Saturday, May 31, 2014

Where is the happiness muse?

It is interesting that when I am happy and life is going well I have less inclination to write. My daughter says the same thing about composing songs. It seems like the writers' muse is a melancholic one.

Perhaps this is my challenge today, to find my muse in the blue sky, the singing birds, the peace in my heart.

I wrote this poem when I was 15:

Take me
Not as I could be
Not as I would be
But as I am.

Care for me
In later years
With all behind us still

And no regrets or wishful hopes
of what I wasn't then.

Mary-Anne Taylor

I have loved this poem all of my life. I recite it to myself from time to time. It has stayed with me. Become my mantra of a sort.

It has manifested in my life.

Later this summer we will have been married thirty-seven years. This past Easter weekend marked our thirty-eighth year together. We started out as friends. We are still friends.

Sitting quietly by your side
you, watching the river
me, reading a book.

The sounds of nature surround us
the promise of another day
unfolding in its own time
in our own time
in this place

Sitting by your side
you, playing guitar
me, singing
the same songs we have song
for thirty-eight years.

We could learn
some new songs
but the old ones
have served us so well.

Mary-Anne Taylor
May 31, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What a difference a year makes

A year ago I was sitting at my kitchen table wondering if we would ever get away on our holiday to the Yukon to visit our son. I was not happy.

I think an email showed up about Weight Watchers online having a special - free to join and a deal for three months.

I signed up.

I have since lost the equivalent of a five year old child.

My knees don't hurt anymore when I go up and down stairs to do the laundry.

My feet don't hurt anymore, and I can walk for an hour easily.

I can swim a mile at a time.

I am wearing clothes four sizes smaller.

I am more content with my life as a retiree, although since September I have worked quite a bit with subbing, and mentoring and tutoring. The extra 'pin' money, as my dh calls it, is a nice side benefit.

We were away for two months in Yukon and Alaska and saw bears and mountain goats, moose and elk, lynx and porcupines. We lived for a time in the land of the midnight sun.

I milked a sheep, saw baby geese swim for he first time, and planted seedlings in my son's garden.

The year had some surprises. I broke my arm on our camping trip, and spent the next three months recovering and having alot of physio to avoid frozen shoulder syndrome. Except for a wee bit of numbness I consider myself totally recovered.

Then emergency gall bladder surgery in late November. That took a good eight weeks to recover from and quite a few visits to my naturopath afterwards to figure out how to live without my gall bladder. It is all good now.

I joined a choir, attended three wonderful anthroposophical conferences, and enjoyed my weekly knit group with a wonderful bunch of new friends.

I saw a dear old friend much more often this past year, enjoying movies, lunches, and dinners.

I attended my forty year high school reunion, and it was lovely.

I helped my sister pack up their house of twenty six years and move to their new life.

I have done alot of de-cluttering in my house and in my life: getting rid of stuff that does not serve me anymore.

There were a few camping trips - the most memorable in the snow on the Duffy Lake Road.

I am writing more, reading more, and still knitting, and yes, probably knitting more.

My daughter visited twice from back east, and so did my son and his new love from across the Rocky Mountains.

I saw my brother successfully undergo chemotherapy. I prayed, and am praying, for those who are undergoing treatments now.

Birthdays were celebrated, holidays feted, festivals were attended and the cycle of the year unfolded.

It has been a full year.

God-willing, I look forward to at least forty-two more.

I am happy.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spiders (Happy ending, I promise)

I have been gardening this spring. I have planted six flower boxes, one herb garden, and with the encouragement of my son I planted a little tomato plant. Grape tomatoes to be exact.

I had to wait a couple of weeks between purchase of the little plant and putting it outside because the nights were still too cold. So the tomato plant and the basil plant waited patiently in the kitchen until the Victoria Day weekend.

Here it is on May 2, 2014

But now it is outside, and thriving. It has fallen over, been staked with a big wooden spoon (until my husband, the cook, noticed and suggested the spoon had other duties), and then re-staked with a large dowel. It was a dowel that I used to hang the children's advent calendar....but I digress.

Yesterday I decided to photograph said plant to send to my son for approval.

Looking pretty good, eh?

Then I discovered this:
Baby spiders!

Now, I have never been a fan of spiders, but this time of year we get these little guys hatching on the back porch and floating in their little parachutes to start their new lives. (Insert metaphor here...)

It was a Charlotte's Web moment for me, and so I had to share it with my kids thousands of kilometers away.

"Bet there are no aphids on that plant now!" my son messaged. (He is the practical one).

"Woah!!! Awesome!" texted my daughter. (She is the exuberant one).

I just sighed happily and watched the little spiders sail off into the backyard.

(I am the happy one.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

It just makes me sad

I am feeling sad today. I cannot go into details to protect the guilty but suffice to say I have learned something about life and myself in the past twenty-four hours.

I have learned that just because everyone else thinks someone is a good person doesn't mean they are.

I have learned that my boundaries are more important than the needs of another.

I have learned what I have always known intuitively - children are not as resilient as we think they are.

I have learned that you can, in fact, fool some of the people all of the time and that is not ever a good thing.

I have learned that children can be let down and the adults around them do nothing.

I have learned that what I thought was true about my helplessness in a situation is, in fact, not true.

I have learned that making a stand means losing friends.

I have to learn if I am brave enough anyways.

I have to make that phone call, and set up that meeting, and damn the torpedoes.

"I shared my
feelings today
there were
no survivors"

Robert Wilson Dark Side of the Brain

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fourteen degrees, inside and out

My brother and I had a date to meet at an out-door pool for a swim today. It is a pool that sits alongside the ocean, it is filled with a mix of salt and fresh water, and it is heated. It is 125 metres long, so to swim a mile is only 12 lengths. That was the plan.

We arrived at 9am. The pool didn't open until noon. Hmmm. There we were, bathing suits and goggles in hand.

My brother suggested we could swim in the ocean. The ocean he assured me was 14 degrees and that was about the air temperature today so that seemed doable.

We headed for the beach change-rooms. Also not open until noon.

Off to the park bench to change as modestly as we could - it was starting to rain, so the beach was pretty deserted.

As we walked into the water it felt cool, but not too bad. Until I put my face and head in to take those first few strokes. Oh. My. God. It was cold and hard to catch my breath, or to breathe at all. Breast-stroke seemed the answer of the day and he and I headed out, breast-stroking and chatting about this and that.

He is used to swimming in the open water, this is my first time in water so cold.

After about 15 minutes we turned around and he headed off for shore. Me too. Front-crawl, face and head in the was quite effortless. Of course that may have been my first symptom of hypothermia!

He hit the beach first...I announced that it wasn't fair that being a slower swimmer actually meant I was in the water longer than he was, but there he was waiting for me on shore ready to wrap me up in my towel. Total swim time was around 25 minutes.

We quickly dressed, me inadvertently mooning the two little children digging in the sand dressed in matching yellow rain slickers. He produced a steaming mug of sweetened green tea. I have never loved him more.

It took me a few more cups of tea and a couple of hours before I felt my core body temperature return to normal, but I was proud of myself.

Old dog. Another new trick. And I was glad the swimming gods closed the pool and opened the ocean to me.

I think I have found a new hobby.

Better get that swim cap and some ear plugs.

It is going to be that kind of summer.

Sometimes life doesn't go as planned. Sometimes it is even better.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

5KCBWDAY7- Wishes for the coming year

The final day of the blogging challenge is to write about my wishes for what I will have accomplished a year from now.

Summers spent knitting on my sister's porch: sharing or knitting in silence, listening to the bird's sing.

Winter knitting in my sister's livingroom: cozy around the wood stove, chatting about this and that or nothing at all.

Knitting in the cab of our truck camper as my dh and I head east, or south, or both.

Knitting in the presence of my daughter, because her presence fills me with contentment.

Knitting with my son, or for my son, or both. Just being with him is enough.

Knitting on Thursday nights with my new friends in my knitgroup.

Knitting socks for my dh's hobbit feet. (Wide, not hairy)

Knitting as my dh and I discover some new series to watch on Netflix.

Knitting on the backporch, wrapped in my 40 year old blanket, until the autumn chill drives me once more onto the couch.

Crocheting with my niece and getting her hooked (pun intended) on Ravelry.

Learning to be content, and brave.

Increasing the readership of this blog. So, share with your friends, and comment....I love comments.

Oh, yes, and illusion knitting. I am going to learn to do that this year.


This has been a wonderful experience: blogging daily on topics I do not usually write about and using techniques I do not usually use.

Tomorrow this blog will be back to regularly scheduled programming, but this experienced has definitely changed me, as all experiences do, so I am certain my blog will feature knitting more often than it has in the past, and I will continue to work on my photography.

Thank you to my blogging friends on Ravelry and especially Eskimimi for organizing it all.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

5KCBWDAY6 - Knitting, Breastfeeding and Baseball

The blogging challenge today is to write about a knitter that you admire. Immediately I thought of my dear Aunt Georgie, who taught me to knit when I was 9. We knit Barbie clothes from patterns we found in her many McCall's magazines, and my first big project was a crew-neck,raglan sweater, and then my second big project was a v-neck raglan sweater. I still have the Paton's booklet with those patterns.

Note the price - 65 cents!

pretty snazzy models, eh?

Here is my favourite story about her and knitting. I wrote this for the British Columbia Lactation Consultants Association newsletter in the summer of 1996.

What does the World Series and a seventy-four year old woman have to do with supporting breastfeeding?

My aunt, Georgina Burton, loves to watch major league baseball games. She also is aware that time in front of the TV can be perceived (by some) to be time wasted. So....she knits.

When many nieces and nephews, and later, grand-nieces and grand-nephews started to arrive she knit baby jackets, booties, and bonnets. Once the last baby was toddling she started to knit for the Red Cross gift shop, but soon her arthritis stopped her from knitting such small, intricate outfits.

Two years ago she saw me knitting a breast as a fundraiser for my La Leche League group.

"I could do that", she said, "mail me the pattern".

The next month when I visited her she proudly displayed the twenty knitted breasts she had made. They were stacked beautifully on her chenille bedspread.

"I can knit one per baseball game", she announced happily, and two years later she is still knitting breasts. Close to a hundred at last count.

She does not knit during the summer because her hands ache from gardening, but once the boys of summer hit the playoffs the gardening gloves come off and the knitting needles come out.

She has never had a child of her own, never breastfed, and yet she knits for my La Leche League group to help us protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. What a woman! Sometimes people who support breastfeeding are found where you least expect it.

I think I should write the Toronto Blue Jays and let them know how they too support breastfeeding mothers!

Sadly, by 1998 by aunt became afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and forgot how to knit. She died in 2008 and I miss her greatly. Her grand-nephew's wife is now a doula, and using two of the breasts my aunt knit. That thought makes me very happy.

(Just in case you were wondering what knitted breasts are used for (insert joke here), breastfeeding educators use them to demonstrate latch in pre-natal and breastfeeding classes.)

Friday, May 16, 2014

5KCBWDAY5 - Poetic reflections of a Spring Morning

The challenge today was to write in a different way than I usually blog. I have written poetry before, but never rhyming poetry. This poem is a reflection the day after attending a Death Cafe.

Reflections on a Spring Morning

I look across the yard of green
hearing the songs of birds unseen.
The city begins to thrum to life
A myriad of stories, loss and strife.

The morning quiet gives me pause
To reflect on life and social laws.
To wish with hope as I draw a breath
for healing, and time before my death.

Time for laughter, peace and tears,
Time for comforting and allaying fears,
Time for birdsongs and campfires bright,
Time for moonrises and stars in the night.

Morning surrounded by towering trees
Feeling blessed by a god that sees.
For all my failings that haunt my sleep
Stillness and grace in my soul will creep.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

5KCBWDAY4 - She loves me

Allow me to introduce myself. I think a picture is worth a thousand words, don't you.
my front side....
my back side.....
my insides....
letting it all hang out....

So that's me. She takes me everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. I have been across Canada, to Yukon and Alaska, to knitnights with her friends, to the little island, and to school. I am her go-to tool when she is quickly grabbing a project to take on a trip. I will let you listen in on a recent conversation between us.

Me: You love me best of all your knitting tools, right?

Her: I love all my knitting tools.

Me: But you take me with you everywhere!

Her: Well, yes, I do, but it is not because I love you the most, it is because you are just so, well, practical.

Me: Practical and beautiful!

Her: Yes, you are beautiful, but practical is what gets you into my purse.

Me: And, you like to show me off to people!

Her: Well, I do show you to people but it is usually because they want to borrow some aspect of you, like your scissors, or your crochet hook, or the darning needle, or needle sizer, or....well, you get the idea.

Me: I know! 'Cause I am fabulous!

Her: (under her breath) and a little conceited

Me: Excuse me? I didn't quite catch what you said.

Her: Yes, you are fabulous.

Me: So where are we going next?

Her: Maybe the Rockies. Oh, and there is a golf tournament coming up.

Me: Golf?

Her: Don't ask.....I am trying something new.

Me: As long as I get to come.

Her: You always get to come.

Me: Cause you love me best, right?

Her: Sigh. Yes, I love you best.
Now stop talking, cause I am trying to work here....


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5KCBWDAY3 - Making the cut

On May 4, 2014 I wrote a post about my 40 year old blanket. Today the blogging challenge is to use photographs in an interesting here goes.

Before picture...notice the tattered edges and a few moth eaten pieces (more details to follow.)

Some couldn't be saved so I had to honour them with an 'artsy' photo layout.

Here is a close-up of their flaws (it is a kind of Where's Waldo game - spot the moth-eaten bits):

Some were ditched because they were a single colour and that just didn't work anymore because there were only 3 (one was too damaged).

And those 11 rejects met a sorry end:

77 squares made the cut, and I learned a braided continuous crochet join to boot.

And now....ta-da the artsy shot (the little lamb was knit by one of my children about 20 years ago.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5KCBWDAY2 - Looking for love (or at least the occasional date)

Day Two blogging challenge - to write a dating profile for one of your finished knitted objects.

Ok, ok, my friends have goaded my into this. They have heard enough of my complaining that I never go anywhere, on anybody, so here goes.

I am a single, off-white aran sweater who is entering the dating world for the very first time. I thought I had found my one true love. You know, the one that would take me for long walks on a windy beach, or perhaps along a forest trail, or maybe even camping across this wide country of ours. But no.....I have been wrapped in a plastic bag, hanging in a dark closet for....wait for it....four years. Some would have thrown in the towel(plastic?) earlier, but I am slow to make life changing decisions.

However, I digress.

I am plus-sized, some would say voluptuous, and a wee bit high maintenance (hand wash only). I love white wine. Well, I love red wine too, but let us just say that red wine doesn't love me. (See above note about my colour and washing instructions).

I am a simple sweater, mostly stocking stitch, a few cables, and am longing for walks at sunset on a windy beach. I am equally comfortable dressed up for a night at the theatre or a fancy restaurant.

I don't mind getting a little dirty, and would love to spend time on a fishing boat or around a campfire in the middle of no-where.

I am looking for someone who will wear me. Often. Proudly. And not be afraid of my idiosyncracies. (See above note about red wine, and washing instructions).

I am v-necked, which I realize is not to everyone's liking, but if you are a shirt that doesn't like to be totally hidden from view then I think we might me a match.

Or perhaps you are a hairy chest that would like to see the light of day, or the light of a campfire, or hey, even a sunset or two.

Some say my look is timeless, and I promise to keep you warm. I imagine that I would look good on your arm(s) and even invite a few envious looks (or leers) from passer-bys when you take me out on the town.

So how about it?

All are welcome to respond.

Unless you are an alpaca, because, well, that would just be awkward.

This picture is four years old, but, really, I haven't changed a bit. (See above note about plastic and closet).

Monday, May 12, 2014

5KCBWDAY1 - I think she has forgotten us

Well, I don't know where she has got to this time. She was so excited to start me as part of the March Mystery Sock Knit-a-long, and I think we made some good progress. Here we are - created two at a time (so at least I have company). Our cuffs are done, and the colour-work is looking quite lovely. We must be in a cable section now because there is this odd little cabling needle stuck in me. It is getting rather uncomfortable. However it is pretty. I think she has forgotten us because our yarn is in the beautiful yarn bowl and we are tucked inside and, well, we have been sitting in the craft room since the middle of March!

Hello? Psst? Hey, you....knitting lady.....why have you abandoned us?

Oh, I know what she will say. It isn't us it's her. She has lost interest. Not because we aren't beautiful. Because we are. But, well, she has found another love. Sniff.

Yes, that's it. She is stepping out on us with that....that.... that sock-yarn blanket. She knew we were just a fling, a short-termed commitment, and clearly she wanted something longer term, something more brag-worthy than a pair of socks. She says she is just on a mission to use up all her sock yarn stash, but that doesn't really ring true because WE are being knit from stash too. Or at least, we were.

It is hard being socks. You are hardly ever seen. I mean, blankets get to be out on the bed....all the time. But us? We are on the feet, in the shoes, under the pants, hanging on the line IN THE BASEMENT, or stuffed in her drawer. Hmph! I am starting to really resent that blanket.

Just sayin'!

We have tried to pretty ourselves up and look 'cute' when she walks into the craft room, but now there is stuff ON TOP OF US.....she can't even see how cute we are.

Yup, I think she has forgotten us.

So, if you see her, can you remind her that she has half-knit socks in the craft room under two patterns and some cotton yarn? Can you encourage her that we are going to be so comfy to wear and, since we are a General Hogbuffer pattern, we will be interesting to knit. And stunning! Did I mention we are cute?

She is probably waiting for August when Sock Knitters Anonymous have their challenge to finish all work-in-progress socks.

Ok, we will be patient. August isn't THAT far away.


And besides we have company. There is an almost finished shawl, a barely started sweater and a double-knitted pot-holder. I think it is time for us to form a union. The union of unfinished, forgotten, under-appreciated projects.

Ya, that's it! Unionize!

Well, that, or get her help for her attention deficit disorder.


Abandoned socks project et al

Update: Ok, I, the knitting lady, feel badly about this, so here is a picture of the abandoned socks with my new love.

Maybe a close-up will stave on the union organizing until August.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

The last time I blogged about Mother's Day I was criticized for being too sentimental. Just for the record that person got unfriended pdq from facebook. But I digress.

There have been a number of media articles around mothering and parenting in the past week. Most of them not at all complimentary. Some of them funny. Most not relaying my experience.

I have often heard parents talking at the end of a spring, winter or summer break that they were SO glad their kids were heading back to school. To be perfectly honest I never felt that way.

I loved having my kids home from school. Granted I had the ability for most of my parenting years to have the school breaks off with my kids, and I can imagine organizing care for these breaks is expensive and stressful. But many of the parents that look forward to sending their children back to school are stay at home parents. So that isn't it.

Some of my fondest memories of my own mother were around summer holidays. She would have us tidy the house, and be heading to Kits Beach by 9:30am, picnic lunch in hand. She would relax and read and nap under the 'big tree' and my younger brother and sister and I would spent the morning in the old Kits pool. Then lunch, another quick swim and home to our shady backyard by about 1:30pm. To wait out the hour after eating lunch my siblings and I would scour the beach for seashells, or play on the old train. Every weekday. Even the rainy ones. Ok, on the rainy ones it was just a quick swim and then back in the car....with maybe a visit to the MacMillan Bloedel conservatory on Little Mountain on the way home.

And so to with my own children, summers were trips to Britannia Beach pool, Murin Lake, water parks and, on rainy days, the movie theatres.

I always enjoyed their company and antics, and still do.

I am one of the lucky ones. I did and do receive great pleasure from my children and from being their mom (or mum). There is not a minute regretted.

I am not sure why the media is spending so much time, especially around this day, reporting on studies that show how unhappy parents, especially mothers, are. I am not sure what it serves, or who it serves. It could be a misery loves company kind of thing, or perhaps a way to take away the guilt that all mothers feel about not doing their best, and sometimes really messing up and feeling bad about it.

And I know that for children and mothers who are estranged this is a very difficult day. For children whose mothers are no longer with them this is a difficult day. For mothers whose children have died, this is a very difficult day. My mother and I had a terrible fight on Mother's Day when I was 18 years old, and it still hurts all these years later. So I do understand why it can be a difficult day for many.

But for those of us who celebrate this day, in big ways, or little ways, it saddens me that others want to take the joy out of it.

For, to me, that is what mothering is. Joy. For all its hard work, sleepless nights, highs and lows, it is always what I wanted to be, and always what I feel best about in my life.

So, to my two children, who have made me the mother I am today, I say thank you with gratitude and delight.

Because today I remember all those moments that we have shared, and look forward to all those to come.

And just so no-one thinks I have lost my sense of humour here is the best thing I have seen about the subject to date:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kwadugu Manu - one of the 276 kidnapped Nigerian girls

Kwadugu Manu

I am praying for you.
For your safety.
For you to have strength that I cannot even imagine.
For you to survive to tell your stories, and to live free and laugh once again.
I can't begin to understand why this has happened to you and all those other women.
I can't understand.
But, I want you to know I am praying.
I will keep you in my thoughts and pray you are being held
sheltered in the wings of god.
You, and the others, are being prayed for.
It doesn't seem like enough, but it is what I can do.
It is what we can do.

Kwadugu Manu
I am praying for you.
And your sisters.
And for all that are missing you tonight.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I am sitting drinking coffee listening to a song my daughter wrote this week.

The title of the song, is the title of this post. She wrote this song as she goes through the difficult process of ending a difficult relationship. She is so far away. She is right here in her Dad's and my heart. He is weeping, I am weeping. She is so far from ordinary.

Leo Tolstoy wrote "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." This is true also of relationships.

I keep thinking back on Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's 5 stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying. I read it when I was 17, after my father had died. I refer to it often: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I don't think they have to come in necessarily that order. Denial is the first, acceptance is the last, but I think the individual may work through the other three in different order. She is angry. I think this is her fourth stage before acceptance.

And then this quote from Tale of Two Cities: Dickens writes, "A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imagining, a secret to the heart nearest it!"

We can never truly know what is going on in someone else's heart, and vice-versa. That is the profound sadness of the human condition. Despite sharing this planet with 7 billion others, we are essentially alone.

We are alone, but not ordinary. None of us are ordinary.

We are all extraordinary.

What would your life look like if you walked in the knowledge of all of us being extraordinary?

Maybe we wouldn't feel so alone.

Maybe we would change the world.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

40 year old blanket

I was cleaning out my linen closet and there it was. The granny square blanket I had crocheted forty years ago. The border was moth eaten in places as were a few of the squares. I put it aside. For a moment I thought about throwing it out, or recycling it. Just for a moment.

Because that blanket holds too many memories to throw away.

I was eighteen. My mother saw a flyer for the Bay, or it may have been Eatons, or even Woodwards. Wool was a dollar a ball. She got on the phone and order 30 balls. Assorted colours. Autumn shades.

I began crocheting granny squares until I had 88 of them. I whip-stitched them together and then crocheted a wide border around them. I remember sitting in the living room of my first apartment sewing those squares together. My then boyfriend, my first great love, encouraging me to keep going as the task seemed endless.

For years that afghan lived on the back of my antique rocker. A rocker I had purchased from an antique dealer in Gastown, and then realized I had no way to get it home. I had called my mom and down she drove in her Impala to rescue her daughter yet again. It is another story for another day but my mom and that Impala rescued me on more than a few occasions.

And then the afghan got put away, I am not sure why, and was out of sight and out of mind for many years.

So I couldn't throw it away. Not when it is stitched with memories of my mom, my first love, my nineteen year old self.

Last week I took it to my knit group and started to pain-stakingly unpick all those whip stitches. In the end I had 80 intact squares, all two-coloured except three solid red ones and one tri-coloured. I laid the squares out on the kitchen table to try to find a way to put them together. It wasn't working until I realized the three solid colours had no place there anymore, so away they went and now I had 77. Clearly the tri-coloured belonged in the middle! So instead of 8 x 11, as the original blanket was, it was 7 x 11. I fussed with the order for a while, with help from my husband, again remembering my first blanket laid out on the dining room table. My mother and I walking by and changing square for square until we felt it looked right.

I left it on the table overnight, and on morning light saw that it was good.

So now I had to decide how to put it back together. I decided on a crocheted join, in black, to set the squares off as if they were stained glass. Thank goodness for Ravelry and for Youtube as I finally found the join I wanted but needed a lot of instruction. I settled for a braided join because I didn't like the way the slip stitch, single, and double crocheted border made a raised join. I also settled on a continuous join which, for my slightly dyslexic self, was a challenge all in itself. However, old dog, new tricks and all that, I was determined.

So now I have attached 22 of the 77 squares. I have made a few mistakes, but they are part of the process. Some of my squares were four deep, instead of three deep (I will have to ask my nineteen year old self about that one day) so I have to fudge some of the joins to make them work. In the grand scheme of things only I will notice.

Blanket memories: squares crocheted in the den on 33rd Avenue sitting in my Dad's recliner, squares sewn together in my first apartment sitting on the brown sofa bed from my family's rumpus room, sitting beside a boy, watching an old black and white TV his mother has donated to me, a rocking chair that had held me and nursing babies.

Knitting and crocheting are not just my hobbies.

They are my lifelines to memories I would sooner not forget.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Marigolds and Fuchsias

I planted some flower baskets today.  Usually I buy a couple of already made up planters every season, but today I decided to hit the garden center and do it myself.  I bought marigolds, and they remind me of my aunt who always planted marigolds down the length of her backyard walk.

I bought two fuchsias, and they remind me of my mom who had a wonderful green thumb and had baskets of fuchsias all around the front porch of our family home.  I remember going to the PNE with her, to the flower show, and she would take little clippings from the display fuchsias and take them home wrapped in a wet serviette tucked inside of her empty coffee cup.  I am sure it wasn't kosher to take those clippings, but it was fun aiding and abetting her crime.

I bought geraniums and pansies because I like them.  I love the cranky faces on pansies.  And I also bought a tomato plant, because my son, the gardener, told me to.  It may have to come camping with us this summer because I think we will be on the road before it begins to bear tomatoes.

I planted a box of herbs: basil, oregano, thyme and chives for my husband who loves to cook with fresh herbs, and I bought some echeveria that again reminds me of my mom, and planted it in the pot she gave me when I first moved away from home at 19.  That pot had echeveria in it then too.  She called them hen and chicks.

A few days ago I re-potted two jade plants (they actually belong to my two children) and split my aloe vera plant into three. This is my son's aloe vera that I had to rescue a couple of years ago.  I think it had been over-watered, or under-watered, but regardless now it is very happy and reproducing like crazy which is why one has now become three.

Re-potting the jade tree also reminds me of my mom.  Years ago when we were estranged I talked to my brother about wanted to repair things with her.  He told me to call her and ask her advice about re-potting my jade tree.  I did.  It was a beginning.  That jade tree holds reconciliation in its roots.  It makes me think of my mom.

I have flower boxes on the back porch and dirt under my nails.

They aren't just flowers.  They are memories.  Memories of so many people I love and have loved.

Now the rain can come, and their roots can take hold.

It is a good day.