Sunday, November 29, 2009

The do nothing weekend


Instead we discovered that Banana's 13th birthday party wasn't next Saturday, it was THIS Saturday, at the very same time that BFML was scheduled to be at a hockey game with BGA, and a fund raising bingo directly afterwards. Did I mention that the Banana had invited approximately 10 girls? After a great deal of house cleaning and schedule shuffling we indeed held a birthday sleepover, serving gourmet hot dogs with home made chili, and numerous other toppings; strawberry cheesecake to follow. There were movies, there was much loudness, there was very little sleep.

Simultaneously all three dogs came down with something horrendous. Rox very nearly ended up at the emergency vet clinic, but by 5am she stabilized. Chicken broth and rice for the bunch of them today. We're reconsidering raw feeding in general. I don't believe her constitution can handle any surprises. Could it have been an extreme case of stress? That many teenage girls can be the last straw for a human, let alone a skittish dog.

Somehow, in the middle of that, I spun a good portion of the shetland that I washed, and Correna and I picked and carded. It's a nice light grey to charcoal... kind of an uneven lace weight, as the fiber was peppered with second cuts. I tell ya.. a little bit goes a long way (by the way, this isn't one of Tracy's shetlands).

I've been knitting on a little red hat that I found in Piecework. I like it, tho I suspect it's about 10 sizes too big. I'm also working on a Cowichan sweater and hat set. It's the first and the last that I'll ever knit... just not my bag. The sleeves are left to do, and.. well, 6 million ends need to be dealt with.

We did a little Christmas shopping; I'm pretty well done with Mug, Dida and Katerina. Otherwise I'm making progress.

The dogs are fighting... that's a good sign.

Think the back roads and pathways are clear enough for a bike ride tomorrow? We'll see.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hi Christine!

I would love to talk with you regarding LQT. You can write me at: spinknit at me dot com. Only.. well, you know.

I look forward to hearing from you.

I'm at work right now because I can't get home

Well, I can't get home before my head explodes from frustration. At the moment I can't actually get out of the parkinglot because the road in front of it appears to be glare ice. I had a plan B, but the guy on the radio just told me I was smoking something funny if I thought I was driving home that way.

Does the universe not know that it's pizza night? Geez.

So, now I'm going to explode your head by saying that last night the two tea cosy silent auctions ended, and I am thrilled beyond reason to announce that our two cosies sold for $300.00. My donation page isn't updated completely, but I believe I'm approximately 60-something percent done on my goal. My plan is to keep fund raising and to send my results to IK.. cuz we're a team.

Right now I have a hand woven Noro scarf to sell; several pairs of socks and mitts that Martha knit, a pair of socks for Trisha, sock blockers, stitch markers raffle tickets... Kayla designed the most beautiful shawl and she's going to let me sell the pattern.

I just don't know what to say. I'm so proud and thrilled and blessed and touched. I know so many good, giving people. I'm grateful.

Cancer? The knitters/weavers are after you. Look out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

This is a list

I'm going to be sad when I have to start riding in the light again. BFML bought me a new headlight, and it rocks the free world. I can see so clearly... I could actually read a discarded chocolate bar wrapper on the pathway. I could see what was a hole, and what was a bump, what was a rock and what was a leaf. I could see a ninja well before I was near her (her.. I knew it was a woman). She was walking away from me.

I have a new route, and it's calm; peaceful. I have more lights, everywhere. My Dollybird gave me wind pants, and fleece pants to go under them. She also gave me a wicking shirt, all of which I wore today. I was warm.

My new route gently runs downhill, so I get to cruise for approximately 15 blocks.

I stopped listening to my iPod, because it messes up the quiet.

I smell... leaves burning. Chicken dinners. A joint. The river. Coffee.

I see... the river in darkness, smoother and satiny. The interior of houses at dinner time. A dog with a florescent collar. The park, in pitch dark.

There are... no more skateboarders. Hardly any pedestrians. No black dogs on long leashes. No more rollerbladers. Not many cyclists. I'm almost never passed. I almost never have to pass.

There was no wind on the way home. Not even a breeze.

I thought the night was going to be my worst case scenario. With a little planning and a few changes, it turned into something really special... like that one rainy day that I rode through. Such a pleasant surprise.

Today a number of miracles happened to me.

Rose and Correna helped me at the shop. I was buried alive in yarn that had arrived, I needed to prepare/execute three orders, and the store was jam packed. With their help almost everything was handled.

I saw JSmoothie and Fiona. That was such an unexpected pleasure. Fiona isn't a toddler any more, that's for sure.

There's a middle miracle that isn't my story - so I'm dispensing with details. A friend, Leanne, became an answer to prayer.. she came with information, contacts and support. I don't have words to address how much it meant to me, and how much I needed her today.

When I got home today, BFML met me at the door to let me know that Genetics had called. I've been approved for genetic research regarding Long QT Syndrome. My DNA leaves for Italy this week. We'll hear something in 6 months to a year; to me that sounds fast, I've been waiting 7 years so far.

Sweet Jennifer donated to my Ride to Conquer Cancer fund.

And I safely road home in the dark.

There was lasagna.

There was knitting.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Life, since I started stalking DonnaJ

I dunno.. you meet somebody and you know that they're somebody special.. and even at my age, you wonder if you're cool enough to be her friend. You hope you are.

There she is; funny, talented, interesting, and having reached SABLE (stash accumulated beyond life expectancy), laughingly shares that her yarn room had an avalanche. Damn, that room was amazing, even with the avalanche. If someone shut you in there, you'd starve to death before you ever tried the door to see if it was, in fact, locked. That same day several of us sat outside in her yard and spun yarn (I was working on the Bison for the Miralda shawl), drank iced coffees, ate fresh shortcake.. it was some kind of heaven.

Donna has a wheel collection, and she was kind enough to lend me her Majacraft Rose. I never gave it back (is that stealing?). She donated two (not one, but two) Tsock Tsarina kits to benefit the potluck fundraiser that Bellie threw for us. I was lucky enough to score both of them, through luck, the grace of God, and $40. I KNOW that I am going to turn the Golden West sock kit into a first place ribbon at Stampede. Watch me!

OK, so there was this purple mohair shawl that Donna knit for Sandra and Amy when the store first opened (Sandra told us how Donna used to come and basically taught her about the finer aspects of yarn). When I was managing the store, I used to wear the shawl around my hips, like a skirt, because my thighs were always freezing (go figure). Lately I've been thinking a lot about that shawl, and I asked Bess if I could buy it off of her. She told me I could have it (even though it is so pretty, and is a lovely store sample). I don't know how I'm going to repay her for such kindness, but I have GOT to tell you... today i wore that shawl all day long, and I just feel so great that it's mine.

Might just sleep with it. I haven't decided.

I'm not against the Mo.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Helmet liner

The helmet liner pattern can be found here. I knit mine without the ear flaps, but otherwise it was unaltered.

Click through all of the patterns if you have the time. They really are great.


We're having fajitas tonight, and I remembered to soak beans for frijoles. When we were in Mexico in the spring we were served plenty of them, that is a fact. Most of the kids (and a few of the adults) weren't all that enamored, but I love the stuff. Correna, Gordana and I have been to a Latin grocery store a number of times lately, and I've got a sizable collection of dried beans of every sort. Tonight? White Cranberry.

I'm all over the place with knitting these days. I've knitted 2.5 pairs of socks to raise money for my ride, I repaired a vintage Cowichan sweater, I started on a pair of Tsock Tsarina socks (Daughter of the Regiment) only to discover that the pattern has errata, and the error would be exactly in the part that I've completed. I'm excited about the socks, so I'll let them rest for a while, and start again. I learned 3 new ways to cast-on toe-up socks (they aren't my style, I must admit), and finally settled on Judy's Magic Cast-On. Beautiful. Through the power of prayer and $40.00 I also have another Tsock Tsarina kit; that being the Golden West tsocks. I thought I'd work on them during the Year of Estonian/Orenburg Lace Knitting.. you know; for a little change of pace.

Today I'm knitting on a little Damson shoulder shawl in Pagewood Farm Cashmere sock yarn (Alyeska, colour: 14-Ireland) that I bought at Purl SoHo when we went to Rhinebeck last year. This will be the yarn's 5th project so far. I have to say, it frogs well and still looks great. I'm hoping that this project is a keeper and I can once and for all say goodbye to the skein.

I am STILL not feeling well, and that's the reason for the Damson. My hands ache too much to knit socks.. so we're settling for something soft and easy.

My next project? Longies for one of the darling R's.

After the beans, and after a sock, but before the Damson sees the light of day.

(note: 11pm. Beans are done. Supper is a distant memory. Failbean)

Friday, November 13, 2009


ACV does not cure insomnia or neurotic poodles.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

ACV cures all.

At least that's what they say.

You may or may not know that I went poo-free several months ago. My friend Jocelyn was giving it a try because it's believed, in some circles, that if you kick the shampoo, your curly hair will be curlier. After about 3 months of it, I have to say that it is, in fact, true. Some people wash their hair using a paste of baking soda, and then rinse with a little apple cider vinegar (henceforth referred to as acv) and water. I tried that, but it wasn't particularly successful for me, so I switched to washing my hair with a really super cheap conditioner. The trick is to find one with out any word in the ingredient list that ends with 'cone'. Cone free. Then rinse with the acv/warm water, followed by clear water. My hair is quite curly to begin with, but I was finding it frizzy. Now it's curlier, less frizzy, but I have to wash it more often (that could be due to cycling/helmet head tho.. I'm not sure). Several times I've gone back to shampoo, but after one wash I always remember why I switched in the first place, and out comes the Rexall conditioner bottle.

(Yes, I know it's midnight.. I can't sleep, so I'm talking vinegar here)

Ok, recently I've been suffering (and suffering in the truest sense of the word) from extreme body pain. Could be one of about 20,000 reasons, but I'm attributing it to the (ahem) flu. I thought I had it kicked, but damn.. it's back again. I tried Tylinol, I tried Motrin, I even tried T3's (even tho I'm allergic to them.. it was a last resort). I had hot baths. I tried to ride it out. I tried to stop whining about it, but to no avail.

While reading threads on a (wait for it...) cycling forum or two, I found a whole lot of information on joint/muscle pain relieved via a daily shot of acv. Apparently it solves acid reflux to boot. Some claim their appetites were dampened while on the acv regime, and one person even mentioned that if applied with a q-tip daily for months and months, that toenail fungus will clear up.

Seriously, it sounds too good to be true, but I was thinking that it's worth a try. What the heck?

So the BFML and I took a trip down to Community Health and picked up a gallon of non-filtered, non-pasturized acv. I mostly take it mixed with a little unpasturized honey and a big glass of water (then I rinse my mouth, because I don't want the acid erosion on my teeth); sometimes if I'm in a hurry I just throw back a shot glass and be done with it... but that's not for the wimpy amoung us. My girl Natasha says that it is disgusting mixed with V-8, so let's believe her, and skip that combo.

I still have muscle pain/aches, but I'm not done with the flu (effing thing). I do think that my heart burn is better and I haven't had any acid reflux at all. Must acid cure acid? Dunno.

I'm not admitting to any wonky toenails.

There is no scientific evidence that apple cider vinegar has any medicinal properties. While the folksy anecdotes from those who claim to have benefited from apple cider vinegar tonics may be amusing to read, they are simply that -- anecdotes. Luckily, I'm into anecdotes.

Gotta say tho, if you are in my vicinity and you suddenly feel like ordering fish and chips or eating pickles, I apologize.

As an aside, tomorrow morning some of the fire damage repairs begin. Roofers are coming, and also the door/wall guy. Should be a tough day for the BFML and the pups, but gosh, we'll be glad to see some of the work done. There's a draft in the living room like you wouldn't believe. If you you take the rag out of the hole, you can peep outside. Not a good quality for the winter months.

In the dark

Knitters, I apologize in advance. Stay tuned for a forthcoming knitting related post.

These last few days I've been getting back on the bike after a round of flu. My strength is sapped and my time/speed sucks, but I'm moving again. However, things have changed.

What I have loved during this spring/summer of cycling has been experiencing the seasons again. Spring was so lovely, with ducklings wandering across the path, leaves budding... I could smell green grass and moving water. As summer approached there was a new thing to revel in every day, though some parts were infuriating (three times large black dogs nearly removed chunks of me), others kept me motivated day after day (the cyclist who, as he passed me, said: good pace. I was a new commuter then, struggling along with my heavy cruiser).

Suddenly it was fall. There was a morning where, deep into thought, I suddenly snapped into the moment and was completely disoriented. Leaves had fallen, and in that second I couldn't recognize my surroundings. It was the strangest feeling, and I was almost afraid for a second or two. Everything was different.. instead of smelling sweet green things, now the scent of dry leaves and smoke became common.

The time changed, and I realized that I had to rethink the whole commute. Parts of me are now too cold, so I knitted a helmet liner that would cover my chin, neck and upper chest. My tights are no longer sufficient, so I tried riding in jeans (fail), and now I'm considering some kind of wind pant to put over the tights. I have the right jacket, the right gloves; I've changed from riding in sneakers to wearing ankle boots.

It's dark. Doesn't sound like much, but I'm telling you, riding in the dark is a whole new ball of wax, a completely new skill set (which I currently don't possess).

HOME ROAD became impossible [for me] to [safely] navigate downhill... The first dark evening nearly scared me to death as I flew down the hill unable to clearly see the pavement, cars whizzing by my left elbow - stupid driver trying to rush out of a driveway before I crashed into the side of his car. Never again will I repeat that, so over the last few days I've been trying new routes. Last night I hit pay dirt, and found a combination of side-streets that were quiet, lit and.. all gently downhill. It was amazing. I coasted approximately 15 blocks before I had to put my foot to the peddle. After dozens of rides in raging winds, dozens more slogging up HOME ROAD, I feel like I've earned that free-ride. Problem solved.

Lighting also became an issue that isn't completely solved. I had purchased a really sweet headlight and thought that it was all I needed. Grossly incorrect. It really is quite effective at letting me be seen by those approaching, but that's about all it does well. I couldn't be seen from the side or from the rear, and more importantly I couldn't see where I was going. Curves suddenly appeared. Ninjas on the path (unlit walkers & runners wearing black clothing.. can't see them until the last moment, and it's difficult to perceive if they are approaching or retreating).. leaves or rocks? Potholes or raised pavement?

After a great deal of research and a trip to MEC I decided that I was going to 'go circus'. Now only a blind person could miss me. I currently have the same headlight, but BFML ordered me a serious replacement (I noticed last night that approximately 3 out of 4 riders have replaced their headlight with something much brighter). I have a flashing red light on the back of my bike, and another on my backpack. We installed some sparkling wheel lights that make me visible from the side, and also.. well, make me happy. It's like Christmas tree lights on my bike. I have a flashing white light on my helmet to top things off. I kind of love that one because it makes street signs light up/flash. My jacket, helmet and ankles are plastered with reflectors. All circus, all the time.

So, there I was, last night.. riding along the pathway through Shouldice park when I noticed that the tops of trees had lights skimming along them, to and fro. It struck me that I had a bicycle behind me on the path, and that the rider had a helmet lamp.

The rider never passed me.