Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Zzzzzzz, dental hygiene, and the letter E.

On Mar 21st I left Calgary... flew to San Diego. I'd been up since about 3:30 or 4:00AM, so when at 7:30pm I couldn't keep my eyes open, I wasn't too surprised.

The next night, in Mexico, I crashed at about 8ish. Each night was a similar story; tho I wasn't working too hard physically I was totally exhausted. I slept through the night over and over again. It was so great.

Was it because I was sleeping alone (and dog free) in a single bunk? Because I wasn't compulsively thinking about work? Because I was getting more exercise?

I just don't know. I expect it's a combination of everything.. all I know is that it was very, very wonderful, and I have to figure out a way to make it work at home.

Regarding dental hygiene... I had my teeth cleaned and polished, and had a checkup while I was in Mexico; all for the princely sum of $25.00 US. Can you believe that one? I.am.so.happy.

Prior to leaving for Mexico, I had been finishing off the upside down Haiku on the Near Solstice shawl... beautiful! Save for one misplaced yarn-over on a letter E. Just enough to blur the letter, and make the entire word illegible. These last two nights I've been sitting on the couch struggling with it. I have no desire to frog 20'ish rows of approximately 600 stitches each and start the haiku afresh. Nor can I leave it as is... So I initially tried to tink the E, and re-knit. Fail.

I'm telling you, it took some serious deep breathing before I had the nerve to start tinking that mess.... I had no idea if the correction was possible, or if I was causing myself a massive trip to the frog pond. Anyway....

Next I tinked approximately 1/2 of the word 'secret' and re-knit that. More-fail.

Tension was a problem, so I thought that a set of smaller metal DPN's would help, and I tinked for a 3rd time... this time, the entire word. I spent all of tonight re-knitting a section of 51 stitches, and for the most part, the problem seems cured. At the last possible moment, I neglected to turn the work, so I have to tink 4 stinking rows AGAIN. I'm not complaining, but damn.. it was a huge amount of time and energy to resolve a single yarn over.

Tomorrow is another day..

Something interesting for your entertainment

Here's something fun for you to look at.

A few Mexico pictures

Thousands upon thousands were taken; here are a few of Jim's. Please note that there are several disturbing photos of dogs in this collection.

On images 4403 and 4404 you can see a collection of plywood and black plastic to the left (and you can also see Brenda, a little neighbor girl who is recovering from an unfortunate head shaving incident.. try to imagine her with pigtails). That is the back wall of the house that our family was sharing with relatives. The relatives will remain in the old house.

And the little girl in the picture? The one with clear brown eyes, rosy skin and golden hair; the soccer whiz who is doing great at school? She's sleeping in a house with 4 walls. Also, for the first time in her life, she has a real bed, with a real mattress. She's 11.

You were part of that.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It went so fast

The house has been built, and now inhabited by Rachel, Alfonso and their 4 children. Handing over the keys to them was such an intense experience that I cannot put it into words.

I have the flu, and I will be so very glad to get home tomorrow. Soon I'll have pictures and stories to share.

Knitting? One lone monkey sock. Nice though...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Off I go, into the wild blue yonder

In a few hours I'll be on the plane and heading for Vancouver, then San Diego. I'm hoping that all goes well, and that I do a good job on the project. I hope that the family cherishes their new home; they'll never know how many people chipped in and helped out on this project. Hundreds.. including a lot of fiber addicts that I have the pleasure of knowing.

I am taking a single skein of STR Mill ends (medium weight), and 50 grams of Claudia's fingering weight, plus one lone sock pattern. (I'm already rethinking that). If I keep to the plan I'll actually have a pair of monkeys instead of one. Imagine that.

I also have a book and one Wild Fibers magazine. By Monday night my arms will be too sore to hold the book upright.

See you all again soon.... and thank you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lisa Hannigan

Here is something special for you to watch. She somehow reminds me of Joce.

Aunty Mary

My Aunt Mary was quite an amazing woman. When she was in her 80's she traveled to PEI to become the gold medalist in Woman's Golfing at the Senior Olympics. It wasn't her last time in the Senior Olympics, nor her last win.

She lead a very, very active life; bowling all winter, and golfing every other moment.

The golfing thing came up because when she married my great-uncle, he told her that if she didn't learn to golf, that she'd never see him. It ended up that she became the superior golfer, and I don't think he saw much of her!

Last Saturday Aunt Mary suffered a massive heart attack; after which she rallied (we weren't surprised). On Tuesday, she passed quietly in her sleep.

I'm quite sure that heaven has a golf course. And I know she's there right now... so golf in peace, Aunt Mary. We'll miss you here on earth.

Grampa? He didn't take the Lieutenant seriously, and he's still trying to get out of the GD hospital to go to his GD house and eat a decent GD meal. Apparently they don't let 93 year old men go home when they can't walk, and can't see, and have feeding tube. Imagine that?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Brier, hockey playoffs, and driving to Red Deer in the fog

I have really been enjoying the Brier... it's 10:58 and I just got home from Red Deer, so I don't know who won yet. Gosh, I missed a lot today.

For example.. BGA's playoff game this evening. It was a nail biter, and his team were victorious in overtime. I think the next game is Tuesday. I'm going to pray that it's not while I'm at work.

Here's a little video of him in the Saturday afternoon game. He's wearing a white helmet and has yellow laces. The Assistant Coach letting him in the gate at the end of the video is BFML. My two best guys...

My goal was to finish knitting the haiku on my project. That didn't happen. There wasn't much knitting time today. I doubt there will be this week, overall. These last few days before leaving for Mexico are pretty full.

Tonight's meeting was a team building event at Unity Baptist Church in Red Deer. We had dinner together, and then played all kinds of annoying team building games. I dislike that kind of stuff, but understand the necessity of it all. We dropped off our sleeping bags and sheets, which are now all bundled up with everyone else's. We learned some last minute stuff, and enjoyed each other's company.

6 more sleeps...

In my imagination, this blog entry was a lot more interesting. Did I mention that I drove there in thick fog? Home in thick fog and then a brief, furious blizzard? It was a long day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

This girl is mine too.

Her name is Natasha, and she lives in Florida.

This is my favorite picture of Dida. They are sisters. If you saw them together you would not believe that they only share one parent. It's not me, but I wish it was. I really love Natasha.

It's a very good friday the 13th

My Mug got herself the best report card I've ever seen, and through it, I benefit by getting my second free breakfast at the school. She's on the honour roll again! I can barely contain myself, I'm so proud.


I thought I lost her today... she walked home from school alone, and as we had discussed, she dropped in to Make One to visit with Sandra. I asked her to call me when she got home.. well, at 5pm BFML called to ask if I'd heard from her? After I'd told everyone left at the store that I had an emergency, and would be closing (I feel compelled to say that the store closes at 5 on Fridays..), I thought that she might have stayed a long time with Sandra, rather than dropping by for a quick hello. Phew... she was there. It's moments like that one that make you realize how much you love someone.

I've taken a few nights off of my not-so-secret project due to pure exhaustion (insomnia 6, annie 1). It's not the kind of thing you can knit with a fuzzy brain and crossed eyes. I'm almost through the second row of an upside-down haiku. Once the first row was completed, I had something to 'read', as I knit.. so it's going pretty well. When you're facing 600 stitches, the idea of frogging is not what I'd call enticing.

Today I was thinking about things that remind me of my childhood.. I was remembering the green leather seats and shiny stainless steel bars on the bus (we rode it a lot, as our mother didn't drive). I was thinking about cheddar cheese popcorn and floral gums from the Olde English Sweet Shoppe. I was thinking about garter stitch.

I've been knitting since I was 4, and when I close my eyes, I can see row upon row of perfect garter stitch in the squares I used to knit. I think I got all of my mother's ends to work with, so everything was striped (Until I learned how to knit baby clothes, and suddenly I owned entire balls of yarn. Seems to me that I might have been quite useful to my mother as cousins appeared; nieces and nephews arrived).

As I knit on my new project.. which is acres of garter stitch.. I am feeling that I am in a very familiar, very comforting place. I hope it continues.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's been a long week

Grampa is still in the hospital, and goes between dire and amazingly well, with a blink of an eye. He still believes that going home is an option, and demands his shoes on a regular basis.

Dida came home from Toronto.. a little worse for wear, but glad that she'd been there to help out and spend this time with Grampa. They went to singing/physio together and I think it was special for both of them.

The night Dida came home, Ike seriously sprained his upper ankle playing basketball. He's in a cast.

In the meantime, the kids here have had the plague. Banana had a cold, BGA had the flu (in technicolour, I might add), and then got the cold. Mug got the cold. Jim and I have been fighting it, and have so far succeeded in avoiding the worst of it. In the middle of this, BGA is in a hockey tournament. Another game on Saturday, and maybe even Sunday.

Me? I've been knitting like a crazy woman. After uncountable hours of research, I found a (yet) obscure pattern to knit for Stampede. I ordered cashmere lace weight from England, but changed my mind after I'd swatched with it. I ended up having to purchase an entire pound of Zephyr, and DAMN... more needles! (thanks to the kindness of J.Smoothie, I have a collection of Addis that defies description - I take them out at night just to admire them)

After a 600 stitch provisional cast on, I was on the road to my next blue ribbon attempt! After uncountable hours, I have over an inch of progress (woooo hooooo?). I've only had to tink a dozen stitches or so, and things are going better than can be expected. It's not the kind of lace that I do well with.. but the project is so enticing that I'll give it my best shot and see if I end up with something good.

Things at TKR are going well... Re-organization is almost complete, and the shop looks beautiful! We've got 3 different classes running at the moment, and the vibe at the shop is really nice.

Mexico is looming! Only 10 more days until we're on the plane and off into the sunset. I'm really looking forward to meeting our recipient family, and getting back into the swing of things. I miss carpentry, so it's a win/win situation for me in every possible way. For those who contributed, or who bought fiber from me during the time I was fundraising, I want to you to imagine that through you, in two short weeks a family will be sleeping on real beds, with food in their pantry, and a sturdy roof over their heads. It's an amazing, life changing event.

So, there you have it... last week, condensed.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Dida has been in Toronto since late last week, because her Grampa had taken a fall, and.. being as he's 93, it went from bad to worse and he was fading fast. Well, here it is a week later, and he's still chugging along (tho he had a stroke today, and is hating the indignity of these last days). He's frustrated. He's angry. He's present. He's not.

She told me that he keeps trying to remove his feeding tube, and demanding that someone give him his GD keys so that he can drive home and get something to eat.

That sounds like the Jack I knew.. feisty as all get out. Determined. Up until the fall he was both driving, and traveling. He had things pretty well under control until he cracked his head, broke his pelvis and injured his back. Until he began bleeding internally. Until he stopped eating.

He's losing touch now and then, and during one fade-out he told Dida that he had some Japanese pornography hidden in the basement of his house. She's staying there with her dad and her aunt, so she and her two cousins went on a search mission. Sure enough, she found some drawings that he must have thought deserved hiding. I think she and the cousins had a good laugh over what Grampa had been hiding since the war - art.

In a state this afternoon, he told Dida that the Lieutenant told him that he wasn't the same, and that it was time to go.

Stand down soldier. Stand down.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

PHỞ GÀ for 5

I love Vietnamese food, and one of my favorite dishes is Pho Ga. I love that the veggies are so crisp and the flavors in the broth are rich, yet distinct. So, how hard could it be?

Turns out, not that hard at all. The logic of the preparation had totally escaped me. What you do is prepare the broth (the only time consuming part.. yet so, so simple), bring it to a full rolling boil and then ladle it over hot noodles. Then you add slivers of fresh veggies, meat, and herbs. Voilà! Vietnamese chicken noodle soup in your very own kitchen.

Following you will find an excellent link for all kinds of cooking inspiration, and the recipe for the soup I prepared.