I like the colour brown. It's warm and gentle and inconspicuous. It's the colour of freckles. The colour of bark. Of coffee with milk. Of decomposed compost. Of the eyes of the one-year-old daughter of friends of ours, who looks at me with serious questions and interest. It's the colour of a lot of other things too, some of which are not discussion topics for good company. ;) Finally, it's the colour of my favourite cookies. Cookies that have molasses and brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in them, all ingredients that are...brown.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I feel like I haven't blogged much lately (other than the Australia post), so I thought I would give some updates on things of late.
The mittens, which to me look like Crave cupcakes, were actually a January project, and a gift for a friend. I made a couple of mistakes, but all in all, I was satisfied with the way they turned out. But now I want a Crave cupcake. Mmm...
The sock, was my first COMPLETED attempt of a sock...it's rather small, but it's finished. I have its mate finished too, except for weaving the toe together. I'm trying to work my way up to more complicated adult-foot-sized socks.
And last, I gave a talk Monday night for the Olds Sons of Norway organization. Though we were 3/4 of an hour late due to an accident on Deerfoot, they fed us good Scandinavian food, including Danish apple cake and Norwegian whipping cream-filled cookies, and the lecture went well too. ;)
We watched Australia a couple of nights ago and loved it. At 2 hours and 45 minutes, it was a lengthy one, but a great epic story. And it reminded us how much we want to visit Australia. Since watching it we have discovered that flights to Australia from Calgary cost about $1250 and the exchange rate is about 1:1. And that there are some great hiking trips similar to what we did in England....Hmmm....
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Today I went to the funeral of the man who first taught me to read and write Danish. Fittingly, the service was at the Danish Lutheran Church here in Calgary, and was partly conducted in Danish. I didn't know Ralph really well. But I knew that he was THE Danish language for adults teacher in Calgary and had designed the curriculum used for the language programs for both Calgary and Red Deer. And I knew that he was a bachelor who lived with his dog. That he was a painter by trade. That he wore wooden shoes and liked his brandy. And that he had funny little mannerisms that made Brent and I smile and enjoy coming to his class. That he was passionate about Danish culture, language and organizations here in the city. I didn't know that he was 54; the same age as my dad. Or that he was born here in Canada, to Canadian born parents (of Danish ancestry) and had picked up his passion for Danishness by association, kind of like I have. It occurred to me that I never told him I passed my Grad school Danish language test with flying colours on the first try, largely thanks to him. Or that we went to Denmark, or that I'm about 1/3 of the way done my thesis. I would have liked to make him proud. Calgary has lost an integral contributor to its Danish community. Who will paint the Danish float in the Stampede parade this year?
Friday, March 13, 2009
Northern England, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. And I feel I must clarify why I have this opinion. There are beautiful natural places that are untouched by human hands, up high in the mountains, or things like waterfalls or places deep in the rain forest or remote in the desert. There are beautiful human designs like the pyramids or stone henge or the bright houses of the East coast. And then there is beauty half way in between, where nature and culture collide. This is the Yorkshire Dales. Civilization exists within the stark natural landscape and has adapted to the conditions there. From the rolling hills, the rocky soil, and the mist and rain results isolated stone houses, sheep pastures as far as the eye can see and strong stubborn farmers. The Dales comes to rely on tourism more and more as small-scale farming becomes unviable, but I hope it never changes too much. Directions by Joseph Stroud How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world. Take a plane to London. From King's Cross take the direct train to York. Rent a car and drive across the vale to Ripon, then into the dales toward the valley of the Nidd, a narrow road with high stone walls on each side, and soon you'll be on the moors. There's a pub, The Drovers, where it's warm inside, a tiny room, you can stand at the counter and drink a pint of Old Peculiar. For a moment everything will be all right. You're back at a beginning. Soon you'll walk into Yorkshire country, into dells, farms, into blackberry and cloud country. You'll walk for hours. You'll walk the freshness back into your life. This is true. You can do this. Even now, sitting at your desk, worrying, troubled, you can gaze across Middlesmoor to Ramsgill, the copses, the abbeys of slanting light, the fells, you can look down on that figure walking toward Scar House, cheeks flushed, curlews rising in front of him, walking, making his way, working his life, step by step, into grace.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
It has been so bitterly cold across Alberta the last couple days, and I've been feeling a little stir crazy. Last night I bundled up in many many layers and went for a walk while Brent was at Bible Study. I NEEDED to get some exercise and fresh air. But the future looks bright (pun intended). It may be -20 right now, but it's going to warm up and we can bask in the sunshine again. Lovely.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Today we got a call from my mum. She talked about the bitter cold they are experiencing, and the trials that result from lambing when it's 35 below or colder yet. Then she told us about a fire that took place last night in one of their neighbours' barns. My brother is a fire fighter, and he and a number of the Lacombe Fire Department spent all night out there getting the fire under control. He went home to bed at seven this morning. This morning my mum got a call from someone connected to the local community hall. Who suggested that food be purchased from the caterer in Ponoka, paid for by the community hall association, and delivered to the family who owns the now-destroyed barn. Community. It makes me choke up to think about it. That's what communities are for. That's what the money of a hall board should be used for. During the Depression, people in the rural communities tightened their belts, gritted their teeth, and spent very little money on frivolous things like new clothes or purchased entertainment. They survived by consuming only what was necessary, and living in community. Sharing, when they could give their extra to someone who was lacking. Sending truckloads of shoes to the homeless in the city, since they had extra. Developing a local economy to exchange goods since sending their pigs to the market in the city cost more in shipping than they earned in the selling. They worked in community and they lived in community. They put on plays together and attended church together. They taught each other ways to be thrifty; They listened to radio broadcasts of William Aberhart; They passionately argued in political debates about the viability of Social Credit. I desire community like that. People in the city are so afraid to show need; to be vulnerable to their neighbours. To step out of their front doors and their yards And get to know each other, flaws and talents and all. But we need each other. I pray that in some small way I can create community while we live in the city. And I look forward to the day When I can deliver a meal to the neighbour whose barn just burnt down, Attend a play put on at the community hall, and just stop by for coffee.
Friday, March 06, 2009
This past weekend we had a smashing time with J&M and I rented a nice lens to take some engagement photos of them. Here are a few of my favorites, though many many more turned out just great. We had a fun time in IKEA, and the next day downtown for a while, then down to Bowness for some skating.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
On the weekend J&M came down for a visit and we had a fantastic time as usual. Brent rented a fancy camera lens with all the bells and whistles in order to take some engagement shots for them. I'll get him to post a couple examples at some point. They turned out fantastic. On Sunday we went skating in Bowness Park, which, apparently, is the largest outdoor rink in Calgary. It was pretty bumpy, but lots of fun. Brent got lots of skating shots of J&M, and also managed to get a picture of me. I think I've mentioned it before, but I'm always amazed at the pictures of me that he takes. "That's what I look like? That's a lot less awkward and goofy than I feel inside..."
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
No Tool or Rope or Pail by Bob Arnold It hardly mattered what time of year We passed by their farmhouse, They never waved, This old farm couple Usually bent over in the vegetable garden Or walking the muddy dooryard Between house and red-weathered barn. They would look up, see who was passing, Then look back down, ignorant to the event. We would always wave nonetheless, Before you dropped me off at work Further up the hill, Toolbox rattling in the backseat, And then again on the way home Later in the day, the pale sunlight High up in their pasture, Our arms out the window, Cooling ourselves. And it was that one midsummer evening We drove past and caught them sitting Together on the front porch At east, chores done, The tangle of cats and kittens Cleaning themselves of fresh spilled milk On the barn door ramp; We drove by and they looked up-- The first time I've ever seen their Hands free of any work, No tool or rope or pail-- And they waved.