Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Crazy, busy, moving!

Last Monday I had to dig my car out of a banked up wall of heavy wet snow, two days later we were all wearing short sleeves outside, eating on terraces, and opening the windows at night because it had gotten so warm. It stayed like that for 5 days, and for the last two, we've been having more typical spring weather (now we've put light jackets over our short sleeves, we're still eating on terraces, but the windows are closed at night!).

I've been busy packing and getting ready for my move which begins tomorrow evening when I get a refresher tour of all amenities and then move in a few loose odds and ends that won't make it into boxes before the movers arrive Friday morning (loose ends like my TV and stereo, that is!)

And, I'm beginning to count down the days to the Montreal bike festival!

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Last night I began working a scarf from the Jaeger book (Sienna). The scarf is a lace pattern called Aspen, the yarn is an organic cotton and I'm using 4.5 mm needles.

This is my first serious effort using the continental method, which I sincerely hope will be easier on my elbows, arms, and shoulders. I figure the continental method is knitting's equivalent to the ergonomic keyboard. I'll let you know how well that analogy holds ...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Change'll do you... good?

This is my life, in transition, yet again. I like that this picture insisted on loading sideways despite my efforts to get it to load right side up. I think having it all topsy-turvey is actually a much better representation of what's actually going on.

Because, for the third time in as many years, I'm packing to move. At least this move involves a distance of only a few blocks: the first of this series of moves involved transporting me and my stuff from one end of Washington State to the other, and the second brought me from that end of the continent clear across to the base of the St. Laurence where the island that is Montreal nestles itself. And with each of those moves I have parted ways with as many friends, colleagues, ways of living and doing and thinking as I did the furniture, books, clothes, memorabilia that had come to characterize and define my life. Those last two moves were very much transitions... steps along a path that brought me from one space to another, and while they were good steps, ones that I wanted to take and that I knew were important and positive and healthy, they've still been very challenging and very hard and even kinda lonely since when you get right down to it, as much as everyone is able to pitch in and help schlep things around and find new places to live and shop and eat, only you can decide what you absolutely need to keep and what you can let go of. And then once you decide that, you have to follow through and that can be interesting too! And don't you just hate it when you think you let go of something only to find out that you didn't quite? (Now why does that bring up images of shoes and toilet paper?)

I'm happy with the choices I've made and with the places they've brought me to. I'm going to be so much happier when I move into that new condo with the five appliances (commerical washers are not my friend!) and ohmigosh a real dedicated parking spot where I can leave my car with no fears that it will be buried by not-very-human plows or ticketed because I didn't make it back in time to move it back to the other side of street because you can't leave it where it is between the hours of 9 and 10 am on Lundi et Mercredi.

Merde! Montreal is great for music, food, people, parks, film, and fireworks, but, man oh man, it sucks for parking cars.

Speaking of change... I just took this photo, same view as the one I took a few days ago in the middle of our two day sleet-fest. Note, that although the snow/sleet only stopped falling yesterday, it's already all melted away. Most inspiring, though, was the sight of all the brave (and somewhat chilly) people sitting out on the few terraces that the occassional restaurant was optimistic enough to open this afternoon. See, the seasons will change. Summer will come.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Being human ...

Last night Montreal was treated to the thickest, clumpiest, wettest snow I've ever seen. It fell in sheets, all night. I kept getting up to watch it. A couple of times I wondered if I should move my car since I parked it across the street in a place I'd never used before, but I kept reminding myself that I had been very careful to check the signage and it had the 'no parking' icon and under that it said Lun-Vend. 9:30-18:00. Now normally that means no parking Monday through to Friday between the hours of 9:20 and 6. Given that I had to be at work for nine, I figured this was no problem. Plus there were several other cars parked in front of and behind mine so I figured it was ok.

In the morning, I peeked to see what the weather was doing (still sleeting but not quite so badly) and my car appeared to be fine though there was a bit of an bank from the plow having gone by. But I have an all wheel drive and knew I could get over it just fine, and there seemed no urgent need to move it since several other cars were still parked there as well (it must be okay if someone else is doing it, right?) so I went about my morning routine quite happily, though the sound of the sleet hitting the windows had me running back to the window every once in a while just to see what it was doing.

One of those times just happened to be right after I stepped out of the shower (yeah, it had to be after the shower, what timing!). And when I peeked -- ACK!! -- the plow had gone by again and this time he passed as close to the cars (mine included) as he could and banked up a huge hard pile of wet clumpy snow, packing it right into the cars, up to the windows of a few. I was stunned. As I stood gazing at the mess, the driver of the car parked behind me showed up, and promptly navigated his way up onto the sidewalk and drove along it to the next street. I could never do that myself but I kinda admired that nerve! A woman whose car was parked in front of mine showed up and, bucket in hand, began removing the snow back from the side of her car. It wasn't pretty.

I realized I had better go sort this out now rather than wait for the plow to come by and build that bank up a bit highr. So, I got dressed and went out, tried to drive my car over the bank, but they were just too high. So I had to go borrow shovels from Michel (a neighbor) and join the bucket-wielding woman, who quickly ditched her buckt for one of my shovels). We introduced ourselves, her in her faltering English and me in my much worse French. I commented on how awfully heavy the snow was, and how frustrating it was that the plow had banked us in when according to the sign it was okay for us to be parked there!

Yes, she said. the snow was piled up to the windows of her car. This was her first time in Montreal, and so far, she's not very impressed. What that plow did, she said, that wasn't very human.

I stopped. At first I found it odd that she used the term 'human' when she obviously meant 'kind' or 'considerate' or thoughtful' or even 'humanitarian' which seemed a rather large term for this situation.

But then I realized, I agree with her. To be human is to be all those things, is it not?


Yes, I said, what that plow did was not very human, not very human at all!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's like riding a bike ...

I haven't knit in more years than I'll admit (many, many, I can say that much!) and when I found myself in a new city with a new job, and most of my family and all my friends very far away, I also found myself with extra time which is something of a novelty!

A co-worker took me to a Christmas craft show where I saw tons of incredible knitting and truly wonderful yarns... back when I first started knitting, there was nothing like the variety of yarns there are now... bamboo, soy silk the merinos are incredible, sock yarn has become incredibly interesting and vibrant, not to mention other exotics like sea silk!


I was inspired. The next day I googled Montreal and yarn store, knitting, and any other term I could think of and in very short order found myself at MoulinĂ©, where I bought 8 wonderful skeins of variegated wool, handyed by a women’s artisan coop in Uruguay and in two weeks (once a knitter, always a knitter) I’d knit up beautiful cardigan with a snuggly ribbed collar,

then I blocked it, pieced it together, tried it on and discovered… waaaaay too big! That’s when I recalled the importance of swatching.

So of course I ripped it out and reknit it and now it fits perfectly.

Since then I’ve also knit Rowan’s “Air” in using Rowan’s cotton Calmer, and I’m in the midst of knitting up “Rosita” by Jaeger using scheepjeswol Cotton 8 in Mayflower, which I got at yet another delightful Montreal yarn shop, A la tricoteuse laine. That pattern has proven to be something of a challenge, partly because the instructions had mistakes in it, and also because I’d never knit a lace pattern before. At one point when I was particularly frustrated, I did a search on “rosita” and “jaeger” and found this site with some very simple but incredibly helpful tips that made what was quickly becoming an overwhelmingly frustrating experience into something I could actually enjoy (I love knitting blogs!)

I’ve completed the back and have started the front.(hmmm, I’m obviously going to have to spend some time working on my photography skills!)

I’ve also realized that if I’m to take knitting at all seriously, I have to switch to continental as my shoulders are aching like you would not believe. Knittiing shouldn’t hurt, should it?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Snow (again!)

It's snowing, again. Big wet sloppy clumps of snow have been falling since noon. This morning I walked to work in my shoes because there was no snow, and noticed that that there were already some perenials starting to appear in gardens here and there -- and then this afternoon I shloshed home in ankle deep slush while the heavy wet clumps falling from the sky nearly collapsed the umbrella that was keeping at least the top parts of me kinda dry.

I've been wanting to set up a blog for some time (since I read so many it seems only right I should contribute something as well!) The snow has melted twice already, but it keeps coming back. On April 1, the day that the bike paths in Montreal open up again, the roads were so bare and the weather so mild I wore relatively light bike gear and went for a long(ish) ride.

What I really wanted to write about for this first post is the reason for the rather cliche name I've given this blog, but that'll have to wait while I go make hot chocolate and watch the snow clumps cover the city.

I took this photo just one hour ago...