Thursday, 30 June 2011

Dresden Socks and Anniversary Rerun

I finished the second Dresden sock on the GO train yesterday.
We had spent the day celebrating our wedding anniversary in The Big City in the Distillery District and dropped into the St. Lawrence Market to pick up some bagels at St. Urbain and lappi cheese at Alex Cheese Farms. We also picked up butter chicken biryani at Tamarind in the food court at Brookstone (formerly BCE Place) to take home for our anniversary supper.

It was a beautiful, warm, breezy, sunny day - just perfect for the 2km walk each way. Our favourite route is to walk along Front St. to the St. Lawrence Market then go south the one block to the Esplanade. There's parkland all along the Esplanade - grass, shade trees, playgrounds, etc.
We ate lunch at the Brick Street Bakery - hand-crafted gourmet sandwiches. We then poked around the various shops and galleries.

One of my favourite galleries is CubeWorks.
There are several large pieces made of Rubik's cubes.Other 'cube' art uses dice.
These mesh forms cast an interesting shadow when lit properly.
This is the second year we've done this on our anniversary. I think we can now consider it a tradition. ♥

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Lots Accomplished Today

I did a lot more today than I've done in ages. This morning I dropped Scooter off at the GO station and dropped in for a quick visit with Marion. Then I dropped her off at the GO station. After that I went for lunch at my favourite pita place.

On the way home, I stopped at Home Depot to ask about what is involved in a home renovation. Our almost 30-year-old house desperately needs some updates. 'Mike' will be coming by to take a look at things on July 12.

When I got home I hosed down the garage floor swishing the dirt and salt from the winter down the driveway. Then I cleaned the interior of my car and washed the exterior. I also washed a few seasonal mats we use at the front door and let them dry in the bright sun.

I then washed all the windows on the ground floor.

After I got cleaned up, I thought I'd work on the vest I'm finishing up for my friend, Diane. I'm hoping I'll see her on Thursday and can give it to her then. I ended up finishing the back that she had started (after several needle size changes) and had to completely knit the two fronts to match the gauge of the back.

I sewed it together and then crocheted all around the edges.
The single crocheted edge finishes it nicely. It took a couple of tries to get the right tension around the armholes but I think it's going to work well for Diane.

Today in the garden I played around with my camera on its 'macro' setting.

This is our lone Asiatic lily.
The sun roses (also called primroses by some) are in full bloom.
and close up...
This jackmanii clematis has rather small blooms. It is spreading along our fence as the neighbour's Rose of Sharon has completely blocked its sun.
They're the purple-est flowers in the garden.

The bell flowers are still in bloom.
These Maltese Cross plants are descendants of those from my mother's garden. They're about 4 feet high.They remind me of the day Skip and I were married in our back yard - June 29, 1998. It was the last time they grew as high as they are now.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

I ♥ (Central) New York

Last week, Skip and I ventured to Rochester, NY to attend a day of the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club. It rained heavily early that morning but by the time we got to the event, the sun was out and things were drying up nicely. By the time we left, the temperature had climbed to 93F. It was a 'sticky one', but it was lfun following around many of the world's finest women golfers, watching their shots while we stood in the shade, sampling the free food in the Wegmans (a grocery store based in NY state) merchandising tent, standing only a few feet away from the golfers as they teed off, hit fairway and approach shots and putted out.

Then we drove further eastward to visit our friends MaryAnne, James and Aidan in Baldwinsville, NY - just NE of Syracuse. I met MaryAnne in 1992 on a Windjammer Barefoot cruise in the NW Caribbean, cruised again with her and other people we met on that cruise in 1995.
And on Facebook, we still keep in touch with Andrea and Betty.

Now I'm married to Skip and MaryAnne is married to 'her' James (not to be confused with 'our' James) and Aidan is 9 years old.

MaryAnne and I went yarn shopping at Sheep Thrills Yarn Company in Syracuse and Fred and Aidan went to play mini-putt.

I hadn't planned to buy anything but was quite intrigued with these items.

Some Cascade Heritage Silk sock yarn,
a couple of skeins of Araucanía Ranco sock yarn for another Maia shawl.
a couple of skeins of Berroco Boboli yarn that look and feel a lot like Manos Silky Merino,
and a book that had some cool graphs of animals that would make some cool fair-isle projects.
On our way home, we dropped into a Sports Authority and I picked up a jacket for my upcoming knitting trip to the UK, a pair of golf shoes and a lock for my bike.

So much for not thinking I was going to buy anything.

I didn't get any pictures of MaryAnne and James, but here's one of Aidan, Skip and me. Aidan is holding his very versatile multi-function watch that Santa brought him last year. He can even take pictures with it.

And, late Saturday night when I was catching up on my emails and Facebook, I learned that New York state finally passed legislation to make gay marriage legal. I understand how some people who believe in the bible can have an issue with people practicing a homosexual lifestyle but for the life of me, I don't understand how gay marriage is a threat to our society. Currently, 10 countries ( Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden) have legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Gay marriages can be performed in Mexico City and 7 US states.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Latin Quotes

Back in 2003, Scooter dressed up for his piano recital. He looked very spiffy.
Last week, he attended his high school prom (formal).
Carpe diem. Seize the day.

Tempus fugit.
Time flies.

Monday, 20 June 2011

A Perfect Afternoon

The weather today is perfect. It's sunny, breezy and not too hot (22C = 73F) or humid.

On the weekend, Skip and I finally got the cover put on our 10' x 13' gazebo on the deck. The original cover wore out years ago and since then we have been buying a new 15' x 20' tarp each yar and doing some very creative folding and tying.

It almost adds another room to our house in the summer and it is SO nice sitting outside at any time of the day. Without the tarp, our south-facing deck would too hot and sunny to use most of the day but with the cover - it's perfect.This afternoon I sat out and watched some of my new Lucy Neatby DVD (Double Knitting) and listened to a couple of podcasts while I knit and blogged. It doesn't get much better than this.
Skip came out to do some watering in the garden.
The lone bell flower (campanula) from the other day now has lots of company.
The stella d'oro day lilies are almost finished but I had a good sniff of them,
and some of the last fragrant peonies. Too bad Blogger doesn't have smellovision.
The rosebush has lots of beautiful blooms now.
And we have one cosmos bloom.
Sitting here listening to the birds, the breeze in the leaves of nearby trees, kids playing in a neighbour's swimming pool and traffic a few blocks away whilst knitting and blogging is a very nice way to spend the afternoon - a perfect afternoon.

Life is good.

Friday, 17 June 2011


I got together with Mo last weekend ago to do some spinning. I worked on some lovely handpainted superwash merino custom blend roving that I had purchased at The Black Lamb.

This evening I finally got the single chain-plied. I didn't want the colours to be blended or 'barber-poled'. Rather I wanted the colours to stay distinct.
Behold. 206 yards, 111g of worsted weight yarn.
Ain't it purty?

Now, what to knit with it? What to knit? What to knit?

♫ See How They Run ♫ and Today's Garden Highlights

Ollie has been a very good cat. I thought I'd knit him a couple of new mousies. On the recommendation of my knitterly friends at Kniterary, I didn't bother with the ears or with stitching the eyes and nos - ergo, 'Two Blind Mice'. The pattern is from Michelle Ameron's Catwarming Set in "Stitch 'n Bitch Nation".
This morning, I took a walk in the garden to pick some peonies which are headed on their way 'out'. I love their fragrance in the house and thought I'd take some snapshots of them and the garden.
There are a few other lovely flowers in bloom right now. The blooms on this clematis are just starting and are about 13cm (5") in diameter.
This is the lone bellflower (campanula) that is in bloom. Many more are to follow.
You can see it above the mound of white cranesbill, just to the left of the turtle sandbox (where Skip keeps the dirt for the compost bins).
One dianthus plant is in bloom. There were others in past years but they may have been choked out by the blue clips (campanula carpatica) and bugleweed (ajuga repetans).

We have quite a lot of shade in our garden, particularly at the front of the house which faces north, but also along our fence. We have lots of different types of hostas, one which came from my mother's garden (she's been dead for almost 19 years) which I've transplanted to the garden of every home I've lived in since then. Another couple of them came from Skip's mom's garden.

I didn't used to like hostas much. I thought they were 'boring' (I was a know-it-all twenty-something at the time) but now appreciate all the different textures and colours. They're also a very easy way to fill lots of shady spots in the garden and require very little care - other than to hack them back every year as they continue to spread outward.

We are particularly fond of this rosebush which only has one bloom right now.
We like it because it is our only surviving rosebush but also because a friend of ours gave it to us for a wedding gift when we were married 13 years ago. Our wedding ceremony took place only a few feet away from where it is now planted.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Geri and Skip's Excellent Adventure - Part III

Once anchored off shore in Cabo San Lucas, we were tendered ashore and loaded into vans for our day at a luxury resort a couple of miles up the bay at the Villa del Palmar resort. We arrived at about 9am and staked out our lounge chairs and spent the time ‘til 1pm, hydrating with Diet Cokes and Negro Modelo beer and eating a fixed plate lunch with several Mexican specialties.

The resort was beautiful and had several pool areas and lots of shade for us.
I liked the ficus trees clipped into heart shapes.We could see the ship from the restaurant area just above the beach.
When we went to sit down for lunch, we noticed the resident kitty cat asleep under our table. He wasn't at all disturbed by us. Seeing him made me miss my Ollie.
While we were eating, a hooded oriole landed on the tray that had dirty dishes on it. It seems he was looking for something to eat.
On the way back to the ship, we saw this luxury yacht tied up. It had a helicopter on the back.
I googled its name, "Attessa", and learned that it belongs to US Industrialist, Dennis Washington. Apparently he had 20 feet added to the length of the yacht when it was being refurbished after there was a fire aboard.

Back on the ship, we weighed anchor and headed for San Francisco after two days at sea. While leaving the bay. We were able to get a good shot of Lover's beach at Los Arcos.
Los Arcos is the landmark of Cabo San Lucas.
The night before SFO we had our farewell dinner with Susan and David and fantasized about where our next cruises would take us. The next morning, we woke up early to witness sailing under the Golden Gate bridge at sunup. It was beautiful and calm and the fog hadn’t rolled in yet.
We sailed around the warehouse at Pier 35 - the cruise ship pier - where we would be tying up.
Once tied up, we were able to see Alcatraz.
We were delayed in disembarking the ship because of US Customs and Homeland Security delays and several shore tours were cancelled as a result. Skip and I decided to simply take a double decker bus tour of the city and see all the touristy spots like Lombard Street
and the 'Painted Ladies'.
The Golden Gate bridge had by now been enveloped in fog.
Lots of cabs on the west coast are Toyota Prius.
We also saw a group on a Segway tour of the pier area.
Back in the pier area we explored Pier 39 - a myriad of cute shops and cafes. We ate delicious clam chowder in a bread bowl. It was a closely-guarded family recipe.
We also saw the sea lions which have taken over a docking area since the earthquake of 1989. Before we saw them, we could hear them and then could smell them. There must have been 80 of them basking in the sun, snoozing, snogging and making lots of noise. Businesses have even sprung up because of the sea lions.
Back at the ship, we set sail for the two day voyage to Vancouver. In the next day’s trivia contest, we were two members short with David and Susan now on shore. Someone sitting near us, Joel , an emergency room physician from SFO, asked if he could join our group and of course, we consented. We ended up winning the contest in spite of us changing one of my answers to one of his. With this win, we also won medals!
Yay! That night, Joel confided that he had been a three-time Jeopardy winner shortly after Ken Jennings had lost. He also told he thought we were formidable allies and he was glad that he had hooked up with us.

We were delayed in arriving in Vancouver because of a late departure from SFO. Evidently two passengers who were unaccounted for and later found in their stateroom. The steward put this cover on our bed so we could put our suitcases on it without wrecking the duvet. I wasn't really happy to be packing. I loved our 'floating resort' and our comfy stateroom.
The late arrival wasn’t going to affect us because we didn’t have any plane connections to make. We had also opted for self-serve luggage disembarkation so were in one of the first groups to disembark.

We again got footage of the sail under the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver
and the docking at Canada Place.
Once off the ship we grabbed a cab to the Pacific Central bus/train station and made the bus to Swartz Bay with 5 minutes to spare. We got the 3pm sailing which got us into Swartz Bay at 4:35pm and grabbed another cab to the airport to pickup the rental car that was awaiting us.

to be continued...