- A perfect summer Saturday,
- Sunlight on water,
- Enough of a breeze,
- Few mosquitoes,
- Home early enough to recharge before bed,
- And to chase the cat around the house;
- She thinks I’m a toy!
- An Introvert’s perfect getaway,
- Love me and let me be me!
PSA: like to list! Join Li.st.
This is my ten dollar quilt. I bought it for ten dollars when I lived In Weyburn, SK over ten years ago. It is starting to fall apart. There is wear and tear and holes I can’t mend.
It appears that it is an easy machine quilting pattern (see second picture).
The center is a plain flower with a white center and two types of petals. The borders are long rectangles sewn together. It is backed in spring grass green.
I bought it because I loved the black and white cow pattern border. I bought it because it was inexpensive and compact. It fits a child’s or twin bed.
I love it because it is light. I can use it in the summer or winter.
I love it because Lulu (my cat) loves it. She will only sit on my lap if I am covered with this blanket. As far as she is concerned, this is her blanket. It stays folded, when not in use, on a shelf in the tv cabinet and she will get all cozy in there for her naps.
I love it because it is full of stories. There is Lulu’s story. There is my story. There is the quilter’s story. There is the story of who the quilt was made for. There is the story of how and why the ten dollar quilt ended up at a second hand store.
There is always story.
I am not here today. I am off chasing stories.
There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories. —Ursula K. LeGuin
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity —Gilda Radner
It’s a busy Canada Day weekend here.
My hometown is celebrating it’s 95th birthday and is hosting homecoming.
The last homecoming I was home for was in 2005 when our province, Saskatchewan, turned 100 and New Orleans was flooding. In between homecoming events my sister & I discussed the effects of Katrina and wondered at the race differences that were so apparent in deciding who tells your story.
An old neighbour had a hand that year in telling Saskatchewan’s story.
And now it is Homecoming again. I am writing this post a week early because next weekend I will be busy hosting family and attending a historical homecoming.
The town I grew up in is small. The 2006 census gives the population as 690 persons. The town is about 6 blocks long and four wide. It sits in the middle of an expanse of prairie farmland.
I wonder how they survived it? My ancestors who came with nothing, worked extremely hard clearing bush and planting crops, raising children without the distractions of television and internet, and surviving when your nearest neighbour could be miles and hours away.
Why did they do it?
One side came from Scotland in the early years of the twentieth century. He was a grocer’s son. The other side came from Poland ten or so years before the second World War. His father had land.
Why did they do it?
How did they end up in such a desolate and wild country? I hope they came in summer and saw the beauty of a warm summer’s eve before they had to endure one of our winters.
I do love this place. I’m glad I grew up where I did. I just wonder a lot. I wander a lot. From here to there and back to here.
This Homecoming weekend, and whenever they will sit and listen, tell your children stories.
I recently joined li.st (formerly the List App). This is an app that lets you explore engaging lists on everything from passionate opinions to travel recommendations and share your own experiences, opinions, musings, and knowledge. I practically got in on the ground floor of this one, it went live last October. I’m a late adapter – I’m usually the last one to the party. It feels weird to know about something before all my computer savvy friends know about it.
This, very long introduction, is to let you know that I will be creating a list to share on here. A trending topic recently on li.st was “the television character I am, the one I want to be, and the one I’ll probably be.” Many people expanded on the theme. I did both television characters and cartoon characters. You’ll have to join the li.st to see these (I’m @solitarygigi).
But with every list I read on the topic, the Queens I want to be kept running through my head. This is the list I’m doing here because this weekend (here in Canada) is the Victoria Day long weekend. In honour of Queen Victoria, of course. We celebrate her birthday (May 24, 1819) on Monday only one day early this year. Happy Birthday Queen Victoria!
It’s hard to keep track of the long weekends when you’re unemployed. Long weekends are meaningless when you’re unemployed. I keep track of such things so that I have blogging topics.
So, here goes – “the Queen I am, the one I want to be, and the one I’ll probably be.”
The Queen I am is Tsarina Alexandra, the last Queen of Russia. She lead a tragic doomed life from a young age, was prone to over reaction (Rasputin), fell easily in love (Nicky), had four daughters and one tragic son. She also had an overbearing, too loving grandmother who, through her progency, had ties to most of Europe.
The Queen I want to be is Queen Victoria. She led a long happy adult life. She died at 82 and until recently was the longest reigning British Queen. Her life was a fairy tale one full of duty but also romance and family. She overcame an overbearing mom, fell in love with a handsome prince and had many children who adored her. Her husband invented stuff for her, like this bathing machine and her children lovingly oversaw her legacy.
At one point, she ruled over most of the world. Who wouldn’t want to be such a powerful woman?
The Queen I’ll probably be is Lady Jane Grey. She ruled for nine days and was then beheaded for treason. She was a Tudor embroiled in the tragic circumstances following Henry the VIII’s death. Lady Jane Grey had an excellent humanist education and a reputation as one of the most learned young women of her day. She was manipulated by her family and circumstances and died young.
Notice a theme. No, not true love or many children but overbearing mothers and manipulation. Sometimes this seems the story of my life. When will I become my own person? Believe me I struggle daily to live how I want to but it does get easier the older I get.
Li.st is addictive. I could list all day. I could do another list riffing off this theme. How about “the Drag Queen I am, the one I want to be, and the one I’ll probably be.” I could link to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar and Pride for inspiration.
Join li.st if you like to list and have a safe Victoria Day Weekend everyone!
What is tangible? It is something physical; something that can be touched. Not just seen in the mind’s eye but something actually there. I can see a memory but I cannot always touch it.
Physical objects are tangible.
I spent the last month helping my mother move and discarding physical objects that were important to her but not to me. A plastic rose from my paternal grandfather’s grave was to me just a dusty, plastic annoyance. I tossed it.
All this moving has stirred up a lot of memories. I’ve moved a lot in my life. The last time my mother moved was thirty years ago and her last three house moves have all occurred in the same small town. Her roots there are deep and even though she has only moved one town down the highway it has been a trying move for her.
My roots are not deep. I have transplanted my self many times into many different types of soul. (See my Place I’ve Lived series). In the thirty years since I graduated from High School, I’ve moved at least twenty times. I plan to write about everywhere I’ve ever lived, if not in this blog then in a book. Moving so much has taught me to only hold on to the most practical and useful items. I don’t hold on to items for purely sentimental reasons. Though on occasion I did send them to my mother – one of the things discarded in her recent move was the stuffed unicorn my ex-husband won for me.
My mother had a lot of stuff. I would tease her about being a hoarder even though really she was not. She is of the generation that saves things for a rainy day as you never know what and how something can be re-purposed.
I am not sentimental but as I get older I wish for tangible items that would link me with my ancestors.
What I have I have mostly from my mother’s parents. There are my grandfather’s vintage German books (the small Bible he use to read daily, his children’s catechism texts) that I liberated from my mother’s house because she was storing them in the basement which is death on old books. The Bible is from 1926 and even though I can’t read it, having it gives me pleasure. I can see, in my mind’s eye, my grandfather sitting in his chair and reading it.
Tucked inside one of these books is a letter written in German. It was written the year I was born. I need to get it translated. My mother no longer speaks the language. There is no signature on the letter so I don’t know who wrote it but I assume it was my Grandfather as my Grandmother was illiterate as far as I know. They didn’t educate women when she was growing up. I like to think that if she had been able to read she would have been a bookworm like me. We are so much alike in so many other ways. We were both quiet solemn people who enjoy being alone.
I also recently commandeered my grandfather’s cane. I plan to use it one day when the ice and age make walking an unwelcome hazard – some days it feels like that will happen this winter. My grandfather was a tall man and his cane fits me perfectly. It makes me feel regal rather than aged.
I have less tangible memories from my father’s parents. My grandfather died when I was thirteen and my grandmother died when I was three thousand miles away in another province. I was not around when they dismantled her house and disposed of everything a life accumulates.
I have a bow-tie quilt that my mother says my grandmother made. The squares feel familiar to me. Did I have a dress made of that gingham red? Did I have a shirt made of that pink? I don’t remember.
I have nothing my paternal grandfather or father made. They were practical men. They used what they made. They lived. They loved. But they were not talkers or writers and in the end, though I know they loved me, I can’t say that I know as much about them as I would like to.
But do we ever really know anybody?
Can love be tangible? Or is it in its very essence intangible; unable to be touched?
I have tangible essence of my mother’s love. When I was sixteen I asked for an afghan in shades of black, red, orange, yellow and white. If you knit you know how hard these dark colours are to work with. She made it for me. There were long afternoons spent knitting and an occasional curse word but I have a tangible object that represents my mother’s love.
When she’s gone there will be something I can touch and wrap myself in and feel her love stretch across miles and time and death.
What is tangible? It is something physical; something that can be touched. Not just seen in the mind’s eye but something actually there. I can see a memory but I cannot always touch it.
I am not sentimental but as I get older I wish for tangible items that will link me with my ancestors.
Today, September 19th, is Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Para Abnormal Comic by Dave Lowe
Pirates were my first love then came cowboys. I yearned for wide, open spaces free from the conflict of the reality of school where I was tolerated or ignored. I wanted someone to rescue me and pirates seemed most up to the task. I wouldn’t have to make a decision. I could be kidnapped by a handsome, devilish rogue instead. It didn’t matter that I lived on the prairies about as far from the sea as one could get. It didn’t matter that pirates weren’t real (at least as far as I knew – we only got local news back before the internet told us everything we didn’t want to know)!
Pirates were handsome. Pirates were rogues. Pirates were devilish. They may be unkempt but were never smelly. They may be thieves but they had honor. A pirate code was a code of conduct for governing pirates. The pirates would draw up their own code which provided rules for discipline, division of stolen goods, and compensation for injured pirates. They took care of their own and once kidnapped, I would belong somewhere. I would be with people who wanted to be with me. (Lets just ignore rule six for now shall we)!
I’ve always been a sucker for devilish rogues with questionable morals. Rhett Butler is the man with the plan in Gone With the Wind. He knows what he wants and goes for it. Never mind the fact that I would run from a real man who acted like he did. I’d make him walk the plank and send him far away from me right quickly.
Though if he spoke to me like this, I think I would possibly swoon. Le sigh…
Dear Scarlett! You aren’t helpless. Anyone as determined and selfish as you are is never helpless. God help the Yankees if they should get you. — Rhett Butler to Scarlett O’Hara
I want a man who sees me as strong and capable well also loving me passionately!
Oh, Christian, why do you always play such bad, bad boys?
Who wouldn’t love a man whose best friends are monkeys and parrots?
And such monikers they had – Blackbeard, Bluebeard, Calico Jack!
“This heres me man, Calico Jack!”
They winter on tropical islands. They have adventures that require scavenger hunts and treasure maps. They have plenty of money to shower you with gowns and jewels. Their treasure chests contain numerous pieces of eight!
X marks what spot?
Okay, do I want to ensnare a pirate’s heart or do I want to be a pirate
like Anne Bonny and Mary Read?
Remember talk like a pirate today and
follow me, follow me away to the sea!
Every kitchen is basically the same. There is a fridge, a stove, a sink and perhaps a kitchen table with chairs. In home economics we were taught about the kitchen triangle. This was a way to design kitchens so that the cook could work most efficiently. Less steps, more fun. Okay, fun was never the goal we were taught. We were taught practicality. The goal was to get a proper nutritious meal on the table in as short of time as possible.
I spent a lot of time in kitchens when I was a young child (birth to preteen). I was my mother’s youngest daughter and very much a homebody. When she went to tea/coffee with the neighbours, I almost always tagged along. Grandma F was next door, Mrs. S was across the alley, Mama H lived down from my mother’s parents. Grandma F would let us use her oven to bake our “mudpies”, Mrs. S’s house was attached directly to the back of the library and Mama H’s grandson was my first kiss.
We would also visit aunts and uncles regularly, especially in the summer. Aunt B’s kitchen was small & crowded. Aunt A’s kitchen was a typical open farm kitchen. I didn’t spend much time in these kitchens; us cousins were sent into the living room or outside – usually outside- to play as the grown-ups gossiped in the kitchens.
We meet deeper in kitchens. We visit deeper in kitchens. Living rooms have too many distractions – there is a radio or television in the corner lurking, begging to be turned on.
Both sets of grandparents moved into town when I was a child. They traded small country kitchens for modern 60/70s kitchens. The appliances were all brand new sets – the fridge and stove matched for the first time. I don’t remember what colours they choose. (Did anybody ever choose Avocado Green?) I missed the old, crowded farm kitchens where we would all gather after meals to do the dishes and chatter.
When I was a new teen, my father moved from a house in Banff to a trailer in Canmore. The house kitchen was obviously my stepmother’s domain, the trailer’s kitchen seemed to be more my father’s domain. I remember her making us soup for lunch in the old kitchen while in the new kitchen, my father attempted bouillabaisse and homemade ice cream. This was also the kitchen where my eldest half-brother unjustly got into trouble for baking bread.
There are nine of us kids. Half of us cook well. The other half just feed ourselves. What is the difference? Cooking well means experimenting and enjoying the numerous appliances and kitchen tasks. Feeding yourself involves quickly just using what you have to make a meal. My eldest sister has a comfy, homey kitchen where she prepares marvelous holiday meals. My eldest half-brother, though he is more likely to get tense & stressed, enjoys experimenting with new and exotic dishes. My middle sister and her husband have a synchronous kitchen relationship – one is more of a perfectionist, one is more down-home. My youngest half-sister specializes in healthy dishes. My eldest half-sister specializes is the new and pretty dishes. The other two (middle half-brother and half-sister) I haven’t spent enough time around to gauge their ideas about cooking and cooking stlye.
I spent Saturday afternoons every Saturday, the year I was sixteen, baking. I attempted cakes and cream puffs and fudge. I liked the middle of the cream puffs the best. My chocolate cookies are legendary. I can’t do pie crusts at all. My fudge never turned out. It didn’t matter, my younger brother ( a substance cook) would eat it anyway.
I can feed myself (and others if the need arises). I made a mean pot of soup. My chili is passable – better always the longer it sits. Chili should be eaten after it’s sat for three days! I can make Lasagna but it’s too much work when there’s just me to feed. (I impressed a man with it once).
I’ve spent time in tiny apartment kitchens, cooking and visiting. Laverne’s kitchen in Montreal produced an amazing pot of chili though there was as many art supplies in the room as kitchen supplies. I’ve had tea in Avis’s kitchen as a group of us spent Sunday afternoon writing surrounded by the scent of herbal tea and being tolerated by cats. I’ve cooked in tiny basement kitchens that never saw the light of day but were filled with love and laughter.
The kitchen my ex-husband and I cooked and entertained in was a tiny apartment kitchen. He cooked – he was a much better cook then me and I cleaned. I missed his kitchen skills most when we broke up.
Kitchens need people in them to be true kitchens not just show room kitchens. Perfect appliances, lovely cupboards, large pantries and pretty tiles do not a kitchen make.
Neighbours, friends, and families bring life, light and love to a kitchen.
We meet deeper in kitchens. We visit deeper in kitchens.
Kitchens should be the heart of a home.
On this Valentine’s weekend, I wish you life, light and love (and a kitchen filled with the same).
February’s posts will be inspired by the Ray Bradbury Noun List.
I have for you this weekend a simple post because LIFE has become (once again) overwhelming. Enjoy these pet pictures of my previous pets that were mentioned in last week’s post on Secondhand Cats.
First, he is a very blurry picture of Willie, probably taken with a point & shoot camera. Extreme close-up for the win. I think the photo may have been taken when we were under the bed. He was a very patient cat. 🙂
This next picture was the one I mentioned trying to find last week. It is Willie and Joey on my bed. I can just hear Willie saying to Joey; “Did you wash your face yet, young man?”
The white stuffed cat in the background is a pajama pillow. Yes, I kept my pajamas in it.
The next picture is of Truce, again taken on my bed in my second bedroom.
The room, to me, screams 70s. The colourful pillow was made by eldest sister, there is a jewelry box and radio in the headboard and the pillow to the right is a souvenir pillow I stole from my grandparents. This picture fits right in with Alisha’s weekly travel theme which for this week is colourful.
See you next week for Book Quote Sunday #11.
Lulu came out of hiding today.
I acquired a cat last week. She was a bit cranky at first and spent most of this week hiding. Which is understandable; she spent a day in the car to come here to a house where she had never been to live with someone she has never met.
She was my niece’s cat and now is mine.
We had a rocky start. I got bit. The bite hit bone and thus left a bruise (see picture below).
Nevertheless, today Lulu has come out of hiding. She played with me and sat on my lap. She ventured out of her safe room and started to explore her new home. Perhaps we’ll be friends after all.
However, I remain optimistically cautious.
The thing is that I seem to keep acquiring second-hand cats that never seem to stick around.
We had family cats growing up. The first one I remember is a smoke black cat named Smokie. There is a picture of her with her kittens in one of my mother’s old photo albums. I think I remember the picture better than I remember the cat.
The cat I remember best is Willie, a big white tomcat who always felt like mine more than anyone else’s in the family. He slept with me. He hid with me when I would read under the bed. When we got a puppy, Willie adopted it as his own and taught him how to behave. I have a picture somewhere of Willie and Joey sleeping tight together (if I find it I will post it later this week).
We moved the summer I was thirteen. Willie didn’t like the move. It probably didn’t help that Joey had died that summer as well. The move was just one change too many for my old cat. Willie kept running back to our old house. Eventually he didn’t come back. When we couldn’t find him we assumed he died that winter; he was a very old, cantankerous tomcat. I miss him. I miss his warmth.
After that, the family got another dog. Well actually, my absentee divorced dad, without asking, brought us a new dog that he had named Trudeau after the prime minister (another story for another time). We shorted the dog’s name to Truce and he lived with us for many, many years.
Towards the end of my time living under my mom’s roof we would catsit my eldest sister’s cat over the winter. When my eldest sister was in university she acquired a pregnant street cat that came home with her and moved out to the farm with her when my sister married. The cat’s name was Mom. So Mom would move into town to our house for the winter. When I was at work she stayed in my mother’s basement. I would come home from work , open the basement door and meow and Mom would come to talk with me and sleep on my bed till morning. If I wiggled my toes, she would attack them. Sometimes I wiggled my toes on purpose. Mom was a very smart cat. She knew where her food was and if she felt she was not being fed enough she would climb into the cupboard, knock the box over and help herself.
My sister’s cats have always known me. As have their dogs. I go away for years at a time and when I come back the animals still know me. The animals still love me.
The first cat that I had that was all mine was one of Mom’s kittens. He was called Tomcat or Kid or Son depending on what mood I was in. He was just mine and didn’t really fraternize with other members of my family. He ran away the weekend of my High School graduation (there were too many people around – I totally understood where he was coming from) and never came back.
After that, no more cats. No more pets for me. I got married (we had hamsters for awhile), got divorced, went back to university and moved and moved and moved again and then moved some more. I was a nomad. No time for cats. No room for cats.
I catsat for a month one summer at university when a friend went home. The cat’s name was Erasmus and he loved to have the tangles combed out of his fur. He was a street rescue and when my friend graduated university, Erasmus (potential scholar) moved out to her parent’s farm. I wonder what he and the farm cats conversed about on long winter nights. Someone needs to write a story about the homeless city cat who was rescued and his country farm cat cousins!
I always looked forward to the day I would settle down enough to have a cat of my own again.
When I first bought my house I almost got a cat. My sister’s friend’s cat had recently been relocated to my nephew’s farm and it was looking like that might not work out. But it did. The cat has adjusted; she is happy on the farm chasing mice and running free.
Than two of my step-dad’s cats had kittens (see second picture above) and I was going to take the black one once my Fall settled down. This was just about to happen when my niece needed to relocate her indoor only apartment Siamese cat. I’ve always wanted a permanent cat of my own. I’ve always wanted a Siamese even though they are very particular! It seemed fated.
Thus Lulu came to live at my house.
I’m that cat lady. I stop during my walks to chat with strange cats on the street. I wonder how much work a secondhand lion would be. For one, I’d need a bigger place before I acquire one of those. If I’m not careful I will end up with thirty cats or more.
We’ll see. Maybe Lulu will decide to relocate herself like all my other cats have.
Cats, after all, can be very peculiar.