Movie Night

My 11 year old grandson and I had movie night.  He picked out The Queen of Katwe, the story of of a ten year old girl living in Uganda.  Her father has died and her mother struggles to feed and shelter her children. Phiona is part of a group of children who are taught to play the game of chess as part of a missionary program.  Although she is uneducated, has not had the opportunity to go to school, she grasps the game quickly. Soon she is winning championships. The family’s road to a better life is not without hitches, but it is a joyful story, well worth watching.

A trailer HERE.

We enjoyed it very much. Well, except for my popcorn had gone stale and didn’t pop up very fluffy.

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Fall Color

I picked up my friend Ginnie and we took a ride to Westford, VT, to see some of the fall color and then stop at a country diner for a hearty lunch.

The leaves are just not as vibrant as usual this year. Usually, you think a bowl of  Trix –lemon yellow, orange orange, and raspberry red.  This year there are yellows and oranges and kind of a rust color brownish.  Reds are conspicuously absent.

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No reds! Perhaps the trees are trying to give us a political statement?

Dinner and the Theater

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Dinner out and then on to the theater to see a play — is there anything better?  Yes, going with three lovely women friends, enjoying their company and enjoying the play.

The play was Disappearances, based on the novel by Howard Frank Mosher.  The book was made into a film in 2006.

At its barest bones, the novel tells the story of a northern Vermont hardscrabble farming family in the 1930 era.  When their barn burns down Quebec Bill Bonhomme takes on a job smuggling whiskey in order to earn $1000 to buy enough hay to keep the animals alive until spring.  His wife strongly objects. He takes his young son Wild Bill along because, it is after all supposed to be his coming of age story.

But of course, the story is far more complex than that. That is was adapted for a film is one ting, but the idea of paring it down for presentation on a stage (and a tiny one at that) is fairly mind boggling. I thoroughly enjoyed the production. Using few actors and a very minimalist stage set, the essence and themes of the story came through.

Bravo to the Lost Nation Theater and director Kim Allen Bent, the actors, and all the behind the scenes people who pulled this off!

Road Construction

We were sent letters from the town this past summer letting us know that there would be road construction along route 2A.  That is a very busy road, the only way to get out of the condo development where I live.  There are quite a few such developments along the three mile stretch of road that connects two intersections.

At rush hour times there can be bumper to bumper traffic on that stretch.  There are no back roads or connecting streets. To get out of any of the developments you have to pull out onto 2A. Even if I am walking I have to get across to use the sidewalk. Sometimes it can take a while. Part of the plan is to install a traffic light at the entrance/exit  for one of the larger developments. I am not sure that will in any way make it easier for me to get out onto the road.

Well, I wanted to be out of the rural area I lived in before.

Anyway, at the moment the construction is taking place right at the driveway.  It’s actually nice.  The traffic controllers stop both lanes of traffic and let us out.

The view from my back window (fuzzy because of rain?)

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I do remember when this town was a cozy  and quaint village surrounded by dairy farms.  There were no traffic lights at all although sometimes we had to stop for cows crossing the road from field to barn.

 

Metta and a Trickster

That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators...Part of Buddhist teaching is Metta, the prayer of loving kindness.  There are many variations and lengths ranging from very short to considerable.  The format is standard, however: 1.) Start with offering loving kindness to yourself.  2.) Once comfortable with that, offer loving kindness to those you love.  3.) Next step, offer loving kindness to those you don’t know well, maybe the passerby who picked up an envelope you dropped while leaving the post office. 5.) Offer your prayer of loving kindness to all beings.

Yes, I know, I skipped number 4.  The steps above are how we do a metta practice with children. However, step 4 is really the heart of this practice, and, not surprisingly, the very hardest to master.

4.) Offer loving kindness to some one who is a great negative challenge in your life, who makes you feel angry, for whom your knee jerk reaction is anything but wishing him or her well.

I have to admit, there are those who make this an uphill battle.  And yet, it does seem to having a calming effect on me. Anger does not serve me well.  It raises my blood pressure and it makes me darkly depressed. If you had seen me in a full on depressive state, you wouldn’t want to see it again so believe me when I say I don’t ever want to feel it again either.

The Buddhists would suggest looking at the source of anger as a Spiritual Teacher.  What is the karmic lesson being offered? Can I be open to this lesson? Love is not pure until it extends to all beings.

Alternatively (or maybe a variation on the theme), some Native people believe that Trickster Coyote is the teacher of wisdom, the trickling god, who – when properly approached – can share with people some priceless wisdom. Again, there is the need to be open to that wisdom.

My own thinking is that there are personal karmic lessons and those karmic lessons that are meant for the entire culture.

If we don’t learn the lesson on offer, if we don’t embrace the priceless wisdom and somehow end that hatred that divides us, our spiritual teachers will return.  The Trickster will show up again and again until we get it.  They don’t give up trying.

Oh, that Trickster Coyote throwing our current political situation out into the mix once again!

A Little Quilting

I made two baby quilts last year.

I got an acknowledgement for one of them.

I ordered the material for one of them from the Craftsy site and they sent a free jewel pack that I sort of forgot about until I was cleaning out the storage closet in my sewing room (aka spare bedroom).

I used it to make a table mat and three mug mats.

I actually made ten mug mats last year using the scraps from the pink quilt.  I gave them as a Christmas gift to each of the women in the card making group.  I also finished a quilt that my mother had started and gave that to my sister.*

Quilting efforts have fallen off quite a bit in 2018! No body in the family has had a baby this year.

*My mother had given the quilt top to my sister years ago. She figured that my sister was the crafty one and far more likely to actually finish a quilt. My mom didn’t live long enough to see the change over between. Although the change must have been a long time coming because my mom was 93 when she passed away in 2005.

A Book Review

Is it fair to write a review of a book you couldn’t finish?  Maybe not, but I will just go ahead anyway.

The book in question: Quite a Year for Plums by Bailey White.

Now I have read a couple of Bailey White’s books that are memoir/essay collections and enjoyed them immensely.   Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living is one of my all time favorite books.  When I saw Quite a Year for Plums in the local library, I snatched it up right away. (The book came out in 1999, which tells you something about how I get around to reading things.)

I was excited to start reading it.  I love White’s sense of humor, but I bogged down right away.

The book starts with a list of characters.  Right away that is a bad sign.  If there is a list to keep track of the characters I right away fear that I will have to keep referring back to it. And I did have to because they kind of blended together in their quirkiness.  I guess I should have realized after several flips back that I was really not being drawn to these characters.  Several of them struck me as quirky not so much in an amusing sort of way, more in a sad, serious mental illness way.

There were some amusing vignettes but on the whole the story seemed to really not be going anywhere in particular.  Maybe that was supposed to be the point about rural life, but it did not make a compelling reading experience to my way of thinking.

So I never did find out about what made it such a good year for plums.

I used to feel duty bound to finish every single book I ever started.  I’m at an age now where I feel the pressure of a lack of that kind of time.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Lottery Win

If you are into lottery tickets with the hope of scoring a great deal of cash, this is maybe not the post for you.

The lottery I entered was for a spot in a day long poetry workshop that was lead by local VT poet and former poet laureate from Maine, Baron Wormser.  And I was lucky enough to be able to attend.

It was held in the small rural town of Adamant, VT.  This was my first time ever making my way to this absolute bit of heaven here on earth.

Adamant is famous for:

It is such a beautiful spot, great place for a poetry retreat or workshop.  And Baron Wormser was an inspiration.  We read and discussed a selected poem and then he gave a prompt based on that poem. We were given a half hour or so to write a poem in response which then were shared on a volunteer basis.  We did that from 9 to 4, with time for a “civilized lunch.”

I can say i am truly excited to have “won” this lottery and I am thankful for the Burlington Writers’ Workshops for sponsoring such an event. I met some wonderful Vermont poets and I got a shot in the arm to stick with my own efforts.

New Art from Old

I have been making greeting cards for a while now.  I meet with a group of friends on a regular basis and we make cards, have lunch, and laugh while looking much like a coven to the outside world.  It’s a hobby that I enjoy. I end up donating most of my cards, but those I send handmade cards to really seem to enjoy them.

I have more recently taken up watercolor painting and this summer I took a class in mixed media.

I guess the next logical step was to combine the two hobbies.

I have amassed a number of practice paintings and paintings that just didn’t quite meet my standards.

I cut out areas of larger paintings to make these cards:

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I used collage and stamps for this one:

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And for these:

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I used section of scrap paintings to die cut and then made these cards:

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My gentleman friend wants to know why I don’t sell my cards.

Ha! That would turn a hobby into work.

I better clean my camera lens now.