Saturday, April 28, 2007

We Interrupt This Sweater

I was inspired by a new North Van friend's mitten mission. Stolen dreams.
I have knit many mittens. Most of them kept their partners and many of them kept my children's and their little friends' hands warm with us on the playground.
Now mittens are superfluous. You can't drive with mittens, you can't walk the dog or carry groceries. At least I require gloves.
But at the rink, my daughter's teeny coach wears mittens and I was compelled to use this malabrigo for her. Figure skating is a difficult sport and there is a great need for support and understanding. This coach allows my noodle-pie to grow at her own rate. She's very special and I would love to shower her with innocent mittens.
Today the skating club picks up litter for Earth Day. I hope there is a good turn out because this teeny coach will be there to encourage them.
On other fronts, we've been having a film festival. M. Night Shayamalan. I have so much trouble with his name. But I so appreciate his careful craft. My kids decided last night that his movies are more like short stories. Isn't that insight? I was chuffed. They have grown up with my snobbish ideas about encouraging the intelligence of the audience and I think they get it.
Still non weight bearing and coughing. I feel like a hedgehog and just want to roll up into a ball. D. is finally reaching out with some hugs. He doesn't like it when I'm sick because it cramps his very busy life. So sad.
Back and fronts almost done on the diagonal sweater so I will be wading into the sleeves today. I'm a bit worried about the investment of the collar. It may be as big as another sleeve. But when I'm done this sweater, I can make another few baby sweeties and a nephew sweater.
My niece moved so her sweater came back. Ouch. Exactly the reason I must reach out to my family. Mommy lost another brother this week. Many, many aunts and uncles I never knew. Still the loss is real. We must do for family as we are able.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Symptom Management

I've found another cold. I wondered if I was (tragically) allergic to the Y pool as I was struck down last Thursday night with Strep-like symptoms. But it has (thankfully?) settled into a full blown cold. In defence this time I started on antibiotics. I can't afford to lose another month to coughing and fevers.

But what did I do with my time?
I foolishly went litter picking with my Community Band for Earth Day. Not recommended for non-weight bearing activity. But it was fun and certainly worthwhile.
We took the kids to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at the Orpheum in Vancouver. This entailed more walking and late night but what a rich and inviting concert. Stephen Hough is extraordinary. He played a lovely Brahms and our piano students were enraptured. Bramwell Tovey makes the evening so intimate. Thank-you.

Sunday was too busy with a skit at church, a meeting and our first birthday party for my 13 year old nephew. My family DOES birthdays. A little present at breakfast, your favourite supper and family for cake and coffee. My kids would have all day affairs like I did if they were smart enough to be born in the summer.
This nephew pleaded to have a cake and coffee party with family. I just about brought up a cake, but his mom caught on and he sparkled as the center of attention. He also loved the dragon we bought him.

But where is the knitting?
I finally caught up last night. I had prepared the diagonal cardigan to just pick up and begin the front. Note to self: do the first few rows before putting it down. Leave the project to begin at an easy place. Otherwise the fever-addled brain will imagine the sweater is too smart for itself and choose to read instead. Or write. I'm actually writing.

The Geometry of Love by Margaret Visser is a beautiful book of history and symbolism surrounding an early church. Almost finished that puppy.

Last night the kids and I watched M. Knight Shyamalan's The Village. We love his films and relish the first watching for it's twists. Mucho knitting. I also knit at the rink and a middle school band concert. Front done, back well under way.

I could clean house all day, attend meetings, look after children, make a wonderful supper, but I measure my day by the knitting accomplishment.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

You Just Wait

There is so much waiting in the wings right now.

My beautiful dogwood expresses it for me. In a few weeks, if the sun co-operates, he will have stunning white flowers. It is a Willie's White Wonder dogwood, developed in our own Agassiz research centre and perfectly suited to our climate.

I planted it September a year ago and spoke to a friend about missing an important duty because I was planting. Oops. He died before Christmas, so I think of this as Ian's tree.

This morning I started a very big ball rolling. Re-entry to nursing. They make it sound like I'll need a space capsule and an anti-gravity suit. This may be true.

I've checked into it before, but never when I've had such independence training to my family. D. even says he'll be taking a year off piping. It doesn't mean we'll see him more, but he won't be off piping.

So I'm serious. The librarian thing didn't work. I'm going to look at returning to nursing as a long-term care giver. That way I can have long-term relationships and give care- not just drugs. I won't go back to the hospital and you can't make me.

My Haiku is finished and sent to Stratford for a very lucky baby to be born to good friends.

Look at the buttons!! It's a good thing I take pleasure in the little things of life because the big things sure take their time finding me.
I'll just have to wait.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Rainbow Country

The powers that be have dubbed our city "Rainbow Country"
As magical as that sounds, it's a bit like celebrating "Pain Relief Wednesday"
We get a lot of rain. Usually it feeds my soul and makes our forests and gardens green. But it has been so cold again that I worry for my neglected garden. I have only been out two days. The weeding and pushing of the wheelbarrow exacerbate my painful hands so that I cannot knit.
Until last year, D. never helped in the garden. I did all the mowing until I complained about the vibrations from the blasted mower causing more hand pain. I have had a few injuries from riding and motherhood and have battled tendonitis, tenosinovitis, repetitive stress injury and burgeoning arthritis all along. My sisters are the same. We call it "turkey hand" because one sister removed her enormous home-grown turkey from the oven and couldn't release the grip. We all knew the pain.
My heel is improving. I am doing my stretches. I'm loving Aquafit and the reading time I get on the recumbant cycle. Plus the friendliness and encouragement I crave.
It doesn't matter if it's raining when I'm in the pool.
We have only one more meeting with my committee (plus and extra one I can't attend) and then a break before I join the next set in the process. We've almost completed our report.
The Haiku sweater is completed and buttons have been bought. Too cute. I need to mail it SOON.
I sent the cotton Mariah to my niece. I made it a while ago, but I wanted to give the nephews (and her) their sweaters in order of age. I hope she likes it. Noodle-pie tried to like it, but I knit too loosely and of cotton, so even though I knitted a medium to achieve a large, I ended up with an XL too big for me. That's what family is for. It's a more intricate knit than I may have attempted for my amazing niece, but I can see her wearing it as she goes to her masters in archeology classes. I hope she can feel the love for we rarely see her. I'm trying to find pictures of the cream cotton aran hoodie, but I think I finished it before I had my own camera. I'll ask D. to email it to me.
Off to the Y for some important sweating.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Vitriolic Poetry

Does it help to spew in verse. I guess so. I write it in my head even if I don't pick up a pen or, lately, a mechanical pencil. I like the less permant feel of pencil and how it links me to my first stories in Grade 1.

But I am focussing on what I CAN do.

Losing my walks meant that I had to find an alternative. I decided to go to my local Y where I was welcomed like an old friend (I am an old friend). I loved the recumant cycle - 40 minutes of reading! I missed the rowing machine and this time I didn't pull my back. So I went back after 2 days and even increased my workload. I try to go slowly, but I was such a strong youth, it 's hard for me to be an old woman.

But not so hard that I couldn't do Aquafit. Way more fun than swimming laps. I love swimming laps but I get frustrated with the old Mr. Slappy, the lane hog and Granny Dangly. It doesn't help me breathe and get into the zone to be writing petitions against seniors in the lanes.
But this aquafit is too much fun and still a challenge. I didn't know we'd get floaty belts. I was really worried about the aerobic stamina required to do deep water aerobics and my foot won't let me play in the shallow end. No worries. Get out there and play!

I ripped up the overgrown heather in the drive way this morning. Three wheelbarrows full. It was a bit too much. I bought new babies the same because they're the colour of the ones we saw on all the hillsides in Scotland. Tomorrow I"ll put them in and finish the edging (300ft) in preparation for the load of barkmulch we bid on at the Silent Auction of the skating club banquet.
Noodle Pie won a big award for field moves which means putting her skate over her head as she rushes past in different positions. Well done. Last year she won a jumping award.

Today I played flute with the Community Band. It was a challenge just to stay mentally focussed during the program for supporting out troops. Many of the older guys in our band played with the CFB Chilliwack band, back in the day (before the Liberal Government shut down our only mainland BC base). Our music flapped around and the tempos are still too fast for me. But I really feel I'm improving and they haven't kicked me out yet. I enjoy the big band music and the marches. It's so great to be playing ensemble.

We watched the Titans DVD tonight and loved it. It helped me get quite a lot more done on my diagonal sweater. I'm trying to marvel at and enjoy the construction to get me through this straight stretch. But it's hard to knit when I'm reading Anne Lamott and I never want to put it down.
Riches. Blessings. More to life than my constitutional. Lots that I can do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Say It Doesn't Bother Me

Well, it does. We've had major husband setbacks with back surgery, stroke and another (!!) car accident. I'm feeling overwhelmed by his inability to express feelings or listen to mine. If you push it all in it will just go away. No.
Add to that a very teenage daughter. At least this extra ice time and assistant coach opportunity seem to be helping with mood swings.
My best friend is in England. Boo hoo. Not that she should listen to me because she's not free from troubles, but I know she's there when she's there.

So I comfort myself. I take my vitamins and get fresh air.
Today I went to the Y for the first time in ages. I managed OK with the recumbant cycle and the rowing machine. I took it easy and I listened to my ipod. I'm hoping this setback will be the catalyst to me regaining my health and fitness (and lower weight). Tomorrow I'm going to Aquafit 1 and hope I'm fit enough for Aquafit 2. Who knows?
We used to live at the Y when the kids took swimming lessons and noodle pie was in synchronized swimming. What a beautiful sport! Too bad we had to take her out of the pool because of allergies.

Retreating to the needles, I have stocked up on book tapes and am pleased to be keeping company with a long list of baby sweaters.
When my hunky-boo was born, I had sweaters coming in from all over the country and overseas. Friends from university whom I had taught how to knit or spent time knitting with. I never realized the impact it made on them. I certainly took up knitting baby sweaters as a major task to bring love back into their lives and into the lives of family and friends. For many it's the only hand-knitting they've ever seen. (This increases my cleverness quotient greatly).
I have a sweater for myself, too, and if I'm honest, I can say that I'm selfish enough to spend some major time on something for myself. If I have to be off my feet, I may as well have something to show for it.
Then maybe it won't bother me so much.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Bit Battered

My beautiful magnolia was late blooming because of the frost. I was too gobsmacked to take a picture last week with snow. Blew me away. Now she's out in full bloom and the rain and the wind are jealous and trying to strip her of her beauty. Hold fast.

Me, I'm holding fast despite a now diagnosed plantar fasciaitis. Painful heel and instep. I'm not allowed to walk until I have had pain relief for 2 weeks. If it's not better in 2 months, I'm to go back in. Phooey. I'm glad it's not something worse, but this is a long-term and very painful problem.

I'll check out aquafit, maybe, and go back to the circuit. My poor dog. Walking is my therapy. For my mental health, my aging girth and my joints and asthma. Phooey.

So I should be able to get some writing and knitting in, eh?

Right now all my energy is going to a committee to hire someone. And the people who were supposed to hand in their part last night didn't even show up. I am concerned. Is baseball more important? I thought we were almost done! There's a second committee to hire after this one figures out the needs. Beaurocracy is alive and well and living in Sardis.

I've made some mistakes on my Haiku sweater and ripped back a few times. But I am comforted by it's basic pattern. I'll get on to the little sleeves now. Pictures to come. Embrace your mistakes for they are what give you growing pains.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Barbara Walker

I have been so pleased to see many references to Barbara Walker in the knit-internet. Her Treasury of knit patterns, mosaic knitting and top down patterns are revolutionary and rivalled only by Elizabeth Zimmerman.
But Barbara G. Walker has published extensively about female symbolism and mythology and the origins of our present culture based on matriarchal roots. I was lucky to find a copy of Crone at the Bookman, our local brilliant used book store and loved how it gathered up all the myths and stories and ideas into a cohesive account. Her Women's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects has been out of my price range, but I've seen it a few times in book stores in the states.
My dilemma is that I'm not interested in tarot. My grandmother would have said that it is evil and satanic, but she lived under the heavy yoke of a paternalistic home.
Barbara tries to explain to me that female intuition and creativity, and anything that is a threat to the male culture has been successfully maligned.
Lately I've had trouble with some people who can't have a relationship with me because they are male. They are threatened by powerful women. I 'm not powerful, I'm a housewife, but I share my skills for the good of the group.
If someone can only think within their gender, they are cancelling out more than half the population and may as well join the taliban and put me in a burkha. If I can't speak out and act with equality, why do people pretend I can?
I grew up in a house of all women- my mom and three older sisters. We were people in our home and I thought we were normal. Now I'm over forty, I just want to fight back at those who would put my daughter in a cheerleader outfit and make her lose 20 pounds.
Has no one read Reviving Ophelia?
There was a great interview in Interweave Knits a few years ago that let Barbara G. Walker discuss what she thinks is a very simple life. We are so lucky to have such a strong and brilliant woman sharing her gifts with the knitting community.
If you read "And She Knits Too!", "January One" and "Math4Knitters" you'll see, today, how these brilliant women embelish their knitting with the impartation of real knowledge.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Really Cheating

I have fallen off the wagon. We received a lovely letter thanking me the handknits and alerting us that they are only 8 weeks from delivering their long awaited #2 baby.
I have been trying to make gold out of wheat, but I just don't have the right or enough wool for baby sweaters. So I dumped a bundle at myLYC and there, I've come clean (It is lent, afterall).
This is a very soft acrylic (washable), I'd actually stretch to call it microfibre to keep away the snob in me and others. I'm making Haiku again.
I don't have enough yardage of the ones I have so I have substituted a very similar "looking" cotton blend for the stunning organic cotton that goes back in the stash. I'll make an EZ baby surprise or another Haiku. I topped up another skein of lovely slubby blue for a June baby boy in the skating club. I also bought another skein of the green malabrigo so my daughter could make her coach mittens. I'll probably end up doing quite a bit of that, too.
Then there was the denim yarn on sale. It really loves to tease me. I have trouble with the dye and the texture and the physical effort of working it, but I so badly want to make a baby jean jacket for October. That gives me lots of time.
So I'm happy with the new company I'm keeping and letting my dreams run freely through my fingers.
The narcissus aren't real, and neither is my stash diet. No calories there...yet.