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

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Almost Forgot My Password...

So, to continue to keep my head above water, I've just come to realize that there are certain months of the year when blogging is low on my list of priorities. I now know that October and November are in that group. I have one client in particular who demands a lot of attention during those two months, and unless I quit my job, there's just not much I can do about it. But, it's all good. they're a great bunch of guys (and lady), and I would hate to pass them over to another manager.

And so, I have looked up from my computer and seen that winter has arrived. I seem to be further ahead this year though, for the jolly season, as the first of our trees is up (there will be two this year), the lights are hung around the house, and the knitted presents are almost done.

I'm excited about Christmas this year. It's been a couple of years since I've been this excited.

We have a wood burning fireplace in our family room. We bought a lot of wood this fall. I don't think we bought enough. We're still in the passion stage with the fireplace. Almost every night we start a fire right after supper and keep it going until just before bed. I don't know how long it will take to settle into that comfortable long-term relationship sort of love.

My vision for Christmas morning? Gathering around the lit fireplace, the stockings full, the presents under the small tree that will be decorated with all the boys' ornaments, Christmas music on the iTunes. Us in our pyjamas (new ones for the boys, of course), enjoying our small family before heading over to the parents' home. If I could wrestle The Beast into a pair of antlers, I would.

From a totally self absorbed, consumerist point of view, I am excited about this Christmas for one reason: due to the layout of our house, I now have my 'designer-Christmas' area in the living room and dining room, where everything coordinates, and sparkles. I also have the 'fun-Christmas' area in the family room and kitchen, where the decorations are less matchy, and more about heart and memories.

Shallow? Oh well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sundays are for Quotes

"Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy person has no time to form." Andre Maurois

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Head Above Water

Just when I thought things were slowing down...

Our crabapple tree exploded all over our front lawn.
Both our families enjoyed a warm weekend in Radium at the annual Classic Car Show.
I volunteered for a day for this wonderful local charity.
We joined Hubs' family for a weekend of camping, games, and dancing.
We took the kids to catch a glimpse of life on the prairies many, many years ago.
I interviewed some new graduates looking to join our company.

More on some of those soon...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sundays are for Quotes

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad." Edwin Way Teale

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Falling Into Quiet

I feel like summer has been crazy. Crazy!

Selling, buying, packing, moving (home).

Moving, selling, learning, integrating (work).

Shuttling, registering, supplying, feeding (boys).

I'm grateful September has arrived. Everyone is signed up for the activities that will take us through the next few months. I am putting out fewer fires, and am able to look beyond tomorrow.

I'm a planner. I'm almost obsessive about it. Flying by the seat of my pants stresses me out incredibly.

E started Grade 1 last week. I'm dealing with the public school system in our city for the first time since I left it in Grade 3. We moved that summer to a new jurisdiction, and I'm learning they ARE different. But, I'm enjoying not paying private school tuition, for one child at least!

Dancing has started up again too. E had his placement class, so we'll find out next week who his instructor is. S will have his first lesson next week. Between them dancing, Hubs sitting on the Board, and me trying to start up the Alumni association, we will be well acquainted with the studio this year I think.

And so, as the nights turn cooler, we have come sliding into our routine. I'm feeling a bit dusty from it, but have picked myself up, and am in the process of brushing off.

(I even went shopping the other day! By myself! And bought things for me! That hasn't happened in years!)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Food - Raspberries

If you grew up in the Canadian prairies, chances are someone in your family grew raspberries. My Mum didn't, but both of my grandmothers did. When we were first married, we lived in the house my grandparents had lived in for their retirement. Grandma's raspberry patch was still in the same place it had always been, the northeast corner of the lot, at the back of the garden.

When we moved, we planted raspberries in the northwest corner of our lot, again at the back, against the fence. For anyone who is not aware, raspberries, if not kept in check, will spread. You will find shoots coming up metres away, in the rest of the garden, and in the lawn.

Needless to say, I was excited when I saw the raspberries in the backyard of our new house. And they are prolific. More so than mine ever were. I can get 2 cups in a day, and that's just the easy pickings. A good thing too, since E can ingest at least a cup a day. That boy loves his raspberries. I would normally buy, at a minimum, a pint of raspberries a week. Since we've been in this house (about a month now) I have not had to buy them.

I feel like I should share a recipe or something for raspberries, but they're just so good fresh out of the bowl, or sprinkled over some ice cream. You don't need recipes when in-season raspberries are bursting with flavour. But, here's an idea for fresh raspberries on a lazy weekend morning:

Lazy Raspberry Cream Sauce

Heavy cream
Sugar to taste

Mash the raspberries slightly with a fork. Not too much. Pour over some cream to make a thick sauce, and stir in some sugar. Drizzle over pancakes, waffles, or crepes.

What are some of your favourite ways to eat raspberries?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Broken Rib Cardigan

Pattern: Broken Rib Cardigan by Debbie Bliss, Yarn: Lion Brand Wool Ease thick & Quick in Wood
Would you believe this is the fourth project I ever started? Like my Mum, my thought process was 'go big or go home' (her first knitting project ever was a sweater).

It's a cardigan for Hubs. To warm him up in the winter. For cozying up at home or at the cabin. It's already close to two years old and I'm still working on it. For a few reasons:

  •  It's huge. At 6'2", Hubs is a big guy, and hence needs a substantial sweater.
  • It's repetitive. Two rows to know.
  • I'm on the sleeves and the shaping scares me.
  • I haven't found appropriate buttons yet, which means I can't get going on one of the front panels.

 So far, I've finished the back and one front panel. I'm 3/4 through one sleeve. So, I'm technically over 50% done, but considering I pick it up once a month to work on, there's still a long way to go!
(Apologies for the poor picture. This was one of my first cracks and photographing my knitting, and I also had to grab the picture back off Ravelry because I'm on a different computer.)
For more WIP Wednesday goodies from this week, head on over to Tami's!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sundays are for Quotes

"Friendship doubles our joys and halves our griefs." Dolley Madison

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Food - Beef Bacon

In the summer, as many Saturday mornings as we can, we drive out to our 'local' famer's market. It's not really local to me anymore, but my parents still live in the area. The season always seems far too short. There's a couple markets in the city that I'm sure are closer, but I find it far more satisfying to go to an outdoor farmers market; it seems more authentic, and I think Millarville is the largest outdoor market in Alberta.

Anyway, we discovered Alpine Ranch this year at the market. They raise hormone-free, antibiotic-free, steroid-free beef (they're free of more than just those too). It is some of the best tasting local beef I've had. And I've had some.

Our favourite product is the beef bacon, or as we like to call it, 'steakon'. Thinly sliced beef strips, taken from the cow in a similar place to where bacon would be taken from a pig. Think of nice, thin, crispy bacon, but with an unexpected flavour of a juicy steak.

We barbeque ours over low heat, resulting in a nice, chewy texture, with very little fat. So carniverously yummy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Apparently Unpacking is NOT Going Well

I'm supposed to leave for a weekend in the mountains tomorrow afternoon. I'm driving, but once there, I will have a lot of time spent sitting and relaxing, which for me = knitting time! (I may get my brother to drive on the way home!)

But I can't find the socks that I started and wanted to work on, since my shawl is coming to an end. I used them as lightweight filling in one of the moving boxes and have not found them yet. Other projects are too heavy and hot to work on while sitting on the deck in the sun, I'm leaving them for fall.

I was sure I would have come across them by now, as they were in one of the last boxes to be packed. Along with them, is my 'support' bag. The little bag I keep with my needles for weaving in ends, my measuring tape, the pins I use for blocking projects. Without that little bag, I foresee an endless list of UFO's (unfinished objects) in my future.

So, when I get home on Sunday night, I am not allowing myself to open a book and read. Nor will I be allowed to pull out a DVD to watch (Netflix is grounded too). Once the car is unloaded, and the laundry started, unpacking resumes.

The past week I have used many excuses. I'm back at work. I only want to arrange the furniture and unpack once. But, it's time. The floor plans are done. I am fully capable of moving furniture myself. If I have to unload a box in one room and walk things across the house because I'm too weak to move the box, so be it. This needs to get done.

Because, dude, I'm excited about those socks. It's the first time I've used a yarn with a colour pattern that I'm unsure about. It took me a long time to work up the nerve to wind and start knitting with this yarn. And I can't wait to see them when they're done.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Dishcloths

For a Christmas gift for all the ladies in my family, I thought I would make a week's worth of dishcloths. I like working on them because they're fast, small, and I don't necessarily need to carry around a pattern. Just in the car ride to and from the mountains, I can knock off 2 or 3 of them, as long as Hubs does all the driving. So far I've made 17 of them, all in various colours. Most are a basic pattern, but I'm trying to make some picture cloths as well.

In all, I'll need 35 for gifts, 42 if I want to keep some for myself.

Knit dishcloths are fantastic. They make fantastic scrubbers due to the stitches, but are gentle on dishes and cookware.

I haven't tried getting 2 cloths out of one ball of cotton yet, as they seem to use just over half. But, maybe mine will be made with colourful leftovers.

Head on over to Tami's Amis and Other Creations for other WIP Wednesday fun!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sundays are for Quotes

(Haha, I just about typed 'Gouts')

I'm attempting to start a weekly post on Sundays that will bring you quotes that (I hope) sum up the week previous.

This week, in reflection of moving and unpacking:

"It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing." Thomas Jefferson

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Food - Madeleines

I used to have an engineer on my team. She was a little slip of a thing, single, lived alone in a tiny apartment, and in her free time she would bake. She would bake all sorts of cookies and cakes, keeping our team and company well fed. Every now and then she would bake madeleines. I found myself walking past her office more often on those days. A couple years ago, my Mum brought me some madeleine pans from the Sur la Table store in San Diego.  I finally got around to using them the other afternoon, probably as I was procrastinating from packing. M, these are for you.

Lemon-Coconut Madeleines - makes approximately 24
1 ½ Tbsp melted butter (or more) – for greasing pans
3              large eggs
2/3 cup    sugar
1 tsp        lemon extract
¼ pound  unsalted butter, melt and cool
1 cup       all-purpose flour
¼ cup      cornstarch
½ tsp       baking powder
¼ tsp       kosher salt
1/3 cup    sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375F. Thoroughly grease and flour the madeleine pans. I used a brush to help get the butter in all the grooves.

Madeleine pans pre-prep
Greased and floured
3 eggs
Beat the eggs, sugar, and lemon extract on medium speed for 3 minutes in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. The mixture should be light, yellow, and fluffy.

Add the butter and mix.

Melting butter - remember to let it cool before adding!
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt.

Sifted dry ingredients
Stir into the egg and sugar batter with a spatula. Stir in the coconut.

Batter anyone?
With a table spoon, drop the batter into the pans, filling each shell almost full. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they spring back when pressed. Flip the madeleines out onto a cooling rack lined with parchment paper and allow to cool.

The first batch
These are best served right out of the oven, as they can dry out fairly quickly. I put mine in a Tupperware as soon as they were cool, and while they did dry out a bit, I think it helped them last a day or two longer.

Up close and personal
 The lemon flavour was just a hint. For stronger flavour, add some lemon zest along with the extract.

Play around with flavours. I had a thought that lime zest and coconut would make an even better pairing. Even simple vanilla would be just as mouth-watering.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WIP Wednesday - New Year Shawl

 On January 5th, I wound 900 metres of lace weight yarn (Handmaiden Lace Silk) and cast on the 10 in 2010 shawl by Janine Le Cras:

By February 8th, I had gotten this far:

Then, it was put aside as I worked on birthday gift after birthday gift, finished some socks, and finally got started on the prayer shawl I had signed up to make. I think the fact that it took me close to an hour just to knit two rows was a bit daunting for me. Then, about a month ago, I picked it up again. After knitting 2 shawls for my sisters-in-law, 2 pairs of socks, and 4 scarves for the men in the family, I was getting faster. Now the shawl looks like this:

I've made it through the main body chart, and the transition chart, and am on the edging chart. I am 44 rows from finishing this.

If you're interested in seeing more WIP Wednesday posts, check out Tami's Amis and Other Creations for other WIP bloggers.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New To Us

Here she is...our 41 year old beauty. I just realized this house was built the same year my parents were married (it's their anniversary today).

We had most of the house repainted when we took possession. These pics are pre-painting. The walls are now almost exactly the same colour as the trim. In other words, goodbye mint green and mustard yellow!

Kitchen...redone in the early '90's. It's definitely in great condition, and while it's not our style in terms of decor, it's functional, well laid out, and in great working order.

I have gas!

Dining Room...yay! Finally! 'Nuff said.

 Family Room...a wood burning fireplace, sliding doors to the patio, large enough for the addition of a piano in the future.

Living Room...OK, living room looking in to front entry. The point is, aren't the glass doors the best? They sealed the deal for me. There's four of them in total.

Outdoors, this brick monstrosity with the chives growing out the top will hopefully be converted to a wood burning oven in the future. A lot of research will have to go into this.

 The raspberries in the foreground, with a nanking cherry peeking out behind. I've already gotten a bit of a crop out the raspberries, and need to start harvesting the cherries. Jelly, here we come!

This is our McIntosh apple tree. It will be interesting to see how big the apples get. Our oldest boy is an apple fiend, and can't wait until the apples are ready to eat.

 And, where the future hammock will go. We're already arguing over whether it should be a Mother's Day or Father's Day present next spring.

I hope to post more pictures as we get rooms set up and decorated. I say decorated, but I mean furniture placed and some things put out. Get ready for barely beige walls!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In the Midst of Chaos

I'm sitting in my kitchen, cooking my last dinner in this house (faux tarragon chicken and orzo with Parmesan and basil). Tomorrow is take-out, as hopefully the kitchen will be packed away. For on Friday morning the movers come to empty the house.

I'm surrounded by chaos. A pile of boxes here, half-packed boxes there, counter tops cluttered and messy. We've been going at it all week. Packing, moving things over, unpacking where we can, given there is no furniture and two painters there.

The new house is looking fantastic. The walls are neutral now, we wanted some time in the space before making major changes. The apple tree is showing a bounty of fruit, the raspberries and nanking cherries have made their appearances. The list of maintenance items that accompanies an older home has been started.

I know that this will be my last evening to relax in a long time. Tomorrow brings the last push for packing, Friday is the move, and then the move-in and personalization begins (I'm already having a panic attack about the considerably less cupboard space in the kitchen).

I've taken so many pictures, but they're still on the camera. Next week brings another week off work to get settled, and relax, and enjoy our new home.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Le Mont Saint-Michel

Can you tell I'm feeling nostalgic for France?

Last year at this time we were pulling away from this place:

Le Mont Saint-Michel, France
Off the coast of Normandy, it's an abbey built on a granite rock that is separated from the mainland when the tide is really high. The walled town built up around it, spiraling up the sides of the rock. You can park outside the wall and walk in, poke around the village and tour the abbey.

We had decided early on to stay the night, as we had heard the atmosphere is magical when all the tourists head back to the nearby hotels across the causeway that has been built. We booked ourselves into a little hotel, packed what we needed into the lightest bag we had, and walked into the town and up the five flights of stairs to our room.

That evening was spent touring the abbey at dusk, enjoying musicians playing in various rooms. The next morning we went back to the abbey to snap some photos in daylight, and poked around the shops. I bought my copper bowl for beating egg whites. It was at about this time Hubs decided he was not taking enough advantage of all the crepe stands, and decided to not pass another one the whole trip without ordering a crepe.

Random tree, outside wall of abbey

Like most of what we saw in France, we loved this place, and I hope to return one day and bring the boys.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On This Day...July 16th

One year ago today, this is where we were standing. The beginning of our very first (far from last) trip to Europe.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
I fell in love that year. With so many places. And with my husband, all over again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bastille Day!

This photo was from last year, the flag was still up when we got into Paris.

Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile
Look at the size of it! Isn't that fantastic?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011


For the past couple of years my Dad has been asked to chauffeur in the Calgary Stampede Parade. I'm not sure how he was first asked, but obviously he knew someone who knew someone.

So, for the second time now, he's been up at the crack of dawn, drives his fancy ol' car down to the staging area, and gets paired up with someone who apparently is important enough to get driven around downtown Calgary for a morning. Last year it was a pair of figure skaters, this year it was a local alderman.

So, this year, my Mum asked if I would go down with her to watch my Dad drive past. Now, normally for me this day means a sleep in, since our office always takes the day off. But, with the possibility of seeing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well, I thought, 'Why not?'

So, we found our space at 7am (which means we left my house at 6:15am). Unfortunately not front row, but that group was there at 3:30am. 3:30 AM!! About half a million people came down to the parade this year, more than the usual third of a million.

And we saw them, twice. Once as they left the hotel to start their route, again on their actual route past before the parade began. They drove quite quickly past (running late, according to the police officer near us). But I was able to snap a couple of photos.

(Aside: I'm not a huge fan of the Stampede, and think that Calgary could focus a bit less on its cowboy image, but I did think it was pretty cool that they donned those white hats for so much of their visit.)

See? That's Catherine waving from the driver's side back seat, William is beside her.
Now, some people were griping about how fast the motorcade went, and the fact that they were in an enclosed car. I figure, if people wanted up close and personal, they could have stood in line overnight with all those other people to get the event wristband earlier in the week.

And look! A tank! I never thought I'd see a tank on Calgary streets. Now, I haven't been to the parade in over 15 years, so I don't know if this is common.

And there's my Dad. Isn't that car beautiful?

We left pretty quickly after that, our excitement for the morning was pretty much past. And my stomach was growling...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Deep Woods

No, not the bug spray, though I certainly could use some of that right now. The mosquitos are deadly this year! Big! And aggressive!

No, this is a shawl for my sister-in-law. A belated birthday present, I finished knitting a day after her birthday and need to block and weave in the ends, but it's still pretty. Just think how beautiful it will be when it's complete!

I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of the colour green, but when I saw this in the store, it just screamed "L!" to me. Well, not exactly. It screamed my sister-in-law's name.

Pattern: Enchanted Wood by Janine Le Cras. Yarn: Cascade Heritage Handpainted

Friday, July 1, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Bowl of Cherries

Eat me!

 Doesn't that look fabulous? Cherries are so cheery and inviting. One of the best things about summer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Irises

I love 'em.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spring 2011

Wait, did we actually have spring? I thought this season was called Rain.

But, there were some awesome times to be had.

Our first trip to the zoo, and the pussy willows were in all their glory.

So were the butterflies.

A trip to the Badlands meant crossing the river on the Bleriot Ferry.

Birthdays were celebrated.

Holy smacks, do we have a lot of Star Wars Lego in the house now.

And now summer is upon us. A lot of excitement for our family is on the way.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

See that sign? That's the one outside our house.

About a 16 minute drive away from this sign is a similar one, signalling that new owners will be arriving soon.

We sold our house in about 5 weeks. It took another 3 weeks to find a new home. The one we're hoping will be ours for a long time. The one our boys will grow up in, bring their friends home to, bring their girlfriends home to. The one we want to retire to at the end of the day. The place we will share meals and laughter with family and friends.

The house is a gem. In a 40-year old neighbourhood where a house sells and a garbage bin shows up in the driveway as renovations commence. The current owners have lovingly cared for this house for the past 18 years, but not extensively renovated, it's exactly what we were looking for. Original walls, minor updating, new roof, a blank slate for us to slowly turn into our own. Large yard, fully grown trees, firepit. A gas stove! A dining room! A fourth bedroom! Attached garage!

We now officially have 37 days to get everything ready for the movers. Luckily we have some overlap of possession dates, so there's over a week to finish packing, paint, clean, measure, get everything moved, and clean the old house. Whew.

I am so excited about this new beginning for us, but so apprehensive as well. As much as I feel we've outgrown our current home, I loved how unique I felt it was, and it was our home. Two and a half years after we were married we bought that house. We've lived in it for three quarters of our lives together.

I'm trying not to dwell on what was, but instead focus on what will be. On the change we've consciously chosen and pursued.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We Have A Majority!

After how many years of minority governments, Canadians once again have a majority. We have one party that hold over 50% of the seats in the House of Commons, with a strong opposition party to keep everyone on their toes. We have some stability. We have some sense of where this country is going over the next four years. We are not living under the threat that an election could be called at any time.

The Conservatives have it. The New Democrats are getting their turn at the big boys table too. The Liberals have lost a lot of voter confidence. The Bloq has imploded. And the Greens are making their entry. It will be an interesting four years.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

It's 3:30am, and I've been up for 15 minutes to watch the royal wedding coverage.

I got up late...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One Week...

brought me...

     1 spring snow storm (hello, heavy wet snow)
     2 restaurant dinners with the kids (is McDonald's a restaurant? Really?)
     3 relaxing meals with my brother (It was nice having an adult to cook for)
     4 house showings (at least we had fair warning on all of them)
     5 days of dropping the boys at school AND picking them up (usually a shared task)
     6 hours of working from home with a sick boy
     7 nights with a king-size bed all to myself (ahhhh...)

It also brought me...
  • The realization I work for some pretty great, understanding guys,
  • Almost to tears every time I had to hang up the phone with Hubs,
  • A chance to practice my patience, and
  • An even greater respect for all those ladies who are raising those great kids all by themselves.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Photography Practice

Every time we go to San Diego we find something new to see or do. This time, near the end of our trip, we went to The Cove in La Jolla to see the seals lounging on the beach. I never stopped to count them, but there was probably over 50 seals laying on the sand in this little inlet. A lot of babies seals. Adorable.

A sea wall wrapped around one side, so you could see them from three different angles. It's quite the attraction. The wall was almost full of people when we were there. Mum said they had been earlier in the month and it took an hour to walk the length of the sea wall. My oldest son took this picture, hence the list to one side.

I took full advantage of the zoom lens and sports setting on my camera. I caught this guy coming out of the water:

And was able to get some good shots of the pelicans flying just overhead. With every pass they would get closer to the water, until eventually they would scoop some up in their beaks and fly off. On our honeymoon I would wake up and sit on the balcony with my morning coffee, watching the pelicans soar past for their morning meal.

Ever since then I've found them so graceful, and it's easy for me to get lost in my thoughts just watching them.

It was a fantastic way to (almost) end the trip.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

On the Market

The house is on the market!

Thanks to a team of painters and a couple of hardy cleaners, our house now looks all sparkly and new.

Hubs says two weeks. I'm trying not to think about it. Average for our community is 17 days. It seems so whirlwind.

It will seem odd in a way. Both our boys were born while we were here. So many family events have been here. OK, mostly our birthdays, the odd Easter or Thanksgiving. But many, many memories of gatherings with friends and family. And while it will be sad to say goodbye to the home that hosted us all, one of the reasons (I feel) we're moving is so that we can have these gatherings more easily.

I grew up with a dining room. A formal dining room. Oh, they were never fancy, but a place to have a nice dinner (or lunch, or brunch), away from the clutter and mess of the kitchen. Somewhere everyone can relax around a cup of coffee and slice of dessert without worrying about the dishes piling up in the sink.

I miss that in this house. Our kitchen is open to everything but the small room at the front of the house, certainly not large enough for more than four people. I always feel like we're tripping on our preparations when we have people over.

No more! One of my absolute must-haves is a separate dining room. I realize that may be old-fashioned. But, then, I am a little old-fashioned in some ways.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Freedom List - Update

After returning from our vacation, and getting back into our normal routine, I pulled out my Freedom List on Saturday, as some of my prep for the house sale is on this list. It felt so good to see things crossed off, and as I got into the groove, more and more things were completed. I like having this list of everything in one place, otherwise I tend to procrastinate, or only focus on the lists of things I enjoy doing. Note that knitting is not on the list, it's my reward at the end of the day.

Most of the list has to do with decluttering the house. Clean out the closet, take old clothes for donation, put winter clothes in storage (um...but, but it's still snowing!) and so on.

But looming on the list is our 2010 taxes, and the 2011 accounting for my business, now that the year-end is a month gone already. I managed to do a bunch of filing yesterday, which will definitely help those two activities progress at a better pace though. But, really, who enjoys doing these? Even though I can do our taxes in an evening, it's still a few hours out of my day that I'll never get back,

However, I know I should be grateful for the fact that I have to do taxes, because that means we have income, right?

Ah, well, they will get done. And I will not fret about them. All I can say is thank goodness for tax software and bookkeeping software.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Signs of Spring

When Calgary was in the middle of the deep freeze, I seriously needed some spring in my life. So, I cast on this lace scarf and these socks, and brightened up my days.

Tired of All the Snow (Spring Forward by Linda Welch, Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Daffodil)
The scarf is done (I wanted it for St. Patrick's Day on our trip, no pictures yet), and the socks are half done. I ran into second sock syndrome while packing for the trip, and decided that instead of finishing this pair while we were away, I would take a new skein of yarn and start a new pair. I almost finished one sock in the ten days we were gone. If I had gotten the nerve to take my knitting on the plane, I could have gotten much farther. But little boys need too much attention for me to even attempt that.

Now that we're home, I'm madly knitting birthday presents for the family. I'm currently working on my Dad's and one of my brother-in-law's.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Experimenting with Colour

Our oldest son participated in his first science fair recently.

He's five.

While I understand why the school wants the children to do this (keep in mind the oldest child there is six), it was challenging for me to kind of abandon my scientific training and visualize how a five year old could pull this off. I was mentally going through a written lab report, imagining it written by a five year old.

Luckily he showed me.

He had a few ideas. First he wanted to explore math (Mummy, I want to do addition and subtraction). So, I got to thinking of how I could set up various operations tables (addition and multiplication were easy, subtraction and division took a bit more work), and he could have a display of the different items he used to help him find the answer (beans, markers, buttons, pennies, etc.).

The next idea was short lived (Mummy, I want to do dinosaurs). No, wait, back to math.

The third idea was what we finally ended up doing (Mummy, I want to do colours).

So, we have the Colour Theory science project. I set him up with jars of water, spoons, and blue, red, and yellow food dye drops. He played with some guidance from us (what do you think will happen when you mix blue and red, sweetie?). He created a colour wheel showing what happens when you mix the primary colours. He also created a couple of visual colour equations for black and brown.

I'm not sure what branch of science this would fit into (physics, I suppose), but what's more important was that he learned how to hypothesize, perform the experiment, and display the results. All in his Woody pajamas.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Back in the Land of Working Computers

Ah, to be connected again.

We were recently on a holiday. Yay! Sunny San Diego. the land of Lego, Sea, and...and...beaches, pools, golf, and shopping.

I had been all excited about sharing some photos here while we were away, sort of a 'here's what we've been up to'. However, within a day of being there, the supposed-to-be-wireless condo, was not so wireless after all. For some reason Dad's computer and the router refused to speak to each other. Then Hubs' computer got the flu. My connections were down to Hub's iTouch, and my Blackberry. Fine for checking e-mails and finding the local drugstore, but completely unable to upload all those fabulous photos of Shamu that I took with my fancy camera.

We did try hooking Dad's computer directly up to the modem, but needed to disconnect the modem from the router to do that. After a nasty phone call from the office, we learned that the router in our unit was for our entire building, plus the two next door. 12 condos of angry, disconnected snowbirders unable to Skype with their grandchildren. Finally, about two days before we headed home, Dad decided to buy a cable for the rest of their stay to hook up directly to the router. By then, I had resigned myself to a life lived unconnected.

But, now we're home. I'm trying to pull together some posts about our trip for his weekend, but we're also trying to get our house up on the market (anybody want to see pics of our oh so clean and sparkly house?). Plus, I've got some posts in edit-stage, mostly just waiting for pictures. I'm hoping for a (mini) flurry of activity here.


Friday, March 11, 2011

The Fog is Lifting

The mental fog that is. And although it hasn't been particularly foggy here, we have been blessed with a warm(er) day or two. But snow this morning, as I look out this 6th floor window. Snow blowing through downtown. It should be gone tomorrow. That's what they tell me. I think they figured last week if they didn't start telling people it was going to warm up (whether or not it was true), the blades were coming out.

We've spent the past week hotelling at my parents' place, while our house was painted. We're getting it ready to put on the market. Now we're trying to move back in, in the midst of getting ready for a holi-holi-day.

My parents live a 30-minute drive out of the city. In fabulous foothills country. We took the boys for a drive on the weekend to see some of that scenery (some of it my old high school stomping grounds). They fell asleep. Then we got ice cream at the candy store I used to work at. I think I was more friendly when I worked there than the guy behind the counter was on Sunday.

So, needless to say, there was a lot of driving done last week, getting the kids to school and us to work. One morning stood out above the rest.

The sunrise on Wednesday morning was amazing. As we headed east, there was a chinook arch behind us, and the clouds were pink and gold in front of us. It is one of the things I miss now that I'm living in the city. I wish I'd had a camera with me that morning.

And now, our routine is starting to return to normal, just in time to have it paused again, but for a much nicer, warmer reason. I'm looking forward to sand, sun, shopping, relaxing, playing. Rejuvenation. Connection.


Keeping all those who are affected by the earthquakes and tsunami in my prayers.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ready, Set...

So, three pages later, I have the Freedom List for our upstairs and main floor. I have yet to do the basement, and am, really, quite dreading it. Downstairs is where the boys' toys are. Downstairs is where the storage room is (shudder). Downstairs is the laundry room.

But, it needs to be done.

Certain events are in motion, and barring a really bad meeting next Wednesday, those events will kick into high gear. I'd like to be semi-prepared.

And if not, some of it still needs to be done. We, apparently, are really bad at getting rid of things. And it's not just physical clutter, it's the mental clutter that goes along with all the little things that need to get done around a house. That towel bar that needs replacing, the curtain that needs to be re-hung, those pants that need mending. It all takes up a little part of the mind until it's done, nagging you, yet consistently put off. Easy things that never seem to be addressed.

It's frustrating, and I'm tired of it. We're always tired at the end of the week. I'm not complaining or making excuses. Everyone is in the same boat. It's how we choose to deal with it that makes a difference, and obviously in our house, something is not working. We need to address that, make the change, and give it a solid shot. Otherwise we're back where we started.

Frustrated by all of it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WOYNW - Spring in Canmore

All this snow is really getting me down, so I wanted to make something that reminded me of spring.

On the weekend, I was going to make some socks, with a lovely yarn that's all blue, green, and yellow, and so lovely and bright, and cheery looking. But, when I got home from the yarn shop, I noticed one of the needles I needed had slipped out of the package somewhere between there and home. Short one needle, and not able to get back until later in the week.

So, instead I pulled this lovely yarn out of the stash, and pulled one the Three Sisters scarf patterns out of my binder, and cast on. There's been a couple of rough starts, but it's coming along, and it's looking lovely. Before I wound the yarn, I wasn't expecting this beautiful dark green patch. It had been hiding from me. I love the colours though, they really do make me think of springtime in the mountains, when everything is bright and new.

Pattern: Three Sisters #3. Yarn: SpunShine Fibers

Head on over to Kerry's blog Knit, Scrap & Sew to see what's on other knitter's needles.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Freedom List - It Begins

I knew this would be a long process when I first thought about doing it.

I'm a list girl. I make lists for everything. Sometimes my lists are a little overwhelming, and therefore get conveniently forgotten. Sometimes they morph and change as my needs do. Sometimes they are simple, and it's easy to knock items off, and they're done. For a while I tried to not make as many lists, then I flaked on my walking friend three days in a row because I kept forgetting various pieces of gear.

Last night I started my Freedom List. (It even says that across the top of the page). This list will be many pages long. Some items will be easy and quick, and will get crossed off with ease. Others will take longer, and may require some more planning.

I'm not in this alone. Hubs doesn't know it yet, but my Freedom List is partly the family's Freedom List. There will be items where all of us need to pitch in. If our plans for the summer are to come to fruition, everyone has a part to play in that. For practicality, I even tried to think of a central place in our home, where I could hang the list, and we could all see it, and it would be a great visual reminder. I couldn't think of anywhere convenient I would put it, and still want to invite people over for supper. This is a reason I'm not a fan of open concept homes.

This list will take many days to create, and it will never truly be finished, as more will be added as we go along. In the beginning it may be frustrating, because we will be adding more than we're crossing off.

But, there will be a time when the list is growing less than it is shrinking. And when that time comes, if I can take the time to recognize it, there will be a big sigh of relief from me.

Last night I started. I started in our youngest son's bedroom. He's only been around for 3.5 years. Since he pretty much uses his room for just sleeping, I didn't think there would be a lot to do. And, I guess, there's really not. Only seven or eight items were on the list when I walked out.

Tonight, I tackle the master bedroom. If I can find my way out from underneath all the paper that will be created, I will report back in a couple of days.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesdays are for Knitting

Well, not just Wednesdays. But, I wanted to have a regular place to record my progress, and what better than a specific day? It also gives me a chance to practice my photography.

So, what went down recently?

Mum's birthday scarf,  just in time for their trip down south. She bought this lovely yarn at a mini-mill in PEI in the fall. There's enough left that I'm looking at slouchy beret patterns to match.

Mum modeling her scarf. Pattern: Old Shale Scarf. Yarn: Belfast Mini Mills

Getting a head start on birthday presents this year, I knit this scarf for my eldest brother-in-law. It should be perfect for our cold Calgary winters. The yarn is 100% wool from Iceland. So rustic there was the odd small piece of hay in the yarn. A super-fast knit though, I started it just over 3 weeks ago, and just need to sew in the ends.

I call this 'Scarf on a Table'. Pattern: Staggered Rib Scarf. Yarn: Istex Alafoss Lopi

And finally, what's currently on the needles, is this fantastic lace scarf by Janine Le Cras. I love the look of her shawls, and this is the first one I am attempting. It can be slow going, but that orange life-line is a godsend. The yarn is a dream to work with...I would love to get my hands on some of their sock yarn.

Wow, it's really impossible to tell what the finished project will look like. Pattern: 10 in 2010 Shawl. Yarn: Handmaiden

You know, I started a cardigan for hubs back in June? It's really hard to work on. I've heard that about sweaters. So much knitting, so long to see the results. I will pick it up again. Perhaps this week, since I'm down to only a couple unfinished projects. Perhaps Friday, since he's going out...