Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tomato overload?

It is Think Write Thursday again. Our topic for this week is to talk about what we do when we have "an abundance of tomatoes."

I live in downtown Toronto. Some people do have marvellous gardens full of tomatoes and sunflowers (notably my elderly Italian neighbour) but I do not. If I want an abundance of tomatoes, I have to buy them.

My parsley is flourishing
Of course, in our idealistic youth, we got tomato plants and did our best. We ran watering systems around, we put up chicken wire to keep out the squirrels and raccoons. We never had an abundance of anything, I'm afraid!

I have some beans, but I have no idea when to pick them!
One year a friend gave us an extra little seedling, which grew and produced yellow cherry tomatoes. We stuck it in a corner of the front yard and let it be. It seemed to be doing fine. We kept finding those little, sweet, tomato bombs, and finally discovered that if we'd staked the plant it would be about 6 feet tall! It was just sprawled over the hostas, enjoying the tiny bit of afternoon sun and probably the water from the neighbour kids' water fights! Unfortunately we could never reproduce that.

I do okay with some flowers
Now, if I did have an abundance of tomatoes, I would make a tomato quiche. I'm sure I once had a proper recipe, but I will just tell you what I do.

Get a pie crust. You can make it or buy it!
Cut up some onions and cook them a bit, add some tomatoes and herbs of your choosing, cook some more.
Beat up 4 eggs or so, with some milk.
Grate some cheese; any kind will do, but Swiss is nice.
Put the cheese and the onion/tomato mix in the crust, pour the eggs over, sprinkle with some pepper and maybe a bit of extra cheese.
Pop it in the oven till it is done!

More Think Write Thursdays here.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Hello August

It's Think Write Thursday again. The theme today is Hello August, and I think we are by now settled into our summer.

We don't have as much planned for this August as we sometimes have in the past. No trips until we send Arthur back off to university. No visitors planned, but of course if anyone wants to drop in, we'll fit them in!

I did finish June's vintage knitting project, and I did get July's started before the end of the month!

A warm knitted hood, and the scarf part ties at the neck so one is all cosy. However, it is the middle of summer so I'll put it away for some months now.

July's project is a pair of socks for Arthur. So far, about 4 inches of one sock!

August's vintage project has not been cast on, but when I asked Elaine if she wanted socks or a shawl from her yarn, to my delight she said a shawl/scarf thing. There are vintage shawl patterns, of course, but I don't want something as boring (though lovely) as this. I'm sure I have a suitable pattern somewhere!

Speaking of patterns, I just bought two Stephen West patterns: Vertices Unite, one of my all-time faves; and Esjan, to be knit in worsted weight for a real blankety shawl. So that'll be fun, some day!

Here are some more things I'd like to do in August:

  1. Earlier this year, my cousin, with impeccable timing, started giving tours of the community out on the Toronto Islands. Now that the flooding has finally subsided, I hope she gets some business! (I also hope she will give me the "family rate," but who can say?)
  2. I've just learned about Sail-In Cinema. They are showing 3 movies over a weekend on a double-sided screen off the beach. You can watch from the shore or from a boat! Too bad I don't have a boat... 
  3. There's a meteor shower and an eclipse this month! 
  4. It's the run-up to TIFF: movie titles are being released, the schedule is available on the 22nd, and once again, I intend to be moderate and not exhausted this time

I'd also like to blog more this month. It's good I have Think Write Thursday or I'd never post!

For more Think Write Thursday, go here!

Monday, July 24, 2017

A quick run through southern Ontario

Stephen and I had a bit of a local holiday last week. We rented a car and went south to Lake Erie.

The water in the Great Lakes has been extremely high this year, and in many places there just wasn't any beach!

Here, for example, is Stephen at the very end of Canada, at the south point of Pelee Island. Usually it looks more like this.

But we liked going through the woods, looking at the marshes, tasting wine, sitting on the porch of our B&B, and trying to remember stuff about the War of 1812.

We took a tour at Fort Erie and watched them fire off muskets (thinking, "that would be a good summer job for our kids!").

Here we are on Queenston Heights.

We couldn't spend a week in the area and not visit the Falls.

Someone long ago carved my name into the wall.

Everyone needs a sign to stand in front of these days. (You can see that we didn't end up at the falls on the nicest day of our trip!)

When the weather is no good, it's always possible to shop indoors.  We went to the village of Jordan, which was marketed to us as a quaint and chic, oddball, little town. But really it is a big winery, a big hotel, and a few little shops. We enjoyed a drink and a snack at the bakery and happened upon the Dye Guy in his shop, where I just had to buy some yarn to make socks for the kids.

For Elaine, Confused Hydrangea:

Arthur gets Deep Sea Shrimp:

We stopped at many wineries over the days.

We enjoyed a couple of bottles on the trip, but brought home about a dozen more!

At our first B&B down by Point Pelee, we had a house to ourselves and we would drive out to dinner in town and then come home for a bit of wine and cheese and crackers on the porch. One night we sat in the dusk watching fireflies, which is not a thing that happens in downtown Toronto!

The second B&B was right in Port Colborne and we could walk to dinner, but really only had our bedroom to sit in at the house, so we would just have a cup of tea and read our books!

On our last night we went to Lake Erie's Long Beach. It is pretty long, but it ain't BC's Long Beach!

Way out there near the horizon, you might be able to see three little heads. We walked a way out into the nice warm water, and believe those folks are sitting on the bottom. This beach would be much more impressive in a normal year, but with the lake so high, most of the wide, flat beach is under water. 

Now, time to sort out the house, get Elaine back from camp, moan about the dang squirrels eating our attempts at sunflowers and all that late-summer stuff! 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Been Shoppin'

Someone in the local knitters' group on Ravelry posted that they had donated a shedload of yarn to a thrift store in Stouffville -- an hour out of town and not anywhere I would usually go.

But! Today we had to go out that way to drop Elaine off at a camp thing for a couple of weeks, and, well, the thrift shop was kind of on the way home...

I got three packs of yarn for a grand total of $45. Fifteen balls of Rowan denim, plus a pattern! I have to rip out that knitted bit, but then, what fun we'll have!

Some Cotton Fleece in one of Elaine's favourite colours! Enough for a cardi or shrug or comfy slouchy something, I think.

And gorgeous rusty reds and browns, also Cotton Fleece.

There were several bags of wool that I didn't take, although I could have had a year's worth or more for less than $100. Another thing I didn't take was this set of Ferrari espresso cups. When we get our palazzo in Rome...

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Three things

Where would I be without Think Write Thursday?

This week we are supposed to recall three good things that happened this past week. I am running around like the proverbial chicken, so perhaps it is good that I stop and think about this.

Last Sunday I volunteered at the Maker Festival at the Toronto Reference Library, at a booth for the EDIT exhibition I will volunteer at in the fall. (I did have a fine time although I have some problems with this whole "maker" culture... it's like the world is a huge Michael's store and all we have to do it put the prefab bits together and we are makers. Whoo-hoo.) What I did for most of the day was show passers-by how to fold papers into flexagons. The paper we used was decorated in advance with all the little triangles and diamonds and after making about ten million of them, I got pretty good at it, I must say. Around 1 or 2 pm (my head was buzzing by then) we ran out of paper, so I moved to another place where I stood around and looked useful, but really I could have gone home and no one would have missed me, I'm sure! I am really looking forward to EDIT and you will surely hear more about it.

Yesterday I went to the Textile Museum for a pre-show tour of the new exhibit of Japanese textiles. OMG. Astonishing! If you go to that link and click on the pictures, you will see some great kimonos and things. I did not know that Ikat weaving meant that the threads are dyed before being woven, and I am used to Ikat being sort of stripy and splotchy.

This is an Ikat woven piece:

How do they do that, make such precise and delicate and exact patterns? I will have to go back and take pictures of every single thing.

Third excellent thing: last night I went out and played Scrabble in a pub and won and had a good time. Yay me.

Back to chicken-running-around now! See more Think Write Thursday posts here.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Hello July

Oh, I don't know where I've been for the past little while: obviously not blogging.

I made a dishrag.

Today is Thursday, it's garbage day, it's Think Write Thursday. And our theme for today is Hello July. And hello cool looking pansies.

July -- busy busy busy.
  1. I have to go to the dentist twice! Very sad, I say. 
  2. I have to take my daughter to the thrift shop to get some disposable clothing because....
  3. She is going to do a two-week course doing some archeology in Southern Ontario where there is lots of hot digging in the dirt and no laundry facilities. 
  4. While she is away, Stephen and I will go see some Ontario sights like Point Pelee and Niagara wineries
  5. Before we go, we'd like to get the bathroom painted. 
  6. This is supposed to be Arthur's job, but he needs some parental nudging. 
  7. Surely that is about all. 

Monday, July 03, 2017

At least I've seen the duck

There's been a bit of controversy about this duck. It's big, it's got nothing to do with Canada Day, but we paid for it and I like it. 

Perhaps some day soon I will share some knitting with you all. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Here we are, Thursday again

This week we are meant to discuss being halfway through 2017. Did we have goals, are we meeting them...

My January posts were mostly about my Christmas holiday, and I didn't do a big, hopeful, detailed, bullet-posted list of things I hoped to accomplish in this year. I did enough of those in the past, I think, to learn that I never keep to them! I have the same unfinished sweaters lying around the house as I did in January, and probably in January 2016 as well!

One thing I am keeping up with is the vintage accessories. One a month, on track to get another one done in June, a ski hood/scarf combo. And I manage to fit in a few other things as well.

Latest: a shawl I could say I designed myself, although I didn't write anything down and would be hard-pressed to recreate it. I started from the top centre and increased at the edges, and twice in between. When I realized that would make a half-hexagon shape, I stuck bits on the ends to make it longer and less deep, and then continued on with the two decreases. It was doing this: \_/ and then it did this: \---/. Much better as a scarf, right?

The yellow is that garish, yes
And I can show off my new patio table as well. No more ripply glass, just sleekness and annoying reflections.  

I finally took all the leftover bits from this (yellow and brown unicorn tails, dark green sock yarn and a green Zauerball) and made a huge tassel which I hung off one corner. But that was after this photo session, so no documentary evidence. We'll see if it lasts!

So, that's me on a Thursday halfway through the year!

Other Think Write Thursday posts can be found here.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Summer bucket list

Today we are told it's time for a summer bucket list on Think Write Thursday. (I don't recall hearing this term "bucket list" for the first 50 or so years of my life, and now everyone has one. I'll gladly make a to-do list, or a list of places I'd like to go and things I'd like to do, but I would never call it a bucket list.)

So, what would I like to be doing this summer?
  • Spend a week in Southampton, watching an eclipse and hanging around on the beach.
  • That is my only plan. 
We haven't booked a faraway trip at all yet. Elaine might be doing a course away from home for a couple of weeks this summer, but we have no plans for ourselves. Unlike last year, we don't have to take her to Calgary! 

Maybe we'll enjoy the city: 
Maybe we'll just weed the garden and paint the bathroom! 

My bucket doth not run over, it seems. 

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Hello June

Oh, look, it's June! And it's Think Write Thursday.

We'd hardly know around here -- the weather is not doing its usual thing, but finally we have green things in the garden and even a flower or two.

Not my iris

June, when you have a child in high school, is just one big stressor. This is the week of project presentations and exam revision, and starting next week are exams. Of course, I already did Grade 11 and shouldn't have to worry, but what can I do?

The tulips are finished

Other than worry about exams, I hope to go to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Georgia O'Keeffe exhibit. We have to go in June, although it runs through July, because our memberships expire at the end of June, and then we will probably switch over to the ROM. When the kids were little, we were members of both and enjoyed our discounts on weekend and summer camps, and were always happy to go have a quick visit to one or the other with our little distractible children. Now Arthur is too old for the family membership and really it's just me that visits, so I go back and forth: one year art, the next year museumy stuff. One can also get passes from the library, for emergency museum visits.

At the end of June, with exams in the past and the summer opening out before us, we will have our street party! Elaine will be running the book sale, Stephen's on the sound system and I will be fussing about food. It's always a good time.

In between, I hope to see some movies and have some fun meals with friends, do some puttering in the garden, knit a vintage accessory, and make my house a bit less cluttered than it is now.

To see other Think Write Thursdays, go here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Jewellery this time

Here's the story as I understand it: The plain ring on the right was my mom's wedding ring, and my parents got married in 1941. Small, simple, 14k gold.

The diamond ring was a 25th anniversary present -- in the 60s my dad had enough money for such a thing, riding that post-war prosperity wave. Very romantic, I think, to give an engagement ring to someone you've been married to for 25 years!

The other gold ring which is now stuck on the side of the diamond ring was perhaps my father's mother's ring? It was always very thin and worn, but I didn't know until recently that it had been attached to the other.

(My dad had a beautiful gold ring with his initials on it. It was a family ring in my mom's family and they had to change the initials when she used it for his wedding ring. Well, no picture of it, because as my dad got older, he got thinner, and one day he realized his ring had slid off his finger! I hope it's in the dirt of some garden in Castlegar, but maybe somebody just picked it up and kept it. We advertised but never heard anything. Too bad.)

When my mom passed away, my dad kept her rings and wore them on his baby finger. At some point the gold on the diamond ring got thin and cracked, and now I have what you see up there.

My mom always wore them all together in a stack, and that's how I would like to get this repaired. I have a line on two jewellery places in town who might be able to help. Next week I will go talk to people at Jewel Envy and Made you Look. I know little about metalworking and wonder if it's possible to do a repair and make it look good, or if it's easier and cleaner to just start from scratch. I guess I'll find out.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

My purse

Today's Think Write Thursday chore is to describe the contents of my purse.

I have an uncanny ability to pick out the most expensive purse on the table in the shop, and am on a permanent, never-ending quest for the perfect bag. Is it big or small, the perfect bag? Cross-body or clutch? It varies with the season and the occasion.

My present purse is a fancy-schmancy Harvey's seatbelt satchel. Of course, I didn't spend $100+ on it, but $12.99 at Value Village. It is way cool, red, capacious. Also heavy and a bit awkward to carry. Not perfect, but it's working for now.

What I put in my bag, however, is pretty simple. Wallet, keys, phone. Knitting sometimes, pens. Bus tokens. This red bag can hold some papers or a book, has even carried a bottle of wine from place to place!

If you want to see what other people put in their bags, check the links here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Not your usual knitting post today

Last weekend I went to a wedding. My sister's daughter got married, and of course I took about 8 million pictures, in none of which do I have the bride and groom looking at the camera, in focus, smiling...

But I'll give you a quick look at the goings-on.

The wedding was in Nelson, which is just up the road from Castlegar. It is pretty well into spring out there, with the deciduous trees coming all nice and green on the hills. I didn't take pictures of all the flowering trees, the lilacs and magnolias and fruit trees!

The day of the wedding was kind of cold and cloudy and we were a bit apprehensive about it all, but as it turned out, it was lovely. Those clouds in the background lifted enough and it was fine. A tad chilly, and a wee bit windy... but not raining!

The wedding was at the golf course above the town. Really nice view up the valley...

Father and nephew of the bride hanging around before the main action.

My sister's hair! Salt and pepper but with red pepper! (She always had way more hair, and redder, than me.)

There was a colour scheme going on here. Bridal party in blue and purple, to match the flowers and the drinks.

I spent some time trying to get a picture of the actual bride. This is one of the weirder results, my sister in the foreground, probably oblivious to her bridal daughter in the background. 

Even the cute flower girl/princess kept dashing out of photos. 

The men stood still for a moment: Bride's brother-in-law and nephew, brother, uncle, step-father, brother, new father-in-law, groom, father.

Bride and siblings. 

Bride and groom, best I could do: 

It was very nice. I haven't been to a family wedding in years, probably decades! It was fun and romantic and friendly and the food was good and the speeches were minimal. Jolly good show.

And now for something completely different. Since I was there, I had to look at family heirlooms. I brought home some paintings, some horse brasses and a claw. More on the others later, but for now I will just show you this: 

We think it was once a watch fob. It is a bird's foot, complete with toenails, or, as I suppose you more correctly say, talons! Something weird for the Christmas tree, perhaps?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

My ideal day

I have missed out on these Think Write Thursdays for a few weeks. This week's topic is to describe my ideal day.

A toughie!

Today I am travelling across the country to go to my niece's wedding. Since I wrote this earlier in the week, I will describe the ideal for today; how I hope this Thursday turns out.

I have to get up at about 5 am. Not ideal at all. Life would be much simpler if I could get up at 8 or 9, but I really do have to get up at 5 to catch my plane. I imagine all will be fine at the airport, though also not ideal: Security is a pain and if I have a large bag I will have to pay to check it, which seems backwards to me. If people had to pay to carry big bags on, fewer would do it and everything would go more smoothly. When I rule the world....

Also if this were really the ideal day, my husband and kids would be coming with me, but I am travelling alone.

Oh, my, it will take about 5 hours for me to fly to Vancouver. Ideally, I could comfortably watch some great movie, but really, I bet I will watch some sort of crap, not be able to see the tiny screen properly, not be able to hear properly, and the whole system will break just at the climax of the crappy movie. I will take some knitting, and ideally won't be sitting next to some pushy or large person who squishes me into a corner. I will also take some plane snacks, since it is not at all ideal to have to eat expensive Pringles on a trans-continental flight.

Ideally, the weather in Castlegar, my final destination, will be wonderful, or at least passable, and the connection from Vancouver to Castlegar will be successful and stress-free.

Then, I am sure all will go swimmingly. My sister will pick me up and take me to her house where I will have a comfy bed and be able to go on nice walks by the river.

I will not be in the ideal place, which would have to have an ocean nearby, but I will be in the ideal place with family gathered for a happy occasion.

Actually, my ideal day would not involve 5-hour flights at all, but I think you don't get to have the ideal niece's wedding without the travel! 

Monday, May 08, 2017

Festival round-up

The end of the festival was super busy for me. I have seen five movies since my last post!

Let There Be Light was another that Stephen chose for his birthday movies. It dealt with attempts, big and small, to create fusion energy. The big attempts are really big, with a project going on in France, billions beyond the planned budget, years behind schedule. And even when they get it done and up and running, it won't be a power plant; it is a research facility to see if they can even do it. (You heat up plasma to 100,000,000 degrees for starters...) The movie also showed us several smaller groups with other plans. I'd say, don't count on fusion in our lifetimes.

Friday was a noteworthy day because Stephen consented to see two movies on the same day. In the evening we went to Becoming Bond. This one is highly recommended! George Lazenby played James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service in 1969, and that is all most people know about him. In this movie, he tells his story, actors reenact much of it, we get TV clips of some things, I think Diana Rigg gets a word in... Mainly we learn that George Lazenby is a big talker and if half of what he says is true, he had a pretty wild time in the 60s! The film opens with a quote from another big talker, Winston Churchill: "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." This was great fun.

Saturday I got up early and made my way downtown to see Pecking Order with a friend. She and I love chickens, from our discovery in Havana of the Chicken of Prosperity. She, silly girl, first went to the wrong cinema and barely made it in time. Luckily I tend to get places early and had saved her the best seat in the house. Anyways, the movie... We focus on the Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club. Not only do we have to prepare for the national chicken show, but there are disputes in the club about who will lead them into the future. Not just lovely chickens, but characters old and young, nice and not so nice! A real delight.

My friend went on with her business and I went back inside to watch Brimstone and Glory. Trying to explain this movie to people, I have come to realize that its main purpose was to show off the fantastic photography! Yeah, there's a kid who wants to get out of the town where the only job is packing gunpowder into tubes, where people lose hands and eyes and lives. Yeah, he has scary fun at the big fireworks festival. But really we are here to see the super slo-mo fireworks going off all over the place. How do you not over-expose them? How do you get every bit of sparkly stuff distinct? How do you get a guy to strap a Go-Pro to his head and climb up a rickety 100-foot tall tower loaded with fireworks? (Oh, yeah, he would do that anyway, without the Go-Pro, because that's his job!) Wild.

Sunday afternoon I had my last volunteer shift in the office, and then my last movie. We saw More Art Upstairs, about the ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, home to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum and some vacant buildings that get turned into art spaces. Fifteen hundred artists show their work and compete for two major prizes: the juried prize chosen by critics and art pros, and the public prize, voted on by the ordinary folks who walk by. It's interesting that in this show, craft, and precision, and elaborate, evident work is very much valued by the public, so that they awarded prizes to some rather artless things.

So, that was my festival and now it's back to normal around here.

Wait! I have knitting:

What the heck is that, you might ask. It is a Top Hat Tissue Cover, and the pattern notes promise that it will add colour and charm to my bathroom.

It needs a big flower or something to be completely charming, I think. It was my May vintage accessory. I'm prepared to take on something bigger in June, I think, and I do have several unfinished masterpieces lying around here just waiting for my attention.


On Thursday I head back to Castlegar for a wedding. I have a few days to gather some groceries, figure out which masterpiece I can knit on the plane and so on. (Tomorrow it's back to the dentist to finish up the root canal business.)