Why knit?

January 22nd, 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKnow this: if anyone ever knits you a pair of socks, it means they really, really love you.

I’m well into knitting my life’s third pair of socks. And while they are certainly nice socks, they’re nothing spectacular. I don’t do fancy cables or intricate stitchery (and i have actually seen a pattern for socks with a stanza from Beowulf knitted into them, which is just plain insanity). They are plain, but they will be warm and fit just right, and they should last a good long time. But they’re pretty ordinary socks, and mostly they will just be hidden inside my shoes.

Sometimes when people see my hand-knitted socks they say hey—you could sell those! Yes. But, at $20 or more for the wool, plus at least 30 hours of knitting, thems would be some pretty pricey socks. And, for all that love and labour, they’re highly imperfect. There are faint lines where i switch from needle to needle and small holes here and there where i’ve dropped and reconstructed a stitch. They don’t even totally match. One sock is inevitably a little longer in the instep or cuff, and this time around i had an idea for reinforcing the heel—but it didn’t occur to me until i had started the second sock, so one is reinforced and the other isn’t. Most people would say actually, those are kind of crappy socks. I wouldn’t pay ten dollars for those socks.

When I pay twenty bucks for a skein of soft pink-purple-blue merino superwash I divide that amount by thirty hours of feeling that silky yarn slip through my fingers. Thirty hours of watching the colours shift and swirl as they settle row upon row. Thirty hours of the soft metal whisper of needle on needle. Thirty hours of my slowing my mind down and synching with the rhythm of my hands.

You don’t knit for the product, you knit to knit.

Dying stars

January 19th, 2016


Can anything ever, so beautiful, die? So sexy. So alive. So hot. So bright.

Lou Reed. John Lennon. Glenn Freye. Freddie. Bowie, Dylan, Keith and Mick.

All dying suns.

Shooting stars.

Burning always through night sky.

The end of awesome

January 6th, 2016

spicoliI know i’m going to come off like a crochety word nazi, but i don’t care. I demand a total and immediate moratorium on awesome.

The a-word has been the most tenacious meme ever to infest the English language. Like some kind of evil invasive species, it has strangled out every native adjective. Ad-copy writers (oops i mean content providers) shove it into every slogan and tagline. CBC announcers and politicians hiccup it like some kind of chipper Tourette tic. It is everywhere, and it is boring. Read the rest of this entry »

Flagged at the border

December 31st, 2015

Interrogation2I breeze into Vancouver Pacific Station an easy 20 min. before my 6:30am train time, all stoked for a little Amtrak adventure. A simple weekend trip, to visit Daniel in Pt Townsend. Snacks in my daypack, passport and train ticket in hand. Where you going, whatcha doing, who you visiting—nothing but the truth. My wallet is emptied onto the kiosk desk: bus tickets, credit cards, yoga pass. Please explain these. A second Homeland Security officer arrives at the gate. Problem here?, he asks. First officer replies: Possible 7A— but probably not. Sweat rises at the back of my neck. The questions get stranger, the air grows thinner. I am invited to follow the second officer into the back room—please, take a seat. Say nothing. Ask nothing. Over my shoulder I watch the last few passengers trickle easily through the gate. Not me. Read the rest of this entry »

O-Soji: of Me and my Stuff

December 19th, 2015

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMoving in: I am on a mad domestic binge. The longest extended move-in ever, from my oryoki bus back into my tiny Commercial Drive apartment. It is an epic O-Soji: a big year-end temple cleaning. I am cleansing and evaluating, re-evaluating and valuing. In re-familiarizing myself with my meager collection of Stuff, I take each item in my hands, turn it over, and consider its needs.

Everything must be sorted, fixed and cleaned, recycled or purged. Screws, nails, bags of old cables and power supplies. Stale spices, unlabeled teabags, little boxes and bags and jars. All  sorted then emptied, or fed to the worms, or else funneled back into the freshly cleaned jars. Old papers, unread books, single socks, excess plates and pillow cases — gone, to the recycling bins, or carried to the East Van shopping mall by the dumpsters. Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Bike Lady

November 21st, 2015

woman bike ad- freedom_1woman bike ad- freedom_1 butterfly bikerI  tossed off a rant called Stop Selling Shit Bikes to Women, two-and-a-half years back. It got posted to Reddit and went viral, getting 20,000+ views and hundreds of comments within a couple of days. The amazing thing is, I still regularly get emails based on that article. Most are from 40+ women who want to find bikes that are comfortable, durable and efficient. Many feel badly served and unrespected by bike retailers. They ask my advice and I give what I can. I didn’t apply for this job but apparently, I am The Bike Lady. Read the rest of this entry »

BabyNoBaby, meet Scary Mommy

October 26th, 2015

cupholderI speak here to BabyNoBaby. BabyNoBaby is a brave and funny woman who blogs about the buffeting winds of choice and possibility. To assume the cloak of motherhood, or not? So many arguments for, so many reasons against. Today it is yes, tomorrow it is no. As the clock goes tick tick tick.

BabyNoBaby’s most recent post describes her fantasy life as a stay-at-home mom—a SAHM. She is bored in her work and at a loss for what to do with the rest of her life. Today, the appealing vision of spending whole days at home in her pajamas, puréeing organic baby food and baking, wins out. Today’s decision: Baby. Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving Dinner

October 13th, 2015

thanksgiving-turkeyThanksgiving dinner was potatoes, omelet, and kale.

Potatoes rough and fragrant from the now-sleeping beds, boiled, fried in butter, with pepper and salt. Eggs gathered in a basket from the United Nations of chickens, green and tan, blue and pink, freckled, and brown. Folded with onions braided onto a string. A few cherry tomatoes, wet and burst from the rain. And cheese, melted, inside.

Also kale dark and ferrous, with red russian veins.

Dessert was a cookie—bought, not home-grown. Baked and sold at Friday market by my neighbour, Joy. With spices and cinnamon, pecans and seeds.

I dined alone, on the misty blufftop, to the sound of the waves.

For this.

I give thanks.



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