Monday, January 31, 2011

Contemplative Monday

One of the most memorable, if not helpful, books I have read is by Pema Chodron.......'When Things Fall Apart'.

I read this book when life was presenting a few very difficult things to me all at once. It was a book recommended to me and I am now grateful that I took their advice. It is a book that I often go to for perspective and 'grounding'.

It is not a glossy, everything will be OK kind of book, but one that doesn't 'pull any punches' and presents real life to you.....and not on a silver platter.

“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~ Pema Chodron from When Things Fall Apart

Photos of our Dwarf Crown of Thorns (which ALWAYS blooms).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday's Selection

Today's selection is one that we have been playing all week here. The musician has been featured  here a few times. It's Yo Yo Ma.

The piece I want to share with you is called Libertango from his Soul Of The Tango CD. It features the music of Astor Piazzolla.

It's great music to slowly get moving on this Sunday morning in late January. The problem is once it is over, you'll want more!!! Don't be timid, crank 'er up!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Retro Saturday

It seems that Saturday rolls around much more quickly than other days and I fear I'll 'run out' of things to share with you. No worries today. I have a few things left from last week's thrift adventure at the Parker Street Furniture Store.

I've featured Blue Mountain Pottery before. I think I like it because it is made in Canada and there are not that many (I encourage you to prove me wrong now) pottery studios in Canada that have come to be so collectible as BMP. This vase was something I hadn't seen before, so I scooped it up for an unbelievable low price.

As you may have gathered from these 'retro' posts I love salt and peppers. Have no clue why either. They are usually so cute and tiny that I can't resist. These have no markings but I suspect they were made in Japan for the North American market.

What the heck?! No, it isn't our 25th. anniversary, we have long passed that one! This little dish with violets was so pristine and cute, well you know the rest.......

I have never seen this company before, Royal Victorian. Looked it up but couldn't find anything. Lots of Royal Victoria though.

The very retro coffee mug. I have so many of these in all colours from Jadite to pale yellow. They are the 'classic' mug that I, at least, identify with the old 'diners' and restaurants of the 50's and 60's. Very cheap to produce at the time and everyone had them.

This particular mug was made by the 'Anchor Hocking'   Glass can see the anchor in the centre.

Speaking of coffee, I haven't had my 'fix' yet (green tea of course) ! And we are off to Dad's in a few minutes to bring him lunch/dinner. I made a beef stew yesterday and it will be just what the doctor ordered on this snowy winter day in Nova Scotia.

Hope you are all having a great weekend.

Friday, January 28, 2011

For The Birds!!!!

When I started blogging I had in mind the idea of exchanging opinions and ideas. When something is going on in the world or in my community I will comment on it with the hope to 'expose' the issue/event, and thus open up a discussion. 

I can get very passionate about people's rights or lack thereof. In a democratic society like ours we ALL have a right to say whatever we have on our mind. 

I will be the first to say that this 'prophet', Cindy Jacobs, has every right to think what she wants about anything that she wants.

But, I have the right also to express my thoughts about what anyone thinks....if I agree with them and if I don't.

My husband just said that by putting this clip on a post will just perpetuate her ideas and give her some credence. Good point but in this case I don't agree.

I would agree if it was that 'lunatic' fringe of people that pickets funerals of all those who have supported gay rights. They even considered picketing the young girl's funeral in Arizona a couple of weeks ago.....the one that was supporting the Democratic congresswoman who was wounded in that shooting spree.

But this woman is not in that category in my books. She looks pretty deliberate in her display of hostility towards gays and anybody else who supports them. Her determination scared me to be quite honest.

I do think her ideas should be questioned openly in any forum available to make sure she and her followers are 'checked' on what they have to say and believe. Gays are responsible for the death of thousands of birds that fell out of the sky in Arkansas? And Bill Clinton is just as responsible because he started the whole DADT bill ?!

Makes we wonder, as it did a blogger I follow and from whom I got this clip, if she is just a 'prophet' for profit or is she for real?!

What do you think?

Who Said That Winter Doesn't Have Advantages

Every school in the province was shut down yesterday due to the weather. I thought it was kind of quiet outside in the early morning hours just after sunrise.

Usually I can hear the occasional school bus going by to pick up the first round of students. But not  yesterday. I can remember, not that long ago (about three years to be exact), when I would wake up to face another day at school.

Turn on the radio to hear that school was cancelled due to the weather or to an impending storm. Unless you are or were a teacher, you may not appreciate the thrill it was to hear that being announced.

And you thought it was just the kids jumping up and down with excitement! No! We teachers always looked forward to a break every now and then. Some may think this is not a very responsible/professional way for a teacher to think, but believe you me, we needed a break from the school routine as much as the kids did.

When you consider the day a teacher puts in.......surrounded by kids and catering to their every need, I'm talking up to 35 kids for five hours straight, it's no wonder we all need a break from each other!!

Don't get me wrong here. Most teachers LOVE what they are doing. Otherwise why would they put themselves through this on a daily basis for 195 days of the year? Nobody would or should do that to themselves unless they were very dedicated to this profession.

So yes, I was a little envious of all the teachers out there yesterday in Nova Scotia who could feel that little rush of excitement and just 'turn over' and catch a few more very deserved minutes of sleep.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Company's Coming

Yesterday we had company. My sister, Mary Elizabeth (Mim), was coming by to introduce us to her beau, Michael.

Needless to say, we were doing our typical scurrying around in the morning to make the place 'presentable'. Sophie 'manned/womanned' her station to keep an lookout for their car.

In the midst of all this, I thought it would be a good idea to bake something to go with the coffee/tea.

I decided on the old reliable 'banana loaf'....which I turned into a cake.

Got all the ingredients ready, turned on the oven, greased the pans. There, now put all this together and presto.......into the oven.

Sprinkled one with sesame seeds and the other with poppy seeds.

Since I had changed the recommended loaf pans to cake pans, I had to keep a eye on them and not over-cook them.

I tested them with a toothpick first.......came out sticky.Waited for a few more minutes. Tested again......came out dry! Good, they are ready.

Check out my Mom's Nova Scotia tartan oven mitts!

Actually, before the company arrived we had to test the 'cake' to see if it was OK. It was a little dry/over-cooked. But I knew what would help that.....some vanilla ice-cream! All set!

Sophie 'let us know' when Mim's car pulled into the driveway and off to the door she flew. She greeted them outside on the deck. And we met Michael for the first time.

Sophie immediately 'fell' for Michael! He is a 'dog' person and she knew it! She would not leave his side and made sure she was in close contact with him the whole time.

Is this LOVE or what?!

Luckily Mim is not the jealous kind, but Sophie wanted him all to herself. It was quite amusing to watch.

After a few hours of catching up on 'family' gossip and the like, they headed back to the city because of an impending storm approaching the area.

Love having company. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's COLD! How Cold, You ask ?

Let me just say that it has been very cold around here the past couple of days. Yesterday, mid-day, it was minus 27 degrees Celsius.....that would be about minus 18 degrees F.

We didn't go the beaches yesterday because it just wouldn't have been safe for both us and Sophie.

And guess what? On the coldest day of the year, yesterday, the power went out!! Yes that's right, the 'electric' was off for about 2 hours in the early afternoon. We heard later that a car accident in the nearest community, Cole Harbour, was the cause.

Back in 2003 after Hurricane Juan, we purchased a 'backup' heating system because we were without any power for a week.....luckily it was September.

The 'system' is actually just a small cast-iron stove/heater. It uses propane gas from a big tank the ones restaurants use. It is a great 'backup' to stay warm and if need be to heat up some food. 

Other than that, things here along the eastern shore of Nova Scotia are pretty calm and steady. I have been taking Dad's lunch to him an Tuesdays but a couple of weeks ago, the sibs (siblings) did a switch. Now I have Saturdays.

Speaking of Dad, he is doing very well. We thought that he could have someone staying with him on a regular basis from Monday to Friday for a few hours each day. He could use the company for sure and also it would give us some 'peace of mind' regarding his safety moving around the house on his own.

So, Ron and I, and of course Sophie, may be taking over those duties at Dad's house. He said he would rather have family there than a stranger. Between the two of us the 'chores/duties' will keep us busy and out of trouble.....I think. I can just imagine that there will be a few interesting posts generated from this experience with Dad. Will keep you all posted!

                These pics were taken recently at Point Pleasant Park in Halifax.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Contemplative Monday

"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.".....Buddha

I got this quote from Tiny Buddha.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday's Selection

Our walks at the beach lately have been very invigorating due to the wind whipping across the water! The first half of the walk is an adjustment, to say the least. The last half is not so bad......amazing how the body adjusts.

What better piece of music to dramatize winter than Chopin's "Winter Wind". The pianist is Sviatoslov Richter. This guy can really play!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Retro Saturday

My youngest brother, Laurie, is a lot like his older brother, me, in that he loves to find and collect things.......especially at a good price!

Laurie phoned me last week and said that he had just bought a number of items at a place I hadn't heard of before. It was called 'Parker Street Furniture Store'. He told me there were two of in Dartmouth and one in Halifax.

They sell more than furniture. It is all used goods from clothing to fridges and of course collectible 'goodies' which I wanted to see.

So off I went to the Dartmouth store. And here are a few of the things I found.

 I was surprised to see Royal Winton anything here. I used to collect these in this colour too and have a few, you guessed it, packed away.

I like the colour of this one and I believe it is missing a lid and was originally a sugar bowl that was part of a 'tea set'.

I saw this dessert/cake server on the way in the store under the front glass-counter. Thought it was stunning and had never seen anything like it. There are no identifying marks on it and I know nothing about it other than it was unusual. Anybody know?

Check out this very 'grandmotherly' shaker set! They are tiny....about 3 inches from spout to handle. The manager showed them to me at the check-out. She said she was going to keep them herself but if I wanted them........OK!

As you can see they were made by the 'Liverpool Rd. Pottery Ltd.' This was a company that purchased blank pieces of china and decorated them.

 The above little (4 inch diameter) dish caught my eye. It looked like it was probably from one of the Scandinavian countries. And when I looked at the back I saw that Denmark was that country.

As you can see it is a wall plate, mind you a very small one.

So I was pretty pleased to have discovered a 'new' place to shop for vintage stuff, thanks to my brother.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Message Just In.........

I just received this message from 'The Universe' today, thought I would pass it on to you all:

By the way, Jim, the Law of Happy states that your happiest days ever, still lie before you.

Let me hear ya, "Whooohoooo!" and pass it on. 

You're so good for me, 
    The Universe

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts......

Yesterday Ron and I had back-to-back appointments with our Acupuncturist, Terry. We each had a couple of minor, but irritating, things we wanted to discuss with her, hoping she could help with them.

We have been seeing Terry for close to ten years now. My sister, Jo-Ann, recommended her to us after Terry had helped her. Terry was also a nurse for a number of years.

We look at Terry's services as a compliment to what our medical doctor has to offer. Depending on the issue, we will usually see both and compare what each has recommended, then go from there.

Sometimes we get better results from what Terry recommends and it usually doesn't involve drugs/medications. She is not against medications per say and recognizes that they sometimes have a very important role to play in one's treatment or recovery. And sometimes not.

For example, I am taking a medication to reduce my LDL (bad cholesterol). It is a very potent drug and causes a depletion of a certain enzyme. My doctor(s) didn't tell me about this. Terry did. She recommended a supplement with this enzyme in it to keep the levels up. I ran this by both my GP and specialist. They had heard about this depletion but didn't think it should be of concern. I chose to take Terry's advice.

In doing acupuncture, Terry uses both the needles and auricular (ear) seeds. She places/sticks tiny seeds on certain meridian points on the ears. These are massaged for about a week. And usually one feels better after the treatments.

Let's see ,what else can this 'wonderful lady' do? Well, she primarily uses a method/system which incorporates energy therapy using the 'quantum touch technique' with spinal manipulation. It sounds like hocus-pocus. There is this huge name for it........Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques or Nait. Check it out here if you are interested.

All I can say is that I was very skeptical the first time it was used on me. But she can determine,  using  NAIT, any number of  allergies but other conditions.....simply using this technique. Here's a real example: about a year and a half ago I went to her about my diet.

I wanted suggestions to incorporate more protein on a daily basis. She asked if I ate eggs. I told her that they have always  made me sick (since children). My Mom said I would vomit when she tried to feed them to me. Terry 'did her thing', Nait, and said that, yes ,my body for some reason was rejecting eggs.

After a few spinal manipulations and holding vials of egg 'energy', she said that I should be able  to eat them now. I said I would try. I have eaten an egg every day since with none of the symptoms I had before.

Here's another example of her 'work'. My sister, Jo-Ann, was leaving on a cruise from NYC in 24 hours. She came down with flu-type symptoms and felt terribly. She didn't know what to do. Then she remembered that Terry does this thing called distance 'quantum energy' technique. She called Terry on the phone and Terry did her thing and within a very short time Jo-Ann was better. No kidding! She went on the cruise feeling fine.

Call it what you will but after seeing that there is something to look at here, I am convinced, as are many of others, that there is more to the treatment of our ills than what the 'western' medical approach has to offer.

Consider how much longer some of the alternative therapies/treatments have been around and the ensuing good results. This is not to say that western medicine is not effective. It is. But in my unprofessional opinion there is more to our health than what western medicine has to offer.

Now wouldn't it be great, for us, if both the western and the alternative approaches to wellness got together and 'pooled' their resources for the betterment of us all! It is happening in certain larger cities, I hear. 

But there is a long way to go for western medicine to acknowledge and accept that there are 'other' ways to treat patients that can be and are just as effective and sometimes safer.

What do you think? Room for improvement in our approach to wellness and treatment?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

For Hookers Only

I was first introduced to 'hooking' as a very young boy. You see, my grandmother lived with us for most of my childhood and she was a 'hooker'.

I better set things grandmother hooked rugs! Of course you all knew I was just playin' with ya!

Nana learned to 'hook' when she had to do so, to make money for her young family of four kids (my Mom included). She continued this craft up into her seventies.

Her 'rugs' were made from any material she could find.....cotton, polyester, wool. She would cut it into long strips of varying lengths, get out her frame and attach a burlap base, then draw her design by hand  onto the burlap.......and away she'd go!

She would use a hooked instrument that fit into the palm of your hand. She would hold it on top with one hand and with the other hand she would hold the strip of material. Then she would pull the material up through the burlap to a certain height and then as quick as she pulled the material up, she would poke the hook back through the cloth and pick up another loop.

Confused? Just picture a bunch of little 'loops' all over the top of the burlap in the shape something. She would go like the blazes!

It would take her a couple of days to complete a 36 inch by 24 inch rug. Whatever happened to them I have no clue, well at least the ones I remember her making at home. She must have made/produced hundreds over the years.

So, the rugs you see in this post are ones that either came from Ron's Mom's house or are ones that we used to use and 'put away' about ten years ago.

All of these rugs were made in Nova Scotia and most we bought 'at source'. A few were purchased on the South Shore and a few in the Annapolis Valley. 

Most are in pretty good shape but there are a couple that are pretty rough....either worn out naturally or by the claws of our 'late' kitty, Rita (who lived to be 17 years).

So I dug them out of the basement today to see what we had and to take some photos to have them 'recorded'.

I wish I knew the individual designs of each rug. I don't though. But I can say that they are very typical of some of the rugs that were made a few decades ago in Nova Scotia. 

Before closing this post I want to introduce you to someone we discovered last year in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Her name is Deanne Fitzgerald and she has a studio in that small town near the border of New Brunswick. She's been 'hooking' since the 90's and makes rugs that you would not believe! They are beautiful and have taken the 'hooking' craft/skill/art to a whole other dimension. Enjoy here.....check her web site out.

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