Friday, July 27, 2007

In the eyes of a nine year old boy

Bill put on The Notebook the other night. It is a wonderful movie about making mistakes and then finding a way to do things right. It is a love story. And in your typical love story there are scenes in which affection is shown. Thinking of some of the scenes in the movie, I'm not sure that I would have put it on for the kids. But I wasn't home at the time and so didn't have a say. In any case, later I heard Liam talking about it. Being a typical boy, his reaction went something like this... "What was the point of that movie. All it was was lip connect, lip connect, lip connect." I wonder how long before the hormones kick in and lip connect is all that he can think about.

And I am pleased to say that I am back from my visit to get my head examined and the lump has been removed and was pronounced to be caused by a blocked duct. They are sending it off to be tested any way, but don't expect any nasty results. Sorry, no photos.

The swelling is going down on my finger and my hand is no longer throbbing.

Only one new maggot has been spotted by Bill and he quickly dispatched it. I wonder where he was hiding? The maggot, not Bill.

And because you have stuck with me through all of my moaning I shall reward you with my latest efforts at the wheel. This is the combination of two bundles of dyeing mistakes. This is 4 ounces of a blend of both mistaken dye pots. I am going to combine it with the 2 ounces of the light colour and the 2 ounces of the dark colour that I have also spun, to give me enough yarn for a stripey scarf. I'm hoping that it looks as nice when I finish it as it does in my imagination.
And this is my Fortune's Rock roving. I am spinning it fine for a change. I also only had one 4 ounce bundle of it and decided that I would keep it for my self. I can't wait to see it plied!

I hope that you have a great weekend! This weekend is the Highland Games in Fredericton and there will be a lot of people around so I hope that market will be busy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Could this week please end?

First thing Monday morning I was up at the hospital for colposcopy. If you are male, clicking on the link may fall under the heading of too much information. Just warning you.
Tuesday, most of the day was pretty good, but in the evening I was stung by a hornet or wasp. I was more interested in getting it off me than to see what kind of a nasty stinging thing it was.
I thought that I was going to get away with only a normal reaction, but instead I had what is called a mild allergic reaction to the sting. It is described as "allergic swelling around the sting area. It usually starts the next day, and can persist for up to 5 days. The area is red, raised, hot, itchy and tender." That started Wednesday. And my little finger (where the sting happened) is indeed, red, raised, hot, itchy, and tender.
And today? Today, on Thursday, I found maggots in the bathroom. Just one at first. I can deal with one little maggot. Then I found a couple under the throw rug. And a couple in a face cloth that someone had dropped on the floor. And then a couple in a pair of shorts that had also been dropped on the floor. After shaking them out into the toilet or bath tub, I went to put all of the offending articles in the washing machine (which is right next to the bathroom) and found a bunch on a plastic bucket lid that was in front of the washing machine. I lost it. And I mean really lost it. I yelled for Bill to come and deal with them, ran away, and indulged in a fit of hysteria in the computer room. Which is the room that is the farthest from the kitchen. And as such, farthest from the maggots. After about 5 minutes of tears and wailing (I can't remember the last time I lost it like this) I calmed down and made my way to back to the kitchen where we then pulled the washing machine away from the wall and we believe that we found the source of the problem. The washing machine is right next to the kitchen table and anyone that has lived with kids knows that kids drop food. Something must have been dropped and then kicked under the washing machine where a fly or two found it and thought it a good place to set up a nursery. The weather has been hot here and the perfect temperatures for the disgusting little thing to grow quickly. Ick.
And tomorrow is Friday. Tomorrow morning, I get to go back to the hospital and see a surgeon about the removal of a fatty lump on my head. I hope that my lump removal isn't as traumatic as Dave's was.
I am really looking forward to the weekend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happiness is....


J was a hard one, I will admit. What that started with J could I be truly happy with? Jello? When I was pregnant with the boys, that would have been accurate. I can't tell you the amount of jello that I consumed that summer. Watermelon was another thing that I needed. And yes, I do mean NEEDED. Pregnant woman craving watermelon? Don't get between me and the fridge! Bill has a Polaroid somewhere that is of me with a huge belly in front of a plate heaped with watermelon rinds. I am laughing because he has just said something about me giving birth to a watermelon. Someday I will get a scan of the last picture that was taken of me while I was pregnant with the twins. It is truly a sight to behold.
Juice? No, that would be Nicole's happiness.
J-clothes? What! ME!?! Clean? Nope!
You see my problem?
But I digress.

Christine was saying that she needed to get away from her warp and I mentioned my 3X rule. It was something that I learned while in school. Basically it is that if you make three mistakes within a short period of time, then it is time for a break. That brought me to discuss a few other things that I learned while at school and.... well, here is what I had to say to her....

I started the 3X rule when I was in school. After many tears over messed up warps, I finally came to the realization that if I had made three mistakes in a short period of time, I was probably tired (small wonder) and I needed to take a break. Back then, it was usually only enough time to go find some other student in similar circumstances, ie. stressed (not hard back then) and ask if they wanted to go for a break. Some times it was a smoke break (bad habit long since abandoned) and sometimes it was just for something out of the junk machine and a moaning session. I never realized how much I learned back then. You know that you are learning about weave structures, and colour theory, and the elements of design, but I never realized how much it is important to have a group of creative people to listen to your ideas, or take a break with. I never knew that I was learning work habits that would carry me through school and into my weaving "career". And I didn't realize it until I went back to the craft school as an employee. Sadly my full time student days were over but I am still able to take classes at no cost (talk about a perk) and I am able to interact with creative people every day.

I love being around the students, and I love being around the staff. It is wonderful to have two separate groups to observe and interact with. I know that there are some people who feel that the atmosphere is toxic,(and I know why and agree) but seeing as I am a lowly, but much loved, studio technician, most of the toxicity passes me by and I just get to deal with the good stuff, like helping students and learning from both them and my colleagues.

So, for me happiness is my job. Even though (or maybe especially though) I am on summer vacation now and don't see most of the people that I work with. A break is always a nice thing! I love and respect all of you. And you know who you are!

I also have to add that getting a regular paycheck is also a really nice thing. But you already knew that, didn't you?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Summer Fun Continues

Things are heating up here and I couldn't be happier! Most of July has been on the cool and damp side, but today the sun is shining and the kids are sweating. We'll be going swimming later in the evening after the sun's strength is down a bit.
Until then, for your viewing pleasure, we have scarves to look at.

First up are my three silk scarves that I finished a few weeks ago. They are all from this warp.
And who could forget these yarn cakes from a few weeks ago? Here they are in their woven glory. I don't expect them to sell well right now, but hopefully when the Christmas buying season is in full swing, people will be thinking about keeping their loved ones warm and cosy and they will start to fly off of my table. The blue and purple cake is in the process of being threaded on the loom and will hopefully be off soon. These scarves weave up so quickly. I love making them.
The spinning is actually the most time consuming part of the process and I have to admit that with the rising temperatures, I have not been producing as much as in the recent past. Having 4 kids around most of the time has also cut into my production time. I am amazed at the chaos that they can produce when I am not looking. I was away for most of Saturday and I have to admit that I spent the better part of Sunday with my nose buried in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm glad that that is over with and that I finally know the end of the story. In any case, the house became slightly....shall we say......untidy. But now most of the strewn about items have been picked up. With the exception of
this box (child included for size comparison). Bill has been slowly working on cleaning the back shed and this box has been sacrificed for the greater good. The greater good, in this case, being recycling. Which is this Friday. I can hardly wait because this box has been in the middle of my rather small living room for the past week. The kids love it! And I mean LOVE! The boys have taken to chucking some blankets and pillows into it and using it like a bed while watching movies. Doesn't look that comfortable to me, but then again, I'm getting old and creaky. The other thing that they have been doing is folding the flaps down while one of them is inside and threatening to send each other off to all parts foreign. I am sure that they will fight the loss of the box in a few days, and if I had a larger place, I would let them keep it until it is beat to a pulp. It may take some time though because it is triple walled cardboard. As it is, it is really in my way and I want it gone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Life with Mira

Last evening, Bill took the three younger kids to the local pool. Mira had decided that she wasn't in the mood for a swim, and by coincidence, neither was I. I set to work at the dressing the loom for my latest scarf and she took herself to the back yard. Shortly after I hear a rather excited "Mama!" through the front door. It seems that there was a pigeon in the back yard that could not fly. As Mira said, "He couldn't fly, but, boy could he run" Apparently she chased him all over the yard into the neighbours yard, under their car, and back under the fence into our yard before she finally caught him. So there she is, standing on the front step with a pigeon in her hands. "What do we do?" she asks. Now there is a good question. What DO you do with a pigeon? And a vaguely hurt one at that. "I don't know" I answered. To which she replied "If I were you, I wouldn't know what to do either"
So that left two of us standing on the front steps with a pigeon that couldn't fly. Her concern was that the neighbours cats would get him. A well founded concern as shortly thereafter, Pidge (as we named him) escaped her grasp and fluttered down to the ground where the cats promptly attacked him in a flurry of feathers. Before this act of violence, I was all for letting him go and do his pigeon thing somewhere else. But I really couldn't let him suffer at the hands , or paws as the case may be, of those cats. They are killers. Birds, bats, moles, mice, you name it. Small defenceless creatures are fair game for those two. Bad Kitties.
So the question remains of what to do. To make a long story short, I dug out a couple of milk crates left over from my student days, dumped the contents, threw in a couple of rags (can you say pigeon poo?) and made a quick cage. Pidge was quite calm about the whole thing and to my great surprise never pecked at Mira once. We put in some water, papaya, and a few crackers and put him in the kitchen, away from the front door where the cats were peering in with interest.
He passed a restful night and was flapping about this morning. I suggested to Mira that she take him in to the back yard and see if he had recovered enough to fly. Apparently he had because he flew to the top of the car and then away.
Good luck Pidge.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Happiness is....


Indian Food.

I have been experimenting with cooking Indian food for a couple of years. I have to admit that at first the meals were few and far between. But since January, when I switched workdays from Friday to Tuesday, thus freeing up my Friday afternoons to do a little cooking, I have been experimenting more. Last night's meal was proclaimed the best one yet. I wish that I had pictures, but, alas, I do not.
I started humbly with one recipe book. "Curries Without Worries " by Sudha Koul. Pretty basic. Perfect for the beginning curry cooker. There are a couple of recipes that have become standard with almost every curry meal that I make. One is Orange and Cucumber Raita designed to cool and refresh the palate. And the other is Mahavir Ka Cachumber Ka Salaad, which is basically a simple salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lemon juice, and salt. Divine. And such a hit that I make this regularly with some additions like red peppers, grated carrot, chickpeas, basil, and any vegetable that isn't nailed down.
The second book is one that my sister sent from Scotland for Christmas one year. "Madhur Jaffrey's Illutsrated Indian Cookery". This is just a wonderful book full of wonderful recipes. It has a very good recipe for Naan Bread that has also become a staple on my curry nights. I have tried a few other Naan Bread recipes, but this one is the best. Although I did like the grated onion that was in one of the other recipes. Maybe next time I will remember to add it.
The last book is one that I picked up from the library. "The Dance Of Spices-Classic Indian Cooking for Today's Home Kitchen by Laxmi Hiremath." This book's offering on the table last night was Chicken Breasts in Korma Sauce. I thought that it might be a wee bit too hot for some of the more delicate palates in the house, but it was declared a wonderful success. By all. This book is eventually going to end up on my cookbook shelf.
The last item on the table was rice. Plain for those that prefer it, and curry/butter/green onion rice for the rest of us.
One other thing that I have to say about cooking Indian food is that I am amazed at how many dishes I go through. There are so many things to be chopped and set aside, spices to be blended and ground, things to be sliced and marinated. It is also quite time consuming. There are a few things that can be made early and set to chill in the fridge thankfully, and I find that blending all the spices that go into a dish at one time saves a bit of time too, even if it does dirty yet another bowl.
Because I kept up with all of the preparation dishes while I was cooking yesterday, after supper, there were only the eating and serving dishes that needed to be washed. I declare my self done and put a committee of three to work at cleaning up the kitchen while I settle into some cuddle time with Nicole. A wonderful way to end a meal.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Happiness is....



We are very lucky in my family to enjoy relatively good health. Not that we are totally free from issues. Everybody has a few health issues, whether they be bunions (which I have) to something more serious like anaphylactic allergies (which I also have). On the whole none of us is debilitated by our various minor health problems. None of us is bedridden. None of us has spent more then a few days in the hospital. Well, that is not entirely true. I had pneumonia three times when I was a kid that was bad enough to require hospitalization. And Bill also spent some time in the hospital as a child. Thankfully none of our children has required a stay in the hospital after their initial one. And even those stays were short. All measured in hours instead of days. We are generally a healthy lot. And for that I am truly thankful.

H is also for hot. Which is how the weather is now. Finally.
A number of years ago, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a month in England with my two sisters. Lately the weather here has reminded me a lot of the weather that I experienced that July. If you didn't like the weather, wait a few minutes. Out of the 32 days that we were there, there were 2 in which it didn't rain. I made notes. Not that it rained constantly. Just almost every day. I remember one day when we were driving to the Yorkshire Dales from Cambridge where my sister lived. There was one point where I had to pull over because I couldn't see through the torrential downpour. When it lightened up (in about 3 minutes) we started off again and very shortly there after drove into brilliant sunshine. Half an hour later, we were on dry pavement and shortly after that, back in the rain. That has been the weather that we have been having. Ever changing and cool.
So now that we have finally entered July in the full meaning of the month, I am happy that it is getting hot.

And while I'm here, I may as well say that I also like my Hair. Another H word.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yarn Cakes

Spinning is so much fun! I finished another 300+ yard skein on Mermaid Dreams in my effort to procrastinate a bit more on the start of my lace shawl. I'll get there some day.

In the mean time, I have also been spinning with weaving in mind. I wanted to make some more slubby scarves. To the left is Arabian Nights and on the right is a new colour way that I am thinking of calling Carnival. Unless someone else can come up with a better name. Any suggestions? It is reds, yellows, oranges, and a touch of purple. It reminds me of the bright lights and loud music associated with a carnival ride.
And here is another cake of Water Lilies. Each cake is about 8 ounces and will produce one scarf. Thankfully my loom is small enough and set up so that I only have a few grams of loom waste. After all of that work, I would hate to end up throwing precious hand spun away.

And speaking of precious hand spun, I don't know if I showed you my finished skein of the cochineal silk.
4 ounces, 200 (ish) yards. Unintentionally slubby. I had a few, ahem, problems, with drafting. This was so different to spin from wool that I can hardly compare them. If anyone has any tips for spinning silk, I'd be happy to hear them. Plans for this little bundle of beauty? Nope. I just plan on enjoying the look of it for a while. It is not going in the stash. It is definitely going on display!

Friday, July 06, 2007


One of the sights that we get to see when biking along the trail to my parents house is this osprey nest. When Bill last biked out with the kids a few weeks ago , they were treated to the sight of the papa osprey bringing home what looked like an eel. Good eating apparently, but it still makes me glad that I am not one of these birds.
Here is a close up of one of the parents. The people who own this stretch of riverbank have been keeping a diary of the osprey and their daily lives for the past 11 years. There was a note on the fence just beside the path saying that out of the 11 years that osprey have been nesting here, last year was the only time when they did not successfully manage to raise their chicks.
In Osprey families, the note told, the males are the hunters for the entire family, while the females stay and guard, first the eggs, and then the chicks. Last year the people witnessed aerial combat between a local eagle and the male osprey. A few weeks later, the male had disappeared and one of the chicks was found about 100 yards from the nest. By the next week, there was no longer any sign of either the remaining chick (or chicks) or the female.

It kind of makes one think about the cycle of life. Everyday, all around us, battles for life and death rage. For some to live, others must die. Near our garden, there is an eagle nest. This is the third summer that eagles have used it. The first year, the pair was driven away by a murder of crows. Last year, they were rather more successful in raising their chicks and we actually saw one up close when the chick landed in my parents front yard. I was amazed at how large it was. The same size as Nicole. It seemed rather oblivious to the fact that there were 5 humans about 10 yards from it.

The question is, who should you root for? When faced with our dearly beloved osprey father provider being attacked by an eagle, you automatically say "Bad eagle." But then, when our beloved eagle is attacked by crows, it suddenly becomes "Bad crows." And then when you read about the intelligence and humor that crows supposedly posses, it become "Interesting crows." It might be a stretch to ever think "Good crow."

The only thing that I know for sure is that anyone of them can eat all the ground hogs they want because those buggers like to snack on my garden far too much.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happiness is....


I live in a very green city. There are trees on all of the residential streets. In the downtown, there are many large trees and quite a few smaller ones that have replaced older, larger trees that had to be cut down due to age or disease.
Here is the view from my front door, early in the morning. I love that there is almost always a shady side of the street.
We are also fortunate to have many bike trails around the city. One leads out towards my parent's place, where we have our garden. It is about a 10 minute drive by car. I can make it out in about 30 minutes by bike. Unless I have company. Company that keeps yelling, "SLOW DOWN!" I don't know how long it took Mira, Liam, and I to make the trip the other day, but I know that we didn't break any records. I finally had them drive in front of me and set the pace. Much more civilized.
When we arrived at the garden, we found that everything had grown in leaps and bounds. Including the weeds. Big surprise there. I was happy to see that the tomatoes have blossoms.
And even happier to see that the pea plants had actual peas! PEAS! PEAS!
Could I be any happier? We should have full fat peas by the weekend. I can hardly wait!

Sunday, July 01, 2007


You just have to love these "tests"

Online Dating

The other day A Simple Yarn, asked about others favorite blogs. Of the posted replies, there were a few that I read, a few that I know of, and quite a few new ones. One person replied with this one. So, liking the title, I decided to go check it out. It looks pretty good, some knitting content, some family stuff, and a cat who likes the heating pad. One of the things that she had posted a little while ago was the test. Samurai received an R rating. Tut, tut.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about my PG rating. Now don't get me wrong. It's not like I was expecting to get a rating of XXX or anything. I do try and keep my posts clean. Most body parts shown are decently covered with socks. Most four letter words wouldn't make Grandma blush.

A nice clean blog.

No, my discomfort with my PG rating comes from this little line....

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

poop (6x)
kill (1x)

Poop and kill. And horrors of horrors! Poop was used 6 times!

If you have been with me for the past month, you know where the poop reference came in. Just to refresh you memory, or to catch anyone new up, it all started with the term Living Poop.

Which just happened to come out of the mouth of my 9 year old son. And now that I have used the term "poop" four more time (oops, make that five) I wonder if my rating will be upgraded to PG-14?

And Happy 140th Birthday Canada