Monday, September 25, 2017

Happy 5778! and more

Sorry for the radio silence over here.  Just when the second week of school for twins started here, our dear professor (Daddy) went off to England to do some research in museum insect collections.  I am proud to say that we made it through more than a week on our own.  Two six year olds, two older dogs (one pretty sick) and one very tired Mommy.  Holding down the fort is hard work.

Every day, our professor sent us photos of what he saw while he was in London at the Natural History Museum, in Oxford, and then at a symposium in Cambridge.

Here is a little sampling of his photos.
This is the museum in Oxford where he worked.  The red shirts at the front were volunteers for a day of student visits...he said there were balloons and signs and helpers, and lost looking young people everywhere.

The outsides of these museums and the display spaces are really something to see.  Behind the scenes, according to the professor, are even more interesting--sometimes disorganized, dark, and overwhelming.  He saw very old insect collections (like, 400 years old) and more.  Here is a shot of what behind the scenes looks like in Oxford's museum.

In Cambridge, he got to attend a symposium for his grad school advisor.  (Yes, the professor attended that Cambridge for this Master's degree, he's a Churchill College guy.)

Here's a shot of the punters on the river in Cambridge.

 What happened at home?
My article ran on the CBC here.  I got a lot of interesting and somewhat confrontational feedback.   Little of it seemed to apply to managing responsibly as a single parent for a week.  (You'll understand more if you check out the link, it's about creating legislation and education campaigns for the July 2018 marijuana legalization in Canada.)

The 2017 Manitoba Fibre Festival happened, and I was there for only an hour or two with both kids as I didn't teach or help this year.  It was remarkable to be there as a regular bystander.  Only a few people knew me or said hello.  It reminded me how capable others are--there were great classes, many volunteers, lots of helpers.  While I missed some of it, stepping down from being involved was obviously better for getting over Lyme disease,improving my health and taking care of my kids.  However, I was left a bit hollow about the whole thing, still sorting out my feelings there.  I've taught at a bunch of festivals, given a key note at one or two, done booksignings, and helped start this one.  But for now, I am 'between' festivals.

There was also a really super review of my book, and I was so grateful for it.  I have fallen down on marketing it.  However, the short version is that I'm proud of having written From the Outside In and even more pleased that I figured out how to publish all those newspaper columns both affordably and independently, in book form.  That said, I'd also like to break even on the whole thing, so if you haven't read my book, please check it out!

We topped off this very busy time with a really wonderful family Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, to celebrate 5778.  Happy New Year!  Both boys were unhappy that I didn't manage to invite guests to our holiday meals, but one very tired professor (with jetlag) returned just in time... so now we're back to two parents, two elderly dogs, and two very busy grade 1 students, starting a new week of school.  (Easy by comparison to last week)

It was rainy and cold here this weekend, and I'm knitting like crazy to get ready.  Kids keep growing like weeds and need new sweaters.  Winter is coming!  (Winter is always coming in Canada)  Are you knitting anything new?  Need some pattern ideas?

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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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