Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Mr, Cupcake at Craters of the Moon
Mr. Cupcake at Craters of the Moon

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

teaching knitting, Waldorf style

Starting next week, I will be teaching knitting to three girls who are being home schooled in the Waldorf school style.

I'm not really clear about what Waldorf schools do, only that they are free-flowing, seem to have a particular focus on arts and crafts, and seem to have a spiritual side.

At the beginning of each lesson, apparently the students and teacher begin with a verse. The mum for two of the girls has asked me to prepare (find?) one. Basically it will set the tone for the class.

There are Waldorf groups on Ravelry, and I have joined one in hopes of getting guidance and support as I make this foray into uncharted territory.

I have taught people how to knit before. I have taught kids before. But I have never taught knitting to kids. I'm looking forward to this, seeing how it goes, and I'm a bit nervous at the same time. Me & little girls, we get along great. I may be 36, but I am a kid myself. I like pink, tea parties, dressing up, and making stuff. I don't spend much time with kids at the moment but that's just because we don't have any in our life that are nearby.

My sister's daughter will be six in December. I had a chance to talk to her on the phone the other day, since she wanted to talk to Auntie. We must have talked for 20 minutes and it was the most lucid conversation we have ever had. She doesn't like pink anymore, she's on to purple now because of Hanna Montana. (Who?)(I've heard of Hanna Montana, in fact HM clogs up any search I do when I'm looking for information about the state). She really liked the cardigan I knit for her last year but she has already grown out of it. She really likes the slippers I knit her too and could I please hurry up and mend them so I can send them back. She would like to learn to knit. She hopes I can come for her birthday party but I'd have to come before her birthday because her birthday is too close to Christmas. No she hasn't been reading very much because she forgets but now that I've reminded her she'll get her mom to get out the story books.

Yeah, I wish I had more time to spend with them. I only get to see them about once a year. If we end up in Montana, it will be a day's driving away.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

as the fish go by

A few reflections on working alongside the commercial fishing industry:

There is a type of fish that is called hake. Hake are about 40-60cm long (15-20"), have wispy fins, are silver and scaly. They have an enzyme that causes their bodies to start rotting the minute they die, so when the fishing vessels go out and bring in hundreds of tons in one day, they have to make sure they are sufficiently cold.

I'll back up: before a commercial fishing vessel goes out, they have their holds (the bellies of the boat) filled with ice. If it's a hook-and-line boat, they also get bait (usually squid or octopus). Some of the hook-and-line boats are out fishing for a week so they need the fish to remain cold until they come into offload.

Hake vessels, depending on where the school of hake is, often go out and come back in the same day, belly full of fish. These hundreds of tons are sucked out of the holds onto a conveyor belt. There are usually three or four people on the line called graders who pick out anything that is not hake. There are separate totes for dogfish, Yellowtail (called 'greenies'), flat fish, salmon, or rockfish. The hake go by on the conveyor belt and into a huge tote that holds 1000 - 1300 pounds. There is ice on the bottom, ice on the top, a lid gets placed on and the forklift takes the tote and put them in a truck.

My job in this matter is to write down the weights of the totes when they are full of fish. At the end of the offload, I compare my numbers with the plant's tally person and it is important that we match. Another one of my duties for a hake offload is to take what is called a Length/Sex frequency.

So this means I go up to the conveyor belt with a board with a ruler on it, filleting knife and pencil in hand. Usually I have gloves on too, some plastic sleeves, and my high-visibility vest. I am required to sample 100-120 fish to see how long they are and what sex they are.

Measuring a fish's length is fairly straightforward. But to sex the fish I have to cut a line in the belly of the fish, see if they have an egg sac or gonads, and then with my pencil I put a tick at that part of the board either on the male or female side of the line. Yes, it is a messy business. Fish guts. When I'm done the sampling I put the fish back on the belt.

After about 100 fish (and you do lose count after a while) I go and give my board and knife and pencil a rinse. Next I have to transfer the numbers from the board to the paper I'll fax to the office later. I'll write something like '45' under the centimeters column, '8' in the frequency column, then '1' in the sex column (for male) or '2' for female. (I know, I know, I didn't make these codes up).

Now even though salmon are a prohibited species, they do sometimes come up. We have to do the same procedure with these but in this case it's with every salmon. And, if the salmon is missing its adipose fin (the fin at the top just before the tail), that means it's a tagged salmon and the head must be removed, I have to stick a tag attached to a piece of string to the head. This requires sticking my finger through the gills and out the mouth with a now bloody piece of string and somehow tying a knot with gloved hands. Not as easy as it sounds. It's during this process that I think a plastic crochet hook would come in really handy.

What do I do with the head? Stick it or them into a plastic bag, fill out more paperwork (including where the fish was caught), and then take it back to the office freezer. At some point someone (who?) comes along and takes them away.

Another part of my job is to tag halibut. Every halibut that is legally caught will have a tag in its tail. This requires the same protective clothing (gloves, sleeves) and rain gear (overalls) if I remember. Lately I've been provided with an extra person just to do the tagging for me if there is a busy offload, but not yesterday.

The halibut, maybe 30-40 of them, get placed into a net that holds about 1,200 pounds, gets lifted off the vessel by crane and then placed/dumped on the halibut table. This is a large (10x10 feet) slanted stainless steel table with rails on the slanting sides and open spaces at the bottom for the slime and ice to drip out from. The plant guys flip the fish over so the white sides of the halibut are facing up, and then I come with my gun and tags.

The gun is the same that they use (I think) in clothing stores when they apply labels to clothing. You know those annoying little clear plastic T-shaped bars? Those ones. I have to stick the needle part of the gun through the tail, pull the trigger, and pull the needle out of the tail. I also have to note down the number of the start tag and the last tag, so I can get a count of how many fish there were.

This is also a messy job but I confess it's one of the aspects of my job that I like the most. I don't know why - maybe because it's physical? The plant guys are usually quite cheerful and we get the work done.

Yesterday was an especially long day. I was originally called to do one or two boats, but it turned into five. Fishing is terrible at the moment, so some of these offloads took an hour or less (usually we can count on three or four). At about hour seven I sent Dan a text message asking if he could bring a bunch of sandwiches for the plant guys, since we had all been going non-stop and nobody had had a break to eat. An hour later, Dan showed up with about 20 sandwiches and 2 cases of sodas. All work stopped for the few minutes it took to eat those sandwiches but you should have seen the faces of everyone. They were all so grateful to have a bit of food, a bit of sugar. Throwing fish is a very physical job and doing it on an empty stomach must be brutal. At any rate, it felt good to be able to support the work in this little way.

At this very moment, we are waiting for our in-laws to arrive.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

photos of scissors

This might seem an odd thing to blog about but, given I have a surprisingly large scissor collection, I thought I'd write about it. This came about because of a conversation the other day about the wrong scissors for a task. I needed to cut yarn, and the scissors that were available were gummed up from having opened many boxes packed with tape. I'm not even sure these scissors were ever meant for yarn to begin with, they may have just been paper scissors.



When I was growing up, we had two sets of scissors in our house. One was for sewing (and thus, we children were not allowed to use them) and the other were for everything else. Years later as a young adult, I was lured by dollar signs into the stupid job of selling knives, where they sell you your demo kit for half price. It's a pretty good set of knives as knives go, and the schtick with the scissors was to cut around a penny to make it into a corkscrew, thus demonstrating the strength of the scissors.

I have also been cutting hair, mine and that of friends and family, for about 20 years. Everyone knows you need special hair cutting scissors. I had a favourite pair that lasted me a good many years, then I lost them one night when our department at school was having a pub crawl with matching T-shirts. There was an image on the T-shirts that was offensive to me so I just cut it out. Then, because alcohol was involved, I accidentally left my beloved hair-cutting scissors that had come with me to Korea and Japan in that stupid bar that I will probably never set foot in again. Alas. So featured here is my first pair of sewing scissors. Dan bought them for me when I learned how to sew on a machine, just a couple of years ago. (Even though I took home ec in grade 8, my mother refused to let us use her machine. I blame her for my lack of skill in this area!). I try to use these scissors only for fabric and thread, but occasionally they also get used for yarn. And that's okay.


This is the super-duper penny-cutting pair of Cutco scissors. These have many purposes and live in the kitchen. They have been known to cut paper, chives, vegetables, yarn, cardboard, and all manner of thing. They come apart, can go in the dishwasher, and cost $85 in 1994.


These are cheap crappy paper scissors that came in a set of three for $5 at Zellers, I think. These are used primarily for paper and, in a pinch, yarn.


Okay while they are not technically scissors, these hang out in the kitchen also because they are used for harvesting herbs. And sometimes for cutting yarn. (See a theme here?)


The follow-up to having lost my beloved hair cutting scissors is featured in this photo. While Dan & I were on our honeymoon last year (road trip through 10 western states), we had a need to cut hair (I don't actually remember the circumstance). I think these were purchased at Walgreens. They are great but not as good as my old pair. My old pair could be used with both right and left hands (which is useful if you are, as my sister would say, 'bihandual'). I cut my own hair usually, haven't been to a salon in a year and a half. I've been cutting my own bangs for years too, hence the need for hair cutting scissors. Sometimes, (you know what's coming) I use them for cutting yarn.


Now these little babies ended up in my possession through no devices of mine. A couple of years ago, I offered up my hair-cutting services for a political demonstration a friend was putting on. I forget the symbolism behind the cutting of hair and I wasn't really behind the movement, but I was happy to cut people's hair for a couple of hours. These scissors were brought and then left behind by another hair-cutter, and someone slipped them into my bag. They are great too, though mostly I use them for cutting yarn.

I'm a big believer in using the right tool for the right function. I wouldn't use a wrench as a hammer unless absolutely necessary. I didn't realize just how many sets of scissors I had until I decided to line them all up this morning. Am I weird? Do you have this many scissors? Do you clean and sharpen and tighten your scissors?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

tourists on boats

The Pacific Rim area receives about 2.2 million visitors a year. That's more than Victoria. There is a smattering of tourists in the winter but by the time summer rolls around, it's all RVs and SUVs from places afar.

One of the fun things for tourists to do around here is to go whale watching. On their way out of the Ucluelet harbour, the skippers of the whale watching boats often stop right in front of a commercial fishing offload to stare, take pictures.

There is a term for this: it's called cultural voyeurism.

Most of the plant people are annoyed at this blatant rudeness. The tourists don't know or care that it's rude, most likely. They just find it interesting. And it is interesting, I guess, but for the boat to stop 50 feet from the dock just seems like mockery. These people with their $5,000 cameras taking pictures of people who aren't sure if they can pay their rent next week.

We (me and the plant staff) often talk about mooning or flashing the tourists. We would love to, but aren't really brave enough. Oh yeah, and we might risk losing our jobs, there is that.

What would be much more considerate is for people to come and pay us for a tour, perhaps with explanations. The whale watching companies don't give the fish plants a cut, and by golly they should for the amount of entertainment we give them. One of the fellows often picks up the biggest halibut he can find (about 60 pounds or more, an impressive four feet or so) and that same snotty skipper always gets on the intercom and says 'good man'. The rest of us want to stick up our fingers.

tourists on bicycles

Here is a typical Dan story:

He took his bicycle into the bicycle shop down the road (there is only one in town) to see about getting a crank set for it. The shop owner looked at it quizzically and asked if he had built it himself. O yeah, just cobbed it together really. The owner said, "you are a bike mechanic?" Dan listed all the bicycle and sports shops he'd worked at. The owner said, "would you like a job?" (these kinds of things happen to Dan all the time. People see how competent or knowledgeable he is about something and then offer him a job. It's rather humorous, actually.)

So the next day Dan started as the shop's new part-time mechanic. It doesn't pay much of course but it's something different and will fill in some gaps when Dan isn't working at the fish job.

That same day this family of tourists came into the shop. A man, two women (full-on hair and make-up, high heels, etc.), and two children under five. The man wanted to rent bicycles for them all so they could ride to the garbage dump to see bears.

I know what you are thinking. What the heck?

The garbage dump is about 20-25 kilometres away from the bicycle shop. Sure there is a trail for about 8km of it, but after that it is a narrow shoulder on a busy highway with 80km/h traffic.

The owner at first pleaded with the man advising against this notion, saying it was rather unsafe to ride that far with such small children (never mind the stiletto heels on a bicycle). The man insisted. The owner finally refused. He declared that if the children should die on his rented bicycles, he would not want that on his conscience.

(My comment later, when Dan relayed this story, was why on earth would you take your meal-sized children to see bears?)

Later the owner told Dan that those women would have been filing for divorce before they hit the junction (where the bicycle trail ends).

It just blows my mind what grown-ups can think up...

very wild fiber

So I was on a commercial fishing vessel this morning just finishing up paperwork with the skipper when he was telling me he's going to go hunt sheep in northern BC next month. What what? I've never heard of people hunting sheep! And it was a kind of sheep I've never heard of (am kicking myself now for not writing it down!)

Of course when I hear the word 'sheep', naturally my brain interprets that as 'fleece' or 'fibre' or 'yarn'. So I asked him if he thought it would be good for fiber? (N.B. I am intentionally spelling fiber and fibre both ways because I know I have readers on all sides of this divide. I have no preference for which way to spell it, just like 'grey' or 'gray'. Earl Grey tea. Gray hair.)

Well, this particular skipper found my quest for fishermen who knit a very interesting one and asks me about it every time I see him, about every few weeks. Alas, no, no fishermen around here know how to knit or know anyone that does. I always offer to teach them. Ha ha, they say. I'm serious. Knitting is a life skill!

Last week I watched as a skipper and his deckhand from a trawl vessel repair some of their nets. They had long narrow bobbins and it seemed they passed the netting through a loop, tied a not, then passed it through another loop. It was quite mesmerizing (if you're a knitter like me and take an interest in these things). I wanted to climb down onto the boat and have them show me so I could understand, but darn it (pun intended), I was there as an observer and I had to remain on the dock to do my job.

Back to my main story, the skipper and I were talking about how to get fleece off an animal. I said you'd just need some shears, I imagine, there are probably special ones for different fiber animals but maybe plain old hair clippers would do? (If you are reading this and I'm way off base, please do let me know!) I know I need to investigate this further because...

He offered to bring me back the hide. He said he'd salt it down and roll it up, bring it back for me. He just wants the meat. A sheepskin?

I honestly don't know the first thing about processing raw fleece and turning it into yarn. I only picked up a drop spindle for the first time last month and haven't really enjoyed it enough to persist, but learning the process from start to finish, I admit, is extremely compelling.

One of the things I really like about this area is that everybody knows how to do stuff. Everybody knows how to jig for squid off the dock, how to smoke fish, how to can produce, in other words how to do all those things that people in cities pay other people to do for them. Dan and I are DIYers for sure, but living here has taken things to a whole new level. Who would have ever thought I would consider taking a raw hide and turn it into yarn? And if the hide is salvageable after that, I might even learn how to tan it. I know it would be smelly but gosh, where else do you just get a raw hide nowadays? It sounds like an adventure to me. Maybe even some sheepskin gloves/boots/clothes.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Alot

Okay did that subject heading make you cringe? I hope so. For there is no such word in the English language. This was drilled into me by Mr. Whatshisname in Grade 10 English. That was his biggest pet peeve.

A lot.

See when people forget that a lot is two words, this tells me they don't actually think about what these words mean. I can forgive a typo (like when I was felling crappy one day on Twitter)(then got flack for it from two people)(uh, thanks) but then to say something like

allot

when you mean

a lot

makes me want to put my arm through the computer screen and smack you in whatever state or province you live in.

allot is actually a word. A verb, as a matter of fact. To allot something means to dole something out. My monthly allotment of ice cream, ammo, or kitty litter.

Okay these are silly examples but you get my meaning.

Yeah, this is a filler blog post, sorry. I've been busy with yarn, knitting, selling yarn and teaching knitting. Also, as we have no housekeeper (sigh), someone has to stay on top of these stupid dishes that keep getting dirty after we cook and eat from them. Stupid dishes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fogust

Fogust. That's what they call this month around here. What will all the fog.

We did see three days of sun this month, this past weekend. It was actually hot and my tomato plants were happy. Our next door neighbours had their sprinkler on for 18 hours straight. But then the temperatures cooled and we are back to not being able to see more than 50 feet in front of us. Maybe 100.

I hung clothes out to dry yesterday. They were almost dry, in the sun. When I went to gather them this morning, they were absolutely laden with mist.

I had the front door open yesterday and I heard clomp clomp clomp at the front door. One of the deer fawns that lives in the thicket across the street was thinking about coming in!

When I got home from work at 3:00am, there was a bear cub in our front yard! He ran away at the sight of my truck.

I'm in a bit of a crabby mood today. Lots of crappy stuff happening that I can't write about here. I sure feel like I want to run away though.

Meanwhile, Dan is making kimchi. So things aren't all bad.

Monday, August 16, 2010

TPot for TPot: the story

Sorry about separate posts for this topic, Blogger seems to be acting up.

Yesterday I finished a WIP. I had crocheted the circular base a month ago or so, and yesterday I was determined to finish this.

There is a local man here who goes by the name of TPot. Everyone knows him, he is sweet, friendly, and knows his fish. He was positively delighted by the cupcake I knit for Jewel (remember that? Early July) so I decided I would knit him a TPot.

His birthday is not until October, but I wanted to get this project done long beforehand so I could show people before I gave it away. If you are reading this and know TPot, please don't tell him!

There were a number of techniques involved with this. Crocheting the base, picking up and knitting around the edges, knitting in stockinette with a decrease x2 on every other row. I cast off at the top and knit the lid separately. I placed a cardboard circle in the base for stability then stuffed it with fabric I'll never sew with. The lid was knit in the round, decreasing until I had eight stitches left, then knit a bobble. Stuffed that with a wee ball of the same hemp yarn I used to knit the whole thing with. I embroidered his name with yellow embroidery thread. If you are an embroidery expert, please don't cringe! I know my skills leave a lot to be desired.

The handle was knit in the round with two short-row shaping sections, then stuffed and attached separately. The spout is like a mitered square, also attached separately.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. This yarn unfortunately does not do justice to my skill but this will be a cherished gift nonetheless.

TPot for TPot photos





Friday, August 13, 2010

hunting and gathering

The trout seem to be evading us. Why? We don't know. We saw fish in the stream yesterday, nine of them. Some of them were even interested in the bait on Dan's hook. Alas, we went home empty handed.

We hatched a plan to wake up before dawn today to try again, and then gather some berries. We did some driving around the back roads after our failed attempt at catching salmon and saw so many berries just screaming to be made into jam and sorbet. Alas, when the sun came up, neither of us felt like getting out of bed. The fish go uncaught, the berries go unpicked.

We haven't had much of a summer here, despite the reports of record-breaking temperatures on every other part of the continent. It's sunny now, probably our third or fourth weekend of sun. Otherwise it's been foggy. That was one of the reasons we went fishing yesterday: looking for summer.

The other day we went and picked a gallon of salal berries. They are a coastal berry that are a bit on the tart side but when you cook them up into a sorbet it is fantastic. I've just made a wee batch of jam, we'll see how it goes.

I know the First Nations people of this area (NuChalNulth, I think) have a long history of using these and other local berries. Thimbleberries. Huckleberries. Salmonberries. What about the Kinnickkinnick? Is that edible? And given that they are so abundant, why isn't anyone doing anything with them?

I'll go gather another gallon of something today and every day until berry season is over. No one else is harvesting this free fruit and we have some time on our hands, so we might as well make use of this bounty.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

fishermen

You know how when you've only read about or watched programs involving something you've never had actual experience with, and you get an idea of what that's like in your head? Like you're imagining a place you've never visited or a house you've only seen pictures of. Then when you encounter the real thing, you see it's nothing like you imagined it to be or you are surprised in all kinds of ways.

I don't remember now what I thought fishermen were like before I started this job but the reality is assuredly something different. Not in a bad way, just different.

1) I might be the only person who didn't know this, but fishermen are very aware of the cycles of the moon. That's because the fish move with the moon. Apparently when the moon is full, the hake school go into deeper water. As a side note, the Medicine Farm just outside of Ucluelet also harvests and plants in accordance with the cycles of the moon.

2) I've been asking the fishermen lately about knitting. I ask if they know any fishermen who knit. Alas, they all say no! What's worse - they aren't usually aware that fishing is a big part of knitting history! One of the skippers told me that it was probably more of an east coast thing, but I'm sure the fishermen in the UK and northern Europe still have that skill. Fishermen used to know how to knit in order to make and mend their sweaters, hats, socks, and whatever else they needed. Knitting is very close to netting (with the exception of needles, of course), so it makes perfect sense that fishermen would know how to knit.

3) Some of these fishing boats are small - 35-50 feet - and three or four guys are on them at sea for five or six days at a time. I mean I knew this intellectually but to see it in person really brings home that you really have to get along with the people you are working with because you are also eating/sleeping/breathing with your coworkers.

4) Fishermen work around the clock. When I'm looking at the log pages, sometimes I'll see they set their lines after midnight. I don't know if they are more likely to catch fish at night but it means the crew catch sleep when they can.

5) (This we knew but) fishing is hard on relationships. If you are the wife or girlfriend of a fisherman, you pray for good weather (as people do die on these boats) and anxiously await the day your sweety's boat comes in. When he does, he'll be needing a shower, laundry, and sleep. They might be leaving the next day and you might get to see him for an hour - if you're not also working.

6) I think I've only met one fisherman who doesn't smoke. I see flats of Lucky lager or Kokanee (crappy beer, in case you're wondering) go down to the boats or sitting on the tables all the time.

I haven't asked them about Fishermen's Friends yet. You know, the strong throat lozenges. I do wonder though, are they really Fishermen's friends?

Friday, August 6, 2010

knitting into the fall

I am officially allowed to think about knitting for autumn and Christmas. I say this because I get to teach some project classes in the fall where make seasonal fun stuff. I'm teaching a kids class in September - what should we make? I'll also be teaching knitting to some home-schooled girls. So I'll need to think of things that kids would like.

I'm a kid too, really, just a 36-year-old one. Today I'll spend some time thinking about things to make for the autumn, then perhaps Thanksgiving, then Hallowe'en, (Thanksgiving in Canada is in October), then ramp up to Christmas.

I'm thinking about having a different Christmas project class each week for six weeks over November and December. That way people can pick and choose what they want to knit.

It sure is fun thinking about this stuff. I mean it does get in the way of my own knitting projects but it stretches my creativity in fun ways. I would like to incorporate a number of techniques into the project classes for the fall, including beads, felting, and embroidery.

I'm also thinking about things I can make or put together for Christmas craft fairs. I have lots of ideas and need only time to do them. At the moment, I have time. This week I'll only log about 14 hours (unless I get called in tomorrow) so I do have time to work on my knitting and knitting plans.

Monday, August 2, 2010

brief news update

Some of you have been asking about things I have posted about, so I'll tell you:

My Uncle

I haven't heard anything. I can only assume that this means he has regained his appetite and returned home, that he is out of danger at present.

My Arm

It's doing okay. The bruise is turning to the green/yellow colour it gets just before it goes back to normal. It's still tender to the touch, so I try not to brush it against anything. I have ensured that blood gets to my hands by knitting several hours each day.

My Knitting

Okay nobody really cares about this but I'll tell you anyway. After I'm done Internet-ing, I'm going to put in a movie and finish those socks. I'll post about that tomorrow. I'm about 20% into the Blue Sky Alpaca project (which is a Christmas gift so I can't get too public about it. Visit my Ravelry page if you're curious) is going great and I just *love* knitting with this yarn. Once the green socks are off the needles, I'll turn the house upside down looking for my 2.5mm circs so I can cast on that Malabrigo yarn. I also have a tank top I started last year and am probably a few hours away from finishing if only I can find page 2 of the pattern. I also have a second baby blanket for Sybil's twins due in September that I'm only 15% into.

My Knitting Job

It's so cool to be able to say that. Ellie is keeping me busy, I'm teaching at least once a week this month. Next month I'll start tutoring some little girls who are getting home-schooled by their mother in the Waldorf School style.

My Fish Job

Um. I logged 16 hours last week. Dan has been getting a lot more hours, but that's because we are doing different kinds and sizes of vessels. It's good, actually, because while he's at work I can crank my music (we do not share any music tastes, alas) and clean the house. I dunno, fish arrive, I count them, then I go home. Not much has happened this weekend, I'm not sure if I didn't get called because of my arm or because there just haven't been any boats coming in. I'm glad to have had the long weekend off, at any rate. I'm back at it tomorrow.

My Status as a Ukee resident

Ukee, for those not in the know, is what people around here call "Ucluelet". It's easier to say, for one thing. Most of the people who have grown up here or lived here a long time can't pronounce Ucluelet anyway (they say you-CUE-let), so we just say Ukee.

We had friends over for dinner last night and they re-inspired our idea for a business here. We just need to to some stuff, send some things away, see if we can round up some investors (we have three parties interested), and get the thing going. I'm not going to say what the idea is, because it's a good one, and we don't want word getting out lest someone steal it and try it themselves. If there is a good chance we can get it going before our fish work slows down in the fall, we'll have to seriously consider our plan regarding where we live. We are on the fence about staying here and making a go of it or finding opportunity elsewhere.

It's tough, though, because I'm looking at the fog bank in front of our house and wishing it was warmer. The desert sounds wonderful. I just want to be warm. But then we are in this great house here and there is a wood stove and it sure sounds great to be able to have knit nights here in the winter with friends and knitting and hot chocolate and a fire. But then I think about the proximity to good Mexican food and ingredients. Avocados! Chiles! Tomatillos! Then I think about our current access to amazing fresh local fish and seafood. See our dilemma? There are plenty of good reasons for us to be in either place.

In the end, we have decided we will seize the best opportunity. That's the great thing about us, our relationship, our lack of progeny: we are very flexible and always interested in adventure. Dan and I both feel that home is wherever we are together (well, and the kitty too).

darn near done WIP



So the photo is a bit blurry.
I am in a bit of a hurry.

I am determined to get these done today, as per the request of the Malabrigo. Once done, I will take proper photos, post on the 12 Socks Project blog, Tweet about it, then send these off to Candice in Newfoundland. I'm about four rows away from decreasing for the toe!

the temptress



Dear Stacey,

I knew from the first time we laid eyes on each other that we were meant to be together. You can't imagine how good it felt when you held me for the first time. I wanted to go home with you that very night so we could revel in sumptuous sensuality, I longed to be caressed by your nimble fingers. I tried so hard to persuade you to take me home then but you resisted, you coy temptress.

I would see you every now and then, whenever you came into the shop. You would look for me, I know. You would pick me up, fondle me, lust after my rich colour. I know my price was high but believe me, I'm worth every penny. I assure you you will get a lot of pleasure from having me in your hands for many hours.

If I could have, I would have squealed with delight when you picked me up the other day. How I have longed for you all these months! Finally I knew that you had been thinking about me as much as I have been thinking about you! Going home with you was about the best thing I have experienced thus far, and I know things will get even better between us. Once you are done with those other socks, I guarantee you will not only enjoy having me on your sticks, but will be ecstatic when you have me on your feet.

Please hurry up and finish those green socks. Now that we are under the same roof, I can't bear to be away from you for much longer.

with love,

Malabrigo Superwash Merino Wool sock yarn


Knits by the Sea Grand Opening party part 2

Swag!

































For some reason, I didn't win any of these gorgeous prizes. There were some amazing things in those baskets and none of them went to me. O well.

Here is Ellie looking stunning in her shop.

I have to say, Ellie has done a fantastic job of putting this whole thing together. She has a good business sense, she's got marketing figured out, and she's just so darn friendly that you can't help but buy yarn (and books and needles and place markers and...) from her. She's always smiling and treats every customer, local or tourist, like they are a long lost friend.

Congratulations Ellie!

Knits by the Sea Grand Opening party part 1

Let's see, what do we have here...

This first photo is of some lovely organic merino yarn in gorgeous colours. I didn't note the name of them but Ellie broke out this yarn just for the grand opening party.

The shop held its grand opening party on Saturday, July 31st. There were prizes, giveaways, and lots of treats! A couple of local businesses provided the snacks. There was a gorgeous veggie platter with lots of raw organic vegetables. The platter came with a good hummus, some jack cheese and some tasty crackers. The nasturtium flowers are also edible!




















I arrived just after noon. Ellie was giving a prize away every hour, so I got my name into the box as early as possible.

I had to step out to go to the hospital (mentioned in previous post) but when I returned just after 1:00, I parked myself in a corner and knit for about eight hours with a few other gals.






Chocolate Tofino provided some chocolate treats..













This is the fruit platter from Soul Organics, the same folks who provided the veggie platter.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

health care in a small town

Ucluelet has no hospital. There is only one clinic, and it is open from 10:00-4:00, Monday to Friday. The office is closed from 1:00-2:15 for lunch. This means the clinic is open for four hours and forty five minutes each day. that is a total of 23.75 hours per week.

What happens if you have had an earache for two weeks but can't get into the clinic because you work every day?

Tofino has the nearest hospital. It's a 35 minute drive. If you need medical attention outside of clinic hours, Tofino Emerg is the only game around.

I hurt myself at work the other night as mentioned here. I didn't break anything, I wasn't bleeding much, and I figured I'd be back to normal in a day or two. After all, I was still able to knit.

The bruise showed up the next day (Friday). My boss told me to seek medical attention and to fill out the Worker's Compensation Board form. I didn't see the point, since I knew the doc would just say 'rest and ice' but it is always better to document it than not. Okay Okay, I said, You're the boss.

I did go to the hospital in Tofino, but mostly because I was already there for the Knits by the Sea Grand Opening party. The small waiting room was full of young parents and infants. I brought my knitting with me, knowing how long a wait hospitals can be. The clerk at the admissions desk saw my knitting and told me the new yarn shop was having it's grand opening today. Yes I know, I'm the teacher for that shop...

After a few minutes I was moved to a different area and attended to by a nurse. She took my temperature with the amazing ear thermometer that seemed to be in my ear so brief that I almost didn't notice it. Her watch had stopped working so I whipped out my iPhone for the stopwatch function, and she took my pulse. Asked if I've had my tetanus shot updated in the last ten years. Uh... I can't remember. Much later I remembered: it was just after I bailed in a softball game and had gravel in my knee in 1999. I guess I'm due. Rats.

I have spent a lot of time in hospitals. Mostly as a patient but also as a researcher. I'm quite familiar with the flow of clinicians and feel a sort of kinship with them. I have a professional degree in the health care industry, after all. As I was sitting there in the hallway, knitting away, it occurred to me that they don't know that I also come from a healthcare background. They just think I'm a regular patient. Or maybe they don't think anything.

A little while later, I was moved into the examination area, and the doctor attended me. A woman! I told her my story of the slimy halibut table, etc., and she filled out the WBC form. Told me to elevate my arm and take ibuprofen. Okay. She asked if I was able to return to work. I said if I had to climb a slimy dock ladder down to a fishing vessel, I probably could. (Luckily, I haven't been called).

Then I went back to the yarn shop, where I spent 8 hours knitting in the corner with the other KbtS groupies. We were waiting for the hourly draw, we were all of us waiting to win. Alas, we didn't win. But we did get some swag! I'll put up photos in a different post. When I did return to the shop, the Massage Therapist (whom I had taught to knit, who also took my sock class) applied this patch of medicinal smelling Chinese herb treatment to my bruised wrist. Told me to keep it on for 8 hours then give my arm a rest. Throughout the day I could feel the tingling and got rather used to the smell (mostly wintergreen).

On my drive home, I noticed my arm feeling sore. I noticed my ring finger and pinky finger hurting a bit. Even now the area is a bit sore. In the place where that patch was on yesterday, however, the bruising is noticeably less. So it *does* work!

Back to the topic of health care... this weekend is a long weekend, as Monday is a holiday in BC. This means our little clinic isn't open until Tuesday. Dan has had an earache (as I alluded to above) for two weeks and has finally agreed to go see someone about it, because it is definitely not getting any better. So he will wait until then and hope he doesn't get called in to work.