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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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You can focus on things that are barriers
or you can focus on scaling the wall or redefining the problem.
[Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc.]

yosemite

So here’s the deal. I’ve had one personal computer or another since 1982. Apple soon became my choice as my major tool in my graphic design business (after I gave up using a triangle, T-square and drafting table). I’ve used every operating system since the Apple II so I do not shy away from upgrading. Here is a cautionary tale in case you are anxious to upgrade soon: do wait for the patches and tweaks to come out before you forge ahead, unless you have a high tolerance for fiddling with technology.

  • iOS 8.0 and 8.1 for the iPad: I upgraded and immediately had problems with connecting with my bluetooth devices, especially my speaker. I even bought a new speaker and it exhibited the same problem. It would play for short awhile and then turn off. I searched the internet and the closest I could come to an answer is to wait until the next iOS upgrade. Meanwhile, I am using my earplugs for my audio books.
  • OS X Yosemite: This upgrade is reputed to have a number of cool features but I haven’t found them yet since I immediately encountered a fundamental problem—I couldn’t get email to send. I’ve spent three days researching the internet and finally resolved the problem. My advice, search apple support until you find Mail Settings Lookup. Then look for the instructions for using that information in your Mac Mail preferences.

The delicious Apple news is that Fort Wayne has a new Apple store (simply • mac) at Jefferson Point shopping mall.

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Mama, you should try Pinterest.
It is like receiving a new magazine every day.
[Rachel Smith]

Pinterest

I’ve had a long line of personal computers since 1982. Computers fascinate me and are now my main tool in my work. I spend hours standing in front of my Mac fiddling in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I don’t use a cell phone. Frankly, I like being out of touch. I’ve never felt pressed to answer a ringing telephone. I maintain 5 wordpress blogs and I am working on revising my website, but I am not a member of Facebook or Twitter. In other words, I try to be a gatekeeper to filter that which bombards me from the outside world. Then came Pinterest.

Of course it has been around since 2010, but didn’t reach out and grab me until now. Oddly enough, a tip for cleaning the buildup off of my gas stove grates pushed me over the edge. In addition to shiny grates, I now have an unclogged shower head and plenty of advice for training my two new puppies. The industrial design section convinces me once again that humans can create instead of destroy. The gardening section almost makes me want to pull weeds. Pinterest reminds me of the 10-inch thick dictionary on the stand in my third-grade classroom—whenever I look something up, I am in constant danger of getting completely sidetracked.

 

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Art enables us to find ourselves and
lose ourselves at the same time.
[Thomas Merton]

ArtWorks

Last Friday was girls night out for my niece, Katherine, and me. After supper, we shopped at Jefferson Point (Fort Wayne) and then went to the opening reception for the art show, “City Blox,” at ArtWorks. I was delighted from the start since Joel Fremion’s landscapes were displayed just inside the door. His craftsmanship, his technique and his vision have fascinated me for several years. He creates fabric collages in great detail and with amazing effect (above left). Among the paintings and objets d’art of other artists were paintings by watercolorist Diana Miller-Pierce. Her crisp technique, sense of geometric balance, and eye for detail drew me into her work (above right). Eighteen artists were represented in the show making it well worth one’s time to stop in and browse this lovely gallery.

 

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