Monday, 26 December 2011

2012

When I work graveyard shifts, sometimes the telly is the only thing that keeps me awake through the long slow hours. And I watch some pretty odd stuff, since late night programming is rather deplorable when it comes to quality. Lately, midnight shifts are all I've worked, and due to Christmas, the shows are even more spotty than usual. 

The other night there was show that actually perked my interest quite a lot and I found I was watching it despite myself and my usual urge to ignore the telly (used only for the sound to keep me awake). It spoke about the 21 December 2012 prophecy.

Do I believe the world will end on that day? No.

However, I am intrigued by the evidence they cited of natural disasters and global issues that are all occurring as the prophecy detailed. Specifically, one of the researchers on the show spoke about how NASA is tracking solar flares and the predicted worst storms, as far as they can tell, are set to hit sometime in late 2012, and could potentially knock out all power systems for days to weeks. 

Being from rural Alaska, black-outs don't scare me. I'm so used to them by now; in fact, I love them, always have. But they mentioned that this sort of lapse in technology could mean the loss of food transportation, or shipping in general. And as they bought up repeatedly, how many people have alternative means of living, let alone knowledge of any sort of survival skills? Do you know where to get fresh water if it's not coming from your tap? Alaska would be in terrible danger of starvation since we depend so much on shipping for our daily food. They even visited Alaska during the show to talk about the state, how in some ways we are the most prepared for disaster (think of the earthquakes, the tsunami, the volcanos, the winter storms, etc) and yet in other ways, the worst due to our inability to grow a wide variety of food staples, or to support our population size on our limited agricultural resources. 

Something else they mentioned, as a nationwide problem? Most people don't have stockpiles. Most people don't have emergency kits. I found that out when I was in New York. There is a level of readiness for disaster that I grew up with that is sadly lacking in most parts of the country. No one there had car First-Aid kits, or carried water and blankets and MRE. (Something I wouldn't be caught without up here in the Great Frozen Unpredictable North.)

I honestly believe I could easily survive a week or two before really starting to have issues, and that would be mostly due to supplies which cannot be found in Alaska. The rest of the country though doesn't have the excuse that we have- the inability to grow as much food due to short seasons. 

So, in the end, this show has inspired me to not only do more research on what to do in case of emergencies, but also to learn more about how to can, preserve, and survive without modern conveniences.

Are you prepared, whether in 2012 or 2020, if disaster strikes? How do you go about making sure you can survive whatever comes your way?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Reclaiming Wonder

This Christmas, don’t just do something, stand there | LifeSiteNews.com

Here's an interesting article that I found, all about reminding us how to find the wonder in Christmas that seems to be so sadly lost once people grow up.

I hope your day is going well, full of light and hope.

-Linden

Merry Christmas Eve!



Merry Christmas to all! May your day be blessed, bright and beautiful.

Love and light,
Linden

Friday, 23 December 2011

Echoes of Olden Christmas

A year or so ago, I remember listening to the lovely A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas. While I may or may not like Thomas as a person, his poetry and work he did during the second World War always fascinated me.

Somehow, this makes it feel more like Christmas.



Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Sweet Baby Jesus


I don't have a creche of my own this year, which is a little sad and feels a bit odd. However, I do have these figurines I was given a year ago. The other day, the sun burst through the windows and fell upon them, sitting on the edge of the organ.

Truly, Christ is He for whom we wait during Advent, He for whom we celebrate during Christmas, and also He who brings the light of Epiphany.

Happy fourth week of Advent!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

In Honour of Life

I normally try to stay away from talking about politics, because that's the fastest way to get in an unending argument.

However, I have to share this story I read just this morning. If you believe in prayer, please add this man to your prayers today. If not, remember and honour in your thoughts today the work he does in support of life. And also think of those who brave the government to go and help this man.



Here is the video story as well, which is well worth a watch.

Way to go, Batman.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Light from Light

Today I meant to be productive. I got off work at eight, went to the office for a half hour and then on to morning Mass. After that, I was intending to go to Winterwold and sleep for several hours.

Alas, the plans of mice and men oft go awry... as Burns constantly reminds me. Instead, when I went to the office I discovered I had several hours of training this afternoon. So instead of home and sleep, I went to training and then on to hunting down candles for my Advent wreath. At last, after quite a while of searching, I discovered some and headed back to Winterwold.

By this time, it was later in the evening and so I merely ate a small dinner, practiced a bit of music and left again for choir rehearsal.

It was a beautiful night to drive- the snow swirling reminded me of how when I was about four I thought shooting stars must look.

Finally, I got to come home and set up my Advent wreath. It really does something to my heart to see the three purple and one pink candle set on the table.

But that's as productive as I got all day. So now, it's off to bed and I'll get around to cleaning and cooking and such in the morning, as I have no where to go all day.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Poinsettia

Last year I posted a photo of a poinsettia, right around this time, I think. But this year, I have another poinsettia photo, and this one is my very own plant. I'm very happy with this bright little fellow, who is using his cheery bracts to brighten the otherwise very neutral coloured sitting and dining room of Winterwold- my home for the winter. 


It was this plant that made me realize I take after my mother a bit- the house had so little colour that some of the first things I bought were bright red: A Christmassy tablecloth to cover the dark wood table, a pair of scarlet candles to rest in my crystal candlesticks on said table, and then, this happy poinsettia. 

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here...

... which is good because yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

And the North Winds Blow

Yesterday I was in OldTown for choir rehearsal, and while there, the winds began to really blow hard. By the time I was done there, I'd forgotten about it all. My head was full of parts and descants and high notes and Christmas carols to think about the weather outside.

However, the moment I stepped out the door, I realized that although it's hardly appropriate for singing in church, the most appropriate song for the weather was Let It Snow. It's very obvious that winter has descended and that it's only a little over a month until Christmas. I love this time of year, although none of us were expecting it to get this cold this fast.

This morning, our electricity was out, and not just were I live, but also all over the upper peninsula. The winds had picked up during the night, gusting up to 66 miles an hour. (That's over 100 kilometers.) And it's only supposed to get worse over the next few days. That means it's going to be awful cold tonight when I get off work, which only makes me more thankful for the good heater system in my car, along with the seat warmer.

I think it's time to break out the heavy knit hats and thick gloves and winter scarves. I'm going to have to go through my racks to find those in the morning. Also, it's the time for piping hot tea (just a degree above the right temperature makes for a perfect cuppa), hot cocoa, coffee and chai.

Mhm, I love this time of year.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Stable

So, sitting in the cafe, I barely ever register the music that plays quietly in the background. However, today, I was ecstatic because they had a playlist which included Mumford & Sons.

Then, a song came on with a singer I didn't recognize. And I just loved it.

I ran over to the barista and breathlessly asked her who it was. She looked at me bemusedly. "I would have thought of all people you'd know of him; it's just such you music."

I admitted I didn't know him, but that it was indeed just my type of music. So now, I've been listening to all of his music I can find on youtube.



And this is the song that introduced me to him- give him a listen. It's just so calming and peaceful.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Music Heights

Mhm. I love Emily Bronte.

And it turns out that they are making another film adaptation of Wuthering Heights.

I was excited to see a short video for it, I'm trying not to read too much about it so that I can be surprised. Hopefully not in the bad way.



And then I found out that the music in the video is by none other than my favourite band.

Happiness on a cloudy day? Yes, I think so.

Friday, 11 November 2011

On My Mind...



This week, I have my new car on my mind- Rory, the 2006 VW Jetta. 
My old van was becoming very unreliable: not starting properly, stalling, and using gas like you wouldn't believe. Anyways, as of last Friday, I became the owner of this new (to me) car. It's the first time I've owned anything this small, and I have to say, it's a little nervewracking. But there are many perks to the car, and so I'm loving it so far. 
What's on your mind today?
This is a Friday photo feature that anyone with a blog can join. To take part, post a photo on your own blog, write a short caption explaining it, and link it back to here from your blog by saying you're part of "On my mind". Please write a new post, don't link to an older one. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Priorities and Procrastination

You know, I often use the excuse of being too busy to not blog.

But here I am, on day ten of November, sitting at almost 15,000 words on my novel I'm writing for NaNoWriMo.

Priorities, I guess you might call them. Maybe it's because I just don't know what to say that would interest anyone. Maybe because my life just seems to be work and sleep these days.

But there is more to it than just work and sleep. I am writing. I am knitting (even if it's been awhile since I actually finished anything). I'm listening to music; well, I'm listening to Adele on repeat since those are the CDs in my car. I'm involved in several ministries in my parish.

I am planning on writing about these things in the days to come. It should hopefully return me to the rhythm of writing. And this time, I hope, I shan't procrastinate until December.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

November and Musing

Mhm, it's been a while. I couldn't think of much to say for October. I main just spent time at work and did nothing else.

I'm hoping November will be different- full of knitting, novelling (I'm taking part in NaNoWriMo, for those wondering what's taken up all my time), and reading. I'm still working, but only scheduled for 40 hours a week. 

Lots of things are on my mind though- cars and life and church and trying to figure out what it is I want to do in the year ahead. Most people do that a few days before January first, don't they? Well, maybe it's because my own birthday is so close to that (I'm under four weeks now, until I'm 21) so I do it a month or two early every year. 

Not being in school is actually nice, I don't have that to take up my thoughts on top of everything else. 

In other news, we got snow in the last week, and that's exciting. Of course, it makes driving very interesting at times, especially when I'm going to work at midnight. But hey- it's beginning to look like Christmas out there. And gives me a great excuse to listen to Christmas music, right?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Monday, 3 October 2011

Space to Breathe

September was a busy month for me, as evidenced by no posts whatsoever happening during the whole month. I worked and slept and knit and read, but seemed to have no time for the world of blogs- writing or reading.

But this month, I want to take some time to recollect my thoughts and find the space to breathe again. As I am practicing singing now with a wonderful lady who teaches in one of the local schools, I am reminded of how important it is to just breathe, and breathe properly and take time to relax and forget the bustle of every other part of my life. 

This month is also shaping up to be busy with work, but perhaps I'm becoming a little better at learning to balance my time. I can't spend every moment worried about my job and finances; I need to remember that quiet can be found in the midst of all of that. Even if it is caught while driving to and from work. 

Here's to hoping to being a bit more regular in both reading and writing blogs. 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

First Socks

After several years of knitting now, I finally ventured into the land of socks recently...


I'm rather pleased with the result. And so are my feet as the thermometer is dropping nearly daily.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Model A

The other day, a gentleman came over to discuss some business things with my father. And he drove up in one of the coolest of all vintage cars- the Model A. Can you imagine my excitement? Mum wanted to do a Bonnie and Clyde pose, but they weren't in the right clothes, and the Model A wasn't black... so it didn't happen. But still, this man allowed me to take photos.


Model A: just about my dream car. Even has an engine that I could manage to work on and not feel like it will explode on me the next time I start up the car.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Wise Old Owl

Look who was perched on our power line post tonight! It's rare for us to see one of these in the daylight, of course, and rare in our neighbourhood as well. 


I was on the phone with a friend when my father called me upstairs to take a look at this fine old fellow. And he very nicely posed for us!


Monday, 22 August 2011

Autumnal Rains

They've come again, lashing down on us and promising the onslaught of autumn.

Yes, I'm talking about rain. Not light drizzles; no, I mean soaking rain. The kind that drenches you if you're out in it for a few minutes. Most of the time, we don't get it this heavy. But today, the heaven's have decided to let loose the deluge.

And guess who was taking about a 9k walk when it started this afternoon? I was a little over half way done when it came down. And it wasn't a slow start either, one moment was sunny, then three minutes later, I had water streaming down my forehead and my hair was completely wet.

It was actually fun running 4k in the rain, even though my feet were very cold (I was barefoot) and my arms were not appreciating the lack of a jacket. When I got back to the house, I dried off and changed, and looked out on the beauty of the rain.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Reverse Thrifting

Over the last few days I've been doing a task I'm really terrible at- weeding through my closet and dresser and getting rid of the clothes that should have been thrown away long long ago. And then I started in on the pile that will be turned into other projects. (Which I find is nicely labeled as "up-cycling". It's like a pat on the back for my hoarder self.)

And then there is the bags that shall be donated to Bishop's Attic, our local thrift store. Which, oddly enough, is where I likely got most of them in the first place. But that was nearly a decade ago for most of them, so I don't think the ladies there will notice it very much.

I mentioned this to my mother this morning when she returned from church (I slept in, or tried to, due to having a cold the last few days and that I'm working at midnight again). This started a couple hour delve into her closet and dresser and I persuaded her to part with a good deal of clothes that she doesn't wear or that are soon to be rags; then we moved onto my father's clothes. That was a bit harder. But it felt good, in a way, to de-clutter like that. After this shocking realization, I have decided that I should do this more often. I teased them that if they hadn't worn things since before I was born, it was time for it to go.

I love to go thrifting, it's exhilarating to find some thing that is perfect for you, maybe something that you've been looking for but couldn't find for the longest time, or maybe just something you saw and suddenly realized that you really would love it even though thirty seconds ago you hadn't ever thought of it before. Well, I suppose on Tuesday, I'll find out if I like the opposite end of thrifting...

Is there even a name for that?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Paid to Have Fun

I have just discovered at work, during a day shift, that I can knit four dishcloths in around six hours, while watching Doctor Who and The Parent Trap.

And I got paid for this.

Yes indeed. This was a wonderful realization for me. Not so great a realization for my cotton yarn stash that I use to make these dishcloths. Oh well. Did I mention that this particular site I was working at happens to be across the street from the library and down the road from the craft store and the post office?

Sometimes, I think I have the best job in the world.

(Until a lamp is thrown at my head, of course. But we aren't going there.)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Mid-August Lull

I've been meaning to write, but when I come home after hours of work with a head cold and it feels like the past five days have all been repeats, it gets a bit hard to have the motivation to blog.

Not to complain about work, I'm actually enjoying myself a bit and it's not too overly stressful, most of the times. I've yet to get a stable schedule, which is a bit annoying, but I hope that settles out soon. The best part of the times when I get to work nights is that I can write and knit while I'm on shift. Of course, I still have chore and duties while I'm there, but since it's the middle of the night, I'm basically allowed to do what I like to keep myself awake.

My friends are all heading back to college, along with my brother, who was up visiting for almost three weeks. It's a bit weird knowing that he's going into his last year, which I could be too, when all I've got done is two years. And I won't be in school in two weeks like the rest of them- I'll just be working and writing and saving money for my England trip. That's still in the works, and Kaitlyn and I have it pretty well planned out. London, watch out.

I'm looking into the idea of learning the banjo and dobro this year. It'll replace the crochet and needlework on my earlier plans from last month. Somehow random string instruments are a lot more enticing than crafts that require only one needle. I'm a goose, I know.

Anyways, I better get out the door and on to work, and I'll blog again soon.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Britannia Prevails

In light of the recent riots in Britain, a lot of my English friends have been very discouraged at the state of their nation. One of them commented in an email that it was terrible that a country stereotyped as reserved and calm could demonstrate such wild senseless violence.

Then, this morning, I read an article regarding the "clean up" movement with hundreds of volunteers taking to the street armed with brooms.

No matter what seems to happen to her, Britain always seems to have civility triumph in times of unrest. Look at how the people came to together during the blitz, not to mention the rest of the war. Look at them now.

And that is just one of the reasons why I really admire Britain. Please remember her people now and pray for an end to this senseless violence soon.

Edit: Here's the article I mentioned from BBC.

Things I Love About August

The raspberries have ripened in the last three days. For some reason, they always taste best when eat three seconds after you pluck them. Any ideas why that is?

So today, since my brother is home and I didn't have work and refuse to leave the house, I made my traditional summer cobbler. This time, it was with fresh raspberries and rhubarb from our front patch. It smells absolutely delicious as it is currently cooling on the counter.

Mum is making halusky- my brother's favourite Slovak meal of mostly potatoes, cabbage, cheese and bacon. Sounds like a boy's dream meal, doesn't it?

A neighbour called as her garden is doing so well that she and her husband couldn't possibly use all the plants that they have. After skipping across the road, I became the grateful recipient of a canvas bag full of collard greens and turnip tops, plus another bag of bok choy greens. This makes me incredibly happy; it means lovely breakfasts (or rather early dinners/snacks when I return home from work the next few days) of fried greens and hopefully eggs and buttered toast and bacon. 

The sun was out- a rare occurrence for August in Alaska, but welcome anyways. It hasn't rained all day, and promises to continue that most welcome of trends. I walked about three miles or so this morning, waltzing with butterflies and dragonflies and twirling with the autumn flowers in the wind. The leaves are still green, so I was unable to dance with them as well. But the trees swayed and sang to me anyways, and I found I could walk a mile in 12 minutes- a new record for a leisurely walk for me. Later in the afternoon, I walked up to check our mail, and returned by a route through the field: it hasn't been mowed yet, so the grass was up to above my waist. 

If only more days could be like this...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Early Mornings

Today is my day off for the week. And of course, since that means I can sleep in, I woke up every half hour from 3 A.M. onwards. At five I gave up and walked outside for a little bit.

It's strange how the world is so hushed at that time of the day. Up here, it's light out still, seeing as it's summer and it won't get really dark for a few more weeks when we head into Autumn. Our neighbourhood is a quiet rural street, so we almost never have the sounds of traffic to bother us, especially not in these early hours.

The grass was wet, and the hay field was only making the slightest whispering sounds. Since the grass is so tall there, my feet didn't feel like I was walking on needles while threading my way along the edge of the field.

Birds were singing softly in the trees, and squirrels were bustling about and staring at me with those dark eyes, wondering if I was there to throw rocks at them or to give them food. (No, I do NOT throw rocks at squirrels, ever. I name them and feed them, much to my mother's dismay. Winston and Nutkin are getting rather cheeky.)

I have never been a morning person. I'm a night owl, in every way possible. Usually, if I'm seeing dawn it's because I stayed up until those hours, not because I woke up willingly. I don't think I'll ever really be a morning person, just because I spend the rest of the day exhausted when I wake early.

But just recently, I have finally discovered the wonder of the early morning, when you're the only one around to see it. No noise, no disturbance. Just the soft colours rinsing the world of the grime of yesterday and the shadows of night.

As Anne says, "Tomorrow's always fresh, with no mistakes in it... yet."

Now, the light is a bit stronger, and I think I'm going back to bed for a bit. My feet are damp from the dew, and that makes them a little cold. And besides, it is Sunday and I don't have to get up for hours more.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Something Beautiful

There's something beautiful in the quiet moments of morning when I awake at 5 a.m. and my parents are still in bed and I have that last cup of coffee from the night before out on our deck with the birds and squirrels and the grey dawn.

There's something beautiful in the drive to work with the golden sunlight streaming onto my arms and face while I sing whatever folk songs are on the tip of my tongue.

There's something beautiful in the rain dances with my patients, with their pleased laughter and happy, rain-spattered faces.

There's something beautiful in the way the trees whisper in the wind that brushes over the tall soon-to-be-mowed hay as I take a gentle evening walk through them after long hours of work.

There's something beautiful in the cups of tea while reading blogs and listening to English folk music and relaxing before going to bed.

There's something beautiful about hearing of the new blessings and adventures of dear friends.

There's something beautiful to waking up and doing this again the next morning.

There's just something beautiful if I stop long enough to see it. To think about it. To be thankful for it. To allow grace to colour the world I see.

There's something beautiful...

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Wrote and the Writ

The song of the weekend seems to be Johnny Flynn's "The Wrote and the Writ". So catchy and gentle, I just want it to play over and over again.



Why on earthy aren't there more crooners making music these days? Especially English crooners.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Rugby


Saturday, after getting off work, I headed over to a rugby match to see the lovely Kaitlyn. Yes, that's right: Rugby in Alaska. Who would have thought? She had texted me saying she'd be there, and so I followed her directions, and had the most lovely afternoon.


And reaffirmed my love of rugby. Yes, elegant violence. 
So much fun to sit there and cheer, and shout, and generally yell and support what I suppose is now my team- which I never knew was around here until Saturday afternoon. I had a blast, and am definitely going to their last game of the season in three weeks.

A megaphone to yell at them may or may not be going with me. :)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Knit One, Breathe One, Knit Two Together

It's been a week. A long week, it seems, at least to me. I've been working, which is nice, and knitting, which is wonderful.

It's been a week of sorting out ideas of how to make it through the next year. What to do with the time that I'm not in school. What do I need to save for, and what is important to me. Whether or not to look for a new vehicle with better mileage. Whether or not to throw away those random things I've kept for years in my desk or closet. Whether or not to rip out seven inches of knitting on a hat to redo the brim because I'm not sure I like the way my pattern is turning out. (Well, that's my own fault, I chose to not follow a written pattern and make it off the cuff.)

Okay, so maybe that last one isn't so drastically important. But right now, it's just one of those things that keeps me going through my time of questioning everything in my life. Examining to find what I really need, what I want, where I'm going with it all. I'm young, and where I steer myself now will largely decide my future.

Knitting helps when I feel overwhelmed. When I'm tired. When I need to stop thinking of all the huge things that I really don't have much control over at this point in time.

What helps you get through times like these? (Or, maybe the question I should ask really ought to be: does anyone else ever have these times, or is it just me?)

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Beyond All Praising



I think I should remember to sing this throughout my day, and over the next few months of changing paces.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Making Some Hazy Plans

Following yesterday's disappointment of learning that I'm not going to be in school- which was more of a blow to me than I think I made it sound- I've been spending a good deal of today thinking over the things I'll fill my time with instead of studying for classes and exams.
  • Work - Full time, over time, you know- earn money and hopefully save up a bit so that I can...
  • Travel to Britain to see lovely Kaitlyn
  • Pay off school loans and other bills
  • Perhaps get another vehicle
  • Pay for my growing crafting habits
  • Learn to crochet, finally. Even if it kills me. Well- maybe not to that extent.
  • Sew more. I mean it this time. Really. 
  • Learning needlework. Rather like crochet- even if it kills me. (Did you notice my sanctimonious nod with that?)
  • Go hiking/walking/biking/skiing more. 
  • Read more books. (If I work night shifts, this should be easy as pie. Although I'm not so sure what's easy about pie. Anyways.)
  • Write more. Poetry, novels, etc. 
  • Blog more.
Oh. I said it. The terrible words. I've been a rather unfaithful blogger for far too long. But I promise to try to do better now. Be regular and take photos and do interesting things to actually blog about. 

Friday, 1 July 2011

Half Way

Well, today marks the first day of the second half of the year. It's a little odd to think that the year's half done already.

What happened to all my plans for the year? I'm so far behind on my "I'd like to..." list that I'm really glad I never set myself New Year's Resolutions.

Also, as it's half way point, it is the beginning of a new fiscal year. Which meant that yesterday was the deadline for certain forms for grants so that I can go to school next semester. And come to find out, the forms I filed in February were never received, meaning that no matter what forms I do now, it's too late for any grants. Yes, this means I'm not going to be in school in the fall, and will have to work full time to pay back loans I had in New York.

Upside? Next spring, I'm planning a month long bash around Britain. Yep. I think it may make up for this temporary upset just a little bit. At least half way.

To all my dear readers and friends out there, happy half way through this year. Let's make the second half a good one. :)

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Motley Tea


Recently, I had the lovely chance to have tea at a cafe where they collect various pieces of tea china- one cup/saucer and teapot of each pattern. Over the years, as pieces break, they've gathered a wonderful motley collection of tea things.


And I got to be the first to ever use this new set just in from England. How special is that?

Thursday, 16 June 2011

On My Mind


It's been a rainy and chilly summer so far here in the North. The perfect sort of weather for multiple bowls of warm rice pudding.

Head over to Rhonda's Down-To-Earth for more On My Mind posts.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Belle












Happy ninth birthday to my favourite person in the world. Love you, Belle.


After all this time... my heart can still break for you.

Friday, 10 June 2011

"That Life Exists, and Identity"

O ME! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

--- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Thursday, 9 June 2011

On My Mind...


On my mind... reading through Charlotte Mason's books. Some interesting ideas in there about children. Some are obviously outdated, others are gems.

My mother read this book when I was little- it was one of the ways that she approached educating Theophilus and I. I'd read parts of it several years, but this is the first time I've sat down and really read them seriously.

Check out more On My Mind posts here.

What A Beautiful Morning

This morning started quite badly with a wrong number text at 5:30, and then yours truly couldn't get back to sleep. Considering the amounts of sleep I've been getting this week, I was really looking forward to sleeping until at least eight this morning.

Ah well. I woke up fully, took a cool shower, and then warmed up the last of the rice pudding from last night. Not the most nutrious of breakfasts, to be sure, but still quite lovely and delicous. As it was in the saucepan, I found the electric kettle and finally figured out how it works (I'm feeling very accomplished- this was all at the wee hours of 6 in the morning, an hour of the day that rarely sees me awake).

With breakfast warming and tea steeping, I stepped out on the backdeck and surprised a bunch of butterflies from the bushes in the back yard. The robins were hopping around on the lawn, and after watering the tomatoes, I decided to eat my breakfast out of doors.

Well, I had my breakfast with the wild things today, serenaded by nuthatches and Judy Collins, whilst knitting and reading Charlotte Mason. Of course, now I'm out of cherry almond tea, but I think it was well worth it for the sort of morning I got to enjoy.

Now I just need to get ready for a day of seeing my doctor, going to more work training, and then, back to this house again for maybe a few hours of knitting and reading this evening. No matter what happens today though, at least I can say that I've had an absolutely beautiful morning.

Dawn has it's own sort of loveliness that I've somehow missed all these years. I think maybe getting up early isn't so bad as I remembered from my childhood.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A Pudding Ending to a Pretty Good Day

Today was spent at training for a new job- taking care of those in need of assistance so that they can live fulfilling and comfortable lives without leaving their homes. It was long, but interesting for the most part.

When I returned to the house where I'm staying for the week, I spent a while knitting and reading. Dad came by and we talked for a long while, and after he left, I made myself a whole pot of rice pudding to go with my pork steak and pasta.

Mhm, this has been a lovely week so far. Maybe soon I can share some quotes from the book, and photos of the knitting. However, I'm fast approaching a tea crisis as I'm almost through with the stash I brought with me. Thank heavens for home on Saturday to replenish.

Now, to finish off my day with rice pudding and then to sleep!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Because You Just Never Know

Today, I visited a coffee shop in Kenai. It's not the one I'm usually at, but I go there on occasion, for music and for tea. I know the employees, and it's quite picturesque: high on the bluff overlooking the inlet, surrounded by flowers, and with the Russian part of town surrounding.

I'd never been there alone before, and found it rather interesting, especially with the international tourists who sat at the tables around me.

There were four Germans, who had hiked some glaciers yesterday, and come into town this morning. (I picked this up through accidental eavesdropping- they spoke in German, and I understood enough to follow without realizing it until one of the baristas pointed out she couldn't understand a word they were saying.) One of them photographed me, apparently thinking that a girl knitting and reading while drinking tea would make a lovely subject for a watercolour he had in mind. It was rather flattering.

I met an Englishman- an ethnomusicologist. We had a fascinating conversation regarding English folkmusic (I'm a huge folk music fan, especially as regards England...) We shared tea, Bert Jansch, Fairport Convention and one of his scones.

At the very end, most of the people had left, and I sat in my corner, nursing the last sips of tea and knitting a bassinet coverlet for a friend of mine. In walked a trio from Anchorage, and one of the ladies made a bee-line to my corner. Turns out she's a travelling nurse who loves to knit. We spent a few minutes discussing knitting and yarn stores in Alaska (sadly, not many) and projects. Next thing I knew, I had a new contact on ravelry. As she left, she wished me luck with my knitting.

The barista who was cleaning the table just smiled and turned to me. "In a coffeeshop like this, you just never know who you'll meet next."

Mhm. That's why I love coffeeshops. Because you just never know.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Scone


Yesterday, one of the baristas gifted me with a scone, in honour of my half birthday. It was all gooey with blueberry and cherry jelly. And after this photo was taken, it was dripping with whipped cream and lemon curd.

Happy thought.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Rainy Sunday

It's been a rather wet and windy June Sunday here in the far North. It's quite cold for the middle of summer, reaching perhaps 10C at the warmest moments.

It was type of day that makes you grateful for cuddly blankets and hot cups of cranberry raspberry tea. The ideal kind for knitting and listening to gentle folk songs. 

The sort of day that makes the perfect setting for a hot glazed pork roast with baked onions and potatoes and carrots.


Those quiet June Sundays when the parents are either at work or asleep. Those lovely wild days for thoughts and dreams and happy sighs.

I do love the sun, but sometimes, my soul just needs a nice rainy Sunday.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Waltzing with Bears

As a young child, I heard this song.

I've heard it again and again over the years.

It's the song of happy memories, multiple cafe concerts, and two of my favourite musicians have promised to play it at my wedding (should I get married) for my first waltz.



Not that I ever had an Uncle Walter.

But still, if I had, I think I wouldn't mind it if he went waltzing with bears.

Monday, 23 May 2011

See The Girl Dance

Dance, dance,
feel it all around you
Dance, dance, dance,
Mississippi mud
never touched her fingers.
See the girl dance...
See the girl dance.


So nice to see one of my favourite musical groups covering one of my favourite songs from another favourite musician. 

Here's a 1971 version of Neil Young singing it: Dance, Dance

Oddly enough, I think I like the new sound even better. The blending of voices (and Mumford's lower lead vocals) just makes me want to actually dance to it. 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday, Mum, dear. I love you.

I hope you have a lovely and wonderful year, and things start to brighten for you soon.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Time to Say...

... Goodbye, Holly, dear, and I hope you have the best of times as a war-time bride, heading off to join your dear husband. You will be missed, but I look forward to your return.


Keep on smiling, for all of us.

Monday, 16 May 2011

My Blog's a Toddler!

Yes, this blog has now hit it's third birthday, if blogs have birthdays.

Weird to think that I've had this for three years. This past year hasn't been too great on posting regularly. Maybe it's the whole learning to walk and talk at the same time: blog and school and work and all that. Oh, alright: walk, talk and eat.


Yep. Definitely a toddler. 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Melting Snow

I mentioned before how spring is starting to hint that she'll be arriving soon. 


I saw evidence of this when I saw melting snow atop a fallen tree on one of my walks. Don't they look just a bit like elephants walking at each other in single file?


The hours of sunlight are increasing, and the long light and shadows of early evening make everything seem like it's just about to burst into real spring; the kind with flowers and leaves and mud and puddles and birdsong and RVs and half-crazed Alaskans coming out of winter hibernation.


And soon the woods will be clear of snow and I can run barefoot without my mother getting upset with me.

Breaking Into Break

Yes, I realise that I did not blog during my spring break at all. Not even once. It went well, and I took some photos and did fun things like  binge on some great oldies and folk tunes. 

That was brought about by how I spent the first Saturday evening of my spring break... 


Mum and I headed over to Kenai for an evening of music.


No classical stuff here, just folk, bluegrass, and rock and roll... on guitar and fiddle.


With tea, because tea helps everything, doesn't it?


Hm, I wonder how many tunes those fingers know?


I love this pair. I wrote about their wedding almost three years ago, and since them have enjoyed even more music and time with them.


Isn't this teapot just lovely?

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Remnants of the Past

In the homestead community where I grew up, there is an old school house. I don't remember exactly when it was built. I think it was the late fifties? Anyways, I have very fond memories of playing there as a child- it had a metal merry-go-round out back, along with some rickety monkey bars and a sand pit and a field for baseball. (And just next to it was the new school that was built in the eighties or something like that.) It was made into the community centre a few years back, and about a year ago, the old post office building was moved to the same property. 

Recently, as I drove by the school, I noticed that they had moved the buildings, as the old foundations needed some work so the buildings wouldn't collapse. 

 

There isn't much "community", per se, to be found here. And I don't think they'll make it to the goal of having a "Sterling Museum" by this summer. However, there's quite a bit of sentiment for this old building for the old time homesteaders. The first post office was actually in someone's living room - I actually know the woman whose parents ran it. That house burnt down at some point, and this one was built. Now we have a fairly modern one, about as old as my brother, and this one is definitely in need of some renovation...


I love the old slatting though, and the wall sconce. This really does look like some of the old cabins I've seen, and rather reminded me of the house that I grew up in, and then later burnt. (A story that maybe one day, I'll go into on here...) Admittedly however, our cabin wasn't as nicely finished as this and had no slatting inside.


They had to board up the doors to keep bored teenagers from doing any damage to the already dilapidated and floorless post office. However, I'm skinny and got in through the little gap between the walls and the ground. 


And here's the windows to the school. I found it sad that the post office had lost it windows, when the school managed to keep the ones that were put in back in the seventies. I suppose some of the windows need a bit of repair since frost was forming between the panes. But they are just so lovely, and I can't imagine that it would look quite right if they were replaced.


I just have to wonder if the school's had a paint job in the last forty years...


It's kept locked most of the time, but I still remember the inside well enough from my childhood. I love the look of the whitewashed door against the untreated logs though. (We didn't have a whitewashed door to our old home, but the hinge was beautifully made and I loved it even better...)


I left the school feeling rather nostalgic for my own childhood, and the childhoods of those people who attended lessons in this schoolhouse, some of them I know, others will always just be the memory of the scratched initials in the trees or the out-house or the logs (if you know where to look.)

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Day of Ashes

Today was Ash Wednesday here in America- and it was quite lovely too!

I couldn't fast through the day or I would have been very faint by noon, but I suppose it's the heart that matters, not my stomach.

Since today was also the first day of Lent, it is the traditional Old English first day of spring, which I'd forgotten when I posted yesterday. Ah, well, good timing. :)

And today while at work, a friend gave me a bright daffodil to cheer up my (long) day at the office. Perfect timing.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Walking Into Spring

Today it was at last warm enough for me to take a walk outside without being completely bundled up! In fact, I was only wearing a summer wrap-skirt and a cotton shirt, with a summer knit jacket.

The sun was shining, it was all of 4 C out, and the wind wasn't too bad. So between my classes, I headed out for a little over an hour.

Of course, there were people who stopped (two old friends, and then one lady who is my coworker at college) to see if I needed a ride, but most people saw a girl with a camera and just drive right on by.

There's just something so refreshing about that first walk that tells you that:
Yes, spring really is coming. 
We are nearly out of the dark.
Just wait a few more weeks.
The sun will be out and the snow will be leaving.
Leaves will start showing.
Birds will be coming back for the summer.

Friday, 4 March 2011

On My Mind on 4 March...

I was planning on writing this post much earlier to go with Rhonda's On My Mind posts, but was kept busy with baking cookies and phone calls with Theophilus. So, I've had a lot on my mind recently... and one of those things has been my hair. 

That sounds rather self-centred, but honestly, everyone was complaining to me how dull it looked and how, for it being one of my nicest features, I never did anything with it.

I changed that last night when I dyed it a light strawberry blond. (Not that it looks much different as my hair is naturally golden with a few red highlights in it anyways.)

And then after that, on another whim, I had Mum give me a fringe as inspired by Laura Marling... 


I'm loving the new look. It's been almost eleven years since the last time I had fringe, and I think it fits me right now. Sometime soon, maybe I'll get a better photo than one taken after midnight. :)

Monday, 28 February 2011

Towards Sustainability

After my post the other day, I remembered that I had been planning on posting more on sustainability on this blog. It's an important topic in my life, as our planet cannot continue on the destructive path it is now pursuing.

Here are a few helpful links that I've discovered recently...


As always, Rhonda Jean at Down to Earth is a wonderful inspiration and has so many helpful links, posts, and of course, her forum. (Click on the chicken!)

I almost feel like there isn't much for me to say on the subject as Rhonda has probably said whatever I am trying to say, and done it much better. I really cannot wait until her book comes out sometime soon!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sharing Felt-Art Again...

Okay, I know I mentioned Marie and her blog in my last post...

But you HAVE to pop over to her blog right now. You'll absolutely love it!

I mean... look at this! Right now, I  really want some of these to play with and sit on my desk and give me story ideas... aren't they just so adorable?

And the art she's made about the Christchurch disaster will touch your heart.
Look here... and then here...

On a less sombre note, here is what I want my child to look like if I ever have children of my own... (or if I have a girl...)

And here's what I want to look like.

If all these links don't convince you that her artwork is amazing, you're just a tough customer.

Honestly, she may be one of the most artistic people I've ever seen. I'm convinced she's a magical fairy godmother.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Need Inspiration?

If you need some artistic inspiration, for whatever reasons (papers, cleaning, chores, etc.)...

Visit the wonderfully creative and kind Marie for some light and love and beautiful felt-art from New Zealand. I think I'm in love with each piece I've seen of hers.

Or pop over to the Flutterby Patch!  I just discovered her whimsical world of dollies and North England. (Did I mention I'm an anglophile? Well, more a Commonwealth-phile...) Her post about Memory Lane and bygone childhood is absolutely lovely.

And of course, the amazing Jenny of Little Jenny Wren has long been one of my favourite bloggers, before I even began blogging nearly three years ago. Look at her Waldorf dolls, and her other lovely posts about life. :) Her dolls are works of art, and I can personally vouch for how wonderful they are, since I am the proud owner of one of her cushion dolls.

There are so many more, of course, but these three have been some of my favourites these past few days.

Friday, 25 February 2011

On My Mind...

Over at Down to Earth, she has a lovely Friday photo feature. I've been thinking about joining in for quite some time, but never have before...

But last week, when I went thrifting, I picked up two hardcase suitcases, for only $2.50 (£1.5). And don't you know, the smallest one is just perfect for carrying all the little things I need to school every day. And then I need just a small bag for a few books and my tea thermos, and I'm set. No more heavy backpacks that hurt my back, and no more stuffed book-bags that end up disfiguring my notebooks. :)


And yes, that's a new knitting project I'm planning on posting about here soon. Maybe by the time I get to that, I'll be finished with it!

Conserving Consumers

Okay, I know, the title is a contradiction of terms. But consumers can learn to conserve, can't they?

Apparently some people, according to this NY Times article, think so.

"Consumer spending has picked up, but for some Americans the recession has left something behind: a greater interest in making stuff last... 
...It is hardly the stuff of generations past, those stung by the Great Depression, who held onto antediluvian dishware and stored canned goods until rust formed on the lids. But for the moment, many citizens of a throwaway society are making fewer visits to the trash and recycling bins."
This makes me hopeful, just the littlest bit, that maybe my fellow Americans might slowly be learning than more isn't always better.

I've heard so many people, especially girls say, "if one is good, two is better." I'd like to change that.

If one is good, two is unnecessary.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Slowing Down

I have felt very run-down these last few weeks, and just haven't given myself the chance to stop. The pressure of work and classes, especially my English class, which is nearly finished, actually.

While I love the class and the work that goes with it, I will be very happy when we're finished in a few weeks. And I have a big project due in that on Tuesday next, just after a long paper due in Social Welfare the night before that.

Everyone at school seems to be getting sick these past few weeks as well, and this morning, I woke up with no voice and a swollen throat. Not quite the best way to wake up, but thankfully, I had no classes today. My boss had rescheduled me to come in on Friday anyways, so I didn't have the leave the house today.

That's right. In the middle of the week, I got to stay at home, work on papers and drink tea. It wasn't a complete break, but it was still nice. And slow. I miss days like this, and I want more like it. I don't like it when my life feels like a train rushing headlong into a wreck.

And just for kicks, I tried out a new scone recipe. I've been trying quite a few of those recently, and either I like the taste and dislike the texture of the dough, or I like the texture and the taste is just not right. Today was no different; the texture was the best I'd ever made, while the taste was more like a cross between sour-milk biscuits and dinner rolls. Edible, but not scones. Anyone have a good recipe they'd like to share?

I'd love more days spent quietly at home, with the time to try out kitchen or craft adventures. But alas, my schooling schedule isn't quite so amenable to that. Perhaps next semester shall fair better, I hope.

For now, I'm off to sleep before early morning classes strike at me again, and I delve into the world of literary analysis on the lyrics of... Mumford & Sons? Oh yes, I do love my English class...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Friday, 18 February 2011

Tea Is Best Shared

Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage. ~ Catherine Douzel

I know nothing of who this Catherine Douzel is, or why she is considered an authority about whatever it is that she is famous for, but I cannot agree more with her quote. Also, when I search for her online, all I find is this quote, so it may be that this is indeed the reason she is famous.

I suppose many people who know me have suspected, or known, that I love tea. I can hardly drink coffee these days, so tea has taken over my life. Now, I am lost if I don't have a thermos of hot tea with me at school. And if I'm at home and my teapot is empty, I am quite forlorn.

We had a kettle; we let it leak:
Our not repairing it made it worse.
We haven't had any tea for a week...
The bottom is out of the Universe. 
~ Rudyard Kipling

On Tuesday, I went thrifting, which is ever so much fun. A friend went with me for a bit, and we had a blast. However, she had to leave a bit sooner than I, and much before I made the loveliest discovery.


Of course I got it. But as I already had a teapot, I felt ever just the tiniest bit guilty. I mean, at home, we have a fancy teapot (from Russia), a white elephant teapot, an old yellow and blue teapot, and then a Chinese teapot. And my blue one - Saminda - that I got when I was in NY.

When I talked with my friend Kaitlyn that night, she mentioned that she also didn't drink coffee, although her whole family did. I asked if she liked tea, and she said that she did, but didn't drink very often because she didn't have her own teapot.

Now, Kaitlyn's quite happily settled with my thrifted teapot. I suppose I ought to go thrifting with her more often, and next time, we'll both bring along a thermos of tea.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Late-Night Cocoa

On Tuesday, I ended up having to stay in town for just about forever it seemed. Well, not exactly true, but Mum needed me to drive her home when she got off work, which was close to midnight.

So I crashed at a late-night diner and drank hot cocoa and wrote letters with an antique dip-pen and crimson ink. Lovely, yes?


I felt rather like Cassandra Mortmain from I Capture The Castle, only I had no sheepdog on a leash to warm my feet. And it was quite a bit colder out than I believe August in London would be...

And even the waitress told me that I looked just like a heroine from an some sort of English romance. I appreciated the thought. And the extra fill-ups on cocoa as I spent quite a long time there.

Monday, 14 February 2011

A Most Unusual Valentine's

Today is a day I dread. I hate things that have been overly commercialized, and commercializing love is reprehensible to me.

Also, we planned on my office hosting an open house/informational display at work. We'd never done anything like this before, and a lot of the paper-work and set up was riding on my shoulders. And my supervisor has been out of the office the last week and a half due to her son getting married. Most inconvenient timing. However, my fears were assuaged and all went exceedingly well and everyone was happy. Including me. 

But I hadn't escaped life yet.

Student Union was passing out flowers and trying to encourage people to give them to others. I quickly selected a white rose and gave it to my friend Kaitlyn. Who gave me a lovely pink rose in return.

After I got off work, I was gifted, by various others, over twenty more roses. Sweet, yet completely embarrassing to then walk into one's classroom holding an over-the-top bouquet. My teacher gave me a complete tease during class, which thankfully got out early.

Now for tea, music and going to bed before I have to get to class again early in the morning!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Obviously, not of the blog.

Nope! It's my parents' 23 wedding anniversary today!

Congratulations to one of the loveliest married couples I know....

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