EPS and Pact

January 31, 2008

My EPS/Homecoming Sweater is slowly growing, and is mostly boring cream stocking stitch at the moment.  The first arm is about half done, and going quickly.  I hope to be starting the second arm on the weekend.  I think it is interesting that I immediately rolled the cuff on the sleeve, and that I’ve left it that way.  I’m going to measure the sleeve from the rolled edge, as I prefer that. 

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I’m doing pretty well keeping my focus and working on the sweater when I’m at home.  Montego Bay tried to push its way in, but I managed to hold it off.  Next week when I’m traveling (I’m now flying into Saskatoon instead of RegIna as it is more central to the few places I’m going) it will get more attention.  Plus I’ll have a back-up sock project, don’t want to be caught out!

Another reason for my admirable (Ha!) focus is that I’ve entered into a pact with the lovely Miss J of Calgary.  Here is the deal: we’ve both made lists, and when we finish them we get to go on a yarn crawl of every yarn store in Calgary!  I’m extremely excited!  My list is two sweaters; Homecoming and the Gathered Pullover.  I’d better get working hadn’t I?

 My Mum sent up a few photos to warm us up, isn’t she sweet?  The first is from a beach front restaurant in Honduras:

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I think I’ll start with a very cold rum punch made from fresh juice, and have the fresh shrimp in a nice spicy coating.  Sides of fried plantain, and beans and rice.  Maybe french fries….  Or maybe a nice cold beer as its so hot and humid, and a fresh tuna steak, cooked to perfection, marinated in a lovely spicy sauce.  Or a really good conch roti…  Sigh!  I feel so nice and warm now!  Here is a lovely sunrise over the ocean from the front porch:

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Maybe a little vacation is called for… Oh yeah that’s right, I’m going to Saskatchewan!   That’s better than a tropical vacation…

Reflection on the Wall

January 30, 2008

I am not sure if my SNB calender is unique, or if other people have noticed that it casts a strange reflection on the wall:

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Hmmm.  Now what does that look like?  A flower, a butterfly, a bird, or perhaps a v*gina?  I’m thinking the latter, it is a knitting calendar after all…  (I put the little star in there so hopefully no one searches for naked ladies and gets disappointed with this site instead.  The ladies on this site are rather heavily dressed in parkas). 

 Next week I’m probably going to Regina Sask. for a business trip.  I used to get a huge kick out of saying “Regina” to my male Utah colleagues.  They really, really, wanted me to pronounce it “Regeena”, but no, it is pronounced “RegIna” and it rhymes with the reflection on the wall up there.  I said it loud, and I said it proud last year when I went to Regina to give a paper, and those men were so utterly uncomfortable!  They went red, they looked away, they left.  Oh, what fun you can have in Utah…

This morning we had a fog of ice crystals in the air due to the extreme cold here in Calgary.  I took a photo of the sunrise, and of the resulting sun dog?  I’m not quite sure what the correct term is for the rainbow halo at the edge of the fog I saw this morning.

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I was going to post a progress report on my EPS today, but if I wait until tomorrow hopefully I’ll have the colour band around one wrist to make it more exciting.  Currently it is still a wool tube top and wrist band.  But it continues to grow…

Stay warm everyone, and Mum and Dad stay cool you rotters! 

Part Deux: The Skating Gala

January 29, 2008

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So, do you want to come out and skate with me?

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Would you hurry up and get out of the warming hut and come play?

First Ms. Banawna performs her routine:

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A beautiful display of skating skill!  High marks for technical excellence and artistic ability!  Will you just look at that toque keeping her head warm!  And in hockey skates that were a bit big no less!  Next up is Mr. T:

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I believe it was entitled: The Stork on Ice!  He finished the routine with a magnificent hockey stop, not bad for a southerner!

A similar pair routine was performed:

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And a solo by Anne:

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The star studded gala finished with a waltz:

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The last photo brings a warm glow to my heart.  Ms. Banawna and I have been friends since we were 17, and let’s just say that we’ve been doing similar photo shoots for a long time.  This little skating rink is located just below the Banff Springs Hotel, hidden away by the river.  The snow was falling softly, we were all pretty warm, and it couldn’t have been more beautiful. 

The last two days have been -40 oC with the windchill.  The weather forecasts have been saying that exposed skin will freeze in two minutes, and I can believe them from the state of my poor cheeks.  It makes me sad but I’m skipping knitting night in favor of getting home earlier, and staying warm, and not ending up frozen in a snowbank at the bus stop. 

Wearing their parkas

With their hoods all pulled up tight

A man or woman?

Banff Winter Wonderland

January 28, 2008

Only an hour away, but a whole vacation in one weekend.  I’m not sure what was the bigger treat, having a fancy weekend, getting outside and enjoying winter, catching up with dear old friends, or getting to know new ones.  We had so much fun, and there was so much more we could have done this weekend as there were so many special events going on.  The first big treat was staying at the incredible Banff Springs Hotel

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The Banff Springs hotel was originally built by the railroad in 1888, and modeled on a Scottish castle.  It is magnificent, opulent, and very, very beautiful.  The staff are very well trained, and we liked the fact that tipping was only allowed in the dining room!  Some more views:

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The highlight for us was definitely the outdoor, heated, salt water pool.  It was a bit of a rush getting down the three stairs and into the water, but once in we could watch our breath freeze, gaze at the mountains, and feel very decadent.  Okay, not as decadent as the people that brought their own beer, but special none the less.  A salt water pool means they can use less chlorine, and its easier to keep warm, so maybe a little bit more environmentally friendly?  Other delights we could have sampled at the hotel were afternoon tea, and brunch, but the outdoors called!

We headed on down to Banff to meet up with a dear old friend of mine, Ms. Banawna. 

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The National Park has been trying to limit development in Banff, without much success.  It remains a bit much of a trendy tourist trap, with some redeeming features.  It has beautiful views all around of the mountains, but they aren’t quite as close and in your face as they are in Park City or Telluride.  After a few bad meals, we found a good place for brunch, The Bison.  I have to check out their dinners as well one day.  The Bison is doing one of my favorite things lately, only providing locally sourced food as much as possible.  All the meat and fish are from Alberta and British Columbia, as is the wine and produce as much as possible.  After a good stuffing we headed out for a bit of a ski.  Most of my photos involve snotsicles, but here is another SupercoolAnne:

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After so much mountain air there wasn’t much else to do but head over to Ms. Banawna’s hotel (The Buffalo Moutain Lodge, tres nice) have a drink by the wood fire, and eat at their excellent restaurant.  Oh my goodness and that was only Saturday, stay tuned for Sunday!

On a different note, I couldn’t believe it when I saw this commercial, after having spend 3 years in Utah.  Take a look here!

I was shocked at how politically incorrect this was, but almost hurt myself laughing! 

Winter Working Joy

January 24, 2008

Sunrise:

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Sunset:

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From my office, not from the same day, but it could be.  Last night there was a bit of hope however when I left work at 5 pm, it wasn’t quite dark yet!  This is the time of year when I start to look forward to spring with every fibre of my being.  The pretty spring styles are appearing in the stores, and my head is full of plans of biking, camping, hiking, and not freezing!  I’d better finish a sweater soon eh?

The women in Calgary are under warning from the Chief of Police to be alert due to two recent attacks on women near transit stations.  In the most recent, the woman was so badly beaten they will have to use DNA to do a final identification.  Ick.  They issued the warning primarily because the attacks appear to be random, and the women just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  My trip home involves walking along safe city streets, getting on a bus, and then walking through a dark scary park to the apartment.  I’ve got a flashlight in one pocket, and a little surprise in another.  I think I’m going to put the surprise in my mitten now, and avoid any trips home after 6 pm. 

 On a lighter note, I’ve got a very exciting weekend planned, that does not involve dark scary walks through parks.  I’m off to Banff on Friday to spend the weekend with a dear old friend who is out for a conference.  This weekend is also the Ice Magic Festival, along with some other nifty winter festivals.  Its supposed to be incredibly, mind-boggling cold, so I’m going prepared with every single warm thing I own.  I also plan on being dosed with liberal amounts of spiked hot chocolate!  Therefore I may not post tomorrow, but I hope to have some incredible photos for Monday!  I may even knit in between skating, skiing, and snowshoeing!

Wednesday Working Away

January 23, 2008

I’m happy with the way my EPS Homecoming sweater motif turned out in the end:

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I’m not saying its perfect, just okay.  This is the band that goes around the waist and both wrists.  I changed around the background colours so as to make the blue stand out more, and made the maple leaf look more like a maple leaf, in my mind anyhoo.  I have learned so much about what to do, and what not to do, its been a lot of fun!  If I had to do it over from the beginning, who knows what I would do now, and which colours I would choose.  Last night I drew up more of the yoke pattern using “Alice Staremore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting”.  The Calgary Library has a very good selection of knitting books!  I’ve got some waves, and some other things that use the yellow colour in small amounts so as not to overwhelm.  I was going to put a Wild Rose of Alberta, but as it has five petals as depicted on my drivers license, and this is rather hard on a knitting pattern, I went on to other things.  The Ontario trillium has three, and was also a bust.  It is a lot of fun to build meaning into the pattern, almost like I’m making my coat of arms!  Over all, I love the wool, it fuzzes up nicely when washed.  The Prairie wool should be a first choice if you are thinking of making a fishermans sweater, it should cable like a dream.

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I’ve got 10 inches done, and am about to increase for the bust at 12 inches.  At 16″ I’ll stop and start the arms.  Are you jealous to know that I’ve got short arms?  Hee Hee! 

I’ve also started my Montego Bay Scarf in the camel/silk yarn.  And yes if I see you I will make you feel the scarf and notice how soft it is:

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Who knew camels were soft?  They look so scratchy and mean. 

Transition Complete?

January 22, 2008

The Transition socks were begun in Utah:

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Worked on in Roatan Honduras:

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And finished in Calgary, Alberta Canada:

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But is the Transition Complete?  (In the immortal words of Jon Stewart, if you put a question mark behind any statement, you can get away with saying anything).  And the answer would be no.  I’m still in a very transitory stage in my life.  I still have one foot in the US and one foot in Canada, but I’m pulling with both hands to get both feet in to Canada.  I’m tired of sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor!  I want my furniture here, I want to get out of the crappy (albeit cheap) apartment.  I will own up to the spoiled brat tendencies I’m displaying, but at a certain age one likes ones comforts.  I realize that all things are in process, and eventually it will happen, but sometimes the waiting is hard.  But my outlook about the future is very much as pink and rosy as these socks; eventually things will be good.  I’m back in Canada, the true north strong and free, I’m skating, I’m close to bosom friends, and eventually family will be close.  I still have mountains to play in, and a small city to explore.  Slowly but surely the knitting circle is expanding.  There are plans in the works for a yarn crawl when I’m allowed to make new purchases (when I finish some of these sweaters!) and each week I meet new and interesting knitters.  And just in time, the Internet blogs and Ravelry allow me to keep in touch with my favorite knitters in the US!  Maybe wearing these socks will speed the transition along. 

There she is, Pretty Piper, all cuddled up in the crook of my arm sleeping away while I knit:

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I guess I woke her up by taking her photo:

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The Queen is not amused:

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But inside she is thinking: Happy Birthday Auntie K, she just hides it well!

Focus

January 18, 2008

I’ve been having a hard time focusing lately, and yet at the same time I’m trying to concentrate on it and make it a priority.  My new day-timer with its lovely “To Do This Week” section, and monthly goal section is helping immensely.  Of course if someone would turn off the Internet connection that would help as well.  Last Sunday during my skating session I was having trouble ignoring all the hundreds of public skaters, and just focusing on my skating.  For one of the jumps I am trying to do I need to visualize the jump first, and then throw myself into the air and hope muscle memory carries me through.  This isn’t so easy when there are four people or so lined up staring at you, or you couldn’t help but notice that crash, or oh my goodness don’t carry your child when you can hardly skate yourself! 

I’m experiencing the same problem with my knitting projects, but I’m making progress there as well.  I’ve got my projects down to two, a stay at home big sweater, and a travel project.  When I finish one of the two them I’m allowed to start the next big or travel project.  Its very hard to keep it to that, considering all the other lovely things out there to make. Ravelry does not help, but putting certain designs into the “favs” section seems to satisfy a bit of the urges.  But at the same time it gives me motivation to keep on track and work on the projects, as when I finish one I get to start another one!  That is very exciting. 

This weekend are the Canadian National Figure Skating Championships.  I’m very excited about this as I have not seen them in the seven years I lived in the United States, which is really no surprise.  Up here in the frozen north the Championships make prime-time!  About ten years ago the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) figured out something very important for which we are all grateful, they shut up during the skating sections.  The American commentators haven’t figured that out yet and talk over the whole program so that you can’t hear the music!  I will leave you for the weekend with Anne’s Tips for watching Figure Skating (Developed over the years watching it with Mum and Auntie K if she was around):

1) First step is to comment on the outfit.  Is it a nice dress, does it stand out from the ice, does it look nice on the skater, are all body parts covered adequately, does it compliment the music and theme.  Was it worth the $13,000 they paid for it (I mean you Nancy Kerrigan, and the answer is no!) (Elvis Stoiko’s Mum made his outfits for far too long)

2) Notice the hair do, with much the same idea as above.  (Tonya Harding and her ponytail usually won the ick award)

3) Move onto the music.  A good choice for that skater, too bland, too fast, or what were they thinking?

4) After they are done is time to comment on how well they did, what jumps were done, what was screwed up, how artistically good it was.  I prefer a more ballet style al la Russian.  If your favorite skater did a great performance, standing ovation! 

5) And of course, discuss the marks!  Examine the French and Russian judges carefully!

See, wouldn’t it be fun to watch skating with me and my Mum!  Oh yes, and lots of knitting time!

Have a great weekend!

Bow River Ice

January 17, 2008

I’m posting a bit early today, as my boss and I are off to tour one of the Calgary water plants.  How exciting is that!  I’m going to bring my camera, and ask if I can bring you back some photos, we’ll see.  My personal belief is that a water plant should be so clean you can eat off the floors, which hasn’t always made me popular with certain lazy operators. 

I never realized how integral water is to Calgary, with the Bow River running through the city.  This river is fairly wide, with enough flow to make it powerful and fast moving.  In the fall I thought it was very clean looking water, without a lot of sediment, but perhaps I’m just used to staring into the Colorado which is so muddy you could walk across it (except right now, in the winter the water is the clearest it ever gets, with a slight green tinge from the mixing of the Colorado and Green River just north of Moab).  The northern edge of Downtown Calgary is bordered by the river, and the city has developed  beautiful parks and bike paths along its edge.  The main paths are plowed in the winter so that hardy souls can still ride their bikes to work.  A few weeks ago a friend and I went for a walk, and had to stop in amazement to look at the ice on the river, and watch it groaning, heaving, grinding.

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Calgary from the west along the bike path.

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The Bow river off to the west.  Meli-Mello puts it best however in her blog post on the subject, check it out.

I learned today:

The first water filter patent was taken out in 1746 by a French scientist.  The filter design was for sponge, charcoal and wool.  These filters were sold to individual households.