Thursday, 10 April 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts – April 10, 2014

Leavin’ on a jet plane…


It’s less than 24 hours until take off and I’m actually quite relaxed. I wonder what I’ve forgotten? I’ve tidied the house but a full Spring cleaning will have to wait until we get back. The house-sitters have moved in and been fully briefed, not just by me but also by Sophie the resident canine.

She has made sure that they know where find the bickies, treats, bones and kibble – several times! I know that she will pine for us just a little; mope around for a week or so but then motor on.  I will miss her morning greeting, a cold wet nose nudging my cheek accompanied by a little whine, “Mom, are you in there?”

Vintage still life.My love and I will be far away on another adventure. I will not be posting on this blog, no “Monday Moanings” or “Thursday, or Thereabouts”, until sometime after May 11. BUT – I have launched a new blog for our travels: “Where in the World are We?”, the globe-trotting adventures of Schwartz vonBear and his two Sherpas. For those of my readers familiar with my “Photos du Jour” emails, this blog replaces those photo laden emails of the past.

I spent the better part of a weekend learning how to use Windows Live Writer. Now I can compose and format posts, including photos, entirely offline and then upload to the blog either in draft or publish directly. It seems to work pretty well! This is a huge accomplishment, and it works for a number of blogging platforms, not just Blogger. To quote my love, when it comes to Internet in faraway lands, “It may be slow, but it sure is expensive!” This offline strategy should limit connection time. Here’s hoping.

Take a moment to visit my travel blog, and please consider signing up for the email subscription so you won’t miss out on an Asian Adventure. Schwartz and the two Sherpas would love to have you along!

Take care! See you back here in May.

©2014 April Hoeller

Monday, 7 April 2014

Monday Moanings – April 7, 2014

A time to sew…

This takes every morsel of my concentration and determination, every ounce of my courage and fortitude. When it comes to that branch of the domestic arts and sciences that has to do with fashion, fabric, needles and thread, I have little more than rudimentary skills and even less desire. But I do have a sewing machine, a 25+ year old Kenmore that was bought when money was scarce and babies needed flannelette blankets, clothing repairs and rooms needed rod-pocket curtains. If it’s a straight line with a straight stitch I can usually accomplish it, but only after spending a minimum of 30 minutes making friends with machine again, figuring out how to load a bobbin and place it in the bobbin case, prepare the needle and top thread, then picking up the bobbin thread. Phew! And my palms begin to sweat just hoisting the machine out of the closet.

After putting off the task as long as possible the day comes when I must tackle the sewing job and today is the day. Actually yesterday was the day, but the thread I pulled from my late mother-in-law’s sewing box was so old – I think it was one she brought here when she came to Canada in 1953 – that once set up in the machine it broke every few inches of stitching.  So off I went to the shops this morning to buy new thread. Now I’m ready, again. The pant legs are pressed and hems pinned, the bobbin is in place and I’ve managed to thread the top needle – only swearing twice – and now the top and bottom threads stretch out behind the gleaming needle. My clammy hands flutter over the stretchy fabric while my right foot hovers over the presser foot…

Shhhhhh…April is sewing.

What? You want pictures?! Oh I think not! Well not about sewing anyway.
Here’s a few from this weekend’s celebration of a true master of the art of living – my Aunt Elaine who turned 90 on Saturday.

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Some of Aunt Elaine's Watercolours

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©2014 April Hoeller

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - April 3, 2014

A blast from the past.
In honour of a Throwback Thursday, a little something originally posted in January 2012.

"Oh, you've expired!"exclaimed the smiling gal at the cash.

I confess to having been somewhat taken aback by this news.  Me? Expired?  I didn't feel expired, though I had of course been in the check out queue.  Further investigation seemed required.  I noted that I was apparently breathing normally -- coolish wafts filling my nostrils when I inhaled.  A cursory scan of my kinesthetic sensors revealed nothing out of the ordinary -- my feet felt firmly planted on beige linoleum and I was upright.  The smiling gal did not look at all like God, well at least nothing like the picture in the Sistine Chapel (that's the official portrait of God right?), nor did she bear any resemblance to St. Peter or any other members of the heavenly realm.  And I'm very happy to say that I did not detect any superfluous appendages (horns, tail) and that she was not the least bit red nor wearing a red cape.

Expired?  Surely not!  But I suppose it is possible -- an utterly seamless transition from this world into the next, from Chapters in Newmarket to the BIG book store in heaven.  But then why would I buy a book on Hong Kong?  Why would I buy a book, period?  Does one read in eternity?  Go to bookstores?  Is it possible to be tourist and go on vacations to Hong Kong?

The mind boggles at the wonder of it all.  Mind you if this is eternity, I'm more than a tad disappointed to see the big retailers up here.  I wonder what Walmart looks like?  I sure hope there's a more equitable merchandising policy in place.  I expect fair trade at the very least.  And just exactly what am I going to do about it if that's not the case?  Go to customer service? Perhaps I have gone to hell in a hand basket, after all.

"She looks pretty alive to me."  The voice from somewhere behind me snatched me back into the present moment.  Less than two seconds have passed since I heard that I had expired.  The cashier is still beaming at me, my irewards card fluttering between the fingers of her right hand.

"You mean my card has expired."  I chuckle and grinned broadly back at her, noting her ever so slightly red flush.

"Yes," she stammered, "would you like to renew it?"

"Yes, please. Go ahead."

"That comes to $54.67."

She pushed the card reader toward me.  I dutifully entered my PIN and then I'm sure I saw the screen flash:
'Hong Kong tour book plus a rewards card renewal: $54.67
Flight of fancy to eternity and back, in under 2 seconds: Priceless!'

©2014 April Hoeller