The enigma of the Lost Peacock

When migration instincts fail

I had awoken to a horrific sound.

Peacock.wavCall of Peacock. 20.80 sec.

It took me a few minutes to discern what { or who? } could emit such a disturbance. It was loud and it was nigh!

A few years earlier my neighbor owned a cockatoo which he took outside {with clipped wings no doubt} and allowed it to perch in the oak tree in the back lane. It screeched without restraint until the bird was finally taken indoors by it’s reviled owner.  But alas this was not the sound of any species remotely related to the cockatoo.

This, my friends was a peacock. A female peacock at that, as it had no superfluous plumage. It had a beautiful iridescent head, neck and and breast and was adorned with an ebullient sapphire blue, tiara. Its wings were very precisely like its cousin, the pheasant with a spattering of orange fringing the wing tips.

There  it was standing on my fence, just outside my bedroom window! and I was clever enough to grab my camera.

Through my bedroom window I saw the buxom varmint, and it seemed to be contemplating the potentiality of taking up residence in my garden! It looked as much in its element as out.

It screeched its plaintive ruckus for some time. It sounded worried.  It seemed to me, that  it was calling to its mate or compadre, or its sister or to any kindred, feathered spirit that was near. Although it is said that peacocks cannot fly, it sailed its way to my neighbors roof, then to mine, then to another and another, until the sound of its cries  had grown faint and phantasmal.

Before I went to work I called the Zoo. It was indeed an escapee. A jail-bird trying to make a better life for itself outside the confines of the park. They {the Zoo-keeper} seemed not be too distressed by my call, I think the peacocks of the Assiniboine Zoo  frequently bolt in the spring when something in the wind coerces them to become drifters. The last remnant of instinct inviting them to embrace liberty.

I recently churned out another screen print. For some strange reason birds and elephants seem to keep appearing in my drawings and prints and apparently they are a recurring theme in my imagination as well.

This regal bird found a pretty spot to roost n’est pas? It’s next perch could be at your house. Who knows.

“resplendent enigma”, ~ Silk Screen by Karin Aldinger ~ April 18, 2011


How to resist the urge to suppress a chortle when the yarn tag says “Virgin Wool”

Virgin Wool or Wanton Wool

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Wolseley Wool for my Sock Knitting Class where, 8 women, and 1 man (our instructor) were working on the heel section of our sock project. The conversation shifted and turned in many directions during the course of the evening until the queer topic of virgin wool emerged.

Well if you don’t already know Virgin wool is: “Well, it’s very simple really. Virgin wool is wool which has not been used before by anyone other than the sheep.” To most of us this is not a relevant antecedent, however the handmade revolution is adopting and utilizing this designation afresh when woolen items are up-cycled into new garments or whatchamacallits. The other side of the coin is, that identifying wool as “virgin wool” is old school and therefore well established yarn manufacturers continue (or rather persist) on using the term to identify fiber sheared from say sheep (vs. cashmere or mohair from goats, quiviut from muskoxen, vicuna, alpaca and camel, or angora from rabbits) and twisted into yarn for weaving or knitting.

In many instances I’ve noticed that the idiom “virgin” is dropped entirely, at least this is my experience when foraging through yarn at the wool store and studying yarn tag facts.

A daydream unfurled in my mind, I glimpsed numerous shades of chaste sheep bouncing over a white picket fence. So many that  I was unable to keep count. Then the haze unclouded and I saw a spattering of fleecy virgin sheep grazing serenely in a pasture among an equal quantity of non virgin sheep. Suddenly all the typical nouns earmarking non virgins flew around in my head: floozies, floosies, trollop, slut, strumpet, tart and tramp – to name a few. It presented a humorous apparition and I immediately saw a farcical skit unfolding.

Picture a pastoral scene of a sheep farm, it’s sheep shearing season and the farmer/sheepherder (whatever they’re called) – he or she is attempting to ascertain which of her sheep are the virgins because virgin wool is the big seller at the market. Suddenly the overall notion of virgin wool went  from a mute to a loquacious status in my mind.

Perhaps we have to move into the 21st century with our glosses on tags. In the meantime all we can do is snigger at the antediluvian practices of yarn spinners/manufactures. I hope they’re laughing too as they hunker down on sheep shearing operations this spring. I will say this that if someday I find a tag that says “Licentious Wool” I’m going to give it a try. Discrimination be dammed.

Gift certificates are a 27/63 bust

Serendipity – priceless!

I worked retail, I know that when people buy gift certificates the odds are partial to the retailer from the getgo. Gift certificate sales are a brilliant opportunity to take money straight to the bank. To be clear the retailer is selling zip. It’s true you do get either a piece of plastic with a bar-code, or you might get a gift enclosure detailing specific terms for the product or service with a reference number scratched in the corner, which you trust will save you should the card be mislaid. It’s hardly a chimerical gift however its rapidly becoming the gift of choice. It’s a proxy gift and you had better hold on to it.  Put it in a “secure” place. If you’re a scatterbrain like me, I suggest telling someone where this “secure place” is.

You see the moment the G.C. is in your possession all bets are off. It could be permanently consigned to oblivion at a moments notice. Retailers are able to sit on these funds for months without having to apply the sale to a product or service – it’s the perfect sale. They’re counting on 2 things: misplacement or loss and therefore expiration – they want it to be an invalid/obsolete transaction. Last year $8 million dollars worth of gift certificates were lost, 27 % remain unused, yet they continue to rise in popularity*.

I have to ask you, how many gift certificates have you misplaced? never found? or found too late ? They seem to simply vanish into thin air!  There are hundreds, conceivably thousands of G.C.’s that get buried inside Christmas wrapping or birthday card envelopes or mysteriously filed or wedged between paid bills however, I have yet to hear of a G.C. turning up in the trash or the recycling bin despite the inevitable  garbage picking frenzy which occurs in every home several times per year.

Today I spent the greater part of my morning looking for you guessed it, a gift certificate.  It was for my hair salon, my sister had given it to me for Christmas. I looked high and I looked low. I went through sundry papers, files, bureaus and closets. I looked through handbags, coat pockets, books, sock and underwear drawers, baskets and rubber-maids. I even looked through Christmas CD cases. Then for some bizarre reason I looked inside my “fake” book (which is essentially a box), which has up until now not been used for anything but random odds and sods. Bingo! Inside was an envelope! I hastened to open it. It was a fricking gift certificate! However it was not the one that I had searched for. Instead it was a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure which my daughters had given me for Christmas in 2009! The expiration date said December 2010. Rats! it was expired by 2 months! I was neither thwarted nor derailed. I had nearly given up hope of finding this. (For the record, several bombed quests were executed to find this G.C. within the last year.) Finding  another card was sheer brilliance on my part. My foraging had conjured up a must have for recuperation of some variation. In an instant I was on the phone calling the salon to see if there was any chance that I could still redeem the manicure and pedicure despite the glaring expiration date. YESSSSSS! The galaxies had abruptly re-aligned and were providing me with pithy proof that there is a Gift Certificate God. At the end of the day I’m still out one gift certificate however, I’m really looking forward to my mani/pedi appointment next week. As for the errant G.C.? I’m pretty confident the stars will once again resolve to configure for another C.G. spotting. Have faith my friends.


Cream Puff Assignment

Fear of Birthdays or Whipped Cream ?

There’s another birthday on the horizon, for all of us (Deo Volente). My birthday daydream includes noshing on heavenly confections and quaffing  chilled champagne with family and friends. I highly recommend saluting your transitory day in this way each and every year. The albatross is not the overindulging, nor is it the terror of weight procurement, but the idea of facing our own mortality as another chapter of our lives is on the verge of being written. The  opening lines of the chronicles are poignantly punctuated with a resounding “Happy Birthday to you!” Make it easy on yourself from this day forward, prepare for jollification well in advance. Let loose when your day dawns. Rid your mind of any notion of paltry behavior. Birthday’s are the time to live large and glow bright. Celebrate who you are and what you have accomplished vs. not yet attained. Whether you are a friend, a lover or a long-standing friend,  be blithe, be mirthful for your birthday is not far-flung. Birthday’s are not rescue missions, we’re not looking for proof of life but rather,  for everyone to officiate the celebration with gusto!

Last year I made cream puffs crammed full of crème pudding , clouds of whipped cream, and smothered in a dark chocolate glaze. This year may yield a blueberry cheesecake, a  deep dark, melt in your mouth, Sacher Torte or a strawberry fool.  In any event, I recommend that you subtract at least 35 (or more) candles so that you can tackle  the  exhale when the time comes to extinguish the dazzling blaze. There’s no need to have a fear of lavish behavior. Spin the fracas into a euphonious song!

Sprinting with Noro and Java

I’m in Ictus

Evanescent Manoeuvrings on size 8 needles


Just putting it out there that there’s been a humdinger’ of a K1, YO, K2 happening  over here! Knitters spend a lot of time having love affairs with wool. The options are unremitting when surveying the myriad of kaleidoscopic yarns in the inner sanctum the Wool Shrine (aka your friendly neighborhood Wool  Repository). “Feel me! Buy me! Try me!” So much wool, so little time. Well the day job chomps its way into prime time knitting hours however there’s always nightfall, which in Winter-peg is currently 5:13 p.m. This is when yarn binging  generally occurs. These days I’m in ictus. In a transient state – as I am  memorized by a Noro yarn and can’t stop myself from recklessly knitting up a little sumptin’ sumptin’ .  I recently   discovered the “fagot stitch”. No guff this is what it’s called and frankly, fagoting can  rouse zeal in a knitter. There’s a beautiful rhythm to this stitch, primarily from the point of view of the continental knitter. I’m a speed daemon. I love it and quite frankly I’m hooked. I recommend a cupla’ mugs of Kick Ass Coffee to jolt you into high gear!

Shown here: Noro Yarn, Made in Japan, Chirimen:  60% Cotton/24% Silk /16 % Wool