Monday, July 25, 2022

In Praise of Libraries

 I discovered libraries when I was about 8. I loved them. You could go and get books, read them, and take them back to exchange for more books. By the time I was 15, I was spending so much time in the library that they hired me, and I started making $0.90/hr. to hang out at the library! It was a tiny branch, with a staff of 2 at any given time. In our free time, we were expected to read, so I always had a book under the counter. 

I went to university, where libraries became a place of research, or a quiet place to work away from my residence room. 

As an adult, I took my kids to the local library, I volunteered at the library, I even served as a Library Trustee for a brief period. I love libraries.

In these interesting times, I have been ordering lots of ebooks from the library. They are great because they return themselves.

Last week, on another blog, the author mentioned an article in the new issue of McCall's Quilting. My first thought was to try to buy a copy. Silly because I have been recycling all kinds of quilting magazines, lately. So, I decided to see if they had a digital copy at the library.

I now have a digital copy on my tablet, that I can read for three weeks, then it will check itself back in. I can even set a notification so the library app will tell me when they get the next issue. I think my magazine buying days are over!

Meanwhile, the weather has been really hot here (well for Canada). Last week, we got to 30.5 C. Quite a stretch from there to our February -25C. So, I have been knitting.

Baby socks take no thought and go together quickly, and a friend has a new grandbaby. Before long, babies will need wool socks again.

I also bought some yarn for Christmas gifts.

Ancient Arts was having a sale on some misdyed skeins. They look okay to me. I see these as a shawl/scarf and a pair of Border Collie socks.

I disn't post my last minute pretrip sewing.

I made a bunch of hand santizer pouches to give as hostess gifts. I like the Tula Pink teacups. I think I may modify the pattern to make cell phone cases.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

A Trip West

 As I told you last time, we headed west for a gathering of the clan. Lots of pictures were taken and I will share a few.

In Victoria, we stayed in a condo apartment complex. The gardening around the building was wonderful.

The tree on the left is a Dogwood, floral emblem of British Columbia. The one on the right is a California Lilac, a popular hedging plant in Victoria.

I also discovered that Dogwoods come in pink, too.

The condo had a lily pond and it was just getting ready to bloom.

Oddly, although there were lots of benches through the apartment gardens, we never saw anyone sitting on the benches (except us).

It seemed that nearly everywhere we went in the city, we had to go around Mt. Douglas.

I liked the sun shining on it at sunset.

While in Victoria, we did some geocaching. I think we found a total of 10 caches. Our biggest achievement was to climb to the top of  Observatory Hill to find caches.

This is the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. It was opened in 1918. You can read more about it here.

The walk to the top and back was about 4.5 km and the rise in elevation was 167 m. We were fooled by the cache posting that said the cache could be done in about 30 minutes. If you drive to the parking lot inside the fence, that is possible, but we were there on a Sunday when the road is closed to cars. I'm pretty sure I got my steps in that day. We didn't see very many people (mostly nobody) but we did see a couple of bunnies and this lovely.

We saw a second one on the way back down the hill. We were surprised that it looks like the deer we see here except eastern deer have white tails and western deer have black tails.

This was the view from the top, looking down.

We also spent time in Parksville, which is the home of Rathtrevor Beach.

At low tide, the tide goes out a very long way.

You can observe little sea creatures in the tide pools.

You can build sandcastles.

Or, you can enjoy the wonderful views. 

The purpose of the trip, and the gathering of 4 generations was to celebrate a very special event.

It was the 90th birthday of a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. We decided to do it up in style.

On the way home, I was reminded of how vast my country is. While flying east, overnight, I awoke at about 2AM (maybe it was 3) local time, somewhere over the middle part of Canada, to see the sun rising in the north.

How cool is that?

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Travel Adventures


I have been traveling. The last time I travelled anywhere was in October, 2019. Needless to say, this trip was very exciting.

I haven't travelled a whole lot, but having a bi-coastal family means that I've made a fair number of trips within Canada. One thing I know for sure is that one should never expect air travel to go smoothly.

My flying experiences started when I was in university. I was a co-op student and standby plane tickets in those days were about $25. So I used this when flying between my parents home and my co-op placement in Ottawa. On one trip, the plane landed at Peterborough and couldn't take off again. The airline offered a bus for the rest of the trip. (a 20 minute plane ride, 3 hours by bus). Most of the passengers made other arrangements, but the two starving students on the plane were going to be travelling by bus. Fortunately, a couple of businessmen with a private plane offered us a ride. So, I took a 4 seater to Ottawa, arriving about 2 hours after I was suppose to, but on time for work the next day.

A couple of years later, I took a trip to Vancouver to visit a friend who had moved there. The airline decided to go on strike while I was there. I ended up buying a standby ticket back to Toronto via Seattle, Chicago, and Detroit. Again, I arrived in time for work the next day. I now always fly with my passport.

I have had other adventures where getting home has gone less then smoothly. This time, our flight from Victoria to Calgary was going to arrive in Calgary about 2 hours after our flight from Calgary to Ottawa was going to leave. So we took another route home that saw us drinking coffee in Vancouver for a considerable length of time. At least we found reasonable good coffee.

So, what have I learned? Besides the passport, first off, be polite. The passenger agents are likely just as frustrated as you are. Start by asking for help. In this case, I asked if they could get me home. They checked and found that even if they sent us on to Calgary there were no seats to Ottawa on a later flight, or the next day even. So they sent us to Vancouver, where there were seats on the overnight flight to Ottawa. 

Secondly, be flexible in your plans. We have been upgraded by a passenger agent, and I think it was because we were not asking for anything but a flight home.

Finally, Canadian airports are a mess right now. The security people are unhappy and are taking it out on the passengers. If you don't need to fly, stay home. If you do need to fly, try to avoid major centres like Toronto or Montreal. 

I will be hiding in my house for the next while. However, it was worth the aggravation and delays for this:


Two of my favourite men, planning their activities for the morning! More BC pictures, soon.


Friday, June 3, 2022

Vintage UFO's No More

 The thing with tidying is that you find UFO's that you have been trying to ignore for awhile.

Some years ago, I bought a kit for a quilt. Sometime later, I took the kit on a retreat, and made the top. Then the top and the fabric for the backing and the binding went into a holding area. It turned up in my tidying. So, a couple of months ago, I finished the back and the binding, and sent the quilt to the long arm quilter. She got it back to me quite swiftly, but the binding has been a slower process. Today, the binding was finished and the quilt was taken out to the yard for a photo in the sunshine..

After all that time, one might expect something more complicated. But I'm not much into complicated quilts. Just warm hugs. I've forgotten what the pattern was called. I'm sure it is still here, somewhere. However, it is done and off to be a warm cuddle in it's new home.

I also found a pair of socks. Well, actually 1 1/4 socks. I decided it was time to liberate the needles, so I finished those, too. The pattern is called Crazy, and the yarn is Sockenwolle Cotton Stretch Morgentau. I think these ended up on hold because I didn't enjoy knitting with the yarn, It was kind of scratchy.

The Crazy part is knitting lace socks in scratchy yarn! I didn't even try to make them match.

We had a couple of hot days, which caused the Bridal Wreath Spirea to bloom and then the wind, and rain we have had has knocked a lot of the petals off. The dog keeps coming into the house looking like he was at a wedding.

It has grown quite large and probably needs a haircut.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Decluttering Experts Are Wrong!

 In my efforts to tidy up and reclaim space, I've read some decluttering experts. One piece of advice I've seen over and over again is to get rid of things you haven't used in the last year, or items you haven't used recently and could replace if you needed them again.

Of course, this advice doesn't take into account that every now and again a severe storm passes through, and we are left with no power for a really significant period of time. 

The violent storm that passed through Southern Ontario and Quebec left quite a bit of destruction behind. The giant transmission towers coming into the city were bent over, causing a really large number of residents to lose power. So far, there have been 10 deaths attributed to the storm, all caused by falling trees.

We were very lucky that our neighbourhood had very little damage. Other areas were much harder hit and a local school now has no roof. 

Which brings us to the "clutter". When our children were young, we used to go camping every summer.  We slept in tents, on the ground and communed with nature. (Please don't ask about the black rat snake I found sunning itself behind the car.)

In time, we acquired equipment to make the experience a bit more comfortable. It is all still in 4 bins in the basement. It was last used for camping when our sons were in collage and would go camping with their friends, as an excuse to get away from parents. However, it is those things that make camping more comfortable that are very handy when the power is off for over a day. Our camping kettle, coffee maker and flashlights were all useful. So, I guess I was right to hold on to them. 

However, maybe we could let the snowshoes go.

And, because a blog needs a picture:

A bit of visible mending!

Friday, May 20, 2022

And Then, Suddenly Summer

In this crazy "spring" we are having, the weather suddenly turned hot, and we reached record highs for May. It was 31C (which translates to high 80's for the Americans) , not at all what we expect for mid May. I felt wilted and didn't get much done in the way of sewing.  This was followed by thunderstorms and heavy rain. today, things are a bit more normal.

Sadly, my apple blossoms didn't do well in the hot weather.

They are nearly finished and they just opened.

The pink ones look very sad! Hopefully, we will get enough little crab apples to feed the birds over the winter.

I am actually finishing a quilt, started a very long time ago,

The top resurfaced in my recent tidying and I took it to the long arm quilter to be finished. Now, it just needs its binding. 

I do have plans for a couple of new bags. With this in mind, I placed an order with Emmaline Bags and got some new hardware in sizes I didn't have in stock. This is suited to smaller bags.

Kind of boring, isn't it. Hopefully it will make the bags look classy.

Finally, I was cleaning out a closet and came across this.

This is my shirt from my university days. WISE stands for Women in Science and Engineering. At the time, women made up about 2% of all engineering students, so we were proudly trying to make our presence known. The numbers are higher now, but not what they should be. Sad, because I don't understand what prevents women from joining the profession.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Suddenly Spring - As Usual

 Winter seems to hold on forever. April seemed to alternate between cold, wet days and snow! Then, one day, it is spring, in all it's brief glory.

Daffodils were my mother's favourite flower. So these always bring me a smile.

Our area is know for tulips, since 1945, when the Dutch Royal Family gave us bulbs in thanks for providing safety to Queen Juliana and her family during WW2. 

The tulip meter says that today, the tulips are 5 out of 10

These are my tulips.

As well as some yet to open.

Since the squirrels are known to move the bulbs in the fall, it is always a surprise where and what colour might pop up.

There are also wood violets appearing in the lawn.

These are all a feast for us to see after a long winter.

I do yoga a couple of times a week. If I leave to dogs alone, and no one else is home, they bark and bother me, so this week, we all did yoga together.

I use the yoga mat with a chair as a prop. Doug is trying to be a good dog and not put his paws on my mat.

No sewing this week. Not sure what happened to prevent that.