Yesterday, March 29 at approximately 4 pm, Jack and I saw our first robins, two of them in the tree out front.  I was very excited, Jack was excited, but differently I suspect.  He was almost salivating!  I felt very sorry for them as the ground that might contain tasty worms is currently covered in 3 feet of snow, more where shovels have piled it up.  The neighbourhood kids have been busy piling it up more and building snowforts here and there.  However, spring and melting snow can’t be far behind robins!

The CBC redeemed itself by playing over 4 hours of figure skating on Saturday, and showing a lot of the womens final on Sunday.  I got to see the skate that won Patrick Chan his silver, and the barely there bronze of the Canadian dance pair.  And most importantly, a Canadian lady was on the podium at World’s for the first time in over 20 years!  It was very exciting when Joannie skated well, and won the silver.  We had a great weekend by the fire knitting and watching:

cosy-watching-figure-skating

Piper in her basket, and Jack in his chair, snug and warm by the fire.  Rounding out the weekend was some salsa dancing, some grooving to Reggaton, which I absolutely love, and even dancing a jig or two to live Celtic music.

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So that bike and I can get outside again.  Or rather, Gus and I, as I like to call my LeMond road bike:

anne-from-distance-on-canyonlands-road

That’s the two of us heading up to Dead Horse Point.  Mr. J. and I were just talking about how we expected this ride to take us about four hours, and it actually took us 7 hours.  And most of that was at a slight to medium “up”, as we zoomed on the way down.  I discovered on the descents that any speed above 30 m/hr makes me very, very nervous, and I begin to visualize what would happen if my front wheel fell off, etc.  I’m getting more comfortable with the high speed descents, but its pretty white knuckle for me, and I tend to start slowing myself down.

I’m hoping this weekend will involve a lot of time puttering around the house with my faithful companions Jack and Piper.  Trust me, they are never far away.  Tonight is a girls night out with an old friend, and tomorrow may be a pub night.  Home time however is at a high priority right now as I may be out traveling the next two weeks.  Spring cleaning is gripping me as I’ve been rummaging around my closet finding things to give to charity, and wondering why I’m keeping other items.  Out, out! 

And a big “Boo!” to the CBC in Calgary last night who did not televise the men’s skating in Prime Time like their website said they would.  Sounds like Patrick Chan gave a good effort to rise from third to silver, and the American skater zoomed from third to gold!  He must have skated really well.  I would have liked to see it.  Boo!

Have a nice weekend everyone, think snow melting thoughts!

With a title like that, let’s just show the yummy yarn eh?

sleeping-dragon-yarn

Yum, raspberry chocolate ice cream colour!  I do believe the name of the yarn is more like rose and chocolate, but I can’t help but have my sweet tooth act up whenever I see it.  I believe it is destined for a scarf, and I have a pattern in mind.  It will be a great office scarf, and go with tons of outfits.  Karen of Sleeping Dragon yarn is a talented dyer.  Make sure you check her stuff out when you are around Utah.

I did not get a whole lot of vacation knitting done due to extreme amounts of outdoor activities, and the resulting eating and sleeping that went along with that.  We did watch episodes of the first season of X-files in the cabin, which certainly explained a lot of my superstitions.  “See, when you work late at night alone in an office someone crawls out of the air duct and eats your liver!”.  I watched them all ten years ago, had them imprint on my psyche, its fun to watch them anew.  (Also why I have to look into the hole of a porta potty before peeing).  The cabled tank is coming along, I’m up to the arm pits on the front now:

cabled-tank-almost-done

I am going to run out of yarn since I did lengthen this, but I’m waiting to see if I need one or two more balls first.  My knee high shooting socks are coming along:

shooting-sock-1-almost-to-heel

I bought this yarn a long time ago, it was my first real sock yarn.  Before I discovered I don’t particularly like stripey sock yarn.  The pattern is simply giving some texture, and is okay, but not the best evah.  The garter stitch parts are giving some thickness to the sock that will help it be warmer, rather then if I had just used straight ribbing.  I’m almost down to the heel now on sock #1.  I think the next pair of socks will be regular length, rather than all these knee socks!  I do know I’m going to wear these around the house with my jean skirt all the time.  We’ll see if they make it outside other than under jeans. 

Is anyone else excited about the figure skating on tonight?  Its the mens final and Patrick Chan is in a close third after the short.  I hope he does well and skates clean, he’s such a sweetie.  Mum and I are going to cheer him on tonight for sure, 6:30 pm Calgary time!!

69-The Year of Love

March 25, 2009

Daddio turned 69 yesterday, and has begun his year of love.  I hope that he wears flowers in his hair, flowered shirts and shorts and sandals, and has lovely thoughts all year long!  May you be surrounded by those you love, receive the love of those far away, and return the love twicefold! 

The alternate name of this blog post is “Colorado Low”.  Yesterday in Manitoba I learned what that is as a nasty snowstorm came into the province turning everything white and icy.  I did the three hour drive on pins and needles, a bit worried when I couldn’t see anything in front of the windshield, or even where the road was.  When I hit the last hour of sheer ice, I slowed down and enjoyed life.  Amazingly only one car was in the ditch (way in the ditch, almost up to the door in water) which is a testament to local drivers knowing how to slow down and drive to conditions.  In the past when I’ve made presentations I’ve received some nice gifts, a logo mug, a picnic blanket.  This gift however was outstanding and I love it.  Each presenter received:

mwwoc-gift

A painting on a real maple leaf encased in glass.  Isn’t it pretty?

Re-Entry into Real Life

March 23, 2009

The first day back has gone rather smoothly, if you don’t count the fact that I flew to Winnipeg Manitoba, and drove three hours west to Brandon.  Haven’t you heard?  Its the Manitoba Operators Conference and I’m presenting a super exciting paper “Maintenance Tasks in a High Pressure Membrane System”.  I know you are dying to see the presentation, but only conference attendees please!  We left Salt Lake on Saturday at noon in the beautiful warm sunshine, and drove straight north.  By the time we arrived in Calgary on Sunday there was a foot of snow, many cars off the road, and we were back in winter.  Mr. J made it last as long as he could, wearing his shorts, and bounding through the snow (again 1 foot worth) in his sandals.  All that Utah sun kept him warm I guess.  It was so nice to get a good shot of sun, fun, flowers:

yellow-flowers red-indian-paintbrush

Our “business” in Salt Lake took us to the outlet mall wherein I got some sandals and a sundress.  Its rather depressing to think how long it will be until I get to wear either again!  Of course at this point I’ll be happy when I can ride my bike outside.  If most of the snow melts I’m raring to ride to work again.  Other items brought back from the Land of the Free include three packages of Boca Breakfast Links, two tubes of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, new bike shorts using my REI yearly discount, and a new t-shirt for my collection that reads “Don’t you wish your girlfriend could ride a bike like me”.  What can I say, Mr. J loves it.  My little bit of economic stimulation. 

And the best part of our visit to Salt Lake, of course visiting friends.  I had a lovely time catching up at Blazing Needles on Thursday night, and enjoying some new Sleeping Dragon Yarn.  Pics to be taken on the weekend.  Mr. J and I had a great dinner at the lovely Mrs. H house on Friday, and got to meet her wonderful family.  On Saturday morning I got to give the mittens to Gigi, who didn’t say much when she put them on except to smile HUGELY.  I think she liked them.  We even got to see the talented Mrs. K and her lovely family, including Baby C.  Cute to the power of 57 baby there.  I think the best part of visiting a city, rather than living there, is that you only get to do the things you really enjoy.  You don’t have to do the bad things like go to work and get your oil changed.  You get to visit, eat at your favorite places, and show them to your boyfriend.  You remember the good, and get to forget that anything bad ever happened there.  Except you always show Mr. J where you broke your jaw, cause that is history! 

And the best part?  I think I converted Mr. J into liking Moab as much as I do.  We had such a good time there, biking, hiking, eating, watching first season X-files, sitting in the sun, playing Death Rummy, going to the movies.  Southern Utah has about a bazillion things to do for everyone, its impossible to be bored there.  When can we go back?

anne-and-julien-standing-on-amasa-back

 holey-rock

slanted-rock

circle-lichen

pedal-dammit

Three days, over fifty miles each day, and I’m so happy we did it!!   Saturday’s ride was nice and flat along the Colorado River, Sunday’s ride was a huge climb up to Dead Horse Point, and today’s ride was nice and rolling (if by big climbs and fast descents I mean rolling) along the Arches Park Road.  Well organized, beautiful, incredible weather, The Skinny Tire Festival was immensely enjoyable.  Its been warm, sunny, just perfect.

canada-anne

Tomorrow we’re doing some hiking in Arches, and relaxing.  Also recovering, as most muscles hurt as this point, but its a good hurt.  Moab is the same, but changed.  Mondo coffee is gone (home of the world’s greatest coffeehouse slogan: Coffee: still legal in Utah) or moved, new businesses are here.  I am very happy to report that Desert Thread is still here, and has a big selection of local fibres:

moab-fiber-greys

Some greys for mittens from Cunnington Farms, Moab Utah.  This may also make a really good Turn a Square hat. 

brazilwood-wool-from-moab

And new to me this year is a local dyer of Moab fibre.  This is from Temis (?) California Red Cheviot and Suffolk Sheep dyed with Brazilwood.  I waffled for about five minutes on whether to choose this or yarn dyed with madder or other natural dyes.  The colours were all so beautiful.  I have two skeins of cream wool at home, and this is going to make some great mittens or hats.  It could also be a nice accent in grey pair of Estonian mittens.

The sub-zero Calgary temperatures have been thawed out of our bones, and replaced with the warmth of the red rocks.

For the fifth year in a row now!  Normally I try and be in southern Utah around my birthday, and I’m two weeks late this year, but at least I am going.  We are attending the Moab Skinny Tire Festival (www.skinnytirefestival.com) this weekend, and for our contribution to cancer research we both chose the Huntsman Institute in Salt Lake City, simply because we know it is a good place who employs some of my friends who do great work there.  Whenever I rode with Gigi and Stormy behind the Huntsman Center we would stop and wave at all the patients, who were friends of my friends. 

It is currently twenty degrees Celsius warmer in Moab than in Calgary, and we brought our shorts and sandals.  We are going to uphold the tradition of vacationing Canadians wandering around in our summer clothes, whilst everyone else is wearing jackets and hats.  We will mention how nice the weather is, how strong the sun, as the natives shiver.  Oh yeah!  We’re all packed up, and most importantly (well secondly important after the biking gear I guess) is my travel knitting:

travel-knitting

If it wasn’t for the back-up skein of sock yarn in “Desert Rocks” I would be awfully colour coordinated now wouldn’t I?  Sometimes its only when you pile your knitting projects one on the other that you realize they all go lovely together.  This means:

1) I am very coordinated, and even my projects match

2) I make way too many blue things and should shake it up now and then.  Which is perhaps why the red sock yarn is there, except I threw that in to match the rocks in Moab. 

3) I over think things, and should let it all just flllooooow! 

I will miss my kitties of course, who should be well looked after by their sitter.  How could you not love this face:

jackie-yawning

Posting will be sporadic and people like parents shouldn’t worry.  If I damage anything on my person I’ll be sure to call you right away!  When I get some good pics I’ll be sure to put them up. 

Red Rocks here we come!!!!

We have a very good view of the new skylight they are building over the downtown mall here in Calgary:

new-skylight

You can see the old, obviously too small skylight that will eventually be removed when the new one is ready to go.  I’m afraid I don’t understand the marketing behind this construction, and why someone signed off on tearing up a perfectly good mall to put this in.  I just don’t know how its going to inspire more people to go into downtown Calgary to shop.  Now I’ve seen the “World’s Largest Fountain (Singapore)”, the “World’s Largest Mall (again Singapore)”, and even the “World’s Largest Indoor Manmade Waterfall (Hong Kong)”.  Am I just jaded with all these other wonders I have seen?  Am I too cynical to shop under the “World’s Largest Skylight”.  Was I naive as I also shopped under the old, obviously now too small skylight?  What do you think?  I do think its kind of cool however, especially how they are constructing it.

I am finally starting to come out of my extended grumpiness that began last weekend.  Believe it or not the grumpiness was brought on by the fact that we’re leaving for Moab Utah tomorrow after work.  Stressed by work I haven’t done, projects undone, the fact that everything always explodes while you are gone, and how horrible things seem when you get back to work due to the aforementioned explosion.  Now that I’m almost packed, have done some damage control on projects, I’m starting to get excited about going.  We’ve been trying to train for the bike rides, and my bike and I are so, so excited to get out of my living room for awhile.  I know its going to be some painful rides, long, and made worse by my out of shapness, but its going to hurt good.  I know there are other people out there who love that achy body feeling brought on by a really good work out.  Right?  Piper has recently emerged as my personal coach extraordinare:

piper-in-training

“Get ur bootee back on this bike young lady!”  Yes ma’am!  I’m planning to make it to Blazing Needles on Thursday March 19, and hopefully breakfast at Silver Lake Lodge on Saturday March 21 before we leave for home.  (Mental note to bring chains for the car.)  I hope I get to see some of my friends in Salt Lake!  I have also decided to break the yarn diet, but only for local stuff I can’t get anywhere else!!  Desert Threads in Moab, Sleeping Dragon in SLC, I’m coming for you!  Yeehaw!  One more day to go!

Fancy Fun Fur Throwdown!

March 10, 2009

I know, the term “fun fur” is in my blog, with the precurser “Fancy” no less.  If hell has frozen over, I believe its new name is Calgary, and we just call it winter here.  I’m afraid its no secret that I do not like fun fur, and will probably not join a local skating team as their uniform involves a blue scarf made from the stuff (shudder).  I will however give you that when used in its proper place, as actual fake fur, its fairly useful and oftimes adorable.  The recent spread of Hedgehogs for instance are very cute with their felted fronts and fun fur backs.  I am also partial to the green fun fur Christmas tree. 

However when a recent Tuesday Knit Night friend moved back to Iceland, she left us with two balls of Fancy Fun Fur in Mixed Berry.  By the way, it is extremely dangerous to be friends with lovely women from Iceland, as you will be extremely jealous of their knitted items, their grandmother who runs a knitting collective in Iceland, their yarn, and you will miss them when they move away.  Be friends with them at your own risk.  We therefore declared a Design Throwndown a la Project Runway, and are now immersed in the design process.  The rules are simple, and we’re still making them up.  The prizes are grand, and not yet announced, but may involve more boucle yarn left behind by the aforementioned Icelandic friend.

1) At least 20% of the project must involve Fancy Fun Fur in Mixed Berry

2) The rest of the yarn should be from your stash, or your friends stash, or some other extremely cheap place

3) We have no idea how the projects will be judged, I have a sneaky suspicion they will all be declared winners, and may be multiple winners since there may be more than one category such as “Most Creative use of Fun Fur”, “Most Funny”, and “The Most of the Most”.

I am beginning my design process by asking the Fancy Fun Fur what it wants to be:

copy-of-talking-to-the-yarn

Next up, my design and inspiration board!!!  I have it on great authority that you need to make one of these before you can do a design.  Mine may involve mixed berry vodka, but I’m not making any promises.