This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013
Welcome to Planet Nilknarf!!
Cover Story: Carousel of the Month: Silver Beach, St. Joseph, Michigan! Front Cover: “Christmas Horse: from the Silver Beach carousel. Above: Top row of squares from my fifth quilt, all creatures from the Silver Beach carousel. You can find the colouring pictures these were traced from at their official website: http://www.silverbeachcarousel.com/downloads-and-media.html Keep visiting! They are always adding new stuff! You can bet that one of these days the Christmas Horse, tiger and unicorn will also be part of a future quilt. Meanwhile, I must say this is one of my absolute favorite places! I am a HUGE FAN of this carousel and can't begin to say enough nice things about this place! This was where the 2012 NCA conference was hosted and the site of our technical seminar. I learned so much and was very impressed. Recently I came across an account I wrote of the 2008 conference I attended in Memphis and it mentioned where I was looking at this carousel's “baby album”. That is a binder full of plans and pictures of the carousel being built, animals in progress. At the time they were aiming for opening in the summer of 2009. And now I've been there and seen the completed project! It's an exciting feeling to not only visit a carousel but know that I've watched it “grow up”. I immediately felt at home because I had an anachronistic sense of what I call “reverse dejavu”! In other words, it was like wandering into a parallel universe stunningly similar to my own personal vision of the Carousel of Friendship. Everything is so perfect and beautiful! Not just the carouse itself but it's Shadowland Ballroom (named after the original Shadowland Ballroom at the old Silver Beach amusement Park.) gift shop and birthday party room. This place thinks of everything. Over the years several events including weddings and Proms have been hosted there. At one prom a couple of the young ladies were dismayed to discover that they got grease on the backs of their dresses from the poles underneath the horses. The management of the carousel offered to reimburse these ladies for their dry-cleaning bills but the ladies decided to just let it slide after all. Meanwhile the carousel's management came up with brilliant idea; a Velcro sleeve that slides over the pole to prevent any more prom dresses from being damaged by grease. They also have the most ingenious wheel-chair ramp I've ever seen. It actually ROLLS Up for easy storage and can easily be anchored to the platform with two special keys. This prevents wear and tear on the platform so that it doesn't have to keep stopping in the same place as with traditional wheelchair ramps that have been permanent fixtures on other carousels. A
video of this concept can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vh_pTs0Cb8I The Silver Beach carousel has been built by the Carousel Works of Mansfield Ohio and it combines good old-fashioned craftsmanship with state-of-the-art technology. Everything is computerized on this carousel! The system actually keeps track of how many passengers per ride, what needs to be fixed and what songs for the organ to play. There are actually TWO organs! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVbGYuyC8ro And both of them are linked to a MIDI system programmed to play over a thousand different songs. They usually alternate between both organs. The system is probably capable of them both playing the same tune simultaneously but they likely refrain from doings so because it would probably be excruciatingly loud. Which brings me to the next wonderful thing they think about. Being on the autism spectrum myself I can appreciate the fact that many of us tend to experience most things louder than usual. The music here didn't bother me, but for others who have sensory issues with it being loud, ear-plugs and headphones are provided. (I could have used them on the day of our closing meeting at Eden Springs Park but that's another story! Shudder!) The Silver Beach Carousel has its own museum with original artifacts from the former amusement park:
You'll see a familiar face enjoying some of these exhibits. A local magician actually built the new Fortune Telling machine for a fraction of the price of what it would have cost to buy one like the one seen in the movie “Big” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye3gOJHxqxA And here's Laffing Sal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XikdXRzVNzQ When Silver Beach had its old amusement park, the original carousel was a Carmel which somehow managed to find its way down to Washington where it is now awaiting its new life as
the Three Rivers carousel. Here is one of the original Silver Beach horses at its home (left) and here are some of its brothers and sisters in Washington when I saw them at the 2010 Convention.
I had the pleasure of meeting the old Silver Beach horse in their new home but I look forward to returning to Three Rivers when their carousel finally restored and up and running. Meanwhile I love the new Silver Beach Carousel and I've enjoyed a number of rides!
The one of me with the tiger face was taken at our opening night reception and the two of me in the Witch's hat were taken at the closing night banquet. Another thing that makes this carousel unique are its rounding boards. They're not paintings like the usual carousel rounding boards I've seen elsewhere. These are montages of digitally mastered vintage photographs of the town's heritage!
The Silver Beach carousel is also run by a wonderful bunch of dedicated volunteers whom you can tell do a great job because they love what they do! Where can I find a dedicated team like that in Oshawa? We can't even keep the gift shop open on time in our local art gallery! Speaking of gift shops, I enjoyed a wonderful spree splurging on several of the awesome souvenirs that are available including a colourful fridge magnet and two adorable stuffed seahorses for me and Janette. The place has a selection of beautiful Mermaid dolls that they can barely keep up with the demand for. One item I've seen on their website which I think is a great idea is their “passport” book. Riders collect a stamp for every animal they ride and when the book is full they get three more free tickets. What I don't like is that these booklets are only seasonal and they're just for kids. Personally I think it should be for all ages. The important part is that these stamps are being collected by paying customers who buy tickets for every ride regardless of age. If there were no age limit I'd So be doing this!! I've actually had four rides in total. Maybe five, I'm not sure. The ones you've seen in these pictures plus a small, inside-row lion cup. I may have
actually ridden the hippocampus twice. It was before dinner and I was a little buzzed on two Margaritas at the time, ha-ha! Perhaps the most important part of any given carousel is the assortment of animals that makes each one special. This one even has several extras that are replaced every now and then, so I did not see Peanut the Elephant this time and the Unicorn was actually standing in the museum. If you look carefully you will even see creatures that represent some of the area's local sports teams!
Several miniatures and models of trains and amusement parks can also be found throughout the building. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEyqfA72tCw I could have sworn I took footage of two but I can only find one at the moment! Man, I freakin' love this place! I GOTTA come back here someday! The only thing I don't like
about St. Joseph is the fact that they don't have ONE hotel big enough for ALL of us! Having to be split up among three hotels was frankly kind of a pain in the ass. I stayed at the cheapest place which meant my group had to be the FIRST ones up in the morning and the LAST ones to get “home” at night which seriously cut into whatever rapidly dwindling downtime we had left, an inevitable recipe for disaster for someone like me on the autism spectrum who needs consistency and sufficient downtime. Maybe they'll build one in time for our next visit there but if not at least I know what to expect and am willing to fork out the extra money to be closer! Why not. It seems like I'm always having to fork out extra money to avoid drama anyway but that's another story. But before I finish this article I still have a couple more wonderful things to share. One of them is the fact that on a day that they're closed to the public, if there's anyone around working on the premises and a disappointed child (or carousel-crazed adult like yours truly???) shows up hoping for a ride, they usually give him or her a free token that he or she can use next time when they're actually open. And I would like to thank Diane Radewald for sending me some wonderful pictures of the Silver Beach carousel's team of dedicated volunteers plus some other never-before seen convention pics I hope to share in upcoming issues!
Return of Litvark the Dryer Troll
On his birthday, my husband washed a four pairs of track pants but when he went to take them out of the dryer he could only find three!! “Litvark the Dryer Troll must have taken them.” I said. “However they're too big for him. He's just a little guy.” Then I remembered when Litvark steals socks he usually likes to EAT them!! In fact his favorite delicacy is colourful flowered socks. He likes them in a sandwich, between two slices of pumpernickel with mustard, mayonnaise and a pinch of belly-button lint. And if a lost pair of track pants is destined to reach a similar fate, then it must mean Litvark has company. “Of course!” I exclaimed, “This is the weekend of the Annual Dryer Trolls Convention!” It's always the weekend before Halloween. Dryer Trolls from all over congregate in a secret subterranean realm unbeknownst to most of us ordinary surface dwellers. At these conferences, they enjoy trading socks, exchanging recipes for their favorite condiments and dipping sauces and displaying an assortment of colourful artwork made from dryer lint!! Litvark started out as a joke when I was working at Victoria Laundry back in the days when I lived in Lindsay. Sometimes when Jim had to bend over and reach deep inside the dryer I would tease him by calling out “Watch out for the Dryer Trolls”. And sometimes I'd make my co-workers laugh by putting one of the fuzzy, green mop-heads on my arm and using it as a puppet. In a voice that sounded like a cross between Pee-Wee Herman and Kermit the Frog I'd say “Hi-Ho, this is Litvark the Dryer Troll.” The REAL Litvark the Dryer Troll eventually made his debut in the following “Life With Louella” story on my friend Richard's show “Rapid T. Rabbit & Friends. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ9W5qQTFlU Boy, now that I've been married for just over ten years it sure is strange to hear myself being called by my maiden name!
My Latest Obsession
Speaking of socks and puppets, you've GOT to see this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AALR5tBkV0o&feature=youtu.be Funny that they just happen to be sheep! If KIDEO were still around I wish they could see this! You could say it takes the “Puppetual World of Rock and Roll” to a whole new level!
Shocking truths and Opinions
Sometimes it's Okay To Admit Defeat :Part Two I know this was my topic last month but this has been such a controversial and extensive subject that it deserved a second post, at least in my opinion, because there are so many things we sometimes have to say “no” to in order that we might say “yes” to others, and so many “goodbyes” to say before we are able to find the right things to say “hello” to. And there are other things that we want to say “yes” to but the answer may be “later”, or we may have to weigh a series of pros and cons before making the right decision about whether or not this is
really working out for us. When I introduced this topic last month I spoke basically about weight loss and trying to learn math. Then I discovered I had inadvertently opened a rather nasty can of worms when I shared the following post on Facebook:
I was rebuked about what a selfish attitude that was. What if someone is lonely and really needs you. I didn't think of that. I thought of the context of things that have happened within my own life. And I'm sure a many others of you out there can think of a few such situations: the abusive relationship with a spouse who is always using you or stealing from you, the job that is no longer rewarding, the hobby that is no longer enjoyable, the church where people are being judgmental and lacking empathy. I have endured all these things. I spent a nearly a year with a boyfriend who was bad news from the get-go. I can't believe I let him live with me for so long. What did I EVER see in him? He was always stealing money from my purse. In fact once I caught him red-handed. He talked me into us getting a joint account and an extra credit card in MY name because his credit was so bad and he wheedled us into getting cell-phones. I got stuck with thousands of dollars worth of debt when I threw him out. The cell phone was the last straw. On the day mine was cut off because he had no intention of paying any bills I knew he had to go. He did many things to make me unhappy and many times I was so angry with him I honestly felt like I wanted to kill him. Some nights while he slept peacefully next to me looking like an angel I lay there with my hands around his neck contemplating strangling him in his sleep. Would it have
been worth it to go to jail? I really don't know. All I know is that I'm glad he's not in my life anymore and he's already been a burden to countless other women since then out there whom he has used and abused. As for jobs, I knew that it was time to move on back in the summer of 1994 when I was getting sick of living in Lindsay and working at Victoria Laundry. My life was going nowhere. I was stagnating in that town and so was Janette. Her mother had passed away the previous summer and she had already been unemployed for quite some time. It felt like a major surge of power on that fateful day when we turned to each other and simultaneously exclaimed “LET'S MOVE TO TORONTO!” I will refrain from going into all the gory details of the adversity we survived during those first months we lived there. At one point things got so bad that the women in our church group actually told us to admit defeat, to give up and move back to Lindsay! NO WAY! There was nothing to move back TO!! The last thing I needed was the folks at the Laundry to say “Ha-ha! Told you so!” Would they even HIRE ME BACK? This was one of those times when as bad as things were, giving up was not an option and in due season our efforts were finally worthwhile. However, after eight years another chapter of my life had to come to an end. As much as I loved newly married life with my husband, Dave, commuting back and forth to the city was taking its toll on my health and my former boss was becoming more and more abusive. For six months, six days a week I travelled back and forth between Toronto and Oshawa, unable to rest, catching every germ that went around. I've probably told the story before about what happened on the day that I quit so I shan't repeat it again. Sometimes there are friendships one has to let go of. One such person was making a mockery of my business. She was all gung-ho on the idea of selling my products for me but she lost/gave away/damaged approximately $300 worth of my merchandise. Many of my embroidered T-shirts ended up somewhere in shops in Chinatown and I've never seen a penny for them. She gave away several puppets without permission. And when I was in her apartment, many of my little carousel horses and other things were carelessly strewn about among other crap scattered on her floor. Her apartment was such a mess it was difficult to open the door. We stood knee-deep in dirty laundry! My miniature carousel horses and other merchandise were carelessly mixed in among the mess and it looked like she'd been using my embroidered T-shirts and baby hats as TOILET PAPER!Her apartment has been so bad that once she called me in a panic because her cat had been missing for two or three days. Her cat was there all along! Alive, miraculously! I reluctantly let her keep the cat puppets but at the end of the day I was glad I rescued my carousel horses because I wanted nothing more to do with her. Especially since that day we were trying to have a sale at her local church. I was minding our table and she said she'd bring me my stuff from her apartment and all she returned with was a pathetic little basket of Avon lipstick samples. “I thought you were going to find my merchandise!” I exclaimed. “Don't worry, I know where it is. Rome wasn't built in a day.” she replied. HELLO? I needed that stuff NOW!!!! If that wasn't bad enough, she left her boyfriend and her ex to look after our table while she dragged me around Chinatown for lunch. They don't know the price of my stuff!! And when we finally were at our table she would grab things and chase people with them nagging them to buy because it's homemade! I was so embarrassed! She thought she was doing me a great favor when in reality she was really scaring any potential customers AWAY! By the end of the day I had lost whatever respect I
had left for her and decided I never wanted to see her again!! And then there's Quilting Bee. It served its purpose while it lasted. There was a time when I enjoyed going there and I was there long enough to learn what I needed to know. But in recent years it was ruined by a woman who ALWAYS insisted on bringing her screaming baby to the group. I was the only one who disapproved. While everyone else went cooing and fawning over the little bugger I went running for my Walkman to shut out the noise. Even without the presence of a screaming baby I found out during recent sessions that I could no longer concentrate. Everybody else talks too much and I've become spoiled by doing things my way. Everyone sits around a huge frame the size of a table and I've lost the ability to stitch this way because I've gotten so used to quilting my own way alone at home. For me it is so much easier to quilt small areas at a time using a large hoop! And music. I haven't exactly given up. It just sort of fell by the wayside. Writing songs, singing and playing my guitar kept me sane in the days when I lived in Lindsay and Toronto, especially after my breakup with Butthead, but since I've been married I just haven't had the time for music like I used to. I just haven't had the inspiration to write songs and can't seem to find anywhere comfortable to sit with my guitar anymore. Part of me thinks it might even be my medication. My mind just doesn't seem to work that way anymore. Once in awhile I may think of bits and pieces that might make a good song but they usually end up being forgotten. I know I made my own CD back in 2001, but it served its purpose when Dave came into my life after seeing me promote it on “Speaker's Corner”. Maybe it's for the better that I didn't become a famous rock star. I like my privacy. I wouldn't appreciate the latest rumor about me splashed out on the cover of tabloids. I don't think I'd enjoy being on tour that much. The four or five days I am away at a carousel convention is exhausting enough! Actually I've really been too busy to miss my music although I may feel nostalgic when a song from my album comes up in rotation on my MP3 player. My crafts take up most of my time. I've also come to accept that I may never be in another play again. The last show I did was “Hello Dolly” where I played the role of Ernestina Money. It was the highlight of my career! Back when I lived in Lindsay I was in plays nearly every year. I was in the chorus of “Camelot”, I was Fruma Sarah in “Fiddler on the Roof”, I was a nun in “The Sound of Music” and in the chorus of several more plays including the first time I was in “Hello Dolly”. Yep, you heard me, I was in “Hello Dolly” TWICE! Back in the 80's when I lived in Lindsay and back in 2004 here in Oshawa. Back in Lindsay, although I was in the chorus, I had a line as one of the chefs at the Harmonia Gardens, and more recently in Oshawa I was Ernestina. It was a blast! It was the role I was BORN to play. But since then I've been FATED not to be in any more plays. I always find out about auditions when it's TOO LATE and they're OVER. Except for Sweeney Todd back in 2009. I actually auditioned for that the day before Michael Jackson died. I struggled through rehearsals despite certain a health problem that made me downright anemic and culminated into emergency surgery because I was in too much pain and missed enough rehearsals that I felt I was too far behind to catch up. Plus the mental asylum scene bothered me. I didn't want to be reminded of my stay in the hospital back in 2006.
I haven't exactly given up completely on the idea of ever acting again. If the opportunity should ever present itself again for me to audition for another play I might actually do so but at this point I haven't really had the desire to deliberately seek out that kind of thing. Another thing that had to go “bye-bye” was my Cards & Coffee job at the hospital. It was the beginning of the end when they opened up that new wing in the hospital where Mental Health was relocated. There the TV room and Dining Room were combined and most of the tables were the fast-food restaurant kind that are bolted to the floor with the chairs attached. My coworker Scott and I both faces similar issues when it comes to dealing with noise so we would usually get another table and chairs closer to the kitchen so we could be AWAY from the noisy TV. But there were some days when these extra tables and chairs were not available. Exhausted from being unable to filter out the noise of the television I would usually end up leaving early. I'm not even about to go into detail about what happened the day I finally charged out of there and decided to quit. You could say I lost my patience with the patients!! Okay, so maybe there are things I've given up over the years, but there are other things I've held onto, and things that haven't even come into my life yet. Here's a little something you can put into your pipe and smoke:
Vogon Poetry Generator
Recently the subject of spell-check came up in Facebook and it reminded me of a game I made up quite some time ago. I don't like or use auto correct but I am occasionally glad of the choices presented by spell-check. For example, I am amused by the idea that one of the choices for “Nilknarf” (the name of this publication, which is my last name spelt backwards) is “Faulkner” which was also the last name of my favorite Bay City Roller. Anyway, to make a long story short, many Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy fans know that Vogons are notorious for torturing their victims with the third worst poetry in the universe.”
My game goes like this. Just type a bunch of random gibberish words and choose the ones you like best from the spell-check menu that appears at each one. Allow me to demonstrate: siuhfiowe eiihtioe gijgj wifjr93 vt suei nweriofgnq nfn oitq ngvqheg ofirh f nwodifh2o3vn iwrgew jwfiow ihewoi cnwenf fhiowo fih oihfgowi ihfwehi weipoqij owiefhp owiefhw nfji ncqeoihd jofpqw wejf w aifw mw0mc weijf nijfew fjern nfpw po epoirj c2jr j pqw ij w wj cmweq fmj snqowi nwd cnoiwq wer cowj e0h oih ifoh ci m nf j ncvln oh cnwo ihr c owehr cfnwioe weihfnv fi That was my poem in its “original” state. Almost looks Dutch to me, go figure! Now we shall see what happens when I stick that virtual “Babel fish” in my ear and “translate”. Sunflower exhibition giggle Figaro 93 at fungi nonflowering infant omit negative officer of Linwood 2 or 3 van wringer fishbowl heroin cowmen showoff fish nightgown horsehide greyhound ownership Bowie bean Neolithic coffeepot Ramsey we crawl cult weird Nijinsky fjord nephew poo epoxy Cosby j pew id we se Cromwell Fermi snowsuit unwed congenial Bep cajoler eh oh if oh Hic my bf J.Lincoln oh Conway ignore Owen Citroen whiffing fig By the way, isn't Linwood the name of the town where Weird Al Yankovic comes from? Which brings me to our next more-or-less regular feature...TA-DAAAA!! It's time for...
Beetlebomb's Book Nook!!!
This month our featured literary selections are..... Asperger Syndrome and Bullying; Strategies and Solutions by Nick Dubin and... Weird Al Yankovic, the Book by Nathan Rabin with Al Yankovic Our first selection is a book I found at my local library. I knew I HAD to read this because I have both those things in common with the title. Yes, I have Asperger's Syndrome and yes I was horrendously bullied in school. The author of this book shares some of his own nasty experiences from his own
childhood. He was also bullied by one of his teachers. He mentions an incident where he was mercilessly belittled because he could not get the classroom door opened. It did not occur to him to turn the knob the other way. Instead of offering him help the teacher made a fool of him in front of the entire class. Like me, he also wasn't diagnosed until he was an adult. I don't know whether or not diagnosis would have done me much good if I'd learned about it during childhood. A good thing would be knowing WHY I was different and experienced the world the way I do. Unfortunately it probably also would have been yet another thing to tease me about. Just listen to the unfortunate choice of name. It's literally pronounced ASS BURGER Syndrome! No doubt because I also happened to be a fat kid I would be teased about having a big ass from too many burgers. There would probably be puns about ground-up donkey meat on a bun or worse, since I've always loved horses they would probably call me Horse Burger! It's not that far off from what they actually did call me. (L.S. I'm looking at you! Now do you remember who I am???? Insert cheesy theramin music here) This book mentions a number of programs to create awareness and help students. It figures they never had any of this stuff when I was a kid. One program is a theatre group that performs skits based on students' stories. Another program tries to encourage empathy by having the class look after a BABY!!! Hello? I'm not so sure that's a good idea of the child who is being bullied has sensory issues with the sound of one crying. It may not have bothered me as much back when I was a kid but I can imagine that a bully who knows this might actually deliberately make the baby cry in order to upset his victim. I'm not sure what to make of this book. I guess I can just take it or leave it. I guess it's always kind of bugged me that nobody really started taking the bullying problem seriously until recent years.
And now. Weird Al Yankovic, the Book. I bought this from Amazon.com for my hubby's birthday. Honestly, yeeeeaaaah, I really did want to read it myself. Both of us are huge Weird Al fans so for his birthday I got him both this book and the Alpocolypse Live concert DVD which was filmed live in Toronto. As much as we love Weird Al, it kind of cheeses us off that we never find out about him performing near us until AFTER it's OVER!!! I'd give anything for a chance to meet him or at least see him in concert. “You read it first” says my husband who was still reading his Derek Sanderson book. So I did. And I was royally entertained from start to finish. There ought to be a name for a book like this. It has all the colourful pictures and layouts of a coffee-table book yet reads like a biography so it's compact enough to read in bed or on a bus or plane. Not quite compact enough for the bathtub though but that's another story.
As for content, this book guides us on an enjoyable journey through Al's life and career. It is full of hilarious laugh-out-loud pictures and facts and pages of song lyrics. Like me, Weird Al is also an only child. Like me, he's also lost both parents. Unfortunately in one fellswoop when they succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning back in 2004. It's bad enough losing them nine years apart. His pain must have been unimaginable. I was surprised to learn that his movie UHF actually bombed in the box office! Seriously, I FREAKIN' LOVE THIS FILM!!! It's one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITES!! However, sadly he was up against some pretty tough competition including Batman, Ghost Busters and Jurassic Park! And he sacrificed a chance to open for MICHAEL JACKSON in order to make this movie. So as much as I've wished he'd make another film, because of this there's probably not likely to be one. However the store that was used for “Spatula City” remained that way for many months following the shoot. I was also amazed to learn that The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota is a REAL PLACE! In fact Al actually has his picture taken there. One more attraction to add to my bucket list! His drummer, Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz has been with him since the beginning of his career and can be seen in the concert video I mentioned. Is that the coolest nickname ever or what?
Carousel of Friendship
Folks, Remember this Date! December 18th, 2012! The Boyd Gallery in Bobcaygeon is having a huge event! Victorian Secrets: Undergarments and Lingerie from the Turn of the Century to the 1920's. There will be a reception with refreshments and everything. My aunt read me the article from the Bobcaygeon Promoter because it also mentions MY exhibit! “While you're there be sure to check out the quilts and carousel art creations of Margaret Franklin”. Yessiree Bob! This event will bring plenty of visitors to my show. Just when I was wondering who GOES to Bobcaygeon this time of year? Anyone looking for great Christmas gift ideas or inspiration, that's who! All five of my quilts will be on display as well as my latest work in progress. Here is how it's coming along so far:
The original template, left, was decorated with stickers I bought at the “Round-a-Bout Faire” the first night of this year's National Carousel Association convention. These are stickers to make your own carousel, however I chose to depict them coming to life, with lyrics to ELO's famous song in reference to one of my all-time favorite movies!!
The following two are also decorated with stickers I bought there:
“Thrill Seeker” actually reminds me of one of the horses from the Spirit of Columbia Gardens carousel,
I can hardly wait to go there when that carousel is finally finished and running! This particular horse depicts not only their beloved roller-coaster, but the trolley kids used to take to get them to the park, especially on Thursdays which were “Children's Day” when EVERYTHING used to cost a nickel!
Here is my most recent horse, yet another parody of the “King's Speech” meme. I believe the original words are “Keep Calm and Carry On”. This is my personal take:
And this time I did things a little bit differently with that traditional centre square that identifies the whole project. (left). The first square I'm working on for the next row will give you a not-so-subtle hint about our first Carousel of the Month for the Ne Year! (right)
Last but not least, one of our “Honeymoon Horses” has found a loving home with 5-year-old Annelise who lives just outside of Seattle. She is the niece of Rita Sharkey who won this horse on the bus raffle/auction at this year's NCA convention.
My Favorite Things
Welcome to a new column I call My Favorite Things. I sort of got the idea from Oprah and I also got the idea from what I've been learning in school lately. Every month I am going to write about at least one or two of my favorite things. Before you roll your eyes and think “Oh Gawd, not another excuse to write even MORE about carousels!” let me say that sure enough there probably will be yet another article about carousels and why I like them but I can guarantee you it won't be in THIS issue, especially since I devoted an ENTIRE issue to them in July of 2010: http://www.scribd.com/doc/33635364/July-2010 Seriously, since I had to write a piece about it during my first week back at school, I thought today I would talk about my AMAZING TECHNICOLOUR DREAM COAT!!!! I've had this coat since September of 1991! That's right! Over 21 years already. I'll never forget the day I bought it. My friend Fay and I went out for a drive and we went to Port Perry. There it was in the store, the most beautiful, outrageous, colourful coat I'd ever seen with wild geometric print black-andwhite sleeves. This coat was SO TOTALLY ME!!! Best of all, it fit me perfectly even though the label said it was only a size “MEDIUM”. And it STILL fits to this day. The label disappeared ages ago. The brand was “Pizazz”. I can't remember whether I paid $180 for it or around $300. All I remember is that it was the most expensive article of clothing I've EVER bought for myself. But it was one of those once-in-a-lifetime items I could not live without and I am so glad I bought it when I did. That coat has been everywhere with me! I wore it when I lived in Lindsay. I wore it when I lived in Toronto. And I still wear it here in Oshawa. This was the coat I wore the first time Janette and I met KIDEO. It was also the coat I wore most of the time I was an extra in KISS' movie “Detroit Rock City.” You can even spot me wearing it in some of the crowd scenes.
This coat has been with me on at least two or three cross-country skiing adventures back when I lived in Lindsay. The unique pocket on the left sleeve has really come in handy. I used to use it to carry my 110 pocket camera but now I use it for my sunglasses and my business cards. My coat has been repaired several times. The first thing to go was the zipper. That day my former boss gave me one of her coats and let me keep it. It was dark green and kind of on the tight side. My husband and I took my beloved colourful coat to be repaired at the local dry-cleaners but it took FOREVER to get fixed because they wanted to make sure they got all the CHILDREN'S coats finished
FIRST!!! I let Janette have the green coat. Go figure, every time she wore the green coat she had a bad day. The weather would always be icy or she'd be in a bad mood for one reason or another. I have seen at least three other people with the same coat as this one. There used to be a lady selling hot dogs outside of Finch station who wore the same coat. And once at a winter carnival at North York Centre I was going up the stairs and at first I thought I was looking in a mirror until I realized the woman on the other side of the stair railing was somebody else in the same coat. And last but not least once I saw two women who were both wearing coats like mine. This one and ANOTHER colourful coat I used to have. When my coat came back from the cleaners there was a small rip on the spot wear I used to always wear my KIDEO button. I covered the hole with a “Tigger” patch Dave bought for me downtown at that store near Queen and Spadina that has all that glitzy jewelery in the window. I have several patches on my jacket now, literally holding it all together, covering rips and holes as they appear. My favorite patch is the one that started it all:
I embroidered this butterfly on a pair of jeans when I was a teenager and I found it last March when we were going through mom's estate after she'd passed away. I'm really touched that she'd saved it all these years. I noticed a small rip on the back of my coat and this butterfly was the perfect thing to cover it with so I stitched it on with yellow embroidery thread while Janette and I were there. I have accumulated several more patches since then, mostly in this area but also on the corners of my pockets. Recently I noticed the collar getting tattered so I added several patches there too. These are mostly patches from places I've travelled; Niagara trips and carousel conventions, not to mention several KISS patches. I'm glad I save so many odds and ends because I ended up re-upholstering the edge of the collar with some beautiful teal satin Christmas ribbon to prolong its life a bit longer. My technicolour dream coat has been more than a jacket to me. It's like a comforting old friend. It's also lie a living organism. I can't help thinking about how the human body actually replaces all its cells within five to ten years. I am literally, physically, NOT the same person I was when I first bought this jacket! It contains more original material than yours truly! That being said, if this actually happens to people, how come tattoos don't disappear? However, my jacket has lasted me 21 years and as long as I keep adding patches and trims to it I hope it will last me at least another 21 years or more. I just can't help but wonder by then just what percentage of my jacket will be totally replaced by patches by then! Another one of my favorite things I want to write about in this month's issue is Splat brand hair colour. I started using it in June and I've had purple hair ever since!! It happened one evening when Dave and
I were at the drugstore to get our monthly prescriptions. There was a display with all these amazing outlandish colours: red, green, blue, and of course purple, or in this case, “Lusty Lavender” as they call it. I've always wanted purple hair so when I saw it I knew I HAD to have it. Over the years I've had various purple wigs and used an assortment of spray-in or temporary hair colours, but Splat was truly IT!! It actually comes with its own bleach to prepare your hair for the most intense colour possible. The first time I used Splat, the bleach gave me one hell of a nasty headache. And I was a little less than impressed with the initial results. To me it wasn't quite purple enough. Then again my hair tends to be very thick so I probably should have used two boxes. But since I've been using it on a regular basis, approximately every 4 to 6 weeks, the purple hue has greatly improved. The only problem is that here in Oshawa Splat is only available on a “seasonal” basis! GRRRR! Yet another part of the anti-Margaret conspiracy to attempt to stifle my creativity and personal expression!! Fortunately, their website actually has a toll-free number so I was able to order my colour by phone! Here I am the first time I used it (left) and a more recent touch-up (right)
At least it matches my camera!!!!
Dear Mom and Dad
Saturday, November, 24th, 2012 Dear Mom and Dad, I miss you very much. Not a day goes by without me thinking about both of you. What's new up there? Things are pretty busy around here. On Monday, November 12th I started school again. I am in a class called “Fashion and Creative Expression”. So far it's pretty good but it takes getting used to being around other people again, especially when I'm the oldest person in my class and seemingly the only person who doesn't have kids. I don't want to sound conceited or anything but I wouldn't be surprised if many of my classmates are jealous. This being the case they can't exactly say “When I grow up I want to be just like you” if they've already thrown their lives away. I shouldn't be one to judge. I just
know that I can't enthusiastically share good news about my creative endeavours without being stomped on. Aunt Anne phoned a few days ago and told me that my name was mentioned in the local paper in connnection with my upcoming art show. When I told my teacher this, the girl next to me said “My grandmother's name was mentioned in the paper too. She was killed in a car accident.” I honestly couldn't tell if she was being serious or just sour grapes trying to rain on my parade. Earlier that same day I found a piece of paper next to my colourful hat with an arrow pointing to my hat and the word “LOSER” written on it. The people sitting behind me who had put it there said it was just a coincidence, that it “happened to be written” on the back of the sheet of paper I borrowed to get the notes I'd missed the day before. And the other day one of my classmates was talking about bringing her BABY to class! PUH-LEEEZE! Of course the teacher thought this was a great idea but this time I kept my opinion to myself this time. I seem to be the only one in the classroom who doesn't ABSOLUTELY ADORE babies and I'm afraid they already think I'm a meanie-feenie-bo-beanie for disliking it when the radio is turned on. In fact I had to take all my materials to Sabrina's class the day we were working on our collages. My class was so noisy and whenever I tried to turn the horrid, scratchy radio down, the girl behind me would just get up and turn it right back up again. I hope my classmates don't hate me but what can I do? Here is a look at my “masterpiece”
It's not the greatest picture because it was impossible to photograph without getting reflections. Most
of these pictures came from my September issue of Oprah's magazine. There were a list of things including our FAVORITE and LEAST favorite things. It's pretty obvious to see what they are here. Jane's carousel was in the Oprah magazine and the cartoon of the frazzled woman with the screaming baby was from another magazine that just happened to have this great article about noise pollution. It also included this list of “Places that are Still Quiet”, which falls into the category on my assignments list “Something the world needs more of”. That reminds me. Last night I FINALLY got my new glasses. I've needed bifocals for quite some time now. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I could watch TV OR I could embroider, but I could NOT do BOTH!!! Before I got my new glasses I was constantly straining my eyes by peeking over top of my glasses. Eventually I'd just give up and have to take them off and just LISTEN to the rest of my show. Even now, old habits are still hard to break and I still have to take them off if I am working on extremely miniscule details. And if the TV isn't on, I'm still more comfortable not wearing my glasses when I'm sewing. Anyway, Black Friday madness has spread to Canada. Even though it's the day after the American Thanksgiving, they have decided to have Black Friday sales here in Canada too to discourage Canadian shoppers from going south of the border to stock up on bargains. And the mall was an absolute ZOO yesterday!! I wanted to just go in there, get my glasses and get out. Part of me just had an unholy desire to plow everybody down like bowling pins but I was a good smurf contrary to popular belief!! I had something nice in the mail the other day. Charles and Bette Jacques sent me a bunch of photos from the convention. I'll gradually share then in future issues, along with the pictures from the disc Diane Radewald sent me. Anyway, I guess that's it for now. Merry Christmas. I bet you have a gorgeous view of all the trees and lights from up there. Love, Margaret
Wishing You all the Best for this Holiday Season and in 2013!!!!