Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Two new articles: About universities and routines

Would you let an accounting firm determine how to run your local institutions of higher learning? My latest opinion piece for the CBC is about how Manitoba's government is relying on a report written by KPMG to make big changes at Manitoba's universities. 
KPMG's value-for-money report fails Manitoba universities 

Another article ran recently both in Winnipeg and Vancouver:  It's how we use religious ritual and routine to cope during times of sadness.  It's called:
Jewish routines help us cope

On the home front, we've been busy with grandparents visiting from the US, grade 1, and adjusting to life as a one-dog household.  It's been busy.  Last night though, as I was helping one kid in the shower, he said earnestly, with great concern:

"You work really hard, Mommy.  So hard!"  I asked what it was he thought I was doing... I expected a long list of things like 'making lunches and dinners for us, doing laundry, walking the dog, etc' --things six year olds can see their Mommy doing.  Instead, he said:

"Well, you write one long book every day!" 

(I was very flattered, but tried to explain that a good week might include perhaps two essays, and/or a knitting design...lately, we've been so busy that I have hardly managed that.)  So, now I have something to aim towards.  One long book a day. :)

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Saturday, October 07, 2017

A Sale, Slow Fashion and Fun

Thanks for all the kind thoughts about Harry-- we appreciate it and miss him very much.
And now, some knitting talk:
A while back, I wrote about my stash and a sweater I'd just made.  Here's the thing--I made the sweater, and the kid was happy wearing it.  Very happy.  However, I just didn't love the yarn, it felt droopy to me, so I gifted it to my mom in case she could use it.  It went to Virginia.

Time passed and my kid loved the heck out of this sweater, and it stayed in good shape.  However, this year, when he put it on, the sleeves were way too short, and so was the length of the sweater.  (This kid's one long string bean in shape!)
I dug in the stash but could not find the leftovers...as they no longer lived in Canada.  My mom came to the rescue and mailed the yarn back from Virginia...so re-fashioning this sweater cost a lot in international postage.  (Thanks, Mom!)  Here is a quick snapshot of the sweater, with it's new additions.  Note the stripes on the sleeves and two additional orange and blue stripes on the bottom.  I also ditched the seed stitch at the bottom in favor of ribbing, as the seed stitch made it look even more droopy.  Kid is back to wearing and enjoying this enormously.  I still find Rowan Felted Tweed DK a bit limp, but it knits up nicely and has worn very well.

This year, I realized it was not possible for me to be coming up with much to say about slow fashion in October, as I did last year, as I really live it all year round whenever I can.  This sweater remake is a great example.

Also a good example?  My twins were doing horse races in the yard a few days ago after school.  I made their race horses--they are hobby horses.  I doubled old Smart Wool socks with big holes to make those horse heads, and used bits of felt from felted sweaters (from diaper soakers when we cloth diapered) to make their eyes and other features.  The only costs were many hours of my time and the broom sticks from the hardware store.

In honour of Canadian Thanksgiving, I am running a little Ravelry sale on my patterns.  Until October 16th (ends midnight, CT US & Canada), my knitting patterns will all be on sale with the coupon code: Thanks
Also, I've learned recently that my local bookstore, McNally Robinson, has copies of all three of my books available online here, and actual print copies of my latest book, From the Outside In are now available there, too.  So, if you like to do things the old fashioned way and buy your books in person in Winnipeg, now you can!

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Running for Harry

Harry the dog: 2004-2017.
Harry died on Friday, September 29th.
Rest in peace.
Harry was a laidback, playful, loving and opinionated member of our household, much like his namesake, from the movie "When Harry Met Sally."  To read more about our beloved bird dog, you can find him throughout many of my blog entries.

While caring for Harry, who died last week at 13.5 years old, after suffering from lymphosarcoma, we found ourselves becoming Canadian in many ways.

On September 26th, the Professor and I became Canadian citizens.  We're now dual citizens (US & Canadian) as our twins were all along, since they were born in Canada to parents who are U.S. citizens.  Or, in their words as they explained it to a vet tech friend at the animal hospital,
 "On Tuesday, Mommy turned Canadian."

On Friday, I went to school early to pick up the boys to be with Harry. We all wore orange for Orange Shirt Day to support reconciliation, because every child matters.

I participated in the boys' Terry Fox Run, which helps raise money for cancer research.  I walked, holding hands with several kids who needed a breather as we went around the school fields.

Every kid wore a sticker.  This is what one of my boys wore.

Thank you to everyone who has ever laughed at Harry's antics here on the blog, or played with him in person, or greeted him at our front door---for helping us celebrate Harry's life.  We miss him very much.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Happy 5778! and more

Sorry for the radio silence over here.  Just when the second week of school for twins started here, our dear professor (Daddy) went off to England to do some research in museum insect collections.  I am proud to say that we made it through more than a week on our own.  Two six year olds, two older dogs (one pretty sick) and one very tired Mommy.  Holding down the fort is hard work.

Every day, our professor sent us photos of what he saw while he was in London at the Natural History Museum, in Oxford, and then at a symposium in Cambridge.

Here is a little sampling of his photos.
This is the museum in Oxford where he worked.  The red shirts at the front were volunteers for a day of student visits...he said there were balloons and signs and helpers, and lost looking young people everywhere.

The outsides of these museums and the display spaces are really something to see.  Behind the scenes, according to the professor, are even more interesting--sometimes disorganized, dark, and overwhelming.  He saw very old insect collections (like, 400 years old) and more.  Here is a shot of what behind the scenes looks like in Oxford's museum.

In Cambridge, he got to attend a symposium for his grad school advisor.  (Yes, the professor attended that Cambridge for this Master's degree, he's a Churchill College guy.)

Here's a shot of the punters on the river in Cambridge.

 What happened at home?
My article ran on the CBC here.  I got a lot of interesting and somewhat confrontational feedback.   Little of it seemed to apply to managing responsibly as a single parent for a week.  (You'll understand more if you check out the link, it's about creating legislation and education campaigns for the July 2018 marijuana legalization in Canada.)

The 2017 Manitoba Fibre Festival happened, and I was there for only an hour or two with both kids as I didn't teach or help this year.  It was remarkable to be there as a regular bystander.  Only a few people knew me or said hello.  It reminded me how capable others are--there were great classes, many volunteers, lots of helpers.  While I missed some of it, stepping down from being involved was obviously better for getting over Lyme disease,improving my health and taking care of my kids.  However, I was left a bit hollow about the whole thing, still sorting out my feelings there.  I've taught at a bunch of festivals, given a key note at one or two, done booksignings, and helped start this one.  But for now, I am 'between' festivals.

There was also a really super review of my book, and I was so grateful for it.  I have fallen down on marketing it.  However, the short version is that I'm proud of having written From the Outside In and even more pleased that I figured out how to publish all those newspaper columns both affordably and independently, in book form.  That said, I'd also like to break even on the whole thing, so if you haven't read my book, please check it out!

We topped off this very busy time with a really wonderful family Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, to celebrate 5778.  Happy New Year!  Both boys were unhappy that I didn't manage to invite guests to our holiday meals, but one very tired professor (with jetlag) returned just in time... so now we're back to two parents, two elderly dogs, and two very busy grade 1 students, starting a new week of school.  (Easy by comparison to last week)

It was rainy and cold here this weekend, and I'm knitting like crazy to get ready.  Kids keep growing like weeds and need new sweaters.  Winter is coming!  (Winter is always coming in Canada)  Are you knitting anything new?  Need some pattern ideas?

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Friday, September 15, 2017

a super review!

The Jewish Independent in Vancouver just ran this review of my book, From the Outside In.  I am so pleased and honored by it.  People are so busy-- thanks for your interest in the book!
Here is a link to the review:

Trying to Foster Community

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Friday, September 08, 2017

Being gracious of spirit

This week, my twins started grade 1.  It has been very exciting--and we've all been nervous.

We also learned that Harry, one of our family's beloved bird dogs, is sick with lymphoma.  He is now thirteen and a half years old, so our goal is to make him comfortable for as long as possible.

Meanwhile, some of our relatives are evacuating from Miami Beach because of Hurricane Irma.
So...Here's a distraction...because we might need one, in this time when we need to support one another.

This piece just ran in Vancouver's newspaper: The Jewish Independent.

Trying to be gracious of spirit

 Have a good weekend.  Take care.
(A picture of Harry as a young dog, at a Biological Preserve in Kentucky)

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Monday, September 04, 2017

Getting their goat...

Here's my newest piece on the CBC:
Getting their goat: Manitoba Hydro could save money, energy with grazing animals

Other good news:
--My friends in Houston, mentioned in the last post, are ok.  Their home didn't flood and they are helping others whose homes have flooded.  I expect everyone in that area of the US will have some hair-raising stories to tell the rest of us.  (Perhaps more people will catch on to climate change now?  That it is a real thing?!)

--We picked some apples locally..but there weren't a lot this year because we had some bad caterpillar problems in the spring that ate many apple trees' blossoms and leaves. Thank you, Aurora Pizzeria, for letting us raid the unpicked apple trees in your patio garden!)

Yesterday, we drove out to Plum Ridge Farm, which is near Teulon, Manitoba.  (about 20 minutes from Gimli)  We came home with a lot of apples, plums, and cucumbers.  To give you an idea of how much?  Well, I've canned 14 pints of pickles (dills and bread & butter) today, about 9 lbs of cukes, but there is still maybe more than 5 lbs left.  We gave away two large bags of apples this morning, some crab apples last night and we still have so many that there is no room in the fridge for it all!  We've made some apple chips and applesauce already.  Chutney, frozen apple slices, and jams will happen too, I hope.

--Putting up food means there is more "fast food" off the shelf when it's cold this winter.  It's easy to make apple crumble, applesauce or pie when the apples are washed, cut up, and ready to go from the freezer.

--It's been hard to do any canning at all with two little boys home, but they will be starting Grade 1 at a new school on Wednesday.  Whew!  Very exciting stuff, but also, I know some guys are sort of nervous, too.  (I get that--I never slept before the first day of school either!)

--In an odd twist, I am not teaching at the Manitoba Fibre Festival this year.  I'd been scheduled to do one workshop, but not enough students signed up.  (too many spinning classes scheduled at once, perhaps?)  Anyhow, it ends up being a relief, because the Professor (aka, the twins' dad) is going to be away that week, so now I can just hang out with my guys.  I love teaching, don't get me wrong, but sometimes things just work out to make things easier, and I cannot complain about that!  Hopefully there will be other times to teach in the future...down the road.

Our air has been a bit smoky from fires burning in Northern Manitoba, and today, we've dodged a few thunderstorms, but we're all remarkably busy and cheerful, considering.  I will miss the warmth of summer but I'm also ready for little boys to be in school again. :)

It's also a little brisk...is it time to make and wear knits again soon?

The Spire Smock (in Saffron)
Gigadistal (in Variegated blue/periwinkle)
Ploughed Acre Socks 

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