Posts categorized "Musing"

Forty-Four Fixer-Upper

Many women remark that their being in their forties is pretty fantastic. I was doubtful because as a woman in a youth obsessed society forty is old. And I would get chin hairs and grey hairs and get all peri-menopausal and shit. What I didn't realize until lately is that, yes all that is true (and what the actual fuck is up with the chin hairs?!) but that I don't actually care one bit what anyone thinks of my looks or my mood or any of it.

I have zero fucks to give. That's magic.

But while I don't care what others think of how I look, how old I am, and except for those I love and respect, what I think and do, I do care about how I see myself and how I want to feel in my body and be in my world. So I started fixing stuff.

First was my skin. Almost 30 years with psoriasis was enough. I was tired of being itchy, applying greasy ointment, having to pick clothing that would hide ugly red patches. And I was tired of spending time on treatments that only sorta worked. Last spring I took a leap and chose a new biologic systemic drug (Stelara) and I'm almost completely clear. I was afraid of systemic treatments because of risks and side effects but realized that I don't want more children and am at a time in my life where it's my turn to do stuff for me. It was the right time and I still feel good about making the decision. It used to seem shallow to want to fix what was essentially a cosmetic issue but taking this drug has changed my life. Both in the time I spent treating my skin and worrying about how I could be in the world with ugly skin. And it feels great.

Next was something a bit more troublesome. Stress incontinence. Super common in women. Almost never discussed. And while I've tweeted that I had lady-part surgery, I haven't said what until now (eep!). But I realized it's important to tell my story.

I've lived with it since I had my kids and it was getting worse. It made doing things I enjoyed like running, ball hockey, laughing, sneezing and sometimes walking, well, messy. I talked to my doctor a few years ago but decided to not get a referral. She pushed but not too hard. Then after the stelara victory I realized that I need to fix the things that bug me or I'll be unhappy. So off I went. Met the urogynaecologist, did the tests (email me if you want the details--they're uncomfortable) and booked the surgery. I chose to wait until ball hockey season ended so I wouldn't lose my spot on the team and it was a long summer and fall because I had decided and was ready.

I had the surgery November 5th. Tension-free, vaginal tape. Like a face-lift for your urethra! It was day surgery and I got over my fear of everything medical, sucked it up and it wasn't awful. The recovery was uncomfortable for about a week (catching a cold five days after seriously sucks) and I got two weeks at home to watch tv and movies and knit (I finished 5 cowls) and now a month later I'm feeling pretty great and leak free. All I wait for now is the all-clear appointment at 6 weeks so I can start running and riding my bike to work. That'll be the true test but I'm feeling optimistic. And again, taking care of me for ME was the right thing to do.

The time off work also gave me time to think about what else needs fixing. Not just my body, but who I want to be in my forties. My kids are teenagers and need me a lot less. What do I want to achieve professionally? What outside things do I want to pursue? What shape does my life take as my kids get closer to leaving home (they do that, right?!). I don't have real answers, but it's cool to have the freedoms to think about it.

I'll let you know what I come up with.

The next fix is my hair. I decided to stop dying it. I'm telling my stylist tomorrow. I will have her help me plot the grow out. I'm tired of paying the money and taking the time and resent that men get grey and sexy (like George Clooney) and women get grey and old. Fuck that.

Though once it's natural, I do plan to get a streak or two or cobalt blue, because I can.


Maybe I should just give up knitting (not really)

This winter has not been a great one for me knitting-wise.  I've made a few accessories that were just okay, but not much else, and I haven't had a project that really grabbed me.  

Well, I shouldn't say that because working on Oshima was pretty great.  Until it wasn't.  

I think I need a knitting win.

Knocking off a quick WIP was the plan last week.  The kids were at my Mom's for the March Break (and yes, it was fantastic), I had all of season two of House of Cards to watch and plenty of Indiodragonfly Smart Ass Knitters/World Domination one skein projects to choose from.  I got back to the Caulking arm/leg warmers and got to it.  

I finished the first one and dove into the second one.  Then I took a little break and started the Sweetums fingerless mitts.  All was good.

Until it wasn't.

Apparently I can't read.  I missed an entire line in the Sweetums pattern and didn't notice until 48 rows later when I couldn't figure out where to put the thumb.  I was silly enough to write to the designer and it wasn't until she explained it that I noticed I missed the line in the pattern.

While Sweetums was working itself out I finished both House of Cards and the second armwarmer.  Tried them on, did the photo shoot and then noticed something wasn't quite right.  

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The second armwarmer was a full repeat (8 sts) bigger than the first one.  (No I didn't write down what size I was making, who does that?!).

I actually turned off the tv and counted the repeats on the first one twice to confirm the number: 56.  When I was casting on, I distinctly remember doing the math in my head as I distributed the stitches on the dpns.  16 per needle.  Because 16x4 is totally 56.

Except it's 64.

Twelve inches, ripped out.  I casted it on properly and it's in the travel knitting pouch.  I'll get back to it.

Sweetums is coming along very nicely.  Almost done the first one.   

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I hope this goes smoothly now.  I'm tired of so many mess ups of the easy things that I've been doing most of my life like reading and counting.

 


Reality Bites

I have to face facts. I'm not going to have enough of my special over dyed cork to make Oshima. The yarn was specially over dyed so there is no more. I've been hoarding it because I love Cork and the colour is so fabulous.

Finding this out earlier (or rather, getting past my denial earlier) would have been nice since I have the sleeves done and am almost at the neck shaping on the body.

Instead of abandoning it completely I'm thinking I could make a plainer sweater. I love the brioche stitch but find it too stiff with the Cork at this gauge and it EATS yarn. I also have 3 skeins of orange cork that I could use too.

I figure these are my options:

Option 1: knit on and use the orange cork in the cowl. I could still be short of yarn and this colour combo could look weird.

Option 2: rip back the brioche stitch on the body work the body in stockinette to generally conform to the pattern, knit the collar in brioche or even just rib I lose some of the design but get a big cozy sweater.

Option 3: put the the whole thing in a bag and put it away. Next Fall find another pattern for the cork (probably a Custom Fit) and find another yarn for Oshima (this pattern is fantastic). To console myself, immediately cast on something that I know will work.

Right now I'm voting for option 3. Especially the casting on part.

Thoughts? I think I need some knitter perspective.

 


Winter Is Not So Bad

I've been thinking about my poor forgotten blog a lot lately. I have no intention of giving it up, even if no one reads it. I've been writing here for 10 years and still like the process of coming here and writing a few things, marking moments in my life with photos, cataloging my fibre-pursuits and the emphemera of my life.

The sad thing is that when there's too much going on, I don't have the time (or more rightly the energy) to compose a post, upload and edit the photos and contribute to the space that means a lot to me.

In the last month there's been more time spent on work than is normal and than I like and it's been duties that take a lot of mental effort on my part. Sadly it's sapping my energy to even knit some nights, so instead I read tweets or mindlessly play spell tower which makes me feel even less ready to face another work day. The weather has been cramping my small desire to exercise, another blow to morale.

This weekend, I did some fun things and hope they'll recharge my energy levels and get me moving both physically and emotionally. I went skiing for the first time in 20 years and it was fun! I've only skiied half a dozen times and i was expecting a minor disaster. Instead I had a great time and I'm not even very sore. The kids and Craig tried snowboarding and we all got plenty of fresh air and time away from the pressures of work and school.

There's no pictures--we were all too busy! But here's one from our Sunday walk out on a frozen Lake Simcoe.

(I posted a few more on Instagram--I'm docsteph)

I used to think I didn't like winter, but now I realize I don't like typical grey soggy damp Toronto winters. That bright snow and blue sky were so gorgeous.

Let's not be so crazy as to believe I don't want this one to end; another week of really cold temperatures, no biking and little motivation to run isn't what I want. But having the chance to be out doing fun things in the snow is pretty fantastic and got me back here to write a bit.

Now I'm going to cast on the body of a sweater. Let's see of I can get my knitting groove back too.

 


2013: Crafty Round Up

I love Ravelry.  Not only does it keep me organized but it gives me data.  I love data. 

For example: I have a lot of yarn.  56,268 meters worth.  That doesn't include yarn being used in WIPs because Ravelry knows that it's spoken for (at least for the moment, I have a few WIPs that need reconsideration).

Do I have less yarn than last year? Not sure.  I think the spreadsheet with that information is on my work computer so I'll have to check when I'm back next week. (By the way, two weeks off at Christmas is amazing...by far the best benefit of my job).

I do strive for stash equilibrium whereby I knit as much as I purchase or spin and therefore don't make more stash.  I'm pretty sure I'm close to last year's number and not near the over 60km I've had in the past, so that's something.

As for what I did accomplish knitting/weaving/spinning wise...it was a fine year.

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5 sweaters

3 scarves/shawls

3 hats (one that never made it to Ravelry)

6 cowls

1 pair armwarmers

1 pair of knee socks

1 amazing blanket

I even managed to spin some yarn (but not very much!)

I don't generally set crafty goals because I want to use that time freely and work on what strikes me as fun, motivating, challenging, easy or whatever it is that I need from my fibre pursuits.  Everyone in the family needs socks so I will try to work on some plain ones so no one's feet are cold and I could really use a new hat, but otherwise, I'll keep working on things that please me at the time.  It's a luxury to have the time and resources to have something like that in my life and I'm not going to mess with it.

I bet some of you have knitting goals.  I always like to hear them if you want to share.

 


2013: It was good

I don't think I'm a very introspective person. I don't tend to look back on the year that has gone by on December 31st and assess if it was good or bad. Time passes, lots happens and while I don't doubt that some years can be very good and others might be very bad, I tend to think in smaller chunks of time. Maybe it's because nothing has been bad enough to ruin a whole year and that makes me quite lucky indeed.

(Shadow selfie December 31, 2013)

 

But since it is December 31st and I decided to take a moment to blog, I can say, 2013 was good.

Off the top of my head there was the Epic Road Trip, my Ballhockey team winning the cup, another fabulous Rhinebeck weekend, a few good running races (but not enough running which is entirely my fault), lots of pretty knitting, my kids continue to be healthy, successful and awesome, I'm still in love with the same guy after 25 years (19 married) and besides the "am I already so old as to need bifocals", I'm pretty healthy, successful and awesome too.

The one things I forgot to do this year was call out the fact that And She Knits Too turned 10 this November.

A decade of blogging. I never expected to still put words on the Internet and have people read them after ten years. Thanks for that. If you put up with me on Twitter or Instagram, thanks for that too.

I plan to keep writing this blog in 2014 and hope to do a better job of posting next year. Along with the classic resolutions of a) get more sleep and b) exercise more, that should put me in league with the resolutions of 95% of the Internet. But like I said, I'm not very introspective and so I haven't given it much thought (except the exercise thing...I feel like a complete lump and need to move around).

Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2013 was good for you and that 2014 is full of ______________ (insert desires here).

 


Happy New Year! (with some goal setting mixed in)

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2012.  For those of you doing the 12 knitted things in '12 may your needles be swift and your projects delightful.  For everyone, I wish health, happiness and a stash that makes you happy.

Me, I'm not any more reflective than I usually am about stuff.  But since this blog has always been intended as a space to say what I like, I'll put forth a few goal like things:

Running:  I want to match my 1000km running goal (btw I ran 1036km in total over 150 runs!!!) and I'm considering entering a 1/2 marathon this year.  Truth be told, I will be 42 in July and a full marathon is 42km, so I'm stewing over the idea of doing a full, where perhaps I will discover the meaning of life, the universe and everything in my exercise induced euphoria.  (See what I mean about my self-reflexivity?)

Spinning: It's like many people's get healthy goals.  I once again vow to spin more often.  I haven't done more than dust my wheels since the summer.  Must try to develop a more regular practice and improve my spinning.

Weaving: This winter I need to weave Craig the scarf I promised two winters ago.  Maybe I'll warp the loom today just to get things started.  This is one craft I feel I have balance with.  I pull out the loom when I want a scarf and put it away when I'm done.  I could learn more about it, but I don't feel any burning desire to tackle it now (saving it for my retirement).

Knitting: It was a good year for me.  I completed 6 sweaters, 2 pairs of socks, 7 accessories (hats, scarves etc) and a blanket.  I have a few FO's on the go and don't like to over plan my knitting life since well, other life does tend to get in the way.  I would like to tackle some stashed projects, knit some knee socks with some handspun sock yarn (already spun) and make stuff that makes me happy since that's really what it's all about.

Finished objects, 2011

(I love these mosaics!)

Stash: My stash is healthy.  It doesn't really give me much stress until it moves beyond the furniture I have to contain it in.  Right now, I actually have empty storage spaces so I'm pretty content.  The biggest problem is that I have so many nice yarns and fibres and not enough time to play with them all.  For 2012 I will continue to add to the stash wisely, sell or give away what doesn't give me pleasure and keep working on getting the yearly kilometers of yarn equal or less than the 2011 number of: 57.14km.  (I like how that sounds much better than in metres!)  That's down from 65km last year so that ain't bad.  One way I do this is by making sure my stash is up to date in Ravelry.  Then I can shop in my "personal yarn store" before I venture out and buy yarn.

Career: This was a good and bad year for me at my job. I don't blog about work much because I don't think my big boss likes it very much (because I've been chastised for my time online in the past).  Even saying that might be too much, but really, I do feel that I should be able to write about my work in a general way (ie not blog the content of my work, but what I'm working on) and how I FEEL ABOUT my work.  (That felt good to say).

I was fortunate to be selected into a mentorship program in 2011 and it was a great opportunity for me to make connections in the University, learn from someone who does a very different job than me and to spend time thinking about what I want to do next in my career.  I have some good ideas and I'm thinking about what I might do to get there, like... 

  • Project management courses with possibility of getting PMP certification
  • Talking to more people at the University to learn about their work and their career paths
  • Thinking about work outside the University.  I really like academia as a place to work but wonder if I'm limiting myself by trying to carve out a career in one place (which has fantastic benefits and good work/life balance).  I plan to do a bit more exploring of the world outside the ivory tower and see what other opportunities Toronto has to offer me.

Wow, that's a lot more goal setting than I planned when I started this post.  But there it is.  I am still the #womanwhogetsshitdone and now I'm going to have a nice long bubble bath!

I would love to hear your goals too!

 


:Cringe: cyclist stupidity

When the weather is good (ie there's no snow) I bike to work. Over the years I have had tangles with many stupid drivers which have thankfully lead to nothing more than a wrecked fender, sweaty palms and a rapid heart beat.


This year, the traffic and stupid drivers are NOTHING compared to some of the things I have seen my fellow cyclists do. Luckily I haven't had to see them being smucked by cars but even cringing as they run that red light, or move out of the bike lane into traffic without freaking looking (and hearing the squeal as a car brakes) is too much for me.


Case one: Tuesday June 28 morning Bloor and Parliament
Man quizzes by on bike. Turns out he is holding on to the wheel well of a van to propel himself! Lets go, crosses 6 lanes of busy traffic then rides the wrong way in the bike lane before running through a red light.


What a stupid douche.


Case Two: Wednesday June 29 morning Bay and College
This was a slow cyclist. He looked careful and knowledgable. Until I passed him. Obviously bothered that a vagina passed his penis, he rode in the very skinny space between a city bus and a very big truck in order to pass the bus and make a right hand turn in front if it. I waited behind the bus because I know that the bus wouldn't see me and I don't want to be flattened. The bus didn't see him at first evidenced by the hard braking and I cringed.


Bonehead.


Why do I relay these? Not because I want to set back cyclist rights or because I'm sanctimonious because I too am not a perfect cyclist or driver but because stupid people like these endanger themselves, drivers and ME. I hope they don't drive cars the way they cycle and I want them to know they are reinforcing the views of drivers and our mayor who is poised to banish cyclists from the streets.


So stop it okay? Be sensible. I don't want to be in therapy after witnessing your death.


Sunday Stuff

I was going to write a post about the fact that I hardly ever blog anymore and really, should I bother in a world with Ravelry and Twitter and Facebook and then I thought, fuck it, why I don't I just post some stuff about what's going on like I always do and just not worry about it.

So here it goes...

I should run today.  I haven't run since Monday, but I've had a mild cold, it's been busy and when I finally found the time and energy, it was snowing like crazy.  So today it is.  Once I drink some coffee and get more motivation.

What I would rather do is stay home in my pjs with warm beverages and knit.  I ended 2010 with only one WIP on the needles and now Space Girl is done (and I love it).  Made from my own handspun (which tickles me a bunch).

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Now I have a brand new year and a beautiful stash and so many possibilities.  I let the yarn be the guide and started Redhook with Briar Rose fibers BFL that I bought 2 Rhinebecks ago. I've wanted to knit up this yarn for a while and it's super nice to work with.  I do hope I'll wear this vest (I don't have a great track record with vests), but I am enjoying the knitting.

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I also started some complicated socks--a first for me.  The pattern is Staked by Glenna C. and the colour is And Then Buffy Staked Edward, The End.  It's an offering from the Indigodragonfly Smart-Ass Knitters/World Domination Club and it's lovely (there are little cabled hearts with stakes through them).  I know little of both Buffy and Twilight, but I know pretty socks when I see them.  

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I usually don't bother with difficult to knit socks because I like to use sock knitting as an easy thing, but this year I'm giving it a go.  While these can't be a knit on the subway project, they are a nice foil to lots of stockinette.  And they're small enough that I might get them finished!

Well back to psyching myself into a run AND working with Emma to finish her Social Studies project.  Stupid homework.  And it's not even MY homework!


Knitting and Spinning 2010 Roundup

In 2010, I knit a bunch of things, wove only one piece (must do more weaving in 2011), spun up some pretty yarns and even knit up some my handspun.  I sold a bunch of stash to pay for two fabulous trips away with knitting friends (must repeat the trips in 2011), bought a bunch of yarn (mostly from Indigodragonfly!) but came out with slightly less yarn than the beginning of the year (woot!).  I reviewed some books, gave away others and filled my hard drive with fabulous pdfs--I love pdf patterns.  I even released a design, *Asterisk* that really challenged me (now available to non-Smart-Ass Knitters club members as a kit!).  

I love fibre arts as much as ever and 2010 was a good year.

(It was a good year for a whole bunch of personal, non-knitting related things, but I think that's a post for tomorrow).

I did this photo mosaic last year and rather liked it.  Here's one for handspun and one for knitting.  

Handspun 2010

Knitting 2010

Of course, knitting is not a sport, but it was a pretty productive year for me. I knit an incredibly complicated, fair isle shawl and finished in time for Rhinebeck (by far, my favourite FO EVER), and I spun a sweater's worth of yarn that is actually almost knit into a sweater. There weren't any total disasters, so that's good too.

My goals for 2011 are to weave more and improve my weaving. Spin enough yarn for a sweater (a small, sweater) and keep working on reducing my stash by trying very hard not to buy yarn. I need to avoid those "keepsake skeins", you know, the ones bought because they're pretty and just one skein. I have a lot of those and well, I need to start cranking out socks and woven scarves to reduce their number. Oddly, they stress me more than sweater quantities.

The biggest challenge right now is to finish my first ever sweater using handspun. I am going to either just have enough to make a long sleeve sweater, or I will be just that smidge short. To avoid ripping back, I'm now knitting both sleeves from either end of the skein. This is made more challenging by the fact that it's a top down raglan.

Happy New Year to all you knitters!  May your stash be ample (but not too ample), your handknits be lovely and loved and may you have all the time you desire to work on your passions.