The sight of a bald eagle reminder of local beauty

Ellen Emery

During the past few months, there have been numerous articles read and television segments watched that promote mediation and relaxation through crafting.

Each time I hear the segment lead in or read a newspaper headline, I am drawn to the subject thinking perhaps I will learn new ways to relax.

Then as I listen or read further, I smile with each article knowing full well crafting is definitely not my method of relaxing.

Newspaper articles have shown quilts made during this pandemic and amazing handiwork as true artists stitch together patterned creations.

There was a time I attempted to sew.

My mother-in-law patiently taught me how to crochet and make numerous Christmas tree ornaments.

One year, each family member received a hand-crocheted afghan.

Each was difficult for me with every stitch thought about and counted.

And I will admit, each item I created would never have been purchased in a craft show.

And not one item I worked on brought a bit of relaxation.

Watertown Daily Tines reporter Chris Brock shared an article featuring many individuals who had taken up new endeavors during the pandemic.

Some of the same activities he mentioned in his article were included on a program combining crafting with relaxation.

A skilled quilter from Carthage began to make masks for people who needed them in the community.

My sewing days ended some time ago.

Each item I attempted to put together was painful for me.

I would use the sewing machine, thread needles, cut material and worked diligently to make one item.

It was not relaxing at all.

In fact, sewing for me was most stressful.

I noticed a cat mask that a good friend was wearing.

When I mentioned it, the woman from Massena took the time to make one for me to wear.

I absolutely love the hand-stitched mask that displays our feline friends including an orange figure similar to our Tigger.

What fun.

Putting on the mask made by a friend brought relaxation.

“Crafting is the new meditation,” was the segment title for a morning television program.

I watched with interest thinking it might be fun to learn about a new craft that I could actually meditate on while doing.

The woman sharing crafts (in her craft room) told viewers we could make crafts to encourage relaxation.

She first told us we could paint or draw or perhaps color to music.

As most of you probably know, there is an artist in our family, a talented artist.

Our youngest son, Gregg, is actually an artist-in-residence at Governor’s Island in New York City at this moment.

This columnist is not an artist.

Any attempts at drawing or painting to music would bring frustrations — just the thought of this process brings concern.

And then I thought about music — music brings relaxation.

Music with no crafting involved!

Perhaps my activity of relaxation will be in creating a playlist by which to relax Just a thought.


Listening to CKON radio last week, Reen Cook and (I believe) Dalton discussed the playlists of listeners.

If I understood it correctly, listeners can submit their playlist for use in playing music during the day.

I smiled thinking about what might be on my playlist.

I have a feeling my playlist would never be selected for actually playing on air.

Have you ever thought what might be included on your own playlist?

The music of Massena’s James C. Phillips would be my top selection.

I enjoy hearing organ music, Louie Armstrong, the voice of Andre Bocelli, Josh Groban, Roger Mitchell, Michael Bublé, the Massena High School Jazz Ensemble and, of course, Elvis Presley.

All bring relaxation and less stress to my life.

And for that I am most grateful.


I was utterly shocked as I listened to the discussion about a playlist to learn CDs are now obsolete.

When I thought about it, I guess others have playlists on their phones.

I have CDs in my purse and in the car.

We have vinyl records in our home, too.

I treasure the 45 records recorded by local artist Peter Jock.

I played his song just recently; the words spoke to my heart.

Peter sings, “all this hate we don’t need.”

I think that was recorded in 1982.

What amazing, touching words these are that are still meaningful today and what beautiful music.

I will continue to play my CDs, but I am grateful for music on YouTube.

I must admit that most of the Jim Phillips music I listen to is found on YouTube since the CDs I have of his are Christmas music.

Perhaps my next learning activity will be to create a playlist.


Bruce Truax will celebrate his birthday Friday.

What a fine gentleman — always there for family members and friends.

He is always there when there is a repair to be taken care of, always making sure everything is in working order.

He also can make an excellent pot of coffee.

I am sure your wife, Gini, your family and many friends will join me today in wishing you a wonderful birthday.

Have a great day, Bruce.

You deserve only the best as you celebrate this year.



How wonderful it was to see Art McGee at Western Door on Sunday morning.

I haven’t seen this terrific gentleman in some time.

Although Art was attending to a customer nearby, we exchanged masked greetings.

It was marvelous to see Art and hear his friendly wishes, which always mean a great deal.

Isn’t the north country a marvelous place to live, purchase gas on a Sunday morning and be able to visit briefly with a caring gas attendant?

I certainly think so!


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

— Albert Einstein

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