Planet Nilknarf

July 2013

Cover Story
What's a birthday celebration without balloons? Especially when they're part of an exciting new project!

I decided that for my next Carousel of Friendship quilt I would not only showcase six of some of my favorite creations that have previously appeared on other quilts, but top the canopy with the likeness of my three-year-old self playing with balloons. It was my dad's idea for me to put them on my head like bunny ears. Can you even BUY those long corkscrew balloons anymore? Three of these horses are from my first quilt; Janette's “Gas Sign” and “Honeymoon” horses and Brandy's horse:

The dog and the frog, designed by me, were on the fourth quilt, and Britney Zikic designed the Flintstone horse:

The idea of putting a fun figure on top of the carousel was inspired by Elena, the “Twirling Girl” who stands atop the highest point of the Carousel of Happiness in Nederland, Colorado....

Treating Yourself Expo

You may remember that in last month's issue I mentioned that I was going to the Treating Yourself Expo at the Metro Convention Centre. It was a sunny but unseasonably cold and windy day on Friday, May 24th. I rode the Go train to Union Station as usual and took the Sky Walk to the Convention Centre. It was a very long walk. In fact I think it's actually much faster to take Front Street outside but I wanted to stay out of the cold. I must have walked for at least half an hour. It's a good thing I had set out early because the exhibit opened to the public at 10:00 and as I neared the Convention Centre I found a place with chairs so I could sit down for a few minutes. As I approached the queue, I couldn't help but notice that the line-up for the vendors was much longer

than that for visitors. Not only that but I felt a little self-conscious because I was so colourful compared to everyone else. Most people were dressed in black or combat fatigues and here I was in my colourful tie-dyed Hershey Kisses T-shirt. What if people thought that I thought “Treating Yourself” was a CANDY expo? And there was at least one young man there with dreadlocks down to his knees! I couldn't help thinking that they looked like they must be heavy. If I had hair like that I'm sure I'd have a stiff neck! At least as the day progressed I found out that I wasn't the only woman there with purple hair! There were at least two others and I had a nice conversation with one of them about our brand of hair dye. We both use Splat! Lusty Lavender. I've been using it for almost a year and she had previously used Manic Panic pink. Anyway, as we arrived inside we were all greeted at the entrance by people handing out free tote bags for all our freebies. These bags were emblazoned with this amusing logo of a mascot who looked like a cross between Max Headroom and Shrek. A table with complimentary carrot muffins awaited us. There were only two left and I helped myself to one, feeling strangely like Alice in Wonderland. Did these muffins contain any cannabis? I don't think so, but I did come to a kiosk later where there were baked goods for sale; cupcakes, cookies, etc. and everything was made with “pixie dust”. Part of me was curious to try one but I didn't feel like forking out ten dollars for one Oreo-sized cookie no matter what it was made with. I did, however, manage to score myself a free bag of Cotton Mouth brand sugar-free candies. They were available in fruit or sour flavours and I wanted to buy a bag of fruit flavour. However they were all sold out and the bag of free samples was all they had left so they gave it to me for free. One thing's for sure, it was worth the price of the $20 admission alone just to see all these magnificent artifacts that were on display!! Check out these whirling glass orbs!! Too bad it's a bit blurry. These things are tricky to photograph. Pictures hardly do them justice. You have to see them up close in person! And to buy them costs hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars!

Although the one in the middle may look like a diseased eyeball, in real life it is possible to see an infinite coil of pink rings. The artist explained to me that the clear ball shape actually acts as a magnifying lens to create this illusion of depth. There were many of these beautiful glass orbs with a variety of subjects. Perhaps my favorites were the space scenes with all the stars and planets. But because of their humongous price I had to wonder if anyone actually BUYS this sort of thing. I know if

I owned things like this I'd want to start my own MUSEUM and charge people ADMISSION to look at them!! Another thing that captured my imagination was this assortment of glass bongs:

Even if you don't actually smoke pot, such articles make for amazing works of art and conversation pieces.

Again, photos hardly do them justice due to all the reflections from the glass and busy backgrounds. The heart & lungs and the 3-headed dragon are my favorites. Besides all these beautiful glass artifacts, there were many displays that featured state-of-the-art products and services for all your cannabis-growing needs; hydroponic gardens, special lights, etc. One kiosk was even giving out free samples of plant food in little bottles. I might give mine to my inlaws for their rose garden. Another kiosk was giving away key-chains with little plastic containers to carry your medicinal marijuana in. I think they'd also be handy for my pills if I'm away from home when

it's time to take them. Another freebie was a little yellow plastic grinder. Until I'd seen these kinds of things I never knew how much preparation was involved in the taking of medicinal marijuana. In fact one of the exhibitors sowed me a convenient little contraption about the size of a deck of playing cards that actually grinds and vaporizes your pot for you making it even more discreet to consume without any smoke or aroma! However even if I never need or use marijuana for any reason whatsoever I think my little yellow grinder might actually come in handy for grating chocolate to sprinkle on ice cream!! There is SO MUCH to learn about medicinal marijuana. Yes it IS legal for medicinal purposes, but it is still very hard to get. Things are made very complicated so it's not just available to just anyone. Applicants have to go through rigorous testing and mountains of paperwork to find out if they qualify. Medicinal marijuana has proven very beneficial to sufferers of chronic pain, especially people with Crohn's disease and certain types of cancer. In fact it is possible that this stuff may even CURE cancer! Obviously this is something the medical industry does NOT want the public to know because the pharmaceutical business wants people to stay sick so they can continue to depend on prescription medication. The chronically ill provide the medical industry with a continuous source of revenue that would grind to a screeching halt if everyone were suddenly cured. I grew up being taught that drugs were a bad thing. In fact I've seen how they destroyed my first boyfriend. He shared a condo with several people including a drug dealer and it hurt to see him care more about his drugs than he did about me. All he wanted to do was sleep all day. The drug of choice back then was hashish and the odd blot of LSD or acid as they called it. I was stupid enough to try it out of curiosity. NEVER AGAIN!!! The less said about my acid trip the better. However I must admit I've partaken in the odd puff of pot with my musician friends while I was living in Toronto and I admit I enjoyed it and don't see the harm of social marijuana, if used responsibly like the occasional drink. My former boss would probably shit herself if she knew I'd been doing it in HER KITCHEN with one of our mutual friends!! The first time I was ever around people smoking pot was at the KISS concert in 1984. The people in my row were passing a joint but I said no. I was scared back then. And besides I had to meet my dad after the show. How would he react if he saw me stoned? I had actually seen one of my classmates stoned in the park when I was a teenager and it scared me. This guy who usually liked to tease me and make fun of me kept hovering uncomfortably close to me. I was scared he was going to kiss me or something. Word would spread like wildfire at school if I got my first kiss under such circumstances. It has been well over a decade since the last time I indulged in a puff and in light of that I can understand why people want to legalize it. Another thing that fascinates me about pot is the variety of different kinds available. It shouldn't surprise me. There are more than one different species of just about anything you can imagine; plants,'d be hard pressed to think of ANYTHING that there's only ONE kind of!! Thinking about this reminds me of a story I'd heard on the radio recently. Somebody was musing about the concept of God versus man in terms of creating things. If human beings were in charge of creating all the different animals there would only be one breed of each and they'd probably all just be brown. It might not cross their minds about flowers being necessary for any reason and the human race would probably all be slender blond-haired, blue eyed muzoongoos!! Not my idea, of course! Makes you think, eh? I'm glad that God enjoys creating and makes every thing in a variety of ways. After all, variety is the spice of life...!!

Carousel of Friendship Project Pakistan in Progress!!!
Wonderful news! I tuned into my Facebook account one great and glorious day and this is what I found!!!

I would like to thank John Victor of SATH for sharing all these wonderful pictures with me. The women in Pakistan are doing a FABULOUS job on all the carousel squares I sent along with embroidery supplies!

Here is a closer look at their beautiful creations:

Their use of colour is positively astounding! I think the giraffe is my favorite so far. I will look forward to receiving the completed squares so I can assemble them into a quilt and show it at my art exhibit, especially if it can be shown in Bobcaygeon next year at this time. If not, there's no hurry. This is the square I embroidered here at home based on the horse designed by Javed.

I plan on displaying and selling the completed quilt and sending SATH the proceeds. This is the cellophane “stained glass” window I made in my art class last year based on Javed's design:

I am so happy and excited to see all these wonderful things being made so many thousands of miles away! Meanwhile here's one of my latest projects, closer to home:

Three Sheep and a Bunny

The penultimate row of my latest quilt is finished! Actually this row goes along the top!! As you can see, just like me, Louella enjoys having KISS music playing in her workshop!! I enjoyed working with the details on the image in the middle and one of these days I plan on making a quilt entirely embroidered in white so that the emphasis is on the detail and texture. I've used this armoured horse on a number of projects before and it's always been one of my favorites. It's on my white skirt and my wedding dress as well as several T-shirts I've embroidered over the years and someday I might also like to make a small quilt of just this horse in a few different colour schemes but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, don't you think? I already have quite a backlog of creative ideas in addition to the number of unfinished projects I am multitasking on the go. One of them is Joey's project and here it is so far...

It's coming along ever so gradually....

What July Means to Me
Readers who have been following Planet Nilknarf for these past four and a half years probably know that this is a very special and important month for me, at least for these first two main reasons... July is my birthday month and it is also the month my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. Birthdays are always a time for reflection, a time when we sometimes tend to look back and think about what we've done with our lives so far. Especially when yet another decade starts winding to a close. This is the last year of my 40's, or as I prefer to say, 19 with 30 years experience. For every decade there is a new chapter in life. I spent most of my 20's living in Lindsay, working at Victoria Laundry. I spent most of my 30's living in Toronto working as a doll maker for a boss with so many

issues she actually had more of a subscription. And I've spent my 40's living here in Oshawa, enjoying married life and being self-employed. Each decade seems to whiz by faster than the one before and present its own challenges and tribulations. At the beginning of my 20's I was still living at home with my parents in our house in Bobcaygeon. I was a teacher's assistant at Fenelon Falls public school for about three months, as long as the OCAP contract lasted. It was work I enjoyed. I worked with the first graders in the morning and the fourth graders in the afternoon and I got along great with the kids and enjoyed making them things like board games and flash cards to help them with their skills. I also enjoyed reading them stories. In 1985 I went off to Prince Edward Island as part of Katimavik. The less said about that chapter of my life the better although I did spend a weekend looking after a small farm while I was billeting. I used to gather eggs every morning and milk the goat twice a day. Omelets I'd made from those eggs and that milk were the best I'd ever eaten although I don't think I'd really want to live that way. Katimavik was actually where I found my first romantic relationship. The less said about Will Hobbs, the better. I started working at Victoria Laundry in April of 1986 and quit in August of 1994. I moved a lot within town back in the 80's. I lived on King Street where I met and became friends with Jan Walton from April of 1986 until January of 1988 when I started going to Bethel Missionary Church and made a whole circle of exciting new friends through Alpha Flight, a Christian coffee house. I rented a room on Lindsay street for about a month and a half and then I lived above the coffee house from about midFebruary or March until June. Then I rented another room on Lindsay street. That only lasted for about a month or two. Then I moved TWICE IN ONE DAY!! It's kind of a convoluted tale. I rented a room from a lady named Joyce above the Grand Experience restaurant from about August of 1988 until September of 1990! My first OWN apartment! I lived there from September of 1990 until August of 1994. Throughout the 80's and early 90's I watched most of the new friends I made pair off like Noah's Ark and disappear beyond the sunset. I went to so many weddings. And then there were those who just made a mass exodus to Toronto. By the end of 1993 there wasn't much to keep me in Lindsay anymore. Janette's mother had just passed away and I was getting sick of my job at the laundry. Our discovery of KIDEO led to a passion for songwriting and a desire to launch an ill-fated music career. You've probably heard the story before. I'll spare you the gory details. Meanwhile, it's hard to believe that during these years I've been a member of the National Carousel Association for the majority of over 20 years. I couldn't afford to be a member during the years I lived in Toronto but ordering those Franklin Mint figurines from my landlady's TV guide was the start of a major change in my life. In the fall of 1989 a series of carousel miniatures based on animals that appeared in the book “Painted Ponies” became available and I knew I HAD to have them. It was like celebrating Christmas every month even though each ornament cost around $50. Even better was the fact that each figure came with a piece of literature with information about the aster carvers and factories that produced each original piece that it was based on and I absorbed that info like a sponge! It was through that that I'd met my friend Loraine Thayer for the first time. She was selling her art downtown during Lindsay's Homecoming Weekend and she had a print of sale of the carousel she'd

ridden during her honeymoon. “OMG! I know that horse!” I exclaimed “It's the Illions American Beauty Rose Horse!!” And that was the beginning of a friendship that's already lasted over 20 years! Soon after that she had me over and showed me her copy of the “Painted Ponies” book. Soon after that I bought my own copy of that book at the Nitty Gritty antique store. I must have paid around $70 for it!! I could kick myself when a few months later I came across it at the World's Biggest bookstore for only around $40! Still, this book is the “Bible” of carousel information and the one I bought at the Nitty Gritty was vacuum sealed and when I opened the plastic there was a subscription form for Carousel News & Trader magazine. Now I must have every issue from the last 20 years. And in 1991 I just knew I HAD to go to my FIRST National Carousel Association convention. Sandusky, Ohio! IT was yet another event that changed my life for the better. That year we visited the Carousel Works factory at Richland Park where we had a ride on the first hand-carved wooden carousel that had been built since the 1930's, actually a repopulated Dentzel frame. And it was where I met one of my dearest friends, Richard Concepcion. For awhile there I had video footage of our adventures at that convention starting with that first ride together. We were actually riding on CATS and singing along with the band organ: Put another nickel in In the Nickelodeon It don't work 'cos it now costs a quarter, quarter, quarter Sigh! Life seemed so carefree in those days. During that trip we also rode the gorgeous Illions carousel at Wyandot Lake, which has since been restored and renovated and moved to the Columbus Zoo. And we rode all the carousels at Cedar Point including the Cedar Downs Racing Derby. There was also Tuscora Park in New Philadelphia, Kim's Carousel at Put-In-Bay and the Sandusky Merry-Go-Round museum. And one of the best things about visiting the Carousel Works in Mansfield was seeing the Battleship Cove carousel being restored and actually getting to ride the finished product the following year. Sandusky, Ohio in 1991 was the first of four consecutive annual conventions. IN the following years I attended conventions in Boston in 92, Binghamton in '93 and last but not least, Janette came along with me on our first trip to the one in Denver in 1994! That was the year we had both turned 30 and we had actually moved into our new apartment in Toronto the night before we left for this trip! How on earth did we DO it? Are we the only people in the world who have moved into a new place one day and left for our vacation the very next? Of course when I lived in Toronto I couldn't afford to go to any more of these conventions again for a very long time. At least not until 2003 when I had been living in Oshawa and Dave and I had been married for over a year. It gets hard to keep a concise record of everything when everything tends to overlap. I love to tell the story of how Dave and I met. 2001 would have been one of the worst years of my life if I hadn't met him. We virtually met on City TV's “Speakers Corner” a show where participants could pay a looney into a slot similar to a photo booth and talk to the camera about whatever's on their mind, tell a joke, sing a song or whatever. I was on there to promote my first and only CD. He was on there to tell them their show should be an hour long instead of just half an hour. He had taped the episode. Both of us had watched the show and seen each other. He was one of only TWO people who ordered a copy of my CD. Shortly after I sent him a follow-up message to ask him how he liked it. At first he didn't think he was going to answer. “She probably gets tons of fan mail.” he thought. But he decided to respond after all

and I'm glad he did. Instead of just writing a letter he sent me a tape where he talked for the first few minutes and then filled the rest with music he thought I might enjoy. Until I met him I had no idea there was any such thing as ANOTHER Christian KISS fan!! And we had many similar tastes in music otherwise. For several months we kept in touch communicating by sending tapes through the mail and little gifts. Corresponding with him helped me through one of the most difficult times of my life and in October of 2001 we went on our first date and just KNEW from that moment on we were inseparable! We tied the knot on July 13th of 2002! Greatest Day of My Life!!!

Left to right: Dave's Best Man Todd, Dave, me, my best friend and Maid of Honour, Janette, our nieces Flower Girl Cassandra and Ring Bearer Stephanie. It was also the last day I saw my dad. Here he is walking me down the aisle:

Little did I know that only four days later he'd go to be with God. Here's where Dave and I were on the day that it happened:

Little did we know that while we were having a carefree, wonderful time at the Allan Herschel Carousel Museum in North Tonawanda during our honeymoon the police were looking for us all over the place because our families didn't know what hotel we were staying at. The idea that any tragedy could befall us during our honeymoon was the last thing on our minds. This year we will be celebrating our ELEVENTH anniversary and it will be next year at this time I contemplate the wonders of turning FIFTY already!! It feels like my fifties are rapidly sneaking up on me. The forties seemed to just zoom on by in a blur!! Janette and I have a few ideas up our sleeves as to how we're going to celebrate turning 50! Her birthday is in January already so the two of us are planning on celebrating that at Niagara Falls together. Highlights will include the Upside-Down House and getting politely pickled at Margaritaville!! I don't know what I am doing on my actual 50th birthday itself but Janette will be going with me to next year's NCA convention in NEW YORK!! We plan on doing the cheesy tourist thing and having our picture taken for the front cover in a couple of those great big “I <3 NEW YORK” T-shirts and those tacky foam-rubber Statue of Liberty crowns!!! July is also the month of National Carousel Appreciation Day which is July 25th! The perfect way to celebrate is by riding your nearest carousel or any carousel for that matter. I'm afraid I won't be anywhere near one that day, sadly. However it was a total coincidence that it happened to be July 25th the day I got my “Paint” tattoo two years ago!

I generally make a habit of getting new ink every five years although I may break down and have

something done for my 50th birthday next year. I haven't quite decided 100% yet but I am leaning toward getting my “Frog Prince” done on the back of my right leg:

I will probably show the artist both pictures to do a composite from. In the past I've usually tried to have a theme for my July issues of Planet Nilknarf, trying to dedicate the entire issue to one of my favorite subjects. This has proven to be a bit redundant because for me pretty much EVERY month is carousel month! You would be hard pressed to find any back issues here that have NOTHING about carousels. And one year I tried to do a “Totally Niagara” issue but I was hard pressed to find enough content to fill an entire issue. I'm sure it would be possible if I'd just worked a little harder but other subjects were also screaming for my attention at the time. July is usually vacation month. My husband doesn't usually like to go anywhere but he usually enjoys having the first two weeks of July off when the plant he works at is closed. Our anniversary usually falls within these two weeks. Last year was the milestone ten year anniversary. We kept it fairly simple. Dave is so NOT a fan of big parties. We just spent a lovely day in the city at the CBC museum and enjoyed lunch at the Lone Star Texas Grill and dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. That was actually the day before. On the actual date his dad and Marnie took us out for a lovely supper at the Casino. This year July is extra-special because Janette and I have been excitedly counting down the dates until the KISS concert!! July 26th at the Molson Amphitheatre! Tickets are outrageously expensive so we decided to just go in lieu of going to Niagara or anywhere else this year and we've booked a hotel room and decided to make a weekend of it. I even have tubes of makeup!! It's be a blast! Just like old times!! I can hardly wait!!!! And now Janette will tell you all about her latest Niagara Trip...!!!

Janette & Mark's May 2013 Niagara Trip
Mon, May 27
It was great that I was starting to feel better when Mark & I left on Mon, May 27 for our Niagara trip!! I had had a wicked viral infection that resulted in coughing all the time plus a loss of taste & smell

resulting in a lack of appetite. We took the 8 a.m. bus to Niagara, arriving at our hotel about 10:30. Our room wasn't ready so we did some shopping, getting some goodies at the Hershey Outlet and enjoying the shops along Clifton Hill. Already I was parting with some money!! The shops know how to tempt us tourists with lots of colourful things. After that, we went back up and had a tasty lunch at the Golden Steer. Our room was ready so we went up there and slept for a couple of hours. In the evening we went out again, had supper and again I did MORE SHOPPING, buying a "cheesy" "I LOVE NIAGARA" t-shirt in green. Mark bought one in purple. That evening we were really surprised to hear FIREWORKS!! We could see them reflected in some of the windows of the Post Factory nearby! (the fireworks were for the U.S. Memorial Day holiday we found out later)

Tue, May 28
Today it was pelting with rain first thing in the morning but we didn't mind! We ate at the hotel continental buffet and had a nice relaxing morning reading, playing games on my iPod Touch, using the free Wi-Fi access to email was nice to not have to hurry. By lunchtime the rain had stopped so we had a light lunch & dessert at Kelsey's. Then we decided to try the Cosmic Galaxy Mini Golf close by. I had wanted to do this for several years. It was AMAZING!! We loved all the neon coloured cartoon space scenery and also rock & roll scenery. It felt like being in a disco because of the "colourful" 80's music they were playing. We gave up trying to keep score of our games and just had fun trying to aim for the holes while admiring the surroundings. After going back to our hotel to rest, we had dinner then called in at a couple of shops. By now the rain had come on again, so we arrived at the hotel dripping because we hadn't thought we had needed to bring our umbrellas for that short outing!

Wed, May 29
The weather had cleared, so we decided to get a lovely cooked breakfast at the nearby Golden Steer Restaurant. It's always nice & peaceful in there! Then we travelled out to the Butterfly Conservatory because I had really wanted to see the butterflies again. We took our stuffed ladybirds Fluffy, Muffy and Kelly in here and a butterfly landed on Fluffy!! After this we felt like we also wanted to visit the Bird Aviary again. This time one of the huge tortoises who weighs about 80 lbs, was out walking around the room! It was so funny to see & hear it go lumbering around all the people (notices warn us not to touch any animals though).

Thur, May 30
This was our morning to walk along the Gorge to admire the Falls. It's funny that we hadn't seen much of the Falls until today because there are so many OTHER ATTRACTIONS AND SHOPS (!) to distract us. I know on this trip I kept going into various shops, but there was so much colourful stuff

that was eyetaking! It was lovely to walk up here mid morning when it wasn't so crowded and admire the gorgeous scenery! Up at the Horseshoe Falls we enjoyed watching Maid of the Mist circling, being blasted by strong spray from the Falls. WOW!! That is an amazing feeling when I've been on it before; my favourite part! As the morning had slipped by, we were able to use our 2-day "We Go" bus pass to go back to the Clifton Hill stop. That was very handy, so we didn't have that LONG walk back. We had lunch, did a bit more shopping and went back to the hotel to relax. I find I need a lot of 'downtime' like this. That evening Mark walked down to Queen Victoria Park to watch the Snowbirds but I didn't want to walk that far so I had a great view of them from the Days Inn parking lot!! It was awesome to see and to HEAR them!! What an exciting roar!!

Fri, May 31
This was "pack & leave" day. How had our holiday gone so fast?!!!!! We ate breakfast at the hotel and then got packed up, ready to check out by 10. We left our bags at the hotel's office and then went out for one last browsing spree. Today I had fancied checking out the Rainforest Cafe shop, so we went there for a fun browse. Then I got tempted to try a couple of arcade games nearby because they were flashing so much colour! I had a lot of fun here, also at the Great Canadian Midway. By now it was getting on, so we began heading up Clifton Hill, on our way to the Golden Steer for lunch. I got tempted to go in the Rock Legends shop....and yes, I did find something there to tempt me! Then we enjoyed a hot lunch at the Golden Steer. It was nice to relax and savour our food. When we finished it was 1 o'clock, two hours until our bus would leave. We sat in the lobby of the hotel, finding it hard to settle. We got a taxi to the bus terminal about 2:00. Springlicious was a festival going to take place Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday along the main street of downtown Niagara Falls. I was excited to see a carousel set up and several other rides! As it was just a block up the street from the bus terminal, I asked Mark if he minded me going up there to look around, while he 'held fort' with all the luggage. Quickly I began to take some pictures using my handy iPod Touch. I even had time to duck into a second hand store for a quick look around. Go figure, I found a little ladybug baby toy that I bought! This had felt like a serendipity adventure! Soon our bus came at 3:00 and we set off for Toronto. Both of us had had a great trip but now we were content to get home. Hopefully my next trip to Niagara will be a MAJOR CELEBRATION with Margaret Franklin, for us both turning 50 in 2014!!!!!

Dear Mom and Dad
Saturday, June 8th, 2013 Dear Mom and Dad How's everything up there? The month of June has been whizzing by like crazy and the weather has been even crazier. It's been up and down all over the place and so has my mood. It has been a very difficult last couple weeks and I am so relieved to finally get things straightened out with my

prescriptions. There was a miscommunication between my psychiatrist’s office and the receptionist and I only had enough pills to last me to the end of the week with no repeats. I felt like I was being given the runaround and I was getting very anxious and upset. In fact I had a major meltdown yesterday just before my husband came home from work and I had another one the day before when a dish fell in the kitchen and the loud noise startled me and Dave teased me about it. I have been so jittery and irritable this past week. It better NOT be PMS again! I'm NOT supposed to be getting THAT anymore but I had it last month whether I wanted it or not. It's times like this when I miss you the most, when life feels like it is full of so many loose ends that need to be tied. Mom, I wish you were still alive so I could phone you but knowing the way our relationship tends to be sometimes this would have been one of those times when you'd say the wrong thing and make me feel even more upset and I'd probably scream and hang up on you You know, things like “Stop feeling sorry for yourself!” or “Quit being so selfish.” I had a great talk about this with Lorraine and she said she even says the wrong thing to Emily now and then. It seems to be what moms often do best when they mean well. I remember once when I was going through a crisis back in Toronto and Mark turned to me and said “The world doesn't always revolve around you!” That REALLY HURT!! I got thinking about that today and if someone said that and I were to respond “That's the problem! It NEVER does!!! Would it totally throw the universe out of whack if it DID for just one MINUTE or even one SECOND!!?” Well, it turns out that the world actually DID revolve around me for a few seconds after all. Yesterday at the drugstore. I knew for sure that they were successful in obtaining only HALF my prescription and I'd made an ass of myself nagging both places about the other half and figured I'd probably have to waste part of my weekend trudging over to Urgent care to beg for enough pills to last me until Thursday. I had also run out of my hair colour. Go figure, for the past two or three months the drug store had EVERY shade except mine and I'd used up my stash under the sink. I have to laugh because this is the second time this has happened to me. Yesterday morning I phoned the manufacturers to order half a dozen boxes of Splat “Lusty Lavender”. They know me there by now, they have my credit card number on file. They said they probably wouldn't be able to mail them out to me until next week because they were going through their year-end inventory but that's okay. It never fails. This is the SECOND time when I've just ordered myself a new supply, I go to the drug store and THERE IT IS on the shelf after all. So I bought the two boxes that were there so I can touch up my hair colour while I wait for my stash to arrive in the mail. AND BOTH my prescriptions were there after all. When I have a moment of privacy I think I'm going to leave a message with Dr. Mistry's office apologizing for having been such a pain this week. I know I've been struggling with major guilt about being rude. Especially when I have flashbacks about the way Aunt Anne yelled at me on our way to North Bay last year. At least I had an excellent chat with Lorraine yesterday. Besides the subject of mother-daughter tension we talked about cookies, of all things, and brainstorming various recipe ideas. Did you know that Lorraine won second prize in the Grilled Cheese Hideaway's big sandwich contest. And to top it off her “Betty Paige” as it is called, has been outselling the two sandwiches that were tied for first place. I'll have to order one next time I am there, however I have no idea when that will be. Anyway, back to the cookies. Lorraine was going to make them with cayenne pepper to give them a little extra kick only to find out that it's already been done before. In fact I think the first people to do this were the makers of Cowgirl Chocolates.
I've got to try those someday. It's easier than ever to order things online nowadays, however I MUST resist temptation. CD Universe was my “gateway drug” into the world of online shopping and then

Amazon! Temptation is just a click away and the easiest way to jack up my Visa bill is to give in whenever I see a book that sounds interesting!! I've already committed a major crime against my debts by going whole hog and getting myself a lifetime membership to!!! And so far I doubt if all these brain-training games are making me any smarter, just crankier! Anyway, I've gone off topic as usual. Back to the subject of cookies. Lorraine told me about her idea. If it wins she will be on this cooking show. I forget what the show is called but wouldn't it be amazing if she won! Especially since she asked me for feedback, that extra-special secret ingredient to give her cookies the kick she's looking for. I will keep it a secret for now because I don't wan anyone else who happens to read this to steal our idea! She talked about sending me one in the mail and I told her about the time Aunt Diane and Uncle Jack sent us a tin of homemade shortbreads from Sarnia and all but the top layer were totally demolished! Nothing but crumbs! But mom, you took those crumbs and turned them into the best lemon meringue pie crust ever!! You were always good at recycling and re-purposing stuff. This got me thinking about that “Ants in the Pants” game that I used to have.

After awhile those plastic ants got so badly bent from being played so much that the game was pretty much useless without them so you added a macrame cord to the suspenders and made it into a planter to hang in the kitchen window. Anyway, here is the most recent picture of me, working on my latest creative project.

I hope to have the finished product done in time to make the cover of next month's issue of Planet Nilknarf, Love, Margaret

Mark and Janette's Excellent Adventure!!!
The Pictures I would like to thank Mark Harve and Janette Tansley for sharing their wonderful pictures from their recent trip to Niagara Falls and letting me share some of my favorites!

There's nothing like the time-honored tradition of getting your picture taken in a barrel going over the falls!! And this Katy Perry display (right) is obviously new since my last visit! I love her quirky costumes and colorful hairdos!

This has been a familiar view over the years and one that I find myself really missing at the moment. Enjoying all these pictures has gotten me “bitten by the Niagara Bug”. Unfortunately since I can't afford to go this year I've really appreciated living vicariously through Mark and Janette and the stories and pictures they've shared with me on this trip. Unless we stumble upon some salubrious exciting windfall, I don't see myself going there again any time sooner than next January when Janette and I celebrate our 50th birthdays together. Well, mostly hers as mine isn't until July but both special trips we take next year will be celebrations of the fact that we both turn 50 next year; next January's Niagara

trip and next September's carousel convention in New York. Of course no journey is complete without bringing along certain prized possessions:

Left: Fluffy at the Butterfly Conservatory, Right: Mama and Dada Apple by the Falls!

It was delightful to see these horses and buggies! And it certainly looks like they had some glorious weather during their visit that week. The next page will just be a bunch of random shots of more of the wondrous sights they experienced while they were there: I especially like the crowd scenes of happy tourists enjoying the day!

Carousel of the Month
A delightful random Vintage 1950's Allan Herschel Mark and Janette saw at a carnival that was setting up near the bus terminal!!

Aren't The Flowers Lovely?
It's been a very strange winter and spring this year. For awhile there it seemed to take FOREVER for the flowers to start blooming in my neighbourhood! This year's flowers are a testimony to the conditions they've had to survive during the erratic temperatures we've experienced! We don't have a garden of our own but I can certainly appreciate the “eye candy” that has adorned my neighbourhood this spring and thought I would enjoy sharing it with my readers here:

Lilacs are my favorite but I've really experienced an appreciation for Irises and members of the orchid family in recent years. There's one house in particular that's always a treat to pass because of the loving care that has gone into their garden, which is where I've seen the magnificent magnolias and peonies.

There's nothing like a proliferation of colourful blooms to fill the neighbourhood with their annual message of hope, joy and inspiration. I hope these flowers have made you smile as much as I have! :)

Beetlebomb's Book Nook

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children Ransom Riggs In a place where weird stuff normally happens, weird stuff is perfectly normal. And such a place is this orphanage on an island in Wales back in September of 1940, a place that captures the imagination of 16-year-old Jacob. Jacob's grandfather has told him a variety of tall tales which go with a box of equally bizarre photos he's shown him over the years. When Jacob's grandfather is killed by a “strange monster”, an amazing sequence of events unfold resulting in Jacob and his father travelling to this island where he makes the most amazing discovery and learns the astonishing truth behind his grandfather's stories and strange pictures! Jacob finds the house where it all began and a secret portal to a place where all the children in theses stories still exist, along with their headmistress, Miss Peregrine, who are protected from the rest of the world by a loop that causes them to relive the same day over and over again. I don't want to give away too much more of the plot because I don't want to spoil it for you readers, but believe me, this has been one of the most amazing books I've ever read! If you like the Harry Potter series, you'll love this book! It was amazing! I did not want to put it down!!! It's not every day I come across such a fascinating literary find that I'll go to bed early just so I can lay there and read as much as possible. My husband says it must be good if it keeps me away from the computer! This book is full of amazing antique photos and at the end there is an interview with the author. Best of all, there is a SEQUEL coming out in January of 2014! I just can't wait!!!

Last Day of Quilting Bee
Monday, June 24 wrapped up our group for the season with a wonderful potluck luncheon complete with bacon-wrapped water chestnut h'ors d'oeveres and delicious crème brulee. Recipes to follow in future issues of Planet Nilknarf. At least two or three of the quilts we've worked on together in our group are going as baby shower gifts but I was happy to learn that one of our quilts is actually going out as a house-warming gift to a lady in her 50's who is moving into her own apartment for the first time. This got me thinking. I'm almost 50. And before I was married I lived in my own apartment several times. I'd like to know the story of being in your own place for the first time in your fifties. Did she go from living with her parents to sharing places with roommates or living in rooming houses? Or did she stay with her parents until she was married? Or did she stay with them all these years until they passed away or until she finally

moved out on her own. Is she widowed or divorced? I guess I'll never know. What I do know is the thrill of having my own place for the first time in September of 1990. It was a small, bachelor apartment at 40 Peel Street in Lindsay. It may have been a small place but since it was all mine, I had some pretty big parties, trying to cram as many people as possible into my little place and having friends over as often as possible. The first things I knew I HAD to have in my own place were a colour TV and a VCR. And I was lucky to purchase them both secondhand from friends. At the time there was nothing better than having a bunch of people over , melting cheese on some nachos and gathering around to watch movies together. Unfortunately, my social life started to deteriorate slowly when Mike and Bonnie started going steady and eventually became engaged. I'd see it happen all the time. Friends become part of a couple and then they disappear. I promised myself long ago that if ever there was a man in my life I wouldn't let my friendships fade away on me. In the fall of 1993, after Janette's mother passed away and we began an obsession with an ill-fated career in music, Janette spent more and more time at my place until we pulled up stakes and moved to Toronto together where we shared a basement apartment from August of 1994 until January of 1996. I then had my own apartment at 506 Westmount from then until October of 2001. I became involved in a relationship that nearly destroyed me and lasted from July of 1997 until May of 1998. After I threw Butthead out I enjoyed living my life to the fullest doing everything I couldn't do when he was a part of my life. I was an extra in KISS' movie “Detroit Rock City” and thus began an exciting season of new friends and parties on a regular basis. Until May of 2001 when I received an eviction notice. I'll spare you the gory details but I am happy to say I did have one last very nice apartment of my own from October of 2001 until Dave and I got married the following July and I moved to Oshawa. It's funny how things worked out. Around the time I moved into that place I just had this feeling that I wouldn't be living there very long! And now here I am reflecting upon how very different my life is now compared to what it was when I lived in Lindsay, and then both these places in Toronto. I am not the same person as I was back then. Or am I? So much has happened over those years. Anyway, there I go off on a tangent as usual. Here I was talking about our last day of quilting bee and next thing you know I'm reminiscing about what it was like back in the days when I had my own apartment. I don't really miss it that much. In fact I am glad I have Dave in my life. But if anything ever happened to him I doubt very much I'd tackle the dating scene again. Much of my life has been surrounded with positive and independent female role models who have done very well on their own since the passing of their partners. With the exception of my Uncle Alex, it's usually been the women in my family who have outlived the men and even though they miss their partners have done quite well since then on their own. Perhaps my biggest worry is where I'm going to live when I'm on my own and how I'm going to afford it. My mom's annuity runs out when I'm 65, but I collect insurance from Dave. However that money's not going to last forever either. All I can do is trust God and believe that my future is in His hands. He knows the next chapter of my life's story even if I don't and He's written a pretty amazing one so far. In the meantime, the next Quilting Bee won't be until the first Monday in September after Labour Day and we will continue our regular Monday routine until Christmas. We don't know when we'll be meeting in the New Year. They're saying maybe Wednesdays or Fridays.

But at least we'll still be in the same place at the Community Wellness Centre at the end of Grassmere Avenue from 1:00 in the afternoon until 3:00.

Upcoming Events
Autism Celebration Wednesday, October 9th, 2012, 6 to 9 pm, Father Leo J. Austin C.S.S., 1020 Dryden Blvd., Whitby, ON Sponsored by Kerry's Place Autism Services Singing, Dancing, Guest Speakers, Vendors and More! Again I will have a table with all my cool stuff for sale!!!

See You Next Month! Have a Great Summer!!
P.S. Don't forget. Next May and June I will have an even bigger and better show at the Boyd Heritage Gallery in Bobcaygeon!!! Details to follow...!

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