Kiddie Cadet Hat

After the debacle of my previous attempt at a hat, I decided to go for something simple and straightforward, except that I kept picturing a brim which made it slightly less simple and straightforward.  The Kiddie Cadet Hat seemed to fit the bill (pun intended).

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It really was an easy knit.  The hat portion is knit first and then stitches are picked up for the brim.  The brim involves a “wrap and turn” which I struggled with when I knit toe up socks a few years ago.  I’ve avoided patterns with it in them ever since.  This time, it came together and I’m really happy with the cute little brim on the hat.

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The yarn is Spud & Chloe Sweater in “Lake” that I’ve had in my stash for ages.  I really liked the super wash wool/cotton mix.  I think it will be very appropriate for this cold spring we’re having.

When Good Knitting Goes Bad.

I’m at a frustrating place in my knitting where I literally have at least 5 projects on the go and don’t seem to be making progress on anything.  In an effort to combat the frustration (in an action that says a lot about my logic process) I started a new toddler hat over the Easter weekend.  I was thinking the hat would be a quick knit that would get me beyond my “I’m not getting anything finished” phase.  I also haven’t knit a hat for my almost a year old nephew in a while and since this winter has decided to stay for the spring, it seems he’ll be needing it.

So I cast on the “Vertical Stripes” hat from “Itty Bitty Hats”.  I’ve never knit this one, but I’ve loved any hat I’ve done from the book. Basically you knit each colour to the top of the hat, then start the next colour, joining as you go. I cheerfully knit along thinking “I don’t need to measure; I’ll eyeball it.  It’ll be close enough.”:

I loved the colours.
I loved the colours.

I swear it must have been an overdose of Easter chocolate, because I didn’t see it.  I was sure it was all going to work out.  I had this hat down.

Starting to wonder...
Starting to wonder…

The last couple of stripes, I’m starting to think “I might be off a bit. That’s ok, I’ll fudge it on the last one.”

The last stripe.
The last stripe.

At this point I have to admit that I can’t fudge it that much.  You’ll notice I knit almost half (or more depending on which stripe you’re measuring against) before I admitted defeat.  (I am not a quitter).

The hat now.
The hat now.

I’m not a quitter, but I’ve had to walk away from the hat, at least for a while.

So near, but yet so far.
So near, but yet so far.

It would have been such a pretty hat…

A Portal to the DFO Dimension

About a year ago, a portal creaked open and the fishing industry got a peak into the DFO licensing dimension.  It was frightening and it only got more so as the days went along.

First, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is clear that the National Online Licensing System isn’t, well, a system or a program.  It’s a portal” into the regional licensing systems until they can be consolidated into a national licensing system.  (The outright terror I feel at the thought of how that’s going to impact people who fish for a living can not be overstated.)

For years we heard about how sophisticated the MARFIS (Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s licensing system for the Maritimes Region) system was.  Then we learned a few weeks ago it doesn’t have the capacity to insert a page break into a document.  Last fall in the final days before our lobster fishery opening the system shut down for almost a day in the first 24 hours after the license conditions were finally available (license conditions are required for fishermen to legally go fishing).  One week later, a few tears (mine), and much rage (bold, red, italics may not have been my most professional response to the  misrepresentations in an email) and I was finally told there was back-up plan to issue conditions if there was another system shut down. I think it took that long to come up with a plan.

This week we received the new “service standards” for licensing services in the Maritimes Region.  Gone are the days when if you needed a substitute operator (someone to operate your license if you were sick) or an temporary vessel replacement (yours broke down and you needed to take a different boat) you would call your local licensing office, speak to a pleasant person on the other end of the phone, and be on your way with paperwork in hand, usually in under an hour.  Now, you need to plan these events up to 3 business days in advance for the paper work to be completed, depending on work loads.  (I know I’m able to schedule my bouts of the flu 3 business days in advance). For example, groundfish conditions (which used to take up to 24 hours from request and that wait seemed endless) now can take a week, depending on when the request is received and the processing schedule. The result if the paperwork isn’t produced in a timely manner: the boat doesn’t go fishing.  Product isn’t landed. People don’t get paid.

In theory, moving towards an online system could provide more flexibility and responsiveness for an industry that definitely does not fit in a 9-5 Monday to Friday box.  In reality, the only semi-automated system has actually reduced the service and increased the complexity for the fishing industry.  The potential of 24 hour service was only an illusion. Even the most basic of services, like paying a fee on a credit card, takes up to 12 hours for the document you paid for to be available to print.

All of this though ignores the most major flaw: when the majority of the demographics you are serving is over the age of 50, moving to a mandatory, completely computerized system for them to access licenses to continue operating their fishing enterprises is maybe not the most functional choice.  It’s even worse when it isn’t functioning.

A year of venturing through their “portal” has seen glitches, hiccups, and multiple condition reprints as their client service takes 3 giant steps backwards.  One thing has become abundantly clear – we didn’t realize how dedicated and amazing the licensing staff was (and continues to be) to actually manage to produce paperwork from that system to allow fishermen to go fishing.

The Wanderer – Island Edition

Today’s Daily Prompt was to list the top 5 places you’ve always wanted to visit.  As well this week, the Introverts Blog Quietly challenge was the word “vacation”.  I decided to combine the two and, being an island girl myself, list the top five islands I’d like to visit:

#5 Hawaii – The tropical setting, luaus, beaches, volcanoes: need I say more?  (Secret real reason: Magnum PI obsession)

#4  Scotland – While technically part of the island of Great Britain, it’s the Scottish portion I’d like to visit.  My grandmother’s ancestors are from there and it’s always been a draw. (Secret real reason: Loch Ness Monster)

#3  Greece – The opportunity to visit the historic sites around the country and taste the food would be amazing.  (Secret real reasons: “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”)

#2  Australia – Spectacular scenery so different from here.  Plus they have koala bears and kangaroos.  (Secret real reason: I want to find 42 Wallaby Way)

#1  Fogo Island – I’ve heard Fogo compared to Grand Manan several times in its dependence on the fishery, demographics, etc.  There have been some amazing changes as the island has reinvented itself post groundfish moratorium.  I would love to compare the two for myself.  (Secret real reason: I like to say the name)

 

“My love for travelling to islands amounts to a pathological condition known as nesomania, an obsession with islands.  This craze seems reasonable to me, because islands are self-contained small worlds that can help us understand larger ones.”

~~Paul Theroux

 

Earth Day 2014

I think one of the good things about Earth Day is that it makes us take stock of what we are (or aren’t) doing for the environment.  I believe it’s important that everyone should do their part, so:

  • I use re-useable grocery bags (when I remember to take them into the store).
  • I use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins or paper towel.  It was amazing to me how much less paper towel I buy since I started this a few years ago (though my usage skyrockets when nieces or nephews visit).
  • I try to buy local (or at least the same continent with winter produce).
  • I am a huge fan of the ceramic refillable coffee mugs.  Tim Horton’s “Roll up the Rim to Win” makes me crazy when I hand them my refillable mug and they hand it back to me with one of their empty cups so I can play.  I have actually written to their customer service and asked for an alternative for those of us using refillable cups, but that wouldn’t be in keeping with “rolling up the rim”.

These things are not exciting or monumental.  There’s always more that could be done:

  • I haven’t installed solar panels (but I think it would be cool).
  • I hate water-saving shower heads (and mine isn’t).
  • I still use the drive through (ironically with my refillable mug).
  • I don’t have a clothes line.  (I do not enjoy laundry.  I’m likely to forget whatever I had on the line until it was foggy/damp and still end up putting it in the clothes dryer.  Why burden myself with the extra step?)

I’ve chosen to do things that I can consistently do day after day, year after year.  I don’t really think the amount of paper towel I’m not throwing out will make a difference but I believe everyone doing a little will.  It’s all about doing your part.

And maybe considering a clothes line…