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 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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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teach your children

This article went live a while back and I missed posting about it:
Teach it to your children

That was, in part, because my family took a little jaunt to Calgary.  The professor was helping run a conference at the University of Calgary.  We went along because none of us had ever seen the city.  I was pretty nervous about managing for several days in a new place with two six year olds, but it all worked out fine.

First, I planned the heck out of it...and in our spare time, both boys chased jack rabbits around the university campus. :)
  We went to Heritage Park on Sunday, the Calgary Zoo on Monday, Custom Woolen Mills and the Carstairs park/splash pad on Tuesday, and then Dad (The professor) joined us after his conference was over to go to The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller- to see dinosaurs on Wednesday,  Then we did a day trip from Calgary to Banff and back to see the Rockies and a good puppet show on Thursday.  On Friday, we flew home.  You should have seen the mountain of seemed like the view in Banff, actually.

The boys and I had fun, and oddly, some things turned out to be better at home.  ("We like our zoo better than this Calgary one, Mommy!"  And--"We like your food at home, Mommy!"  All that was heartening)

And---Yes, I'm pretty beat, thanks for asking!

Since then, we've had a lot of appointments, errands, and chores to fit around 'free play' until school starts.  We've got the bubbles, the wading pool in the front yard, and Mommy's spinning basket available to wile away the afternoons.  (Knitting is not as portable as spinning on a spindle while chasing little boys...)

I am thinking a lot about those poor folks in flooded-out Houston and trying to read news reports when I can.  We were emailing with some old friends who have two kids, 4 and 7, earlier this week as the storm began, but haven't heard anything in a while.  I am trying not to worry about it too much--as they are surely busy with much bigger concerns right now...but like most everyone else I encounter, I am keeping those Texans in my thoughts.
I am also either hopelessly behind on all my work or I guess some people would say I'm on vacation.  (Hah.)  I imagine my vacation will start right about the time that Grade 1 starts next week?!

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

This piece on diversity went live yesterday...

In a strange twist of fate, my piece on peaceful protest and diversity, written several days ago, went live yesterday on the CBC Manitoba website.  Here's the link:
Acknowledging diversity--warts and all

Meanwhile, horrible things were happening in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I grew up in Virginia, and I spent two happy summers at summer camp in Charlottesville.  My stomach was twisted in knots all day about what just took place there. 

 Let's not let violence and hate win.  Peaceful protest is the way forward--and using our critical thinking skills? Essential.  I'm so sad that hate (and lot of outsiders) took over--with violence against diversity, against African- Americans, and against Jews--hate took over Charlottesville yesterday. Let's vote for peaceful protest and love.  Love wins.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Wipe: fun reusable napkins for cleaning up

 (You may have heard...we've got two busy six year olds.  We get very messy around here!)
In an effort to tame the spills without adding more trash to the environment, we use cloth napkins.  Mostly linen and cotton ones, and you'd be surprised how solemn and grown up linen napkin colors can be.  Since we wash a set of napkins nearly every day, I thought it would be fun to design some hemp knitted ones. 
 Wipe is now live and available on Ravelry,  (and soon will be available on, too) and it's a quick, fun knit.  I used dk weight hemp for these samples, but any washable, absorbent natural fibre is a good bet.  

It uses about 200 yards/183 meters of yarn, and if you want two napkins in two colors, that would be about 100 yards of each color.

In other news, we've had 5 routine medical appointments in our family this week (five!) --we're all fine-- AND, we're having some electrical work done in our house, so it's been a busy week.
So instead, I'd like to focus on sunshine, picnics, and fun knitting projects.
Wipe, my newest design,  is a US$4 download from  Please check it out!

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Creative clothes for girls

A new friend of mine has a daughter in my sons' school class.  She's also a teacher at their school--and she has been wonderful to my kids.  In a 'past life'--she also sang opera professionally!  (And yes, that amazing musical talent gets shared with the kids, which is such an amazing gift.)

Today, I learned more.... I've long known that Miriam makes her daughters' clothes.  We have that in common too, although I stick to knitting sweaters, mitts, hats, and socks for my twins.  It turns that out that Miriam also has a new online boutique with girls' clothing here.

 Her designs are creative and colorful, and what's more--these clothes dress little girls in smart ways.  Her kids move and run in these clothes, and twirling is always a good option in these sparkly designs!

Even better, Miriam's found ways to dress her kids in a way that some of us prefer.  Instead of tight tank tops that show off belly buttons, these clothes fit so that girls can outrun everybody on the playground without being, well, inappropriately revealing.  (There's lots of research on this, it's hardly necessary to link to something here--just look at the clothing available for purchase for little girls these days.)

Some people deem this 'modest clothing' or call it 'covering up'--but in truth, it allows little kids to play without thinking about their bodies all the time.  And that's a good thing for everybody's psychological development.

These are fun, handmade, creative clothes, and nobody paid me to say it!  I wanted to let others in on this good secret.  So--please check out this great new resource, the Saravia Boutique....

(While you're there, read about Miriam's story growing up in the Soviet Union, too.  Her mother thought the Estonian school uniforms were the most fashionable, which is no surprise if you're a knitter.  Those Estonians do beautiful needlework!)

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