Its glorious outside, 27 oC or 80 oF.  Winter seems so far away like it never really existed.  My boss isn’t here, the President has gone home early, the rest of us might just drift off slowly into the sunshine here very soon.  Mr. J has team building at a local pub with his co-workers to attend!  Summer in Calgary seems like a frenzy of activity as everyone thaws from the winter and tries to cram 6 months of summer activities into two months. 

I received another shipment of shopping bags from my Mum who will hereafter be known as “The Crocheting Machine”!.  Look at all of them!

Bags guarded by attack cat!

Piper is guarding them very well here, but don’t worry, they will all be for sale on June 6th.  Except for one of the multi-candy colour ones, I think that one has my name on it.  But not to worry, I intend to buy it and put the money into the MSRide charity pot.  We’ve been getting some excellent donations for the yard sale, I hope we can raise a lot of money.  I found a sparkly yarn at the bottom of my rubber maid bin, which I bought years and years ago for something or other.  I decided to try an Indian cross stitch on it and see what happened:

Indian Cross Scarf

I guess its not uninteresting, I can’t decide if its too busy or not, all that crossing and uncrossing.  Probably some double crossing as well.  I hope someone buys it, or else it will go into the Xmas gift pile.  Be afraid, be very afraid of the sparkly yarn!!

Unfortunately the cross scarf didn’t get much attention this week as I was obsessed with how small the ball of yarn at the end of Cleite was getting.  Smaller, smaller, lighter, lighter, almost there!  Last night, unable to stop, I bound half of it off, and ran out of yarn.  Good thing I happen to know where an identical ball of yarn is residing, which is lucky as these are custom dyed one of a kind types of things.  I’m having coffee with that ball of yarn, and its lovely owner on Sunday for the final half of the highly exciting bind-off! 

I”m off to enjoy the sunshine, hope its shining down on you as well!

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The fun of riding my bike home from work on a beautiful sunny day is that I can take side streets, and find new ways home.  My new favorite way takes me through a pretty section of Bowness by the river, and over the pedestrian Bowmont bridge.  In many cultures, crossing over running water is a way to shake off evil spirits, even in the Lord of the Rings the bad guys can’t follow the good guys into running water.  Standing over  the Bow River, which is still running glacier clear, but getting more full each day, as the spring run off approaches, for me is almost therapeutic.  The sound of the river, the smell of it, all that water rushing by washing all the evil spirits away.

Taken on this bridge, last night, as I leisurely pedalled my way home.

May 28 002

I always hope it won’t be another angst Wednesday, and then it always is.  Therefore one must put off starting to work by blogging, much preferable!!  This week I’m working on a sweater, a charity project (to be shown a bit later in the week), an almost finished Cleite (so close to the end, can’t stop working on it!), and a fishnet stocking:

Foot of first fishnet stocking

It doesn’t look like much does it?  In fact it looks downright strange.  It is my first provisional cast-on toe, and the heel is done in the same manner, which to me is rather weird and unheel like in shape, but I’m trusting in the pattern.  In the pattern we trust so to speak.  The mesh part of the foot is interesting, and goes quickly, but the problem is whether the pattern measurements are stretched or unstretched, and for how big a foot they actually are for!  I’ve resorted to taking the thing off the needles on a piece of scrap yarn a few times to try it on.  I know that the lace will stretch open on blocking, and superwash always stretches as well.  That means the tight fit of the stocking now is actually good, it will be a comfy fit once washed.  But for now it still looks weird! 

Snippets:

I’m going to be picking on poor Saskatchewan for the summer, as we’re doing a lot of work in that province, and I’m going there again in June, once or twice at least.  Its also a rather interesting place, almost like Wyoming, a law unto itself.  Examples of town names: Village of Love, Peepeekisskiss, and my favorite: Penser.  (A verb, to think in French).  That sounds like a great place to go meditate and figure stuff out.  My favorite slogans:

Craik: The friendliest place built by a dam.  (Okay, if it wasn’t built by a dam, would it still be friendly?  Are other places built by dams less friendly?  How do they know?)

And one I learned yesterday from Mrs J.: Biggar SK:  Texas may be big, but we’re Biggar!

On June 14th I’m going to be participating in the MSRide just north of Calgary for one day, 78 km.  I am then hopping on a plane to San Diego that night (for THE Water Conference), obviously because I believe in self torture, but that is another story.  Ride 78 km, drive to airport, get on plane, fall asleep, great plan!  But I digress.  In order to raise some money for the Calgary MS Association, I hit upon the plan to hold a yard sale, and give all the proceeds to the charity.  Mr. J. and I don’t particularly like asking people for money, and this way people could donate items that they would normally just be taking to Goodwill, or the Salvation Army anyways, except we would get rid of it for them and save them a trip.  I’ve gone through my house to look for items, and I’m happy to say friends have been coming through and already dropped some items off!  I’ve been knitting hats on the weekends, I’m trying to make two a week:

Charity Hats

The yellow fuzzy one still needs some ears I think.  I’ve been using up odds and ends I’ve found in my rubbermaid tub, the fuzzy yarn was purchased years ago to make some fuzzy stuffed animals that were adorable, and long ago gifted to babies.  With two more weeks until the sale on June 5th, I  hope to crank out another 4-5 hats.  I sure hope people buy them now.  My Mum was also busy making some extremely useful shopping bags of cotton:

Charity shopping bags

She has made more that are currently on the way as well!!  If anyone in Calgary is interested in attending the sale on June 6th (the saturday!!  Why do I keep putting in 5th?),  leave a comment and I’ll let you know my address, I’m in the NW.  Or if anyone has anything that we may be able to sell, leave a comment (my neighbourhood is full of kids, I think that stuff will sell well).  Anything we don’t sell we may try and sell at my brothers house on Signal Hill at a later date, or we will take to Goodwill, nothing will be wasted.  Absolutely everythingwe make will go to the MSRide fund. 

If anyone is feeling extremely generous on this sunny Friday, donations can also be made at:

https://msofs.mssociety.ca/2009Bike/Sponsor.aspx?&PID=1131068&L=2

Have a great weekend everyone, and for those of you in the Land of the Free, hope it doesn’t snow and have freezing rain on your holiday Monday like it did on ours!!!!

I find that it takes me until the second year of a particular season (summer/winter) to really start getting into a new place.  I guess this is what comes with moving around a lot.  My second winter in Calgary, my second spring (although this one feels more like a continuation of winter) soon my second summer.  The first year you spend discovering the bare necessities, how to get from here to there, where to find what you need.  The second year you branch out from what you know, discover different ways to get to the same place, get recommendations for better ways, learn about whole new places to go.   This weekend I discovered that right next to my neighbourhood, there is the most delightful coulee (ravine to us easterners) with hiking/biking trails, a pretty little stream, and many nooks and crannies.  I’ve walked on the paved bike path above it, but had never ventured down into it before!

12 Mile Coulee

And almost outside my front door, its about a five minute walk to get to the top, and another few minutes to climb down into the coulee.  Sunday was beautifully hot down in there, but by 7 pm a cool wind blew in, and we all woke up to freezing snow and rain for an icky Holiday Monday.  Good thing I stayed in all day and painted (contrary to popular opinion, I did paint more than myself, I got the primer on my bedroom as well).  All the new leaves the trees are finally starting to grow:

New Leaves

All the spring birds, new flowers, there had to be frost damage yesterday!  I pulled my flower planters into the garage, I think everything is safe.  The last time it snowed all the little meadow flowers died, then regrew, I hope they are still there:

Meadow Flowers

I also hope they are not an invasive species that I’m supposed to hate and pull up, cause they are so pretty!  Spring still seems to have not started yet…

Within which I don’t intend to shoot anything.

Shooting Socks Pointed

This Trekking XXL was purchased long before I decided I did not like self striping yarn, with another pattern in mind that did not work out.  As one gets a few more pairs of socks under their belt, its easier to know what is and isn’t going to work.  This simple pattern (Shooting Stockings) from Nancy Bush’s Vintage Knits broke up the stripes a tiny bit, and added some interest.  I modified the pattern to make them into knee highs, instead of only coming up to mid calf.  Knee high socks are wonderful as we transition out of full winter (every day with wool tights with socks OVER those!) to spring.  The mornings are cool, if the afternoons get warmer you can just slip these socks down to your ankles.  Trekking is still one of my favorite sock yarns, its comfortable and lasts. 

Well the little rain shower has blown through, and its clear over to the mountains now in Calgary.  Its time to hop on my bike and head home for the holiday weekend.  This is the weekend we celebrate the life of ol’ Queen Victoria by buying beer and heading to the campgrounds in droves.  Except for those of us staying home to paint their bedrooms a beautiful blue, reminiscent of deep snow.  Happy weekend everyone!!

In other diet news…

May 13, 2009

My yarn diet is still ongoing, except for that “couldn’t find it anywhere else vacation yarn”. 

yarn diet in may

I am officially half way there, with one shawl being over half way done, a sweater done down to the yoke, and a new pair of socks to cast on tonight.  The President, Treasurer, and Social Director of my Knitting Committee have recently taken a vote to the effect that the yarn diet is over no matter what for the Olds Fibre Festival (June 27).  Don’t you love it when your knitting committee is made up of solely yourself, and you can make decisions like this?  That means that at the end of June I’ll have to see how much progress I’ve made on the ol’ chart pictured above.  I may be able to finish one or two shawl/scarves, a pair of socks, and even a sweater in that time?  The lawyer of my knitting committee has just informed me that forward looking statements such as that cannot be trusted, and that we will not be held liable for them.

I have also discovered that when one has an extemely tall boyfriend, one should never let him hold the umbrella, as then you are guaranteed to get wet in the rain:

Anne and Julian in the rain

Weekend Wrap-up

May 11, 2009

I think it goes without saying that Stars on Ice was fantastically incredible and I loved almost (sorry S. Cohen) every minute of it.  Even the 14 year old girl next to me repeating “that’s stupid” couldn’t ruin how wonderful the skaters were, the extremely high quality skating and routines, and how much obvious fun the skaters were having.  Plus I ran into what seemed like half my figure skating club at the intermission!  The downside is that my feet are itching to skate, which could happen in July if I sign up for summer skating, or next fall which seems more likely. 

My diet has taken over much of my life these days, which I was warned would happen.  Its been a bit hard to keep up, as there is so much food that I’m supposed to eat.  To date I have yet to eat everything, especially the calories from protein.  Its so hard to get myself to eat that much protein!  The big change in my diet this year has been the introduction of organic free range chicken, and organic free range bison which I’ve been buying at the Calgary farmers market.  I think I’m actually enjoying the bison, which is from an Alberta farm, butchered locally as well, and is a beautiful animal.  I also think its more suitable to the land here than cows, but that is a whole other issue (I don’t like cows just so you know).  However there have been many positive side effects from what I have been able to do in two weeks; weight loss, a huge boost in energy, muscle mass gain in a big way, and the ability to fit better in my pants.  The weight/fat is definitely coming off, and muscle is forming in its place.  In fact, I have to work out a lot simply to make room for the next meal.  Its a lot of eating to get down 6 meals a day!!  The other day I actually made my own body heat, which for those of you who have seen my giant parka that I wear in the winter, knows is a new thing for me.  The basic diet is pretty simple.  For example my lunch is 6 oz of chicken, which I baked in spices, 3/4 cup rice, and 1/2 cup mixed vegetables.  Morning snack is non-fat yogurt, an apple, afternoon snack is whey protein shake.  My evening snack (which is really hard for me to get down, and I haven’t been eating very regularly) is 1.5 oz cereal and skim milk.  I feel like eating has taken over my life, but I seriously don’t have any room leftover for snacks like (sniff) cookies.  I did blame my bad mood today on lack of chocolate, but it could also be due to it being Monday. 

This weekend was also about the charity knitting for the MSRIDE coming up in June.  I’ve almost finished two more hats, just need to put the embellishments on the top.  I also dug way down in my rubbermaid contain of yarn and fished out anything else that could be suitable for making little items, and have them all lined up and ready for production! 

Horatio the Buffalo

Today we (myself and everyone of you out there tuning in) have another chance to look at one of my Dad’s paintings and give some feedback to the artist himself.  Please take a moment to leave a comment for my Dad and let him know what you think, how the painting makes you feel, if you like it, if you don’t, what do you see in it.  The last time we did this my Dad really enjoyed hearing other peoples perspective, and he welcomes all feed back, even if you don’t like it.  Because sometimes you don’t like a painting for an interesting reason!

My Dad was a policemen in Metro Toronto for 35 years, and during that time he saw a lot of crap.  Some of the worst crap that humans visit upon other humans.  He was involved in countless rape investigations, and was witness to the sufferings of all those women, and perhaps men as well.  That many years, that many horrible things to witness, imprints on your psyche in an indelible way.  Recently my father has been expressing some of those memories, as well as reflecting on other indignities being inflicted on women around the world.  I can join him in being extremely upset by politicians in Afghanistan, a country home to countless problems, wanting to pass laws making it illegal for a woman to refuse her husband sex.  Potentially legal rape.  In a country with problems with poverty, violence, such a huge list.  This what is important.  This painting is titled “Abused Woman at Heaven’s Door”.  My father has a clear vision of what he was trying to portray, but what do you see?

Abusted Woman at Heaven's door

Obviously, copyright my Dad, 2009.

Once upon a time my Mum was a cute nurse in nursing college.  I’ve seen photos of her wearing her little white dress uniform, with her starched cap with points on her hairdo.  The students lived at the college, and lived under strict discipline (it was before the 60’s after all, and womens lib).  My Mum’s best friends are still the ones she made at the college, and thru them she was introduced to Dad as well, waaay back then.  Dad was a skinny police cadet, wearing his uniform, driving his harley davisdon motorcycle around Toronto, catching bad guys, giving out tickets, and various other things police aren’t allowed to do these days.  They worked hard, had fun after work, and saved money for their first home so that they could have their lovely children, which of course have made their lives completely meaningful, for whom they are thankful for every day.  Yes, even the day I pulled the towel rack out of the wall, or when I broke the lid of the cookie jar, or thrilled you with phone calls that began with “so I’m in the hospital….”. 

Hope you are having a good day, and hanging out with all your old friends, and eating cake!

skating-and-high-tea-003