Monday, January 28, 2008

More skating

On Saturday I went skating at Dufferin Grove with Isaac, Tristan and Phelan. Actually only Tristan and I were skating, Phelan is too little and Isaac opted to stay off the ice with him. So Tristan and I skated together, first just skating round and round and then later playing ice tag.

That's me in the beret, Tristan in a helmet.

Here I'm trying to avoid being tagged by Tristan.

After that we went into the change room and bought hot chili to eat. The change room is not just an ordinary change room, it also has a wood stove and tables and lots of children's books and a little cafe that sells good food cheap. A big bowl of vegan chili and two tortillas cost $2.00. There was a game of chess going on in one corner. On one wall is a painted map of the area, we challenged Tristan to find our street on the map. He's in grade one and just learning to read so it was definitely a challenge for him. But he knows our street name starts with "W" so he pointed out just about every street that started with "W", eventually getting the right one.

I was watching a lady doing some very pretty knitting on wooden needles, and noticed she was knitting continental style. Something I wish I could do but have great difficulty with. So I was watching her quite intently, trying to figure out if she had some trick to doing it. I moved over on the bench next to her and enquired about her knitting. Turns out she was visiting from Ottawa, but is originally form Germany or Austria so she has always knitted continental style. She was making a hat to match a sweater for her grandson in a lovely blue colour. The pattern was of her own design, definitely an expert knitter!

I bet she knit the red sweater too.

I didn't take this photo, obviously, or I would have made sure her lovely blue knitting was more visible.

Cutting edge dropped stitches

Last Thursday night I went to the library knitting group, it was good to see everyone after a month hiatus over Christmas. Laurie was unhappy with her haircut (way too sort on the back), Rhonda had new boots, Helen was almost finished a knitted vest with pockets, Jennifer was working on a very complicated patterned sock. I brought my in-progress wrist warmer. Jennifer said there was an article in that day's Toronto Star (Get cosy with arm warmers) about how arm warmers or fingerless mittens are the in thing now. So I am cutting edge with my wrist warmers. I also brought the hat I made for Tristan at Christmas to show off...

This is Tristan modelling his new hat.

I was asking how to cast on stitches in the middle of a knitted project and Laurie and Jennifer demonstrated two different ways to do it. But I still didn't get it so I gave my knitting to Laurie and asked her to show me on my own knitting. She did, but in the process one of the needles (I'm using 4 double pointed needles) fell out onto the floor and when Laurie bent over to pick it up it pulled the knitting so all the stitches from that needle pulled out by several rows. We both looked at the damage in horror.

Laurie I think was particularly mortified to have done that to someone else's knitting, but I tried to assure her that the yarn was very slippery on those needles and it had already happened to me at least once with this particular project. What I didn't tell her was how bloody hard it had been to fix it the first time, and this time looked way worse. I ended up spending the rest of the session trying to pick up all the dropped stitches. I succeeded, but I made zero progress on the project during the entire session. Laurie was so apologetic. And now it looks like I won't make it to the next session so I sure hope she doesn't think it is because of her that I don't show up.

January blues

I was talking to my old friend Beth on the phone this morning, we ended up commiserating over winter depression. She was saying that she thought she'd done well to hold out for as long as she had, and I was saying that I was kind of surprised to be feeling depressed now because I am used to it hitting in the fall and I thought I had sailed right through. But kind of not surprising, the worst months in Vancouver are November and December, dark and rainy. And I usually look forward to January because for me Christmas has usually been a particularly bad time. January means Christmas is over for another year, the days are starting to get longer and knock on wood it is slightly less rainy and there is starting to be more sunny days. And by February there are crocuses and daffodils, so spring is well on its way.

But here in Toronto, January and February are the coldest snowiest months, and there are no flowers till April. Fall is actually quite pleasant, lots of fall colours and sun and blue skies (compared to Vancouver!). And being in a new city it was all new and interesting and not depressing at all. But now it's January, winter came early this year so it's been winter a long time now and no end in sight. I am starting to feel just how long it is. So I guess I should get used to January blues. I thought I was doing so well to not get depressed in the fall, and really it was just the change in climate.

I've also not been particularly well, which is frustrating (and depressing). Apparently some kind of low grade infection in my ears or eustachian tubes, and it takes forever to clear up. I just feel dizzy and very low energy all the time. Going stir crazy, I force myself to get out and do things, with variable results. Sometimes I get away with it, sometimes it totally exhausts me.

Isaac heard me laughing upstairs and I told him I was laughing because I was on the phone with Beth and we were sharing how depressed we both were. Well misery loves company I guess.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This is my weblog

I am starting this blog with the intention of posting stories and events that I would otherwise be sending off to friends. Half the reason I send these stories to friends is just to keep a kind of record, the other half of course is to keep in touch and let people know what I am up to now. Now with this blog I can just let friends know the URL and they can check in whenever they want, and I get to keep a record without wondering if I'm boring folks with my long-winded stories. Hopefully I'll be posting pictures too, though I am rather bad at actually taking pictures.

Today for instance I went skating at Toronto City Hall and it was an absolutely gorgeous day. Blue sky and sun, crispy cold but not so cold that one didn't want to be outdoors in it. I had my camera with me but did not take any pictures, was just enjoying the skating too much to stop and take photos.

I took this photo a few years ago. That's the "new" City Hall in the background, and the moose on the diving board isn't there anymore. Old City Hall would be on the right side of this photo. When I was there today the whole rink was in full sun, so I think it must have been later in the day when I took this photo.

It's a neat place, the old City Hall on one side the "new" City Hall on another, the arches over the ice rink, and the surrounding downtown Toronto office towers. I went with Helen, a woman I met at the library knitting group last fall. We've been trying to go skating together for a couple of months I think!

Tonight I'm going to the library knitting group, going to be working on my hand warmers. I'm making them in a brown cotton-polyester blend, they are like fingerless mittens but thin for wearing indoors. In the winter my apartment is cold and I can wear sweaters and long underwear to keep warm but my hands get cold. So these will cover my wrists and hands up to about the first knuckle on my fingers and thumb. I don't really like fingerless gloves because they separate the fingers and make them harder to keep warm that way. And fingerless mittens are quicker to make. Or would be, if I didn't keep redesigning them! I'll show a picture of them when they're done, or when at least one of them is done, right now it doesn't look like anything at all.