It was so pretty this afternoon, I just had to take Sam out for a walk. Actually, it was Sam who took me.
I was happily basting a quilt, head down, paying no attention at all to leaves blowing over the lawn, sunshine streaming through the windows and bouncing rainbows around the room.
But Sam grumbled and barked and grumbled and barked until I finally gave in.
We walked through the forest, down a country road, past a horse in the field and a wild apple tree whose branches were busting under the weight of hundreds of little red apples. The sides of the road were covered in blue wildflowers – the kind that will turn to stickers as soon as their blossoms drop. I’ll hate them later, but right now they’re stunning.
I wanted to take a picture of Sam sitting with the flowers. It seemed like the perfect photo opportunity. There I was, squatting on the side of the road, juggling the leash and the camera phone and trying to cajole Sam into smiling (or at least looking interested)…
Yeah, right.After I gave up, we walked back along the beach, where the water level has dropped but the sand hasn’t dried out enough to walk out very far without getting muddy.
I woke up early this morning. I tried to go back to sleep, I really did. I arranged my pillow, rearranged my pillow, stuck my foot out, turned over, turned back. You know the routine. Finally, I got up.
It wasn’t really early anymore…not quite six. I turned on the bedside lamp and opened the blind in the bedroom. It was just starting to get light outside: that pearly dawn light. The big fir trees were in silhouette, a bit of a moon peeking out between them.
When I let Sam out, I stood for a moment on the porch and smelled the air, listened to the drip drip drip of melting snow, the train thrumming on its track across the lake. I could see my bedroom window from where I was standing. The light shining through, my bed on the other side of the glass, rumpled sheets and blankets.
I fed Sam, who was dancing around ecstatic at the thought of eating two hours early. Well, why not?
So while the kettle was boiling for tea, I rummaged around in the pantry and pulled out a jar of applesauce that my friends Norrie and Barry made last fall. From apples they picked at Hanna Orchards on Apple Fall day. That’s the day the orchard opens to the public and lets you harvest the windfalls for some ridiculously small amount of money.
When I opened the jar, it made that wonderful seal-breaking thwack sound, and then this aroma of apples rose up like an old memory, except it was real. Oh, my God, wonderful. Delicious.
I’ve been thinking lately about how we identify with place. Last year at a gathering in Whitehorse, I was introduced as being from Salmon Arm, BC. Which, I suppose, is true, since that’s where I’m living right now. I had, after all, flown in for the event.
But at time, we had only been gone from Whitehorse for one year and I still very much identified myself as a Yukoner. So when the introduction came over the sound system, I had a very visceral reaction. A little twinge of adrenaline shot into my heart and I actually caught my breath. It felt so wrong! I felt, suddenly, like an outsider, a stranger in a place that was was so dear to my heart that I could still taste the air just by thinking about it.
I still can.
I’ve been living here in the Salmon Arm area for just over two years, now. And while I definitely feel more at home now than I did at first, I still don’t know my way around very well.
Forget directions that involve the name of whatever business was previously located next to the one I’m searching for. “It’s next to where the old yoga studio was before it moved up town.”
“And where is up town, exactly?”
“At the top of the hill, by McDonalds.”
Or how about this one: “It’s on 18th.”
(Avenue or street? West or Nortwest? I believe there are four streets that begin with the number 18 in Salmon Arm. there might be more, I’m not sure.)
When we spent a year in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, I met an elderly woman who took me under her wing a little bit. She lived in a nice little house in a nice little neighbourhood of “newer” homes in town. “Newer” meaning built in the 1950s.
“Would you like to see where I’m from?” she asked me one day.
“Is it far?” I imagined a day trip to some other small Manitoba town, maybe an hour or so away.
We got into her car and drove about six blocks to the other side of town, and parked in front of a beautiful old heritage home.
“My nephew lives here, now,” she said, pointing out the dormer window that had been her childhood bedroom.
We walked up the street and down the alley behind the house, admiring the gardens full of tomato plants, rhubarb, and peonies while she reminisced about her childhood.”I never in a million years would have believed I’d move so far away from home,” she said, sadly.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how we can live quite happily in one place and yet still yearn for another. I don’t know if I’d move back to Whitehorse. I like it here. And yet, I identify myself as a Yukoner living away.
And every time we visit the coast and I get a whiff of that salt air, I yearn to live by the ocean again.
If home is really where the heart is, then I guess one can be at home in several places at once. And that’s a good thing, eh? Because the moral of the story is that home resides within us. We carry our homes inside us like turtles carries their on the outside.
Home Yoga Practice
There are many ways to set up a home practice. If you’re interested in having one like mine, all you need is a space big enough to roll out your mat, a few uninterrupted minutes and a place to set your laptop (or a TV with a DVD player).
I currently practice with the Dianne Bondy on-line videos and with my Rodney Yee DVDs.
Here are some links to get you started. Have fun and choose what fits your style and your body. ♥
You can enroll with Dianne Bondy at Yogasteya. You can also check out her YouTube channel. Here’s a short sample:
There’s Curvy Yoga on YouTube:
And there’s Curvygirl Yoga, too:
My Aunt Margy recommends Jane Fonda’s yoga videos, which can be found on YouTube:
Last but not least, my all-time favourite DVDs are by Rodney Yee. Especially his Yoga for Beginners series. Here is a sample:
Combine 2.5 m of beautiful wool-blend Prince of Wales suiting and Simplicity 4097 and what do you get? The perfect fall jumper!
I’ve always wanted a jumper, something easy that I can just pull on over top of leggings and a blouse (or a full set of long johns, lol!)
It isn’t the most flattering outfit, I suppose, but I don’t care. Since when have I ever been a walking fashion statement, anyway? Three people have already complimented me on it, and one (a total stranger!) said, “you must have made that because I haven’t seen a proper jumper in years. I’m going to pull out my sewing machine and make one for me, too!” I hope she does!
This jumper pleases my little hippy heart and it’s both physically and emotionally comfortable. Since I’ve gained a bunch of that dratted weight back, I find that it’s harder than ever to find something to wear that I feel comfortable in. And not just physically, but emotionally. Because when you’re insecure about your body, being emotionally comfortable in your clothes is very important to how happy you are in your skin. Believe me when I say this is a struggle for me. My middle-aged body is…well…middle aged.
Since my goal is to someday become an accomplished sewer-of-my-own-wardrobe, I’ve been trying to challenge myself with each new project. This time it was fitting the back bodice and matching the plaid. Actually, pattern matching went so well that I forgot to take a picture of it, lol! Trust me, it’s pretty darn close to perfect. 🙂
The bodice is lined as per the pattern instructions, but they didn’t specify what to use for lining. So I used the same wool since I had enough. I also cut the bodice and the pockets on the bias. It was a bit tricky, as this cloth really stretched on the bias. But knowing that, I was extra careful which resulted in no problems at all. Yay!
I’m also learning about fitting a pattern to my own body. My shoulders and upper back are narrow and my waist is wide. In fact, my shoulders are two sizes smaller than my waist, which requires some pattern adjustments.
I cut the back bodice an entire size smaller than the front bodice, and it was still too big. It might be time to learn how to do a sway-back adjustment.
Since the bodice was already finished and lined, there wasn’t much I could do about the back. My solution? A box pleat and a vintage covered button to take in the excess across the mid-back.
Was the box pleat a professional way to fix the problem? No, and thank goodness for long hair, which covers up some bits of messiness that I’d rather you didn’t see. However, you have to admit, the button adds a bit of charm. I adore buttons. There is a button on every piece of clothing I’ve sewn so far, whether one was required or not.
Because it’s such beautiful fabric, I wanted it to be especially nicely finished on the inside. So I zigzagged every seam and then pinked them. I’m not going to show you any pictures because there are so many that are much more interesting than a bunch of pinked seams, lol!
So, are you wondering what my fabulous fall jumper cost to make? I’ll give you a hint: everything came from the thrift store. Fabric & pattern: (insert drum roll……) $3.25. Thanks to my wonderful Creative Mr.C for taking the pictures at McGuire Lake park in downtown Salmon Arm. This is what November looks like where I live now. Love it!
We are greeted by a thick bank of lake fog every morning, lately. Some times we can’t even see the far side of the lake, it’s so thick. The air is chilly and everything is dripping with dew. By noon, though, the sun has burned off the last wisps and the air is clear and bright.
The rest of the country may be deep in the thrall of autumn; but here in Sunnybrae, my garden is reveling in stolen summer kisses.
Warning: my beautiful pictures have posted upside down again. I do not understand. sorry for the discombobulation…I hope you will enjoy the post anyway.
The early morning air is cool when I step outside and stand for a moment on the front porch. I’m savouring the start of the day, before heat drives me inside to take refuge under the ceiling fan.
Noticing the flower pots are thirsty, I uncoil a bit of hose and turn on the tap. Water wand in one hand and coffee cup in the other, I douse the containers before moving on to the small raised garden where zucchini hang off the vines and nasturtiums tumble over the side. The sun is warm, but not too hot to stand under yet, so I uncoil more hose and move along the perennial bed, admiring the plants that I put in when I built the bed last year.
I need to research August-blooming plants because there isn’t a lot of colour in the perennial bed at the moment But, I note how each plant has grown and imagine how it will look after another two years pass. I remember reading that a perennial bed takes three years to mature. It won’t be until the fourth summer that it will be in its full glory.
I wander down the length of the bed slowly until I reach the friendship rose, a Blanc de Coubert Rugosa that I brought with me from Whitehorse. I call it the friendship rose because years ago, three of us (Kim, Candy & I) used to get together at each others homes over the summer for tea and a garden tour. We’d admire the progress of our gardens, dream over seed catalogues, plan for the next year. Sometimes we’d go out for lunch or visit a garden center. One time, on the spur of the moment, we all bought the same rose bush. Kim and I have remained in touch, but I haven’t seen Candy in years. I wonder if she still has hers? Sadly, although it is a zone 3 plant, the Yukon is not the ideal climate for a Blanc de Coubert, and my poor little bush just barely survived. It hardly grew larger than it was the day we bought it. Kim’s rose has fared equally poorly. When we moved, I couldn’t bear to leave it behind, so I dug it up and brought it with me. In two summers, the rose has already doubled in size. A little bit of the Yukon in Sunnybrae. 🙂
I water the friendship rose and move on to the blueberry bushes and the rhubarb. This end of the yard is still in the shade, lovely and cool. I see weeds. Oh, the bane of my existence! Beautiful green leaves that display dainty blue flowers in the spring. Foolishly, I encouraged them last year. Now I know better. And daisies, too. Back in Whitehorse I used to chastise Mr. C. when he’d mow them down in the side lawn. I worked so hard to encourage them to grow. But here! Here they grow everywhere. They take over the bed like a cuckoo bird pushing its host’s eggs out of the nest and leaving behind its own to flourish in the rich soil.
I march to the garage. Put my empty coffee cup down and don my gardening gloves. Three-prong hand-rake in hand, I march back across the lawn, drop to my knees and start digging and pulling. Inch by inch the area around the blueberries bushes returns to black soil. I move down the bed, leaving the shade and entering the sun. Under the lavender, more baby daisies are hiding, just waiting to grow up and assimilate the brethern. I yank them out.
A wasp buzzes by on its way to breakfast at the hummingbird feeder and I swat it away from my ear. I think, “here I am, weeding the lavender in the sunshine,” and I can feel myself smiling from the inside out. Did you know that lavender propagates by the root? I didn’t. I don’t think lavender grows in the Yukon, so how would I know how it propagates? Lo and behold, when I lift the lavender to pull the weeds hiding underneath, I find lavender spikes coming out of the ground more than six inches from the parent stock.
After a while I sit back on my heels and take a little break. My back is sweaty. My head is hot. In only an hour the sun has gone from pleasant to brutal. I stand up and brush the grass off my knees. Suddenly, I realize that I’ve been gardening in flipflops and a dress.
This fact makes me smile, because back when I worked at Yukon College, I used to fantasize about my retirement. One of the things I wanted to do was learn to sew my own dresses. Another thing was to go out in the mornings and water the garden with a hose whenever I wanted to (not just on Saturdays & Sundays during July).
Well, here I am, this morning. I’ve just come inside, to wash the grass stains off my knees with a cool washcloth. to scrub my wrists and arms, and wash the sweat off my face and neck. And I am wearing a sundress that I made myself.