Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

We were just looking for a little break from driving.  A cup of tea and a snack. The cafe at the end of the main street seemed to promise just that.

Here's the first thing we saw when we walked through the front door.  It really works...the steering wheel is exactly where you would expect it to be on such an unusual ride.  Since it was already mid-Tuesday when we found this, I saved it for today.

Have a great Ruby Tuesday and enjoy all the red that can be found here, at Mary T's place.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday

One of the things that you see plenty of when driving long distances is yellow.

As we drove east through the mountains, there were lots of warning signs for animals on the road.

Mostly, these were deer but the further east we went , it seemed that the antlers grew!

Some of the signs looked like hunters used them for practice.

Some of the animals had very graceful styles...

others... well, not so much. 

We didn't actually encounter any of these animals on the road but the signs gave us hope of seeing wildlife.

We didn't even see one of these!

If you want more yellow from around the world, visit Drowsey Monkey here.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Wonders - D

D is for Dance.

Last Sunday I was in Lethbridge and we had a bunch of things to do and sights to see.  One of the sights was the Southern Alberta Art Gallery which had a display of works from all the school district's art students.  These were fun, interesting and amazing - sometimes all three at once.  It is exciting to see that potential talent just ready and waiting to be developed.

But, the sun was shining and, as you all know, we've not had a lot of that here at home.  So, instead of looking at the rest of the grown-up artist exhibits, I slipped out to enjoy the sunshine.  As I walked along the sidewalk, I could hear music and decided to follow the sound.  I soon found myself in a small city park where it looked like a band was setting up for a performance.  The music playing was contemporary pop music, so of course I stayed.  But they kept playing the same piece over and over.  "Is this a band practicing?"  I wondered.

But no, a few of these young people were dancing. They had amps and humungous speakers set up in a kind of performance bowl - looked like an empty pool to me.  The dance group was growing, too, as people kept arriving, throwing off their coats and joining in.  Cool...I'll just stand here and watch.  Eventually, the rest of the family found me and the four of us found a bench and settled in to watch for a few minutes.  As the minutes stretched on,  and the rehearsing got kind of old, we wondered what was really going on.  One of the young men did, after a while, take the mike and announce that his friend was going to propose to his girlfriend this afternoon.  Well!  Did you think I wouldn't stay to the end after that news?!

After about half an hour, Keith (the proposer), grabbed the mike and announced that Kate (the proposee) was on her way.  "Places, everyone!"  Onlookers were welcomed as potential flash-mobsters or they could remain and watch.  The instructions were to hide if she knew you, or otherwise just be there and look random.  So, there we sat on our park bench...how random can four adults squeezed on to one bench really look?  Nevertheless, the girlfriend showed up on the last leg of  the scavenger hunt - that's what she thought was going on, apparently.  She found her clue and this is the video of the rest of the proposal.

Best wishes to Keith and Kate!  You've provided me with a memory, too:  my very first flash-mob!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Hurry up and grow!

This is our newest rose. We were flying by a display of climbing plants at the nursery when this one caught my eye.  Not because of the flower, since there were none then.  No, it was the name:  Dublin Bay.  Knowing nothing of this rose, I had to have it in our garden.  It was a climber so  that was good.  It was red -  a lot more scarlet than my photos can capture.  It's not really pink at all. Another big plus:  the tag said it was a scented rose.  OK...I'm buying this one.

While we were away, the two earliest buds decided to open up.  The flowers are huge and I rushed out between rain showers to get a photo. I can hardly wait for it to climb up beside the white clematis that we planted last year.  However, I've since read differing opinions on its scent:  either it has none, it's slight or it's lightly perfumed.   My opinion?  I think I can smell these flowers.  Just wishful thinking?

I have no idea why it's called Dublin Bay.  Maybe the original rose breeder, Sam McGredy,  was homesick...he lived in New Zealand.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Look at the gift that awaited us when we arrived home.  There are tons of these gorgeous apple blossoms on our little tree.  The weather wasn't rainy while we were away - and still isn't - so the bees will have a chance to spread the pollen around.  I can hardly wait to see if we get any apples this year.

This funky birdhouse needed a new home...thanks, Deb!  We're always happy to take in strays.  The ladder is out and the drill is charged up.  I wonder if the birds will be impressed with the decorating style?

And, of course, there was some yarn tucked into a corner of the suitcase.  I seemed to have concentrated on sock yarn...is anyone suprised at that?  There are a couple of different cottons because I don't have enough cotton socks, apparently. And some bamboo which is a lovely silvery blue. 

And this gorgeous wool from Fleece Artist.  Aren't they great colors?  If you know the Nova Scotia tartan, you can see why this colorway is named 'Nova Scotia" .  Of course, any sock yarn can be re-purposed - scarves, shawl, mitts?

I'd better get clicking though, that stash mountain is not getting any smaller.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

Last Day of the hols!  Are we celebrating with  Ruby Tuesady?   Or cheering ourselves up?

Either way, we have red.  Here we are getting ready to cycle around the campground - seemed the safest place for a maiden ride - on our new-to-us folding bikes.  They worked a treat and we kept up with the kids.  I see more biking in the future.

If you need cheering up with touches of red, head over to Mary T's.  Ruby Tuesday is just the thing.  See you back home!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mellow Yellow Monday

Just a bit of yellow to mellow us out before we start on the first leg of our return journey...

We found this sign on the road to the wildlife sanctuary.  Didn't see any turtles.  I guess it's too early for the families to be travelling.

For more mellow yellow, visit Drowsey Monkey right here.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday wonders - C

C is for Celebration.     And, what's a celebration without a Cake?

We have been celebrating Anne's 65th birthday.  That's really why we're on this lovely road trip.  It's my gift to her.  And we've been celebrating with family who live in Nelson and Lethbridge.  The cake in the photo was quite wonderful to look at.  And tasty to eat, too.  The icing is pretty rich, though -  lots (and lots) of butter, sugar and egg whites. 

Hey!  It's a celebration!  Let's indulge ourselves.  Just one little piece.  Of each color.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Week off

We're on a roadtrip!  On Wednesday we drove across BC to Nelson.  What a shock.  We went from our sort of spring with lots of rain and pretty cool temperatures to  instant hot summer.

View from the lookout
 I was so tired that I couldn't even look at my computer.  It was nice to just ignore everything electronic and visit and knit. 

Yesterday we hopped in the car and headed off to Lethbridge.   In less than an hour we were in winter again.  Here we are driving through one of the mountain passes.

A little sidetrip to the Creston Wildlife Sanctuary to see what the marshlands had to offer.  There were lots of birds singing - especially  redwing blackbirds.  All over the marsh, we could see the male blackbirds staking out their cat tail stalk and  singing to get some attention.  I sat down on a bench with this view.  I just wanted  to sit there all day and listen to the birds sing.  Isn't this peaceful?

After negotiating the Crowsnest Pass through the Rockies, we popped out in Alberta.  It's like a different country.  One of the best things, of course, are the windmills.   

There are rows and rows of them in Pincher Creek.  A storm was brewing and the sky was very gray - not blue.  The sun was still shining on them and I loved how they appeared to glow.  The dry grass looked like a beach.

More to come...when I have time.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ruby Tuesday

It's been a while since I posted a Ruby Tuesday photo.  I have been saving this one...

I've had a love affair with red pickup trucks since I was quite young.  They have always appealed to me.  Then, one day as a teenager, I saw a bright red short-bed Chevy pickup motoring down the road.  Oh, that was the best!  Now, there's just something about a short bed that gives the pick up a very tough look.  Sort of compact and sturdy.  But very, very capable while looking so good.

I still love the look.  And I guess I'm not alone since the image and name has become a very popular local brew.  I'm sure if they had any other color, the truck thing just wouldn't work at all.

For other red photos on a Thursday, visit Mary T right here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Wonders - B

B is for Bicycles.
I like bikes.  I like the feeling of rolling along the road - it's almost like flying.  OK, you do have to use your imagination - and your legs - a little bit.  But, can't you feel the wind in your hair?  Oh, yeah, that was before helmet laws.  But the wind is still there.  Really.

Two or three years ago, we decided that we missed that free-wheelin' experience and invested in some second-hand bicycles.  Except for sore butts, we had a great time on them.  But where we live is pretty hilly and quite urban...no place for oldies on bikes - even with helmets.  We wanted to take the bikes with us.  So, we bought a station wagon.  No wait!  That's not why we bought it. Good thing, too, since the plan didn't work as we had hoped.  We just didn't get into the habit of loading the cycles into the car and driving off for flatter land.

And, voila!  See what rolled into the thrift shop last week?  Aren't these just the cutest things?  I've seen them before and mostly at places where we'd like to ride.  Folks just fold 'em up and put them in the car.  Simple.
According to some web site, they can be folded (or unfolded) in 15 seconds.  I think they're using a different way to measure time...it sure took us a lot longer than that.  But after a couple of practice runs, it's down to a minute or so.  The wheels are really small, so adults look a little odd riding them.  But we have our gel seats and we don't care.  So there! 

The perspective of the second photo makes the bike look quite small on the bottom.  It is, but because of the kick stand it's leaning towards me.  So just mentally push it away.  I've added the office chair to give you some idea of the actual size it is all folded up.  I think they're just incredible.  And they haven't been used much at all which is sort of worrying because then you think: well, maybe we're just dreaming, too.  No matter, they're going in the car on the next road trip.  I'm pretty excited. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Odds and ends

This is one of those eclectic posts with something for everyone.  It's Saturday  - a job jar kind of day.  But these jobs have been - or promise to be - week-long projects. 

First up: the garage.  It's needed to be sorted and cleaned out for a long time.  But a crisis of the verminal sort has prompted a makeover.  Gone are all the old wooden shelves.  We have these spiffy new steel units that will hold 600 pounds.  If their weight is any indication of strength they should be up to anything we put on it.  These are heavy!

Clearing stuff out means a trip to one of our favorite consignment stores.  Look what I found there this time!  The table and sideboard have been crackle-finished.  It looks fabulous with the multi-colored upholstery job on the chairs.  I think it could get a bit tiresome after a while though.  That would be why I didn't pay the $1400 to take it home - right?

Meanwhile, the beauty shop waiting room has become overcrowded with babies and Barbies. 

Their wardrobes are all over the place.  Piles of new mismatched shoes which just might have a mate in the bin have to be sorted out.  Clothes have to be sorted and packed into appropriate bags once they're washed and dry. 

And if I get a little bored,   I can always knit.  This is the latest on the needles.  The yarn is a brushed wool in the most vibrant turquoise I've ever seen.  I found a dozen balls at a flea market and paid only $1 for the whole lot.   I'm using Amy Polcyn's design  called Marigold.  I'm not too sure about the short sleeves...there may be some modification.  You can  better see the lace pattern in my swatch since  I've just begun on the back and it doesn't look like much yet. 

It's not such wonderful weather that I'm missing out on the outdoors.  We had that yesterday.  Only one day of sunshine between days of clouds and showers, apparently. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Busy , busy.

Or as my mother would have said:  "Places to go, people to see, eggs to lay."  I never quite understood what the eggs were doing there, but I certainly got the busy-ness factor.  Poor old chicken.  So much to do and so little time.Well, that's me this week.  And I'm not sure how much I really have to show for it.  Some things are just not up for accounting.  I've been doing this and that but I really had nothing worthy of a post.  So, I've been away long enough.

I've been doing some knitting.  One sock of the Nutkin pattern by Beth LaPensee.  I had this yarn that seemed to be perfect for the pattern.  It is and I love this pattern.  So simple to knit - and to memorize - but it looks so fancy.  There is no ribbing and no grafting.  A short row heel makes me happy, too.  I call mine 'Guinness at the picnic" because the browns are just the color of Guinness.  And the blues and greens remind me of a forest trail.

And did you notice that the sun is shining today?  Well, this morning anyway.  A quick tour around the garden and I was running for the camera.  The wee apple tree that we planted last year has over a dozen flower buds!  Even one apple would be wonderful.  But maybe a pie?

The potatoes have sprouted their leaves.

And , isn't this columbine stalk enchanting?  I've never really noticed that the leaves are so tightly rolled.  And look at the gorgeous raindrops nestling in the folds.

The tulip looks happy that the sun has replaced the rain, too.

Now, I'm going to go visiting everyone.  It's been a long time...wonder what everyone's doing?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sunday Wonders - A

A is for Always. 

Today is Mother's Day.  My mother has been gone for almost 28 years and yet, she's always somewhere in my thoughts.  I think of her when I'm watching Coronation Street - I always remember her watching it  on the old black and white TV while she did the ironing.  My mother was a fan from the very beginning back in the '60's. 

I will always think of her when I hear a pun.  "The lowest form of humor",  I can hear her saying as she laughed - and Mom did love to laugh.   My mother loved words and she loved puns best of all.  She was very good at them although I think her best puns were unintentional.  

I always think of my mother as a stylish woman.   She  loved clothes and shoes and hats. She believed that a new hat would cure any ailment.  She sewed all our clothes when we were younger.  I  always longed for something from a shop, though.  Typical, probably.

I will always remember her favorite scent was Yardley's Red Roses.  Mom loved roses and was delighted  to have so much sunshine at her island home to grow them.  Her all-time favorite was the Peace rose.  I believe the story behind this rose was more important to her than the actual flower.  She was, however, very proud to have one in her garden.

I'll always remember how happy my mother was to be Gran.  She only lived to see  the first three grandchildren and she loved them dearly.   Mom loved babies and looked after my eldest until she was almost a year old.  Mom always made all the kids feel special. 

This is a time I will always remember.  It's one of the clearest memories I have of my mother and I having fun.  We were all at the beach and I know she was trying to teach me to swim.  If I close my eyes, I can still see us in the water.

The truth is, almost everything I am or do will always bring my mother to my mind.  I have her blue eyes but not her beautiful chestnut hair.  My hands are the same shape as hers were.  I love to read and write because books were so important to her.  "Books are your friends" she would always tell me.  My mother taught me to read, to knit, to sew and she set the example of hooking rugs, quilting and gardening.  One of the first things she taught me to cook as a child was baking powder biscuits and I always think of her when I make them.  I don't have a lot of things that were my mother's.  I'm just happy to have the pieces of her that make me , me.     
Mothers are always with us - no matter where they may be.  Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Off the needles

Finally!  I thought this  little sweater was never going to be finished.  For something without long sleeves and high collar, it seemed to take forever to knit.  I'm sure my own lack of attention had something to do with it.  I found this yarn at the thrift shop.  I liked the color - green plied with black - and thought it would knit up well.  It turned out to be a linen/cotton blend.  I measured and weighed and chose a pattern that I'd been wanting to make.  This is Slanting Gretel Tee designed by Petra Manis and all my testing seemed to say: GO!

 So I did.  You have to know this is knit in the round and there are always a lot of stitches on the needle.  After 21 rounds I decided that it wasn't knitting true to gauge and I ripped it out.  Cast on again.  I think I must have been trying to get back those lost rounds as fast as possible because I twisted the cast on.  (I have to interject that I have never - in how many years knitting? - twisted a cast on before.)  And then I somehow knit 45 rounds before I even noticed.  Another, bigger ripping out.  Are you thinking that this project is doomed?  Me, too. 

After a week of baleful glances, the rewound ball of yarn was picked up and the stitches were cast on again.  Focus, focus, focus!  Did I mention that this was not a challenging pattern?  Happily, all went just as it should after that.  In fact, the ending was a bit of a let down.  Maybe because there was no seaming to hate.  

Now, it's done.  It's the lightest weight sweater I think I've ever knit.  It's like fairy dust in my hands.  It will be nice and cool should we ever get any warm weather at all.  I like the color - a lot.  Best of all there are two balls of the yarn left over.  I'm thinking about what else I could make.  But, it'll have to wait.  I want to knit a bit with wool for something easier on the hands than this yarn was.  Socks are calling me. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An embarrassment of riches

When I started writing my blog back in August of 2007, I had no idea that I would still be doing it four years later.  I certainly didn't have much of a style then.  And I didn't set out to be stylish at all.

But three - count 'em! - three fellow bloggers have awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award.  Thank you  to Joanna, Julie B and Sheila for this compliment.  I am honored that you all enjoy visiting my corner of the world.

As with all awards, there are some rules.  First, I must link back to these kind friends.  Check.  Second I must tell you 7 things about myself.  OK.  here goes:

1. I'm a fresh-air fiend.  If I could I'd have a screened  (and well-roofed) sleeping porch,  I'd be out there with my duvet every night.  Camping and sleeping in tents isn't quite the same.  It's not very comfy,  it's hard to get up off the ground now and the air in a tent is not what I would call fresh.   I have woken up after a rainy night in a tent with a soaked sleeping bag.  An outdoor bedroom sounds perfect.  Think of the decorating possibilities!

2.  I like to walk.  I like the motion of walking but, even more, I like looking in people's yards and seeing their gardens.  I like to notice little changes: a new front door or maybe a coat of new paint going on.  I like to be close enough to the ground that I can see the little things.  Driving by in a car, I just miss so much.

3.  In another life, I must have been a bird.  I'm very fond of seeds, nuts and the hard crusty breads - preferably with lots of seedy stuff inside.  I just don't know what kind of bird.  If I could choose, it would be a chickadee.

4.  I am an original Baby Boomer.  When the term was first coined, it meant all us right-after-the-war babies.  Then it got expanded to mean the whole generation of our siblings.  I was a bit choked to have to share.  Probably part of my Boomer heritage. 

5.  I like bright and shiny things.  Bright colors, glitter and glow-in-the-dark plastic.  I love rhinestones and crystal.  I like fiesta-bright colors of lime, yellow, turquoise and magenta.  I don't wear them much at all but I do enjoy seeing them.  If asked to choose, I'd go for the bling every time.  Maybe I was a magpie?

6.  I have an out-of-date license to scuba dive.  Something I learned many years ago and enjoyed.  But I only used it in the warm waters of Hawaii.  Way too cold here. 

7.  I have, according to my piano teacher, reached the Grade One level.  I can play with two hands now.  Wahoo!

There.  That's checked off.  The last rule is to pass this award on to other Stylish Bloggers.  There are so many to choose from, but I'm going to pick just a few. 
       Empty Nest 
       Michelle Teacress
       Trails of Hats and Hospitalitea
       There's Just Life
       The Johnson Diaries
        Rockin' Chair Reflections

I hope you  enjoy visiting their Stylish blogs as much as I do.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It's done

I'm not whining.  Well, maybe just a little bit.  You don't always get what you want, do you?

So, now this federal election is over and we're stuck with the results for another four years.  Such a different look to Canada's government today.  And while I'm not totally happy, I'm sure there are millions who are ecstatic this morning.

The wheel keeps turning.  What was down yesterday is on top today.  I hope those elected can all work together for the folks who put them there. And me, too.

'Nuff said about politics.  Let's get back to real life.  Knitting awaits.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Get out and vote!

Today we vote for a new government here in Canada.  No matter what party we vote for I doubt it will be very new and exciting. What would be exciting is a new way of work.  I hope that whoever gets the biggest 'tick' will choose governing over political posturing.

I get that politics can be a dirty business.  But government shouldn't be.  I believe that the party politics should be left outside in the mud room of the Parliament buildings.  Everyone that WE elect is there to make Canada a better place for us all.  I believe that every MP believes that.  I believe that's why each one of them stood up for the last few weeks and let everyone take potshots  at their reputations. 

But somehow, our politicians can't seem to leave the dirt outside where it belongs.  They can't play nicely together to just get things done. 

I believe that's the message that most Canadians would like to send:  Just Get Down to Working For Us!
Stop wasting time and money, co-operate and compromise even if you have to hold your nose. That's the way we all work together.  Why is a government any different?

So, I'm voting this morning.  I wouldn't dream of not doing so even if I don't get what I want.  I can't imagine why anyone would give up such a privilege/responsibility.  People are dying all over the world for the ability to choose.  If you don't vote when you can, don't let me hear you whining about the result. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The parade

 An Assortment of Bubbles floated by the Children.  All Dressed up, they stood by the Entrance to the street.  Each one was carrying Flowers to celebrate the Glory of the day. The Holes in their best clothes had been carefully patched.   Some of their mother's  I-cord  tied with Jump ropes marked the lane. Their mother had been Knitting the cord with Love, so the children tried not to make a Mess .

Over their heads and around the breakfast table, the children had heard that the success of a parade is in the Numbers and that the organizers were drowning in an Ocean of Paper.  None of that was important now.

A hush of Quiet - or Quietude? - fell over the waiting crowd. 
A child plucked an overlooked Ranunculus glowing in the grass like a tiny Summer sun.
A Telephone rang nearby:  Uncle was bringing Violets for their bouquets.
The Wind whispered "Xie xie" around the Yard. 
In the distance could be heard the Zoom Zoom of motorcycles. 

The parade was coming! 

This was my attempt to put all my A-Z Challenge words on parade.  I have learned a lot from the various writers that I met during the challenge.  One of the forms I learned about was a 'drabble' - a story written in exactly 100 words.  I tried to do that with my word list -  but it proved  harder than it may look.  A lot harder and, as you can see, I did not succeed.  For some great examples of the drabble, visit Rayna at Coffee Rings Everywhere.  Her challenge posts were gems. 

I had intended to abandon my Sunday Wonders alphabet series after the A-Z challenge.   But I had so much fun that now I think  I'll do at least one more round.  Or maybe two since that's a whole year.   Stay tuned.


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