Birthdays- a reflection and knitting my transition shawl

Hello,

My birthday is coming up at the end of the week and as a result, I am reflecting on my past year and looking to the future. Last year,  when I turned 50, I was wondering at the time about what my next year would bring. September brought the year of “not being needed”. At first I was sad and perhaps felt a little lost at the prospect of really “not being needed”! My life as a caregiver was over. My parents were both no longer and therefore not needing me. My children were both off to university and I didn’t have any international students living with our family after June. I wasn’t completely “not needed”, I had two dogs, my constant companion Daisy (age 10 1/2) and Lilly, a playful energetic puppy who was 6 months old.

“Just knit your way through this transition” was the advice from my creative weaving/knitting friend when I asked her how was I going to do this? How was I going to figure out my new phase of my Mom role, my life? She suggested when I went out to Nova Scotia to visit my oldest daughter who showed me the world she had created for herself, all by herself, over the previous 2 years, that I go to a knitting store and ask to buy a project and just start. Just start knitting. I love knitting. So I did. As I have done in the past with different kinds of projects, I chose a project I had never done before, and something not only I hadn’t done before, but more than that- that I didn’t really think I could do. The young woman in the shop was encouraging. Helping me to start the pattern and showing me how to begin. I was inspired by the same project that she was so successfully working on. The wool was so soft and lovely to work with. The needles were a new kind I had never worked with before.

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Being a small town, and being in such a wonderful part of our country, there was a small table in the bay window and knitters were encouraged to come by and just drink tea and knit there. So I did. When my daughter was busy with her classes and work, I had somewhere to go. I sat in the window seat as people came – and I did what I love to do best– listen and share stories. The women I met in that window were hardworking, creative people working through hard problems in their life- their own transitions. Some were self imposed changes in their lives, others, well, life changes and throws us challenges… These women were knitting their way through these changes. They popped in before shifts at the hospital or because they were on disability and wished they had the community they used to have at work. Some lived in this small town, some came from other smaller places- feeling at home here.

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A few days later, I left my daughter and her lovely town and went to stay in another town an hour’s drive away. She was busy with training, classes and work. I didn’t want to be in the way, and also I do love to travel on my own. The train only leaves from Halifax back to Montreal three times a week. I would explore here until Wednesday when I would board the train for the next part of my journey.  I love Canada and I feel safe by myself. I talk with people wherever I go, so I never feel lonely. I am also not lonely when I am alone.

It was a Sunday. A small town on the way to where I was staying had a knitting store, and a Sunday drop-in group. I couldn’t believe it- 3 of the 8 people sitting on mismatched chairs in a circle in the centre of the store had lived on the west coast- in Victoria! They asked if I was in town on Tuesday. They meet again then with slightly different membership, given people’s work schedules. They ask me to join them. I accept with gratitude. These women ( and one man) are doers. They help neighbours, drive older knitters (who were working on making socks to give away) to this group, bake for others, care give for aging parents and other community members. They drive by themselves to Montreal to sell their handmade projects at a fair, getting lost along the way. They have stories to tell, and were interested in meeting me and hearing about what I had to say. They were accepting of different people’s styles, knitting styles and lifestyles.

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At the Inn where I stayed in Lunenburg, I sat in a bay window overlooking the most beautiful scene- listening to the horses hooves as they clipped along the road pulling a carriage, the low voices of fellow travelers sitting on the deck below me enjoying each other’s company and the warm late day sun. I knit. I made mistakes, I took it up. I knit it again. More mistakes, repeat. I listened to CBC radio on my i-phone and knit.

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On Tuesday, I came back with some treats to share from a lovely local bakery/cafe. I wanted to bring something to share for tea. I wanted to tell them how important they were to me – to my experience of this place, to the conversation that was happening in my head about transitions. The conversation which was trying to answer the question: what happens next in life when you are no longer needed? They helped me form my answer. You go to a knitting store, ask to buy a project and you knit your way through it. You just keep knitting and it will come to you. The answer. The next step. You just keep knitting.

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The Storytelling Show with Tracey Wimperly on CFRO 100.5FM Vancouver

IMG_9404.JPGI had the most wonderful experience in this modern radio station (see last post to know why I say that). It still had the wonderful eclectic vibe that CFUV did way back…it’s the sense of all these different voices coming to this one place that records and broadcasts stories and voices not heard on mainstream media. What a wonderful and important concept!

If you would like to hear the conversation I had with Tracey Wimperly, here is the link.  Just click at the bottom left of the page on the button: ‘listen to previous’. It was aired April 15th. I think you may enjoy the music choices as well as the storytelling (a beautiful song by the talented Milk Carton Kids is played here by Ilse Loomer-Scott on vocals and guitar with her fabulous teacher Lane Arndt on guitar). What a thrill for me to hear my daughter’s strong, independent and beautiful voice through those headphones.

Happy listening

A conversation on the radio

 

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When I was in university, I fell in love with campus community radio. And one of the other volunteers who was running the radio station! Those two loves are still very much in my life, thankfully. I have learned so much from both of them. They are both good story tellers.

I love university for all the experiences that I had, the learning, the people I met and yes the academic theories which guide my practice with children and youth. It was a time for me of being open and confident to try lots of different things and this included hosting a magazine show. It ran on Wednesdays for an hour; I interviewed people from around town on various subjects. We didn’t have a technician, so it really was me “making radio” running the board. When my girls were teenagers I needed their help turning on the complicated tv, which isn’t really a tv, since we don’t have cable. I reminded myself, and them, of how I used to be technical- hard to believe really. But a worthwhile attempt at regaining face in the reality of the very technical world in which we reside. Thank heavens for my patient girls!

Recently, a friend who is a fabulous storyteller and professional communicator whom I have known since I was learning to be a professional communicator in a corporate environment, sent me an e-mail containing an invitation. I accepted this kind invitation to appear on her segment of Vancouver Co-op Radio’s Storytelling Show on April 15th from 9- 10pm. Tracey Wimperly is going to interview me about – you guessed it- my book and the themes within it such as hygge. I haven’t really been in a studio in the last, ahem, 25 plus years. I’m guess they won’t be playing a reel-to-reel of Radio Deutsche Wella’s documentary on the tsetse fly, as I did when my guest cancelled at the last minute. CDs are no longer new, the technician who will be working on this show probably wasn’t around when there were carts to plug in to advertise the important fundraising efforts that went on every year so that CFUV could operate.

I was reminded of the way that people used to gather around the large wooden radio in the middle of the living room in days gone by, as we sat on the comfortable couch in front of the fire, tired dog at our feet, my unobtrusive iphone on the coffee table that played the interview last Sunday. I always love to listen to a good conversation that reveals an interesting story, and it was definitely that.

I hope that if you are interested, you can tune in to listen to my conversation with Tracey on April 15th. They also save past shows, I look forward to listening to more past episodes soon.

Over and Out.

Words are important

I remember this thin little English grammar book from school- not for the rules which I should have committed to memory, but because I often come back to the title: Words are Important. Possibly as a professional communicator or a writer, but more because of how, when said, one can never take them back. Of course, this can be good and bad— in the instance I am thinking about, it is very good. A couple of weeks ago, I was looking at Thomas Hobb’s website. I knew he had written one book, but I didn’t know he had written a second before that. So I clicked on it and it took me to the American Amazon site. My book is available on all Amazon sites, but the reviews that I was aware of appear on the Canadian site. Out of curiosity, I searched my book title and to my surprise, I read and then re-read the following:

Customer Reviews

Top customer reviews

Amazon Customer

May 21, 2017

Format: Paperback
What a lovely book! Reading it made me feel like I was there in Ms Loomer’s cosy greenhouse tucked in the corner of a lush garden full of flowers. The history of how she came to have it is touching. If you want to understand how to bring hygge into your life, read this book and you will know. The photos are beautifully done, somehow spectacular yet quietly understated at the same time, perfectly balanced. The text is one woman’s journey, and is filled with things we can all use in our own lives to make them better lives – this is what books are supposed to be for, sharing, growing, connecting as people.

That a stranger could capture that which I have had trouble trying to define – even though it is MY story that I tell in words and photographs. I felt really touched- and grateful to this stranger. Words are important. 

Daisy- a very supportive project manager

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that over the holidays, Daisy, my eleven year old golden retriever died. We were all together as a family, including our one year old golden, Lilly. On Daisy’s last day, we took her to the beach, her favourite beach. She loved the visit, and she told us when it was time to go. We took her lead.

As my constant companion, Daisy has given me many gifts. Her presence with every project I’ve undertaken in the garden, to lying by my side as I knit, to writing and photographing for my book.

Her presence has impacted many of my closest friends, and I feel upset thinking that tears have been shed on two continents as a result of the loss of Daisy in this world as they reflect on their time with her at tea in the garden or walks on the beach.

My dear friends have written heartfelt pieces that have made be laugh and then cry again. It is true as one friend puts it: Dogs’ lives are too short; their only fault, really.

Another wise friend wrote: “Dogs do teach us to be better humans.  They take a piece of our hearts with them when they leave, but they also leave a part of their heart with us, so in a sense, we stay in each other’s hearts”.

I must say that I laughed out loud when I read one friend say: “If I ever stop eating you’ll know I’m not long for this world”. Given that rejecting her food was the first real sign that Daisy was very unwell.

Many people have asked about how Lilly is doing. She sniffed Daisy’s body, so that she would know what had happened to her. She didn’t look for her the next morning as was her habit after every nap, every separate excursion and every morning. We bought her a new toy, she came into the pet store; we’ve enrolled in a dog class {I love the title}: Family Dog Fundamentals, we have carried on her routine, and gone for longer walks. I know that she is little subdued nevertheless. We both are. It’s loss. It’s sad. It’s life. However sad I have felt leading up to loosing my companion, I wouldn’t give up the last 11 years for anything. This picture is taken a couple of years ago when Daisy was supervising the building of a shake roof for the shed. Every supervisor should be so supportive.

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Hello, I’m back

I’ve been travelling, starting new projects and getting used to having my daughters live 3 and 4 time zones away from us. It’s a big adjustment for me, but seeing where they live, how they live and conduct themselves in this world fills my heart with gratitude about being their mom. They are good human beings and the world needs more principled people like them contributing their generous spirits to our society.

While I have been away, I have done a lot of thinking about creating hygge. I was lucky enough to spend time in Europe this summer and experiencing lots of hygge in Denmark and Sweden. Although our time in France, the Netherlands, Germany and England had it’s fair share of hygge moments too. I’ll share more of that in the weeks to come.

I am a planner, I love thinking ahead to what is coming next. Planning experiences and events is a lot of fun for me. So when my time in the warm sunshine of my garden is over for the year and all I can hear outside, as I write this, are  the car tires driving by on the very wet road, I start to think of creating hygge inside. Inside my greenhouse and inside my home.

One of my favourite yearly events to plan is our family’s Christmas time together. And when I say plan, I only mean that there is food in the house, plenty of dry wood for the fire, a bottle of wine or two in the cabinet and plenty of time without deadlines and expectations. I know that the girls are excited to experience this after their exams, project deadlines and long journeys home. We will have time to cuddle up under blankets with our Earl Grey and hear all about each other’s adventures, share stories and opinions and think big thoughts. I’ll have some knitting and the girls will have time to pick up their crochet. Can you feel my excitement of having my girls close, again? Do you have family you are looking forward to having time with over the holidays?

Last weekend, I made a few little Danish Christmas decorations for a danish relative who is spending their first Christmas away from home in a seniors facility. There are some memory issues and so I thought that if I brought the familiar scent of the cedar and the colours and the decorations, it would bring back distant lovely memories of home. It was very well received.

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I’m glad I’m back and I look forward to our future conversations.

What are you looking forward to doing with your  family over the holidays?

Happy Being,

Lise-Lotte

Let’s talk Greenhouse Hygge

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I joined this wonderful group a few months ago and I am excited to have been asked to speak at the next meeting. Please come if you can, it’s a lovely (and large) group, with lots of resources for members: a lending library, tea and coffee, a garden expert you can ask your questions of, plants to buy, a monthly workshop, draws and a monthly speaker. 

I hope you can come along on June 6, at 7:30 

Spring-despite the weather

Despite the weather, we’re going to assume that Spring is on it’s way. To date, I haven’t documented in a proper garden journal my progress in the greenhouse. However, I do take a lot of pictures which helps me remember what a planted each year, combinations, successes, ahem “learnings”. Here is an image from a couple of years ago. It reminded me to take out my nest to set it up for the Spring season in the greenhouse (where it is out of the wind and so much cozier than the outside world at this point). I’m looking forward to having time to have tea and do some seed starting tomorrow.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you have a moment to enjoy the change of seasons,

Lise-Lotte

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on International Women’s Day

An image from my book which is what my dream house looks like today, except there is no reflection of green lawn in the background. Not yet. We are going to have all the roots dug up from the hazardous poplar that was removed before a rather big windstorm. I am re-thinking the flower and veggie beds (and should be wearing my realism glasses as to how much time I will really have for the garden this summer….where are those glasses anyway, I think I’ve misplaced them again!)

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I hope on this International Women’s Day you will have a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come, how far we have yet to go, and how we can support the change that is necessary for our daughters to live in a world where they are equal.

Lise-Lotte

First day of Spring, in 19 days

It seems so many people have posted that today is the first day of spring, but sadly it’s not until March 20th. Although we are having glimpses…

Here is a picture from the book of a couple of years ago when my husband and Daisy, our golden retriever,  were sitting having tea with me in the greenhouse. At this time of year, when it can be windy and cool or warm in the sun (but only if you are moving around and cool when you sit still), I like to enjoy my greenhouse with the door closed. Again this year, I have bought some hyacinths in so that the scent permeates the space… and Spring seems a little closer than 19 days…

I hope that today you have a moment to enjoy the place you are in. I’m planning on taking my tea out, enjoying the scent of the hyacinths and dreaming of what to plant.

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