Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Let's call this Parliament to session

In this case a Parliament of Owls or a Wisdom of Owls.

As part of New Years resolution list I committed that I would knit more this year than I had in the last few. Not because I felt that my lack of knitting reflected poorly on my character, drive or general level of functionality, but because it is one of my only meditative hobbies. Believe it or not, it slows me down and helps me react more thoughtfully. Two actions that could use all they help they can get in my world.

They also brought my total sweater tally to three by the beginning of Q2 (if you happen to think in fiscal quarters.)

Each 'Parliament' consists of 14 owlets which meant I had a run on buttons for eyes - 56 in total. For the blue sweater I pulled from my very precious supply of buttons I inherited from my Mimi, the recipient's Great-Grandmother, avid knitter, seamstress, and Captain of my Family's League of Difficult Women.  Seems appropriate.
But for the cream Parliament I was in trouble. We are still on our Q2 - Post Christmas Fiscal Diet so I was disappointed thrilled for the excuse to go Button Diving at Mac Fab.  When I posted about the oncoming need for some blue button eyes our good friend Ms. Debra came to the rescue. She makes luxury out of clay...her website will be up soon!

28 handmade, glazed and baked clay buttons. Cobalt. How luxurious is THAT?!

and so it came to pass that I finished a birthday sweater and matching Marlowe sweater 2 days before the birthday party...sobre and not stressed.

This Bitch is evolving...finally.

Pattern: Owlet by Kate Davies
Difficulty: ADORABLE

To be clear, I have been traveling a lot more than expected in Q1 so while I have been a "woman getting shit done", in fact I've been spending close to 16 hours a month by myself on a plane. For all the parents out there, yes, it was borderline pornographic in its luxury.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The New Jumper

Here's the thing, I am mostly a Jill of all trades as opposed to a Mistress of one. I do a lot of different seemingly opposing work, extra-curriculars and arts. Most of them slowly. One of the many reasons I love knitting is that it is paced labour. There is a natural cadence to it - it's uncomfortable for a knitter to change their cadence on purpose - speed, at least in my case, is gained through knitting a lot.

Over the past 10 years I've come to terms with the fact that I am not one of those quick thinkers - comebacks always come to me 4 days after stewing and brooding, my snap decisions are super flawed and my first impressions of people are more often than not way off base.

That doesn't mean I'm not reactionary -  I flare up with the best of them. I've toned down the instinct I have to speak without breathing but it is an ongoing practise and even when I take pause I am such a committed extravert that you will feel the heat of my restraint.

Knitting has been a great way to make me concentrate on slowing my shit down, commit to a long haul and let myself settle in without being still if that makes any sense.  Once in awhile it even ends up in a useable garment.

Mostly, I'm in it for the process. This last time it worked out well. Fenner asked for a sweater just like the one from a sweet book we like by Oliver Jeffers called The New Jumper. It took almost 18 months but I did it. Literary knits yo. Of my own basic design.

I'm proud and Fenner loves it. For the win.

Fenner doing her best Huey impression with attitude. Looking a little bit older than I remember when taking this picture.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Break Small Town Canada Style

Nothing makes me feel more like the quintessential Canadian family that we are like visiting our family in the Ottawa Valley and the Gatineaus.

Usually this is our annual Sugarbush excursion. Jason's lovely folks have a camp with a pretty big property full of trees to tap.  This year, Fenner is big enough to actually participate in the whole process..too bad the weather decided not to play nice. We lost a day of travel to the snow storm so I had to work the day after we arrived but that didn't stop my people from heading to the bush.

I tried hard to be mature but the envy ate at me as I worked in the coffee joint.

We spent the weekend playing crokinole in the evenings; knitting and hanging out during the day. As though Sugarbush and Crokinole didn't make us Canadian enough Steve kicked it up a notch by introducing us to the family Winchester 1894. 

Which was crazy. It led to us doing some high level research into what it would take for us to legally own this gun - 3 months, 2 references, a mental health check and a spousal interview (so I would get the chance to say that Jason should/should not get to have a gun and, perhaps more importantly, vice versa)

This is one of the many reasons I believe in my heart that school shootings are still uncommon enough in urban centres as to be shocking in Canada.

After getting spoiled rotten at Jason's folks' place we headed to Wakefield for our annual haul the kids through hike through the Gatineaus with our good friends and former neighbours The Vanderbergers

This Gatineau leg of the journey means a lot of inappropriate laughing, too much wine and Dieu du Ciel beer while the girls run amok like the playmates they are.

But for the lack of sap it was the perfect perfect weekend.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Head for the Hills!

Riddle me this my sweet baby cherubs; how is it March and I have a dozen shitty first drafts in my post folder and nothing published?!

It's been such a busy 'First Quarter' that we only got out to our cottage mid-February for the first time. My sisters gave us the amazing gift of organizing a weekend of maintenance and fun in the snow. It was a real treat just to be able to show up and have fun without all the prep and ground work laying.  We could only go up for a night and a day and it was worth every ounce of energy output.

We hiked in on the road so Fenner could warm up to her snowshoes again. Silly me. There was no warm up required, I am so stoked that she was a total pro.  They were unnecessary on the road unless one was interested in intrepid expoloration...which of course, one was...


The goal of the weekend was to take down a beaver eaten tree while the lake was still frozen.  We're rookies at this so it was a bit...fumbled, but down she came with a ton of learning experience to build on. My sister Charlotte and Brother in Law Pat quarterbacked the whole adventure and really saved the day on this. Their stick-to-itivenss was a sight to behold.
We checked in our little shack holding up under the weight of this winter - it was good to see her. Makes me itch for the heat of summer even though I found my snow love while we were up there.

I was doing stand up that night so when it was time to go we decided to take the lake route which is much faster (not to mention flat.) This is my favourite part of the cottage in the winter. It is so trippy to be walking routes that we swim, canoe and boat all summer long.

I'm so stoked for next year when the girls are going to be big enough to cope with a full weekend of winter love.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

New year, new resolutions

As a Grinch and a Gemini, the past two weeks have truly shadowed my extreme tendencies. Events that were largely out of our control that had pretty significant impact on our energy levels and which trumped virtually every Christmas to do list that we had.

It wasn't until the evening of the 29th that celebrating, gift exchanging and cooking responsibilities were complete. Once done we settled like dust after a storm. We went 'nuclear' for a couple of days. Visiting our neighbourhood covered in snow, taking care of our business and each other with no other agenda but to enjoy our time together.

We had a good hard look at our "Clean out 2013" List - some of which had to be moved in order to make room for cleaning up our property from the ice storm that hijacked our neighbourhood. All said, we ended the year as we meant to continue. Jason finished his outstanding household repairs, I closed off the 2013 Good Food Box accounts and we spent a day cleaning up the backyard - we even had some neighbours join us for a bonfire and mulled wine.

It was a crazy great year filled with adventure and change. When I tried to find my resolution list it was still written in my journal - there were a few things didn't get done and like anything on a to do list they get moved into the next edition. Instead of stopping or starting - I've started practicing and trying on new habits.  This was a direct result of being nice to myself. Here's what I'm going to aim for in 2014...

  1. Turn 40.
  2. Lead a team for the 2014 Bike Rally
  3. Continue to try and get rid of my crippling FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). It really fucks with my ability to enjoy the day.
  4. Continue the practice of eliminating the word "just" from our family vocabulary - "I'm just a stay at home parent", "I'm just learning how to run 5 km", "I'm just her Mum"
  5. Stop trying to resolve a conflict immediately to avoid the pain of finding a better conversation.
  6. Ask myself W.A.I.T (Why Am I Talking) more.
  7. Ask more questions.
  8. Knit 3 sweaters, 4 pairs of socks, 5 pairs of mittens, master the art of knitting the perfect toque.
  9. Get more uppity in front of my daughters.
  10. Finish The Rail Garden - mostly this means try and find a governance strategy for the property.
  11. Buy good garden equipment.
  12. Set up the work room in the Shed.
  13. Continue to foster a Maker's Christmas with my family.
  14. Finish a Sprint triathlon.
  15. Finish a full triathlon
  16. Bike 3000 km this summer
  17. Use my benefits.
  18. Get my PMP designation.
  19. Listen to more music. Invest in it.
  20. Read more. Always more.
  21. Finish watching the IFI's Top 100 Funniest Movies
  22. Learn to play the uke beyond noodling around in my kitchen.
  23. Enjoy moderation more.
  24. Cook with and for my friends more often.
  25. Learn more.
  26. Camp with my family
  27. Spend New Years Eve 2015 in a yurt in Algonquin park (Jason doesn't know about this one yet)
It's going to be a good year. I can just tell.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Slamming it in

A chinook is rolling into Calgary today and reminded me about this post from weeks ago.  I have a couple of pretty satisfying projects in full gear or ramping up to kick off so I'll be spending some time out West in the new year.  My last trip there it was -20 C which was an...adjustment.

It is wild out there.
I had tried to arrive in Calgary with enough time to get dinner out in the Prairies before it got dark, I was delayed leaving and I probably should have opted for chilling and knitting in the apartment I rented or at least checking the road reports before leaving..but well...I've forgotten how the rest of Canada operates. Next time, there will be hibernation.

If you look closely you can see the smudged horizon line in the picture above. I thought it was some weirdo prairies winter sunset thing - but no, turns out it was a wall of fog that crept above the line of the Badlands Valley.

The roads were terrible and there was some snow which is to say, that I was the Torontonian that got her Ford Focus stuck on the side of the road taking these pictures.
Can you blame me though? There is just nothing like this east of Manitoba and it boggles my mind every time. I did learn however, that it boggles my mind a lot less fearfully when it isn't covered in black ice, snow and dark.
Of course, the fog did make me thankful that I still know how to rock a car out of a rut because I don't think anyone would have seen me in that soup bowl.