Sunday, September 29, 2019

Yopping Update #13 - making progress

I am making slow and steady progress on both my fisherwoman's sweater and my knit slip love shawl.  This despite being away from Monday - Wednesday and being sick with a rotten cold from Wednesday and still counting.

My son is arriving on Wednesday for the month of October and he wants to go camping so finishing the sweater is my main priority now. 

Stitch marker shows where I had tinked back last week

So far so good with the arm. I am knitting a few hours a night and switching between the two projects if the cabling on the sweater gets too tedious. 

three sections done this week, three more to go until done
Thank goodness for Netflix as I sit most days in my jammies sipping cold medication.  We have been watching Fleabag, and Kim's Convenience.  Now they are done and I need to find a new binge.  Any suggestions will be appreciated. 

No pool this week because of my cold, and only one short walk on Tuesday.  I will walk to my hair appointment this afternoon.  I am sooooo overdo and will be glad to get my shaggy mop under control. 

Fall is truly here.  The juncos and nuthatches are emptying the bird feeder rapidly, and the stellar jays are happily picking up the left overs.  The poor cat thinks he must be on high alert watching their comings and goings so he is spending most of his days on the porch observing the antics.  The hummingbirds have been squabbling over their feeder, and the squirrels have completely removed all the apples from our trees.  Everyone is getting ready for winter.

My dear grand-daughter turned 9 months old on Thursday and my daughter called us for a nice video chat.  Baby girl is now standing on her own for a few seconds at a time, and babbling away to her gramma in Canada. 

my daughter calls her the boobasaurus

Now, back to that sweater - it needs to be done before the rainy windy camping trip on the Pacific West Coast!

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Yopping Update #12 - A lot of knitting - and some tinking

My week started out with taking my car to get a new clutch.  Mucho dollaros!   Sigh. 

On Wednesday I went for lunch and saw the movie "Brittany runs a Marathon" with a childhood friend.  It was good to get out and it even turned sunny for a bit of a walk after the movie.

It was my son's birthday on Thursday.   I have been a mother for 34 years.  He is coming out at the beginning of October for a few weeks so we will celebrate then.  It will be so good to have him here for an extended visit.  It is hard to have both my children living far from my home. 

I made quite a bit of progress on the Fisherwoman's sweater this week, and it was clear I didn't have enough yarn to finish despite using some extra my sister had given me.   So yesterday I took the sweater to my local yarn shop to see if they had something to match enough to finish it up.  She did find the perfect match with some Briggs and Little Sport yarn and if I knit it two strands together it will work very well.  I split the hank into two balls last night and then started to finish the front.  In a fit of pique I decided to tink  (tink is knit backwards) back about 5 inches of the 12 inches of work I had done on the back so I could use the original yarn to finish the front just so there would be no doubt that the front will look uniform.  It was a lot of unravelling but I kept repeating my mantra "No one ever regrets pulling out some work, but they often regret not doing so". 

It is pouring with rain here today on this the first day of Autumn.   I suspect I will need this sweater very soon so it will be my priority to finish it this week. 

When not knitting (and then un-knitting) the sweater, I picked up my Knit Slip Love shawl which is a mosaic knit.  I have finished the third mosaic pattern and I am on to the next garter dot stitch.  It is fairly easy to remember the pattern of each right side row, and then each wrong side row is just knit the knit stitches and slip the slip stitches.  Not too bad TV knitting. 

On the arm front I have made it to the pool eight days in a row to do my arm exercises and yesterday I.....drum roll please....could do up my bra the proper way by reaching behind my back!.  This is progress people.  (and if too much information, my apologies). 

I also attended my first Tai Chi class on Friday.  I signed up for 11 classes - an hour a week.  It wasn't easy, but I think it will be good for me both on the physical and mental level.

Yesterday was a memorial at church.  It was a communion service dedicated to my friend who died on the 10th.  I wept through most of it and have been weeping off and on since.  This death has hit me hard.  I am doing all I can to take care of myself and it is all I can do right now.

Tomorrow I will go spend a few days with his widow.  I will help her navigate the phone calls and paperwork that must be done now.  I think it will be a help to me as well to feel I am doing something.

I have a scratchy throat today and fear I am fighting a virus of some sort.  I did have a shingles vaccine on Tuesday and have been quite tired all week.  So today lots of vitamin C and staying warm in my jammies on the couch.   Netflix, me and my fisherwoman's sweater.  A good trio on a rainy rainy day.  I have started watching the series 'Kim's Convenience' and it is a very good, light-hearted show with lots of laughs.  I need the laughs these days. 

I did get to my Croatian lesson on Friday, but I haven't been practicing as I should so mostly we had tea and chatted in English.  I will get back to it soon.  I think once I am feeling better I will look for a conversational Croatian meet-up group so I am forced to practice listening and speaking.

I have linked to other Year of Project bloggers on the right hand side of my blog.  That way you can get to their posts even if you are not a Ravelry member. 

I can't leave you without a picture of my dear daughter, my grand-daughter and my son-in-law.  A beautiful family!  So much love in this photo.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Yopping Update #11 - 24 and done

Look what's done!

Now to decide how to display them - I might knit the Alan Dart Advent tree.  Stay tuned.

I then picked up my fisherwoman's sweater and have knit about three more inches.

This has been a sad week.  On the way home from the little island on Tuesday afternoon I received the message that my friend had died at noon.  Wednesday my husband and I drove up to his house for the wake and sat with his family for a few hours.  The funeral was yesterday.  I have so many memories of him from the eleven years we have been friends.  It poured with rain yesterday, and today looks no different.  It seems more than appropriate.

This morning I am going to visit a dear friend who is in the midst of chemo treatment.  She wants me to help her knit a shawl so I have gathered some needles and wool for the pattern she has chosen along with a  project bag.

My daughter has been sending me many pictures of my grand-daughter to help ease my sadness this week.  Here is my favourite.

I will end this week with a poem my sister sent me.  It is by Billy Collins.  I read it to my friend as I sat by his body on Wednesday.  I have read it many times over the last few days.  It helps to think of his journey this way.


You know the brick path in back of the house, 
the one you see from the kitchen window, 
the one that bends around the far end of the garden
where all the yellow primroses are?
And you know how if you leave the path 
and walk up into the woods you come
to a heap of rocks, probably pushed
down during the horrors of the Ice Age, 
and a grove of tall hemlocks, dark green now
against the light-brown fallen leaves?
And farther on, you know
the small footbridge with the broken railing
and if you go beyond that you arrive
at the bottom of that sheep's head hill?
Well, if you start climbing, and you 
might have to grab hold of a sapling
when the going gets steep, 
you will eventually come to a long stone
ridge with a border of pine trees
which is as high as you can go
and a good enough place to stop. 

The best time is late afternoon
when the sun strobes through 
the columns of trees as you are hiking up, 
and when you find an agreeable rock
to sit on, you will be able to see
the light pouring down into the woods
and breaking into the shapes and tones
of things and you will hear nothing
but a sprig of birdsong or the leafy 
falling of a cone or nut through the trees, 
and if this is your day you might even
spot a hare or feel the wing-beats of geese
driving overhead toward some destination. 

But it is hard to speak of these things
how the voices of light enter the body
and begin to recite their stories
how the earth holds us painfully against 
its breast made of humus and brambles
how we who will soon be gone regard
the entities that continue to return
greener than ever, spring water flowing
through a meadow and the shadows of clouds
passing over the hills and the ground
where we stand in the tremble of thought
taking the vast outside into ourselves. 

Still, let me know before you set out. 
Come knock on my door
and I will walk with you as far as the garden 
with one hand on your shoulder.
I will even watch after you and not turn back
to the house until you disappear
into the crowd of maple and ash, 
heading up toward the hill, 
piercing the ground with your stick.

Billy Collins

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Death is here

Death is in this room
The candle is flickering
The air cool
It is quiet

Death is in this room
A sunflower turns its face
The cat looks expectantly
A frog sings from the log pile

Death is in this room
Memories arise
Some laughter
and tears

Death is in this room
A hug, a few words
A touch, a primal sob
Mostly it is silent

Death is in this room
Not fear
Not emptiness
Not nothing

Death is in this room
You are not
You are heading home
We are not

Written for Arnold Grimm on his passing, September 10, 2019

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Yopping Update #10 - Bits and Bobs

It has been a busy few days, and here I am with two hours to spare to make my yopping deadline.

I finished the blanket and gave it to a student of mine to take with her to England as she continues her Marine Biology studies.  She says it will be perfect to ward off the wind when she goes to the 'Hoe' to hang out with friends.  Apparently it is often windy in Plymouth.  Who knew?

garbage picture of blankie on the blocking mat

this is the true colours
I finished spinning the first bobbin (35 gms) of the gray fibre.  I will get to the rest next week (and maybe the next after that). No picture until it is plied because it looks just like last week's photo except the bobbin is fuller.  

My husband moved a few appointments around so I could scurry off to the little island on Thursday morning.  I will head home Tuesday afternoon.  My sister and I have been swimming everyday (my arm is getting better and better), walking the puppies, having dinner with friends, knitting, eating and marketing. 

Today was the Fall Faire.   The dress code was Medieval - this was what my sister found for me to wear. 

There has been some progress on the knitting front - I had to knit another 2 and 5 for my advent mitts because I gave away the first 2 and 5 to my friends for their 25th wedding anniversary.   I have been managing one and 1/2 a day since arriving here.

My sister gave me a chance to go through her remnants of sock yarn so I have lots of new colours to finish numbers 15 - 24!

There was also two trips to the free store where I scored four mini skeins of yarn as well as a couple of books for me and one for my grand-daughter.

So that is my odds and ends, or bits and bobs update.  I am happy to report I am feeling much better this week in body, mind and spirit.  Life in all its glorious ups and downs goes on, and for that I am grateful. 

To follow other yoppers check out their craftiness here. 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Yopping Update #9 - Progressing

Sometimes progress is made by going slower, or perhaps by stopping altogether.

By Wednesday this week I was in a full blown funk.  I have one dear friend who is undergoing chemo, another who is, as his wife told me, "Living for the end" and yet another who died early Wednesday far too young.  I was sitting in traffic, staring out the window thinking hard about life and what the point was to it all. 

There is some irony to how I was feeling on Wednesday afternoon, because the previous Sunday I had the most glorious day.  After a long nap my husband and I went down to the waterfront quay for lunch and afterwards we headed outside to listen to this wonderful singer/songwriter named Liam Sturgess. 

It was a perfect afternoon.  The sun was shining, there was a soft ocean breeze and as we sat holding hands I felt so peaceful and loved.  There were little ones dancing (two dressed like little princesses) and other ones trying out their first steps to the delight of all of us that had the fortune to be watching. 

Driving home I noticed all the cones on the fir trees and everything seemed so bright and possible.

An hour later I sat spinning some fibre while my husband made dinner.  It was peaceful until I realized that I could only see sparkly lines out of my left eye which means a migraine is fast approaching.  Fu#K! 

The melancholic in me then put off the beautiful afternoon to the euphoria I get prior to getting a migraine.  Still and all it had been a perfect afternoon. 

So barely three days later the clouds had descended and I was once again understanding why someone might take their own life.   Since the previous Saturday I had been noticing and triggered by people that cavalierly use phrases like - "I wanted to blow my brains out", or "slit your wrists already".  To be clear, dear readers, I was not wanting to take my own life but I could completely understand how another could come to that decision.

I had been thinking that we all should be more careful of our language and phrases like that should be  put away as not suitable in conversations anymore.  Like other phrases that many of us used to use in everyday conversation, and are no longer politically correct, I was reflecting that these phrases that refer to taking one's own life should stop. Even two days ago I was at the pool and noticed everyone at the pool was looking towards the 3 meter board where a young boy was standing at the edge deciding whether he had the courage to jump or not.  I gather he had been there some time and many in the pool had started to chant "jump. jump. jump."  It was very triggering for me and I silently thanked his bravery when he finally turned around and went down the ladder.  I then watched him walk to the one meter board, give a shrug, shake his head and dive into the pool.  "One day, young man, one day you will be brave enough to tackle the 3 meter board.  Today was just not that day."

On the heels of those triggers I came to realize that I was being triggered by social media and how many people post all their happy holiday moments, beautiful family moments, pictures of their lastest restaurant, or home-cooked, meal and I seemed to be endlessly scrolling through instagram and facebook comparing my life to theirs.   It also seemed that I was easily falling into the rabbit hole and spending too much time checking the feed.  So I decided to remove those two apps from my phone.  I also cleaned up my facebook feed and unfollowed many of the pages I had 'liked' because it seemed that my feed was full of their posts and I wasn't seeing anything from the close family and friends I do like to follow on facebook.  I still can check facebook on my laptop, and I am happy that my feed is now more personal and satisfying.  On the heels of that my husband and I watched a netflix documentary on Cambridge Analytica called The Great Hack and how that company used data they had mined from fb and other social media sites to convince the 'persuadables' to vote for Trump in the last election.  It was chilling and made me scrub some of my personal data from my facebook profile.  I already know not to answer personality and other quizzes via fb because they are just data mining apps.  (I don't need to know what dog I most look like, or which actor I most resemble.)

So since Wednesday I have been coming up out of my funk and I know that getting to the pool everyday for 30 minutes to exercise my arm is part of my healing.  I have even managed a few careful front crawl strokes.  I have just over 6 weeks until my birthday and on my birthday I like to swim my age in laps.  This year it will be 64 laps.  I will do it, not all front crawl, but I am determined to work towards that goal.  I will keep you posted. 

I also spent too much time this week trying to get my fitbit to sync with the app and it seems that since fitbit's last update it won't work.  I was getting soooooo frustrated and obsessed until I finally decided to put the fitbit away and delete the app.  I don't need the aggravation and I don't need a little device to tell me I am (or am not) walking enough in a day.  I am enough.  I am doing enough.  Enough.

This is supposed to be a Year of Projects update - but I am one of my projects so forgive the long personal update before getting to my crafting progress.

I did continue on the baby blanket - and I am loving it more the more I work on it.  I think it may be finished by next week.  No picture because besides being bigger it looks the same as last week.

There was some spinning.  I finished the second bobbin of the indigo dyed and then plied it.  I got about 130 meters.  Now I have to think of something to make with it. 

I started spinning another fibre.  I have 105 gms of this lovely gray.  It fluctuates between lighter and darker hues.  I split it into three hanks and put on my smallest whorl.  I have almost completed the first bobbin and I love it so far.  I had to replace the drive band for the first time ever as the one I needed for this smaller whorl had broken.  It only took me three tries to get the tension correct - yay me.

My felted lopi slipper photobombed the picture!

I am disciplining myself to only spin as long as I am enjoying the process and not to obsess about 'getting it done!'  I can get too fixated on finishing the fibre and that can take a toll on both my mental health and my hand.  So easy does it for me. 

I am re-reading Bruce Springsteen's autobiography "Born to Run".  I had read it when it first came out via my local library, but ever since I wanted a copy of my own.  I kept checking the free store on the little island, and my sister continued to do so for me.  No luck.  I had mentioned to a close friend how that book had impacted me, and lo and behold she texted me a couple of weeks ago that she was in a used book store near her cabin and there was the book! 

who knew there where so many books about Bruce

but this was the one I was after!

She bought it for me and I saw her on Monday for lunch and now it is in my hands!  That man can write! He also has struggled with depression and is very articulate in describing how it manifests for him and I can relate to his experiences.  I have been thinking about writing my own autobiography, if only for my children, and perhaps I will once I have finished the next round of edits on my novel.  So much to think about.

Two other shares from this week:   The first tomato from our patio tomato plants (with three more already to go). 

And my orchid is blooming once again - six blossoms this time.

So there is my week.  A little spinning, a little knitting, swimming everyday, visits with two dear friends, daily croatian study and forward progress with my mental health.   All in all it has been a productive week.

To follow other yoppers (and if you are a Ravelry member) check out their posts here.

PS:  My granddaughter is now able to say Ba Ba Ba.......soon she will be able to say Baka!  (that's me).