Thursday, 29 October 2009

Here it is

This is the view from my balcony at 8:30 am (Thursday, October 29, 2009) today. I'm just saying ...

PS: 10:30 am ... snow to my ankles at my place at the bottom of University hill, a little less downtown ... very wet and temperature hovering right at zero degrees. Maybe this is yet another trial run ...

Monday, 26 October 2009

First serious snow

This past Saturday, I went to Quesnel for a Fabricland visit as we no longer have a Fabricland here. Only an hour and a half away. It was a great sunny morning, temperature hovering at zero, but nice dry roads going down. Only saw one moose, and it was munching in the trees well off the highway. Sorry, no pix of my Fabricland purchases ... you'll just have to take my word that I found some great Christmas (shh ... don't tell anyone ... you'll ruin my Perpetual Grinch Reputation!) prints, and some wonderful royal blue cotton with white Celtic knots all over it that I'll find SOMETHING fun to make with, plus a couple of print panels for placemats. One will become my "Fish 'N Chips" placemats as it has a British Bulldog on it. We were back home by 2:30 in the afternoon, and the roads were clean and dry all the way back as it was still sunny and about 6 degrees C.

Good thing we went on Saturday, 'cuz Sunday wasn't so sunny. I went downtown to work at my office for the afternoon, and about 2 pm, this is what I saw out our front window ...... yup. Pretty serious looking white stuff starting to come down. And there was me with ...
... NO BOOTS! Yes, I was in serious anti-fashionista mode ... grey stripes in my pants going vertical and brown stripes in my socks going horizontal. I'll spare y'all pix of my burgundy corduroy shirt! Go easy on me ... it was Sunday, and a wonder I wasn't downtown in my jammies as they are definately my favourite Sunday attire. It was a slippery slushy walk to the bus stop in order to get home.
The nearest city bus stop to my office is beside a small municipal park. Snow on the bushes in the park ...
... is quite pretty (although doesn't show up very clearly in this pix). However, snow on this young lad in the park ...
... really disturbs me! I know, I know ... he's a statue not the real lad. It's just that I look at the statue and REMEMBER the real lad, and my Mummy/Nana hormones fire, and I just want to wrap a warm cloak around him. To me, he'll always be the cheery one-legged youth who sat on the hospital ward floor and read comic books to a gaggle of children who were also battling cancer ... my son Robert included.
Directly across the street from this statue is this little soup and sandwich spot ...
... which boasts THE BEST SOUP IN TOWN. I think they deserve the title. Their soups are always amazing! I had corn chowder from there last Friday, and I couldn't have made it any tastier myself. The couple who runs LADLES are really nice. If you're ever in PG, I highly recommend a lunch hour stop here.
Now it's Monday, and the snow is gone again. Sometimes winter makes a couple of trial runs up here before it settles in for the duration. I think I'll take a pair of boots to the office tomorrow ... JUST IN CASE!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

little boys and old men

I played "rent-a-gran" this past weekend ... not something I do very often as 5 year old and 2.75 year old energy is WAY too much energy for a relaxing weekend! However, the munchkins are fun (in their own LOUD and energetic way). The main goal of the weekend ... besides a break from munchkins for Mommy S. ... was to bake Halloween cookies. I'm the official cookie-baking rent-a-gran.Usually we make Ranger cookies (above) cuz the munchkins can put whatever combination of optional goodies they want in them ... choc chips, nuts, seeds, marshmallows, etc. However, this past weekend, we made plain sugar cookies and added licorice stick legs and raisin eyes to make SPIDERS (their choice).

Sorry, no pix. It was all I could manage to supervise munchkins without trying to take pix too!

Anyway, 'Baby Brother B.' has finally developed enough hand-eye coordination to roll out and flatten and decorate his own cookie dough creations. He was doing quite a decent job of it, but forgot the licorice stick legs part. His cookies were roundish blobs with raisin eyes. Consequently, his bossy big sister, 'Little Madam C.' ... with hands on hips and much eye-rolling attitude ... told him "you're so stupid! you can't do anything right! you FORGOT the legs!"

'Baby Brother B' continued placidly rolling out and flattening and decorating his own dough creations his own way and replied "my remember head is TWO!"

I don't think we ever need worry about this intelligent little guy being dominated by his domineering bossy big sister!

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

On my way to work yesterday morning, I was greeted by three of the local downtown "characters" ... all aboriginal, a bit rough around the edges, sometimes somewhat less than sober, but always entertaining. Says the middle-aged fella: "you shoulda worn your trousers today, not that pretty dress, it's gonna rain real hard today."

The temperature was about minus one and it didn't look much like rain to me, so I asked him how he knew that. "Old Indian wisdom," he said, and then pointing to his elderly buddy, "he told me!"

I chuckled all day. That was a great start to a busy week!
I'll leave y'all with this cartoon that I received via email this morning ...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

I'm in Love! I'm in Love!

Now that I've got your attention ...

Okay, that was somewhat mean of me, wasn't it? I'll get back to the love thing in a bit.

Did you mark yesterday on your calendar? Wednesday, October 7, 2009? I did. Wanna know why? Cuz I wore SOCKS for the first time since last May.

I hate socks. No, let me rephrase that: I like knitting socks, but I hate WEARING socks. My tootsies screamed "NO! DON'T MAKE US GO IN THERE!" as I donned said socks yesterday morning, and I could hear their sad muffled pleas of "LET US OUT! IT'S STUFFY IN HERE! WE WANT TO BE NEKKID AGAIN! LET US OUT OF HERE!" all day long. It was very depressing. I do not enjoy the first sock day of autumn!

But back to the LOVE thing ... I borrowed this book ...... from the Public Library because I've been reading various blogs with posts about yummy artisan breads attributed to this book. The bloggers all RAVED about how easy yet fabulous these breads are. I've been baking my own bread in my electric bread machine, and as convenient as that is, I have to tell you that after awhile, every loaf comes out the same.

B O R I N G .

Well! This book gives you a basic recipe that includes flour, water, salt and yeast which you beat together once, let rise, then refrigerate until you're ready to bake. The recipe results in a very WET gooey dough ...... that really had me doubtful. And when I did get ready to bake the first bit of it, I was quite alarmed at how wet and sloppy the dough was ... even though the book warned I wouldn't be able to form perfect balls. This is what the dough looked like after 45 minutes rising in a toasty warm kitchen ...... rather flat and insipid. BUT, 35 minutes in a hot oven and ...... MAGIC! Crusty, yeasty, and fabulously mouth-watering! Cutting into one revealed a dense bread ...... very much like papasecos, those wonderful chewy Portuguese buns that I haven't enjoyed since moving up here (and away from that yummy Portuguese bakery two blocks down Columbia Street). One bite and ...
... NOM! YUM! I'M IN LOVE!!! Absolutely NO kneading, and these little darlings are the PERFECT slightly sour, kinda yeasty, dense and chewy bread goodness that makes me drool for more in my dreams! (I ate TWO buns straight out of the oven ... burned my tongue, and I didn't care!)
If you like great bread, GO GET THIS BOOK and try some!

Another book had hold of my life this past week ...
... The Birth House by Ami McKay ... my book club's latest assignment. It's a really good read, especially if you like to read about strong and resourceful women. I got to one paragraph about a group of feisty women knitting together, and one of them was making THRUMMED SOCKS. The author described her turning her sock inside out, and all the little tufts of wool standing up likes rows of little soldiers. It was a lovely visual.

As Elizabeth Zimmerman said, "what's a woman to do with that piece of information?"

Thrum something, of course!

What is thrumming? Twisting little tufts of wool fleece around your yarn as you knit so that the fleece bits form a lining in the sock or mitten or whatever.

Here's the inside of a pair of mittens I knit this past week ...
... my little soldiers, the tufts of combed wool, are rather disorderly little soldiers, but with a bit of wear, these little troopers will felt together and form a wonderful warm and almost waterproof lining inside the mittens. Here's the outside view of the other mitten ...
... sans thumb (it had not yet been knitted at that point). I love the speckled design that happens as you thrum. And here's the pair of completed thrummed mittens complete with a twisted cord tie at the wrists ...
... ready for winter!

If only my toes weren't so darned unhappy about being cooped up in socks for the next six or seven months ...

Thursday, 1 October 2009

October the oneth

I LOVE this time of year! The colours ...... of changing leaves ...... and the crispness ...... of cooler air, including unexpected snow storms! Yes, we had SNOW today! This was all that was left by the time I got home from work, but we still had SNOW on the first day of October. That's what happens when you live in the NORTH! Here's a hint about something else that happens when you live in the north ...... it involves BEAR POOP, but it's not as cute as the above picture! There was a nice big pile of it right outside my apartment building entrance. Okay, I won't be making any more after dark trips to the garbage dumpster! (Although from the evidence, said bear hasn't been dining on garbage ...)

Witchy Poo (she needs a non-scatalogical name, doesn't she?) has progressed a bit ... she has hair, hat, hands, and legs now ... but I got sidetracked by the latest Interweave Knits. I found this ...... Every Way Wrap ... a combo shawl, cardi, vest, scarf thing ... and I just happened to have enough balls of aran-coloured wool in my stash!It's moss stitch on one edge ...... and has a challenging REVERSIBLE cable pattern on the other edge.

And I do mean challenging ... partly because there was an ERROR in the cable diagram. I was at this point ...

... several times in a row, having ripped out about five inches of knitting and started again evening after evening, until I finally smartened up and checked Interweave's website for corrections! Now I'm this far ...

... having mad this my transit project (I knit to and from work on the city bus). A couple of inches every day ... slow but steady progress. I've got a long (work related) airplane trip coming up next weekend, so will try to work on this on the plane. Bamboo cable knit needles should be okay to take on the airplane ... right? anyone?