Some people love to learn in a room full of people, whether it’s scrapbooking or knitting, or even child-rearing tips. Some prefer to read a good book and absorb everything at their own pace, in a cosy chair. Still others want a mix, the company of strangers who may soon become friends, and the added perspective of a good read.
If you’re a woman interested in any of these things, the Lennoxville And District Women’s Centre will set you up with like-minded folk! Start with Tuesday scrapbooking evenings. Give yourself an entré with Mary Maguire’s how-to, Scrapbooking (2004, en francais and filed in non-fiction).
Scrapbooking is a way to preserve memories, certainly – but the techniques offer much more. You can create keepsakes for your children, for the weddings of friends, for the baptisms of their young ones. Make something that is more than the sum of its parts, then place it in a frame on the wall. How about party favours? Or remember the fishing trip where the big one didn’t get away.
Or just get ideas that will keep the kids busy on a frigid day (whether they’re your own, or those of a friend you’ve invited over for company).
Or what about knitting? The centre offers courses. But to get a feel for yarn, start with Signature Knits: A Designer’s Portfolio Of Create-Your-Own Classics, by Glenora Kelly Smith (1987). It offers ideas at three different levels of difficulty.
Smith has a lot of common sense advice to offer, as well. She warns you should buy the yarn you need for a single project all at once – colours within different dye lots often come out slightly different, and that sweater might look two-toned if you’re not extra careful.
There are quite a few patterns for wraps – perfect for cold weather. But there are also halter tops (!), blouses, jackets… “Being fashionable,” Smith adds, is not following the latest fads or styles, as many people think. “It is being aware of the fashions of the times and adapting them to suit your own personality.” (You can just do just that by popping into Boutique Encore, the women’s centre-run clothing shop at 178 Queen! And yes, there are men’s clothes too.)
Senorita, hables espanol? Or would you like to? A language is built on a culture (or is it the other way around?). Give yourself a leg up in the women’s centre-sponsored class with Guides Voir Espagne (2005). And practice your French at the same time, with this French-language guide to Spain.
There’s history, politics, bullfighting, Picasso and a quick rundown on the country’s four official languages. There’s even a section on birding.
Are you a mom looking for an excuse to hang out with other mothers and talk about raising kids (or perhaps about the last book you read, whether it was a rhyming four-page stubby cardboard square that you want to recommend, or the latest Margaret Atwood)? Hey, why don’t do that at the centre’s twice-weekly playgroup (Tuesday and Thursday mornings). Bring a few toys, too – that’ll keep the kids from getting bored while the grown-ups have a gabfest.
First-time parents may want to flip through Complete Baby And Childcare: Everything You Need To Know For The First Five Years, by Dr. Miriam Stoppard (2006). There’s all kinds of medical and health information here about what’s normal in babies. For example, newborn boys can produce milk from their breasts for a short while, because of the whoosh of hormones produced by mom during childbirth. Yes, it’s completely normal!
And jaundice – yellow skin – is also normal within the first few days of birth, though very short-term. (Longer term? Contact a doctor.) There’s even a suggested way of helping junior get his penis unstuck from a zipper. But no, there’s no magic solution – yes, it’s going to hurt.
There’s a lot here about how to raise a child, also. Remember that every doctor and every social worker and every parent has a different idea of what’s right for a child when it comes to education, to punishment and reward, to socialization and mental health. Talk to people, read up, including opposing views, then do what you think is best for you and for your child.
Philosopher and counsellor John Bradshaw became a big name on PBS television with his own approach. Bradshaw On The Family: A Revolutionary Way Of Self-Discovery (1988) features an introduction by comedian Carol Burnett. The book focuses on wounded adults, and how to heal (from a childhood with alcoholic parents, abuse or dysfunction), in order to give their children the kind of happy family life that eluded them.
Interested in any of these books? Pop by the Lennoxville Library.
Thinking of attending LDWC events? There are also sewing, cooking, painting, and other classes being offered. Call them at 819-564-6626 to register or for more info (a membership is $10 and their office reopens Jan. 5); you can also check out ldwc.ca for more about what the centre offers.
The women’s centre isn’t the only organization offering courses – on crafting or otherwise. Check out the Tierra del Fuego community centre (at 19 Church Street, and also on Facebook), the Foreman Gallery (on the Bishop’s University campus), and even the Uplands centre on Speid Street, that offers special events and the occasional course. Or take classes at Bishop’s or Champlain College, or through the Eastern Townships School Board. The city offers courses, too… There’s lots out there to do this new year.
And guys, you, too, can read up on fun things like knitting, childcare, language and culture. Or woodworking, exercise, history… Just pop into the Lennoxville Library and ask. How easy is that? And we make it even easier: A library membership is free to anyone who lives anywhere in the city of Sherbrooke.
– Eleanor Brown, Jan. 3, 2014