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May 14, 2013

Baby Blankets and Mini Monsters

IMG_20130514_193912We sure hope our baby doesn’t end up with jaundice because this blanket/cap combo really isn’t going to flatter if that happens. Blanket and cap are yellow as per Big Sister’s instructions, as yellow is the colour she most reveres, and basically the baby is welcome to be born at any time because Harriet has had her birthday party and the blanket is done. This is the Big Bad Baby Blanket, which I’ve knit many times before, and I made a little hat with the leftover wool. The blanket is pretty lovely with just enough errors that you’d know it was handmade if you went looking for problems, but none that stand out too much. Strange that it won’t be too long before we meet the wee person these knitted things are meant for. At this point, it’s still quite unbelievable to suppose that it’s really going to happen. It feels like these are ordinary days–who’d go and throw a newborn into the midst of that?

The little monster is Harriet’s gift for the baby. For months, she’s been determined that she was saving the money in her piggy bank to buy a present for the baby. A few weeks ago, we gathered funds (and were grateful to whomever had once given her a ten dollar bill) and went to the Intergalactic Travel Authority to purchase Maggie the Monster, Harriet’s chosen companion for her own Colin, and our baby’s future crib-mate. For all my deriding of consumption (book buying aside, naturally), it was quite adorable to watch Harriet make her first purchase in a shop. They told her the total and then she handed them a nickel and asked if it was enough. I had to help her with the rest, but was quite proud of her and the spirit of generosity behind the project. I really do think that Harriet is going to take to the Big Sister life with aplomb, and that our baby who is not yet even born is already incredibly lucky.

January 30, 2013

On yarn, yarns and Extra Yarn

9780061953385I’ve been knitting a baby blanket this last while, its colour yellow as selected by Harriet for whom yellowness is a sacred thing. And perhaps it was my current knitting project that got me thinking about the CanLit/Knitting Connection recently, about knitting in books and knitting about books. Then I thought about it more yesterday when we took out Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen from the library. What a spectacular book, about a little girl whose magical yarn stash never seems to run-0ut (and I know a lot of knitters, actually, with a similar affliction). I don’t know that Jon Klassen has ever gone wrong, and we loved this story with its splashes of colour, amusing prose, and sinister archduke (plus, SPOILERS, happy ending). Of course, you probably know all about this book already, especially since it was selected as a Caldecott Honour Book on Monday. Which was a particularly good day for Jon Klassen who also won the Caldecott Medal proper for the wonderful This is Not My Hat. I imagine this exciting news has changed Klassen’s whole life a little bit, but it’s changed mine too, because now I get to say that my website features an interview with a Caldecott winner.

March 20, 2010

My shumi blog

We became obsessed with hobbies back when we lived in Japan, mainly because the Japanese have institutionalized hobbying and because we were often bored back then. And so that was why I started my “hobby blog”, Ever Projecting. I’d encourage you to check it out if you want to see a craft blog that will make you feel better about yourself. Unlike most craft blogs, this one is rarely updated, decorated with unflattering photography, and features crafts that are poorly executed (the one exception being the incredible baby blanket I finished last spring). I am terrible at making things, but I go on doing it anyway– wonky cardigans, ugly aghans, pickles that shrivelled up in their jar, unmatching mittens (which I thought was so clever at the time), rainbow socks, reusable baby wipes (my first and probably last foray into sewing, but they’ve turned out to be very useful). I hope my blog will inspire other untalented people either not to let lack of talent get in the way of production, or to continue not bothering to try anything at all. Or you could just take a look at the sweater I just finished knitting for Harriet.

September 25, 2009

Happy Friday

I just received a spam email from “me” with the subject heading, “I’m so proud for you”. Totally! We’ve had a very good week this week, mostly due to the fact that I’m no longer exhausted. Harriet is back to getting up just once a night, probably just because she decided it would be so, but we like to think because I’ve started waking her for a feed right before I go to sleep. So we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

She’s also going bed early, however eventually, which gives me a marvelous break in the evenings. And since I’ve (almost) quit Facebook, I’ve ceased my epic time wasting. I’m getting lots of reading done, working on knitting a little sweater for Harriet, working on a writing assignment that I’m finding absolutely thrilling, as well as a bit of fiction. Little Women is wonderful, actually. I have a short story coming out in December, and I’m very excited about that (with details to come, of course).

I am very grateful to have two good friends also on maternity leave right now, and their company is the best way I’ve found yet to pass the days. And not just to pass the days, but to enjoy them. Today we all finally went to The Children’s Storefront– it was my first visit, finally, and was an absolutely magical place we’ll be returning to. And we’re looking forward to Sunday, when Harriet hosts her very first party.

It is a happy Friday indeed. (And is this where we cue the baby going ballistic, and not sleeping at all tonight? Just in order to make me eat every word I writ. Oh, we’ll see…)

September 19, 2009

Some things on Saturday

Oh, I wish I could tell you what I’m now reading, but you’ll have to wait for the December issue of Quill & Quire to find out. Alas, but I’m enjoying myself. Birds of America is on its way to me in the post. For the last few days, I’ve been composing a love letter to the Spadina Road branch of the Toronto Public Library (which I’ll put down on paper soon, and copy here). We’ve been listening to Elizabeth Mitchell at our house, and we’re totally obsessed– everyday I have a new favourite, but I like her version of “Three Little Birds” and also The Tremelos’ “Here Comes My Baby”. I’ve been playing guitar myself these days, and Harriet is entranced by the shiny tuning pegs. She also likes strumming the strings. We’re going to England in less than a month, which is exciting, but seemed like a much better idea when the baby was still hypothetical. Now, I am a bit terrified, but pleased that her brilliant sleep patterns are wrecked already so that I don’t have to worry about the time change doing so. (In terms of baby sleep, how about this: ask moxie hypothosizes that sleep is this generation of parents’ “thing” [whereas, it once was potty training] because babies sleep on their backs now, where they do not sleep as well as they did on their fronts. This is also why our parents have little sympathy for the sleeping plight). I continue to be exhausted, much the same way I was when Harriet was born, except I have a life now and do not spend my waking hours sitting in a chair sobbing, and therefore the tiredness feels worse (and yet, I would not, could not, go back there, no). I’ve also quit Facebook, sort of. You see, I was totally addicted, checking it whenever I was feeding the baby and often when I wasn’t, and there are better things I could do with my time. And yet, there are many things I love about Facebook– friends’ photos, event invitations, cool links, finding out about friends’ achievements, that many of my FB friends’ aren’t friends otherwise, and I’d miss them if I went. But there are only so many strangers’ photo albums you can peruse without feeling your life is slipping away, so, I had my husband change my Facebook password, and now I have to be logged in by him. And I really hope this doesn’t happen all that often. So this should free up some time for me to finally read through my stack of London Review of Books that has been accumulating since Harriet was born. And I mean that. I am also going to knit Harriet a sweater from the Debbie Bliss Baby and Toddler Knits book I got from the library today, but I’ll use the 12-24 month sizing, because I’m realistic about how long it takes to get anything done. Today, we had the most wonderful brunch at the Annex Live. And the baby is awake, so I must go lay out the newspaper on the floor so I can read it while I feed her.

April 15, 2009

Any day now

For about seven months, people liked to tell me, “You don’t look pregnant,” which I found deeply irritating and kind of perplexing to address. I don’t think I’d want to go back to that one, but neither am I too fond of the current comment, which is, “Any day now!” Because, well, no. Though perhaps in about forty days now, though probably more. My baby bump has ceased to be cute, and I am beginning to look into the mirror with considerable fright, and who knows what the effect will be forty days from now. I could also do with fewer strangers telling me I look “heavy” in the shower at the gym.

Nevertheless, I am excited. Our very good friends had a little girl two weeks ago, which served to make the connection clear, that pregnancy is a means to a miraculous end, for I often forget it’s not an end in itself. And our baby is moving around all the time, so that I feel like I’m getting to know it. Though yesterday I also got to know that baby is lying sideways, so we have to do everything possible during the next two weeks to get that baby upside down. I vote for turning somersaults in the pool, and hope it does the trick.

The biggest news, however, is that the baby’s blanket is done. I started knitting it back in November, before I could acknowledge the baby in any other way, out of fear that wanting too much was unlucky. It’s only been very recently that I’ve been able to start preparing, and indeed now the baby’s nursery is ready(ish). But in November, all I could do was knit, which made me feel that at least I was preparing in some way. The blanket coming together perfectly, with no mistakes, which is previously been unheard of in a project by me. The blanket is beautiful, so soft and warm, and I can’t wait to meet the little person who will be wrapped inside it.

December 30, 2008

To be outraged and confused

And do you want to read about my December knitting projects? Because you can check them out here. Heather Mallick’s wonderful New Years Resolutions. I thought Tabatha Southey’s column was funny (‘I couldn’t help but wonder if I should take a page from her book. But then I thought, “Heavens no, it’s a Maeve Binchy novel and it’s absolutely drenched in mint cocoa”‘), but the commenters were outraged and confused. (Why are these people never embarrassed when they fail to get a joke? I would be, and I don’t even post my ignorance on national forums). Sandra Martin’s “Confessions of an Obituarist” was splendid. Vital context was acquired from LRB pieces “A Chance to Join the World: A Future for Abkhazia”, and “Lessons in Zimbabwe”.

August 24, 2008

My cardigan is finished

My cardigan is finished!
See here for further details.

August 19, 2008

Shape and boundary

“The main part, though, is sensation and touch; the understanding, too, of beginning and end. Shape and boundary. Of one stitch, one row after another: how a scarf, a life, a person proceeds. For the time being she is still practicing the arts of casting on, holding a steady tension, attempting to purl and not losing or gaining stitches row by row. She likes the need for paying attention. ‘Then there is how to end well,’ she has mentioned. ‘Cast off, it is called.'” –Joan Barfoot, Exit Lines

August 10, 2008

You can't control it all

This weekend, I found myself in the ridiculous predicament of only having delightful things to have to do. Not counting the things I didn’t have to do, like go out for lunch with my husband, take a long long walk up to the Type Books location in Forest Hill. But that my to-do list contained the following: 1 Bake two blueberry pies; 2 Finish knitting cardigan (which has been on-going for ten months; 3 Finish rereading the brilliant The Girl in Saskatoon and work on interview questions for Sharon Butala; 4 Continue work upon my own story (which has just reached 25,000 words; 5 read the entire newspaper (sans any mention of the olympics, of course, which made the whole experience a lot shorter).

You can’t control it all, though. The list didn’t include being awakened at 3:55 am by a massive explosion that shook our house and turned the sky a fiery orange (and do note how far away we live from where the explosion occurred). A blast so powerful it made my husband roll over in his sleep (and this is remarkable, mind you). Nor did the list include me not going back to bed until past sunrise (after listening to the radio in my cold and darkened kitchen [it was thirteen degrees, news and weather together] searching the internet for more news and finding only a livejournal forum [which proved quite informative, actually]). Oh, it was frightening, it really was and we are so fortunate that devastation was remarkably contained and that so few people were hurt.

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