Mayhem Monday

Which is really just another way of saying that there’s a random list headed your way, right about… now.

1. Sam returned from her sail training on Saturday.  Having spent 8 days on a tall ship, she was dirty, smelly, exhausted, happy, strong and  certified as a Lead Hand. (I think that is one of the coolest things ever. )

This means that she and Joe have conversations all weekend with words in them that makes them sound like pirates.  Words like "abaft" (means behind you) and "Jib Topsail" (which is actually prounounced "jib topsell" just like the main sail is the mainsell.) 

2. She came home with pretty fancy biceps, because every time a trainee uses the wrong words for parts of the boat (as in "Your vest is behind you" instead of "your vest is abaft you") it was 10 pushups.  Oddly, despite an overdeveloped sense of justice when it comes to her parents, when this was coming from the Captain, Sam thought it was fair.

3.  I am not crazy enough to think this technique (nor dumping her out of a bunk for being late to watch) will be effective at home.

4. Of the whole crew, the only person on the brigantine who was over 18 was the Captain. 

5. I can’t believe what teens can do if they’re given the trust, respect, responsibility and opportunity. 

6. It really makes it a mystery that the same kid who can climb the rigging, furl a mainsail, tack into the wind with the boat heeled at 90 degrees, name all 68 lines on the boat and tell you their location and purpose —- still hasn’t managed to nail putting dishes in (NOT ON) the dishwasher.  Bizarre.

7. We leave again today because Amanda and Sam are going to spent time with their grandmother at the cottage she’s rented. 

8. This means I have to drive the two of them up there.  I hate driving.  I worry about it. I’ve never had an accident and I’m a good driver, but  I don’t like knowing that I could totally kill everyone with one mistake, or worse – that I could kill everyone because I fail to see someone else’s mistake coming.  This is about a three hour drive and I just hate every moment of it.  It makes me sweaty just thinking about it.

9. Megan’s up there now, so I’ll arrive there at supper, drop off two of my girls, sleep the night and then load the third girl into the car and repeat the journey in reverse tomorrow, since she has to be back for work. 

10. That sucks.

11. I’m almost done a sock though. Too bad you can’t knit while driving. Might be part of why I hate it.

12.  I can’t believe none of my daughters have a drivers licence.  It’s the subway. They have no motivation.

One Year

It’s crazy you know,  I didn’t forget what today was, I just wasn’t sure to say about it, and then Tina blogged about it, and Debbi sent me a twitter about it, and then RachelH was all sentimental about it, and so. Well.

One year ago today, Sock Summit was being held for the first time, and by this time of day I was surveying all that we had wrought and all I could think was that it was so cool, and so magnificent, and really, probably a huge mistake. (Turns out that I didn’t know what we could do until we’d done it. I think the fear kept us on our toes.)

It was a big undertaking, and it was three days and a convention centre full of really, some of the coolest people I’ve ever met, and by suppertime people like Barbara Walker and Meg Swansen and Anna Zilboorg were calling me by my first name like we KNEW EACH OTHER and I kept waiting to wake up, or for the whole thing to implode.  It didn’t though, and one year later it’s still one of the most important and interesting things I’ve ever done, and it wasn’t just the impact it had on my resume, it was the impact it had on my life. 

I made friends during that time that are dearer to me than I can say.  I walked among my people.  I learned stuff about Tina (my god, that woman is made of tough stuff) I learned stuff about myself (not sure what, but I think it’s mostly good) and I learned things about my friends, family and colleagues that’s made me six kinds of proud to know them.

What a great time it was.  When I remember how completely terrified I was at the beginning, and how completely exhausted at the end… Frankly, I can’t believe it’s only a year until we do it all again. 

The next one will be different, for sure, I mean there’s nothing like your first time, but sincerely – I know it will be it’s own kind of magic…

and I can’t wait.

Happy Anniversary Tina.  I still can’t believe that the post-it note system paid off. 


It never really cooled off last night, the blazing day star that sucks the life out of you when it’s hot like this went down, but the humidity stayed, and our old house had sucked up the heat and held onto it like it was expensive and precious.  "How ironic" is what I was thinking this morning, as the first edges of the intense heat started to come into our bedroom.  In the winter we can’t get this drafty old place to hold onto warmth at all, but in August we’ve got no trouble.  It was warmer in our house last night than it was outside, and upstairs it was downright despicable.  Sam’s away crewing on a tall ship, a trip that demanded that she bring two pairs of long underwear and a touque, and Megan’s taken to arranging a parade of sleep-overs with friends who have air-conditioning, and as Joe and I sweat our way through another 40 degree day (that’s 104F, for our friends in the south) we find ourselves jealous of both of them. 

Crazy then, that my second thought this morning was about winter.  I was probably trying to provoke some cool thoughts when it occurred to me, but the truth is that as brutally hot as a Toronto summer is, it is short.  Really, if you add up all the weeks, from Victoria Day at the end of May (the unofficial start of  summer) to Labour Day on September 6th (the unofficial end of summer) you’ve only got about 15 weeks.  Take away June (because really, you should. It’s not going to be hot) and if you’re a summer loving heat seeker like me, you’ve got a potential for 11 weeks of proper, steamy, hot summer.  Summer for swimming, biking, reading on the beach… 11 Saturdays out of 52 to sit on a patio in a sundress.  11 Saturdays.   This being the reality, I try not to complain about the summer.  No matter when you’re thinking it’s too hot, it won’t be hot for long, and then there will be the unreasonable winter upon us again. 
This would be the reason that Joe and I can’t seem to fork out the cash for central air.  When it’s like this we think about it, and then we remember that it’s an investment that’s only going to be useful for a few days a year, and we get over it. This summer’s been an exception, when we’ve had a record breaking number of days of extreme heat- and really, now that we’re almost broken down it seems stupid to get it when there’s only 4 weeks left.  We just keep reminding ourselves that people live, love and work in Bangladesh without air conditioning.  We tell ourselves that while sitting in a bathtub full of cool water, but that’s what we’re holding onto.

All this said, it makes perfect sense that the next thing that I did was start a scarf. As hot as it is now, the snow is coming, and when it does, I’ll be wanting a warm, woolly scarf to wrap against the fierce wind and snow. 

Yarn is one ball of BMFA Labrador (I think the current incarnation of this is ThickieThin), and one ball of Silk Loops, both in the ST-1 colourway. I’m working them one row of each in garter stitch.  To make it work I’m using a short circular.  I knit across one row with the first yarn, then knit across with the second.  Then I slide the work to the other end of the circular needle so that I have the first yarn at the start position, then purl across.  At the end of that row it’s another slide, then purl across with the second yarn.  Keep repeating those four rows and you have one row stripes in garter stitch.

I know winter is coming, I even know it’s soon, and I know that those truths mean that making a scarf is way, way more sensible that trudging on a tank top I’m going to finish just in time for the snow,  but it really doesn’t stop me from feeling a little stupid, and maybe a little sad, knitting on this while I’m sweating.  I’m not alone either.  This morning I told a friend I was making a scarf, and they laughed for five minutes.  "It’s 40 degrees!" they said.  "I know"I said, "I know it seems ridiculous, but…"

And with that… the conversation trailed off, as we both looked out the window at our gardens roasting in the heat, listened to kids cooling off in backyarn kiddie pools while the cicadas sang about the heat,   and we contemplated going off to sit naked in bathtubs full of ice cubes.  Neither of us wanted to talk about the possibility of winter coming.  There are 4 weeks left of summer, and as hot as it is, we want all of them.  It might just be too soon – from an emotional perspective (not a knitterly one) to talk about warm wool scarves and snow.

The Opposite

Being a self employed person has a downside, namely that my boss is a huge bitch… and being a writer has a few downsides of its own. (Let’s not get into that today.) That said, there’s a few perks that make up for all of it. 

I might not get a paid vacation, but I am a very good little writer,  meet my word count for the day, and do all that I should before 4pm, then there’s absolutely nobody to stop me from knocking off early and taking a sock, a book and a beer to the backyard, where I can plunk myself under my umbrella and wait for a little breeze to take the edge of a scorcher of a day.  (41 degrees.  Toronto is not fooling around.)

August self imposed sock club sock of the month is Cotty (by Irishgirlieknits) and I’m knitting it from Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Skinnamarink.

It’s pretty nice out here, but don’t tell my boss.  I don’t want to spoil the moment by having to buy that wingnut a beer.

The trip to Montréal was

The trip to Montréal was a smashing success and I’m not just saying that because I got my kid back and I finished a pair of socks, although both are true. Besides that, I spent a lovely time with my husband, just the two of us, and we actually had some of those… er, what do you call them? Damn its been so long. What’s that word?  Oh right. CONVERSATIONS.  I had some conversations with my husband.  We’ve both been working so much lately that our communications had sort of been reduced to the essentials.  We talk about bread, money, toilet paper (and the lack thereof) and the girls.  We ask each other to do things (go to the bank, water the garden, pay a bill, find the cat) but we haven’t had a ton of time for just enjoying each other and talking about … well. Whatever we wanted. We saw some wonderful things, walked a million km, went to La basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal –

Walked by the river…watched the locks work,

We drank wine in vieux Montréal and stayed in a hotel.

We had a wonderful mini-holiday, and I even remembered a lot of the stuff I really like about Joe. (Not that I’d forgotten, I just hadn’t really had time to keep it in mind.)  It was grand, but I suspect you care more about Megan and the socks, so –
 Megan and team knit rolled into Montréal on Friday afternoon, all three hundred riders pouring up the street with a police escort, no less.

Unlike last year, when it really seemed like they were all so stunned at what they’d done, this year they were absolutely celebratory.  Joe and I have always thought that doing hard things really changes kids, really gives them confidence to try to be exceptional people, and this year you could see it on them.  Ken was about the same (he was exceptional to begin with) but Pato and Meg were absolutely more confident and grown up than last year.  (Again, Ken’s already a grownup. Not that we don’t think he gets better every year, because he really does.)

There was legal beer drinking (Pato and Megan won’t be of age in Ontario for a few more weeks, but they’re of age in Quebec)

There was hugging:

There was hoisting bikes and metaphoric chest beating.

Julie was too tired to hoist her bike by herself. Joe helped her.

Pato showed off his wicked tan lines-

and Joe and I laughed and laughed,  not just because these people are really, really fine people and it does the world good to know that there are 300 people willing to look out for their fellow human this way, but also that we know three of them so well- and that means we’re having a pretty good life, you know?  We’re proud to death of the lot of them, Pato and Meg for being so young and so brave and decent, and Ken for enabling them to find this out about themselves and ride with them all the way.  Pretty outstanding.

Also outstanding is the extra pair of socks completed this month – though as pretty as they are they don’t hold a candle to Team Knit.

These are Flabella, the January RSC pattern designed by Christina Bain – in the actual yarn that came with the club.  (I know.  It’s stunning that I totally went along with the whole thing.)

The colour is "Happy go Lucky" and I don’t think the pattern or yarn is for sale until this coming January. (Exclusive sock club thing.)

While I’m usually pretty fiercely anti-bobble, these ones are somehow charming.

Charming bobbles.  Who knew?