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Planet Nilknarf June 2011


June Birthdays

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Welcome back to Planet Nilknarf.
Happy Spring one and all! Although you'd hardly know it at the moment. This past couple weeks has been a real mixed bag! At least we haven't had anymore snow but the weather sure has been indecisive! And the month of April has just FLOWN by!! Where did it all go? Between being busy with school and craft projects, I made the trip down to Toronto on April 11th to see John Elder Robison at the Royal Ontario Museum, promoting his new book, Being Different. I've yet to buy my own copy of the book as they are at least $30 and I'm kind of broke at the moment, but other than that it was a great presentation and I'm really glad I made it there. It was nice to meet him and have the opportunity to chat for a few moments.

It was also an interesting day for my Travelling Doll...

As you can see it is impossible to run out of things to see and do in Toronto. I was already there for a doctor's appointment so I had plenty of time to kill between then and John's presentation. So I got off the subway at St. Clair and, starting from my old neighbourhood, spent much of the day wandering down Young Street. I noticed that the Falofel place below where my old apartment used to be has now been replaced by a fancy Italian restaurant. I found a “Cineplex” building where I thought I might watch a movie but it turned out NOT to be a movie theatre at all but an administration office! More than anything, I just wanted a plain and simple cup of coffee! However, the streets were lined with all these fancy-scmancy highfaluting expensive gourmet places. I would have given ANYTH(NG to find a Tim Horton's. I finally DID! Unfortunately, the place was PACKED! So I just said forget it and kept moving on. I finally found a quaint little Asian place near the Bay Subway Station where I enjoyed a coffee and a cherry turnover. When it was time for supper, I remembered this quaint little Thai place near the museum. Unfortunately, when I got there that place had CLOSED DOWN! :( Fortunately, I found a nice little pub right next door. Now I'm damned if I can remember the name of it! X-# I enjoyed honey-garlic chicken wings with sweet-potato fries and treated myself to a Margarita. I wouldn't mind going back to this place in the summer if Dave and I decide to celebrate our anniversary at the ROM. Meanwhile, my computer was also hit with the WORST VIRUS EVER!!! It was so bad, my computer was in the repair shop for an entire week and a half! I don't think I've been that long without a computer since 2006 when I was in the HOSPITAL!!! The absence of my computer was a time to put my “autotelic-ness” to the test. Remember that word from one of last month's book reviews? With all my sewing projects on the go I am still never bored. I made TONS of doll clothes, at first mostly to amuse and indulge Janette and myself when she brings her doll on her next visit,but then I also started creating some amazing outfits for the plastic “Fashion” dolls that were among all the stuff I brought home from my mom's place!

I'd like these pictures better if I could edit them but I have temporarily lost my usual settings until Wayne returns for the rest of his pay. I really miss being able to edit, crop and scan my pictures the way I used to before the whole thing decided to go kablooey on me! I don't even have a shortcut to my scanner anymore, nor do I understand that “wizard” system when I go to my programs. And any further repairs have been put on hold until this weather alert is over and done with! There have even been threats of TORNADOES! A HUNDRED of them have touched down in the States and high winds have caused damage not far from here including Peterborough and the Greater Toronto Area. In fact, not far from Peterborough, high winds actually HURLED A BARN out into the highway!!! And there's no sense having the repairman tinkering around here when there's the threat of a potential power outage any given second now. I probably shouldn't even be here!! At least my hubby made it home from his chiropractor's appointment mere SECONDS before the rain started pelting. I wish I could have taken a picture of that bizarre front in the sky but it didn't occur to me until after! It was one of the wildest cloud formations we'd ever seen! This weather has meant it was too windy to walk home from school one day so I had to brave riding the bus with the Baby Stroller Parade. My regular readers are all too familiar with my sensory issues concerning crying babies. And sure enough all three of them had to start whining! However, the bus driver started singing and I, with my fingers in my ears joined in right with him. At that point we didn't care if anyone thought we were nuts. Our impromptu rendition of “Nobody Does it Better” made me laugh the rest of the way home! It was just one of those classic crazy moments! The next day it was “Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys”!!

Carousel of Friendship
At the moment nothing is really happening with the actual carousel project itself, but I am happy to say I've been busy decorating several more new horses myself:

“Artscape” and “Space Horse look like they could ride quite happily side by side on the platform.

“Kahuna” celebrates my love of 60's “Beach Party” movies and “Lava Lamp” is a joyous frolic of luscious wild colours!

“Vortex” is inspired by an earlier work of mine:

Like I have previously, I hope to embroider these horses onto a future quilt! Here are the two most recent on the one I'm making now: PTC and S &G armored jumpers!

Wooden Shoe Like It?
Here it is, folks, my new column where we share our pictures of ourselves, friends and families in WOODEN SHOES!!

Mom dancing in wooden shoes at her & dad's 25th anniversary party in 1987(left) and at that same party (right) with Dianne Ford. Below: Me at Niagara Falls in 1994 and Christmas when I was around 8 or 9 years old!

And these last pictures were taken on my first trip to Holland at age 5, the first two of me in Aunt Geertje's kitchen trying on her wooden shoes before they gave me my first little pair of my own!

When I was a kid I LOVED those wooden shoes and for awhile I insisted on wearing them EVERYWHERE! I even remember walking home from the dentist back in our old neighbourhood when it was that awkward, wet, slushy season between winter and spring! I believe I wore those wooden shoes until I wore them right out and that day in particular really took the biscuit out of them!!! The front cover of this issue shows me at age 10 in an authentic Dutch costume my mom made for me to wear at our school's International festival. And, of course, here are the two pictures that inspired the whole idea in last month's issue! The Travelling Dolls at my parent's house and Dad in Holland in 1987!

Carousel of the Month Silverwood Carousel, Athol, Idaho 1956 Aluminum Allan Herschell
The Silverwood carousel was one of many produced between the 1930's and the 1970's. Aluminum horses were created as a less expensive and faster alternative to hand-carved wooden horses during the depression. The simple poses, thick, short legs and little ornamental embellishments make this style easy to recognize. These horse were plain and simple when they arrived at Silverwood until in-park artist, Kermit Johnson, refurbished the entire carousel, embellishing the horses with their breathtaking detail and adding the gorgeous scenery panels! The outside row horses are all stationary, but the middle and inner row horses go up and down. I happened to be riding a shiny black middle-row jumper named ACE!! Yes, each horse has its own name that can be found on the back of its saddle. It was a total co-incidence for me to just happen to be riding a horse that shares his name with two of my favorite guitarists! ;) Here is an assortment of many of these beautifully-painted steeds!

And here are some of the magnificent scenery panels:

I wish I had a picture of myself riding Ace, unfortunately, this being the penultimate carousel we visited on this particular journey, I actually RAN OUT OF MEMORY on my camera chip!! I don't think I have as many pictures as I took at the 2009 convention in Philadelphia, but I probably shot more video footage. In fact I was probably at the last of my chip's memory when I hurried to the carousel to film this bit of footage:

Traveling Dolls: Glorious Giveaway Contest


Next month, in honour of my wedding anniversary AND birthday, Planet Nilknarf has a GIFT FOR YOU! FIVE lucky winners who can identify A DOZEN different locations will each win their OWN Traveling Doll to take on excellent adventures of their own and photograph! I will be publishing 12 differnet pictures frm my Travelling Dolls series and it's up to you, my readers, to tell me where they were taken. Note it is NOT considered cheating if you want to look at back issues or even check out my pages on Facebook!! Think of it, in this case, as something of an Internet Scavenger Hunt. The fun starts in the July issue of “Planet Nilknarf”!

Beetlebomb's Book Nook
Last month I had so much fun with it being my special “I Love My Library” issue that I decided to do it again, more or less! As an avid reader, I not only enjoy reading but sharing the basic gist of my literary finds over these past few months, and this month is no exception. Allow me to present a mind-blowing plethora of books which I have had the pleasure of perusing!

The Only Wiccan Spell Book You'll Ever Need Marion Singer and Trish MacGregor Why would a sensible(?) Christian woman be reading a book about witchcraft? Inquiring minds want to know. Well, you know the old saying “Curiosity killed the cat (and made the dog walk funny!)” And a funny coincidence it was indeed, for just before I saw this book on the shelf at the library, there was a certain movie I'd seen on TV going through my mind. I think the title was “The Good Witch” but I might be wrong. In any case, it was about a woman who owned a health food store and people were giving her a hard time because they thought she was a witch. One scene in particular captured my imagination. A little girl was complaining that she was always having nightmares about monsters. “Try this,” the woman suggested to the little girl; “Tonight before you go to sleep, keep repeating to yourself “I will not dream about fuzzy bunnies, I will not dream about fuzzy bunnies.” The next day the little girl said “I did what you told me but it didn't work! Fuzzy bunnies were EVERYWHERE!” “Oh, but it DID work” replied the so-called witch, “You didn't see any monsters, did you?” This got me thinking; how much of so-called witchcraft is merely psychology? Reading this book pretty much confirmed two things I already suspected: 1. Wicca is based on the idea that everything works if you believe in it and 2. I really don't need wiccan spells at all. Contrary to popular belief, witches are not Satanists, they do not perform human sacrifices, drink blood or eat babies. In fact, the main philosophy of their religion is “Harm no one or

nothing.” That being the case, why do witches get such a bum rap?What's the deal with what happened in Salem? The book doesn't answer that question but it does mention a number of interesting things. Much of their magick (spelt with a “k” at the end to separate from the idea of “magic” which is really the result of illusion or slight of hand) is based on the number four as there are four seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall), four elements (earth, air, fire and water) and four directions (North, South, East and West) and doing things during specific phases of the moon. They also believe in a variety of Pagan deities, but you don't have to if you don't want to. Wicca is flexible that way. I wouldn't want to break the First Commandment anyway, which is not to have any other gods than the God I already worship. Wiccans also believe mostly in reincarnation, but also going to a place in the hereafter called the summerland. I wouldn't want to be reincarnated. Why would I want to come back HERE? True, this world doesn't totally suck, but it's not getting any nicer. I want to stick with the heaven I'm supposed to be going to as a result of asking Jesus to be my saviour. Wiccans believe in a lot of herbal remedies, which are good whether you're wiccan or not. This book also contains a pretty good onion soup recipe to try when you're feeling under the weather. They also believe in the new age theory of chakras and colour therapy. Certain colours contain certain healing properties and coincide with various parts of the body. I tend to believe in colour therapy to some extent and like to wear purples and turquoise shades when I want to feel comforted or nurtured and red when I want to feel energetic. I tend to shy away from wearing red socks because my feet get hot easily. As for using spells to get what I want, most of it sounds like too much hassle for me. All those candles, all those rhymes and incantations. Some spells even require the use of Tarot cards. I threw mine out over 20 years ago. If I want something badly enough, it's good enough just for me to pray for it. If God says “no”, I can understand why I'm supposed to do without it. Besides, I tried a spell back in high school and it backfired. Just as well. Love spells are basically discouraged because if you actually do succeed in somebody falling in love with you you will always be wondering whether that person honestly loves you for real or because that person is under your spell!

Me Sexy Compiled and Edited by Drew Hayden Taylor Me Sexy is a collection of writings by aboriginal writers about the subject of sexuality in their

culture. It explores a variety of topics and ideas. This book was initially inspired by an argument with a creepy, obnoxious drunk who had commented on the lack of pubic hair on aboriginal women. There is quite the eclectic assortment of stories from all over including one about a gay young man facing racism at a Toronto drag club when a fellow dressed as Pocahontas led the audience in a chorus of war-whoops. Some aboriginal tribes actually believe that gender is not bound by chromosomes. In fact they have their own words for a male who identifies as female and vice-versa. This made me think of my friend, Alan who is transgendered. It was Alan, in fact, who told me a couple years ago that the aboriginals sometimes call transgendered people “two-spirited” even though, ironically, there is no actual word for it in their language. This book debunks common stereotypes. Most romantic relationships between white and aboriginal people are not like the ones written in romance novels or pictured on the cover of this book, putting me in mind of “King of the Hill”'s John Red Corn. In fact, in most situations it is an aboriginal woman married to a white man. Sex in aboriginal artwork is also shown and discussed. All in all, a fascinating read from start to finish.

A Thousand Days of Wonder; A Scientist's chronicle of his daughter's developing mind. Charles Fernyhough How far back can you remember? Most of us don't remember anything that's happened to us before our third birthday. Charles Fernyhough studies the development and behaviour of his firstborn daughter, Athena, to see how her brain makes connections as she learns how to walk, talk and recognize people, places and things. He describes the mind of a child that age as being not only like a “clean slate” but also like “Teflon”. Perhaps it is for our own good that we don't remember too much too soon or we'd get pretty overwhelmed! He describes a baby at the age of learning to grab things as being like a “gullible shopper”. She wants to pick up and hold everything she can get her hands on but is reluctant to let go. She's especially tempted by things she shouldn't touch! He also believes that the leading cause of crib death could possibly be the idea that a child dreams that he or she is back in the womb and forgets to breathe!

All babies experience synaesthesia. Perhaps synaesthesia is the root of all languages. This puts me in mind of one of my own earliest childhood memories when my friend Richard Livesey and I were around three years old and he pointed to a hunk of tangled telephone cord hanging out of the repairman's pocket and exclaimed “Oomlelaloomlelaloomle!” Gotta love it! It SOUNDS the way it LOOKS!! He also explores the idea of “Out of sight, out of mind.” For example, one day he took Athena to the park and they saw a swan. The next day when they were home he asked her if she remembered the swan but she didn't know what he was talking about. However, when he brought her back to that same park she remembered it because she associated that particular place with the swan. I was impressed with what a well-behaved little girl Athena was on the plane, because she was used to extensive travel from a very early age. The author's line of work meant that the family traveled all over the world, especially Australia. He prepared her for her journey by showing her lots of pictures of the places she'd be seeing but once they were there he was a little disappointed by her lack of enthusiasm. An older child or adult would be more impressed and likely to say “Wow! I can't believe we're here!” Toward the end of the book, Charles and his wife are expecting another baby. Unfortunately, the pregnancy ends in miscarriage. The couple are devastated and full of grief over the loss of a life that never came to see the light of day in the first place. Athena was better able to identify with hearing about her grandfather who died before she was born, likely because she'd seen pictures of him and had a face to go with his name, along with stories of what he'd done in his life. Also, toward the end of the book, the author teaches her how to operate her own camcorder and film her own video footage of all that she sees. This sounds fascinating! Most adults who film footage film what they think others would like to see, whereas a child Athena's age films what she finds interesting herself. Sometimes I think I film and photograph much like a child myself as I am captivated by spinning things, bright lights, colours and unusual details others might overlook or find boring. All in all I found this a fascinating book from start to finish and strongly recommend it.

The Payback Club Rexanne Becnel “Hell Hath no Fury As a Woman Scorned.” Make that TWO, Joan and Liz who meet at the fitness club where they go for their daily workouts. Joan has been dumped by her husband,

Ed, in favor of Barb, aka Barracuda Woman, and Liz by her husband Dennis, in favor of his mistress Cora Lee. Both of them plot a scheme to seduce each other's husband and dump him to give him a taste of his own medicine. Joan has slimy Dennis practically eating right out of her hand whereas poor Liz can barely get Ed to give her the time of day! The plot thickens when Dennis dumps Cora Lee who has become pregnant with his child and has no place to go. SO Liz lets Cora Lee move in with her and amazingly the two of them end up becoming really good friends. Then Barracuda Woman rams Joan's car, but Joan is the one who gets in trouble because Barracuda Woman is injured! To top it off Ed goes missing and Joan becomes the prime suspect! Oh what a tangled web we weave! What happens next? Read this book and find out! I was even more surprised to discover that this book was published by Harlequin, the company I've usually come to associate with those lame, sappy, cookie-cutter romance novels I've come to disdain. Apparently, they have come out with a new genre of book, their “Next” series with the following motto, “Every life has more than one chapter.” These books appear to be aimed at women my age. I've yet to read other books in this series to see if they follow the same formula. Are these books written with the assumption that most 46-year-old women are divorced from husbands who have dumped them for younger women? Having married relatively late in life myself at age 37, now at age 46 I feel like I'm in my prime and my husband and I aren't concerned about the so-called mid-life crisis. I've had kind of a strange life. I've never done things in the usual order. I've usually felt like a kid trapped in a middle-aged body, go figure. I still like to watch cartoons, ride merry-go-rounds and play with (or at least dress and photograph) dolls! And now at my age I've been going back to school! I an learning stuff I should have made the effort to understand back in FOURTH GRADE!! This may be my first and hopefully ONLY marriage but I've been given a second chance in many other ways and hope that my continuing education results in a rewarding and exciting new career, although there have been certain Internet trolls who beg to differ!!

A Good Use of Recycling
Faithful customers, if ever you've bought favorite T-shirts from me and they get so worn out you can't wear them anymore, don't throw them away! Do what my friend Lorraine did! Back in 2003 she bought 3 T-shirts from me and wore them so often she wore them right out! But instead of throwing them away, she saved the pictures of the carousel horses that were on the front of each shirt and commissioned me to make a wall-hanging! Here she is with my mom, wearing the original giraffe T-shirt, and on the right is the completed mural appliqued with all three carousel animals.

Since my mom passed away I've been wearing the light blue shirt with the flowers quite regularity. I have another on lilac but it's kind of snug. This floral motif actually came from the design on a gift bag.

Mom's Memorial Service
On Saturday, May 14 , Dave's dad and step-mum drove us from Oshawa to Bobcaygeon where we attended the memorial service for my mother. The service started at 2:00 and we just barely made it there on time. Many of my mom's old friends were there and my cousin Peter had travelled all the way here from Holland! It was so nice to see him again after so many years. Last time he was in Canada was at least 6 years ago and I don't think I got to

see him then. Don and Diane Ford were there, my good friend Jan and her husband Fede, John and Davida Hunter, Robin and Danielle, Monica Carter and her husband, Michael and Jennifer mind was a blur! It was kind of overwhelming having so many people buzzing around me. Although I was glad to see them I was glad to get back to Jean's place with everyone who stayed to visit and sit down with a glass of wine...!!! The Liveseys' sons are living far overseas; Robert is in Australia and Richard is in New Zealand! We reminisced over many childhood memories, especially the time Richard and I had wandered off at Wasaga Beach looking for that amusement Park Thurza had told us about, only to find that gronky little rusty coin-operated two-horse carousel. I believe I shared that story in a previous issue. During the service mom's friend, Marion Mackenzie spoke and so did my Aunt Anne. Aunt Anne shared the Crackling Rose story. I'll share that in greater detail in a future issue. When several of us were back at Jean's place I told them about my new feature in Planet Nilknarf called “Wooden Shoe Like It” and took pictures of everyone trying on the wooden shoes. These will be in next month's issue. Dave didn't stay for the socializing. He just wanted to get home. He's been fighting a bit of a cold. I enjoyed spending time with friends and family. Left: Jan looks at a display of my mom's pictures. Right: everyone at Jean's place proposing a toast in memory of my mom; Clockwise from left; Phil, Aunt Anne, Jean, Joe, cousin Peter.

I had missed the DVD presentation that was shown before the service. Fortunately, we have our own copy to watch whenever we want. We watched it at Jean's place that afternoon. Robin did a wonderful job editing all the photos and choosing the selection of beautiful music that went with them including selections from “Les Miserables” and “Willy Wonka”. It was nice to see so many friends and family members. Too bad it couldn't be under happier circumstances. We enjoyed a nice meal around Jean's kitchen and after supper I sat in the living room and

watched some of “Pirates of the Caribbean”. I had missed the first half hour or so, having tuned in during the part where Captain Jack Sparrow picks up that smooth, round rock int the desert and it turns into a crab, followed by several more that do likewise. I wanted to watch that part where that woman tied to the ship's mast turns into a giant but I was just too tired. The guest room where I stayed was very nice but the bed was TOO DAMNED HARD!! AAARRGGGHH! I HATE HARD BEDS!! After tossing and turning all night unable to get comfortable I went back down to the living room at around 5:00 in the morning and slept on the couch for the next hour or two. It was much softer and made out of leather. I felt like I was sleeping in a giant catcher's mitt. A vast improvement. I don't care if hard beds are supposed to be better for your back! If they're too hard to sleep on for me they're counter-productive!! You may recall that this was my biggest gripe on my last Niagara trip. In the midst of this fitful night's sleep I actually had an EROTIC DREAM ABOUT WEIRD AL YANKOVIK! Now THERE'S someone who'd be fun to have in the Mile High Club! Have you ever seen him put his leg up around the back of his neck? On Sunday Peter and I had our picture taken together and I gave him a few craft items to take back to Holland including a doll for my “Travelling Dolls” project. Jean's garden made for some very nice photo ops.

Those red wooden shoes in the picture on the right used to fit me when I was ten years old. There will definitely be LOTS MORE pictures of everyone trying on wooden shoes in next month's “Wooden Shoe Like It?” While I was there I also had the chance to meet my newest customer, Jean's God-daughter, Joey, who has commissioned me to create some embroidered panels to make a mural with pictures of animals and things from her farm. She has given me a down-payment for materials on the project and she will be supplying me with a disc of all the pictures. So far I have one of

her Gypsy-Vanner horse. She and her husband have four horses and three dogs and one of these days Jean will be bringing me to see her farm. When it was time to go home Peter drove me home on his way to the airport. Aunt Anne gave me a nice tuna casserole to heat up and a salad for me and Dave to have for supper when I got home that evening. Peter had arrived in Toronto on Thursday, May 12th, rented a car and stayed until Sunday the 15th. I was amazed that I know my way to and from Bobcaygeon to Oshawa that if I ever did know how to drive I could get there. The journey went fast as Peter and I chatted and I directed him through Port Perry and down along Simcoe Street to where I live. I hope that maybe someday I can go back to Holland and visit him there.

Upcoming Events
2011 National Carousel Association Convention: September 21st to 25th. More info HERE: It's official! I'm going!!! I just mailed in my registration form and fee and made my hotel reservations. The hotel is very new but also very knowledgeable about its clients. I felt strange just leaving them with my name and no other information but they said that that was all they needed. I asked them what time their pool opens only to be told they don't have a pool. At least not YET. Since they just opened they still haven't figured out where to put it. “Easy, just put it in my room!” I joked. More good news; one of my articles from the February issue of Planet Nilknarf has been published, with permission, of course, in this newsletter, Autistic Globetrotting: Folks, I'll let you in on a juicy little secret....I MIGHT be getting a chance to visit the carousel on the Allure of the Seas cruise ship in Florida!!!


Next Month
Don't forget our fabulous Travelling Dolls Giveaway Contest! Also our new and exciting “Marketing Horse” colouring contest. Just as before in my math class when I designed carousel horses to help me with my multiplication tables, I also designed a carousel horse to help me remember all my marketing terminology! I thought this one looked so good that I would leave it as is and use it to invite you all to a colouring contest! You will find him on our Facebook Fan Page in the album marked “Colouring Contests” and the five winners will be shown and announced in the September issue and each be awarded with one of my handmade carousel horse Christmas tree ornaments! So sharpen those Prismacolours, get out those markers, paints, whatever you enjoy working with best and show us your talent! Entries for both the Travelling Dolls contest and the Marketing Horse colouring contests must be received no later than August 25th (Gene Simmons' birthday, go figure! ;)) Locations will be shown in next month's issue. It's not considered cheating if you poke around on our fan page or other related pages...!! July is also the “Happiness” issue, so tell us what makes you feel happy!!!!!


See You Next Month, Margaret Franklin
P.S Just thought I'd include this random picture of me riding on a fish just for the halibut! (Sorry, trout!)