Saturday, 30 August 2008

Here We Go Again. My, My!

I got some aesthetically appealing photos of the swallowtail shawl today.

I'm plugging away on the Angel Lace Shawl which is a soft, squishy, fragrant blob.

Last night I started a Fern and Waves lace scarf with some Garnstudio Drops Alpaca yarn I had frogged from an unsuccessful project. It's going to be one of the projects I take on my Maritimes trip next week. I know we'll be killing time in the airport both going and coming as well as on the plane. Hopefully, we'll be so busy I don't get much done.

One of the impatiens was particularly photoworthy today. I'm learning how to use more features of my camera. Today's object was to get a good macro photo.

We also have some type of hibiscus in bloom. The blooms are 10" across and last only for one day.

I put a message out on my Facebook status for anyone to come and join Suzanne and me at the "Sing-Along Mamma Mia!" movie on Monday night and Lena - a genuine Swede - will be joining us as well. Cool!

Friday, 29 August 2008

Back from a Blog Holiday

I've been a lazy blogger lately. I haven't taken any pictures either. But I have some updates.

The replacement refrigerator was delivered last Thursday (Aug. 21). I was informed it needed to stand for 2 hours before I turned it on to allow the freeon to settle after it had been tipped onto its back to get the skid off the bottom. This sent me into a bit of a panic and I sent Scooter downstairs to the little bar fridge with a few loads of real perishables - dairy, meat, etc. I've been monitoring the temperature since turning it on and it seems to be working OK - now increase in temperature due to freeze up. YAY!

I continue to knit the Angel Lace Shawl with the Dye-Version 100% soybean yarn. I'm about half done, I think, but each right side row grows 4 stitches so each subsequent row is taking longer. I purchased some nice sparkly beads for the tips so will knit them on by putting them on the stitch with a crochet hook. Knitting with beads is new for me and I'm looking forward to doing it. One of my knitting gurus, Vickie, finished her "Print o' the Waves" shawl last week that she'd been working on since January. I got to see it in its 'blob' state and then on Thursday night after it had been blocked. It is lovely.

Today I cast on the Fern and Waves scarf from Arlene's World of Lace using some burgundy-coloured Garnstudio Drops Alpaca yarn I had in my stash. It is a free Ravelry download. It's coming along quite nicely.

Suzanne, a former colleague, and I are going to the Sing-Along Mamma Mia! movie on Monday evening. The closest it's playing is at Kennedy Common at Kennedy Rd. and the 401 so we'll venture into the traffic of all the happy vacationers returning to Toronto and grab a bite to eat before the show. If anyone else wants to come, let me know. We can meet there and all sing and dance together!

I also have learned that the Broadway show "Rent" was filmed and will be shown at selected Odeon Cineplex theatres on Sept 24, 25 and 27. If anyone wants to go to the Sept. 24 showing at 7pm, let me know. I'll be getting tickets soon as these special engagements sell out quickly.

Skip and I are heading to Stratford on Wednesday of next week to see "The Music Man" and visit with my high school chum, Elizabeth Brickenden Gowan, who plays bassoon in the pit orchestra as well as for the Canadian Opera Company. On Sept. 17, after my return from PEI, Skip and I have tickets for "Jersey Boys" and on the 21st, Scooter, Skip and I will be going to "Spamalot". I also procured tickets for "The Sound of Music" for January 7, 2009. It was the earliest I could get us tickets (in our price range) on a Wednesday matinee. I suspect there will be a zillion school kids there as well.

I'll take some pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

'Butterflies are Free'

The last two butterflies, Eta and Theta, hatched from their chrysalises on the weekend. We had a very successful monarch butterfly season with only one casualty, Beta, who did not attach to the top of the container and died in a puddle of green goo. The surviving seven were harvested as eggs and set free after passing through the larva and pupa stages.

Since the completion of the swallowtail shawl, I am now entranced with lace knitting. Yesterday I began the Evelyn A. Clark 'Angel Lace Shawl' using Soy Soft from Dye-Version, a 100% soybean fibre yarn. It feels wonderfully silky and smells like soap.

It is coming along very nicely. I'm using two needles right now and see that shortly I will need to switch to my long 4.5mm circular needle as increases continue to 307 stitches before the edging.

Yesterday evening, we attended an annual gastronomic event at our friend, Joan's, farm. She is a former teaching colleague who retired a few years ago. She has been getting teaching jobs at a university in Taiwan ever since teaching a variety of subjects - art history, music appreciation, environmental science. She returns to Canada each summer and spends about a week preparing for the eggplant-themed dinner which we eat al fresco. Hors d'oeuvres are served all afternoon which include: hummus, liver paté, tapanade, phyllo triangles, olives, cheeses, etc. For dinner we enjoyed gazpacho, leg of lamb, risotto, grilled portobello mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and eggplant and salad. For dessert we had several choices: carrot cake, brownies, meringue with lemon curd, shortbread and cherry pie. I tried to eat wisely but really lost it at dessert and just had to sample a little of everything (except the pie). Several of our friends who usually attend weren't there but we got to know some new people. There were probably 30 - 35 of us in attendance.

This morning at the gym I paid for my overindulgence. Tomorrow, I'm going to fit in a Yoga class and some cardio to atone for my sins.

I had friends, Marilyn and Anne Marie, over for chats and snacks on the deck today. It was a lovely afternoon.

Friday, 22 August 2008

The Blob is Blocking

I finished the Swallowtail Shawl today while having a pedicure. I love, love, love it! It's my first major lace project. The sucker bled a lot of dye (I think it's the silk that doesn't take the dye as well) while soaking but blocked very nicely. And no major mistakes are obvious.

Thank you again Darryl (my niece's wonderful husband) for giving me the stainless steel wires. Oh yeah, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Tay!

I'm just going to have to start another one!

Adam Van Koeverden had a disastrous 1500m kayak race today and finished 8th! It was like watching a train wreck happen. Yeesh! However, Karine Sergerie won a Silver in Women's Welterweight TaeKwondo and Thomas Hall won a Bronze in the 1000m Canoe/Kayak event. That brings our total to 17. I think it would be awesome of Eric Lamaze got to carry the Canadian flag in the closing ceremonies. I sure hope they let him.

I had a shopping spree at the local farmer's market this morning after my workout. I bought locally grown sweet corn, strawberries, wild blueberries, peaches, green beans and raspberries. I eat a cup of berries every morning with most of my breakfasts on this plan so it's nice to have ones that haven't been trucked from Watsonville, CA. I'll eat enough of those in the winter.

I cooked a low fat/low calorie pasta alfredo recipe from my fat blasting manual and put WAY too much garlic in it. I had to rinse the pasta off so Scooter could eat it. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

I learned something new today. I got a notice from flicker that I'm almost at my maximum number of downloaded photos. They want me to pay $24.95 a year to host my photos. Ever the thrifty one, there's no way I'm paying. Oh no! How am I going to upload my photos to my Ravelry page? Well, I went to the photo editing page in Ravelry and successfully uploaded my swallowtail photo right from my computer. Yay! I think I could have also 'slurped' it from here but I didn't have any luck with that the other night.

Two More Medals! And One's a Gold!

(written late Thursday night)

I was on the elliptical trainer at the gym this morning after having my arse kicked by my trainer and was able to watch the end of the equestrian jumping. It was SO exciting when Eric Lamaze and Beezie Madden of the US had a jump-off to break their tie. Beezie had a fantastic round but got 4 penalty points on the last jump. Eric's round was flawless. I yelled " YESSSS" and scared the crap out of the woman on the adjacent piece of equipment. I got all choked up when 'O! Canada' was played but I didn't blubber while huffing, puffing and sweating. Congratulations also to Emilie Heymans for winning her silver medal in 10m platform diving.

Yesterday I had a lovely visit with Carrie and Sophia. Sophia is about 6.6 months old and adorable (and photogenic).

She likes to pose for the camera.

I didn't get the hat done but will mail it when I'm finished along with the petal bib I forgot to take. Carrie liked the garter stitch kimono.

While there, I got a photo of the Hebrew wedding sampler I had stitched for John and Carrie's wedding gift. I had forgotten to take a picture of it before I gave it to them.

It's not the clearest but you get the general idea.

I had quite a time trying to find someone who could sell me the pattern, to no avail. So, I found a good picture of it online and printed the picture onto grid paper which I then used as the pattern. My apologies to the original designer - I really tried to buy the pattern!

The Hebrew script is from Solomon's Song of Songs, Chapter 2, verse 16, the most passionate declaration of love in the Bible, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine". I really liked how the verse seems to hang like a mobile from the Mogen David (Star of David) and I liked the stitched ribbons that hung down on each side. The blue colour comes from the Israeli flag. I dithered about whether to stitch their wedding date using the Hebrew calendar - 26th of Elul, 5764 - I didn't realize there were Hebrew calendar converters online back in 2004. Instead, I defaulted to the Gregorian calendar date.

I only have two more rows to complete on graph for the red swallowtail blob-which-will-someday-be-a-shawl. Then I do the points. I don't think I'll be able to block it 'til Scooter goes back to his mom's and I can use his bed.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

13 Medals

Yesterday was 'Super Tuesday' (as CBC claimed) for Canada when we won 3 silver medals and 1 bronze medal. So far none have been won today (which is currently 10pm tonight in Beijing local time). At least with our 13 medals, we have improved upon our medal count of 12from the Athens 2004 Olympics. AMAZING! Jamaica's Usain Bolt, at the age of 22, just broke the world record and won a gold medal with a time of 19.3 seconds in the men's 200m run. He won the gold with a world record on Saturday. He's the first person to win double gold with world records in the 100m and 200m races in 104 years of Olympic games. What a race! We have now heard that Wallace Spearmon who crossed the line second and thought he won the silver medal, got disqualified for stepping on the lane line. Yeesh! He won't be happy.

I finished the garter stitch kimono for Sophia, Carrie's baby, whom I will be visiting this afternoon. It came out to be 18 - 24 mo. size (I was aiming for 12 - 18 mo.) because I was using one size bigger needles.

I'm knitting a hat as well - rolled stocking stitch brim, garter stitch, i-cord knot on top - but didn't get it finished in time. I'll mail it when I'm done.

I'm making good progress on the Swallowtail Shawl. I'm on the second Lily of the Valley pattern. It still looks like a blob but I'm sure it'll look lovely (although not flawless) once finished and blocked.

Zeta is getting ready to emerge from its chrysalis. Soon we'll be able to see some orange streaks in the black background.

After breaking out, it will spend several hours unfurling its wings and eventually opening and closing them to get all the circulation flowing. Then it will just fly away.

The other two pupae will likely emerge within the next couple of days.

Monday, 18 August 2008

We're Up To 9 Medals

I've been enjoying flipping among several CBC French TV channels, CBC English channel from Toronto and NBC. I particularly have enjoyed watching the morning Olympic events shown live between 10pm and 1am Eastern time.

Watching Michael Phelps' relay team help him to his 8th gold medal was thrilling. Our Canadian equestrian team did a fine job today getting their silver medal. Karen Cockburn also did us proud earning her silver medal on the trampoline.

Today was Ollie's annual check-up at the veterinarian. He has gained a little bit of weight (.4 lb) but is otherwise healthy. His doctor suspects he might have allergies because of his puffy, watery eyes at times and the tendency to lick and chew the fur off his forearms and tummy. I have been instructed to give him 10mg of Benadryl (by cutting the 25mg pills) as he needs it. He and I both suffered with allergies in the late spring.

I'll get weighed again tomorrow and will see if the numbers look better. I've been taking the protein shakes after my workouts in hopes that it'll help build my lean muscle mass.

Wednesday, I'll visit Carrie and Sophia in Toronto. I have googled a few yarn shops a couple of which I hope to hit before our visit.

I've been knitting the swallowtail shawl with the Dawn red silk/wool blend yarn I bought at the Knitter's Frolic last April. I've made a few mistakes but I don't think they'll detract from the overall look of it. We'll see once I've finished it and have blocked it. If it doesn't look good, I'll frog it and re-knit it. Hey, it's all knitting, right?

The three chrysalises are still literally 'hanging in there'. I suspect they'll hatch next week.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Finally! Some Medals.

I awoke this morning and heard the news that Canadians had finally won 3 medals. Freestyle wrestler Carol Huynh won a gold medal women's 48-kilogram final. Woo hoo!!!! Rowers Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen won a silver medal in the men's pair and another freestyle wrestler Tonya Verbeek claimed bronze in the 55-kilogram event. Halleluja! Way to go! I hope there are at least 9 more medals won to tie our record from the previous Olympic games in Athens.

I was successful giving blood today. I was pleased to note that my blood pressure had even improved from the last time to 126/70. I guess the working out and the cardio really does pay off. I'm hoping to stay off heart and blood pressure medication as long as possible. As I had taken my own 100 cal granola bar, I brought home the cookies for the cookie eater(s) that reside here.

Skip's niece, Michelle, who is also Ollie's caregiver when we go away for extended periods is coming for dinner today with her daughter, Amber and nephew, Riley. We had planned to cook chicken breasts for everyone but Michelle insisted that the kids would love KD (Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner). We feel weird about giving the kids KD but remembering what Scooter was like as an eater at that age confirms that they will LOVE it. Skip is getting a couple of hot dogs from the butcher and we'll all have fresh corn on the cob as well.

One task I hope to complete today is to arrive at some semblance of order in my office/spare room/craft room. I know where to find everything but it just looks so messy! Eek!

Sometime today I'll also hem the 4 pairs of slacks I bought for my MIL and will sew together the garter stitch kimono sweater for Sophia, Carrie's baby. I'm going to visit them next week. Before Sophia was born I knit a mitered square blanket for her and also found an adorable pair of ballet slippers for her. Carrie sent me a very cute photo last week of Sophia sporting her ballet slippers which she has finally grown into.

(click on photo for a closeup look at Sophia's pudgy little feet)

Friday, 15 August 2008

Down Six Pounds

I had my weigh-in and measurements taken today before my training session. I'm down 6 pounds and 10 inches in three weeks of the six-week program. Before you get all excited about the inches I've lost, the measurements included both calves, both thighs and both upper arms as well as the usual bust, waist and hips. I knew I had lost a few inches because of the way my clothes have been fitting. My percentages were skewed because I seemed to be dehydrated. Huh? That was news to me. I drink tons of water. Oh well, I'll get weighed again on Tuesday when I go for my next session and we'll see if the percentages are better. Ideally, I've lost lots of fat and have gained some lean muscle mass.

Tomorrow I give blood - hopefully. Last time I went to give blood I was dehydrated (what's up with that?) and they couldn't get enough out of me. So tonight I'm going to drink lots of water and will drink about a litre of water before I go tomorrow.

I'm knitting a garter stitch baby kimono - a freebie Bernat pattern that was in my Stitch n' Pitch goodie bag last week. I'm using Bernat Baby Jacquard yarn - DK weight in the same colourway as the photo on the pattern. Altho' I usually don't like knitting with acrylic yarn, this one is a blend of nylon and acrylic and feels really nice. The mother of the recipient will appreciate the washability of the sweater. I'll also knit a little hat with the rest of the 2nd ball of yarn.

I very much enjoyed watching the individual gymnastics competition last night. Nastia Liukin sure demonstrated her ballet training. Well done. Tonight is the night Michael Phelps can create history. I'll be glued to the TV 'til 1am.

And Canada continues to break all kinds of records but wins no medals - sigh.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Fridge Saga Continues

On Monday, I noticed the refrigerator wasn't cooling properly again, in spite of the new freezer control. I called Whirlpool yet again. To make a long story short, they are replacing my 'lemon' with a new fridge. It is due to arrive in a week or so. I sure hope the new one will work properly - what a hassle.

Theta, joined his siblings, Zeta and Eta in chrysalis form. The should begin hatching in about 7 - 10 days.

I taught a beginning knitting class this evening. Both knitters did very well and were quite keen to go home and practice. I was able to introduce the knitted cast on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch, ribbing and casting off. I also demonstrated k2tog (knit 2 together) and YO (yarn over) and how they are used to knit lace. I hope I demystified knitting somewhat for my students.

I am enjoying watching the Olympics and have been staying up quite late to see the events live. It is disappointing that Canadians still haven't won any medals. The swimmers are breaking records but are being eclipsed by other swimmers. Those new Speedo suits seem to be contributing to the faster times.

I had my 9th personal training session today. I'm halfway done my program. Friday I will get measured and officially weighed. I think I will have lost about 6 lb. which makes it 2lb. per week. I'm pleased with the results. I hope I'm gaining enough lean muscle mass. I want to become a calorie-burning machine.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Virtual Banking or How I Got Free Groceries

I haven't set foot in a bank for several years. I do all my banking on the computer. My bank is a virtual bank. There is no building, lineups or tellers to chat with. There are no monthly fees, no transaction fees (unless I use another bank's ATMs), cheques are free and the interest rates on the savings accounts are very competitive. My virtual bank has an agreement with a major Canadian bank to use their ATMs which are located all across Canada. A major grocery chain also has kiosks for my bank (and bank machines) near their entrances. It's very convenient and I love not having to pay monthly fees, etc. Another benefit is that I accumulate points for every debit card transaction and every MasterCard transaction. I can redeem the points for anything at the major grocery store chain.

This summer I decided we were going to 'eat free' as much as possible on my PCpoints. I had over $800 worth saved up at the beginning of the summer. We have a wonderful neighbourhood grocery store that has great meat and produce departments and they're even open on holidays. However, this summer, I've been doing major shopping trips at Loblaws where I can use my PCpoints. Today, I got $41.23 in groceries for $1.23 (after the first $20, you spend PCpoints in $10 increments. Even the check out girl was impressed with how many I had left (almost $700 worth).

I finished the square inspired by Alice Starmore's Inishmaan sweater.

I only have 3 more squares to go. The next square will be based on a pattern from my new book, "A Fine Fleece".

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Cautiously Optimistic

I am hoping the saga of the defective Amana refrigerator has come to a close. The repairer arrived on Thursday with a replacement component (a plug-in circuit board) and installed it. So far, so good. I won't be believe it's completely fixed until a week goes by without the freezer freezing up solid. I am urging people NOT to buy Amana/Whirlpool/Maytag/Kenmore refrigerators. Samsung, LG and GE are fine as they have nothing to do with Whirlpool et al.

I finished the 16th square on Thursday and cast on #17. I wanted to do one of the sweater patterns from the wonderful Alice Starmore "Fishermen's Sweaters" book. It is the Inishmaan pattern. I knit about 5" and didn't like the look of it. I had jammed all the patterns together and it really needed a couple of stitches of reverse stockinette between each stitch pattern.

Last night I ripped it all out and redesigned it using 5 of the stitch patterns with the stocking stitch separating them and it looks much better. Also, since I cast on during the Olympics, it now qualifies as an Olympic knitting item.

Butterfly Epsilon flew away on Thursday or Friday so now Zeta has pupated and we expect Eta to follow suit soon. Theta is still chowing down on milkweed.

We have had a busy and enjoyable weekend. Friday night we went for dinner with several of Skip's golfing buddies and then went to see Mamma Mia! I enjoyed it as much the second time - hey, I love singing and dancing. Yesterday we went to Lorna's for lunch and to visit her, John who is up from Florida and Megan who is home from Ecuador. Today we headed to Taste of the Danforth to meet Skip's cousin, Rosanne and her husband, Chris. It has become an annual tradition for us. There were many things I would have loved to have had but I restrained myself by having one spanakopita (spinach and cheese pie), one chicken souvlaki skewer and a fruit drink. We also went to one of our favourite cheese stores on the Danforth and bought some Lappi, a mild Finnish cheese, and some lower fat Jarlsberg.

In between all of these activities we've been watching the Olympics in French and English on CBC and also on NBC. Whenever there's a commercial we just flip to another one of the stations. If I stay up late enough, I can see a lot of live coverage of morning events.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Photo Update

I took lots of photos yesterday but am just getting them off my camera now. We had Delta hatch yesterday. Its chrysalis was very small but when she emerged (yes, another girl) she was big once her wings had unfurled.

She stayed on the stick which protruded from the jar for a couple of hours. She flew over to the neighbour's pool and landed on the edge - slipped over and I'm hoping she didn't drown. I was lucky to get this one picture of her open wings.

Once the butterflies exit the chrysalis, I have noticed orange-tinged droplets beneath them. I'm guessing that it's something that rolls off the orange patches on the wings but I'm not exactly sure what it actually is.

And in the 'nursery' - a medium sized mayonnaise jar - the babies are growing. Here are Zeta, Eta and Theta. Who knew learning the Greek alphabet as a sorority pledge would come in so handy? You can see the difference in sizes.

They have grown half as much again since I took this photo yesterday. I think Zeta is getting ready to pupate. Before they pupate, they shed their exoskeleton for the last time as larvae.

The black thing is Epsilon's shriveled up exoskeleton. We expect Epsilon to emerge today or tomorrow.

I think all this excitement was too much for Ollie.

Finally, Nicole, my personal trainer, weighed me today. We were both pleased with the 4.4 lb. weight loss. I have about 16 to go to reach my first goal which is my Weight Watcher's target weight.

Stitch 'n Pitch

Tonight was the Jays' Stitch 'n Pitch game versus the Oakland A's. The A's lead until the 9th inning and lost 4 to 3. Three sections of the 200s were filled with knitters. Amy Singer threw the first pitch. I wondered why Stephanie wasn't there with her family and remembered that she was on vacation. I finished the short row heel of the 2nd black ribbed sock and am now half done the foot. I'll be glad to get that sock done and move on to some other sock patern.

The third butterfly, Delta, hatched this morning. She sat on the twig in the jar for a couple of hours and when I was trying to get a good photo she flew over to the neighbour's yard to the edge of their above-ground pool. I saw her go over the edge and was worried she might have ended up in the water but couldn't see from my yard so I just had to 'let it go'. The next chrysalis, Epsilon, will probably hatch tomorrow. The three other caterpillars are growing quickly and Zeta could pupate in the next day or two. There were some eggs on the leaves they were eating but I haven't looked close enough to see if they're going to hatch.

The saga of the defective refrigerator continued today. To recap... it was delivered on July 15 an one week later the refrigerator ceased to cool to 40F. The first repairer I called couldn't get to my place for several days. The 2nd guy I called arrived in 1/2 hour and immediately diagnosed the problem. He told me a stop-gap measure to limp the fridge along until he could repair it. This involves putting my hair blower in the freezer on low and melting the ice that builds up because it is not defrosting properly. A few days later I called him to see if the replacement part had come in and he said it had not and that he would call me when it did. It is now almost 2 weeks and the part is still not in.

I called Home Depot and they wanted to send a technician out. I explained that a technician had already been to my home and the part was backordered. To make a long story short. I am now demanding that they replace this defective refrigerator with a new one. I have been passed from one person to another at Home Depot and I'm fed up. I paid for a fridge that should work and I want a fridge that works - not a defective fridge that doesn't work. As Skip says, "it's a big toaster". If a brand new toaster goes on the fritz after a week (as did my fridge) it would get returned for a replacement. That's all I want, a replacement for this fridge. The Home Depot people are 'seeing what they can do'. I will be on the phone with them again tomorrow morning at 9am. Stay tuned.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Trailing Leaves

I'm quite pleased with the latest square which I designed. The trailing leaves up the middle were surprisingly easy to execute. On the bottom left I went the wrong way with the second leaf so I just copied the 'design feature' on the top right.

Another butterfly emerged from a chrysalis today. I call it Gamma. I'm not sure if it's a male or female yet. It takes a few hours before it's really ready to fly. We have two more viable chrysalises and another caterpillar that has hatched. We're now equal to last year's yield with Gamma's appearance.

Today is a statutory holiday which is generally called the 'Civic Holiday'. This was a made-up holiday a few years back so workers could have a long weekend on the first Monday of August. In Toronto, it is called Simcoe Day so it could be tied to the founding of Toronto and is called other things in other jurisdictions. However the province of Ontario has not officially recognized it as a holiday so provincial workers do not necessarily have the day off (liquor stores, beer stores) but federal employees do.

As a retiree, long weekends don't really have much of an impact on my life or even weekends for that matter. There are fewer people shopping on long weekends and lots more people shopping on regular weekends with the accompanying increase in traffic - which is a real consideration here in the Greater Toronto Area.

We are taking it easy today and just puttering around the house. Tomorrow evening we're attending Stitch 'n Pitch at the Rogers Centre. The Toronto Star reports there will be about 1,000 stitchers at the park tomorrow including 11 of us Kniterarians. We attended last year and found the experience to be great fun. I think I'll take the black ribbed cashmere/merino socks I've been trying to finish all summer.

On the weight loss front, my morning weigh-in showed me numbers I haven't seen in quite a while. I may have lost between 4 - 6 lb.! I'll be officially weighed on Wednesday so we'll see if my estimations are correct. I still miss my Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips (sniff!). They're actually quite a healthy choice, snack-wise, but they are to be avoided until I've reached my weight-loss goal which is about 16 lb. from my weigh-in this morning.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Geek Alert!

I bought a new laptop today. It looks pretty normal, doesn't it?

It has 1GB cache memory and a 16GB SSD hard drive. It also has a built-in webcam.

Here it is on top of my other laptop.

It's teeny weeny! Skip said that I should tell people I washed my laptop and it felted.

It's an ASUS Eee PC 900 and I got it here in Markham. I had never heard about the Eee PC until my sister bought one yesterday. Ever the competitive one, I had to have one, too. It has an 8.9" screen, measures 8.86" x 6.69" x 1.33" and weighs 2.18lb - a little less than a kilogram.

The real motivator was the weight limitations on our upcoming SunWing flight to Halifax. They only allow 5kg (11 lb.) for hand luggage (other than a purse) and 20kg for checked luggage. My other laptop weighs 3kg and my back pack weighs 3kg (it has wheels) so I was going to have to get a huge purse to put the laptop in. Now, I can slip this baby into my purse. Woo hoo! AND it connects wirelessly to the Internet. I can send and receive e-mail, update my blog, upload photos, etc., etc. Practically anything my laptop can do the Eee PC can do.

On the knitting front, I have started the 16th square. It has traveling leaves up the centre and leafy columns on each side. On my first attempt, I neglected to notice the centre panel had row 1 start on the wrong side. After a few rows I figured this out and frogged it back to the garter stitch and began again. This time, I think I've got it. I'll post a photo tomorrow.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Another Butterfly

Last year Skip and I hatched two monarch butterflies. Following them from the egg stage when I brought them in on milkweed leaves, to larval stage watching them increase in size 2000 times. Then they pupated and made beautiful green chrysalises. After two weeks they hatched. They were both girls. I named the first one Chewy and the 2nd one Chewy II.

Our first hatchling, Alpha, emerged from her chrysalis today. I know she's a 'she' because females don't have black dots on their wings and do have thick black lines between the orange sections. I found her hanging upside down in the bug container so I took her outside. She just wanted to stay put or on my finger.

I finally got her onto a milkweed leaf and took some photos. She stayed there for about 3 hours and finally flew away.

Beta will not be hatching. The chrysalis did not attach properly to the lid of the container and ended up on the bottom. Greenish goo spread out from there and the chrysalis turned a dark colour. However we have three viable chrysalises still literally 'hanging in there' and they should hatch next week sometime.

I also finished the 15th square of the Aran afghan designed by Ada Fenick.

It was an easy knit on 5mm needles. I added two reverse stocking stitches between the garter stitches and the celtic braid on each side to give it a bit more width. Only 5 squares to go!

When I arrived for my workout today, I realized I had cleverly left one of my shoes at home - duh!!!! So I did everything in sock feet much to the horror of my trainer. I even did 20 min. on the elliptical trainer and another 15 min. on the treadmill in sock feet. I don't have a training session on Monday because of the holiday so the next one will be Wednesday the 6th. Nicole wants to weigh me and see what she needs to 'tweak' for maximum fat/weight loss. The training diet isn't really different from how I used to eat except I'm consuming more fibre and am not eating sugary snacks in the evening although I really miss my Tracy's sugar and cinnamon pita chips (sniff). Portion control has been important and I've been measuring all the meats and cheeses. I still have to remember to have my snacks which consist of an apple, yogurt, fudgesicle or some other nutritious 80 - 100 cal item. If I can get my butt out of bed early on Sunday morning, I'll go and do the Body Pump class at the gym.