Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Birdie by Tracey Lindberg

It is a story of womens’ strength when they pull together. Focusing on b4bba90666545ebfba8ee8af99b2f578-w204@1xCree traditions and spiritual life.

Birdie has had a rough life.  She is floating through her life on a spirit quest while her skin self lies on her bed. I found it a bit confusing at first as the timeline is fluid. I was not sure what was the past and what was the present. I know that the shifting verb tenses and short sentences are a device to show how messed up Birdie is, but I found it distracting from the actual story. It surprised me at how much changing tenses and grammar problems distracted me from the plot. Staying engaged was hard.

Parts of the story are hard to read. Issues of sexual abuse and power over the women were repulsive to me. I wished there had been more protection around the young girls. The overall theme of strength and supporting each other when crisis hits partially redeemed the trouble I had will difficult topics and our scattered protagonist.

Although we spend most of the book in Birdie’s head, my favorite character was Aunty Val. She has a depth to her. She gave up a child which meant facing and fighting her own demons. She is a big women comfortable in her own skin but not perfect. Val steps up to raise Birdie, when Maggie, her sister, cannot. She makes the most of her life, doing the best she can. Even arriving to help Birdie after Birdie has avoided family for year.

The characters felt very real. I loved that I could see my own aunts and cousins in these women. It showed the universality of life. The writing is difficult to follow and messy highlighting where Birdie is at, but this also makes for an annoying read. The story is not just a Cree story but a story about accepting and enjoying our lives as they are. How we all have to overcome our demons and fight through mental issues to become stronger on the other side.

Celebrating Knit in Public (June 10)

Our knitting group knits in public all of the time so we decided to celebrate world-wide knit in public day – June 10 – by taking a road trip to some of our favourite yarn shops in neighbouring New Brunswick. I am excited to spend a day with my friends knitting and chatting. They are so fun to travel with. I am sure that my yarn diet will crash and burn but who cares.

How do you plan to celebrate June 10?

Left my knitting out in the rain

It was knitting night last night. We had a fun gathering with lots of laughs and so many great discussions. I loved it.

When we went to leave it was very dark and pouring rain. I gave my friend who walks a drive home and picked up my son at his friends’ house. It was a dark drive home with all the lights reflecting off the water. Not fun. I was glad to be home. I thought I took all my stuff in and went to bed.

This morning when I looked out my window, I saw my purple bag full of a bunch of project bags sitting by the car. The yarn is fine as it was mostly 100% wool and is drying nicely. My project bags are soaked through. I have them laid out to dry today. It is only water but what a start to the day. Maybe I need to slow down, or take fewer projects to knit night.

Who am I kidding. That is not going to happen.

Dream Come True at the Delta

Last night was so exciting for me. One of my favourite authors, Diana Gabaldon was talking at the Delta Hotel for Reading Town PEI. The event was sponsored by my favourite local bookstore, The Bookmark. They are so supportive of authors and have events throughout the year.

We made a night of it. Seven of us met for supper at the Water’s Edge at 5:30 before the event at 7:30 pm. The Water’s Edge team really knows how to spoil. I have a bunch of allergies so the chef came out and spoke to me about my supper. It was amazing salmon with smoked salmon and arugula paired with a side salad. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We did not have time for dessert, which was fine because I was so excited about the event.

Some of our crew went and got seats while we paid for our meals. There were over 600 people waiting to hear Diana. The energy in the room was amazing. We were sitting with Dr. Edward MacDonald a UPEI History Professor. He was lucky enough to have supper with Diana Gabaldon. It was not long before she was on. What an amazing speaker. Time flew. She reminded me of why I write and how much fun it can be. The audience was enthralled, especially when she read a scene from her current book. Then we got to ask questions.

Kilby was not sure if she could stay through the line up to get her book signed, but I was determined. She had her original paperback well read and so loved. I knew she needed it signed so right after the talk we pushed up to the front and got in line. It is hard to describe the excitement I felt. The girls who had books had their names printed on post-it-notes marking the page they want signed. We chatted and the time flew, suddenly we were right there. Kilby got her picture and we left. I drove some friends home.

Going back by the Delta I thought you know what I need to get a picture too. I stopped back in to the Delta picked up a book and waited at the very back of the line. Diana did not make us feel rushed, and was wonderful signing books. I never know what to say and I am sure I came off as so dorky but what a moment. I got my picture.

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Thank you everyone who planned this wonderful night for us!

Spring Cleaning My Stash

My stash has been out of control for awhile now. Check out CAWcreations Episode 1 to see the pile behind me. At 23:33 of the video, I show my craft room. The cleaning has not progressed since that time. I can confidently say I have more yarn than I will ever get knit into projects. There have been many attempts at control but get me into a yarn store and all bets are off.

Last September I donated a bunch of yarn to UPEI Student Affairs for their knitting group. My son works there and has told me that they did not need to get any more all year. There is still some left. I also made up how to knit kits for about a dozen Psychology student because we were going to knit at lunch in the lounge. I still have yarn galore.

This spring I decided I should get smart about my projects. Especially because there are projects that have been on the needles for years. It is my wavering attention. I love starting a project and learning how to do it but then have a problem finishing it. My brainstorm was to get several shoe box sized clear totes so that I can sort by project. It is working well. Except for the fact that I started moving my stash got one tote moved and then got doing other projects.

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I love being able to grab the tote for my Find Your Fade and go work on it. The tote has all the colours I still have to add, the project, and the pattern. My sock yarn blanket has its own tote, although the tote will have to grow as the project does. Each of the sweaters has its own tote. Then the ones I take to knitting regularly reside in my knitting bag, in their own project bags. It seems to be working for me.

Now to get the rest of the stash done.

Family Flying the Nest

It has been a year of change. My children are growing up so well. I am proud of all three of them. But it does mean a change in my focus, they do not need quite so much of my attention. Usually when I have time to do stuff, they are working, studying, or hanging with their friends. I know it is what I raised them to do and I so want them to have their own lives and experiences. Now I have to let them go and do their thing.

This Easter weekend it was particularly apparent. My oldest has his own spot downtown near his work. It has been really hard but I have been waiting for him to text me instead of texting every time I think of it. I did not hear from him until Sunday morning before going to my parents for Easter dinner. My middle guy is in the midst of his final project for second year engineering at UPEI, so he did not go to any of the family gatherings because he had to submit assignments periodically throughout the holiday weekend. My baby drove us to both of our family gatherings. She is graduating from high school this year and is already registered for her courses at UPEI next year. Where or where did my babies go.

My husband and I are spending lots of time together. I am so glad that we have stayed close because most evenings and weekends it is to two of us. On Friday, we took our dog, Molly for a walk on the beach while both the kids that live at home worked. We stopped in at Fleece & Harmony on the way so I could pick up yarn to draft new sock patterns for the summer season. Saturday we went  to the market and did some shopping before picking our baby up from work and going to visit family in Summerside. Sunday was dinner with my family including my oldest and youngest. Monday we got to relax. I so needed a down day.

We are watching the new Anne of Green Gables series on CBC, so I looked up my Anne books and have started rereading. I do this fairly regularly but it has been a few years this time. Last night I finished the first book. I like how they are true to the book while adding a bit of the darker side of life during that time period.

My First Podcast on CAWcreations.org

Now that I have more than one pattern for sale on Ravelry I have decided to do a biweekly podcast about knitting and books I have read. Hopefully, it will keep me on track for completing knitting projects and on pace for the pledge to myself to read 100 books a year.

2017_CAWcreationsPicYou can check out CAWcreations Episode 1 on CAWcreations.org or on Cheryl Ann Wartman YouTube Channel. It is a work in progress. I am learning everything on the fly. The process is amazing except for taping time that scares me so much. People say they could not tell but I had so many knots in my stomach. It is funny because I have no problem lecturing to a classroom but taping seemed so much worse. Someone told me once if you were not scared sometimes you were not challenging yourself enough. This is challenging.

My next taping date is this Thursday. I hope to have CAWcreations Episode 2 up for Saturday morning. Here is to challenging ourselves.