Monthly Archives: May 2014


I skipped my cello post yesterday because I was so focused on working. This project wasn’t delivered to me until after 5:30 on Tuesday, so I lost that day, and I’m missing Monday as a work day, so it needs to be wrapped up today as it’s due at 9 AM on Tuesday, which translates to Monday evening on my end because I don’t get back from delivering children to various places of education until after nine o’clock in the morning. (Did you follow that?)

Why am I missing Monday? I have a dermatology appointment to have moles removed from my back and sent to a lab for analysis.

It’s not the analysis that’s stressing me. (This appointment was made six months ago, so if the doctor was really worried, I’m sure this would have been done sooner.) It’s the ten-minute process of having them removed. It’s the local anaesthetic delivered via injection (two needles, on in each location) and then the cutting them out that’s making me nervous. The most drastic medical procedure I’ve ever gone through was birthing babies, followed by a couple of stitches each time. That was accompanied by so many endorphins that really, the local anaesthetic and stitches weren’t even noticeable. I was mostly knocked out for my wisdom tooth removal, and it’s been years and years since I had novocaine administered for dental work. I used to get allergy shots weekly, and maybe that’s where my discomfort regarding needles came from; I don’t know. I do know that I’ve become pretty sanguine about having blood drawn (ah ha ha, a little bit of word humour there) after having it done so many times during my pregnancies.

Maybe it’s the scalpel part? (Yes, that is definitely part of it. I’ve never had anything cut into my body before.) Maybe it’s the fact that I won’t be able to see what he’s doing? (It’s behind my back, after all.) I know it will all be over quickly. I know I have pretty awesome pain management techniques. (That’s a given after living with chronic pain for years.) I’m just… not looking forward to it.

‘Apple Orchard’ BFL

While I wait for today’s new project to land in my inbox (I have work lined up for the next three weeks, it is very comforting), I can show you the lovely, squooshy BFL yarn I just finished.

Last spring I dyed some fibre for a swap. I got some humbug Blue-Faced Leicester from Espaces Interstertiel, our local spinning and weaving studio, to use as a base. Humbug BFL is a blend of brown and natural BFL fibre, and it looks like the stripes on a humbug candy. I dyed the first half in greens, and wondered if it was too dark, if the natural variegation of the fibre was lost. So I dyed the second half with a lighter moss green and some russet dabs:

And then I ended up sending my swap partner the all-green braid anyway, because I was worried that the green and red together in this braid would end up a muddy brown. (Spinning colour is fascinating. You’re never entirely sure what will happen: will the colour intensify? soften? blend to make something cool? blend to make something not so cool?). That meant this one, which I called ‘Apple Orchard,’ went into my own stash. I pulled it out a couple of weeks ago, split it into three, spun it up kind of semi-woollen (supported longdraw from the end of a worsted prep), then plied it into a lovely three-ply.

There was a bit of brown created where the red and green spun together, but the biggest change was the russet spun into a sort of pinkish shade that looked worse on the bobbin than it did in the finished yarn. Before a wash, the yarn was 16 wraps per inch and measured about 276 yards. After a wash, it poofed up to 12 wpi and shrank to about 246 yards. Yikes! I was hoping for enough yardage to knit socks (even though wool without nylon or bamboo in it will wear through quickly, so it isn’t the best choice), but not this time. It will probably end up as a shawlette, or fingerless gloves at some point.

It is very squishy. Very, very squishy. That’s where all the yardage went — thirty yards turned into poof and squoosh. I love handspun BFL.


I need to get back into journaling regularly, but I don’t really remember how to do it.

You see, I had a weird incident last year that kind of broke me for a while. I’m a writer by nature and career, and writing things out is how I work through things. Not having this outlet has really undercut my ongoing healing process from living life in general, and you know what? Enough of that. Feeling like this outlet is blocked or broken hasn’t been conducive to being able to sit down and use journalling in all the ways I do – recording the good stuff, the family stuff, the confusing stuff, the ‘I feel really down and broken and I need to work through it’ stuff. I use this journal as a place to work things out when things are not going well; I need to work them out by writing, and I do that by writing in a place where people can sometimes give me feedback or support. It also keeps me honest: writing here means that there is an audience of some kind, and that’s important to me as a writer, because it gives me a sense of responsibility. I write differently for myself than for others. If it’s just for me, I’ll be lazy. If I know others will read it, I take more care in how I express myself, and it ends up being a lot clearer to me when revisiting it.

After that incident last fall, I stopped trusting myself, I stopped trusting my audience, and it really broke me in a specific way that a writer can be broken. As you’ve seen, pretty much the only thing I’ve kept to is Owlet’s monthly updates (and I even skipped one of those). Anything else has been very irregular. I need to ease back into doing this, and I think a way to do that is to come up with some sort of loose schedule. Maybe Tuesdays I can jot down a few words on the spinning, knitting, and dyeing stuff I’m doing. Maybe Thursdays I can talk about cello, what’s happening in orchestra and in lessons, and maybe I can broaden the subject to include mention of the type of music I’m listening to, and new discoveries. Maybe Fridays I can talk about what I’m reading, online and in book form. I stopped doing my end-of-month book roundup right around the time Owlet was born, and not knowing what I read when has been driving me up the wall. Sparky deserves his own posts periodically, too. I stopped doing his monthly posts when he turned five (and I’ll do the same for Owlet), but as a result I’m not noting down the stuff that he’s doing very often, and I feel like I’m missing pages in his scrapbook, so to speak.

Right now I am having an odd relationship with writing in general, and I think maybe my journalling issue is also symptomatic of that. I work very well while fixing other people’s writing — that’s what my career is right now, after all. I’m very happy with it, too; I’m good at what I do, and my clients seem to be absolutely thrilled with me and my work. I enjoy it, but I miss pure writing. I remember the feeling of writing; I remember working through an idea by putting words on paper to see where it went, and I miss that. In a recent editing lull, I went through some old novels that were in rough draft form or just missing the conclusion, and while I read and enjoyed them, I recognized that there were things that needed to be fixed. But I have this broken writing thing. I know that sometimes you just have to plunge into it, but that can be hazardous when one’s writing muscle has atrophied through lack of regular exercise, which is partly what journalling is.

That incident last fall really cut my feet out from underneath me, and I’ve had to think about my identity as a writer, as someone who communicates and works with words, as someone who interprets the world through words. I used to do that as my job, and I really need to find my feet doing it again, so baby steps; I’ll start with this schedule, and we’ll see where that goes, where it takes me. I’m sure it will help in several ways, and among the areas of my life in which I’ll see a benefit are my mental and emotional states (both of which took a big hit in the past while, which has contributed a hell of a lot to my struggle with depression).

I think one of the associated problems I’ve been having is that journalling seems so overwhelming now. I haven’t been writing things down for so long that when I do sit down to journal, I’m drowning in the amount of information I have to break down. There’s so much to say that I don’t know where to start, and I don’t know how to get it all down. And I’m constantly asking myself if it’s worth writing down, censoring the writing before it even happens. It’s frustrating, and it usually scares me so much that I don’t sit down to do it at all. As a writer, this paralysis has been devastating to me. I comment on life in my head throughout the day; I have a running narration going on, about what I’m doing, what I’m thinking, and so forth, and not being able to actually write that down somewhere in some sort of form has had a really negative impact on how I’ve been processing things, in dealing with information and events in my life. Not blogging probably doesn’t sound like much to some of you, but it is a fundamental shift in my outlook, in how I process and interpret the world and information around me, and there’s been a breakdown in my thought processing, in how I understand what or how I’m feeling. When that gets stoppered up, everything else starts getting slowed down, and there are traffic jams in how I emotionally assess things.

I think that if I just start writing things down again, little things here and there, it will help me back to a better place in my relationship with words. At this point, what I write isn’t as important as just making a date to put a few words down a few times each week. I’ll use the rough schedule as a trellis, so that my expression has somewhere to climb; the guideline will offer me something to cycle through, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I miss a day, and I’m certainly not going to let that structure stop me from doing something at any other time. I think that if I journal more regularly, I’ll feel less intimidated because there won’t be so much to choose from when I do sit down. It will be easier for me if I can keep it to short entries, and it’ll be easier for you as readers because you won’t have to wade through a novella every time I sit down.

Let’s see where this goes.

Owlet: Thirty-Three Months Old!

Same old. Child grows, gets cuter. Converses more articulately. Does adorable stuff. Gets pathetically ill. Bounces back. You know.

You want pictures.

We spent Easter with my parents in Ontario. Owlet’s choice of reading material on the trip will, no doubt, be approved by many of you.

The weather was glorious, and the kids played outside with chalk on the sidewalk. Then we moved into the backyard so Sparky could climb the cherry tree, as he does at least once every visit, and Owlet decided that the backyard stone bunny needed some Eastery chalk decoration, too.

Travelling was great on the way there, but on the way home we ran into a toddler difficulty. Every time we stopped and went into a public bathroom, Owlet said she didn’t need to pee. She would try but couldn’t; the big public bathrooms were, I think, too busy and noisy, with all the flushing and lots of doors slamming and those wretched hand dryer machines that sound like a jet engine taking off and still make even Sparky cringe. We even carried our own toddler potty, because she’s been working through big potty/small potty comfort issues, and we didn’t want to stress her out with that any more than the trip was already going to stress her. So she wouldn’t go, we’d leave, then she would randomly say “Peepee! Hafa go pee!” with great urgency while we were on the highway. So we’d pull over, set her up on the little potty in the back of the car, and we’d wait; she still wouldn’t pee, and we’d pack up and go again. I’d forgotten how stressful travelling with a relatively newly potty-trained child is. (She eventually peed about two hours from home, in one of those lovely big private family bathrooms that are also the wheelchair-accessible rooms. So now we know: wait for the family bathroom, even if it means a longer stop, because the big public bathrooms are just too much for her. It wasn’t as much of an issue on the way down because we’d managed to use the private family bathroom every time except once, and the public bathroom was surprisingly quiet for that one.)

This month, Owlet decided that she wanted to learn how to knit. She grabbed my ballwinder one morning and said, “I love knitting!” She cranked it for a while, then said, “Where is my knitting? Oh, there it is!” I wasn’t about to give her my blanket square in progress, so I popped upstairs and got her two fat DPNs and the tiny ball of deep purple I had left over from a different blanket square.

“My knitting!” she said importantly.

Apparently, knitting consists of carefully wrapping the yarn around and around a needle (which isn’t entirely wrong, just missing a couple of details). And despite me trying to keep the ball of yarn on her lap, she insisted on dropping it over the side of the chair, probably because I put my project bags on the ground to the right of my feet so the yarn travels straight up to my right hand without getting caught on anything. (Frankly, if she was imitating me, I was surprised she didn’t say ”I’m COUNTING!” whenever I spoke to her.)

She has been sick twice in the past month, the first one a cold that had her home for three days, the most recent one a high fever coupled with a brutally sore throat that had me worried about strep until I heard that it had gone through the other daycare and lasted about four days. Every kid in our daycare caught it, too, except for one little girl who missed the two infectious days.

I forgot to post these two a couple of months ago. Who knew we had a little girl old enough to have hair this long? Here’s proof that curls take up more length of hair than you might think:

Braids are fun when you shake your had back and forth and feel them bump on your back and neck. Action shot!

She is off potatoes for some reason (why? who knows?), still hopes for “graby” if there’s meat involved in supper, loves to eat handfuls of frozen peas if I’m about to cook them for supper, loves raw sweet peppers, adores granola bars, and is going to be one sad little owlie when she finishes the last of her Easter chocolate. Every night after supper she says “Little bunny!” or “Chocclit egg!” with great excitement. Handing her a small foil-wrapped egg is good for a few minutes of peace, because she peels it all off in tiny flakes.

Adorable conversational quirks these days include saying, “Oh, man” when she’s unimpressed or sulky about something (thanks so much for modelling that one, Sparky), and the much more enjoyable “I love this one!”, or some other version of “I love {insert thing she’s doing/watching/hearing here}.”

You know what she loves doing? Playing on the iPad with Sparky. Actually, doing anything with Sparky, because he is awesome. (And he is. She’s right about that.)

And the willow tree that we planted outside her window when she was about six months old. She loves her tree.