Thursday, December 31, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 23

1 - that 2009 was such a darn lovely year. Possible post of year-wrap-up and year-to-come later today or tomorrow

2 - that we had a lovely date night last night, seeing the pretty movie called Avatar... (Robin, sorry it didn't work out, and we'll make other plans soon!)

3 - that there's a reasonable chance we'll have our toilet rehooked later today! Off to pee in a bucket, and then swap vehicles (return truck, take car with snow tires for planned-but-now-postponed snowboarding excursion)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 22

Three things that I am grateful for today:

1 - that I keep getting positive reinforcement - if something is bothering me, and I can identify it and talk about it, fear-easing and resolution and other good things happen as a result

2 - that the result last night was that I went to a house party where I knew very few people (normally = eeek!) but everyone was friendly and chatty and comfortable and I had an awesome time (including some dancing in the living room, whee!!)

3 - that despite having torn out our bathtub yesterday (okay, C took a sledgehammer to it and tore it out while I was still sleeping off the stomach bug), I got to get squeaky clean... having spare enormous food-grade vats that are *almost* Christa-sized (I could kneel, but not sit) and a clever partner who thought to unhook the washing machine supply line so we could use it to get water in from the laundry sink, all made for a pretty darn entertaining bath experience!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 21

1 - that I don't have hoop or knitting classes running right now, so having more sick days isn't a problem

2 - that there are a ton of really helpful contractor and tradespeople online who are happy to offer their expertise, and that another DIYer is doing a project similar enough to ours that I could read through the 21 pages of that thread and learn tons about how we should tackle things

3 - that I had time to soak in the tub once more before it gets demolished today!

Monday, December 28, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 20

Warning: some grossness to come!

This post is coming late, too.. I've usually been writing in the wee hours, but last night I made an effort to get to bed at a reasonable time to make up for all of the late nights and less-than-ideal sleeps... but got paybasck this morning with a stomach bug that has kept me in bed, or kneeling over the toilet, all day.

1 - for C, whose immediate reaction to "I feel kinda gross" was "I think you should take the morning/afternoon off", and changed plans from tearing out the tub (which would require the removal of the toilet, too) to doing a bit more demolition on unneeded walls and doing a dump run instead, so I could have toilet access for whatever it was that my bod was going to throw my way

2 - for my general health, when a day of feeling gross and throwing up a couple times is the worst that I have to deal with

3 - for my Aunt Roxie, leader of the extended family in keeping in touch and on top of gossip, who has invited us to a dinner with a visiting and local cousin - one I haven't seen in... 10?... years (due to living in different parts of the country), and the other I haven't seen in a few years, since I stopped guarding at UBC where he trains for triathlons. She and my Uncle Don have always thrown fabulous dinner parties, and her style of showing extreme delight and enthusaism and support for anyone's passions has always been a welcome thing in my life.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 19

Missed yesterday's post, but there was a lot of gratitude expressed at home in Williams Lake :)


1 - to be back home in Vancouver, in my comfy bed, with my sweetie, all safe and sound

2 - to have a week ahead that will see major progress in the recovery of our bathroom. Tonight or tomorrow shall include mass amounts of planning, and I am close to giving in on my lovely-but-not-so-workable design idea in exchange for getting it done.. and I'm okay with that!

3 - to have had a glorious visit to my parents, sister, and brotherinlaw, plus their dogs.. and to have packed sufficiently warm clothing that I didn't freeze! Special handmade gifts were also awesome (mixed CDs, knit dishcloths, a sweater drying rack) plus a "to treat yourself" gift that I haven't decided how to use yet.. whee!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 18

1 - for my mother's cooking, and the baking of the various people involved in the church's "cookie walk" - a fundraiser where people bake an enormous amount of cookies, then have them all laid out around a room (with ingredients, nut warnings, etc), then other people take boxes, fill them up with all the cookies that look appetizing, and then pay by weight as they leave.... mad shortbread skills!

2 - for the Christmas Eve service that included TUBA (!!!!!) at the beginning and end, with a nice little Dixieland clarinet in the middle, and a slightly hyper/wired minister having a private chat with us before the service that included little religion but a lot of welcome.

3 - for C, who came to the service with me, even though religion is completely against his beliefs. I am really happy that I can be spiritual, and he can be scientific, and we can still get along.

4 - for my mom's answer, when I saw her bring presents out to pile under the tree and asked, "Will you still love me even if I didn't buy any presents because I thought we weren't doing that any more??": "Yes. You're here, and that's present enough."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 17

1 - that the temporary glitch that was rendering my new iPhone (thanks, bosses!) unusable/dysfunctional finally cleared up... and that I've chosen the option to have 5 long-distance numbers always free to call: Mom n Dad, Heather Home, Heather Cell, and Chris' parents will fill those spaces perfectly.

2 - that I was wide awake at 8:30, so I could start cycling the laundry in an attempt to be ready to hit the road by 11

3 - that my dad called at 8:45, so I was awake enough to figure out how to answer my phone... and that he warned us it is -25 up in Williams Lake! Hooray for warnings to pack really warm clothing! Last dozen years in WL at Christmas would -maybe- get down to -10. Climate change sucks.

4 - that Karen is house- and fish-sitting, so everything will be healthy and happy when we get back!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 16

1 - that I have a day off work today, to do running around stuff (including trying to return the ugly-but-functional bathtub faucet/trim that we bought while still thinking of getting a fancy wall spout that needed a particular type of diverter), recover the living room (because I have done a reality check, and I am unlikely to start hooping daily in the small bedroom, but it will hold excess stuff nicely), and do more research on my have-iTouch-may-want-iPhone options

2 - that I have a sweet man sleeping beside me who makes me happier

3 - that I was able to sign out a CAN car that has snow tires on all four wheels, so we can drive home to Williams Lake tomorrow and hopefully make it there with ease! Looking forward to an awesome visit, plus all the knitting time while driving

4 - (woot, extra gratitude!) that the fourth or fifth idea I've had for making myself a knitted hood/scarf combo seems to be working so far!

In case I don't get online once we're in WL: for those of you who celebrate Christmas, have a merry one! I hope you are able to follow those traditions that make you happy (I'm excited about going to church on Christmas Eve to sing songs, and pass the peace with people who watched me grow up), and that your loved ones do only lovely things (I'm lucky - no family angst to deal with). For those of you celebrating other things, sorry about the crazy schedule that my holiday-of-choice imposes on the general public... but hopefully you are able to benefit from it somehow!

Be well, be safe, and know that you are loved.

Monday, December 21, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 15

1 - that I am hale and hearty, so the only health concern I currently have is that my body is super-achey-sore from renos. Yesterday we took out the cast-iron waste/drain/vent pipes in the house, and replaced them with new-fangled ABS.. and it worked!

2 - that C is a wonderful partner who works hard and was willing to stay home and keep working on the ABS installation while I went to the staff Christmas party for the yarn shop, so that we would have a working toilet and shower this morning! Also, he was calm in the face of my morning freak-out yesterday when I realized that neither of us had a really firm idea of what had to happen to make this all work! (two great minds plus research plus the internet = win!)

3 - that the two owners of the yarn shop are wonderful, generous bosses who don't hesitate in sharing the success of the shop by gifting us with fantastic things at the end of the year! (part of the gift was a skein of glorious handdyed cashmere... expect to see a lacy mini-shawl in a few months, in the yummy delicious sea greeny-blue that I've fallen in love with lately :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 14

Today's list seems to have add-ons... and I'm okay with that.

1 - I'm thankful that in my 17 years of lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons, not once did a child under my care drown... (unlike the icky dream I had last night)...

2 - I'm grateful for inheriting the strong work ethic that seems to run in my family (though I managed to miss the money-management skills)

3 - I really appreciate that C is so interested in the work that I do - last night he was watching me attempt to develop a logo and favicon (the little image that appears next to the URL, like the orange-and-white B for Blogger that is up there right now) for my online classes... and when I was stuck with "CG" looking like CoverGirl, he steered me away.. and when I started playing with CX (not really seriously), he pointed out that the X could become knitting needles... so I'm the prescription for your knitting woes! Fun, no? Now if I can just get it to show up on my Ning site like it is supposed to... (feedback on it is welcome, too... I'm not 100% happy with it yet, but I like the direction it is going in...)

Saturday, December 19, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 13

1 - that I am in a stable enough place that I can give notice at one of my jobs, so that starting in mid-January I won't be travelling all the way out to UBC for anything other than polo, and I'll have Wednesdays and Fridays to work at home on my design work and developing my online classes (and still being open to scheduling private lessons nearby)

2 - that I didn't break anything (other than perhaps the wax ring holding the toilet in place) that wasn't meant to be broken today, while I worked on demolishing the tiled floor of the bathroom. Tomorrow, we plumb new drains and vents!

3 - that C is willing to accept my invitation to dance a little bit around the house, so we had a nice cheek-to-cheek groove going to "Stormy Weather"... kinda appropriate, no? I do love dancing, and partner dancing with someone you love is a truly beautiful thing.


Friday, December 18, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 12

1 - I'm grateful for the day's traffic flow at the yarn shop - quiet at the beginning (while I wanted to finish weaving in ends of a new sweater) steady through the early afternoon (kept it from dragging), and then solidly busy before emptying right at the time that I wanted to take off early... so I felt like I'd earned it

2 - for the planets aligning/fate/whatever that allowed me to find the outfit I wanted to wear tonight with less than 10 min of searching. In the current chaos of my laundry, that's pretty fabulous. Note for new year: weed through clothing AGAIN, with more strictness this time about what gets to stay (should be easier, as I'm doing it of my own volition this time, and already looking forward to it - perhaps subscribing to The Unclutterer blog has had some effect

3 - for the wicked awesome good time I had at the Mad Skillz Vancouver festival fundraiser: the hooping workshop I ran first thing was a hit - lots of success to see, and lots of great (happy, satisfied) feedback from my participants, fun to watch other hoop instructors teach their set, and then a wicked good time dancing to the many-piece funk band that closed the evening.. hooping to live music in a space where everyone is fully aware that there's hooping going on, and they are leaving me to dance as much as I want... is an amazingly good thing. Oh, and getting to do some dancing with Chris, showing off what we've learned in Blues Class, was awesome too.. (more excited about the dancing, not really caring about showing off or not)

It was a good day (as they all are!). How was yours?

Thursday, December 17, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 11

1 - that I finally figured out a work-around to be able to chart my sweater collar in Word (my go-to software for tables and charts, 'cause I already know how to work it)... even though it refused to do a 130-cell-wide chart. The solution? Do 130-cell-LONG chart instead - it doesn't have a height limitation for some reason!

2 - that even though I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off 30min before hoop class tonight (door paint-stripping and dishes were left a bit late in the day, so when it came time to start gathering my gear for my usual leisurely bike-loading and THEN I remembered that I had to make a hoop for one of tonight's students AND THEN I couldn't find the pipe cutters and called C and he didn't know where they were and I looked around some more.. and then I gave up and hacked away at the tubing with some a) garden shears b) tin snips and then c) hair scissors and finally got it).... EVEN THOUGH all of that was going on, I was able to stay real through the chaos: it IS my fault for procrastinating and doing fun stuff earlier in the day, No the universe isn't out to get me, and if I am a bit late to get to class it will be okay - my students are understanding and will accept an apology if I need to offer one. Used to be that I'd spend a lot of time kicking myself and saying bad things about myself and my habits and generally carrying the guilt and bad self-talk for days... so I've come a long way!

3 - the sun came out today for a few minutes, and I was in the room with the patchwork curtain my mom sewed for me a handful of years back, from a description of an idea I had... the room was glowing with a warm, gorgeous light and I felt very lucky and loved.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 10

1 - that lessons I'm learning in one part of life (Relationship: "Ask for what you want, and you'll probably get it") carryover to others (Online Class: Ask for more detailed feedback, and you'll get it)

2 - that my boss shrugged off my report of the irate woman who demanded my name and stomped off when I turned her away from the closed shop because my class kept getting interrupted by people trying to come in and shop.. I LOVE having a mellow/understanding boss, after so many years at the UBC pool with someone I couldn't relate to (racist, sexist, homophobic) or work under (inconsistent, unclear, unsupportive)

3 - that my students love me, even when I'm tired and make mistakes while "helping" them with their projects so they have to be confused and re-knitting stuff for 3/4 of the class before I figure it out properly (hooray for diagram sketches!)

Where's your gratitude sense at right now?


Meet Electric Ruby!

This bike has been a work in progress since early Aug, when I suddenly had a fierce longing for an Xtracycle, to turn into a bike commuter, and to haul my hoops around the city in a fun and highly visible way.

Base Frame: Giant Cypress - steel frame hybrid trail/road bike, bought from BSP on Pacific at Burrard waaay back when I lived two blocks away.... and she was still covered in playa decorations and dust from three summers ago!

Extension: Free Radical by Xtracycle, purchased at Aaron's Bicycle Repair in Seattle after a test ride of Aaron's own extended bike. Had a fair number of glitches in this, including mis-hearing information about the frame size (it was for a 26" wheel rather than the 700c wheel on the Cypress, so for a while I was riding with a rear wheel stolen off C's mountain bike), not reading any documentation that even the proper 700c frame adapters wouldn't fit my wheel until I got a lower profile tire, getting a new style of side loaders with old style attatchment instructions and parts, and bolts for the brake remounting that didn't fit...

...but through it all, the gang at Xtracycle were awesome about answering emails and shipping parts quickly (even to a hotel in Seattle when I was there for the PAX conference in early Sept).. and the attention that I get with it on the road (or especially when I pull into MEC to buy something new) is pretty darn awesome... much thanks to C for helping me with the install - it took about four hours the first night, and then several hours here and there as we tweaked the wheels and refitted the brakes!

Front electric hub motor: Nine Continent from the Renaissance Bicycle Company, which happens to be just up one block from my job at the yarn shop, and again crewed by people who were super-quick to answer emails and switch parts when I had issues (sticky throttle was the main one... has taken a couple visits to bike repair shops to get the spokes tight and happy to stay tight)... having this motor makes all the difference in hitting the giant hill out to UBC for work or waterpolo practice, and still having enough energy and leg strength to play and then make it back home! The battery pack doesn't last *quite* long enough, I tend to run out just before the final hill on the way home... so I'm debating buying a second pack and just hauling it in the rear bags to swap out when needed!

Hoop rack: 1/2" electrical conduit from Home Depot - actually one of the early loads hauled home post-extension (others included a giant reel of electrical house wire and a whack of lightbulbs). Bent the leg ends first, about 12" from each end, and then bent the middle by eye, until the legs were the distance of the side holes in the Free Radical frame. I still need to build a better attachment system, but I've got the webbing and clips on hand already. It will have beefy, adjustable clips on the top of the A frame, plus clips on either side of the Free Radical frame with straps to either keep the front edges of the hoops back out of the way of my legs (Riding Mode) or to keep the back edges of the hoops even with the back of the frame (Elevator Mode) for the times when I'm taking Skytrain home (due to dead battery and-or cold/soaked rider).

My riding gear is evolving: I've got decent warmth provided by wool riding tights I've had forever (from MEC, no longer stocked), and a hoodie I knit over two years (with glitches, since I forgot what I had planned with the hem years back and knit an extension in Oct that leaves weird bumps at my hips), plus neoprene booties and gloves that are reasonably water resistant, old Goretex-fronted pants that don't handle downpours but at least let my legs move (unlike two pairs of waterproof pants I've bought and returned recently), a polarfleece balaclava and a handknitted hat and scarf that all work together to keep everything except my eyes and the bridge of my nose warm. I'm still on the lookout for better pants and gloves that don't get damp and cold.

My loading system is also evolving: I have a 30L drybag from MEC that gets all my clothes, books, yarn, laptop, etc for the day, plus open totes (synthetic) to hold my cable locks, U lock, and raincover for the bike, and extension cords for the days I'm hauling Big Pink (my stereo that pumps out the tunes for Saturday Circus). These started to live in tote bags when I realized what a pain it was to unload everything from the side bags behind the hoop rack so I could load the hoops in and out... still a pain, but way easier now that I can just lift out the two totes instead of each item individually. On my make list: either straps to attach the drybag to the top of the SnapDeck, so the tote bags can live on the side opposite the hoop rack, OR sew a giant vinyl bag that will live on top of the SnapDeck and have easier-access-yet-waterproofish storage for my daily gear. Digging things out of the bottom of the dry bag can be a pain.

Anyway, she's a sweet ride, and I love her! Part bday present from C, part self-investment from me... she rocks!


The Gratitude Project: Day 9

1 - that it is 1:30am, and I'm just about to be unconcious. Hooray!

(I can't remember such a long period of my life that had as much commentary on my sleep patterns. Sorry if this is getting tedious.)

2 - C and I got the plumbing diagram done, including agreeing on the design of the bathroom refurb, and opening the tub box to see just how pretty it is!

3 - My NaKniSweMo sweater that was supposed to be done last month is at least continuing to make progress - I got enough sketching done today that I'm pretty sure I'll be able to start knitting the top band of the yoke tomorrow, which will eventually connect to the band of thorns that will go around everything (hood, front, bottom)

Hope you're at least THINKING about gratitude, even if y'all aren't WRITING! :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 8

1 - that C and I made time to go to Tilly's cheesecake party, where an hour turned to three in the company of comfy, delightful, entertaining, connected, thoughtful, and lovely folk. I do well in small groups, more so than larger circulating parties (hey, new insight for the evening! .. heh, points out a bunch of my insecurities actually, involving being boring, or awkward, or abandoned, or unwanted...)

2 - that the conflict that occurred at waterpolo on Thursday night (I wasn't there, heard about it in my role as Omsbud for the club) didn't carry over to practice tonight, and that those of us who showed up managed to make a good game of 4-on-4 last for close to an hour (without dying, though I did get more battered than usual tonight!)

3 - that it has been okay to postpone our electrical planning until tomrrow, so I can catch up on my sleep - four hours after a late-night/early-morning party just wasn't enough. Oh, and that I've probably already had the flu, so I can afford to be a bit run down.

What are you grateful for?

(PS: Hi Robin!)

Saturday, December 12, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 7

1 - I am grateful for the opportunity to hear that people value my voice - when it is the lone one shouting(ish), others agree that what i am saying needs to be heard, not that I should have kept my mouth shut.

2 - for the company of my longtime hooper friend, Dave, at this afternoon's Saturday Circus in the crisp chill - inspiring to watch, and good company to have as I work through my own challenges

3 - for the hot water that now lasts longer, due to my sweetie turning up the tank. Asking for what you want really does work!

And you?

Friday, December 11, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 5

1 - Melatonin tablets work! I remembered that we had some left over from our Japan trip a couple summers back, and that I had read somewhere that they were good for regulating sleep patterns. Popped one around 11:30 last night, and shortly after 1am I was out like a light (C confirms that I was sleeping as soundly as he's ever seen, including hard to move when my legs were overly tangled in his)

2 - On days when I have specific lists and timelines, I can DO them! I'm not a hopeless cause! Today: visited Dresssew, successfully avoided buying $2 yarn, came home and raked leaves, cleaned the fish tank, did some laundry, blocked a sweatercoat, and am just about finished my video homework for the week!

3 - that I'm comfortable keeping time for the activities that I love (and that help my business grow).. I'm totally looking forward to hooping at the Saturday Circus tomorrow afternoon. Woot!

If you're joining me in the Gratitude project (30 days of posting three things, no matter how small, that you're grateful for..), please leave a link to your blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook ID so I can check it out!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 4

1 - that C and I can have discussions and planning sessions around our home renovations that are calm, rational, and full of self-awareness ("I thought this..." "I have been that...")... so even when it is feeling like crunch time, we're not struggling with relationship angst.

2 - for the time in my schedule to pop in private hoop lessons in exchange for (what turned out to be) private blues dancing lessons. - David and Diane are excellent teachers, and we're learning lots!

3 - for recognition at work as "the colour expert" - so I get days like today, where I get to spend 20min working with a customer to find a colour for a scarf that will look good (no, great!) on her... and where she winds up choosing my main pick (though without pressure - she took a selection of yarn outside with a hand mirror to look at them in the natural light, and came back having switched from her main pick to mine!) ... I like helping people find the right colours, comes from spending too many years rereading "Colour Me Beautiful" when I was a kid.

Well? If you aren't interested in starting a full-on Gratitude Project yourself, you can still at least post one or two things happening in your life that are particularly good :) Join me!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 3

1) I'm reeaaally grateful that I finally managed more than 5.5hrs of sleep last night. As a leftover from having the flu/whatever for those two weeks last month, my sleep pattern has been whacked - awake until 3:30amish, and then up at 8:30am and unable to get back to sleep. Last night, I shut down my computer just before 2am, listened to the CBC news and a bit of the show afterwards, and was probably out by 2:15... and managed to dose through until 9:30. Serious progress!!

2) that I've managed to attract and keep so many darn lovely people/students in my weekly knitting and hooping classes. It is just so awesome that I don't dread ANY of my work committments, and instead look forward to each one.. and that the variety continues to sit well with my mental and physical needs. In January, I'll finish up my work on the West Side - haven't been teaching at Urban Yarns this fall (due to a miscommunication about when I'd return, plus lack of demand...), and have decided to stop teaching springboard diving (though HM! Maybe I should check out one of the newer pools closer to home.. I've always wanted to get staff priveledges in the Vancouver Parks Board system) because the two+ hours of transit out to UBC for an hour of diving plus a bit of admin work seems like a waste. Instead, I'll add Friday to my 'work at home' days and really push myself to get more patterns out, and get my online teaching off to a good start!

3) that my dad was computer-positive really early (I think I was in grade 7 when he brought home a Commodore Vic 20), leading me to be really comfortable with technology... and that I've managed to hook up with techies as friends and loves for the stuff that is beyond my mastery. (not saying that I COULDN'T master the stuff... I'd just rather knit!) Today's job list includes taking photos for patterns and ads, editing them in Photoshop, getting in on the live chat for my online course on teaching online courses, sending out an email newsletter to my hoop students... oh, and tearing the walls of the bathtub and shower down, while listening to podcasts.


What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The Gratitude Project: Day 1

Hello blog readers! I know it has been a while... at some point, I'll write a big long post explaining why, but for now just know that it is all good (and if you want to see more stuff, follow me on Twitter as ChristaGiles, or hook up with me on Facebook!)

I'm joining Tilly's (via Robin?) gratitude project: I'm posting 3 things each day for the next 30 days that I'm actually truly grateful for, no matter how silly or small.

1) my health

2) the good connection I have with my family

3) the extended family/friendships I've made - especially neat to see how my circle has ...expanded in the last two years!

(there, big ones taken care of, right on day 1)

(Posted to my blog on Day 2, having started on Facebook but then realizing that I had more to write than would fit on a single status update)


Day 2 of Gratitude Project

Join me (and Tilly!) in listing 3 things for which you are thankful, every day for a month:

1 - I get to work in a place where I'm happy to chat with 95% of our customers, and there are bright colours and amazing textures all around (and I get discounts!!)

2 - I'm a member of MEC, and I can push my enormous bike in the door, fiddle with my broken headlight, and have a staffperson walk over and start processing my exchange with no hassles (and then watch people admire my bike for the next 10 min while I shop)

3 - my wonderful partner is excited to talk shop with me, after I have been antisocial all night while I do homework for my "how to teach online courses".. and his input is valuable as he can make me see the parallels between online gaming companies and my two businesses, and I now feel pointed in the right direction for my next batch of development work!

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