May 15, 2013
Fia went to sleep a tiny bit earlier than normal, but I have to warn you the cats are upstairs waiting for me to come back up and pat them. They expect me on the couch bearing pats as soon as the child is quiet, sometimes before. I have a very strict schedule imposed on me; get child to sleep, pat cats, provide lap for cats to sleep on. They wait for me to go upstairs to sleep, so they can drink out of the sink, and sleep on my feet. A very demanding schedule. I have been busy working on an “anytime” project, something simple for when I have a minute here, one there. It is a sock head hat, and meant to be a summer camping toque, or early fall or late spring hat. I’ve always loved this colour of Socks that Rock, but without the nylon it is not suitable for socks. It was either going to become a baby gift or something else, and I think the toque is coming out nicely. If there is any left over it will become bootiesl
My vest is also nearing completion, I’m finishing the collar, then I have the pockets to knit. I have plenty of yarn left, perhaps some mittens with it? I thought the collar was a bit inadequate, so I made a turning row and I’m doubling the length and will sew it down double. That way the right side will be out whether the collar is up or down, and when I do the zipper up the double thickness will increase the cozy factor exponentially. That is the plan, we will see how it goes.
Life continues apace with my wee one, work continues as well. Today I found myself in the role of meeting and work facilitator. It seems I am the only one who gets along with all employees, and I get to help them play nice in the sandbox together. It is easier typed than done, I had to pull one co-worker off the roof when he lost his temper, and coach another boss on how to deal with him. Now that I have a two year old at home, it really isn’t much different dealing with my co-workers. By the time I’m done with my company they are all going to be pulling and playing together as a team, or else I tell ya.
I have had a few themes in my speeches to my employees lately; calming oneself down when one is mad, we do deep yoga breathing exercises, compassion, empathy, and adaptation. I also threaten that my co-workers will have to hug each other if they fight, and it tends to break things up quickly. It is also incredibly how the yoga breathing diffuses situations when dealing with my extremely rough, blue-collar co-workers. I do it myself all the time in conference calls when I’m getting mad. Turn your palms up, hands out, and concentrate on the breathe in and out, going all the way down to your belly, and all the way out using your diaphragm. Magic technique. Some days I think I could become a manager yet, and other days I’m just sure I’m breaking up fights in the sandbox, and preaching sharing, gentle, and friends. Geez.
April 29, 2013
Finishing a worsted weight sweater in the spring, in Calgary is never a waste-I feel like I could wear it almost every day. I wore it again today to work and had to have a scarf on as well, I was driving home through a white-out snow storm – again. Aleph fits easy, is comfortable, and is warm, which is still so important to me. Fia can fit her head inside those pockets, she actually tried and succeeded after I left daycare one day with her toys, shoes, hat, mitts, and dirty clothes tucked into the pockets.
I messed up on this pattern twice, and had to reknit the yoke, but all my fault, nothing to do with the pattern which was well written. It does to go show why I need simple patterns to do still, and why I should circle all my sizes first thing in the pattern before I start knitting.
I made this with Briggs and Little Aran, it is soft and appears relatively untreated, closer to a sheep than other yarn which I love. I have a fondness for outer garment yarn such as this, not meant to be soft enough to be worn against the skin, but intended for rugged outer garments, wind proof, water proof sailor sweaters. If you want to make an Aran sweater, buy this yarn.
I used my caribou antler buttons that I bought in Yellowknife last year, I think they are just perfect. The sweater pulls some, more buttons would have held it together better, but oh well. Until it actually gets warm around here, I’m living in this sweater!
April 24, 2013
My Aestlight shawl has been in progress for many, many months now. I have finally gotten to the border however, which is good and exciting, but now I’m only working back and forth on 12 stitches, which is tedious and fiddly. Now that I’m done my sweaters, this is seeing more time in my hands! I had it with me up north, but little time in the hotel, plus bad lighting in the room made this black yarn hard to knit! I hope it will be worth it when I’m done, right now it is a big lace blob!
April 21, 2013
That was the view from our job site for two weeks, with varying levels of snow cover from light to heavy to even more god-damn snow. Not much there, and an hour to a chocolate bar. The first Friday we made a run for the airport (after getting dismissed by the customer at the very, very last minute) through a blizzard at speeds much too high for good sense. We barely made it on the flight, but somehow we did. The next Friday was much more leisurely, but still with a good snowstorm the day before. As soon as we arrived I started wondering about the wildlife. These sites are in the middle of muskeg forest, low stands of spruce, which look small but are probably very old and slow growing due to the poor and most likely acid soil conditions they grow in. The first week I was fairly confident the bears were still hibernating, it was cold. The operators reported seeing a pack of wolves and a cougar, along with lynx every so often. The second week I had heard report of bears being seen in Banff area, and could see a hungry bear poking their nose out. Again the operators report seeing black bears all the time. As I said to my co-worker, I am not crazy, I have a real fear about a real danger – namely bears wolves and cougars.
I’m going to have a really hard time telling you about the work atmosphere among all the operators up on site, without giving away the guilty parties. I felt all last week like I should be treated for PTSD, that I had just escaped a war zone, and that barely. The operators tend to be forceful personalities, with foul mouths. We counted 8 obscenities in one sentence from one operator. Thankfully we did okay, we never had the full force of anger turned on us, but seeing it and feeling it displayed towards others was hard. It has been over 5 years since I’ve done any commissioning, and I’ve gotten used to a gentler sort of people. Plus my little group of 4 that worked and dined together, I could tell you stories, but again protecting the innocent. Suffice to say “OH MY GOODNESS – YOU JUST SAID WHAT?”. I actually had to warn them to stop hugging the warm tanks, you heard me, and if I catch you back there rubbing up against them I will do something, I don’t know what but something. (They were joking of course, but the one guy did nickname the Polisher unit “Polly”. It was 50% absolutely hilarious, 50% unbelievable. And as my co-worker said “we know waaaaayyy too much about those guys now!”.
It was like working in western Texas – everyone seemed more like a character than a real person, stereotypes come to life and talking to me. Even I have become a character. The programmer turned to me at one point, after I had just schooled him on his own program, and said “you are a Water Goddess”. He was very, very serious. Obviously this has been picked up by my co-workers, and I now have a sign of a mermaid and a title “Water Goddess” on my cubicle. Honestly, it is a bit cool to be called this, and there are many other bad things they could be calling me, and my co-worker as a penchant for giving nicknames (the only other one I’ve heard is Mamma Bear, after I tried to convince him to stop calling the programmer an unpleasant name). Some of the other names – King, Boo-boo, Junior, Fluffy, etc.
Man, it still feels so unreal, like it really never happened as it was so unbelievable. I’ve taken my name off the “available to travel” list for the near future. I need time to recover, plus time to clean up my language again.
April 17, 2013
Knitting time has been scarce lately with being up north for two weeks. Our schedule there was out of the hotel at 6 am, on site at 7:30 am, and who knew when we would get back? I’m still sore at the operator who informed me rudely at 7 pm that I wasn’t leaving until everything had been run and shut down by us, not just us showing him how to do it. How dare I be exhausted and hungry? Harrumpf! He was voted my least favorite operator. Besides, I was working with 3 guys, all of whom were also tired, hungry and grumpy, it was practically self preservation that we needed to get back to town and eat nachos and other bad food.
But WiP!’s. I am sewing up my Aleph sweater, after a major mistake that had me ripping out the completed yoke to start over. And now that it is done I have found another major mistake, but pzzzzztttthhh to that and I just sewed the durn thing up. Nobody is looking in my armpits, and if they are, they should just get out of my armpits. I hope to have it blocking tonight!!! Just in time for more snow this weekend, yeah!
Here and there I am also working on the leaf scarf shown above, which I love. It is very addictive however so I was leaving it down in the basement until I got my sweaters done. The fun thing with Noro is that the colour changes seem limitless, I don’t think this ball ever repeats!!
Still other things on the needles, which will get spot lighted another time. I need to start making some baby things for a co-worker, and I’m also itching to start some summer items! I have spent far too long on these last two sweaters, as I insist on knitting them twice over. New things! Yeah! Shiny!
April 7, 2013
It has been over five years since I’ve been out commissioning equipment, but too much going on at once at work meant my number was up. Commissioining is like a bike, you don’t really forget how to ride it, but it is a bike you never really want to get up on again, it hurts, people yell at you, you spend all day on your feet, you are exhausted, and you have to do it all again tomorrow. My mantra is “remain calm”. As I watched the lead operator run around like a hamster on a wheel, directing his considerable panic energy at everyone around, my mantra proved it’s value again. I think my team did a good job of systematically moving through problems, spending our energy on fixing rather than freaking the freak out.
As we were out in the bush, in a square of mud cut out of muskeg and spruce trees, we brought our own breakfast and lunch for the day. Around 4 pm one day I lamented at length that the nearest chocolate was over an hour away, and the fact that we had been much too virtuous at the store that morning at 6 am, apples, and bananas our snacks. The electrician said when he got back to town he had two chocolate bars due to my rapsodizing.
I was also interested in whether the bears were still hiberating, as I knew other sites had them wander through from time to time. The sub zero temperatures and blizzard reassured me of our safety. The operators then mentioned the pack of wolves in the area, and cougar sitings. Don’t go into the woods kids, even if you are wearing your fire-proof coveralls.
By the way, don’t you love my outfit? Hard hat, safety glasses, fireproof coveralls that hide a multitude of body types, safety boots? I was looking for my co-worker and an operator told me he had walked right by, “Everyone is wearing blue” I shot back.
Best line of the week was from the electrician “I don’t trust a guy who gels his hair and wears Lululemon Pants under his fireproof coveralls”.
Bad news however: due to slow progress, many problems, and general normal conditions for a start-up I’m heading up there again next week. This time I’ll buy an apple, banana, AND a chocolate bar. I sure hope the snow has stopped.
March 20, 2013
And like Calgary spring sprung with lovely weather, in fact I tried to talk the boss into a nap on a patio after our fancy lunch, but he didn’t go for it. Something about “work”, “deadlines”, “get your butt back to the office and get on that conference call”. And tomorrow more snow is due, with colder temperatures again. Spring is dangled under our noses, and then snatched away cruelly. About that fancy lunch, it was fancy, sushi! Yum. However when you are entertaining high level execs from major companies, you also need to be so careful what you say, how you present yourself, appear personable, smart, and an expert. Definitely can’t spill sauce on your shirt, awkwardly drop your california roll from your slippery chop sticks, or mention that you were up for two hours in the middle of last night trying to get your daughter back to sleep, but who was having trouble because you couldn’t stop coughing. Don’t do that.
These days I’m working away on a few things, the big news is that Paulie is bound off, and I’m sewing in ends on all those stripes. Should only take another 3-4 days! Ouch. My “pick-it up and work on it for a little bit here and there project”, is the Rustica vest pictured at left. I’m curently working on the middle section, and then have the left front to do. At that point I’ll be above the pocket slips and working up the body! You don’t really need to look at the pattern very often so it is a good here and there project. So if Fia ever plays solo without me, which she does every now and then I can pick it up. Normally I can get 5 minutes in before she rushes over and insists I colour with her, or something else!
Happy First Day of Spring and Vernal Equionx tous le monde!
March 18, 2013
It took me 3 months, but I finally got over to the local store that had a stock of every colour of Rasta, which I’ve been admiring from afar. It took me a long, long time to settle on these two beauties, and I truly did want one of almost every colour. These skeins are addictive, so pretty, such little yardage, and so quick to knit something useful. I’ve got the Drop-Stitch Cowl and Wham Bam Thank-you Lamb cowl planned. And about 10 other things…
It has gotten cold, snowy, and miserable here again. Driving home tonight the snow was going sideways, visibility was low. Yuck, yuck. I really hate driving to work, it can ruin a lovely snowstorm to have to drive through dangerous conditions to get to where you need to be. Spring is coming soon, in about 2-3 months that is. I’m currently ignoring friends posting photos from Moab. Mr. J has a new job, which means a trip to Moab is off the table AGAIN until the fall. Three years of not going, I really miss that place. I mean, I try and eat huevos rancheros with chile verde sauce at other places, but it is just not as good you know? North of the border it is downright mediocre. Poor spoiled me, I know! Drive safe out there ya’ll, spring will be here in a couple of months. Make a cowl, feel better.
March 11, 2013
A whole year to make these babies, a simple pair of monkeys in 3 Irish Girls Kirsty Fingerling. I turned one heel just north of Peace River in the back of a Suburban this summer with my boss and 2 other engineers from a certain Oil and Gas company in the front. They couldn’t see what I was doing, but it was 3 hours from the airport to site and back – long way! I turned the other heel at the conference in Yellowknife, I positioned myself behind the display so that people couldn’t really see me. All that mattered was that I didn’t fall asleep whilst knitting, unlike my boss! Nothing worse than falling asleep listening to a presentation on solid waste while many, many people are watching. The goal is to make two more pairs of socks this year, so I intend to do a simple pair next, no pattern at all.
March 4, 2013
It is true, I’m officially in my forties! I feel forty, I think I look forty, and I don’t mind being forty, it feels like it fits. We celebrated by heading to the mountains this weekend, and enjoying good family time at a resort with a most awesome family pool complex. Fia had so much fun playing in the toddler pool, the big pool, and the indoor/outdoor hot tub. Mr. J arrived on Saturday just before lunch from his business trip, and Fia celebrated some more with a 3 hour nap. Therefore I got to head over to Knit and Caboodle in Canmore and bought some Birthday Yarn! It is Freia Ombre yarn in the Moab colourway. It is so pretty I may never knit with it, just keep it like this forever to look at. What a great store by the way, I can’t believe I never made an effort to find it before. An excellent selection of yarn you want to see, with large stock of some very desireable brands, and some very pretty locally dyed items. I was also impressed by the large selection of accessories, they had a lot of fun stuff. I was sorely tempted by some Sweet Georgia yarn, but restrained to just one perfect skein.
I don’t remember what I did for my tenth birthday, or my twentieth other than I was in University at the time. For my thirtieth I had wanted to go to Bali, but just went to New Hampshire instead to ski. My current flame and I went skating during a massive snowstorm, by the end we were skating through a foot of snow, I remember it being so beautiful. I thought for sure I would go to Bali for my fortieth.
Here I am, and I’m not in Bali. The truth be told, I don’t really want to go to Bali right now, I’ve already been. One day I’ll go back, but right now a trip to the mountains, and watching my little girl have so much fun was the best time I can think of. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world, as everything I had wanted at thirty is now mine. A family, a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, these were my hearts desires at thirty. Back then this seemed like a possibily unobtainable dream, but one I dreamed anyhow. Dreams should be dreamt, even when you don’t know if they will come true.
I wonder what I will be like at fifty or even sixty now. I’ve been picturing myself working at sixty, and wondering what that will look like, and what I’ll be doing. As a result I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about career paths, and where I would like to be, and how I should try and get there. What are my dreams for myself when I’m fifty or sixty? Seventy? I have a better idea what I would like to do at seventy, when I will be retired for sure. A man tried to get me to come work for him this summer and asked me what my career plan was, what I wanted to do. I’m not quite sure, but starting to think about it is a good step, deciding where you want to be, and then figuring out how to get there. I am also lucky in that I have a number of different paths I can take, which is a benefit of a good education and resume that I have behind me.
So Happy Birthday to me, the luckiest girl in the world!