Friday, April 12, 2013

Scarf, Scarf, Sandwich, Pup

A handful of photos for today.

Just one more week to donate to Girls on the Run, and maybe win this scarf. We're collecting donations (to Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run) through next Friday; donors will be entered in a drawing for this scarf.

This is the latest photo of my sky scarf. After two months, it's just over 12"long, and looking - well, like Michigan winter slowly turning into spring.

We had dinner with friends tonight, at the Oakwood Bistro. I had an Asparagus Cheese Melt: melted provolone & smoked cheddar cheese, grilled asparagus, tomato, & red onion on our multi-grain bread. It was delicious!

Finally, I offer a beagle, relaxing while I work:

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

General Conference Weekend

This was conference weekend for our church. I was able to watch all the sessions of conference - two on Saturday, two on Sunday.

When my family was baptized (back in '67), the only conference we could watch was one session, carried on Pittsburgh's PBS station. (I remember that when I was in college, the only session that was carried on TV was at 5 in the morning - yikes.) We would have to wait for the conference issue of the church magazine to read all the talks (and I think that was months later - maybe June for the April conference?). Later (maybe in the 80's?), I remember going to the church building, where the talks were carried on some radio band that we could listen to. Still later, we were finally able to watch all of conference, again at church.

Now, we can watch here at home, via satellite TV or the Internet. Video of the talks is available for viewing almost as soon as each session finishes, on the church's website here. I've already downloaded many of the talks to my iPod. The text will be available in just a couple days, on the website.

It's really quite remarkable. But I like best watching it live, and am always happiest when I can do that. I sit down with my knitting and my notebook, and take in as much as I can. I used to take copious notes, but now, knowing that everything will be available to read and study within days, I try to jot down feelings and impressions that are specific to me and to my family - changes I should make, particular talks I should study, specific principles I should focus on, things like that.

So now, Sunday evening, I'm feeling rather overwhelmed. I just read through my jottings, and there's a lot there! Plenty to keep me busy for the next six months, until October's general conference. The challenge, for me at least, is to keep the messages in mind, to study and ponder them in the weeks and months to come. I'll try to share some thoughts as I go along.

Here are remarks from President Monson, from his closing message.
As this conference now concludes, I invoke the blessings of heaven upon each of you. May your homes be filled with peace, harmony, courtesy and love. May they be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. May you nurture and nourish your testimonies of the gospel, that they will be a protection to you against the buffetings of Satan.

Until we meet again in six months, I pray that the Lord will bless and keep you, my brothers and sisters. May His promised peace be with you now and always.
And, of course, a few photos from our conference weekend.

Bonnie and I had lots of time for walks (that's what Bonnie likes about conference weekend, I think). We saw signs of spring, with new growth appearing. I saw lots of daffodils-to-be; can't wait for those to start blooming!

Not sure what these are - but they are green and lovely!

Bonnie mostly slept through conference.

I knit. (Jim just watched; I think he should learn to knit, too.) This is the sweater I'm knitting for afghans for Afghans. I didn't quite finish the front this weekend - I am a slow knitter, and I did keep stopping to make conference notes - but I'm pleased with how it's coming along. It needs to be finished by early summer - which is also when a certain baby blanket needs to be finished - so I need to focus on these two projects, and probably let my shawl sit in time out for a bit.

This color, by the way, is not accurate - the blue is really much deeper, and there are flecks of green throughout. It is a beautiful color, much nicer than this would make you think...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Heart-Deep in Winter

One of the blogs I read is Keepapitchinin, The Mormon History Blog. Among other things, Ardis shares content from old publications, such as this poem in today's blog:
Heart-deep in Winter
By Eva Willes Wangsgaard

With you so lately gone it seemed untrue
That winter had relaxed and spring was near.
Half-heartedly the northern ranks withdrew
Relinquishing to spring the infant year;
And spring came blithely, undisturbed by death.
The soil had quickened; I could feel it stir,
Perfumed by hyacinths; the morning’s breath
Was stroking cheek and throat like rabbit fur.
The autumn bulbs erupted wells of gold;
The lilacs leafed, for day was April warm;
But night kept lagging back with icy cold
And threatened lily fringe with frost and storm.
Heart-deep in winter, unprepared, alone,
The night and I and newly lettered stone!

I was touched by this poem, and immediately wanted to share it, but worried that perhaps it was too sentimental. I sought Jim's opinion (not necessarily a good idea, since he is rather sentimental himself). He also liked it, deemed it not overly sentimental, and pointed out that it is a sonnet.

A sonnet? Who knew?!? I did a Google search, and found this article, which explained that the English, or Shakespearean, sonnet has the form:
a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
g g
As Jim observed, this poem follows the described form quite nicely. (Another article about Shakespearean sonnets, is here.)

The article also discussed the idea of a volta, a turn, which introduces another idea. In this case, it seems to me that the volta occurs in the final couplet. Here, after discussing the weather, the poem suddenly brings up the unexpected loneliness of the poet, thinking of that new grave, somewhere out in the night. The poet's despair and loneliness washed over me, and I felt that I understood perfectly what they were feeling.

Making that connection, that link with the poet, always leaves me satisfied - and I walk away thinking, "I like that poem."