Friday, August 29, 2014

Behind or Ahead

Word has it that it is nearly September. The realization comes with a bit of a shock, but also somewhat of a relief. Life is busy in the summertime, even if Porgy and Bess say the livin' is easy.

So, what of summer projects? Something cotton? Fresh? Cool and easy to wear?

Well... how about wool?

It seems like I've got my seasons all mixed up, because this summer has been all about working on merino and alpaca projects. Mind you, I've been so busy that the projects have been slow-going, but you'd think I'd throw in a bit of something different for a change.

I'm blocking a scarf based on Wisp by Cheryl Niamath from a summer issue of Knitty, which would be a summery project, were it not for the fact that it is knit in merino wool. In my defence, I really wanted to knit something with this yarn, because the colours are so striking. It's a hand dyed skein from a now-defunct indie Etsy store. It was kind of a hit-and-miss project: each time I picked it up to work on it, I had to decide if I still liked it. I think I like it more now that it is blocking. It's starting to show its true self.

And now that that is finished, I decided to pick up a skein of laceweight bamboo yarn to work on, just in time for the fall! Yes, the days are shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and soon, the chill will be in the air. Uh huh, bamboo time. Yup. Ready for next summer, I guess.

I took it with me during a work trip this week. I never thought I'd stuff a ball of yarn and a crochet hook into a hard hat, that's for sure:

The yarn was a gift from my friend, dkzack. She got it during a trip to Olds Fibre Week a couple of years ago, before she realized she didn't really like working with laceweight yarn. It's a pretty hefty skein, probably about 900 yards by my calculations. I decided I didn't want to fight my way through a knitted laceweight project, so after a few trials, I decided on a free crochet pattern from Lion Brand called Tranquil Wrap. It's a pattern I would have never looked twice at before. It was only that I had spotted some of the versions that people had made with light weight yarns that I changed my mind. I tried a few different hook sizes before I decided on a size that felt right (seriously, I don't know how anyone can crochet with laceweight with a hook larger than 4.00mm). It's slow-going, but I think it's still going to eat up the yarn faster than with a knitted project. And I got quite a bit of it done in the airport the other day:

So, wool for summer, bamboo for fall. But you know, maybe I'm not behind on the seasons. I went shopping on the weekend and discovered that black and red are SO IN this fall. So like, maybe I'm just fashion forward. Ahead of the game, that's me. Follow me, pack. I shall bring you to the FUTURE.

Yeah, I know. I'm tired. It's Friday. Gimme a break. Back to the hook.

P.S. Rascal is doing pretty well. He's a bit skinny, but he's more comfortable these days, as you can see:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Inspiration Mondays: Grateful

Rascal is home. The vet said he was good to come home at lunch time, after two nights in the animal hospital being treated for septicemia. His immune system is suppressed as a result of the chemotherapy he is getting on a tumour, so he was extra susceptible to infection. I was so glad to open the door and find him running toward me... and for him to run away when I tried to pick him up!

I'm grateful to have another chance to give him a cuddle. He is actually a lot happier than he's letting on in this photo. Man, I wish he'd be happier for the camera.

Living for the moment...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Quiet House

I brought Rascal to the vet this morning. I've been anxious about him since yesterday morning. He was fine first thing yesterday, and we went out for a short walk. He came home and settled onto his bed, but after an hour, he woke up coughing and swallowing, as if he had something caught in his throat. He eventually settled down, but by the evening, he wouldn't eat or drink, and was lethargic and glassy-eyed. I brought him outside to go pee before bed, and he walked unsteadily back to the house, wavering back and forth, until I picked him up and carried him in.

I heard him moving around a bit in the middle of the night, so I carried him downstairs to see if he would drink any water. He wasn't very responsive, even after I managed to syringe a little bit into his mouth and made sure he swallowed it. Afterward, I carried him back up to bed, then came back down to the couch and sat down. My stomach was in knots, and my throat was tight. I picked up my knitting and worked through a few rows with the laptop on my lap. I searched through patterns online in between rows, trying to distract myself from the fear and sadness.

He's at the vet now, getting IV fluids to rehydrate him and meds to reduce a high temperature, an x-ray for his laboured breathing, and a blood test to see what the rest of his organs are doing. Today is one of those rare days when I want to do the chores: iron my shirts, wash the floors, do the dusting... anything and everything to keep my mind distracted.

Today, my yarn is not necessarily a comfort. It is an act of motion to keep my mind distracted, to allay my fears just a little bit. I am knitting to slow my breathing, to focus my mind, and to ease the guilt of the thoughts of how much easier life would be without a dog... the places we'd be allowed to stay, the events we'd go to...

But it would be a life without my little teddy bear.

I know he's just a dog, and that life is supposed to end sometime, but I don't care about anyone's philosophies right now. I don't want anyone's platitudes about the rainbow bridge or the end of journeys or any of that. He's my Rascal, and I want him to feel better. That's all.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Inspiration Mondays on a Tuesday: If I Were a Tree

I stopped at a little farm market on the way home today to buy a pint of grape tomatoes to add to my daily vegetable snack (or bucket o' vegetables, as people have called it). It's my favourite place to buy tomatoes when they are in season. For me, a tomato that isn't in season is just a little bag of sour water. When they are in season, I eat them like their going out of style.

While I'm the market, I always cruise around to see what there is. Today, I saw these beautiful plums:

And yeah, sometimes I buy fruit because of their beauty first. Luckily, at a farm market, everything beautiful is also tasty!

When I got home, I got thinking about a video I watched a while back, about a tree that was grafted to bear forty different varieties of stone fruits. When I first read about it, my first inclination was to think, "Well, that's unnatural. Why would you do such a thing?"

But then I watched the video, and I realized that he wasn't doing it for fun, to experiment Franken-style on something he didn't understand. Instead, he was doing it to find a unique solution to saving trees that were becoming extinct. In a world where people just don't want to have space for stuff that doesn't grow "fast enough" or "long enough," he was finding a way to keep these things around, so we could better understand them, and to retain a diversity of plants that will likely save us from losing our fruit stocks if the intensive farms that only grow one kind of thing were to be destroyed.

Diversity is really the spice of life. If you only work on one kind of thing, grow one kind of plant, raise one kind of cattle, then if disease were to hit that one thing, you'd have no back ups. It has happened in the past, and will very likely happen again.

Earlier today, I talked to a man who has been suddenly struck by an illness that may prevent him from continuing his trade as a carpenter. And I wondered: will he find another way to grow? Another branch of himself that will help him to earn a living? I'm sad, but I'm hoping he will find a way.

And for myself, I feel truly that I am a jack of all trades and master of none. I used to get really depressed that I didn't have a passion, a THING that other people seem to chase their whole lives, but maybe that's not such a bad thing. If I were a tree, I'd bear at least a few different fruits. I never thought of it that way until now.

Food for thought.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Built for Comfort, Not for Speed

"What do you do, Adriene? Do you go home and lock yourself in your house each day?"

Someone asked me that last weekend. He'd asked me if we'd been to this place yet, that place, the other place, and I said no to most... no, not yet.

The question has echoed in my mind since then. When people ask me questions like that, I immediately start to feel insecure. I wonder: What do I do with my time anyway? I should be doing all of these things, going to all of these places, devouring as much life as I possibly can...

But maybe not.

I live a pretty quiet life. I don't party anymore... maybe on the rare occasion at a wedding or get-together, but being an early-riser means that I'm ready for bed at 9:00pm. My favourite weekends are the ones with no plans, no obligations. And while there are a lot of places on this Island I haven't visited yet, all of the unknown little nooks and crannies I have stumbled upon have delighted me enough to be deeply satisfied with that for now, like this place:

And this place, where if you look up, you see purple martins nesting above:

And this place, where there is a bench...

... and if you glance at the panel under the bench , you see this:

And this place, which I saw from the air yesterday as the hubby flew us over the water for a daytrip on the mainland:

All I want right now are quiet moments to sit with my knitting. I've been finding them in the few minutes before the gym opens in the morning, sitting in my car, watching the sunrise, working a few stitches before they unlock the doors and I lug myself in for an hour of sweating.

All I want right now are moments to have my mind to myself, to watch the breeze pass through the trees, or to sit on my yoga mat... that is, when it is unoccupied.

And while it's not an exciting life, it's the one I prefer. And others are entitled to do what they want with their time, but right now, right here, as I sit outside with my laundry, enjoying the warm weather, I am content. I may not be there for all of the bang and flash of the fireworks, but I think I'm made more for the snap of the firewood, and the warmth of the sunshine.

Have a good weekend, everyone.