Monday, November 28, 2011

Some interesting nature art

Yesterday, I walked over to the daycare center, where I work, to get some things done in my room. It's nice to have time to rearrange the room, clean, and think of new ideas, when I am alone, and I do this about once a month. Yesterday the temperature was about plus 4 (Celsius), and the walk was just lovely.

I found some interesting pieces of art, on the university campus, possibly created by Fine Arts students, or Education students.

I think that art made from natural material, and displayed on trees, causes the viewer to consider the possibilities around one's self in the natural world - to take a second look.

These short pedestals or pillars are also quite interesting. They remind me of a ceremonial formation of rocks such as those in First Nations' traditions.

They also bring to mind natural rock formations, like those I've read about on the Easter Islands, or possibly Stonehenge. This student, or students must certainly have worked long hours to create these.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Kermit singing The Rainbow Connection

There is something very appealing in the gentle, little frog named Kermit. It is hard to beat his version of The Rainbow Connection, with his whimsical, sincerity.

 I found myself reading on the internet about the wonderful creations of Jim Henson, and found his story inspiring. I know that the Muppets, and Sesame Street played a big part in the life of so many children in the past 40 years or so. My son, Paul grew up with these characters, and last night when , he noticed what I was reading through Google, he agreed, Kermit's version of Rainbow Connection is the best. :)

So, I thought I really must share his original version from The Muppet Movie, in 1979. Interestingly, my 30 year old son, is thinking of going to the newest Muppet Movie produced this year. Kermit has star power!

I found a wonderful video of Big Bird singing at Jim Henson's memorial in 1990. Big Bird was always my favourite Muppet character. Jim Henson explained that he created Big Bird to stand in for the ordinary child, with it's innocence. I find that his questioning nature is also a good personification of small children.

Thank you, Jim Henson for your amazing creativity, which touched the child in all of us. Rest in Peace.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Rainbow Connection

While searching for music for my Music Monday post, I found several interesting versions of  the song, The Rainbow Connection.

I enjoy Kenny Loggins' version of this song on his childrens' cd, Return to Pooh Corners. This cd is especially meant for helping children rest at naptime, and I am sharing some of the songs on this cd, over at my early childhood blog.

The Rainbow Connection was written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher in 1979, for Kermit the Frog, in The Muppet Movie. The song was nominated for best song for The Oscars, and The Golden Globe that year, and The American Film Industry named it the 74th Best Song of all time.

Here I'd like to share two unique versions of this song. The first video from YouTube is  of Sarah McLaughlin, who I think is wonderful. I like as well the beautiful photos here.

The next video I really found interesting is of Willie Nelson singing this song. I am not terribly familiar with his music, but having found this version of The Rainbow Connection, I found myself listening to more of  his music. I do like him now, and I might share more of his music here. I especially enjoyed a video of Nelson, and Ray Charles singing a duet of Georgia .I grew up with a father who lived for music, and also sang in his youth. So somehow, a love of music seems to be in my genes. I  know, I just get a chill listening to Charles and Nelson together. 

There is something appealing and whimsical about this song I think. I hope you might have enjoyed one or both versions here.

I like them so well, I couldn't wait for Monday to share them. :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Music Mondays

Over at Early Childhood Education and Commonsense, my other blog, I've started a Music Mondays post, to share some of the music my children and I enjoy throughout the day.

Most children love music, and  some of the best times we have together, at the daycare are spent listening and dancing to music.We listen to an eclectic variety of music, some by children's singers; classical music such as The Nutcracker Suite; music from the early 60's - such as "It's My Party"; or "My Boyfriends Back" (with their simple beat these are quite fun for dancing to); Elvis; Beatles; Feist; Celine Dion, - many popular songs and performers can be enjoyed by young children.

We listen to a cd of naptime music by Kenny Loggins, now and then, at quiet times. Return to Pooh Corners was made in 1994, and won The Grammy Awards that year.

I like his version of Blackbird, written by Paul McCartney. However, instead of sharing Kenny Loggins version here, which is meant for children, I decided to search for a few other performers, that would appeal to adults, so to speak. :)

There are several differing stories of how McCartney came to write this tune, but I don't think it's really necessary to know the history of the song to enjoy it.

In this You Tube video, Sarah McLaughlin sings Blackbird. The music is from the soundtrack of the movie "I Am Sam". The photography in this video is beautiful, I think - I love the birds.

McCartney wrote Blackbird, in 1968. Here is a video of him in 2009 - 41 years later performing this song live.

I hope you might enjoy these two videos, and that the cheerful tune, and hopeful words might provide a little sparkle to your day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shivering and Bone Tired

This evening, after work, I had one small errand to do on my way home; well, really it was an important one - picking up food for my felines. I needed to - I would have heard no end of complaint if I'd  not brought home the kibble.

In my city, the buses tend to follow quite circuitous routes, and getting to a destination often involves backtracking, and transferring a few times. I was tired, so I phoned my son, to see if he was just possibly in the area, and would be interested in picking his Mom up. I tend to sound casual when calling "just to see", because I both value my own independence, and by the same token don't want to take him for granted.

Paul, was already home, so I said, no worries, I'd see him later, probably Saturday, as he works late Fridays.

The ride to the local pet store, was short and not eventful . And darn, I still can't find "Taste of the Wild" cat food! This is the second store I've looked at! Oh, well the cat's like their "Go" food, which is grain free and healthy for them. So, I purchased kibble, and a few cans of their favourite flavours by "Go", and walked a short distance to the grocery store.

Made a couple of purchases at the grocery store, and walked through the indoor mall to the outdoor bus stop. By this time, the sun had set and the temperature had dropped noticeably, and there was a wind. Our buses are quite infrequent, as well as circuitous, and traffic often crawls once the roads are icy, so waiting for a bus is often an uncertain activity. My spirits were starting to drop abit, when I noticed a woman around my age, walking along at a chipper rate, using a cane as a walking aid. And what a lovely cane, it was decorated prettily with flowers, in tones of blue. I mentioned to her, what a nice cane, and she said, "Yes, I wanted to be sure always to see it, and not forget it." We shared a few more, words, and when she saw my bus, she pointed it out to me and hurried me along. This is common practice, in cold winter Saskatchewan, other's are usually happy for you when your bus arrives, even if their's is not here. They smile, and wave, and they stand and wait. They never begrudge another's good fortune.

So, I stayed on this bus for some time, heading "downtown", to wait at the next transfer point

Darn, I missed my connecting bus by just a second or so!

 At this point as I noticed others get on several buses which pulled in, and out of the spot, I found myself feeling noticeably cold, and tired - bone tired. I found myself beginning to entertain negative why didn't Paul, my son, "offer" to pick me up, he should have known I'd be tired. And what about these bus drivers, my bus was probably early...the buses are never on schedule...and here I am stuck on this cold "godawful" night...well this weekend is sure getting off to a perfect start...

Hmmm...time to slow down, another, wiser voice said...Remember you are wearing warm clothing, boots, and mitts; you have a well paying job, that allows you to buy food for yourself and the two cats; you have a warm, enjoyable home to go to, and books to read; you have a son who likes you...Take some deep breaths. All is well, you are more fortunate than you know.

And so I chose to stop the negative rant for abit, and notice my surroundings; really quite beautiful in a cold, austere way. The stop is right at the side of an old Anglican Cathedral, and a columbarium - a place where the cremated remains of the dead are kept. A few times this year it has reminded me that there will be a time for all of us when we will have no more troubles, but really for now life is preferrable.

The old brick chuch has some very ornate stained glass windows, that are quite interesting to look at.

And I noticed one tree, with seeds still attached to it's branches - possibly an ash tree. And the seeds seemed to really be shivering, which was also interesting. I've seen leaves, and seeds shake, and tremble in wind, but these seemed to be shivering with the cold and wind combined. And the wood was extremely interesting with some knots, and twists...and before I knew it I was imagining how someone who knows how to write poetry could make a lovely poem just from the wood on the tree.

At this point I thought that blogging has really changed the way I think, because I'm here in the godawful cold, waiting for a bus, that I don't know when it will ever get here - and I'm noticing how pretty and intricate the wood in this barren tree is.

So, I cheered up immensely, and went to talk to a young man, who seemed to be shut off in his own world with his I-pod, to just ask him what bus he was waiting for.And he politely smiled, removed his earphone, and told me, and asked me mine. And when I went to look at the schedule just to move around and stay warm; he came and pointed out to me when mine would arrive. So I waited a while longer and several people arrived, buses came and left. And just as I noticed mine had pulled up, I happened to glance over to the young man, with I-pod, and he was smiling at me, and waving, and pointing to indicate to me, "You're bus"!!

And at this point I felt that I will make it through this winter, with the help and goodwill of other cold and bone tired people just like me. Hopefully I will extend some goodwill as well! 
And the weekend looks to be turning out  just fine!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Some ancient pictures with hats

My mother LOVED picture taking, along with many other activities, sewing, knitting, cooking, baking, entertaining, smoking, and sharing gossip with her sister-in-laws.She had a wonderful relationship with her sister-in-laws based on their admiration of her many talents, gossip, and smoking.When I watched the movie, and later read the novel "The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisters", I felt a shiver of identification  as the main character and her friends reminded me strongly of my mom, as well as the era in which I grew up.

I'm quite sure Mom would have enjoyed blogging, with all that involves - the opportunity to share sewing/knitting secrets, and patterns; the opportunity to make friends; and the chance to post her many pictures.

I was reminded of some pictures of me in various hats, after reading Geraldine's weekly post over at Take a Happy Break. and felt moved to post a few in solidarity with Mr. Cheddar.So, dear Ched, thanks to my mom's love of picture taking here's a few less than flattering pictures of me - just so you don't feel alone. :)

 Well, here is one of me and my younger brother, Mike. Our coats, and my hat were sewn by Mom, and of course his toque, and both of our scarves she knit. (We have LOTS of pictures of playing in the snow.) Go figure! (Ched, actually I think you might look nice in a toque, as well).

I belonged to "Brownies", for many years, and as well Girl Guides. Really, I think it was fun, and I believe I learned some good things in these organizations. In the last few years, I ran into a friend who had been in Brownies with me, and she said she had always thought I was so good at my activities, especially how to "set a table placing". (I shared with her, that my Mom actually polished up my assignments - I love my Mom, but she was abit obsessive about performance.) This was interesting for my friend and we shared a good laugh. (Mr. Ched, this hat is called a tam or beret, like yours!)

This is a photo before my Confirmation - with my youngest brother - Jeff. I am so glad I have all these photos. They are nice to go through now and then. I notice that I always squint in these pictures. I think it's because in those days it was thought best not to wear glasses for pictures due to reflection, but I would squint because I couldn't see. (Well not exactly a hat, Ched, it is a slightly embarrassing picture of me in a head covering.)

Snow, again - a common theme...and me with Jeff. I identified myself, strongly as Nona, the older sister. Here it is possible to see the whole outfit, sewed by Mom, including the leggings. I'm thinking this was in a nice rust coloured wool, possibly herringbone patterned.

Along with all the other amazing things Mom did for her young family - she made us an outdoor skating rink, almost every winter. Here is a picture of she, me, and the youngest, Jeff. Jeff managed to develop many of her skills, through imitation. He in fact can do almost anything in the way of household renovations; another thing Mom was good at, learned from her Dad - who was often accompanied by his large toolbox when visiting his daughters.

We had countless hours of fun skating outside, and all our neighbours were always welcome!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Geraniums and a Small Tree

I walked home from work on Thursday. The temperature was almost balmy after the cooler weather of the week.
These geraniums caught my fancy. Although most of the flowers on campus had been taken out in the late fall, this flower bed remained - perhaps geraniums are considered hardy, and could be counted on to keep blooming.
The little bit of colour in the snow is pretty, and brought to mind the wonder children feel when encountering the magic of colour.As a child, I would have considered finding these flowers in the snow, a small miracle; and I'm also pretty sure I would have picked them and proceeded to use them in play - possibly making a soup with them. Before long, there would be nothing left of the pretty blooms, although possibly some would be used in a decorative way.

Along the path I follow, I have noticed a little poplar tree. Now it stands, looking rather brave, withstanding the cold.

It looks as though the tree had been cut down for some reason, but continued to grow. It stands about 1 1/2 feet tall I think. In my imagination it has a large spirit.

I plan to walk home as often as possible this winter.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We have had our first snowfall

The snow began falling at midnight Saturday, and we woke to a wintery scene out the window.

It seemed like a good day to start my new library book, The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. I found it abit slow reading at first, but now am beginning to enjoy the story. This book is due back in 1 week, as it is a " Popular  Pick", and I think I'll finish it on time.

I thought I'd experiment with some yarn, as I'm thinking of crocheting scarves for the children in my group, at the daycare where I work, as Xmas gifts.

I think I'll consult a pattern, because the edges are uneven the way I tried this out. But I think this is something I can do if I start now, I only have 8 kids. I like to give something handmade.

Herbert got comfortable in a plastic container, and then moved to a laundry hamper of freshly washed clothes.

I couldn't find Arthur - sometimes he likes to sleep in one of three closets, or in the hall cupboard. He's quite hard to find in my son's room, as the blinds are always drawn, and Arthur blends in with the dark.

Later in the day, my son, Paul and I pulled on our winter boots, and went to Second Cup, downtown. We had pumpkin spice lattes - it seemed like a festive start to winter.

It's funny how once the snow falls, it looks like it's always been in Saskatchewan we have winter for 5 months - our longest season...and we get used to it very quickly.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Herbert and Arthur - Two Pretty Terrific Felines

Herbert and Arthur have a good friend, Mr. Chedder aka The Fearless Bug Warrior. Mr. Ched visited us here at Mullin Avenue, requesting  more pictures of felines. The Ched had the novel idea that Herbert and Arthur might take pictures while I was at work. At this point H and A are unable to take pictures - so the three of us got together and came up with a few.

Chedster we hope you find these interesting - sending you headbonks, and love!

Herbert and Arthur are two very different guys. Herbert has always been laid back, and a real sweetheart. He likes everyone it seems. When he was abit younger he liked to jump up onto my shoulder. He is always ready to snuggle up and purr.

He's a beautiful ginger colour, and very pretty - but could be mistaken for being pretty tough!

Arthur is our younger cat - he's very busy and smart. Arthur knows how to find his own fun, and never seems bored.

Arthur has developed a number of ways to play - carrying small plastic balls and launching them forward, and then chasing them.He will also play a game of catch with me now and then.

Arthur's preferred way to drink water is by drinking from the running tap. When I turn on the tap, he is always ready to come take a drink.

Arthur has a beautiful mane at certain times of the year. Interestingly he sheds his mane when winter starts, and grows it back in the spring. He has his own way of doing things! You might notice that he is without his lovely, fluffy and exotic mane in this picture.

 I love these two wonderful felines.They are two terrific guys!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


The days are growing shorter, as winter approaches. The twilight in winter, always seems beautiful to me. I've always enjoyed being outdoors at this time of day. The indoor lights, seen from outside, seem comforting, and meanwhile the outdoors is calm, and  serene.

This is the first day where I caught a sense of winter approaching, and I decided to try to catch some of the beauty of the late autumn  sky and trees.

This is a group of larch or tamarack trees, I've been admiring during my walks.Their needles are extremely soft when new, and a very pretty, light green. I think they are one of the only coniferous trees to lose their needles in the fall.

I  like the austere beauty of berries on a tree, and  the colour of the sky at twilight also has an austere beauty to it, I think.

 This walk follows closely to our lake, and adding to the beauty of the sky, is the sound of large flocks of geese - our local geese - and the effect of the calls of geese, and twilight always creates a feeling of bitter - sweetness for me.

Last weekend, we observed huge flocks of migrating birds passing overhead for hours, which is another indication of approaching winter. Snow is forecast for this weekend. The season is changing.