Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'll huff and I'll puff

The wind outside is crazy. We were supposed to drive Hayley back to Toronto but a friend sent her a text message saying he would be in Belleville for the weekend and did she happen to need a ride back to the city on Sunday. Our holiday visit was wonderful and it was great to have both kids here for Christmas eve and Christmas morning. Mike had to head back to Madoc for a visit with Yvonne's family. Last night, Mike and Yvonne came back and spent the night to have another visit with Hayley. Tomorrow, it's back to work for two days and then 5 more days of time off.

For Christmas, my husband got me a Panasonic Lumix TZ5 and I'm in love with it. I've never been very good at photography but the big screen on the back of this camera is like a godsend. Even I can take great, not just good pictures.

Proof: Taken first thing this morning from my front yard. If you look closely toward the horizon you will see the bay we live on.

Why did I learn to knit?

Originally I learned the basics when I was a child. That is I learn to knit and purl but that was it. Mom would cast on some needles and I was knit away to my heart's content never really ever making a finished product. 3 years, ago when my daughter was in her second year of Media Arts at college she asked me if I would knit her a hat made with love. Her words exactly. Now what mother could deny her child such a request. Certainly not I! She was working on a lot of outdoor film shoots until 3 in the morning and she needed something really warm. My attempts to get her into warm boots had failed and the least I could do was complete something that kept the other part of her body warm. So I found a pattern I thought she would like that looked superwarm. It was knit with three strands of decor wool and had earflaps. I knew nothing at all about guage and I proved that fact. The first attempt at the hat produced a hat that not only covered the ears but covered the whole face. Eventually, I conquered it and that first hat was no masterpiece but it must have been somewhat okay because then I got requests to make two more from a couple of her friends. Each one was somewhat better than the last and it was the start. I'm still learning and trying to perfect the craft and I'll get their eventually. I leave you with a shot taken by my daughter's friend Ben when they were shooting on location near Hamilton, Ontario.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snowmaggedon in Ontario

Environment Canada has designated the system of storms coming through Ontario as "Snowmaggedon". The first hit us early Wednesday morning. Tuesday night, I drove to Kingston to the Kingston Knitting Circle's Knit Night at Wooltyme. The rain and unseasonably warm temperatures had eradicated almost all traces of previously fallen snow. I drove home around 9 and there were absolutely no signs that I would wake to a winter wonderland other than the meteorologists promise. The first thing I did when I woke up that morning was look out the window and sure enough he had delivered. The drive to work was fairly non-eventful. Over the last 17 years, I've learned to not push it and stay well back from the car in front. My young friend Kelly was not so lucky. When she entered into a 90 degree, her car spun around 360 degrees several times. There were concrete barriers nearby and she was terrified that she was going to smash into them but she didn't and no harm was done. Unfortunately, she now knows that feeling of no control. It was probably a good thing that she had to continue on to work... you know get back on the horse. She said after all that she was darn well getting to work and getting paid.

Yesterday, was the 2nd part of the Snowmaggedon. I had the day off so during the day I didn't have to venture out. Hayley was arriving at 11:50 p.m at the Belleville Train Station. Jeff was playing hockey at 10:20 so I knew that I would be the driver for this. From the weather reports however I knew that the storm should be over by that time and the only thing I would have to deal with were unplowed roadsand drifting snow. I have awesome snow tires which make a big difference. I left home at 10:30 which is really way more than sufficient time because it's normally a 40 minute drive. I stopped for gas and the pump seemed to be somewhat frozen. It took me 10 minutes to put 10 litres of gas. My fingers were frozen so I figured that was more than enough gas. When I got to Belleville I checked my cell phone to see that I had two text messages from Hayley that I hadn't seen before I that said I just left Union now. 10:42. So now I'm early and she's late. In all that 42 minutes late expanded to an hour and a half late and she arrived at 1:20. We arrived home at 2:10. Which anybody who knows me will tell you is 5 hours past my bedtime! But the girl is home safe and sound and feels great to have her here.

On a side note, Thursday night I went to dinner at the Yangtze Restaurant with several work friends. We meet on a regular basis with a friend who is now retired and to hear how his life is going. He's one of those very quiet people that you probably wouldn't get to know unless you had to work with him closely but when you do he leaves a big impact. He has three beautiful children. The oldest volunteered the summer before last with Engineers without Borders where he was stationed in Ghana. He loved it and had a great experience. The daughter is in her 2nd year of University and she is following the same path. She heads out Jan 2 to Guatemala. He doesn't know what it is that makes his children want to do these things but I'm sure the roots come from the parenting skills of him and his wife. They've raised their children to be socially conscious and caring. The highlight was at the end of the night when I opened my fortune cookie and read "You will enjoy a comfortable retirement". Bring it on I say!!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Canadian Must Have

Friday several folks from our department decided to head out of the plant for lunch. AA and I carpooled with Bob. As I sat in the front seat I notice a warm feeling overcoming me. No it wasn't the Christmas spirit or the joy of sharing a meal with my wonderful co-workers. This came from deeper down. I looked at Bob and said do you have heated seats and he replied yes. This was my first experience with heated car seats. It's part of a Canadian package that comes with heated mirrors which also be nice for those days where we've had freezing rain and it's coated the mirrors and you can't see a thing. As someone who is driving a 99 Alero with 270,000 kilometers and whose rear defrost no longer works, this was luxury beyond compare even if it came in the package of a Ford Focus. It made me want to run out and purchase a car with the same package. I can imagine nothing nicer than getting into a cold car in the winter and within minutes having a warm and toasty ass. And it's one of the few times I could really really admit that yes I do have a hot ass!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Warm Ewe Up Winter Swap

I joined this yarn swap through Ravelry. And this is officially my first yarn swap unless you count the Amazing Race Contest that just ended where I came in 2nd last or to say I was the first loser. At work I joined a Secret Santa Swap this year. For 3 weeks, you bring your person a $1-2 gift and on the 4th week we give our person a gift work $10-15 dollars. On the last week we've booked one of the conference room's to have lunch with and try to guess who our Secret Santa is. Well I already know who mine is and vice versely she knows who hers is. I fait une gros faux paus. Do NOT, DO NOT ever attempt to re-use one of the gift bags you received on a previous week. I thought what are the odds that I get the same person who got me...probably zippo right???? WRONG? I sent my elf down to deliver the package and he reported back to me that my cover was blown. WHAT??? HOW? WHY? Well it seems her face lit up and she said I know who has me because that's the bag from the package she delivered the week before. I was unjustly accused of being a re-gifter by our capital buyer. I am not a re-gifter. I am a re-bagger which is like a re-cycler which is GREEN right! Unfortunately, I should not have re-bagged within the swap. The good news is that my recipient and I had a good chuckle about the whole situation.

Swap Q&A
Do you knit or crochet, or both? How long have you been at the craft? I learned to knit when I was a child. My mother would cast on and I'd just knit. These were never made into anything. Then when I was 19 and newly married I learned to crochet and made afghans. That was 30 years ago. In the last 25 I haven't crocheted anything. Then about 3 years ago my daughter asked for a hat made with love because she was in film school and outside shooting till 3 in the morning. I ended up making an ear flap hat for her. Then 2 more for her friends and then in the last year my obsession really took over for knitting.

Do you spin? No.

What yarns/fibers are your favorites? I like wool, silk wool blends and alpaca. Soft things!

What yarns/fibers do you not like? I'm not so crazy about acrylic.

What yarns/fibers would you like to try but haven’t? I keep hearing about malabrigo which makes me curious. I've been eyeing some Silky Tweed at my LYS.

What are your favorite colors? Colors that you don’t like? My favourite colours are burgundy, deep green's, rusts, jewel tones. I like pastels but typically wouldn't pick them to knit with. Pink isn't a favourite.Edit. I shouldn't say that. I do like pink. I love it in a colourway mixed with blues but I probably wouldn't purchase pink wool unless it was for a baby girl or the colour struck me in a special way. For me it's sometimes about the richness or a colour. It's hard to explain. And if it's for socks though I like lots of colour!

What are your favorite types of projects to knit/crochet? I've made a couple sweaters in the last year and I really enjoyed making them but I also love making hats. I like making socks as well.

What are you currently working on? Currently, on the needles are a scarf for a secret Santa swap at work, socks, and a central park Hoodie for my daughter.

What is your favorite FO? (Please post a picture if you have one.) This is the favourite thing I've made. It's the Gretel Hat from Ysolda. I loved the cables and the yarn I made it in is a baby alpaca. The softest thing I've ever knit. My daughter texted me yesterday and said she was getting lots of compliments on it.

Are there any techniques that you want to learn? I'd like to learn colour work. Everything I've done is mostly one solid yarn except for one striped scarf and a sock monkey hat I knit.

Do you have a yarn winder and/or swift? I have a yarn winder and I asked for a swift for Christmas from Santa.

How do you store your needles/hooks? I have a case that I put them in.

Do you collect anything? Not really.

Do you like sweets? I have a sweet tooth for sure. But will hopefully be staying away from them in the new year.

What are your favorite scents? I like spicy scents like Cinnamon, ginger etc and fruity ones too.

Are you having a birthday during this swap? No

Do you have any online wish lists? (Amazon, Loopy Ewe, etc.) I don't have one now but I think I'll take some time and make some. I'll repost the links when I've got them set up. I was listening to a show about random acts of kindness. How cool would it be to send someone something off their wish list and do it anonymously. The one time I was a victim of a random act of kindness I was blown away!

What is your living situation (Are you married? Do you have kids, pets, or both?) I've married and our 30th anniversary is in April. We have 1 son, 25 and 1 daughter who will be 23 in Feb.

Are you allergic to anything? Other than some metals nothing.

Is there anything else that you would like your pal to know? I'm pretty excited to do this swap. I've seen what others have received in similar swaps and think it's pretty cool. I'm also looking forward to doing the same for someone else. I hope to be able to find cool local things to send the person I get.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Helpless is a novel written by Canadian Author Barbara Gowdy. Helpless is the only book I've read by this author but probably not the last. I always love when a story it set in a familiar place and the setting for this is Cabbage Town in Toronto. She speaks of Parliament Street, Shopper's Drug Mart and Riverdale Farm. During my daughter's first year living in Downtown Toronto at the sketchy but convenient area of Shuter and Sherbourne we shopped at the quaintest Home Hardware on Parliament. On one visit we went to Riverdale Farm to visit the animals. It's amazing to visit such a place in the middle of such a large city. I remember telling my daughter, a born and bred small town girl who grew up in the country with lizards, turtles, bunnies and mice that whenever she was down she should walk to this farm because it would make her happy.

The story revolves around a single mother and her young beautiful daughter. The daughter has caught the eye of a pedophile appliance repairman. I've always been intrigued by mysteries, murder stories and the like. I found it an easy read especially with the story it's hard to put down until you find out what happens. No spoilers here.

Next up to read BloodLetting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam. So far I'm blown away with this writer's ability to set a scene. He has the ability to capture not only the sights but the sounds of a setting as captured in the first story. Loved it and can't wait to read more.

On a personal note the attempt to prepare for Christmas is continuing. Still have more gifts to buy. Hopefully will get all my gifts off that have to be posted next weekend. I'm getting excited like a 5 year old child.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Boy in the Man

My husband is 49 going on 14. Last year, through the encouragement of his RMT, Dawn he joined powerskating. He used to play shift hockey many years ago but hadn't done so in many years. He found he really enjoyed the powerskating and the workout it gave him. Some nights he came home totally exhausted but happy. This year he joined again but because of lack of adult interest, they were grouped in with younger children. The only other fellow there is a man in his 30's. Needless to say both my husband and the other man feel a bit silly out skating with these boys. This week he had a few days off so he decided to check out the local shift hockey at the arena on Tuesday morning. I phoned him at lunch to see if he had sustained any major injuries. He assured me all injuries were minor. He had a blood blister on his finger but he had scored 3 count 'em 3 goals. The other players were from the Goodyear factory and were very friendly. So since they had shift hockey again this morning he went again. This afternoon I received an email from him at work with the subject line that said "MEGA SCORING TODAY" The email said:
I lost count of the number of times I put the puck in the net today!!!
No broken bones, trashed knees or heart attacks, but I did spill some blood though.
And now for the real story.... 2 skaters, no goalies, so it was basically a skills session.
Practice skating, stick handling, shooting etc.
The spilled blood was from the blood blister on my hand breaking.
Kind of anticlimactic eh? Oh well, it was still fun, and practice that I need if I ever want to
have any chance of making the NHL.

Canadian Boys need dreams and if it isn't the NHL it's being a Rockstar. I don't have the heart to tell him his time is up!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Hat for Hayley

Seems like knitting Hayley a hat every winter has become a tradition. Last year there was 2, the sock monkey hat which fit a bit tight and the green toque both which I never got a picture of. The year before was another green hat which was too large and the year before was my first knitting project, the ear flap hat. Now that Hayl's a bit older I don't think she wants to wear the earflap style because it would probably make her look like a 16 year old. She appeared happy with the new one. I loved the colour and the yarn. The yarn Is Mirasol Miski Baby Alpaca. It's the softest yarn I've ever touched. Of course I loved it so much that I'm now making a scarf for her to go with it.
Last weekend we headed west to Toronto so that we could have a quick visit with Hayley. I needed one to tide me over until she comes home at Christmas. It was a good day. We went to Creme de la Creme for a nice breakfast lunch. We did a bit of shopping but it doesn't take Hayley and I long to get shopped out.
also gave her the gathered pullover I made her. It fit alright except the lenght was a little short. I may make this one again for someone else. I'd like to see it in a prettier colour than brown. Whatever it seemed to bring out the Ninja characteristics in Hayley.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy and Relieved!

About a month ago I went for my first ever mammogram. My mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 51 and I'm 49. I thought the time had come to dig my head out of the sand and face the music. I've always been a big procrastinator when it came to doctor visit's.

The mammogram was not too bad. The technician put me at ease the best she could. She was very efficient and professional but also kind. I have a lot of respect for people that do these jobs. I'm sure it all becomes quite routine for them but it's not routine for their customers and they seem to know this. They told me beforehand since it was my first mammogram not to be concerned if I get called back because the first time is like the baseline and they have nothing to compare it to it and they will be really cautious. Sure enough several days later I get called back to come in for another mammogram and also an ultrasound.

The 2nd mammogram was quite different than the first. The first could be deemed uncomfortable but the 2nd was more like a short torture session. I told my husband "Imagine someone taking one small piece of your penis and flattening it to .00125897 mm and then rotating it about 370 degrees." Of course he reminded me of the time he went for a test that they put a small camera in the end of his penis. Maybe he wins this time. :) Once the technician had my boob flattened and twisted she walked over to the controller and told me not to breathe. I wasn't too worried about breathing but I was worried about passing out. What a relieve when she released me. I don't think my left breast will ever be the same!!!

After that the Ultrasound of course was a cakewalk. A few days later I got the dreaded call. Please come in for another Ultrasound and Needle Biopsy. I just felt this wasn't quite as routine as the other call. However, I wasn't worrying every minute of the day. I think my husband did that for me. I only told one person at work and she was as bad as I was. Note to self when going for medical tests do not tell anyone until it's over. Wednesday at work my general practictioner's office called to set my mind at ease. My test came back benign. I called my husband who was very relieved. We met for dinner that night and he joked to me that he was glad he wouldn't have to break in anyone new. After 30 years of marriage, I guess we've grown on each other. I was also glad for my children too. Especially as a child who lost her mother far too soon I could totally relate to their feelings on this. I didn't tell them about the extra tests because they would have worried very much.

In closing I would encourage anyone thinking about going for a mammogram to go. Especially if this disease runs in your family. Breast cancer can be so treatable.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Books (Spoiler Alert)

I recently finished the Friday Night Knitting Club. Although this is really chicklit I did find that the book made some very deep statements about relationships. And for some reason I expected it to end with a much happier outcome. Luckily, no one was at home when I read the last few pages because I cried like a baby. If you want a light read, like knitting and reading about female bonding and have a good supply of tissues, then I can suggest this book to you.

I also recently picked up Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I didn't look at it too thoroughly in the store so I was even more surprised and delighted when I got to take a close look. The patterns are great and I would make almost everything in it but a couple. The pictures in it are lovely. I give this pattern book an A+.

Not a knitting related book but I'll mention it anyways is Helpless by Barbara Gowdy. Just started this yesterday and it sucked me in right away. It's set in Toronto so many of the streets are familiar and I always enjoy that in a book. I'll keep you posted on this one.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hockey and Knitting

Every Tuesday night is the night our Junior C team plays their home game. Last year Jeff decided that we should become fans so we started attending. At that point our team was already in the playoffs so there was mucho excitement. I'm not much for watching Hockey Night in Canada, too many bad memories of my dad yelling at us to be quiet during the game and memories of having to crawl under the tv so he wouldn't get mad at us for blocking the screen. He's a hardcore Canadian. But something in the Canadian comes out in me when I go to an arena. I feel the excitement. I feel like I'm part of the community even though I may only know a few people. I actually even think some night I might get lucky and win the fifty/fifty draw. This year I've been trying to take my knitting with me. Of course I can not knit while they are playing but between periods I can. The first time I tried it however it failed terribly. I wore my leather jacket and the sleeves kept catching my needles. Not a good effort at all. Now it's cold enough for my winter coat which sleeves don't gap as much. I was knitting away before the game started and had to jump up to let another couple pass. As I tried to move my pointy needles to a safe point where I wouldn't poke anyone the woman smiled and said I should have brought my knitting too. Then at the break after the first period, as hubby was relaxing with his feet resting on the seat in front of him, and holding my yarn in his lab, I looked up and to the right where te window to the heated bar area is and there was this woman watching me and smiling as I knit. Then I felt a bit self conscious about my technique but I still figure I could possible convert a large portion of that crowd into bringing their knitting to the game. What do you think?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

This weeks knitting related events were the Knit Night at the local chapters. This happens once a month and was the 2nd time I've attended. It's a good group with a wide range of ages from twenties to late fifites. The conversation flows well with discussions on family, books, movies and knitting. I don't often just join groups on myself but knitters are all such a friendly bunch and I find this group to be quite welcoming.

I finished hubby's Big Fabel Socks. I really, really loved this yarn so much that I think I may go out and purchase more for Christmas socks for the kids. They knit up really fast. Wow do his feet ever look long in this picture. He's going on a weeklong outdoor adventure with the menfolk from his family next week and I asked him if he'd be embarrassed to wear patterned socks and he assured me he would wear them with pride. I'm working on another pair of heavy socks but much plainer in black and hopefully they will be ready for him to take with him.

On the subject of my husband whom I will be married to for a total of 30 years April 20th in 2009, the man will never ever grow up but I don't mind. I knew when I met him back in high school and then met his father that he was a man cut out of the same cloth has his beloved dad. On Friday morning, when I went outside to leave for work I found thick frost covering both our vehicles. I knew he was running really late and the last thing he would need is to come out and find his jeep covered in frost. So I started my car and scraped it and then scraped his off. Later that morning when I got back from my coffee break I got an email from him saying. "Thanks you are a total sweetheart. I think I will keep you. Love Jeff" I know it's such a small thing but I believe it's the respect and appreciation that keeps the love alive. And it lifted my morning up just that he took the time to send those few words!

Next week I'm planning on going to WoolTyme to take a lesson on seaming set-in sleeves for Hayley's Gathered Pullover I'm making. The body is complete except for the edging around the neck and some ends to weave in and I have one sleeve done but as I look at it I can't imagine that shape fitting in that hole but the owner of the LYS told me it will fit and I should take a real lesson. I want to learn to do this correctly and am excited for it. However, I must say I enjoy the technique for the sleeves on the Top Down Raglan Sweater I made for Hayley much better. :)

Here's a preview of the cable detail on the sweater. It's hard to see in the photograph unfortunately.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blogging bug

I must have it...blogging two days in a row rather than waiting a month. On the way to see Stuart McLean we stopped into Chapters because we were a bit ahead of schedule. I picked up the Holiday edition of Voque Knitting and then wandered back to the Craft section where I saw Wendy Bernard's Custom Knits. Now I only have a couple of real knitting books, 2 Stitch 'n Bitch books and a couple from the Yarn Harlot and one called Knit Fixes (kindly bought for me last Christmas by my sweetheart daughter who know I need all the help I can get) Hmmm seems the girl who works with big numbers all days can't add small numbers...that's more than a couple. Back to the Custom Knits, I remember seeing some patterns from it on Ravelry that I liked and I glanced at it quickly and then threw all caution to the wind and purchased it. Later I took a better look at the book and have to say that I made a wise purchase. This book is great and full of lots of sweaters I would knit. I saw one I'd like to do for my son's fiance, some I'd make for Hayley and wow even some I'd make for myself....which I really should do...make something for myself that is. I tend to make 80% of the stuff for Hayley. A) she truly appreciates it and doesn't mind if it's not top notch quality. B.) she loves the thought that it's one of a kind and made for her. I'm just not always sure others will appreciate the handmade stuff. I'm feeling like there is so many things I want to make and not enough time to do it.

The Stuart McLean Vinyl Cafe show was excellent. I laughed at two new stories and Stuart also told one of my favourites..."My Dad is Dying". Joining him were Musical Talents Dala and Danny Michel. The Grand was packed to capacity. It was nice to see the old theatre redone but I don't think it's as beautiful as the Empire Theatre in Belleville. I would say the Empire Theatre spared no expense. The sound quality was fantatic at the Grand though. I purchased a Danny Michel CD and another Stuart cd

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Purple Purl Visit

This week I played hookie from work on Wednesday and Thursday so I can accompany my husband to Toronto to attend a training course. Truth be known I will take every opportunity I can to spend time with my daughter Hayley. I knew Hayley still had time vacation time left and I asked her if she would be able to take one day off to hang with her mom and she said she couldn't think of a better way to use her vacation. Oh what a sweet girl she is. I wish I lived closer...not Toronto exactly because I'm a small town person.

After a trip to Ikea where we could get Hayley some curtains for her living room (where I had flashbacks to the sixties and my mother's leaf motif plastic curtains) we headed to the Purple Purl . I found the most beautiful superwash yarn from the Southwest Trading Company in a beautiful dark cherry colour. I will make a central park hoodie out of it for Hayley. I'd love to get to it right away but I have the gathered pullover to finish (one sleeve to go) and some socks for Jeff and a hat before I start this but I'm excited none the less. The girls at the Purple Purl were so nice and helpful and I would definitely encourage anyone to check it out on a trip to Toronto. It was not that close to Hayley's hood but that didn't matter and I'm sure I'll be back at some point. The day was one of the perfect Canadian fall days and we had a great time. I almost forgot to mention lunch at Brad's Eatery on Roncevalles near Hayley's house. Great Food and Service. Even though I didn't eat all my veggies Hayley!!!

Looking forward to going to the Grander Grand in Kingston today to see Stuart McLean tell his Vinyl Cafe stories. It's our first trip to the Grand since it's been redone. I'm excited to see if the new seats are better than the could they be worse? It looks pretty splashy from the outside. It's another perfect fall day out so just the drive to Kingston should be pretty.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Note to self

If you plan on attempting to knit while attending the local hockey game make sure you wear a coat that does not have big sleeves. It's almost impossible to knit a sock when the needles keeps geting caught on the inside of your sleeve. It looks clumsy! And feels worse. So much for knitting last night but on good side my team won 9-5. Go Raiders Go!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wicked Good

Finally finished Hayley's Wicked Cool Sweater after having to frog it once. I'm very happy with the finished product except for some of the woven in ends coming astray. Hayley loves the sweater and wore it out on Saturday when we came to visit. I'm amazed that it fit so well. I used a t-shirt to size it up as Hayley lives too far away for fittings.

I could have done a better job of whipstitching
the pocket to the top unfortunately but my
daughter didn't seem to notice.

And I was worried that she would have liked the neckline tighter but she was okay with it. She's become so easy to please in her elderly age. As I look at these pictures I've uploaded there is a very sad reminder that summer is over and fall is upon us. The leaves are turning that lovely shade of yellow. I love this time of year but I hate thinking that soon winter will be here.

Winter is not my favourite time of year and I always always hate that drive to work on the 401 in the winter.

This has been an incredibly busy week for us. Monday I had meetings at the lovely in Picton all day. When all the work was done we had team building which was disguised as a cooking glass. Yes we had to cook our own dinner at a place that has excellent cuisine. It was a lot of fun and the food was edible although I did manage to make one of the worst apple crisps of my life. I got home at 10:10 pm which is way past my bedtime.
Wednesday we attended the group at the K-Rock Centre in Kingston. It was the best show I've attended yet. I loved the music, the humour and the colour. It was the most interactive show I've been to yet and the crowd seemed to love it as much as I did. The next day I spoke to a co-worker who also attended and he enjoyed it immensely as well.
Friday I took the day off. My husband had a dinner to attend to at the Royal York in Toronto for the quarter century club. It's hard to believe my young husband has hit the milestone of working for the same company for 30 years. This gave us the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, some who we had not seen in 30 years. Hayley came up after work as well. For a while she was probably the only person under 30 in the room then she spotted another young person in the suite. It was a late night especially for me who usually never gets past 10 p.m. I was laying awake at 2 p.m. trying to wind down from all the excitement. Of course, I woke up at 6 am as usual. Around 11 we headed to Hayley's where we went out and had a wonderful breakfast on Roncevalles. It was fun but I'm glad next week will be less eventful.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Personal calls at work!

Everyone has them but typically most people I work with keep them to a bare minimum. Oh but there is always one or two people out there that abuse the priviledge. The young fella who is my cubicle mate does this a lot but thankfully most of the time he's speaking in Turkish so I don't really know what he's saying. On the other side of me, another co-worker is in a more difficult situation. He has a new cubicle mate and this new cubicle mate at one time sat on the other side of the wall from my co-worker. My co-worker had to endure listening to phone calls made to this guy's lawyer and exwife. To guitar shops and friends. We're not talking an hour, we're not talking a couple, we're talking more. Now this fellow is part of our team. Great!

Overheard yesterday by my co-worker.
"Hey, you know that thing you wanted to go to? I scored some tickets to it!!! Yeah. Are you happy???? ....... I just really want to make you happy! ...........I bet you are sooooo happy! ...............Oh I'm so glad I made you happy! Love you!!!!!

Please don't subject your co-workers to inane pointless conversations like this! And I hate to say it but I give this relationship 6 most. I'm sure she'll get tired of being asked how happy she is.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wicked sad

Well the other day I re-learned that old lesson that if you think something is wrong it probably is. I had the top portion of Hayley's wicked sweater done and my husband was going to attempt to take a shot of it. Looking at it I thought...hmmmm those raglan sleeves don't look right. I asked my husband if they looked strange to him. One side looked fine but the other side instead of slanting out at an angle seemed to angle down. He said it's just because it's on the circular needles it looks weird. So being positive I laboured on....and on....

My son and his fiance got their first place. They'd been living with her parents. We had to deliver a few items to them and I thought this is great. I can knit and finish the body up in the Jeep. I was weaving in all the ends and spreading it out on my lap to look at it....hmmmmm. I think that shoulder doesn't look any better. Hubby looks over and says does look weird. Darn it all. So the moral of the story is that things don't correct themselves over time. Now I have to frog the whole thing back. Go through all that collar business which I struggled with. The worst part for me is joining in the round. For some reason I have a hard time getting through without twisting it.

I've persevered on and after two attempt to join in the round and succeeding finally and ultimately I have finished the collar. The first attempt at this sweater was pretty good and other than the wonky shoulders it looked pretty darn good. Yvonne, my son's fiance being the nice person she is told me that Hayley would still probably wear it as is...haha. Yep she made it with love but obviously didn't know what she was doing. That might have worked when I was first learning and made some hats and mittens. I just knock it up to another learning experience. Thankfully this is a pattern that knits up very quickly.

One other nice thing I would like to mention in my blog is the niceness of knitting people. I've never met virtual strangers that reach out to their comrades like knitters do. It's awesome. In ravelry, I posted how my daughter would like to learn and asked about knitting groups and lessons. I got so many very helpful responses, from offers of private lessons at the Naked Sheep, Knitting night at Lettuce Knits and one person who lives in my daughters area who offered so kindly to meet her at a coffee shop and work with her. So far she's still struggling and her crazy schedule doesn't help matters. And every time I have an issue or don't understand I've posted online only to receive help in minutes. It's really helped me tremendously.
Well we're into September and where did the summer go. I think not having little children at home anymore you don't have the end of school that defines when the period begins and the return to school when it ends. I'm however sure that last summer seemed much longer than this one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hayley's Nantucket Tank Top

Since we returned from vacation I haven't really posted anything in here. And the whole idea is that not only would this blog show our vacation but it would be my knitting blog as well. So what have I been knitting you ask? Well, thanks for asking. I finished off the lace ribbon scarf that I knit in Sirdar Baby Bamboo. I still need to block it and just haven't been in much of a hurry to do so since returning from vacation. Call it it me being lazy. I finished Hayley's Nantucket Tank and it fit!! I'm really happy with this one. It was my first attempt at cables and my first totally finished piece of clothing. Yes I've done hats, mitts and scarfs but the only other piece of clothing was the sad hoodie that sits in a bag begging to be seamed together. I guess I haven't been too anxious to finish it because I know it's so baggy that Hayley won't probably wear it now. Those were the old days where she wore clothes big enough for someone twice her size. Back to the tank, the first part was a dream and when I got to the part where I was working two balls of yarn I struggled a bit. I don't always read instructions correctly. I question and read between the lines instead of just doing it a personal defect. I did a bit of tinking on the top part but in the end I think it turned out pretty great. It fit Hayley perfectly. Her bra straps show at the back but she didn't seem to mind this. And I think she could wear another top under it.
Enjoy the picture.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This is really just a rant!

One of my co-workers said they were going to go home and write something on what Pay and Progression has done for them. So I thought I'd write a few comments as well. Pay and Progression now says no one can stay in a role longer than 4 years. I've been in my current role and feel more than ready to do something new. I'm not learning anything at this point so to do something new and learn again would be welcome. Unfortunately, having applied for a new role I was told that I can't leave at least for the next six months. My fear is that after six months all the roles coming up in my pay level will be filled and I'll be homeless. Sure the rating system worked in my favour and I was rated a 1 or Top Performer but I can't take that to the bank. I really want to continue to work my hardest and give it my best and all that crap but I'm starting to get jaded like all those around me. One of the joys of working for one of the largest corporations in the world.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wrap Up

Since the internet was pretty non-existant at the Loews Le Concorde in Quebec City I haven't posted anything in the last 3 days. However, I will try to wrap up our final few days.

Grand Falls, NB- We left Halifax in the morning after stopping at Pete's Frootique. I noticed this store when we went to Cora's the day before. I remember Pete being on Canada A.M. to discuss fresh fruits and vegetables years ago. Not sure if he still appears but I was excited to see the store. We decided as we had a long day of travel we would drop in there and grab fruit and other items for the road for breakfast. It was a nice grocery store with a fish and meat counter and lots of specialty items. Jeff got his first yogurt in over a week. I'm sure his body was saying what the?
We arrived in Grand Falls around 4 ish and checked into our hotel which was a fairly new Best Western Motel and Suites. We headed down to check out the Falls.

I was amazed to find that in the spring these falls put over almost the same volume of water that goes over Niagara Falls. By late summer, most of the water is diverted to a hydro electric plant. Grand Falls seems to be about the same size if not smaller than Napanee so there wasn't a lot of dining choices but we went to this old house that served Italian food. The food and service turned out to be excellent. It was pretty busy there and I always take that as an indication of the quality of the restaurant. If a place is dead I'm always worried there is a reason why it's so dead.

The next day we left for Quebec City.

We arrived around 2 ish so we went to our hotel to check in. It's a big hotel with a rotating restaurant on top. Super busy. Our room was on the 10th floor overlooking the Plains of Abraham and old Quebec.

We could see very clearly where they were setting up for the free Sir Paul McCartney concert on the Plains of Abraham.

The room decoration was sort of ultra modern and seventyish. But it was the only hotel room I've been in that had a flat screen tv. We got our stuff unloaded and headed off to find a place to eat since we'd only really eaten leftovers from Pete's Frootique for breakfast. We walked through the walls into Old Quebec and got to the point where you can either take the Funicular down or take the stairs down. We figured we walk down and take the Funicular up. Smart people we are. Next level down we had two choices.

Being the bossypants I am I said I knew where we were going and proceeded to take us on the longest route ever. We saw things we never saw the last time we were Hope Gate.

I tried to find some info on the net on this but mostly it's pictures but one link said it was the entrance to Old Quebec City. The outside of this gate is covered in 32,000 plants. After walking through the gate, we continued downward into lower town and ended up on the far side of Lower town on Rue St. Paul where all the antique shops were and we were trying to get to Le Cochon Dinque (the crazy pig) which is on the opposite end of Lower Town. Quebec City is still quite small though and we didn't feel so bad about indulging at supper. I had the Sugar Pie for dessert. I expect it to be a bit like a butter tart but it's more custardy. After supper we looked in some shops. There was one fellow playing crystal wine glasses and another playing a harp. The sound was amazing. There seemed to be a lot more buskers this time than last time we were here probably due to the 400th anniversary of Quebec city and the free concert on Sunday. I love Quebec city and I really enjoy just walking around and taking in the sights.

The next day we headed out for the Omelletrie for breakfast. The little french girls are so nice that serve you there and we had a nice relaxing breakfast. Then fueled up, we headed out to do some major souvenir and gift shopping. We found some nice stuff but then we were saddled with shopping bags. We found a gelato store for Jeff and he had a cup of two kinds of gelato. I tasted the praline kind and it tasted yummy. We sat in a park to cool down and let him enjoy his treat and we met a bunch of older french ladies who sat beside us on the bench. The one closest to me spoke to me in french and I could tell she was commenting on the beautiful day so I said yes it's beautiful. Well she switched languages just like that and we had a nice talk. She asked us where we were from and we discussed how there is no place in Canada like Quebec city. We decided to head back to the room and unload our purchases, freshen up before our early dinner. We went to one of the patios on Grande Allee just around the corner from the hotel. Jeff just wanted Nachos and I wanted pasta so we had to find a place that had both. First we just shared a litre of wine and then we ordered. Did lots of people watching and lots of car watching...

We ran back up to the room before heading to D'youville Station to catch the shuttle to Montmorency Falls. At 6:45 p.m we headed out with our bag of poncho's and our umbrella, prepared this time for anything. Even though it had been beautiful all day it had threatened rain a few times and it looked pretty ominous at this point. We were near the Congress Centre when it just let loose. Us and about 20 others headed for the shelter of the cement overhang at the congress center. We held out there waiting for the rain to quit for about 25 minutes. Finally, the rain was a bit lighter so we took the umbrella and headed off once again for the station. Jeff took a couple of good bonks to the head from the umbrella...Oops. By the time we got to the falls, the rain was gone. I don't know exactly why and maybe it was the heavy rains prior but the fireworks spewed out so much smoke that at times you could not see the fireworks...just flashes or slight sparkles behind the curtain of smoke. Several times they just stopped to let the smoke clear. It was a shame because from what I could see this was one of the best choreographed shows I've seen. Fernando from work was there and he felt the same way I did. I'm sure the team competing was pretty upset. We still enjoyed it and everyone still gave them a loud round of applause.

We got back to the city later than we would of because of all the stoppages and we walked home. There was plenty of people walking about. Enjoy some of the scenes we saw on the way home.

In the morning, we got up as early as we could...since we didn't get to the room until just after midnight we couldn't get up as early as we would of liked but we got up at 7 and got on the road at 9:30. At 9:30 there were people already heading into the Plains of Abraham for the concert. We were glad to escape before it got too crazy.

The drive home was busy and there was some heavy rain. We both felt like we had a great vacation but were happy to be going home. We got home and unloaded our packed car, relaxed and had a great chat with Hayley. We don't get that often enough. Then we had to go pick up the Minster. It was her first time ever at a kennel and she did fine. The kennel is across the bay and we'll definitely use it in the future. When we got back we had a call from my dad who was also vacationing out on the East Coast and attending the Antigonish Highland Games and a Ross Clan Meeting in Iona. Low and behold, it turns out he was in Baddeck in Sunday, the day we arrived and had supper in the restaurant of the Lynwood Inn where we were staying. We ate in the same restaurant that night on the veranda. He went to the Ceilidh at the Parish Hall behind us and we had discussed going over there as well but we were still eating at 7:30 when it started.

Another weird coincident is that I mentioned the fella we met in St. Andrew's who worked in St. Andrews in the summer and Key West in the winter. Cor, a co-worker met the same guy only she met him in Florida. It's definitely a small world.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Today, we took in the sights of Halifax. It was another absolutely beautiful day. I can't believe how lucky we've been. We went to the Citadel and took a tour lead by a soldier's wife Clare. We also had a concert by bagpipers. Since growing up in Kincardine where there is a bagpipe parade every Saturday night, I don't usually get too excited about bagpipes but I guess it had been a while and I truly enjoyed the concert. They also shot off the cannon at noon which they do 364 days a year.

We killed over 2 hours at the Citadel and I thought it was best to head to the waterfront because we wanted to do both the Atlantic Marine Museum and the Alexander Keith Brewery Tour. On the way back down to the water we stopped at a confectionary shop called Freak Lunchbox. The young man at the cash greeted us with a friendly hello. This was the best candy store I'd been in as it also had lots of toy items like tin lunchboxes, gumby and pokey's and other not normally seen items. I picked up a t-shirt for Hayley (because she like's freaky things I figured a t-shirt that said Freak Lunchbox fit the bill and a few other items.) The young man commented on my good taste on the other items I bought but this must remain a secret. Some gifts must remain secret.

We finally arrived at the Marine Museum. What a great display. The first thing we saw was this huge lens from a lighthouse. Quite amazing.

Halifax has so much history and there are very extensive displays on the Halifax Disaster and the Titanic. We also got to tour the CSS Acadia and watch a 3D film about going down to the wreckage of the Titanic.

We really needed much more time for this museum than we had. In fact, we were the last people out of the building before it closed.
We went for a nice dinner at a seafood place called McKelvie's. Our waiter was a really nice guy and the service was excellent. Jeff had Jambalaya and I had a nice seafood pasta with haddock, scallops and shrimp. They also served a delicious bannock bread. After dinner we trucked it down to Alexander Keith's to do the tour only to find out that they were done for the night. However we still picked up some gifts from the Alexander Keith's store including two cold one's for the road!!

Tomorrow it's a long drive to Grand Fall's NB. No sightseeing just a travel day inbetween here and Quebec City on Friday.

Baddeck to Halifax

We went to the Lynwood Inn Restaurant for breakfast again because it was so good yesterday and of course handy. I had the french toast and it was the 1st time in my life that I've had french toast that was coated in crushed corn flakes. I will definitely have to try this version at home because it gave it a nice cruncy tasty texture. We stopped off at the Cape Breton Clay store because other than the yarn store we hadn't visited any of the other Baddeck store. The pottery items were beautiful but too expensive for my budget. Their was some beautiful framed photography prints and some jewelry I was tempted to purchase but I decided to save my money to spend in Halifax or Quebec.

The first part of our trip there was heavy rains and then along the coast it was very foggy over the water. We felt even though it would take longer we would take the shore route rather than the cross country route. Once we arrived in Halifax, found our hotel, got parked and ventured out we realized we maybe should have taken the quick route. Our hotel, the Sheraton Four Points is right downtown close to the historic waterfront. Jeff felt a bit stressed after the quiet pace of all the previous places to again drive in the city but once we started walking around his stress level dropped quickly. We found that our hotel is a block from Alexander Keith's brewery, about 5 minutes from the Atlantic Marine Museum and also within walking distance of the Citadel. Previously our plan had been to look around Halifax and then drive tomorrow out of the city to Peggy's Cove and Mahone's Bay but now that we see all that is here to see within walking distance we decided to take in all of that. We ate supper at Murphy's Restaurant at the end of the wharf. For Jeff, it was awesome because there was so many things to take pictures of. I'd finished my meal and he had barely eaten his. Note to self in the future do not drink two big glasses of beer with dinner when you plan to walk around.

That's all that's to be said for now. Please enjoy the following photos.

Bridge to Halifax

Theodore Tugboat

Harbour Hopper

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Grandeur of the Seas

Hayley note the climbing wall on the back top level of the ship!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cabot Trail

Yesterday, we had breakfast inside the Lynwood Inn Main House. Our waitress had that wonderful Cape Breton charm and sense of humour. On the menu there was an item called Cape Breton Oat Cakes so I ordered a couple with my breakfast. They were essentially a warm, flat, square oatmeal cookie and they served it with butter. This was what was crumbled on my Cape Breton Sundae the day before. I told the waitress they were good and she told me "Dear to tell you the truth I'm not fond of the one's here but up on the Cabot Trail, the Clucking Hen makes the best ones." So we decided to check it out on our way up the trail.

After breakfast we walked over to Baadeck Yarns. It was Yarn Heaven. The selection was unbelievable. The woman who help us was very nice and told us she was originally from Toronto but came to Baddeck 15 years ago for a two week vacation and never left. She was a computer programmer in Toronto. Many times when I'm on vacation I've wanted to do the same thing and it's nice to hear that some people actually do it. I walked out of the store with yarn for Hayley's "Wicked" Sweater" and Baadeck Yarn's Fleece Artist called Baadeck Summer yarn for a lace scarf.

After the Yarn store we headed up the North Shore of the Cape Breton. The sun started to break through the clouds. The scenery along this route is the most breathtaking I've ever seen. I swear we only drove for 10 minutes at a time and had to pull over for observation points. Each was miraculously more beautiful than the next. I believe Jeff said the trip around if you were to drive it takes 4 hours but it took us 9 hours. That included dinner at the Rusty Anchor and Jeff's dip in the ocean. Words can not describe this area so I'll just leave some pictures.

This is where Jeff went and took a dip in the ocean. Moments after we pulled over it started to rain. At least the rain washed the salt water off him. He had lots of fun getting undressed and dressed in my little car.

This morning we head to Halifax. We'll probably check out the downtown area today and the Alexander Keith brewery and then tomorrow we'll head out of the city towards Peggy's Cove and Mahone Bay.