Thursday, July 31, 2008

Alive and kicking

I'm back from my trip to my Dad's. Actually, I've been back since Tuesday night, but I've been so exhausted from the drive and keeping the kids busy and the suck-your-will-to-live-ness that that entails that I just haven't had it in me to sit down and write a proper blog post.

Not that I'm feeling particularly inspired today, except that I hear that even Kate-the-Enabler's husband Chris is getting concerned that I haven't put up a post since my return. "She's been home 2 days already!, he says". Okay, okay, I get the hint.

Our plan to drive to Markdale at night worked brilliantly, and we were able to make really good time while the kids slept in the back (mostly) the entire way. We arrived at around 1:30 AM, transferred the kids to their respective beds, then hit the sack ourselves.

Saturday we woke up bright and early (oh Joy), and promptly woke everyone in the house by breaking a glass pitcher of juice on my parents' kitchen floor. "Hi! We're here!!!". :) Friggin' thing must have broken in about a zillion pieces, and I think we were still finding pieces of glass when we left, despite vacuuming repeatedly. Most of the day was spent around the house, without power no less due to a series of thunderstorms throughout the day, with the kids playing together. In the "Mother Nature has a sick sense of humour" category, it turns out that the secret to keeping kids happy and occupied is to have more kids, preferably older ones.

My nephew Keenan and Émilie

Yup, my nephews were visiting Dad and Margot while we were there. They live in Alberta, so we really only get to see them once a year, but they're phenomenal kids, and wonderful with little ones (they're 13, 11 and 8, respectively). If you can manage it, I highly recommend picking up some kick-ass older cousins to entertain your children during the summer holidays. Trust me, it works.

Sunday we all hopped into the cars and drove out to Sauble beach, a place which holds many a fond childhood memory for me. Unfortunately, it was absolutely FREEZING that day (probably due to Saturday's weather), with waves like I've rarely seen. Since MY kids are too small to bodysurf, this posed somewhat of a problem. I had spotted a sort of wading pond area (where water had collected during the previous tide, I expect), and thought this would be a suitable alternative. Unfortunately, Maxime just couldn't grasp the concept of sitting in the water, and kept trying to crawl around in it, getting in deeper and deeper and eventually getting a faceful of freezing water. Coupled with the high wind, it wasn't long before both kids were blue and shaking all over. Of course, I hadn't packed any warm clothing (because, you know, we were going to the BEACH!), so I was forced to submit to extortion at the local souvenir shop and buy 2 Sauble Beach sweat shirts for Émilie and Maxime. It was worth it though, because we wound up having a fun day.
Sunday night we also had a little birthday party for Émilie (she'll be 4 this coming Sunday), and she got some great presents from her Nana and Bumpy and her cousins (a deluxe art easel with accessories, a voice modulator mask thing, and a pack of foam beads to make necklaces and bracelets). Sunday night was also the night I taught 2 of my 3 nephews (Keenan and Nolan, the 2 eldest) how to knit! I think Nolan (the 11 year-old) got into it most, because he was still knitting away on Monday afternoon, and was actually a bit disappointed that I didn't buy him any yarn when I visited a yarn store in Owen Sound on Tusday (more on that later). I'm really glad he got into it, and I hope he keeps it up, despite the crapiness of the yarn I had at my disposal at the time (Estelle Mystik DK that I had brought along to cast on for Sizzle, which I'm now reconsidering, the yarn was so friggin' splitty).

Monday the boys met up with a friend in the morning, and Émilie spent pretty much the entire day doing this:
Catching frogs. Frogs, frogs, frogs!!! Look at the frog!!! My Dad has a little artificial pond/waterfall on his property, with an abundance of frogs. Seriously, it was all she wanted to do. And she certainly wasn't squeamish about holding them! I think she would have kissed them if we hadn't been there. Who knows, maybe she did!

Tuesday the boys were heading back to Alberta, and after much debating, Phil and I decided to head back home as well. It was really too short as far as visits go, but Dad and Margot were absolutely exhausted from having the kids for three weeks, so we decided to let them recuperate! (Not that they made us leave or anything! They wanted us to stay). Besides, they were predicting more rain for Wednesday, so we wouldn't have been able to go back to the beach anyway. Still, I was sad to go. They might be moving further East in the next few months, so I may not get to visit that property again, and I really love it there. If they DO end up moving, Phil and I are considering renting a cottage near Sauble beach next summer.

Before leaving however, the boys wanted to make one last visit to a hobby store they're partial to in Owen Sound (apparently the guy's got great hockey stuff), and I wanted to visit a LYS Margot had told me about. It was a really nice shop, and they had really nice stuff, but nothing was unique enough to tempt me into breaking my pre-Rhinebeck yarn fast, so I came out empty-handed (Yes! It IS possible to walk out of a yarn store without buying yarn!). We grabbed lunch at East Side Mario's (I hadn't been there in years!), then headed back to Markdale to pack. Here's a picture of my nephews Nolan and Sean drinking their "Monkey Business" (chocolate milk and bananas - eeeeewwwwwww!!!)

We left my Dad's at around 6 in the evening, and pulled into our driveway at just under 1 AM, making excellent time. Wednesday was spent around the house, and today we went to Funtropolis with the kids, which in retrospect turned out to be the easiest part of my day (and THAT'S saying something! The place is a madhouse).

OK! It's 8:45 and I've been hammering away at this post for an hour. I want to get some knitting done already, so I'm off.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Radio Silence

I meant to post a little sum'n sum'n at lunch today, but I wound up being frustrated in my pursuit of Fall knitting magazines at Chapters, Indigo and Maison de la Presse Internationale. Grrrr... (this is sneaky posting - Shhhhhh!!!)

The fam and I are heading out to Ontario tonight, and rather than try to post using my Dad's 56.6 kb/sec modem (which might lead to insanity and impalement with my knitting needles), I'm going to take a wee break from posting for the next week or so (it IS supposed to be a vacation, after all).

I'll be back late next week, with pictures, tall tales and, who knows, maybe even some knitting.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

There and Back Again

A Knitter's Tale, by Dear Knits

Our story begins on an unusually dreary July morning. Having arrived a few minutes early at work that day, our heroine sat at her computer and perused the contents of her email account. In it she saw there was a preview for the Fall 2008 issue of Interweave Knits. Intrigued, she eagerly clicked the link and sat back as project after project unfurled before her.

Many projects got her attention (the Bacchus Socks, the ZigZag Beanie, the Braided Pullover). But, perhaps because of the weather, perhaps because of her yarn fast, perhaps solely due to its striking colour, the New Peat Coat struck her to the very core.

Dazed, she sat back and muttered "Dude... I have to make this".

She gave a cursory glance to the yarn requirements, and did a quick mental inventory of the stash. "Leaping Laceweight!, she cried. I don't have what it takes!".

Moving quickly now, she started to go over her list of online purveyors of yarny goodness. She quickly settled on Webs, and more particularly on some beautiful Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK in a stunning, rich red. Before she could think "yarn fast", she had scooped up 10 balls and entered her credit card information.

She sat back, out of breath. The deed was done. She had not only fallen off the wagon, she had jumped off it headfirst and into an unending abyss of guilt.

Thanfully, the guilt was short-lived. Positive reinforcement from fellow knitters quickly had her feeling enthusiastic about her new project, if a bit perplexed as to how she was going to smuggle a big honkin' box of yarn into the house without her husband being any the wiser (all previous attempts of this nature had failed). Throughout the morning she went back to the preview pictures and dreamed. "My precioussssssssssss", she'd whisper.

Then something happened. For some unknown reason (perhaps prompted by a gentle nudging from the Knitting Goddess?), she re-read the yarn requirements.

: Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham River (90% cotton, 10% cashmere; 103 yd [94 m]/50 g): #8 poppy (red), 9 (10, 11, 13, 14) balls.Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham Moss (85% merino, 15% nylon; 163 yd [149 m]/50 g): #10 crimson, 6 (7, 7, 8, 9) balls. Yarns distributed by Tahki Stacy Charles.

"Huh, she mused. Two yarns. Must be knitter's choice." Appeased, she went back to her blog reading, I mean work. This explanation didn't satisfy her for long, however. She went back and read the information again.

Gauge 14 sts and 13 rows = 4" in woven st with one strand of each yarn held tog

One strand of each held together. There was no denying it. It wasn't knitters' choice. With a sense of dread, our heroine realized that to knit this project, she'd need to purchase an additional 1200 yards of an Aran weight Cotton/Silk blend.

How can I convey to you the sadness felt by our heroine at that moment? Frantic, she went through her Ravelry queue, searching for some project, any project, that she could make with that morning's yarn purchases.

But the magic, dear reader, the fire just wasn't there anymore. After searching a few minutes longer, she made the call and waited. When the message finally came through, she read Michael's words with regret: "Thank you for Writing! I have cancelled your order from our system as per your request".

And that is how our tale ends. Let it be a lesson to you all, lest you experience such bitter disappointment as our heroine. Before buying the yarn, ALWAYS READ THE PATTERN.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

I've spent the last 10 minutes searching for a Spike quote that fits what I want to talk about today, all for naught. I'm feeling really scattered today, the weather's crummy, and I'm bored out of my frickin' wits at work lately. Friday won't be here soon enough, my friends.

What's up with little old moi, lately. I had a fine evening with the kids on Monday, and Phil was back home safe and sound in time for dinner yesterday, which was nice. Émilie is always very demanding of Phil's attention whenever he has to go away on business, and last night was no exception. Lots of "Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa, Papa..." Couldn't get a word in.

Last night I checked my vegetable patch and saw that 2 zucchinis were ready to be picked! Actually, one was MASSIVE (I see your large zucchini, Robyn, and raise you one medium zucchini and one cherry tomato!), almost to the point of being extreme. Check it out.

Now, tell me you can look at this thing WITHOUT your mind running straight to the gutter. Go ahead. I didn't think so.

The weather was looking a little iffy last night, so I just grilled the smaller one indoors (we'll try the BBQ tonight), and it was delicious. Maxime couldn't get enough of it! I wish I'd filmed him, actually. As soon as I set his plate down in front of him, he dived straight for the green stuff. Then when he was done, he reached out towards MY plate and made these insistent Mmmmm! MMMMMM!!! sounds (translation= "Gimme that!!!"). It's funny, kids usually have a sharp drop in appetite when they hit about a year old (which is totally natural, since their growth slows down quite considerably around that age), but not so with Maxime! He'll eat pretty much anything. Kids gonna be a tank, I tell you. It's hard for me to imagine that he'll one day be taller than me. Crap, if he keeps this up, my food bills are going to go through the roof when he's a teenager!!!

OK, slow down there Mamacita... he's 14 months old. :)

That's great, T. Now get to the knitting already!

I'm happy to report that swatching was successful with the Maple Creek Farm, and I've made nice progress on the leg of Phil's Luxor sock. Funny how much faster I knit when it's with a sense of smug satisfaction at my own brilliance.

I'm considering making this my "commute" knitting, because the Pinwheel Baby Blanket is getting rather unwieldy.
I moved it onto 2 100cm circular needles so I could get a better idea of it's size (and also so that people would stop thinking I was making a giant Rasta Hat). I like the way it looks so far, though I'm not loving the knots in the Katia Jamaica cotton! I'm going to have to investigate edgings pretty soon. Once I have one selected, I'll decide when to stop knitting (the final stitch count will depend on the edging).

That's about it, gentle reader! It looks as though tonight's LavalKnits meeting is a bust, which is just as well, as I want to get some laundry done so most of our clothes are clean for packing tomorrow night. We've decided to drive to my Dad's right after work on Friday, so the kids can sleep in the back most of the way (easier for them AND for us). I'll try to get a quick post out on Friday before I leave, though.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Catching Up

The trouble with not posting during the weekend is that I invariably have a plethora of little tidbits I want to mention on Monday's post, and I've a limited time to do it (most of you know that I write these posts during my lunch break, then input the pictures from home once the kids are in bed). Today's post is no exception, so let's get to it!

First off, may I present my Firestarter Socks!

To recap: Firestarter sock by Yarnissima (Ravelry link here, non-Ravelry link here). Knit with Shibui Sock yarn using 2.75 mm needles.

I loved knitting these socks. Even though I knit them with dpns instead of 2 circular needles like the pattern called for (I didn't have the appropriate needle size to get gauge), there were a few techniques I'd never done before, so this was a great learning project. And they feel great on the feet! Yum yum yum.

I also cast on a new sock for Phil. (Well, actually I purchased the pattern, realized that the original yarn I had promised Phil wouldn't have enough yardage, debated about which yarn to use instead, selected a yarn I thought would work, cast on, decided that the yarn I was using wasn't suitable for the pattern, frogged, and am now poised to swatch with a new yarn tonight.)

Here's a shot of the sock with the original yarn (Regia Bamboo Color). The pattern (Anne Hanson's Luxor socks) calls for a bamboo or tencel blend yarn, so I thought this would work great. But while the yarn itself is very nice, and I'm sure it'll make a great pair of socks someday, it was just too colourful for this project and the stitch pattern was completely lost.

Never fear, I had the perfect yarn in the stash. As a matter of fact, it was among those I had proposed to Phil when I realized that the All Things Heather Merino Tencel yarn he's been mooning over just didn't have enough yardage for this project. It's a really beautiful Merino Tencel blend from Maple Creek Farm I bought at Rhinebeck last year, and I was actually jealous that they were going to be for a sock for him. But all he had to say when I showed it to him was "It's too brown".

Too brown? Remember, this is the man of the perpetual blue sock we're talking about. I was confounded. Brown???????? Luscious and rich and sensual, yes. It's not "brown".

When it became painfully obvious that the Regia just was not going to work, I pulled the Maple Creek Farm out of the stash again, and maybe because it was now being presented in daylight (or possibly because I had changed into a strapless sequined gown to showcase it as the glorious work of art it truly is), Phil reconsidered. "It would probably work with khakis".

Good enough! No sooner said that Émilie and I wound the skein into a ball (Phil took pictures, but sadly they turned out blurry), and I'm looking forward to swatching and possibly casting on tonight.
I say possibly casting on, because Phil's in Quebec City tonight, so I'll be pulling double duty with the kids, and will probably collapse in a heap of exhaustion once they're in bed (and I've posted pictures to this entry, of course).

What ELSE did you do this weekend, you may be wondering? Well, Saturday Émilie and I hopped on the Metro (I love how taking the Metro is an exciting adventure for a 3 year-old) and met my cousin Jessica in town, hit our noses on Itsi-Bitsi's door (they're closed for Summer Holidays), then doubled back to Laval and spent the afternoon in the pool with Maxime and Phil.

Sunday we ran various errands and I discovered that it is indeed possible to spend hours on end pulling weeds in your flower beds and vegetable patch (whenever I read that people spend 2-3 hours at a time working in the garden, I always think they're crazy people who need to get a life). I hadn't done any weeding in my flower bed (you know, the one that sent me into premature labour with Maxime last year?) in, oh, a month? So it took a little time to get back in order.

When I came back in, Phil said something along the lines of "Wouldn't it be great if my mother called and we could just drop the kids off and go to the movies?".

"Yeah, that'd be sweet" I replied, washing my hands.

"Well, she already did!" replied Phil.

WOO-HOO!!! When Maxime got up, we packed up the kids and dropped them off at their grand-parents (who hadn't seen them in about a month, they were in South-Korea), and we got to see The Dark Knight. I thought it was excellent (Phil thought it was alright, but he's not much of a Batman fan). A few random impressions:
  • We're both total weenies that we never queued in on who Harvey Dent is (I won't say in case some of you are reading this and going "Harvey Who?").
  • Despite a sincere love of Christian Bale (which may be called into question soon - did y'all know he was going to be in the fourth Terminator movie? Whyyyyy????), his gruff "Batman" voice was really starting to get on my nerves by the end of the film.
  • I heart Gary Oldman. 'Nuff said.
  • I'm profoundly disappointed in Heath Ledger, and feel that, despite the fact that he didn't know me from a fart in the wind, he personally let me down by dying. So much talent.
Finally, I'll relate a story in which my ego took quite a beating this morning. Weekday mornings, Émilie's taken to going downstairs to get her apple juice when she gets up, then coming back upstairs to sit with me while I get ready for work. This morning when I stepped out of the shower she was there gulping away. What should she comment on this morning, but my butt! "Your bum is jiggly, Mom! (Tes fesses bougent toutes seules, Maman !)".

Thanks, kid. That's just what I needed on a Monday morning. Now where's that cannoli? :)

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Final Lap

Things are nearing their inevitable conclusion at Chez Dear. The week is finally coming to an end, I've got another week left before we're all off for our summer holidays, and I'm this close to finishing my second Firestarter sock. (In fact, since I'm writing this from the office during my lunch break, I might be done by the time I post tonight!).

I usually work on these in the evening, but since all I'm doing is ribbing at this point, I brought it with me to work today, and got a few rows done on the metro. As a matter of fact, I was so engrossed in my knitting this morning that I almost missed my stop! I looked up and realized with a start that it was time to get off (about 2 seconds before the doors closed), so I hobbled out of there with all my stuff in total disarray. Distracto Girl in her natural habitat.

I loved this pattern, I loved this yarn (Shibui sock, from Robyn's Nest). I will be keeping these for myself, thank you kindly. Christmas is still months and months away, after all (plenty of time left!).

I'm really looking forward to taking some time off. I think we're all getting sick of the daily grind (even Émilie was whining about wanting to be on vacation this morning, and she gets to play with her friends all day!), it'll be good to have a change of routine. We're going to be spending some time at my Dad's, as usual, but after that it's sort of up in the air at this point. As I said to Phil this week, we're probably going to spend our entire vacation whining "What are we going to do today????". Big fun ;)

In keeping with the theme of Summer Vacation, here's the Secret Pal 12 Question for this Week:
What is your favorite type of project to take along on holiday/vacation?

I usually pack multiple projects to take on vacation, because I find that, just like at home, different situations lend themselves to different types of projects. I ALWAYS have a sock with me, but if I'm going to be on a train or somewhere I can actually pay attention to my knitting, I'll pack a more complex, yet transportable project (like lace knit on a circular needle). I don't tend to pack something I have to knit in pieces (like a garment).

And just for scuz:

Tell us about a time that you packed too much knitting or were stranded without knitting.

I totally packed too much knitting when I went to Japan in March. I think I had wound enough yarn for 3 pairs of socks (not counting the pair I already had on the needles at the time), I had Cluaranach with me, and Maxime's Trellis Cardigan as well. I was there for 18 days. No way I was going to need that much. But as it turned out, it was a good thing I had brought so much with me. In Japan it's customary to give gifts to show appreciation when someone does something for you, so when 2 lovely Japanese ladies offered to hook up with me and be my guides on various excursions, I was able to give them each a skein of sock yarn.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

PS: For those of you who encouraged me to just go ahead and buy the red shoes I mentioned last post, it's my sad duty to inform you that when I went back the following day, they didn't have any left in my size. I was heartbroken! Honestly, who does a gal have to garrote with a circular needle to get her hands on a decent pair of red heels, for Pete's Sake!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Random Wednesday

Every time I post, I've always got a bunch of random "Oh, and I should mention such and such" stuff, and then the narrative flow or whatever you want to call it just takes on a life of its own, and I forget to mention whatever I wanted to mention. Still with me?

So today's post will be decidedly lacking in narrative flow. I'm just going to blurt it all out.

  • Maxime is walking!!! He actually took his first steps on Father's Day (almost a month ago, how awful a mother does that make me that I haven't mentioned it until now), and while crawling still appears to be his favoured mode of transportation, he's getting better every day. It's so wonderful when he decides to "give this walking thing a go". He looks as though he's crossing a high wire or something (except for the fear!), taking these halting, tentative steps. He's always got this big grin on his face when he does it. Clearly, he's absolutely delighted with himself when walking.
  • He's also very into hats right now. He just loves putting stuff on his head. For instance, Émilie's witch hat from last year's Halloween costume. He loves to put it on, and actually gets upset with us when we take it off. Hey, maybe he's trying to start a new trend? :)
  • What else? Saturday night I watched a movie I hadn't seen in about a gazillion years, Lucas. Does anyone remember that movie? Classic '80s flick. Corey Haim? Kerri Green? And a debutante Winona Ryder (who looked so much like myself at that age, I couldn't stop laughing every time she graced the screen - but for geography and talent, you know?). Good times... The next day they were playing another classic '80s film, License to Drive. Made me wonder whether Corey Haim had kicked the bucket or something, but apparently no, the good people at MoviePix were just feeling nostalgic, I guess.
  • I finished Guitar Hero on Medium! I totally kicked arse! I rule!!!! Of course, I can't even finish one song on Hard. Stupid orange button. Grumble grumble...
  • Not buying any yarn sucks. I'm really finding this whole "no yarn until Rhinebeck" thing to be a total bummer. It's completely ridiculous! Even though I don't really knit garments, every once in a while something catches my eye, be it a particular yarn or pattern, and I get an itch. I start to feel the urge to splurge. Never mind the fact that once I've pet the yarn or read the pattern, it'll all get buried in the stash. I still feel that urge. Lately it's for some uber-liscious Malabrigo Silky Wool that Michelle's just put up in her shop. Mmmmm, Malabrigo....
  • I spotted some red shoes on sale at Feet First while on an outing for work this morning that I think I just may have to get. First, they're on sale. Second, they're red. Now who can resist a red shoe that's on sale???
  • In the "It's a Small World After All" category: while listening to my She-Knits podcast this morning (I'm not quite up to date yet, but getting there!), I was delighted to hear Sharon do an interview with Kathleen who I had the opportunity to meet when I was in Japan in March (seen in this picture on the right, reading One Skein Wonders). As a matter of fact, she probably recorded the interview while I was there.
I promised some progress pictures of my Lace Ribbon Scarf last post, so here they are.

I got about 60 inches out of my first skein of Sea Silk (Mmmmmm, Sea Silk). I'm probably going to knit another 40 inches (I likes me a long scarf), and I've got a small project in mind for what's left of the skein (it's for my Secret Pal, it's a secret).

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Super Swag!

It's Monday again, and I am positively basking in the glow of some super swag. I finally got my first Secret Pal package on Saturday, and I am absolutely thrilled!

Included: a lovely card, a beautiful zippered pouch for my knitting notions, a scrumptious (and uber-practical) grocery bag, a great mix CD and some yummy Smooshy Sock yarn (I heart Dream in Color so much!). Thank you Secret Pal!!!

Two cool things I want to point out about this package. First, my Secret Pal made the pouch and grocery bag HERSELF! Second, the mix CD has allowed me to discover some awesome new artists. It was totally me, a really eclectic mix of music. Phil and I enjoyed it last night, while he was sewing away on his latest kite project (a Jordan 200 kite. "200" as in "200 square feet". It's going to be a monster).
(I love the strawberry pendant on the zipper of my knitting notions pouch!)

As if that wasn't cool enough, my mother was finally able to give me the books she had ordered for my birthday (we've both been busy), so I can finally update my wish list on Chapters! I got: Viking Patterns for Knitting (you'll like this one Kate, lots of cables and knots); The Knitting Answer Book (always handy to have, or so I hear); and Start Spinning: Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn (a most excellent addition in view of my plan to purchase a wheel in the next few months). And a non-knitting but nevertheless much appreciated title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Audio Book. I had downloaded this one for my trip to Japan, but something went wrong and I only got 2 out of 5 CDs, and I couldn't find it anymore when I got back. Grrrr.

So. Saturday I finally got it together enough to head out and see Robyn and meet Mackenzie (or, as I'll now officially be calling him, Mack the Knife). Of course, I didn't actually have it together enough to bring my camera with me (or to pick up a pattern I ordered from her about a month ago!), but at least I made it there in one piece. It was nice to see her and the fam, and to get to check out her garden in person!

Sunday was a yucky day, so we mostly spent it indoors, sprinkled with a few outings here and there so as not to go completely insane. Nothing fancy. I DID remember to bring my brand new shopping bag with me though! ;)

Knitting at casa de Dear is going well but progress is slow. I'm now on my second skein of Sea Silk for the Lace Ribbon Scarf (I'll try to put some pictures up next post), and I'm working on the leg of my second Firestarter sock. Since these are toe-ups, I should be done by the end of the week, for sure.

I kept forgetting to post my Secret Pal 12 Question of the Week last week, so here goes.

1) Where is your favorite place to go for vacation/holiday?

Travelling is a little different when you've got young kids with you, so much as I'd like to put down something exotic like Bora Bora, I'd have to say that my current favourite (and, um, only!) vacation destination is my Dad's place in Markdale, Ontario. It's a beautiful area, and it's near a really great beach I used to go to all the time as a kid (Sauble). The only trouble is it's freakin' FAR!!! Hopefully they'll find something they both love that's a little closer in the future.

2) Where is one place you'd like to go?

There are tons of places I'd love to go! But again, not so easy with the young kids. Right now I'd have to say Paris. Phil has to go there for business in September, and I'd love to accompany him!

OK, that's it for today. Happy Knitting Everyone!
Thanks for the heads-up on the spelling boo-boos, Jennifer. That's the trouble with writing these posts on my office computer : the language settings are in French, so I don't get spell-check here!


I have a post all written out about how wonderful my Secret Pal package was and now Blogger's being a complete arse and I can't upload my pictures. Aaaaaaaaack!!!

Apologies to those who are waiting with bated breath, I'll try again before going to bed, but if it doesn't work, it'll have to wait until tomorrow.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Feeling Silly

Apologies to all my readers for the doldrums of my last post, but I'm sure you've all had off days like that, right? Luckily Knit Night made it all better, and I'm back to my usual silly-self today.

I was reminded of this cartoon yesterday morning, and I can't believe I actually found it online (God bless Google!). This is probably copyright infringement, but who's going to get into a fuss over little old me, I wonder?

It perfectly describes how I'm feeling now. Just sneaky and devilish, but somewhat short on actual inspiration :)

For instance, what exactly am I going to say today about my knitting? Still working on my 3 main projects (Firestarter socks, Lace Ribbon Scarf, Pinwheel Baby Blanket), still enjoying them, but nowhere close to completion on any of them. OK that's not entirely accurate. I'm creating the gussets on the second sock, so presumably I should have a completed pair within the next few days. My husband has been glowering at me whenever I work on my socks, which I'm pretty sure means that I need to placate the beast with another pair ASAP! I've promised him a pair out of a lovely Merino/Tencel blend in the stash that he's had his eye on forever, and I'm thinking of doing Anne Hanson's Luxor socks with it. (Note to self: must buy pattern for that).

Boy, I feel like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel here. What have I got going on this weekend, you may be wondering? Well, I've got an appointment for laser hair removal tomorrow morning! (I've got a big smile on my face right now, because I can actually hear my husband cringing in disbelief that I talked about hair removal on my blog. LOL!!!) And I want to pop over and see Robyn this weekend as well, it's high time I met baby Mack! She's also holding my first Secret Pal package for me, which I'm dying to get my hands on. Hey, Secret Pal? I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to get my package. If you're anything like me, you're going insane with the anticipation of knowing whether your package was appreciated (I'm sure it'll be great!).

I've also been noodling around with an idea (of course, I'm always thinking of future projects). I'm sure most of you have seen or heard of Jared Flood's Hemlock Ring Blanket (Ravelry link here, non-Ravelry link here). Shannon has been working on one lately, and I absolutely love it. It's soooooo beautiful, such a lovely project. And it's got me thinking. Since that pattern is basically an adaptation of a vintage doily, I was wondering if I could do something similar with a book of crochet doily patterns I picked up in Japan... the patterns in this book are absolutely stunning y'all, but I haven't really had the urge to get my hooking on (Ha!!!) in a while. However, maybe I could KNIT these things... Hmmmmm.... Will ponder some more and get back to you. Or not. (See? Devilish and sneaky)

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Same Ole, Same Ole

I'm afraid I'm feeling rather uninspired today. Not with my knitting (well maybe just a little). I'm quite content with the projects I've got going, but progress is slow, which makes for poor blog fodder.

Everything just feels rather tedious today. Get up, go to work, come home, have dinner, put kids to bed, knit. I sometimes can't help but wonder: now what? It seems strange that at 32 (which is still pretty young, right?), I've accomplished most of the goals you're "supposed" to. I've dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's, and sometimes I wonder what the heck I'm supposed to do now? Yes, I know, most of the "biggies" in life are ongoing projects. Marriage takes work, kids need to be raised, blablablaaahh...

The trouble is that I'm just too much of a forward-thinker. I'm not happy unless I'm anticipating or planning for something. So now what?

Knitting has helped fill some of that space (I don't want to say "void", because that would be overstating). You see something pretty, something challenging, something that will take time and occupy your hands and your brain for a little while, and you jump in with complete and utter abandon. For a little while, it becomes your passion.

But when is it enough? What's the difference between buying yarn and buying "stuff"? Is it just another manifestation of consumerism?

I've met new people, made new friends, and had new experiences, all thanks to my knitting. Again, all things I'm thankful for. Still... sometimes I feel like it'll never be enough, my thirst will never be fully quenched. But that's what life is all about, right?

Whew!!! Sorry, the weather must be getting to me! Thankfully, I'll be attending a LavalKnits meeting tonight, which should put me in a better mood. I didn't get to go all through June, and I'm really looking forward to seeing everybody there.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Checking in

I'm back! I never really left, of course, but Émilie's illness kept me extra busy over the past few days, and I just didn't have it in me to blog once the kids were in bed in the evenings. Bad blogger, I know.

So, when I last posted I mentioned that the kids both had colds, but that Émilie was feeling particularly nasty and that I was keeping her home for the day. She ran a pretty high fever all day, so even though she was feeling a little better on Thursday, I kept her home again (Maxime went to daycare, he's just got a plain summer cold). She was in good spirits, and the fever was down, so I figured we'd gotten through it after all, and decided to send her to daycare for Friday. Then during the night on Thursday, she woke up complaning of an ear ache in the middle of the night, and I thought she had an ear infection (actually my first thought was NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!, but you know what I mean). But when she woke up Friday morning, she seemed fine, so I decided to send her to daycare after all.

As I was getting ready for work, she came to see me complaining of a bug bite behind her ear. When she pulled her hair back to show me, the lymphnodes behind and below her left ear were super swollen, and the whole left side of her face was about twice it's normal size (how I didn't notice it until then is beyond me). Off Maxime went to daycare again, and Émilie and I headed to our local CLSC (her pediatrician's office is closed on Fridays, of course).

After about a 2 and a half hour wait (luckily, we'd been to the library the day before, and I had brought ALL the books we took out with us, which kept us pretty busy), we were seen by a doctor, who was concerned that Émilie might have the mumps, so they did some blood tests (oh what fun that was... NOT!) and gave her a prescription for some antibiotics in case it was just a localized infection.

We had a follow-up appointment the following morning (yes, I had to go to the CLSC on a Saturday), and the doctors were pleased with her progress (the swelling had really gone down overnight), but they still wanted to see her this morning to make sure that she was getting better, and possibly do more bloodwork. Since she was really feeling better this morning, we decided to take her to the clinic in the morning, then take her to daycare, which is something Phil can do much easier than I can, because he works so close to home (I work downtown).

I'm happy to say that the doctors were very pleased with her progress, and they decided not to do any more blood tests at this time, since they didn't have the full results from Friday's test yet. They'll forward the results to the local hospital when they get them, and from there, it's the hospital that will decide whether further bloodwork is called for. Mumps is a highly contagious disease, which is why they're so concerned about following up (public health issues). But Maxime hasn't caught it, so I'm not worried (he's really just got a cough and a runny nose at this point, he never had a fever).
(As you can see, we had a serious infection on our hands!)

Thanks so much for those of you who got in touch with me, either on this blog or in person, to convey their wishes for a speedy recovery!

I wanted to share this picture with you. On Sunday morning we went to the Centre de la Nature here in Laval for a picnic (we were looking for something fun, and free, to do outdoors). It's a really lovely area (nothing like the Botanical Gardens, of course, but still lots of fun). They've got an area with farm animals, and a great play area, and a mini-train. It's really a great spot for a picnic. Anyway, this is Maxime checking out the goats. He's very into pointing right now. I just love it when he tries to communicate like that, it's awesome. While there we also flew one of Dad's kites (speaking of which, he just finished one! check it out here).

OK, on to knitting! Since finishing Émilie's dress, I picked up my Firestarter sock again. I had started this sock way back in April, but it kind of got set aside in favour of the Leafling socks and Émilie's dress. I finished the first sock this weekend, and cast on for the second on Saturday. I really enjoyed knitting this sock, the design is just lovely. Yarnissima really has a thing for gussets! If you've seen some of her other designs, or are a member of the 2008 Rockin' Sock Club (she designed the pattern for the May kit), you'll know what I'm talking about. There were a few different techniques that I've never tried before in this sock, which made it challenging and a fun learning experience (2 things I love). I only wish I had knit it with the stated 2 circs instead of dpns, but I didn't have the needles to make gauge. Must make a KnitPicks order! I love their circulars, they're wonderful to work with, and they're CHEAP!
Secret Pal 12 Question of the Week:

1) What yarn (that you don't have/haven't used) would make your stash "complete"?
Ummm.... I'd love to get my hands on some Sundara yarn, but I don't think my stash will ever be complete. I'll always find something I need or want. It's a gift. :)

2) What yarn do you never want to be without?
Sock yarn. Totally sock yarn. There's an endless variety of sock patterns out there, and I've always got a pair on the needles for someone.

I thought I'd end this post by showing you the results of Wednesday's gardening.

Look! My rapini has sprouted! I'm very excited. I love rapini, but I can't seem to figure out how to make it properly! I bought some this weekend and made it for myself (no one else in my family appreciates it much), but it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too salty! Bleaaaachh! I think I need to have my Italian cousin come over and teach me how to make it properly (again). Help me Jessica!!!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Glorious Summer

It is an incredibly beautiful day in Laval today, the kind of day that you dream about all through winter (and that's a mighty long time!), when you imagine yourself surrounded by all of Mother Nature's offerings, which seem to spring forth all at once in an incredible display of life and growth.

What you DON'T imagine yourself doing is staying home with your daughter, who's managed to catch a pretty nasty cold in the middle of summer. Yup, Émilie is sick (again). Maxime is too, but he's only got a little cough, whereas Émilie has a really nasty cough and a constant fever to boot. It's been fun.

I just put her down for a nap, and I really hope she sleeps. At almost 4 years old, naps are only 50-50 at best lately, but she really needs the rest, and frankly, Mommy could use a break!

I just stepped out to take a gander at my veggie and flower beds, and I realized it's been quite a while since I've posted any pictures of the results of my horticultural endeavours, so here goes.

My vegetable garden. (It's really a very small patch). This is only my second year attempting a vegetable patch, so I went with the basics again this year: zucchini (which is doing great!), one cherry tomato plant (lots of flowers and some green tomatoes in there), basil, cilantro (which has begun to flower, am I supposed to trim those?) and lettuce (lots and lots of lettuce!). I love having fresh lettuce at my disposal for salads!

This is my cucumber plant and carrot patch. What, you don't see any carrots? That's because they never sprouted! I sowed carrot seeds TWICE, and all I wound up with were a bunch of weeds (yes, they really were weeds, of the same variety that grows in my flower bed). I sowed a bunch of rapini in that spot this afternoon, and we'll see how it goes. I'm hopeful, since from what I've read they're relatively fast growers.

Here we have a few Bee Balm (or is it Bee Bomb?) buds, getting ready to bloom. I love these little shrubs. Their perfume is so pungent, but detinitely not flowery. It's more herbal (Wow, quite the description... I think it's pretty clear that I was NOT the ghost writer of the novel Perfume!).Finally, my beloved Delphimium. I've actually got 2 varieties in my flower bed, but while this one's flowers are my favourite in terms of colour, the other one is much fuller. I need to move these to the back of the bed next year, I had no idea they grew to be so tall when I planted them last Spring!

And since this IS a knitting blog after all, here's a picture of my newest project: Can you guess what it is?

How about now?
It's the Pinwheel Baby Blanket, knit with Katia Jamaica Cotton on 4 mm circular needles. Saying this is an easy project would be an immense understatement, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless. One of my girlfriends is having a baby in September (why yes, it IS a girl, how'd you guess?), and she's the only one in our "core" group of friends that I didn't knit anything for when her first baby was born (I was busy with my own baby at that point). So I'm trying to make up for it now.

Well, it would seem that the nap is taking, so I'm going to pour myself a glass of Sangria and sit outside with my knitting for a few.

Happy Knitting Everyone!