Some days are hard days but today was a great day. (It helps that the weather warmed up.) Yesterday, I treated myself to a mental health day and used it to let myself wallow in self-pity. (I also killed half an apple pie while watching This is Us but trust me when I say it didn’t die in vain.) Now, I don’t do this often, but sometimes I just need a day where I can feel sorry for myself, cry, and be in my feelings. Then I pick myself up, dust off the pity crumbs and move forward by reminding myself of the things I yearn to achieve.
I’ll always remember walking in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad as a teenager. I had the smart idea to wear the worst pair of high heels -in the rain- and ended up slipping on wet concrete falling comically onto the ground. (I was mortified.) Later that day I told my dad the story and how embarrassed I felt at the moment. He looked at me with empathy, but the only thing he asked was “Did you pick yourself up after you fell?” and I said, “Yes, of course.” Then he said “Good. That’s the only thing that matters.” This memory stuck with me for years, and it’s something I’ll never forget. Mostly because he was right, it doesn’t make sense to dwell on how many times you’ve fallen, what counts at the end of the day, is the number of times you get back up. I’ve used that message to push me through some of my hardest days.
So today, I pulled myself up like the pseudo-adult I am, and I made a plan to make things happen. Not just work-wise but I got the ball rolling on a charity project for the kitties in my community.
I love cats. Well, it’s more like I’m obsessed with them. (I frequently try to pet stray cats, and I’m guilty of stopping conversations mid-sentence to yell “kitty” at cats passing in the street. I mean, there’s a portrait of Cosmo, my kitty, hanging in “her room”. You get the idea.)
The goal is to finish up my ongoing project list (throwing some on the back burner) and focus on creating blankets for one of the local cat shelters in my city. I chose this project because it’s all I can handle right now with my schedule and it’s mindless knitting I can do in front of the tv. It’ll also keep me warm at night knowing that the kitties are sleeping soundly in their blankets.
Yesterday was a day of pity, but today it is time to pick myself up and go to “werk”. Right now I’m driven more than ever to continue doing good for my community. In whatever way, I can.
I’ll be on travelling next week, so, unfortunately, there won’t be a blog post. (Now, now. Don’t cry; I’ll be back <3 )
P.S. If you’re a knitter in the city of Fredericton or its surrounding area and you’d like to contribute to the donation please don’t hesitate to send me an email or leave a comment below.
I finished my sock! Okay, I only finished one, but I wanted to start the post on a positive note and right now it feels like a huge accomplishment. I also feel competent enough to complete its twin. So, all in all, great feelings all around. Not sure why this sock knitting experience was so vastly different from the last one, but I do believe that my skills as a knitter have improved. I mean there were no holes (this surprised me). I knit a whole sock, and there wasn’t a single hole. Feeling pretty proud of myself. Now, I just have the task of ensuring that I keep my tension neutral while knitting the second sock because I don’t want the fit to differ too greatly.
Completing the sock has been the one good thing that has gone right for me in the past couple of day. I’ve been battling a horrible cold, and it not only upended my entire weekend but my project schedule as well. Now to some, getting sick may not seem like a big deal (you get sick, you fill yourself up with copious amounts of chicken noodle soup, and you pull yourself together) and if I weren’t talking about myself, I would agree with you. But I am a horrible sick person. Seriously, I’m terrible at being sick. (Makes a man cold seem like a spa day.) I’ll paint a little picture. From the moment I start feeling unwell, it’s all downhill from there. And as the day goes on, it escalates until I’m barely human. Instead, I’m a cough-syrupy zombie who walks around the house in pyjamas, moaning like a ghost while consistently lamenting on exactly how sick I am. I will then proceed to make my partner test me for a fever, the moment I start feeling warm, (this usually happens about 4 or 5 times a day for the duration of my sickness) because one never knows when they are suddenly going to come down with hyperthermia and one must be vigilant. (The longer you read this blog, the more you’ll realise that I tend to veer towards the ridiculous. It’s one of my charms.) While the aches and pains are a lot to put up with, one of the worst symptoms, to me, of being sick is that I find it extremely it hard to be productive. Not sure what it is, but I have an unusual reaction to any form of cough syrup. It makes me loopy, unfocused, and it’s hard for me to find the strength to do anything but sleep throughout the day. Which of course meant that I couldn’t get any knitting done this weekend. I was beyond bummed.
So instead I spent the entire weekend staring longingly at my projects, hoping for a bit of strength so I could feel my needles in my hands again….and then promptly passing out into a Nyquil induced stupor. Luckily, but not so luckily, ever since I moved to Canada I’ve been susceptible to getting sick around this time of year. (When the weather drops so does my immune system. You should wait until Winter hits, I’m a real treat to be around.) I’m on the mend but still dealing with a horrible cough. Though I have started to breathe through my nose again, successfully, so that’s a great sign.
Can you understand now why I was so excited about the sock? It really IS all about the simple joys in life.
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I spent some time in breathtaking St. Andrews, New Brunswick. It was my first visit to Charlotte County, and I am seriously contemplating moving there. (Is it too early to think of retirement?)
The town is the epitome of a quaint, homely, beach town (my absolute favourite kind of town), with its beachfront properties, local cafes and saltwater air. It could easily pass for the location for a Gilmore girl episode. (All the communities I want to live in look and feel very similar to Stars’ Hollow.)
However, Saint Andrews didn’t pass one section of my “Can I live here?” test. Hold on to your hats everyone, but I found out pretty early on that “there is no yarn store.” (Of course, I asked. It’s the one place I always try to visit when I travel somewhere.) I’m still reeling from the devastation I felt upon learning that the local yarn store burnt down a couple of years ago. (You can buy Briggs and Little wool at the local grocery, but one cannot knit with Briggs and Little alone. At least I can’t.)
(On a side note, one thing you should know about me is that I’m a dreamer at heart, which ties hand in hand with my love of knitting because I can work on a project and day-dream about everything under the sun for hours (and hours). So upon hearing this news, I immediately started thinking about a life where I’m the owner of the local yarn store in the town. I would bike to work every day (from my beachfront cabin, of course) and supply everyone, from locals to visitors, with multitudes of yarn (and notions) in varying weights, fibres and colours. (It’s nice to dream.))
They say the best way to get over that future yarn you were yearning to buy, is to get under some yarn you already have. (People say that right? No? Just me?) Although with my luck I buried myself in my sock project (because I am beyond determined to finish it before my sweater class starts next month) and jumped right in only to find that my yarn cake completely unravelled, and managed to tangle and fuse itself into a muddled unshapely ball of yarn. I got under some old yarn alright and spent the next two days patiently unravelling each tangle until I had about four different sized yarn balls. Annoyed but not defeated, I am now back on track to knitting my socks again and feeling a bit more accomplished since I’m past all the hard spots. (Just a bit. I’m praying for no more setbacks. Knock on skein.)
Still, even though it doesn’t have a yarn store, I would still dream of one day moving to St. Andrews. I’m an island girl, and nothing uplifts me more than the fresh, crisp smell of saltwater in the air. This week I learned that the combination of saltwater air filling my lungs and a project in my hands has the power to catapult me into a bubble of contentment. I think I’ve found my ultimate happy place.
Hi, folks! So as predicted, I’m swamped with work and buried under projects, so this is going to be a short post. Even though I’m quite the busy bee right now, I’ve found that I’m also more focused, my creative block has dwindled, and I’m feeling good. *shoulder shimmy*
Watching the leaves change has made me yearn for Fall coloured yarn, more than ever, so I’ll be plotting a trip to the yarn store very soon. (Hmm, maybe even somewhere out of town.)
P.S. Still working on that Christmas list, and still behind, but I’m hopeful and taking it one project at a time.
And now without further ado, I’d like to announce the winner of the giveaway. And the winner is…. *drum roll*….. Scott Eckes. Congratulations Scott! I’ll be sending you an email soon so I can get your details.
Thank you so much to everyone who participated and thank you so much for sharing your stories with me. 🙂
It’s almost Fall! The leaves are right on the cusp of changing, University students are flooding the city, and there’s a slight chill in the morning. It’s my favourite, and most daunting, time of year. I can’t wait for all the colours it brings, but I’m such a busy bee during this time that I always have to remind myself to stop and take it all in. Couple that with the realisation that we’re not that far from December, ergo Christmas, and the fact that I am way behind on my knitting projects…..you could say that I’m in full-on panic mode. (My head has been spinning thinking about my timeline.)
Nevertheless, I’m a planner by nature, and I have some hope that I’ll be able to make it through. I’ll be beyond heartbroken if I don’t get all the Christmas presents cast off in time. (I had to buy a notebook for my plan because my cat decided to gain the title “killer of post-its” by turning my cork board into a personal cat scratcher.)
While I’m nervous about the upcoming Fall, I am also vibrating with excitement, because beyond all the work commitments, I signed up for some interesting knitting classes this season. I’ll be working simultaneously on the Campside Pullover (for myself, which is a rare occurrence) and the Ishneich Shawl (for a lovely friend of mine). The yarn is picked out for both projects, and I’m just counting down the days till they are on my needles. Luckily, I’ve got some swatching homework to do for the pullover, so I get a sneak preview of how the colour will look knitted up. (I’ve enjoyed adding swatching and blocking to my regimen.)
My socks are still coming along quite nicely. While I’m enjoying the experience this time around, I’m also trying not to dwell on the fact that I have to knit another one. (Why, oh why, must they come in pairs!)
And I impulsively added the Reyna shawl to my rotation. (I had some lovely Painted Desert yarn that I’d been itching to knit up for awhile now.)
Phew! So much on the go and so little time but I guess I’ll take the advice of a great friend and just “knit through it.”
P.S. Just a reminder that there is still time to enter the giveaway. The draw is taking place next week Wednesday 🙂
Apparently, a lot happened this weekend. A hurricane hit Texas causing massive flooding, Game of Thrones had its season finale and Floyd Mayweather, and Conor McGregor boxed like two kittens wearing cotton balls for gloves. (I think I like my version of boxing better.) And I was completely, dare I even say blissfully, unaware. Don’t get me wrong I was devastated to hear about the news in Texas, and I’m an avid GoT fan, but it felt good to unplug from the world for a couple of days, reconnect with nature, and most importantly carve out some time for myself and my partner.
It was my first time camping at Fundy national park, and I’m already thinking about when I’m going to make a return trip. (Which is a testament to what an amazing experience it was.) We stayed at the Point Wolfe campground and spent three glorious nights exploring the park, eating s’mores (until our chocolate stash fell to the ground and died. we were devastated.) and conversing around the campfire. Now my one critique about Fundy is that it has too many activities and it left me almost no time to work on my sock. (Seriously, there are numerous hiking trails (of various difficulties and lengths), park activities and multiple beaches. I did try to work on the sock every now again, but it mostly ended up accompanying me on my many adventures.)
On our first day of exploration, we geared up to walk down to Point Wolfe Beach. However, we didn’t remember that at Fundy you have to mindful of the time, and how they relate to the tides, so our expectations were just a little too high when we left camp for our trek. We weren’t disappointed per se, (because walking on the ocean floor is always a neat experience) we were just a bit underwhelmed by the amount of water. (It did look like a barren desert land.)
So we decided that it was worth it to see it in two different states and made a plan to come back later in the day. Unfortunately, we had 3 hours to kill, so we grabbed lunch, hiked the Coppermine Trail and then headed back to the beach for what we hoped was a spectacular view. (And oh boy it did not disappoint.)
Going to Fundy gave me something I didn’t even know I needed but was yearning for with every fibre of my being. Peace. I challenged my body as we hiked a round trip of Laverty Falls and refreshed my soul with a swim in the pool at the base of the falls. (And trust me unless it’s a hot tub I’m never ecstatic about immersing myself into a body of water in this country.)
All in all, as I laid down in the truck bed looking up at the vast blanket of stars decorating the night sky (Fundy is a Dark Sky Preserve which means it restricts artificial light pollution allowing viewers to gain a spectacular view of the night sky), I felt content. Honestly, I didn’t need anything more from this trip. I went on this trip to try to get back to basics and allowed myself to do exactly that. It is rare that I make it a priority to take time for myself and live in the now but what I’ve learned, as I trip through adulthood, is that it’s important to give yourself time to focus on what YOU need to move forward. (Or like me, you can become a wood hermit for a couple of nights.)
This giveaway is my way of saying thank you to my readers (new and old) for joining me on this knitting adventure of mine and a chance to gift one lucky winner with some of my favourite things.
**Subscribe to the blog (subscription box located on the right sidebar).
Leave a comment below about one of your favourite camping memories. (Or a memory you have of being outdoors.)
*This is not a sponsored giveaway. **This giveaway is open to everyone.
The giveaway will close on Tuesday 12th September, 2017.
That’s all folks! Good luck to everyone who is participating 🙂
I have a bit of a dirty knitting secret to confess. Are you ready? I’m not a fan of knitting socks. (Phew! I must admit it feels good to get that off my chest). Now, I’ll be the first to say that this is not a secret I’m proud of but I do have an actual legitimate reason for feeling this way. A long time ago (about two years) I had my first ever sock making experience and then proceeded to never look at another sock pattern ever again. The project started out nicely enough (it always does at the cuff) and then merged into absolute chaos. If you can think of a problem well, I most likely ran into it headfirst and with not much dignity. I tried so hard, but I couldn’t stop creating random holes in the heel and ended up frogging and starting over so much the yarn (and I) seemed so ragged and limp than when we first started. I spent the rest of the day crying (and swearing) amidst grumbles of never knitting ever again. So you can understand why I might be a bit hesitant to relive that moment. (Seriously, I’ve made a total of 2 pairs of socks in my entire knitting life….in bulky yarn. I’ve been using sock yarn for every project under the sun instead of for, you know, actual socks.)
Well, years have passed, and I’m not the same knitter I was then, so I’m feeling a bit more “prepared” to give socks another try. (I believe in the adult world this is called Growth.) I’ve also been feeling a very intense amount of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) because everyone on Instagram has been knitting socks this summer and they seemed to be enjoying it. A lot. With this in mind, I have decided to put aside my PTSD (Post-Traumatic Sock Disorder?) and truly give socks the old college try. (I mean all those people on Instagram can’t be wrong about it. Can they?)
I already have one sock project on my needles (I’ve frogged it twice already, and I had to start working on another project so that I can alternate my frustration) but my personal goal is to knit a max of four pairs before Christmas arrives. In the meantime, I’ll be praying to the knitting gods above to bless me as I embark on this new mission. (Wish me luck?)
Also before I get fully into wood hermit mode (we’re two sleeps away from our Fundy camping trip, and my excitement will not be contained even for a second), I wanted to let you know that in celebration (Yes, I’m celebrating a camping trip along with an Instagram milestone) I’ll be hosting my first ever Wanderful Knits giveaway on the blog next week. So be sure to stay tuned 🙂
Today I kicked off my day with one of my favourite morning activities; breakfast. About every two weeks or so my friend and I make sure to schedule this time together. These dates tend to become little informal therapy sessions and on more than one occasion has helped me to work through everything from personal to professional issues. (A little bacon and banter can be good for the soul.)
I mean life can get hard, and it can feel like an overstimulation of the senses with moments of worry, self-doubt, anxiety or situations when you may feel like you have no control. (I don’t know about you but this can leave me in such a daze that it’s hard to find the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.) Today, as we conversed, I couldn’t help but think about how important it is to have space where one can make mistakes (not be judged too harshly for them) and have someone to remind them that in the end, it’ll be alright. (Particularly in those moments when things don’t work out, or we fuck up. (pardon my French)) I’d like to share a situation that happened, not too long ago, at my local yarn store that helped to remind me of this.
When I buy yarn, that is just too lovely for words; I tend to get a little attached and recently, I bought two skeins of the most beautiful Manos del Uruguay yarn I’d ever seen in my life. (It reminds of sunsets and cotton candy.) Sadly, I don’t have a ball winder or a yarn swift at home, and I’ve spent more than my fair share of time winding yarn by hand. (This can sometimes get frustrating because the skein gets tangled and you’re spending hours undoing knots.) I wasn’t in the mood to revisit another night of frustration (and swearing), so I asked Trish (owner of Yarns on York) if I could come in one day and use her ball winder and she agreed. Finally, I was going to see that beautiful sunset/cotton candy yarn in its cake form. (I should mention that I had limited exposure to the ball winder/yarn swift method before that day.)
Trish was kind enough to help me get the skein on the swift, and I began snipping the knots that bind the skein together. What I didn’t know was that Manos del Uruguay has a history of binding the skeins in weird places and they don’t use a contrasting yarn colour to hold it together.
There I was winding in such glee (ignorance is bliss) which immediately turned into outright confusion as I watched the yarn glide smoothly off the yarn swift and onto the ball winder. (Now you might be saying to yourself, “but that’s what it’s supposed to do.” And you’d be right. Except when I looked up there was a still significant amount of yarn still on the swift itself.) After approaching it hesitantly, I inspected the yarn and realised that I had been a little too eager with my snipping and had snipped right through some of the skein itself. (I almost started crying.) Trish, luckily, saw me and came over to see what was going on.
In hindsight, that day seems so comical, but at the moment I was beyond devastated. I felt so out of control, frustrated (and emotional) and there she was calm as ever. While her demeanor helped to calm me (somewhat) I still couldn’t help feeling like a gigantic idiot. (Mentally, I was very rough on myself.) She, however, informed me that I was not the first person to ever do this, everyone has been there at some point in time, and that it was going to be alright. Now to me, she’s a Jedi master, and I am just a mere padawan, so when she told me not to worry and that it might be salvageable, I started letting myself believe that it might be okay. (And it was! It also made it a little easier to process when I realised I’d just gone through a right of passage on my knitting journey.)
Now I could have easily let myself wallow in my negative feelings, but at that moment her words reminded me that, in life, it’s important (and okay) to permit yourself to make mistakes. And in those moments when you’re feeling like it’s all caving in (and that you may have messed up monstrously) having someone there to tell you it’s all going to be okay can be just the thing you need to pull you out. (Though you still have to be willing to accept the helping hand.)
Yes, I know, I just connected the life experience of feeling overwhelmed by your blunders to winding yarn but hopefully, this story might help you see your situation in a much different light.
As Kendrick Lamar said, “One day at a time, sun gon’ shine.”
Celebrate good times, come on! I officially beat the mad rush to get any remaining work off my desk and that means I am NOW officially taking a small break from work. I mean don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the work I do but every once in awhile I welcome a shake up in my daily routine. Last year, I had more of a workcation than a break (this year I’m a day in and still answering emails) so trust me when I say my brain can definitely use a time-out from constantly running through a to-do list. (I promised myself that I wouldn’t think about until it’s much closer to September.)
Needless to say, I’ll be spending the next few weeks focused on finishing up all my ongoing knitting projects. (Hopefully in time for Christmas.) I’ll also be spending time adding to my already ever growing yarn stash. (Sometimes, I like to pretend that I run a small country that uses yarn as its main currency.) There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of yarn sales in the summer and every year I find it hard to look away and contain myself. (You already know I have a bit of an issue when it comes applying self-control to my yarn purchases. Though to be fair, when a yarn you’ve been eyeing is marked down at 70% it can be very hard to resist. Ask the scorch marks on my credit card if you don’t believe me.)
All in all, I’m very much looking forward to my very own version of knit-palooza, (I’ll be knitting everywhere from my deck to the park) as well as counting down to our annual camping trip. That’s right in 16 days this wandering lady will wander again and spend 3 nights at Fundy National Park. I can barely contain my excitement about this because I absolutely love camping. It is the perfect activity that gives me the opportunity to go back to basics, spend time surrounded by the beauty of nature and fly my hermit flag high and proud. (I also get to completely ignore my phone for a couple of days which I’m quite tickled pink about.)
Today, I committed to fully kick-starting my vacation. (Okay I did take one small trip to the office and I sent one tiny email but I’m only human.) You’ll be happy to hear that I mostly spent today venturing around the lovely city of Fredericton (It really is a beautiful place. I took the trail from campus to downtown, saw a performance at Officers’ Square and grabbed a celebratory flight at The Abbey.) before heading home for another session of knitting on my deck, in the sun, surrounded by my makeshift garden.
There is a soft spot in my heart for the vibrant, electric city that is Montreal. The architecture, the food and the sound of the French language spoken with such exuberance never fails to provide a good time. Plus it is one of the places where I can practice my basic (and I do mean basic) French with wild abandon.
A couple weeks ago, I had the unique experience of hopping onto the East Coast Caravan with 55 entrepreneurs, from across Atlantic Canada, to attend Startup Fest Montreal. Yes, it meant leaving my hermit hole, my partner and Cosmo kitty for a couple of nights but this woman can not ignore the call of adventure, so I kissed them both goodbye (with promises to call and text), and off I went to board a bus at 11pm.
This trip to Montreal threw me headfirst into the kind of territory that manages to both terrify and excite me…the unknown (did you get chills too?). Sometimes, I will admit, I’m a little anxious about new situations (I don’t however let this anxiety hold me back- a trait I’ve cultivated over the years) and walking into situations that aren’t familiar to me sometimes leave me feeling like I’m just too out of place. However, I can proudly say that I managed to put my anxiety aside and this trip rocked! (Which of course resulted in me having the time of my life – Dirty Dancing pun a little intended.)
Startup fest was everything I’d hope it would be. Great talks by inspiring speakers under a flexible conference format (I appreciate when conferences deviate from the norm). There were hammocks, Virtual Reality demonstrations and a pretty cool astronaut. It was THE place to be in Montreal that week and almost everyone we spoke to asked us if we were there for Startup fest. (So it must be a big deal, right? Okay, it may have also been because I forgot to take off my nametag while exploring around the city but I guess the real reason shall just remain a mystery.)
The cherry on top of this event for me was the conversations I had with other attendees as well as the speakers themselves. I mean eeek! I got to meet Kimberly Bryant (founder, Black Girls Code) and it honestly made my entire day. Startup fest was definitely an unforgettable moment for me.
Okay! So remember how in my first post I mentioned that I can’t quite stop talking about yarn? Well I have to say that the other participants on the trip got quite the earful on the topic and some even got to see my needles in action. (I don’t know exactly how many times I said the phrase “I need to visit the yarn store” but I’m sure it got up to the double digits.)
Luckily, on the last day, two of the most amazing humans (I’ll just call them R and V- you know who you lovelies are.) willingly accompanied me (They really are the best. I didn’t even have to break out the rope.) on the journey to Espace Tricot. This store is everything I hoped it would be (and more) and I couldn’t help myself from walking around in awe at the rows (upon rows) of glorious yarn. The employees there were also beyond helpful and one of them even took the time to regale me with the story of how Espace Tricot began. Colour me inspired! I’ve never met the owners but they sound like amazing, resilient women who saw a need and decided to create a unique setting within their community and beyond. (I can more than appreciate that.)
Needless to say, I had an absolute blast walking around the store (taking in the multitude of colourful yarns that seemed to suggest the presence of a rainbow) and even splurged and added some new (and familiar) yarn brands to my already monstrous stash. (Though in hindsight, I am kicking myself repeatedly for not picking up one of their popular Chevron Baby Blanket kits. I did learn that they are available online to my absolute relief. (I may or may not have checked as soon as I got home.) It never once occurred to me (honestly, it never does) that I have no more cupboard space within my apartment to store any more yarn and in the end, I had to buy 4 more containers in the hopes of taming the beast.
After an amazing experience at Espace Tricot, my awesome travel companions and I decided to take a walk down Saint Catherine’s street for La Sainte-Catherine célèbre, which is known as the biggest open sky gathering of merchants in Canada. There were sidewalk sales, dance demonstrations, acrobats and music. (So many genres of music.) Our small but determined adventure group laughed, danced and conversed until we realized we’d walked the full length of the festival. (R and I both hit over 10,000 steps on our Fitbits. We were over the moon).
Later we headed back to our hostel to relax before walking to the harbor front for one of the best fireworks shows I’d seen in a long time and (There is something, both endearing and amusing, about standing in a crowd of adults and children oohing and ahhing at the sky. Most especially, the awkward shuffle that ensues when the fireworks are over and it’s time to go home.) it was a really pleasant ending to an amazing trip.
Getting on the bus the next day was a bittersweet moment. Yes, I was super excited to get home to my two loves but I was also sad to leave a city I’d only partially explored and people I’d only gotten to spend a small amount of time with. Plus there was a 7 hour bus trek (it turned out to be much longer due to unforeseen circumstances) to settle in for. (Luckily, I had the perfect compact knitting project to work on so I was more than occupied.) I guess even this wandering hermit (what an oxymoron!) knows how to have a good time.