Category Archives: Photographs

Owlet Update

It’s been a while since the kids got posts of their own!

Owlet has discovered showers. For years she has been petrified of them, refusing to hear us when we explain it’s like warm rain. She has stubbornly stuck with her cold baths. (Yes, cold. We call her our little polar bear.) Well, she came home on Monday and told us that a grade six boy explained how much fun showers were. They were like rain! (There was some internal eyerolling on the part of the parental units.) She said she felt comfortable enough to try it. So I set it up, nice and cool, and angled the spray straight down so she had plenty of room to move toward and away from the water, so she could control her interaction with it. She started by putting a toe in and pulling it out, then the other foot, then hands, and twenty minutes later she was dancing in and out, sitting down and tilting her head back under the cascade, giggling. Tuesday she asked to have another one, then Wednesday, and again on Thursday. She sings away in them, and even asked for warmer water. So we have another shower convert.

Owlet has also started piano lessons, and is adoring them. There has been resistance and not listening and refusal to follow instructions at school lately, so it’s quite a relief to have her piano teacher come out with her after a lesson and say how very well it had gone. I think part of it comes from Owlet having done her Intro to Music class last fall and being somewhat familiar with the scale, which was reinforced by her very rudimentary piano intro at junior camp this summer. She raced through four pages of review at her first lesson, and started off with one piece to work on the first week, and was assigned two more the next. That first week she raced up the stairs to practice after school while I prepped her snack. It’s nice.

As I mentioned, there is resistance happening at school, which is frustrating both for her teacher and on a parental level. Her transition from kindergarten in one school to grade one in another school has not gone well, and I frequently hear her complain that she wants to go back to kindergarten, or even daycare. It’s hard to grow up, but everyone has to do it. In the meantime, she has been adopted by a group of sixth graders who think she’s the most adorable thing and let her direct their play at recess and lunch. They call out her name and greet her with happy hugs at the gate in the morning and meet her at her classroom door at the end of the day to take her out to the schoolyard. They make her flower chains and generally spoil the heck out of her. So basically, Owlet has minions almost twice her age. And one of Sparky’s best friends who is a year behind himis her substitute big brother at school who has told her that if she needs anything to come to him, so all told, her school life is fine except for that whole focusing and working part. She is reading French sentences with sight words and vocabulary words in them, and doing all right; I just wish she had more confidence in herself in class and less of a tendency to try to push aside anything that requires focus.

And the last bit of big news: Owlet is no longer afraid of pools! She usually cried whenever she was at a pool because she wanted to get in and swim, but was terrified and froze up on the steps. Labour Day weekend at a party she finally stepped onto the floor of the pool, bounced around a bit, then grabbed a pool noodle and started kicking on her own. She was in for a solid ninety minutes. Hurray! I sat and watched her, but didn’t go in. I let her control it all herself. What would I do if she went under, I was asked? Kick off my nice grey suede shoes and jump in fully clothed, I said. But I didn’t have to.

And that is the Owlet update. There’s a Sparky one overdue as well, which I’ll get to asap. Spoiler: He is loving high school and the transition has gone incredibly well.

Adjusting

Sparky’s beginner watercraft course is from 10 to 12 every weekday in Lachine. This means I don’t have time to come home again after dropping him
off. Well, I could, I suppose, but then I’d have to turn around and drive back. (Why Lachine when we live on the South Shore? Because they were the cheapest and have a terrific reputation.)

Yesterday I tried to set up in a cafe with my laptop to work. I had great hopes for this. People seem to have excellent success with this sort of thing, and it was my fervent hope that I could get work done while I had to be out there.

Reader, it did not go well.

I’d forgotten that standard chairs are all wrong for me. They’re terrible for my back, and cafe tables are all the wrong heights for typing. My energy was taken up feeling that my feet weren’t flat on the ground like they’re supposed to be for stability, my lower back was tipped backward and stressed the exact way every osteopath has told me *not* to do, the table was too high, my wrists were super awkwardly angled over the uncomfortably high keyboard. More energy was used trying to ignore the music being piped in despite having earphones and my own music, the unfamiliar food smells, the *people* all around… it was kind of nightmarish. I was very glad Sparky had an amazing morning. But if I kept doing this, I would accomplish nada this week because I would be coming home exhausted. I got next to nothing done in the cafe, and was so drained when I got home that I couldn’t work then either, let alone after picking Owlet up from camp. It was, in short, a disaster, and not sustainable.

I decided that today would be different. Last night I pulled out and prepped some SweetGeorgia BFL (Songbird! I’m planning a two-ply: one ply spun end to end, the other ply a four-repeat fractal!) and packed my spinning box. I would bring my small spinning wheel and sit by the water, spinning and listening to an audiobook.

My view across to the canoe club.

Finn! One of my comfort fibres to spin.

And that is exactly what I did. Apart from a tiny bit of social anxiety about spinning in public and possibly having to field people, it was lovely. I sat on a park bench that was the perfect height, right by the water next to an oak tree that gave me dappled shade. There was a perfect breeze. I listened to Pride & Prejudice. I finished the Finn I was spinning to make up the missing yardage for a cardigan (it’s only two or three years after I spun all the rest of the yarn; maybe I’ll even knit the sweater someday) then started the Songbird after sampling to see what whorl and drive and braking methods I wanted to use. I have come home relaxed, and psyched to attack the project I’m working on that’s due by the end of the week.

It’s such a major shift from yesterday that I’m really excited about this plan, and I intend to do this every day that it’s nice enough to be outside. Adjusting my expectations of when to sink energy into working for the maximum output has made an enormous difference.

I had forgotten how much I love the sound of water against jetties, buoys, and the sides of boats, and the smell of the lake, too. Part of me is already hoping Sparky will do this again next year.

Lammas Report

We are halfway through summer!

1. The Tour de Fleece happened. I co-captained the Clan Kromski team again, and while I feel I was not as engaged as in previous years thanks to work and kids, I got some nice spinning done.

TdF 2017 yarns!

2. HRH came home from basic training, and everyone was very happy. He did excellently, of course. Now he’s full-time at the unit for three weeks to finish up the last block of training, and if that goes well, he’ll graduate to being an official qualified naval reservist. Next up will be his ship training, which will probably be next summer, although there’s plenty of theory and study to be done along the way.

Dad’s home!

3. The kids have completed two two-week sessions of day camp. Sparky did guitar for the first session, including a lovely improv with the teacher at the open house, and violin for the second session, with a lovely solo performance with that teacher as well. Owlet is loving it, hugging every counsellor she passes there while protesting at home that she hates camp. Uh-huh.

4. Owlet is back at day camp for one extra week, while Sparky has started a two-week session of mornings doing an Intro to Canoe & Kayak course at the Lachine Canoe Club. He kayaked for the first time at the grade six sleepaway camp long weekend he did in mid-June, and raved about it, asking if there was some way he could do it again. He is wildly loving it. He’s never expressed interest in any sport before; he may have found his thing.

5. I was asked back for Part 2/the expansion of the scriptwriting project I handled this past spring. That was terribly nice. Although the can-you-do-this-by-the-end-of-the-week deadline wasn’t as enjoyable. I hit it, though, because I am awesome. And then had to rush to handle the stuff that had to be displaced on the schedule because of it. Sigh. My other ongoing contract carries on apace as well.

6. I now have green hair. Part of it is green, anyway. I did it for my birthday, and I love it.

Green!

La!

Farewell Santa

We will not be doing a Santa picture this year, because Owlet is dead set against it. Sparky is old enough to not need one, and I suspect he was humouring his sister these past couple of years. We were going to take this kids this morning and bring them to school afterward, but Owlet freaked out. It took a lot of negotiating, and even then she was trying to get us to agree to just have Sparky in the photo. We said we’d revisit it in the morning… and when we woke up it was -23 C before windchill, and the Santa we visit has an outdoor waiting line.

So executive decision: no, we were not going to wait outside with a whiny child who wanted to be anywhere but with Santa, because we are working really hard to limit stress for everybody. And then Owlet moped around the house, because she said she wanted to see Santa.

ANYWAY.

So that’s that. It looks like the Santa pictures are done for our family. In retrospect, I shouldn’t be surprised; last year she only agreed to do the photo if she could sit on a stool at Santa’s feet (which we were fine with, and offered this as an option this year as well), and in 2014 she said she didn’t want to see Santa, she wanted to just go have tea at DavidsTea, which was the treat I’d promised them for after we’d seen Santa.

Owlet told us last night that the boys in her class said Santa wasn’t real. Of course he is, we said. But he’s real in the way that he symbolizes the spirit of generosity, love, and sharing. That’s why there are so many Santas out there and they all look different. Her eyes got very round as she processed this. We’ve never tried to perpetuate the ‘Santa is a real person at the North Pole’ story, but we do have to address it every year. Which isn’t surprising; eleven and a half months is a long time to go between encountering the concept again.

So in place of a new photo of Santa with the kids, please enjoy this revisiting of pictures from the past five Christmases.

Spinning October 2016

While I was at Rhinebeck (there’s a post I still need to write; the good thing is I have notes) I picked up a couple of braids of fibre from Spunky Eclectic, a dyer I’ve heard a lot about but haven’t had the chance to try. This is the one I chose to spin first.

The blend is called Panda; it’s 60% superwash Merino, 30% bamboo, and 10% nylon. This colour way is called ‘No Pimiento’ and is a gorgeous blend of pale and spring greens. The braid looked almost golden in places, but that was the reflection of the bamboo.

Spunky Eclectic Panada blend in 'No Pimiento'

Spunky Eclectic Panda blend in ‘No Pimiento’

I spun it on the Symphony in double drive at the 16:1 ratio for a 32 wpi single, and plied it in scotch tension. I ended up with 316 yards of traditional three-ply yarn at about 20 wpi.

'No Pimiento' yarn

‘No Pimiento’ yarn

I’m really happy with it. It reminds me of the colours of the green curtains my grandfather wove, which are currently packed away because all our windows are too big for them.

Welcome Winter

Well, no. It’s not exactly welcome. But it’s here and we might as well make the best of it.

(I admit that I am posting this (a) to get back into posting — which has been made easier by adding a plugin that fixes my photos so that they post the right way up when I update from a mobile device, and (b) to make my parents feel terribly smug about being somewhere warm and sandy while the rest of us are shivering.)

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The lilac tree across the street after an evening and morning of snow.