Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Well, this is the end of 2008

2008 has been quite the year for me.

I developed new skills like how to sew, how to weave and how to slam my arm in the car door. I got some new toys like this wheel and a counter top mill (both very beneficial for my health). I went to my very first spin-in and spent the day helping Fun Knits at the Victoria Fibre Fest. And so many other things.

2008 is also the year that after a long time of not knowing what was wrong with me, I learnt that I have Lyme and I was able to begin my journey towards good health.

Looking back at all the things I've done and all the things that have happened to me over the last twelve months, there one thing that stands out. I never expected this to happen because I didn't know it still existed in this world. I feel part of a community. When I realized just how much was involved in getting well, I didn't think I could manage it. But to my amazement, people gathered around and helped me in so many ways. You have all been wonderful. I know that I wouldn't be here without you; however, I don't know the right words to say thank you. I feel so indebted. Everything from the largest gift to the smallest hug or smile, has made a world of difference in my life. Thank you.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bravery of being out of range

All the Gaza stuff this month (especially in the last few days) makes me feel sad. I know, bad things happen every day, but this issue really strikes at my heart for some reason. I think it's because it's not something I can easily understand. I know a bit about the history of this area, in particular medieval times, but I don't understand the emotions behind today's actions (on either side).

I don't want to talk about the specifics of this issue, but I'm interested in how people respond to it over here. There was a commentator on the BBC, yesterday or the day before, that was berating Israel for doing this during the Christmas season. It's my understanding that neither Jews nor Muslims celebrate the birth of Christ, at least not in the way we do here. This commentator had taken her own values and transposed them onto the situation.

When events like this make me feel disenchanted with the world, I always turn on Roger Walters' album Amused to Death. If you haven't heard it yet, it's well worth a listen. He's the fellow who was in Pink Floyd, well one of them at any rate. This album is about modern society, about modern war, and about all this sort of thing. My favourite message is when he sings about the bravery of being out of range. The weapons we use detach us from the actual effects. We don't experience first hand the devastation a rocket has on a population. Walters suggests that this distance makes it easier to harm each other. When all one has to do is push some buttons, perhaps, this makes it easier to kill than when one stands face to face with their victim and watches them suffer.

I don't think I can understand the emotions of war, in any of it's instantiations, unless I've experienced it. I have no wish to do so; experience it, that is. All the commentators talking about Gaza on the news these last few days were distant from the actual event. Yes, they had an emotional stake in it, but they weren't actually on the ground. They didn't experience it first hand. Yet, they still used their values to judge the actions of those involved. It makes me wonder if I am like that when I watch the news. I try not to be. I'm sad for the lives lost. I'm sad for the tensions between regular people who are just trying to live their lives (my assumption). I'm angry at politics for not fixing the problem and in some ways making it worse. But I have the luxury of being out of range. It's easy to judge what you have never experienced. At least, it's too easy for me to do so.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Morning fun

Christmas morning is for doing things that you enjoy. At least it is for me. This year I played with my loom.

My dad has told me that I have to finish my weaving and get it off the loom by new years so that we can pack up the loom for moving. Sounds reasonable. I had best get back to it.

Boxing day fun

Boxing day at Knotty by Nature was a great deal of fun, as expected.

I must have stayed there at least two hours. There were people playing chess, knitters, and shoppers. I had some wonderful conversations and a nice warm mug of tea. I even bought myself a lazy Kate with a gift certificate some kind people gave me. This is going to make my life so much easier. My current Lazy Kate has just about driven me up the wall. Because the old one has no tension system, the yarn, rather thin yarn I might add, snaps back and forth and often breaks when I try to ply. Hopefully, I`ll find my camera around here somewhere and take some photos for you soon. I know it`s in the house. I just have to figure out where.

Last night I dreamt of the weeping angel. At least I think that is what it was called. A friend was telling me about it while we knit at Knotty by Nature.

It was a very strange and insightful dream. In my dream I entered the room where the weeping angel was and when I looked at it`s face, it actually started crying real tears. Then a person for whom I have many strong emotions, both positive and negative, entered the room and I feel backwards. It felt like a great big invisible back pack had been put on my back and it was too heavy for me to get up. At that same moment the angel fell off the platform she was on and no matter how many people tried to prevent it, she kept falling. Then suddenly the weight left my shoulders and I could move again but the angel was irretrievable. A strange dream. I`ve never dreamt of something so religious before. Well, there was that one time I dreamt I was walking in the desert with Mohammed, but I don`t think it was really him. Why would he want to hang out with an atheist like me?

I left some rather personal and important details out of this dream, but I think I know what it is saying to me. It`s right, I need to take that worry off my back. There is nothing I can do about it and that person is no longer part of my life. It is just so darn difficult to let go sometimes.

All in all, it was a very healing boxing day. Best one I`ve had yet.

Errata: corrected spelling

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

I'm looking forward to this afternoon. Dad and I get Christmas Eve with my G'pa (the other half of the family gets him Christmas day). We make a huge Christmas dinner for him (and any other of our side of the family who can make it) and us, we also enjoy a good meal.

It's the best part of Christmas for me. I've lost a lot of the childhood magic that comes with the season somewhere along the way. But there are several things I still enjoy. I love the music. It's the only time of the year when I know all of the words. I love walking around down town on Christmas day and how everyone smiles at you when you walk by. It's like we are all sharing this strange secrete that today is international smile to strangers day. But this might just be a Canadian thing, they didn't do that in England when I spent Christmas there.

Then, there is spending Christmas away from home, especially the first time; away from family and loved ones. It's a strange feeling. It's sad, and in a way freeing. It's a statement of independence. For those of us who are raised with this holiday, it's also immensely depressing to be away from home for Christmas. Even more so than the traditional re-ignition of petty family squabbles.

I worked at a Hostel for several years. It was great place to work, all in all. Christmas at the Hostel is an important event for me. Even though I don't work there any more we still spend Christmas day there. My dad and I and anyone else we know who is away from home for the holidays walk down to the hostel some time after lunch. We peal potatoes and yams and Brussels sprouts. We help cook dinner and then when the time comes, we sit down and enjoy it with all those who are travelling. It's a wonderful meal and as you can imagine, there are often many people who don't traditionally celebrate Christmas. There is a huge variety of religious backgrounds and beliefs, but we all sit down together, enjoy a home cooked meal, and talk about any old thing.

I don't know if they still have this slogan, but I think it's very apt:

Peace through understanding

When I have Christmas dinner at the Hostel, I can't imagine why or how anyone could do those horrible things the news tells us happen every day. At this dinner, it reaffirms the understanding that people are people. At the heart of it, we are all the same and we are all different. It is the differences that makes people more the same. Yeah, philosophy drivvel perhaps. But it's true.

Happy holidays everyone.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Food beliefs

I've been thinking a lot lately about our beliefs when it comes to food. I've always been quite interested in how our beliefs about food have changed over the last two hundred years. Especially now that I have to be careful about my diet, I've put even more effort in to learning about where our food beliefs come from and why they are so difficult to change.

This Fry and Laurie sketch always comes to mind when I think about this sort of thing:

I especially like the bit about cholesterol.

In his book, In Defense of Food, Michale Pollan talks about how members of our society have become fascinated, often to the point of obsession, with nutrition and healthy eating. He has a fancy word for this that I really wish I could remember. Basically this book touches on the origin of many of our modern beliefs about food. Pollan discusses things like how large food lobbies have a huge influence on which information reaches the general public, especially in the US, and what health policies are implemented by governments. One of my favourite examples he uses is about different kinds of fats - saturated, poly-saturated, polyunsaturated... you know what. I don't know much about fat except that in moderation, unprocessed or minimally processed fats are very good for you. Like cholesterol, you need fat to survive and I am of the opinion that fat in and of itself is not unhealthy. When you take fats, alter them, better living through chemistry and all that jazz, or when you eat too much of any one fat (or any food) then it becomes unhealthy. I believe that about most foods. "Too much is precisely that quantity which is excessive."

In Defense of Food is a fantastic introduction to our own beliefs. The basic theme is that we put more stock in what a box tells us rather than eating healthy fresh food of our predecessors. We eat unhealthy prefab foods that have nutritional substances added to them rather than balanced nutrition of real food.

But that's not entirely what I've been thinking about. I'll give you an example:

In the last year or so I've learnt more about soy than I ever wanted to know. I've read the original research on which the modern belief that soy is good for you is based on. I've discovered by reading academic papers as well as literature from different camps (pro-soy and anti-soy), that there is a lot more propaganda then data influencing our beliefs about this plant.

What is really interesting to me is not so much whether soy is good or bad (it is good unless you have too much, then it's not so good - but isn't everything?). What really interests me is how people react when I tell them that too much soy, that quantity which is bad for you, is far less than we might think. When I tell my friends that this substance they believe to be one of the most health imbibing plants, is actually very dangerious to have in the quantities we consume it they get quite upset. I mean upset on the scale of, let's see, oh I have it: it is as if they were the Pope and I just told them that too much God is bad for you. You should limit prayer to Sundays only else something horrid will happen.

This reaction is so curious to me. When I present facts and figures to someone about a food stuff that they have been told is healthy ("You wouldn't know what a pair of lungs did if you hadn't been told, would you?") is actually quite the opposite, no matter who they are or what position they have about food, they get very, very upset and defensive. They talk about what a magazine told them or what their mothers say, they talk about modern science, but non of my good friends with whom I've had this kind of discussion have taken the time to actually look at why people say this kind of thing.

It's like the 8 glasses of water a day fact/myth. This comes from several sources in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: publications by the Woman's Institute and US military survival research. Water, as explained by the Woman's Institute and several other household manuals and publications at that time, was as a component of food. We call this moisture now. Food consisted of nutrients, minerals, and water. That's all there was to it. Whe it was written that we should have X amount of water it was stated (in some books explicitly) that we should get this water (or moisture) from the food we eat (vegetables anyone?) and not by drinking water (water purification systems were fairly inadequate at this time - I think typhoid was one of the problems back then, but my research has been in food, not health). Now, we still have the 8 glasses of water a day statement (that number comes from the US military early 20th C publications) but we take it to mean something different. We think it means that we literally have to drink 8 glasses of water a day. This might actually be true in this day and age, given that we no longer eat an adequate number of fruits and veg to maintain hydration. But it is simply not what the research we base this belief on said.

When I explain this, - what the belief is, where it comes from, what data supports it, what data contradicts it, are there any equivocations (like in the water example) inherent in it, - When I explain these things to a friend they do everything in their power to convince me of the truth of their beliefs. But, they don't know where their beliefs about food came from.

Now I love these people dearly and we get on in every other regard, but this, this they can't abide by. It could be my manner. I do tend to be very blunt when I am communicating - especially kitchen related matters, my passion - but my friends come to learn about this personality trait rather quickly. I don't think it's that.

I know that food, and our beliefs about food, is at the center of our daily lives. It's very important. How we eat and what we eat is a statement of who we are. Don't believe me? Look at religious taboos on diet. It's a statement of where we are in the world. It bothers me that we are willing to allow agricultural lobbyist and others who have a financial stake in what we eat to tell us what to eat. An attack against this kind of food belief is not an attack on who a person is, it's an attack against the susceptibility of society to manipulation. I can see this difference clearly, but I have the hardest time understanding where my friends are coming from.

Perhaps I am more open to changing food beliefs and to looking into the research myself because I've had to change my entire life to accommodate recent events. Maybe this personal disaster has left me more open to these things? I don't know. I wish I understood better.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Come boxing day

I don't care how cold or white it is out, come boxing day, I'm going to this.


I found this over on Moth Heaven's blog.

It's a fun little game played with yarn and a cat. How cute is that?
(I also swiped the photo from moth Heaven's blog... shhhh, don't tell anyone.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Plans are a hoof

Let's start today with an informative and amusing link (NOT FOR VEGANS): An Illustrated Guide to Sheep and Goat Production.

I have some rather big news to tell you today. I've been putting this off for a few months now for two reasons: first, I feel very conflicted about this and second, I didn't want to say anything until it was confirmed. Now all but one or two T's are dotted and I's are crossed - strike that, reverse it, there you go. So, deep breath. okay, a few more deep breaths. Practice some of the new biofeedback techniques I've been working on. Nah, it's not working so I'll just spit it out.

I'm moving.

That shouldn't be so hard to say, and it isn't, not really. It should be exciting, and it is exciting. It's just it's also... well,... you'll see when I explain it. It's both very good and very bad. I feel guilty for wanting the good part of it and because of that, I feel doubly bad about the bad part of it.

Here's how it is: My dad is worried that we won't be able to continue with my Lyme treatments too much longer. Even with all the kind help and support from all you wonderful people. He wants for me to get better. I want to get better. (I would like it very much if I didn't have to pay for this, but that's not going to happen any time soon. At least my GP has been doing what can be done to keep the costs as low as possible so far.) My dad is selling his apartment, the last of his assists (except the car, but we need that to go to the doctor's) to pay for my health. This at the time of life when I should be taking care of him. That's why I moved back in with him, to help him. Now I can't do that. I can hardly do anything useful. I can't even take care of myself. Not only is he selling his house for me, all that's happened in the last little while has taken a huge toll on his health. I know he doesn't like to admit it, but I can see it. It just eats me up inside to know that I'm the main cause of it.

That's the bad part of it and as you can see, it's pretty bad.

Where do we go next? My G'pa, bless him, has sold his house and with the aid of his retirement savings, has bought a house on five acres of land (zoned: agricultural). Once the house is detoxified (carpet replaced with unfinished wooden floors, forced air heaters removed, mothball smell removed, &c.) then I can move in and my dad can renovate the apartment and sell it.

This is where some of the good aspects come in.

Most importantly for me, we will be living with my G'pa. He's ninety and he goes about the place like a 40 year old. He also lives on his own. I worry that he will fall or something will happen to him and he will need some help but no one will be there. This is why I want him to live with us, or in this case, for us to live with him. Then we can be there for each other. It's also good because as a result of his diabetes, he eats meals at set times each day. Every meal. I really need this kind of stability in my diet to get well and I haven't been able to manage it so far.

Next, if we can manage it financially (I wonder if multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome qualifies for some money from the health authority for this sort of thing?) then the new house will be free (once I finish training Brazil and train my G'pa) of all the things that put pressure on my immune system and then it can focus on killing bacteria. Yeah! No carpet, no evil soaps, no bad electricity and electromagnetic fields (if I had my way, no microwave), &c.

The next good thing is that with five acres of agricultural land, we can finally raise our own food. I've noticed that even fertilizers given to plants fed to animals and I eat the meat from that animal, I can feel the effect of the fertilizers on my system the next day. There is a marked difference between how I feel with organic meats, inorganic meats and meats that have eaten soy. I'm under strict orders (which I admit, I find difficult to follow) to eat only organic meats. But they are not only hard to find, but also expensive. Same with vegetables. Organic vegi's are all well and good, but quite often they have travelled a long way to get here and have lost most of their goodness.

In case you think I'm crazy, both my G'pa and my dad have experience with small scale farming. With five acres we can grow our own food and some extra for a market garden or perhaps the local farmer's markets. My G'pa wants goats for milk and meat as well, so I wonder if I can sell goat's milk. I'll have to look into it.

I can also get some sheep!

So, in the end I get what I've been wanting. A farm, fresh foods, family under one roof. With luck and hard work, a market garden that can pay for my student loans. But, it's the cost that gets to me. I feel terrible.

I've heard of so many people on the Island here who have sold their homes to pay for Lyme treatment. It shouldn't have to be this way. If it was my own home to pay for my own treatment, I wouldn't mind so much. It's only stuff and what's stuff when it comes to good health? But it's not my stuff. I'm young, or at least I was, I felt that I had lots of time to build up assets. Finish university, get job, pay off student loan, buy house, save money, buy farm and retire... that was the plan. Not this. Anything but this.

It will turn out alright in the end, I'm sure. I just don't see how.

There was a raven flying over the house when I went to visit it. That's a good sign, right?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Plans are a foot

Well, things are busy around here these days. I know, with ten centimeters [correction: that's suppose to be 20cm] (about 8 inches) of snow on the ground and me bunkered down and not leaving the house until it gets a little less cold out (or Christmas), how could things possibly be busy?

I'll tell you more about it later, if everything works out.

For now, I'm hopping over to my Lyme blog to tell you about this little gadget:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A letter from my MP. Bless.

I just received a very long email in response to my earlier email to my Member of Parliament.

I would love to share it with you all, but I'm uncertain if posting personal correspondence on one's blog is appropriate. I think this qualifies as a personal correspondence, but I'm not even certain of that either. I know I can post something that I have written, but not certain about posting the response. Actually, there's a heck of a lot in this world that I don't know, but that's not important right now. Anyone know more on the etiquette and/or the legal aspects of this? There is also the fact that I can't tell if this is a form email as it doesn't directly address or refer to anything I wrote, but is along the same themes that one would use if directly responding to my email.

I can tell you my first impressions of the email. Note, this, being the first impressions, are more emotionally bent than if I had sat down with a cup of coffee and read it through several times with a fine toothed carder (see, even discussing politics, I can bring yarn related metaphors into the blog).

First, it very well written. This email took a lot of time and effort to produce. Second, it's very true to the party (and I mean the NDP party) line. Third, there is a lot of strong language (almost to the point of being hateful at times) directed towards the Conservative party and our Prime Minister. Last, and I might write more on this once I do better research, several of the legal aspects touched on in this email might not be correct. There was this constitutional lawyer fellow on CBC (or was it CTV?) a while back who mentioned two problems with the coalition government: the two parties who would be forming the coalition government do not equal more seats in the House than the Conservative party and since the third party isn't actually joining the coalition and would be just supporting it, it wouldn't work (legally). The second problem he mentioned was that this move can only be done directly after an election and not after parliament has been formed (whatever that means).

I'm going to have to re-read my MP's email later. I think I can see her point of view, but her actual arguments (in the philosophical sense of the word) are hidden in what we call the fallacy of 'appeal to emotion'. The rhetoric she uses is very strong and takes some effort to see past to the actual supporting arguments. In her favour, this appeal to emotion displays that this particular MP is very passionate about what she does.

Still... I'm very West Coast these days. My initial emotional response to the email is that I feel even further away from Ottawa than usual. I wonder what it would be like if we had a party that ran on (I think this is the right word) occidentcentric (Westward looking) values. I don't know if this would be a good thing or a bad thing, but it would make things more interesting.

All in all, I say 'Bless'. My MP is trying hard and that's gotta count for something.

Just one more thing, is this right? "In our country [Canada], 62% of Canadians voted for someone other than Stephen Harper..." I thought that was more than how many people came out to vote at the last election. That's amazing. But, again, I could be wrong on this. Oh great number-knowing-people, please tell me which is right? Also, don't we vote for the MP, not the PM? Not criticizing (directly), just curious. Honest.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Darn and snow

Yesterday I ventured out into the snow. Just a quick walk to the shop and back to get some extra groceries so that I don't have to leave the house 'till the end of the week. It's fun walking in the snow, especially before it gets all dirty and smushed down by people. It reminds me of when I was little and made snow angles. I use to look for the most pristine bit of snow, then jump at it from a distance so that I would land on my back, made the snow angle and then carefully get up so not to disturb the impression then jump back to my original foot prints. Ah, youth.

When I got home, I tried my hand at darning socks. All my warm socks were either in need of a wash or on the verge of braking. So, I taught myself to darn.

It's actually not hard. I thought this was going to be impossible, but it's easier than kitchener stitch. And I'm one of those weird people who enjoy grafting (ktst) - it's the most satisfying part of knitting a sock, it means that I'm finished.

This morning I discovered what happens when it's windy, snowy and you leave your window open.

Snow draft inside the house! Made me laugh.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Oh, I love snow in this city

Let's start with something funny. Well, funny if you don't come from Victoria.

The local paper reports that with a mighty ten centimeters of snow on the ground, the authorities ask people to stay home and not attempt to drive. Although there were no major accidents reported so far, this is a good day to be a tow truck driver as today, you get to be the good guy and rescue numerous abandoned vehicles stuck in ditches. There were sightings of that endangered creature called a 'snow plough' (ops, apparently it's spelt 'plow' - I'm never going to get the hang of our spelling, do we spell things Canadian, UK or US style these days? And people actually wonder why I can't spell.). One snow plough (there I go again) - plow - beached itself on the Trans-Canada Highway. I guess ten centimeters is just more than these poor creatures can handle.

The article also reminds us that residents are responsible (though it doesn't mention that we are also legally responsible for any injury that may occur if we fail to do so) for clearing the sidewalk adjacent to our property. That's usually mine and my dad's job. We volunteer. I love shoveling snow, it's the next best thing to digging in the garden and even better than knitting - yep, I'm one weird bird. We get up early and when we are about 80 or 90% finished, someone comes out to offer their help. In the last year or so, there have been a few people who came out and helped early on; but they never take the initiative - they always need someone else to start things then they realize, oh, maybe that's a good idea. However, this year, neither my dad or myself are healthy enough to do so. I can't even carry a shovel from the shovel room to the front path, so clearing snow is out of the It's not getting done. We've done it the last 8 years, it's time for one of the other 19 units in this building to participate this year.

Now, some photos.

Yesterday as the weather moved in...

...I got some totally awesome shots of flowers.



More flowers:


It's almost like Christmas. One of the advantages of having Lyme is that I have some pretty accurate weather systems living in my joints. My joints are telling me that this is just the beginning of a long period of Proper Winter (or a Herx). I mean, there might be snow on the ground for days here! What a crazy world. But seriously, my trick knee and other parts of me say that the weather reporters don't know what's coming. We are in for a Proper Winter. Darn, I wish I had shoes that don't leak. That will teach me to own more than two pairs of shoes and one pair of 'winter shoes' - sandals with wool socks.

Winter is changing

I still have that childlike delight at the thought of snow falling from the sky. Maybe it's because we are lucky if we get snow twice a year at my house these days.

Early photographic records of this city show that people use to go skating on the Gorge Inlet almost every winter. This is amazing because it's a briny (semi-salt water) bit of tidal water and if I remember what they taught me about ice and snow back in my elementary school days in Ontario, water with salt in it doesn't freeze all that well. They also taught me not to touch metal objects with my tongue when it's cold.

Not too far from here, maybe a five minute drive, tops, if you get every single red light and stop to check your oil en route, in the winter of 1881, the Royal Navy squadron was visiting our city, celebrating BC joining Canada, became ice-locked in James Bay. Now that's practically ocean water (yes, it's a strait not an ocean, I think, and that part of it is even more sheltered, but that just makes it more impressive).

Several of the local lakes use to have skating pavilions set up on the thick ice that use to form there during the winter, every winter, and hold skating parties. The ice was THAT thick. I know several people who are old enough to remember these.

I wonder what happened in the last few decades (what?, fifty, sixty, seventy years?) to change from almost-eastern-Canada-winters to city where all season tires is an exceptional luxury (we usually just have rain tires, or let them go bald, that's popular too) and snow tires, snow shovels and snow boots are unheard of outside that select circle that goes skiing on the weekends. I love the blank looks you get sometimes when mentioning snow chains to a resident of Victoria.

Within living memory we have gone from a city with real winter - ice, snow, mittens, and toques - to a city where all season tires are as common as all season footwear (sandals in the summer, socks and sandals in the winter). That is to say, I just saw a fellow walking past my house in shorts and 'winter footwear'. It's below zero out there! Wind chill of something like minus three. That's MINUS three! Actually, it's shocking that we have a windchill report. that in itself is an oddity.

Winter in this city is not Rick Mercer's winter. Yes, we have the fender benders, but not quite so many because once we have more than five centimeters on the ground, everyone but the foolish or the extremely dedicated stays home until it melts and lives off of canned beans or whatever they have hanging around the house until the shops open up again.

I remember reading 12 or 13 years ago that one of the local municipalities sold their two snow ploughs. I find that incredible. The fact that they only had two ploughs and that the very next winter we had a monstrous amount of snow. Some had told me at the time, and I don't know if this is true or not, that the city counsel wanted the money to spend on year round outdoor flower arrangements. Knowing this city, I can believe that.

I think that this is convincing evidence that climate change is happening and has been happening for some time now. It's curious how the weather change correlates to the beginning of the industrial revolution, but whether that is just a correlation or an actual causal link, I'm not able to say. But I think, from the little I know about the world, that climate change happens whether we want it too or not; however, we have major influence as to just how bad things get.

I think I'll layer up, put on my 'winter footwear' and go take some photos.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Knotty by Nature Grand Opening

Time for me to tell you about my knotty day: the Knotty by Nature grand opening.

On the walk to the shop, I was very good and took lots of photos, including one of a giant drop spindle. I can't find the links to why we have a giant drop spindle next to city hall, but it had something to do with art and local first nations fibre traditions.

Then I got to the shop and managed to take a photo of my wheel. Then, well, the fibre fumes must have got to me. That same old thing that always happens when I'm surrounded by yarn people and yarn fumes and yarn and fibre and fun... well. I didn't take any more photos. But, some people did. See here and here. Also, Brazil took some wonderful photos for me, so we can thank her for the rest of the photos I post here.

My favourite photo from the day is this one of our happy hosts, Stephanie and Ryan, owners of Knotty by Nature.

And here are some weavers.

I love how they have the toys, ops, I mean, fibre arts equipment, out so that we can try our hand at them. Not just at the grand opening either, all the time. There is also a comfy sofa where you can sit and knit (or crochet) if and when the fibre fumes overwhelm you with excitement. I spent quite a bit of time hanging out there in between my demo times. Did I mention it's comfy? Did I mention I got to spin with the most delightful fibre ever? Silk and Camel! The fibres were lovely and short which made them perfect for a spindle wheel. I think it's ruined me - I never want to spin with any other kind of fibre ever again.

MP disappoints

I'm rather disappointed with my Member of Parliament. Both my dad and I took the time to write her emails regarding recent political events and neither of us have heard a word back. Not even a 'thank you for writing' or that lovely little lie, 'your opinion is important to me'. I mean, shouldn't they have some sort of automatic email answering button that they click and send out a standard thank you, we pretend to care, to us concerned voters? Oh well... (insert jaded comment here along the lines of the federal government not caring about people who live in the west).

On to some more positive things. It's finally time to sit down with some coffee and write about the fun I've had over the last week.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I forgot to tell you all that I'm back from my trip. The car was well behaved until we got home which made us pleased. I'm tired but content with how the visit went. I'll post more later, including the photos of the Knotty by Nature grand opening.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

In Seattle

This is the morning of the second day of my trip to Seattle. I see the specialist later than usual which gives me some time to sit here in the motel in my PJs enjoying a cuppa coffee and some oatmeal. It was an adventure getting here, so I thought I would tell you a little bit about it with photos.

The boat ride...

The drive...

The break down (apparently when you break down on the I5, it's considered an emergency)...

The tow truck...

The farm where the mechanic lives and where dad stepped in a cow patty from the cutest little calf...

The car started working on it's own once we made it to the mechanic. So we drove to the motel and with fingers crossed, will drive home this evening.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

What a Knotty day

Today is a day for two wonderful things.

Most of the day is reserved for fibre and fun at the Knotty by Nature grand opening. I'll be there for a good chunk of the day, though I might end up taking a nap in the fibre if I start feeling overwhelmed. I'll also be demonstrating the Walking Wheel. This thing is massive, it's bigger than me and weighs about the same. I think it's the most exciting way to make yarn and I can't wait to show it to you.

There are other exciting things to see. I know that my mentor OB1 will be demonstrating something too. I swiped the schedule from a thread on Ravelry:

Grand Opening Demo Schedule

Saturday, December 6th

1816 Government St.

SPINNING WHEEL Brenda Nicolson 10:30 am — Noon

GREAT WHEEL Raven 11:30 — Noon

WET FELTING Mahsheed 11:00 — Noon

SAORI WEAVING Ryan Noon — 12:30 pm

COMMUNITYKNITTERS.COM Marilyn 12:30 — 1:00 pm

KNITTING Marilyn 12:30 — 1:00 pm

CROCHET Caroline 1:00 — 1:30 pm

WORKING w/SILK FIBRES Karen (Treenway) 1:30 pm

KNITTER’S LOOM Mark/Sophie 2:00 — 4:00 pm

INTUITIVE KNITTING Karen 2:00 – 3:00 pm

WEAVING Bronwyn 3:00 pm

GREAT WHEEL Raven 3:30 pm

DROP SPINDLE SPINNING Raven, Brenda 4:00 — 5 pm

So, if you are in Victoria, come and say hello. It's going to be great.

Afterwards, it's dinner with friends and watching the Christmas Lights Truck Parade by something called the ieoa. Yeah, I don't understand it either, but it sure is fun to watch.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Doing Everything Canadianly Possible

You'll be happy to know that I've got all but the most medical related politics out of my system, at least until January. I've done everything Canadianly possible (except enter into politics) to participate in the system: I voted, I wrote my MP, I discussed it with family members, I bitched about it on my blog, and I enjoyed reading other people's opinions about the situation. I especially enjoyed the Yarn Harlot's post on the matter. She has a different point of view than I do on the issue, but I think it's great. She is also far more articulate than I am when it comes to political things.

As for the cutest PJ fabric ever that my dad bought me...

... He got it at Capital Iron and the buttons from the local button shop. Apparently they are the last of those buttons they had in, but I'm confident they exist elsewhere or could order more in for anyone interested.

I have also been working on a Christmas/holiday blouse.

I want to finish sewing it before the Guild Christmas party, but since I'm attending the Knotty by Nature grand opening and then going to see my specialist in Seattle for a few days between now and then, I don't know if I'll get it done in time.

Let's see, what else have I been up to? Oh yes, some weaving. Not much mind, but a bit here and there.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A letter to my MP

Well, to continue with the recent political direction that this blog has taken, I think I'll publish the letter I wrote to my MP (a member of the NDP). I don't know why this has gotten me all riled up, I don't like any party and I usually try to remain neutral (at least online) about political matters in Canada. If anything, I tend towards the Green Party when it comes to politics - You know, help the economy by helping the environment. That's totally awesome.

But, that's not what I wrote about. So here, because otherwise no-one but my MPs secretary would read it, is my over opinionated letter:

I want to begin by saying thank you for being our member of parliament and representing us in Ottawa.

I am an avid voter who lives in your constituency and I just wanted to let you know that I feel very disappointed with recent events in Ottawa. I feel that at this time, a coalition government is a mistake, especially one that involves the Liberals (given their recent history of financial mismanagement, it’s not a good idea to give them any degree of control of the government at this time of ‘economic crisis’). Canada needs stability at this time and the recent actions of your party and that of the Liberals gives us anything but. This is also not an issue that you and other members of these two parties ran on during our recent election. If this coalition government does represent the will of the people of Canada, then it would be prudent to prove it by having an election immediately after a vote of non confidence where both parties openly run on this platform. If this coalition government is the right move, then giving the people a direct voice on the matter would be the right thing to do rather than making it appear that Ottawa does not care about what happens west of Thunder Bay.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. I know that you are only one voice in this matter, but you are our voice and we look to you to speak for us both in Parliament and in party matters. I hope you will consider the opinions of this voter when it comes time to make a decision on these issues.

The only good it will probably do is to make me feel better, but isn't that enough?

I should add, I don't mind, and actually encourage, different political opinions. It means you are paying attention. Feel free to express them on this post - just note, I reserve the right to delete comments that are personal attacks or extreemly hateful.

Blimey, I feel busy.

I know, I'm no where near as busy as the rest of the world, but lately, I've been swept off my feet with one thing or another. This has kept me away from my computer and the Internet a lot more than usual. My computer keeps looking at me with that pleading look, reminding me that I have emails (some a few months old) that need replying too. Not to mention, I've hardly spent any time at all on Ravelry lately. For shame, I know.

I've been testing this theory: by spending less time with my computer, maybe I can use my energy to do activities that are more productive. Activities like going for a walk to visit an old friend (and former boss) I haven't seen in months. I've even been working on finishing up different projects I have on the go around the house. Like, for example, finishing sewing my first pair of jeans.

I've come to the conclusion that jeans are more difficult to sew than a coat, so I'm not certain it's an adventure I'll embark on again (no matter how much money it saves). It is however, the only pair of trousers I have that fit properly at the moment, so that, in my book, is a huge accomplishment.

I've also received my first Christmas present:

Dad bought me some pajama fabric and buttons as a pre-Christmas-cheer-me-up present. It's the cutest fabric I've ever seen and I suspect that this is going to be the cutest pair of PJs ever.

I woke up early enough to see the sunrise again today. It was a very pretty pink and orange.

The old saying, "red sky at dawn, sailors be warned..." coupled with my joints tells me that the weather is going to take a turn for the worst soon enough. Then again, compared to last year, we have had a fall that is extremely mild, even for us.

Today and tomorrow will be days of resting up. I'm hugely excited about the Grand Opening of Knotty by Nature this Saturday. They have asked me to do a couple of demonstrations on the Walking Wheel, so I need to conserve my energy for the big day. It's going to be wonderful. I hope to see you there.