Thursday, March 29, 2007

More miscellany

1. *whine* *sniffle* I have to call the Red Deer Chapters and see if they're having a midnight party on the Friday night. The camp counselors can take care of the kiddies, and I can hop up on caffeine and adrenaline, right? Right?

2. And more Harry Potter:

Current progress on the first donation scarf. And yes, the second gold band is one row short. I miscounted somehow... It takes me an hour to do one band (19 bands per scarf), and I do half an hour a day (if I remember to take both my breaks) five days a week, plus more on weekends if I cart it home and have time. Now the question is, once this one is done, which one should I do next? Slytherin? Hufflepuff? Ravenclaw? So many choices! I think Hufflepuff, so I can wear it before donation to the party at the Red Deer Chapters, should I decide to go. I'm actually getting used to the idea of being in Hufflepuff. Badgers rock. But if I were to only get two done, I think it should probably be Gryffindor and Slytherin... What do you think, dear readers?

3. I came across a post at a friend's old blog that I've really been thinking about in relation to, well, a lot of people in my life. I look around. At 18, I wanted to be a journalist. I'm now an executive director in sporting non-profit. How many of us are doing now what we set out to do at the starry-eyed age of 18? And if we are still doing that, is it time to take a step back and say, "Is this truly where I want to be? Is this making me happy?" If the answer is yes, then more power to you! But if no... I think about this especially in light of Jen's current situation. I think about telling her to apply for work in a yarn store, or start an online company importing nifty yarns from North America to England, or some such, because that seems to be something she really enjoys right now. But I also think she really, really enjoys academia, so I don't quite know what to offer her besides quiet support. *sigh*

4. I think I need to consider another timepiece. My wrists are still pretty swollen on a daily basis, so I find I'm taking my watch off pretty much as soon as I get to work. Pocketwatch? Nurse's watch? Cellphone as watch? It's odd... Handwriting seems to hurt my hands, but knitting doesn't if I'm careful about posture.

5. And now, for those who might be interested, and just because I want to put it out there, a measurement comparison. Let me preface this by saying that my friend Barb will be making me a new program for the gym shortly.

9 January23 March
Upper Arm13"12.75"
ABD (?)43.5"43.5"
Body Fat45.245.1
Weight223.8 lb224.2 lb

Monday, March 26, 2007

Adventures in Home Improvement

A trip to Ikea on Saturday made for a fun Sunday morning filled with Home Improvement! There is now a shelf in the laundry room, at good height for us to fold laundry, and mostly intact. There were a couple of mishaps, which led to the front corner of the table getting dinged (anyone in the area have any wood glue?) and the bracket on the left-hand side getting bent. But it's up, stable, and for the most part, well done!

Hard to believe these boxes and this bare wall will soon be Useful!

About an hour later, behold! It sure felt like longer, though...

And about ten minutes after that, with the addition of a hook on the wall for the delicates bags, and tacking up the instructions for a load of laundry. Look at it! It's so wonderful!

Now, what did we learn from this experience, boys and girls? Well...

1. If you think it'll be easier with help, and help is available, if sleeping, WAIT FOR THE HELP! Don't think to yourself, "Aww, he's so sweet, sleeping there. I am Modern Woman; I can do this by myself, though it might be easier to wait until he gets up. But I want to surprise him with my Handyness!" No. If I had waited for help, there might not be a broken corner and a bent bracket.

2. When you are doing Home Improvement, clear the area of all non-essential equipment! If there's a mishap (which there were, a couple), you run the risk of breaking the non-essential equipment. Luckily, it didn't break, but it could have!

3. They may have done everything by hand eons ago, but sometimes, power tools make things easier. Now, I did all the assembly with non-power tools, and my hands still hurt from attaching the legs to the table-top. Ikea kindly gives you little tiny starting holes, but you're putting the screws into it with sheer muscle. And if you're not stripping the screws or the screwdriver, you're putting all your weight into the middle of your palm and turning... three millimetres at a time. Would it have been easier with power tools? Maybe. Too late to say now. But maybe I should have tried it, and saved my already painful hands.

End result? I've already used it to sort and fold laundry, and I love it! I'm a little frustrated that I broke it a little, but live and learn, right? Stay tuned! Adventures in Home Improvement (Phase II) will be coming once the weather gets nice enough to sand and seal wood outside!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Some thinking on fencing

After my meltdown Tuesday night, I've been doing a lot of thinking. One of the things I identified as contributing to my meltdown was missing fencing. I miss the movement, the workout, the mental aspect, the people, and the challenge. It is such a wonderful sport, and quite frankly the perfect sport for me. Starting to wear my breeches/socks/shoes to the gym, and doing footwork as my warmup, maybe wasn't such a good idea, as it brings the fact that fencing is missing from my life in an important way into focus.

This is where I start thinking about my job. I love my job, and I won't be leaving it anytime soon, if I have my way, but there are times, like this past week, where working with the back-end, administrative side of fencing is painful. Because it's not fencing. It's not training, bouting, footwork, or coaching. It's paperwork, grant application, accounting, event planning, and the various other tasks so that other people can do the training, bouting, footwork, and coaching. And I know I'm out of it for health reasons. I do. But there are times like these, where my stress level creeps up and the gym is a stress rather than a stress release, that I resent it. I don't like it, that little petty part of my brain, but it's there. I resent the people who can still fence. The people out there with tendonitis, carpal tunnel, knee problems, whose injuries have not forced them out of the sport yet, and maybe never will. And the people who have no injuries or conditions to speak of, who can just fence without worrying about pain, or injuring themselves more.

I think not presiding this weekend might be a good idea. I just need a couple of days to get perspective, go for a walk, argue with my assigned trainer at the gym again, go for another walk :), maybe do a Video On Demand for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire if it's available, maybe get the shelf bought and put up in the laundry room, and just get away from fencing for a couple of days. I think I can stop with the resentment if I do that, because then I can shore up my fragile centring/openness again following my breakdown, which I haven't had an opportunity to do yet. Then next week, I can love my job without letting it get to me.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


As my first Harry Potter scarf comes together, and I eagerly anticipate the new book and wonder how to justify rereading the whole series with my goal this year of not rereading, I can't help but wonder where I belong in Hogwarts. There are so many Sorting Hat quizzes out there. I thought I would try a few to see how good they were. Click the images if you'd like to try!

My score was 16 Hufflepuff, 15 Ravenclaw, 9 Gryffindor, 6 Slytherin. So I could go into either of the first two.

The Personality Lab sorting hat says that I belong in Hufflepuff!

Said Hufflepuff, "I'll teach the lot, and treat them just the same."

My scores out of 100: Hufflepuff 90, Ravenclaw 88, Gryffindor 68, Slytherin 28

This one thinks I'd be great in both Ravenclaw and Slytherin!

And this one puts me firmly in Ravenclaw (10 Ravenclaw results, 1 Gryffindor).

Heavens. When I make my own scarf, whatever will I do?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dear Mormor

Dear Mormor,

You've left us now, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, and without the deterioration of health that all too frequently marks the passing of ones your age. That brings the total events in the last ten months for the Christensen side of the family to four funerals (Morfar, Great Uncle Gunnar, Uncle Agner, and now you) and a wedding (Sheila and Nathan). Not as happy a title as the reverse, which we all remember as a good film, but nevertheless a short accounting of the events.

I didn't know you too well. Distance and language make that difficult at times. I knew you well enough to love you, though. You learned English so you could speak to us, even as we struggled with the little we remember of Danish. When we were growing up, your letters to Mom and Dad always included postcards of horses or dogs, stickers, glandsbilder: something small and Danish that we couldn't get in Canada, and could collect and admire (which we did). You were very good to us. We had strict instructions to buy presents with birthday and Christmas money, and though there were times I found it very difficult not to buy something supremely practical, I did take great pleasure in thinking to myself as I walked to the till, "This is what Mormor (and Morfar when he too was with us) has given me for my birthday." After Morfar's death, when you were choosing which things to take to your new apartment and which to give to members of your family, you chose for me an embroidered picture of an angel that your own aunt had made for you when you were a girl. You told Mom that you knew that I would appreciate it, because I loved threadcraft. You were right.

I wish you could have met Mike. There is a part of me that I haven't liked to face that knew, ever since we went to Denmark two years ago, I would never see any of my grandparents again, that they would never meet the man I love, and that this facet of my life, the Danish elders (for lack of a better term), would never be something that he experiences. I put that part in a Pandora's box in a corner of my brain; it was too hard to face on a daily basis. Your passing has unlocked it again, though do not be sorry for that. I am sad, yes, for so many reasons, but just because it is difficult to face doesn't mean that I shouldn't, or can't.

I heard that Ole gave you strict instructions, after Agner's death, that you weren't allowed to die just yet. I suppose you held out for as long as you could. I am glad, though, that you didn't die in pain, in weakness, or in distress. I am glad it was peaceful, and I hope that whatever transition you have now made was also peaceful. Thank you for being part of my life. Good bye.

Love, Vanessa

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wait! Wait!

I lied.

Okay, I didn't lie. I didn't know it existed. But if they come out with a fitted girl's T with this on it, I want it for my birthday, along with a vacuum cleaner. :) *bounce!!!*

All I want for...

Cleaning up the house prior to company on Tuesday, I came to this realization. Over books, music, movies, a dinner out, yarn, toys, clothes, or really anything, what I want for my birthday is a new vacuum cleaner. To top it off, as I walked to pilates yesterday, I walked past the storefront for St. Albert Vacuum, and lo and behold, they had a display of Miele vacuums. *sigh*

Compounding, or perhaps just in addition to, this is a plan for a wall unit for the laundry room. I think I have it figured out. I will build it from the Ikea Antonius system, and it will take up the only drywalled wall in the laundry room. It will give me a place to sort laundry, fold laundry, iron laundry (assuming that I buy an iron and this), store things like extra buttons, sewing thread and scissors, and have built-in drying racks. If we get a tool bench, it will go near the furnace, for there won't be room for it on the drywalled wall, even with only one bank of Antonius. And it shall be good, and not overly expensive.

What's with the practical? A vacuum, a laundry room system, and my ears do perk when I hear tell of someone with friends who work at Home Depot that might be able to get us a discount on patio furniture. And with the snow creeping back to reveal the ground around the house, I begin to think of what can be done outside. And I bought a home organization book on our trip to Costco (it was my treat; Mike's was two big bags of Dino-Sours).

But then again, I was perusing the Bargain Finder Mike brought home over breakfast this morning, and was reading all the ads for pet cats... That's not practical. Though the flame point kitten did sound adorable.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Things change starting tomorrow!

I have one all-important task when I get home today, and that is to pack my gym bag for tomorrow. Things are changing! No, not a new program (just got a new one, thankfully), but I'm changing everything from the waist down! Except underwear...

I've decided to start wearing fencing socks, breeches, and shoes to the gym, in addition to the fencing T-shirt I usually wear. Yes, I'm fully aware this will garner more than one strange look from anyone working out at the same time. But I think this is a step I need to take to be successful at this.

First, I'm used to sweating in those clothes. That's huge. Second, I enjoy wearing those clothes. Mostly, I enjoyed them because I got to fence, but in the absence of being able to do that, the clothes will hopefully prove to be a good reminder of exactly why I'm doing this thing that, let's face it, I hate. Third, they go all the way down. The friction burns I got on my inner thighs that one day really put an impetus on making this clothing change... Fourth, and final, I have to wear in my fencing shoes for the day I actually fence again!

Will this work? No idea. I'm not entirely happy with this gym. I question whether or not the trainers could actually deal with an athlete, but I've never been pleased with any of the trainers who have tried to design programs for me in the past. The two-week cycle of progress checks hasn't materialized, and I'm not sure if it's my responsibility or theirs to ask for it. I don't really care. I measure my progress by my weekly weigh-in and the way my pants feel, and both are still about the same. But I've paid for the year, so I will continue to go. The equipment is fine and the location is perfect. If need's be, I will cycle through their standard programs until I finally convince them to tailor one for me, or alternately, my membership runs out.

Edmonton is doing a fair interpretation of spring. It was raining this morning, and I expect the residual ice on the driveway to have disappeared by the time I make it home. And, of course, they've shut off the air system in the building due to the continued roof repair (!), so it's stuffy and hot in the building. Ah... spring.

In other news, Team Alberta Fencing got FOUR MEDALS yesterday at the Canada Winter Games! Two gold (Team MF, Team WE), one silver (Team WS), one bronze (Team MS)! They've already far exceeded my expectations for them! I'm so proud. :) All the indvidual events and two more team events are left. Go Alberta go!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I bought the March edition of Canadian House and Home. It whispered promises to me each time I passed it in line at the grocery store. "Buy me!" it said. "Look, I'm the Smart Storage issue! I have stylish solutions for conquering clutter! I will teach you to tame bookshelves, cupboards, desktops, and more! It says so on my cover!" I grew hope. Would it do that? Would I be able to stop the spread of papers and other things from the right side of the kitchen island/counter? Would I be able to make more room in my horribly inefficient kitchen cupboards? Would I be able to continue what my father started in the storage/laundry room, and maybe move it on to the computer room and games room? Would I be able to figure out a new and possibly good system for my increasingly hard to manage library?

Why do I listen to inanimate objects?

There are some solutions, but they only really work if you have the same style of house as shown in the pictures. It shows you neat little baskets to put on shelves in your laundry room, but not shelves for your laundry room. It shows you some efficient use-of-space cupboards, but not how to make more efficient your existing cupboards without renovation. And the bookcases? Wrap unattractive books in kraft paper for a uniform look. Hang or rest pictures in front of your books to hide clutter; put a picture of food in front of your cookbooks, or of flowers in front of your gardening books. Oh, and group your like knicknacks together for the greatest impact. These people don't own books! I was looking for bookshelf organization ideas, not how to make my library look more uniform or how to display my knicknacks to the greatest effect! I have five bookcases of books. Is this strange?

I was also hoping the promised "Chic Home Offices that Work" would give me some ideas on how to redesign the work office, but alas. It was more about art and making it seem less like an office and more like an office/playroom/lounge than actual efficient office space solutions.

Back to the drawing board... Anyone recommend a good book of ideas for smart storage, taming bookshelves, and overall organizing?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Third Eye Open

Since I had my third eye reopened nearly a week ago, I have felt much calmer and more centred. I will not put into words here exactly what my herbologist and I talked about and what happened in his room there, because every time I retell the story, it just sounds more and more strange. But I can talk about the effects. The physical is still there (my arms still hurt, my back is still tight, though my wonderful MT actually made progress during my massage yesterday), but it's much more bearable than it was. I received a letter at work yesterday that might have upset me considerably had I received it the week before. As it stands, though, I have found myself laughing, albeit humourlessly, about it from time to time, and prefer instead to concentrate on the thank you note I also received yesterday.

Maybe I don't believe in it. I mean, auras, third eyes, universal energy and connection... It sounds kind of hinky, to pirate a pretty good word. But I think, on some level at least, I do believe it. The effects of this kind of spiritual awakening and tuning has had on me over the years are not to be discounted, even if they are invisible.

So I will try to remain centred. When a situation comes that threatens the balance I have just started to regain, I will close my eyes and think, as Sheila suggested, "Third eye open. Third eye open. Happy scarf, happy scarf, happy scarf." I know the balance is precarious right now. I feel that, though I can't describe what it feels like or how I know. I also feel the energy in me again. I just have to keep myself open to it, and not allow myself to close off as I did before. I am in this plane, but it must not own me. I need to stay open to the others, or I will go crazy, as I was well on my way to doing.

Third eye open.

Stay open.

P.S. I must share this levity, though: Nathan, upon hearing about my problems with my third eye, said, "Shouldn't you see an optometrist for that?" Heehee...

Blogger template 'Blackorwhite' by 2008