Wednesday, May 18, 2011

5 Short Stories About the Past Week

So much going on around here, yet nothing is happening, so a few short stories:

1.  It's wildfire season in Alberta.  This happens every year as soon as the snow is gone, and we pretty much take it in stride.  The air quality goes up and down, depending upong prevailing winds.  Helicopters and water bombers buzz overhead at all hours. The one highway in and out of town often closes.  These things happen.  But nothing like what has happened to the community of Slave Lake, southwest of here, has happened in my 30 years in the North (you can read more here).  The wildfires breached town limits on Sunday night, and it is estimated that between 30 and 50 percent of the community is little more than ashes right now.  Thousands have been displaced, many losing everything they had.  The damage is still being assessed, so what we can do to help is still sketchy, but I would encourage anyone who wants to help to give to the Canadian Red Cross, who are operating several evacuation shelters in the region.

2. There are still strange men with hammers banging on my house.  Our condo board decided 3 years ago to replace the windows, doors, and exterior siding on our townhouses.  This year, it is our turn. So there are strange men in and out of my yard, pounding on the walls at 7:30 in the morning.  And they are trampling my garden.  I am becoming a little testy.  Pretty soon, I'm gonna be that old woman out in her nightgown yelling "Hey you kids, git offa my petunias!"  We are about two weeks away from being done, if I don't chase the boys off with a rake one of these fine days.

3.  The garden is thriving in spite of the construction dudes.  I know I'm not supposed to plant before the May long weekend, but I rarely follow rules like that.  Besides, about 70 percent of my garden is perennial, so I really have little to no say when things start growing.  And growing things are!  I have already harvested a bit of rhubarb, and we've been eating chives since the end of April.  The strawberries are flowering, and the buds are on the crabapple tree.  The onion sets are in, and the root veggies planted.  Once the construction is done, my spinning oasis should be good and green and waiting for me. 

4.  About 10 years ago, a pair of robins nested in the spruce tree outside our gate, and we have had robins in our yard ever since.  I was thrilled about two weeks ago when they showed up again.  This year, they are raiding last years crabapples from the high branched that I didn't get to before the snow.  The birds swoop in and try to grab the crabapples on the fly, since there are two fascinated cats watching from under the tree, but robins are not known for their swooping and grabbing prowess.  This means that there has been a sporadic rain of squishy, rotten crabapples being dropped on the construction dudes.  I feel this may be Karma in action.

5.  Would you trust me with your offspring?  I hope so, because, as of last Thursday, I am now leading the Kids Mini Fibre Camp at Fibre Week.  (Because coordinating the workshop program,  teaching for the Master Spinner Program, hosting the fashion show and saving the world is not keeping me busy enough when I am in Olds.)  The instructor originally lined up will be unable to make it,  and there was a sudden surge in interest in the camp, so we decided to look for someone to take it on.  After a rather brief contemplation of the options, I decided that I wanted to play.  Then reality set in.  Well, panic, really.  How can I keep 8 kids busy for 2 days??

Teh Interwebz to the rescue!  I have been inspired to felt, dye, spin and weave with the gaffers, and I'm designing some pretty awesome projects now.  Two days is nowhere near long enough to do all of the projects that are flowing through my mind now (...perhaps we shall have to bring back the weeklong format next year.  Hmmmm... I have the power to do that!)

I'm still teaching Level 3 of the Master Spinner Program as well and I have some fun stuff planned for the kids there, too.  Only 5 weeks left until Fibre Week, and I'm getting pretty excited!  And it's not too late for you to register, either, but you'd better check it out quickly, because we make the final decisions on class cancellations if they aren't filled by June 1st--I would hate to see someone miss out on a class because they waited too long!  Check out the website for more details.

Of course, there is much life to be lived between now and then.

And maybe a few more short stories...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

"Why hasn't Michelle been blogging?"

"I hope she's okay--do you think she was hit by a bus?"

"Has she been travelling?"

"Maybe she slipped through a wormhole, and is now living in another dimension where there is more time in a day?"

"If so, she should have time to blog..."

Yes, I can hear your thoughts as you ponder yet another drought on this blog.  The truth is that I have been busy.  Doing...stuff.

Stuff like knitting this shawl...

Queen Anne's Lace by MMario KKnits (Ravelry link) out of the yarn that I featured in this post.  Obsessively knitting all 165 rows of the chart, each row different enough to drive a sane woman mad.

Or stuff like knitting this shawl...

Swallowtail by Evelyn Clark.  Made with Kid Seta mohair/silk blend.  For no apparent reason, except to answer a question for a friend. 

Or stuff like spinning and plying 300 g of alpaca/silk/cashmere blend into 970 yards of  sportweight yarn, with another 300 g to go.  Or stuff like spinning three bobbins of singles in BFL/silk blend, worsted weight.  Or stuff like knitting and frogging and knitting and frogging my apparently never-to-be-finished Penelope top. 

Of course, I've been doing all of the usual stuff, too, like cooking, and laundry, and driving a teenager to and from work.  And dealing with the destruction construction crew that is doing the renovations on the outside of our townhouse. And walking the dog and getting the garden ready.  You know, stuff.

Important stuff.

"I think Michelle sounds a little defensive, don't you?"

"Yep, I think she is listing all of these things she has done to hide something else..."


I have been doing all of this stuff, I really have.  But the real reason I have not been blogging is, well, because I have a new love.  Her name is Esmeralda, and I have been spending every spare moment with her...

It's true what they say about riding a bicycle by the's as if I've never stopped, even though I haven't been on a bike for over 20 years.  I had forgotten how free you feel, with the wind in your face and your feet pedalling like mad.   I had forgotten how far you can go under your own steam, and how the world looks from the seat of a bicycle.  I'm just a wee bit enamored of the whole thing right now.

So, I do apologise for not keeping you updated on all of my doings for the past month, but...