Skepticism and the preschooler

Little r is now 4.  Little r is not so little anymore and has a healthy dose of skepticism.  Little r also is NOT shy and will, given the opportunity, talk your ear off.  Case in point, last weekend at the Easter Egg hunt, who should we run into but the Easter bunny.

Little R:  Are you real?

Easter Bunny:  Yes.  I’m here standing in front of you.

Little R:  You look like you’re wearing a costume.

Easter Bunny (starting to sweat a little):  Nope – look my fur is real

Little R:  Where are your carrots?

Tsampamama:  We gotta go (don’t wreck it for others, kid!)

Anyone who knows my boy knows he is crazy about dinosaurs and dragons.  Imagine my surprise when one fine day little r comes home and tells me – Saskia (his teacher) says dragons don’t exist and dinosaurs are extinct.  Jeez!  Did she spill the beans about Santa and the Tooth Fairy too??  I just about wanted to cry.  I don’t think there’s any harm in kids believing in magic for the first few years of their lives – in fact, I think that endless possibility and sense of wonder is exactly what makes that time even more special.  However  the upside of adding to his language – it sometimes has unintentionally hilarious uses.

Tsampamama:  Rigden, Popo Chenmo-la (his great-grandfather) passed away

Little r:  What does that mean?

Tsampamama:  That means he’s not around any longer – he died.

Little r:  You mean he went extinct?

 

 

 

A Canadian-In-Training – the Winter Edition.

snow7Yesterday was the first day this year that I said, “Yep, winter’s here for sure”.  The wind was bitter cold, people were talking about the weather (what on earth do they talk about in San Diego, I wonder….surfing conditions?), collars were turned up, heads were firmly down, scarves were nose high and down coats were de riguer.  On top of it all, I had a cold, a cough and was really not fit company for anyone.  I was not what you would call a happy camper.

When people ask me (non-Canadians, of course) how I feel about the Canadian winters, I always talk about how I much prefer extreme cold to extreme heat and how it’s so refreshing that we have 4 distinct seasons – how it really allows one to exercise one’s fashion options. All of it true.  But someone who listens carefully realizes that I never quite answer the question – that I talk around it, The truth is I have never truly embraced the Canadian winter.

I’ve been here going on a dozen years and every winter, I struggle through it.  Friends who were born here say things to me like “There’s no such thing as too cold as long as you dress for it” or “you just have to find a winter sport you love”.  Yeah, I don’t think so.  No matter what you do, your nose is always cold and my feet are always cold.  There is no such thing as a “cute down jacket”.  It’s practically an oxymoron.  Anything that doesn’t make you look like a relative of the Michelin Man is a win.  In Canada in the winter, you just suck up your vanity and completely mummify yourself in down.  Winter conditions make all drivers grumpy as all heck and this makes those of us waiting for public transit (which sucks anyway) unlikely targets.  How so?  Let me take you back about oh, 5 years ago.  I was hurrying to the bus stop in the morning, trying to get to work on time, when a car drives past me and showers me from  head to toe in slush (I kid you not), leaves me dripping and seething.  I had to drag my angry, sorry self back home, change completely (there was no salvaging anything) and haul my resentful butt  back to the bus station.

As for winter sports, well, I can’t say I’ve given it a fair shake but I did try it.  I tried skiing once about 15 years or so ago and spent more time on my behind than on my legs.  Do you know that those damn snow boots don’t let you bend you ankles and the freaking skis make it close to impossible to get up without assistance? Also, 4 year olds were making fun of me (this may have been my imagination) while zipping by me on the bunny hill.  Similarly, I tried ice-skating – I enjoyed it but need to definitely learn how to ice-skate at a rink with bars around the edges before I put the general public in danger.  Do you know that at both Nathan Phillips Square and at the Harbourfront Centre rinks do not have bars to help newbies? Yep, true story.  Honestly, I’m clumsy and I have no hand-eye co-ordination.  And that lethal combination, my friends, is the kiss of death for most sports.  Summer and Winter.

So, here is a confession I have to make.  When I was first considering moving to Canada, I didn’t consider the weather at all.  Didn’t realize it was going to be super cold.  No. It’s true. Honest.  I confess it wasn’t my brightest moment.  *pauses to let massive understatement sink in*  Maybe Canada being called the “Great White North” would have given it away if I had known about it at that time?  Geographically, I knew it was “somewhere up there next to Alaska” (what? I sucked at high-school geography and divorced it as soon as possible) but somehow, “up there on the map =cold” didn’t quite compute (I’m smarter that that, truly I am).  North Americans always presume I must be used to the cold having grown up so close to the Himalayas.  At which point I have to tell them I had never seen snow on the ground until I came to North America.  (What is that I hear?  Illusions shattering?) So really, this is the coldest weather I have ever been in … that said, if you think I’m a wuss regarding the cold, hello, have you met my mom??

I am told people can change (I hope, oh God-dy God, so desperately).  I’m now mama to an active almost 4-year-old – this, I’ve discovered, is a great way to learn different things.  Maybe we can learn together to ice-skate or ski.  Maybe we can commiserate over sore bums and bruised knees together.  Maybe we can nurse our egos back to health over hot cocoa.  Maybe we can discover that while we may be klutzes but that tobogganing is totally our sport.  We can build snow forts, snow men and as many variations of snow-things as you can dream up.  That winter can be fun beyond the first day of pretty snow.

So up until that time, I will be snuggled on my couch next to the fireplace, with my knitting on my lap, a cup of tea by my side and a large pot of thukpa  on the stove.  Until that time, I remain,

A Canadian-In-Training.

Town Mouse or Country Mouse

In rushing through life in a big city like Toronto, population 2.7 million and growing,  I sometimes forget that I grew up in a small town.  I went to school in Gangtok – the capital of what used to be the Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim.  For 12 years, I went to the same school with a 1000 other students and by the time I was 16, I was ready to blow that joint.  I knew the place, the people and all the hidden corners blind-folded.  I wanted adventure and anonymity.  I wanted to be recognized for myself and not by whom I was connected to. Or better yet, I wanted to not be known at all.  I wanted to dive into a new city where I was free to observe, to reinvent myself, to explore and try new things.   The west shone like a beacon on the horizon with promises of new, different and better.

Cut to about 20 years later, I’m not so sure that I want what I have.  Turns out this city mouse may be a bit of a country mouse at heart.   Don’t get me wrong – I *love* Toronto.  I love it’s diversity, the culture, the enclaves that make it the world in one city and the acceptance of the different.  I love the variety and authenticity of different cuisines.  I love how I don’t feel like an outsider here or rather how being an outsider is almost the norm.

However, I recognize that whenever I look for a home, I’m always looking for “something that has a small town feel” or “a self contained village of sorts”.  This is why I picked the Beaches, this is why I never grew truly affectionate of my home on Somerset Ave and why I now live in Leslieville.  I miss small town living.  While I hated how quickly gossip seemed to travel, the flip side of the coin is comfort that comes with knowing everybody and everybody knowing you.  While I disliked the monotony and small selection of shops, the flip side is the warmth of family-run local businesses where people cut you slack if your kid’s having a not-so-great day.  While I dislike the everyone being in your business, the flip side is being able to count on people and having that support network.  I miss being able to see the stars at night.  I miss the open air.  I miss the space.  I miss the sense of community.  I miss my family.  And darn it, I miss the mountains.

Now while I can’t necessarily do anything about moving my extended family to North America, I can move my family unit to a small town.  The question is where?  And being an immigrant adds a whole whack of other considerations.  Will I fit in and be accepted?  Will my child feel like he belongs in his community?  Will I be able to find a job?  Will I be able to easily find what I need in terms of ethnic groceries and so on?  Will we be okay with what is sure to be a limited degree of diversity?  Honestly, we talk about diversity and multi-culturalism in Canada but just travel an hour or two out of the major cities and it’s a very different scenario.  The time I stopped off at a Tim’s in Ajax or the time I was eating at a restaurant in Burlington comes to mind.  However,  Toronto must have once been like that – mostly white, mostly Anglo-saxon, mostly Christian.  The question is do we want to be on the front-end of adding a bit of colour to a town.

I’ve looked longingly at Burlington a number of times.  It’s a lovely town. It’s probably exactly what I’d choose but the questions keep bouncing around in my head.  Luckily, time is on my side.  There’s no rush.  And really, we never have to move if we don’t want.  But the call of small towns are now starting to grow ever-louder in my head.

Teaching your children…

Saturday, March 10th was the 53rd anniversary of Tibet’s National Uprising Day.  Every year on this day, Tibetans across the world gather to stand together, resolute in our determination that Tibet must be free, that Tibet as an issue will not be forgotten and to commemorate the sacrifice of those who have gone before.

This year, we  commemorated the 26 Tibetans, half of them just kids themselves, who self-immolated in protest.  One can only imagine their suffering, not just in the immolation of their bodies but what led up to it for them to decide that such a death was better than the life they were living under Chinese brutality.

This is something that I want my child to understand, this is something I want my child to know and remember.   I want him never to forget that he is of Tibetan descent.  That he is Tibetan-Canadian.  I want him to know as a Tibetan born in exile but born in the freedom that comes with being a Canadian citizen, he automatically carries the responsibility of being a voice for those who cannot speak inside Tibet.  That he must at every turn remember that he is an ambassador of his community, his country and his heritage.   I want to teach him all that I know of our culture and ensure that we attend community events and celebrate our culture at home because without that, our culture is forgotten and when an entire community forgets their culture, it dies.

Some may say that it is his burden to shoulder – I say it is his priviledge to carry it forward and hopefully to teach his children.

And should he one day ask me how to do that,  hopefully I’ll have a more worldly and wise answer but as  of right now the method I’m going with is called, “Start them young, teach them what you know as best as you can ….. and pray to God it sticks!”

Bod Gyalo!  Free Tibet.

(Rigden preparing for the Big Day)

Happy Birthday, Little r…. You are 3!

My darling baby boy,

You are now 3 years old.  I can hardly believe it. I remember when you were 7.5 lbs and your little foot was about the length of my palm. Not any more. You have grown so much.

At this time, you love ketchup and fries (more the ketchup than the fries – I swear you’d drink a cup of the stuff if I let you), cupcakes, pizza, spaghetti and “neat-bols”, momos (only the outside), thukpa, soups and of course, rice and curry.

You love dragons – you have a Puff the Magic Dragon book and CD that KSDorjee gave you that are your prized possessions, you have a dragon that your Pala bought you at Universal Studios Orlando and of course, you have your Dragon Tail and Wings that I made you that you want to wear all the time (Most Rewarding Project Ever!).

You love Thomas the Tank Engine and friends, Dora the Explorer (though why she has to talk so loudly, I’ll never know), Bubble Guppies, Cat in the Hat and Max and Ruby. (Yes, you’ve discovered the TreeHouse channel and you are completely addicted!) It made me glow with pride though when I asked you what you wanted for your birthday and you responded “More Thomas books!”.

You also love swimming and jumping in is your favourite part. You spent so much time in the pool this time in Florida.  In fact, given a choice between Disney World or swimming, you picked swimming – making us a the first family vacationers in history with a kid who didn’t visit a single amusement park.  Boo yah!

On your third birthday, we went to Chef Mickey’s for your birthday Brunch and then post nap, spent some time at the pool.  After that, I had heated up some chicken noodle soup and you pretty much scarfed down two bowls!

You are able to say 2 prayers in Tibetan, you use Tibetan when you really want to stress a point (“Nang doh” – translation: let’s go home) and you can count to 20 and recite days of the week in Tibetan.  You know all the words to “Oh Canada” and sing it regularly and sometimes at odd places (the airport, anyone?).  Actually, you’ll learn pretty much anything if I put a tune to it.  “Oh my tummy aches, oh my tummy go-nga (translation: go-nga is egg in Tibetan.  See the challenge for the poor kid?)” is my favourite anecdote this year.

You just got your first very own library card last Saturday and we were both so proud.  Your first check outs were a Max and Ruby book, a “Mary had a Little Lamb” book  (“Look Amala! Farm animals!”) and the “Good Morning, Masie” DVD.   Sam, our librarian, loves you to pieces and you got a “Hi Rigden” from the cutest little girl (Florence)from your daycare whom we also met at the library.

You have broken us down and your father and I are now proud owners of a king size bed.  You are never leaving!  But you want to know a secret?  I love cuddling with you at night, my own sweet little hot water bottle.  I love kissing your downy head and listening to your little breaths.  You are a bedding kicker – I have woken many nights just freezing!   You also glom onto me leaving me hanging on precariously to the edge of the bed while you have all this real estate behind you.  Somewhere along the line, your sweet milky morning breath was replaced by the “OMG-I-smell-something-rancid-and awful” morning breath.  I love you anyway.  You are funny, affectionate, smart and kind. When you stop everything, run to me, give me a kiss and say “I love you Amala” without even being asked, you leave me breathless.   Waking up with you and cuddling is the best part of my day.  Coming home to you is a close second.
I am so proud of you.  I love you so much – it defies my pre-you imagination.  You bring sunshine and laughter into my world everyday.   You are my heart, my world.

Love,

Amala

A place in the Sun

One of the things that Tsampa Papa and I promised ourselves at the end of October when we sold our income property was that we would take a vacation – now, we know there are all kinds of vacations – you know, the kind that are adventures, the kind that are a cultural excursion, the kind where shopping is the focus or visiting friends or seeing museums, etc.  This on is going to be pure reconnecting with ourselves – the Tsampa family unit.  Basically, we want a vacation where the only clock we follow is the internal kind.  Where the hardest decision you make in a day is what to eat at the buffet – of course, we are talking the pre-packaged all-inclusive Caribbean vacation.

I’m not particular about the spot on these kinds of vacations.  Basically, my requests are pretty simple:

  1. Safe (which rules Mexico out – given all the reports of gang violence that we’ve heard recently)
  2. Decent dairy – Little r loves his cheese and yogurt.  This unfortunately rules Cuba out as well.
  3. Nice beach and family friendly.
  4. Budget friendly.
Tsampa Papa and I have different packing styles to say the least.  He can pack in 30 minutes flat.  I on the other hand mull everything over, like having options and have to start packing in my head about a week ahead.  Now I realize that it’s pretty unrealistic to have to buy everything from scratch so given what I do have, I’ve pulled together some quick ideas on Polyvore.  Sure I’d have to buy a few new pieces but only a few.  Again these are just preliminary thoughts.
Vacation Wardrobe in 7 pieces


A bed and a pillow to rest my head…. would that I were that easy to please!

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who conquered his parents’ bed and never left.  The End.

Ever since little r was born, he’s firmly placed himself in our bed.  Given that he’s taken after TsampaPapa in the way he likes to sleep (read as: a big time mover and likes his space so he can sleep diagonally across the bed, if you please), that has meant that TsampaPapa has become very familiar with the couch infront of the television.  Granted this also has a lot to do with TsampaPapa’s preference of watching TV in bed but nonetheless, little r loves to snuggle up to me and no amount of coaxing, cajoling or flat out begging can convince him to move.  Something had to give.  Enter the King size bed.

A great bed is something that I have been fantasizing about for a while.  It started with plain lusting after the Mendocino bed at Pottery barn when I was a young lass of 22 – yes, even then I had a strong affinity for Pottery Barn and other champagne luxuries that I couldn’t afford on my zinfandel budget.   Then I started dreaming about the Four Seasons Hotel’s  Stearns and Foster mattress but couldn’t justify it.  And now finally, I have a legitimate reason to invest in a good bed.  Because that’s what it is – an investment.  After all, we do spend at least a third of our lives in bed.  And dang it all, am I or am I not a grown up now, entitled to some nice things like a full night’s sleep?  So off we went to shop and many months later (TsampaPapa and I have differing tastes in firmness – of course we do) our mattress, a top of the line Simmons Beautyrest is arriving today, sometime between 12 and 6 pm!  Yay!  I am so super excited.

Now, it is a universally acknowledged fact that a good mattress must be showcased by a nice bedframe (at least it is in my universe).  That set me fantasizing and that soon took me to Pinterest.  Have I told you about my love of Pinterest, no?  Good.  It would take hours!  Of course, I started a board on Pinterest and before I knew it, bed ideas turned into bedROOM ideas – we’re talking sheets and shams, coverlets and curtains, rugs and plants, and light fixtures and lamps, and heaven help us all, themes!  I love this stuff – no, I LURVE this stuff.

Ever since we came back from Martha’s Vineyard, I have been fantasizing about living by the water – actually, if I think about it, it started even before that.  It started when I started considering Victoria BC as a place to potentially move to some day.  SOME day, people – no cause for excitement yet- for one, there are hardly any jobs out there!  Anyway, location is hardly something to stop me thinking about decor.   I’ve always loved Coastal style (think of the house in the film “Something’s Gotta Give” and Ina Garten’s house in the Hamptons) and Colonial style (India Hicks minus too many non-functional cotchkas) and tend to like my furniture Transitional.  And now that we’ve moved to the third floor and constructed a walk-out deck (I know, I have a lot to catch you up on!), it’s only making me think of all the different way’s I’d like to design my space.  I have fabric that I’ve been hoarding for the last five years.   A new bed-size means new linens and if you’re buying new linens and so on, you may as well go whole hog and have a theme.  Plus the B-ugly (that’s Butt Ugly, folks) green blinds that have been stabbing my eyeballs for the last 3 years just have to go.   And the carpet – oh the mud brown, shag-worn down, carpet that’s on the whole house – but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Priorities.  I have to prioritize because while I may have moved from a zinfandel budget to a pinot grigio budget – the taste is still champagne!  I may not get it all done but whatever I do get done will be a victory.

More to come but for now, feast your eyes on this.  Guess which one’s the Mendocino!

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life…

I’m back – resurfaced from my cave as it were.  Despite nursing a cold and cough, a new year’s tradition I’m definitely not eager to cement, I’m feeling mostly positive about this year.  Why just “mostly”?  Read on.

Now that 2011 has officially said good-bye, I’m eyeball to eyeball with Birthday Number 35.  Now I’ve never been a girl who cried into her celebratory champagne glass as she turned 30.  People quake at the thought of that milestone.  Me, not so much.  Year 30 came and I said “Yay!”.  I embraced it.  After all, even when I was 12, I’ve always been a 30 year old woman deep inside.  I’ve always believed that this was my decade.  Year31, 32, and 33 came and went and that was fine.  Then I turned 34 and suddenly, Iwas uncomfortable.  What’s this, you say?  Well, turns out in my head it’s all very well to be an early thirty-something but a mid thirty-something?  At 34, I was firmly in MID territory.  And somehow, whilst squirming and wrestling with that in my head, the year zipped by and now I find myself in the situation of the afore-mentioned situation – The mid-decade milestone. 

But there are things that one can change and things that one cannot.  This would be one of the latter, as much as I might wish it away – but even if were an option, would I really wish it away?  Would I change who I am now for a number?  The last five years have been very significant in who I am today.  I have learned so much about myself – who I am and what I want but as important was learning who I am not, as much as I or others may wish it, and what I don’t want.  These last five years have been tumultous and full of change – on the top of the list of changes is my becoming a mother, as in responsible for another human being.  It has made me examine my values, the kind of example I want to set, what I want for my child, what I want different for my child than what I am.  It has made me wonder and mull the life I have chosen as an immigrant in Canada.  Here are some of the things considered:

  1. Do we embrace Christmas?  If so, how much of it do we embrace?  After all, we aren’t Christian.  If we take Christ out of Christmas as it were, are we just succumbing to the marketing juggernauts that are Hallmark and Coca Cola (yes, good people of the blogosphere,  Santa as we widely know him was dreamt up by Coca Cola and is a bastardization of Sinter Klaus of the Netherlands, as my good friend Andrea will tell you).  If we don’t embrace Christmas, are we just Scrooges/Grinches?  Do we open little r up to wondering about his self worth and have him wondering if he is bad because Santa didn’t visit his house?  Do I want a omni-potent, judgemental father figure in his life anyway?  And on and on. 
  2. How do we ensure that little r *feels* Canadian?  What does it mean to be Canadian? 
  3. I like small towns but could I live in one as a person of a minority among minorities?  After all, small towns aren’t the most diverse. 

Anyway, nothing that I am dwelling on but dealing with on an on-going basis.  Just incase you were wondering, our thoughts are:

  1. The holiday season is about peace, joy and giving.  Everyone can get behind that.  We do the tree, the stocking with some small stocking stuffers and a small gift.  Save the big kahuna gifts for Losar and his birthday which tend to be back to back 2 months post Christmas.   Santa is welcome especially since I’ve discovered most naughtiness can be stopped almost immediately with a well-timed,”That’s it, I’m calling Santa – where’s my phone?”
  2. Little r is Tibetan-Canadian.  End of story.  He will have a different frame of reference for almost everything than Tsampapapa and I will.  He will grow up watching and playing ice-hockey rather than cricket (though admitedly both T-papa and I are bored to tears by it).  But how can we ensure that he feels Canadian?  Expose him to as much of the world and as many cultures as we can.  So much of what we love about Canada is tied to it’s openness, acceptance, culture of kindness, diversity and multi-culturalism – oh, and a week at the cottage in the summer helps too!  And while we’re on the subject of North American holidays, we decided in 2009 that Thanksgiving was going to be “our holiday” that we officially adopt.
  3. We’re still out on this one.

All this to say, we have tried to figure some of it out, and more likely than not, we’ll probably change our minds again – multiple times – and that’s okay. 

That I find is the beauty of getting older.  It’s the acceptance of not having all the answers.  The embracing of the grey areas of life and the grey hairs that go with it.  It’s finding out that there is no age limit to improving upon yourself,  looking back on your years past and being kind to yourself.   Recognizing that you’ve been doing all right as a parent, as a daughter and as a friend.  Not perfect but okay – and sometimes okay is good enough.   And while that sounds like a herald to mediocrity, I think of it more as a nod towards a life of contentment. 

For 2012, I am looking to move towards moving the needle on things within my control and being okay with letting go with those beyond.  I look forward to taking better care of myself physically(my health through nutrition & exercise),  mentally (being present in the moment, letting go of the small irritations, moving towards untapped potential and challenging myself to do more) and spiritually (taking time to nurture friendships and relationships, spending more time outdoors and appreciating how in this vastness of the universe my challenges are small).   The changes will be incremental but hopefully steady. 

I have a good feeling about 2012.  Even if I’m turing 35.

Potty, Pottermore and more

Oh, stop looking at me like that. All right, all right, it’s been a while. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions – well, colour me contrite and call this an official cobblestone on said road.



Little r has been on a roll with all his accomplishments. Turns out that I have a most verbal little boy with an amazing memory. Did I ever tell you how I got him weaned? Well, one day when he was 22 months old, I sat him down and said, “Little r, you are now a big boy. You used to have chi-chi and now it’s finished. Now you have your homa in a cup like a big boy, okay?” He looked at me and said “Chi chi finished?” and I said, “Yep, finished! All Done!” and he said, “Homa in a cup?” and I said “Yes, that’s right.” and that, as they say, was that. Seriously! No crying, no fussing, nada. Here I was being advised all manner of tactics from smearing on something spicy or bitter to deter him from breast-feeding to drawing a scary picture (well, the picture Kimiko drew was actually cute but whatever – apparently it scared the bejeezus out of her little one) – yeah, didn’t have to use any of that.

Now, he has discovered his sense of humour. The boy clearly has hit his stride. So nowadays, he is constantly making up lyrics to some of your classic nursery rhymes to suit his purposes – “Rockabye Amala” is one. The other one which goes “night night (insert name of child) , night night (insert name of child) , night night (insert name of child) , it’s time to go to sleep” has now become “Get up Rigden, Get up Rigden, Get up Rigden, its time to get some breakfast”! and this is what he sings… at night… when he should be trying to fall asleep… Oy!

There are somethings that send him into gales of laughter for whatever reason. So we do this classically tibetan rhyme called “Agu thebo ro-ro” done in the style of “This little piggy”. For whatever reason, I was just fooling around and said to him “Aghu thebo No-No” and that was it. He finds it hilarious. Couldn’t stop laughing about it for ages!

Anyone who knows Rigden, knows he loves his food – yes, he’s my boy through and through. Well, at present, his favourites are, in no particular order, cupcakes, ice-cream, rice and dal, rice and curry, noodles, and spaghetti and “neat-bols”. He also has the darndest memory. For his second birthday, I made him coconut cupcakes with cream cheese icing, topped with little teddy bears. I pretty much did it for me – to have the pleasure of making something delicious and fun that I knew to have good quality ingredients. Well, he remembers! He totally remembers the cupcakes and that they had teddy bears! I felt SO gratified and rewarded. Next year, heaven help me, I have promised him a Thomas the Tank Engine cake. Wonder how that will go… hmmmm…



Rigden’s latest hurdles that he is dealing with are potty-training and learning to sleep by himself and sometimes those two are going had in hand. The potty training is going okay. We are doing really well at home but not so well at daycare. Probably due to the fact that at home all the attention of 2 people are going to 1 child as opposed to the daycare having a 1 adult to 5 kids ratio. Anyway, with patience, we will get through it. He is however TOTALLY using this “I gotta go potty” business as an excuse to not go to bed and interact with me. SO not cool. Cut to 2 nights ago, we went to the potty 4 times (count ’em, 4 times) in about 15 minute. Aaagh!! I put a stop to that yesterday but we will see how it goes tonight… (deep breath) that’s me bracing myself!

And now onto Pottermore. For those unobsessed with Harry Potter, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. For the like-minded Potter-heads, I can only squeal “I KNOW!!!”. Pottermore is an online experience for Harry Potter fans. There are going to be back-stories to many characters and an opportunity to adjust the story line and so on for those who may be so inclined. There are also going tobe games and so on but the part that I’m most excited about are the back-stories and the content that got axed at the editing stage. I bet it will add so much richness. So like any good geek, I got all excited at the opportunity to be one of the first people to get a sneak preview and to test the Beta site. I got online on Day 6 of the 7 days where they were giving away these opportunities. I answered the question correctly (“How many chapters are there in “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince?” 30.). I found the Magic Quill. I got all excited and announced it on my Facebook page and did my little victory dance. And then…. nothing. Never got the welcome email from Pottermore, never got to log on to the website and now I have to wait alongside all the Muggles till October. Bah! I’m annoyed. peeved. crest-fallen.

But you know what will cheer me up? Yarn! Fall is almost here and I don’t think I have ever looked forward to it quite this much. Fall equals new fashion, equals perusing patterns and dreaming up knit, equals shopping for yarn! Currently working on a cowl that I had auctioned off for charity. Just finished little r’s Fall Jacket that will fit him possibly next fall! It’s ginormous! Started Amala’s sweater but then I realized that I better get on that afore-mentioned cowl since someone did pay money for that! I picked a beautiful yarn by Tanis Fibre Arts in their Aran weight (green label). It’s called Stormy and is full of beautiful shades of blue and charcoal.

All right folks, got to get moving. Enjoy your day and remember to breathe.

Looking at an old hobby in a new light.

For as long as I can remember, knitting has been in my life. Both my mom and my aunt fantastic artists with yarn. There isn’t a pattern that Amala see’s that she can’t decipher and recreate. Pattern, schmattern, who needs it! I remember her and Aunty Yangzom-la sitting together, laughing, chatting and knitting in the morning light as they asked me to run downstairs for tea or coffee on a chilly morning. I loved sitting at their feet, normally with a book, taking part in the conversation at will, feeling the joy, the warmth, the creativity envelop me.

I have loved the clicking of the sound of needles, the excitement of making a choice – pattern, colour, design – the feeling of smooth, new yarn between my fingers and imagining the end product so finally at about age 5, I begged to be taught how to knit. And she taught me. She cast on my stitches and I knitted and purled my little heart out. How grown up I felt! When I hit a snag, she unsnagged it, when I dropped a stitch, she picked it up but I just didn’t have the persistance to stay with it. Being the dabbler that I am, I now recognize in retrospect that a scarf was the wrong project for me to start with – long, straight and going on forever. After a pathetic attempt at a sweater for SUPW in high school that I never wore and a mis-shapen sweater for baby when I was pregnant 2 years ago (seriously, what was I expecting? I faked it without a pattern!), I gave up my needles. Until this last weekend.
It all started with a “Knitting in the Round” class at the Purple Purl that I did last Sunday morning. (Excellent btw, I highly recommend their classes – free coffee too!) I picked this nice pumpkin colour, machine washable (hello, I’m a mom remember? The days of having the time to handwash is a distant memory.) Mission Falls Merino yarn for little R’s hat and some bamboo needles – having always used metal needles in the past, I was hesitant but now, I’m a total convert! The control is so much greater. (Thanks Miko for the excellent guidance!) Happily, the class provided a pattern for a hat. Rosa was our wonderful instructor – clear, patient and calm – who lead us through knitting on 4 needles. The class just flew by as fun times often do and I couldn’t stop knitting! By nightfall, I was half-way through with the hat and the interesting part was coming up (the decreases) when I realized, horror of horrors, I was actually out of yarn and the Purple Purl was closed on Monday!!! Argh! Why hadn’t I bought more yarn? What was I thinking – or in this case, not thinking? What would I do with myself for a full day without yarn! Somehow I talked myself off the ledge and sanity prevailed 🙂 I was done by Tuesday evening with the knitting and last night I finished my first hat ever. Today, my son is rocking his new toque.

Now, for a scarf to match! This project has been a little plagued with doubt. The scarf this time is a short one that buttons together instead of wrapping around, which means two things:
  1. I will have less worries about strangulation – don’t ask.
  2. This greatly increases the chance that this project will actually get completed! Quick is a good thing when it comes to projects.

The merino yarn (once again, machine washable – please and thank you) is this gorgeous confection that reminds me of fall. It has all the colours – orange, green, brown and …. pink! Is that too girly for a little boy? After a lot of thought, I have since decided that MY boy will be in touch with his feminine side and will rock the pink! After all, with our dreary Canadian winters, we will be crying out for a shot of colour by January.
Since my size 7 circs are not here yet (bought a lot of needles off of Ebay for a song!), I tried using my size 8 dbl. pts. and it’s going fine but now I’m beginning to wonder if it’s my tension or the needles or simply the weight of the yarn that is causing the fabric to be nicely maleable but a little on the thin side. Since this scarf goes around the neck only once, I do want a bit of heft to it but not so much that it’s uncomfortable.
Then there is the fact that I changed it up. Instead of following the pattern, I kept the spirit of the scarf (size and design) but changed the pattern to a seed stitch because it took me forever to do two rows of the the pattern (I’m so not used to YO and k2 tog line after line) and the recipient kinda needs the scarf yesterday – now I’m beginning to wonder if that is contributing to the lack of heft.
Oh and did I mention that I kept the width of the scarf the same as the pattern? What possessed me? Well, I cast the stitches, knit two lines thought that it looked about right. Now I’ve knit about 4 inches and yeah, bad move. I will scale back from 30 stitches to about 22.
Which means, I need to rip out what I’ve done,

Which means I may as well borrow those size 7’s from my knitty friend KR,

Which means, I may as well try and stick to the pattern!! HA!

But I shall prevail. Hello knitting needles, I’m back.