - another learning curve.

I am fascinated by beautiful skies; however, in Toronto, these skies are often traversed by power lines. I did think one day, on seeing a particularly crowded grid that the power lines could be lines of the Treble Clef in music and the birds sitting on the lines could be notes.

With a little musical ingenuity one could create a "piece" based on the notes suggested by the positioning of the birds.  Do you think that this may be a message from nature to us?  There is music somewhere in the heavens waiting to be released.  It reminds me of "The Sound of Music." I can hear "Climb Every Mountain" right now in my mind.

Create make believe; unleash the power of the universe - this time with a song.

Post your YouTube links here.

Have an unbelievable day!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Handyman Cometh....

Or at least he said that he was coming.  My husband is not "handy." He's better just going to work and paying the bills than attempting anything remotely "hands on." So we have had our share of handymen over the years.

Some have been disasters - out of work engineers who despise small jobs, but need to make some spare change until the unemployment cheque comes.  These are the ones that open packages of nuts and bolts, adapters etc and just leave the wrappings every where for me to tidy up - urrrghhh.

Others may have been, in another life, politicians, ministers, run-of-the-mill "soapboxers" who would rather talk, politics, religion, or any other controversial topic - generally espousing a view which is the antithesis of mine - rather than getting on with the work.  Another urrrghhh.

There have also been the gems. These are the down to earth guys, who are so organized, can fix anything and have fabulous personalities. One was the best comedian, I have ever heard. Unfortunately, these people always go on to better things!!

So to day I will be meeting my 7th or 8th handyman - at least I hope that I will - he did say he was coming.

I know that there are female handy persons.  I called one once, only to find that there was a list of things that she "didn't do."  Somehow the guys don't seem to mind taking on the challenges - yes I guess that there is still room for "macho" in this world.

So, here I am at 9:30am waiting for Godot - actually that really isn't his name :)  It's "The Odd Job Guy." No relation I hope to Odd Job in the James Bond series.

I guess that I could pick up some knitting and at least feel useful.........

Have a productive day


Monday, October 17, 2011

Never say never.....

Well I started out a little slowly with the "things I have never done blog challenge" so I guess that I had better step things up and post the other 8 "never dones, had or hoped to achieve" things, or I'll be left behind with the next challege!!!

Some of these "nevers" are things that I haven't done because I just do not want to do them, such as, Scuba Diving. I can understand the thrill of seeing coral reefs or finding a sunken ship; but you will never get me past the barnacles, creepy sea creatures and tanglely weeds.

Other nevers are teasingly close to being an accomplishment that they should be on a "to do" list, such as:

1. I have never been to Newfoundland. I understand from all who have been there that it is a magical place and I believe in magic - I just have to convince my husband or go alone and I will one day.  If I go to NF, then I will have to go to the Yukon and the Arctic to complete my Canadian collage of provinces and territories.  My sister lived in Eqaluit for years and my mother took 3 children aged 12, 8 and 2 from Toronto to Yellowknife about 40 years ago, with just a tent and a car. Obviously I have let the "side" down.

2. I am surprised that they allow me a Canadian passport because I have never portaged with a canoe. I have paddled one (prefer Kayaks) and camped in the wilds - not in winter -20C as my daughter has (and she was born in Guatemala); but no portaging as yet.

3. There are many books that I have never read, including, Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead and Jane Eyre. This week I plan to add audio books to my to do list and start listening to stories.  Apparently you can do this and knit at the same time.

4. I have never been published.  I'll work on this.

5. I am not fluent in another language. Inspite of living in a bilingual country, studying Spanish at university and being raised by my German speaking grandparents, I somehow missed the transfer to spoken in any of these tongues.  That's next.

6. I never took Latin at university. I studied Latin for 5 years in high school, but took Spanish as a language instead of latin after High School. My friend said that there were only 4 people in her Latin Class in university - what a concentration.  I now make due with Latin Wednesdays on facebook - sponsored by the marketing manager for Knitter's Magazine - veni, vidi, vici...and more. Latin nerds are amazing!!!

7. I have never roller bladed. eh!!!

8. I have never read the manual to my '98 Honda Civic.  It took me 3 years to find the button for the emergency lights - lucky I was just pulling over and it was not an emergency.  There is a time when we have to learn things very quickly. Yes, it helps to have read the manual before hand - but I always had better things to do. However, I knew where the brakes were!!!!

Please post your nevers, if only to define them as soon to be...can I save evers?

100 years, 1 marathon and counting.....

There is another challenge over at the blog/photography thread at V7N - Make a list of 10 things that you have never done and blog about them.

1. I had no problem making the list - it could have gone on forever 10, 100, 1,000 probably closer to a million. When I asked whether the object was to "do" these things and then to blog about them, the answer was "whatever" or something like that. Whew, that was lucky because Sky Diving was right up there on my list and I have nooooooooo intention of every doing it!!!

My hat goes off to a fellow knitter and friend who took up sky diving at 75.  I know Barbara and she has surmounted many challenges, including knitting while lying down, when recovering from hip surgery.  I did not ask her if she knit while sky diving.  With my luck I would pull the wrong loose end and ruin a perfectly good piece of knitting - not to mention my first (read last) jump!!

Anyway, another "thing" that I have never done is run a marathon and that would be second on my list of things that I probably will not do in my life time.  I know there is still time, given that Sunday's marathon in Toronto broke a record - an age record that is.

Fauja Singh completed that marathon in what looked like 8hours and 25mins - give or take a second or two. He is 100 years old.  I have to hang my head in shame. I am considerably his junior and I have trouble staying on my feet for an hour or two let alone 8 and running as well.  Where are those track shoes...?

I know there is a slogan out there that says:  "do something everyday that scares you." Now, that's scares, not terrifies, you.  I have trouble just doing the things I have to do or am expected to do - like emptying the dishwasher. Why would I take on this challenge.....?

Well, again maybe it's because, if we don't challenge ourselves, we let life slip by - doing all the things that "ought to be done" and never end up doing the things that "might have been done."

Challenge yourself to-day. Post if you like.  You will amaze me!!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

1,000 Dreams.......

I'm just back from a quick overnight trip to the 1,000 Islands in the St. Lawrence River at Gananoque (ga-nan-knock-way). We haven't had a proper holiday in two years, ever since we stopped going away with the kids; but we have managed a few interesting overnights.

We stayed at Glen House right on the banks of the St. Lawrence and took one of the boat cruises around the islands - there really are over 1,000 - some very tiny and others quite large and the houses on almost all of them are eye-popping!!!

In a week or two Glen House will be taken over by swarms of knitters for "The Needler's Retreat" Two of my friends will be teaching there.  It really is a beautiful spot, with good food and of course great company.  Here is the view from my window.

The colours hadn't quite turned completely yet; but they were starting.

The next day we drove up to Merrickville, which is a historic town on the Rideau Canal system. This also a beautiful spot and the colours had really turned up there. Here's an old blacksmith's forge with Virginia Creeper, ablaze.

There are lots of little shops, cafes, restaurants and inns in Merrickville.  It is a major stop in summer when many people rent house boats for a week or so, to ride up and down on the canal which runs from Kingston to Ottawa and is now a World Heritage Site. Here is a picture of one of the locks.

And finally a picture of the Rideau river.

I took a lot of pictures as you can see and even did some knitting.  Now it's back to work and a lot more knitting.

Have a great day!

Monday, October 10, 2011


This week's photography challenge is "Lines." Fortunately the heat is off for "Portraits." I did find though that if I asked to take a person's picture, they really didn't mind at all - ask and you shall receive!!

"Lines" lead a person into and out of a picture, as in railway tracks that seem to come together the farther away they are.  In my world all lines are straight, predictable, and have parameters. However, another hobbyist posted that lines are not always straight, predictable and with parameters - OK another challnge, to take a picture with a curved line, that doesn't end and maybe has a surprise element to it - sure, "a piece of cake" :)

I made the mistake of imposing my concept of lines - that they are all straight  etc... on the challenge and missed a huge opportunity to look for the graceful or mysterious curved line.

If you are like me and tend to impose your view of "reality" on things without actually taking the time to see if there is another view and another "reality" than you may have missed an opportunity to follow a curved line.  I am glad that the other photographer opened my eyes to her reality.  It will make a difference in my shots.  In the meantime here are straight lines.

Have a great holiday.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Who am I....

It started out as a photo challenge that has now morphed into a personality challenge.  That is to say that the various personalities in the group are not in competition with each other; but that someone has suggested that we all answer the question "who am I?"

This challenge, in a public situation, is "high threat" and yet I somehow feel compelled to contribute to a group of people, whom I have never met, but who have been so helpful in moving me forward with a personal challenge - improve my photography - which actually means - give me a reason to alleviate some of the routine in my life and/or to look at this routine in a more interesting way.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind routine.  It can be very comforting when things get chaotic; but it can also be very restrictive and mechanical - I needed a new window on my world.

The photo challenges have given me a reason to look at my world through the lens of my camera and to see the same things, differently.

That's my personal justification for refocusing; my business justification is that many people in my "camera group" are small business owners like myself. Some are technical writers and need a creative escape, others are computer programmers or run on-line businesses. This particular group is actually part of a larger on-line community of web builders, SEO specialists, social media marketers and more......there is always method in my madness.

So to answer the question - Who am I ...... I am an adventurer.  I am the person who will always take the "road less travelled." My parents sent me to a convent school. I promptly joined the group that challenged the rules and regulations of the school. I pushed the envelope - green hair on St Patrick's Day - make up in uniform - these seem like small things now in the face of sapphire blue mohawks - but to the Loretto sisters, I was not behaving.

I went to university, when all of my high school friends went to work. I opted for the non-denominational college over St. Michaels. I did go into teaching - a rather conservative occupation; but when I had earned enough money to travel, I went to England for several years and spent months, during that time, hitchhiking in Europe.

I left teaching to stay at home with my children, as we adopted them - another adventure. When they were old enough, I went back to work; first for others and then for myself.  I took my passion, knitting, and created a business around it - a huge adventure.

My father stopped work at 90 - he is now 97. I wonder if I will do the same. Even now I am planning a shift in business to more involvement with people - more presentations on the creative process, more travel, more designing, more wonderful adventures.

Thank you for reading my rambling. My business observation here would be - try something different, look at things from a different angle, with a different lens, perhaps. Explore the road less travelled - it could make a huge difference.

My youngest and my first portrait - I need to take 4 more portraits as part of this challenge - "promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep!!!"

Friday, October 07, 2011

So it has come to this......

Today, I asked a twenty something where to buy a CD.  Yes, you're right I got some very weird looks and the mumbled comment, "I haven't bought a CD in years."

Well, yes and this is probably why I am asking. My local HMV has closed - being replaced by an Urban Outfitter store.  I wasn't aware that there still was one HMV store downtown that still had music and movies etc. for sale.  Now this means that I have to choose from either:

1. Getting downtown, parking and/or taking public transit and walking to find the store and then hoping that they took a chance on stocking the particular CD I wanted...

2. Or going on-line and downloading the disc from Amazon.  I don't mind the downloading - but the price tag looks like it's $34.95 and that sounds a little steep for a CD.

Well, it is a new release and it is a recording of previously never published Hank Williams songs and OK Bob Dylan croaks his way through at least one song - not to mention gems from other big names.  Maybe I just have to have this CD, no matter how much it costs.  It is all about those people who have a life beyond the grave - like James Dean, al......

Funny, John Lennon hasn't really been immortalized like the few who have, unlikely though they are.  Maybe Yoko Ono has become that immortalization or prevented it?

Sorry, I'm rambling...... but then, I am reminded again that the times, they have changed, even though the artists have remained the same.

Where have all the ________ gone?  Maybe not that far - my eldest's latest project for art school was a an interpretive painting of Joan Baez - the more things change the more they remain the same.

Re-invent yourself often - just don't lose the core of what you are all about!!!!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

I Life....

I just had to post today to acknowledge the passing of Steve Jobs.  The blog heading is not mine; it is the heading used by the Globe this morning. This was the Globe's front page - it surpassed the Ontario election in importance (no kidding!!!). I don't think that I will ever cancel my subscription, since the Star chose to headline the election - really there are things that are more important.

In fact, I found out about Steve's death long before I opened the morning paper.  I had been on Facebook and my picture portfolio on the camera site I use, as well as, Google and a few others.  All major on-line interfaces reported the death of Steve Jobs. To me this is akin to the loss of Galileo, Da Vinci, etc.  all major innovators who have helped us take giant steps into the future.  You may hate technology; but you have to admit that it has changed the way we do things and I think that few readers would give up their washing machines and dryers for scrub boards and clothes pegs.

Steve Jobs made digital technology aesthetic and incredibly user friendly. I know that while an I-Pad doesn't do the laundry - you can probably get an app to critique dry cleaners & laundromats in your area and likely find someone to exchange laundry duties for dinners made or something like that.

He put the future in our hands!!!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Nuit Blanche VI

This is the sixth time that we have gone out for Nuit Blanche - an all night outdoor art extravaganza that takes over the city from 7:00pm to 7:00am.  About a million people pour onto the streets of downtown Toronto to catch as many outdoor (some indoor) art installations as possible.

I love Nuit Blanche because you end up going places where you would not really go in the day to day toings and froings of life.  Here is what I mean:

This wasn't even an installation - it's a fountain in Taddle Creek park near where we parked the car and I just couldn't resist the shot.  It's a huge fountain and especially beautiful at night!!

The best installation, I think, was on Queen St. at Nathan Phillips Sq.  It was called "Flight School" and it was trying to get people to think of new ways of travel, such as, flying around the city.  The lights were awesome.

I was actually out, looking for negative space for my photography challenge - now would that be "Espace Noir a Nuit Blanche".  At night there are lots of opportunities to create negative space in a photo. Night is black, a great negative space for a highlighted subject.  Here is one I liked.  It's a cloister on the campus of Victoria College.

I must now wait another year for my white (k)night. Create make believe where you can!!