Friday, February 21, 2014

Wax and Wane and Wee Bairns

Oh, it has been so long since I have put pen to paper. Er, fingers to keyboard. Writing (aka blogging) is one of those little self-nagging “I should be doings/I want to be doings” which always seem to slip down my daily list of things to do.

Ah well.

Anyway, Hello to all of you out there who are reading this! So nice for you to stop by!

What has been keeping me busy these days, you ask?

Well, my father is still in a nursing home where his dementia can be monitored. My sister and I visit him weekly and most days he is, what they call, “comfortably confused.” He is his old amiable and pleasant self albeit with pieces of his memory (i.e. life) missing. However, there are also those few days when he gets agitated (and when, we assume, he becomes frightened at the changes which are going on around him) – on these occasions he can usually be comforted and soothed within a short period of time. He still finds having his wallet with a few dollars and redacted ID an important piece of him, as well as daily contact with my mother. Dementia is an interestingly complex and heartbreaking part of many people's lives, and my sisters, my mother and I are watching my “daddy's” brilliant and curious mind slip away.

So, I find incredible comfort in creating with my hands, and my brain. The dolls I have made keep multiplying like guppies. Thank goodness I have three sisters, a mother, a daughter, two step-daughters, and four grand-daughters who seem to like being recipients of my creativity! For many years I have wanted to make dolls – I don't know why (perhaps its a part of my inner child who has been knocking to get out) – anyway, as many of you already know, I have had a solid chance to let all of those “wee bairns” out.

Faeries, and primitive, and forms who leap; stick figures, and bobble heads, and elves who ride leaves; made from all sorts of things like fabric, clay, naturals, and felt; whatever works with my mind-heart and hands.

And a week ago, I fell in love with needle felting...

I think you might guess that these are just a small example of my flying fingers!

It's keeping me sane, and contented, at least.

Monday, September 9, 2013

To Scotland and Beyond!

I can't tell you for certain when it happened, but I know my first foray into it was one evening at the local K-Mart where I was shopping for other, not associated in any way, things. What I do know is that when I saw it, I wanted it...and I needed it. Right Then.


That was over twenty years ago. But I remember it like it was yesterday...


Of course, in the UK, Outlander was sold under the title "Cross Stitch" but it was the verra...I mean very same book in which Claire Randall, a WWII English nurse, steps through a ring of standing stones and is transported smack dab into 1743 just prior to the Jacobite Rising in 1745. There, she meets a fine Scottish warrior and begins an adventure 200 years in the past.

While this novel has romance, it was also painstakingly researched by the author, Diana Gaboldon, and her words bring both the relationship between Claire and Jamie, and Jacobian Scotland, amazingly to life.

I have always tended to keep "bodice-rippers" at arm's length in lieu of historical novels, mysteries, and such, when I say that these books have everything (including a wee bit of ripping bodices) - I mean everything.

In the many reviews I have read, most of them state that this series is (there are seven more books to date, plus a companion book) extremely hard to place in a single genre - it is a story of love, a story of loyalty, a story of family, a story of history, and a story of adventure, and loss, and morality, and death, and struggle, and military maneuvers, and faith... need I go on?


Anyway, I tore through that first book way back in 1991, and when I was done I quickly purchased the next book, "Dragonfly in Amber." When that was done, it was onto the third book, "Voayager" in 1993, and then "Drums of Autumn" in 1996. However, my series reading was diverted for a long period during which a divorce happened, a new-life-found happened, and courting, and adventure, and college, and...well, you get the picture.


Still...I had fallen even more in love with Scotland than I already had been before, and my passion for history had been further fueled.


For several years, there had been, of course, "Fantasy Casting" whereby Gerard Butler (among others) was cast as the perfect James Fraser, and a number of beautiful actresses cast as Claire Randall. But it was only a throught-provoking (or heart-provoking) discourse of who's and when's and why-hasn't-it-been-made-into-a-movie-yet.


Until this year.


Cable channel STARZ picked up the rights to the screenplay, received a green-light for 16 episodes, brought in a team of four established writers, a well-known director, two seasoned producers, and a casting agency.


While the character of Claire Randall has yet to be cast (at the time of this post) the role of Jamie Fraser has been perfectly filled by Scotsman Sam Heughan.


Photo by Faye Thomas

Also added to the cast are Gary Lewis, Graham McTavish, Steven Walters, Annette Badland, as well as Englishman Tobias Menzies, who will portray the "villian" in the series.


Filming will begin within the next two weeks in Cumbernauld - if looking at a map of Scotland, it is northeast of Glasgow, somewhat south of Stirling, and somewhat west of Edinburgh (for those of you in the know, please correct my geography at will!)


In the meantime, I have become a wee bit addicted to Twitter, started a Tumblr account, and have added many new faces to my Facebook account.


Alas, I have been swept up into this again with about 20 million other people...


"Outlander" is now in ebook form, and I am back in the thrill of Jacobian Scottish history. I have a LOT of reading to do before March 2014! Would you care to join me?












Sunday, August 25, 2013

Keeping Busy

Ah, the days of summer are dwindling away into autumn. Soon, the yellows, oranges and reds will replace the emeralds, olives and forests of the foliage, and the air will hang cooler about my face when I step outside to walk the dog.



Seasons are inevitable and, for the most part, welcome. However, there are moments that we all would like to hold onto; a summer evening watching the sun set and the fire flies in their climactic dance, or the last ballet of springtime snowflakes, or the crisp sunrise of a winter morn, or the smell of fallen leaves and apples in the Fall.

Changes are also inescapable. Much like a rolling highway, the hills and valleys are oftentimes both the same and different at each crest and hollow. Both welcome and frightening, changes make our lives worth living, and make our hearts break.



In these past few months of summer, many changes have happened around me.


My father's short-term stay has turned into a long-term journey as his short-term memory is, for the most part, gone. His body has recovered since he took his fall in June, and he has started eating better and is getting much stronger. His wheel chair has been replaced by a walker which, when no one is looking, sits tucked under his high table in his room - much to the chagrin of his caretakers. His eyes brighten when company arrives, his sly wit and silly jokes slip out with a smile, yet he tires easily and is soon ready for a nap. When asked later who visited, or what he had eaten for his earlier meal, he is no longer able to remember. Yet his long-term memories can be drawn out like a golden thread from the confusion behind his eyes, and he smiles with recognition.



My mother is on her own for the first time in her life and is both terrified and hopeful by the chaos around her. She can no longer curl up with my father in the dark of the night, she must travel to his new "home" to steal a kiss, and the days and nights are long with the quiet. However, she has been able to do a few things for "her" without deferring to anyone, including the replacement of the living room furniture and the acquisition of a companion cat. Company is even more welcome to stay for a while.



There are still the ongoing issues with my grown son, living his own life. Enough said.


My hands have been keeping my mind busy, making dolls, and fairy gardens, and dreams come true.







Just as long as I keep my windows down to let the fresh breeze inside while I drive with my dog, and enjoy each moment, the seasons may last a little longer...