Sunday, December 23, 2012

A joyful performance of the Christmas Story

Here is an uplifting performance of the story of the baby Jesus's birth, by a young group of children in Auckland, New Zealand.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My personal favourite Christmas song - Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas is just about my personal favourite song at Christmas. If my memory serves me, I believe that one year in school we learned this song for our school Christmas concert. It is the song which tends to hum along in my head as I do errands, or walk outside, during the holiday season.

I believe in my heart I always feel a strong identification with the poor - I know that my father's family were forced off their land, in the time of famine, in Ireland, (The Fitzwilliam Estate) and emigrated from Ireland to Canada, in the middle 1850's, an experience countless Irish tenants experienced. In the past year or so, due to our amazing internet, I've seen the ship's registrar with the names, and ages of my great grandfather's family.

For a well researched, moving, and well written story based on the famine in Ireland, one can read  "My Dream of You", by Nuala O'Faolain. The story describes two women's experiences both in contemporary Ireland, and the country during the potato famine.

Hence, perhaps a sad frame of mind I've inherited, but also a tendency to support causes for justice and equality.

I am not sure if Good King Wenceslas was always so charitable, or this was just a moment for him. If you know more of the history, maybe you can share with me.  I believe he was not an Irish king, but a duke in Bohemia, but the song has a celtic feel to me.

However, really this is a very pretty song, and so I am choosing to share it today, although St. Stephan's Day is December 26, I believe.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We Three Kings of Orient Are - the song

I searched this evening for a recording of We Three Kings, and wasn't inclined to use one until I found Matthew's recording, back in 2009.Certainly, this is a unique recording. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An old Christmas carol

This video has just been posted at the music vlog, Rise Up Singing. It reminds me of some carols from my childhood. I enjoy Matthew's videos, so have chosen to post this. You might enjoy it as well.I like Matthew's informal, down to earth presentations, and he does have a wonderful musical talent.
I think I might just post some of my favourite Christmas songs for the days leading up to Christmas.
Do you have some favourite Christmas carols, or memories of singing from childhood?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Some ideas with recycled boxes, and a joyous Christmas song

My co-workers and I decided to focus on using recycled materials the past month, at the daycare center, and this was very successful. The ideas just kept developing the more we brought in boxes, paper tubes, and cans.
I thought it would be fun to share here some of the ideas we came up with.

I used a box for the children to pound golf tees into. They as well enjoyed just pushing the golf tees into the box, and alternately hammering on the box, without the tees. I knew this would be popular, as we had pounded golf tees into a pumpkin at Halloween. One of the children, who has trouble settling to things, and has little English, loved this activity, and she was the best and most accurate at pounding the tees.

We had a surplus of small, individually sized playdough containers from Halloween, which the children loved stacking, and as well dumping. I thought it might be fun to make a small sorting box. I just cut holes into the top of this box, which would allow the kids to fit them in, and as well I cut a hole into the lid of the coffee can that the containers could just be dropped into.
One infant, loved this activity, and stayed with this for up to 40 minutes at a time, quietly placing the playdough containers in the box, and taking them out.
The coffee can served double duty, as the children had painted them first. Coffee cans are always fun, and when I first brought them into the room, the children immediately started to use them as drums, hitting them with wooden spoons. I like these particular cans because they have a rounded lip on the inside so there is no sharp edge.
The cans were also popular for filling and dumping - a big interest for toddler aged children.

Here is a diaper box, which the children and I decorated with bubble wrap. It was used to throw balls into; to climb in; to put stuffed toys in; and here a child has put her doll to bed (you may notice the dolls dress at the bottom) - she is covering the box with a receiving blanket.

Bubble wrap is also a fun material for these children to explore. We taped some onto the floor and the children walked on it with their bare feet, and rolled on it, as well as driving cars on it.

I really think that using boxes and other recycled materials allows so much more creative possibilities than some toys, and allows the children to use their imaginations. Daycare workers have traditionally relied on recycled materials, partly out of necessity due to shoestring budgets, and partly because of the fun of making "something from nothing".

I like this use for a milk carton made by one of my co-workers. It was fun for filling and dumping as well as to hold the cars, in her recycle center.

It has taken me a period of adjustment to appreciate the interests of toddlers. I have primarily worked with a slightly older group of children. But I am now more patient with what may look to be clutter, and "mess", to see that this is what toddlers need to do. Theoretically I knew that their play was more open-ended, but now I am comfortable with it.

I was searching for some favourite Christmas music yesterday, and remembered a cassette I'd always enjoyed by Rita McNeil. Paul seemed to know I would enjoy this. He gave it to me for Christmas one year. She is a Canadian singer, from Cape Breton, and is enormously popular as an entertainer. Her voice is strong, and joyful, and I love this song, "Now the Bells Ring". She may have retired somewhat, I think, as I haven't heard her music lately. She is a true star, and a Canadian gem.

Well, I would like to quickly edit here, I did more research, and Rita, is not retired, and has a new cd, "Saving Grace", out this year, as well as performing at a Christmas concert series this season.

Wishing you a good week ahead!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Preparing for the Christmas season

I have taken a long weekend for myself, and am enjoying spending this Friday morning at a more relxed pace, than I have for the past month or so. Although I am loving my new job, I have been very tired with my long days of commuting.I tend to spend the weekends, rushing around doing errands, and so haven't really felt rested.

So this next four days are a small treasure - the weather is marvelous, with a blue sky, and the sun sparkling on the snow.

Some tasks I have set myself, are to go through the storage room, and sort abit; to clean the apartment for my son's visit this Christmas; to write some Christmas cards; to work on some handmade crochet gifts for Christmas; to shop abit; and to go for some walks.

The storage room is shared with my fellow 5 tenants, and every now and then we discuss needing to organize, and possibly winnow. When I moved in two and a half years ago, I had so many boxes, some I ended up putting in my lower kitchen cupboards - lovely family china from Mom, and my grandmother, AND great grandmother; craft supplies from work; saved artwork from Paul's childhood; so this weekend, I hope to do something to downsize.

I'll be walking with a good friend, and past co-worker - she and I share a special bond, because we discovered that we not only share the same birthdate, but were born in the same hospital just hours apart. So therefor we must have been in the nursery together, and possibly our parents crossed tracks while in the hospital. This feels like a small marvel, to have run into one another over 55 years later, and to also like each other very much indeed.

Over the past two weeks I'd been finding myself overcome with feelings of loss and sadness, and dreading the Christmas season - but even after my first good night's sleep I am reminding myself of the good things in my life, and to be grateful. Maybe when we let ourselves become abit rundown, we all tend to see the glass as "half empty" rather than "half full". I have so much to be thankful for - a good job, good boss, and co-workers; a wonderful, caring son; good friends; a safe, and comfortable home; to live in a country with safe streets, and abundance; the opportunity to meet friends all around the world through the internet, and blogging; good books to read; and of course my two furry companions - Herb, and Art.

The young women I work with have been playing a Christmas cd, almost nonstop, at work, by Sarah McLaughlin, so now I carry the tunes around with me in my head. Some of the songs are so beautiful, although I must say, I find hearing the songs over and over again feels overly repetitive. However, I also can remember that when I was in my 20's I listened to a certain Joni Mitchell album constantly too. :)

I found some of the songs from this cd, called Winter Wonderland, by Sarah , on Youtube, so thought I might share a lovely version of The First Noel here.

Have a great weekend where you are. Hugs!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A little of what I've been up to

This past week has been abit of a trial for residents of southern Saskatchewan. The difficult weather started with freezing rain Tuesday morning, followed by a huge snowfall. It seems that we have had 60 cm. of snow this past two weeks, and that is more than the total snowfall we had last winter. However last winter was very unusual, in that we had  warm temperatures and very little snow.

My commute out to work at the rural daycare center where I work has been challenging. I generally take the bus to a certain point and then wait for my ride. I wait right on the highway, and so get a good look at weather conditions. This particular day after the freezing rain, there appeared to be very little visibility.

The wonderful young woman who picks me up, didn't see me, so she called the daycare center to see if they'd heard from me. She then turned around to see if she could find me and pick me up, and unfortunately became stuck.She got herself out, and called the center again who told her I had called from a store close to the highway. to enquire if she had called in. They told her to just continue to work.

Meanwhile as I still hadn't heard from my co-worker, and it was getting late, I decided to accept a ride from a wonderful parent, who was on her way to take her children to the center. So, really I was only 1/2 hour late, and as well my co-worker arrived at around the same time as me.

Later at the end of our work day, this young woman admitted to me how scared she felt to drive back home into the city, but she did an amazing job, driving at 40km all the way. The road was so icy, and we saw a few cars and a semi-trailor in the ditch.

I felt proud of this young woman, who is just in her early 20's. Interestingly she has just graduated with her teaching degree, and knows my son. She is working at the daycare, and subbing when she is called, for the school board. I just know she's going to do great as a teacher, and she is so accomplished already, as well as seeming to have nerves of steel.

The next day, at closing we still had several children waiting for their parents to pick them up. We learned that another semi was jack knifed on the highway, and that traffic was stalled for up to one hour. This day our wonderful director had already sent most of the staff home early. Some of our staff have drives of up to 1 hour, to small towns, which in these conditions were going to take much longer. The director sent me home shortly after my children were picked up, and again my co-worker drove home at 40 km, past the huge back up of traffic behind the accident.

Working in this rural daycare center is giving me a whole new look at living in our province during the winter. I find myself wondering how people really could have managed so many years ago in pioneer times. However, even today, it seems to me that rural people are a courageous, hardy group.

As well, I am planning to purchase a simple "pay as you go", cell phone to use, if needed, when travelling to work. 

Thankfully the week is over, and it does look like the forecast for next week is for better weather conditions.

My co-workers and I in the toddler room have been exploring recycled materials with our kids. We started this at the beginning of November, and have just followed our brainstorms. Interestingly, once a person begins thinking about what can be done with boxes, and other recyclables, the ideas seem to flow.

There is a whole movement in early childhood education to use open-ended materials, which allow children to use their imaginations. It seems that adults also use their imaginations more when using boxes, cardboard tubes, and empty plastic containers.

Well, really that's about it for my news. Thanks for reading along!

I had been planning on posting one or two pictures here of my ideas using boxes, however interestingly, I have now used my quota of free photos. I hadn't been aware this would ever happen! There was a time I didn't even know how to download pictures on to my computer, so this is progress indeed!!

I think I'll be able to post my pictures next weekend

Wishing you a safe and happy weekend!.

Monday, November 12, 2012

More snow

Well, here on the prairies, we have have had a winter storm this weekend, resulting in about 30 cm. of snow. Arthur is unhappy that he can't see out the living room window.

Here is a better picture of this window, showing the snow piled up against the pane.

Today was a day off work, for many people, due to Remembrance Day falling on Sunday. I went for coffee with a friend. The coffee shop was bustling, and the streets were full of traffic. The roads were in poor shape, and some city transit buses became stuck, but still many people seem to have ventured out. The temperature was very mild, so it was a nice day off.

Last weekend, I picked up an anticipated parcel at the post office - two coffee mugs, created by Teri Casper, and featuring our favourite celebrity blogger, Mr. Cheddar. Teri, has the wonderful artist blog, Teri's Painted Daisies, and is an all around lovely person. Mr. Cheddar, a handsome, big, orange cat,  is a big favourite with Herb and Artie. :) His mom, is Geraldine, a friend, and blogger of great energy. Geraldine always has an interesting project or two on the go, and authors four blogs, one called Veggies, Yarn, and Tales.

I love these mugs, and like the orange and lime colours I chose. Here are two close up pictures of this mug.

I gave one of these lovely mugs as a gift to a friend, and she was so pleased to receive this, as she has heard about the  handsome, and witty Chedster .I ordered these from Teri's " Zazzle shop".  I plan to order a few more gifts from her work in the future.

Yesterday, I made a delicious soup recommended by Geraldine, from her wonderful blog, Veggies, Yarn, and Tales - a Black Bean Soup.
The recipe calls for vegetables, vegetable soup stock, prepared black beans, and stewed tomatoes. I didn't have stewed tomatoes, so used fresh.

I added pasta to the soup, and used rice pasta. For the past two months I've been eating gluten free, as suggested by my doctor. I have found that it is quite easy to manage.There is a wide variety of rice noodles, and various breads, available. I would like to make my own bread but have been able to buy tasty, homemade style bread at a gluten free bakery in the city.

So, just to leave you with some pictures of the cats settling in for the night, and wishing you a good week ahead! (Can you tell where Arthur is in the pictures?)
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Spending Remembrance Day Quietly

We have been experiencing a winter storm here on the prairies. I went out for errands yesterday, and the day had the feeling of a true winter day. Over the past few years our snowfall has been minimal, but it has been forecast that we will have lots of snow this year.
This morning I was surprised to find that snow had continued to fall overnight. We have had approximately 30 cm of snow this weekend.

Since I've lived in this apartment, I've never had snow piled up like this against the windows.(I do live on the third floor, and this isn't piled up from the ground, just what blew against the window.)

I spent some of this day reflecting on Remembrance Day. I feel it's important for me to appreciate how fortunate I am to live in a country not experiencing the violence of war. However, I can't feel that we are a country at peace - we have soldiers still in Afghanistan, and also who have participated in military actions in other parts of the world, such as Libya just recently.

We have been hearing of young veterans returning from war, and suffering from Post Traumatic Shock Disorder. This is very terrible to hear about, but something that I believe happened to many veterans of older wars as well, either not understood, or called by other names, such as "Shell Shock". It is not unrealistic to think that the horrors of war are really more than most ordinary human beings can go through without experiencing damage to the psyche.

Several years ago, I found two amazingly written novels by a Canadian writer, Frances Itani, Remembering the Bones; and Deafening, This writer reseached WWI, so deeply, and wrote so well, that I felt a sense of what it may have been to be a young man of only 17, experiencing trench warfare. She also wrote from the perspective of several characters, at home in Canada during the wartime. Frances Itani, is an R.N.; as well as a nursing instructor, and academic, and she seemed to call on her expertise of medicine, to write her books.

Last month, I read her most recent novel, Requiem, which follows the main character, a Japanese Canadian, artist, coming to terms with his past. His family had been interned by the Canadian government, after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, and he and his family, who were Canadians, experienced terrible deprivation at the hands of the government, and their "fellow" Canadians.

I do believe, that we need to honour veterans - but that it is dishonest to glorify war. I think many at war, were heros, and many that we will never know about...and also that even those who return broken in spirit are heroes. I think that the older veterans want us to acknowledge the horror of war, and not to glorify

I found the following video of a war memorial in England, The National War Memorial, at Alrewas.
There is something very powerful in some of the monuments, and the feeling of mourning and grief is very immediate.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Crow and Kitten are Friends

Crows are my favourite bird, and so I tend to read, and listen to anything I come across about  this social , and intelligent bird. I found the story of Walter the crow, which I posted previously here, so interesting. The story describes a perfect match between humans and Walter. He was lucky to be rescued by this particular family.

The next story, I have found is about how a crow nurtures, and bonds with a kitten.It is truly lovely.
These two small creatures provide a good lesson in how to be friends.
I hope you might enjoy this!.  :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

First real snow of the winter, a look at the wonderful playyard where I work, and a special crow named Walter

Here, where I live, the  landscape has changed over just one day into winter. It  never takes long for me to  become accustomed to snow. I am not alone in this -  other people have described the same phenomenon, of adjusting to winter. There seems to be a sense of the familiar, and soon summer seems like a very distant memory. Maybe this is due to our winter lasting often up to 7 months, and at the very least 5 months.

I do enjoy the snow, and I believe this became instilled in me as a child when snow was the material I played in, shoveling, building forts, and snowmen, making snow angels, making footprint trails, digging out tunnels, and as well wonderful sled rides, and later as an older child tobogganing.

 This morning, I  witnessed the wonder in the eyes of my very young toddler aged children, as we set out to explore the snow.

 I am  privileged to be working at a daycare center with a wonderful and thoughtfully designed play yard.

 In the foregeround you can see evidence of the snow angels my children made.

This is a sheltered spot, and I have observed a small group of children, just 2 or 3, sitting here making up stories, and enjoying the privacy created. In a large center it is important to allow quiet spaces  where children  can "be away" from the group now and then.

This is a nice spot for kitchen play, and as well do outside art.In the summer canopies provide much needed shade.

A few larger tree stumps for children to play on, or create art.
This play house and slide is very popular with the older children.
This is a rural daycare center, and we are surrounded by large trees, and quiet.


 We created footprint trails, and wagon wheel trails.
By afternoon these were covered, as snow continued to fall steadily.

The daycare center where I am now working, is carefully, and lovingly designed to create a nurturing environment for children. I have been truly beginning to feel settled and at home here, and able to do the kind of work I am capable of. 

I had some concern over the commuting I need to do, but my rides have worked out well. I presently work in a room with three other early childhood educators, and I am used to working more independently. It's a learning for me, to participate in a team, but it seems to be going well. Much of the success of this center comes from the strong vison of the leadership, and their ability to communicate their vision, as well as their ability to let go, and trust in  their staff.

So, at this point I can report that my new job is going very well, and every day is a pleasure.

On a completely different note, I found this lovely story, about a crow named Walter, on the CBC website. 
I hope you will enjoy this. I loved it.
Wishing you a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mrs Black's This n That: The Emporium in Hungerford, Berkshire

Mrs Black's This n That: The Emporium in Hungerford, Berkshire: We sell from a little unit tucked in a corner at the top of the stairs on the first floor of  The Emporium in Hungerford, Bershire. It'...

I enjoyed my visit over at Mrs. Black's This n That, so much this evening, I decided to share it here. Mrs. Black is a very pretty black cat, and her owners'  run a vintage shop in an Emporium, in Hungerford, Berkshire, England.

I always come away from reading at this blog, with the feeling of having had a lovely mini vacation. This time Minerva provided an inside glimpse into her shop. I think you might enjoy a look at some of these lovely, quaint and whimsical vintage treasures on her shelves. I especially like the colourful cat at the beginning of the tour. I also loved the vintage prints of cats, which I think may have come from a different shop within the Emporium,

For me, visiting this blog today was a bit of an escape from a cold, windy, rainy day. Yes, it's been raining all day, as our temperature is not cold enough for snow.  I am grateful that we didn't have freezing rain, as that can make walking and driving treacherous for everyone.

So, I hope you might take time to click on the link above, and savour and enjoy!!
You might even want to Follow this lovely blog.

P.S. Day 1 and 2 of my new job felt HARD, trying to get to learn new faces, and routines, etc, and I wondered if I'd made a poor decision in changing jobs. However after two early nights, and making myself eat good breakfasts, I seem to have bounced back. Today, my third day went much better.  :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

We have had our first snow of the season

Well, we now have had the first snow of the season. Although the snow melted by late morning, it was pretty to see from inside.
I took a lovely brisk walk, Monday, our Thanksgiving Day, and noticed the shore birds, and way off in the distance a couple of pelicans. I think soon the shore birds will leave for the south, but it is possible the pelicans may winter over with the assistance of our park naturalists.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good picture of the pelicans. :)

Cooler tempretatures definitely require warmer clothing, and I found these lovely handknit mittens at the Sally Ann Thrift store. Some good soul has been knitting these. There was a wide selection of mitts in children's and adult's sizes, all priced at 99 cents. They remind me of the ones Mom always made for us kids, and will keep me warm.
When the temperatures get very cold, I also can add these mittens, which were given to me by a neighbour, and fellow bus rider. Her cousin from the Maritime provinces knits these. They are called Thrum mittens, with the raw wool ends left inside for extra insulation.

I am thinking of warm clothing, as I am beginning a new job, which will involve commuting. I will be ride sharing with a co-worker, and although it is only a 15 minute ride out of the city, in midwinter, it will be cold, if we happen to get stalled.

It's taken me two jobs, to get to this one, which I think is going to be a good fit for me. I know that I'll feel calm, and peaceful, along with the children, and able to do the kind of work, I love.

Can you see the robin, in these two photos? The robins are still here, and this one was singing such a crystal clear tune, as though celebrating the cooler temperature.

Wishing you a good week ahead!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just a quiet Thanksgiving weekend

It's Canadian Thanskgiving, and I have been spending it quietly.

Vacuuming with help from Arthur. :)

And this is what our sky looked like yesterday. Here you can see that our trees have lost most of their leaves. I enjoyed raking leaves for some time yesterday, with Dorothy, my downstairs neighbour. I live in a condo, with five other apartment owners, We share the yardwork, and other general jobs, in order to keep our condo fee reasonable. We don't have a schedule, people just do the work, when they notice what needs doing. We voted to build a backyard deck this summer, and two of the younger men, and their Dad's built the deck yesterday. By the looks of the sky, this may be good timing, as it does look like snow soon!

In Saskatchewan, the look of the sky, can change frequently throughout the day. One day last week, while I was home sick with a cold, the sky started out looking rather forboding, and by afternoon was sunny, although the temperature was low.

I tried to catch a photo of the leaves falling. This day the leaves just kept falling swiftly, with the help of a good, brisk wind.


Here's a favourite song for Autumn, as performed by Eric Clapton. I love Nat King Cole's version, and there are many others as well. This version has a slightly upbeat tempo, which is nice.


Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Fall from Herbert, Arthur, and me! :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunbeams, a full moon, and the last day of September

Arthur is the cat in this apartment who loves to play. He will play a form of soccer with his plastic Bizzy Ball, he'll hide his various mice, and he likes to play with the sunbeams that reflect on the wall.

My dear Herbert seems to be more soulful, somehow. He is quiet, and he welcomes all newcomers to his home, as he's done twice both for our dog, Sam, and for Arthur when he joined us.
I caught him listening to music again, this time a Youtube video of Paul McCartney being awarded the Gershwin Prize for Life time Achievement in Music, in 2010, at the WhiteHouse. Herbert appears to like all kinds of music, from Matt Dusk, to classical. to Paul McCartney, as well as Elton John.

Here's the Youtube video of Sir Paul, at the WhiteHouse. It IS extremely long, but you might just want to download it yourself to enjoy. (I'm thinking possibly of Geraldine, as I know you admire his music very much. :) )

I like Paul's music so much as well, and I just want to add an additional video of one of his prettiest songs, performed by, Herbie Hancock, and Corinne Bailey Rae, from the awards performances. I think this was an absolutely breathtaking version.

It's been a perfect autumn weekend here, and we have been fortunate to have such warm temperatures combined with sunny skies, and colourful leaves to create a dazzling sight. I enjoyed the views from my windows as well. I like the way the fall leaves brighten everything up.

One morning this week, I woke to find a tree in my neighbour's backyard had turned colour overnight. It looked wonderful!

I read on the CBC website, that our summer weather conditions have resulted in an unusually colourful fall this year. I'm not clear what was so different, but I have noticed the colours seem more bright.

We had a full moon a couple of days ago, and I caught this while waiting for the bus, one evening.

Well, really that's all for now. Just a little bit about our beautiful autumn weather, and wishing everyone a good October.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Just a little update

The first day of fall is now past, and the weather here is definitely fall like. I enjoy the cooler days, and the colours of autumn, as well as the sounds of the geese as they fly overhead. I live near to a bird marshland right within our city, and I think as well, part of the migration pathway for Canada Geese, as every spring and fall, one can hear hundreds of geese late at night in their flight.We also have local geese who winter over, and so I can always hear geese from where I live.

 This year I'm feeling the season is abit elegaic - I'm missing people from my past, and present. My son, Paul is working as a high school science teacher, in Calgary. He went to work as a substitute, but was invited to two interviews by high school principals, and was hired by one of them.I'm incredibly happy for him, but miss him.

I'm missing cousins who I rarely see, and my grandparents, aunts, and Mom. I recall one fall when I took a photo of my closest cousin, holding her baby son, and her husband (they are no longer together), who had come over to visit, and behind them the sun was setting - and I felt my heart pull, and I felt how much I cared about these people - along with my aunt and Mom. The song by Elton John, "Your Song" came to me then, and I felt that if I could someday I might write about these people, and our times.( early 70's)

 I think I might just get around to this yet, as a way of filling the emptiness of the loss of these people. Here's the song, as sung by Elton. I like this version on Youtube, he looks young and sweet.

 So, just something small to share here. Hugs to my blogging friends!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Henri 3, Le Vet

I am enjoying the Henri series of videos. Here is Henri part 3, for you Ann. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Henri 2, Paw de Deux

I recently enjoyed the following video on the CBC website. This short Youtube video won an award for best video of it's kind, and Henri has become an internet star. He seems a little depressed, and could maybe benefit from some nice catnip, I think. What do you think? :) Yet he has a certain charm as well...

Friday, September 7, 2012

A very small coming of age story

B is letting us edit here to let you know that we have a new blog called "herbandartmuse". We chose Wordpress as our new blog home, and we are having difficulties understanding some of the ins and outs, but at least we CAN publish posts. We can't yet understand how to make the blog available to those who use Blogger, so if you would like to visit  "herbandartmuse", you could scroll down B's bloglist here, and click on "herbandartmuse".
Miaooow for now!! ... er we mean Ciaooow for now!! 
Herb and Art :)

I am remembering the late 1960's, and me as an awkward 13 year old. Our family had moved into a lovely new home, and my youngest uncle, Uncle Brian, came to visit for Christmas. I remember feeling shy around this uncle, who'd divorced my beautiful aunt, and was now living in Toronto. This was my favourite uncle, but he didn't know it. I'd grown up, having him and Grandma, living in the basement suite of our small home, but now everything had changed.

 In the late 1960's my family moved, from our small bungalow on Mullin Avenue, to a larger house, in a new neighbourhood, with undeveloped lots, and spindly saplings for trees. I had watched Uncle Brian grow up from a 13 year old boy entering high school, get married, move to Calgary for university, become a young business man, settle down with his lovely, intelligent wife, and their fluffy Samoyed dog. And then, the news that he had divorced and moved to Toronto felt like something shameful, not to be discussed, and so I found myself awkward, and even abit afraid around him. I believe it had something to do with feeling sorry for him, and afraid to say the wrong thing.

 As was my usual custom, as a child I eavesdropped when my parents had company. Generally, once my brothers and I had settled in upstairs for bed, I would soon sit at the top of the stairs, and just listen. I always was fascinated by what there was to learn about the world of adults, and most particularly the secret knowledge I might acquire about my parents and their siblings lives. I believe this may have been, because there were always undercurrents in our family, as there are in many families. Things that were not right - that were painful, disturbing, and sometimes even frightening. So, I would listen, store the information, and try to solve some of the mysteries of why things were unhappy in our home, perhaps with some thought of fixing them. I think this was the beginnings of my interest in psychology, and mysteries as well.:)

The Christmas, Uncle Brian came to visit, without his wife, and now newly living in Toronto, I naturally found myself sitting at the top of the stairs listening to the adults talk. Uncle Brian was talking about a street called "Yonge Street" and various small coffee shops where he went to listen to music, and mainly he talked about Gordon Lightfoot.

That Christmas, was for me a changing point, when I began to think more deeply about my family, and about the world, and why people would divorce, and what was happening out in the world. I felt quite alone at this time, not understanding that my family was not singular - that others were going through similar changes and upheavals. We were unique of course in many ways, as each family is, but as well we lived in a certain time, and were affected by it.

It didn't take long for me to find the music of Gordon Lightfoot, and become entranced by the beauty of his songs. Now, 44 years later, I'm listening to his music all over again, and rediscovering how fine his songs are. In some of Lightfoots' more recent performances, which I've watched through the magic of Youtube, he seems truly happy and lighthearted. His love for his music, and performing is very evident.  I found the following interview on Youtube, and am sharing it here. If you enjoy his music, you may enjoy this interview as well. It's quite long, so I  understand if you choose not to listen. :)