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Pelee Island Holiday

Sometimes you just have to stop
and let your soul catch up with your body.
[Frances Foster]

Pelee Island, Ontario

Pelee_CompositeI boarded the Pelee Islander in Sandusky, Ohio and sailed half way across Lake Erie to Pelee Island, Ontario last week. The voyage took less than two hours, but it took me a world away from my spring encounter with ill health. A friend of mine has a home on the island, and she invited me to come for a knitting vacation. Here is a collection of word snapshots of my impressions:

  • The Jackson Street Pier in Sandusky must be one of the better duty stations for the Customs and Border Patrol officers. The inspections went smoothly and I got to use my new wallet-size passport card. I also added another item to my list of reasons I like being over seventy. Everyone stood back and let me go first. They didn’t see me get in my two-seated roadster to drive on home.
  • Lake Erie has come a long way back from the brink in the past fifty years. When I saw it on my way through Cleveland in 1965, it was dead. Last week, the water was clear, and free of debris and odor. Since there has been so much rain this year, the water level was unusually high so many beaches were covered.
  • Starting a trip with a boat ride adds to the excitement, and is a fun way to separate one from everyday life—unless, of course, one works on a boat in ones everyday life. I didn’t even feel sea sick.
  • Knitting is an essential skill for those of us who aren’t adapted to aimless idleness. It makes us patient waiters. I knit as I waited for the boat, I knit while we traveled. I knit while my friend and I visited. Some folks don’t realize that most knitting doesn’t require constant thought so one can converse and pay attention to other things while the fingers are moving.
  • Halfway into our voyage, the Ohio rain gave way to the first sunshine I’d seen in days. It lasted for several days. I even brought it home with me.
  • As my friend said, Pelee Island looks like a chunk was cut out of the Ohio farm land and set down in the middle of the lake. The center of the island is planted in crops like soy beans.
  • A morning stroll down a shaded country lane adds even more to an already excellent breakfast at the local Bakery. The baker is also a painter and jewelry maker. I invested in earrings and a tea pot as well as croissants.
  • A trip to the local winery was educational as well as fun. Did you know that rose bushes are planted at the end of each row of grape vines for their “canary in the mine” effect? The same diseases infest the roses as the grapes so, if the roses show disease, the whole row is likely to be involved.
  • The history museum, the local craft co-op, a food and hardware co-op, and a small dress shop also grabbed my attention. I didn’t put too big a dent in my budget, but I did bring home good-memory triggers. Some folks call these souvenirs.

As I drove west toward home on U.S. 6, and U.S. 27, I felt whole. I think that is what vacations are for.

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.  
[Erma Bombeck]

2015-July4

Last evening, there was a spontaneous gathering of my neighbors. We were trimming our yards for the holiday, each helping the other. We represented a variety of age groups, nationalities, races, occupations, income levels. We were the poster group for the old-fashioned term, melting pot. I felt enriched. I’ve often thought that the best part of being an American was being heir to all countries, languages, cultures, and religions. I label myself with a new hyphenated term. I am an enriched-American.

P.S. My neighbors also liked the holiday socks that I hand knit last weekend.

the-wright-brothers-9781476728742_lgP.P.S. I listen to audiobooks while I knit and found this one stunning. David McCullough is one of my favorites, both as a writer and a narrator. This book captures the brilliance of Orville and Wilbur, and the world-changing nature of their achievements. When I was in Dayton to teach a knitting workshop, a friend took me on a tour of the city. We saw the Wright homes, the sites of the Wright printing company and bike shop, Paul Dunbar’s home, and the place where the brothers tested their planes. McCullough captures it all in this book. Reading it is time well spent.

Gifts of Summer

Weeds are flowers too,
once you get to know them.
[A. A. Milne]

2015Home

6:30 a.m., June 2015, My Home

Flowers are a gift of grace. What I know about gardening would barely fill a thimble so any flower that blooms in my gardens is a gift and not a result of my tending. If this photo had been taken closer, weeds would show to prove my point. When a foot of snow was piled over these window boxes and lawn, I rested on my shovel and imagined this scene. The anticipation of enjoying the warmth and the color was almost as much a gift as the flowers.

Wounded Warrior Project

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.
[Jose Narosky]

The Vietnam Women's Memorial was designed by Glenna Goodacre and dedicated on November 11, 1993. It is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and is located on National Mall in Washington DC, a short distance south of The Wall, north of the Reflecting Pool. Photo by Rudi Williams (American Forces Press Service).

The Vietnam Women’s Memorial was designed by Glenna Goodacre and dedicated on November 11, 1993. It is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and is located on National Mall in Washington DC, a short distance south of The Wall, north of the Reflecting Pool. Photo by Rudi Williams (American Forces Press Service).

Fifty years ago, I reported in to U.S. Naval Hospital, Charleston SC and, by Christmas, we admitted one of our first Vietnam casualties. Within a year, our census doubled as air-evac flights brought us wounded Marines, Seabees and hospital corpsmen. Looking back, all I can remember was living in the moment—doing what I was able to do each day. Our hospital wards were big open rooms in stilt buildings that were left over from World War Two. I never thought about how poor the environment was for patient care, nor did I ever know what happened to our patients after they left our unit.

I was reading a novel about wounded soldiers from the recent conflicts. Their post-hospital situations were dreadful. Compound that with what I had heard on the news about veteran’s affairs problems and I was sick at heart. I asked myself if our folks had it as bad fifty years ago? Then I ask myself what can I do to help this generation who could be my grandchildren? Within days, I received information about the Wounded Warrior Project from USAA (United Services Automobile Association).

Here is what USAA had to say:

Honor and empower wounded warriors.

The purpose of the WWP (Wounded Warrior Project) is:

  • To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members
  • To help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other.
  • To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

If this issue calls to you as it did to me, Here is the LINK to more information about WWP.

History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past,
trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes,
and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.
[Winston Churchill]

A Story of Service and Survival

Celebrating rail history:
WHAT: The Three Rivers Railroad Heritage Council will sponsor a Railroad History Weekend at the historic Baker Street Station.
A new book about the station, “A Story of Service & Survival,” will be released at the event.
WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 7-8
WHERE: Baker Street Station, 221 W. Baker St., at Baker and Harrison streets
COST: $5 per person for ages 13 and older, free for ages 12 and younger.
NOTE: Copies of the new book will be sold for $30 each at the event; normal price is $39.95.

Railroads have fascinated me since I was tall enough to see the model train set up on the ping pong table in our friend’s basement. That is why Skip Sassmannhousen’s article in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel captured my attention at this LINK. Skip tells how his book came about and shares the following about the special event:

The Baker Street Station books will go on sale Feb. 7-8 at the annual Railroad History Weekend at the station, which is sponsored by the Three Rivers Railroad Heritage Council.

The theme for the 2015 Railroad History Weekend will be the New York Central Railroad, which played a major role in the transportation history of northern Indiana. Photos, maps, printed posters and other historical material will be displayed. Scale models of New York Central equipment will run model railroad layouts.

In addition to the New York Central materials, photos and drawings of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Baker Street Station will be on display. [News-Sentinal, Jan. 24, 2015]

I hope to see you there.

The New Willowgreen

 The meaning of life is to see.
[Hui Neng]

New Willowgreen Web site

 

Ten years ago, I designed and produced a Web site for one of my clients, Jim Miller at Willowgreen, Inc.; a publishing company that produces “meaningful resources for hope, healing and inspiration.” Since then, I have not only maintained his site, but I have also designed and produced print and electronic media for his company.

Having Jim as a client has been a graphic designer’s dream. He is a writer and an excellent photographer. His portfolio of breathtaking photographs assures me that I can hardly produce an ugly design. Also, I have been able to contribute hand-rendered illustrations to some of his publications, and spread my wings into electronic publishing.

Last spring, we embarked upon a complete redesign of the Willowgreen Web site. I produced a site plan and visual design which we turned over to a programming team who setup the store in Shopify. The redesigned site was recently launched.

What do I like best about the new site? In addition to Jim’s photography and insightful writing, I like that there is a balance between the commercial aspects (selling products in the new store) and free offerings. The homepage alone with its inspiring slide show and video is a place to go just to meditate. There are free eCards, inspiring blogs, and helpful writings for caregivers and those who are grieving.

One of the many things that I am thankful for this holiday is that I have had the honor of serving the kind and gentle folks at Willowgreen.

Dreambird Completed

Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience.
A rustling in the leaves drives him away.
[Walter Benjamin]

DREAMBIRD-2-sm

This is Dreambird, designed by Nadita and sold as a downloadable PDF on Revelry.com at this LINK. I used sock weight yarn—marino for the black and silk for the variegated. I used only one page of the 22-page pattern—the chart for the short row turns. If you knit this, place markers where they make sense to you to keep track of your place in the pattern. Also, use the wrap-and-turn that you like best for short rows. Now, I’m trying one using shetland jumper weight yarn.

DREAMBIRD-1-sm

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