Friday, November 3, 2023

First Snow


winter solstice last year

As we settle into winter, the sun continues it's journey southwards and soon enough the snow will not be a scattering of flakes on the ground, but an accumulation.

There have been many 'things' happening chez nous, many of them with an element of stress about them.  But life is stress, sometimes good stress, sometimes, not so much.

So I will begin with the good news - I am still in a very rare remission of the cancer I live with.  It was my understanding that people with Small B cell lymphoma can live for a long time - with treatment.  I am amongst the fortunate few that has actually achieved 'remission' - as in not high enough active level of cancer cells in my blood to be treated.  The doctor at the cancer clinic confirmed my special snowflake-ness and said I should celebrate that it is holding.  For how long?  No one knows.  An actual remission is so rare that they don't have any idea.  Just...come back in six months and see if it continues to hold.

So I continue to ride the cancer roller coaster.

Yesterday the HVAC crew finished installing the new heat pump/natural gas back up.  Now we get used to the new technology, which is different from our old gas furnace on a number of levels.  We chose to upgrade after our furnace pooped out last winter during a very cold 'snap' that lasted for weeks, two of which we had no furnace.  We made do with space heaters, but at the cost of our electricity bill.  And the repair, of course.  As summer drew to a close, my inner danger radar began ringing alarm bells and we decided to replace the furnace and it seemed the best approach was a heat pump, which would also replace our 40 year old a/c, and upgrade our natural gas water heater.  The government of Canada and provincial government were both offering incentives to change away from fossil fuels, but we live far enough north that -20 C temps are common in the winter and we could not rely solely on a heat pump, so we kept the natural gas as a back up.  We won't get much money back from the grants on offer, but whatever we get will be welcome because this upgrade took a big bite out of my savings.

It isn't the 'best' solution, but it was the 'best' we can do, given the level of technology now.  But that installation meant I had to clear out my storage room enough for the crew to get into the space and install the new equipment.  All while I dealt with my broken body.  More stress.

We hired a young person to come help Doug shift the stuff that needed moving out of the storage area and drape the shelves with plastic, in case of construction dust.  Doug will bring the shop vacuum in to clean up the rest of the dust.  The crew did a good job of picking up the large rubble, but there is still 'dust', and I want/need that dealt with before we take the plastic draping off the shelves and shelves of yarn.  And then everything needs to be moved back.

The guild is having a booth at the local craft fair, at which I have textiles for sale.  After much mulling, I will do a BOGO special in my ko-fi shop soon.  Once the inventory is back from the craft fair I will sort it and see what I have left and what I'm willing to do a BOGO offer on.  So, sometime next week?  It depends.

In the meantime I have two more boxes of homework to mark, and then I am officially 'retired' from teaching for Olds College.  This year there was a really high rate of students who submitted their homework for marking.  8 out of 9 of the students have sent their work in.  

And yesterday I completed the last (I think) of the edits for the Sectional Beaming class for SOS.  The class was 'difficult' because I wanted to not just explain the process but to include a lesson in designing for utilizing the sectional beam for production.  This lead to some challenges, not just for me, but the team doing the post production.  I think we've done a decent job, but the class is not for beginners because in order to effectively design for working with the sectional beam, the student will need to have a grasp of weaving essentials (imho).  Or they can just watch the video class in order to learn more about it and then decide if they want to pursue the tool further.

A sectional beam can be used to great effect, but the weaver really should have an understanding of the craft of weaving and the principles in order to best use the tool.  You don't have to be a production weaver, although it can enhance productivity.  Like everything, there are pros and cons, and I try to discuss those in the supporting documentation I provided.

If you are interested in what a sectional beam does, some of the challenges of working with one, pitfalls, trouble shooting, or want to put on longer warps by yourself, you might find this class of interest.  I even show how to beam an 'ordinary' warp on the sectional beam.  Will I sell the documentation separately?  No.  I invite you to join SOS for a month and watch the video class as well as refer to the documentation.

The class launches on Nov. 9, I'm told, but joining SOS means you also get my other 3 classes, plus all the other classes SOS offers.  Makes a great Xmas gift?

Other things happening?  I continue to spend a lot of time on personal 'maintenance' as the chiropractor, massage and physio therapists try to get my body functioning again.  Again and again I realize just how much physical fitness I've lost over the past year, since things started to go badly in my body.  Getting into the local pain clinic has helped and I am still hopeful the new medication for pain will kick in further as the dose increases.  I'm still on an 'introductory' dose and today I phone the pain clinic to check in.  I'll be asking when I can increase the dose.  OTOH, the new med comes with a nausea warning and I've had to make sure I don't take it on an empty stomach.  A minor but necessary change.

I have also managed to get both my flu and covid vaccines in the past 3 weeks, and continue to wear a mask whenever I leave the house.  The latest reports about covid are...concerning...and I'm not about to assume that everyone is 'healthy' when the numbers of cases continue to climb.  

And for all those people in my life who assure me the latest covid variant is 'mild', I'd like to remind them that I have cancer of the immune system - half of my immune system is 'sick'.  And frankly I don't want your 'mild' cold, flu or any other communicable disease that might be floating around, either.  What might be mild for *you* will not be mild for *me*.  And I'm damned if I will get really sick (or die) because someone takes offense at my wearing a mask in their presence.  I've managed to dodge covid (and any cold or flu) for nearly 4 years.  I've quite enjoyed NOT getting sick on top of managing a body that has been rode hard, put away wet for most of my life.

As winter draws in, I withdraw from doing much outside of the house - other than the necessary trips for 'maintenance'.  

And keep weaving.  Yesterday I sleyed the new warp and will begin weaving once I've dealt with a few other things on my task list.  

The current warp will nearly use up the mercerized cotton - the next decision is whether or not I'll put one more warp on at 36 epi and use up the rest, or shove that yarn into my bobbin lace stash.  TBD.

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