Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Stockford Carol by Loreena McKennitt

 This is another one from her CD/album/collection of songs (I never know what to call them now that it's all digital!) called To Drive the Cold Winter Away. It's a wonderful collection which is up there at the top of my seasonal favourites. She also has an 'EP' called A Winter's Garden and an 'album' called A Midwinter Night's Dream, which are all seasonal and all fabulous. I hope you're enjoying whatever seasonal music you love, too!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Snow by Loreena McKennitt

 This song was my introduction to Loreena McKennitt's music. I first heard it years ago when we were in Fairbanks. We have bought a lot of her music through the years and I love it, but this remains my favourite of her songs.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

More Beautiful Music--Candlelight Carol by John Rutter

 This carol is lovely and brings me a sense of peace and serenity every time I listen to it--and since it stays in my head, sometimes even when I am not listening to it!

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Beautiful Music

 I am not a Christian and we don't really celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. For me, this time of year is a celebration of winter and nature, which we mark on the winter cultural holiday. Since that is Christmas in the places we've lived, that's the day we celebrate. That said, I do enjoy much about the festive season. I love the fairy lights shining in the dark. I love the cute decorations. Most of all, I love some of the music, which can be beautiful. I thought I would share some of my favourites over the next few days.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Howling, Roaring, Whistling, Rattling

 I never thought that much about wind until we got to Dungloe. I noticed when it was windy. We had a couple of trees blow down in Fairbanks. We've experienced the tail end of hurricanes on the US east coast. but Dungloe was the first time I experienced such sustained wind noise and was actually blown off balance when out walking. There were times we avoided walking to the end of the pier because of the wind. Through most of the year there was some wind, although it disappeared in summer when I really needed it! When we first moved in, it took us a while to get used to the constant howling and rattling that went on for weeks. Since we've been here, we've moved up a level with regard to wind. There were times when there was little to no wind or it was blowing in the wrong direction to provide a breeze through the windows that open outward from the side. Mostly though, there is wind and it is often loud. Today and into tomorrow morning we are going to have a visit from Storm Arwen. Even before Arwen arrives, we've already had over a day of strong wind. It roars, howls, and whistles. We've had a few hail showers and watched the hail blow horizontally down the street. We could get sleet and snow showers later. There might be some snow on the surrounding hills later this weekend. After an unseasonably warm autumn, perhaps we will get just a taste of what passes for winter here.

As I listen to the noise of the wind, I sometimes think about how it would sound of one was in a hurricane. It must be an awesome and sometimes terrifying feeling to listen to what must be incredibly loud and intense noise while trying to stay out of harm's way.

While the wind howled, roared, and whistled, I put up my few Christmas decorations, almost all of which are small bits I have made from scraps since we got to Ireland, since I left the Christmas stuff behind when we came here. I have a few things that people have gifted to me as well. I enjoy taking these things out each year and hanging them around. They do bring a smile to my face. I am particularly partial to these two that I made from sea glass collected on a shingle beach in Moville.
needle felted wool with crocheted borders and french knots (R), embellished with sea glass

One thing about living in so many different places is that almost every year, things are being placed somewhere new. Last year these were in a living room window. This year I hung them on knobs of the kitchen cupboards.

I hope that whatever you're doing today, you have a pleasant and peaceful time.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving/Thursday!

 To those of you in the US or celebrating elsewhere, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving! To those of you who are not having Thanksgiving today, we wish you a very happy Thursday!

Thanksgiving is the one US holiday that we've continued to celebrate since we left. It's still weird to have things just going on as usual out there while we have our much simplified holiday in our home. We've pared back the meal to the few favourites and I just finished preparing everything, although the stuffing continues to cook away in the slow cooker. Later we'll just heat things up, as we will for the next few days--I always make leftovers! 

I hope that wherever you are, you're having a good day spent with your favourite people!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Wise Words on Wednesday

 'When I was about six years old, I received an essential teaching from an old woman sitting in the sun. I was walking by her house one day feeling lonely, unloved, and mad, kicking anything I could find. Laughing, she said to me, “Little girl, don’t you go letting life harden your heart.”

Right there, I received this pith instruction: we can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.'

--Pema Chodron from page 20 of The Pocket Pema Chodron 

Monday, November 15, 2021

In Dungloe's Enchanted Forest...

 Mother Earth smiles.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Little by Little

 For several months now, I've been making squares on my pin loom. Not every day, but when the mood struck. I was using up scraps of acrylic and novelty yarns that people have given me through the years. I had fun playing with colour and texture as I made square after square. It's a 4-inch loom, so I knew I'd need a lot of squares to make a blanket. Earlier in the year, I took 70 of them from my accumulated pile to use for a different project, so the blanket had to wait a bit longer to be finished. But the other night, I wove in the last yarn end and it was done!
photo by bill burke

Here are a few pictures that show some more detail of some squares as the blanket is in use on the bed.

I am in love with this blanket. When it comes to making things, there is nothing I like more than playing with scraps. It makes me think of my grandmother, who was a sewist. She would take scraps and odd bits of fabric and make really scrappy quilts--not pattern, just squares sewn together. I loved mine and I remember sitting under it when I was small and looking at all the different colours and patterns in the small pieces of fabric. I do not get on well with sewing machines, so I end up making bits of fabric with yarn instead and get my scrappy fix that way.

When Bill first got me this pin loom and I was learning how to use it, I quickly realized that I didn't care for leaving the edges plain once they came off the loom, so played around until I had a crochet edge I liked. when I'm setting up the loom, I wind more yarn than the instructions call for and do a slip stitch border around each square using that. There is also a long enough tail left to sew squares together. I like the way the crochet frames each square and the way it looks when the squares are sewn together. It's a neater finish and easier to do. It's also sturdier. Unlike some of the mass-produced pin looms, like the Zoom Loom, this one is handmade and is meant to accommodate bulkier yarn--the pins are farther apart. This means I have fewer curves on the edges to use to connect the plain squares, which is why I decided on the crochet border. I wasn't happy with the end result when I tried to sew my first squares together without it, so I adapted. Years ago I had a vintage Weave-It pin loom, but I broke it, probably trying to use yarn that was too thick for the pins. I love having this one because I can use bulky yarn or two or more strands of thinner yarn held together. So many possibilities!

I have not yet used up my odd balls and scraps, and there is another scrappy project in progress. I guess I'll turn my attention to that now, along with some other things. 

Saturday, November 6, 2021


 When we were coming home from the library yesterday, we came across this creepy looking sight:
It looked like some kind of creature that crawled out from the ditch, but it's just a decaying leaf, on its way to being fertilizer. It used to look like this:

The cycle of life on display.

Friday, November 5, 2021

My Dream Home

 I had stuff in at the library today, including this new book:
My first thought was that upon removal of that guy, I'm ready to move right in. 😀😁😉

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Costly USPS Incompetence

 In late September, our daughter posted a parcel to us. She has posted similar packages to us in the past and they have almost always arrived within a week, so when it did not show up after a couple of weeks, I started to think something was off. After it still had not arrived a month or so later, I started checking into what the problem could be. Although we've never had to pay them in the past, we knew we would likely have to pay customs fees, taxes, and charges this time, because new rules have gone into effect, lowering the level at which these kick in for packages coming from outside the EU. In addition, shipping costs count towards that limit and those have increased. She did not know this when she sent the parcel and neither did we. But we learned about it while the package was en route, so we assumed we would get a slip through the mail slot telling us how much we would need to pay to collect the parcel. It didn't even get that far.

She was unable to track it on the USPS (United States Postal Service--LOL--the states aren't united and service is not the word I'd use, but there it is) website after a certain point, but I was able to track it on the an Post site. I discovered that it had been sitting somewhere for 10 days and then sent back to her. In the end, it went back to her home city, where the morons in that sorting facility apparently did not see the stickers on it and sent it back out to an international sorting facility in a neighbouring state. Someone there was awake that day and they sent it back to her. 

Before we knew what was going on and that she was getting it back, I tried to find out what was happening. Turns out that EU customs rules changed on 1 July of this year. There is now a requirement for electronic customs information to be sent to the postal service in the country of the recipient. This information has to be provided by the originating post office. You see where this is going. USPS is not doing the necessary work and parcels are being sent back in huge numbers. People are extremely angry. To be fair to USPS, they are not the only incompetents around--people in other countries are having things returned, too. Canada Post was having the same issues, but they have fixed it, from what I have learned. Also, people who send things from the US using a service other than USPS are not having any problems at all, which is telling. 

A few years ago, she sent something that was returned and we later found out it was because there was a magnet in the parcel, which was prohibited. When I spoke to a woman at an Post, she said there was nothing prohibited in the contents of this one. When our daughter got the package back, there was a sticker on it indicating that it did not clear customs and another that said, 'returned, refund.' She brought it and her receipt back to her local post office and was told that she could not get a refund because they did their job and it got to Ireland. Never mind that because they did NOT do their job, it could not get out of the sorting facility. Is she supposed to commandeer USPS computers and send the electronic information required after somehow learning what that information is supposed to consist of? No, that is the job of the clerks at USPS, who clearly are not up to the task all over the country, judging by the number of irate customers out there! Wait until Christmas! A lot of people in the US send things to Ireland, especially during the festive season. They won't be happy when the stuff is sent back and USPS essentially steals their money by not doing their job and not giving refunds. It's not cheap to send things here--our daughter is out over $80. 

I have told people not to send me things from now on. The incompetence on the part of USPS is costly--but not for them, so they don't care, I guess. 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Wee Shop or Shopping Mall? You Decide!

 This is the wee shop in Bunbeg.
It's useful when we want to dash out and get bread, milk, eggs, etc, because we can be there and back in 10 minutes or less. They have some groceries also--whole chickens, sliced ham, frozen, canned, and fresh veg, some fresh fruit, bottled and canned goods, coffee and tea, biscuits, crisps candy--a bit of this and a bit of that in small quantities. There's a card rack with greeting cards in Irish, most of which seem to be about babies. And there are a few cleaning supplies and stuff like toilet paper. The place is only a room and the wall space in the front is taken up with more convenience store sorts of stuff--bottled drinks, a coffee/tea to-go station with pre-made sandwiches and baked goods, a deli area where people can get sandwiches made (I am not sure this is actually in operation, but the case is there) and a small ice cream area where people can get a scoop or two--they have maybe 8 or 10 tubs of different flavours. Sometimes fishing nets and hula hoops are available, too and there is always the fire supply stuff as well. All that crammed into the room. 

One day I was looking up the directions to the library on google maps and I saw that this wee shop is on the map characterized as a shopping mall. I find this quite amusing. I don't suppose anyone would actually show up expecting to find a shopping mall in Bunbeg, but if they do, I suspect they'd be pretty disappointed. 😉😆