Monday, September 30, 2013

Designing a Weekend!

Hope no one is rushing here this morning to see what I created or "Designed" on the weekend.  Don't be terribly disappointed in me when I tell you I created not one thing, nor did I design anything.

My weekend flew by, in typical weekend fashion leaving me dissatisfied with myself for accomplishing  - well - not much at all.

Who said we have to be productive every minute anyway?  I am very productive all week at work - I work hard and accomplish an awful lot - so perhaps weekends should be resting up and doing nothing time?

Well anyway - if life was so perfect we'd all be a lot different than we are.  Thank goodness it's not perfect - it is more interesting that way!

I did get my laundry done - and I did get to the thrift store - which I had not been to in about a month.  I found a real piano lamp there - you know the brass kind that can be adjusted in two places... I have wanted one of these on my piano for a long time.  You can adjust them to shine right down on the music with less shine in the eyes, and because my old piano is an upright I needed a light that could be lowered down the front of the box.  This one is perfect.

And because of that one 6.99 purchase at the thrift store, my plans for the weekend changed.  I realized I had been neglecting one of my other talents so I sat at the piano and played - and played - and played.   What a wonderful way to while away a rainy afternoon!

I also spent some time next door with my neighbour, Elaine.  It's been 4 months since her husband Gordon passed away  - and she has been doing very well - but yesterday was Gordon's birthday - it was a hard day for her, and a week ago she had to put down her beloved Sparky, so she was feeling quite sad.  She needed to talk and she needed to hear how well she is doing, and that there are people who love her...

She made her cheese scones, we had coffee, we talked, we cried and we laughed... mainly due to this little fellow...

Meet Minty!

Minty is the new addition to her home.  He will never replace Sparky, but already he has healed some of her broken heart.  He is 8 wks old, already trained and a very loving and good little guy.  He is exactly what Elaine has needed.

Katie, is not quite sure yet how she feels about this young brat - but at least she is no longer hissing and spitting at him.

So how was my weekend?

I'd say, it was rather Blessed!

Friday, September 27, 2013

It's time!

It's time for a little "Designing" time for myself.  I joined a very large Chatty Cathy group and they have several events coming up for Chatty that require some special outfits.  One is a Halloween Masquerade party.  I have already decided what I want to dress my doll up as - but now I have to create the outfit.  I am going to crochet it (somehow) and I am going to use some of the stash of hand-spun wool my neighbor gave me to make it...  That is this weekend's goal.

Well that and the usual house cleaning- cooking-laundry stuff that usually goes on.  I also am ready to tackle my first re-root (hair) on a doll.  I have been too busy to tackle it before now, but it's time.  I will try and take some pictures along the way  - if I do an okay job, you'll see them - if I don't - you won't!

I really would like to make my cabbage rolls but I think that can wait one more week - not really in the mood for that this weekend.  I usually make many dozen at this time of the year and then again before Christmas.

I am finding being back to working a 5-day week is really tiring.  But I have a week off following Thanksgiving so that should refresh me somewhat... I hope!

So have a great weekend everyone - get out and enjoy the wonderful colors of fall if you can.  We are supposed to have a rainy weekend, so it might be a bit wet for that here - but we won't complain - we really need the rain very badly around these parts.

Talk to you next week!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bye Bye Sweet Friend!

This is a re-post from a couple of years back.  It is a poem I wrote about my neighbor's cat Sparky after cat-sitting both him and young Katie for a month while his people were away.

Sparky was the sweetest old fellow, and he passed away last Friday.  He will be so missed by Elaine, his owner, and by me too - his surrogate owner.  He leaves behind a very sad a lonely Katie... who just can't quite understand why her best friend has not come home.

RIP Sparky!

Sparky was a splendid cat,
Refined, mature and wise.
He’d been around the world a time or two,
You could see it in his eyes.
He’d hunted rabbits in the wild,
When New Zealand was his home;
He’d been all around the globe,
Except perhaps, to Rome.
His humans were a caring sort,
And sought a friend for him,
The cat they bought to give him joy
Believed the house a gym.

She was a very active gal,
Naughty, more to truth;
It could have been her nature,
But he thought it was her youth.

Mishaps became the normal day,
He had to struggle through.
She listened to no cat advice,
No, not a single mew.
Soon he became complacent,
Or maybe he was bored;
For after all his humans knew
That really, he was Lord.

A tune up was what he’d suggest,
If ever they would ask;
He could even offer them,
Assistance to the task.
Ah, Sparky was a splendid cat,
Refined mature and wise;
Yup, he’d sure welcome any chance,
To cut her down to size.
Dale Graumann

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Another "Little Thing"

Speaking of little things - is there anything nicer than receiving a plant - or flowers - unexpectedly?

I don't think so.

I has been a particularly difficult four months at work - with a new billing program topping off a slew of computer related problems and issues.  Downtime has been rampant - work time has been frustrating, even without having more doctors added to my work load.  Most of the physician's I bill for (17 of them) don't bother to even ask how it's going - you'd think they would - after all it is their income...

But there is one who has asked each and every time he steps in the room, and he has shown genuine interest and empathy when we needed to vent or rant or rave.

Yesterday he brought this to the office - just to say thanks for all we do...

A  "Little Token" , says he - 

"Goes a long way", says me...

It's a little thing (according to him) but it has given us joy, and it will continue to do so for a long time to come...

Thank You Dr. R!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pay attention to the little things!

Who knew I would miss sitting down every evening to write a blurb for my blog... It has become something I do right after I get the supper dishes done - I write my blog for the next day.  In a way it is a good way for me to think about what has gone on in my life - it makes me remember the little things that one tends to set aside as non-important.  Everything is life is important however - the older you get the more true that becomes.

Little things can take one down a very long path.  It happens to me all the time, and I will admit I did not always pay attention to the detail of the path - but I do now.  I don't know why I do - but I do.

It happened yesterday.  I was walking to church in the morning - it's a nice long walk through an older well-established neighborhood that dates back to the very early 1900's.  I love looking at the big old houses as I meander along.  I got to one corner and noticed that there were a lot of oak leaves on the ground, then I noticed the acorns, also on the ground.  Suddenly I was 8 yrs old, and I could almost see myself with a brown paper bag in my hand, down at the end of our street collecting acorns for my grandfather's pigs.  It got me to thinking... my Grandpa lived on a farm with hundreds of oak trees all around.  Whatever prompted me to fill bag after bag of acorns from one oak tree down the street?  I really don't know - but I did every fall.

Funnier yet  - my Dad packed them in the trunk of the car and we drove over 2 hours to see Grandpa and deliver them to the pigs.  My Grandpa was not an easy man to get to know - but it says much about him to me now, when I remember him being delighted that I had brought the acorns, and making a big show of helping me feed them to his pigs, who I'm sure were well fed on grain and chop...

That one little moment eased my heart somewhat, especially since I had spent a large part of my weekend being sad, knowing a sibling of mine was in town, and knowing he would not be contacting me.

A little thing like an acorn laying on the sidewalk - turned out to be not such a little thing at all - AND I got to write about it here, which made it all make sense somehow.


May the little things bring you joy in your life...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Just checking in to say HI

Just popping in to say a quick  HI!  Hope everyone is doing fine.

I have been very busy since I decided to take my break.  In the short time I have been away a lot has happened.

First a real sweet and good, long-time friend of ours has passed away.  I have known Rick for thirty-some years or more.  He passed away last week and his funeral is tomorrow.  My love to his wife Donna, and their children, Graham and Hailey.  Rick was one of those people who gave, gave, gave - he was funny and kind, always there when you needed him... a real good friend...and he cooked a mean turkey.  Love you Rick - rest in peace, my friend...

I made a 18 minute you-tube video on how to make bread-dough clay... if you are interested you can watch it here...

I will be following it up soon with another video on what and how to create things from the clay...

I finished the afghan for my great-niece who has started college away from home...

I inherited more yarn - real hand spun wool (on the floor) this time from my neighbor Elaine.  So now my stash looks like this...

Looks like a lot but believe it or not - not enough of any one thing to make a human sweater.  However there is more than enough to do many doll outfits!

And speaking of dolls... I made new pj's for my Cathy's so they could participate in the first ever Chatty Cathy PJ Party on Facebook.  It was awesome - we all had a blast - and my photo was one of the top 5 chosen ( out of hundreds) so I am pretty happy about that.

Next Up?

Still trying to get outfits done to open my Etsy shop... there is a Halloween Masquerade Party coming up next month for the Cathy's... I already know what I'm dressing one up as...

Choir is great this year - I am enjoying being back singing again...

The fall weather is upon us - much cooler - yeah - the leaves are starting to turn, and every morning I hear the geese flying south.

Winter is just around the corner...

It's all good...

Till next time - take care everyone!

Isn't this the cutest girl you ever saw?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Taking a Break!

Happy Monday morning everyone!

I apologize for not updating the "Cathy" story as I promised.  I have pretty much had to start from the beginning on the story as my computer issues have pretty much shut me out of my document - and of course I had not backed up most of it - so there you go.

I do know better than to do these things, but my mind has been preoccupied with so much of late, that I am thinking that perhaps now is not the ideal time to be writing this in the first place!

I am really struggling to accomplish way more than I should even be attempting, and so for this reason I have decided to take a little time away from here so I can get myself back on track.  I have re-evaluated my priorities to some degree and I realize that although I do have a handful of faith-full followers, this blog is hit and miss at the best of times.

The reality is that is takes a lot of time, to plan and write a daily blog - even a weekly blog.  What takes the reader minutes to read -  takes me an hour or more to write (on a good day).  Right now I just don't have the time I need to devote to this project.

Also I have some reservations as to who is reading my blog.  When I set this site up I made the decision to leave it open so it would be available to everyone.  That will most certainly change when and if I start to blog again.  There are some who don't want to communicate with me, who don't want to be part of my life, but they don't mind reading all about what is going on in my life - here.  You know who you are, and all I can say is - Sorry to spoil your fun!

So for now I am going to take a break from blogging... while I concentrate on some other important things in my life.

God willing, we will chat again soon -

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cathy's story. Chapter 3

It is a beautiful, if not somewhat cool morning here in Winnipeg this morning.  Our overnight temps plummeted down into the 40's overnight.  No wind this morning, just a cool calm morning.

How lucky for me that I just happened to have my camera with me this morning as I spotted one of my most favorite things on my way to work this morning.

I didn't feel nearly so bad about having to get up early after seeing this... and no I was not driving... so I could monkey around the sap on the windshield to get this nice shot.

On a different note - 

I had forgotten what a formatting nightmare Blogger can be.  It does not convert a word document well at all, that is why you may notice that each chapter looks a bit different.  The original document looks as it should - please forgive the way it is looking here.

But I will continue on  - formatting woes and all.

The story continues...

Chapter Three


I wish I could show you pictures of my early life with Wendy.  Back then most families only had one camera, and most often it was a box camera that only took black and white still pictures. 

Wendy’s family did have a movie camera, and it was used at special times such as Christmas, weddings and family reunions, but I was never captured on the movie camera, and even if I had been, no one could remember where those films ended up –so they are forever lost.

Still nothing can remove the happy memories of my time spent with Wendy.

Except maybe, the day I am about to tell you about.

It was a Saturday, everyone was home that day.  Wendy’s Mom was baking cookies, her Dad was mowing the lawn and Wendy and I were playing quietly in her bedroom.  Wendy had just changed my outfit and was fixing my hair when she pulled my string.

“Grrrr, grrrrr…. I….grrrr…. you!”  I couldn’t believe that had come from my record –something was horribly wrong!

“What’s the matter with you, Cathy?”  Wendy whispered and pulled again.

“Do you want to play with me?”  Whew, must have been the humidity in the air, I thought - what a relief, my voice was fine!

She giggled and shook her finger at me.  “Naughty Cathy, don’t do that again!”

But the next day the same thing happened, not once but several times in a row.  I was devastated, scared and sad that I could not tell my girl I loved her.  Wendy was beside herself and immediately blamed her sister for breaking my record.

Wendy’s father could fix just about anything, he promised us both that he could fix me too, so the next day he took me down to his workshop to do just that.

He asked Wendy’s mom to undress me.  Whoa – not happening, I thought to myself – not that I had any control over such things.  Within minutes I was bare plastic for anyone to see… how crushed I was to be so in front of a man!

“Well Cathy, lets see what is going on with you.”  He picked me up and turned me this way and that way over and over as if he was looking for something.

“Looks like I am going to have to crack her chest open, Bonnie,” he said to his wife,  “Might be a good idea to keep Wendy occupied away from here until I have the doll back together.”

He took a pocket knife and sliced along my side seam, but he could not cut through the plastic.  Then he took a hammer and tapped on the end of the knife until the blade went through my plastic. 

“Sorry Cathy,” he mumbled as he repeated poking holes along my seam from my hip to my neck, then he ran the blade between the holes until one side was open.

My arm began to feel loose and as he turned me over and started to work on my other side seam, I began to feel like I was falling apart. 

I was falling apart.  Piece by piece I landed on his work table.  First one arm fell and then the other.  My head was next, and then my legs, until the only part of me he held was my chest.  I heard a crack and then that too fell open.

My life was over!  There I lay in pieces and all I could think of was that I hadn’t told Chatty goodbye.  Poor Chatty – who was going to watch over her if I wasn’t there?  And my poor girl, Wendy -  I’d never see her again.  Despair hit me like a cement floor.  My head rolled to the side and my eyes closed. 

I have no idea how long I lay on that work table, I didn’t count the days or even the weeks, but one day Wendy’s Dad came back into the room with a determined look on his face.

“Cathy, I have to fix you today, either that or forever be looked upon as a monster by my little girl.”  He picked up half of my chest and pulled my string.

“Grrrrrr…. I…. grrrrrr….. grrrrr.”

“You don’t say?” he chuckled and pulled again.
“Grrrrr….. grrrrr….”

I heard a snap and my record player was open.

“Look at this little record,”  I heard him say quietly, “Everything looks good here.”

He worked on my record player for a long time, and finally he stopped trying.  No matter what he did, the results were always the same when he pulled the string.

“Looks like you won’t ever talk again, Cathy,” he said sadly.

He reassembled my chest put my arms and legs back and my head on, and then wrapped a wide piece of tape around my middle.  I would never have a sealed body again, nor would I ever speak another word. 

I was devastated as was Wendy who cried herself asleep that night and several nights after that.  The worst had happened.  I had lost my voice.  I knew it would only be a short time before Wendy would no longer want me as her friend

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Some more Cathy Story.

My four-day weekend went by much too quickly, and that was the last of my Friday's off for the summer.  Now it's back to a regular work week, and I'm feeling more than a little sorry for myself.

In a way I am looking forward to getting back to a routine of sorts.  I am starting back to choir this week, so every Sunday will be spent singing until next May.  In a month or so we will already be deep into the practices for our big Advent and Christmas events.  I can't wait to see what music we will be singing this year...

In the meantime, I have signed up for a couple of fun events on a Chatty Cathy group on FB that I belong to.   We are having a Chatty Cathy Pajama party in September.  There will be Cathy's there from all over the globe - how fun is that!  All 4 of my Cathy's are involved so this past weekend I had to make some PJ's.  I am happy to say I make PJ's much better than dresses - they turned out great!

Now I will set up a photo shoot with the dolls in a PJ party theme, and these images will be shared with the other group members on the Pajama party day- how fun is that!

We are also having an outfit exchange and I decided to knit a couple of outfits.  Actually one sweater/skirt combo and a coat and hat and scarf combo.  Not sure yet which set I'll send, I'll have to wait and see how they turn out first.

I tried to do some writing on the weekend as well, and I did get some more the Cathy's story done.

So here is the next bit...


Chapter two


Life with Wendy was exactly how I imagined it would be.  Wendy and I spent every moment we could together and when Wendy had to be away from me, I still had my friend Chatty to hang out with.  

The only place I was not allowed to go with Wendy was to her school, except for show and tell day, but that didn’t work out too well because all the other little girls brought their Chatty Cathy’s to school that day too.

When Wendy went visiting to her cousin’s home - I went too.  When Wendy went to piano lessons, I went along and sat in on the big lumpy davenport in the teachers parlor, listening to Wendy trying to learn the piano.  

I went to swimming lessons, girl guides, skating lessons, and even once to a movie theater to see Cinderella.  That was fun - I had never been to a movie before.  We went to the park often where we would play for hours on the swings, slides and teeter-totters, and in the winter time I even went sledding for real... not pretend like the dolls in the Easton’s store window.

Yes, my life was good.

Both Chatty and I got new outfits often, but I never did get the red coat with the white fur collar.  One of the dolls down the street did though - and she wore it every time I saw her - I think she did it on purpose just because she knew I wanted one so badly!

Wendy’s family moved around a lot, her father was in the Air Force.  Sometimes it seemed we would just start to know other girls and their dolls and then we would be moving again.  Moving so often, upset my Wendy - but she always had me to help her feel better once we got to the new house.

We went on a lot of family vacations.  The car was always crammed with kids and toys, it was a noisy time, but it was usually fun. 

Chatty and I never were left behind, we and some favorite outfits were always packed in a bag and set on the floor of the back seat of the car for the trip - unlike the other toys, like the coloring books and the old-maid cards that had to travel in the trailer behind the car.

One time we went camping to a lake for a week.  The family had a tiny little pull trailer where everyone stayed and slept in.  It was fun, but very crowded.  At night all the girls and their dolls would pile in the same bed. I always ended up on the floor in the middle of the night because there wasn’t enough room for us all.  I had a sore back for days after that that trip.

One day Wendy decided I should go swimming in the lake.  I was afraid it would ruin my voice box so I really didn’t want to go, Chatty didn’t want to go either because she was afraid she would drown in the lake.

Wendy put me under her arm and headed off towards the water.  I could just feel the sweat breaking out on my back.  What if I got all wet and then my voice wouldn’t work anymore?  What if I couldn’t say “I love you” anymore?

Wendy was in the water up to her waist and I could feel my feet getting wet.  I didn’t know what to do so I just clung on for dear life.  Suddenly Wendy looked down into the water and gave a loud shriek.

“Daddy, there are leeches in the water,” she yelled so loud she almost made me dizzy and then she almost dropped me in her hurry to get out of the water.  She ran as fast as she could back to shore and almost dropped me twice in the process, but finally we were safely out of the water.  

“Wendy you can’t take Cathy in the water,” her dad said as he lifted us both up into his arms and examined her feet.  “No leeches on you,”  he said with a grin.

“What about Cathy?  Check her feet too, okay!”

He ran his hands across my feet.  “No leeches on Cathy, either.  Now you two better sit and play in the sand.”  He put us down and handed us the sand pails and shovels.

For the rest of the afternoon we made sand castles, although Wendy’s brother kept smashing them to bits.  I felt like booting him one in rear for pestering us all day, but finally he decided to bug someone else and we were able to play together for the rest of the day.  It was the most perfect day, ever; and I never had to go swimming again.

While my life was almost perfect, Chatty’s was anything but.  Wendy’s sister, Ursula, was not always a nice girl, like my Wendy.  Ursula was a brat - plain and simple.  She was spoiled rotten and for some reason she never seemed to get into trouble for the mean things she did.

We all shared the same bedroom.  I always slept in Wendy’s bed at night with my head on her pillow and the blankets pulled up to my chin, but Chatty always spent the night face down on the carpet - sometimes even under the bed!

When the girls went off to school Chatty and I talked.

“Are you okay, Chatty?”  I asked one morning just after the girls had left the house.  Chatty was lying on her back on the floor, her right arm bent back behind her head.  Her dress was torn where the buttons had come off and her hair had not been combed in weeks.

“Oh Cathy, I wish Wendy was my girl.  She looks after you so good.  Look at you, in your pretty pink dress and shoes.  Your hair is always nice, you always have ribbons in your hair!”  Chatty sighed loudly,  “I’m sorry Cathy, I shouldn’t say those things, but sometimes I get jealous of you.”

“I know, Chatty.  I feel bad that Ursula is so mean to you.”

“She never loved me the way your Wendy loves you - never!”

“I heard Wendy ask her mother if she could give us a bath tonight, that would be nice wouldn’t it Chatty?"

“Yes, but she won’t bath me because I’m not her doll.  Oh Cathy I wish Ursula would lose me and some other little girl would pick me up and take me home.”

“You don’t mean that, Chatty!”

“I sure do.  I know just the house I’d like to live in too.  That Maureen down the street is a really nice girl.  She has a Chatty Baby and some big rubber dolls, and they are all very happy there.”

“Is that the girl who has the pretty green doll stroller?”

“Yes, isn’t it something?  The rubber doll that rides in it always has the brightest smile on her face!  She told me the other day that her girl has asked for the new type of doll to play with.  It's a fashion doll, whatever that is!”

“You mean Barbie?”

“That’s the one.  They say she will me more popular than we ever were.  Do you think that’s possible, Cathy?”

“I doubt it.  There will never be a doll as good as us ever again.  You remember that while you are lying down there, Chatty.”

“Don’t get mad at me, Cathy, I’m just telling you what the rubber doll said.”  Chatty closed her eyes and I knew our conversation was over.

“I’m not mad at you Chatty, I just don’t believe any new doll will someday replace us.”  I sure hoped not, I didn’t want to think of the day when my Wendy no longer wanted me.