Friday, February 27, 2015

Finished Object Friday - it was a close one

Last summer I bought some lovely sock yarn. At 67 grams I realized it wasn't really enough for a pair of socks, and since it was a one off from an independent dyer I put it aside.

Then I decided I wanted to knit this pattern and figured if I shortened the leg to make them ankle socks I could pull it off.

So first sock done.

When I measure how much yarn it took this was what I got:

So then I measure what I had left once I had turned the heel on sock number two:

I then weighed my half finished second sock and the remaining yarn:

Well I don't know how much my stitch markers and circular needle weighed but I figured it was gonna be a nail biter....

I had 4 lace repeats to go before the toe.

After one repeat I had 10 gms left.

After next one - 7 gms.

Then 5 gms

2 gms left and the toe to do.

I got within 5 rows of finishing and could see it wasn't going to end well, but I had a long tail left on my first sock so I added it in and kept knitting.

I was within three rows of finishing the toe, but only had enough left for the Kitchener graft.

I tried it on, and it was good enough for me.

Ta-Da! See? At least 8 inches to spare.

and that makes a pair:

That is how I spent my Friday.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

I started another sweater. I think it is a keeper despite the 252 stitches I had to pick up this afternoon, and the fact that even though I read the " making sure wrong sides are together..." I still joined the shoulder seams with the right sides together and had to undo....Argh!

Work-in-progress Wednesday is not so much about my knitting, but about me.

I have upped my Effexor.

I am taking a tablespoon of fish oil every day.

I am taking 1-2 tablespoons of calcium and magnesium every day.

I am taking a vitamin C dose every day.

I am taking a vitamin B pill every day.

I took myself to the Korean spa for a thirty minute body scrub and then lay in the salt room, the earth room and the charcoal room plus twenty minutes in the hot tub.

I am teaching an ex-student of mine to make socks.

I am accepting some subbing jobs.

I am swimming.

I am going to yoga.

I am a work-in-progress.

Depression lies, but it doesn't stand a chance.

Not this time.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

One row at a time

I just finished these socks.

They were not hard to knit, but there were six different charts to follow. The pattern is a very intricate celtic braid which is difficult to see because of the variegated yarn.

An experienced knitter asked why I was knitting such an intricate pattern with variegated yarn because the pattern would be hard to see.

She doesn't understand why I knit. I know the pattern is there, and I know what it took to make it and I love the yarn.

Some would say it is silly to knit such intricate patterns that go on your feet, inside your shoes.

But I know they are there.

This pattern seemed daunting - I would finish one chart of 30 or so rows, and put up the next 30.

Looking at the whole it seemed impossible, but one line at a time was doable.

One line at a time.

One day at a time.

And now they are on my feet reminding me that I can do complicated things if I just look at one line at a time.

Like so many patterns there is one complicated row, and then a resting row that is more straight forward.

Like swimming laps, one hard, one easy.

Like life.


It's quiet
the sun is out
the wind is still
only the sound
of my breathing

The plants
have waited
all winter
for this moment
this day
to start to

A windowsill
full of
awaking from
to strive
and thrive.

Reaching for this
winter sun
a still reminder
of faith
and hope.

Mary-Anne Taylor
February 21, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

If only it were that simple.

This has not been an easy winter. I am coping, but some days barely. Last night as I headed off to bed I decided to up my anti-depressant medication starting this morning.

I have just been feeling flat. Going through the day - getting things done - but just flat.

And then this morning I saw a meme that said:

Exercise is the most under utilized anti-depressant.

Oh my fucking god! If I had high blood pressure it would have gone through the roof. (I don't. I have low blood pressure so it probably is pushed into the normal range.)

Really? Really?

I swim at least three miles a week. I go to yoga at least once a week. Most weeks I hit the gym once or twice and when it is not pouring with rain I go for a hilly walk of 4km or so.

I eat well, I spend time with friends and family, I do ALL THE THINGS.

But depression doesn't care.

It lies, and it doesn't care.

I have had people in my life like that - people who lie and don't care - and those people I eighty-sixed.

You can't eighty-six depression.

And you can't exercise it away.

This is not to say exercise can't help, and that when I get home from a long swim it gives me some ammunition to say "See? You didn't win today."

But the effort to do that with depression is like swimming dragging a manatee, or walking carrying a fifty pound sack, or breathing with an eighteen-wheeler on your chest.

Yes, you can do it, but it ain't easy.

So stop with the memes that are trite and meaningless (and in this case grammatically incorrect because it said "Exercises (sic) is the most under-utilized anti-depressant."

The same meme stated "Food is the most abused anxiety medication". Really? More than, let's say, heroin? Because I suppose to the author of that meme it is worse to be fat than to be a junkie. Really? Don't get me started on the fat-phobic society of ours. I don't have the energy. But it is wrong, too.

So today?

Today I am going to be good to myself. I am going to ignore that constant nagging little voice that says it isn't worth it. I am going to replace worrisome thoughts with something else if I can.

And yes, I am going to up my medication.

And if you have an opinion about that?

Keep it to yourself.

And, most certainly, don't make a meme.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Twenty Five thoughts while swimming

I stole this idea from Michelle of Rubber Shoes in Hell - I don't commute anymore, but today while swimming her post resonated with me and I started my list.

Sometimes when I swim it is meditative and relaxing and wonderful. Today? Not so much.

1. 1:15 Free day at the pool, really? Oh my god, where did all these people come from?

2. 1:15.01 Man this water is cold. I wonder how many lengths I will have to swim till it doesn't feel so cold?

3. 1:20 Wow, this is going quite well. I think I could do an hour swim today. I am so in the groove.

4. 1:24. only 1:24? really? Is that clock right?

5. 1:30 We are in the medium/fast lane people - read the sign - you should be able to do two lengths in 60-90 seconds, not one length. Jeez.

6. 1:31 I think I am having a stroke...Why do my arms feel so tingly? I hope the lifeguard is watching me and not all those kids on the bouncy castle.

7. 1:35 - Man I just hit my head on the wall. Why aren't the flags up? ('cause of the stupid bouncy castle)

8. 1:37 So much for 15 minutes of backstroke I seem to be swallowing half the pool.

9. 1:38 I don't really have to swim for an hour. I could just do my 48 minutes and call it a day.

10. 1:40 What is that woman doing on the pool deck? It looks like she is warming up to throw the shot-put - I bet when she gets in the pool she will be fast!

11. 1:40.01 Nope, wrong about the fast thing.

12. 1:44 - ok backstroke is working better now - man my broken arm hardly clicks anymore.

13. 1:45 - when I look at the ceiling I see a lot of concentric circles - weird cataract surgery phenomena.

14. 1:47 - ok, this is going better - half way and back in the groove.

15. 1:50 how does that guy swim so fast when he is practically dragging his feet along the bottom?

16. 1:55 Free day at the pool? This could mean I might run into ex-students while standing naked in the shower. What to do? What to do?

17. 1:56 Hot tub....I am so going in the hot tub after this.

18. 2:00 hey I might as well go for the hour.

19. 2:01 good idea - I will sprint every other 25 meters.

20. 2:03 No matter how fast I go (or think I am going) my time is always the same - 30 seconds.

21. 2:05 I like this relaxing backstroke to recover from the sprint.

22. 2:06 Note to self - leave more room between you and the other swimmer when doing backstroke. (Second banged head of the day)

23. 2:08 Only seven more minutes - I can do this.

24. 2:10 Man I have to pee. Why do I always have to pee when I swim?

25. 2:12 this is it - One more sprint, and one more cool down lap.

Then I peed and then I had a long soak in the hot-tub, and no ex-students in the change room.

Some days you take what you can get.

Door into summer

Through this door
is sunshine
and warmth
and perhaps
respite from it all.

Through this door
is a welcome home
a cup of tea
and perhaps
a moment of peace.

Through this door
is good health
an understanding friend
and perhaps

Through this door
is colour
in a black and white day
and perhaps

through this door
is summer
and cherry blossoms

Friday, February 6, 2015

Finished Object Friday - In the Pink

I am still suffering with a migraine so I will make this short.

Two projects finished this week:

The sweater - Ta-Da it fits!

and the shawl:

So now I am back to 'the blanket' even though I have some gorgeous cable socks on the needles, and I have started my teal shawl.

Did you get anything 'finished' this week?

(I wish I was finished with the migraine - just sayin'!)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Migraine 3: Mary-Anne:1

Although it doesn't happen nearly as often as it used to I was hit with a Migraine on Tuesday afternoon. Despite strong coffee, Imitrex, and Tylenol with codeine I am on day three of this headache.

I have been a migraine sufferer since I was 25. The first time I got a migraine I was at work, and I thought I was having a stroke. My migraines are always preceded by a visual aura, and when that happens I lose vision in my right eye. Fortunately for me I was working somewhere where there was a doctor on site and he was able to calm me down and diagnose my issue and (somewhat) allay my fears.

When I was teaching I learned that Hildegard de Bingen, a mystic nun of the 12th century, was likely a sufferer of migraines. Her experiences of religious enlightenment were likely preceded by migraine auras.

Often before a migraine I have amazing feelings of euphoria - (unfortunately Tuesday was not one of those days).

I soldier on when I have a migraine, because lying in bed in the dark just makes me feel worse. I do believe, like Hildegard, that my migraines do have some sort of spiritual or intuitive significance, and that leads me to today's story.

As I have posted before, my sister and I have a very intuitive connection. Even when we are far apart, and haven't been speaking (at least not on the physical plane) we will intuit the other's life situations.

Yesterday, she sent my daughter and I a beautiful poem about mothers and daughters and their connection even though they are far away.

Before I received that poem, via email, I had sent my daughter a long email because I had been thinking about her, (read fretting about her), and I had awoken from an unsettling dream where she had stated I wasn't there for her.

In the car yesterday afternoon my husband asked if we had heard from our daughter because he felt a disturbance in the force. He is connected to our daughter intuitively that way.

Last night, on the phone, I discovered that indeed something was up, she had been experiencing an unsettling and unsettle-able situation at her workplace which had led to her resignation.

And yes, there she is 4000 miles away.

My husband wanted to get in the truck and start driving.

I re-read my sister's poem.

It all made sense.

Even the migraine.

Here is the poem by P.K. Page. She uses Marilyn Bowering's poem as a jumping off point.

On a Far Shore
The night unravels its blue wool:
you stand on a far shore
about to set sail
where are you going?

- Love Poem for my Daughter, Marilyn Bowering

It is summer, early evening
stars beginning
no dogs barking.
The Morning Star
promises daylight,
and the moon is full.
Yet darkness fights for itself.
It has its methods,
is infinitely resourceful.

The night unravels its blue wool

from an endless supply
of old blue sweaters
fronts, backs and sleeves
right, left, the collar –
another sweater,
just one more
and then another
for insatiable night.
And you, obscure.
You stand on a far shore.

I try to see you through a glass.
You are almost invisible
a tottering spindle
alone and fearless
solitary, frail,
in some nameless country.
The next ship is yours.
You board with no luggage.
You lean on the rail
About to set sail

for who knows where?
Some unknown harbour?
I would travel with you
but you won’t ask me.
Nor will you tell me.
The wind is blowing
and you are a leaf
in a springtime gale.
There is no knowing.
Where are you going?

P.K. Page

NB: if you are interested in the form of this poem by sister included the following description -

Glosa: def. the glosa form opens with a quatrain, borrowed from another poet, that is then followed by four ten-line stanzas terminating with the lines of the initial passage in consecutive order. The sixth and ninth lines rhyme with the borrowed tenth. Glosas were popular in the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries among poets attached to the Spanish court.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Babar - I am so disappointed

Thank you to Edwina's Episodes for asking me to take part in the February 2nd tour. Check out her post for other blogs on today's tour.

Babar - I am so disappointed

Besides being a retired teacher, I am also a retired Lactation Consultant/La Leche League Leader, and a retired Computer Programmer. It fits well with my Trinitarian nature that I have had three careers.

It is the former that I come to now.

I was reading Babar to my three honourary grand-daughters on Tuesday. The girls and I had quickly decided not to read the one where Babar's mother dies because it is too sad (plus another character eats a poisoned mushroom and dies), so instead we chose the happier one about Babar and his wife Celeste where she gives birth to triplets.

Seemed innocent enough, right?

The doctor quickly pronounces that she does not have enough milk to feed them and puts the baby elephants on formula!

Ack, my blood pressure went up, and I had to stop the story to give the little girls a sidebar about how I was certain cow's milk was not the best idea for a baby elephant!

Teachable moment, indeed!

Fortunately my faith in media was restored later in the week when the cantankerous old nun on "Call the Midwife" pronounced loudly that 'Breast is Best!'.

(Of course in another episode the producers made a terrible crafting faux pas by featuring a knitted blanket as pivotal to the story line and it was clearly a crocheted blanket, but I digress!)

Friends still refer new mothers to me for breastfeeding help and advice. I like that mother-to-mother support is still valued in my community of women. It helps us stay connected in a primal and necessary way.

I wish Celeste, the elephant had been given that kind of support. I realize the book was written in the 1930s (and also realize that the Babar series has many other more serious 'PC' errors), but still I think the elephants could have worked it out without the doctor's not-so-helpful proscription.

Do you find yourself reading books from your childhood that now make your toes curl? I would love to hear about them so leave a comment.

I love the idea of a Tour through Blogland. I do it every morning touring the blogs I follow.

If you, dear Reader, want to take my tour through blogland today I suggest you start with these blogs:

Diary of a Killjoy (full disclosure - this is my daughter)
Life with Roozle
Wendy of the Rock

If any bloggers I follow want to play along I give you the date of February 14! Valentine's Day!