Let’s Talk

On this day, and every single day, we need to be aware that people around us may be suffering beyond their control. That those people need to feel free to talk to someone – to you, maybe – about what’s on their mind. We need to learn to listen, to really listen, and to hear what might not be said.

Kristy Wolfe Photography

20         The number of days that have passed since my dad, a 58 year old cardiologist, went missing.

17          The number of days that have passed since my dad’s car was found.

16          The number of days that have passed since my dad was found.

10          The number of days that have passed since we celebrated my dad’s life.

0122-003 Dad’s favourite view from the deck of our house on Cowichan Lake.

Tomorrow, January 28th, is Bell’s annual Let’s Talk Day. You’ve probably seen or heard some of the commercials that have been running recently. The one that really hit home has two guys at work talking about another colleague who has anxiety. Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Below is an excerpt from the speech I gave at my dad’s memorial. I’m…

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Going, Going, ………….

The time has come for some new challenges. In 5 weeks time, we will be living in a different home, in a different place and doing different things with our lives.  We didn’t plan on this change right now, (though we’ve been thinking about it for some time) but when an opportunity comes knocking, it’s a good idea to answer the door and invite it in.  Besides, once my lys closed, I knew it was time to move on.  Thanks for the push, Kathy. Art of Yarn, here I come!

We are relocating to Kelowna. We will experience less winter and more summer again.  We will be close to local wineries  and fruit farms (really close).We will have a garden again. And neighbours. And …….. so many things that I’ve missed since we left Toronto.  I will miss my friends  here in the Bow Valley and my job at Kitchen Boutique (Claire, please open a store in Kelowna so I can keep working for the best employer on the planet!). I will miss watching newborn elk calves take their first steps and learn to frolic with their friends. I will miss coyote pups, some shy, some inquisitive, learning about their world. I will miss seeing bears walk past my kitchen window after watching them roll in sand bunkers for hours on end. But I have my memories, and lots of photos to keep all that alive.  I’m excited about our new adventure. Wish us luck!

Our move means that BB’s job is open and for some reason, it hasn’t been posted through the usual resources. They could be missing out on some real talent.  So if you, or anyone you know, is interested in applying the for position of Golf Course Superintendent at the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course please use the following link to start the application process.  Closing date for applications is January 23/15.

http://www.fairmontcareers.com/   (‘search positions’ and add ‘golf course superintendent’ into keywords).

My knitting has had to take a backseat to packing but a couple of things are in progress.

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Birch Bark Cap from Kelly McClure’s new eBook, Bohohats Vol. 2. Just need to crochet the brim and I’m done!

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My Roosevelt Cardigan is making slow progress, but progress nonetheless. It’s now ready to join in the sleeves!

Joy is ……

……. stealing 15 minutes.

I needed to schedule a vet appointment for Skye at a time that I’m normally at work so BB offered to take him (road trip just for the boys and all that).  They weren’t back yet when I got home from work and my first thought was, “Uh oh, there’s no one here who needs to ‘go out’, no one who needs a cookie”. In essence, no one who needs me.  And I realized that sometime in the not too distant future, these thoughts would apply all the time.  Cue the tears.

And then it kicked in.  I was home alone.  No man. No dog. But they were both coming back so, no worries.

Here’s how I spent my 15 minutes. Relaxed. Rejuvenated. Ready to cook supper.  Oy.

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A Surprise Gift = Joy

When I got to work last Sunday, there was an envelope with my name on it resting at the register, .  Inside was a little thank-you gift for some work I’d done.

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A friend had a knitted sweater with a hole in it and she asked if I might be able to mend it.  Her mother had made the sweater near 50 years ago and it had ‘got caught on something’, was the story she heard to explain the damage.  I’ve mended a hole or two in a sock heel, and thought this job would be a snap.  Then I got the sweater.

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Sweater mending in progress.

It wasn’t so much a snag as a gaping 3″ hole.

I managed to find yarn that was slightly similar, but couldn’t exactly match the colour or texture after all those years of wash and wear, and my gauge was the tiniest bit off.  The pattern was easy to decipher and it didn’t take long to do the actual repair.

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The real difficulty was trying to integrate all the broken threads – and there were a lot of them.  I ended up sewing in the top of the ‘patch’ and sewing/tying in all the wee loose threads.  Not a terribly professional job, I’m afraid, but at least the sweater can be worn (and washed again), and that was the point.

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And now I get to buy myself a little something extra. Thanks, Lynda!

 

 

Joy = Learning to Knit

Knit Night. Banff. Starbucks.

Anne-Marie learned to knit tonight.  This pretty much sums up how we all feel about knitting.

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Finding Joy, One Day at a Time

(I had every intention of posting this yesterday but my computer was uncooperative.  Let’s pretend, for a moment, that it’s still Tuesday.)

I haven’t been around for a while, I know.  Winter has really been kicking my butt lately.  Dark days, dark nights, cold, snow – I’m really fed up, as I’m sure many of you are.  It often feels like there is little or no joy in my life these days.  A short time ago I heard about something called 100 days of Joy.  The idea is to find a moment of joy, however small, and take a photo of it each day for 100 days.  It was an idea that really appealed to me, something along the lines of a visual gratitude journal.

When Skye and I headed out for our first walk of the day, I was discouraged.  Something about the weather left the morning feeling very flat. The colour of the day, the clouds, even the air looked/felt flat.  It made me think that depression is not blue, or grey or black; it has colour but everything about the colour is flat. It has no up or down, light or dark, it’s just flat.  Maybe that only makes sense to me, but it certainly describes the way the morning made me feel.

It didn’t seem there would be anything really uplifting to the day, certainly nothing that merited a photo.  And then, on our after-dinner walk, Skyler picked up a big old tree branch left on the deck by his friend Izzy, and he showed me joy. It’s more than one pic, but I’d like to share it with you.

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Hoping for a Christmas Miracle

Meet Hildy.

Pattern: Girl Friday by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. Knit in Knit Picks Gloss HW, Blackberry

Pattern: Girl Friday by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. Knit using Knit Picks Gloss HW, Blackberry

She’s been keeping me company for the past few weeks.  She’s momentarily sleeveless but she’s warm and fun to be around and remarkably quick, for a cardigan.  It turns out that Hildy also has a twisted sense of humour, and I’m not referring to the look of her stitches.  You see, Hildy is coming up a little short.  I ordered extra yarn knowing that she’d likely need more length for me but somehow there may not be enough.  All her bits are knitted and I’m just working up the collar and front bands but I’m starting to worry.  I’ve got 50 grams left, as I write, and the problem is that the yarn has been discontinued. Not just the colour, but the whole line of yarn.  I’ve knit and weighed and measured and done the math.  If I’ve done it correctly, I should be able to finish with 5 grams to spare – enough to seam the sleeves and sides.  I’m hoping for a Christmas miracle.  Otherwise, I’ll be back begging you to look through your stash for me.

Aside

I finally finished my do-over socks.  I shouldn’t say ‘finally’; all in all, the pair took only 20 hours of knitting once I’d restarted them.  There were a lot of do-over rounds on these socks for some reason but that didn’t seem to slow me down much.  That’s what comes of plain knitting in-the-round with self-patterning yarn – a quick, lovely finished item that looks more time-consuming than it was.

Christmas socks 2013

Patons Kroy Socks in Rich Earth Jacquard

It’s been extremely cold here over the past week with temperatures as low as -40ºC (or ºF – the temp. is the same) with the windchill.  Skyler can barely get his business done without falling over from cold paws and he hates wearing his boots. Truthfully, even if I could find his boots (they’re here somewhere ….) it takes 2 of us to put them on and get them secured. And they make him kick. Hard, and high.  I remembered yesterday that Skye has a few pairs of socks used a while back to protect an injury from his licking and biting.  Could that work now?

Skye socks

It only takes a couple of minutes to slip them on, and being less constricting than boots, he’s adapted to them much more easily.  We are back to longer walks with a happy dog.  I do love socks!

Aside

This is the first 3″ of my latest sock. 

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It’s also the second time this first 3″ has been knit.  You see, I’ve worked with this yarn a number of times.  Paton’s Kroy is a good, sturdy sock yarn with some lovely colour gradations and self-patterns.  I’ve worked with it enough to know that I need to cast on 56 stitches on 2.5 mm needles to make a sock that fits perfectly every time.  So when I started these, I didn’t bother to swatch.  My gauge is always the same. Always. 

I knit a 6″ leg. I knit an eye of partridge heel. I turned the heel and knit halfway through the gusset. And then I looked at the sock.  I put my hand in it and stretched it a bit.  Hmm. Then I tried it on.  When the first hint of a size error in knitting hits you, you do what any right-minded person would do.  You stretch whatever it is you’ve knit.  If it’s a lacey shawl or scarf, you’re probably okay.  Lace needs to be stretched out to be showcased and there’s always some leeway but a  plain knit sock won’t succumb to the same tactic.  You stretch, it pops right back to where it was.  That’s what I did.  I knit 2 more rounds anyway.  Then I got out the ruler.  Yep, gauge was totally off.  Lesson learned – for now.

Domesticity

My friend Kathy told me about something called Farm Box last year and I was intrigued. Canmore-based Farm Box is modelled after a basic CSA (community supported agriculture) program in which we (consumers) buy shares of growers’ harvests at the beginning of the season and receive our shares at our local farmers’ markets at harvest time. Farm Box represents a number of producers and the best thing about the shares (in my opinion) is that we don’t know what we’re getting until just before market day.  There’s something different every week.

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This week’s Farm Box offered us the chance to buy a case lot of Roma tomatoes, pickling cucumbers or peaches. I went in for the tomatoes and they’ve taken over my life for the past 2 days. I’ve still got a few pounds to process but truly, one can not live by tomatoes alone!

I turned this

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into 6 pints of tomato sauce, ready to add a fresh spark to dull, cold winter evening meals.

Another couple of pounds of tomatoes went towards this.

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Gazpacho shot, anyone?

There are still enough tomatoes left for some salsa and some freezer-bound tomato soup.  Tomorrow is another day.

Beautiful small beets went towards a fully-stuffed pint of pickled beets (one of BB’s favourites) and zucchini turned into zucchini-chocolate chip mini loaves.

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All of this cooking, freezing and processing leads me to naming my favourite kitchen gadget/tool of the week.

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A food mill. In this case, the OXO Good Grips Food Mill. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and has 3 discs for your choice of fine, medium or coarse processing. It saved me a lot of time and clean-up, especially when it came to making the tomato sauce.  I’ve wanted a food mill for years and just wish I’d gotten it sooner.

That extra time allowed me to start a new needle-and-string project.

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More on that later, as well as some new, and local, yarn (!)