Accomplishments


Finally, I have some time to look back and ahead.

2006 was a year of crazy, but necessary change. It was my first year of living on my own … and I survived–physically, emotionally, financially. Yay for me! However, much of the change was anticipated: I had an idea of what to expect, of the kind of changes I would be dealing with being on my own and was prepared pretty well to deal with the unknown.

My attitude towards 2007 isn’t like that all. My intuition says it’s also going to be about crazy change, but I have no idea in what way, and therefore, no idea how to get ready for it. So while I’m excited about the possibilities, I’m also a bit apprehensive.

Anyways, some notable things I learned in 2006:

  • I’m more resourceful than I thought myself to be
  • My cooking can be tasty
  • Good work and thorough research speaks for itself (i.e. I personally don’t need to be overly persuasive)
  • My parents are cool people
  • I’d like be married and have a family
  • Sometimes I like being alone
  • When inspired, youth are incredibly passionate and focussed
  • If “he’s just not that into you,” then it’s nothing to get heartbroken about (and conversely, if he IS into you, he will do anything to be with you)
  • How to knit

Definite aspirations/dreams/goals for 2007:

Other things I might aspire to do in 2007:

  • Being work at 8am (which means getting to bed earlier)
  • Look into starting my own business
  • Take classes from the SFU Writing & Publishing Program
  • Learn to swim more confidently

Well, this is just what comes readily to mind from my subconscious. If I thought harder, I could probably come up with a more comprehensive list. But then, I don’t want to be unrealistic and overwhelm myself, so I think I will stop here.

I finished my 2nd knitting project this evening while watching High Heel Confidential with the girls tonight. It’s a striped scarf in seed stitch knitted with Mission Falls 1824 Wool (in Sprout and Basil) on 5mm needles. Am sticking to Mission Falls for the first few projects because it’s such a good yarn for a beginner to learn on. I love the unpretentious look of the seed stitch–so neat and tidy, but cute and friendly! As I had predetermined Simon to be the lucky recipient of this 2nd project, I had him personally choose the colours, which I thought were quite tasteful.

Ever since I became “liberated” to knit competently, I have become completely engrossed with, somewhat addicted to the craft. To the point where I’ve stopped reading for pleasure altogether, which is saying a lot. But I do expect that, after this honeymoon phase, some balance will be restored. Hm, although I find knitting relaxing, I might need to consider deliberately taking a break from it on Sundays (which I’ve made my Sabbath) if I indeed do become addicted to it, especially since it comes out of a neurotic need to be productive and have instantaneous results.

I completed my first knitting project in late December at the Port Ludlow retreat. Am so proud of it! It looks decent and is wearable. It’s a 2×2 ribbed scarf, knitted with Mission Falls 1824 Wool (in Zinnia) on a pair of 5mm Crystal Palace bamboo needles. This scarf went to Dot, my best bud.

I’ve been meaning to write about learning to purl for quite a while now, but due to my slow progress, there had been nothing much to say about it (and nothing to show for it) until recently.

About 3 weeks ago, I FINALLY figured out how to purl. After 20 years, I finally figured out the rest of the important basics of knitting on my own. My mom taught me a couple things when I was a kid, but it wasn’t enough to get very far. In my many attempts to learn over the years, I have picked up the needles only to put them down after a few days, because I was so easily discouraged from making mistakes that I didn’t know how to avoid or fix. I simply didn’t know what I was doing. While embarassed at having taken so long to get to the current state of things (i.e. it shouldn’t have been THIS difficut to learn), I chalk my unstrategic and frustrating experiences up to using unsuitable tools for the beginner and not being more resourceful.

So what was different this time around?

First, I was more determined. And inspired. I REALLY wanted to do something with my hands.

Also, after much research, I found a book on knitting that I could actually understand and made knitting quite doable. It introduced to me a few basics that ended up being the missing links to my hodge-podge knowledge of knitting. Once I grapsed these foundational bits, everything just came together!

Thirdly, because I started to understand the anatomy of a stitch, I became more comfortable with making mistakes. Because I had a good idea of how to fix them, there was hope yet in finishing a project that I could be proud of.

And lastly, I bought myself some good quality yarn and a pair of bamboo knitting needles suitable for newbies. Having the right tools made a very big difference. Previously, I was trying to learn using thin yarn and thin, slippery needles.

Feeling empowered and fuelled by a curiosity about what I might accomplish, I’ve been knitting like crazy in the past couple weeks, wherever I can, whenever I can. To date, I’ve knitted up a scarf in a lovely poppy colour with a ribbed stitch pattern. I was planning to give it to Dot, but I’m tempted to keep this first project for myself.

So beware! I might impose one of my hand-knit creations on you some time in the future!

Last week, I received a Notice of Assessment from the Property Taxation Branch stating that I don’t qualify for a First Time Home Buyer’s Exemption from Property Transfer Tax after a review of my conveyance documents, and that because I don’t qualify, I owed the Government of BC over $3100, to be paid by the end of this month!

My eyes nearly started out of their sockets. What an unexpected blow! I had taken great care through personal research and legal help to ensure that I would be exempt, so what happened? And where was I going to find this money?

After allowing myself to freak out for a bit, I decided to do something more constructive and dug out all boring paperwork and various contracts related to this matter. After some crude analysis of numbers, my audacious conclusion was that the government made a mistake. I say “crude” and “audacious” because, coming primarily from an arts background, I tend to doubt my own abilities when it comes to understanding “government stuff,” business concepts, legalese and the like. Anything technical, dry, and requiring an expert, really.

But how was I going to make my case? While on the one hand I felt that I was in the right, I wasn’t completely sure. I was afraid that I would be talked down by some government official who might presume to know better than me.

So I thought I’d run my situation by my lawyer, just to see if I was on the right track. Unfortunately, my lawyer’s office too quickly assured me that “this is typically what happens,” that the government can tax me if their reassessment shows that the market value of my apartment has increased. But this was not quite my case. By my calculations, it appeared that the government had double-counted some large amount that had already been accounted for, which constructed a situation where I wouldn’t qualify for a tax exemption.

Because I sensed the law office wasn’t all that interested in sussing out the details of my case to give me the best advice possible, I decided that I had to take things into my own hands, in spite of my insecurities about my ignorance of such matters. So I left a phone message with the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue, and padded that with a very professional email explicitly detailing my concerns. I spent over an hour crafting this piece of correspondence, trying to get the right tone and articulate the exact questions I needed answers for. By way of contrast, I also politely offered my own understanding of things, but basing it on the Minstry’s definition of certain concepts (e.g. “consideration“). I thought this rhetorical strategy would enhance my credibility, and not a little bit.

I like to think that my preparation counted for something because at work on Wednesday morning, I got the following email from the Administrator at the Ministry:

“You are right! The contract was misread. I have corrected the error and reinstated the first time homebuyer’s exemption. Please feel free to contact me if there are any other issues.”

These were the sweetest words I have encountered all week. I was so relieved that I burst into tears, right in front of my co-worker Neil! The poor guy, having to put up with my weirdness.

But I was also very proud of myself, that I managed to figure this how-de-do on my own. Sometimes, I surprise myself, that I am more resourceful than I thought myself to be.

OK, enough tooting on my own horn now. But thank God I have brains. And tenacity.