Saturday, April 27, 2019

lead in the soil

If you've been reading my blog for a long, long time, you may remember this post back in 2006, where I mentioned lead contamination in our yard in Kentucky.  This is a snapshot of our yard, including my Professor husband, setting out the paths in our very 'fancy' lead remediation so we could have a garden.

Around this time, in March 2006, I'd written a long, detailed article explaining how to deal with this lead contamination issue and what it meant for safety.  I could not get anyone to buy it!  However, I tucked it away. For years it bugged me because I really did want people to know about these issues.

Sad to say, heavy metal contamination isn't's relevant to Winnipeg, too.  My article came out today on the CBC-Manitoba website:
Time to stop kicking the can down the road on lead levels in Winnipeg's soil

I'm hoping someone in power will read it.  There's somebody at the U. of Manitoba in the School of the Environment who has the right equipment to test lead. There's plenty of public interest and people want to fix this problem so school kids can play during recess.  If they must sample more, they could dig samples, cover the costs of running the tests at the U of M, and have the answers very quickly.  If they can't afford a real remediation team with diggers?  I bet if you gave concerned citizens a chance, well, we'd be out there with our shovels to start the digging and we'd wear masks to avoid ingesting it.  This is just an unacceptable thing, to keep children from playing on their school field and to leave for someone else to deal with later.

In other, happier topics:  The sun was shining for a moment and we caught photos of a new design today!  I am excited about beginning to write it up.  No big reveal yet, but it solves the problem of portable knitting for those on the go but who want to make sweaters.  Hint: It is knit in seven (totally portable) pieces. There is sewing up at the end, but I don't mind sewing, so it works out ok!

Last but not least--please don't forget:
the Pembina Fibreshed is sponsoring my Spinners' Tasting class--it's a chance to sample mohair, silk and alpaca (and maybe more...)!  It's on Mother's Day, in the afternoon.
  Please consider signing up if you're a spinner in Winnipeg!

I'll leave you with a photo from Fiber Gathering so you can think about camelids (alpacas and llamas are camelids!) while you rush to sign up!

Here's a cashmere buck (that's a boy goat!), for good measure....

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Busy week!-a class, and more

Yes, it's true!  I am teaching a spinning class in conjunction with the Pembina Fibreshed on Mother's day.  (Take yourself out and learn something new as a gift this year!)

Here's the info in case you'd like to sign up.  It's one of my "Spinner's Tasting" classes, only this one is non-wool fibres: Alpaca, Silk and Mohair.  You need to be a hand spinner to take this class--
Click here to learn more and sign up!  

Also in the news, today my piece on gender inequity ran on the CBC.  This ends my "drought," for which I'm grateful...apparently there were changes going on behind the scenes at my local CBC, but for months, nothing I wrote ran there.  -Also, maybe nothing I pitched suited them, but I kept trying about twice a month anyhow.  I've been writing as a freelancer for the CBC since about 2014.  This piece seems to be eliciting a lot of comment, which sometimes means: a) I hit a nerve or b) I'm wrong or c) not enough people are working today.  (Who knows which!? Everyone has an opinion though.)

Key to this is the idea that when powerful women speak up, sometimes folks don't want to hear it. (and even women in power have to prove their points without a doubt before being believed.) I've also seen that Canadians seem to value caucus unity more than the thorough or public airing of reasoned debate and the building of consensus among equals.  It illustrates the real differences in how Parliamentary democracies run..other countries don't worry nearly so much about party unity.  Some countries air all the political conflicts, others keep it behind closed doors at caucus meetings and insist on privacy or secrecy.  What's better for good government and transparency?

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Make & Hue's Tradition issue

My article, Made by Anonymous, has gone live in Sweet Georgia's Make & Hue Tradition issue!

Do you sign everything you make?  Put your initials in one corner?  Sew in a label?  Here's an exploration of the pros and cons....why we do what we do.  It's a quick survey of how women have historically labelled their needlework (or not) and how.

It's finally sunny and warmer here in Winnipeg today, so I'm off to walk dogs and bask in the sunshine's rays without a hat.  If you'd like to knit one of these mitts (it's never too early to get ready for winter in Canada...), here's a link to many of the mitten patterns featured in this photo.

Article spoiler: ...while I don't tend to label my knitwear, I am really proud of all the effort that goes into my design work/writing/intellectual property.  I'm a "sometimes anonymous, sometimes not" kinda person!

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Together on path to freedom-& cleaning

My piece on Passover and Reconciliation came out on the Jewish Independent's website on Friday.  Please read it! 
Together on path to freedom

On household topics:
So, I wanted to post a cheerful photo here or some knitting, but honestly, it is snowing here today, right around freezing, and very mucky. (we had bright sunshine and lots of playtime on the weekend though I forgot to shoot photos then.  Oops)  I could see nothing outside today that would be inspirational.  Inside, well, I have been very busy with kids and Passover/spring cleaning preparations.  Knitting opportunities have been limited.  With the springtime muck outside, it does feel like two steps forward, one step back.  Or in more specific terms, I clean up the muddy paw prints from the hallway, and then someone goes outside (kid or dog) and I have to do it all over again!

One thing that has helped?  OK, this is a little strange, but I'm just going with it.  A very small, portable vacuum.  I think ours looks most like the photo here, but here's a cheaper option, if you're shopping.  I believe ours is a Bissell. (Note, ours is a different color, but I am really not sure that matters in terms of function!) We have always had an old style, heavy duty Hoover which really works...but it is heavy and big.  This little stick vacuum doesn't clean up everything, but it sure has helped with the endless dog fluff and kid detritus that seems to accumulate.  Best yet, it is very lightweight and one of my twins likes to use it.

In the middle of this, we have quietly celebrated Sadie the dog's one year anniversary with us.  She has added such joy into our lives...along with a lot of muddy paws!

I'm not into cleaning as a rule, but it does has to be done to stay healthy and I feel calmer when things are not totally chaotic.  I'm making slow inroads into cleaning up at home, but the emphasis is on slow since I am fitting it around taking care of kids, dogs, and my work life.  I think the key is to get buy in from everyone in the family to help. (...and when the Professor is away for a work trip right before a holiday, it means everyone else needs to help.)  As soon as I figure out how to get the dogs to help out more, I'll be sure to let you know!

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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Closing curriculum centre short-sighted

Here's the link to my analysis piece, which came out today in the Winnipeg Free Press.
What's the short version? Manitoba's Education Minister has conflated the salary of the Winnipeg School Division school superintendent (one school district among many in the province) with the closing of the provincial Curriculum Support Centre.  In the end, who is negatively affected by this closure?  Students, teachers, and Manitobans' future ability to think critically, as educated people should.

Read more here--
Closing curriculum centre short-sighted:
Winnipeggers like to joke about finding a good bargain, but when it comes to educational expertise, the right thing is to pay professionals what they’re worth. In a recent question period at the Manitoba legislature, NDP education critic Matt Wiebe quoted a teacher who was concerned about the April 1 closure of the Curriculum Support Centre...

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Monday, April 01, 2019

Spring break happenings

Kids are back to school today after a long break!  We did a lot--we went to the zoo, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Artsjunktion, and more.  We watched our pitas being baked to order at a new Middle Eastern grocery store, we ran errands, and both my twins played for hours, and spent lots of time reading and listening to audio books. One of my twins took on a big cleaning task and re-organized and sorted all their books and tidied the playroom, too... It was busy.

For some reason, I chose this time to try out mitts from the fabulous, new (and fast selling) Saltwater Mittens.
 This was challenging like asking me to serve snacks while doing a handstand and singing the ABCs backward.  I had a hard time following the pattern the first time round while also helping a kid with his knitting, or reading a hard word for him, or taking care of dogs and kids all at once.  Given our household chaos, I was maybe overestimating my multi-tasking skills.  These are gorgeous mittens though, and the book is well-worth checking out.
However, I have produced one mitt (here is a bad photo, before making the thumb) and I'm well on my way to making a second.  This particular pattern, Little Corner Boy, seems to work out well for our size at the moment, and I'm hoping to produce another three mitts so we can start next fall with some new mittens in the mix.  (Our old mitts are still in use every single day, but getting sort of ragged looking.)

While all this was happening, my article came out in the Vancouver Jewish Independent:
Dig more deeply into identity

Otherwise, publications have been a bit thin on the ground lately.  I write stuff, sure, but finding time to submit and getting things accepted seems slow these days.  I hope this post-spring break time is productive, because I also have to start getting ready for Passover, which starts in less than three weeks.  (Whew!  Where did the time go!?)

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