A Year in Review (knitting, fandom and RL edition)

This has been one of those years that wasn’t specifically awful and wasn’t specifically wonderful either. There were some good high points, some nasty low points and the end of the year hasn’t been what I wanted. Overall, I’m hoping that the memories of the high points will overwhelm the memories of the low points.

I started the year by flying home from England via Chicago five days after someone tried to blow up a flight to America. Yeah, that probably should have been a hint on how the year would go! The flights were a nightmare and turned out to be the most memorable thing about January.

Zombie project at work continued to eat my brains and refuse to die.

I held an intro to Doctor Who marathon and managed to addict several of my Canadian friends. That was so much fun that I hope to repeat it in 2011.

The good thing was the knitting. I started and finished a new sweater, a beautiful purple cowl-neck in 4ply Rowan Cashsoft that is still my favourite sweater nearly a year on.

It was cold. Also there was a snow day where the office did not declare a snow day, so I spent the day at my computer at home listening to all the fun that everyone else was having in the snow. My colleagues all did the same and none of us could work out why the office was open when nobody could get to it.

Did I mention that it was cold?

I saw Avatar and concluded two things:

1) The 3D glasses give me a headache. I’ll be a 2D movie only girl for now.
2) Avatar being in 3D was the only thing that kept it from being an utterly dire movie. Wow. It was bad.

In knitting, I took part in a challenge during the Winter Olympics and managed to knit an entire short-sleeved ribbed sweater vintage-style sweater in two weeks in 4ply yarn. Including the pointy bits around the collar. I was very impressed.

Apparently I spent a large part of early March in love with my Wii. Awww.

Somehow, I managed to win tickets (really good tickets) to the final of the men’s national curling championships. I took a friend who loves curling and we had a terrific time. It was an incredibly exciting game (match? event? um?) and I discovered that I can really enjoy curling when someone is explaining the rules to me.

Towards the end of the month, I started the count-down to the return of a certain TV show and re-watched the whole of season 1 in preparation. My friends must have hated me 🙂

Knitting produced socks. First a hideous pair that are insanely comfy, then a beautiful pair that are nearly as comfy.

April started warm, sunny and filled with Easter, baking and Doctor Who. I did some epic baking for Easter, constructing hot cross buns and simnel cake and forgetting that would mean that I’d be eating simnel cake for weeks afterwards. Oops. Mini-Eggs nests for 2011. Definitely.

Doctor Who returned for a 5th season of new Who at the Easter weekend. I got a wee bit over-excited because it was insanely awesome and I was so relieved that the new Doctor and new head writer were as brilliant as I had hoped for.

In knitting news, I started a cardigan that I still haven’t sewn any buttons onto. Er.

Mum arrived at the start of the month for her six-month stay and we started putting plans together for the kitchen renovation. It was something we had been talking about for two years so it was very exciting.

Doctor Who continued to be amazing and I fell just the tiniest bit in love with the Amy/Rory pairing.

There was also an election in the UK that was completely thrilling and kept me on tenterhooks for days as the coalition was worked out. It all seemed so bright and new and hopeful. Obviously that coalition has now crushed my dreams and hopes for the UK and made me very glad to be in Canada. Argh.

My poor car, which had been repaired a couple of months earlier from a dent and rust that I suspect was caused by street hockey, got bashed my someone’s car door on a windy day. Thankfully the girl who did it confessed and we were able to work out a resolution so that we could arrange for it to be fixed. More on that in June…

I made my first Ishbel shawl in a gorgeous green fingering weight yarn and it’s been doing duty as my winter scarf beautifully. Sadly, it was the last thing I bought from my local yarn store because Tangled Skeins closed in May. I’m still in mourning.

The kitchen renovation started ahead of schedule. We had to rip out the entire kitchen so that it was ready before Home Depot delivered all the new stuff, which involved packing everything into boxes and setting up a temporary kitchen in the craft room. The dining table was moved into the living room and the entire house was turned upside down.

On our first night, we managed to blow out the sockets in the craft room when we discovered that the fridge could not be run at the same time as any other appliance in that room. An extension cord to another room saved the contents of the fridge until the electrician could sort it out and we were grateful that the stove was still in the kitchen.

The circuitry in the house resulted in us being unable to run any cooking appliance outside the kitchen so we had to make clever use of tressel tables and heatproof mats, and carry the microwave, electric cooktop and toaster oven in and out of the kitchen every day in order to prepare meals. It got old on day two.

Towards the end of the month my uncle died. Most of the ripping out was done, so we brought the cats home plus my aunt’s cat so that my mum and aunt could go to his funeral in Manitoba. Unfortunately we discovered that not all the holes had been sealed in the house so I nearly lost Annie into the ceiling on day one. It all went downhill from there because my car was in the shop being repaired, trapping me at home for four days, and Home Depot failed to deliver the cabinets they had promised. They did deliver all the new kitchen appliances. I almost cried when Mum finally got home.

The good thing was that Doctor Who managed to go out with my favourite season finale ever and I adored it completely. This was actually the highlight of my month.

In knitting news, I started a sweater. It was a bad month for knitting.

The epic kitchen renovation continued at a snail’s pace. This was largely due to a complete lack of cabinets as Home Depot continued to not deliver them and then, finally, delivered some of them plus some stacks of wood that had been cabinets before they got smashed. Mum and I started to despair.

I also did a massive amount of overtime in July finished Zombie Project. That probably contributed to the despair.

The Tour de France was a good distraction from the disaster unfolding upstairs.

We ordered the new fridge late in June and managed to get Home Depot to hold onto it until the end of July, but then it had to be delivered. This was an issue because we still had no kitchen to put it in and we were running out of places to store kitchen bits. For a while it looked like the only location might be in the corridor cutting off access to my bedroom, the spare bedroom and my bathroom. Thankfully we managed to move things around and accommodate it in the living room, which made getting to the dining table rather interesting.

I continued to knit a sweater.

Home Depot supplied replacements for the damaged cabinets (and some more bits of wood that had been cabinets) at the beginning of the month and we were finally in a position to have sufficient cabinets to get most of them installed. The installer cobbled together temporary place-holders for the missing cabinets, to make sure of spacing, and all the base units were installed so the counters were finally installed.

Here progress stalled again because enough crucial elements were missing to make it impossible to install any appliances or do much finishing of anything. Plus we still had missing cabinets.

This was when the coffee pot decided that it had been lugged around the house for long enough and it stopped brewing coffee. I nearly cried that morning. Mum and I both had major melt-downs over the kitchen, thankfully on seperate days because we needed to calm each other down.

It took Home Depot another two weeks to rustle up enough cabinet bits to put together the cabinets we needed and by that time, our handy guy/installer had gone on holiday having booked it months ago on the assumption that the renovation couldn’t possibly take over two months. Home Depot sent out their installation guys free of charge to get all the cabinets sorted out and Mum and I could have kissed them for all the work they put in.

I took my first ever mental health day when the Home Depot guys came. I hadn’t sleep properly for days and I looked so ill Mum threatened to tie me to a chair if I tried to go to work. We spent the day watching the guys work and gossiping with my aunt. I actually felt much better for it.

That left the electricians free to install the appliances and our handy guy got the sink hooked up and the dishwasher plumbed in when he got back. The new floor was laid and it was all looking good until we plugged in the new fridge.

We were very grateful that we hadn’t let the hangy guy take the old fridge when the new one was plugged in. After a day, we concluded that the new fridge did not work. The guy from GE who came out corroborated this and pointed out that our fridge was lacking in coolant fluid, which is why it did not make things cold. It took four weeks to get a replacement.

As August was mostly over 30C temps, we would have been stuck completely without the old fridge. There are not many healthy, tasty foods that stay good for more than a few hours without refridgeration in those temperatures.

By the end of August, we were starting to suspect that none of it would ever be finished. Although at least we had been able to put the dining table back in the dining room.

Knitting-wise, I finished the sweater and still haven’t seamed it together. I’m not quite sure why. I knitting a shawl for a friend that still needs to be posted and made some mittens for another friend that reached him for his birthday.

We started the month with a hurricane that took out our power for 29 hours. Most of the food in our fridge and freezer was ruined because the weather was still incredibly warm. Mum and I wondered why we’d been so insistent on keeping that old fridge.

Thankfully there was no damage to the house and we’d had plenty of warning, so it could have been much worse.

The new fridge was finally delivered a few days later, just a couple of days before my father arrived for a visit. He had a great time and Mum and Dad had a romantic break up in Cape Breton, which was good for all of us. The kitchen was finally finished and we could relax.

Which is probably why a large chunk of September was lost to migraines. Argh.

Dad arrived with yarn that I had ordered, so I started a new sweater after finally finishing some socks and a shawl that had been languishing for a while.

Mum and I went away during Thanksgiving week for a much-deserved break. We did a lot of cooking and baking in the new kitchen and generally spent the month trying to enjoy ourselves and relax a bit. She went back to England at the end of the month and I readjusted to being alone quite quickly.

I continued to knit my sweater, enjoying the process for the first time in a while. Merlin was my fannish love and I addicted Mum to Strictly and Holby, so Dad had to set them up to record for her when she went home.

I don’t know what happened to the month, but the combination of work and feeling regularly feeling ick made it fly by so that my birthday crept up on me unexpectedly. I had a lovely day, though, from the breakfast Skype with Mum, Dad and sister to the big sushi meal with all my new Canadian friends. It couldn’t have been a better birthday.

The new sweater continued apace and I didn’t notice that it took me over eight weeks to build. I blame the length of time on the frequent breaks where I didn’t knit for a week because I was too tired. My back started to niggle a bit towards the end of the month but I ignored it because my back is often niggly.

This was going to be my big celebration and relaxation month. It started out well, with the knitters’ Christmas party being huge fun and not quite as exhausting as I expected. My back niggled a bit more but I continued to ignore it. The bi-annual echocardiogram went well (I hope, results in two weeks) and I started planning for my Christmas food and DVD extravaganza.

Then my back went from niggly to ow in a few short days. And it continued to get worse rather than better. So the big story of December has been pain, physio, drugs and frustration. I’ve also been sick on and off all month. As today is the worst day yet, it looks like this will be January’s story as well.

Christmas was still fun and most of my plans still worked out, with less (no) mulled Wine and several DVDs viewed while pacing the living room. The Doctor Who Christmas special was my fannish highlight and may go down as my favourite of all the specials.

I finished the sweater, seamed it immediately and wore it several times through December. It’s going to be a wardrobe staple. I have also started two new projects: a stripey cardigan that I’m enjoying knitting hugely (it’s Cashsoft, of course it’s a joy to knit) and a pair of socks using the yarn I was given at the Christmas party.

In conclusion…

The never-ending kitchen renovation was dreadful and I never want to do a kitchen renovation ever again. My back flaring up so badly has also sucked completely and I have a feeling that it will be those things that I remember about 2010, rather than all the lovely knitting and the fun stuff that I’ve done. Hopefully 2011 will be much better!

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