Saturday 29 February 2020

Leap With Me!

Well, Leap Year has rolled around again
and so today we get an extra day on the calendar!

How are you going to celebrate?

Leap Year brings some good things in 2020 . . . 

. . . and some not-so-good things too.

But hey, if you're doing the
"three day challenge" this year --

Good news! You only have to do two days now!

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Should This Become a Food Blog?

I know that in nearly 12 years of blogging
I have never, ever posted a recipe or
showed you a single photo of anything
I've cooked or baked.

* * * BUT * * *

I'm thinking that perhaps
I should now turn this blog
into a FOOD BLOG.

Because who doesn't love food blogs?

And really, how hard can it be to create one?

I mean, I know all the foodie lingo already --

And I can make appetizers like nobody's business!

I'm a whiz at soups too --

Entrees are no problemo for me.

Even desserts are simple!

I'd feature some terrific cocktail recipes too!

But rest assured,
I hate liver, fava beans AND chianti.

So, whaddya think?

Time to go all FOOD BLOGGY?

Monday 24 February 2020

Going Into Battle With Your Tattoos

Would I survive?

Are you kidding?

I have an Amazon's Battle Axe and

Mjolnir, Thor's Hammer!

And while my other tat may look 

harmlessly decorative,

it is really the

deadly throwing chakram

of Xena, Warrior Princess!

(Yes, it is.)


Now, what about your tattoos,
if you have any?

How well-armed are you?

Friday 21 February 2020

My Quest for a Quilt

I've always loved quilts and have been actively looking for a commercially made or handcrafted one for the past 5 or 6 years. I've gone to big stores, searched online sites, gone to local quilt sales, you name it. When we were in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island a few years ago (regions famous for their quilts), I looked in every quality craft and quilt store I could find. I also looked at Hawaiian quilts each time we went to Maui.

And I came up empty-handed every time.

I couldn't find a quilt with that perfect trifecta of size, pattern and colours that I liked. But the biggest single issue was that quilts all seem to have an awful lot of white in them. White is usually the background against which the colourful piecework design is displayed. But in my experience, white tends to get grubby looking really quickly and requires a lot of laundering to keep it looking its best. So ideally, I did not want any white in my quilt.

The realization eventually dawned on me that, in order to get exactly what I wanted, I'd have to commission a handcrafted quilt. So I went to Edmonton's biggest quilt show in May and nabbed its featured master quilter to make me a quilt. After agreeing on a size, colour palette and price, I scoured the internet over the summer, looking at a gazillion quilt patterns until I found "the one."

And in December, the finished quilt was delivered. Here it is!

I chose a modern-looking design instead of a more traditional one. This design reminds me of stained glass, which I love. My favourite colour palette was used, featuring the darker spectrum of blue-navy-violet-purple, along with all-black borders. The master quilter found an appropriate "jelly roll" of various fabrics within that palette to bring the piecework to life.

The back of the quilt is solid black. To contrast with the geometrical horizontal-vertical look of the top piecework, I chose a more circular, spiralling design of "curlicues" for the quilting pattern. You can see this design most clearly on the back of the quilt. The quilting was done by another craftswoman with a computerized long arm quilting machine.

A panel in an underside corner of the quilt credits the various women who designed and created this quilt so that such information will not be lost to posterity. A custom quilt can become a valuable antique some day, long after its crafters and owner are gone.

And the quilt is cozy warm and lovely to sleep under too!

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Fuck Off, Mr Darcy!

Yes, you HEARD me!

Fuck right off!

Your dashing Regency reign of my heart is over!


I have a NEW heart-throb now
from British days of yore.


Oh, the SLAP of her leather gloves!

I feel quite, QUITE faint!

Her butch lesbian crossdressing ways
have ENTIRELY CAPTURED my heart!

I adore the whole erotic lesbian subtext
of the series' opening credits.
Even its editing style is hawt, LOL!

Have any of you watched this new HBO/BBC series? It is seriously worth your time. Gentleman Jack is based on the historically true story of Anne Lister, who was a wealthy member of the English landed gentry in Yorkshire in the early 1800s.

How was Anne Lister able to live as quasi-openly as she did in such homophobic, misogynistic, repressive times? Her class and uncommon financial independence allowed her to escape other women's economic fate of having to enter a conventional marriage and abide by the forced heterosexuality that came with it. Additionally, Anne Lister had a phenomenal amount of sheer bravery and bravado that allowed her to live the relatively free and unconventional life which she did.

Five out of five stars!

Friday 14 February 2020

Sweet February the 14th

Okay, now let's get REAL.

How do people REALLY spend Valentines Day?

However you spend it, remember:

Tomorrow is a new day!
And chocolate will be half-price!

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Questionable Valentines

It's Valentines Day on Friday!

I hope none of you give or receive
any of these rather "iffy" valentines.

And for gawd's sake, make sure you can sing
before you serenade somebody!

Always be careful with food gifts 
as tokens of affection.

They can backfire sometimes.

Some of you would LOVE
this next box of chocolates,
I know!

And finally, heartfelt valentines greetings from
Her Royal Highness the cat --

Friday 7 February 2020

Tai Chi Fan Performance

"Fan" is my favourite tai chi routine. As mentioned in an earlier post, it took 5 months of almost daily lessons and practice for us newbies to learn this 3-and-a-half-minute routine in our tai chi group. I was worried that my somewhat arthritic hands would not be able to manipulate the fan. And yes, some days my fan was dropped or flung or only partially opened.

But the surprise issue for me was how hard the routine was on my legs. At times, I could barely keep up. My legs were burning and aching. Everything was happening so fast! But once the routine is finally learned and becomes part of muscle memory, it seems to slow right down to a much more manageable pace.

There are a lot of subtle hand and wrist movements required in using the fan. These movements are not meant to be purely decorative. The teacher corrected one of my wrist movements in class, showing me how to twist my wrist in a certain way before opening the closed fan. "You must gouge your enemy in the side first," she told me.

This photo shows two of the most difficult moves in the routine --

Because we are geezers, we get to do modified versions that are not so hard on us. We don't have to hold the one-legged pose so high or so long. And we don't have to get down anywhere near so low to the ground on any move, including this most extreme one. Thank the Baby Jesus!

Here is a wonderful video of a tai chi master doing the routine. (Just pretend it's me, LOL!) I love hearing the snap of her fan! And watch for the grips and slices you saw demonstrated in the martial arts videos from my previous post --

While I was learning this routine, I would wake up in the middle of the night and that music would be running through my head on an endless loop. Talk about a crazy-making ear worm, LOL!

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Performance Fans versus War Fans

A tai chi performance fan is made of bamboo and silk. The one I have is a peony style in black silk, as pictured here in the middle --

A tai chi fan routine is, like all other tai chi routines, based on martial arts. The decorative performance fan is a safe stand-in for a martial arts war fan. These have steel ribs, either blunted or pointed. The inside bottom rib is essentially a knife with a razor-sharp cutting edge. For example --

The Tessen ("iron fan") was created by the Samurai warrior class in ancient Japan, so that they would never be unarmed in situations where their swords, bows or spears could not be carried. A decorative folding fan (Sensu) was an expensive status symbol among the feudal Japanese upper class. Everyone had one, both men and women, so a fan tucked in a waist sash was above suspicion. If attacked, a Samurai could defend himself with his war fan.

Here's a couple of short videos showing how war fans are held and used to inflict damage. The demonstrator is, of course, using a safer performance fan to illustrate the moves. All these same grips and strikes are used in tai chi fan routines as well, although in much slower motion.

My next post will be about the actual tai chi fan routine. And yes, there will be a performance video! Not of me though, LOL, but of a tai chi master.