Thursday, 11 July 2013

Bee Stings - What to do

I was out working in the garden today and got stung.  I didn’t even see what it was.  There were no bees, or wasps that I could see in the area.  I’m always very careful to give them their space.  No one likes getting stung and some people are very allergic.  If you are one of those unfortunate people, follow your doctor’s instructions and get to an emergency room right away if needed. If not, here’s a tip.

So what do you do with a bee sting or wasp bite, or any other critter for that matter?  First of all get some vinegar on it. We use cotton balls and soak them with white vinegar and apply the cotton ball directly to the affected area.  This works really well. (It has something to do with the toxins being the base and the vinegar being the acid, so I’m told by my husband, the hazmat guru.  It doesn’t matter to me how it works, I just know that it does.) It takes the sting out and helps reduce swelling.  Secondly, I always take an anti-histamine as well.  It helps with any of the other reactions.

What do you do when you are on a motorcycle in the middle of nowhere and you get stung? Pull over as quickly as is safe to do so.  Get your vinegar on the sting spot right away. (If you’re not sure of the exact spot, the general area will work too)  We carry vinegar soaked cotton balls in an old film case on the bike at all times. We also usually have some dissolving anti-histamines so we don’t have to worry about having water all the time. (I use Claritin, but I'm sure all the brands are good). Having these small items in all your vehicles would be a great idea too. You never know when you’re going to get bitten or stung. Bugs don’t care if you’re in a car, on a motorcycle, riding a horse or camel. They just bite!

I got stung last summer right at the helmet line at the temple on the side of my face.  We pulled over right away and I got the vinegar on and the anti-histamine in.  In about 10 minutes the stinging had really eased down to not much of anything, thankfully.  I was very concerned about swelling so close to my eye. One can’t ride a motorcycle with a swollen eye affecting your eyesight! Like always, it worked like a charm and I had very little swelling in a small area.

If you don’t have these items on your possession and wonder what to do.  My daughter was stung right on the upper lip, poor thing. And on the Friday of a long-weekend no less. We didn’t have any vinegar with us, but we were only about 4 miles from a McDonald’s Restaurant.  We high tailed it for McDonalds.  I ran in and got some napkins and some vinegar packets.  We put that on as soon as we could get it poured onto the napkins.  It helped a bit, but we were a bit late.  We also didn’t have any anti-histamines with us, so we used Advil.  Any anti-inflammatory will help with the swelling, but not any of the other reactions that may be possible.

Of course none of this is designed to deter you from doctor’s orders or advice by any means. But whatever you can do for yourself at home without medical attention the better.  And on the road it’s a must. Medical services and restaurants aren’t always handy when you’re travelling. 

If you are unfortunate and get stung, try this method.  It really works.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Ed Pretty - Wood Artist

Let me introduce you to an outstanding artist, Ed Pretty.  I love his work, all of it, always have and always will.  Unfortunately because the medium he uses was a trade for many years most people still consider it a craft rather than art. It seems that most people don’t view something as art unless it hangs on a wall.  Hogwash! I say. 

The type of artist I’m speaking of is a “Wood Artist” or “Woodturner.”  Woodturning is most commonly known for making spindles, table legs, salad bowls, that sort of thing.  Only recently is it starting to be considered as an art form rather than just a craft.  If you don’t believe me, check out the instant gallery at any of the AAW (American Association of Woodturners) symposiums to see for yourself.

Ella's Slotted Spoon

One of Ed’s first turned pieces was for his mother Ella.  She needed a new handle for her slotted spoon, so Ed made one for her.  He recalls he was about nine years old at the time.  That's just a few years ago :)
My first little vase 1997
My first little bowl 1998

I remember the first turning I received from Ed.  It was back in 1997 as a Christmas gift when we were working together.  I was lucky enough to get one the following year as well.  I love these little pieces, they still sit proudly on a shelf in the bedroom.

Ed was getting bored with “round and brown” as he puts it, so he started coloring wood to enhance its natural beauty, not cover it up.  He uses dies rather than paints or stains on most of his pieces.  Painting will cover up the wood completely.  Stains sit on top of the grain, which isn’t an undesirable trait depending on your goal.

Wedding Ring Holder

He made a lovely colored bowl for a very special occasion in July 2002.  His wedding.  It is a lovely burgundy color piece that has been enhanced by “lime-waxing” making it a combination of burgundy and white.  Inside there are satin ring slots. The young fellow, his step-son, who was his ring bearer carried this piece instead of the traditional small pillow. It also has a “special” spot in his house.

The “That’s Not Leaving the House Collection” was born when Ed made a gift for a friend.  He calls it “Harmony.”  It has become his signature piece.  It is a combination of round and square, black and white, large and small, old and new.  It is a lovely piece thwarting all traditional woodturning techniques and styles.  His wife liked it so much she said, “You’ll have to make something else for a gift, that’s not leaving the house.” Thus the collection was born.  It increases on a regular basis. His newest piece is struggling to make it to the gallery and not become part of this rare collection.  He told his wife that if it sells, it’s a cruise.  How can you argue with that logic? :)

Rag Time side 1
Rag Time side 2
Ed’s work has progressed over the years and is now something of a marvel.  I’m still amazed at his most recent work.  Having been there during the progression, I’ve become a large part of the idea, or brainstorming, phase for his newest pieces. Ideas and inspiration come from the strangest places and at all times convenient or not, doesn’t matter. Sometimes it’ll be on a cruise from a liquor bottle, or at a restaurant from a salt shaker on the table.  Of course there is always the middle of the night “Light-bulb” or “Aha” moments that Ed thankfully keeps to himself.

Rag Time side 3
In case you’re wondering how I happen to know about these middle of the night events, I guess I should tell you that Ed is my husband. I didn’t forget to mention it, I chose to wait until now to give it more of a punch, so to speak. I also didn’t want you to think I was biased or anything. :)

In keeping with the theme that art isn’t art unless it’s hanging on the wall, Ed now puts some of his work on the wall.  What else is a guy to do?  Some of these pieces are the most intriguing of all.  At his show in November 2012, the wall pieces were the first to sell.  I think this method is going to continue into something exciting.  Stay tuned.

Nemo Corners the Convict Fish

If you’d like to have a closer look at more of Ed’s work.  Check out his website. Ed's Woodturning You’ll find it quite amazing I assure you. He also does commission pieces. If you are interested in learning to turn, he also does instruction in his shop at our home here in Langley, BC.

You can also view his work at the “Circle Craft Store & Gallery” Circle Craft Store & Gallery

If you’re a Facebook member, you can join our group called “Ed’s Woodturning” or like us on Facebook at “Ed Pretty – Wood Artist” 

What does the future hold?  Who knows?  We are always searching for new galleries and shows; getting the word out there and informing the public about woodturning as an art form, not just salad bowls and spindles. For the record, I don’t have one single salad bowl in the house, but I do have a lot of “Wood Art” and hope to keep it that way for many years to come.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Maybe God Wanted us to Meet the Wrong People

Maybe God wanted us to meet the wrong people before
meeting the right one so that when we finally meet the
right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

Maybe when the door of happiness closes, another
opens, but often times we look so long at the closed
door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.

Maybe the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit
on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then
walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

Maybe it is true that we don't know what we have got
until we lose it, but it is also true that we don't
know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Giving someone all your love is never an assurance
that they will love you back. Don't expect love in
return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but
if it doesn't, be content it grew in yours.

It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an
hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but
it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for
wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes
 you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day 
    seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

There are moments in life when you miss someone so
much that you just want to pick them from your dreams
and hug them for real. Dream what you want to dream;
go where you want to go; be what you want to be,
because you have only one life and one chance to do
all the things you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet,
enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to
keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.

Always put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that
it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best
of everything; they just make the most of everything
that comes along their way.

Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt,
those who have searched, and those who have tried, for
only they can appreciate the importance of people who
have touched their lives.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear.

The brightest future will always be based on a
forgotten past, you can't go on well in life until you
let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone
around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die, you are the one
who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Three Eleven (3:11) - A Lifelong Connection

Mom and I about 1975
            Mom and I had a special relationship, on a very unique level.  She had the ability to sense when I was in trouble and needed her.  Not in the traditional mother’s intuition way that all mothers have with their children.  This was different and far deeper than that, or perhaps even higher.  There was no doubt it was on a different level.  It was not uncommon for the line to be busy when we called each other as we were both trying to make contact at exactly the same time.

            The time that stands out the most in my mind, even today, occurred when I was about 12 years old.  I was working downtown as a dishwasher at a restaurant.  My friend, Michelle and I worked there together on Saturday nights.  That was something that our parents insisted on, that we be together if we were to work until 3 a.m. which was standard closing time for restaurants in that day.  It was Michelle’s turn to arrange the ride home and we were to stay at her place.  Our boss said his good-byes, locked the door behind us and headed for home believing that we were well looked after.  Well, as fate would have it, her brother, our ride, was a “no-show”.  There we were two 12 year old girls stranded in town at 3 in the morning.  We found the nearest phone booth and frantically called Michelle’s house hoping to fine someone at home.  The phone only rang and rang with no answer.  The only other people out on the street at that time of the morning were, well, let’s just say, not upstanding citizens.  It was scary for both of us, but we tried to be tough and decide what we were going to do.  So we started walking, what else could we do?  My house was the closest, only 4 miles away.  Off we went, with no particular route in mind, walking as quickly as our feet would take us after an 8 hour shift of being on those same feet.  Of course, we had to maintain our tough and yet cool appearance for the benefit of those people out at that time of night, despite the fact that we were terrified.

            We had walked a short distance, when I saw a pick up truck coming towards us on the highway.  It looked strangely familiar.  I didn’t say anything to Michelle, but thought silently, “It can’t be.” The closer the truck got to us, the surer I was.  It was Mom.  She pulled into the first driveway she could find and we got in.  Michelle and I were in disbelief, along with being relieved to be safe.  We thought that someone from her family had to have called and told my Mom that they couldn’t make it. But that’s where we were wrong and I was about to hear the most profound statement from my Mother.  “I woke up and just knew that you needed a ride.  I got in the truck and started driving, and here I am.”  No questions asked, no doubting it to be true, it just had to be, and luckily for me, she was right.

            Well the years passed and I was in my early twenties when Mom and I made a promise to each other.  There are a lot of promises made in one’s lifetime, but I don’t think any can match the promise that we made to each other that day, years ago, for being, well, just plain weird.  We promised that whoever was to die first was to attempt to make contact from the other side.  Some may think this a strange promise to make.  To be honest, at the time I did too.  This came about after Mom and I read the book “Phone Calls From the Dead” by D. Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless.  I’m sure not many of you have ever read it, or even heard of it, but it is exactly as the title describes; factual and documented accounts of spirits making contact with family members and friends from beyond within days of their passing, using electrical devices, such as phones and appliances.  The theory is that this can be accomplished because of the electrical energy contained in the spirit.

            More than a few years had passed since our promise when my Mother became very ill after caring for my Father, who had Alzheimer’s. She was in hospital for a few months and passed away on January 12, 2001.  My Father was still living, if you could call it that.  He was also in hospital suffering from the final affects of his disease.  We were now into the end of March and the final moment was only days away.  My sister, Louise, came into town to be there when Dad passed.  We were both waiting for some kind of sign from Mom to indicate that Dad was on his way.  Even Louise knew that Mom and I had a connection on a very spiritual level.  Days passed and nothing.  The nurses at the hospital kept saying “any time now” day after day and still Dad was hanging on.

            One night while I was sleeping I heard my Mother’s voice call me, the she used to when I was a child.  I woke up and looked at the clock on my bedside table.  It read 3:11 a.m.  Of course being awake, I now had to use the bathroom.  When I came back to bed I glanced over at my husband’s clock and it also read 3:11 a.m.  The date was April 1.  When I awoke in the morning I mentioned this to Louise and Ed.  The three of us concluded that this had to be a message and that Dad would pass at 3:11, we just weren’t sure which 3:11, a.m. or p.m. or which day.  We were at the hospital as always at 3:11 and Dad was far worse, but still hanging on.  Again the nurses said “any time now” and we went home for the night.

            The next day, Dad was still hanging on.  We were there as always at 3:11 and there was really no change.  After 2 days and no other signs we believed that the 3:11 was just a coincidence and meant nothing at all.  We, again, headed home for the night with the nurses saying “any time now.”

            The next day, April 3, Louise and I headed for the hospital in the morning as always.  We got there about 8:30, only to find that Dad was still hanging on and there still seemed to be no change.  Louise then said to me, “What if the 3:11 was to be April 3rd at 11?”  We had a giggle over that and went on with our day.  We headed out for breakfast making sure that the nurses had my cell phone number.  We were driving between errands when my cell phone rang.  I looked at the clock on the dash and it read 11:11.  It was the nurse and she stated we better get back as soon as we could, that Dad was going downhill fast.  We called our families to let them know, so they could get there in time.  Dad passed away at 11 minutes to 3 on April 3rd.  After taking care of the details that go with a family member passing we headed for home.  When we were pulling out of the parking lot, I glanced down at the clock on the dash of my car, and it read 3:11.  Louise and I were shocked, yet not totally surprised.  So Mom’s sign to me was very vague, but never the less a sign, and it didn’t come easily.  There had to be a challenge to it, and a puzzle.  That was just like her…