Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

My Earth Hour location 2011.
I've been away for the past three Earth Hour events, and at a birthday party for the one before that.

The birthday party was at a cooking school, where all guests mingled and cooked the birthday dinner. It was fun, but we certainly did not acknowledge the event by dimming our lights and powering off our stoves for the hour.

The next year I was in China. Wherever I happened to be that night, I certainly don't remember any lights being powered down. I've seen the clips on the news of the Great Wall with the lights going dim, and wonder,"what section were they at?"

Two years ago I was in St. Lucia. Again, no dimming of lights on the walkways through the resort.

Last year I was in Nepal, specifically in Kathmandu. Kathmandu only gets 12-14 hours of power a day if they are lucky, normally, and yet, I saw signs for Earth Day there, and how important it was, in a country were 24 hour power use is a rarity (only by backup generator) and a luxury. Solar panels are actively used on many houses as the heat source for their water. That is how the water in our hostel was heated.               
This was just the norm in Kathmandu.

This year, will be the first time I can actively participate in Earth Hour. I wouldn't call myself a  power hog with lights ablaze from all rooms in my house, but I'm also not one to only have one light on in the room I am in & power off everything else. I am probably in the middle somewhere. Tonight I will turn off my lights, will light a candle or two & by thankful that I live a place where power is easily accessible, and what a luxury it is. Climate change is here — this crazy winter is proof of that.

Finally, this year my house will be in darkness for Earth Hour, noting how we all can participate and show our unity in the fight against climate change. I don't have solar panels like my hostel in Kathmandu did, but that experience showed me just what you can do, with very little.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Did I really say spring has sprung?

One week after spring has officially greeted us, this morning I was greeted with a frozen bird bath and a zero degree temperature with winds. Now there may not be a wind chill, none the less, this change in temperature has caused me to once again don a cashmere turtleneck and gloves. I am the first to love an excuse to cozy up in cashmere, but, I must admit, I was getting used to the false May-like weather we were having. Today I am wearing boots and socks. Last week I was wearing driving mocs and bare feet. Alas — just one of the charms of living in southern Ontario, and in this time of global warming.

A sample of wonderful cashmere
I saw in Kathmandu, exactly one year ago.
Pashmina is another name for cashmere.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring has most definitely sprung...

I knew it was spring, when I cleaned out my birdbath for the first time for the season, on the weekend, and within minutes, a big fat robin, proceeded to dive in, and just sit there. No usual robin splashing, he just sat there. He looked quite relaxed and at home, kind of letting me know that he had been waiting for me to clean it.

Today was one of those gorgeous days, we usually don't get till late May, and here it is March 20, the first day of spring, and it was glorious, at a balmy 72˚ at its peak. All day at work I thought I'm going for a walk tonight. I wanted to extend this lovely day, and really enjoy it.

As soon as I got home, I fed the girls and then donned my running, ok now walking togs. On my route I saw further signs, that seasons are coming faster. I saw an earwig crawling across the sidewalk, really, an earwig, tulips popping up in numerous gardens, I even had buds on my roses,  the local golf course looked spruced up like they may be ready for business soon, squirrels were frolicking, red wing blackbirds were singing and I was overdressed. I  popped in to my local coffee shop at my turnaround point and topped up my water bottle and enjoyed the sun lowering on this fine day.

I do love spring.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bag of beads challenge

Each year, the Toronto Bead Society has a bead challenge, wherein , we are given the opportunity to all purchase the same little bag pack and given two months to create something with them, using at least one of each of the elements. On January 11, 2012, I paid $10 and received a bag of beads. It was an odd mix of seed beads and tulle, yes tulle. There is always one zinger in the package.
The elements in the bag of beads challenge.
 Last year, I bought the bag of beads, and because of timing of different events going on in my life, I didn't even start the project, even though I had a clear vision as to what I was  going to do with them. This year, was another story. I had the time, but no vision.

Firstly, I am not a fan of seed beads. They are bitty and made for use with nimble fine boned hands. They are finicky and used in more what I call, type "A" projects, where the precision of the peyote stitch is needed. Because of the seed beads, I felt compelled to use a needle and thread on this project, again, not one of my fortes, but, I liked the colour combination and was up for the challenge.
Working through the project.
 This past Wednesday evening was the big reveal. What a beautiful array of pieces. The Toronto Bead Society is comprised of a very talented group of ladies, and a few good men. Approximately twenty people took up the challenge and had their pieces on display for the group to see. We each had to get up and talk about our piece, inspiration for it and so on.

We had gorgeous necklaces, one using fiber art pieces, a dragon fly, a beaded dragon, a scrap booking cover, a phoenix on copper relief, broaches an amazing variety of interpretations from one little bag. Just goes to show you what a little imagination can lead to.

Oh, and there was a raffle during the meeting with prizes consisting of Swarovski crystal packages, and one coveted jewellery encyclopedia. Yours truly won the coveted encyclopedia — I was the envy of the room. All in all, it was a fun and eye opening evening.

The final shaggy bead bracelet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Techie help from afar

In this age of social media, with technology and computers changing as fast as you can upgrade your programs, where do you go for help, when something goes buggy?

This weekend I turned to Andrew, the person who helped me set up my very first blog post. While Andrew lives in Pennsylvania, and I live in Toronto, the distance didn't even come into play. I emailed him my dilemmas, he emailed me some suggestions, I made a query back, and a solution was had.

How I love the ease of modern communication.
Thank you again Andrew for your indulgence and patience.

The creative kat.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I wish I had a March break

Oh to be back in high school, oh, only for the sake of getting a confirmed March break every year.

I used to look forward to that week off each year.  All through high school my Dad and I went on skiing trips over the March break, until the year I took a tumble down a stair case and ended up with my leg in a cast, and we went to Mexico. Ironically, that tumble happened on a ski trip.

We skied the best places — Aspen, Banff, St. Moritz and Innsbruck. We got lost in a snow storm in St. Moritz, ended up in another town, and took the train back. In Innsbruck we went out for Strawberries Romanoff every evening after dinner. Aspen was full of big fire places and blue skies and Banff was just gorgeous.

It was a week to just hang with my Dad, ski, take pictures, laugh and catch up.

As an adult, I have a new appreciation for the time off in the middle of winter. I took no break this winter, and it is only hitting me now, that I wished I had. A break, a change of location can be such a boost, even if I'm not going on a ski trip with my Dad any more. Southern climes would suit me just fine.

Why did I think this mild winter would cause me not to want a break this year? I was so wrong. Oh well, spring seems to be coming along nicely, and a long weekend is in store in April, but oh, I wish I had planned a March break. Next year!

March break 2010 in St. Lucia

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Where were you on August 25, 1969?

I can tell you exactly where I was.

My souvenir scarf from August 25, 1969.

I was sitting in the front row of the stadium section, of the Grandstand at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, along with my brother Lee, my brother's friend Bobby, and my Mom, watching, The Monkees. Much to my brother's chagrin, he had no choice in the matter, and by shear default that we all went the the Ex together, we all went to the concert together.  My brother was too cool for the Monkees, not me, I WAS cool, and I knew it , 'cause I loved the Monkees and I was watching them "live". It was my first real concert.

I was 7, and Davey Jones was my first crush. He was soooo cute. He beat out Bobby Sherman by a year. 

I loved watching the Monkees TV show, and fell into crush with Davey. When he appeared on the Brady Bunch, I found out it wasn't just me seeking his attention, but Marcia Brady, and she was lucky enough to have him in her living room over a diary issue. Lucky girl.

It is sad when your first idol, dies, at a very young age, 66. It made me think of the goofiness of the show, of the innocent times and of the fun music. Remember their red velvet shirts? It was the era of tambourines and maracas in songs. How could you not sing along when you heard the opening drum roll of the show's them song, "Hey hey, we're the monkees..."

How can that not make you smile and sing along?
Well it still does me.

Sad to hear the passing of Davey Jones — not forgotten — not by a long shot.