Nailed it!

5:20 a.m.

I am awake, but Attila is not. This is how weekend mornings go. My waking time is consistent. During the week Attila wakes up before I do, to an alarm clock, which often awakens me, so that I in turn awaken him. On lucky mornings, the alarm clock awakens Attila first and I sleep in until just past 5:00 a.m. On the weekends Attila awakes long after I do.

So here I am sitting in my rocking chair, the sun is just peeping above the horizon and its glorious light is glittering through the frozen ice patterns on the window. It is cold out there, -17C this morning, on the thermometer just outside the kitchen window, which reads a little warm due to its proximity to the kitchen window, which leaks a bit of our precious heat.

One thing I don’t think I have ever written about here is my “crooked arm”. I am the eldest of five children, and that is how we children referred to my arm, the “crooked arm”. My father had other ways of describing me and my arm, but they are not worth repeating, although they are indelibly etched into my soul. As a child I considered his words, meditated on them as they came from my father, and completely rejected his point of view, much to my benefit.

My arm was damaged at birth, so badly that is was never expected to grow to a normal size. My Mom never gave in, and I was expected use my arm and hand as if they were exactly like my other arm and hand. The effect of my Mom’s “never say never” approach was that the arm grew to look as it should, and is quite functional. I have little motor control and restricted movement in that arm, there was neurological and skeletal damage that was assessed during my childhood, and again when I explored possibilities as an adult. There were medical interventions, with no guarantees, I discovered during the 80s, that would require breaking of bones and surgeries; I decided that my arm was a great part of who I am, and I would live my life with it as it is. I grew up thinking of myself as fully able bodied, and can do most of the things I am interested in doing. I have to choose my battles though.

I was chatting with Sister-The-Youngest-Girl yesterday morning about this, and she said that she remembers being very impressed that I could do one handed cartwheels when I was a teen. I was captain of the cheerleading team in high school, and to join the team and gain leadership I had to do cartwheels. I could not support any weight with my arm, so my solution was to practice day and night until I could perform a one handed cartwheel, with my “crooked arm” tucked neatly at my side. It was a very satisfying accomplishment, which took a lot of my time and effort.

I am older now, and still choosing my battles. In deciding to learn to crochet, I knew I was taking on a real challenge, it is an activity that demands fine motor control in both hands. I had had negative experiences with crochet during my childhood, particularly when I was a Brownie, where right handed people were teaching the skill and telling me to “just do it backwards”. I managed to produce the required item for my badge, but there were many tears involved, and a fair amount of physical pain. But I did it. So, deciding to revisit crocheting is not as straightforward as it might sound, in my instance.

I am well pleased this morning because I had a breakthrough in learning how to crochet. I am still at the phase where I am learning how to hold my hands in order to perform the stitches. It has been a real challenge. I tried all of the techniques I could find on youtube, no joy. The yarn slipped off my fingers constantly, no matter what I did. My tension was all over the map, my arm ached, my ears were ringing, and I developed a headache after a few minutes of stitching. I tried wearing a fingerless glove so that the yarn could feed up my wrist and out the finger, but that resulted in far too much tension, and I couldn’t control it with my finger. Then I took the fingers I had cut off the glove, cut off the tips to make finger tubes, and placed those on my pinky and my forefinger. This improved things somewhat, but I was still unable to control the tension to my satisfaction.

Then, as usual, when I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing, distracted by the sunlight, my fingers just did what they needed to do. I’ve nailed it! It was a technique I’ve not seen, so I believe it is unique to me, as is my arm, a custom adaptation for my physical limitations. And it worked! Instead of using my forefinger to feed the yarn, I use my middle finger, with a finger tube over my knuckle to prevent the yarn from slipping up my finger. I also have a finger tube on the end of my pinky to prevent the yarn from slipping off that the end of that finger. It is so much more comfortable, and I have much better control over the yarn and the tension.

Crochet right hand My technique, it looks awkward doesn’t it! Part of it is the angle of the photograph, trying to move my hands around so that the camera in the computer could catch the way the yarn is placed around my fingers. For me, this way of holding the whole thing together is the most comfortable so far.

I knew that if I spent enough time experimenting and practicing, that my unconscious mind would work with my body to come up with a solution! I have a lot of respect for the intellect, the thinking mind, an area where I have real talent and disciplined skills, but I have just as much respect for the unconscious mind, body knowledge, and emotions. My breakthrough has come through coordinating all of these aspects of human existence to find a solution to a unique challenge.

Now, all I need to do it just stitch and stitch and stitch until I develop body memory, and get a feel for the right tension!

1:15 p.m.

Our thoughts are increasingly wandering to the Rideau Camp, and Iris the trailer. Soon we will be heading out to the camp to work on the projects there. I will open Iris up from her long winter’s nap in a few weeks, and begin preparing her for her first trip out to the Rideau Camp. We bought solar panels on sale last fall, a great deal we couldn’t pass up. We have all but the battery to hook up to the 12 volt lights in Iris. AGM batteries are much more reasonably priced at Costco. So, it was time to spring for a Costco membership.

Yesterday was a shopping day. We visited two thrift shops. The first was the Habitat ReStore, where I purchased four key tags for $1. Then we headed to Value Village, where we considered everything to be overpriced. There we found the Planet Earth series on DVD for $7.99, in perfect condition, and purchased it, our only purchase there. Next on the list was Costco, where our membership was renewed, and we spent a few hours browsing around gawking at the huge number of items on offer. And of course, we did put some items into our cart. Our neighbours call Costco the $500 store, with good reason. We did not spend that much, not anywhere near, but we did spend far more than we had planned.

Among the items purchased were two sets of flannelette sheets for our beds. We bought the beds new just after we moved here, and have been using old, very old, bedding since then. The old bedding wasn’t really working out well. Attila’s fitted sheet was not deep enough and kept popping off the mattress during the night. My flat sheet was a double size and I kept getting tangled up in it during the night. When we spied the sheet sets for $14.95 each we decided to splurge and buy new sheets for our almost new beds. We brought them home, washed and dried them, made up the beds with them, and after spending a night with them decided that the decision to buy them was a good one. So good in fact, that a return visit to Costco was in order today, to buy two more sets.

Other items purchased yesterday were insulated coffee mugs for Attila. Attila drinks a lot of coffee, constantly, all day long. We recently splurged and purchased him a great vacuum bottle, which keeps his coffee hot all day long, unlike his old one which did not. He also uses an insulated mug to carry around and drink his coffee. He has almost worn out his coffee mug, the lid is cracked and leaking. A package of two new coffee mugs were in yesterday’s shopping cart a Costco.

Today, when we returned for another two sets of bed sheets, other items went into the cart. Salad ingredients, milk, and small food items were chosen. As well, I was tempted by brooms. We have been using brooms from the Dollar Store, which work, but not all that well. The current broom at home has been in sad shape for some time now. So into the cart went a set of brooms.

We have consoled ourselves that this binge spending is just our way of thumbing our noses at old man winter, who returned last Friday for a brief visit. It is our form of retail therapy, buying things we need as a treat.

We haven’t purchased the battery yet though, the original reason for renewing our Costco membership, they won’t be in stock until April. We can wait, we are all shopped out at the moment!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-15°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Sunday 5 March 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 104.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -15.1°C
Dew point: -21.2°C
Humidity: 60% Wind:
NE 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -22
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“A smile is the shortest distance between two people.”
Victor Borge
1909 – 2000

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7 Responses to Nailed it!

  1. Bex Crowell says:

    Congratulations! Your finger huggies look kind of like the one I made the other day! I can’t wear it though… you will do fine. Once you start working a rhythm along the rows… it’ll get easier.
    I finished Paul’s blanket last night and have begun another item, a shawl for my cousin. I am using up yarn I used for other things.

  2. TopsyTurvy (Teri) says:

    Hurray! Congrats on finally finding a technique that works for you with crocheting!

    It’s been quite cold here too but looks like a warm up is on the way. The NOAA forecasts say the highs should be right around freezing to considerably warmer.

    I ordered a few seed catalogs the other day. Can’t wait for them to come in! It’s fun to look at the various plants and start to plan for spring.

  3. Thanks Bex! I am looking forward to the rhythm thing happening. I look at your creations and I think, wow, I wonder if I’ll ever be able to make things that are that nice. Maybe I will, but even if I don’t, I have having fun. I like touching the colourful yarn, and working with it. Someday I might think about finished items, but for now I am happy to be working with a hook and colour.

  4. Thanks Teri! It took time, but I arrived. The first step has been taken on the road to crochet.

    Yes, that warmer weather is on the way! March is sort of a pre-spring warm up, which I like. Enjoy those seed catalogues!!

  5. Bex Crowell says:

    Yes Maggie! Touching the yarn is the one fabulous thing I noticed right away. In fact, I would give it to Paul to “feel” and “touch” – it is so lovely and soft and comforting.

  6. A crooked arm, now! You are full of surprises, and the more you reveal some of the previously unshared details about yourself, the more fascinating you become. Methinks you’ve got quite the dramatic life story. -Kate

  7. Kate, never a dull moment! It has been quite a ride, you know what they say about “interesting times.”