Friday, May 20, 2011

A Beautiful Poem

Yesterday we received a sympathy card from a far away friend.  It was a beautiful hand-made card as so many are these days.  What was different about it was the poem it shared.

I love poetry, especially this type of poetry - that tells a story, and touches one in some way or another.  I read the verse, and just knew I had to share it with you.  It spoke to the crafter in me, but more than that it spoke to the believer in me.

The only thing wrong with this card, is it did not state the author's name - and that saddened me - as a writer, and as a reader.

I hope this touches you as it did me.

  THE PLAN OF THE MASTER WEAVER

Our lives are but fine weavings
That God and we prepare,
Each life becomes a fabric planned
And fashioned in His care.
We may not always see just how
The weavings intertwine.
But we must trust the Master’s hand
And follow His design,
For He can view the pattern
Upon the upper side,
While we must look from underneath
And trust in Him to guide…..
Sometimes a strand of sorrow
Is added to His plan,
And though it’s difficult for us
We must understand
That it’s He who fills the shuttle,
It’s He who knows what’s best.
So we must weave in patience
And leave to Him the rest…..
Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why - -
The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.


Author Unknown



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Son!

Today is my son, Jonathan's birthday.  He'll cringe when he hears I blogged about him, but that's just too bad.  I blog about things that I love and he's on the top of that list... well, most days, anyway!

Jon is my only child, and I can't believe how quickly the years have sped by to today.  Time stands still for no one - one minute you are caring a babe in your arms, and the next minute that babe is cooking you a mother's day dinner! 

For those of you who don't know Jon, he's a typical young man - with a huge huge heart.  He is sometimes hard to read, as he tends to keep things pretty close to the vest - but get him talking and you will discover all kinds of things about him.

He is a very calm person - never looses his temper; he's smart - but never flaunts it; he's very creative and sticks with a project until he has it right.  He has a great love of good music and is not stuck in any particular genre, he likes the best of the best - period.  He loves movies.  He's kind and exceptionally generous.  He's a good friend to many many people of all ages and nationalities.  He's a hard worker, never phones in sick, doesn't abuse his privileges.  He's a wonderful son... and both his dad and I are very proud of him.

I hope he has the best day today - I know he will get many well wishes from people all over the city as he works, and across the cyber world as the day moves along.

Happy Birthday Jonathan

LOve You, Son...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

OH WHAT A PAL!

Well it finally happened.  I picked my little Chip up from the breeder on Friday night, and what a fantastic weekend I had.

I have to tell you - he's perfect.  He is sweet, gentle, affectionate, and very funny.  He is so full of mischief and so perky that for much of the weekend he had us all laughing.  I could sit and watch him all day - and well, I did do that for most of the weekend..

But then Monday rolls around and it's back to reality and our jobs, so I took off for work yesterday, feeling kinda sad that I would be leaving him alone for the first time.

I don't think he really cared... he seems pretty content in his cage, he loves his birdie bed, he's eating real food, and he has the dog to watch and try to figure out.

When I got home from work yesterday I took him out of the cage and introduced him to the craft room for the first time.  My work table is kind of scary on any given day, but I moved most of the cutter aside and made a spot that was safe for him to play on.

He took a shine to a wooden thread spool.  He pushed it around the table and then we started pushing it at each other.  He loved it.

We played for quite a while, and then he discovered an even better use for the wooden spool...
I laughed my head off... but that's the way this little guy is...

So tonight we are heading back into the craft room and I'm going to see what he can do with a crochet hook. 

I want to thank the breeder, Heidi and her mother (Omma) for raising such a wonderful little fellow.  I know they are missing him already.  I promise to send lots of pictures and updates.

So happy Tuesday everyone... lets get to it! 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday in Manitoba

What a beautiful Monday morning we have going on here in Winnipeg.  The sun is shining, the winds are absent, and all predictions say it will be warm today.  We are lucky indeed.

Just a couple of hours from here, some are still fighting the disastrous flooding conditions from the Assiniboine River and now added to that, those who live permanently or have summer homes on Lake Manitoba are fearing that their homes will be washed away by the quickly rising lake, which has become a real threat from all the extra water being diverted there from the rivers.

It is hard to imagine what terror these folks must be feeling as they scramble to empty what belongings they can from their homes, knowing that the next time they come back, their home may very well be gone.  Some of these cottage homes, have been in families for years - passed down from generation to generation.  They have withstood many horrible storms, rain, tornado's ... now this.

My friends Laurie and Paul have a cottage on Lake Manitoba, and they spent the weekend sandbagging and trying to do everything they can to protect their home.  Their efforts may have been all for naught... only time will tell.

Please keep my friends, and all those who have been challenged beyond what is suitable, in your thoughts and prayers and they continue to fight this never-ending battle with the elements.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Daisy Making Mama...

Awhile back I mentioned that I was crocheting squares for some afghans for our niece's children.  Two afghans are for girls so I thought I would try and use the daisy loom my aunt gave me last year and see if I could somehow incorporate a daisy into the square.

It actually worked out better than I expected and was able to work my favorite granny square around it perfectly.

Here are a couple of pictures I took of one of the squares.

The outer loops of the daisy(white) are actually under the yellow loops - they are the loops I used to form the granny square.  If I was just making daisies and attaching them together to form a "daisy" afghan, these outer loops would be much more visible.  For these daisies I used all 3 sets of pegs on the loom.

It is fun varying the colors of the petals, but I did find, the more color variation the harder it was to keep all the loops on the pegs.

There really is a method to the technique, one has to be fairly co-ordinated, especially when working on the inner pegs.  As you wind around the inner pegs the outer loops tend to want to slip off the outer pegs.

 This one I used one color for all three rows of pegs and the flower looks very fluffy and much larger, even though it isn't.
This one has three different colors - each row of pegs a different color was used.  It's a pretty neat way to use up smaller scraps of yarn.

I have enough squares done for one afghan, and I am continuing on with the second set of squares.  The Afghan I am making for the boy will be earth tone colors - greens, browns, beige's, maybe some red and orange, and the squares will have appliques on them of Boy things, like frogs, fish, dragons, owls... that sort of thing.

Hopefully I will be able to get these finished soon so that the children can use their blankets on their beds at the cottage this summer.

I am going to try my hand at making a tutorial.. never done one before, but thought it would be neat on the daisy loom flowers.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Remember Chip?

Remember Chip?  Of course you do... well he might be coming home tonight to live with us.  The last time we visited him, he was so adorable, cuddly and sweet.  Now he is all those things and an explorer.  The breeder told me he's ready to move out of her home and in to mine.

I worked on his cage on the weekend.  Made him a birdie bed, and a chew toy, but the rest of the cage set-up will depend on him.  I will observe him for a few days to see where his favorite spots will be and then I will add some more toys and things.

The birdie beds sell in pet stores for over 30.00.  I took a good look at one, and decided not to waste my hard earned money when I could make it myself.  Here's the finished product..
Conures love to chew, so I also made him a treat/toy from cuttle bone pieces and a mineral block.  This should keep him busy for a day or so.


I can barely wait until the work day is over... you know I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!





Wednesday, May 11, 2011

HOW NOT TO PUBLISH A BOOK!

Last week in all the confusion going on around me, I neglected to check my emails on a regular basis.  So on the weekend I had the daunting job of going through many emails that I had missed the week before.

One of the emails was from the Publishers of my novel "Stroke Of Love".  It seems my contract with them (7 yrs) will expire in June and they were asking me if I intended renewing for another 7 yrs.

This might seem strange to some - but I have been waiting for this day for about 6 yrs.  When I first signed the contract for publication, I was pumped with the idea that my book would be available everywhere... not so.  In fact I was never even able to get my book in a store - anywhere.  The contract that made the Publisher look worthy - wasn't worthy of the paper it was written on.  This publisher did nothing to promote my book or help me get it on the shelves, and so pretty much the book sold only when I sold a book myself.  My largest royalty cheque was $2.75.... seriously - I think I sold over 100 books, and maybe made a total of $13.00.

My writing is not about making money - but having said that it would be nice to sell a few books and make a little bit of money!! Writing IS hard work... much time and effort is spent making a story and good story.  It's just too bad that Publishers such as mine, benefit from my work - more than I do.

So what was my answer to them?

Stuff it -

I have a much more rewarding project in mind for Stroke of Love, that has to do with my wonderful readers right here on my blog.  As of June - when I am no longer bound by contract - I can do whatever I want with my book.

So question is...

Do you want to read it?

Have a great day, my friends...

Monday, May 9, 2011

What a day!

Monday's are never my favorite day of the week - but I must admit - today was a doozy!  It was the much anticipated "kick off " of Nurses Week on our floor.  After many meetings and discussions the paraprofessional group of which I am one, finally came to some agreement as to how we would make the nurses we work with every day feel special.  We paired up, and my billing partner and I got Monday - today to honour the nurses.  We decided that I would do "breakfast" and she would do "lunch", so much of my weekend, including Mother's Day was devoted to baking several kinds of yummy muffins for "breakfast".

So this morning, I was organized.  I got up, got ready for work, even conned a ride from Gary so I wouldn't have to lug the baking on the bus.  I got to work about 6:50am, hauled my loot up the elevator to the 5th floor where I work.  I was the first one on the floor, so I turned on the lights, started opening exam room doors as I went down the hallway.

My office is about half way down the hall, so I opened my door, turned on the light and continued down the hallway my destination being the lunchroom at the end of the hall.  When I opened my office door, I did notice a horrible musty odor, but I didn't stop to investigate.

I set up the lunchroom with a bright yellow table covering, some spring-like napkins, arranged my muffins on some pretty plates and then headed back to my office.

I wasn't even at the doorway, and I could smell the funny odor again.  I walked into the room, threw my purse and jacket on a chair and stepped past the high file cabinets, and just stood in shock.  Sometime over the weekend the ceiling above my desk had sprung a leak.  The carpet was saturated, my computer was sitting in water on the floor, as was the power bars, my desk was wet, all the files had been wet, and dried as all the papers which were neatly piled were crinkled from water.  The doors of my overhead cabinets were warped, and the arborite was peeling from the desk and furniture and the ceiling tiles above my work space were saturated and about to fall down.

I called maintenance - but got a recording that they were not available until 7:30, so I paged the emergency maintenance, left a message, then called my manager's secretary.

If you have ever worked in a large medical center you might have discovered that the non-medical wheel rolls slowly... especially between departments.  Interdepartmental communication does not exist - well almost never.

Maintenance arrived around 9 - two  fellows with a ladder, and 20 minutes, and a lot of head scratching later, and they couldn't figure out where the water had come from.

Hello - this leaking ceiling of ours has happened (not to this extent) but it has happened every spring for 15 years.  It is coming in the wall somewhere, especially after a driving rain as we had over the weekend.  Put some gunk or puddy on it, fellas, and all will be well again.

The older if the 2 fellas suggest we move to a different office - not an option we have special cableling to our computers for working with the government - can't be moved.  So instead we decide to move my desk.

No small feat.  First we have to call e-health.  That's the computer people - because I have been told under no circumstances am I to touch the computer.  Then the desk is so large, I have to call carpentry to come and take the desk apart.  Then transport needs to be called to move the desk, then housekeeping has to be called to suck up the water on the floor.  But don't forget coffee breaks, so in reality - we stand and wait, and wait, and wait!

I'm a pretty reasonable and patient person - really I am, but OMG - this room stinks, I can't even sit down, and I'm getting pretty darn grumpy.  I haven't done a lick of work - and I'm pretty sure that I won't all day.

Oh yeah, and I have to make nice to the nurses... and really they are most sympathetic to our plight... really they are, bless their souls!

The trades come and go, they don't stick around, so back on the phone we go.  The desk is finally moved, call carpentry to put the desk back together.  Call e-health to come and connect the computer - they can't the wires won't reach, so call carpentry back to make a hole in the desk... wait, wait, wait.  He shows up, but his batteries are dead on his drill... wait wait.  Finally it's all done, and they leave, but the mess is left for us to clean up.  There is crap (sorry) everywhere, so my partner and I in our dress clothes roll up our sleeves and move file cabinets and rolling desks around and around, until we have some type of workable flow in the office.

Call housekeeping back to vacuum the sawdust off the carpet and all the dust and probably mould that we have stirred up. And we're done.

Well for now, anyway.... and look at that - it's 3pm  - time to head home... not a moment too soon, I'm thinking!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

There is a little picture that sits on my old piano.  It's a tiny little picture of two women, both in dresses standing close together as if good friends.  They could be sisters - they resemble each other quite a bit; they are the same height, similar in stature... both smiling.

The picture dates back to June 1980, and was taken at a Church picnic.  The women are good friends; they have known each other since they were about 16 yrs of age, but time and circumstance has separated them until the very weekend of the picture.

No one could have predicted, but four years after this picture was taken, one of them would be gone.  The other, would soon take over where her dear friend left off, and she would continue to do so for many many years until her own death, 31 yrs later.

I called both women Mother.  You see, I have been blessed to have two remarkable women for Mothers... my own, and Gary's.  I loved them both with all my heart, and this year will be the first time in my 55 yrs without one of my "Mothers" to honour on Mother's Day.

It will seem strange, indeed.  But there are many many mothers who can be honoured by all of us.

A mother is more than a woman who has borne a child, it is any woman who has nurtured, loved and cared for anything other than herself.   That is what a mother, is... and that is what a mother does.

So on this day set aside to honour nurturers the world over, I wish all the women on earth a "Happy Mother's Day".  I hope your day is special, and complete with the knowledge that those whom you have nurtured, be it human, animal, vegetable or mineral - love you right back on this very special day.

                                                               Happy Mother's Day!

My Mother, Erna Fischer is in the peach dress, Gary's mother, Olga Graumann is in the blue dress.


Monday, May 2, 2011

IN LOVING MEMORY OF MOM GRAUMANN

My mother-in-law Olga, passed away on Thursday April 28.  Even though we had been expecting the end to be near, when it came, it felt totally unexpected.  I don't know if that was because we haven't seen her for a year, and so didn't really see her decline, or if it is just the mind's way of prolonging what we know is inevitable.


This post is for her.



She was born April 8th, 1923.  She was the youngest daughter of a family of 6.  She had 4 sisters and 1 brother.  She lived in Chicago her whole life.  She married Barth Graumann in 1945 and they had 2 children; a daughter Jane, and a son Gary.

I could tell you more of this kind of information, but what I really want this post to be about is the woman I knew and loved - the woman I have known as "Mom" for the past 26 yrs.

The first time I met "Mom" was in 1980, when she and Gary drove to Canada to see my parents.  Olga and my mother had been acquaintances as young girls.   My mother's oldest sister lived next door to Olga's family and when they came home to see my grandparents one summer, they brought Olga along on the trip - and there started a life-long friendship.

The first thing I noticed about Olga was that she wore makeup (my mom didn't) and she was dressed as if she was going somewhere special.  Her hair was dyed and styled and she looked incredible for a woman her age.  The second thing I discovered was that she was friendly, nice and a lot of fun to be with.

Over the years as I got to know her better as a daughter-in-law, I discovered the real woman who was Olga Graumann.

She loved her children more than anything, even though she was capable of making their lives miserable from time to time.  Her grandchildren were her most special accomplishment.  She carried a purse full of pictures and memorabilia devoted to her grandchildren and other family members - but mostly her grandchildren, and later her great-grandchildren.

She loved the movies.  She thought nothing of going to the matinee on a Sunday afternoon by herself, if she couldn't find someone to go with her - she went for the thrill of watching Hollywood in all it's glory- and later when she could no longer get to the movie theater, she'd rent movies and watch them on her TV at home.  Often when we would call her the first thing she would say to Gary would be - "See any good movies, Gar?"

She loved restaurants - maddening so!  She knew more great eating places than anyone I've ever known.  She wasn't overly fussy about the menu - but she liked the family-style restaurants the best.  Surprisingly enough, a simple hot dog was her favorite food.  It used to make me chuckle when we would discuss an event such as a wedding, her first question was not what everyone wore, but what was served for the meal!

She was generous - so very very generous.  If she had five dollars left until payday and she thought you needed it more than her - it was yours.  She didn't really have money to share - but she did anyway, often times going without herself, I suspect.

She loved big cars.  She thought it was a real indication of someones status if they owned a Lincoln or a Caddy.

She loved music - polkas and hymns were her preference... but Edelweiss was her favorite song.  When she visited us she would end every night with a little game.  We lived in an apartment at the time and when everyone was in bed and all was quiet, she would call out one of our names and when we answered she's sing "Seventy-six Trombones" from the Music Man - and we'd all crack up.

That was the "Mom" I knew and loved.  I can't imagine how we will get on without her - but we will, because we have some pretty great memories of times spent with her.

I will be forever grateful that she considered me a daughter, that she gave of herself so completely and that she loved us all with all her heart - for that is the basis of life.  Love.

Rest in everlasting Peace, Mom.  I love you.

This is for you Mom... I know you are listening!