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!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A New Canadian Needle Art Magazine; Moving Preparedness Update.


Dorne and I were in Save-On Foods today, and found this: Needle Pulling Thread. Just above the title on the magazine are these words: "The Magazine Promoting Canadian Needle Arts". Ohhhh, music to my eyes! They've been publishing quarterly for one year now (I MUST get the first three issues!). I've collected Piecework Magazine since it first published (lo those many years ago!), but it's become a shadow of what it was originally, plus, it's so NOT Canadian!

I think I need to write an article about lace knitting and maybe provide some EYE CANDY for them. Hmmm ... that'll be on my plate in December.

I can KNIT under any circumstance. A (sort of) co-worker has been pestering me for a toque (otherwise known as a "winter hat" pronounced "two" with a "k" on the end), and I happened to have about a 2 lb. cone of pale mauve (pronounce MOH-V, for those who want to say "mahv") chenille yarn. So I banged off a quick toque with a tassle-thingy, and finished it last night. I may have to start another toque, just for therapeutic purposes. It's pretty darn brainless knitting (and I don't have much of a brain these days, I think I packed the little thing in one of the boxes and forgot to label it ... ha ha), provides me with the necessary stress-reduction, and amuses the kitties. I'll try to remember to post little pic of it later.

We're almost ready for the movers. Tomorrow will be the final day of packing, Monday morning I'll wash the bedding and pack it up, and Monday afternoon the movers arrive. I look around and actually believe we'll be ready.

My bestest friend Adonus has been my chief packer-upper. She was here at 7:30 (ugh) this morning, and will be here tomorrow morning, same time. For someone who doesn't want us to move, she's sure doing a lot of packing (ahem ;-) ...

Tomorrow morning I'm giving away several bags of fabric. I belong to Freecycle, and all I had to do was submit a post about the fabric. That was my first mistake. Actually, if I had known the response was going to be so phenomenal, I would have published the ground rules with the original post. What a feeding frenzy. Sheesh. So, 11:00 a.m. tomorrow, I'll be in the garage with a big stick in my hand, watching people go nutty over fabric. Hopefully it'll be over in a few minutes so we can resume packing quickly.

Tonight is Christmas at my Dad's house. Oh, and his birthday, too. We're going to be on the Island for both, and so we're having a little pahhhhtay tonight. Happy Hour is at 4:30, and my big burly Aunty Jean will be joining us (and I'm her "itty bitty niece ... hehe).

And right now, I'm going to take my poor aching foot and go stretch out for a few minutes. My son should be docked in Ft. Lauderdale today, and I'm sorta hoping he'll give us a quick call before we head out for today's Christmas pahhhhhtay at his grandfather's house.

Onwards and upwards!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Preparing to Move; Another Update and NO KNITTING!

Today I visited an iridologist. He didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know, other than I may be taking too much Vit. E, which contributes to my already-overheated state. I need to eat nothing with wheat and other gluten-containing foods, increase my protein intake and reduce my fluid intake. Go figure. He says I don't really have asthma, but that I'm so mucousy that I have asthma-like symptoms. He also said that one of the side-effects of pain killers is pain (they temporarily relieve pain, but can cause some rebound effects), and that my achy joints have nothing to do with aging, but are directly connected to the toxins in my system. So I'm doing the first of three cleanses, starting tomorrow.

I have a torn ligament in my left foot. The cure is 3 - 4 weeks OFF my feet. Like that's going to happen. I could go on crutches for a few weeks, but that would be really annoying while trying to hump heavy bins and boxes around, getting organized and packed.

My son phoned me today. The cruise ship on which he's working, The Caribbean Princess, had just pulled out of Ft. Lauderdale, and he was on deck all day, greeting passengers. Apparently there's quite a hierarchy in the staff/crew. Non-English speaking crew whose work is anything but dealing with passengers are not allowed anywhere near where passengers might be. The personable English-speaking crew (Eric being in that population), while not allowed 100% free rein on the passenger decks, certainly have much more access to most parts of the ship. Rules are very clear; no fraternizing with the passengers, no booze, no drugs.

Eric is working some very long hours, but they also get days when they can go ashore and veg on a tropical beach, have a marguerita and relax.

One of my all-time favourite movies is on, The American President. Not that I'm intoxicated with US politics, but the final speech given by Michael Douglas is fabulous, and my favourite part of the movie. It's on late, but I'm staying up to watch it.

Packed a ton more stuff today, sorted out shit and have about 7 or 8 bags of fabric to donate to one of the local thrift stores. This has freed up several bins, and now the kitchen is almost completely packed up. We have till noon on Oct. 30th, and then the movers will be here. My last day of work is Oct. 27.

My dad and his wife are having Christmas for us on Oct. 28. I've had a couple of weepy moments today (and NO, Adonus, it's NOT hormomes ;-), thinking of how much fun it's been to be so close to my dad, to have had the chance to get to know him all over again, and how much I'd love to continue to live a 5-minute drive away from him, if only he lived on the Island!

Tomorrow night we're out for dinner with my dad and his wife, and I have a ton more packing to do.

AND ... my niece is expecting my SECOND great-nephew! Ohhhhh yaaaaaa !!! He'll be arriving sometime in March next year.

Things to look forward to; my niece's birthday bash at Pagliacci's in Victoria, the weekend of Nov. 18 (we'll be sure Jen's with us!), Christmas in Victoria; seeing Mae and Roberta and Pam and Marlene and Patrick and so many more of my Port Alberni friends; living in my own house again; planting Rick's dahlia tubers in my garden; watching the apple tree bloom next spring; rejuvenating the pond in the backyard; going to Savary Island, and waiting for Eric to come home from his 6 months in the Caribbean. I can't wait to see him walk into the house in which he grew up, smelling my roast beef and yorkshire pudding, and bask in the feeling of "normal" which I have missed so much over the last seven plus years.

I'm heading back to the couch to watch the movie, and wish I had some lace knitting on which to work, but that won't happen until that @#$@#$ vest covered in wood ticks is finished and in the gift box. Instead, I'll gaze longingly at a couple of my lace knitting magazines which haven't yet been packed.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Count-Down

Apparently is having indigestion, and my "cool clock thingy" isn't even appearing on my blog. As soon as clocklink has regained consciousness, I'll reinstall the clock.

Update: Sunday, Oct. 21/06; it's my Zone Alarm that's not allowing me to see my own clock, and there's nothing wrong with clocklink! I also checked the count-down clocks, and found one suitable.

They also offer cool "count-down" thingies (gotta love someone who uses "thingie" to describe almost anything, eh? ;-) ....... sooooooooooooooo .... I'm going to install THAT to count down the time until we leave Lethbridge and start our trek back to Vancouver Island. Well, "back to" for me, as I lived there for 20 years. For Dorne, other than a holiday or two long before we met, it's the beginning of a whole new adventure.

And for both of us, the event is worthy of counting down.

Today Adonus, my best friend/soul sister/soul daughter (she's young enough to be my daughter ... egads !!) came over and we packed up the kitchen, other than a handful of implements and instruments which we'll need over the next couple of weeks.

Dorne got my Blazer into the freshly-cleaned garage, pulled out the old (and third) windshield, with all it's cracks and splits, and sanded out all the rust, bondo-ed it, re-sanded, and has applied the paint. Tomorrow, the new (to us, picked it up at a wrecker's for a fraction of the cost of a new one, with only one little pit which will be easy to fix) windshield goes in, and probably the replacement driver's door, too (although we'll be keeping the window out of the original door, "just in case"). Then he'll give the replacement tailgate a quick sanding, a coat of paint to match the paint on the Blazer, and pop that baby in place, too. I'll be glad to see that rusted out tailgate go.

Tomorrow, my friend Shannon and her husband are coming over to pick up a large dresser, and sometime this week we'll be selling the sofa and loveseat. Law and Order just won't be the same without that sofa!

This place is really starting to look like we're leaving (ohhhh yaaaaa!!). The movers will be here on Oct. 30 to load up, and they'll be in Port Alberni on Nov. 2 to unload. We'll be travelling with the pets, leaving on Oct. 31 and arriving the following day in Port Alberni, taking a small suitcase with a couple of changes of clothes, a bin with the coffee maker and assorted cups, coffee (fair trade and organic, of course!), organic raw sugar, and a few other things we'll need to survive our first night, bedless in Port Alberni, with six four-legged companions. We're thinking of getting a motel, and there's one just a few blocks from the house. Doggie-dude would have to spend the night in the back of the Blazer, and we'd get the Kitty-dudes set up in the house with food, water and fresh litter before heading to the motel for the night.

The bread-burning beerhead who lives downstairs just showed up, slid down the stairs and now I can smell something cooking ... probably bread on the red-hot element on his stove (it's way more important to buy beer than have a toaster that works). Oh well, soon, he'll be nothing more than a memory. My feelings of animosity towards him have slowly dissipated and have been replaced by pity. Go figure. Must be menopause or the phase of the moon, or something like that.

And on that note, I'll sign off. Many MORE miles to go before I sleep (sorry, Bob Frost), more packing tomorrow, help Dorne install the windshield, a couple of haircuts to give, dinner with my dad and his wife, and then back to work on Monday. I'm already exhausted ... good night!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The World is Much Too Loud

Not so much because today I have another five-alarm migraine. Well, not a migraine, if you go by the official definition, because this one goes up the back of my neck and spreads across both temples, feeling as though my head will implode (and some people might wish it would, but not before I have my say!).

Last night we went to Canadian Tire to pick up a few things for my '91 Chev Blazer. She's sporting a new (to her) set of rims, a set of new Toyo tires, new clutch and parking brake assembly, and will soon be getting a new right front fender, driver's door, and tailgate. At 377,500+ kilometres (226,500 miles, for the unconverted), she's still running beautifully and is easy on gas. Dorne needed a few things so we headed out.

I always figured that if I'm in a store, I'm there because I already know they sell stuff and that if I have the money, I can buy stuff. I don't need to be further brainwashed by in-store propaganda, in the form of small TVs with looping advertisements.

I get great joy from simply walking down the aisles and hitting the "power" button. "Power" isn't only powerful when it's on; switching it off is powerful, too! One by one, every annoying, blaring TV telling me I needed this kind of motor oil, or that kind of seat cover, was silenced by the simple touch of a finger.

Very empowering.

Very calming.

I'm sure someone has done a study or two about the effects of the constant barrage of noise to which our culture is subjected. I know how it makes me feel, and I've seen how it affects the behaviour of people who already face challenges in their lives.

While I was in Massachusetts, the occupational therapist who worked for the same agency was determined to have all clients on a pureed diet, because he believed they all had dysphagia, a nasty word meaning "difficulty swallowing". He would order the mobile dysphagia-testing unit to come to the day programs, haul clients out, put them in this modified truck filled with strangers and bizarre-looking equipment, put a spoonful of something barely edible into the client's mouth, and then take x-rays of that individual's swallowing process.

And do you think that under those circumstances, anyone wouldn't gag???

The reports would come back to the residences with the "strong" recommendation that the individual have all food pureed.

Well, THAT certainly contributes to quality of life, doesn't it? I've always believed that it was the responsibility of the agencies to support the best quality of life possible. Hmm, maybe in more than 20 years in Human Services, I've been wrong? (it's been known to happen, once or twice).

Many of the folks served by the day programs had been stored in an ungodly institution know as "Belchertown Institution", in Belchertown, Massachusetts (the institutions where retarded people were warehoused didn't provide any kind of "life"). This place was no different from hundreds of other human storage facilities in Canada, the USA, and other parts of the world. It was survival of the fittest; a feeding frenzy at mealtimes, being literally hosed down instead of bathed, and living with sexual, physical and emotional abuse virtually every single day.

Could any one of us live like that and come out unscathed?

Many of the ex-inmates of Belchertown had only been released from that hell within the last decade or two, going from unimaginable terror to small group homes, sharing a regular house with (usually) three other individuals, having staff around the clock, accessing all the things in the communities in which they lived just like the rest of us.

Mealtimes went from stuffing anything that vaguely resembled food into their gullets and swallowing as quickly as possible, to sharing the meal-making duties, setting their own table, choosing the food themselves, and being able to slow down in a quiet environment and actually enjoy a meal.

Soooo ... Mr. Tim The OT decided to "test" individuals by putting them in a situation which was strongly reminiscent of those Belchertown Days, to say nothing of the fact that lunch time at the day programs was crowded and noisy, another reminder of a time better left in the past.

When nearly all the test results came back with recommendations to provide pureed food, Mr. Tim The OT became extremely agitated if the residential managers didn't go running to the doctors to get an order for a modified texture diet. He even went so far as to contact parents and alarm them about the safety of their adult offspring's food texture, talking about choking to death and other such scenarios.

Conversations with him bore no fruit. I explained to him repeatedly that the quiet environment of the individuals' homes provided the atmosphere they needed to slow down and enjoy a meal, and that we saw none of what he was seeing in the day program lunch rooms. He didn't get it. I said, please, try making the lunch time environment quieter and I'm sure you'll see a decrease in swallowing difficulties.

He just didn't get it.

I refused to send the residential managers running to doctors for an order which I felt was unnecessary in the residential setting in which people lived. He tried to pull rank on me and wasn't successful.

And he still didn't get it.

A peaceful environment has little stress. Gentle and pleasant mealtime conversation provides just the perfect setting for fullest possible enjoyment of one's food.

I hope Mr. Tim The OT has decided to stop battling ghosts, and has made the right choice for those individuals who depend on staffs' abilities to make their lives everything they can be.

There's a reason for the Belchertown story. (see, I can tell a long story filled with minutia, too, but my stories actually have some context .... ;-)

The constant barrage of noise impairs the quality of life for us all. Commercial radio and television numbs the mind and impedes our ability to make good decisions. How many people do you know have the TV on from the moment they wake up till they go to bed (and sometimes even then, they don't shut it off)? How many conversations are hollared over some kind of blaring electronic noise? Computer games, car stereos, the gattling-gun rattatatat of every day life is part of what's making us grumpy and miserable.

And that includes me. Across the street is a family with several children, most of whom have Fetal Alcohol Sydrome (don't even get me started on that). One of the services provided by my tax dollars is that the youngest child has a "worker" who comes three times a week to pick him up after school. She pulls up and honks the horn until the kid comes out.

Last week I was washing my truck and she did this. It's loud enough when I'm in the house, but right there beside me, it was obnoxious. The first time she honked, I nearly jumped out of my skin. The second time, I bellered at her "stop that @#$#@ honking" (the kid wasn't around). She looked at me in total surprise and STOPPED HONKING. Gosh, and that was all it took after more than two years of putting up with it?

Right now, here in the house, all I hear is the play of our (now five ...ahem, another long story!) kitties, the birds chirping outside, and a Tracy Chapman CD playing very softly on the stereo. It is calm and peaceful. Part of the peace is from the quiet, the other part is from watching our feline companions celebrate their protected lives here in our house.

I will always shut off blaring looping advertising in Canadian Tire, or Zellers, or wherever I am. I will always ask people to turn down the radio (or turn it off, even better), lower the volume on the TV, not honk their horns (well, next time I'll ask ... I wasn't exactly polite last week to that woman, and I wish I had been ... well, hmmm ... never mind ... hehe). I will always mute television ads, when it is in my power to do so.

I will always enjoy my personal quiet times, and the quiet life Dorne and I have together. I will always be grateful that our precious Innu (the Malamute) is a very quiet canine companion who rarely barks. I will always revel in human interaction and conversation that takes place in a setting which enhances, not impedes, communication.

I don't need to be constantly entertained. I don't need to go into a place where I intend to spend money and be pummelled with noise noise noise (maybe the retail places have decided that sensory overstimulation is cheaper than actually hiring trained staff???). I don't want to listen to country (ugh) music when I'm buying a new bra, or to have the "in-store" station broadcast bad music on poor speakers with advertising that's insulting and unnecessary.

Ok, another pain-induced diatribe is over. You can all crank up the volume and go about your business again.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Wedding Garter Pattern

Nurhanne and I "met" through the Knitted Lace List, in 1999. I joined the (then) monthly bookmark exchange, and she was given my name by the coordinator. I had just moved to Massachusetts, from the West Coast of Canada, was homesick beyond belief, and she knit me a bookmark with pine trees (a Shetland lace design) and pine cones. I received this wonderful gift from her, along with a lovely note explaining that she had chosen those patterns to remind me of my home in Canada. That was to be the first of many bookmarks I received in the bookmark exchange (an off-shoot of the Knitted Lace List).

(Nurhanne's bookmark is the green one, second from the top.)

Then I started knitting the wedding garters, using a pattern someone had sent me, I co
uldn't remember who, and had no idea where it came from. Fortunately, Nurhanne had been surfing and checked out my blog, and voila! The pattern is from Nurhanne's website.

I'm so glad Nurhanne dropped by and solved the mystery!

(This is the first test-knit of what was to become the garter pattern. Canadian penny is the same size as a US penny.)

I have made some adaptations to the pattern, as I discovered a few secrets along the way. I'll post those at a later time, probably after we're (somewhat) unpacked and (somewhat) set up in Port Alberni.

(The Mougin Wedding Garter, cotton, with blue ribbon)

(The Manson-Pierson Wedding Garter, silk with pink ribbon and freshwater pearls.)

What??? Did someone say Port Alberni?? Ya mean after nearly seven and a half years you're finally going HOME???

Thanks for visiting, Nurhanne! Drop by again soon!

Update: September 16, 2007
With all the interest shown in my knitted wedding garters, I am offering to knit them for anyone who wishes to order one. I will, of course, be charging a fee, which will vary depending on thread (silk, cotton, linen) and embellishments (pearls, ribbon, etc.)
Please contact me: rosemarie dot buchanan at gmail dot com for details!

Labels: , , ,

Blogging Dippers
Progressive Bloggers
Vast Left Wing Conspiracy
NO Deep integration!

Skip Prev 5

List Prev 5


Skip Next 5

List Next 5

List All Random Site Join!
This RingSurf Site is owned by TwoSticksAndSomeString

Fearless knitting

I am Knitting Daily
ru knitting daily?

Webring is owned by
Two Sticks and Some String !.
Previous | Next | List Sites