Saturday, March 21, 2020

Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin Franciscan brother in Ireland, shared this poem on Facebook:

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
March 13th 2020

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Self-styled Retreat

Rose the Gypsy and I put together our own annual autumn retreat this month (we did it last year too).  

We had a number of activities during our week ...

History of Minneapolis walking tour with food.   I learned things about the Guthrie Theater which make me dislike the new building less.  But the old building was better.  One of my favorite local beers was featured at one of the stops too :)

We went to see great art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, including an exhibit of 18th century Instagram paintings :)

 We went on a Knitting Cruise sponsored by Darn Knit {Anyway}

And we went to an author talk and signing at The Workshop.  (Clara Parkes is awesome).

Yarn was acquired.  Rose the Gypsy was introduced to two more LYS: Amazing Threads and Linden Yarn.  

This is the super-special-edition Knit the River skein from the cruise:

Other shopping was done too, including another book of photos from a museum shop.

And shoes.  Quite a few pairs, as a matter of fact, including these special-edition Minneapolis Toms from the Mall of America ...

... as well as suede Toms in a favorite color.  Seriously, I needed teal shoes and Rose the Gypsy had to get Toms because believe it or not, she did not own a pair before.

I also found a new dishtowel.  I have to set a good example for my grandchildren, after all, by keeping a tidy kitchen.

We had special foods galore including (but not limited to) Murray's, Birchwood Cafe, Tavern on Grand and The Oasis.   

Oh, and we knit too.  I'll post about that later.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Art, Architecture and Knitting

I finally went to the newly re-opened Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It's wonderful.  I'm so glad it's open again.

There's a new section up the hill next to the Walker building with some nice views.

It feels like you're out of the city in some spots.

My favorite new sculpture is Black Vessel for a Saint

Not only because it's St. Jerome, but partly because, being he's the patron saint of librarians.

There's a wind chime tree that is lovely.

I also did a walking tour of the Basilica recently.  I don't think I'd ever been in the building before.  It was a fun outing.

They have a mosaic piece with Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe there.

It's not my favorite style of architecture, to be perfectly honest.  That said, the tour was of "behind the scenes" with Preserve Minneapolis and it was very enjoyable.

I also finished the Goldfish Memory shawl relatively recently.  I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

And I ran into a woman on the bus the other day who was knitting.  Some guy was talking with her and said he'd tried knitting but his hands were too big.  She had pretty meaty hands so I thought his argument was very weak.

OH!  And I found a copy of this book at the Walker shop!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Knitting Update

I volunteered for the Knitters' Guild at Shepherd's Harvest over Mothers' Day weekend. I kind of fell of the wagon but not too much ... I purchased $1 mini-skeins of sock yarn in colors that I am short of for the blankie because I never seem to have enough light colors or browns/beiges/yellows:

I also stoped at Sun Valley Fibers to pick up colors I can use for a color work hat and mitts.  I love their yarn and I don't want the leftovers to be wasted.   I also got on the mailing list and am on the waitlist for the January Thaw retreat in Madison.  Hard to believe so many people would want to go to Madison in January but there you go - Midwesterners and knitters are unique types of people:

I picked up Lamb's Pride seconds at a really good price ... this was justified by the fact I have had requests (so far) for four pair of felted slippers.  I find this is the best yarn at the best price for the slippers and who cares about seconds for felted stuff?  (Thanks again, Mary Lou, for teaching me how to make these slippers.  I have no idea how many I have made now but it's a lot).

I've also started the Goldfish Memory shawl using two luxury yarns (Shalimar and Anzula) and a skein of Jitterbug that I will never use for socks because it pools terribly (not just around the ankles).   Since I already have two Color Affections I was looking for another productive use of sock yarns.  I'm on section 5 of 12.

I basically knit a pair of socks whilst in Guatemala and started another pair as soon as I got home, which means I'm on pair #6 for the year ...  I have to branch out.  It's only May.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

LWB People and Places

We started out the trip in Guatemala City where we stayed at a dive near the airport.

We stopped at a publisher before leaving the capitol where we purchased some books for the school library.

And we saw a dedication/protest in the main square downtown for the girls who died in a fire recently.

We spent the most time in Quetzaltenango which is known locally as Xela (pronounced Chela).  It's a nice town with a main square that has the regulation church - with flying buttresses, even.

And angels, of course.

I noticed a lot of the old style confessionals in Guatemalan churches.  I had to explain how they work to a couple of folks from Protestant sects.

We visited a cemetery too, which is always interesting.

Learned some of the local folklore, like the story of this woman who died of a broken heart.

There was a vibrant market in town too.

Because of security issues we didn't get to wander around much, but we did get to see.

And do a little shopping.

The colors in Guatemala are spectacular.

The public libraries are not so spectacular.

No open stacks and to be perfectly honest, the whole collection could be thrown out.

The building has been used for a number of things over the centuries, including a jail at one point.

They do use the space for cultural activities though, and there are some good PSAs posted.

A second public library was just as bad, and the books don't circulate.  Mostly they are community spaces.

We went to Salcaja, which has the oldest church in Central America.

These are the LWB fearless leaders.

There is a small museum in the town with some pre-Columbian artifacts and a wheel that caught my eye.

We visited the home of a former student (he graduated).  The student's dad is a weaver.

In some parts of the country the women weave and in others the men do.

He had a good setup.

Looms are fascinating machines, I think.

These ladies helped us out with our tour of the town - the one on the right is the weaver's wife.

And we caught a beautiful sunset.

We also went to a hot spring: Fuentes Georginas

We hiked up into the rainforest a bit.

We called the plant in the lower-left giant kale :)

In Zunil we saw a church and a video arcade ...

... it's a charming little town ...

... and we got the low-down on the Santa Ana women's cooperative.

After our work was done in Xela we went to Panajachel to see Lake Atitlan.

This little girl earns her living selling textiles by the lake (I did not buy anything from her but asked permission to photograph her and paid her for the privilege).

And we spent the last night in Antigua, which is the only place a lot of visitors to Guatemala see.

They have an interesting fountain in the main square.

Panajachel and Antigua are both very touristy.  I liked Pana better, although the architecture in Antigua is more interesting.

I really liked the Choco Museo, which is really a huge chocolate shop.

The capitol was moved from Antigua to Guatemala City after an earthquake in the 18th century.

Some bits have been rebuilt and others not.  There is on dormant and one active volcano nearby.

And, randomly, here's a selfie with the librarian from the school.

The man who founded the school has the most remarkable pay it forward story I have ever heard.  I have not included his photo because of the aforementioned security issues.  I'll just say he has done great things for the people in his community and I feel really lucky to have had an opportunity to go and help out there.  They taught us so much.