Head and Shoulders, Knees and…Elbows?

Dear Vi,

I hate to be a complainer, but I just have to tell you:

Too much hand quilting, knitting, typing, and gripping heavy weights at the gym have given me tennis elbow in both arms and caused the arthritis in my hands to flare up.

It’s my own fault. I let it go too far. I let it get away from me. I let it get to the point where it hurts to even pick up a cup of tea.

And that’s not all. Poor ergonomics in my sewing and writing life are affecting my shoulders, neck and back, which (not surprisingly) has worked it’s way down into the knees.

‘It hurts when I cackle!’

Because I’m a writer, I’m often at my laptop for several hours a day. If I want to continue, it’s imperative that I address the ergonomics problem.

Fortunately, I know what I have to do to fix it.

Yesterday I went to Staples and bought myself a properly adjustable office chair. My lower half notices the improved sitting situation already, but my shoulders are still complaining because the keyboard is too high.

In a perfect world, I’d buy a properly adjustable computer desk. But the reality is, we all have to work with what we’ve got and live within our means. Whatever modifications I make to my writing space cannot infringe on the rest of my very small house, and they also have to fall within my fixed-income budget.

Installing a sliding, adjustable keyboard tray (and new keyboard) under my sewing table and using my laptop like a desk computer may be the best solution.

The laptop can easily share real estate with the sewing machine. Both are lightweight & portable, and can easily be unplugged and set it aside to make room for the other. Mr. C will have the final say on whether or not the sewing table can be modified.

It may take a month or more, but getting back to my home yoga practice, doing physio & massage therapy for the elbows, and making these ergonomic fixes will hopefully take care of the worst of the problems.

Have you ever suffered repetitive strain injuries or dealt with ergonomic issues when sitting for long periods at the keyboard or sewing machine? Has knitting or hand quilting ever given you tennis elbow?

Do tell!

Posted in Blog Categories, Health, Knitting, Middle Age, Quilting, sewing, Writing, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

All the miscellaneous bits and pieces

Dear Vi,

Today I sent out another query letter for Holding Space. That makes nine. Out of the nine, I’ve received two rejections and one request for a Full. That means the agent liked the query enough to want to read the full manuscript. That’s pretty exciting. Even if she decides it isn’t for her, it’s a huge boost to my writerly self esteem.

And I’ve got a short story out on submission, but I won’t hear for awhile yet.

Meanwhile, I’m working on two new manuscripts. This is a bit discombobulating –  I need to settle into one. Instead, I dither, going back and forth, unable to totally immerse myself in either.

I’ve been busy in other areas, too: I’ve got one quilt ready for binding and another one sandwiched and ready for quilting, and socks on one set of needles and a sweater on another set. Lots of busy going on in that area, as evidenced by the gawd awful mess of knitting and hand sewing paraphernalia next to my side of the couch.

And then, as if things weren’t messy enough,  I decided that most of the pieces of clothing I’ve made up to now are not acceptable. They looked good in the initial trying on, but once I started actually wearing them – out in public, like – their flaws started showing up. Three dresses have been tossed into the recycle bin. There’s enough fabric in the skirts to use as a muslin for a couple of tops I want to make. It’s all a learning process.

Sam and I have really been enjoying the autumn colours this year. Somehow, they seem even more vivid than usual.

What about you? Anything interesting to report?

Posted in Beauty, Blog Categories, Colours, Stitches, Sunnybrae | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A walk on a sunny October day

Dear Vi,

It was so pretty this afternoon, I just had to take Sam out for a walk. Actually, it was Sam who took me.

I was happily basting a quilt, head down, paying no attention at all to leaves blowing over the lawn, sunshine streaming through the windows and bouncing rainbows around the room.

Sam waiting not so patiently by the door

But Sam grumbled and barked and grumbled and barked until I finally gave in.

We walked through the forest, down a country road, past a horse in the field and a wild apple tree whose branches were busting under the weight of hundreds of little red apples. The sides of the road were covered in blue wildflowers – the kind that will turn to stickers as soon as their blossoms drop. I’ll hate them later, but right now they’re stunning.

Sam is not cooperating

I wanted to take a picture of Sam sitting with the flowers. It seemed like the perfect photo opportunity. There I was, squatting on the side of the road, juggling the leash and the camera phone and trying to cajole Sam into smiling (or at least looking interested)…

Yeah, right.After I gave up, we walked back along the beach, where the water level has dropped but the sand hasn’t dried out enough to walk out very far without getting muddy.

Sam loves getting muddy.

And then we came home and had some lunch.

Have you taken a walk today?

Posted in outdoors, Salmon Arm, Samson, Shuswap, Sunnybrae, Walks | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Rain!

Dear Vi,

It’s been the most awful summer of heat and heavy smoke every day, and then…just this very minute…it started to rain!

REAL rain, not an intermittent shower.

Steadily dripping, sizzling on the roof tops, glorious, cool, wet, rain!

I know I owe you a big chatty letter…and I’ll write soon, I promise.

But not right now.

Right now, I’m going outside in my nightgown to dance in it!

Posted in Blog Categories, Salmon Arm, Sunnybrae | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Smoke & Fire

Dear Vi,

A few people have written to ask if Mr. C and I are in any danger from the wildfires wreaking havoc in British Columbia, so I thought perhaps a blog post on the subject was in order.

122 fires are burning, with several communities evacuated, including entire towns. Here’s a map of what’s burning as of 5am this morning:I’ve marked the area we live in with a green star. To give you an idea of distance, it takes us about an hour to drive to Kamloops.

As of this morning, 40,000 people have been evacuated in the province. Our town is one of the evacuation centers, and people are even being sent as far away as Vancouver. Because really, where do you put 40,000 people?

We had an incredibly wet spring, including flooding and mudslides. All that rain made the grasses grow. And then it got hot hot hot and all those lush grasses dried out and turned into fuel.  They say this is only the beginning of what is predicted to be a Very Bad Fire Season.

Our visibility is about one mile in smoke, which is an improvement, actually. Two days ago we couldn’t even see to the bottom of our street, let alone across the lake. And yesterday, it was snowing ash.

Here’s the view from my deck this afternoon: And here’s what it usually looks like:Cough cough hack.

As of right now, we’re not in any danger here in the Shuswap, but keep your fingers crossed nobody throws a burning cigarette out the window.

My deepest appreciation to the firefighters, some who are coming from as far away as Australia. 

And to all the emergency organizations who are managing the refugee centers.

And to all the volunteers who are lending their hands and their hearts to those fleeing their homes, including those who are taking in displaced livestock and pets.

And to small businesses like Katja’s Quilt Shoppe in Kamloops, who is organizing social activity days for evacuees and locals to get together and work on sewing projects as a way of helping the time pass. Quilters looking after quilters.  Awesome.

Posted in Salmon Arm, Shuswap | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Socks and Rings and other Traded Things

Dear Vi,

I was knitting away in the shade of the back deck yesterday when I noticed that my sock yarn exactly matches my sun dress. Ha!  Too bad the socks aren’t for me! (though I can’t imagine wanting to wear wool socks on a day hot enough for a strapless cotton dress, lol.)No, these socks are for Kelly’s cousin, Gabrielle. She and I made a trade…I will knit her a pair of socks in exchange for these two silver rings:I am always knitting something, and she no longer wears the rings, so it seemed a fair bargain at the time. But between you and me, I think I’m getting the better part of the deal.

And speaking of trades, years ago I traded a necklace I never worn for a pair of earrings that my friend Peggy never wore. You’re not going to believe this, but take a look:How’s that for a match made in heaven? I wish I could remember the name of the stone…

Have you ever traded for anything?  Let me know in the comments!

Posted in Friendship, Knitting, Thrifty | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments