Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

This is the time of year you're supposed to spend summing things up: this was good for me, this was bad, this I want to change. Even though I don't like new year's (it's part of the general hate I have on for winter and all its festivals) I still feel the societal urge to Make a Resolution! to Go Forth! to Lose Weight! (What is it about January 1 that makes everyone want to be thinner?)

So this is how I shall sum up my year:
1. I have a great job that I love.
2. I have made some excellent, rocking new friends, some of whom even knit.
3. I have lived in my very own house for a whole year. That means the warranty is up and I can now sit very quietly and wait for the whole thing to crash down around me.
4. I've read a lot of great books, but not as many as I would like to have read.
5. I spent a whole summer with my boy.
6. I am taking riding lessons to fulfill a life-long wish (yay me!)
7. There have been no major disasters, in spite of my anxious waiting for something really bad to happen. Just goes to show, I guess.

And this is how I will go on:
1. Keep the job. Be better at it.
2. Keep the friends. See above.
3. Don't panic. Everything will be fine. See above.
4. Read more.

(Heh. Number 4 is going to be fun.)

In the last decade I've had a baby, and raised him all by myself. I've gotten more education than any human being needs, and had some really cool jobs. I'm in a place now that I never ever imagined I would be in...

I wonder what the next ten years will bring?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday I fell down the stairs TWICE, spraining a different ankle each time. I now walk with a slight limp.

Yesterday I made a lovely brisket in the slow cooker, while the dog looked on and begged with every fibre of her being that, just this once, I would drop it.

Yesterday I got the car washed, which turned into a bizarre affair that ended with me receiving a free $12 wash as well as the $8 wash I paid for.

Yesterday I made an appointment for a hair cut, did a pile of marking, and had a riding lesson. I talked to my gramma about her birthday, and I got all the way down to the bottom of the yoke in my sweater, which always feels like half-way done to me, even though it isn't. I went to the bakery, I cleaned the bathroom, I did laundry, I took all the Christmas music off my iPod. I prepared and served three healthy meals. I cleaned off my desk, shredding or filing the huge pile of papers that usually sits beside my computer.

It was a shockingly productive day.

Today, I have taken out the garbage and done some worrying. I intend to knit and read and not think about New Years or Resolutions. I may buy milk if I get around to it.

Or maybe I won't.

Monday, December 28, 2009

It's over now, we can laugh about it.

I have been hiding in the house, writing my manifesto.

And knitting:

It's a top-down raglan cardigan in Noro Silk Garden, chosen because the colours are so fabulous - the exact opposite of the colours of winter (the sludge on the floor of the garage, the salt-grimed car, the six minutes of daylight). Also it's light and warm and soft, which is just what I need.

I found a group on Ravelry that is doing a Cowichan sweater knit-along over the Olympics. Now I am morally opposed to the Olympics for a number of reasons, not just the way the real live Cowichan knitters have been treated. The dilemma thus remains: do I knit a Cowichan-inspired sweater out of solidarity for those knitters? Or do I do what I usually do and ignore the Olympics altogether?

Something else to ponder while I stay inside and hope for spring.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekends are for Poems

It's cold outside. There are bears. I'll be knitting, and reading the Guernsey Literary Something Pie Thingy. Looking forward to it.

Here is a poem.

Staying Power


In appreciation of Maxim Gorky at the International Convention of Atheists, 1929

Like Gorky, I sometimes follow my doubts
outside to the yard and question the sky,
longing to have the fight settled, thinking
I can't go on like this, and finally I say

all right, it is improbable, all right, there
is no God. And then as if I'm focusing
a magnifying glass on dry leaves, God blazes up.
It's the attention, maybe, to what isn't there

that makes the emptiness flare like a forest fire
until I have to spend the afternoon dragging
the hose to put the smoldering thing out.
Even on an ordinary day when a friend calls,

tells me they've found melanoma,
complains that the hospital is cold, I say God.
God, I say as my heart turns inside out.
Pick up any language by the scruff of its neck,

wipe its face, set it down on the lawn,
and I bet it will toddle right into the godfire
again, which—though they say it doesn't
exist—can send you straight to the burn unit.

Oh, we have only so many words to think with.
Say God's not fire, say anything, say God's
a phone, maybe. You know you didn't order a phone,
but there it is. It rings. You don't know who it could be.

You don't want to talk, so you pull out
the plug. It rings. You smash it with a hammer
till it bleeds springs and coils and clobbery
metal bits. It rings again. You pick it up

and a voice you love whispers hello.

Source: Poetry (May 2004).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Je me souviens.

Because today is December 6.

Because I am a woman, because I spent five years walking the halls of Concordia University, just down the road from the Polytechnique, because I am a feminist.

Because, twenty years on, we live in a world where this still happens.

Je me souviens.

Light a candle.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Saturday Poem

by Frank O'Hara

Have you forgotten what we were like then
when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

it's no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners

the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn't need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

I wouldn't want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Snow, it Snoweth Every Day

We are here in the middle of a winter storm, and a real doozy at that. It took me a long time to get home - I have been driving for 17 years and never been so afraid on the road. At one point I was going down the highway at 40 kilometers an hour, in second gear, white-knuckled, with my four-way flashers on. There was an especially memorable moment that ended with me on the shoulder, stalled, inches from a ditch.

But I made it home, the boy and I had curry for dinner (the Santa parade he was supposed to take part in this evening was cancelled) and now we are snug in our little house, with the fireplace on, and new knitting to knit.

In other news, I've been tired all week - I remember being this tired just before the tattooed man at the blood donor clinic watched a drop of my blood float bravely in that blue stuff they use and said "dude, your iron is seriously low." Perhaps I shall eat a steak, just for the hell of it.

I have marking to do (yuck) and books to read (hurray!). I've been working on Hunger, a young adult book that is the sequel to Gone. Sadly, all the things that were bugging me by the end of Gone are the focus of Hunger, so it's a bit of a slog. Thankfully, I am also rediscovering the old Inspector Banks books I haven't read for years. I'm especially thrilled when I come across the original receipts (I bought most of them in Montreal when I was in university and seriously poor, but still managed to carve a bit out of the beans and rice budget to get a British detective fix) and remember where I was then, and what I was doing.

Things sure have changed since then, but on a snowy night all that matters is a good book, and home. That hasn't changed at all.