2019 Craft Fairs

I’ll be tabling at two fairs in Pender Harbour this month, and offering a selection of needle felted ornaments, brooches, and felt bunting. If you’re in the neighbourhood, be sure to come by and say hello!

Needle Felting Classes Available

I’ve been loving teaching classes at my LYS, Sew Easy, and helping others to create fun and adorable ornaments of their pets. If you’re located on the Sunshine Coast and would like to participate, visit seweasy.ca or give them a call to sign up for our next class!

So long, 2018

Well, that was really hard.

Not that I thought chemotherapy would be easy — every iota of evidence pointed to the contrary — but I guess I thought it would be different?
I thought it would be kind of predictable (which it wasn’t) and I thought I could keep myself entertained (which it couldn’t) and I thought I would come out of it lonely and sad and bitter.
But I didn’t.
Despite 2018 being the most difficult year of my life, I got through it. And that feels like a miracle.

2018 took a lot from me: my health, my focus, four of my five senior pets. It put a strain on my marriage and a hold on my career. It made me realize that I am both physically weaker and emotionally stronger than I’d ever imagined. It took me to damned near my breaking point.

And it’s finally over.

I had my last scheduled dose of chemotherapy on December 27th. I rang in the New Year with the hope that 2019 will be a year of healing. If 2018 broke me down, 2019 will build me back up.

I’ll get an idea of what the future has in store for me in about a month, after my next PET scan and (with any luck) a cancer-free declaration, and I’ll write more about my experience over the past six months at a later date, once I have the luxury of hindsight.

For now I’m just glad to be looking forward.

Summer News (June Edition)

Author’s Note: I wrote this as a draft at the end of June, but it’s taken me a bit to get up the courage/energy to post it here.

This summer’s going to be a bit of an odd one.

After nearly a year of doctor’s appointments and referrals, it became clear last week that the lump growing above my collarbone is Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Ugh. It’s stage one*, and the outlook is very good, but I’m nervous about starting Chemotherapy at the end of July and disappointed to have to take the rest of the summer off as the receptionist at the Veterinary Hospital. I mean, what the heck, bod.

The focus this quarter is to maintain my health as best as I can and to have patience with myself while my body heals. I’ve got a wonderful family and amazing friends to help me through this,  and while I’m sure there will be ups and downs I’m optimistic about the future.

In brighter news, we’ve adopted a new kitten!

We brought her home last Saturday and named her Lydia. She’s a scoundrel and a dear and we adore her already—a weird looking tuxedo with the sweetest mew. She loves to be around people. Grade A kitten. Would recommend.

I’m taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo again this July. I’ll be working on Coral & Bone, my queer-romance novel about a saboteur mermaid and the emotionally distraught whaler who falls in love with her. It was fun to dip my toes into the story this past spring and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with the characters I’ve made. I’m not used to writing romances, but it’s been a fun challenge so far. Also there are kelp forests and whale magic and bar fights and a pet octopus. It’s great stuff.

The veggie garden is looking great after a bit of a slow start. It’s been a spring of extremes—either very hot and dry or quite wet and cold—and while the plants didn’t appreciate the swings they seem to have forgiven and moved on. This spring, John built us a pair of rather cleverly designed raised beds with chicken wire cages on hinges, and it’s been enough to keep the deer and raccoons at bay. Time will tell with regards to bears.

Now, off to work on a novel!

*Whoops, turns out it’s stage II, but the prognosis is still good and we’re still aiming for a cure, it’s just likely going to take 6 months of treatment instead of 4. Bummer.

My Top 5 Fall (& Winter) Comforts

Fall is probably my favourite time of year, and in no small part because of how delightfully cozy it is. The nights are getting longer and cuddling up under a blanket looks more enticing each day beyond the equinox. Once the rain starts and that damp leaf mould perfume really takes hold, you can bet that I’m surrounding myself with all of my favourite cold-weather things.

Flannel

Flannel sheets, flannel shirts, flannel pyjamas, the flannel lining in my favourite down vest. Flannel is out in full force at my house. It is an immensely comforting fabric to live in, and it’s working wonders towards making this new house feel like home.

Wood

Though it be little, our wood-stove is mighty. As I write this, the little black box blazes nearby. The savoury smell of wood-smoke when I step outdoors. I can scavenge my own fuel from dead-fall, put handfuls of my forage on for kindling, and bask in its warmth. There’s a gentle snap and pull of air, as though a creature sleeps beside me, and I love it.

Wool

So much wool! With the cooler temperatures, knitting is comfortable again, and knitted things are the perfect weight to keep the chill off. On my needles this fall: socks, socks, new fingerless gloves for John, and more socks. On my body this winter: woolly boot socks, thick itchy pullovers, and woollen hats.

Coffee

I was strictly a tea drinker for a long time, but lately I’ve found that there’s nothing else quite as rich and decadent on a cool evening than a milky cup of dark roast coffee. The gentle curls of steam rising from the creamy surface. The heat of a heavy mug against my palm. The smokey flavour and intoxicating smell. I splurged a little this year and bought the more expensive stuff, and I have no regrets. The little bit extra for something that I love, and that centres me, was well worth it.

Vinyl

After a couple of months of not having access to my record collections during the summer move, putting on an album and leaning back for a listen is of particular comfort. Billie Holiday is getting a lot of play lately. Goes well with turning the lights down low and a hot cup of the above.

I hope you’re having a wonderful winter so far, and that you’re able to enjoy some of your own cold-weather comforts.

Happy New Year,

Syd

 

 

The First Full Day of Fall

As I write this, a cool wind is blowing the needles from the trees, and it definitely feels like fall; the days are getting shorter, the spice of leaf litter fills the air, and the rains are returning.

It was most assuredly summer when we arrived here—white hot days and a hot pink sun brought on by the surrounding wildfires. Smoke carried on the breeze. Clouds of dust puffed up wherever we walked. Wasps veered dozily on patios. It felt like cooler temperatures would never come to the Sunshine Coast.

But they’re here today, and I couldn’t be more pleased. The house is (mostly) unpacked, and we’re getting settled into fresh routines. My new job as veterinary hospital receptionist is going well. Things are looking good, and although there’s still time to be spent on the patio, I’m looking forward to the indoor-cosiness that winter will bring.

There are some elements to living here that are taking getting used to, primarily too many bears and not enough internet. Explornet will do for now, and online gaming will have to wait for a future with higher speeds. As for the former, I learned that black bears have a sour-fruit-and-shit kind of smell, and if the wind’s right you can smell them before you can see them. I’m hoping that they will eventually learn to steer clear of the yard and stick to the surrounding wood, and though It might take me a while to get comfortable sharing a backyard with a 600lb mama bear, I can’t complain. You can’t live in the forest and not expect to see wildlife, and there’s a bunch on the property: a family of raccoons that fish for bivalves off our dock, a pair of large (and lust-filled) owls that like to make-out with each other in the wee hours of the morning, and a pack of coyotes that sing songs in the swamp. A herd of elk frequent the area. It’s downright majestic.

And anyway, there’s nothing quite like falling asleep to crickets and waking up to loon song.

I can’t remember the last time I was so well-rested.

Please Stand By

These past two weeks have been filled with the smell of cardboard and the screech of a tape gun. 

The next seven days will be spent on the road, camping every night in a different place as we make the 4500 km journey to our new home.

It’s bittersweet, and exciting, and overwhelming, all at the same time.

More on the move (and the new place!) later, but for now please stand by.