I had a small conniption this morning when I came to post and couldn’t find the blog post I put up earlier this week! It was a little reflective piece I’d been working on for awhile, and I *thought* I had published it – but I couldn’t find it in my posts or my drafts. At the same time, I could see that two people had commented on it (thanks Roger and Margy!) but couldn’t find it anywhere on my page. So strange. It existed but didn’t exist!
Turns out that when I posted it, the system backdated to when I started working on it (back in early November) and so it was down the feed a bit. I’ve corrected it now, so if you didn’t see it earlier this week, it’s right below the weekly update.
With that out of the way, I am really enjoying these weekly update posts. It gives me a little bit of time to review what’s happened, go through the photos from the week and think about my highlights. I’ve also become aware that quite a few people in my community read these and feel caught up with me as a result and I like that feeling of somehow being closer even though we are all physically distant right now. I’ve (very) recently started writing for real again and I’m hoping to return to the newsletter in the new year. I see now that the regular blog posts have helped un-stick something that has been gummed shut inside me since even before quarantine.
So… onto the update!
Food: Thanks to my friend Jenn for inspiring me, I’ve been baking with a lot more nut flours and other wheat substitutes lately. This isn’t due to any particular aversion or intolerance (I am rising regular sourdough as we speak), but because I’m trying to get a bit more protein-density into my nutrition profile. Using the vitamix, I make my own nut flour which means it’s a bit coarser than store-bought, but also a lot cheaper. This week I made some excellent granola-bar type things that are all nuts, oats, dates, and homemade raisins. Sometimes when I’m running, I keep myself going with the promise that I get to eat one of these awesome bars when I get back. Whenever I get around to posting the muffin recipe I promised a couple of weeks back, I’ll plug that one in as well.
And in a week of good dinners, the stand-out recipe this week was the Spicy Ginger Pork Noodles with Bok Choy – you probably need an NYT cooking subscription to view it, but I’m happy to share if you want to give it a try.
Textiles: This week saw the completion of my second over-sized shirt – pictured here, out in the wild. This is one size smaller than my last version and made out of a pretty heavy Shetland cotton flannel. With a thermal layer on underneath, it’s pretty much outerwear in our climate. Both the oversized shirts are now in regular closet rotation – making this a winner of a pattern.
In the featured photo above is the other thing I’ve been working on this week – blue jeans for Brian! Though I’ve done similar trousers projects, this is the first time I’ve attempted a classic denim jeans pattern, and the first time I’ve sewn pants for Brian. I chose the Quadra Jeans for this attempt, a pattern by Thread Theory who are based just a skip away on Vancouver Island! So far I’ve got both legs done, pockets, stitching an all. Next step will be the seat seam and fly cover. I’ve been using the Jeans sew-along on the Thread Theory site, and finding it crucial to expanding on the pattern which is in tiny print and sometimes a bit lacking in detail (as patterns so often are). Whenever I am choosing a complicated pattern, I look to see if there is a sew-along as they add so much more information and support to the process.
I’m really enjoying sewing the jeans – Brian tried on a mock-up version (quickly sewed the legs and seam to fit him), and they seem to be heading in the right direction size-wise. Jeans are fussy, but like all projects – taken one step at a time, totally do-able. These days I really like my sewing in one or two hour blocks. Enough time to make headway on a component of something, but not enough that I get achy and frustrated. These jeans are being constructed one hour at a time and are definitely a skill-builder for me.
Fitness: As noted last week, I’ve stopped going to the gym and started working out at home which is fine for now (not my preference but we do have good gear). I decided as part of that process to sign-up for a new training regiment called Stronger By The Day. Each week they send out four workouts (a version for those with access to gym equipment, and a version for those at home focused on bodyweight) which incorporate the power lifts (for those with gym equipment). I’ve done three days of those so far, today will be the fourth (deadlift day) and am really enjoying having someone else program my workouts for me! Cost is $10 cdn per month for the service, and it’s one of the first female-oriented workout spaces I’ve been in where the focus is on heavy lifting (as opposed to appearance focused; so many of the FB groups have as much discussion about cosmetic surgery as lifting which just depresses me). After the first two workouts Mon-Tues and my run on Wednesday I was so stiff! But coming back to lifting yesterday things had settled into place – so I’m hoping this last workout doesn’t wipe me for the weekend.
Work: This week was all interviews/all week. We are well into the interview portion of our job board and I have talked to so many people in the last few days! But we have some good candidates, and I feel that on going through this phase, that I designed the competitive process well. You never know until you start interviewing people if you are really going to get what you need from the questions you ask – but after a week of this, I can see that we’re filtering candidates appropriately and we will have a pool of good people to choose from in the end. In all other aspects of work I am behind so that’s a bit of a drag.
I also entered a competitive process for a higher-level than I’m currently at and will have to spend at least part of the upcoming weekend writing the exam for it. Because I don’t speak French, there is no chance I will be offered a job on my national team, but if I get in the pool at a higher level, it could help me get something that became available in Pacific Region. Having said that, there aren’t many jobs at this higher-level available outside of Ottawa. Such is the federal government.
Notable: This week I went into the community credit union to get a bank account set up for the new organization we’re starting here on Gabriola (the Gabriola Island Land Stewards Society) – and I was reminded of why it’s so great to live in a small community when I was helped by one of my gym-friends (Lynda!) who prepared a ton of the paperwork for us and had everything ready to go. While it’s true that rural living has its downsides (like the grocery store being out of everything all the time), I find all the transactional stuff much, much friendlier and easier to deal with. Given everything that’s going on the world right now, these little interactions are much more of a focus and I can appreciate them that much more.