Friday, 1 November 2013

November 1st

All Saints Day.  In case you didn't know that, check out  -- but y'all probably know that already!

It was a very quiet All Hallows Eve yesterday.  No trick or treaters - not allowed in my apartment building - and no fireworks in my neighbourhood.  Miss Boots approved of the peace!

Finally heard the dreaded "S word" (snow) in our local weather forecast ... possibly middle of next week.  Knew it was going to happen soon, but I'm really enjoying the autumn leaves and hate to see that end!

One of my most favourite fall activities ...
Scuffing through fallen leaves!
 Here's another favourite thing ...
... spotting cute little lemon yellow cars!
(I don't drive anymore, but I could have
been persuaded to drive one of these!)
 This one NOT one of my favourite things ...
... spotting these window washers going up UP UP
the side of a downtown building ... made me quite

Can you tell I don't have anything terribly new or exciting to blog about this week????

Monday, 21 October 2013

Socks and Shoes

Yup.  My feet are in 'em.
Hear that faint voice?
That's my muffled toes trying to yell "No!  No!  Not 8 months of foot wear again!"
 As much as I dislike colder weather necessitating socks and shoes, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the autumn colours!  I swear I could die this winter and go out with a smile on my face thinking "it was the most beautiful autumn ever"!
That's my morning bus ... waiting for me!
LOVE the colours behind the bus shelter!

Just look at the amazing colours running down the centre of the avenue!  Same kind of tree, but each one unique!

And the size of the wild rose hips!  Wow!

It's been very foggy the past 10 days or so.
This was a fairly clear day - some days it's been like pea soup, you could barely see beyond your own nose!

The last rose(s) of summer?
Even these roses are spectacular in colour!
 On an entirely different topic, I thought I lost Miss Boots this past week!  Let me tell you, I was just HEART SICK!  I just plain do NOT want to imagine life without Miss Boots!
This is our balcony railing.
Those are the frozen remains of a late Morning Glory vine on the right.

This is our balcony railing ... and the balcony railing belonging to the apartment next door to us. 
That stucco wall between the two railings is 10 inches thick.
That's like ... um ... 25 centimeters in Metricspeak?
 You need to remember that our apartment is 3 floors up ... as in a LONG WAYS DOWN should you happen to fall!

You also need to remember that Miss Boots is an indoor kitty who has regular "manicures" to keep her claws short and my furniture in one piece.

Miss Boots and I were both out on the balcony about 8:30 pm, enjoying a last cup of tea and surveying "The Queendom" to make sure all was peaceful for the night, when my phone rang.  It happened THIS fast ... 3 steps inside to pick up the phone and I heard a frantic scrambling ... turned my head and NO CAT!

I grabbed my flashlight and peered over the balcony railing ... expecting to see a broken kitty lying on the ground ... but NO CAT!  So I ran downstairs (in my jammies and flip flops), around to the back of the building, thinking she was so scared that she just RAN in whatever direction she landed, and thinking about the pair of fox and the bear that frequents the green belt behind our building that would enjoy a quick snack of domestic kitty!

I spent an entire hour (in my jammies and flip flops) peering into every bush, every clump of grass, calling and calling ... and NO CAT!  Finally, with frozen toes and tears, I headed back in.  The hopeful part of me thought MAYBE she didn't fall, that she was still on our balcony, maybe hiding under the BBQ, so I shone the flashlight up the side of the building ... AND HEARD A VERY PLAINTIVE LITTLE meow.  It took a while, but I finally caught the reflection of her big green eyes in the balcony next door ... so I raced back upstairs, out onto our balcony, and CLIMBED ONTO OUR BALCONY RAILING.  No, I wasn't THINKING ... I was on adrenaline "must rescue kitty" mode!  I know, I know!  No lectures please!

She was crouched back against the wall, and NO amount of calling or cajoling was convincing her to come anywhere near the balcony railing!  Naturally, or maybe fortunately, the neighbours were not home ... and being Canadian Thanksgiving, might not be home for several more hours.  I didn't know if she was hurt, but I knew I couldn't leave her there.  Eventually, I managed to swing one of my dining room chairs over onto the neighbouring balcony and then coaxed her up onto the chair.  Once on the chair I could reach around that 10 inch stucco wall to grab her and bring her back.  Then I had one heck of a time retrieving my chair!  It was about that point that I realized I was hanging off my balcony railing (in my jammies and flip flops) 3 floors above the ground!  And I'm scared of heights!

"Not going out there.  Nope.  Not EVER again!"
 A week has gone by, and Miss Boots is still rather uninterested in the balcony.  She wasn't seriously injured ... just one scraped paw pad, probably from trying to catch a grip on the stucco.  No hu-moms were injured either.  Phew!

Since Miss Boots became an EVEN MORE INDOOR cat this past week, she decided the best place to be was in the hu-mom's lap.  And what can be better than a hu-mom's lap?  Why, a hu-mom's lap underneath some cozy knitting!  With her ... ahem ... "assistance", we finished this 72 inch long kid mohair and silk shawl.  It's hanging over a curtain rod in this picture ... I spritzed it generously to block it and bring up the fuzzy halo of the mohair.  I've already given it away, but I think I want one for myself now.
Have a great week y'all!  Enjoy the autumn colours ... and keep your cats safe!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Heavenly Tomatoes!

I was a bit late getting home last night, and hungry, and wanted supper in a hurry.  So I headed out to my balcony and picked the day's crop of little cherry tomatoes ... a good two big handfuls and this nearly the middle of September! ...
...brought them in and tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few fresh oregano leaves.
 Popped them in the oven, but ... oops!!  Forgot the garlic!
 While the tomatoes and good stuff were baking at 400 degrees F, I put some water on to boil for pasta.  Once the pasta was cooked ... I used rigatoni ... the tomatoes had "exploded" and released their sweet goodness.
 I tossed that with my pasta and sprinkled on some fresh chopped basil.
Miss Boots and I had an unexpected visitor last night.  After supper dishes, I was in the "reading room" with a book, and Boots was in the "reading room" with me -- cuz we share those kind of special moments, don't you know -- scratching her chin on her hair brush.  All of a sudden, we both heard the sound of a cat eating kibble!  ANOTHER cat eating BOOTSY'S kibble!
I had left our balcony door open because it was a warm evening, and the kitty from two balconies down had come a'calling!  The only way she could have accessed our apartment was tiptoeing along balcony railings - 3 floors above the ground!  YIKES!  Poor Boots just stared with great big shocked eyes -- she couldn't figure out what to do!  I scooped the kitty and returned her down the hall to her rightful apartment / human. 
Made both Bootsy and I think about OTHER critters in our neighbourhood . . . . . .

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Sunday Afternoon

Ah ... fresh brand new sheets!  Tried to get Miss Boots to pose there, but had to call in her understudy, Annie, at the last minute as The Boots was having a "I can't do a thing with my fur" crisis.
Oh, and the human had a lovely and luxurious sleep once Annie and Boots settled into their own respective beds!  Had I remembered brand new sheets were so wonderful, I would have treated myself long before this weekend!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

September ... and the harvest begins!

In order to tell y'all about HARVESTING my balcony garden, I must first back up a couple of weeks ... this video was taken (I DISCOVERED MY CHEAP LITTLE 10 year old CAMERA RECORDS VIDEOS ... COMPLETE WITH SOUND!  HOW EXCITING IS THAT???) on August 13.  Not sure if the video is going to work or not - this is an experiment!  It was a dreary foggy day, and I was quite sure it spelled the end of summer.
 However, we've had a couple more mostly glorious weeks of summer, and my tomatoes and hot peppers went GONZO!  I was picking a "shirt-tail" full of little tomatoes every evening!  I was taking my toast and tea out to the balcony every morning and standing beside the tomatoes chowing down on their sweetness!  (Which is rather amazing cuz this gal HATED raw tomatoes in the early part of my life!)

Yesterday was Labour Day here in Canada, so I got busy harvesting some of my bounty.  18 jars of tomato basil jelly ... all from my own tomatoes and basil!  12 jars of shrieking HOT pepper jelly.  And just cuz I was in domestic gear, two different batches of cookies for the freezer and a couple of loaves of lemon bread, one for the freezer and one for coffee/tea at work today.
 In the process of all this, I discovered a great way to take one's mind off arthritic aches and pains ... process Thai Dragon Chili peppers without wearing rubber gloves!!!  I swear my hands were still glowing radioactive red at midnight last night!

Of course, one must SAMPLE the goodies ... quality control don't you know ... so enjoyed a mid-day crackers, cheese with tomato basil jelly and a glass of Chardonnay!  Yum!
 In an effort to retain some summer sunshine, I knit up these sunshiney yellow socks.  Here is one beside a pot of carrots on my balcony railing.  It was early morning ... VERY early morning so this photo doesn't do the yellow wool justice.
 THIS is a better shot of the yellow.  Note to self:  if you want to take a picture of something sunshiney yellow, wait for the sunshine to appear!  It's an easy arrowhead pattern ... the "arrowhead" can point up or down.
 For these socks, the arrowhead is pointing up.
Will be eating tomatoes for awhile yet, unless we get a killing frost ... that could happen here any night now although the forecast for the week ahead is warm.  Lettuce, peas, and some herbs are now history.  Next weekend I plan to pickle peppers and harvest the carrots and potatoes.

Have a sunshiney great week, ya'll!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Violet Monday

Did you know each day of the week is associated with a particular colour?  Did you know each colour represents one of the body's energy chakras?  I discovered this lately, so have been experimenting with wearing and eating the appropriate colour on the appropriate day.  For example ...

MONDAY is VIOLET day ... so I am wearing a lavender-coloured silk shirt and had BLUEBERRIES with homemade yoghurt and toast for breakfast ... apparently approved by Miss Boots!  (Blueberries are considered both an indigo and a violet food.)
Let the violet energy flow through me and cleanse my body to give new life and new energy!
In the balcony gardening department, it's now mid-August, and the hot peppers are starting to redden up ...
 ... as are the tomatoes!  (finally!)  Last night, I treated myself to a yummy "Pico de Gallo" dip made with tomatoes, onions, parsley, and hot peppers ... all from my very own balcony!
 The parsley has been well-consumed all summer (by both human and cat!) and is now going to seed.
 And the carrots are standing tall!  I've been eating every second carrot in an effort to thin them out a bit.
 It's been a VERY satisfying garden season on my balcony!  I'm so glad I went veggies this year instead of flowers ...
Kale, lettuce, hot pepper, Lemon Balm, Sugar Snap Peas ...

Cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, nasturtiums
... and I'm quite amazed at the amount of veggies produced in such a small space!  (Okay, nasturtiums aren't technically a veggie ... but the flowers taste darned fine in salad!)

Have you read this book, "The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise" by Julia Stuart?
It's our current SHELF LIFE: SENIORS TALK BOOKS book here at our centre.  If you appreciate British humour or history, it's a great light-hearted read.  If you want to "read" at a deeper level, it's an interesting look at grief and family relations.  I personally give it 5 stars out of 5 stars ... but we'll see what the rest of the group gives it.  (Voting on how many stars is sometimes the liveliest part of the book discussion!)

Have a great week, y'all!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Three Tales from the Balcony

FIRST TALE:  Balcony Appies

Once upon a time, one VERY hot afternoon, a slightly bored human went out onto the balcony in search of a perfect before-dinner appetizer.
She took a container of salty Kalamata black olives with her on this quest, and browsed the available balcony vegetation.  She started with a bitter lettuce leaf, added a sweet pea pod, and then a tiny HOT pepper, as well as an olive.

She rolled these items up like a cigar, and munched them down.  Then she browsed the balcony vegetation again and rolled a different selection around an olive.

She repeated this over and over, washing each fresh creation down with "something chilled", and contemplating mystery and intrigue on the balcony.

SECOND TALE:  Jack's Bean Stalk

Hey!  That doesn't LOOK LIKE a pea shoot!  I know I've been enjoying Balcony Appies, but I'm quite certain those aren't pea leaves!

And look there ... behind Rhonda and Rhoda the Flamingo twins ... climbing up the post!  That doesn't LOOK LIKE parsley!  Parsley does NOT climb balcony posts!
AH HA!  Tight little red flower buds!  I think I might have an answer to THIS balcony mystery ...

Jack's bean stalk is climbing up onto OUR balcony from the balcony directly below!

I wonder WHO or WHAT is going to climb up the bean stalk???
THIRD TALE:  Potato Assassination Plot
I am a Norfolk Pine.  As far as seven year old Norfolk Pines go, I'm rather average in size.

Us Norfolk Pines do not grow at extraordinary rates.  We generally produce one modest quartet of branches a year.  I think this year's quartet of branches is quite ... well ... modest.  Norfolk Pines are not generally prone to extravagance.

Unlike the "patio pot-sized" tomatoes who also live on our balcony ... they are growing and spreading at the most alarming rate!  Really!  Such a ridiculous show is quite uncalled for!  And a terribly unnecessary waste of water!

The tomatoes, however, are NOTHING compared to the potato!  Our human planted one little organic potato in the bottom of a giant plastic pot.  Oh, how I laughed!  That little potato looked so silly way down there in that big pot ... it was even too little to see over the edge!
And then the little potato grew ... and GREW ... and GREW!

Now that damned potato is TALLER THAN ME!  I can't see around it anymore!  As if living next to a crazed tomato isn't difficult nough!  The little potato has even STARTED BLOOMING!  What a show off!  It makes me feel so terribly ordinary and ... rather insignificant.

 I can't take it anymore! 
(No potatoes were harmed during the photography for these tales.  However, Bud the Spud has sent a plea for assistance via Jack's Bean Stalk to the Witness Protection Program.)







Friday, 26 July 2013

Casual Friday

So what's YOUR thoughts on casual summer wear in the office???  As I type this (am at work - shh! - it's supposed to be my day off!) I'm wearing shorts and flip flops.  Respectable knee-length shorts, mind!  And I won't be here all day.  We have all adopted casual Friday wear, and would like to do this year round.  So far, no clients have complained.  In fact, a few have actually commented that our office feels very friendly because we're not all in "suits"!

How many of you remember when we called flip flops "thongs"???  I have to watch I don't say "thongs" when referring to summer footwear ... or risk giggles and funny looks.

I know at least one of you lurking blog readers is going to text me about being in the office on my day off.  Let's just say if I'm HERE, I'm NOT at the yarn or fabric store ...
16 degrees Celsius temperature here and climbing rapidly toward the high 20s -- that's about 85 Fahrenheit, I think.  Good day to be near a cool fan! 

Monday, 15 July 2013


Thank you to you bloggy-reading folks who commented or emailed or phoned to say KEEP BLOGGING!  Okay ... I get it!  I might be boring now and then, but overall, y'all think my blog is worth reading, or that my cat is entertaining, or that I occasionally share a good recipe, or that I have "unfinished business" with y'all in the knitting department, or that I share the odd bit of humor.

It's like this:  I get unsettled now and then.  When I'm feeling unsettled, I start doubting the validity and benefit of whatever I'm currently doing.  Such as blogging.  And current furniture arrangements.  And hair styles (used to be hair colours). 

Do YOU ever feel that way?

It's like an itch you can't quite reach to scratch.

Fall is the worst time of year for that for me.  I know, it's not quite fall yet ... but summer rolls right into fall before we can say "Jack Spit" in this part of the world.  September is like New Year's for me.  I want to start NEW things in September.  I get really itchy to GO BACK TO SCHOOL in September.  Unfortunately, neither current bank account, job commitments, nor personal energy levels are up to embarking on too many new things in September.

Part of the reason that I'm feeling unsettled right now came from a surprise visit this past week.  My first Douglas College instructor.  It's not everyday that someone from a couple of decades back walks into your office and says "Hi!  Remember me?"  She was here in PG in a totally different capacity from college instructor, but we managed a few minutes for a quick catch-up.  As always, she "nailed the nail right on the head" with her observation that I'm missing academia and "you should be writing, you know!" 

Yes, I know.  I KNOW!!!

Trying to sort out what's going on in my unsettled head is a little like ...
 ... taking a basket full of odds and ends of wool and making something useful out of it.  In a timely and organized manner.  Above are my "fall" mittens ... minus one thumb ... knit up from current odds and ends in my knitting basket.  They look quite "fall-ish" to me.

I prefer mittens over gloves as my fingers always feel cold in gloves.  For "winter" mittens, I knit them double-layered or "thrummed" with bits of wool fleece inside.  Besides, I can tuck things down inside mittens that won't fit in gloves ... such as my bus pass.  Or keys.  Or tissues.

Knitting mittens helped "settle" me a bit.  My balcony garden didn't help.  It usually does.  Usually I'm content to just sit out there and enjoy ...

... all the little green tomatoes.
 My radishes are done.  They were in boxes on the balcony railing.  Here are the last of them, bolting.  Radishes get woody and tasteless when they start to bolt, so they have now been pulled and consigned to the compost bucket.  I haven't replaced them with anything yet.  Can't decide what to put in there.
I have lots of little hot peppers too.
See?  I'm still a little scattered, but coming back together again! Thanks again for your encouragement!  Y'all are GREAT bloggy-readers!