Tag Archives: family

Yarn, Yarn, and More Yarn

L is an avid knitter and crocheter. My mother used to knit us sweaters and afghans and taught both of her daughters to wield knitting needles and crochet hooks as well. I’ve crochetted afghans and scarves and, though I haven’t done much in the past couple years, I was kind of excited when L suggested we check out a couple of the knitting stores downtown as a part of our day romping around TO. So, after finally paying for our tasty brunch, we set off toward the Knit Cafe.

We got a little way-laid on the way.

Romni Wools on Queen Street is packed floor to ceiling with yarn. It’s like a second-hand book store, one of those that goes on and on and on with multiple levels and multiple rooms, cramming more and more and more into each nook and cranny. Every colour, every texture.

But, the store was dark and cramped. When L asked for help, the staff seemed to have no idea what they were talking about, or at least didn’t listen properly in order to get what she was asking. They were friendly, but useless. Perfect, L said, for someone who knew exactly what they needed.

So, we continued on.

The Knit Cafe is a completely different kind of yarn store. It’s not packed floor to ceiling. In fact, a knitter looking for a store with lots of selection would probably be a little bit disappointed. There’s one wall of yarn, one wall of needles and other tools, a small wall of books and patterns.

The yarns they sell are quite beautiful. Many are handspun, handcrafted yarns in bright, vibrant colours.

We spent some time here, and L carefully picked out two colours for a cupcake scarf. While she hemmed and hawed over her colours, my brother and I order cappucinos and lattes and settled in at the tables in the centre of the room. Yes, you all read that right — cappucinos and lattes. At a yarn store.

And then, things got really interesting. Apparently, skeins of yarn need to be wound. This is where you all realize how little expertise I actually have in yarn crafts. Sure, I’ve made an afghan or two, but I’ve never actually bought yarn from anywhere other than Walmart and Len’s Mill Store. In other words, I’ve never actually bought a skein. Only balls.

L buys skeins. She knows how to wind a skein. I was fascinated how the twisted rope of yarn ended up in the perfect tightly wound ball, so easy to manage, easier, I would wager, than the loose balls you can buy in bags from any department store.

She picked some beautiful colours.

It was a fun afternoon tromping around Toronto, visiting yarn stores. I might go back to the Knit Cafe someday, bring a friend along, buy a skein, learn to wind it, and settle down with a new project. I think it’s about time I had a new project.

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Things we don’t have in the Big City

Snow.

Snow shoes.

Liia.

Salt-free boots.

Everyone.

I miss Christmas.

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Lost Cameras and Symbolism

My camera has mysteriously gone missing. This is one of the reasons you have seen very few new posts in the month of December. This is concerning for a couple reasons.

Of course, there’s the obvious reason. It’s my camera. Yes, it and I have a love-hate relationship: I never was able to find its rechargeable battery, so its battery life is either really short or really expensive, and I never managed to become familiar with its manual settings in the same way I did with my old camera. It’s not a high-end piece of equipment by any means. But it did a surprisingly decent job in artificial lighting and I have almost always been happy with the quality of images that I can work out of it in my kitchen as I took pictures of the things we eat. And, I just bought this thing a year and a half ago. It’s no where near worn out and I am just not ready to spend the $600-$1000 I would want to invest on a new camera just so I can take pictures of food. And honestly, I don’t really want another point-and-shoot. Unless it’s really good and therefore worth about as much as a low-end DSLR. (Oh, and, unless it’s a Canon Powershot A620.)

But the loss of my camera is maybe not that important. Even worse, I’m fairly certain that something rather important to me was in the camera case, carefully tucked away someplace safe. Or so I thought.

My parents (my mom, really) gave me and my sister versions of this necklace for Christmas probably 5 years ago now. I don’t know why this particular symbol is important to my family. I’ve always wondered if we have a little French in us somewhere that passed the symbol down through the matriarchy of my family. My mom gave a necklace to each of her daughters in the same way her mom gave each of her daughters a necklace. Did my Oma receive her necklace from her mother? I don’t know. Either way, this necklace has always made me feel connected to my family, my mother and my sister in particular. It’s a connection to what we believe, a connection to something bigger than myself: a family by birth and by holy means. This necklace reminds me of the connection I have to the Trinity through my family.

So, the thought of losing it is not so pleasant — not that I think I’m going to lose those connections — I know it doesn’t work that way. But the reminder of family is a comfort. I took my Hugenot cross off for J’s wedding a month ago yesterday and tucked it into my camera case. I forgot to put it back on later, but always knew it was there, safe, in the little front zippered pouch. And now, the camera case is missing, the camera that goes with it and, likely, the little sterling silver cross too. I can’t imagine not finding it. It must be here somewhere. But it’s a little uncomfortable not knowing exactly where.

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Week 6, Day 5

1.3km

7:20 minutes

Pace approximately 5.6 min/km.

I grumbled my way out of bed this morning, decided I didn’t want a repeat of the past two days’ horrible runs. So yes, you’re reading my post right. I ran for less than 10 minutes this morning. And I’m glad I did it. I’m both glad that I didn’t force myself when I didn’t want, but also glad that I still managed to get out.

I came back and did a solid half hour with my resistance bands. They’re no where near as effective as free weights (perhaps mostly because I actually know what I’m doing with free weights?) but, I figured, better than nothing.

Week’s summary

18.7 km

119.17 minutes

Average pace 6.4 min/km

It’s THE wedding weekend! Rehearsal tonight! Wedding tomorrow! Family reunion (for the other side) on Sunday.

I’m contemplating sneaking away for an hour or so on Sunday and borrowing my mother’s bike, if she’ll let me and if the weather’s good. Either that, or a 10K run around the block.

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A farmer in seminary

D putting on sunscreen before canoeing the Saugeen.

D putting on sunscreen before canoeing the Saugeen.

My father has always been my greatest spiritual role model. He taught me to think for myself, to consider possibilities beyond the most commonly accepted, to explore and to learn about God, his creation, and myself with a critical mind in order to discover the truth amid all the fluff and prejudice that organized religion can be*.

This past week, my dad received an acceptance to seminary. So, he’s starting a blog to document the new experience and the new phase in his life.

It’s kind of fun watching my parents go through their mid-life crises together. My mom has bought a not-yet profitable business and is working her way towards a certificate in kinesiology. And now my dad will be attending a class twice or three times a week and will someday hopefully graduate with a Masters in Theology.

I can only hope I’ll be as young as they are now when I turn 50.

* But, I will note, does not have to be.

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Meet Liia

Liia is a 5 year old Bernese Mountain dog. We (mostly) affectionately call her my ‘little sister’. My parents bought her the year before they were to become empty nesters. Essentially, she’s a 100 pound lap dog who challenges the statement that animals don’t love.

About a month ago, on a Friday, my parents made the mistake of telling her I was coming home about two hours too early. They were cleaning up supper and my dad looked at her and said, “Liia, Nettie’s coming home!” She bolted to her feet, and, in a frenzy, demanded to be let outside. She sprinted out onto the driveway and probably froze in confusion. My little red car was no where to be seen!

Of course, when I did arrive, she did her usual high energy welcome, racing around my car, running into my legs so she could sit on my feet and whimper, taking off across the driveway to the garage, and back again at full speed. 

When she’s calmer, she photographs extremely well.

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Biking as transportion

I dislike biking.  It’s not my favourite form of exercise, and since I moved into town and no longer have long, shaded, and quiet country roads to bike on, I don’t find it an enjoyable past-time either. This hasn’t always been true.  As a child, I loved summer days and long bike rides.

A lot has changed from those days though, naturally. The setting obviously.  I live in a small city, and country roads are not that far away. But still, the suburban roads and dangerous, narrow streets that surround me do not exactly encourage a cycling joyride. And, when your day starts at 8:30, and you have half an hour to get to work, the joy of a morning bike ride seems to completely evaporate at the foot of the first hill. I believe it is in this change of biking for pleasure to biking for transportation that my loathing lies.

My brother and sister both moved to this city for university as well. When they started, they had fewer luxuries than I do now.  Since their graduation, the university has given all students a bus pass, the (discounted) price hidden in our tuition fees. I have also had a car for three out of the four currently completed years of my university career. While they had this luxury as well, I use my (parents’) little red Ford Focus far more often than they used their little silver Ford Focus (which their little sister crashed two years ago).

They biked.  They loved to bike. Every day, to and from school, to and from the grocery store, to and from church, to and from everywhere.

When my sister left for university, her big present to herself was a reasonably expensive bike. Now, she and her husband don’t, and potentially never will, own a car. My brother biked from Ontario to BC just for fun the summer after he graduated from university. Even my parents love to bike. They each bought good road bikes, joined biking groups, and do charity rides in the summer.

And then there’s me.  I’ve always been the black sheep of the family. I avoid mental math at all costs, I own 20 pairs of impractical shoes, and could be considered rather flighty and romantic in comparison. It’s OK. I’ve come to terms with it.

I bought a bike two summers ago on my summer school term. I was still being influenced by my siblings then, still in the mindset that the car is only to go home and to get a big box of kitty litter from the grocery store once a term.

And then, the school gave me a bus pass.

In the first couple years of university, I remember biking through slush and snow, completely loyal to that mode of transportation even as winter crept in.  But as soon as I didn’t have to pay for something that was far easier on my fattening heart, I stuck my bike in my garage and didn’t take it out until this weekend, when the weather was nice and, in searching for something to do outside with my boyfriend, a bike ride was suggested.

It was hard. I run regularly, so I’m only slightly out of shape. I wouldn’t say I exactly enjoyed it. I’ll admit, it was his suggestion to make it a regular thing. (I’ve been complaining about the food he and his roommates eat during their school terms.  It’s too good and too difficult to portion control! I need to stop eating there…)

So, at his suggestion, I’m trying something new.  This morning, I packed a backpack instead of my “Hug a tree” bag. I left my car parked in my driveway and pulled my bike out.  I can’t say I enjoyed the feeling of arriving to work out of breath and somewhat sweaty, but it’s a start.  I need to change my view of biking from being purely transportation, to being regular exercise, a full hour a day. I like exercise.

Maybe that can even help regain some of the value I saw in it when I was a kid.

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