Tuesday, 31 July 2007
There was a Michaels flyer in with the newspaper this week with a 40% off coupon so I decided to pop in there and pick up a few things. I was hoping to find some aesthetically pleasing bamboo double pointed needles, but they only had a couple of sizes and of course they weren't the ones I wanted. I ended up getting two more 4mm sets of the pink aluminum needles, just like those I already use for all my sock knitting, so now I'll be able to have more than one sock on the go at a time.
I bought a couple of row counters - I probably don't really need two, but they were sold together for using with different needle thicknesses. I rarely use straight needles but quickly worked out that I could attach one to my cast-on yarn tail and keep track without a pen and pad.
And the final item was a ball of Vanna's Choice acrylic yarn from Lion Brand. I haven't seen this before, but it feels very soft, and I thought it would be useful for making a baby cardigan, the instructions for which are in Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti.
At first glance, this book (which I have borrowed from my local library) looks a little unexciting - it has no colourful pictures inside and I thought maybe it would be a little basic for me. However, I read it all - it's written by a knitting teacher who really knows her stuff - and even though I have been knitting for years, I did learn something new. I am intrigued by the class projects that she uses with her students - a "dumb baby cardigan", a "stupid baby bonnet" and some booties. If one makes these items, one will learn many of the techniques explained in the book. I had suggested to my friends that we all make one of the baby cardigans and learn how to knit a raglan sweater from the neck down, perhaps in preparation for making an adult sweater one day. However (sorry girls) I am too impatient and with yarn in hand I couldn't resist casting on for the baby cardigan tonight.
It's interesting that, even though the instructions for the cardigan are written out in simple English and abbreviated terms, I have found anomalies in the pattern in the first inch of knitting! I think once I have finished the project, I may be writing to the author to suggest some editing in the next printing!!!
When you find out who your Pal is, you send them a couple of balls of yarn (at least one of which has to be a Magic Ball) and some other goodies and you will receive back a mystery package from your Pal.
You need to sign up for Swap-Bot - it's all on that first page I linked to.
It'll be fun - go do it!
I've included a close-up of the linen that I made the skirt from. Very girly with the embroidery and pink tie dye. The halter style top is made from white eyelet that I got from Nicola months ago. At the time, I didn't know what I would make from it, but it is well suited to the top I made from it. (Proof that it's always good to add to your fabric stash.... hee hee).
I bought the pink linen during one of my thrift store adventures. I paid $2 for 3metres on sale day. A very good deal. Besides sewing this skirt from the yardage I have a dress cut out waiting to be sewn and I still have fabric left over to make something else out of. I guess I should really make some sort of bag to match my summer togs.... time to go search the stash for ideas.
One night Samantha's family had dinner with us. This Disappearing Zucchini orzo seemed to go down well, Samantha ate quite a few bowl of it. ;-)
And what was my husband doing while we were at home working on the yard? He was hanging out here with these guys. So I ended up tearing out more grass on the side of the house...he really should know better than to leave me at home by myself with no one to try to talk me out of my "bright ideas". :-O Although I did restrain myself from ripping out our manky old bedroom carpet so I thought I did quite well really.
Sunday, 29 July 2007
I made this "toothpaste" as an experiment - a tablespoon of seasalt, a tablespoon of baking soda, 10 drops of peppermint oil and a little water. It's really salty but seems to work OK.
I found a very simple recipe on this site for a moisturizer - one part vegetable glycerin, four parts aloe vera gel. I put it in a jar and shook it to mix. I will be trying it on my face and seeing how it feels - aloe vera on its own usually feels too dry for me, but the addition of the glycerin will hopefully do the trick without making me break out.
The general opinion was that we all enjoyed it but it was over too soon! The Harry Potter books are so long, convoluted and detailed that there's no way they could include everything, but we wished that we could have seen the swamp that Fred and George created at Hogwarts when they decided to leave (although their fireworks were great). The confrontation between the Death Eaters and Harry and his friends was shortened considerably and as that was the high point of the film we thought it should have been longer. A couple of small things were changed, which was a little irritating...though not as irritating as having to listen to the person behind me crunch their popcorn (one downside of having to sit in a theatre is .... the other people)! If only I had the whole place to myself!
Afterwards, we drove to our friends' house and had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours looking at the night sky. The moon was full, which cuts down on what you can see with the naked eye, but with N's 18 inch Dobsonian telescope (picture of similar here) we could see plenty. It took a while to set up the telescope, which is about 6 feet long, but it was worth it. We saw stars (Vega, Polaris, Arcturus), a close up of the surface of the full moon (and very dazzled we were by it), Jupiter and its moons, constellations (Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia), globular clusters (which look like wisps of smoke), open clusters, the Andromeda galaxy.
The more observant of you may have noticed that I mentioned a couple of names in there which appear in the Harry Potter books. In fact, before we went out to look at the sky, N was telling the boys which astronomical bodies appear in JK Rowling's writing - Sirius (which of course is in the Canis Major constellation - it's no coincidence that in the books, Sirius turns into a dog), Sirius' brother's name is Regulus Arcturus, Draco (the dragon) is a constellation, Andromeda is Narcissa and Bellatrix' sister and Tonks' mother, Vela is a constellation (Fleur is a Veela) as is Lupus (the wolf) after whom Lupin was named.
I am amazed by the amount of thought that has gone into the Harry Potter books, whether it is in naming the characters, the meaning of the names of spells, or the plot.
We headed home at about 1am, and even though we were tired we had some toast and tea before going to bed at around 2am! Just as well we didn't have to go anywhere Sunday morning.
When I got to the ground cover section I realized that I already had some of the plants mentioned and that I could easily take out some more grass along our side shade area. We have planned to do this for years but never quite get around to it with everything else we have to do. Well, I ended up spending a good part of yesterday working on it
You can see along the sides I have planted tons of violets, they make a great groundcover and grow quickly. I need to decide if I want to do a flagstone path or just a pine needle path. In another month or so when the violets and moss that I planted start to take off I will rip out more of the grass.
Around 5:30 I realised that I better get busy on dinner as I had promised the boys I would make them springrolls as a treat. Urgh! I didn't feel like cooking so the boys pitched in. E learned the saying "many hands make light work" and after commenting that we should have 100 people helping us because it would go so fast, I also told him the saying "too many cooks spoil the broth." :-)
To me, there is nothing better than a day spent outside, it doesn't matter if it is at the beach, in the garden or up on the mountains as long as it is outside.
Saturday, 28 July 2007
Friday, 27 July 2007
There's chopped onion, sundried tomatoes, sliced black olives, corn, tomato sauce, sliced red bell pepper, canned pineapple, canned kidney beans, fresh tomatoes and grated VeganRella ("cheese" type product made from rice and oat milk).
The boys went for their usual toppings, but R and I had a rather tasty Italian/Mexican fusion gourmet pizza! The dough was made with organic kamut flour. Once the sauce, beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers and "cheese" were layered, I sprinkled it all with a hot mix of spices.
It was pretty good!
My long-awaited shawl pins have arrived! I ordered these from Leslie Wind (what a great name) a few weeks ago. Her website isn't complete yet, but that didn't matter as I was googling shawl pins and that page of her site showed me what I was looking for. She also makes other jewellery, and she was very helpful when it came to ordering. Just email her with what you want.
Aren' t they pretty? They're both silver - the spiral one just hooks into the knitting at each end, the other one has a pin. I can now mail the shawl and spiral pin to my mum as a surprise gift. It's not her birthday or anything - I never seem to get organized enough to send things for specific occasions.
Now I feel that I should knit my dad something - possibly some socks.
First decent cuke of the year from the garden. I used it for Greek salad last night. Unfortunately I had to use store bought tomatoes but I see one of mine in the garden is turning pinkish so it won't be long before I can enjoy my own. Homegrown tomatoes are pretty much the raison d'etre for my garden. We love them and can never get enough of them. Must be patient...not long now.
Most of the neighbours on my street are great. We don’t tread on each other’s toes, we chat when we see each other on the street, the lots are big enough that we’re not overcrowded, and we keep an eye on things when people are away.
Not so the neighbours whose backyard adjoins ours.
I intend to lay this issue to rest as much as possible once I’ve got this off my chest, but the main problem at first was the 9 year old kid dirtbiking in their backyard. This is a residential subdivision. When we moved in, all the houses and yards around us were presentable - we all kept up a certain level of maintenance and things looked good. The dirtbiking was a problem - it was noisy, it drove me crazy with the buzzing of the motor, and their yard turned into a weedy track with bumps for jumps. One day, this same 9 year old started riding around the block on a small roadbike - it was a Sunday afternoon, I wanted to enjoy sitting out on my deck on a peaceful day, and anyway I had doubts about the legality of a kid that age riding a vehicle on a public road. I went out there, stopped him and told him I didn’t want him to continue riding past my house. I have to confess I lost my temper. He went home and next thing I know his mother is over here tearing me off a strip for upsetting her son.
I checked with the RCMP and they confirmed that this boy should definitely not be riding on the road. He was subsequently caught in the act by the police and escorted home.
So, things were tense for a while. I still had to go down to the clothesline to hang out the laundry, which is not far from the fence dividing our properties. I was hoping that things would settle down and that we wouldn’t have any more problems.
However this 9 year child started messing about with the large rocks at the top of my yard. He started setting fires, one close to our fence. He has thankfully not been riding his dirtbike in the backyard any more, but he still takes his roadbike out onto the public road and rides it around. Recently, he and some friends were playing with paintball guns in their backyard and a couple of paintballs came over the fence, hitting my tree and my van.
The paintball thing was the last straw. I realised that perhaps the mother didn’t know what her child was doing and so I wrote a very polite letter expressing my concern for my family’s and my property’s safety. (I am way better with writing things down; I didn’t want another confrontation.)
I received a written reply yesterday, about 6 weeks after I wrote my letter. To summarize, this boy’s mother thinks it’s none of my business whether her son rides his motorbike on the road, she has said that the paintball guns were being used by a number of kids in her backyard so it may not have been her son who “accidentally” shot them into my yard, she says that he denies rolling rocks in my yard and she believes him (even though we have seen him do it and I said so in my letter), she has blamed another child for setting the fire, and ends up accusing me of harassing him.
We did take some photos of her son to back up our complaints to the RCMP and the municipality, and this is what she calls our harassment, though we haven’t done this recently and we didn’t even keep the photos.
I can see that even though this mother has discussed my letter with her son, she obviously thinks he is perfect and would never lie to her. Everything I mentioned in my letter to her, which I saw with my own eyes, she has blamed on other people’s kids. I can’t help but think that this child is growing up in an atmosphere of “you can do anything you like, honey” and “don’t pay any attention to those stupid laws or the nasty neighbours”!
One of my other neighbours agrees with me that this child is a nutcase. She has seen him driving a car around the neighbourhood (!), mooning her house because she complained about his behaviour, and when she called to talk to his mother about the fires he was setting, the woman had the cheek to blame the other’s son for providing the lighter to start the fire!
This boy’s mother says he is learning every day right from wrong. I worry that with the sort of blind adoration she seems to have for him, he will not be receiving any consequences for his anti-social behaviour at home, and one day his actions will have more serious consequences that will put him up against the RCMP. Better to have learned right from wrong from your parents, when the mistakes are likely to be small and relatively insignificant, I would think. What is it going to be like to be around this boy when he’s a teenager?
She tells me that how she raises her child is her business, which is true, however I hope that my family doesn’t have to suffer from her parenting methods.
Thursday, 26 July 2007
"Ordinary people have always been teachers; it is only recently that teaching has become a salaried profession instead of a part of daily existence."
I love that, when did people stop knowing this?
"...a child should be educated not merely for future employment but as a human being, with senses fully alive and independence of thought fully developed, with nature as the ground of his learning and his education gently cultivated by thoughtful and sensitive adults."
You have to know that I love that one too.
And this one tickled my and Nicola's fancy. "Think of the economic tragedy that would result if schools taught critical thinking, " asks John Taylor Gatto. "Who would crave the mountains of junk our mass-production economy distributes? Who would eat the processed foods? Who would wear the plastic shoes?"
Ooh, there are so many things that make me feel wonderfully inspired in this book and also many parts that make me feel like crying with despair. I think I will read it, and enjoy it, again.
I also picked up some orzo today so that I can make the Disappearing Zucchini Orzo recipe too.
My teenager decided to bike up to the top of Mount Boucherie last night, though a large part of the climb was on foot, carrying his bike up steep rocks! It's not a very big mountain, but from the top one can enjoy great views of the area. I'm pleased he took the camera with him and here are some of the pictures he came back with.
The one above shows where our house is - lurking behind those trees dead centre, in a small subdivision surrounded by fields mostly planted with grapevines. This photo makes us look very close to the lake - what you can't see is the regional park that slopes down to the lake behind the street of houses and trees near the top of the picture .
Above...looking south towards Penticton
Below...looking north towards Vernon
Below...Okanagan Lake bridge with the new bridge being constructed alongside. The new one is way higher at one end than the current one, as there will be no lifting section to allow sailboats to go through - so once it's finished in 2008, sailors and motorists will be able to have unrestricted flow under and across the bridge - theoretically.
Below...looking east to Kelowna
As Katherine said the other day, when she posted her photos of her neighbourhood, it's heartening to see how much green surrounds us. We don't live in a "concrete wasteland" for which I am very grateful.
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Yesterday marked the two weeks "anniversary" of my hospital visit and I was determined to get out and meet my homelearning friends! Lots of people showed up (the picture shows just some of them), some husbands came too for supper and a swim, we had live musical entertainment laid on by the city, twin babies to hold and a good time was had by all.
Thinking back to two weeks ago, I am pleased that I have made such progress since then. Last Saturday, I walked the short distance to the Post Office. On Sunday, I did one sit-up, just to see how it felt (hurt a bit)! I took a 25 minute walk around the neighbourhood, which felt fine. Yesterday I managed five sit-ups and a sun salutation, but I think that the stretching involved in that made it difficult to do and I felt a bit shaky afterwards. What a comedown! Anyway, the drive to the beach was fine and I made sure the boys carried most of the stuff that we brought.
I stayed up late last night reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and all I'm going to say is that I'm mostly pleased with how things turned out!
This morning, my tummy hurts and I'm not going to do much of anything. I cancelled a dentist appointment because I didn't want to drive again today so it's easy to guess how the day will be spent - reading Harry Potter to the two younger boys.