Monday, March 31, 2008

This sock is done like dinner

I finished my sock. This was a bit of a dilemma for me.

The Yarn Harlot's book launch is tomorrow, part of the event is a great Sock Picture Scavenger Hunt, and to participate I would need an unfinished sock on the needles. Which I would have if I didn't finish it. But it has literally been years on the needles, and I was this close (thumb and forefinger squeezed together, fingernails separated by microscopic space) to done with it. I just couldn't bear to leave it any longer.

I suppose I could---quick---start the Second Sock (they do come in pairs), but quite frankly, I'm ready for a break. Even though this is My Very First Sock Ever, I do understand about SSS (Second Sock Syndrome), if I don't start it now it may never get started, but still, I want the break. So I think I am going to pass on the scavenger hunt. Even though half that bag of yarn is designated as sock yarn.

And Pete, if you're reading this, we are way ahead of you, we've been praying exactly that for some time now. Almost all of us. Except maybe those silly people who voted for our current Prime Minister and haven't Thought Better Of It by now.

More docs and too much shopping

My Saturday afternoon was spent on Queen St. and in particular at Romni Wool and the Knit Cafe. I came home with a backpack full of yarn. Earlier in the day I had been at Michael's to pick up the last of the yarn I think I'll need for my mother's afghan, and between Michael's, Romni Wool and the Knit Cafe, I spent over $150 on yarn. The day before I placed a couple of book orders with, also amounting to about $150. In two days I spent over $300 in books and yarn. Talk about shopping therapy! Gaah!

The problem is, that it is hard to stop. I had to force myself to leave the Knit Cafe because there were four more skeins of yarn I had my eye on. And yesterday I spent over an hour adding more books to my Amazon wish list (well, actually I have 5 wish lists, mea culpa). I think I need to get back to my old library way of thinking. It's better to borrow and read than order, own and maybe read.

Isaac and I watched a couple more Hot Docs films this weekend.

One was Kids and Money, a set of interviews with kids in LA USA about money, shopping, and status. Very interesting look at how we/society train/influence our kids to be consumers. How buying stuff is integral to self image and fitting in at school. They have to have the right clothes, some of the kids in this film spend several hundred dollars a week just on clothes (and more on accessories, make-up, etc), some of them don't but would if they could. Some of them beg their parents to buy the stuff for them, some of them go out and get jobs to pay for it. Some of them recognize how insane this is and the stress their parents are going through to keep them satisfied, but they don't seem to be able to stop themselves. They are addicted, their self-image is at stake. Watching this I could not help but think how smug all the advertisers must feel that they have been so wildly successful in creating the consumer culture. As Barbara Ehrenreich says, we (the USA, and Canada to a lesser extent) are the designated shoppers of the world, we keep this devastating global economy going by consuming what the rest of the world produces.

The second film was called Flow: For Love of Water, about the state of water resources in the world (dire). The main message seemed to be that as water becomes scarce there are forces trying to commodify it that are making the scarcity of water both a serious social injustice and an environmental hazard. It is beautifully done, combining both a serious warning and a hopeful demonstration of what can be accomplished when ordinary people put their minds to it.

The connection between the two was that at one point in Flow an Indian (from India not North America) elder talks about what is necessary for change to happen. He says it has to start inside each person, each person has to come to grips with what is important in life, and then act on it. And what kids in the other film are being taught is that owning stuff is what is important in life, consuming resources is what is important. It will take a while for most of them to learn any different, but that is time we can ill afford.

So you can imagine how guilty I am feeling about my own little episode of shopping therapy this week. But I do love looking at that bag of yarn!

But for what it's worth we also watched a wonderful film about Cirque du Soleil preparing a show on the Beatles. No guilt-inducing moral, just lots of nostalgia value, not to mention artistic value.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Taking root: the vision of Wangari Maathai

The other night I watched a documentary that will be in the Hot Docs documentary film festival in Toronto, April 17-27 (2008). It is called Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai.

I had never heard of Wangari Maathai before seeing this documentary. What an amazing woman! She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, and she is so deserving, such an incredible Elderwoman.

She founded an organization called The Greenbelt Movement in Kenya, there is a website dedicated to her, and an entry for her in Wikipedia. The film was made by Lisa Merton and Alan Dater of Marlboro Productions.

I can't praise this film enough, it is beautiful and inspirational and it brings to light a woman who truly qualifies as Great. It also brings to light a history of Kenya that is a pointed indictment of colonialism and its lasting effects on the land and people subjugated by it. Lest we forget.

Wangari Maathai started an environmental movement among women of Kenya to plant trees. It was to address some of the environmental degradation due to both colonial and postcolonial destruction of forests, and also to provide firewood and building materials for the communities of the women. This movement blossomed into a protest movement against the imprisonment of political activists and against the destruction of national forests for private profit.

There is one episode in the story where police attack a peaceful demonstration by mothers of jailed activists. Wangari is brutally attacked. Immediately the women around her disrobe, exposing their breasts. This was to shame the men attacking them. They said that for a man to attack a mother is one of the most shameful things he can do, and for a mother to expose her breasts to him is the sharpest rebuke a woman can make. And it worked, the policemen were indeed thrown into disarray by the act, and Wangari was quickly transported to hospital for care. It also made international headlines, shaming the Kenyan government of the time.

Wangari Maathai is articulate and passionate, she inspired the women and men around her to take action, and she clearly linked environmental and social justice issues. This film is a wonderful tribute to her.

If you get a chance, go see it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Smile, you may be on Flickr...

Yesterday my son got an email from a colleague pointing him to a
photo on Flickr, of himself! Someone he did not know photographed him
and put the photo up on Flickr.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Gretel sent me an amusing link.

It reminded me of a photo I thought I had taken a few years ago of a couple of raccoons that visited my condo patio. So I went hunting through my photo archive for that photo. After much searching I finally found it, and now I know why it was so hard to find ---

--- because it was a crappy photo!

You'll just have to take my word for it that the grey blob is a raccoon.

In my defense, I was balancing a morning mug of coffee in the other hand.

For way better photos and a very amusing story, follow the link above.

Lies I might have told

I woke up around 3.00am this morning, thinking about my blog.

I was thinking of posting an item about my grandmother. I had the whole thing written in my head, a few illustrations to go with it, and then I realized that I couldn't remember how many sisters she had.

So I made it up.

Then I felt guilty about lying in my blog. What if someone read it that knew how many sisters my grandmother really had?

Then I remembered a letter I wrote to my Great Aunt Dora (the one sister I know for sure my grandmother had) back in 1968, and how I said something in that letter that was not true (out of ignorance and carelessness).

That really made me feel bad.

So I turned on the light and played Sudoku for an hour to get it out of my mind.

The things you think at 3.00 in the morning!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

So many things, so little time...

Isaac and I went to The Local pub on Roncesvalles last night for their Bluegrass Monday night. It starts at 8.30pm but last time we went at 8.30 there were no tables or seats left so this time we went early and got a table close to the little stage at the back. Really glad we went, I so enjoyed the music. I asked a fellow sitting near us what the band's name was and apparently they are "between names", he thought they might now be called The Hamstrung Stringband. Whatever their name, I really enjoyed them. The woman vocalist was terrific, so was the banjo/mandolin player, and the fiddler and the guitar player... the bass player also played steel guitar but sadly we didn't hear a lot of that. We left in the middle of their second set because Isaac has to get up early for work and I didn't want to walk home alone late at night. Am glad I went at all though.

Isaac tells me that Toronto doesn't really get spring, it goes straight from winter into summer. Or, spring is what we have now, old snow on the ground, mud on the warmer days, and trees that look like they are ready to burst into leafery. He says in a matter of weeks we will see it go from subzero to plus 27. He promises flowers, double digit temperatures and no snow in less than a month. I'll just have to take his word for it. I'm used to a spring that starts in February and meanders along until June in Vancouver. Followed by a brief summer, an even briefer autumn and winter rain starting again in October.

I am also starting to think about my plans for after winter. I am getting antsy to travel, to be on the road again. I keep checking the weather in Edmunston New Brunswick. When it starts staying above zero at night there then I can drive to Nova Scotia, because somewhere around Edmunston is where I will have to sleep overnight in the truck. I'd like not to freeze.

Last night I was talking to Isaac about what to do with Bunny. We discussed various options: leave her here, send her to PEI on the Seafood Express, or take her with me in the truck. Right now I'm leaning toward taking her with me, with the Seafood Express as Plan B. She is four years old, which makes her middle-aged. Bunnies can live to ten years and beyond, so she has a few good years left.

I happened by Matt Anderson's website and I see that he is playing in Mississauga in April. Oh my. I would love to hear him live again. And at the Yarn Harlot, she has a book launch planned for April 1st, that's on my list too!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It may be cold but at least it's sunny

On Friday I went cycling along the waterfront. Well, sort of. There were long sections where I had to walk because the snow was too deep.

Somebody commented on me walking through the snow with my bike, "Good to get the bike out, eh?" And I said "Sure is, even if I have to walk it!" Which it was. Good I mean.

The Whistling Swans are gone, I guess they have returned to the Arctic now that it is spring.

The Mute Swans were doing a lot of flying, wish I could have caught one on camera. They are so huge, it's amazing to see them in the air. Saw one with his tail up in the air and the rest of him underwater, like a two-foot high white buoy.

I got some pictures of the Oldsquaws (now isn't that a lovely name for such a beautiful bird?), but not of the Buffleheads or Mergansers, which are still here but keeping their distance.

And I got some pictures of a mystery bird that looked a lot like the Western Grebe but smaller. And sure enough, I looked it up and it is the Horned Grebe, about half the size of the Western Grebe.

This fellow was diving for fish, I watched him gobble down one that he caught. He saw me watching him and hung around for awhile to see what I would do. Eventually I got bored of watching him watching me.

This picture is an amalgam of three pictures I took of this bird.

Saturday morning we took Dobby for a walk in the off leash area of High Park.

The off leash area is huge and consists of several trails through the woods as well as an open area on a hillside near the allotment gardens.

The trails were quite icy.

Tristan has recently learned to whistle, I took a couple of pictures of him and his mother whistling.

And Phelan, the little guy on his Mom's shoulders, is the Birthday Boy today.
He is Two.

Happy Birthday Phelan!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mystery solved...

...I know why my bread wouldn't rise. I went back to the same store to buy more flour and realized that the bin for hard (bread) wheat flour was right next to the bin for soft (pastry) wheat flour and I may have dipped into the wrong bin last time. The colour is slightly different and when I brought home my new flour and checked the colour against the old flour, the colour was slightly different in the same way. I was trying to bake bread from pastry flour.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My very own Easter bunny

In honour of the first day of spring and the coming Easter weekend, I am posting a photo of my 'roommate', Bunny. And a lovely roommate she is! This is her 'good' side, she's blind in her other eye due to a raccoon attack a couple of years ago.

Wednesday afternoon is my shift at the foodbank, near the end of the shift we were told there would be a meeting right afterward for all volunteers, a kind of Q&A session to keep us up to date on what was happening with the foodbank. A few of us sat around waiting for the meeting to begin and speculating on some of the rumours about what this meeting was all about. None of which proved to be true, as rumours usually aren't.

Anyway, how shall I say this, it was a 'spirited' exchange? A lot of stuff got said, perhaps a good deal of it that shouldn't have been, but on the other hand maybe it should have. I don't know! Definitely left me wondering about the future. And sufficiently tense that I did not sleep all that well last night.

Somehow I am going to put all that out of my mind and try to carry on as just a once-a-week volunteer. I get a real positive kick from being there on Wednesday afternoons, I don't want to give that up. I like that each week at least one patron expresses the opinion that they are glad I am there. Don't want to give that up either. I am growing familiar with some of the faces, enjoy greeting people that come by regularly and enjoy working with volunteers who appear to be enjoying the same things I am.

I know there are problems, after all, the very existence of a foodbank is a statement about the problem with how our society and culture works. But I like that I can send people on their way out the door with smiles on their faces, that they get more than just groceries when they come by. And so do I.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A putative naturopathic cure for what ails me

I went to the naturopathic clinic at Parkdale Community Health Centre on Tuesday. In December I had gone to the PCHC to find out about seeing a doctor there and they told me that they would not be accepting new patients until February and in February I went back and signed up and eventually I got a call from them to attend an orientation session which happened Monday.

At the orientation the woman leading it mentioned this naturopathic clinic that happens there every Tuesday, staffed by naturopathy students. So I put my name on the list for it, partly out of curiosity and partly to get an alternative opinion on this seemingly unending series of colds and upper respiratory ailments I've had this winter. And Tuesday morning they called and asked if I was available later in the day.

So off I went. Sat there for an hour describing in gory detail all the colds I've had this winter. Felt kind of silly, after all it's only a cold. However she dutifully noted all my symptoms, discussed them with her supervisor and came back with a bottle of murky liquid and a list of additional medications I should buy.

I'm to take 3 teaspoons of the murky liquid every day, 6 grams of vitamin C a day in 1000mg doses every couple of hours, and another medication that I will have to find in a health food store. And I'm to run a vaporizer at home, the theory being that coming from the moist climate of Vancouver to the cold winter dryness of Toronto, my mucus membranes are suffering and vulnerable to infection. As good a theory as any.

Other than that, it was a cold wet day. Well, cold by Vancouver standards and wet by Toronto standards. Isaac and I went for lunch at the Rustic Cosmo on Queen West, across from the PCHC. They make really good home fries. Actually all the food was good, but the home fries especially. Isaac had the Brunch Burrito and I would have too except I was planning on having a burrito for dinner so I had a sandwich and salad instead, and picked at the really good home fries on Isaac's plate. All good.

My bread won't rise

My bread won't rise. Last two loaves rose a bit and then fell during baking. I didn't change my recipe or my ingredients and they just fell. Don't know what is going on. Don't think it was the weather, both loaves were baked on sunny days. The other odd thing is that I actually did have to change the recipe (so I lied!) because when I put the dough in the breadmaker it was way too wet after the first mix-and-knead. So both times I had to add somewhere between a half to a full cup of flour. And the way it fell makes me think that it needed even more flour than that. But why?!? I don't understand.

I've been baking bread, either by hand or with a breadmaker, for over 35 years. So I think I understand bread. "I think" being the key words here. Well, I'll buy some more flour and see if it's something about the flour.

Addendum: I notice some people are Googling "bread won't rise" and ending up here. I did eventually figure out the problem, see "Mystery solved..."

I have three knitting projects on the go now.

The sock,

...the bedspread,

...and a new thing, a kind of cably square that I am designing myself. Started with a cable pattern I got from the internet, did a small square of that,

...then used the graph notation for that pattern to design something of my own that I am now trying to knit up. We'll see how it goes.

I taught Tristan how to finger knit and he did one project, a scarf about a foot long for one of his stuffed animals. I'll post a picture of it when I can get him to bring it back to photograph. I am hoping to get him to knit a couple more and then move him on to "real" knitting with needles.

I initially tried to teach him to knit with needles, but in watching him struggle with it I realized that it was kind of like learning to drive on a standard shift car. Not only do you have to learn and pay attention to actual driving on the road, but you have to simultaneously learn how to use the stick shift. Too many things all at once.

Tristan was trying to learn the steps in making a knit stitch and at the same time figure out how to hold the needles and yarn. Some things you take for granted until you watch a novice try to do it.

Finger knitting allows you to produce knitted fabric really fast using only your fingers and yarn, no needles. When a kid has mastered that, and Tristan did really quickly, then (s)he can move on to using a knitting frame or spool or "real" knitting with needles. Large diameter wooden needles are probably best, they are not so slippery and you can see what you are doing.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Some local notes, Brockton Village

A little bit of local history.

This nondescript building is a plumbing store. It is in the process of closing, the owner is retiring and selling off everything. He used to run it with his son Sam, but Sam died last summer of cancer, leaving a wife and small children. Everyone in the neighbourhood sooner or later went to that plumbing store, because just about everybody is renovating. Everyone lived in fear of Sam's Dad, who was sarcastic and critical of amateur plumbers, which all of us are. So most of us tried to go when Sam was around not his Dad. Soon we'll be on our own, no more plumbing store.

Gretel used to take photos on her digital camera of whatever plumbing disaster she was working on to the store to show to Sam or his Dad to get their opinion of what she should do or buy. Women fare a little better there because we're kind of used to men being snooty about such things, but a lot of men find it hard to deal with.

The other thing about this building is that it is the original Town Hall and Jail of Brockton Village, before it amalgamated with the City of Toronto. See the bars on the ground floor windows? Think Jailhouse.

This house is just down the road from the plumbing store. Also nothing extraordinary to look at, except that it is one of the oldest houses in the area. Originally a farmhouse that stood on the edge of the village of Brockton.

These semi-detached houses we call The House That Can't Decide. Because of the colour combination, and also in the summer the red house has vines all over the front porch and the green house porch is bare. Like they are opposites, whatever one decides to do the other does the opposite.

The grey house next door is the farm house I was talking about.

See the picture panel just to the right of the doorway on the red house? This is a painted tile picture of a saint or holy person, or possibly the Virgin Mary. All the Portuguese in the area have these painted tile panels by their doors, they have them shipped over from Portugal.

Isaac and Gretel say that in Portugal you see them everywhere. Portugal was one of the last outposts of the Moors in Europe, even after they had been driven out of Spain they remained in Portugal for some time after. So the art and architecture is heavily influenced by the Moors, and among other things they are into painted tiles, so you see a lot of that in Portuguese homes.

This mural is painted by a Brazilian man. There are at least three of his murals around the area, this is maybe one of the most striking. A lot of the Portuguese here come from the Azores or from Brazil. I think this mural really captures a Brazilian flare.

And that's the local history lesson for today.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday CBC

On Sundays I try to stay home to listen to the radio, CBC Radio One to be exact. Sunday is the best day on CBC radio. It starts with The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, proceeds through Stuart Maclean's Vinyl Cafe ("It ain't big but it's small"), Spinal Tap (Jonathon Goldstein), Tapestry (Mary Hines), Writers and Company (Eleanor Wachtel) and Cross Country Checkup with Rex Murphy. I love The Sunday Edition primarily for the music but also for the news and discussion. The music is mostly jazz, and Enright's taste in music closely coincides with my Dad's. It brings back strong happy memories of Sunday mornings at home as a kid when Dad would play his jazz records on the Hi-Fi, and throw open all the windows to regale the neighbourhood with his music. I so associate jazz now with Sunday mornings. And what a treat to discover Michael Enright's Sunday morning show with the very same music.

Karen Armstrong being interviewed on CBC Tapestry today, she talks about the Bible and how it should be read or interpreted. She tells this funny story.

There are some rabbis discussing the Bible and one of them (sorry, I don't remember names) gives a particular interpretation that the other rabbis disagree with. So the one rabbi, call him Rabbi X, calls on God to perform a miracle to support his argument.

Obligingly, God causes a tree to move several feet to the left (or the right, whatever, I'm bad at details), but the other rabbis are unimpressed. So Rabbi X calls on God to tell them that he is right, and again God obliges and a celestial voice declares that everything Rabbi X has said about scripture is absolutely true.

But again the other rabbis are unimpressed. One of them retorts that once scripture is recorded it no longer belongs to God, but rather it is inscribed in the heart of every Jew and belongs to each of them to interpret as befits. Hearing this, God smiles. "My children have defeated me" he says, meaning that they have grown up.

Hear hear.

I only got to listen to part of Writers and Company when Gretel came to remind me that I had said I would babysit the kids while she went to Taiko, so I didn't listen to Cross Country Checkup. Instead I watched The Bee Movie with the kids. We had frozen pizza which I served to them on the couch in front of the movie screen. Phelan managed to eat all of his, but the poor little guy fell asleep with his empty plate in his lap. No Bee Movie for him!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday afternoon, bare pavement

Warm sunny day, everything melting! The sound of running water everywhere under the piles of snow.

Today I can see bare pavement under two of the four wheels of my truck. My truck is half-sitting on bare pavement! Yay! Isaac says we are on the wrong side of the street, over the next month or so we get to see the lawns on the other side of the street emerge from under the snow, turn green and even sprout flowers, while our side stills sits under umpteen feet of snow.

A friend in Vancouver wrote to tell me they have daffodils. I wrote back "What's a daffodil?" Isaac says whenever he gets one of those flowers-in-Vancouver emails he replies, "Yes, and can you see the sun?"

Isaac had the doors open to let some fresh air in. The furnace was off all day. I'm thinking of taking the plastic off the bedroom window so I can open it at night because it is getting too warm to sleep. All good signs of weather moving in the right direction.

I have yet another cold, in an unending string of them. Bad cold but fortunately not the 'flu. I went down to Queen Street to find a drugstore that carries decongestant. These days a plain decongestant is hard to find, they are all contained in combination "cold and flu" drugs. But I just wanted a decongestant. I understand that they stopped putting plain decongestants on the shelves for two reasons, one being that a strong decongestant can cause heart problems if one is susceptible and the other being that the decongestant drug pseudoephedrine is used by some as the base for making illegal methamphetamine drugs. So most drugstores now keep decongestants behind the counter, you have to ask for them, and the really strong ones (e.g., 120mg pseudoephedrine) just aren't available at all. Which is fine, I used to like the strong stuff but these days it seems a bit too strong for me, I am happy to settle for 60mg or even 30mg. But I don't want all that other stuff they put in (antihistamines, NSAIDs and cough suppressants).

Anyway, I went into this one drugstore and after checking the shelves waited to talk to the pharmacist. Who was talking to a hunched over older woman who had a problem with some medication she had previously purchased, and then with how it was rung up on the cash register. The pharmacist was trying to explain and answer her questions. It went on and on and on, and just as it looked like the pharmacist had finally answered all of her questions, she came up with yet another question. The pharmacist patiently answered each question, while I tried to be patient too. Finally finally the woman asked a question that the pharmacist could legitimately pass off to another drugstore employee and then she immediately moved on to me.

I asked for a decongestant that didn't have all "that other stuff", waving my arm vaguely in the direction of the shelf of cold and flu remedies. She got this very serious look on her face and asked me if I suffered from high blood pressure. I said No. She then turned to look at the shelf behind her. Now, while I was patiently waiting my turn I also had scanned that shelf and had seen a decongestant there that I recognized, Eltor 120mg. Wow, the strong stuff! Turns out that's the only one they carried. I hadn't seen that stuff in years, I was sure it had been discontinued. But, no it hadn't and it was the only decongestant they had so I got to buy it. I will have to cut it in half to take it since I no longer have the tolerance for that high a dose, but I know it works well. I am so pleased with myself for finding it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sun and snow in the City

One more big snow storm here over the weekend, plus the time change. It seemed so strange to turn the clocks forward in the middle of blizzard.

Turning the clocks forward means Summer Is Coming!

Blizzard means No It's Not!

But nice bright sunny days afterward hint at the possibility. Let's hope.

See the heaps of snow?

See the snowy street?

But melt is happening, you can hear it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Downsizing, how to

Barbara Anne commented on a previous post about me divesting myself of "things" and how did I do it. I'm not good at advice, all I can say is that I have made several major moves over my adult life and each time have had to sort through and pack up everything. On two occasions the cost was covered by someone else so I didn't have to worry about how much to move, but my last move from the west coast to Toronto had to be done within a very tight budget so I spent a couple of months sorting, reducing and packing. For two months that's all I did. It certainly was not easy, having to get rid of stuff after many years is painful. But I was kind of gearing up for the process for more than a year beforehand, thinking about it and talking to friends about it and wondering where the heck to start. It just looked impossible. But eventually it came down to realizing that I was stalled, I could not move forward in my life until I sold my condo, and I could not sell it and move out until I had reduced the pile of "things" to a much smaller pile.

Another friend of mine faced the same dilemma recently, she also did not know where to begin and was putting it off as an impossible task. But eventually she too came to the same realization I did and then was motivated to start. So I suppose the secret is to be motivated, to have a darn good reason why you need to reduce the pile. Even after completing the move I still felt I had not purged enough, I still have way more stuff than I think is a good idea. In Toronto I have a large closet, more than eight feet wide, full of clothes I never wear but cannot bring myself to get rid of. You just never know when an occasion to wear something one more time might arise! Even coming to Nova Scotia for a few months, I brought much less clothing but still I bet half of it I will never wear here. On the other hand there are some books that I purged that I wish I hadn't. I try not to think about that. I admit that since that last purge I have begun to acquire more stuff, mostly yarn and books. I am not too concerned about the yarn, it will eventually all get used up, but the books might be a problem.

When the movers looked at my pile of stuff to move across the continent, they told me that my books were going to be the most costly part of my pile of stuff to move. It cost me roughly a dollar a pound to move my belongings, I'd have been better off keeping more furniture and getting rid of more books. That is a big dilemma, it's really hard for me to part with books, and I still regret the loss of the ones I did manage to get rid of. But I survive the loss, I don't mourn interminably. So I guess that is the only advice I can pass on: yes it hurts to lose stuff that has sentimental value, but you survive it. And I think it is easier to deliberately divest than to lose it accidentally or through theft.

Here's a funny story about losing stuff: on a previous move from a house to a condo a few miles away, I moved everything myself in my truck. The last truckload was all the left over odds and ends, not properly packed because this was the last load and I was impatient to get it over with. So on the highway headed toward the condo, I happened to glance in the rearview mirror in time to see a small box  sail out of the back of my truck and land in the ditch on the side of  the highway. I was going too fast and there were too many cars behind  me to pull over, so I just kept driving.

When I arrived at my destination and unpacked the truck, I could not  figure out what that box contained. There was nothing obviously  missing. Over the next ten years of living in that condo, every time  I couldn't find something I wondered if it was in that mystery box  sailing out of the truck. But mostly I eventually found the missing  item so I still don't really know what that box contained. Whatever  it was, it wasn't important.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Knit rip and knit

Jeff Healey died yesterday, he was only 41. What a great musician, what a loss. First Oscar Peterson, now Jeff Healey.

I was on Queen St the other day looking at the damage done by the fire. They've torn down the buildings destroyed by fire but because they are still cleaning up the site the street is blocked to traffic (except for streetcars). Lots of people walking by though, many with cameras aimed. You can still smell the burned smoky odour.

Laying low these days though. Mostly knitting.

I finished one narrow strip of my mother's bedspread/afghan and tore out one wide strip. Big decision that, one wide strip represents at least a year's work. But it was the first strip I did after Mum died, and I followed the instructions using 4.00mm needles as called for. What I didn't realize was that my mother was an incredibly tight knitter and that strip came out much looser and wider than the one she had completed.

The second strip I did using smaller needles, but still nowhere near as tight as Mum's. When I laid the completed strips out on the floor I realized that even though the strips I did using smaller needles were still larger and looser than Mum's, I could live with the difference, but not so the first strip. So I tore it out. In less than 20 minutes I ripped out a year's work.

I've restarted that strip, so far I have one inch done. It takes me about 45 minutes to do one inch, and the total length has to be around 85 inches I think.

Oh well, what's time when you're knitting?

The other thing I'm working on is a sock. Another old project. This one I started from yarn I found in Mum's stash, a very pretty multi-shaded denim wool. I started this one years ago, as something to do when I was bored with the afghan and to learn to knit a sock.

I thought I would add in a bit of pink yarn to reinforce the heel, but this week I decided that that was a mistake so on a ripping roll from the afghan strip I ripped that out as well. Probably just as well, that extra bit of yarn made the heel very stiff and difficult to knit, probably the reason why this sock has been years in the making.

I'm now turning the heel so I may actually get it done this year. Ha ha.

Something I did finish though is the wrist warmers. After multiple rippings I finally got it right, or as close to right as I can live with.