Sunday, January 29, 2017

All dressed up and ready to go

The warp is on the loom. All dressed up and ready to go!

There were a few issues--missing warp threads, misplaced warp threads, tangling--but they are hopefully resolved. The remaining issue is that the warp is wider than the loom (30" on 27" loom). I am hoping that 10% shrinkage (the rule of thumb for such things) will take care of that. We shall see.

Right now I am just very pleased that it is on the loom.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trying to find balance

Busy week socially, so did not make much progress on the loom. Still sleying the reed although with a bit of luck I may finish that tonight. Only 30 threads to go.

I had my needlework group, my book club, my walking group and the writing group all meeting this week, plus a visit to the massage therapist, a book reading by Lisa Moore and a trip out to Waterville to get kindling for the woodstove.

In the needlework group I took a piece of knitting that I have been working on forever, or at least since 2001. That's almost forever. I had not been at the group for quite some time so there was some catching up to do with old knitter friends. One person asked about the weaving and then it turned out that one of the newer members of the group is a retired professional weaver who offered to help me wind the warp on my loom. Winding the warp can be done singlehandedly but is better done with another person, so that offer is fabulous. Hope she's not holding her breath for me to call because I'm nowhere near ready for that step.

In the book club we discussed Room, a novel about a fairly awful situation that does not dwell on the unpleasant details and is in fact quite uplifting. Some members did not want to read the book because they knew the topic and couldn't bear to have to read about it, and then were pleasantly surprised that the book itself just wasn't that awful. A sensitive and insightful look at how one adjusts to "normal life" after having lived a very abnormal life for an extended period of time. Our next book is History's People by Margaret MacMillan which I have already started reading. The second chapter is called Hubris and is about leaders who are so convinced of their own rightness that they cannot brook any compromise or opposition. I've just started that chapter and I have to say the individuals described remind me of no one so much as Donald Trump. The book was written well before the last American presidential election campaign so I'm pretty sure the author did not have that intention, but it is interesting.

The walking group went to the KenWo golf course and we did a circuit that avoided the worst of the ice. Hapi loved it. Someone else brought their dog, a little dog that she kept on leash at first but eventually let loose and he charged after Hapi. He seemed to enjoy following the much bigger dog around.

The massage therapist seems to be doing me some good, at least for several days after the appointment the pain was much reduced. I'll be going back in a few days.

A whole bunch of us from the needlework, book club and walking groups met at the book reading and decided to go out for a drink afterward, it was quite fun. I haven't been out with a group of people for drinks in a very long time.

With all the socializing I just didn't have much time for weaving or writing, so those things are stalled for the moment. It is hard to find the right balance of socializing and getting stuff done that requires a certain amount of solitude. I did meet with the writing group but I didn't read anything. It is just about as interesting to listen to other people's stories. It's like having a bunch of soap operas on the go, I want to hear the next installment.

The trip to pick up kindling also involved walking Hapi in a new location. We were following the rail trail which is long and straight and boring, but there was a side trail onto a large farm. Basically the roads that the farmer uses to get around to his various fields, all posted with signs: Private Property, Stay On Trail. So I turned northward in hopes that this farm extended to the river and the trail would take us there. It actually extended across the river but I only went as far as the bridge and then looped back to the rail trail. It was a cloudy day, not quite foggy but with low clouds that obscured the view so I actually got disoriented by the twisting of the farm roads. I ended up back on the rail trail but headed the wrong direction before I figured out my mistake. On the way back to the car we passed several industrial sites--scrap yards, storage yards, truck depots, the rear sides of woodworking and other establishments. Hapi left the trail to explore those places. Industrial wasteland is more interesting to her than a narrow straight trail from point A to B. I'd catch glimpses of her between the trees loping along looking like a wolf. She got back to the car before I did and was waiting for me.

I didn't get much sleep last night because Hapi decided to sleep on my bed and she takes up a lot of space. If I try to kick her off she waits until I have fallen asleep and then jumps back on, waking me up in the process. I tried to sleep in another room but couldn't do it, I woke up after a few hours and just couldn't get back to sleep until I moved back to the other bed. She could easily sleep in her doghouse outdoors because her fur coat is so thick, but then she would think I was punishing her for something. The older she gets the more she wants to just be with me. The first couple of years that I had her she never came indoors and aside from walking and feeding her it didn't really feel like I had a dog, just a canine presence in the backyard.

Today I am simmering the carcass of a Christmas turkey that a neighbour gave me. She was going to throw it out so I asked for it. It's not nearly done yet but smells wonderful. There was quite a lot of meat left on the carcass so I will probably eat some of that tonight, maybe make a couple of turkey sandwiches and then throw the rest back into the broth after I've removed the bones.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Wolf Moon

We had a blizzard with lots of snow. I went snowshoeing.

Then we had a thaw and it all melted. I went walking.

This latest full moon was called the Wolf Moon. Full moons always bring higher high tides, this afternoon I was out on the dike along the Cornwallis River with my dog and took some photos of the high tide.

This was higher upriver than I usually go, it is strange to see the river almost overflowing its banks due to a high tide.

I was there for the turning of the tide, shortly after I photographed the high water I could see it visibly ebbing and the current of the river became quite strong again.

My latest weaving project is still progressing slowly. I have threaded the heddles and have started sleying the reed. That is going only marginally faster than threading the heddles.

I am working on my fantasy story again, I wrote a chapter for my last writing group meeting and started a following chapter but quickly bogged down. My main character is confused about what to do next and apparently so am I. However I got some encouragement and suggestions from the group which I will work on.

One of our members started this morning's session by telling us what happened to him last week. He read his story to us and then he says he remembered nothing after that until he was standing outside looking for his car. He said he was confused about where he was, what he was doing, even what day it was. He managed to get home and told his wife about it, she was concerned. Then he phoned one of our writing group and asked her if he had been behaving oddly, because he had no memory at all of how our meeting went after his turn reading out loud. She encouraged him to call his doctor which he did, and the doctor thought he had had a mini-stroke. He has decided to do nothing about it; aside from the memory loss he doesn't feel anything else happened to him. His doctor thinks the mini-stroke may have been triggered by stress due to the nature of the material he was reading to us.

I don't remember anything odd about his behaviour or appearance last week. I was sitting beside him and I noticed nothing. I know we spoke briefly to each other but I can't actually say whether it was before or after he read his piece. It is disconcerting to think that he was having a significant health event only a few feet away from me and I noticed nothing.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Another year

I have been thinking about making changes in 2017. I think that my best chance at success is to not be too drastic.

Two things I want to address are sugar and TV. In the evening I watch more TV than I would like, and while I am watching I snack, often on sugary stuff. I never used to have a sweet tooth, but it seems to have grown over the past few years. I think that sitting around watching TV is conducive to mindless snacking. So my goal is to reduce the TV time and the sugar consumption.

So far I have to say that cutting out sugar is at least as hard as, if not harder than, quitting smoking. I tell myself one day at a time, and, I don't have to eliminate it just cut it back. I think that finding something else to do in the evening than watch TV is going to be key. If I am busy I don't snack. I thought I would try not watching TV every other night, but judging by tonight I think that is going to be harder than I imagined.

On another topic, I had a helluva time with the warp on my loom. It got quite tangled and took a long time to untangle. At which point I realized I was missing half a dozen threads. I think I have it fixed but it is still a long way from finished and I won't really know if my fix worked until I get it all on the loom. Slow progress.

I took a break from my writing group (and writing) over the holiday season but went back last night and this morning. Which meant I had to write something. I decided on another Bedtime Story, which worked out pretty well. So far I have three Bedtime Stories, although one is divided into three parts (three nights), so I suppose I have five Bedtime Stories. Sort of. I am aiming for ten. I started rereading The Wheel of Time and was kind of surprised at the similarities between that and my own fantasy story, a little dismaying. You think you have totally made something up out of thin air and it turns out you didn't.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Hapi on the earthen dam of the Wolfville watershed lake

I often take Hapi to the Wolfville Reservoir, which is really only an emergency reservoir now as Wolfville gets its water from drilled wells near the dykes. When I lived here in the '70s and '80s there was no public access because it really was the town water reservoir. But the real source of water was the Wolfville Reservoir up on Gaspereau Mountain, which was piped down the mountain, across the Gaspereau Valley and the Wolfville Ridge to the town. I don't know if it fed the in-town reservoir or went somewhere else, but the pipe is no longer maintained and the old reservoir on Gaspereau Mountain became the Nature Conservancy, or Wolfville Watershed.

The photo above is the Old Wolfville Reservoir at the heart of the Conservancy/Watershed, which Hapi and I visited yesterday. We followed a couple of trails along the lake and into the woods. It was a cold clear day and there were quite a lot of other people (and dogs) there too. The trails were quite icy. I met three people and their two dogs on one trail, they asked if the trail circled around the lake and I told them that it did not. I've been on this trail several times, initially in hopes that it did circle around the lake but now I know that it does not. So they said that in that case they would head back to the lake and follow the Havey Trail. I'd never heard of that trail so I asked them where it was and they gave me directions. We didn't go, but I made a note of it for another time.

On the trail

At one point I lost Hapi and had to backtrack to find her. She'd found a frozen rabbit carcass and was busy scarfing it down, ignoring my insistent calls to Come. She did not eat her supper last night and this morning her tummy is growling loudly, I do believe it is the rabbit.

On the way home I deeked into the grocery store one last time in 2016 and met a couple, Peter and Anne, that I hadn't seen in a while. We chatted about various things including weaving (turns out Peter is a weaver which I didn't know before) and various aging issues. They had moved from their farm into town and I asked them how that was working out. They found living in town a big adjustment but the town they moved to was a good choice. Anne invited me to drop in any time, "the tea kettle is always on."

I have survived Christmas and New Years for another year. I was invited to two parties for New Years Eve, one of them was a group of single women and the other a large group of Gaspereau neighbours. I did not have the emotional stamina for a large party of mostly couples so had my heart set on the other party, but unfortunately the host came down with a fever and had to cancel. So I didn't go to any parties. I did go for an hour up the street to a neighbour's place and we shared glasses of The Captain (Captain Morgan rum, her favourite). Edna urged me to drink more and was appalled that I put more coke than rum in the glass, but her son admonished her to stop bullying me and let me set my own limits. He's a teetotaller. He had a late Christmas present for Hapi, a squeaky tennis ball, but it was way past Hapi's bedtime and she was only marginally interested.

I went to bed before midnight and there must have been fireworks because when I woke up at 3.00am she was camped outside my bedroom door (she usually sleeps in the basement) and had peed in the kitchen. I invited her onto my bed, she would never come in or get up on the furniture without being invited. But she did get up on the bed and hung out there for maybe half an hour. Then I guess her courage returned and she spent the rest of the night outside in her doghouse.

Hapi recovering her courage

I have started dressing the loom for another project, I will post photos another time. Basically a warp for two small rugs in a goose eye pattern with a warp in two colours, a dark blue grading into a dark red from one side to the other. It is experimental in several ways: the warp colours, the sett which is tighter than it should be in hopes of making a stiffer rug, and the width which is actually wider than the loom itself but I think will shrink down to the allowable width (27") hopefully before it winds around the cloth roller at the front of the loom. Since the warp is long enough for two rugs, I may vary the basic goose eye pattern for the second one to something else, we'll see.