Sunday, December 26, 2010

The luck of the draw

So I have had a string of good luck this year - at least that is what others have called it. I won the 50/50 draw at the Roughnecks lacrosse game in April. I won free tickets to see a writer I like. I won some free patterns on various blogs. The latest was a $50 win on a lottery ticket that I purchased in October. (Before I go on, I should say that I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a gambler - but I do take the occasional flurry - usually when I go to buy a Saturday paper and the ticket booth happens to catch my eye - and it is always a quick pick and I always get the Plus.)

I was walking home from a final Christmas gift purchase (yes - walking - because AE had the car - and that appears to be what parents do when their child has the car). (As an aside - it is SO nice not to have to drive her half-way across town for her extra-curricular life - and then have to drive back again to pick her up. Mind you, I have my fingers crossed the entire time she is gone - not because she is a bad driver, but because everyone else is).

Anyway, I was walking and thinking about luck - and I decided that I am lucky, but not because I win things. I am lucky because I have many, many things that bring my life joy and blessing - the money is nice - but it means nothing if I have nothing else in my life. So here is my list of things that make me feel lucky:

I have work that I love (even if it is not my ideal place of work, I love being surrounded by books and getting to read them - all, if I choose to).

I have enough to eat and to feed my family.

I have three wonderful children - all healthy, all mostly happy, and they seem to understand that if you work hard, you are rewarded, that laughter is good and that family is important.

A great husband, who loves me and lets me be me. He is still my favourite person to talk to.

Things that I love to do, like running and knitting and reading and cooking - and the time, space and money to pursue them all.

Good friends - the women in my book-club, the university friends (that I see only once a year, but make me feel like we only parted last week, instead of 30+ years ago), my childhood friend who is coming to visit next week, and my newer friends who have only become part of our life in the last 3 or so years.

The skills and time (and money) to give to those organizations whose work inspires me.

3 brothers and a sister (and their partners) who I am exceptionally close to - even when we live many miles apart.

My mother, who continues to inspire me with her zest for life and her refusal to be old, in spite of her 87 years.

The fact that I live in Canada - I think there is something special about Canada and Canadians and despite our current Prime Minister, we still have the potential to be one of the world leaders in common sense, good judgement and generous natures. Maybe it's the cold and snow??

There is lots more I could name - but won't, because that would be boring. It just seems that occasionally, I should stop and count the lucky moments in my life - the luck that comes from who and what are around me, not what I win.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I will not ever never knit anyone anything for Christmas (this year)(with apologies to Lauren Child.....)

So a great number of the bloggers I follow are knitting for Christmas - but I am not.

I used to knit for Christmas - every year (in the early years of our marriage) I used to knit my husband a sweater. And that was a major labour of love, since he is 6'4" with VERY LONG arms. (Quick note to my daughter - smaller men are nice too. Just saying.....) All those beautiful sweaters are under our bed in a bin - he rarely wears them now - some are out of fashion, but it's more because sweaters are too warm for the office and he prefers a sweatshirt around the house. At least that is what he said. I am not knitting for him this year.

I am not knitting for my oldest son - because he scorns my knitting during the time of year when it is most appropriate (see previous entry of November 29).

I am not knitting for my youngest son - he wears a uniform to school, has a great number of hats and mitts (most hand-knit, some by me) to protect him from the cold and he runs around the house in boxers and t-shirts the rest of the time. So I am not knitting for him.

I am not knitting for my daughter - well, I am knitting a pair of fingerless gloves - but they were a test-knit for Samantha Roshak last March and I am just getting around to finishing them now. So I am not knitting for her for Christmas.

I am not knitting for friends. Last year, I knit the French press felted slippers for a friend and her daughters. The felting caused 4 of the 6 slippers to look like they were made for the right foot - even though they were clearly and carefully made for the left (well, two of them were). Despite all sorts of wetting and blocking, they are still sitting in my knit basket, all 4 right footed ones - and unless I can fix them up, there they will stay. So I am not knitting for friends.

I am knitting for me - but these are projects started long ago, with no real deadline in mind - and considering that I have only braved the mall once in the past 2 weeks, we still do not have a Christmas tree and the only baking I have is shortbread sent by my mother, I think the writing is on the wall that these sweaters will not be done for Christmas either.

So I am not knitting for anyone this year - and to be honest, all I mostly feel is relief , tinged with sadness because I like to gift people with things I have made. But I value my sanity and I know that if I knit for one, I would feel obliged to knit for all - and I can't do that (well, I could - but I would have to give up all hope of sleeping, eating, running or working in the next 10 days and these are things I also value greatly).

Next year, I might knit for others - but this year, I am not (unless someone comes up with the perfect knitting gift that takes 1 hour (tops) and requires yarn that is in my stash - why then, THEN I might be tempted......)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In which knitting for my children proves futile....

So apparently Calgary was the second coldest place ON THE EARTH yesterday - it was -31.2 C (and although that's cold - I can honestly say I have felt colder -  but I digress). So my oldest son (15) goes out the door with a hoodie, runners, no mitts, no hat, and basically scorning my offers of knitted things to keep him warm.

It's almost enough to make me give up least for him.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How cold is it?

I ran this morning - -21C (I deliberately didn't listen for the wind chill - sometimes it's better not to know). Part of the group I trained with for Long Beach are also running the Honolulu marathon. Today was their 4 hour run, so knowing how much fresh people with new conversation are appreciated half-way through a long run, I decided to join up with them at that point. So with two layers of tights, 3 layers of shirts plus my jacket, my down ski mitts and MH's toque, I went out. After 10 minutes of waiting, I went off alone (I was getting cold) - and met them as I was coming back (I did an out and back run). The good news? I RAN (always important to feel smug) - if I had known that I would not meet up with them until 50 minutes into my run, I likely would have stayed in my jammies. But the fact that I was there, dressed and ready, meant it was a foregone conclusion that I would run. I usually feel strong and proud of myself for running anyway - but when I run in these conditions, it's like a huge shot of self-worth, wrapped up in a box and tied with a bow. The bad news - I wiped out - running by the river is always a little tricky as things tend to be icier. I don't think I have done any permanent harm, however - too many layers and the fact that I was running in the cold meant I didn't really feel it anyway - at least until now.

Oops, I did it again.....(with apologies to Britney Spears)

So I have been trying to resist building up my stash - if you check out  Ravelry, I realize that it doesn't look that large (although not everything is on there yet), especially compared to other, random knitters. Really, up until about 4 years ago, I had maybe enough for 1 pair of socks and another sweater sitting in my stash (and I wasn't on Ravelry, either). I rarely bought on impulse - usually, I had a specific something in mind when I went off to a yarn store. But then I discovered Jimmy Beans Limited Editions, Blue Moon Fibre Arts Socks That Rock yarn club and I also did a little travelling - and now it seems a little overwhelming. I knit impatiently on one sweater or pair of socks, and can't WAIT to get it off my needles so that a) I can wear it (providing I get it sewn up) and b) I can get something else going right away.

But when I am done and can dive in? I look at what is there and I think nope, nope, nope and nope!!! The yarn may have had a specific project in mind when I bought it - but by the time I get back to it - the project has eluded me, or I can't believe I would ever want to wear THAT - what was I thinking? 

So in June, I decided - no more yarn. I would buy only when I had a project in mind - and not until most of what was in my stash was knit up (that includes you, Kauni, and you, Noro Blossom). And then.....I was in Seattle and went by a yarn shop (Tricoter) and wandered in - and came out 20 minutes later with some Punta and some Alchemy Haiku, to knit the Stay-put wrap by Mag Kandis...

 OK - everyone gets one do-over....

And then? We were in Halifax, getting AE ready for her sojourn at Acadia - and after going to every store that sold bath caddies and sheets and towels and other items of necessity for university, I HAD to have some yarn therapy - and I fell HARD for some gorgeous Fleece Artist to make up the garter stitch sweater that came with the wool.

But I stood firm - I didn't even visit any yarn stores in Long Beach - and there were several.

And then 3 weeks ago I went to Pudding Yarn, my favourite Calgary yarn store - and she was unpacking Malabrigo - and I stood there drooling at the colours (OMG as the children say). There was this gorgeous green and purple - and a lovely navy and gold...and I was strong.  I walked away with the only thing I came into the store to get, which was a pair of needles. (I know I probably have the same size somewhere at home, but it would mean going  into the rat's nest of a sewing room that needs some love and attention before I can find anything).

And then I found myself back there last week, card in hand, pattern in the other - and I walked out with 4 skeins. Still not sure how that happened.....

Sigh - you know even if there was a Yarns Anonymous group, and I had a sponsor and everything? I wouldn't stay very long on the wagon. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest we forget

I always think of my dad at this time of year. He died Christmas Day 1994 - but this is the time of year that I remember him. He was a soldier - RAF, actually - in the second World War. He flew in planes over Germany, navigating while bombs were dropped - but he never really talked about that part of war. He talked about being a soldier, being part of the war effort, good comrades and the habits of a lifetime he developed when he enlisted (a pack a day habit that ultimately killed him, a love of fine scotch and good books, a hatred of liver, mutton and Brussels' sprouts) - but never about actual war - the "thing" that took him overseas. He always attended the Remembrance Day service - he loved the music and the laying of the wreaths - but he never said much about being overseas, about what took him there, about the feeling of dropping bombs that killed people or even why he enlisted.

He was the fourth child of my grandmother - herself widowed after her first husband went overseas and was killed in the first battles of World War I and her second husband died of strep throat  - and I suppose he could have pleaded hardship and stayed home. But that was not like him - he was a man of principal and he felt for Canada the way you hope most Canadians do - if her people were called on to serve, then he was going to be there to help in whatever way he could. I think it left him with some ghosts - ones he never really talked about, except if you came in late at night, after some teenage revelry and he was unable to sleep. Other than that, it was just part of his make-up - but all his children inherited his need to serve and help where-ever their skills took, and take them, and I like to think that that was one of the best things he could have given us. By serving, our communities, the individuals we serve and ourselves as individuals become better - and that was likely part of the reason he signed up and went overseas.

My brother thinks that Remembrance Day should not be a day off - except for those soldiers who served and serve - but I disagree. I think that the day off gives us all a time to reflect - and attending a service at the local cenotaph or war memorial, or listening to the service from Ottawa reinforces the things we take for granted - our freedom, living in a land of opportunity, even the political system we often despise - because despite all the negatives about Canada, we are a land that gives hope and opportunity to all of her citizens, whether they were born here or came here. So today, I pause and think about all of this - and I think about my dad as a young man forced to grow up sooner than most young men today, but how he took that as an opportunity to contribute to a cause that was bigger than him and could have gone bad in so many ways. And I hope and pray fervently that my children will never be asked to make that type of contribution - but that their contributions will make a difference to their worlds and that they will always know peace.

Friday, October 29, 2010

We now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast..... ....whereupon I get back to my knitting (and running.)

After I finished the interminable Kiama and my July 2009 STR socks, I dug into the stash for something new. I started and quickly abandoned the sweater that I told my niece I would make her (last summer, as in 2009, since 2010 cannot by ANY stretch of the imagination, be called a summer). I was having gauge issues - and I knit (and ripped) a total of 5 squares before I packed it in. Then I pulled out a gorgeous bundle of Fleece Artist fibres that came bundled to make the Garter Stitch Sweater. It is in deep blues and greens and has two threads held together - but it is a garter stitch jacket. Easy to knit, no stress required - but I kind of just finished one of those and I need something with brain food.

So I dug deeper and found some Tahki Donegal Tweed in a deep red, with lovely flecks colour throughout. I have envisioned this in many sweaters, but in an attempt to reduce my Ravelry queue (I mean, I know it's not taking up anything but digital space, but it is a list of things I want to knit) I decided on a lovely cabled sweater from Twist Collective Winter 2008, Vivian. This has lots of cables and a pattern that can be sort of memorized, but that requires some charts as well. So I started it before Long Beach, ripped it out once (when will I learn that stitch markers really are quite handy, especially when you are changing patterns) and started again, this time with markers. It is coming along and because I am knitting it on 5 mm needles, it is moving quicker (certainly quicker than the previous two sweaters I knit).

As for socks - the lovely Lynn-at-work forwarded me the Socktober Mystery Sock by Kirsten Kapur. It was only when I printed off the pattern that the bells went off and I realized that this is the self-same Through the Loops blogger that I occasionally steal glances at. And in a moment of madness last spring, I joined the Mean Girls Sock Club. The first shipment was some lovely variegated blue in a blend - of some sort (but I can't find the label). Kirsten had suggested something not variegated for this pattern - but as usual, I just dove right in - and I think it is going to be OK.

I also had a revelation (but really? - when you read this and if you knit, you are going to think that I am a few light bulbs short) - usually my socks start off fitting well, but by the end of the day they are very baggy. So I decided to knit them in a smaller size - less stitches and I think they will fit much snugger, meaning that by the end of the day, they should be only slightly baggy. I think I thought I always needed a large - because my feet are large (size 10.5 on a good day, 11 on a day when all the shoes I see only come in size 10). But really? My feet are narrow - meaning that less stitches around will give me a snugger fit. I sort of am embarrassed to admit that I just figured THAT out......

So there's October's (and likely November's) knitting - Christmas knitting usually waits until December when in a fit of madness, I start several things for people in my life. Of course, in the sanity of October, I promise not to do this - but December rolls around and here we go again - late nights and frantic knitting to get things done. And apparently, there is a whole tribe of us out there.

As for running? I apparently developed some IT band issues in my marathon - mostly tightness. I have been seeing a deep tissue guy, who hurts me deeply for 15 minutes - and then it feels good for several days, until it doesn't anymore - and then I go back. It is getting better - and I ran (30 minutes) on Sunday and am going to try 60 tomorrow morning. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

So you want to know what a marathon is?*

So I ran my marathon on Sunday. I still have not completely processed the whole experience. I have processed it enough to know that I want to run another one - and I am already planning what to work on.

I told my daughter that the first 20 miles were pleasant - and really - they were as pleasant as a 20 mile run can be. The last 6.2 miles were tough, not that I expected them to be easy. But you are in such a state of pain that even your brain hurts (which used to be my brother's comment if someone had a particularly ... stupid moment. And I was having a few of them). My hip started to hurt at about mile 6 and even after 2 ibuprofen, it was on fire. I hadn't had any injuries leading up to the day (I have been remarkably injury-free through 30 years of running). And even now, 3 days late, it still hurts (yes, mom, I am going to the doctor on Friday). But I couldn't separate the pain in my hip from the pain everywhere else - my feet hurt every time they hit the pavement, my lower back was killing me - and if I stopped to list all the parts of my body where it hurt…well, I would have sat down on the curb and just stopped right then and there.

But seeing what your body and mind will do to reach a goal - our bodies are so strong and we really do not appreciate them until they carry us through moments like this. This helps me remember that deep down, (where, in many ways things really count) I am resilient. The only other thing I can compare it to is child-birth - and I did say out loud, if I could get through that, I could get through this. And it is true to a certain extent. But in childbirth you are labouring for someone to give them life - and a marathon is pretty self-indulgent (OK - that's a weird statement - but I am doing it mostly for me, as opposed to anyone else).

One of the things that was cool? All three of my kids told me they were proud of me. CW (the 15 year old) was the first of my entourage to greet me. He gave me a great big hug and told me how proud he was of me. Then my 11 year old found me and said he was really, really proud (of course, then he told me that I didn't stink as much as I did in Calgary after my long runs there - sigh). And my daughter posted her pride on Facebook. As a parent, you rarely do anything that your kids are proud of - at least anything that they will say out loud, in person and to your face. So those comments really made my day.

And my time? Not impressive - in under 6 hours (5:54) - which is about 30 minutes more than I wanted. So this is one of the things I want to work on - the others are strength, core and stride.

Finally - the title of this post refers to a comment a guy yelled at me at about 24.5 miles (when I was SURE that I passed the 24 mile signpost 3 miles ago and WHERE THE HELL WAS THE @% 25 MILE SIGNPOST) - apparently a marathon is a 26.2 mile mind****!!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hunting for a mantra

So I am running a marathon this weekend - it's my first one. All the experienced marathoners have been suggesting that it would be useful to have a saying to get me through the last few miles. I am having trouble coming up with one. (This is an unusual problem for me - I can generally always think of something to say)

My husband suggested "Pain is just weakness leaving the body" - catchy - but I am not sure it has enough rhythm or pizzazz to really inspire me on the last stretch.

Someone suggested "Suck it up, princess" - but I am likely the last person one could really call a princess. I'm pretty self-sufficient and I usually don't make a big fuss about me. And again? No rhythm.

I was talking to someone I work with last night and I told her that in absence of all other suggestions, I was going to go with "I think I can, I think I can". If you are a parent - or were raised in the 60s, you likely recognize this from" The little engine that could" by Watty Piper. It's about the little blue engine that has to make it over the mountain to take toys and food to little girls and boys. It's kind of sappy - but it's got a beat that I can run to.

Bless Linda's heart - she scoured three stores last night until she found a copy of the book - and then she had my co-workers suggest some mantras. So here are their suggestions:

"A job once begun - is half done" (like it, but I keep saying "A job half done is just begun" - which, if you think about it, is rather self-defeating.

"One foot, one step" - my co-worker uses this with her kids.

"Knit two, purl two" - which is likely all I will be good for at the end of the race.

One co-worker didn't have a mantra - but she gave me children's' book titles to get me through each part of the race
At the start: I am not sleepy (Lauren Child)
Beware of storybook wolves (Lauren Child)
Run far, run fast (Timothy Decker)

At the middle: Fly away home (Eve Bunting)
Trouble coming (Christine Harris)
Boogie bones (Elizabeth Loredo)

At the end Race of the century (Barry Downard)
I stink!! (Kate McMullan)
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! (Candace Fleming)

Thanks guys - I really appreciate your support - and I will be thinking of these as I run - but still not sure about the mantra - if anyone out there is reading this - feel free to give me your suggestions!!!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Under the heading "THIS drives me crazy!" or Why can't kids today do math?"

This afternoon, my youngest had a bass lesson. Before his lesson, we dropped into a local store for a drink and snack (he's pre-teen boy and is ALWAYS hungry). The total came to $7.68.

I gave the young man behind the till $10.00.

He asked if I had any change "because, like, we can always use change" (Okay, that's another thing that drives me crazy - why is like being used in this manner - ALL THE TIME???) But I digress (as I often do).

So I dug into my wallet and gave him 68 cents.

He handed me a toonie. (Okay, at first, he didn't give me anything - until I said "I gave you ten dollars.")

I politely said "Actually, you owe me another dollar."

He said "No, if you do the math, it's only 2 dollars."

So I did the math in my head - $10.68 subtract $7.68 equals $3.00. 10 minus 3 is 7, 68 - 68 is zero. Therefore he owes me $3.00.

And I said "You owe me another dollar".

I could mentally see him using his fingers and toes to figure it out. He reluctantly gave me the extra dollar….but I think he was convinced that I had somehow conned an extra dollar out of him.

I blame all the gadgets that automatically do the work - digital watches, calculators, cash registers that calculate the change and don't make us use our brains. It's a math literacy problem - and you can see it every day. (Okay now I sound like my mother's generation) - The part that drives me nuts isn't that he couldn't do the math - well that does drive me nuts, but the OTHER thing that drove me nuts was that he had me doubting my ability to do math - which is reasonably good and has helped one child through to university, with 2 more in the wings.

I don't have any problem with people who cannot do math - math can be a challenge for some people (usually, it's the calculus and trig that does people in, not addition and subtraction, but if people find that a challenge as well, I can work with that) - it's when they argue with me over something that is easily proveable (is that even a word?) with pen and paper (or I suppose they could use a calculator - but really? 1068-768 - shouldn't be that tough). Give it up fella - you are not going to win this one - and I wasn't trying to pull the wool over your eyes, either (see, I knew I could get a yarn reference in here somehow!!)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why is Mom running?

I know I explained that I was training for a marathon (I won’t even bother adding a link to that post – it wasn’t that long ago – if you just scroll down several times, it is in my very first post). And that I am not sure why, as I never really felt like I had to run a marathon in order to prove myself as a runner. New challenges are always good – and this one is a little scary. But I know that I can do it – it is just a matter of how much pain will I have to endure in order to get it done?

I decided to enroll in a class to do this. I am pretty good about running on a regular basis – and I am even pretty good at doing longer runs - but I felt I needed a structure to work with if I was going to be successful at it. Besides, there is something pretty final about:
a) putting your money where your mouth is
b) signing up for a program that has a 99% success rate at getting runners to the finish line. I REALLY don’t want to be the runner that causes that percentage to decrease (and in my usual paranoid fashion, I would know that they were talking about me to all the classes that followed….)

The class has been great – and for the most part it has given me the conviction that I can finish 26.2 miles and still be walking. It is apparently inadvisable to have a goal time in mind for your first marathon – but you do need to have a goal. In fact, you need an A, B and C goal. In the words of the Psychology Prof that spoke to us – “you need to plan – and then you need to plan again”.

So here is Goal A: I am going to finish the course running - and not vomit.
And here is Goal B: I am going to finish the course running.
And Goal C? I am going to finish the course – even if I have to crawl across the finish line.

Sounds simple – but I felt so gross after the 4 hour run, that with 12 kilometres to go (I ran 30 K in 4 hours) I was feeling a little freaked out about the whole thing. But then I remembered that I have felt that way about a number of the BIG things that I have done in life.

Leaving the nest of home for life in the west was a little scary (although now that I am a mom, I realize that it was likely scarier for my mom – especially when I took off in a car that burnt more oil than gas and was driving all the way west to Calgary by myself. And this was pre-cell phone/internet days). But I landed in Calgary safe and sound (despite an 18 hour drive from Winnipeg to Calgary because I didn’t think I could stand another day of driving) and have made a successful life for myself and my family.

Getting married was kind of a freak out - not the man, but the institution – but here we are, 25 years later and I can’t imagine my life without him.

Having children and childbirth – well, it must have been OK (the childbirth and early years are all kind of fuzzy – likely lack of sleep) because I did it not once, but three times. And the results are pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

So I think I just need to take a big breath and get on with it. My youngest has been my biggest supporter – he told me the other day that I “lived on the edge” because none of his friends had moms who were running marathons in their 50s – so I can’t let him down.

Actually, when I think about it – I can’t let myself down either. So as I taper toward the big day, I need to keep him in mind and “live on the edge” – and visualize myself running across the finish line and not vomiting!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Knits, birthdays and other quick musings

So I suppose since I titled this blog "She's the mom who's always knitting" that I should tell you about my current knits. But I am lacking enthusiasm for both projects, so your eyes will likely glaze over.

Project number 1 - I am closing in on finishing what seems to be an interminable knit. It is Kiama from Berroco. I really like this pattern - it has a sophisticated type of line to it and although I really am not terrifically sophisticated, it's nice to have something that you can pretend in. But this thing is dragging on forever - the final few inches after the increases has me knitting 337 stitches per row. And it is slippery yarn, so it is easy to say, knit two stitches together and only discover that when you are knitting back on the next row. (Just ask me how I know this). Mind you, that is an easy fix - if it is a knit and purl together, you can figure that out because the pattern will not work out. (The pattern is K1, P1 on one row and purl across all stitches on the next. Repeat.) For some reason, however, the other night I was merrily working on the purl row, then was distracted by some minor household crisis. When I next picked it up, I started to K1 P1 - and only discovered that at about stitch 295 on the next row. Sigh. So it is boring and because summer never really arrived, my enthusiasm for this project left in about mid-August. I could just leave it until next summer - but the yarn is slippery and the few times that I have left it alone for longer than 3 or 4 days, about 40 stitches jumped off (and unravelled down several rows) and had to be picked up. I think the sweater is demanding my time and attention, so I am soldiering on - and I will likely be done just in time to pack it away for some more season-appropriate fibres.

I am also knitting socks - it is from last year's Blue Moon Fiber Sock Club - July package. And no, I haven't done any of this year's socks - why would you ask that? Most times the second sock just sails along - not this time, although I suppose if I worked on them longer than 60 minutes in a week, they would be done faster.

See? Told you the knitting was boring.

On other matters - our oldest son turned 15 yesterday. He was the sweetest baby - and he is a pretty sweet teenager (all things considered). He has just moved from the small private school that he has attended for 9 years, to a much larger public school. I worried (and worry ) about it - but so far, he is successfully navigating his way. I suppose what I don't like about it is that I have lost control of a very large piece of his life (about 8 hours of the day). I know no teachers, very few students and it's not like I can just waltz in and get an audience - which I could do at his previous school. I recognize that this loss of control is not really a bad thing - just different and I need to get used to it. And very much to his credit, he is taking care of business - every day (OK, apologies to Bachman Turner Overdrive for that one.)

Other musings?

I have my last long run tomorrow before I start tapering towards my marathon. Tomorrow's run is 240 minutes (we run time instead of distance) and I had a breakthrough on my last long run. On that day, we ran for 220 minutes and I covered 28 kilometres in that time - and doing the math means only 14 more kilometres - which I realized at the end was entirely do-able. According to the sports psychologist that spoke to our class last week, humans have between 40,000 and 60,000 thoughts in a day and over 80% of them are negative. So my positive "I can easily do 14 more kilometres" was a breakthrough for me. But then again, I'll see after tomorrow's run (negative thought - see how easy it is!!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside....

So this was the summer when we chose not to go away. We typically go east for some family time, some cottage time and some sun. This year for very many reasons, we chose not to. My husband was (and is) up to his neck in a special project at work. Our daughter was working (for real money) and could not afford the time away. Our oldest son was working (for no money) at a camp. I was training for a marathon. Add to that several weddings and some family committments and Calgary seemed to be the place to be.

Now, summer in Calgary can be quite lovely - long evenings where it is light until 10:00, early mornings where it is light by 5:00 a.m., nowhere to be after work except the balcony with my knitting and a cup of tea - this could be a good time. Except this is the summer that never was - there was one (I repeat one) day in August where the temperature rose above 30 degrees C. Most days were grey and overcast, it rained just about every day and I swear I have rust instead of a tan. Meanwhile, Ontario had a hot sweaty summer, which sounds awful if you're in it, but from here, it sounded like a great place to be. Actually, just about anywhere except Calgary (or San Francisco apparently) were great places to be.

It rained every day this week. Today (so far) it has not. But the thermometer is hovering somewhere around 5 degrees Celsius. There was frost on the roofs when I got up this morning. I hauled my tomatoes into the garage last night for the 5th time in the last 2 weeks. But the worst part of it all? There is snow predicted for this weekend. There has already been snow in the mountains.

I have tried my level best to stay positive. I remind everyone that fall does not start until September 22. I wore capris and shoes with no socks for most of this week, for heavens sake. I ran in shorts Wednesday.

But now I give up. To hell with optimism and thinking that surely to goodness, it will be a nice October because we deserve it. Of course we do - but the inevitable reality is that winter is coming - and sooner rather than later. So the flannelette sheets are on the bed, I have turned on the furnace and I am going to dig out wool socks to wear to work. I am surrendering to the inevitable - winter is coming and I am going to be prepared.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

All about me (since it is the beginning of the school year)

OK – so for a while I have been reading knitting blogs – and my youngest suggested I write one – so here I am. Who am I? I am on the other side of 50 – three children, a great marriage and life that generally makes me happy. I am a runner in training for my first marathon, a science grad turned librarian tech (technically not really a tech, since I lack the credentials to call myself a tech – but I do techie things), a slightly book-obsessed reader and the woman who can’t go anywhere without some knitting close at hand – just in case I get a few moments to do a few rows.

I love my husband, my kids, my family, a good book, a new knitting project, a hard run, good music and a day when I feel I have done something that counts. I always have: a knitting work in progress, several books on the go, too many things to get done in a day, far too much laundry, a messy house and a need to be right. I dislike (in no particular order) sloth, waste, not trying hard enough, needless bureaucracy, living this far away from my extended family, rainy days when summer won't come and sewing my knits together.

I have knit for over 30 years, since I first saw a sweater I had to have and couldn’t find anywhere. Of course, the self that I was thought I could just whip it up in no time. It was a lovely hunter-green cardigan, falling almost to my knees and made out of that yarn found in grocery stores. I knit on it all through Grade 12 – but wore it proudly all through Grade 13 and university. It pilled so badly but felt like home – and I was hooked. (I did hear my aunt say to my mother that it looked a little like the sweater Charlie Farquharson wore – but I loved it - mostly because I built it myself.)

I'm on Ravelry (user name momwhoknits) and although it's great for the organization it brings to my stash and the sense of completion as I finish another new thing, I am amazed at the number of people who go on and stay on, because if that were me, I would never get any knitting done. So I tend to my own page and I lurk occasionally when I am having a problem - but that's it. I figure that life is just a little too short to spend all that time on a web site devoted to knitting.

Did I also mention that I run? (Oh yes, I see that I did - well, maybe it bears repeating) And that I have run for many years - really since a long-ago boyfriend started running. And not to be outdone (because you know, in addition to having to be right, I also hate being left out.) So I bought the same shoes he did (bright blue and green Adidas) and I was hooked. The boyfriend went away, but the need to run has never really left and I have continued running for 30 years. But I never really felt the urge to run a marathon - until this spring. The only thing that appears to have triggered this is that my oldest has gone away to university - last week, as a matter of fact. She is a great kid – caring and loving, witty and bright, all those things you hope your child becomes when you are handed the small warm bundle at birth. She has reached this stage without a lot of stress and hand wringing on our part (she might debate otherwise…). I will miss her a great deal – that bittersweet moment – after all this is what we work for, us parents. And she will leave a void – not that I think running a marathon will fill that hole, but it will give me something to focus on now that her room is empty and she is all the way across Canada, in Nova Scotia. Yes I know it's a very long way from home (many, MANY people have told me that)- but it's a good stage for all of us.

OK - that's enough for now - now all I have to do is figure out how this get's posted and then I am away!!