Monthly Archives: January 2011

Colour Me…Whatever


“What’s your favourite colour?”  Apparently, blue is far and away the most common answer.  I don’t think it’s that cut and dried.  It’s the kind of question that I obstinately like to answer in the most vague way possible.  “Plaid,” I’ll say, after thinking for a moment.  Or “All of them.”

“No, really,” I’m told.  “You have to choose.”  I usually just say green, I like green, it looks nice on me, but it’s such a difficult question.  For instance, green is not my favourite shade of lipstick.  Normally, I’m not fond of pink, but I contend that it does have a prominent role in the cosmetics world, and also as one valid answer to the question, “What’s a nice healthy colour for cheeks?”  Certainly not green.  Pinkeye, on the other hand, is very unpleasant, unless you’re an albino rabbit.  Green eyes are quiite striking.

My younger son has very strangely coloured eyes.  They change often with the light and the colours around him.  They are ringed with gold or orange, and are teal, green, or hazel near the centre.  They are beautiful and unique.

Gray is a nice, often overlooked colour. Gray eyes, or eyes that sometimes turn gray are beautiful.  We earn our gray hairs as rites of passage and experience.  My cat Grace is all kinds of beautiful shades of gray.  But I can’t imagine sitting down to an appealing meal of gray food.  If you find gray food in the back of the fridge, that’s never good.

I spent weeks trying to find just the right shade of robin-egg blue to paint my bedroom.  I did find it, and it’s perfect, and I love it in every light and three years later it still makes me happy.

I drive a bright red Chevy Cavalier.  When I bought it, years ago when the kids were small, there were two virtually identical cars to choose from.  One was gray, one red.  I leaned toward the gray.  I was outvoted. Red cars, apparently, “are faster”.  Statistically, I know they get pulled over by the police more often than other cars.  That’s not a  good thing.

I just know that one night, middle-aged me with my graying hair, wearing my orange, red and teal patchwork pants from Tibet, got out of my bright red car, and went into the liquor store to buy a bottle of tequila.  And it felt great.  At first I thought “I probably look like a lot more fun than I really am.”

And then I thought, “No, I really am this fun.”  And all the colours are my favourite colour.


Blog Envy


Wow.  Looking at other blogs makes me feel totally inadequate. People are out there, DOING things, creating things.  All these young moms, blogging about their tree-hugging, totally organic, hand-made yoga clogs.  The things they make!  The adorable tots!  And they write beautifully, too.

I am completely and utterly jealous. 

Don’t they work, or anything?  Is this a new generation of non-working moms that I just am not getting?  They get up early so they can experience the dawn. They meditate for three hours a day and make hand-made wooden toys from cruelty-free deadfall wood.  Their homes are quaint and beautiful, zen-like; reclaimed schoolhouses near rustic New England villages.  They eat homemade food every night, and are eco-friendly.  They give birth in bathtubs.  They homeschool their kids, and run small organic farms.  They make their own clothes, their own candles, their own preserves.

How do they do all that?  I live in a rented townhouse in a medium-sized city.  I drink waaaay too much coffee, and work full-time.  I like to knit and spin a bit, but I don’t really have much time for it.  I don’t have small children, and when I did, I was working full-time.  They watched TV and played video games. I eat a lot of convenience foods, I buy whatever’s on sale cheap.

I like the idea of meditating three hours a day, but it’s not going to happen.  I envy the relaxed, life-affirming, gentle lifestyle, but in reality I have high blood pressure and a tendency towards depression and anxiety.  I don’t even own a bike.  It’s like drooling over decorating magazines – they’re beautiful, but it’s not going to happen to me.

I guess that’s why I read their blogs.



Forget doorbells and sleighbells and schnitzel with noodles.  These are a few of my favourite (tangible) things:

– my oversized coffee cup  from New York – short and wide and never tips over
– my duvet, and my bed in general
– my ridiculously beautiful calico cat
– my weird little palm tree that is older than both of my kids
– my kitchen table – an old farm table with drop leaves that I refinished myself and serves as the backdrop for most of my knitting photographs
– my kangaroo hat
– my old wooden ironing board
– my leather couch with the nailhead trim
– my great-grandmother’s mirror
– my Fisher-Price lunchbox shaped like a barn that Uncle Bobby sent me (yes, THE Uncle Bobby)
– my grandmother’s locket with a picture of my dad as a baby
– my mum’s Anne of Green Gables books

I don’t know why I’m so attached to stuff.  Well, actually, reviewing that list, I do.  I like comfortable stuff, I like nostalgic stuff, I like stuff that reminds me of people.  I like “olden days” stuff.  Could I live without my stuff?  Sure.  But I don’t have to, and that’s cool.  I don’t like TV shows in which people are coerced into getting rid of all their stuff, or their entire wardrobes, after which their homes/selves are homogenized into complete inoffensive, clutter-free blandness.

One of the nicest compliments I ever got was from a co-op student we had once, who dropped by the house for some reason which I now don’t remember.  “Oh,” she said.  “Your house looks just like you.”

The Road to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks


For the purpose of this post, we have to accept as truth the premise that nobody’s perfect.  If in fact you ARE perfect,  you are reading the wrong blog, bro.

I’d like to be a better person, to be kinder and less sarcastic, to be thinner and healthier and smarter about handling money.  Some days I am all of the above.  Every day, I get up with the intention of being all of those things, but usually by noon I’ve screwed up most of them.

So, here’s the advice I gave someone once who was bewailing the fact that they had, in fact, done some  rather spectacularly rotten things over the course of life, and felt crappy about it and really couldn’t think of any reason to continue.

Start over fresh.  Every single day.  Forgive yourself every morning, and face the day determined to be as perfect as you can be.  If you had a day like I had yesterday, in which you were rude and catty and drowned your sorrows in a bag of thick-cut, cheese flavour potato chips, well, that was yesterday.  It’s over.  Forgive yourself.  Review it, learn from it, and file it away.   Mostly importantly, though, forgive yourself.  Separate the action from the actor.  Yes, it was a mean and stupid thing to do.  No, it does not mean you are mean and stupid.  Let it go.

I don’t think this means that we can just run thoughtlessly through life doing and saying whatever we please and forgiving ourselves the next day.  There’s a word for people like that.  Assholes.  Daily living does take some thought, we have to at least try to be nice.  But  sometimes, the best intentions go astray and we’re just not. 

So, if you tried, and failed to be nice yesterday, try again today.  Sorry about yesterday.  I’m going to try harder today.

I’m Really Done With You


I’m done with monsters.  Really.  Until I get Rebecca Danger’s new book, I promise not to make any more monsters.  After that, all bets are off.

I realized just today that the Fiddlehead Mittens are by Hello Yarn.  I knit their Pirate Mittens years ago when I had much less knitting experience, so I don’t think they’re going to be as difficult as I had anticipated.  

I had a not-so-great day yesterday; an anxious, nervous, frustrating sort of day.  I have a lot on my mind lately.  Connor is moving back to Toronto, and I’ll miss him.  I worry about him, I’m a Mum, I can’t help it, it’s my JOB.  Also, my doctor’s office called, and they want to see me about my cholesterol.  I suspect it’s not to tell me how awesome it is.  Come on, doc, I quit smoking already.  I can’t do everything all at once, or I crash and burn and fail at everything.  I know that about me, even if you don’t.  Once I’m completely healed, I’m rejoining Goodlife.  I used to go four times a week to the women-only club on Charlotte Street, which I really liked.  They open at 5:30 a.m., which is great for me.  I only stopped going when I got divorced and couldn’t afford childcare, so I’m at the point in my life now where I can start going again.  I would really like to be in the shape I was ten years ago, I felt great.  I felt strong.  I felt like I was looking after myself, and therefore was better able to look after everything else.  I’d like to feel that way again.

Anyway, yesterday,  I couldn’t go out until the VON had been, and I never do know quite when they’re going to come, so I’m entirely at the mercy of their schedules.  Although, I understand it was FREAKIN cold out, and being in was probably for the best anyway, but it still would have been nice.  By the time they came, it was too late to do anything.  I could have been out and back, but it would not have been good if I had missed them.

I try to be very reasonable and agreeable with people.  My chicken’s underdone?  Not the waiter’s fault, be nice, just send it back for a little more cooking.  You have a lot of people to see today?  No rush, no problem, I’m here all day today.  No fuss, no problem, no need to make a big scene.

But what happens is, people get used to it.  They know I won’t make a big fuss, so they slip in the people who WILL make a big fuss ahead of me.  It’s rational behaviour on their part, but it makes me feel invisible after a while.  I know from my own employment that the clients I remember are not the ones who are rational and agreeable.  I try not to be swayed by demanding arrogance, but sometimes it’s impossible not to be.

So – does the squeaky wheel get the grease?  Or do the meek inherit the earth?

The Last Monster


I’m current knitting the last of the monsters.  I made five before Christmas, and three since.  Admittedly, they are very cute.  I’m just so tired of making them.  Once this one’s done, I’m on the monster wagon, at least until Rebecca Danger’s new book arrives.  In between – Fiddlehead Mittens.

Number One Son has taken up weaving on a tiny hand loom I got him for Christmas. I promised him that if he really takes to it, we’ll clean up his grandma’s old loom for him.   He came over yesterday and we had a Big Bang Theory marathon, with knitting, weaving and a little spinning, all toasty warm while it snowed and blowed outside.  He’s moving back to Toronto shortly.  I’m going to miss him, and of course worry about him, because I’m a Mum and that’s What We Do.  But I can see his point, there’s really not much here for a guy his age.  Not that hanging out with your Mum doing arts ‘n crafts isn’t a blast…

Elliot has discovered a new type of sheep.  Behold:

 You spinners out there might want to jump on this one immediately.  I believe it’s hypo-allergenic, and waterproof!

This is Not a Knitting Blog


Don’t get me wrong.  I love knitting blogs.  I love knitting.  I love spinning.  I love all fibre-y, fuzzy things.  I have a huge stash of said things, and am always accumulating more than I will probably ever use.  I have a sock yarn blanket on the go.  Also, the wrap sweater from “Big Girl Knits”, which I have been meaning to finish for about 3 years now. 

Also, three monsters and a monkey.  And a ruffled shawl from some purple/blue mohair that made me bring it home from the Woodstock Fleece Festival.  And two pounds of merino roving, one purple/green and one green, also from said Festival.  And some beautiful kid mohair in green and blue and gold (same place).  And various small ends of bamboo roving from Pat LeClair at Dyeing for Colour in Trenton, to spin up to use in that sock blanket, which is going to look AWESOME on my bed at the senior’s residence. 

And the Super Zauberball I bought months ago, and another ball of some pretty awesome self-striping sock yarn, and a whole bunch of recycled sari silk which is going to turn into some kick-ass little bags.  And a basket full of homespun in various shades of brown, gold, taupe and grey for an Incredible Entrelac Argyle Vest, which so far only exists in my head.  And a pile of different little odds, ends and locks of different fibres that I will one day card together into Fabulous Artisnal Batts with my drum carder.  Once I get one.  I haven’t got one at the moment, cuz they’re kind of expensive, but I want one, oh yes I do.  Carding by hand is for the birds, and is very, very good for the upper arms and chest.

Oh!  And lastly the Fiddlehead Mittens.  I thought I had gotten them out of my system, but the Yarn Harlot mentioned them the other day, and I started drooling again, so I had to go see Bridget the Patron Saint of Enabling over at Needles in the Hay (there, there’s a nice plug – go see her and buy some yarn!) and buy the kit for those.  They are the most bee-yoo-tee-ful lined mittens. I’m getting a bit tired of knitting monsters, I need something grownup to knit for a while.  Although I DID order Rebecca Danger’s new book of monster patterns recently.  Cuz I love Rebecca Danger.  Sooooo much…

But, this is NOT a knitting blog.  Lots of people have lovely knitting blogs already, some of which I follow faithfully and enjoy immensely.  I don’t know enough about knitting to blog about it.  I just know that