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!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lace Knitting Classes at "Let's Knit"

Monday, November 14, 2011

The following passage sprung from a Remembrance Day conversation on a local forum.  The conversation went from honouring those who sacrificied their lives or health for us, to demeaning "political correctness".  One of the forum participants wrote this and I felt it was worthy of putting on my blog.

"Yeah, I know. "Some of my best friends are . . . " fill in the blank.

A hate crime involves POWER. In our society, certain individuals hold more power than others. Men hold more power than women. Caucasians hold more power than any other race. White men hold more power than white women, but white women hold more power than black men.

Gays and lesbians don't have the same power as straights. Straights are considered the 'norm' and those other folk are the 'other' folk.

Nobody in a position of lesser power -- by definition -- is capable of committing a "hate crime."

A hate crime isn't about saying hateful things. It's about using speech (or writings) to belittle, denigrate, or incite hatred and/or violence against someone solely on the basis of how much they differ from your standard white male.

People without power don't have the power to do that kind of harm. Period.

Hence, when gays act out at pride parades they are deliberately getting in your face, because for once, they can -- safely. More power to 'em, I say.

The stupidity of race/gender/religious/whatever prejudice will end when the people jealously clinging to their perceived "power" come to realize that it's not a finite commodity. If a woman actually becomes a man's equal, her power isn't syphoned off his. You don't lose power just because a gay man can openly celebrate who he is without fear of violence against him.

When the powerful realize that empowerment of all humans strengthens all of humanity then we won't need legislation to prevent hate crimes.

Of course, that will only happen when mankind comes to understand that peace is not the absence of war, but the guarantee of freedom and full human rights for all. Something many surviving world war veterans fervently long to see come about."

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Blogging Sacrificed because of Facebook

It's true. Spending way too much time on FB means less time being spent keeping my blog up to date. I upload tons of pics to FB and then immediately forget that I really need to be keeping my blog readers informed, entertained, amused, delighted, enchanted (oh stop it already, Rosemarie).

Ok, so you see a four-door GMC Jimmy on the left. Yes, yes, last year I dumped that POS Toyota Matrix and traded it straight across for the two-door Jimmy featured in an earlier story (scroll down to previous entry). The man and I made a trip to eastern BC and Alberta in early May, and that's when I realized I couldn't live with a two-door anything.

In early September, the man was perusing the local daily rag, and saw a picture of this four-door Jimmy, which was at the same dealership where I had purchased my faithful steed, the 1991 Chev Blazer, which transported me and my stuff for 17 years. Anyway, the man read the ad out loud to me (while I was on Facebook ... gaaa), and then I sort of forgot about it.

The next day was my bi-monthly blood donation to the Canadian Blood Services. I happily share my good health and good fortune every second month, keeping my fingers crossed that I'll never need it (paying it forward, as the saying goes).

After my donation, the mother of an old friend and I were refuelling at the cookie and juice table. It was a lovely visit, and I was happy to see her. We said our goodbyes and as I was pulling out of the parking lot, I remembered the four-door Jimmy up at the Chev dealership, and scooted right up there. There she was, same colour as the two-door, five years older and with lower mileage! Immaculate interior, not so much as a chip in the windshield, she had been purchased at that dealership ten years earlier and driven by the same couple for those ten years.

I found my friend Shawn, a salesperson at the dealership. I told him I wanted to do a straight-across trade (knowing full well they'd be getting the better deal). He talked to the person who approves the deal, and, the deal was approved. I took her out for a drive, after picking up the man, and that sealed it.

So after owning one vehicle for 17 years, I ended up with three different vehicles in one year. I am thrilled with my four-door Jimmy, and will be keeping this one until it's undriveable. The man installed GE Nighthawk headlights, and now I can see Sarah Palin's nose hairs when I'm driving home from work in the darkness.

Here are some garden shots: Grapes, oh my lord, we had GRAPES this year. Hundreds of pounds of grapes. Ate lots, and took about 150 lbs. to a friend who made wine for us. I'm not a drinker (at all), but the Man finds it palatable, served up in style out of a quart sealer. :-)
Here is some of the squash which grew from undecayed seeds in our compost. It was a lovely surprise. We really love squash, making the appearance of several plants in our garden even more delightful than if we had actually planted it on purpose.

Tomatoes. The Man only buys heritage tomatoes, including Brandywine. These pictures were taken in September, after he had built a cover over the tommytoes to prevent the rain from causing some kind of mouldy crap which would kill our plants.

See the pretty blue flowers? I think that may have been lettuce, at one time. The flowers were gorgeous. And then are those lovely kiwis. We had about six dozen on the vine. They don't get picked until late December or early January, barring any frost. Well, we got a killer frost and snowfall, and the kiwis, even after defrosting, were just too bitter to eat. Very disappointing, indeed, particularly because we rarely have freezing weather here.

See the lovely window? We picked up some gorgeous windows on Freecycle about three or four years ago, and this year, The Man pulled the old windows out and installed these beauties. They are triple-glazed, open and close and look so much better than those sad old single-pane windows that used to be in the basement.

This little flowerbed is the beginning of what will be my dahlia bed. Before I owned the house (which I bought nearly 23 years ago), this space was a greenhouse. Someone had disassembled it before the house was mine, and in 2009, The Man and I dug it out, sifted out the rocks, etc., introduced lots of organic material and planted some "black" tulips, dahlias, etc. It's a work in progress, but I'm hoping we can build up the bed to make it about 4 inches deeper and get some more perennials in it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Updates, Schmupdates ....

So, remember that Toyota Matrix I bought last year? Turns out that after a few months I hated it. HATED it. It was made for a 98 lb. person with short legs. I am neither.

Late January this year, a salesperson called me from the Toyota dealership, "So you've had your Matrix for a year now, HOW do you like it?".

My response was "What you really meant to ask me is "DO you like it?" and to that, my answer would be NO".

He asked why (considering there are a zillion of them on the road). I gave him my list: no elbow rests (I have bunged up rotator cuffs and must have elbow rests), three wiper settings and NO variable speed, adjustable wiper speed; seat back too curved to fit my back properly; low profile tires that cost the EARTH to replace; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

And then he asked what he could do to make it right for me, and I said if he could find a small SUV and do a straight-acr
oss trade with me, then I might be happy with it, but I'd have to "try on" the potential trade and make sure I was comfortable with it. He said he might have a Honda CRV coming in, and that he'd give me a call. I waited and waited, and finally called him, and he said the deal with the owner of the CRV fell through.

This got me thinking ... hmmm ... I wonder if another dealership/car lot would b
e willing to do a similar trade with me?

So I started locally. I went to the same Chev dealership that sold me the 1991 Blazer I drove for 17 years, and still missed terribly. I talked to one of the sales staff whose wife happens to be a co-worker of mine.

He was more than willing to try to arrange a trade for me, even though it meant pretty much no money for him. I told him that I did feel a certain amount of loyalty to the dealership, because of my Blazer, and how very pleased I was with it. I said that what he didn't make in cash, he would certainly make in very positive PR, and he seemed pretty happy with that.

In the meantime, I went looking for myself. I checked out a 2005 Chev Blazer at a well-known used car lot in Parksville. Even though I really liked the truck, the owner was such a jerk that I decided I wasn't going to do business with him. He wanted my car and a thousand dollars in exchange for the Blazer. Nope, not going to happen. I know the value of the Matrix, and the truck needed some work done on it (first off, the previous owner was a smoker and the inside of the Blazer smelled absolutely gross), and he would not play ball with me.

So on my way home about a wee
k and a half ago, I drove past another car lot and saw a 2005 GMC Jimmy. The Jimmy and Blazer are identical. I stopped and looked through the windows; didn't really want an automatic transmission or electric windows, and this Jimmy had both. Anyway, I went home, talked to Dorne about it, went away for a couple of days, stopped and we both looked at it. I called the number and made an appointment to see it and take it for a test drive.

It was pretty much love at first sight. The following day, I drove away with a 2005 fully-loaded, GMC Jimmy, complete with power windows, A/C, cruise control, towing package with wiring, Sony stereo, one previous owner and only 90,000 km on it!

And here it is! Of course, the downside is that it
does not get nearly the great mileage the Toyota did, but comfort???? Priceless!! So now we want to know if anyone has a small holiday trailer they want to sell for not much money .... :-))

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

An Honourable Mention

Seems my blog has become a bit of a sensation in the knitting world. It didn't make the top 100 most visited blogs of the knitting variety, but it did get an honourable mention. How cool is THAT?

(That's Pluck, aka Parking Lot Kitty, who's been with us for more than a year now ... isn't she just too sweet?)

The title of this post contains the link to the knitting stats blog. Scroll down and you'll find your way to my blog u
nder the "Up and Coming" title. A few of my blogging knit friends actually made the top 100. Kenny Chua's blog was #63 in the top 100; Chris French's was in the Up and Coming list.

I think the success has been partially because of my belly button start for circul
ar projects, and partly because of the wedding garters I knit, and partly because of my Nieblings.

Although I haven't blogged since April, I am still spending a lot of time knitting. Here are some of the results:

This is a sweater I knit for a friend's daughter. The longhaired little girl is on the front of the Mary Maxim pattern, and the little girl standing in front of the white cupboard is wearing the sweater I knit. As a side note, I dislike Mary Maxim patterns (poorly written) and really hate knittiing with acrylic yarn, but couldn't resist knitting for this little girl.

This picture is of the PhoenixPalme tablecloth, which I knit as a Christmas gift for my dad and his wife in 2007. This was taken on their antique oak dining room table, in their home in Lethbridge. I was there in May, 2009. The PP is a Herbert Niebling design, and I spent six months knitting it.

While I was in Lethbridge, I found some old pictures. Here is one of me and my son. He'll be 30 years old next month (Dec. '09), so this photo certainly qualifies as vintage!

On the right is the Lautrec Bolera, designed by Jean Moss. I am knitting this for my sister Christine, who lives in Toronto. What can I say about knitting this? I love my sister. 'Nuff said.

And here are several more projects I've completed this year:

First on the hit parade is my adaptation of the Icelandic Shawl; I'll call it the Nordic Shawl, just so no
one's copyright gets bent out of shape.

My sweetie is modelling it. He's 6'4", so you can see it's a big shawl. I made it so the top centre would fold back into a (wait for it) shawl collar.

This is a detail shot on a cotton scarf I knit for my mother. This cotton is so fabulous that unless you really know your fibres, you'd swear it was silk. This was a birthday gift for my mother this year.

The white stole is a piece I knit in early 2009. It is white kid mohair with a bit of nylon. I picked up a cone of this stuff at a thrift store for ninety-nine cents!!!

The grey shawl below was knit with a wool/acrylic blend. I haven't "killed" it yet, so it doesn't hold the blocking very well. I'll get to it eventually!

This is a little shawl I knit out of vintage baby wool. I call it "Diamonds and Lace", and it's an extremely simple little shawl. Because of it's simplicity, it was a lovely little knit, just the tonic my knitting-weary brain needed at the time!

More pics to come. Next week, my mother and I are flying to Ottawa, and will spend Remembrance Day at the National Cenotaph, and then attend my nephew's award ceremony at Rideau Hall, where the Governor General will be presenting him with a medal for Meritorious Service in Afganistan. That will be followed up with a weekend in Montreal, another couple of days in Ottawa, and then home. Thankfully, knitting is now allowed on planes, so I'll have about 10 hours of knitting time, which will take me a long way towards finishing my sister's Lautrec Bolero.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Geez, Buchanan, It's About Time!

So five months after my last post (counting on fingers) I figure it's about time I said a word or two about a thing or two.

I was elected to our local school board last November. I am now in my 13th non-consecutive year as a school trustee, having served 3 years in the early 80s (when I was still a child ;-), and 9 years in the 90s (as a teen ;-). I've been back on the board since being officially sworn in (or at) for five months, and it's certainly nothing like past boards to which I've been elected. Transparency is paid lip-service (if that), and the board has killed off two vital committees which insured some level
of accountability to our electors.

I am trying to change that, and will continue to be a festering thorn until the board does the right thing. I promised that I would be the voice for those who are not heard, and I intend to keep that promise.

The week of the civic election last November, an old friend showed up, unannounced, on our doorstep, and offered me a job. Now I had been mostly-retired, semi-underemployed and really trying to stay that way. Then BOOM, within a few days, not only did I have full time work, but also the seat on the school board.

Life has gone from one extreme to the other in our house. Gone are the wonderful hours and hours spent outside, tending the garden, maintaining the pond
, sitting on the deck knitting, and they've been replaced by full time work and a lot of meetings! However, I must admit, I am enjoying the improvement in our household income.

Out With The Old

I said goodbye to my faithful steed of 17 years. My 1991 Chev Blazer S10 had 410,000 km on it, and was still running very well, but the last couple of months I simply wasn't feeling as good about driving it as I had for the previous 17 years. BC has a "Scrap-It" program (check out the website, it's pretty cool!). They bought my old truck from me for $2500,
much more than I would have received on a trade-in or selling it privately.

In With The New

And the old girl has been replaced with a 2005 Toyota Matrix. I like it for all the politically correct reasons, but I miss my Blazer terribly. It sat on the Toyota dealership's lot for nearly a month before the Scrap-It program came and picked it up, and many times I was tempted to run in and say "no, I made a mistake, I want my truck back!". Of course, that didn't happen, and now I'm sure my old friend is a compressed block of metal that will be turned into something else. As much as I am happy we had the money for the new car, I just can't seem to shake the feeling that I shouldn't have gotten rid of the truck (yet).

However, I'm thrilled with the mileage of the Matrix, and the sound system (boom boom boom ... heheh) and with the fact that I am driving a vehicle that is safe for my 45 minute commutes to and from work, and to get me to school board functions, in and out of town, with a degree of certainty that it won't break down on me.

On the knitting front: I have completed two shawls, a stole and two scarves to sell. Originally I was going to sell them in my Etsy store (don't bother trying to find it because it's got nothing for sale!) but I have enough interest locally that I can actually sell them for a good price and know the recipients.

I am currently knitting a slightly altered version of the Icelandic Lace Shawl,
shown here on the right. Mine will be of mohair blended yarns, and quite a bit bigger, and different colours, but following the same general pattern. Once it's finished, it'll be for sale, too.

By selling my knitting, I can justify my obsessive need to shop for new yarns. I buy, as many of you know, mainly from thrift stores, and have been incredibly lucky in that way. I literally have thousands of dollars worth of yarn in my stash, and have only paid pennies on the dollar for them. I'm glad to be using some of my stash, and that people are happy to buy my knitted garments!

And, I just finished knitting a b!tch of a pattern from Mary Maxim. It's a very cute sweater for a little girl (I'll get pics up later), but the pattern was poorly written. This is only my second MM pattern, and the first one was as poorly written as this. However, I was knitting for a friend's daughter, and am getting fresh prawns in trade. An excellent deal all around!

So off to bed. I am in Kelowna, BC, as I write, attending the 105th Annual General Meeting of the BC School Trustees Association. I'll be here until Sunday, when I will then drive east again to Wasa Lake, where I'm meeting my dad and his wife, then on to Lethbridge, Alberta, to visit with family and friends, and to attend the Annual General Meeting of Blankets for Canada, of which I am National Vice President.

And yes, I'm loving my laptop, a post-election gift from my wonderful guy, who is at home for two weeks, being papa to our five cats and the dog, and all the fish in the pond!

Adios for now!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Have Your Cat

And I don't even know who you are.

I was in Esquimalt in late September, caddying at a bridge tournament being held at the Rec Centre. A filthy, flea-bitten and emaciated cat with runny eyes and nose was trying to warm herself under cars or in any bit of sunshine she could find. The perimeter of the parking lot revealed evidence of other people's attempts to feed her.

I talked to her and she came right over, rubbed up against my ankle and meowed. Ran my hand down her back and every vertebrae poked itself through her skin. Every rib stuck out, and even her little face was skinny.

So I ran to the nearest grocery store and bought a bag of cat food, found a couple of containers for food and water, and returned to the parking lot. She was still there, and almost ran up to me when she heard me opening the bag of dry cat food. I put food and water down for her in a corner, and stood back to see her practically inhale what was in front of her.

I fed her for the next couple of days, and then decided she needed to come home with me. I felt that if her owner did live nearby, that person didn't have the right to have her and not take proper care of her.

My son and daughter-in-law were co-conspirators. They loaned me their kitty-carrier. The day I left town, I scooped up Pluck (PLK, for Parking Lot Kitty) and she settled right down in the carrier, surrounded by soft towels.

We took her to our vet, who found a tattoo in her ear. She had indeed been spayed (yay!), but the tattoo was so faded that we could not identify the vet clinic who had done her spaying, or the year of her birth. So, she's either from Comox or Mill Bay, and is either 8 or 15 years old.

She has had treatment for worms, fleas, earmites, as well as both sets of shots, which we were happy to pay for (even though we couldn't afford it).

Pluck, our little girl kitty, has blossomed living in a strictly-indoor environment. Her coat is soft and glossy, her eyes and nose still drip a bit, but nothing like before, she is bug- and parasite-free, she always has lots of the BEST cat food available (Orijen which is made in Canada of all Canadian ingredients), fresh water, clean litter and all the love and cuddles she can handle.

If Pluck sounds like your cat, please leave me your address so we can send you the bill for the veterinary care we have paid for. If you have any notion of seeing her again, forget it. You didn't take care of her when you should have, which has done you out of the option of ever seeing her again.
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