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!