Monday, January 31, 2011

Meet Me on Monday

Some of my  friends have been meeting other bloggers at Meet Me on Monday.  Each Monday,  Java over at Never Growing Old posts a set of 5 'getting to know you' questions.   What a fun way to find out a little bit more about our quirky selves.    I thought I'd give it a try this morning - mainly because I really liked this week's lead question.

1.  How do you like your hot dogs?

Mustard!  Mustard!  And more mustard!  If I'm feeling really fancy-schmancy, I'll add some sauerkraut.  Or chopped onions.  Mmm!  I feel a hot dog craving coming on.

2. Do you play Sudoku?

Oh, no...I'm a word girl.  Give me a crossword puzzle and I'm a happy camper.  But, please, no Sudoku.  I just can't wrap my head around those numbers.  No, wait!  The numbers are's the blank spaces that scare me.

3. What is your favorite vegetable?

Ooh!  This is so hard...I really, really like most vegetables.  My very best favorite?  That would have to be green beans right out of the garden.  I love the fuzzy, raspiness of the runner beans skin.  And, no need to cook them...they taste amazing when young and tender right off the plant. 

4.  Do you color your hair?

No, it would just be way too much trouble.  Those roots always growin' - it would make me crazy trying to keep up. 

5.  What is your favorite brand of clothing?

Another hard one.  Probably no real favorites - I just buy whatever I need like at the time. My feet are more fussy, though.    I always buy Saucony runners for their fit. 

That was fun!  Can't wait for next week's questions!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday wonder -R

R is for Round.  There are so many rounds to see everywhere.  So many, it's hard not to see them. 


Balls of yarn

Tree trunks

Wheels of all sorts:  a ferris wheel

A spare tire

Bicycle wheels

And even turtles sunning on a log

and funny 'donut' peaches can be kind of round.

This must be the world's favorite shape. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011


This morning, I opened my eye at 5.30 am.  It was dark.  I could hear rain falling and dripping and running outside.  The occasional car splashed by on the road.  I was warm and toasty in my duvet. 

The day stretches before me.  I have the weekend to myself - no mention of the V-word, please!  What shall I do?

I must practice my simple (extremely) version of a Rameau French minuet for tomorrow's piano workshop.  The plan is that I first play solo and then my teacher and I will play it as a duet.  We both think it sounds prettier as a solo, though. 

I will continue to cast on, frog and, I hope, arrive at a choice for the gray yarn I was working with before Christmas.  This is a frustrating process as the yarn doesn't want to behave in any predictable way.  Patterns are everywhere but I've gotta like it, too.   The long stockings necessitate a yarn purchase...oh! no! I'm going yarn shopping on Tuesday.  I'm thinking a bergundy yarn although Angie's suggestion of bright red is tempting. 

OK...the road to the library is not this pretty but I like the photo

And, right now, I'm walking up to the library.  The rain has stopped and if I nip out quickly I should stay dry.  I'm seeking a 1953 novel  from my list.  I'm thinking maybe a Bradbury or Arthur C Clarke re-read just to ease into period.  I used to read a LOT of science fiction back in the 60's and 70's.  Can't remember why I stopped.  I'll probably figure that out during this challenge. 

When I get home, I'll make some soup and get started on the fun.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


No, I haven't started reading an actual book for the Time Machine reading challenge.  I got caught up in Rudee's suggestion for a Knitalong from that year.  I went looking for 1953 knitting patterns...

Whaddaya think?  This project could be a long one...ha, ha, ha.

On the other hand, a long piece of mind-consuming lace could be just what I need to take my mind off the other problems challenges I have on the community side of life.  Too bad I can't even use the excuse of a paycheck for all this 'toil and trouble' on the job.  This, too, shall pass but it's harder than a gallstone. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

It's red all day today.  We took these photos last fall of an apartment building built on the site of an historic department store in downtown Vancouver.

There's a clever mix of old and new, residential and commercial buildings and styles.   I loved this building with it's interesting screens and pillar shape. 

A close up of the screens...

And here are the screens reflected in a neighboring building.

For more red, visit Mary T for Ruby Tuesday photos from around the world.   

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday

Mellow Yellow is very welcome's a rainy Monday morning.

Here's a greeting from some smiling summer faces.  This will bring a shot of brightness to the day.

For more of those yellow shots, visit Drowsey Monkey right here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday wonders - Q

Q is for Quest.  The most common quest for all is for food.

The road can be long and winding...

It can have a patch of sunny comfort at the end...

It can be achingly beautiful....

It can be slow, slow, slow...

Or bumpy....

Or a little awkward to get at...

It can be rows of bright color waiting in a market.  It seems as though many humans have an easier quest.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A question

The other day, I was watching Anne put together a puzzle for kids.  She was making sure all the pieces were there before sale.  She asked if I had done a lot of puzzles as a child.  That set me off down Memory Lane and the answer was 'no'.

We had a big adult puzzle set up each Christmas.  It was a new one each year and always had lots of sky/water reflection because that was the challenge my Dad enjoyed.   Everyone in the family could take part but it was really his holiday treat.  I don't remember there even being puzzles for children but I suppose there were and I never had any. 

So, then, I started thinking about all the different toys that kids have today.  Tons and tons of toys are available and many are 'educational'.  Those are the cool ones to me and I know if I were a kid now I'd love them.

But, I kept coming back to the question of necessity.  Were our brains under-stimulated when I was little?   I always had books but only a few.  It's probably the source of my general dislike of re-reading a book.  When I was older (10 or so) I had immediate access to a small rural library which satisfied any literary need I had then.  

I'm sure there've been studies done but I've never seen any discussion on this.  I wonder what more my generation could have achieved if we'd had all the educational stimuli that today's children have?  Or did we have better-developed imaginations?  And is there a kind of  trade-off?

Just wondering...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reading Challenge

Does anyone remember the Birth Year Reading Challenge that I started last year?  I didn't get very far with birth year was kind of a dud (except for me, that is).  There were not so many new books just after the WW2, I guess.    It was so long ago that the library no longer had those few books around.   So, this year you'll see that there's a little twist been added.  I can climb aboard a Time Machine.

I chose to go forward and clicked on the virtual dice to see what number I would add to my birth year.  7 - a lucky number, I think!  I dialled in 1953 and stepped out into a whole new world of literary offerings.  I was doubly pleased with this year because it's the year I started school - a huge milestone in my life.

I had been kept out until I was almost 7 - despite the fact that I could read and write and color in the lines.  The rules were age 6 by the end of November.  Just a few days more and I'd've made it.  But being a Baby Boomer had it's downside and schools were overcrowded.  The rules were applied rigorously.

But here I am with a whole new set of books to read.  This was a wonderful year for new stuff - many I've already read and a second time 'round will be a treat.  I wonder if I'll react the same way? 

Here's the whole list taken from Wikipedia's info...see what I mean?

There's also a handful of new plays and some short stories that also could be fit in.  Is the year long enough?  If you want to join in on this challenge, sign up over at the  Hotchpot Cafe.  Should be fun and I''m sure to do better than last year.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's a start.

But who invited this party pooper?

My first dancercize class is today.  Wanna come?  Aw, don't worry about this white'll be gone in an hour.  It's almost rain now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The beat goes on

OK...on Sunday, I decided it was time to have just a little fun.  We had some gift certificates for a restaurant we'd never tried - Beachside Forno - and lunch sounded like a plan.  This would be followed by a walk on the beach.  An afternoon off.  No paperwork.  No emails.  No phone calls.  A bubble of sanity. 

Here I am - having fun.  I couldn't resist trying this ale.  It was, of course, the name that got me.  Something from a craft brewery named Dead Frog can't possibly be as bad as that sounds...right?  Must be a little marketing game.  And the variety on tap was their Nut Brown Ale.  Feeling as free as a squirrel and loving dark ales, I decided to try one.  Just a small one - it's not as big as it looks in the photo.  Honest!  Just a trick of perspective, folks.    It was Delicious!  Kind of Guiness-y but with a little chocolate aftertaste.   I almost went back for more  But good manners - and it being only lunchtime - stopped me. And I still needed to walk.

Now, it's back to that beat.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday

My yellow is looking ferocious this morning...

...and a bit of a blur.  That dragon seems to be carrying off the train conductor.  Or is the conductor taking the dragon for a test drive?  In a boy's imagination anything can happen.

For more yellow, lots or a little, visit Drowsey Monkey here

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday wonders - P

P is for Planning - and for Patience.

This is where I live.  It's a sprawling municipality on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet.  It's a fifteen minute passenger-ferry ride away from downtown Vancouver.  The planning part is what local governments do to help make our communities more sustainable, more livable and just generally, more.

The planning process requires a lot of patience.  There's consultation...and consultation...and more consultation.  We're at the draft proposal point now.  Yup!  More public consultation.  Although, the cynic in me says that by this point, my little 'dot-ocracy' contributions aren't really having much effect.  If we're meant to be working towards 2030 (yikes!!)  then maybe some of these decisions are already in the works.

But, just in case we do have a say, we've been showing up at workshops and open houses for a couple of years now.  All we're asking for is a community center in our part of town.  Will that happen?  Stay tuned...and tuned...and tuned.

Friday, January 14, 2011

 The New Year has had a rough start around here.  I spent the first week preparing for, and anxiously awaiting, a board meeting that had the makings of a catastrophe.  For the past couple of days (before and after the meeting) I couldn't think about anything else.  Over the Christmas holidays there have been a barrage of emails and letters from disgruntled society members wanting to overturn a board decision.  After many sleepless nights, the meeting day finally arrived.  It was a brilliant meeting:  there was drama and diplomacy, grand-standing and graciousness.  I came away happy but exhausted.  Every minute pf prep time was worth it.

And, now, I can focus on Getting Things Done.  I have a sewing room full of things that need to be finished and/or put away.   To give myself something pretty to look at, I'm knitting some pretty pink mittens - Ailbe is what the designer, Kristi Geraci, calls them - I call them Twisted Pink.  Don't you love the cabled cuffs?  They're just complicated enough and the color is gorgeous.  It makes me think of flowers and soft skies in the morning.

And, I'm noticing a few signs and portents that spring will come.  The snowdrops are peeping up through the snow and fallen leaves.

The winter jasmine is smiling sunnily through the raindrops.  All is well.

*All this was supposed to be posted yesterday but while I was writing our internet connection died.  Many hours later, we have it back.  We have a supposedly much faster one now.   I'm off now to see what everyone's been doing while I was doing other stuff.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday

Even though it was a cloudy day, there were enough cool geometrics to make this photo interesting.  But it's the yellow that draws my eye first.

For more eye-catching yellow today, take a look over at Drowsey Monkey's place. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday Wonders - O

O is for Old-fashioned.   Or is it timeless?

How many grandmothers have taught children how to knit?  Down through the ages, I would think a great many.  We can take the time that moms don't always have.  It's a quiet sharing activity that brings us close.  It's also a time for us to reflect on the history of knitting and what a six-year-old might have done in generations gone by.  She might have been knitting the leg of a stocking a hundred years ago.

For today's young knitter, we're making a cube.  Or maybe a box without a lid.  It all depends on how many sides we want to make.  We've had a geometry lesson, too.   There's a whole lot of technique learned in knitting up a bunch of squares.  Do you see how fast that knitting needle is moving?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back to the pond

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I really, really wanted this toy.  But, well, it seems it was too much for me to handle.  So, I've thrown it back for someone else to find.

It did some nifty things. I'll miss some of the ones that I discovered over the past week or so.   But the stress of adding this complication to my already busy life was more than I could deal with.  The fact that I downloaded zero apps should be a sign. 

I'm happier with my pocket calendar and a pen to make my lists.  I have a netbook computer for travel.  I swear the iPhone weighs as much as the netbook.  It's freakin' heavy in your pocket!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Warm :)

Those playful squirrels are all now gathering their pine cones for the winter.  In my imagination, I see them scurrying about on a snowy day.  Yes, that means the Squirrel Mittens are finished.  They are in the blocking process now and I'll be keeping my hands warm when the cold winds blow.

Even a quick glance shows that the cuff ribbing is mismatched.  Apparently, I was holding the wrong color in my left hand for the first mitt.  Second one (on the bottom) is done correctly but I like the first version better.  The cuff linings are not sewn in so I can fold them out when I want a longer cuff.  The thumb is not gusseted and I find it a little snug at my thumb joint. 

So, this stranded knitting is something I would try again.  Not something I would seek actively patterns for, though.  I'm happy to have had a more positive experience.  On the whole, I'm pleased with the result - hoping some bumps come out in the blocking - and I've added another skill.  A win-win for sure. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I need this

Some days, I just need reassurance that all is well in my world. That there is peace and order and innocence.

Reading to Grammy

What better than a black and white photo to take away stress of too much color?  Or a quiet moment reading with a child? 

Thanks, Wendy, for such a beautiful and elegant photo.  She mostly photographs dogs but I think she does a pretty good job of capturing a human moment, too.

For more of her photos, look here on her photography website.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A team effort

This morning I read that gray is not going to one of this year's fashion colors.  So, I'd better show this off now.  And wear it now.  A lot!  Good thing snow is forecast.

On Christmas Eve, I found some gray wool in my stash and decided that I could make a scarf.  My design plan wasn't huge.  Cast on 20 stitches and knit in 1x1 rib until the yarn disappeared.  I was pleased with the feel of the wool/acrylic blend: so soft and cushy.  Towards the end, I could see that this would be a very short scarf.  I made a snap decision to add a buttonhole and just fasten it at the throat.  I did have a button in mind that I've always wanted to use somewhere.  I suspect that my subconscious is the much more creative part of my brain. 

And this is where the team comes in.  The button I wanted to use was slightly too small.  I only had one button that was truly big enough.  And, frankly, I thought it was a boring button.  Nothing like the funky one I wanted.  Andrea and Wendy suggested that a 'portmanteau' button would be a solution.  I thought this was a wonderful idea.  So, Anne drilled out the middle of the flat gray button and I inserted the metal shank of the fancy button and sewed it all onto the scarf.  I think it looks like a fancy hat now.  Perfect.

Now, there are 4 more of those funky buttons in my jar.  What can I do with them?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Wonders - N

N is for Niddy-noddy.

I've had this for a while.  It's very handy when you have a pile of frogged yarn that needs to be skeined for washing and/or dyeing.  The yarn is wound in what seems like a complicated pattern - it's not really - and then when you slip it off - voila! a skein instead of a ball.  I can also measure the yardage that I have as well since it's exactly a yard all the way around.  There are lots of different types and mostly the niddy-noddies are made of wood.  Wendy  (my spinning mentor) made me one from plastic pipes a few years ago.  I can just twist it and store it flat.  Ingenious device all round.  And I now find that it's necessary for finishing the spinning process.  Glad I have one.

Here is my first 10 yards of hand spun yarn.   I have a long way to go this year.  But I'm sure this could be a trim on something, some day.


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