It’s alive!

Snapshot: It’s alive!The Husbeast’s Pebble has been out of juice for months now. We seem to have lost the cable somewhere in our travels, and even though we tried purchasing a replacement, the poor Pebble has remained offline. Until now.

I finally managed to find a replacement charger, this time one with a stand. It’s not the most stable thing in the world, but at least it gets the job done. The weird thing is that it’s only the cable that went missing. We came back with all the chargers that the cable would plug into.

Thankfully, the Pebble works with both Android and iPhone. I was worried we were going to have to buy a new iWatch a little sooner than we could afford! 😀

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This Wordless Wednesday has words

I happened across the Wordless Wednesday meme on Create With Joy, and thought I would try it out, particularly as I have been trying to take more pictures. I have a nice little plugin that imports all my Instagram photos. It’s intended to add them as posts to the blog, but I didn’t like the format. I’d rather pick & choose and format manually.  My goal with the meme is to say only enough in the post to give context. After that, it’s all up to the picture.

Visiting Canmore!

We visited Canmore this past weekend to attend a wedding. I think I spent more time gawking at the mountains than anything else. It’s been about twelve or thirteen years since I’ve been out that way, so I enjoyed it immensely. Something tells me we will be taking more road trips now that we have a car that can make the journey!


Ten on Tuesday: The Beach

As a transplanted Ontarian, there are a few things I miss about my old home. I miss being able to drive out in any direction and find small towns, adventure, and sometimes ice cream (I’m lookin’ at you there, Pakenham). I miss architecture that is attractive and sticks around for more than 50 years, and I miss going swimming in fresh water that doesn’t freeze your appendages off.  Today’s Ten on Tuesday is all about things you can do at the beach, and if it wasn’t for growing up outside of Alberta where there actually is a concept of “Beach” that doesn’t involve leaving the province, I suspect I wouldn’t have much of a frame of reference.

When I was wee and living in BC, my parents would take my brother JP and I to a beach just over the Canadian/US border in Washington State. Apparently it was one of the less-crowded sandy beaches around. By the time we were getting old enough to swim around on our own without a ton of parental supervision, my folks were renting a cottage on the Ottawa River from one of my Dad’s aunts for two weeks during the summers. Later, we moved to an old Victorian home just a ten minute walk from the river itself, just down the street from Robert Simpson Park in Arnprior, Ontario. JP and I spent as much time in the water as we could – we had the months pretty much mapped out as to just when in May you could get away with taking your first swim of the season (1).

Dog paddle like you've never paddled before!
Robin, braving the cold glacier-water

We would be at the river almost every day – Making castles, critters and other sculptures out of sand (2), getting a tan (3), or – more likely – getting a burn (4). We learned very quickly that the one thing that very fair-haired kids needed to do was to wear a shirt to the beach (5). Preferably a light one.

Spray Lakes
Spray Lakes, western Alberta

When my maternal Grandfather would visit, he’d take us fishing. The beach in the park had a wharf, and as long as you didn’t aim towards the swimmers, you were allowed to fish from it (6). There was also a boat launch, and Boompa (our name for Mum’s Dad – my cousin couldn’t say ‘Grandpapa’, and it stuck) loved to put in his little three-man fishing boat with the 10 HP Johnson motor with the best batteries in the region, so that he and my brother could go fishing (7). My brother now has that same boat up in Yellowknife for much the same purpose. Friends of the family had a much larger cruising boat, so there were times when we were able to take tours of the different islands (8) in our part of the river.

The beach was also a great place to enjoy live music (9), as the park down the street used to play host to a festival called the “Salute to the Ottawa Valley“. I seem to recall that it was mostly country music, but googling to see if it was still an annual event shows that it was discontinued at some point. Apparently they’re trying to get another festival going in its place.

When we got older, it seemed that the big thing was attending bonfire parties on the beach (10). I never attended any of the unsupervised teenage bonfires, but then…I somehow don’t think I missed much. I much preferred the family-and-friend parties where you could enjoy the fire and the songs of the frogs in the reeds after a long day of  activity.

Wading in
Jamie and Robin try to decide whether or not to take a dip

Here in Alberta, there don’t seem to be a lot of public beaches, and the season is really quite abbreviated. I haven’t seen a lot of pools in backyards the way that we used to in Ontario, and I think that it’s because the swimming season is so short. There are campsites that seem to have swimming holes, but they seem to be few & far between – and they’re up in the mountains, so they tend towards being full of glacier water. A little cold to swim in, from my meagre wading experience. The only swimming I’ve done in the past 15 years has been in well-chlorinated pools. While I still enjoy the occasional swim, chlorine is one of the things that deters me from doing so more often.

And yes, it does make me nostalgic for the days when all I needed to do was toss some clothes on over my swimsuit, hop on my bike, and ride down the street to the beach 🙂

Photos from 2010 trip to the Spray Lakes.
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Three Countries

I have to admit that the Daily Post project looks a little like every other topic prompter so far.  No hard-hitting questions.  Luckily, I’ve let a couple of days’ worth of topics stockpile while I’ve been doing things like my own yearly recap and podcast.  I’m thinking I may continue to allow the stockpile to go on & if I wind up with more than one post in a day, so be it.  Hopefully the quality of the posts will improve as the quantity improves.

Challenge #1 is: List three countries and why you want to go.

Three?  Only three?  And here I never thought that restriction might be a bad thing.  When I was a kid, I wanted to visit the UK: Scotland, Ireland and England, pretty much in that order.  Sorry, Wales, but you just didn’t hit my radar, and I blame that on a poor PR machine.  My family pretty much comes from the genetic stew that is the UK.  We figured that it was mainly Scots-Irish, but as I delve into the genealogy information that my Mum has sent me, it looks as though there’s more Irish than any of us thought.  They just seemed to disguise themselves as Scots, I guess.   Of course, the whole family has been taught to cringe at the mention of the English, so I suspect that whether we’re Scots or Irish, we have the sunny disposition to match!

As I grew older, I started taking French and Spanish lessons.  Pray do not make me use these atrophied skills, as I’m sure my accent is atrocious and my verbs such that one would laugh at my bumbling attempts.  What stuck with me, though, was a wish to visit France and Spain.  Particularly the museums and architecture.  Trip to Versailles?  Sure thing!  A tour of Moorish Spain?  Why not!

In these later years, I’ve also discovered a yen to want to wander to all the fibre-filled places that would net me more wool.  The Americas (other than Canada).  Australia & New Zealand.  Northern Europe.  Robin’s influence is to urge me to wanting to visit places like Copenhagen, where bicycle culture rules the road, or at least that’s the kind of press the place gets.  I love Google Street View for the pleasure of visiting these far-flung places without the benefit of a Passport.

You see, I’ve never really been outside Canada, at least, not within memorable time.  There hasn’t been a need.  The one attempt to go to South America with my Grade 11 Spanish class ended in dismal failure when the drug wars escalated.  There hasn’t really been any money to travel abroad.  However…I’ve been all over Canada.  I’ve lived in Alberta, The Northwest Territories, British Columbia, and  various places in Ontario.  I’ve been to Old Quebec City and Montreal.  I think, all things considered, I’ve done pretty well.

Still, someday I would love to either hop a plane, or take a cruise, and just head out.  Maybe to the family homelands, maybe on adventures elsewhere.  As long as it doesn’t bankrupt us, and there’s someone to take care of the cat, I think (when the time comes) we’ll have a blast!

Goodbye and goodnight, 2010

I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by, and all the things that have happened between then and now.  It seems yesterday I was waking up on January 1st, and now I’m putting the capper on another year.

I decided to put together a little photo-mosaic of all the really nice shots I’ve taken this year.  They hold so many memories that I find them amazing. Anytime I stop and think that it was a wasted year, or that it just trudged on, I get to take a look back and see how much fun we had roaming through Fish Creek Park, relaxing on a patio with some knitting and a glass of wine, or dragging a very pregnant Lhiabelle through the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller.  I have memories of trips to the mountains, visits from far-flung family, and the birth of new family members.

It’s also the year that I really returned to blogging and podcasting, and made the solid decision not to let anything hold me back.  It was a huge decision for me.  I absolutely love writing, and the only way to get better is to practice.  It has been one of my constants throughout the years, and the fact is that I made myself stop because I was worried that someone might disagree with me over minor opinions.  It came to the point where I felt that I couldn’t express them at all.  I’m glad I managed to get over it, suck it up…whatever you want to call it…because the last half of this year has been a blast, just putting stories and events out into the ether and seeing what returns.

I also managed to get myself organized on the knitting front – because you knew this had to come back to knitting somehow.  I’ve knit socks galore, as I am notorious for such things, but also set myself to making a couple of nice scarves and a couple of precious little baby sweaters.  There is even the attempt at the Cthulhuclava, which will eventually rise again from the depths of my stash to spread mayhem and the occasional mutter and curse.

All in all, I’d say I’ve had a very happy, prosperous 2010.  I’m looking forward to sharing 2011 as it happens!

Episode 2: How I wound up in Saskatoon & what I found there.

This week we got caught up on the past 2 week’s worth of rambling due to a trip to Saskatoon (the bride was lovely, the groom was short…but rather handsome and good-natured) as well as a bad head cold.
I talked about yarn shopping in Saskatoon, specifically at Prairie Lily Knitting & Needlework.
Finished Objects:
Willow by Janine Le Cras , Pair #1 from Super Sock Scarefest KAL
Redrum by Jenny Lee, Pair #2 from Super Sock Scarefest KAL
Still working on ’em:
September Mock (aka Black Tie, Optional by Adrienne Fong), Sock Knitter’s Anonymous KAL
I have the new Interweave Knits Weekend! I ramble on, somewhat coherently, about the patterns inside. My final verdict? Flip through it at your LYS or Grocery/pharmacy and see if you think it’s worth the money. The cover sweater and the gloves are cute. The rest are really a matter of whether it’s to your taste. Not a lot of “classic” designs, but lots of originality.
I rave on about the new Knitty Deep Fall. There are socks. And hats. And pretty sweaters. And an Electra Townie bicycle. You really ought to ride more. The upright bikes are really comfy and you can wear pretty clothing while you ride. Take back the road! (yes, I was dead wrong about the spelling of Electra. Oh well. Can’t win all the time)
I give a shoutout to Tanis Fiber Arts for having awesome Blue Label Fingering weight Merino yarn. I made my Dad’s Yule present from them last year, and the yarn was a joy to work with. I have another ball of the Green Label Aran that is destined to be a cheery hat for the dead of winter (even if I can’t remember the name of the pattern).
Finally, a small apology for the rambling nature of this hour’s worth of gibbering. Hopefully, as we go on, I’ll get back in the groove. And will hopefully find the perfect intro and outro music. Whee! Isn’t technology grand?