"Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites." - Anonymous

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Flying Out

I know I've been incredibly quiet lately. Shortly after my last post I was pulled on to a project that has exploded to twice the size we thought.  I've spent the past month giving engineers and technicians oxygen so that we can get draft reports out to the client on time.  Many weekends and evening hours saw our floors of the building alive with activity, when they would normally be silent and calm.  Now clarification questions and requests for changes have started to come back.  Spreadsheets to be filled out, maps to be made.

Unfortunately due to a lack of foresight and planning on our part, we will probably only be paid for about half of this work.  Boo.

However, it also means that in 2 days I and 3 others from my office are flying out to Beijing to present to the client our findings and discuss adjustments and changes that need to be made (hopefully on the fly by a dedicated engineer or two in our office at 1am).

I will be in Beijing for a grand total of 2.5 days. Two of which are being spent inside an office tower. In transit for 3.

I know I should be excited about this.  China has never been on my travel radar, and I've always had the opinion that if I want to travel somewhere I would go where I want and pay for it myself, thank you.

So, I go on the company dime.  At least they can afford better flights and hotels than I can.  And I know I'll come back having had a wonderful experience.  I'm just not looking forward to it right now.

On the other hand, I received an early birthday present. One that includes a flight somewhere else that I am incredibly excited about. One that I will fill you all in on as it gets closer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Even Industrial Heating Is Not Sufficient

This morning I awoke at 4:50am. Hubs was in the midst of getting ready for his day. A day that includes two flights to a warmer climate. A day of hanging out with my Dad. A day that starts the ultimate of their guys' weekend.

I enjoyed getting up early. It meant I had time for a coffee before getting ready. I got to watch the morning news, E and I had breakfast together, and relaxed a bit before I had to drive him to school. No rush, none of the last minute dashing about for misplaced mittens and school forms that usually marks our weekday mornings.

Today my husband and my father fly to Phoenix to attend the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. They are flying to a 3-bedroom, 4-bathroom house in a gated community that may or may not be on a golf course. They are flying to 20 degrees Celsius.

They are flying out of -30 degrees Celsius. They are flying out of -39 degrees Celsius when wind chill is applied. They are flying out of snow covered sidewalks (too cold to shovel), and ice covered streets (too cold for salt). They are flying out of traffic crawling along at less than half the normal speed because someone decided to not pay attention to the poor road conditions and inserted the front of their car into another car's trunk.

Today, for the second day, I have a shawl wrapped around my shoulders. On top of my sweater. For the third day today, our office building cannot heat enough for any level of comfort. Our windows at home look like the inside of a deep freeze. Inside the house. I could feel cold air coming through the vent as I folded clothes out of the dryer.

This is what this week has for us. We were lulled into complacency with barely negative temperatures for so long. And now, Mother Nature is making up for it. With one week of sub-polar temperatures, she has dragged the average temperature for the year back down to where it should be.

Spring cannot come fast enough in my books.

The getting up early though? Like I said, I quite enjoyed it. Enough that I may try it again tomorrow morning. Maybe not pre-5am, but earlier than normal.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First Family Game Night

Last Friday we held our first family game night. It's a perfect day for us, as it's my night off from cooking supper, thanks to our local pizza delivery service, and we're not as concerned with the boys' bedtimes.

Our sister-in-law is a big board game fan. Whenever our families are together, and the boys are in bed (or being looked after by an older cousin), she pulls out a game for the adults to enjoy. And she always has some really fun, different games. No Game of Life or Monopoly for this lady. She's more likely to pull out Ticket to Ride, Apples to Apples, or for the marathon board gamers, Settlers of Catan. Without fail a good time is had by all, and a lot of great conversations have taken place while we play. After witnessing this once again over Christmas holidays, I decided we needed to start bringing this into our boys' lives, hopefully lighting a flame within them that glows with the memories of quality time spent with family and friends.

For Christmas this year, my parents gave both boys their own games. They have other games, which will definitely get pulled off the shelf more often now, but we decided to start with the new ones.

S received Chickyboom. This is a fantastic game. This is our fourth Blue Orange game. I love them. They're wooden, painted pieces, and the games are fun for the whole family, but simple enough that when the kids are only 4 years old, they can understand the rules and play. And there's a level of education too. Chickyboom, for example, is a balance game.

E's game was played after S went to bed. Hubs is a chess player, and since E started reading Harry Potter, he's wanted to learn how to play chess. So, my folks found this Quick Chess game. One side is a smaller board (less squares), for faster games with less pieces, to get the new player used to how the pieces move. E beat Hubs his first time out. The other side is a traditional size, for longer games. E was able to focus for about 45 minutes on this one, which is pretty good for a 6-year old not playing a video game.

I have to say our first family games night was a success. The boys thoroughly enjoyed their game, and as adults we were able to let go of always being in control a little bit, and truly enjoy the evening for what it was, not what we hoped it would be.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Prayer Shawl

Last fall I agreed to join the newly formed Prayer Shawl Ministry at church. I'd been looking for some way to contribute that didn't involve being away from my boys a lot, since I work full time outside of the home. This was a perfect fit. Work at your own pace, meetings once every couple months, and something I already know how to do.

My first shawl is a simple garter stitch, and I plan to add some fringe to the ends. The colours are earthy, subtle, and soothing. It will be easy to take care of, so no matter who it is gifted to, there's not a lot of special instructions. I think that's one of the main ideas behind the prayer shawls. Low maintenance seems to be key.

I'm think I'm about 60 percent finished the knitting portion. The nice thing about garter stitch is that it doesn't require a lot of thinking, there's not reading charts, you can truly give in to the meditative process as you knit.

Pattern: Comfort Shawl. Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun in Mediterranean
For more WIP Wednesday creations-in-progress, head over to Tami's!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sundays are for Quotes

"I have enough money to last me the rest of my life unless I buy something." Jackie Mason

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Sit back, and prepare to be transported back...to a wonderful time...a time when life was simple...to late September of 2011.

 Confession...I wrote this post right after we picked the apples. And promptly decided to not download any pictures for...four months! Anyway, rather than re-boot this next fall, and since the weather here is pretty much fall-like instead of winter-white, I thought I'd share it today.

Just in time, I think, we managed to get the majority of  the apples off the tree.

On Wednesday night, our mothers came over, we grabbed a couple of ladders, some boxes, and got to work, with the anticipation of Chinese take away food to greet us when we were done.

It only took about an hour for three women, one man, and two children to get as many apples as could be reached and that were actually ready to say goodbye to their home. A goodly portion of that time, it was really one man working, while three women stood around talking about buying underwear, and two children chased each other around the yard.

But it was fun. And look at that bounty! And they're real McIntosh apples, not the transparents (or is it translucents?) that a lot of people in the prairies have. Good, tart, firm Macs. Not like the soft, flavourless ones that come from so far away to the grocery store. These will be great for all sorts of baked goods, but they're also just perfect for eating out of hand.

2 bins like this!
I call this one 'Brave Man on Tall Ladder'


We now have five apple pies, some apple sauce, and dozens of bags of cut-up apples in the freezer. Now that Christmas season is over, it's time to start with the apple desserts again.

I love our apple tree. Next autumn will not come fast enough for me.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Food - Warm Lentil Salad

Excuse the quality of the above photo. I'm still a novice when it comes to taking pictures with my phone. I was at work, and this was my lunch.

When I need some cozy comfort food I quite often turn to lentils. Lentil soup is a favourite. But sometimes I don't want to make a big batch of soup. Sometimes I just want something I can whip up in the evening to have at work the next day.

French green lentils are my favourite. I discovered them about 5 or 6 years ago. At the time the only place I could find them was in bulk at the organic food store miles away, or in tiny little bags at the high-end grocers even further away. Then the distributor my food co-op uses started carrying them. Now I am the proud owner of a 10-pound bag of Lentils du Puy.

Here's one of my favourite warm salad recipes with lentils. Easy peasy, filling, comforting, and make-ahead friendly.

Warm Lentil Salad (makes 4 filling side servings)

1 cup French green lentils
1 1/2 cups water
bouquet garni (I like thyme and bay leaf for this)
balsamic vinegar
extra virgin olive oil
nut oil of your choice
toasted nuts of your choice (preferably the same as the nut oil)
salt and pepper to taste
Put lentils, water, and bouquet garni into a pot and set over high heat. Once it's come to a boil, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the lentils are al dente. Drain any remaining water and remove the bouquet.

Drizzle with vinegar and oils to taste, and toss with toasted nuts. Season to taste. Before eating, crumble with feta or chevre. Enjoy!

Like I said above, this is a great make-ahead for lunches (and cheap!). I just pack it up, and bring it to work. Warm it in the microwave and crumble the cheese on top.

This is a fantastic recipe for experimenting. Different nuts, different oils, different cheeses or herbs, you could even add a quarter onion or garlic to the pot will the lentils are simmering. So many different combinations for that background essence. My favourite right now is walnuts and chevre. Play around and come up with your own favourite.