Conversing About…

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was CONVERSATION
and it’s been awhile since I’ve had a conversations with you all. Though I guess a blog is more of a monologue. 😉

For the past month the general buzz of conversation here was about the lovely fall we’re having and how long the warm weather has lasted. Or how dry it’s been. Monday morning we woke up to an October wind and night-time temps have been dropping to -5 or -7 C. The water basins I set out had about an inch of ice on top this morning; I dumped them out, and those circles of ice have lain on the ground all day without melting. I refilled them again today but this task will soon be over.

The robins were still here last Friday morning, but must have gotten word that it was time to go. I didn’t see even one Saturday. Good timing on their part. We heard today there was snow coming in from a Colorado low-pressure system, but it seems the precipitation will mostly fall east of us. As I write this a light rain is falling and the ground is actually wet. Every little bit helps to settle the dusty haze we’ve been living with for awhile. We’re supposed to have warmer days again for the weekend, though.

There was a wedding in our congregation last weekend when Pastor Warren’s daughter married a young man from Alberta. A lot of families in the congregation were busy making food and/or hosting visiting guests, which is what we do when there’s an important event to put on. Everyone chips in.

A couple of weeks back an acquaintance called to tell me she had some puzzles for me. The seniors in her building do them, then pass them on–and I take some of ours for them. A profitable exchange. Last Friday we did some shopping in the city and I stopped by her apartment building to pick them up. She had bags and boxes full of puzzles for me–82 puzzles in all, but three were packs with four puzzles in each; one box was a pack of ten. So about 100 puzzles in all! Far more than our seniors at the Villa can put together this winter. I’m looking for homes for the excess now.

Since I’ve been painting I haven’t done any puzzles. One hobby that takes hours is maybe enough? But I’m not painting much lately, either. seem to be in a slump. The evenings are so soon so dark! I’m having a hard time switching my mind to winter mode and working after dark has no appeal. Can’t go to bed at 8 pm, so I mostly read for a couple of hours.

Can I plead that we creative types — writers, poets, artists, musicians. etc — are moody types? Last week I read an article about songwriter Leonard Cohen, including a conversation he had with writer Mikal Gilmore.

“Depression has often been the general background of my daily life,” Cohen told me. “My feeling is that whatever I did was in spite of that, not because of it. It wasn’t the depression that was the engine of my work. . . . That was just the sea I swam in.”

The brokenness was always there, but Leonard Cohen never submitted to it, Gilmore writes in his article, Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness.

I found that thought encouraging. No matter how blue a person may feel at times, we needn’t succumb to it. We need to let a greater purpose motor us through, in spite of the choppy waters.

Seal of Approval

Are you old enough to remember this corny knock-knock type joke…
What goes “ark ark” at Christmas time?
Answer: A Christmas seal.

Even though “snail mail” is rare these days, Christmas seal are still around. The idea started in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1903, when… “a benevolent postmaster named Einar Holboell was inspired to create the stamps to help children with tuberculosis (TB).”

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word today is SEAL, which brings to my mind the thought of real seals as well as royal seals…and of course Good Housekeeping’s Seal of Approval. Did they ever use a real seal in their ads?

Googling, I discovered that the first Good Housekeeping Seal was issued in 1909. You can read about its history here According to their website…
This is Good Housekeeping’s LIMITED WARRANTY: If any product that bears our limited warranty Seal proves to be defective within two years from the date it was first sold to a consumer by an authorized retailer, we, Good Housekeeping, will refund the purchase price or $2,000, whichever is less or, at Good Housekeeping’s sole discretion, repair or replace the product. This policy covers you, the consumer, whether you bought the product or it was given to you (by the buyer). Products that bear the Green Good Housekeeping Seal have been assessed by Good Housekeeping in accordance with Good Housekeeping’s environmental criteria and are also subject to the limited warranty if proven to be defective.
Read more details here.

People who believe the Bible know there’s an all-important Royal seal God places on a believer, one that says, “This is my child.” This seal admit his children to enter those pearly gates someday.
Simplifying Ephesians 1:10-14:
“we have obtained an inheritance..who trusted in Christ…in whom after ye believed, ye were sealed by that holy Spirit of promise…until the redemption of that purchased possession…”
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Eph 4:30

Cryptic Words

My Mom always said, ‘What you don’t have in your head, you have in your feet.’

These cryptic words were spoken by a co-worker one day. Perhaps you’ll catch her thought better if I mention that she was training me to be a housekeeper at a seniors’ home, and we needed to take along some sheets because we were going to make several beds. As we were passing the laundry area she said, “Let’s grab those sheets while we’re right here, or we’ll need to make a trip back for them later.” Then she added the statement above.

It may be clearer to say, “Think and plan ahead or you’ll be making a lot more trips,” but I like her mom’s succinct way of expressing this advice.”

Image by Daniel Reche — Pixabay

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today was CRYPTIC

Frost & Flame

Prairie Blues

I’m feeling on the blue side this evening, owing to some changes in the air, literal and social.

For one thing, it was a really windy day and the September wind had a bite. When the sky clouded over in the afternoon it was downright cold. Reality blowing in; summer’s gone. 😦 This evening the wind has died down, but the weatherman is predicting frost tonight: -1C should finish off most of our lovely blooms. I’m not rushing out to cover anything, as they’ve been looking straggly for awhile now. They seem to know their season is over.

Here's a poem I wrote long ago about the September Wind:

Damp September wind whistles
through an early August day, chilling
our summer-browned bodies.

Ever the schoolyard bully, it cuffs us
with an almost icy hand.  "Remember!"
It mocks our shivers, our calendar

consultations.  Dismayed, we grab
for hours as they bounce away, August
days slipping out of our lives forever.

With sighs we hunt for sweaters,
check the pockets of our coats,
while we’re at it, wash our gloves.

© Christine Goodnough, August 2012

My husband tells me that, as of tomorrow, here in SK we’re back to wearing masks when we go shopping and to gatherings. THAT is disappointing! When you wear two back-of-the-ear hearing aids, as I do, the last thing you need is elastic getting tangled with the hearing aid’s plastic tubes. But so many people haven’t gotten their COVID vaccination that our province is experiencing another surge in COVID cases.

After a couple of months mask-free, this feels like a giant step backwards. There’s to be a wedding reception Saturday at our church and it just won’t be the same with everyone masked. Another rule will be that you have to provide proof of vaccination before you can dine in a restaurant.

That said, we enjoyed a nice visit with friends from Quebec who came for lunch and stayed awhile this afternoon. And tonight we have a blazing sunset, with a brilliant ring of fire in the west and southwest to brighten up our world for half an hour before dark.

I spent four hours yesterday, give or take, painting another picture; today I submitted it to the Artist’s Atelier on Malcolm Dewey’s website and got some valuable suggestions for improvement. I started doing all my pictures on canvas, but these days I like to paint a “trial run” on watercolor paper and see how it comes out. I always find some changes and improvements I want to make before committing the final picture to canvas.

Well, enough griping. Wishing you a great weekend, everyone.

Creations in Stone

Stone RDP.

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was STONE
It happens that blogger Keith H posted photos he took while visiting what’s left of the English Castle of Corfe. If you want to see STONE in large quantities, hop over to Keith’s Ramblings and have a look. Not just the castle, but the whole town is well blessed with stone.

As an artist, I’m very fond of drawing and painting stone. Artists as a whole love textures and stone gives us lots of opportunities to paint, carve, and design.

Image by Ulrike Leone — Pixabay

We’re fond of clouds and waves for the same reason: these things offer so many textural possibilities on which we can work out our creative urges. Quilters love finding new patterns; those who work with yarn aren’t content to produce same-old flat fabric, but work in a variety of ribs, knots, cables, shells, fans.

It also happens that on one of our calendars this month there’s a picture taken in the U.S. Grand Canyon. No lack of colourful rock there!

Image from earlofoxford — Pixabay

These stones tell the story of water gushing through that land with tremendous force, carving channels in the rock, creating canyons. As these torrents gouged through the soft stone canyon walls, they made fantastic layered textures before settling into a peaceful river. Today visitors look down at the river snaking among the canyons it created and they marvel at the things water can do.

I’ve held feathers in my hand and studied their complexity of colour and texture; I’ve looked through a wildflower book and marveled at the many leaf and petal shapes and colours. From thorny wild roses to fluffy dandelions and fat, fleshy sedum, I find such variety!

Fur, feathers, scales, limbs, horns, tails…shapes and colours galore decorate our world. All these tell me that our Creator loves textures, too.

“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11