Thursday, March 15, 2007

Concert Announcements

Keith and I are involved in a couple of upcoming concerts, and we're really excited! This year we've both been singing with our church choir, the Regent College Gospel Choir, and Keith recently joined the Vancouver Bach Choir. So...

The Regent Gospel Choir will be performing on Friday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at University Chapel on the UBC campus. This will be our leader, Ben Keyes' arts thesis presentation, and we will be singing new songs that he wrote. This concert is free, but please buy a cd, since that will help offset the costs! Also, if you are coming, come early, as we anticipate a very full house...

Keith will be performing Israel in Egypt with the Vancouver Bach Choir on Saturday, March 31 at 8:00 p.m. in the Orpheum Theatre. If you want tickets, tell Keith and he can order for you, since we think it's cheaper that way.

Email, call, or leave a comment if you want more information! We hope to see you at one of our concerts!

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Saga of the Blue Sweater

It took five years... but it's finally done! I finally finished the first major knitting project I ever started! I did lots of major knitting projects in between, but this one is the biggest, and it's for me! Here's the story of the blue sweater I never thought I would finish...

March 2002: I pick up knitting again after a 12 or so year hiatus, knit a couple of scarves, then decide that I wanted to do a sweater... and not just any sweater, but a sweater with a complicated cable-knit pattern.

June 2002: The gauge is a nightmare... the back of the sweater is finished (with a couple of major mistakes in the pattern), and when I got halfway through one of the front pieces, I realized that it was significantly smaller than the back piece. Grrrr! Not to mention, the back is also smaller than it's supposed to be. In my frustration, I begin work on another major project, a vest, which doesn't have any fancy cable knitting stuff. Consequently, the new project goes a lot better.

January 2006: I discover the beauty of blocking: simply by getting a piece of knit fabric wet, it is possible to stretch it to precisely the right dimensions, and it STAYS when it dries! I've also picked up quite a few more tricks along the way...

August 2006: This blue sweater is taking up space in my closet, and I'm feeling pretty guilty about buying all that yarn and then not using it. I have a conference with my mother, the expert, on what is to be done with it. I try making a swatch, and look, I have the right gauge!

September 2006: I rip out the unfinished front piece, keeping only the finished back piece... and start all over again!

October 2006: The front pieces are done, and I'm working on the sleeves...

November 2006: ...and the hood. I'm also learning to knit without looking. This is helpful; I can get a lot more knitting done when I do it while reading for class. The added benefit is that my mind stays more focused when my hands are active!

December 2006: (brief break, as I'm busy making Christmas presents)

January 2007: I look at the pattern with puzzlement, realizing that the button and buttonhole bands are to be knit separately and sewn on. How dumb is that? Note to self: never, ever follow the pattern. I can always improve it. Patterns always make you sew too many seams. I hate sewing seams.

February 2007: The lengthy process of sewing the sweater together. I cannot imagine a stupider pattern in terms of construction. Next time I will rewrite the pattern if it's this dumb. And I've found that most patterns ARE this dumb. Oh well, it still turned out okay... I find that I can use the detached button and buttonhole bands to jump rope while I'm wearing the partially assembled sweater.

March 2007: I finally find the time to dump my sweater in the bathtub, get it all wet, and stretch it out... amazing, the sweater is the right size! It's done! Hooray! Now where am I going to put it?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

What I'm doing for Lent

This may sound a little odd, but I'm "giving up" being-a-bad-steward-of-the-earth for Lent. I don't think I was doing too badly to begin with, but I can do better. I invite all my dear friends and family to join me, too! (Also, you can leave comments with other good ideas.) Here's why I'm doing this:
  1. I love God. I believe that God created the world (no, not in the literal Genesis 1 sense, with the 7 days... this account is POETIC, not scientific, and gives us information about who God is, and about his relationship to us and the rest of the created order), and I believe humans are called to be good stewards of all that God has given them.
  2. I love the earth! I love trees! I love animals!
  3. I love doing things outside, and I want "outside" to be a place worth going, now and in the future.
  4. I love people. It is the poor that will be affected most by climate change. It is also my children (well, the ones I will probably have eventually) who are going to experience climate change. I want them to inherit a healthy earth. I'm not the only person on the planet! We are all in this together!
  5. I want to be a good example, especially to others who also love God. Bad theology (the "it's all going to burn anyway" sort), selfishness, and ignorance are major causes of earth-abuse. We cannot use these as an excuse! (And no, I'm not going to stop this stuff after Lent!)

Anyhoo, now I will get off my soapbox and say what I am actually doing.
  1. Turning off the lights whenever I'm not using them, and unplugging things that I'm not using. Apparently this saves a lot of energy.
  2. I changed the power settings on my computer. The monitor turns off after a shorter time. I'm also being more careful about not leaving it on when I'm not using it.
  3. Cotton balls and maxi pads: it pains me every time I throw one away. So, I'm getting reusible ones! (Yes, I know, sounds gross, but women were menstruating for hundreds of thousands of years before the invention of disposable maxi pads. Likewise, babies were pooping before the invention of disposable diapers. My children will use CLOTH DIAPERS.) I think I will also be making some nice lace-edged hankies using my new crochet skills, in order to cut down on kleenex use.
  4. Being conscientious about water use: shorter, less frequent showers, not letting the tap run while brushing my teeth, etc. I also found that I can fill the Brita pitcher while I'm waiting for the water in the kitchen to heat up. I'm going to talk to our landlord/neighbor about getting a rain barrel to use to water the garden in the summer.
  5. I'm going to get a drying rack for the summer, so I can hang my clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer. Unfortunately, I can't do this year-round in Vancouver (it's pouring outside as I write this...)
  6. We're going to plant some veggies outside in pots on our lovely new patio! They'll be nice and fresh and organic, and they will cut down on transportation costs.
  7. We don't own our house, so we can't really make home improvements, nor can we adjust the heat, since there's one thermostat for the whole house. However, as the lights burn out, we'll replace them with more efficient bulbs.
  8. This summer, we're doing some significant travelling, since we love people, and we're attending a wedding, a baptism, and a music festival. I will research carbon offsets (planting trees and whatnot), because of the major pollution caused by air travel.

Things I'm already doing:
  1. Taking the bus whenever possible (yay for the UBC student bus pass!)
  2. Walking to the grocery store
  3. Composting and recycling whenever possible
  4. Reusing jars and plastic containers: cheap and useful. I also really like that some pasta sauces come in mason jars, which I can use for canning! Yay for not wasting food!
  5. Using energy saving settings on the dishwasher
  6. Wearing clothes more than once, using towels for a week, and using sheets for several weeks... thus cutting down on the frequency of laundry.

Please consider joining me in any or all of these activities! Every little bit helps...