Sunday, January 22, 2017

Upstairs, Downstairs

This is part of my stash in the studio.  Bins piled six deep in places.  Wound warps waiting to be woven.  Sixty yards still on the AVL.  It's all overwhelming.  

But the siding guy is pretty much finished, so at least the noise and commotion is about done.  At least until spring when the rest of the driveway gets dug up, the water line gets replaced, and the new driveway gets poured.  

If I look at the entirety of what needs doing I can't face any of it.  So I try to eat one bite a day.  Today I dealt with some of the piles of paper on the table and now I'm trying to decide if there is anything I can do in the studio.  I'm thinking it is time to address those unwoven warps.  At least that would free up some of the plastic bins.  And woven yarn takes up less space than when it is on tubes.

My story. Sticking to it. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017


My living room.

There are times when Life Happens and priorities have to be changed.

I have barely made it to the loom so far this month.  Most of my time and available energy has been focused on getting mom's apartment cleaned out.  What with the renovations, running a business out of my home and now bringing things we want to keep from the apartment, we now officially have goat trails upstairs as well as down.

I have been trying to distribute the things we are not keeping directly from the apartment but there are things we do want to keep - we just don't have a place to put them given the current disruption due to the renovations.

The past week I have made a herculean effort to try to get my dining room table cleared off and was finally able to clear a small space so that I could tackle my year end, pay the sales tax(es) and write out cheques for pending bills.

More will get cleared off tomorrow.

I still haven't opened Christmas cards - mom's nor ours - partly because my usual practice is to open and write out replies.  Since I am having a hard time trying to think of a reply that is...appropriate...I just haven't gotten to that pile.

Yesterday a trailer load of household goods went to the local women's shelter, mom's china was picked up by her god-daughter and today more will be picked up by a friend.  There is a load of stuff to go to the thrift shop and then there are sewing things I'm keeping, and other items Doug thinks he can use in his workshop.  He just has no where to put it right away.  But everything has to be out by the end of this month, so he will have to do some shuffling.

The siding is almost done so we are hoping that the noise and clamour will soon end.  

Today I am going to get to the loom and try to finish off the last four towels.  If Doug can't press tomorrow, I may have to go on Monday.  Because the deadline for having those done is coming up very quickly now.

The lull I was hoping for this winter just didn't happen.  But that's Life.  You just gotta roll with it.

Currently reading Distilled - memoir of Charles Bronfman

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bear of Little Brain

Even at the best of times, my house is cluttered.  But this is the state of my dining room table.  A box of needles and crochet hooks from my mother's stash - anyone need some straight needles???

Piles of paper to do with her estate, funeral arrangements, condolence cards (which I haven't had the strength to open), Christmas cards (ditto) - both ours and hers - bills (both ours and hers) yet to be paid, a box of cards I purchased to send to distant friends and relatives, some of whom may not have heard the news, my year end...and on it goes.

I am drowning in paper and things that need to be done, sooner rather than later.  

Just to add to the chaos, the weather has warmed up and the siding guy has returned and is hammering on the walls.

There is also a firm deadline in the studio that needs to be met, but at least I was able to start the weaving.  I'm hoping Doug can go pressing next week so I can get the hemming done.

I am still not in a fit state to be making life changing decisions but I have confirmed a workshop in October, and just sent an email to Olds College asking when the satellite classes here in May will be up on the web site.  May and June of this year are going to be incredibly busy if all the classes scheduled go ahead, but it is very heartening to see the interest in the Olds Master Weaving program growing.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 12, 2017


Sheila's Christmas Cactus

My friend Sheila has a lovely Christmas cactus.  There is something encouraging about a cactus blooming so prolifically in the 'dead' of winter.  It reminds us that spring will come again.  That life will begin anew.

This winter has been challenging on several fronts - the never ending construction, the long weather delays, the mess/rubble from moving things away from where they belong to...somewhere.  Then mom's death, meaning more rubble and dealing with the finalizing of her affairs.

Sheila's cactus, blooming so brilliantly (I have seen this plant in real life - I'm sure the photo doesn't do the depth of colour justice!) reminds me that all of this will come to an end and that spring should see the completion of the construction work and the completion of mom's estate.

We have until the end of this month to finish clearing out her apartment, so I have been going over nearly every day, sorting, sifting, throwing things away - and only bringing the things we can actually use back to the house.  Because I was already drowning in the ordinary rubble of my busy, complicated life, and then the added construction mess.

Friends have been very supportive and I have had numerous offers of help.  But when it comes right down to it, I am the only one who can sort through mom's piles of papers and photos and mementos because I am the only one that knows - or thinks she knows - the history.

Since this branch of the family tree ends at this twig, I have sorted the family photos into mom's side and dad's side and given them to the elder cousins on each side.  I am only keeping a few photos that are of special sentiment.

But I have also warned Doug that once all this mess is cleared away, we need to take careful stock of our own rubble.  It is time to make some decisions about the things we have kept and if they are truly useful.  If not, they need to go.

In terms of the studio, I am slowly coming to some conclusions about the direction I need to take if I am to accomplish some of the things I would yet like to, and first on that list is to weave down my stash.  

There is also the upcoming conference here in 2019 that needs to begin planning for, but that will have to wait for a couple of months while I fight my way through this current situation.

But today I am going to spend some time in the studio.  I won't likely get back into the regular routine until the apartment is clear, but I am going to try for at least an hour a day.  The warp on the small loom has a firm deadline, so I at least need to get that finished.

This year is 'new' in ways that I didn't really expect.  No doubt 2017 is going to be interesting.

Currently reading When the Music is Over by Peter Robinson

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Begin Again

In the vein of 'begin as you mean to go on' I got the next warp beamed this morning.  This warp has a firm deadline and what with everything going on right now I need to work on it at least a little every day.  Once the loom is set up it should not take too long to weave off, then wet finishing, including a good hard press, hemming, finishing press.  Ordinarily I could whap an 11 meter long warp off in a couple days, but I'm out of practice, out of shape and dealing with life - and death.  My goal is to work in the studio an hour a day.  I may not make it every day because the coming week is fraught with appointments - both personal and relating to mom.

My cousin came to visit today and we talked about the impact mom's death has had on the family.  She was the last of her generation and with her goes much of the family history and stories that she remembered and was all too willing to share.  

Mom was a do-er, a fix-er, a problem solver.  Frequently when family members ran afoul of problems, be they health, legal, emotional, mom would pick up the phone and figure out how to fix the situation.  Dealing with various family crisis made her stronger than people knew.  She wanted people to be happy and worked tirelessly, finding medical help, translating from French to English and back for family members whose English wasn't great, even including in court on several occasions.

She had more education than most of the family, dropping out of school in Grade 8, was fluent in two languages, wasn't afraid to ask questions.  But when I was 16, she went back to school and got a certificate in pre-school education.  She worked hard and sweated bullets to become qualified, eventually setting up her own pre-school.

Mom was talented with her hands, too.  She supplemented the family income in many ways, by working outside the home, and in it.  When my brother was born he was very ill so she couldn't work outside the home and instead babysat, baked and decorated cakes, knitted for a local shop, permed family members hair (yes, I had a 'poodle' cut at one point - I AM that old).  She sewed clothing for all of us, and before tv entered our home there were many nights sitting around the table hooking rugs.  Mom still has a footstool with a hooked top that we made.

I begged to learn how to knit and she taught me when I was 5 or 6.  She would cast on for me until I got old enough and had enough manual dexterity to learn how to do it for myself.  When I was a little older I had a string of episodes of tonsillitis and she taught me to embroider as a way to quietly pass the time in bed.  At age 12 she showed me how to sew and for many years if I wanted something 'new' I would buy the fabric and make it for myself.

While I took ballet lessons she sewed not only my costumes but a friends, drove me to classes when the weather was inclement, helped make paper 'carnations' to decorate the vehicles for the ballet students in the parades, drove me and my friend to rehearsals and performances.

She and dad were adamant that my brother and I get an education.  They wanted us to go to university, but it was not meant to be.  But they instilled in us a love of reading and learning.  I took to it faster than my brother, but even he came to the love of reading as a teenager.

Mom and I had our differences, but she showed me how to be a strong woman, able to take care of things and others.  When she would shake her finger at me, wondering where on earth I got my stubbornness, I had to press my lips firmly shut or I would have been unable to stop from asking her if she had looked in a mirror recently!

As my cousin and I talked about mom this morning, I told him that now she was gone it would be up to us to become the family 'historians', to keep the stories alive.

Now that I am officially an orphan, it is time to assume the mantel of mentor...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The End

Holzworth, M. D. (Doris)  Aug. 27, 1926 - Dec. 31, 2016

Doris arrived in Prince George in 1946 to join her parents living in the Willow Cale area.  She married Fred in 1948 and had two children, Laura (Fry) and Don.

She was predeceased by Fred in 1975 and Don in 2008.  Survived by Laura and Doug Fry, many nieces and nephews and friends.

Doris was a pre-school teacher for many years and gave her time generously to many causes.  She was a life time member of the Hospital Auxiliary, serving on many committees for the local and provincial organization.

Memorial service to be held at Assman's Funeral Chapel - date to be announced.

Instead of flowers, donations to the Hospital Auxiliary, Hospice House or the Railway Museum would be appreciated.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Year in Review

As each calendar year ends, people are encouraged to make resolutions for the coming year.  I don't do that, because I have goals that I work on all the time.  Some goals are long range - spanning years - some are short term - as in what do I want to get done today, this week, this month.

But as this year draws to a close, I have been thinking about the past year and that it might be time to let go of a few more things.

One of the things I let go of was selling Magic (the digital version) myself and made arrangements with Weavolution who are selling it on their website.  If you are not a member you do have to create an account, but that's free.  Then find the group Magic in the Water and follow the instructions.

This year held many good things as well as many challenging things.  One of the good AND challenging things was getting the Olds College Master Weaving program started here in Prince George.  Just before the holidays Zach was working on the details for running Level 1 and 2 here in May of 2017.  Watch for details.

While I was teaching in Cape Breton in August, we also made arrangements for Level 1 to run June 5-9, 2017.  Again, details should be forthcoming in the new year.

I also made progress on the book I am trying to write.  The bulk of the text is written and currently at the beta readers for the next round of edits.  I am still hoping to have it done in 2017, but a recent development in my life (more details at another time) means that might have to wait until 2018.

Writing a book is like birthing an elephant as a friend would observe.  Gestation seems to take forever!

The renovations to our house began in October and are still underway, depending on weather.  Of course renovations are a domino game and now that the outside is being dealt with, we realize the interior also needs some attention.  Again, something that may span next year and the year following, partly due to my incredibly busy schedule in the coming year.

Over the coming weeks, I will be spending a lot of time thinking about things I want to keep in my life and the things I need to let go of.  No decisions yet because I need to think the consequences through and decide if I'm really ready to downsize my efforts and where those 'cuts' need to be made.  It's been a challenging year in many ways and 2017 doesn't look to be any easier.

But that is also the nature of living.  We need to choose where we put our energies.  And as someone getting older, dealing with a raft of health issues (personal and family) I need to focus on what I want to accomplish and the best way to do it.

So, with the closing of another year, I send my best wishes to all.