Thursday, December 01, 2016

Baby, it's Cold Outside

I'm not a big fan of 'seasonal' music although I do have some favorites out there. I'll never forget Cher singing a magical 'Oh Holy Night' live on one of her Christmas Specials. And anything by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is absolutely thrilling. But, the latest version of 'Baby, it's Cold Outside' by Michael Buble really made me laugh out loud. It was considered pretty risque by the morals of the day when it was first performed in the 40s!! It's been recorded many times but Buble's rendition is very fresh & cheeky. It made me laugh, brightened up my day & made me want more. Things sure have changed.

Now that we're into the Christmas month, yeah, it's not that far off, I find I'm not as cranky as I usually am. No one is outlawing 'Merry Christmas' this year. It's Politically Correct to mention the holiday again. After the Election Battle, everyone seems to be getting along for a change. Even though no one seems to have any money this year, they're still planning on celebrating anyway with food & presents. Drink seems to be waaay down on the list of requirements. I'm finding more talk of cookies & pie crust than Rum & Vodka. And a lot more of us seem to be happier.

My latest socks were called "Perfection" & a dozen more ordered . . . .  Oh brother. Not a job I really want. Maybe I should work for Baileys or Carolan's - booze in my tea might make it better.

Yesterday, I went & got my new-to-me snow tires put on the van. I want to be able to get out of my drive if it snows this year. Several years ago, we had all that snow & I was stuck in the drive for over a week. Stuck??? you ask?? Yes, stuck. I live on an alley, off a narrow side street which is off a secondary street in Surrey where they don't plow. Well, sometimes they plow the secondary street because it's a bus route but they don't do it right away. The Safeway parking lot gets plowed as it's snowing. The streets leading to it, don't. I wanted to make sure I can get out & about if I want/need to. Most of the time I don't bother but I want to get out if I want to. My new-to-me tires were looking good but rather bumpy when I left. Then I had to go out to meet the girls to knit last night & had a hellova time with a hard to steer van. I figured the right tire was unbalanced. Today, on the way back to the Tire Store, that tire started to thump. Yup, I knew what that meant. They sold me a tire with a separated steel belt. So, today, I got a nicer set of snow tires - they drive as smooth as summer tires. So, bring on the Snow.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tis the Season, I Guess

This is one of my least favorite times of the year. The constant Buy, Buy, Buy, Sale, Sale, Sale, barrage drives me nuts. I have been known to turn off the TV in mid program because I just can't stand the constantly repeating commercials for this product or that service.
It's not even the end of November & it's Christmas everywhere. There was even some Christmas advertising just before Hallowe'en, fer gawd sake. I just can't stand it some days. I don't bake. I don't decorate. And I sure don't buy a tree. What a waste of a perfectly good tree that could live for years to purify the air, increase the oxygen levels, hold down the soil & provide food & shelter for wildlife. Why not put up a fake tree??? They come with the lights attached nowadays, buy a fake & save a tree.

I am not a total curmudgeon all the time. I do knit for charity, contribute to the Food Bank, Salvation Army & Harbor Light. I drop off clothes & household goods to the Fireman's Thrift Store. And I make loans to Kiva all year long. While Charity begins at home, I believe in giving a Hand Up instead of a Hand Out to those who work hard to build a better life without the social benefits that we, in North America, enjoy. KIVA is in the business of making Mico-Loans to people who have little or no access to financial services. Loans can be as little as $50 to buy a sewing machine so a woman can start a dress-making business.

My personal favorite targets are single women & farmers. I currently have loans to a University student in the Gaza Strip, a young weaver in Paraguay, a group of 5 women in India, 3 older women in Africa, South America & the Philippines who run small General Stores out of their homes, a chicken/guinea pig farmer in Bolivia & a man in Tajikstan who needs to pay for his wife's operation. None of these people have access to banking or financial help without Kiva & the people like me who make small loans available.

I often think about people like the woman in Tajikstan who cannot get medical help until her husband finds $900, like the Rwandan farmer who struggles to feed her family without access to clean water, the Palestinian girl who can't go to school because her mother doesn't make enough money to pay the fees or the village women in India who desperately want toilets. How lucky I am to be old in Canada where we often take for granted all of the 'luxuries' we have that most of the world is still struggling to get. Now that's something to celebrate.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Novembering

Hats for Everyone
Usually, this time of year, I'm knitting Hats for charity. I used to knit socks as well but the cost of shipping socks to the Collection Spot has become waaaay too expensive for a Pensioner in Canada. I used to participate in a 'Secret Santa' gift exchange with a couple of my On-Line Groups too but the last package I sent out cost more to mail than it did to put together!!! And I don't know anyone who sends out Cards anymore except to family because it's just too expensive. I suspect a lot of us create a Blog or a Facebook page just to keep in touch with the folks we know & love because it's cheaper than the Postal Service in Canada.

I hung in there with Hats. Everyone needs a hat in this climate. But that's become complicated too. Local charities will only accept items made with acrylic yarns because clothing must be machine washable/dryable. One group said they would only accept DARK acrylic hats in black, brown, grey & navy because most of their 'clients' prefer black. I know, I know, street people don't want to be seen when they bed down for the night. But yarn donations don't always come in dark colors .  .  .  .  so I decided NOT to knit hats this year at all. My hands & fingers are sore enough that I CAN'T knit a couple of dozen adult hats that won't get used, so I'm making acrylic blankets for the Syrian Friendship House AND woolly pouches & cat beds instead.

Handspun wool
One of my friends volunteers at a Shelter & a Wildlife Rehab up the Valley. When my last cat died, I asked if the Shelter could use a bunch of things I had since I decided not to get another cat. It was my crocheted cat bed that really got her interest - Shelter cats really need blankets & soft plushy toys to snuggle with to thrive. When adopted, the cat takes the blanket or toy with them so the Shelter is  always looking for more items. Another thing they're always short of too, are knitted pouches for the babies in the spring. Wild babies need to be together in snug, flexible nesting materials. Knitted squares work really well for most of them, especially the squirrels & chipmunks because they can be made into hanging nests - one point being the hanger & the two side & bottom points brought together with a few stitches. The babies nest together warmly inside. Apparently babies raised this way survive better & grow faster. And squirrels don't care what color the yarn is!!!
Off to the Foxes

My cat bed was crocheted out of small amounts of White Buffalo & Cowichan yarn marketed for 'Indian ' sweaters. I washed it in my portable washer - no agitator - just soak & spin dry, but it's also easily made out of acrylic. I just single-crocheted an oval - you could make it round - & then did a few 'crochet 2 stitches together' at the top & bottom to make the sides turn up. Cats & dogs both love it.