Two Sticks And Some String !

This is me, an opinionated, politically progressive Canadian Lace Knitter who's lived and worked in western Canada, and on the east coast of the USA; a multi-skilled person who's been recently re-elected to public office, has a Class One driver's license, a human services professional in direct service, middle and senior management positions, and a MOM!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Mougin Wedding Garter

Stephen Mougin emailed me in early January, telling of his upcoming February wedding to his beautiful Slovakian bride. It was to be a small affair; a few friends and family in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, an intimate ceremony followed by a celebration.

I met Stephen when I was living in Massachusetts. He was the chorus teacher at Ralph C. Mahar Secondary School in Orange, MA, my stepdaughter being one of his students. I first met him when he was producing and directing The Sound of Music at the school. I volunteered to assist with the hair and mak
eup, and that was the beginning of many wonderful friendships, and the first of four musicals at that school in which I was involved.
Since leaving MA in December, 2003, we have stayed in touch. I have followed his musical career (he left teaching just before I left MA) with Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, and now with the Sam Bush Band. He toured in Europe for some time, and that's where he met his love.


I offered to knit a lace wedding garter, and his response was a very quick "yes"! I chose the cotton thread (after trying to find some silk thread here in Lethbridge). Time was of the essence, and getting a garter knit and mailed was more important than doing it in silk.

The garter was knit on 1.5mm needles, with approximately Size 30 cotton thread. I chose a slightly fuzzy (not highly mercerized) thread, because I liked the softness, and the slight fuzziness added to the romantic appearance of this lace.

And here it is:

I mailed it in plenty of time; paid extra for expedited mailing and tracking. It left Canada the day after I mailed it, with a guaranteed 5-day delivery time.

Stephen received my email saying the garter was on its way. He waited. I waited. Jana waited. He emailed me, asking if I had tracked it. I sent him the Canada Post website as well as the tracking number; I checked it out and the message stayed the same. It left Canada the day after I mailed it, and after that, it disappeared.

Somewhere in the bowels of either the US Postal system, or The Department of Homeland Insecurity, a uniform containing a human being (presumably) decided to prevent that little package from reaching its destination on time.

Score one more for Bin Laden, and one less for Life and Liberty in The Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave.

So on Stephen's and Jana's wedding day, the garter which I had so lovingly knit was not worn by the bride.

The US Postal Service delivered it the following Monday, nearly three weeks after it was mailed.

Ok, so in the whole scheme of things, it's just a wedding garter. Stephen and Jana still got married, it was a wonderful wedding, and the world continues to spin.

Stephen sent me a beautiful email after they opened the envelope. They decided that the garter is too beautiful to store in a drawer, and they're going to have it framed. I am honoured.

One day I'm going to make Alfredo sauce (from scratch) and linguine, and Stephen and Jana are going to sit at our Dining Room table in my big house on Vancouver Island, and we're going to enjoy the meal as the sun streams through the holly trees just outside the dining room window.

And if they're there at the right time of the year, they may even get some fresh Kiwi fruit, grown right in my own yard.

Ok, you two newlyweds, Dorne and I are moving back to the Island Labour Day weekend this year. Plan accordingly!

Update: September 16, 2007
Offer: You, too, can have your own hand-knit lace wedding garter. Fees will vary depending on materials (silk, linen, or cotton thread, embellishments, etc.) . Please contact me a minimum of 6 weeks before the wedding date. Email me at: rosemarie dot buchanan at gmail dot com.

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Enough Love to Share with One More

There is another little heart beating in our house. Wednesday morning, Dorne managed to trap one of the feral cats in the industrial section of Lethbridge. This colony lives primarily in old sleeper units of tractor-trailers. Across the street is a self-storage place, and Elaine, the woman who runs the place, feeds and waters the cats.

Sadly, until the No Kill Alliance (of which I am a proud founding member and board member) recently started a trap/spay/neuter/vaccinate/release programme with these creatures, the cats reproduced until the colony swelled to about 30. NOKA received $29,000/year for three years, from the City of Lethbridge (we were very surprised when this happened!), for subsidized spay/neuters of cats and dogs who are already pets, and Feral cat sterilization.

If all pet owners were actually responsible, Lethbridge (and most other places) wouldn't have an overwhelming problem with unwanted companion animals. NOKA is also trying to get the City of Lethbridge Animal Shelter (or The Slaughterhouse, as Dorne calls it) to become a no-kill shelter. Many cities have gone to this model. The City "shelter" is a contracted service; for nearly 1/2 million dollars a year, they'll kill all the pets they can get their hands on, and NOT enforce a mandatory spay/neuter programme. Hell, they won't even bother trying to find a pet's owner when the pet is chipped or tattooed!

I digress.

Mowzer, our first cat, now nearly two years old, was one of the ferals from that colony. There is a picture of him on my blog, go to the early archives to see it. We brought him home when he was about 5 months old. He is the most incredibly affectionate kitty I've ever had. The transition from wild to mild took about two weeks.

Bitsy, kitty number two, was part of a small semi-feral colony that found its way to the backyard of a co-worker, late last summer. She knew of my involvement with NOKA, and called. There appeared to be three generations of cats in that colony. One of the kittens ended up at our house to be fostered and socialized, and then a new home was to be found for him.


One evening I came home from a meeting, and Dorne was reclining on the love seat with Mr. Bitsy lounging on his chest. I was surprised, because up to this point, Bitsy would only be held for a few moments, and only under protest. Dorne stated that he thought Mowzer needed a playmate. Who was I to argue? So we became a two-cat house.

Then Wednesday morning, I was paged and when I went to the front, Dorne was standing there. He'd trapped one of the ferals and wanted to know if I thought we should adopt this one.


One very frightened kitty was inside that trap. I said yes, so Dorne took the kitty home, set it up with food, water and litter in the spare bedroom, and left.

That night, after supper, Dorne figured he could go into the spare room and start to socialize the new kitty. Bzzzt ... wrong. Kitty went crazy and bit right through a pair of deerskin gloves, produced copious quantities of blood (Dorne's, not the kitty's!), and triggered a weird hysteria between our dog (Innu) and Mowzer. Bizarre.

So once Dorne stopped bleeding, we decided that New Kitty needed to be left alone for a while.

He hadn't eaten or drank any water for nearly 48 hours. I was getting worried.

So last night we went and picked up some canned cat food. I put half a can on a small plate and put it in New Kitty's room. This morning I checked, and New Kitty had eaten both dry and wet food, as well as had a substantial amount of water.


Step one successful.

Kitty is now hiding under the bed, instead of completely out of sight. All three cats have used the litter box we provided, and have never gone anywhere else in the house. New Kitty will spend a few more days in the spare room, and then we'll open the door and see if s/he ventures out into the rest of the house.

Anyway, I have to get dressed and head out to the Yates Memorial Centre to pick up tickets to Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman! They'll be in town next month. The Guess Who was one of my favourite Canadian bands, waaayyyyyy back when (ahem) I was in my teens (a faint memory now ).

New Kitty is listening to the sounds of our house. Innu and Dorne wrestling on the floor .. oops, Innu chasing two cats, oops ... Innu playing with his stuffy ... oops, Innu schmoozing with one cat (flossing his teeth). I think the dog has ADHD. This is more or less a typical Saturday morning in our house. One great huge guy, three (now four) furry creatures, organic fair-trade coffee in the pot, and me. Soon CBC radio and Stewart MacLean's Vinyl Cafe. This is a very good life.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's Like Driving to Massachusetts ...

Knitting a sweater, building a blog; one stitch at a time, one step at a time. At least I don't have to drive through Troy, NY. Today I added the link for the Knitting Bloggers. I will have to wait for approval by the person who owns the web ring, so until then, it's probably not active. I see there are many more web rings to which I could belong; I'll have to check them out and add 'em as I go!

Today's knitting content: I am about 2/3 finished my third wedding garter. This one is actually staying in Canada! The first two I knit went to friends in Massachusetts; Raenette and her husband John got married last September, and my friend Stephen Mougin married in February this year. I'll be adding a special post for Stephen's wedding, as soon as he sends me pictures. The current garter is going to be worn this August, on my stepmother's granddaughter's wedding day. I won't be going to the wedding, but I'm sure my dad will get some great pics. Ivory silk thread (purchased at The Silk Tree on Granville Island, Vancouver), and decorated with fresh water pearls. It will be gorgeous!

Stephen Mougin is currently playing with the Sam Bush Band, and is going to Alaska in November (brrrrrrr). I was hoping he and his new wife could make a slight detour to BC, because Dorne and I will be moved there by that time. Maybe if they're flying from Seattle to Alaska ... hmmmm ... perhaps I can bribe Stephen with some of my Alfredo sauce and a great feed of linguine! I'd love to see them both, and being back in my four bedroom house, there will be plenty of room.

So stay tuned for updates and additions to my blog. After the wedding garter, I'll be delving into the world of ordinary, non-lace knitting ... IMAGINE THAT! A vest crawling with beetles for my stepmom's youngest daughter in Victoria. She owns The Bug Zoo (I'll get a link in here as soon as I figure out how to do it!) and loves to wear buggy things. This vest will do the trick!


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Migraine - 1, Rosemarie - 0

Two twenty-eight a.m. I roll over and realize I have intense pain in the right front quadrant of my head. Another migraine. Every movement is agony, but I force myself to get up and take an Imitrex, or rather, it's generic (and significantly cheaper) version. Sumatriptan. An oasis in a desert of extreme pain. Thank god for quality Canadian medications.

So I take the triangular tablet, go sit on the couch (sitting is less painful than lying down), pull my grandmother's lap quilt over me, and drift in and out of sleep. The cats are confused and the older one takes advantage of the unexpected human company by climbing up on my chest. This is a good thing for him, not for me. I gently push him away, and now he's really confused. He is used to being cuddled and kissed even when I'm knitting. Now I feel guilty, so I put a hand on his back and he purrs.

About 6:30 Dorne gets up. He knows I've been out of bed for a while, and after two years of living with me, knows why I'm not there. He's ever so quiet, and creeps over to me, kisses two of his fingers and tenderly puts those two fingers on my right temple. The epicentre of my migraines is there. That doesn't make my migraine feel any better, but it certainly warms my heart. I know I look like hell, I can barely open one eye, and he can still show his love.

It's been more than four hours since I took the sumatriptan, and still no significant relief. That was my last one, too. I can go to my drugstore and get a refill, but am in no shape to drive. I go back to bed, thinking that maybe if I can lie down, sleep will overcome me and push the rage out of my head. Not so. I call in to work, talk to my supervisor (Dianne, she's great) and let her know that if the migraine lifts, I'll be to work by noon. Another wasted hour follows, trying to sleep, and then I smell cigarette smoke.

It's coming from downstairs. Gerry, the tenant down there, is smoking, because he believes both Dorne and I have left the house and are at work. Just to make sure I'm not being paranoid, I go outside and see if he's moved his smoking chair to the patio just under our bedroom window. Nope, not there. I go back in, hear pots clanging in his kitchen, and slam our back door hard enough to wake the dead.

A few minutes later, he leaves the house, gets in his boss' truck, and leaves.

I am pissed right off. Here we go back to the "No Smoking" thing again.

My head hurts too much to call our landlord and leave a message on his voicemail. I'll deal with it later.

As a result of my little tantrum, Innu (that beautiful furry four-legged boy of ours!), purebred Malamute husky, knows that he's not alone, and starts vocalizing, almost inaudibly. He's very good at that. So, back outside I go, full blown migraine into the very bright sun. Innu's happy to see me, so I take him off his tether and he rushes around the yard a few times, with WAY too much energy and exuberance. We both come in the house, and he finds the older cat. They play (in other words, Mowzer the cat, who's a long-haired cat, teases Innu and then runs under the furniture, but allows Innu to get a hold of him long enough to get Mowzer's fur matted up with saliva, or as I say, Innu flosses his teeth on the cat) for about 1/2 hour, then the big guy takes a nap on the mat inside the front door.

Jehovah Witnesses are headed up the street. I take out my laminated "ABSOLUTELY NO RELIGIOUS SOLICITING" sign and pin it inside the screen door. Religion is the opiate of the feeble-minded, a crutch and an excuse for not taking responsibility for one's actions. (hmm, sounds like the definition of an addict, yes?) Anyway, that's as much as I'm going to think about that subject for one day.

The pain seems to be lifting. I've had two cups of killer strong coffee, and maybe that's the medicine I needed. I'm going to make use of my time at home alone, do some cleaning (we're having Easter dinner here on Saturday, with my dad and his wife, my best friend Adonus and her 11 year old daughter) and maybe listen to some music and knit for a while. My head is still too damaged to go to work and be able to withstand the constant pounding of a machine that is used (long story), but at least at home, I can control the lights and the noise level, and get something done.

New score. Rosemarie - 1, Migraine - 0.
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