Thursday, October 24, 2013

"glad it wasn't me?"

Thanks for the kind thoughts about my health.  I am working on it!

Recently, several people have commented how nice it is that I am laughing about things.  Honestly, I feel like the other option is crying, and well, that is the less societally acceptable option.

Yesterday, it was grandparents day at preschool.  Since all our folks live in the US, I had to wrangle the iPad, Face Time with two sets of grandparents, twins, an art project and fruit salad snack on my own.  It went ok, with the help of the great teachers.  Then I rushed out to grab lunch at a supermarket, and sat in the lobby for a few moments to knit before picking the boys up for naptime.  In that small window of time, I was asked if I could "demonstrate" or teach knitting to an older girls' class.  Before I could say something appropriate, someone jumped in to say that I was the mom of twins and then I said, uhh, there wasn't time for me to go home and do something--this is my only time off, I had only a few moments to knit.  That was all true!

After grandparents day at school, One twin would not go to sleep until 2.  The other woke up at 2:20. The mother's helper was still sick (with the same cough/sniffles that both boys have) so not here.  The professor came home a little early, which was good--the boys have been waking up a lot at night because they have a virus so I was super tired. We went off to get our flu shots, but the line was long, so we opted for dinner first. It was flurrying out. We went to the local felafel joint but the professor spilled an entire glass of water all over me by accident. My pants were soaked right through!  Luckily it was not below freezing outside, but it was nippy...
Then we got our flu shots and everyone was super well behaved. We rushed home for bath time and bed.  By the time I had a chance to change my pants?  They'd dried on my body.
I kept returning to two episodes at the free flu clinic.  One was an older woman complaining about the 20 minute wait and swearing this would be easier if they just paid for the flu shot while in Palm Springs.  I turned and said, well, maybe the flu shot is available there, but in many areas of the US, it can be hard to get and even then, you need money to get it.  (In Kentucky, I often had to work very hard to get a flu shot!)  It is still amazing to me how Canadians don't realize how lucky they are to have a functional and essentially free (tax payer funded) health-care system.  Americans have misconceptions about it too--and in the end, the grass is always greener on the other side of the (border) fence. 
Then, I recognized another knitter.  She wore a gorgeous shawl of natural colors of something that looked like Lopi.  She showed off her knit socks.  She admired one of the twin's sweaters, which was knit by a friend.  I never got to mention my handknit sweater (Thermal, from an old Knitty) before I caught her 3rd child, a 2 year old, kicking one of my boys, who was playing quietly with a matchbox car on the floor.  I said politely --3 times--, "Please don't kick us with your foot" until the kid stopped.  The mom defended her kid, saying he only meant to kick the car.  Then she took her kid and backed away from us.
What??!  If either of my boys were kicking somebody, intentionally or inadvertently, I would appreciate and welcome a polite reminder from another parent.  I believes it takes a village--and everybody has to say NO! sometimes.
Maybe I offended a neighborhood knitter, but if the only thing we have in common are two year olds and knitting?  Maybe it isn't enough. 

I am already very sore and achey and tired! Could it be because someone soaked me with water? A long walk? No sleep? Digestive troubles? Oh, no, it is the flu shot!  Right?!
:) in case you needed a "glad it wasn't me story..."  This might catch you up on life here and make you feel slightly less wet in the trouser region...

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Friday, October 11, 2013


We're in the midst of a  very slow slide into colder weather.  The boys are wearing shoes instead of crocs most days, and we're getting ready for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend.

We're also getting used to having a really good preschool experience.  The boys started going to school in the mornings a few weeks ago, and it seems to be working out.  This is huge.  It means I consistently have 4 hours off.  This is mostly spent on making dinner ahead of time, cleaning up, and trying to regain order in our lives.

I am also finding small bits of time for special household this one, where I reorganized a corner of the living room, moved bookshelves, and filled up these fabric blocks with toys for play time.  It is sometimes nice to make order in our chaos. :)

Finally, I have small amounts of quiet time to think about writing again.  So far, I find that nobody really wants to publish essays about twin induced sleep deprivation or dealing with illness or how to rebuild supportive real face to face communities in our busy, screen-focused world.  These are some of the topics on my mind lately.  It is hard to banish these "less than perfect worlds" and create chirpy or cheerful things.

This is not to say I am unhappy--I am thrilled by this quiet time for reflection and seeing the boys are happy and stimulated at school.  However, I am still facing some health issues. (we all had a bad stomach virus in May and I am still not better! Everyone else recovered...)  I am still "fixing" this and it is hard to know what to share online.  In the meanwhile though, I am knitting when I get a chance, cooking warming fall meals, chasing two year olds, and looking forward to writing more someday soon.

Happy leaves, happy fall, and to all the Canadians out there, Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

We did it!

The first Manitoba Fibre Festival was on Saturday.  It was a rousing success, despite pouring rain and cold temperatures.  (It never topped 13C --about 55F)  I was there, helping out and teaching, from 7:45 AM until about 4:30 PM, and the venue was about 25 minutes' drive from my house.  I spent most of the day in an outdoor tent, helping with the information booth, the wool show, and teaching. Gosh, I was chilled to my bones by day's end.

However, we had over 20 vendors, great big crowds, and successful classes.  Aside from one or two class snafus and a very damp tent (it was pitched over a drainage ditch), things went smoothly.  Overall, I am thrilled to have been a part of it.

One of the most interesting parts of the experience for me was seeing how incredibly excited everyone was to finally have this experience.  Many of them knew of festivals elsewhere, and some people had travelled long distances to go to festivals in the past.  However, some fiber-arts people took even bigger risks, considering this was the first time we'd had a fibre festival in Manitoba--one group travelled 5 hours from Sioux Lookout, Ontario.  The fabulous wool judge came from Saskatchewan.  There were so many people committed and thrilled to be a part of our one day, pop up, festival extravaganza.  Spinners, knitters, weavers, felters, rughooking, basket-making, dyeing--it was all there.

What would I dream of for future events?
1) A warmer and/or drier day --but we can't control that!
2) A bigger space
3) More volunteers and help
4) More cross border diversity in terms of vendors...I wish there were spinning wheel vendors, a huge number of fleeces of different varieties on sale and at the wool show, and more.  By cross border, I mean--from the US (just an hour away by car) or from Ontario or Saskatchewan or beyond.  I was thrilled by our local representation but wanted more more more...including chances for people to try out wheels, touch large  varieties of sheep breeds, and talk to more shepherds.
5) Some animals would be nice, but this ties into #4.  We need a way to get shepherds to believe in wool sales, and come along for the ride... never mind those who raise alpacas, llamas, goats, rabbits, etc.

It took me a long time to post about things, to dry out my teaching supplies--heck, even to get warm myself. (a big bowl of soup and a hot shower only made a small dent in it!)

Finally, it took a long while to get my household back to normal.  The only way I could be so involved the day of the festival was by having a lot of help from my family.  My parents flew in from Virginia (thank you!!) and with my husband's help, all three were on twin duty for the whole day.  Their hard work kept everybody on track and prevented 2 year old meltdowns on a cold, wet day without Mommy.

The photo here is perhaps incongruous, but it makes sense to me.  For the past 6 months or more, I have had a basket of spinning in our basement playroom.  Believe it or not, that is where I get to spin most--while supervising the boys as they play (and beat up on each other.).  I brought these tools out of the basement and wandered the tent, spinning as I talked to people.  Many were excited to talk about my spindles, and wanted to learn about how one could walk and spin and answer questions about the festival at the same time.  What I wanted to say was--compared to corralling the twins?  It was easy.  Like being on a one-day vacation with like-minded friends. :)

See you next year at the festival?

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