Slow Going

It’s been a big week. So much to do, and so much of it a challenge.  For starters, last week I did my back-to-backs. 90km one day, and 100km the next, and I pretty much felt like a hero.  A very, very tired, sort of old hero that gets things done, really, really slowly, but a hero. The rest of the week was full of meetings – the closer we get to the Rally, the more time it takes to be Co-Chair, It’s cut into the time I would spend knitting or cycling, but frankly, I don’t think anybody looks back on their life and thinks “Wow. I really wish I’d spent less time helping out.” (If that’s true, don’t tell me now.)

So, there were meetings, and Joe and I tried to manage the family, and oh, after much planning and dreaming,  we put in a backyard pool for Elliot.

Finally found one within our budget range. We are living the dream, people. Midweek, and completely out of necessity because we were out of time,  my siblings and I put on a mad push, and emptied our mother’s house.  Ian, Erin and I were there, and my brother Jamie called, and it was as close as we could come to being together.

Erin and I stayed late, ordered pizza, had some wine, and as a parting shot, we put on the family theme song (“You can’t always get what you want”) and we made our way through the house, dancing in every room, thinking of all the times we’ve danced up a storm in that house.  At one point, Erin said to me, exactly as I was thinking it, that it felt like we were letting go of so much with that house.  “It’s all of them” she said, and I know just what she meant. It was a goodbye to Janine, to Tupp, to Mum, to Susan… with the sale of the house we felt a little untethered from the lot of them. When Erin and I left the house after midnight (with a big bag of rocks and a few odds and ends) we closed the door behind us on the way our family used to be.

This might be okay. I mean, I guess it has to be okay, because that’s the way it is whether we like it or not, but maybe now that the house is gone, we’ll stop trying to hold things the way they were. Who knows, because if there’s one thing that I’ve figured out over the last bit, it’s that I have no idea what’s going on most of the time, and that doesn’t matter, because I’m not actually in charge of much of it. (I can tell, because if I were in charge, all of the people listed above would have come quite a bit closer to the average Canadian lifespan, and there would be a lot less left to do for the Rally.)

My house still looks like a thrift shop, and I continue to have no plan at all for two china cabinets, but at least I’m relaxing into it.

I put yarn in one of them.

Things I am not doing

Today, I am not sitting in my living room in the absolutely blissful air conditioning, working on the little sweater I chose. Thanks to Sue H for reminding me in the comments that I designed one I love.  Nouveau-né!

I am not in the back bedroom, looking at the furniture I have jammed in there, and trying really hard to figure out where I’m going to put it all. (A plan that should have worked didn’t, when we realized that we can’t just get rid of Sam’s old dresser, put Joe’s in there, and then put my mother’s where Joe’s was. Turns out Sam had a dresser much smaller than either of them, and the new, larger dressers invoke classic small home problems, like doors that then won’t open all the way, or windows windows covered with great hulks of furniture.

I am not in my mother’s basement with my sister, loading the leftovers of my mother’s life into a van so we can take it to a thrift shop. (That will have to be later, though we’re really running out of time.)

I am not helping Joe bring two more cabinets, a desk and a smallish table into our home because we all agree they can’t go to the thrift shop.

I am not upstairs, standing in the stash room, wondering if I should really be reorganizing some of the stuff up there so that I could put a cabinet in. (The cabinet is really not going to hold that much yarn. This idea is not going to work. I need only full duty furniture up there.)

I am not in the garden, even though I really need to clean it up a bit so that things don’t get out of hand, and to make room for a few of the plants I want to move from my mother’s garden to mine.

(I know. It really is starting to look like we can’t let go of things, but I swear it’s necessary. I’m just taking a Hosta and some Solomon’s Seal. Maybe a Euphorbia, and a Lady’s Mantle.  That’s it. Except for the streaky grass my mum moved from her mother’s garden. That’s really it. Probably. She has a nice lily.)

I am not spinning – even though I totally am going to try to spin every day of the Tour de Fleece.

I am not on the sailboat with Joe – even though today is a gorgeous day for it.

Nope.  I am sitting on my porch. Getting ready to strap on my cycling shoes, and ride 90km. That’s my minimum today. I went to bed early last night to be ready for it, and Team Knit is all on their bikes today – the guys are doing the regular training ride, but it’s “tent and truck day” for the Bike Rally Rustlers (that’s the volunteers who tote around all the riders stuff for a whole week, loading and unloading our bins onto trucks, and driving them to the next place we camp. It’s a crazy thing they do.) Since I’m Co-Chair this year, I’m turning up for that, so it’s the lonely training road for me.

Tomorrow we’ll do it all again – another 100km, assuming we all live through today. Think strong, cool thoughts for all of us, and maybe knit a few rows on our behalves. Our hands are busy.

Almost empty

I’m writing this to you from the kitchen at my Mum’s house.  I’m here waiting for someone to pick some stuff up, the house is all but empty now, and it won’t be my mum’s house after next week.  I can’t help but think, as I sit here, writing to you, of how many times I’ve done this over the years. I finished books in this house, I’ve written countless blog posts here, doing just as I am now, except usually I sat at her kitchen table – gone now.  One of the fantastic things about working from home when the kids were small was that I was there for them, but it also meant there was often no quiet space when I had a deadline.  My office was the kitchen, and it was all full of kids.  When pressed, I would come here.  Erin too, I think, and Ian.  It’s just one of the thousand small ways that my Mum made things better for us, her influence being felt in our everyday lives.  We were so lucky to have her.

You know what else I feel lucky for? You guys.  Team Knit is edging towards our fundraising goals, and it’s all because you guys are awesome, we are so grateful.

Me                            Ken

Pato                         Cameron

Let’s spread the love around, shall we? Here’s a great place to start, Michelle, from Hagstone Publishing, is offering a copy of their great True Heart pattern, that she’ll be sending to Jennifer C. (Michelle sent a really sweet note explaining that this pattern was a labour of love between two friends, and I love that. She’s right, it’s very appropriate.)

Susan B went into her stash and found this gorgeous Abbey Yarns kit for Darlarna Snowflake twined mitts.  (What a great kit, Susan, I don’t know how you’re giving that away.)  I hope that Carrie J loves them!

Delores has the most beautiful skein to send along, 1 skein of Fleece Artist National Parks Collection in the Forillon, QC colours (grey cliffs of Mont-Saint-Alban and meadows of fireweed).  Collection was created for the 150 birthday of Canada and was a special issue yarn.  It’s going to go live with Kathleen R.  (It makes me pretty happy that the random selection was another Canadian.)

Kate has two beautiful things to re-home.  Three skeins of Malabrigo Bay Silkpaca in Archangel,  those are going to fulfill their destiny with Lies S.

and one spectacular skein of Lotus Cashmere Fingering Weight in the most lovely sunshine yellow in the world.

(If that can’t fix your life on a cold and dreary day, I don’t know what it would take.) Pomme make something special, will ya?

The lovely Jill has two very nice gifts,  she’d like to send this bag and it’s matching yarn to Nancy R.

and this beauty to Laura P.  Three cheers for Jill!

Jasmine, from the delightfully nerdy Etsy shop Tesla Knits (go look. I’ll wait.) has this gorgeous Great Wave project bag, with a companion tape measure (also nerdy) and fantastic stitch markers, to go off to (hopefully nerdy) Jamie R.

Julia, Robynn and Emily would like to donate a copy of their amazing pattern collection – Lost in the Woods, to Mary Jo M.  (I hope she loves it, I just spent 10 minutes looking at it, it’s gorgeous. Totally worth a poke through.)

Lily, who appears to have excellent taste in yarn, has two skeins of West Yorkshire Spinners 100% Wensleydale yarn that she’ll be mailing off to Rebecca S.

Look at this bit of loveliness!  Anne, talented as she is generous, has four beautiful handmade (by her!) project bags and stitchmarker sets.  I think they’re so pretty.  This beautiful one is for Marji.

This one is for Stephanie E. (Not me, sadly, it’s so good.)

Anne E is I hope, going to really love this one.

And Susan G should enjoy this beauty.

Diane went into the stash, and when she came out, she inexplicably thought this great yarn should go to a new home.

2 skeins Audine Wools 100% Superwash Merino DK weight in Naturelle, will be going to live with Judith F.  Thanks Diane!

Finally, you guys know I love TillyFlop Designs, (If you don’t know who they are, click and meet the genius that is Julie.) Julie’s sprung for a gift again this year, and it’s a charmer.

Her Stocking Stitch wrapping paper, some of her notecards and (I love this so much) a Stocking Stitch tea towel, will all be going to live with Lisa RR, who I think we shall all agree, is a properly lucky duck.

Ok! That’s it, I’m off.  This weekend is a training deadline for us – all of Team Knit has to complete their back-to-backs before Monday, which means riding at least 90km both days. It’s cooled off a little, thank goodness, but it’s still going to be a ridiculous challenge.  (I think everyone but Ken is a little behind on training. Ken got his back-to-backs done last weekend, sweeping rides as a Team Lead.)

I’ll try and instagram so you can tell if I make it.

PS. The Cozyknitter, purveyor of fine self striping sock yarns, has, once again, a Bike Rally colourway.  A portion of the proceeds go to Team Knit, and her yarn is great.

 

 

Randomly on a Wednesday

1. Happy Canada Day! (Ok. I’m a little late. I actually wrote a post that day, but my computer crashed and I lost it, and didn’t have the time to write it again. It was an homage to the Canadian health care system, and how grateful I am for it. A few years ago I read something somewhere (probably my own comments section- or maybe Ravelry?) where someone said that they thought that I wouldn’t be such a fan if I’d had occasion to really use our system. That clearly nothing had ever happened in my family where good health care mattered – or I’d understand the flaws with the way we do it here.  At the time, I remembered thinking that this was a bold position to take, considering that the writer would know so little about how much or how little healthcare my family has used. These days, I think everyone would have to admit that between Tupper, my Mum, Susan and Joe’s Mum’s recent stroke, that we’re pretty much freakin’ experts on the system around here, and we’ve never been more grateful. Joe’s mother was in the hospital for almost two months, and the biggest expense to bear was parking. That’s all I’m going to say about it, besides that it makes me (and about 86% of the population) proud to be Canadian.

2. Happy 4th of July to my American Friends! So many amazing things about your home – Personally, I’m grateful to you for your amazing National Parks (what a thing!) and how so very many of you, while so often being very different from me, are just the best kind of people. The best thing about America remains Americans.

3. I finished that hemp sweater and I love it, but I didn’t take pictures yet. Please keep waiting.

4. It is really, really hot here. (It’s cooler than the last several days today, only a high of 31, and that’s not including the humidity either, which takes it up closer to 40. (For my American friends, that means it’s about 104F.) It’s hot enough to generate spontaneous swearing every time I step into the sunshine, and I like the heat.

5. A few snaps from my garden, taken this morning before the heat got too bad.  It’s so pretty this year I just have to share. (The lilies are particularly gorgeous, despite some complete arse stealing every bloom off two plants. Snapped it off mid stalk.  Jerk. I hope they get fleas.)

I promised myself I was going to take extra care with my garden this year, because my Mum’s not here to do it for me. It’s paying off.  (Yes. Fine. I was a 49 year old woman having her garden weeded by her mother. I was spoiled and you should be so lucky.)

6.  I did finish that darling vintage baby sweater – the pattern’s from the 1950s, and I’ve knit it so many times, it’s a well used pattern around here, and sweet as pie.

The yarn’s from my bitty stash of classic Italian baby yarn.  I’m wild about the stuff, 100% merino, soft as a little cloud, and lightly spun for the light duty it will see. This will probably fit the baby for just the first few weeks, so it can be delicate.

This is a special baby, so the sweater got a little extra touch, four tiny buttons from my Mum’s button bin. I’m the only sewer/knitter in the family, so I have both her’s and my grandmother’s, I’ve kept them separate, for reasons I’m not sure of, but it feels important. I haven’t mixed them with each other’s and certainly not in with mine. I like knowing who’s are who’s.

6b. What baby? Savannah‘s baby! My niece and her charming husband Kosti are expecting a baby, and since they were swinging through town, her mum Kelly (still here helping my Mother-in-law, thank goodness for her) threw her a baby shower.  I warned Sav when I gave the the sweater, that she should consider this a warning shot across the bow. This baby is due in the fall, and it’s been a while since I had a winter baby to dress. It’s more than exciting. (I am restraining myself only because Kelly will be the Grammy, and she’s a fine knitter, as is Savannah herself, and her sister Kamilah isn’t bad either. With this many invested knitters on deck, we’ll have to be careful that the kid doesn’t wind up with so many woolies that she or he only has time to wear them once.)

7. Yes. Kelly and I should be consulting in order to avoid duplication.

8. I rode my bike pretty far this last weekend with Ken and did hill repeats (with Pato, poor guy) a few days before that. It still isn’t enough training, and I am freaking out. All the way out. I’m having a hard time finding room, between work and family and being Co-Chair. I’ve asked around and lots of other people who were Co-Chair before me said it was hard for them too – it’s like all your Rally time is already spoken for. I’m going to try and ride three days in a row this weekend. I really hope what doesn’t kill me makes me a lot stronger. Quickly.

9. My arse is still sore from Monday.

10. I have another baby thing to knit (different baby.) I want it to be special, and lovely and I haven’t chosen the yarn yet so it could be any pattern… What are your favourites? (PS. The blog innards will block your comment if you put more than a link or two. It doesn’t understand knitter behaviour very well at all.)

11. Karmic Balancing Gifts tomorrow.