Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanking Mr. Beavers (P*S*C* #45)

With November nearly over, and Thanksgiving having come and gone, I just had to post something about gratitude. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful family and dear friends.
I have warm shelter, a full belly, an ample wardrobe, a library card -and job there I love - and a long, long list of people, places and things for which I am truly grateful!
How does this relate to Toronto and the Pink Suitcase Chronicles, one might ask?
Here is the connect: I was in Toronto last in my senior year of high school on a choir trip.
And dear Mr. Beavers, Mr. Cecil Beavers - if we are getting personal here, was the choir director.
Mr. Beavers was one of those teachers that I will remember for my whole life. Somehow he managed to convey that singing is important and singing difficult choral pieces by the master composers has lasting appeal. Especially when the choir members are teenagers who have much on their minds other than choral music!
One of my favorite pieces was Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols and, to this day, it just isn't Christmas until that piece is played.
Mr. Beavers also introduced us to Handel's Messiah. To this day, I can't sing this piece without remembering we had our choir auditions as to who could go on the trip to Toronto based upon their performance doing the long measures in For Unto Us a Child is Born.
Thank you, Mr Beavers! You made a huge difference in my life. I wish I knew how your life progressed once we parted in 1973. I hope you have a song in your heart still. I know I do!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Toronto Highlights (P*S*C* #45)

Here it is: my favourite Toronto destination. I walked through the city to get to the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts to attend the live ballet of Romeo and Juliet. Apparently it was the "hot ticket" destination for many others as well. Once at the theatre to pick up a ticket on site, I was told at the Box Office window that there was standing room only for $12.00 or box seats starting at $125.00 and up. Gasp! Luckily, I overheard the woman at the next ticket window trying to turn in her sick husband's ticket, and managed to buy it from her. The ballet was magical and certainly the highlight of the trip. Another highlight was seeing the "flying buttresses" of the St. James Cathedral. As an Art History student in college, I always had dreamed about seeing flying buttresses. Check this off the Bucket List!
Another venue I enjoyed was the St. Lawrence Market on Front Street. It reminded me very much of the Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.
However, no flying fish to watch out for --- or fishermen flailing fish forward fastly. The meats and fish were under control, thank-you-very-much. Here I enjoyed people watching and dining casually amongst the locals. Fresh-prepared crepes were just right.
Toronto is a study in old and new construction. In the foreground is a building that is part of the old Distillery. In the background you can see a new condo building being constructed. Toronto has quite an interesting skyline. Kind of a cross between Seattle, Chicago and London.
Definitely worth a visit!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pink Suitcase Chronicles #45 - Spell Check

Pink very much enjoyed "crossing the border" into the country north of ours! We have just returned from a trip to Toronto, Canada. It is most interesting to note the dual language of French and English, with an emphasis on the British English. As one who likes to spell, especially in word game play, it was delightful to take note of these indicators that we were travelers away from our home turf.
Note: theatre vs. theater at the bottom of the sign and yes, I very much want to see this movie!
Don't you just love that it is called a laneway?
Hmmm...what does this gap mean?
We stayed rather near to this CN Tower.
Stay tuned for more favourite memories of our trip, c'est vous plait?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remembering Dad Post-Veteran's Day

I realize it is a couple of days past Veteran's Day, but I wanted to remember my Dad and his brothers who served during World War II. (As did Wes' father, Elder.) When my cousin Marty posted this picture of his dad, Les (far right), Dad (center) and Ken (far left), it triggered a lot of memories. Unfortunately, Dad died before I was able to talk with him about his experiences.
However, Wes and Dad had many conversations and from these I learned that my Dad was
a flight engineer on B24 bombers and he made it through 44 missions in the South Pacific.
The older I get, the more I realize how little thought I have given to those who serve(d) our country and I apologize for that. Thinking of those young men (and women) so far from home fighting so hard with death a part of everyday life makes me profoundly grateful they did what they did for the rest of those back home. In the case of my father, his widowed mother saw 5 of her sons in the war - I cannot fathom that. All five returned home.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - There is currently a book on the Best Seller list that I would highly recommend reading it as a way to get inside the whole experience of war; World War II specifically.
Laura Hillenbrand wrote UNBROKEN about airman, Louis Zamperini, and his capture by
the Japanese in May 0f 1943 and becoming a POW for a long time. Because of his diary and excellent memory it is a story with few gaps and holes - and is hauntingly realistic.
Louis told of his bombing flights, and it became so
much more real to me because of my Dad being on those 44 bombing missions. I could picture Dad with his buddies and how they, too, painted and personalized their aircraft with women and
fearsome characters. I pictured him in the Mess Hall, getting letters from loved ones back home - especially from one certain Vera back in Kansas whom he proposed to via mail and married when he came home. I pictured Dad longing for his Mom and how he worried about her well-being and finances from so far away. I pictured him dreaming about returning back home alive and well.
Thanks to all who served. It mattered.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

No Call. Not Yet :(

What a lovely way to spend a bit of Saturday morning: at a quilt show at the Chicago Botanic Garden! Though I took a lot of pictures, the most notable picture is of the quilt below:

With a close-up view of the applique detail here:

This was the raffle quilt made by members of the IQI (Illinois Quilters Inc.) Guild
that I bought many raffle tickets to win...I am anxiously awaiting the phone call telling me I won, but it hasn't happened. Not yet!
I'd really, really like to win this quilt.
In the meantime, I'd like to show you some of my favorite pieces from the show. The one, above,
was made from the contents of a junk drawer and knitted. Read about the artist below.
Unfortunately, I don't think I can purchase this quilt at that price.
Or the next one, either. Here is a close-up of it.
See the candy wrappers?
This quilter must have some stash of candy wrappers behind her couch!
I loved reading about the story behind the making of this quilt. She was very clever to use
her own Girl Scout uniform, badges and sash in its construction.
I loved the name she chose for this quilt.
Once again, I am so impressed by the creativity of quilters. Well done, IQI gals!
Please, please, please call me soon...I'm right next to my phone and I promise to take very, very good care of the quilt you painstakingly created.