Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's with all these non-essential internal organs?

When I was twenty I had emergency surgery for a blocked bowel. (I know, I know, too much information).

The surgeon told me that while they were there they took out my appendix for no other reason than they were there and there was some study that showed that after surgery the appendix might get infected and have to come out at a later date.

Ten years ago I was told that I had a spleen, but it wasn't working. No-one seemed overly concerned why

Eighteen months ago I had my gall bladder removed. Don't worry, I was told, you can live without it.

Today, during an ultrasound the technician asked me if I had had my spleen removed because she couldn't find it.

Couldn't find it?

So that's three.

Three organs I was born with, and do not have anymore, and apparently that's ok.

Not sure where the spleen went.

Maybe the aliens took it.

That makes as much, or more, sense than anything I am getting from the medical profession.

Who knew that the creator would make us with all these extraneous parts?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

6KCBWDAY7 - Who,What,Where,When,Why and How

Today the challenge is to talk about where we knit.

Where: Mostly I knit nestled into the corner of my couch in the living room.  It is under the light, plus I have my grandmother's tea trolley next to me where I keep all my essential knitting tools:

The silver tray was my aunt's and always was on the coffee table beside the chair she sat in to knit. 

When camping I knit at the table in the camper, listening to podcasts, or the radio. 

When with my sister I knit in her living room, or outside in lawn chairs (in the summer).  (Here she is teaching me entrelac.)

Who: My husband is usually watching TV with me while I knit, otherwise, unless with my knit group on Thursdays, or at my sister's house, I knit by myself. 

When: I knit for a couple of hours during the day - for five or eight hours at night.  Yes, I am retired.

What: I usually knit socks, or baby things, but this year I am already on my fourth sweater - so projects, they are a-changing. Tour de Sock is starting soon, so I am sure socks will be on my needles most of the summer. Every couple of months I find myself knitting some sort of shawl - a hap shawl is on my list of things to do.

Why:  I knit because I love it.  I knit because I enjoy wearing hand-knit socks.  I knit because hand-knits make the best baby shower gifts.  I knit because it makes me happy and makes me feel useful.

How: I knit English style.  I am a thrower, although I can pick when doing fairisle.  I knit socks using magic loop method if they are straight forward socks, or five double points if they are more complicated and I usually knit my socks two at a time (taat) so I don't fall victim to the dreaded second sock syndrome. I have a set of square artisan double points that I love, and I have lately started to knit socks on nine inch circulars which I quite like.

I don't use straights anymore, but prefer circular needles even if not knitting in the round. 

This brings the Blogging Challenge to an end. It has been wonderful to participate and I am thankful to Eskimimi for picking the topics that make me stretch as a blogger.

So that is knitter me in a nutshell.


I think I am challenge free until next November, so Breathing Life shall return to regular scheduled programming.

Friday, May 15, 2015

6KCBWDAY6- Survey says!

The challenge today is to run a poll on my blog. So here it is.

I am always curious about the traffic to Breathing Life, and BlogSpot isn't the greatest for easy to read stats.

Please take part. I am curious.

I hope this works!

6KCBWDAY5 - Ten best things about my sock yarn blanket

Today's challenge is to blog in a way that is new.

I have never blogged a top ten list. So here goes: 

Ten best things about my sock yarn blanket.

1. Each square only takes forty-five minutes to knit - so that is satisfying.

2. I am knitting in the ends as I go so when I am done, I will be done.

3. Ever square I knit tells a story of the project I knit the yarn with in the first place.

4. Friends and relatives donate little sock yarn balls to me so their stories will be knitted up with mine.

5. Now that I am more than half way finished it keeps me warm while I knit.

6. When I take it out in public it is a conversation starter.

7. I get to experiment with colours and am surprised at some that work well together that I couldn't have imagined would.

8. It is a great project to go to when I am frustrated or bored with my current wips.

9. I can knit the squares without looking so it is perfect for watching TV.

10. It is the best stash buster ever for all those left-overs I had from years of sock knitting.

and I have never added a gif before - so there's that.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

KCBWDAY4 - Is there a SMA (Stitch Marker Anonymous)

Today's challenge is to talk about our knitting tools. I may have a problem.

I can't help myself.

It started with these at a knitting show many many years ago:

and then my son and I were at knit city and, well, these caught my attention:

Oh sure, I had lots of utilitarian markers:

and then? Well then I discovered french pins for shawl work:

These next ones were part of a gift set I shared with my sister and daughter because they live far away and I want us to think of having tea together - I am sentimental that way:

Then I got practical - these are great for shawl work and lace sweaters:

These I got in a swag bag at Knitcity:

Then because I loved the gold rings so much my friend (read enabler) told me I could get them cheap at Michaels:

I saw these in a Knitpick catalogue and HAD to have them because sometimes I put a marker on my knitting and then forget what it is there for:

Problem solved!

At Fibres West - there was this great deal. All these for $1.25:

And, last, but not least, my ten year old honourary grand-daughter and I shared this package of lucky charms we found at Fibres West.

She went home with seventeen stitch markers to start her collection. She gets that from me!

And besides you can never have enough stitch markers!

Am I right?

All of the designer removable stitch markers are from Caliope's Fibres.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

6KCBWDAY3 - Something old, something new...

Nothing borrowed, something blue.

Today the challenge is to do something different with the pictures of our finished objects.

So here is the teddy bear my sister gave me over twenty-five years ago, modelling a baby sweater for someone yet to arrive on this planet.

And here is a test knit I did.

The little pink elephant was made by my Dad when he was in hospice in 1973. He was very nearly blind, and he laughed that he put the legs on backwards so the poor little guy is always resting on his trunk.

and then I played with Paint.

Let's just say - I am still in kindergarten.

I have a lot to learn.

If you have any tips on how to add text to photographs, or the programs you use to modify pictures - please feel free to comment and help this old dog out.

You know.

Old dog - new tricks.

Follow other bloggers participating in this challenge here

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

6KCBWDAY2 - It's all about You (meaning Me)

Today the challenge is to write about ourselves. Since mine is a personal blog I do this all the time, but today I think I will try to include some things about me that I haven't blogged about over the past seven years.

Day Two - turn the attention from the things we make to the things that make us

It took me years to realize I was an introvert. I thought I was, and presented as, an extrovert. I always felt uncomfortable in large gatherings and sometimes this discomfort made me talk too much, too fast and too loud. I still do this if I am nervous, or uncomfortable in a situation - but I am getting better at just being quiet and letting others fill the uncomfortable spaces.

I played French Horn for half a year, and then clarinet for the next four and a half, in my high school band. I should have taken choir because I love to sing and it would have been more enjoyable than being in band. Band was geekier. Choir was cool. In my teaching years I always found myself teaching music classes or leading choirs. I guess you can say destiny won out. I still own my clarinet, and I did play it one year when I was teaching a small jazz band at my school. I love that clarinet.

Yesterday I wished I could pick up the phone and call my mum. She passed away eleven years ago and this is the first time I wished I could talk to her and hear her voice.

I swim as a form of meditation and exercise and stress relief - and next month I am going to check out an openwater swim group that meets in the evening at one of our local ocean beaches. I am scared, and excited about this and I am certain there will be a blog post or two about it.

I love Swedish fish - those chewy candies. Lucky for me they are hard to find so when I do find them I indulge myself.

I am currently reading The Memory Game by Nicci French. It is odd but I don't really read much in the winter (except for blogs) but in the summer I am an avid reader. I love reading at the beach, on my deck, in the campsite, or in bed in the camper. I don't really like reading in bed at home. Strange, no?

I recently read Shadow Scale, the sequel to Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman and I loved it so much. If you like dragon fantasy you will love both of her books.

I am a crossword puzzle addict. Especially the New York Times crosswords. I haven't managed their Saturday puzzles yet, and Fridays are quite a challenge, but I do at least two puzzles a day. At least.

So, that's me.

Wanna share anything with me in the comment section? Come on, it'll be fun!

Follow other bloggers participating in this challenge here

Monday, May 11, 2015

6KCBWDAY1 - If I were a yarn

It's official.

I am crazy.

I finished the A to Zed challenge to blog the alphabet in April, and now I am on day one of another blog challenge.

I did this challenge last year and loved it because it made me stretch as a blogger. Eskimimi gives us a topic or challenge for each of seven days. So here goes with the first post question being:

If I were a yarn, what kind of yarn would I be?

I would love to say I was something exotic, but in reality I am a wash and wear kind of gal so clearly I am some sort of superwash wool. I am natural enough that acrylic isn't going to represent me accurately.

I think I am one of a kind so definitely a one-off dye lot with the dye lot number 1955. The name of the colour would be

Autumn ain't for sissies.

Totally hand-spun - too much twist in some places, too little in others.

Inconsistent yarn - super bulky in parts, lace in others.

Yes, I am a super-wash, hand-spun, art yarn.

Maybe something like this - a little frayed around the edges:

or this, because it is spun using the fractal method which is good for a math geek:

Sometimes thick and sometimes thin:

often a little stretched:

yes, autumn colours, but always with a touch of blue:

Thanks to eskimimi for hosting this and check out other participants by searching 6KCBW.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Finished Object Friday - needs a name. Help?

I have finished a sweater and I LOVE it. I have knit many sweaters in the past, but usually I am not so happy about the fit, or the look.

However, this sweater, which was a very quick knit, is so great. It is warm, thanks to the ultra-alpaca wool, and I love the way it drapes and how its odd construction allows me to wrap myself up in it.

It is a DROPS pattern that has a very numerical name = Drops-108-33 jacket It needs a catchy name that reflects its awesomeness.

Ideas welcome! I have called it a sweater/shawl - but I am sure my readers can do better than that.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

HodgePodge - play along!

Wednesday HodgePodge is brought to you courtesy of This Side of the Pond and Wendy's Waffle.

1. What's a phrase your mother often said to you? If you're a parent, is this something you now say to your own children?

"I will cut off your ears and make soup!"

I don't think I ever said it to my kids, but my brother asked her once if she was making the soup out of the ears, or out of everything except the ears!

2. What is a scent you associate with your mother or your childhood home?

White Shoulders perfume.

3. What's an activity you remember always doing with your mother (or someone who was a mother figure in your life)?

Playing gin rummy, and going to A and W for teen burgers.

4. Flared jeans, maxi dresses, and jumpsuits are 70's fashion trends back this spring. Are you on board? Which trend would you be most inclined to try? For the men...flared corduroys, wide-collared shirts, and floral prints...what say you?

Definitely the maxi dress. I rocked it in the 70s and I think I still pull it off.
My husband has a couple of flowered print shirts and it works for him.

5. May 6th is Teacher Appreciation Day and also Nurse Appreciation Day. Is there a nurse or teacher you have especially appreciated along the way? Tell us why?

I appreciated my son's Grade 7 and 8 teacher. He was totally what my son needed and he was a great role model for how a young man should be in the world.

6. If I came by your house, what would I find on your frig door?

Fridge magnets holding up appointment cards and instructions from my naturopath. Some really cute fire dog magnets (that all sit in the fireman's helmet), and a few letters that spell out uncle and my husband's name.

7. Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana made her royal entrance on Saturday, May 2nd. On a scale of 1-10, how much attention did you give to all the news coverage? 1=Who's Charlotte? 10=sat glued to the telly, cuppa in hand.

Definitely a 1, or maybe a zero because I didn't know she was expecting until I heard Charlotte had been named.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My brother came out of my bathroom a few days ago grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He said I was the only person he knows that still has bar soap in the bathroom. Ivory Soap. The smell reminds me of my dear aunt.

Do you use bar soap? I am really the only one?

Reflections on A to Z(ed) challenge

Time to reflect about the April Challenge.

I am so glad Wendy talked me into it and Edwina kept us company.

I had originally planned to use the theme of Depression - but them seemed too, well, depressing.

Then, one morning, I was looking at the quilt of my bed. The one my students had made for me and I noticed the oars looked like the letter X.

I started to go through the alphabet and saw that I had a square (or two, or three) for every letter.


It was the right time to blog about this quilt, even though it had been gifted to me almost three years ago. I had been thinking about totally retiring from teaching - no more subbing. I had recently experienced some disastrous subbing days. I needed to remember what I loved about teaching and the good lessons I had given and taken part in. This challenge helped heal the hurt of those teaching days in March.

As usual when I am taking part in a challenge I notice my readership goes up - averaging between 150-200 hits a day. I love reading comments from new readers and would go check out their blogs when they took the time to respond to mine.

I also love challenges because they help me find new blogs to read in the morning with my coffee.

I tried to read five new blogs a day and returned to the ones that spoke to me. Here are a few that I enjoyed very much:

Lynnelives - sketching genius

Good Woman - we have soooo much in common

Shells, Tales and Sails brilliant A-Z about inventions by women

Musings with Marianne
- how could I not with that name?

Stories I Found in the Closet
- great theme on Characters you have never heard of

Breathe Me - again - love the title!

I will definitely participate again next year, and I will use a theme because that made the daily posts easier - plus I could plan ahead which is always a good idea.

I never felt at a loss for words - and having a picture, or three, for each post was helpful.

I have learned that shorter posts are better, because when I go to visit another blog, long, long posts don't hold my interest - so I keep that in mind to take my own advice.

At the end of this challenge I reconnected with two students from my first class - they are travelling in Chile - he is a film-maker, and she is a wonderful writer. They are blogging their travels - please check out their blog. The pictures of the volcanic eruption in Chili that they witnessed close up is worth the trip!

Moments of Wander

I am one proud teacher.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Really? Really.

Most days I think I don't have much to do. But in reality my days can be somewhat hectic.

Today, for example:

Hair appointment at 12

Dr appointment at 1

Meet my nephew at 1:30

Babysit from 3:15 - 5:15

I wish I could say this was an unusual day, but it really isn't.

My anxiety is still in full swing.

I talked to a good friend last week and realized that I need to be more judicious about booking my time.

I need to learn it doesn't all have to happen today, or at once.

I need to learn to give myself more time in between things.

To find the space in between the moments so it is not all such a rush.

One thing I know.

From 5:30 on I will be knitting.

And that is a good thing.