Sunday, November 29, 2009

So close....

Going in as an underdog.

Losing by one point after a stupid illegal substitution. Dramatic until the end. He shanked the ball. We thought we had it. And then the bad guys get a do-over...

Pretty much sums up my week. :-) [Looks quietly skyward to say, "What is this? Sweepes?]

Riders - I am still proud of you. You played one hell of a game. Grey Cup or no. You'll get 'em next year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I found this scrawled on the sidewalk on my way through the side door into the Administration building at the University of Saskatchewan this week.
It's a little hard to read in the photograph.

15 years in Canada
$50 000 for a BA
$7 000 in immigration fees
6 residency applications
One three year marriage to my Canadian spouse
And I am left in limbo
future uncertain
status incomplete

Though I am unsure of my feelings, the impromptu poetry, this act of frustration, struck me. The weight of the word limbo. The resonance of the uncertain future. The literal action of walking on someone's efforts and its impermanence. It was important enough to someone to declare in a public place. It has meaning to them. And though I haven't experienced what the unknown author has experienced, there is worth in these words for me.

Raw honesty is easy when it's anonymous, isn't it?

The next day, I found my relationship was all but over. It's done but not closed and I find myself in a holding pattern, in limbo, my once-written future uncertain.

BUT... however uncertain, the future is still hopeful. I can hold the chalk. And I will write whatever I please. After all, I was at the Admin building for a reason - ordering my transcript from my BFA, getting things in order, paving the sidewalk.

And there is more possibility in this piece of paper than in any amount of tears washing away what was written in chalk.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And the good mail keeps on coming!

When it rains, it pours!
I snapped up this work from Juneatnoon. Last Monday. And it's here. Through customs, too. Ridiculous, right? (The shipping speed, not the work. Because it's beautiful. Even if my photograph is not.)

And a new Amy Butler pattern. But I won't be using her Love fabrics. Because I don't. Love them. They're nice enough, I guess, but they are sooooooo not me.... It'll have to wait until after the holidays, regardless, so I've got time to pick something fabulous. Probably by Amy Butler. :-)

The universe knew I needed to come home to treats this week because my car looks a little like this....
Do not wish me sympathy. It was very much my fault (after three years without so much as a speeding ticket!!). My mental capacities were diminished by the brutal violence of eight hours of video tutorials at a job I've started - but that is a factor and by no means, an excuse.

No one was injured. Minor damage to vehicles. The only thing smarting is my pride and deductible.

SO. I've poured myself a cold one (Diet Coke, that is) and am going to indulge in some jiffy cinnamon rolls while I bask in the warm glow of my beautiful postal treasures - calendars, embroidery, and the promise of future projects.

Aftah all, tomorrah is anothah day! (Cue sunrise, a swell of music, and a stubborn refusal to surrender. Which is a tad funny when you consider that failure to yield is what caused the accident.)

[Laughs. Wipes tear. Sighs.]

Monday, November 23, 2009

i heart mail

I have a thing about getting mail. Everyday there is the possibility of something wonderful. And today, it was a reality. Because I came home to this....

... from Whitney @ WhiskerGraphics.

If you would like to see an approximation of how excited I was and still am, find a five-year-old, tell him that tomorrow is his birthday and he gets to go to Disneyworld on an blue stegosaurus that is also a Transformer. (Actually, you could probably tell me the same thing to elicit that reaction. :-) Amazingly, a few months of web-logging gave me the presence of mind to grab the camera but it was agonizing not to tear into it immediately. Agonizing. (I was trained in theatre; there is a part of me that will be five-years-old for the rest of my life.)

If you haven't checked out Whitney's blog, you can find her here at Whisker Graphics, here at her etsy store, and here for her Divine Twine (seen in first photo). Not only is she talented, she's really nice.

Thank you, Whitney! I love it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Where to put the stitches...

Seems like a theme lately.

I've finished the top of what will be a protective runner along the top of an antique vanity. I've composed my pieces and seams in an arrangement that I like. I've selected my backing - part of an old sheet that has been in my family for years before it fell victim to my scissors as I try to make each thread of it new again. And I thought very carefully about what to put on the inside. You won't see it in the finished product but what's inside something always affects how the outside turns out. I've layered them all and now comes the question of how to stitch all the elements in place. It will either bring out the best in the top or highlight the flaws. But the stitches are what hold the whole thing together and I don't want to take that too lightly.

This isn't really about a runner. :-) It's about making my own pieces fit. About being choosy about who I am inside. About finding the right stitches to pull it all together. Or maybe I'm waxing poetic about quilting as a metaphor. A little pretension on a Saturday night hasn't killed me yet :-)

"Life has its ups and downs, " she sighed, staring at the fabric collage that had become her own existential dilemma. "What would Neitzsche say?"....

(Sorry, I just Kant help myself - heehee)

I think I've made some major life decisions this week. I'm not quite ready to share what they are yet so I'm leaving in the safety pins until I'm sure about the stitching. (Although, I can tell you right now that deciding to take pictures early enough in the day to catch natural light so my photos aren't so.... so.... what's a word that means "lame" but isn't "lame" because "lame" is a lame word?) :-)

In the world word war department, I used "disparaging" in conversation this week and was told to speak english. :-| (Please join me in a collective head shake.)

And in the small victories department, I had my first Etsy sale today. And that, like making major life decisions, feels pretty darn good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Soothing Rhythms

Either we're expecting an insane amount of snow tomorrow or I'm (not-so) quietly losing my mind. :-)

Anxiety is not a word that enters my frame of reference often. But occasionally, that clutching feeling begins to grab in my chest. I've experienced it only a handful of times in last half dozen years... It lasts a day or two and almost always precludes a major storm system moving into the area. One of the many facets of aura in a migraneur. (I actually find it strangely fascinating ... )

It's a foreign sensation - knowing rationally that nothing is wrong and yet having your body tell you that danger is imminent, that doom is impending. To have almost no control over it. (I've heard some women describe moments in pregnancy this way, too.) Such an incredible feeling of disconnect, I want to laugh. It's as though someone has stripped my semi-logical, capable consciousness and stuffed it inside the instinctual bundle of nerves that is a skittish kitten. (Then vigorously chases said kitten with a vacuum! This is why I don't do drugs. Can you imagine? :-) And my brain goes at the incorrigible speed of anxious thought.

So I grab the cutter, plow through the fabric stash and begin to break something down to its basic elements. Cut. Sew. Cut again. Sew some more. All the little messy pieces become something else. They bond. They organize. They grow into one solid beautiful whole. Press out the wrinkles. Straighten the seams. Breathe. Feel the warm, flat, neat fabric beneath your fingers. Sensory pleasures subvert the misguided instincts to flee. Creation triumphant. Therapy in stitches.

Cut. Sew. Press. Repeat as needed.

I feel so much better now. :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Shop has Opened: A Day of Photographs and Clooney

Well, after (hopefully) getting my photography sorted out and learning the technical details of etsy as I go....

I have opened up my etsy shop. ( Insert exclamations, yawns, or expressions of your choice here. I choose a "Yaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy!" in the style of one Kermit D. Frog complete with flailing arms and puppet master.)

It has been longer in coming than I had planned, what with the particularly odd couple of weeks I have had - I won't bore you with the mundanities of it all because they just aren't interesting. :-) Today, however, was devoted almost entirely to getting my little venture (venture?) up and running with a brief timeout to see The Men Who Stare At Goats. (1 [me] out of 5 of us really enjoyed it - 5 out of 5 thought it was weird.) I plan to spend the rest of the evening adding the few items I have ready to go right now.

As an aside, a preview for a movie featuring George had a woman talking to a friend about how she didn't think that way about him because he was old. All I can say is that George Clooney would have to get quite a bit older before I stopped thinking of him that way. :-) Swooney Clooney has had me since The Facts of Life....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

Like most of my generation, my grandfather served during the second World War. He wrote a little about non-combat military experiences and shared a few stories about people that he'd met but anything do with the violent core of the conflict were things he never discussed. Remembrance Day was probably the most important day of the year to him and we would all agree that it was his favourite. Never was this more apparent than the year he suffered his aneurysm. The first event occurred in the summer and took away most of his memory and physical power. The second occurred late in the fall and we all braced ourselves for the worst. He hung on quietly and then on the morning of November 11th, he died. We smiled at the date despite the loss and found a little closure while we reflected on the meaning of peace.

Later that week, my aunt discovered an envelop containing more than thirty poppy pins collected year after year. At his funeral, I can't recall a single person not wearing one.

In honour of the first Great War and the armistice signed on November 11th, 1918; of the soldiers of all nations that have served before, since and currently serving; of a history we should never forget; and of my grandfather, I'd like to share the poem written by a doctor who did not survive that first world conflict. It is still recited by school children every year on this date and the reason the poppy is the symbol of Remembrance.

In Flanders Fields
Lt.Col John McCrae, MD (1872-1918), Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Project pileup

It was a weekend of moving through things, progressing through stages but not actually getting to finish much. I'm working on inventory for the shop and a couple of experimental felting ideas. I began making some birthday and holiday gifts, which I can't describe here and now, but I need to adapt what I'm working on at any one given moment based on who's around and who's likely to show up - one doesn't want to set up a sewing zone only to have Giant Niece Dog come bounding through the garage door an hour later. She doesn't mean to charge but she does love her Auntie Carly and gets excited. She outweighs me now so I need to lower my centre of gravity before she gets within hugging range. :-)

Some projects, such as my photography project from last week, need to be restarted and will take up most of tomorrow morning. I'm hopefully wiser this time than last but as long as I learn something while doing it, it can't be a total waste. Right? Right?? (add determined in-denial smile here)

And other projects are just designed to keep your hands busy while you enjoy a little family time, renting a couple of movies, watching the last regular season game (#1 in the western division as of last night - Go Riders!) and rediscovering you each find the same things funny, even if it comes with poorly executed Vietnamese takeout and an "Is she really gone?" claws-clinging, eyes-wide walkabout with the cat once he's been coaxed out from under the bed. (Dash hates any day that contains Niece Dog. To him, she's worse than the vacuum or the sound of tinfoil... Who could blame him? Size-wise, if he were human, she's a Tyrannosaurus. Personality-wise, she's Barney, but without the purple or the strange robotic children.)

So I didn't finish a single project this weekend but I don't really mind. I needed to spend my time exactly the way I spent it.

I also need the soundtrack to Easy Virtue. "Sex Bomb" done 1920's-style will put a smile on my face for years.

Hope you had a great weekend, regardless of whether you finished anything!

"I wanna go outside but I want you to come with me....."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


That a song called "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" makes me want to shake it like a paint mixer.

I'm not a significant fan of disco - in fact, there are several songs that make me want to tear my eyes out with paperclips. (Okay, not literally, but they clearly inspire me to plumb the deepest depths of hyperbole!) However, when that song begins, I need to MOVE. If I'm at home, it becomes Face-making Mirror Mambo, the DustRag Disco and the Laundry Lambada. If on the road, the Stoplight Shimmy or the Train-Crossing Tango, the Seatbelt Samba or the Waist-up Waltz.

Instant mood-lifter. Like candy but with reverse results - as far as I know, you can't develop tooth decay or diabetes as a long-term consequence of too much dancing.

A delightful friend had an extra ticket to see the Cuban Music All-Stars tonight and invited me - she didn't want to be seat-dancing by herself. I mentioned that I had been doing that same thing all day and was only too happy to continue. I discovered at the concert that I have no rhythm (like the rest of the pasty, smiling Canadians that made up the audience) but we sure had a good time.

I shall dream of trumpets, bongos, and salsa. (Or disco balls and Andy Garcia... who knows?)

Do you have a bust-out trigger song?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy breeds Happy so Strike a Pose

I received word this morning from Whitney at Whisker Graphics that her mittens had arrived. So now I can share...

I asked Whitney for some of her favourite colours and wasn't particularly surprised by her list - if you read her blog, you would not have been surprised by it either. Graphic designers have such an eye for colour!

You can read about the arrival and Whitney's reaction HERE. The fact that my mittens inspired modeling a la Madonna pleases me to no end! She is happy which makes me happy: it is contagious and infectious so I hope they never develop a vaccine for THAT. (although, knowing Glaxo and all those other pharmaceutical giants that make a fortune off of antidepressants, I'm sure at some point, they'll try. After all, they're halfway there with their commercials - who can watch one of those without getting bummed out?? Melancholy chords and grayed out images of deeply sad people usurp your screen and then they ask if you experience any symptoms of depression....Sheesh.)

If to vogue would make you happy today, by all means, do it. Strike a Pose!! (Fight the corporate system - heehee)

In other news that would make me happy, I hope to have the CitricSugar etsy shop open by the end of the week.... :-)