Thursday, November 28, 2013

My Grandma

Hello blog readers,

I'm writing today's post with a heavy heart.  Tuesday night we got word that my dear Grandma Sirkka passed away.  I've mentioned her quite a few times here on the blog, she was my knitting Grandma who has always been my hero in both crafting and life in general.  
She was born in Finland in 1923, the oldest of 5 children and grew up on a farm where she learned how to make most of the things she would ever need or want by hand.  She survived both the Winter War and WWII, which for any of you who are familiar with history would know was pretty horrific in Finland, and worked in a factory right out of high school while the men were at war.  She married a handsome Finn who looked like Ricky Riccardo in 1946, and in 1951 she left her entire family and immigrated to Canada as a young wife and mother with her husband and young son while pregnant with my Aunt.  She had to learn new languages and customs in this country, Polish being her first language because that was the community they first moved to in Quebec.  One of the ways she would learn the words was by looking at the pictures on the cans at the grocery store.  They moved to our island when my Mom was 10 months old, and settled down permanently in one of the little towns. 
Grandma would sew and knit for her family as well as cook and bake delicious meals.  She was an amazingly creative woman who could look at a picture in a magazine and either sew or knit the object without any patterns or instructions, and they came out looking exactly like, or even prettier than the picture.  Her knitting was legendary.  To this day, people still remember my Mom for all the beautiful sweaters she would wear that Grandma knit for her. 
She never wasted anything.  After the clothing she had sewn had worn out, she would take the fabric and turn them into pillow covers or patchwork quilts.  I remember her telling me how when she was a young girl she knit herself a one piece bathing suit and when she grew too tall for it, she cut it apart around the middle, stitched it up on the ends and turned it into a bikini!  She has inspired all of us by her creativity and resourcefulness and to this day we each apply things we learned from her in our everyday lives. 
She was the dictionary definition of sisu: which is determination, perseverance, and courage among many other things.  Here's a partial explanation of what sisu means taken from a Finnish survey done in March and May 2013:
 Among the main findings was the perception of sisu as a reserve of power, which enables extraordinary action to overcome mentally or physically challenging situations (rather than being the ability to pursue long-term goals and be persistent). To elaborate on the function of sisu: it is a powerful psychological potential which enables the individual to tap into mental strength beyond their pre-conceived resources. Wielding sisu in the face of adversity helps individuals push through what first seemed like the boundaries of their mental or physical capacities. Furthermore, sisu is an action mindset which equips the individual to choose to take on challenges beyond their observed capacities. It provides the final empowering push when we would otherwise hesitate to act.  Sisu can be conceptualized as taking action against the odds.
She was so brave and courageous.  Impossible was not a word in her vocabulary.  To her, you could do or make anything if you put your mind and will to work.  She didn't back down from challenges, but rather met them head on and persevered.  She was strong, determined, brave, funny, giving, tender-hearted, steadfast in her faith, and talented beyond belief.  She will always be remembered as one amazing lady and I hope that one day I will become even half the woman she was.
She is going to be greatly missed by us all, but she will live on through our memories, the knitting that we do, her projects that we still have today, and through the people we have all become from her influence on our lives. 

xoxox, R

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I am Thankful for this precious little girl.  She is one of the biggest joys in my life.
xoxox, R

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Beginning of Holiday Planning

Hello blog readers,

Today is a bit cloudy, but the sun is still shining through.  That's one thing I find great about this tropical weather, it's not usually cloudy or grey for long periods of time.  I heard that at home they've had some rather wild weather - snow, wind, rain, etc.  I'm very glad we are here and not there right now.

Our time with my sister visiting has been going great!  We've had fun catching up, swimming in the pool, watching Christmas movies, etc.  Girl time is always a good thing.  And now S and her husband are going to be coming down for Christmas!  We are beyond excited about that.  I've always wanted to spend Christmas in a tropical place so this is like a dream come true for me.  Mom and I are going to have fun planning the menus, we've already been chatting about it over tea this morning. 

I need to get working on my Christmas gift list soon, although I'm cutting way back this year, we all are, which is a good thing.  It makes Christmas much less stressful.  And this year I'd like Christmas to be a happy and stress-free holiday, as it should be, with emphasis on the real Reason for the season and not all the do, do, do that usually takes over.  We are thinking simple and laid back.  It will be a nice break from what it has been the last few years. 

Have any of you started your holiday planning yet?  I think I'm a little late this year, but it's better late then never, right?

xoxoxo, R

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What Seems Like Forever

Hello dear blog readers!!

I have been meaning to post so many times over the last couple of weeks.  I had this great plan to write every day to document a trip I was taking, and I dreamed of how interesting and fun it would be to share the whole thing right here on the blog. happened and I never did get to do that, so here I am. 

My Mom and I, and sweet little Emmie the Yorkie, decided to come to Florida for the winter this year to relax and to help with my health.  We had originally rented a condo, but due to some very loud construction at that place, we are now moved in to a lovely home.  Since our move was a last minute change of plans, we had to do some accommodating to make everything work.  This house is only available till the end of December, and then we have to move again to another house that is on an island just a few minutes away for the rest of our stay.  That house is directly on the beach, and as those of you who know me would know, I am beyond thrilled about that!!  This house has a pool, and that house has the ocean, so it's the best of both worlds.  At first the whole thing seemed like one big mistake, but now I see that God worked it all out so that it would be the very best for us. 

We are just taking it easy, and doing lots of relaxing and recovering, which is exactly what the doctor ordered.  I kind of feel like I'm on hiatus from my real life, and it's rather fun.  I've always wanted to escape my life at home for a while and experience something new and different, so I am very blessed to be able to actually do that right now.  Trust me, I know I am a very, very lucky girl.  God and my parents have been so good to me and I am truly very grateful.

Today my sister is flying down to spend a week with us, which will be wonderful.  Even though we haven't been gone quite three weeks yet, we have been missing home a bit.  I especially miss my dear Mr. Bingley, but we have a sweet house-sitter and her mother who are taking good care of him and Mittens and giving them lots of extra love and attention.  Her mother wrote us the other day to say that Bing was enjoying some cuddle time with her, and that he had helped himself to the treat bag while she was out!  I'm glad to know he is still up to his old tricks and that he is settling in well with them both. 

Well, I should go and get myself ready to head to the airport soon.  I will try to get back into a regular posting schedule in the near future.  I will have to start doing some more interesting things other than reading so that I will have something to write about!

xoxox, R