V is for Vincent

Mr. C and I visited the National Art Gallery in Ottawa in 2001, and lucky for us, several Vincent van Gogh paintings were in residence at the time.

177px-VanGogh_Bedroom_Arles1Van_Gogh_-_Still_Life_with_AbsintheVincent van Gogh’s paintings are breath taking, especially - especially! - in person. If you haven’t stood in front of a van Gogh yet, please put it on your bucket list. It’s worth every effort.


One of the paintings was Wheat Field with Cypresses (below). It was hard to walk away from it.










Did you know that Vincent van Gogh was also a prolific writer? He wrote the most wonderfully descriptive letters.


waterHere is an excerpt from a letter Vincent van Gogh wrote from Ramsgate, England to his brother Theo van Gogh in Holland, 28th April 1876:

…Now let me tell you about a walk we took yesterday. It was to an inlet of the sea, and the road to it led through the fields   of young wheat and along hedgerows of hawthorn etc. When we got there we had on our left a high, steep wall of sand and stone, as high as a two-storey house, on top of which stood old, gnarled hawthorn bushes. Their black or grey, lichen-covered stems and branches had all been bent to the same side by the wind, also a few elder bushes.

The ground we walked on was completely covered with large grey stones, chalk and shells.

To the right the sea, as calm as a pond, reflecting the delicate grey sky where the sun was setting. It was ebb tide and the water was very low.”

Aspringnd another, excerpted from a letter written from London, England to his brother to his brother Theo van Gogh in Holland, 30th April, 1874:

“… I walk here as much as I can, but I’m very busy. It’s absolutely beautiful here (even though it’s in the city). There are lilacs and hawthorns and laburnums &c. blossoming in all the gardens, and the chestnut trees are magnificent.

IfVincent_Van_Gogh_0021 one truly loves nature one finds beauty everywhere. Yet I sometimes yearn so much for Holland, and especially Helvoirt.

I’m doing a lot of gardening and have sown sweet peas, poppies and reseda, now we just have to wait and see what comes of it.

I enjoy the walk from home to the office and in the evening from the office back home. It takes about three-quarters of an hour.

If you would like to read his letters, they are archived at VanGoghLetters.org


Don McLean wrote his famous song Vincent as a loving tribute. And then the Dr. Who show did a beautiful tribute in two episodes. Later, a brilliant woman named Camille Ibarra put clips of the episodes and the Don McLean song together to produce this beautiful montage:

Dearest Vincent, the world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.



VI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday)

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge 2015, Beauty | Tagged | 4 Comments

the alliterative letter U and an Undertaking

University undergraduate Ursula underestimated her uniquely ugly Ukranian uncle Ulric as he ululated and undulated under his umber-coloured umbrella. 

Phew! Now for the undertaking:

Yesterday I took it upon myself to make a small gift for our egg lady. Every couple of weeks either Mr. C or  I knock on her door and buy a dozen or two fresh farm eggs. She’s usually baking something and her kitchen always smells wonderful. The last time I bought eggs, I told her that I was baking a red velvet cake for Michael’s 30th birthday and she asked me what kind of food colouring I was using. I told her and she said “no, no…use this instead” and she gave me a little jar of paste. There would be just enough left in the jar for one cake, she said. The cake turned out beautifully, thanks to her unselfish generosity. 


To say thank you, I made this little mat for her coffee cup to sit on while she’s in the kitchen. I’ll take it up next time I go for eggs. Since I only have one egg left, it won’t be long. 


   I’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (exceptSunday).


Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge 2015 | 4 Comments

The letter T is brought to you by Winnie the Pooh, because Today is Thursday, and isn’t it amazing that the letter T should fall on a Thursday?

winnie_the_poohNow one autumn morning when the wind had blown all the leaves off the trees in the night, and was trying to blow the branches off, Pooh and Piglet were sitting in  the  Thoughtful Spot and wondering.

“What I think,” said Pooh, “is I think we’ll go to Pooh Corner and see Eeyore, because perhaps his house has been blown down, and perhaps he’d like us to build it again.”

“What I think,” said Piglet, “is I think we’ll go and see Christopher Robin, only he won’t be there, so we can’t.”

“Let’s go and see everybody,” said Pooh. “Because when you’ve been walking in the wind for miles, and you suddenly go into somebody’s house, and he says, ‘Hallo, Pooh, you’re just in time for a little smackerel of something,’ and you are, then it’s what I call a Friendly Day.”

Piglet thought that they ought to have a Reason for going to see everybody, like Looking for Small or Organizing an Expotition, if Pooh could think of something Pooh could.

“We’ll go because it’s Thursday,” he said,  “and we’ll go to wish everybody a Very Happy Thursday. Come on, Piglet.”

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge 2015 | 5 Comments

S: the Simple Woman’s Daybook, April edition

Today for the letter S I am taking part in The Simple Woman’s Daybook. I haven’t done it for awhile. Today seems like a good day for it. Check out the link to see what other women are up to today. And if you’re a blogger, join in! :)
simple-woman-daybook-smallOutside my window… The sky and the lake are both the same milky grey colour. After the last few days of warm sunshine, having a cool, sprinkly sort of day is kind of nice.
I am thinking…that it’s time to start getting organized for our trip to Fox Lake. By this I mean which craft/sewing projects should I take? And should I take one sewing machine or two? Which yoga videos should I take? A selection or just my favourite one or two? (and does it really matter because hello- the chances of actually doing a daily practice may be slim)
I am thankful…oh, yes I am! The list is too long to write it all down.
In the kitchen…no mess! Yesterday I baked 2 apple pies for the freezer, a pumpkin pie to enjoy over the next couple of days, Sam’s home cooked dog food, and enough spaghetti to last for 2 nights. So no cooking today, and no cooking supper tonight!
I am wearing…denim pedal pushers, a grey top, my favourite brown sweater that could really stand to be new (but maybe that’s why it’s my favourite – well used/loved), black ankle socks and my birks. I’m sort of a socially unacceptable mess in the wardrobe department today.
I am creating… I just finished sewing a dress! Now I just need someplace to wear it! I’ll do a blog post about it eventually…it doesn’t really fit into any of the remaining letters for the April A-Z blog challenge.
I am going…Nowhere, at the moment. This morning I went to the Shuswap Quilt Guild meeting and learned about rectangle blocks (the kind that look like the top of a Kleenex box ) and then to the doctor. That’s enough “going” for today.
I am wondering…how my son is settling into his new job/house/lifestyle in Vancouver.
I am reading… two books at the same time. Both by Elizabeth Berg. Say When and Tapestry of Fortunes. (obviously I like Elizabeth Berg, lol!)
I am hoping…that my plantar fasciitis heals up soon so I can get out on the trails!
I am looking forward to…the end of April because I am tired of having to come up with a blog post every single day! It’s been fun but I’m ready for the challenge to be over.
I am learning…how to use a twin needle and also how to sew a nice looking hem on a stretch knit fabric. Wasn’t very successful on the hem, it looks very amateur…. any tips, anyone?
Around the house…dust bunnies to sweep. kitty and doggy footprints to mop, a rug to vacuum, a bathroom to polish.
I am pondering…the differences between the verbs to ponder and to think. And why are both in this list anyway? Aren’t they the same thing?
A favorite quote for today… sadly, it’s the same quote as last time. Because it’s good! (you’re welcome).
“If we walk far enough,” says Dorothy, “we shall sometime come to someplace.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
One of my favorite things…cold left over pizza and tea, earl grey, hot – for breakfast! Served with a good book in a corner of the couch and don’t talk to me until I’m done!
A few plans for the rest of the week…I’d like to cut out some pieces for a new quilt and start stitching a couple of bookmarks. And spend an hour or so on the next chapter(s) of the novel.
A peek into my day…kind of a ho-hum day today.
SI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday).
Posted in Blog Categories | 3 Comments

R: Raqs Bedaya

In 2011 I choreographed and produced a full theatre production that featured the Big Band, the Saba Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble and ensemble soloists. If you’ve watched any of the videos I’ve re-posted about the show during the A-Z in April blog posts,  you’ll have noticed right away that this was a really fun show.

Everything about it was fun!

Including this dance.  And there is a story behind this dance (of course!). As you may know, I have quite an extensive DVD library. I often buy a DVD and then find that I already know the material. But that’s okay because even if the material isn’t new to me, I can glean a new perspective on it or find a different way of presenting the material in class. And I enjoy just putting on a DVD and dancing along … it’s nice to follow somebody else’s lead instead of being the leader all the time. Makes for good drills.

So anyway, at the back of one of these DVDs there was a very nice choreography taught to a song that I have liked for a long time called Raqs Bedaya off of one of the Yousry Sharif Wash ya Wash CDs.When I heard the song, I said “I know that song -I LOVE that song!” So I watched the performance. While the technical material was intermediate, the choreography that she tied it all together with was quite advanced.And I loved it! I absolutely loved everything about it! I loved her cheeky attitude. I loved her lightness of step and heaviness of hips.

I could see myself in that dance.

So … I learned it! I followed the chapters and learned the combinations one by one. While I was learning each combination, I allowed myself the freedom to change it as I pleased. In the end, parts are definitely Jenna’s and parts are definitely mine.

The piece is a hybrid of choreography that I had an absolute blast learning & doing. And – best part yet – it is a blast to dance! Fun fun fun!

The Big Band makes an interesting back drop, eh?

And of course there is the perk of being able to wear that outfit. Today, 4 years and 30 pounds later I don’t know if I could squeeze my big toe into it!

One of my favourite moments in the dance…a cute undulating backwalk, Saiidi style.
If you’ve made it this far, maybe you’d like to see the actual dance?

Raqs Bedaya from Rockin’ the Casbah, Act I: Casbah Cabaret. March 19, 2011.

RI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday).

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge 2015, Bellydance, Dancing, Memories, Music | Tagged , , | 3 Comments


I bet you thought that today I’d write about quilts. Or about the rock group Queen. Or maybe about how much I loved that movie about drag queens, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
How about a few quizzical things I believed when I was a kid, instead?
  • I believed that if I forgot to include someone in the “God bless so-&-so part of my bedtime prayer, something terrible would happen to them. Which made for a bit of stress, as you can imagine!
  • When I was about 6, I baptized a bath toy and then lived in fear for days (It was a Fuzzy Wuzzy bear bath sponge. Remember the rhyme? “fuzzy wuzzy was a bear, fuzzy wuzzy had no hair, fuzzy wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, was he.”)
  • I believed that if I said my bedtime prayer as fast as I could, I wouldn’t die in my sleep. “nowilaymedowntosleepipraythelordmysoultokeepifishoulddiebeforeiwakeipraytheLordmysoultotake.” Maybe I thought that if I said it fast enough, I could fly under God’s radar.

(Obviously my family only went to church often enough to terrify the bejeezes out if me!)

  • I believed that if I ate a handful of dirt and then an apple seed, a tree would grow in my stomach.  I was very careful never to eat dirt.
  • I believed in the spontaneous combustion of houses (and other things.)
  • I believed that if you swallowed your gum, it would stay in your stomach for seven years before being digested.
  • When I was in elementary school, my friend Diane’s grandmother said to me, “you’re really quite the chubby little girl, aren’t you?” I believed her for the rest of my life. What a wicked old woman!

and okay…you twisted my arm. Here’s a Because you Matter quilt I finished about a month ago:


…and yes, Queen is my favourite rock group.

What quirky things did you believe when you were a kid?

QI’m participating in the Blogging From A-Z challenge.  One blog post for each letter of the alphabet, each day of April (except Sunday).

Posted in A-Z Blog Challenge 2015, Blog Categories | Tagged , | 5 Comments