Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

thinking about work

The town I live in is very busy with tourists and fishermen in the summer and the months on either side of summer. In the winter, thing screech to a halt. Lots of people who work in the tourism/fishing industry go on EI in the winter (Employment Insurance benefits, for those not in the know). In order to qualify for these benefits, however, you have to have accumulated something like 910 hours in the last 12 months.

That is not my case. In my best week with the fish job, I think I claimed something like 28 hours. And that was working six days. My next paycheque will have five hours on it. (Now granted I took time off to work at the yarn shop, and there was a funeral, but still.)

The fishermen keep saying fishing has been terrible. It seems like (or I keep hearing) that the hook & line fishery is winding down for the season. There are a few boats heading out now that the storm has passed. But winter has begun here. The storm season has begun. That means less fishing. That means less work.

Now I can't go to my landlord and just say "if there is fish work for me, I can pay my rent". No. That wouldn't go over well at all. I need to know about an income. If we are staying here through the winter, we need to find jobs.

I mentioned in a previous post about work I wouldn't have considered in another location but here it is different. I applied for a number of positions at a resort today. It's withing walking distance of my house and hopefully one of them will have flexible enough hours that wouldn't get in the way of my knitting work. My knitting work is my priority.

I know it's a weird thing to be able to say that, a unique thing, and that's why I am embracing it. But it's true: I committed to the yarn shop long before I moved here, long before the shop was even open. Long before I knew I would be depending on my work for our household income.

When it comes down to it though, circumstances have thrown us into a position we were not prepared for but must deal with nonetheless. We are managing for now but what will happen next month? These are uncertain times for us (more waiting...) and luckily I have lots of knitting to keep me busy. Knitting and my Internet connection, these are my lifelines.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

staying put - for now

Well they decided to give the job to the other guy. No Montana for us. Alas!

Turns out Santa Fe had restarted their hiring process when the first guy they hired didn't work out. I misunderstood then, that it just meant that Dan was once again shortlisted rather than had a firm offer.

A strange thing has happened though, in that we have shifted our mindset. Remember that Pause I mentioned the other day? I have lots of stories to relay about the funeral and the family drama around it. But I got back and now Dan's saying things like "If we're going to spend the winter here then... " since it now seems like we'll be spending the winter here. And what will that mean? We'll both have to take on more part time jobs. Technically he has two and I have four (but three of them are knitting related so I count them as one). If we both get another job, we can survive the winter. We've had another possible opportunity present itself that would have us remain on Vancouver Island for another year or so, but it's only a big Maybe so I'm not going to mention it here.

The good thing about staying here, for me, is that my yarn/knitting/crochet career gets to advance quickly. Ellie just asked me today if I would like to now work two days a week here instead of one. Yes! She's putting together a knitting retreat in the spring and she would really like my help for it. I'll be designing some projects and we'll put kits together, we'll do some more project classes. My knowledge of the industry is galloping along in leaps and bounds (to mix metaphors, ha). Ellie has also asked me to knit swatches with every major yarn that she sells. I tell ya, this getting paid to knit thing is really working out for me.

Our first winter storm has happened (which means no fishing; which means no boats of offload) and we are getting a taste of what our winter will look like. Wet and windy, obviously, but now that we have a new-to-us futon (story later) for more seating in our large living room, we can have all kinds of friends over to hang out while we make cookies, assemble a smoker (to smoke fish with, which Dan and I referring to as a 'fumarole' since 'smoker' seems somewhat offensive to us), knit and crochet.

I was talking with the friends that were over last night about work in this area. I was saying that there are jobs here that, in Victoria, I would have looked down my nose at taking, but here seems like an interesting possibility. I think I will apply at the Gallery. Why not? Even if I don't know much about art, I might now more than anyone else who might apply. And I'm all about learning new things.

Then these same friends and I went rollerskating at one of the community halls. I haven't been on roller skates for at least 20 years. It was fun! I didn't fall! There were about 80 people there, lots of kids and mums. Once I got the hang of standing up and rolling, turning, and stopping, I had to make sure I didn't run over the kids. I sweated profusely for an hour and had way more fun than I thought I would. I've written down the date of the next Rollerskate night in my calendar. :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pause and ramblings

Ever have one of those moments when you are in between things and you have a feeling that something big is about to happen - something that will change your perspective or your life?

So I just did a six day stint at the yarn shop. Then worked at my fish job yesterday where there was High Drama (won't go into details, some locals read my blog).

Today Dan and I will drive down to Victoria, tomorrow fly to Kelowna in the morning and attend the funeral in the afternoon, fly back on Thursday and drive home Thursday night. In the space in between - the time in Kelowna... I'm sure I'll be exhausted by all the people. I get peopled out pretty easily. You can be sure that I'll be visiting both the yarn shops in Kelowna - research you know, in case I ever want to open my own shop one day.

Dan and I have been waiting a long time. Waiting to get married, waiting for me to finish my degree, waiting for our honeymoon, waiting for one of us to find a job, waiting to move, waiting for the contract that never came, waiting for another job... As someone who often lives in the future, Dan is great at pulling me back into the present. In my mind, I have already moved to Montana, but he reminded me yesterday that he is competing against some very high caliber brewers and might not get the job. Oh yeah. There is still a chance we might be here through the winter, if none of the other things pan out.

The fish job is really busy right now. The weather is good and the trawlers are going nonstop. They offload at night, go to their fishing spot, fill their holds in a day's fishing and come back to offload at night. Every night. Dan has worked his ninth graveyard in a row, he's sleeping now. I asked the plant guy last night how long we can expect this to continue like this, and he said until the storm moves in.

Waiting for the storm to move in.

Waiting for good weather so I can cut the grass.

Waiting for Dan to wake up so I can vacuum.

I keep getting told that, as a knitting teacher, I must be very patient. I wonder which came first: the patience to knit or that knitting has taught me patience? I'm not actually very patient. Not in every circumstance, anyway. I know now that I can start a project and see its completion (university degrees and hand-knit socks alike). I also know now that, as the cliche goes, good things come to those who wait. I don't regret moving to this little town. We were desperate to get out of East Sooke.

I've had a lot of interesting experiences here and made some good friends. I have way more of a social life here than I did while I was living in East Sooke/Victoria. Before I would have to go into town and make arrangements with people to come visit, or drop in on the regular coffee break with former coworkers. Friends would seldom come to visit us. It was a 45 minute drive, depending on traffic.

Here we live in town, and all summer long we had people drop in on us, especially if the front door was open, which it was in good weather. Most of the people in Victoria who never or seldom came to visit us in East Sooke said, when we told them we were moving to Ucluelet, they would definitely come visit us here. Yeah right. It's been almost six months and in the time we've been here, other than family we've seen only one set of friends (and many thanks for making the effort!) though I do have a regular Skype date with another set of friends (who helped us move here so, technically, they have been here!). It means a lot to me to keep those relationships going.

I often muse about how strange our relationships are with people we have moved away from. I have moved away from places quite a lot and there are some friendships that continue to grow, even from a distance. Others often fall off because some people are just not good at keeping in touch. Keeping in touch requires effort on both sides and in my experience, I have been the one making the effort. At some point I get bitter and resentful and decide not to chase that person around anymore. Why should I make them be friends with me? I'm obviously not worth their effort...

I can't blame someone if they don't want to read my blog. Lots of people aren't blog readers. I was one of them until I decided that blogging was a good idea. Then I started reading other blogs. But blogging has given me a whole new appreciation now to people who do blog on a regular basis - because it means they are showing up at the page. As a writer, I have a lot of respect for showing up at the page.

Sorry this got a bit rant-y.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

too busy to blog

Hi Friends,

As you know (I think?) I've been working at the yarn shop this week. The hours are mostly 11-7, and I have to drive 35 minutes to Tofino. On two of these days, I taught some girls in their home before opening the shop, and on the same days I taught classes at the yarn shop, making for some very looooong days. I come home, Dan has either left for work or about to leave for work, and has been working nights (last night was seven in a row for him). I get up and leave for Tofino, he's still sleeping.

Today is day six of six for me at the yarn shop. I have to say it's been a lot of fun! Since I have started running the shop while Ellie is away, my knowledge/experience level has grown tremendously and I have an entirely new perspective on yarn shops. As we (me and Dan) are investigating other places to live, I am looking at what the LYSs offer in terms of yarn, needles, classes, etc. If the yarn shop I want isn't in the town where we end up moving, I am now more informed in case I want to open up my own one day.

The other day Carol, who comes to knit night, brought in her spinning wheel. She had lent me her drop spindle in the summer to see if I was interested in spinning. Nah, not so much. But the spinning wheel, WOW, I took to that way more quickly. I want one now. Not now, actually, but when we move and get resettled, I will start doing my homework. I know it is a big investment (but not so big as a loom or knitting machine, things I also want!) so I will have to think carefully and test drive as many as I can. But yes, I think I might just go the way of handspun. For some of my crafting, at least.

So my uncle passed away on Thursday morning, the funeral is this coming Wednesday. I'll be flying out of Victoria on Wednesday morning, attending the funeral, staying the night in a hostel downtown, and flying back the next day. See, I haven't seen most of these people in a very long time and there's a whole bunch of family politics that might just come up. I want to be absent for the drama, since none of it involves me. I will not take sides, and I would only feel resentment towards these people who are kicking up drama when we are supposed to be gathered for a sad reason. Yes, I can take my knitting on the plane!

Dan and I have some interesting options before us. He's been shortlisted from 42 applicants to 6 for the job in Helena, Montana. Santa Fe has given him a firm offer. He's been shortlisted for New Hampshire and there is also a job in Maine for a wooden boat related job. Now that would be cool.

I'm getting really tired of this house. Sure it's big and has lots of natural light. But all the walls are dark, making it cave-like. The kitchen is all painted dark grey. I could make a long list of complaints, but I don't really want to be too much of a downer but suffice it to say I have outgrown this house.

Righty ho, I have to get ready for my day at the yarn shop!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My uncle steps over to the other side

I received word this morning that my uncle died at around 4:00am.

I'll find out later today when the funeral is. This will mean I'll be taking a trip to Kelowna for a couple of days.

Grief has been sneaking up on me all morning...

How to Choose a (Knitting) Community

Dan has been offered a job from Santa Fe, shortlisted for Hooksett, New Hampshire, and has interview today with Helena, Montana. We might have to make a decision about where we want to live.

There are some big things to consider. Quality of life. Can we afford land? Will there be jobs for me? Most importantly, are there local yarn shops?

To the latter question, in all three cases the answer is yes. Sort of. There are three or for (or more?) in Santa Fe. I've been to one of them. The two groups on Ravelry are active and have good-sized followings. The closest yarn shop to Hooksett, NH is in Concord, which is not that far away. They have an excellent lineup of yarns and I would be happy to go there. I noticed they don't list classes on their website so I wonder if they offer them? The two yarn shops in Helena don't have a web presence at all - no websites, nothing on Ravelry.

This is an interesting question then. All other things being equal, what is important to me? Where I am currently there are only a few people who are on Ravelry, but it's a new yarn shop and we are trying to introduce people to it. There is definitely a knitting community here, as we routinely fill up the yarn shop on Stitch Night every Wednesday. It's hard to know what it's like in these communities.

At the moment, Helena is at the top of my list, but I confess that it's lack of activity on Ravelry is a bit discouraging. A little more investigating is in order.

New Mexico and Montana are places where family would come to visit. New Hampshire, not so much, I think. At least not my family. Dan's family would probably come, though less often than if we were living in the west.

I don't know. No sense fretting about this until we actually have options laid out before us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Uncle takes a turn for the worse

Bad news. Remember when I told you about my uncle (mom's uncle, actually) who had a fall in July and was in the hospital?

I called my great aunt a few weeks ago to get the real story. She was doing the best she could and said that Unc was learning to walk again, that he had been transferred to a facility closer to their home. That was about it though, she didn't give details.

It's really frustrating to have experience in health care and end-of-life issues from a clinical/academic standpoint but to not have family members who are capable of reporting the level of detail I would like. I'm not complaining about my aunt so much as my other family members, especially when I got conflicting reports.

Tonight I got the call from my sister who heard from our mum's second cousin telling us that Unc will probably not last the night. Something about his toes and foot have gone black (did he have a thrombosis? He must have, that's the only explanation. ) They made the decision to not amputate because there was only a 30% chance he would survive the surgery, and he's on his way out anyway. He's 84.

This is pretty rough. I have made peace with death long ago (and promised to write about it at one point, but didn't) and given that we have now had a month and a half to get used to the idea that Unc wasn't long for this world, this comes as no surprise.

And yet.

If he does pass in the next day or two and there is a funeral this week, I won't be able to make it. Not unless the funeral is on or after September 20th. See, I have had a prior commitment for months now to look after the yarn shop while Ellie is away at a family wedding. I can't back out.

I haven't been to a funeral in 17 years. I haven't seen most of the people that will be at this funeral in 24 years. I could make the trip in about 10 -12 hours (drive, ferry, drive) and I would really like to be there.

So please, Unc, hang in there just a little longer. Is it selfish to ask this?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 2010: The Month of Knitting

This month is a big knitting month for me. On top of the classes I'm teaching this month (beginners, socks, colour, kids), I'll be looking after the yarn shop while Ellie is away. Ellie will be gone this weekend for the Nanaimo Fiber Arts Festival, then to Toronto for a wedding next week. That means I'll be working the yarn shop for ten or eleven full days this month. The classes happen outside of store hours, and with my new gig teaching the girls, that will be tons of knitting work.

I started with the girls the other day and it was lots of fun. Me and little girls, we get along great. I become furniture, something fun to climb on after not too long. Before I left the youngest threw her arms around me. Adorable! I see them today and we'll continue. The oldest will get going on the ball while the other two will just get familiar with yarn in their hands.

On top of teaching knitting and working at a yarn shop, I have also been commissioned to knit five hats. Four for one woman, one for another woman's daughter. I have finished two of four and am almost finished the latter. Lucky for me I'm on a pink kick right now, since all five of these hats are pink or have pink in them.

Someone was in the shop the other day and asked if Ellie had someone who could knit 25-50 hats for his shop in Vancouver. She took his email address and said she pass it on, and she did, to me. It was an interesting proposition. I'm not the fastest knitter in the world, but if I was knitting the same hat ten times over, I imagine I'd get pretty quick with the same yarn and design. Even so, how much to charge? It was an interesting thing to consider. The other day before my class started, some friends were hanging out at the shop as we were discussing this. It's one thing to knit some stuff on the side, but to be working full time on hand-knits - there is really no way you'd get your worth out of it. Even at $5 an hour, that would make any hat rather expensive, when you factor in the price of yarn. And you can't live on $5/hour, at least I can't. The other issue is repetitive strain. That many hats is a lot of knitting, and would crowd out time for knitting for myself. I haven't had much work at the fish job these last couple of weeks so I have been knitting almost nonstop. My arms are protesting...

Because I'll be working so much at the yarn shop this month, and since we were really low on supplies, we were able to steal away for five hours yesterday and drive into Port Alberni. It's about an hour each way, give or take (construction, tourist traffic, etc.) and we had something like eight places to go to in the space of three hours. We had to rush back because Dan had to work. In that time we discovered a newly opened grocery store - and you know that means there will be lots of sales! Then we headed to our beloved Fairways to stock up on our Asian ingredients. In the course of our day I also got 10 lbs of over ripe bananas, 10 lbs of cucumbers, and 20 lbs of peaches. There will be banana bread, mustard pickles, and canned peaches before long. I don't know how we're going to cram it all in. I'm about to leave for Tofino to teach the girls, come back, bake banana bread, then go to an offload at 4pm. Well, being busy is better than being bored...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Commissioned pink hat #2

I admit I didn't like the look of this yarn on the shelf. But knitted up it is way more interesting.

This was knit with Viking of Norway Balder on 7mm dpns. I did the decrease twice, since when I did it the first time (I'm making this up as I go, you realize) the hat was way too small and I had lots of yarn left. But altogether this knit up in about six hours, including mistakes.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

designing knit things

I really need to start designing stuff, writing patterns down, having them test knit, and then offering them up.

On my Ravelry page you'll see that most of my projects don't come from patterns, that I just make stuff. I like using patterns, they keep me in line and introduce me to new techniques. But quite often my creative process will begin with noticing something and then thinking about how I can apply knitting to that thing.

Take for example, some person who has had the misfortune to have lost or been born with too many fingers. In cases like these, a knitter is your best friend! Who else could custom design mitts and gloves just for you!

(I often think about all the people out there missing one of their feet, the solution for the ailment that afflicts many knitters known as Second Sock Syndrome).

This whole thing really got rolling for me when I spent my first Christmas with Dan's family. He told me his eldest sister really likes frogs and would love a tea cosy. Voila! A frog tea cosy (I don't have photos on this computer or I'd be sure to post one). The following year Dan's youngest sister had a thing for octopuses (octopi?) so I knit her an octopus necklace. Realizing that everyone in the family has a 'thing' and those 'things' could be knit, I produced a Chicken toaster cosy for Dan's mom and the Toast Mittens for Dan's stepdad. Zola wanted a shark hat.

I've had a lot of fun with these projects. I spend a great deal of time thinking about the construction. How do you do shark teeth? The jowls of a chicken? The crust of bread?

When thinking about these things I wonder if it is worth the effort to write them down into a pattern. Would anyone buy them? Would anyone actually knit them?

I'm rather conservative as far as buying patterns go. It has to be really amazing or beyond my imagining for me to shell out cash for it. But other people, I know, are not like me. And having said that, I have a rather healthy collection of knitting magazines, and they contain patterns, don't they? So hm. Maybe it is worth doing. As of yesterday I have the CEO of a knitting magazine following me on Twitter.

Yesterday I found out a friend is pregnant. I think I'll hold to my vow of never knitting another baby blanket, but I'm sure I can find all kinds of things that the baby will need. Much smaller, quicker, more satisfying to knit.

And then I got to thinking... what about for the mom-to-be? Does anyone do hand-knit maternity wear? Most women I know who have been pregnant often gripe about the lack of nice-looking clothing to wear when they are feeling gross. Maybe what my friend needs is something pretty to wear when she's in her later stages of pregnancy and then for postpartum. I'm thinking a lacy frock, perhaps with beads. I'll do a search for such a thing but in the end, I might just design something. (A quick Ravelry search pulls up 124 maternity knitwear designs. Lots that are unflattering).

A bit more knitting

I started these wee strawberry booties months ago. The babies they are meant to go on will be arriving in the next month, so I really need to get them done!

I like the look of them but they are way more work than they appear! I'm short by one bootie, so I'll have to get Knitted Sock Sensations out from the library again. I don't remember the pattern and I wouldn't want to risk winging it.

This is a top I started knitting... when? Last year? It's been so long I don't even remember. It's been in this state of completeness for as long. I can't believe I got to the almost done point and then forgot about it. Part of my delay in getting back to it was having misplaced the pattern. Well, pattern found, I will get this done soon.

A pile of knitting

Holy cow do I and did I ever have a lot of projects on the needles. Finally getting around to taking some photos and posting them here.

Featured here are two dishcloths knit from one skein of mercerized cotton. I'll be teaching a kids' knitting class later this month and our first project will be a dishcloth. One is for the sample in the shop, the other is going to be tested by us here at home. It's pink! As you will see, I'm on a bit of a pink kick lately...

The second baby blanket for Sybil's twins, due sometime in the next month. This will hopefully be the last baby blanket I ever knit. So. Bored. I do like the look of it though. Bernat handcrafter cotton.

Again, preparation for a class I'll be teaching this month, this is the Stranded Hat pattern from my Color Techniques book. I changed it a bit since I didn't have enough yarn for the main colour, but I think the effect will be nice when it's done.

The brim is to be folded up against the rest of the hat.

This is the first of two Brother Amos Hellfire Lace socks, a pattern from Cast-On's Brenda Dayne. Knit with Malabrigo sock yarn...

Okay this first one is part one of a set of four. A woman I work with in the fish job has asked me to knit her four pink hats: two for her daughter, two for herself.

I may well embellish these with butterflies, since that is what they like.

Was pleased with the way the top shaping turned out. Out of 100 stitches, I SSK at the beginning and K2tog at the ends of each of four needles. I did this every other row.

On the alternate rows, I did the same decreases in the middle of these rows.

This is the Brattleboro Hat from Interweave Knits Fall 2010. I saw the pattern and thought "If only I had some Malabrigo worsted!" since that is what the pattern called for. I looked through my stash for a suitable substitute and voila! Yarn I didn't even know I had. I bought this last year at the Yarn Garden in Portland, Oregon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

yarnsalad around the world

Woot! Thanks Louise from the Caithness Craft Collective for mentioning me in her podcast! Louise and I have been corresponding these last few weeks and I mentioned I worked at my LYS. She tells my story in her podcast so go have a listen!

Now I really want to go to Scotland.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

climate change

It's not what you think.

I'm speaking of climate change in terms of moving from one climate to another. Apparently this has been the coldest, foggiest, greyest summer on record here in Ucluelet. When we moved here in the spring, we knew we were in for eight months of winter (read: rain). I've lived on the west coast of Canada for 13 years and am very acclimatized to the kinds of weather we get here. When we go further inland, I do dry up a bit, but then I just get out the hand lotion and drink gallons of water to compensate.

A year ago and more when Dan and I were looking for work and places we'd like to live, we had some pretty strict criteria. The biggest thing was that the place we ended up needed to be near the ocean or a large body of water. Well, we live 200m from an ocean inlet, it's hard to get much closer than that without risking tsunami hazard conditions. Given how cool it's been here (save for a few sets of warmish or even hot days) this summer, Dan says the desert is starting to look pretty good.

Well, the places in the desert that were on The List of potential places (i.e. places where Dan had applied for jobs) are no longer. Strangely, though, we can still see ourselves moving there at some point in the future. See, Dan has been thinking a lot about the construction of the house we are going to build someday. He had a basic idea for it about a year and a half ago, but over time the design in his head has been modified and improved. The other night we admitted to each other that we both imagined this house to be in the desert. New Mexico, in particular. And we were both surprised to learn this. Isn't that interesting, we said.

I have recently started reading Barbara Kingsolver's Book Animal, Vegebable, Miracle. I love BK, I think her fiction is fantastic and this book is one I've had on my list of things-to-read for a while. And you know, things come to us when they're meant to. The narrative begins of her family's decision to move from the desert (Tucson, Arizona) to the lush hills of the Appalachian mountains. (Virginia? I can't remember). Their reason? They wanted to grow food, and what with the lack of water in the desert, growing food was not an option there.

This has me thinking, of course. I mean I know that water is hard to come by in the desert but for some reason I thought that if we moved near the Rio Grande, surely there are lush areas there?

Last weekend we had some of Dan's family here. Dan's mum Melinda was telling me that the state of Texas was upset that they don't get any water from the Rio Grande and they were blaming New Mexico (since NM is upstream). That they want to drill massive wells into the land of New Mexico and then install pipes to ship that water from New Mexico to Texas.

Talk about getting blood from a stone.

Uh hello? New Mexico doesn't have water.

It occurred to me that it would make more sense for Texas, who has lots of money, to build a desalinization plant. They, after all, have access to the ocean whereas poor New Mexico is landlocked. Seriously, though, I think desalinization plants are going to become very important in the future. Australia has already embraced this technology.

I digress...

When considering a move to New Mexico, we have been thinking about what we would take. What would we take? What would we leave behind? We have decided that we would take only what we could drive with us in one trip. That means our pickup truck and possibly a trailer. The Tercel we'd give away. The beloved van, alas, would go to car heaven (the boneyard for vehicles). Almost all of our furniture was given to us and will likewise be given away. Many of our clothes currently in circulation will be thrown away - we are using old grubbies for our smelly fish job and after we leave, they will no longer be appealing to anyone. Instruments will be given away or sold. Books... I can pare mine down. I can't speak for Dan but really, how many hundreds of used paperback science fiction books does a person need?

Well, we're not going anywhere at the moment. I'm still lined up to work at and teach knitting at the yarn shop in Tofino. I'll be teaching the girls how to knit a la Waldorf. I'll continue to count fish.

We are still searching though, and it is interesting to consider other climates. We were relieved when Madrid gave the job to the other guy (really, 35 degree heat in a city of 14 million people seemed like torture to me). Montana is still a possibility.

So now that's interesting. We are currently in a rainforest/coastal climate. We were considering the desert but that's on hold at the moment. But then there is this other place with actual seasons and a proper winter. I grew up in a place that had winter. Alberta. You know, I actually like shoveling snow. Montana is appealing for a number of reasons. Dan's family has a condo in Missoula. Dan's aunt Susan and Uncle Roger (siblings of aforementioned Melinda) live a day's drive away in Utah. There is all kinds of fibery goodness happening in Montana! It would also be a day's drive away from my family. But most important, I already have a Gardening in Montana book. I'm dying to grow food.

We were supposed to have had by now a back yard full of raised beds for veggies. I know I have griped about it before but nutshell version: we moved here for a job that was supposed to pay Dan lots of money which would have afforded us the tools and materials to make my veggie garden possible. That never happened. Now the back yard looks like a bit of a mess with patches of dead grass where I had put the cardboard down for raised beds. I can't even afford to bring in some soil to throw on top. The earth that's there is full of clay and gravel, so not much will grow there. It's very frustrating to me because we spent two growing seasons in a place where growing space was limited and I got as much as I could out of that bit of land, and now that I have a much larger space, I can't do anything with it.

I suppose I'm just rambling and ranting now. Just wanted to share some of my thoughts with you, my dear readers. We continue with our uncertainty but make the best of it.

In other news, in another post, I will go on about how I have been knitting like a fiend...