Thursday, January 26, 2017

A good book

You know how it is when you've read a good book, and it's done?  I feel lonely for the imaginary world I've just left.

I recently listened to the audio version of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. It was so good that I wanted to know more!  I wanted to read everything this author had ever written.  Alas, it's the only book of hers that is available in English.  I've almost convinced myself that I need to concentrate and try another of her books in my free time. (Laugh here! My free time generally involves me falling asleep in 30 seconds flat...)

I listen to a lot of audio books, because I can remain an avid reader while cooking, doing household chores, mending, knitting, and folding laundry.  I don't have world's greatest concentration while doing it, but it's the best I can do for now....and let me tell you, this book was fabulous.  Definitely better than the best I can do. :)  If you need a book recommendation?  I hope you enjoy this one.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

On making a difference

I was invited to be a guest blogger on Donna Druchunas' blog-- Subversive Knitting!  Want to know more about how knitters and writers can make change?  Here's how it starts...
Today, Joanne Seiff, author of Fiber Gathering and  Knit Green, talks about her newest book, From the Outside In, and on how each of us can make a difference:
Thank you, Donna, for inviting me to post!  I’m thrilled to be here.

Did you ever think about how best you can make a difference in the world?  In our living rooms, most of us treat friends or family to the occasional rant.  I found the rare public “bully pulpit” in a place I didn’t expect....

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Women's Health: Hysteria and illness

Here's a link to my latest CBC article--it came out this morning:
Hysteria, medical mysteries, and bias:sometimes unversity helps with life

The brief summary is that although hysteria is no longer a valid medical diagnosis--medical professionals still discount women's illness...and disregard the risks of Lyme disease, which is now prevalent in many places.  I felt relieved that this got published; I hope it brings attention to a real issue of concern.

It was my second "advocacy" post of the week; My current column for the Jewish Post & News is also about how women can make change during times of political unrest.  I related it to Yocheved, Moses, and her handmade, waterproofed baby basket.  My mom knit pussy hats instead...but these were both lawful and powerful, skillful ways of speaking up during a difficult time.

My mom, dad, sister-in-law, and many others marched in Washington, D.C. today, and I am so proud of them and glad that they represented us.  If we can remind the world and the U.S. political powers that be that women's rights are human rights and that women's bodies, health and well-being are human bodies, health and well-being--well, that is a huge and important step.  It's a necessary step, and it seems like one we keep having to mention.  (Oh, Doctor, do you think this could possibly be Lyme?  --I can't tell you frustrated I felt to be dismissed out of hand so often, without being offered any viable solutions for how to get better.)

Winnipeggers had a march here, as they did in Yellowknife, Ottawa, Halifax, Vancouver, Toronto...and in many other places around the world.  We weren't there...because we're still fighting this endless twin stomach bug.  It's lasting forever!

Towards the late afternoon, my husband and one of our twins (the healthier one) decided to go out yarn shopping for Mommy.  They set out through the back gate and faced a woman whose car was absolutely stuck in the deep slushy ruts of snow in our back lane...and blocking our cars' exit.  Our temperatures have gone from frigid to crazy warm for January.  As a result, everything is melting.  It took the Professor an hour of effort to try to get this car out, and finally, another man with a truck came along and pulled her took team work.

Nobody got out to buy a yarn treat, but that was just fine!  I won't be running out any time soon. :)
  It was the thought that counted, and the hope that someday, someone might help me just this way if I were stuck in the snow.  Let's hope so.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

new sweater for a new year

A week ago, I finally finished knitting the second twin sweater...but the timing was off. Last Friday night, I took care of this guy all night while he fought a terrible stomach bug.  When he finished being completely sick all over three sets of bedding (and was resting on a beach towel, with another towel for a blanket), he was so wan and weak that he spent much of last Saturday in bed.  He wanted to pose for photos, but did not feel up to it.  He said he wanted the photos to look good, "since people knit Mommy's patterns" but I promised him--this is a one-off.  It is specially designed for him.

He wanted a sweater that was "dressy" and described it as "big brown, little white, big white, with dots."  He seemed delighted with how it came out.  He wanted to make sure to show that it was completely reversible, too.

The sweater was knitted on size 6(4mm) needles, in the round.  Three tubes, joined at the yoke, sized to fit a skinny but long limbed five year old.  The yarns were all from stash: Jo Sharp DK wool (white) that I bought in Australia, the tweedy brown is a Rowan DK wool that was given to me, and the darker brown is from Cushendale Woollen mills in Ireland (well-aged stash, we went to Ireland in 2004, I think) but is sold in the US as Blackwater Abbey yarn.  I wasn't sure I'd have enough of any of the colors for a whole sweater, so this worked out well.

Although it has been brutally cold out, both boys made it mostly through a whole week of kindergarten. (Yesterday it was -32F without windchill.  The windchills were something like -46C.  Yeah.  I do not even want to convert these back and forth.  Awful.)

 I knew that the stomach bug was a rough one.  I've been waiting for the other twin to get sick.  Today we rested at home again...and this afternoon/evening, we dealt with round 2, which seems to involve Mommy spending a lot of time in the bathroom with little boys. Ugh.

(The kid wanted a lot of close ups with the sweater, so you could "SEE IT"!)

Then, at bedtime, the guy with the new sweater took a flying leap towards bed and just ripped his toe open.  YUCK.  Blood and a very upset, brave kid.  We bandaged him up, propped it up, and hope things will be better tomorrow.  That would be good...I could do with a better day tomorrow.  I'm hoping we do not skip both dance and our first ice skating lesson...

In between bouts of sickness, we played super twins.  Here are the dudes in action.  I could not resist showing the photo was an amazing game.  (Note Pillow case capes, pipe cleaner/sun glasses, and the superhero boot slippers?!)

PS: Remember to get your copy of my new book if you haven't already!?  Please tell people about it, too...I am going to need help promoting this one while I take care of these super heroes...

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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

what I did on my vacation...

Long time, no post!  Sorry about that.

My twins started winter break after school on December 16th.  Things got very busy.  In the meanwhile, late at night and during naptime, I managed to accomplish a few things I am very happy about.

Big Things: From the Outside In is now available in paperback.  It's available as a Kindle download and it's available from a whole pile of other places if you use another kind of digital device.

Also, after six months of running low fevers, having lots of unpleasant symptoms, and feeling generally crummy--I have been diagnosed with Lyme disease...and the lab test was positive according to CDC guidelines, so there is that.

This was a relief!  Instead of being seen as potentially hysterical or ill with something vague and undefinable, I've been handed a pile of antibiotics.  I sure hope it works and I begin to feel better soon.

Small Things:  Grown ups in our household did not get anything really glamorous for Hanukah.  We do not do really big presents, but even so, a few things really made winter break better.

1) A new microwave:  When your microwave has hot spots, it can make you run like a crazy person to get your (smokin') bag of popcorn and rush outside to dump it into the snow.  Then, when even the dogs won't approach it, I was forced to bring it back inside, run it under cold water, and then rush out to the compost to get rid of it.  Note: the temperatures here are really low, and I put the bag in the snow, and it was all still smoking.

You can bet the house smelled bad.  Time for a new appliance!?

2) A Gleener 
This thing removes pills from sweaters.  It is amazing.  We wear our woollies very hard, and a lot of handknit things in our house were looking mighty worn.  I set up a little schedule with one of my twins and we "gleened" two sweaters a day for a while and removed a lot of pills.  My kid still says "pins" when he means pills but he is very keen to take all the fuzzy bits and throw them away once the sweater is tidy again.  It has been a super investment.  Not romantic, mind you, but I am very glad the Professor bought it for me from Canadian Tire.

3) A gift from my parents:  A traditional gift on Hanukah is "gelt" which just means--money.  You may have noticed that Canadian currency has dropped a lot when compared to the US.  My parents sent us some money to spend on going out to eat/take out to make the break easier.  We had a lot of fun, and those American dollars went farther than one might think.  Thanks, folks!

That about sums up our break, aside from sledding, playing outside in snow suits, cooking a lot, playing inside a lot, three play dates (I baked challah with three five year olds.  I still can't believe I attempted this.)  and a lot more...

School started again January 3rd.  I love kindergarten. :)

That's the news from here.  How are you?  Drop me a line?

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