Posts categorized "Gainful Employment"

Mommy makes it better; but like all women she shouldn't have to do it all

Mom came Wednesday and it has completely changed my outlook on things.  My mom is awesome.  While I was in grad school she would come and help with the kids (who were babies at the time) by doing laundry, cleaning, making meals and just taking the edge off all those things that one needs to do to maintain a household. 

She's doing the same thing right now, including picking the kids up at school so they can spend some time together and it just makes things so much easier.

I'm still tired, but can sleep in tomorrow for a bit before we go to the (last) soccer tournament for Emma.  Being free of soccer-mom duties will also take a huge load off.  (I have some things to say about boys and girls and sport but will save that for another post).

One thing all this has (again) reinforced for me is how modern work and households are still based on the assumption of a person (read: WOMAN) in the home to make it all go.  Families who feel like "work/life balance" is out of whack likely feel this way because it is very difficult to work full time and maintain a household.  I'm not talking about being Martha with a fully decorated house and wonderfully tasty nutritious meals here; I'm talking about making sure everyone is fed something, and your house isn't growing toxic mould as the level of upkeep here.  Just getting it all done is difficult and I think politicians and workplaces don't completely understand that in their policymaking and arrangement of work.

I'm extremely fortunate to work in a place which is flexible and understands that I have other commitments and am not on this earth to work solely for them.  Craig's previous employer was in that category and it really puts a strain on things.  I also chose this particular career route over academic life because I wanted to have things weighted more in the LIFE category over the WORK category.  I also made choices about where I live (to keep commuting times down) and how much we do for extra activities too.   But I have the luxury of making those choices and I know many others have inflexible employers, different living situations and may also be parenting on their own which completely changes the situation.

How can we make it change?  Since Canada is the midst of an election campaign and there is much talk of how to help families I think this is an important conversation to have.  I don't believe cutting taxes for families is really the answer.  Sure I can use that money to buy the services of a cleaner (which I plan on doing soon) or eat out more, but again that's because I already have access to good childcare and a good job and commute.  What I think would really help Canadians are investments into SERVICES.  We are a very prosperous country.  We have been running multi-billion dollar budget surpluses for several years now and have been paying down the national debt.  I'm tired of being told we don't have the money because that is complete crap. 

I want to see investments into public transit to help commuters get to their jobs and homes more quickly.  This will even help drivers because less cars on the road helps everyone, not just in commuting but for the environment.  I want more bike lanes and alternative transportation options too.  This is important in Toronto, but also quickly growing cities like Calgary and Halifax.  Canada is experiencing increasing urbanization and we need large investments into city infrastructure NOW.   

I want a national childcare program and a national homecare/eldercare program.  Women are primarily responsible for the care of children and the elderly and are facing continuous stress juggling these with paid employment.  If we are to have true equality for women this has to happen.  And it has to happen for all women; not just those who are able to pay for services.  I know not everyone wants these things and like all public services you can choose to participate, but children who are cared for in nurturing environments and older and ill adults who have contributed to this country their whole lives and may need assistance deserve and require these services.  I hear stories every day of people waiting for childcare or trying to help elderly relatives and just wanting someone with power to care and provide some help. 

If you read this blog you probably know that I'm a New Democrat and am solidly on the "left" with my politics..  I will be voting NDP again this election.  While I don't completely support their platform, they best represent my values and priorities the best and are the only party that I really believe speaks for women and a diverse population in this country. 

With the US election we have heard much about women and "minorities" in politics (I don't like that term, but like the de rigeur "racialized peoples" less), but that discourse is also about those women and people of colour who have a great deal of power and money.  While I believe those conversations are important (and have led to some great humour and satire) I prefer the debates to be less about the sex and colour of the leaders and more about the issues facing these respective communities; you know, the stuff that takes leadership and change.

Some griping with some knitting at the end

My annual physical was uneventful except for learning one thing new--apparently I'm an inch shorter (want to verify this when I get home)--and getting confirmation of something I was in denial about--I've put on weight.  People at work call it the Simcoe Hall Spread and while I knew it was happening--too many lunch meetings, crappy catered food all over the place, not enough moving around--I figured it wasn't that bad. 


I need to lose 10-15 lbs.  Shit.  It was good to hear it from someone else because I didn't really want to hear my own inner voice noticing that all my clothes were too tight. 

I had started making some dietary changes this summer; no more beloved Coke every lunch (replaced it with almost palatable Coke Zero), trying to have less beer, less eating out for lunch etc. and I am riding my bike to work.  But it's not enough.  Time to get back into a gym.  Well, after Craig is back from his work trip.  No sense joining today only to take 5 weeks off because I have no childcare.  I will start back at the office lunch time yoga tomorrow and try *really* hard to keep it up (though I have a lot of lunch time workshops to attend which makes it difficult).

The better news was that all the envelopes were stuffed by the time I got into work today.  I have a fabulous team here and they spared me that job.  And we ordered in Thai food for lunch (I had more mango salad than pad thai noodles since I was still feeling the sting of the scale).

But enough about that...let's look in my knitting bag instead.

Here's my film festival sock.  It's the project I knit in lines, before movies start, during the Director Q&A's etc.  My first movie is tomorrow night! 

I got a bit of a head start on it during Xander's soccer game.  The yarn is one of the Kaffe Fasset Regia colours.


And here's my eye of partridge heel--very nifty.


And Baby Cables.  So pretty.  I'm just 20 rows in and I remember how much I love the Zara yarn (it's so squooshy). 


No Vino photos yet.  I need to be wearing some pants and it's too damned hot to wear a sweater coat.  I'm not complaining about the heat (it's like we're getting more summer!) just the idea of being wrapped in wool outside in this weather.

I fold

I'm tired.  Really tired.  It's partly because I stayed up too late watching the premiere of the new 90210 (well not all of it; when I found out it was 2 hours long I went to bed, but it was still way past my bed time) and mostly because I spent the day standing up operating a letter folding machine.

Even with a machine folding over 3000 pieces of paper is hard work.  So much so that I don't even have the energy to knit Baby Cables (which I started and LOVE).  I took pictures but my camera batteries died and my nearly new charger doesn't work and I'm too tired to find new batteries (you get the picture).

Time for bed.  Tomorrow I join the co-workers who are stuffing the envelopes.  After I go for my annual physical (bleh).

Yep. Get a PhD, stuff envelopes.* 

*Good thing I'm paid well, have excellent benefits and a fabulous boss.

Necessity is the mother of invention

Problem: I want to ride my bike to work but must transport my huge poster home from the printers (poster is 90" by 46").

Consensus of everyone I ask: You're taking the subway today honey.

Lightbulb moment: Last  night on the subway on the way home from great night of knitting at Lettuce Knit (got to meet That Laurie who is a knitter/dyer/spinner extraordinare and all round nice woman)...I need some sort of carrying device for the tube.  Aha!  My yoga mat bag.

Aren't I clever?

poster carrier

And it actually worked!  Poster is at work.  I haven't looked at it yet, mostly because I'm afraid I won't be able to get it back in the tube when I'm done.  I'm going to borrow a snazzy telescopic poster case to get it to Banff.  Not as nifty as a knitted thing, but probably safer. 

My research partner offered to take it home in her car tonight so I won't have to worry about getting it home.  Too bad, I felt like an Academic Ninja with it on (I know, dorky, but I'm a geek, what can I say!)


Knitterly Week

It's been a busy re-entry into work/life here at And She Knits Too.  Monday's return to school and work and the routine went pretty well, probably because poor Craig was home sick but able to get dinner on the table early.  Everyone is a bit tired though and it seems like there is a billion things going on; Brownies and Beavers, curling bonspiels, work, housework, new exercise routines (those holiday pounds--yuck) and a bunch of Knitterly events.

Last night I hung out at the Purple Purl and it was packed.  There was even a crew from Space TV doing a bit on technology and knitting.  It gave me a chance to do a few inches on Roam

Tonight there are meet-ups at the Spotted Dick and Lettuce Knit which I will probably forgo in order to catch up on laundry and bake cupcakes for Emma's birthday party tomorrow night.  We decided to do the big party at a great (cheap) play place with 20 screaming and crazy children.  I must remember to buy some beer to drink once it's all over.  I swore I would never do this, but I have learned that all resolutions before children are void--we all say things that seem so smart before we're parents that seem so dumb when we're actually parenting.

Friday is Drunken Knitters and Saturday is the opening of In the Loop (formerly Alterknits).  I'll probably go Friday and want to go Saturday, but I should also do some work on Knitty and a conference abstract.  I'm feeling the grind starting again and it makes me a bit harried.  I'm not sure how it gets so busy; it just does.  Perhaps I just need to dwell on it less (or ignore the laundry and the state of my house).   And, realize that none of us can do it all and have everyone pare down a bit and just relax.

Holy Sh*t! There's Knitting!

It's been a good week.  The kids spent it at my Mother's so we got to play a bunch--a movie and beers, quiet dinners, unhurried mornings.  It was nice.  I had a paper accepted for publication and I got a new permanent job.  The job news is especially good.  I have been working at the University on a contract and now it's full time.  It's also not an academic job (though it does involve research) and I'm happy about that too.  And besides it's a new adventure.

I've even had time to knit this week:

Two more pieces of Honey are blocking.  I'm on the last sleeve and having the "get it finished" fever.  I still have to decide about the front button bands so it may take a while longer as I experiment to find the right ones.  I changed the bottom bands from garter stitch to fold-over hems and might do the same for the bands, but I think it might be too thick.  I-cord is another possibility, except the bands are fairly large and I need the extra width there (I'm actually only 50% sure this sweater will fit). 


I've also been dabbling with the Mystery Stole (3).  I'm really enjoying watching this one unfold.  Here it is in the middle of clue 2:


The two-colours of beads are working out really well too.  They're a bitch to photograph, so you'll have to just take my word for it.


They look more pretty than this.  Really. 

And to end my good week, I'm off to pick up my new bike!  I'm also checking out some accessories.  I really like what these people did to their Townies.  Especially the daisies.  I heart daisies.  I almost went for this bike, but it was too silly for what I need.  I think I'm having a mid-life crisis!


Nvivo 7 analysis software can bite my ass. It is so slow that I spend half my day surfing while it does stuff. Which means I do silly things like virtually shop (ie on the internet without buying. I fill the cart and then leave) or these quizzes.
You Are a Pinky
You are fiercely independent, and possibly downright weird.
A great communicator, you can get along with almost anyone.
You are kind and sympathetic. You support all your friends - and love them for who they are.

You get along well with: The Ring Finger

Stay away from: The Thumb

Long time finishing

Today we finished stuff.  I finished marking my exams!  I could get all philosophical about how I learned something about my own teaching and what needs more work for the next course, but I won't because I don't even want to think about teaching because I'm done!  I just have a few bureaucratic things and then I'm done this contract (meaning I only have 3 jobs).  Woo-fucking-hoo!

I also finished the first RPM sock:


I really like it.  It's a big snug in the heel/instep area which is usually not a problem for me.  I think the pattern torques a bit so it makes it snugger. 

I have a case of second sock syndrome though.  I would rather start a different sock than finish the second one.  This has never happened to me before.  I'll be casting on the second sock right after this to take on the subway tomorrow and nip that thing in the bud.

Someone else in the house also finished some knitting:


May I present Emma's first ever knit, a garter stitch scarf for her Curious George. 


This 10 stitch scarf took about 3 years to finish.  Oddly, Emma never forgot how to knit.  She could leave it for months and just pick it up and start again, but she never really caught the bug and knit often. 


Now that she has the chance to knit something for herself (likely another scarf since I can't purl holding the yarn in my right hand like she does and because she would like a scarf) she's getting it.

I'm so PROUD!

Blame the box

It's exam time in the degree mill, which means that I'm pretty cranky.  My students wrote their exam on Monday and I have to get everything graded by the next Monday--3 days from today.  26 done.  51 to go.  sigh.

The box of exams is right beside the couch and it's not only a convenient holder of paper, it's a receptacle for my crankiness.


No blogging: blame the box.

Lack of sleep: blame the box.

OhmygodhowcananyonethinkIwillpassthemwiththiscrap: you get the idea.

I did try to balance my mood by casting on an Exam sock this weekend.  I'm using the Azurite STR that Amy bought me from The Fold.  I'm using the RPM pattern and it makes me happy.


It's also exam marking motivation.  I mark 5 exams and get to knit 5 rounds on the sock.  It ain't much, but I have to take what I can get.  You know what I blame.