Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This, Too Shall Come To Pass

The temperature dropped about 5 degrees on my walk this morning. The rain turned to ice and this view of the shrouded mountains turned to this:

No mountains. That's looking east- toward Hope. I was supposed to drive through the Coquihalla pass this morning to my sister's ranch in Kamloops. But the pass has a snow warning and I have no chains or experience in that type of apocalypse.

We have had spring-like weather for a few weeks. I walked on the Chilliwack River Rotary Trail (part of the Trans Canada Trail) yesterday with sunshine, a nursing friend and two very happy dogs.

Today, Carly was solo and loving the rain and wind and ice. Good Labrador.

So I have a snow day. I hope to finish the Haiku's last sleeve and sew her together. Unfortunately that takes away great travel knitting. I can work on the back of my aubergine Bristow while I visit with my spinning niece and her favourite fibre store.

My sister is probably getting all the horses to shelter now. It's supposed to be done by tomorrow, and the roads will be plowed.

Emily is travelling down to Idaho for the Jazz Festival and will be back on Sunday. This is a really crazy trip with amazing musicians. She is competing only with the Vocal Jazz and has a great scat solo. They sing quite a bit of Michael Buble arrangements which is good because he is a local boy. The opportunity to leave the boys to fend for themselves will hopefully not be lost.

Tomorrow is another day. But I have this one to waste now.

ETA: (whimper)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Forecast: Showers

I've been invited to a baby shower for next Sunday. I knew this was coming and even considered hosting it myself, but with my current schedule in limbo... I just bobbed along until it found me.
Out comes the binder of baby patterns. I want something a bit special, but quick, not frilly: Haiku. I l*o*v*e* this pattern and it's adult version Sonnet. The yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece from my niece's Mariah hoody.

Hello Caroline. I found your blog and I'm so excited about coming to see you next week and picking up my first drop spindle. The infection runs both ways.

You can see the sky is blue. It's 3 degrees Celsius (according to D's new thermometer) and Carly is pacing in the kitchen, knowing we will go for a walk while Emily is at Orchestra practice. They play tonight at the music festival, so it's a good thing I have some portable knitting.

D just called from the ferry lineup. He has to go to the island for his uncle's memorial. His two brothers did not take the time to go and his mom take it pretty hard.

These are the poplars that keep me company from my desk. I think of them as the girls at the party who stay on the edges and giggle and gossip. When the wind blows through their leaves, they rustle like taffeta.

Yesterday was a "Pro D Day" when the schools are out and the teachers go to workshops. This is the first one in a year that I wasn't studying, in class or working. I took Emily and my godson and youngest nephew shopping. We got the last black dress in Langley. But it was her size and on clearance, so that matters not. She needs it for the Jazz Festival next week.

Then we went to a nice lunch at the Wired Monk: fresh food and good prices. Right next to Fat Burger, it was a much better Angie choice.

Then Chapters. This used to be a really exciting stop. The kids would play on the computers and we would oggle the shelves and shelves of books. But the book industry took a hit and now there are a lot of candles and cards. Still we each found a special book.

I found Knitting for Good. The first pattern is the Reversible Herringbone Rib Scarf from my friend at . Yay Li!!! Hers was the first knitting blog I ever found and she lives 1 1/2 hours away. This year I will take her to lunch. I hope.

There will be showers of knitting goodness from this book!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Jolt

I have one male knitting friend. He's the husband 0f a very dear friend and ex-navy (sailor knitter). I was moaning to him one day about how loose a knitter I am (probably after my great big fat disappointment sweater) and "Uncle Frank" says: "What's stopping you? Just pull your finger a little."
This is good advice. A girlfriend may have joined me in the negative feelings or complained about her own tight knitting. But the advice is good. If you know how to fix something, what's stopping you?
This pertains to my wish to have a coffee pot cover. Scott and I enjoy a coffee press in the afternoon. I just drape a teatowel around it and each time think how nice it would be to have a proper cozy. I love the ones I saw in London of cream chunky cotton, but I am too practical to drip on those (or pay $100 plus). I'd like a felted one, but how big do I knit it and where do I felt it when my new machine is front-loading?
For pete's sake, it's a rectangle. I took a page of paper, made a pattern and started knitting. What's the worse that could happen? The lopi stash will do. If I edge it in "coffee brown" I will hide drips and have even more control of the size.

So I knit a rectangle, which did indeed turn out a little small. I had enough brown to crochet around the edge and build up the button band. Tra-la.

I couldn't find my button jar because a certain daughter is getting crafty and has no grasp on organization (that's being kind, she lost her dress in her room yesterday). But these buttons were in a special box and left over from February lady.
I'm still thinking of making the button holes smaller on Feb lady and putting on smaller buttons. What's stopping you?
This distraction came at the precise moment that the lace knitting was comfortable and satisfying. Why did I have to break into that? Maybe next time I need a jolt, I should just make a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Small Pleasures

Lastnight I quickly knit up the sleeves and sewed together this newborn-sized sweater. I am happy with the results, though I find the "sayelle" a less pleasant acrylic. My next sweater for March will be of a softer acrylic. This only took one skein. At this rate, I have more than enough stash for one sweater a month. I'll keep the really pretty, soft, pink for another pi shawl, maybe.

On my walk today I saw a single blooming winter jasmine

The heather is late this year and has been battered by the snow. But it echoes the white bells of the snowdrops

On the needles I still have the thistle shawl. I stretched it out a bit to try to capture it's silhouette.
I think I showed you already that I blew up the chart and set up each row with its own card. This works well for travel. But this project isn't really good for TV, or visiting, or anything that can be interrupted. I guess I'll try audiobooks.

I also must confess the afghan sashing is in progress, the nephew #5 sweater in complicated cables is in a bag and the start of the Bristol back,which I should be able to knit on the go, is waiting at the door.

The fair isle is officially a UFO until another season. I have sock options, but will probably turn to another baby sweater as soon as I turn the calendar.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Feels Like Home

A week in Ixtapa is enough. Time there is slow. You forget all your worries and plan your day around the cool morning walk, ocean side reading and pool side reading. Gentle, friendly people all around. Si, vino blanco, por favor. Great for Valentines.

Mexico toes are happy toes. It was really warm. We did lots of walking on the beach, so I thank the orthodics guy for customizing these sandals for me.

Learning the long arm shot.
Every vista was blue and sandy. Every beach was clean and being appreiciated by families local and visitor alike. We went into Zihuantanejo one day and enjoyed the markets and the museum.
Our all-inclusive hotel is an old Sheraton that has been lovingly maintained. It's the brown one.

Our room was facing the ocean and the pool goes right to the beach. The bar goes right up to the pool. If it was a little modest, that made up for the decadent service. The people were definitely five star.

Every night was a sunset from our room.
I knit the blue thistle shawl on the way down while watching Duchess on the tiny TV screen in the back of the chair in front of me. Actually I ripped about 20 rows before I could start cleanly. She chugged along pretty well. I didn't bring her out until the flight home. I only worked on her a little because I was stuporously relaxed.
First I had to finish my Pico Iyer book, Video Night in Katmandu. It's about the intersection of Asia and America, but it was written in 1985. I need to catch up with his newer books. His writing is beautiful and insightful. I haven't had time for nonfiction other than nursing books, so this was a super treat. Plus I had finished our book club choice, Sweetness in the Belly, in two lounging days.
I watched Recipe for Bees on the way home and was glad for the darkness because I surely blubbered.
To get away from it all and leave your cares is great medicine. But on Thursday the cares started to assert themselves into my mind and by the time back I was wrestling with decisions again. The answers are the same, but the perspective has helped me. I hate to cut back volunteering, but I will have to save my effort for balancing my new career with my family (and for choosing to work with teams that will respect my ideas).
It feels good to miss your kids and sleep soundly in your own bed. There is great comfort here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Comfort and Joy

Scott's sourdough bread turned out wonderful. He's into and may never own another cook book. And he cleans up the kitchen, too. I think one year of residence at university may be enough for him. I could see him getting an apartment with some of his other cooking buddies. Applications for his future school are in the works. I'm invited to help decorate the grad dinner, so it's starting to feel real.
And my trip to Mexico, starting tomorrow, is starting to feel real, too. I painted my toenails which makes me so very pleased. I slathered on the fake tan lotion, made my lists, and packed my bathing suits and straw hat.
D and I are leaving the progeny to themselves. There is lots of food in the house, but I won't promise they won't eat each other. My MIL wants custody. I had to fight hard to point out that they are 18 and 16 and can cook and clean, walk and drive.
I feel strongly (about so many things, you know) that as a parent, my job is to help them become good adults and give them lots of opportunities to make mistakes in a safe setting. The needy, whiny, princess thing needs no encouragement. It's a lot harder to ask them how they are going to solve their own problems.
I am taking the biggest, oldest UFO with me. And no emergency knitting. Nothing to turn to instead. This project has travelled everywhere with me and just been neglected. The frequent flyer miles alone could buy more wool. Maybe I'll finish it this time to wear to Scotland in August. That was the plan for Glasgow 2003. Isn't that pathetic? How many shawls have I knit since then? Nine? At least. Poor thing is blue. I'll try to cheer it up this week in Ixtapa.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Good Start

I retreated into comfort knitting: baby sweaters. This is my second monthly sweater to donate to the maternity ward. Some of these sweaters will be given to moms in need and some will be used for grieving parents. However they choose to use them, I am satisfied that I have made a gesture. I am incredibly lucky to have two healthy (and kicking) children.
This pattern is the one my own mom made for me to come home from the hospital. I also made it for each of my children to come home. It's from an old Beehive book and has a bonnet and booties, but I'm not so keen on making those. With the donations of yarn, people also give me their inherited knitting patterns and I now have 3 of these books, just like my Grandmother's.

Scotty came home from school and insisted on making sourdough starter. Fine with me. It's sitting on top of the fridge gurgling already. He loves sourdough bread and has taken a whim to make it himself.
Yesterday I made my 4th not so successful brown bread in the bread machine. I know mine committed suicide by jumping off the counter years ago and my MIL gave me hers. But I don't remember striking out so badly in the past. I'll give it a few more tries to keep the bread from rising all the way out of the machine. I'll be happy to just use our locally milled organic whole wheat flour, rather than "best for bread" if that's what it takes.
Do you believe in coincidences? I'm not sure I do. I think there's more to serendipity than just entropy.
Yesterday I also posted a picture of a snowdrop shoot and a haiku. It was actually St. Brigette's day and there is a movement to post poetry. The last two years I have enjoyed contributing and reading others poetry. I am bouyed up that something in me needed to join again, even if not on purpose.
Maybe you read my poem, not on purpose, and joined in.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Can We Start Over

Your life may include vices. The ones in my life are squishing my head!!
I have a paperwork problem with the college that registers nurses because they closed my file while I was fulfilling the study they required. Can't say how frustrated I am or how good it makes me feel to call them and let them know. I think I may have solve my (their) paperwork problem after yet another weekend of angst.
For years I wasn't sure if nursing was right for me. I first majored in Theatre. But as a farmgirl I was unequipped for the fast party life. Apparently it's not all about the literature of the Bard. Too bad.
So I took the less expensive, more likely to pay back route of nursing. I didn't agree with some of the things my school wanted. I didn't spend hours discussing "pantyhose and fingernails" like the majority of my classmates. I didn't feel that I fit in. I actually had an argument with an intern that just because I read Omni magazine, didn't mean I was too smart to be a nurse.
In the years when I was raising my kids and not working, I tried to change my hair and everything so people wouldn't peg me as a nurse. I had bad experiences working on Med/Surg when they closed my Pediatrics ward and didn't want to be associated with the grumpy, self-centred and shallow nurses I had been thrown in with.
It didn't work. Random people would peg me. Then for a few years I couldn't call myself a nurse because I really had no connection with the profession. I tried to study other fields: sociology, librarian. No go. Nothing else would stick. I decided to once again dedicate myself to caring for the sick.
Well, it took an inordinate amount of time to get permission to go back to school to re-enter practice. The college of registrars took their sweet time. Many phone calls. Much paperwork.
I finished just a few weeks ago. Did I get hugs and kudos? No, your file is dormant and destroyed. We never wanted you to be a nurse in the first place. There is no nursing shortage that we know of. The fact that you were offered three jobs does not legitimize your position.
So today I finally got to the phone the lady with the magic wand who had sent me another dismissing email as she was leaving for the weekend. I will jump through this hoop one more time. But I don't know how much more I can take before I just go teach ESL or something. You can bet I'll keep you posted. Can I start over??
I am so estranged with my writing that I am discouraged that I will ever find my path again. Even when I have had time and focus I haven't achieved much. I decided if I only have a little energy, opportunity and time, I will write little poems. Here is today's haiku.

Early to the dance
Slippers surrounded in snow
First green shoots of spring.

In other news we had a Guitar Hero party with the Youth Group at the church using the new giant screen. It was a hoot. We were a bit subdued because it followed a skating party, but the support from the other groups was heartwarming.
Unlike the minister sending the kids out to Sunday School in the middle of communion because she still doesn't understand that I want them to stay. I have sent a superior to talk to her about it. If not being listened to, considered or understood is part of the job, I don't want to do Sunday School. Can we start over?
Oh yah, and knitting sucks. I don't want to make the windows sweater in the huge size that would fit me. This is a big snowball of self pity, tears and snot. I will put it away until I either lose some inches or give up and want the sweater more. Could we start again please?
I have 4 other sweaters worth of fabric that will be more flattering and less angst-ridden.

Why am I so grumpy? I go to Mexico on Saturday and have already decided to knit my long-lost thistle shawl. I have found my basket purse and am preparing to lay out my long lost and almost forgotten summer clothes to see if anything at all fits. I blame the nursing college for this as well. Too much studying. I say, under the gun and all for a whole year.
Oh well, a bit of sun on my poor winter skin and some sand on my orthodic sandals should cheer me up. My only question will be pina colada or G&T?
Do you think we're crazy to leave the teenagers at home? Could I start over with them as well?